Archive | October, 2013

Popularity Contest Never Ends

30 Oct

You would think once you’re into your “prime” years (i.e. established in your career, have a family, fall asleep by 10pm on a Saturday) the popularity contest would be over.  High school was a lifetime ago and in college being popular was about as cool as sitting in your dorm room watching “Dateline NBC” on a Friday night.

However, lately I’ve felt like the popularity contest is alive and well and crept back into my life.  Here are a few examples…perhaps you’ve experienced the same thing?

  • Facebook – I begrudgingly signed up after years of being reminded how lame I was for not being on this site.  Now I know why I dug in my heels for so long.  I look at the number of Facebook friends I have and then…I compare.  Wow.  I suck.  This person has 300 friends and wait….another person has 1,200 friends.  Seriously?!  Suddenly, I’m at a high school dance with my few friends while the large popular crowd parties and acts like we don’t exist.
  • Twitter – Same situation as above but I have laryngitis and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs to be heard.
  • Work – Our company believes in giving peer reviews so our manager asked everyone on our team to list three co-workers they would like to review them.  Not one person picked me.  I’m now back in gym class and the last person to be picked for a team.
  • Parenting – This category is new to me since my daughter just started kindergarten recently.  Now that I’ve experienced a few school gatherings and interactions with other parents , this too is another popularity contest.  The “cool” moms make it pretty clear you’re not part of the “elite” group.  They invite each other’s kids to parties leaving out the other ones whose parents aren’t part of the “secret society”.

I’m honestly shocked, and a little saddened, that this “in-crowd”, “who’s cool” crap still occurs at my age.  I thought I outgrew it but apparently no one else got the memo.  I just hope my daughter has a better experience and outlook on it than I did or still do.

Presentation Phobia

24 Oct

A few months ago, I had signed up for an amateur stand up comedian contest.  I was excited and nervous about it, but I thought if I had enough time to prepare, I’d be fine.  Well, turns out, I was picked to perform the very first night of the contest.  Worse, it was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, when none of my friends and family would be around to cheer me on.  So what did I do?  I chickened out.

Fast forward to three weeks ago.  A friend told me about Ignite Minneapolis.  It’s an evening when twenty speakers give five-minute presentations on various topics.  The cost to attend the event is ten dollars and you get free beer.  Who wouldn’t love that?

She thought it would be a great opportunity for me to speak about my blog.  So I thought, why not?  I hastily submitted a proposal based on my ability to survive dating disasters and how to try and avoid them in the future.  It was a vague, half-hearted attempt at best.

Today I received an email.  It was from Ignite Minneapolis telling me I had been selected to present.  Ack!!  This can’t be?  How could they pick me?  I’m sure there are far better presentations than mine, right?

I’m thrilled and scared shitless at the same time.  Lucky (or unlucky) for me, I’m very, very familiar with the subject matter so I’ll have no shortage of material to fill five minutes.  However, those five minutes will feel like eternity on stage.

With ample preparation and some liquid encouragement, I’ll be fine.  Hopefully, the audience will be kind and laugh when appropriate and not boo or throw beer bottles at me if I suck.

Mind Young! Body Not!

17 Oct

I’m starting to finally realize in my early forties that my mind has a lot of catching up to do with my body.  Mentally, I’m still back in college, wanting to stay up all night partying and eating like crap.  Physically, I’m not even close to those times.

I workout and my body aches for days.  I even look at junk food and I gain five pounds.  Party all night?  Forget about it.  Too many drinks and I’m a train wreck, all tired out and sick as a dog.  What happened?  Where did that young person go?

Well, I’ll tell you where she went.  This once young person grew up, married, started a career, divorced, continued career, married, had a child, divorced, and ended up single again.  Whew!  I’m exhausted just typing it!

When I was divorced the first time, I could handle going out on the town and whooping it up.  The second time around, I can barely stay awake past 10:00pm and feel like death warmed over for days after a night of drinking.

It’s hard to grasp the thought of getting older and not being able to keep up anymore.  However, I realize the time has come and I can’t do all the things I did when I was younger and don’t necessarily want to anymore.  It’s time to move on and embrace the next chapter…one aspirin and squirt of Ben Gay at a time.

Caveman Communication

10 Oct

Ahhh….the joy of communicating with men….thus, the “caveman communication”.  I don’t think I’m asking too much if they actually initiate a dialogue?  Is it really that hard to pick up the phone to text, or heaven forbid, to call?

Case in point….last night.  My boyfriend is not the best texter or phone caller.  If he’s sitting in a room with you, he’ll talk non-stop.  Put a phone in front of him, well forget it.  It’s like he’s put on mute and his fingers are paralyzed.

After months of frustration with his lack of initiation, I decided to not text or phone first, just to see how long it would take him to contact me.  I know this sounds completely childish, but I’m frustrated, so cut me some slack.

Three days later, he finally texted me, “Hi there, how’s it going?”.  Nice!  An initiated conversation by him…this is good!  I respond and say I’m great and ask how his weekend was.  He answers but doesn’t ask how my weekend was, or ask any question for that matter, to continue the conversation.

So, since there was no question to respond to, I decided to ask another question.  Yet again, another answer, but no question in return.  Ugh!  Really?  How do you keep up a conversation when it’s one-sided?  Then I realize he’s probably glued to the baseball playoffs while texting me….the focus is gone.

I decide at that point to stop texting and go to bed.  The next morning, I text to say good morning and apologize for “falling asleep” and not continuing the conversation.  He texts back and says, “No worries. I figured you must have dozed off”.

Seriously?  Wow.  I guess that was his idea of a conversation but clearly not mine.  He was grunting and nodding on the other end of the phone and I’m jumping up and down and motioning in vain for a response.

Clearly, some things will never change…..

The Evolution of a Perfect Day

6 Oct

Yesterday was a perfect day.  My daughter and I went to the Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America for the first time and it was amazing.  I was in awe as sharks were swimming inches over my head.  My daughter, on the other hand, ran screaming for the exit.  Eventually, she found the nerve to come back and check them out.  The sting-rays swimming overhead and “smiling” was her favorite.

Next, we went to the local library where they were having a Geocaching event for kids.  At first, she wasn’t too crazy about it, but once she found the first treasure, she was hooked.  It didn’t hurt it was a beautiful fall day as well, perfectly sunny and cool,  with leaves starting to turn colors.

The next stop was Party City to pick out the “perfect” Halloween costume…the Peacock Princess.  We barely arrive at home and she’s tearing the package open, trying it on.  Of course, she has to model it.  Success.

If you would’ve asked me ten years ago if this would be my idea of a perfect day, you’d have heard a resounding, “Hell no!”.  My, how things have changed.  I went from a single, care-free lifestyle, to being married with two stepkids and a baby, to being a single parent.

I admit, there are moments I miss those days of parties, traveling, and basically doing nothing.  However, when my daughter tells me she loves me more than a thousand sharks combined (I think that may have something to do with the aquarium visit?) and sings me little “Mommy” songs, I miss those days a whole lot less.

Cubes of Joy

2 Oct

Today’s the day.  I’ve reached my limit.  It’s time to vent.  Working in a cube sucks.  If you’ve worked in corporate America, you get where I’m going.  If not, consider yourself lucky and you may be bored to tears or think I’m crazy.

Somehow, no matter where you sit, you’re surrounded by idiots. These folks are completely unaware that they’re “normal” behavior is actually irritating and borderline obnoxious to others.  Let me explain.

First, there’s the cube neighbor to my north (translation: not on my right or left, and his computer is in exactly the same spot on the other side).  Whenever he stands up, he leans forward, looking directly down into my cube (and my shirt).  It’s especially appreciated when I’m eating lunch and he’s hovering over me like a disapproving parent.  This annoying person is also kind enough to clear his throat every 35.2 seconds (trust me, I’m type A, I’ve counted), thus forcing me to turn up the volume on my iTunes to drown him out.

Next, is the co-worker whose laugh is nearly glass-shattering, rising up my spine and causing my face to cringe like I’ve sucked on a bag of lemons.  Again, I thank the almighty Apple for giving me the safety blanket and reprieve that only my iTunes can provide.

Let’s not forget the ever-present “Burnt Popcorn Guy”.  This computer-programming genius, yet “completely clueless in the kitchen” individual, manages to burn his bag of popcorn every day.  The stench that emanates from the microwave is relentless, spreading to the entire floor, contaminating our airspace with that foul smell.

Seriously, how hard is it to follow directions or monitor the number of “pops” you hear and take the bag out?!  If you’ve burned it for the last three months, don’t you think you might have the correct timing figured out by now?

Needless to say, the cubicle life is a true joy.  I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be than confined to a “cage” and tortured by the “animals” that surround me.

If any of you have similar stories to share, please do so…misery loves company, right?