Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for September 2008

Yes, this post is mostly about wallpaper. It’s also about the ex but frankly I care more about the wallpaper.

So, as I’m continuing my job hunt I’m living with my parents in the house I moved into at the age of 6, left at 18 for college, and then again at 22 for the city of Chicago. My parents have sights on moving in the next couple of years for whereabouts unknown and honestly, I don’t really see it happening. But they want to. However, not without significant upgrades on the house before they can sell it. (This is what I think will keep them here longer, replacing carpet, painting, replanting, barely one project is tackled and finished. They’re still working full-time so I’m cutting them some slack).

I am very thankful for their generosity in letting me stay here while I seek out the right position for me and they don’t lay on the guilt at all. But I feel guilty. I feel like I should be doing something to say thank you, to contribute, to let them know I’m not looking for a free ride or anything. This is where the wallpaper comes in.

Shortly after I came back home, my mother gives me these paint swatches and says “Pick out a color for you and your sister’s bathroom”. (First of all, I love that even though her two children are grown, both of our bedrooms are referred to as our bedroom and the bathroom we fought over and in, is still “our” bathroom. I find it sweet.) I got all excited because, well, I love decorating and decorating ideas even if I really have nothing to show for it in my past apartments. I’ve already started brainstorming what I want to do in my next apartment, down to the end and entry tables I want, that I will paint and what prints will adorn the walls. All of it bookmarked for my daydreams and when the time comes, to be purchased.

My dad was less than thrilled because as I excitedly showed him the colors I wanted to use and paint myself, I realized that he was not clued into this little project. Eventually. He said. Bummed, I told him the help wouldn’t be here to do it when it came time (little did I know! Crap!).

This weekend he decided to stain the deck again, one of their updating projects they actually completed. I’m not sure if was because I wanted to help or what but he told me my project was to strip the wallpaper in my bathroom. YES!!! A virgin to stripping wallpaper and painting, I was terribly excited and completely naive in that I thought I could get it all stripped in one day.

People, it is DAY 3 and I’m almost halfway done. This wallpaper is a bitch, it deserves its’ own circle of hell and I think I want to write a bill that will replace the death penalty with stripping wallpaper. My father told me that if done right, the thing should come off in full strips. Well, after I scored it, and soaked it in solution, it is coming off in little bitty chunks leaving a residue behind that I have to use my fingernails to scrape off. My first “strip” took me about 4 hours. Thank goodness, dad came in to “demonstrate” how it should be done so he found out first hand how difficult it was. I felt vindicated.

Turns out this is 25 year old vinyl wallpaper. Vinyl is water resistent. One key thing to stripping wallpaper? Soaking it in a water mix. Yah. Fun in the sun, alright. I also found a hole in the wall as I was taking off the towel rack. It’s been blocked by the towel. Ones that I barely use since I’ve been back and never used whenever I stayed here for holidays. It’s a trophy towel of sorts. The perpetrator of said hole? Me. I vaguely remember trying to do pull ups on the towel rack when I was a kid, and pulled the towel racks out of socket and causing some of the plaster to cave in. What a dumb ass. I hated pull ups and was always too tall for my age that it was a struggle in gym class. Why did I every want to do a pull up on a towel rack?? (Although I was clearly not bright or had a penchant for putting holes in walls as I would do gymnastics on my bed and promptly put my foot through my bedroom wall thanks to a badly placed handstand-ish thing. That one got patched. This one? Not so much).

My goal is to complete this god forsaken exercise by the weekend, in which I can finally relish in the paint selection and new fixtures. I mentioned I bookmark some home decor stuff I love, I also subscribe to an RSS feed that gives daily deals to various linens and home furnishings. Not of which I can purchase yet, but I will. OH, I WILL! Anyway, I open it up yesterday to read that wallpaper is coming back into style and is on trend. Oh, HELL NO.

Finally, a little update on the Ex. After weeks of fighting over IM, because he does not have the balls to call or see me in person, even though I’ve been here for a month. I completely ended things. All communication. Done. I hadn’t wanted to see him to get back together with him, or to make bad life decisions (that is his motivation, however) merely get my stuff back and to perhaps to give the end of the relationship some dignity.

He told me awhile ago, his ex-girlfriend (most serious relationship before me, they stayed best friends. I don’t get that. Wasn’t jealous, just didn’t get it. Every time I tried to get him to move on, I used how he did it from that relationship, he told me we were much closer than he had been with her) and he had had a massive blowup and were no longer speaking. In our last conversation, he told me they had reconciled their friendship. Oh, I asked, did you do this over IM? (because he hates the phone and never invited me to meet up like he claimed he wanted to do and this is the only way we communicate)

Nope. They MET FOR COFFEE AND CRIBBAGE. Oh really? So you have no problem calling her and meeting her and you can’t do that with someone you felt closer to?? In my defense, I did not act like a jealous ex-girlfriend but like a pissed off ex-girlfriend who realized that the had never made her a priority, would never make her a priority and was shamed into thinking that continuing a friendship without a reminder of this was plausible.

That was that. I washed my hands of it. It’s been 11 days since this happened, and I feel stronger every day. I realize we’ve been broken up for awhile but I still was holding on to something that he could never be, something that I’ve held onto for way too long. It was good to let that go.

Now, if the wallpaper would only give in a little bit, I’d be golden.


OMG. I canNOT wait for the debates!! I have been salivating for it. This has been quite a week in this country, my goodness.

Honestly, I am so thankful for this election right now, I’m so pre-occupied with reading and researching and CNNing it, that I don’t have time or care to wallow in self pity that is my life right now. Although, I haven’t quit job searching or interviewing, my priorities are not that far out of whack.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned but I’m pretty far behind as trends go. My wardrobe is full of basic staples. I got Uggs as a gift in 2006, long after they were popular. Music that is mainstream and popular RIGHT NOW, I won’t know about it until 6 months or a year from now. Having said that, I pride myself on being on trend when it comes to television. TV and I have a bond and it is cultivated with up to the minute awareness of shows like LOST, 24, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Friday Night Lights, Rock of Love 2,000 with Bret Michaels. All of which, I jumped on the bandwagon pretty early and never had to do catch up.

However, thanks to these awesome online streaming video sites, I’ve been able to catch up to shows I had heard about but had NO IDEA the awesomeness in which they contain. I am specifically referring to the awesomeness known as Veronica Mars and The O.C.


Well, I guess that’s a pretty easy answer. I dated/practically lived with a man who didn’t care for awesomeness (although I do distinctly remember a time he made me watch the last half of The O.C. so he could watch the latest trailer of Star Wars 3: The Revenge of the Sith – yes, there are seriously people like this in the world and I loved one of them).

The good news is that the lack of appreciation for the awesome is gone from my life so I am able to focus only on The Awesome. I have finished the first seasons of both of those shows, and am patiently waiting for the sites to post the second seasons so I can continue to watch awesome for free. But I also know that my time with Veronica and with Seth Cohen is going to come to an end, which is SO lame.

It also might be note worthy that usually my choice of Awesome means death to the shows. They don’t last long, if at all. I get excited and inspired and then disappointed as I have to file them away in my Angela Chase file of awesome characters never to be seen again.

But holy hell, I’ve never seen Southern California so appealing in my life, and *that* is the kind of level of awesome I’m dealing with here, people.

Over the next couple of months, my life will change as I get a job and move on with my life, but I am confident that The Awesome and the search for The Awesome will remain.

And that is exactly the kind of life I want to live.

Today I think I’ve reached the point the universe has been pushing and prodding me to reach.

After a quasi-emotional day, in which I let myself feel every emotion possible and really listen to it – hopefully my once a month allotment of crying too – I feel ready to:

– Start my career, with a job and the aches and pains and longing for the weekend that a not-so perfect but just right for right now job can bring

– Move out into a smaller than I’m used to but still just my own apartment

– Curse the city of Chicago for stupid things like parking tickets, slow tracks on the L and smelly people

– wishing I had just a little bit more money to buy something fancy but thankful I have just enough

– a refridgerator with the food I bought and I chose and that I don’t have to pick around because I would have fixed something else

– a me night full of bubble baths, a good book and a great glass of wine

– messy coffee tables with bills that should have been filed and take out menus

– a new routine in a new place with a new gym on a new campus

– old friends with in walking or L distance, perfect for a meet up for breakfast or drinks after work

– putting myself out there and risking new dates ending hilarious stories or just ending my dating forever

– a new experience with butterflies that feel me with anxious but elated feelings and excitement to see him again

– walking out the door on the way to work, thinking “I can’t believe I get to do this in my life. I’m finally here.” like I did the first day of college walking to class and again the first time I moved into the city.

I am soooooo ready for all of it. So universe, if your listening, I’m here and I can’t wait so feel free to send along all of it.

Happy Weekend, everyone. Hopefully the Magic Number will be 0 by Monday!! (Please Cubs!)

I love music. I think I need to put a caveat to this. I love music that moves me. I am not a music snob, in fact I’m sure I have horrible taste. And while I prefer to discover and listen to bands that I cannot find on the radio, I listen to most everything. I have only one criteria: Can I get lost in it?

I love music that transports my mind to my daydreams, or rather dreams, a sense of triumph or goals I want accomplish. You might be saying, dude it’s just a guitar. And you would be, in fact, correct. But I don’t hear that guitar, I hear the steady beat of the drums or maybe the hand claps. I am a beat driven person, if the beat pushes me and accelerates my heart rate, I’m in love.

Now, I’m quite sure that Hollywood and their movie montages set to song has probably ruined me. For when I’m not actually at work, or doing something responsible, and by myself I need the music to illustrate my mood. I am certain that listening to music that moves me during my former work days saved me from either being committed, or telling off someone or just quitting in an irrational fit of quarterlife crisis moods. Whether it was on my CD walkman (2000 – 2005) or ipod (2005 – present), finding those dreams through songs that moved me saved my sanity on the walk to the L, riding the Brown line smushed up against an agitated individual fuming they didn’t get a seat, on my walk to the office dreading what lay before me. It made me a runner actually, motivating me to just want to move my ass and get lost in my thoughts. It guided my long walks to undiscovered neighborhoods where I eventually moved. When I trained for a half marathon and found out our group runs forbid headphones, I thought my world would end. (It didn’t but running 12 miles without pacing my steps to drums sucked)

The secret to most of the music I adore the most is the inclusion of Strings. I flipping love strings and I wasn’t even in orchestra in school. (I played the saxophone, long story and it did nothing for me other than teach me how to cheat) Honestly, I think strings add SO MUCH to songs, that and hand claps but that’s pretty rare. I get so excited by strings that when I heard Metallica did a CD with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, I HAD to have have it, and I don’t even like Metallica and this was even post – Napster.

This last month being home as been hard, I’m sure you can tell that. I’m trying to stay strong and positive, but it is draining every ounce of out me. I had made a goal that I was going to get back on the exercise track and train myself to start running. Between just not wanting to do it and my lack of exciting music, that plan has gone by the way side. Until tonight. I’ve been making a list of songs that I wanted to download but on my continual unemployment binge, I’m about as frugal as Scrooge.

I have recently discovered a group called Vitamin Strings Quartet that has forced me to download a bunch of stuff. They are a group out of Vitamin Records and have recorded instrumental versions of a bazillion songs. Guns ‘n Roses? Foo Fighters? Journey? Flipping ENTER SANDMAN with a volin and cello?? HOLY HELL. Sign me up. It is so awesome that I immediately started making a mental list of songs I’d play during dinner at my wedding and the entrance song (What? Is this Another One Bites the Dust?? But it’s so pretty?!) and I am completely SINGLE and currently on track to be crazy cat lady for life. Honest. It does something to me.

The song that did me in is the VSQ’s cover of Paramore’s Hallelujah. I first heard it on this season’s So You Think You Can Dance‘s Top 4 dance (What? I said I listen to everything, also I watch everything and now I want Mia Michaels, choreographer, to be my best friend):

I will be out tomorrow, daydreaming and visualizing my future to the tunes of VSQ.

I think this election is going to be the death of me, or at least leave me with head full of grey hair.

However, I am comforted by Andrew Sullivan and his blog for The Atlantic.

If a conservative libertarian understands the pulling of wool over American’s eyes, which is moving into overdrive, then hopefully some in the general public will too.

His questions are real and seek truth. And it gives me some hope.

So my postive mental strength for yesterday’s shopping experience did not help. It was horrible, awful, crying in the dressing room type of experience.

I am looking for suits, suits that flatter me, to be specific. That is very difficult as my pant size is one size smaller than the jacket size (flipping boobs!). Also, I’m sort of in between sizes that are definitely on the higher end of the size scale that stores have sporadically.  In the end I ended up getting a great blouse to go with an existing suit set I already own, and is not horrible.

In the end, I did learn a lot. My sister is a stylist by trade, fashion in knowledge. It pretty much felt like I was in my very own episode of What Not to Wear, but the Guantanamo torture version. Lots of phrases like, “gives you a clean line”, “brings the eyes up”, “if the pockets pull, it’s too tight” were used.

I did learn a lot about fit and what should fit right on you goes beyond just being able to button and zip it up. Fit does not equal fit. I was very appreciative of my sister and her expertise, even if my freak of nature body made her just as frustrated not to find the perfect fit, as she hopes to one day to open her own business doing exactly that for normal and freak of nature people.

I will not lie and say I was strong and rational throughout yesterday’s excursion. I was for a while and then as it got later, and we got tired, and I felt crampy, I basically lost it. I reeled it in on the drive home though and put it in perspective. It is what it is. I cannot change anything right this very instant but I can become more proactive starting now. I tried everything on today, and it looks great and I feel great and comfortable in it, even if I were to find the perfect fit or the perfect body, that feeling is all I could ever hope for.

I have to go shopping today. I am mentally preparing myself for this torture. I have never enjoyed shopping, partly because I am overwhelmed with the amount of options presented in a store and partly because it’s never been a tremendously great experience for me. I’d rather flip through a catalog, preferring the way the clothes are laid out on each page cleanly than walking in to a shop with racks and racks of colors and styles, my head spinning and my breathing fast and anxious.

One of the things I wish I had understood when I was a teenager was that my body was shaped different than who the junior sizes were tailored to. I didn’t care much about “fit”; rather I would just buy whichever pieces did fit. I’m sure my mother probably told me this all the time, but I was a teenager, why would I listen to my mother?

A couple years ago, I realized that my body was different. It didn’t mean I was fat or not-“normal” but it was different than the model sizes mass production needs to churn out thousands of clothes. Ironically, it was the bizarre set of measurements for a bridesmaid dress, which forced this realization.

You see I’m tall – although I will never think that is a problem. But it is what is. I’m tall but I have very broad shoulders. My ribcage also has a large girth, so my boobs, as small as they might have been were set on something that was already wide around. My waist is wide, thanks to the wide shoulders and ribcage. But my hips are small, as in birthing my future children might actually kill me but I’ll never get to that part because I’ll probably just end up having a C-section, narrow. I also was born without a butt. For real. Jeans hang down there and there was always a little fabric, hanging off my butt on my underwear, which I didn’t notice until the Ex told me it was cute one day. I am equally long legged, as I am long in the waist. Regular jeans are too short, long jeans too long. Inverse triangle, nice to meet you.

Now, somewhere along the way, probably in high school, I didn’t see these unique attributes for what they were, but for the sum of their parts trying to fit into someone else’s perfect ideal sum of ideal parts. Shopping was rough. And there was crying. And let’s not even go into shopping for dresses. OMG. What this resulted was a belief I was fat that was impenetrable. It was wrong to think and believe, but think and believe I did, it controlled my life.

This realization that I had to dress to my strengths and realize that I just was wider or narrower than what was manufactured is one of the most monumental milestones of my life.  This was probably about 5 years ago and I was still in midst of years of hating my body. I watched what I ate, not dangerous but I thought about it a lot. There was a good 3 years in which I ate salads for dinner every day. I lived with roommates, the first set of roommates, I didn’t chose but rather needed a place to live and had taken over the lease for a friend who was pregnant and had a shotgun wedding (we were 23 and this is another story for another day), it was the least I could do and was happy to relieve her of that burden. But I found myself with two roommates whom I didn’t know. One was a former cross country runner who was still as skinny as she probably was running 17 miles a day in high school. I worked out because I didn’t want her to think I didn’t at least try. I moved on from those roommates to ones who I actually knew and were my friends, but my workout routine stayed and shifted its purpose. One of my oldest friends belonged to the same gym I did, downtown near our work. I used to work out in the mornings because I usually worked until 8 or 9pm at night and would never go after such a long day. It actually worked out perfectly for my schedule.

Now my friend is not healthy. She is pretty much a sack of bones, her eating is not healthy and her exercise is to the extreme. I knew she showed up at the gym by 6am every single day. I showed up 3 of those days because I wanted her to see my try. I wanted her to see me run 5 miles in 45 minutes on the treadmill, see the sweat that was running down my face and soaked my shirt, see that my effort was more than the Stairmaster she battled every single day. Did I also mention I’m competitive? Competitive and caring about what other people think is not a good combination. It’s an exhausting one, actually. But eventually after my bridesmaid’ measurements of a normal bust size, large waist size, and really small hip size, I began to release a little. I ran because I liked how I felt afterwards, I ran because I liked to escape to the music of the same tape in my walkman 4 times a week for almost an hour. However, I never ran for myself, in fact you might say I was running from myself.

A year after my realization, everything changed. Similar to why a lot of things change was because I met a boy. The now Ex. I met a boy who was not just my intellectual equal but far superior, who was in the throes of an intense graduate program at a prestigious university and was devoting himself for a future life of service to others. The constant thoughts of wanting to be thin were incompatible to most of his thoughts. I couldn’t keep up with his thoughts. Plus, he thought I was beautiful. Me! He told me this many times. What he liked most about me had nothing to do with the way I looked, but had everything to do with my brain and my character. And I realized that I had been using a significant section of my brain cataloguing worries about my weight, my body and what other people thought. I didn’t want to use that much of my brain for that, I wanted to fill it with curiosity, understanding the ways of the world, and challenging myself to understand subjects I didn’t have time for, before. So my exhausting ways of caring how others perceived me, worried that I was fat and I needed to run to keep me from getting fatter were over. I didn’t have time for that anymore, and I didn’t WANT to have time for those things anymore.  I also moved out to my own apartment for the first time.

The combination of those things led me to a boycott. I still worked out before work, but on a far less regimented frequency than I did before. Later that year, I even trained for a half marathon just to see if I could do it, and to maybe produce some excitement for running again. It didn’t take. I ate what I wanted and I enjoyed it. I gained some weight and when I tried to put myself back into the routine I was in all those years before, I had no motivation for it and it didn’t take. I couldn’t look at lettuce, let alone eat it. My patience for running was short; because I wasn’t able to run at the same level I was before.

Working out pretty much stopped and I let myself go. The strange thing is that I never felt better about myself, those negative thoughts really took their toll and not to have them made me feel at peace. Sure, every once in awhile when I needed to buy new clothes because my old ones didn’t fit, I got down, but I didn’t beat myself up. I didn’t want to go back to that place.
3 years later of this lifestyle and I realize this is not the ideal way to live for me. My body is not comfortable at this weight, and most importantly I am not comfortable at this weight. So what do I do? The only way I know is to start to hate myself and use that as motivation to start working out. This I do not want to repeat. I’ve started walking again, as walking is what led me to running (because I got bored) and while I never ran for the right reasons, I always loved that I could do it, and that’s the place I want to get to. Except the walking is not working, I want to be at that place now and not the months of training that will lead up to that eventual spot. I’m keeping a food diary to track what I’m eating, my guess is while I used to eat what I wanted and kept trim by working out, it’s going to have to be a bit of both now that I’m older. Except, I no longer have the obsessive qualities for food diary tracking like I did before.

What’s funny is that I want to get my body back to where it feels good, which is what I used to consider fat. I want to lose 30 pounds, where the old me would have wanted me to get to the weight of 40 pounds down. I’m not going to complain if I’m above a certain number I just want to be in the same range of that number.

Living at home, I’ve discovered my mom’s bike. Probably from the early 1970’s, the bike is cute in a quaint leisure bike way. It only has 3 gears, two of which don’t work. I’ve been looking for other things to make exercise work, so one day I got the bike down and I took it for a spin. And I loved it, even the seat that rubs the bones, of my now more cushioned butt. So I use it all the time. Sometimes I ride 6 miles, sometimes more but every time I can feel my thighs burning as the bike sticks into the only gear, the hardest gear, that works. There is a part of my brain that tells me because I do not sweat like I did when running, that this bike riding doesn’t count. But I ignore my brain. I tell myself I will get better at it, go longer distances, and someday hop off the bike and want to run. I want to feel my body getting stronger and feel it gaining endurance. So I’m going to stick with it and hope for the best.

I’m going shopping today. I need another suit and professional outfits to fit my current body. In fact, my goal of losing weight, while I want to feel better, is actually because I love my old professional clothes and my old suits, because they fit the body that is truly me… the wide shouldered, wide waisted, bust that sits off the rib cage, small hipped, no butt me. I am shopping with my sister, who has bounced back to her true body and knows the battle all too well, and is also in fashion and knows what looks good has to be in the fit, not the number. I will shop today and not get down but rather, remember that I’m on my way to finding the true me.


musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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