a shower for baby foster

A long long time ago, Meredith was about ten years old, and I was nine. We were in a 4th/5th grade split class, and played on a Reston house league soccer team together - she was Goalie, I was wherever was least influential to the score. Yada Yada Yada, Kelley and Meghan threw her a baby shower this past weekend and I came too. That about catches us all up, yes?

I drove Kelley and myself to Ohio Friday afternoon, and we arrived at Meredith and Geoff’s house in the early evening. Meghan had already made it there, so many hugs and hellos were exchanged, and then we met the awesome twosome that is their dogs, Chloe and Delilah. Chloe apparently fell in love with me. They helped with my Parker separation anxiety.

Also, their house is awesome. It was built in 1924 and it has so much character and little details and things I always wanted as a kid. A huge, private backyard, lots of rooms, and my favorite, a fully finished attic room, almost like the one from Full House. We all agreed that it is perfect for a tween/teenage girl. But yeah, I loved their house and I threatened to move in several times.

Friday night we drove to this cute downtown area, but couldn’t decide where to eat so Geoff decided for us – we went to this southwestern/Mexican place called Lopez. It was…amazing. Someone from Top Chef Masters had something to do with it, apparently. Sorry Top Chef Watchers – ahem KK and Dan – I have no idea who or what or why or how…I don’t pay attention to things. Anyway we had a great dinner catching up – being wonderfully boisterous and fun to us, and probably obnoxious to the couple sitting two feet away from us. Oops? Oh well.

Saturday was the baby shower! Meghan and Kelley had done an excellent job planning and I pretended to be involved…good times. We got snacks and drinks and went to Mer’s mom’s house to set up. Kel made a diaper cake. That thing was amazing. To any and all boys that read this: it’s a gift of blankets and diapers and sometimes other baby accessories in the shape of a cake. You don’t eat it. We got a real cake for that.

The guests were the three of us, Mer obviously, her sister in law and her kids (Mer’s unbelievably adorable and smart niece and nephew), her coworkers and some of her friends from college. It was a good group! She got some sweet gifts, including stuff her mom and grandmother had made for Meredith when she was a baby. So sweet.

Saturday night we drove to another cute little downtown area (they were all over the place!) and had dinner at Mitchell’s Fish Market, again on Geoff’s recommendation, due to our split vote and apathy towards decision-making. He was two for two, because basically no one talked at dinner, that’s how good the food was.

On the way home, Geoff asked “So do you guys want to keep drinking, or are you all set?” - we had wine at dinner, and there wasn’t anything in their house because we finished their other wine Friday night. Heh, oops? – Meghan and I made noncommittal noises, and Kelley said “I could really go either way”. I added, “Yeah, me too”.

Geoff lost his mind. It was hilarious.

We had been listening to something on their iPod at the time, so Geoff made a noise that I can’t quite describe, stopped the iPod and said: “NO! NO! That’s it! No! I’m not deciding anymore!!! *whiny imitation of our voices* ‘oooh I can’t decide where to eat, ohh we don’t care, ohh ohhhh’ NO! That’s IT! You’re drinking more! Meredith, drive to the liquor store!!”

The three of us are in the backseat cracking up, and as we are driving our new route to said liquor store, we quiet down and Meghan says, “You know, Geoff, you just decided again for us.” HA!

So we got home, had some more to drink as we talked, laughed, shouted, the usual. It was a blast. There were points in the night when couldn’t breathe because I was laughing so hard. This always happens when we all get together, and I hope that never changes; both that we still get together, and that the laughs just keep on comin’.


"Alma, check your battery!"

I have nothing of substance to discuss. I just feel like putting this out there:

1. You have no idea how often I listened to this soundtrack, on tape of course. I wanted to sing like the young nun (Sister Mary Robert, I believe?) so badly.

2. Meghan and I had a very serious discussion one afternoon about this number - and I was glad to see someone else shared my feelings, and maybe you do too. Don't you think that this performance is one thousand times better than the one they perform for the Pope?! They really should have switched songs. I'm in no way religious, but I think it's fair to say the man deserves some sort of, I dunno, hymn? They sing I Will Follow Him, which, I mean, I get it...but this one is just so. much. better.

3. Whoopi is many things, but she is NOT a conductor.

4. I would like to open it up to you to tell me if you think Sister Act I or II is better. I'm on Team I. But I do like Joyful Joyful and Oh Happy Day in the second one, those are good songs.


I am getting a little too used to the Florida lifestyle...

The days are running together, as they do when one finds oneself unemployed. We spend each night eating dinner watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, shouting profanity-laced epithets at Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek and their "smug dickishness". Well, mostly my dad does this, I sort of participate. My mom either giggles or rolls her eyes depending on what is said. My father is particularly unpleasant towards Alex Trebek. One night, as Jeopardy went to a commercial break, Alex said “Okay, relax and we’ll be back in a minute”. My father’s response? “FUCK YOU ALEX! I’LL RELAX WHEN I WANT!”

Today rolls around, and since I don’t have much concrete evidence that it is in fact Saturday, I sit down to dinner and grow concerned as the television is not switched to ABC. “Laura, it’s Saturday” my parents tell me, with a tone that says “We just had the ‘what day is it’ discussion a few hours ago, dummy”.

I am disappointed. I am actually disappointed about not being able to eat my dinner and watch my game shows. But then, huzzah! A rerun of Jeopardy is miraculously on TV.

All is right with the world. And that's when I took a step back and realized, um, wow. I need to GET. OUT.

I’ll be leaving this state before I’m in too deep, don’t fret. We’re leaving on Tuesday to come back home. I’m not waiting around for news on the FloridaJob. I’ve already missed one life-event of a friend because I waited around for a job I didn’t get, and I still feel like shit for it. I’ve got Meredith’s baby shower to attend in Ohio next weekend and I’m not going to pull any more douche moves. Also the interview was quite possibly the most disastrous thing I have ever been a part of. It’s not something I want to put on the internet for a while, but…yikes.

Honest to blog, the more I am around my father, the more I am convinced I should start a separate web site about the things my father does that simultaneously astound me, entertain me and irritate the everloving crap out of me. As I write this, my dad has switched to some golf game and was shouting nonsensicals as the golfers were taking their swing, like he was psyching them out or startling them from their focus…on television. People have blogs about the silly things their kids say and do, why can’t I have one about the sometimes-man-child, irrational but hilarious man that is my father?


Part Three: Meanwhile...

Alternate (and too long) title for this post: The one where cousins inexplicably have the hots for each other, short people with big feet do things and the movie should have ended seven different times, or Scott Foley isn’t dead, but IS Neve Campbell’s half brother.

Ha! Trilogy humor. I hope you get all three.

Remember when I had my interview on Thursday in NYC? That morning I got an email from an arts org for a job I had applied to months ago. I had that interview a week ago Monday, right before my lunch with my friend/coworker. I haven’t heard since and I should have, so I assume I didn’t get it. I’m not upset about it. I didn’t have some of the specific experience they were looking for. But it was still a good interview exercise, and she asked a couple of unusual questions and I am happy to report I can sort of think on my feet. All my answers were good but I just don’t have the right experience.

So not 15 minutes after I walk out of the interview, I get a phone call from another arts organization about a job I applied to in JUNE. This particular job is in Florida, about 45 minutes from the house my family has down there that used to be my grandmother’s. So I applied because I had a place to live, and my former (Masters) Program Director told me not to be afraid of the jobs that I think are out of my reach, because "You never know". I never thought they would actually call me. But they did!

(Dear Universe: Nothing for eight months, NUH-THING, and then all of a sudden I’m popular?! Not cool. I mean, yes, flattering, but…not cool.)

Thursday afternoon, when I knew what the results of NYCJob were going to be but didn’t want to fully admit it to myself, I called FloridaJob and made plans for an interview the following Friday. My family also used this as an excuse to be in Florida, so we all packed up and left Monday morning.

Spent a day and a half cramped in the backseat with no legroom and a dog wanting to do nothing but cuddle and rest right up against me even when the sun is beating down on us through the backseat windows. He’s panting like crazy but refuses to move over to his side, which happens to be shaded. Dumb dog. But it's all okay, these were the conditions I had to endure to secure a trip free of financial burdens. Also it's not like I didn’t love the fact that he actually wanted to hang out with me.

We got to the house Tuesday around 4pm. The last time I had been in my Grandmother’s house was four years ago but most of my memories of the place are from my childhood. Now, I roamed the house looking in drawers, opening cabinets, and took a nostalgic inventory of glasses, mugs, and furniture that reminded me of those summer visits as an elementary school kid. It was less cluttered and a lot cleaner. It still smelled like her house, though – in a good way. Not like my maternal grandmother’s house that reeked of wet dog and musk ten years after the actual dog passed away. So anyway, it’s been nice to be here. I have my interview tomorrow. Regardless of its outcome, it will have been nice to get down here and see the place in its new era.


if this is my past, i don't want to know my future

Growing up, when I was being a pest – which I did quite well, and often – my mom would say to me “Laura, know when to quit”, because apparently I don’t have the natural ability to sense this on my own. Now I know why I never inherited such a trait.

No one has been in the house for three months, so there were 30 messages on the phone. 29 of them completely bogus.

…”Hi, this is Tom with CCS calling to remind you-“
Frank: Hi Tom, NO THANKS!” *deletes message*

…”..you don’t want to be driving without a warranty…”
Frank: “ Hey, I won’t!” *deletes message*

…”this is Steve with CCS calling to remind you-“
Frank: “You sound a lot like Tom, Steve!” *deletes message*

Funny the first three times, right? But then it went on. Twenty-six more times.

I think I can just leave it at that.


design on no dimes

You’ll notice I changed the design a little bit. I hope it looks as nice on your computer/browser as it does on mine. It’s my effort to transition into fall. Or boredom at 1AM. It took me longer than it really should have to do that writing in Illustrator; it’s harder than I thought to make it look like your own handwriting. So I hope it does. College Crew, you will have to weigh in and tell me if it does. Or just humor me and tell me that anyway.

In the event that it doesn’t, at least it looks like it’s written in Sharpie. This pleases me to no end. I really, really love Sharpies.

I’ve been seeing a term thrown around a lot on Facebook and I do not like it. Funemployment. I resent it. Granted, for the eight months that I’ve now been unemployed, I’ve participated in fun activities that I probably wouldn’t have been able to, had I been a working individual. Yeah, the activities were fun, but were the sleepless nights and constant worrying about money, jobs, and life a ball of laughs? And not just worrying about myself, but my family too, who are supporting me when I can’t support myself? I don’t think I have to answer that. Wow I am bitter.

Switching gears, I’m working on a screenplay now. You didn’t know? The working title is "Shit Stirrer"

The scene: Our basement

The characters: Frank, Blue, Parker, Me.

Blue: (sheepishly) So um, when you, um, go down to Florida, can I come or am I supposed to stay here with the dog?

Parker: Is someone talking about me? Can I have some food?

Frank: (chuckles) No! I thought we were all going to go together, of course you’re coming!

Me: That’s not what you said to me a few hours ago!

Frank: (sighs)

Me: Mom, Dad said to me, ‘I don’t want her to come along’ and then told me not to tell you -

Frank: I’m sure she believes this

Me: - but I’m telling you because I love you and I want you to be there.

Frank: Jesus Christ…

Me: That’s what he told me. (shit-eating grin on face)

Parker: I believe I asked for some food, assholes.

I can't wait to move to LA and shop it around.

Today is the day that my two beautiful friends, Ben and Jess, get married! I'm sorry I can't be there, guys (do you even read this??) and I am missing all of you today.

(We had not yet mastered the art of stealing our bride and groom friends away for a group photo.)



This is not Part Three. That will come later next week probably. But there are a few things I would like to share with you before then.

One. This:

I love this video. I think my favorite part is how cartoonishly the woman is brought out of her old-person stupor by the honking.

Two. As you have now read, there was about a week of time when I thought I would have to make a lightning-quick move up to NYC. I actually had living arrangements available – but for the first two weeks I would have had to live out of suitcases because my designated room would not have been vacated until September 1st. So, this would lead you all to believe I would just bring my clothes, toiletries, and/or ONLY the essential items I would need to exist, wouldn’t it?

I kid you not, when I was skimming over a mentally prepared packing list, I included my Arrested Development DVDs. Seriously. I wasn’t even going to bring my TV, but those DVDs? Yep. I don’t know what this says about me, but it can't be good.

Three. For dinner last night I made a roasted red pepper sauce to put over pasta. If you were wondering, it was delicious. So while I was in the grocery store browsing the produce section for the necessary items, and I look up and this woman…um, was full-on reaching into her pants to, I’m assuming, fix her underwear. Not on the outside of her pants, not trying to be discreet by backing up against her cart or a display of some kind, just…going for it. Really digging around in there. I mean, we’ve all been there with underwear problems in public places, and depending on how public and who I’m with, well, I wouldn’t care either. So I wasn’t sure if I was slightly grossed out or that I admired her self-confidence, if you want to call it that? Is it a lack of manners or bravado? I honestly can’t decide.


when it rains, it pours. and then you're waiting around for rainbows like some kind of jackass.*

I slept in on Friday, just because I could finally let my body relax. I had seriously been a mess of nerves and tension and stress, and I hadn’t eaten or slept very much since Monday. You know it’s bad when I can’t eat or sleep. I love both of those things! They’re both favorites.

I packed up all my crap and hauled it to meet Ro at her office – we got lunch from Pret and ate it in Bryant Park. It was LOVELY. And then she walked me to the subway and directed me to the Megabus stop and I made my way home. And then we realized we both forgot that I still had her house keys. Oops. Never fear, her roommate was also visiting DC and they were returned to her and made their way safely back to NYC and to Rosa’s loving and responsible hands, and god willing, never mine ever again. Sorry Ro!

Oh, also, I checked my email on my phone randomly, and my NYC interviewer had requested references and a writing sample. I was BACK IN THE GAME!

Anyway, it’s here I’ll apologize AGAIN for not mentioning a trip to NYC, or even the initial good news/progress of the 2nd interview. Even though it went well, and I was excited and initially went back into my NEW YORK STATE OF MIND (oh my GOD, just stop reading. And stop being friends with me. I’m even disgusted with myself for making that joke. But I’m keeping it because I keep it real, you all need to know the real me) – ahem – I still knew better, and I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Anything could happen and there was something bugging at me, telling me there were more unforeseen hurdles. I knew there were plenty of dream-crushing opportunities left in this situation.

So I did my best to enjoy the weekend, I met Lesley down at Potomac Mills to shop and have dinner; it’s the last time I will see her for a while because she is moving to Fort Collins, CO with a friend of hers. No job, just looking for a change of scenery, packing it up and moving out there. I’m so impressed by that. Even with the potential NYC thing, it’s only because I was in the process of getting a job. I don’t think I have the balls to just move somewhere on hope and determination. I admire people that do.

On Monday I had lunch with a friend/former coworker in DC, who was also one of my references. Still feeling optimistic.

On Tuesday, I went to Kelley’s parents house to hang out with her, her fam, and the boys. In the back of my head, I knew I should be finding out something, or hearing from at least one of my references. I chose to ignore this and decided that Wednesday, Wednesday was the Day. If I didn’t know then it would be over.

On Wednesday, I don’t think I did much other than start to panic and create scenarios in which I might still have the job. I wanted to grasp at denial with all my might just a little bit longer. Forget Wednesday! Friday, Friday is the Day.

On Thursday I had to pull the biggest douche move that this millennium will ever see. I made the craptastic decision that I couldn’t go to Ben and Jess’ wedding, due to finances and “just waiting one more day” and another reason that will come in Part Three. (a Trilogy! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll stop reading halfway through because it’s boring)

Today I got The Email. The breakup email. I didn’t get the job. It confirmed what I already knew, and since I spent Thursday being sad, today I moved on to being angry. And then found a nice little cocoon in which I can bitch about how I didn’t really want that job anyway, so THERE, etc.

The crazy thing is, that last one might be less cocoon-induced (that sounds…gross) and more real. I was most excited about this job because:

1. Exciting, fast-paced move to New York
2. The company is really cool, and in the arts
3. It was A job.

It wasn’t THE job. And please note that THE job is not something I’m still holding out for, because, after eight months of job searching, my sense of entitlement is not that strong. It’s admittedly stronger than it should be, but I understand compromise and sacrifice and I acknowledge the necessity of both.

Foreshadowing! : Tuesday at the Thomas’ house, Kel and I were watching Meet the Robinsons, for which Kel’s mom jovially made fun of us. Hee. But it’s a good movie! Anyway, the notion of Keep Moving Forward is something I can use right about now. And I will be doing my best to keep it in mind. And yes, I am rolling my eyes at myself for trying to draw actual inspiration as a twenty six year old adult from a movie that is made for someone that is learning the intricacies of life via spelling bees and multiplication tables.

*Copyright Laura Benson 2009. All Rights Reserved.**

**What does All Rights Reserved mean?


when it rains, it pours.

So, it all started on Thursday, July 30th. Earlier in the evening I applied to a few jobs, like I usually do. Didn’t think too much of it. Went to bed around 11, and, didn’t sleep. Thursday night was one of the worst nights I’ve had in a long time. I couldn’t sleep, and rolling around in my head were all the negative thoughts about myself, my life, and my current job situation that have been plaguing me for the past eight months. Normally they’re kind of just…around. But I let them in on full force Thursday night and it was unbearable. It was ugly, let’s leave it at that. So I’m in bed sobbing disgustingly, and finally I can’t take it and I get out of bed, turn on the lights and just let it all go in my written journal (yes, I have one. Even though I get REAL personal up in here, there are some things that should be left to a written journal or a conversation between friends after a couple of glasses of wine. – also, isn’t it sad that some kids these days realllllly don’t have the sense to know that? – also also, can you believe I just said “kids these days” ??) Um, what? Oh, ugly thoughts written in journal, right. So yeah, I got ‘em all on paper and felt a little better, I guess. Sometimes you don’t realize how overwhelmingly negative or irrational your thoughts are until you put them on paper. So since I was up, I went online to look at some of my more obscure job posting places and see if there was anything new. I applied to another job on a whim.

Dawn breaks, and I don’t see it because I don’t get up until 11. Seriously, you know whose blog you’re reading, right? The day went on as it normally does, except for that by the end of it, both jobs I had applied to on Thursday (the rational 8pm one and the hysterical last-ditch wtf 1:30am one) had contacted me for interviews on Monday. I was excited but also nervous and full of dread. The four interviews I had prior to these had not gone well, so why should these be any different?

I spent the weekend preparing, way more than I usually do. Going line by line on the job description, making sure I have responses for all the job functions, preparing questions, maybe an anecdote or two (seriously) and taking a few notes on the companies. I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night.

So I had my phone interview on Monday and ten minutes in I thought to myself, “Well there goes THAT, way to be awful, self”. Why ten minutes in? Because I had chosen to prepare myself and my notes at the dining room table, where apparently my phone doesn’t get reception. So the interviewer called, and I didn’t pick up. Luckily by the time I realized something was up, I think it was only 2 minutes after she had called, but STILL. So I called her back, apologized profusely and explained the situation, and on the interview went. Somehow, my sparkling personality and professional acumen earned me a 2nd interview on Thursday. I was excited, really excited. It was moving quickly, it gave me a confidence boost for the in-person interview I had later that day, and also, when was the last time I even got to this stage? Good times.

The other interview on Monday was a little weird, because it was actually with a recruiter on behalf of the position I had applied to. So I went in there and she ended up forwarding my resume to the job I had originally applied to, as well as another one. Freebie! Then I took a typing test. 63 WPM, 99% accuracy. The typing test was my favorite part, seriously. The recruiter told me to hopefully expect a phone call from her (or the actual job people? I can’t follow the web of confusion that is the recruiting process) in the next week or so.

So I went home feeling kind of weird about it, because it didn’t feel like I was any closer to the job, I didn’t have anything tangible to come away with, and if history teaches us anything, that hasn’t been a good sign for me.

The rest of Monday was good; I called my parents and told them the good news about my phone interview, and about the recruiting interview. Here’s where I need to pause and apologize to some of you, my dear readers. (AKA my regular friends?! Wtf, self. Don’t act like you’re awesome) I had talked to some of you in between Friday and Sunday, telling you about these job prospects and the, erm, locations of said jobs. And by the time Monday rolled around, and I updated those people, and had to tell new people for reference and other purposes, I felt like I was jinxing myself by telling too many people when I had nothing secured. So that’s why there were not more phone calls or texts or emails to those of you I would normally talk to in a heartbeat about my exciting news, I was so afraid of doing even the slightest thing to upset the Gods of Overconfidence Comeuppance or whatever. Plus, the more people I told before Thursday, the more depressing/humiliating phone calls I would have to make after it was over.

See, the phone interview was for a job in New York. Yeah. And the start date was August 17th, a mere two weeks from my initial interview. So in my excitement Monday, I let my imagination take the reigns and I contacted friends and a few people on Craigslist about apartments, to see what was out there in case I really had to make a quick move. This also added to the jinx. By Tuesday afternoon I was mentally moved into an apartment on the upper west side, hosting friends from home on my couch on the weekends and going for walks in Central Park. Partly because I’m completely delusional, but also because that’s where the office was where I was interviewing.

Wednesday afternoon I took Megabus up to NYC and met Rosa, my gracious guide, host, savior, and life coach. We went back to her apartment and had dinner and caught up. It was a nice evening with my dear friend in a fun city that I hoped I could also live in, in a matter of a week and a half.

I spent Thursday reviewing my materials and preparing my answers. Nervously and anxiously. I made my way down to their office and sat on a bench outside Central Park (also right outside their office) and waited – because I left insanely early in the event I became a total idiot and couldn’t ride a train properly, which didn’t happen. Go me.

So, the interview happened, and I made my way back to Ro’s apartment to decompress. It felt so great to be done. Later in the evening I went to meet this girl and see a potential apartment that is really close to the office, and that was fine. I’m reserving judgment at this point. I'll save it for another day.

You may be noticing I am dragging out the events leading up to Thursday and leaving you clueless about the interview. It’s because I want you to feel the way I felt. Anxious up until that moment (or paragraph, in your case?) and then, not sure what the results would be.

Part Two is coming. That’s right, I’m making you WAIT. Because I HAVE TO.

(at this exact moment, as I post this, I don’t know if I got it or not and I’m leaning towards “not got”)