Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hypothetically Speaking

If you had started a blog with your sister about a year ago when your life was in turmoil and weighed down by various dark clouds, and then had spent the last few months making dramatic changes in your life, capping things off with one of the most incredible weeks of your life where you actually felt - for the first time ever - completely in tune with the universe and yourself, so much so that you actually have come to believe that the universe has in fact been conspiring to encourage you down this path of transformation, and you now feel so different from the girl who started the blog originally, and you want to let go of the negative memories of your former job and former relationship for many reasons including the fact that you finally started meditating and have been practicing letting things float down the river so that your mind can be clear and peaceful,

...but you still want to be an avid blogger,

...would you continue writing on the original blog, and if so would you keep the name the same or change it, or would you start a new blog with a new title and concept that more accurately reflects where you are in this moment?

p.s. Thanks for all of your messages. I have missed you all and am looking forward to reconnecting.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bon Voyage!

In 4 and a half hours, I'm off to Mexico!! Per my usual habit, I still have to pack. I'll be on a relatively deserted beach with no access to internet, cell phones, or blackberries. How will I survive? I may go into blog withdrawal. It's very possible. See you all in about 10 days!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Put Your Girls First

I try to follow one major rule with respect to my girl friends: I try my best not to choose boys, or the distant possibility of a relationship with them, or the certain chance of a meaningless though possibly fun tumble with them, over my girls.

Why is this? Because during the last fifteen years of dating, while a lot of men have come and gone, the relationships that have lasted are the ones that I have developed with my girl friends. I love them, I'm fiercely loyal to them, and I want them to know that with me they come first.

But, I'm weak sometimes. I make mistakes. For example, the last time I flew to Detroit I had plans to see one of my closest friends, Wood. Unfortunately, that trip happened to be just at the time that my relationship with EXBF was self-combusting. I was a distraught, confused, sobbing mess for big chunks of the weekend. And, when the subject of breaking up was raised, I chose to stay in the car with EXBF to try to once and for all sort out our stuff instead of visiting with Wood. That whole time still makes me feel sad to think about. It makes me sad to think how sad I was. It makes me sad to think that though I loved EXBF it didn't work out with him, and it makes me sad that I chose not to see a friend for a boy that became dead to me just a month later.

After EXBF and I broke up, I became stronger. Or, more accurately, I rediscovered through the haze of pain surrounding me how strong I actually was. Somehow, during the three years of my tumultuous interaction with EXBF, I had forgotten some of my strengths. I had forgotten that I do not in fact need a boy to give my life purpose. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence, because the flip of it is that I had come to feel that I needed him and our relationship to give my life purpose. Oh, Buttercup, how low you had fallen! But, remember, I was in love, depressed, worn down by months and months of having my heart stomped to pieces, and stressed out beyond belief by my toxic job. I was not in a good place. My future was horribly uncertain. Sometimes in the midst of things, it's hard to see them for how destructive they actually are.

Flash forward to just recently. I had been out to dinner with Tapas Boy once and we were trying to set up another date but were having some scheduling issues. He could only do a Thursday and was saying that he really wanted to see me and since our first date had been so great I really wanted to see him, so I decided against my better judgment to forego my weekly Thursday night ANTM viewing with Lakshmi and agreed to go out with him. There, I said it, once again, I chose a boy over spending time with one of my girls. A week after that decision, guess who was still around and guess who had become MIA?

As you all know, Tapas Boy and I ended up going out last minute on Wednesday instead of Thursday, because he couldn't break his plans with his friend on Thursday night, and after a decent Date #2, I didn't hear from the boy for 8 days. Although I ended up not cancelling with Lakshmi for Thursday, the part that bothers me is that I was ready to cancel on her for a boy that I had been on only one date with that I thought I might like. I didn't even like him. I just thought I might like him. The other reason I was ready to cancel was that I knew Lakshmi would understand, and also that she would enjoy herself without me watching ANTM. My close girl friends are all like that. They understand my weaknesses, yet they love and support me. They forgive me when I make mistakes, which just makes me want to try even harder not to make them. But still, I didn't behave like the type of woman I aspire to be.

Well, not this week, brother. This week, I am being the woman I want to be. I am being a woman worthy of my amazingly wonderful girl friends. I'm putting me first and I'm putting them first.

Exhibit #1: After spending Friday night with River, I spent parts of Saturday thinking that I liked him. I was a little bubbly inside and a flicker of hope was unfurling inside of me. I thought for a second wistfully and a tad regretfully that I had made my trip to Mexico so long. By 3:00 am Saturday night, after he had texted me and I had texted him the location at which I was drinking and after he had texted me back that he was in a different location drinking and that we would "be in touch," and after he had failed to materialize, the flicker of hope died, I felt the stab of vulnerability striking again, and I decided that he was a player and that it was impossible to have sex without becoming emotionally attached. Don't worry, I also flirted at the bar with a bunch of very cute boys, so it wasn't like I let me evening be ruined, but I still felt a tiny bit let down.

I could have (easily) spent the remainder of the weekend obsessing, berating myself for getting involved on any level with River, or feeling bad that I had made myself vulnerable. But, guess what? I didn't do that. I decided that the past was the past and I wasn't going to worry about it. If River just wanted to take me on dates, call me, and text me to sleep with me, fine. It was a nice cleansing experience. He's gorgeous and I most certainly do not regret being that close to his beautifully smooth, perfectly muscled, chocolate brown body. What's done is done. Instead, I just pushed him out of my mind and started getting excited for my trip. I didn't even worry about it! Go me! (Update: He called and wants to see me before I go. I'll keep you posted).

Exhibit #2: After Tapas Boy emailed me last Thursday to tell me that he was unavailable, I waited five days, until late last night, to email him back and let him know that I was going on vacation this Friday. Wouldn't you know that Tapas Boy immediately emailed me back and wanted to know if I was available tonight for a drink. I don't think so. a) I have plans with Lakshmi. b) Even if I didn't have plans, I most certainly would not make myself available to a boy who had waited 8 days after our last date to make contact. I mean, puh-leeeeeeze.

So, there you have it. I chose me over one boy and my girl friend over the other one. Two excellent choices in one excellent week. I'm proud of me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bikini Shopping

I highly recommend that you go to a yoga class. Right now. Or, if not now, then as soon as practicable. I'm happy and a little proud to report that on my first Monday off of work I woke up, had a healthy breakfast of Kashi Go Lean Crunch and peach Activa yogurt, and then speed walked 14 blocks to make it to a Hatha Yoga class. Not a bad start to my two months of freedom, eh? (That "eh" was for my Canadian blogger friends).

Speaking of Canadians, I just found out that one of my friends in the city is Canadian. I met her for lunch today after my yoga class and learned that she was from Calgary. I knew there was a reason I had liked her immediately. She's a lactation specialist, interested in the subject in part because of its implications for women's rights, and she told me something I had never heard before about the birth process. Apparently, after a woman gives birth there is a huge rush of endorphins in the mother's body that helps erase the memories of the birthing pain and also helps with the mother-child bonding. I like the idea of Bean having a nice rush of positive post-birthing endorphins to look forward to.

Note the ticker at the top of the blog. We're down to about 2 weeks folks. Wow.

After lunch, I had a doctor's appointment to get some of the shots I'll need in preparation for my trip to India in April, and then headed over to Macy's to do some serious bathing suit shopping. It took a while but, remarkably, I had some success. I found two suits that though not fantastic are decent. One is by Esprit (blue with white polka dots on the bottom, and white with blue polka dots on the top) and the other is by O'neill (island flowers against a white background with black trim). Now I won't have to do bikini boot camp in the buff!

My words of wisdom to anyone bold enough to brave the swimsuit section are these: Eat light beforehand, do not get discouraged, bring a pocket mirror, go back to the floor for a second pass if at first you don't succeed, and remember at all times that it's not you, it's the dressing room lighting.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Intoxicating Freedom

Between last-day-of-work celebrating and St. Patty's Day, my first weekend of freedom was a complete and utter blast. I had a party Friday night to commemorate my last day of work ever in a swanky lounge down in the Meatpacking District. They served excellent cocktails and needless to say, I had many of them. Along with my brother Frey, most of my favorite people in the city came by to have a few drinks in my honor, including Em, Essa, and Lakshmi. River, a guy I have been sort-of-seeing, was also there, which I thought was pretty sweet.

Just as I wrote that, I realized that "S.O.S." is short for "sort-of-seeing," and I'm wondering now if that's a sign. Hmm... I've been thinking a bit this weekend about semi-annoying dating issues (that arise, for example, when you're sort of seeing someone), but won't get into it now as I just talked to Bean for the past two hours and am too happy thinking about baby things to go into any boy issues.

As a quick update on a different boy, Tapas Boy ending up breaking radio silence by emailing me on the 8th day to tell me congratulations on leaving my job and that he would be out of town for the week. Basically, Tapas Boy read HJNTITU and decided to model his behavior perfectly on the type of guy who is just not that into the people he dates. He acts into you, then doesn't call, and then emails to tell you he's not available. Lovely! For obvious reasons, he's out.

Getting back to baby stuff. Bean's about ready to pop. As we were talking tonight she was sending me pictures through email and when I saw the first picture all that came to mind was "wow." Her tummy is huge. It looks like there's another Bean curled up into a little ball protruding out of her stomach region. I can't believe that my baby sister is going to have a baby. She's going to be a Mommy and I'm going to be an Auntie!!

Looking at her smiling face on my computer, all I could think was how much I love her. Boys and dating in NYC be damned. My sister's having a baby and I'm going to be an Auntie. Plus, I'm FREE!! Those are the things that truly matter. The rest is just static.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Christmas In March

After a long time, the day I've been waiting for is here. It's my last day at my firm. After today, I will never ever have to go back to that dreaded place. It feels like Christmas. I'm happy, excited, and hopeful. I still have to finish cleaning out my office so I can't write more about the significance of all of this now, but I thought I'd share with you the dream I had last night. What do you make of it?

I'm in the kitchen of a large house situated on a hill next to a large scary wooded area. I'm standing around the center island talking with two of my girlfriends when we hear a noise outside. My friends think it's nothing, but I start running around checking all of the locks on the doors and windows. I'm terrified, but my friends don't fully understand why I'm scared.

Suddenly, men dressed as soldiers armed with long knives enter the kitchen. It's unclear if my friends can see them, but I can. They're ghosts or people from another time who have come out of the woods. They start threatening me and it's clear that they could kill all of us. I start screaming at the soldiers to go away and my friends look at me like I'm losing my marbles. I'm scared that the soldiers are going to hurt them or me. One of the soldiers pick up a bowl (and my friends are shocked to see the bowl appear to move through the air on its own) and another cuts the table with his knife, demonstrating that even if they are ghosts they can inflict wounds. Finally, they leave, and I think we're safe for the moment.

Later, my brother Frey arrives. I tell him to avoid the woods but of course he ignores my warnings. I'm outside and I look towards the woods and I see Frey going into them. Down ahead on the path that he's walking on, I see a pretty woman dressed in a nurse's outfit. She looks like she's in distress but I know she's just a trap. The soldiers are trying to lure him into the woods.

I start running towards the woods, and as I get closer I see that a group of soldiers are surrounding Frey. One of them has a bomb and is going to kill him, as other soldiers look on. They're confident and they don't notice me. Just outside the circle of men, I see Dragon Lady looking on, doing nothing to stop the soldiers. She's with them!

I think quickly, grab some candy, and run straight into the group of men and approach the soldier holding the bomb. I flirt madly, offer him candy, bite into a piece of candy seductively and then make him take a bite. The distraction works. While the men are looking at me, Frey gets free, somehow gets a weapon, and starts killing all of the attackers. He kills the soldiers and I think also Dragon Lady. It's over. I don't have to be afraid anymore.

After the battle, Frey and I are telling our friends what happened and I say that I saved his life. He immediately denies that I saved his life and says that he was the one who saved us. He says he would have been fine even if I hadn't created the distraction. I look at him and I know that he knows that I saved him and that he's grateful for what I did, and that's enough for me.

The End.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I spent the night at River's place last night and this morning, while I was reaching for my bag and getting ready to go, I suddenly felt a weird, painful sensation in my neck. Not exactly like a crunch or a pop, but somewhere in between. I think I pulled something. Now, I can hardly move my neck and I'm in pain! Plus, I'm fairly hung over and exhausted from not sleeping. Riding uptown this morning I had to hold my neck to keep it from hurting when the cabbie road over bumps and I felt nauseous.

Is the universe trying to send me a message that I should not sleep over boys' places? Or, is it more kindly trying to say that it's not a good idea to sleep on their muscular arms for the whole night?

I hurt. What should I do? Ice? Heat? Sleep?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Radio Silence

It's gorgeous in New York today. It's warm, the air smells fresh, and for the first time in months I was able to wear something other than my puffy down coat and boots. In the subway, three women were training seeing eye dogs, which made me think about what wonderful volunteer opportunities there are all around me. Wouldn't that be cool to train seeing eye dogs? It's worthwhile, plus it would be fun to work with the animals.

I have a dating update regarding Tapas Boy. If you'll recall, after having a terrific first date, about 2 1/2 weeks later we went out for a second date last Wednesday. Date #2 also appeared to go quite well. There was good conversation during dinner, drinks out afterwards, some salsa dancing, and some tasteful canoodling in a corner. At the end of the evening, as we went to leave the bar, he gave me a kiss and made a flattering comment, and then offered to get me a cab. While we were waiting outside, he suggested that we both grab the same cab so that he could drop me off at home before heading back to his place. How sweet, I thought.

In the cab, things were cool. There was some flirting and comments about what a fun evening it had been, and then we arrived at my place and he said, "So soon?" I thanked him again for the evening and offered to give him some money for the taxi but he refused to take it. He gave me a kiss and when I went to pull away, he said "Give me another one," so I did. Then I thanked him again and hopped out of the cab. In less than 10 minutes, he had sent me a text saying that he had had a great night and wishing me a goodnight.

Sounds good, right?

Well, since Wednesday, it's been total radio silence. I haven't heard a single word from him. Short of something disastrous happening to him, which I hope is not the case, I can only assume, thanks to the fact that I read the book He's Just Not That Into You, that despite our two seemingly good dates he's just not that into me.

One would think that would be the end of the analysis, and for the most part that would be true. Except that I don't understand why he was so nice during the date, up to the very last moments of the date, and even past the date when he texted me. Why be so nice if he was not going to call again? The easy answer that explains all but the end of the night texting is that he wanted to come home with me, and when he realized that wasn't going to happen he lost interest. I think that's the most logical explanation, and if that's the case, then of course I'm fine with him losing interest because I'm not interested in someone who's just looking for a little nookie (unless I'm the one looking for that).

The other complicating factor is that we were introduced through a mutual friend, and one would think that he would have taken extra pains to make sure that we were cool with one another because of our mutual friend. Not calling a girl for a week after a date and making her wonder why, is not making sure that the two of you are cool. It's being a bad dater.

Rumie thinks that he's a player and she cited the fact that he's into salsa dancing as support for her theory. I totally agree! When my friend had told me that he had a friend who was good looking and a salsa dancer I immediately assumed that he must be a player. You meet tons of people dancing salsa, the men are used to being the the spotlight, and it can be quite sexually charged. However, my friend assured me that Tapas Boy was not a player so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. It looks like my first assumption was right.

I'm fine with the whole thing for a number of reasons, including the fact that I don't think I was really all that into him. On the second date, I discovered that the second kiss was not as good as the first, which was a key piece of information. I also learned that he was 40! I had thought he was between 34 and 36. I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of dating someone in a different decade than I'm in. I want to explore my 30s with someone in their 30s. Is that so wrong? I think 4 years older might be my new revised dating age upper limit.

So, what's your analysis regarding the radio silence? Was he just looking for some nookie?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Operation Spirit

I have this thing about spending money, I don't like to do it, at least not wastefully. Not that I don't love shopping, because I do, and I've been guilty of buying up a storm on more than one occasion, particularly when there are good deals to be had. But, as a general rule, I'm careful with my money and I prefer to save it rather than spend it. I don't like to spend it carelessly, I hate paying more for something than I know it's worth, and decadence sometimes makes me uncomfortable.

I think it's a product of an innate cautiousness and being the daughter of my father, who also has an aversion to spending money wastefully. Sometimes, while growing up, I did not agree with my father's view as to what was wasteful and what was worthwhile, such as when he insisted that it would be wasteful for me to go to a college out of state, even though I had the grades to go almost anywhere. In that instance, I decided that going out of state was worthwhile - for the value of the education I was going to get and the value of being far away from home for a while - so I went away to college and relied on financial aid to make up the difference.

My father also believes that when you do something, you should do it right, and this goes for spending money on worthwhile endeavors. (My mother always had this view, but had a much broader definition as to what qualified as "worthwhile" which is why we went on a lot of awesome Caribbean vacations when I was younger). I'm not sure if my father believed this while we were growing up, but it's certainly a lesson I've heard repeated many times as I've grown into adulthood and started to earn my own money. For example, just before I started my job at the firm, I was stressed out with the logistics of moving to New York and finding an apartment, and I was thinking that I had too little time and too little money saved up to take a vacation. My father, thankfully, talked some sense into me by reminding me that sparing myself some stress was worthwhile and that I was going to be making plenty of money once I started my job. He advised me to use some of my savings to take a trip and to pay the extra money I needed to in order to have peace of mind with respect to the move. I spent the money and never regretted it.

One thing I did regret about that period of time was that I had not taken enough time off. Or, more precisely, I had not taken enough stress-free time off. I took about 6 weeks off which would have been awesome except that I filled up most of that time with stress-filled activities. Bad move on my part, although some of it was unavoidable. I spent a lot of time packing up my apartment, apartment hunting in New York, and stressing about the move (before my Dad talked sense into me). I went on a 10-day vacation to Belize, which was wonderful, and went on a few short trips to visit my family, but other than that didn't do any travelling. I was constantly moving from one thing to the next, figuring out logistics, or worrying about what was going to happen next. I also spent a lot of time worrying about other people, like my family and EXBF, instead of focusing on what I needed.

This time, I'm not going to make the same mistakes. I'm sure I'll make different ones, but I'm not going to make the same ones. For starters, I arranged to take 8 weeks off before I start at my new firm. Although I've been talking about my upcoming 2 months of freedom as if it's the greatest thing ever - which it is - you should know that it was incredibly stressful to ask for that amount of time. I was nervous that my new firm would have doubts about my level of commitment or might see me in some negative light because of my desire to be off work for that amount of time. Most lawyers don't take two whole months off between jobs. It's not the Type-A, over-achieving thing to do, and it certainly doesn't make sense financially. Perhaps because of the money issue, it also strikes me as decadent and indulgent to be off work for such a lengthy period of time. However, despite the stress, doubts, fears, and feelings of guilt, I stuck to my guns and negotiated a late May start date. Go me.

Now that I have the time off, I need to figure out what to do with it. See, I'm already feeling the feverish urge to plot and plan. Why is it so hard for me to just sit still? I actually know the answer to that, I'm a Type-A overachiever (or at least I used to be before my firm crushed my overachieving tendencies into smithereens and turned me into a creature who delays in returning emails and phone calls as a survival mechanism). Sitting still with nothing to do is hard for me. Hence, my difficulties with meditation. In fact, last week, when I realized I was about to give my notice, I was paralyzed with anxiety for a moment thinking with dread about what was going to happen the first Monday that I did not have work. I pictured the worst case scenario: Me, completely undisciplined, staying in bed all day, doing nothing productive, playing endless games of spider solitaire, eating junk food, and waking up 8 weeks later to realize I had wasted my entire vacation! The horror! That's why I need to plan, so that I don't waste this valuable time.

I have goals for my 8 weeks of freedom. I want to cleanse, rejuvenate, detoxify, refresh, and rebalance my mind and body. I want to get back in touch with myself, enjoy life, have an amazing time travelling, and I want to have fun. To achieve these goals I plan to do everything in my power during my 8 weeks of freedom to (a) erase from my soul the negativity of working the last 2 1/2 years in a toxic cesspool, and (b) make up for the last 2 1/2 years of sacrifice by enjoying my work-free existence to the absolute fullest. In honor of one of my favorite bands of all time, and inspired by Starshine's Operation String Bikini, I'm dubbing my 8 weeks of freedom "Operation Spirit." Bonus points to anyone who knows the band.

That's the plan, and I'm indebted to Prue for helping me to kick it off in style. Yesterday, while we were talking on the phone, I was telling her I wasn't sure if I should spend the money to go to a yoga/spa retreat in Mexico for a week, and she basically reached through the phone - all the way from Texas - and started shaking me until I agreed to sign myself up. (Thanks Prue!) Because of Prue, in about 10 days I'm heading down to Tulum, Mexico for Bikini Boot Camp. Yep, that's actually what it's called. Beach, yoga, meditation, fresh fish and fruit, and 5 hours of physical activity a day, here I come.

It's a fair amount of money, and it means that my savings will be temporarily depleted (particularly once I factor in the other activities I'm planning as part of Operation Spirit). But, I'm doing it anyway because it will be awesome, it will be good for me, and it's worth it. My spirit is worth it. Money is something I can always earn again, but - as I learned over the course of the past 2 1/2 years - time is something I'll never be able to get back. While I have both of them, I'm going to live it up. Innate cautiousness, be damned (but only for 8 weeks).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Give Me A "P"

"I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he's not careful." - Yann Martel, Life of Pi

I can't believe this day has come, but it's here and I'm incandescently happy. Today is the last Monday ever that I will spend at my firm. I have only 5 more days and then I will be free for two whole months!!! All I have to do this week is clean out my office, send files to where they need to go, and trash everything else. The joy I feel at tossing red welds into the recycling bin is indescribable.

I'm almost done!!! I can't believe it. Soon, this whole experience will be a distant blurry spot of grey on my personal time line.

Did I mention that I'm going to be off for two whole months? Bean's baby is set to come smack in the middle of my time off, so planning is a little tricky. I'm planning to stay relatively close by until the baby is born, and may go on a short trip to a yoga/spa retreat. There seem to be a number of them in Mexico that look pretty awesome. I'm going to check out Yoga Journal for ideas later this afternoon. For anyone looking for something like that in Thailand, you should check out Sanctuary. I stayed there for a blissful week last year and had an incredibly relaxing experience. After the baby's born, I'm going somewhere farther afield, most likely to South Asia.

Do y'all have any ideas, suggestions, or experiences with yoga/spa retreats? In the U.S. or elsewhere? I'm looking to rejuvenate, destress, detoxify, and mostly, to CHILL OUT.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Relaxation Maximization

My newest favorite thing is sending out my laundry to be cleaned. It's pretty much the greatest thing ever. For a $1 a pound, not only does sending out my laundry save me hours of time that I could be using for something far more enjoyable - like sleeping, planning my upcoming vacation, catching up on my DVR-ed shows, or hanging out with my friends - but it also spares me from having to descend into the spooky depths of my apartment building's basement. If you've seen the movie the Saw, you'll know what I mean.

Within a two-block radius of where I live there are approximately a dozen laundry mats, 4 coffee shops, and 3 grocery stores; all of which makes taking care of errands very convenient. This morning, on my way to my second-to-last-Friday-of-work-ever, I dropped off all of my laundry. Walking back home tonight I picked up a shrink-wrapped rectangle of perfectly folded, fresh smelling clothes.

Could anything be more perfect? Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Personal Legend

I recently started reading The Alchemist, a book that teaches that each one of us has our own Personal Legend that it is our destiny to fulfill. The book tells the story of a young shepherd who is visited by a King who tells him this secret and inspires him to leave his sheep and set out for the Pyramids of Egypt in search of his Personal Legend. The King tells the shepherd that when we pursue our Personal Legend all of the universe conspires to help us achieve it. I love the idea of the whole universe conspiring to help us along our destined path.

At one point in the story, the shepherd appears to have fallen off course from pursuing his Personal Legend. Immediately after arriving in Africa, after a two-hour journey from his home in Andalusia, the shepherd is robbed of all his money and then learns that though he has reached Africa he still must cross an entire desert to reach Egypt. Having no money to buy his passage back home, the shepherd gets a job working for a crystal merchant. He works hard and saves his money, but is told that even if he worked for years he would still not have enough money to get to Egypt. With his dream seeming so far off in the distance, the shepherd begins focusing on a different goal, to return to his homeland a successful man with money enough to buy double the amount of sheep he once owned.

After a year, the shepherd is ready to leave the crystal merchant's shop, and he's about to start his journey back home when he thinks to himself that he could always go back to being a shepherd, but he might never have another chance to get to the Pyramids of Egypt. Thinking about how far away he still is from the Pyramids of Egypt, the shepherd realizes "that there was another way to regard his situation: he was actually two hours closer to his treasure . . . the fact that the two hours had stretched into an entire year didn't matter."

This is certainly an appropriate time for me to be reading this book. I don't know if I'm pursuing my Personal Legend by leaving my job, and I worry that the direction I'm going - to another firm - might be a detour off of the path that I'm "supposed" to be taking. I'm afraid that like the shepherd in his time of uncertainty I might have got thrown off course. But another message of the book seems to be that even detours and obstacles may bring you closer to your Personal Legend. The author writes that whatever detours and adjustments the caravan moving through the desert makes - a metaphor for one's search for his or her Personal Legend - it continues to move to the same compass point. Meaning that whatever directions we take in our life - even a seeming detour - our life's path will ultimately still take us towards the fulfillment of our Personal Legend.

Right now, I feel a little like the shepherd after his year of working for the crystal merchant. He worked for the crystal shop for a year and I've worked for my firm for two and a half years. All though all of that time has passed, I've travelled only a small distance. I'm still far away from attaining my Personal Legend. On the other hand, though I'm still far away, I would like to believe that I'm at least a little bit closer.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

29 Months

After 29 months, two days, six hours, and 24 minutes, I finally...


When my new firm called to tell me that I had passed the administrative check, I was so excited I started jumping around in my bathroom. Then, ten minutes later, while I walked to the subway in the freezing cold, I suddenly felt nauseous from nerves and fear. What would I do with all of that free time after giving notice? How could I be taking almost two months off? How could I not be making any money during that time? Could I give notice on a Wednesday, or did it have to happen on a Friday?

Em assured me that I could give notice whenever I felt like it, and then suddenly I felt nauseous for completely different reasons. What would happen when I told them? How would the react? I sat down at my desk, after arriving late, and thankfully Essa called with news of her own and we decided to meet immediately for coffee and an impromptu pow-wow. She's thinking of leaving too! Yay! With her help I rehearsed what I was going to say, fortified myself with a cup of coffee, and then went back inside.

Giving my notice was way easier than I had anticipated it being. It turns out that once you say that you're leaving all is forgiven. All. Is. Forgiven. (All of you peeps at law firms thinking about leaving, keep this in mind). Everyone had such wonderful things to say about me now that I was leaving. The moment was "bittersweet" (for them). It actually was touching. I said goodbye to several partners that I had genuinely enjoyed working with and I told them so. They shared similar sentiments and wished me well. I was elated and I felt like I was going to burst. Suddenly, it dawned on me. This was real. I was going to be FREE!!!!!!

In other news, Tapas Boy called and we went out for celebratory drinks tonight. It was super fun. I've decided I love raspberry mojitos.

I have exactly 7 more days until I'm free for good. I can not believe it. I seriously doubted that this day would come. I feel like I've fallen through a rabbit hole and discovered this bizarre world where people can actually be happy.

It's disconcerting, but I'm ecstatic.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Monkey Wrench

I was supposed to go out for dinner tonight with Tapas Boy. It would have been our second date, as he's been gone the last two weeks snowboarding. But I'm sick so I had to cancel. I'm all mucusy, my head's stuffed up, and my glands are swollen. I'm not a pretty sight.

When I called to reschedule, I learned that this weekend didn't work for him as he's snowboarding again. He offered to meet up for chicken soup today and, because I felt crappy and not terribly cute (remember the mucus), I declined, saying awkwardly that I feared I was "contagious." How much more unattractive could I paint myself to be? I can't believe I just told a boy I think is cute that I'm probably contagious. Ugh! And I was really looking forward to dinner.
We left it that he was going to get back to me if he could shuffle things around to make Thursday work, but I detected a note of what I think was hesistancy in his voice. I fear this might be getting too complicated. Perhaps there will be no Date #2.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Haircut Horror

I was in a funk for most of the weekend, alternating between feeling hungover, depressed, fat, livid at the hairstylist who butchered my hair last week, and pissed at myself for eating junk. I was also annoyed that I had to work on the weekend. Am I getting my period? I certainly hope so. At least then I'd have an explanation for the mood swings.

Despite the raging emotions, I managed to have some fun. On Friday, I braved the East Village - the site of the robbery incident - to have Thai food at one of my favorite restaurants, Sea, with my brother Frey and a friend of ours. Sea is one of those restaurant finds in the city that has excellent, tasty, fresh food for a great price. A plate of pad thai is only $9! On Saturday, I went out with Em and a few girl friends to the Back Room, a bar designed to look like a speakeasy that was voted "Best Secret Bar." Drinks are served in coffee cups to add to the illusion. Em's been seeing a nutritionist and she's only allowed to drink Bacardi and diet coke because apparently it's one of the lowest calorie alcoholic drinks you can have. Inspired by her, all the girls jumped on the Bacardi and diet coke wagon. It's actually quite tasty.

Sunday was actually the best day, even though it started off with me being the crankiest I had been the whole weekend, because I had coffee with my friend, Bug, who was in town visiting from Michigan. When we met, we were both in cranky moods, but somehow talking about the sources of our irritation ended up making me feel a whole lot better. She also validated the fact that the hair cutter unquestionably butchered my hair - something I badly needed to hear after compulsively inspecting it 20 times a day since Friday, when I first discovered what he had done.

You know how when you get a haircut and you tell the hair cutter not to put in any layers how the hair is supposed to look STRAIGHT along the bottom, and how all of your hairs are supposed to be basically the SAME length? Well, the ends of my hair do not look straight at all. Instead, they are an uneven mess. I feel like I have thousands of tiny rat tails swishing around on my ends. It's driving me literally insane. It is taking all of my strength not grab my pair of office scissors and hack of the inch of offensive rat tails. I don't know what the guy was thinking, but after receiving confirmation from Bug I feel fully justified in going back to discuss it with him. Frankly, it's so bad that I don't know if I would feel comfortable with him touching it again, but I'm going to talk to him, express how unhappy I am, and take it from there. Unfortunately, the salon is closed today so I have to wait until after my date tomorrow to go get this fixed. Grrrrr.

How difficult is it to understand that I want my hair to look like this, not this?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Testosterone Can't Be Anti-Snuggling

Skimming through the Yahoo! "news" highlights, I saw this column with the following explanation for why "bad boys" don't get attached to women that they sleep with, and why women shouldn't fall for them:

"...when a woman has sex, she releases oxytocin and bonds with her partner. Oxytocin is called the "snuggle chemical." It triggers orgasm, but it's also released when a mother breast-feeds. It makes you feel close and connected and vulnerable. The effects of oxytocin are offset by testosterone, so a high-testosterone person doesn't bond from having sex. And there you have it: Bad boys don't get attached!"

This can't be true, especially because bad boys (and all of their delicious muscles) are so much FUN to snuggle with!

As a general rule, I do not buy into biological determinism and, speaking from personal experience, it's an open question whether having sex causes a woman to feel the urge to bond with her partner. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but I think it has more to do with the relationship and the motivations for having sex than with the physical act and the experience of orgasm.

My bigger problem is with the author's theory as to why bad boys allegedly fail to bond with the woman they sleep with. First of all, she assumes without any explanation that "bad boys" have higher testosterone levels than other men. As she has provided no scientific basis for this assumption, I can only conclude that her statement lacks any support whatsoever. Even if someone had attempted prove such an assertion, I have no idea what kind of experiment they would run to prove their hypothesis. Going into random social circles, asking the women to identify the bad boys, cheats, and sexually aggressive males among them, and then testing the men's testosterone levels? Somehow, I can't see a lot of people, men or women, participating in such an experiment.

Second, I find it very difficult to believe that testosterone interferes with the male desire to bond with a sexual partner. For all of you who do buy into biological determinism, it doesn't make any sense. Even if a testosterone-jacked man were chemically programmed to impregnate as many women as possible, leaving them to fend for themselves with his unborn children potentially growing in their wombs wouldn't seem to be the best way to protect his seed. Without forming some kind of bond with the woman he just slept with, how is a man to know whether a woman had his child, raised his child as the child of another man, or eliminated his seed with a convenient dose of abortifacient herbs?

It also doesn't square with history and the tremendous effort men have gone to in order to control and contain women's sexuality and reproductive capabilities. If bad boys didn't care about the women that they slept with, why the harems, purdah, foot binding, prohibition on pants, chastity belts, prohibitions against driving, and all the other institutions men have created to immobilize the female body? Not that I'm suggesting that subjugation is the same as "bonding." And, now that I think of it, I suppose all of the patriarchal institutions could be just as easily explained if we bought into the author's theory. If there was a chemical in men - say, testosterone - that actually inhibited men's ability to bond with women, I think we might just have the most perfect explanation for the subordination of women.

But, that explanation sounds a little too neat.

Even if testosterone did interfere with a desire to "snuggle," I have no idea why this should be presumed to mean that high levels of testosterone interfere with a man's desire to bond with a sexual partner. Is snuggling the only way to bond? Are we to assume now that men who snuggle either (a) have lower levels of testosterone (Men, Don't believe this!), or (b) are just driven by ulterior motives?

Here, again, I have to turn back to my personal experience. I've never slept with a man who didn't want to snuggle afterwards, and most of them usually did plenty of snuggling long before the time to do the deed arose. Some of them were bad boys, in the sense that they were too cute, immature, and selfish for their own good, and some of them were good guys - the kind of men I never doubted. Bad or good, I never noticed any correlation between testosterone, desire to commit, or snuggling.

What about you?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Feeling Weighty

I've been feeling fat for days, noticing how my stomach was stretching against my jeans in new and unexciting ways, resolving to eat healthy, but then finding myself at the vending machine almost every day last week. I eat when I'm stressed. I eat when I'm anxious. And I eat when I'm bored. My working environment does not lend itself to supporting healthy eating habits, and it's taken a toll on my mental and physical health. Not that I don't take responsibility for walking myself to the vending machine, because I do.

Today, I bought a new scale. The girl who I sublet this place from had left behind a scale and I had been using that for the last three months. I had been pleasantly surprised at first that the scale appeared to show that I weighed about what I'm supposed to at a healthy weight, 130 lbs. Really, just between me and you, I prefer to weight 126 or 128. When I'm 126 without muscle, it's a little too skinny, but 128 is perfect. Anyway, back in December the scale was showing around 130 lbs and I was elated because I thought it was impressive how my weight was staying the same even though I had been drinking like a fish, snacking on chocolate, and not going to the gym. I thought my body was doing an excellent job metabolizing all my stress induced excesses.

During the last month, my habits have continued to be bad. I've gone to the gym a handful of times, I've eaten healthy a few days, but for the most part, I've been living an unhealthy lifestyle. Not enough sleep, too much chocolate, pasta, and dinners at my desk, and hardly any exercise. Yet, the scale continued to register 130 lbs.

After this week of candy bars, I finally was suspicious enough to purchase a new scale. It's a sleek see-through glass model that also measures my body weight index. Do you know how much it said that I way? 134.6 pounds. And that was after just going to the bathroom.

I now have definitive proof that I've put on at least 5 pounds in the last three months. This is not good. Not good at all. And, I know it's because of everything, but I'm tired of blaming things on everything. Things are changing, I'm happy about my new job, I should be back to being healthy. But, instead, I'm filled with anxiety. I'm worried about when my conflicts check with go through. I'm stressed about when I'll be able to give notice. I'm worried about the timing of my vacation and whether Bean is going to give birth right in the middle of the time I'm taking off. I want a break, but I want to be there for her and my nephew. I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I'm so burnt out I need a break. I'm not relaxed, I'm not coasting... I'm on edge.

And, now, I also feel fat. I hate that. I want to be tight and lean. I want to be strong. I don't want junk in my trunk and I do not want to jiggle. I most certainly do not want cellulite. I like it when I don't have extra layers on my body.

I always feel the most put together during those times.

Friday, March 02, 2007

My Firm Is The Matrix

There are many times, during the past 29 months, one day, six hours, and 8 minutes, when I've compared my firm, in my mind, to the Matrix and wondered when I was going to finally choose to unplug myself. The biggest difference between my firm and the Matrix is that in the Matrix everyone who's plugged-in imagines that they are in a happy, pleasant, worthwhile place, whereas I never felt that way at my firm. I've always been more like Keanu was just after unplugging himself - aware that I was in a hell in which all of the appearances of pleasantry were artificial creations designed to keep me chained and immobilized in mind and body.

Not that I was completely aware of how hellish everything was from the beginning. I, too, had to go through a gradual process of awakening. And, after awakening, I had to go through another process to get me to the point where I was ready to unplug myself completely.

Now, I'm there. My mind's clear and I'm ready to unplug my body, but I can't yet. I'm waiting for my conflicts check for my new firm to clear, and there's no certainty as to how long that will take. It could take a few days, or it could take a couple of weeks. It's totally unpredictable. And until my conflicts check clears - confirming that my offer at my new firm is official - I can't give my two weeks notice, let alone plan my trips to Utah and India. I mean, technically I could, but it wouldn't be a smart move to tell my firm goodbye without having some assurance that I definitely had a job at my new firm.

So, where does that leave me? Floating around in the water, looking at everyone else still plugged into the Matrix - as if they were alien lifeforms from a strange planet, feeling elated that I'm no longer one of them, but frustrated that I have to continue to walk among them. I even have to continue taking assignments, and worse yet, I have to act like I care!

Take yesterday morning. The assigning partner called me up and told me that I had been placed on a new case and that I should call Partner T. When I spoke with Partner T, I was quick to say that I had a project I needed to work on through the end of Friday and asked if that was a problem (My point was that I would not be free to work on Partner T's project until Monday, after the weekend). He said it wasn't a problem. He then gave me a number of things to read, including 10-Ks, offering memoranda, and other financial materials on a number of companies - incredibly long, boring, dry materials - told me to review it, and then said that we would meet Monday morning so that I could tell him what I had found out.

Um, hello? Monday? Morning? Sitting in front of Partner T, it was obvious to me that the only way that I would be ready to talk about the materials on Monday was if I read them over the weekend. It was equally obvious that that fact was also obvious to Partner T, and that saying "I have plans this weekend," was going to get me nowhere. You see, Partner T is used to dealing with associates who say "yes" all the time, who assume that they are going to work on the weekends, who don't stand up for themselves when partners treat them like crap, who act in accordance with how my firm wants associates to act.

If I had said to Partner T that I couldn't work on his project because I had plans on the weekend, I'm quite sure that he would have looked at me liked I had two heads. No one says such things in the Matrix. What he doesn't understand is that he is the strange one, not me. I can't wait to get out of here!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #30

Thirteen Bodily Injuries That I have Sustained

1) During my first week in Cambodia, I ripped two tendons in my foot by standing up after sitting in a chair. My foot had fallen asleep and I didn't feel that I was attempting to stand on the top of my foot. Off-balance, I hopped around a few times, flailing my arms, and then fell to the floor. When I looked down, there was a lump the size of a large lemon sticking out of my foot. For the rest of my 6-week stay in Cambodia, I was on crutches.

2) While studying for finals my last year in law school, I stepped on a sewing needle and it got lodged inside my foot. I had to go to the ER to have the needle removed. On the doctor's first attempt, the needle broke off in my foot and split into three pieces. Because I had to get back to studying and didn't want to wait for a surgeon, I pushed the doctor to dig around in my foot until he had extricated all three pieces. I was on crutches for the rest of finals.

3) While travelling in China I was bitten by a mysterious bug and a large boil developed around the bite mark. After trying in vain to force the doctors at the hospital to cut it out of me, I ended up seeking assistance from a Chinese traditional healer who was amazing! He cured the boil, but after I arrived back in the states, more boils started appearing up and down my legs. Before the doctors figured out that I had a staff infection and treated it appropriately, doctors ripped open at least six boils with medical scissors to drain the pus. It was excruciatingly painful and so gross that it almost made me pass out.

4) I bruised my shins while pole-dancing.

5) When I was about 12, I raced after my mother's Volvo on my bicycle and wiped out on our gravel driveway, sliding across the stones on my hands and knees. My palms and knees were both filled with ground in pieces of stone and dirt, and I had to soak in a tub for a long time before most of the pieces came out. My knees still have scars from the gravel that was embedded in them.

6) Whenever I do document review, I get nasty paper cuts all over my fingers from the redwelds.

7) I almost got hit by a bus because I had my arms tucked into my sweatshirt. I tripped and fell down in front of an oncoming bus, scraping up my knee, hip, and elbow.

8) When I was 10, while playing "SPUD" at camp, I twisted violently around to start sprinting away from the person who had just dropped the ball and ran directly into a tree. The tree had a small rock wall around it that I tripped over. While falling, I smashed my face against the tree trunk causing my sunglasses to split open the skin just under my left eyebrow. There was an outrageous amount of blood and I freaked out all the counselors. I had to get stitches and still have a scar above my eye.

9) My senior year of high school, I broke my collar bone while at a lifeguard camping party way out in the middle of the woods. We had all been sitting around the fire when I decided I would grab the bag of marshmallows and run into the woods with them. My friend, a 200 lb male, raced after me and tackled me, hitting me in the collar bone with his shoulder and snapping my bone in two. When I stood up and saw that my arm was hanging far down along the right side of my body and realized I couldn't move it, I knew something was seriously wrong. Luckily, I was completely wasted. Unluckily, so was almost everyone else at the party, so it took a lot of convincing before someone realized I was actually hurt.

10) About 20 years ago, I accidentally stabbed myself between my thumb and index finger with a pencil. I got most of the lead out, but there's still a gray mark on my skin that's never going to go away.

11) While attempting to engage in quiet nookie time while staying at my parent's house, I made the mistake of thinking it would be a good idea to make-out on the rug-covered floor instead of on the creaky bed. For my trouble, I got an unbelievable rug burn on my back that took months to heal. Today, I still have three shiny smooth spots of unhealed skin over three of my vertebra. I look like I had back surgery.

12) During elementary school, I fell down with great frequency and had about 5 or 6 concussions. I have memories of sitting in the nurse's office - after hitting my head in the morning but going to school anyway - waiting for my mom to pick me up and puking repeatedly into a large black garbage bag.

13) I developed a cyst after doing laser hair removal on my bikini region. After months of trying to get the damn thing to go away by, among other things, attempting to squeeze the heck out of it (don't do that), I finally had to go to a plastic surgeon to have it cut out of me. Now, I'm not exactly mutilated, but I'm definitely marred.

* Bonus *
(Gravelly reminded me about this one): When I was 3-years old, I was sitting in a rocking chair with my 2-year old brother, Frey, who was sick and very cranky. For some reason I wasn't wearing a shirt. I must of seriously annoyed Frey because he bit me on my chest, piercing my skin in the shape of a bite mark and drawing blood. To this day, I have a scar from his teeth in the shape of a half horse-shoe on my left boob about an inch away from my nipple. Frey hates when I bring up this story.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!