Everyone chases after happiness,
not noticing that happiness is at their heels.
The only word that comes to mind. My weekend was even exhausting. Even my day off before was. Good exhausting. Friends and family exhausting. Baby shower and Easter brunch with extended family exhausting.
Work, and work other than work are more than exhausting. But work should lighten up after next week. And three more for work other than work.
Then I'll sleep. Hopefully.
There we were, mother and daughters, in a baby store, of all places. And none of us knew what anything was.
Many didn't exist when my mom became a mom. And my sister and I have no idea what most are, despite our years of babysitting.
But this trip was unlike all the other such day-before-baby-shower trips I'd made. Sure, we were there for my sister-in-law. Which is very fun, because we got to buy cool stuff for our nephew.
I'd never been to a baby store with my mom and sis before. Which seems a little weird. But after Friday we know that sort of trip will be a little more frequent.
As we began our shower preparations at my sister's house that morning, she let us know that she was expecting.
Not that I'm not excited to be an aunt to my oldest brother's two daughters and my older brother's soon-to-be son, I am. But this is completely different.
I absolutely cannot wait to be the spoiling auntie I know I can be, that my brother's wives won't let me be. This will be fun.
Just as we were finishing up our margaritas, as I was finishing up my story of how the last one ended, my phone beeped. I ignored it, assuming it was just my brother again.
But then he got up to use the facilities, and I checked it. Fully prepared for a smart-ass remark back to my brother.
The name that came up made my breath catch a little.
Sitting there with my friend telling the story of him, I'd realized it was the first I'd thought of him in a while. And when the story came up the familiar heartache wasn't present.
But seeing his name changed that. Seeing his witty text I suddenly felt a bit small. Insignificant.
My friend and I said our goodbyes. And although I was supposed to meet other friends out, I wasn't that sad when no one answered my calls.
The questions started creeping in. As much as I tried to force them out. Mostly why? Why does he still have this effect on me?
My "weekend" started with a quick drink with a friend. To start the planning for our upcoming trip. My third. Trip, not drink. These days I can only handle one. Drink, not trip.
Our friendship has been rough at times. After the trip last year I almost wrote the friendship off completely. But our hanging out since and our planning get-together changed that.
Drinks turned into dinner. Conversation was easy. We talked about everything. How excited we both were for the trip. Laughing about our previous shenanigans. Planning future ones. Even talked about who each of us had been dating. Which had never been an open topic for us before.
He is a great friend. Always was. I just finally remembered what he asked of me once. To always call him on his bs, if he ever starts it up again. I forgot last Spring. I won't let it happen again. Our friendship means too much to me for that.
I can't even begin to describe the craziness of this weekend. Of the end of last week. So I won't. Not tonight.
Tonight I will get some sleep so that I resemble a human being tomorrow. So that perhaps tomorrow I can begin to describe the goings on of the past few days.
Nothing too earth-shattering. Just lots and lots of busy and some great news.
I love me a great John Cusack movie. I love, LOVE High Fidelity. Music slant helps, of course. The wandering through his top five girlfriends to figure out maybe where he went wrong, or maybe where he went right, always strikes a chord.
I do this, too. Particularly around break-up time. I start wondering. Start what-if-ing. Start questioning if I am a good girlfriend.
The last one told me I was a great girlfriend. But he kicked me to the curb anyway. So it begs the question be asked. But, of who?
With most of my exes, if I asked them that question, their hubris would have them believe I wanted them back. Which is actually not the case with any. Not even the last one, after how it ended.
But there's one. One I truly am still friends with, who was the best boyfriend I ever had, who lives over a thousand miles away. Who would not ever imagine I was trying to get back together with him. Because although it was great, it never would have lasted, and we both knew that.
So, in a moment of wanting to be a better person, better girlfriend to the next, more happy with the next, I asked him if I was a good girlfriend. And this was his answer, only slightly edited:
You are/were the best girlfriend I have ever had.
Caring, sharing, honest, smart, beautiful, great *****, great smile, great attitude, kicked *** driving, skiing, partying, I don't know, I don't see a thing wrong with you.
Were you a good girlfriend?
You were the best a guy could ever ask for.
He then went on to say that he couldn't think of anything I did wrong, that maybe I should look at the guys I'm choosing to date. I think he's onto something there. I just don't know how to meet better ones, not that I've been meeting any at all.
It's a question from a grade school essay, I'm sure. But it keeps getting repeated. In job interviews, in random conversation, in online dating questionnaires.
Who has most influenced you?
Way back when, when I wanted to impress teachers, and likely my dad, I used to say things like Einstein and Leonardo daVinci. And I'm sure it's still a little true today. Yes, I'm that much of a nerd.
But now I'd be much more apt to say friends, family and a handful of teachers. I talk about my friends' influence all the time. And I've described my family's influences. But the teachers I rarely mention.
There was my advisor in grad school. In college there were my coach, my academic advisor, and my Oceanography and Asian Religions Profs. In high school there were my coaches, the yearbook advisor/English teacher and my Sociology/Psychology teacher.
But the three biggest influences in all of my learning years were my 7th grade science and 9th grade Biology teacher (same guy), my 6th grade and 3rd grade teachers.
Last night I was lucky enough to get to talk to one over dinner. To realize she thinks I'm as memorable as I think she is. My third grade teacher and I had a conversation in which she remembered my favorite books from twenty some odd years ago.
I truly believe she was the teacher that really solidified my love of reading and writing. That made me realize with a little hard work, nearly everything is possible.
I'm so very happy my mom started teaching in our old school with her. That they became friends. That she still hangs out with my mom, and by extension me.
Sometimes it takes a little dinner conversation with a couple of women who helped to make you who you are to remind you exactly who that is. Thanks Mom and Mrs. R.
Usually focus is a good thing. Usually I determine that there's something I want, and I figure out what I need to do to get it. But lately I think I may be too focused. And then there's the problem of not really knowing how to go about getting what I want.
It's so much easier when it has to do with things that are straight-forward. Like work. Or play. Or most everything.
What's not easy is having to figure out others. With work it's easy. If someone doesn't do what you want or need, you figure out a way around that, find someone who can do or give you what you need.
With other things it doesn't work. With planning surprise birthday gatherings or shower presents. With dating. You rely on others that you have no sway over. People who aren't committed to a common goal.
I've always been good about helping friends, family and others to see that my goals are beneficial to everyone. But lately it's not working. My goals seem to have diverged from everyone else's. Guys, family, friends. They all are looking for something different than I am. And I don't know what to do. I don't know how to re-focus, or if I even should.
Happy St. Patty's Day!
I'm a little bit Irish, and not just on St. Patty's Day, like some. But as such, I like to gather friends to celebrate this time of year.
Friday the girls headed out for happy hour. For hours we laughed and talked and teased the guys at the end of the table who were borrowing a few chairs until the rest of our friends showed up.
Saturday some of the same friends headed downtown. In the past the downtown weekend before St. Patty's day festivities have been entertaining for J and I. It's when I met 24. It's when we met the cute doctors. So I was excited to see what might await us this year.
We began by watching the parade for a bit, then headed for lunch. The crazy tented celebration was nearly as entertaining as in years past. But except for J, my friends didn't appreciate it as much, and J had to leave early.
Despite my more mellow day, I enjoyed hanging out with my friends. Enjoyed running into work friends and old friends and new friends. Even though I had been in the mood for a crazy time, as in years past. I guess I may have to wait for next month's Vegas excursion with the girls to partake in the crazy.
It started out windy. And a little cold. But the sun came out as we ran into another friend with her dog. A beautiful walk with a great friend, TheDog, and my sister's dog.
A mostly sunny evening in the park following a great meeting. Then dinner with my mom.
Some days, even the very heavy weight of work obligations and other problems can be easily lifted by a feeling of confidence and competence. By visiting with wonderful friends. By Talking with my mom and sister.
I get to get officially told they're disappointed in me, in my performance tomorrow. And I'm not looking forward to it. But at least I got the reassurance of other options after my meeting this afternoon.
I don't do this too often, but this once I couldn't resist.
Why do we like outdoor clothing, shorts whenever it's above 40 degrees, vintage T's? We, of course, being white people.
Kristy pointed me to a gem of a site. And by me I of course mean all of the zillions of iifs who read her blog. I laughed out loud. So if you, like me, need a little laugh, mostly at yourself, check out Stuff White People Like.
You'll (most likely) thank me.
I was home working, when they called. The were headed to the second bar. Where earlier I'd said I would love to meet them. But I was exhausted, so I almost didn't venture out. The doc had said only earlier today that I needed to sleep more. Relax more.
I was prepared to follow doctors orders. If only I hadn't been the one who had earlier talked them into a second bar. So after I let the call go to voicemail, I contemplated, but then the guilt got the better of me and I called them back.
Fifteen minutes later I was on my way. Before I had even sat down one of the girls said that I looked grumpy. Grumpy? No. Tired? Definitely. But I will have to work on my tired face if it really makes me look grumpy.
Over beer and wine we started hatching our plans. Plans for this weekend. Plans for the upcoming bachelorette trip.
The trip will be fun. Mostly friends from college with a few other of the bride's friends that I already know. And perfect timing. The weekend after the major event I've been working on for nearly the past year.
I can relax and sleep more then. That is, if I make it to then.
It's been an interesting week so far. Last minute dinner invitations to crash another family's weekly dinner. A river permit appearing in the mail. Calls from old friends. Walks with the dog and a friend. And a text from the boy. It certainly hasn't been dull.
Yes, an out of the blue text from the boy. My friends all tell me I should not be nice to him. They may very well be right. But I just don't know how. It will be my downfall yet, this not being able to be mean to even those who may deserve it.
But I don't have time to worry about it now. Work and work other than work are keeping me very busy. And there are things to look forward to. Interesting possibilities. A river trip. Other trips with friends.
I probably will respond. Eventually. But it has nothing to do with what he thinks about me. It has everything to do with what I think of myself.
I left straight from work to head South. Dinner with the family for my Dad's birthday. A marathon restaurant excursion that tried everyone's nerves just a little.
Slow from the beginning, we had plenty of time to share stories and scheme for upcoming celebrations. From my sister's upcoming birthday surprise to my sister-in-law's baby shower.
My favorite story was whispered to me by my niece. She leaned in and told me that she zig-zagged all the way down the mountain. Her proud beam was mirrored back at her. I've skied with her a couple of times, but for her to make it down from the top was something.
Of course she's learning on the very same mountain that we all learned on. I don't remember when my brothers started, but I was three, and my sister was not quite when she learned. Quite the tradition.
We moved from our corner of the restaurant to my parents' house. (I say our corner, as I'm fairly certain in the amount of time it took them to serve us that we would have been granted adverse possession in some states.)
Over ice cream and my sister's delicious homemade cherry pie, we watched my dad open his cards and gifts. A few even made him tear up a little.
Then it hit me. The worst part about our service at the restaurant. Not that it took nearly three hours to serve us. Not that lattes ordered when we sat down arrived after the appetizers. But that our waitress, although nice, was completely incompetent.
My request that she double-check with the kitchen on everything we ordered to see if something might cause an allergic reaction was either ignored or not taken seriously. She assured me nothing I had ordered had any, that nothing my mom had ordered had any, since we shared. I even refrained from trying the appetizers, as her answer on those was rather uncertain.
Unfortunately, my twisting and turning stomach and immediate need to spend time with the porcelain goddess instead of my dad on his birthday made me certain. The waitress was not only so incompetent at her job that my entire family ate (but not drank) for free, but she caused me hours and hours of feeling terrible.
At least the time I did get to spend with the family was great. Even if I missed a bit of it, and missed a show I wanted to see later that night. Will my luck ever change?
Driving back and forth to the mountains twice in one weekend, so I could hang out with work friends old and new. Everyone thought I was crazy. Skipping the beautiful ski day to attend a good friend's shower back down in the city then heading back up.
But I wanted to hang out with everyone Friday night. It's always the fun night. And it was, just luckily not quite as fun as in years past. As I had to get up ridiculously early.
It was a beautiful day. Record high beautiful. Talking and laughing with the girls beautiful. Flowery shower decorations beautiful. It would have been a gorgeous day on the slopes, but some things are one time things.
Then back up the hill for potluck dinner and Cranium. The party has mellowed over the years. But it's times like these that remind me I really like the people I work with.
Skiing with my best friend at work in the fresh powder Sunday almost made the cold, snowy weather and long drive home worthwhile.
The rain streaked the window as we awaited our turn. The drops had started falling sometime after being dropped off, yet before walking the line to the plane. It was almost as if the tears I felt but could not yet cry were falling from the sky.
The sadness set in as I settled into my seat, knowing there was no one looking forward to my return. Leaving the warmth of my college roommate's kitchen and family. Leaving good friends I wish lived sloser. Finishing up my long-anticipated trip.
I know I have great friends here. But no one quite gets me like she does. Staying up for hours just talking. She said she wished she'd planned something more exciting for my visit. But just hanging out with her was exactly what I needed.
Don't get me wrong, we certainly didn't just sit around. We had coffee in the snow-covered park by the river*, and a lovely lunch at a cozy cafe. We admired the fishies at the aquarium with her husband and kids. We enjoyed great food, even some I actually helped cook. Not to mention a bit of time spent playing with her kids.
They even got a sitter so that we could all go to dinner, two of my best college friends and their husbands, and me, the fifth wheel. Sharing stories and cocktails. P being the only one that didn't go to college with us, but joining in the conversation, just as if he had. I felt glaringly odd-wheeled only in my own mind, since it was a trip originally concocted by the boy, to be taken together.
That was the second leg of the visit. The first part started with wine and cheese on a lovely afternoon in Brooklyn. Waking up to a bit of snow. And deciding, some of my see-the-city plans would have to wait for another visit. Which was all-together fine with me.
Before we left Brooklyn and the City behind and headed north on the train, M & P took me to eat at fantastic restaurants. We indulged in many wonderful glasses of wine and perhaps a few too many strawberry-infused vodka drinks. P was patient with my slow progress through the photography exhibits at the Met. And of course we talked about everything.
An amazing, low-key visit. Just what I needed.
I even began and finished Eat, Pray, Love on the trip. An interesting read, particularly given the timing. The story added to my melancholy as I sat on the plane waiting to go home. It reminded me of all I do have. And of all I don't.
My life is full of so many amazing things. Friends, family, TheDog, traveling, hobbies, even my job, but I realize that I'm still not quite there. That place I want to be.
I know that some of my married friends are a little envious of my freedom, just as I am a little envious of their knowledge of who their next traveling companion will definitely be. It all sounds a bit familiar.
It was truly a wonderful trip. I love visiting with my friends. I just hope the sadness I felt as I sat on the plane heading home didn't permeate my mood while I was there. Because being there was just what I needed. My relaxing trip really did make me happy.
* I do have a few photos to share, despite the predominant gray while I was there. I just haven't had time to download them.