12 October 2010

I got some sad news tonight.

Our dog walker was in an accident about a week and a half ago and they took her off life support on Sunday. She was so young. So, so young.

The news has really affected me, for some reason. Apart from the obvious sadness of it all, I'm not sure exactly why she hasn't been far from my thoughts for the last week and a half. I'd only met her a handful of times: a young girl, crazy about animals, crazy hair, strong personality.

Honestly, after meeting her the first time, and being reassured she wasn't a psycho and would be good to our dog, I never really gave her a second thought unless I happened to be home when she came to get the dog. She was just this...fun girl who walked dogs for a living, mine included.

And here I am: swollen eyes, mind racing. I can't let it go for some reason.

You'd think the reason would be because I have a young daughter. And thinking about anything happening to her—from being bullied in school (which is a possibility, considering how awful I was as a child and payback is a bitch) to being snatched away by a predator—drives me insane.

But I don't think that's it. Partly, yes. Of course.

I can't imagine losing someone I love that much, much less my daughter. I can't imagine what her family must be going through, having to say goodbye. I just can't imagine...

But mostly...it's the suddenness of it. One day she's on a trip to Costa Rica with friends. The day after she returns, she's in intensive care.

How does that happen?

Over the last week, I've thought to myself, "She'll never have to get old. She'll never have to get sick. She'll never have to worry about her kids getting into sudden accidents and being rushed to the emergency room and put in intensive care on life support... She's at peace."

But at the same time, I thought, "She'll never get married or have a partner she wants to spend the rest of her life with. She'll never have kids. She'll never see a sunrise or the stars again. "

So the week's been a kind of seesaw of emotions for me.

My last post was about appreciating my life and all that's in it. But I don't really. I try to. I try to be present and engaged and really "in" my life. But mostly I take it for granted, racing through the days just to get it over with.

And I think maybe that's what it is. She was so full of life. She had a head of hair that could rival Cyndi Lauper on her craziest of crazy hair days. Her personality was bubbly, without being annoying, and irrepressible. And now she's gone.

How does that happen?

So tonight, I'm sad. And I'm having a glass of wine (or three) to help me cope. It seems like an irrational sadness and completely out of proportion, considering my relationship with her. But I'm sad, nonetheless.

I'd like to say I'll learn from this: take life by storm and really live. And I really do intend to do so.

But it seems that even with all my good intentions, that promise always gets pushed aside. Because I have so much I think I have to do right now. A whole week will pass before I realize I don't really remember any of it. And it's such a waste. I have a life I'm not always present enough to actually enjoy. And she had a life she embraced with both arms.

So while I don't understand how things like this can happen, perhaps she'll be a reminder to me to be happy with what I have and not care about what I don't.

To really pay attention when my daughter is telling me for the hundredth time why the twins were not good at lunch and how one kept throwing her cup off the table.

To let the irritations at work roll off me once I leave and enter my real life.

To really appreciate that I have a life. That I am alive and able to choose to have a happy life. And I have to. Because in one second, it can all change.

She'll always remind me of that. For all she was to everyone who really knew her (and looking at her facebook memorial page, she was very well loved) she will be that to me. A beautiful, crazy-haired reminder to be thankful for what and who I have in my life, and for life itself.

So thank you, Lindsay. For loving our dog, and for who you were—in my somewhat enhanced memories of you—and in reality.

Be at peace.

08 September 2010

Always rushing, rushing, rushing.

After my last post, I thought I'd gotten it straight: stop and smell the roses.

But yesterday, I had the day off with my little girl and instead of smelling the roses and taking life in, I lined up errand upon errand upon errand. Rushed her around and stressed us both out.

Then, in what turned out to be the final store, she sat down on a big cushion and pointed to the one next to her. "Sit with me, Mama!" she said. I relented (although still checking my watch) and she hugged me.

"We're together!" she whispered excitedly.

What a wise kid I have.

29 August 2010

How did we get here so fast?

Lately I've been pondering life.

I know it sounds a bit cliché, but time really does fly, and with it, years and years of life.

It seems like just last year I was graduating from high school, zipping around with my friends, feeling invincible.

Drinking wine coolers and driving on our suburban streets, sneaking cigarettes and making sure to wash our hands after.

Thinking in 10 years I'd be married with kids. But also thinking that was oh so far away.

And then it seems like just a few months ago that I was graduating from college. Trying to figure out my path. Resisting becoming a pay-my-own-way adult.

Sitting with my friends right after graduation (now smoking pot and drinking wine), wondering where I'd be in 20 years.

Definitely married. Probably with two or three kids. And at least one dog. Living in the suburbs.

And here I am. Almost 20 years out of college.

Holy crap.

Really, where did the time go?

When you're in it, when you're living your life, you just don't realize how fast it all goes: pretty fast.

What sparked this post is something that happened this past week.

My coworker (KimPossible) and I met with some recent college grads, who were at our agency for an informational interview. They're trying to break into the ad biz for some reason. Probably Mad Men.

Anyway, we were sitting there, answering generic questions, and as I answered, I just stared at them.

Them: dressed up in their black pants and blouse and khakis and button-down shirt.

Little kids, dressed up in adult clothes. With makeup (on the girl) and a tie (on the boy).

When were we that young? Were we ever that young? Did we ever look that young? I don't really think so. But if we did...how did we get here so fast?

As we chatted with the toddlers about how now was the time for them to move to Chicago, one of them said (after pulling his pacifier out of his mouth), "Yeah, it's not like we have a mortgage or anything." And he laughed.

Yeah, well, I do.

And a husband and a kid and a dog and a car payment.

This meeting was kind of a wake up call to me.

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." (Yes, surprisingly, I can quote Socrates as easily as I can quote Lindsay Lohan.)

And now that I'm a bit older, I can see he had a point.

Time is moving and it's showing no mercy.

In 20 minutes, those two kids that we interviewed, those eager-to-get-a-job-and-start-their-lives kids will be where I am now. Wondering how it went so fast.

The weeks and months and years that I've willed to go by quickly because I'm trying to get to the weekend, are never coming back.

I've already lived half my life—which scares the shit out of me.

Forty years just flew by. And I feel like I haven't been present for most of it (pot-smoking, hazy days excluded).

Of course I have specific memories. Memories of the big things.

I remember holding my baby girl for the first time, feeling drugged up and like I'd been crying for days, but somehow so alert and elated and happy. This is a snapshot that's frozen in my mind.

But ask me what we did last week, last night, this morning... and I'll pause. Because I'm racing through my life. Like something's chasing me.

Recently, I had been complaining to my friends about all I do not have, and not considering all I do.

So I'm going to try and consciously pause. Be present. And look around.

Because there's a lot to look at.

I have a great husband. And a great kid. And a great dog. And it's all right here. All I have to do is pay attention. Because I don't want to miss any more.

After all these years, that flew in seconds,

I finally realized...I have an amazing life.

01 June 2010

Grounds for...

Divorce. Yes, divorce.

There are only a couple things that have pushed my husband and I to this precipice.

Not exes.

Not cheating.

But Ikea.

On a Saturday.

With all those people trying to get the carts out into the parking lot. Which. They. Can't. (They're called parking slabs, people.)

Nothing incenses the two of us like a trip out there.

It's too stressful. Too crowded. Too, too much.

We end up arguing about silly things, snapping at each other, feeling like we'll never escape.

Yes, Ikea is a place we've successfully avoided the past few years.

Because we know better.

The other cause for divorce? Moving.

As in: packing every single piece of crap you own into "labeled" boxes, and paying surprisingly small, but strong men to move them a mile north of where you currently live.


Moving has not one redeeming quality.

From start to finish, it's stressful, it's nerve-racking, it's time-consuming.

Let's start at the beginning: packing is terrible.

Because as conscientious as you try to be about labeling the boxes, inevitably you start wrapping your jeans around dishes and your underwear is shoved in and nestled around a vase.

And suddenly kitchen is crossed out.

And bedroom is crossed out.

Then living room is crossed out.

And everything ends up back in the kitchen.

And you realize just how much stuff you have.

It multiplies. It's never-ending.

Packing is terrible.

Then... there are the phone calls.

To the utilities, to the credit cards, to the magazine subscriptions.

"We're moving," you say.

Then, all you have to do is confirm your identity, give them your new address and you're done.

That's all you have to do.

1,000 times.

And then there's the actual moving part of moving

It's almost unbearable.

The anticipation, the last-minute details, the dropping off of the kid at daycare and the dog at the kennel. (Wait, did I just drop the kid at the kennel?)

It's like choreographing an intricate dance, where no one is allowed a misstep.

It is one of those instances that brings out only the worst in people.

The happiness of moving to a new place, a new life, is somehow clouded by...the move.

It's hot or cold or raining or snowing.

The movers are late. Or slow. Or break things.

And on our moving day, it was, of course, raining cats and dogs and elephants and hippos.

It was pouring (but of course, it stopped once the movers got everything into our new apartment).

We were unshowered, sweaty, hungry, shaking from exhaustion, and tense.

And the move itself wasn't that bad.

The movers were not only on time, but an hour early.

They were not slow.

Nothing was broken.

They were friendly and efficient and finished within three and a half hours.

Piece of cake.

But we were stressed. And snappy.

I admit that most of the stress was due to me putting pressure on both of us, not to mention the overwhelming mountain of boxes that eclipsed our new living room.

And I am not one of those people that likes to unpack slowly, figuring out where things should go, by living in the space for a while.

Packed suitcases do not have a long life when I'm around, and when it comes to packed boxes...I'm an assassin.

I just can't take it.

I can't "leave what can be done tomorrow..."

I will stay up until 5am, if it gets the job done.

Which means my husband will, too.

So herein was the root of the stress: me.

I could not relax, not even to sit and finish a 6" sub, for more than three minutes, without jumping up to unpack yet another box filled with flip flops, towels and a frying pan.

I know I have some control issues.

But this is a humongous one (trust me, my therapist tries valiantly to talk me down from the ledge, time after time).

I need to have things in order or I lose my mind.

Which makes my husband lose his mind.

And makes us tense. And snappy.

And so the boxes were unpacked and recycled. Within 18 hours of moving in.

After all the anxiety, all the work, all the sweat and all my husband's tears, we were in our new place.

We were tired.

But we were giddy with happiness to be in our new place.

Hours later, after we'd forgiven each other the nothings that occurred earlier, we toasted our new home.

We are finally here.

And we are unpacked.

25 May 2010

What not to wear

I need to address something that really annoys me. I know that doesn't narrow things down, but bear with me. I've held my tongue for years (well, that's not true—I bitch about this constantly). And I have so many other things to worry about: we just moved (blogpost coming soon, stay tuned), we're crazy at work, I'm trying to potty train my kid...And today, I just couldn't take it anymore. I reached my limit. My boiling point (pun intended, as you will see). So I must speak:

Today in Chicago, it was close to 90 degrees. Hot. For May 25.

There were the requisite flip flops and sundresses and tank tops.

People were out lunching on patios, drinking in beer gardens.

Because it was hot.

But. There were also some Others.

These Others were wearing tights and boots and long-sleeves and coats.


And no, they were not tourists.

They were hopping in cabs like pros.

Waiting at bus stops like locals.

They live here.

They should know better.

And sure, it might snow tomorrow.

It's Chicago.

But in 90 degrees, do as the 90-degree-ers do.

Don't wear turtlenecks.


I was wearing jeans and a "dressy" tank top. Required attire for a creative in advertising.

Because. It. Was. 90. Degrees.

You know I try not to judge (wink).

And I have off fashion days more often than not (honestly, as I looked in my closet this morning, I had to struggle to remember if I'd worn a particular shirt yesterday—but that has less to do with fashion and more to do with how many beers I drank last night).

But my off days do not include dressing weather-inappropriate.

In winter, I wear a hat, scarf, gloves...I look like a snowman.

And in summer (or close to it), I wear summer attire.

I know in places like LA, it's haute couture to wear winter boots with a barely-there sundress.

But this ain't LA.

And we ain't Kate Hudson.

We're efficient. We're practical. We're midwesterners.

So let's think back to that efficient, practical, midwestern childhood we all had and remember that our moms did not dress us in snowsuits in the summer.

Let's remember that even though you got those amazing boots on sale, you can wait until next year.

The reason they're on sale, is because they're last season.

I may revisit this topic this fall, when it's November and people are clinging to their sandals.

But if you could spread the word that this is not only unacceptable, but uncomfortable to witness and generally irritating, that would help my cause greatly.

Thank you for your time.

14 March 2010

Always a bridesmaid...

So I was having drinks with a friend the other night and we were talking about marriage. Well, weddings, really. And we were discussing the cutthroat competition there is to stand up in weddings.

Not for the men.

Men are just like, "Dude. BACHELOR PARTY."

They don't care about being in the wedding.

They just want to drink in support of the wedding.

I'm not talking about them.

I'm talking women here.

How many is she going to have? Who's she going to ask? She's making us wear what?

People assume that everyone wants to be in their wedding. And probably, most do.

But honestly, I'm not one of them.

I'm actually considering not making friends with single people anymore.

Because. I. Don't. Want. To. Be. In. Your. Wedding.

I'm way too old to wear a $300 black/brown/periwinkle/midnight blue/or peach dress and stand next to 12 other women in the same $300 black/brown/periwinkle/midnight blue/or peach dress.

Sure, I'll attend your wedding.

I'll eat the free food.

Drink the free drinks (I pass on cash bars, but best wishes anyway).

Dance awkwardly to the free music.

I'll even give you cash, so you don't have to jack around with a check before you take off on your Hawaiian honeymoon.

But please. Please don't ask me to stand up for you.

I'm really not your girl.

I barely like running errands for myself, let alone some psychotic bridezilla. So I'd definitely disappoint.

I was a pretty laid back bride—seriously, ask any of my bridesmaids—and I pretty much just told them when to show up.

But most aren't like me.

Most are bridezillas.

And so my friend and I were talking and something occurred to me:

Even though I don't want to be in your wedding, I want to be asked to be in your wedding (which, unfortunately, means I'd most likely be in it).

I want to be one of the Chosen Ones.

The Ones that are looked at by the attendees as the "closest friends of the bride."

The Ones that tramp around the wedding (no pun intended, I'm a married woman), as a gang, joined together by their ill-fitting dresses and their matching shoes.

Because when you're not in a wedding, you kind of look at the bridal party as...royalty.

They float throughout the room, entertaining, hosting, garnering stares from everyone else.

[Wait, there's a flash of fuchsia! Yes, that was One of Them. Excitement ripples throughout the room.]

They are holding court, and we, the Unchosen, are simply looking at them. Through a window.

They dance around, lounge about, carry their shoes.

The Untouchables.

And who doesn't love that feeling?

And these girls are nothing special.

Without the shimmering piece of bright cloth that only looks good on 2/3 of them, they are just like us.

They put their pants on one leg at a time. Just like us.

But for that one night...we all want a little piece of that magic.

Now I know this sounds hypocritical.

But I want my wedding cake and I want to eat it, too.

I do have some single friends that will eventually take that marital leap.

And as much as I will inwardly roll my eyes when and if I'm asked to be a part of the whole thing, I will inevitably smile, and nod my head yes.

Because I know I will be transformed that night. In my own head (see the title of this blog).

I'll know that the bride will just be a sidekick to my performance that night.

All eyes will be on me. And my gang of colorful cohorts.

So go ahead. Ask me to be in your wedding.

Trust me. I'll say yes.

03 March 2010

Girls suck.

There, I said it.

And you know I'm right.

I've come to this conclusion after extensive, legitimate research.

I've observed, noted and come up with my findings:

Girls just suck.

To be fair, I've never been a girls' girl.

I've always despised "Girls Night Out". (This always feels too forced—like declaring it is really going to make a difference? Now Guys' Night? I'm all about that.)

Don't even get me started on baby showers and wedding showers and bachelorette parties. I'm getting tense just thinking about it.

All that giggling. And pink (see previous post).

I can't take it.

I would always rather hang with the guys, than deal with the girls.

I know what I'm talking about.

As you can imagine, I've had extensive exposure to both.

I've lived with both.

I've fought with both.

And I know I'm right.

This opinion has roots that date back to my grade school days.

Two girls? Great.

Four girls? No problem.

THREE girls? Not so much.

There is something in women—and even young girls—that senses the competition. Senses that we should be out to destroy each other, instead of support one another. When the numbers are odd and someone isn't "partnered" up, there's going to be a huge problem. Someone is going down.

We were horrible to one another, even way back then.

If one girl's jeans were Palmetto (ick), instead of Guess...well...she shouldn't have bothered coming to school.

Then in college, I lived with both women and men. And I can tell you, women are C.R.A.Z.Y.

With guys, if they weren't doing their dishes, I said, "Do your fucking dishes or I'll break your fucking legs."


With women, it turned into, "You've always hated me and I know you were jealous of my birthday party and my boyfriend and you just don't understand that my parents are going through a divorce and I'm going to throw a bar stool at you now." (true story—her "boyfriend" stole my credit card and our other roommate's car and drove to Kansas.)

Why is it so complicated?

For all the feminist movement has done for us, it seems we haven't gotten that far.

Sure we can vote, which is nice (although voting in primaries is always a struggle for me).

And I like being able to have a job (mixed feelings on this, really).

But when it comes down to it, we really don't have each other's backs, do we? Why is that?

There's something intrinsic in most women that won't let us view one another as anything less than competition.

It's the rip-on-her-so-I-feel-better-about-myself mentality.

I'm guilty of it. We all are.

This has always been my experience. That girls suck.


My tried and true rule about girls sucking has been tested in the past few years.

There are a handful of women that I actually like to spend time with. There's no bullshit. No insecurity involved.

And then there's my group of dinner girls.

Oh, the dinner girls.

They've kind of turned my long-held belief on its head.

There are five of us total, and for the last five years, we've been meeting for dinner at least once a month (December was different because it was four of our birthdays and my birthday actually lasts a month so we met several times).

These dinners...are hilarious.

It's like we leave all that baggage, that pre-judgement and competition at the hostess stand.

I don't stop laughing until it's over.

We talk about anything and everything and eat and drink (maybe that's it?) for hours. And it's nothing short of fun. Every time.

I don't know what it is with these girls.

They're each crazy and messed up, don't get me wrong. I haven't discovered some rare species of women. But somehow...somehow, it just works.

We click.

There's a chemistry there that I haven't felt with many women.

Maybe because I know, without a doubt, that if I show up to dinner with a huge pimple on my face, I don't have to worry about whether someone will bring it up.

Because I know one of them will.

So maybe it's that, when we're together, we're like guys.

Giving each other shit.

Ragging mercilessly on one another (but mostly just KimPossible).

I honestly don't know what it is.

Some of my other friends have actually said, "You're going to hang out with all women?"

I know. It's a shock to me, too.

But I look forward to these dinners in a way I never would have before.

Is it because I'm getting older and choosing friends who don't bother with that nonsense?


I think it's just these girls.

So I guess all women don't suck.

Maybe all women aren't crazy competitive and mean.

Or maybe I just have good taste.

Because of course, I'm way smarter and better-looking than them.

23 February 2010

Princesses and tiaras and heels, oh my

I am sitting here writing out princess birthday party invitations. Okay, at the moment, I'm actually writing this post. But before this, I was writing out the "What", "When" and "Where" info on pink, tiara-shaped, sparkly invites. For my kid's third birthday.

And I found myself wondering, "How did we get here?"

I am creative by nature, as well as by trade. And I try not to discourage my daughter's interest in anything. No matter what it is.

She has a collection of bug stuffed animals. Bugs.

She says goodbye to the bathroom and her toothbrush every morning by saying, "Have a good day, guys!"

And she sleeps with the cast of "Cars".

Up until recently, she abhorred pink and all that goes with it. Which I secretly enjoyed.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not completely against the Disney Princess racket. I've read the stories and know that each princess started out in life with some pretty hard knocks. And that each princess persevered and succeeded (in getting the man).

I know there are lessons to be learned in these stories that are decked out like tiered, fluffy cakes.

But still...princesses? Really?

So one day, not so long ago, my daughter was playing with her cousin (let's call her "D") and suddenly, my world was forever changed.

D is a girly-girl through and through. She wears tiaras to the mall. She lounges about her house in tutus and leotards. And pink is not just her signature color—it seems to be her only color.

On our way home on that fateful day, my daughter turned to me and said, "I want to be a princess."

Come again?

"I want to be a princess!"


And so it began.

It started out slowly. Creeping into our apartment and into our lives.

She was a princess for Halloween. (But she was also wearing Puma sneakers, so I don't really count that.)

Then my mom gave her a tutu. Thanks, Mom.

When she discovered "Angelina Ballerina", it was done. The conversion was complete. She was a girly-girl.

And I'm okay with this. Really, I am. Just a bit surprised.

Because she's never seen a single Disney movie. Not one.

And yet she knows every single Disney princess by sight and by name and what each one wears.

How did we get here?

Does Disney tap into our phone lines, sneak secret recordings into our rooms that play while we sleep? Because I know that the information didn't come from me. I only knew of two Disney princesses and wasn't aware they were being merchandised as the "Disney Princesses" in the first place. (Disney really is brilliant, I must say.)

So when she picked out her invitations, I gave her a choice between cupcake invites (she LOVES cupcakes—she's my daughter, after all) and the princess tiara invites. She looked them over carefully, weighing her options, thinking of her target, licking her lollipop. Then she pointed. At the princess invitations.

I said, "But look! It's a cupcake!"

It was no use.

And here I sit. Filling in the "What", "Where" and "When" info on pink, tiara-shaped, sparkly invites.

What I'm struggling with is that I just assumed she'd be a lot more like me. I never really played with dolls. Never had a Barbie. Had a Baby Alive that I disliked because it peed on everything.

I climbed trees, I skinned my knees, I was outside for months at a time.

No, I wasn't Huck Finn. But I wasn't that far off.

And my little girl. My little girly-girl...is far off. Up to this point, she was my twin in appearances and even attitude. But two roads diverged.

And I'll have to come to terms with that.

She is still like me in many ways: she's got a strong personality, she's stubborn, she's hilarious (even at age almost-3).

But she is not me—and that is good. More than good. A relief, actually.

So maybe I should be happy about that, that she's not like me. That maybe there's hope for her somewhere in this pink world.

And maybe my little girly-girl will decide to paint it a different color.

17 February 2010

My name is __________, and I am a hoarder

I keep everything.

And I mean everything.

From letters to dog calendars to clothes I haven't worn in years but have convinced myself I will fit into again one day.

I keep everything.

Currently, we're renting. Waiting to move into our "forever home". (Read: Where we'll live until I decide I don't like how the shower drain is situated, at which time we'll be on our way again.)

And because we're renting, we've downsized a bit.

Quite a lot, actually.

We used to live in a three-bedroom, two-floor condo. About 2000 square feet of space.

We now live in a two-bedroom, single-floor apartment.

About 50 square feet of space.

So, as you can imagine, we "got rid" of a lot of stuff.

This stuff is currently waiting for us in a storage space, where we're paying monthly for it to live.

And what we've learned in the past few months of living here, in our closet, is that we don't need all that stuff.

We're living every day without my high school yearbooks. And my old business cards. And the bike I bought and rode four times (but it has white wall tires and coaster brakes!).

My husband keeps gently suggesting we go through said storage space and get rid of most of the stuff. For real.

But how can I get rid of the napkin that my daughter first doodled on, in the restaurant I can't remember, and on a day I can't recall?

He is a cruel, cruel man to want to do this to me. I should have seen his selfish, egotistical tendencies years ago.

But I can kind of see his point.

We're essentially renting an apartment for all this stuff. We're paying monthly for it to sit in a heated box that might actually be bigger than our apartment.

I know we need to get rid of most of it. I need to go through it all. See what I need and what I don't.

It'll take months.

I'll read every letter.

I'll try on every t-shirt.

I'll examine every single plate, cup and spoon.

But it has to be done.

Because otherwise, we'll be saving all this stuff...for what?

For our daughter?

What will she do with my leather pants? (shut up)

But somehow, I just can't let it go.

I'm sure my therapist would tell me it's because I was a latchkey kid and I've never felt I belonged and I'm a middle child.

She might be right.

But I think, despite what I portray to the outside world, I just might...

...have feelings.

I am nostalgic.

I miss things.

Like high school.

And college.

And going on weeks-long roadtrips.

And all that stuff, those boxes and bags and suitcases piled on top of each other about two miles from here?

Those are my memories of the things I desperately miss.

I know I have kept those memories.

And I know that the baseball cap that I picked up at Wall Drug is not ever going to sit atop my head again.

But when I see that hat, I always think, "That was such a great trip."

And I just can't let it go.

This ugly, worn out cap...

...is somehow holding me hostage.

I need to break free.

I know I can't go home again.

But I can go back to my storage space, can't I?

A time is coming when I'll have to face that wall of boxes.

My 10'x10'x8' scrapbook.

And I'll have to remind myself that just because the physical evidence is gone, doesn't mean I won't remember.

I don't know if I can do it.

But I guess I'd rather send my daughter to college than pay rent for these boxes for the rest of my life.

I'll get there.

One day I'll be the kind of person that travels light.

(But comes back with extra baggage.)

08 February 2010

I'm done

No, not with blogging. You wish. Oh, I'm just getting started.

No, I'm done–as in finished–with something quite different.

As I posted before, I'm in the ad industry. The glorious, exciting, martini-lunch world of advertising. Lucky me.

We get to be creative. We get to go to exotic places. We're constantly striving for a better solution, a better way to communicate your need for a useless product.

However, there are some problems in this idyllic world.
We don't get to be creative.
We don't get to go to exotic places.
And we're not constantly striving for a better solution.

What we are doing is competing. Constantly.

Trying to one-up each other, and get in good with the higher ups.

We just recently finished a huge project (although how "finished" it is is anyone's guess). And I got to work with my friends. Some pretty close friends, considering how much time we spend together.

And we turned on each other like in "Lord of the Flies".

I listened to such backstabbing remarks and cuts to others' work, that even I, the queen of criticism and judgement, was made a bit uneasy.

Why are we like this? Why are we willing to rip open our sometimes-friends, for the sake of a tv spot which will be changed and tweaked and watered down and re-written until it is unrecognizable?

Why do some feel this is ok?

I must admit I'm guilty of this to a small extent. Okay, to a big extent.

But on a normal level.

In a "Ugh, he was so annoying in that meeting. And did you see his hair?" kind of way.

But I don't say one thing about one person and then blatantly LIE to that person's face.

That's high school stuff and I want no part of it.

Obviously, a lot of this comes from insecurity. Because to create in any sense, you kind of have to lay yourself on the line, put yourself out there. Say, "Here's what I came up with and this is who I am." That's pretty intimidating.

And you have to stay relevant. Always.

And to stay relevant, you have to be kind of hip. And most of the people who are hip are pretty young.

And this is a really young industry.

As in, 35 is old.

That's why one guy I work with actually lies about how old he is. Really. He's in his early 50s and he claims to be mid-30s (Well, that was last summer. I believe he aged himself this fall and is now claiming to be early 40s). This is how desperate people are to belong in this world.

And it's never really bothered me that much.

Call me callous, but the goings-on in our industry never made me bat an eye.

But now I'm feeling some Catholic guilt.

Maybe it's because I have a kid and I'm trying to model nice behavior for her.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I'm just sick to death of the whole thing.

Maybe it's because I'm looking at these people I've known for years and really seeing them for who they are.

Because if you can call someone a friend and then act like the antagonist in some poorly-lit soap opera...that's not something I want a part of anymore.

But my options are limited.

I have a degree in creative writing and I work in advertising. Not really a springboard for much.

I googled "Life After Advertising" and found lots of useful info.

Like the guy who just couldn't take it anymore and so went out and bought a vineyard. Or the guy that realized his real love was pottery and quit it all to become a potter full time. And don't forget the woman who realized she had an "eye for color" and started her own successful fashion line.

Now why didn't I think of that?

I think the key to living in this world I've chosen is probably just to try and find what I do like. What makes it bearable.

And honestly, the creating of good work is addictive. The energy you get when you feel like you're onto something, the feeling you get when you solve a problem...that's why we're all here. I get that adrenaline high when I'm working on something good. We all do.

I think that's doable: looking for the good in a sea of bad. And really, sometimes it's worth it. Sometimes I think to myself, "I love what I do."

I'll try to ignore that these times are getting fewer and farther between. And I'll try and find what I used to love about my job. I'll actively seek it. I'll roam the halls, look under desks, look in closets. I'll find that passion.

And then I'll jump as soon as I find something better.

02 February 2010

On being Asian...

The jig is up. I'm Asian. You probably hadn't guessed that, but yes, I'm guilty.

I. Am. Asian.

And with this descriptor comes all sorts of stereotypes, some true, some not so true.

I did take piano lessons. For eleven years.

And violin. For four.

I had a bowl cut. As did my sister.

We had rice with every meal. Even if it was spaghetti.

My parents are professionals who pushed us academically and even sent us to academically-focused summer camps.

We had a chalkboard in our playroom where our father taught us math.

We were grounded for getting Bs.

And my mom makes the best Filipino food around. Hands down.

My favorite part of being Asian (or Pacific Islander, if you must get technical) is when I'm confronted by an idiot who can't tell "what I am" and often broaches the subject with a sensitive, "What are you?"

After Chinese and Japanese, most run out of countries and just stare at me, stumped.


Yes. Filipino.


Those are my favorite times. Oh, and when people get me confused with someone who is also Asian, but looks nothing like me. But I totally understand that. It's hard to keep you white people straight too.

I also love poking fun at the Asian culture. I've been known to state that "Asian chicken salad" is simply "chicken salad" to us. It makes some uncomfortable, but those who know me well know I'm just trying to make people uncomfortable.

Why am I posting about this? Because tonight I read another blog called "The Banana Diaries" and it was hilarious. This guy's Korean (not Chinese or Japanese as one might guess). And he's blogging about growing up Korean. And going to Church camp. And being "Fresh off the Boat". It's pretty funny, well-written stuff.

So I thought to myself, "I know a little something about being Asian. I can write about that."

And here we are.

I remember growing up, wanting to be just like Elizabeth Corrigan.

Blonde hair. Blue eyes.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed family.

Golden retriever (who had red hair and brown eyes).

I wanted nothing more than to fit in. To be the same as "them".

I remember trying to open my eyes really wide when getting my picture taken.

Because. Well, you know.

I have slanty eyes.

I remember disliking that my skin was darker.

I didn't have a curl to my hair to save my life. My mother tried and tried to perm it and it would be curly. For about a week. Poor mom.

But all in all, I wanted to melt in and not be noticed.

Now...I'm a little different.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one that stands out, by any means. I don't wear outlandish clothes and dye my hair orange in order to buck the trend.

I'm actually kind of mainstream now, but not out of a desire to conform. Well, I guess that's a part of everyone's motivation to some extent.

But now, I'm more comfortable in my own skin.

I love being Asian. Because it's part of me. It's who I am so much so, that it's not even something that stands out to me anymore. It's not something that's top of mind anymore.

And I love that my daughter looks kind of Asian (my husband is as white and Wonder Bread as "they" come).

And I love that she'll grow up knowing the customs, calling my parents "Lolo" and "Lola", and maybe even learning to cook my mom's amazing recipes.

And I especially love that I'm raising a strong, half-Asian woman. Who, one day when she's asked, "Are you Oriental?" she can calmly look at the person and say, "Why, yes. I am a rug."

City livin'

Here's what I've been struggling with lately:
We have an almost three year old.
We live in the city.
We have no yard.

And we've decided to stay.

Most of the time I'm fine with it. You know, we'll be raising this tough, streetsmart, take-no-bullshit kid. She doesn't notice when the el streaks by. She barely glances up when police cars with sirens blazing go by. She doesn't even seem to notice the crap and litter all over the sidewalks and streets. And I love that. She's a city kid...so far.

But then I think of how I was raised. In a beautiful suburb with a big backyard, kids throughout the neighborhood, being able to ride my bike anywhere, walk to school with my friends. There were trees and grass and Capture the Flag tournaments. And quiet.

Sounds kind of creepy, but that's how I grew up.

And yes, it was a different time–things definitely seemed safer back then. I could take off on my bike at 9am on a summer morning and come home by dinner, without my parents batting an eye (although that may be another issue entirely). It seemed like there was more freedom there than there is in a city.

So herein lies the problem. I can raise an urban, sophisticated, cultured, we-order-chinese-takeout-at-4am, aware-in-more-ways-than-the-average-suburban-kid kid.

OR I can raise a suburban kid, who can take two steps out our back door to a manicured yard (I told you my husband was nice) and the smell of homemade pie baking in [someone else's] oven.

Don't get me wrong. This decision is made. We're all signed up, about to move into a new construction condo (don't even get me started on raising her in a condo). But I still sometimes wonder: Are we doing the right thing? Shouldn't we consider moving just five itty bitty miles west to a great suburb with great schools? As set as this decision is in stone, I'm still torn.

At times, I can see it. I can see my kid going to her little urban school with her little urban friends. Then going to the little urban park and coming home to her mom's takeout dinner.

But then there are other times...wow, that whole house and yard and block party thing is appealing, too.

I know whatever decision we make is the right one for our family. Blah blah blah.

But still...when it's your kid and you have to decide what her life is going to be right now...that's a big burden. And I'm a lazy person.

But I think we're doing the right thing.

At least I do right now.

01 February 2010

Welcome to me

My first blog. Wow. And I'm not quite sure what I want to say, or even who might read this.

Let's see. A little bit about me. I'm a neurotic mother of a two year old daughter, teetering on the brink of being three. She's the love of my life (usually) and is the most creative, hilarious, kind person I know. She must get that from her dad, my husband. He's the kind of person that makes my friends say, "How is he married to YOU?" Seriously. He's that nice.

We have a dog that I love, but annoys me, now that I have my kid. She's a sweet shepherd mix (aren't they all?) who's mostly quiet, but can bark and scare the shit out of you when she's in the mood.

My job? My job...I'm in advertising. Let's leave it at that...for now. My husband is as well. Our daughter is exhibiting signs of creativity, which is scaring the crap out of me. What if she ends up like me?? Scary thought.

Well, that's all for now. It's my first stab at blogging and I'm exhausted. Gotta go to bed. Goodnight, my one follower, dear hubby.