Friday, November 18, 2011

Changes Abound

I know it's a bit of a cliché, but it's also pretty much true: You never really know what life is going to throw at you. All you can do is hold on for the ride and hope to get some fun out of it in the end.

A year ago, my husband and I were ramping up for the holiday season. He would need to be working insane retail hours, and I would need to be investing unhealthy amounts of time gazing at shopping sites and deciphering the maze of downtowners as they hustled through the department stores. Not that I really enjoy shopping, mind you, but there's a certain allure to watching the madness of it all.

This year is a bit different. This year we're hankering down and learning to enjoy the quieter, family-focused side of life while celebrating the end of old things that Winter has been known to represent.

My husband isn't working retail anymore, so gone are the days of never knowing when we would get to see each other for the next six weeks. In fact, that's one of the ends we're celebrating. He's starting back at school in January and he's going to be working toward a brighter future for us while doing work that he wants to do.

As for me, I'm celebrating another kind of end. I'm leaving the company that I've spent the past five years working for and moving toward the career that I've really wanted since college. I'm currently working in logistics for a large food service company. It's a very corporate environment with the typical corporate trappings: politics, red-tape, HR. It's been great work, and I've met some amazing and intelligent people, but it's really my time to move on.

My new company is quite a different direction. It's a marketing research firm that focuses on social media. They have a very progressive concept of employee relations and they are still a very young company with a strong sense of "start-up" still built in to their core. But most importantly, I'll finally be able to start working in the field I fell in love with back in 2003 when I took my first marketing research and consumer psychology course.

It's scary. Our lives are full of changes right now. New jobs, new careers, new schools, new lifestyles… Lots and lots of new. It can be difficult to say goodbye to the things we know and are comfortable with, and that's what we're working through right now.

I always had a vision of the 30-year old me (well, when I got to an age where I could conceive of myself being that old) that was put together, calm, and settled into his life. I just knew that the "adult" me would be the bastion of security and boring repetition. I'm learning now that things will always be changing, and I'm becoming OK with that.

I can't always plan for changes and I can't always be prepared when they come, but what I know I can do is learn to accept them as they happen and realize that, with just a little work and effort, things will turn out alright.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Have Seen The End And It Is White And Flakey

It happened today. Our first snow of the year. Our closest call yet to an actual freezing temperature. Our first flirtation with The End... Of all things fun in Chicago, at least.

I already mentioned my disdain for winters in general, but Chicago's winters in particular are the very definition of "not fun." I won't cover that again. However, what I will say is that the feeling of impending doom and the feeling of watching said doom actually pend are quite different and certainly unique experiences.

While there is still a small sliver of hope in the impending doom scenario, the actual doom being rendered removes all hope and supplants it with the correct emotions of dread and despair. The sun is gone, the warmth is gone, and all we have left are our family, friends, and pets to keep us going for the next 4-6 months.

I first heard reports of snow flurries this morning after getting to work, but I was easily able to ignore said reports as hogwash because I hadn't seen these flakes. Therefore, they did not exist. End of story.

But as the afternoon drudged on and I was forced to exit my building to find warm food I was also forced to come face to face with the conclusive evidence that winter has arrived: snow was falling from the sky. It landed on my head, my skin, my eyelashes. Big, thick flakes coming down at an utterly unacceptable pace for early November. I was shocked and, indeed, appalled.

I'm afraid that there's nothing to do for it now. We're stuck praying for an end to the protracted frost-bite inducing temperatures from now until some point in the unforeseeable future when Momma Nature decides to wake the hell up and turn on the heater again.

Until then, I don't suspect I'll post anymore self-loathing anti-winter stories. My position is clear and my petition has been received by those who govern weather (although, it's clearly being disregarded). I suppose all I can do now is pretend that snow is pretty or that wearing so many clothes that I now look like I qualify for The Biggest Loser are good things. I hope you "winter people" are happy now!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Burgers, Beer, And Scream 4

The husband and I decided to have a little celebration last night, mainly reflecting on the good things that have been coming our way lately. Not that we've been overwhelmed by goodness or anything, but in time of drought, even the little things are worth toasting.

Our little party included beer, burgers and a movie. I'm not sure what could have been more perfect about that.

We don't watch horror movies that often in our house. Well… correction. My husband doesn't want to watch horror movies that often in our house. There's something about me being a jumpy, screaming mess who likes to latch on to his leg and leave bruises that he just doesn't like. I can't imagine why…

In any case, not many horror movies are viewed in the house. But as it was a celebration, and as I am a huge fan of the series, my man broke down and suggested we watch Scream 4 last night. It may have been that he just wanted to stuff that blu-ray back in the mail to Netflix since it's been sitting on our coffee table for weeks, but he told me that it was because he knew I wanted to watch it, so I'll just have to believe him on that one.

Being a kid in high school in the 90's and college at the turn of the century, the Scream flicks were all pretty much canon for my cadre of friends. Knowing the movies, getting the internal and external references, and appreciating the nuance of how they transcended the traditional horror/slasher flick while maintaining the heart of the genre were all prerequisites to hang out with us. So you can understand that when Scream 4 was announced and released, I was just a tiny bit excited.

Except we didn't go see it in the theater. Again, something about me whaling like a banshee and my sudden bruise-inducing kung-fu grip embarrasses my better half. Whatever…

Back to the point: we finally watched Scream 4 last night. Conclusion: I don't think I could have been any happier with the movie.

I was thoroughly thrilled, spooked, and fooled. I relished in the nostalgic feel of the movie, and pleased by their ability to update the franchise and keep it current and relevant. And I loved that the main characters were back AND that we were still drawn in to a new cast of characters to love and appreciate.

Yes, I squealed and yelped, and yes, I may have Vulcan-death-gripped my husband's leg once or twice (I've gotten better at this, assuming there are helpless pillows around to squeeze), but that's all part of the fun for me. And although he rolled his eyes at both my antics and the silliness of some of the gore, I think that my husband liked the movie too and that he secretly enjoyed watching me squirm.

I don't think this is going to change our horror movie watching habits. I doubt that Halloween marathons or that regular viewings of Prom Night or Carrie will be on our future agenda, but I am glad that we were able to enjoy another spookfest together. Next up is getting him in to a haunted house with me. Next year, though… Next year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Love Halloween!

Halloween has to be the absolute best holiday of the year. Lets take all sorts of men wearing revealing or just plain sexy costumes, add obese amounts of alcohol, and then throw in piles upon piles of sugary treats and goodness, and you may have discovered the secret recipe to my heart.

My diet and waistline, however, are not fans of this holiday.

Those whiney bitches aside, I always look forward to this holiday. I love dressing up and just getting silly with my friends. I love it so much that I've even been able to convince my husband to be completely enthused about it, which is no easy feat.

My office this year decided to have a Halloween party-ish... thing. Really, they just asked people to bring food and snacks and drinks and a few of the women decided they'd dress up and give each other awards like "cutest costume" and "spookiest cube." Offices being what they are though, absolutely no one brought any real food. All we had was junk food, including this loverly rendition on the "mud pie" concept:

They called it the Kitty Box Surprise. I called it quite possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen set on a table generally meant for consumption.

The real kicker for me though was the Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, which encapsulates my three favorite treats into one massive pile of artery jamming concoction: Pumpkin-flavored anything, Pumpkin Pie, and Cheesecake. It wasn't even that good, but I simply couldn't let it just sit there. It had to be consumed!

Lucky for me, I'll be back in the gym tomorrow. I've been avoiding it lately due to some back pain issues, but either that's resolved itself or the sugar is blocking the pain receivers in my head. Either way, I'll be getting back to running and lifting things and grunting and sweating, all in the effort to lose the 15 pounds I'm sure I gained yesterday.