Thursday, October 27, 2011

breaking news in the candy world

 Did you know they make packs of Starbursts that only have the red/pink flavors these days?

I didn't, because I haven't had a Starburst in like a million years practically, or since the days of raiding the vending machines before boarding the bus home from middle school. Let's just say that drought has officially ended. With an entire package of the best of the Starburst flavors.

They're called FaveReds. Get it? Because EVERYONE'S favorite Starburst was the red and pink kind.

This is GENIUS.

Wanna see what the flavor order looks like? I know you do.


I haven't felt so drawn toward candy in YEARS.

Naturally, this discovery is just in time for Halloween, the day of the year that excuses copious amounts of candy and sugar consumption as 'in the spirit of the festivities.' I'll be exercising the shit out of my right this holiday.

I'll be on a sugar high until further notice.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the one where i rationalize not working in politics anymore

Monday night I went to see Ides of March. I know, who goes to the movies on Monday night? I do.  It came highly recommended by my grandparents and I'd wanted to go since I saw the first preview for it months ago. (I'm guilty, just like every other woman I know, of being a devoted Gosling fan. I know, razz me about it later. But seriously. Drool.) I had to drag Matt because it's not his kind of movie and also because he thinks going to the movies is a waste of money (it is).

 I'm going to come right out and say that I liked the movie, and I think you should go see it.

I go to the movies a lot, probably every other week. I fucking love the popcorn. Honestly, that's almost my sole motivation. And because it's socially unacceptable to make conversation in the theater. I need to focus and cannot stand being distracted in the middle of a film. Sometimes I go by myself, sometimes Matt comes, it really doesn't make any difference to me.

SPOILER (kind of, not really).  So, this movie is about about the Ohio Democratic primary and how if this governor wins the Ohio primary he'll likely get the nomination for the presidential race for the Dems.  He's a decent guy, with good ideals. He reminds me of Obama, and I'm sure that's what they were going for.   Anyway the main character (Gosling) is his Junior campaign manager and he really believes in the candidate, he's an idealist. Gosling is this brilliant media mind and everything is going great and then all this bullshit happens blah blah blah scandal, blah blah blah drama, blah blah blah secrets. By the end of the movie Gosling is this jaded, crooked hack just like the rest of them. (sadly. but he's also still the most handsome.)

That's just the gist, go see the movie.

Anyway, I obviously started missing politics as I was watching this Hollywood, somewhat accurate-somewhat-glamorized portrayal of the race to the election. I've essentially cut ties with the presidential campaign after this summer because I got frustrated with it and because I also didn't have the time they needed me to devote, it was basically another full time job I wasn't getting paid for. But I miss it. I miss the whole scene of characters, and the flair for drama and the charisma the complete devotion of energy and attention and shaking hands and making a million calls to people that won't bother to show up to anything, and that's if they don't cuss you out over the phone. I miss the group of people with tunnel vision. But, the same tunnel vision as me.

And then I watched the whole movie. And I realized that I don't miss it that much. I maybe don't miss it enough to go back. Or enough to fore sake all sleep or really any personal life for months at a time and to have no idea what's going on with my family but to know the poll numbers at any given moment.

I don't want to live a life that's exciting for spurts and then an overall emotional hangover the rest of the time. Everything seems corrupt and full of bullshit and bureaucracy. The whole system doesn't need any one person, it will swallow up and spit out anyone when their time has come. I don't need to become jaded and spent and burnt out by thirty. I don't want that for myself.

It's more than just politics too. It's organizing and activism in general. I feel this stuff so much, so hard, that it takes over my whole being. It's exhausting. It becomes an obsession and a compulsion and the only thing that matters, and it never even needs me to start with. And it's lonely. It's a lonely life because sometimes that "good,' that original quest for 'right' or the service you want to do to make the world even the smallest bit better is a cruel and fickle mistress. It doesn't need me as much as I need it.

So, I'll continue to volunteer when I have time and support my causes and try to be a decent person, but I'm not going to stake my life on it, not for the sake of the life I want for myself and the person want to be. I don't think I have it in me. It's hard to say and it sucks to admit because for a time, I wanted it so much. I wanted to be a part of it all and another part of the process and part of the team. As much as I miss the hotels and the travel and the people and the clusterfuck of activity, I don't miss myself. When I'm in it I'm so full of movement, and it feels SO good to be moving, but when it's over, I'm exhausted in every sense of the word. And used up to the point where I can't even get through a few chapters of a shitty novel.

I'm rationalizing. Yes, this I know. But I have to. I'm starting to get that itch. That climbing-up-the-walls feeling that it's time. That I need to be at work rightthisminute for the election. That I'm not doing enough. Fretting over all that I could be learning and doing RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, that's my tangent and rationalization on why I'm going to be more selfish or really just less involved with a process that doesn't even know I'm there.

At least that's the plan today.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

a toast for my sister.

As I've mentioned a few times now, my little sister is getting married in three short weeks.

Since somewhere in the book of sisterly duties it says that big sisters are maid of honor material, I am maid of honor material. And even if I'm not, I will simply have to do. There are times that I look back at my mother tying us together at 9 and 7 in a futile effort to force us to learn how to get along with one another and I have to laugh because somehow, we arrived here.

(Yes, she seriously tied us together with pieces of fabric. We weren't harmed. She untied us for bed, but left us together for meals. Our father traveled a lot for work. I think she was pretty ingenuitive.)

We have now arrived at the point where we don't have to be tied together with fabric to understand that even without the knots, we're held together by some strange force that comes from growing up side by side, enduring all the weird and terrible things that happen within a family everyday.  Upon inspection, the weird and terrible might not really be so weird and terrible, but you'd never dare compare it with anyone. We shared the weirdness. We are sisters. We'll always be tied together.

You should know that everything about my sister happens in a whirlwind. She's a tornado that tears through town and stirs things up. She'll level one house and barely leave the one next door a breeze. She'll rage in a fury and deceive you with her eye in the center, only to flare back up almost immediately with a vengeance. She is a force of her own, she needs no source and doesn't follow and pattern or a logic. She never lacks energy, creativity, or originality and has never sought approval or pats on the head from authority.

She is my only sister. She is all I have to go on as sisterly relationships go. In some ways we mirror each other and in as many more, you'd never believe we came from the same family. At times, our relationship has been volatile. I was a bossy and bitchy child, hell bent on having my own way despite the desires of anyone else. My sister has had bouts of self destruction and moments where I am to blame for any wrong that ever came looking for her. Yet with everything we've gone through and everything that has happened,  we find ways to love each other more and our relationship grows stronger every day- despite all of the things we'll never forgive each other for; there will probably always be those things between sisters.

We are sisters, we are at times each others worst enemies and at times each others only ally. I know no better way to describe the teetering balance in the relationship of female siblings. The bar swings heavy one way or another between the two poles, and you're still stuck with each other. Sometimes it's a happy accident and sometimes it's a sentence you'll never live long enough to serve.

She is my sister, and I love her.

But what will I say in my speech in three weeks?

It's too much to try to express it all in a few short moments, all my hope and congratulations, with guests barely listening as they peer longingly down their flutes, waiting to make contact with the bubbly nectar teasing their lips. I know my family, trust that they love their champagne.

Maybe it'll mean nothing to them as I pour out the story of my first decipherable memory, the day my sister was born. I wasn't even three years old, but I remember details from that day, tidbits of realization that no one could have painted for my memory. I'll start my speech with that fact, maybe pepper in some details. My parents will nudge each other and smile knowingly, because they know that's my first memory, of course they do.

They'll lean over their table and mouth to the family members they're seated with, "She remembers it because she's never forgiven us for not making her an only child!" And there will be muffled laughter, but by then I'll already be explaining how that's not the way I see it.

The way I see it, in life there are moments that stick out like sore thumbs. They can be raw, embarrassing, make your heart skip a beat, or cause you to cry out, but they change you, alter something untouchable but true. They're vivid and bright and significant because of what they do to shape you, and everything afterward that you do, think, or say is slightly influenced by that single slot in time. The moment I met my sister was one of those slots.

My sister's presence in my world has shaped it. She has made me stronger, made me feel deeply, weakened my resolve at times, challenged me, made me hate myself, and taught me so much about life and love. She is an anchor that hasn't let up or allowed me to blow away since she planted herself deep into my person. My sister, she is a part of me. A pivotal part, the first thing I've loved constantly and consistently that wasn't provided for me at birth. That's a long affair.

I'll try to explain it all and fall short and start fumbling a little over words. I'll look Matt over at for comfort and instantly regret it and start getting heady with emotion. The express lane straight to hysterics.

I'll mention that I bet her new husband remembers the exact moment Hurricane Beth blew into his life and the ensuing battle to catch and contain her. I'll warn him of what he already knows- not to discuss anything serious for at least an hour after you get her out of bed and the like, but not too much. I'll commend him for holding her attention and winning her peculiar heart. I'll plead with him to try his best to help their relationship grow and blossom the way that I know in my heart she'll do hers. And then I'll thank him for being the man it takes to gently and sometimes not-so-gently handle my sister's mind, soul, heart, and body.

And then I'll thank my sister for being the first to know how to gently and sometimes not-so-gently handle my mind, soul, heart, and body. I'll tell her I love her and I'll cheers to a happy and laughter-filled life. I'll joke about nieces and nephews and the revenge I'll get on her through spoiling them unforgivably. I'll chug two glasses of champagne and smile my biggest smile.

And then I'll march straight to the bathroom, lock myself into a stall, rest my hair-sprayed head on my thighs and weep.

Because she is my sister, and I love her.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

a conversation regarding the future. part 2.

"Well, it's hard to say I'd want to pick up and move anywhere just because it sounds good." States the Man that moved out to Wyoming at age 18 to work on a ranch... because it sounded good.

I guess someone has matured since 18, touche.

"Yeah, I guess so," I replied, not ready to concede the point that we should be discussing our preferences for future locales. "But I'm leaning heavily toward a school in New York City, and I've literally never in my life had any interest in living in NYC. I don't know if I could pick the school for that reason alone." I added.

I'm thinking I definitely had him there. This is also the man that referred to driving to the grocery store in the suburb where we live as going 'into town" before he moved out of the house surrounded by miles and miles of fields and we moved into together closer to civilization.  Surely he doesn't want to move to THAT big bad city either.

"Yeah, I can't say I wouldn't like it though, because I've never even been to NYC," he stated diplomatically.

And now I'm confused because I thought we were going to be closer to the same page on this. The man hates big cities. Or so I thought. So then I pull out my little pearl of recent self-discovery.

"Hm. I don't know. I really think I may be over the whole 'big city' phase in my life. I went chasing it and I wasn't happy with it. It was overwhelming, like I was trying to eat a whole steak in one bite every night. I got tired of being shoved around. There's just too many bodies. Everything is so close together that it's supposed to be more convenient, but really, it was harder for me to navigate and the public transportation made getting anywhere more difficult for me. I felt swallowed up."

And again, I'm surprised by his response.

"Yeah, but there's something about big cities. I'm not saying I want to live in one forever or raise a family in one or that that I love big cities more than the country. But I don't really love the suburbs. I think it would be cool to live in a big city for a while while I'm still pretty young. People that live in cities seem to just build some sort of pride after a time, I mean look at Philly and Chicago. Hell, people even have a sense of pride about being from Detroit!"

"Yeah, and Cleveland! People from Cleveland FUCKING LOVE CLEVELAND. What's up with that?"

And so on.

All in all, I'm glad we had an honest conversation about where we'd both like to live. Where I assumed Matt would hate basically anywhere that wasn't surrounded by trees and fields, he's much more open to trying a different landscape than I thought. We both agreed that we didn't want to live in Florida. However, When I stated that I'd rather live in California than New York City, he vehemently disagreed. Probably because he's extremely republican and I'm extremely the opposite. Oh, imagine what confused offspring we could produce!

I still don't really want to move to a big city. I lived in Chicago for a while after a series of poor life choices and bad luck, and as much as I love it there, like deeply deeply love it, I honestly wasn't happy there. This unhappiness was probably a result of a lot of things going on in my personal life and the fact that my job there was shady and paid almost nothing, but it was more than that. I felt crowded and swallowed and in constant over stimulation.

I guess in the end, we'll have to wait and find out which programs I get accepted to in the first place, and make a decision from there. Who knows? Maybe we'll end up in Big, Bad, NYC.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a conversation regarding the future. part 1.

Last night Matt (AKA Manfriend, but I'm tired of calling him Manfriend so from this point forward he will be referred to by his given name, Matt) and I were dicking around, our regular Monday night activity, and one thing led to another, and before I knew it we were actually discussing The Future.

These are not the sort of conversations that I normally pursue for a myriad of reasons, one being that the future freaks me out, man. And another being that I have trouble making decisions and all I see in the future is an endless string of crucial choices and opportunities for failure.

On the flip side I also have a great deal of hopes and passionate interests that I intend to pursue to The Future, which excites me greatly.

I just don't really have a plan, hence the fear. Every time I try to force myself to formulate some sort of plan, something shifts and sends me into a tailspin that changes even basic groundwork in my plan. Which can be good, but also just keeps me fixed to one spot because I'll never actually follow through with anything if I keep changing the plan before I take a first step.


All I really meant by that convoluted mess is that I'm trying to formulate a plan for The Future and it seems like something always gets in the way of the all-important first step in the right direction.

Now though, I've finally actually picked a concentration for my Master's and I'm shopping around for programs and doing copious amounts of research. I'm a nerd. I crave information. As much as possible.

This is all pretty recent and sort of causing me to panic because I want to pour my entire self into applying for grad school right now, but I've also got my little sister's wedding in three weeks and another good friend's wedding in December. Both require a fair amount of attention, time, and money. Especially my sister's wedding. I'm throwing a bridal shower on Sunday and I STILL don't know how I'm decorating.

And that brings us up to speed with last night, in a candlelit room decorated with background music and hot oil being massaged into my back by the man that spoils me constantly. That is the time that I chose to pose the following question:

"So.......ehhh... Where do YOU want to live?"

I know, romantic. But it's a conversation I can't believe we've never had. We literally cannot pick a fucking restaurant to eat at on a Friday night because neither one of us wants to choose something the other person isn't in the mood for,  but I've been researching programs and getting ready to go balls-in with whatever schools I feel like pursuing and I never even asked Matt what he thought.


I mean, I realize it's my future and I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR and I shouldn't let someone else influence my decisions for the life I've dreamed of and blah blah blah.

But, honestly. In all likelihood Matt's in for the long haul. He's been in for the long haul way longer than I have. He wants to come with me and that's good for me because omgz back rubs on the reg. And also all that other mushy stuff.

So I asked him. Because I want to know that wherever I decide to move us all over God's green earth doesn't cause him to resent me for the length of our stay.

And an interesting conversation it was.

To be continued.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

adventures in volunteering

I was volunteering recently with eight year old girls for Girl's Inc. Just an hour, once a week for six weeks. They run cycles four times a year.  This was week five, our second to last class together. The girls were sitting in small clusters around round tables drawing pictures of themselves doing something amazing and eating their lunches. I walked around, asking the girls what they were drawing and encouraging them to finish eating, they are always very animated and want to tell me a million stories. I've never felt so popular.
The girls are from a variety of different home lives and backgrounds. Some are very poor. Even in third grade they are starting to realize who are the 'haves' and who are the 'have nots.' They don't do it meanly, it's almost like some invisible force is pulling them into groups. It's heartbreaking sometimes, but this group is always polite and kind and encouraging to one another. They were willing to share and eager to answer questions and so candid with their responses that many times I had to smile to hold back a laugh. No one feels afraid to speak up for fear they will be ridiculed, which I admire so much in them and wonder how long they have like this.
As I was circulating around and finding out how every one's week was going, one girl motioned me over excitedly. She always has a broad smile, unbrushed hair, and clothes that don't quite match. She's confident and social to everyone and undoubtedly, a 'have not.'
"My mom had her baby!" She exclaimed with happy excitement. 
"OH MY, that's wonderful" I gushed back,  "A little brother or a little sister!"
"A little sister,' she said suddenly sounding a little shy.
"Well what did she name her?" I encouraged.
And then she hesitated and looked back down at the picture she was drawing of herself kicking a game-winning goal during a soccer game. She'd mentioned to me in an earlier class that she was very athletic.
"We didn't get to name her, because, the family that, that, that adopted her will name her." She said carefully. She looked heartbroken, but not in tears.
I was so taken aback with her willingness to share and her bravery and honesty at the situation that I didn't know what to say. Another girl at the table, having overheard as kids are wont to do, piped up quickly with a "Why? Why don't you get to keep your sister?" Not meanly, but just with genuine interest at what surely seemed like a strange situation to her.
"Well," hesitated the first girl, "That couple couldn't have a" That's when she trailed off and sat staring at her toes.
"How wonderful of Morgan's mother to do such a kind thing for that family." Was all I could think to say. Because what can you say? She's eight. She doesn't get to have a baby sister and it just isn't fair.
Eight year olds know much more than most people give them credit for and she knew more than she'd been told in words. She knew that her Mom couldn't keep that new little sister and seeing it was heartbreaking.
Maybe she'll be fine and she'll cope and grow and go on to win hundreds of soccer games. But sometimes I catch myself wondering what would have been the right thing to say. How could I have helped her carry the load? What if she doesn't have anyone else to talk to?
Working with those girls has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience. And it's given me new ideas to consider as I try to figure out my career path. If you have even an hour a week I'd highly recommend volunteering your time to give a girl someone to talk to.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

i'm about to f*ck you up with some truth.

I haven't been feeling the blog lately.

It's not you, it's me.

But really, it's me. And I'm about to explain why, or try to.

I've still been writing I guess. Weird little stories and emails that could fill entire encyclopedia volumes. Words are still spewing out of me, but not here.

Which has been caused me to pause and consider,  why not? I started this thing so I'd have an outlet, a place to just let it all flow out. It was a project to bring me up from the depths of feelings of total helplessness over having a job I hated, feeling defeated professionally and locationally, and not knowing where to go from here. And also to get me through Winter. In many ways, writing here has done me a great service, given me something to get excited about.

I started this blog to help me get through a particularly tumultuous time in my life and to help me find some direction. To help my be honest with myself. To force me to think about my life in terms of what would be next, and maybe that would have happened if I'd had to sense to keep it anonymous. But I didn't. I told my friends and I told my boyfriend because I was proud and excited and because I don't know, I guess I needed some sort of validation from the people who I care about.

I didn't think it would be a big deal, my people knowing that I was posting random shit about my life for everyone to see. I didn't and still don't anticipate my blog becoming a space to vent out my feelings about them in a fit of frustration or anger. Except apparently sometimes about Manfriend. Which is sort of passive aggressive of me, I suppose. Sorry about that, M. Anyway, I don't really bitch about my friends, I internalize that kind of stuff.

So if that's not what I'm afraid of, what is it?

Why is being honest to myself, and strangers, and my closest friends proving so damn difficult?
This whole post is a kind of a snoozefest.

I guess my point is this. I'm frustrated. I know I'm a decent writer and I know I can tell a story. But I've been at this almost a year and it still feels unnatural.

I still feel like I haven't settled in and found my voice.

And I'm still no closer to figuring out what that even means.

So here's what I'm saying. I'm not going to write about stuff like bad hair cuts and what makeup products I recommend anymore because I don't really give a shit about that kind of stuff. I don't care about celebrities or reality TV or really even fantasy football all that much either. It was only ever filler and forced material. And if you do like those things, I think that's awesome because I believe everyone is different and that's why I almost never get bored. If you write about it in a funny way or are still a genuine person, I will still love you to death and I'll still read it.

But it feels wrong for me to write about stuff I don't give a shit about.

The truth is I like being outdoors, and reading more than anything else, and this weekend I was in a cabin in the woods at a bachelorette celebration and I'm the only one who didn't bathe the entire time, and I don't even feel remotely weird about it. I've showered twice since and my hair STILL fucking smells like an campfire. I eat fast food more than I should, I feel so passionate about politics that it sometimes makes me cry AKA every time the president gives a speech I cry tears of hope. I'm bad with money, and I mentor little kids because they're interesting and funny and have so much to give if we'd pay attention.  I think my job is giving me an anxiety disorder and at this point I'm ready to resign myself to the lifetime of waitressing that my liberal arts degrees guaranteed me. I can be charming, and also super bitchy, and also a really good listener. Usually not at the same time.

I try. I'm doing my best all the time at being a decent person to share the Earth with, but sometimes I'm just not that good at it. And a lot of the time it makes me feel pretty hopeless, but I'm not going to stop trying.

So that's me. I'm only going to write about stuff I feel something about now. I used to be the kind of person that literally never cried and just rolled my eyes at sad movies and stood like a stone pillar at funerals. Now I'm much more in touch with my feelings, which I honestly like better, except when I'm driving home from work and Adele comes on and I start getting hysterical and before I know it, I'm glaring into the rear view mirror at myself crying and mouthing "I hate you" to myself. Then being in touch with my emotions kind of blows.

I can't promise this will be funny, not that it ever was. But now, it will at least be an honest account of a real life train wreck trying to get back on track. Sometimes that's hard to look away from, right?  I can't promise that I'll post regularly or frequently, but I do promise that everything from this point on will at least be honest.

And that's not nothing, right?

I hope you keep reading, if not, happy trails to you.

XO Sara