Monday, December 21, 2009

Use or Lose

Okay so I'm not doing very well with this whole blogging every day for a month thing... Maybe December isn't the best month for it given all the family functions and work parties and happy hours and baking/cooking/eating? Well either way, I'm glad I at least attempted something like this because it has reminded me how much I love not only writing, but sharing that writing! I have an entire little notepad filled with blog ideas and half a dozen unfinished posts in the works so while I'm maybe not the most consistent blogger, at least you can expect to see something new here occasionally.

This morning on the drive in to work I started thinking about the major office topic of conversation right now which is what to do with the unused PTO people have accrued. While this doesn't affect me (still being a temp and all - but hopefully not for long!) it has been heavily debated amongst my girlfriends and co-workers. Apparently the bank has mandated that team members may only carry over 5 PTO days into 2010. This has sort of always been the unspoken rule in my business line but I gather its been loosely enforced in theirs. You can imagine the panic of people when they realize that there aren't enough days left in the year for them to use up their PTO, even if they took every day off until the end of the year! (This announcement actually came out mid-October and there STILL weren't enough work days in 2009 for some.)

This got me thinking about how, as a child when my mom worked for the VA or the Army, she would get regular leave/PTO and then something exciting called "use or lose" leave. Now, I LOVED use or lose leave y'all. It resulted in many last-minute trips out of town and as a child I absolutely ADORED going anywhere that required a hotel room and a long drive, or better yet an airplane ride! As an adult I can see both the benefits and the drawback to such a system. On one hand it forces you to take time away from work for rejuvenation (absolutely essential in my book) but on the other if things at work are such that you can't just pick up and leave before that time expires well... that kind of sucks right?

But what an interesting concept - use or lose. No one wants to "lose" something, but maybe it takes the threat of loss to make us value it? What if we had use or lose time with our friends and family? Wouldn't most of us make a more concerted effort to connect? What about all those things you are saving for a rainy day... what if the rainy day never comes? Or if it does finally come and those things aren't there anymore?

On TheBoy's and my first anniversary he took me wine tasting in Napa. Keep in mind that prior to dating TheBoy, my experience with wine was limited to a handful of wine coolers filched from my mom's fridge or that Wild Vines crap that used to be so popular (half juice, half wine, full hangover!) so wine tasting for me back then was the most exciting and romantic thing I could think of to do. At one of the wineries we visited I absolutely LOVED this the one bottle of wine. A $70 bottle of wine no less. After much deliberation I purchased one bottle of the stuff thinking we would save it and drink it when we got engaged, to celebrate. Needless to say, my novice wine storing techniques were far from perfect and that bottle never made it. I dumped it down the drain one night, blinking back tears, thinking it was an ill omen for my relationship.

Oh the melodrama! But I'm a different gal now... I am no longer saving things "for a special occasion" because every day is a special occasion! If I want to drink champagne or that great bottle of wine we just bought I'm doing it! With friends, at home with the hubby, hell, even by myself, if I'm alive and healthy and happy then its a special occasion so I say celebrate! For YEARS I've been packing around all these fancy Christmas-y candles that I would put out on display but never burn, but not this year baby! I used to look in my closet and think "that outfit is too dressy for x" or "those shoes are really more for summer" but now, screw it, it I want to wear a silk dress or pink sandals with flowers on them in the middle of winter who cares? I might freeze to death, but I'll look cute and feel great doing it!

So what do you think? Anyone want to start burning the fancy candles, drink out of the crystal glasses or eat off the fancy china just because? Do we think we can make our relationships a higher priority? I'm challenging myself, and you I suppose, to let no opportunity go un-experienced, leave nothing unsaid between you and your loved ones, drink the champagne, spend time studying things that interest you, wear the cute shoes (weather be damned!) and be grateful for everything you have. Every day.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Random

~I think if I actually knew half of the stuff I thought I knew when I was 18 or 20 that I'd be some sort of freaking genius. Also, I'm glad it turned out that my mom actually DOES know more than me... Go figure.

~I am already sick to death of winter. It even SNOWED at our house the last two nights! Californians can't drive very well in the rain so you can imagine how much fun the commuting has been in the snow. Joy! Seriously, if I wanted to wake up to the snow every day I'd move to Colorado. Its cheaper.

~I've been thinking alot about friendship lately, how it evolves and changes and so on. Its been good actually because instead of being sad about the way things are, I've started really appreciating the things that I did have when I had them and taking care to really enjoy my time with friends now.

~While I am most definitely in the Christmas spirit this holiday season, I am NOT looking forward to the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities. Its SO stressful to have to drive all over creation to spend a few hours with different parts of the family. No one ever feels like we've stayed long enough! TheBoy and I kill ourselves getting up early and staying out late and trying to have a little time with everyone so much so that we never just get to enjoy Christmas ourselves. One year I'm going to stage a boycott and go out of town! But until then, TheBoy and I are just going to celebrate a little late.

~Speaking of TheBoy, things between us have been really great for the last week or so (as I frantically realize there is NO wood to knock on in my entire cubicle!) and I'm really loving just getting back to being... simple.

~Work is insane. Seriously. Its amazing how much of the day to day hustle I had forgotten about in my 9 months away from this industry. I need a nap. Thank GOD for working from home on Fridays!

~Its a good life y'all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Reconciling Life

This weekend I spent some time going through my various notebooks and journals from 2009 and I noticed one common theme running through the entries... I have been struggling to reconcile the life I want to be living with the one I am actually living. Spurred by this revelation into myself I decided to dig out my journals and notebooks from 2007 and 2008 and, not surprisingly, the same exact theme was running through those pages also!

How does one reconcile the life they are living to the one the want to be living?

This morning on the way to work (as I was driving through SNOW over the pass... SNOW! In the Bay Area!) it occured to me that I am not the same person I was two and a half years ago. In fact, I hardly even recognize the girl I was then. I think I can even pinpoint when the change happened. Perhaps not the exact moment, or even the exact day, but I know what it was that forever pushed me into changing the person I had become. What happened then motivated me to change, for better or for worse... And looking back I don't regret what happened because it pushed me to learn, to grow, to accept myself as I am.

But.

Until two and a half years ago my life was pretty constant. I had the same friends I'd had for years, the same job, the same boyfriend... I had been living and working and playing in the same towns since High School. I was dealing with the same issues, the same stereotypes, the same history, the same problems. I had become someone who held all of my personal feelings and emotions bottled up for fear of going against the crowd, for fear of standing alone, for fear of hurting anyone.

I was afraid that if people knew the real me they wouldn't like me and, you know, that actually ended up being true... It has been sad and frustrating and lonely acknowledging that. But at the same time, in the last couple of years I've actually met a few people who DO like the real me. I'm more comfortable in my skin, more in control of my life, I'm happier, more peaceful, stronger. But I'm STILL having a hard time reconciling my life as it currently sits to the life I've invisioned for myself. Maybe this is what life is about? The struggle to create the life you want out of the stuff you've been given?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas Spirit Hands!

I might have gone just a tad bit overboard on the decorations this year. Maybe. Normally I dig my boxes of Christmas decor in from the garage, with the help of TheBoy, and start unwrapping ornaments and candles and decorations and... get totally overwhelmed. Needless to say only a handful of ornaments ever make it on the tree and one or two decorations get set out, but most of the things just get tossed back in the boxes and sent back to the garage.

But not this year baby! Every freaking ornament I OWN is on the wee little 5' tree we brought home last Sunday. Not to mention the dozen or so ornaments I bought new this year plus the three or four dozen ornaments and decorations my mama bought for me! (hi Mom! thanks for passing down the crazy Christmas gene!) I coordinated y'all. There are "themes" and I even thought about "accents" and "setting things off right".

I've got spirit, yes I do! I've got spirit, how about you?

Okay this post has no point other than the fact that Christmas has officially vomited all over Chez Ghetto and also, that I seriously have a case of the holiday spirits right now. The last few years have been decidedly un-Christmas-y so I'm thankful for this little burst of simple child-like joy at what used to be my absolute favorite time of year. Its the little things y'all.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Favorite things...

December 2nd... Day 2 of my "I'll blog every day and la, la, la, ti, da!"

What can I say y'all? Life is full!

But I'm squeezing this one in under the wire... In the spirit of my favorite holiday just past here are a few things I noticed, just today, that I am thankful for:

The nine minutes of "snooze" in the morning, snuggling with my two boys
Hot tea in travel mugs for the morning commute
Watching the baby animals in the fields outside of town grow up
Tree lined roads
Hilarious co-workers
My awesome boss
Hilarious co-workers (I know this is a duplicate, but I noticed a couple different times today!)
Tacos for dinner
My amazing husband
The way the cat follows me around the house meowing until I sit on the couch so he can cuddle with me

The love of writing that propelled me off the couch (even snuggled as I was between cat and hubby) to come and post on the interwebs and let you know that I am grateful for you. I love all my IIFs! And I'm honored to have "met" you all and that you share a bit of your lives with me.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Being Constant

*Anyone else get the irony in the fact that my first real post in ages is about being constant?

I got some very thought-provoking advice on Saturday night from a friend of a friend and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. TheBoy and I were at our friend's house for a surprise 60th birthday party and after having known this woman for roughly 11 minutes and giving a (very) brief description of my relationship with my father she looked right at me and said "you can't control anyone else's actions but your own, so just remain constant."

What I had been telling her, and my friend, was how my father has once again had some sort of come to Jesus moment and remembered he has a daughter out there. The man is actually borderline stalking me on Facebook. He sent me a friend request about a month ago or so and, as I have so far left his request in the never-ending limbo of "pending", he's taken to sending me e-mail messages through Facebook every couple of days or so.

I must confess, once or twice I did reply to him. I know that only encourages him but... he's half my DNA y'all! So my dilemma is whether I should give in and accept his friend request on Facebook and once again try and build some sort of relationship with this man or do I stick to my original plan (which has been working quite nicely) to ignore his existence via the ostrich head-in-sand method? What to do, what to do...

On one hand I'm cynical and jaded and we've freaking been in this exact same place a couple other times already and I always end up with hurt feelings and a bruised heart. Not to mention that after the last time I swore up and down that I'd never, NEVER, have anything to do with the man again. But. There is always a "but" isn't there? But somewhere, deep down, hidden very well, is a tee-tiny voice that whispers "what if something happens and you never get the chance to make amends?" What if indeed.

"You can't control anyone else's actions but your own, so just remain constant."

Remain constant. Honestly I am always going to have some sort of feelings for this man. Whether its sadness at his absence, anger at his unwillingness to think he's in any way to blame for our lack of relationship or wistfulness at the idea of having an actual father... Its useless to try and pretend that I have zero feelings for him, even if he is all but a stranger. I think that is the reason that what this woman said to me really struck a chord. Because I can be constant in my feelings for or about him and at the same time accept him for his faults and know that sometimes he'll be around and sometimes he'll be gone.

At least I think I can. Maybe.

Its just... in the last year or so I've really been trying hard to stop giving other people control of my happiness. I chose my attitude, I'm the only one who should have that power. And I've always said that at the end of your life you'll always regret the things you didn't do, more than the things you did. Life is too short for regret right? What if this IS the last chance I'll ever get to try and get to know the man who is responsible for my fat, rosy cheeks or my love of the water or my thick head of hair? I'm not sure if I'll regret letting Jim back into my life... But I'm fairly sure I'll regret it if I never get another shot. I don't like to wonder what if.

So in the car on the way home from the party Saturday night I made up my mind to accept my father's friend request on Facebook and let him into my life again and see what happens. I even went online that night and looked at the pending friend request, leaving my mouse hovering directly in between "confirm" and "ignore" for several minutes before giving up and going to bed. In fact, the entire time I have been writing this entry I've had another tab open to my Facebook homepage... but for whatever reason I haven't been able to bring myself to hit confirm.

Maybe it takes some time to settle into this whole being constant thing?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Na Blo Po Mo

SO I was totally going to sign on for National Blog Posting Month this year. I figured it would would force me to set aside some time each day for this here blog. But now here it is... the last freaking day in November and did I? Nope!

So I think I'm going to start my own little personal NaBloPoMo in December. I miss this little blog and the great outlet it provides and the amazing people I've met. I'll admit to getting drawn into by Facebook's instant gratification and the ease of quick and witty status updates but my writing is suffering for it.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Conversations of Faith

Me: "I feel like I have lost my grounding... I feel shaken & changed somehow. The 'GOD' of my childhood has collapsed under the weight of my adult life."

Friend: "It isn't that 'GOD' has collapsed... Its religious idealology that has you feeling abandoned. Teachings provide you with the raft to cross the river but once you are on the opposite shore & the raft has come apart you have to walk alone. Keep your eyes & heart open."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Like a Rock

Isn’t it interesting how you can know someone, for a brief period of time or perhaps not that well, and still they pop into your thoughts randomly? In High School I had a massive crush on this boy… Okay I had a lot of crushes on a lot of boys as a teenager, but I never even managed to let this guy know that I thought he was cute and funny so it has always been one of those “wonder what could have been” memories in my head.

I once had an opportunity to let him know I liked him, but I let it slip by and another one never presented itself. It was sometime in our junior year and it was raining outside. We had a class together, I forget now what subject, and had both decided to skip class that day in favor of hanging out in the parking lot. What can I say, it happened a lot. Somehow he and I ended up sitting in his truck (he had a GREAT truck – some things never change) just the two of us, listening to the radio, talking and laughing. It was great.

Until the Bob Seger song, Like a Rock, came on the radio. I reached over, mid-sentence, and turned the volume up on his radio, pausing to say how much I loved this song. His response stunned me. He said, “right, because of the truck ads”, with a dismissive tone in his voice, “a girl like you probably never heard this song before that.” Now, admittedly, I HAD seen the Chevy commercials featuring this song, I was a teenager after all and spent inordinate amounts of time in front of the TV. But I was a fairly big Bob Seger fan and to be dismissed like that was rather… offensive.

Luckily for me, the bell rang signaling the end of the period so I just opened the door of the truck and hopped out. I wish I could say I said something witty, or sarcastic, or anything at all really, but I didn’t. But every time I hear a Seger song on the radio I turn it up, roll down the windows and sing along to my heart’s content, and think about a boy I used to know, with a charming lopsided grin, who never got the opportunity to discover how much fun it could be with “a girl like me”.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

no title

"I can't eat and I can't sleep.
Sometimes I find it hard to breathe.
I breakdown and cry not knowing why. Now I can't lie...
I'm standing on the edge of goodbye."

Why is it that song lyrics can always provide the words I can't seen to find on my own? Me - the most verbose person I know... maybe John Berry is smarter than me?

Monday, September 21, 2009

"It's a trip, it's got a funky beat, and I can bug out to it."

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned. It has been 3 months since my last post.

Three months? That can't be right! Can it? It seems like with all that has been going on over here in the Land of Tiffy that I should have found a moment or two to post something... Sadly, I have not. Most of you know that I have left the catering job and am back working at my old banking job. Yes, THAT banking job. The one I swore I had left for good a short year ago. Its been an incredibly rough transition but I finally (!) feel like I have made it out of the funk I've been in and I am feeling... content.

I promise more details later on that whole situation but right now the peaceful feeling is still a little new and I don't want to jeopardize it by thinking too much about it. So! Instead I will bore you with some randomness. Y'all know you love me.

~TheBoy is in yet another wedding this coming weekend. I swear he's been a groomsman many more times than I have been a bridesmaid... I had no idea that was even possible! Last weekend was the bachelor party which was hosted at my house. Needless to say I was strongly encouraged to make myself scarce. :D I packed my little overnight case and high-tailed it down to a friend's house for some swimming and BBQ, followed by wine drinking and movies, topped off with a delicious brunch on Sunday morning. Miracle of miracles, my house was intact and relatively clean when I returned home Sunday afternoon. I'm sure I had a logical, rational reason for buying white couches at some point...

~I have lost a grand total of 12 pounds! I elected not to renew my WW membership when the prepaid period ended earlier this month and am going at it on my own for now. I feel like this might actually be it - the time I figure out how to eat and exercise and still enjoy my life while maintaining a healthy weight. I'm excited! Hopefully I'll lose a few more pounds this week before the wedding so I can fit into one of the dresses I already own... Fingers crossed!

~Regardless of the job situation I am loving being back with a group of co-workers that I love. Happy hour is seriously a job perk! I also have learned to love part of my commute. I know, shocking right? When I leave home in the morning I drive through town, past some picturesque wineries and vineyards, over the hill through some county farm estates where I get to watch all the baby animals grow up, and then through a very beautiful winding canyon road. That part is relaxing and wonderful. In reverse its even better! After a long day at the office I sit in traffic to get off the peninsula and over the bridge but once I hit that canyon road I take a deep breath and just let go of the day, turn up the radio, roll down the windows and enjoy my drive home through the country. Its not perfect, but it'll do.

All in all, I'm definitely feeling content. My yoga studio sent out a message the other day giving the definition of contentment as a willingness to accept whatever fate may bring with balance, gratitude and joy. I think what caught me most was the idea that you have to be "willing" to be content. Too often I get caught up in just feeling annoyed or angry or depressed that I miss all the good moments that are going by. I know its hokey but I really believe that people can chose their attitude, that you can chose to be happy and enjoy your life or you can chose to let all the little mundane problems take over and ruin your day, week, month or life. I don't want to let that happen to me. I am willing to accept what comes and just want to enjoy the ride.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

I think I have spent enough time on this here blog hashing it out over things that have to do with my biological father. In fact, I was perfectly content with just ignoring the whole situation and going on about my happy little life. But. I feel some sort of need for closure and before I go and do something REALLY stupid like call that SOB up and start screaming, I figured I'd try to get some thoughts out here. I apologize if they are incoherent.

I sincerely hope that he doesn't celebrate Father's Day. I hope no one gives him a card or an ugly necktie, I hope there are no special BBQs planned in his honor, and I certainly hope no one thanks him for being a father. I especially hope that his step-children don't celebrate with him on Father's Day because THAT is a slap in the face I can't endure. I hope that he feels sheepish when people ask him what he did yesterday, that he gets that red-faced, uncomfortable feeling that comes with knowing you're a jerk but are trying desperately hard to hide it. I hope he's honest when people ask him if he has children. No. He does not.

I finally read the letter. The one that should never have been sent because he read something that he was never meant to see. The one that arrived months before my wedding at probably THE most stressful time in my life thus far. The one that I hid in a drawer for an entire year before convincing myself to open one night when I was home alone and half drunk on champagne. And now I wish like hell I hadn't read it. That's the truth. I wish I could take that knowledge back and return to the place where I was angry and self-righteous and judgemental but also a little nostalgic and hopeful, to the part of me that on good days would day dream about reconciling. But I can't.

At first I delayed reading the letter because I was angry and quite frankly I wasn't ready to be forgiving. I have held on to my hurt and anger for so long that I was literally terrified to let go of it. Then I procrastinated on reading because I was afraid he'd play the victim. It's HARD to be a dad when you live so far away... It wasn't HIS idea to get divorced... Blah, blah, blah. I'd heard it all before and I was NOT buying it. I have several friends whose fathers live on opposite coasts from them who manage to make it work. Frequent flyer miles and long distance calling plans exist. You have to want to use them though.

I was in no way prepared for the judgemental, insensitive and just plain cold detachment I found in that letter. I wasn't prepared for "holier than thou". I wasn't prepared for HIM to be angry with ME. I wasn't prepared to hear such childish excuses and half-hearted attempts at joking, JOKING about how distant our "relationship" is. I am not sure what I was expecting in that letter... But it certainly wasn't anything like what I found.

So you know what? I'm glad he's made peace with himself, with God and that he feels forgiven. But if it were me I'd be a little more concerned with making peace with my family and in actually seeking true forgiveness for the pain I've caused. You can't use God's love for you as a salve every time you hurt some one's feelings. That whole "I can be a jerk as much as I want but God forgives me" is a highly suspicious sounding argument isn't it? But maybe that's just me, my feelings, my projections. I've decided to just put him out of my head. Not like he's dead, more like he just doesn't exist, which as far as I'm concerned he doesn't. Not to me.

Also? I DO NOT forgive you. And I am at peace with myself.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Struggling

I have been really good lately at keeping my life in perspective and being positive. In fact, I feel like I've become a regular Susie Sunshine over here. I'm proud of this fact because at the end of the day... my life doesn't suck. So I try and keep that in perspective and chose my attitude every day. And it has been working.

Except today.

Today I feel like I am irrationally angry at anyone and everyone but also like I might burst into tears at any moment. In fact I HAVE burst into tears once already today and was quite successful at the rapid blinking back of tears on a couple other occasions. Y'all! This has got to stop! Unfortunately I know there are a few factors at play here and I feel like I might just have to wait this moody mood out.

Factor #1... I have quit smoking. Again.

Now I know I have said this before and never actually managed to quit for good but... if I'm being honest my heart was never into it before. The fact is I like to smoke and thus far it has not kept me from doing anything I want to do. I still run semi-regularly and hike and wakeboard without even the slightest wheeze or cough. But I know I can't do it forever and recently a couple friends have quit which was inspiring... But the clincher came a few days ago when TheBoy mentioned to me that he was concerned with how much I had been smoking and y'all, HE HAS NO IDEA! It's not like I keep it from him or anything but I would guess I do a majority of my smoking away from him so for him to be concerned with the amount of my smoking in front of him then I must have gotten a smidge out of control! So today is day five of me being a non-smoker (and I mean a REAL non-smoker, no casual social smoking for me either - for now) so that might have something to do with my all over pissy mood.

Factor #2... I have slept maybe one night in the last four or five.

As any of you long time readers will know, I have always had issues with insomnia here and there. BUT! This is the first time that my insomnia has gotten a helping hand in the form of a snoring husband. TheBoy has always snored, ever since we met, but I used to be able to kind of run his tummy or, if it was really bad, nudge him until he rolled from his back to his side or stomach and it would stop. Or at least it would stop long enough for me to fall asleep. Well not any more! Now that boy snores no matter how he sleeps and no amount of tummy rubbing, nudging or flat out shaking his ass awake will help. I am at my wit's end y'all. Its enough to drive a girl to hurt someone... What is spousal murder anyway? Spousicide? I'm just saying is all.

Factor #3... I really, really hate this job/commute.

I know it is the responsible adult decision to make, coming back here. The money is better, the benefits are better, its stable and they freaking love me. The rational part of my brain knows that, really it does. I thought I could just sort of grin and bear it and know that I was doing the right thing for me and my family... But on days like today? I just can't! Days like today remind me of all the reasons I left this commute and this industry and swore I would NEVER come back. It might be time to start out on those working from home days STAT. And I feel silly complaining about it, I do. I know that my job isn't the most stressful on the planet. I know that other people have longer commutes than me. Hell, I used to know a guy whose commute was two hours plus WITHOUT traffic. That is WAY worse than mine! And I know I'm not the only person out there who hates their job. Its just that I had a job I loved. And now I miss it.

So send me positive thoughts today guys. I need them. Positive thoughts, a huge glass of wine after work with a friend (yay happy hour - the sole redeeming factor of being back in corporate America) and to get a good night's sleep tonight. Even if I have to lock myself in my car to get it!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Critical Mass

When I decided to come back and work at the bank there were many factors to be considered, including the fact that I no longer fit into any of my old work clothes. All kidding aside I have exactly three pairs of slacks and two dresses that are both work appropriate and fit without making me look like an over-stuffed sausage. Its sad times y'all. I guess working around food for the last eight months and being able to wear casual pants and t-shirts to work ended up being a bad thing as far as my figure is concerned.

So when faced with a wardrobe crisis AND the knowledge that TheBoy doesn't think "I'm too fat to wear a bikini" is an acceptable reason to not go wakeboarding I decided maybe, just maybe, it was time to get re-established on a diet and exercize routine. I dusted off the old running shoes, dug some weights and DVDs out of the closet and decided to join Weight Watchers. I have known several people who have lost amazing amounts of wieght on WW including a friend's fiance who has lost more than 30 pounds so far and my best friend's mom who has lost 60 (!) pounds, so I know that the system works.

At first I joined the online only version of WW because with the hectic summer schedule setting in I couldn't figure out a good time to go to any of the local meetings. I entered my info, signed on and started counting points. Now, as a long time calorie counter I found the transition from counting calories to counting points to be a little difficult, especially when eating out. TheBoy and I eat out a lot because for awhile I was cooking for a living and didn't feel like doing it when I got home from work and also because TheBoy can not cook. At all. Except maybe canned soup or Top Ramen. I'm just saying. But since we go out a lot, and we generally go to the same places over and over, I had figured out what on the menu I could order that would be low cal AND delicious. But these items did not necessarily translate into being low in points. For example, two grilled fish tacos at a local Mexican place here in town I had calculated as being about 500 calories. Imagine my dismay at discovering those same tacos were 14 POINTS!

WW and I got off to a rough start but I was determined to give it the old college try because I know it works and have seen it work for tons of people with my own eyes. The first week I gained two pounds (I blame those damn 14 point fish tacos!) but I was still not discouraged... I was slowly getting the hang of the system and I was getting better every day. The second week I lost those two pounds I had gained the previous week which while somewhat exciting (woo hoo 2 pounds!) basically just meant that I was back at my original start weight. But still I was not discouraged! I didn't gain this weight in two weeks so I can't expect to have miraculously lost it in two weeks right? So I trudged on, measuring out my 2 point glasses of wine and trying to eat things that were WW approved. In the third week I lost a half a pound. ONE HALF OF A POUND. Now I was getting discouraged.

But! My friend's fiance (the one who has lost 30 pounds) goes to meetings! So I looked up when the next meeting was I could go to and scheduled myself in. That meeting was last night.

So the meeting was held downtown and I managed to get there, even with traffic, the required 30 minutes before the actual start time. I parked my car and followed a group of other women who obviously knew each other around to the side of the building to the enterence. Y'all there was a LINE out the door to register. For some reason this made me feel better because while I hate strangers and would pretty much do anything to avoid speaking to people I don't know I figured all these women must be at this meeting because it works right? So I took my place in line and tried not to look like I was evesdropping on the women chatting around me. That should have been my first clue... all the women there seemed to know each other and were super chatty and friendly with each other but no one said anything to me, the nervous looking new girl in line. Not even a friendly smile was offered in my direction.

I finally made my way up to the main table where there were three women sitting. I assumed these women were the leaders of the group as they were stamping some sort of books that everyone seemed to have and welcoming people to the meeting. I went over to the woman on the far left when it was my turn and said to her that I was new and had been using WW online but this was my first meeting. She sort of looked me up and down and announced, very loudly, "You don't need WW! You need a treadmill!"

Um... excuse me?

So I laughed it off and kind of smiled since I wasn't sure if that was a compliment or an insult or an invitation to tell her my stories of exercise woe or... After a brief pause (which felt like AGES and also like every woman in the room was staring at me) she stood up and said, "Well I guess we can weigh you in." Now, on the WW website it says that during meetings you will have a confidential weigh-in each week. If your definition of "confidential" means the scale is in the corner of the room and not in the center and that there is another meeting monitor (or whatever they are called) standing right behind you waiting to weigh some other poor woman then I suppose yes, I had a confidential weigh-in. Also, I was a good 4 pounds heavier than I had been on Monday when I weighed myself at home which made me feel awesome. AND the woman waiting to be weighed behind me wasn't even subtle about the fact that she was checking my weight out because as soon as I stepped off the scale she announced to the room, "Wow! Your start weight is my GOAL weight!"

I have never prayed so fervently in my life for the floor to open up and swallow me whole. Now not only did I FEEL like people were staring at me, I could hear a few of them whispering... I was literally fighting back tears as I followed the monitor lady back to the table. I don't know what I was expecting of the WW meetings exactly but I think I was hoping for a more positive sense of community... You know, a place where we could all go and share stories about how hard it freaking is to lose weight and encourage us all to not give up or something. I certainly didn't expect to find myself in the biggest clique I've seen since High School and one that I was decidedly NOT invited to join.

The woman who was supposed to be helping me get started was even trying to talk me out of joining! She keep saying things like, "you know WW is really for people with significant weight to lose." So now I'm not fat enough for WW?!?!? Seriously? She sort of half-heartedly showed me a few different packages I could purchase and waved a hand towards a table loaded down with various WW cookbooks and then left me standing alone near the door, presumably so I would have time to make my decision. Well I did. My decision was to leave, I stopped just short of running, and to never, never go back.

Folks, it looks like WW and I have to break up. I guess I'll just go back to counting calories. Though I think I might take that woman up on her advice and look into buying another treadmill. So the evening wasn't a total waste afterall.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You're Fired!

This morning on the way into work I was listening to the local country radio station and the DJs were discussing how someone at their station had been fired the day before. As these things are want to do, the conversation quickly turned to whether they the DJs had ever fired anyone and then ultimately they invited listeners to call in to share their stories of having to fire someone. There were the funny (one girl had to fire her sister) and the scary (someone got fired for cutting another co-worker's brake lines) and the just plain illegal (hiring your buddy for the sole purpose of staging a fight and firing him so he could collect unemployment).

This of course got me thinking about the two times I have personally had to fire someone. Neither time was particularly pleasant for me, but no one got hurt and generally speaking I think both people I had to fire handled the situation much better than I did. Turns out I might just not be upper management material because I take it to heart when I have to let someone go, deserved or no. I can't help but feel sad for them, for their families and so on. I also tend to be the eternal optimist insisting someone can change and do better even in light of damning evidence to the contrary. Its a personality flaw. I've accepted it.

The first time I had to fire someone I was fairly young, maybe like 22, and as the paralegal/office manager of a small law firm I pretty much did everything from ordering supplies to taking out the trash to making sure the whiskey stashed in the boss' desk drawer was always full. I was quite literally horrified when the boss called me into his office one afternoon after everyone had gone for the day to tell me that our receptionist had to be fired and it was my job to do it. I forget now what her offense was, she was also young and this was her first office job ever (after spending several years with a giant coffee company that shall remain nameless). I can tick off a list of her faults, dress code violations, too much time spent on the internet, too many personal phone calls, taking advantage of the office's lax lunch hour policy... But I'm not sure which of these doomed her. I also remember her being very cool and collected even in the face of a screaming client (or boss) and that she kept the front office immaculately clean.

The boss decided we should let her go on a Friday and my stomach was in knots all week counting down until Friday at five. I can't remember how I opened the conversation, I remember I didn't ask her to go to a conference room but that I just stood in front of her desk while I fired her. She didn't cry, she didn't even act particularly suprised, but she did make a few angry comments about how she felt she deserved better after putting up with our crazy boss (which I could not deny). I remember she calmly packed her things, took her keys off her keychain and left them on the desk, and walked out of the office. I remember watching as she walked to elevator and then as she put her box down and came back in to give me a hug. I never saw her again and she never listed us as a reference, though I would have given her a good review.

The second time I had to fire someone it didn't go quite as smoothly. In fact, I almost got fired myself because of it! I was not much older than the first time I had to fire someone, I think 25. I was working as a store manager/customer service trainer for a now-defunct laser skin care center. The company had lots of problems, the least of which were multiple lawsuits (sexual harrassment and medical negligence) and ended it ended up getting sold to a competitor right before a couple of the higher ups landed in jail for tax evasion and investor fraud. It wasn't the best job I've ever had but when I took it I had no idea what I was getting into and I was looking for something fun and different.

It didn't take me long to figure out that things weren't exaclty legitimate. For the most part I kept my head down and tried to run things as smoothly as possible in my own little store. The main problem was that corporate would go on these massive hiring sprees and then just assign new people to my store whom I had never met nor had the opportunity to interview. This was only mildly annoying at first, until they sent me two new sales people who quite clearly hated each other from day one. This resulted in maybe not the best work environment. One was a middle-aged female, mother of two, newly divorced, highly plastic and very, very high maintenance. She would show up to work in totally inappropriate clothing (highlighting her new... erhm... enhancements courtesy of her ex) and say insulting things to the other women who worked there, to say nothing of her hard-sell, scare tactics with the customers. The other was a younger male, maybe late 20's, scruffy looking, starving musician with what I would describe as a laid-back life attitude. They were like oil and water.

One day the female employee crossed the line. Someone called me to complain about something she had said to them in their consult and as they said the magic buzz-word "lawsuit" I had to get corporate involved. I thought for sure she would be fired then but no matter how many calls I put in to the corporate office I could get no resolution to the matter from them. Did I mention she was the top seller in not just my store but in the entire district? For all of you out there who say you hate pushy sales people I present evidence that those people are successful. Anyway, a few weeks passed and I finally got a call back from the district manager who instructed me not to fire the woman, but to fire the man. Apparently while she was in telling her side of the lawsuit story to corporate she took the opportunity to complain about her co-worker (and competition). I never learned what she said exactly about him but it was enough to have him black listed internally and my orders were clear - she was staying and he was to be fired. Immediately.

I was devistated. Granted, she was the higher producing sales person but she was insufferable and extremely high maintenance. He was popular with the patients and always showed up on time for his shifts with little to no complaining. I couldn't see why we should reward one employee who was being threatened with a lawsuit and fire one who was responsible and hard-working. And I said so. Loudly. To whoever I could get on the phone. When I realized my district manager was adament about the firing I called the regional manager, then the customer service manager, then the CEO. The CEO told me that either I could fire this guy or they would let me go and hire someone who would. Point taken.

I decided to just do it as soon as he came in for his shift that afternoon, I couldn't see waiting and torturing myself with anticipation. I invited him to my office, everyone in the store watched us walk back there. I had never met with anyone alone in my office before, in fact normally I didn't even sit in my office. He was angry, for all the reasons I knew he would be. He wanted to call the district manager to get the full story direct from him but I declined to be a part of it. I figured he had his number and could call from home if he wanted. He turned in his security info and left rather quietly, head down, not speaking to anyone. I sat in my office for the remainder of the day crying. A few short weeks later I got wind of a brand new scandal coming down the ladder from corporate and quietly handed in my resignation. A few years after that I got a check in the mail from some law firm stating that as a former employee I was entitled to a settlement from the company's dissolution. I held on to it for months and then figured they owed me for emotional distress and cashed it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer, summer, summertime!

Hello June!

I don't know what it is about June that makes me giddy... It must be a hold over from the whole being in school and summer vacation starting in June. It most certainly isn't because it is warm and summer-like out today on the first of June. In fact, it was more summer-like in March when we were having that crazy heat wave... Today I wouldn't even go so far as to say is "warm", more like it is "not cold", but I digress. Just the mere thought of it being June makes me happy and we all know a happy Tiff is a good thing.

Of course the fact that today is June 1st also means that it has been like 6 weeks since my last blog post. Awesome. I know I owe you (the rhetorical you, is anyone even reading this thing anymore??) posts about my fabulous trip to Mendocino, the best girls' weekend ever in DC, the fact that I am no longer working at my dream catering job but am instead back commuting to my mortgage banking job that I swore I'd never go back to, or how about a post about how I have joined Weight Watchers so the end of the world as we know it is imminent.

Stay tuned my friends, stay tuned. There have been a lot of changes going on in the Land of Tiffy. Some good, some less good, but I am determined to stay positive and upbeat because it could be worse. It could be so much worse.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On My Mind

It will come as no surprise to you, my loving audience (all three of you), that I've been keeping a few things that are going on in the land of Tiffy a secret lately. I do this not because I am controlling and mean and like to do things by myself, which is the reigning popular opinion, but because my life doesn't happen in a bubble and things that are affecting me are naturally affecting other people as well. So I keep mum on some stuff since I never know WHO is reading this particular little page and I don't like to air other people's laundry for them. However, since the one of the "secret" worries has now been brought fully to the table and all parties are aware of of the issues I think its safe for me to share.

But first, the back story... You all know that I left an almost 10 year career in real estate late last year and decided to pursue a long-time passion of mine for catering. It has been great. Exhausting, but great. Oh, and the money is truly, truly appalling. But I love it and the bank is not foreclosing on the house (yet) so I figure I can enjoy it. So, right around the beginning of the year my boss, the owner of the company I work for (there are only 6 people total) came to me with some concerns on growing business and the economy and making the company profitable and so on. It was a eye-opening, slightly scary, but mainly productive meeting with the end decision that we were going to remain open for business and the necessary permits were renewed for another year. Fine.

Fast forward a month or two to me, looking for some paperwork and forms on the company computer and stumbling across a copy of my boss resume, her recently updated resume, along with some cover letters to companies dated AFTER our little meeting. Naturally I couldn't just confront her and ask why the heck she was sending out resumes and trying to find a job when I thought we had a plan but... it made me nervous. What would happen if she got another job? Where would my role be in the company and would there even still BE a company? So I did the only thing I could think of, I updated my own resume and started to quietly let the word out that I might be looking for some work.

Today my boss and I finally had the long overdue chat about the future of our business, the company and our own individual options. And even though none of the options are great (and some are just downright impossible and/or silly) at least I feel better that we are on the same page and there are no secret agendas. I hate feeling like I have to keep something from someone and I HATE feeling like I'm sneaking around behind my boss' back looking for work on the sly. So I feel better. Even though the news wasn't good news, I feel better knowing it than I did guessing at it. Does that make sense?

Anyway, looks like there might be yet another change coming on the work front for me. Keep your fingers crossed y'all and send good thoughts and positive vibes my way. I have a feeling I'll need all I can get.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Randomness

~ So Mendocino was awesome. We stayed at this really great little B & B and the innkeepers were super accommodating and the breakfasts were fantastic! All the week before I had been watching the weather because a) I wasn't sure exactly I had gotten talked into going to the coast for my birthday when I specifically requested to go someplace warm and b) it always rains on my birthday. Always. True to form the forecast for last weekend was rain Friday and Sunday and general overcastness (totally a word) on Saturday. Y'all, that was the forecast the DAY WE LEFT. Just to prove that those weather people have no idea what they are talking about (an entire industry where you get to keep your job when you are dead wrong!) it was "unseasonably warm" and sunny the whole trip, including my birthday! Woot!

I have loads of stories about Mendocino (and pictures!) but those will have to wait until a day when I can keep a coherent thought in my head and form the words I want to use. You know, a day that isn't today. But stay tuned! Also, turning 30 was both worse and better than I expected. But I survived and no one was harmed so I won't complain too much.

~ In the interest of breaking out of my mascara and chapstick make-up routine (highlighted with blush and brown eyeshadow for special occasions of course), a couple weeks ago I went to the drugstore in search of a new look. Perhaps I should preface this next story with the caveat that I am notoriously bad at make-up. I tried y'all, I TRIED! But its just not for me (and in fact provided me with the name of this here blog!) with all the blending and shading and so on. But! I was on a mission! So I went in and picked out a couple of those eyeshadow kits that come like 3 or 4 colors to a tray and have a helpful diagram on them to show you which colors go where... you know the ones yes? I figured even I could handle that!

So fast forward to last weekend in Mendocino... We were at this pub (more on that later) and a woman complimented me on my make-up! That have NEVER happened in the history of me wearing make-up and I was SO proud. Look at me! Grown up! But then, being me, I was telling her the story about the mascara and the chapstick and the ready make eyeshadow kits with diagrams and so on and she looked me straight in the eye and with what appeared to be genuine excitement said, "its like paint by numbers!"

Paint by numbers make-up. Indeed.

~ So I have discovered that my cat HATES when I do not wear pants. I just now put it together and with that whole hindsight thing I can really see that the absence of pants is really offensive to my poor pet. Let me explain. Every now and then my normally sweet and even tempered kitty will turn into psycho stalker attack kitty and randomly try to bite my legs. He even uses that special meow normally reserved for trips to the vet and that one time I stepped on his tail (which I STILL feel guilty about). You cat owners out there know the one. And for YEARS TheBoy and I have wondered about this sort of bipolar tendency. The other day, as I was fending off yet another attack from psycho kitty with the closest object at hand (a water bottle) and backing slowly into a room with a door so I could lock out the demon feline, much to TheBoy's amusement (seriously? he was LAUGHING at me! I was in danger of being shredded any second and he was LAUGHING!) I blurted out "WHY does he only attack my legs when I am not wearing pants?!?!!?"

And then I started thinking... Why DOES he only attack me when I am not wearing pants? So yesterday morning I tested the theory. I had just woken up and was wandering into the kitchen to get some water before starting my morning routine when I heard that unmistakable yowling, satanic meow coming from behind me. I grabbed the closest thing I could find (magazine) and started backing slowly away from the cat, into the bedroom with the idea of locking the cat out until he could be nicer when I thought hm... I wonder. So I backed myself into the master bathroom but grabbed a pair of jeans on my way. When I emerged from the bathroom WITH PANTS the demon kitty was gone and my loving spoiled-as-hell pet had returned for his morning snuggle.

What. The. Heck?!!?!?

~ I have lost 3 pounds. There is no story to that I just thought I'd share. So, you know, you guys could high five me or something.

~ Oh! In a strange twist of fate you will NEVER guess what TheBoy got me for my birthday... A bicycle! AND I even rode it a few miles the other day without killing myself or running into any cars (scaring the bejeezus out of the driver AND me). It was exhilarating and terrifying but I think I might get the hang of it! SO I am now moving numbers 4 and 5 from my "30 before 30"list (below) from the "no chance in hell" section to the "still could happen" section. The bike gift was a little surprising in that we had talked about getting me a bike for years because I hated the one we have on loan from a friend of TheBoy's mom (do I call him her boyfriend? Is boyfriend still the correct term when you are in your 60's?) but we had never actually decided to do it. Maybe TheBoy has become a secret follower of the blog? (if so, hi honey!) Either way I am thrilled!

And thanks for all the awesome comments on that post BTW. I will certainly let you all know when I undertake any of the items you expressed interest in because isn't it always more fun to do things with friends? :D

~ Facebook is a funny thing isn't it? I am actually "friends" with my yoga studio on FB. Not the owners or the teachers but with the actual studio. It has its own page! AND more friends than me! Actually come to think of it, I think it has more friends than there are students because if FB was any indication the classes would be WAY more crowded. But anyway, I digress. The fun part about being friends with my yoga studio is that they post these really awesome, inspirational updates daily. Being a beginner to the whole "enlightenment" thing and to Eastern religions in general I love to get these daily doses of wisdom.

A couple days ago though the post was "nothing can be true if it is also harmful." For some reason that stuck with me all day after reading it. Again, being a beginner, I had questions! So I talked to one of my favorite instructors at my last class and asked her if she had seen the post and I admitted to having questions as to this statement. Because it is true AND harmful that a little girl was raped and murdered by the granddaughter of a well respected pastor not 30 miles from here. It is true AND harmful that an old friend of mine lost his battle with cancer at far, far too young an age. So how can I buy into this saying?? The teacher, being patient and also kind, reminded me that those posts are meant to be considered more globally than locally. She gave the example of terrorism saying that terrorists who believe that violence is an acceptable means to their end, universally it can't be true because how can something be true individually which is also harmful to the world as a whole? I am not sure I get the finer points but it is something to think on.

Oh and today's little enlightenment tidbit courtesy of FB?

"Shifting and giving in are not the same thing. Shifting your viewpoint requires strength; giving in comes from fear."

I am loving shifting my viewpoint y'all. Have a good weekend! I know I will.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In Seclusion

I love how in earlier times when people needed to get away they just went into seclusion. Why is this not still an acceptable thing to do? Is it because there are too many people now and true seclusion is sort of impossible? Because I could totally use a little "hiding from the world" time right about now.

Tiffany is in seclusion until the birthday has passed.

And I know that I am annoying every single one of my friends who already passed the 3-0 milestone but... all I can say is... I HAD NO IDEA! I'm just not ready to be 30, you know? And I'm not ready for lots of reasons other than the fact that I just don't FEEL 30 like, remember this?

Yeah. So let's first see which ones I actually accomplished.

1) Get another tattoo (much to my mother's chagrin and my delight, already planning #3)

6) Buy a house (done and done, for better or worse, I am now a home owner)

12) Volunteer for an organization I believe in (that would be this one)

23) Take more culinary classes
(naturally)

27) Go to the driving range (I can't recall why this was such a burning desire back then...)

30) Work on a political campaign
(yay for my guy winning!)

Hmmm... I guess 5 out of 30 isn't terrible. It certainly isn't GOOD mind you. But better than 0, right? Let's see the ones that are "in progress" so to speak.

7) Pay off soul-sucking debt (oh debt, how you haunt me)

8) Decide what I want to be when I grow up - something that inspires me
(am learning that there is a difference between WHO I want to be and WHAT I want to do, also learning that those things are not necessarily compatible)

13) Get a dog (we had a dog for like 3 days... am working on it still, some day)

21) Travel to Italy (woo hoo, Italy AND Spain!)

Okay and now for the ones that I can be honest with myself about and know I will probably never do. It must be part of that whole growing older thing... I no longer feel the need to delude myself into thinking I am something I am not.

4) Learn to ride a bike (it just isn't in the cards kiddos)

5) Train for and complete a triathlon (see #4, above, its sort of a main part of the "tri")

9) Move out of the Bay Area (so long as our parents are here I have this sinking feeling TheBoy and I will be staying put, though we are about as far out from the Bay Area as I could get us)

11) Finish college
(just no)

14) Learn to play tennis
(see #4, above)

15) Finally learn to line dance
(I think my skills are as good as they're going to get)

16) Take salsa dancing lessons
(see #4, above)

29) Swim with dolphins (OMG y'all! SO! FREAKING! EXPENSIVE!!)

So that leaves these things, which I still want to do and think I COULD do but haven't gotten around to doing yet. Maybe I'll put them on the 40 list. Maybe. Or maybe I won't make a 40 list. Who knows!

2) Hike Half Dome in Yosemite

3) Run another half marathon

10) See a Broadway show - on Broadway

17) Travel alone

18) Take my mom on a trip somewhere - just the two of us

19) See the Grand Canyon

20) Go white water rafting


22) Go to Oktoberfest in Germany

24) Drive up the West Coast

25) Plan a trip away with my girls


26) See Burney Falls

28) Go back to visit Texas

Monday, March 30, 2009

List time!

I can not keep a coherent thought in my head long enough to write a real post. I think its the fantastic almost-summer weather we've been having lately. Because occasionally I'll have a brilliant thought and think to myself "I should make a note of that so I can share my profound idea with all the wonderful IIFs and oh! what a pretty tree! Those little flowers must love the sunshine... la la la la la."

You can see how this might be slightly distracting.

So I now present to you, in lieu of a real post, a list of random stuff that is going on in the land of Tiffy.

1) My 12 year old vacuum is on its last legs y'all. Now I know normal people would not feel sad about the passing of an old, and very well used, vacuum. I, however, AM a little sad to have to replace my trusty little machine. She was relatively cheap when I got her, and has seen me through many, many, many apartments and dorm rooms. She's cleaned up after countless parties, ex-boyfriends, kitten mishaps and so on. But she IS 12 after all which is about 10 years longer than I thought she'd last so... But also? Holyfreakinghell people do you have any idea how expensive vacuums are?!?!?! Needless to say I had no idea. Think I could get someone to buy me one as a birthday gift?

2) Yeah. Did I mention I'm having a birthday soon? Surprisingly I'm calmer than I expected in the days leading up to it. I'm certainly handling it better than my charming husband did. But... it also feels a little strange. Like, I'm not ready to enter into a new decade. I have stuff left to do in this one! We shall see if this feeling of grace lasts me until the actual day or if I take to my bed ala Scarlett O'Hara and hide. At least I'm going someplace new and fun which should take my mind of the reason WHY we're taking a vacation... And there will be wine. Lots and lots of wine.

3) I am exhausted. Like can barely get out of bed in the morning, don't want to do anything but contemplate my navel exhausted. And I'm not really sure why. I haven't been sleeping the best, which I know doesn't help, but as an occasional sufferer of full blown insomnia these restless nights are nothing! I thought it might have been work because we have been a little busier lately and did I mention I only have three employees? But I've been trying to cut my hours back a little in the last week or so and it hasn't seemed to help. I'm stumped. Maybe a nice long weekend will help rejuvenate me.

4) I've been trying my hand at the whole running thing again lately. Its free and once I manage to get my lazy ass off the couch and into some running shoes I generally love it. In fact over the weekend I had one of those runs where you feel like you could keep going forever. It was awesome. But for some reason my brain forgets that whole adrenaline euphoria thing almost as soon as I hit the showers. Is there anyway to bottle that feeling a little for motivational purposes? I've also been trying to practice yoga more diligently. But Lord Almighty those classes are expensive! Luckily there are DVDs. But again, after a particularly good class or practice I always feel so calm and peaceful and... well zen I guess. But it doesn't last!! Le sigh.

5) I am still a huge fat ass. I keep losing the same freaking 4 pounds over and over again I swear! It's discouraging. Especially coming up on my birthday. I'm just saying is all. Also? I feel sort of like a slug compared to some of my super awesome friends who are all running 10k races and doing mini-triathlons and stuff on their weekends. Me? I drink wine and eat. Hmm... I think I might have found the answer to the problem in the first sentence.

6) This last weekend was one of the most fun and relaxing weekends I've had in ages. I told myself I wouldn't stress out that there were eleventy-two loads of laundry to do, or that the kitchen floor hasn't been mopped since Christmas, or that the carpets aren't clean enough (see item #1) or any of the normal chore-type things that generally consume my weekends. So this weekend all I did was fun stuff. Dinner with friends Friday night at one of my favorite local restaurants, wine tasting with a big group Saturday, brunch and some fun girl time in SF yesterday... It was awesome. Until I came home from work today and realized we had no food, no clean towels and there are dishes in the sink that have been there since sometime late last week. Well I guess I can't run away from reality forever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Writing exercise - I am, I was, I am not

I am obsessed with teen movies and like Step Up and Stick It (“they don’t call it gym-nice-tics”) and TV shows like 90210 (the old AND the new if I must admit) for some known only to God reason. Maybe I feel like my high school years were too drama free?

I was not the popular one in high school, despite being a cheerleader (which means something completely different in California than in Texas, BTW) and having a fairly decent group of friends. Maybe I just chose the wrong friends? There was the pretty one, and the smart one, and the crazy one and… me.


I am not accepting of drama in my current life. AT. ALL. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule but for the most part I maintain a strict “no drama” policy. If you have drama and are still a part of my life then… well I love you. Yes, that much.

*****

I am obsessed with food and calories and weight loss and working out and… I realize this is probably not healthy.

I was sick for a very long time over those same things. I am better now. I hope.

I am not ashamed to admit it.

*****

I am a feminist, a liberal, and a bleeding heart. I am independent, strong-willed and opinionated.

I was misinformed and ignorant. I was na├»ve to follow everything I was told by my “elders”.

I am not apologizing for what I believe. Not ever again. Nor will I ask you to.

*****

I am the kind of woman who is honest and straight forward about who I am, flawed as I may be. I have a “take me as I am” attitude and I finally do believe that if you don’t care to know me then it is your loss.

I was the kind of girl who made up stories in order to get people to like and accept me.

I am not the kind of person to judge you. Ever. I’ve been judged enough in my life for the two of us. I promise.

*****

I am the kind of girl that cries at sad movies. Hell, who am I kidding? I cry at movies, TV shows, books, sad songs on the radio and when my friends are sad for any reason. In fact, if you are a real life “friend of Tiffy” and I have ever avoided your calls during a rough patch it is because I couldn’t talk to you without crying and I knew that wasn’t good for either of us.

I was embarrassed to be the girl that cried at movies and TV shows and sad songs until I realized how many of my sisters out there do the same damn thing.

I am not the kind of woman who will let you see me cry when I am actually in pain. Sad song on the radio? No problem. Serious problem in my life or major health scare? Total secret. And no you won’t change me. Like Brooks and Dunn say… “Cowgirls don’t cry.”

*****

I am a writer, a singer, and a chef. I am a daughter, a friend, a sister (though not my blood) and a wife. I am compassionate, I am strong, I am sensitive, I am weak and in need of grace. I am me.

I was afraid of who I really was for a long time because I felt like I wasn’t good enough.

I am not afraid anymore.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life's Lessons

As a child, my family did not have a lot of money. You can imagine that a single mother in the eighties wasn't living the glamorous life depicted by Dallas or Working Girl. But my mother, bless her, made do with what she had and managed to raise a fairly spoiled daughter with a tremendous shoe habit none the less.

However, I do recall an unfair bias towards those who lived in the "poor" parts of town. I went to High School only a mile or two from one of the poorest and most violent towns in all of California and the movie Dangerous Minds was based on the true story of a high school in my same district. A school whose fields and gymnasiums I visited many times as a cheerleader. In fact I had friends, and fellow cheerleaders, whose homes my mother was afraid to let me visit because they were on the wrong side of those proverbial tracks.

When TheBoy and I first began dating we lived (separately) in an apartment complex in one of the most affluent towns I have ever known. Once, while we were walking around the quaint "mid-town" area he told me how as a child he thought that the complex we both currently resided in was "scary" as a child because only poor people lived in apartments, therefore all people who live in apartments must be "bad". Nevermind that he went to school at the emelentary school boardering our complex.

It is random sort of misguided predjudices such as those that really can get me standing tall on my soap box and feeling generally dejected as to the fate of society because they seem so... unfair. And yet, this afternoon I witnessed a high speed chase in my own (completely residential, though fairly affordable so not concidered "good") neighborhood that left me standing in my front lawn, wondering what the hell had happened and conversing with various neighbors about how such a thing could happen.

Perhaps its not a matter of "good" versus "bad" or "poor" versus "affluent". Maybe people are doing the best they can and trying to succeed based on what they have. And maybe there are a few bad apples in the bunch (whether they are organic specials or just plain old granny smiths) that are hindering us all.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I am responsible for my own happiness. Or I am supposed to have a support network?

So not to get all self-helpy on y'all but I've been reading a lot lately about how to be the person you want to be and how to be at peace with stuff and... well I've sort of come upon a dilemma. There seems to be some conflicting theologies out there about how one goes about making changes to ones life. They basically boil down into a) no one can make you happy if you aren't already happy with yourself and its all up to you to ensure that happiness so quit your bitching and change stuff already or b) no woman is an island and you need the support of those in your daily life to help you find true, lasting happiness so surround yourself with people who share the same ideals and visions for their lives as you do for yours.

In a nutshell.

I assume you can see my conundrum? (Not to be confused with the economic forecast.)

So on one hand, I'm reading things and have these moments where I'm all "I AM ME and gosh darn it it's up to me to make me happy and I like me and GO TIFFY!" Because the independent me who likes to keep her own counsel and deal with her own crap TOTALLY buys into that mantra. I would even go so far as to sheepishly admit to feeling a bit too smug and self-righteous when I hear people complain that their lives suck because hello? It's YOUR life, which means YOU control it so if it sucks take a long look in the mirror and figure out what it is about you that's making your life suck.

Wow its a little embarrassing to write that. Especially sitting over here where a small voice just whispered in my ear "remember how unhappy YOU are, time to take your own advice there sister."

So I thought maybe this whole "I am responsible for my own happiness" thing wasn't the whole shebang and started reading things I normally turned up my nose at. The other side being those who say you can't do it alone, you need help, support and people encouraging you. But see? That flip side? It sort of makes me squeamish and uncomfortable. Because I'm responsible for my own happiness right? And I DO honestly believe that.

So anyway. For all my reading and researching and deep thinking I am no farther towards finding a way to reconcile the life I want to be living to the one currently in progress. But daily arguments with myself are becoming more and more common which maybe means that I'll eventually get someplace and be able to either be happy with what I have or figure out how to get what I want. Or the nice doctors will come with their pretty white jacket and y'all will sorely miss my crazy rantings on the interwebs since I am fairly sure they don't have blogging in the loony bin.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Secrets

I don't know about the rest of you but I am positively addicted to Post Secret. I love how people are so honest and wonderful there. Most of the time I am just jealous that they have the courage to post their secrets for all the world to see, even if it is anonymously. This particular postcard caught my eye today:



My secret is that I also used to go hang out in the nurses office to get away from feeling so lonely in school. Sadly instead of a friend and ally in the nurse all I got was pulled out of classes and interviewed repeatedly by the dean and then the principle about my "eating disorder". It almost cost me my chance at making the cheer leading squad my Junior year in High School.

Thanks anyway nurse.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The woman I want to be

There is this song on country radio right now by Montgomery Gentry called Roll With Me that makes me stop and think every time I hear it. I've always been big into music and especially song lyrics. In fact an old friend of mine recently asked me if I still have the dozens of journals I was always copying lyrics into. (The answer is yes, I do. Though I didn't realize every one knew I did that.) I guess as a writer I'm always looking for the perfect words to express myself and sometimes these song writers just nail it head on you know? The chorus of this particular song starts like this:

So now I'm slowing it down and I'm looking around
And I'm lovin' this town and I'm doing alright
Ain't worried 'bout nothing 'cept for the man I wanna be

Those lyrics have become the theme song to "The year of Tiffy" that I've embarked on. I want to slow down, take a look around and really take the time to enjoy this life I'm living. No, it's not perfect. It's not even remotely what I had envisioned for myself even two short years ago. What it IS is my life, the only life I'm going to get, and I want to take the time to savor the moments while they are happening because once this day is over I can't ever get it back. Not to sound too melodramatic or anything but I just really don't want to look back on my life and think I have wasted any time being needlessly unhappy, or unfulfilled, or doing things I know I shouldn't be doing. I want to look back and be proud of what I accomplish every day, I want to be happy with my actions, feel content with the person I've portrayed. I want to be the best wife/daughter/friend/sister I can be with no regrets.

I was out working a lunch event last week and got to chatting with one of the guys who is a regular customer of mine. He was telling me about how he spends as many hours a day outdoors as possible, running or hiking or just sitting in the park with his dog. He explained how he thinks life is too short to be bored, how he changed careers after 20 successful years to get into a different field because he was tired of being good at, but not feeling great about what he did for a living. Y'all, it was like talking to an older, male version of myself. He gave me some advice about not wasting time wanting to make changes to my life but instead seizing every opportunity. He told me it isn't selfish to want to make myself happy, and in fact by making myself happy I'll be making those who love me happy at the same time. It really resonated with me because as much as I joke about wanting my life to be "all about me" I struggle with putting my own desires above other people's. His comment was that it's up to them to live their days to the fullest and that I can't do it for them.

I don't know if this man was divinely inspired to speak to me or if it was just one of those rare moments when someone can sense what you are going through and offers some perspective. Either way I've been replaying that conversation in my head for the past few days. Funny how sometimes a stranger can speak to you so clearly, and make such an impact. It reminds me of this saying that used to hang over the desk of an old college professor of mine that said "always smile and speak positively because you never know whose life you can touch with love."

Make it a great day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

On my mind

I'm working from home for a few hours this morning. I have some admin things to take care of in relation to the new month's menu that I can't concentrate on amid the hustle and bustle of our kitchen in full prep mode for the largest catering job I think any of us have ever worked on. Trouble is, I can't concentrate here at home either! Like for example... why the hell have I been awake since 5:30 this morning on the first morning in days I don't have to be awake this early for work??? It's unfair really. And so, while I try to drum up the concentration required for prep lists and so on, I'll take a few moments to share with you guys one of the things running through my head which is, apparently, keeping me awake at night. I know you are excited.

A few weeks back, TheBoy finally managed to convince me that we should go up and play in the snow. Some friends of ours have access to a cabin in Lake Tahoe and invited us along for a mini-vacation weekend and, in a moment of weakness, and amid imploring puppy-dog eye type looks from my poor snow deprived husband, I agreed to go. For those of you just now joining the show, I do not like snow. At all. I do not like to be cold. I am completely unprepared for it to BE cold. Call it living in denial but the sum total of my "cold weather" gear includes one (1) fleece jacket purchased for me by TheBoy for a backpacking trip because he actually wanted to wear his own fleece for once, one (1) pair of mitten-type gloves that I am pretty sure I borrowed from someone a decade ago and never returned, and a pair of faux Uggs, in pink, also purchased for me by a friend who thought it was funny and that I needed pink Uggs. I also have some assorted leg-warmers which I have been told are both out of fashion AND not practical for snow wear.

Ah... the sacrifices we make to keep our loved ones happy.

At some point during the weekend, while I was being mocked for being so cold (in the SNOW people! It WAS cold!) someone suggested I get a snuggie. Since TheBoy and I do not currently have TV I was beforehand unaware of the awesomeness that is the snuggie OR the hysterical commercials. I mean really... A cuddly warm blanket with sleeves?? Thank you Jesus for the divine inspiration that created this product especially for people like me! Of course, after a few days I had forgotten all about the longed for snuggie until Wednesday of this week when I heard on the radio about the (drum roll please) First Ever Snuggie Pup Crawl in SF!! Can you imagine the strange looks a gaggle of blanket (with sleeves!) wearing people will get traipsing from bar to bar in San Francisco? Awesome!

On second thought, it IS San Francisco so perhaps no one will notice or think its odd at all.

(still giggling to myself that there is a Snuggie Pub Crawl TEAM, ahem, moving on)

And on that note, dear reader, I think I will go make breakfast for the hubby and me before I tackle the new menu and all its associated spreadsheets. Oh, and I should go wash my new tattoo.


Like how I just casually threw that in there? Most of the "friends of Tiffy" know I've been wanting a couple new tattoos for awhile now and last night I finally just went and did it. I've been waiting for the right time for this one, on my foot, so that I would have a few days of non running around to do so I could let it heal properly and since I have a three day weekend this week I figured why the heck not. The artist who did it, who was awesome btw, said he thinks I'll be able to lace up my running shoes in a couple days with no problem which was my main concern. Anyway, there is a story behind it (of course, this is ME we are talking about here) but it'll have to wait for another day. I promise I'll have better, non-Vaseline-y, photos for you then also.

Make it a great day!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weekends

When I was a child I actually used to dread the weekends. No, you did not read that wrong. See the thing is, I was an only child. Even worse, I was an only child that changed schools (if not entire towns) every two years, pretty much like clockwork. So, you can imagine that I 1) did not have many friends and 2) had no one at home to play with when I was bored except dolls and my mom. Now my mom is a patient woman but there is only so much "playing" a woman in her late-thirties or early-forties can endure with a child right? I can't even imagine really.

So, in an odd twist of fate I used to dread Friday afternoons and I absolutely LOVED Monday mornings. Friday afternoons promised nothing more than endless TGIF on TV (thank you Full House) and hours of reading in my room by myself. You can see why as a child I was prone to such odd tendencies as sectioning off our kitchen to play "chef" with my parents' breakfast, or constructing outfits out of paper grocery bags. Ahem. Though on a positive note, I believe that THIS is why I have always been an avid reader. Silver lining indeed. On the flip side Monday mornings meant an entire week's worth of learning (huge dork!) and also at least some contact with people my own age. Even if it was awkward and painful.

Thankfully at some point around High School I managed to collect a few friends AND some outside of school interests so I began to look forward to the weekends like most normal people. Once I started working it was even better because I could finally complain (with a valid reason) about having to get up early for work and so on. Weekends were filled with shopping trips with the girls or parties at some one's house or (later) going out dancing until the wee hours. Monday mornings meant suits and contracts and hours upon hours in front of a computer monitor. Finally I was normal.

But lately I've begun dreading the weekends again and looking forward to Mondays. I'd like to think that it is mostly because I love my new job and finally can look forward to going to work because there is fun stuff to do there and I'm fairly good at it. Sadly I know that the loving work thing isn't really the entire reason I dread the weekends. If I'm being honest, it probably has more to do with the fact that it is now almost 3 pm on a Saturday and so far today I have worked out, done laundry, cleaned the bathrooms and run errands. You can see this is not as exciting as my earlier days of dancing or shopping with friends. In fact, today it has gotten so bad that I've resorted to doing chores I NEVER do (like removing everything off shelves and washing them, with soap and water(!), before spraying them with the wood cleaner/polisher and then putting everything back) just so I will have something to do to occupy my time.

And I know I COULD do something about it. But I really don't want to drive an hour to meet up with friends for an hour. That math doesn't compute in my brain (1 hour there, 1 hour of fun, and 1 hour home). And they. likewise, don't feel like driving an hour to come hang out with me for an hour. So here I sit, stalking people on Facebook, as I wait for the dryer to turn off so I can throw another load of laundry in and wait for it to be Monday.

I told you people I was complicated and you wouldn't understand.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

P.S.

I know I owe some of you interview questions from last month. I'm working on them I swear! Lets just say my computer time is limited. But I will get them to you soon!

Promise!

That. Girl.

In High School I used to know this girl, well "know" isn't maybe the right word. I knew by sight and occasionally spoke to, this girl whom I went to high school with (that's better) who had this reputation around school as "the party girl". In fact, you know those Senior polls every high school seems to do around year book time? Well she was up for the "life of the party" award our Senior year and rumor had it that she was campaigning heavily AGAINST herself because she didn't want to have her party status recorded for all eternity.

You know, she didn't want to be "that girl".

Ahh... How I loathe those words. That. Girl.

In fact in high school I spent considerable amounts of time trying to live up to other people's (unrealistic) expectations of me and any time I slipped, even a smidge, from being "perfect" I would be labeled as "that girl". "That girl" also was known by such other titles as "such a disappointment", "not living up to her potential" and my all time favorite "the bad influence".

Now people, I grew up in the church. My father (the one I never speak to admittedly, but whom I DID see when I was wee) was some sort of deacon or elder and my mother always took me to church. I went to a Christian school in the 2nd and 3rd grades, and then again in junior high school. I was active in my youth group until the end of high school, never missed a Sunday service and had a freaking promise ring for that whole "true love waits" movement. I was hardly a bad kid. In fact, looking back I would say I was damn near saintly when compared to other teens!

Wow. Tangent much?

So. As I was starting to get at before I climbed up on a little soap box there, someone today called me "the biggest party girl I know". My initial reaction was "ouch" followed by the ever-present justification of "well she doesn't know me THAT well". But on my way home from work today I started thinking about the differences between the person that we all are, that deep down inside being honest with ourselves person that we ARE, and the person we portray to the world. And I realized, almost shamefully, that the person I portray is not even close to the person that I think I am, OR the version of myself I am working so hard to be.

So then I started thinking about WHY I portray such an out of character persona... All I can come up with is that I feel like I don't really have anyone who understands ME, the real me.* I either know people I met years ago who are used to a certain version of me, or I meet people now whom I instinctively distrust (whole other issue I know) and feel like I can't be myself around. But then I think... These people in my life don't know the real me because I don't let them in to SEE the real me. It's a catch 22, you know? My friends don't know me because I don't let them in on anything real, and then I feel like I don't have any friends because no one understands the real me.

I guess I really am that girl.


*Before I get a bunch of hate mail from the real life "friends of Tiffy" please stop to consider the truth of that sentence...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Derailed

As someone who routinely shoves her foot in her mouth by saying the wrong thing and whose mouth never slows down to listen to her brain, I truly appreciate when I see other people do the same thing. Its amusing and also comforting to see that dawning look of "holy crap I didn't mean it THAT way" followed by some rapid fire back-pedaling. At least I know I am not the only one you know?

But today I witnessed this very thing, and it was directed at ME! I'm still chuckling to myself right now, not sure if I should be flattered or insulted but I certainly laughed harder than I have in ages. Even though I know I won't do it justice (in lines with that whole "you had to be there" thing) I'll try to describe what happened.

So I mentioned before that my company is helping to sponsor this fitness challenge that starts on V-Day. There are a few personal trainers, some massage therapists, sports medicine folks and then us (we do the pre-packaged fitness meals). Today, I was describing to a different trainer (not involved) what exactly was involved with the challenge and so on. I had mentioned in passing that I wished I had the money to join up because I would love to see that kind of transformation in my own work outs and he was describing some of the results he's had with various clients.

All of a sudden he blurted out, "I'd love to get my hands on your body!"

*~crickets~*

Y'all! What could I do? I burst into laughter, the kind where you can't really breathe because you are laughing so hard? The poor guy was half-heartedly chuckling along with me, alternating between laughter and back-peddling like crazy, trying to decide if I was going to slap him with some sort of lawsuit I'm sure. I managed to decipher through the haze of hilarity that apparently this guy has had great success with petite ladies who want to do fitness shows and has decided that I have what it takes to be fairly successful at it.

Made my day to be honest. :D

Friday, January 30, 2009

An oldie but a goodie

So even though I have done this particular thing before, I am giving it another shot. Truth is I love learning little tidbits about people. What can I say? So thanks again to Kate for sending me the questions.

Also, I have no idea what is going on with the different fonts in this post but for some reason can't figure out how to make it better. Sorry. **wait I think I fixed it**

If you could go back and change one moment in time, what moment would it be?

Hm. This is tricky. Normally I have a strict no-indulging-in-what-if-I-could-change-the-past rule because while I certainly have regrets I think my past made me who I am today and brought the people into my life that I have now and that I would not change for a million dollars. However. In the interest of this question I'll go with the first thing that popped into my mind, sad as it will sound.

(takes a deep breath and hopes she doesn't get a lot of crap for this...)

I wish I could go back and change my wedding. I can't think back to the exact "moment in time" when the wedding stopped being about what I wanted it to be about and became this... other thing that made me miserable and from which I can't find a single good memory without it being immediately followed by two or three bad memories. Maybe I would take back the day TheBoy and I went out and found the boat we had the wedding on, which happened before we were even engaged btw. Or maybe I would take back the day I bought the dress I grew to hate. Maybe I would have fought harder the day I let TheBoy talk me out of just driving to City Hall and having done with the whole thing because he said our families would never forgive us. Maybe I wouldn't have spent time choosing my engagement ring with TheBoy, a ring I now only wear maybe 4 days a month. Maybe I wouldn't have said yes. I'm not sure how far back I'd have to go to erase the memory... Its a slippery slope isn't it?

And before I start getting a bunch of comments about how sad this all is... Save your fingers the typing. Yes I wanted to get married and yes I am happy with TheBoy and yes it does mean a lot to me that we are married. I just wish I didn't have THESE memories of that particular day that is supposed to be this huge deal. Its not like I can take it back, you know? You only get ONE wedding day. I wish mine were different is all. Maybe I should go back to the moment when I got it stuck in my head, probably sometime around the time I was eight years old, that my wedding day would be this wonderful, happy, fairy-tale of a day and give myself a reality check.

Share your most embarrassing story.

Oh Kate. I'm not sure if I should shake my head at your naivety or be ashamed that I actually had to consider WHICH embarrassing story to share. My name is synonymous which embarrassing and my stories are many and they are mortifying. However, remembering that this is a family blog ~ahem~ I'll tell you about the time I propositioned my now brother-in-law.

I had been invited to dinner with TheBoy, his father and step-mother and his brother to celebrate... something. That particular detail is unimportant. What IS important to know is that I had only met these people on ONE other occasion at this point and that I was REALLY nervous. We went to this Italian restaurant which was WAY fancier than any place I had been before. (Did you guys know that before TheBoy I had done absolutely zero fine dining and had NEVER drank wine aside from that wine mixed with fruit juice stuff? I guess you could say he took this little small town, beer drinking girl and... well he created a monster I guess. Just a little random tidbit of info for you Tiffy fans out there. Moving on.) So the only other time I had met TheBoy's brother he had this girlfriend he'd been dating for ages, like since college or something, named Liz. Liz was conspicuously missing from this second dinner so, when an appropriate time arrived in conversation I asked him about her. Well it turns out that they had recently broken up. Being a somewhat typical girl I made all the appropriate comments about how sad that was but how I'm sure he'll find someone fantastic in no time and so on. And then, in what I can only describe as one of those moments where you actually SEE the train shifting a little off the track but are powerless to stop it, I blurted out "that's okay I'd like to have both brothers."

~crickets~

Needless to say the table fell silent, both I and now brother-in-law turned interesting shades of purple, TheBoy shot me a look of what-the-hell-just-came-out-of-your-mouth-woman and I seriously considered sliding under the tablecloth to wait out dinner. However, these people being much more refined than I, and mercifully forgiving to boot, after an awkward cough or two the conversation continued on to other subjects and I made it through the second meeting of my future in-laws with no other mishaps. TheBoy loves to torment me with that story occasionally. Now brother-in-law and I never discuss it.

Where would you choose to go if you could win an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world?

Italy. No question. My only problem would be deciding which places in Italy to visit and in which order. Can my all expenses paid trip be for like 3 months? That would be super. Because I want to do the tourist thing and see all the historical sites like the Vatican and Rome and Venice and Florence and so on but I also kind of just want to find a little village on the coast where I can swim and walk around exploring and drink homemade wine and dip crusty loaves of fresh baked bread into homemade olive oil and eat my weight in fantastic Italian food cooked for me by some one's grandma who doesn't speak a word of English but loves me and my enthusiasm for good food and good wine.

Wow I didn't think I had put that much thought into this fantasy trip of mine but... I guess its fairly clear I have! ~sigh~ I guess I should start playing lotto.

What is your fondest memory as a child?

Okay so I saved this one for last because... well because the first memories that popped into my head are memories that I don't want to be my happiest memories. That doesn't make any sense at all. Let's see if I can explain, or at least work it out in my own head, here in writing for all of you guys to witness my neurosis. So as a child of divorced parents I spent most of my summers in Mississippi with Jim (my father) until I was like ten or eleven. So the combination of it being summertime (yay!) and being with my father, who lived far away and I didn't see often, and the age that I was, means that most of my happy childhood memories involve him.

And I wish they didn't.

So I suppose I could sit here and spout memories of swimming until my fingers were prunes, or the excitement of getting up early for church on Sunday because "daddy" had to get there early, followed by big lunches at Po' Folks or Shoneys and lazy Sunday afternoons spent playing in the park or napping quietly indoors to escape the heat and humidity. But I don't want to. And I struggle with this more than I probably should.

Instead I'll tell you about a friend of my mom's whose name I can not remember but who had this beautiful, and huge, horse named Rio. Why can I remember the horse's name but not the woman's? Anyway. Like all little girls I loved horses. My mom shares this love to this day in fact. I had riding lessons and the whole nine yards. Somehow my mom managed to get me an invite to go up to the hills and ride this woman's fantastic horse. It was like flying. I think I can safely say that is the largest horse I have ever ridden, though I will allow for the fact that every thing seemed bigger when I was young. Even though I'm probably only like four inches taller now than I was then. Ha. Its funny what I can remember about that day (all but this poor woman's name!). It was slightly rainy and overcast, that kind of day where you kind of feel the rain sitting in the air? I was wearing jeans (shocking) and I remember being sore, that good kind of saddle sore, afterwards. I remember being shy and a little afraid to ride such a big horse but loving it once I was up in the saddle. I remember feeling tall (don't laugh) and I remember feeling that I was somehow more powerful through osmosis.

Which social cause is near and dear to your heart, and why?

Right now I'm spending a lot of time poking around over at the Courage Campaign. Though I have yet to host an event or anything, I do try and get the word out and help where I can because I believe in separation of church and state and I think that discrimination, for ANY reason, is wrong. In the past I have also volunteered with women's shelters and orphanages and I did a little dialing for dollars on the Obama campaign. Lets just say I'm a big fan of equality and will do pretty much anything in my power to ensure it. Sadly there isn't much IN my power to do which is SO frustrating!

*****

THE RULES: 1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” 2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. 3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post. 4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. 5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.