Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Dear Diary (and Current Playlist)

(I think its more of a diary than a blog if the only person who reads it is the author, yeah?)

In exactly 10 days, almost to the minute, we leave for New Orleans! It is one of my favorite places on the planet and it's funny: we were last there in 2007, about 18 months after Katrina. We didn't go back for 10 years. Then, we went in June 2017 and are going again in March 2018! Last year, it was just the hubby and I. I had a business trip, and he joined me, and it was glorious. This time, it'll be a group of 7 of us (the way we used to travel to NO) and it shall be glorious as well.

Ten years ago, we spent most of our time on Bourbon and Decatur Streets in the French Quarter. Cheap booze and debauchery were all the rage and we lived every second to its fullest. The 2017 version of us had us spend a little time in the Quarter, hitting our favorite classic spots (like Lafitte's for voodoo daiquiris and Tropical Isle for Hand Grenades). The rest of the time, we head out to the neighborhoods to see what else the city had to offer (still focused on the booze, of course). It felt like a classier way to get drunk and be crazy: a whirlwind of craft breweries, fancy cocktail bars, tiki lounges, and wine laboratories. To me, this was perfection. My husband and me, flitting around the city, trying every drink and every yummy morsel we were offered. Chilling. Relaxing. Chatting with locals and tourists alike. Literally slowing down, sitting and having a drink, enjoying the hum of the city.

I am curious to see how this trip will go down. This may come off snobby but it's a fact: we have more money than some of our friends, and/or we are more willing to spend money than some of our friends. So we will sit in a fancy cocktail joint and drink scotch for hours; some of them can't or won't. We can work with that. We can be flexible. But at the same time, I don't want to drink piss beer on Bourbon all week, or shy away from the awesome things we experienced the last time around because some folks can't hang. So it is going to be interesting to see how compromise works with 7 bull-headed friends. I'm hoping for the best.
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On another weird note, we hung out with Patsy and Diddy (and Diddy's cousin) this weekend and it came up in discussion that I am meaner than Patsy. She is louder than I am...but she is all bark with no bite and I am the bite that follows the bark. I don't know how I feel about this. I mean, I don't mind that people know that my bark is not hollow and it will be followed by a generous and painful bite. But I guess I thought I was nicer than Patsy. Maybe our definitions of "nice" are different. I am definitely more thoughtful and conscientious of other people's feelings...but I guess I am the type where if you do cross me, there is hell to pay and perhaps with her, there is something slightly less than hell? I don't know, it just struck me as strange.
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And I am going to add in my current playlist, because I am so digging a few songs right now and I want to remember them when I move to something else:

  1. Where's My Love (SYML) <---- OBSESSED with this song, so obsessed.
  2. Dear Love of Mine (Daniel Spaleniak)
  3. Do You Still Love Me? (Ryan Adams)
  4. Don't Hurt Yourself (Beyonce with Jack White)
  5. hell is where i dreamt of you and woke up alone (blackbear)
  6. Yellow Flicker Beat (Lorde)
  7. Quiet Lies (Matthew Mayfield)
  8. I Am Mine (Pearl Jam)
  9. Your Ghost (Kristin Hersch)
  10. Cranes in the Sky (Solange)



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Time To Lose a Few Pounds

Life has settled into a really great routine. "Routine" usually sounds like a bad thing, like things aren't fun or exciting, but run of the mill. But that's not the case. Life is good. Life is actually pretty great. We work all week and then play all weekend, which is exactly how I want life to be (unless of course I could just play all week and be independently wealthy, but that hasn't happened for me. Yet).

What happens for me when life settles into this sweet spot, however, is that I gain weight. I work hard all day, mostly at a desk in my office. I grab a bagel from the cafeteria for breakfast and then whatever I can find for lunch.Then I go home and collapse from exhaustion on the couch while binge-ing this show or that, and instead of cooking dinner, I order in or we go out. Then the week is over so we go visit breweries or go away for the weekend or whatever. The result is not really moving much, and eating and drinking very much. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of makeup that allows me to eat and drink much and move little and not gain weight. So, this is what I have done.

Right after we got back from Cuba, I set a new schedule for myself. I get up and make a green smoothie for breakfast (since I hate veggies, this is the only way I am getting spinach into this body). No matter how tired I am after work, I come home and get into my work out clothes and get my ass moving. I either hit the treadmill or do kickboxing or HIIT training or lift weights. Then I cook an actual healthy meal - we haven't ordered delivery in months. And then I prep my healthy lunch for the next day. It feels good to do healthy things again, to take better care of my body and to feel strong again.

The weight isn't coming off as quickly as it used to, though, so I am anticipating having a hard time keeping my motivation going. The feeling of being healthier and stronger only carries me so far...I want to see that scale dropping. And it is dropping, don't get me wrong. But at my age (ahem), I guess things start to slow down and I have to work twice as hard to get shit done. Right now, I feel motivated to keep going even though things are slow, and I am trying to focus on my jeans being looser and my muscles feeling tighter.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Random Stuff on a Thursday

We replanned vacations yet again. Budapest flights went up so I thought, hmmm, we have been wanting to go back to Ireland and take TJK and do the north and northwest of the country as well as Northern Ireland. So we looked into flights and they were cheap going to Dublin. So, off to Ireland we go! We will fly into Dublin, then head north through the area my family is from to then spend a few days in Belfast (SO psyched for this), then head north to the Giant's Causeway and drive all the way across to Galway, with many stops along the way. I am disappointed that we won't see Budapest this year (or next, since our big Hawaii trip is next year), but I really can't complain.

And, on a further travel note, I just got approval to take a business trip that I have dying to go on...so off I go to New Orleans in a few months! I am SO excited about it because it adds yet another trip this year. Hubby is going to come with me and we are leaving TJK with my parents, so it'll be nice for just the two of us to get away. We have been taking her on most of our trips nowadays so being on our own will be a nice change, especially in one of our favorite cities.
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On Sunday, I went out for drinks with a friend of mine who is fairly politically active. She invited me and a few other ladies out to celebrate the failure of Trumpcare...our toast was "Fuck Trump!" It was so great to spend a few hours with like-minded, smart, funny, mouthy broads talking intelligently about what's going on in the world and what we can do about it. So often with my friends, we vent and complain about the world but never come up with solutions. With this group, we had great conversation interspersed with great ideas for how we can change the world. It felt pretty good.
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Work sucks the big one lately. I hate my role sometimes because I always have to be the bad guy. I am admired at work for being tough and always having the right things to say, but that means that the responsibility for saying the tough things often falls on me. And that gets tiresome. I love my co-workers and my employees (most of them, anyway), but their blind spots and weak points get to me sometimes. This is one of those times. I know it will pass; it always does. But when I'm in the midst of it, it feels like I am buried in mud to my throat.
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I love my outfit today. I have on a deep blue sweater with big bell sleeves and ties around the wrists (interesting sleeves are hot this season and I am all about it), kick flare jeans that have differently-dyed sides (meaning the jeans are a light blue and the sides are a deeper blue - also very hot this season), cute blue pointy flats, and a great, sparkly necklace one of my employees bought me for Christmas last year. I always feel better when I look cute.
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I cannot believe it is only Thursday - this has been the longest week ever. Tuesday felt like Thursday, which means that every other day has felt like it should be the weekend already. And we already have one more day to go! I planned a work friends happy hour tomorrow night, so at least I have that to look forward to.
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And finally, pride is overwhelming me when it comes to my kiddo! She tried out for and made the school play, which is next week. Tonight is the open house for the kids who will be coming into middle school next year, and the drama teacher picked a scene from the play to enact for the open house tonight - and TJK's part was selected! I can't wait to see her. I say it all the time, but I don't know how I got so lucky to have a kid who is so talented, so smart (straight A's in all honors classes), so kind, and so beautiful. And, so happy. She is the happiest kid alive, about 95% of the time. I am so incredibly lucky to have her as my kid. Not to mention that she is 13 and in middle school, and kids are already fighting and drinking and making out and all that stuff....and as of now, she still have her head on really straight. I am so proud of her :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Travel Update - YAY!

While I was super happy to be going to Cuba this year, since it has been on my bucket list for some time and as soon as it becomes just another Caribbean island it will quickly fall off, I wasn't happy that it was so expensive that the rest of my trips this year felt lackluster. I'm obviously a spoiled traveler when 4 trips a year feel like a disappointment, but I couldn't help it. Toronto? Chicago? Grand Rapids? Florida? Blech. I was sacrificing all my travel fun for Cuba and even though it was worth it, I still wasn't thrilled.

About a week ago we got an excellent opportunity to go to Cuba for about 30% of the previous price, and that included my daughter being able to go. We obviously jumped right on that. We won't be in Havana as long, but we will make the most of it and the truth is that for how much we are saving, we can go three times.

The beauty of saving so much money on Cuba is that we are able to replace the Toronto trip with my dream trip to Budapest! We haven't booked anything yet but we are looking at a whirlwind tour to Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava (Slovakia). I AM SO EXCITED! (My other option is Budapest and Belgrade, Serbia, but hubby isn't feeling Serbia right now.)To be able to do Cuba and Budapest in one year is a dream come true for me.

We will still do our Chicago/Grand Rapids trip in April and I'm totally cool with that. Then we will have Cuba in June, and Budapest in August. And then our big Hawaii trip next year! Sometimes I look at my life and wonder how I got so lucky - to have such a happy day-to-day life, to drive the car I drive, to have the shoes and purses and clothes I have, to do fun things at every turn, and to be able to travel the world the way I do. I recognize how lucky I am (and how hard I have worked to get here, too) and I just beam with happiness. Life is good.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Karma Bites a Mean Mom Gently on the Ass

So let's talk about this here since it's impolite and mean to talk badly about other people's children. So while I have talked about this with my husband and will share it with one of my besties, I don't want to come off like I am reveling in the failure of a child. But I am, and I don't really and truly care all that much.

Years ago, I was really good friends with a woman I will call M. She constantly told me that I was like her sister, that no one understood her the way I did, and that I was the only one she could truly confide in. How nice to have a friend like this! Our families spent a lot of time together, going to the movies, dinners, Broadway plays, and hanging out at each other's houses. Our daughters were in the same grade and in the same class, so our families were a perfect fit.

We had a mutual friend, L, whose daughter was also in the same class as our daughters. I never had a problem with L, although I didn't love her parenting and thought her daughter was a bit of a douche. But we were friendly, and M and L were friendly as well.

Then one day at school, L's daughter hit TJK in the head with a rock at aftercare. I am a pretty calm person in these situations, actually - I handled it well, knowing that kids are kids and while I wanted L to handle this with her child, I didn't want aftercare to kick her out or anything. A conversation was needed between the moms. So I called L and we talked it out. Our first discussion did not go so well, and L claimed that there was no way her daughter would do something like this and that TJK must have provoked her in some way. Oh no you didn't just say that my kid was "asking for it" or that she "provoked" violence in some way. That conversation didn't end well, except for L saying that her daughter would be grounded and not allowed at the Halloween dance that night or to go trick-or-treating the following day. That sounded fair to me - there needed to be punishment for the crime.

So, off we go to the Halloween dance and there is L's kid, dancing away as if she had not just assaulted a child with a rock earlier that day. I was pretty upset about it, because it meant to me that L didn't take this seriously. M and I huddled outside to talk it through, and she gave me advice as I confided in her about how I felt.

Trying to make a long story a little shorter, I got a call a couple of weeks later stating that my child had a bullying complaint lodged against her by L. I was furious, despite the school finding that TJK was, of course, not at fault. Now, when this happened, I could have lodged a complaint with the school or with aftercare about L's child, but I did not. I thought we could work it out amongst ourselves and not do any long term damage to the kids. Weeks went by, and then I was talking to my friend S about it. She was like, "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but L told me that M told her that she should lodge the complaint against TJK to preempt anything I might do. That way, if I said that L's kid hit mine with a rock, there would be a complaint of bullying against her already. THIS WAS MY FRIEND, the one who said I was like a sister to her, telling another person to back stab me,

This is why I hate M. I hate L as well, but it doesn't really matter to my life. My kid is in all honors classes and her kid is dumber than the rock she hit TJK with, so they don't even see each other any more. However, M's kid is in every single class with TJK. They are both in all honors, so they see each other all day, every day. TJK isn't fond to M's daughter because, honestly, she is exactly like M. So they aren't friends, but they have the same circle of friends.

Last night, TJK had a friend over and they were talking. I'm so lucky that not only does my kid talk to me, but her friends do, too. Her friend said, Oooh, "TJG, you are going to want to hear this. M's daughter is on probation for Global Studies and if she doesn't pick up her grade next semester, she is going to be kicked out of Honors Global Studies and put into a regular class!" I couldn't help but do a little jig, and I felt a little bad for it because I don't want to be mean to a child...but...I know that with how competitive and over-achiever-like M is, it is tearing her up that her kid is not succeeding in honors classes (my kid got a 96% in that class, bitches). And since M was such an awful person to me and my kid, I can't help but revel just a little bit in her getting a tiny comeuppance. Karma is a bitch.