Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Anti-Christmas Letter

For the last four years or so, my dad has written a Christmas letter to go along with our family Christmas card. He got tired of hearing about how perfect everyone's lives were in their Christmas letters, so every year he takes the opportunity to glorify the family pets and make fun of his children. This year he took the opportunity to out my being unemployed to all our friends and family. Here's his 2008 version. Enjoy:

THE CHRONICLES: “Tony Arriveth”

A big thing happened this year. Yes, indeed! Oh, the human family members have done passably well this past year: no arrests, one tattoo, piercings holding steady—more about all of that later. However, as I’m sure you each recall vividly, our cherished miniature Schnauzer, Cleo, passed away in Dec. 2007. Obviously, we have suffered much greater human loss, but we loved that little Devil. So we got Tony: as in Tony Bennett. Anthony: as in Antony and Cleopatra. Pretty clever, eh. Tony is a miniature Schnauzer as well, but with a pleasant disposition. Who knew they came in that flavor.

This Season’s Greeting letter should conclude right here. The highlight of the year has been revealed. It’s all downhill now. But, Gloria won’t “Let It Be”, so (in alphabetical order):

Kimberly: As part of the two-headed “kimybrian”, Kimberly traveled to Peru and Bolivia in the winter-spring of ’08. She volunteered with a non-profit (what else), teaching Spanish and English, and generally improving the world. The Brian part of “kimybrian” pushed Kimberly to high altitudes in Bolivia (no drug jokes), optically deceiving salt flats, and other cold places that made for great pictures and adventure. He also undertook humanitarian work. Unlike my band, The Beatles, “kimybrian” play on. NEWS FLASH: Kimberly accepted a for profit job in Dec. ’08. She is paid (a little) and receives benefits. She is a sell-out, but her parents are prideful!

Lizzie: Elizabeth embraced adventure, wilderness, and a return to the Bennett roots. She rented her house, loaded up the truck and moved to Missoula, MT. Montana that is: outdoor streams, cowboys and Griz football. It was a good experience. Then, the economic collapse: the company went from 16 employees to five by Thanksgiving. In early December, it went to four employees: the two owners and two others. Lizzie went to the front of the soup line. Welcome home, Lizzie! As part of my on-going plot to acquire Jackson, the team’s star Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Elizabeth has been encouraged to join the Peace Corps (I feel like George Steinbrenner). A posting to Africa would be nice. We shall see.

Will: Remember turning 21, drinking too much, getting a tattoo, and guiding white-water rafting trips? Me neither. But, Will has added this line-up to his growing resume. Youthful exuberance—what more can we say. Will is still a collegian at the U of W. Nursing is his idea for future employment, probably an idea generated by observation of his parents’ degenerating condition.

John, Gloria and Jose: Life’s good. Our friends keep plugging along with us, and we manage a little leisure here and there. Jose has been stockpiling kitty kibble since the financial collapse, but I think it is an over-reaction. He could afford to lose a couple of pounds anyway. In sum, we go to bed earlier and remember less, but we are happy to be sending out this letter. Merry Christmas!




Thursday, December 25, 2008

Home for the Holidays

Merry Christmas!! So I finally made it back to Portland. My flights were all cancelled due to weather on the 22nd and I wasn't going to be able to get another one until December 26th, which obviously defeats the purpose of coming home for Christmas... but the parents of some of my good friends were nice enough to clear space for me in their car and offered Jackson and me a ride to Portland. Yes!!

Eleven harrowing hours later (it actually wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be), a bout of car sickness, a burger at the famous Husdon's in Coueur d' Alene and a few stops for the dogs, I surprised my parents with the best gift of all: ME. Unfortunately, my sister got stuck in Chicago with her boyfriend and his family, but she'll be back tomorrow and I'l sure we'll do Christmas all over again.


Regardless, my Christmas Eve consisted of the following:
  • Cooking Prime Rib with my mom, dad and brother
  • Drinking lots of champagne
  • Opening a bottle of French red wine my dad was given when my brother was born (21 years ago)

  • Opening another bottle of red wine because that one just wasn't...quite...right...
  • Talking about politics, religion, homosexuality, marriage and whether or not I should sell my eggs to make money
  • Making a fire and drinking hot chocolate with 100 proof peppermint schnapps
  • Watching WALL-E and tearing up at least 10 times
  • Watching my tipsy father fall over trying to let the cat in the house
Classic Bennett Christmas.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day with their families and friends. Can't wait to see what the New Year brings! Happy, happy Holidays from Jackson and Lizzie.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Son of a B*TCH!

Soooo... I'm currently trying to get home to Portland for Christmas. Not going to happen, apparently, since Portland is seeing the most snow it's had for 40 years. But this layover afforded me the opportunity to go to a Missoula yearly ritual: the Annual Mo Club (where I met Bill Clinton) Christmas Party. You buy a drink and you get a arms length of tickets. Throughout the night they offer up amazing baskets full of booze. Who doesn't love baskets full of booze??

So our group obviously gathered a large amount of tickets. At least 10 baskets went by without us winning when one came up: 17386. We were 17387. Of course, I screamed out (much too loudly): SON OF A B*TCH!!! Well, three baskets after that, we WON!! And this is what was included in the basket:

  • One stuffed teddy bear

  • Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey

  • A Ranier Beer Gold Towel

  • A fifth of Ruppelminze

  • A liter of Jamieson whiskey

  • Travel size Black Velvet

  • A candy cane full of M&Ms

  • Travel size of Gordon's Vodka

  • A liter of Seagrams 7

  • A liter of Evan Willaims Kentucky Bourbon

  • Travel sive Mr. Boston Peppermint Schnapps

  • Montana Griz Nike baseball hat

  • Last, but not least, a liter of Jose Cuervo

And it all came in a huge Dasani beverage cooler:

Two notable things happened after this:

1. We had an adorable boy offer to scrape off our windshield. Um, okay... go right ahead.

2. We watched "A Walk in the Clouds" and Paige made this comment about the movie: "It's a glorious life... he's old, he has limitless alcohol, he has a band, a mexican poncho and stirs up trouble. What could be better?

So true, Paige. So true. These are the moments that make me sad to leave Missoula...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wooowwwww

I think I just pulled a muscle in my shoulder blowdrying my hair. It's obviously time to start working out again.

And, as a reminder to myself, working out does not mean lifting a very heavy glass (or, you know, bottle) of wine to my mouth.

Not so Christmasy dream

So the Griz got their asses handed to them by the Richmond Spiders in the championship game on Friday. Very sad...Montanans are obviously upset. Anyway, I'm assuming the fact that we played the Spiders (what a stupid mascot BTW) is what put spiders in my my mind in the first place, but that night I had a HORRIBLE spider dream. I hate spiders anyway, but this was truly disturbing. I was in the basement apartment in my house and there were little spiders EVERYWHERE, crawling on me and up the walls. But the worst part was this disgusting spider sack hanging from the ceiling. There was a enormous black widow and some other kind of spider in it. And I couldn't leave the room because it was hanging in the stairwell and I was scared it would drop on me if I tried to leave.

Sorry, that was rambling, but my brain is in a weird place these days. I'm officially moving back to Portland on January 4th so I've been packing the house. I HATE packing. But my biggest concern right now, is what am I going to call the blog?? I can't be Montana Lizzie if I don't live in Montana! Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy

It has been requested that I write a blog post that DOESN'T depress people. Whhhaaaattttt? What with divorce, job searching, health issues, and an impending move in negative 25 degree weather, it's almost impossible. But I do have one constant in my life that always brings me joy... Jackson. He has had quite a time playing in all the snow we currently have, so watch and enjoy:

video

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Putting things in perspective

So I went out with this guy a friend of mine set me up with a few times in 2007. Nothing serious, a few dates and it just dwindled away.

I just found out he died of heart failure in May of 2007. Unemployment and divorce don't seem so bad anymore. Hug everyone you love.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two Sad Sacks

So my best friend is getting divorced. And living with me. Which means all of our combined saddness meshes together every night to equal one huge ball of ridiculous. We've taken on separate roles. She works, makes money and goes to counseling. I stay home, watch TV and cook. Together, it's a peaceful harmony. Tonight, I cooked us a delicious meal of cheddar and potato soup and garlic bread. I asked Paige (aka my husband) to pick up some champagne on the way home. It became glaringly clear that we were meant to be together when Paige was faced with the difficult decision of whether to buy the $4, $5, $6 or $32 bottle of champagne and, just like I would have, she walked in the door with the bottle of $6 Cooks. Not horrible, not great.

Just Cooks.

Paige, constantly trying to deny our alcholism, only brought home one bottle. So, after we ate and the bottle was gone, we decide to head to the gas station to get a few more. On our way back into the house, Paige turns to me with a bottle of Cooks in each hand and says, "you know when you're unemployed and getting a divorce when..."

So here's our list:

10. You downgrade from Frexinet to Cooks
9. You start to think something called "Island Lime Tequila" is a more economical way to drink than just buying tequila and limes.
8. You hold your dog a little too tight at night (and get jealous when he tries to sleep with your new roommate).
7. Your big dining experience for the week consists of meeting at the Triple Dragon chinese restaurant (that's connected to the Red Lion Inn) for the "Happy Times Lunch Special."
6. You run out of dog food and consider feeding your dog stale cereal.
5. You get a little too emotionally involved in the TLC show, Jon & Kate + 8.
4. To keep yourself occupied during the day, you're currently reading two stellar novels: The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human, and My Horizontal Life: True Life Tales of One Night Stands.
3. You move in with your unemployed best friend while she's out of town, microwave some seriously sketchy shrimp, decide english muffins and Coca Cola Cherry Zero are the only safe way to go, and still don't pay rent.
2. You have honest conversations about selling drugs and whether or not you could feasibly lose enough weight to become strippers.
1. You call eachother every hour, on the hour, just to make sure the other one is in a stable state of mind (aka suicide watch).

Good times, people. Good times:

Too Tall to Date

So I was recently told that I was "too tall to date." I'm almost 5'11'' and LOVE being this tall. I've always had tall friends, so I've never given a second thought to putting on an awesome pair of 4" heels and just OWNING the tallness.

So when some douchey little - and I do mean little - architect man tells me I'm too tall to date when I am looking AMAZING, I decided to say a big f you him and went in the exact opposite direction. Which is what led to these:

5" heels. I thought I could handle them. I can't. I wore them last night and was holding onto tables in order to walk to the bathroom. If I hadn't had friends to hold my hand while I was walking down the stairs, who knows where I'd be today.

Don't get me wrong - the outfit was awesome and the shoes are glorious. But I don't think being unemployed is the best time to break an ankle and end up on the emergency room.

On the bright side, Jackson seems to love the shoes:

But Jackson is also loving me being unemployed, so he's not really the best judge...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Job Hunting

So it can be hard looking for a job. I've never really had to look for a job - they've always kind of fell in my lap. Spoiled much? Maybe. But not anymore. Now I have joined the ranks of the "actively" job searching. And it's fascinating.

I'm 28 and having to consider moving back in with my parents, which makes you really re-think your life. Am I really thinking about moving back in with my parents the same time my 21 year old brother is dropping out of school and moving home? Not okay. So that makes you think about options you never would have considered before.

The awesome thing is I have amazing friends who have offered rooms for me to stay in after my inevitable move back to Portland. But that's almost worse. I am a very experienced and marketable PR professional. And I'm considering living in in E's spare room? It's mildly tempting because I love her and it would be a throw back to the sorority and I could go back to the days of making her uncomfortable by walking naked in front of her and rubbing my boobs on her (see Hooters Is Awesome). But really, is that what I want?

Bottom line is I don't know what I want. Well, really I do: I want to move to Mexico, do marketing for a large hotel, get super skinny and tan and drink tequila and eat guacamole all day, every day.

But that's not likely to happen, is it?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jackson is punishing me

So I have the best dog in the world. He encompasses everything that is good in my life and he makes everyone happy:


I had two other Corgis that my ex kept when we broke up, Xena and Sadie. Although I love them to this day, those two dogs almost broke ex and me up WAAAYYYYY before we did it ourselves. Ever want to test whether you're ready to have kids? Get two puppies at the same time. Christ, get ONE puppy. Those two dogs chewed up carpet, ripped up linoleum, ate every piece of underwear I OWNED, chewed up a pen and then walked all over my bone colored pants and weren't potty trained for a YEAR. Try living in an apartment that consistently smells like pee and see if it doesn't test your relationship.


But whatever, we broke up, he took my dogs, and a little piece of me died. No matter how annoying they can be and how many hundreds of dollars you spend relplacing pieces of your wardrobe, dogs are awesome and make life better. So, as soon as I was out of California and settled back in Oregon, I got Jackson. My little sunshine and honestly the best dog ever. He doesn't bark, he only peed in the house twice when he was a puppy, he loves being around people and has never destroyed anything in the house.

Until today.

My world is a little topsy-turvy right now and he must sense it. And not like it. While I was at the gym this afternoon, Jackson got up on the couch, onto the side table, got my VERY EXPENSIVE MOUTH GUARD that I have to wear because of jaw issues (woooowwwwww I sound like a dork) and chewed it to bits. BITS:


And you know what the first thing my mom said was? "Well, Lizzie, you shouldn't have left it out on the table," which is right up there with when my ex used to say, "Well if you'd just put your underwear in the laundry, this wouldn't be an issue." You know what, mom and ex?? Don't want to hear it. I should have normal dogs who aren't grossly attracted to used underwear and a retainer that's been in my mouth all night.

So $2000 later I'll get a new mouth guard. And having Jackson around to chew up the next one is totally worth every penny.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Age aint nothin' but a number

So this is kind of a follow up to my "I'm a Cougar in Missoula" blog. I don't typically like doing follow up blogs, but I felt I should write this because I think I might need an intervention. A 22-24 year old boy intervention.

Living here has given me unbridled access to young college kids (MAN, that sounds creepy! See why I need the intervention?). It kind of started as a joke and then it started to become kind of real. Like I went out with a 22 year old college SOPHOMORE on more than one date (that is, until he saw me fall through a gate I thought was a railing and land directly on my face... but that's another story). After going out with him, I noticed the guys I was attracted to when we went out were getting younger and younger. Like I considered asking a few of them if they were using fake IDs.

So even after all this, I wasn't really worried. It was all just in good fun. But there have been two new developments that have me worried:

1. My friends are starting to not only accept my cougarness as normal, but are starting to coug out themselves. I mean, one of us prowling around town is dangerous enough. And it was truly eye opening when I found myself being JEALOUS when my friend met and started talking to a 22 year old college kid she met at the U. Whhhhaaaaaaa??

2. My cougar ways have extended outside of Missoula and made their way into my Portland life. A good friend of mine set me up on a date with her boyfriend's best friend, who happens to be 22 and just out of college. He's very attractive, has a job with a future, a good family and seems to be generally normal and not a complete tool (which, let's be clear, really puts him ahead of the game). After some champagne he asked me if I thought us dating could work out and I said maybe, if he could get over me being 6 years older. Then he said something that really made me think: "Really? I thought it would have to be you getting over the fact that I was 22." Huh. Yes, that makes sense. I've become so concerned with how OLD I am, I'm forgetting how YOUNG they are.

And as the veil lifted, I realized I was sitting in a stark white and dirty beige apartment on a seriously gross couch, staring at walls covered in college football paraphernalia with a boy my brother's age.

If that doesn't scare the crap out of all of you and make you want to get on the next plane to Missoula to save me, I don't know what will.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hmmm

Do you think it's bad that while trying to convince my friend to go see the Britney Spears concert with me, I compared it to sleeping with God?:

L: I can't believe you don't want to go to this with me.

P: Bitch please, you know I would have starved myself to lose weight and worn the skankiest gear, fake eyelashes and makeup to the nines just to get a fraction closer to Justin Timberlake!!! Britney, now she's another story...

L: She's slept with him. That's like sleeping with God. She's worth seeing.

P: Allegedly.

I'm going to hell.

Thoughts on being single at 28

So I have made some bad decisions. And I have had my heart FULLY and COMPLETELY broken. Broken to the point where to this day I still don't know if I'll ever be the same again. And the ongoing reality that I might have lost myself over four years ago occasionally makes a person introspective...

I don't know if I COULD be in a relationship again. I've been single and living alone since January 2004 and the thought of sharing my space, my friends, my dog and my LIFE kind of repulses me a bit. And so I'm having a hard time coming to terms with very conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I've always wanted to get married. ALWAYS. I had the grand plan in high school: engaged at 24, married at 26, baby at 28. Obviously that didn't work out, but I still want the plan - just on a later timetable (okay, except the kids part. Turn "baby" into "another dog" and it's a possibility...).

But now my want/need to get married and be a part of something bigger is kind of being drowned out by my ridiculously selfish personality. I want to live alone, I don't want to share the TV, no you can't eat three of my Lean Cuisine pizzas for lunch, GET ON YOUR SIDE OF THE BED, peeing on the toilet seat and not doing anything about it is disgusting, yes my makeup needs to be on the counter, yes $300 shoes are necessary, 5:00pm does not mean 5:45pm - it means 4:45pm, and YES it is absolutely necessary for me to have three Girls Nights a week because you are constantly annoying me and in my space.

So has the person who was left in a trillion little pieces all those years ago become extremely cynical and pessimistic and way too set in her ways? Have I constantly sabotaged myself and invested way too much energy in douchey guys for four years? It appears so.

But maybe all is not completely lost... I still occasionally find people who make me laugh and listen to my problems and who I genuinely care about. They're not perfect and definitely not boyfriends (or future husbands for that matter), but they make me happy nonetheless and give me a small inkling of hope that there are still good guys out there and that one day I'll be pieced back together enough to appreciate them.

Sober City

So I have stomach ulcers. I know, awesome. Maybe caused by stress, more likely caused by massive quantities of so-so wine. Regardless of the cause, I was instructed not to drink for a month. I made it a week.

Then there came some situations where a drink was kind of necessary. Then some where 5 drinks were necessary. And THEN some serious shit went down and now I'm back to consuming ulcer-inducing amounts of booze. I'm kind of at a loss as how to solve this problem. I'm drinking because I'm stressed out, but stress and drinking cause ulcers. Ulcers give me more stress so I drink. See the never ending cycle? And it's the holidays. Who doesn't drink during the holidays?

Today is a new day and I've only been back on the drinking wagon for four days or so. I could totally start the trip to Sober City again. I cooouuullllldddddd... I think I need to talk myself into this...

Pros of not drinking:

1. I'll lose 10 pounds in like a week
2. Ulcers might successfully heal
3. I get to watch the hilarious things my friends do with full clarity
4. I'll save money
5. I can be sober driver for my friends
6. I'll have a lot less bruises
7. I won't have any more moments like the one where I tried to kiss this random guy named Carl at the Iron Horse who seemed kind of into me after I'd had like 20 drinks because I thought I lost my job and then he just awkwardly turned his head and I kissed his cheek and Paige pulled me away quickly before I could do something even worse.

We all know what the con is: Boring Lizzie. And being Boring Lizzie might outweigh all the pros...