Jan 26, 2006

I Finally Learned How to Hem My Own Pants

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been able to sew. She could hem, fix a hole in a pair of pants, and even make clothes for my sister and me - yes, I have pics to prove it. When I think about her when I was a little girl, she always had a needle and thread with her. She was just amazing. So, you think coming from this gene pool, I too would be skilled at sewing. Think again. Hundreds of times I would bring home a too long pair of pants and ask my mom to teach me how to hem them. Deep down inside, though, I prayed she would not want to bother teaching me (have I mentioned I'm stubborn and hard-headed?), and just go ahead and do it herself. I'm not quite sure if she didn't have the patience to teach me, but she always ended up hemming them herself.

Last weekend was a breakthrough! I visited for my birthday, and brought home a great pair of Kenneth Cole pants that I have had for over a year, but have never hemmed. Right before I left to come back home, she gave me a quick lesson, and might I add a very good one. Last night, I sat down, turned on the Australian Open, and hemmed my pants all by myself. I've yet to talk to my mom this morning, but I'm sure going to tell her the good news.

It's funny how such a small accomplishment can make me feel so proud of myself.

Jan 23, 2006

Airplane to Vegas = Panic Attack

Patrick and I are leaving for Las Vegas on February 28th. This means that I have over one month to completely panic over the fact that I have to get on an airplane. I'm trying to deal with my fear by thinking about all the fun we will have (if the plane doesn't rip in half while in mid-air). I've been looking up some info on where we're going to be staying - Paris Las Vegas. Here are some pictures.

Our hotel:

The view from our hotel:

Another view of our hotel at night:

Choose Your Attitude

Ugh...I'm dreading work this week. I have a meeting on Wednesday that doesn't even start until 4:30 PM. My usual hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM, which means that my brain starts shutting down around 3 PM. I'm definitely a morning person in the sense that I do my best thinking and writing anywhere from 8 AM - 12 PM.

I took a vacation day on Friday and today, so I think I'm dreading things more than usual. I keep telling myself that it won't be that bad - my attitude is only making it worse. Ironically, we had a management meeting at work and talked about how our attitudes can affect our work, etc. Anyway, I heard the phrase "choose your attitude," and I've been trying to use that when I get into a funk (like right now). I'm not normally one of those perky, cheery, ain't life grand people. I mean, I like to try to think positively and see the silver lining, but I completely understand when other people get in pissy moods and just want to vent or complain. I would never tell anyone else to choose their attitude - mostly because if someone said that to me...

I'm OK thinking it to myself. So, I'm going to do my best to choose my attitude for tomorrow and especially for Wednesday.

Jan 21, 2006

That Fateful Day...

I just got back home from visiting mom and dad for the weekend - well, part of the weekend. I cannot believe that it has been almost 3 years since I moved out here. I can so clearly remember when we packed up my car for the big move. It's not even that far from them (a rather quick 3-hour drive), but at times - like right now - I feel like I'm living on the other side of the country. It was a cold and cloudy afternoon in February. I think it was a Sunday. My little car was packed and I was ready to leave. I was so scared and so sad, because unlike all the other weekends I pulled out of that driveway, I was not coming back two days later. This was for good.

Patrick and I ate dinner that night with his parents. Not only was I nervous about starting my first day at my new job, but I was experiencing the most bizarre lightheaded, out-of-body sensation. What am I doing here? When can I go home? Who are these people sitting at the table with me? Where's my family? I want my family. We got back to Patrick's house, where I would be staying until my apartment was ready. I was freaking out and ended up doing things on autopilot - picked out my clothes for the next day, made my lunch (unable to locate the jelly for my pb & j sandwich; who has the pb in their house without the j?), made sure I had all of my legal/financial documents needed for that first day of a new job. I went to sleep. At least I think I did.

Next morning, I went to work. It was a blur, but I do recall that Patrick dropped off a brand new jar of grape jelly for me. This made me smile - the only bright spot in that entire day. The people were weird and I wasn't sure I would ever be able to handle the projects I would be in charge of. Why did I ever up and quit one of the best jobs I'd ever had? By the end of the day, I was exhausted, frightened, hungry, and lonely. Walking out of the building toward my car, I relished in the cold, bitter air that hit my face. I pulled out my cell phone and called my dad. "I don't think I like this. I think this was a huge mistake," was what I desperately wanted to share with him. But I couldn't. I faked like it was an OK day. I told him about my new co-workers and that the work seemed interesting, but would be an adjustment. He told me, like a good father should, to hang in there and to call them tomorrow - maybe things would be better (I knew he could sense the apprehension in my voice). As soon as I hung up, hot tears filled my eyes. I sat in the parking lot of my new job and sobbed - alone. Had I just made the biggest mistake of my life? I have no family, no friends, no connection to the past 30 years. The crying didn't stop there. I cried all the way home (a home that wasn't really mine), while I sat in the car and waited for Patrick to pick up the pizza, while I ate the pizza, and while I got ready for bed. I cried until my head ached and my eyes swelled shut. It was a bad day - a day I don't like to think about. A day that no one close to me even knows happened.

Visits to see my family are a blast - we laugh, go out to eat, and always hit the bookstore. The down side is that once I leave, I feel an emptiness. It's usually not so bad when I leave with Patrick. Today's trip was by myself. I had 175 miles to think about how much I miss them (I'm crying right now and think I should stop writing).

I've wanted to write about this day that occurred almost 3 years ago, but never had the courage. So now I did. It's out of my system. I really don't want to think about it any more - it's just too difficult. So now I will turn my attention to something a bit less emotional - the dirty dishes in the sink and what Patrick and I will be having for dinner tonight.

Jan 19, 2006

Birthday Thoughts...

Well, I'm officially 33 today. My birthday started off with an entirely too long meeting at work - isn't 3 hours a bit too long to spend in a warm, cramped room with your coworkers? Although, I did get my yearly birthday phone call from my mom and dad, including a duet of "Happy Birthday." That always makes me smile. It makes me appreciate not only having parents who still sing Happy Birthday to me even though I'm well into my 30's, but the fact that my parents are really good, funny, and interesting people. I miss them a lot...

Birthdays seem like the perfect time to sit back and reflect on your life - at least for me. I've been thinking a lot about the title of this blog - An Unencumbered Life. It came to me very easily. I guess I always thought it would make a great title to something - a book, a song, a movie. Anything, really. Does anyone live an unencumbered life? No fear. No anxiety. No self-doubt. No sadness. No regret. Is that even possible? Maybe that is why I chose this title.

Yes, this is a little morose for a birthday entry, but I can't help the fact that I get reflective on and around my birthday.

On brighter note, Patrick took me to dinner tonight to one of our favorite restaurants - one that we used to go to when we first started dating oh so many years ago (OK, it was only 5 years ago). We had a nice time and even got a free piece of cheesecake!

I guess turning 33 isn't so bad...

Jan 18, 2006

Day One

I'm a blogger virgin. I've never done this before, although I've kept handwritten journals since the age of 14. Considering that my 33rd birthday is tomorrow, I'd say that's quite a long time - and quite a stack of journals. I started writing in a spiral-bound notebook - the kind you get for school. The kind that teachers hate because when you tear out the page, you leave that annoying jagged edge. Nothing fancy. I used it religiously, and if I'm not mistaken, I finished the notebook before the school year was even over. Notebooks satisfied me for a while - they were easy to find and they were inexpensive. Two things that were important to me in my early teens (and even my college years).

Soon, however, I discovered these fancy, beautiful hardbound journals. I imagined writing all about my exciting life - romances, travels around the world, and my meetings with fascinating strangers. Not quite. They're actually filled with painful stories of unrequited love, bad first dates, difficult break-ups, struggles to finish graduate school, anxiety over finding a "real" job, etc. Quite a number of years ago - almost 20 to be exact - my father gave me a book as a gift. It's by Hugh Prather, and it's called Notes to Myself: My struggle to become a person. If I could steal that title without getting in trouble, I would. That seems to be the theme of my journals.

Despite being 24-hours shy of turning 33, and having finished graduate school and found a "real" job, I still feel like I struggle to become a person. I don't think that's a bad thing.

So, why the blog? In the past couple of years, my journal writing has slowed down. I don't seem to have the time or the energy to sit down with my notebook or journal. Honestly, it makes me kind of sad. I feel like if I ever decide to read through my life, a few years will be missing. And they were good years, too. Somehow, I always find the time to sit at my computer, so I decided that the blog is the way to go. Who knew that I would ever make the "journaling" switch? Not me, that's for sure.