Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Viva Las Vegas: Part I

I am breaking this post up over the course of several posts/days because I know exactly how short y'all's attention spans are. I don't want to bore you by absolutely flooding you with Vegas posts, but I had the absolute most fun ever and I want to share it.

If you would like to read the entire thing, uninterrupted, I am working on creating a page up top with the entire, unabridged version. In the meantime, sit tight and enjoy the ride!

Part I: INTRODUCTION

I guess in literature they would call this part the prologue. And, hell, this post ended up being so long that it could probably count as literature. I'm not saying it's quality literature, but, you get the gist.

Las Vegas. Where do I even start? I could start with my ridiculous adventure with actually getting to Sin City, but that would set the wrong tone for the rest of the trip. (Don't get me wrong, I will tell it – it was definitely one of those “you'll laugh about this later” situations.).

I mentioned in my “airport post” that I was very nervous when I woke up that morning... and I was. Mostly it was an excited nervous, but some of it was, well, fear. Despite everything, sometimes I regress to the point where I feel like a small town Iowa girl, and I'm afraid I'll get outed as such. I was so afraid I wouldn't be cool enough, wouldn't be able to keep up. I was afraid of going to a strange city. I even managed to be afraid of traveling by myself, even though I felt like I had mastered it already. I don't even remember what else I was afraid of, but knowing the way my mind works, it was probably a trainwreck of absurdity going on inside my head.

I was afraid of not knowing what to expect.

I fell in love with this city as soon as I arrived. Over the next few days, I found Las Vegas to be my absolutely perfect getaway city. I felt strangely comfortable from the very first time I set foot on the strip (which, being from here, I'm always a bit anxious about navigating a new city, because ours are nothing in comparison. I'm also afraid I'll be so obviously out of place. But not here. Everything was so out of place that it all fit perfectly.)

I love everything about it. I love the ridiculousness and the randomness and the excess. I love the glitter and the lights. I love how everything is intertwined and close together on the strip. I love that we wandered around and not once did I not feel safe. (I did NOT love how expensive everything is, but I guess anywhere I go will be more expensive than the middle of Iowa, so... I won't hold a grudge.) I love the sounds of the casinos and the people-watching.

Most of all? I love the people that I was there with.

The whole experience was just surreal. Meeting all of these awesome people was just the beginning, but when set to the backdrop of the beautiful chaos of Las Vegas? It felt like I was wandering around in a dream for four days. Now that I'm home, I miss it already. I think Vegas has wormed its way into my cold little heart. Which means I better start saving some cash because I will be so beyond sad if I can't make it again in 2012. I know I had talked myself into this on the grounds of it being a “once in a lifetime” experience... but I can't do that. I have to go back. I can't even explain why... I think if you were there, you'd understand.

Like Nicole put it, "Bloggers in Sin City is kind of like Fight Club in that the magic doesn’t translate when you try to describe it to someone who has never participated."

As I finish up this post, a few days later, I still have this strange feeling of having left my heart behind. It's weird, because I'm not one to easily give my heart away. It's under lock and key in a heavy-duty security system that even Danny Ocean would have a hard time breaking into. [YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? VEGAS? Yeah, I know. I'm sorry.]

But I broke off little pieces and offered them up as souvenirs. I let myself be immersed so completely in the experience that I lost myself a little bit. I'm starting to feel a fresh new wave of insecurities and doubts come over me - I still feel a little bit on the fringe, in a way. Maybe I didn't engage myself enough. Maybe I hid behind my camera too much. Maybe I was too absorbed in the lights and sounds to really pay attention. Maybe I didn't let my guard down enough. Maybe I was shy when I meant to be outgoing. Maybe they didn't really like me that much after all, but they're too damn polite to push me out of the circle. Maybe I'm just kidding myself. Maybe it feels like it's too good to be true.

But I digress. (And this is why I don't usually allow myself to edit posts once I've written them.)

This fear of not being accepted stems from the fact that I so very much fell in love with everyone on that trip. The handful of days that we were there was not enough. I can't even pretend that I got home, stretched, and said, "well, it was fun, but it's good to be home."

Because I would have rather stayed a little bit longer. Done a little bit more. Dove a little further into the experience.

I suppose that is what next year is for...


To be continued...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Creepy Elvis is Creepy. Filler Post is Filler.

OOF. I have so much to share with you, my lovelies, but it's been an exhausting (but awesome) pair of weekends and I will be honest with you, I have spent much of the last 48 hours in a blissful state of unconsciousness.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this. I made it for my sister after threatening to blow up the original picture into a poster so I could hang it in her house. Preferably somewhere where she will see it immediately upon waking every day. Heh.



Oh, Vegas. The blog material never ends.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We're Alright

You know how I promised you a series of posts about Vegas? Yes, well, it's taking a little longer than planned. My browser keeps crashing for some unknown reason (I SHAKE MY FIST AT YOU, FIREFOX) and my progress doesn't seem to want to autosave (I KICK YOU IN THE GROIN, BLOGGER) so basically I want to smash my head into a wall. Also it's taking a long time to collect all the links that I'm trying to put in. AND my pictures aren't ready. Because I have to pick only a few because I'm not posting all 360-something that made the cut for facebook. (Out of the 645 I took. Hi, I'm Kelly, and I'm an overzealous picture-taker.)

Woe, sob, etc.

In the meantime... HAVE A VIDEO.

Not just any video, though. THE BEST VIDEO SINCE THE INVENTION OF MOVING PICTURES.

Brought to you by the lovely Ms. Almie Rose of Apocalypstick.





Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go get my five+ viewings in for the evening.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This Is Not The Post You Are Looking For

I wrote my post about Las Vegas. I started it in the aiport in Phoenix on Sunday during my layover. I wrote some more yesterday afternoon. I wrote the rest last night. All told, it's there, ready, in a 15-page document on my laptop.

I don't feel like it's ready yet, though. For starters, my pictures are not ready. I'm too impatient to do much more than fix the glowing demonic red eyes that inevitably occur when you use a flash, in terms of editing. I've got some cool shots that I'm sure I could turn into something beautiful rather than just something fun. Maybe that will come eventually.

Secondly – it's too long. I know how short y'all's attention spans are. I can pour my heart out into a post and most people will just skim it. I know I can get long-winded but it still hurts my feelings when people don't read what I say. Or only half read it. I don't know, maybe it feels like they don't truly care enough to listen. I realize it's more that they're busy and I'm wordy but I have a sensitive heart and I take everything personally.

What I'll most likely do is break it up into a series. It'll be Vegas Week on the Kelly Blog. Kind of like Shark Week, but with more glitz.

I'm having a hard time adjusting back to my reality. I don't know why I expected myself to just hit the ground running when I came back – maybe that's just the way I am. Work overwhelmed me today and my heart wasn't there.

Truth is, I left my heart in Las Vegas.

I left a little piece in room 24028 of the Flamingo. I left another piece beside the slot machine in the casino where I won my first few dollars gambling. I left a piece on the bridgeway over the tightly-packed traffic, where we crossed over so many times on our adventures. I left a piece at Serendipity in the empty frozen hot chocolate dish. I left a piece at the Mirage. I left another piece behind at Madame Tussaud's. I dropped a few in the lobby of our hotel where we met up every time we went somewhere. I tossed one in the fountains of the Bellagio as we walked by. I crushed them under my sparkly heels as we wandered around, all dressed up and so many places to go.

I scattered the rest of the pieces up and down the strip like a flower girl shedding petals at a wedding. Anything that might have remained after that, I tucked into the carry-on baggage of the rest of my new friends and watched them depart for different corners of the country and beyond.

It's lonelier now here than it was before. The hardest thing is that nobody will really understand it. I'm not sure I want them to. Selfishly, I kind of want to hold this trip close to myself, to not let anyone else in. To keep it something that's mine and all mine. When I heard that this event changes you, I only half believed it. But it did, and it's almost unsettling. Someone asked me today what my favorite part of Vegas was... all I could do was shrug helplessly and say "all of it."

Even if I did choose a favorite moment, nobody else would probably understand anyway.

I don't want to be disconnected from reality. I don't want to live in this haze. Maybe it's completely normal after coming back from a vacation, I wouldn't know, I never take them.

I'm slowly trying to remember what to do next. Put out fires at work. I should have just taken the whole week off – but there were too many important projects that needed me to return. Going to weigh in, crossing my fingers. Finding out that walking everywhere for two days and an ill-advised 3am hamburger allowed me to still lose a little bit of weight. I was trying to be careful. I think I worked it well, found a happy medium. I didn't track, I didn't even think about it. But I tried to make good choices. I've been working too hard for so long to get to a place where I feel good about myself, and I didn't want to sabotage it. Guys, I'm down 23 pounds. I'm fitting into things I never thought I'd wear again. I've stopped adjusting my photos to fix that second chin, all that extra face fat. It's not gone but it's not something that bothers me anymore.

Next year, I'll maybe wear a bathing suit. In public.

Because there's going to have to be a next year. I'll be heartbroken if there isn't. I mean, if it's possible to break your own heart after giving away the pieces like the stripper cards being peddled up and down the strip. Here, take one.

I don't know. I really don't. My heart is full and gone at the same time and it's strange. So very strange.

But I will try to get my real posts collected and posted. They'll be less weird than this one, I promise.

I mean. Relatively. It was still Las Vegas, after all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm a High Roller, Y'all

Las Vegas. Omg. Las Vegas was amazing. I haven't even been able to put my thoughts into words, so a real post (in all likelihood, a series of real posts) are forthcoming. But very quickly, I did want to let you all know that (a) I am alive and (b) it was the most fun I've ever had. My heart is so full of love for the experience and the people I met. It's something I'm struggling to explain.

So, for now, I will leave you with this:


I won $4.00 on my very first go-round on a slot machine.

Total winnings: $5.20. Total amount bet: either $4 or $5. I don't remember. So, you know. It was kind of a wash. But I've never done it before, so it was fun. AND I LEFT WITH AT LEAST AN EXTRA TWENTY CENTS, HOLLA.

Also, that hot pink sequin fedora was probably the best decision I made all weekend. I caved and bought it on Sunday before the brunch that I did not eat because 3am hamburgers are a bad, bad idea. More on that later. More on everything later.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fear and Self-Loathing Before Las Vegas

I am writing this in the airport, though I'll have to post it later. Have I ever mentioned how much I despise having to pay for wifi in public places? Well let me mention it again. Fuck you, Chargers of WiFi In Public Places.

Nevertheless, I am here, much too early for my flight, but sitting around at home wasn't going to do me any good. I woke up this morning with that tingly nervous feeling in the depths of my stomach, which my first reaction to was to hit the snooze button and pull the blankets over my head.

What am I doing?

If you would have known me, before... before what, I'm not sure. Before college, maybe? Before everything that came after? Before I came out of my shell? Before I became me?

Anyway, in this bygone era of Before, probably the very last thing in the world I ever would have done would have been to get on a plane, by myself, to head to a strange city, by myself, to meet and spend four days with people I've never met before. The people that, until tonight, will have only lived inside my computer. (Some of them have upgraded to also live in the text message realm as well.)

In January, I got on a plane, by myself, to head to a strange city, by myself, but waiting on the other end was a coworker and a company-paid trip to work at a trade show. After a day of getting acquainted, I was then left by myself to finish things up, and I then made the return journey home, by myself.

Getting through Atlanta (and the largest airport I've been in, to date) gave me a huge surge of confidence in my ability to travel by myself. So when I saw that Bloggers in Sin City registration was opening, I thought, I can totally do this.

My tax refund perfectly covered my registration fee and my plane ticket. I could even afford it. Who's to say I could, next year? It was now or never. So I took a deep breath and paid my fees and booked a flight. Des Moines to Denver, Denver to Las Vegas.

I felt so confident in the week or so that followed. I even talked one of my bloggy BFFs into coming along, so that confidence was doubled in the fact that I would have a partner in crime. A safety net. This was going to be the singularly most awesome adventure I had ever embarked on. I was living the type of life I'd only dreamed of: spontaneous, sassy, one might even say that it held a hint of glamour and fabulosity. Vegas! With an esteemed group of fellow Internet-writers. There would be VIP badges and sponsored gift bags... all the things that made me feel like a superstar. Even if I was just a twentysomething girl from Iowa with a keyboard and an Internet connection and the desire to make words form sentences.

Then my confidence waned. Many of these other bloggers were ones I had been reading for ages. I was intimidated by them. How presumptuous of me to invite myself along and force myself into their circle.

But there was reassurance, coming from everywhere. Current and previous attendees, swearing up and down that it would be the best experience of my life, that everyone was amazing, and everyone loves everyone, and the things you were insecure about? Didn't matter.

And as we trudged forward, I was much calmer. Much more relaxed. The more communication I had from the other bloggers, the more it felt like I was heading somewhere where I would be meeting up with a bunch of friends. Future-friends, maybe, but on some level, we were already connected. Especially us newbies. We all had the same (or similar) anxieties.

Then my safety net disappeared. I panicked, a little. I mean, I had actually pondered the possibility that the only person in Vegas that would actually like me would be Maria... so if she wasn't going... back to worrying about who would want to hang out with me.

As the final itinerary fell into place and time got closer, I metaphorically straightened my shoulders and dove into the excitement. I returned to my Twitter account and hovered around my list of fellow BiSC attendees. It felt like anything else I would go to: I would arrive, meet up with everyone, and we'd hang out. We were already predisposed to like each other, right? So it would be fun. A lot of fun.

THEN... packing. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to bring, something simple that would be comfortable but still cute and wouldn't out me as being from Iowa, which is traditionally known for being way behind the trends. And then there's me, who's behind the trends, even after they finally get to us. So I'm probably an entire year behind the rest of the world.

It was last night, as I was putting the final pieces in the suitcase, that I had my first sharp pangs of doubt.

What am I doing?

I second-guessed everything that I put into the bag. Because it was the only thing I had to directly confront my doubts with. It was easier to focus on than the larger picture: doubts about myself, my ability to do this. I suddenly got really nervous about the traveling part – the part that I'd previously been the least worried about. What if they made me check my carry-on for some reason and it got lost? What if I couldn't fit everything back into it for the trip home? What if during my insanely long layover in Pheonix on Sunday evening, somebody decided to prey upon the fact that I was clearly there by myself? Paranoia is one of my specialties, and my brain flipped through a plethora of scenarios and finally I retreated to Twitter to read about everyone else and their excitement and early arrivals and started texting my new roomie and everything seemed to be okay again.

Until I woke up. Nerves. A physical manifestation of all my worries and anxieties. Just get up, get dressed. Very good. Now go eat something for breakfast. No, I don't care what. Yes, a yogurt would be fine. Make sure the cat has food and water. I know you did this last night but check it again. Let's give her some more just in case she knocks her water bowl over. Yes, she'll be fine. You left her for longer than this at Christmas, and for Atlanta. Remember to take the garbage out, you do not want to return to a foul-smelling apartment. Very good. Zip the bags, take them to the car. Turn the ignition. You know the way.

There was an unexpected detour on the road to the airport, which made me feel justified in the fact that I was leaving so much earlier than I'd planned. But I couldn't sit at home and wait, I had to go. Forward movement was necessary.

I got through security in a breeze. My trip to Atlanta had allowed me to re-familiarize myself with the current airline policies. I kicked my shoes into a bin, I stripped myself of the jewelry I was wearing. I pulled my bag of toiletries out of the side pocket of my suitcase, where I'd put them for easy access. (They'd go back in, afterward, where they could be padded by the soft fabric of my weekend wardrobe.) Then they wouldn't have to go through my bag, I wouldn't get the polite lecture I'd gotten the last time. Laptop in a cubby, laptop bag in a cubby. The one I'd purchased online from Target, assuming that I needed at least a sleeve to put it in, and pleasantly surprised when it arrived to be more of a case, with an attachable shoulder strap that I didn't know it would be coming with. Good work, me.

I texted one of the girls I was meeting at the Las Vegas airport, part of our “airport entourage” to travel together to the hotel. I worry less about getting lost when I'm not alone. Getting lost in a group is less scary. And sometimes more fun. I confessed my nerves and she confessed hers right back. We reassured each other and reminded ourselves of the awesome that was coming our way.

I'm at the airport, now, like I said when I started. I staked out a spot by an outlet. I knew I would be here early. I might see one or even two flights depart before it's my turn. Watch the gate area fill up, then empty. Fill up, then empty. I realize now that I'm hungry. I'm not sure I want to pay for overpriced airport food. Even more so, I'm not sure I want to get up and haul my luggage with me to go hunt for something to eat. I'm comfortable here and and I've got my spot.

I'm less nervous, now. The act of going through the motions – the parking, the ticket check-in, the security checkpoint, commandeering a seat – it has all propelled me forward, it is moving me toward the finish line. Just get on the plane. It will take you to another airport, where you will find your next gate and camp out for a little bit. Get on the next plane. It will take you to a city of glitter and neon lights and martinis and people. It will take you to a group of people that are rumored to change your life. In what ways, will remain to be seen... but always positive. The reviews are always positive.

Take a deep breath. You don't give yourself enough credit. You will rock this, just like you thought you would when you signed up. They might be just as intimidated by you as you are of them. (Unlikely, but possible, I suppose). Deep breaths.

Just get on the plane.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

499...

Sooo apparently my next post after this one will be #500. It will probably occur in an airport, probably during the THREE HOUR LAYOVER I have in Phoenix on Sunday, and with the shenanigans of the upcoming weekend, I highly doubt I will remember to commemorate it, so: pre-emptive mentioning thereof. I think to honor the occasion, I might try to do another giveaway when I get back, maybe... and this time I'll send out the prizes in a much timelier fashion. Though, to be fair, the book Ashley won would not still be sitting in my apartment if she hadn't given me a work address and then gotten a different job and then up and moved to Alaska. Or if I had anything resembling motivation to brave the lunch-hour line at the post office. It's not enjoyable, y'all.

I seriously had something else I was going to talk about but I got distracted by Twitter and now I don't remember.

Also, if anyone is following along, I finally took a stand and moved my suitcase and all of the other packing shrapnel and have RECLAIMED MY BED. I slept on the couch the last two nights and now my neck is so fucking sore I can barely turn my head. I am, needless to say, NOT a fan of this. I used to sleep on that damn futon all the time but I think it has turned on me. Either that, or 25 was the cutoff for being able to comfortably sleep such furniture and now I am, in fact, TOO OLD and I need, like, an orthopedic mattress or something. I don't even know if that's a thing. I'm just cranky. Damn kids, get off my lawn, etc etc.

That said, I am TIRED and I'm gonna go pass out now so I'm not a raging bitch tomorrow. Like I almost was today. But that's a whole separate post. In fact, it was probably the post I was originally going to write. Go figure.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cell Phones, The Problem with Perfection, and Less Anxiety over VEGAS

As I gear up for Night 2 on my couch because my "packing" has taken over the entirety of my bed and I have nowhere to move it to, I thought I would regale you with some short little tidbits of randomness.

1. I am getting kind of bored of the visuals on this blog. Part of me wants to try to poke around at a redesign... the other part of me is lazy and is a big fan of "if it ain't broke..."

2. I went to go adjust my cell phone plan today because I suspect I have been overpaying for far too long but have not had a chance to really look into it. So I switched my plan. For five dollars LESS per month, I now get: a nationwide plan (vs previously roaming anywhere that wasn't Iowa), unlimited messages (including, mind you, picture messages, which used to be separate and cost me $0.25 each), and I don't even remember what else because both of those features MAKE ME HAPPY. I still get free incoming everything and nights and weekends and such... and I now get free mobile to mobile although I'm pretty sure by this point my family has all migrated to Verizon, but whatever. I did take a cut in minutes from 1000 to 450, but here's the thing: I don't use them. (Again: free nights/weekends/incoming.) She looked up my usage and the three months she checked were as follows: 100, 15, 60. Yes, you saw that. One month I only used FIFTEEN minutes out of 1000. That should tell you a lot about my phone habits. The only time I talk on it is when someone calls me, otherwise, my calls are generally brief and to the point.

I should have done this a long time ago. Though I don't know if it would have mattered until recently when they unveiled their new set of plans. I also get points now which can be redeemed for early upgrades and whatever. I'm actually due for an upgrade. It might be time to Droid it up. But my fingers are too stubby for touchscreens (which is why I will, sadly, probably never get an iPhone. Yes, THAT is the reason. Not that it's super expensive or that I'd have to change providers or any of that hassle.) so I would want/need one with a slide out keyboard. I think I did see one.

I AM VERY RESISTANT TO CHANGE, guys. Even if that change is a Droid over a 2-year-old Blackberry.

Anyway, so. I didn't save a lot, but I'm getting more for my money, which is nice. Because my car insurance payment pretty much quadrupled (and almost fucking quintupled) from last month. Ugh.

3. I don't know if I ever mentioned it here, but as of last week, I have officially lost 20.2 pounds. I feel like I'm getting closer to being able to wear some of those damn pants that have been waiting in my closet, mocking me. I also feel like I'm going to start getting close to the end of that honeymoon period when you first start to lose weight and it comes easily and then you slow down and hit a plateau and it becomes frustrating. I hope not. I'm finally starting to get some of my self esteem back.

4. Softball is going well, I did not get smacked in the face nor sunburned last week, so I'll call it a success. The game tonight went well (coaching), we shut out the other team 15-0... which was kind of nice because they beat us last time. I almost felt bad for them, but what was I supposed to do? It's not like I really have a "B-string" to send out. Even if I did... I don't know. I've never liked that. It feels so patronizing. NO MERCY.

Next week we play the undefeated team. I hope to remedy that.

I have accepted the fact that I will never please everyone and maybe not all the girls are going to have the Best Softball Experience Ever this summer, but you know what? For the most part, they seem to be having fun. And as a bonus, we're winning games. Winning is more fun than losing.

Although middle school girls with huge egos are their own challenge. Sometimes - and this is horrible - I kind of want them to lose, just so they keep their humility. It's easy to win all the time. And it feels easy. And when it feels easy, it gets sloppy and messy. People stop trying. Besides... you value it more when you earn it. Which is why I'm glad we're not equally undefeated, that we lost that second game of the season. Perfection is dangerous.

My team last year only lost one game. It was almost boring to win all the time like that. There wasn't any challenge to it and there was too much bravado that came along for the ride.

I feel like I'm just scraping the surface of some profound revelation that I will probably need to return to, but for the time being, I'm just talking about softball. Soft of.

Granted, I say all this, but when it comes down to it, I'm going to choose the win every time. Because I'm a head coach this year and I'm younger than all the other coaches and I have my pride. I'm not going to let them lose if I can help it... I'm just saying, it's good for them, sometimes.

SPEAKING of youth (TANGENT ALERT), our umpire today was young and very attractive. I was unprepared for this. It was probably an awkward sight watching me recover from this.

If we have him at one of our games again, I'm totally writing my phone number on the lineup sheet before I turn it in.

5. I have some other fairly long stories but I think I've rambled enough today so remind me to tell you about (a) the psychotic 5K that people are trying to rope me into (hi, my name is Kelly, and I can't even run a half mile without wanting to collapse) and (b) the ridiculous meddling that my mother has been attempting.

6. VEGAS! I haven't talked about Vegas yet. I'm getting excited! Less nervous, more "LET'S DO THIS!" For starters... I'm ready for a vacation. I'm about ready to snap some days because my frustration is reaching new levels. DEADLINES, people. I have them for a reason. I just need a few days of relaxation and alcohol and pleasant shenanigans. Or some xanax.

Also, via the magic of Twitter, I have secured two carpooling buddies from the airport to the hotel (yes, from our group, I'm not crazy) and a couple of other peeps who are down for skipping some pool time with me to go be touristy and do lunch at the Hard Rock because hi, we like our cheesy souvenirs here in the Midwest. I need a guitar pin from Vegas, dammit. And my sister needs a shotglass. And...

Seriously, though. It has gone from this terrifying OMG ALL THESE PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW feeling to a I'M GOING TO GO TO VEGAS AND HANG OUT WITH SOME FRIENDS, like, I don't know how to explain it. And even though I've never met any of them, and I've only had significant online interaction with a few... we're all in this together, you know? And I'm not the only newbie. And it's going to be fun.

Making definite plans helped, though. I'm a plan person. (Yes, I know, anal-retentive control freak moi? Needing plans? SHOCKING.)

Ok, sorry. That was long. Enjoy it now because we'll be light on the posting this week. Unless I pre-schedule. Or bring my laptop along. Which I might. I haven't decided yet.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm a Big Girl Now

If you have the jingle to, like, a diaper/pullups/whatever commercial in your head, then congratulations, you're old like me.

Anyway. For whatever reason, I was compelled to get an actual link for this blog. Since the blogspot link I was using had absolutely no correlation to the blog itself and it got confusing for some people (*cough* Megs *cough*).

So, behold: we now live at www.insertcleverlinkhere.com.

I'm not sure how many links I've managed to break in the process since I love to link to myself, so we'll see. It will be a couple days before it's fully active, I guess.

Supposedly it will redirect you, so I don't know if you need to update your readers or not. I hope not, that's such a pain in the ass. We'll have to see.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to continue to pile a bunch of crap on my bed under the guise of "packing."

Friday, May 13, 2011

I Think It's the Weekend Now But I'm Still Not Able to Slow Down...

Lordy. If softball was just a little bit more high-intensity, I swear I would be Barbie-doll thin in no time. Between coaching and playing, I've been spending some quality time on a diamond this week. Tuesday was the only night I didn't touch a softball... but now that I think about it, I had my board of directors meeting for the league that I coach in, so, yep. 5 out of 5 days have been softball-oriented this week.

AND I HURT.

I'm only 26. I should not be this sore everywhere. Granted, I'm trying to force my body to do things it's no longer used to doing, but still. For all my bitching and moaning, I'M STILL YOUNG.

I've still got my skills though. So that's good. I'm just feeling it later on.

In other news, I don't really have other news, other than I THINK I found a swimsuit of some form that will, in fact, not make me look like a beached whale. I've never really seen that particular style before, I bought a top on clearance at Target the other night since it was only $6, but I might go back for a cuter print. It's got a band at the top and one at the bottom, and the middle part is kind of loose - no muffin-clinging material here! It's also got a built in bra shelf, which is nice. Gotta have some support. It has straps, which are removable, but it's a moot point because I AM NOT GOING TO LET MYSELF GET SUNBURNED. I have to look fabulous for Steph's wedding next weekend and I shall not be crispy. I know they can do amazing things with Photoshop, but... I'd rather just not go there.

I haven't started packing yet, though. I've made lists, which is something. But once I start actually putting things into a bag, I'm going to go into anxiety mode, and that's not good. I am excited, though. Just... nervous. Very, very nervous. What if nobody likes me? What if nobody wants to hang out with me? What if I have anxiety issues over being seen in public in a bathing suit for the first time since probably high school? (Hint: I probably will). Mostly, the first two. I'm not near cool enough to be hanging out with any of these people and I'm sure they'll figure that out sooner or later.

That's about it, really. I'm keeping myself busy. I have so many little projects around my apartment that I want to do but, as usual, I'm pretty beat by the time I come home, which isn't usually until around 8 or 9 anyway, so I'm lucky if I can muster the energy to shower before I collapse. (Don't worry, I do it in the morning if I don't. I haven't been going this whole time without showering. Gross.)

You know what else, though? I wouldn't trade any of it. If anything, I wish there were more hours in the day, so I could either fit more stuff in, or just catch up on more sleep. Then again, who doesn't wish that?

I should probably paint the nails on my other hand now before I forget. Because that would look ridiculous. Even more ridiculous than running around all day with half the paint chipped off half the nails. I'm classy like that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who Needs a Therapist? I Have a Blog.

It occurred to me on Sunday, Mother's Day, in a startling moment of clarity, that I still haven't truly forgiven my mother for all the shit she put me (and my sister) through.


Outwardly, I have gone through the motions and we get along okay. Inwardly, though, I am still hanging on to a lot of bitterness that I didn't realize was still there. For my own sanity and peace, I need to let that go. I'm just not sure how.


Maybe it should have been obvious to me... every year, when looking for a mother's day card, I have to go through dozens of them that find a sentiment that remotely matches what I actually feel. No "best mom ever" cards here. It would be a lie. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother, I do... but she made a lot of mistakes along the way and showering her with superlatives does no one any favors. To her credit, despite everything, she has never stopped making it how clear how much she loved me and my sister; she was (usually) always there as an emotional crutch. She's my own personal WebMD. But there's a lot of damage that is being swept under the rug. I'm okay with pretending. I just need for the pretense to become real.


I don't begrudge her for leaving. I mean, the woman could have won an Academy Award for acting like nothing was wrong, but when it all came out, it was obvious she was unhappy. I think it was for the best. For her, for my dad, for them both.


It was everything that came after that started leaving scars.


Man after man, city after city, apartment after apartment, job after job. It was so hard to keep track. It became a running joke, because it had to be. It was okay, at first. I mean, I (thought) I believed in following your heart, and having the balls to pick up and move and go wherever you felt you had to go. But it was the flaking out, the inability to depend on her, not knowing if she would be able to attend any of our school events or sporting events or any of that, that was frustrating. We just learned to hope for the best and expect the worst. The worst being a no-show, of course. And the guilt... oh, God, the guilt. If we so much as indicated even the slightest bit of disapproval, we got the world's greatest guilt-inducing sob story I've ever heard of. So we kept our mouths shut and obediently followed her around the state to visit her in whatever location she found herself in. She swore up and down that if we had come to live with her instead, she wouldn't have been such a nomad. I have a hard time believing that. Instead, I was secretly grateful for the stability that we had at home with our dad. We finished high school in the same place that we'd started kindergarten; our house growing up is still "home." Our mother moved around so much, there really is no second "home" to pull up fond memories of. Hell, I've given up on trying to memorize her address or phone number. Even now.


It all imploded with this last guy. I won't get into details because this chapter never seems to close. She's married this man three times, divorced him twice. Lots of drama and emotional explosions in between. Everything currently seems calm and they've had some sort of religious re-awakening and the other shoe seems to be a long way from dropping again, so I'm just holding my breath and waiting. Fingers crossed. You want a great story, though, get some wine in me and I will tell you the whole saga. Lots of flailing and hand gestures and expletives and high-pitched near-shrieking. But it's not something I'm going to tell here, not yet. It's chaos at its finest, and all you can really do is shake your head and stare in wide-eyed amazement. It's fucked up, is what it is. But we're not done with it yet, so we'll just have to see.


But that's where a lot of the rifts came from. A lot of yelling, a lot of crying, a lot of swearing, a lot of cold shoulders. A lot of accusations, a lot of blame-gaming, a lot of insults. A lot of phony smiles and sweeping the dirt under the rug, because if we can't see it, it's not there. Until a gust of wind unsettles the whole damn thing.


It's more than that, it always is, it's been a long path from there to here, and I had just accepted it, and moved on. So I thought. I realized today that I was still holding a grudge. Maybe if you heard the whole story, you wouldn't blame me either, but that's not the point. I want to let go. For me. It's selfish, maybe. I don't want to forgive her for her sake, but for mine. Life's too short. I know that firsthand.


But I've never been a good one at simplifying. At letting things go.


Just look at all the shit I'm hoarding in my apartment.


I should never have had to be the parent. I should never have had to be the strong one. I should have been the one calling, hyperventilating because my life was "falling apart" again. I shouldn't have grown to be so cold and callous and unfeeling. I shouldn't have become this numb or this jaded. I shouldn't have had to watch my behavior for signs that I was becoming my mother. Being frivolous with my heart, making rash decisions, being blind to reality, none of it. I wouldn't retrace her steps. Maybe that's why I'm still alone. I don't trust anyone, let alone myself.


It's so stereotypical, though, isn't it? Boo hoo, I've got some mommy issues. How cliche. It's hard not to be jealous of those who have picture-perfect (or at the very least, non-damage and unscarred) relationships with their mother. It seems unfair, but that's life. Nothing's fair. And that's the way the cards were dealt, and that's the hand I have to play. It's the way I ended up the way I am, for better, for worse. There's not a lot I can do about it.


The other thing that occurred to me today is that I will probably need to invest in a swimsuit of some form for the scheduled pool time in Vegas. God help us all.

Monday, May 9, 2011

10 Days til Vegas

Excuse me while I go hyperventilate.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Bachelorette. (No, NOT the TV show. Honestly, you don't know me at all, do you?)

In the spirit of celebrating life and new beginnings, rather than depressing the everliving fuck out of everyone and mourning tragic endings, I would like to turn your/my/our attention to my beautiful friend Steph, who gets married this month. You can bet your ass there will be pictures later, because it's going to be an amazing wedding and she is going to look beautiful (you should see her in her dress! Gorgeous! But I can't show you yet, because, well, duh.).

Instead: here are some pictures from the bachelorette party. Which was so much fun. I'll be honest, I'm very wary of bachelorette parties. I hate to say this but I didn't have all that much fun at my sister's. Aside from my mother, I was the oldest person there, since my sister and her friends were, naturally, younger than me. And I was driving, so I had to stay sober, which pretty much took the fun out of it. So I just sat there, soberly, in the corner, watching the young and fabulous have a great time, while I felt all old and frumpy and boring.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am, in fact, getting older. I KNOW, I KNOW, 26 is not old, by any means. But it's not 22, 23. Even 24. I can't drink like I used to, and I'm okay with that. It's not fun for me to get shitfaced and be miserable the next day. I'm kind of over the penis paraphernalia and the like. I don't know. I'm BORING, that's what my problem is.

But I had a ton of fun last weekend. We started with dinner, migrated to Steph's for wine and cupcakes/oreo balls (which were amazing, by the by. Amaretto cupcakes with Bailey's frosting. I jumped off my Weight Watchers bandwagon so fast I almost sprained something. I had two. And could have had more. I need to know how these were made. (Calee, Steph, I'm looking at you. HOOK ME UP.) and apparently parenthesis inside parenthesis and it has to end somewhere so here). Then we went out to a bar known for its douchey patronage (it was in a strip mall, guys. I've never been to a bar in a strip mall. I was intrigued by this.) And you know what? It was so fun. I wasn't drunk enough to really dance as much as the other girls, but I've never been a good dancer, and not even alcohol can really convince me that I am. I actually show remarkable restraint even when drunk. THAT is how self-conscious I am about my dancing skills, or lack thereof.

AND: Calee (who is awesome and super crafty) made us these super cute hot pink flower accessories which were awesome and fun and I know she meant for them to be kind of gaudy but I am totally wearing mine again because I am all about headbands with flowers right now. And pink! I like to rock the pink.

We called it a night around 1am, which, for us, is late. Maybe to some it's early. Whatever. I had fun, and I think Steph had fun, and that's all that really matters.

And I got some really cute pictures, so that's important too. Ha.


Me and Calee. I love this picture. It's so cute.

I love this one too. I think I kind of forced my way into it but whatever, my camera, my rules.

Forgot to zoom out. But it was still cute.
And the one I took after it to "fix" it was all blurry.


LOOK HOW PRETTY SHE IS.
It's unfair, really.


Between these two, it's a wonder I don't have more self-esteem issues.
Again: NOT FAIR.


The bridal party!

I'm so excited and I can't wait for the wedding!!!!!! Squee!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Five.

You know what today is, guys. It's probably the most consistent tradition I have and it's one that I'd rather not have to have.

I was doing a great job of not thinking about it this year. Five years later. And then it just kind of hit me like a brick wall and it hurts to breathe and I don't want to think about it anymore. It's the kind of dull ache that never really goes away.

She would have been 27. Someone else mentioned on facebook that they could only imagine all the things she would have accomplished in that time. It's almost too hard to wrap your head around. She was so, so talented... you can only wonder what the world would be like if she were still in it. I often wonder what my own life would be like. I haven't had her to confide in or get opinions from. I haven't had her around to help shape the direction of my life. There's that great hovering "what if" that haunts me sometimes. I hate it. I hate it so much.

I like to think that right now, she would have been married with one or two of the kids she always wanted. She would have been an amazing mom. She'd be doing great things in the design world. Or maybe she would have done something in the more traditional arts. I think she would have absolutely loved the vintage, crafty movement that's been happening. It would have suited her perfectly. Her house would be decorated the way you would only see in a magazine. I would have been jealous of her and her style, just like I always was. Jealous but never bitter, because it was so hard to begrudge her anything - she was so sweet and caring and she deserved every good thing that came her way. She didn't deserve to have everything ripped away from her so young. She didn't even get to graduate from college. She finished, she got to feel that sense of accomplishment. But she never got her diploma.

It changes the way you look at things. You're more careful. You're more paranoid. Maybe that's why I get apprehensive about driving in the winter... it's too easy, a recipe for disaster. I refused to drive on Highway 30 for at least two years after the accident. I believed it was cursed for us.

I don't know. I don't know what else to say that I haven't said before. It doesn't make sense, and it won't. I can't pretend that I understand, when I don't.

All I can do is remember.



[Side note: happy, happy birthday to my friend Maria, who has the extreme misfortune to have to share her birthday with this day. (and with her younger brother. and with our college graduation.) And happy birthday to my lovely friend Megs, who apparently was born today too. I'm not sure what was going on about nine months before now, but there are a lot of birthdays right now. Hmm. Love both you girlies and I hope you have a wonderful day and you deserve to have us celebrating you and your life. Maria, especially, I'm sorry this day always overshadows you. It's not fair to you, and it's just another thing I hate even more about all of this.]

Previous posts, from previous years:

2010. 2009. Repost from 2006.


Some pictures. Because that's all I have left. And not many, at that.