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I’ve been absolutely slagging on this and I’m not exactly sure why. Actually, (and you can tell I’ve put much thought into this) I’ve narrowed it down to several possible reasons.

One: I have so many things that I want to write about, so many great ideas but am having trouble translating my thoughts into written word.
Two: Again, I have so many things that I want to write about, but I am absolutely sick of writing about the same things over and over again. I’m afraid that I’m coming off as sappy, and as one recent emailer suggested, “obsessive”.
Three: I have been in an absolute rut this past month when it comes to relationships, and that general feeling of not being good enough has refocused itself in my writing.

I think that it’s a combination of all three. The things that I want to write about, the things that I have rumbling around in my head tend to follow the same general pattern. Meeting a guy, dating a guy, realizing that in no way does he compare in any way to the person that I want to be with. Hello, second reason. And that person? In no way wants to be with me. Second reason, meet third reason.

For starters, my girlfriends and I threw our annual cocktail party last weekend. I’m sure that I will eventually get around to writing about it. The party had begun with the concept of gathering a few friends, forcing them into dresses and satin heels, or suits and ties. We always shed the Christmas music for dancing music, the nice cocktails for shots, and in my friend John’s case the clothes would be shed as well. This year was a bit different: As we were mid-planning, my girlfriends and I realized that just about everyone was coupled up. All of our guests would be bringing dates, with the exception of Meredith and me. Brilliant.

The next evening Jordan and I went to dinner and that topic came up. He asked me if I’d like him to come, and as I’d spent all day fearing the idea of being the only single one at this party I said yes. This ended up leading to fights throughout the entire week, the final one at my house the night before. I had been breaking out in hives all week, and when he was over I somewhat resembled a much-less humanitarian version of Angelina Jolie. I had also broken a toe at basketball practice, and had hives running up and down my thighs. He insisted on seeing the dress still, and as he zipped me up he told me that was beautiful. My typical reaction was to protest. He kissed his finger and touched my lips. “They’re gorgeous,” he said. And the next thing I know, he’s kissing me. I pulled away- it didn’t feel right. He sighed, frustrated. “When are you going to get over him?” he demanded. Within a few minutes he got into his car and drove off. I haven’t seen him since.

The cocktail party felt…lonely. Thankfully Habibi ended up coming, so I spent the majority of the night dancing and drinking with him. While the other “real” couples took over the beds, we slept on the floor beside the fireplace. In the morning he woke me up while the rest of the house slept, and we spent the next few hours alone at the coffee shop down the street. I’ve talked about it before, but it was an overwhelming sense of calm. I actually felt annoyed that we had to leave to go back to the house.

I spent all of the next day with Habibi too, with him driving over to my home town for the holidays with his mother. Habibi brought his lab mix, and we walked the two of them downtown together before taking them to my favorite park. It felt strangely comfortable again, as though we had been dating for years without the physical aspect. I’ve never seen Willa get along so well with another dog- they carried sticks together, licked each others’ noses, and cuddled together while we watched a movie back at my house. It felt closer than it had with Jordan, but I still know it’s not right.

There are thousands of other ideas running through my head right now, but I’m sure that I’ll have to make up for the lack of writing. I need to post pictures from the party, I want to write about the fact that I re-broke my toe (and two others) while out dancing with my girls last night. I want to write about how I teared up at the movie Mer and Jen and I saw tonight, which is something I never do. And about how my favorite Christmas present this year was the one my parents are giving me: they’re having t-shirts made for all of the girls on my basketball team with names and numbers on the back. Or about the day I spent volunteering at the hospital that Chris died in. Or even about how I will have to go into my old hospital again next week. I want to write about how I spent the night gambling (and won seventy-five dollars!) in Atlantic City last week. But I have all the time in the world to catch up on these things.  

“You mustn’t be angry with me. One can’t help these things. I remember that I thought you wicked and cruel because you did this, that, and the other; but it was very silly of me. You didn’t love me, and it was absurd to blame you for that. I thought I could make you love me, but I know now that was impossible. I don’t know what it is that makes someone love you, but whatever it is, it’s the only thing that matters, and if it isn’t there you won’t create it by kindness, or generosity, or anything of that sort.”

“I should have thought if you’d loved me really you’d have loved me still.”

“I should have thought so too. I remember how I used to think that it would last for ever; I felt I would rather die than be without you, and I used to long for the time when you would be faded and wrinkled so that nobody cared for you any more and I should have you all to myself.”

Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham

The dress:

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I didn’t like it at first but Jenny pushed me to try it on. I grabbed my size and put it on- and absolutely loved the color. But the dress? It looked a little slutty for a cocktail party, even one that always ends up being a drunken mess. “That’s the way it’s supposed to look!” the lady in the changing room said. I’m not the skin-tight dress kind of girl

Jenny got the size up and I put it on- perfect. It hugs perfectly on my hips, fits my (unfortunately) large breasts, and makes me look rail thin. I love love love it.

I also picked up a bracelet with that color blue enamel with a gold inlay twisting through it. I have these gorgeous gold hoops from Banana Republic, but now I have no idea about shoes. Any suggestions? (Molly-help!)

I remember having to interview my dad once for a class project. One of the questions that I had asked him was what was his his biggest realization that came with growing up. “You always think that you’re going to be famous,” he said,” you think that everyone will see that you’re as special as you think you are. But you don’t stand out, and you won’t be famous. But life will still be great.” I always remember this because of how true it is- I’d like to think that someday people will know my name aside from friends and family. Maybe that I’ll be interviewed on CSPAN, or that people will ask for an autographed copy of my book. Regardless, I always find myself drifting into this thought process whenever I see celebrities interviewed in magazines. Because really, how much fun is it to answer some of the most absurd questions? And I love to answer them myself, see how my answers compare to the people we see from a distance. This one was an interview given to Bryan Adams:

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Curling up in front of the fireplace with Arrested Development and a glass of Kahlua and milk.

What’s your philosophy?
An old boyfriend used to say “keep on keepin’ on”, and I love that.

Which work of art would you like to own?
Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais), the sculpture by Rodin. I’ve loved this sculpture for years. For my birthday one year, Habibi bought me a gorgeous black and white photograph of it.

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What was the last thing you bought?
My gorgeous dress for the cocktail party! Will post a picture later.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
Kyle Korver. But what would we talk about?

Whats your most treasured possession?
The ring that Chris had bought me for my birthday. He didn’t live long enough to give it to me himself, but his mom waited until my birthday and gave it to me with a letter he wrote to me. He knew he wouldn’t make it, and he had saved up his money to buy it for me. It has one sapphire in the middle, with three little diamonds on each side. I’ve worn it since that day on my left ring finger.

What can’t you live without?
My dogs, easy answer.

What wisdom would you like to pass on to your teenage self?
Don’t worry if the relationships don’t work out- it’s not the end of the world. There will be many more loves that work, and plenty that don’t work.

What makes you cry?
Stars Go Blue– Ryan Adams.

What’s your indulgence?
Mediterranean food.

What’s your favourite film, song, and book?
Currently, I’d have to say Idiocracy for the film, Things We Don’t Need Anymore by Jenny Owen Youngs for the song, and Reading Lolita in Tehran for the book. But that’s entirely different from my all-time favorite list.

What would be your perfect Saturday night and Sunday morning?
Next weekend: Meeting my girlfriends down at Jenny’s shore house, spending the day decorating and baking, drinking a bottle of wine together with the music blasting while we get ready, and having all of our friends show up for our Christmas cocktail party. The night is always ridiculous, our friends are always amazing. We dance and eat and drink all night, and then we crash in our pajamas by the fireplace. In the morning, we retell the stories, look at all of the pictures on the digital camera, drink mimosas and eat bagels. I can’t imagine a better night and morning.

What’s your comfort food?
Pomegranates.

What three things would you want on a desert island?
A boat to leave, a slew of books, a constantly charged ipod

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I tend to take what people say to heart. And then I spend hours analyzing what they said and why they said it.

What was your childhood ambition?
I used to want to have a job where all I did was travel the country and find lost dogs and return them to their owners.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
I’m not sure.

What’s your secret talent?
I can translate Latin. Does that count? I also make some good cupcakes.

What’s the worst job you ever had?
This probably doesn’t count as an actual job, but I once got tricked into coming to an “interview” for a “marketing” company. It was completely one of those scams where I spent the day walking door-to-door in a development and trying to sell some horrible golfing package. I had worn my favorite heels, which had torn apart the skin on my feet within the first twenty minutes.

Do you have any regrets?
Plenty.

I came home to these messages the other day on my computer:

Jordan: cause every time I see your bubbly face
I get the tingles in a silly place
Jordan: is “silly place” supposed to mean the genitals?

Jordan is an old boyfriend, pretty much the ideal guy. Tall, handsome, athletic, intelligent, funny, caring… Did I mention that he’s gorgeous? I met Jordan two years ago when a mutual friend asked me to join his all-guys club soccer league. They needed one more person for their team and, unable to find a guy, figured that they would stretch the rules and have a girl on the team. Not being timid, I agreed. Plus, they bribed me with promises of beer.

I remember seeing Jordan for the first time, shirt off, sweating in the summer heat. Even after the first few practices I caught myself staring. By the first game I was nervous. I showed up a bit late from work, threw on a sports bra and a tank top in my car, and met the boys on the field. There was immediate arguing about my presence, the other team pouting that we couldn’t have a girl on the team. I pointed out that technically, there were no rules against it. They finally settled on insisting that they play shirts, we play skins. This joke got old quick- just about every team insisted on saying it.

The first game was a blur, I don’t remember if we won or lost. I do remember going to the bar, sweaty and grass-stained with the boys after. Jordan and I retired to one end of the bar, the other guys hooting at us between drinks. We got on the topic of books that we both loved, our mutual love of dogs, and a movie that we both wanted to see. By the time that we stumbled out of the bar we’d made plans to see the movie together.

Of couse Jordan would be the perfect gentleman, picking me up from my house (despite it meaning that he had to go out of his way to get me). And of course he would insist upon paying, upon buying popcorn, upon holding every door we came to open for me. He was so gentleman-ly that I first took it as a ruse to get me to sleep with him. But after the third and fourth dates, after he still didn’t push me to kiss him, after he still high-fived me after one of us scored, I realized that he was actually a good guy.

Three weeks went by, and Jordan and I were spending just about every night together. We’d grab a basketball and shoot around, we’d take his dog, Tan, swimming. And once, when we were throwing sticks for Tan to fetch, he twisted my fingers in his palm, grinning his perfect lips wide. This, I realized, should have been a moment when I swooned. I didn’t.

The following day we had anothe soccer game. The typical joke at the beginning had led our teamate Tim to making us all shirts that read “Skins” on them, our adopted team name. [Sidenote: At the office I was working at that summer, there was one black woman. She and I ended up taking every day and taking our lunches together, and she told me that she wanted to “blackicize” me. Every day she would tell me phrases that she felt I should learn, including one that I ended up using in this particular game after getting mowed over by a 6’4 should-be-linebacker: “He all up in my Kool-aid and he don’t even know the flavor.”] Jordan and I worked perfectly together, him at left wing, me at right. In that last few minutes of the tied game, I had a perfect throw in that set him up at the 18, and he scored. He ran over to me, our usual congratulations. But this time he picked me, and the next thing I know he’s kissing me. Another moment where I should have felt like my chest was melting into my stomach. But again, I didn’t.

Jordan and I ended up dating for two months, and he was perfect in every single sense. But something was constantly nagging me. I remember the night that he figured it out: We were at his father’s restaurant (did I mention that his family was incredibly wealthy as well? And that they gorged me on Italian food at every possible moment?) and he brought up Hunter S. Thompson. My stomach felt as though it were trying to dissolve a lump, and suddenly I’m not there with him in the beautiful restaurant. Instead, I’m with PK. He could tell then that I was not ready, not at all ready to try to move on.

We’ve stayed close, and he eventually moved to Massechusetts for graduate school. Last week I received a call from him on my cell phone. “I’m home for break, what are you doing right now?” I admitted that I hadn’t showered, that I was cleaning my room. “Great, I’ll see you in a few minutes.” He hung up (I swear that I could see his smirk on the other line) before I could protest. True to his word, he showed up a half hour later, arms laden with bags of food from his father’s restaurant. And cannolis!

We spent the next few hour cleaning my house and sprawling out on my bed with my Ipod on. He was holding my hand, with his thumb rubbing the stretched skin between my thumb and forefinger.  And then that song came on, and he’s pulling me up to dance. His hands on the small of my back, rocking me against his body. He brushed the hair from in front of my ear and told me “I’ve missed this”. I stopped and looked at him, and he knew again. I’m still not ready.

I’m debating asking him to come as my date to the cocktail party that my girlfriends and I throw every year. He’s yet to meet my friends, mostly because I’ve been hesitant about making things seem to be more than they are. I wish that I were ready for something because, as I’ve said, he’s practically the perfect guy.

Is this a situation where I should be pushing myself to get over it? As Brizzle put it so crudely, “you have to get under someone new to get over someone old.” I don’t think I’d take it that far, but 1. would being with Jordan help me get over PK and, 2. Is that even fair to do to Jordan?

Bad news:
“Dozens of current and former major league baseball players, including Roger Clemens, Yankee teammate Andy Pettitte, sluggers Mo Vaughn and Gary Sheffield, and reliever Eric Gagne, are named as being linked to steroid use in the report. See a list of the implicated players

 Good news:
The lobbed ball straight to anti-drug marketing companies? David Bell. Seriously, how does one use steroids and still have a sub-par career? If anything, he’s gotten smaller and oh, let’s say shittier in the past few years. Besides, “Roid-ger” Clemens also has a nice ring to it.

bell.jpg

68: hours that I went without sleeping or really eating anything, aside from coffee.
23: coffees that I had over the span of the past four days
2: times that the guy selling me coffee asked me to dinner.
2: basketball games that I had to miss so that I could finish my assignment.
1 1/2: inch binder that we could barely fit the assessment into.
4: times the length of my thesis
232: pages in the data analysis and threat assessment of al Qaeda and the FARC that I just turned in.
12: hours that I slept when I came home and passed out.

So there, I’ve had reasoning to be away from this for so long. We were assigned to write a data analysis of al Qaeda and the FARC with a comparison summary for each chapter, fourteen chapters total. The second part of the assessment was to complete a 6 chapter threat assessment of al Qaeda based upon the current geopolitical environment. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of it, feel as though I’ve just had a child (the assignment probably weighed about the same).

And the thing is, I absolutely loved every second of it. My mother’s response to hearing about the assignment was “You are going to end up hating this entire subject.” If anything though, I’ve been dying to keep reading on it. Unfortunately I have one more analytical assignment on Islam and the effect on Islamic terrorist groups before I actually have a breath of free time.

If you want to have a long career then you must first and foremost love process. All else should pale in front of the love of what you are doing as you make your work. Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff

This is my mantra: I love what I am doing. It is worth the work, the effort, the sleepless nights, the dark bags under my eyes. It will be worth it when I have an amazing career, worth it when I’m traveling the world.

I have a final project due on Tuesday, a data analysis of FARC and al-Qaeda, with a final threat assessment of one of them. My partner and I have reached 125 pages of writing. Charts, photographs, maps, implementation plans. I’ve read so many documents that my head is spinning. The 9/11 Commission Report? All 585 pages? I’ve read it.

After class the other evening my professor pulled my partner and me aside. “Is this really what you want to be doing, Caitlyn?” I didn’t even hesitate before I answered yes. He smiled, told me that I reminded him of himself when he was my age. Headstrong, fairly intelligent, slightly cocky.

I know that this field is hard. My partner for the project is irritated because she recently found out that she’s pregnant. Well, not irritated per se, but more worried about being able to become an analyst while going through pregnancy. She doesn’t know if she will be able to juggle the demands of this job with the demands of child rearing. When I actually break into the field, which will probably be soon, I more than likely won’t have time for relationships. For a boyfriend, a fiance, a husband. For children. I’m trying to decide if I really want anything of those things more than I want this job, but I really don’t think that I do. I want to want those things, but I really have no appetite for them. I go through occasional pockets of time where I think of coming home to a boyfriend, to mahogany bookshelves and him in a leather chair. But it’s just not realistic.

Anyway, must get back to the logistical planning and communication techniques of al-Qaeda. Will post more about this past week- about the first two of our basketball games. About how J, my ex-boyfriend, showed up at my house with Italian food (his dad owns a crazily expensive Italian restaurant) and we danced. About how an old guy popped out of the woodwork and asked me out for next week.

 

Our family has a tradition of having our dogs on our Christmas cards that we send out every year. We’re mildly neurotic, yes. Of course every year it’s an absolute struggle to get the dogs lined up for a damn picture. Last year, when Willa and Rios were the same size, Willa kept pouncing on him until she knocked him down the stairs. The picture we sent out was her mid-pounce, him with eyes like large, red coins. This year we tried incredibly hard to have a better picture. The results were a little less William Wegman than we’d hoped.

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Willa, getting ready for her Christmas card closeup. Those eyes? That is why I melt.

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When we got outside, Rios immediately jumped into one of the chairs we have around the fire pit. My dad said that he’s never looked so majestic…

crazy-rios.jpg 

Of course then he less-than-gracefully jumped out of the chair, ears flapping in the wind and eyeballs rolling.

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Willa, for some odd reason, got camera shy. She normally has to be the center of attention. Instead she insisted on trying to hide her large frame behind a gnome. Yes, we have a gnome.

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Realizing that didn’t work, she jumped into the bushes.

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We finally got the two of them next to each other in the leaves, but couldn’t get them to look the same direction.

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This was honestly the best picture of the two of them. Rios, as always, looks crazy. No amount of Photoshop can change that.

Things I would much rather write about: The fact that my girls’ basketball team’s first game is tomorrow. My conversation with TBFC that occurred last night as his girlfriend is now STALKING me. The disgusting amount of homework that I have to do between now and next Tuesday. How I am petrified to have volunteered to work wrapping gifts for kids at the same hospital where Chris died.

What I am actually writing about: The most adorable things that I own. Why? Because I lost a bet with dearest Peter. You see, I’ve not only joined the ranks of Google Talk (my new love!), but also the fanatics of Scrabulous (OK, my REAL new love!) After Peter convinced me to play a game of Scrabble, I convinced him to put a wager on it. I’m a saucy little minx stupid like that. Despite the fact that my words were always better than his (who uses their last name as an actual word to score 30 some points? This girl), he crushed me. OK, not so much crushed as beat me by a mere five points. It was close, folks. Very close.

Our wager: Winner gets to choose what the loser less-than-winner would post about. Being the sweet jerk that he is, I get to write about the most adorable articles of clothing that I own. Really.

 cowl.jpg 

I have this cowl neck in black and adore it.

suit-top.jpg   suit-pants.jpg

This was one of my favorite graduation presents for my parents, a tailored J. Crew suit for interviews. Honestly? I would wear a suit every damn day if they were all like that.

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 I fell in love with the Gap ballet flats this fall and bought about four pairs. These two were my favorites- I have a weird love for calf-hair zebra print things.

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Just for you Peter, the white cashmere turtleneck. This is what it feels like to be wrapped up in a cloud.

 There are so many other things that  I wanted to put on here, but those are the most recent ones and still have pictures online. Other things that I love? My Banana Republic jersey t-shirt dress, which looks like I stole an old boyfriend’s long t-shirt and tailored it to my body. My tuxedo shirt from J. Crew. White Calvin Klein trench coat. My tan pea-coat. Maybe I’ll throw pictures of them on here someday, but only if I lose at Scrabble again. Which won’t happen.