I know I said I was going to take a break from blogging, but we all knew that would be short-lived. It’s hot, and I’m bored, so what else am I going to do? I got off work at noon – they ran out of things for me to do – and I’ve been hanging around waiting to hear from the kids so we can take off for Rockford. Not that I’m packed or anything. I do have my laundry together, and my apartment is (relatively) clean. I went through a bunch of junk, and sorted out what I think are the last of the things to be returned. I’ve watched a couple of movies – Hideous Kinky and Down With Love. The former was gorgeous, the latter fun. I watched some of My So-Called Life and remembered being 15 and feeling desperately lonely and unattractive and like no one would ever want to be with me – not that I knew what I wanted anyway. And it was hard to realize that in many ways I’m still that fucked up 15 – though I think I was better at the straight face back then.

Yesterday was a rocky day. Work was fine – they found things for us (me and two other trainees) to do, which involved filing and climbing around in a record room and data entry. I got home, and five minutes later I was on my hands and knees soaking cat urine out of the couch again. Gypsy made her point – extravagantly. Cursing and crying followed, and a feeling of being utterly overwhelmed. My apartment was a mess. I’m broke. My cat is so bad. I’m lonely. My hair is falling out. Blah blah blah. So I took a hot shower and felt sorry for myself, and then forced myself to snap out of it. I did some dishes, then went to Kopi for food. Sitting in the window, watching the storm, drinking coffee and reading – just doing something nice for myself felt really good. I came home and finished cleaning, then talked to the boy for a few minutes. I know he’s really busy, and that it wasn’t a good time, but he feels so far away from me right now, and that’s a hard thing. He’s really quiet and withdrawn sometimes, and that’s hard to deal with, even when I can see his face. I hope I’ll get to talk to him this weekend, but I don’t know. The Academy starts in earnest on Sunday, and after that who knows. I have a photo of us by my bed – it’s from the weekend I moved here, so many months ago. We’re lying on the futon at the kids’ – he’s lying behind me and our hair is tangled up together on the red pillow. His arms are around me, and my hand is in his sleeve. We look so happy and peaceful, even though things were still so tumultuous. Remembering how crazy things have been makes dealing with the current crazy a little easier.

So right now I’m hot, and bored, and ready to go. I’m ready to swim, to see my sister and my parents, to go to IKEA. I’m ready to get out of town. Have a great weekend.

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surprise

My surprise was waiting on the couch when I got home – Shawn drove the 4-or-so hours from Wellsville back to Champaign to spend the weekend with me (and Jen, down from Rockford). Lots of tears followed – and continue to follow. I’m thrilled that he’s here, sad that I can’t spend more time with him, sad that I can’t spend more time with Jen, devastated because he has to leave tomorrow. I managed to rearrange my schedule so I can have the next two days off from Aroma, so at least I get to spend some time with Jen. Shawn’s going to leave tomorrow afternoon, though, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it – how I’m going to say goodbye again. And I feel like I’m being a terrible hostess because I can’t stop crying and because I had to work and because there’s nothing to do.

the week

Some surreal stuff that I think I’ve glossed over because of the intensity of the last week. I’ve been so caught up in the anticipation of missing him, then missing him, that I haven’t had a chance to just live, you know?

Anyway, on to the randomness. Last Tuesday I closed at Aroma. I was out on the patio locking up the furniture and happened to look over into the Barfly patio. Sitting in the patio, to my great surprise , was Rachel Link! We met in third grade and graduated from the same high school. I hadn’t seen her since graduation seven years ago – so it was a big and random surprise.

Speaking of surprises, the boy sent me an e-card this morning promising a surprise when I get home from work. I’m hella intrigued. I did have a nice surprise at work this morning – Michelle got me Hello Kitty PJ pants, some caramel kisses, and jasmine incense. Yay for random last day pressies.

But even more random was the email I got last Friday. For a number of years I was desperately in love with a guy named Scott. We met when I was 8 and he was 12 – his grandparents live next door to mine, and we would see each other every summer and on the breaks. As I got older, going to Davenport meant going to see Scott, though I nominally was with my grandparents. When I was 17 we started keeping in touch through letters and email – I had a letter from him nearly every Friday my freshman year of college. By that time, though, I was with someone, and he had a girlfriend as well. I didn’t know the full extent of his feelings for me until the following summer, when everything reached a fever pitch and my relationship nearly ended over it. Six months later my relationship did end (over someone else), and Scott wrote to me to propose. His girlfriend found the letter, and I didn’t hear about it until six months later, when my relationship had repaired itself and Scott was with someone new, a girl who was expecting their child. Since then we’ve fallen back into the old routine, seeing each other at holidays and such. Somewhere along the lines I got over him, but I always knew that I was the one for him – the Big One – the one he’d never get over. His grandmother told me that they always hoped the two of us would get together – and his stepmother said they never worried about him getting married because “[they] would wait for Elizabeth.”

So this week I got an email from him, the first time I’d heard from him since last summer. He said his life is shit – that the only thing keeping him going is his son – that he wishes he had the nerve to do what I did [leaving]. He then alluded to the earlier proposal, ending with “just wondering.”

So what do you say to that? I was totally taken aback. I thought about it all weekend, then replied as tactfully as I could. I told him about my new life, about Shawn, about how happy I am. I told him that I did remember his proposal and that while it’s sweet to think about how we once felt about each other, I’m a very different person now. I will always care about him, but that relationship never could work – never would work. Oh, and Shawn and Sarah said I couldn’t marry him because he has terrible grammar.

This week has been relatively uneventful, those weird things aside. Wednesday night I was supposed to have curry with Sarah and Hannah but was called in to work instead. Sarah came in to see me, and left a food surprise in my fridge at home. On my walk home I passed a couple of coworkers at Monkey, so I stopped and had a drink with them. Yesterday was mainly quiet – work, then the doctor’s office and new birth control. I talked to Shawn for a long time, did some dishes, watched tv, and read in bed. I finished Ghost World and thought about calling Shawn before sleep, but the line was busy and I fell asleep with the phone in my hand. I miss him terribly, but I’m surviving.

Free and Fun

A couple of brief notes while I’m thinking about it:

Aroma now has free wireless. Not sure if it will always be free, but it is right now. So more reasons to come visit me at work!

We’re thinking about going to Jupiter’s Saturday night for pizza and pool. If you’d like to join us, gmail me.

I have a giant pile of novels and graphic novels on my table for my June reading frenzy. Any other suggestions of free fun things to do to keep my mind off the blues?

McGilWong Sandwich

with many thanks to Dan Wong and Shawn Gilmore

1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
2-3 T basil
2-3 T oregano
3+ cloves garlic, minced
3-4 good sized portabella caps

Clean mushroom caps and place in a large Ziploc bag. Toss marinade together in small bowl, then pour over mushrooms in the Ziploc bag. Seal the bag, then tumble the marinade around the mushrooms. The longer you can let it marinate, the better – 4-6 hours is ideal. Grill mushrooms 3-5 minutes, basting with marinade from the bag. Set aside.

2-3 chicken breasts

Trim any fat from the chicken and slice into cutlets. Grill until cooked through, basting with remaining marinade.

To assemble sandwich, place one chicken cutlet and one mushroom cap on a hamburger bun (toasted, if possible) with a slice of cheese between the cap and the chicken. Tasty!