Monday, October 31, 2005

Is It Just Me...

Or are people crazy and socially incorrect?

In the last couple of days, I have had some odd encounters with people who seem to have no concept of their behavior.

A customer came in with a sweater that pilled and she claimed she had only worn it three times and was "embarrassed" when her friend asked her why she was wearing an old cashmere sweater. She kept going on and on and got to exchange it for a new one with no receipt or tags.

A co-worker was complaining about her old boss at her last job. She said the woman was a controlling "bitch" and oh yeah, she's Mexican, not that she has anything against Mexicans.

Five minutes ago, a propsective older student came in and was telling me that her business degree is "fucking worthless" and that finding a job right out of school was "bullshit".

Perhaps I'm not one to judge. Maybe my personality or perception of reality has seemed off by someone else. I mean, in some ways, we have a lot of nerve locking people up for being "insane" because their view of things differs from the majority. Not to say that there aren't out and out crazy folks, but seriously: if people that are considered insane are so because they don't know they are, that could potentially be just about anyone you know.

No Mostess with the Hostess

No more parties. At least, not thrown or hosted by me.

It's just not fun.

I feel responsible for entertaining and making everyone happy, fretting over each attendee, and realizing I don't have much to talk about when stuck in a corner with them.

The idea of getting super drunk doesn't sound fun. It's never a dancing crowd. And even though my friends have met my other friends a ton of times at other gatherings, everyone manages to stick to themselves, either with the group of people they came with, or with the friends they happen to find.

That's fine, but when everything is segregated, it seems less like a social gathering and more like a high school dance.

So yeah, I'm done for awhile.

Shopgirl

I don't miss working in retail. So this part-time seasonal job has been a bit of a rude awakening, a reminder of being on your feet all day.

No, there's nothing HARD about directing someone to the bathroom or folding a sweater, but it's definitely ANNOYING.

And when I calculate how much I'm making per hour minus the cost of traveling to the job, and I'm not making out that great.

Yesterday, I didn't know I was going to get a 60 minute break, so I wasted an hour's worth of salary on a Real Simple and Diet Coke.

I don't know if I have "Ask Me!" stamped on my forehead, but out of all the employees walking around it seemed every customer made a beeline straight to me.

Even the prospect of using my store discount isn't enough to make this job appealing.

Let's just say, I'm way too old to work in retail. I don't know how people do this five or six years out of college, let alone all their lives. Not to say that I'm beneath it. But I'm glad that this is only temporary.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Friends Who Come And Go

Sometimes I'll talk with someone I haven't in awhile, and feel sad that we don't hang out like we used to. They will say something or do something to remind of the fun times, the times when I cherished them most.

But then they always do or say something to remind of why I don't keep up with them anymore.

I guess it must be mutual, or I'd have a lot of voicemails to not return, or emails not to reply to.

There is a strange transition that takes place. You either lose touch with the people who knew you the longest because things change, or you aren't able to develop many solid friendhips later on in life.

It would be nice to have a group of friends who knows you really well, can recall memories from the past that you make smile. Especially in the bigger moments of your life that you'd like to share.

But along with that joy of relationships comes a lot of drama. Drama I don't miss.

I can't say I'm especially proud of the way some of my friendships have ended. But I don't find myself particularly unhappy either.

I Prefer

-Sausage over Bacon
-A 1 over Heinz 57
-Cake over Glazed
-Cherry over Grape
-Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi
-Light Cream over Skim Milk
-Equal over Sweet N' Low
-Pancakes over Waffles
-Hellman's over Miracle Whip
-BBQ over Honey Mustard

Has Everyone Always Been This Rude?

A couple of years ago, I went with my parents to Iowa to visit my brother at school. Everywhere we went, folks there were accomdating and polite. I don't know if city life had gotten to me, but I was really taken aback by the friendliness.

As much as I wanted so desperately to move to the city, there are times when I wish there was more of a suburban mentality here.

Maybe it's because we're forced to interact with so many more people here. And maybe it's that volume that makes it hard to keep up with personal touches and customer service.

But sometimes it gets really old and frustrating. It sucks getting in your car every morning wondering what asshole is going to cut you off. It's a drag to see all of the irritation and constant displeasure worn on the faces of people that work at all of your local shops and service stations.

I find myself appreciating the little things, the small talk, even a smile.

What's even worse is that *I* feel like I'm constantly frowning or unhappy. And I wonder if I were surrounded by more warmth and understanding from other people, that I myself would be more congenial.

I suppose sometimes you just have to take the initiative and be that person who brings everyone up, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you.

But the eternal pessimist in me thinks that's a bunch of hooey.

The Competitor In Me

I have to admit, I like winners.

Maybe that's obvious, but I point this out due to my "new dedication" to the White Sox. It's not that I consider myself a fan now. That's a stretch. It's more along the lines of, I'll support anyone who poses a chance of defeating an opponent.

When the Cubs were winning a few years ago, I watched.

When the Bulls made it to the Playoffs, I was there.

And if I had been old enough, I'm sure I would have loved the '85 Bears.

Sure, I think professional sport players get paid WAY TOO MUCH. And I think men spend way too much time learning stats, hanging out at bars to watch a game, or sitting at home all day and night with their buddies, getting drunk and stupid. But there is still something appealing about sports.

I admit that I'm jumping on the bandwagon this time around. But so far, it's been a fun ride.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Indignant

Lately I've been feeling kind of bad.

About six or so months after I moved to Chicago, back in 1999, my cousin asked me if I would substitute bowl for her team on Friday nights. She was pretty desperate, so I agreed.

One of my teammates was a guy named T. and we became pretty good friends. He is a great person, someone who cares about people and goes out of his way to introduce them to new things. He got me into indie rock. He invited me to hang out with him and his local rockstar buddies, even before I turned 21. I could call him to fix things or lend me stuff. He even helped co-sign a contract so I could get a cell phone.

There were times I didn't see him much over the years, especially during the summer, when the bowling season was over. But we kept in touch as much as we could.

T. took over a film festival in the city and I showed my support by occasionally showing up to movies and encouraging people I knew to go too.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to help with the incoming films and was more involved than ever. I vowed that the following year, I'd dedicate myself fully to the festival. I really wanted to be a part of the process and help T. as much as I could.

But when the meetings started, they were disorganized and last minute. I started to get really annoyed at getting an email the day of a meeting to ask if I could be somewhere that night. I spoke up, but nothing changed. And finally I decided to stop showing up. When asked a few months later if I still wanted to help, I said "no". The year before my uncle had given T. a deal on screen printed t-shirts. A week and a half before he wanted them, he emailed to see if I could get in touch with my uncle. I was beyond pissed.

In the end, I didn't go to any of the films for the festival. I wasn't interested in what was going on at all. And not only did I lose touch with T., I stopped talking to seeing a lot of the really great people involved.

Now, about ten months later, I feel a bit ashamed at my behavior. Instead of trying to be understanding of a tough situation, I turned my back on it because it became an inconvenience. Instead of rolling with the punches and lending a hand where I could, I completely removed myself from all of it.

And worst of all, I turned out to be a pretty shitty person and friend to someone who has done nothing but help me when I needed it most.

I'm sure that he's found some way to forgive me, even though I never apologized for what happened.

But I doubt he's forgotten.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Reality Bites

This movie was on WE or something a couple of months ago and my boyfriend recorded on the DVR, so one Sunday afternoon, I plopped down to re-watch it.

I hadn't seen it in about a decade. I think I rented it with a friend, so maybe it was around 1995 or so.

I remember back then, thinking Ben Stiller's character was a huge idiot/dork with no redeemable qualities. And while Ethan Hawke was a big time loser-asshole, there was obviously a connection between him and Winona.

It was perplexing to me that she would even be interested in someone like Stiller, who seemed hapless and way too slick.

But upon another viewing, older, more mature, and actually identifying with the characters ("I can't work at the GAP"), I realized that Stiller was actually a really nice guy. No, he wasn't the sharpest knife in the block, but he wasn't stupid. He was sincere and genuinely liked her.

It was a little scary to watch a movie ten years later, only to realize that you are OLDER than these characters that back in 1995 were so far off from where you were. These were fresh out of college types, trying to find their way.

And how sad is it that not much has changed, except for a hope and chance to make something huge out of my life.

Maybe I shouldn't have tried so hard to find a 9-5 job when I was 22.

It's never too late, though, I suppose.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Asthma Sux

Growing up, I went through a bout of adolescent asthma. It was at its worst when I was extremely physical or having allergy related problems.

One of the most horrible feelings in the world is not being able to breathe.

I remember many sleepless nights, propped up by four pillows, listening to my shallow breaths, hoping tomorrow I'd be better.

It's been years since I've had problems, but now with the adoption of our cat, I was prescriped Singulair and a new inhaler.

It's insane how much better medicine has gotten in the past fourteen years. I can just pop a pill and feel better.

I would have killed for something like this in the past.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Love Food and Hate My Body

I'm downing the last few bites of the chocolate croissant, knowing full well there is nothing healthy or nutritional about it. I don't care that it's cancelled out a half day of "good" behavior. A day that started out with Frosted Mini Wheats, a yogurt, a 100 calorie snack pack and a six inch Subway sandwich with nothing but turkey, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.

I know that every morning I catch an unsightly glimpse of myself in the mirror after my shower, a horrendous spectacle of flabby skin and roundness. But it won't stop me from finishing this chocolate croissant.

I wish I had a good excuse for being overweight. Instead I'll just be honest and say I use food as a crutch, a source of power, a way to brighten a moment, a day. I'm lazy and don't like working out. I don't have the discipline to cook dinner every night.

I don't say "no" to things. Not even when I imagine my fat ass on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, next to my rail thin cousin, does that stop me from picking up this chocolate croissant and devouring every last crumb.

I identify the problem over and over again. The portions, the fried and fast food, the take out, the delivery, the dining in. I've managed to cut out coffee and most regular soda. I've stopped eating bagels every morning for breakfast and have even managed to be fairly "good" at lunch.

But there are way too many slip-ups. They completely annihilate any small effort I've made to change my diet for the better.

It comes in all shapes and sizes, from the candy bowl that sits a foot from the door of my office, to the accessibility of fresh baked scones and muffins or the pharmacy which stocks any kind of chip, cookie or candy bar you could ever think of.

It's on every street when I'm in my car, a drive thru window or pick up joint. It's a vending machine full of sugared soda, or even in the frozen section at the grocery store.

Everywhere it's there, asking me politely to partake in its wonders, promising me instant satisfaction, a smile on my face.

And I can't say "no". I can't run away from it. Even the most hopeless dream of all: to be thin, isn't worth fighting for if it means I have to deny myself.

So there it is.

Hi, I'm Bittersweet

I consider myself to be a fairly outgoing person. At least, I don't usually come across shy or introverted.

But tonight I'm thinking about going to a knitting group that meets near my apartment. It sounds like the girl who runs it is very nice, but who knows over email.

My problem is: this is just a group of people that sit in a cafe and knit. It's not organized by some store or YMCA type thing. It's casual. And they probably know one another very well.

And even though they probably think they are friendly and open to new people, it's still sort of awkward.

I mean, what do I do? Show up with my knitting bag and say "Hi, I'm Bittersweet, nice to meet you" to whoever is there?

The whole scenario sounds rather nerve-racking. But I don't want to be some huge wuss who can't interact with other people just because I don't know them yet.

A Cost of Living

Lately, a lot of things seem expensive. Sox tickets for $125, concert prices starting in the thousands, a possible fare increase on the CTA, and just a general sense that if you want, you pay.

I'm definitely not suffering too badly. I have enough money to do the things I want and I'm pretty content with that.

But I wonder when prices will hit some sort of plateau. Does that ever happen? It just feels like the cost of things is going up way more than the 3% salary increase I get every year.

On the contrary, I'm still able to find bargains. Monday I went shopping with my mom and spent only $123 on two pairs of pants, a skirt and three sweaters. I also got four pairs of shoes for about $125. Trouser sox were 3 for $5.69 and a package of four boy short underpants were $5.99.

It's called the outlet mall, and it's a "poor" girl's dream when it comes to wanting more for your money. Nothing I bought looks like it's from the outlet mall, and the truth is, who cares if anyone knows?

I may be working at Bloomingdale's for the holiday season. A manager that interviewed me told me about a woman who came in last week and bought 29 cashmere sweaters. That is insane. Actually, the whole idea of spending that kind of money is mind boggling. But in that very same store, I found shoes for my boyfriend that only cost $34.99.

You've just got to keep your eye out.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It Was Probaby The Right Thing To Do

Back in high school, I had a horrible, horrible infatuation with a good friend of mine. In fact, it was so bad, it took me five years to get over it, and only because I actually said "this is it, I can't talk to you again, ever". And walked away.

I can't say I've never looked back. In the last five years since we've spoken, I've seen him once or twice and had close encouters with mutual friends.

But my fear that I'd cave and we'd somehow become friends again, subsided with each passing month.

Now it's a strange, faraway memory, that seems more like foolish high school antics than any of the honest despair and depression I actually experienced when I was eighteen.

Last night I found out he got in engaged. I think I've been waiting to hear this sort of news for awhile now, but it was still sort of a surprise. But beyond that, I felt nothing other than the weird sensation of "thank god"; a reaffirmation that our dramatic last encounter was for the best.

I'm not sure what would have happened if we were still "friends". Maybe things would have worked out and I would have gotten over it and today I'd somehow be involved in his upcoming nuptials.

I doubt it though.

Instead, I feel alive because it makes me take a look at my own relationship, how happy I am now and how it seems like magical fate that we came together. And perhaps all of those things in the past had to happen in order for me to get where I am now.

If so, even though the pain of those times has faded tremendously, it was worth it to have gone through those things if it meant ending up where I have, in the loving arms of someone I'm quite positive I can't live without.

Friday, October 14, 2005

When I Was Young and Bold

Growing up, I was pretty much a show off. And I was bossy as hell.

I was also confident and outspoken. And I was me.

Eventually, things started to change. It seemed other kids didn't like me for who I was and that had a profound effect on me psychologically.

I don't know if that can ever be corrected. I feel it's just a part of me to care what people think.

It's not that I'm trying to impress anyone anymore, but there is a sense that I have to keep up certain fronts in order to keep the perception of me a good one.

And yet within all of that trying to keep up appearances, I've lost a part of me, a part of my personality that wanted so badly to exist twenty years ago.

I think about how there's no way to protect your children from what they see and hear growing up. And that the slightest remark may completely change who they are and who they could have been.

It just goes to show you how vulnerable we all are.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Conflicting Everything

I'm sure this is a bad thing, but the less time I spend with people, the more I get used to having things my way.

I don't think I ask for much. I just want to do what I want to do when I want to do it.

And the thing is, the more people involved in your life, the less it's yours. Yes, it's fulfilling and has many happy moments, but it's less in control.

And I am a control freak.

Sometimes I hate seeing a particular person's not so great personality trait coming through. It makes me like them less and it also makes me anxious when I have to interact with them. This is because now that I've established I like them less, I'd rather just avoid them. Sometimes I do this and they notice but don't say anything, or ask if something's wrong not assuming it's them. And other times I just act as normal as possible.

One behavior I can't stand is selfishness that exceeds my own. The problem is, as much as I want things my way, I also hate conflict. So rather than speak my mind, I often let others make decisions for me, either because I'm feeling indecisive or think my choice will displease another person. Then on the inside, I fume when forced to do something someone else wants to do, or am guilted into it.

I also hate change. Even the smallest alteration in my day annoys. It's perhaps a big reason why I can't stand my job. Everyday is different and someone can always come by to fuck it up.

Anyway, I'm convinced I'm not meant to interact with people. But since I'm forced to, I wish it were in some capacity where I could act fake all of the time and get away with it. That or work at a place like Ed Debevic's where you can be rude to customers and still get paid.

Am I Ebert?

Last night I saw "In Her Shoes".

I had low expectations from it, despite the fact that Ebert gave it an "A".

But to my pleasant surprise, it was actually really good.

I don't know if I've become a softy or what, but I found it kind of heartwarming.

However, it's movies like this that paint a really unrealistic picture of how relationships are.

For one, Toni Colette's boyfriend/fiance is just "too perfect". He's that guy you think you're waiting for when you're single that you won't actually ever find because he doesn't exist.

And for two, a movie that makes me think I want a sister obviously doesn't know me that well. I think if anything, having a sister would have caused me more angst than having a brother. I can only imagine being the Toni Colette of the two, the less attractive, low self-esteem sister.

Overall, though, I was highly entertained and even moved by many scenes.

If you need a girl's night out, I'd definitely pick this movie to go and see.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Perfect Fit

I love clothes that fit perfectly.

Take today's skirt, for example. It sits on my waist nicely and doesn't squeeze my stomach. It's not made of stretchy material or elastic. And it's a size that I can live with.

This is in direct contrast with some of my jeans which are two sizes larger that I have tug on after washing.

The only consolation I feel about my weight is that I haven't grown out of clothes in the past five or so years. Everything still fits, thankfully.

I'm going on an outlet mall shopping "spree" with my mom next Monday and am trying to decide what sorts of things I need. The list seems to increase every time I go back to it.

Part of me wants to build up my work clothing. But I'd like some nice casual things too. I also want an outfit or two for the holidays and other such occasions. I'd love a new purse/work bag. And of course, I could always go for a new pair of shoes.

Then I think deeper about how I wish I accessorized more. I could use some simple earrings and necklaces.

But THEN I remember I don't have a winter coat yet.

And finally, the true guilt sets in when I realize I should be saving every penny for our move to New York.

Crossing my fingers that I get an interview for a seasonal position at Bloomingdale's...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Man's World: Sports

I watched most of the Angels V. Yankees game last night. I find that playoff baseball is way more interesting to watch, even if I'm less than interested in the teams.

Baseball players seem to be in the middle of the road. What I mean is that, they aren't overly testosterone-fueled, they're pretty average looking, and while they have to possess athleticism, it's seen through home runs instead of pushing someone over.

Football players, on the other hand, are the epitome of Meat Heads. They run around, pounding their chests, showing off in the end zone and spending most of the game knocking people to the ground.

Basketball players are a bunch of showboating babies. This is a game where getting fouled can mean points, so there's a lot of rolling around and fake, anguished looks on those dude's faces when they fall down.

And Hockey players. Well, there's a breed I don't know much about. But I will say this: in a sport where fighting is actually ALLOWED, you've gotta wonder how THAT incorporates into a male driven event.

When all's said and done, I enjoy a dose of sports each season. I'm not betting any money or playing on any fantasy teams, but I enjoy the competition. The start of a different sport marks a change in weather, usually; a transition from one thing to another.

I like how the sports world keeps me entertained all year round.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Love Food

If you know me...oh wait, all but one of you DON'T KNOW ME, than you know I love food.

I love all sorts of food, from the cheapest of cheap, to some of the higher end restaurant dishes.

I've been "trying" to watch what I eat during the week, which can sometimes be an annoying challenge. It doesn't help that I'm bored A LOT at my job, which makes me even "hungrier".

Anyway, today I stumbled upon an excellent sweet snack. I mixed a bag of the Chips Ahoy 100 calorie packs with a fat free chocolate pudding. That's only 180 calories and 3 grams of fat. Hard to beat.

It's amazing how little things can make all the difference in the way your food tastes. I'm always surprised at how far a little salt, pepper and seasoning salt goes on grilled pork chops.

I get into this craving modes where I HAVE to have a particular food, or even type of meal. Most of the time it's something Asian (Japanese most of the time), Indian or Italian.

Saturday night I whipped up a huge batch of hot Japanese curry with chicken, onions, potoatos and carrots. I ate it over a bowl of steamed white rice. Sooooo good. It's one of those perfect fall/winter meals that sticks to the inside of your stomach and makes you feel nice and full.

I also love breakfast. My boyfriend doesn't eat until noon, so sometimes it sucks to not have a breakfast buddy on the weekend, but on the rare occasions that we go out, I always have a hard time deciding what I want. I'm the type of person who likes a little bit of everything when it comes to an early day meal.

I discovered the perfect all around breakfast at Pick Me Up Cafe. It's called the "Clown Combo" and includes: eggs (any way), toast (I get one of their really good bagels), pancakes, sausage and potatos. Yes, that is one heavy-ass load. But it has everything I want!

Anyway, I find that eating brings a smile on my face, no matter what type of food I'm eating. I know that's not good for my waistline, but I'd take a good meal over just about any other activity, including shopping and sleeping.

Yeah, I know, pretty damn sad.

Hello Again

Hi. I think we've met somewhere before.

If not, welcome. If so, welcome back.

Thanks for reading. You make this blogging process a whole lot more fun.

That picture was taken about twenty-five years ago. I still make that same face, except I'm a lot less cute nowadays.

The truth is, not much has changed about my personality since I was young. I've been a sarcastic pessimist for as long as I can remember. I try to be humorous about it, but sometimes you'll catch me talking about global poverty and how much I hate conservatives. And other times I'll just bitch about stuff. A lot. Either way, it's meant to be entertaining and sometimes a little thought-provoking.

Feel free to comment. I'd really like it if you'd link it to your blog if you have one. I'm always looking to add things to my favorites. Lets just say I have some time on my hands at work.

Anyway, whether you stumbled upon this on accident, or because you've followed me here, enjoy!