Tuesday, July 28, 2009

i, Swinger

(Combustible Edison)
It's true: we're officially swingers. I can't even type it with a straight face and I certainly can't post any links to websites with the same word, so I'll post photos instead.

As each new year unfolds, I find it funny that I don't catch on to "Andy Maillet Projects" quicker. They sneak up on me like a child in pajamas who was waiting at the top of the stairs to steal some m&m's from the adult party. All of a sudden the music stops, the tasteless jokes halt, and the kid is found point blank in the middle of the action. I, of course, am usually dangling a martini and saying something ridiculously uncouth when this happens. Andy Maillet projects feel just like that - harmless - but they bring the party down a notch before it starts back up again, leaving a funny story in the wake.
To make a long story short, he was given a 35-foot beast named, I kid you not, THE SWINGER. We spent the weekend cleaning it out. D 100% inspired: singing out loud to his ipod as he scrubbed the exterior or ripped apart water-logged parts. Me: feeling like my mom had just put the kabosh on summer fun in lieu of household chores and also completely convinced I would end up in the ICU with the Hantavirus (only time will tell).

In any case, this is the newest member of our family. I will be making a bumper sticker that says, "I Brake for Hantavirus." Dean suggested, "I Swing for Hantavirus" (that's him in the last photo bottom right; he's the one with the bird flu mask on).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Face to Face

It's been a goal of mine to whittle down my "jiggly bits" (as Bridget Jones would say) and I'm proud to report I've lost over 10 pounds now. I have a few more pounds to go before I can set my sights on skinny jeans, cute tops and holding on to a number I haven't seen in years.

I had D take photos of me again this morning. About a year ago when I bought a new sports swimsuit (and planned to give Michael Phelps a run for his money via early morning workouts at the local rec center), I had D take the first round of photos that have come to be known as "The Bubba Fat Collection." This morning, I decided to go for another swim and had him take some shots again, for posterity. I'll spare you the Weight Watchers comparison photos, and to be honest, perhaps it was the angle but it wasn't as drastic as I hoped. Instead I filed it in my "compare" folder and looked back and forth at the two photos included below. Both taken after great haircuts, one in 2005 and one last month. You can see my hair color has lightened up (man I was digging that dark look for a while) and I have since traded pastey light base for shiney face. At the time of taking, I thought both were good shots of me. The comparison is crazy: weight and age and background texture. It shows the slow evolution from 20s to 30s. I won't even dignify the fact that I'm wearing my favorite overalls in the older one. There is so much five years can do to a person. I'd love to pretend I was never there, but I was. I think reminders like these are good to look at; it's good to gauge how much things change.

Dancing Days Are Here Again

(Led Zeppelin)
We are all dealt a destiny we come to know intimately as we age. Some take that destiny and dance with it; they let their toes get stepped on or move swiftly/gracefully across the floor. Some never get out of their seat, preferring to sit like wall flowers outside of the action. Some wait for the foxtrot to end so they can dance the waltz; they wait and wait but the waltz is never played.

I spent years, literally years, thinking my destiny had been thrown off course. I thought, “where is the damn waltz when all they’re playing is foxtrot?” The same is true with my upbringing, my love life, my career, my weight, etc. When it comes down to it, my expectations got in the way of me seeing the beauty in my life.

Now, I have no time to waste. I feel I need to fill the minutes because it feels like minutes are all that matter. Perhaps I don't want to slow down and really think about how many moments I wasted wishing for different moments. Perhaps I have picked through that sentiment enough and am ready to be present instead of berating myself.

The other night, after I found out some bad news, D prepared dinner in a 50s cabin up by a lake in the woods outside Granby. Our friends played jazz on their zume and we sipped cocktails as the evening took over the day. My heart was heavy with expectations of the worst sort. Unexpectedly, my love took my hand and swung it up by his shoulder. He put his cheek to mine and wrapped his arm around my hips. We swayed to the music, so classically achey and suiting to my soul. He danced me around the small kitchen, in front of the fridge, in spite of the dogs, as dinner cooked. It was something he never normally would instigate. In fact, I always try to twirl him around our kitchen, daydreaming that we are spinning happiness from our life together. He usually acquiesces but I can tell he thinks I'm being silly. That night, he moved me into the next moment of my life and blew apart my expectations. In sadness there was joy, and my heart broke in a good way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yes!

I watched “Yes Man” last night. It’s a movie about a guy who thinks he is not good enough for anything or anyone so he finds himself avoiding life and friends all together. He goes to a seminar and commits to saying yes to anything anyone asks of him. It changes his whole attitude and he starts to enjoy his life. It’s an interesting concept and a message similar to the Secret. It’s an inspiring movie to watch. I thought since Jim Carey was in it, it would be more silly, but really it was heartbreaking at the beginning to watch him act so shut off to life and pretend nothing was affecting him. I can relate; I have lived like that for years. To see an entire movie about social coma makes me realize this is an epidemic many people are wrestling with; I am not alone.

The more I try to find inspiration and interest in my day to day activities, the more it seems I was dead in many ways. Really I became a whole other person: someone filled with a lot of negativity and cynicism. My character has become so apprehensive and scared to take action. I used to be more of a yes person than I am now because I didn’t know how to say no. I was raised to do without questioning, to acquiesce without a second thought. When I learned how to say "no", I went to the other end of the spectrum. Having that ability to choose was addicting. So addicting, I started to avoid everything. Slowly, I’m entering this new phase of life where I am balancing out the spectrum.

Now I'm choosing to be the person living life rather than the person judging life. I am becoming the person I would like to be rather than the person the I think the world thinks I am. The point of the movie was to start living life rather than fighting life. In the movie, the seminar presenter says, “Once you say yes to life, life says yes to you." I like that sentiment. I have been fighting my expectations about life for so long, it feels unreal to finally embrace what I am living. It is a retraining of sorts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ice Cream for Peace!

There’s nothing sweeter than the simplicity of an ice cream date. I truly believe getting ice cream with friends is a citizen's summer duty because it brings us one step closer to world peace. Negative thoughts melt away and bad energy is dispersed as one is left holding a delicate cone topped with frozen dairy. There is nothing more to do but take care of said project with an ease of hand and mouth, which makes one fully present.

Yesterday I had a moment of true brilliance at a little shop called the Pajama Baking Company. M offered to treat me to a cone of my choice for accompanying her to the pool last week. Funny, she doesn’t even know I got the deal - twice. She swore the ice cream was delightful because it is made right there by some talented pastry chef named Anna, as if I needed to be sold on the deal. So I met her and little m and LL at the PBC, a place I had never been to before.

The PBC had it’s garage doors rolled up, letting the hot summer day stream in. Cool air and fun, fresh colors like lime green chairs with pots of fake grass on the tables greeted me as I entered. Reggae played in the background. The Ps were already there. We headed to the case to peruse the choices. I told little m how excited I was to get ice cream. She just tilted her head down and gave me a look as if she was considering what my part was in the whole process. M told me she already tasted some of the flavors and they were divine. Little m claimed she would be having yellow, which was really mango, and one of the best flavors they sold. M went for the strawberry, which was fresh and light and brilliant. I tasted the Macadamia Nut Brittle. Its buttery flavor rolled over my tongue and I almost had to sit down before I lost my balance. As good as it was, I went with the untasted Rasberry Chocolate Truffle. What can I say, I’m a sucker for chocolate in my cream. However, now I have unfinished business with the MNB. My choice was a mistake I must remedy soon.

Sugar cones held our delectables in place as we sat in the small green chairs licking away at the dream. Little m had ice cream all over her face. M asked her for a taste of the Mango after she shared a taste of her cone. Little m politely replied, “No.” Little m was clearly jamming through the goodness and didn’t want anyone honing in on her cone. Rookie mistake; I’ve been there myself. Later though, as I begged for a taste of the Mango, little m begrudgingly let me and I shared my Rasberry Chocolate Truffle as well. I like to think here is where true ice cream comradery begins (I need to have some part in this play besides "unemployed hobo"). With ice cream friends, everyone has their own taste, which never quit matches up. The brilliance is realized when sharing takes place, so flavors that didn’t make the final cut can still be enjoyed. We finished our cones as passerbys walked the sidewalk on Pearl. It was a beautiful day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pick Up The Phone

Officially halfway through the year, I realize I've been lost in the business of weddings, weight loss, self employment, and newlywed bliss - general Living 101. Sometimes it’s hard to make priorities, well, priorities. A dream I had the other morning made me realize just that:

I found my self selling ads for some publication. One day as I was sitting at my desk, I noticed an unsigned contract and I finally understood that it was my job to convince people to buy my company's product. I had not actually sold anything since I started. I just kept coming to work, looking busy and organizing my desk. After the realization, I sat at my desk freaking out because sales is precisely the one thing I always say I will never do. I would paint houses, become a zoo keeper, dredge lakes for dead bodies but never, NEVER, do sales. I looked at the cheesy sales guy across from me who was obviously really good at what he was doing. He looked at me and I knew he knew I just discovered what was going on. There I was - stuck. The only thing I could do was pick up the phone, call a client and get them to sign a deal with me. I had to convince them that I had what they needed. I had the strangest feeling that if I pushed myself over the hump of physically dialing the numbers, it would all work out. I would end up being one of the top sellers. I COULD do the job but I was too scared to start. Rather, I woke up instead.

Being self employed is one of my dreams. It has marinated while I grew professionally in a small business environment, then as I etched my way through corporate in house creative services, and finally as I got "called up to the show" as a corporate brand development designer for a landscape architecture firm downtown. Now, the time has come to give it the attention it deserves. I have taken it slow with the self employment factor as I gained up enough steam, confidence and connections to blow the lid off this dream. I like doing design and writing. It's a similar hybrid mentality a lot of designers and writers have. I see it when I go to freelancer meetings every month: seasoned entrepreneurs discuss client scenarios or business challenges they've dealt with and I find myself experiencing the same issues and thinking, "I get this!"

My career has arrived. I guess it has always been arriving but now I am opening up to the concept of taking myself seriously. I am picking up the phone and dialing the numbers; I am getting down to the business of being me.