15 December 2006
My mom is superstitious and has passed some of her beliefs over to me.
I just realized today that I had not followed two of her superstitions and strangely, my luck has turned for the worse.
The most obvious superstition that I've not followed is a Christmas tradition. My mom is the only person that I've ever heard this from. It could be she made it up just so she could be festive for longer, I'm not sure.
She never took the Christmas tree down until after the new year. It was bad luck to do it sooner, so she said.
Two years running, I've taken the tree down early. Two years running, we've had struggles. Hmmm.
I think I'm going to wait to take down the tree until the middle of January. Perhaps even leave it up year-round: Groundhog Day, Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day...you get the idea. Although I'm pretty sure the Mad Genius wouldn't stand it for too long. I imagine I would come home one day to find the tree thrown in the middle of the yard.
Anyway, I'm off topic. What a shock.
Another superstition is not to turn the calendar page until the first day of the month.
Some people that I've worked with would tear off the page one or two days early and I always cringed. I don't remember the logic of this superstition but I'm sure it's something about rushing time or not honoring time.
(Also, not so much a superstition, but something that bothers me is marking off calendar days. So many people do this. Cross out the day as it passes. What are you counting down to? It just seems a little morbid.)
I've been lax about my calendar this year. I only bought one, and bought it well into January. As I've been home, I have been lazy about flipping the pages when the month changes. Yikes. I haven't been keeping track of time.
Now I've already been given three calendars. I have one on the refrigerator, one on the wall next to my desk and the other is waiting patiently to be posted in January because we've learned not to do it early, haven't we?
Maybe if I follow these two superstitions, I'll be golden again. It's worth a shot.
Okay, you can eye-roll one last time. But, I bet you think about this when you see calendars next time you shop and when you defrock the Christmas tree. You can thank me...or curse me, you choose...later.
14 December 2006
All the giveaways on the talk shows bother me.
Oprah began it with "My Favorite Things" which might as well be titled "Things You'll Never Afford."
Now, it seems, all the talk shows do it.
As a viewer from home, there's just something disheartening about it. All of these people are getting cool things, just for showing up. While I sit in my house, with all of life's worries and woes, and grumble. It sounds selfish now that I say it out loud but it's just annoying.
And the screaming. Oh God, the screaming. SHUT UP already. The audience often acts as if someone has paid their mortgage in full and they've just received oh, a sweater.
Sometimes that audience is given a lame gift...I can't think of an example...oh wait, yes I can. An electronic dictionary! Then, I feel badly for that audience that got chumped. Yesterday, everyone received portable DVD players and then today, a bargain shelf gift. *That* would be the day I would be in the audience.
I'm usually a giver and Christmas is one of my favorite holidays so it's not like I'm mean or selfish. It's just irritating and it seems like people expect it now. And it's not just during the holidays, it's all the time now.
Although, it was cool when Howard Stern gave everyone Sirius Radio on Letterman the other night. (:-D There's always exceptions to the rule, I suppose.
The first one was like Embarrassment Central. A check-cashing store right next to Lover's Package. (an adult store) The picture in my head was quite funny. I'll let you form your own images, thank you.
The second one was worse. A Curves (women's only gym) next to a Dinner's Ready!
store. Oh the irony, the temptation, the cruelty.
I wonder if the developer or realtor signed the leases to these businesses while giggling like a schoolgirl.
It's just a nice change. I think the advent of using popular music in sitcoms, dramedys and dramas such as Grey's Anatomy has finally hit a chord with viewers. (Count the assorted puns in that sentence! )
While I'm on the subject of Christmas Music...Can I just say that just because you are a "singer", it doesn't mean you should actually sing Christmas songs? Or re-do the original arrangements. This irritation is directly specifically at most current "artists". I'm pretty sure that these classics don't need a backbeat or runs.
Also, I've noticed singers tossing in Christmas references and calling it a Christmas song. Kind of like the aged rocker in "Love Actually", where they took a former hit of his and made it into an unbearable Christmas song. Just don't.
Just sing it the way it was intended to be, sing the classics or sit down. Of course, there's always exceptions. Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" is a good current song. Bare Naked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" is amazing. But mostly, the Christmas cd's that are issued recently are just painful. AND they all contain the same songs! Mostly mainstream, secular, and boring.
Also, the country singers seem to be do a better job at these songs than most artists, I wonder why? Although I am not including Kenny Chesney's All I Want for Christmas is a Tan. How depressing is that?
My favorite Christmas Album ever? Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry. It has all the classics, sung the way they're supposed to be. Call me a purist. (:-D
If you are a non-traditional Christmas music human, do try the Bare Naked Ladies Christmas album. Their version of Jingle Bells is priceless. I would describe it as manic-depressive. They include Hannakuh songs, which are kind of cool too.
The local radio station does 24 hour Christmas music from midnight Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. I was up late one year and it seemed like they had raided my parents albums. I heard such obscure classics as "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" and "I Want a Hippapotomus for Christmas." It was awesome! Instant time travel!
So Merry Christmas Everyone! Belt out those carols! Whichever version you prefer, although I would recommend surfing EBay and buying Rudolph's album.
12 December 2006
I did get propositioned by a young Russian girl that would LOVE to meet me and was by the way, has been told that she's very pretty and kisses good. That would be fabulous except for two things: I don't play for that team and I'm not stupid.
One that makes me laugh is the Fifth Third Bank. Who falls for that b.s.?
Who thought of Fifth Third Bank? It sounds like new math.
I also regularly am contacted about Cooking School, which cracks me up because I'm infamous for my Not Cooking Skills. Also, cooking doesn't seem like a great online course. It goes along with a quote from Drew Carey. He talks about taking a veternarian class and getting puppies from the pet store to practice. It's just not a pretty picture.
It can also be a little eerie when they happen to use a name that you recognize but is off just a little. It's just random coincidence but a little disconcerting all the same to see a friends name and then Penis Enlargement in the subject line. I have outrageous friends but I think they'd draw the line somewhere before the word enlargement. At Least I hope so!
First the mouse would like a cookie, so a cookie is given.
Then the mouse needs milk to go with the cookie, so milk is given,
Then the mouse needs a napkin, so the napkin is given.
And so on And so on
Until the mouse ends up with a multitude of things going on and finally it resolves back at needing a cookie.
This is how my life goes. Not only is the Mad Genius ADHD Boy, I believe I am slightly ADD myself. I can start off with a plan and an hour later, end up doing something completely different. I could list examples all day long so let's not bother, shall we?
There are two t-shirts that apply to the Mad Genius and sometimes myself: "They say I have ADD but I don't think...Oh! Look! A Chicken..." and "I'm Talking and I can't Shut Up." Ooh, there was a good example right there and I didn't even intend it!
Last month I signed up for NaNoWriMo; which is the National Novel Writing Month. The premise is to write a novellette, 50,000 words during the month of November. Me, being the under-estimator of how long things actually take, excitedly signed up. I'd just finished my actual novel and have another in the works so I thought it might be fun. And it was fun. But unfortunately, my NaNoWriMo has turned into NaNoWriMos.
Circumstances that aren't under my control happened that kept me away from the keyboard. Fun stuff like looking for a job, a parent having open heart surgery, a day without electricity, you know, the fun stuff that life likes to hurl your way. I also counted on using the time that the Mad Genius was in Las Vegas Baby to write but my pouting took more time than I had scheduled. So, here we sit. It's December and I'm not even at the half-way point. Oh and did I mention that my laptop ate about four pages? Yeah. FUN.
But now I'm committed, I'm interested. I can't just let these characters fade away into oblivion. One of the other challenges are/were that I have the world's shortest attention span. I would work on the novellette but it would remind me of something else that I could write about and then I'd find myself on a tangent. This somehow didn't affect my blog, as evidenced by months of neglect. But it did result in adding sections to the previous aforementioned "finished" novel. I'm sure this is the nature of the writing beast. I just have to figure out a way to work with said beast.
But perseverence is one of my qualities! I shall prevail! I have a new goal! I'll finish the damn thing by the end of December. It's only the 12th! I have PLENTY of time.
Now, what was I doing?
02 October 2006
I recently finished a set of stories that were, as I discovered, only the first two stories in the series. Yikes! I went onto my ever faithful Amazon account and could only find them in cheezy paperbacks. (Not only am I a book whore, I am a book snob that prefers hardbacks) I checked Zooba (more on that in a minute) but they didn't have it either. *Panic*
I reluctantly returned to Amazon and was going to buy the paperbacks when I had a brainstorm. Check the author's website! Sure enough, once I followed a link, there was the book I was looking for! *Happy Happy Joy Joy!* It should be here in a few days.
Here are a few ideas of where I find my books:
www.zooba.com This was recommended by my B.F.F. K and I am eternally grateful. For $9.95 montly, you get a book in the mail. It's such a beautiful thing. All books are $9.95 and are hardbound. You make a reading list much like Netflix. If you're thinking it's only the lesser books, you are wrong. Bestsellers are often available. You can buy as many books as you wish, you don't have to commit to just one book monthly.
Value Village. As you know I am a pirate. I can usallly find at least three books, all hardbound in their book section. There is usally little rhyme or reason (pun unintended) to their organization so it takes a little while to browse. I like it better than used books stores as their prices are less expensive and I enjoy the hunt.
Amazon. I like to use Amazon for gift-giving or immediate gratification. As I live in the Pacific NW, delivery is usually quite quick. (nanner, nanner, nanner East Coasters!)
Author Websites. As I've recently discoverd, they often sell their books from their own sites. The shipping was about the same as Amazon on the site that I ordered from. A perk, is that some offer the Author's autographs. This is cool if you're looking for a special gift.
Book Clubs such as the Literary Guild, etc. I like their introductory offers: 5 books for five pennies or whatever. The trick is to fulfill the agreement as soon as possible. The first few books if you buy them immediately are usually significantly discounted as well. Then you can either cancel or just shop their sales.
Librarys. K uses the library often. I am a hoarder of books however and am always reluctant to give them back. I use the library for reference books or I go check them out before buying them to make sure I really, really want them.
Used Book Stores. I am not wildly excited about these stores. I find them cluttered and often filled with Garage Sale castoffs. They can become useful, however, if you are culling your books. You can sell them or trade them for more books! I guess these stores can be defined as drug dealers or pimps for bibliophiles. (:-D
So, there you go, a few words of wisdom for my fellow book whores. Happy Reading!
I went outside on the deck to make sure I'd really seen them. They were flying low, coming in from over the bay...indicating that perhaps they were coming from the local Navy base.
I'm used to Med-Flight helicopters. I always sent a silent thank you/prayer to them when I see them. But these helicopters were disconcerting. Gun turrets were visible. These just make you shiver. We are not in a flight path, I live in an extremely rural area. This is unusual.
As I live near the Canadian Border, I immediately turned the television onto the local channels to see if anything had happened. All I could find was soap operas and talk shows. I called the Mad Genius and he said they were probably just out for a cruise. *eye-rolling*
There was a time where this would have been exciting but now I found myself immediately wondering what had gone wrong in the world now.
How sad is that?
I haven't watched it in years. It seemed like they were "surprising" the homeowners with purposeful ungodly designs that they hated on sight. I stopped watching and now all the best decoraters have left the show. It must be the only reason Hildi still has a job.
Hildi seems to be the Anti-Decorator. My God, who would hire this woman? It's like she is the Emperess of The Emperors New Clothes!
I have seen her put HAY on the walls. I think she called it something else but I know HAY when I see it. She also did a purple and red circus dining room. I would LOVE to see her house. I bet you that it is not, not, not decorated with sand, hay or primary colors. What a mean, spiteful woman.
Today's episode was a beach room; complete with BRIGHT F#$%ing stripes of yellow and read and SAND on the floor. Yes, SAND. You know, because that's easy to care for and not track through the entire house. Or heaven forbid, they have a CAT. *withering sarcasm*
How did such a great show turn into the Jerry Spring of Home Decorating? It's just very sad.
So, word out to my friends, don't EVER think of Punking/Trading Spaces with the Malibu Barbie Dream House. I have access to Class B Explosives and I'm not afraid of using them.
10 September 2006
If you get the chance, watch "Trick My Truck" on CMT. The new shows are on Friday nights, but you can find it on many times during the week. It's a show for over-the-road truck drivers, kind of like Extreme Makeover.
It features our friends Rod & Kevin Pickett, who own Pickett Custom Trucks. (www.pickettcustomtrucks.com)
It is surreal to watch friends on television but we're enjoying it. After two seasons, we're finally seeing the boys relax on camera, thus showing their true personalities. (:-D This is a good thing.
The Pickett boys are the epitome of COOL. Instinctively, they know and can create cool. Before this show, they were known for having the baddest race cars & trucks. These guys are artists in cool. And they're good guys.
Even if you don't like makeover shows or big trucks, watch this show. Not only are the Pickett boys creative geniuses, so are their co-workers. (The Chrome Shop Mafia) The painter - I'm horrible with names, apologies - is such a remarkable painter. He is AMAZING.
So, tune in and watch Rod & Kevin. Trust me, you'll be impressed.
01 September 2006
I began watching it with trepidation. I had kept an eye on the news throughout this whole disaster and I am bitter about the failures, all of them. I had reservations that Lee was going to take a "White Man's trying to hold us down" approach. And in some respects, he did. Rather, the people that he chose to include did. Nevertheless, with that, it was filmed with an open mind that represented basic humanity.
Requiem is four hours long. It is A LOT to take in, especially in one viewing. He edited it in a way that literally immerses you in the crisis then brings you out just in time. The music is appropriate, it is cultural, and it is mournful. The footage is all real footage. It shows the bodies, which makes a person wince but you have to see the bodies in order to get it. In order to understand, it has to be shown. It is not gratuitous, it is necessary.
He made sure that all parties were represented: African Americans, Whites, poor, wealthy, middle class, educated & uneducated, powerful and powerless. He offers all of the Big Players their perspectives in person or in the news clips and interviews that they gave at the time.
I think everyone should have to watch this for a few reasons:
We need to understand how badly our government failed an entire region of the United States.
We need to remember these people when it comes to vote in November 2006 and November 2008. There has to be wide sweeping changes. Has to be.
One last reason: because, as it is mentioned in the documentary, this could have just as easily been any of the major US cities. It just happened to be in Louisiana. We have to ensure that it never happens again.
The Mad Genius thought about it and said "Just to love her and for her to love me isn't enough. Love isn't enough." This is so powerful. He continued: "It's not like we have a plan that we follow. Yes, we love each other but we're also Compatible. She's my best friend, and I hope that I am hers. We're friends. Love isn't enough."
He's right. Love isn't enough. Love wouldn't have gotten us through a lot of sh*t. I think that's where many people make a mistake: just loving one another isn't going to fix everything.
Oprah had Lance Armstrong's ex-wife on the other day. As Oprah doesn't usually do the lusty tell-all kind of shows, I was curious. Indeed, it turned out to be a deep conversation about how relationships work. (Note: I said Relationships, not marriages. This isn't specific to marriages but to all relationships)
His ex-wife (apologies for forgetting her name) told how she lost herself. She became what she thought she should be as "the perfect wife". She was baffled - at the time - as to why she was unhappy. She had changed many characteristic things about herself in order to be the perfect wife. In trying to do so, she lost who she really was. As a result, they failed. She wasn't real with him. As much as they probably loved each other, it wasn't enough. I think people make this mistake often as well. They mold themselves into what they think people want.
I have always hated the bar scene. It always irritated me when I watched the guys (my friends especially) ogling the "hot girls". Now, it is not a jealousy thing. Stay with me. It was because I knew that they were going home with an image: dyed hair, styled hair, colored contacts, sexy clothes, make-up. Once she showers in the morning and puts on her sweats, she looks completely different. She looks normal.
Then the girls would be broken-hearted when the guy didn't call again and the guys would be irritated because the hot girl ended up just being "normal".
Attraction wasn't enough.
In "Must Love Dogs", the character Jake summed it well:
"You have to be totally honest, because you've got nothing to lose…we're never going to see each other as clearly, this nakedly as we do right here, right now."
He also says "You can't say 'Happy anniversary honey, here's the real me.' It doesn't work that way."
Pretty wise words for a romantic comedy.
You have to make the effort to be compatible. Sometimesi t comes easily and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you have to compromise. It can be as simple as the Mad Genius will watch "So you think you can dance" and I will tolerate "UFC". He makes an effort to ask about what I'm reading and I make an effort to listen about what he reads. Thankfully, for us, most of the time our likes and dislikes are similar. So, not just compatibility but flexibility too.
I'm not saying that our marriage is perfect. It's perfect for us. Sure, we have some fights and frustrations. It's normal. But we're friends, we're compatible, we love each other and we're real. It doesn't make us bullet-proof, but we've at least got our protective vests on.
It's not about Love.
Around is the answer.
I've been enjoying one of the nicest summers ever, which makes me grateful to be gainfully unemployed.
I've been hanging with my mom and the Mad Genius.
I've been making progress, finally, on the book. I know! Shocking!
I've also, upon on of my BFF's advice, watching trashy daytime television.
It's been great!!
However, now it's a new month. The summer is waning and it's time to attempt adulthood once again.
I'll let you know how it goes. (:-D
16 July 2006
Quickie Pizza Rice Cakes
Place 4 rice cakes on a baking sheet. Spread pizza sauce evenly on each cake, then add sliced ripe olives, diced green peppers and sliced mushrooms and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes.
I forwarded it to my friends with a "Hmmm, I don't know about this".
The best response from my friend K was: I do. I'll bet it tastes like Despair.
Something I’ve tried is to say "hello" to the person that the song reminds me of.
If it is a song that reminds me of a former love, I try to smile and just say "Hi." It seems to take the sting out of it and makes me smile about it instead of sighing wistfully. It is a momentary connection with that person.
It seemed to take some of the power away from the songs, making those moments just a bit more bearable.
A long-time friend lost his eldest son in a freak household accident a few years ago. They played a song that reminded me of a lost love at the time. Now that I know it was Casey’s favorite song, I say hi to him when I hear it now, it’s still kind of sad but it reminds me of Casey and I tell him Hi when I hear it.
Although I admit, there is still one song that makes me want to run screaming from the room. I think that song will forever be tainted, no matter how I try. So, it is not a blanket cure.
I remember a friend telling me long ago that she hates Rod Stewart… hates him to the point of leaving the grocery store with a filled cart in the aisle in order to avoid him. I am afraid saying "hi" isn’t going to help her. (:-D I wonder what Rod did to her? But, again, I digress.
Everyone has a song that makes them pause and think; it is normal. I’ve just tried to make it into something meaningful instead of swooning or becoming teary or changing the channel.
Try it, maybe it will work. Maybe not. What do you have to lose?
Who is doing Burger King's marketing? It is as if they have hired the Dream Team. Remember that movie? Where they put crazy people as advertisers? Although, in the movie, they did a great job. The marketers for Burger King seem to be people that were fired from Jackass.
Their most recent ads feature little people who are "building" hamburgers, complete with a "Tattoo" clone. It is just wrong. I would think the little people would be picketing Burger King at this point.
Along with the constant barrage of cars & mattresses come razors.
There is always something new, what are we up to now? Six blades? These poor guys are using combines now, not razors. Also, it seems that you can’t have a "good" - and I use that term loosely - razor commercial unless there are lasers, or hot girls in lab coats. I want to see a Sweeney Todd razor commercial!
There is also a lot of symbolism in commercials now. The most obvious is the Budweiser, with their logo imprinted many different ways. There is also a cell-phone commercial, showing bars everywhere. It’s like a 30 second "Where’s Waldo."
I’m loving the 1970’s kaleidoscope commercials I’ve seen too. Lots of candy commercials are in that style.
AND the Target ads! Wow, talk about hip and cool!
I can’t BELIEVE that I saw M-n-M’s and Hershey’s chocolate bars have sex! It showed a romantic, fireside setting and in the blink of an eye, the new Amazing bar is created. (or whatever it’s called.) So, they didn’t exactly have sex, it is just implied but still.
With my newfound free time, I’ve begun noticing the clauses and legalese that is listed along the bottom of many commercials. Most of them say "Results not typical" or "Please Drink Responsibly" (which is funny in and of itself, like a drunken person can read the size 6 font at the bottom of the screen)
One actually read "The use of helicopter is not an energy saving technique"
The chewing gum commercial with Snoop Dogg…I keep missing the clause but I believe it says something about how the gum won’t get you into heaven.
Another trick I’ve noticed is the rave "reviews" that movies put into their trailers. Look closely at whom those "reviews" are attributed to. It’s often not the New York Times or Variety or People. It’s like the Podunk Times or the Cheeseburger Monthly.
So, I’ve provided you a few fun games for you to do during commercials…a benefit from all the free time I have on my hands.
I've just finished my busiest week of the year. If you've met me, you know I've just finished a week of blowing sh*t up. If you've not, then well, you've got to keep reading.
All is well, everyone still has all of their fingers and heads. No injuries, as per usual.
I've realized however, that we've gotten entirely too comfortable doing this dangerous job. In fact, we discussed it while getting ready before a show. A person becomes numb to the fact that we're not only handling high explosives, we're LIGHTING them. On purpose. And enjoying it.
There are three reasons that I can immediately state that we're entirely too comfortable lighting explosives:
#1. Someone sneezed during the show and we all said "Bless You."
#2. We are singing and/or dancing to the music that is set to the fireworks.
#3. There is inappropriate conversation...nee' flirting...that is occuring. "Excuse me while I touch your ass, but you're on fire" was actually said during the last show.
While I do miss actually watching a fireworks show, I remind myself that I get to watch from the best seat in the house. There is nothing better than looking straight up and watching shots burst right above my head. AND knowing that it is me, my family, and friends that are making it happen.
The fact that there are 10,000 people cheering isn't a bad gig either. (:-D
So, next time you watch fireworks, think of me. There are people that literally risk life & limb to do this job. Give them an extra cheer.
09 June 2006
High Alert Status entails pricked ears, hair on end, intense focus, and a guttural "grrrr-uff" Let’s call it Red Level. High Alert Status happens on a regular basis and her humans are kept on a need-to-know basis. Unfortunately, we apparently don’t need to know often.
The dog has taken to patrolling her parameter from the comfort atop the picnic table on the deck. This, apparently, is the best vantage point.
Often, like just a moment to go, there is an Immediate Need to React.
Snoozing quietly on her post, she was suddenly compelled to be alert, launching off the table and barking. Apparently, a bird had entered her parameter without requesting permission for landing. Silly, silly bird.
Other times, it’s a raised head and pricked ears. She often looks at us, as if to say "Do you hear that? Should I get up? What do you think?" Most times, she decides "all clear" and we can go about our daily lives. This would be Yellow Level.
Sometimes, often when it’s just her and me home alone, she’ll look up and look at me with anxiety. She will look around as if she has just seen a ghost. Can I say just how much I HATE that? Yet, she doesn’t do it if the Mad Genius is around. So it’s either because he has extra-sensory powers that she trusts in more than me or
she’s just f#$king with me.
If we have company, she becomes the hostess. What would this be? Purple Level? "Here is our house. Here is my bum, please scratch me because they *never* scratch me. They don’t feed me either so excuse me while I supervise your eating, in case of emergency spillage." Yes, she is a cunning secret agent. She can only be foiled by food, it is her kryptonite.
Thankfully, we must again be on Green Level because she is snoozing on her post, much like Snoopy upon his doghouse. All is right with the world, for now.
Oh for the love of all things Holy, my niece has begun dating.
She's "going with" a boy named Wayne. Wayne looks like a skateboarder and has the manners of an eight-year-old. I am so hoping it is a passing fancy. Considering her mother is straight-up crazy and my brother is completely incapable of choosing a proper mate, I'm hoping she has better luck in the romance department. I am a little skeptical as it also took me three tries to get marriage right. Her genetic odds are not great.
Anyhoo, I digress. It's never going to get better, this digression thing.
I was trying to remember the Dating Rules that my friend C and I had in high school. Some of them were silly, but upon retrospect, I think they were a good, solid set of guidelines:
1. Never date a guy you can take in a fistfight.
2. Never date a guy that wears more make-up than you do.
3. Never date a guy that can fit in your jeans.
4. Never date a guy that looks better in your clothes than you do.
5. Never date a guy that is better looking than you do.
Those are the rules that I remember. I've emailed C to see if she remembers any of the rest of them.
However, I do have others, more serious, to add:
NEVER date someone who can't decide if they want to be with you.
Never dates someone who is "misunderstood" People understand him perfectly. He's a loser, move on.
Never date someone who raises a hand to you. EVEN IN JEST. (Because I will hunt him down and inflict certain bodily harm...or just flatten all the tires on his car, like I did in high school for my little sister :-)
Date someone who makes you laugh because he's funny, not because he's disrespectful.
Date someone who make you feel good, not because he makes you *look* good.
Date someone who likes your friends, and whom your friends like.
Date someone who looks people in the eye and shakes your Dad's hand when they meet.
Date someone who opens door for you and says "Bless you" when you sneeze.
That's all I got for right now. I'm going to send them to my niece; I can do that because I'm the cool auntie. (:-D
I'll forward a copy to the Brother so he can post them on the fridge for an easy reference guide.
07 June 2006
But I do return, often with a flurry of postings. It seems to be my process. I begin one post then others seem to fall into place quite quickly. Also, I work on a lap top and a dinosaur computer, sometimes my posts were written months ago just not posted. (see "May 9")
So, be patient, dear ones. I will always eventually return.
Especially now that I have time on my hands, I can get around to all those scribbled notes on envelopes and scraps of paper that I have lying next to my desk.
If you get a chance, click on the links to "All You Need to Know", my e-friend Terry always has something interesting to say. Or click on "Kristen's Book Reviews" and read what witty comment she has on the latest books she's read.
I hope you enjoy the ride. Thanks for checking in.
Suddenly people are hyper-aware of what they are doing now that they are being “watched.” Some people are saying it’s simply a control issue, the “management” wants to know what everyone is doing. Well, yeah. I’m sure that it’s a benefit.
I guess my opinion is a little skewed as I see where it could be an effective management tool. It’s not as if they work only in an office, it’s a huge job site with pockets of activity and heavy machinery. It can be security, it can be safety, it can be cost-productive.
It can be argued that a simple camera may not show what exactly is happening, especially since there is no audio. What may look like a bull-shitting/gossip session may actually be a work-based conversation. Conversely, it can show a person what does happen day-to-day that shouldn’t.
Many businesses have surveillance cameras, especially financial institutions. While I think it would be initially uncomfortable, a person would eventually acclimate and forget that they are there. Look at all the reality shows! But my point is, the presence of cameras seem to becoming more commonplace.
Is it more of an issue because it’s new? If they began the job with the cameras installed, would they be so upset about it?
They say, also, that it’s a matter of trust. They’ve gone this long without cameras, why begin now? As long as their work is being completed, what’s the worry?
That’s another argument: if they are doing their jobs properly, there is nothing to worry about. Hmmm. This is fine, but Everyone goofs off occasionally. Will it be heightened now that it’s being recorded?
Think about it…right now someone is recording your every move. Every time you touch your nose or scratch personal places. Every time you check your personal emails. Every time you do anything, it’s being recorded.
Some people would love that…again, just look at reality television. But I think most wouldn’t.
But, fact remains, it’s becoming a part of life. It’s a fact that I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. It’s beginning to weigh in with the death penalty and abortion.
Smile, you may be on candid camera!
Former President Bill Clinton stated in a chapter of his book how he lived parallel lives. Two, completely independent, separate lives: his work life and his personal life. My initial reaction was an eye roll and sarcastic “whatever”. It seemed a lame excuse for making a poor choice.
Then I thought about it. I think he’s more normal than one would think. He summed up a way that, I believe, many people live their lives.
Shortly after learning this theory, I read an interview with Caroline Kepcher from Donald Trump’s organization – made famous by The Apprentice. She mentioned that she too keeps her personal and business life purposefully separate.
I found that I do that. I never let my work into my personal life. I keep the two distinctly separate. I’d like to say that my personal life never gets into my work life but it does happen. It’s inevitable, as I am human.
Every once in a while, my lives collide. It’s disconcerting. Although I am the same person, it’s not like split personalities; I am a different person in each world. Whereas I believe my separate lives are more extreme than most cases, I think everyone has their own personal version.
My (former now) work world is a girl world. I have a staff of 16 women and 2 men. It’s a world filled with emotions and free-flowing thoughts, ideas and hormones.
My home world is boy world. It’s just me & the Mad Genius, who is a man’s man. He has a brother and no sisters. Our neighbor is our father-figure, a widower. Our hobbies are also boy activities.
Boy world is a world of black & white, say it like it is. Feelings are clear & well-spoken and there is rarely ambiguity.
Boys can tell one another to f&%# off and they’re fine the next minute. In girl world, the time & date will be noted, to be used for future reference. In boy world if someone is upset, they deal with it directly. This is usually not the case in girl world.
Frankly, I like boy world better when it comes to communication. It’s clear and one never doubts. In girl world, it’s murky and ever shifting. Girl world isn’t as forgiving.
But girl world is usually more caring and compassionate. It has a soft side where boy world has a soft underbelly that one rarely sees.
I just wonder, they say that the world would be a better & different place if women were in charge. Having experienced both worlds, I’m not certain. Each has their pluses & minuses.
So while my separate lives are black & white, I think most are more ambiguous. The business personality & the home personality, the mommy personality and the spouse or child personality.
It’s interesting to consider. What are your separate lives?
You see, this is the friend that was (yes, was - see "What do to about a Problem Like Maria)
in jail. Now she’s home with her family, like nothing has ever happened. Well, with the exception of her husband in prison and now has an 18-month hole in her resume.
I’ve not spoken to her since her initial calls from jail. I just can’t conceive of having a friendship with her. She’s crossed the line, not only because of the crimes she’s committed, but also because of the person she WAS.
I get it now. In high school, nothing is ever as it seems. At that age, you *think* you know everything. In fact, you’re certain of it. It’s just so OBVIOUS. Parents and teachers are stupid, they’ve never experienced what you’ve experienced.
With time comes wisdom usually and one learns important lessons in hindsight.
This was one of those friendships that had lasted the bonds of time. It crossed continents, marriages, children, and crises. Time would pass, but the bond remained the same.
Then in a zippy twist tantamount to a Mary Higgins Clark novel, all is NOT at ALL what it seemed…or ever was.
This friend is addicted to unhealthy relationships. I can see the pattern now.
This friend had many separate lives; depending on which person she was interacting with.
This friend has serious flaws in her psyche that make the line of morality blurry. This revelation is not only drawn from the two court files worth of charges and evidence. It is also drawn from the wisdom of hindsight.
I would like to rend my clothing and declare her dead to me. I would like to banish every remnant of her from my life. But I can’t. This person, as unhealthy as she is and was,
is part of my fabric. She is part of me, and how I became me. To deny her completely is to change who I am.
I just hope that I can and will continue to make better choices despite this absence. I hope that someday I can forgive. I can recognize that she is not her actions and hope that she can make better choices.
In the meantime, I will sigh as this day passes each year. The person I knew is dead. It's not a reason for celebration anymore.
06 June 2006
Having recently been fired, I speak from experience.
You know, in my situation, it is not even the fired part that bothers me. It's the loss.
It is the loss of trust that I had with the person who did the deed.
It is the loss of friendships with my co-workers and clients.
It is the loss of structure. I have no idea how to manage my day.
It is the loss of finances. This has put a crimp in my life, certainly.
It is not just the loss of a "job". It's a lifestyle change.
Everyone has been supportive. I have heard "Everything happens for a reason" "It's going to be okay," etc. Everyone has said, "Take some time off." As nice as that sounds, I am having a difficult time just chilling. I feel compelled to do *something* I am not a productive member of society.
And there is that pesky bill thing too. Oh, yeah, that.
God doesn't like arrogance, I've always said, and he's sure making certain that I'm not arrogant!
And be careful what you wish for. I recently was wishing that I could just work part time or quit and become a writer full-time. Well, prophetically, I got my wish! Be careful what you wish for!
Although the reasons for being fired are varied...budgetary, take-overs, burnout...
It really doesn't matter. You still have to say you were fired. What an ego-check.
I have learned to phrase it as "I was unexpectedly separated from my job", which sounds so much nicer. It doesn’t feel so cheezy. I don't feel like such a loser.
But the fact remains; I have been Trumped. I am not the Apprentice. I have been fired.
Feel free to play along.
My Name: There are many versions of me.
Childhood Ambition: to be a teacher.
Fondest Memory: Ice skating with my eldest brother. (ironically, one of my worst memories is ice skating with my younger brother :-)
Soundtrack: My life *is* a country song
Retreat: My home
Wildest Dream: Living in Nantucket as a successful writer
Proudest Moment: Marrying the Mad Genius
Biggest Challenge: My past
Alarm Clock: Mad Genius saying "It's time to get up, Bud"
Perfect Day: No work, no phone, good movies, and a good book. Oh and a bath. And chocolate.
First Job: Babysitting & housekeeping
Last Purchase: Books
Favorite Movie: I can't choose just one!
Something you've always wanted to do: Drive alone across the US
What Amuses You: Mad Genius, on a daily basis.
What's the most dangerous thing you've ever done?
HAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm a licensed pyrotechnican and drag race. I laugh at Danger! No, really. Hmmm...I've done some stupid things. Street Race when I was 16, driving when I was 16. Pretty much anything I did when I was 16. Got married at 19.
Favorite word? Fuck-all is my favorite curse word. Serendipity is my favorite regular word.
Where do you dance? In the car.
What's the number one problem in the world today? Greed
If you could change the world, what would you do? Stop Poverty
Inspiration: Many things & peope inspire me on a daily basis.
My Life: is in progress and never boring.
Such a simple word, that can illicit such strong emotions.
Is there nothing more comforting than hearing "Are you okay?" from a loved one?
Or a "Everything's going to be okay" after something terrible has happened.
Such a simple word, slang really.
It can also express approval or acceptance. What's better than "okay" for ananswer when requesting something?
Such a positive word. It can change your world in a heartbeat.
It's funny how such a little word can have such an impact. It's so versatile. It can erase sadness, it can comfort & soothe, it can give approval.
01 June 2006
One of my former co-workers donates regularly and reports that it is easy money. She goes two-three times a week. I *thought* she said she made $45 a pop.
Bored, unemployed, and soon to be broke, I figured "What the hell. I'll give it a try." Easy money baby!
You know how you judge an apartment complex by the kinds of cars you see in the parking spaces? This should have been my first clue.
The second clue was the fact that the two "gentlemen" waiting looked like meth-heads and made me wonder how they got past the "illicit substances" questions.
Third clue is the person that checked me in was a puppy. He was 20, at most, and I feel that was being generous.
So, they took a bunch of information and someone else gave me a "physical" which meant listening to my heart, flashing a light in my eyes and mouth and testing my reflexes. This was clue number 4.
Then it was my turn. You sit in these recliner like things and there are pinball looking machines next to each chair.
First, they have you sign another form. Then they give you the money in this furtive little flourish. A whopping $15. Okay, at this point, I am ready to bail. I have already wasted $15 worth of time. But I am kinda committed at this point.
They hook me up, but not without issues. Let me preface this with the fact that I have freakishly low blood pressure, usually 112/65, which they assured me would not be an issue.
After fiddling with the darning needle in my arm, and not before I told the guy to stop fiddling with said needle, they started the machine. They remind you to repeatedly squeeze your hand when the machine beeps. Well, it is always freaking beeping...and so are the twelve others that are in the same room. So, I should have Popeye forearm muscles in my left arm.
On the time ticks, I am sitting, squeezing, and trying to read, one handed. There is sign that says that wireless internet is available. It took me a minute to realize that a laptop usually takes two hands, thus wireless internet is just a clever distraction technique. Nice try though.
They advised me that they take your blood, then inject saline so that you don't pass out & dehydrate, then inject your plasma-less blood back into you. The saline, they said, will make you cold. As time passes, the guy asks me if I taste metal. What? Apparently, when the saline is injected a person usually tastes metal. Reminiscence of having braces, lucky me. One more reason for me NOT to do this ever again.
Oh, and your lips tingle. Tingle, hypothermia tingle. "But it's common." GREAT.
So, nearly an hour has passed, I am supposed to be done soon and I am getting fidgety. I have already decided that this is SO NOT FOR ME, especially for 15 f$ing dollars!
I happen to begin feeling a little, shall I say, disconnected. I looked down at my arm and I noticed blood begin to seep. Now, I am not a doctor, don't even play one on TV, but I know that's not supposed to happen. I tried to get the "nurses" attention and finally did right before I had the "Go toward the light" feeling.
They pulled out the needle and put a cold compress on my arm...but not before disagreeing on whether or not to poke my OTHER arm and inject me with more saline. Now, I am nearly unconscious at this point but I could feel my backbone stiffen. They sure as HELL wasn't going to poke me again!
A cup of water and two ice packs and TLC from a cutie named TJ was the final solution. (Other than the whole vampire thing, I'm crushing a little on TJ.)
Forty-five minutes later, my blood pressure is - no word of a lie - 88/59. Much to my surprise, they let me go home...driving myself, by the way. (because I'm sure the officer will understand)
Needless to say, I felt like poo the rest of the day and frankly, don't feel all that special today. Oh, and I am sporting a nice junkie bruise on my arm.
FOR 15 F#$%ING DOLLARS!
This is definitely in the Top 10 of the Dumbest Things I have EVER Done. Ever.
19 May 2006
I've recently experienced this sticky situation. The couple have divorced and each seems like a nice person, they're just not nice together.
The husband...who is reportedly not a nice guy...just did a very nice, unexpected thing for our school. This is contrary to any version that is offered by the ex-wife but aligns with my/our perception of him. For all intents and purposes, he seems like a very nice guy. Someone I would date if I weren't married to the Mad Genius.
I am a huge believer in "There are three sides to every story: his, hers and the truth".
I'm guessing that this is in play in this situation as he reaps no benefit from what he did for us, it was just a random gesture.
Everyone has their personal version of the truth, and to them it IS true. But perspective often varies from person to person. And, as discussesd previously, people are different with one another.
Sometimes people *are* very nice but when put together become toxic. Sometimes, when going through a break-up, a person vilifies the other in order to make the process seem less painful. Sometimes, the person doesn't want to appear weak or a failure so they project onto the other. I'm going to assume this is the truth in this situation.
In the meantime, I'm going to appreciate this nice guy, crush on him a little, and assume that my perception is the correct one!
The week days have been speeding by at an incredible rate of speed. Before I know it, Monday is Friday and I don't know where the time has gone.
Beautifully, thankfully, ironically, the weekends are the reverse. They pass slowly and lazily.
It's like the beginnning of the roller coaster where you are going up, up, up, up and anticipating the rush of the downfall.
As we reach the summer months my work life will slow down and my home life will amp up.
Our hobbies are both summer based hobbies and our weekends become action filled. My work is a school based program so the summers pass slowly.
Then comes Fall where both collide. This would be the corkscrew portion of the roller coaster. The summer hobbies have not yet ended and the school year is beginning. During this time, I can just close my eyes, hold on tight and wait out the ride. Sometimes screaming is necessary.
So, right now, I'm just sitting back & enjoying the ride. It's Friday so I'm slowly coasting...
Happy Friday! Hold on tight, Monday is coming!
27 April 2006
It got me to thinking. Having just moved into the Malibu Barbie Dream House, I could SO re-enact that commercial.
I am a …what did my friend call it…Value Village Pirate!
My mom marvels at what wonderful stuff I can find. What she doesn’t realize is that I equally as often leave the store, pouting and empty handed. My mom also provides me with coupons that she receives every time she makes a donation to the store. She even has her best friend collecting coupons for me now.
But the search is the fun part. I like getting an idea in my head and looking for stuff to make it happen.
I love, love, love that I spend a pittance for these projects, whereas the magazines picture the same look for thousands of dollars. I feel superior because it looks just as good and I DIDN'T spend that much money!
With moving into the Dream House, I realized there were a few things that just would not work from the old house. Firstly, the old house was still decorated mostly in the 1990’s country blue. This house is pine needle green and earth tones.
(Now my brother’s house – a single dad – is now decorated in 1990’s country blue)
The search began! I went from one bathroom to two. Must have new rugs! Value Village!
The heirloom quilt didn’t match in our bedroom. Must redecorate! Value Village!
I was in a Trading Spaces mood and my picture frames didn’t quite match. Value Village!
(I am still in active search to finish that project.)
You already read about replacing my old dishes (1990’s country blue, of course) with the grown-up dishes Value Village!
Now that we have the Dream House, we are having dinner parties! Must have more chairs! just a few old dining table chairs: one for the Mad Genius to sit to take off his boots in the “Mud Room” and two more for our dining room table.
If the chairs need cushions? Value Village! They don't even have to necessarily match . Very Better Homes & Gardens on a budget.
I think it is more satisfying…or gratifying…to find a treasure from the second hand shops than to buy something new. I have found that some of the items that are second hand often become my favorites. Is that because they have already gained character? Is it because I’ve searched for it and not just bought it “off the rack”? I’m not sure. But it sure is fun!
Some of my favorite treasures? My dishes, the yellow rug & valance in the Common Folk Bathroom, a few of my pillows, the list goes on.
The best part is a person probably can’t tell that that I'm Suzy Second Hand Shopper! How very UnMartha of me!
But then, define “free”. If I were to put a price on time spent surfing through channels because it’s on the hour or half-hour and there’s nothing but ten minutes of commercials on every single frickin’ station, then I can see ponying up the $12 monthly. It’s cheaper than anger management classes or a road rage ticket! Or put a price on the times that a person swerves around trying to find the damn CD that has slid across the car.
I wondered how one would hear the news or traffic and if one would feel disconnected.
This was also a ploy from Terrestrial Radio to listeners to not buy satellite radio. Well, they had already thought of that. Sirius and T.R. are interactive. It’s not different than channel surfing, which we’re doing anyway.
And oh, have I mentioned the wonder of no commercials! The only time there isn’t music is if they’re interviewing an artist, which can be equally interesting and equally disappointing. I haven't decided if it's a good thing or not.
Every once in a while, I get to drive the Mad Genius’ truck and get to listen to the “radio.”
Oh, the wonder of all 80’s all the time! Or any generation of music, that strikes my fancy for that matter. There is even an Elvis Channel! The wonder of hearing the original MTV Veejays! At times I have to check myself to make sure I’m not driving an old beat up LUV truck with blue shag carpeting and a rocking stereo.
We also have Sirius on our satellite television. It’s perfect for mood music for a party, or house cleaning or for, um….anything else that you would like to have music playing in the background.
I didn't fully appreciate this feature until the Mad Genius got it.
Now I’m trying to justify installing Sirius in the POS Honda Car. The first problem is that the receiver etc. is probably worth more than the actual car.
The second problem is not wanting to get out of the car because there is always a good song playing!
Oh, it’s only $12.00…what the hell.
01 April 2006
In my relationship, it is very clear: inside chores = me, outside chores = Mad Genius.
On some of my more pouty days, when I find myself endlessly vacuuming or scrubbing the bathroom, I wonder to myself if the Division of Labor is fair. Then I look out the window at MG working outside in the pouring down rain and think "F#$% that. I'd rather be dry and scrubbing toilets than in the rain and miserable."
A good example is yesterday morning. It is 6:00 a.m. and MG is on a rickety ladder, cleaning a clogged gutter in the pouring rain. Nope, I will stay inside and make the bed, thanks!
Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, I have more and consistent chores. He does have it fairly easy in the winter months - unless of course the gutter clogs - where I don't have any time off. BUT, if something goes wrong, say a tree falls down & blocks the driveway or a fence needs building, it's all him.
It is also about what we like to do. He enjoys being outside, me not so much. Gardening, yeah hate it. There are bugs out there. Oh wait, there's movie on Lifetime coming on...
On the flip side, for someone that can run heavy equipment, he is terrified of the washer & dryer. I think he jus bought new clothes instead of washing them before me. Also, I never have to worry if my car is going to start or if I need oil or new tires. He never has to worry if there is toilet paper or clean socks.
Anytime that he is stuck inside for any period; I am also reminded how nice it is to have the house to clean. I can crank the radio and just go at it. If he is here, he’s watching something horrifying on the television and asking me what I’m doing. There’s a certain peace & satisfaction in housecleaning. It usually has a beginning and an end. His work is never done, it seems.
I watch, sometimes wistfully, couples grocery shop together and I think to myself "That would be so nice" then I remember what it’s like to take him shopping. It entails skidding the cart around the corners…complete with sound effects, bringing home Captain Crunch cereal and ice cream and at least two "Are we almost done?"
Then the wistfulness passes quickly enough.
My point, I do have one, is that I think each couple works it out individually. I don’t think there is any one grand plan. I think there are too many variables to consider. Who works the longest? The hardest? Who is home more? Who is better at it?
And it changes. My parents are in their 70’s. Now my dad goes grocery shopping while mom stays home. My dad gasses up her car. It’s all changed.
So, I suppose a little resentment is probably human nature. Now I have to go change the sheets while MG is outside, in the rain of course, doing something I’d rather not do. God bless him!
27 March 2006
A few examples:
The creepy Burger King “King”…many people have a fear of masks, or clowns so hey I know! Let’s put one in a commercial. What a *great* idea! And Burger King should definitely fire their advertising agents at this point; the horrifyingly bad Super Bowl commercial is proof positive of that. No one knows who Busby Berkley is anymore.
And what Rocket Scientist came up with the latest Kotex ads and packaging? Anything remotely related to a woman’s hygiene product should NOT…let me say that again…NOT NOT NOT include any red spots, splotches or splashes. What the hell were they thinking? That it’s beautiful? Ummm no. That we’re supposed to look at the mess like Rohrsach tests? Oh Hell No.
I’m not sure what Cat People did to insult the advertising community, but they sure have pissed someone off. There’s no other rational explanation for any number of the cat food commercials. I’ve even heard romantic music in the background…to borrow a line from the movie The Truth About Cats & Dogs… “It’s okay to love your pets but it’s not okay to LOVE your pets.”
Are cars or mattresses ever NOT on sale? And can we turn the volume down? Just a little?
The one that made me yell at the television the most recently is a lotion ad. Something about Freedom is not having dry skin. Um, really? Let’s talk to someone from a Third World country and see if they agree with that thought.
Also, I have noticed that every few years there is a new neurosis that is to be sold to the American people. Right now it’s sleep related: sleeping pills, special mattresses. Last year it was teeth-whitening products. The ongoing hair struggle is always changing. There’s always something to worry about when it’s your hair. I even saw a commercial for darkening a man’s beard, not his hair. His beard. Because that will make all the difference, I’m sure.
However, the use of songs has improved commercials, if only to catch people’s attention. The new Nike ad with Back in Black by AC/DC…I’m not sure of the correlation of the song and the product, but I don’t care. It’s a rocking song. The new Old Navy jingle is fun and happy.
One of the Dodge ads feature a song with the lyric “Now you’re messing with a son-of-a-bitch” Of course, they’ve left that out but anyone who knows the song, hears it. It’s a great little inside joke.
Use of popular music can also go horribly wrong. “Crumbelievable” is an abomination.
One of the commercials uses the song Ina Godda Davida. It’s about retirement funds, I think. How’s that for a gut check? Feeling old now? And what the hell does the song have to do with retirement funds?
I do feel badly for people who are my parents age. The advertisers are marketing to our generation (The X one) and it must be horrifying to the older generations. I’m sure the mute button is the most used button on the remote in homes of the over 70 generation.
Not all commercials are stupid. Some of my faves:
The Geico ads are fabulous. The Gecko is cute, especially the newest version with the Australian accent. The Neanderthals are one of my favorites ever. How they made them look so indignant, a complicated emotion (or so we thought) for a Neanderthal is beyond me. The irony of him ordering the roast duck with the mango salsa, a rather sophisticated dining choice for oh, a Neanderthal makes me giggle as well.
The latest T-Mobile ads make me giggle too. We’ve all known people like the realtor or the little cheerleader. We all know, or ARE, the people cell phone addiction.
Ooh, and one of my new favorites is CareerBuilder.com. It’s a little play off of The Office but with actual monkeys.
One of the local ads that I hope are used elsewhere are for the Credit Union Association. It has a fun little jingle that one finds themselves singing along to.
Another ad we've noticed is an insurance bureau ad with little clay, toy soldier-style people. It begins with a woman coming out from her house while others join her, creating a network. The funny thing about this is that she has what the Mad Genius calls Impressive Cleavage.
It seems like it’s a little inside joke from the creators of this ad who may not have been totally satisfied with it.
Some friendly advice to the Advertising community from my humble self: Entertain us, catch our attention, and make it fun to watch. Don’t patronize or insult us. We’re smarter than that. This is not the generation of dancing aspirins and Queen for a Day.
Think Super Bowl ads (the successful ones, by the way) without the million dollar budgets. You don't have to spend a million dollars to make a good commercial.
The episode discusses the meaning behind keeping keepsakes from former flames. In this case, Raymond kept a casette tape with his girlfriends voice on it. As the show unfolds, we find that Debra had placed keepsakes throughout the house. This is where I trip a little bit. Sure, I have keepsakes but they are tucked away securely in a tote in a closet, not displayed in our home. I think that is kind of a, I don't know if betrayal is the right word here...a sin of omission, perhaps.
So, just to check myself I looked around our home and took inventory. I have nothing beyond books from my past life, which includes a marriage. If anything, we still have a few items that were my husband's ex-wife. (A set of canisters that I love!)
I can't imagine having something around that reminded me of someone like that. In fact, Debra even has a picture frame - a rather benign item - but it is in their bedroom. I can't imagine that.
Keepsakes that I have kept are scrapbook kind of things. Things that make me smile or remind me of that time or person. I keep it for my own personal enjoyment (makes it sound like an adult toy! oh my!) I would never think of having it where my husband would see it. Not because I have anything to hide but because why would I put in his face like that?
I made two boxes when I was moving out of our first apartment and into our first house. I called them the icky boxes. I put in anything that my husband had that reminded him, or that he kept, of his ex-wife. I put in anything that was related to my ex-husband. It is up in the closet in case one of us ever gets nostalgic and wishes to visit or past. I am sure some day we will get rid of it entirely. I bet if I mentioned that I had it, my husband would ask to see it and then most likely throw at least half of it away.
Debra, for instance, even kept a leaky ice chest. Why? I mean, I get why but she has married now. Raymond used that! Used it with his kids. It just seems unfaithful.
Secondly what posessed her to TELL him about it in the first place? I can't imagine being that mean to the Mad Genius, even at my bitchiness.
By the way, I understand fully that it is a sitcom. I haven't had a break with reality. This sitcom just so closely resembles my life and I think it resembles many couples’ lives at one point.
I just found it interesting because it is something I would never consider. I just could never let them enter the current version of myself or my relationship. It just seems audacious.
Keepsakes are indeed important. They show you where you have been and who you were or hoped to become.
21 March 2006
She emailed me not too long ago, asking me to break out my yearbook and answer some questions that had arisen regarding different people and pictures.
It was fun to leaf through and laugh, mostly, at how things had changed. Friends have moved on, some friends have stayed. What we once thought of as lifelong love has way moved on and what was important then surely isn't important now.
(Also, enough time has passed that our generation now qualifies for a dress-up day during Homecoming or Halloween. That is a shock to the psyche.)
But I digress. This so isn't my point.
We talked about past relationships and conquests, for lack of a better word.
We grew up in the excess of the eighties, pre-AIDS. There was a lot of focus on sex at the time. Sex was becoming more prominent in television and music. It was the age when music ratings first became a topic of discussion, for good reason.
There was Prince, need I say more, and the Brat Pack movies, which focused a lot on sex.
However, C and I were abnormal at the time, it seems, as we held onto our virginity until we were 18-ish while our other friends had experienced much more than us., much sooner than us.
It’s not to say that we were unattractive. We weren’t. It’s not to say that we didn’t date much. We did. Both of us tended to gravitate toward older guys. We weren’t religious. But we still didn’t give it up until later in our senior year. Our circle of friends was a mixed group. Some of us had sex with each other. Some of us were virgins. It wasn’t like we did what our friends were doing.
At the time, neither of us could see the point of having sex for the sake of having sex. Neither could we understand our friends who were heartbroken when they slept with random guys whom never called again. Perhaps we were more mature than most, but that’s hard to believe.
So, a couple of things to ponder:
Was our high school experience with sex a cultural thing? Was it because it was the 80’s?
Was it because we attended a small, dare I say, redneck school?
Was it because it was more acceptable at the time? Or perhaps less acceptable, thus more importance placed up on it?
Maybe it was because of all of the above.
We did go to a small school, our class graduated probably just under 200. I did hear the statement "Well, there’s nothing else to do here." We didn’t have sex ed classes, per se. Condoms were more for decorating cars and blowing balloons than for actual use.
I guess, maybe, there was a degree of coolness if we knew the couples stayed together. Conversely, there was definitely a degree of sluttiness of the girls who were with random guys.
I remember watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High and not quite understanding it. Now I know it’s because I didn’t give it up at an early age. It wasn’t part of my reality yet. Now I totally see the point of the movie. It’s more of a grown-up movie than a teen movie, really. Watch it again, if you get the chance, you’ll see what I’m saying.
I also watched "Can’t Hardly Wait" the other day. (there was nothing else on. It caught my attention because it has all the new actors before they were stars.)
Anyway, it’s a story about how after high school, every thing changes. Again, like Fast Times, it is a story for grown-ups more so than teens. It shows couples breaking up; it shows people discovering each other beyond image. It shows the cool kid that he is not so cool. It should be required viewing for exiting high school seniors, not that they’ll get it.
Another conclusion we came to is that losing our virginity was a momentous time but it wasn’t all wine and roses like the media would have girls believe. I don’t think we are the abnormal either.
For the most part, I think there is a lot of backseat, prom night drunkenness, parent’s basements, episodes. Surely, there are the stories where it was right time and the right place and the right person. But mostly, I think it wasn’t for most people. Maybe I’m wrong.
And, as I write this, this is SO not a conversation that would have ever occurred while I was in high school. While sex was prominent, we didn’t actually talk about it unless it was gossip (and then it was in generalities) or sharing with your best friend.
I’m sure part of the reason this is being discussed now is because we don’t have to look at each other while we’re "talking" about it. (:-D hahaha.
So, again, I have no point. I just found the whole thing interesting. This is just one of the topics that I have found my viewpoint changing with age.
I had the distinct displeasure of food poisoning on Sunday night. The only thing we cant think of is Orange Juice. It's the only thing that I had differently than the Mad Genius.
I have neber been so sick in my life. Had the MG walked in with a handgun, I would have gladly used it.
I will hopefully never visit with them again.
What horrible houseguests! I'm glad they're gone.
But I did get a day off of work from them, so maybe it evens out.
16 March 2006
As grown-ups our perception of cooties is different. You might not think about cooties but they don’t go away just because we grew up. We just forget.
When we were little, cooties were often just a ruse in which to play with the boys. It wasn’t a negative thing at all, just a ploy to get their attention.
Now, we still are susceptible to cooties. It just comes in different forms.
Cooties come from:
Former boyfriends…fond – or not so fond – memories, brought on by a song, a scent, even a taste.
Random strangers…Flirting with the repairman or a client or a guy in the coffee shop. We still vye for boys attention, even as grown-ups.
Those of us who are star struck. "I'll never wash my hand again" when you shake a stars hand.
That creepy salesman. You *immediately* want/need to wash your hands.
Our sons. Slobbery little boy kisses.
Our husbands…our rings or other jewelry that we wear daily and again, memories. In this case, cooties are terminal, permanent. All going well, cooties are chronic when you are married and like any chronic illness, some days it is manageable and others it is inflamed.
So, you see it's the same as when we were first graders. Adults just seem to build up a resistance and not notice the symptoms.
Cooties: an oft unspoken, untreated epidemic.
13 March 2006
One wonders what we did before them. I’ll tell you what we did…we forgot milk, we missed appointments, we didn’t talk to our spouses, friends or family nearly as much.
Now cell phones are a lifeline. I can’t imagine being without it and I am not even that obsessive about it as some people. (*ahem* the mad genius *cough* ) Now, a person doesn’t leave the house without one. I will turn around and get it if I have forgotten and, Oh My God, the panic that ensues if we misplace our phones.
But it truly has become my lifeline. If I have a bad day, my husband or friends are a button push away. If I miss my mom, I can call her even though I am shopping or driving. I have a long-ish, rural commute, which involves a mountain pass. Now I don’t even think twice about my drive. It used to be I would call the Mad Genius before I left to let him know I was coming so he would know if something happened. Now I call him to see if he wants take-out for dinner…which I can call and order with my cell phone.
I do think the cell phone is one of the best inventions in history. I know they are annoying sometimes and it is important to “unplug” once in awhile. But I truly think I would have withdrawals without it. I think my marriage would be different without it.
And I haven’t even mentioned Texting! It is a whole other language and communication system. It is a conversation without the commitment. This is a wonderful thing as well.
My husband and I use it usually when we want to communicate but it is not “important” enough for an actual call. I have one text (in jest) that I’ve saved that says “F&*#ing HELLO!?!?!?!?” from the Mad Genius after I failed to answer any of my missed calls on a busy day. It just makes me giggle.
And it would only make me giggle. If someone found or borrowed my phone, they would probably be horrified.
Cell phones have also become our Little Black Books. I have numbers saved on there that although benign, Randy has no idea who they are; as I am sure, he does too. The movie “Little Black Book” addresses that (pun intended, btw) issue in a very clear way. How many affairs have been discovered by a “snooping” spouse who has found texts or numbers? Another good use of cell phones, by the way.
So, as evil as they can be…they’re here and I’m glad of it. They're a New-Age communication tool. They're a life-saver, literally. They're convenient. They're a babysitter. (not in a Jude Law sort of way...or maybe?)
Ahhh, the joy of Cell.
No, they’re not suicidal; it is not a cult-thing, just aging; which I guess is rather cult-like.
My parents are long-retired and my in-laws are semi-retired. I’ve noticed that the older they get, the more they talk about it. As a young person (don’t laugh, I’m young by some standards) this is disconcerting.
So, my parents have their final wishes all taken care of. I am pleased that they have planned ahead so we don’t have to deal with all the of the details when the time comes. I am also pleased that they are still here to hear our comments on their wishes.
My mom wants to be cremated and “You get to take me on an airplane ride” she announces a little proudly. It turns out that she wants to be scattered over the mountain that she sees every day from her front windows.
As the executor of the will and the youngest, I’m sure that I am the automatic loser (literally) of the upcoming Paper-Rock-Scissors game that I’ll play with my brothers to determine who’s going up in said airplane.
Now, my dad is a whole other story, as he usually is. He is going to be Lowery’s Seasoning Salt of the Earth. He is going about five different places. It is a clever idea really, just a logistical nightmare.
He was a construction worker and built many of the bridges where we live. He would like to be scattered off of each bridge that he worked on, encompassing three counties.
As my husband said, “Wow, you’re going to have a long day.”
My brother-in-law commented about not doing it and I said that my dad was difficult enough to live with in real life, I can’t imagine in afterlife. To which, my husband the mad genius quipped “Remember how happy we were BEFORE your dad lived with us?”
Funny, funny stuff about an unfunny topic.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, his individual baggies each have “funny” sayings on them to be read as we scatter. I can only imagine what they may be.
So, now the heart-touching part. The Hallmark Moment.
My in-laws will be living with us during their retirement. They won’t actually be living WITH us but on our property in a small camper/RV/camper thing. It’s not as redneck as it sounds. But I digress as usual.
In the meantime, they have been fixing up our houses. (my brother-in-law lives next door, we’re just one happy family…just don’t drink the Kool-Aid)
They’re working in our yards, building fences, etc. My father-in-law is going to have the biggest backyard ever when they move here. They're very excited.
They bought us our first Christmas tree for the Malibu Barbie Dream House. It is a live tree and it has since been planted in our yard. Well, as it comes about, they would like to be either scattered or buried underneath our tree when they pass. They are also going to buy a tree for the b-i-l. These instructions were given to my husband in a very loving and tearful speech by my father-in-law during the holidays. My husband can barely re-tell the story without welling.
So, sort of in my dad’s tradition, they are going to be scattered about our properties as well. One big, happy family in life as well as death.
So, they are very creative, the lot of them. Each adding a little of themselves to our world as they did in life and each of them in their own personal way.
Upon retrospective, I have noticed is that the 80’s music is upbeat, for the most part. Sure there is the Chicago “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and anything Air Supply…aptly titled the Band that can Make a Happy Man Cry by a childhood friend.
For the most part, however, it’s happy music. Walking on Sunshine, Girls just Wanna have Fun. Anything Hair band!
(They have their own channel on Sirius, which is fun if you need an adrenaline rush)
So, to take it further, I thought about music and generations. I wonder if music and the happenings of any one generation are correlated? The sixties were very tumultuous and toward the end of the decade, the music reflected it.
The 80’s were about excess and the music reflected it. The 90’s were the crash of the boom of the 80’s and the angst-filled music reflects it.
The fifties, the baby boomer generation, is filled with fun and upbeat music. It is the decade of rock and roll.
The “Roaring Twenties” is another good example of music reflective of the time. Even music about prohibition is was up-tempo.
The 40's was a war generation, recovering from the Depression and the first World War only to enter into another World War. I think, with my limited knowledge of that generation, that the music does reflect the generation. Lots of songs like "I'll Be Seeing You."
Another thing to consider is, perhaps, the music of the 80’s is upbeat to me specifically because that is my personal soundtrack. For someone that came of age in the 60’s, their perspective might be different.
And yet another thing: Music is also so much more diverse now.
It used to be four categories: Rock & Roll – or Pop be it as it may, Country, Jazz and Classical. Now there are so many categories that a person can’t possibly list one single favorite. Just look at the list of station Sirius offers. There are four different types, too many to list actually, of Country, Pop, Rock, Classical, New Age, World.
Now there is a whole different category specific to the current generation: Hip Hop.
Nothing makes me feel older than hip-hop. I feel like I've become my parents, I just don’t get it. Sure, there are songs that I like but for the most part, no thanks. Is it just because I don’t understand it? Would I like it if I were 16 years old right now? (unlikely, I was a hair-band fan in the late 80’s) Will I like it in the future as it grows and progresses? Who knows?
So, is the music of the 80’s more upbeat or is it my perspective? Is music truly reflective of the times? Isn’t it funny how music is a polarization of generations? So many things to think of!
24 February 2006
23 February 2006
I realized this morning that sneaky little bastard is a strong, accurate, description for this malady.
I was just reading about levels of depression. There is clinical, medical, and situational depression. I found this interesting because people have an image of what depression is and it is not necessarily a correct one. I found it interesting that depression can be graded, kind of like degrees of murder. I like that it can be managed or even “cured”. It’s an interesting disease to have, I suppose as there are so many levels and degrees to consider.
It is amazing to me how many people have from some sort of depression. People that you would never think suffer from depression. Well, let me correct that. Not necessarily suffer, let’s say copes with. “Suffer” is a choice to some degree. Some people don’t suffer.
Depression IS a sneaky little bastard. Before you know it, he has wrapped his arms around you and there is little you can do. He rides along like an unwanted hitchhiker interrupting & screwing up everything that you do. He alters your personality, he makes changes that you didn’t approve.
Then, for some, he disappears like an apparition. You don’t even know where he went or how long he stayed, or worse yet: what kind of damage he wrought while he was here. Sneaky little bastard.
But I guess some of us are lucky…strange reference when discussing depression, I realize…some of us just dance with depression and then he’s off to the next person on his dance card.
At least some of us are not stuck with him like some kind of a horrible Siamese Twin. (Okay, like there’s such a thing as a *good* Siamese twin)
Or some of us can take a pill to ward him off like holy water to a vampire.
Some of us keep him around like a security blanket. Some of us keep him around like a bitter ex-spouse.
I really have no point. I just was rambling. He’s just such a sneaky little bastard.
The telephone rang and it was for one of the staff. I've been known to tell the staff
"It's a *boy* on the phone for you " much like a eight year old little sister.
(we have a casual work environement, in case you hadn't noticed)
This time, I was very specific however "It's your ex-wife". I felt being specific was important in this instance.
Somehow, the person didn't hear the "ex" part.
Oh holy God.
I hear him answer the telephone "Hi Hon!"
*groan* This just isn't going to be good.
I actually felt the world slow down like in one of those stop-action scenes "Noooooooo..........."
I kind of hollered back to the breakroom where he was. "I said EX Wife!!! Ex! Ex! Ex!"
Luckily he took in with good humor, as did the ex-wife after she had time to recover.
That could have been ugly! But we got a good laugh out of it anyway.
10 February 2006
It is a lot of things: it is embarrassing, it is disappointing, it is heartbreaking, and it is surreal.
It also brings up a lot of ethical questions:
Do you stand by your friend?
Do you sever the friendship?
Do you visit them in jail?
Where do you draw the line?
Another factor to be considered is what the crime is: DUI, a murder, burglary? Where is the line?
What is forgivable? Dealable? or deal-breaker?
In this case, it is drug-related so one would hope that the bad behavior is temporary. However, the crimes committed during such drug-induced stupors are heinous. Awful. Life altering. Things were done that you only read about in newspapers. And now I have and it is someone I know.
In addition, she aligned herself with a bad, bad man. I blame him for her troubles, yet she made choices as well. He lied, abused, manipulated, and molded her into a person that none of us recognize. However, she made the choice to stay, the choice to do drugs. She is to blame for her actions.
Because of that and more, I severed my friendship with her. She still wants to stay married to Satan, she still thinks she is being unjustly accused and imprisoned, she is pouting.
Surreal Moments that have occurred in the past year:
Watching your childhood friend plead “Not Guilty” on the 5:00 news.
Reading her name in the lead article in the newspaper.
Trying to explain to people where she is now.
Helping a friend move her stuff, knowing that it will be stored for years and years.
While packing her things, finding glimpse of a life I didn’t know she lived.
Actually saying the words "My best friend is in jail."
It has been said that divorce is more difficult than death. Death is permanent; divorce is a choice where the person still exists, just no longer in your life.
Having a friend in jail is a combination of both death and divorce. The person still exists, but in this case, it is not the person I thought I knew. Or it is the person I thought I knew – just a drug-enhanced version. This version of my friend is dead to me and what-to-do with the version I thought I knew? It is very complicated.
Her sentencing to prison is upcoming. As it nears, I find myself anxious and sad. She has been in county jail for a year and a half, something she described as “no worse than boot camp.” I have referred to it as sleep-away camp. Prison is a whole new game though. Now I will worry for her safety. I will no longer have the chance to visit or write (if I ever choose to), as I won’t know where she is. I don’t know what opportunities she will have for rehabilitation or if she will even take them.
Another issue to consider…what to do when she has completed her sentence? Who is she going to be? What if she calls or knocks on the door? Unfortunately, it looks like I will have years to ponder those questions.
So now I try to focus on the friend I used to know. The one that stood by me when I got married at 19, the one that married in the same courthouse that she is now being sentenced in. The one that used to stay up all night watching MTV with me. The one that loved Heart and ZZ Top. The one that had an incredible future ahead of her.
Hopefully she still does.
19 January 2006
Some of my favorite moments in our life are of him singing.
Now sometimes, it is just plain annoying and I want to shout, "For the Love of God and all things Holy Stop it!"
Fortunately, most times, it is very endearing.
Let me define singing. He doesn't just sing in the shower. He sings outside, he sings while he's at work, he sings in the car. And part of the fun of it is that you never know what he's going to sing. It could be country, it could be KISS, or it could be a commercial jingle. I can walk outside and he's belting out whatever song is in his head while mowing the lawn, he'll make up the verses to what is happening right that moment. He once adapted Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" to "Sweet Missy Dog" and sung it to our puppy.
My most recent memory of him singing was just the other day. As he left the room, he began to sing to the dog:
"If you're a Puppy and you know it, clap your hands!" How can you not smile at that?
My favorite moment of him singing is when we were first dating. Michael Bolton was all the rage at the time and he had a duet with Linda Ronstadt. The chorus was "Don't know much but I know I love you." Well, at that time in our lives, he was a confirmed bachelor and not so sure he was up for a long-term relationship. But we both knew that we were in love and there was no going back.
But that didn't stop him from singing "Don't know much..but I know.." and then stopping and smiling that little boy smile of his.
How can you not love that guy?
And yes, he has since sung the rest of the song to me, and many more.
Forgiveness is a tough concept to grasp. It is a good thing to do but it may be the most difficult thing a person can do.
Along with my fun little non-judgmental resolution, I have been thinking about forgiveness.
There are a few fractured, unresolved relationships in my life and in retrospect, all can use a little forgiveness.
But then, where does one draw the line? What's forgivable and what's not? In my world, it isn't black and white but in others, it most definitely is. They say that you forgive the person but not excuse the action. They say that a person isn't defined by their actions. They say that people are doing the best they can at that time in their life. They say forgive but don't forget. It’s very complicated.
I think it is a very personal decision.
My first attempt was a hand-written note to someone who wasn't honest with me and our relationship ended as a result. I found, with the passage of time however, that the interactions of the relationship had ended but the hurt and the anger still existed. I decided that I couldn't truly end the relationship without...warning: psychobabble forthcoming...closure. Thus: forgiveness.
But, forgivenss seems like such a Lifetime Televison, Little House on the Prairie thing to do. It seems dramatic and overwrought. It also feels a little arrogant, if you will. Like you're making a proclamation "I, Queen of all that is Good & Pure, am forgiving you!" But "they" say it's a good thing to do and makes you a better, stronger, healthier person.
So, in the spirit of Christmas (yeah, I said it: Christmas) I wrote the person a note and enclosed it in a Christmas card. I said that I had forgiven them and that I hoped they forgave me. A pretty simple little note but packed with emotion and intention.
As I assumed would happen, I received no response and that's okay. (How does one respond to a note like that anyway? Does Miss Manners have a category for it? Does Hallmark carry a thank you card?) Frankly, I was a little relieved not to have it postmarked Return to Sender.
I was a little disappointed but then I remembered that it wasn’t all about me. It was also about the other person.
I also assumed that I would immediately feel better and all would be right in my world. But it wasn't. Now, not to completely blow the theory of forgiveness out of the water, I did feel differently. I know now that I've said all I have to say, I've done what I could, and now I can move on. It is my hope that this person can now move on as well. There is a relief in that knowledge.
Also with that knowledge I realized a whole other concept of forgiveness…when you forgive someone, quite often you’re forgiving yourself as well! It’s very complicated and heavy stuff.
Now that I have done it once, I am looking for other opportunities to forgive. Kind of like the last scene in Scrooged where Bill Murray talks about giving and if you do it and keep doing it, you get addicted to it. I hope that I can keep doing it. I hope that others can forgive me as well.