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V is for Validation

Okay, it’s that time.

What time?

You know what time.  Resolution time.

This year I’m keeping it simple.  None of this “I’m going to read 587 best-selling novels, earn a 43% pay increase (which in my case wouldn’t actually be that difficult at this point), and have a body like Jillian Michaels by the end of the year” bullshit.

Nope.  My resolution is to make myself worthy of mention in my mom’s 2011 holiday letter.  And not just a quickie single-line nod to the fact that I’m still alive, either.  I want an actual, unskimmable, entire blurb – or maybe even a paragraph – the kind filled with an unmistakable tone of pride on the part of the writer – about a positive aspect of my life.

An accomplishment.

This is not because I want notoriety or depend on my mom’s holiday letter for validation about my life.  I want to do something for me.  I want to not feel like I’m failing.  And okay, maybe I do need to see it in the letter for validation.

The proof of the fact that I need to pick things up came when I realized the only mention of me in my mother’s 946-word holiday letter email – the one she sent to all of her friends and family – is right after she announced that one of her (practically) step daughters is pregnant and it’s the best thing ever except that it’s not because my mom and Ed are not actually married and I guess that means she won’t “officially” be a grandmother because in order for that to happen, one of the children she bore from her womb and whose butts she lovingly wiped and whose noses she lovingly sucked free of boogers with one of those booger-sucking devices would need to have his or her own child and lovingly wipe its butt and suck boogers from its nose.  In other words, I would need to get pregnant.  Or my unmarried (but totally awesome) little sister.  Or my unmarried (but totally awesome) older brother.  Except he’s gay so there’s even less chance that he’ll get pregnant.  AND he’s a guy so actually there’s zero chance he’ll get pregnant.

So what was I saying?

Oh yeah.  I know that I need to work on accomplishing something because the only mention of me in my mom’s letter is how she’s keeping her fingers crossed that I’ll give her a grandbaby one day, but her guess is that Ed’s other daughter will be next.  That’s it.  And it’s justified because I really did not do anything worth mentioning in 2010.  Except the Costa Rica thing.  That was kinda cool.

And for the record, Ed’s daughters really are great.  They’re really nice people and they do things like… you know… visit Ed and my mom.  So they have that going.  And they want to have babies.

I suppose I wouldn’t have to actually get pregnant to earn a more notable mention in the holiday letter.  Which is good, because I have no intention of doing that any time soon.  Finding a job – especially a job that means something – would probably do the trick.  Or maybe if I make an important discovery or save someone’s life or become the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest wearing nothing but my Uggs and a smile.

And now enough of this emo crap, am I right?  This will be a year of happiness.

So while I’ll admit that I might have lost some of my earlier resolve over the holidays by distracting myself with red wine and peanut butter balls, rest assured that I’m back in the game.  The résumé update starts January 1st.  Possibly the 2nd if I’m too hung over on the 1st.  But you get the idea.

What are some of your New Year resolutions?

*Disclaimer: I am NOT blaming my mom for my lack of mention in her letter about HER year! I’m simply using it as a testament to the fact that this year I need to do… more.

Tupac and I Have Something in Common…

We’re both not dead.

Ok, actually Tupac might be.  But I’m not.

So what, praytell, caused my whole month-long, shrouded-in-mystery absence from the blogosphere (PS:  I totally hate that word and can’t believe I just used it)?

Some of you might have suspected that I finally got popped by a drug kingpin for all my years of sordid dealings.  Some of you might have suspected that I snapped under the pressure of the holidays and am now in jail serving a five-year sentence for committing aggravated assault in a grocery store with a bin of discounted Christmas wrapping paper tubes.  (Haha, and how much fun would it be to just whale on unsuspecting patrons with those suckers??)

And some of you might have completely forgotten that I even existed on this blog.

All of which are entirely likely conclusions, but wrong nonetheless.

Turns out, I’ve just been… busy.  I know, way less interesting reason, right?  Feel free to make up your own, much more exciting tale about what happened to me.  I recommend working in UFOs and a secret CIA conspiracy that I cunningly uncover.

Anyhoo, I can’t promise that I’m not going to disappear again ’cause I’m feelin’ squirrely, folks.  Squirrely and flaky.



In fact, this might be the only post you get from me for a while because I’ve got job-hunting and apartment-hunting (our lease is up in February so we’re moving… again… frick.) and all sorts of other shenanigans requiring my immediate attention so I’ve got to start paring down my obligations to the bare essentials for the time being.

Rest assured, though–even though I’m too scattered to be clever or dependable or available to entertain you on a semi-weekly basis right now, know that I have mad love for you all.

I’ll try to make it up to you at some point down the road when things settle the eff down, but I’ll totally understand if you decide to get all bitter about it and snub me like the son does to the father in that “Cat’s in the Cradle” song.  Stupid, non-catch-playing father.  Serves you right, jerk.

Anyhoo, until then, keep your noses clean, bellies full and hearts happy.

And now, I will leave you with some words of wisdom from the famed poet-rapper, Tupac:

“Every other city we go, every other vi-de-o
No matter where I go, I see the same hoe.”

Well-said, Mr. Shakur.  Well-said.

Somewhere in Middle America…

Well, I’m here.  I’ve been here for a while now.




Omaha, Nebraska.

You know… Omaha Steaks.  The Cornhuskers.  Wait, they’re in Lincoln.  But Omaha has the College World Series.  And umm… Omaha Steaks.

My family moved here when I was in seventh grade, but we (my mother, father and sister), have each since scattered to stake claims in other states across this vast country.  My mom is currently conquering the arid, rugged, natural beauty of the west; my dad is likely freezing his nuts off in the frigid north; my sister’s getting sun-drunk on the sandy surface of our southernmost beaches; and I’ve been hugging tight to the east coast for quite some time now.

Justin’s family, on the other hand, is still here.  His parents were born here (or thereabouts), and many of his siblings will likely stay here and raise their own kids here and their kids will probably grow up to raise their own kids here as well.

It’s that kind of place.

It eats families like mine alive, but the strong ones – the ones with a backbone and the will to survive – tend to thrive in a place like this.

You know what I forgot until I came back?  Everybody here is all cornfed and happy.  They’re polite.  Seriously.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a rude Nebraskan.  And Omaha is positively exploding with culture.  It may take a while for the trends to get here, but once they do, the citizens are not deprived.  Even the vast suburban expanses are peppered with strip malls and commercial developments offering every convenience imaginable, from sushi and pad Thai to acupuncture and pedicures.  You can usually find what you crave within a fifteen minute drive.

The homes are huge.

It’s truly the epitome of the typical American Dream.

I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing.

But I will tell you that for me, just for today, it was a good thing.  Because I had a craving.  A craving that could only be filled by a restaurant franchise found here in Nebraska, with maybe one or two that have wandered into a couple of the surrounding states.

Yes, it’s fast-food.  But I’m still in full-on Christmas Vacation binge mode and you can’t make me feel guilty.  I won’t let you.

And this, my friends, was pure indulgence.

Picture, if you will, a fluffy pastry pocket.  Warm, doughy, and baked to perfection.  The pastry pocket is stuffed with a variety of ground beef, cheeses, and any other ingredient they have available whose taste you wish to explore.  Today for me, it was a lovely mushroom and swiss combination.

And the fries?  Crinkled perfection.


This is a Runza sandwich.  (For some reason mine was split down the side instead of the traditional pocket.  If any native Omaha-ans are reading this, could you please explain this phenomenon?  Is this a new thing they’re doing, or is it some freakish accident unwittingly prescribed to my sandwich by a knife-wielding Runza kitchen newbie?)

If you ever find yourself inexplicably wandering around this flat state I once called home, you simply must go find yourself a Runza restaurant and buy a Runza sandwich.

Then you must eat it.

But now that the Runza is safely (I hope) making its way through my digestive tract, I’m discovering there’s not much else here for me.  To Justin, this is still home – the place that fills him with feelings of nostalgia and warmth and recognition every time he returns.  His parents still live in the home in which he grew up.  The familiar smells of his dad’s cooking are still found in the same kitchen; the lighthearted sound of his mom’s laugh is still found in the same halls.

If this is something you have, then you know what I’m talking about.  If this is something you don’t have, then you really know what I’m talking about.  Missing something you can’t get back is a bit harder than missing something you can.  And it’s a hell of a lot harder than missing something you never had.

I lose a little interest here every time I come.  I never drive past my old house.  I don’t visit the same bars or restaurants.  I don’t see anyone from high school.  My phone doesn’t ring anymore when I’m in town.

Is that strange?  Or is that healthy moving on?

I don’t know how I feel about it anymore.

I don’t feel about it anymore.

In their song so aptly called Omaha, I think the Counting Crows said it best about this place that to me, once felt like the center of the universe – a thriving fairground with bright lights and brand new roller coasters and the best funnel cakes in three states but has since, only in my mind, turned to a state of dilapidated neglect and disrepair:

I think you better turn your ticket in
And get your money back at the door.

Casinos and Oreos and Gators – Oh My!

Merry Christmas Eve!

I’m supposed to be getting ready for holiday festivities and travel.  I’m supposed to be doing laundry so I actually have clean garments to sport in front of family and friends who aren’t accustomed to the grime-encrusted Katie I learned to be comfortable with while living in Costa Rica.  I’m supposed to be cleaning my house because I have this freakish NEED to come home to a clean house after I leave for a bit so I’m less tempted to just dump my crap all over the floor.  (And if someone were to break in while I’m gone, it would be so embarrassing for him to see what slobs we are.  Not that we have anything worth stealing.  Unless you like framed personal photos and broken electronics.)

So what am I doing instead?  Why, perusing Facebook, my favorite blogs, and writing this post, of course.  While sitting in front of the fire.  It’s too cold to work!


I miss Costa Rica.


I miss Florida.

Wine – I mean Whine.

Aside from the first rainy day, the weather was perfect in south Florida.  It was so nice to get out of the house and do some of my favorite things – things having anything to do with socializing with strangers I don’t need to impress, relaxing with an excellent draft while listing to live music (by the way, I definitely found a local Miami band whose sound I really enjoyed – Gluttonous Feast), tasting new kinds of food, and finding new appreciation for nature and the beauty that’s always surrounding us.

Oh, and I got to see Christmas with palm trees.

This is Gluttonous Feast.  Kinda jazzy, chill… pretty much perfect for my mood that night.

Gluttonous Feast

Took this photo with my phone.

We also hit the Hard Rock Casino.  My sister was so excited when she stuck $1 into a machine and $20 came out.  I was less thrilled when I stuck $5 in a machine and $0 came out.

But that didn’t stop me from playing the giant guitar.

I wasn’t as good as Gluttonous Feast.

But I think my favorite part of the entire trip was our visit to the Everglades National Park.

There were lots of turtles…

Everglades Turtle

And some really groovy birds…

And gators.

Oh yes, there were gators.

Grinning, sunbathing, apparently Florida sun-drunk gators who – thank God – were only too happy to pose for pictures without biting my face off.

Did I ever tell you that I used to catch alligators as part of my job when I worked for the Air Force in Georgia?  No?  Well I did.  But I’ll admit I felt a little less comfortable this time without any equipment or the people who did all the actual gator-catching work along with me (Hey guys, I know you read this sometimes!).

We couldn’t have asked for better weather to enjoy the trails and explore the park…

And pose for silly photo-ops.

Even though it was a little cool outside, we still made sure we hit the beach.

The beach had crack.

And we tested our athleticism by going kayaking.

We may or may not have knocked over a directional sign and gotten lost.

The park guide may or may not have had to get on his boat to come find us.

We may or may not have been covered in river muck.

But in the end, we emerged triumphant.

And only a little sore.

Before I left Florida, my sister took me to a bar and forced me to eat fried Oreos.

That’s right – Oreos battered and deep-fried and served with ice cream and a rich chocolate drizzle.  You know, because they weren’t rich enough.

Blurry picture taken with  my phone.

They were so gross.

But so good.

Much like I probably would have tasted to this gator.


Getting into the Spirit(s)

I’m back from Miami!  I would’ve tried to write a post while I was there – really I would have – but it turns out yet another one of my electronic devices has decided to fail me.  Yep, my netbook took a clue from Cee Lo and said f*** you to all the abuse I’ve been putting it through.  Or maybe it just didn’t like being dropped onto a cold tile floor.  Who’s to know?

I’ll have more on the Miami trip for you soon.  (There were ‘gaters!)

But right now it seems like I’m scrambling, just like everyone else, to get ready for Christmas.  Except in my case, “getting ready” entails popping vitamin C as often as Courtney Love pops Adderall in order to hopefully prevent that nasty travel sickness people seem to contract on planes, making appetizers for a mouth-watering Christmas Eve FEAST at the home of one of my bestest friends in the world, and of course getting into the Christmas spirit by consuming various Christmas spirits, including (but definitely not limited to) red wine, coffee with Bailey’s, spiked eggnog, etc.


Is That a Vagina on Your Kindle, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Funny story.

*It’s pertinent to note that I typed this yesterday while on the plane to Miami.  You’ll see why this is pertinent in a minute.

But before I get to the story, I’m gonna talk a little about my new Kindle.  Go ahead and skip down to point #4 if you want to get straight to the story.

Remember how I told you I won that Kindle at the Christmas party?  If you’re not sure what a Kindle is, I’m sure you’re not alone – I had only a vague idea before I owned one of my very own, and I wasn’t even sure it was something I’d want until it was something I had.  It’s basically a flat, lightweight electronic reading device.  You can buy and download books from, and an instant later it’s magically uploaded to the Kindle.  The screen is not bright like a computer.  It’s strange and wondrous and for the most part, I like it.  Especially for travel.

Except also not.

Because while it makes it easy to carry about ten-gagillion books with you while weighing next to nothing, it does have a few notable downsides:

1.  You have to turn off all electronic devices while the plane is taking off and landing.  I like to read while the plane is taking off and landing.  A Kindle is an electronic device.

2.  Buying electronic books doesn’t save you a considerable amount of money.  I’ve noticed they’re a few dollars less than brand new ink-on-paper books on Amazon, but you can actually find the used ink-on-paper books for less than an electronic book.  Also, as far as I can tell, I can’t loan my electronic books to my friends.  I suppose this could be a good thing if your friends like to steal your books, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

3.  No one can see the title of the book you’re reading.  Of course, in some cases this could probably save you considerable embarrassment if you’re reading something like The Gossip Girl series (it’s a vice, don’t judge).  But when you feel like you’re reading something that makes you look intelligent, you want people to notice, you know?  You want people to look at you and say, “Oooh.  She’s reading Sophie’s Choice.  I heard that’s a doozy.  She must be really intelligent.”  What’s more, letting people see the title of your book could also save you from embarrassment (see point 4).

4.  Story time. I was sitting at my gate in the Raleigh airport waiting for my flight to board, when this very pleasant-looking Indian woman (dot, not feather) walked up with her bags on a cart and sat down next to me.  She looked a little lonely, so we chatted awhile until we reached that inevitable point of conversation between most strangers when we ran out of things to say.  So I pulled the Kindle out of my bag, turned it on, and asked her whether she’d ever used one.  See, she travels quite frequently for her job, and I hadn’t yet fully learned the downsides of traveling with a Kindle.  So far I’d been pretty thrilled with it.

She said she’d never used one, so I handed it to her so she could take a closer look.

And here’s where it gets dicey.

What I forgot is that I had recently started reading, Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut.

What I forgot is that the Kindle opens to the page where you last left off.

What I forgot is that on the page I’d last read, Kurt (we’ve been on a first-name basis since I read and fell in love with his short story Harrison Bergeron in the 8th grade) was talking explicitly about womens’ panties and the body parts found therein.

And, my friends, what I forgot is that there were illustrations.

That’s right.  The friendly woman who had just expressed that she thought I was one of the nicest people she’d ever met in an airport, found herself, quite surprisingly, face-to-bush when I handed her my Kindle.

Luckily, the drawing looked more like a tree than a vag.

I think.  (Although my sister and her roommate have since confirmed that it does, in fact, look like a vag.)

I hope she didn’t read anything before I snatched it back from her.  (I realize that snatched is a poor choice of words to use here, considering the context, but it’s already there and I can’t, for some reason, bring myself to delete it.  Mature, Katie.)  But I hope she didn’t read anything because the text really wouldn’t have helped my case.

The only thing that would have helped my case is a clearly visible book title, my friends – a title that proved I was reading a novel by one of the most renowned authors of our time – not a smutty porn book with illustrations that appeared to be drawn by crayon-wielding children, for crying out loud.  Children who like to draw vaginas. (Not that there’s anything wrong with smutty porn.  Not at all.  In fact, smutty porn is a perfectly healthy way to indulge your fantasies, in my humble opinion.  It just doesn’t necessarily belong in an airport, you know?)

As I type this, I’m sitting in the window seat on the plane and I have what appears to be a 15 or 16 year old boy sitting next to me, and his mother is sitting next to him.  I hope he’s not reading over my shoulder.  Damn, why can’t I read or write something appropriate for nosy onlookers?

I want to continue reading Breakfast of Champions, but all of the asshole drawings, which look something like this: * and take up two-thirds of the Kindle screen, might attract my seat mate’s attention even more than this lil’ blog post.  But you know, I guess wouldn’t be too embarrassed if he did read what I’m writing, because his mom is reading, What Your Son Isn’t Telling You: Unlocking the World of Teen Boys right in front of him.  And that, to me, is more embarrassing than an innocent asshole illustration or two.

And now I realize: I wouldn’t be judging her if she were using a Kindle.

HGTV Lies!

This post is about painting.  And Florida.  But not about painting in Florida, because that would be silly.

I’m leaving tomorrow for some much-needed sister love in Miami.  As evidenced by the pasty, translucent skin of my underarm in the above photo, my sister isn’t the only one I’m craving to see.  Oh Sun, how I’ve missed you!  My Costa Rica tan lines are but a faint shadow of their former selves.  I look outside my window and everything is gray.  I need your vibrancy and colors back in my life.

But more on that in a minute.

First, I must dispel a vicious lie – a lie that’s been portrayed to innocent HGTV viewers over, and over and over again.  Even if you don’t watch HGTV, it’s likely you’re still a victim of this heinous untruth, because it’s often unwittingly spread by various self-proclaimed home improvement experts (aka. people who watch HGTV on a regular basis) to their unsuspecting friends and family.

And here it is, the thing you’re likely to hear at least once during any given hour of HGTV viewing:

Painting a room in your home is one of the EASIEST and LEAST EXPENSIVE things you can do to improve its aesthetic and value.  Oh, and don’t worry if you paint the room and hate the color, because guess what?  You can always paint it AGAIN!  Yippee!!

I just have one thing to say:  Clearly, anyone who can speak these words with any type of honest conviction has never painted an entire room by him/herself.

Okay, I have more than one thing to say, so I’m just gonna say it.  Painting takes work, my friends.  It takes foresight, furniture removal, special tools, patience, and often a certain type of meticulous skill for which most people are unprepared because they’re continuously lied to about just how easy it is!

And inexpensive?  Not really.  You need to invest in decent brushes that won’t expel bristles into your paint, paint that properly cooperates with your walls, painter’s tape (if you don’t trust yourself to cleanly cut-in without getting paint on your trim), drop cloths (if you don’t trust yourself not to spill), a roller tray, and rollers.  Depending on the size of your room, all of this can add up.

And unless you have a painting buddy, it takes a bit of time and can be difficult to stay motivated.

Quick note about the above photo:  Clearly, I have no concern about using a drop cloth because that carpet needs to be replaced anyway.  And that weird beige thing my dog is sitting on?  That’s the wingless, legless, headless remains of a rubber chicken.  And the purple bits scattered around the floor?  Let’s just say the rubber duck fared even worse than the chicken.

Have I thoroughly discouraged you from painting yet?  Okay, I’m sorry.  That wasn’t my intention.  If it’s any consolation, I’ve painted most of the rooms in our house (Justin does the ceilings – lucky guy).  It’s totally doable.  I’m just tired of seeing people go into the project with unrealistic expectations.

When I get back from Miami, I’ll write up a nice little post about some of the painting tricks I’ve learned over the past few years.  When you know what you’re doing, the task isn’t terribly daunting.  And with the proper skill, you can save a bit of money on supplies.  BUT, if you’re anything like me, you still wouldn’t exactly call it fun.

What would I call fun?  Visiting my little sister in Miami!

It’s been over a year since I visited Kelly, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this trip.

Last time I rode a boat.

And looked at Christmas lights.

And almost got in a fight with a feisty Latina.  I don’t care how old you are – cutting in line is simply not cool.  But that’s a story for another time.

Who knows what Miami has in store for me this year?  All I know is there will be drinks.  There will be music.  And there will be CAKE, because my baby sister is turning 24!

Catch ya on the flip-side.

I Could Drive a Long Long Way and Not Even Have the Gas to Make it Back

Last night I was alone.  I was alone (which is really not too unusual), and at one very distinct point I found myself somewhere on that uncomfortable teeter-totter line between laughing and crying.  It was uncomfortable because I really don’t like to cry, no matter how good it makes me feel.  And creepy because laughing when you’re alone is just weird.  Ask the Joker.

I had a really great fire, a couple of cozy warm dogs, a glass of cabernet… it really was the epitome of relaxation.

But I thought I wanted to cry because I honestly was feeling a little sorry for myself – despite the awesome words of encouragement you gave me both in the comments on my last post via other venues.  But then I went and looked at the stats of this site, and I almost had to laugh.  You see, yesterday I had over three times more hits than most any other day I’ve posted in the last few weeks.  I can only guess that people saw the first few sentences of my post on the link I posted to Facebook – the sentences that stated what a colossal, epic failure I’ve been as of late – and they just had to come see what that was all about.

And that, my friends, is why I love you.

After all, isn’t that how we ultimately make ourselves better people?  By learning from our own mistakes and those of others?

So really.  It was funny.  In such a good and relieving way.  Like, okay… so maybe I’m screwing up right now.  Maybe I just stepped on a big fat bag of poo to put out the fire and you’re all standing around watching me try to scrape the poo off my shoe, but it’s okay because I know now that none of you will make the same mistake.  Should you ever find yourself in the same situation, you’ll dump water on the bag.  Or beat the fire out with an old towel.  But you will not, under any circumstances, stamp that fire out with your shoe.  And if you do, at least I will be able to say, when your shoe too is covered in poo, that I told you so.

To top it all off, “Sexx Laws” by Beck came on the satellite station.  Tell me – how can anyone be in a bad mood when listening to that song?  Hadn’t heard it in ages.  Totally made my night.

Then later this one came on.  And I seriously made me feel like luck was on my side, you know?  The Lithium gods really knew what I wanted to hear.

And of course, that made me think of this, which is even better:

And wow, maybe I really am old.

So thanks to you, and thanks to Beck, and thanks to the Refreshments, I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay.  And I’m thinking this whole “honesty on the blog” thing might not be a bad way to go.  I mean… it kind of sucks to put all your weaknesses and failures out there for the world to see, but it kind of sucks in a good way.

Like shock therapy by way of intense humiliation.

Especially when it comes to my horrible taste in music.

And that can’t be all bad, right?

Hard to Admit

Lately have I not only been failing, but I’ve been failing with apparent epic resolve.  I mean, when I make up my mind to do something, I’m really going to do it, you know?

Friday night we attended that military holiday party.  It was warm and decadent and a lot of people went to a lot of trouble to make sure we had a good time – which I did, thanks in large part to the 3 complimentary vodka collins’ I consumed during dinner.  I was smiley and sociable with some very accomplished and genuinely interesting people.  I even won a Kindle as a door prize, and I didn’t even trip when I made my way to the front of the ballroom to graciously accept the gift.  All-in-all, I held it together.

So why do I feel like I failed?  Maybe because even after all of the mingling and smiling and networking, I still didn’t really feel like I fit in.  I wasn’t the perfect military spouse winning points for her husband by charming his superiors and singing his praises.  I didn’t have to run off every 5 minutes to check on our kids in the daycare room and then regale everyone at the dinner table with tales of their latest naughty-yet-adorable escapade.  I didn’t bond with the other spouses by complaining about how hard it is when he deploys.  Hell, I deployed myself not too long ago.

It’s not like these things are requirements for Justin to succeed at his job.  Trust me, he doesn’t need my help when it comes to doing well in the military – but me having the drive to do those things certainly wouldn’t hurt.  Could I really be jealous that he’s got it figured out and I’m still floundering?  That it seems like the only way I can measure my own accomplishments anymore is by being a cheerleader and pillar of support for his advancement?  It’s not true, but it’s how I’ve let myself start to think over the past five years.

It’s not easy for me to write this and then post it out there for everyone to see.  It’s an admission of weakness, and the person I set out to become after high school graduation wouldn’t have allowed herself such a mediocre performance.

Somewhere along the way I lost sight of the girl who ventured from her home in Nebraska to attend a challenging little liberal arts college in the wondrous and as-of-then uncharted land of Ohio; the girl who quit school her sophomore year and moved back to Nebraska in an (apparently unsuccessful) attempt to bandage the bleeding wounds of her family; who served bottomless soup and salad to ladies who lunched during the day and bottomless pints of draft to men who drank at night to fund a month-long road trip through America’s western mountains and deserts; who ate warm Nutella crepes in freezing rain at the base of the Eiffel Tower; who followed a boy to Georgia and finished a degree with honors in Environmental Geoscience (whatever that is) with big plans to travel and not only change the world, but to change it but good.

Losing sight of the person we were in our youth is something that’s supposed to happen to other people – blissfully content stay-at-home moms, successful career people, and cheesy narrators of wistful indie films.  Not me.

Which is probably why I quit my job to live in Costa Rica.  I wanted that feeling back.  But I failed – am failing – because there’s something I just don’t seem to be getting.  I’ve taken baby steps towards change, rolled the boulder to the top of the damn mountain, but I can’t figure out where I’m supposed to go from here.  I kept hoping that dream job – that one inspirational idea – would slap me in the face and all would be right with the world.

But waiting for a sign is foolish.  It’s lazy.  Apparently I’m going to have to work for the things I want in this life, just like everyone else.  But what if I spend all this time making a decision, following it to accomplish my goals, and then it turns out to be the wrong choice?  I guess that’s life.  And there it is, the ultimate and unavoidable cliché.  We try something and see if it works.  And if it doesn’t, then I guess we adjust and try again.

So right now I’m failing.  I’m failing because I only went halfway with my resolve to fix my job situation.  It’s time to embrace the fail, kiss it goodbye, push the boulder off the top of the mountain and see where it lands.  Ready or not résumé, here I come.

Let’s Try this Again

So I completely forgot to mention earlier, while I was busy distracting you with big, brown puppy-dog eyes, that I’m venturing back to Pinehurst again tonight for some more fanciful hob-knobbery.

Pinehurst Resort

Except this time, instead of having to fight off the grown-up advances of Assistant Golf Professionals and eye insulting Mr. Rodgers sweaters, I’ll be forced to mingle with high-ranking military types and their spouses.

The good news is that Justin is taking me to a pre-party so I can fully prepare for an evening of fake smiling ’till my mouth hurts. (aka. Get just tipsy enough so the fake smile appears real enough to be convincing, but not so much that I forget to address his superiors as “Sir” or tell his boss – again – not to refer to me as “Mom” when he’s talking about me in front of my face because I am most certainly not a mom and I find his use of the endearment to be offensive at worst and condescending at best.  Not that that’s happened before.  Ever.)

I would probably try to beg out of the event completely except for the fact that I am so craving contact with actual people that I almost hugged the cashier at Food Lion the other day when she looked me in the eye and told me I’d saved $1.73 by using my Very Important Customer card.  And I think she intentionally grazed my hand when she handed me my receipt.

Plus, I was told there would be a medley of buffet-style delicacies, including but not limited to: spinach and lollo rosso with cherry tomatoes, sweet onions and Roquefort cheese; oysters and clams on a half shell; carved sirloin with mushrooms and truffle crust; tequila and cilantro pesto crusted Atlantic salmon; buttermilk and Gruyère whipped potatoes; vanilla iced spice cake; and of course, Tar Heel pie.

And if you know nothing about me, know that I’m a sucker for decadent food I would not otherwise be able to afford if I weren’t a) attending a wedding; b) attending a work function; or c) stealing it off of the plates while waiting tables at a fancy restaurant.

So now, thinking about the food, I’m starting to get a little excited.

Although I suppose I’ll have to sew that blasted dangling button back on my peacoat before we leave.  Luckily I’m a self-taught expert at button sewing.  Oh, and I might need to scrounge up something to wear besides jeans, no matter how good they look.  The Pinehurst Police likely have a jeans-wearing photo of me from last time and there’s no way in hell they’ll let me get away with it twice.

It’s Pinehurst, baby.  Go plaid or go home.