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Monday: My boss took the day off work so I was in charge all day.  Ten hours, busy all day but not end-of-the-world busy, and we had a manager from another store help for a few hours in the afternoon.  She wasn't actually much of a help, but at least we had someone able to approve anything over my not-high-enough-when-there's-no-manager limits. And we survived with smiles on our faces.

Tuesday: The bank was closed, thank god and the veterans, because I desperately needed it.  Mom called at 8a, and even thinking it was Sunday (not working and there was church going on next door), I knew that meant something was wrong -- a famiy friend who needed a liver transplant passed away Monday evening.  I was on my way to Target and had to take a moment on a stoop because, well, damn.  The rest of the day was quiet -- cooking, cleaning, running, reading.

Today: No work scheduled because I volunteered to help assemble gift bags for an LGBTQ organization awards dinner happening tonight.  Went to work anyway because I needed to talk to my boss about a situation from Monday that took too long to send in an email.  Good thing I did because my boss did not come into work after all (her son was sick) so me in my jeans and Chucks tried to keep things moving from behind the scenes and to set the team up for success to do it without Bosslady or myself.  And had a crisis about what to do -- go home and change and work or go to the gift bag setup then go home and change and work or just do the volunteering and stay away from work.  Thankfully one of my coworkers told me, "Erica, don't let the bank's problem be your problem," and since he's the most senior banker and in charge when I'm not there, I felt a lot better about leaving for the day.  And no one ever contacted me so they survived.  Yay.

Volunteering was okay.  The organizer was super cool and nice, but the gift bag crew was disorganized and got in each others' ways and had too many Indians trying to be chiefs.  Got in my own groove doing my own thing and didn't have to make too much small talk.  Felt good about being there and doing something that helps promote good in the world but was glad when it was over.

But while I was there, I got a text from one of my roommates -- our landlord has decided to sell our apartment.  Oy.  We have to vacate by December 31.  Fantastic.  It was such icing on top of a stressful cake on what should have been a relaxing, feel-good day.  Oh well.  I cleared my head by getting coffee and saying hello to a barista I used to see at my last bank then sitting by the East River for a long while working on a crossword and gazing out over the water every now and again.

And then I came home and did laundry and went for a run and ate dinner and talked to some friends and called my sister and continued to try not to freak out very much.  Moving is moving, and it will suck, and finding a new place is rough and expensive, and I'm probably going to have to ask my parents for money which I HATE but is just the reality of the situation and won't kill me, and there we have it.  And that's okay.

It really is.  I've had moments of feeling a little like I'm hanging on by a thread but I am able to convince myself that I'm tougher than falling apart at life happening, and then I am tough and don't fall apart.  Because this is life happening, and this is the life I choose.

There have also been a couple of moments where I don't feel alone, just lonely, and I wish I had someone by my side because I'm getting too old to do Life all by myself all the time. But then it's okay and maybe it will happen soon enough and if it doesn't, that will just be what it is.

Tomorrow will start the Craigslist searching and talking to my roommates about what they are planning and if anyone is interested in continuing to live together, etc. but tonight I'm not going to go crazy with trying to Make Sense out of anything.  I'm going to talk to my sister when she calls me back and watch Grey's Anatomy and take a sleeping pill because I did not remember that drinking a triple latte at 2p is not a good idea.  And make a list of Good Stuff, because there is and always will be good stuff.

The Good Stuff:

  • I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic.  And I want to be, so that's even better.

  • A week ago, I started Couch-2-5K (again) -- this time for the last time! I've really had to talk myself into going for a run a few times, but I've always been able to and have always felt better afterward (duh).

  • Making cheesecake for the first time tomorrow for work's Thanksgiving potluck on Friday.  Pumpkin cheesecake, possibly with Oreo crust.  Delicious (I hope).

  • California in ten days!  My parents in eleven days!  Blue-eyed monster nephew in twelve days!  Even if it means I should take my computer with me and need be apartment hunting on vacation, I am SO HAPPY to go home and see my family and friends.

  • There is In-n-Out in my foreseeable future.  This is fantastic.

  • Crosswording again.  I'm terrible again, but it still brings me such joy.

  • Finished the five books of A Song of Ice And Fire and loved them!  C'mon , GRRM, book six!

  • I have a working body and a wonderful family and truly spectacular friends and am not the person I was ten years ago or five years ago or three years ago or one year ago, and I am happy to be the person I am today vs. any of those other Ericas.  This Erica is pretty cool with me, and I will continue to learn and grow and don't have to be fearful of losing people around me to that because they encourage me and love me and want what's best for me and trust me to figure out what that is and have and will support me whatever it is.  It is a sweet place to be after so many years not having that or not trusting that.  Truly sweet.

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This weekend was very needed and is very appreciated.  Except for the bit where I couldn't find $2000 at work on Saturday.  That bit lasted an hour and a half and had me very convinced that I was going to have to invite myself back to my parents' house in a month.  Thank god it was a work error and fixable and everything is fine.

It was after that that the weekend became what I needed.  Treats from Francois Payard Bakery (pricier than I realized but oh-so-good), video games and wine and homemade dinner and a walk along the river in beautiful weather with dear friends, long talk with Carlos about being a terrible person and once again being so grateful that my best friends are truly good people, such good sleep.

Today I got up early to do laundry, got coffee and read in a park while it washed and dried, hung it all up right away (I do still need to make my bed), cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, took an epic nap full of lovely dreams, ordered great Mexican food, caught up on several TV shows, went through my OkCupid inbox to actually respond to message that have turned into a couple of potentially fruitful conversations.  The perfect combination of relaxing and productive -- what I needed to start recuperating from last week.  I wish I had another day before going back to work, especially since this week will be busy as well, but at least it is a good busy and not another week of busy because people weren't at work for various reasons and all the responsibility falls on my shoulders.  The bank is a well-oiled machine when all its people are in place.  If one person is gone, it starts to fall apart.  If four people are missing, it is a goddamn train wreck.  That was Wednesday.  Anyway.

Monday = work, volunteer envelope-stuffing event after work (looking forward to hanging with old work people)
Tuesday = work, date with a new guy
Wednesday = work, feels like something after work but I can't remember what
Thursday = work, Shonda night with the boys
Friday = work, movie or crash
Saturday = annoying roommate moves out!
Sunday = profit
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It's been a hell of a week, but I haven't really talked to my parents for quite a while so as I left work tonight, I decided to enjoy the beautiful evening and call my mom while walking to my express train.  She asked about my weekend, and I told her I was picnicking with Mike and Carlos and possibly a couple of Mike's teacher friends.  "Oooh, any single male friends?"  And it took everything in me not to snap "fuck you" to my mother and hang up the phone.  I hate when she does that.  I can feel pathetic and undateable and invisible to people all by myself.  I don't need her help.  I HATE it.  And I shut down.  I didn't want to talk to her anymore, but I felt stupid and petty for it so I stayed on the line and answered in monosyllables and tried to sound interested in the pets and Dad's upcoming fishing trip and the weather.

And then she remembered to mention that the wife of a man who is like a dad to my dad has cirrhosis of the liver and has been in the hospital and was on the transplant list but something happened and now it's too late for her to have a transplant and she went home on Thursday, and we danced around the word "dying."  And I stopped moving and silently cried on a street corner next to a parking sign pole and wanted to be hugged so very badly but there was no one to hug and no one to ask, and I felt so guilty for being shallow and petty before and for wanting this neverending loneliness to be filled by some goddamn romantic whatever.

I hate it, and I want to give up, and I can't, and I hate that.

The guy I saw a couple of times earlier this month disappeared.  Second date was a lot of fun; he said he wanted to see me again when he walked to me to the subway.  Less than a week later, he stopped responding to texts, not even a final "I assume you're no longer interested, have a nice life" one.  I've been the disappear-er (once) so I know that it's not always about the other person, but holy hell, it feels like it's about me.  Especially when, in the course of dating in New York, it's the ... fourth time that's happened.  It's making me bitter(er -- which isn't hard, since I seem to be especially bitter lately).

I'm irritating myself.  It's time for bed.  Let's hope that means it's also time for sleep.
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  • My sister's visit was, quite simply, perfect.  We walked almost everywhere, ate a lot of great food, saw Once and LOVED it, took lots of pictures, stayed up late talking in bed, hung out with my friends, ate more great food.  It's the first time in at least four years that we've had bulk quality time together (without the nephew/other family around), and the first time in at least six years that we've done something just the two of us for more than a day.  I needed it, both as a time to relax and recharge and as a way to connect with her.  I'm also especially glad that she and Carlos got to spend a few hours hanging out on Sunday (brunch then a long afternoon at the Landing) -- it means a great deal to me that my two favorite people finally met and spent time getting to know each other.  Four days was not enough; I miss having her around all the time.

  • Had a second date with the guy on Tuesday: We ate lunch at my favorite hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop then saw a movie (The One I Love, best described as a super creepy romantic thriller).  It was pretty quick, but I had a good time.  He's very engaging, asks a lot of questions, and asked if we could see each other again when he walked me to the train station.  We've chatted a bit (through text) throughout the week but haven't made specific plans again -- I'm kind of waiting for him to ask/show initiate in contacting me.

  • I like hanging out with him.  I could like-like him.  He's cute.  A little stockier than I thought.  It's not bad, and I'm not one to talk, and he's still athletic -- it just is what it is?  I'm not immediately attracted to him; but I'm not NOT attracted to him. (To be fair, I'm almost never physically attracted to someone right away.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever had an instantaneous physical reaction to another person.)  I'd like to know more about his personal history.  And I want to know if his taking charge behavior (insisting on paying for everything to the point of paying for everything, calling a car despite my confidence in taking a train, walking me to the subway) is just him in the beginning of dating or if it's a strong personality trait.  Because I like someone taking charge but not to the point that it means I don't get to do anything.  I have to talk myself down from bristling when I think about him insisting on paying for stuff because I can only (fairly) assume that it's him being nice and not bossy or commandeering.  I also don't want to "owe" anyone anything, physical, monetary, or otherwise, but I'm also not destitute and want to participate in the creation of this partnership, whatever is comes to.

  • Now I'm antsy and irritated with myself because, through the course of the week, I've allowed myself to be open to the possibility of feelings, and it makes me feel a little crazy.  I want him to text, I want him to show interest, I want to be wanted (I waaant yooou to want meee....), and I don't want to be That Girl.  I've given myself permission to be out there -- I just don't want it to be for naught, and I can't control it, and that makes me downright itchy.  In person, he seems to be into me -- START ACTING LIKE IT, DUDE, OR I WILL GIVE UP ON YOU SIMPLY BECAUSE I CAN ONLY PLAY IT COOL FOR SO LONG.

  • In slightly related news, I had a drink last night with a girl.  The week before, a straight girl on OkCupid said hello, and I responded, and a few messages later, we made plans to get together, and I'm still not sure why.  She never expressed a specific interest in friends or more, her profile says she's looking for relationships only with straight guys, and we hung out an hour talking work and friends and interests, then went on our merry ways.  I said yes because of the trying to be open thing, and because she's very pretty and used to run triathalons and I was so confused as to what she might want from me and the only way (I thought) to find out was to show up.  Like I said, still no clue because it was a perfectly pleasant hour and haven't heard anything since (and have no idea what I would text her beyond last night was nice), but I went and came out the other side and still have my dignity.  Whatever.

  • Flight to California for Thanksgiving is booked!  Landing in San Francisco on Saturday the 22nd.  Will drive down to the Valley on Sunday, spend the week with family and friends, drive back up to the Bay on Saturday or Sunday, and take a redeye back to New York on Monday evening.  The redeye part is not ideal (I land around 11a on Tuesday and will go back to work on Wednesday), but it knocked $150 off the price.  Flying into Fresno was barely an option -- tickets were minimum $650 (paid $370 for mine).  And this way I get to spend quality time with a friend I haven't seen in years for the trips down and up from SF.  Very much looking forward to that.

  • Going to chalk today up to just being flatout blah -- rough night of sleep, tiring day at work, rainy and grey outside once I was free, ordered in Chinese I probably shouldn't have but don't care about too much.  Tomorrow is supposed to be nice so I'm going to make the long walk to Trader Joe's for early grocery shopping then putter about the house with some cleaning, run some local errands, call my family, and maybe go see a movie.  Most of all, I'm not going to stress about boys (or girls, for that matter) who miss out by not talking to me.  Who are we kidding -- of course I'm going to stress about that; I'm just also going to stay busy and not care about it after the stressing.  The end.

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It's 230a and my brain won't shut up.  I'm tired and sleep-deprived, but my mind is racing racing racing. So brain dump:

  • My sister is visiting tomorrow!  I'm so excited to see her and share my city with her.  We're going to wander around the city and eat a lot of treats and see Once on Broadway and have brunch with my friends on Sunday.  I've been a little nervous about sharing my space with someone because I haven't had to in so long, but now the nerves have given way to extreme excitement (probably why I can't sleep).

  • Almost a week off from work to hang out with Abbey.  Work has been going pretty well recently, and I am almost going to miss my coworkers, but it will be so nice to skip the alarm and not think about other people's money for a while.  (Today was a bit of a shitshow though -- screaming customers and one old man who told me in absolute seriousness, "You were very courteous but not helpful."  I guess that's the best I can ask for when someone is trying to deposit an undated $25,000 check?)

  • I had a really great first date tonight.  A week or so ago, a guy messaged me on OkCupid who didn't use capital letters but was funny and seemed interesting and looked jovial so I hedged my bets and responded.  After some banter and texting (but not much), we had dinner in the East Village tonight -- fantastic food (his choice), great conversation, no awkwardness.  He's funny and smart and has a dog.  And he was enthusiastic about seeing me again, though it probably won't be until next weekend.  Dinner was late; we left the restaurant around 11p, and he insisted on calling me a car even though I was fully prepared to walk to my train and take it home.  Even my insistence that I am a badass and had no reason to be concerned didn't deter him from politely but firmly saying no, he was getting a car.  In a gentlemanly way, not pushy or over-riding.  Big smile on my face in the car, internal little girl giggles while texting friends on the ride home.  Let's see what happens.

  • Yeah, I'm still pretty stuck on that.

  • Not only does my sister arrive tomorrow, but one of my best friends, Chris, flies into NYC tomorrow too!  He's hanging out in the city before a work trip to some midwestern state next week.  This is be the first time I've seen him since he moved to Oakland at the end of May -- very excited that he will be here for my birthday!  And we're spending Tuesday together catching up so I don't go back to work until Wednesday.  Spoiled, much?  I miss him a lot and am really looking forward to hanging out.

  • My birthday is tomorrow.  Thirty-two -- so far, so good.  I don't put much stock in birthdays, but the chance to spend quality time with my friends and family can't be beat.  Our group of eight is having boozy brunch at a place with good reviews and good prices; I'm most looking forward to the comraderie of being together with my New York family for the first time in a while.

  • It was a really good date.  There are a couple of other weird quasi-irons in the fire -- who knows if those will turn into anything, but I am good with the possibility at hand.  Trying to manage the giddiness of Good First Date with the wariness of Only Been One Date.  Erica brain does not like the giddiness, but it exists nonetheless. Almost three am and my hopes that writing would calm me down enough for sleep don't see to be panning out.  There is simply too much to do tomorrow (clean kitchen, wash linens, sweep and mop, pick up phone charger from work, shoe shop, lunch with Carlos, meet Abbey at airport, drop off luggage, dinner, dessert, Top of the Rock after dark) for me not to sleep at all, and there's no time for a nap in that list.

  • A coworker told me tonight that Betty White died, and I almost burst into tears.  Losing an icon of my childhood made me sad then made me think about my grandmother, which made me really sad.  Thank god Betty White is not dead.  Internet hoax, you almost got me.

  • Okay, I might be trying to nod off so goodnight goodnight. /rambling

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Food for Thought: As an introvert, I need time to myself to recuperate from and reenergize for interacting with other people. But there are a handful of individuals whose company never grows old, people I call my kindred spirits.  They are the select few I always like being with and never tire of.  It occurred to me a few days ago that I don't tire of them because being with them gives me energy -- being with them is like being alone, in the best way.  Ninety-nine percent of the human population makes me want to hide in a closet after a certain amount of time, regardless of how much I might like any one of them as a person.  But the one percent who are my kindred spirits -- their company rejuvenates me the same way closet time does.  It used to make me feel a little crazy (I like being alone, so why do I like being with certain people as much or more than being alone?), but this realization comforts me.


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Roundaboutly ended up spending time looking through Facebook photos of my ex and then of his brothers tonight.  I really miss his family.  Sometimes I even miss him.

It's weird how someone can look so familiar and like a total stranger at the same time.

I've only talked to his parents once in the last seven years.  And not at all to his brothers.  He never got to know my family well, but I spent so much time with his -- they became my family too.  There were times when I chose his family over mine.  The twins became like my little brothers.  They were wild, funny, wonderful kids, and I would love to know how they are doing.  I wish I wasn't afraid to reach out, but it could be more painful to find out they don't care.  It doesn't feel pleasant to know that he doesn't.

But it's life, and part of the story of breaking up, and I'll live.  It's not a Big Deal; it's just a Thing.  A Thing that niggles every once in a while, and I can deal with that.

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What the holy hell, LiveJournal?

Sometimes I feel like all the sites are merging into one.  That's also about the time I feel old.

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I just had this imaginary conversation with my younger sister, whom I generally perceive to be more beautiful, intelligent, creative, and thoughtful than I am:

Me: You're everything I want to be, you're so much better than me.
Sister: But I'm not.  And that doesn't mean I think I'm perfect.  I had a kid a year ago, and parts of my body are wrecked and make me feel weird and self-conscious and frustrated and ugly.
Me: And yet I'd still give anything to look more like you than like me.  I'd probably give a leg -- I would.  I would give up a leg if it meant I could be thin and beautiful as naturally as you are.

And then I laughed aloud.  Because what the hell kind of thought is that.  It took me so far out of myself to a place I needed to get to in order to see how ridiculous feeling bad about my body is.  Yes, there are a lot of changes I can make to be healthier that will impact my self-perception in positive ways as well as give me more energy and confidence, but giving a leg? I just can't.  Buck up, Erica, you are you, be you giantess or be you ant.  So stop all that and just be for a while.  Your motto in life can and will no longer be my perfectly healthy leg for a socially acceptable body.
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Thanks for the love, peeps.  It's been a long couple of weeks, but I'm mostly okay.  This weekend was extremely helpful in buoying my spirits and recharging my batteries.  Nothing fancy, but a lot of quality time with people important to me interspersed with actually-restful sleep and kitty-snuggles (cat-sitting).  It's really about time for me to buckle down and just get a cat.

Plane ticket for the end of May is purchased.  A full week at home, and I'm very much looking forward to family time and relaxation.  Mom and Dad will probably be working some of it, but my sister and her family will be in town the same dates I am.  There will most likely be a day in Fresno for friend visiting then the rest of the time at home.  I just want to be on my parents' property in the sunshine watching Elliot play as soon as and for as long as humanly possible.  That's been my happy place lately.

Thirty-eight days.
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