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Bad News Bear

It has been a week of it. I got back from my bridal shower (which was lovely, by the way) to find out that my move-out situation from my old house has hit yet more financial snags, my mother is in the hospital again, and someone close to me is getting a divorce. I guess bad news really does travel in threes. Ugh.

In spite of all of that, I have endeavored to get into my writing some more, and I have succeeded in getting a solid twenty pages of revision done this evening. For more information on that, I suggest you check out my writing blog.

The reason for the late night is an ill-timed three hour nap I took with my fiance. In spite of the poor timing, it ended up working out in my favor. I have been needing and itching to get work done for a while.

Speaking of my fiance, he hunted around to find me some useful Gaelic learning material and downloaded it for me. I get warm fuzzies thinking about it. He also asked me about my desire to learn the language and listened when I prattled on about it for some time. I can’t wait to start working on it more.

The wedding is six weeks away. I cannot believe it is so close now. What a trip. Married. Me. John’s parents are coming into town next weekend to go over some more wedding stuff with us. We’re getting into crunch time now. I’m starting to get the calls about flight times and questions about sleeping arrangements and all of that. John and I definitely need to book some of our tickets for the honeymoon and secure our rental car. So much to do, and an ever-decreasing amount of time to do it in.

Phew.

Okay. I think I am going to see if I can get a few hours of sleep before my double tomorrow. I still have a bit of a long weekend ahead of me.

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What is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me…

I couldn’t help it.

I apologize in advance if this post makes even less sense than last night’s. I fail rather dramatically at putting together coherent paragraphs after days as long as this one. I did have some thoughts tonight during my cocktail shift at my restaurant. We were slow, and I was bored, and in between running food and drinks to my few piddling tables, I had a conversation with a coworker about love, specifically the kind that has longevity. We’re both engaged to be married.

One of the not-so-first things that comes to mind when I think of love is money. Strange, then that money and financial issues are one of the biggest reasons marriages end. Different views on what is a worthwhile use of assets, someone spending too much on the wrong things, not making enough to get by, etc. I can see why. It’s not easy to mesh two people’s finances together, even if you keep them mostly separate. And it’s not a topic most couples find romantic. You can talk to any die-hard romantic about …well, romance…and they might tell you that all you need is love. That love can fix any problem. I disagree. Love can help you forgive a lot of things, but there are many problems that can suck the life out of love, erode it away until all that exists is a fossil of a memory and some jagged edges.

Long lasting love (ooh, alliteration!) involves sacrifice on the part of both parties. It means putting someone else first, or giving up something to gain more. It means thinking of we instead of me (see what I did there?) and putting the needs of others at the top of a priority list. So let’s talk about needs for a minute. I have a strong theory that a relationship cannot succeed if the partners fail to meet each other’s needs the way they need them met. Needs are specific to each person, and they often require different things from each person. Let’s say two people need reassurance. For one, that might mean nothing more than a long huggle and a tender kiss. For another, it might mean hearing affirming words. If you’re someone who needs  a long huggle to feel reassured, affirming words won’t do much for you, and vice versa. It might help a little, but you probably won’t feel completely reassured until the need is met the way you need it to be met.

The tricky part about meeting someone’s needs the way they need them met is that the golden rule really doesn’t apply. You can’t simply do unto your significant other as you would have him or her do unto you, because you might have a different way of having your needs met than they do. Love is being willing to crawl outside your thick skull and into theirs. Love is finding out what those needs of your partner are and how your partner needs you to meet them, then following through even when it’s supremely uncomfortable. Some people have a really hard time expressing themselves verbally. If you’re one of those people and your partner is someone who needs verbal affirmation, it could be potentially catastrophic trying to meet that need. But if you do it, even though it’s hard, your partner will take notice. The danger comes in when one partner says, “I’m just not wired that way. Deal with it.” Especially if that person expects their partner to meet their needs the way they need them met even when they refuse to do the same.

No one ever promised that love would be easy. In fact, if you get promises about love, it’s probably the opposite.

Then again, nothing worth having comes free and easy.

I Hate Money

My life right now is dictated by the fact that I just don’t have enough of it. My credit cards are over limit and overdue, and I didn’t squander the money on shoes or trips to the mall or any such frivolities. It was spent on a cash advance for a deposit on my house, rent, and other bills. So I’m about to start working two jobs to try and pay for all of it. My tax return this year is going partially into savings and partially toward said debt. What a mess.

What I desperately want is to just…be able to save for my future and invest in my plans for a future career. Unfortunately, I’m barely making enough to buy groceries and gas right now after the bills are paid. I certainly don’t have health insurance, and I can’t afford to go to the doctor if anything happens to me. It’s not a feeling I enjoy.  I’ve just consolidated my credit cards, which I hope will help. I’m also hoping my neck injury won’t flare up too much when I try to work over 40 hours a week.

I know this is a whiny post…sorry. Does anyone have any tips for getting out of debt? I spend almost no money  outside of bills as it is and I try to save all my change.

Why I Don’t Really Enjoy Chick Flicks

I honestly can’t remember a time where I ever truly enjoyed “chick flicks.” I suppose I watched them…in high school I can recall watching She’s All That and Never Been Kissed and 10 Things I Hate About You (which really isn’t much of a chick flick at all; it’s just awesome) (awwww…Heath Ledger…waaaaaah).  Those are the only ones I really remember, though.  Even then, the movies I got excited about were the Lord of the Rings movies, X-Men (I about peed myself), and horror movies/thrillers.  Even the occasional sci-fi movie, though I was never a die-hard sci-fi girl. But I digress before I even started. Alas. I blame NyQuil.

Anyway, tonight something happened that I just couldn’t ignore. First of all, I decided to watch Sleepless in Seattle.  It’d been forever since I saw it (if I ever saw it before tonight), and I decided, “What the hell?”

I fell asleep 40 minutes in, to my own chagrin. So I started it over. I like Meg Ryan.  I also like Tom Hanks. I was enjoying the movie after I conquered my sleepiness. And then, BAM. It was over. The camera zoomed out on that giant red heart on the side of the Empire State Building, and I was supremely confused. After a beat, I thought, “That’s it?” I was beyond confused. I was bewildered. “Really? That’s it? But…what happens next?”

I won’t deny that I could relate to bits of the film; perhaps it’s that I’m in love with a wonderful man myself, but I definitely had some warm fuzzies. However, when it ended, I was left utterly unsatisfied. I wanted to know what happened later, that evening, the next morning, a week or a year later. I don’t want the ride off into the sunset endings — I want to know what’s on the other side of that sunset. It really bothered me that the movie just…truncated like an obnoxious fraction.

What if Meg and Tom decide they can’t stand each other? And if they do really end up in love, how does that happen? Do they ever take each other for granted? Does Jonah end up resentful and sullen again?

I realize that this is exactly why I don’t really like chick flicks. For one thing, they usually break up some couples. For another, they all end this way, this happily ever after shite. I guess it’s not really shite, persay, but it’s so unrealistic I want to bop them on the heads with a mallet. I think that’s why I love Love Actually — yeah, some of them end up quite happy, but not all of them. And the love they show isn’t always the romantic kind, either. There’s some anguish, there’s some pictures of good love gone bad, and there are some pictures of nice, healthy love as well.

Sigh. Maybe Hollywood has lost a bit of its magic for me, but I don’t know. What I do know is that life isn’t full of happy endings. It’s the journey that matters, every step along the way. It doesn’t end when we meet the one we love or even when we marry them. It keeps on going, marching up and down, back and forth. And that’s what I like about it. I don’t want the end credits to roll till my eyes shut for the last time.

 

 

It’s 3 a.m.; I must be lonely

Well, the former part is true, at least.  Am I lonely?  Not…lonely persay.  Pensive?  A little.  Riddled with self-contemplation?  Somewhat.  Ever-so-slightly shocked at myself?  Yes.  Yes, I am.

I’m having a girlie moment.

Gasp.  Crash.  Hiccup.

I know.  I knooooooooooooow. I’m seldom outright girlie.  The pensive self-contemplation stems primarily from that blatant fact.  In many ways, I defy mainstream, pop-culture girl-dom.  I hate pink.  (Okay, maybe not hate, but I feel it ought to be used in very, very sparing quantities.)  Chick flicks are enormously depressing for me.  I don’t want to be a princess, unless it’s the warrior kind and I get to rampage about killing monsters and saving the world.  Diamonds bore me at best, and I loathe diamond solitaires (this time my adjective is not overstated).  I would be mortally offended if my boyfriend spent two months of income on an engagement ring, and only slightly less so if he spent more than a week’s.  (He knows these things already.)

My momentary bout of girliness is coming from the mere fact that my relationship is progressing.  And it’s filling my head with all sorts of fuzzy shiny happy thoughts.  It makes my tummy feel warm and glowy (and NOT in that pregnant way, so don’t even ask).  I may have even sighed and made goo-goo eyes at Edward the Elephant in my boyfriend’s absence.  *ahem.*

On a more serious note, this feeling is entirely new.  Without going into too much detail, no one has ever been committed to me before.  Me.  I’ve never felt anything like this — the sense that someone truly wants to journey through this life at my side and wants me there at his.

And so I’m being girlie.  I’m looking at pretty colors and imagining future moments.  I’m listening to the conversations we had over and over in my head and reveling in it.

I feel like I got a belated birthday present/early Christmas present.  Because as I’ve tried to wrack my brain for gift ideas for myself (always a precipitous sort of task), I’ve returned only to the simple (if gushy and cliche) sentiment that all I want for Christmas is….well, him.

Before I turn completely into a porcelain dolly with ringlets and ribbons, let me remind you once more:

Warrior.  Swords.  Zombie-slaying, kicker of dragon asses, vampire-loving, princess of general awesomeness — that’s who you’re listening to here.  And don’t you forget it.

Connect the Dots

I couldn’t think of anything creative for the title of this post; forgive me.

I also cannot think of a better way to start the day after a workout than a shower in the rain.  Yep.  I have been trying to get into some actual workouts after pretty much just counting on my job to keep me losing weight — and it started pouring right as I finished.

It was the first chill rain of the autumn season.  I let nature wash off the sweat and cool me off.  I love rain water.  I honestly believe it’s one of the cleanest feeling kinds of water in the world.  It makes my skin silky and smooth.  It’s lovely.  And out of sheer curiosity — okay, I got caught up in the moment a little — I put a bowl outside to collect some of this water and I tasted it.  Yeah, I know, I know, pollution-blah-blah-acid rain-blah-various sounds of horror-blah, but it tasted fresh and earthy, sort of the way mist smells.  It tasted like a cloud.  Or at least how I would imagine a cloud to taste.

Please don’t judge me.  I realize my coworkers have informally voted me the most likely to do something no one else would do, or be different.  Which is a pleasant way of saying I’m weird.  I’m okay with that.  I self-actualized with my weirdness long ago, so stuff it.

Besides, not many people can say they’ve tasted the rain.  So there.

I’m going to ungracefully segue into the other topic that has been on my mind for a while now.  It has to do with love and relationships (surprise!).  What I’ve been pondering is the whole Big Picture thing.  The Big Picture gets a lot of good press.  Forest through the trees and all that.  Being able to see the Big Picture is a usually touted as a good thing.  But is it always?

I think of a successful relationship as a giant connect-the-dots picture.  Sure, you can look at the Big Picture, imagine how everything is going to turn out, and it might be beautiful.  But as with all connect-the-dots, the picture doesn’t fully emerge until you’ve drawn all the lines.  Each dot could represent something for you, something special.  That first electric glance.  The first kiss.  The day you confess your love.  When you exchange your keys.  When you move in together.  When the answer to the question is yes.  The wedding.  The additions to the family.  First home.  All of those special, magical moments are dots.

But here’s the thing.  Those dots are part of the big picture, but you know what takes up more of it?  The lines you draw between them.  The days when nothing really “special” happens.  It’s the daily grind, the waking up each morning, the nights you just hang in your pajamas and watch movies, the days you’re exhausted after work.  It’s showing your love in hundreds of tiny ways, in late night texts or just stopping by because you can.  It’s finding vibrancy and joy every day. It’s every goodnight kiss and every whiff of morning breath.

And that’s the good stuff.  That’s the foundation you build for those pinnacle moments.  If you don’t have the foundation, the pinnacles will crumble away and fall, and your beautiful Big Picture will just…fade into nothing, incomplete.

The true beauty of a Big Picture for me is knowing that together we made it.  That we painstakingly drew each line from dot to dot, hand in hand, together.  As a couple, as friends, as lovers, as companions. The true beauty of the Big Picture can only be seen because of the brush strokes that made it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

Autumn is flirting with September in a dance of revolving heat, rain, humidity, and crisp breezes.  Soon I know autumn will have her way with the world, and I couldn’t be happier.  Flickers of yellow and orange and red begin to appear on trees, and the temperature actually drops at night.  All in all, I’m waiting in anticipation of October.  As it approaches, there are a lot of things on my mind.  Not the least of which is what October brings with her as she arrives.  A year ago, I was waiting.  I knew what I was waiting for, but I had no idea how long my waiting would continue.  This week last year, I began to see a few glimmers of hope, a few warm tingles.  And then as October 1 turned to October 2, after a gleeful two hours of zombie-filled revelry, my waiting ended.  A man I had fallen for over the course of a year and a half invited me into his life, and we started down a road together.

Given the context of emotion this week holds for me, I suppose it’s only natural for me to think about love.  To ponder that thing that drives us so much through this world.  I think the silver screen presents us with many unrealistic views of romance and love.  (<–Understatement.)  Frankly, the few chick flicks (aka rom-coms) I’ve seen lately have been so far away from reality that they’ve left me wanting to repeatedly bang my head against a board.

What is love?  What really makes a relationship work?  If I could answer both of those questions succinctly, I’d probably win the Nobel Prize for Peace.  I’m just sayin’.  Go to any Barnes and Noble and you’ll find sections littered with books trying to explain love and fix relationships in 200-400 pages of easy step-by-step instructions.

Do soulmates exist?  Is there that magical moment where you just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have found the one person who can make you happy?  I might disappoint the world’s movie-going rom-com fanatics by saying this, but no.  I don’t think either of those two things really exist in the way they’re portrayed.  Relationships don’t follow a flow chart of:  meeting –> spark –> blossoming love –> conflict –> happy ending/sunset + horsey + castle.  Relationships are messy.  Why?  Because you’re taking imperfect people and smushing their lives together.  To expect perfection is naive at best.  However, I think the reality of love is more charming and beautiful than simply following a formulaic interpretation of easy happiness.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two or so years since I met John, it’s that communication cannot receive a higher commendation in the world of love.  And before you can communicate, you need to know and be happy with yourself.  If you’re looking for someone to complete you, you’ll never find that.  But I digress.  I don’t think love happens like in the movies.  Or at least if it does, it’s not even close to being the majority.

I think a lot of the time people get caught up in this idea of the magical moment that will make everything clear, make everything easy.  There’s no quick fix for anything in this life, in love especially.  I still think the guys in Thrice said it right when they said that love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.  Relationships take work–they don’t just work because you want them to.  Sometimes they take sacrifice and selflessness.  Both of which have to go both ways.  While I think that two people can experience an initial click or chemistry, I don’t think that two lives just slip into each other without a ripple.  People have different dreams and ambitions.  To me, the mark of the best relationships is the ability of the couple not to expect their lives to poof into perfection, but the willingness to build something together.  A family.  A home.  A life.  Whatever that may look like.  That’s where the beauty is to me.

That’s what I honestly love about my relationship.  Looking into the future and knowing that each of us will build something together.  That in the two years behind us since we met, we have begun building a foundation.  We’re two adults long since launched from the families that raised us, and in the last year, we have begun a new family.  A small family for now, just the two of us, but with strong ties to the families we came from.  Something to build on together into something that fits us both.

I can’t think of a truer love than that.

Whew.

Five more school days, my friends.  Just five.  And the chances that there will actually be any children there are getting slimmer every day.  I had six for the final (!!!) today.  No joke.  Ugh.

Speaking of getting slimmer…I am too!  I’ve lost five pounds.  I’m ever so proud of myself right now.  Amazing what working out and eating well really does.  Tonight I ate like a queen and logged in my food on my new bestest site, SparkPeople, and lo and behold — I hadn’t even hit the bottom end of my goals for calories, fat, protein, or carbs.  That was a “wtf” moment if I’ve ever had one.  So I ate another half cup of cottage cheese and six more of the most delectable strawberries I’ve ever tasted.  For real; I have no idea  where these bad boys came from.  I suspect somewhere on Mount Olympus.  They are nectar for the very gods.  They taste like they’ve been injected with sugar.  But they are just strawberries. Just delicious, fresh, and beautiful strawberries.  Swoon.  The kiwis are just as good.  Thank you, friendly neighborhood Asian market.  Not only are your strawberries cheaper than Giant (by $2 for two pounds!!!), but…well.  See above, re: god nectar.

Hard to believe I ate so well today.  Protein shake, nectarine, then I made pasta.  It is a multicolored Abetini pasta, which I tossed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauteed garlic, some oregano, parsley, and basil (dried) and tomatoes, both sun dried and one fresh plum tomato.  I topped it with some fresh basil (also thank you, Asian market) and a sprinkle of feta.  Amazing.  While I ate that, I also had some ratatouille in the oven, which may be my new favorite veggie dish.  Just layer thin slices of eggplant, yellow squash, red or orange pepper, and zucchini over tomato sauce, sprinkle with your favorite herbs, brush with olive oil, and bake for an hour on 350.  So awesome.  And less than 100 calories per serving.  I am loving eating healthy, dudes and dudettes.  I don’t feel bloated and blah after a big meal, and I am losing weight.  Love it.   I never realized just how many calories are in the average restaurant meal.  No joke, it’s at least 1000.  Probably more.  Definitely more if you get bottomless soda with it.  Yeesh.

Okay, enough about my foodscapades.  It is sleepy time!  (I’ve been sleeping better too!!!)  Happy.

Working Out

Turns out, it’s actually a bit of a workout.  Go figure.

After literally six weeks of laying around on my arse, I decided it was about time to get off it and try to lose some of the weight that made itself known to me as I attempted to pour it into a pair of shorts yesterday.  This pair of shorts was a size bigger than what I wore last summer.  Needless to say, the swells of flesh that so stubbornly prohibited my arse from fitting into the denim made their point.  They’ve made themselves at home, and I think I need to evict them.

Hence the workout.

I have been a bit scarce for the last few days.  At least I think I have.  Time has gone all wonky.  I really think there is some sort of rift in the space-time continuum, but that’s neither here nor there.  It is Memorial Day weekend, I suppose, which may excuse any of my scarcity (but would not excuse a rift in the space-time continuum).

I’ma go to the beach!  It’s for a whole two days, but still.  Beach.  Me.  Go.  Picture me, the whitest white girl in white-onia, slathered in SPF 100 so as to look even whiter, lounging in an olive green bikini, feeling self-conscious whilst squishing my toes in very hot sand and trying to think of ways to get my boyfriend to make out with me under the boardwalk.  Yep.  That’ll be me tomorrow.  And I’m serious about that boardwalk thing.  I’ve wanted to do that ever since I heard Bette Midler pound out that song in Beaches. My boyfriend’s plans consist of eating lots of pizza and…sandwiches.  (If you are a How I Met Your Mother fan, you will know precisely to what I am referring by the latter.)  I have only a few things on my agenda:

1.  Play a round of mini-golf.
2.  Eat some Dippin’ Dots and see if they are as good as I always hoped they would be as a child — I was never allowed to get them.
3.  Make out under the boardwalk.
4.  Walk.  A lot.  Preferably on the beach.  This is part of my whole fat eviction scheme.

As you can see, Item 1 has suffered a setback.  The setback is that I am broke, and mini-golf is seldom cheap, particularly in a high-frequency, high-tourist area such as Bethany Beach.  (Why, yes, gentle viewers!  You now know where I will be this weekend.)

I don’t think I will have the money to eat, which is okay because of that whole fat eviction thing.  It’s only two days, anyway.

Also, I think I have found a new Emmie home!  I hope.  Here’s the ad I think it placed looking for renters:

Quirky five bedroom full of awesome seeks young tenants for lounging patio barbecues, sprawling living, and unique closet arrangement.  Stuffy and pretentious dwellers caught up in matching color schemes need not apply.

It’s pretty much perfect.  Right down to the varying color schemes and oddly placed closets (some aren’t even in the bedrooms).  Wish me success!

On that note, I am off to be a nerd and play Fable 2 whilst pondering my story and waiting for the boyo to get off work.

Away We Go

I know this is the second time I’ve blogged about a movie in the past week or so, but this one blows the other out of the water.

I just watched Away We Go.  The basic gist of it is that it’s about a couple who travel across the continent looking for a place to raise their baby after getting pregnant rather unexpectedly.

I’m left with an overwhelming homesickness…for a place I’ve never been.  I don’t know where home is yet, but I yearn for it.  I realized recently that I’ve simply assumed crash positions for most of my life.  I barely even bother to unpack or find a place for things anymore when I move somewhere new because there’s always yet another move looming around the next corner.  I’m very tired of moving.  I want to go home, and I don’t know where it is.

In addition to this sentiment, the charm of seahorses has now been tarnished.