Balance

My coworkers and I finally figured out why we hate our schedule so much….. there’s no work-life balance.  When our families and friends are free, we’re working, and vice versa.  Those who know me are probably thinking “so what?  It’s not like you like to hang out or go partying every week anyway.”  That’s true, and a completely justifiable opinion if you only know the NY me.  See, in NY 99% of my friends were from work.  I saw them 40 hours per week and had no need to see them outside of the office (EK’s one of the few I did, especially when she abandoned us for law school…traitor….).  The commuter environment of my school didn’t exactly foster friendships, and my casual acquaintances and I fulfilled our desire for time together a couple times a week in class, and sometimes outside of that when we had to work on projects.  On the weekends I had the City and school work to entertain me.  I was happy, except for the fact that seeing my family more than twice a year wasn’t an option.

 

I moved back to STL to remedy that.  But because of my schedule I only see them once (maybe twice) a month.  While that’s more than once every six months, it’s much, much less than I planned on.  And now that I’m back near my high school friends (who I, obviously, don’t see every day at work), I want to hang out with them too.  But….I can’t.  I see them only slightly more often than I see my family (and Emily even less now that she’s moved away)  I hate it.  I’m missing apple and pumpkin picking with my family, I’m missing the chance to meet new people via my friends’ social circles, I’m missing family birthday parties, etc.  That’s a huge part of the reason why I took the second job at AMC.  I needed to get out and be around people and have a justifiable reason for why I wasn’t with my friends or family.  Something that extended beyond “Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are my Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday which means I’m too exhausted to/can’t stay out late.” It’s the reason I’m on an online dating site (how else am I possibly going to meet anyone new?).  And it’s the reason why I’m feeling burned out after only 5 months of a schedule I wouldn’t have blinked at in high school, when I worked every single Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but lived with my family and saw my friends at school.

 

I never quite understood before how important balance is to maintaining a happy life.  Guess the only way to really know is to find out the hard way.  But now that I know, can I be done suffering?  Sigh…..13 more months (unless something else just happens to come along between now and then, but that would mean starting over on my health insurance and vacation time and being seen as a “job hopper”….)

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Friends without benefits

Sometimes I wish guys thought more like girls.  It would make some parts of life soooo much easier (though I’m not sure the resulting cattiness would be entirely worth it….).  For example, it would make it much easier to be “just friends,” and absolutely nothing else.  I’ve found that girls have no problem being just friends with a guy, but many guys seem to think that any time a girl talks to them (no matter what is being said) the girl is flirting and really wants to jump into bed with them.  Not so….

 

The situation with STL Mark is beginning to rapidly develop into something I don’t want, and it’s amazing how the slightest hint of that can complete rearrange the way my subconscious reacts to him.  First of all, let me start off by talking a little about Mark’s love life (I know I’ve touched on this before, but I don’t feel like reading through my blog to find out exactly what I’ve said). He has…issues.  He’s basically a masochist who is attracted to girls with significant baggage and/or girls who have mentally abused or cheated on him in the past.  Right now he’s with his “ex-not-so-ex” who blew him off last Valentines Day to have dinner with a guy she had hooked up with during their brief break of a few days at the beginning of February.  Her excuse was “you can’t cancel on a guy on Valentines Day.”  Don’t know why he keeps taking her back (and neither does Brian, so it’s not just a girl thing), but he does.  At the same time, he had a former fling who was in town from Brazil stay at his house when she was attending a wedding (he ultimately kicked her out early, with no warning, because of the ex-not-so-ex).  He’s also still on an online dating site and in no way considers his relationship with the ex-not-so-ex exclusive. Before all this he dated (also non-exclusively) a clingy, jealous psychopath for a couple months before moving on to an alcoholic druggie who couldn’t stand to be touched.  The other day he was telling me a story about his friend from Utah and how he wants it to be more, but she doesn’t (Hmm… I can relate….) In recap: he’s a serial cheater (but claims it isn’t cheating since he always avoids the ‘exclusivity talk’, no matter how many months he’s been with someone) and can’t seem to be “just friends” with any girl without wanting more.

 

So where do I figure into this?  Well, last Tuesday or Wednesday he sent me a text asking”Milk or dark chocolate?” I thought it was weird, so I just replied “Idk, either.”  Also on Wednesday he turned something I said into a perverted joke (an insured had sent photos to my personal phone # at around midnight (wtf, right?) because it was the only way I could get pics of the veh and Mark’s reply was “What kind of pics lol.”  That reminded me a little too much of NY Marc….).  Anyway, when I walk into my cubicle on Thursday, guess what’s sitting on my keyboard?  Yep, a bar of chocolate.  I didn’t text him thank you or anything until he texted me asking if I got it and I kept my responses short (blaming that fact that I was busy).  Suddenly he said “sorry, was that creepy?”  To which I replied “haha, yeah a little” and then mentioned something about work.  When I saw him on Sunday he started teasing me about being a “hater of nice gestures” and made some bs excuse about how he “just happened to buy a whole bunch of chocolate and thought it would cheer me up.”  I pointed out that he hadn’t gotten any for Brian (the third musketeer, as we call each other).  I also didn’t know I needed cheering….we all bitch about this job equally, but I’m far from depressed…..in fact, I’m usually the one reminding them that we’re only contractually stuck in this schedule for 13 more months, and at least we have a decent paying job with health benefits and vacation time.

 

I’ve been down this road before and I’m determined not to let the same mistakes happen again.  My subconscious is way ahead of me.  I used to look forward to seeing Mark and Brian (they work the same schedule while I work the opposite, so I only see them Saturday, Sunday, and Monday), but now I want to avoid one-on-one time with Mark as often as possible.  I used to get to work a few minutes early and Mark and I would go upstairs to get water (Brian is always late), but no more.  Also, when I see him sitting in his truck in the parking lot and he “just happens” to get out right when I arrive, I pretend I don’t see him and use my “NY walk” to get inside the building far ahead of him.  Sometimes he texts me to slow down…I pretend I don’t notice. I feel bad, but guys don’t take subtlety well.  I didn’t think I was being subtle by joking outright before about how we would never be anything other than friends, but apparently he’s still holding out hope…..Sigh.  Why can’t guys understand that girls can talk to a guy without wanting to have sex????

Quotable Disney

While perusing the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas displays in various stores, I kept stumbling across Disney quotes and, since I love Disney, I decided to compile my favorites here for me to look back on when I need a smile in the future 🙂

 

All you need is faith, trust….and a little pixie dust  – Peter Pan

 

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them  – Walt Disney

 

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think  – Christopher Robin

 

It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change  – Alice (in Wonderland)

 

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart  – Winnie the Pooh

 

Hakuna Matata – Timon & Pumba

 

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you — Winnie the Pooh

 

Who says you have to grow up?  – Walt Disney

 

Even miracles take a little time – Fairy Godmother

 

Home is the comfiest place to be — Winnie the Pooh

 

If you can dream it, you can do it.  — Walt Disney

 

Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two — Winnie the Pooh (he’s on here quite a lot….what a smart little bear ;))

 

Ladies do not start fights, but they can finish them — Marie (from The Aristocats)

44. 68. 99.

Those are the days until Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, respectively. Before you roll your eyes, let me just point out that this countdown was not my idea.  Earlier today Kohls was setting up their Christmas display right next to their Halloween/Fall one.  Michaels Craft Store, Hallmark, and Target beat them to it.  It’s hard not to start thinking ahead when all the retail items around you point towards the future. I must say, the displays actually really lifted my spirits.  I’m not a fan of the cold at all, so the past couple chilly days had made me quite crabby.  It was nice to be reminded that while the fall/winter weather may not be my cup of tea, there’s a holiday spirit that the rest of the year can’t hold a candle to.  I love Halloween for it’s spooky aura, fun costumes, and the joy it brings to my sibs (and for the candy, naturally).  I love Thanksgiving for the food and spirit of, well, thankfulness it provokes.  I love Christmas for the cheerful mood, great food, happy music, and excuse to spend time with family (the presents are just an extra plus).  Here’s to the countdown 🙂

(Oh, and while we’re on the subject of countdowns….5 days until preseason hockey :D)

Vain

By complete accident, I discovered the best way to ensure I get the most out of my workout while not counting down the minutes until it’s over: watching myself.  I usually workout right after dinner but one night I procrastinated a bit and ended up having to turn on the dining room light so I could see in the living room (there’s no light in the living room….how annoying is that?) and I discovered that with said light on, I could see my reflection in the glass porch door on the other side of the living room.  I was not in the mood to workout, so I decided to watch myself and focus on my form rather than staring at the clock on the dvd player.  It was one of the most fun workouts I’ve ever done.  Focusing on my reflection forced me to do my best to imitate exactly the guides on the dvd, and it was quite amusing to see just how ridiculous working out can make you look 🙂

 

Shortly after this workout, I saw an article about a woman who had decided to tackle her lack of self-esteem by swearing off all mirrors for a year (including on her wedding day).  Her rationale is that if she doesn’t spend time looking at herself, she’ll stop caring about her flaws and will learn to love herself.  In my opinion, she’s hiding from the problem rather than confronting it (not to mention that there’s a difference between not caring how others see you and looking like a homeless mess because you don’t use a mirror…)  The real measure of self-esteem is if you can be happy with what you see in the reflection rather than pretending that mirrors don’t exist.  I have flaws I’m not happy with (don’t we all?) but overall, I’m happy with how I look.  I workout to keep my body looking as awesome as possible, and the rest is what it is.  By trying to avoid any glimpse of your own reflection, aren’t you just giving into your horrible self-esteem?

A Visit Home

As can be inferred by prior posts, I took a short vacation to NYC last week.  I arrived on Labor Day (Monday) and left Thursday evening.  Over the past couple years I’ve already blogged about all my favorite spots in NYC, so rather than raving about each one again, I’ll limit this post to random musings and observations, in no particular order.

 

1.  There is little in life that is as satisfying as sipping Starbucks while strolling through an uncrowded Central Park.

2.  Rain + wind + walking all day in wet shoes because of the rain = not fun.

3.  The second half of the High Line is a lot like the first half, and I can’t say I’m particularly enthralled by either, though the first half does have better views and a better layout.

4.  Magnolia’s cupcakes = AMAZING.  During my 4 days in NYC, I had Magnolia’s 3 times (the other day I had a black and white cookie from a bakery in Queens and had to talk myself out of still getting a cupcake….)

5.  I miss EK!!!! Her life is so much fun 😉

6.  I need to get out of  STL and find some guys to date so I can regale EK with the kinds of stories she tells me 😀

7.  The Manhattan skyline always impresses me, no matter how many times I see it.  My flight arrived in NYC airspace too early to land, so we ended up doing a circle around Manhattan and I was on the perfect side of the plane to see it all.

8.  Physically, I jumped back into the rhythm of the City the second I got off the plane.  Mentally, it took me a little longer.  I’d forgotten how absolutely frustrating the subway can be…..

9.  It’s comforting how some things never change.  Sure, new buildings are erected, old buildings are torn down, neighborhoods are gentrified or ghettoized, but the core stays the same.  Central Park won’t ever change, the Empire State will still be there, the subway’s not going anywhere, etc.  No matter what else changes, those foundations stay the same, so you’ll always feel like you’re coming home, instead of coming to visit.

10 years later

To be honest, the internet doesn’t need any more posts about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.   Thousands of people have already told their stories, expressed their condolences, and honored those who died that day.  It’s crucial to remember, but there’s really only so much that can be said.  So, I’ll try to keep this post short.

 

In a literal sense, 9/11 didn’t affect me directly.  I didn’t know anyone who died and had never heard of the WTC or seen the Pentagon.  I was 1500 miles removed from the tragedy unfolding on the East coast.  But in another sense, 9/11 affected us all.  My friends and I had grown up believing the US was the safest country in the world and that no one could or would ever dare touch us.  Suddenly, that wasn’t true.  I’m sure every person remembers where they were when they found out.  I was in Mr. Evan’s fourth hour shop class.  It was probably around 9:30am CT (10:30am ET) by that point, and no one had thought to tell us anything was wrong (on a later anniversary the principal would claim that she went around to every single classroom that morning, but that was a blatant lie), so none of us could understand why Mr. Evans looked so upset.  We spent that class listening to the news on the radio.  Sitting next to me was this punk Zach Distler (who was later expelled from high school for a fake bomb threat), who happened to be wearing a NYC shirt.  He stood up, pointed to the image of the WTC on his chest and said “So I guess I should put a big ‘x’ through this, right?”  I thought Mr. Evans was going to kill him.  I wanted to punch him myself.

 

The timing of my NYC trip meant I had to leave just a few days before the 9/11 memorial opened, but I went down to visit ground zero anyway.  What I saw through the construction fences looked promising, but the moment was ruined by a guy who decided that this was the perfect place to preach about the bible and how this attack was god’s punishment for the US allowing things like gay marriage, yadda, yadda, yadda.  I really hate those kinds of people.  Have some respect.

 

9/11 is one of those dates that feels like it happened both yesterday and 1000 years ago.  Life goes on, obviously, but for those of us who were old enough to understand what was happening, it’ll always be in the back of our minds.  In my opinion, the best thing we can do is take a few moments out of our lives every year to remember the murder and sacrifice of nearly 3,000 people, and spend the rest of our time moving on, moving forward and making sure we don’t give the terrorists the satisfaction of seeing us living in fear.