Sunday, October 31, 2010

To Halloween or not to Halloween

First, a few truths:
1) Halloween is for kids. There is no costume that is out of bounds for little kids. They’re cute in all of them. And then there’s the candy.
2) Halloween is for hot people. The ONLY exception to the costume rule for kids is the classic “slutty BLANK”. Hot girls are why grown-ups continue to celebrate this holiday at all. And when two hot costumed people hook up, at say a costume party or the local watering hole’s Halloween freak-out? It’s a wonder they don’t just burst into flames.
3) Halloween is for the sentimental. Raise your hand if you don’t get excited by the annual showing of “The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and I’ll slap you upside the head with a pumpkin pie

…now, with these truths established let’s talk Halloweening for the REST of us. Because I’m no longer a kid, I’ve never been “hot” and though I’m sentimental that starts and stops with classic Halloween tv. So, for instance, what to do when my work decides to do a big Halloween celebration? Do I dress or not? What about any other Halloween parties to which I got invited – go? Don’t go? How to spend the holiday itself – home or out rambling from Halloween Happy Hour to Halloween Happy Hour in cape and short-shorts?

First, the work party. I dressed, but only just barely. I’d considered ambitious costume ideas, but my problems with that goal were three-fold: 1) I only moved some of my stuff when I relocated up to my new life and my rather silly-but-ambitious stash of costumey things didn’t make the cut. Pirate? Sure, except that I brought the puffy shirt and hoop earrings, but not the sword or the corset. Nor did I bring all the pieces for the black cat, the space cowboy or the Amazon Warrior (do NOT ask). 2) I’ve been sick this week, not enough to keep from going to the office but enough for me to want to be at all ambitious when home. (in this moment “ambitious” is being defined as “doing anything beyond sleeping). So on Thursday night, when I had to do this thinking stuff, I was about up to “I want Jello. If only it weren’t so damned hard to make…”-level of ambitious. Making a costume is nowhere near this. 3) The people at my work place don’t know the truths listed above, or don’t care. Either way, for many of them this “dressing up” thing is at epic proportions. So you really gotta decide how much you want to compete when you come in. ½-way is kind of the worst option you’ve got.

With all of this in mind I dressed all in black and topped it off with my trusty Batman t-shirt. You can decide what the actual costume was: Batman? Hopeless Nerd? Michael Keaton? Yes. All of these things.

Next I had actually been invited to a collection of possible Halloween parties for Saturday night, so the question was to go to any, and if that question came up a “yes” then the follow-up question: which one? I opted for the easiest of the three, both in terms of “setting the bar” costume-wise and also comfort –level while there; it was a fete thrown by some friends of mine in their house way up on a hill. “house way up on a hill” is ALREADY satisfying the spook-requirement, and I figured the guest list there would include parents of kids and other items that tone down the ambitions for costumes. And I was right! The other options either had a level of costumery ambition I was completely intimidated by or would be chock-a-block FULL of sexy hot-n-tots.

So then the costume question again. I poured through my closet and the costume stuff I DID have up here and finally landed on a workable option: 1930’s cocktail dress (THE best piece of clothing I own) plus vintage hat (no idea how that got moved either. Possibly I thought they’d come back into style?) plus garter belt and stockings (I’d claim authenticity, but it was honestly the only forms of leg covering I had in the house!), pearls and a dot over the lip ala Marilyn and you had it. 1930’s starlet? Possibly. I preferred to think of myself as the original Lois Lane, ready to break the next big story, Chief!

Next year: Amazon Space Pirate Cat. With heels.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like... What? Too soon?

Yes, my friends, you may be trying to figure out whether you want to be the slutty nurse, slutty cat or slutty sewage waste treatment technician for Halloween, but I’m already firmly focused on Christmas. Why? For a few reasons, all of them awesome:

1. I am anti credit card. However I am pro “give everybody you’ve ever met a gift.” This means I start my Christmas shopping in July. No joke – my first gifts are always purchased at this summertime art festival in Hippyville.
2. T.E. comes home to me in December. Sigh.
3. I have so many people I like to shop for, but if you cram them all into the month of December the fun of gifting becomes “Gah! Stress! Crowds! Money! Stress! Gah! Christmas BAD!!!” And that’s a terrible thing to do to Christmas…
4. I’ll have someone to help me wrap presents this year because T.E. will be here. Yay!
5. I have this very ambitious plan this year that involves having all gifts that need to be shipped already bought and wrapped in November, and shipped off by Thanksgiving. Go ahead and hate me!
6. Did I mention the hot, young Englishman? I did? Good. Because he’s awesome.

Oh, and also Christmas = piles of yay!

In order to facilitate this level of manic, almost obsessive holiday adoration I have to have it all organized. Almost to the point of needing a psychoanalysis. And/or Prozac. To that end (the organization end, not the shrinking/drugs end) I have created this elaborate, nay even color-codified spreadsheet.

It shows names! Gifts! Budgets!
It tells me who’s finished and who’s not yet finished!
It tells me who’s naughty! Who’s… wait, no. That’s someone else’s list… (and I bet HIS list doesn’t include “months to shop in” color coding!)

But still, totally an awesome list, people!

Armed with my list and my astounding selection of Christmas-themed wrapping paper (over twenty different patterns! Snowmen and Santas! Sparkly and shiny and sparkly!) I now head into this coming holiday season not just prepared – I’m OVER PREPARED! I’m a quarter finished! I’ve got things lined up to purchase at each paycheck! For some people I don’t just have an idea of what to get them, I’ve got a BUNCH of ideas! I’ve actually got to go through a list and pick just one thing – I might even be able to give other people ideas for gifts since I have too many!

Oh yes, I’m ready my friends. Bring it on, Old Man Winter! Come on, tidings of comfort and joy! I’ve got your fa la la la la right here! I am SO READY for my Happy Holidays!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Valuable Yet Conflicting Commodities

I know what’s gonna kill us, T.E. and I. It’s not the age difference. It’s not the time apart. It’s not the challenges of being monogamous from far away.

It’s the time zones.

Frankly the people who put the places where they went couldn’t have put our two places – west-coast US and London – in worse places. We’re exactly 8 hours apart. In other words, I’m going to bed about just as he’s getting up. I’m getting off of work right as he’s crashing. And the 16 hours where he’s up and doing stuff and awake and cognizant and not sleeping and available for a lovely conversation and UP? I’m sleeping. Or working. Sleeping and working. Neither of these things are conducive to lovely conversation. They’re conducive… well, mostly to sleeping. Or possibly working. And not conversating.

For the first year I would come home from work and T.E. would be there, waiting for me. Often it would be past 1am for him, but he would stay up just to talk to me, sometimes for hours! At the beginning he told me that he’s always been a late-night kind of guy, he’d be up anyway, it was cool, etc., and I totally believed him and didn’t think much of it. He had less time commitments, being out of school for that time, so he could sleep in if he needed to and I let that be the rationale that we had a totally workable situation.

Jump ahead to the summer after he left here, headed back to London to get ready for starting at the University. He took advantage of wicked-nasty jetlag to switch around the schedule. He started getting up at 7am for us to talk, thinking that he’d need to adjust his timing for classes. He figured once he got to Uni the world would expect him to be at specific places. At specific times. Specifically non-noon times, and so day after day, even though he still didn’t need to, he went to bed relatively early and got up at 7am. We’d talk for about 90 minutes, then I’d hit the sack and he’d go on with his day. I was sort of amazed how well he stuck to this timing, especially since he really hates mornings just like I do.

I, on the other hand, struggled to stay up and alert night after night, except for all of those times when I fell asleep. Nothing says “you’re important to me, and all those nights when you stayed up way, WAY later than this to talk to me really mean a lot.” like a long, resounding snore. I realized at that point that I’d never given him the credit he deserves for sacrificing so this crazy relationship could keep going.

Finally he started at University and got those dreaded early-morning class schedules he had been preparing for. And get this, people: they have scheduled him for classes as early as 11AM! What are they, BARBARIANS? LUTHERANS EVEN? (or was it Presbyterians – what’s the religion that says “thou shalt get up before noon, but only just barely…”?) All his prep for having to get up so early was for naught, and within a week the stress on his system from the early mornings was showing itself pretty clearly.

So THEN we tried the afternoons again, but that didn’t work much better. Seems no matter what time we can connect it’s always a time where he’s tired, either because he’s getting up or settling down. And I hate to be that thing that makes him tired, know what I mean?

We’re trying something new tomorrow: I’m going to wake up at 4:30am so we can talk about 12:30pm for him. The Queen immediately saw the flaw in this plan – she asked me “and you’re going to bed at 10:30pm?” I found it so cute that she would give me such undeserved credit; I think we all know the odds of me getting to sleep earlier than my normal time of roughly midnight are pretty slim. Or possibly none. So tomorrow it’s going to be my turn to be tired.

I have faith in us and our desire to make it work. We’ve just finished mapping out the dates for his trip here for the holidays – we clearly know how to dedicate ourselves to this. But I’m also very aware of the problem we have before us: how to keep our connection and our sanity. For the record, if I have to pick from those two I pick us. Here’s hoping he does too.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Earning My Grownups

I have schedules for the things that I gotta do. The biggest schedule-based thing for me right now is working out. In just over 2 months T.E. comes back to me for the holidays (more on that at a later date when the idea of writing about the upcoming holidays won’t be as likely to get me shot by readers who are all still in the “No! The “Holidays” are months away! Leave me alone!” continuum) and when he comes up that escalator I want his one thought to be this: “She was totally worth the last 10 hours on that f*cking plane.” For such a thing to be possible, at least in my head, I either need to lose another 15-20 lbs, as well as flattening my tummy and giving me almost Madonna-arms/boobs, or I need to be standing at the top of the escalator covered in chocolate and money. And I don’t have enough money for that, so I gotta work out. GOTTA.

And therefore we have scheduleness. It looks like this:

SATURDAY: full cardio plus abs
SUNDAY: full cardio plus push-ups
MONDAY: full cardio plus abs
TUESDAY: full cardio plus push-ups
WEDNESDAY: full cardio plus abs
THURSDAY: full cardio plus push-ups
FRIDAY: ice cream and carbs for dinner and falling asleep on the couch and maybe more ice cream!
SATURDAY: …what, didn’t we already cover this? Did you have a coma since the last Saturday?...

I originally planned to work out EVERY SINGLE DAY, but had to add my important Friday plan for two reasons: The first is that if I don’t give myself some bit of a break I eventually get bitter and self-pity-ey, and I end up taking a Friday, or a Thursday, or possible a Wednesday-through-November off from working out because “didn’t you see how good I was for like two weeks? I’ve earned this. Now give me more bon-bons.” The second is that I couldn’t work out the pattern for the two extra things (abs and push-ups) and having it fold back around in this unpredictable way, where “who KNOWS what I’ll be doing on that Tuesday! AHHHH!” was just way too much pressure for me. Break it into a 6-day pattern with a break makes Femtastic’s brain “AHHHH!” just that much less. Better for everyone.

So this last Friday I had things all scheduled, like a hair cut and a games night and such, and so having the night off from the workout was not just good, it was necessary. From the scheduling. I had a nice time and came home feeling no guilt whatsoever because hello, it’s Friday! But then Saturday I was going to do those things that Friday is not obligated to do. I fully intended to work out, I did! I was to cardio, listening to my new, woodsy audio book and then reading my totally insightful and epiphaniostic workbook and both improving my body as well as growing my soul and improving my brain. (yes, all of that in just an hour. Shut up.)

But more than that, I was going to CLEAN! LAUNDRY! COOK! There was to be BLOG POSTS! And creativity on EPIC SCALES! When I went to bed on Saturday night I was going to be tired, sure, but it was going to be that satisfied, accomplished kind of tired where you nuzzle down into your soft, clean sheets actually smiling, and your dreams all have you running marathons or winning Nobel prizes or curing fatness (in a way that involves no working out or diets but doesn’t make you a lazy piece of crap either. It’s coming – science is on it.) I was all about this day plan.

So the question has to be this: how is it that when I finally did go to sleep Sunday morning at about 1am I had accomplished a total of “I totally suck” and felt like I was not only the President of the “Slackers club for men and also women” but also a client? It was like I needed a day off in addition to my sanctioned day off because on my sanctioned day off I didn’t do any of the “need to” things, but I did so many “get to” things that I was still winded; nay pooped! Possibly all the way to knackered out! This day off was NOT approved by the “days off” approval board, and even as I type this I just KNOW that there’s a strongly worded memo or letter coming my way to condemn me for unauthorized days offing. These things cannot be done spontaneously – they need planning! Scheduling! A rigorous checks-and-balances to make sure they’re not done willielily, let alone nillielily!

So today has to be better. It has to. And yet, here it is 3:45 and this blog post is the sum total of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve got time to do some catching up – but do I have the moxie? The where-withall? Here’s hoping, gentle readers. Fingers? They be crossed!