Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lesson #25: Embrace your inner Irish.

Up until two weeks ago, I'd never heard the term "get your Irish up." I saw it in a movie and now that I've forgotten the punchline, I'll just say the line was used as a euphemism for an erection. Since then, I've heard it twice in its original connotation -- as a euphemism for feeling aggressively boisterous.

Well, this particular post is about neither of those things.

This particular post is a shout out to Mickeys fine malt liquor. It is a tradition in our house to have fried chicken and malt liquor on the third Monday of January. We continued the tradition last Monday. And since Mickeys is cheap and it's sold in the mini-mart around the corner, Mickeys and my house have become fairly well acquainted as of late.

You'd think that a nice girl like me wouldn't stoop to befriending such a base Irishman. But personally, I think Mickeys has a bad rap. He's actually quite a riot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lesson #24: Keep on truckin' even if every other car seems to be slowing you down

I am in the process of developing a business plan. My current task is to create a budget and profit and loss projections. Seems simple enough. Except that I'm waiting on someone else to run a few numbers for me, and ... I'm ... still ... waiting.

I gave them this assignment three weeks ago with a deadline of two weeks ago. I pushed the deadline up for them by a week since it seemed they weren't going to put the joint down and get me the numbers I needed. Now, I have a hard deadline of tomorrow by 3 p.m., and it looks like I'm going to have to do the financial research myself.

In the big picture, it's no big deal. If you want a thing, you've got to work for it.

I think this is my first real test. Do I really want to do this? Do I really want to be the one who carries all the business details on my back alone?

Reflecting on those questions, the answer becomes clear. It's a good idea. It'll work. It'll make money. And I want to do it.

I simply need to remember that I can't rely on anyone else to do it for me. That's not such a bad lesson after all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lesson #23: Regret is what I regret the most

I have done plenty of things one should regret. I forgive myself those things, because one, I don't believe in living a life of regret, and two, I try daily to be conscious of wrong doing and to make up for things I do wrong when I know I've done them.

Unfortunately this is a modern mindset of mine. When I was younger, I blundered through life, breaking hearts and not paying attention. Most days, I try not to think what this has cost me.

This weekend I spent time with my best friend, a man I've known forever, someone I love dearly. When I was 14, I counted red sports cars as a game. I told myself when I reached 50 cars, the next boy I saw would be my true love. This man was the one I saw. He was my true love.

I didn't believe it. We were family friends, we'd basically grown up together, he was older than me and he annoyed me and intimidated me more than anything. By the time I was 20, I'd warmed up to him. We had a brief moment of "what ifs" between us then -- he was between relationships, and I was looking for a way out of the one I had. We entertained the thought that he and I might make it, that we might be lovers and friends and not ruin either. But I didn't trust it could happen. I was still young, still intimidated by the verocity of my emotions, by my distrust that I could ever be happy, by my distrust in myself to do anything right.

And so, the greatest mistake of my life was to break his heart and walk away.

The consequences of that one decision have weighed heavily on me for so many years. It changed my life, set me on a course that propelled me into the far reaches of the cold hard nothingness of empty loneliness, it affected my children in more ways than I can write here, it destroyed my chance of ever having a "normal" relationship with anyone ever again. My heart collapses into itself whenever I think about it.

We remained friends throughout the years. He periodically came into my life, just when I would settle down and start to grow comfortable with whatever compromise I had recently made, and he would shake things up. He would show me what an illusion my current happiness was because he wasn't there with me.

I spoke to him about all this, this weekend. And he told me he did that on purpose, that he thought of me throughout all those years, that he wanted me to regret sending him away and periodically popped up just to remind me what I'd given up.

Though we are best friends now, and this is usually ancient history for us now that we've forged a new relationship that works well for us, the knowledge that I spent so many years miserable because of that one mistake makes me almost sick to think about. Usually I turn off all thoughts of my disappointing past and try to only look toward the future, one I can shape with more forethought and conscientiousness. One that involves no heartbreak for myself or anyone I love.

If only I'd been so thoughtful and so brave all those years ago ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lesson #22: Know the right terminology!

This list was taken from an anonymous forwarded email. I post it here for its anthropological value. Enjoy.


(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome’. That will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying F-- YOU!

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Lesson #21: Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons

My office phone rings.

Caller ID: HOME

Me: Hello?

My 11-year-old son: Hello. Can I please speak to Steve?

Me: Steve? My boss?

Son: Yes.

Me: Why do you want to talk to Steve?

Son: Because I want to ask him if he has any work for me.

Me: Work? You want to work for my boss?

Son: Yeah. I want to earn some money.

Me: You want a job? You mean like how you stacked wood for our neighbor and she gave you money?

Son: Yeah. So, can I talk to Steve?

Me: No, Steve's not here, but I'll talk to him for you on Monday. You know you could do some chores and I'll pay you. Like, you could vacuum and pick up the dog poop in the yard.

Son: Can I go ask the neighbors if they have any work for me?

Me: No, I don't think you should be out there banging on neighbors' doors alone.

Son: Well, I got to earn some money. I'm broke.

Me: Well, how about you do some chores. I'll pay you a dollar a chore.

Son: Isn't there any other way I can earn some money besides doing chores?

Me: No.

Son: Well, then can I have a raise?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lesson #20: McDonald's *will* make you fat

This week my office started a Biggest Loser contest.

I could say it wasn't my idea, and at the inception, it wasn't, but I just happened to have experience in this sort of thing. My two bosses happened to be talking about needing to lose weight and I happened to hear them and I happened to butt in and say, "Hey, we should have a Biggest Loser contest!"

I got the idea from a cool little paper I used to write for. Three years ago we had an eerily similar contest there, about which I wrote a little blog. It was great fun. I lost around 12 pounds in the contest as I recall.

So, in my new office, we set up the rules in the same vein as the last contest. We weigh in during staff meetings. We track each other's progress (gains and losses) on a white board in a public room. We try to undermine one another with mockery and temptation (one of my bosses' birthday cake sits mostly uneaten in the fridge as I write this).


I can't believe I'm blogging about this again!

Three years ago, I weighed 172 in January, the most I'd ever weighed and the same weight I'd clocked in the hospital before I gave birth to one of my sons. After the contest I was down to around 160, and a stressful divorce and move cross country with the kids helped me to pare down some more. I took a summer off and spent two or three hours a day at the gym, until I reached my lowest weight -- 145 -- around December of that year. Though that might still sound heavy to some people, at 145 I wear a size 6, have cleavers for cheek bones and look sickly. 150 is actually my ideal weight.

A year and a half ago I began a full-time load to finish my undergrad degree, and in that time I have put on 25 pounds. You tack on the fact that I adopted an unnatural love of cheap and easy fast food and it's no wonder I am not my blithe self anymore.

It is truly unfortunate. I literally worked my ass off to lose that weight. I turn my back for one second and it all comes piling back on.

So, it's a Biggest Loser contest for me once again. I didn't win the money pot last time, and I might not win again, but it certainly helped get me started.

So here's to another good beginning.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lesson #18: If the scenery is depressing, keep your eyes on the road

I've struggled with cyclical depression since I was young. I have found the best way to pull myself out of a depressed state is to smile. Then smile again. And again. And if someone talks to me, to smile back and giggle. Then find a way to laugh.

And before you know it, the depression is lifted.

Unfortunately it usually takes a few days ... ahem ... sometimes, a couple of weeks ... to remember this simple trick.

Lately one of my roommates, who is usually one of my emotional rocks, the one who taught me how to chortle, has become morosely depressed. At first, I spent days catering to his whims and needs, alternating play between clown and nurse, in an attempt to cheer him up.

The end result?

He's still depressed.
He's not talking to me.
I got mad.
Now I'm depressed.

Luckily, this all happened in the space of the last 24 hours and I've recognized it early enough to start smiling ... now.

And again.

One more time.

Ah, better.