Oh, hellllllllllo. Want to see some photos from this year? In no particular order, I present 2012: Space Odyssey:
Upon review, the tone of my last post was obviously influenced by the fact that I’d done nothing for two days prior but watch “Downton Abbey” – reread that thing in a fancy British accent and tell me it doesn’t sound like someone’s been spending too much time immersed in BBC drama. The feelings are sincere. The style, not so much.
Today marks the third day in a row in which I have not really left the house or done anything worth talking about. (Every time I start to feel guilty about it, I remind myself that I’m usually only home for three hours before I contemplate sleep and I deserve this.) In an effort to be productive, I spent a solid eight hours reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn start to finish. I am a notorious non-fiction reader and bought the novel because 1) I heard really good thing about it from everyone I know and 2) I wanted to read more novels and it seemed like a good way of recharging my fiction batteries. Oh, boy.
That book is crazy. I’m a woman of many, many words and opinions and there is nothing I can think to say about that tome except that it is nuts. I think there was enough going on in that story to fill up the plots of three to four other books. Sometimes, plot madness is good. Sometimes, it’s great. However, in this case, there is so much incredibly insane nonsense happening that even the characters who are clearly marked as crazy people from page one start to make choices that make you think, “Wait, that’s just too much. No one, not even some psychopathic murdering asshole, would do that.” And if you’ve taken your story to a place where the reader doesn’t believe that even a psychopathic murdering asshole can pull off a plot point, it’s probably time to slow your roll. As my husband, the librarian, often says, “Even imaginary universes have to follow their own rules.”
Final word: read that book only if you are prepared to be really angry and dissatisfied at the end. It was obviously a page turner – I read the entire thing in a day – but it was also super aggravating and gross and full of broad, sweeping generalizations about men, women and marriage (like, for instance, that women can only be either cloying, simpering doormats or devious sociopaths bent on revenge and that marriages are always complete shams, either because both parties decide to be happy at all costs or because they decide to make each other miserable. Honest, stable, sane people do not exist in “Gone Girl.” At all.)
I was really disappointed. Sad face.
I used to be a bit of a Pollyanna – always looking on the bright side and figuring that things happened for a reason. I think that’s a pretty easy way to be when the “changes” you experience are things like not speaking to your high school best friend by the time you both graduate from the same college. The horror. You accept this as a casualty of growing up and move on because everything happens for a reason, etc.
Unfortunately, when you find yourself months out of school and nowhere closer to answers, hit with huge existential questions about what type of life you want for yourself and how far you feel from achieving that life, all you see are closing doors and no open windows. Being a Pollyanna becomes impossible.
I feel like I was sitting in a pretty gloomy place for a large part of my early 20s. Maybe everyone goes through that and maybe no one wants to hear about my days as a terrible sadsack because as far as lives in crisis go, mine has been relatively comfortable (I’ve always had family and friends nearby and my husband who loves me and I’ve managed to live in gorgeous LA, albeit in tiny spaces, for the past eight years). However, despite my clear recognition that I am, even in the darkest times, incredibly lucky, I’ve been miserable about not reaching my potential for years now (just what that potential is, though, is anyone’s guess).
So, imagine my surprise this week when I found myself really, genuinely optimistic about the next few months. I feel like I have a plan for the first time in ages. It might not seem like much, but I can’t wait. The plan:
1) Get my thesis research done and write the damn paper. Hopefully.
2) Fly to some faraway land and participate in an archaeological field school next summer. I have always wanted to do it, but have always felt it was too expensive/we couldn’t afford it. I’ll have some money saved up and can finally use the $2,000 in Governor’s Scholarship money I won in high school. No more excuses.
3) Leave field school and meet my mom somewhere in Europe and tool around and have adventures.
4) Come home and try to get pregnant in earnest, having accomplished the last thing I’ve wanted to do in my 20s that would be impossible to do with a child. Have a baby in 2014. All will be well.
I’m starting to think there was a reason Clomid didn’t work. Maybe I’m having a stroke.
This week was a doozy. With the end of school and various family gatherings, every second of my life has been scheduled and I am exhausted. Just yesterday alone, my husband and I attended a wedding shower and a 16th birthday party. So. Tired. And we’re slated to go to a (late) family Hanukkah party tonight and to host Christmas brunch on Tuesday, so we’re frantically cleaning the house and getting gifts wrapped. I guess that’s what happens when you work right up until the 21st of December. What do non-teachers/students do? How the hell do you all get ready for the holidays without a break? Holy moly.
Despite how crazy it was to be out and socializing from 11 am until 9 pm yesterday at two different, back-to-back parties, I am so glad we went to the wedding shower. One of my best friends from high school is marrying her boyfriend of eight years in April and as they both attend medical school on the east coast and are both from Southern California, they decided to take advantage of winter break and have an early shower in Malibu yesterday. I knew in advance that a bunch of people I hadn’t seen since high school were going to be there and I was insanely anxious about it. (I may or may not have gone out shopping for new clothes and tried on several different outfits beforehand.) I have a not-so-secret complex about what a huge failure I am for being eight years out of high school and not running a corporation (or being a huge financial success), so the prospect of taking that insecurity out and displaying it in front of people who have been working in research and development since graduating from college or who have learned Arabic and worked in the middle east or who are getting their Ph.Ds in Biology made me want to throw up all over myself. (I rolled with a lot of overachievers in high school.)
As it turns out, as always, living your life by comparison is a pretty stupid thing to do, as everyone had complaints and I think we are all feeling the squeeze of aging out of the blissful idealism of our early 20s. I had anticipated feeling like total crap about myself and I ended up having really engaging and wonderful conversations with my high school friends and their significant others. (Also, I was able to trot out working as an osteologist at an archaeological excavation and had a moment in the sun.) Even my husband, who didn’t have the benefit of having history with these people, had a great time. We stayed late, sitting outside in the light rain under space heaters and talking for hours. We closed down the party and I left feeling like I was beaming light. It was really was such a warm, wonderful experience, both because my friend is marrying someone who is made for her and because I realized time hasn’t changed any of us. It was so fun. I can’t wait for the wedding.
Another unexpected joy yesterday was that I finally started my first, non-medicated period in over two and a half years. I knew something was up when the right side of my chin completely exploded after weeks of relative quiet, but I know well enough by now not to try to predict what is going on with me. I think I’m going to use up the rest of my ClearBlue ovulation tests this month, to see if I might have a normal cycle happening here. And also, for science.
I am married to the love of my life, my best friend and the only person in the world I want my children to look like and look up to. (Sidebar: I just recently watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the first time, and there’s a scene in the movie in which George is asking his wife if she really loves him and she says, “I want my baby to look just like you.” I know exactly what you mean, Mary.) I knew the moment I saw him for the first time that he was the one for me, despite the fact that I was a 20-year-old crazy person who had had approximately zero spiritual revelations before. Had I not been so young, and still a junior in college, we probably would be one of those obnoxious couples who got married after dating for 72 hours and then never shut up about it. However, I do not have a flawless relationship. I am a human being and, at times, a nutcase.
Today, if I am to believe Facebook, two people prepared their nurseries for incoming babies, one person got engaged and I discovered for the first time that a friend I met in college forever ago is the daughter of two incredibly famous movie legends. Congratulations on the good fortune, other people. As for me? I stayed home sick from work and did laundry and wore my disgusting velour robe again and witnessed the final unhinging of my toenail. I also watched Huck eat the green balled-up foil carcass of one of the Hershey’s Kisses I devoured to “help my throat.” It was a banner day.
In addition to the above, I have been attempting to clean up the evidence of my plague by tearing through the horrible canned soups and reveling in the fact that Excedrin is back on the market.
I admit this next paragraph is going to make me sound like I have a drug problem. I promise I do not. (If you had been present on the Friday afternoon I had my wisdom teeth removed seven years ago, when I took my first and last half-tablet of Percocet and then vomited all over the place, you would know that sort of problem is physically impossible for me.) However, I am obsessed with Excedrin. It is, far and away, the most effective headache/migraine medicine available and in January 2012, it was pulled from the shelves. According to WebMd, my private physician:
“Novartis had recalled it voluntarily, along with Bufferin, Gas-X, and No-Doz, because the products may have contained stray tablets from other Novartis products or from painkillers produced at the same plant. The recall followed a report from the FDA about production and other practices at the plant.”
I’m sure this cross-contamination was really serious, but after reading that, I cannot stop thinking about all the migraine sufferers who took some Excedrin and got some free gas relief too. Doesn’t sound half bad. Either way, I’m glad they got it sorted out because I am thrilled to have a brand new bottle of this magical elixir in my house.
Now to leap ever-so-gracefully to the third random topic of this post, people have been telling me since April 2011 (the month of Royal Wedding fame) that I look like Kate Middleton. This is, on the surface, a wonderful compliment, as she’s famous for her shiny hair and perfect makeup (that she does herself) and her impeccable fashion sense. However, I know the truth, which is that I “totally look like” Kate Middleton in the same way Taylor Swift “totally looks like” this dog:
Meaning, the Duchess and I have the same hair and eye color and very similar complexions. While she famous for having great hair and clothes and a royally functioning uterus, I am already planning on throwing my hair into a bun tomorrow and am really excited about this dress I just bought at Target
and am not currently pregnant with future royalty, or with anything at all for that matter. That being said, I find it really adorable that my husband is perhaps the biggest proponent of the Sarah, Duchess of California movement. He must really love me to be able to see through all the craziness and find similarities between me and a woman the entire internet calls Princess Shinylocks, especially after having born witness to what I looked this weekend, what with the not showering and the being violently ill and the noticing on Sunday evening that I still had Friday’s eye makeup on my face.
Proof of his blind love for me:
Love, love, love him.
Now, for comparison (and to kill two birds here, because I also wanted to mention how after several calm weeks, my skin is suddenly flipping out again), here’s me this morning, in our bright yellow bathroom that makes every photo look like it was taken on the surface of the sun:
Brown haired, blue eyed pasty person does not a Duchess doppelgänger make. However, if I’m being honest, I love hearing it. Compliment away, everyone I know!
Does anyone else have celebrity lookalikes? Do you also profess to hate it (“Oh, it’s so embarrassing!”) while secretly loving it?
Or is that just me?
I was up early this morning, after waking up in horror from a dream about my student loans. (That was a terrible thing to do to me, Subconscious. But thanks for the reminder – I got up at 7 am on a Sunday morning and made the final payment on a card I’ve been paying down for ages. One point for me.)
Anyway, I was up early. And while I was gleefully paying things off and feeling hope for the future, Fertile Myrtle sent me this photo of the niece being insanely adorable, enjoying her first time in the snow, in her new hometown, far, far away:
This is me, this morning, on the couch in the velour robe I’ve been wearing for 48 hours and hair that hasn’t been washed since Thursday night, getting some intense Cat Lady practice in before my husband woke up. I made the editorial decision to leave my face out of it. You’re welcome.
This is why my instagram account is private.
We are not in San Francisco this weekend, despite having planned the trip with my mom since Thanksgiving 2011. While at work yesterday, I started getting horrible chills and aches and eventually took my temperature with the handy ear thermometer we have on hand for the kids: 101*. I left work early, called my mom crying to cancel our trip, barely made it home, threw up a bunch, swaddled myself giant robes and four blankets and slept for the last 18 hours. 18. Hours. I’m feeling much better today, because the fever broke late last night and my insides are no longer boiling, which only makes me feel even worse about not driving up to meet my parents in San Francisco last night. I probably could have done all my sleeping in the car and been human enough today (with the help of tons of medicine) to go to the Dickens Christmas Fair with my mom. (As a child, I went to Baha’i feasts and temples, Native American pow wows, six months of Hebrew school, Civil War reenactments and Renaissance fairs. My family never saw a cultural/historical/religious experience it didn’t love.) As it is, though, I’m spending today eating dry wheat toast and drinking tea, watching my husband be productive as I lay on the couch.
I got this bug from the kids in my class. In fact, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to come down with it, as it’s been cycling through all the people at school for about six weeks now. I am a miserable sick person and a notorious complainer, but yesterday, as I knelt over the toilet, crying over how horrible I felt, I was proud to do the type of job that requires so much playing and hugging and adoring of children that I regularly contract all their illnesses. Nothing I have done so far gives me as much joy and fulfillment as working with kids does. They are all bright and witty and hysterical and curious and they feel naturally all of the things adults can only hope to capture in small moments through the eyes of the children in their lives. They are fabulous, every single one of them. And today, as I am finally reading the details about what happened at Sandy Hook, I am, as we all are, horrified and in tears. I am also in awe of the bravery of the teachers and staff who gave their lives to protect the children they loved. No one should ever have to die shielding first grade children from gunfire in their classroom. However, the fact that someone would use their own body as a shield is a testament to the spirit of a teacher who has dedicated her life to the children in her class.
As my husband and I work one and a half blocks apart on the same street and I no longer have to rush home two hours earlier to let the dog out, we’ve decided to start carpooling to work. Tonight, we went out to dinner after our commute home together. It’s freezing here right now (it’s Los Angeles, so by this I mean: it is 47*) and despite the heater being cranked up in the restaurant, I was painfully cold. I am always woefully underdressed for LA winters, as the hours between 9 am to 4 pm every day are always blazing hot and despite living here for my entire life, I still haven’t mastered layering. Upon seeing that I was shivery, my husband immediately stood up, took off his jacket and handed it to me.
Me, looking around: “So, who are you trying to impress?”
Him, totally sincere: “She’s sitting right in front of me.”
Me, warming up, literally and figuratively: “That’s adorable.”
Him, gesturing behind me at an imaginary third party: “No. Not you. Her.”
And that’s the story of how we both ruined the romantic thing he was trying to do for me by being snarky assholes.
Our children are going to be insufferable.