Friday, September 21, 2012

It's a Mental Move I Need... Not a Physical One.

My father is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. While he most definitely instilled in me a good work ethic, I’ve never really understood how he could work so hard at so many different things for so long and never complain. I’ve had well over twenty jobs in ten different industries and the reason I am a server is because it’s the job I hate the least. 

When we were born, my dad was a cook at the hospital where my mom gave birth. My dad has always had a passion for cooking and baking but to my knowledge, that was the last job he ever held in that industry. When we were younger, he worked in construction and drywall and when we were teenagers, he and my mom got a job as property managers and ended up doing that together for over fifteen years. 

Last year, Dad decided he really wanted to leave the property management line of work and get back in the kitchen. Unfortunately, he ran into complications. He didn’t have enough recent experience to get a good paying kitchen job in Las Vegas and he knew that baking bagels for eight hours a day at minimum wage was not exactly what he had in mind. However, he kept plugging along, sending out resumes and keeping his hopes up. 

Then, a few months ago, he started getting interest from an application he had filled out to be a kitchen/cook supervisor at a prison in Lovelock. His information must’ve gone in the system because then he got a call from the maximum security facility out in Ely. Then the prison in Indian Springs. He began interviewing with each of them. 

Ely is over 200 miles north of Las Vegas, not too far from Reno. It’s a very small town with all the necessary amenities: grocery store, gas station, golf course, bowling alley. And a huge prison housing over 1,000 male inmates. 

During the interview, Dad made sure they knew that while he hadn’t worked in a kitchen in over twenty years, he was quite capable of meeting the requirements of the job. Interestingly enough, they weren’t as interested in his cooking experience as they were in the fact that he was a property manager in Naked City. For those that aren’t from the area, Naked City is the neighborhood behind the Stratosphere in Las Vegas that is known for it’s high drug trafficking, prostitution and crime. Many of those people involved in these “industries” were also tenants that my dad managed. 

My dad has this really cool, natural outlook on people. He understands more than most that while the world has many bad people in it, it also has a lot of good people that do bad things. He has always been able to talk to people in a way that didn’t make them feel like pieces of shit - the way everyone else made them feel. He worked with people who struggled with rent, employed people when no one else would hire them and even in cases where he needed to evict, he did so with a professional demeanor and only as a last resort. 

Things hit a little closer to home, however, when one of his tenants was his son. He watched helplessly as my brother became wrapped up in the world of drugs and his life slowly fell apart. For a few years there, we thought we were going to lose him. When he found his way out of his mess and put a new life together, it reinforced the fact that sometimes... good people just do bad things. 

This is what the woman interviewing my dad saw. So it was no surprise that a few weeks later, they called and offered him the job. 

It’s a great offer. It’s a state job which means benefits, retirement, vacation, etc. At only 56 years old (I think??), my dad still has many good working years ahead of him. He’s also excited to get back to small town life with my mom. He still gets to build his birdcages - which is a business that grows more and more each day - and finally, he gets to be back in a kitchen. 

The interesting part of the job, of course, are those that he supervises. Besides the guards, my dad is the only one in the kitchen who isn’t an inmate. And it’s hard to have a kitchen with no knives... however, the inmates that get to work in the kitchen are considered “privileged” and get to work there because of good behavior. And like I said... there are lots of guards. 

Besides, I worried a lot more about my dad when he worked in Naked City than I do now. Dad doesn’t make people feel small or threatened. He makes them feel like people. With my dad’s countless good qualities, this is his best. 

I have decided that moving to California is not a good decision for me. Just crunching preliminary numbers, I can see that the financial requirements needed to make a move like this happen are... overwhelming to say the least. And I don’t know what to expect when I get out there... what if the restaurant I transfer to doesn’t pay what I’m used to getting? What if I can’t find a second job? I keep joking that I’d rather be broke on the beach than broke in the desert. Then I started thinking... I don’t want to be broke at all. 

Jeremy says having money is a state of mind. You either have a broke mentality or an abundant one. But even he knows that it takes hard work and daily commitments to make abundance happen. He was broke for the majority of his adult life. But he never stopped thinking that he was going to be wealthy eventually and that’s what he continued working towards. When he was finally rewarded for his mentality, it was in a huge way. 

I don’t think uprooting my whole life and moving to a state where the cost of living is so much higher than where I am now is the best move. It’s sounds sexy and romantic - beach life and all - but I think I’m getting too old to be making decisions based on sex appeal. And as far as Brendan goes, I think we both know that our “friends with benefits” relationship is our ceiling. I’ve been chasing my love story long enough to know that it’s the chase that needs to end. With the right mentality and a shift in my internal energy, perhaps both abundance and love will begin to chase me. 

I do need to make some changes, though, and that’s where my life starts to get interesting. I’m getting ready to break the lease on my apartment, fuck my credit (hence the new car I just bought - had to do it while I could), move in with my mom to help us both save money so she can get up to be with my dad as soon as possible and then, with all the hope in my heart, I will take over renting the two-bedroom house my parents currently rent here and start taking my job more serious. I think I’ll go ahead and pursue becoming a trainer and then maybe start working my way into the corporate training department and help with new restaurant openings in the future. I’d also get to start working banquets. The last time I helped with a banquet, I walked with almost $300 for the day. It’s definitely worth pursuing. 

And then, suddenly, I get a text last night from Brendan saying that he wants to move back to Las Vegas. I tell him about the two bedroom house with the yard for Lunch Box and all of a sudden, there is something to be excited about again. No relationship pursuit though, just two friends who dig each other and are ready to have a better quality of life. 

I hope I can make all this work. I hope I can start seeing things differently and improve my state of mind. I hope I can stay positive and create positive things. I hope I can appreciate the importance of patience and the rewards it can bring. 

My dad always knows things will work out. He has struggled, fought, worked his ass off and throughout it all, has stayed positive. Nothing makes me happier than to see him being rewarded now for all that he has been. 

Because it’s who we are that creates what we have. My friend at work keeps telling me, when I’m at my saddest, that I’m a good person and good things will come to me. I hope she’s right. 

Congratulations, Daddy. You remain a true inspiration and I love you very much.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Forget Honey Boo Boo... Here Come The Las Vegas Ladybugs!

THE LAS VEGAS LADYBUGS

There are a few things I’m not very good at. Planning events and raising money. This is probably why my pursuit of becoming an Event Planner didn’t go very well. 

I used to think that I couldn’t succeed at either because I was terrible at establishing and maintaining good relationships with people. While there might be a little truth to this, the very good friends I do have along with my wonderful family prove that this is not completely accurate. 

No, my problem is with my own insecurities. I’m hesitant to take other people’s time and money. I’m self conscious that they won’t want to show up to an event I planned and so, quite often, they don’t. 

I also hate asking people for money. I know I work hard for my money and am very careful about the causes in which I give that hard earned dollar to. A co-worker was collecting money for a cause that I thought was kind of silly so I didn’t give her anything. I was quickly shunned by her at work and unfriended by her on Facebook. I should probably remember that what is important to some can be bigger than it appears to others. 

Which brings me to this blog. 

My friend, Erin, asked me to be a part of her team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. I have participated in this with her before, but last time, my involvement included driving to Fashion Show Mall, parking and simply doing the walk with her. 

This time, she has set a very lofty fundraising goal of $1,500 and has asked her teammates to help her raise the money. I immediately thought to myself “Ugh, fundraising... here we go.” 

However, as I put together my fundraising page this week and finished the team logo (above), I really began to feel how much I care about this particular cause. 

I met Erin’s mother a few years ago. She had recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s and even in the short lunch we shared together, I could already see the affects that the disease started to have. When she died just a few short years later, I couldn’t help but think of my own parents and how lucky I was to still have them with me. 

Erin and her family have handled their loss so much better than I think I ever could. I think it shows just how strong they are as humans and how much they focus on the good memories and the love they shared with each other. And, as a way to honor their mother each year, they make a commitment to raise money and do the walk for Alzheimer’s. 

I am really hoping to be a strong contributor for them this year. Not just because I find the cause to be worthy and important, but because both Dan and Erin have been such great friends to me and I want to do anything I can do be there for them. 

And so, I ask humbly if my most avid readers would please take a moment to visit my fundraising page and drop me a few dollars. My own personal goal is $250. With over 100 regular readers and over 200 Facebook friends, I’m hoping that this goal is not only attainable, but easy to reach. 


Additionally, Erin has come up with a very cool raffle idea for those that donate online throughout the month of September. To read more about this, please check out her blog. 


For those of you who don’t like to put information online, or simply want to just give me cash, I’m happy to take it and make the donation in your name, still making you eligible for the raffle. 

The walk takes place on October 27th at Fashion Show Mall here in Las Vegas. With our fun logo and some cute costume ideas, the Las Vegas Ladybugs are looking to walk proudly, having met our goal and being that much closer to saving future families from having to deal with the loss of a loved one to this terrible disease. 

I ask you with my whole heart to please help us with this cause. And if I see you in person, please expect that I’ll ask again. Because for this particular event, I’m going to put the cause in front of my ego. 

And don’t worry... if you say no, you can still be my Facebook friend.


Friday, September 7, 2012

A Lot of People Name Their Kid "Hope". But No One Names Their Kid "Change".



Almost four years ago, I sat in the Suncoast bowling alley, staring up at the television screen as tears rolled down my cheeks. I was watching Barack Obama become President of the United States. 

I remember the feeling of relief. That we had accomplished something as Americans. That we had actually taken a step in the right direction for the first time in a long time. I felt proud to be a progressive American citizen. 

An equally vivid memory is of my brother scoffing at my tears. “Do you actually think it makes one bit of difference who becomes President? Do you really think it will change anything?” 

I guess that’s the moment when my “hope” and my desire for “change” began to falter. At least I got to enjoy it for about 30 seconds. 

Politics are a necessary evil in this country. I inform myself enough to know what I’m talking about and at least have a clue about what’s going on come election time. However, the media and society make it very difficult to get unbiased information. Hop on Facebook for two minutes and you’ll see what I mean. 

I used to watch the BBC to get my political information because at least it came from an outsider’s point of view. Now, I get the priority of my information from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. It’s not unbiased one bit, but it does make fun of both parties, their extremist points of view, their ridiculous behavior and, thankfully, outlines very clearly what they stand for. No, not their stance on birth control, military involvement in other countries, the economy, bail outs, gun control, etc. It’s very clear what each party stands for and what they find to be their most important messages: 

Republicans hate Democrats. 

Democrats hate Republicans. 

If you can understand the gravity and intensity of these statements, you will understand how my brother was right. Forward progress is almost impossible when the hatred for one another is so intense. 

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a Democrat. I am not a Liberal. If I was forced to identify with a party, it would be Libertarian. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative and scared to fucking death of anyone who wants to combine politics with religion and then try to run this country. 

However, the party I affiliate myself with doesn’t matter. Because come election day, I have to vote for Obama. Not because I want to or because I think he has done such a fantastic job in the last four years, but because I can’t afford to have a filthy rich Mormon who is socially disconnected and WAY too tan to be normal telling me, especially as a female, how to live my life, what kind of decisions I am allowed to make about my body and how my money needs to be spent. 


Once again, as a country, we are faced with the lesser of two evils. And Paul Ryan scares the shit out of me. 

But truthfully, I don’t want either one of them in office because what they believe is very different from what I believe. Namely when it comes to God. In my very strong opinion, God has absolutely no place in politics. Especially when we are supposed to be a country that was founded on freedoms like speech and religion. Let me get this straight... I’m allowed to believe whatever religion I want, but it better be Christianity or I’ll be an outcast to my leaders? Okay... 

A lot of my fellow Libertarians are also Atheists. And don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with those who choose a god to follow and have faith in. Whatever floats your boat (after all, I actually BELIEVE in the constitution). But when it comes to making decisions about the country and our overall welfare as a nation, you have to pocket that shit, look at the facts and make decisions based on numbers and statistics. At least, that’s what I believe. 

That’s why I can’t get behind most Republicans. 

I don’t hate Ron Paul and if I had to see a Republican in office, it would definitely be him over Mitt Romney. But I still can’t fully support him as a leader because of his religious views and opinion on abortion. I’d take him... but I wouldn’t be thrilled. 

Libertarians are making progress. But come on... everyone knows we are still a very long way from having more than two parties to choose from. And if I actually vote for Gary Johnson, all I’m doing is taking one vote away from the Democrats and, like I said, Paul Ryan gives me nightmares. It’s gotta be those eyes... 


I’m not the smartest person in the country when it comes to politics. However, I think I very much represent a vast number of voters when it comes to how much I stay involved, how much of my life revolves around the politics and how often I keep up with the issues. 

I have a life to lead. Like those Fidelity commercials say - I’m worried about my own economy. And as long as there isn’t someone like Sarah Palin calling the shots, most Americans in my position can find their way through the political mud and at least keep our heads above water until the next major change in leadership. I have a job, my own apartment, access to health care, the right to choose whether or not I want to have a child, the freedom to believe whatever I want from a religious stand point and, let’s face it, I’m American. I’m pretty happy with my options. I take responsibility for what I have and make sure I am being the person I need to be to have it. I don’t fear that one man is going to take away these things. 

I don’t believe Barack Obama is creating a Socialist society and no amount of blasting from Republicans will make me feel any different. And if he is in office for the next four years, I’ll be fine with that. I’ll be annoyed and frustrated if Mitt Romney somehow wins the election, but honestly? I’m okay with that too. It’s like getting a 10% tip on a really big check at work. Sure it pisses me off, but if I let it consume me, I’d never find it in me to give my future tables good service. 

My brother was kind of right... it doesn’t make a huge difference who gets elected. Both Democrats and Republicans are talking heads. Representatives of the 1%. Until we find a way to introduce other ideas and opinions and take them seriously, forward progress will always be difficult. 

I anticipate some interesting comments and of course, I always welcome feedback. I don’t think I ever claim to be “right” about anything, but I do celebrate the fact that I’m allowed to believe and say whatever I want. So I guess until someone comes along and tells me I can no longer write in this blog and that I need to get my ass to church, I don’t really care who gets elected. 

In the meantime, I’ll keep pretending Gary Johnson has a chance.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Can't Peyton Manning Be My Shrink?

I scrolled down the list of names on the Aetna website. I thought to myself, how exactly does one choose a psychiatrist over the Internet? 

It has crossed my mind before that it might be in my best interest to find a professional to talk to. It’s also advice that has been given to me by others, both solicited and unsolicited. I’m not really opposed to seeing a therapist. I mean, the group experiential training I went through a few years ago was remarkably helpful, at first. The sharing, the unbiased responses, the feeling of freeing the mind... I became addicted to that. And then of course, it got a little muddy and then began to fade away. Now all these years later, while I definitely feel like I am more responsible and aware than ever before, I’m still angry, lonely and frustrated more often than I’d like to be. 

Hence that last blog. Which, as you probably imagine, didn’t go over well with my mother. She became the latest person to recommend speaking to someone. Sometimes, I think that unless I commit to lifetime therapy, though, seeing a head doctor would just be another type of band aid for my pain. I just feel like, eventually, I’ll come right back to this feeling. But when your mom tells you to talk to someone, it feels a little more like maybe you should. 

I found a name on the website that I could pronounce. I also chose a female. I don’t know why, I’ve always been more comfortable talking to men. Maybe that’s why I thought it would be better. I wrote the name and address on a napkin and put it on my To Do list. 

It’s really not something I want to do. So I haven’t done it yet. 

But something kind of cool happened since then. I took a few days off of work. As a distraction (and because my bills won’t quit showing up), I have been working a lot. It keeps my mind off of things. California, Brendan, pre-season football... If I’m not careful, I can over think myself into a frenzy about any number of things. So, I’ve been trying to make work fill my time. 

I forgot how important it is to take a couple days off. 

I had lunch with my friend, Rudy. It’s difficult to define our relationship. We went out a few times before my recent trip to California. When I came back, I wasn’t sure how to proceed because of my mixed emotions with Brendan. Turns out I didn’t really have to try and define anything with Rudy. We enjoy each other’s time and positive energy. It’s not one bit more complicated than that. 

He told me something I had not really considered but actually makes really good sense. He said that the darkness and sadness that I let consume me at times is almost like my own, personal comforter. It’s a place I can escape to quickly, live in comfortably for long periods of time and where I can completely protect myself from the outside world. The depression itself is my escape. 

However, unlike a clinical definition of “depression”, I go here as a source of comfort. It’s not my disease. When I feel better, I come back out. He didn’t say this to me... it’s what I immediately saw happening in my mind when he presented his feedback. 

He said something else that doesn’t seem profound because I’ve heard it so many times before... he told me that I’m not broken and that nothing’s wrong with me. I remember believing this so strongly after that group therapy but eventually, I allowed that darkness to come back in and make me think differently. I felt broken. It’s not that I didn’t know how to choose happiness, I didn’t want to. It’s just easier to stay in the dark. 

But, it’s lonely in the dark. 

I don’t think I could ever be serious about suicide. But I know a lot of people are and I’m certainly not making any kind of joke out of it. I just really understand how it’s easier to stay in the dark. It is comforting and for me, familiar. 

I hate the advice that I need to expect less out of myself and others and then I won’t get disappointed so often. I hate it not because I disagree, but because I don’t know how to alter my mind to expect less out of myself and the world. I really wish I embodied this trait. I think it would eliminate so much of the anger and sadness. 

I do think that I worry way too much about what people think of me. I might find more pleasure in life if I didn’t worry so much about my image and just did what I felt was right. Maybe that’s why I feel like my gut has been wrong. Because it’s not my gut I’ve been listening to, it’s everyone else’s. 

I hate to think I’m that impressionable, but I don’t like to disappoint others. This kind of dishonesty with myself has gotten me into trouble before. I see a lot of similar patterns to what I’m experiencing now. 

I’m getting a variety of responses to my California move. Some think it’s a great idea while others think I’m running away. Rudy thinks it might be a way for me to go back to that familiar darkness I choose to wear as a cloak so frequently. He says, “by all means, try something new. But don’t go back to where things weren’t good.”

I see it differently. I see it as returning to a place where I was no good... and then being good instead. It’s hard to explain... even for me. 

If nothing else, it gives me something to look forward to. And at a time where I don’t feel like I’m working for anything in particular, it’s nice to have a light like that. Well, that and football. Like my dad said, “How are you going to off yourself when it’s Peyton Manning’s first season with the Broncos?” 

He makes a really good point. 

I’m not sure if I’ll go through with the shrink thing. But it is an option if I continue to choose not to be grateful for who I am, what I have and what I’m doing. I started this blog as a way to spew my thoughts, but unfortunately, I can’t be 100% candid and honest on here either. Too many soft hearts out there... including mine. 

One day at a time. Another not so profound statement that I should probably embrace. I’m better than how I’ve been. I like who I am and I like the chances I take. Sadness is my escape from being daring and living big. And for me, big doesn’t have to mean rich, famous and powerful. Big means doing what makes ME happy and fulfilled instead of wasting time doing what I think people want me to be doing. 

Because people love me for me. I’m not sure I always fully accept that. I always think I need to be more. 

I don’t know the answers, I just know I have to keep on, keeping on. 

After all, it’s Peyton Manning, for Christ's sake.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yes, I'm Drunk... But I've Been A LOT Drunker (more drunk, I get it) Than I Am Now. Many Times, In Fact..

On nights like tonight, I’m actually regretting that I hate guns and pills. I never learned how to tie a noose. Besides, that’s an exceptionally morbid way to commit suicide. 

Oh my god? Is she actually talking about suicide? Or in your mind, did you ACTUALLY say, OMG. 

Yeah, you are the reason. 

Okay, you are only a small part of the reason. At this exact moment, good music and my parents are the only opposing reason that I’m sitting here writing in a stupid blog rather than finding some less morbid way to off myself. 

I’ve been what most doctors would call depressed for the majority of my adult life. It’s probably in my best interest to be on whatever anti-depressant is paying the most these days to their distributors. Anything to shut off the only voice inside my head that never makes any sense. The one I listen to, then condemn, then ignore, then listen to again. And behold!! Always wrong. 

A "Facebook" friend (I specify “Facebook” because there is a difference) once told me to listen to my gut because the gut is never wrong. 

Well, let me tell you - the gut is always wrong. Always. 

I’ve never felt the sharp pang of regret until tonight. I mean, real, true, “I could’ve changed the future for myself and so many others if only I would’ve chosen differently” kind of regret. 

I should’ve married my high school sweetheart. He was handsome, intelligent, from a wealthy family and loved me more than anyone ever has since. The fact that I thought I could do better makes me sick every day when I look in the mirror, see my face that grows old, my hair that shines with the beginning streaks of gray and my body that I have to fight constantly to keep “desirable” by society’s standards. I had everything at sixteen years old that I’ve been chasing ever since then. 

I think I’ve done this amazing job putting my family back together. I think that I’ve made a difference. So self-absorbed, I am. If I was really that important, my brother wouldn’t still find me insignificant and the efforts I make with my entire family wouldn’t seem superficial. I still feel like an outsider... because that’s what I am. 

What does it matter if I stay in Las Vegas or move to Long Beach? Do I want to be invisible in the desert or by the ocean? At least the ocean has a better view. But really, am I really so stupid that I think some guy who is kind of into me will make all the difference? 

I could be with the one that loved me more than anything. Maybe then, I would’ve stayed in Washington. My parents would’ve stayed there instead of moving to Las Vegas. My brother wouldn’t have followed them to Sin City. We could’ve avoided a life of drugs and separation. We could’ve been small town and normal. I might have even chosen a Christian, Republican lifestyle and hate the world so much less than I do now. 

So, what is it that I have to look forward to... a decent work station at a new restaurant? An apartment that will cost me more than I make? A man that thinks maybe he could be into me (be still, my heart)? 

And Family Fit Club... it’s harsh to use “joke” as a way to describe it. I’m very serious about this... but into its second season, I’m already not getting the results from others I want. I was really hoping that it would encourage my friends and family to change their lifestyle - to choose a life of health and well being instead of overeating and laziness. Instead, I’ve created a monster that indulges for a few days and then starves to “make weight”. I never intended to run a wrestling camp. A healthy diet and exercise. It’s the only answer. But no... Burger King for two days and then no eating for two more to avoid having to pay any money - that’s what I’ve created. Not exactly what I had in mind. 

It’s hard being an Atheist. It’s hard believing that there is no God waiting to congratulate you on all of your good intentions, whether they worked out for you or not. But it’s even harder believing in the fairy tale that if I’m a good girl, I’ll get a seat in Heaven. 

There is no Heaven. There is no right answer and, unfortunately for me and this stupid blog, there is no prince waiting for me. If there was, I chose my ego over him a long time ago. And it seems like I’ve been paying for it ever since. 

Maybe I’m supposed to be an example. Like all those who went before me that were sad and lonely but managed to create at least one beautiful thing before they went. Maybe somebody, one day, will appreciate me as someone they avoided becoming. Thank goodness for Tina - she showed me all the ways NOT to be so I can have happiness. 

I should’ve married my high school sweetheart, had kids, owned guns and voted Republican. At the very least, I should never, ever have quit smoking pot. 

Now here I am, pretending I’m okay with my life... pretending like I actually have things working in my favor, imagining some guy out there actually wants to be with me, thinking my brother and I have a good relationship... 

Silly rabbit... 

At least there is the music. And it is good... the music, that is.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pelicans Are Cooler Anyway...

I’ve been a bit of a lingering bitch about my whole birthday thing. Since then, I’ve been asked out to several events hosted by friends that I invited to my celebration and they either didn’t respond or they said they would show up and didn’t. Therefore, I haven’t been going to their gatherings. 

I claim to be responsible, not mature. 

However, a few nights ago, I decided to get over myself and meet up with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in a year for some karaoke. I hadn’t been out in a while anyway and I’m a sucker for some cheap drinks and bad singing. 

I walked in and was happy to see familiar faces. I hugged everyone hello and picked up the karaoke book to start thumbing through the songs. I hadn’t been there for ten minutes when one of my friends (who reads all of my blogs), said that while reading my last post, he saw that I was planning a move. He said he immediately began to scroll through the blog until he found what he was looking for: YEP! It’s over a guy! 

I politely stayed as long as possible until the desire to punch him in the nose became too overwhelming.  

It wasn’t just him. Another one of my friends mocked my ways of being “open” and “vulnerable” as if it’s some ridiculous movement that will soon be replaced by the latest behavioral trend. He might as well have actually used air quotes. 

This is why I hate this blog. Like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s become repetitive. A houndstooth pattern. Kinda cool, but no real progression. 

The problem is, I’ve become very addicted to the blog. It’s the only kind of writing I do and it feels very therapeutic. It’s the best way I’ve found to release energy. And it used to feel important. Now, it feels like a joke. Everyone just waiting to laugh at my next fuck up. 

I’m moving to California next year. That part is certain. What will happen when I get out there is not. I’m okay with this. I’d be lying if I said hoping for a love story doesn’t factor into the move. But at the same time, I’m not chasing it down. A lot can happen between now and April, but whether I move in with Brendan as friends or as a romantic couple or even if I end up getting a place on my own... the fact of the matter is that something moved me when I was sitting on the beach. Something that was separate than my longing desire to find my partner. I simply felt pulled to return. So, return I shall. 

It bothered me, though, this comment about “of course it’s over a guy”. Initially, I was like “fuck off, I’m the most independent person I know and I make decisions for me”. This thought then progressed into “fuck off, I have a dream and I’m not afraid to chase it, even if it doesn’t work”. 

Because as I was told recently, having an entire list of names in the Failed Relationships column of my life doesn’t matter as long as one name makes it into the Successful Relationships column. And because of this, I keep trying and I keep taking chances. 

However, I am certainly becoming a little disillusioned when it comes to sharing. The last thing I ever wanted to create with this blog was a room full of eye rolls. I wanted to be relatable to others, not someone’s comic relief. Sitting there with my “friends” at karaoke, I felt more disconnected than ever. 

Which is why I’m more certain than ever that a change is necessary. I’m impatient and wish I could make that change now, but ten months to really get my mind wrapped around this new chapter is probably pretty healthy. Besides, there are still a few conversations to be had with “the guy” anyway... and I’ll need the full ten months to be with my family as much as possible. I’ve grown quite used to seeing my beautiful niece and nephew each week. 

Something else I’m looking forward to is an excuse to quit this blog. By the time I move, I’ll have had it for almost three years. There are a lot of great entries that I can apply to the book I want to write, but it’s also an incredible distraction for me. I’ve been using it as an excuse to not do anything further with my writing. Now that I actually have a story floating around in my head, I want to focus all of my attention on that instead of this. Not to mention the fact that “Sin City Seagull” won’t apply anymore. 

Whitney asked me if I was going to start another blog after I concluded this one. No... because it wouldn’t be any different - just a new title. The only thing that would make it different is if I finally found a relationship I could live with for the rest of my life. And who wants to hear about happy shit? Not the majority of my readers, I’m pretty sure. 

It’s easy to be bitter at the moment. I’m frustrated, antsy, confused, conflicted, repressed and broke. What a disgusting combination. 

But, every once in a while, a text message will come through that will break up the clouds. I’ll get a good workout in and feel confident. I’ll have a great night at work. I’ll have lunch with a wonderful friend. And I have the Fit Club, which keeps me positive, outward focused and motivated. 

Hopefully, this will be enough to keep me sane for the next ten months. Because next time, I might actually punch a bitch.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friends and Family Fit Club - Season Two Guidelines

I started a Facebook page for the Friends and Family Fit Club I created. For easy access, I am using my blog to outline the rules/guidelines created for the game. Please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsAndFamilyFitClub to "like" and become part of the movement! 

Friends and Family Fit Club - Season Two 















Members: 
Jon Verde Sr (GREEN) 
Susan Verde (TURQUOISE) 
Jon Verde Jr (YELLOW) 
Tina Verde (PURPLE) 
Erin Verde (PINK) 
Kyle Grover (ORANGE) 
Lisa Grover (CRIMSON) 
Lori Leonard (BROWN) 

First Meeting/Weigh In: Saturday, July 7th, 2012 at 9:00am 

At this first meeting, we will take our before photos as well as set our weight goals. The idea is to be aggressive, but also realistic. It’s not a race to get as skinny as possible - it is about training your body to take off the weight in a way that is safe, healthy and long lasting. 

We meet every Saturday at 9:00am. If you are unable to make the meeting, you must arrange to call in your weight between Friday at 9:00am and Saturday at 5:00pm. Please try and limit any missed meetings to prior engagements, out of town limitations or anything else that can’t be avoided. What makes FFC a success is the support and accountability you get from your team members at the weekly weigh-in. This is not just a commitment to your team members, it’s a commitment to your health! 

For out-of-towners: You will need to purchase a scale that you will use every Saturday to report your weight. For consistency purposes, you will need a scale that weighs in .2 increments. (i.e. 140.2, 140.4, 140.6, etc.) 

Picture Days 

Picture Day is the first Saturday of every month. Try to wear the same clothing so results can be seen more clearly. Ideally, try to wear the same clothing every Saturday anyway so that your weight can be the most accurate. If you are participating from outside Vegas, it will be your responsibility to take and email your photo to Jon Verde Sr no later than 5:00pm on Picture Day. 

The Wheel of Challenges 

Part of living a healthy life is making positive changes in many different aspects of it. This is why the weekly challenges are so important. The weekly challenge schedule will be as follows: 

Week One: Exercise Challenge 

The wheel will have a variety of exercise challenges that each team member will have submitted before July 7th. Some examples would be: 8 hours of exercise each week, 10 miles of running or walking, working out with a partner at least three times that week, etc. It is very important that an exercise log is kept during this week to be shared with the team members the following Saturday for accountability. Much of this is based on the honor system since we will all be working out on our own time. As you can imagine, lying to yourself and others will be directly reflected when you step on that scale! 

Week Two: Group Activity / Personal Achievement 

Two things happen during week two... 

First, come to the meeting with an idea of something you want to get accomplished during that week. Ideally, this is something that you’ve been putting off or a goal that you would like to achieve. Some ideas would be: household chores you’ve been procrastinating on (carpet cleaning, painting a bedroom, refinishing a piece of furniture), something you want to accomplish for work or your career (saving a certain amount of money, finishing a major project, making a positive change in your job), a special goal that would make you feel good to complete (volunteering at a local charity, learning a new song on the guitar, taking a class) or even something more personal (writing a letter to a family member, having a father/daughter day, going to lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while). 

The idea is that whatever you choose should be a challenge to you. Expect a discussion if your team members don’t think you are pushing yourself enough. Remember, we are there to support each other AND hold each other accountable! Ideally, you would want to set at least two goals for yourself during this week and accomplishing them would mean getting out of your comfort zone. Be prepared to discuss your achievements the following Saturday and have pictures of a completed project if applicable. 

You cannot choose the same personal achievement twice in one season. 

Secondly, the wheel is spun and will land on a color. If your color is chosen, you are responsible for setting up the group activity for the month. You have until the following Saturday to research things to do and set a date for when the activity is going to take place. You must coordinate with all other team members and have everything arranged. Then, you have one full month to carry out the special group event. 

If you are out of town, you still participate! Obviously, we can’t get together physically, but whatever you plan with your own friends and family must be on the same day and be the same general activity for everyone else. For example, if your name gets drawn and you want to plan a day at the museum, anyone who is out of town must also visit a museum that day. If you plan a barbecue one afternoon, the other team members must have a barbecue as well. If you plan a hike, everyone hikes. Obviously, this is why it is important to spend the week getting everyone on board with your idea. Once you have everyone’s commitment, anyone who does not complete the challenge will be responsible financially. This is an exercise in compromise, communication and, ultimately, creating time for everyone to spend with their friends and family. 

Week Three: Sacrifice 

Can you give up something for one week? This is what Sacrifice Week is all about. We will spin the wheel to find out what we are being asked to give up for seven days. The choices on there will be what the team members have submitted as some of their hardest things to give up but have an affect on their diet and/or overall health. Some examples would be alcohol, caffeine, fast food, red meat, etc. Keep in mind that some of these are not necessarily sacrifices to you. But... your week will come! This is the time to really be supportive of those who are struggling and to do what you can to help them through a week that could be very difficult for them. 

Can’t make it a whole week? No need to be hard on yourself. Just be ready to pay up! Once a sacrifice is chosen, it will not be able to get chosen again. 

Week Four: Date Night 

Everyone has that special someone in their life. If you are single, that special someone is yourself! Date Night week is the time when you must plan something different and special with the person that means the most to you. It needs to be something that you haven’t done before or a new twist on something you’ve been doing for years. Whatever you decide on, it should be a new experience one way or another. The date must be planned and executed in one week and shared with all other team members at the following weigh in. 

Once again, if your other team members don’t think what you did was unique or different enough, be prepared to discuss. To avoid having to pay, get creative! Life is full of fun activities to do for yourself or the one you love. It’s up to you to make it happen! 

Financial Accountability 

We all work very hard for our money and it’s not always easy to come by. That is why the financial aspect of FFC is so important. You should want to accomplish your goals before wanting to hand over your money! 

With more members this time around, the goal is not to break anyone’s bank. Therefore, we will utilize the wheel for financial accountability. The wheel will have the numbers one through five to spin through. If you are responsible for paying due to gaining weight or not meeting a weekly challenge, you will spin the wheel to see what you owe each person. You will have until Sunday at 5:00pm to pay your dollar amount in each box. The minimum amount will be $1.00 per person, the maximum will be $5.00 per person. 

Remember, however, that if you gain weight AND don’t complete your challenge, you will spin the wheel for financial accountability twice! 

Fine Print 

If you weigh the same exact weight two weeks in a row, you do not pay. However, by the third week, if you still haven’t lost anything, you must spin the wheel to pay. This doesn’t apply if you are in the maintenance stage. 

FFC is treated as a democracy. Therefore, we vote when something is in question. If you feel that someone else’s challenge hasn’t been met, you can call for a majority vote. Whatever majority says, goes. You may challenge and make an argument, but in the end, majority vote rules. If you still refuse to pay after majority votes, you can no longer participate in FFC. 

If you do not meet your goal weight by the end of Season Two or if you quit FFC before the end of Season Two, you will forfeit all money in your box and it will be divided evenly between those who have met their goal weights and participated in FFC until the end. 

Current proposed end date: Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Final weigh in, pictures and Season Two celebratory party to take place on this day. 

All rules above are to be shared and agreed upon before FFC starts on July 7th, 2012. 

Have fun and start losing!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Change is the Only Constant. Hanging On is the Only Sin." - Denise McCluggage

So, I’m moving to back Long Beach and writing a book. 

That sounds nice and romantic, doesn’t it? It sounds like I’ve made a decision, finally, to do something. To make forward progress in some aspect of my life. 

Forward progress... this is what I feel I’ve not been doing lately. And by lately, I mean in the last year or so. And in the last year or so, I mean I can’t remember the last time I felt I was doing something that would bring me to a different level emotionally. 

Okay, that’s not entirely true. When I started writing this blog two years ago, I did feel as if I had finally done something important. I had made significant changes in my life and who I wanted to be and it felt good to be doing something different. 

But my life has gotten a little stagnant. So has this blog, for that matter. I feel like Stephen King, recycling the same stories over and over but giving them different names. Cory, Jeremy, Steven, Tim, Rob... etc. Girl meets boy, girl thinks boy is The One. Girl is disappointed to find out she’s wrong. Girl writes about it. Rinse and repeat. 

It’s not just about my many failed relationships in this city. Well, to some degree it is. I am starting to think that the person I’m trying so hard to be is not the person I truly am. Therefore, I am attracting relationships (both romantic and platonic) that are good, but not as authentic as I am desiring. 

I’m a good person... and that should be enough. But ever since I came out of that leadership program, I’ve been trying to be a perfect person. I’ve been trying to be outward, giving, caring, dedicated, expressive and responsible. I’m trying to keep it together so much when all I really want to do is scream my frustrations to the world. 

I guess, in a sense, that is what this blog is for. 

I was hanging out with Whitney a while back and we got on the subject of whether or not I was still interested in writing a book. The answer is yes, but the book I want to write is a fiction story loosely (or not so loosely) based on my life experiences, particularly in the dating world. 

“The problem,” I told her, “is that I don’t have an end to the book. I’m still ‘in it’ and it doesn’t make sense to start to write something where I have no idea how I’m going to finish it up. Some writers can do that. I am not one of those writers. I could make up an ending, but it would be incredibly inauthentic.” 

***

My friend, Dan, was kind enough to take my cat, Bailey. I drove her out to California on Tuesday morning. So far, it’s been a bit of a rough welcoming between Bailey and Tuxedo, Dan’s other cat. However, I’m confident that with a little time, they will realize they have a lot in common and things will work out swimmingly. 

Just to make sure it wasn’t a total disaster, I decided to stay a few days in California while the two of them adjusted to one another. So, I shot down to Long Beach to crash for a few nights with my friend, Brendan. Brendan and I have known each other for almost five years. I met him here in Las Vegas just a month or so before he moved to California. We’ve always stayed in touch, have a handful of mutual friends and when we are both single, manage to have some excellent, emotionally unattached sex. It’s never really a bad thing to have a friend like that. 

Brendan is one of those guys that is always in a positive mood, regardless of the circumstances. He’s all about the good time, is intelligent and free spirited. All three of these are favorite qualities of mine. It’s no surprise we’ve been able to be friends for so long without any kind of drama. Although never properly “dating” has probably been good for us as well. 

Something was different this time, however. In many different aspects. 

No sense in finding nice words for it... I fucked shit up in Long Beach when I lived there. I didn’t just leave eight years ago, I ran as fast as I could away from the many fires I created. I’ve been back to visit a handful of times since I moved to Vegas and each one had it’s own feelings of icky and uncomfortable. I feared running into people I used to know. Certain locations around the city reminded me of bad things and bad times. Most of the time, being in that city just made me feel heavy. 

It wasn’t like that this time. This time, I felt like I was... home. The smells, the sounds, the beach... I thought about my perfect little apartment back in Las Vegas and realized that I would give all of it up to come back here, right now. In fact, the idea of getting back in my car to drive to Vegas made me choked up and uneasy. 

Something was different with Brendan too. I’m still trying to sort through the emotions surrounding our time together as “talking about our feelings” is not the kind of relationship the two of us have. It wasn’t just about sex this time. It was like... we missed each other. There was something invading the space between us and while we didn’t seem to want to address it completely, I don’t think either one of us really wanted to ignore it either. 

We walked to the beach at dusk the first night I was there. For a Tuesday night, the beach was packed. Runners, bike riders, beach bums, all out enjoying an unusually humid summer night. Against the rules, we had taken Brendan’s new puppy, Lunch Box, onto the beach. Although she is the kind of cute that no one would dare turn into the authorities. 


We found a lifeguard tower, let Lunch Box go to town digging in the sand and sat down to watch the day come to an end. Suddenly, I realized something. 

I had an end to my book. 

It hit me all at once. I decided, in that moment, that I was going to move back. I still have ten months on my lease but it’s going to take me that long to save up the money for the move anyway. (My five dollar a day birthday box has now turned into a ten dollar a day moving fund) 

My Piggy Bank
I talked to my boss at work about a transfer to the Huntington Beach Cheesecake Factory and he seemed to think that would be just fine. I may take on a second serving or bartending job when I get out there, depending on how things work out with Cheesecake, but at least I’ll have a job to start. I still have a few contacts in Long Beach that don’t think I’m a total waste of time so getting work should be easier than usual if necessary. 

As far as living goes in California, two is always better than one. So Brendan and I are going to get a two bedroom together somewhere near the water. It’s impossible to predict right now what our story could be... but the one constant we’ve always had is that we respect each other as friends and if there is nothing else there, we would probably still make pretty good roommates. It’s kind of funny... we both know each other’s track record when it comes to relationships so we say to each other how unlikely it is that we would ever work out as a couple. I don’t think I’ve ever started a relationship thinking “there’s no way this is going to work”. Not ideal for the romantic inside me, but certainly interesting for the intellectual side. 

Ten months. It sounds like a long time, but I know it’s going to go very quickly. And I’m definitely going to miss this city. But I’ve gone through a lot of self discovery and while I am nervous about going back to a place where I exhibited the worst behavior of my life, I feel like I’m being given a second chance there. I had a beautiful apartment on the beach, a loving and caring boyfriend, a secure and promising job/career with Hyatt and I messed it all up with my selfish ways. The one thing I know for sure this time is that I will not take what I have for granted. I will love more than I have ever loved, give back as much as I can and appreciate every drive up the coast, every step on the sand and every night spent on a lifeguard tower. 

And I will write that book. Because I’ve found that while my story is here in Las Vegas, my life is waiting for me in Long Beach. 


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Aurora: My Thoughts


My brother and I were both born in Aurora, Colorado. At the time of our births, my dad was working as a cook at Aurora General Hospital, where some of the victims of this recent shooting spree were taken. My cousin currently works at the movie theatre where the shooting took place. He was unharmed. 

More so than other shootings, this one has hit me a little closer to home. 

I haven’t said much on the subject. In fact, I haven’t said anything at all. It certainly makes it exceptionally unnerving to be so familiar with the location where this kind of tragedy took place, but anytime something like this happens, it always causes some internal stress and pain. 

My knee jerk response is to tell people, “See? Now can you understand why I don’t want kids?” But deep down, that’s not how I really feel. 

I don’t usually write about things like this, but all week I’ve been hearing about what we need to do as a country to prevent something like this from happening again. It seems like the two most popular ideas are gun control and more police presence. 

Cops? At the movie theatre? Please... 

The gun control “solution” is what has inspired me to write this. This is, and will continue to be, an ongoing issue in our country. Those who love their guns will never give them up and those who hate guns will never stop fighting to take them. For what it’s worth, I am throwing in my two cents as someone who actually straddles this line. 

I hate guns. They make me uncomfortable. I don’t like being in a house where I know guns are present. I don’t like the idea of going to the shooting range. Just seeing a gun in person makes my palms sweat and my heart race. No, I am not a fan. 

So, one would logically think that I believe gun control laws should be enforced, right? We should not allow civilians to have guns in their home, right? We should make it impossible for John Smith to purchase a gun and/or ammo at his local gun store, right? 

Wrong. 

If there was one thing that will stick with me in the time I spent with Rob, it is being reminded of the respect I have, as an American, for my constitutional rights. Whether I “like” it or not, whether I’m “comfortable” with it or not, we determined, while building this country, that we would allow our citizens the right to bear arms. Our country was founded on these kind of freedoms. I get pissed off when people tell me I’m not allowed to say something because my constitutional right says I can. I become livid when Christianity is forced down my throat because it is my constitutional right to believe whatever I want. 


It’s not any different with guns. Just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean I think they should be taken away from those who want them for security reasons, as a hobby or just because they think guns are cool. Disagreeing with how they feel is also my right. But that doesn’t mean we should take them away. 

Why do you think Prohibition was such a fucking disaster. It’s like buying a child a toy, letting them play with it for an hour and then taking it away, saying they are never allowed to play with it again. 

Which segues perfectly into my point of this blog. 

Gun control is not the answer to what James Holmes did in Aurora. More police presence is not the answer. Holmes, McVeigh, Columbine, on and on... in my opinion there is one simple solution that no one wants to look at. 

Parenting. 

I don’t believe that people are born evil. I don’t believe people are born good. I believe that people are born blank. I believe that it is our primary influences between the ages of two and six that really shape who we are going to be as humans. Most of the time, these influences are our parents. It is their responsibility to take raising us as the most serious job on earth. Children cannot be an afterthought. They cannot be raised by television, video games or Twilight novels. They must be actively engaged with what is good and bad, right and wrong, true and false one hundred percent of the time. What we are teaching our children will be directly reflected in their actions during times of sadness, depression and anger. 

Take me for example. I’m not a happy person. I’m just not. I have too many frustrations with the world, how people treat each other, how our government operates, the liars, the con-artists, the rapists, the pedophiles, the drowners of kittens. I hate that the world is built off of power and greed instead of honesty and love. I hate that people pop out kids so they can collect more money from the government or because they want a doll to play with. 


Even with all the beauty in the world and all the good that is out there, it doesn’t satisfy me enough, knowing that someone is beating their son right now and some other child is starving because their mom decided to spend her government money on Meth. I even hate myself that I am giving away my cat because I don’t have the patience to deal with her needs. People don’t think before they act and the generations that follow not only learn that same behavior, they have to deal with the mess we left too. 

Do you honestly believe things will get better before they get worse? If so, take a good look around you. 

I’m off point... what I’m trying to say is that I’m not always happy. In fact, I go through periods where I’m sure ten out of ten doctors would put me on an antidepressant. As a teenager, I felt angst. I was made fun of at school. I felt awkward and strange and alone. I didn’t feel close to my family, my brother was a bit of a bully and my best friend slept with my boyfriend. I was a pissed off little girl as well. 

The difference? I didn’t walk into a theatre dressed as a madman and shoot a bunch of innocent people.  

It would be impossible to convince me that James Holmes grew up in a loving, caring, open and honest home. It would be hard for me to believe that his parents kept him engaged in sports, activities and social events that taught him compassion and love for others. You can’t make me think that he walked down the street as a little boy and hugged a fire hydrant because his sweet nature that was being instilled by his parents told him it was the right thing to do. 


My parents did nothing but love and support me. Always. Even when I was being the shittiest of a little shit and bending over backwards to piss them off. They never turned their back on me, they never put me down, they never let me truly believe I was the piece of crap that I wanted to think I was. They were home all the time, they kept both of us active in social activities and supported us in school. 

Does that make us perfect people? Of course not. Even with our primary influences being impeccable in their moral teachings, we have the rest of the world to deal with. And these days, it’s more difficult than ever to be bigger than the media. To be bigger than our sports heroes that fall from grace. To be bigger than violent video games. To be bigger than evil, lying politicians. 

But we have to be. If we choose to be parents, this is something that can absolutely NOT be compromised. 

I hate guns because they remind me of my own mortality. I don’t like being faced with the things I haven’t completed in life yet. It’s uncomfortable to think of how quickly things can change and how short life is. When I look at a gun, these are the thoughts that go through my mind. But don’t you dare take away this constitutional right that so many people take comfort in. If you don’t like guns, do what I should do and educate yourself. Educate your children. Take them shooting one time so they don’t have to wonder what a gun feels like in their hands. 

Because I absolutely promise you, it’s not access to guns that make people want to kill other people. It’s the poor job you did as a parent to convince them that life is worth it. 

Disagree? Don’t get mad. Go play with your kids.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Analogies, it is True, Decide Nothing, But They Can Make One Feel More at Home." - Sigmund Freud

I had a dream last night that my parents moved and, for some reason, I decided to move with them. As in, move IN with them at their new place. I had a big upstairs room with a gigantic walk in closet. I remember feeling really sad that I no longer had my little Las Vegas apartment. It was one of those dreams where, when I woke up, I was so happy it wasn’t true. 

I love my apartment. I’ve lived here since December 2009. It’s the longest I’ve stayed somewhere since I lived with Eric in our Long Beach apartment. The only thing that unnerves me about my place is that it is managed by a huge property management company so every year, they raise all the rents. Luckily, I’ve signed long leases so my increases have been very minimal. But they also increased my rent when Bailey came along and that pissed me off too. What I thought was a great deal when I first moved in now sometimes seems a little too pricey for a one-bedroom apartment, but I love it so much that I suck it up. Still cheaper than my one room closet, er... “studio” that I had in Belmont Shore for a few months before moving to Nevada. 

When I went apartment hunting back in November 2009, I was in a position where I wanted to move out of my parents’ place, but I wasn’t under any kind of major time constraint. I had also just started my management training program with Chili’s so money was stable. Therefore, I was able to be choosy with where I wanted to live. I had a few non-negotiables that determined whether or not I would even look at the apartment. For example, there had to be a washer and dryer in the unit. It had to be an upstairs unit. It had to be in the northwest part of town. It had to have good parking (not usually an issue in Las Vegas, but a leftover concern from living in Los Angeles). 

After these things, there were some preferences as well that I considered. I preferred a gated community. I preferred a fitness center and a pool. I preferred a patio and good storage space. I preferred hardwood but, again, that’s more of a leftover L.A. desire. I preferred a walk-in closet and large bathroom. 

I got really lucky finding all of these things with my apartment. Well, not the hardwood... but the linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom looks like wood so I figured that was close enough. 

Prior to moving in here, I had been bouncing around between living with my parents and living with roommates. By the time I finally had my own place, I had very little to actually put in it. The only furniture I managed to hold on to included a bed, a small dresser, a desk, an end table and a couple of bookshelves. It was a little frustrating at first because the place was so cute and I really wanted it to look nice right away. But, I had a lot of work ahead of me to get the place in shape and I knew it wouldn’t be an overnight process. 

Shortly after moving in, my friend Travis needed a place to stay for a while so my living room basically turned into a second bedroom for a few months. After he moved out, I was really anxious to get the place looking like an actual home. One of my stronger Cancerian qualities for sure. 

I added elements little by little. I had painted when I first moved in, but wasn’t able to add furniture right away. Eventually, I picked up a small table for the kitchen and was fortunate to be given leftover couches, chairs, televisions and entertainment units from friends who no longer needed them. Not everything matched perfectly, but I managed to marry things quite nicely. 

Piece by piece and a home really started to come together. And then a few weeks ago, I saw an old coffee table in my brother’s garage that I had sold him when I moved out here. I asked if I could buy it back from him. We were in the middle of a golf bet and he told me if my golfer beat his, I could have the table. 

Thank you, Padraig Harrington! 

My dad helped me clean up the table and re-stained the top of it for me. I brought it home, dragged it up the stairs, rearranged a few things in the living room and, bam! It’s like everything I’ve been working towards just came together all at once. It was the final element I needed to have the place I had been envisioning since I first stepped in the apartment. 



A handful of years ago, I was in between relationships and, as I tend to do, feeling woeful about it. A friend of mine had made a suggestion. She said that when she was younger, she made a list of all the qualities that she wanted in her mate. She was very specific in what she wanted and created her perfect relationship on paper. 

Years later, life happened... I might get some specifics wrong, but as I recall, she had gotten pregnant but had no interest in marrying the father. She had recently met someone else at the time who wanted to marry her so that she wouldn’t have to face her family as a single parent. She told me that, at the time, this person wasn’t really what she had pictured in her mind when she made that list all those years ago. However, given her situation, she thought it was the best thing to do at the time. 

Many years and three children later, she found the list she had written in her youth. She told me that as she read through all of the qualities she had laid out, she began to get extremely emotional. She realized that, without knowing what she was doing, she had actually married the man she had created on paper.  

I always loved that story. 

My friend, Erin, recently reminded me that I had told her to make a list of qualities as well. She told me I should revisit this practice given the fact that I’ve been having such a struggle finding the right person for me. She and I agree that I have certainly been meeting good people, but being a good person with a good heart doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship will be the right one for me. She encouraged me to get specific and be honest with what I truly want out of a man. 

Without him knowing any of this, my dad and I were talking about a week ago. He saw that my relationship status on Facebook indicated I was single again. He told me that he had a cousin that used to carry around a list of qualities that were so important, he wouldn’t even go out on a date with a girl unless she fit the position just right. They used to tease him over this list but he didn’t care. He knew what he wanted and didn’t want to waste his time on anything less. 

When things show up repeatedly like this, I think it’s time to pay attention. 

I’ve been wanting to write a blog that included these qualities but couldn’t really figure out how to go about it. I was originally just going to make a list of the first twenty things I could think of and then prioritize them. But that seemed too simple. Then I thought about drawing it out and doing a series of blogs explaining what I wanted and why I wanted them in better detail. But that seemed too tedious. 

And then I had that dream about no longer having my apartment and how upset it made me. I spent a good amount of time making my home the perfect place for me but it took being specific with what I wanted and then being patient as I worked and waited for everything to come together. I woke up thinking - maybe if I approached my relationships the same way, I would have better results. 

So I’m working on my non-negotiables. And my preferences. And as always, I will share them here because I like to be held accountable. 

The most important thing I’ve been working on, however, is my patience. I have, more than once, made the mistake of jumping into a relationship quickly after one ends. I know a lot of people notice this and some even like to tell me. And often, I feel like it’s too premature as well. However, the void I feel after a relationship has ended, regardless of its length, is painful and lonely. Hating to feel that way, I try to fill the void as quickly as possible and I guess I thought the only way to do so is to find someone else to love me. 

I’m learning that there are many ways to fill that void. I’m lucky to have a supportive family who is also fun to hang out with. I’ve been spending a lot more time doing social activities with my brother and we have truly become friends again. Friends and Family Fit Club keeps me busy and connected to a higher purpose. I’ve been working a ton and find that the more I work, the less I hate it. I’m very comfortable with my job now and there are quite a few people I genuinely look forward to seeing every day. Serving is an extremely unrewarding job if one constantly seeks recognition and “atta-boys” but I work to make money so for me, it’s quite fulfilling. 

Cooking for friends, watching golf with my brother, reading, working out, saving money, coming up with challenges for Fit Club and reconnecting with old friends has really made the last few weeks of being newly single a lot less painful and lonely. Not to mention the train wreck that this last breakup became... a good reminder that entering a relationship flippantly and with no real intention is definitely not a positive thing for me. 

Who knows? Maybe I’ll win my next relationship in a golf bet as well. I did take Tiger this weekend and he is WAY overdue to win a major.