A Rose In Bloom

Better than I could be. Not as good as I’d planned.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The stories are all the same
I spent the day after Christmas helping Joi celebrate her birthday with a wonderful dinner in Houston and some quick bonding time before she headed back to New York. While I was there I met a couple of her friends, friends that I had often heard of in stories and anecdotes but friends that I had never actually met. After dinner we ended up, as girls often do, sitting around the living room talking about life and the journey that continues to kick our asses. We are all roughly the same age, mid-twenties, but from very different backgrounds with very different interests yet somehow, the stories were all very much the same. And I am amazed at just how often, as women, we are afraid to share our experiences because we are certain that no one will understand and then one night after a few glasses of wine you have a conversation like this one in which you realize that everyone deals with life's blows and if we would only reveal ourselves to one another the battle wouldn't be so hard. Women can be catty and bitchy and we know that it is usually just a prideful attempt to hide the insecurities and the pain and yet we continue to allow ourselves to do and be the people we know we are not. I am so thankful for my female friendships, especially the ones that have stood the tests of time-the awkward junior high years and the confusing high school years and the all out wacky college years-because I know that without a strong circle of women in my corner at every turn life would have won and I would have been left lost and defenseless.

It's cathartic now to share those stories but I only wish that I had believed in myself enough to share them when the insecurities were still so real. I think I could have saved myself, and my friends, a lot of pain. I'm just glad that I can see it all so clearly now and that I no longer feel like I am not good enough to be loved by my friends and, in turn, love them with all that I am.

That realization alone may just be the best Christmas gift I have ever received.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Like clock work my monthly Texas cold has crept on in. Only this time, the pressure in my head is so strong it's making my eyes water. I'm downing Robutussin/Nyquil cocktails with cough drop chasers hoping that it will go away as quickly as it appeared.

On the other end of the coin, working in academia means I get a very substantial winter break while all of the students are away. I shot out of the office at noon yesterday with no intentions of returning until after the new year. I have big plans to sit on my couch and watch horrible daytime programming. I also have plans to see lots of old friends. Once this cold wears off, the next week and a half is going to be great. Until then, it's back under the covers for me.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Homemade Holiday
I spent this weekend trying to drum up some holiday spirit the best way I know how, by going full throttle in my kitchen. I made an enormous batch of hot cocoa mix, a couple of pounds of peppermint bark and a huge tray of granola. The smell of the cinnamon on the granola as it baked was enough to drum up some holiday cheer in itself. Of course the wine consumed while baking the sweet treats didn't hurt either. I capped off the weekend with a delicious chicken piccata last night and one more glass of wine.

And this is only the beginning really. Christmas day at my house will be all about food and family, thirty of us to be exact, and tons of good homemade Mexican food. The menu has been set and I have been recruited to make all of the "party foods," the only non-ethnic cuisine that will be eaten. You know, homemade chex mix, maybe a cheese tray and chocolate fudge for the sweet tooth. My mom and my aunts are responsible for the enchiladas, menudo, barbacoa, tamales, rice, beans, flautas, queso and all the fixings.

I think I have finally found my lost holiday spirit, it was hiding in my kitchen, which is probably the first place I should have looked.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Corrie and I met in Mrs. Adkins first grade class. She had just moved here and I was the first friend that she made in town. We are still friends to this day, nearly twenty years later. Mrs. Adkins and I have always stayed in touch and Corrie's family, since her mom was a teacher too, became close family friends over th years of the first grade teacher responsible for our meeting. We didn't see eachother much, Mrs. Adkins and I, over the last few years but whenever we did she was always so kind and so proud of the woman I had become. She became a lifelong teacher and friend.

Mrs. Adkins died earlier this week. The funeral is tomorrow. The sadness is something that carries with it twenty years of friendship and relationships that will last the rest of my life.

I can't remember a holiday season that has been as trying as this one.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ice, Ice Baby
I had forgotten that when winter weather hits in the south it comes not in the form of swirling snow flurries but in pelting balls of ice. Everything is covered today in a thick layer of ice that has yet to melt. My boss called this morning and gave me an official winter weather day. As such, I am still in my pajamas about to write out some holiday cards and watch a couple of holiday movies. I may even make a cup of hot cocoa...with marshmallows.

Tomorrow, when the ice melts, all will be back to normal. But today, today is for relaxation and the welcome calm a few icicles brings.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ass, Kicked!
It was shameful really. I still can't believe it happened. And my intentions, my intentions were good. It was supposed to be my night off, no Friday night work related event to attend, no lack of car excuses not to meet up with the girls, and no boys to get in the way. I brought a bottle of wine to contribute and by the time I arrived, just a little before seven, the queso was made and the shoes were already off.

This is the part where I attempt to blame it on the glass, it was a larger than normal wine goblet, deceiving in it's gorgeous pinkish hue. I poured the first glass and laughed and gossiped with the girls. By glass two I was sharing intimate details about my life that no one ever gets out of me. By the thrid glass, and the recognized end of the bottle, I couldn't feel my teeth. By nine I had drunk dialed a couple of friends and by eleven I had drunk text-messaged my boss. I layed on the floor for a while and drank some water to try and stop the brain from hurting. When I finally made it to bed at midnight my body was angry with me.

When the alarm went off at six, after five restful hours, I awoke to the red wine still pumping through my veins. I popped a few Advil and started my long day. Three hours in the car, four hours in a meeting, three more hours back. Pain the whole time. Back to work at eight for an event followed by a big greasy cheese burger to help with the uneasy-queasy feeling that had been nagging at me all day. When my phone rang a little after midnight I was thankful that Rachel had woken me up from my bed where I landed with my jeans and shoes still on.

When I finally fell asleep all nestled in my pajamas under the covers and drowing in water and more Advil, I could barely remember the last time I had a hangover that hung on quite so well. Then I figured out that the last time it happened, I was a junior in college and I haven't touched tequilla since. I don't think I am giving up the red wine but I am well aware that I am no match for an entire bottle of the stuff, no matter how good it tastes going down.