Monday, October 25, 2010

Full Circle

Last week I sat in the car crying at the park across the street from the first apartment I lived in when I moved to Dallas. I met the Rockstar my first day of work. He had gotten promoted and I was hired to take his old job. We were the only younger people in the group at the time and I had just moved to town and didn’t know a soul. We worked a lot of late hours and became fast friends. He invited me out to meet his friends. In time they became my friends too. He took in my dog until I could find an apartment.

We spent a lot of time really talking about a lot of deep stuff. He was coming off a relationship where he was truly passionately deeply in love and they just couldn’t make it work. I was engaged. We told each other things that you might not tell someone you were dating. Things that usually only your oldest closest friends know. Things that nobody knows. We became inseparable. We had marathon Southpark viewing sessions in my apartment, we moved him out of an apartment in the middle of the night.

A few months in (over lunch at Chili’s) he looked at me and said that he didn’t want me to get married. He wanted us to be together. I knew that was what I wanted too. The next few weeks were the hardest of my life up to that point. I carried a lot of shame and guilt and sadness. I flaked on my friends and hid from everyone for awhile but I was truly crazy happy and sure of my decision.

It's twelve years later and I look back and I can't believe how much things changed. The fault lies with both of us. Things that have been said, things left unsaid.

The last few weeks now have the honor of being the hardest of my life. I don't remember a time when I felt this much raw emotion. There has been a lot of anger, but mostly I am profoundly sad. I am having a hard time imagining exactly what's ahead for me. We both have regrets, but I don't regret the life we created together. I mourn for the loss of so many things, but most especially I mourn the loss of my best friend and soulmate. I want nothing but the best for him, and I hope he finds it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine

Lots and lots of changes are going on at the casa de therefore I am.

After 12 years together, the Rockstar and I have decided to split up. It's been coming for a while, but it's not easy. Some days have been pretty miserable, other days I am doing ok. I would never trade the years and experiences we have had together. We will most likely sell the house and we have to work out an arrangement for the mutts. We have a lot of years worth of life to sort through.

While all of this was going on, Minnie had a run in with a bobcat or maybe a coyote. She broke her femur in several places. She has an orthopedic surgeon and has been under rabies quarantine. After the first surgery she broke some steel pins in her cast and had to go back in for a second surgery. I could have bought a used car with what we've paid the vet. But she should be ok, so that's all that matters.

As they say, change is inevitable, growth is optional. It's up to you to decide.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Friday!

There are always things to be happy about. This week:

neighbors bearing margaritas

catching up with old friends

summer rainstorms

sparkly pink cupcakes for the neighbor kid's 5th birthday

surviving another week of triathlon training

my two fabulous little dogs

Friday, June 25, 2010

Three birds with one seashell

I have had a very productive week in the 101 in 1001 Life List department! Maggie says that just the act of writing down your list is transformative, and she is right. Many of the goals on my list have been banging around the back of my mind for years. But having a list that I carry around with me and that I have told people about makes a difference. I look for ways to complete goals and check things off. I keep my eyes out for things to add. When I see something that others are doing that I want to try, I do.

So, with about three weeks of planning I hopped a plane to Belize all by myself! Just prior to leaving I scrambled around to get my open water certification so that I could knock number eight off the list. I randomly selected Belize after googling yoga retreats (and I never made it to a yoga class while I was there! Sorry number thirty-one!)

In the days leading up to the trip I was excited. The thought of a break from everything and some peace and quiet sounded awesome. No laundry, no cleaning, no conference calls. No one else to worry about and flying by the seat of my pants.

Just before I left, some things happened that made me have to rearrange and scramble some more. On the bad side, I never really finished making plans or doing research. On the good side, I got to spend some time with old friends. So by the time I left, I hadn't been thinking about my trip much at all.

I had a great time. I read a book, lounged in a hammock, by the pool and on the beach. I sailed, snorkeled, dove, and climbed some Mayan ruins. I ate, drank and took some naps. There were a few times I was a little lonely and wished that the Rockstar was there, and a couple times when I saw groups of girls laughing together that I missed my friends. But I enjoyed traveling alone. It's a different experience and it didn't allow me to fall into the same patterns that I would normally fall into when I travel. I took the time to watch and to talk to people. By the time I left, I knew a few of the locals by name and they knew me too.

Lots of people thought I was crazy, but I am very glad that I took the plunge out of my comfort zone.

So, I am marking complete:

Scuba Dive (8)
Go to the beach (16)
Take a trip by myself (17)

And partially complete:

travel to three countries I have never been to before (5)
leave my country once a year (7)
trying foods I have never tried before (61)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, have to get away!

Lately, I feel like I am somewhat close to a nervous breakdown. I am overworked, over stressed, and over extended.

But . . . things are looking up. Very soon I will be here:
doing this:
and definitely this:

I am excited about this trip. I am going to knock three things off my life list, and partially complete two more. I am going to the beach, going scuba diving, and taking a trip alone. It's kind of weird though - people feel sorry for me.

I have great friends, great family, a pretty nifty Rockstar, and four fabulous mutts. Any and all of them could come too. But the thought taking a trip alone to decompress is very exciting. I don't have to worry about feeding anyone but myself, laundry, scheduling or doing anything I don't want to do. I also have to rely on myself for all decisions. Tentative plans include sleeping, eating, sampling the local rum, scuba diving and/or snorkeling, yoga and reading. Maybe a trip to some Mayan ruins or caves if I am feeling particularly ambitious. If not, I will lounge on the beach or in a hammock. Yes, you can see how tragic it is that I will be traveling alone.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Move over Martha!

It was a relatively productive day here at the homestead. I brought home the bacon and fried it up in a pan!

I kicked some ass at work managing projects and people and managing not to yell too loudly at a particularly dimwitted individual.

I worked out at lunch, came home and did laundry, cleaned floors, washed dishes, brushed and walked a herd of dogs, played with the neighbor kids plus lots more stuff too.

Then . . . I picked some wild blueberries from the vines in the backyard and baked them into muffins! Whole wheat double berry muffins! That actually tasted pretty good even though they are kind of healthy!

Exhibit 1: Fresh Blackberries

Exhibit 2: Add some Blueberries

Exhibit 3: Sidetracked by a dog in a shirt

Exhibit 4: Muffin-tastic!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

There's a sucker born every minute

I am a sucker for a cute dog. So . . . when I was presented with a homeless dog last Saturday I eventually fell for it hook, line and sinker. I resisted. I told the group that I couldn't possibly take another dog. I lobbied hard to have another member of the group adopt her. A text and photo sent to the Rockstar confirmed that she looked like a miniature version of Deuce and that we should bring her home at least temporarily, and resistance proved futile.

She doesn't have a name yet, but she's such a sweetie she has already managed to worm her way into our hearts. (Except for Deuce - he's still pouting half the time.) Welcome to the family little dog. I know what kind of life we can give you and I am pretty sure it's a lot better than the one you came from. And with that, we are one step further down the road of the crazy dog people.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Does size really matter?

Dear Old Navy,

Thanks for the feel good marketing techniques, mostly.

I realize that the last few months have been filled with junk food and sugar and booze and not much time in the gym, but it was tough when I tried on my "nice" shorts this year and most of them didn't fit. I was sad and am resolved to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

But this is Texas, where temperatures have already hit 90 degrees, so I can't quite wait until my exercise and sensible eating plan reshapes me. Side note: Bring it on Jillian.

Under a little cloud, I headed to Old Navy for some cheap shorts to tide me over.

O.N., we have some things to discuss. This whole manipulating the sizes thing? I am not too sure about it. On one hand, it was good for my self esteem to find some new shorts that are the same size as the shorts that don't fit at home. On the other hand, it's a pain in the ass to take 74 sizes into the dressing room and truthfully, shouldn't I be aware that I need a bigger size? In the name of my health and well-being? And you aren't even consistent!

I am 5 foot 6 inches tall and hit puberty many (many) years ago. Let's be honest with each other, I should never ever need an extra small. But I found a nifty flouncy skirt on the clearance rack in exactly that size that fits great hanging next to a pair of XS shorts that I am quite sure I couldn't get one leg in. Mixed messages are not good things to send to women of any age.

Don't worry O.N., I am not giving up on you yet - you have a groovy dog mannequin.
(Size XS, S, M, 2, 4, 6, 8, and probably some 10s)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Stupid Co-Worker Files

It's been a rough few weeks at the black hole (aka my place of employment). Over the last few years we have RIFd a lot of good (and plenty of not so good people). Of course, there is no decrease in the amount of work that needs to be done, but we do the best that we can.

My normal week averages about 40 conference calls and at least 175 emails a day. On the bright side, there have been a lot of birthdays lately, so we get to eat a lot of cake.

Every once in a while I get to spend some time with a real winner.

The first email says that she is having problems uploading an excel file into the system. This isn't my first rodeo with this particular contestant, so I realize that it's bound to be user error. Sigh number 1. I respond with "Send me your file so I can try the upload" and quickly get a screen print of windows explorer with a list of files. Sigh number 2.

I patiently ask for the actual files, telling her that I can't access the files that are stored on her computer. She sends back a screen print of the file itself. Sigh number 3.

You know, I am really trying hard these days not be judgmental and/or critical of others, but how in the name of all that is holy do people like this manage to keep their jobs when good smart people get the boot?

Bright side? Cupcakes tomorrow at 2:30.

Bob Slydell: If you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Bob Slydell: Great.
Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door--that way Lumberg can't see me, heh--after that I sorta space out for an hour.
Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

Friday, April 30, 2010


It has been a long miserable week at work, but things are looking up.

1 - It's Friday

2 - I got a new bike!

3 - I can sleep in tomorrow

4 - Two new co-workers thought I was in my late 20's!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Friday - the weather is great, come on over edition

Things to be happy about this week:

the weather - 80's and sunny
driving with the top down (car, not shirt)
Shiner's 14th birthday
an abundance of flowers
checking something off the life list
Earth Day
the fact that I am about to go sip a margarita on a patio and enjoy the rest of the day

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ancient Chinese Secrets

A couple of weeks ago we got some very appropriate fortune cookies. The Rockstar got the one on top: "You are always welcome in any gathering. Host a party this month." We laughed because he had been talking about throwing himself a birthday party for a while. Message received, party held.

My cookie said "Need some adventure and enjoyment? Take a vacation." We laughed at this one too. I have been whining about a vacation for months. We were scheduled to take a very big trip last fall and the plans fell through for various reasons. It has been a bone of contention in our household. There are various other plans being discussed, but nothing set in stone. I find myself distracted a lot lately, and almost daily I find myself daydreaming about a trip. Different places, different people, sometimes with the Rockstar, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. One thing is for sure, I need to go somewhere some time soon.

Back in January I wrote about spending more time out doing and less time holding down the fort. I haven't spent much time out doing since then. Message received loud and clear.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dog Park Karma

A while back, I made a resolution to take the mutts to the dog park more often.

As far as dogs go, ours are pretty much living the dream. They have a nice supply of bones and high dollar dog food, get plenty of table scraps, are allowed on the furniture, get at least one walk each day, have a giant yard to run around in in Texas, miles of forrest trails to roam in Colorado, plenty of squirrels to chase and we only dress them up silly costumes every couple of years.
I tried to make an effort to socialize them early and often but in our neck of the woods, dogs aren't really welcome out and about. (Although that is slowly changing - yay!) A couple of years ago they built a new dog park not too far from our house aptly named Wiggly Field. It's a dog's paradise - trees, grass, a small pond, a bigger pond with a trail around it and lots of booties to smell.

Deuce and Dakota aren't always the most popular dogs in the park. They want to be part of the crowd, but they have spent too much together and play too rough for some of the dogs. I sometimes wonder if they watch Wild Kingdom when I am not at home to learn new moves. They don't play chase very well either. They are a little like kids in junior high - trying just a bit too hard to fit in.

Last fall I was trying not to be a helicopter parent - read: wasn't paying close enough attention - and Deuce ran over to a picnic table where a few older folks were sitting and hiked his leg and tried to pee on a lady. I was so embarrassed and apologized profusely before slinking away.

Last week, I was standing in the park watching them try to act like normal dogs when I felt something on my leg. I turned around quickly and there was a slobbery bulldog owned by an old guy who hiked his leg and peed on me.

Thanks Deuce - I guess I deserved it and I will take one for the team.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time is not on my side

Has is really been six weeks since I posted? Yeah, pretty much.

It's not like I haven't thought about it. Remember that scene in European Vacation? The one where they are trapped in the traffic circle and they just keep going around and around. Look kids, Big Ben, Parliment!

I find myself in the traffic circle of way too busy and chronic procrastination. When I am not in one boat I am in the other.

So, you ask, what have I been doing? Working, planting the garden, running a couple of half marathons and a full marathon, and heading to Jersey for the Rockstar's Dad's surprise birthday party. I also read some books, planted some flowers, walked some dogs and watched some TV. Pretty riveting stuff!

I am hoping to get back in the groove though, so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Buzzword Overkill

My work life has recently been unsatisfying.

There was the smallest bonuses in years (and by bonus, I mean "we are going to give you less base salary so we can give you a BOUNS! And then we will screw you on the bonus, so really . . . we got you both ways!). Next came meager raises and another round of RIFs looming in the not so distant future.

This joy was followed up by the influx of a new group to my cubicle area. Prior to this, one other lady and I were spoiled. We were the only two people in a large bank of cubes. It was our domain and we were happy damn it. I took one day off and a flock of people moved in and now surround me. My special favorite is the lady who verbalizes a stream of consciousness all day long. This is how I know that she hasn't ever started a 401K because saving for the future is dumb, is spending her meager bonus on granite counter tops for her trailer house, must poop on a specific schedule, and must have a smoke break every two hours. She also takes conference calls on a blasting speakerphone several times a day. No one is in there with her and she doesn't ever even speak. I know more about what their group does than she does I am quite sure.

Her friend has set up an audible message each time she gets an email - at least 40 times a day I hear "Mistress, you have mail." Sigh.

I haven't had to listen to them this week though, as I have been sequestered in a conference room with 15 of my new closest pals tasked with a high profile project of redesigning and merging some systems. After the first day filled with terms like agnostic platforms and bifurcated processes I wanted to cry. After the second day of quick wins, low hanging fruit, speed to market and client accessibility I was ready to put a bullet in my head. By day three, I was numb.

On the bright side . . . a nice lady wheeled in a cart of fresh baked cookies each afternoon. Makes it all worthwhile. I am living the dream.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm back!

Lately, I have been a whole lot of UNs: unmotivated, uninterested, uninspired, uncomfortable in my jeans.

DFW got 12 inches of snow on Thursday and Friday - a record amount. It was fabulous! I worked from home and played in the snow with the dogs. The Rockstar and I squandered the weekend herding the mutts through the slush and watching the Olympics with a few bottles of wine. Things are looking up around here!
I usually don't remember my dreams, but last night I had 3 distinct dreams that woke up remembering in detail. Two of them had a similar theme. In one, I was visiting a mental hospital, talking to the the patients. When I wasn't paying attention, the crazy folks stole my bag, and I started freaking out - mostly because it was full of stuff. Tons of stuff. Papers and books and a laptop and running shoes and dog bones and on and on. They just kept pulling stuff out of the bag and it was piled up everywhere. I was desperately trying to get it all back and under control, but the doctor wouldn't help me. He told me just to relax and it would all work out. Not so subtle huh?

The other dream had me on a plane. I was eavesdropping on some other passengers who were bad mouthing Thai food (huh?) and the flight attendant came by to pass out free samples of Mary Kay (again, huh?). I had my backpack open with piles of stuff all over the seats and the floor and the aisle. All of a sudden the plane landed and people started getting up and stomping all over my stuff before I could get it picked up. I was freaking out again trying to jam it all back in the bag.

Clutter is cluttering my subconscious.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday
Things that made me happy recently:

leaving work early to get a mani/pedi (complete with complementary boxed white wine)

seeing a guy in a suit running through a parking lot and jumping up to ride the shopping cart with his kids laughing hysterically

winning my fantasy football league! $500 and bragging rights!

an upcoming trip to see the Rockstar and the mutts

seeing the countries of the world unite to provide assistance to the people of Haiti
(maybe it's not fast enough, and maybe it's not perfect, but at the most basic level, people want the same things. they want to be happy, to be good people and to help others.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Out with the aughts, in with the tens

Normally, the new year jump-starts me. I make lists, I get invigorated. This year? Not so much. I am not sure what the problem is, but I just can't get motivated. (I can't even get my new years post out before mid month - yeesh!)

I have always been interested in many many things. As a kid my answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" changed at least every month. I come from a family of nerds and voracious readers, so I was never at a loss for subject material or projects. One year in elementary school I got the award for reading the most books over the summer.

As I got older, not much has changed. I still jump in and out of things pretty often. I am a certainly a dilettante. I have piles of half finished projects, unread or half-read books on a hundred different subjects. Sometimes it wears me out just thinking of all the things that I want to learn, try or experience before I leave this planet.

Therein lies part of the problem. I spend a lot more time thinking than I do doing.

Last March I made a list. I have a bad habit of losing interest in things quickly. My follow-through is not nearly as great as my start. I worked hard to come up a well rounded list that contained items that would be beneficial and fun and keep me interested and engaged. So in lieu of resolutions, I will continue to work on my list. I have been making progress, but it's hard to believe that 9 months have gone by.

So for 2010, my words are action and focus. I want to spend a lot more time out conquering and a lot less time holding down the fort. I need to focus on being present in each moment and making the most of every day. On making day-to-day life easier by reducing clutter and establishing some routines. I am not supposed to spend all my time and energy tending my stuff, so I won't. 2010 . . . here I come!

By the way . . . what do we call this decade? The tens? The teens? The tweens?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And on the eighth day . . .

Growing up in Texas, you really can't help being a football fan. It is unavoidable. It doesn't matter who - high school, college, pro. Hell, they even managed to sell out arena football games in this state!

The Dallas Cowboys were the team of choice in our household. I can remember learning the details of football from my Dad during the glory years of the late seventies and early eighties. Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Ed Too-Tall Jones (recently spotted on a Geico commercial), way too many of my childhood photos wearing my favorite t-shirt: And on the eighth day, God created the Dallas Cowboys. (Hello parents? Didn't you hear of laundry day? Or maybe a haircut that didn't involve a bowl?)

Growing up, I was told I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. I believed it. So I wanted to be a pilot, a doctor and a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. A woman can have it all, right?

The cowboys enjoyed another high period during my college years. Good times all around. Then, it all went wrong. For a long time. We went through coaches faster than most people go through socks, had quarterbacks old enough to be my grandpa, our owner had more plastic surgery than Joan Rivers, and we had this:

But finally, after 13 LONG years, the ship has been righted, at least for today. We finally have a playoff win! Now, this may mess up my vacation plans, but . . . . Go Cowboys!