Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why, oh why, hasn't he called?

I'm waiting for a phone call.

And I jump every time my phone rings with its distinct "outside call" ring.

I got an e-mail last week and this person said he would call me sometime this week, to set something up for next week.

He hasn't called yet.

I hesitate to elaborate because I'm such a superstitious person. I don't want to jinx myself.

Sometimes. I. Really. Hate. My. Job.

Deep breath.

I was given the task of working with student affairs on a website showcasing the college's diversity initiatives. No one wanted to take ownership. No one wanted our office to get involved. No one felt the need that the design, production, writing or editing go through our office. So I went off, hired an outside vendor, worked with the client to work on copy. I shared the slow progress in update meetings. The site is almost ready to be launched. Now...people want to have an opinion. Now they feel the need that we bring in focus groups about the actual need for this site, which by the way was a need the president felt.

I just want the damned thing up and launched. You didn't want to get involved three months ago. You don't get a vote now.

Then...I just spent an hour, in a meeting, listening to people bitch about our boss, bitch about the way our office is run, bitch about how they are going into our office retreat next week "fearless," and ready to unload all their frustrations with the system, our boss, etc.

Calgon...take me away.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

J, of Baltimore fame, Part 2

Ellie wrote:
Hey, How was your Thanksgiving? I had my parents' anniversary party on the 19th --and it was a huge success (would you expect anything less with me planning it?) And the Cal picture went over big, as well. My father's exact words after I made the presentation: "that's going in the living room." I've attached a couple pics (me, my brother & dad; and me reading the inscription). Hope all is well....I'll let you know the next time I'm driving through. Talk to you soon, Ellie

Very cool...I am so glad it was a big hit. Sorry about the screw up last time you were in time, I owe you!

Not a problem. And by the way, I send you a picture of me looking stunning in a dress that showcases my best asset and you say nothing?! So hurt...

Why do you think I was eagerly mentioning your next visit to Baltimore!!!!

Aahh...I will actually be driving through right before Christmas, probably on the 22nd. But you'll probably be in NJ, right?

Not until the 23rd...yippee!

Cool! Schedule me in...I'll let you know what time I should be through, but I'm guessing mid-day, early afternoon.

Good, bring the dress.

Sweetheart, we won't need the dress!

Outstanding answer!

I've Awoken the Sleeping Giant

Chris called today. Not entirely out of the blue, I guess. I've opened the door and he's walking through. He asked me if he "scratched my itch."

He's so cocky, I felt I needed to knock him down a little. "I guess so."

He pretended to be wounded, and I didn't respond. I launched into how I actually had to buy something with my own money at Old Navy this weekend (he still owes me a gift card for doing his invitations last month) and stories of the great success of the anniversary party and how I was the "belle of the ball," garnering lots of attention at the new me.

He was happy that it went so well and that I had a good time. And then he tried to subtly move into the entire reason for his call. "I should be in Ithaca again in December. Should I plan to stop by?"

I know what everyone is hoping the answer will be. I hate to disappoint, but I said okay. On my defense, I do have a busy month (mammogram, two full days of computer training, going to Syracuse to watch the baby for one full day, a department retreat, the campus holiday party, the building holiday party, and of course, not to mention actual work). I really can't see how I could possibly squeeze in a visit. We'll see.

Monday, November 28, 2005

An Interesting Development...

...though I'm not sure what, if anything, it means. My friend Dayna, at work, is having her annual holiday party. I got an e-mail from her husband this morning with the invite. Before I could RSVP to his e-mail, she e-mailed me to find out if I am coming. I told her yes.

Then a couple hours later, I got an e-mail from her friend Gary -- the guy that she knew that happened across my picture on, we had a nice telephone conversation and then one week later, he was "seriously involved" with someone else, and that was that (see "The Window Closed," 9/15/05).

Anyway, back to Gary...I got an e-mail from him:

Subject line: Hi Ellie -- from Dayna's friend Gary
Just wanted to drop you a note and say hi and see how your Thanksgiving went with your big family. Also hopefully you'll be able to attend Andy and Dayna's Christmas Party on the 10th. Look forward to seeing you there, Gary

Have I been burned so many times that I'm completely suspicious about this note dropping out of the blue? Am I nuts to be so cynical about this? To think that it wasn't written in the spirit it was intended? And if that's the case, what was the spirit it was intended? What is his ulterior motive?

I guess I won't find out until the 10th at Dayna's house. In the meantime, I truly don't know how to respond to his e-mail. Or if I should at all.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stay Gold, Ponyboy

I woke up early again on Saturday -- too early. But again, I was in event mode. Finally, I got out of bed about 7:30 and went to the hotel gym. My brother joined me 15 minutes later. We worked out for about an hour. I knew that by the middle of the day (before my adrenaline and second wind kicked in, I would be thoroughly exhausted).

After breakfast with my sister and brother-in-law from California and my brother and sister-in-law from Alaska, Tiffany and I killed time at the mall before our hair appointment. By the time we got back to the hotel, my parents were there as well and Jenny and the baby. It was hurry up and wait time again. We wouldn't be able to get into the room to decorate until after 5.

My hair was done. My make-up was done. I would just need to throw my dress on at the last minute. My sister arrived with two car-loads of decorations around 5. We walked down to the banquet room and saw that it was nowhere close to being ready for us. Panic set in just a little. We set to work about 5:30 -- swags on the walls, bows on the centerpieces, setting up the placecards, the easal, the cake and gift tables, making sure the TV and VCR worked, and hiding the boxes and bags that we carried everything in.

I ran down to the hotel room at 5:55. Reuben and Tiffany followed me. Tiffany ran interference while my brother and I changed, backs to each other. It was so late that I didn't even care. grabbed my purse and back down to the room. At this point, everyone was gathering. I had told them all to be ready and in the lobby by 6 for pictures, hadn't I?

My mother had told me the day before that Sue and Frank would be there between 6 and 6:30. I tried not to let it bother me. And at this point, I was happy for the delay. My father kept calling me the "cruise director" and asking me what I needed him to do. I herded everyone into the lobby. Sue wasn't there yet and Sammi was still getting dressed, having put the finishing touches on the room.

I yelled for the grandchildren on the stairs. And the papparazzi took over. Flash, flash, flash. Then add Dan and Ryan. More flashes went off. Brenna and Erin (my god-sisters). Flash, flash. Throw my parents in the picture. Sue and Frank arrived -- I grabbed Angie and made her go with me to say hello to them. Frank's mother was pleasant enough. Frank said, "hi Ellie," (the only words he would speak to me the entire evening). And my sister nodded hello. Deep breath.

When Sammi got down to the lobby, we took pictures of the eight kids. We added my parents. More flashes than I could count, and who knew where to look?! Then the fun -- the entire family, on the stairs. It was crazy. I knew no one would listen to me. Organized chaos, at best. They piled on the stairs in their own order. Brenna and Erin and the priest took pictures. Then just the priest. And then he joined in the picture and an innocent bystander took a picture. Ok, time to party.

My sister Kathy, who brought the sound system, and I walked down to the room to make sure they were ready for us. It was about 6:45. We started the music and I ran back to the lobby with a quick arm sweep.

My parents were in all their glory. They stod by the door and greeted everyone as they arrived. There was some last-minute tabling shuffling -- my aunt sat with my sister's mother-in-law. My mom wanted the priest at their table. No problem.

Sue came up to me while I was getting a beer. "You need to get some rolls on the table. Frank (who is a diabetic) can't wait until dinner. This is ridiculous. Tell somebody." It wasn't the fact that she was asking me -- well in fact, she wasn't asking, she was telling -- it was her tone. Like, "I found a flaw in your party -- fix it."

I asked the banquet manager for a basket of bread for table 1. It actually worked out well -- Jenny was able to get Ryan to sit for a little while and have something to eat. I had given out most of the refund money (I hadn't needed to use all $350 from each person) the night before or during the day. I gave Kathy hers and told her that there was an extra $100 in there for the video production. She was very thankful. I knew that she had paid her production man out of her own pocket, but we had only budgeted a certain amount. With some extra money left over, I was able to give her more for it.

I went over to Sue. "Here's $30 -- I didn't use all the money. So I was able to give everyone some money back." Do you think I could have gotten a thank you? Nope. "Oh, okay. Good." Oh, okay. Good? What kind of shit response is that?! UGH!!!

At the end of cocktails, my brother Mike gave a toast. Kathy introduced each of the family members. And then Father Ahern came up with my parents. He asked the eight of us to join them -- girls on one side, boys on the other. We stood in brith order, which means I had to stand next to Sue. But I looked fabulous on the end.

And then we ate. After dinner, my niece and nephew recited the Irish blessing. Reuben told a funny family story and gave out silly t-shirts to my dad and brothers. I followed with my present, which I hoped garnered some ooh's and aah's. I was too focused on my parents and not tripping over my words to notice.

I said something like, "everyone who knows me knows that I love baseball. So of course my present is baseball related. I have here a picture of my brother's (look towards Bob) favorite baseball player. It is inscribed with the following -- Dick and Fran, congratulations on 18,263 consecutive days of marriage. Cal Ripken Jr. 11-19-05"

My father loved it. When I handed to him, he said, "this is going in the living room." Mission accomplished.

Angie sang next. "Sentimental Journey" -- very appropriate. And sung beautifully. And with her mother's knack for filling dead air (the musical interlude) with self-deprecating humor. Erica danced. An Irish jig. I love to watch her dance. And then the finale -- the video. Six minutes and 42 seconds of family photos. Forty hours of production time on Kathy's part. It was a hit!

The evening went too fast -- I managed to talk to everyone at least once. Though it didn't feel like more than simple catch-ups and how great my parents are (which they are). I also got a lot of "you look great's." That felt good. And I managed to not get cold, even though I was practically naked from the waist up, until the evening was almost over. I wore Reuben's suit jacket for a while.

It was an amazing night. I know that my parents had a wonderful time. They were absolutely beaming. I was so busy -- keeping things on track or just simply enjoying myself, I didn't even miss the fact that B was supposed to be there.

I wondered this morning when I got to work if he would ask about it. In fact, I thought that I would be pretty disappointed in him if he didn't. We were both on IM all day. Not a peep out of him. I had a meeting with one of the deans in the afternoon -- and even he asked if the party was a success. And then a meeting with B at 4. Nada. What a boy!

But I won't let him ruin my memories -- so much fun with my family. And what made it special was that everyone was there. Not just the siblings, but there spouses and kids. The last time that happened, Tiffany and I figured out was Christmas 1990. The last time the siblings were together -- and I have a picture of the eight of us in my office -- was when my grandmother died in 1994. But when the out-of-towners came home, the didn't bring their spouses or kids.

So to have all eight kids, and their seven spouses, and all eight grandchildren, plus one spouse and great-grandchild; the local in-laws -- three mothers-in-law and a father-in-law; two godchildren; and my dad's sister was probably a once-in-a-lifetime event.

A Success!

The party was amazing and wonderful and everyone had a great time. And I'm exhausted.

I'll update later in the day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

18,262 days of marriage

The party is tomorrow. My brother is on his way north from Richmond. My sister will be flying from the west coast at some point today, arriving in Syracuse near midnight. And I've been awake since 5:30 this morning, fretting about all I still need to do.

It felt like real "event panic." The kind I used to get before Babe's daughter was coming to town, before the Birthday Bash or Colts Reunion. The kind that wakes me up at an ungodly hour -- an hour that would never see me that wide awake and energized on any normal day. I flipped through channels at first before finnaly giving up on any sort of rest, and then got up and scanned my lists. I made piles of clothes that I need to pack. I went through my jewelry for Jenny to see if she wants to borrow any. I straightened my hair, even though I was only planning a ponytail today. And I've been at work, at my desk, answering e-mails and shifting paper since 7:20am.

Even though I'm working this morning, I feel like my weekend started yesterday. I left Ithaca at 2:30 and drove to Syracuse to babysit Ryan. What a sweet little bundle of love and hugs and kisses -- all wrapped up in his 20-month-old body. And being central New York and November, it snowed. As I was driving back to Ithaca around 8:30 last night, the snow was blowing directly into my headlights, not allowing me to see the white lines of the lanes.

I would have -- should have -- turned back around or gone to my mother's, sister's or brother's for the night. But honestly, I was too afraid to switch lanes. Once I got past Syracuse, and the infamous "snow band," I was fine. There was no snow, no precipitation to speak of. The roads were completely dry and the grass completely green. Twenty minutes of panic was worth sleeping in my own bed and being able to "do stuff" for the weekend at home.

And so my lists have been organized and condensed. My party piles are packed into shopping bags or gift bags. My clothes for the weekend are piled on my bed, waiting to be packed. And my dress hangs in the closet (dear god, do not let me forget my dress!). I have one meeting at 9am, and then I am going to the gym. To work off some adrenaline. To kill some time before my brother arrives in Ithaca. To tire me out so I get a good night's sleep tonight.

Tomorrow, we party. Until then, I'll think. And rethink the details. Over-analyzing everything to ensure a wonderful night for all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I feel pretty...oh so pretty...

...I feel pretty and witty and gay...and I pity...any girl who isn't me today

"You look amazing."

Sigh. That was what I needed. After an adrenaline-filled morning, complete with a presentation to the President and six Vice Presidents, I was ready to go home for an hour or so. He got there about 10 minutes after me, while I was in the middle of eating an apple. I showed him around my house -- we hadn't been together since I lived here. After looking around the downstairs and out back, I got the oh-so-casual, "can I see the rest?"

And then there was the obligatory tour of the computer room/office and the bathroom and the bedroom. Obligatory until he grabbed me by the back of my neck, kissed me and threw me down on the bed. I will let your imaginations go from here. Needless to was good. Very good.

Why I need the validation of a man to feel good about myself is beyond me. But I do. In fact, after the initial "you look amazing," he could have left. It was exactly what I needed. It was what I was missing when I didn't get to see J in Baltimore a few weeks back. It's what is continually missing in my life.

The logical side of my brain tells me that I'm attractive, that I'm pretty. But sometimes when I think that, it feels like my mother telling me I'm pretty. It doesn't count. Moms have to say that. And sometimes, you have to say it yourself. It doesn't feel the same. It doesn't mean the same thing.

To hear a man tell me that I look amazing, that I'm beautiful -- it's what I strive for. To hear a man tell me that I look amazing, to hear that when I'm naked, when he's kissing me -- there isn't an ounce of my being that doesn't believe him. That's what I crave. That's the validation I need. Without it, I feel ugly. I feel unwanted.

And even though I don't want B as my boyfriend, I was truly excited about having him with me at the party on Saturday. I was looking forward to having his arm around the back of my chair, having someone not related to me to dance with. And he pulled the rug out from under me. I want to believe that he truly has a conflict, that he just didn't not want to go, that he didn't get cold feet over the weekend. But even people I know ask that -- "do you think he really had a conflict? Or he just changed his mind?" It -- and their responses to it -- made me feel....icky. How's that for descriptive? It...he....the whole situation....made me feel unwanted.

And that was my frame of mind yesterday morning, when I made that phone call. When I called Chris. Chris -- who is so bad for me. But Chris -- who can be so good, at the same time. And now, even though a part of me is sad -- sad that it's temporary, sad that he won't be there when I get home from work, or there when I go to bed -- the rest of me is satisfied. And happy. And confident. And....pretty.

See the pretty girl in that mirror there? Who can that attractive girl be? Such a pretty face...such a pretty dress...such a pretty smile...such a pretty me!

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

I had a nightmare last night that I overslept and missed my hair appointment for the party. Also left my dress in Ithaca -- the party is in Syracuse. And when I arrived at the hotel, after 6 without a dress and with bad hair, all of my family was on time for family pictures, but they were in their regular jeans and t-shirts because they "decided that we could do pictures later."

Two years of planning and it comes down to being able to get through this week. There is nothing more I can really do. Except wait and then be busy with last-minute stuff. I'm making lists and piles -- it is the only way I can maintain some control and feel organized. This is what brides must go through.

I have a board meeting tonight, at 5:30. So I won't be able to go to the gym. I didn't go on Friday, so I made myself get up at 6 and be on campus, in the gym and on the treadmill by 6:35. No small feat. But I did it. And I did about 40 minutes of cardio. It was hard to not keep watching the clock, figuring out my showering time, getting dressed, moving my car and what time would I be at my desk. Hence, only 40 minutes. But better than nothing.

I feel a little better about the B situation, but not completely. I need some attention. I need to feel wanted. And I needed the quickest way to get over having a date for two days and then suddenly not.

I called Chris. I'm weak, I admit it. But I feel as though I was in complete control of the situation, something that wasn't always the case.

"I need to see you. When will you be down this way?"

I think he was taken aback. "Wasn't I banished?"

"You weren't banished. I was mad at you. You hurt me. I told you. It's over."

"I was banished."

"You weren't. And you're not going to make me feel bad when you were at fault."

So he changed his tactic. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"A girl has needs. You tend to fill those needs quite nicely."

I think he was actually speechless. "Oh really?"

"Yea, I'll admit it. I'm using you for your body. And don't think that you don't have a lot of making up to do for your last performance."

He'll be in Ithaca tomorrow. We're meeting at my house for lunch. I was contemplating a massage before the party to help with the stress. This is much easier. And free.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Four little words..."Good night sweet girl."

I watched parts of "The Wizard of Oz" tonight -- mostly the end. And it made me think of a great line from "Beautiful Girls,"

You let her behind the curtain, I know you did. You never let them behind the curtain Will. You never let them see the little old man behind the curtain working the levers of the great and powerful OZ. They are all sisters Willie... they aren't allowed back there... they mustn't see.

It always makes me laugh. And I think, the sterotype, the cliche, is that women are the inigma, that we are impossible to read, impossible to understand. But in this case, Michael Rappaport's character is turning the tables. Men have secrets, men have "things" about them that women should never know the key to.

Is that true? Perhaps. But I think it has more to do with people being people, then men being men, and women being women. I think back to my longest-lasting relationships -- Chris and Bruce. Both right around 18 months. Neither was ever going to go anywhere. So why did I fall in love with one and not the other?

Because one let me behind the curtain and the other didn't. And I'm not sure which is which, only the difference in the way each approached what was supposed to be a "friends with benefits" relationship only.

Bruce and I saw each other a few times a month, usually for lunch (and I use that term loosely). We also saw each other in work-related instances, where we remained absolutely professional, while occasionally giving each other "fuck me" looks. He was loving and supportive, and made me feel like the only person who mattered when we were together. In all our time together, I bought him one present -- a tie that I happened to see when I was shopping with my brother, and knew how perfectly it would match one of his suits. Several months later, he bought me a present -- a pink, silk nightie from Victoria's Secret. And it was such an "Ellie present," that I so appreciated the thought that went into it. But that was it. That was the only time our relationship strayed beyond any sort of line.

Chris, on the other hand, called me every day at work. Sometimes several times. He made me get emotionally attached to him. We took a few trips together, spending a solid 36 to 48 hours together at a stretch. As if we were a real couple. He paid for everything, even when I insisted on picking up dinner or the movies. We were, at times, living the life of a real couple. Except we weren't. He had another life, without me. One he didn't want me in, one that didn't allow for a commitment.

And while I knew this, and we talked about it, his actions were stronger than his words. His phone calls, his constant attention got to me. And I was soon smitten, and then completely gone. Totally in love with him. It was a hard lesson to learn -- but one that I did. I discovered the difference between words and actions -- and the difference between listening to my heart and my head. I learned, too late perhaps, that even though I realized he was calling me too much, that we were "playing" at being a couple, I should have called him on it.

I should have confronted him, made him commit, or not and let him walk away. But I was afraid -- afraid of losing this half of a relationship. Because, wasn't half of a relationship better than none at all? I thought so. Until I felt the crack in my heart and couldn't get through the day without breaking down in tears.

I don't even remember when things started to feel better, or how I got through it. But I did. And he had no idea -- or if he did, he didn't let on, didn't want to deal with it.

And so as I contemplate the whole "friends with benefits" thing -- wanting to find one and hearing the pros and cons from my blogger friends -- I think fondly of both Bruce and Chris. Both so different from each other, and yet, not really. I miss them both, for completely different reasons. Bruce filled a physical need, Chris an emotional one, even if it was false.

And so it brings us back, full circle to "The Wizard of Oz," when the Wizard tells the Tin Man that a "heart is impractical until it can be made to be unbroken."

An Open Letter to Dr. Neil Clark Warren

"Your dating service sucks. I want my $99 back.
Sincerely, Ellie."

Ok, I wouldn't write that. My ego wouldn't allow it. I would slave over well-thought out prose, citing specific examples in each paragraph, adding a positive aspect in paragraph three, before launching into how I would like situation rectified ( a full refund or another three months, gratis). Perhaps I will -- and I might even give a response back, though I doubt that. I'm big on writing complaint letters. Working in public relations, customer service is very important to me.

So in one month from yesterday, December 11th, my three-month subscription to e-harmony will be over. I have moved beyond the "four match stages," to have an actual e-mail exchange with someone, with exactly two people (and those seemed to last exactly one exchange each way -- I'm still waiting for them to respond back to me). I have talked on the phone with exactly zero men, and gone on exactly zero dates. I was not looking for the love of my life -- a date, a little dinner, a cup of coffee, some conversation. how unreasonable of me to think that I might actually find something like that here.

I have found what seemed to be promising-sounding men -- by reading their match criteria and lists -- only to be disappointed when they closed the match with the reason of "physical distance too great." I'm sorry...Syracuse to Ithaca is not a great physical distance. I work with people who make that commute every day to work. It's less than 60 miles. I used to drive farther to go to dinner when I lived in Baltimore.

Out of the approximately 30 mathces, I was matched with two men who lived in Ithaca. Most were from Rochester or Syracuse, a few from Binghamton, Rochester being the farthest (about 90 minutes to two hours).

I promptly responded to all my matches when they were set up. I am still waiting to hear from men whose last communication date was early- to mid-October. Am I the only person who finds this rude and disrespectful?

Perhaps the open letter should be to the men on e-harmony and not Dr. Neil Clark Warren (am I the only who distrusts men with three first names, and what exactly is he a doctor of?).

"Dear Fellow Singleton,

If you're going to sign up for the service, see it through. When you receive a correspondence from your matches, respond in a timely manner -- within a week, nothing unreasonable. If you don't want to date someone who lives 60 miles away, specify that in your match criteria. If you decide you want to take a break from dating, decide this a little sooner than when we've reached stage 3 or 4. If you are unable to meet these requests, please send me my $99 that I wasted thinking that you were worth meeting.

Sincerely, Ellie."

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's not like I'm asking for a Kidney...just a little Kindness

The anniversary party is one week away. I've been so busy planning -- thinking about decorations and invitations and seating arrangements and family drama and placecards and the video and my Cal picture.....that I haven't thought about the actual party. The interacting with people that I haven't seen in years, who haven't seen my in years.

And then of course, there is the inevitable query, from someone of another generation, from someone who means well, but from someone who needs to be slapped: "is there anyone special in your life?" or some evil variation of that.

Over the years I've heard it from my mother (well documented here, I believe); and my great-aunt, "when will we see you in a wedding dress? you're getting up there, you need to find someone for security now, not love"; and even my own brother in a recent e-mail, "you dating anyone? (and expecting a yes as the answer) will we get to meet him when we're home for the party?"

Last night I was on the phone with my oldest niece. When I mentioned that I had just been to hear B play, she said, "you should invite him to the party next week." It's not like I haven't thought about it.

I posed the question to a co-worker this morning, who knows of the whole B situation and always works regulary with him. And before she could give me sound advice, she questioned me: "do you want him to be your boyfriend? are you asking him because you want him to be there and think you'd have fun with him? or because you want someone there? given his commitment issues, would he be okay with the role you're putting him in?"

Do I want him to be my boyfriend? No. He's not boyfriend material. We've established this. He has commitment issues, which he is all too willing to express (though one might think he doth protest too much). I don't want him to be my boyfriend. I do want to sleep with him.

Am I asking him because I want him there? Yes. Not only do I think I'd have fun with him, but I think he'd have fun with most of my family.

Would he be okay with this role? I think so. He's so hard to read, and mostly because he's so unlike anyone I've ever been attracted to. I would make it clear that this was a "friends only" thing. That I like that we've gotten back to normal, etc.

So can I actually ask him? I'm so funny -- in a weird way. I can be the most sexually aggressive person in most cases, but I'm freaking out about asking my friend to be my date for my parents' anniversary party. Freaking. Actually playing the conversation in my head and figuring out the best way to ask him.

I've IM'd him and said that he did a great job last night, and to let me know when he was back in the office, that I have a question for him. Then I'll tell him that I have a favor to ask, but would rather do it in person, can I walk over to his office for a few minutes. And then I take a deep breath, and take the longest walk of my life between two relatively close buildings.

My friend Erica said she asked someone to her prom. And it's the same thing. It's like, "I need a date. I'm not asking you to marry me or even go out with me. Just be seen in public with me for one night and pretend you like me." But boys are weird. Or we over-analyze their impending reaction.

Either way, everytime the little "returned from away" flag pops up on my computer, I look and see if it's him.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gimme Coffee!

I went to the coffee house to listen to B. He did not disappoint. He's amazing. I could listen to him sing all day.

And things are so close to being back to normal between us. I think I'm back to this sweet, little thing he works with, who has the hidden bad girl, which I think both intrigues and scares him. And he's back to this wonderful guy I want to take care of -- in the way that I take care of everyone at work...I bring him a piece of his favorite candy, offer to get something when I do, etc.....he also happens to be this "not-my-type" guy that I still really want to sleep with.

But I realize, he is not boyfriend material. Not for me...and at this point in his life, I don't think for anyone. I do adore him, though, and am thankful for what I hope will be a continually strong friendship.

That's quite the reversal of fortune from my boy bashing a few weeks ago. I guess I'm ready to forgive and forget as long as I'm being treated in a way that doens't make me feel like shit. Which is what was happening, whether it was him feeling uncomfortable or me being overly sensitive (totally not out of the question)...or a combination of the two.

I go to bed with lyrics of Radiohead, Damien Rice and Coldplay in my head...and of course the original lyrics of B.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Girl Has Needs

I'm missing having a "friend with benefits." I'm needing some male attention. B could have so easily filled that role. Stupid B...or maybe stupid Ellie. Maybe he was right that it would be awkward, that it would be weird. I don't know.

I shouldn't be attracted to him. He's scruffy. He's sloppy. He knows nothing about sports. He doesn't take care of himself -- eats horribly, doesn't sleep, works too much. And yet, there is something about him.

I've been in all-day computer training sessions with him since Monday. I caught him looking at me today. Though it was different than when I caught him before - it was bolder. For both of us. I smiled at him and he winked back. And we both held the look.

Sigh...I'm going to hear him play at a coffee house tomorrow night after work. And I told him I was going so I can't back out at the last minute, can't make an excuse. I'll go for a little while -- and maybe I'll stay for the whole set and maybe I won't. But I will show up to support him, as a friend would. And try to move on beyond our mini-attraction, our four-hour session of foreplay that led nowhere.

Ahhh're driving me crazy.

Maybe if I told him that he'd be saving me from calling Chris if he would just sleep with me? Just once, just to get me out of my drought. It's a thought. Good thing tomorrow is at a coffee house and not a bar. I might have a beer too many and say something silly.

We know Drama

TNT isn't the only place. Two days after ridding myself of all bitter feelings about my sister, after sending her an e-mail telling her how I felt and why she's a bitch (in the nicest way possible of course), I got the following response back:

Ellie, The address that I sent it to is the only address I have. Usually when someone moves, Fran tells me but I guess she missed this one. Let me know what it is because I still do not know what it is. As for attending things, we don't feel comfortable attending, as sorry to say, that is the only time we hear from anyone. We would never do anything to hurt Trick and Fran and unfortunately they, along with Bob and Sally, are the only ones we hear from. I am sorry if you felt I was being non-responsive to your emails. I would have like updates or even been able to help do anything. I don'tknow what has happened but remember growing up, Frank and I were the only ones that did things with you and now when you are in town, which we find out after the fact, we never hear from you and I know all of our lives are extremely busy. I guess things will probably never change but let's at least have a good time at the party which we plan on doing. Love Sue

When I first read it, I felt bad. If she really feels that way, then she got to the sap in me. But then I read it again, and thought, "'s never Sue's fault." I called Sammi at work and read it to her. Being a part of the emotional family that she is, Sammi started to cry. And that's when I felt bad. I didn't anticipate this from her. I thought she had gotten to the point where she was all cried out where Sue was concerned. I guess these wounds run too deep.

Families hurt each other. More than friends. More than lovers. Because they can. Because no matter the hurt, the family tie is still there. Time after time families hurt each other, hurt other members. You hope things will change, you hope that this time will be different. And it's not. And just when you thought you could be hurt no more, just when you thought that you had no feelings one way or the other, you get thumped in the gut.

And that's what happened to Sammi today. And that's what happened to me the other day after Sue's first e-mail. It hit me hard, and I finally threw my hands in the air, and composed my response back to her. I think I've gotten to the point where I don't care one way or the other...I think. But I'll keep my gut in check, preparing for a thumping.

Monday, November 07, 2005

With less than two weeks to go, the drama unfolds

As of Friday, I still hadn't received the check from my sister. I asked my brother to call her. For a number of reasons, I felt it better that someone with a cooler head call her. He left a message for her to call him.

I don't know about you, but when I hear from someone who normally doesn't call me, I'm curious. I might even be worried that something's wrong. And if its someone from my family, especially, I return the call almost immediately. Did that happen? Of course not.

Saturday night, the gloves came off. "Sue, it's Dave. We need your money for the party. If you've sent it, great. Give me a call back and let me know when you mailed it. If you haven't, you need to. And are you really coming to the party? Give me a call back and let me know that too."

Sunday came and went. It was decided that he would call her at work today, where she wouldn't be able to caller ID her way out of talking to him. This morning, I arrived at work to find the following e-mail in my Inbox:

Ellie, I got a message from your goony on Saturday regarding the money. I sent that to you on Tuesday. I was dealing with one of my big events at a time. Once the wedding was over, I was taking care of Fran and Trick's party obligations. Let me know if you didn't receive it. I don't know why you didn't just give me a call or email me. As I have always said, I will pay my money and be a part of the party wherein Dave indicated that he didn't think I wanted to. That was hurtful. Let me know, Sue

Hurtful? Please. Once again, she figured a way to manipulate the situation, making herself look like the victim. I tried not to think about it all day. It helped that I was in an all-day computer training session, and couldn't immediately fire a response back in the heat of the moment.

I got out of the my training session early, and headed right for the gym -- 50 minutes on the treadmill, 10 on the eliptical, 3 sets of lower body strength training. Worked up a sweat, forgot about how dysfunctional my family can be.

When I got home, there was a check in my mailbox from Sue. She had mailed it to the wrong address -- to the apartment I haven't lived in in almost six months. That was the delay. I made some soup, heated up a piece of bread, flipping words around in my head, fashioning an appropriate response to my sister.

Sometimes, the words just come out right the first time. Sometimes a re-read reveals nothing needs to be changed. Tonight, that happened. And when I hit "send," I felt amazingly better. A weight had been lifted, all the bad feelings were gone. Because I was able to articulate how I felt, why I asked Dave to call her, and why she most certainly was not the victim:

Sue, I received the check today -- apparently you didn't have my correct address, but thankfully it was forwarded. Thank you for sending it. I'm sorry you were hurt by Dave calling you. There was a reason I asked him to call you, though I certainly wouldn't call him my "goon." Throughout this entire planning process, you've been difficult at best or downright non-responsive to my updates and questions, including the most recent ones regarding the money, the actual amount and you feeling that you weren't getting adequately updated on the party. Sammi and I have done an incredible amount of planning for this party, and to continually receive e-mails from you that seemed to second-guess what what we both happen to do for a living was, to use your word, hurtful. I thought it best to have someone else contact you about the money. And given your history in actually attending family events, can you really blame Dave for questioning if you were coming. I'm really happy that you are -- I know how hurt Fran and Trick would have been, having seen first-hand how hurt they, and others in the family, were when you didn't come to Jenny's wedding. Thanks again for sending the money. I will see you next Saturday, Ellie

Next week should be interesting.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That...

What a beautiful and totally unrealistic November day in upstate New York. It must have easily been 60, with a nice, warm wind and blue skies. I can only take this weather as a sign that Mother Nature is getting ready to bitch slap us with a mother of a winter. Something tells me (maybe a lot of talk related to the Farmer's Almanac) that we're in for a doozy.


I spoke to Morty tonight, and we caught up on life in Ithaca and life in Baltimore. He hasn't been to the Museum in more than a month, when he cataloged some pictures that a former board member got donated by the Washington Post. Pictures that he had never seen before, pictures of Babe off the field, with family -- pictures, I decided as the conversation played out, that would have been more appreciated by the Baseball Hall of Fame, because they were pictures that haven't been properly thanked for and that seemed to be considered very "whatever" by some of the curatorial staff. Can I say again -- I'm so glad I got out of there when I did.


My sister is thoroughly pissing me off. And I really think she's doing this just to push my buttons. And it's working. She has been so difficult to work with on this whole anniversary party -- giving me a hard time about the money, about the invitation list, about the planning, etc. She doesn't respond to any update or e-mail question I may send her way. She even went so far as to say that would only pay $300 "and not a penny more," when I really needed everyone to pony up $350. So my brother called her and basically said, "you pay $350 like everyone else. or you don't come." She backtracked and said she would pay $350 by the determined deadline of November 1.

Well, November 1 has come and gone -- and I have yet to get a penny from her. Even after I sent her a reminder e-mail two weeks ago -- to her and to my other siblings who still owed at that point. Even after I sent a party update e-mail on Monday. I don't technically need the money until closer to the party, when we pay the hotel. But that's not the point. If she had sent me an e-mail and said she would be sending me the check by the end of the week or early next week, that would have been fine. But to have November 1 go by, on top of the royal bitch she has beent hroughout this entire process -- I so don't want her to come.

Our mantra has become..."I can't wait until November 20 (the day after the party) because we never have to deal with her." And that my friends, is sad, but true.


The good news about the anniversary party -- I just received a call from some friends who will be traveling from Ohio for the party. I honestly didn't expect them to come, but I'm really excited. They used to live in Syracuse, and I babysat for them when I was in high school (it was a little unsettling to hear that one daughter is in college, the other a senior in high school).

My mom has been asking me if I've heard from them each time we talk. So I told Sari that I wasn't going to tell my mom, that we would let it be a surprise. I'm really excited about this, that they are traveling the weekend before Thanksgiving to come to the party. It will be nice to see them, to catch up with them -- and also what a nice tribute to my parents, and what their friendship means to them.


I sent an e-mail out to everyone in my address book (and asked my sibling to do the same), asking my friends to send my parents a card. I know someone who did this when her parents celebrated their 50th and they received over 300 cards. My mom got the first one yesterday, from my former boss. I think she genuinely touched and surprised. I hope they get at least one every day between now and the party/anniversary day. Like I've said before, I couldn't imagine spending 50 years with either one of them -- so god bless them for sticking it out and having fun along the way.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Introductions, please...

I e-mailed my friend JRK yesterday, about dating -- or lack of -- and I mentioned that it seemed highly improbable that of every person we each know, that no one knows a single man that they would be willing to introduce us to. And then I thought, well, I'm being a whiner. I'm being a baby -- just grow up.

But then she e-mailed me back, feeling the exact same way. She even expanded on my rant to the point that not only did it make me feel better, but actually made me laugh: I would agree that it is so difficult to believe that no one knows any nice, eligible, decent, employed, men who have college degrees, good jobs, nice cars, own property and have their own retirement accounts, who are worthy of us... What gives? People are so stingy with their recommendations of big, beefy men...

So really...what gives?

And then I thought...hmmm, if I had a single friend, would I be able to try to make a match?

And the answer is yes -- and though the match never actually happened, the intention was there and known that I wanted to introduce my second oldest niece to someone I work with. And I would hope that while the introductions never actually happened because of distance and proximity, etc...that both appreciated the gesture nonetheless, and have the knowledge that I'm looking out for them.

And I even fixed JRK up with someone when I was living in Baltimore -- and while that didn't work out, I think she had fun while it lasted. JRK, true?

But that leads to my quandry -- where do I meet a man? Hope thinks I should put something on my weekly to do list, to do something new. Not necessarily to meet someone, but to do something. It sort of goes along with the book, of making myself open to meeting more men.

I've started keeping my "list," as the book suggests, and my numbers aren't as dismal as I thought they might be. So I'll keep at it. And we'll see -- but really, where are all the good, single, straight men? Because I'm starting to become convinced that not only are they not in Ithaca, but they also know no one in Ithaca. At least no one that knows me.