Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thus far, my trip has been extremely . . productive, I should say. How else would describe the seeing of nearly everyone on my 'list' in the first three days? (We're talking 9 people.) Of course I hope and plan to see some of them again, take more pictures, eat more food, talk more life . . but I'm off to a great start! And all of that without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. There have been late hours and the word exhaustion could be thrown in here a couple of times without it being an exaggeration, but at the same time it's been relaxing and already refreshing.

I've been spending some sweet time with the niece and nephew for the first time in a year, and I hope to leave them with the lasting impression that Aunt Lala is their coolest relative by far. I know - shouldn't be too tough. :) I was happy to find that my 4-year old nephew actually likes me now, will give me hugs, and enjoys sitting next to me on the couch. All things that should not be taken for granted . . especially in Mr. Moody's case. But lucky for me, he seems amenable to the idea of being my little buddy.

"Lala, do you like sick people? Or do you want them to stay away?"

"I like them. I just don't like when they cough on me."

"Ok . . I won't cough on you . . can I sit by you on the couch?"

My 2-year old niece occasionally finds me funny, didn't mind when I brought her into bed with me at 2am last night (since she woke up crying), and has the cutest little voice . . that I get to listen to all day long, because she rarely stops talking. And her smile? It melts my heart.

I hope you all soak up the smiles and talking and laughter with your family tomorrow. I can't wait to read about it!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Went a Wassailing

EB was in town this Tuesday, my lovely former bedroommate and brilliant Duke law student. She shot out a mass email to all her D.C. friends suggesting dinner at a nearby restaurant. Of course I'd be there, I said. But when I received a follow-up email suggesting we go caroling instead . . . I was none too thrilled. I envisioned myself among a merry, gay crowd of carolers standing near some metro stop and obnoxiously belting out Christmas tunes. Sounded like a really dumb idea to me. But if it meant seeing EB, I would go.

We met at her friends' home where I was reintroduced to her old college chums as we sat around drinking wine and eating white cheddar corn puffs, holiday music playing in the background. Her friends were delightful, genuinely nice people, and the music and stockings on the mantel were really infusing some Christmas spirit into my bones. So much so that when the sheet music was passed around, I was ready to do some singing!

Rather than sing to passersby at a public place, the idea was to stop by the neighbors' houses and treat them to our little ensemble, an idea I was much more comfortable with. Although not everyone opened their doors at our knocking, we didn't mind singing for the sake of hearing our own voices. There was something neat about walking the streets, laughing, singing, and (I can't believe I'm going to say it) enjoying the bearably cold weather.

Our last stop was the apartment of five girls, friends of one of the carolers. They came out of the lobby in their furry slippers and pajamas and joined in the singing, as the guys all took off their coats for them to wear. After a few songs, they insisted we come upstairs to enjoy the cookies they'd just finished baking. We found ourselves not only eating their treats but also dancing to the ever-popular N'Sync and Mariah Christmas songs. The girls even performed their own interpretive dance which we quickly picked up on. It reminded me so much of my college apartment days and the (four) old roommates I love so much.

The point in all of this is . . caroling is not dumb. Er, no that's not really it. The point is that a good attitude makes a big difference, and anything can be fun when you're with great people. I had such an unexpectedly good time!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Cool

Have you ever seen "Meet the Fockers"?

Forgive the profanity, but may I quote?:


But you all knew that. WE all knew that.

I ran into him at the gym on Saturday, and he followed me around like a little puppy for at least half an hour wanting to lift weights with me and talk. Of course he acted like nothing had ever happened, he was so happy to see me, and would I give him a 'second chance' and let him take me to dinner? I did hesitate. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to give him an opportunity to explain or try to be my friend. (Sucker.)

He longingly gazed at me when we parted, but I felt unemotional and very guarded. And I didn't really expect him to call. Hello, track record. I'm not a betting woman, but if I was, I wouldn't have put a dime on him following through.

Turns out, he did text that night to see how my time was going with the Nebraska Girls (two of his friends). He also wanted to confirm for Sunday. Hm, maybe this was going to happen, I thought. But the anxiety in my stomach the next day told me otherwise. I just knew he was going to flake. He did call when he said he would, kept saying he wanted to see me (gag), and let me know what he was up to and how long he might be. But he didn't set a time and when 5 o'clock rolled around, he just wasn't feeling well. Poor, poor thing. Normally I would've been over it, and I nearly was. But I did know that he had stayed home all weekend not feeling well. Unless he was lying - but my gosh, why would I ever jump to that conclusion?

The desire to even see him again was growing fainter and fainter. I will give him one more chance, I thought, (because I am L, the pushover). But at that point, I didn't even care if he showed. If he wanted to make it up to me, he could meet me 'here' at 'time' on 'day' (because I would already be there). If not, I hoped he had a great Christmas (fake smile) and he could "take care". Of course he said "Absolutely I want to see you . . " and other $*#% like that. I was not convinced. So when he didn't show last night, I was unphased. And truly relieved. Yet disappointed . . that he wasn't even a decent human being, that 'friends' wasn't even an option. He did text that his flight just landed (don't believe him) and he was going to try to make it, but wasn't sure, and was I having fun? (Excuse me while I throw up a little.)

Let's be honest. We all know that he was sure that he wouldn't be making it. There would be no trying involved. So I said "It's cool. I'll catch up with you later." Vague and open to interpretation. Actual interpretation: "Don't caaare."

And I don't. But boy, this has been a pretty exhausting waste of time . . on someone I knew a long time ago that I didn't care to be with. And I know that I look a fool. I'm one of those people that drives me nuts, that I give really great advice to but can't seem to remember when it's my turn. Oh well. I know that this has triggered some good things, some positive changes in me, and I am walking away a better person . . or something like that. I don't regret the way that I handled things, and that is a good feeling to have. It would've been very easy to throw a few swear words in a text or try to make him feel bad. But I would've been the only one losing sleep at night.

I am thankful that, though I may have given much thought and attention to The Jerk, I gave no piece of my heart away. So really . . it's cool.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Second Chance

I'll give you one guess as to what the subject line is about. If you can't guess . . too bad, because I am not going to get into it right now. It's quite the long story detailing the past two days of my life. I sound in a bad mood, but I'm really not. I've just been restless I suppose, and I'm ready to go home for Christmas.

I've wanted to blog, but several times I've sat down and felt like anything I wrote here would be worthless. Not that it's normally anything spectacular.

Today was a day that was supposed to end one way and didn't, just as I suspected all along. For good reason maybe, but that's neither here nor there.

It ended with my roommate and I making one of my favorite Christmas treats. My friend J came over, too.

As is occasionally the case on Sunday evenings, I am anxious about the week ahead. Three days of work before flying home. I can't wait to be sitting in the salon chair, having Cousin Joy do my hair. Can't wait to hug my sister after nearly six months of being apart. Can't wait to curl up under my old comforter and have my sweet, skinny cat come sleep between my legs. Can't wait to be with my extended family, eating, laughing, and being reminded of what really matters in life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm headed to my company's Christmas party in a wrinkled emerald green knit babydoll, wrinkled black pants, and half-painted toenails . . and I have a sore throat. Not in the mood!

back on track

Last night I made the best decision I’ve made since moving here. I joined a gym. After a year and a half of flab fluctuations and wishing I was motivated enough to use the apartment amenities more often, I finally faced the cold, hard truth. The keys to a fabulous and sweaty workout are: men and hundreds of pieces of equipment.* I need variety, and I need eye candy, people. Otherwise, I’ll be looking at the clock the whole time. On top of that, being surrounded by big screens and spandex is like a shot of steroids. I’m wired, and I’m ready to go. Last night was the perfect example. An hour and a half flew by as though it was ten minutes, and I would’ve stayed longer, but I knew I had to use my arms and legs today. There is a gym two blocks from my apartment and several others that are nearby, offering different class schedules and various sizes of facilities. I drove to a newer gym three miles away, and it was newer and much more spacious, so I may alternate between the two depending upon the day. Ironically enough, I would almost rather drive three miles than walk two entire blocks at a gradual incline (no parking at nearby gym). . but that is also because it’s getting cold outside, got all the way down to 42 today (that’s for you, Nebraskans:). I’ll have plenty of workout partners (if I want them) because two of my roommates and a couple of fun co-workers are members, too. I’m so anxious to get back in shape, the way I was before I moved. Actually, the way I was about a year before I moved. Yeah, that’s what I’m going for. Wish me luck!

*I suppose I should make a disclaimer here. I do not run around in tight pants and sports bras trying to get dates or even attention for that matter. But the heavy lifting I observe is a real motivator for me. And who wants to jiggle around the gym in front of cute guys? Or anyone? Not this girl.

Monday, December 03, 2007

PIcture Austin

Say hello to Hermie III. This is the third year my family in Austin has had Thanksgiving with my cousin and his family in Houston. The turkey was given the name Hermie the first year and so it will always be called from here on out. It's a long story. All I know is that Hermie was delicious. The herbs made all the difference.
Jelly Bellies, mmm. The cousins don't usually keep junk food around the house, but while I was in town, things were different. No wonder they didn't want me to leave! Every night, we enjoyed our Blue Bell ice cream or Skinny Cow treats (Fat Boys, as Uncle Rich calls them) or some bulk candy we'd picked up at the store. When it comes to Jelly Bellies, I like all cinnamon all the time.

Here are Pink and myself up on Mount Bonnell in Austin with the skyline in the background. The city is just gorgeous with its rolling hills and green, green, green everywhere. The views from this place were amazing. I can't remember if I had managed to spill hot chocolate down the front of my sweater and scarf at this point, but fortunately when I did, it didn't stain anything. We took loads of pictures up there, posing in a dozen different ways. Coats on, coats off, kicking our boots up, back to back, picture with the skyline, picture with the lake . . and so on. I told her today that I can't believe it's only been a week since I was there! It feels like an eternity. Probably because I've been having a hard time since being back. Not because I'm back, but . . another reason. It's been fun to look at the pictures every day and remember what a wonderful time I had.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

singing the truth

Your mercy overwhelms me
More amazing every day
This kindness straight from heaven
Is relentless like the waves

You're good, Lord
You're wonderful to me
You're good, Lord
So wonderful to me

Your mercy overtakes me
Even when my feet have strayed
And though I don't deserve it
You surround me with your grace

You're good, Lord
You're wonderful to me
You're good, Lord
So wonderful to me

- Kathryn Scott