Sunday, October 31, 2010

Certain Holidays

I'm a big fan of holidays.  In order, my favorites are Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July and Easter.  There are three, however, that I definitely don't look forward to.

As a single girl, Valentine's Day is definitely on the top of that list.  Everyone is always talking about what they're buying, what they're getting, and then flowers at the office... it's all too much.  One day I'll be in a couple and I'm sure I'll be one of those idiots, but for now I'd rather be bitter. 

For some of the same reasons, New Years Eve is also filled with pressure.  Most years I'm more than happy to do something low-key, hang out with my friends, and try to remember that it's just another night.  In years past I've done everything from board game nights to dive bars to fancy restaurants.  There's always the issue of the midnight kiss, what to wear, who's going to drive, what kind of exciting stories you'll have to tell for the next 365 days...

This year, I can't decide what to do.  I know it's two months away, but I have to buy the plane ticket for my Christmas travel this week.  I can either come back to LA for New Years and spend it the way I spend every other Saturday night with all the friends I love, or stay in Chicago and spend the evening out on the town with my high school friends.  The plane tickets are pretty much the same price and I have plenty of time off work, so the decision is all mine.  Do I spend what may be my last New Years Eve living in Los Angeles with my friends here or do I put on a pretty party dress, go out on the town, and do something new and exciting in Chicago?

And then there's Halloween. Pretty harmless, but somehow I just can't get into it.  Even in high school I'd put on my brother's lacrosse uniform and call it a day.  My mom used to make us amazing costumes when we were little, and my eldest brother loves the holiday, but I don't really like anything that requires a costume for whatever reason. Too much effort and we just end up looking silly.

This year I not only got dressed up, but I went out twice.  I was just a cowgirl with a jean skirt, plaid snap shirt and cowboy hat leftover from a bachelorette party, but it worked.  Most girls use Halloween as an excuse to be someone they're not and put on far too little clothing, but that's clearly not my style.  I don't mind looking sexy, but I will always lean towards comfort. 

Friday night I went out a coworker and her friends.  It was a much needed break to go out with some new people.  New, nice, sincere, successful people.  It was flattering that she invited me out with her peeps and was willing to introduce me to her close circle of friends.  Plus, it's always great to meet new people. 

Last night I went to a friend's house party.  They're all really into Halloween and some had pretty nifty home-made costumes and decorations, but like most of our parties it's more about the beer as opposed to what we're wearing.  Tonight is actually Halloween night and I'm still recovering from the last forty-eight hours.  I would have loved to be somewhere where I could greet some trick-or-treaters and celebrate the holiday with fun food and scary old movies, but alas.  I suppose that will all come in time though.  Instead, I'm in my sweats, catching up on some homework.  I even put off laundry and grocery shopping because I really just needed a lazy Sunday by myself.  Unfortunately I didn't run this weekend like I should have, but there's always next week and the half marathon is still six weeks away. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Get In My Belly

I've probably told you before that I'm bad in kitchen.  But that's not entirely true.  I am a good cook when I have the time and the patience.  And I actually enjoy it sometimes.  But those inspired moments are few and far between these days.

I live by myself and there is little economy in cooking for one.  Unless I want to eat leftover spaghetti for a week or spend an hour cooking (and cleaning up) just to make a 15 minute meal that I'll eat in front of the TV, it's easier to live on cans of tuna, quesadillas and bowls of cereal. 

My mother is a spectacular cook.  She spoiled my brothers and me because she never even wanted help in the kitchen. We sat down to a home-cooked meal at least four times a week and she has even taken a stab at catering a few events in her career.  She can make something out of nothing (sometimes a necessity in those leaner years) and would never force us to eat lame leftovers that hadn't been transformed into something a little more exciting.  And because she loves to cook, it is her way of showing how she feels about us.  Her way of providing for us when very little else was stable. 

When I first moved away, my biggest source of homesickness was wishing I had my mother to make me dinner every night.  The school cafeteria was lame (she always packed our lunches too) and I didn't have the means to eat out very often.  When I finally had my own place, I struggled with what to buy at the grocery store and had to create my own routine every night. 

So between my lack of time and inclination to cook these days, I derive a disproportionate amount of joy when someone cooks for me.  There is very little I love more in this world than a  friend making me dinner (or lunch, dessert, breakfast, a snack, whatever).  Whether it's a simple burger or a complicated chili, there is nothing quite like sharing a home-cooked meal. 

And I'm a lucky girl in this department.  After our runs on Thursday nights, Vani (or Brady) includes me in their dinner plans.  Gina is a phenomenal cook and Dolo is always whipping up something exciting.  And when boys cook for me, I'm completely done for.  Clearly, the way to my heart is through my stomach. 

Now that the weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I'm looking forward to some big, satisfying meals with my friends and family.  I even whipped up some spicy cherry chocolate brownies this weekend.  Because the recipe made a ton, I was able to bring them over to share with the pumpkin carving party and have some left over to drop off to a certain someone and his roommate. I clearly also show my affection with food. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I grew up a good Catholic girl,  so I was always aware of the necessity of faith.  But only in a spiritual/God sort of way.  It's only recently that I discovered the necessity of faith in ourselves. 

If going back to school, living by myself, being single and thousands of miles away from my family has taught me anything, its that we have to believe in ourselves. I wouldn't be doing all of this if I didn't truly believe somewhere deep down that the countless lonely hours of studying, being in class and toiling away in my cubicle was going to massively change my life. 

But in the middle of the tunnel, ten months away from graduation, I'm going a little crazy.  I'm wondering exactly how this is going to work out and indeed, if it is all worth it in the end.  I'm slugging through a job, in a city, that at times feels like its killing me.  Time is flying and I want it both to slow down and just hurry up already.  It's just eleven weeks until the new year and two weeks from signing up for my second to last semester of business school.  In a sentiment I've echoed before, all these changes are so bittersweet. 

I'm mentally ready to move on, whether that's to a different job, city, routine or relationship. I've been scouting jobs in Chicago with more fervor lately and I'm trying to really get out of my cocoon for a while and enjoy the company of my friends.  And while change is scary, I'm ready for whatever that means in the next year. 

I need to not only have faith in myself and my capabilities, but faith that it will all work out as it's meant to be.  I've always been of the attitude that I should follow my gut, work hard and good things will come.  I don't know that it's always served me, but I really do believe that things happen for a reason and that I'm meant to be exactly where I am right now. 

As in running, or any other monumental endeavor, results aren't always visible at first.  If one can make it through all this hard work and unknown, the rest will seem a whole lot easier. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Since when am I this insecure?! I guess we all have moments of uncertainty; we're all self-conscious at one point or another.  But the one thing I thought pursuing an MBA would help would be all that nagging self-doubt.  Turns out it has just made me more aware of the ways in which I'm self-conscious and self-sabotaging. That's a good thing, no?! I always say that awareness if the first step to recovery... or something like that. 

The upside is that I'm probably more self-conscious than I let on.  Except to those closest to me, I think I come across and fairly confident.  And I am, most of the time.  But a little too often for my comfort, I start doubting everything.  Most of the time it's physical.  I know I'm smart, capable (my grades thus far in bschool have been a testament to that), hard working and a good friend. But I don't always remember that; I don't necessarily think I'm very pretty or light up a room with my humor.   

I spent a few years in high school seeing a therapist, and the one thing we worked on the most was my sense of self-worth.  That I was indeed pretty enough, smart enough and OK just as I am.  Because really, I can't change me.  Nor should I.  My parents are great, but I was constantly criticized.  It has made me who I am today and allows me hyper-aware in social situations, but it also makes me overly critical of myself.

And I've found myself doubting just about everything lately.  Perhaps it's because I'm a tad bit lonely or that I'm overwhelmed with the kinds of choices I get/have to make in the near future, but I've become much more self-conscious lately.  When I really should be feeling completely the opposite.  I'm surrounded by tons of people who love me, I'm accomplishing something pretty important and both running and school have been going exceptionally well. 

The people I love and admire most in this world are those that write their own stories.  They don't conform to a particular set of social rules, they have a ton of fun doing almost anything, they are intelligent, confident and a blast to be around.  And that's the kind of person I want to be. I want to develop the confidence to go after EXACTLY what I want, ask for what I need and live the life I've always imagined, for myself.  I'm in the depths of something that can change my life enormously, if I let it.  If I let go of my fear and seize the right opportunities. 

But don't we all doubt ourselves sometimes?  Who wouldn't when living in LA, surrounded by some of the most attractive and fashionable people on the planet.  I think I just need to keep it more in perspective.  I need to realize that I'm worthy of love and success even though I don't always feel like I'm exactly the person I want to be, all the time. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's terribly interesting what one finds they truly desire to do should they have the opportunity to do anything in the world.  OK, not in the world, but on a nice LA day.  Specifically on a Saturday morning.  Since both my run and my hike were canceled this weekend, I asked Gina to go with me to a farmers market.  Yesterday morning I woke up fairly early, got dressed in my finest weekend uniform (running shorts, t-shirt, running shoes), and picked up an iced coffee before we took a 30 minute drive down to a farmers market that I'm absolutely shocked nobody talks about.  It was fabulous!

We ate papusas, homemade lemonade, fresh donuts and sausages.  I bought some amazingly tasty pluots, some basil (fresh pesto anyone?!), a baguette, peppers and tomatoes.  And I even picked up a nice little mint plant to go with the two pots of basil Gina gave me a few weeks ago. 

After we watched some Big Ten football and napped briefly, I stopped at Home Depot for some potting soil.  Now you're probably wondering why exactly I'm giving you a complete run-down of my day.  It's because it has finally hit me; I've become my mother. 

Early mornings, farmers markets, Home Depot, potting plants... these are Klodd's favorite things. (Klodd is my amazing, supportive, hilarious, perky and blond mother - short for Claudia.)  And ones that I absolutely despised when I was younger.  My idea of hell as a kid was getting up early on the weekend to go to Eastern Market or the nursery to look at trees and plants. 

Now I don't know if it's because I'm homesick or because I've had time and space to discover what I like outside of my parents' taste, but the apple just doesn't fall that far from the tree.  And in a way, that makes me really happy.  It's reassuring that after six years and thousands of miles away from my family, we've managed to grow together. I didn't leave the Midwest because I didn't love or even like my family, but because I needed my independence.  From running and finance to farmers markets and hiking, I've discovered so much about what makes me tick, and I might just be ready to go back.  Someday. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting There

This is a bit of a mish mash today.  Eat it up!

1.  I can't believe it's been twelve months.  A year ago I started business school, started this blog, quit kickball, and changed my life around completely.  I had no idea what I was signing up for, but it has been a whirlwind.  I've been hurt, I've struggled and there have been many tears.  But there have been even more friends, more laughter, and I have found more strength than I ever knew I had. 

2.  I'm not sick anymore!  Yeehaa.  With just about ten weeks left until our half marathon, I'm back on track for our running schedule.  I'm doing full hour boot camps on Wednesdays, double runs on Thursdays, and weekend runs in the marina.  My eating habits are off but that's constantly a struggle.  Luckily I haven't had much of an appetite, but with midterms and papers I'm not cooking and grocery shopping like I should. 

3.  It's rainy and overcast in LA this week and I love it.  Despite it making me even more homesick, it's actually quite soothing.  The temperatures have dropped and it's the perfect weather to catch up on my DVR with some take-out, put on my favorite yoga pants, and study for my Global Capital Markets midterm that's less than 48 hours away.

4.  I'm getting overwhelmed.  Graduation is just ten months away!!!  It's exciting, amazing and totally scary.  I will be in a very different place than I am now in ten months.  And I have to find a job.  While I love my office most of the time, there just isn't growth potential and it will be financially (and mentally) impossible for me to continue what I do once I have my MBA.  Time to tune up that resume, sit down with the career center, and decide what it is I want to do for the rest of my life.  Oooooof.

5.  When I get stressed, I crave coffee.  It makes my tummy hurt when I drink coffee on the days when I run at lunch, but something about going to Starbucks or Peet's as a way to start my day seems to make it more bearable.  My emotions have been a little out of control the last week (I blame on the hormonies) and it's a harmless - if not slightly expensive - way of getting me through the day without crying.  I thought I got over the weepies six months ago.

6.  Maybe it's all the bridal "stuff".  A good friend of mine is getting married in six weeks and even though I'm not in the bridal party, my recent weekends have been filled with bachelorette trips, bridals showers, wedding gift and dress shopping, etc.  Don't get me wrong,I have no intention of getting married any time soon and my dear friend more than deserves to be as happy as she is, but it makes ya think.  I'm in my late twenties and haven't had a meaningful relationship since college.  What's wrong with me?!  OK, rhetorical question.  I know the answer (most of the time). 

7.  And it doesn't help that I've been a hermit.  I've discussed before that I have the ability to completely shut myself off.  I haven't "gone out" on a weekend night in ages and I don't even join my friends for football at the bar on Sundays.  Again, I'm using school as an excuse to be alone and essentially not have to have human contact and be my own worst enemy. I have a midterm, paper and presentation this week.  And then another midterm next week.  But seriously, it's not that big of a deal.  I'm four semesters in already and I'm not taking particularly demanding classes - I need to get a life.  I know it'll make me less weepy.