Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year! Where's the booze?

Well hello there. How are you? Miss me?

So, I'm being a little less than honest when I say that I've tried to be diligent with the blogging. It's been kind of a rocky year. But I came through, happily, unscathed. On to better things.

The cruise is coming up (roaring up more like), and still not beach body ready, but I'm attempting to get closer to my goal after a prolonged plateau. But I'm sick of talking about weight loss, so let's talk about something else.

How about how I learned I might be a bulldog in the right situation? It turns out that I can be fiercely loyal and can't stand it when others are mistreated. That's a recipe for potential disaster in the workplace. Let me elaborate:

My co-worker, who is also my friend, was very wrongly coached (that's Wal-Mart speak for being written up) for not doing something that she DID do. I can't go into details due to proprietary info and the like. Suffice it to say that she did the work she was supposed to, then coached for not doing it by our overzealous (and really quite young and potentially immature) new manager. Despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary, she went ahead and coached my friend anyway. Now, even though she's a lot older than our manager, my friend is rather shy and timid, so she didn't defend herself. I couldn't abide this sort of treatment, so I offered my vociferous objection (angrily might I add). Granted, I didn't get in trouble, but I think it's obvious that she knows that I have very little respect for this manager (who I will call AMB). I'm sorry, but if you are going to step on people, make quick and unwarranted accusations, you better be ready for those consequences. This is the second time this has happened around me. The next time, I'm going over her head.

Now, on to a little year in review.

I did quite a bit of family history research this year, and because of this, I've been in contact with several distant cousins. It turns out, my fifth great-grandfather on my dad's side was a British Loyalist who was enlisted with the British army and ended up being run out of what became the US and ended up in Canada. So, that's why my paternal grandfather's family was from Canada. Some interesting history on my mom's side too. My sixth great-grandfather was a master on a sloop that traveled to the West Indies during the American Revolution to procure salt. His son fought in the War of 1812 and is believed to have died from either an injury sustained during the war or an illness that he caught during that time. He died before he met his youngest son, my fourth great-grandfather, as he was born after that.

I think that the most interesting thing that I've taken from all this searching is that I had no idea how extensive my family's history in this country was. I guess I always thought that because of the few branches that I knew came over in the latter part of the 19th century, that my whole family hadn't been here that long. It turns out that I have pilgrims on both sides of my family, with one, that I know of, being a founding member of a church that started in Rhode Island and a couple of its towns. Who knew?

I never knew my great-grandfather Betts' first name because he was estranged from the family, and I was able to locate that and learn so much of my family as a result. I never knew that another great-grandfather had siblings (all sisters) and that they were older than him and had families that I may be able to track down if I get ambitious enough. I was even able to locate his parents' and oldest sister's voyage from Bohemia to the US.

It turns out it takes a lot of people to make you - parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc. Double the amount with each generation back. It's amazing.

That has to be the best thing about 2010. I have a greater sense of myself because I have a greater sense of my family. And that will only become more clear this year, with more research and more connecting.

I wish you all the same this year.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Progress Report (without all those icky grades and stuff)

I came up with a plan for the next three months for the weight loss. I started it on the 22nd, and so far have managed to follow it without deviation. It pretty much consists of going back to avoiding dairy, eggs, processed foods, and refined sugars. Let's face it: I do and feel better that way. So the two month binging from my birthday on has come to a definite close.

But amid all the ridiculous instant self-gratification and gorging, I found out something: I didn't gain a single pound. I got my cake and ate it too. Unreal! How the hell did my over-30 and counting body manage that? Is it somehow the rule that sometimes you CAN do whatever you want and it still works out? Wow, have I been living in some sort of self-loathing bubble for the last few years.

To be fair, I was being pretty good most of the time. I didn't have milk, instead opting for rice milk with my oatmeal. I very sparingly ate items with egg in it. I checked the ingredients labels for the things I shouldn't be eating anyway. Go figure! Not a single pound! Even after that giant caramel-oozing brownie that Krissy, my lovely baking co-worker made for my birthday. I lovingly savored that baby for three days. If you're gonna fall off the wagon, better to go all out. It's the only way to make it worth the future self-resentment.

Forget self-resentment though. Not this time. Miracle! Angels singing in the background. The clouds part and a beautiful shaft of light illuminates the numbers on the scale. Not a single freakin' pound! How utterly breath-taking is that? I thought for sure I was going to have to suck it in and raise my arms and all that nonsense. Nope.

Back on the wagon I go. I raise my skirts, exposing my petticoat to the world (that's just how I roll), climb back in one leg at a time, sit on that ever uncomfortable bench, right the bonnet on my head, and begin that ever-so-long journey for the future body that will fit into the clothes I have already bought in my mind. God, I will look awesome in them. I won't even have to suck it in to button the jeans.

Another phenomenon has occurred: the jeans that I have been meaning to fit back into have either gotten bigger, or I've gotten smaller. On a whim, I took them out yesterday, just to see what the scoreboard had to say. Those bad boys went on. A little snug. But they went on. They buttoned. They zipped. They didn't rip. And most shocking of all, I could walk in them not at all like a robot. Amazing! When did that happen? I've been sporting way-too-big pants for a while because I've been in between the size I was and the size I want to fit back into. So, it was a matter of time, of course. My lazy ass hasn't even been working out. If I hadn't been there, I might not have believed it.

Now, dear readers, if you think I'm stopping with those jeans, think again. Still following the three month plan. Phase one has begun. For once, I'm micromanaging my weight loss. This will be so much more manageable. The next meeting with the scale is Sunday. God-forbid that number has gone back up. I swear, I'll smash it. It better not tempt me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sam-in-Limbo part deux

I keep asking myself where the sequence of events that led me to this moment started. Was it the losing of my position several years ago? Was it the seven funerals I went to over a two-year span? Was it a horrible, horrible break-up? I just don't know when exactly the ground started to shake. But I do know that it's starting to stabilize, and my reminiscing is only for the benefit of not repeating the same humiliating process.

I had to attend a hearing of with the trustee (part of the bankruptcy process) on the 9th. No creditors showed (surprise, surprise). It was in the federal courthouse downtown, which I found to be incredibly beautiful on the inside. There's this atrium in the front-center that reminds me of something out of photos of world's fairs long past. I wish I'd had a camera with me. Going back to take some photos might be awkward to explain to the guys at the metal detector. My meeting was practically first thing in the morning. So walking through that atrium alone, inevitably, my head turned upward to the skylight and balcony-hallways above. What a nice way to start the day that would begin the real relief (and possibly healing) of the past several years. Now, I have to begin the work of repairing my credit and re-starting my adult life.

When I was young, this is not how imagined my life would turn out. I imagined myself traveling, and writing, and having fun. Doing good in the world. Instead, I've stagnated into a truly ridiculous rut. Fear does that, I guess. Here's the funny part. I'm not really feeling afraid much anymore. I think the whole bankruptcy process has taught me something important, something I wished I'd learned a long time ago: people aren't judging me, and if they are, it isn't harshly.

I've gone a long time since feeling like I wanted people to see me. It's coming back. Wow, to not be in perpetual hiding is refreshing. I don't even think I realized I was doing it until now. Weird.

So, my lawyer informed me that I have to finish my pre-discharge course (online, thank God), and expect everything to be finished within seventy-five days (sixty for the creditors to object, but a little extra for me to have my final result). So, seventy-five days from Aug. 9th, it'll be done with. And not a moment too soon. I'm trying to think of something to reward myself with. Hmmm...

Friday, July 30, 2010

She's rumored to be single...

I met my friend Danielle the other day to discuss shore excursions for the upcoming cruise (in February). We hadn't seen each other in a while, so a little catching up was in order. She's seeing a new guy. This is a good thing. She'd been with the same guy for over a decade, with it leading to nowhere. After her wise decision to move on, she didn't wallow in loneliness or bitterness [insert well-thought-out Sam joke here]. No, she joined a bowling league, spent more time on herself, and started seeing a nice guy. Good for her.

And when the conversation moved on to my niece, and I inevitably started to gush (just a little), she said, "Oh, your biological clock is ticking." God forbid. I was supposed to be the one chick in my age group whose every waking moment wasn't thinking of babies. Procreation has never been an obsession for me. That was a driving force for my sister, but not for me. Nor has it ever been a priority. But then, neither has dating and eventually settling down with a mate. Nope. Sam has been perfectly content with being single.

Now, in the midst of all of my re-evaluating, I have to see that it hasn't been contentment, but rather an overshadowing, pervasive fear of rejection. Everyone wants to be with someone. I'm not really an exception to this. But it's more comfortable to not even try than to live with butterflies in my stomach with first dates, or giving my heart to someone who may not give theirs in return, or having to reject someone myself simply because I don't feel a connection (or attraction for that matter).

Sadly, my mother brings up on practically a daily basis that I'm not getting younger and that if I'm going to provide her with some grandchildren, I better hop to it. My sister is the same way. I keep trying to see it as they just want me to be happy. But it feels more like nagging.

Since Lily was born, I have gradually warmed to the notion that I, too, want my own legacy, a piece of myself to live on through another being (in case the book-writing doesn't work out). The feel of holding a child, loving a child, being the most important thing in their world, and for them to be mine, has a certain appeal. I won't say that I'm driven towards it, but it is a thought that has entered my mind a time or two since my niece entered the world.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just skip steps and just get to the good parts, and miss all the uncomfortable ones?

On to a related note, I have previously mentioned someone I once liked very much (EC) who kind of burned me, for lack of a better phrase. On third shift, I saw him maybe once every couple months, if that. Now that I'm on first shift, I have to see him all the time. It's not awful. The discomfort of letting the past interfere with my thoughts of him instead of seeing him as a decent human being and not the spawn of Satan has officially passed, and I would hope to be friends with him. At the most. I promise. Still, why does he have to be so nice, and so cute? It's easier to overlook them when they're not that great. I went through a period where it was hard not to think of him. I think I'm finally getting over that. Crushes suck. This one in particular, because it won't lead anywhere.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Before I try to justify my long absence with a list of things that have been plaguing me to no end, I'll just say that I'm sorry. I've really needed an outlet too, but it seems that stress has this way of shutting me down to the point where I'm paralyzed, just existing as it were. So, no blogging, much less writing of any kind. That's horrible.

Well, some things have happened. After my life-changing decision to pursue veganism, I made a huge discovery about myself. It's really not easy to give up cheese. I love cheese. I love the different kinds of cheese - blue cheese, feta, cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, heck, even some swiss (okay, maybe not swiss). And while I was able to avoid it for a long time (months), I caved in about a month ago, and let's just say that it hasn't officially stopped. So, instead of calling myself vegan, I say I avoid dairy and eggs, not to mention processed foods and sweeteners. The result of that avoidance is 28 pounds gone (though I've got a ways to go). But I better get back on the ball. There's a cruise in my future, and this ass just won't cut it.

Apparently, my current financial state is as much in limbo as I am. A couple months ago, I was told that my position was being eliminated. Ugh. Really? They couldn't just leave well enough alone? They had to mess me up again, and leave me scrambling to find another position that probably would force a pay cut, not to mention the loss of my third-shift differential. Like the other madness that Walmart has been forcing on associates and customers alike (restructuring and stream-lining selection and store layout - even associates can't find what they're looking for),

I found myself in a bit of a predicament. If I'd been told a month and a half earlier, like I was supposed to be, I would've found something on third shift available. But they didn't, and I was stuck with some lame-ass bakery job. (No offence bakers everywhere.) I discovered two things when I did this. Firstly, the bakery at the store is just barely that. Here's what I mean: the product is purchased from other companies, shipped frozen, and then laid out to rise and baked in these really big ovens. I was seriously disappointed. I thought I'd be learning about different breads and donuts and cakes. I thought I'd be mixing stuff from scratch. Not a rotten chance. I learned how to pop a box open and throw some rolls on a baking sheet. Yay! Whatever.

Secondly, I learned to stick it out in this ridiculous waiting game. Apparently, the accounting office was left in this horrible situation with not enough people (two to be exact), and not enough hours to do what we do (an eight hour shift, as opposed to two and a half). So, Sam made her triumphant reappearance. Technically, I'm still officially a bakery associate until my over-worked assistant manager can fit in the official interview and make me an official accounting associate. Officially. I wonder if I'll get a raise. Hmmm...

What will happen next? I don't know what the future holds for this young plucky girl with a tentative hold on sanity, but I'm sure that the universe has a few tricks up its sleeve, and all will resolve itself in due course. But since I don't know what my employment future was going to bring, I knew I had to make some serious decisions about my horrid (and by horrid, I mean catastrophic) personal finances. Which leads me to the morning I found myself at the office of my bankruptcy attorney.

I remember going to Mapquest for the directions, but even just looking at them on the page, I found myself groaning. Drive through questionable neighborhood? Check.

Arriving a hair early, I found a taped note on the door to ring the bell. Strangely unprofessional setting? Check.

My attorney answered the door, and led me through the building to his office. The building itself was questionable in age, and had obviously been a house in a previous life, much like other buildings lining the street it sat on. The carpet (circa 1967) reeked of mold and cigarettes and the walls were paper-thin, worrying me that maybe everyone in the world was going to hear my business loud and clear. Potentially deadly or deadly embarrassing situation? Check and check?

Don't get me wrong. I knew I was doing the right thing, but in my head, I kept thinking, "Oh my God, what the hell am I doing here?"

Happily, my attorney was reassuring, and professional, and completely non-judgmental (at least not to my face, which is good enough). So the ball is rolling. I have my hearing with my creditors on the ninth, and after that, I have to wait sixty days for objections and then I'm done. That's not to say there won't be problems. But I need something of a clean slate. A do-over.

So, as the relief of it all hasn't exactly arrived yet, I'm feeling that the in-between stage of everything in my life at the moment has made some room for creativity, the kind I haven't experienced in a long time. And so, the idea that I will move on and become the person I really want to be is on the horizon, in view even. I'm just not there yet. But at least there is a promise of it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Horror Show

So, I have to admit that I hadn't been on a scale for a while. A long while. And there's a reason why. If I don't know what that unholiest of numbers is, then I don't have to deal with it. I didn't deal with it for a really long time.

And now I know.

It taunted me. I think I looked at my toes longer than I should have instead of grasping what it was the scale was telling me. Really? That much? That can't be right. But it is right. It is. And now I have to deal with it. Damn it!

I'm scrambling. The mother and I have decided on a weight loss challenge. She has more to lose, so giving her a few days head start didn't seem so bad. But now I'm scrambling. Good God! How did I let this happen? Ugh.

Well, that's done. Oh well. Guess all that planning will go to good use. Let's commence with the life-changing veganism. (Somewhere, a nutrition fairy just got her wings.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cinema Therapy, volume 13

So, some might think of this movie as a little cheesy or silly, but you have to admit that the sweet qualities of this modern fairy tale are wholly worthwhile and easily suck you in.

Penelope is the story of a young woman trapped by a family curse that gave her a pig nose. Her overbearing mother (Catherine O'Hara) is determined to find her daughter a mate despite the curse, to comical results. Edward Vanderman, a snobby self-absorbed nobleman and a contender for Penelope's heart makes an ass of himself by claiming that Penelope is a monster. He convinces a paparazzi-like Lemon (played by the always awesome Peter Dinklage) to find a spy to put in Penelope's midst. Unfortunately that can only be someone of noble birth (a blue-blood). Enter Max (played by James McAvoy). And that's where it gets complicated.

Perhaps not an Oscar-worthy film, but entertaining and heart-warming just the same. And you will come to love the characters with all their eccentricities and flaws.

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