Monday, October 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Fran

Today is my mom's birthday. I talked her to twice -- once when I called her this morning to wish her a happy birthday. And for some reason in my family, we always have to know who has already called -- or more importantly, who has been delinquent with the phone call. Sue (the bitch) was the first one and then Reuben -- but I take credit for his call since I left him a message last night reminding him to call his mother this morning. He would have forgotten. I was the third.

And then I talked to her this afternoon, when she called to thank me for her present -- gel and lotion from BBW and a Thomas Kincaide book. I'm so thoughtful. They were quick conversations both times -- and neither time did she say something to annoy me. That must be the trick -- keep it short and sweet.

I do love my mom -- I know I bitch about her a lot. She's a good mom and she did the best she could, and really did a great job raising eight successful, happy, productive kids.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two days in a row

I'm really going to try to keep this up. I started this to stay in the habit of creative writing -- and even though I have another writing project that occupies a lot of my spare time, I need to keep this going as well.

I hate this time of year. Where do the flies come from? Big, giant, grand-daddy flies. And aren't they supposed to be slow? Even Casey can't catch the big mother fly that's been buzzing around my head tonight. And to make it worse, I was working out on the treadmill. So I was sweaty...thus attracting Mr. Fly. It wasn't fun. I was swatting at it with my towel and almost fell off the treadmill. I never said I was graceful.

I had a board meeting tonight. It was the same go round -- complaining about how to get started on big projects, needing to recruit and then figuring out how to keep board members. We've had this same conversation at tleast five times, and I've only been on the board for two years. I think we finally got someplace, with a plan to finally move forward. And hopefully all the work won't fall on the shoulders of the fund-raising and special events committee (which I chair).

And Bob Iger comes to campus on Thursday. I have the feeling, I'm going to be making lots of lists and going over lots of things in my head tomorrow, and not sleeping a lot tomorrow night. Sigh....I wished for another event to plan, didn't I?

Okay, I didn't say I would always be interesting...just that I would try to write more.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bad Ellie

I know, I know. I'm sorry.

I've been super busy at work, working on another writing project (some of you know what that is), and really just out of it.

So, here's a quick recap of the past month...
  • the new web site launched, now we're in for another rough road of finishing all the "little" things -- but for now, let the celebrations begin
  • we finally hired someone! she starts September 25th
  • visit with a high school friend
  • blind date -- swing and a miss
  • my best friend at work got a job at Cornell :(
  • Leadership Tompkins -- I'm going to be the most "leadered" person in the world
  • Syracuse for my dad's heart catherization -- all is well
  • I know how to throw one hell of an informal get-together at work -- the theme is Recess....jump ropes, chalk, frisbee, lemon heads, pixie sticks and The Patridge Family on the boom box
  • Heather starts -- let the training begin
  • drinks at Fountain Place with the President
  • wedding, wine and three's company ;)
  • sick, sick, sick -- only three days this time! whoo-hoo!
  • and coming to a college near you...the CEO of the Walt Disney Company -- and I'm responsible for his speech to campus (I've already been dared to show him my Mickey Mouse tattoo)
I promise to be better....I know, I said that last month.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm Back

A whirlwind -- that was the last few weeks before vacation. And unfortunately, it has picked up where I left off. Before vacation, as we were getting ready to launch the new website, we were all working insane hours. Of course, the real ITS gurus were working around the clock. Literally in 36-hour stretches. Those of us who could do stuff without knowing code, did what we could. I built websites in templates and content managements systems -- for eight hours on a rainy Saturday, and until 11pm at night some nights. All the while, trying to get my other work in a state where I felt comfortable leaving for 10 days. The world at large was making sure that I was in need, and deserving of, a vacation.

I woke up before my alarm went off on Friday morning (8/25), and decided to just get up. I was excited. I was headed south. I was on the road by 5am, in Pennsylvania by 6:20, and in West Virginia by 10:30. I was excited to see gas at $2.85 a gallon just before the PA/MD border (it was $3.01 when I left Ithaca). I made it Ashland before 1pm, and surprised my niece at her office job on campus.

I walked in, she looked up non-chalantly and was about to say "can I help you?" And then the double-take, and then the "what are you doing here?!" My little Tiff, all grown up, with an office job, going to college. We went to lunch -- and she was so cute when she told the cahsier at Quizno's, "I'm paying for both of us."

After lunch, she went back to work (after a quick spin around campus and look at her soon-to-be dorm building) and I headed to my brother's for a nap. Getting up at 4:30 was starting to sink in. I left most of my stuff in the car -- just brought in the food. Eight pounds of Hoffman hot dogs, five pounds of salt potatoes (for you folks not living in Central New York, you are missing a real treat of summer!) and a case of Canadian beer. Everything else stayed in the car. I took the dogs out, turned on the TV, and snuggled on the couch for a nap.

It was so nice to relax. All weekend. I walked with my brother, took baths, went shopping with Debbie and Tiffany, took naps (at least one a day) -- it was exactly what vacation was supposed to be. We went out to lunch and dinner a few times, ate ice cream, stayed in our pajamas one day. And that was all before the big move-in day!

Next....welcome to campus, class of 2010!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Know, I know...

....ya'll miss me. I'm sorry it's been forever. We are launching a huge project at work on Thursday, and Friday I go on vacation.

I promise I'll be better when September comes.

Enjoy the last days of summer.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 G

I just haven't had it in me to write lately. So much going on in my head, though I'm not sure how to put it on the page. Journaling at night has helped with the insomnia -- which has been worse than ever. I'll figure it all out.

On a less dramatic front, I was in Skaneateles this weekend to visit my friend from high school. And boy does she have her hands full -- a two-and-a-half-year-old and four-month twins. Even with my extra hands to feed and change, it was over-whelming. And it was wonderful. I can say that because I'm not worrying about money, or giving my kids or my marriage the attention they deserve -- but from the outside, I would welcome that chaos and worry. She's got a great husband, a beautiful house and three amazing, healthy boys.

She's probably my oldest friend that I'm still in touch with. We met in high school -- 9th grade home ec (and as I type this, I feel that deja vu feeling that I've typed it before, so I'll stop there with the background info). After dinner, her husband cleaned up the kitchen, Nolan played trains and watched TV, and Jenn and I, with one twin each, sat in the living room with glasses of wine catching up. There were tears and hugs and the kind of conversations that we used to have in our bedrooms, or late at night on the phone, or by slipping notes to each other in AP English.

And knowing that I've been stressed, she fixed me a bubble bath in giant jacuzzi tub. Candles, bath bubbles, a fresh glass of wine. She came in and sat with me for a little while after putting the twins to bed. It felt like we were in high school again, and that no matter what was wrong, or difficult, would be okay, because we have each other.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Little Jenny Wa-Wa

I was five when she was born. And who would have known how far we would have come together. Of her 31 years, we've almost always lived in the same city until I moved to Baltimore -- save my three years of college.

We watched MTV together for way too many hours -- way back in the day when they actually played videos. We played bartender at the bar in my parents' living room, pretending we were married to George Michael and Andrew Ridgley of Wham -- and not understanding how anyone could even suggest that either of them was gay. We listened to Z89 (the college radio station from SU) constantly and made mix tapes off the radio.

She would sleep over all the time, and we'd hang out in the "mini-apartment" that was the upstairs of my house -- three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a living room just for me. She'd sleep over Thanksgiving night and we'd start making Christmas cookies the next day, all day. Christmas break was matinee movie time, getting dropped off at the mall. Young Guns I and II, White Nights...

She had crushes on all my guy friends, in high school and college. And actually got hit on by one of my high school friends when she was 12. Whatever happened to Dan Giblin, I wonder?

I taught her how to drive and do shots -- not at the same time. We could stay on the phone for hours on end, without talking, just simply watching TV together. In commercial breaks, we'd flip, without saying where to or which direction we were going in, and say, "oh my god, did you see that?" And inevitably, we'd be on the same channel, seeing the same thing.

I found Casey in the parking lot of her apartment complex, and she convinced me to give that little stray kitty a home. Now I can't even imagine life without the constant meowing.

And now she's in her 30s -- not just 30. And a mommy and a wife. When did we get old? When did we become grown-ups? We may, technically, be of different generations -- her mother is my sister, after all. But I couldn't be closer to her if she were my sister. In fact, I am definitely closer to her than any of my sisters.

So from me and the mouse in my pocket, you'll always be Little Jenny Wa-Wa to me. Happy birthday, ya big scrap book doing, flip flop wearing, 4th grade teaching, Sacajawea looking....

Monday, July 31, 2006

Small World Story #114

I've taken a bit of a (an?) hiatus -- I've been busy at work as the semester is just around the corner and a big web initiative is in its final weeks, we've begun interviewing (again) for Swee's position. Phone interviews last week that were promising, one more tomorrow. My boss is hoping to make an offer by the end of the month, optimistically speaking, of course.

So there's the quick update, here's the small world story:

When I was in my senior year of high school and my first year of college, I worked in the County Comptroller's Office during the summer. Answered the phone, ran errands, did some filing, etc. Your basic summer job in an office. Worked with really nice people.

So I'm at my friend Erica's wedding yesterday and I see this older woman who looks very familiar. I can't place it. And she's introduced as the grandmother of the bride, and before they say "Marilyn...", I'm thinking "Marilyn." And then I figure it out. She was the executive secretary to the comptroller! I asked Erica if that's what her grandmother did, and explained the coincidence and then went over to Marilyn and introduced myself.

She said, "I've been staring at you since the ceremony trying to place you. I'm glad you figured it out!"

And now 18 years after I worked summers with this woman, I am good friends with her granddaughter. Small world, indeed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Princess of Aruba

When my friend Sidney was knighted -- like really knighted, by a real queen -- I asked him what I would be called if we ever got married. He would be Sir Sidney...and his wife would be a Lady.

Hmmm...I didn't like that. First, I've never been accused of being a lady -- I'm too much of a tomboy. I told him I wanted to be a princess. He said I couldn't. I gave him a look and said, "are we ever really going to get married?"

"Probably not."

"Then humor me....let me be a princess."

And so I became HRH Ellie, the princess of Aruba. Even some of the people in the front office at the Orioles called me that (when they weren't calling me Mrs. Jeter).

Tonight, after having lots of problems in Baltimore, after starting strong and then stinking strong in St. Louis, Sidney is pitching for the Yankees. At Yankee Stadium. Wearing Tino's number 24.

I wonder what song they'll play for him when he heads in from the bullpen before the game. In Baltimore, it was "Enter Sandman" by Metallica. Anyone who knows anything about the Yankees knows that that is Mariano's song (and it really does mean so much more when it's Mariano coming out of the bullpen, not Sidney).

Hopefully Sidney can start the second half of the season the way he started the first half -- 4-0 with a respectable 4-something ERA. I hope so, not just for my teams' sake, but for my friend's career and getting himself back on track. So that he can finally live up to the potential that always seemed to be within reach...

"Don't think....just throw."

Monday, July 17, 2006


Things are progressing. I can report soon.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The weekend in review, part 1

Friday...out of work at 3:00pm (I love higher ed), drove to Syracuse for a family picnic at my great-uncle's rtirement community. It was fun -- hot -- but fun. When I got there, I was about three minutes ahead of my brother, sister-in-law and nephew. They yelled to me from the parking lot. As we were walking in, my sister-in-law said, "I don't even know why we're here. Uncle Henry doesn't want to go to the picnic. This is all about Fran."

I found that very strange. Maybe my uncle didn't want to be outside, under the tent, listening to the live music -- but I find it hard to believe that he would give up the chance to have his family, all at once, in one place. So Bob, Sally and Zak only stayed about 20 minutes. Good riddance if they were going to be downers.

And so with my sister and brother-in-law, niece and the baby, and my parents, my sweet almost 92-year-old uncle thanked us all for coming and told us that he loved us. He's so sweet and easy to please. I hate to see him getting older and frailer -- because his mind is still sharp, he has so much spirit, even if it tends to tire easily. When it was just my parents and me there, we were talking baseball. And Uncle Henry asked me who that pitcher was for Boston that the Yankees never liked to face. "Curt Schilling?"


"Give me a decade, Uncle Henry." I'm wracking my brain trying to think of any pitcher for the Red Sox. "Roger Clemens."


"Who would have been hitting for the Yankees?" He could have have said Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle, given his age.

"Oh, it was like in '96."


"Yea, I don't like him."

"I don't like him, either." And that's one of the reasons Uncle Henry rocks.

After leaving him, Jenny and I went over to my mom's to illegally scan in Ryan's 2-year-old pictures. Now, I'm not a big fan of AC -- but I also close up my house so that when it's 95 degrees out, it stays kind of cool. Not my father. Windows, shades, blinds -- wide open. It was literally cooler outside than in their apartment.

Even Ryan -- at 2 -- looked at my niece. "Hot. Hot."

We stayed long enough to scan and then left, stopping at the Byrne Dairy for some ice cream on the way home. Ryan summed it up best..."yummy, yummy."

Saturday morning...we went to Ryan's kid's gym and then to visit my niece's college roommate, who is expecting triplets this fall. She looked great and happy -- and just a few pangs of jealousy as the whole world has kids and I don't.

We had left my car at the mall and decided to go in after our visit with Cory. We just walked around. A trip to BBW (I did have a coupon, afterall) for me, and some curtains for Jenny -- and we were on our way. Her north, me south.

I listened to the end of the game in the car, not really paying attention to the driving. The route from Syracuse to Homer to Ithaca has become -- after two years -- as familiar as the thruway between Rochester and Syracuse used to be. I have specific trees or houses that flag how far along my journey I am.

The highlight of the trip, by far, was Ryan saying my name more clearly, wanting me to help him do things, play with him and read to him before bed. :)

To be continued...the rest of the weekend, including playing hooky on Monday.

Friday, July 14, 2006


My relationship with food, and my subsequent relationship with my body, is a difficult one to define. I've always thought of myself as fat. Even when I wasn't. Even when I was nothing more than a stocky, solid 10-year-old. I look back at pictures and see a normal, healthy girl -- with long, strong legs. No pudge, no chubbiness. Solid -- yes. Fat -- not even close. But what I felt, what I saw when I looked in the mirror, was anything but normal and healthy.

When I was 10, I was on a diet. I had probably been on several even before then. I read The Scarsdale Diet, went to Weight Watches meetings, worked out at Kelly Lyn, watched Richard Simmons, did Jane Fonda workouts (before Beta and VHS, the work-out was on a record with diagrams to collow along with) -- all before the age of 13. I remember getting incentives from well-meaning siblings. "For every pound you lose, I'll give you a quarter." And when my sister moved away from Syracuse with her boyfriend, and she would call home, one of the first questions she always asked was, "how's your diet?"

I can only imagine the effects all of that had on me. In fact, I can do more than imagine, because for the past 25 years, I have struggled with my own body image. I have tortured myself with diet after diet -- sometimes to fail from the start, sometimes to succeed and then fail. Even with success, I only see the failures, the not-quite-reaching goal.

At this point in my life, it bothers me the most. Even though, I am the healthiest I've ever been. I guess because I always thought of my weight as the hindurance in relationships, the reason I was alone was because I was unattractive. To put it more bluntly -- I was fat. if I was no longer fat, I would have a boyfriend. I would be attractive to other people. Logically, I know that that couldn't be farther from the truth. Logic isn't always my strong-suit, especially when it comes to me.

As for this weekend, I'm off to the 'Cuse to see my great-uncle, and spend the night at my niece's and play with the little guy. I'm excited. If nothing else, there is nothing like life's perspective from the mind of a two-year-old.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All balls, no strikes

I talked to Bubbles tonight -- about our choices in men, about our patterns in choices in men, and what drives us to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. We didn't come up with any answers.

We're not gluttons, just two simple girls looking for what every little girl dreams of -- the house, the man, the white picket fence. I want the fairy tale wedding, she wants Vegas. We each want a man who would enjoy drinking a beer with us tonight -- yes, a Tuesday...a work night -- but not just any Tuesday, All-Star Game Tuesday. So there she sits in her home in Baltimore, with peanuts and beer (Yeungling, I'm guessing). I overdosed on cashews and skipped the beer (though it would have been LaBatt's Blue Light).

No answers, but a little resolve to better whatever fucked-up situations we are in. She needs to know what is going on one and for all, and I need to move on -- once and for all. He's my safety net and he's not doing me any good. It sounded good, as I sat on my deck and watched a couple of squirrels chase each other.

Whether it happens or not, who knows. Who knows -- next year, as we watch baseball from Pac-Bell, let's hope we're not in the same situation. Here's hoping that we're clinking beer bottles with someone else as we cheer on the American League.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My absolute favorite trivia question

And I always stump people. I think I've only had one person get the answer.

Of course, I never ask it this time of the year. Hold onto this one for the fall or winter.

Of the four major sports played in the United States (MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL), there are only two days in the calendar year when a game in any of these sports is not played. Name them.

(Insert Jeopardy music here.)

Tonight and Wednesday -- the day before and the day after the Major League All-Star Game.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Don't Get it

"I don't get it." The words uttered by Tom Hanks in Big, as he's in his first toy concept meeting, causing the dad from Home Alone to label him ruthless.

And today, I don't get it. I don't get why all week I look forward to the weekend, and then midday Saturday can't wait to go back to work.

I don't get why relationships change with the distance of miles between us, why as the number of miles shrink so does the enssence of the relationship.

I don't get why my mother can annoy me so one minute, and then in the next instance remind me why I love her so much.

I don't get how the ants can crawl into my hummingbird feeder and not drown. And how do they know the precise moment I've made new sugar water -- they're waiting for me on the hangar when I go to put it back up.

I don't get why it's so hard for adults to make friends, but kids on a playground can become BFF in an instant.

I don't get how I can work out seven days a week, and still be hovering between the same damned three pounds -- back and forth, up and down.

I don't get why I'm just now realizing that I had a social life in Baltimore.

I believe in everything for a reason. I don't get why Ithaca is the right place. I don't get why being single at 36 is the right thing.

I don't get a lot of things -- I guess if I did, if life were easy, then life would be boring.

I would really like that kind of boring, just once.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy birthday, Snip

Today is my niece's 19th birthday. I called her this morning on her cell phone, as she is traveling on what could be her last "family" trip to Florida. She sounded so grown up and mature as she asked me how work was, and if they had found someone to replace Swee (we haven't, and we're reopening the search -- heaven help me!).

I remember when she was born. She was the first niece that I felt like a real aunt to from the start, rather than a big sister. I was old enough to buy things for her with my own money, to take her places, etc. She was going to be Stephanie -- and at the last minute she became Tiffany, which really does suit her.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

There was dancing

...and lots of it.

A bar called Nasty D's, with a gay-pride flag in the window. Baskets of condoms on the bar like a dish of peanuts. And sweet, little ol' Ellie. Not my usual genre of bars, but this is where my friend's 40th birthday party was being held. It was lots of fun, lots of dancing. And let me tell you -- gay men can dance!

When I arrived, Michael was so excited to see me. "You drove up from Ithaca! Girl..." hugs and kisses. I introduced my friend Jenn, who I was staying with and who, along with a couple of her friends, accompanied me. My safety net. Then, as only Michael could do, I had to do the twirl, so he could give me the up and down. "You look amazing. And your hair -- I love it this short." And he looked amazing -- like the day I met him. He doesn't look 40. He looks amazing. And hot. And *sigh*

We didn't have a lot of time to chat -- he had lots of guests to visit with, but when we were on the dance floor, he asked about our favorite shared topic. Men. "Well? Anyone worth talking about it?"

"Not really...all the really good men are married. Or gay."

"He's out there -- there's someone for both of us out there."

"Yea, hopefully not the same guy."

"Are you getting your needs met, though."

"What do you think?"

"That's my girl."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Too soon?

Its is too soon to get my hopes up. Too soon to even tell you about it.

Let's just say there's something promising on the horizon.

I'm off to Rochester for a 40th birthday party at bar. I hope to be sufficiently naughty, showing off the girls and get a proper buzz.

Update on Monday.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Vicky returned my call

I got a call from a service rep at Victoria's Secret this morning. She was so nice and apologetic about the rude treatment I received on Saturday. So nice, in fact, that I felt bad telling her how much her Ithaca store sucks at customer service.

After I explained the situation, she told me that:
1) they absolutely guarantee their products, even after they've been washed;
2) she will be letting quality control know about the damaged panties I returned;
3) she will be writing up a report to send to the regional and district manager; and
4) she will be sending me a letter of apology and a 30% coupon for my next purchase.

I couldn't have asked for anything more. Vicky is officially off my shit list.

Poor A-Rod

Funniest thing I heard on the radio this morning -- made me laugh out loud -- even it was bashing one of my guys.

In last night's game, A-Rod popped out, flied out, grounded out and struck out.

He sucked for the cycle.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Well you came and you gave without takin'"

My email to the Victoria's Secret customer service on-line, apparently is not the correct one. On-line and the store are separate divisions, so my response....

Dear Ellie,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding your encounter with the Victoria's Secret Store. We regret any inconvenience caused by this matter.

We regret your shopping trip wasn't a pleasant one. When a client chooses to shop with Victoria's Secret, we want them to have a pleasant shopping experience. Please accept our sincere apologies that the Victoria's Secret retail store didn't provide you with the quality of service our clients expect and deserve.

We assure you that your experience isn't indicative of the quality of service customarily offered to our clients. We strive to serve each client as courteously and responsibly as possible. Victoria's Secret prides ourselves with providing good quality service, but sometimes we don't meet our goals. We're very sorry when that happens; nothing is more important to us than taking care of our clients.

Victoria's Secret Stores and Victoria's Secret Direct are sister divisions of the same parent company, Limited Brands, Inc. As such, we function as separate businesses. To have someone contact you please call 1-614-577-7111 and leave a message with your name and a daytime telephone number you can be reached at. Once you have called and shared your information, Victoria's Secret Stores Client Relations will return your call as soon as possible.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this e-mail or call anytime.

We hope that you will try shopping with Victoria's Secret again soon.

Mandy Client Services

I called the not-toll-free number and left my name and work number, as requested. We'll see if they get back to me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Can anyone say customer service?

My niece used to make fun of me because I'm a letter writer. Yes, I'm one of those. I have a bad experience, and it pisses me off enough to write a letter to the company. I haven't had to write one in a while -- not because I haven't encountered poor service, but not poor enough to make me take the time to write something or call someone.

That changed this weekend with a trip to the mall. A letter that I wrote today to the customer service email address at Victoria's Secret:

I shop frequently at the Pyramid Mall store in Ithaca, NY. Never once have I gone in there and been satisfied with the treatment I receive or the attitude of the sales associates. They are unfriendly and seem unhappy to be there. I am a regular Victoria's Secret shopper, and have never been in a store before this one where I had encountered such poor service.

On Saturday (June 24), I finally reached my limit. I went into the store around 10:30 a.m. I was not greeted, but I have become used to that in this store. I shopped and picked up a few things on the sales tables, and also picked up a pair of the hip-huggers from the regularly priced table. I had bought six pairs several months ago, and on one pair, the elastic began to fray, so I was hoping for an exchange.

When I approached the sales desk, I explained the situation and showed the clerk that I had picked up an identical pair for the exchange. In a monotone voice, she said, "we don't guarantee our products once they've been washed." No further explanation from her.

I told her that they were $12 underwear and I expected them to hold up to more than a half dozen washings. She sighed loudly, grabbed the underwear from my hand and approached the manager. The manager also sighed loudly, and as if she were doing a huge favor, said in a nasty tone to the clerk, "just do the exchange."

There was no small-talk at the register, no friendly banter. I felt uncomfortable and almost walked out, leaving my $40 purchase at the desk. After the transaction was complete -- with "no thank you for shopping with us" -- I walked over to Bath & Body Works, where I am also a regular customer. I asked the manager, knowing VS and BBW are owned by the same company, if she had a number I could call and complain. Unlike the BBW receipts, there was no corporate number.

I buy all of my bras and panties at Victoria's Secret, and living in a small town with only one mall, this is my only option. However, I am frustrated enough to not go in there again. And mail order seems ridiculous -- why should I pay shipping costs when there is a store in my town?

Two days later, I am still really annoyed and angered by the lack of customer service in a store whose sister company is all about customer service. I look forward to hearing a response.

Thanks for your time,


Saturday, June 24, 2006


I realized the other day just how seriously my body image issues are. I was showing the girls from work pictures from last weekend in Richmond, pictures of me and my niece, all dressed up for graduation.

What I saw: my hips, bulging out of proportion to the rest of my body; I looked like a freakin' bell.

What they saw: a leaner, slimmed down Ellie from the one they met two years ago; they even commented on how flattering the dress was and could not believe that I couldn't see that.

Even Hope said, "I never notice when people get their haircut, lose weight, gain weight, etc....but the change in your body, the clothes that you are able to wear now, the way you have out-grown your can you now see that?"

How can I not see that? I don't know. But I don't see it. I can't work out in front of a mirror because I see the imperfections -- not how far I've come, but how far I still have to go.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still my best magnetic poem

We will play all day
dance all night
and be beautiful tomorrow

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I went a little "Martha Stewart"

Sunday morning was party day, event day. While they were all at church, I showered and started picking up. Anything that didn't need to be downstairs was moved to the second floor -- more specifically, my brother's bedroom, which suddenly looked trashed.

A flurry of activity began after church, when really all I wanted for them was to eat, shower and stay out of my way. I had assigned tasks for the grandmothers -- cutting the fruits and veggies and storing them in individual baggies, and then making up the plastic ware in a napkin and tying it with a ribbon. I needed no other help. And I told them that, told them that I was in event mode, that I just needed to do my thing, that I most definitely have a problem with delegation, and apologized in advance for being bossy.

My sister-in-law was hanging balloons all over the house -- I followed her and curled the ribbon. We hung banners out front, with more balloons, and then decorated Tiffany's car.

At that point, I just had strawberries to dip and the cake table to set up. The cake was at the neighbor's house and they weren't home. So after dipping strawberries, I figured I would go up and straighten my hair. I was making a bit of a mess with the melting chocolate -- pink, blue & white -- and kept wiping my hand on the dish rag. My sister-in-law's mother, who could not understand why I didn't want her to help me, grabbed the rag to wipe down the table outside. I told her she needed to rinse it for the very reason I just explained -- there were globs of melted chocolate on it.

She threw it back in the sink, shrunk back as if I had just slapped her, took a few paper towels and ran from me. From that point on -- a good hour or two before the party even started -- she never spoke to me again. I did hear her make several catty comments -- in front of me, but never to me -- about how she wanted to help, but nobody would let her. Apparently, my new name was nobody.

At one point, after the party, when I was picking up, it got to me. I was upset that she was being such a bitch to me. Couldn't she see that I was doing all of this for her daughter and granddaughter -- and just be grateful for that? And then when she went up to bed and I said goodnight to her, she didn't acknowledge the fact that I was leaving the next morning before she got up.

At that point, after not getting enough sleep all weekend, not getting caught up on sleep from getting up at 4:30 to drive last week, running around all weekend, after dealing with the drama of the first day of the trip and the grandmothers in general, Joann treating like that all day was my breaking point. Was I really glad to be leaving Richmond to come back to Ithaca? Was I really looking forward to getting back to work? God help me, I was.

I can't wait to go back in August -- there will be no grandmothers to deal with. Just a very sad sister-in-law as she sends her baby off to college.

Monday, June 19, 2006

36 is too old to travel with your parents

At least, it's too old to travel with my parents. For the most part -- and I will concede this -- it was fine. They paid for the gas, I listened to what I wanted to on the radio. I think that we spent too much time together over the course of five days, on top of eight hours in a car each way. And I like my quiet -- every once in a while, my mother would pop up with a comment that wasn't really a question.

"You did such a nice job on the party."

Hmm..hmm. And then when that response wasn't enough for her, she would repeat the same sentence -- verbatum -- about 30 minutes later. And then again in another hour or two.

But that's not even the best part -- let me rewind to Tuesday night when they arrived in Ithaca. I had to hear about her new diet and how she writes her food down and emails it to her nutritionist every night and she had only eaten 500 calories that day (and you wonder where I get my food and diet issues!). I told her that was way too few, but she seemed to know best.

Wednesday morning, we got up about 4:30 and were on the road by 5:00am. A quick stop at the Wegmans in Wilkes-Barre for breakfast and coffee, and we were on our way to Baltimore. We made it to the Museum about 10:15 (I drove about 3 to 5 mph slower than I normally do, thus adding about 15 to 25 minutes onto my usual time). When we got there, Mike was waiting in the lobby for me (my friend had told him I was due there at any moment). So I played nice with my former boss, and my friend Johnny Z chatted with my parents. Out of the corner of my eye and with one ear, I could sense some Fran drama (light-headedness, got up too fast, I'm fine now). I ignored it and continued talking to Mike. Then we toured the Museum.

At the end, in the gift shop, Fran asked where the bathroom was. I pointed her in the right direction and talked to other former co-workers. We were still chatting when my mother came back from the bathroom, told my dad she wasn't feeling well and promptly fainted. And I had to catch her. She came to within a minute or so and we sat her in a chair, someone got her water, I went out to the car to get her an apple and some candy.

And there we sat for another 30 minutes. Z teased me about my Swedish fish and sour patch kids -- "you and your candy on long drives." I kept looking at the time -- I wanted to get to Richmond. And I knew my mother was fine -- that she had been eating 500 calories (at best, I'm guessing) for at least the past week. Her ass was about to go to a drive through and eat some grease.

And so, after the always lovely and congested trip across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (35 minutes to go five miles -- and then miraculously no traffic on the other side, it just disappears), we stopped in Fairfax and got Wendy's. She slept a little in the back seat, I talked on my cell phone with my sister-in-law in code, and my father looked out the window, and occassionally turned around to check on my mom. I was more worried about him being worried.

We made it to Richmond with no other crisis. She went upstairs to take a nap, I set my father up in front of the TV to watch soccer, and I made myself a drink (diet cherry pepsi and run -- yum!) and started making sauce and meatballs for dinner the next night, and marinating the chicken for dinner that night.

I wish I could say that was all the drama for the weekend, but alas, we had a whole other set of grandparents arriving the next night. Another mother as wacky as mine can be, and another father who can be just as cranky as mine.

I'm off to shower and sleep for my first day back to work tomorrow...the weekend is to be continued.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's Done

I went for a walk to the post office this morning. When I got back, my boss had IM'd me to say that he needed to postpone our 1:00 meeting. No problem, except I really wanted to talk about my decision in this search process before I went on vacation.

I popped my head in his office and asked for five minutes. I told him that I had done a lot of soul-searching over the weekend and I wanted to respectfully withdraw from the search. He immediately seemed relieved.

"What made you think about it?"

"I saw one of the candidate's resumes."

He laughed. "Yea, this was the strongest pools of candidates I've ever seen for a search. The governor's press secretary didn't make the final round."

"I don't want you to think less of me, I don't want you to think I'm copping out."

"No, I respect your decision...and honestly, I really need you right where you are. I need you to take on more responsibility if you're willing, including the supervisory role of the new Swee."

He thanked me about a hundred times, and was genuine in his respect for me and my decision. It went much easier than I thought it would, and I am so glad it's over.

Now....I can get in vacation mode. Whoo-hoo!

Monday, June 12, 2006

What would Sweesus do?

I talked to my former co-worker this morning. And Swee, in all her no-holds bar approach to life, told me to withdraw from the search. She agreed that it would just put everyone in an awkward position, including me.

I will have the talk with my boss tomorrow during my performance evaluation. Once that is over, I can think about my vacation starting on Wednesday morning.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

As I get ready for my last two days of work this week, before I head to Richmond for a long weekend, I'm faced with inner conflict, inner turmoil -- and really I am the only one who can make the decision.

I am one of five finalist for the media relations position. If I weren't a finalist, I would be a part of the final interview process. As the candidates come on campus for their in-person interviews, I -- along with others in my department -- would have a chance to interview them. I was inadvertently scheduled for such a meeting the other day. And thus, I had accidental access to one of the candidate's resumes.

I remedied the situation quickly by talking to the administrative assistant -- and she realized her mistake and took the meeting off my calendar. But....I saw the resume. And I'm not conflicted because it might be unfair, blah blah blah. I'm conflicted because I'm not nearly as qualified as this person.

She has 15 years experience in college communications, public information or media relations in higher education; she is currently the director of communications at a college. Her resume is six pages long!

I can't compete with that. And if it were just another job interview, I wouldn't be worried. So I didn't get the job. Oh well. But it's a different dynamic, because I will be interviewed by my co-workers, some of whom are my friends. And the others, well...I have issues with the way they speak to people in meetings, they way they ask questions of others. It's more accusatory, more of an attack, no respect for people's opinions, ideas or knowledge -- do I really want to set myself up for that? And then have to face them after the interview. If I don't do well in the interview, will they have lost some respect for me and my abilities?

I've been thinking about it all weekend. I have my performance review with my boss on Tuesday afternoon. I was thinking that I would ask the admin to not schedule anything for me until after I talk with my boss on Tuesday -- and bounce it all off of him. The whole lack of respect that people have for each other in meetings is something that I was planning to bring up anyone. It just might be a good entree into my decision about the MR job.

Such a weighty issue as I pull out my typed "to pack" list and prepare for Virginia. I should be relishing in all the organizational type tasks ahead of me today, instead I'm worrying about work, which I haven't done over a weekend since I lived in Baltimore.

Maybe a call to my former co-worker is in order. She knows the dynamics and politics of the office -- and she has 20+ years in the corporate world. And best of all, she knows where my level of self confidence is. She knows me. Yes, a call to Mama Swee is definitely in order.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Good things today:

* only one meeting
* Time Warner is coming by to fix my modum so I will once again have internet at home (these past twp weeks have been killing me!)
* I'm going to the 'Cuse to see my niece and the baby
* I will be in 90+ degree-weather in five days -- whoo hoo

Monday, June 05, 2006

Stupid Things that People Say

* "You don't want to be married -- you'll be bitching about your man just like the rest of us."

* After a round-table discussion of soccor games, piano lessons, swim meets, etc...."are you sure you really want kids? Be thankful you don't have them."

* "It's just one meal -- it won't ruin your diet."

* "How old are you now? Oh you've got plenty of time -- stop worrying about it."

* "As much as you work out and you've only lost 40 pounds?"

In the past week, I've heard each of these things and it pissed me off. Though, sadly, not the first time I've heard any of these things. When did people become so insensitive -- or is it that I'm over sensitive?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's Hump Day...

and later we will. Or not. Chris was going to come down later today, but with a client dinner on Thursday (for which he is totally freaking out) and leaving for Virginia for two weeks, he can't. Oh well.

Two weeks from today, I will be in Virginia. With my brother and his family, my parents and my sister-in-law's parents. I don't think there will be an opportunity for me to "slip away" to Norfolk for a quickie.

I am, however, excited about going to Virginia for my niece's high school graduation -- really excited. It has been too long since I was there. Of course, I'm trying to think optimistically about the car ride down with my parents. When was the last time I took a road trip with them? Maybe when I was 12? It's been so long, I can't even remember.

At least I'll be the one driving. But my mother has this way of thinking of random things and then asking me 20 random questions. It's like she is uncomfortable with the silence, which I actually relish in the car. It's good thinking time. I may have to lay down some rules. I've already said we're not stopping for a sit-down breakfast, and I'd like to stop only once or twice at the most. Once in Pennsylvania, once in Maryland/West Virginia -- and before you know it, we'll be in Richmond. Hmmm....we'll see if that works.

My stamina at the gym is coming back after my illness. I've managed to do 90 minutes of cardio for the past few days since going back last Thursday. With a new gym, comes a new routine, and I haven't quite figured out how/when to fit abs and strength training in. I'm going to work on that tonight. It's just a matter of creating the new habit.

And boss told me that I am one of four finalists for the job I've applied to on campus, but that my competition is "fierce." That being said, he told me that supposing I didn't get that job, he would like to promote me to some senior level of my current job and have the new marketing manager (which is a peer/lateral position with me and we are in the final stages of interviewing for) report to me. I would then take on some of his (my boss) responsibilities in creating process and procedures for better dealing with clients.

Sounds promising, for sure. And makes me think that he realized that I wanted a position with more responsibility and he figured out how to make it happen.

No meetings today, and a relatively light workload. God, I hope that means the day won't drag.

It's finally warm here -- some would say too warm. I would never say that. We hit 90-something yesterday, and will again today. I found it absolutely delightful. I may have to take several walks today.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

...there's so much that we share, that its time we're aware's a small world afterall.

One of my clients on campus called me one day to ask if I was from Syracuse. Did I go to Roberts, Shea and Corcoran? Was she psychic or something?

I called her back to find out that her husband was in her office the day before and noticed my name in her email inbox. We went to elementary, middle and high school together. Small world, indeed, but it gets even smaller.

So I'm telling this story to my friend down the hall, when she says, "that's right you went to Corcoran? I have a girlfriend who went there -- when did you graduate? I think she's about your age."

Now by no means did I go to a huge high school, but it was large enough that I didn't know everyone. She mentioned the name, which of course was a married last name. We batted information back and forth, and surmised that this woman who is friends with Hope, who has two kids in the same classes as Hope's kids, is not only someone I know, but was my best friend in the 7th and 8th grades.

How weird is that?

She told Hope to give me her number so we could catch up. I'll be calling her this weekend.

712, 713, 714

Seventy-one years ago today, in Pittsburgh, at Forbes Field, Babe Ruth hit the last three home runs of his career. Three in one game, over the age of 40 (he was the first to do that, and one of only three to accomplish that feat). He retired a week later -- June 1st, if my museum memory serves me correctly.

Barry Bonds is sitting on 714 right now -- and the Giants have an off day today, so there will be no bittersweet irony of him hitting 715 on the anniversary of 714.

Two years ago, it was also my last day at the museum. I don't know if I recognized the bittersweet irony of that at the time. I was only thinking ahead, thinking of New York, thinking of going home. My, how times have changed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

When did thank you notes go out of style?

I'm a big believer in thank you notes. Not by e-mail, not even with a phone call. But a handwritten, 39-cent-stamped thank you note (hand delivered works, too). There's nothing nicer than receiving a handwritten note -- and not just for gifts. But for someone doing something nice for you. For someone's hospitality. For hosting the family at the holidays for dinner.

I had my 13-year-old niece stay with me last month. An overnight stay -- I bought her lunch at a restaurant, paid for our activities. She thanked me when I brought her home the next day -- but it bothers me that I didn't get a thank you note from her. She's old enough to be able to do it on her own. And most people in my family are thank you note writers, so she's had experience with them. Knows what it's like to receive them.

Maybe she (and her parents) don't see the importance in them. Maybe the verbal thank you was enough in her mind. I feel bad that I still haven't sent all my thank you notes to the people I stayed with in Baltimore.

There was a time when thank you notes were an automatic. When did that change? And am I the only one this bothers?

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Warped Sense of Loyalty

As I mentioned in my previous post, I saw my former boss and had, what I thought, was a nice conversation. Imagine my surprise when I got back to New York on Tuesday and found this in my email:

It was nice seeing you last night, though I was disappointed that you appeared to have soured on the museum and -I expect- me as well.

We had some good years together, for sure. You were my "ace." But then that dynamic changed. Perhaps I had something to do with that. Perhaps you did, too. And perhaps the circumstance of life got in the way.

But now it seems you are no longer a friend of the museum, bonding instead with other ex-museumers, and that's a shame, because being a Museumer is a good thing, I think. The museum has lots of very good and dedicated people working in its behalf, and they have made something that is unique and precious to America's sports community.

But having made that unique something means we now have to protect that something. And that sometimes is very difficult. I am in one of those difficult periods. Some days I wonder why I keep going with this. The climb towards respectability is steep and difficult. People like you helped me with that climb. People like Johnny Z and Ritchie and Greg and Doug and even your J continue to help.

I guess my hope is that someday you will see clearly beyond the personal stacatto that drove you from our nest, and know that you have friends here, that the Museum is something special and worth preserving...and worth, in my case, donating a career to. Every day I go in there trying my best, even though many of those days I end up giving something less.

Yesterday...and last night, was one of those days.

I hope the next time you come down you will give me advance notice. Perhaps then you will let me buy you a drink or two and talk like the friends we used to be.


I was beyond livid. How dare he question my friendship and belief in the museum, just because I happen to be friends with people who have also moved on? I felt like shit (because of my sore throat) but called him at home. How dare he speak to me like that? Of course, he wasn't home, and after having some niceties with his wife, waited for him to call me back. It didn't happen for a couple days. He called me at home, in the middle of the work day. Good thing I was sick, and home. Because he didn't get off that easy.

I told him I was livid, that I thought he had a warped sense of loyalty to question mine. That if I wasn't a friend to the museum I wouldn't write them membership dues each year, that I wouldn't get upset when I got the newsletter because it looked like shit. That of course led into a conversation of why it looked so bad, so I told him -- the last few have been riddled with inconsistencies in grammar and layout, that the content was weak, that stories about upcoming events were coming out after the fact, etc. He took it all in stride. I think because he could hear how riled up I was.

I called him on the ex-Museumer line -- and threw it back at him. He has lost good people -- so many volunteers that would have taken a bullet for that place, don't even go down there anymore. And that, I blamed on him, for allowing his manipulative staff to run people out. He agreed that he had a problem with Bitch-stine, that she was causing trouble, but unfortunately had some board members in her back pocket. I tried not to gloat when I said, "I'm sorry to hear that, but not surprised. I told you when we had drinks before I left to watch your back with her."

I also told him that any bitterness or ill feelings I once held for the museum were related directly to her and the lies she spread about me after I left. He agreed she went too far. "So you knew about it. But did you defend me?" There was no answer on that one, but I expected nothing different.

He even went so far as to say that he'd love to get me back there (yea, that'll happen) -- to get some people out of there and bring back his "ace." Too little too late.

All in all, it felt good to get some stuff off my chest. But did he get it? Did he really get it?

Doubtful. And until he does, I worry about that museum, and that collection, and the legacy of the greatest home run hitter of all time. Unfortunately, I'm not the Babe's keeper anymore and I need to let go.

Baltimore Revisited

A quick recap of Charm City:

Friday night I was supposed to meet J for drinks before going to Tim & Sonja's. I called his cell phone a few times as I neared the city -- and got his voice mail. Oh no not again. He's going to blow me off. Again. So I drove the long way to Ellicott City, went past my old apartment (got a little melancholy seeing my second floor porch and magnolia tree), drove through old Ellicott City and to my old strip mall, all the while making random cell phone calls. Finally as I neared the end of the path -- either park and shop or head the mile up the road, I called Sonja and told her I was headed over there earlier than expected.

Jennie and Kaley were excited to see me, and I can't believe how much they've grown up since I saw them at Christmas. Kaley, especially, is talking up a storm, including saying prayers before each meal and asking to be excused from the table so she can go wash her hands. She could go pick out her clothes or pj's and bring them to me in the living room to help her change. I guess it's been a while since I've been around a 2 1/2 year old to see the sudden independence. It was amazing.

J did finally call as I was helping Sonja set the table. I honestly thought about not answering it, but I did. He had a good excuse -- he was meeting with the new owners of the Nationals. So after some back and forth of weekend plans, we agreed that he would pick me up from the event on Monday, I would leave set-up for an hour so we could have a drink somewhere nearby.

Saturday morning, after cereal with the girls (I can't remember the last time I had Apple Jacks!), I headed out for a little shopping at my old stomping grounds. It was sad -- only one person left that I knew. Of course, she was the reason I was visiting. I did a little shopping (still got the employee discount or the equivalent of it) and then headed out according to my itinerary to visit my high school friend Julie. Julie just had a baby in March, so there was lots of cooing and oohing and aahing in my hour visit before heading out to have lunch with JRK.

I met JRK at Chik-Fil-A (I had to get it at least once this weekend) and we caught up on each other’s lives. I had a few hours planned with her so we went back to her house to chat. It felt like I lived there again, sitting at her kitchen table, eating Swedish fish, and chatting about family and dating woes.

Back to Tim and Sonja's for the evening and dinner at Uno's, which we ended up bringing home. The waitress was kind enough to bring the girls' food as soon as it was up, but we still hadn't gotten our food by the time the girls were done. There was no way they were going to sit still while we ate and they had nothing.

Sunday, after getting lots of hugs and kisses, I headed out to meet Mo for lunch. That felt like home again as well, bitching about the museum and the incompetents that run it, what gossip we've each heard about how badly they are doing, and of course talking about Chris and her equivalent to Chris.

I made it to Lesley's mid-afternoon and we caught up on all things that haven't made it into phone calls or emails. And then we decided that the upstate New Yorker had to see the latest "yankee" thing to hit the south -- the new Wegmans. OMG it was amazing. It was like no Wegmans that I had ever seen -- bigger, brighter, more offerings, and of course more expensive. The same bread that I buy in the bakery for $3 in Ithaca was $4.50 there. I guess that's inflation.

Monday was event day. I had great hair -- perfectly straight, straight, straight. Lesley and I headed over to the banquet hall around 2 and jumped right into the silent auction set-up. Of course, we had to scope out what we wanted to bid on. (I had my sights on a 2006 team-signed Yankees ball and a jacket -- which after going over my ceiling bid of $250 to $350, held my breath when, at the latest minute, got outbid. Whew!)

We set up, we changed, we primped, we sprayed (perfume and hair spray) and then I waited for my phone call from J. About ten after 4, my cell phone rang. "I'm outside the front door." I got a little nervous. I'm not sure why. Okay, I know why. But I was surprised at my nerves.

I got into his car. He teased me because I had a nametag on and a walkie-talking hooked on my pocket. After taking those off, we opted for Bennigans, which was the closest. Over a Stoli on the rocks for him and a Guinness for me, we talked about his new business, his thoughts on Mac getting in next year (he says no for next year, that the sportswriters won't want to taint Cal and Tony's induction, but he'll get in the following year), my job and the upcoming job interview (I prepped him for being one of my references) and how long its been, how great it was to see each other and how it was too short. And it was, an hour was up and a little tipsy, I headed back to the event. There was an inappropriate amount of kissing (he totally started it) and in I went to talk to my auction volunteers about what I expected from them that night, all the while feeling a little giddy.

I ran into my former boss, and over a beer, we caught up. It felt good to catch up without any bullshit. I told him about my upcoming interview and the possible change in my job. He seemed a little put out that I had been in town since Friday and didn't call him. I told him I had lots of people to see, and that I kept in touch with people who kept in touch with me.

The night was a blur -- Joe Namath was charming as I got my picture taken with him. "Hi sweetheart, what's your name?" And he totally could have pulled a Suzy Kolber on me. And I saw my former football player -- who looked old -- and we seemed to not have much to say to each other beyond the hello's, the kisses and his obvious up and down look and crass remark, "the girls look good."

There was flirting with security guards, kisses and hugs with the players' wives that I haven't seen in a couple years, seeing people in the band. It was worth the drive, worth the long night on my feet.

Unfortunately, the next morning, I woke up to drive home with the worst sore throat I've ever had. It hurt to swallow. It hurt not to swallow. I had a bottle of water that got me as far as Wilkes-Barre where I stopped at Wegmans, got a bagel, some cough drops and another bottle of water.

Once I hit Ithaca, I stopped for a milkshake at McDonald's, a box of freezey pops and more cough drops. That was the beginning of the end for me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back among the living

After two weeks on my couch, I'm starting to feel better. Actually I'm just sick of being sick. Countless reruns of The Golden Girls, Judging Amy, Law & Order and even The A-Team, lots of naps, lots of thinking and lots of thinking of nothing.

There's nothing like being as sick as you've ever been in your life to put it all into perspective -- and not in a good way. There's nothing like feeling like shit 24 hours a day to realize how utterly alone you are. Few phones calls to check on you, no one to stop in -- I even went into work on some days just to get some human interaction. Of course when I did, I would scolded for bringing my germs in -- yes, that point had been driven home on several fronts, thanks.

And now, Baltimore seems so long ago, which I will recap in the coming week, including the "words" I had with my former boss, my meeting with Joe Namath, drinks with J and a little shopping at my old stomping grounds.

Until then, a long hot shower beckons, a dose of cough syrup with codeine to help me sleep, a freezey pop to ease the still-sore throat, and hopes of a full day of work tomorrow.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Quick Update

I was in Baltimore last weekend -- fabulous time, many details to share, but woke up Tuesday morning with a wicked sore throat. I drove home nursing that with water and cough drops, and have pretty much been sucking down freezey pops since then. Since Tuesday when I got back to town, I have gone through almost an entire box of 100. I'm on the mend, and had my first decent (though certainly not enough) night's sleep last night.

I will be up to writing more in the next few days as I work half days and give my strength (and my voice) back.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The world is out to get me...

I've been negotiating the double workload pretty well over the past few months. I can go along, doing my work, sometimes a little stressed, but for the most part handling it all just fine.

And then, work kharma is out of wack, the cosmos know I'm leaving, and all hell breaks loose. I will be out of the office tomorrow at my monthly leadership training, and then for 2 1/2 days beginning Friday at noon while I'm in Baltimore.

This afternoon I have five meetings between 1:00 and 5:00, I have the 44-page commencement program to proof, and I am trying to figure out how to start a project (that I have been given as part of a larger inititiative) that I don't have enough information on. Sigh.

On the bright side, my boss is very supportive. Told me that the most important thing on my desk is the commencement program, and everything else can wait until after I get back from Baltimore. And then he came into my office to tell me about my raise and bonus, effective June 1. Bonus! I feel appreciated. And the early, early mornings have not gone unnoticed, even if I am out to the door before the 5:00 whistle blows.

I also finally had my interview scheduled. I will be doing a phone interview from my office, with six (yikes!) other people, who will be in the conference room upstairs, for the media relations position. It's two weeks from today -- plenty of time to enjoy Baltimore, and then think through potential questions and answers for the interview.

Okay, so maybe the world is not out to get me. I'm just being overly dramatic, and when I look at everything as a whole, it's not so bad. Hopefully, I'll remember to do that the next time I feel like I did this morning.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Monday Musings

I'm getting ready to go to Baltimore this weekend, and am feeling somewhat ambivalent all the while being excited. My eating has been a little erratic, and while I haven't gone off the deep end, and have still been working out like a mad woman, I could be better. I'm hoping now that the female issues have subsided, I can be more in control.

I'm going to be seeing a bunch of people -- some I've seen in the past six to eight months, some I haven't seen since I left at the end of May 2004. And while realistically I know that I look different, I'm worried that no one will notice. And while all this hard work hasn't been for them, it will be disappointing nonetheless.

And I'm worried about running into my former friend turned nemesis, Bitch-stine. I'd love to slap her. I'd love to lay out the skinny little bitch. But I also don't want to give her the satisfaction that she can still get to me. After two years, she can still get to me. I think about how close we were, what great friends and confidantes we were -- and how she took my confidences and used them to her advantage with our boss, how fake she was once I announced I was leaving, and how even after I left, months after I left, she said horrible, horrible lies and half-truths about me to anyone at the museum who would listen. I don't know how I will handle it if I see her. I just don't know.

I've been having weird dreams -- two in fact -- about J of Baltimore fame. J, who I always think of when I hear Alanis Morissette sing..."it's like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife, it's meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife." That would be J. The man of my dreams. And now, literally.

I've dreamt twice in the past 10 days or so that his wife is pregnant. Had the dream when I hadn't even been thinking about him. Had the dream when I know his wife doesn't want kids. I'm meeting him for drinks Friday night when I get into town (still need to plan the perfect traveling outfit), and if he tells me he's having a baby...

And then there's Chris. Chris, who is not my boyfriend. He's merely my friend, with benefits. And yet this morning, he called to have me make some changes to an invitation I designed for him, and then told me to have fun this weekend if he didn't talk to me later in the week, "be careful driving, and make sure you don't wear a boob shirt Monday night." I let it go -- but if he doesn't want to make a commitment to me, then he can't dictate what I wear and how much cleavage I may show off. He's so confusing sometimes. Just for that, I will have a great boob shirt on, and hopefully I'll get a good picture of me and Joe Namath that I can show off. It'll serve him right.

And so there's my Monday, too much worrying -- about weird dreams, about running into people I never want to see, about diet and body image. Hopefully, I can shake all of this off at the gym tonight.

Friday, April 28, 2006

"Hi, I'm Ellie. I've worked for you for two years."

At the gym the other night, the vice president of my division was there. Now granted I don't have a ton of interaction with her on a daily basis, but I have been at the College for almost two years.

She was on the mat next to me and Whitey while we did abs. Here's the conversation:

Whitey: I went to Cooperstown this weekend -- my first time.
Ellie: Cool -- and how is 25 Main Street?
Whitey: It was amazing.
Ellie (very excitedly): What was your favorite part?
Whitey: We couldn't even get through the whole museum -- we'll have to go back.
Ellie: Did you see the Babe Ruth room? And the Ted Williams diorama? That's my favorite. Even when I was little, that was always my favorite thing to see.
Ms. VP (looking at me): Are you a baseball fan?
Stunned silence from both Whitey and me.
Ms. VP: I should know this, shouldn't I?
Ellie: You've never been in my office?
Ms. VP: I'm embarressed to say I don't think so.

In my office.....nine bobbleheads on the shelf over my desk, a large framed picture of Yankee Stadium, a framed picture of me and Cal Ripken, and various autographed pictures (me and Mussina, Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter, etc).

Thursday, April 27, 2006


After going 0 for almost all of April, Barry Bonds has hit three home runs in the past week to inch that much closer to the number 2 spot on the all-time home runs list.

I was driving home from work last night when I heard that he had come in to pinch hit number 711. And I'm not ashamed to say that while I didn't cry, I suddenly got somber. And I know, I truly will cry when he hits 714 and 715.

As a baseball fan, I feel cheated because he cheated. Clearly without the juice, his knees are shot and he doesn't have the strength he had in previous seasons to pull the ball. He looked like an old man hobbling around the bases the other night -- though not in the dramatic fashion of Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. He wasn't an everyman hero.

As a Babe Ruth historian -- and I think I can legimately call myself that having been "his" public relations director for five years -- I am saddened. Not because he is being passed. Not because he's going to be third on the list. But because the person who will soon be number 2 has no respect for the history of the game. And no respect for what Babe Ruth accomplished as a player.

Barry Bonds sees color. He sees race. Babe Ruth played in an all-white league, and so his numbers, his stats, have no integrity. We got into a verbal pissing match with Barry Bonds a few years back, when at the All-Star Game, he made comments about passing Ruth, but leaving Hank Aaron's record alone.

He made a comment like, "once I pass Ruth, I don't want to hear anything more about him. He's done. Over. No more Ruth." I'm paraphrasing -- I don't remember his exact quote, but that was the gyst of it. My boss wrote a scathing "letter to the editor" addressing the comments, and for five hours, I used both the office fax machine and the fax machine on my computer, as well as my e-mail. I had the MLB media directory in hand and sent our official repsonse out to as many media outlets as I could.

The google alerts went crazy the next day. And, as expected, Bonds fired back. "The Babe Ruth Museum doesn't know me. They should mind their own business."

Babe Ruth would have gotten into the Hall of Fame as a pitcher. He was that good. And yet, four years into his career, nearing the 100-wins mark of his pithcing record, he moved to right field. And then, and only then, did he begin his introduction to the league of the long ball.

For those of you who aren't sports fans -- and are still reading, I'm impressed -- that would be the equivalent of Wayne Gretzky (hockey's greatest scorer) doing what he did and then becoming a goalie, and excelling at that position as well.

And so it looks like, maybe even over the weekend, certainly in the next few weeks, Babe Ruth's 714 will move to third. And I wouldn't be surprised if Barry Bonds hits 715 -- or maybe a few more -- and then hangs it up. Retires. Leaves the scrutiny behind. Because, in his mind, it is about race, and by replacing Ruth, he will have accomplished something. What? I'm not sure.

I can't address the race issue as well as Thom Loverro of the Washington Post -- so I'll let him. Make up your own mind. Records are made to be broken, so cheer if you want. I won't be.

If it were Junior Griffey closing in on 714, or Alex Rodriguez (and he still could do it) -- I would be on the edge of my seat. It would be like the summer of 1998 all over again (when we all turned the blind eye to the steroid possibilities of McGwire and Sosa) -- excitement for every game. Did he hit one? How many to break the record? At this point, I can only hope that A-Rod has it in him and can replace Bonds within a few years.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday, Monday

Even though I worked last week, I feel like I'm just coming back from vacation. Everything in my world is as it should be now. I'm back home, I'm back to the gym, and at my desk by 7:30 this morning.

I'm doing interviews this week -- phone interviews for the other position in my office, and in-person interviews with the final candidates for the Director of Admission. And my boss told me last week that I made the semi-finalist cut -- in a pool of very strong candidates -- for the media relations position I had applied for.

I think I mentioned that I joined the new gym in town last week. It's amazing. I worked out over the weekend, and then went into the campus gym this morning and worked out with my trainer. We did weights this morning, so when I go in this after work, I'll just do cardio. I'm going to do a couple two-a-days this week, just to push myself and to get back in the saddle after my lazy week last week. And to get ready for Baltimore -- less than two weeks away. Oh my god, when did that happen?! May is next week!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dorothy Gale was a Genius

Or upstate New York native L. Frank Baum. He wrote it. She said it.

There really is no place like home.

I'm home. own bed. My own sheets. My kitty. Television with cable and a TV in my room for my middle of the night insomnia.

Best of dog poop. No barking in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow, I can get back into my own routine. And the only thing I have to do tomorrow is pack for the gym on Monday.

I did join the new gym the other day for the summer. Holy cow -- it does not look like Ithaca. More on that later. I'm getting into bed. I'm way too excited about it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I'm down to my last night of dog-sitting. All in all, it was fine. It wasn't hard, but I miss my house. I miss my cat. And most of all, I miss my routine.

I am a creature of habit -- sometimes neurotically so -- and I miss having the same thing for dinner every night, if I want. I miss the gym and the social aspects that I grown to love about that place.

The dogs have been very sweet, and no trouble at all. Calvin, the sad, blind soul, is the hardest. Not only to look at, but also to take care of. I get home each night and let them all out in the back. I carry Calvin out back as well, and then change my clothes. Then I roll all the newspaper that lined his area up and throw it away. Spray the floor with Lysol, give him fresh food and water. And -- and here's where my "everything in order" personality comes into play -- reline the floor with newspaper. In a pattern. Perfect pattern. I'm sick, I know.

Last night I took Ditto for a walk. He kept stopping and looking at me, as if to say thank you. It was really very sweet.

I'm looking forward to Sunday. And doing nothing.

One last night tonight -- finish laundry and pack. Tomorrow is a whirlwind -- gym, eye doctor, home to shower (home!), Bowl for Kids Sake for Big Brothers Big Sisters, grocery shopping, and then my couch. And my TV. And my kit'n.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's like living on a boat...

It's fine for a week. Anything beyond that...

I'm dog-sitting this week. I love dogs. I was raised with them -- we always had at least one, sometimes two. And big dogs -- German shepherds. But this is different. I'm dog-sitting for eight dogs. Yes, eight. And they're all different and challenging in their own way.

Ditto -- is a black lab. He's gorgeous and has a mean bark, and has been known to nip to protect his owners. But he's more like the strong, brooding type. When I was watching TV last night, I had the menagerie of dogs on my lap, on the couch and at my feet. Ditto was in the bedroom. And when I went to bed, he slept with his back against the front door. I felt very safe.

Cody -- also a black lab, but with only three legs. He got hit by a car before he came to live with his present owners. Very sweet, a little goof. In constant need of attention. He would stay outside all night if I let him. I had to call him several times last night to come in from the yard -- long after the other dogs came in. He slept at my feet in the living room and on the floor next to my bed last night.

Luke -- some sort of mutt mix, medium sized dog. The most easy-going of all of them. He goes out when he's told, comes back, doesn't lick, doesn't jump. He laid on the floor when I told him to. He also slept on the floor next to my bed last night.

Zeke -- is actually my co-worker's son's dog. He's a skipperke and just as cute as can be. He can be a little yippee, but he snuggled right on my lap last night and was happy. He's a puppy trying to play with the big boys and will follow any of the dogs anywhere.

Oatie and Teddy -- what I commonly refer to as "kick me" dogs, or sweater dogs. One has a snaggle tooth, the other has a tongue that's too long for his mouth and sticks out of the corner. Both are yippee and had to have a can of whoop-ass opening last night when I was trying to sleep. They'd yip and get the other ones all riled up.

Pierce -- another kick me dog -- some sort of dachsund mix. I'm sure he was yipping right along with the other two last night. And if I had to peg it, he was the one crying in the wee hours of the morning, which I ignored. So I guess it served me right that there was a little pile of poop on the hallway floor.

Calvin -- this is the saddest case of an owner living in denial about his dog's quality of life. Calvin is old, really old. And he's blind. And he sort of wanders around, bumping into things, stepping in his water dish, knocking over his food dish, peeing and pooping whenever the moment hits him. Thankfully, he's in a confined area, covered in newspaper. I was told he could go out, but I'd have to carry him back in because he can't find the door.

So those are my children for the week. Tonight, they're all going outside so I can give Calvin clean newspaper and walk on the treadmill undisturbed. And hopefully all the fresh air and frolicking in the grass will tire them out. Hopefully.

On the bright side, I'm making $50 a day and I have an amazing view of Skaneateles Lake from the kitchen and deck. I think I'll eat my dinner out ther tonight. It should be warm enough.

And unlike living on a boat, I can use as much damn hot water and toilet paper (not at the same time) as I want.

One night down, four more to go.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Place Called Normal

I'm amused by the towns that the people who regularly visit my blog live in. And recently, with nothing better to write about, I've discovered an interesting pattern.

I've had visits from Hollywood, Florida, and Hollywood, California.

Rochester, Minnesota, and Rochester, New York.

Columbia, Maryland, and Columbia, Missouri.

Hasting-on-Hudson, New York, and Hastings, New York.

Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, Missouri.

College Station, Texas, and College Park, Maryland.

Everett, Washington, and Washington, DC.

Manassas, Virginia -- or as a member of my former museum used to insist we address his mail, Bull Run, Virginia.

And while I would have thought I'd have the most city hits from my great state of New York -- and I have a fair number from Ithaca (of course), Hastings, Rochester, Central Square and Hasting-on-Hudson -- I actually am visited more by cities in Missouri.

Columbia, Kansas City, Independence, Birmingham, Liberty and Missouri City.

Texas is close behind -- San Marcos, Plano, Boerne and College Station.

I have my occasional readers from the United Kingdom, though most are from the United States.

My favorite city name thus far is Diamond Bar, California. Is it about the jewelry? Or about the beer?

But mostly I'm glad that in this crazy world I live in, over-analyze (who me?!) and write about, I'm just happy that there's such a place as Normal, Illinois, and that someone from there occasionally drops by to read about Ellie's search.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Big 4-0

I'm feeling better about the Easter situation this morning. I had a good night's sleep, was pleasantly surprised to find an episode of "The A-Team" on TV Land in the middle of the night when I woke up with my usual bout of insomnia, am having lunch with my former co-worker and have a light meeting schedule today.

I'm meeting my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew tomorrow at the Science Center, and then my niece with stay with me for the night. Not sure how we'll spend the rest of the day -- walking around the Commons, maybe a movie, dinner out and then an early night since we have to make 8:30 mass on Sunday morning. And now that Lent is officially over, I enjoyed a mini peanut butter filled rabbit this morning. Yum!

TGIF! I hit 40 pounds this morning, actually 40.8! A new middle number is literally ounces away -- I can't convert ounces to tenths (which is how my scale measures) but three-tenths of pound...whatever that is in ounces.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Easter saga continues

My mother called me this morning to tell me that she called the restaurant and they would be happy to make me a salad with grilled chicken on Sunday. She spoke to the owner and we are to ask for him when we get there, to let him know that "special order" has arrived.

So now, even though I had resigned myself to not going -- and was actually excited about getting my favorite salad from Uno's -- I think I have to go. And even though, in her own way, she did sort of the right thing by trying to accommodate me, I think its too little too late. When my father didn't like the restaurant we picked for Thanksgiving, and made a HUGE issue out of it, we changed it. No problem. I even called and asked if the new place was acceptable. And it wasn't a big deal -- it was more about everyone being together, making sure everyone was happy. So why couldn't it have been like this on Tuesday night when I called her? Why couldn't she have said, "let me see if I can find someplace else for us to go?"

And I just know that its going to be this big production, I can just see it now, as she makes a big deal when we get there and has the sublty and discreetness of a bull in a china shop. Why can't anything be easy with her?

At this point, I really don't want to go.

Happy Birthday to me

We had a little happy birthday happy hour last night for the clump of Aries birthdays -- had a beer and then went to the mall. Thirty dollars later at Bath & Body Works (I had lots of coupons and a gift card, so I really only spent $10) and $50 at Victoria's Secret (and that was AFTER my $10 sexy birthday gift card), I headed home for a good night's sleep. I think now that the evening temps are well above freezing, it's time to take the flannel sheets off the bed.

I got into work about 7:30 this morning and already had a voice mail. From my mom. Does she know that I'm pissed at her and doesn't want to talk to me? She couldn't have waited until after 8:00 so that she could have actually said "happy birthday" to me and put my dad on the phone? I don't get her.

I also had an email from my brother in Alaska, wishing me a happy "37th brithday." He's given me an extra year another time. I don't know if he really is an idiot and can't remember how old I am, or if he does it to get a rise out of me. I reminded him that 2006 minus 1970 equals 36, not 37! I also had emails from my oldest sister, The American Red Cross, a former co-worker in Baltimore, and a current co-worker. I feel loved.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Easter Manicotti?

I've called the restaurant twice. Hoping that something on their limited menu would jump out at me. It didn't.

Before I called the first time, I was cavalier about the whole thing. No big deal -- it's just another Sunday. My family is scattered all over anyway -- it's not like everyone will be eating together. And then I called. And heard the menu. Fried this, fish that (I don't do seafood), pasta this, cream sauce that.

I asked about the grilled chicken and broccoli with cream sauce. Could I get that special without the sauce? I was told that because of the volume of business on the holidays, they don't do special orders.

And then I was a little bummed that I wouldn't be spending the holiday with any of my family.

I called the restaurant again last night. Talked to a different person, got the same info. So what do I do? Do I just suck it up and go? Do I call my mother and ask her to pick another place? Do I do nothing and just tell her on Sunday that I'm not going? I wasn't sure.

My dear friend Wanda called from Baltimore at that very moment. She's calm. She's smart. She has her own parent and sister issues. And she's known me (and my mother issues) for more than 10 years -- so she was the voice of reason. Her advice -- "stick to your guns. You have to do what's right for you. You'll be miserable Monday morning because you overate, or ate the wrong things. You're in a zone right now -- you don't want to lose that."

Sound advice. I called my brother in Virginia. And even got a little weepy with him. I bet he was wishing that his wife wasn't sick in bed with the flu so she could have dealt with me. He said the same thing. "Don't let her manipulate you. You asked for a specific type of restaurant and stated the reasons. As usual, she didn't listen. Or chose to hear what she wanted. Call her and ask her what happened with the other options. Tell you can't eat what they're offering. If it were their full menu, it'd be a different story. But its not."

So I called Fran last night. I told her I called the restaurant and that there wasn't really anything I would eat on the menu. She must have heard me fighting the tears at one point. She certainly had to have heard the exasperation in my voice. But she chose to ignore it.

"Don't they have pasta dishes?"

"Too heavy."


"Chicken parm, or a broccoli with cream sauce dish."

"What about manicotti?"

"Too fattening. It's fine. I just won't go."

"Everyone will be disappointed. They're all looking forward to seeing you."

"Well, that's why I suggested Red Lobster or someplace with a full menu so I could get a big salad."

"They're not taking reservations. And with eight of us...." I didn't remind her that in the entire city of Syracuse, there are more restaurants serving dinner on Sunday than just Red Lobster and Tassone's.

"It's fine. I'll bring Katie home in the morning. See Bob, Sally and Zak. Then I'll come out and see you for a little while before heading back home. I'll stop at Panera and get some soup."

"What about steak?"

"Not knowing the cut, I'm not sure. I'll check."

"You could eat half of it."

"I wish I could. I have portion control issues. Ya know what, it's not a big deal. It's my issue, I need to deal with it. Unfortunately, this is the way I have to deal with it."

"Well, you've worked so hard, so I understand that you don't want to blow it, but it's just one meal."

Tears are being fought back at this point. "I just now, within the last four days, lost the 10 pounds I gained over the holidays. I do not want to...." Big sigh.

"Ok...but we'll miss you."

I'm beyond words at this point. I laid on my bed and cried for a little while, refrained from subjecting my brother to more tears with another phone call. Perhaps I'm being unreasonable in expecting that she might say, "let me see if I can find another place." Perhaps I'm being unreasonable in expecting that she would understand. Perhaps I should just go -- and test myself.

It's Wednesday -- I'm sure I'll flip flop on the decision more than once between now and Sunday.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Weekend Update

A quick synopsis...

The highlights:

* shopping on Sunday at the outlet mall. The drive was great, the lake looked amazing all the way up and back.
* I managed to stick to my budget -- taking cash was the way to go so that I didn't overspend. I really thought about what I was buying, which included new t-shirts (size L almost too big) and capri's (new pants size) for spring and summer sassiness, and some yummy multi-grain tortilla chips from Harry & David
* spending the day with a dear friend whom I haven't seen since last summer -- it was something that was long overdue and I never looked at my watch once the whole day. It was good to catch up, and hopefully with some not-so-great things happening in her life right now, she was able to put them out of her mind for a little while.
* getting home in time to watch the last eight holes of the Masters, as anti-climatic as it ended up being. Tiger choked on his putts and it was all Lefty down the stretch.
* dinner on Saturday was fun -- my mother behaved for the most part and they didn't arrive until the original ETA of 12:30. I did have to laugh at how many times Fran used "awesome" -- it seems to be the only adjective she knows

the lowlights:

For this I need to recreate a conversation from a couple weeks ago regarding where we should eat for Easter dinner:
Fran: we can eat at my place
Ellie: your apartment is too small, and you don't want to have to cook for that many people. let's just go to a restaurant
Fran: where should we go?
Ellie: i don't know. maybe red lobster, uncle henry really enjoys that and then i can get a nice grilled chicken something or other for dinner
Fran: okay, sounds good

A week later, she told me that she had made reservations for an Italian restaurant. When I mentioned that Uncle Henry doesn't really like Italian, she said that they were also having a ham dinner.

This past Saturday, I told her I might not be staying for dinner on Sunday.
Fran: why not?
Ellie: i'm going to call the restaurant and find out what kind of grilled chicken options they have, but i really don't want pasta and i don't need fried stuff
Fran: they have chicken there
Ellie: grilled?
Fran: you got chicken at thanksgiving
Ellie: that was chicken parm, and it was totally fried
Fran: oh....are you dieting?

The only thing that she could have said to me that would have been worse: oh this one time won't hurt you.

Because I've finally -- FINALLY -- broken the post-holiday wall. I am finally under what I was before the holidays (yea, that holiday season that started with the chicken parm at Thanksgiving). Within ounces of 40 pounds. I will not yo-yo again. And I will not eat shit on Easter. And I'm sorry if it will hurt her feelings that I won't be at Easter dinner, but this is the way I have to be.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Birthday cake

When I was 12 or 13, I remember being at my sister's house for my niece's birthday. She was turning two or three. I can picture the house, the deck, the backyard. I can almost remember what I was wearing and how long I played on the swing set with my nieces.

I can definitely remember the cake -- and how good it was. So good that I went back for a second piece. One of my brothers chastised me, "do you really think you need that?"

Already shy, already insecure, already painfully aware of my weight, I cringed inside for being called out, for being humiliated in front of the family. I was mortified. I fought back the tears and pushed the cake away.

Later, at home, I was laying on my older sister's bed watching TV. She wasn't home. My parents came in the room. My mother stood there, with a stupid grin on her face. My father -- usually the quiet one, usually the one who didn't deal with this kind of stuff -- sat on the bed and tried to rationalize the cake incident from earlier in the day, tried to make me understand that it was done out of love. And I remember this as if it were yesterday. "Do you know how proud your brothers would be if you lost a little weight?"

I bit my lip and nodded. The last thing I wanted was to cry. The last thing I needed was a hug from him. I was fat, and until I wasn't fat, I wouldn't be loved totally. That was the message that I got that day.

That message would haunt every relationship I've had with a man.

76 Trombones in the Big Parade


This week has dragged so freakin' slowly. I'm not sure why. I am doing the job of two people -- and suddenly, things have slowed down. I'm not complaining about the unexpected (though much appreciated) break in my workload -- I'm just stunned. And worried about what next week might bring.

My parents are coming to visit tomorrow. It's my dad's 76th birthday and I'm making them dinner. Well, dinner for them is at 2. I'm not sure when this happened. When I was growing up, Sunday dinners were always mid-afternoon affairs -- but the other six days of the week, dinner was at 5:30/6:00.

I have to take Casey to the vet in the morning for her annual shots. My dad told me last week that they'll probably be down about 12:30 or so. An e-mail from my mom yesterday says they'll be here about noon. By the time tomorrow rolls around, they will probably be at my house before I'm home from the vet.

I always look forward to visit with my parents. And then am disappointed when the visit actually happens. My mother says something to annoy me, or does something to annoy me. I always try to go into it with an open mind, but in the end, I wish for my old mom back, the mom I had growing up, the one before her breakdown, the one who wasn't self-centered, the one who actually listened.

So lucky me, I have dinner with them tomorrow and then again next Sunday for Easter. And that, for numerous reasons, I am trying to think how I can get out of it. But that's an issue for a different day.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

“I'd like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.”

I have a Joe DiMaggio baseball. As much of a Yankees fan as I am, I've never been a big Joe D fan. I could take him or leave him.

Babe -- of course, that goes without saying.

Lou -- absolutely.

Mickey -- the inspiration for my tattoo.

But Joe -- ehh.

I pulled the ball out of the box of all my autographed baseballs (yes, it is a shame that I don't have them out since I moved back to New York) and put it on my dresser so I would remember to ask Chris if he knew anyone who wanted to buy it.

Do you think I could remember? It sort of blended in with everything else on my dresser until it just became a permament fixture, and I forgot to ask him any time I talked to him. Fortunately, he was in Ithaca a few weeks ago. Before I could even say anything to him, he spotted it immediately.

"Where'd you get the DiMaggio ball?"

"Know anyone who wants to buy it?"

He gave me a look like I'm a complete idiot, and then, "How much?"

"Mickey's Place in Cooperstown sells Joe D balls for $500, but that's on a '94 World Series ball (there was no World Series in '94)...."

"I want it."

"Ok...$500 for you."

And so goes the plan to pay for the new, fancy gym in town once my campus gym closes for the summer.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Eight days to 36

I always get melancholy near my birthday. I think of this as the start of a new year, more so than December 31 to January 1. I look back, I look forward. I'm proud of my successes and yearn for what I haven't accomplished yet.

And so on the cusp of my 36th birthday (next Thursday), I think about the fact that I am the healthiest I have ever been. I work out 90 minutes a day, five days a week. I'm dealing with issues I didn't realize still bothered me -- and I'm trying to define and conquer my relationship with food and my own body image.

My relationship with food, and subsequent self-image and relationships with the opposite sex, have been difficult to define. I've always thought of myself as fat. Even when I wasn't. Even when I was nothing more than a solid 10-year-old. I look back at pictures and see a normal, healthy girl. But what I felt, what I saw when I looked in the mirror, what I thought others saw, was anything but normal and healthy.

When I was 10, I was on a diet. I had probably been on several even before then. My mother was always fighting her weight -- after eight children, I don't think anyone expected her to be Twiggy. Her self-perception, her ideas on weight and body image, were transferred to me.

I read the Scarsdale Diet book, went to Weight Watchers meetings, worked out at Kelly Lynn, watched Richard Simmons, did Jane Fonda workouts -- all before the age of 13. I remember getting incentives from well-meaning siblings. "For every pound you lose, I'll give you a dollar." And when my sister moved out of state with her boyfriend, and would call home, one of the first things she always asked me was "how's your diet?"

I can only imagine the effects all of that has on me. In fact, I do more than imagine, because for the past 25 years or so, I have struggled with it. I have tortured myself with diet after diet -- sometimes to fail right from the start, sometimes to succeed and then fail.

Finally, today, I think I've managed to figure out how to succeed, and at least stand still, rather than fall backwards. And so with eight days left of 35, have I finally made a step forward? Have I finally figured it out? By looking back, by thinking about specific incidents, I can let go and move forward.