Monday, October 20, 2008

Where I Want To Be

While watching my all-time favorite show, Mad Men, I was struck by the ending scene where the protagonist is wading into the ocean (in the case of the tv show it was the Pacific).

I've always loved the ocean; so many of my childhood memories and feelings are tied up in our annual trips to the beach. For as far back as I can really remember (and what I can't remember I have evidenced in pictures), my family vacationed for one week a year during July-August in Anna Maria Island, Gulf of Mexico, Florida. We always stayed at the same motel, which was just a small collection of rooms; not the big hotel condominiums that you might be imagining.

If I could describe nirvana or heaven or the perfect peace, I would tell you about my vacations to Anna Maria Island. The whole summer was built upon the anticipation of piling in our little family car (we never had a big car; my parents drove a Ford Tempo or a Mazda 4-door low level model); all we packed was a bunch of beach towels and plastic floats and perhaps a few shirts and shorts. All the apartments had full kitchens; after we checked in, then Mom and I would drive to the supermarket and stock up on sandwich meat and basics for the week. This was the only time I loved grocery shopping (usually Mom had to drag me with her on her ritual Saturday morning shopping at home). Somehow, this grocery store was cooler than the one at home; after all, I could wear my bathing suit and flip flops to this grocery store and feel right at home.

The smell of the ocean and of Coppertone sunscreen would send me flying out of the apartment as soon as possible. The motel had a pool, and we would divide our time between the pool and the ocean. We were never afraid of the ocean water; I loved the way my skin felt after I got of the ocean - the salt sticking to my skin.

We would wake up so early! Mom would go out early mornings and walk down the beach looking for shells. We would eat breakfast together and Dad and I would work the Word Jumble Puzzle (our local paper didn't carry this - just another reason to love the beach). We would spend most of the morning out but around 12:30 to 2:00, we would pack it in because it was just too hot to be outside. We would eat lunch and then nap (because swimming all morning makes you tired). Around 3:00, we would get our second wind, my brother and I would go to the ocean and dig for the small bivalve shells. You could scoop up the sand and see them; then they would push out their slimy foot to start digging back into the sand. We would wade out with my mom to the sandbar that usually formed and hunt for sand dollars. We never went back to the apartment until it got dark.

Dinner was usually very casual; but we would go out to eat at least once during our week visit. There were two restaurants we would routinely visit - Fast Eddie's (whose motto was Warm Beer, Lousy Food) or Pete Renard's (who had a room with a revolving floor!). There was strip mall down the road and we would visit the gift shops to pick up little gifts for our friends and mementos of our trip (like a pooka shell necklace).

My parents would take a walk down the beach at night, sometimes my brother and I would join them, but sometimes not. When I think about this, I allow myself to believe that perhaps they were reconnecting on some romantic level. Fights between them were non-existent during this week; but at home, there were lost weekends, especially for my mother, where they would not speak to each other from Friday night to Monday morning.

It was during this time at the beach that I feel so connected to my parents and my brother. We seemed to share so much by just swimming together or laying on a beach towel or blanket reading books. The motel had a bookshelf in the lobby where they collected books and you could borrow or take or donate. I loved this bookshelf - it's where I first learned about romance novels. I gobbled those up one summer.

I feel so far away from that person I was during those trips; perhaps I can never recreate that sense of security and wholeness and peace. My life is so much about the littlest, tiniest bullshit now. I deal in minutiae and I get stressed because some (in the big picture) insignificant mistake has occurred. I have no control anymore; I've given into the stress of something that will not matter in 24 months or 24 days or 24 hours.

I really feel disconnected from my current life; I'm missing some type of meaningful existence or some sense of relaxation and calm. If I manage to get back to the beach, can I make a significant change in my life - will it be the answer I'm looking for?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Don't Expect Me To Be Patient

I worry about everything. And now, I'm starting to worry.

Things are spinning freakishly out of control. Who would have guessed? My life is all messed up.

Freakish does not adequate describe my life. I think one of the ladies at work is a demented psycho - she smiles this weird fake smile that makes me squirm. I can barely look at her when she breaks into this weird look. But looks I can forgive...I'm not a beauty either. But this girl has pushed me over the crazy ledge.

What did she do that makes me despise her so much? It's hard (and boring) to go into with relative strangers. I've decided that the best way to handle her is with the most basic and general answers I can muster. You see, part of this girl's most annoying characteristics is to ask me the most mundane and ridiculous questions. So I'm responding in kind.

Example of our conversation. I'm called Me. She-who-must-be-ignored is Her.

Her: (holding a Fedex airbill) How do I fill out one of these?
Me: Ummmmm (thinking she's got to be joking).
Her: What do I write in these spaces?
Me: ummmmm, the address where your package is going???
Her: How do I.....write my name.....use this ink-filled plastic tube in my hand.....function on a daily basis?
Me: Please go away and direct all future questions to our boss.

I have no patience. I'll show you how to use the fax machine. I will not tolerate you asking me three times (in a row) about the confirmation page that prints after you send a fax. It's in your hand!!! How can I further expand on a piece of paper that prints the time, date, fax number and the word "OK"?

So back to me being worried. I'm worried because I'm uprooting my life and home to move closer to this job and the people are freaking me out. I'm not feeling so confident.

Where's hope when I need it?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My First Tag

I have to give credit to Holly, who tagged me and inspired me to start posting again.

My seven weird and/or random facts about me:

1. I sleep with my eyeglasses on. Eventually I take them off sometime during the night but I really like the idea waking up and being able to see (I realize that this just means I should break down and get lasik surgery....)

2. I love the television show Mad Men. It's on AMC on Sunday nights. I watch it at 10 p.m. and then I watch the repeat immediately after at 11 p.m. (in case I miss anything).

3. Supposedly I saved my brother from drowning when we were very little. I was watching my brother (I was about 6, he was 3) while my parents were swimming in a local lake. My brother went into the water and started to struggle and I screamed for my parents, who got him out of the water. Now no one can exactly remember what happened and there are varying stories (I think I was on the beach; my mother thinks I was also in the water). Before you start getting upset with my parents, remember this was 1976 (admittedly things were a bit more lax) and my brother and I both learned to swim when we were very young.

4. I taught myself to knit on Memorial Day weekend of 2008.

5. My fondest childhood memories are summer vacations at Anna Maria Island, Gulf of Mexico. I often wish I could go back and re-create those feelings and that time.

6. I believe in karma; I believe I am still paying for the bad things I did to my ex-husband and ex-boyfriend.

7. I believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy until the ripe old age of 12. I can still remember the exact day I found out the truth; I was devastated.

I don't know seven people with blogs; can I just owe you for the other five?


The Market Fell Apart But I'm Still Here

Wow, it's been a while since I've written. I did not mean to take such a long hiatus; and I've been thinking about the blog for weeks. I was not intentionally avoiding my duties; I liken my absence to the voicemail message from that friend who called weeks ago. I've been meaning to call her back but something else inevitably comes up.

My brother and his wife were in town on the weekend of September 20. My parents (and their significant others) hosted a dinner party for Tony and Julie. My brother and I agree that the weekend went smoothly as possible. I felt very left out; very out of place. I look so different than everyone else. My weight is ridiculous. Strangely, I don't feel that overweight or big, but the pictures taken show me a completely new, and very scary, side of me. I just see myself as plump, but I look at the pictures and I see a very big girl. I'm very scared and when I get scared, I just freeze. I can't do anything when I'm scared.

Last weekend, my mother celebrated her birthday. I went to a party at her house with some of her friends. It was a very nice day and I actually managed to buy her a gift. She's been very supportive (as usual) of my recent disengagement from the working public. I owe her a lot. And I was glad that my gift was thoughtful and not some last minute thing where I run to CVS and purchase a gift card.

I know you are wondering if I am gainfully employed. I am. I'm working for an attorney that I first worked for back in 2002 when I moved to Orlando with my ex-boyfriend. It's a job where I can work 8:30 to 5:00 and also have autonomy with my files. Another plus is that the office is pretty small and I have been asked (and eagerly stepped in) as the computer tech for the office. I'm going to have to move from my current residence and rent a place closer to the office. Right now, I'm spending a lot of money on gas and tolls. I can move to an apartment close to the office and save money on everything (gas, tolls, and rent).

The other issue I have with my current residence is that it is simply too big. I have too much room; I hate cleaning. I can tidy up and pick up after myself, but there is way too much room here and I seem to simply shut down when it comes to anything. I've given notice that I'm not renewing the lease so in November I'm out. I really need a smaller place.

I've been neglecting my knitting. But I will get back into it as soon as I am settled in whatever new apartment I rent. I'm working on a rug right now. I've finished the six squares that will be seamed together (no, they are not exactly the same shape so there will be challenges knitting it together). Here's a picture of it:

I feel really lucky and grateful to have a job and the possibilities in front of me. I'm missing hope. 2009 is going to be about me searching for hope.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...