Sunday, August 22, 2010


I am a blog.

People read me. I was created by a single being...a carbon-based, bipedal lifeform with a seemingly endless array of emotional capability and eternal capacity to endure much pain, while still maintaining a bottomless sense of humor. My creator is a person full of morbid curiosity, self-contained imagination and stifled creativity.

And - dare I say - impeccable writing skills. Most of the time.

I am a compilation of feelings and thoughts. A repository for that which occupies my author's mind and bedfuddles her spirit. I am a vehicle by which this person can communicate and say what is flying about the rafters of her brain.

I am a modern day diary. A journal filled with sometimes inane, but occasionally brilliant ideas. I am a virtual vessel that contains the emotive ramblings of an imperfect being. I am rife with opinion and unafraid of expressing myself.

I am what every human strives to be.

Then again, I am what every human already is, but they just dont realize it.

I am an innocent messenger, representing a not-so-innocent human being, all alone in a complicated world.

I. Am. A. Blog.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I was a little put off the other day by a co-worker who had indicated he would stop by to talk to me about my project before leaving for a two-week vacation. I had hung around in spite of the worsening traffic to speak with him and when 5PM came and went, I walked down to his office to find it dark and the door closed. He had obviously left, forgetting about his promise to swing by. Admittedly I proceeded to stew over it for a bit, as in my mind my project was a priority and how dare he leave me hanging...

When I got home that night, after sitting in traffic for an hour which left me more pissed off, I logged onto my Facebook account and saw a timely post written by a friend who was apparently also having a bad day. She stated (and I am paraphrasing here): You know you are not a priority when you become an afterthought.

Some may think this to be a self-defeating statement, but it did drive home that even though my project was a priority to me, it did not trump the priorities of my co-worker; a single-dad who likely had to run out at 5PM to pick up his child from day camp. It actually made me feel somewhat ashamed for thinking my #1 priority at the time should have also been a priority to him.

Mentally apologizing to my co-worker for the undeserved cursing out, I started to think about what my own priorities should be in life. Since graduating from college 16 years ago, I've not always chosen the right fact, many of the routes I have opted for have been bumpy, windy and oftentimes led to a dead end. As I inch closer and closer to 40, I feel the need to re-evaluate the direction my life is headed. When I think through the places screaming for improvement, I find I can categorize these into three classifications: Health, Money and Family.

Let's face it: I'm not getting any younger. What I could get away with at 30 I can barely get away with now. When I turned 34, I decided to make a change in the way I ate and exercised...taking away the bad stuff, adding in the good stuff. No fancy diet programs, no gimmicks, just good ol' common sense: a healthy diet and consistent workout routine. And it worked: I lost 50 lbs in less than a year. I was looking good and feeling great! Unfortunately, difficult events that happened subsequently threw me off my game and I allowed myself to fall off the proverbial wagon. Fifty pounds and a little more later I'm not feeling as good about myself as I should. In fact, I'm pretty miserable. But as any miserable person will tell you, there is morbid pleasure in languishing in your own misery and I realize that I am trapped in a comfort zone I have thus far been reluctant to step out of.

My doctor was cutting me slack for awhile, knowing the difficulty I was facing, but on this last visit she told me in no uncertain terms I needed to think about where I was and what I needed to do to change my outlook. It is with that in mind that I decided I needed a goal to reach for...simply losing weight to look and feel better isn't enough for me. I need something that will propel me forward and force me to be accountable. With this in mind I decided that next year I will participate in The Big Climb. At this point, I have about 7 months to prepare and get over my loathing of stairs. Whether or not I make it up 69 flights of stairs remains to be seen but honestly I have nothing to lose by trying, except a few (dozen) pounds. It is a tangible goal that is well within my reach, if I want it. Which I do.

People are often uncomfortable when it comes to discussing money. I typically bury my head in the sand when someone tries to broach the topic with me. I laugh it off and pretend like it's no big deal. However, money IS a big deal! It really does make the world go 'round and unless I want to be 65 and homeless, unable to care for myself in my old age, I'm going to need to pull my head out of the ground and face facts. Nearly halfway through my career, my 401K plan is a lark. My savings are pretty bleak and I am STILL making payments on a seven-year old, banged up Sebring that has most definitely seen better days. Turns out that when you are young and foolish and simply act on a whim to purchase a new vehicle every two years, regardless of how underwater you are on the previous loan, you have to pay the Piper eventually. I'm stuck with my car for the long haul as my trade-in is worth approximately $5K less than what I owe. I either have to come up with a $5K down payment or I just need to stick it out. Ten years ago, I would have plunked down the money and bought a shiny new car. Rent could wait. Now, I need to be responsible and if the car dies, I will just have to take the bus.

Barring my vehicular woes, my overall long-term outlook is looking pretty murky right about now. The good news is I have the power within me to turn it around. I am in a good position to do so, and a few small changes in how I approach my finances should right the situation. I have job security and a good paycheck. There really is no reason for me to keep going down this frost heave ridden road. Time to turn on the GPS and find the fastest route possible to financial stability!

Of course if I had my druthers, I would quit my corporate job and go work on my many philanthropic causes. *Oh - to be independently wealthy!* I started a non-profit organization awhile ago, with the intent to further awareness of the Arts and Philanthropy and to aid in the continuation of Art Education for the Masses. My challenge at this point is how do I balance my need for a full-time job and paycheck with a desire to make the world a better place? Thus far, the right answer has not presented itself to me, but things happen in their own time and I am confident I will eventually find the way.

Family has always been an interesting challenge for me. In my immediate family, we all love each other and would go to the ends of the earth to support our kinfolk. We may not always LIKE what our relatives do, but we still respect each other...most of the time. When I think about family as a priority in my life, it's how can I be the best daughter/sister/aunt/ granddaughter/niece/cousin I can be without compromising my own sanity. Likewise, how do I reconcile for feelings about not having a husband and children now, at a time in my life that many of my peers have that which I seem to be naturally repellent, and not end up a bitter and jaded spinster. As I said before - things do happen for a reason and everything will fall into its proper place. As the theme song of a very popular 70s sitcom put far more eloquently than I ever could: "This is it. This is Life. The one you get, so go and have a ball!"

As I read over this post, I realize how my priorities have shifted over time. If you had asked me to list my top three life priorities when I was 29, #1 would surely have been to Fall In Love; Good Health may not even have appeared on the list. It would have landed somewhere around #8 and Financial Stability would likely have been flailing around on the floor somewhere, begging for attention.

As time moves on what seemed of paramount importance to one yesterday is quickly replaced with other things. And although being in love is important, loving oneself is even more so...

Monday, August 9, 2010


If I had to describe my personal history in one word it would be “nomadic”. If you know one thing about me it is that prior to 2000 I did not live in one place for longer than 3 years. But after 15 schools, 4 states, 5 countries and 3 continents I seem to have finally found fertile ground in which to set my roots. Ten years gone I still get the occasional feeling of wanderlust, but in my heart I know that Seattle is now my home.

Thinking back on the past 10 years of my life I’m confronted with a myriad of feelings ranging from glee and happiness to cringe-worthy embarrassment.

I moved here on August 5th. Two days later I began my employment at a place I affectionately call Wonderland, but others simply refer to as Microsoft. I’ll never forget that first day…I actually met Bill Gates and I recall thinking how much he looked like a young Mr. Rogers in his v-neck sweater! Really.

The excitement of my first day quickly wore off and the first few months at Microsoft and in Seattle were challenging, to say the least. I had gone from the relative security of boutique law firms where I was coddled by matronly lawyers who took pity on me; thrust into the back stabbing, cut throat corporate world. On my 3rd day my boss at the time, a petite yet tenacious woman, looked me square in the eye and said “Do you even know what you are doing?” To my credit, I was able to recover from that accusation and clumsily explain myself, to which she replied by taking a deep breath and saying “OK. I get that…but we do things differently here.” It was then I knew I was in for a roller coaster ride that would transition me from just having a job, to actually having a career.

As for Seattle, it’s a different vibe here. People are not welcoming of strangers, which is odd when you consider that many people who live here are not from here. I suspect this is because those native to the area are tired of having outsiders come into their city and taking away from its natural charm; transplants have struggled so hard to develop their own social circles they don’t want newer arrivals upsetting the delicate balance. Whatever the reason, it took a long time before I felt like I had an adequate support network. But once I found my niche, it was right.

A few moments immediately stand out in my mind as significant, though if I had the time I could certainly go on and on about the ups and downs of my tenure here.

In February 2001, five months in, I experienced my first major earthquake. I had been particularly moody that day for some reason, so had just shut my door to focus on my work. No sooner did I sit down, that the building start to shake. I looked up and saw my co-workers running around the halls seeking refuge. Not knowing what to do, I followed them. We had a couple locals in our group who were shouting at us from under their office doorframes to stop running and find a place to brace ourselves. Just as we ran outside (which I now understand to be a BAD thing to do in an earthquake), the ground stopped shaking. Fortunately I thought to pick up the phone and call my mother right away to tell her I was safe. Within 5 minutes the phone lines were jammed and I wouldn’t have gotten through, which would have made my mother panic (which she did anyway when this brought to the forefront of her mind that all her children were living on the “Rim of Fire”). *touch wood* I’ve not felt a quake like that again.

9/11/2001. No further explanation needed. I woke up that morning to a panicked phone call from my sister exclaiming that planes were flying into buildings all over the country and we were under attack by unknown assailants. I switched on the TV and that is indeed what was happening. Just then my father called to say he was in NH at the time and was ok. However, he was worried about my mother who was working at the State Department. He explained that she was likely being evacuated, would likely not be in touch for awhile, and to just hold on. I went into work visibly upset but the aforementioned tenacious boss lady refused to send anyone home…after all, *we* weren’t in any danger. Later that day, we got in touch with Mom and she was fine…just shaken up as we all were. What a day.

The “Canadian Whiz Kid”…my biggest client success story and the experience in which I learned that it is ok to think outside the box and to not be afraid of failure. At the time, it was exceptionally difficult to secure a work visa for someone who had little work/life experience and no post-secondary degree. I met the Kid through a mutual client/friend. He was 21 at the time, had 2 years of schooling under his belt and about five years of work experience. He also had a pregnant Canadian girlfriend and was feeling pressure at home to “do the right thing”. His work group was willing to do anything they could to keep him for a long time. The visa he was on was only good for a year at a time, with no guarantee of renewal year over year. He married his girl, and she was able to move to the US as a dependent, but they were not sure of their long-term prospects. I had read an obscure piece of information somewhere that seemed to suggest one could equate actual knowledge to meet the requirement for a Bachelor’s degree. After meeting with the Kid, I managed to convince my manager/his attorney to go for it. Long story short, the Immigration Service not only approved the longer term employment visa, but also his green card before he was 25. Not one to pat myself on the back, I was truly proud of this accomplishment…and happy for the Kid and his young family who are now living the American Dream!

By 2007, I was pretty well burned out in my chosen career field. The long hours were taking a toll on my health and in November I ended up in the ER with stress-related symptoms. Clearly, I needed a change and in December an opportunity dropped into my lap. I had a chance to capitalize on a pretty solid skill set built during long hours of expelling blood, sweat and tears and trade it in for an equally challenging yet comparatively calmer work environment. This is how I came to be in the position I hold now. I admit the first 6 months I was questioning my decision to leave the field that I had come to respect and to love, as one comes to respect and love their torturer after 7 years of hellacious submission, if only because I had no flippin’ clue what to do with all the free time on my hands! I went from 16-18 hour work days to barely working 8 hours. And if I didn’t know any better, I would have sworn I was suffering from PTSD. As with any new challenge though, I found my stride and carved a little niche for myself and – dare I say – have even managed to find time for fun projects outside of work. Now I totally get what they mean by "work/life balance"!

Other thoughts of note:

I fell in love with the wrong person.

He tore my heart out of my chest, stomped on it and kicked it to the curb.

I healed.

Then I fell in love with the right person.

Unfortunately, he had to leave after his visa expired.

I healed.

I made new friends.

And I lost old friends.

But I healed.

I welcomed new family members and went from being just a sister to a sister-in-law and an aunt.

I lost family members.

And ultimately healed.

I watched the stock price go from a high of $112 down to less than $20

From this, I will heal eventually..

In short:

I laughed.

I cried.

I learned.

I taught.

I loved.

I hated.

I sang.

I danced.

And I smiled…

Here’s to the next 10 years!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Short and Sweet

Time is passing,
Fast and furious.
Life is short
But makes me curious…
Where am I headed:
Who will I meet?
Will it be fun,
Or just bittersweet?
Time is fleeting,
And in low supply
But with good credence,
I can only fly!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creeped Out!

The past few days have been a little "off" for me...ranging from disappointing to just downright weird. It started on Friday when I received some unexpected news...nothing tragic, just personally upsetting. Kind of like when you are expecting to land that great job and you learn the company awarded the position to someone else. Kind of like that...but not the same thing.

Unfortunately, I was a bit off my guard around the same time I received this disappointing news that I let spill some personal details about myself to someone who really didnt need to hear anything about my wild and frivolous youth. Someone who happens to be my mentor and co-worker. Classy.

I will spare the details, but suffice it to say I self-medicated that evening and eventually poured said self into a cab around 11PM. Not one to go down without a fight, I at least remembered to engage in my preventative hangover ritual of two Advil and a bottle of water before bed.

Unlike Friday, the rest of the weekend was pretty chill as my bestie was in town from DC. We took in some of the sights around town before heading to a party in Mad Valley. Nothing terribly exciting there, unless you consider a drunken queen grinning at you ear-to-ear whilst chewing a deviled egg, exciting. The next day Bestie left with his family on an Alaskan cruise and I stayed home on the couch as this was the first down day I'd had in a week. I was a lazy slug and I loved it!

Monday dawned and I headed back to work. Exciting stuff, let me tell ya! Still feeling a little embarrased about what transpired the previous Friday with my co-worker, I felt the need to bite the bullet and just address it head-on. After a clumsy apology, I practically ran away from his office convinced (still) that he thinks I'm even nuttier than before! He would be right. Note to self - stop acting like a moron at the office. That's the last place you want to be seen as anything less that 100% *together*!

Cut to today: still a little up and down, preoccupied with thoughts of a less-than-perfect life and feeling utterly sorry for myself. Wah. Tried to focus on the all-day meetings I had to attend but found it difficult to do so and was otherwise distracted. About halfway through the day I realized that I really needed to snap out of it. Whatever was bothering me was not the end of the world and I should just get a grip. But still...there is this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that is leaving me a wee bit unsettled.

After a long day at the offsite, I came home and found the daily note from my dogwalker on the credenza, telling me about her walk earlier in the day with Daisy. Apparently Miss D got freaked out about something as they were walking near the Viaduct; she started whining and pulling Dogwalker toward home. Although not unheard of, D's behavior is still unusual but I just filed it away for future reference. I went upstairs and let her out of the crate to be lavished with hugs and kisses before taking her out for her evening jaunt. <3

After handling her business, Daisy freaked out in the same spot where Dogwalker said she had lost her composure earlier in the day. I tried to both calm her and get her away from the source of her distress (I just assumed there was a noise coming from somewhere that she could hear but wasnt immediately audible to me). When we got up to the corner, I had to pull Daisy back before she lunged into traffic. In my periphery, I saw a woman approach me from the side. She looked like...well, me...if I were schitzophrenic and 50lbs heavier. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt with a jacket tied around her waist, she looked at Daisy then at me and said in a flat monotone (and I kid you not):

"They say when I die, I will come back reincarnated as another thing. They are not fooling me!".

Fortunately, the light changed at that moment and I was able to cross the street without delay. Looking back over my shoulder the woman was still standing there on the same corner, arms akimbo, not having moved an inch.

Creepy, right?

And tomorrow's another day...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Holding Out for a Hero

The closer I get to that "Magic" age, the more I wonder if I will ever find the Real One. When I was a young girl, I just automatically assumed that I would be married with teenage kids by now. After all, by the time my mother was my age, I was already halfway through high school, giving her grey hairs and headaches with all my angst. Why wouldnt it be that way for me?

It never occured to me back then to consider the possibility of getting to be the age I am now, still single and childless. Admittingly, the past four years have been a stressful time for me - professionally and personally - it's probably just as well there wasnt anyone in the picture. Why would anyone in their right mind want to sign on for that kind of chaos? But that's over and done with. And now, here I am on the cusp of turning 40 and nary a romantic spark in sight.

When I think of the kind of guys I was attracted to in my 20s, I cringe. Likewise, the types of men I gravitated towards in my 30s force an involuntary shudder. Now that I am about to step into my 40s, I think I have it figured out. As the song says, I AM *holding out for a hero*.

The eHarmony questionnaire asks the responder for their feelings on traditional gender roles. Previously, I would have taken a strong stance against them. I am woman - hear me roar! Anything a man can do, I can do better AND in high heels! Maybe I've just gotten soft over the years...or desperate....but I'm just tired of having to constantly fend for myself. I see real value in having a man come into my life and help support me and care for me. A gentleman, a scholar, a handyman and a rock. Someone I can look to when I am down or stressed... someone who will find my goofiness and occasional ditziness endearing, but will gently guide me, help me through life while at the same time recognizing that I am a learned, intelligent human being worthy of respect and consideration. Worthy of love in its true form.

In essence, I'm compromising...I dont want to go it alone anymore. That doesnt mean I'm going to pick up with just any ol' schmuk off the street. I do still have my standards. But as the lyrics go:

"Somewhere after midnight
In my wildest fantasy
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder end rising with the heat
It's gonna take a superman to sweep me off my feet"

I think back on my life, and I realize in hindsight that I have made many mistakes over the years when it comes to some of the men I have been involved with and subsequently pushed aside. Truly, if I only knew then what I know now I wouldnt have thrown away the good guys. I wouldnt have turned my back on the men that wanted to take care of me. I wouldnt have been such a player. No one wants to love a player.

But you know what they say about hindsight - it's 20/20 vision...and I have an astigmatism.

Thinking back, I remember a time when I was hanging out with some of my male friends at a club and they were trying to hit on some other women sitting near us. I asked them point blank why they never hit on me like that. They all said in spontaneous unison: "Because you dont want us!". Ouch. That hurt. But they were right. Back then, I didnt want them because they were not what my 33-year old self was looking for. Back then I wanted flash. I wanted slick. I wanted superficiality. At the time, I mistook good looks, disposable income and a shiny car for "love". Stability and a house in the 'burbs were unattractive qualities to me then. But sounds pretty gosh darn good.

I just hope it isnt too late...