Sunday, October 16, 2011

Catching Up, Continued...

Before I can really start blogging about the things that are happening now, there's a good bit more information about the last (checks blog archives, feels faint) year or so that will help give some context and be generally useful. Otherwise, I imagine reading any current entries would be like missing a book out of a series; you have a general idea what's going on, but you stop and think, "wait, what???" every so often. So in no particular order, here are some things that have happened since my blog hiatus:

  • I grew to love bullet points. They make things ever so much easier and are nicer to read than huge, long, bulky paragraphs
  • As you'll remember, I was fired from the really great job that I loved (but had stopped loving for a lot of reasons) and sent back to the customer service department this past December
  • I languished until July, when I applied for a job and was offered a different, better, brand-new job. I developed a two-week training program and am in charge of training our customer service new hires. As Dadums is fond of pointing out, I'm their first consistent point of contact with the company, and it's nice to be trusted with that.
  • I celebrated the two year anniversary of the alien spine baby removal surgery. Mostly, I just breathed deeply and spent a lot of time being quietly thankful
  • One of my Jersey Girls agreed to marry the excellent young man who was smart enough to recognize her awesomeness and awesome enough that she said yes quite happily to his proposal
  • Aforementioned Jersey Girl has requested that I be a bridesmaid in her wedding. This is the first time I'll get to be a bridesmaid, and I'm incredibly honored that she asked me to be part of such an important day
  • While we're on the topic of engagements, it's only fair to mention that Jim and I aren't engaged. There's a fair chance that we may never be, but we're taking things slowly and figuring out what we each want
  • Speaking of Jim, he's doing pretty well himself. He joined a deck hockey league, is kicking butt on his fantasy football team, and has some good ideas about what he wants to pursue for a career
  • I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism (genetics, man. go figure!) and started a synthetic thyroid hormone regimen a couple of weeks ago. I'm shedding heavily (a side effect that usually stops within the first three to four months) and dealing with wild mood swings and unexpected hunger pangs. But I'm much less inclined to sleep for twelve hours and wake up tired, which is a huge plus (note to self: stop putting off seeing your doctor when something doesn't feel right. filed under: lessons i should've learned ages ago but which never seem to stick). I've also found some motivation to do things like knit and spin and clean my house (but not too much)
  • Speaking of the house, Jim and I are going to sign a one-year extension on our lease this week. We'll be living here minus the housemates. I can't help but think that things will go more smoothly for us if we're living as a couple without the stress of acting as the grownups/parents/people who make all the decisions to two other adults
Those are all the things I can think of at the moment. I'm sure there are things I'm leaving out or forgetting, but we'll cover them as we go from here. This weekend's weather was the very best of Pennsylvania in the fall--warm but brisk without the sun, bright, mellow, and downright chilly with all the wind. Now that we've had our two days of sunlight, we'll go back to our usual weather pattern--gray, miserable, grudging rain. That should last until December or January, when we'll switch to spiteful, icy sleet with too much snow for sanity to persevere. I hope your weekend was just the right balance of peace and excitement, here's to a new week tomorrow.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Snapshot: A Reintroduction

One of the things I have noticed about blogging is that it's a lot like a correspondence. And when you're in a correspondence, if you let things taper off, after a while it becomes more awkward to pick them back up than it is to let the conversation die. I've been trying to think of ways to write a post that would ease me back into blogging and to sort of reintroduce myself. It's been a while, there are some changes, and it's nice to have a reference point to look back to. So here's a snapshot (or two or three or so) of my life right now. Please forgive the blurry self-portrait below, I had to take it by myself and that's the least goofy looking one of the bunch. But there I am, waving hello (sans glasses, but just picture some specs on there and we'll be pretty much totally accurate).

Who I am:
  • A 25 year old woman who lives with her long-term boyfriend and some housemates
  • A neurotic, recovering Type-A personality
  • A knitter
  • A spinner
  • A storyteller
  • A sister
  • A daughter
  • A friend
  • A musician
How I live:
  • In beautiful (if perpetually gray) Montgomery County, PA
  • With three housemates (one boyfriend, one boyfriend's sister, and one male friend)
  • For the convenience of a very large, fluffy, unpredictable cat
  • In interesting times

What I do:
  • Laugh
  • Make other people laugh
  • Fix things
  • Teach
  • Organize
  • Run herd
  • Spin (I spun and knitted the delightful item you see over there to the left)
  • Knit
  • Feed people (and myself)
  • Train people (all the fun of teaching, with none of the stickiness that children have)
Cast of characters in my story:
  • The family--two sisters, a mom, and a dad. We're all mad, but in a fun way
  • The boyfriend--six years together. We've got issues, but we're sorting them out
  • The housemates, Coll and Mike (see above)
  • The Jersey Girls (pictured at left, with honorary Jersey Girl [please don't tell him I called him that])--two friends I've known for 20 years. It doesn't get much better than that
  • The nerdy best friend--we're not sure if we'll take over the world, or have a dramatic caps lock vocab battle to determine who can possess it
  • The Drama Llamas--the various friends who vent their drama in my general direction
Locations:
  • The house--beautiful, old, feels like home after four years
  • The office--I've found myself working in the comic strip Dilbert
  • New Jersey--the southern part, where I grew up
Relevant information:
  • I came to blogging because I love stories. To me, the Internet's greatest power is its ability to let people from utterly different backgrounds tell their stories. It's why I read, and why I put these words out into the world
  • I hate having my picture taken, because I am very vain. I've fought acne for years, and when I'm always photographed with people who have gorgeous skin (like my two sisters) I become intensely self-conscious. Thanks to Proactiv (they're not paying me to say this) my skin looks like a grown up's should, and I'm trying to reconcile myself to having my picture taken. I want to be able to look back at photos and remember things fondly
  • I'm a compulsive reader. Cereal boxes, ingredient lists, trashy romance novels, hugely long classics, I love them all. It's the story thing
  • Jim (the boyfriend) and I drive Jeeps. I have a fear that we're already becoming that old couple that owns the same mint green velour track suit, so it's important that we note that I bought mine first. There are also some days where we wear the same shirts (we work for the same company and our employer likes to give out shirts). I'm always dressed first.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How To Make The Perfect Snow Angel

...because the blog needs a little lightness, and the last entry probably made you guys think I am sitting here writing emo poetry in my own tears or something (not to make too light of a really tough situation. i truly appreciate the love and support. jim and i are sorting through things as best we can). Also, the last of the massive piles of snow has finally melted, so I can think about snow without feeling like gnawing on my own hair in frustration. And my Aussie friends could probably use a bit of a respite from their heat.

Step 1: Bundle up! In this picture, I am wearing a hat, scarf, two pairs of pants, three shirts, stockings, wool socks, and I have chemical handwarmers inside my gloves. It was surprisingly warm that day, but I appreciated all the warmth nonetheless. And when you're flopping around in the snow, make sure everything is really well tucked in, so you don't have bits of snow sneaking in and melting on the back of your neck or your ankles or your wrists.




Step 2: Find some pristine snow to defile. Look for a nice big, flat, smooth expanse of snow that's just begging to be frolicked on. Maybe get a nice picture of how crisp and clean the snow looks before you roll around in it. Front yards are good if you want a high-profile snow angel, but they tend to have more traffic to contend with. Backyards tend to be peaceful and to have plenty of space.




Step 3: Flop! Yup, just spin to face the direction you want your feet in, then flop down on your back. You can leap a little if you really want to, but that might untuck all your bundling, so exercise caution. Once you've dug yourself into a nice little niche, spread your arms and legs out, then wave them up and down like you're doing jumping jacks or maybe spinning. When you think you're done, lay there and stare at the sky for a couple of minutes. If you're me, wonder what happened to your camera during all the flailing.



Step 4 (and the only tricky one): Stand up. First, sit up. Then, trying to lean as little as possible on your hands so they don't make any unsightly dents, stand up and take a big, long step away from your handiwork. Notice the smooth lines your flailing made and the way your excellent hat kept the snow off the back of your warm little neck. Feel good that you made this beautiful snow angel instead of shoveling your car out, since you have four wheel drive and some pretty good ground clearance.

And there you have it. Should you ever be presented with a situation where you must create the perfect snow angel on pain of pain, you will be well prepared. I hope you guys are all having lovely weather. We are getting more snow tonight, but it should only be a few inches.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dear Blog

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you still. I'm not as busy these days, and I don't really have an excuse. I have a reason. I miss you, blog. You're a place where I can write about what's happening in my little slice of the world, work through things that are puzzling me, share joys and find solace for my sorrows. But lately, dear blog, I have been feeling off. And by lately, I mean the last several months.

You see, my relationship with Jim has been deteriorating, unraveling like a piece of knitting that's been slipped off the needles. I have been given lots of well-meaning advice, and have figured some things out on my own. But what I miss, really and truly, is how you listen. How I can tell you things in my own way at my own pace and you don't jump in and ask questions. How I can break down a little and you don't judge me for it or give me pity or fake sympathy. You simply listen, and that is a gift. But, dear blog, while I will tell you my secrets and hopes and fears and dreams, I don't think it's fair to share secrets and personal information that aren't mine--or exclusively mine. So I have not talked about Jim much, or our relationship in depth. I realize now that these relationship issues have affected me more deeply than I realized, and for longer than I suspected. And without the release of talking to you, so much emotion has been bottled up that I feel I might burst.

Still, there are other things we can discuss and I have been remiss in sharing them. Please know that it isn't because I've grown tired of you, or because I feel you aren't worthy to know and see and share these things. It's more that as things have progressed with Jim, I have drawn further and further into myself, sharing less and reaching out less. I'm not shunning you, I have been hibernating this whole winter. I have retreated into myself to try to rest after an exhausting, tumultuous year and to try to heal some of the hurts that I am wrestling with. I can maintain a brave face for most of the people I know, but I don't lie to you that way. Rather than try, I have simply absented myself.

Please don't think that my world is ending, or that I am sitting here writing dreadful emo poetry with my own tears or blood or other horrible things. I feel rather bleak most days, but as we have found out together, I am never broken. Jim and I are considering counseling, and trying to figure out if we can or want to salvage our relationship. Perhaps I will have better news for you in the spring. Know that I miss you, and that I feel our separation most deeply.

Always And Ever Yours,
Em

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here's to 2010

the year that was not quite as bad as the one before. I'm not going to be sorry to see it go, though it was much better than 2009. In 2010, I learned about loss, about family, about love, and about myself.

This year, I lost my Aunt Joan. She was my grandmother, and I think about her often. My Aunt Anna Marie lost her mother, who was another grandmother-figure to me, and another strong, wonderful woman. I miss them both, and will do my best to honor their memories. We lost so many other family members that one of my hopes for 2011 is that it will be the year nobody dies.

In 2010, I learned what it's like to enjoy your job and to contribute in a real way to a company's success. Conversely, I learned what it's like to be told you're no longer contributing, and to handle professional adversity with professionalism and class (mostly, anyway).

This year, I reminded myself how strong I am and trained and raised money and walked in the SGK 3 Day for the Cure. It's still one of the best things I have ever done, ever, and is likely to remain high on the list. I didn't honestly think I could walk as far as I did, or that I would be as moved as I was to participate in such a huge, joyful event. It turns out, sometimes my body doesn't fail me.

2010 was a year of love. I spent more time with my Jersey friends and my family than I have in a long time, and I have made some amazing new friends who I am honored to know so well. I put as much love out into the world as I could, and have had so much love returned to me.

I learned that I can push myself hard and that I can do amazing things. I also learned that when I push myself too hard, I make myself sick and miserable and that nobody benefits from that. So for this next year, I'm going to concentrate on making time for myself, to do the things I do for me. Blogging is on that list, and so is cooking. I can count the number of home-cooked meals I have eaten this month on one hand. That's not healthy or fun.

What 2010 wasn't a year of was time or balance or rest. It ended up being a year of frantic running and squeezing time for me and the practical bits of living (like laundry and vacuuming) in around everything else. I gave so much of myself and my time that I didn't have any of me left for me. So I'm working on deciding between two themes for 2011, either peace or balance. I could use more of both in my life.

So here's to a 2011 with more blogging (some of it might be interesting), more relaxing, more real food, more enjoying the moments I'm in, and just as much love (can't start slacking now). Here's to a 2011 with less insane schedules, no major losses, and much less drama.

In Review:
--Phew, 2010 was a bad time to be part of our family. We had a lot of losses.
--2010 definitely = love. Much love. So hey, mission accomplished.
--2011=? Either peace or balance. We'll see which speaks to me more over the next few days.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I love Christmas. It's my favorite time of the year. I love the magic, and the glow that everything has, and that for one small part of the year, people are willing to give and to create joy for others. But here it is, two weeks before Christmas, I'm not feeling it. I'm not ready. I have looked within myself to find that inner child who glories in the lights and the songs and the giving and you know what? She seems to be sleeping. Or maybe she wandered off.

I don't know quite why it is, but I am just not thrilled for Christmas. The house isn't decorated yet, we don't have a tree, and I haven't done any of my shopping yet. I'm not humming carols, I'm not baking cookies, I'm not bullying other people into enjoying the season.

Maybe it's because I'm tired. I feel as though I've spent the entire year running, filling every spare moment of my time. I have been better about saying no sometimes, but my free time is still packed full. I keep telling myself it's only a few more weeks, and then things will calm down. But that never actually happens. I'm starting to realize that there is no calm. And I take a day off every now and then and spend the day in bed lounging. But that never-finished to do list keeps niggling in the back of my mind.

Maybe it's because I enjoyed Thanksgiving so much. The day with my family at the parents' place was great, and Second Thanksgiving here was a lot of fun. We finally finished most of the leftovers (which I loved) and I got to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, which is something I love. Goodness knows I have so much to be thankful for, and that I remember it every day.

Maybe it's because I got demoted at work. Last week, I was called into the HR office and told that I was no longer qualified for my job, and that it was being phased out of our social media strategy. I'm back to answering phones, working in the Customer Service department. I lost the first job I've ever actually liked, and there's no chance of my being able to do anything similar to it. I'm good at customer service, and that's where my company plans to use me. So hey, I'm not unemployed. I'm not even making any less money. But I hate customer service. And I hate feeling like I've taken such a step backwards in the company.

Maybe it's because things with Jim still aren't great. I talked to him in October and told him what I need, want, and won't compromise on in the future (marriage, children, and a fair division of housework). I told him he has a whole year to figure out what his goals are (for us and in general), and then we can discuss whether those are compatible or not. But I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that he is going to decide he's not prepared to discuss marriage and children as a definite (i'm not saying we need to be married in a year or anything, but i need to know that jim is okay with it and it will happen. same with kids. i am by no means ready yet, but when i am, i don't want to find out that jim can't stand the thought of having children). It feels like I'm spending the next several months trying not to say goodbye, which isn't fair to Jim. He has plenty of time to do some soul-searching, and he may yet surprise me. I am certainly hoping he is.

So I don't know if any one of these things, or a combination of all of them is keeping me from getting in to Christmas this year. But really, if we were to skip it all together this year, I'd be okay with it. I'm really hoping that I'll get into the groove next week, when we get a tree, finish the decorating (we'll start this week) and I do the grocery shopping for Christmas dinner. We'll see. Here's hoping that you're ready and waiting for Christmas morning, with better spirits than I can scrape up.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quickest Blog Ever...

Since we had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents (it was wonderful) but also had a free 20 pound turkey from our local grocery store, we are having what I think of as Second Thanksgiving today. Mainly because I need leftovers. Though, there will be ten of us tonight, so I'm not sure how many leftovers there will actually be. Between me, Jim, Colleen, my parents, his parents, Kate and Patrick, and my wonderful friend Laura, we should give that turkey a pretty good go. It's soaking in a brine upstairs now (coldest part of the house, and I don't want this to go down in history as "the year emily gave everybody food poisoning") so I have to go turn it and put it in the oven soon. My secondary goal is to finish the handspun scarf for me. I have a tiny ball of yarn left and no plans for tomorrow, so this might happen. Hope you're having a fantastic weekend!