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


~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.


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?