Monday, November 26, 2007

The Tardy Thanksgiving Entry

All in all, we had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. I was a little unsure of my feelings regarding the first big holiday since my parents moved out of their house, but it all worked out somehow. Since we weren't hosting a dinner this year, Jon and I decided to be Thanksgiving Day nomads and travel between three different houses. We started the day off with a heavy dinner with his mother's side of the family. We then moved on to a light dinner with his father's side of the family, and ended the evening with desert in the company of my family. It sounds like an unbelievable amount of food, but we did a pretty good job of warning and restricting ourselves in order for it to work. There was a whole lot of reminding each other to save room for dinners #2 and #3 going on.

Somewhere in the midst of all that eating I let my mother-in-law talk me into participating in the Black Friday Sales. I'd tried it once before, probably about 7 years ago. A few friends and I drew up a plan of what stores opened first, waited in line, shopped faster than anyone should have to, and moved on to another unopened store to wait in line. I was tired and cold, and returned home around noon with nothing but an Elmo cookie tin and the new Jewel CD. I promised myself that I would never do that again, no matter what great deals the stores offered next time. But of course my mother-in-law is the one person in my life who can tell me to jump and I'll ask how high, and so I agreed to go bargain hunting with her even though I knew that I suck at aggressive shopping.

Luckily, she was even less interested in waiting out in the cold for an unlikely deal than I was, and had an alternate plan. Apparently the outlet mall opens at midnight every year on the day after Thanksgiving. All we had to do was make the 40 minute drive to Aurora, spend 30 minutes looking for parking (which included a lot of dirty driving tactics on my part), and we shopped for 30% to 50% off already discounted prices until 4 in the morning. I still didn't buy much; a little something for my mom, for my little sister, and a dice game Jon and I had been scouring the stores for, but that doesn't matter, because even better than the shopping was the atmosphere. It's an outdoor mall and so all of the stores had decorated their exterior with lights and garland. Bells were ringing, and Santa Claus was Ho-Ho-Hoing in the distance, and for the first time in a long time, I was happy to see snow--big, fat, snowflakes that stuck to my eyelashes. Christmas never started so early for me.

We stopped for warm chai on the way home, and I walked in the door just in to time to see Jon off to work. I slept until noon and then headed out to Target for a few smaller, less advertised deals. And let me tell you, nothing feels quite so comfortable as soft flannel sheets that look awesome and only set me back $12.99.

Friday, November 23, 2007

About Time His Musical Genes Kicked In

Slurring his speech as if in a drunken stupor, but with a Blood Alcohol Content of zero, his only excuse was the 10 hours of retail-induced exhaustion when he sang this little ditty for me.

"I've got pumpkin bread, pumpkin bread in my hand.

If you want some, you gotta join the band.

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin bread, it's in your head.

You better hurry up, or you won't be fed."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Not a Complete Catastrophe

I decided to check-up on my 2007 resolutions, seeing as I only have a month and a half left to resolve them all. What I found was that I'm not doing so hot, which didn't surprise me as I had to actually look them up in order to remember what they were. I'm thinking next year I won't be quite so vague in my choices. I'll give myself clear and defined goals, and somehow, some way, force myself to stick to them. Even if my willpower tends to dissolve quickly.

1. Continue preparing my body for the hopes of a baby in 2008.

Status: Incomplete

When I made this resolution 11 months ago Jon and I were both feeling like the batteries in our biological clocks were running out. Being told that though I wasn't "infertile", it was going to be very hard for me to conceive, made me feel as though the pressure was on full throttle. It was either get pregnant now or forever hold your derelict eggs, because if I'm having problems conceiving at 25, what are my chances at 30? I spent a few months obsessing over amounts of folic acid and caffeinated drinks. I was reading and implementing every fertility tip I could get my hands on. I cried every time I was told another family member or friend was pregnant, because I felt like a failure. But then one day it finally hit me, and I came to a fundamental realization--I'm still young, and I still have time. I began to overlook all of the old classmates and co-workers, who were my age, but already had children in grade school. I stopped feeling so pressured by the past 4 years of a childless marriage. I'm only 25-years-old, surely it can wait a few more years. Lucky for me, Jon is on the same page. He told me a few weeks ago that he will be extremely happy when we conceive, or even adopt, our first child, but he's already extremely happy spending his life with just me, and I couldn't agree more.

2. Enhance my social skills.

Status: Satisfactory

My little sister once looked me in the eye and said "I don't want to be like you, Katie. You don't have any friends." It was a harsh statement, blurted out while she was drowning in her own tears and anger, but those two little sentences felt like giant, iron fists rapidly, and repeatedly punching me in the gut. I have absolutely no resentment towards her for saying it, because after all, it wouldn't have hurt so much if it wasn't true. I just didn't think anyone noticed. I've carried the statement with me for two years, not as a grudge, but as a reminder, a memento for every time I sat quietly in a corner, or received an invitation to a party, because I couldn't make friends if I didn't communicate with people, and I certainly couldn't make friends if I didn't venture outside of my narrow comfort zone, and I so desperately needed friends. And so each time I felt invisible or caught myself on the verge of turning down an invite, I told myself "I don't want to be like you, Katie. You don't have any friends."

I'm still working on not sounding like a blathering idiot every time I speak, but at least I'm speaking, and at least I'm out there doing something, rather than throwing my own lonely pity party at home. The imaginary memento, compliments of my sister, that I carry in the back pocket of my jeans is paying off. I've gotten to know some really wonderful new people this year. I have friends and co-workers that I absolutely adore, and I can feel myself becoming more and more comfortable around them. My life hasn't been this busy since I juggled three different sports for three different leagues when I was a kid, and I don't think I would have it any other way.

3. Encourage the savings account to grow, not shrink.

Status: Incomplete

At least I can say the savings account has not shrunk. In fact, it might just be at the same exact dollar amount it was 11 months ago. Money has been moved in and it's moved right back out for various reasons. Owning a home has turned out to be a lot more expensive than I originally thought. New water heaters and doubling property taxes and gas bills have made saving incredibly hard. We also adopted Macy this year, who has turned out be a very pricey dog with one ailment after another. Unfortunately, pet insurance only looks like a good idea in hindsight. I wouldn't give either one up without a fight though, because I love my house, and I love my crazy dog even more. And let's be honest here, looking around our home, you can see that our priorities do not lie in building a savings account or preparing ourselves for future disasters, rather it's my hapless quest to make each room look like it belongs in a magazine, and my husband's much too expensive toys that hold our attention the most. This one should have been easy. This one should have read Satisfactory. This one will make it on next year's list, but hopefully in a more clear and defined resolution that I actually resolve to do.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Someday I’ll Laugh About This


There she is in all her glory--all 356 pages, 218,965 words of depressing teenage angst. Some entries clear as day, some so cryptic even I can't tell what I was talking about almost ten years ago.

Someday I'll Laugh About This is nearly two and a half years worth of journal entries written from May 1998 through August 2000, a time in which I was determined to discover myself while lost in a world I couldn't and wouldn't understand. I was hell bent on writing about everything, not for documentary purposes, but because I saw it as a release, as my only chance of figuring myself out and escaping the deep, dark hole my high school years buried me in. Every entry is full of self-analysis, how I felt, and reasons why I may have I felt that way, and sometimes, even an ill-planned attempt at figuring out how I could stop myself from feeling that way should I have to. They almost never worked.

I chose the title back in 1998 for its irony. I never thought I would actually laugh about any of it, but in reading it for the first time since writing, I'm finding the title is actually quite fitting. I may not be laughing at all of it, some of it still gives me that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach and can bring me to tears, but my cynicism always has me laughing out loud. I grumbled about having to wear a dress for my older sister's wedding. The title for December 31, 1999's entry was "The Last Entry of the Century". I freaked out when it was discovered that Jon had a crush on me. I wrote about everything, including how my parents just didn't understand.

I've spent the last two months re-configuring and editing all of it in a Word document, printing and hole-punching each page, and wrapping it all up in a three-ring binder, and I'm not sure why. I have no intentions of attempting to publish it. Some morbid part of me is tempted to use it as my new coffee table book. I figure maybe that way I can hand it to my family and say "Here is that girl you never understood." The problem is I still don't think they will. I don't even understand her. Instead, the attractive binder will remain on my office shelves as a reminder of who I was and who I am for years to come, although I won't complain should it someday become reference material for the next Reviving Ophelia.

And now, after all that teasing, I leave you with a sample:


Unfortunately, only in my head. I think up some of the most amazing thoughts in my head, ready myself for a journal entry, and in the midst of rewording and twisting everything around so that it makes sense to everyone else, it's too distorted to become anything near what it originally was. It was always the same thing with my poetry. I'd have nearly the entire poem written out in my head, but once I began to place those words on paper or a computer screen, I kept rephrasing and changing it until it was horrible and I couldn't remember the words that kept the poem running beautifully in the first place. If only people could hear my thoughts, then they'd know just what kind of talent I have.


I can't stand my ground when it comes to anything, even the things that I believe in most. If I'm given a problem I'll either continuously tell you that I am undecided until you forget about it, find someone else to take care of it, or cry until everyone takes pity on me. If I'm hurt I won't fess up to it, I'll let it roll around in my head until I'm able to twist and turn you into one of the most insensitive people I've ever met. I don't know how to stand up for myself, explain myself, or come anywhere close to justifying myself. I'm afraid of my own basement because of my silly imagination. I can't sleep without my TV on because my house makes far too much noise in the silence. I can't sit in a dark room while the closet door is open. I can't drive. Heh, I can't even go to school.


My mind loves playing tricks on me. How else would you expect me to live with a job that consists of a bunch of people who hardly even consider me staff because of my position? Where noisy little children are screaming across the room, and where I'm looking at numbers and letters for eight hours a day? I think. I think about all of my problems, about my life, about anything that happens to pop into my head because of some title of a book that I just shelved. I think about how lonely I am, about how weak and tired I am. I think about what I'm going to do when I get home and how I'm going to deal with it when I do. I even analyze poetry sometimes, working the words to fit my own current and personal mood. Yeah, that's my way of analyzing poetry. I think of ways to solve the world's problems, or what I would do in certain, unfortunate situations. I can think about anything if you just let me, but I'm warning you, it's hazardous.


I am convinced that I always give too much of myself. I care too much, I worry too much, I listen too well, and sob over you way too many times. But mostly I don't mind. It's my nature to dive into someone the moment I'm given the okay and soak up all of the warmth I can so that I can return it times ten. I let you become my world as long as you say it's okay because I find pleasure in being able to love you so much. I love to hold and be held, to kiss and be kissed. I thrive on one on one time and feel empty when it's not there. I hurt myself when I hurt you and cry whenever you cry. I'm sensitive to anything you do, but maybe that's because I'm too open to you.


I hope that someday I'll be able to change. That at one point I'll be able to accept that everything will not work out as I wish, and probably come nowhere near what I would expect it to be. But, until then, I can only dream. I can only wish that I could write things down just as I thought of them so that people would actually find me remotely interesting. I can only hope that I'll learn how to speak up for myself and let everyone else know what is going on in my head before they all give up. I can beg for the chance to have something close to a happy thought or memory that didn't take place over a year ago. And I can lie myself down and give everything I have to imagining a relationship that doesn't feel so one-sided. But, of course I can always dream, it's just that sometimes it causes more pain than it does provide help.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dark Roads From Here

Ah, the end of Daylight Savings Time. The build up of anticipation for that annual 25-hour day is too much for words, but all of my excitement is squashed the moment I realize I'll be driving home with my headlights on for the next 5 months.