Monday, December 28, 2009

The Holiday

The days leading up to Christmas were pretty rough (read: mostly terrible) and Christmas started out that way, but ended up being alright. I worked 8:30-5 on the 23rd, then came home and had a bath in an attempt to improve my ankle and my mood, and then Chloe and I went to Jay's (Farley and Jen's younger son's) birthday party. That was nice. I sat with Jack for a little while (honestly, a gift in itself) and mostly watched people.

Christmas eve I felt better while I could keep myself distracted, and I worked 7:45-4:30, and then went to help Uncle Bud make eggnog. Last year I helped with the whole process, but this year we had dinner at my Uncle Tommy's/Aunt Krystyna's house, so I only had time to separate 3 dozen eggs*, and then I had to leave. Dinner was nice though, even though I still have a hard time downing traditional Polish Christmas food. Tommy's children from his first marriage were both there with their fantastic kids, and I never get to see little kids anymore, so I spent most of the evening keeping them out of everyone's way and out of trouble, rather than talking to my cousins. There were five of them and one of me, so it was a little hectic, but fun. Tom jr's second son, Sam, was there and awake, and oh my goodness he is a peach. He is 17 months I think and he doesn't talk, but he understands everything you're saying to him, and he is so beautiful and sweet. Also Lily, Holly's youngest (who is four), just loves him. She would follow him around and show him things. The four older kids spent most of the night taking turns making noise and borrowing my camera, so there are a lot of interesting pictures on there. It was really interesting actually to see things from their perspective. You forget what it's like to be so small, you know?

Krystyna's younger daughter Victoria was there too of course, and I talked with her a little. She has a new dog named Oscar, a dachshund puppy, and I want him. There aren't really words to describe how great he is.

After dinner we stopped at home for a little while and then went to midnight mass, where I barely held it together. That pretty much sucked.

Christmas morning I woke up and discovered a few things: First, Ed and Uncle Bud were not coming to brunch after all; we were going to Holly and Brian's instead to see Tom and Sara before they left again for San Francisco. Second, I wasn't the only one who hadn't been able to get presents this year--actually, Chloe and my dad were the only ones who were even remotely on top of things. So we had breakfast and each opened one gift, and then went to see the cousins. It was nice to be there, though it was a little hard to have my ideas about the day so thoroughly shifted as soon as I woke up. Christmas later in the afternoon on Church Hill was also nice, but overall the whole day just felt a little off to me. The food was delicious though, and Mom made me and Chloe sing with her several times. (Come Thou, Long Expected Jesus.)

The day after Christmas I don't remember well at the moment. Oh! Ed came for brunch, and my Uncle Tommy came bearing gifts and a Russian documentary about water that was really awesome, actually. I'd like to research it more. We had vegetables and grits and more of the rockfish I'd brought home from work on Christmas eve, and Ed brought some scones from Joe's Market that were pretty fantastic.
Later, around 3 I think, Kelly and Susannah came over to find us/my mom watching episodes from Faerie Tale Theater (she got the whole series from her secret santa--good thing I didn't buy them like I had planned). We watched some and ate chili and played a very short and ridiculous game of apples to apples (you can't really play with three people, so we discarded the "7 cards per person" and "one entry per hand" rules and just threw in as many cards each time as we felt like), and then after a brief search for the "charging rino" card (mentioned in the directions but never seen) we went to see Avatar. We'd planned on the 7 pm show but were a little late, so we got ice cream and then went to the 8 pm show instead. It was AMAZING.

Sunday Chloe and I went to St Edward's for church and met Kelly there, and she came over after church for a little while, as she didn't have time to get home and back before she had to pick up her mentee for their outing. We went to Wal-Mart, so I finally got some Christmas shopping done, though I am still not by any means finished. Soon after we got back and she left my family congregated in the living room (even Jack!) to open our stockings at last. Mom gave me two beautiful necklaces--one a double-strand of black freshwater pearls, and the other a coin silver (?) Navajo necklace that belonged to Mrs. Erickson before she died. She also gave each of us a small bottle of essential oils**, and mine is a mix called "Joy." 
Sunday night... Mom and Dad and Chloe and I went to see Avatar. Still amazing.

Today I worked 1:30 to 7, and then finally went and got the supplies I need to make David's Christmas present. So hopefully I'll be getting that done shortly. And for dinner tonight, delicious chili made by mom!

Shower time.

*A tip for eggnog makers: I find that the easiest way to separate eggs is with my hands; however, if you are doing this, you should A) heat your house and B) warm the eggs a little. My fingers felt like blocks of wood after each dozen, so I had to keep stopping and warming them.

**Evidently most essential oils bought from health food stores and whatnot are not nearly as useful as they could be, because the makers of said oils don't actually know what they're doing--what they're going for. It would seem that humans have (or each human has) a particular electric signature. Plants do as well, as do all living things. Certain plant signatures support ours--but the ways in which most manufacturers usually produce essential oils can actually destroy or weaken the plant signatures so much as to render them nearly useless.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Weekend

I don't know what to say. What was the last thing I wrote?

We had a blizzard, or what passes for one in central Va. David left NoVa after work on Friday and drove down--it took him 9 hours. He didn't get here until 5:23 am. We talked some, went to sleep. I woke up at 8:15 to call in to work, and then couldn't go back to sleep. I went downstairs to snuggle up with David around 10:30 or something, and didn't sleep some more. It was infuriating. Later we made chicken salad (you know, for Susannah's engagement party, which got canceled) and later went sledding with Chloe and built an igloo in the woods. I mean, we didn't get a roof up, but we had an entryway and the walls were coming along well when the sun went down. That night Mom had the idea that since we were all snowed in we and our neighbors from down the street, Lael and Hartley, should bundle up and go Christmas caroling around the neighborhood. I know that's always looked down on in the movies/media, but it was fun, and in general people seemed to really like it. The downside though was that after having hot chocolate and milk and fudge at Lael and Hartley's house, we stayed and talked to them until after 11 pm, so we ended up being awake pretty late and then had to get up in the morning to shovel the driveway and walk and get to church.

Yesterday Mom and Chloe went to church early, because Chloe was Mary in the Christmas pageant, but David and Dad and I didn't get there in time, despite our best efforts. David did a pretty amazing job shoveling though--I really just went out and widened the path for my Dad so that he could get out and into the car, after David had shoveled nearly the entire driveway himself. (Perhaps we should invest in a second snow shovel.) After church Mom and Chloe got the car re-stuck, though luckily in the lower driveway. David and I were practically falling over and went to take a 40 minute nap that turned into 3 or 4 hours. While we did this Mom and Chloe (unbeknownst to us) were rushing around making gifts to give to family members at the Christmas open house we were late to. We got there though eventually, and it was nice, though we missed the gap I'd been planning on using to go to Sara's. (She gave me a really hard time about this today.) We went straight* from Carter and Kay's open house to the Hayward's caroling party, at which our cousin Ed plays jazz piano and everyone (after a healthy dose of mingling and grazing and light drinking) sings Christmas carols. We got home from that, I don't know when, late-ish, and David sat down and played his banjo a while. I took a shower. We went downstairs and snuggled up and talked a while, and then I (as seems to be my custom when I've been particularly down/stressed out) ended up having a minor breakdown right before I went upstairs to go to bed. He said something pertaining to the differences in the ways we, I guess in the ways we just are, and it touched on something I'd been worrying about too, and I just lost it.

I really do not like doing that, and I don't know why it keeps happening, but he's always really sweet about it.

Today we got up by mutual agreement around 8, and I woke up terribly sad due to said breakdown the night before, and we talked and I tried to get over it and we had breakfast. My car was encased in icy snow and refused to be dug out, so David drove me to work in my mom's car (his was not yet freed either, but he and my mom had gotten hers unstuck again), and that was really nice. Unfortunately, I have still pretty much felt like trash all day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Work was tolerable though, and my mom gave me a ride home. We bought some Christmas presents online and I checked email and such, and went to deposit my paycheck** at the bank. I really didn't feel like seeing anyone or doing anything but taking a bath and going to bed, even at 5 pm, but Sara and Brian are leaving for L.A. again tomorrow, so I went over there and hung out for a while. Sara gave me a really awesome book for Christmas (I can't remember the exact title, but it's something like "[Something] Uses for Everyday Things."
Susannah hit town today (which is why we didn't have the party for her yesterday) and she was there, and she came over after we left Sara's, and we talked a while. She'll be in town through Christmas, so that will be nice I hope.

I guess it's stupid to apologize to the internet at large for anything, so I won't. But since I have such an addiction to it, here is what I would apologize for, were I apologizing:
being so down. being so negative. being so dramatic and upset and angsty and confused and repetitive. overthinking everything. being so directionless and lost. being such a downer. being so shortsighted. failing to see all the beauty and joy in life, all the miracles, and seeing instead all of the pain and confusion and risk and danger and doubt. Isn't that stupid? It doesn't make any sense to obsess over shadows and wander in a maze of maybes when there is so much that is real and good. But there are things that are real and horrible, too. And sometimes I just can't see a way out. Not a good one, anyway. I just can't see a way into the air.

*at which point I realized that I had, in fact, left my phone at home.

**oh my gosh, so awesome. I haven't had one of these since August.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


David finally made it to our house at 5:23 this morning--it took him nine hours to drive 125 miles. Was I really at Sara's just yesterday? It seems like a week ago. Long night. The good news though is that I don't have to work today. The bad news is that I only slept about 2 hours, woke up to call in to work, and then never could fall back asleep. And now I have to make chicken salad for 40 people.


Work was decent, though I'm still struggling a bit with the "this is a teenager job" issue.

Came home and got sucked into the $*&^ cable instead of doing what I needed to.

Got into a family-wide fight over some firewood that didn't get picked up. That's a long story that I don't really want to go into, but what I do want to go into is that I am so completely sick out of my mind of wanting to die every time something goes wrong. I'm not trying to be dramatic. I don't want to be dramatic. But do you remember when you were little and you were told that the way to memorize something is to do or say or sing it over and over, so that the path gets worn down in your head? So that it's easier to go there, to remember? I never wanted to do that with this, but the fact remains that the path to "life's not worth the effort" or "dying would be such a relief" or "I can't handle this; I can't handle anything" is worn down. It's like a rut that I'm driving alongside, and every time I hit a bump in the road I fall straight into it. It's so worn down that I can go from 60 to 0 in about 2 seconds, any time I let my guard down, any time I get too tired or stressed, any time something goes wrong, catches me by surprise, hits a nerve. It's hard not to feel like my long-term chances of survival drop every time.

After I finished the bout of hysterical crying and suicidal episode that followed said family-wide fight, I talked to Sara on the phone for a little while (actually, that wasn't really after, but toward the end, but whatever) I went and helped my family pick up the last of the stupid firewood, then drove through the snow to Sara's for Hannukah. I was (and absolutely still am) feeling a little weak and low and fragile, but for the most part it was fun. Ami was there and it was great to see her, and it was fun to be with Sara and Eva and Brian and others, but I'm just so tired, all around. I left to drive home in the then 4 or so inches of snow, about 5 or 10 minutes before Chloe texted me to say not to try to come home. I made it, but it wasn't much fun.

David left from Front Royal around 8:30. He's now about 40 miles from here in his little tiny car in stop and go traffic, and we have 8 or so inches of snow on our back porch. I was going crazy crazy until he finally texted me and let me know he was alive and in traffic, maybe 40 minutes ago. I was afraid he was broken down or dead or still up above Fredericksburg, and that if I called or texted him he might crash or slide off the road, and that if he did, he would die and I would never forgive myself. So the text was a big relief. Anyway, we're making plans to hike out to him if he gets stuck coming off the interstate. Good times.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 2

Cheerios and Turkish tea for breakfast.
Got to work only 5 minutes early this time.
Set up/stocked display cases.
Cooked cocktail shrimp.
Learned to make more stuff (ex: cocktail sauce, shrimp dip balls).
Expired (but still good!) lobster bisque for lunch. (MMMM.)
Learned to make lobster bisque. (!)
Worked cash register all by myself. (!!)
Worked 6 hr 45 min. (I have to do my record-keeping somewhere, ok?)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yesterday; Today


Drove fully 100 miles around town.
Did some more thinking about quitting my job.
Called the guy I was interviewing with before, to ask whether the position was still open.
Discovered the position was still open.
Worked for a little while.
Got hit on and asked to lunch whilst working.
Got Hired.
Worked some more.
Got hit on again. (I was working in a neighborhood where this is commonplace.)
Worked just a little bit more.
Sat in my car, texted, talked on the phone, ate an orange.
Got a free lunch + some more getting hit on.
          Wondered why someone who knows I'm in a 2.5 year relationship thinks it's worthwhile to buy me lunch.
          Decided Jamaican food is pretty good.
Went to Sara's house; "helped" (aka watched) make cake balls.
Returned to office; quit work.
Talked to David a whole bunch of times through the day. Good times.


Got to work, oh, 25 minutes early (by accident).
Sat in freezing cold car listening to the radio till 8:30.
Started work!
Learned to make various seafoody things.
Learned to operate cash register.
Talked about payscale and vacation-related things.
Worked 7 hours. Made about $56. Smiled. Went home. Ate ice cream. Blogged. Prepared to nap.


Tacky Lights Tour!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Details are so slippery. Joy is so elusive. Peace is so often whittled down
to the quiet after the storm. (What is love?)

The devil is in the details. God is in the rain.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


mentoring Christmas parties
because-a-friend-is-in-town Christmas parties
Hanukkah parties
Apples To Apples
hanging out with friends
new additions to facebook

100% not awesome:
Surprise sinus infections. The entire left side of my head feels swollen and itchy on the inside.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Shared with me by John, David's often hilarious younger brother

I give you Techno Chicken.



I guess I already mentioned that I have a job. It makes me tired and then I don't really feel like writing, especially since I'm trying to get to bed early (no, really--10 pm). I haven't made 10 yet, but I have gotten to bed before 11 once. Yesterday I was completely on my own for the first time, and my car "broke down" (aka ran out of gas while telling me I had a quarter tank) on the way to work. I finally got things straightened out and got to my territory around 12, and ended up making one sale, and finding some interested parties that wanted me to come back today. Today I woke up feeling weak and achy and headachy and nauseated at the thought of eating (but sort of hungry) and having trouble moving. I decided to stay home, and as is my custom, I am now second-guessing myself. Also I'm really hoping that the people who wanted to talk to me today will want to talk to me/buy things tomorrow. Arg.

In other news: last night I had a not-so-awesome dream about zombies. There was something about periodic zombie attacks and we were hoping to remain inconspicuous in this not-actually-secure building, and there were a bunch of morons around who kept making noise. And then for some reason people (including me!) were trying to drive places! And THEN, I was with/part of/watching? this family drive around in a car trying to avoid zombies, and then one got its arm in the window of the car so the dad rolled the window up which cut off the arm, and then later we/they were all in their house and I think there were maybe servants that were zombies? (Like that makes sense..) And THEN we found out that the DAD was actually a zombie, this whole time! It was not a very fun dream.

Also: I miss David. Except when I think about it too much; then sometimes I stop missing David until I let my guard down or whatever again.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Things I hate:
People touching my laundry without permission. While I realize that I am almost certainly the only person on the planet who would not be thrilled at the thought of someone doing my laundry for me, I want to emphasize that I AM NOT thrilled at that thought. Reasons:
     1. I am crazy and anal-retentive and picky, and I fold all my shirts the same way, and I hang all of my clothes so that they face in the same direction. While I can handle these things being done differently, I will be irritated.
     2. I drip stuff on myself all the time. If you put my clothes in the dryer, you will almost certainly set a stain in my last remaining favorite shirt/sweatshirt that can still be worn in public. And then I will hate you.

David leaving for R-MA. I don't think that needs a whole lot of explanation. Relatedly,
     1. Going (carnally) insane after David leaves for R-MA and beating my head against the door.
     2. Being so ridiculously erratic in terms of my thoughts/outlook/desires. I am pretty sure people think I'm kidding when I say that sometimes my mind changes from one minute to the next. I'm not.

Things I don't so much hate:

Going to DC with David, despite the weather calling for 1-3 inches of snow, and spending all our time on the top floor of the Native American Museum, and then figuring out the bus system and riding/walking/standing around in the cold so that we could have dinner at the Turkish place where we ate for our second anniversary.

Getting to go to church with David.

Getting to go to Kelly's house and talk with her and her mom and Maggie, and watch Enchanted.

Seeing Christmas lights up around town. And speaking of which,
     That David will be around for the weekend that includes:
          The tacky lights tour (possibly in a limo!)
          Susannah and Mike's engagement party
          My Uncle Carter and Aunt Kay's Christmas open house
          The Haywards' Christmas caroling party
          and I don't know what else.

If I am not mistaken, I start (theoretically) getting paid for work tomorrow. Feel free to pray for me...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moods/events today

Grateful For Tea
Grateful For Warm Weather
Worried About Lateness
Thankful For On-Timeness
Glad To Train With My Team Leader
Remembering Rapport With Team Leader
Remembering Irritation With Team Leader
Copping Major Attitude With Team Leader
Brief Crying Spell In B&N Bathroom Stall*
Brief argument
Longer Explanations And Reconciliation
Learning To Trust Team Leader
Getting Friendly-ly Harassed By Local Business Owner
Practicing Pitch And Gaining Confidence
Feeling Good About Day/Work?/Life (?)
Daily Rundown Of The Day
Feeling Good About Day/Work?/Life (?)

going home and talking to Sara (thumbs-up) and eating dinner and watching NCIS (thumbs-up) and checking email and writing this and getting sick of the format and giving up and writing in semi-sentence form. I need a shower. I need a bed. David is coming tomorrow! I'm hoping I'll have enough energy for DC on Saturday. After this week, though, walking around in tennis shoes instead of dress shoes is probably going to feel like a vacation on the beach with free ice cream and mai-thais.

*At which point I thought of the quote from Anne Lamott--"and that was when I first discovered that God is in the ladies' room"--and prayed, "thank you." This was amongst lots of other "should I even be here? Please give me a sign. Please open a door, if I should be somewhere else. Please help me learn and cope. Later, after I'd gone back out to where my team leader was waiting, and woman he had helped the previous day came up and said hello and told me that he was great, and that I would do well. I don't know if that was a sign or not, but it was nice to hear.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Other Thing

Driving home 40 minutes in the dark, in the soft rain, with street reflections shining and Christmas music playing.

Also, an addition: they are selling limited edition coconut M&Ms at Wal-Mart. And oh my gosh, they are so good.

A few word of wisdom from Anne Lamott, the best writer ever, author of (among many other truly great things) Traveling Mercies. 

"Olivia [a two year old with cystic fibrosis] always got sicker than other babies; she caught colds that wouldn't leave, which led to coughs that sounded like those of an obese alcoholic she and I sit together in her room and eat chocolate, and I tell her that in a very long time when we both go to heaven, we should try to get chairs next to each other, close to the dessert table."

"I started to feel like a tired, wired little kid at a birthday party who has had way too much sugar, who is in all ways on overload, but still finds herself blindfolded and spun around for a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and then pushed more or less in the direction of the wall with the donkey on it. But I was so turned around, so lost and overwhelmed and stressed the I couldn't even remember where the wall with the donkey was--or even in what direction it might be found. So I couldn't take one step forward without there being a chance that I was actually walking farther away from it. And it took me a while to remember that for me, the wall with the donkey on it is Jesus."

"When they were done [taking blood to test Sam for Leukemia], I took Sam off to the bathroom because I had to pee and that was when I first discovered that God is in the ladies' room."

"...After a while I got up and took Sam's hand and we went and got some smoothies. You really do have to eat, anything at all that you can bear. So we had smoothies, with bananas, which I believe to be the only known cure for existential dread."

Bendy pencils, shankless tothbrushes, and rain.

That pretty much sums up my day, I guess. I felt/am feeling pretty good, but it's a strange "pretty good"--I don't know. A not that great pretty good? I feel great but am thinking negatively or something. But this morning my mom made some Turkish tea, which I drank before/on the way to/in the morning at work, and it was delicious and wonderful and I loved it so much. And it rained all day, but it was alright. I mean, walking around in the slightly chilly light rain made me feel like I was in Turkey for a while, so that was nice. And the guy I was with actually seemed like an honest, decent guy, which made the day a lot less stressful for me. Most people were pretty nice, and we met an inventor! He was the creator of the abovementioned bendable pencils and shankless toothbrushes, among other things. He mostly markets them to prisons (typed museums at first...?), but sells them for hikers and such, too. ALSO, we stopped at Starbucks before heading back to the office. I got parfait, which made me think of the American Realism class Sara and I took at VCU. It was so awesome. (The class, not the parfait, particularly.) Sigh. I feel like there was something else, but I don't remember it at the moment. Maybe I'll post it later. Ta-ta for now, internet!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thoughts (mine and others') and blessings from today.

The more (and more varied) work experience I get, the more my view of the world changes. Obviously the world is the same, but when I look around I don't just see things; I see the work of a man's (or woman's) hands-- the product of a person's thoughts and efforts and creativity.

Blessings today:

     Foaming hand soap. It is so awesome.
     That new book smell in Barnes&Noble
     A (temporarily) working gas gauge this morning. I had thought I was almost on empty. Turns out I had a half tank. I love when that happens. (The thing seems to prefer 35-45 degree weather. And mornings?)


This is the kind of old woman I want to be: At the nursing home where he volunteers, David overheard today an old woman who had been mischievously eating glue during craft time. She laughed and said, "I wondered if I could do it without you all seeing me."

And lastly, some marvelous thoughts from Clive Staples Lewis.

"To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."