Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 - What A Year!!!

As the New Year approaches, I thought it would be a good time to take a moment to reflect upon what’s gone on over the past 12 months. I think one of the most challenging experiences I had this year was getting used to the responsibilities and unexpected costs associated with home ownership. I never thought that I could single-handedly keep the pockets of my local plumbers, electricians, and drain cleaner professionals lined with my money all throughout the year, but that’s been a big part of my year. I thought the tax benefit I would get from owning would be great and it was and still is, but it certainly got used up right away once this needed fixing and that needed replacement. Oy vay. But I love my place and now coming on my 2nd year anniversary of owning my condo, I still wouldn’t trade it. It’s all mine, I’m so proud of it and I really feel like I’ve made myself a cute little home. I also celebrated my 10th year at my company and I couldn’t believe that I was old enough to have done anything for 10 years in a row! My career in cultural exchange has been challenging, fulfilling, and always new and different. I still love it and all the crazy folks I’m blessed to work with every day. I said goodbye to one of my dear colleagues this year when she passed away from cancer. It was incredibly sad, but also reminded me of how special my relationships are and how much I truly value those around me. What my friend Betty taught me about compassion and setting the highest personal and professional standards will remain with me for the rest of my life. I also learned a few lessons from another colleague who decided to move on to a new opportunity and while my heart has broken because I cherished each day we worked together, I know that our friendship will last forever and a few thousand miles won’t break our bond! I’ve traveled across the country and around the globe again this year with my friends and colleagues and as exhausting as it can sometimes be, I’m grateful for each and every opportunity. I’ve seen my amazing friends become mothers and I couldn’t be more proud of each of them as they have truly embraced their maternal instincts and become the best mommies those kids could ever ask for. I got to meet my little nephew Caden in September and I have fallen in love, once again, with a beautiful child that my sister and brother-in-law brought into this world. I didn’t think I could love a child as much as my niece Maddie, but he has stolen my heart with his little crooked smile and an addiction to cuddling I am pleased to indulge in endlessly. My family means the world to me and 2009 continued to show me that I have the very best family in the world. So, what’s in store for 2010? I don’t know, but if 2009 has taught me anything, it’s that I’m ready for whatever is coming my way! I wish you all the best in 2010 and may you be just as blessed as I have felt.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bad Things Come In Threes So I'm All Set, Right?

So this holiday season was filled with family, friends, and me falling down. I started things off last week by accidentally scratching my nose so as to leave myself with a nice gash. I kind of forgot about it but as I greeted all of my relatives over the past few days they've all paused and asked me what the hell I did to myself. Then on Christmas Eve I was helping to wash some dishes and a wine glass broke in my hand and cut me pretty badly. Of course my drunk uncle was the one who got the glass out with the tweezers (but not really because I actually got it out myelf the next day when my finger still hurt). I figured I was in the clear but then last night at another family get together I walked full speed into a suitcase and broke my little toe. Now, there's really nothing you can do, just ice it and deal with it. I figure that I'm out of the woods now and that since bad things happen in 3s there's nothing left for me to do. Although these are probably famous last words and I'll be blogging about some other thing I've twisted, broken or otherwise mangled in the coming days. Well, happy holidays my friends! If you see me on the street limping along sometime soon, just don't add insult to injury by driving in a puddle and splashing me because I don't think I can take anymore!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

I'm lucky enough to be able to take two weeks of vacation this holiday season. For those of you who know me well, you know this is is rather rare as I can't remember a time I was out of work for 2 straight weeks aside from when I had surgery a few years ago. Needless to say, I've definitely figured out how to fill my time and am enjoying every moment of it. Let me be clear, however, that there are a few more moments than I had anticipated. This is because of the fact that I have an internal alarm which has required me to be awake at 7:30am every morning of my vacation so far. Oh, how I long for the almost hibernation I used to be able to have as a teen where I could sleep all day and still crave more. I remember in college that if I had 20 minutes between classes I would try to figure out a way to get a nap in there. But not now. Now, my body behaves like a 75 year old where I am up early and I could easily give in to the need to go to sleep at 9:00pm on most nights. What the hell has happened to me? I'm still young, in my 30s, and there's no reason for me to be up with the roosters! Honestly, what do I need to get done during vacation at this time of the morning that couldn't wait until at least 10? This is just a cruel trick from mother nature and I'd like to know who I can write a complaint letter to about this. Oh wait, I guess I just wrote one to all of you.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Worst Job

Okay, so today I'm getting an MRI on my knee to see what's really going on so we can fix it already. Well, as part of the prep for the procedure I received a phone call from the MRI center asking me just a few questions... In a matter of fact tone, the delightfully unchipper person on the other line proceeded to ask me the following:

Do you have diabetes?
Do you have heart disease?
Do you have a metal plate in your head?
Do you have any screws, pins, or other metal in your body?
Are you on dialysis?
Do you have shrapnel in your eyeballs?
Do you have a personal history of cancer?
Do you have a blood disease?
Do you have any artificial limbs?

Then I started to lose focus as she continued down the line of incredibly depressing questions and I could have sworn I heard her say:

Have you lost the will to live?
Do you know the meaning of life?
Do you have "daddy" issues?
Have you ever exhibited violent tendencies?

Turns out I passed whatever test I needed to in order to have the pleasure of sitting inside a machine for 20 minutes and getting pictures taken of my knee. They asked more questions in preparation for my MRI than I was asked in order to get my license, passport, mortgage, and acceptance to college!

The thing is that you can't really make the questions they have to ask sound any better than they are and if I couldn't put my personality into my work then it would be the worst job in the world for me to be the MRI prep lady! Now, I'll just have to remember to take my hearing aids out before we begin so they don't go flying across the room when they put the magnet on. Wish me luck, this visit alone ought to provide some material for a future blog.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Anxiety

So, every year this happens to me without fail. As we get closer and closer to Christmas I start to dream about the gifts I need to get for people and, inevitably, it turns into a nightmare where I imagine myself with my family opening presents only to realize that I forgot one person. Now, in my dream the forgotten gift-getter is sitting quietly in the corner looking sad as can be as they try to process the fact that I have dissed them. It's actually never happened to me and I pray that it never will, but every single year around this time, I end up having this same horrific dream many times before Christmas day. I think I need to start buying some back-up gifts, just in case. Think of it as a Christmas first-aid kit for those gift emergency situations! How about you, have you ever forgotten anyone? Or better yet, have you ever received a gift from someone unexpectedly and then realized you didn't get anything for them? Oh the holidays, it's my favorite time of the year but, oy vay, I can't handle all the anxiety!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One woman's communication challenge is another woman's blog topic

Okay, so I'm still cracking up thinking about a conversation I had with a trainer at my gym this morning. So, she was filling in for my regular trainer and she was trying to bond with me with some small talk. She should NEVER try to do this again. So, here's attempt number one of her trying to bond with me:

Her: So, I haven't seen you around here, have you recently started coming here?
Me: No, I've been coming since the end of May.
Her: Oh, I didn't realize that because I only recently saw you here.
Me: Yeah, I'm here pretty regularly and have been for about 6 months.
Her: Okay.
Me: Incidentally, didn't YOU just start here about a month ago?
Her: Yes.
Me: So, essentially, you probably haven't seen anyone at this gym for very long right?
Her: Yes.

So, you would think that this would have caused her to realize that the small talk wasn't going well and we should just stick to the workout, but then she tried again and SPOILER ALERT, she failed.

Her: So, what are your goals with your program?
Me: Well, I'm looking to continue to lose weight and to get in better shape.
Her: So, nothing really in particular.
Me: I would say that the losing weight and the getting in shape is pretty much what I'm looking for.
Her: So, no real goals to speak of.
Me: Umm, well, I think my goals are to LOSE WEIGHT and to GET IN SHAPE. So, those two SPECIFIC things are my real, particular goals that I would say I have.

At that point it had gone from the ridiculous to the sublime and I realized that while the conversation was going nowhere, she had given me the greatest gift of all: my next blog entry. So, thank you Lina and Merry Christmas to you too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Revenge Of The Christmas Cookie

Oh, those damned Christmas cookies. I swore I would be good, I promised to stay away and then at my company cookie swap today, I ate with abandon and forgot all of my promises. And now I’m paying the price. I’m sitting here with a good pound of refined sugar sitting like a brick in my tummy. I’m also full of regret. Did I NEED that last frosted sugar cookie? Did I just HAVE to eat that little square of fudge? Was it COMPLETELY necessary to try all three chocolate chip cookies being offered? And now here’s the worst part, after all of that sugar I am craving something salty like you wouldn’t even believe. I swear, if someone walked by with a cheeseburger, I would literally tackle them and if they got hurt, so be it. Oh the joys of the holiday season.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stretching The Truth

Okay, so picture it. It's Thursday morning and I'm working with my trainer and we just finished a workout. I'm exhausted and can't believe I made it through this experience alive. I long for the brief moments I can spend on the floor stretching and recovering because at least I'm not doing hideous dumbbell reps or push ups or sit ups with a medicine ball. Actually, one of the best things about the stretching part of my sessions is that my trainer helps me and I get a much better stretch than I could on my own. However, the benefits go right out the window when I come to a stunning realization while he lifts my leg up and pushes it forward for a hamstring stretch. My pant leg starts to drop and I realize that I haven't shaved my legs for a few days and as he moves forward, as if in slow motion, my leg grazes his cheek. I swear, I could have drawn blood with those sandpaper legs. So, I wanted to die a little bit because neither one of us said anything, but we both knew the horrible truth. You better believe that my next session will feature me with the smoothest legs you've ever seen! Now, in case any of you are jumping to any conclusions, there could be nothing even close to attraction between myself and this trainer. In fact, that idea would be more horrific than the scene I just described. The fact is that this would have been embarrassing no matter who was playing the role of my trainer. Just another day in the life of yours truly.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Why Must I Talk In The Elevator?

There’s nothing like an awkward silence to just push me over the edge. I’ve realized that I feel compelled to fill those empty moments with some nonsense rolling around in my head which may end up being worse than if I had kept everything quiet and awkward. The elevator is my worst enemy in this respect because that’s a daily opportunity for me to say something stupid and wish I had kept my trap shut. My most frequent offense is standing there and then saying something brilliant like “don’t you think it’s funny how people are always so quiet in elevators?” Good job, way to make everyone feel stupid for not keeping the energy alive and kicking for the 2 minute commute to their floor. My greatest hits continue with commentary about traffic, weather, Christmas shopping, or making what I did that weekend sounds SOOOO fascinating. Sometimes people just want to be quiet and I should just respect that and keep to myself. But I can’t help it, it’s like I have elevator-induced Turret’s Syndrome. Is there any hope for me?