Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Wrap Up

"Christmas is a race to see which gives out first - your money or your feet." ~ Anonymous

I know, I know -- I'm a little late in wishing everyone Merry Christmas. But I do hope you all had a fabulous one! It seems like forever since I've had time to sit down and read my favorite blogs, let alone post anything.

I'm still working to polish off the leftover desserts from my parents' house. Mom went a little overboard, making German chocolate cake and homemade fudge, along with brownies and a cheesecake. And don't you know she sent all of the leftovers home with me? But of course I've exhibited self control *wiping cake crumbs off my face* and haven't completely pigged out all week *reaching for a piece of fudge*.

At least my headache has finally subsided. It all started the day before Christmas Eve as J and I hit the stores to finish up our Christmas shopping. I swear there must have been 30 people in line at Best Buy. So I waited 25 minutes in line just for a freakin' gift card. Yes, we're starting earlier next year ... at least that's what I keep telling myself.

The headache carried over to Christmas Eve, when we went to J's grandparents' house for dinner and gift exchange. Five kids under the age of 5 makes for lots of laughs but tons of noise. We're the last amongst his immediate family -- cousins and sister -- to have kids, so we're told every five minutes that someday we'll understand why kids pour juice on their head, or why it's okay to change a poopy diaper in the middle of the living room. On the white carpet. With no blanket or pad underneath. *Shuddering* J's grandparents are such wonderful and honest people, though, so it's always nice to be around them.

We didn't get home until after 11, and we still had to fix stockings for the furry babies*. The headache was still there when we awoke before dawn Christmas morning, let the babies rummage through their stockings, showered, dressed and drove over an hour west to J's parents' house for breakfast and gifts.

Honestly, I had been dreading this all week. I know that sounds horrible, but seriously, we see them at his grandparents on Christmas Eve. Yet they insist we come over Christmas morning, eat breakfast and open their gifts. And the grandparents and sister are there, too, because J's family all live right down the road from each other. So it's basically Christmas Eve all over again, minus a few people. Which I guess is fine, but it always ticks me off when they expect us to spend more time over there. It's like they forget I have family, too. And what about when we have kids? I'm not skipping Santa and presents just to have cold eggs. But of course J doesn't see my perspective, so the couple of times I've suggested just doing Christmas Eve with his family a fight ensues**. So, guess I'll drop it until next year.

At lunch, we jumped in the car and drove an hour south to my parents' house for gifts and Christmas dinner. Although there's less people than at J's, I swear the noise level is the same. My sister and I spent the better part of the afternoon chasing our nephew around the house with a Nerf dart gun, while mom yelled at us to stop running through the kitchen. My brother always causes trouble, but he fell asleep in the recliner after dinner like clockwork. My dad and my sister closed out the night with an all-out Nerf gun war, until dad shot her between the eyes. Never mess with a war vet!

The car loaded down with gifts and leftovers, we finally made it home a little before midnight. Tired, we popped some Advil and crawled into bed. Sometimes I miss the days when Christmas seemed to last forever.


*Okay, so J and I were made fun of for making stockings for our pets ... but why not include them in on some holiday cheer?
**I would never want him not to see his family on a holiday. But, my parents' moved our Thanksgiving to the weekend after to accommodate everyone else's plans. Just wish his family would do the same for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Goodbye, Old Friend

"If you're alone, I'll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I'll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I'll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I'll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I'll just be me." ~ Author Unknown

They came to take you away from me today. When I handed over the keys, I tucked my head and went into the house. I watched from the front window as you grew farther from me, red taillights growing dim in the cold fog, tears splashing down my cheeks. It all happened so fast -- I don't think I even told you good bye. So, goodbye, Old Friend. You were my first taste of freedom, my guardian angel, my warmth on cold nights.

Remember the night I wanted to run away? Wanted to get away from this world that I thought was so bad? You let me vent, you calmed my nerves, you took me home.

And the night Rusty and I ran from the cops? We were so freakin' scared that night, but we managed to get away. We still die laughing whenever we think about that night.

Remember when you helped move me up to college? If only I'd known then what I know now. Maybe we would have never gotten those parking tickets, or drove two hours to ogle over that hockey coach, or gotten that horrible job down the road at Tias.

And gosh, how many times did I skip Trig that one spring, just so we could go hit balls at the driving range and soak up some sunshine. I even found some old golf tees in the trunk the other day. Along with some dog treats from all the times we would stop to help stranded dogs along the side of the road. And I even found a few tapes from back in the day -- there's no telling what's on them.

Remember that night I was headed to Dallas to meet up with Carter? I was soo tired of the drama, of the games. We saw the sign for I-45 to Houston. And I took it. And we drove five hours to the beach, only stopping once for gas and snacks. We made it into Galveston a little before 3 in the morning, stopped at a gas station to refill and get some magazines, and then I sat in the empty I-Hop until just before sunrise. And remember? We hopped on the ferry just as the sun was beginning to rise, and the dolphins began to surface all around. I'll never forget the beach we found, where I sat for hours in the soft sand, the cold waves lapping at my toes, the smell of salt and sea helping me to see clearly for the first time in months. And then we turned around and drove home. I'll never forget that trip.

And I'll never forget you. There are soo many memories from the past nine years, it's hard to share them all. I know you'll have many more over the years to come. What's that old saying, "No road is too long with good company?" It's true. And the tears are starting to fall again.

So goodbye, Old Friend, goodbye.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stall-ing

"If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be sweet and wipe the seat." ~ Unknown

J and I finally got started on our Christmas shopping tonight. I know, I know -- but what's life without a little procrastination? We got off to a good start (thank God for gift cards) and needed to make a pit stop before trudging our way through the rest of the mall.

"Why don't you go first, and I'll hold the bags," J offered. "Then we can switch."

"I'll just take them with me," I said, "and hang them on the purse hooks."

"You guys have hooks? That doesn't seem safe. What if someone steals your stuff?"

I laughed. "The hooks are in the stalls silly."

"Wow, that's cool."

As we parted ways, I was feeling pretty hoity-toity about women's restrooms. They are pretty spiffy, what with their fancy purse hooks and smell-good soaps. I approached the first open stall and took a quick step back. Disgusting. How hard is it to flush a toilet? Shuddering, I stepped to the next one. The seat was covered in wads of toilet paper. I stepped to the next stall. Water all over the floor. The next one revealed a pee-covered seat. It took four more stalls to find a toilet worth hovering over.

My bubble burst, I met J in the food court. Women may have fancy purse hooks, but sometimes I'd give anything to be able to pee standing up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friendships

"The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you." ~ Elbert Hubbard, The Notebook, 1927


The wonderful Anna at The Reality of Happily Ever After awarded me with this Friendship award (thanks, girl!). And, it got me thinking about my friends over the years. It's funny how friendships can evolve, how they can disappear, how warming it is to find something in someone else that makes you feel more complete.

It isn't every day that you find that someone with whom you can trust wholly, share with freely, cry with uncontrollably, celebrate unselfishly. And when you find more than one? Then you know that someone is looking out for you, because friendships aren't something to take for granted.

So I want to pass this award* to each of my 16 followers. Many of you have been with me since the beginning, and I thank you so very much for sticking with me. I truly believe that friendships can come in different forms, and I've definitely found that here. Enjoy!

*If you feel like sticking to the Award's official rules, here they are:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be friends with. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 8-10 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Taste of Winter

"Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while." ~ Kin Hubbard

Like many of you, I've been battling the weather today. While yesterday was a sunny 75 degrees, this morning I awoke to frost-bitten toes. Okay, maybe that's a tad dramatic. But seriously, my car was covered in ice when I left for work. And since I hadn't yet figured out the defroster in my new car, I spent the whole drive with my face squished against the windshield so I could see.

J called me at lunch to say that he was home to let the dogs in, and apparently I left the windows down in my old car and the seats are now frozen. Niiice. At least I doubt anyone interested in buying it will want to venture over today.

The Christmas party Saturday night was ... well, let's just say it didn't live up to the hype the hosts had created. Don't get me wrong, it was great to catch up with old friends and there was enough alcohol to serve a large army. But with 40 people, you'd think there would be more than just store-bought cookies and crackers to help absorb the alcohol.

And, being one of the first to arrive, I quickly discovered that people thought the "Dress to Impress" was optional. Luckily, a few other lovely ladies showed up sporting dresses and sparkly things, though J continued to glare at me throughout the night for making him wear slacks while the other guys lounged around in jeans.

Ohwell. Any night with friends is a good night. And any excuse to dress up is always ... umm ... fun?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Dress

"A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you." ~ Fran├žoise Sagan

It only took Minxy two hours to find the wedding dress of her dreams, and it's absolutely beautiful. I asked if I could borrow it and retake my wedding photos ... I was only halfway joking ...

It took me nearly four pointless hours to find a darn cocktail dress for the party tonight, and I'm not nearly as happy with it. It should have been an easy task. After scouring Macy's, Nordstrom, White House / Black Market, and several other time-wasting stores, I settled for this little number (in black) from Express:


Luckily I already have shoes, otherwise I don't think I would have ever made it home last night. Lesson learned? Never wait until the last minute.

Hopefully J will like it ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Copiers & Cocktail Dresses

"The number one sign you have nothing to do at work: The 4th Division of Paperclips has overrun the Pushpin Infantry and General White-Out has called for a new skirmish." ~ Fred Barling, 'Humorscope'

This morning I spent half an hour wrestling with the copy machine / printer / monster at work. Surprisingly, I actually found the paper jam and removed the infestation, only to have the darn thing flash "warming up" for an hour. In fact, I think it still says "warming up". Bastard.

Fridays are pretty dead around here. I have a meeting in two hours, so until then I'm pigging out on Baked Doritos and Diet Pepsi. By the scornful looks in my direction, I think the guy in the cube across from me is tired of hearing me crunch. You'd also think by now that I would have learned to not wipe my hands on my pants ... Doritos and tan slacks weren't exactly made for each other.

I'm going wedding dress shopping with Minxy after work, so we're wasting time IMing links of beautiful dresses to each other. Which reminds me, at some point I also need to buy a cocktail dress for a Christmas party tomorrow night. Not even sure where to start with that one -- my pasty legs have been quite comfortable hiding away for the winter. Would jeans be too taboo? More than likely. But if everyone's drunk, will anyone even care?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deck the Halls

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.
~ Christmas Vacation, 1989

I'm finally getting around to putting up Christmas decorations. I had to beg J to get up in the cold attic last night and get everything down. It's not like we don't enjoy decorating the house, it's just we've been soo busy lately that we had kind of decided to not do the tree. Gasp! I know, I know, who doesn't put up a tree, right? Well, it's not the putting up that sucks -- it's the taking down. I swear last year the tree was still around for Valentine's Day. And by that point, who wants to mess with Christmas decorations?

But I figure since my parents are coming over on Sunday, we'd at least show a little holiday spirit. It spurred me to finally do our Christmas cards, too, knowing that mom will be wondering if the mailman lost hers. We usually take a cute photo of us and the furry babies (two dogs and a cat), but we're a little ... ugh ... behind, so I cheated and made cards online at Target with old photos of us. I'm sure no one will really notice, except I had long hair then ... and now it's pretty short. Ohwell, it's the thought that counts, right?

J's going to help with the tree when he gets home from work. And that's always fun -- while he's cursing over the lights, my cat usually decides he wants to play with them ... then the dogs want to chase the cat around the tree ... and there's always a few broken ornaments in the end.

Better break out the eggnog early ...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A New Set o' Wheels

"Driving a brand new car feels like driving around in an open billfold with the dollars flapping by your ears as they fly out the window." ~ Grey Livingston

J and I have been in the market for a new vehicle for some time now. As we usually do, we started high with a fully loaded Yukon Denali, went low with a Kia, and ended up somewhere in the middle with a Toyota 4Runner 4x4. And, I must say, I love it. And J loves it too, which is amazing since it's been a squabble fest trying to compromise on a vehicle.

You see, I drive a little car. A '99 Ford Escort ZX2, to be exact. Sure, it's old. Sure, the 2-door model is unpractical for future kids. Sure, the timing belt is about to bust and it needs new back brakes. But it's paid for, gets awesome gas mileage and zips in and out of traffic Jeff Gordon-style (okay, not as fast, but still ...).

J, on the other hand, drives an '05 Ford F-150 that barely fits in the garage. It's great for hauling the boat, going camping and driving the dogs around. That, and I think J believes *beating on chest* real men drive trucks. But he's also got a company car to drive for work and that we can use for personal use.

So several months and tears later, our little 4Runner was born. Er, okay, picked off the lot and severely haggled over. But I must be honest -- I feel a smidge guilty picking Toyota over Ford or GMC considering the bailout crisis that's currently paying CNN's light bill. Both my parents drive Fords, both of J's parents drive Fords ... it just seems American.

Perhaps that's silly. Perhaps I'll be tarred and feathered. Perhaps I'll get high fives for not supporting another company with poor financial facets. But, either way, it's the end of an era for me -- I'll be selling my little Escort this month after nine years of companionship.

Ahhh, the memories ...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bass-tards

Random Guy sent me a nasty e-mail saying that I must not really be into fishing because I never talk about it, so I should delete it from my "Interests" section because it's deceiving. Deceiving of what, I'm not sure.

I was going to take the high road and ignore it ... but that's no fun. So here's to you, Random Guy, a sampling of a few of the fish I caught this past summer:








Profile policing won't get you any friends, man, but maybe getting your thumb out of your arse will.

Cheers.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If Women Ruled the World

"Women really do rule the world. They just haven't figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we're all in big big trouble." ~ 'Doctor Leon', drleons.com

Since we have nothing in the pantry besides canned pineapple and dog treats, J and I decided we would hit up the grocery store before dinner. We never quite made it -- instead of veering left for the store, we were distracted by the pink glow of Taco Cabana across the street.

While stuffing our faces with chips and queso, we started chatting about babies and such. J's cousin had called me last night to excitedly exclaim that she was pregnant (her second) and wonder if we'd started trying yet.* In J's family, there are five kids under the age of four -- only one is a boy. Which means holidays are spent listening to the oldest shouting Taylor Swift in between screams over who gets to play with the
Dora doll.

J's really hoping that she has a boy. "Could you imagine another girl?" he said in between mouthfuls of taco. "You girls are going to take over the world."

"Would that be soo bad?" I said jokingly.

"Are you kidding?" he shuddered. "If women ruled the world, nothing would get done and everything would smell pretty."

I had to think about that for a minute. When J does a load of dishes, I get every single detail including the when and how, complete with sound effects. But when I do a load of laundry, I just do it. For all J knows, the clean undies made it from the floor to the washing machine, to the dryer and then magically into the drawer by themselves.

So, is it less that women won't get anything done and more that we don't complain as much as men, therefore it seems like we don't get as much accomplished?



*That would be a big, fat N-O.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday


On a shopping note, Happy Cyber Monday! I'm not usually a huge online shopper, but I couldn't resist this adorable jewelry roll from Potterybarn -- what a perfect stocking stuffer!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breaking the Silence

"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." ~ Rollo May

Thanks to those of you who offered up advice and encouragement to help me through my funk. J had been overly sweet this week, so I had decided to wait until after Thanksgiving to approach the subject. Surprisingly, J beat me to it.

Friday was a cold, rainy day, so J skipped golf with his cousins to spend the day at home with me. As I was walking through our bedroom with a stack of clean laundry, he pulled me down onto the bed, where we lay silently curled up for half an hour before he spoke.

"Do you still love me?" he asked softly.

"Of course I do," I answered, knowing this was the beginning of a long conversation. We were in the spoon position, and I was glad that he couldn't see my face. "Why would you even ask?"

J paused for a minute before saying that he felt like things were tense the last few weeks, that it felt like we were strangers living in the same house. I shrugged it off, but he pressed on. Turns out he'd been feeling a little out of place lately too, thinking maybe I was losing interest in him or that I wasn't attracted to him anymore. J even admitted to doing extra push ups at night. I forget that guys can get self-conscious too.

It feels like the last three weeks have flown by, with me training at night and on the weekend, staying late at the office to help our new admin, both of us having family gatherings to attend, me getting sick this week. Add to that my funk, and I guess we haven't spent that much time together lately. And I was glad to know that I wasn't the only one feeling like we were living on separate planets.

I came clean about my feelings that Saturday night at Gilleys too, and I realized if I had just said something sooner it would have saved us a lot of tense moments. I assured him it had nothing to do with trust; J assured me that if there was anyone in this world that he would want to dance with, it was me.

We talked for another hour or so -- about things we were feeling, about the future, about randomness -- before falling asleep in each others' arms.

When we awoke, things felt back to normal. I sometimes forget how important communication is in any relationship, especially in a marriage. In an effort to avoid nagging or beating a dead horse, I sometimes become a closed book. Luckily, J's learned that a little snuggling and a lot of patience goes a long way in getting me to open up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Funk

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition ..." -- Voltaire

Is this week over yet? Not to be Debbie Downer or anything, guess I'm just in a little funk and I've been trying to pinpoint the source. The lines are blurry, but I keep tracing it back to last Saturday night.

After much stalling from J, we met at my friend Minxy's casa in Uptown for drinks before heading out to Gilley's, a poor excuse for a country bar but great for people watching and making fools of ourselves. My old boss Jim* and his wife Pam joined us too. It was a little awkward at first because, even though Minxy, Jim and I were inseparable when we worked together, I was always on my best behavior.

So, I was a little worried about how the night would go, but the more I drank (and the more he drank) the less awkward it became and the more Pam threw dirty looks at everyone involved*. But Minxy and I played nice, involving Pam everywhere we went, spinning her around the dance floor, getting our pictures taken on the mechanical bull while J, Jim and Pabs (Minxy's fiance) threw back beers and look relieved to get some time away from us.

After the band finished, the "country" bar turned into a "white people can't dance" smorgasbord and Minxy and I got our groove on. Jim and Pam were even dancing, while J and Pabs stood at the edge of the wooden dance floor, shuffling their feet and looking for the exit. After much beckoning on our parts, they shuffled to the middle of the dance floor, where Minxy and I made our best attempt at involving them in our charades.

Pabs gave in, but J did not. I pleaded with him, did my irresistible booty shake, had Minxy do her booty shake, but to no avail. J stood there watching me for awhile, and I made one last attempt to get him to loosen up. He shoved his hands in his pockets, took a step back, and simply said in a tone I haven't heard in a long time, "I can't dance with you." It broke my heart. Not because he can't dance, but because he wouldn't try. I looked around at Jim and Pam, who were doing a strange variation of the robot and laughing. I glanced at Minxy, who had convinced Pabs to twirl her around the now nearly empty dance floor. And then I looked at J, his hands in his pockets, just staring at me like we were in two separate worlds. With a dagger in my heart, I danced by myself.

It's in moments like those where I realize just how different we are. And beyond that, it's moments like that where darkness from the past comes flooding back like a tidal wave of emotion.

Before we were married, J and I were broken up for awhile. And before we broke up, we were in a strange place for months. Not quite broken up, not quite separated. Not dating anyone, but not sure we could make it work. It was a weird time, full of strange emotions. Both of us probably said things to others that we shouldn't have.

After J and I got back together and engaged, I ran across an e-mail from him to one of his co-workers in a different town. Apparently, they had met at a business meeting in Dallas and had kept in touch. In this e-mail, it was evident that there was something between them. And, the one line that popped into my head Saturday night, was a line J had responded to her e-mail with: "Thanks for the dance -- there's no one worth dancing with back home."

I remember sitting there that night I found it, trying to make sense of it in my mind, at first thinking this was something that happened after we had split, which would be none of my business. But the e-mail was dated May, and we had split at the end of June of that year. I remember feeling my heart race, I remember the tears splashing down my hot cheeks. I remember J waking up and wondering why I hadn't come to bed yet. I remember being so sick to my stomach, shaking, not wanting him to touch me. J had tried to explain that it was nothing, that it was the night he and his co-workers had gone to a local bar. I remember that night, because he had called me from the cab asking me to meet him there. It was late, I was in my pjs, and he was with all of his co-workers so I declined, not wanting to be the spouse that stalks him at business meetings. At the time he seemed fine with it. But, the night I found the e-mail, J admitted that he had been mad that I didn't go. Which infuriated me even more. Because you're mad, you flirted with another woman? He promised nothing else had happened, and I believe him. The e-mails alone were piercing enough.

It just never made sense to me, but at some point I got over it, placing the past back in the past. I actually hadn't even thought about it until Saturday night. And now I can't get away from it. I know J and I aren't always on the same page, or even the same planet. But it seems to be happening more frequently lately. I just wish I could forget the little things like that e-mail, or ignore the odd sense of feeling like strangers. I know we come from different backgrounds. Most of the time I enjoy that, because I've been able to learn and experience new things. I just wish he felt the same way.

I haven't talked to him about it and not sure that I should. But he knows something's wrong -- I just keep blaming it on the stress at work. Even Minxy sensed something that night, but I didn't feel like ruining the moment. I know this post is long and may not even make sense, but it has just been whirling through my mind for a week now. I'm just afraid if I mention it to J, he'll feel like I'm insecure about our future or something.

I'm not. But is he?


*He reminds me of Jim from The Office -- Adorable, funny and strangely magnetic.
*Jim and Minxy still work in the same office, and Pam is a little (read: enormously) intimidated by their friendship.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mix-Matched Feet

I've been telling J over the last year that my left foot is smaller than my right foot. He thinks I'm crazy. "Maybe your left shoe is just bigger than your right one and that's why it flops around," he says smugly. But seriously, in all of my shoes? What are the odds of that happening?

I got my answer yesterday when I went to Run On to get fitted for new running shoes. After the sales guy had me jog around the store in my pink socks to check my form, he had me stand on a metal shoe ruler to measure my feet. And there it was. The proof. My right foot stuck out farther than my left.

And don't you know I rubbed it into J's face when I got home. His response? "I'm not surprised, you're not normal."

But who cares, I'm right. :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Highschool Years

“High School: the mouse race to prepare you for the rat race.” ~ Unknown

I was tagged by Miss Caught Up to tell the story of my teenage years, something I really haven't thought about too much lately. So I'll give it a shot.

Highschool was an awkward time for me. My parents were ultra-conservative, my sister didn't pave the way like I thought she should have, so I was the so-called rebellious one. But, that mostly came after highschool.

Anyhoo. When I was a freshman, my sister was a senior at the same school. I was on the dance team. My favorite class was art. We had bomb threats almost every week. I was in all honors and AP classes. I made my first C ever. I played street hockey everyday after school with my sister and her friends. I fell in love with a boy I saw on the stairs the first day of my freshman year, who turned out to be in love with my best friend. I'll call him Tag. I learned that people can change, but not always for the better.

My sophomore year brought much of the same. Still played street hockey everyday after school, developing a crush on Goalie, a boy we played with. Still was a book nerd. Had long hair down to my waist. Danced. Volunteered at the nearby nature center. Still madly in love with Tag. Became tired of girls, thanks to the drama that was our dance team.

Junior year was a bit more complicated. My best friend and Tag broke up the summer before. He asked me out on a date, and I said "yes". He was the only guy my mom officially let me date during my entire highschool years. My best friend said she didn't mind, but I shouldn't have done it anyway. Tag and I dated on and off, but mostly off. I fell in love with Goalie, but he had a girl that profusely hated me. He and I became the best of friends. I still danced. I was inducted into the Honor Society. I developed a crush on Leo, a blue-eyed boy who swam with my best friend.

And senior year was complicated still. I was one of four Lieutenants on the dance team. I was going through EMT Training -- I truly believe there are some things 17 year olds should never see, bloody messes being one of them. My grades began to slip after mom said that no, I wouldn't be headed off to the college of my dreams but rather I'd be headed to the local junior college for two years first. With my sister. Who never tried at school. Leo got caught sneaking in my room -- which sounds terrible and R-rated, but we honestly just listened to music and talked. Okay, and made out. But whatever, we were banned from ever seeing each other again, creating a sort of "Romeo & Juliet" story for us which still lingers today. I joined the rugby team but told my parents I was just going to dance practice. I had to quit when they found out the truth. Goalie joined the Air Force and moved to New Mexico, where we finally realized we were more than just best friends. We talked on the phone constantly. Wrote letters (yes, real letters with stamps and everything). When he came home for Christmas, we went on our first official date. But it didn't take long for that relationship to fizzle as the longer he was in the Air Force, the more different he became. I graduated with honors, but my parents were a little disappointed when I wasn't in the top ten percent (I was in like the top twelve ... out of 600 kids).

Summer after highschool was spent playing roller hockey and working out at the gym where my sister worked. Over the next two years I met new boys, discovered alcohol, re-kindled my love for school and all things nerdy, stayed in and out of trouble, and eventually found my way to a four year college.

It's weird to take a look back, to feel some of the same emotions once again. It's interesting to note that in highschool I never really cared what boys thought. It was easy to say "no", to ditch the jerks, to avoid all the things that parents worry about (which my parents thought I was doing anyway). It was later, in college, that all of that went down the drain. But, I'll save that for a rainy day.

That's my story in a nutshell. I'd love to hear all of your stories -- so if you'd like to share, then I tag you!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scribbles


Once again, the fabulous Mrs. Guru has awarded me with a wondrous award: The Superior Scribbler award. I'd like to thank my beautiful friends, my bi-polar kitty, the Academy ... ahem ... Where was I? Right, the rules. As with all awards, here's the fine print:
  1. Post the award on your blog
  2. Link to me for giving it to you
  3. Link the originating post here (not really sure about this one)
  4. Pass the award on to 5 more deserving people
  5. Post these rules for the recipients
So, in fine fashion, here are my 5 picks for the Superior Scribbler Award:

These are just a sampling of the many blogs I enjoy. I did have someone ask me why I don't follow more blogs. Simply because, in my chaotic brain, I found it's easier for me to click on the links in my "Who I'm Reading" section (scroll down, on the right). It seems I'm constantly finding new favorites -- so many great reads, so little time!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

"Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~ Jack Benny"

I'm now three chocolate Krispy Kremes and a Diet Pepsi into my birthday. Yesterday, a lady at work asked how old I was turning. She was shocked by my answer. "How old did you think I was going to be?" I asked. "At the most, 25," she responded with a laugh. Now, don't get me wrong, I usually relish the idea that people think I'm younger. But this time it only made me frown. Do I come off as a young person in an immature way or something?

I love practical jokes. I'm always late. I'm lucky if my pants get ironed before heading to the office. Heck, I'm lucky if they're clean. I don't have kids. I eat craploads of candy. I wear socks with little smiling turtles on them.* I don't always act my age or dress my age ... but, then again, how is my age supposed to act and dress?

Wow. All of a sudden I feel really rusty. I'm now two years shy of the big three-o. Twenty eight. The big 2-8. It hadn't really bothered me until now. Maybe I come across younger because I think I am younger. I mean, J had to remind last week how old I was going to be because I couldn't remember. It's as if I hit 25 and have just forgotten the rest of the numbers. Boy, 25 sure was my favorite age -- old enough to have it all and young enough to get away with anything.

It's not like I mind being older or dread getting older. It's just startling to hear it out loud. Twenty-eight. Eh, I guess it doesn't sound that horrible. But maybe it's time to throw out those turtle socks ...


*In my defense, I only wear them when I know they can't be seen, like with boots or pjs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dear Dell (An Open Letter to My Laptop)

Dear Dell,

I hope this letter finds you relaxed and in a happy place, because what I'm about to say may hurt you deeply. I've been thinking about having an affair. Well, I suppose it's not really an affair if you know about it. So, let's just call it what it is -- I'm leaving you for someone else. Who you ask? Not to sound like a complete slut, but I haven't exactly decided yet. I'm still trying out my options, although your buddy Mac is quite charming.

Calm down, Dell. You've had it coming. You're lazy. You sit on my desk all day, longing for me to use you. And when I do? You give me the cold shoulder. Or, you tease me with your fancy Vista software, only to finish first and completely crash before I can save what I've done. I need to feel satisfied too, you know!

And now ... now you won't even print. Are you mad at me? How am I supposed to accomplish anything if you won't stay connected to the Internet, or download cool and unnecessary applications or -- shocker -- print, for God's sake?!

You're too young to act soo old. You never want to stay up late, you hesitate when I want to serenade you with iTunes, you shudder at YouTube videos. I need someone who likes to have fun. I need to know that the time and money I invested in you was worth it. I need to see something else besides the Blue Screen o' Death.

I'm sorry, Dell. As much as you want to be like Mac, you aren't. And that's okay. There are people out there who will love you for who you are, like the Excel nerd in the cubicle next to mine. The last two years have had it's ups and downs ... let's not drag this out any further. Don't worry about me, Dell, I'll be okay.


Best,
Me!


P.S. I'll be back to collect my pictures and music ... you can keep the spreadsheets.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

An Extra Hour for More Rambles

"Don't forget it's daylight savings time. You spring forward, then you fall back. It's like Robert Downey Jr. getting out of bed." ~ Unknown

Day Light Savings Time confuses me. I'm not really sure what time it is right now -- cell phone says 10, computer says 9, microwave says 8. Regardless, I'm actually up, showered, dressed and fed before noon on a Sunday. Can we say miracle?

Halloween was fairly uneventful. We had soo many trick-o-treaters that we ran out of candy.* I did have the liberty of scaring the pants off a small child with J's Scream mask. J was more interested in watching Ghost Hunters Live** than passing out candy, so I thought I would put the freaky mask to use. Door bell rings, I open the door and all the little kids scream. The boy in front? Was like two and ran off crying before his parents caught him on the driveway. I yanked off the mask and profusely apologized to his disapproving parents while forking over extra candy. J, of course, was hysterical.

Moving right along ...

Yesterday I had my first team run with Team In Training for the marathon I'm doing in April. I am soo not a morning person, yet I managed to roll out of bed at 5:45, was at training by 6:20 and running two miles by 6:30. Luckily it was dark so people couldn't see my butt jiggling through my Spandex pants. I was a little frustrated at first as everyone kept passing me. I quickly got over it and actually finished faster than my two mile runs during the week. I felt accomplished and rewarded myself with a huge omelet from Cafe Brazil. Hey, a girl's got to eat, right?

Today J and I are playing paintball with our friend Goldie and her hubby Bear. Should be quite entertaining -- last time we played with them, Goldie shot Bear in the ear on accident after he'd taken off his mask. It's not true paintballing until there's blood shed!



*I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that J and I ate two bags of Kit Kats during the week.
**Which was actually very disappointing this year!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's Boo-tastic

"Eat, drink and be scary." ~ Author Unknown

Happy Pumpkin Day, everyone! It's been a long week, and I'm soo glad to finally be getting rid of all this Halloween candy. My belly seriously cannot hold anymore sugar. We carved pumpkins the other night, and they're sitting on our porch waiting to get smashed by hoodlums.

To celebrate Halloween -- and because I'm lazy -- I thought I would do a quick list of things that spook me or give me the creepy jeepies. First, though, I'd like to thank you guys for re-assuring me that I wasn't being completely dumb in regards to my last post. I'm over it but will let it serve as a good reminder that I should probably never write anything that I wouldn't attach my name to at some point in the future. Besides, J has the attention span of a goldfish and has already forgotten about my blog.

Anyhoo, on to the list of things that spook me / give me the creeps:
  • Hairy spiders
  • Clowns
  • Eels and gar
  • Indian music played at high volume
  • Darkness
  • Kevin Bacon
  • Moths
  • Graveyards, any time of day
  • Aliens
  • Ghost Hunters
  • Roaches
  • Scorpions
I shared mine -- now what spooks you?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Safe Place ... Ruined?

I was working on a post when J came in the room and leaned over my shoulder to give me a smooch.

"What's that? You bored?" he asked, pointing to the big Escape from Dullsville header.

Damn. "It's my ... uh ... blog," I sheepishly admitted.

"You write a blog? Can I read it?" he pleaded.

"Ummmm, nope," I answered. After his incessant pleading, I read him a few of my posts. J gushed and thought the world of them before heading upstairs to watch Saturday Night Live.

Now I sit here, totally regretting sharing my blog with him. Not that I really care -- I actually enjoyed hearing him laugh at a few of my stories -- but I just don't want him finding it on the Web on his own or telling his friends or family about it. What's the point in writing somewhat anonymously if people know where to find you?

One of the reason's I moved to Blogger from MySpace (besides being over the age of 13) was so that I could write about anything and not have to worry about censoring my stories. This has become my "safe place". And you guys know, it's not like I ever write anything detrimental or completely inappropriate -- but I would like the option.

I had a post I realllly wanted to share tonight as it's not something I have the nerve to bring up in front of my close friends or J yet ... and now I'm a little gun shy.

Should I be worried? Should I even care? Am I being dumb about this??

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Home Alone

"Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart." ~ Kay Knudsen


This morning J left for a work trip to Arkansas and won't be back until Thursday. I'm always kind of bummed when he leaves ... and this is the first time he's left me in the new house alone. Not that I'm a big weenie (read: I am a HUGE weenie), but I'm starting to regret watching all of those Ghost Hunters episodes. Every time J's out of town, I end up sleeping on the couch with all of the lights on, the television blaring, my hockey stick within arm's length and my phone in my hand ... just incase.

I also have a problem properly feeding myself when J is gone. When I got home, I gorged on German chocolate cake and tortilla chips while watching Biggest Loser. Talk about a guilt trip. What's sad is that, as I was wiping cake crumbs off my face in the kitchen, I thought the stove was going to get me. I swear the digital panel was glaring "BOO" at me. After a minor stroke, I realized it was actually the clock showing 8:00. Get a grip, woman!

I decided my pjs would make me feel better. As I pulled on some cotton sweats and a Dallas Cowboys hoodie, I noticed something on my pillow. It was a sweet note from J and a little flashlight that he had left for me, just in case I got scared tonight. If only he knew how much that small gesture comforted me.

It's amazing how it's always the small things that truly make marriage work and nights apart less daunting.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hangovers and Smile Awards

"Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day." ~ Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Whew! It's Sunday afternoon and I can finally come up for air. J's having lunch* with friends, so I'm enjoying the peace and quiet around the house ... and some chocolate cake.

Good news is that I get to keep my job (high five!) so we celebrated with enormous amounts of alcohol during our "housewarming" party yesterday. Six cases of beer, three jugs of Jose Cuervo margaritas and three bottles of wine later, my friends and I were all singing around the fire pit on our back porch until two in the morning. I'm sure J and I will get glares from the neighbors for awhile, but screw it -- after my hellish week I needed some alcohol therapy.

It was such a blast having our friends over to our new house, but it's taken until now to recover enough to actually get out of bed without yakking. My liver, on the other hand, will be in recovery for awhile. But the laughter and smiles were well worth it!




Speaking of smiles, the beautiful Mrs. Guru over at Off the Beaten Path presented me with the fabulous Smile Award. THANKS, girl! It was definitely a nice way to start my weekend, and it's such a wonderful feeling to know that someone delights in my rambles. And, as in any other award, here's the fine print:

Rules of passing the smile award to other fellow bloggers: Must display a cheerful attitude. Must love one another. Must make mistakes. Must learn from others. Must be a positive contributor to blog world. Must love life. Must love kids.

Rules when receiving the award: The recipient must link back to the award’s creator. You must post these rules if you receive the award. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself. You must post the characteristics of a recipient. You must create a post sharing your win with others and thank the giver!

Okay, so I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers who I can always count on for a smile or two:
  • thelifeofsass: I can "see" a part of myself in Sassy -- her witty blogs and great sense of humor always make me grin.
  • Miss Caught Up: If you aren't reading Amanda's awesome blog, then you should be -- it's more addicting than your favorite soap opera!
  • The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy: Her descriptions of real-life are hilarious, witty and always entertaining.
  • Newlywed Central: I love that Anna shares her world with us, and her sweet nature shines through her writing.
  • Morning Runner: Now that I'm training for a marathon, this girl is my running inspiration. I can always find motivation in her stories (and I need all the motivation I can get!).
Thanks again, Mrs. Guru! And thanks again to everyone who takes the time to read my blog :-).



*Does beer count as lunch?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Meeting with the Bobs

I waited around the office yesterday until 5 and never received my Notice. It took several phone calls today to figure out that consultants -- that would be me -- aren't part of the proceedings tomorrow. Something about the company not having legal responsibility over us.

So, my bosses will find out if they still have jobs tomorrow and then find out if they have to let us go. And since every one's banned from the office tomorrow aside from their designated appointments, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed until Friday. It's as if a hurricane is blowing through tomorrow, and we'll be sorting through the wreckage to see who's left to do the work.

I imagine the appointments tomorrow will go a little something
like this scene from Office Space. Classic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Whiff of Unemployment

"A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don't have a J.O.B." ~ 'Fats' Domino

This morning I received a "corporate letter" e-mail from the President and CEO of the food & beverage company I work for, announcing a realignment and semi-massive layoff. In an attempt to "streamline our business," the company will potentially be sending nearly 300 packing at my office.

Our building will be closed Thursday and, instead of working, we're all supposed to meet one-on-one with designated managers to find out if we've been canned. We are to receive notices today with explicit instructions on what time our individual appointment is, where to park, and where to vomit as we exit the building. I really hope the mail guy is wearing a jock strap.

I can't believe it really. Sure, the economy majorly sucks right now. But I never thought a Fortune 500 company of this magnitude would ever layoff employees at the company's Headquarters. But who am I kidding? Of course we'd be the first to go. The factory workers and sales team bring in the real money. The "fluff" we do at Headquarters doesn't really count for much. I mean, who needs marketing? Eh, screw product innovation and consumer research. And HR? Or even capability & training -- the team I work for -- who needs that crap, right? (And yes, I'm being totally sarcastic here.)

*sigh* I need to get dressed, stop by the office and pick up my Notice. But, instead, I'm sitting here in my pjs with tear-stained cheeks, trying to delay the inevitable. I suppose I could always wait tables at TGI Fridays, wearing my 30 pieces of flair and striped shirt while singing "Happy Birthday" to gramps.

I wonder what the productivity level will be at the office today with the smell of unemployment lingering in the hallways?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gas Pump Betrayal

“It's better to have beer in hand than gas in tank” ~ Anonymous

Lucky I awoke in a good mood today, otherwise this morning would have really sucked. I have a job where I normally work from home, but occasionally have to go into the office for meetings. Today was one of those days.

After struggling with my hair for what seemed like an eternity (and finally forcing it back into a stubby ponytail), I dressed and headed for the door, sidestepping kitty's fur ball in the hallway. I step outside and realize that my black tweed pants are actually brown. And I'm wearing a black button up shirt and black heels. Hmph.

I get in the car and the low fuel light glares at me. Damn. It takes 30 minutes to get to the office ... meeting starts at 10 o'clock ... and it's 9:20. I floor it to the gas station. I get out, scan my card, and reach for the gas pump to begin filling my car. Next thing I know gas is spraying everywhere. We're talking Old Faithful style. Not sure if it was a faulty pump, user error or just God's way of getting in a good laugh, but four letter words flew from my mouth as gas drenched my pants, splashed over the side of my car and began to form a pool under my back left tire.

I managed to control the pump enough to get five bucks actually in -- and not on -- my car before gas began to spew out of my tank. What the hell? I give up and return the pump to it's holder. I sadly watch as ten bucks drip off my car while paranoia sets in. Is my car going to catch fire when I start it? Am I going to die? A quick call to J assured me I wasn't going to burst into flames, but he said that I needed to tell the store employees.

I run into the gas station store and wait in line to tell Apu what happened. There's a young guy in front of me digging in his pockets for change. Upon closer inspection, I realize he's wearing pjs, an old bathrobe and slippers, and he's purchasing not one but two 24 oz cans of Natural Lite beer. At 9:30 in the morning.

He finally finds enough change, and I tell Apu about the sea of gas I created outside. I can't understand him and I wonder if he even understands me. He walks off and begins shouting. I can't tell if he's shouting because he's panicked, or shouting because he thinks if he talks louder, I'll understand him. Five minutes later he grunts and points to a man outside. I walk outside and tell Apu #2 what happened.

"Pump 15?" he asks.

"Yes, pump 15," I reply.

He begins to laugh and I'm not sure why. We walk over to the Sea of Gas and he shrugs his shoulders.

"Pump 15 is broken," he says.

"Broken? I didn't see a sign," I reply, frustrated.

"No sign, it's broken," he says. So now what? "Don't worry, I clean up with special powder."

"Fine, so I'm not going to burst into flames?" I seriously ask. He laughs again and shakes his head. What a waste. I get into my car and it's now 9:47. Damn. I floor it down the highway, getting high off the gasoline trapped in my clothes and shoes.

As I near the office, I glance to my left to see a black Oldsmobile barrelling down the wrong side of the road. Holy crap. There's a grassy median separating us, and I wonder if he realizes we're not in England and that he should be on my side of the road. I see him swerve around a couple of cars before losing sight of him at my turn.

By the time I circle the building and find a parking spot half a mile from the door, I'm twenty-eight minutes late for my meeting. Sweating, I sit down as quietly as possible. It wasn't long before someone asks, "Does anyone else smell gasoline?"

Perhaps the smell distracted from my mis-matched outfit. Perhaps I'll get a raise because I look (and smell) like a bum. Regardless, tomorrow I'm staying home in my pjs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Team In Training

"The people I’ve met through Team In Training have been some of the most compassionate, kind, strong, and dedicated people that have ever crossed my path. Some are survivors like me and our bond was immediate – and is for life. But survivor or not, we’re all united by the common goal of wanting to find a cure for cancer." ~ Natasha Wieschenber, Triathelete and Cancer Survivor




I did it. Last night I went to a Team In Training informational meeting and committed to running 26.2 miles on behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the Big D Marathon in Dallas.


This won't be my first marathon -- I ran ... er, hobbled ... the Cowtown Marathon in Ft Worth. But that was eight years ago, and I've eaten a lot and have broken in a few couches since then.


The Big D will be different for many reasons. This time I'm running for a greater cause: to help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma. I'm running to help improve the lives of blood cancer patients and their families. I'm running for our Team Hero, a cancer survivor who we'll get to meet at the next meeting.


I'm excited. After I got home last night, J and I jogged around the neighborhood. Side cramps and numb feet aside, it felt good. It's nice to have something to strive for, a goal to reach, a cause to dedicate yourself to. In a way, a sense of purpose.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Night at the Spastics

"Every burden is a blessing." -- Walt Kelly

Last night, J and I went to our new neighbor's house for dinner. Honestly, we had been dreading it all week. While we've enjoyed talking to them the few times we have since they moved in a few months ago, their two kids are a whirlwind of spastic energy. Well, one is spastic, the other quite adorable.

They've come over a few times (unannounced) to play with our dogs. Which is great because our dogs love new people and every ounce of attention they can steal. But five minutes with these kids feels like five hours, and you're left wondering why the whole "kids should be seen and not heard" theory was laid to rest. Seriously.

If there was a contest for "How many questions can you ask in one minute?", Spastic would be world champion. And he's 7, so you can imagine the types of questions he asks as he's doing laps around our coffee table: Why do your dogs bark? Why is your cat black? Why won't he play with me? Why do you wear shoes inside? Why do I have feet?

I digress.

We were due at the neighbor's promptly at 5 o'clock. At 4:59 I pulled a pouting J away from the Dallas Cowboys game ("Why would they have us over during a Cowboys game? It's un-American!") and we slowly walked the 15 steps from our front door to theirs. We took a deep breath, plastered on smiles and rang the door bell.

Silence. "Are you sure they wanted us to come over?" pouted J. I shot him the shut-the-hell-up-and-be-a-good-sport-cause-we're-in-this-together look. Then we heard squealing, a running of feet, and the wooden door flew open.

"YOU'RE HEEEEERRRREEEEEE!" shouted Spastic as he grabbed my hand and jerked me inside. "Why are you late? Where have you been? What have you been doing?" he asked, pulling me down the hallway. I looked back down the hall at J, who was still standing in the door way, just as he was attacked with hugs by Miss Adorable. Lucky him, I thought.

Mr & Mrs Spastic greeted us in the kitchen, where they were busy making salad and setting the table. We exchanged small talk as I helped chop carrots while trying to ignore Spastic's plea to use the big kitchen knife. He began to throw a fit, crying and grabbing for the knife so Mrs Spastic let him peel cucumbers. Then the salad was done, but the lasagna was still 30 minutes from being done. Damn.

"LET'S PLAY A GAME!" screamed Spastic. We followed the kids upstairs only to notice Mr and Mrs Spastic stayed downstairs to keep an eye on the food. Double damn. I felt a little betrayed as I thought maybe we were only here to keep their kids entertained.

We got a tour of each of their rooms -- Spastic's decorated in horses and seashells, Miss Adorable's in hot pink and flowers -- and then sat down to play Trouble. I couldn't remember the rules, but it didn't matter as Spastic changed them every two seconds. I usually enjoy playing with kids but my head was throbbing and my heart felt for J who was crouched on the floor amongst dollhouses and board games, trying to forget about his precious Cowboys.

Finally, the magic words "Dinner's ready!" floated up the stairs, and we all raced down, the kids arguing about who they would get to sit next to. Ten minutes and several tears later, everyone was in their seats.

"Who wants to say the blessing?" asked Mr Spastic. I quickly adverted eye contact like a child in school who doesn't want to be called on. Not that I have anything against a dinner prayer, it's just not something I grew up doing, not something I currently do, and not something I want to try for the first time in a strangers home not knowing what religion they are.

"I WANT THE GUESTS TO DO IT!" shouted Spastic. Luckily Mr Spastic sensed the delayed response and volunteered one of the kids. Ten minutes and several tears later, Miss Adorable said blessing to the prophets, and we all laughed when she forgot to bless the food.

Dinner turned out great. Mr and Mrs Spastic are actually pretty laid back. We talked about their old home back in California, how the kids were adjusting, our jobs, life in general. When not interrupted by Spastic, it was quite enjoyable. Miss Adorable -- who's 4 -- told us stories and was just precious. Not one to usually gush over kids, I wondered if she would fit in my purse so I could keep her for my own.

After dinner we got roped into watching cartoons with the kiddos. Ten minutes and several tears later, we were all piled on the couch upstairs watching cartoons. After a few corny episodes, Mr and Mrs Spastic told the kids to stay upstairs while we went downstairs to talk. Over pumpkin chocolate cookies, they began to tell us that Spastic actually had several mental development problems, severe ADHD and were worried that it was getting progressively worse.

My heart sank for them as Mrs Spastic told how Spastic awoke every night and was up for three or four hours at a time. How he can't be alone ever. How he has no sense of space. Worried that his self-centeredness and fits would eventually lead to him getting in trouble in school and keep him from making friends. They're trying to find a psychiatrist as they're at the end of their ropes and no longer know what to do. They were tired and frustrated.

I felt a little guilty for my feelings towards the kid, but I could only imagine being his parent and feeling some of the same emotions. It wasn't long before Spastic came downstairs and began to throw a fit. And. Would. Not. Stop. He was tired, he wanted us to come upstairs, he wanted a cookie, he wanted his mom to hold him, he wanted to go to bed, he wanted to stay with us because he was scared, he didn't want to stop crying.

Defeated, Mrs Spastic thanked us for coming and went upstairs to get them ready for bed. J and I stayed a little longer talking to Mr Spastic. It's hard enough to be a parent, but it's even harder to raise one child that doesn't understand time and rules and who is too paranoid and too immature to be remotely independent, and then one child who is completely adorable and well-mannered. Sometimes I think it's easy to take children and parenting for granted, to establish a delicate balance between the two worlds so one isn't left behind and one isn't propelled too far forward.

J and I left last night with a full belly, new friends and a better understanding of what it truly takes to be a parent -- lots of Advil, courage and unconditional love. Because sometimes, even blessings can be challenges.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Debate -- My Thoughts

To be completely honest, tonight's Vice Presidential debate is the first debate I've watched in its entirety in years. Okay, ever.*

While I'm still on the fence about who to vote for (no, I don't vote a straight party ticket), I was curious to watch Palin in action. And for the first few minutes all I could picture was Tina Fey as Palin on Saturday Night Live. But in the end I thought Palin did well, the debate was interesting if not a smidge boring, and life tomorrow will go on for both candidates.

It was the commentary from reporters after the debate that ruffled my feathers. Several remarks were made that Palin would appeal to women because she's *gasp* a woman. Sure, I applaud the fact that a woman could potentially become the next Vice President. But I would never vote for her just because she has a vagina.

But I guess that's politics. Some people ignore the real issues and vote for someone because they are male or female, black or white. The answers can't be found in gender or race but in words and experiences.

Wake up. Let's start listening with our ears and not our eyes.


*I hate confrontation and avoid it like the plague ... even when it's on television.

Real Estate on eBay?


Call me crazy, but who thought real estate would ever become a part of eBay? According to the AP, a Chicago woman bought this house in Michigan off of eBay for $1.75. Wow.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Whole Latte Luxury

“The car has become a secular sanctuary for the individual, his shrine to the self, his mobile Walden Pond” ~ Edward McDonagh


The cars sitting outside Starbucks this morning: new Mercedes, BMW convertible, Nissan Z, Hummer H2, Audi, Corvette ... and J's old Ford pickup that I decided to drive today.

Let's consider the "Latte Factor" here -- even if I saved the six bucks I spent at Starbucks this morning and stashed it in a high-interest account over the course of my lifetime, not really sure I'd ever reach the caliber of the other vehicles in the parking lot.

But would I even want to?* Sure, expensive cars are beautiful in their own right. J and I are looking to buy a new SUV in the near future, so we test drove a completely decked out Yukon Denali last month -- it's okay to dream. Because everyone is desperate to sell SUVs right now, the dealership let us take it home for the weekend. After crunching the numbers we had no real intention of purchasing it, but we thought what the heck, let's take the darling home.

I melted into the ebony leather seats, cruising around with the sun roof open, the satellite radio blasting some funky urban jazz. It winked at me from the driveway every time I looked out the window. It purred as I ran my hand down it's Birch Metallic and chrome body. I felt dirty driving it, and it's overzealous V8 roared as I accelerated at stoplights, turning heads. That's right boys, look at me.

So ruggedly sexy, I thought. But that annoying little voice inside my head began to buzz and reality (eventually) set in. No, I don't really need fancy GPS, heated leather seats, third row seating, DVD player and $55k worth of gas-guzzling bells and whistles. I just need something to haul the dogs, future kids and flowers from Home Depot.

But it sure is nice to dream.


*Kudos to those of you who are able to have expensive things. Adopt me. Seriously.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Finding Purpose

"One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one's life has meaning, that one is needed in this world." ~ Hannah Senesh


To finish my thoughts from last weekend on life, loss and finding purpose, the drive back from the funeral last Friday was a long and quiet one as I tried to turn over every rock of life in my head.

I slept little, clutching J tightly in an effort to find comfort. I had a charity 5k for a friend of mine Saturday morning. I awoke before the sun, drove an hour and a half to Fort Worth, and began to realize life's full potential.

I arrived at the walk early so I u-turned and stopped by a Starbucks I had seen along the way. I usually will not go anywhere in public wearing cotton stretch pants but decided life was too short to worry about it. Eight dollars later I was back on the road and parked at the walk.

I called a few of my teammates to see if anyone else had yet arrived. I decided not to cower in the parking lot and walked by myself down the road to the registration tents and starting line. There I ran into an old friend of mine Panda, who I hadn't seen since her horrific car accident two years prior. I can't believe I hadn't made the effort to see how she'd been since then. We talked until our other teammates arrived, all of which I either knew -- or should have known -- in high school and have kept in touch with over the years.

Our team captain was our inspiration. Last year the bouncy blonde was diagnosed with kidney disease and, since the medications aren't working, it looks as if she'll need a kidney transplant in the very near future. We're hoping her younger sister's a match. It was so great to see her. She looked well but tired, and genuinely happy that we were all there to be with her. At the end of the day, her biggest fear isn't her failing kidney -- it's the thought of not being able to have another child. But she smiles through it, knowing that whatever's supposed to happen will.

As I stood amongst our team, catching up with old friends, and as I stood amongst the other participants, all running for their inspirations in the fight against kidney disease, I felt something wash over me. As I looked around, I realized that this was the feeling I've been missing. The need and want to help people. To be there for people. To connect deeply with people. To be needed by people.

I have a bad habit of putting things off, of breaking commitments -- whether to myself or others. Here I've been worried about not accomplishing my dreams in life when all I've really been doing is wasting time. Thinking instead of reacting. Shying away from situations that may be a little uncomfortable when it could be an opportunity to connect with someone or something. Sure, it seems like the same old "live life to the fullest" crap -- but it's the feeling that's different.

After the walk we all went to lunch and sat for two hours chatting, laughing, sharing. We talked about plans for the annual Christmas party that Curly throws at his lake house -- which I've always had an excuse out of because I couldn't find the perfect dress to wear or because I wasn't in the mood to mingle. Not this year. This year I'll be there with bells on. It'll be me in the photos slinging back martinis and dancing with the Christmas tree.

I sat there listening to everyone, realizing how much we've grown since high school years ago -- but also realizing how much we're still the same. It made me think about who else in my life I enjoy having around but have lost contact with. I'm horrible with returning phone calls, so the list grew larger in my mind.

When it was time to go, I was so internally happy. Happy that we were all able to support our team captain and old friend. Happy that our small team was able to raise $1,400 to support the National Kidney Foundation. Happy that I was able to spend time with everyone and reconnect. Happy that I didn't waste another Saturday morning just sleeping.

I checked the mail when I got home and I had received another purple and white brochure from Team In Training, supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I've wanted to complete a marathon with them since college, but had always found an excuse away from it. I checked the box for an informational meeting and set it with the stack of bills to be mailed.

I awoke early Sunday morning, which is a huge feat for me to awaken before 10 any day of the week. But imagine how much more I could accomplish in my day if I got up two or three hours earlier? I poked sleeping J in the stomach and uttered music to his ears: "Take me fishing." He was up in a flash and we stopped by Taco Cabana for a breakfast burrito, hooked up the boat and headed to Lake Grapevine. We each caught three bass, and it felt so great to be on the lake again. During our move over the summer we didn't get too many chances to fish, so it was great to get back out there and soak up nature. And we needed a little "couples therapy."

My attitude all week has been different. I've gotten up early each day (it's actually not as painful as I thought it would be), accomplished several things around the house I've been putting off, got caught up at work, had lunch with an old neighbor, stopped sweating (most) of the small stuff like J leaving his boots in the living room, and actually stopped to talk to a few of the neighbors instead of ducking into my garage like I normally do. And it's been great.

I know I've rambled on in this post, so if you've made it this far then kudos. It's hard to put what I'm feeling into actual words without the true meaning getting lost, but I had to try -- hence the reason this post comes a little late. I urge everyone to think about something in their life that has become habit -- like me sleeping in every morning or truly giving yourself to others -- and change it. There's no telling what you will accomplish, how the feeling of being needed will strike you, what higher purpose your moments on this earth will serve.