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.