Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Faith in the Rabbi

Today I was reading through the New York Times and I ended up reading an article (opinion/editorial style) called "What the Rabbi Said".

I'm not sure what made me read it. There wasn't anything special about the photo or one sentence tag line.

Amy, the author, goes through a "OH SHIT! I'm almost 40" crisis when it comes to her being unmarried. When she talks about being unmarried later on she does comment regarding the types of men she dates not being the type she'd want to settle down with.

Perhaps her clarity of mind isn't so much that she's 40 but that she's dating the same types of men over and over and she's ready for something different in her life.

She then takes a step out of her comfort zone (or perhaps you could say a leap of faith) and seeks the help of a rabbi in Israel.

Doesn't a renewal or exploration of faith sometimes go hand-in-hand with those moments in life that make you reevaluate your life? 

She struggles with having, perhaps, put too much faith into the rabbi's prediction and prayer. Being sadden and disappointed when Chanukah comes and go and her "husband" hasn't appeared as the rabbi said. 

Then, we she least expected it...when she wasn't "on the hunt"...she meets someone. They aren't married but she's happy. Happy with her choices. 

She closes the story by saying, "I wonder if it will be because the rabbi predicted it, or because the rabbi’s prediction caused me to make it so."
*     *     *

Maybe it's because I have people getting married and having babies all around me...

...Maybe it's because I have the "when are you having children?"
question from friends and family ringing in my ears...

...Maybe it's because I've found someone I can see spending my life with... 

...Maybe it's simply because deep down I'm an old fashioned romantic
who wants a happily-ever-after ending... 

I'm not sure what made me read it but in the end I loved the story and the message.

I've always been torn between believing in fate and knowing I create my own destiny. Perhaps the two aren't completely separate. I'd like to believe there's something greater than us out there. Something guiding us and bringing us together with positive people and kindred spirits.

Whether it's believing in the rabbi or believing in yourself. Having confidence and knowing deep down we/you/I deserve happiness is what brings forth the positive changes in our lives...but I suppose a little faith in the rabbi won't hurt either.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inappropriateness and Tactlessness

So yesterday I'm sitting at my desk in our office suite (I don't have my own office, I sit in the front room of our office suite behind the student worker desk) working on the multitude of projects I have going - mostly for the New Student Orientation happening in two weeks - when my boss comes out of her office and sits down across from me. She starts by telling me about a meeting she has later that afternoon and that one of the agenda items might change the order/process of Fall Orientation (luckily I'm working on Winter and it wouldn't effect my current projects).

She then shifts some and starts saying something about how she has something else she wants me to know about but that I should understand she heard it third-fourth hand, that she had been thinking about how best to approach me, etc etc etc....dancing around the topic and making me nervous.

"Okay" I say - expecting something along the lines of budget cuts and me loosing my raise (or worse my job)

Apparently she heard third hand that a student, with whom I am supposed to work very closely with, went to my boss's boss's boss (aka the PRESIDENT of the College) to say she can't work with me. Now I don't know the tone. I don't know the reason. What I do know is that apparently without me looking I've created an enemy at my new job. I know that I have upset this person so much that she says she can't work with me. I know that the President needs a lesson in Human Resources 101 and to learn that when you are dealing with a personnel matter of this kind you don't go burst into someone's office, where they are in the middle of a meeting with other departments, to tell my boss's boss this tidbit of information.

Yes that's right. The way my boss found out was this:
Student meets with President.
President intrudes and "discloses" this information to the Provost
(with 2 other department heads in the office)
One of these Department Heads then tells my boss.
Who then tells me.

I don't know which to be more upset about. That this student has such a chip on her shoulder that she's decided she can't (and/or won't) work with me.

I don't expect everyone to love me. Hell, I don't expect everyone to like me. 
HOWEVER, I do expect people to be professional and deal with it.

Or does it bother me more that the President has so little tact that he thinks this is the appropriate means to which share this information.

My boss says she wants to have a meeting with the President about everything that's going on (details here aren't important) and how he's encouraging and unknowingly increasing the drama.  But he's currently on vacation meaning this conversation isn't going to happen for a few weeks.

We'll see what happens I suppose.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Coin toss + Vodka Dress = Lobster Red

Normally when going around a game of "truth or dare" or even some (lame) team building activity when you're supposed to tell your "Most Embarrassing Moment" I come up with nothing. I draw a blank. No childhood traumatic event. No dress tucked into my pantyhose. Nothing.

Well after tonight....THAT ALL HAS CHANGED!

Before I continue let me remind you of the following:
1. I've only been at this school for 5 months
2. This was the company holiday party of 80+ people (most of whom I hadn't met until this evening).

So the party is going along just fine. I've managed to find something to eat and have visited the bar 3 times. I'm at a table with some people from my office suite and some people I'm only slightly familiar with. Things are going well. I'm comfortable. I'm laughing and having a good time and comes Jeopardy.

(Once you keep reading you'll see why I feel the game chosen was slightly ironic)

So the Advancement Department (i.e. $$) has put together a game of Jeopardy. Two teams of five and someone on the winning team could win a WEEK IN CABO SAN LUCAS!!!

My name gets called to be "Team Captain" of the white team (white vs red)! Okay. I never win anything but hey, who knows...maybe this time? So they finish picking teams (names drawn out of a hat style) and they ask for the team captains to come up to the front to flip a coin - seeing which team gets to go first.

And when I say "to the front" I mean at the front of this giant ballroom, all people's eyes on the impending coin-toss....remember 80+ people....

"Ladies first"
*flip coin*

...where did the coin go?

Can you guess?


At first no one knew what happened. The MC (president of the school), the coin-flipper (member of Advancement Dept) and the Red Team Captain are all looking around on the floor for the coin. The audience starts murmuring and wondering why they aren't announcing if it was heads or tails. I make eye contact with the coin-tosser and tell him he's not getting his coin back. That's when EVERYONE realized what had happened and where the coin had "disappeared" to.

So of course, in case anyone missed that my breasts had been turned into a coin machine, the President of the school says into the microphone "I think we're going to need another coin"!

I'm sure I turned as red as a lobster! I've never blushed so hard in my life. As they're turned to the audience to find another coin I turn my back to the crowd (unfortunately this puts me boobs to face with my boss and her husband - both of whom were on my team) and fish out the coin. If it had landed directly in my bra - I might have left it there. But it landed between the outside of my bra and my dress. So I knew if I left it there it would eventually fall out the bottom of my dress. I'd rather fish it out then look like I shit out a coin while walking across the dance floor.

Although really. In the end I should have known...

When the girls are out - everything is in jeopardy of being "eaten" by my cleavage.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recluse vs Reserved

Tomorrow night is the company holiday party at a local ballroom. 

I've been part of the planning since the beginning: location, food, theme, how the proceeds of the auction will be spent, etc. I've helped with it all and yet, I'm dreading the event. 

Crowds of up near 90 people swigging down cheep keg beer and $6 bottles of wine. Standing around shumoosing with people I'm sure only 1/2 the time remember my name or that I'm a staff member (and not a student). Forcing myself to choke down under-salted hor d'oeuvres and dry entries. Watching the clock tick tick tick and wondering how early is too early to slip out the door and call a cab home. I dread large social interactions. 

I wouldn't call myself a wall flower. I don't find a dark corner and try to blend in with the surrounding decorations. I plaster a smile on my face and try to chit-chat. 

But the results are always the same. 

Me standing a half-step back from a circle of people who have known one another for years and who go out together for happy hour every Friday night. They're standing around talking about people or things upon which I have no interest or knowledge. Something might be said in my direction and I'll respond with something (I think) is witty only to be face to face with blank and confused stares. I'll awkwardly smile and sip my drink as they turn back to one another and that will be my cue to slip away and return to an empty table where I'll pretend to be in the middle of an intense and involved texting conversation. 

It's not that I don't like people. 
It's not that I don't enjoy going out for drinks and dancing. 

There's just something about a large (forced) social situation where I'm expected to put myself out there - expose myself as it were - to strangers and enjoy myself. 

I like my coworkers (we're planning on a small holiday lunch/dinner just the five of us), they're funny and inviting but I also know that I can't expect to attach myself to them like some Holiday Barnacle. 

My mother is worried that my current living situation (in a house with her and my younger sister) isn't good for me....that it's turning me into a hermit. 

GREAT! Somehow moving to Portland has turned me into a socially awkward recluse that lives at home with Momma. How the hell did my life get so bad that my mother now pities me?

I don't think I'm a hermit. I don't avoid any contact with the outside world. If I did I'd work from home, have groceries delivered, shop only via ebay or infomercials and not have any friends.

No, I'm not a hermit. I'm just shy. I've spent so many years building protective walls around me, trying not to get hurt, that now I can't escape them. I'm a Rapunzel who cut her hair before Prince Charming could even find her. (And no, I'm not saying I'm expecting a man to "fix" it all. Here Prince=Social Life)
The real "funny" thing is I'm sure some friend will read this and be surprised. Around people I know and trust enough to let in I'm anything but shy. I'm loud, bubbly, always full of smiles and not afraid to speak my mind. 

I don't know how these two parts of me manage to coexist inside me? 

There are days when it's more of a battle or war zone inside than a duality of peaceful coexistence. The struggle of wanting to go out into the world and the need to curl up in my bed with a security blanket and hide. 

It's a struggle I fight every weekend and am sure will continue for many years. So please if you invite me out on a Friday night and I cancel on you. Please don't take it personal. It might just be that the war is raging inside.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Bah! Humbug!"

The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving seems but a distant memory and Christmas is fast approaching (even faster it seems since I also celebrate Yule) and then before we know it 2010 will be just a memory. 

I can't remember the last year though that I felt in the "Holiday Spirit".

I'm not expecting a Norman Rockwell Christmas but for many years now I feel more and more like an Ebenezer. Thanksgiving just means sitting around with people I don't know at someone's house making small talk and pretending I'm enjoying the over salted stuffing and dried out turkey. Christmas means dealing with cats eating tinsel and finding gifts for people I know will probably end up in their local Good Will. New Years is just another night of going to bed late and then forcing myself to remember to write "2011" and not "2010" on bills and paperwork.

I try every year to make things different. To find my inner Rockwell....but then something happens and my holidays turn more into A Christmas Story (sans the Chinese Dinner for Christmas Dinner...we do that at Easter).

The "bah humbug" feeling started when I was 8 - all in one holiday season (a few days before Christmas) I found out that Santa, the Tooth-fairy & the Easter bunny didn't exist AND then I learned I was going to be a child of a "broken home"...my parents were getting divorced. The day after Christmas my mother, 6 month old sister and I packed up our belongings and moved out so my soon-to-be stepmother could move in. 

My high school sweetheart romance ended during the holiday season - a 2 year relationship coming to a close because he'd fallen in love with his best friend.

There was the Thanksgiving season of 2004 when my grandmother, who I had lived with since my parent's divorce, who had been increasingly ill passed away. We buried her the day before Thanksgiving. As a family we combined our strength and still got together that year - all the aunts, uncles and cousins gathered together to eat her recipes and comfort one another. 

Last year was the first holiday season without the large family gathering that I'm accustomed too - being only a few months after moving to a new state.

This year is the second holiday season without my special-someone and now we're half way around the world from one another so that we aren't even going to be celebrating the holidays on the same days.

Anyway...this isn't meant to be a pity party.
This isn't a "I hate the Holidays" blog.
This is a "How can I get into the Holiday Spirit" blog entry.... 
So how shake off the Ebenezer and put on the Kriss Kringle cap?

Browsing the web I came across University of Maryland Medical Center's website has tips on how to "Beat the Holiday Blues" - their tips were:

- Delegate: Try not to do it all yourself. Easier said than done. I'm kind of a control freak (*shush* no comments from the peanut gallery please). When I'm cooking - Get out of my kitchen! When I'm putting away groceries - Get out of my kitchen! (do you see a theme?) I do try though. But really I was raised to believe it's just better do it yourself because you know it'll be done the way you want it. 

- Spend Some Time Alone: Take a breather. Find a quiet space to relax and charge. Oh don't worry! When it comes to alone time I do the best I can (hard when you live in a teeny-tiny condo with three other people but I try). I have to say that's one thing I miss from living in the Bay Area of CA. I lived in a part of town that I could just walk outdoors and go somewhere. Yes, I live in a large city but on the outskirts where getting anywhere takes an hour. But like I said I do what I can. 

- Let Go of the Past: Life brings changes. Don't dwell on the past. Again it's something I try to do. I know that change happens and usually (in the end) it's for the best. Even though the beginning of this blog talked about past holidays and the events that made them not the best...I go into each holiday season hoping for the best. Adding a new cookie to the list of Christmas cookies (baking makes me happy), putting the decorations up a little early, going to season celebrations, etc. Looking forward to the new year and the new opportunities that might come with it. 

-Don't Drink too Much.  Not too worry. Yes I can toss them back every once and a while but when I'm down I stay away from the alcohol.  Don't want to be telling Great Aunt Stella how her orange lipstick makes her look like a $2 hooker. 

-Give Yourself a Break: Don't think in Absolute terms. There's nothing I hate more than absolutes. "You never", "you always", etc but I know we all tend to do this sometimes. "I'm not a good artist" or "I can't cook" can bring down our own self esteem without even realizing it.  And I've worked hard over the years to stop and be a bit easier on myself. 

Now while I respect the medical profession none of these are sparking a "OH YEA!!" type feeling inside. I don't expect to go home tonight and jump up and down that I only have two weeks until the holidays are right on top of me. 

I will try. 

I will continue to walk with my head held high when walking through downtown looking at all the window displays. I'll continue to bake bake bake. I'll go to the Pittock Mansion this weekend and admire the antique designs. I'll visit the Oakland zoo's Zoolights. And appreciate the special time I have with my family. 

Hopefully somewhere in all of this the Scrooge inside of me will wake up and embrace the Christmas Cheer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

PostSecret Therapy.

If you don't know about PostSecret you need to learn. 

Some are funny. 
Some are sad. 
Some are just f**ked up. 
Some just leave you speechless. 

And then there are the few you either connect with - or once did in a "past' life.....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where you come from.

The holidays are on top of us.

Thanksgiving is only five days away, the Christmas sales have already begun and before we know it - in a blink of an eye - 2010 will be over and the New Year will start.

During this time of year, between the hussle and bussle of shopping and cookie, I try to pause and remember the family and friends who I won't be sharing it with.

Whether my grandparents who have crossed over.
Or my friends who are just scattered from one side of the world to the next.

I try to keep them in mind and forever close to my heart.

This blog may be a way for me to figure out who I am now - as a 20-something quickly reaching her 30s.

But who I am now is a reflection of where I came from. My family and our history. The love we share.

So this blog - I'm going to share a tiny piece of them with you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness

"Thanksgiving" is a twisted and misrepresented holiday but the intentions are good.

If we ignore the exploitation and disruption the Pilgrims and other European settlers caused to this country and its native people....if we look past the habits of Americans to use this one day as an excuse to gorge and over-indulge in food for the next five weeks...if we pretend that Thanksgiving isn't equivalent to waking up early the next day just to stand in line for a $3 television or kitchen knife set for a quarter....

If we just look at the heart and soul behind the holiday it really isn't so bad.

Being with friends and family.
Celebrating the things in life we've been blessed with.

These things shouldn't happen one day a year.

*     *     *

I'm not sure if this is a new phenomenon that is happening this year or if this is just the first year it's been in my direct line of sight. But on November 1st a FB friend of mine started posting her 30 Days of Thankfulness and I loved the idea so I'd been updating my FB account with my 30 Days of Thankfulness. Then today another friend mentioned how much she loved the idea too and asked if I was going to put them on my blog...why hadn't I thought of that?!

So for the month of November I'm participating in 30 Days of Thankfulness (and will update this blog regularly)

Day 1: Thankful that I have a large wonderful family that even when life gets rough, emotions get high or feelings get hurt - is always there for one another.  

Day 2: I'm thankful for having such amazing friends. Friends that are often times more like family. It doesn't matter how far apart we are or how long it's been since we've talked. They're always there for me when I need them.  

Day 3: I'm thankful to have a good job. One that allows me to have a roof over my head, food in my stomach and the security to take a mental health day when needed. 

Day 4: I'm thankful for a job that let's me geek out on Google Docs, Survey Monkey and facebook.

Day 5: Thankful I work around a bunch of Doctors so when a student cuts off part of her pinky we have folks who'll sew her right up!

Day 6: I am thankful that Mom pays attention to details so she noticed that Walmart put her tires on wrong and we were able to have it fixed before we left.

Day 7: I am thankful for that extra hour of sleep that came with the end of Daylight Savings - even if my cats don't understand the time change and still woke me up at 6:30AM to feed them.

Day 8: Again thankful for the end of Daylight Savings - if only for the reason that now I don't stand in a pawnshop parking lot in the DARK waiting for the bus.

Day 9: Today I'm thankful for modern medicine and technology to be there for friends/family/loved ones.

Day 10: Today I'm thankful for the Marine Corps. Happy 235th Birthday!!

Day 11: Today I extend my thanks to the men and women (past, present and future) who serve in our Military. I am proud to have had so many of you in my family - Jeff, David, Jack, Brian, Joe, Tim, Ron.  

Day 12: I'm thankful for a supportive staff and supervisor. Work has it's ups and downs but in the end having support makes it less bumpy.  

Day 13: I'm thankful for the chance to go have a girls day with my mom and sister today. Breakfast and Holiday shopping here we come! :)  

Day 14: Today I'm thankful for graham crackers, butter, milk, cinnamon, sugar and sweet potatoes...all of which I am going to buy today for my Southern Sweet Potato Pie.  

Day 15: Today I am UNBELIEVABLY thankful that my uber-stressful meeting that I thought was this morning isn't until Friday! Hot Damn!  

Day 16: Today I give thanks for having a supportive and positive relationship with my mother. I know I am very lucky. Love you Mom!

Day 17: I'm thankful for this NY Times slide-show. Talk about some yummy pies. I have a few ideas for new Thanksgiving pies.

Day 18: Today I'm thankful for a family that indulges me and will go see Harry Potter with me. :) 

Day 19: With a major meeting happening in 17 minutes it was a nice little mood-booster to be told I looked "just adorable" today. :)  

Day 20: Thankful for my down blanket that kept me in bed until 10am. 

Day 21: Thankful that Multnomah County Library hosted Tears of Joy Theatre today at the Holgate branch. Cute puppet rendition of "Raven Steals the Sun" 

Day 22: Today I give thanks for the warm roof over my head and warm clothes on my back. Remember as we complain about the cold/rain/snow that there are people in our very towns who don't have the luxuries we do to come in out of that cold. 

Day 23: I wish I could say I was thankful for my "No-Slip" pads on the bottom of my boots, but since they failed me and I fell anyway I'll give thanks for my striped black & white Jack Skellington socks which are keeping my toes warm.

Day 24: Today I'm thankful for my staff. Different personalities, different walks of life, and yet we spend our mornings together, drinking hot chocolate, complaining about our children/partners and are able to do it jokingly and not make anyone uncomfortable.

Day 25: Today I'm thankful for my cousin Katrynna being such an amazing person and being in our lives. Happy Birthday sweetheart!

Day 26: Today I'm thankful I'm not going out to any Black Friday sales but am going to get to see Chelsea and Scott this afternoon.


Day 27: I'm thankful for FINALLY getting to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this morning!!! 

Day 28: Thankful for the real-live winter gauge-o-meter squirrels. Their fatness must be a sign of a cold harsh winter. Thanks for the heads up guys!

Day 29: I'm thankful to have had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with my family.

Day 30 of 30 Days of Thankfulness. So much pressure. What to end this on? I want to make it good, and not corny like "I'm thankful I don't have to think of what I'm thankful anymore"....okay. Let me think about this.......................................

Day 30: Today I give thanks for all of you - family and friends (new and old). You are there to support me in life's ups and downs. Please know I draw strength from your love.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Danger: Expectations

So I thought I'd go a bit more light-hearted this time around.

A few months ago I was tagged in an online game of sorts where you read through these "25 ways to tell you've grown up", mark or count how many apply to you and then pass it along. Normally I just delete and never think of these modern chain-letters but once and a while I go ahead and play along. 

This was one. 

1. Your houseplants are alive (and you can't smoke any of them). True.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question. Sex in a twin is never out of the question it's just the curling up side-by-side that doesn't work anymore.

3. You keep more food than beer in your fridge. True. And I'm not in the least sorry about it.

4. 6:00AM is when you get up, NOT go to bed. I can't remember the last time I went to bed at 6:00AM...heck I can't remember the last time I went to bed after midnight. 

5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator. I haven't had this happen yet. However, I have been experiencing friends' band being played everywhere from in a movie theater JC Penny commercial, Ross store and on the radio. Oh Hockey, I'm so happy for you guys!

6. You watch the weather channel. Um. NO. Aside from the fact I don't have cable and can't watch the weather channel anyway but even if I could I wouldn't.

7. Your friends marry and divorce not "hook up" and "break up" There's still the occasional "hook up" and "break up" but there's a large chunk that are getting married and (unfortunately) divorced

8. You go from 130 days of vacation to 14. Now I don't think this one is fair. Yes it's true I have gone from having summers off to counting and treasuring every single last vacation day I'm given...but what about teachers? They still get summers off - does that mean they aren't "grown up"...unfair point.

9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up" I'm torn on this one. Here in Portland jeans and a sweater are often times considered "dressed up" clothes but for me they're casual. It depends on the environment, situation and who you're with. But I guess over all I'd have to say this one is true.

10. You're the one calling the police because those #%!$ kids next door won't turn down the stereo. Not true. I'm more concerned about the little buggers stealing things off my back porch! hahaha

11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you. Regrettably true...but then my family has always been very open about sex and this has been true for a while now.

12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore. One of my best friends pointed out that we NEVER knew what time Taco Bell closed so really this is moot.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up. N/A - I use public transit.

14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers. I never fed my animals people food. But yes, I do now feed them more expensive allergy friendly food.

15. Sleeping on the couch hurts your back. Yes. But I still do it.

16. You take naps. I'm totally not ashamed of this one! Heck yea I nap!

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date not just the start of it. Sometimes. But it doesn't have to be. Depends on what time the movie and dinner is at. A matinee showing - better just be the beginning of the date. A midnight showing - better believe you're taking me home afterwords....remember 6AM wake up.

18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3AM would severely upset, not settle, your stomach. Who eats a basket of chicken wings to settle their stomach? Oh my gosh my stomach is hurting just thinking about it.

19. You go to the drug store of ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests. Okay while I haven't needed to buy condoms and/or pregnancy tests in a while doesn't mean that it won't or can't still happen. So I'm giving this a "not true"

20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "good shit" Maybe I'm a snob but I've never thought of 2 buck chuck as 'good'. Yes we drank jugs of wine in college but that was because we were poor college students not because we thought of it as good. 
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time. Not true - completely. Actually I tend to eat breakfast more at night for dinner than I do actually at breakfast time. But living in such a foodie town (and one that loves their breakfast/brunch restaurants) I've been eating breakfast at breakfast time more than normal. As I talk about in my other blog serving breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon) can make or break a place for me.

22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again." True. But not regrettable. My poor body. When I think of the way it used to be abused. I'm surprised we're still on speaking terms.

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of the computer is used for REAL work. 90% seems high but definitely the majority of the time.

24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar. Nope. But I do make sure to find super cheap happy hours! :)

25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them not ask "What the hell happened?" Depends on the person.

So of the 25 "signs" I had 11 that I would say are "true"...7 I would say are "not true" and 6 that were somewhere in between. So I guess I'm not fully "grown up" just yet but am on my way...?

In today's world people are just so obsessed with life markers and goals one is to accomplish before a certain date, a certain time, a certain age. 

Why should I compare my life "successes" based off of other people's lives? Other people's goals and expectations. Maybe I want to finish a bucket of chicken wings with a bottle of $4 wine after I remember that Taco Bell is closed and then go to bed at 6AM on the couch....it's my choice and my life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater

I'm sure everyone at some point in their lives has been "the baby" - meaning the youngest....

...the youngest of their generation...
...the youngest in their circle of friends...
...the youngest kid at the family table...
 ...and as often in my case - the youngest in my office (job/career/field/etc). 

We all have to start somewhere though right? We all have to be young and "junior level" for a while. Slowly, the age gap closes. People retire and the next group of Junior-Leaguers graduate and join the work field.

These are things I recognize... 

However, somehow with each new position, with each new job and school....I forever remain the youngest.

I admit this is partially my own doing. The moving around....the changing jobs.

Although this doesn't explain/excuse the responses/attitudes I have faced. I'll give you two examples of at-work situations where my age played a factor.

*     *     *

The first happened when I was working my first "real job" after college. My staff was sitting around discussing the challenges we were going to face with the incoming class of millennial students and their helicopter parents. The way conversations often do, the topic changed from our Generation Y students to the favorite music, TV shows and movies of my coworkers youth. It's been years and I can't remember what the pop-culture reference was, but when I was honest about my lack-of-reference the next (perhaps obvious question to everyone but myself) was: 

Coworker: "How old are you?"
Myself: "22"
Dean of Students: "Aw. You're such a baby."

Now, I understand this was not meant as an insult or to say I was somehow inferior...but when adjusting to a new environment, a new staff, a new life outside of college...the last thing you want to be told is "You're such a baby." At this point in my career I had already been involved with alcohol poisonings, attempted suicide, a psychological break down and a sexual assault of my students.

*     *     *
A more recent occurrence happened in my current job. Again I had only been in the position a few weeks, and was attending one of those "because it's good politics" type office parties (someone I had never met was getting married and his department was throwing a "congrats" party). Everyone was sitting around eating and having a good time. Many folks teasing the groom-to-be and giving advice on marriage. A woman, whose name I didn't even know or what department she worked in, turned to me and asked:

Woman "Are you married?
I simply responded "Nope." with a smile.
She then followed up with "How old are you?"
Me: "27"
Woman: "Uh! So young!"

Now normally, if I were going through one of my oh-my-gosh-I-feel-old moments I may have found this flattering. However, as a first impression and in front of a large group of new peers this was far from a compliment.

*     *     *

My mother always says "It's not the age - it's the mileage" and I have to agree. At 27 years old I feel far from a baby. Yes, there are many "life experiences" I haven't experienced but don't assume I haven't just because of my age.

So I didn't know a pop-culture reference from the early 80s! I'm lucky I know pop-culture references from the here-and-now!

And I know plenty of people who are married (and/or divorced) by 27 years old.

So next time you make an assumption based on someone's age just remember...
It's only a number.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Night Stands and $3 Pitchers

A friend, and fellow blogger, recently asked for friends to email their blogs to him so he could develop and build his own blog following. That got me to start just scanning through other blogs/websites. I found some of beautiful photography, creating and changing the art world, and even discovering that a friend's blog (that I have obviously neglected for some time) has changed url addresses. 

There were also some unfortunate missteps....

Including a well disguised one called "25 things to do before you turn 25". 

Now at first when I saw the title I thought, "well I'm over 25 so let's see how well I did"

I started to read... 

"Your college experience flies by so fast that you’re often stuck standing in line for graduation wondering where the past four years went...." 

Very true; and now five-six years after I graduated college I still wonder where the years flew away to...then sentence two and three came along.... 

"You vaguely remember meeting your best friend when she held your hair back after your first frat party and you kinda remember that all-nighter you pulled to get 3 term papers done in one night. But the rest is a blur of theme parties, walks of shame, and begging your older sister for her fake ID."

Now there's nothing wrong if you met your best friend over a toilet, asked your sister/brother for their fake ID and who of us didn't have a night or two of cramming as many papers and studying in as we could. 

But I worried. 

Was this website going to do nothing but encourage the image that the purpose of "going to college" is to be as obnoxious, self-indulgent and vapid as you can before "growing up" and becoming a real adult...

"Before you know it, you’re out in the real world, working a real job alongside real people, wondering what happened to no-class Friday and $3 pitchers. And trust me, it ain’t fun.... I’ve put together the ultimate list of everything we, as fun-loving and fearless women, need to accomplish before we turn 25."

I consider myself a fairly "fun-loving and fearless" woman, and while there were a few on this list (which by the way was written by a STAFF of people) that I thought made sense (#5 Confront a fear, #16 Go 24 hours media free...) they weren't all necessarily as enlightened or something I feel 20-Something women should inspire to do.

#1 "Have a really good one night stand"...not just in general but "with a gorgeous guy". They proceed to inform you don't need to worry about any kind of connection other than physical, that you can just take the morning after pill, you won't ever need to contact him again, etc. OMG!! In a world still battling HIV/AIDS (not to mention other STDs and STIs) how can a website promote anonymous, unsafe sex?

#7 "Splurge on an awesome pair of jeans" How is this something to make sure you accomplish before turning 25 years old? I'm sorry you will never see me buying a $100plus pair of jeans. I don't care if they are magical and fit all different sized bffs.

#13 "Try an exotic food you can't pronounce" Now some folks may say I'm just starting to nit-pick now. After all the website is encouraging people to try new food/things right? Well how about learning how to pronounce the food? Or while you're out living in another country (#3) you..oh I don't know...learn the language so you can pronounce that "exotic" food. 

#17 "Skinny dip"...that's it, no explanation or reason, just "skinny dip".... Now my objection to the term SKINNY dip aside (I prefer nude swimming) couldn't they have said 'Go skinny dipping because it will help feel more comfortable with your body. Allow yourself to be happy with who you are.' No. Because after all that would be helpful.

Some just didn't make sense as to why they should be done BEFORE turning 25.... "Take your parents out to a nice dinner: because they deserve it", "Donate blood", "Learn to drive a manual", "Road trip with your friends", "See a Broadway Show", "Get a job working with food or clothes", "Be bold and have sex with the lights on"...

I don't object to all of these things. 

What I object to is applauding a superficial life of irresponsibility. 

With a media-world full of news articles like "What Is It About 20-Somethings?" spouting off that we don't want to accept responsibility and are on a perpetual Peter-Pan syndrome ride of living in Mom's basement and not wanting to grow up; and with tv shows like Jersey Shore, Real Housewives and Keeping Up with the Kardashians encouraging and promoting materialistic non-consequential lives....we 20-something need to realize that real-life is not a reality show and these 25 things to do in life aren't all there is out there. 

How about adding life goals like learning a language not because you have to but because you love the way the words sound...create weekly/monthly dinner parties to share in life's joys with friends/family...start a new hobby...find a job that you look forward to going to every day...rescue a dog/cat from a shelter...fall in love...fall in love again...

These are the things I want to accomplish in my life. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something that Sparkles (for him).

I thought we'd continue the "Sparkle" theme from my last blog and discuss mangagement rings. 

Not "management" but "man-gagement".

(And no, I'm not writing or reading or discussing this because I'm in the market. I stumbled across an article about this a few weeks back and just found it intriguing).

So now, with that out of the way, I think the name is corny as all get out! 

The term "engagement" is not gender specific so why the marketers of this movement felt it necessary to gender-ize it I won't ever know. 

I must be honest though. I am torn in my thoughts of this concept. The anti-consumerist in me believes it's just another marketing ploy by the jewelry companies trying to entice us into putting  more money into the economy by giving "mangagement" rings. 

Then there is the hopeless romantic in me that believes everyone should have the right to wear a visual (and sparkly) symbol of their love...and the hopeless romantic is arm-in-arm with my feminist side that believes it's equal for both partners to wear a ring (even if the tradition is a tad archaic in its origins). And I don't care if the couple is girl-boy, girl-girl, boy-boy...the proposer and the proposed should both get the chance to wear something shiny.

Being torn between the idea (despite the name) being a marketing gimmick and a romantic idea I thought I'd ask my (married/partnered) friends what they thought. I posted a note on FB called "To Bling or Not to Bling?" 

I wanted to know if they had heard of "mangagement" rings? 

After the proposal did one or both of them wear an engagement ring? 

Was the engagement ring it a simple band or did it have bling? 

Did either of their wedding bands have diamonds (or other stones) in it
or were they just simple bands? 

I wanted to know what they thought of the idea of a "mangagement" ring and if it was a symbol of equality between a couple or simply a money making promotion?

I was overwhelmed by the responses (not only from people I had tagged in the note but also from others who were curious and decided to read). 

A large number of them had not heard of this (supposed) new phenomenon (Google "mangagement" and you'll be given over 300,000 websites...there's even a blog here on blogspot that is strictly about the "mangagement" ring) but some had. 

One friend used the same ring she was given as an engagement ring as her wedding ring. Another female friend proposed to her husband, complete with ring. There were some who thought it was a wonderful idea, or that it only made sense because after all both people are engaged and after all both people wear a wedding ring. Then there were some who said that of course it was a marketing ploy, that they (or one of them) doesn't have a wedding band even, and then some who feel the blurring of gender lines is being taken too far.

In the end though most people can agree that it's up to the couple to decide; much like what the wedding bands will look like or to have a promise ring first. I don't think I'll be visiting my local Tiffany & Co anytime soon but if my sweetie wants one I'll be more than happy to bring home a little blue box. As one friend said "Vive la honesty and self-expression!"