What a year for a new year...

So, 2009 is just over 10 hours from its completion, and in what seems to be a growing consensus, I will not be sad to see it go.

Truthfully, there was a lot of good in my life this year. It's easy to look past that when I think about all the rough things I've dealt/am dealing with, but I can't honestly say that everything that happened in the last year of the decade was awful.

Overall, it was an incredibly challenging year for me - personally, professionally, scholastically.

By far, the biggest change in my life this year was returning to school after several years of working fulltime. In January, I dove into a full credit load schedule, not having any idea how I was going to do it, but planning on giving it my all. I ended my first semester back with a 3.57, and made the Dean's List. I also was awarded a scholarship from my college that will last until I graduate, and take at least a little bit of student loans off my back. This past semester I ended up dropping classes after an unrelated event caused me to completely lose focus, but I still pulled it out, and I finish the year as a college junior (9 years after starting college courses) and with a 3.42 GPA. Next year I plan on returning to two full semesters, and 2 courses over the spring and summer, and I am fully planning on kicking ass and taking names.

At work, I think I did a good job of staying focused and getting things done. Because of my school schedule, I ended up working quite a lot of nights and weekends over the last year, and spending many days close to ripping my hair out. My team has been shorthanded all year, and my desk showed the extra jobs I was taking on. It was stressful, it was crazy, but in the end, I know my work is appreciated, and I feel confident in knowing that I'm not only getting by, I'm building a career.

Personally, there were far more downs than ups. That's all I'm saying about that, other than at times, I'm surprised I made it through without having a full-fledged breakdown. Also, I have learned more about myself and what I'm capable of handling in the last three months than maybe the last two decades. And I've grown up more in the last three months than I ever would have thought possible.

So, 2009. Goodbye, good ridance. Thanks for the lessons, thanks for the memories, wish you woulda skipped over the shit luck. Won't miss you. At all.

2010, let's hear it for a fresh start and second chances. Try to not screw us all over too bad, k?

Happy New Year lovies! Tomorrow, resolutions? We'll see...


A Secret Santa surprise for one of my favorite bloggers!

As a happy participator in The Spin Cycle, I was pumped when Jen gave us our new assignment: Pick your five favorite blogs, she'd narrow it down to one, and you post about why the chosen blogger kicks forty-five kinds of ass. So, my chosen one, I hope you enjoy!!


I first found the amazing Sal of Already Pretty courtesy of Blogtations. There was a quote on there from one of her posts that I identified with:

"As a teen, I dreamed of being a bodiless brain in a jar. A smart, artistically inclined, physically awkward young woman, I shied away from anything that made me think about myself in terms of body. I hid in my loose, formless clothes, refused makeup, and let my hair remain unruly. I looked a little like a hobo, albeit one with excellent oral hygiene."

Well, if that wasn't enough to get me hooked, the entirety of her post certainly did. If you've never read Sal before, that's a great one to get started with.


I love that Sal's tagline is "Helping you recognize your own beauty, one post at a time." There are a million style blogs out there, and a million beauty blogs, but to me, Sal's stands out because she focuses so much on inner beauty and self-confidence as well. By posting a poll every couple of weeks, she forcesencourages readers to look into themselves to find something that makes them unique/makes them beautiful/makes them feel amazing/makes them who they are. I cannot tell you how much my self-image has gone up in the last year and a half of actually having to think about my body and what I love about it. One of my favorites was deciding on my five best. I loved the idea so much I stoleborrowed it on my own blog. Having to really evaluate what I love about myself? It's a lovely boost of confidence.


Without Sal, I wouldn't have any idea how to dress professional but also personal for an interview, wear belts without looking like a fool, fit the business casual requirement at work in a more interesting way than my usual black pants/boring sweater, or a million other tips and ideas I've picked up from her.


Besides all this, Sal is a truly great person, always leaving an encouraging comment, passing on information to readers that would be helpful, giving advice to a desperate girl trying to find a dress....She's fantastic and adorable, and I can't wait for her next Already Prettypoll so I can be discover just how much I rock, and also, how great she is at reminding me!

Happy holidays, Sal!! You're a treasure!


And happy holidays to everyone else who is enjoys The Spin Cycle every week! Thanks for this fabulous idea, Jen!


i'm not bitter, but i've seen better days

Oh, Christmas.

A time of magic. A time of peace. A time of cheer.

A time to be with the people you love.

This year I have none of those things, and if I seem bitter, maybe that's why.

This whole year has been one thing after another.

I start to think I've dug myself out of a hole, when in reality, I've just been digging the same one deeper.

Lately I've been withdrawing from the world and trying to re-evaluate my life. I need to see what's wrong, what's right, and what I can cut out.

I'm not sure if I've discovered any answers yet.

I know I can't take another year like this. I can't let myself make the same mistakes again, I can't let myself fall for the same tired lines again.

To be honest, if I really look at my life, if I really take the time to make an inventory of the good and the bad, there is far more wonderful than worrisome. I know this. I'm self-aware enough to realize that this mood I've been in the last couple months will pass, and I'll be better for it. I know I'm being foolish and I know I'm letting my emotions get the best of me. And I know in a few months this awful, terrible time will be over and I'll wonder why it drove me this far down.

I know all that.

So why does breathing in and out seem like the hardest thing to do? Why can't I drag myself out of bed in the morning? Why do I find myself breaking down over the smallest little thing?

More importantly, when will it stop?


It just needs a little love...(Holiday Homes Tour '09)

Jen on the Edge is hosting the 2009 Holiday Homes Tour today yesterday (yes, it is quite possible that I no longer have any idea what time or day it is.)

Here is my little piece of holiday spirit...

Yes, that is my desk at work. Yes, that is the only Christmas decoration I'll have up this year. Yes, I do essentially consider my job home. Last week I called my cubicle 'home' without realizing it. I spend more time there than anywhere else.


Dear Santa (A Perennial Fuck-up's Christmas Wish)

Dear Santa -

I'm supposed to tell you what I want for Christmas this year.

This might be a bit unconventional, but I'll just run with it, and you let me know if you can help out.

You see, Santa, I've made some choices recently that I'm not proud of. And true, I used to be of the mindset, good or bad, they're still my choices, but lately? Lately I'm not so sure. Lately I've been having regrets. A LOT of regrets.

You know what I'm talking about, right? All of them? I don't really need to go into detail, do I?

Do I need to relive all the things I've done to disappoint people? All the ways I've hurt people? All the ways I've hurt and disappointed myself? Do I need to dig up long-buried memories and clouded glimpses of nights I barely remember myself? Do I need to look back at all the mistakes I've made? Because I can, if that'll put me back in your good graces. If I need to admit what I've done wrong, I'll do it. I'll do anything if I can just get those years back.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't miss what I've found along the way...and I'm not saying that every speed bump has sent me off-course. I've found a lot of good and learned a lot about myself and who I want to be the last several years. I'm just scared, Santa...because the girl I am is nowhere close to the woman I'd like to be. And I don't know if I'll ever get there. I've screwed up too much, I've gotten too far down the wrong path to make it back to good again.

I know you're probably thinking that running away from problems doesn't solve anything...and you're right, I can't argue with that. But I think even you'll admit that I haven't exactly been getting the easiest cards dealt to me lately. And I think you know that a lot of what I did was completely out of character. I'm not claiming temporary insanity here, but you know as well as I do that a lot of this just isn't me.

So here's my idea: Let me take it all back.

I'd really like a do-over on the last few years.

That's right. If I could go to sleep on Christmas Eve, and wake up on...oh, say New Year's Day, 2004, that would be fantastic. I think that's about the time my life started to really go off the rails. If I could just wake up that morning, and get a fresh start, I know I could get it together.

I could avoid some of those heartaches. And salvage some of those friendships. I could finish what I started instead of giving up when things got rough. I could make a choice and stick to it. I could be smarter, and stronger, and better. I could turn into the person I want to be. I could be someone that other people could count on. Someone with heart, and compassion, and motivation, instead of this cynical girl I barely recognize. I could do everything differently, and be happier now, and a better person.

Is that too much to ask, Santa? Is this possible? Could you do this for me? Because it's been too many months of just barely holding it together, and I don't know if I can take another year of this.

I'm pretty sure I've been on your 'naughty' list for a while now, but if you could do me this one favor, I promise, I'll be good. I'll make the smart decisions and avoid the bad ones. I swear, Santa, I really will. Just let me forget the last several years ever happened, and go back to being twenty-one, and naive, and optimistic, and ready to take on the world.

I know I can get it right this time.


Introducing the lovely, the talented, the amazing....MELISSAAAAAAA!

My favorite thing about the Great Interview Experiment?
Getting to discover a blogger that I otherwise would probably never read. Melissa, aka Lollipop Goldstein, aka Town Criers, is one such blogger, and I am happy that I got her, as she is pretty darn awesome....but don't trust me - read it for yourself!

(You can visit yet another fantastic blog and blogger, Velvet Verbosity to read her interview with me and check out her 100-word writing prompt challenge! I am excited to start participating in that!)

How did I not know about ‘Show and Tell’?! This is a fantastic idea – how did you come up with it? What is your favorite thing you’ve shared? And what is the most interesting thing someone has posted?

I really missed that excitement from grade school that came before Show and Tell day at school, when you combed your house for stuff to bring in so you could tell a story. My favourite share was a picture I found of my daughter in the NICU (link) when I was working on their scrapbooks (which are still unfinished!). Probably the most moving one that anyone posted (and I'm sure if I sat reading through the archives I'd add 20 more), but this post (link) from The Road Less Travelled. I cried reading it.

Even the most open people have some secrets - Is there anything you absolutely would not share on your blog?

I have some pretty strict boundaries for myself--my story ends where another person begins unless I have (1) their permission to tell the story or (2) there is no chance they would recognize themselves in the story or be able to be identified.

You talk about traveling and trips you’ve taken – where was your favorite place, and why? Have any interesting or crazy stories about people you’ve met along the way? (By the way, I REALLY wish you had asked the random American woman how she lost all her underwear...I’m sure that would make a good story!)

It could have made a good story, but we had so much fun with her regardless and there are many additional stories of the two or three nights we hung out with her. My two favourite place that I've visited since starting the blog (since I've been to too many countries to rank them) are Smith Island and Shepherdstown, WV. My husband calls me the freak magnet because somehow, he can go for weeks never having a strange encounter on his way to and from work, and then the one day that I go down to his office, we meet up with all of these wonderfully crazy people. So we do meet a lot of interesting people along the way but our favourite was a boy we met in a hostel in Canada. We ended up taking him out for breakfast and interviewing him with a tape recorder. I'm not sure where the tape is and how much of his story was bullshit, but one day I'll have to tell the story of the Canadian hitchhiker.

Your post ‘Funeral Song’ had me in tears (at work, no less), and ‘My Grandmother’ had me in stitches – your grandma sounds like she was incredible (and not that different from my gramma who I lost almost 5 years ago now). What about her do you see in yourself? And did she have any traits that you wish you had more of?

Her large bum--all of us inherited it except one sister-cousin, lucky thing. I am probably most like her in that I care a lot about the people around me (and my husband just called across the room that I'm most like her in that I'm not afraid to tell him that he's stupid). I wish I had inherited her brashness. She said whatever was in her mind, and sometimes, it was exactly what the person needed to hear.

What has been the most rewarding part of blogging about your experiences in the ALI community? What is the most challenging thing about it?

I have to admit that I feel badly for people who are not in our corner of the blogosphere because there is an enormous love here. There is fighting too, and hurt feelings and lashing out at one another from time to time, but that is tempered with this enormous love. I have seen people come together to help a person build their family numerous times, whether it was donating money, gametes, or a womb. How many people can say that through blogging, they have added life to this world? The challenging thing is finding the stopping point. It is too easy to read more blogs, write more comments, and leave other stuff undone. And it's hard to set that limit when you receive so much love back for the good thoughts you give.


RTT: Love and loss on a windy Tuesday


I'm not quite sure what's going to make its way from my brain to my fingertips right now...my mind's been spinning quite a lot lately...

*It's amazing how one short conversation or exchange can push someone to the front of your mind.

*Thanksgiving is next week. Where did this year go?

*Someone I know just lost his grandfather, whom he was extremely close to - he called him the most influential person in his life. My heart goes out to him right now...

*...especially since it takes me back to when I lost my Gramma K. It'll be 5 years on December 9th, and I still think about her daily, and wonder if she's out there, somewhere, proud of the woman I'm becoming. I hope so. She was the best woman I've known, and if I become half the person she was, I'll be happy.

*My next tattoo (which my fabulous and talented sister will also be getting) will be a tribute to both our Polish heritage, and our grandmother. I'm hoping to get the design done and approved in the next few weeks, although disposable income is in short supply at the moment, so it'll likely be a while before we actually get these.

*I'm suddenly starting to get back to glass half-full, and it feels amazing.

*Last night I posted one of my favorite quotes on Facebook - "Anything less than mad, passionate, extraordinary love is a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life, and love shouldn't be one of them." (Dream for an Insomniac)

*I need to keep that in mind. And remember that I'm not willing to settle or compromise.

*With my re-found optimism comes my unfailing faith in true love and happy endings. I'm just older and wiser now, and realize that neither of those things looks the way you expected it to at sixteen.

*Is it too early to put up my Charlie Brown Christmas tree at work?

*I keep changing my answers for The Great Interview Experiment. Someday the very lovely Velvet Verbosity will get my answers back. And in the next day or two, the also very lovely Mel will have questions to answer.

*By the way, if you haven't gotten in on the GIE action, you really should. Follow that link up there and visit the great Neilochka

*If you're a fan of fine (and not-so-fine) art, I suggest you check this out

*That's a lot of links.


Spin Cycle Free Spin: If I knew then what I know now....(a letter to me, age 17)

Dear Andrea -

Hey you. It's your future self here.

I don't mean to spoil any surprises for you, but seriously, it's for the best. Maybe I can save you some heartache along the way. Maybe I can make a difference in both of our lives, if we're really alive at the same time in some strange parallel universe. Maybe I can change the story.

First order of business? Next year at college you're going to meet someone. You're going to fall incredibly hard for him. He is going to be crazy about you, and sweet, and sort of nerdy. He's going to have strong arms and perfect eyes and the way he kisses you will make you lightheaded and you'll think your legs are about to give out. You know how the movies talk about *fireworks*? They didn't lie. Anyway, I know you've decided you are going to save yourself for your future husband. DON'T. You aren't getting married in the next ten years anyway, and looking back, you'll realize that you should've just slept with him and at least had your first time mean something, instead of waking up after a night of heavy drinking on an air mattress after losing it to some guy you just met. (FYI - This might still happen. In that case, there IS a house alarm, and sneaking off at 6.30am? Won't work.)

Back to the first guy. He's going to break your heart. Repeatedly. Over and over and over again. At least six or seven times. The first time was understandable. And everyone deserves a second chance. But really? After that? It's okay to give up. He really wasn't the ONE. You'll finally figure that out at 26 when you see him for the first time in four years and wonder why you were so into him, and why you wasted so many years doing the back-and-forth you two were so good at. Don't be afraid to let him break your heart, but don't make the same mistake I did, and let him break YOU.

Alright, let's move on...

I know right now you're getting excited for your first year of college. You've got a plan, you've got goals, and that's great. Keep your focus! Don't screw around like I did, unless you want to be 27 and still working on your degree. Yes, I messed up. A lot. But the life lesson here? You can ALWAYS redeem yourself. I'm working on it now, but you? You still have a chance to get it right the first time. Take advantage of it.

Next thing. I know you think you're a hideous cow. Really? In a few years you are going to look back at your senior pictures and pray for that body back. I know, you think I'm crazy, but it's the truth. Of course, by the time you hit my age, you'll have settled in where you are and you'll be fairly confident no matter what (which, by the way, will serve you well where men are concerned), but for a while there, you will absolutely HATE the way you look. More than you can even imagine right now. So don't stress out, and enjoy being young and healthy and cute while you can. Own who you are. Your little imperfections make you unique.

Start saving money now. I don't mean what Dad makes you put in your IRA, I mean seriously put away some cash. You're always going to need it, and Mom and Dad won't always be able to help you out. You'll be much better off than I am if you can manage that.

Go visit the grandparents. As much as possible. I know they seem immortal now, but they don't have much time left, and after they're gone, you're going to wish you had listened harder and told them you loved them more. When Grandma K dies, you are going to be an absolute wreck. Let it happen. It'll pass, I promise. You're going to have amazing friends to pull you through.

Don't let it get you down when family members, friends, and complete strangers feel pity for you if you're still single at 20, 25, 30, 45...what's right for someone else may not be right for you. Enjoy being single, enjoy being independent, and do anything you could possibly want to do. If you want to move across the country (and you'll want to, trust me!), do it! This is the time in your life to not be tied down to anything.

You're going to make some mistakes when it comes to men. Everyone does. But don't ever let yourself lose who you are because of a man. And don't ever let a man (or anyone else, for that matter) make you feel like less than what you are. Some mornings you might look in the mirror and not recognize who you've become. You will, just look closer. She's there. That innocent, naive girl who still somehow believes in true love and soulmates and happy endings? She's there. She's just smarter, and less willing to give her heart away until someone has earned it.

You can't change other people, just yourself. And you shouldn't try to change yourself for someone else. If they can't love you the way you are, then you shouldn't waste your time.

Mom and Dad will love you even if you don't do everything the way they think you should. Don't be afraid to disappoint them because while they may give you shit, they'll stand by you when no one else will or can. I know right now you think they're ruining your life half the time, but they really are great parents, and you're a lot luckier than most.

Tell the people you care about that you love them. Every time you can. You never know when they'll be gone. You're going to lose a lot of people in the next decade, some who you never would have expected. You are going to drive around at night crying, wondering why someone was taken from you so soon. You're going to scream and throw things and spend days in bed because you don't want to live in a world where bad things happen. But then you'll start to realize that he wouldn't have wanted you to waste your days like that, and you'll start to move on, and start to feel better. And you'll start to live.

No matter how well you plan out the next ten years of your life, it will change. You can't avoid that. Don't let yourself get set on certain things you *have* to accomplish. If you do, and those things don't pan out, you could spend the next ten years trying to scrape together the rest of your life. Go with the flow, and take time to enjoy the setbacks and detours, because those can be the most beautiful parts of life.

Maybe this won't make a bit of difference. Maybe my life now is how it was meant to be. Maybe no matter what you do in the next ten years, we'll be right here, at this same place, writing this same letter.

I don't want to discourage you. I just want us to have a chance at something different. Something better.

But if this doesn't work? If this is what life is? Well, you can look forward to being strong. Stronger than you thought you could be. You'll be independent, and fearless. You'll have learned from (most of) the mistakes in your past, and have grown up and be smarter for it. You'll have a drive to succeed and a never-say-die attitude. You'll have the best friends and family in the world, and you'll be happy. Sure, you have your issues, but overall? You know who you are and you're loving it. And that's the big life lesson here, teenage Andrea: Your life will be as good as your attitude allows. Enjoy it.

Future Andrea

(By the way, your boobs finally grew. And didn't stop. And now it hurts to run. And walk down stairs. So, thanks for wishing for those every day since you were twelve. Bitch.)

small cycle


RTT: Aren't all my thoughts random?


So, as I have no time anymore to actually post, I figured I would jump on the RTT bandwagon. This could get scary...

*Work fulltime + school fulltime? Maybe not my best idea ever. At least I'm getting SMRT.

*If you ever have to go somewhere and be respectable and serious, it is either the worst idea ever or the best to take someone who you know will make you laugh with her snarky comments.

*Pajama pants at a courthouse? Maybe not the best way to appear as if you are taking your situation seriously.

*I am very sick of making charts. I still love my job, but I'm getting burned out. This may be partly due to random thought #1.

*I met someone.

*I am very sad that I have another full week before there's a new episode of Glee. This long without seeing/hearing my boyfriends? So sad. At least I have most of the songs downloaded so I can get my fix in.

*If I win the lottery tonight, it will be bittersweet. Don't get me wrong, I'll appreciate it greatly, but because of my current situation I wouldn't be able to do all the fun things I'd want to. If it does happen, however, you can rest assured that at some point, the insanity would ensue.

*I need to get the heat fixed in my car. That would probably be the first thing I'd do if I won the lottery. Isn't that just kind of sad?

*I don't know if y'all have heard about this, but you should surely check out The Zombie News Network. It'll slay you. But not before eating your brains.

*I figured out my class schedule for next semester. Nothing on main campus!! As long as I can get what I want, I'll have three online classes, and one at a satellite campus MUCH closer to work/home. SCORE!

*The someone I met is older than me. How much older, I'm not really sure. Probably about 10 years. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

*Dressing up as a cavewoman for Halloween is fun, if for no other reason than getting to beat people with a plastic club.

*I am completely uninterested in the holidays this year. If I could skip the rest of the year, actually, that'd be kind of wonderful.

*The biggest issue with dating a guy that much older than me? We're in different places. At 27 I'm not ready for anything serious (as evidenced by the fact that he's not the only man I've been seeing as of late).

*Ray Lamontagne has been singing me to sleep a lot lately. He's keeping me from losing my mind.

*I think the clock on my desk is losing time.

*My focus has been gone lately. I need my brain to come back to me.

*I have realized in the last few weeks just how many amazing people I have in my life.

*Most often I don't feel like I deserve them.

*I have blog comments I've been meaning to respond to but I just haven't had the heart for it. It's been easier to just shut myself off lately.

*I don't want to hurt him. And I have a feeling I'm going to. So is it better to just cut things off now, before we're any more involved? He's a great guy and we get along so well, and the chemistry is ridiculous. And if I was a few years older, it might be it. But should I really try to fit myself into a relationship that isn't what I want or need?

*If I could get a do-over on the last month of my life, I think that would solve 90% of the issues on my mind right now.

*If you have the power to reverse time, please contact me ASAP.


i barely have the breath to breathe, much less to fly away

Have you ever woken up one morning and wondered where the hell you were?

I’m not talking about that sinking feeling in your stomach you get after a one-night stand,
where you literally have no idea where you are, although that is part of this--I’m talking
about that sinking feeling in your soul when you suddenly realize you have no idea how your
life got to this point.

More and more I've been feeling like I'm just going through the motions - wake up, get
ready, go to work, go to class, come home, go to bed, and do it all over again the next day,
and the day after that, and the day after that. It's as if I'm mechanically working towards
the arbitrary goals I've set for myself, with no real idea as to why this is what I'm doing. I can see the endpoint, but I have no idea if that's actually what I want.

My life is a million miles away from where it was a year ago. It's not entirely a bad thing, but a lot of who I am got lost somewhere along the way. I've been searching and searching for something to fill the gaps in my life, and I'm beginning to realize that it's going to take more than another bar and another boy to make the difference.

All I want is for the world to stop spinning, just for a minute, just long enough for me to catch my breath and recenter myself. I need a chance to look around and figure out who this girl is--and if she's really that different from who she was.

I find myself shutting people out more than I ever have before. Some of my closest friendships are barely hanging on, and it's my fault. It's as if I'm afraid they're going to see who I've turned into, and realize that I'm not who they remember. Hell, I'm not who I remember. What happened to the girl ready to take life by storm? The eternal optimist? The dreamer who romantacized everything? Is she still there, somewhere, trying to work her way out of the cynical realist I've become?

Some of the changes, a few of the changes--they've been needed. I'm less fragile than I was. Less likely to fall for someone too hard or too fast. Less willing to trust someone who turns out to be careless. More driven. Less of a pushover. More of a fighter. But I'm also more bitter. More careless with other people. Less naive, FAR more jaded. I find myself seeking out relationships where I don't have to give too much of myself, because the less I give, the less it'll hurt. I alienate the people who love me and who have stood by me for years, because I don't want anyone who knows me too well to see how much I've started to hate what I've become.

Maybe I'm not getting hurt as easily...But isn't part of the beauty of life, and love, the ability to let yourself get broken? Isn't getting up and dusting yourself off, ready to try again part of the most basic human experience? Doesn't feeling a hundred kinds of pain make the healing a thousand kinds of wonderful? Aren't we supposed to turn to the ones who care about us when we're at our lowest?

I might not be at my lowest, but I don't think I'm that far from it. I hide it well most of the time, but it's almost to the point where I don't know if I can make it through another hour without standing up and screaming. I feel lost, and I feel alone. I know I'm strong enough to pull myself out of this, as I always have before, and I know tomorrow things will look different, in a different kind of light. But right now, today? I'm looking in the mirror and wondering who the hell is looking back at me, where the hell she came from, and how in the hell I'll ever be able to merge the me that was and the me that is into the me I wish I could be.


i have no desire to see through my own eyes anymore....

le sigh.

there's so much going through my head these days...i'm just trying to decide if i want to share it with the world or not.

i miss recognizing the face in the mirror.....


The best I can give you is the worst part of me....

I can take care of myself. I can. I'm fiercely independent, and have no problem being alone. But recently, as I see more and more friends getting engaged, getting married, getting pregnant...growing up...it reminds me that however successful I am professionally, my personal life has never been anything but a mess. Normally I don't mind...I know my life will work out how it's supposed to, and I've never been one to mind being single (and fabulous!) but the sudden influx of happy news from every other person I know has started to wear on me. I AM genuinely happy for all the people I care about, but it just reminds me of my failures. And my failures? Not something I want the world to see. In this post, it's just me, being honest, and putting my heart out there for everyone to explore. And losing my usual cover of strength and independence? Scary.

And that...that is why this post from last autumn is my worst post. Because re-reading it now, I can feel exactly how I felt then...and I realize that with all the hopeful promise of every new man I've met since then, or budding relationships, or imagined spark that flew, nothing has changed since then.

i made a promise to my heart to never let a soul inside.... (10/12/08)

the thing about me is that i'm not a forward person. i find it very difficult to just come out and say things face-to-face. i need a computer screen or a cell phone or a piece of paper to get anything out in a semi-eloquent way.

this factor of my personality is generally what leads to heartache for me. i've grown accustomed to coming in second place. i live life well as a runner-up on so many things, and the last couple years have really shown that to me.

in my head i know that i should just take the bull by the horns, jump in head first, etc. but the rest of me is terrified of the result. i fear making things awkward, and getting hurt more in the process. but is it easier to stand idly by and watch what i want slip through my fingers, or actually take the leap, get shot down, but at least know?

the awful part of me - the wildly insecure and still slightly timid part of me - expected something like this to happen. i've never known anything close to a happy ending before, so why would i think that all of a sudden life and love would just fall perfectly into place? it's a road i've been down many, many times, and maybe part of the problem is that i never fully invest myself in something, because a giant piece of me remains convinced it'll end badly.

i've been an optimist for years. glass half-full, see the rainbow through the rain, sunshine is only a cloudy day away.....but somehow, the positive outlook never gets around to my love life. in that area, i am a cynical, realistic pessimist. with the soul of a romantic. no wonder i always am disappointed so badly.

it's getting late and i'm getting no comfort out of words tonight, which is a change from the norm. i'm going to finish my glass of wine and go to bed, and hope that when i wake up tomorrow i'll have magically gained some perspective.

but i'm not counting on it.


The Best of Me....(Spin Cycle, part 2)

This second part of this week's Spin was again, pretty easy to come up with, especially since RA has been affecting me a lot the last couple of weeks. I've been having some pretty awful flares, and besides making me tired and cranky, I'm overemotional from lack of sleep and frustration. This is something I almost want to have printed out and ready to hand to people so they can understand what I'm dealing with daily, and in some cases, cut me a little slack.

Crawling in the dark...(Life with RA) (11/12/08)

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2005, when I was 22. I had gone into my primary physician complaining of lethargy and body aches, figuring I had some kind of virus, and after a course of antibiotics I’d be back to my old self. My doctor did some blood work, and found that my sedimentation rate was high, which suggested inflammation. She referred me to a rheumatologist, concerned that my symptoms could be a sign of either Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Lupus, and I set up an appointment for a few weeks later.
My initial appointment was spent answering A LOT of questions about when I had the most pain, what different conditions, when I felt most tired, where the pain was worst, and on and on. I also got a lot of blood work done, and had x-rays taken of my chest, wrists, fingers, and knees. By the end of the appointment, my doctor thought that I showed symptoms of RA, and started me on 200mg daily of Celebrex, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). I scheduled a follow-up for a month later, a few days after my 23rd birthday.
In the three years since then, I have been to the doctor more times than I care to count. I have had more blood drawn than seems humanly possible, and spent far too much money on medication and Icy-Hot. Not quite what I imagined my life would be like at 26.
I have been lucky.
My RA doesn’t seem to be progressing all that rapidly. I have been able to stay with Celebrex, and last year added Plaquenil to my daily oral dosings. Plaquenil is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) that has been shown to prevent swelling and pain in arthritis sufferers, although, from my research, it’s not known quite how it works. With these two drugs, I have been extremely happy to discover I don’t have any major side effects.
However, in the last year, I was forced to switch from Celebrex to Aleve when my insurance no longer covered Celebrex. Painwise, the Aleve was successful. Unfortunately, taking it at the dosage I required caused me to have stomach pain, and after an endoscopy in August, I discovered that I have pre-ulcers. Now I am on a Tylenol regimen that isn’t nearly as effective, until my preauthorization to get Celebrex covered again comes through.
Occasionally I will go on a course of Prednisone, a steroid that reduces inflammation. This drug affects me in many ways, and I prefer to stay away from it. I become a different person when I am using it, prone to sudden mood swings, going from lethargic and mellow to bouncing off the walls. It also can cause weight gain, and sure enough, every time I use prednisone, I suddenly seem to have an extra 5-10 pounds or more that appears as if by magic, no matter what I do to prevent that. That in itself is an oxymoron, as I know that if I lose weight, my RA symptoms will ease, but every time I get into that groove, I end up on steroids again and balloon back up.
Even though my RA isn’t always that bad, there are times I have flare ups that make the simplest task seem impossible. There have been days where I’ve had to literally roll myself out of bed, and crawl to the shower, because I know hot water is the only thing that will help with my morning stiffness. Those mornings I thank God and my roommate that I got the room with the attached bathroom. Sometimes when my wrists and fingers are acting up, I find myself fighting tears at work because not only can I not type, and do my job, I can’t even focus enough to try. I’ve had many restless nights, unable to sleep because of pain in my hips, or knees, or shoulders, or ankles. And there have been too many times where I wanted to do something, but after having to drag myself around all day, I’m simply too exhausted to do more than collapse on the couch and stare into space.
Cold weather is difficult as well – it makes the swelling of my fingers worse, and they actually turn purple. This is something called Raynaud's, and it is common in patients with RA. It’s not unusual to see me wearing gloves a lot once the weather turns cooler, in an attempt to keep my joints warm enough to function. Flying is especially bad – something about the cabin pressure and the cooler temperature – and I’ve been known to don gloves on flights in the middle of summer.
Living with RA is difficult, and not necessarily because of the symptoms of the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is not an illness with visibility. You can’t see someone suffering from RA and know what they’re living with. People who don’t know my situation probably think I’m lazy on my bad days, when I take the elevator up one floor at work, or when I mention that I’m going right home from work and sleeping. It’s not an image I want coworkers to have of me, but the sad truth is, RA has affected my life more than I thought possible when I was diagnosed.
There is no rheumatoid arthritis in my family that I know of. RA isn’t necessarily a genetic disease, although it can be passed down. Doctors don’t know why some people get RA and some don’t. RA doesn’t only hit senior citizens. There is no age restriction for arthritis. However, from what I’ve found in research, my age at diagnosis was slightly more unusual, as most people develop RA between the ages of 25 and 50. Women are affected by RA three times more often than men.
Being a 26 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis is an experience, and since diagnosis, a new set of fears. I face day to day challenges on some of the most routine tasks that I’ve been doing for years. Tying my shoes, walking up stairs, brushing my hair...all things I’ve done without issue since I was a child, but now have problems with. And new fears? I’m scared that the things that I’ve always counted on in my life will never happen. I’m afraid that by the time I’m ready to have children, my disease will have progressed to the point where I won’t be able to, or I won’t have the energy to play with them if I am able to have them. I’m scared that I will lose my independence at a much younger age that I ever could have guessed, and my freedom is something I value more than most things.
I do try to be more active to help keep me mobile and energized. I bounce back and forth on Weight Watchers – again, it’s hard to stay motivated when a part of me knows that the next time I’m back on certain medications, I’ll just fail again. But I press on – trying to change my lifestyle to keep myself from requiring hip replacement surgery in my thirties.
I have to say that not everything has been bad since being diagnosed. I’ve really learned how many people care about me in the last few years. My family has pulled around me, and my friends have been a huge support. I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people, and it’s paying off. There are days when I don’t want to go to work, don’t want to leave my apartment, don’t even want to get out of bed, but I know I have people I can reach for, or call, and they’ll put some motivation back into me.
I’ve also learned how strong I am. How I can work through pain and fear and confusion and get things done. How I can inspire others, and inspire myself.
I have been lucky. On so many levels.
However, I know luck changes. But I also know that if and when it does, I have the strength of my family, and my friends to get me through it. More than that, I know that I have the strength within myself to push through whatever this life throws at me.

This December I will be participating in the Arthritis Foundation's Annual Jingle Bell 5K. December 7th marks my 4th year walking, and I am eager to once again face the challenge - 3.2 miles that start with a fairly intimidating hill, usually tromping through ice and snow. I've done it 3 times before, and I can do it again.

I'm asking for support doing this - my hope is that even if there is no cure found in time to help me, maybe research will develop new treatments with less side effects, or even a cure by the time my future children may have to deal with this.
If you have the ability, please sponsor me in the Jingle Bell Walk. I truly appreciate every donation, no matter the size. If you can't donate, please keep me in your thoughts on December 7th!

Thank you all for the support and encouragement!

To donate: My Fundraising Page

November 2005 Article about me in Oakland Press

The Best of Me....(Spin Cycle, part 1)

This week's Spin Cycle assignment is an easy one - find your favorite post in your archives, and add an intro. Since I've had no time lately in which to actually blog (I swear, I really am going to get caught up. Someday. 2012, perhaps?) this seemed ideal. I have two that'll I'll be using.

My first favorite post was easy to come up with - this is the post that has been passed around coworkers, blogger friends, random acquaintances. It was featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom one Sunday (still the pride of my blogging-life) and I still laugh/cringe every time I read.


'No, those are NOT my Magnum condoms' (or, why I will never use U-Scan again) (8/26/08)

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the girl to get easily embarrassed.
Fall off a table while dancing? Check. (and I was sober!)
Puke on a fire hydrant while hungover? Check. (no, I'm not proud)
Accidentally tell an [ex]co-worker about the sex dream they played a large role in? Double check. (alcohol was possibly involved)
Fart in mixed company? Many, many, many checks.
Sing inappropriate songs of the 90s in front of coworkers? Too many times to count. (and sadly, no, alcohol was not ALWAYS involved)

So yes, been there. Done that. Laughed about it afterwards. Sometimes for years, because some of those stories just won't die....

But until tonight, I have never know true mortification.

It starts out simply, and innocently, enough. I stopped at Meijer on the way home to pick up some fruit, a few Lean Cuisines, diet soda, some hair smoothing crap.

Looking at the two lanes that were actually open, and twelve people deep each, I decided to just skip to the U-Scan. This isn't unusual, as unless I am doing one of my semi-annual large shopping trips, I usually opt for the 'quicker' route.

Today though...oh no. Not today.

I waited patiently in line, and when the man in front of me had grabbed his bags and left, I moseyed on up to the scanner, and proceeded to scan my eleven or so items, bagging them as I went. I was impressed with myself because at this point, my trip had only taken me 15 minutes, and $30, and this is very unusual for me. Anywhere.

After I signed the little card reader that would make John Hancock's signature look like it was scrawled by a monkey with no thumb, I loaded my few bags into my tiny cart (yes, I know, I had four bags, but anytime I don't use one, I inevitably rip at least two bags, and end up losing a jar of pickles or a gallon of milk to the parking lot) and headed for the door.

Nothing spectacular, right?

As soon as I pushed my cart through the exit, the alarm goes off. Naturally, I stopped right in the middle of the door, confused as to what this loud noise was, and why a man in a red shirt was waving at me to come back.

Figuring the only interesting thing they would find would be that I had already scarfed down a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the time I waited in line (read: 2 seconds), I turned around, and when man in red shirt asked if I minded waiting for the manager, I assured him that was fine. And when said manager (let's call him Steve - that's a bad name for me, and this was NOT a fun experience) came up to the front, and asked if I minded him looking through my grocery bags, I agreed once again. I handed him my receipt and stood back, assuming it was my MP3 player or cell phone that set off the alarm, as they are wont to do.

So imagine my complete and utter surprise when Steve pulls out a box of Trojan Magnum-XL condoms, and asks if I was planning on paying for them.....

I'm pretty sure my jaw is still recovering from hitting itself on the floor.

Confused, but still trying not to laugh, I told Steve that I hadn't been down that aisle - to be honest, I don't even know which aisle that is. In my nervousness, I am sure I gave that poor man waaaay too much information about my lack of the sex. In turn, I maybe just gave all you readers too much information as well, but that's neither here nor there.

At this point, Steve has turned as red as red shirt guy's red shirt. I'm pretty sure I had totally slipped into nervous laughter and stuttering, as I tried to explain that I definitely did not 'accidentally' throw those in my bag.

Red shirt guy is standing to the side, continuing to help the inept people trying to scan their groceries, and comes up with the brilliant (seriously, he was smarter than Steve - someone needs a raise and promotion) idea of looking at the receipt log, to see if maybe a customer before me had paid for them, bagged them, and accidentally left them.

Turns out, it was the guy before me.

Many many years back, I dated a boy (we were young, back then) who was well over 6 feet tall, and probably 120 pounds soaking wet.

The guy in front of me? Could have been his double. If you subtracted about a foot, leaving him a few inches shorter than myself. Add in a soul patch and a creepy thin mustache, take off about 10 pounds. Douse in Polo Sport (delicious smell, but really guys? Moderation? Is key.)

Manager Steve now feels bad for essentially accusing me of shoplifting enormous condoms. They've been paid for. Creepy little man has probably left the parking lot at this point. So what is the natural course of action?

Obviously, offer the tomato-faced girl who has just bemoaned her lack of a man-friend a free pack of Magnum-XLs. That'll make her feel SO much better. And definitely less humiliated.

I politely declined, but it seemed like Steve was insisting. For one crazy moment, I figured I could just hand them off to a friend that might find them useful.

Then I realized -- I can easily live the rest of my life without knowing which of my friends (or their lovahs) require extra-large condoms. I'm pretty sure it would always be creeping up in the back of my mind - 'Hi Jane, this is my friend John Doe. He needs MAGNUM-XLs! Lucky you!! Woot woot!'

No thanks. That's just information I should never encounter.

Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, before I could once again refuse, Creepy Little Guy from before ran in, sweating, and blew right past Steve and I, checked the empty scanner/bagging area that we had previously shared, and then turned to Red Shirt: 'Um, I think...I mean, I know...I left a bag...I bought some things...and forgot them. And I really need...my things. Did someone find them?'

Red Shirt pointed him in our direction, and Steve quietly said to me 'Sorry for the hassle...have a nice night' as he swiftly grabbed the box out of my bag, ran it over the sensor deactivator, put it in an empty bag, and handed it over to CLG.

At this point, I was already hightailing it out of the store so I wouldn't start laughing so hysterically that I peed myself, but had to step aside as CLG ran past me yet again, then proceeded to stop, turn, and say 'Hate to run outta these!' followed by a wink.

I got in my car and laughed for a good ten minutes before I felt sane enough to drive home.

So, summary?

Groceries - $30
Time shopping/in line - 16 minutes
Time spent with a rogue box of condoms - 20 minutes
Leaving your dignity somewhere between the 1 penny pony rides, and bags of charcoal - Priceless


catching up.....

What? It's been a month?

Hoooooly crap do I have a lot to share.

Tonight, when I get home from work, I will be catching up on a month of blog posts from all you other lovelies (or at least the last week or so...otherwise my head might explode) and then sharing my last moon cycle's worth of stories.....after all, gotta know what's going on before this weekend!


see you in chicago....

It's official! Middle-Aged Woman and I are officially heading out to Chicago BlogHer weekend!

So, you know, if you'll be around, speak up!


and i just can't pour my heart out to another living thing.....

I have a new goal for myself -- try to allow myself to depend on other people more.
I'm really bad at that.

Also, grow some balls and take a chance on something.....I'm really good at getting close to expressing what I want, and then backing off at the last second. Which is, you know....fairly useless.

Goal number three - not be afraid to show emotion beyond crying at a movie/TV show/wedding/etc. Stop trying to smile all the time. Sometimes I just need to fall apart, at least a little bit. Why do I think that no one wants to be around for that? My friends are the best people in the world. They can handle my ridiculousness.

Finally, last goal - finish a freaking blog post once in a while. I keep starting them, saving them, and forgetting about them.

Don't worry, there was nothing interesting.


good news! and, tagged!

Good news first! I applied for a scholarship from my school and found out last Friday that I got it! Yay!

And the lovely MAW tagged me for this....I actually started it this morning, but kept having to go lie down cause I was tired or dizzy....it's probably the pig flu.

What are your current obsessions?

watching the trailer for Glee over and over, cause it looks amazing. Also, reading old American Idol recaps on TWOP which really soothes me for some reason. Don't know why. I'm a weirdo.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear the most often?

Either my EMU sweatpants or one of my EMU sweatshirts. Pretty much, anything comfy, really.

What’s for dinner?

If I manage to motivate myself, chicken noodle soup and Sprite. But I have to go to store if I want that, so not likely to happen.

What is your greatest fear at the moment?

At this precise moment, I am fearless. Being a little delirious from fever and exhaustion probably helps....

What are you listening to?

The Glee trailer. Again.

What are your favorite holiday spots?

Wherever my family is.

What are you reading right now?

Nothing at the moment - I have a few books on hold at the library though, will be picking those up tomorrow

What is your guilty pleasure?

see 'obsessions'

Who or what makes you laugh?

who or what doesn't?

What is your favorite Spring thing to do?

The first night where I can take a long drive with the windows down and the music up. People wonder why I don't fly when I go visit my family in Tennessee....I think because long drives alone are one of the few times I really feel at peace.

Where are you planning to travel next?

Hoping to go see Becca in San Diego over Labor Day, but not sure if it'll pan out

What is the best thing you ate or drank lately?

Water, just a few minutes ago.

When was the last time you were tipsy?

for about three minutes Saturday night, right before it switched to falling-down, pants-shitting, bad decision-making, table-dancing drunk (for the record, I only did one of those things) It was one of my good friends bachelorette parties :-)

What is your favorite ever film?

Princess Bride, Sabrina, Say Anything, Shawshank Redemption

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned from your kids?

That they don't exist?

What book do you know you should read but refuse to?

I can't think of anything....I will pretty much read whatever is put in front of me

What is your physical abnormity/abnormal physical ability?

Abnormally long toes. I posted a picture of them somewhere.

What is your favorite color?

Blues and greens. All of 'em. <--- Same as my Auntie M

Can the people outside your car hear the music playing inside your car?

Probably. It's most fun when I forget I have the windows down and I'm belting out some Xtina and dancing in my car, and a car full of businessmen pulls up next to me and starts laughing....

My addition: In a perfect world, how many hours sleep would you get per night?

10-12. I love sleep.

And I'm not tagging anyone individually, because I am too tired to copy and paste in links, so I tag everyone, all at once. Win.


and this is why i will never settle for anything less than everything....

My mother, Tenn Lady, posted this today: This One's For You!

Yes, my parents are that couple -- the one that celebrates the anniversary of their first kiss, and their first date, and their engagement. The one that remembers the dates of all the milestones in their relationship better than most couples remember their wedding anniversary. The couple that is adorable in a way that is almost sickening (definitely sickening when you're 15, and already considered a weirdo at school, and you are trapped at Wendy's with your parents who are holding hands and being cute, while certain members of your class look on, already planning the attack on you the next day at school for being (GASP!) the product of a happy home and loving marriage). The couple that if you are a stranger walking behind them at the grocery store, you will undoubtedly notice the way that when they are walking side-by-side, their hands just automatically find each other.

My parents got engaged thirty years ago today....thirty years of a love that is still going strong. Thirty years of sharing a life with someone. Thirty years of raising two daughters (which could NOT have been easy....the two of us are a handful) and helping them grow into good people.

Thirty years that I have been lucky to witness almost twenty-seven of. And those years I've seen....well, they have shown me what real love is. What true love looks like. What making someone else a part of your life means. And to me, that is the best gift I've ever been given.

So, from the example of my adorable parents, I have learned that I will never settle. Whether it takes two years or twenty, I will find that person who makes me whole, who complements me without constraining me, who understands that while I am fiercely independent and wildly over-emotional, I really just want someone who gets me. And if I find a man who can see this, and if we end up becoming anywhere close to the couple my parents are, I will know that I found something real.

"Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies." (Sex and the City)


scenes from a family car ride....

[summary of the drive home from dinner]
My mom, showing me things in Cookeville, and pointing: And that's the senior center....and that's the senior housing...
Me, horrified: THE CEMETERY?!?!
::hilarity ensues::
Mom: No, the....the houses.
Me: ::laughs like a crazy person::
Mom: Do NOT pee yourself laughing in my car.


All these mistakes I've made....and all the ways I've changed.....

I've failed out of college.

The first time, my freshman year at Western Michigan University. When I started the year, I was 'the good girl.' I had never had a drink in my life before that. I was actively involved at my church back home, and for the first two months, did an admirable job of trying to stick to my previously-untested scruples. But it was college, and I was 18, and I had freedom for the first time in my life, so eventually, I caved in. And went down in a blaze of glory. There was no shot I wouldn't try, no party I wouldn't go to, no drunken frat boy I wouldn't make out with. For a girl who had spent high school as a bit of an outsider, kissing two guys all through my teen years, sudden male attention was too much for me to handle. I ate it up, and spent months getting wasted and throwing myself at whatever boy stood too close. It wasn't til I got to know the guy who would become the most heart-breaking, real, wonderful, tear-inducing, sweet, encouraging, gut-wrenching man in my life (but that is a much different story), that I realized I had just spent six months trying to find what I had with him. I settled down, but by then it was too late. I had spent too long in the cycle of partying, sleeping in, hangovers, skipping class, and basically ignoring what I was supposed to be doing in Kalamazoo to make up for the fact that I messed up. I left the school in April knowing I wouldn't be going back.
When I got back to my hometown, I was embarrassed and ashamed, but mostly, disappointed in myself. Here I was, a girl who graduated with honors, who generally was on the honor roll, never got into trouble, had known she was off to do great things, coming home a failure. I went back to my high school job, and that first summer, saw old friends from high school often, always avoiding the question of how my first year of college went.
I was determined to change my story.
I enrolled in a community college near home. I started in September, excited, and confident that I would thrive here. My semester began strong, and I was sure that I was just going to do this for a year before I moved on to another university, perhaps something other than a general state school. I dreamt of art and design school, of going into advertising, or becoming a photographer, or an interior designer. I knew I was destined for greatness.
But old habits die hard, and soon I was falling back into my old ways. The partying was no longer the issue - it was just laziness, not caring, not knowing what I wanted. After a few semesters, I once again found myself on the receiving end of an academic dismissal letter. This time I was furious. What the hell was wrong with me? I should have been having the time of my life, doing what I loved - meeting new people, and learning as much as I could about...as much as I could. Why were the idiots I knew in high school beating me now?

I took a little time off. I threw myself into working, bouncing from job to job as soon as a better opportunity opened up. I made more friends in the area, and spent every waking moment with them. I had lost who I was, but I was finding myself again, and in a different light. I was no longer the smart girl, the good girl, the sweet girl. The world had kicked me down, I had let it, and I was no longer going to just lie down and take it.

So I tried again...another community college, with an interior design program. When I realized how much I hated that, I switched to photography and finally found my niche. I was good. I had an eye for it, and I found my home in the darkroom. Any time I didn't have a camera around my neck or my hands covered in developer, I was framing shots in my head - eating dinner with my parents, driving to work, sitting at the coffee shop I frequented. I started to believe that this was my calling, and started to make plans - major in business and photography, start my own studio, make a living off shooting weddings and pictures of babies and dogs, and make my life whole by keeping my dad's old Minolta with me at all times, finding beauty in everyday scenes. I was ecstatic that I finally had a purpose, a talent, something that made me feel alive.

But then the pain started....at first it was just an annoyance....my ankles that kept cracking whenever I moved, the "growing pains" that were unexplainable - at 22 I wasn't getting any taller. My shoulders and hips ached, my wrists were on fire, and soon it spread into my fingers. I was popping upwards of twenty Motrin a day, and still barely able to get around. I couldn't sleep because of the pain. In the morning, I couldn't move my joints without agony. The only fix was to crawl to the shower, struggle to reach the faucet, and then huddle on the floor while hot water pounded over me. I started making doctor appointments, and after months of tests and medication, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I took the news as well as could be expected, but after research and more appointments with my specialist, realized that making a living as a photographer wouldn't be likely. The constant activity, the cold, the minute movements required to be successful - as much as I wanted the dream, I didn't want to ruin my body by doing it. I knew it would be a hobby, but nothing more.

And so once again, I threw myself into work. I decided I was done with school, and focused on learning as much as I could hands-on. I went as far as I could at one job, and started another. After the initial few months of panic, of feeling in over my head, I slowly became more confident. People started to depend on me. My opinion was valued. My company was great to work for. I made great friends, and really enjoyed what I was doing. Through it all, I waited for the restlessness - the itch that came after a year and a half or two years to move on. But it never came. I was happy with where I was, and sure that I had a long future ahead of me.

One morning, shortly after I turned 26, I woke up wondering when I'd become so complacent. Sure, I loved my job, but where was it headed? In my department, there's no real room for growth...just a steady source of income, and the same thing, day after day. There were challenges, sure, but nothing I couldn't conquer within a few hours. I was starting to get bored again.

Instead of jumping ship, as had become my way, I suddenly made the decision - I was going back to school. I'd get my business degree, move to research, and then basically take over the world. I decided that on a Tuesday morning, and by Wednesday night, my application to Eastern Michigan University was submitted, and transcript requests to my previous three schools were on their way. My ACT scores had been requested, and I was beginning to compose a letter to the transfer director, making my case - maybe my GPA wasn't pretty to look at, but damnit, I was motivated!

A few weeks later, I was accepted, and a couple months after that, I met with an advisor. I picked my classes for winter semester, filled out my financial aid forms, and prepared to lose most of my social life for a couple of years.

January 5th came, and classes began. I walked in each day ready to learn. I attacked my online classes with gusto, and became a standout student in both. My speech class was a piece of cake (God knows I love to talk) and even my statistics class was going well. I studied hard, worked my ass off, and for three and a half months, lugged around a heavy backpack so I could do homework on my lunch at work, or while watching a movie at a friend's. This time, I knew, I would succeed.

And at the end of my first semester back at school, I have exceeded my expectations. I finished the term with a 3.57 - 3 A's, and a C+ in that pesky stats class (still above my goal of a C). I made the Dean's List, I applied for a scholarship that I became eligible for, and more than that, received two recommendation letters that proved to myself how capable I had become - one from my Business Communications professor, and one from a VP at work that I work with often. I decided to take a break for spring semester, and only one class in the summer, but this fall, I'll be back full time again, with 4 classes.

For the first time in my life, I am eagerly anticipating the second semester at a school. And with all the mistakes I made the first couple of times, the disappointment of the third, and the personal failures, challenges, and triumphs along the way, I know I am ready to take on the world, and this time, instead of getting kicked down, I will kick ass.


i'm all a-twitter...

follow me on twitter

i have actually started using it. 140 character updates are easier with my schedule these days :-)



new season, new layout. will get tweaked when i'm not....at work. heh.
i'm alive still, by the way. you may have wondered.

only a few weeks left this semester....and then i start spring. and summer. goodness.

anyways, more soon, i promise. for real, this time. (ok, yea, you probably can sense my nose growing as i type this.....)

hope all is well!


if someone could just take over the not fun parts of my life, that would be great....

then i would have time to do things i enjoy. like blog. and drink wine. and read. and sleep.

but that's not going to happen. i will continue to work 60 hours in a week, and spend 20 hours on school. sleeping is maybe.....i don't know, 35 hours? i don't know what happens to the rest of my time.....maybe i'm in the car. or daydreaming, remembering when i had time for fun.

in any case, just wanted to let you all know that i'm alive, and semi-functional. until another 11 hours of work tomorrow, anyways......oi vey.


look at how adorable i am!

it's spring break (HA - it's frigid. this is not spring.) which means i have free time. tonight i got my hair cut, and i am ravishing, if i do say so myself!

anyone else even more in love with hugh jackman after the oscars? he's my manfriend.


Oh, Mr. Cartwright....

By popular demand (or three people...good enough for me...)

I had a dream a few nights ago that I was being chased by the henchman of evil Mr. Cartwright. He was trying to have me killed. A cop was assigned to protect me, and I was put into hiding, but in the end, I learned that the cop and Mr. Cartwright were in cahoots, and the cop was actually the mastermind. I woke up as the cop was about to shoot me.

Yes, I apparently dream in movies.

Last night I had another crazy dream that had to do with aliens (if you've seen the Alec Baldwin Hulu commercial, picture that) were attacking my castle.
Yea, I had a castle. I don't know.

Last Saturday, I was in that spot between awake and asleep, when everything is a little bit blurry and unsure, and I felt someone in my room, watching me....and then I felt someone grab my arm. I literally jumped out of bed at that point, and realized I had [likely] been dreaming. Either that, or there's a ghost in my room.

So yes, many crazy dreams lately....I think it's a combination of being overtired and stress. I am looking forward to next week because it's my spring break, and I only have to work, no class. Of course, I have a speech to write and two papers to start on, but that's not that bad.

In other news, last Friday I had a box of Valentine candy left on my desk at work. I have no idea who it was from, but I just like to think someone appreciates me. I'm happy just knowing that.

Also last Friday, Raeleen and I went out for a girls' night, and met many interesting people. My favorite is still the dashing man I met when he came up to the bar to get a drink. We talked for a minute, and then he had to run off before he could order, so he asked if I would mind ordering for him, and gave me some money. He said I have a very innocent face, so he felt he could trust me with his beer. Obviously, he doesn't know me. Anyways, he was completely sexy and oozed charm and personality. Unfortunately, I wasn't drinking that much, so I didn't have the nerve to talk to him later on that night for more than a few minutes. I need to learn how NOT to feel like an idiot around men I'm attracted to, but I honestly don't see that happening anytime soon.

What else? School is going well, as I mentioned in the last post. I have a lot going on, and I'm completely exhausted all the time....I was also sick for about a month and a half, so that didn't help too much. I'm finally just about over it, but still rundown. Such is life.

I'm sure there'll be more soon...maybe something more entertaining than just tales of my not-so-exciting life.

Hope you all are doing well!


wait...i used to have a life, right?

I'm alive, people. I know some of you are concerned.

Work+school makes Andrea a dull girl.

I promise - either after I get home from a movie tonight, or tomorrow after class, I will have some entertaining thoughts for you.

Perhaps a story of the corrupt Mr. Cartwright, who was working for an even more corrupt cop, trying to kill me.

Or shall I tell you a tale of a stumble I took on campus today, leading me to somersault into an onlooker or two?

Maybe something about a secret valentine.....

So many stories, so little energy...have I piqued your interest?

Tell me what you want to hear, and I will do my best to comply in a timely fashion!

Miss you, my blogging loves. Will be back soon, and that's a promise.

PS - Not having a life is paying off so far....I have either A- or A in all four of my classes (including the 76 out of 75 I got on my speech test tonight)!


Spin Cycle: Me against the music

"What came first - the music, or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person? People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - I mean, literally, thousands - of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and lost. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don't know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they've been listening to the sad songs longer than they've been living the unhappy lives."
(Nick Hornby, High Fidelity)

Actual post coming as soon as I'm done writing it....stay tuned.


clouded thinking....

I am discovering that it is extremely difficult to concentrate on a Business Ethics assignment when there is a mariachi band playing in my sinuses.

Also, when in the middle of my Business Communication homework, I fell asleep with my head resting on the top edge of my book, and then again when trying to form an intelligent thought about writing a winning a proposal? Should have given up then and gone to bed. Instead, I tried to keep writing once I shook myself awake, and the result was something along the lines of: "To write a good proposal you should propose something that you are good at because if you aren't good at the proposed plan you will not win another proposal."

I deleted that, saved the file, and set it aside until my lunch hour tomorrow. Maybe by then I will be out of my Tylenol Sinus and Zicam induced fog.

thanks, someecards...

just a few, in recognition of MLK Jr day, and Obama's day of jubilee tomorrow!

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." MLK, Jr


my first spin cycle: (non)rhyme time

so, i always see everyone else doing spin cycle, and finally decided to try it myself. this week it is poetry, so i am just typing and seeing what comes of it.

three small words break me
again, pieces in your hands.
yea, well, fuck you too
(how can i still miss you?)

i thought there was going to be more to this, but i guess not....maybe i will add tomorrow.

award and new computer...real post to follow....soon?

I got this lovely award from Rachel at Burning the Souffle. She is fabulous, you should go there. She has a 'Sabrina' quote as her blog title, for monkey's sake - you know she is magical!

Anyways...award, rules, tags, etc.

- List six things that inspire your creativity
- Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
- Link back to the person who gave you the award
- Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

Six things that inspire my creativity:
- My past
- My loved ones
- Heartbreak
- Music
- Water (in general - the ocean, the rain, a shower...whatever)
- Alcohol

I pass this award to:
- Jess, who I just started reading, but I can already tell is effing awesome
- Idiot, another new one that I am starting to love
- Younger cousin, who is fantastic and you should add to your b-roll.

That's all I'm doing because I think everyone else in the world already has this, and I want to take a nap.

I got a new computer! It's shiny and pretty. And red.

My desk is messy.
Anyway, my computer is looooovely - 17" widescreen, very fast, and red. I love it. Eventually he will have a name.

Ok, I am going to eat, and then take a nap, and then grocery shop.

More later, I promise - I have much to update with now that school has started!


Books Read in 2009 (UPDATED 01.24)

Inspired by my sister, I'll be updating this throughout the year. My goal is 100 NEW books read. I will be listing all of them...starred ones are re-reads. I read fast and never go to the library, so there'll be A LOT of re-reads.

Anyways....here goes!

1. Love the One You're With. Emily Giffin. 1/1/09.

2. Such a Pretty Fat. Jen Lancaster. 1/3/09.*

(starting here I lose track of dates...most of my reading is done between school, work, homework, and sleep and i have no idea what day it is anymore.

3. Bright Lights, Big Ass. Jen Lancaster.*

4. Bitter is the New Black. Jen Lancaster.*

5. More than This. Margo Candela. Different, but loved this.

6. The Man of My Dreams. Curtis Sittenfeld. Am I the only one who always thought this author was a man? Oops. Anyways. Really really liked this one. No spoilers, but if you have read it and email, I will tell you why.

7. Loves Music, Loves to Dance. Mary Higgins Clark. Needed an easy read to entertain me for a couple hours when I couldn't look at my statistics book anymore.

8. The Street Lawyer. John Grisham. Another easy read, but worthwhile, unlike MHC.

9. The History of Love. Nicole Krauss. Excellent.

10. But Enough About Me. Jancee Dunn.
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