Picture Tag

June 28, 2008

I have been tagged by my friend Elizabeth. The rules (according to her) are quite simple. Put your answer to each question in google images and pick a picture from the first page of the results. I have chosen my five favorite answers, but for the full, very cool, version, check this out.

1) A place you would like to visit: Thailand

2) Your favorite color: Cornflower Blue

3) Where you were born: Port Jefferson

4) College Major: History

5) Your screen name: If I had to pick five ( I LOVE this image)

Anyone can consider them self tagged (for either the full version or the If I had to Pick Five abbreviated one) but especially La Petite Belle and Hallie.

From the moment I started this blog (a whopping 19 posts ago) I have struggled with the concept of how much I wanted to share about my personal life, what I wanted to say about my friends and my family. What stories were mine to tell and what stories belonged to someone else, to be told in their own way, with their own voice. Then this evening (while still on vacation) I received three phone calls in rapid succession from my family. Yesterday, my brothers college roommate and close friend, committed suicide. The details are horrific, and are not mine to share, but, I would like to share with all of you, the five things I hope to help my brother understand as he buries his friend.

1- Grief comes in waves. There are moments when the pain encapsulates your being with such force, you wonder if you will ever be able to exhale again. Then, there are moments when the hurt seems to subside. Moments when you believe you are moving through the dark could and then the pain rushes in and washes over you again. Don’t fight the grief any more than you would fight the tide, both are futile.

2- It is ok to be angry. it is ok to be frustrated or pissed. It is ok to yell and scream and go for a run because you can’t think of any other way to expel the emotion from your body. It is also ok to laugh, to think about the funny things he said or the way he always wore his hair to the right side.

3- It is not your fault, and there is nothing you could have done. I know people will be telling you this a lot over the next few days and I hope with all of my heart that you hear them. Please do not over think every conversation you had, every word you heard, every rise and fall to the tone of his voice.

4- It is going to get worse before it gets better. The days ahead of you will be long. The hugs will be endless and the tears will flow. We have already spoken about the role you want to take in his memorial and I applaud you for your strength, but it will not be easy. Know that it will be hard and know that I believe you can do it.

5- I love you brother. I love you more today than I did yesterday and I will love you more tomorrow than I did today. I love you unconditionally in a way only siblings can. When the grief swallows you like a tsunami wave, remember how many people love you and feel our arms supporting you under the deep and painful sea.

Presently, I am on a beach vacation on the eastern shore.  Never one to miss an opportunity for some people watching, here are the five folks who are giving me something to talk about

1) The Family Man – This is the man who arrived at the beach with his full family in tow. He looked around, noticed the entire eastern seaboard was completely empty, and chose to sit right next to me.  Then, to really make me feel welcome and a part of the family, he put one blanket beside me, his chairs in front of me and choose to yell from one to the other while I tired to close my eyes and pretend the whole thing was not happening.  I will let all of you guess how long it took me to pick up my chair and walk off in a huff*.

2) The Innocent Daughter –  The one who is quite obviously on a vacation with her family (I jumped to this conclusion after hearing her call another women ‘mom’) and decided that the most appropriate swim suit she owned was an itsy bitsy silver metallic bikini whose bottom most certainly had a former life as a hair elastic.  To make sure the top covered as little of her silicone filled ta-ta’s as possible, she scrunched the triangles to thin slivers of nothingness and proceeded to apply oil vigorously. With all that skin showing, you certainly need to focus on your tan.

3) The Born Athlete – The man who tried unsuccessfully 8 times to board his surf kayak in the surf and after being dumped, clobbered, crunched and near drowned by the ocean, climbed aboard the flotation device and had three of his friends PULL him from the sand to the sea.  I don’t know who looked worse, the guy, his friends or the poor kayak who quite frankly, deserved better than that.

4) Father Knows Best – This fine specimen of paternal wonder apparently thought that the best way to teach his child to ride waves, was to stand at the edge of the shore and yell “go farther!  No, that’s not far enough.  GO FARTHER.  Whats wrong with you? FARTHER!”  I know he was hesitant to actually get in the water to help his son, for fear that he may get salt water in his ice cold Bud Light (at 11 in the morning) but perhaps his child has gone far enough.  Perhaps the child does not want to get swept to sea with his $11.99  boogie board  and the lingering words of his fathers advice for comfort.

5) The Good Samaritan –  This woman took it upon herself to call 911 to report dolphins were swimming too close to the shore and then felt compelled to go from blanket to blanket to tell us what she had done.  Now, are they going to arrest these dolphins for unlawful entry to a swimming area?  Are the going to keep them in a holding cell for questioning?  Do you think they can call flipper to serve as a jury of their peers?  The only thing I want to know more than WHAT was going through this woman’s mind when she frantically dialed 911 to report the dolphins, was the look on the 911 operators face when he/she took the call.

*I would like to note here that it is extremely difficult to storm off in a huff on the sand.  There in not nearly enough loud stomping sounds to be made and if your storming involves exasperated marching, you might trip up on the sand and fall down.  I suggest that if you find yourself in this situation, you give as dirty of a look as possible with out getting into a fist fight and walk away elegantly.

Ok, so it is not really MY party.  But I (and someone who shall remain nameless) are planing a retirement party for my mother.  It is by no means an overly difficult task, but here are the five people are making it far from simple.

1) My co-planner –  She is great.  Really, she is.  However, she seems to have trouble remembering that in addition to living two states away from the party location I have a FULL TIME JOB.  And, that job does not include party planning.  I don’t really have time to discuss every minute detail of the invitation ribbon, the font size or if the forever stamps are just too ugly to use on a festive occasion.  In addition, after my day of full time work, I don’t really want to spend an average of 45 minutes discussing why it is that people no longer RSVP and have no sense of decorum. Which brings me to #2….

2) People who do not RSVP – I don’t know what it is about picking up the phone or jotting a quick e-mail that is so unbearably difficult, but if you are invited to an open bar, four course, sit down dinner, the least you can do is pick up the phone and say, “sure, we would love to come” or “actually, we have better things to do”.  The only thing worse than #2, is #3….

3) People who RSVP with more guests than were invited – I am sure that your child is the best behaved child in the whole wide world. And yes, I am sure that the 53 other guests of the event would be just CRUSHED if you little angelic looking demon spawn were not in attendance.  However, if you will take a moment to consult the envelope, the hosts or general common sense it might occur to you that your child was NOT invited to this adults only event.  We do however, appreciate your self centered ridiculousness, out right sense of entitlement and basic hissy fit since it has given me something other than the needy nature of my co-planner to be ticked about.

4) The loudmouth – the one who felt the need to call a mutual friend to find out what they were wearing to the party only to discover that they were not invited to the party and then send me an e-mail saying ” oops, sorry I goofed, but you are going to need to do something about this”.  Why, WHY do I need to do something about this?  I did not call her to consult on the type of hose to wear with a beige dress?  I did not need positive re-enforcement on the choice of my footwear for a given occasion.  I actually manage to keep my mouth shut when invited to an event that others may or may not have been included in.  We now have 54 people attending a party only 50 were invited to.  Classic.

5) My brother- now, I love my brother.  As far as siblings go, we are pretty close.  But every once in a blue moon I seriously wish he had been born a girl and I had a lovely party literate sister.  Here is a typical conversation between me and brother.

ME: so, are you bringing your girlfriend to the mom’s party or not?

BROTHER: mom already had a party.

ME: No, that was her work party.  This is a family & friends party.

BROTHER: oh.

ME: so, are you bringing your girlfriend?

BROTHER: I don’t know.  Why?

ME: I need a count for the tables.

BROTHER: Why?

ME: So I can figure out how many we need and order the centerpieces.

BROTHER: Why do we need centerpieces?

ME: So there is something on the table.

BROTHER: Sa, isn’t there going to be food on the table?

Today was a tough day. Not necessarily a bad one, but a toughie. It was not my last day at my job, but it was the day of my goodbye party and the last time I would see some extremely special people and it was hard. It got me thinking about former tough days and where this one ranked and so, I thought I would share my top five list of tough days* (in chronological order)

1)Loosing the cross country county championship in 10th grade. – We were favored to win and I ran my heart out (breaking my own personal record). It was our captain’s last year and I adored her. Even at 16 I genuinely wanted the victory for her more than for myself and when it came down to a tie breaker, I felt like I let her down. If I had passed one more person, if any of us had passed one more person, we would have had it. It was the day I discovered that sometimes doing your best just is not good enough and that sometimes, like victory, failure is a group effort.

2)The day I found out my high school boyfriend had cheated on me – I know, this one should have been a no brainer. He was a year older than me and already at college. To be perfectly honest he was out of my league to begin with. But, he genuinely seemed to adore me and I genuinely seemed to believe him. It was the day I discovered that just because someone tells you they love you, does not mean they won’t hurt you and we don’t all live happily ever after with the captain of the lacrosse team. It was my first heart break and somewhere, beneath the marks from my sports bra and deep under my rib cage, I know there is a little scar.

3) The afternoon my parents came up to New England to tell my brother and I my dad had cancer – As fate would have it, my brother got into his first choice college where I happened to be going to graduate school and we were living about 20 minutes from each other. My parents told us they wanted to come up to take us out to brunch to celebrate some birthdays. When they walked in I could see that my mom had been crying. My dad sat at my round kitchen table on one of those chairs that swivels around, looked me in the eye and said, “your dads sick kiddo”. It was the worst combination of seemingly innocent words I had ever heard and it was the day I discovered my father was human, fragile and mortal.

4) The day my brother got into some trouble I could not get him out of – The details of this story are my brothers to tell, not mine, but it was serious trouble. It was the day I discovered that just because I had four years on him, did not mean I could protect him forever, and that you can’t wish someones pain away.

5) Moving my best friend out of her house prior to her divorce – We sat in a room going through pictures and piles and shoving 6 years of her life into whatever boxes and bags we could find. I had been there when they met, the day they got engaged and stood beside her when they took their vows. I felt like I could have, I should have, done more. It was the day I discovered that love is not always enough, but some days, friendship is.

So, where does today rank on my list? I don’t know yet. I know that there are times in your life when you know something has changed and even if it has changed for the better, you can never go back. Today was one of those days.

As a side note: As I have stated numerous times before, I am not a writer. I am more of a venter or an observer. But today, while driving home crying, listening to sappy love songs on 105.1, I had the urge to go home, sit at the computer and write about what I was feeling. It was the first time I wanted to use this blog as an outlet rather than as a sounding board and that felt good. So, maybe it was not such a bad day after all.

*Note- death of friends and family were intentionally left off of this list. As anyone who has lost someone they love can tell you, the experience is no where near a ‘bad’ day.

An October Bride

June 17, 2008

My dear friend Molly, who many of you know is getting married in a few months, sweetly asked me for some wedding advice.   Molly is by far one of the most organized, enthusiastic and inspired brides I have ever met and I, quite frankly, am a spaz.  But, since she asked, here are my five pieces of humble wedding advice.

1) Things will go wrong.  Your great Aunt Gertrude will get lost, your black magic roses will stain a part of your dress or your groom will look blankly at his best man and say “has anyone seen my other shoe?”.  Its OK.  Expect it.  Be ready for it, laugh and move on. *

2) Take a moment to thank your bridal party.  Many of them have spent the better part of a year looking at bridesmaids dresses, coordinating shoes and planning parties in your honor.  They have listened to your worries, celebrated your joys and offered you tissues or shout wipes in an emergency.  Take a second before you take your vows to let them know what they mean to you and why you wanted them physically and emotionally beside you as you take this amazing step in your life.

3) Have someone look at Mike when you enter the Church.  Trust me, enough people will be looking at you.  Ask a special friend or family member (I have already volunteered) to watch your future husbands emotion, reaction and expression when his bride-to-be first steps into the room.  A picture is great, but knowing the first words he uttered when he saw you is priceless.

4) EAT!  I know this seems fairly obvious but somewhere between taking pictures, greeting your tardy but present great Aunt Gertrud and having your first dance, the first course completely passes you by.  Taking time to eat some of the wonderful food you spent a long time picking out will not only be delicious, but it will save you from getting completely toasted off a few glasses of champagne and showing your new brother in law your ‘something blue’. **

5) Take some time to look around at the people who have come from near and far to share this day with you.  It is the one time in your life you and your husband will have everyone you love in one place to celebrate your love for each other.  It is one of the most amazing gifts you will ever receive, and after you eat, you should take the time to truly enjoy it.

* not one of these are fictional, they have all happened to brides I know and love

** Ok, this MAY have happened to someone I know, quite well.

As aforementioned, I live in a coastal tourist town. By day, it is full of yacht-y folks sporting navy blazers with gold buttons and a Vineyard Vines tie or this seasons hottest Lilly pattern. However, by night… it s a full on drunken circus complete with a cast of characters worthy of an MTV real life episode. Here are the five classy individual’s who took a stroll outside my window at 1:30 this morning and the five things I really wanted to say to them.

Ms. Foreign Relations – Placing yourself in the center of the street and screaming at the top of your lungs, “but I WANT THAI FOOD” is not going to compel the lovely Thai family at the end of the block to open up their restaurant and cook for you. It may however compel me to throw blunt objects at your head. No jury would convict me.

Ms. Mass Communications – While announcing to the hundreds of people pouring out of the local bar that you have not gotten laid in TWO MONTHS and you NEED TO GET LAID NOW, will probably, in fact, get you laid… I can almost guarantee you will regret it. You seriously need to rethink your wing women (and your outfit)

Mr. Mergers and Acquisitions – I am sure that leaving the bar at 1:30 in the morning has your mind squarely on meeting your soul mate. However, this merger will not be easily facilitated by asking each and every person with breasts what they do for a living, where they live and if they are here for the ENTIRE summer or if its just a one nighter. Too bad you missed Ms. Mass Communications, you guys would have been perfect for each other!

The Sharks and The Jets – Please take your rumble somewhere else. I am sure that you are all in your fully correct frame of mind, and whatever has started this brawl is by all means worth it. However, I am in no mood to hear your shouting, taunting, threats or banter. It is not witty, it is not cute, it is not sexy or even very manly. It is actually quite pathetic.

The Local Police Force- WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE!!!! I am sure you are extremely tired from your day of writing tickets to people with out of state plates, looking annoyed at traffic intersections and blowing through red lights to get absolutely no where, but there is a BAR BRAWL going on outside my window. Could you please at least show up and TRY to control it?

NOTE: I mean no disrespect to law enforcement officials, I know lots and lots of officers that I respect and admire. However, there have been four nights THIS month where I have been awaken to either a domestic disturbance, a bar brawl or the sound of a screaming woman begging whomever she was with to leave her alone. I have called the police on all occasions and have yet to see and actual uniformed officer show up. Its not easy being rational with out any sleep.

Tag…I’m it.

June 15, 2008

I have been tagged by Le Petite Belle. This is exciting for two reasons. One,it is my first tag and despite my serious lack of computer skills and lingo know how, I think i figured out that I am supposed to answer the same questions she did. And two, I love anything that comes in fives. Ok, here goes.

1. Did you get an allowance as a kid and if so how much was it?

I did, my brother and I each got $1 which we promptly spent by walking up to the corner store and buying a paper bag full of penny candy. It was the best.

2. How old were you when you had your first job, and what was it?

I was 16 and worked as a lifeguard at a water park. It was horrible. My ‘uniform’ was a stars and stripes spedo with two very unfortunately placed stars over the bust. I spent the entire summer alternating between trying to figure out how to look most cool in the offensive get-up and blowing my whistle to shout, “don’t do that”.

3. Which do you do better: save money or spend money?

SPEND

4. Are people more likely to borrow money from you, or are you more likely to borrow from them?

Aside from spotting a friend cash in a pinch, I have not loaned a lot of money and I have never borrowed from anyone other than my parents and the federal government. I am paying both back slowly.

5. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

Sensible purchase- my car.

Ridiculous purchase- an Oscar Delarenta cranberry halter top one piece bathing suit. It was purchased at Sax almost 10 years ago in a moment of weakness and has never touched salt water or chlorine or seen the sun. I take it out once a summer and try it on so it feels loved. It’s spectacular.

Moving on Reluctantly

June 13, 2008

As I am sure many of you are picking up on, I am making a pretty big tansiton in my life and movinng on to a new job.  Here are the five things I will miss most about my old job.

1) The people – As Hallie so eloquently said, my battle buddies.  The friends who have allowed me to vent to them and trusted me enough to vent back.  The strangers who became colleagues and the colleagues who became friends.  The knowing glances, the sly winks, the walks and the talks.  I will miss these people more than I can say.

2) The food- as fate would have it, my current place of employment is withing striking distance of some of the best food in New England.  Any day I can pick between, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, a fish place, a salad place, a gourmet grocer and more than one all you can eat buffet (I am a sucker for the all you can eat buffet).  There is a bakery, an ice cream shop, three Dunkin Donuts, a starbucks and two really cute mom and pop coffee and tea shops.  It really is no wonder I had to start running to get back into my summer clothes.

3) The view – my office currently overlooks an open green space set in front of a cool blue river, dotted with the curved hulls of boats, ships and schooners and lined with the graceful grid of rigging in the sky.  It is a photographers dream, a vacationers wish and by far the most beautiful place I have ever been paid to go.  It’s truly spectacular.

4) The mission – I genuinely believe in what I do and where I work.  I believe in the mission and the vision and the goals (even if some days I might choose a different path to get there).  I believe in the product we give to the people we serve and I believe in the message we deliver.

5) The people- I know I started with this one but its worth saying again.  Yesterday I had one of those moments where you step outside yourself and look as an outsider on the very life you are living.  I was sitting at a desk laughing with a  friend when my work husband happened to pop by.  We talked and we joked and we laughed and I looked around knowing that that very moment would be the one thing I would miss the most.  The casual nature of true friendship and the easy happenstance that comes from working with people you genuinely care about.  It has been a gift and is something I will truly cherish.

In honor of my work husband, who managed to make me cry today, here are my five very favorite things about Mike

1) He gives the best hugs. They are the kind of hugs you would expect for your father, get from your brother and want from your partner. They are hugs that make good days better and bad days do-able

2) He gets my obsession with song lyrics and appreciates my borderline freakish skill of memorizing them.  This is not a skill that gets noted by many people.

3) Even though he jokes about me being his ‘work wife’, he is one of the most kind and devoted husbands I have ever met.  When he talks about his real wife, his face lights up and you know that he is thinking he is the luckiest man in the world.

4) He is an amazing dad.  He is one of those dads that makes you believe you can actually succeed at being a parent and not perpetuate the long line of idiosyncrasies that may run in your family.  He makes me believe that even I could be a good mom some day. 

5) He is a great listener and genuinely knows what to say to make you feel better.  He has been there for me through tough days, bad news and hard decisions and never once let me down.  In fact, he gives pretty good hugs.  (see #1)