Monday, October 19, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties is Kreativ

Thank you, Teegie, for the bloggie shout out! You know when a woman in her thirties is called 'Kreativ' by someone who does this (and enjoys it!), then you're doing something right. I'm copying and pasting the directions from her blog, so as not to miss out on anything important:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. Xie Xie, Teegie!

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. It took a few awkward messages to brother bear, but I finally figured out how to do that.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. I've only got two of her blogs linked to mine, but the last I checked there are about a dozen more. Keep searching.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.

Why Seven? A woman in her thirites is inquisitive. Okay, here goes:
  • If I ever tell you something I made was a 'secret family recipe', I am lying.
  • I always dreamed of being a TV news anchor as a kid, but journalism was offered at the same time as drama when I went into high school. Drama won.
  • And speaking of drama... I've been in a lot of plays. Won some stuff for them, too. That seems like a billion years ago.
  • I used to be pretty good at French. In fact, I was so good that I skipped a year in high school and was able to test out of the language requirement in college. Now, if I try to speak French, only Chinese comes out.
  • I have written two book-length... books. One is a fiction story, and one is a collection of essays about my time in China. Sometimes I read parts of them and say, 'Hey, this doesn't suck half as much as you thought it did!'. But most of the time I read parts of it and think, 'No, this sucks a million times worse than you thought it did.' Ah, writing.
  • I see myself living in Europe someday. Italy, specifically. And I knew this even before reading Eat, Pray, Love.
  • I went to Catholic school for ten years. It took me almost thirty to recognize the sacrifices my parents made to send me there. Thanks, Mommy. I still know 'Lovely Lady' by heart.
5. Nominate Kreativ Bloggers.

Foodie is the New Forty (for the tummy)
Shadowplay (for the mind)
The Adventures of ALS Boy (for the soul)

6. Post links to the blogs you nominate.

Um... didn't I just do that?

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

A woman in her thirties is off to commenting.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties Exits Denial

I have been living in Denial, Minnesota, for a little over two months now. Denial is a wonderful place, truly. The housing prices are much better than in California. The schools are fantastic. Family is close by (or just a phone call away). And the weather? It's just plain beautiful.

Reality has the strangest way of hitting a woman in her thirties. It's never a slow or gradual thing. It's more like a freight train to the face. My reality check came yesterday morning, when I woke up to this outside my window:

For my warm-weather friends, that is SNOW. ON THE GROUND. IN EARLY OCTOBER.

The look on L's face did most of the talking. It said something like, 'But the schools! And we could never afford this place in California! And have I mentioned today how much I love you?'

When I announced that we were moving to the Midwest, I can't tell you how many people asked if I was prepared for the snow. It was like when I announced I was moving to China and people asked if I realized I would have to learn Chinese. 'YES,' I said, often unable to mask my annoyance at being taken for an idiot. 'I GET THAT.' And yet, while I've known that snow is going to be a part of my life for some time now, it was the actual seeing it that caused my heart to skip a beat.

Could it be, I thought, that a woman in her thirties is never truly ready for anything?

As I reflected upon my week, all the signs were there. People were wearing scarves. Boots were being purchased. Car washes were looking desolate. And my Senior boys, the ones who laugh heartily at the idea of their California-girl teacher's first Minnesota winter, had taken it upon themselves to show me the weather report for the weekend.

'No!' I remember saying to them. 'Put it away! I'm not looking! I don't want to know!'

The snow from yesterday has melted, but there's no more denying that it's upon us. Upon me. No more turning my head; no more distractions. It is time, as many of my new friends here have suggested, to embrace the coming winter. With any luck, when the shock of my new climate wears off, the decision to move here will remain a good one.

A woman in her thirties bundles up and... um... yeah... just give me a minute... okay, fine... embraces.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties is Ready

A vicious rumor began about me when I was in my early twenties: that I hate animals. The story told about me is not untrue-- that I left a bowl of milk in the laundry room at my apartment for an abandoned kitten that I refused to take in. However, the detail about K's cat Carlos, who lived with us at the time, almost scratching this poor kitten's face off is often omitted from the telling. (Thanks, M).

The truth is that while I have memories of wanting a dog when I was a kid, once I was eighteen and on my own I was not ready for the commitment I know that an animal is. I lived with animals, begrudgingly, in my twenties. It always felt mean to me that they would know to run and hide when the keg was being rolled in from someone's car to our bathtub. And then there's the shedding. I had all I could do to control my own shedding, let alone that of another animal. In my selfish twenties, an animal did not fit anywhere in the picture.

In China, L and I played around with the idea of getting a dog. L has always wanted one, and we talked about it seriously, but again, life kept getting in the way. What was the point of getting a dog when we were never home? When we lived on the twelfth floor of a gigantic high rise? When we knew we'd eventually have to find a way to get it back to the US anyway?

With the events of the last year and our recent 'settling down' in Pleasantville, L and I came to a realization: we were finally ready for a dog. While both of us were happy that it was time, we both approached it with extreme caution, as we both often do when considering major decisions (one of us more than the other).

Fortunately, the gods were smiling upon us over the last few weeks, and yesterday we got this little guy. Daniel is (and I have absolutely zero experience to quantify this, keep in mind) the best dog that ever existed on the planet. We adopted him from a wonderful local organization that thinks he's some sort of Collie/Beagle mix, and about a year old. Last night, he slept all night in his bed. He loves treats, is already housebroken, and is always open for a belly rub. Today when I went out for an hour, I felt the sting in my heart when I was without him that is often associated with a woman who's fallen in love.

A woman in her thirties is ready when she's ready. And when she's ready, contentment looks something like this: