Friday, September 28, 2007
According to Dictionary.com, reciprocity is "a reciprocal state or relation; mutual exchange; a mutual exchange of commercial or other privileges." In fact, there were a bunch of different definitions, but they all included the word "mutual."
Hence, the term reciprocity means, to me, a mutual sharing of love, consideration, honesty, opinions, and, above all, respect. It is an open expression of feelings and thoughts, a shared expectation of truthfulness. It is, quite simply, a shared experience, not a one-way road.
Have you ever been in a relationship that was not mutual? A friendship, romantic relationship, partnership? Doesn't it feel like you're doing a whole lotta work, with no return? See, it took me a while to figure it out, but relationships shouldn't be like that, whatever the type of relationship. I happened to come into a bunch of these types of relationships where I felt like I was putting it out there, and expecting the other to do the same. When the response was not as I has hoped, was not mutual, it was devastating. It was maddening, painful, and scarring.
My parents relatiosnhip was like this. My dad was pretty closed down about any feeling other than anger, which I think left my mom feeling like hers didn't matter. He made the money, so his was the final say in matters. He made the decisions, and her opinion/needs were ignored.
I learned from this. This was my model.
Everyone's understanding of mutual exchange can be different. Everyone has a perception of the work they are putting into a relationship. Thus, some people might actually think they are working hard in a partnership (which may be true for them - "hard" is a relative term), but I also think that, despite what the non-mutual people perceive themselves to be, they know, underneath their surface of lies and half-assed efforts, that they know the real deal. They know that they are not being 100%. They know that they are short-changing the other person. But to make themselves feel better, they can manipulate the situation to make you think you are the crazy one, like you're asking too much of them (cause sometimes honesty is the hardest effort they can muster). Only the honest ones can turn around and say, "Yeah, I know I haven't been the best of friend, but I am working on it." Or something like that.
On the flip side, its the non-mutuals that make the mutuals that much more appreciated. When you form a relationship with someone that will literally put it all out there, say, "Yeah, I might get hurt, but I respect you enough to be honest/forthright," it's almost jarring. But in a good way. You want to hear about my feelings and you're not going to tell me their wrong? You not only respect my expectations, but request that I don't lower them? You value my insight? What?!?!?!?! How foreign. Yet refreshing.
So you want to be my friend? My partner? Great, I love it and welcome it. I love friends so much I have the best in the world. And family, for that matter. In fact, I love my family so much I consider it honor for anyone to be part of it. But that honor needs to be earned. You don't get it simply by just knowing me.
I am pretty sure that if you have read this blog long enough, you know that I really have some of the most amazing people at my finger tips. And frankly, there have been times I have been the non-mutual. I admit it, I am ashamed of it, and I have NO ONE to blame but myself. But I am a work in progress. I return my phone calls now. I make plans and stick to them without making excuses. I call just to "check in." People ask me for feedback, and I give it honestly.
So you want to be my friend? Act like it. Show some reciprocity.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
On a completely separate note, I just got back from a 2-day conference in the state capital of lovely Springfield, Illinois (gross) and seem to have picked up what might be the flu along the way. I feel like crap, but we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I am scheduled to do the Apple Cider ride in Michigan this weekend (what? a ride? could it be possible? more info below!) but if my chest doesn't open up in the next 24 hours, I may not go.
So about the ride. It's a century with a couple smaller ride as well. I would be doing the 25-miler, which leads me my next point. My coach sent me my first 2-week IM Arizona training plan this past week. Yep, here I go again.
So far I have done a run, swim and short ride this week. And so far, so good. I am pretty excited about it, and the plan starts out as a slow build.
So I will keep you updated as the training begins, and fingers crossed that I feel better!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
And before I start, I should mention that this post is sentimental as all hell. Please divert your eyes if you can't stand emotional chicks. If you choose to keep reading, consider yourself warned.
Remember a couple weeks back, right before my sister’s wedding in Rhode Island, I was going through this whole new world of dating, and trying to figure out what I wanted and needed? There were a few stumbling blocks, road bumps if you will, and of course I had to overthink everything (hey, I’m a psychologist, it’s a casualty of the job…and my own neurosis, who am I kidding?) I posted back then about my expectations of my ideal partner – and at the top of the list was that I expect that when the other person thinks about me, he smiles. The list that follows included things like expecting to have my hand held, expecting to be called on my shit, expecting health and the ability to look at personal flaws, etc. It was quite a list.
Little did I know that, while on that trip, I would receive a comment on one of my posts that would eventually lead to the person I wrote about. When I read that comment, I was sitting in the kitchen of the rented house, it was 2AM, and the wedding just ended. I was trying to get out a post before boarding my plane in a few short hours, and I read it. It was simple, nice. The comment was from The Big Cheese, a blogger whom I had not yet read, and he commented that my family was good-looking.
Over the next two weeks, the comments continued, and finally I emailed him to thank him for such nice words. That email turned to more emails, and then eventually a comment that his job might land him in Chicago. When this trip was confirmed, I emailed that we should grab Chicago pizza, seeing as how he had recently posted on the food he eats on the road. Numbers were exchanged, and one night, three days before he came, I returned home to a message asking if he could call me. I said yes, the phone rang, and four hours later, we hung up. The next night it was five hours. Then four hours the following night. It was like we had processed through 20 dates before even having one. Dating in dog years, he calls it.
Our first outing was the Cubs game. Weird, but at that time, I seriously thought it was just friendly thing. He was a guest in my town, and I was showing him around, and where better to take a sports freak then Wrigley Field, right? In the car, he made me laugh myself silly, and after the game, he kissed me under the Wrigley sign. I kinda figured at that point this was a bit more than a friendly outing. I remember at one point in the evening, around the eighth inning, when I thought something might be up, I called my sister from the bathroom stall in a panic, freaking out that, despite our marathon phone calls, I was so nervous that I couldn't form a cohesive sentence in front of him. She talked me off the ledge, gave me a pep talk, and sent me back to my seat with a pebble of self-confidence. (He still claims he never noticed my lack of conversation.)
Over the next three weeks, The Cheese spent most of his daytime hours working, and we hung out at night. We did a lot of cool, somewhat touristy things which I have highlighted in recent posts. But the more we hung out, the more things started to go in a direction that neither of us really expected.
But the logistics were tough. He would be leaving after three weeks. For crying out loud, he lives in a different state, he travels 25 days out of the month, and I am rooted in my job and life here. I am in the process of buying a house, and he just started work on a Master’s degree. How on earth would this work? I suspected we both wanted it to, but a long distance thing, though I have never done it, would be a tough task to undertake.
But we’re doing it. The way I see it, our relationship started with our ability to converse for hours, without even ever seeing each other. So now, hundreds of miles apart, we are calling on this ability to keep things together. Back to the marathon phone calls, the emails, the text messages – because at the end of it all, it is this part of the relationship that is going to make things last. As I once posted,
My needs are simple. I don’t require a particular career, or car, or house, or style of clothes (although I used to have this thing about wearing the right shoes – don’t ask, I’m over it now…sort of…unless it involves socks and sandals….then yes, there’s still an issue). Because you can’t see this stuff in the dark. You can’t see this stuff in the glow of the light over dinner in a dark corner of a restaurant. You can’t see this stuff in the tough times that inevitably will happen, and through which you will have to persevere together. It’s in those tough times, that I hope both me and the other can recall the time when we thought about each other, and smiled.
I guess the reason I am posting is because this blog is about my life, not just the triathlon part (as evidenced by poop posts), but all of it. And now Cheese is a part of my life. Last week he posted his version of events, so most of you all know what’s happening. But I have more reluctant. Please know that it is not because I was confused about my feelings, but rather I didn’t quite know how to put things into words. And even though I will talk crazy stuff about my life (like my nephew’s poop), I felt intensely private about this relationship. Almost like putting it out there for everyone might break the spell.
So the guy I had posted about, the one who I expected to meet all my expectations, actually exists. He is honest, ambitious, kind and selfless. He is side-splitting funny, intensely insightful, brave with his feelings, opinionated and intelligent. I could use a million words to describe him, but none of them would do him justice. He challenges my rigidity, my views, and my plans for the future. There’s a compatibility, as if we compliment each other’s strengths and flaws, rather than clash against each other. I stand back and think in amazement, “Ah, so that’s what reciprocity looks like!” Above all, he is real – he is the most down-to-earth, honest, real person I know. It’s is mind blowing still that a simple little blog, a couple of seemingly random instances, and clicks of a mouse have brought this thing to fruition.
So, that’s that. He took a lot of crap for his words, so I will end my post by giving you some pictures of his last day here. Thanks for letting me get all that out.
This was taken after dinner on Taylor Street - we went to Rosebud (yum!) and then for Italian ice at Mario's. I showed off my high school, and coincidentally my college, which are basically on the same street.
On his last weekend, we went to the Field Museum, and then walked north to Millennium Park. On the way, we encountered the Irish Fest, so we had a beer (well, he has a beer, and then half of mine because I couldn't finish), then off to lunch! Oh and funny story - Yeah, by car got broken into that day. I apparently was one of about six that hit in the Soldier Field parking lot.
Cheese and Sue the Dinosaur.
Oh, I forgot - on the walk north, we passed Buckingham Fountain, and Cheese was so excited for some reason to see the "Married with Children" fountain. And no shit, there were no less than five weddings between the Fountain and Millennium Park. Wow, how very original. As a matter of fact, right behind me in this picture, a couple was actually getting married.
So we make it to Millennium Park. I don't know if Cheese was just pouty because he was hungry (we both were starving), or just joking around. With him, it could have been either. Anyhoo, this is at Cloud Gate (I think is the formal name) otherwise known as the Bean.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Nona is an amazing mother of four, including to twin 4-year-olds (holy handful!), an incredibly intelligent and strong female, hugely successful in her professional field, and one of the most incredible and supportive friends I have. In fact, the last few months of my sanity are owed to her, our Friday Night Girl's Night, and our mutual love for sushi and Starbucks.
In addition to all her amazing qualities, Nona is Jewish. Nona has hosted the last two Jewish holidays at her house - last week it was Rosh Hashanah, and tonight it was Yom Kippur. And she invited me to both at her house. I know it's weird to write this, but I frankly don't know a lot of Jewish people (having been raised, educated and surrounded by mostly Catholics for much of my life, despite my own lack of association with the religion at this point), so in turn, I have very little experience with or knowledge of the Jewish faith.
So when I got to her house, I had my first experience with matzo ball soup, potato pancakes, creamy jello stuff, Jewish bread, sour green tomatoes, and this noodle thing that I learned to pronounce, but won't even try to spell. All of it was so very deelish, but it took my body three days to recover. Tonight for Yom Kippur, we had fresh bagels and lox, pretzels, fruit, and tuna and egg salad. Again, deelish. But the best part? She gave me a 6-pound bag of Gummy Bears!!!!!
So let me get this straight: I not only get to eat but am encouraged to binge on high carb foods, get schooled on the basics of Jewish faith (which I know embarressingly nothing about, but frankly, I know very little about the religion I was actually raised by - a funny little quirk that my family finds both ignorant and endearing), AND get a 6-pound bag of gummy bears as a parting gift? Heck, I've been Catholic for 31 years and all I got was a lot of guilt for having pre-marital sex and a stifling fear of Hell for silently cursing out my parents. Well, that and my First Communion, which came with a party and a nice chunk of money. And let's not forget forced confession during Lent, which got me out of classes during high school.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I was looking through some photos today as a favor for a friend, and I came across this picture taken just steps before the finish line at the Chicago Marathon 2005. I am using it to commemorate my second run of my comeback this morning (three miles - got to start somewhere!), but I thought it was great because the look on my face says it all. Although this was my second running of this race (which, btw, is the best marathon to run, EVER, in my opinion), I really struggled this time out, as I started having really severe IT band problems around mile nine. MILE 9. That made for a long race. Little did I know that those problems were an early sign of the back-breaking I would later sustain during IM training.
The best part of this photo is the look on my face while everyone else around me is like, "Look at me - I'm finishing the marathon! Yay!" I was like, "I am going to choke a bitch." Although who was bitch I never did find out. Maybe me. But whatever. I was HURTING.
But guess when I didn't hurt? TODAY!!!!!!!
So here's to some more runs/bikes/swims on a health(ier) back.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Look, I understand that shared space can be a bummer. People coming in, using your stuff, sitting at your computer, getting their ear gunk on your phone, what have you. But it really chaps my hide when I go into the joint bathroom, and not only are four of the five toilets out of order (and no one calls for assistance) but the one working pot has doo-doo paper in it.
Really, is that hard to flush, and glance over your shoulder as you exit the stall to make sure the remnants of your turd have gone the way of the sewer? I think not. Common courtesy, people.
Frankly, if you must know, I am a believer in doing the business at home in the morning before you leave. How hard is it to take a few extra minutes to wrangle a poop out before heading to office? I myself am a once-a-day kinda gal, but I know many of you out there tend to visit the can several times daily for a colon blow, as it is inevitable, especially those in training and consuming massive amounts of food. I can give you a pass on that. But I can only hope that you are in-and-out, and leave a clean bowl for the subsequent visitors.
Now, you may argue that you don't want to waste water by too many flushes, and I can get that. I am all about saving the earth, one flush at a time. But the reality is that I'm going to have flush it myself before I go anyways, because god help me I'm not doing my business on top of someones leftovers.
I hope I am not sounding like a stick in the mud (pun intended? perhaps...) but frankly, this grosses my shit out. And here's one last thought: If you do need to spend an inordinate amount of time on the shitter, can you please try to flush as you go? Cause what's even more nasty that floaters and doo-doo paper is the stench that hangs in the air in a closed stall because you've been in there too long with your turds just sitting in the water.
Too much to ask?
I think not.
Let's use our heads,
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Oh, but the fun was just beginning at this point. We then proceeded to another bar, a German bar where the waitress wore these funny little German outfits. Is that politically correct? Well, they did, and I am only sad I didn't have my druthers about me to take a picture of that. The group (minus me, I was designated driver!) ordered this huge ass mug that they took turns drinking out of. It was the equivalent of about a million beers, and they finished the whole thing, so needless to say, the evening ended up being very interesting....
This is secretly my favorite picture...Where did Cindy Jo go?
Then off to the race! Due to the debauchery of the night before, we woke up too late to see the swim (which, by the way, if my FAVORITE part of the whole day - damn) but we made it to Verona, where we saw most of the Race Athlete team, including Wil - way to go!
The boys did their part cheering on unsuspecting competitors, cheering only for people with pink bikes/apparel, arm/head sweatbands, or any neon colored shirt. The initially tried cheering for everyone, but as the voices gave way, their cheers got more narrowed.
Oh, and the Clyde brought his cow bell. Needless to say, we attracted some minor attention on the road.
And the day is rounded off by a picture in from of the capital building. We saw most of the pros come in, but has to take off back to Chicago before we saw anyone else. As I write this, I am watching the live feed on IronmanLive to watch everyone file in.
I have a ton of thoughts about IM right now, including my own future and IM Arizona, which looms on the horizon. I am going to save that for the next post, because this one is for the weekend, the finishers and the race itself. Congrats to all who did it today!!!
Friday, September 7, 2007
The guide and her visitor.
I needed to take a break and rest against a wall. Being the guide can be tiresome!
The Cheese on his first El ride. Notice he is holding onto the railing. We had to take him for tetanus shots afterwards. He also got rubbed on by some man earlier on, but don't ask him about it. The trauma makes him cry. I simply refer to it as "The Initiation."
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Suffice to say that life in the Chi has changed a bit for me, and my neatly packaged future has come undone. I am still trying to figure out what all these changes mean, what is going on, and how to acknowledge them out loud without jinxing myself. Of course, the arena of which I speak is dating, that pesty little topic that I have been trying to tackle over the last few weeks. You may not know this about me, but I tend to over analyze and freak out about every little aspect of a situation (okay, fine, maybe it's not such a big secret) but for some reason, with the current situation, I feel almost inhibited by the blog, my little diary of life through which I used to feel safe to vomit just about any thought that ran through my overworked brain.
Maybe I am selectively choosing my words this time because really, I am not overthinking this thing, but rather just letting it be, just accepting things as they come. I am freakishly calm about the new development, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, and as if it was life as it always was. Just different. Does that even make sense? Or maybe because it just makes sense, so there is no need to hash it out. I don't know. This is SO not me.
I am also hesitant because, for the most part, the people about whom I talk on this blog don't usually read this stuff. Well, my family and Larry (who is like my family), but they know they are always subject to my thought-onslaught, be it on the blog or in real life (lucky them). But now it is different, and I want to respect the privacy and life of the new "development."
So I guess when the time is right, and things are as clear as can be, more details will come. For now, I am happy. And calm. And accepting. And I have nothing else to report.