Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm a Christmas Hero

I have to share my crazy Christmas story.

On Christmas morning, J. and I got up early and opened gifts. We had breakfast and played with the cats for a while, and then J. decided to take some things to our storage unit. It was around 9 am, and I was watching tv. Something outside the window caught my attention. There was a young man walking up the sidewalk to our neighbors' front door. I noticed him because their driveway is right under our living room window, and I knew they'd gone out of town the day before. I leaned forward so I could see the man better. He was very close to their front door, and seemed to be looking through the glass. After a moment, he walked back down the steps and up the sidewalk away from my house.

I debated for a few minutes, then called the police. I reported the incident as suspicious activity. About ten minutes later, I received a call from an officer. He said he was en route, and asked me to repeat what I'd told the 911 dispatcher. He arrived as I was describing what I saw, and he cut me off, saying, "You did good. There's a broken window in the back."

Within a few minutes, we had four patrol cars blocking our street in the front, and three blocking the alley. The young man was still inside the house when the police arrived. He surrendered immediately and was arrested. I gave a statement to the responding officer. About an hour after the last police car left, the owner of the house arrived and came over to hear all about it. J. had arrived home just after I called 911, so I was still trying to explain everything to him. He called his mom and aunt and told them I was a Christmas hero. And then on Monday, a detective called and I had to give a statement to him.

It's surreal - in a way, I'm tired of telling the story. Then again, I'm a little bit proud of myself, and it was exciting to be in the middle of something like that, and to be able to help my neighbor. The house was empty at the time of the break-in, so the only real cost to our neighbor will be replacing the broken window.

And I have an exciting story to tell for many Christmases to come!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking Ahead - Christmas 2011

I love Christmas.

Wait...let me rephrase that: I love the IDEA of Christmas. I love what Christmas is supposed to be about. I love decorating the house and listening to holiday music and watching holiday movies. I do not, however, love the stress of spending time with family I never see and don't really like, of braving stores filled with crazy people to find the perfect gift, and of having to be so damn cheerful about the whole thing.

My wonderful husband would just as soon go to bed on December 23rd and wake up on December 26th. He accomodates me (and I think he even had a little fun this year), but it's just not his thing. And about three weeks ago, I realized it's not mine either. I don't want to completely give up on Christmas, and we couldn't do that to our mothers anyway, so we made a deal.

Beginning with Christmas 2010, in even years we will celebrate here with our families. In odd years, we will travel. Our plan is to decide where we'll be spending Christmas by February 1st. That way, we have all year to plan (and pay for) the trip. Christmas 2011 is already planned and booked. We will be at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, in a stand-alone log cabin with a wood-burning fireplace and a full kitchen.

It will be just the two of us for five days. We've already told our families that we'll be travelling, and I may have led my mother to believe that there's no cell service inside the park. In any event, as I sit here in the limbo that is the week between Christmas and New Years, feeling bloated and out-of-sorts, and wishing to get back to a routine, I think of where I'll be next year, and smile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful

Lately I have been overwhelmed by the blessings in my life. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I should take time to write these things down.

Four years ago, Thanksgiving was absolute hell. I was newly separated from my husband, and it was my first holiday alone. My life was spiraling out of control so fast I could almost see it happening. And it only got worse from there. I allowed myself to become involved in an extremely abusive relationship. I damaged my relationships with family and friends. I left a stable, well-paying job to move away from my hometown, where I was completely isolated. I got into legal trouble. My finances were in ruins, and at one point, I was days away from being homeless.

There were good times. I made friends in my new town. I got back in touch with a man I knew a lifetime ago, fell in love, and got married. But it was hard, and there were many times we both felt that we were never going to get out of the hole we were in. Coming home to Dallas was the fresh start that we needed (and desperately wanted). We made that happen in early April, thanks - again - to our families. Since then, we have faced challenges and hard times, but looking back over the last six months, it's amazing to see how steadily our lives have improved.

Today, I have a permanent job doing work I enjoy for a great boss. After a series of major hurdles, the husband is registered for spring classes at the local college. We have two sweet, funny cats (plus one baby we're fostering), and they provide us endless entertainment. My friends - the ones that count, anyway - are still here. In many ways, it's like we were never apart. Most importantly, I am happy. *WE* are happy. I know that things will never be perfect; there are still hard times in our future. But I survived the last four years, and I'm going to enjoy every moment of these happy times.

I heard something once, along the lines of: "If you always think about what's missing in your life, you'll never see all the things you have." I like that, and I believe it's especially appropriate to consider this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Happy Hour

From Mental Floss: "Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion…"

1. Let’s pretend you’ve been appointed calendar czar. Your first order of duty is creating one new federal holiday. Which new holiday would you propose? How should people celebrate?
~ My best friend had a weekly holiday for a while; she called it "Hater Monday." On Monday evenings, she would leave work and do all the things she hated but that had to be done: buy gas, shop for groceries, etc. She figured Monday was already ruined just by being Monday, so it was the perfect day for those errands.

2. What’s a recent example of horrible public behavior — kids or adults — you’ve witnessed?
~ I don't have enough time to write, nor do you have enough time to read, all the ridiculous things I've seen lately.

3. What’s the oldest piece of clothing you still wear regularly?
~ When I was a junior in high school (age 16) I purchased an embroidered Texas A&M sweatshirt for $65. My mother had an absolute fit when she found out, as I’ll be reminding her (again) when I wear it to her house later this year (I’m 34 now). I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

4. A couple weeks ago, I asked if any of you named your cars. Lots of people did. What other possessions have you given names? Houses? Laptops? Volleyballs?
~ Nothing I can think of right now - I'll ponder that for later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Happy Hour

From Mental Floss: "Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion…"

1. Lindsey Harris and her husband threw an “odd pairings” party this Halloween, where guests came in costumes like Felix the Cat Stevens; Linus & Lucy Liu; Rand Paul Bunyan; Count von Count Dooku; Pamela Anderson Cooper; and Valley Girl, Interrupted. And they even played a few rounds of Split Decision, the game of improbable pairings! If she invited you to her next odd pairings party, what would your costume be?
~ Oh, I'm horrible at these! I have no idea.


2. Keeping with the board games theme, what are some “house rules” your family applied to your favorite games?
~ I think both of these are fairly common. To win at Trivial Pursuit, when a player has all his "pie pieces" he has to go to the middle and answer a question chosen by the asking player. The asking player must choose the question from the next card in the deck (no going through the cards looking for a tough one). Alternately, and if you want a much longer game, the player has to answer all six questions on a single card. Either way, if you miss, you have to leave the middle on your next turn, then get back to the middle to try again.

Also, in Monopoly, all fines paid go to the middle (instead of back to the bank). Next player to land on Free Parking gets the kitty!


3. What’s an example of something you’ve seen that you really wish you had on tape? (I’m talking about random happenings in real life, like the time your neighbor tried to parachute off his roof. Not The 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.)
~ Well, it wasn't random, but I wish I had the implosion of Texas Stadium on tape. The husband and I were there, and it was really awesome - not just the actual implosion, but the moment with him. It would be nice to watch it and relive that moment sometimes.


4. By now you’ve all probably heard about Caitlin Burke solving a 27-letter Wheel of Fortune puzzle after only seeing one “L.” (The answer was “I’ve got a good feeling about this.”) What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on a game show?
~ Of course, I'm aware it's not a real game show, but sometimes (at completely random moments) I think of the Penis Mightier - Jeopardy skit on SNL. It always makes me giggle.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Happy Hour

From Mental Floss: "Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion…"

1. We’ve run a series of posts about great [Halloween] costumes, but what about the worst?
~ I don't know if this is really the worst, but several years ago a local radio personality (who happens to be a very tall, thin, African-American man) was out at a bar dressed in a bunny suit. And when I say "bunny suit," I mean a one-piece, step into it, zip it up the front, and pull the hood with the gigantic ears over your head, BUNNY SUIT. It was ridiculous. And disturbing.

2. You’ve been put in charge of your city or state’s committee to name an official state book. The book should have some connection to the region—perhaps the story is set there, or the author was born there. Which book would you nominate?
~ I doubt anyone would want this to be Texas' state book, and I do want Dallas to be known for more than what happened here in 1963, but if we were making a top-5 list of must-reads about Texas, then "Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy" by Vincent Bugliosi would have to be included.

3. Finish this sentence: I’m surprisingly proficient at ____________.
~ Talking people to death. And the more I like a person, the more I jabber away. I know I'm doing it, I know it's horribly annoying, and I simply cannot make myself shut up. Sigh. I guess there are worse faults to have.

4. If you could (or were forced to) go back to high school and re-take one class, which class would you choose? You’d be taught by the same teacher and the curriculum would be identical.
~ Latin. I loved it then (took the class all four years of high school), and I love it now. If I ever return to college, I'll major in classical languages and become a high school Latin teacher.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Happy Hour

From Mental Floss: "Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion…"

1. What are some of the weird things — intentionally or not — you’ve conditioned your pet to do?
~ Our animals do weird things, but I don't so much think it's because we've conditioned them to do so. Our female cat likes to sit on the side of the bathtub and drink the water while the husband is bathing. It's really disgusting, because she'll drink it even when the water is dirty/soapy. Strange, too, because she's very prissy and hates to get dirty or wet.

2. If the you of today could sit down with the 10/22/2000-version of yourself, what’s the one thing you didn’t do that you’d tell your younger self he/she must?
~ Wow. On 10/22/00, I was 24 and newly single, after being in a 5.5 year live-in relationship. I was dating someone, but he was much more serious about me than I was about him, and it didn't last long. That's actually a period of my life about which I have very few regrets. When I became single, I told myself that because I'd missed out on so much, I wasn't going to say no to things. If someone invited me to do something, I went. I told myself that if I was miserable, I could leave after an hour, but that never really happened. So I did a lot of fun things during that period that I would've otherwise missed out on.

3. What’s your favorite episode of your favorite TV show?
~ On April 8, 1957 the "Building a BBQ" episode of "I Love Lucy" aired for the first time. "I Love Lucy" isn't necessarily my favorite show, but this episode is in my top-5 favorite-tv-episodes of all time. Here's the basic plot: Ricky is always getting onto Lucy because she places her wedding band in the kitchen window while she's doing dishes, and he's afraid she'll lose it. So one day, Ricky sees Lucy's ring in the windowsill, and he puts it in his pocket, thinking he'll give her a scare that will teach her a lesson. That day, the Ricardos and Mertzes build a BBQ grill. After it's done, Lucy realizes her ring is gone. She thinks she lost it in the cement while it was being mixed. So that night, after Ricky and Fred are in bed, Lucy and Ethel dismantle the entire grill. Of course, they don't find her ring. They try to put the BBQ back together, but it's all lopsided. Ricky and Fred wake up and go to inspect their handiwork, and find a disaster and Lucy crying because her ring is gone.

4. What’s your all-time favorite live album?
~ I love live music, and in many cases, I prefer live albums to studio albums. My favorite live album is Dave Matthews Band, "The Central Park Concert." Here's why: It's the only recorded concert (to-date) that contains a DMB performance of "Cortez, the Killer," which is my all-time favorite Neil Young song. When I looked at the cd and saw it contains that song, I was literally jumping up and down in the store.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Knew It!!!

For someone who doesn't want kids, this is a truly great photo:

epic fail photos - Section Label Fail
see more funny videos

Friday Happy Hour

From Mental Floss: "Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion…"

1. In an effort to churn out better-prepared graduates, you’ve been hired to develop one course that all high school seniors must take. What would your class be?
~ I think there should be a year-long, basic how-to-survive-on-your-own class, broken up into different units: A financial unit - learn how to balance a checkbook, buy a car and house, understand insurance policies, write a budget, and manage credit cards. A maintenance unit - learn how to take care of a car (change a tire, change the oil, check all the fluids, etc.) and learn how to do basic home maintenance. A home economics unit - learn basic cooking and cleaning, how to do laundry, how to plan a grocery list, and tips on living with roommates. An employment unit - how to write a resume and ace an interview.

2. When did you first go online?
~ I set up my first email account in 1999. Before that I was never really online. I remember, at the time, feeling like I was behind because several of my friends had been using email for work for a while.

3. What’s the strangest compliment you’ve received?
~ Worst pick-up line ever: I was at a club when I was 18. A guy approached me and said, "You have childbearing hips." I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Not yours."

4. If you were putting on a conference for people in your profession, who would be your first choice for keynote speaker? And a follow-up: who’s the best speaker you’ve seen at a conference?
~ My career has been spent in customer service, of one type or another. My choice for keynote speaker would be Ken Blanchard, author of Gung Ho: Turn on the People in Any Organization and Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service. Both of these books are remarkable and are must-reads for anyone working in customer service. As far as the best speaker I've ever heard, I haven't really attended professional conferences, so I don't have an answer.

Friday, October 8, 2010

#2 - Suppose you could visit any place on earth before human history - what would you like to see, and why?

There are many, many places in human history I'd like to visit (Pompeii in 78 A.D., Tudor England, and 1967 San Francisco all come to mind), but this says "before human history." I didn't think I was going to be able to answer this, because before human history, there wasn't anything on earth to interest me. I'm an indoor kind of girl.

Then I gave the question a little more thought.

I want to be there at the beginning - for the spark, or the big bang, or the creation. Whatever it was, I want to see it.

I have a tenuous sort of spirituality. I believe in something greater than myself. Do I think that something is the Judeo-Christian idea of God? Eh, not so much. In some ways, what I believe is pretty simple: when I die, I will be called to answer for my choices - so I should make good choices. I should not hurt people. I should live by the Golden Rule. I should do my best.

But in any discussion of religion or spirituality that gets to this point, the next question is: what comes after? Heaven/Hell? Purgatory? Nothing?

Here's what I hope: when I'm gone, I want to see all the people I loved who went before me. I want to check on the people I've left behind and give them some kind of sign that I'm ok. And then I want to go for a walk in an orchard or vineyard with the "something greater than myself."

I don't generally like being outside, but I imagine in this place the temperature will be perfect and there will be no bugs or reptiles to worry about. I picture my companion as the traditional Jesus, but it's just an image - like when you imagine someone you've only spoken with on the phone or heard on the radio.

I want to walk with him and ask him all the questions I've had. Who really killed JFK? How would my life have played out if I had gone to Woodstock with John - would we still end up happily married? What actually goes on in a dog's mind when you talk to him?

I don't want to have the information all at once. I want to walk and talk, with no deadlines or reason to rush. I want to understand it all.

Friday Happy Hour - thank you, Mental Floss!

Yes, readers, we'll be doing this weekly (or at least attempting to). From Mental Floss: "Every Friday, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else’s reply, whatever you want. On to this week’s topics of discussion…"

1. If money were no object, where would you work?
~Some type of animal rescue. An under-funded, under-staffed public library. Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children.

2. Tell us about a time you were in on the ground floor for something that became crazy popular—an artist, a technology, a designer, a business or stock, etc. Once the masses came around, did that dampen your enthusiasm?
~I read Wicked before it got huge and became a musical (WTF?!?). It's been my number one since then.

3. If someone were coming to your current town for one day and wanted to get the full local experience, what would you tell them to do? (I realize not everyone loves where they live, so the full local experience doesn’t have to be positive.)
~There's so much I love about Dallas, which I only realized when I moved away. Wonderful people (when you get past the snotty ones), great restaurants/bars, and so much to do and see. Right now, though, I'd tell them to go to the State Fair.

4. Every few months I ask the same question and you always have great suggestions. What are you currently reading?
~I'm currently reading The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. I'm way behind on my reading, and I have five library books waiting. Next up will likely be The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

#4 - If you could live one short episode of your life over again – a day, week, month, season – what would it be? And why?

I left home in September 1993, the beginning of my senior year of high school. In order to finish school in the same district where I had attended my whole life, I had to live on my own. My dad helped me get a tiny apartment, and he agreed to give me the money he would have been paying my mom in child support. It covered half my rent. Dad had always paid my car insurance, and he would continue to do that. Everything else was up to me.

I'd had a couple of jobs since I was old enough to work, but I was not employed then. I got a job as a hostess at Judge Bean's restaurant. It was a small chain restaurant, serving burgers and chicken-fried steaks, modeled around a sort of Old West theme. The restaurant had been there a long time; I'd eaten there several times as a kid. And it looked it - everything was dusty, including the stuffed black bear and moose head that greeted guests. Looking back, I can't believe people chose to eat there, but maybe you don't notice that kind of stuff if you're not there every day.

From the beginning, I loved my job. My co-workers were a great group, and we had lots of fun together. I even got my friend John a job there, his first as a bartender. In April, I turned 18 and could legally wait tables. After that, I was always at work, whether I was working or not. It was where I wanted to be; all my friends were there. I remember sitting on the cooler in the service bar while John was working. I remember working 20 straight days, 13 of those double shifts. If I was going to be at work, I might as well be making money, right?

Big plans were in the making: Woodstock '94 would be held in New York in August, and a group of us were going. I don't even know how many people were "in" at the beginning - maybe 10 or so. As August drew closer, people begged off, and finally it was just going to be John and me.

This was not a happy thought for some people. When I met John, he had an on-again, off-again girlfriend. And at that age, I wasn't too concerned whether they were hot or cold at any given moment. I didn't want a boyfriend anyway. So John and I had stolen moments in the walk-in cooler at Judge Bean's, and one very special evening in a neighborhood park. Needless to say, the girlfriend didn't like me at all. I think that made me want to go with John to Woodstock even more, just because I knew it would drive her crazy.

In the end, I didn't go. John went to Woodstock alone.

Summer turned to fall, and things were changing at Judge Bean's. There is always turnover in restaurants, and ours was notorious. People left for other restaurants, or they went to work for other Judge Bean's locations which were not in imminent danger of having the doors chained by creditors. In December 1994, I went away to college. I lost touch with everyone from Judge Bean's, including John.

It was a magical, turbulent time in my life. Newfound freedom from my parents, becoming a legal adult, finishing high school...it was all bittersweet. I had lots of fun, but there was also so much heartache. Judge Bean's was, in a way, my rock. It was the right group of people, all of us at the right point in our lives, to have one of those "moment in time" experiences. You can't plan it, and you can't recreate it once it's gone.

If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I'd love to live that time over again. And I would definitely, absolutely go to Woodstock with John. He's my husband now; I wish I'd had that experience with him.

#12 - Do you know a poem well enough to recite it to me? Will you?

Ok, so as I've said before, Robert Fulghum is the most awesome guy ever, as evidenced by my sucking up, here. A list of questions appears in his most recent book of essays, "What On Earth Have I Done?" Here, in his words, is a brief explanation for the list:

"Several years ago I made a list of questions to carry in my wallet.
I thought of the list as a conversation lifeboat.

There are those who seem to shine in the social arena of small-talk.
I am not one of them. I do not know why. But it is the case.

The list was meant to keep me afloat in the company of strangers while traveling, or at cocktail parties, receptions, potlucks, banquets, and any occasion featuring white wine and finger food in a milling crowd.

I share these lists with you with the hope that you may use them yourself.

If your experience matches mine, you will frequently be astonished by the richness that lies close at hand. You will likely find, as I have, that your opinion of what a stranger was like on first impression is not only shallow but wrong. Or that you still have much to learn from people you think you know well.

We are - all of us - treasure houses of ideas, dreams, hopes, fears, knowledge, imagination and experience. It doesn’t take much to get into these safe deposit boxes in the minds and hearts and souls of our companions.

Just ask. That you, in turn, may be asked."



It is my intention to address these questions, in no particular order.

12. Do you know a poem well enough to recite it to me? Will you?

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it ended in undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though, as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh I kept the first for another day
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I, I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference

I committed that poem to memory when I was in the seventh grade. I typed it, just now, from memory. By the way, it's harder to type a poem than simply to say it in your head. This is the only poem I've memorized for any length of time, but it touched my heart the first time I read it. And it has been a sort of touchstone for me, all these years. In my darkest times, I have repeated it in my head; it's a calming device, I guess.

Reading it now - really reading it, not just looking at the words I already know - it touches me again. I've always taken the road that is "grassy and wanted wear." I've never done things the easy way, and much of my life has felt like a struggle to have just what comes easily to everyone else. And there have been times I've been resentful, and bitter, and angry. But now, thinking of where I am today, what I have in my life today, I'd do it all again.

Taking the road I did has made all the difference. Oh, and the English teacher who introduced me to Robert Frost (and influenced me beyond any other teacher)? I'm having dinner with her next week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quiz Me

1. What is your favorite type of cheese?
~ Cheese is a happy thing, and I love all kinds. If I had to choose a favorite, I'd say medium cheddar.

2. What is the wallpaper/background on the computer you are using right now?
~ There is none.

3. If you had to choose one or the other, which would you watch: a crime/detective TV show, or a TV show with a medical/hospital setting?
~ Crime/detective

4. Are your ears pierced? How old were you when you had them pierced? Are you wearing earrings right now, and if so what kind?
~ I was 8 when I had my ears pierced. I hardly ever wear earrings anymore, but today I'm wearing silver studs in the shape of stars.

5. When in your life have you felt the most powerful?
~ Now. Having the unwavering support of my husband makes me strong.

6. Do you like wine? If so, what is your favorite wine?
~ I *want* to like wine, but I'm very picky. Favorite is Clou du Bois merlot.

7. If you drink at all with friends/family, what are the usual drinks of choice?
~ Hubby and I don't drink much, but usually I drink Malibu/pineapple or a Cape Cod. He usually drinks beer.

8. Name 3 things you do well that come naturally for you.
~ Love, loyalty, interaction with strangers

9. Name something you currently do well that did NOT come naturally for you, but was somewhat difficult to learn and/or master. (If you have several, feel free to name them!)
~ I don't know if I do it well, but I think I do it better than I used to: not letting my worrying get out of control.

10. Have you ever ridden an ATV/4-wheeler/other small vehicle designed mainly for recreation? If so, did you enjoy it?
~ No, and I never had an interest in doing so.

11. How old were you when you became sexually active (whatever that means to you)? How old were you when you felt truly comfortable having sex, expressing your desires, experimenting, etc (if applicable)?
~ I was 16, and I was fairly comfortable from the beginning.

12. Are there any projects (work or home) that you need to tackle soon?
~ I always have projects on my to-do list, but nothing really important.

13. Do you know the story of how your parents (and/or grandparents) met?
~ My parents met in a church group when both were attending East Texas State University (now Texas A&M - Commerce).

14. What was your FIRST EVER experience with wearing "high heels" (any type)? BTW I got this Q from In Style magazine and thought it might be sorta fun :-)
~ I can't remember; maybe my junior prom.

15. Which amusement park is the last one you visited?
~ Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA.

16. If you won an all-expenses paid trip to a different country than the one you are currently living in, where would you go? (assume you can only choose 1 country)
~ Italy.

17. What's the weather like where you are (today)?
~ Hot. It's Texas in July, what else would it be?

18. If you had to make out with one of your coworkers, who would it be? Please don't take this Q too seriously, it's just for fun!!
~ N/A

19. When you were a kid, did your parent(s) ever drive a car that you found particularly cool or uncool?
~ Our cars were perpetually uncool.

20. Have you made any new friends so far in 2010? Have you let any old friends "slip away" in 2010?
~ I have made a couple of new friends (one perk of the worst job ever). I let one old friend slip away. It's not easy, because we have so much history. But I realized that if I met her today, I wouldn't want to be her friend. It was time to let go.

21. Name something that has annoyed you today.
~ Not having air conditioning in my car. See #17.

22. Name something that has made you smile today.
~ Waking up carpeted in cats. They only love me when I'm sleeping.

23. When you're driving to work (or commuting whichever way you do), what kind of expression is usually on your face...scowl, indifferent, bored, tired, happy?
~ I'm happy. Since I'm working for a staffing agency, I don't get work every day. On days I have it, I'm thrilled to be going.

24. Which do you use more often: paper clips or staples?
~ Paper clips. Staples are the bane of my existence.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Couple Poll

Thanks to RoseAnn for passing this one along!


♥ What are your middle names? Patrick and Davis; I dropped my birth middle name (Elaine) and kept my maiden name as my middle name when I married the first time.

♥ How long have you been together? Together 1 year, 5 months, 9 days; married 10 months today.

♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating? About 16 years; we met in 1992/93 but lost touch in 1994. Reconnected in 2008. Began dating (and married) in 2009.

♥ Who asked whom out? When we first met, he approached me. When we reconnected, I looked him up on MySpace.

♥ How old are each of you? John is 37 and I'm 34.

♥ Do you have any children together? No.

♥ What about pets? We have a cat and are currently fostering two kittens.

♥ Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple? Dealing with our baggage: we both had been through so much before we started dating, and there are things that will always affect our lives.

♥ Did you go to the same school? Yes, we went to the same high school, but not at the same time.

♥ Are you from the same hometown? Yes.

♥ Who is the smartest? I'm more book-smart, but John is more street-smart.

♥ Who is more sensitive? I am.

♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? 200 miles (from College Station to Dallas).

♥ Who has the craziest exes? He does, definitely.

♥ Who has the worst temper? We both have bad tempers, but we are MUCH more in control of them than we when we were younger.

♥ Who does the cooking? John does. I like to cook, but when we moved in together, he drove me out of the kitchen. Now I pretty much only get to do the baking.

♥ Who is more social? I am.

♥ Who is the neat-freak? Me

♥ Who is more stubborn? John

♥ Who hogs the bed? Neither of us; we have a california king, so it's hard to hog, although the bed does seem to be shrinking as our menagerie grows.

♥ Who wakes up earlier? It depends, but usually we wake up around the same time.

♥ Where was your first date? Our first real date, we went to a couple of little bars. It was a Sunday afternoon in January, so we were able to talk without much distraction.

♥ How do you spend the holidays? We've only been together through one holiday season, but since all our family is local, we'll probably split time. I'm looking forward to having Christmas morning all to ourselves this year, though.

♥ Who is more jealous? I am.

♥ How long did it take to get serious? When we finally figured out that we were supposed to be together, it was instantaneous.

♥ Who eats more? John eats more in a sitting, but I graze more.

♥ Who does/did the laundry? I did when we had a washer/dryer. Now that we have to go to the laundromat, John does.

♥ Who’s better with the computer? I am.

♥ Who drives when you are together? John almost always drives.

♥ Who is the romantic one? I am.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rinse and Repeat...

Once again: I still have so much to say - this blog is not abandoned! Between having limited internet access and a crazy work schedule, I have not been able to write.

Have no fear - more blogs coming soon!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Argh

Am I the only one who feels that a lot of people are just a waste of oxygen? This is directed at one such person, a hopefully-soon-to-be-former coworker:

You think this pathetic town is the center of the universe. You never met a reality show you didn't love, and I'm sure you can recite the entire cast for the new "Dancing with the Stars" and the current happenings on every one of those train wrecks. But you look at me like I have three heads when I make a reference to Anna Karenina. If I was so stupid that I thought "baccalaureate" was pronounced the same as "bachelorette," I would think long and hard before passing judgment on other people.

Wow. So glad I'm me and not you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If you're offended, stop listening!

Is calling someone an "idiot" attacking their character?

I often come here to hash out things I don't feel like arguing about on other sites. "Other sites" refers primarily to Facebook or iVillage. I am aware that I have strong, often inflammatory opinions, and I'm just not going to have a comment war with friends of friends.

So here's how the exchange went - my friend put this up as her status update: "My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes," - Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress with Down Syndrome who voiced the fictional character on Family Guy that prompted another explosion from the Alaskan fraud, Sarah Palin."

I commented with this: "That's awesome! She's an idiot, and if McCain had been elected, I would've moved abroad just to avoid hearing that horrible voice of hers for 4 years."

Another comment from my friend's friend (we'll call her A.): "Calling Palin an idiot is not really very nice" (her lack of punctuation, not mine)

I responded: "Sorry, just my opinion, A. I claim many personal attributes, but niceness is not among them. :)"

She replies: "It's ok to disagree, but don't attack someone's character."


Ok, time-out. Really?!?! Calling someone an idiot is now a character attack? I use the word "idiot" in daily conversation about as often as I use the word "the." It's filler. Every person who does something I don't agree with is an idiot. Trust me, if I really don't like you, I'll choose another word. I has vocabulary like that.

But the truth is, I *REALLY* don't like Sarah Palin. I think she's an idiot. A big-time, can't-believe-anyone-ever-thought-she-should-hold-a-government-position idiot. I wouldn't have voted for her for county dogcatcher. But that's not what I said on Facebook. What I said, I think, was fairly mild - especially when you consider what I could have said and what I was really thinking.

Is this really what we've come to? Everyone who knows me knows my opinion of political correctness, and I intend to delve into that in more detail in another blog. But are we really THIS sensitive?

We have freedom of speech, but we can't say anything without offending someone. It's pathetic. And it makes me want to stand on the street corner and shout every dirty word I know, just to do it.

Argh.

Family insanity

The term "dysfunctional family" should be permanently removed from use, since it means exactly the same thing as the term "every family." Seriously - there are no "Father Knows Best" or "Leave It To Beaver" families. And I'm pretty sure there never were.

With that in mind, let's talk about my family. On second thought, let's not. Suffice it to say that they're all nuts (present company included). When you look at my dad's immediate family, a flowchart is required to get the relationships straight. As an example, I have two stepbrothers. They are each married (to their second wives). Each wife was married before. To the same man. That's right - both of my sisters-in-law were married to the same man (one was his first wife and one was his second). Yeah, that makes holidays interesting, which is one reason I don't go.

But this is really supposed to be a blog about disappointment - specifically, the ways we disappoint our parents. I've come to realize that I am not the daughter my father hoped I'd be. And you know what? I don't care. He's not the father I hoped for, either. I've spent so many years trying to get him to love me for who I am, and to somehow get him to be the dad I want and need. But it's not going to happen.

It's sad. I saw the movie "Father of the Bride" when it came out in theaters. I was 15, and I dreamed about the day I'd get married and my dad would be like Steve Martin's character. When the time came, it didn't work out that way. But really, by then, I was used to it. My dad did a lot of things right, but he also let me down in a lot of really big ways.

Bottom line, though - I guess if I want him to love me for the person I actually am, I have to love him for who he is, warts and all. But I also know that I have to take care of me first. And if that means distancing myself from him, so be it.

A fun blog quiz

Thank you, RoseAnn - these are always fun!


1) What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
~ I'm never quite sure how to answer questions like this. Of course, there are names I think are pretty (Nora being my favorite), but I can't really imagine being anyone but me.

2) What was your worst date (as in going out on a date, not an actual calendar date…unless you have a really bad one to share)?
~ I haven't been on many traditional dates. But there was an evening when I tried to break up with a guy I'd been dating for about 2 months. We were at my apartment, and after I gave him the bad news, he went into the kitchen and promptly fainted, hitting his head on my trash can. His explanation: "I have a physical reaction to bad news." After that, I lost my nerve. We continued to date for a couple more months. When I broke up with him for good, I did it through email.

3) If you had to teach one subject in high school or college, what would it be?
~ I would teach Latin. I took it all four years of high school, and absolutely loved it.

4) When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
~ Well, my husband and my cat make me laugh all the time. But I can't think of an example that would translate well to writing.

5) What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
~ My husband married me. I know - it sounds like romantic drivel, but it's true. To steal a line from "Titanic" - which I hate to do, but the line is exactly how I feel: "He saved me, in every way a person can be saved."

6) If money or skill-set was no issue, what would you love to do for a living?
~ I would like to edit manuscripts. I'm exceptionally good at spotting typos, and I love to read. My only two conditions would be that I only have to edit manuscripts in which I'm interested, and that I'm allowed to lay on a beach while editing.

7) What is one thing as an adult/parent/spouse you do that you swore you would never do?
~ Oh, man - there are lots of things I said I'd never do. Then life happened, and I realized that "never" is a dirty word. The big one, I guess, is that I said I'd never get divorced. In the end, though, it wasn't up to me. Looking back, that time in my life was hell, but it got me to where I am now, so it was worth it.

8) If you could go back to one particular time in your life (not to live, not to change anything, just to visit) when would it be?
~ I would go to the summer of 1994, when I should have gone to Woodstock with my (now) husband. I believe that decision was pivotal in both our lives. Even if I couldn't change my decision, it would be cool to see him there (sort of like I'd been there with him after all).

9) If your walls could talk, what would they say about you (good & bad)?
~ If I was willing to reveal - in a public blog - all the bad things my walls could say, I'd go on a reality show. Some things are meant to be private.

10) If you could fix or put an end to one problem in the world what would it be?
~ There are, obviously, lots of bad things in this world. But the biggest problem I see, and the one that is at the crux of so many others, is people minding everyone else's business instead of their own.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why I believe in American isolationism

"Isolationism - the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities."

from Dictionary.com


First, it is not necessary (or desirable) for us to impress our way of life onto the rest of the world. Americans like to talk about being a "melting pot," but we want everyone to look and speak and act and worship the same way. We don't REALLY value diversity, which is why we try to make the rest of the world just like us. It's no wonder the rest of the world hates us - most of the time, I don't blame them!

Seriously - I don't want to live in a tract home in a cookie-cutter subdivision with a minivan and 2.5 kids. If that's what life is all about, I'll just fast-forward to death now, thank you very much. I've been accused of trying to be subversive, of rebelling for the sake of rebellion, and I'll admit that sometimes I do - but only because I cannot stand that sheep mentality.

We, as Americans, have the same attitude as so many hotshot 18-year-olds. You know what I mean: "I'm an adult. I know everything. I can't possibly learn anything from anyone else." And really, as a nation, are we so different? We've been a country for 233 years - look at the age of European nations and then tell me we're not in our adolescence.

We don't have it figured out yet, but we want to tell everyone else that they're doing it wrong, and they should live like us. That's a nasty attitude - one I'm pretty sure no one would tolerate in their children. But that's the attitude we have as a nation.

Second - and this is the big thing: we have plenty of problems here! I am all about charity, and helping those who need (and want) help. But it makes me absolutely SICK to see every other tv commercial with a graphic stating "Text $10 for Haiti relief." Please don't get me wrong - the Haitian people quite obviously need help (and not just from Americans trying to kidnap their children). But what about the people who need help HERE???

I think most people just don't pay attention, but if you watch the national news, about once a week you'll hear something about [insert dollar amount in the millions here] being approved by our federal government for some kind of foreign relief. We are in the midst of an economic disaster! People in this country, in your community, are losing their homes. They are hungry. The fact that we are sending a single cent to a foreign nation is APPALLING.

And don't tell me that there is government aid available here. Have you ever tried to get government assistance? If you can qualify (and that's a VERY big if), you will be buried in paperwork and appointments required to initially approve and then maintain your assistance. People who are not looking for a handout, but who legitimately need short-term assistance (and therefore do not know how to manipulate the system) cannot get it. And if you are able to qualify for government assistance, and you are employed, you will quickly lose your job because you will never be at work - you'll be spending all your time in line at one government office or another.

I am all for helping those less fortunate than ourselves. And I believe that every person should help by giving or doing all that they can. But we need to fix this country first! No sane person would let their own family go hungry so that they could text $10 for Haiti relief - but isn't that exactly what we, as a nation, are doing?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's called 'work' for a reason...

Ok - so, in my life, I've had 15 jobs. That includes part-time, full-time, and hated-it-so-much-I-only-lasted-a-week jobs. And my experience is that the phenomenon under discussion today is more prevalent in office settings, especially call center jobs. But it happens everywhere. So, here goes...

To my boss: I'm here to work and earn a paycheck. If I wanted to have fun with my co-workers, I'd go to happy hour with them at 5 pm. So please, don't make me go to a summer picnic or holiday party. I don't want to participate in hawaiian shirt day, or crazy hat day, or bring your favorite Pez dispenser to work day. I want to come to work, do my job in peace, then go home and spend time with people I actually like. It is only going to damage my morale if I'm forced to participate.

Seriously - I learned long ago that it's best for everyone involved if I just take vacation time when one of these events is scheduled. I can't make myself have fun, and my lousy attitude isn't fair to the people who actually enjoy these things (who are sick puppies, as far as I'm concerned).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm still here!

I still have so much to say - this blog is not abandoned! Between having limited internet access and a crazy work schedule, I have not been able to write.

Have no fear - more blogs coming soon!