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The Un-Plan

At least once a month I complain about having too many plans over here in Snarkville. I complain that Bill doesn’t know how to say enough is enough and actually just “Be.” We run around from place to place—from dinner to events to family, friends and dog shows. We haven’t both actually been home all weekend together for about two months. He traveled one place while I went to another. I was home and he was gone; he was home and I was gone. If we were both here, we had a house full of people. We actually had one weekend away at a fancy hotel but we weren’t totally alone there either. We had a birthday dinner for one of Bill’s sons and then spent some time with friends.

But home together? Alone? All weekend? Not in months. We sort of knew there was a lot happening, so we (meaning, me) thought ahead and planned a weekend of No Plans. We both actually added it to our Blackberrys. I set a reminder for 2 days out—No Plans!—as if I’d actually forget.

If it's in the calendar, it must be so

If it's in the calendar, it must be so

This coming weekend is our Plan-Free Weekend. I look forward to a glorious weekend of sleeping in—in my own bed—lounging around in my PJs or sweats most of the day, (hopefully) watching awesome ’80s movies in bed, maybe taking the dog for a long walk. I thought about going to a movie, but I don’t even want to commit to that—the whole choosing what to see and then having to be somewhere at a certain time is too stressful.

I’m totally going to be selfish with my time, and the time I spend with Bill. I long for the chance to be spontaneous (did I really just type “long for?”). I need to rest and clear my head—I know I’ll be a better wife, friend and little worker bee if I can do that.

I know I’m lucky to have good friends and family and even some of Bill’s work functions to go to because otherwise I’d be that weird reclusive person who never leaves the house.

A little balance would be nice, but it’s not looking good. Trying to get Bill to chill out is like running into this repeatedly:

angled_brickwall

It's a pretty solid brick wall.

He’s already trying to get me to confirm things all the way up through July.

Looks like I’m going to have to steal his Blackberry and schedule in some blackout dates.

Tag! You’re It!

Raino tagged me. It's my first tag so I'll play along.

Here are seven things about me that you may not know (or care about).

1. I am deathly afraid of heights. Granted I'm only 4'11", so everything is high, but I really struggle with it. When we were in Paris a couple of years ago, I went up the Eiffel Tower but I couldn't make myself go all the way to the highest level. Hell, in my old office, I worked on the second floor and there was a glass partition that overlooked the atrium—I couldn't even stand there and look down without having vertigo.

2. I used to want to be the drummer in a rock band. Never mind that I don't know how to play drums...I just thought it would be a bitchin' job.

3. I have 74 pairs of shoes. (And I regularly rotate through about 4 pairs).

4. I hate putting my writing out there. I get very nervous and anxious about it. As a result, I over-think it and usually ruin it. I'm a much better editor than a writer.

5. I make an amazing pumpkin pie (and my apple isn't bad either). Ah-May-Zing.

6. I made a career change about a year ago (after 16 years in a totally unrelated field) and it still freaks me out. Mostly because I'm out of my comfort zone.

7. I dream of picking up and moving to a Caribbean island someday.

I won't tag seven people back (do I know seven people?) but feel free to talk amongst yourselves and comment.

Welcome to the MOfia!

I just had the funniest thing happen. Not Funny Ha-Ha, more like unusual-for-me funny. I am not, by nature, a particularly social person. I have friends (yes, more than one!) and I even manage to talk to them periodically and go out on a regular basis! But it’s a small, tight group. A group of people I trust with my deepest secrets, my biggest disappointments, my irrational fears. They’re also the group that I can let down my hair with (or, I did before it was so short), relax and have a good time hanging out, chatting, drinking and, most important, laugh with.

It doesn’t come easy for me. I keep the walls up. Occasionally, I knock some bricks out of that wall but I’m usually building another layer somewhere else in the fortress. It’s not (as I like to spew) that I don’t like people (most of the time anyway). I do. I just think I’m slow to trust, slow to open up. But once you’re in, you better be committed because you’re in for life. I’m like the Mafia that way. Or MOfia.

So I fight my natural impulse to close off and keep to myself. In fact, someone I’ve become acquainted with through this and other blogs, seemed to be having a rough day today and my heart immediately went out to her. My first instinct was to pick up the phone and reach out to her (never mind the fact that I don’t have her phone number!). I did send her a message letting her know I was thinking about her.The funny thing is, we’ve never actually met, but I was compelled to check in on her, make sure she was doing okay. It was the same reaction I’d have with someone I’ve known for years.

So maybe this blogging thing is good for me. Bloggers put so much of themselves out there so it feels like we form bonds easier online than we might in person. It makes sense, I guess—I know I tend to read blogs that I can relate to. These are mostly women that I feel I have shared experiences with, and by extension, people that maybe we’d be friends with in “Real Life,” whatever the hell that is.

********************************************************************************

Okay, I have to stop this post here. In ironies to end all ironies, the ENTIRE time I’ve been writing this post about opening up to people and extending my friendships, I’ve been engaging in an IM exchange with my best friend. The gist of the conversation is, she feels that I’ve been closed off lately. And that wall I’m supposedly dismantling? Not so much. Seems I’m building sections faster than I’m taking others down.

Apparently, I need to revisit this topic….

Deck the Halls

I was driving through our neighborhood yesterday and saw the most terrifying thing ever. One of our neighbors (in a house a few blocks away…THANK GOD not on our street) has fully decorated his house for Halloween. FULLY decorated it.  It’s hardcore too—house-size blow-up pumpkins, orange lights strung through the trees and around the windows, a witch hanging from a tree branch, that fake spider web stuff, headstones and Dracula.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s just a wee bit early in the season for this. But it was a given that some moron would jump the gun and start early because midsummer, just as as the school supplies were being stocked in Target, the Halloween decorations were stocked too. Really? And I love how they stockpile  the Halloween candy in stores now. I can guarantee you, anyone buying Halloween candy NOW, will not have a single bag…no, a single PIECE by Halloween.

I love Christmas decorations (note, I didn’t say Christmas because it just stresses me out every year—I’m slammed at work, my family is nuts, I don’t have time to shop, and it’s become about everything that it shouldn’t be). But I love to turn off the TV and switch off the lights in the house and sit in the glow of the tree. I love roaming through our neighborhood at night with the dog to see everything sparkle and shine. It’s peaceful.

But I have a rule—no decorations go up until after Thanksgiving. Shouldn’t there be a similar rule for Halloween? I’m not sure the week after Labor Day quite fits the bill.

Am I over-reacting?

The creepy thing, though? I don’t think that house has any kids….

Gracie’s First Ad!

Gracie is going to be competing in the National Samoyed Specialty later this month, and we took out an ad in the program. Her brother Zane is on the left.

Connections

All evidence to the contrary, I’m actually a pretty private person. I don’t usually put too much info about myself out there in any form—conversationally or online. However, about a month ago I started this blog and I joined Facebook.

No, the two things aren’t related. The only reason I joined Facebook was so I could play Scrabulous (a rip-off online version of Scrabble) with some friends. But there’s been a side effect—oddly, it never occurred to me that anyone would actually seek me out (my self-esteem issues would be a whole other post), but yesterday I got an e-mail from a high school friend who found me there. The nice thing is, this is someone that I’m actually happy to hear from! He was part of my posse, he was one of my best friends in high school. This is one of guys that I went to football games and parties with, studied for tests with, but never dated or had any desire to date. He was kind of like a brother to me. At some point after I moved away from home we lost touch, so it was good to hear about him and his family.

On the flip side, a few months ago, I was on another networking site (one that’s more business related) and a former co-worker popped up and asked if I’d give him a recommendation for a job. It was pretty awkward because this is someone I fired. The right thing to do would have been to be straightforward and honest and say no. What did I do? I ignored the request. Very professional of me, hu? (Not to mention grown up!) I’ve also had a couple of former friends hunt me down online over the years. People who I just don’t have anything in common with anymore—if I ever really did. This is the down side of getting and staying connected.

As my best friend Lesley knows (because we share a brain on this one), I usually keep a small but tight group of friends (are two people a group?!). And I’ve always been that way. Sometimes the group expands a bit, but it’s never huge. I’m sort of a loner to a degree. Fortunately, I married someone who is the total opposite of me because I’d probably never leave the house on the weekend. I’d be perfectly happy to sit on the couch and read and watch TV (Tori and Dean, anyone?! Anyone?).

My husband is Julie the Cruise Director—he organizes dinners with friends, bike rides, drags me to business events, you name it. I am perfectly happy to be alone when I can be, and it took my husband many years of marriage to understand this and not take it personally. It doesn’t mean I don’t love him and it doesn’t mean I don’t love spending time with him. I just need time to BE. I suspect it’s because even though I have a brother, he’s eight years older than I am, so I feel like I grew up like an only child. I never had to fight for attention. I had all the space I wanted. I hung in my room and did my thing. Most likely, I’m socially retarded and don’t even know it.

Because of my husband, I probably have a larger group of friends (and/or acquaintances) than I would otherwise—which is probably good for a hermit like me—but my core group is still small. Tiny. Miniscule. Infinitesimal. And because of him I am probably less shy (but not much) than I used to be because I’m forced to to actually speak to people. People I don’t know. Oh the horror!

I realize I’m a bit obsessed with this topic at the moment. In some ways I feel like I’m finally busting out of my shell (it’s only taken 38 years). As I wrote in an earlier post, I’m ready to take more chances and be more creative. I’m like Madonna (I heart Madonna)—reinventing myself! I guess part of that is being more open—not just to new people (or even old people) but to new experiences because you never know who you’ll meet or what will happen.

Just don’t e-mail me for a recommendation!