Sunday, April 29, 2007

My new rules

When I stopped writing in early April, I was going through a bit of depression. This always seems to happen in the weeks before my birthday, consciously and subconsciously. I weeped many nights in a row about my feelings of loneliness and hopelessness about the future. Hanging out with my friends makes me acutely aware of how different my life is from theirs and from what I thought it would be at this age.

I found that blogging every day, in some ways, exacerbated my negative thoughts. Spending too much time writing about certain subject is not healthy for me. Sometimes I think it's better if I let my thoughts pass rather than write down every complaint and peeve that arises during the day.

In the weeks I spent away from my blog, I did find that my mind was emptier, quieter, less anxious. I got back to just living day to day. The sad feelings are always there but much less so when I don't dwell on it.

At the same time, I miss sharing some of my stories and random questions. I miss practicing writing. I miss exchanging thoughts with all of you.

So, I'm back but with a cautious approach. Except for emergencies, I plan to limit my entries to two each week. That will force me to focus on the more important questions and thoughts in my head. Hopefully, that will lead me away from magnifying bad thoughts.

We'll see how it goes...

Thursday, April 26, 2007


That's what I always feel like. In high school, they had a special trip for nominated members of the honors club. I was vice president. It should have been me and the president. Unfortunately, the state rules required that one boy and one girl attend the special conference. So, I didn't get to go.

In the county speech finals, I came in second to a girl who didn't even intend to compete with her speech at the state contest.

When I applied for graduate school, none of my preferred school accepted me. I only received admissions from my backup school.

Now that I'm older and still dating, I feel like I'm getting the leftovers. Say what you will, I know it's probably mean to say but it's how I see things. I'm second choice over someone prettier or younger. And the guys that I get are the leftovers of other. Why can't I get what I want? Don't I deserve to get what I want (At least the really important things?)

I met up with a guy, 1of1, for milk tea the other night. From the first time I saw him, I had a feeling he'd contact me. He's a computer science PhD. He reminds me of a couple other guys I know who are PhD types - geeky but normal. He not particularly handsome nor is he grotesque, simply an average and clean-cut man. He's a few years younger. Everything looked fine about him, except that he's short. It's the one hang up I have. Meeting him in person only emphasized that.

Wearing heels, I'm as tall or maybe even a hair taller than him. Argh. If I were taller, it wouldn't matter so much. But I'm in the petite category; we'd be this mini couple. (Okay, how many little people have I just insulted.) Why? Why does he have to be so short?

The truth is that I had a nice time. When I arrived, he stood up and we shook hands. We then ordered. At the mere movement of my purse, he swung out his arm in front of me to let me know not to pay.

There was no awkwardness other than the little bits of inedible plant matter in my drink that I had to regularly extract from my mouth. We had a nice chat about his work, friends, our families, and travel.

The line of the night, "Well, I guess I might as well get this out in the open. I live with my parents."

At the end of the hour plus conversation, I thanked him for a nice conversation. He immediately asked if I wanted to go out again sometime and I said, "yes." He paused and then tried to think about how to go about arranging another meeting. In the middle of his struggle, I assured him that we needn't figure it out there and then. I told him he could give me a call.

Then we said our goodnights. Next was this awkward moment where it wasn't clear whether to walk away, shake hands, or hug. He moved in and gave me a hug. I proceeded to say goodnight and jaywalked across the street to my car.


I'm back because I'm feeling incredibly... stupid at this moment. The guy has now called to ask me out to dinner, and I don't know what to do. Why can't I just tell him I want to go to dinner? Am I sabotaging myself?

Something is holding me back from excitedly grabbing the phone and agreeing to meet him for dinner this weekend. The way I'm behaving right now it's no wonder I'm still single. I don't deserve to find a good man. Can I just say again how lame I feel?

I feel awful that I'm judging him because of one trait he has no control over. I'm frustrated because I feel like I'm not meant to find someone who fits what seems are like some simple "requests" on my part. I don't want to give him false hope if I can't get over my objection, but I also know I need to give this a fair chance.

So tomorrow, after I've had a chance to sleep and rest my head, I'll send him an e-mail about having dinner.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Losing steam

The fact of the matter is that I'm just rather tired these days. I've been away from home for many days in the past month and feel kind of lost. I plead guilty to not keeping up with everyone's blogs as much. I've been browsing a paragraph or two and then move on. Sorry.

My dating subscription ended recently. I'm still exchanging e-mail with a few guys, but it's going slow. Somehow, not contacting each other through the system seems to make one less important. I don't want to look needy by e-mailing them over and over, yet how am I supposed to keep myself in their minds?

Basically, not much came out of the three months of online dating. I probably exchanged information (on some level) with more than twenty-five guys but only managed to meet two. Compared to other times I've gone on the Internet, I think I was much more open and put in a good amount of effort. I wasn't planning my wedding or anything, but certainly I thought I would meet some interesting people for couple dates each. For whatever reason, however, the results weren't stellar. It's not exactly a self-esteem booster.

Meanwhile, I'm still here at my job. It's fine. Some days are good, some days not so much. It's hard to give up a comfy paying job where I get to do things at my own pace. I worry I'm not challenging myself.

Even shopping, that lovely pastime, has lost its allure. They're just things that clutter my closets. How can I buy stuff that I can't wear because I'm 10% overweight? I don't want to spend an hour every morning to look "pretty." What happened to being yourself?

Maybe it's just a mood thing. Maybe it's the birthday thing. Each day I see something about myself that I don't like and it makes me wonder if that's why I'm still alone at 36. Things never seem to change no matter how much I recognize or am told of my bad habits. It's amazing I still have friends.

It might be a rash decision that I'll regret tomorrow, but I need a break. My optimism towards the topic on which this blog is based has faded. I need to step back and take inventory of what I have, what I want, and where I'm going. I need to stop analyzing, pre-judging, assuming, and jumping to conclusions about my life and the people around me. Can I get myself to relax and just live?

We shall see... and maybe I'll catch up with all of you in a couple months. I'll be lurking from time to time, hoping you're all having great adventures and plenty of laughs.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

5th graders out of control

Yikes, I just read about this incident. I'm trying to think back to my own life as a 5th-grader. I remember hearing about a guy from my class going on a date with a girl from another class. She had left her purse at his house, and he gave it to her in class. I remember being surprised to see this happen.

I wasn't exactly part of the popular or more "mature" crowd. There was definitely socializing among the girls and boys. Naturally there were crushes and flirting going on, but nothing obvious came of them.

I remember buying a book in 6th grade called, "Figuring Boys Out." I really didn't understand the dynamics between boys and girls. (And, I still feel clueless some days.) The one story from the book that I remember is about a girl who bought this cool skirt. It had a zebra pattern with faux suede tassles. She was excited to wear it to school. Unfortunatley, a couple of boys made fun of her skirt at school that day, and she was devastated. Her mother was furious because her daughter refused to wear the skirt ever again. It was only in hindsight that she realized one of the boys who teased her like her. This example was to demonstrate that boys use teasing to get the attention of girls they like.

While I understand this to some extent, I still don't understand how to discern between someone who likes you and someone who has malice towards you. I still think there are people out there who would do that to put you down to make themselves feel superior. What's the difference?

Anyhow, I ramble...

It's just really frightening what kids come up with these days. No doubt the idea came from kids who have been watching to much television. Sex and violence are so intergrated into every form of media these days, it's hard to avoid. No doubt these kids saw something on the Internet or on television showing the "fun" and "popularity" resulting from sex and decided to experiment. It's really scary to think about how difficult it is to protect children from such situations. Life seemed so much simpler and more innocent twenty... oops, I mean thrity (ouch!) years ago.

Authorities: Fifth-graders posted lookout, had sex in class

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Five fifth-grade students face criminal charges after authorities said four of them had sex in front of other students in an unsupervised classroom and kept a classmate posted as a lookout for teachers.

The students were arrested Tuesday at the Spearsville school in rural north Louisiana, authorities said. Two 11-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year old boy were charged with obscenity, a felony. An 11-year-old boy, the alleged lookout, was charged with being an accessory.

"After 44 years of doing this work, nothing shocks me anymore," said Union Parish Sheriff Bob Buckley. "But this comes pretty close."

Authorities said the incident happened March 27 at the school, which houses students from kindergarten through 12th grade. A high school teacher normally watches the fifth-grade class at the time, but went to an assembly for older students and the class was inadvertently left unattended, Buckley said. (Watch authorities try to determine if a crime was committedVideo)

The class, which had around 10 other students, was alone for about 15 minutes, he said.

"When no teacher showed up, the four began to have sex in the classroom with the other elementary students in the classroom with them," he said.

It took a day for authorities to find out about the incident. A student who had been in the class told a high school student about it the next day, Buckley said. The student told a teacher, and school officials notified the sheriff's office. Detectives began questioning students Thursday.

School officials did not return calls seeking comment.

The students, who were not identified because of their age, were released to their parents after their arrests, Buckley said. They will next be arraigned in juvenile court.

A message seeking comment from the district attorney was not immediately returned.

Buckley said it was unclear what penalties the children could face.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Missed by that much

I was traveling recently in the Lowcountry for work. This part of the South is quite beautiful. The influence of the earlier European settlers is very evident in the architecture of the older buildings.

One afternoon, I explored town. After touring an antebellum (pre-Civil War) home, I walked through this row park. The park has an inactive fountain in the center and the hundred year old trees that line the path are draped in Spanish moss. About half way down the path, I briefly heard a rustle in the trees, followed by a thud that sounded something like an under-inflated football hitting the pavement. I swear I felt the impact of the object through my feet even though it happened some fifteen feet behind me.

I walked along very slowly in the heat. At first, I thought maybe the two teenage boys that I had passed through something my way as a joke, but I didn't hear any voices or footsteps. I turned to determine what had landed behind me.

In the far distance, walking my same direction, was a young woman. Looking down at the path, I searched for object that had fallen. To my horror, there was a motionless lump of fur where I had just walked. I could make out a grayish brown tail. It was probably a squirrel. That's when my head took three nanoseconds to come to this conclusion: "Holy shit! I almost got hit by a falling squirrel."

The woman in the distance seemed intrigued by whatever she'd seen fall but was still many feet away. The squirrel lay motionless. I was so stunned that I just kept walking. A few steps later, I turned back to check that I hadn't imagined things. The lifeless body still lay on the path. I considered turning around to check on the poor animal, but the idea just creeped me out. It felt wrong to take a picture showing the dead animal. Every couple of minutes, I looked back. When the young woman passed by it, she examined it but continued walking. I must have looked back five or six times.

What happened? It was a decent sized squirrel. Maybe it had lived a long life and suddenly died while in the tree. Strange. Could it have possibly missed on a jump from branch to branch and fallen to his death? Unlikely.

Had I stopped a few moments at the fountain to take a picture... yeeck. What would have happened if I had been hit by the squirrel? Could the impact of a falling squirrel knock someone out (or worse)? The situation stunned me a bit. I don't know if I'll be walking under trees for a little while.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

That time of year

For most people, this is a time of new beginnings. Spring has arrived, it's getting warmer, lighter, and all the blossoms are blooming. At any given moment, it's just wonderful being outdoors (most of the time).

That would be totally true for me except for one thing - my birthday is next week. Whether I try to enjoy it or try to ignore it, it ends up making my life miserable. Sometime I don't know that it's even necessarily my birthday. For whatever reason, the weeks before end up being annoying and emotionally unstable.

While everyone else has their birthdays planned by others (i.e. a significant other, roommate, or best friend), no one really remembers mine until the last minute. Sadly, I don't recall a single year in my life that I've had a boyfriend plan a group event for my birthday. I feel so invisible. For that reason, I tend to avoid making a big deal of mine. It's easier than face disappointment. Each year that I've tried to plan something for myself - say a dinner or a casual get together for games, it ends up stressing me out.

The same has happened this year. At first, I thought I'd just ignore that damn day. But then I thought I'd just make it into an excuse to have a nice dinner. No mention of the word "birthday" and I have every intend of paying for myself. As it turns out, the stress of deciding who to invite and who would come just made me disappointed, nervous, and anxious.

Now, a couple girlfriends want to arrange a girls' day out to mark my birthday. It's a really sweet gesture. They asked if there's anything in particular I'd like to do. Honestly, I can't think of a darn thing. I want them to have fun, and I know I eventually would. [sigh] The thing is the idea of spending my day with all my married girlfriends feels incredibly depressing to me.

As much as I value my close friends, it becomes more painful every year to be the outsider. It's more noticeable because there are no other single gals in my immediate circle of friends and more people are starting families. Naturally, when we get together, they compare notes about couple things whether it be deciding on a paint color or who's husband spends more time talking about politics. I just clam up. What could I possibly contribute to the conversation? It's that or they turn the conversation on me and ask whether I'm dating, why I'm not, or why Tim and I are still just friends. It's exhausting.

If they manage to plan something, I'll go along with it. I just pray that I can be positive and enjoy myself.

Monday, April 02, 2007

You have to have at least one

This is an e-mail conversation the day before we went skiing:

From me to UBCHula:
"The sporting store still has the $44 lift vouchers. I'll pick up 6 at lunch. I forgot to ask if there's a limit."

UBCHula to me:
"Can you let me know how this goes? (Is there a limit?) I live right by there so I can pick up the other 6 after work."

Me to UBCHula with a cc to TJ:
"They have plenty. I took six. Since they are just vouchers, you don't need to pay anything. We'll pay when we arrive at the resort. She wants sure about any limit, though I probably wouldn't ask for more than eight."

Reply from TJ:
"If they're just vouchers, there's no risk in getting a bunch for everyone,

UBCHula, if they'll let you get 18 more then we'll cover everyone for both
days. Let me know how many you're able to grab and I'll send an email to people
so they don't go pick up more...


Excuse me, EIGHTEEN! Yes, they're free but don't you think the people at the store would find that request rather ridiculous? I wrote back saying so much in a polite way and *suggested* that TJ still ask another person to volunteer to stop by the store.

Then I called Tim. I told him the errand that I'd just run and the follow-up e-mail exchange. My tone clearly showed my annoyance and ridicule of TJ's thinking.

Tim's reaction was, "Yeah, sure 18 tickets. No problem. I'll go in, ask for 10 and come back into the store and ask for eight more. Then, my girlfriend will ask to borrow your ski clothing because you're the same size as a friend of hers who could use them for a ski trip you're not invited to."

We laughed. Then Tim whined about having to ride in a car with TJ for four hours. He doesn't relish the idea of having a one-on-one conversation with TJ for that many hours.

It's sad. TJ's been a friend to many of us for some ten years now. We're like family. Unfortunately, over the years, he's also demonstrated a lack of judgement in business and in personal relationships. He tried to make a business out of a pyramid scheme and constantly badgered all of us to subscribe to his services. In the personal arena, he's misled and used a number of women over the years. None of us would ever willingly introduce him to any of our single girlfriends, and he never understood why. Yet, we maintain a friendship with him because he's the reason so many of us are friends today.

These days, I only tend to hear from him if we're having a get together or when he needs something. He never just calls to say "hello." The last time I spoke to him on the phone, he made it sound like he was inviting me to hang out with him and his girlfriend for the evening. The real goal was to find someone from whom they could borrow large stockpots so she could cook. It's fine if you want to come borrow something, but don't disguise it as being friendly and have me drive to you.

I'm sure the world has many people like TJ. It's just that he's the only one in any of my immediate circles. You want to be his friend because of everything you've been through and done together. Yet, you keep a certain arms length from him because you don't trust him motives.

And UBCHula did go to the store and ask for 18 tickets. The sales person asked if he was a member, he said "yes," and he was handed 18 tickets. Everyone was a little surprised that he got what he asked for, but then it's been a bad year for snow around here.