Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oy, forgive my absence. You don't even want to know what I have been up to lately. All work and no play, yadda yadda.

Who wants to play a quick installment of! (My hand is up in case you were wondering.) could be called a game, but it could also be called a random assortment of things I need to remind myself of on a daily (hourly?) basis so I do not spin off and go completely bat sh
*t crazy. (The fact that we have never played this game before solidifies the fact that, yes, I already am bat sh*t crazy.)

I will post two pictures and you might shout "HOT" at one and I might shout "NOT" at the other and then we will wrestle and whoever gives up loses? Deal? Just kidding. This will really be more like me screaming "HOT HOT HOT" at my computer screen while my coworkers listen intently and maybe call HR.

Ready? Here goes nuttin'.

Size -4 vs. Size 12 to 14? Tough call, right?

WRONG. This isn't a tough call at all. This is the easiest call ever. This is like answering the phone to a "CONGRATULATIONS, you've won" kind of call.

You see, the stupid silly side of me instantly glues to the first image, and then I commence sighing and maybe even batting my eyelashes. Visible bone structure: YES. Arms the size of a pre-teen's: YES. Pokey hip bones with plenty of sass: DUH. Literal chicken bones for legs: I WANT IT ALL.

But after a few light slams to the face, I come out of my thin-envy coma and I start to look around and I notice the second image. A voluptuous chest and broad shoulders that transition into a midsection stretched across wide feminine hips.

She is so brave, I think to myself.

We are a sick bunch. And if you don't want to admit it, fine, but I will admit that I am a sick bunch. Well, a sick singular—but I digress. How can we desire this thinness so strongly, so fiercely, that we are willing to lose the natural developments that make us so beautifully female? Why do we beg our curves to melt into stick-straightness that make us look like any hip-less man? I love a healthy, active woman who stands up and says, screw you if my curves make you uncomfortable. I think I'm beautiful. And I want to someday be one of them.

I need to look at these photos everyday. I need to stand in the mirror and say, screw you to the voice that tells me "Geez, this is the biggest you've ever been." And "wow, you always thought you were big back then but look at you now. Look at those soft rolls of skin that were never here before!" I need to condition myself to see a thin woman and think, man, unless she is naturally that thin, she must have a lot of free time on her hands, instead of GIMMIE. I WANT. I need to see the feminine bounty—yes I said it—that was given to me as a blessing rather than a curse.

I also need to stop worrying about if my stomach sticks out in this or if my arms look thick in that. Who cares? We're all HOT or NOT to someone. The only way to get through this cruel world is to forget about those jerks, stay healthy and tell yourself you're the hottest thing around, and let that be enough.

And if that doesn't work, show the above photos to your man friend. I bet you 1/4th of a can of Diet Coke that he will completely stop listening to you (and likely start drooling) the very SECOND he spots image #2.


Friday, June 24, 2011

My God, Whatever, Et Cetera...

I'm tired and depressed, which isn't the best combination for a blog post, but my mother always told me to get back on the horse and ride (she never once told me that), so giddy up, my people.

That giddy up was, of course, in honor of Al. Who is golfing or working a golfing event today. The witch.

See what I mean?

Anyway. What a week it has been—so long, exhaustingly long. I feel like one whole week, Monday through Friday, was self-contained in yesterday's Thursday. It was never ending. At 5 o'clock, I walked out into the sunshine to the parking lot and could not remember where I had parked my car, it felt like ages had passed.

To quote the wellspring of truth and wisdom that is "Grey's Anatomy:"

"Change. We don't like it, we fear it. But, we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anyone who tell you different is lying. The more things change the more they stay the same. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is everything."

Change has come to these here parts. Another empty office down the hallway. I'm happy for the people who get to go, but yesterday wasn't just a departure, it was heavier than that. The atmosphere here shifted from relaxed, loose to sharp and chaotic in an instant. One day it will shift back. The hours will speed by more quickly, the stacks of paperwork will dwindle, the tasks will be reassigned, the office filled—or turned into a storage closet. And we will make the change, picking up our steps in places and lingering longer in others. That's what we do, what I was raised to do, adapt. Figure it out.

Where does that leave me? a selfish little thing asks. When will it be my turn? I hold back the jealousy and try to keep my head up.

Words from an old friend pierce my impenetrable facade, and I crumble, as I often do, in the car driving home. And among tears there are those same selfish questions, and an ache that spreads with each passing day. A heavy load to quietly bear, day in and day out—each ounce of good news and understanding, every forced smile, and new task making it heavier...each look from my boss that says (as her mouth does) "I'm sorry, you just can't go, not now, not yet."

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Day Late for Dad

Happy belated Father's Day. Does that sort of thing work?

Anyway, I was sort of out of commish last week. I kept busy all week with work, and with talking to Shauni all day, and trying to be good lil' girl per usual. I have been trying to write three times a week, but let's face it: When you put those kinds of restrictions on a body, a body is bound to rebel.

So Dad's day was yesterday. Woo! I am actually lucky enough to have three dads—a dad, a step dad and a father-in-law. Isn't that lovely? David and I spent the afternoon with my papa, and the evening with my step dad (and mom and siblings).The only thing that could have made the day better is if I could have seen my father-in-law yesterday, but don't even get me started on the woes of geography.

A day late, many dollars (for my dream life) short, I am here about my dear old daddy-o.

Here we are. As you can see, no matter the weather, chub cheeks, hair or not, silliness or serious, we are quite a pair.

My papa is a good man. He is the hardest worker I have ever known. He is honest (to a fault). He is funny most often in a dry way, but sometimes in the traditional corny way. He is a fabulous cook. He is a problem solver. He shaves his head. Given the right tools, he can fix an automotive part—better yet any part—that needs repair. He is a great listener. He has a big fish tank. His kitchen is rooster themed. He has good taste in clothing. He has a sweet tooth. He has about 47 pairs of brown, leather work boots. Unlike Snooki, his natural skin tone actually is: tan. His hands are rough like sandpaper. He owns a motorcycle but he never rides it. He writes in all caps, all the time.

Sometimes I catch myself sitting alone listing these facts and others about my father. Repeating little things that he does or says, or the way he pokes his head out from the kitchen, one eye and one ear on what's happening on television while he cooks dinner. I tell myself that no matter how few and far between our visits are, I know this man. I know my father the way anyone else knows theirs. I back up this statement with the aforementioned facts. Bald head, problem solver, fish tank. I know him, he is mine.

I don't know if my father knows those same things about me. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, but mostly I just let the thought bounce back in forth in my head until it develops into a rhythm I am comfortable with, a beat, an everlasting curiosity that I can stomach.

My father didn't want six children. I've never had the guts to ask him if he even wanted one, but regardless, he wound up with six. We are an impressive bunch—tall, outspoken, comical, artistic, creative, thrifty, compassionate, adventurous, dependable, talented, soulful, opinionated. He raised us up from infancy just the same. He worked outside all day in the sun, he brought home "the bacon," he sat through our talent shows, he drew us pictures of The Little Mermaid, he bought ice cream and made dinner, he took us on Saturday-morning rides to town, to the county dump. He was a good father. Gentle with us, considerate of us. His life path, his decisions were shaped around the needs of our family. Weeknights spent under the hood of our family mini-van.

He raised us up, and we arrived here. Somewhere. Some place between adolescence and adulthood, between small steps and big. Age 14 and age 30. Blurred lines that intersect in places and spread far from one another, like the opposite ends of a wide and broken up mountain, in others. He never left us; but there are times he departs from us. Moves away from the places that we are and holes up in a cave. Withdraws into the father, the man, the machine that he is, and remains there for a while. To catch his breath, or perhaps to imagine a different life for himself altogether. In those moments, it can be so hard to understand, so hard to accept the feeling of being skipped over, passed by.

But when he returns to us, when we are back together, little has changed. It is still small, soft daughter with eyes upturned to his bold, broad frame. His eyes meet mine, listening, understanding, accepting. Not trying to change me. Just taking it all in. You're all right. I am always trying to prove myself, make him proud. He smiles softly, leaning back into the kitchen counter. I am. I trust his words, what he is willing to give. There is always so much he wants to say. We could stand here for hours, only pausing to collapse into chairs at his round wooden table. He doesn't hold back or shield his disappointment and frustration at the sum of his days, at the way things turned out. And while they sting at first, I let them sink it and I reciprocate the understanding. You're all right.

It will never be the way it is be with other people. The daddy-daughter, daddy-son bond, a winning combination, the blue ribbon. And while it would be so easy to say, he just doesn't operate that way, maybe it is me, too. We are who we are. Stubborn, independent, self-conscious, sensitive, proud. The way we are. The way it is. But these small handfuls of moments we share are enough. The bond reaffirmed, sustained until next time.

And until then, the faith remains. I carry you with me, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Much is Too Much?

My tendency to overdo things has spread to more than just one-two-many pieces of chocolate, slices of cake and pictures of adorable babies. Indeed, I am an over-indulger when it comes to most aspects of my life. I always want more of the story, just one more minute of the movie, 10 more pages of the book—it's never enough. I've found lately that I'm the same way with the emotional stuff of life. I struggle with knowing when to quit.

I talk too much—my arms and hands flailing wildly about as I speak, shout and, most likely, repeat myself over and over again. I have a tendency to say whatever comes to mind, to rant on and on without thinking (or sometimes breathing) until I start to get lightheaded and short of breath.

It's really been bugging me lately.

I want to be stoic—a warm, inviting stoic, but stoic nonetheless.

I am getting tired of talking so much. Regretting so much. Wishing I could retract so much. And of telling myself over and over again, slow down, Lia. Slow down.

I don't try to be this way. It's just "the way I am." I hear an idea, a thought, a problem and my brain readies for battle, hell, it might even toss the first spears. Whether I am being "attacked" or just asked for my opinion, I go ALL in. I am a too-open book of options, answers, solutions, confusions, help, bigger problems, accusations, comforts. I just want to help.

I want to be helpful. I want to be—and be known as— a go-to kind of person who can be relied upon in a time of need, or any old day of the week. I long for acceptance (therein, respect) from my family, my friends, my peers, because it's what keeps me going when all else fails. I cringe at the thought of someone thinking me lazy, or careless or selfish or unwilling.

The more and more that I go on, it sounds all about me. And I guess maybe it is. But not consciously. I don't think, how can I help myself by helping you? It is just a given. I help, and in that I am helped. I comfort and feel comforted. I solve (sort of) and I feel fixed.

Maybe it's just these little daily/momentary victories that I am searching for. Enough of them to load into my pockets and provide me with the contentment I need to get through the day. Maybe it's just that my wild mind is stuck trudging through boredom most of the time that I am chomping at the bit for any little problem, any little chance to show that I am worthy. That I have a voice. That I am still here, as much as I may often feel like I am disappearing.

Medicated or not, 150 miles per hour all the time is no way to run. It promises quick wear, little control. So much guilt and frustration. Speeding, I often feel lost in certain areas (most recently, my career) and it should be no surprise. How do I detach from what drives me at such dangerous speeds, and slow down, take deep breaths and–for once—just be quiet and listen?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Ode to the Normal Jobs of Yesterday

*angst alert* *angst alert* *angst alert* *angst alert* *angst alert*

Gone are the days of the "normal job." The 9-to-5 only, the check your briefcase at the door jobs that men and even women once experienced. I swear I didn't just imagine it. Once upon a time, eager young men and women graduated from school—high school or college—and with bright eyes entered the work force. They often began at entry-level, punched in and out for a few years, accomplished what was asked of them, pushed the limits a little, challenged themselves, showed great promise and worked their way up the corporate ladder.

And then, POOF.


Did all of those companies close down?? Did all of those CEOs move to Europe to enjoy eight weeks of paid vacation?? What happened to those days when men dressed in perfectly tailored suits and skinny ties filed on and off romantic-looking trains in the mornings and evenings and trudged homeward to attractive cookie-cutter houses, primped and pink-lipsticked wives, a couple of kids and a plate of meatloaf? (An aside: Did the whole drinking on the job thing disappear with these positions?)

Am I just wondering where the 60s went? I don't need a history lesson (read: I definitely do) from anyone, I'm just wondering when it happened that we crossed over from not-necessarily glamourous but solid, respectable jobs where you show up and give a good day's work a go and then head home at 5, to the madness of 80-hour work weeks, one-week paid vacation, never enough sick days, over time, work late, weekend work, the pressure the pressure, other duties as assigned, the bending over backwards, rat race, traffic traffic traffic, the water-cooler, bureaucracy, not-at-all-what-I-ever-saw-myself-doing-ness.

It's insanity. You go to school for 4 years, or you make the effort and get your masters, and you're still looking at an entry-level mayyyybe salaried position which barely covers your bills or leaves you any extra for a few beers out on the town, or a summer concert, or god-forbid a vacation you might actually take with your seven measly days off.

We're trapped. Especially those of us who are young and just starting out. Those who were being supported by their parents throughout college have been cut off and the rest of us who have been struggling to figure it out all along don't have plump savings accounts to fall back on. We are just trying to get by. Just trying to take it one step at a time. We don't want hand outs. Or Bentleys, or beach houses—I mean, don't get me wrong, it'd be niceeee. But, we just want to do an honest day's work and make enough pay to live on—even just barely.

Can we just go back? Is anyone really happy this way? Is anyone just tickled pink with making money but never really getting to go anywhere, or having to miss out on your kids' plays or games or feeling guilty all the time for "not really living your life" or being enough for your spouse?

My heart breaks when I hear David said "it's going to be a long night." (This coming from the man who has SLEPT, yes slept, in his office. And also worked over 30 hours straight.) It breaks again when a dear friend expresses some fear when asking for a raise that she ABSOLUTELY deserves. And then it falls into a million billion pieces when another worries about slipping down into the dark depts of "workaholic-ness" of getting stuck in a hole she can never get out of, of having to take a job that she worries could hurt her relationship.

It's madness. And I want to give us, all of us, a free pass to the successful, the fulfilling, the rewarding futures that we deserve. In general, I want to take all of the pain away forever, but that's for another time.

Rest in peace, you blissful thoughts of Mad Men's Sterling Cooper office. Rest in peace, long liquid lunches. Rest in peace, bonuses. Rest in peace, extended vacations. Rest in peace, carefree. Fare thee well, joy.

Maybe it gets better with age. Maybe everyone reading this is loaded AND even drives a Bentley. Maybe I speak for only 3-4 of us. But regardless, in my perhaps blissful ignorance, I will continue to pound my fists and proclaim loudly to all who are listening (not many): Give me a normal job, or give me death!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Certain Kind of Woman

I want to be a certain kind of woman...
A brilliant writer of the female experience, a confident & successful actress, a powerful musician & role model, a wise & respected actress/activist

I want to be innovative, sensitive, adventurous, gutsy, confident, admired, respected. I want to be the master of something, or many things. I want to plant a flag into the soft, dark earth and proclaim a small patch of it as mine. I want to be great.

I do not, on the other hand, in any sense of the word(s) want to be the kind of woman who...

*...fantasizes about all of the food that she is too guilty to eat. Like french toast. And almost wrecks her car as she daydreams of this amazingly delectable and delicious french toast topped with a dash of powered sugar and DRENCHED in syrup—the woman, at this time, would like to share that she doesn't like anything drenched ever, but in this fantasy she was to be swimming in syrup—then, for good measure, topped with some fresh cut strawberries from the garden that this woman would most definitely have a green thumb for.

* so ridiculously OCD about putting on sunscreen, in order to avoid the horribleness of skin cancer, that she somehow forgets to apply any onto her stomach for a day of sunbathing and now sits with a fluorescent-colored tummy and is now probably 70 times more likely to get skin cancer on her stomach. And, in case you were wondering, no, a red stomach is not like tan-ness that gives that sort-of kind-of look like you have the beginning of something that closely resembles abs. Red just makes you look like Santa in the off-season.

*...gets painful pimples that are so sensitive they send shooting pains across this woman's forehead if they are touched at all. Especially because this woman is no longer 16.

*...obsesses over whether or not the coworkers that see her exercising on her lunch break—in the dark and dingy, perfect-spot-for-a-mugging underground garage—thinks she is indeed crazy, or a car-jacker or just a fume huffer, instead of focusing on pumping her arms or speeding up her power walk or wearing proper footwear instead of dress flats or wedge heels to go walking. Maybe she should be worrying about her foot and ankle health before anything else.

* "that person" who can always "see where so and so is coming from," in a disagreement between two other people. Even when she obviously does not agree with so and so, and most certainly when so and so is opposing the woman's husband, who the woman loves and supports and believes 99.9 percent of the time. There is something in this woman's genetic makeup that, while she is secretly just as catty and judgmental as the rest, causes her to want make everything all right, to smooth things out, level the playing field. Just call her "The Great(ly annoying) Equalizer."

*...can sometimes, though she hate hate hates to admit it, be fake. And doesn't speak her mind, especially when she has been wronged and deserves to speak up.

*...secretly stops at McDonalds from time to time to grab a quick breakfast or snack when no one is watching; and also thinks that M&M McFlurries, while she knows they are disgusting, are absolutely delicious.

*...drowns out her husbands voice when he is telling her about this new ___________ (film, movie, comic, TV show, political fight) and disappears into iPhone world and then, when he gets upset, tells him he is "being ridiculous." And also tells him to get off of his phone "and talk to me" all of the time.

*...dreams entirely TOO FREQUENTLY about an unnamed actor who is 6-foot-1 and has curly hair and an accent and who you can tell is really nice and really thoughtful and a passionate lover... :-X

*...covets four delicious hours spent on the couch eating knock-off Chex mix, watching The Real Housewives of OC in her silk robe. Yes, silk. It may/may not say Bride in bedazzled, rhinestone splendor on the back, too. This woman is classy.

*...has this conversation 2 minutes ago with her husband: *talking about iCloud* holy. crap. they are upgrading the quality to all of your music
when it enters the cloud

me: hahahaha sweetie you are cute seriously honey, this is huge


*...if she had to be honest with herself, knows that the friend that she talks to the most on a daily basis is an internet friend/granny who she loves very dearly but has met face-to-face only one time. And is vacationing with said granny this September. (This she is totally a-OK with.)

*...feels secure when she has a mere $100 in the bank.

*...thinks being a vegetarian sounds fabulous but loves meat too much.

*...never listened to her mother when she said don't pop pimples, it will leave a scar.

*...never listened to her mother when she said don't pluck gray hairs, more will come to its funeral.

*...may or may not be dreaming right this very moment about a a hot, steaming plate of pad thai with chicken, not too sweet, not to spicy, that is sprinkled with lightly salted peanuts and served on a dainty, floral China bowl that the woman wants to eat almost as much as the food itself. Also she may or may not have had to smack herself and wipe the drool from her mouth three to four times before she could proceed with this post.

Is there hope for this little old fool? Please submit your answers in writing so I can pass it on to my dear dear friend that I am writing about above but who I certainly do not know very well since I am very bright, stable and well-adjusted but who, since I am a God-fearing woman, I am going to help. That is, if you can help me. I mean her.

P.S.: And don't we all, even us well-adjusted dames, want to be a woman like Karen O?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Cord That Broke The Camel's Back

The sounds of violent screaming and shattering glassware cannot be found within the walls of our home. There is no slamming of doors or sleeping on the couch. There is only, on occasion, two stubborn blobs, gritting their teeth and holding their ground for dear life.

Why do we fight about the dumbest things?

Scene: 10 p.m. in the Dangelico living room, the original "X-Men" is on TV. Husband and wife and (spoiled) dog cuddle together on the couch under a Steelers blanket. Suddenly, and without warning, wife perks up and says: "Where is the iPhone cord? I need to charge my phone."

Neither the couple nor the dog is ever seen again.

Just kidding, but really. No one could guess (except I probably could have) that what was to follow for the next 20 minutes would be a court-room style argument, both sides fervently pleading their case, declaring without a shadow of a doubt that the other is wrong.

"You HAD to have moved it, I would bet 8 million dollars that it is on your desk at work."
"8 million dollars? You are SO DRAMATIC."
"I wouldn't have to be if you would just put the iPhone cord back where you found it!"
"Where is the one that was here yesterday?"
"Haven't you been listening to ANYTHING I've been saying, counselor, I mean, dear?"
"You shouldn't even be on your phone. We're watching a movie!"
"Well sor-ry that people LOVE me!"

(You have no idea who said what, do you?)

It gets pretty bad sometimes. It often threatens to ruin our night, and many times it is clear that neither of us believes we have done anything wrong and therefore refuse to give in. But, one of us always does. Or maybe neither of us ever does, but somehow our stern facades are eventually broken down into laughter with the use of a funny face or an inside joke.

And even though they are basically harmless (save for a few benign name-callings) I always find myself wondering afterward why we even fought about it in the first place. We trust each other completely, we have gotten pretty good at understanding where the other is coming from and how to communicate with each other—we've got the big stuff down. I guess it's just that the missing cords, the spilled dog food, the wet towels are all we have left to make a case over.

I guess it's just those little, everyday frustrations that have a way of getting to you, keeping you from being able to enjoy a warm, quiet evening on the couch. We blame it on each other, on the desire to have someone to point to for all the ways the day has let you down. Regardless, we get over it. We let each other off the hook.

Most of the time, anyway, we just blame it all on Rooney.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The One Where I Whine

Today started off pretty much like all of the others. I slept in a few minutes late, David clung to the covers for as long as he could before the dogs basically dragged him downstairs, I rushed to get ready and shrugged at what I saw in the mirror before I left. Not too bad, who cares?

I got to work, I drank my coffee, I ate two rice cakes with peanut buttah'.

Shortly after that, I found out that a girl who has my same position—except for a magazine instead of 2 websites like me—is leaving. She got a brand new job, a fabulous one, as PR Manager of a nearby PR Firm. A nice one. A pay increase, for sure and a massive step up from editorial assistant. Go head witcha' bad self, girl. Right?


At least, that's what I thought until—like a good lil' non-bitter girl—I sent her a congratulatory email and she replied "Thanks, Liam!"

Now, yes, I know that the "m" key is right next to the "." key, but there is an exclamation point that follows. Could she really have meant "Thanks Lia.!" (If so, she doesn't deserve her new, high-paying gig.)

I was fine about her new job, at least fine enough to resist any and all urges to jump out of the nearest window—that is, until she went and called me Liam.

So forgive me, and David cover your eyes because you hate it when I whine, but here goes:

Why can't life just be fair? Why can't the person who has been here the longest and been trying the longest to find a new job and has been working hard, just as hard as anyone else, and who has prayed many prayers and sent wishes up into the sky, and has been a good girl, and has endured many many scoldings for dress-code violations that everyone else does too, and has laughed at the stupid jokes, and acted like she knew the difference between bolt-action and any-other action, and has swallowed her pride and gotten picked over for the employee of the year award by none-other-than-mrs.-PR-manager-extrordinaire—why can't this UNKNOWN person find a new fab job before the...other one?

Why can't the boring, plain people be seen as boring and plain instead of impressive and better than the fun and interesting people?

Am I a fun and interesting person?

Why am I an undesirable candidate? I.E.: Why does no one want me?

And since it seems written in the stars for me to be where I current am: WHY am I here? For what purpose? Am I going to have to shoot my way out of a life-or-death situation sometime soon? Am I going to be casted for a shooting performance show? Am I going to become the next Outdoor Channel star? Is Sarah Palin going to ask me to be her speech writer? Is Joe Mantegna—who is here at work today—going to ask to adopt me and make all my dreams of no-more-student-loans come true? Am I going to eventually become a cowgirl? Am I really the illegitimate son daughter of Charlton Heston?

I really need these questions answered, otherwise I might have to resort to hanging around big open windows.

With love from your boy,