Friday, July 30, 2010

Road Rash..I'm on the IR

Damn it!  I was so excited to finish work early and got on a two-hour rollerblade work out, with a 30-minute stop lakeside.  I mean I was really ready to put in 10 miles.  And now, I'm on the IR.

Everything was going great.  I felt great.  Had my cute workout outfit on, it's cloudy and about 75 degrees.  Perfect!  I was taking my regular route (note to the City of Chicago: exactly how long does it take you to fucking tear up a street and repave it?  Apparently more than three weeks) and I inched myself carefully across a half torn up street and cruised downhill towards the lakefront.  Now, I don't normally take the South side of the street all the way down but the North side, near Lake Shore Drive, gets a little dicey - Hey Chicago!  Fix the fucking sidewalks! Nothing ever gets done around here!  Where exactly is my tax money going?  Oh, that's right, apparently every city worker is skimming off the top cuz they think they deserve it.  Foolish me.  Of course you  DON'T.  Fuckers!

Anyhoo...I took the South side and there's a small part of the sidewalk that intersects with a gravel running path. Apparently, they can't fucking clean up the sidewalk.  I saw it; I knew it and knowing I've been through it before foolishly thought "no problem".   Let's just say that gravel and rollerblades don't mix.  It's like rollerblading and grass.  You stop.  Almost immediately.

So, with rush hour traffic piling up off Lake Shore Drive, I fearlessly approach the gravel and suddenly realize it's worse than usual.  It's everywhere,'s deep.  Too late...I plow into the gravel, stop within inches and take a dive forward as if I'm on a Slip 'n Slide, except there was no water and I....just....stopped. Next thing I know, water bottle flies out of my mini backpack, mp3 goes for a dive in the gravel and I'm spread eagle in shitload of gravel.  I looked like fucking Superman trying to fly across a gravel pit that Lex Luther set out as a trap.  Fucker! 

The nicest older couple EVER were approaching and saw the entire thing.  Can you believe, that as many people were on that sidewalk, and so-called-running-path, that they were clearly the only decent human beings to stop and ask me if I was okay?  I'm beginning to think that Chicagoans aren't nearly as friendly as we like to believe- not to mention the fact I have neighbors who are dicks and never say "Hi" in return.  We've truly become a city of non-Midwestern imports who don't give a fuck about anyone else.

Anyhoo...lovely couple conversation:

Woman: Oh, sweetheart, are you okay?
Me: Yeah, I know gravel and rollerblading don't mix but I've made it through before.  I should have known better and taken it slow.
Man: Look, what a shame that you ruined a good pair of pants (referring to the destroyed left-knee of my pants)
Me: Oh, it's okay, I've had them forever, but they are my favorite.
Man: Well, at least you can replace them.  Can I help you up? 
Me: Thank you so much, you know most people wouldn't do anything
Man: That's because this city has lost its Midwestern-ness.  All these people come in from all over the world and don't know how to be, well, human like we do
Me: I agree.  I was born and raised in the plains and that's why I chose to move here.  I'm constantly surprised on how little anyone ever thinks of anyone here.
Man: It's a shame.  Wasn't like this since recently and we've been here for 45 years.
Me: Yeah
Woman: Are you okay to get home?  Do you have a car nearby or live nearby?
Me: Thank you but no.  I'm a little over a mile away.
Woman: Well, are you okay to get home?
Me: I bet this will feel like nothing until I get home.
Man: Well, pop a pill and few shots of something warm and you'll be set.
Me:  LOL  You're brilliant!
Man: Well, it looks like nothing is injured but your pride.
Me: Eh, pride, schmide!
Man/Woman:  LOL
Me:  Thanks again, have a great weekend.

It's true, you know.  I've never been one of those people who falls down, takes a nose dive, or whatever and gets embarrassed about it.  Really, I don't.  Seriously?  All those people in your cars sitting at the light watching the scene unfold wish you could rollerblade because it's such a good work out.  And by the way, no one's perfect!  Besides, the athlete in me kind of likes the big ass strawberry on my knee.  Call it a war wound.  There's pride in it.  I'm trying to do something others see as extreme, even though it really isn't.  I love it.  Ouch!  Maybe not at the moment, but's pretty cool.  Damn, no skirts or dresses for weeks!

After checking to make sure all the body parts worked and the wounds were mostly superficial (I may have to pick gravel out of my hands later), I turned around and headed back home.  The knee hurt at first and then felt great.  I almost thought, for a moment, that I should turn around and take my battle-wounded ass up the lakefront to complete the mission I'd started.  Eh, go home.

Now, I am sitting with wounds washed and bandaged, having a glass, or five, or wine hoping the drugs will kick in soon.  It's really like road rash, but worse.  Gravel actually gets under your skin! Just as planned I will spend my Friday night catching up with Mad Men On Demand (don't judge! Everyone likes to stay in on weekend nights sometimes.  Shutup!).  What I really need is a boy toy, a nurse's aid to cook me dinner, make sure my wine glass is always full, kisses my boo-boos and helps me relax. 

Unfortunately, now, I'm on the injured reserve with no prospect of getting back in the game for the next five days.  Man, I was going to kick some major calories rollerblading this week.  As everyone else does in this town, I blame it all on the City of Chicago.  Hey, you think I gotta case?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Manis Mean New Friends

One surprise I love about life is that you never know who you will meet from one day to the next, online and off, or who will be on the other end of the phone.

This morning I treated myself to a much needed mani/pedi - the toes were getting pretty gnarly.  Now, my BFF Dawn* puts a lot of thought into whatever she does.  After complaining about getting a mani - full color - and it chipping two days later, she said do what I do don't get color.  GASP!  No color?  What kind of crazy talk is that?  Isn't that the whole point to painting your nails?

Well, I've found a compromise.  I carefully, carefully select the perfect color for my toes and then go with a much paler, complimentary color on my fingers.  Genius!  You know what?  When it chips, you can't tell at all.  It's brills. 

As I was finishing my pedi and headed to the chair for mani, I couldn't help but listen in on overhear the gal next to me talking on the phone about school.  She is clearly a professor.  Seeing as I know few people who can help me locally get into teaching, when she finished her call I decided to ask if she taught on the college level.  She did!  I asked her for some advice on getting in front of the right people.  It was a great discussion which moved into current events.  Wow!  I really like this gal, and I might have fallen in love a little bit.  She. Must. Be. My. New. Friend. So, as I left I gave her my name and email and she said she'd email me today. 

We'll see if this new friend indeed comes through.  It would be so nice to have someone to discuss this process with who's been there and can provide guidance. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear Douche Bag at the Grocery Store

The white dress had more of an impact than just helping me walk into that meeting and kick some ass.  It also, apparently, caused the breakage of one of the cardinal rules of civility.  This one's for you: 

Dear Douche Bag at Dominick's:

There are rules to using a revolving door.  You're either stupid, have no understanding of personal space, just moved here and in need of an education or your parents (with obvious good reason) dropped you off in the wilderness to be raised by a pack of wolves and I happened (oh, my good fortune) to be the first woman you've ever come in contact with.  Whatever your reason for being a douche bag, I'm here to help - be grateful.

In Chicago revolving doors are purposed to keep the bitter cold wind of winter and hot, muggy air of summer from getting into the building, thereby increasing the amount of heat and air conditioning produced to keep said building at a reasonable temperature.  Thus, obviously, helps these buildings keep the debt they owe to money-hungry thieves, like ComEd and Peoples Gas, to a minimal amount of a few thousand dollars a month from tens of thousands. 

More importantly, there is, believe it or not, revolving door etiquette, which you clearly need to understand.

  1. Under NO circumstances does one EVER walk into the same revolving stall as another person, especially a stranger, unless you are a parent with a child, really good friends, are sleeping together, patting your friend with bennies on the butt on your way to get sustenance after a mad sex marathon, married, or have pet names for one another, like boyfriend/girlfriend, babe, sweetheart and my personal favorite pookie (fine, color me jealous).
  2. If you should be so blinded by my one's beauty that you happen to stumble into the same stall you never EVER touch the other person.  EVER!  
If breaking this valuable revolving door etiquette is part of your dating M.O., then I doubt you get laid very often because not only did you break the above rules, you smelled! And, you had the gumption to ask for my number just moments later in the produce section.  For real?  Your apology means nothing after your poor-excuse-for-flirting-behavior. 

If learning and appreciating these TWO-RULES, or, God forbid, simply understanding the rules of human civility, are too much for you, then you clearly need to stop going to my grocery store.  Go torture someone else.  Furthermore, if you want to hit on a woman at the store, follow the lead of others.  SHOWER beforehand and go to the egg section and ask "why does one check the eggs before putting them in your basket?"  You may come off looking ignorant or slightly dumb, but we might just see it as endearing.

The White Dress Lifted the Fog

It's amazing how the right dress can put you in the mood to feel beautiful and successful.

It's been awhile since I've had a real business meeting, and today was one of those days.  Seriously, why do you think I needed to get pretty on Sunday?  It's been awhile.  I work from home - currently in army green shorts and my orange UT shirt (my BFF, Dawn*, and I had a, well, memorable trip to Austin...Bugtussle!).

It was fucking hot and muggy here!  The kind of day when you walk out of the house and wonder why you even bothered showering.  The right clothing is crucial in this weather. So, today I braved wearing my favorite white linen, brocade, sleeveless roped empire waist, white dress with black slings with white flower on the toe to a new business meeting with two new male clients.  I say braved because I'm one of those people who wears something white and even though I'm nowhere near an Italizn restaurant, somehow I still end up getting something bright red dribbled down the front.  This is the same with white shirts, skirts, pants and shorts.  I can be standing, not touching anything and will still get a mark or stain the size of Texas on my white clothes.

I guess you could say I needed a little, for lack of a better reference, Sex & The City mojo today.  After all, I'm in my mid-30's, I'm not dead, fairly attractive and nothing says confident, successful business woman like a great outfit. It worked!  It totally lifted me out of my fog.

It's times like this when I love walking around the busseling streets of downtown Chicago.  In fact, I was right down by the set of Transformers.  Interesting to see how they do what they do to make a city looked demolished. 

So, it's interesting, however, that I've discovered over the years that there's real psychology behind the way you dress.  For instance, with woman, depending on the business, I either dress nice casual or pump up the accessories with an all black or blue outfit.  With men, I typically wear pants and heels, always.  It sort of says "don't think of me as a fragile woman, but one of the guys".  Yes, I did wear a dress (I said it was hot and gross here), but the right dress can say exactly what you need it to in any occasion.  It's all in how accessorize.

Yes, I've officially won the business (the second in a month), and, more importantly, I'm not worrying about whether more business will come or not.  I'm just open to receiving everything that is meant to be given me.  Ten points for Epiphany! It's pretty freeing.  The dress too...from the stifling humidity.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bad Man Joo-Joo

In starting this blog, I promised that I was going to live my truth.  It's a harsh one.  One that I've been slowly realizing more and more over the last few years.  And, there is one thing that must be known about me and what has made me, well, me.  It's hard to put out into the world but my parents' marriage has had a huge impact on my life. 

When my parents got married, it was a different time.  I have no doubt of my father's love for my mother, but my mom, growing up not really knowing what love is and verbal abuse, I can't say she feels the same.  I've always known deep down that theirs was a marriage of necessity.  My mom was 28 and considered an Old Maid.  After having her engagement cut off by another man, she did what she was supposed to, and my grandmother was not happy.  She never liked my father, and, in turn, her grandchildren, us, we got the brunt. 

When you grow up with this as your model, it's hard to determine what a relationship is really supposed to be like.  My father, the typical man of the 50's and 60's worked hard to provide for his family, came home, threw back a couple of Coors Lights, and went to bed.  He is a difficult and challenging man, no doubt out of necessity from the way he grew up - his father left when he was a year old.  He was a stone cold wall.  The only emotions I ever saw from him were laughter or anger.  For a long time growing up, I thought men didn't have emotions like women.  That they couldn't feel hurt.  I was stunned to learn that when I broke up with one boyfriend (quite carelessly looking back) that he was really hurt and crying on the phone.  It hit me then that men could actually feel something.  I've always regretted that one.

When I was 17, my mother picked me up from school and told me she was divorcing my father.  I talked her out of it.  They went to counseling, actually she went a lot and my dad went once.  Although I'm happy they stayed together, I carried around regret for talking my mom out of it for a long time.  It wasn't until recently when I came clean to her about my feelings and she told me it was her choice.

Today, I see my parents and understand that they are roommates who take care of one another, and maybe that's what ends up happening when you get older.

The biggest issue for me, and Sister1, is my father.  A hard man, arrogant, egotistical and introverted.  All he does is talk about himself and he throws tantrums when you talk back to him, correct him or even sometimes joke with him.  He's never a listener, unless you really need serious advice, and he talks....incessantly.  It's all about him, all of the time, and whether that was what he became after a tough childhood, hasn't been fully confirmed. With that said, he is a very generous and thoughtful man.  He was, and is still, good to us.  He's just very challenging to love. And I don't even know if I do love him that way.  He's just there. The older he gets, the worse he feels and the more he resembles a very grumpy old man.  This is what I know.

As a young girl, I, like my sisters, were raised to be strong, well-educated, independent women who could take care of themselves should we end up divorced.  We would have good jobs, not take anyone's crap and live life with confidence.  They certainly instilled that, but the marks he's left on us are deeper than those lessons learned.  It is ever-present in more than just DNA.  Because of the way we were raised, I was always strong-willed.  I wanted to do what I wanted to do because they told me things were possible.  Boy, did Pop and I go to blows....a lot.  And the one thing you feared the most was his disappointment.  In fact, it still lingers in me today.  It's something I've tried to let go of, meditate to rid my energy of, yet it continues to work its way back in.  It suppresses me, my creativity, the freedom to have my own life.  It's every decision I make, everything I do must be something I think he'd approve of.  It's a totally fucked up way of living.  I know!  But, at least I'm aware.  Today, at least I can say that I'm practicing ignoring him and controlling how I react to him.  That's all I can do.

It's not like I don't have positive relationship models today.  I do. However, the fear inside me that I will meet someone like him, settle for someone who I don't want to be with's real.  And, it's a lasting impression of what I see regularly.  It took me a long time to understand that this is part of the reason I choose men who are or become unavailable.  The other is thanks to a really bad choice of men when I was 18 who can't seem to get the hint nearly 20 years later that I want nothing to do with him.

I guess I got bad man joo-joo.  And no matter how many times I try to exorcise it, it finds its way back.  

I also think that I have "I don't trust you", "I don't believe you" or "I am not emotionally healthy" written in neon lights on my forehead.  Part of my Finding Epiphany is to once and for all let go of how I feel others think of me; to trust and believe in love - cuz I see it happen for so many everyday - and know that I deserve to be loved and adored by someone.  Believe it or not, I'm not sold 100% on marriage for me, but that's probably because I haven't met anyone, or dated someone long enough, with that potential.  I don't want to be ashamed of bringing someone home to meet my father anymore - he doesn't define me.  I don't want to be afraid that someone will leave me because of my father.  I don't want to push away men anymore because it's safe.  I want to be happy again and leave all of this behind me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfect Summer Day and Best Discovery Ever

Chicago is known for its summer street festivals.  God bless the people who live nearby who have to listen to a collection of bad bands and thumping for three days.  It used to be the highlight of my summer nightlife.   Can't tell you how many flirts I've met at a variety of fests over the years, but now I just feel old. 

While I love a good drinking bender as much as anyone else, I haven't been to any street fests in a couple of years because it's really the same shit.  Shitty food, shitty light beer (or cocktails made with cheap vodka, wretch!), shitty vendors and shitty, overplayed bands.

Yesterday, one of my gfs came in from the burbs with the purpose of hitting a street festival. We refused the suggested donation entrance fee (cuz we're rebels like that) and as we walked in were greeted with an Amy Winehouse lookalike (drug-induced anorexia and all) who sounded more like Leonard Cohen than a real singer.  We were getting off to a great start.

It was a beautiful, and I mean PERFECT Chicago summer day - 82 degrees, clear blue sky...mmmm... perfect - and I could smell the gianormous Italian sausages, drooled over the extra large corndogs (maybe I need sex) and bad Chinese food.  Now, we're both big fans of people watching and it was a great location to do just that.  There are the overly skinny models dressed in, well, nothing and wearing four-inch heels on asphalt (eeekk, eight hours a day. Dogs be barking!), the leather bag-tanned guy selling surfing photos (where you get on the surfboard with faux background - classic!) and, of course, everywhere you look 20-somethings are getting wasted and hooking up, even on a Sunday (let's just say I was a bit jealous).

Up and down both sides of the block was a woman's shopping wet-dream of faux designer handbags and sunglasses from Prada and Gucci to Kate Spade, over-priced jewelry and this new discovery....a wrap-around skirt-like piece that you can tie into 20 different dresses, skirts and tops.  Magnificent!  I haven't actually spent more than $25 on clothes in the past year (clothing swaps twice a year - hello!) and had to have this piece of revolutionary, hand-made silk.  Seriously, if I can turn it into 10 different dresses, it's totally worth it!  If you know me, you may be seeing it in all it's forms in coming months.  Brills!

We only lasted about an hour and half at the fest - we went, we saw, walked out, and found a nearby patio for real adult beverages, snacks and a bit of suntanning.  It was only four hours of my Sunday but it was living.  I even actually got (gasp) pretty (read: wore a cute dress).  It was one of those times when you're not working, no worries, and just simply enjoying the beauty of life, and its indulgences, with good friends.  Next weekend hoping to go to my gf's in the burbs and spend the day on her bf's new boat.  Is there anything better?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm Staying Put...For Now

Other than going into deep melancholy remembering Joe*, this has been a pretty good week.  I won more new business and Bitchy McSnippy can BITE IT because I rocked her world this week.  I even got a "Thanks!!!" out of her.  I about fell off my chair.  Not to mention I was so happy that I kicked ass on that project, despite her craziness, that I was shaking and jumping around like a 15-year old girl who just found out that the cute flirt in Science is asking her to Homecoming.  Yeah, that kind of awesome feeling. 

So for now, I'm lead to believe that He or the universe is keeping me right where I'm at for the time being.  Not to mention that I need the money in order to clean my personal house and to afford pursuing anything else I might want to do with my life/career.  It feels good to just let it come instead of worrying about things I can't control.  However, countdown to the Reunion is officially starting and when I get a date you can find the countdown on the "Updates" section on the right.  This year is going to be crazy and wonderful.  It's a good deadline to set for myself to make some serious changes.

Also, this week I talked with a good friend.  Her advice was remarkable and I felt freed of a responsibility that I don't feel is going the way it should - again, thanks to some nut jobs who don't know what they're doing.  So frustrating!  Why do I take this crap so personally?

One Who Got Away

It's hard to believe it's been nearly two years since the last time I spoke to Joe*.  I remember distinctly having this overwhelming urge to call him and we talked for a couple of hours.  He died suddenly three days later.

Three years ago I was nagging a very old, close guy friend, Tim* about introducing me to his eligible single friends and he did just that.  He and Joe were best friends, went to college and med school together, and were both in Chicago for exams, so we met up for dinner and an evening out.

Word to the wise, don't have the lobster bisque soup at Mike Ditka's.  I did and found myself, just minutes later, hovering over porcelain convulsing and sweating as my body fully relieved itself of the fucking disaster Ditka's called "viable restaurant food".  Thankfully, Joe didn't show up until later.  Can you believe management of the restaurant still made me pay despite my green coloration, testimony from the bathroom attendant and my friends' debate?  Yeah, won't ever be spending a dime there again.
All I can say is nothing can perk you up like some fresh air, a brisk walk and a martini - dangerous on an empty stomach.  Joe showed up about 30 minutes into our nighttime bender and the rehashing of details of my very memorable dining experience. The second Tim introduced me, Joe was on me like flies on stink.  He immediately squeezed himself onto the banquet next to me, threw an arm around the back and started conversation as if no one else was in the bar.  We danced, talked and later made out like bandits.  Hey, few of us are strong enough to resist the words "you're beautiful" and deep eye gaze even if you think the guy's a player. The next morning, as I stumbled out of his hotel room, before I could be spotted as an official "walk of shame" in the lobby (note: always, ALWAYS pack sunglasses and a rubber band), I recounted the night's fun and festivities, thinking that was fun but he's not quite geographically desirable - East Coast.

Geography, schmeography.  Turns out this one didn't care.  We talked on the phone, sometimes for hours, and he visited a few times (read: he stayed in hotel) and offered invitations to me as well, over the next year.  There is no doubt I really liked Joe and it turns out that he was far more into me than he led on.  I found that out later....

It was early October, a Sunday and I just had this urge to get in contact with him.  We hadn't spoken in a few weeks because he was working crazy shifts at one hospital and moonlighting at another to make extra money (the boy had  to pay for his Porsche!).  I just couldn't believe how overwhelming the desire to get him on the phone was.  I left a message and kept my cell nearby until he got off work and called (he always called during his long drive home to keep him company).  We spoke for nearly two hours.  We would laugh so much.  I remember that he was desperately trying to get me to come out for a big sports event and I just couldn't commit.  I suppose that part of me was afraid to get involved with someone long distance, again.  Before we said goodbye, he said he was going to do whatever it took to get me out there.

On a crisp Saturday morning, Ilena* and I (who recently moved out west) decided to do some serious shopping at H&M and Forever 21 in the burbs - cuz the stores are bigger, duh!  On the way out, I received a text message saying that if you have any photos to share in the memorial for Joe to email them.  My heart stopped.  What the???  I immediately called Tim.  He got the text a few minutes later.

Joe died three days after I talked to him.  He had been out running and suffered an inexplicable embolism and fell in his neighbors yard.  He was alone.  Tim said he's pretty sure that Joe knew exactly what was happening.  He was 32 and in amazing shape.    

Joe was one of those super amazing, and I mean SUPER amazing human beings.  One of the best people I've ever known in this life.  I regret now not allowing myself to take that relationship farther.  Tim and I had a lot of conversations afterwards when I found out how much Joe liked and cared for me, and that he knew I wouldn't move from Chicago.  Based on this he never encouraged a relationship beyond what we did have.  I have such regrets.  

This week Tim was in town for business.  I haven't seen him in more than a year.  I have been close to he and his family for a long time.  Almost immediately he mentions Joe and I told him I couldn't talk about it with him.  Well, I might feel that way but clearly Tim needed to talk about it, so I let him.  Later that evening I came home and cried.  After he passed, I'd call Joe's cell phone for several months just to hear his voicemail message.

I was SO blind.  There's no doubt that I have been stubborn and set limitations for myself (insert a LMAO from anyone who knows me), mostly as defense mechanisms and safety precautions, but no more.  If anything Joe showed me that it doesn't matter where love resides.  If it's alive than you have to go to it and know that everything else will work itself out.

I still miss your laugh and spirit, and hear your voice in my head often.  Rest in peace, friend.  You will never be forgotten by anyone who knew you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shadows of Ghosts

Last night I went to see the B52's at Ravinia on the North Shore of Chicago. It was Gay BF's office party and a total blast.  I was confused how many people came and then left before the concert even began.  What, like you have to work today?  We stayed until the end and it was a late, late night, which is why I'm pounding a Red Bull this morning (yawn).

Ravinia is one of those places where you can either buy seats or sit on the lawn.  We were on the lawn and his company had a mad spread of food and wine and beer.  Naturally, I immediately parked myself in front of the gal serving wine.  It's really a beautiful place, and a romantic one, at that.

Somewhere I've forgotten about love and how to have it.  As I people stalked, I saw couples everywhere talking, laughing, kissing, love.  It kind of sucked.  The loneliness must be setting in.  I so want what they're sharing, but for some reason it alludes me.  Whether its my past, which includes a pyscho ex, the screwed up fact that I thought men had no emotions because I never had a role model in my father or that I'm afraid of settling for an unhappy marriage like someone I love dearly.  Whatever it is, I look around me and people are achieving love daily, except me.  I just meet flirts who ask me out and after figuring out I'm not going to sleep with them decide never to call again; or they cheat and lie.  Seriously?

This morning when I was working myself out of my groggy state, cursing myself for being so disciplined to actually get up and work, I thought about this all again.  I feel like I am now one of those single 30-somethings that people look at and feel sorry for.  I do see it in their eyes and I hate it.

To make matters worse, I have a reunion coming up next year.  I am hoping to have my status, and life, change by then, but I'm losing faith that it will. I may just be alone, struggling for the rest of my life and that makes me sad.  I don't want to go through life alone.  I want a companion to share life with, to laugh, argue and have rough times that result in reaffirming love.  Or, I suppose I can just stick to one of two plans, one of which is to end everything here, pick up and move far away, start over with something new and accept that I will be alone. (Btw - the itch to quite, move and start over is pretty palpable, but I'd like a door or two to open before just doing it)

Now, I'm very well aware that I'm not actually alone.  I have amazing friends, family and some super cool new blogger friends who j'adore!  However, there's a whole in my heart that those relationships can't fulfill (yes, male parts in all of the beauty are quite essential as well).  I'm tired of searching, waiting, wanting and wondering why this was the path chosen for me.

Maybe...maybe I should just be a big 'ol hooker and get it on with all the flirts I encounter and say "to HELL with it!"

In an eerie way, I feel that I am living the life of a great aunt who never married, really never wanted a companion and died alone in her 60's before I was born.  My grandmother used to mistake me for her when I'd sing or because I was fashionable like her.  She actually called me Helen* all the time.  When her dementia kicked in that's all she called me.  It's as if she believed Helen was reincarnated in me, and I've lived with that ghost for my entire life.  Where once I believed it to be a compliment, may now actually be a curse - it's funny the tricks our minds play on us. 

But is it possible?  Am I really destined to follow her same path?  Am I living (or reliving)  in the shadow of this ghost or can I still reclaim my life and get what I want without settling?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mean People SUCK

Mean people suck, fffooorrr shizzle!  They make me crazy.  Stressed out.  My stomach goes into knots.  My shoulder and neck tighten.  I start to panic and immediately want to swim in a bottle of Shiraz.  Even now at 10 a.m....Aaarrrgghhh!

It's even worse when they're your client, and let me tell you I've had some real doozies over the years - from the guy I got more than six million TV impressions one day to being fired the next (of course I haven't seen anything on them since), to a franchise group where the good old boys just didn't like me cuz I am a chica (again, never seen anything on them since).   

This one comes way of a partnership that came to me to help with a book they wrote.  I could tell right off the bat one of the women was going to be trouble.  Snippy in conference calls, snippy on email.

Now, sometimes, I understand this behavior.  I find that people may not fully understand what I do, the process and how it all works.  I get that.  But it's their insecurity about it that turns them into crazy, five-headed monsters whirling their tongues all around making hissing noises.  With men, I just have to be a bit bitchy and tell them how it is and they completely respect me, but women.  They're different.  You know that saying how women are so hard on one another?  Well, it definitely rings true in this situation, and I think for Ms. McSnippy Pants its personal insecurity, competition, and the desire to have power over people.  This woman is truly a piece of work, riding me, asking know what BITCH?  You're only paying to work 10 hours a month for you so KISS IT!  Want to pay me $50,000 for the project?  I'll gladly bend over.  But you don't, so I won't.

I was really starting to wonder where the other partner fell in all of this until I get an email requesting a phone conversation.  "Great!" I think.  "I'm already losing business before it's started."  So Ms. Fabulous, potential-client-of-the-year, fills me in on all the details and, yep, I'm not the only one who can't stand Ms. McSnippy Pants.  Turns out that Snippy might not be as successful as she claims and Fab is the one who actually wrote the book and did all the work while Snippy was just going to cash in.  

Awesome!  Wish we could all skate through life like that.  Must be nice to have everyone else do your work for you!  

Fab then announces that she's leaving the partnership because she refuses to be treated this way any more.  Can't blame her.  It's not like I've really enjoyed it.  Then she forwards me McSnippy-turned-SuperBitch's email response where she has the gumption to attack me!  Whatever crazy-town-USA.  It seemed to me that her response was purely defensive.  As if she knows that she's been total crap, is mad at herself, but instead of changing that behavior she just projectile vomits her projection of emotions onto others.  You know, that irritates.  Take care of your own shit.  Others are not responsible or to blame.

So where does that leave me?  Well, we're still moving forward and hoping my mad skills can prove their worth in the next few weeks.  Now the duo are going to be paying me separately which means, yep, you guessed correctly, Bitchy McSnippy isn't ever going to pay me SHIT!  Again, awesome.

How do these people find me?  My business is my baby.  I love my logo (and other things. Shutup!), but do I want to deal with this shit anymore?  I think this is one of the things that I'm most tired of.  It's just wearing me down....some people suck and ruin it for everyone.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Money-Saving Tip 1: Don't Shop Again

A few years ago I was invited to an interesting afternoon party at a friend's condo. They called it a clothing swap and let me tell you it was a fucking GOLDMINE! Seriously, my friends have expensive and great taste and I have totally scored! The one I went to recently included several pairs of designer (and I mean $400) shoes. Since then, a couple of other groups have popped up and I've, fortunately, secured invitations to those as well.

I love, LOVE the clothing swap concept, especially because I can get rid of my stuff. They say, one woman's trash is another's treasure. Over the last two years, I've landed some amazing things, especially dresses with the tags still on. It's amazing what we women will buy and decide you'll never wear it after it's too late to return, so why not allow another fabulous woman the chance to have it? And, let's be honest, we all keep clothing one size smaller and bigger, for the "ups and downs", but some things you'll just never get into again. Time to say adios!

The trick about the clothing swap is not just to take anything you like, you've got to try it on, allow the other women to say "Yes! that fits you perfectly. You should definitely take that" and some of them will whimper with some jealousy that they didn't find it first. It's all about strategy.

1. Get to the party a little early
2. While you set out your stuff, scope what's already present - some times, the host will let you pick things up early since you were nice enough to come early and help set up
3. Grab a glass of wine and stay nearby to watch what other's lay out - this can include trying on shoes to see if they fit
4. Make a mental note of what you want and need most to fill out your closet
5. When they say "Go!" head directly for what you want, do not pass Go, just grab
6. The second time through begin looking through everything more carefully - is it in your size, is it your style, is it something you really need
7. Try on - make sure it fits before you walk out with two trashbags of clothing you might end up dumping off at the Salvation Army any way
8. While trying on, scope out what others are trying on. If it doesn't fit them, politely ask if you can try it on. If it fits, it's yours.
9. Be sociable and complimentary. While you're on a serious mission, it's important to connect with the other women. Besides, there's nothing better than the honest opinion of these gals. They are the LEAST likely to tell you something looks good if it doesn't and then you hand it over to them.
10. Place your treasures in your bag and go back for additional rounds until you feel you've gotten everything worthwhile. This is also a great time to think of other women in your life. Is there something here that a friend would like, a sister? Gift shopping made easy and FREE!
11. Don't leave immediately. Stay and mingle. Tell the gals how great they look in their new findings and....make some friends.
12. Help the host pack up the remaining items to be sent to a charity. We typically drop off at Dress for Success or a women's shelter. Good for you, good for the community.

In the last two years, I've scored 12 dresses, 14 tops, 10 pairs of pants/jeans, 3 skirts, five pairs of shoes, five handbags, and tons of jewelry. The only money I've spent shopping this year was at Old Navy for white T's and some tank tops. That's not even $40!

If you can't find one, start one. It's the best afternoon with your girlfriends you will ever spend. And, if there's a man in your life, often women will bring things from their guy's closet. I've also heard, gasp, that some men are getting in on the swap. Suits are expensive and who doesn't want to save some dough in this recession?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Mayor Made Me Lazy Today

I attended The Mayor's party last night and it was awesome, except all the people who normally come - like 100+ - never showed. Sweet! Easier for me to get to the bar and I don't have to say "excuse me" to the nut jobs who stand right in front of the food table, grazing, while in conversation. Uhm, stop touching all the food, grab yourself a plate, fill it up and go sit on the couch! It's just plain rude, and I wanted the sushi.

It was a great opportunity to see some people, talk with some people, hand out my business card and enjoy an amazing view of the lake, beach and downtown Chicago from a deck 38 flights up right on the water. Of course, temptation, eventually (or always) gets the best of me, and after a few glasses of wine I talked a friend into taking off his expensive shoes and walking along the beach with me. We sat, listened to the waves, talked and drank out of our to-go cups. Life, in that moment, was pretty perfect (and NO, there is absolutely NO interest in this male friend. Great guy, but I don't do co-dependency, although while driving home we rocked out to Michael on his awesome car stereo. Cool!).

Unfortunately, and oddly enough, despite the fact I wasn't wasted when I got home I have been completely worthless today, got sucked into an NCIS marathon (yum, Mark Harmon. Looked good in the '80's and still does!), caught a cat nap and now catching up with my fav bloggers. Not so worthless, but the To Do List....I even shortened it specifically thinking I could get these key 15 things accomplished - the longer list is much more overwhelming; paralyzing and often makes me want to have a cocktail! Well, the evening is still young. I'm off to see if I can make it all happen. Ooohh, I should order a pizza! Distractions.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dawn Arising

I love to sleep. I mean, I really love to sleep. It's one of my favorite things to do in life. Albeit, I hate when I wake up after a "niner" and still feel like I need more. So, although I'm thrilled that my landlord is finally coming over to finish work on my apartment (it only took a year), you can imagine how not thrilled I am to be up at 6am on a Saturday morning after a not so restful night.

Yes, I was told by him yesterday that someone would be here at 7a. Now, 8a on a Saturday I can deal with; 7a during the week is a strong possibility, but never, never, never on a Saturday morning.

With that said, it is so quiet in the city at the moment and the sun is starting to rise further in a clear blue sky. Last summer, I would actually get up and rollerblade along the lake to enjoy the sunrise. I would do it again, if only I fell asleep around 9p the night before, but who wants to be a big 'ol nerd and do that on a Friday night? Not this girl! Not every Friday! It is quite lovely and although I complain about it, I secretly love it. BUT, there is definitely a nap in my very near future. The Mayor has a party tonight. A veritable "who's who" of Chicago media and politics. His parties are always interesting, but I will require rest be for primping for presentation and mingling.

This morning, I am prepared to make my sleepy ass work to conquer a number of things on the 'ol To Do List. In case inquiring minds want to know, I'll be cleaning (it never really ends), looking at opportunities to teach either online or off (income), client work and managing my other blogs. Shwew! I'm determined to get this all done, including a nap and a few errands by 2pm.

Not so quick! It seems like a lot of time, but it never is.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Once, I Was Going to Be a Superstar

It's funny how life never quite turns out the way you thought it would. I do believe it's one of the few surprises we have, anymore, is not knowing what will happen. And, while I've actually been quite frustrated and feeling like I have no direction, an itch I can't scratch and absolutely no control over my destiny, it is suppose to be exciting.

When I was younger, I imagined myself a high-powered business woman in the corner office. Sure, I knew I'd work a lot of hours and make sacrifices but they were worth it. I'm a child of the 70's. The ability to imagine and make that happen is gianormous! I was raised to believe I could achieve it, be strong, independent and an overall bad ass if I wanted to, and I really wanted it, too, even through college. A friend and I talked often about the marketing agency we were going to set up and make the world turn on its heels. Yeah, I wanted it so bad I could taste it.

Obviously, it never happened. She returned to dancing, became a mother and wife and gave up the marketing industry, which is just as well because it's crazy and overwhelming everyday. I, on the other hand, continued that drive until recently.

When I first moved to Chicago I worked at a huge, international marketing firm and I loved walking out of my building on to Michigan Avenue lined with lights and thousands of passerbys. Every time I opened the door, stepped out, took a deep breath and looked up at the lights and the buildings I felt like Mary Tyler Moore. No joke. I felt so alive and happy, and I was going to become a powerful, but kind, successful business woman. Over time, though, I watch the head of the Chicago office. She was in her 50's, never married (except to the job), never had children, made a lot of money, worked late every night including Fridays, had a big job, but was that what I really wanted? Her life was work; the agency. I loved it, but I'm one who defines myself as so many more things.

I've worked really hard, and continue to do so, committed, or I should say totally over-committed to everything I'm involved with from running my business to outside pursuits. By the time I started my own business I realized that the idea of being able to be a power player in the corner office, manage a family, relationship, happy home, friends and family, was truly impossible.

Over the years, I've been offered those kinds of jobs and I've turned them down. Why? Because I felt like if I was going to work 12 hours a day, or more, like I do now, I want it to be from the comfort of my own home, not an office that I might as well move into and make my home, cat and all. What is the price of happiness? For me, yeah, maybe I should have done it to have a better financial situation but, arrogantly (I suppose), I felt a lifestyle was more important. Isn't that what everyone is seeking today? It's that balance of doing what you like, enjoy and even love from the comfort of your home, with discipline and tremendous success while maintaining relationships, working out and having a life. Foolishly, I thought that I could still be a superstar with my business. I still do in some ways because I know my industry inside and out, know what I'm doing and provide affordable services to small businesses, but, after all of these years it's just not the case.

Why do some people achieve this superstar status and others don't? What's the secret? What I do know is some people just have better luck...Trust me, I've looked into "The Secret", the power of attraction, motivational speakers and their checklists and more. I don't know what that magic elixir is, but the super stubborn side of me wants more than ever to find it; to not quit until I've done all I can - maybe I've run dry and not realized it.

Last night I actually thought about ending all of what I've created over the last 10 years and taking the corner office (so to speak) in my grasp. Somehow I just feel like I'd only be doing it for the money, but ironically, money would provide me what I need to discover more of what I want to do (however not the time), what makes me happy and to knock down my personal stumbling blocks. That SUCKS! And it's the truth. A fucking Catch 22.

I've always had faith that things would come to me, and they do. However, it's like I can't have everything at once. And I believe we're all where we're supposed to be to get to the next level, but at my age, looking at "the next level", well, let's just say it ain't anything worth writing home about.

In this pondering, I've noticed that everything coming to me, at the moment, is keeping me right where I am - more business, powerful contacts met - so I wonder if it's finally going to take off and what I feel is missing is a completely different aspect of my life, or if it's all a hoax . For now, I am where I am, not really a superstar, but I hope my friends and family think I am. Meow Mix certainly thinks I am, especially when I rub her belly. I am going to do what I can with what's presented in meditation and in chance. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In Need of a New Adventure

This afternoon I took some time off to go help pack and say goodbye to a super sweet and amazing friend, Ilena*. She's headed out west with her longtime boyfriend and a fresh start together. She will be sadly missed.

I'm not going to lie. Part of me envies that she is picking up, moving and starting a new adventure. It seems that's what I'm in need of - something. The something is yet undefined but it's what's causing the feeling and need of something new, exciting and fresh. I'm not yet sure what form it will take, but that's part of Finding Epiphany; finding me.

I just seem to be all over the place and the stress and overwhelm feeling coupled with a major To Do List that still needs to be tackled, make me just want to pick up and run away. But, one can't do that and be healthy in spirit, heart, body and soul. Clearly this is my time of self-evaluation; to review why I do what I do, missed opportunities, lack of passion and more. I'm tired of missing out on life. I'm tired of doing things because people expect it of me. Guess what? It really hasn't worked out that well. I've sacrificed so much - traveling, love, and....time. Unfortunately, many of the things I want to do cost money I don't have right now (Step one: stay on budget). That becomes even more frustrating.

My soon-to-be-West-Coaster girlfriend and I were talking about how life has become so complicated. Technology is great, but when did things become so complicated? It's like everyone's running around, running somewhere, in a hurry. Worse, we're all completely overstimulated - yes, I'm in marketing and completely take part of the blame. I mean, seriously, I have five, count them 1-2-3-4-FIVE Twitter accounts I manage daily, three blogs, groups galore...sigh! Who has that much and who does it well without, oh client work and everything else involved in running a business? It's a beautiful blessing, but a curse for someone in my industry. We're expected to be so plugged in when all I really want to do is unplug. Ilena and I share the desire for something slower, more peaceful and not so overwhelming. She's going from music marketing to personal trainer and she will no doubt be amazing!

Moreover, it's summer in Chicago which means there are a million and one things going on at all times of the day and night. We don't really sleep here, but as I get older I care less about those things and more about getting rest! Have I mentioned I love to sleep? Can't function with out my hard eight...and a half. This weekend is a perfect example. There were so many things on my social calendar - all things I really would not have missed for the world, but I had NO time to do what needs to get done during a weekend. Instead, I came home Sunday night and crashed at 8:00p.m. I was exhausted! Yet, I had so much fun.

So now I'm really stuck with the feeling we all experience: days flying by, there just aren't enough hours in the day. We're on a go-go mission daily and we don't just stop to enjoy. A friend once said that he thought living in a city like Chicago would wear you down. Maybe it is, just a tad. Things move faster here. Days do, in essence, go faster. I can't tell you how many times I come into my home office at 7am only to look up and be amazed that it's already 3pm! The funny thing is that I'm single, no kids, no husband, no cooking major meals, and I still don't have the time. Go figure.

I also found out in the last few days that I'm not the only one I know doing some hardcore soul searching. It seems many of my friends are now wondering if they're truly happy and exploring their passions to be happy in career and life. That's very comforting. When you sit down to do something like write this blog, it sometimes feels like you're just hanging out there for the world to read, see and judge (let them, if they need to), so it's nice to know I'm not alone. Of course, the bonus is that the blogger world is pretty accepting and supportive. It's wonderful.

In fact, my gay boyfriend announced that he, myself and one of his friends are all going to move to Key West, open a business and star in a reality show - trust me, that bitch has NO problem whining and stirring up drama! It's a nice thought. I told him to call me when it's a reality - like business plan and moving arrangements made, not the show.

We all have times we want to just runaway. Maybe that's supposed to be the value of vacations - the one's you don't come home from exhausted in need of another vacation to recover. I'm lucky though. This time of year I rollerblade to the lakefront, park myself in my favorite spot, watch the sailboats and....get away from it all, at least for a few minutes. For now, that will have to be my escape, and I must say it's not a bad one.

Unfortunately, there's not enough time in the day to spend stay out there as long as I'd like. Isn't that always the story...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Flirt: The Neighbor

About a year ago, my neighbor and I made out. He's younger (uhm, FINE! 25. He's 25! At least I'm not going to jail for it) and adorable. He was a terrible kisser but a little instruction and we were good. Again, he's sssoooo cute and adorable.

What I love about guys in their 20's is what I love about guys in their late 30's-early 40's. In their 20's-30's you can imagine what that baby face is going to look like at 40. It may take men longer to grow into themselves, but it's highly worth it and let me tell you, The Neighbor is going to be a super hottie! For right now, he is a load of fun to flirt with and....

So, last night I was trying to be good, getting perfect and ready for a crazy day of events, and I heard all of my neighbors out front. I say,"Sure I can go hang with them for a bit and be asleep by 10:30p." HA! I went down to hang out and let my nails dry without thinking I have a big, HUGE nasty red pimple on my face that is not fit or public consumption - I had washed my face earlier to treat the little fucker with the hope that it might disappear before this morning. That, of course, wasn't the case. Once you remember something like that you start to rest your chin in your hand until you just say "Fuck it!" and keep having fun. My neighbors and I have, for the most part, seen each other at our unshowered-messy-bedhead-unshaven-worst, and while I like to try and look presentable at all times, sometimes you just forget. Oddly enough, it must have been the alcohol or the pot he was smoking, but apparently I was lookin' good to him (doesn't hurt that the sun was setting. I always look better by candle and moonlight)!

I love to watch boys flirt - with me, of course. Some make it SO obvious that it's fun to sit back and receive. The Neighbor is one of those. Sooner or later there was a "come up and check out what they did to my apartment" (make out session - MUCH improved!); "would you like some wine? come up I'll get you a glass" (make out session); and finally the "can you show me where your bathroom is" which led to full on make out session and...more fun. However, me being a stickler that I am, not too much fun was had cuz I had to get up super early. (HEY! At my age, we need our beauty sleep!) Plus, why not save something for a rainy day - in the forecast soon.

It's been some time, I will admit, since I've had this kind of attention It's not that I haven't been looking, it's just that The Neighbor is really only fun, whereas I'm looking for a relationship. A lasting one. Someone to have fun with all the time. I'm tired of this transient-lover BS. I want one to stay. Nonetheless, it was MUCH needed fun to remind me of the simple pleasure that is a man. Stay tuned for that rainy day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The List: My Own Take 1

Dear Diane*,

I love and miss you and know that you and hubby are working on very important things like making babies, however, would really like to talk and discuss the list. Don't leave me hangin' babe! LOL Until you and hubby have completely exhausted one another, I will move forward with my own synopsis of the list one by one.


The first item on the list of things that make me happy is music. I love music. It's what makes the blood flow through my veins. I love to sing and used to a great deal of performing. I equally love to dance, and appreciate all kinds of music....even some rap, but not for the lyrics as much as the beats, rhythms and...sounds. It just makes me so....happy.

This week I've been working on a CD mix (remember Mix Tapes? I was the Master!) for friend's party. I looovveeedd working on it. Picking the music then selecting the order - there really are rules to this in order to make it sound just right. Every song flows easily into the next as if they were made to be played alongside one another. And, of course, you have to set the tone for the occasion. The best part, is handing the CD over, wrapped and tied with a bow (the most inexpensive, thoughtful gift, I think, you can give anyone) and waiting for the moment they slide it into the CD player. The moments of anticipation just tick away until the first song is played. Then "I love this song" gooshes from the recipient as the CD continues. Music brings such happiness and people love my CDs because they know I made it just for them.

I miss it. I miss singing. I miss writing music and lyrics. I miss performing. I was given a gift and have done relatively nothing with it. Sure, I've been given other gifts and talents, but this makes me feel so alive.

During the day there are often times when I just have to sit down and zero in on getting a project done. It's during these times when I tune into my account or rock out to my own play list. It gives me energy and I love everything about it from singing Gregorian chants and classical to rock and country. There's nothing like it. Nothing can feed my soul the way music does. And maybe, I sing on my own time and find a group, and maybe the rest of my life is spent appreciating the nuances in music that others don't catch and teach them about it - hopefully without looking like the big nerdy musical geek that I am.

It's the tops on the list so I know one thing - I've got to find away to sing and release that desire to do so pent up inside of me. I don't really care much about being a famous musician, rather I've always thought of my gift as an instrument to share incredible works of music for others to enjoy. Maybe that's being too modest (another thing I'm trying to give up - love my fam but not so grateful to have been raised SO MODEST! A little "I'm really great" never hurt anyone), but it is something I do believe as a musician. Others, just do it to feed their ego. I was pretty comfortable with myself to begin with and compliments...well, I'm still learning to be appreciative.

I'm hoping that this list doesn't now lead to creating another list for each item on the list. What did I just say? Yeah. While lists are my sanity in day-to-day life, I think more lists will just overwhelm and shut me down! Until my next post in a few days, I am going to try and sing more, even if it's just in my shower, which has great acoustics!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quote of the Day

Thanks to the BFF for this one:

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky." ~Rabindranath Tagore

The Pursuit of Perfection

Perfection. It's an interesting word. What is perfection? Is it about being the best or just perceived as being and having the best? Is it about being the best you can be in every moment?

My good friend Webster defines it as : 1. the quality or condition of being perfect (defined as lacking nothing essential); 2.the act or process of being perfect; 3. one considered perfect. The thesaurus adds in the word virtue.

So, if you lack a lot of essentials in your life yet live with virtue, can you still be perfect?

I know it's crazy to think about perfection. No one is perfect. In fact, everyone has a different definition of perfection. You may have a perceived perfect and blessed life like my best friend Dawn*, but at the same time she is open and aware of her own imperfections. Is perfection achieving what is fed to us by the media (i.e. look like Angelina Jolie or having certain things), or how we define it individually and the pressure we put on ourselves to achieve it? Either way, the pursuit of it can make you a little crazy. I know.

In this life there are few things one can actually control like:
  • presence - style, makeup and hair (although mine's been a bit out of control)
  • what you eat/weight - need to work on
  • clean home
  • your actions/reactions towards others - who you want to be v. who you are
  • your performance - work, etc.
  • how you use your time
  • how many glasses of wine I will have today (3, thanks!)
  • how many times will I blog today
  • what you do with the blessings you receive
  • going out and trying/doing what you love
  • who I will call on the phone
  • and a few others
I like to think that I can control other certain things, but I really believe it's just that "the stars align" with the right moment and you're openness to receive. Like when I show up to the bus stop and the bus appears within just moments of my arrival. That is perfect to me. In reality, most things, you can't control and it's really frustrating. It's frustrating when you know what you can be if given more opportunities...but one can't determine or just wish them to come along. Not in this economy.

The pursuit of perfection is something I think about a lot, actually. It's easy, really. When things happen that are out of my own control, I become Mr(s). Clean and my apartment is perfection! Floors washed, everything in its place, totally organized (and let me just say I'm not very messy), no dishes in the sink and toilet....sparkling! It feels good to have order and a sense of perfection in my home, my work and even in working out. I'm not really sure where this strong desire for and absolute sense of perfection was born, but there's safety in it. Oddly enough.

My best friend Dawn* seeks perfection and order, albeit at a much, much higher level than mine! Everything has its place. Her home is beautiful and always clean. She is always dressed well and looking stunning. Everything is done....perfectly. Coasters are always used, and, as much as I love her, I'm often worried I will put something in the wrong place, or mess something up. It is, ironically, one of the many reasons I adore her. Even though I may feel this way at times, I completely appreciate where she's coming from. Perfection is order.

Dawn* and I often discuss our varying need for order, or control, and the pursuit of perfection and I've come to believe it's not because we're crazy or neurotic, but that its tough to let go. It's hard to just walk in blind faith everyday. We have to feel as if we control some things in our lives whether it's keeping dishes out of the sink, making your bed everyday, staying organized in work, writing an error-free report, or keeping a clean car. And, while we actually do have control over many things and choices we make, there are the bigger things that we just don't have any control over. Some philosophers would say these are the things that keep life interesting.

The pursuit for perceived perfection could, in some ways, be blamed for why so many Americans are in debt, living beyond their means, in homes they can't afford, buying cars and toys for their kids. They want others to believe their lives are perfect in the perfect neighborhood. This perception of perfection is wealth.

You could say that this pursuit of perfection has even led me to start and live through this blog. In some respects, I'm seeking perfection in my own life and its future. I feel as if I should have this, that and the other; that I should be this kind of person to have and be loved; that I should have a more lucrative career; sometimes, that I should be someone else. That I should be perceived as one who pursues perfection and virtue in all things. And, moreover, that I deserve it.

It's a tricky thing living life, but throw in the unknown variables and it becomes that much more. The truth is that the pursuit of perfection leads us not just to controlling certain aspects of our life, but to having and being what we feel others define as perfection. We want to be seen as having it all, being it all and living it all. It's not enough just to feel perfect in our own imperfect and fabulous lives.

So, with dishes in the sink, my bed unmade and mail spread across the dining table, today, I begin the path of defining my own perfection. It's more than a clean house, it's being me. Living fully as the unique and imperfect person in which I was created. And I promise, to never judge anyone else's perfect life.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Romance - Dead, a Fairytale or Just Me?

I am a delinquent blogger. The Fourth of July weekend kind of kicked my ass, and after some catch up on all the things I was supposed to do over the weekend and finally feeling like I won't have a narcoleptic attack, I'm back to reporting the craziness that is my life.

Monday I saw the new Twilight movie, and I must say the anticipation was killing me. The love story presented in these novels is, well, a fairy tale, for sure, but I often wonder what happened to a generation of men. My generation of men. Call me old fashioned, but there's something about the previous generations' dating sociology of men and women that has its appeal. What happened? Internet porn, women's lib or just the Internet in general?

I may be a confident, independent woman, but I still like traditionalism in dating. Meaning, I want to be courted. Is that so ridiculous? My friends tell me that I'll be waiting forever. Don't get me wrong, I do attract plenty of flirts (men) and have asserted myself only to be turned down. Quantity isn't my problem. It's quality. And quality might not even be my problem. It may just be me. Me and this antiquated idea of romance and relationships. Some say I'm impossible - a dreamer with a child-like fantasy of Cinderella, Prince Charming and Hollywood movie endings.

It's different living in a city where people are transient and the single lifestyle is encouraged by a number of nightclubs with scantily clad dancers and babes at the beach. Everyone's looking for....greener grass. It's as if they don't want to settle down because they think something better is coming along. Or, it's commitment phobia. I must admit that the men older than me who have never been married raise a big, and I mean HUGE, flag for me for this very reason. Did they wake up at 50 and suddenly realize they're not 35 and will die alone? Sure, throw some money around and buy yourself a 25-yr old wife and 2.5 kids. You think I'm joking. Happens all the time here.

It's not like this where I grew up - a smallish Midwestern town. Men know how to treat a woman and coupledom is desired for more than just one night. Men are guy's guys. In fact, I would say I've met more flirts with potential outside of Chicago than in over 10 years here. So, I wonder, why does urban living breed this mentality in not just men, but also women. Is it because you can walk into a bar, meet someone, get their number, leave, go to another bar, meet someone else (repeat and rinse), and then decide who you will call? That's kind of bullshit, especially because so many men believe that they deserve to be with a supermodel (uhm, btw, that's like .001 of the fem population and, NEWS FLASH, you're not Tom Brady,a Kennedy or Leonardo DiCaprio).

I meet flirts everywhere but it's always so superficial. Few have turned into more than a one-night stand or even gotten to a third date. (I know a one-night stand isn't much of a fairytale. More of a means to an end for a 30-something's raging hormones). Sadly, many, I feel, have never wanted to get to know me. It was more of a "were going to this party so dress up, I'll pick you up at 8p and flash that smile for the boys I work with". Even more sad is how long it took me to catch on to this pattern. And, the concept of Internet dating doesn't make it any easier.

As someone who works from home, I don't have the luxury of an office of individuals willing to invite me to parties or introduce me to their friends (not to negate my fab friends). I'm out on my own. And while I make an effort to get out and about, Internet dating was an easy option for me. Surprise! Many of the sites revealed men who say they're looking for their life partner, but in reality they use it as their own personal sex, eerrr, dating service to line up a variety of dates or sex for the week. Maybe it's because my generation is the first to really feel the plague of divorce. When you don't have a good relationship model, it's kind of hard to learn how to develop a relationship with someone. (Hmmm...note to self. Possible personal consideration)

Now, women are not innocent here, either. I'm constantly surprised by the number of women willing to completely disrespect and throw themselves at men. Duh, when you send a guy naked pictures of yourself, of course he's going to call. He thinks you're E-A-S-Y! That's not the start to a potentially lasting relationship, that's the start to a friend with benefits and late night drunk booty text messages. I have this sinking feeling that no one wants to work for anything anymore.

As for me, with a dating highway littered with love, screw ups, bad choices, and even BIGGER bad choices, a crazy psycho ex (who still won't leave me alone after almost 20 years), it's no surprise that I am my own worst problem. I am the perfect saboteur of my love life, scared of making another bad choice, comfortable being alone than in a shitty or disappointing relationship, and having that information blaring like a neon sign on my forehead - "Damaged goods. Leave me alone. Too scared to open up." Pick's probably a rotating sign at this point in my life.

All I know is that recently I've taken some real risks in this department. One flirt - known forever, totally like but is very long distance and well, he hasn't responded to my email saying I miss chatting. (NEXT) Second flirt - a cutie from Minnesota who made moves on ME, I really connected with and asked to lunch the next day only to get the "there's someone back home." Clearly none of my approaches have been well received, but you have to start somewhere when you're trying to escape Never, Never Land.

Friday, July 2, 2010

No Promises

This morning I had breakfast with The Mayor. Everyone loves The Mayor and I'm fortunate to say that he is a very good friend. Now, it's typically difficult to get the man, with ADDHDDADDH, to sit down and really talk and discuss business, etc. but this morning we did so over buckwheat pancakes with sugar free syrup and coffee. Yum!

I've known The Mayor for a long time and he's a go-to-man for many key influential people in Chicago, and one of few who really know my twisted, sarcastic sense of humor. We're kind of like Abbott & Costello. Essentially, we crack the shit out of one another - which is easy since he's always opening the door for me to say something sarcastic. Moreover, he's an accomplished and highly intelligent man. Now before you start thinking....there is no romantic interest here. He's older than I by...a few, uhm, years. He's uncle and I've told him most everything about my life and I know much of his. Like I said, he's a good friend and drinking buddy.

The one thing about The Mayor is that sometimes when you sit and talk to him you feel like you might be in Hollywood. He's the kind of guy who's always saying "I'm going to bring you business", "I want you to be in this film", "I'm going to get you on TV" - you know, the "baby, I'm going to make you a star!"

I've learned over the years, in business, to never believe anything a lot of people say until the opportunity is staring you in the face, and he knows this. I've stopped falling for fast talking salespeople. It's not that I don't think they actually believe what they're saying, it's just that my experience has led me to believe that unless you have pen in hand about to sign a contract that it's just an idea; a figment of someone's hopeful star-filled imagination.

So, you see why I'm not one to get my hopes up anymore, because they always seem to get dashed, or rather destroyed when the shit hits the fan and the reality becomes...they were just big talkers. I've heard many of these phrases a lot over the years from him, and others, and we have done a couple of projects together - one I did pro bono as a benefit event. However, I kind of keep everything else in the back of my mind as a "we'll see".

Now, I really truly believe that his intentions are pure, he has few close friends like me and I'm confident he wouldn't lie, but his ADDHDDADDH can get in the way of things being accomplished. If it did happen, it could be five years from now. Still, there's no doubt in my mind that maybe these things will become reality. Until then, I keep on keepin on through the doors that are opening up to me.

Yet, I can't deny that I'm tempted on the several opportunities he presented today. One of them, in fact, I believe is his way of helping me do the number one thing I love. Music. Who wouldn't be. In today's world, a lot of people find self-worth in their 15-minutes of fame (aka reality show obsession). It's sexy and sounds great, but do I really want that? Just because you might achieve it doesn't mean it is who you are. Sadly, many let it define them and their self-worth. Not for me. (I have a lot of thoughts on this...)

For now, it's out in the universe and we'll see what it draws to both of us. I want to see him be wildly successful and happy as much as myself. My job as a friend is to help promote his business and ideas. We'll see....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Wasted Week

I hate this time of the month, for obvious reasons as most women do, but for me, in particular, I am exhausted. For about five days I am just so freaking tired. I wake up after nine hours sleep...tired.

It's an impossible feat to get through the day. Even after I tap my arsenal of teas, Vitamin B, almonds, Ginseng and attempts to "power through it", I still want to curl up on the couch at Noon and take a nap. Even now...I've been up for awhile but feel it's time to lie down again - it's 9:30a. On top of it, I can't think - which is why some of these post will be shorter. It's like the words forgot how to form in my mind and on my lips. It's insane!

Yesterday I fought through it HARD. At the end of the day, I finally decided to take a walk. I felt alive for about 10 minutes and then....head on pillow, legs folded underneath on the couch, out cold.

And of course, there's the inevitable day where I will be annoyed with everyone and everything. I have realized that I can be pretty brutal. So, apologies to any sales and customer service people I might deal with - I don't tend to talk to friends, loved ones or basically anyone I care to keep in my life on this day. You have no idea what's coming at you from the other end of the phone - pure hell. There's nothing you can do to make the situation better, so don't try. It's almost best if I simply shut down on this day than to impose my craziness on anyone.

It wasn't always like this for me. Sister1 told me to pay attention in my 30's as "certain things will change", and they have. As if a slower metabolism wasn't enough, now I'm crazy! I guess I could have it a lot worse. I'm not exactly the woman in "I'm Gonna Get Ya Sucka" who, at special times of the month, turns into Medusa, fire shooting out of her eyes. However, when you're already trying to find the energy every day to stay excited and keep moving forward, this feels like a set back. A set back of five days....not rollerblading, not feeling alive and excited for the next phase of my life to unfold, not getting the things done I've promised I would. My "To Do List" seems to be growing exponentially this week. A wasted week...excuse me, I have to go lie down now.