On Thanksgiving, Excitedly

This year will be the first year in a long time I’m not in Denver for Thanksgiving. (Not counting 2010, when Mike and I were in Africa.) Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not as stressful as other holidays; there aren’t any gifts; it’s more about food than it is anything else. Since I’m not one who eagerly anticipates the shopping season, I have nothing to do that day and the next except lounge around and eat leftovers.

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best leftovers. (Cranberries! Stuffing! Gravy!)

This year is a big year. I’m going to Mississippi with boyfriend. I’m going to meet part of his family and go hunting. Oh god. Me hunting deer? I’m most excited about a road trip. I drive. He sleeps. Clears the mind.

I think I’m most nervous about deer hunting. What if I’m bored? Sitting still isn’t my strong suit. Sitting still and being quiet definitely aren’t things at which I excel. What if I actually kill one? Not likely. I told him I’d most likely either cry or be super into it.

I met his grandfather last week. We went to a hockey game and then had dinner the next night. I’m a huge fan – I love families and his grandpa had some great stories. I’m less nervous about the family liking me now that I’ve met him.

Still, I’ve never been to the South. I’ve already made the silent promise to myself not to say anything until after we’ve left. I want to take it all in and experience as much as possible. It’s going to be a very new adventure, but it’s also going to be a very necessary week off of work for me, which I’m looking very forward to.

In other news: I’m now the assistant manager at my store (officially, since I’ve been the assistant manager in all but name for quite some time now). I’ll be assisting with the revamping of the store as well as the training of the three new kids we hired. But more exciting than that is the prospect of some marketing and office work. The owner and I have yet to sit down and actually hash out all of the specific duties, but I’m thrilled about the opportunity to do more of what the marketing and administrative stuff while still being able to keep up my cake decorating and customer service.

Things are looking up, which is good. Finally a nice break for me and the chance for more positive opportunities and career growth, which are things that I’m looking forward to taking advantage of.

On Sweatpants, Fuzzily

It’s been rainy and cold all week here in Denver, which is a relief – it feels like we’ve had nothing but heat for months.

I’m excited. I had to close my windows and pile on extra blankets the other night, and for the first time in a long time, I felt cold. (This is only exciting the first time. Being cold is one of my very least favorite things. In a month, I’ll be complaining bitterly about how much I hate having cold feet and hands and nose.)

This weather means sweaters. And black tights. And sweatpants. I love sweatpants. I own more pairs of mens pajama pants than I care to admit, because they’re always so cozy and comfortable.

The other night, I was cold and at the boy’s house. I asked him if I could borrow his pair of fuzzy sweatpants. He looked at me incredulously. “Fuzzy sweatpants, Katie?” I knew he knew exactly which pair I was talking about. “Men don’t own fuzzy sweatpants. They’re flannel.” (I think he said flannel, anything but fuzzy sweatpants.) Five minutes later, I was happily inside a pair of borrowed fuzzy sweatpants.

As much as I dislike cold, the snuggling-centered parts of my brain love winter because it’s an excuse to pile on blankets and make nests of soft things. I’m thrilled that it’s that time of year again.

 

On Spring, Expectantly

What is it about the first hints of spring that incite a need for motion? I feel as though the minute the scent of the forthcoming growth stings the nostrils I have the urge for adventure, for chasing the dawn, for stars and night frisbee. (Night frisbee is my weakness. It gets me every time.)

This weekend brought warmth and the promise of summer heat – that first day that makes you shed your shoes and run outside, only to find that the ground is still cold and damp. Those are the days when you don’t care, you let the mud seep up between your toes and you relish it, knowing that soon enough, you won’t be cold.

Last night, as I left the restaurant where I was having second dinner with a couple of friends, I smelled summer. In my mind, I was no longer walking down a dark street in early March. I was suddenly walking down a dark street in June. It’s that smell that transports you, that reminds you of soft streetlights and sangria shared with friends. It’s the smell that calls you to the park, to sit on blankets, to listen to jazz. Oh, it’s the best.

When I was little, there was always that first really warm day before spring. I’d open all of my bedroom windows and run out to the backyard, where I’d begin to dig around in the still-frozen garden. My toes would be freezing because I was (still am) always barefoot and too stubborn to put on real shoes.

I had a dream last night about that garden, and about the wild green onions that used to grow there, and how I’d pull them, and chop them, and put them into pretend stews that I’d create using mud and sticks. My hands would reek of onion for days, but it was always so worth it. In my dream, they were there, growing sooner than ever, their green tops sticking out of the earth. They were wonderful. I smelled the spring and I woke content.

***

Speaking of things from the earth (what? totally legitimate seque, I swear), Katie and I juiced yesterday. She’s into making juices and I am into drinking juices, so this was bound to happen eventually. We ended up at the grocery store, loading up on fruits and veggies, before heading back to her house and breaking out the juicer. It’s quite the ordeal, with all the cutting and washing and juicer setup taken into account.

I had so much fun and I only cut myself once – great success. We made two different kinds – one green, one beet/orange. (I have such a thing for beet juice, but have never tried to do it myself since I’m intimidated by fresh beets. – That’s not weird at all, either.)  I think it’s something I may have to look into getting into. It could be fun. Or alternately, a piece of kitchen equipment that hangs out in my cabinets, collecting dust.

On the Future, Not Quite Resignedly

When I was younger, I swore that no house I lived in would ever have white walls. I’ll never forget the textured white walls of each apartment or townhome we lived in. The apartment had that bumpy wall that looked like spray foam. The townhome had the softer walls, the ones that looked like someone had sponged thick white paint onto the wall unevenly.

We don’t have white walls here, except for our basement. It’s white. We’re working on covering the walls with art, posters, flags, lights. It won’t be white for long. Paint isn’t the point. It’s the walls. They’re not white. They are the fulfillment of a promise I made to myself years ago. They are proof that you will not lose all of your childhood ideals as you age away.

I often wonder how much of adulthood is like slow and painful adolescence, where no matter how mature you feel, you’ll look back in the coming years and cringe, shamed by your own misguided, subjective look at reality.

I meant to make a list then of all the things I swore I’d never do as an adult. I’d love to see it, even now, during the second adolescence that is young adulthood, the years sandwiched between your first taste of freedom and the hard reality that you are exactly what you said you’d never be.

I am achieving exactly what I thought I would, and yet, I have come to realize that I am nowhere near where I will end up. I am simultaneously so far forward and so completely lost.

Everything is at your fingertips, the future still looms in front of you, undecided, yours for the taking. It is the promise of a limitless supply of endless joy – available only to you. Beneath the excitement of possibility lurks the ever-present fear of failure. Chance is a terrifying game to play.

Think too much or too little? Failure. Conform too much or too little? Failure. It’s all about the search for balance – work, life, everything that goes along with those things. I’m coming to realize that at first, adulthood is like wearing your Easter dress every day instead of once a year. You’re itchy and uncomfortable, and you’re still trying to figure out why you can’t just wear your Ninja Turtles pajamas. (To be honest, I’m still tempted to put on yoga pants every morning instead of real pants. It’s funny how something as simple as pants can make you a professional.)

(That may have been a terrible metaphor, but I’m imagining little kids looking uncomfortable in their suits. And I’m imagining young college grads looks equally uncomfortable in equally ill-fitted suits. Some things don’t change.)

I got home last night, plagued by the storm of thoughts that comes with trying to rationalize existence and the correct path forward into the looming future, and looked around my house. My room, to someone who didn’t know me, would be appalling: clothes strewn everywhere, my dresser stacked with books, lotions, and jewelry not put away.

The same child who swore she’d have no white walls also imagined that she’d grow up to be the neatest, most organized person who ever lived. (She was very imaginative.) Instead, I find myself grown (but grown up? no) and no more tidy. Apparently, we can’t keep all of the promises we make to ourselves.

I should start making lists. Lists of things I imagine I’ll be some day, and lists of things that I am right now, because I don’t ever want that to slip away, even as I grow and change, the metamorphosis into middle-age happening more rapidly than I could ever imagine.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll start working on making and keeping promises to myself. I’ll try to morph into Monica Gellar, although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s just not going to happen.

Maybe I’ll just have to realign my perception of my future self: instead of being Monica, I’ll just have to get rich enough to be able to afford a cleaning service. They won’t even have to scrub (I can do that), they’ll just have to pick up the clutter I leave in my wake. See? The future looks brighter already.

On Fall, College, and Debates, Randomly

I’m totally embracing fall today. I’m wearing my lumberjack plaid shirt (which got complimented at the grocery store by two really burly-looking dudes, so that made me feel pretty badass), I drank a pumpkin spice latte (work perks), and I’m relishing the leaves that are suddenly everywhere (Colorado got really windy last night, so now there are leaves on lawns, leaves in the streets, leaves on the sidewalks, and so on). I even changed my Gmail theme so that the background is a wonderful vision of red, yellow, and green leaves.

Yay, fall! It’s still sunny and bright, so I’m not even thinking about the ice scraping hell that is yet to come. Right now, I love the weather. I love the leaves. I am craving a pumpkin carving session. I want to make spiced cider and wear striped socks.  It’s still warm, so I’m still looking forward to wearing my coat – although somehow between last week and now, I’ve managed to mislay my brand new black pea coat. Hrm…..looks like the hunt is on.

Where does one leave a pea coat? It’s not in my car (although my gray one is, along with the black one that I am dissatisfied with. I keep it in there to wear when I go to bars so in case someone steals it, they’re actually doing me a favor instead of ruining my evening). It might be in my house (this is a constant problem since 80% of my clothing is black – I can never find anything when I need it). It might be at my mom’s house. It is. It’s hanging in her kitchen closet because I didn’t get it after dinner last week. Boom! Thank you, logic and desperate recollection.

***

I fall asleep while watching tv on my computer, usually. It’s my way to calm down after the day, but also my way to keep abreast of current pop culture stuff. I usually choose The Daily Show or The Colbert Report because they’re 21 minutes (ish), they’re light-hearted, and I don’t have to follow anything other than the sound of their voices as I drift off. Also, Carlos seems to enjoy them, too. He curls up with me and lays his head so he can see the screen. I have no idea if he’s watching or if he’s just comfortable that way, but I won’t complain.

But the other night, I chose one of the new episodes of Modern Family. I’ve written about the show before, mostly because if it’s a good episode, I will have cried at least once by the end. (Not cried like melted down and sobbed, but teared up and/or felt at least one tear drip down my cheek.) The show is silly, but I do think that they have some really poignant moments. And that’s what I’m all about – the humor blended with the absolute certainty of reality of life.

So….the oldest daughter is going to college. The move-in process was really not one of the show’s finer moments, but the scene where the parents have gone really got to me. The daughter is shown wandering around the cafeteria, alone, as the parents drive home. She calls her parents later, when she’s back in her room. And the parents are holding back tears and so is the daughter. Of course, my heart just cracked and spilled over and tears ran down my face – enough to annoy the cat.

I’ve written about my college drop off a hundred times. It was horrible. My uncle and cousin were kind enough to accompany my mom and brother to Chicago. We got my stuff moved in. And the first night, they were still in the city. Over breakfast before they left – at a place that did not have sides of fruit available for purchase – I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

I’ll repeat, just for emphasis, it was horrible. I’m not even embarrassed. My uncle does a really funny impression of me begging, “I’ll go to DU, I swear! Take me with you!” (Funny now, not so funny then.) And then I cried for the next three days. The first night, my roommate came back into our room and declared – oddly gleefully – that there was a bulimic on our floor because she’d heard some girl throwing up. (That girl was me. Not a bulimic. It was tear-induced vomiting.) After those first few days, I was more or less fine and proceeded to fall in love with Chicago. But watching the tv parents drive away in their van, and the girl alone in her room brought it all back, just for a minute. That’s how you make good television.

I also laughed out loud at the gay/lesbian Venn diagrams they made with their arms. I laughed hard enough to annoy the cat, who apparently doesn’t find gay/lesbian human Venn diagrams amusing at all.

Last night, I fell asleep while watching Breaking Bad. Then the boy/man/romantic interest – ugh, we’ll just call him by his actual name because I am sick of writing “he” – Then Matt called, and my sleeping self told him that it was very windy and then went back to sleep. (Sleep Katie is very productive – she answers the phone, she responds to emails and texts, and she talks. Last week it was about towels and cat food – obviously very pertinent and totally normal things.)

***

The debate last night. I don’t care what side you support, or who you think won, but I’ve been very much enjoying all of the internet uproar about the whole thing.

Like this, which made me laugh out loud:

Binders full of women My roommate got pregnant our freshman year of college, and now has an adorable five-year old daughter. She’s single, a teacher, a mother, and a beautiful human being. She was indignant about Romney’s answer to the AK-47 question (as was I), and rightly so. It reminded me of my junior year of high school when our Morality teacher told us that single parent households were against God’s plan…I told him that I was being raised in a single parent household (at that point, I was living with just my mom, and it was by choice). His response? “Would you want your kids raised that way?” Personally, I think I turned out just fine. And I don’t own any weapons, assault or otherwise.

Also, the best facebook status of the night, posted by one of my brother’s friends: “Apparently, guns don’t kill people, single parents do.”

On the Weekend

Don’t ask. We didn’t take any good pictures that night. I tried. But know that these two people are the two most beautiful people I know.  

apparently, I’m too pale for cameras. 

All ages shows make me feel old. 
Friday. Really fun night. The owner of the PS Lounge remembered me and K from last week and bought us drinks while Em and J ate at the Thai place, so that was nice. Then the concert happened. Em and J danced, K and I danced. I was blissfully happy. I love my friends. I love my life.  
Saturday. We ran errands – made a Costco run, ate burritos, washed the car (not mine, of course). I babysat. The little girls are always such a delight. 
Today. Woke up at 5. Made some muffins. Snowboarding with K, K, and E, Friends-giving in the evening. Cranberries turned out alright! 
Can you tell I’m too tired to actually type words? Going to bed early. Going to be a productive human being tomorrow. (maybe)
Day three. We’re going to get this by the end of the season, I promise. 
I guess I enjoy standing in front of people and blocking them in pictures. 
Em, K, me, K, day 3, Breckenridge

On the lost wallet…again

E and I are on the chairlift headed up to our new favorite run when I see the boys. They had come down our bunny hill looking for us. I yell. He turns; he’s heard his name, but there’s no way he’ll spot us. So I decide to call them.
While reaching for my phone, I accidentally pull everything out of my pocket. Everything including my wallet, which for the time being is just my cards and cash secured with a hair tie. It plummets down and lands in the snow under the chairlift. Just my luck.
We get off and ride down the hill. K, who rode up and back down in the time it took us to get down, is stopped right where I need to go under the ropes to go start the search. He is kind enough to ski over to the spot and dig around. There is a moment of hesitation where it occurs to me that it might be time to panic, but he comes up triumphant.
“You know,” he says to me, “for someone who claims to have never lost a wallet, you’re having a rough couple of weeks.”
I agree.