Monday, April 27, 2009

If I'm Posting, It Must Be Monday

I don't know what it is right now, but the only day of the week that I seem to have the mental capacity to write is Mondays. Probably has something to do with my deep, internal struggle to balance my business career self, as it returns to the office, with my artistically longing self, which seems to be getting completely lost in the shuffle.

Either that, or I'm getting enough sleep on the weekends and thus can form coherent thoughts again.

I don't know that I really did get all that much sleep this weekend, actually. But I had a damn good time. It was freakishly hot out. Fifth Grader accepted back-to-back birthday party invites on Saturday, leaving Third Grader and I to devise a plan of activity for ourselves. So mini golf it was! There's not much in the entertainment world that can compare to whacking golf balls through shrunken covered bridges and teeny, tiny barns while the scorching sun beats down on your ever-so-pale arms and neck. I got myself a most interesting looking patchy sunburn, and Third Grader's freckles joyfully resurfaced after a long winter hibernation. Love those freckles. On her. My own popped back up as well, but they are decidedly less cute now then they were at nine years old.

Anyway, once we wrapped up the back nine we headed indoors to the arcade for a bit. This is the part where my elfin little girl thought she would show me a thing or two. "Mama, how about this game?" she innocently asked as she sidled up to Dance Dance Revolution. I confess I tried to squirm my way out of her challenge, not really wanting to totally humiliate myself in front of whomever happened to be around. But she would have NONE of that. So? I whooped her little butt instead. That's right, little lady! Mama still knows where it's at! Mama's got some moves! Mama...totally lost Third Grader's interest when I didn't let her win.

After shuttling Fifth Grader from party #1 to party #2, we still weren't quite ready to cash it in, so we capped our Saturday with a little girl time. Pedicures, manicures, a little shopping, a little TGIFridays. We're a couple of wild ones, aren't we? Out on the town on a Saturday night until 9:30! Woo!

Sunday, also a scorcher, involved fetching Fifth Grader, taking Third Grader to softball practice, and watching Boyfriend paint my garage. Definitely not my idea of how to have a good time on a hot Sunday, that whole garage painting thing. And yet, words cannot describe the look of pride in his eyes at the sight of his completed project: a clean, clutter free, whitewalled garage with a painted floor. I'm positive that I did not sufficiently gush over his handiwork, and for that I must compensate. He also fixed my broken garage door, which did make me feel all gushy because I hate large broken things that I have no hope of fixing on my own. Plus I got a little excited this morning when I saw the painted garage with fresh, next day eyes. So I definitely owe Boyfriend some gushing.

Here we are now, back at Monday again. It's vacation week for the Tornadoes. Third Grader is perched on my bed at the moment, script in hand, trying to memorize her lines for this week's acting camp production. Fifth Grader just darted in to inform me she is going to practice her flute until DWTS starts. I think someone forgot to tell them they're on vacation. Personally, I would love to skip DWTS and go to bed. This is not likely to be allowed, so I will end here for now and go reserve my corner of the couch.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Do You Get When You Cross an Elephant With a Cheetah?

You get a girl at the crossroads, my friends.

I can't believe I put up that semi-whiny post about my birthday...and then, yet again, disappeared from blogland. It's been a hell of a week. A few weeks, really. And what I mean by that is, it's been a hell of a few weeks in my head and in my gut, if not necessarily from an external point of view. Between adjusting to the new workplace, grieving the end of "Tween Us Girls", and finding myself involuntarily - yet constantly - pondering what the future holds for me personally, I feel like I have been endlessly looping through the stages of grief. And let me tell you, it's pretty freaking exhausting.

I am truly loving my new workplace. Let's start with that. Suddenly, I'm excited again about what I do for a living. I finally feel like I have room to grow, like I might be in slightly over my head at the moment but that truly good things are possible and even likely to happen. When is the last time I felt like that about work? Couldn't even tell you. So this is all good, positive stuff...and yet, the moving experience has been a little bit like getting divorced all over again. I'm pretty sure people make decisions to better themselves by changing jobs in all kinds of industries fairly often, but in my industry it seems to be viewed by some as a kind of betrayal. What's up with that?

The complication with loving my new workplace, and in totally engrossing myself in my work again, is that it doesn't leave many brain cells firing at the end of the day. Which makes it difficult to write. Which brings me to my mourning of the end of my column: I know I said I was okay with it, and I think I actually am. But still it has knocked some air out of me, and made me feel a little sad. Writing is a deeply ingrained passion, and pursuing it professionally has been kicked to the back burner more times (and for more stretches of time) than I care to recall. Writing my silly little column for the past year made me feel like I was finally doing something legitimate with all that longing to write. And now it's history. And while I naturally have the best of intentions to seek other opportunities to write, exactly when am I going to do anything about that? Hmmm?

Somewhere in between Third Grader's softball practice schedule, which just began, and both girls' gymnastics schedules? Maybe in my spare time on the weekends - except for this past weekend, aka States Meet, which sucked up every minute of our lives from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. Oh, and not this weekend coming up, due to Fifth Grader's back-to-back birthday party itinerary on Saturday and, yes, softball practice on Sunday. If the term "cheetah" had not already been claimed by a certain ubiquitous and now-nearly-past-their- prime girl pop band, I would have to say the term is more fitting than "cougar", given the speed at which I find myself moving on a daily basis. Seeing as I found myself literally falling asleep at the table at seven o'clock Sunday night, I don't see a lot of time being carved out for querying publishers any time soon.

And then there's the elephant. The great big one in the middle of the room. This elephant goes by the harrowing name of Where Is This Relationship Going? ...It's a long name, but really, it's an elephant, so the long name thing works. And all I'm going to say about this elephant is that it's really pissing me off lately. Regardless of everything else that I have already mentioned is going on in my life right now - which is a whole, freaking lot of stuff - that damn elephant keeps right on stomping in to the center of every room that I'm in and forcing me to acknowledge it. "Say my name!" it keeps demanding of me. And since it is so damn insistent, I find myself reflexively saying its name to Boyfriend at every inopportune moment.

If you have ever encountered this elephant yourself, you can just imagine how sweet and charming this message might be coming across. Personally, I am totally out of my element here. I don't do needy. Some days I would really like to shoot that damn elephant, go get a couple hundred cats and be done with the whole thing.

And yet, why does it keep showing up? There must be a reason.

Anyway, enough of my safari metaphors for one day. I think I was supposed to go watch the elimination round of DWTS with Fifth Grader about forty-five minutes ago. Something tells me she has fallen asleep waiting for me. Bad, bad mommy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thirty Six. Again.

In the spirit of re-embracing my blog - and showing my appreciation that you still take the time to come by here to see if I'm still alive and posting - I want to thank Dingo for her most excellent office decorating tip. And also? A perfect birthday gift idea.

One cabana boy, please.

Oh, I'm just kidding. No cabana boy could possibly replace Boyfriend. Although I wouldn't hate being somewhere tropical and sunny with Boyfriend for my birthday - but that's not going to happen, since I just started this new job, oh, three days ago. And since my stupid birthday is tomorrow.

Remember how much fun birthdays used to be? So exciting, so full of promise. In short: worth celebrating. Now? I'd just as soon forget the whole thing.

So last year at this time, I reflected on the condition of my life and on the years that had passed so far. And of those years, 36 was about as good as any before it. Certainly better than many, that's for sure. So I have decided to stay at 36. And I'm a bit tuckered out from getting acclimated to the new workplace, so not a lot of energy left for reflecting this year. Let's just be done with it. Deal?


Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome To the Cougar Den

So here's one really cool detail about my new job: I scored a corner office.

Woo hoo!

Truth be told, it doesn't mean a whole lot to me. I mean, whatever. An office is an office. But when Rocky and I were asked which vacant spaces we wished to occupy, he very generously offered me up to the corner. And I didn't exactly argue with him. I mean, come on, I'm not crazy!

So this weekend, we - Rocky, my girl K, and myself - were sitting around the little round meeting table in my corner office, doing some work stuff. And Rocky decided my office needed a name. So he named it. Behold: the Cougar Den.

Don't even start with me about how I'm too young to be a cougar, just because my age still begins with a 3. I am mere days away from turning 36 for the 3rd time. And I've decided to accept the status of "cougar" with poise and grace. And, of course, cougarish hotness.

Any idea how to decorate a Cougar Den? Seriously, I can barely furnish a regular, everyday office, so now I'm feeling a little pressure. Thoughts?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

When It's Time To Change, You've Got To Rearrange

I know that I have barked up the "Sorry I haven't posted much lately" tree once or twice in recent weeks...and yet here I am, creeping on up that trunk one more time. Can it still hold me, I wonder?

I always have a good excuse, you know. Usually it has something to do with gymnastics, or a column deadline, or work-related mental exhaustion. Well this time? It's two out of three. But in a really, really good way.

Let's start with the column. Actually, "Tween Us Girls" is no more - at least not until I find it a new home. In one very big sense, it was sad and disappointing to get the news from my editor that my column had become a recession casualty. In another sense, I'm okay with it. As much as I enjoyed writing it, especially the challenge of trying to distinguish it from AficioNada in style and content, it was a bit too much of a challenge at this point in time. So much going on, so many things to sort out on other's a bit of a relief to have something off my plate for a little while. It gives me a chance to focus on some other matters needing my attention, such as my job.

Oh, I quit my job on Friday. By the way.

I don't really like to expend a lot of blog energy talking about my job, but there it is. On Friday afternoon, I left the company that has employed me for a decade and a half, and moved on. And suddenly I feel about a decade and a half younger. Interestingly, I have actually been carded TWICE since Friday. This only leads me to believe that my accumulated stress was showing a whole lot more than I thought. And so I'm guessing this was the right decision, no?

Luckily, I also did not flee alone: Rocky is still with me, as is my girl K. A package deal. Strength in numbers. Future post material...and yes, perhaps I will have more to say about work going forward, now that I am not wanting to gouge my eyes out at the end of every day. But then again, maybe I will have so much more mental energy now that I will astound and amaze you with my variety and humor, and work will be one of a multitude of topics that is no longer off-limits.

Anything's possible. Did I mention that I got carded? Twice?