Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The World According to Allison - Instant Messenger Edition

I don't know about you guys, but instant messenger is a permanent fixture in my life. At work, via Office Messenger, I'm connected to literally everyone with an email address like mine.  I also log into Gmail everyday because I have OCD and can't handle when my emails pile up.  Gchat was a huge part of my law school life (holla if anyone ever saved your ass when you didn't have a clue what the Prof was talking about), and my Gchat list is extensive. Even though I love the ability to instantly chat with people - both about important things and nonimportant things - I've developed a few pet peeves when it comes to my instant messengers.  I know, you're all shocked.

These are going to come across terribly bitchy and self-important.  But, I promise that I follow my own rules, and that I think with a bit of instruction and practice, we can all live in an instant messenger utopian paradise.

1. Know when to send an email:  this one is work people specific - sending me an IM about something that's "important" is just the silent equivalent of barging into my office. Send me an email.  If its important, mark it high priority.

2. Know your audience:  I find it hysterical and annoying all at the same time when people use super proper grammar.  IM is not a thesis.  I do not care that you know big words.  I care about when lunch is.  I care about what you thought of the Hoosier game.  If you start writing to me as if you want me to grade your paper, I'm going to give you an F and mark it "tries too hard."  If, on the other hand, I'm your boss, perhaps you shouldn't "lolz" me.

3. Let me work:  if I don't respond to you right away, I'm either working or I don't really want to talk to you.  Either way, leave me alone until I respond back.  I promise that I'll reciprocate this and I won't bother you again until you respond to me.  This way we'll have a conversation that's paced ideally for us both.

4. Let me work part 2:  on the same lines, I'm almost always red on gchat during the work hours. Unless we have a preexisting relationship where we *always* talk to each other on red (I'm thinking of my best friend here), if you know my invisibility secret (no, I can't reveal this secret on my blog - I treasure it!), or I initiate the conversation, don't bother me. If, on the other hand, its 8pm at night, feel free to bother me.  I'm usually just too lazy to change it.

5. Don't Ask Don't Tell:  as a result my office having access to me via Office and Gmail automatically adding people to my contact list after they are included in so many emails, my contact list ranges from best friend to bosses bosses boss. Most times, all my conversations are topically appropriate for the relationship.  But every once in a while, someone tries to cross that line.  You know the one I'm talking about - the line into personal information territory.  My simple rule for this one is:  if you wouldn't ask me to my face, don't ask me over instant messenger.  And, if you think its ok to ask someone face to face if they are knocked up, and you don't know their middle name, then you should lock yourself in a closet because you are not fit for society.

6. Rude vs. Funny:  support @shawnmccusker and just say no to the use of the passive aggressive email smiley face (I'd link his tweet and twitter account here, but I cannot even begin to figure out how to do that). If you need to use a smiley or some variation thereof to diffuse the message, you're being a jerk.  Again, say it to my face or don't say it at all.  And, if you think you're being funny but you're afraid of how the person will react so you add the smiley, you should reword, because you're not being funny, you're being a jerk.

What did I miss?  If this utopia is going to work, we all have to put forth some effort.  Also, feel free to tell me I'm (a) crazy or (b) lame. These are things I need to know, too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Neither at home nor abroad

"The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States' commitment to promoting human rights." - President Obama

You may not believe this, but a few mere months ago, I had broader interests than Pintrest and Twitter. As with so many things, life gets in the way of your life. When I had more spare time, especially during law school where I spent the majority of the time praying I wouldn't be called on and surfing the internet, I was a political geek. My political nerdiness started in highschool, the 2000 election year. I was dating a Republican (a reoccurring pattern in my life), and I'm (now) a registered Democrat. Granted, I couldn't vote in that election, but I made sure I was educated, for two reasons only: so I could sound smarter than said boyfriend and because my dad and I would chat politics. 

Fast forward 8 years, I'm married to a Republican*, still talking politics with my dad, and deeply emotionally invested in the election. I voted for President Obama for many, many reasons, but chief among them was, what I believed, would be his treatment of human right issues - including homosexual rights. 

The last four years have been, overall, a disappointment for me. For reasons that are bigger than this particular blog post, I feel that President Obama has not lived up to his expectations and the hopes that I held for him. I think the most troubling part of this for me is what this says about me: I think that my expectations were bigger and more optimistic than reality could allow. As I've posted about before, I generally get sad when my expectations aren't met and I get even sadder when my naivety gets the best of me. 

Back on track: President Obama hasn't done enough over the last four years, especially for the LGBT community. Yes, he decided to stop defending DOMA, and he finally ended Don't Ask Don't Tell, but in my mind the fact that he won't come out and say that he supports gay marriage, indicates that he's putting his political future ahead of his personal convictions (especially, since the people who are bothered by particular issue with him will probably still vote for him anyway since these are looking like our other options: Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney.)

No doubt, this is a move that is going to start some heated debate, as it was probably calculated to. Conservatives are going to complain that we shouldn't push our "moral failings" onto others, Independents are going to ask what the f*** we're doing giving aid to other countries regardless, and Liberals are going to bitch that we haven't done enough in the states and this is just a ploy to placate LGBT voters. And this is me saying: you all have some points, even those of you who I don't agree with. But, I do not care.

Anytime the United States says, unequivocally "this is the right thing to do and this is what we stand for," people pay attention. And if one person, anywhere, stands back and reexamines their belief system, then this policy has served its purpose, at least in my mind.  And while it doesn't make up for four years of disappointment, I'm glad President Obama is getting back into fighting shape.

*Full disclosure: Marcus does not identify himself as a Republican, but rather as an Independent voter. I just know it pisses him off when I tell people he's a Republican. If I were to fairly identify his political views they would be "fiscally conservative, socially liberal." Our agreement on social issues is the reason we could get married. We're like the Schwarzenegger/Shriver marriage, minus the maid.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Really Random Things I'm Really Grateful For:

1. That my version of Black Friday includes spiked hot chocolate, setting up the tree, and not standing in line at Target.

2. For those little mesh loose tea holders.

3. That my Dad signs "love, Dad" in his text messages.

4.  That my husband doesn't think my food habits are "weird" or "terrible" - and that he accommodates ALL OF THEM.

5.  Red Wine.

6. That I'm not the kind of person who feels obligated to go to the gym on Thanksgiving.

7.  That my pups like to cuddle.

8.  That my husband lets me wear his clothes to bed. (Poor dude, I swear to God the his clothes to her clothes to wash ratio is 2:1 because I wear so many of his.)

9.  For this website:  http://www.perezhamilton.com/

10.  And this one:  http://presidentialpickuplines.tumblr.com/

11.  For Lysol wipes.

12.  That hair that can be worn either straight or curly.

13.  For a Mom who likes to read and sends me her books when she's done with them.

14.  For The West Wing on DVD and The Big Bang Theory on TBS constantly.

15.  For the continued use of the Oxford Comma.

But, most importantly, for my friends, family, pups, and you all :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Expectations

Early in the Summer, I was sitting in my car before a yoga class that I was going to after work.  I pulled out the copy of "Meditations from the Mat" I keep in my yoga bag for situations just like this.  I was thumbing through, and stumbled upon the lesson from Day 86.  If you read Rolf Gates' Meditations, and I suggest you do, you know that he uses anecdotes to help you understand the different eight-legged path of yoga.

On day 86, he was describing how he used to spend every work day basically assigning a value or an emotion to them.... "Thursdays were bright with promise; Friday, a victory walk....Sundays were days of mourning as I contemplated beginning the whole cycle all over again."  At first, I was with him.  "Yes, yes, I do this," I thought to myself as I nodded my head.  He continues on about how now that he works everyday, he doesn't have to deal with the emotional roller-coaster that a workweek can traditionally bring. By that point, I was thinking "Alright, dude.  I'm with ya a little bit on this one, but there's no way in hell I'm going to work seven days a week, unless my job involves being a professional couch-tester-outer. At the end, he states that by, "[g]iving up hope, I have actually found a new kind of freedom."  I contemplated that for a minute, thought it was depressing as hell, and went inside the yoga studio.

And that's where I left it, until about a week ago.  Last week wasn't a super great one for the Wolfe household.  It seemed as if months, and even years of plans came crashing down upon us.  Marcus and I both had expectations as to how this year, and the years after would play out, and we were rudely awakened by circumstances outside our control or ability.  I'm not sure what brought me back to that quote, but something did.  I was driving home from work on Monday, and I just thought to myself, "I'm giving up expectations and hope."  I didn't mean that in a defeated way, at all.

And that's when I understood - by giving up my expectations of what my life should be, I can let my life happen to me as it should.  I can maintain a positive attitude and be mentally prepared for whatever comes my way, because I'm not going to spend my energy making plans and setting up for contingencies.  I let myself become so bogged down in the "this is not what was supposed to happen" frame of mind, that I often forget that it doesn't matter what is or what is not supposed to happen.  Not to sound like a total cliche, but all that matters is how I react to whatever happens.

What Gates means, I believe, is that freedom is *not* just another term for nothing else to lose, but rather to gain.  To steal from Emerson, I need to finish each day and be done with it.  By eliminating expectations, I can eliminate a lot of disappointment in my life, and that is not depressing. In practice, this might be difficult, but I'm hoping that with some patience, I can let things stop happening to me, and just let them happen.


Speaking of expectations, and without making a liar out of myself in the same blogpost, Sunday has become the day that I have established expectations for.  We spend Sundays, cleaning, grocery shopping, meal planning, snuggling, watching movies, reading books, and walking dogs.  Sunday has become my favorite day of the week, which is quite the contrast to how I felt a few measly months ago. I wake up on Sundays and expect it to be wonderfully relaxing, and usually Sunday delivers.  

Most Sundays, the dogs also get baths (they sleep with us, go ahead and judge).  I snapped a picture of Beans trying to escape, and this is the main reason we compare him to The Brain from Pinky and the Brain.

Someone needs to adjust his expectations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I did last week - since I know you missed me.

Monday, November 7, 2011:  First off, I broke my dress.  Then, a 50 year old with a pixie cut at work showed up with a navy blue feather in her hair right above her ear.  Gosh, I love Indiana.  I officially completed my journey into adulthood when I made my pension/401k and flexible spending elections.  But, then I regressed when I yelled at an 80 year old lady.  It went a little like this:

me:  Hi, I'm calling because xyz and for so and so.
old lady:  Yes, I know you.  You have left me a ton of voicemails.
me:  Yes, that's the thing.  My client would like to pay you, but we don't know how much we owe you.
old lady:  Yes, I know why you're calling.  From what I can remember, everything's settled.
me:  I thought so too, ma'am, but my supervisor has asked me to confirm because of xyz issue.
old lady:  You know, I don't know why you're calling.  And I couldn't understand your voicemails.

old lady proceeds to give me a ten minute lecture on how to leave a voicemail....

old lady:  So, basically its rude for you to be so quiet and fast on your voicemails.  It was hard for me to understand them and when you talk to other people you should go out of your way to let them know why you've called.  You should give more details.
me:  .......
old lady:  I mean, if its ok for me to say, of course.
me:  No, of course its ok for you to say.  If its ok for me to say, you obviously could understand my voicemails since you knew exactly why I was calling.  Further, its rude for you to not return any of my five voicemails.  If you thought it was settled, you should have called me back to say so.  Finally, if I would have known getting a hold of you was going to cost my clients ___ amount of money, I would have advised they not pay you.
old lady: ......
me:  I mean, if its ok for me to say, of course.

Tuesday, November 8:  I was asked to be a bridesmaid for a dear friend a while back.  It meant so much to me because the only reason we're friends is because our boys are best friends (they give real hugs and everything).  She's just wonderful and we automatically meshed in the group - which is harder than it seems because the group is based off of the boys being best friends, but all the girls knew each other anyway.

Side note:  does this even make sense?  Are you picturing me in highschool?  Because that's how some of these girls make me feel.  Real Heathers, I tell ya.

Anyway, the thing is that the girls all pretend to like each other because the boys are all so close.  But B and I actually connected and I'm super touched she asked me to be a bridesmaid.  The only problem.... one of my other friends is getting married the same day.  How does this happen to me?  I have like 4 friends and of those four,  two of them are getting married the same day.  So, I had to break the news to the other friend today.  Over Mexican, margs, and tears, she confirmed why she's one of my closest friends.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011: I saw the 50th anniversary of The West Side Story in the theater.  I also continued my propaganda campaign of naming my imaginary first girl "Maria" and I cried. Alot.

Thursday, November 10, 2011.  I'm not stylish.  At all.  But for some reason, at work, I sorta am?  Its so cofusing. Anyways, the only other women I talk to on a regular basis asked me to come with her to pick out some new clothes at lunchtime.  This made me feel fashionable, needed, and liked all at the same time.

Friday, November 11, 2011: If someone says one more thing about 11.11.11 I'm going to lose my shit.  I also went home to see my Momma and Daddy and had magnificent pizza.

Saturday, November 12, 2011 and Sunday, November 13, 2011:  I got a new phone. I've officially not lived at home long enough I don't have any friends to go out with on a Saturday night so I spend my Saturday drinking beer and watching Big Bang with my Dad. Which, actually, sorta rocks.

Side note: Ever notice how I talk more in the beginning of the blog posts than at the end?  I give up easily, sorry about that.

Yesterday, Monday, November 14, 2011: I was called by a Gallup poll and I died of politically dorky happiness.

Pretty much today, I've spent the day trying to come up with a better theme for my blog. And trying to write this blog post. Such is life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Please tell me I'm not the only one

I floss only for the week before and the week following a dental appointment.

I use google "check" or word "thesaurus" when I think I have the right word, but I'm not sure.

I pretend I'm the lead in any musical I'm currently obsessed with.  And sing loudly and often.

I'll be shocked if I ever get around to making a single thing I have "pinned".  (Pintrest is the biggest timesuck of my life.  Which is saying alot, since, ya know, I went to law school.)

I'm in a fake relationship with a celebrity.

I can't figure out how everyone around me is getting pregnant at roughly the same time.

I have fear of missing out. So, I go to lunch with my friends every time I'm invited instead of eating what I packed to save money.

I paint my nails so that I can pretend I'm fashionable and trendy.  Consequently, they are yellow so the cycle perpetuates itself.

I can't figure out how to clean up my google reader because I don't understand the new google reader.

I "see" myself approximately 50lbs heavier than I am.

I let my dogs poop in the neighbors yard when I know they aren't looking. I justify it by pretending they do the same to me.

I fake productivity by writing lists.

The happiness I get when someone comments/posts/likes something I did on facebook borders on embarrassing.

I record shows I know damn well I'll never actually watch and/or catch up to (I'm looking at you, Letterman, John Stewart and Ellen.)

 I really want to buy a fun, glittery, slightly revealing dress for the holidays and/or new years eve, but I know that the reality of my holidays and/or new years eve involve more sweat pants and nachos than a fun, glittery, slightly revealing dress can handle.

I'm personally offended at the Kim K divorce after being subjected to years of that terrible reality show - which I never even watched.

I wish my DVR had a "play all" and automatic fast forward through commercials feature.

I sincerely hope that the Prince and Princess are preggo.

I have slippers and a blanket at my desk.

I'm in denial about the age of my pets, which concerns me about my reaction to potential future spawn.  And, also, myself.

I've never had a twinkie.

I like my job more than I'm willing to admit  :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

You met me at an interesting time.

So, yeah.  I disappeared for a while.  Its hard to explain, and I'm afraid it might be hard to understand, but I feel like I owe it to everyone (especially myself) to attempt to put words to it.  Excuse me in advance, this is going to be clumsy.

I don't know when it began, and I certainly don't know when I realized it, but I've spent the last year or so struggling with (what I believe to be) depression (or something akin - my Dr. has only prescribed me to anti-anxiety for my panic attacks).

Ugh, see what I did there?  I'm attempting to apologize for something already!  THIS IS PART OF MY PROBLEM.

Let's start over.  Growing up, and throughout college, I was probably one of the happiest people I knew.  A few days before my birthday this year, I wrote this in my journal - "ten years again, at 17, my life was an empty fresh canvas I couldn't wait to paint.  Although my expectations were abstract, there were also grand.  I was happy, excited, and optimistic about my life and future.  The last ten years haven't been bad, I want to be clear.  In fact, they have been wonderful by any standard.  I went to IU and had the time of my life.  I met some of my best friends, cheered at a Big Ten University, and met the man I would marry.  I went to law school...blah blah blah.  But somewhere along the way, I drifted away from my optimistic homeostasis.  I don't know if its a loss of innocence - like they used to talk about in high school English all the time -  or what.  But I've become more and more jaded.  I expect shit won't go my way.  My outlook has shifted from 'everything's going to be alright' to 'expect the worst and that way you won't be disappointed'.  I hate that.  So, I'm going to do something about it."

And do that is what I did - although, truth be told I didn't realize what was happening as it happened. I didn't have a real game plan, other than I knew I needed to quit the job I had.  So,  I got a new job.  As a result, I met new friends.  Then, I started taking care of myself - taking walks, reading for fun, yada yada yada.  Slowly yet surely, I have become more myself.  Yes, I still bitch about things, yes things could still be better - but can't they always?  I didn't wake up one day and think "This is it.  Today's the day I'm back" but I also can't tell you the last time I've had a  mental breakdown or have cried.  This is the best way I can describe what happened. (Just another reason to love that blog.)

And while that's all well and good, I sort of felt like I couldn't talk about it on my blog.  You see, December of 2010 was the beginning of this downhill battle.  It was also the beginning of my blog.  I used this blog to complain and to be snarky and to connect with people who I didn't have to see everyday of my life.  And it totally provided me with that outlet, and I'm so so grateful for that.  In a way, as I started feeling happier, I started feeling like I was betraying my blog.  What would I say when I wasn't complaining?  It's hard for me to be snarky and not a bitter complainer.  Not to mention another side effect of not being so sad all the time - I had no reason to be online all the time.  Suddenly, I had friends to see and plans to make! Weird what happens when you're not terrified you're going to start sobbing at any moment.

So, I don't know.  I guess the best reason I have for ignoring my space for so long is that I felt like a liar.  I felt like I couldn't keep it up anymore, or rather that I didn't deserve to.  Honestly, it didn't feel "fair" to comment on your life, when I wasn't participating in group share time. But the truth is, I've missed it.  I missed having an online "voice" and I've missed the connections I've made.  I have no idea what will become of this blog, but I'm hoping that just like before, ya'll will help me figure it out.