Monday, November 24, 2008

Your Mom is a Worse Winner

I come from a divided household.

Not divided like one parent roots for IU and the other roots for Purdue (which is common in these here parts) but divided like one parent leans to the left and the other parent leans to the right. In fact, there's a little stuffed donkey that sits on my mother's side of the bedroom facing a little stuffed elephant that sits on my father's side of the bedroom. It's a constant reminder of one of the biggest sources of angst in my father's life.

It's been a subject of hilarity in my family since I can remember that every election day my mother says, "Well, I'm off to cancel out your father's vote," and my father nearly keels over from apoplexy. There was a period of time when I think my father was in utter despair because his eldest child and only daughter had already firmly ensconced herself on the left, and my brother was also leaning that way as well. (Meaning that he was such a momma's boy that he would have spouted communist rhetoric had my mother told him to.) Since then my brother has given in to his true nature and moved over to the right so the family is a bit more balanced. (I say a "bit more balanced" instad of "balanced" because my little brother doesn't really care about politics. At least, not like my father and I do. My mother, I am convinced, only cares enough to drive my father insane.) Still, we kids moved out (as kids do) and we're back to my mother hanging up on the Republican party when they call for donations and the vein in my father's forehead threatening to explode everytime someone mentions the name "Clinton."

Still, my competitive nature doesn't come from nowhere, you know. After we elected W twice, my father wouldn't even say "Hello" when he answered my calls. He used the caller ID as a weapon and answered singing "Happy Days are Here Again."

(I tried to explain that that particular song was used as the campaign song for a Democrat, but he didn't care. In fact, I think that just added to his joy in using that song against me. His exultation knew no bounds.)

Imagine how he felt after THIS election. My phone call to sing to him was met with stony silence. I thought that was bad. But then my mother had to go and send out these "Thanksgiving Cards."Apparently my mother and I have more in common than I originally thought.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Worse Winner

About a year ago, my good friend J moved out of state. Her going away party was held at a location about 90 minutes from my home. The party was wonderful. Getting to the party, not so much.

The drive to the party had me and the boy* trapped in my car for an extended period of time and going to a new (difficult to find) location with confusing directions. I was driving. All in all, it was a recipe for disaster.

We were late to the party.

J knows all of this. What she DOESN'T know is that the drive was one of the more traumatic experiences of my life. The "getting lost" part would have been okay if not thrown on top of an already volatile situation. The volatile situation? Well, it was finally resolved for good last night.

It began innocently enough with a discussion that became a debate... well, I guess as innocent as a debate can possibly be with an Italian who is always sure she's right. The boy and I were discussing how gender is determined in a fetus. (yes, these are the topics that we discuss in our free time. I never said that we weren't nerds.) I don't remember how the topic came up, but I mentioned that I seemed to remember that all eggs (follicles) are inherently female. That the sperm determines gender. The boy insisted that this was not the case and that the gender is already determined in the follicle. In the absence of any reference material in the car, the discussion became a debate between his memory and my memory. I was at a distinct disadvantage since the last biology class I had taken was over ten years ago when I was a senior in high school (shut it! I was a marketing major!) and the boy had at one point majored in biology**.

You would think that intelligent people would table the discussion until proper reference material can be consulted. Um, no. This debate eventually degenerated until I remember that the boy said something along the lines of "You shouldn't get your biology lessons from Jurassic Park."

The mood at the end of the discussion was still semi-jovial, but strained. It was then that we got lost and things quickly went to hell. In fact, neither of us wanted to reopen the wound after it had closed, so we never actually looked up the answer to the question that we had debated so heatedly.

Last night we were discussing reproduction in my bio class, and damn if I wasn't right. Sperm does determine gender. In fact, testosterone plays a major role in this, which means that all folicles are inherently female.

I made my instructor repeat this last bit of information about five times, and then led the class in an in depth discussion of why this would be. (Think about it - if estrogen determined gender, we would all be female...there's so much estrogen in a pregnant woman's body...) As the discussion wound down, my instructor asked me why I was so happy. I explained the conversation that had taken place over a year ago and then asked permission to send a text message. My request was granted. The text message said:


Of course, the boy had no idea what the heck I was talking about. I got three text messages in response (all asking some variation of "WTF?") and then two phone calls. I didn't answer any of them - I wanted to discuss*** in person.

At the end of my five minutes**** of calmly explaining my revelation***** (and after first claiming he didn't remember the original discussion... the 'Jurassic Park' comment made him smirk, which gave him away and ignited a fresh round of indignation on my part) the boy resigned to his fate of being wrong with good humor. He said, "Being right makes you so happy. Is this your favorite thing ever?"

"Of course not," I explained to him. "There are many more important things in life."

I then proceeded to contemplate the important things in life - like dating a gracious loser when you're a bad winner, and vice versa.******

*The masses have spoken. "The boy" he was, and "The boy" he shall remain.
**Of course, I believe the boy at one point majored in everything that Purdue University offers, so that should be taken with a grain of salt.
***And by "discuss" I mean crow and wave my hands around in grand illustrations of just how right I am.
****True story.
*****By "calmly explaining my revelation" I mean bursting through the door while singing the "I am right" song and doing the "I am right" dance.
******Of course, in that scenario, I am always the "Bad loser" and the "Worse Winner." We should just canonize the boy now. We don't have to wait until death.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Deep Thoughts

I had a test last night, so my brain is just completely wiped out. In fact, I got to approximately question 53 on a test of 70 questions and I just did NOT want to read the remaining questions in depth, read each possible choice, and deduce the answer. I didn't. I wanted to skim the question and pick the best answer that just jumped out at me.

I fought against that impulse with mixed results. As a result, I am obviously anticipating a very high grade and can't wait until the reslts are posted*.

However, brain fatigue also brings you the post for today. I have a post in my drafts about heavy stuff involving the Catholic church and my relationship with it, but I just don't feel like trying to say everything I want to say in a delicate manner so as not to offend any random person who lands on my blog as a result of searching for varying combinations of "Jerry Springer" "Boobs" and "beads."**

So today's post is about being a mom and not being a girly girl. Specifically, it has to do with MY mother not being a girly girl, and having a daughter as her first born.

My friend Ann has often mentioned that she is not a girly girl, and has blogged about the challenges she faced with having a daughter. But then, she also blogs about surprises she's found about herself. I like to think that my mother went through some of the same emotions.

My mom is much like me just as she is completely different from me. For today, we'll focus on how we are alike. The list seems shorter. We both don't have patience for silly drama in our lives. We both like to have things in our life be pretty low maintenance. We both tell it like it is. And, finally, we are both stubborn beyond comparison, especially if we have our minds made up.

I think all of those things combined led me to have several baby pictures that look something like this.*** When my boss's wife saw this picture, she started laughing and said, "Why is your hair cut like a boy's?"

Why indeed.

Ann, you can console yourself in the fact that even though you don't consider yourself a girly girl, you would never cut The Divine Miss Em's hair like this. Girls have long(er) hair. That's just one of the perks to having a daughter. Her pretty pretty hair that you don't have to cut short.

I don't think my mother meant this haircut maliciously. I just think it was a low maintenance haircut for a child who was probably getting messy and getting into things and in general just being a child. After all, since I've known her, my mother has always had her hair cut short as well. It's just easier. I get that. The part of me that is like my mother understands that having a child is pretty exhausting, and brushing through your daughter's hair, when you don't even like brushing through your own, is something you probably want to avoid.

But this haircut persisted for a while. Long enough that I remember explaining to my mom that people thought I was a boy. Seriously. Like, "Where's your mom little boy?" I remember this.**** Her response was always, "No one thinks you're a boy. You have earrings."

Oh yeah. These teeny tiny little gold studs in my ears that no one can see? This is obviously why people don't think I'm a boy even though my hair is cut like a boy's and I'm generally in pants or shorts and a t-shirt. (As opposed to cute little ruffled dresses that also fall under the cateogry of "girly girl."*****)

Of course, I could not argue with this because mothers are always right. At least, until you go to school and find out that they've raised you with a boy's haircut.

I can laugh about it now. (Though not with the same depth of feeling that my boss's wife did when she saw the pictures. My laughter is more....tepid.) The (semi) bright side is that since I had my ears pierced at such a young age, I was usually the envy of the other girls in my class who had to wait until they were some arbitrary age before their mom's would let THEM get THEIR ears pierced. Wasn't I just SO LUCKY?

*In my neverending quest to assist those who may not know me well, I will point out that sarcasm should be noted here.
**This search (in one form or another) accounts for roughly 90% of the hits on my blog.
***This is the LEAST embarrassing one that I've found if that helps you understand any.
****And I'm sure it had no impact on who I am today. None whatsosever.
*****In my mother's defense, she DOES know how to get dressed up. We share this as well. While a normal day might have low maintenance clothing, if it's a special occasion, I have no doubt I looked like a girl with a boy's haircut. But it's the day-to-day living that I remember the most.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Confessions of a Teen Drama Addict

Confession: I watch Gossip Girl. RELIGIOUSLY.

Like, I don't have cable TV, and the CW4 only comes in if I'm standing in a certain position in my living room with the antenna balanced on Casey's head, but I don't care and I'll give Casey a whole box of treats if it will keep her still for that one hour on Monday nights to watch Gossip Girl. It's seriously that bad. I'm only glad that they moved Monday Night Football to ESPN (which is obviously only a cable channel) so there's no chance of a conflict.

(I know, right? I'll bet I'm the only female on the planet who's torn between MNF and GG. If there are others out there, you should definitely email me. We can hang out sometime!)

There are still other TV shows that I catch on occasion... Grey's Anatomy, Survivor, ANTM... But it's only GG that is an obsession. It's all about the teen drama. And Blair? I heart Blair. She's so deliciously evil. I've tried to explain this to the boy, even offering this article as proof that he should watch it, but he won't get involved. He tells me that Grey's Anatomy is as far as he's willing to compromise.

(It's okay. I prefer swooning over Dan when the boy's not around anyway. Besides, he doesn't have as much time on the computer as I do, so he probably wouldn't get to enjoy this gem which just adds to my love of the show.)

Along those same lines, I'm lately addicted to this blog. It's been brewing for a while. In fact, I liked it from the first read, and innocently suggested it to my cousin that day. I'm going to go ahead and send out an apology to her now if she's as hooked as I am. This blog doesn't have the same scheming that GG has, but... What can I say? I'm a sucker for a girly romance. I'm a sucker for the possiblity of happily ever after. I'm a sucker for teen drama. (Note: the blog is fiction... you should know that going in. Trust me, it doesn't take anything away from the story.)

You would think I have too much time on my hands. Trust me, I don't. I just squeeze these things in when I'm SUPPOSED to be studying. I'm thinking I can list them on my application for vet school. You know, to show I'm a well rounded person.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Corporate Culture

In college, my business internship was for a global HVAC manufacturer - a huge company. I made several friends in my department of 9 who I no longer speak to. My first job out of college was for a market research company with about 350 employees. (Looking back, it doesn't seem like there were that many of us, but I just Googled the company, and that's what Google says.) I still have several good friends from that job. Now I work for a company of three people. Total. At the rate the company sizes are decreaseing, it seems that my only option in the future would be to open my own company where I am my only employee.

Working for a small company has been one of the best experiences of my life and one of the worst experiences of my life. The perks are obviously more flexibility, no office politics whatsoever (one of my least favorite parts of working at my last job,) and a chance to play a variety of different roles within the company. The downside, is, well, it's me and my boss for the majority of the day. I don't really have the option to not feel social. If we have an argument, it's not like we can avoid each other for a week while things cool down. And when he's traveling...well, it's just me.

I'm pretty sure I thought of all of those things (except for the being alone while my boss travels) before I took the job. What I didn't foresee was the dynamic that would develop between my boss and I. It's...unique.

When my boss met my parents (um, yeah. See? Different.) he explained it like this, "It's almost like Emily's my best friend. I spend more time with her than I do anyone else, even my wife." And it is like that. Like we're almost friends. I mean, he probably knows more about the details of my every day life than anyone else. Even the boy*. And the same thing goes the other way as well. I can tell my boss's wife things about his daily life that I'm sure he wouldn't think to mention when he goes home at night. Things about his patterns of behavior that maybe she doesn't have time to notice only because of the sheer volume of time that he and I spend together. If I have a problem, I'll discuss it with my boss to get his perspective, and he does the same with me. I'm pretty sure we know everything about each other's lives. It's not easy to keep secrets from someone sitting 10 feet away from you for 40 hours a week.

But we're not really friends. We don't hang out outside of the workplace. It's difficult to describe. The company culture is like a family, but there's still the clear distinction between employer and employee. And this feeling of "family" also extends to our customers and suppliers....even though we still have business relationships with them.

Each year when we send out company Christmas cards, we try to think of something unique and fun to send to our customers (each of whom we know personally.) Our Christmas cards each year are so fun that our customers are already asking after this year's batch. The first year I was employed, we sent a cartoon caricature of the three of us (that I had to color individually with colored pencils... all 500 of them. We won't be doing that again.) The second year, we sent a picture of downtown Indianapolis. (Boss didn't like that one so much. Too impersonal.) The third year (after they had gotten me firmly entrenched in the world of pit bull rescue) we sent a picture of the three of us with our dogs. The fourth year, we sent headshots of each of us as Christmas ornaments on a tree (don't ask.) This year? We're sending a collage of baby pictures. No joke. I can't post my boss's and his wife's pictures....but I can sure as heck show you mine. I guess I'm not a baby in this picture...I'm about a year and a half old, and this was taken at the Indianapolis Zoo. I just think it's hilarious. Beyond my birthmark and the color of my hair, I can't really see much of myself in the tiny person in that picture.

When I called my mother and asked her to send me baby pictures, and she found out what they were for, she said, "Wait, for your company Christmas cards?" Um, yeah. Her silent question hung in the air. Meh, it may be weird, but I just chalk it up to our corporate culture. I like this better than the usual office politics.

So go support your local "mom and pop" store. That's what this experience has taught me. The personal relationships seem....healthier...somehow. Both for the employees of the company and the customers. Don't believe me? Take a sec and get to know the owner of the next locally owned business you go to. That will make you feel better about spending the extra $0.50. After all, it would be a shame if all small business were eventually run off by corporate giants. I mean, do you see WalMart sending out Christmas cards with adorable Italian/Peruvian babies on them?
*I tried, but I'm a creature of habit. I'll revisit that soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Outwitted (and it tastes so good)

Someone I've known for over ten years now got married yesterday. I can't say "an old friend" because I would say we were more acquaintances in college. In fact, we only became close when we traveled to London together in November of 2006. It was there that we bonded over a love of all things silly, a relaxed travel agenda, and an intense need to drive Kat(i)e insane whilst drinking cider. 'Twas fun. We laughed a lot and came away in 7 days with a closer friendship that normally takes months to build.

Shortly thereafter, she met the man of her dreams. (And I must admit, when I met him I fell head over heels also. What a catch!) Since she and I are two of a kind, we have since spent tons of time on various teams (dodgeball, kickball) and doing all sorts of silly things that for once, I do not have to organize. (Let's hear it for planners!! Yeah!!) They are one of the most fun couples I've ever met, and their wedding was nothing short of fabulous. They even had a signature drink. No joke. I was looking forward to this wedding not only because it was a huge gathering of people I know, but also because the bride and the groom are so much fun, their wedding promised to be epic fun. And indeed it was.

She was beautiful. The ceremony was not unbearable (and with a Catholic Mass involved, that's saying a lot!) The company was good. The bride and groom were entertaining. They drove off in a Mercedes convertible while she wore a fur stole over her wedding 40 degree weather. All in all a success.

However, it was not without angst on the part of Emily. My friend is also very very crafty (though she looks so innocent. How does she DO that?) She knows about my (pretty vocal) hatred of the dreaded bouquet toss. I'm sure she thinks that I'm only saying what other single women my age won't say out loud. We hate the bouquet toss. Seriously. It was cute when we were all 21 and fresh out of college. Ha ha - single women all vying for the bunch of flowers because of course we're going to be the next ones to get married. Woo Hoo!! Look how cute we all are! I'll even (grudgingly) admit that I caught the bouquet at one of my friend's wedding, and my ex caught the garter.

We all know how that turned out.

Now that I'm older and single (and seem to be in the minority,) I object to the bouquet toss on principle. C'mon. Don't make me humiliate myself. Don't make me stand among a sea of 12-15 year olds and halfheartedly pretend to be interested in the bouquet that is sure to make me the "next lucky one." Please? I'm good. I promise. It's enough for me to exert the self control necessary to keep me from punching all of my married friends who are urging, "Emily - you're single! Get out there," with their evil grins. Hmph. Let the teenagers catch it. It will make their day. Leave the crotchety 30-year-old alone.

My friend, being my age and just married, was surely aware of the challenges of being single at 30 and the dreaded bouquet toss. You want to make the bride happy and be a good sport, but at what expense? So, armed with this knowledge, my newly married friend had a decision to make. Eliminate the bouquet toss? Or just toss the bouquet to a crowd one?

Instead of choosing between those two perfectly acceptable options, my friend opted for C... Tie a $10 Starbucks Gift card to the bouquet.


I ranted and raved all the way to the ceremony. I waffled. Fine. I was going out there. And I had better get that damn bouquet. Seriously. I was going to throw elbows. I wore stiletto heels for the express purpose of stepping on toes. (It's not like I'm tall here, people. I have to use what I've got.) I was already humiliating myself, I had better get a gift card out of it.

On the other hand..., wait a sec. Compromise my principles for a $10 Starbucks gift card? Were my principles really so inexpensive? Of course not. I would remain strong. No way I was going out there. The boy* listened and laughed. I think he knew.

I totally went out there.

And, you know, I would feel badly about it, but I had a Cinnamon Dolce Latte this morning that I didn't have to pay for. That made it all better.

Principles? What? I'm a starving student. I can't afford principles.

*After a couple of questions regarding why I call the boy "the boy," I've re-thought that decision. It was originally to keep the blog light, while also protecting his privacy...even though most of you know who he is. It was meant to be a silly way to refer to my significant other who goes through varying degrees of being my significant other. Moving forward, he will be known as "G." It still protects his privacy, and now he actually has a "name" instead of being an object. Maybe someday he'll be on the level of Blue and Casey and have an actual name.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Um, totally can't go to the BMV. Eyes itch. Red and itchy. Red and itchy and runny.

I can't get my driver's license picture taken looking like this! Suck.


I have a lot to accomplish in the upcoming week, so of course, I planned today to the very last minute and the weekend in large chunks of time. Planning is my coping. It's my way of feeling in control.

For instance, today I knew I had to get up early to take the dogs to daycare*. So while the dogs are tiring themselves out, I'm going to head to the BMV at lunchtime to take care of some lingering address changes (from when I moved in June *cough*) Then I'm going to stay at work late tonight (pooches don't have to be picked up until 7:00pm) and do some studying for my test next week. When I get home, dogs will be exhausted, so I'll probably drop them off and study some more. All planned. Down to the minute.

So of course I woke up sick. Damn you universe! Couldn't just leave me alone for one day, could you? I'm pretty sure I'm having an old friend revisit. Suck. If you want me to be honest, I don't think it ever really left. Sigh.

I'll push through today, but if this continues on the same track as last time, my volunteering/wedding/girls day/more studying scheduled for this weekend is in jeopardy. My boss keeps reminding me that the best laid plans of mice and men... To which I respond with an eloquent, "Shut it."

This would be one of those days that my father would tell me to loosen up, and not to sweat the small stuff. I know, I know. But I also know that I function better when all my ducks are in a row. Which I thought they were. Until sick came into the picture. Now I realize that I only had the illusion of ducks in a row, and that ticks me off.

But at least I know that this evening will be a good evening. I fully expect to see this all evening long.And an evening with that view can not be a bad evening, my friends.

*Side note: with the economic downturn and a personal Emily money crunch, doggie daycare was one of the first things to go. An unfortunate side effect of this is that I like Casey a whole lot less. She just doesn't know what to do with all of that energy, and the hour long walks at night [when we can squeeze one in with enough light to see - hello daylight savings time] just aren't cutting it for her like they are Blue. I'm thinking of drugging her**
**Okay, not really, but seriously folks, something has to be done. My first-dog, she is a pain.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy Days are Here Again!!

I was fairly certain that Obama would win. Still, it's never good to count your chickens... so it was nice to see the actual confirmation around early this morning.

But when Indiana went blue? Icing on the cake.

Congratulations, America, for making a change when we need it most. Better late than never.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All I Want for Election Day is a Blue Indiana...

Go out and vote, people. If you need to find your polling place, do it here.

Indiana has been a red state for my entire life. It doesn't matter if I vote blue, the most that I have ever been able hope for is that my county turns blue. (Surprisingly, this does happen - which shows that there is intelligent life in Indiana, you just have to work hard to find it.) During the course of the current historic campaign, Indiana was shown as a faint blue at one point. Right now it's a faint red. I'll be staying up tonight to see if this state can actually pull it together and turn blue. For the first time since 1964. In fact, I've allotted my monthly Starbucks money to tomorrow morning because I know I'll be up tonight in breathless anticipation.

It's time for a change, and I hope that my state can sense that sooner, rather than later.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween on a budget

Okay, so I dressed up for halloween. And, I'm not going to lie...but our Scooby Doo gang outfits? Our HOMEMADE Scooby Doo gang outifts? They rocked the house. As I told my parents, "If you just look at us, I think we did pretty good. At least, you can figure out who we're trying to be. If you compare us to a picture of the ACTUAL Scooby Doo gang, notsomuch." Still, we had fun....and I'm now a firm believer that homemade costumes are far superior to store bought items. Especially for the hilarity component. My brother's wig (and his wife's) were the funniest things ever.

Sidenote: I think that both the boy's outfit and mine cost a total of $12.00 - for everything. I heart Goodwill. The only reason the total was $12.00 and not $8.00 is because I bought the socks new. Not wearing hand-me-down socks. Ew.

The boy has been growing out his hair for over a month - just for me, he says. He still hasn't cut it off, though, so I'm not sure I believe him. My hair? I just tucked it into the turtleneck. It's currently longer than it ever has been, and while its days at this length are numbered, I'm not sure I want to go THAT short. My turtleneck (that I'm convinced is the only orange one in Indianapolis) was about two sizes too big. After frantically calling my friends to see if they had clothing that would help me out, I finally just gathered it in the back with a safety pin. After all, the pictures were from the front, and that's all that mattered. Classy.

My brother and his wife hosted the party at their new home. It had really cool decorations, plenty of beverages, beer pong and cornhole. I'm too old for beer pong, but "Shaggy" and "Velma" ruled at cornhole. I'm just sayin'.

Just for fun I'm including a second picture of "Freddy" tossing "Shaggy" a "Scooby Snack." This picture was taken later in the evening, I can't even FIND the "scooby snack" in the picture, and I'm fairly certain that it was not caught, but this should give you an idea of how the party went.

Sidenote: At the beginning of the evening, the boy and I were exhausted and dreading our mandatory attendance at this party where we were part of a group costume. We were all, "We should have just dressed up in something else on our own so we could decided whether or not to go..." We ended up having fun, and I'm so glad we went... but at the same time, I was shocked at the number of "couple costumes." Seriously. Most of my brother's friends are married, but I didn't realize that "married" meant "mandatory couples costume." Sheesh. When I realized this, I was immensely relieved that we were part of a group costume. I would have felt much more ridiculous had I gone out on my own in a random costume idea. (But at the same time, I'm sort of bummed that I didn't think of this idea.)