Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Gift of the M

My holiday was great.

There are plenty of reasons why, but I'm going to concentrate on one particular aspect: my sister. I love my sister infinitely and unconditionally. She has been my best friend ever since she was born, and our relationship has always been wonderful.

It has been so wonderful, in fact, that I didn't think it was possible for me to really know her any better.

But this holiday, she surprised me. The story goes like this...

A month or two ago, my dad hinted that my sister and I would be getting iPod nanos for Christmas. I was really excited about this, since my old mp3 player stopped working ages ago and I still hadn't gotten my hands on an iPod of any sort. Of course I relayed the news to my sister, but she wasn't as thrilled. She had more of an "Oh that's cool" reaction, but she wasn't as giddy over it.

Then, a week or so before Christmas, my dad posed a question to me: "What would you rather have, electronics or jewelry?" Well, since my dad had just brought in all of his Christmas gifts for people at work, I assumed he was asking what he should give to a woman at work. So I said jewelry. It wasn't until later that I found out he asked my sister the same question...and that he meant for me to answer the question about me (duh).

My sister told him she'd take the jewelry since she figured I'd want the electronics. And yes, she was right...if I had understood him correctly, I would have said electronics. But my dad told her my answer, and she told him she'd take the electronics to make me happy.

We compared stories and quickly realized that there was only one iPod (the electronics) and a very nice piece of jewelry to be split between us. I cursed my idiocy as I realized that I'd be getting the jewelry and my sister would be getting the coveted iPod. At that point she even said she'd switch with me once we opened the gifts, but we figured we'd see how it went. I knew I'd get an iPod eventually even if I didn't get one on Christmas. However, I was still pretty disappointed.

Now to Christmas Eve. My sister opens one of her gifts, and it's an 80 Gig external hard drive. She loves it, and she and I both think it's the electronic in question. We are happy that everything worked out...maybe there are two iPods, or no iPods at all--fine either way.

So then I open my jewelry, and it's this gorgeous black band bracelet with a diamond heart in the center. It's a niiiice piece of jewelry...very classy, and it's really my style. I'm happy.

That is, happy until a few minutes later, when my sister opens the iPod. The only iPod.

"Crap," I say totally out loud when I see it.

We fill my parents in on the little issue. But before anyone can say anything else, my sister offers it to me. Right then and there, she just gives it up. I say no, she can keep it, but she assures me it's okay.

"Just don't show it to me again," she says jokingly.

So now I've got the nice piece of jewelry (which is worth more than the iPod) AND the iPod. Honestly, I didn't expect it. I figured once she had it in front of her she'd be too captivated by it and just tell my dad to get me my own. We're hi-tech girls, after all, and we never pass up a chance for a cool new gadget.

But my sister says she's perfectly happy because she got other great gifts. She feels grateful for what she already has.

I feel grateful for having such an amazing and giving sister.

I hug her tightly and I start to tear up.

I love her! I love her even more than my new iPod. And that's sayin' a lot.

If I've learned one thing this year, it's that family is the best gift of all. On to 2006!

PS: M, don't're going to get your own iPod soon enough.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thursday Thoughts

I've got no overarching theme to write about today, so here's what's on my mind in no particular order:

I'm lonely.
Is the lonliness ever going to go away? And, am I ever going to have another relationship? Because sometimes I feel like that will never happen. It's just such a daunting thing to imagine.

I don't know how I'll ever get to know someone as well as I knew K. Or how I'll ever feel as comfortable around someone. Or how I'll break into their world--their friends, their family, everything. I'm scared. And yet at the same time, I'm excited.

I'm hopeless.
Hopelessness is one of the worst possible feelings. And it's not even a real feeling. It's irrational. It doesn't make sense. There's always hope, no matter what. But despite the fact that I realize that, I still feel hopeless.

I'm never getting married.
Isn't it funny that when I had a serious boyfriend, I was afraid of marriage, and now that I am single, I am sort of obsessed with marriage? Before I had a comfort zone knowing that I had someone to marry when I was ready.

But I've got no one. And if I don't meet someone soon, who knows when I'll get married. I could be past 30 and still waiting, which is scary because (a) I can't imagine being alone for that long and (b) I won't be able to have kids until I'm older, which messes up my life schedule.

It all just seems so far off now. Before, when it was right there staring me in the face, I wanted to run and hide. Now I feel like I should be running toward it.

I'm afraid.
I think much of the uneasiness in my life comes from unknowns. I like knowing what's going to happen. I like coming to work with an idea of what my day will entail. Unknowns scare me. Because when I don't know what's going to happen, I always jump to the worst possible scenario.

If I'm going on a business trip, I worry that I'll miss my plane. And if I'm a single girl, I worry that I'll be single forever, that I'll never meet the right one, that I'll get my heart broken.

I am a product of my own emotions.
Sometimes life is all about introspection. Some rare days, like today, I can see my feelings clearly and understand why I am this way.

The other days, it's all just a mess of tears and muddled negative thoughts with no way out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Poem of the day

I listen to the same song,
very loudly in my headphones
on repeat for hours.

Here I sit at work,
and do nothing
but shoulder-dance in my office chair.


I have a confession to make...

... the Backstreet Boys friggin' ROCK.

Yes, I'm finally stating my love for them publicly. Well, not them per se, but their music. I've always been drawn to it, mostly because I love happy music. As I'm sure I've stated before, I love the stuff that motivates or inspires me, and the BBoys do this damn well.

What is *happy* music, you say? Well, as my college roommate S can probably tell you, it's upbeat with a lot of high-pitched singing and high notes. Yeah, S is not a big fan of said music, especially when I played it over and over in our dorm room until she wanted to throw my speakers out the window. Ask her about that "Runaway Train" song and she still cringes and shakes with rage.

Well, I am easily obsessed with music, and I've been listening to this one new BSB song ALL day, even in the car on the way to work. I don't get sick of it. It makes me SO giddy that it's practically a drug. And wow, those boys can sing. They hit those notes like only real men can.

To give you a little background...despite being a teenybopper during the big BSB craze, I was never a rabid fan. Sure, I had a crush on Nick Carter, but I'd never even seen them in concert. However, I have always appreciated their music and their beautiful way of harmonizing. Plus, their songs are all so damn catchy. Now, I do own two of their CDs, and those have burned a hole in my CD player more often than not over the years.

I guess now I'm sort of rediscovering the Boys. The last time I was this excited about one of their songs was back in 2000 with "The Shape of my Heart." I'd crank that thing up on my mp3 player headphones for hours. But after that, I forgot about my favorite sugary pop group for a few years...until a month or two ago, when I needed music I could sing along with during my horrendous commute to work.

So I dug up those old CDs and resumed my love affair. I scream the lyrics out as I sit in traffic. And it really does make my ride more bearable, along with the added bonus of preventing me from falling asleep while driving (no, seriously).

So, thank you, Backstreet Boys. You have impacted my life in a positive way. And no matter how washed up or silly people think you are, there's always a place for you in my playlist.

And may I just say...

I just want you to know
that I've been fighting to let you go
Some days I make it through
and then there's nights that never end
I wish that I could believe
that there's a day you'll come back to me
But still I have to say
I would do it all again
Just want you to know

I'm so glad you're back.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Doing a 180

Wow, I'm starting to realize that my blog has become way too depressing. All I do is complain and lonely this and sad that and blah blah blah. Well, I'm putting my foot down and thinking positively from now on (or at least for today). It's Friday, after all, and I can look forward to a weekend full of sleeping, eating ice cream, and hanging out with my sister. What could possibly be better than that?!

Oh, wait, I know! Maybe the fact that I have plans tonight. Yes, me, having plans other than watching Jeopardy. First, I'm doing the Last Supper with the ex, a little depressing. Crap, there goes my positivity (yes, I just made that word up).

Well, I am looking forward to this dinner, but I am also dreading it because it will be our last face-to-face interaction in a long time. We both know we need to wean ourselves off of depending on and being around one another. And, put simply, it sucks. We were friends to begin with, and we still feel like friends, and we'd like to continue to be friends. But life is not so easy in the land of breaking up. It's too hard right now to be good friends because we are so used to being more than friends.

In addition to the final meal, we're also doing the traditional exhanging of the belongings. You know, I have his socks and some shirts, he has my DVD, and et cetera. Now, I've never really done this before...this big break-up closure thing. So I'm not sure how I'll handle it. I'm hoping to just keep a positive attitude and not let all the symbolism of moving on get to me. Because there's no way around this. It had to happen sooner or later and I have to accept the fact that we both must move on. Sigh.

But on a more positive note, there is also a happy hour tonight for one of my good friends at work who is leaving to go back to school full-time. I really want to go to this, but I've got the Last Supper also. Oh, and they're in the same place...the mall. So maybe I can pop over to happy hour and make an appearance after the Last Supper.

But wait, my schedule continues! Later on tonight, my sister and I are going to a house party one of her roommates is throwing. Oh, and yay, I get to see my sister! I haven't seen her since Thanksgiving, which really isn't that long, but I just miss her THAT much.

Okay, so that's it. My post today seems to be infused with this weird fake chipperness, doesn't it? Well, I'm trying, folks. I'm trying to be positive and be happy. Because it is really difficult to live my life when I feel so down. And why should I live like that? Feeling that way doesn't help me, it stifles me. And I'm SICK OF IT.

I'm ready to fly,
I'm ready to soar
I'm ready to leave this world behind.
I'm ready to open up the door
I'm ready to fly,
I'm ready to spread my wings across the sky
I think it's time
I'm ready to go
I'm ready to fly.

It's all changing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Friend Loss

I'm feeling all nostalgic again today at work. As I've mentioned before, the sad songs always do this to me. This time it's "Let There Be Love" by Oasis, which is probably one of the most brilliant songs I've ever heard. But anyway, what I'm feeling today is "friend loss." I no longer feel like I am part of a group of friends.

I feel isolated.



Let me explain. I DO have friends. Really good friends. The problem is that I've entered a stage in my life where I don't have the type of friend situation I used to have.

For example, in high school, I had my solid little group. We'd eat lunch together and hang out on weekends, and a bunch of us were on the crew team. We enjoyed being together, Shalini, Stacey, Ashley, Erin, Melissa, Whitney, Alex and me (hopefully I'm not forgetting anyone).

Then we all went our separate ways to college. I always assumed I'd stay friends with almost everyone, but of course that didn't happen. We tried, but most of us lost what we had in common before (going to the same high school and knowing the same people).

I experienced some friend loss then, but I made a whole new group of friends in college. It was me, Shalini--who's stuck with me forever--Diana, Kyle, Steve and Adam against the world. We had a great time together, whether it was drinking in someone's dorm room, launching gigantic water balloons at people, or playing endless hours of Mario Kart.

I remembered all of this last night as I watched the video I made sophomore year out of all our old webcam footage, just a bunch of clips of us goofing off, being drunk, dancing and having fun, all set to the tune of "DuHast" by Rammstein. Unfortunately, through break-ups and hurt feelings and losing touch, our group didn't last. Some of us are still friends, but we won't ever have that wonderful dynamic we once shared, and some of us don't even speak anymore.

And this brings us to the present. I haven't yet been able to find a new group. I've got my friends, and some of us are like little mini-groups, but everyone is in different places and doing different things. We don't see each other much, and we certainly don't share a very strong sense of camraderie. It's usually just me hanging out with one other person.

Now, part of this is due to circumstances. For the first time, I'm not living in the bubble that is high school or a small college. It's harder to see people and keep in touch. Also for the first time in a long time, I don't have a guy to lean on. I don't have my built-in companion.

But I still find myself thinking about those old days when there was that feeling of togetherness.

I've never liked being alone. And now, when I should be out having fun as a single 23-year-old, I'm feeling more alone than ever.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The single state of mind

Lately I've found myself searching. Searching...for someone. You see, this is the first time in basically four years that I haven't had a boyfriend. I'm not used to this lonliness. I'm used to always having someone there to just chill with or talk with, someone to lean on in bad times and smile with in good times. Now that I don't have this anymore, I yearn for it pretty much all the time. I'm just waiting to meet someone that can fill that void.

So one thing I've started doing is looking on I know, it's sad...and I don't really intend to meet my soul mate via the Internet, but it can't hurt to look. And it makes me feel better to look. I see that there are lots of single guys out there, and a lot of them even sound decent in their profiles and look cute in their pictures. But the biggest thing I've noticed while looking at all these people is my new judging scale for potential significant others, or even just potential dates.

I'm become incredibly picky.

I figure that there's no point in starting a romantic relationship with someone who has no long-term potential. I certainly don't want to go through another painful break-up. So this next guy is gonna have to be pretty perfect. How do I know if he's "perfect"? Well, I have this automatic list of deal-breakers in my head that jumps out at me whenever I see a less-than-perfect quality. Here are just a few...

1. Bad grammar: He must have writing skills. If he spells simple words wrong or doesn't know where to place a comma (or God forbid, a period), he's out.

2. NASCAR/four-wheeling/etc: I'm not into these things, and I don't want to have to deal with someone who is.

3. Football fanatic: Same as above.

4. Bad teeth: Ugh, I just can't stomach them. I need clean, pearly, straight white teeth.

5. Too religious: If he appears to put too much emphasis on religion, that's it for me. I don't want some heathen, but I'm not dealing with this religion issue again. I'd really just like someone similar to me (not religious, but not evil either).

6. No college: Sorry, I don't mean to be snobby, but I sort of am in this way. You need to be educated.

7. Bartender: You're a drinker and/or like spending time in a bar...definitely not my type.

8. Partier: If you refer to yourself in this way, or put down "drinking" as one of your interests, then I lose respect for you. This is not a legitimate description of your character, and if you think it is, then you're not my type.

9. Too political: I don't want to have to argue with you over politics, partially because I don't like politics, but mostly because I don't understand them.

10. Bad background graphics: If you've got those annoying templates on your profile that make it almost impossible for me to read about you, then you're (a) stupid or (b) completely lacking in any design sense whatsoever. Either way, no soup for you.

11. Use of the word "peeps" or other obnoxious slang: Sorry, I need someone sophisticated who can carry an actual conversation without annoying me.

12. Pictures with women hanging all over you: You're trying too hard to look cool. Stop it. This goes double for including too many pictures of yourself drunk.

13. References to porn/sexual degradation of women: You're my worst enemy.

14. Smoker: No and never. Unless I can make you quit.

15. Using a really stupid phrase as your myspace headline: Here's a perfect and very real example: "hello baby girls was up wanna talk write me back." Not only is it devoid of punctuation and proper sentence structure, but it includes misspellings, slang AND degradation. Wow. I think this guy might just be the opposite of everything I stand for.

Now, I know I sound like a total shrew, but I assure you that's not true. I like to have fun, but I'm looking for a real guy--someone I can respect and admire and who does the same for me. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that most of the men in the world don't hold up to these standards.

However, there are a few things that immediately catch my interest. Here are some of my deal-makers:

1. Guitar player: I will automatically overlook some, if not all, of your other flaws.

2. Graduate school: You're smart enough to seek higher education, so that's a good sign.

3. Good dresser: If you're dressed nicely in most of your pictures, with very few instances of the dirty baseball cap, then I'll like you more.

4. Nice blue eyes and blonde hair: You're automatically cute.

5. Good body: Sorry, I know it's superficial, but I want you to be cut. And if you post a picture showing this, then more power to you.

6. Well-written profile: Your profile, to me, is sort of like a persuasive essay. If you write well, with good sentence structure, economical use of language, creative word choice, and a touch of humor, then you pass. If you don't know what I mean, then clearly you fail.

7. Any reference to Jeeps: I love Jeeps and always will. If you share this love, or own one, then you've got my attention.

8. Good height: The more inches you are above me, the better you are in my book.

9. Animal lover: I love animals, and I need to share that with someone.

10: Good cook: You like to cook? Well I like to eat!

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure there's more. Just thought I'd give you a glimpse into my current state of mind.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Here with me

I'm procrastinating again.

I've been attempting to write an article on ignition interlock devices, but after all the research I've done, I find myself rather sick of them. Does anyone know what they are besides me? I'm thinking unless you're a cop or working at a DMV, probably not. So, here: Interlocks are devices that prevent people from driving while intoxicated. They are wired into the car and function like very sophisticated breathalyzers. I think they are a wonderful idea and I advocate that they are built in to every new car. This would really cut down on meaningless, tragic drunk driving-related injuries and deaths.

Alright, so that's that. In other news, I'm currently listening to my new CD, 'The Ballads" by REO Speedwagon. It's's all that monster ballad stuff that I love. It's smooth, punchy and inspirational. Plus, it has one of my all-time favorite songs, "Can't Fight This Feeling," which fills me with a little shot of joy every time I hear it. Seriously, that song is responsible for a lot of the things I accomplish in my life. It fuels my usually burned out fire.

Speaking of, another thing that fuels my fire lately is the PostSecret book. I certainly hope most of you have encountered PostSecret before, but if not, here's your chance. Put simply, it's an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Most of the secrets are very compelling (similar to haikus) and they are often visually stimulating as well. The whole thing is just brilliant, and it gives us an insightful glimpse into human nature at its worst and its best.

Anyway, the book is wonderful, because it's just full of these secrets. I read through it in an hour, but I keep going back to it. It never gets old.

The secrets will also be on display this month in Georgetown. The guy who does this (Frank Warren) has received over 10,000 secrets. That means there's bound to be a bunch of new ones at the exhibit. And how interesting to read other people's most intimate thoughts with a bunch of strangers. It's like an experiment in itself, and I can't wait to be a part of it.

And I can't fight this feeling anymore
I've forgotten what I started fighting for
It's time to bring this ship into the shore
And throw away the oars forever

The girl in the auto parts store

I finally did it. I went to the auto parts store by myself.

Yes, in the past I've always been fortunate enough to have my boyfriend or my dad with me. But this time, I decided--and was also pretty much forced--to brave it alone. It was the same scene as usual...a bunch of questionable-looking males congregating at the counter and not a woman in sight. I walked in and immediately relegated myself to the aisles so no one would notice me. My mark? New wiper blades.

Unfortunately, the wipers were not to be found in the aisles. I walked up and down aimlessly until the noisy crowd at the register dissipated a little. I emerged and timidly approached the more harmless-looking of the two male cashiers (in this case, the younger one). He was kind enough to point me in the right direction and look up what size I would need. I was almost home-free.

But as I turned to walk toward the wiper display, a tall guy in a blue shirt blocked my path.

"Hi," he said very confidently.

"Hi," I replied in an almost inaudible voice. I slid past him, but not before he could get in another sentence. "How are you?" he said.

"Fine, how are you?," I said back, louder this time.

"I'm greaaaat," he said in a far too enthusiastic voice, and with that he looked me up and down, almost nodding in approval.

Seriously, I don't know if I've ever felt so looked at before. I mean he did it in such an obvious way. At this point, my back was turned to him a little, and I just wanted to cover my ass with a sheet and get the hell out of there.

But I still needed my wipers. So I ignored him completely until I found them and then went to pay. He was still hanging around creepily and I avoided eye contact. At one point he made a joke about lubricant or some other disgusting thing, and he looked over at me, expecting me to laugh uproariously I guess. I cracked a very small smile and then high-tailed it out the door.

So, what did we learn from this? Absolutely nothing. It confirmed why I don't like going to the auto parts store by myself. However, I did notice one thing. Despite the fact that the leering guy made me uncomfortable and annoyed me, I think I was sort of flattered. I know that's gross, but I bet that if I went in to the auto parts store and no one had paid attention to me, I may just have been insulted.

It's an interesting paradox, really. As a woman, I loathe it when men degrade me in this way, but I look to men for approval, too. And here I thought I was some sort of feminist. But really, I'm just human.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Snow and sad songs

Last night, feelings about the big break-up hit me like a ton of bricks. It was different this time, though...worse that usual. The feelings were more real. It was like I finally really realized what was going on. I guess I'd just been trying not to think about it so much that I didn't allow myself to really feel it. Well, last night, I felt it with an overwhelming sense of lonliness and loss, and pain--physical pain that I could actually feel in my bones.

So, I did what I shouldn't have done. I IM'd K. I was weak, and I knew it wouldn't help the situation, but I wanted to share it with someone. And who better to share it with than the one person going through the exact same thing as me? We talked for a little bit, not for too long, and it helped a little. But really it just made me cry harder. We just got each other more down with our sad talk. It got to the point where I had to take deep breaths so I wouldn't have a completely hysterical crying fit.

But one thing he said caught me. He said he kept listening to sad songs. I said he shouldn't do that because they only make things worse. But really, I do the same thing. Why is it that when we're depressed we want to wallow in it by playing sad music? And more importantly, why is it that when I'm down, every single song seems to speak to me? I am beginning to feel like I'm in a movie with my very own backing track.

Driving in this morning, I marveled at the beauty of the snow glistening on the trees and grass. I was listening to my newly acquired Oasis CD, and a song I've never heard came on, but before I knew it, the lyrics were speaking to me.

But I hope you know
That it won't let go
It sticks around with you until the day you die
And I hope you know that it's touch and go
I hope the tears don't stain the world that waits outside
Where did it all go wrong?

And I got all sad, whizzing through a snow-blanketed world, and I felt like I'd be lonely for the rest of my life. But felt kind of good. It felt good to let myself feel. And it's okay to listen to the sad music, because it can help our emotions come out, which is all part of the grieving process.

It's okay as long as we don't let irrational thoughts take over. Rationally, I know I won't be lonely forever. Eventually, at some point, I will date again and I will find someone who is right for me. So will K. But what last night really made me realize is I don't need to push myself into anything. I'm not ready for that yet. I'm still raw. And that's okay, too.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Anniversary to me!

On a more upbeat note than the last post, I thought I should let you all know that today is my blog's six month anniversary! I can't believe it's been that long already...and that I've kept up with it all this time. I've really enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you, and I hope you continue to enjoy and/or gain something from my blog.

Now, a few stats, brought to you by my handy dandy sitemeter:

Blog's birthdate: July 5, 2005
Total number of visits: 1,231+
Average visits per day: 20
Average visit length: 1:27

Total number of page views: 1,968
Average views per day: 34
Average number of comments: 1-3 legitimate ones per week

Number of continents represented by visitors: 3+ (N. America, S. America, Europe)
Countries represented by visitors: 6+ (U.S., Belgium, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Canada, Austria)

Total number of posts: 40
My most memorable posts:
The sweetest thing...isn't flowers!
Old-Fashioned Romance
Award-winning Curves
It's all very meta
Seasonal Shock
Songs of our Lives
The Wind of Change
The Sleep Post (Featured in the Nov. 30 edition of DC Blogs!)

Now, our goal for the next six months will be to increase all of these stats. I want more countries, more continents, and more readers in general. I'll definitely be trying to vamp up my writing, up my posting frequency, and diversify my topics for you all...because, really, what is a blog without its readers? Thanks for sticking with me so's to a very blog-happy New Year!

PS...yes, I know I'm a huge dork. Just go with it.

What is wrong with me?

Today's post takes the form of a poem. And it rhymes, because that is the most enjoyable form of poetry I can write.

Something wrong
By Lauren (aka Sleepy Girl)

I have so many things to wear,
yet I hate every single one.

Sitting in front of the TV can really depress me,
but I don't have the energy to do anything fun.

I desperately want to meet someone new,
yet I'm afraid to go on a simple date.

I think about being skinnier all the time,
but I don't do anything to lose extra weight.

I want to hang out with my friends more,
yet I don't keep well enough in touch.

My life on the outside is fine,
but I just don't like it as such.

And that makes me realize
it's on the inside, you see.

That's the only reason
there's something wrong with me.

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