Monday, June 11, 2012

A Mixed Birthday Bag.

Today was my birthday.  I turned 32.  Huzzah.

As I wind down this day celebrating my long-ago de-wombing, drinking peach-flavored carbonated water and watching "Mork & Mindy", (don't ask me why, because I have no idea), I've been reflecting on birthdays in general.

When you're a kid, your birthday is the greatest day EVER.  You wake up, birds sing, the sun shines, and then begins a series of cleverly choreographed musical numbers in which your family and friends sing about how awesome it is that you're another year older.  Generally this is all interspersed with presents, special meals, and cake.  Possibly, if your parents were extra awesome, ice cream cake.

As time marches on however, a strange phenomenon occurs.  Our birthdays start to become less and less important.  Somewhere in your late twenties, when all your friends can't make your birthday dinner (dinner, not party), and you get more cards than presents, you start realize that your birthday is no longer the greatest day EVER.  Or rather, it probably never was.  You're just finally at an age when your loved ones don't feel like they have to fake caring anymore.

And that all sounded way more cynical than I meant it to.  My bad.  Today was kind of a whirlwind of emotions for me.  After a really good weekend of hanging out with friends and doing fun stuff like seeing Pat Benatar sing, I didn't really have anything special planned for today.  But no matter what, you always wake up on your birthday feeling like, "Something awesome is going to happen today.  Because it's my BIRTHDAY."

There were parts of my day that were very good.  My free birthday Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks rocked the cashbah. I found an awesome basket on sale at Michaels. I got to spend some time this evening with one of my besties, and I got a phone call from another one.  I tried some yummy frozen yogurt.  I started reading a very enjoyable book. And I got an overwhelming amount of love on my Facebook wall.

Alas, today I found out that I didn't qualify for a sorely-needed bank loan.  And in the span of the same hour, I also found out that one of my uncles is very near death.  He's been fighting cancer, and has taken a turn for the worse.

So. . .yeah.  Getting news like that, well, let's just say it's been difficult to focus on anything else.  Facing the mortality of loved ones is something with which I've had all too much familiarity.  I've found myself wishing that I could press a rewind button on life today.  That I could go back in time, and instead of celebrating 32, I could celebrate 9 again.  The year I got an awesome Kodak camera, a birthday party with my friends, and a really yummy ice cream cake.  Or 16, when my mom got me 16 beautiful blue-colored roses.  Because she knew blue was my favorite color.  Or 18, when my parents took me, and a bunch of my friends to the Virginia Renaissance festival and I got to pick out a costume to wear.

It's not about the stuff. . .it's about the feelings.  Those days made me feel special.  Made me feel alive.  Today. . .I am deflated.

Maybe I'm being dramatic?  Life happens.  People get older.  My day was not devoid of love.  I'm grateful for the friends and family I have.  Truly I am.  I guess I just wanted a break today.  A break from how difficult everything has been lately.  I'm kind of tired of life kicking my ass.

So, in an attempt to salvage the last twenty minutes of my birthday, I'm going to curl up with my puppy dog and the book I mentioned earlier.  I'll try for optimism again tomorrow. . .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's not like the brochure would have you believe.

I'm bad with money.

I mean. . .not royally bad.  Just kind of bad.  I don't spend money I don't have or anything like that.  But I'm bad at saving.  Worse at prioritizing.  I am better than I used to be, and that is very encouraging to me.  It makes me think that I can keep improving, and eventually be able to check "good money management" off of my "So You Think You're an Adult?" questionnaire.

What is the SYTYAA Questionnaire, you ask?  Well friends, let me clue you in.  In this country, we technically become adults at the age of 18.  However, anyone who's well past their teenage years (like moi), will tell you that is ridiculous.  At 18, you've barely touched the surface of who you are as a person.  What you're capable of. . .what you have to offer the world.  So just because the U.S. government recognizes your pimply, hormone-crazed ass as an adult, it doesn't mean you really are one.

Being an "adult" is less about your age and more about your mindset.  And it's an on-going process.  I don't care how together someone's life is.  I don't care if you have all the monies, the greatest significant other, amazing kids, a beautiful house, a well-trained dog, a perfectly-manicured lawn, a size 6 body that looks good in everything, your own successful business. . .oh my god.  I hate YOU.  Wait, what were we talking about again?

Oh yeah.  Sorry.  It doesn't matter how together your life is, there's always more to learn.  More to do.  More to give.  And this is something we all forget.  Myself especially.  I get bogged down by my everyday life.  ALL THE TIME.  I try to think "big picture", but I often fall back on "yeah, but today. . .".  It's difficult.  Which is kind of what being an adult is all about.  Dealing with the difficult stuff.

Having said all of that, there are certain things you can do to make your maturity-seeking journey easier.  And this is what I call the "So You Think You're an Adult?" Questionnaire.  It's just some questions, that when properly answered, I think put you a step or two closer to adulthood.

So You Think You're an Adult?

1.  What's more important to you:  partying all night, or going to work not feeling like death so you can earn money and pay your bills?

2.  You're saving money like a fiend.  Is it to pay off your student loans, or for a new pair of ridiculously over-priced, celebrity-endorsed sneakers?

3.  A night of drinking to you means:  tequila shots off random strangers or a bottle of good wine with your friends and a wheel of brie?

4.  You're looking at buying a new car.  What do you check first: the color, or the price?

5.  You have a day off.  Are you sleeping until noon, then going to the movies and getting food with your friends?  Or are you using those hours when you're not at your job to do some unpaid labor by cleaning and doing laundry?

6.  A friend calls you with an idea to go to a concert in L.A.  Tomorrow. And you have no where to stay.  And the ticket costs $200.  Your reaction:  "Hell yeah!"  or   "Duuuuuuuuude, I'd love to, but that's my car payment."

* * *

I could go on, really.  That's just a sample.  And it makes adulthood sound incredibly painful and boring.  Which it sometimes is.  But it's also about the power to make decisions for yourself.  It's discovering what's important in your life, and what you're willing to do to achieve those things.

I think we all struggle.  Some of us more than others.  But realizing that no one is alone in this journey is half the battle.  There are days when I feel like I am a big lonely island.  (Ahhhh, The Lonely Island.  Andy Samberg pre-SNL.  Check it out!)  I get depressed and I hide from the world (and my responsibilities).  But that doesn't solve anything.  Acting like an adult will.

Now. . .where did I put those big girl pants?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A nice bouquet. . .

Two things about me:

1.  I live in Virginia.  I have my entire life.  And while the first colony has it's faults, I kind of love being a Virginian.  I love the country, the mountains, the nearness to D.C., and especially the history.

2.  I love wine.  And not just in a "Whooooo, wine time with my girlfriends!!!" kind of way.  I mean, I love wine from start to finish.  I love learning about where it comes from, how it gets made, about all the varieties of grapes, etc.  I'm a wine snob in training.

So, Virginia wines?  Yeah, I'm on board.  The Virginia wine scene is really up-and-coming.  There are a ton of vineyards here, and one of my favorite things to do in my (precious little) off-time is to visit them.  It can be difficult because there are only so many that are nearby.  Some visits require an all-day road trip.  Which can be awesome with a group a friends, btw.  That's when I can combine my budding wine snobbery with a bit of  "Whoooooo, wine time with my girlfriends!!!"

However, every now and then I get to visit more than just two or three wineries in one day.  I get to visit at least 20 in one day.  And that, my friends, is what we call a happy day for Lisa.  That's called a Wine Festival.

Today was one of those days.  The Vintage Virginia festival to be more specific.  It happens every June, and I love it.  I love trying new wines, meeting the people who make them, and hearing the stories behind them.  I love checking out all the vendors, networking, and just having fun with other people who love wine as much as I do.

Like the three ladies who created this winery:

Yes.  Note the poster in the bottom right corner.  Men's lower torsos with well-placed grape vines and bunches.  Fantastic.  And the best part?  Their wine was GOOD.  I bought a bottle in fact.  A blush that wasn't cloyingly sweet or pretty much just a Moscato with pink food coloring.  So yeah, they're a fledgling winery, and they only tasted three of their varieties, but I see a good future for them.  Check them out:  Well Hung Vineyard.

And last, but not least, I'd like to leave you with a picture that sums up how I feel about today:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Joys of Earning a Living.

I currently, and have for just over four years (FOUR YEARS, HOLY CRAP), work in fashion retail.  I've learned a lot about people in this time.  Some good, some not so good, and some that makes me wish I had River Tam's* ability to kill people with my brain.

What is it about a retail/shopping environment that brings out the worst in so many?  Is it the requirement of parting with hard-earned money?  Something tells me no, because it's often those who are spending other people's money (i.e. Mommy or Daddy, husband/boyfriend or wife/girlfriend, Sugar Mama or Sugar Daddy is paying) who have the worst attitudes and act like they're entitled to everything under the sun.  The people spending their own money are more usually pleasant, engaging, and understanding.

And yes, I can tell when you're spending your own money or someone else's.  And not because of a name on a credit card either.

Oh wait, this was supposed to be about me, right?  Well, it kind of is.  I'm a bit of a workaholic.  I would say about 85% of my time is spent at work. . .so, I tend to talk about it a lot.  Also, it shapes me as a person.  Which means I'm mostly a bitter, sarcastic, and pessimistic drone clinging on to the last shreds of her dying hopes and dreams.

Haha. . .KIDDING!  For the most part.  Don't get me wrong, there's good stuff too.  That stuff just doesn't make for the best stories.  Or my acetaminophen habit. And since it's time for me to get ready for work (again), here's a little something for you all to enjoy.  Something that gives you a hint of what I often deal with while earning my paycheck. . .

Side note:  this is only a slightly exaggerated parody of conversations you might overhear at my job.  All of the swearing and insults happen inside my head though.  ^_^

Have a great day everyone!

*If you haven't seen "Firefly" and "Serenity". . .well, you should.  We probably won't get along otherwise. . .

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bonjour, Mes Amis. . .

So. . .hi there.  I'm Lisa.  I'm so busy navigating my way through the quagmire of life, I often neglect one of my true loves. . .writing.  I'm hoping this blog will help me change that.  I'm further hoping that I'll be interesting enough that some of you out there in the blogosphere might decide what I write is worth reading. Time will tell.

I'm short on time today.  Next time, a little more about me.  Until then, enjoy the sheer awesomeness of this: