Friday, November 24, 2006

Painting Lessons

You can forget Picasso, this ain't that kind of painting.

I'm painting my bedroom this holiday weekend; and in the spirit of share-y-ness and while I wait for my primer to dry; here's what I 've learned so far.

1. Do not believe hardware store guy when he tells you won't need more paint. Although he is hardware story guy, is wearing the hardware store guy vest, and is showing the appropriate ratio of bvd:butt skin-- he too will succumb to the universal law that Math. Is. Hard.

2. The answer to the question "Do I have enough drop cloths?" is No. Hell No.

3. Removing the occasional stray dog hair from just applied primer is not easy or fun. Thankfully, one more coat of primer and noone has to know.

Sidebar: I have had satellite radio in my car for about a year now. I love my XM. Next stop after painting is to go buy that bring-it-in-your-house-adaptor-thingie., because friends, FM just blows.

4. I never knew it until early this morning, but I never need to hear that "Mamma don't take my Kodachrome away" song again.

5. I am not Stretch Armstrong or Olga Korbut. My arm won't stretch to reach that last white spot; and I will not be able to balance the ladder 'just so' to make it happen.

6. I'm pretty sure that after "don't jump on the bed" comes, "don't dance on a ladder."

7. Those little 4 and 6" foam rollers, RULE. Completely worthy of one of those 'real men of genius' budweiser songs.

I bet the bruises will be cool.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Things that make me go hmmmm..

It's only 7:48 Am.

Here's what's happened so far today.

When I got up to let the dog out, on my deck right in front of the grill was a perfect specimen of the animal commonly known as 'grey squirrel'..perfect in every way except he was thoroughly dead. How did this come about? Why would you pick my deck to spend your last moments little squirrel? Imagine my dog's glee when he saw it. Imagine the wave of nausuea as I attempted to retrieve one dead squirrel from my dog who thought 'flip the squirrel up and try to catch it' was a great pre-breakfast game. Ew.

There was a message on my cell phone this morning from my friends in Virginia, I'm paraphrasing but the gist of the message was

"Hey, why don't you come up this weekend, A.'s roller ball team is having a jello-wrestling thing at a bar downtown"

First of all - ROLLER BALL?! Seriously? Who knew A. was playing roller ball? I thought roller ball was just 'real' in Happy Days re-runs. Second - what does roller ball have to do with jello-wrestling? Lastly, most importantly why do they think I want to go?

While flipping stations on my much-loved Satellite radio this morning, I stumbled across a band called 'GOAT WHORE'... so, there's a garage band (come on, has to be) and they are sitting around trying to come up with a name to plaster on their demo CD , and this was what they came up with? Please try to imagine the discussion that took place to arrive at GOAT WHORE. Talk amongst yourselves and get back to me.

Okay, so I admit after re-reading this that maybe it's not weird for some people but this is a weird start to my day. I'm a little scared of what's ahead.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

One foot in front of the other

On July 4, 2004, I quit smoking. I've never regretted this decision.

On July 5, 2005, I started running. Although regret might be too strong, I wonder about this decision for a few seconds to a few minutes almost every day I plan to run.

Running is hard.

In my defense, I was grieving. The weight of grief (which feels roughly like a dump truck parked on your chest) resulted in my inability to sleep for more than 4 hours at a stretch. Every night I would lay on the couch watching anything on TV until I drifted off to sleep. Four hours later, I'd be awake, staring at my living room ceiling, knowing I'd seen the last of the insides of my eyelids for this 24 hour stretch. So I'd get up and take the dog out to patrol the neighborhood streets for an hour or so. One of the many wonders of dogs is they never complain. So we walked. This wonderful beast of mine walked with me while I laughed and cried and talked to myself. Once, when I couldn't walk for crying so hard I stopped and sat on a curb and just wailed (my sincerest aplogies to the residents of E.Maple Street in Sterling Virginia) and this beast of mine he sat down next to me, leaned on me and waited.

Grief sucks.

So, I ran longer intervals every week., shorter walking intervals every week. I ran down every street in that Sterling subdivion. I made my first goal to be able to run all the way up the hill on E. Maple. It didn't help me sleep, but it made me feel strong.

Eye of the tiger, baby, eye of the tiger.

I talked about running, I bought clothes for running, better shoes, and the diety-blessed IPOD. There will never be a feeling that competes with the first time I made it up the hill on E. Maple with Rob Zombie singing "More Human than the Human" in my ears.

Wicked strong.

These are my most favorite memories of running. Not any of the races, not even the one marathon. The first runs. The runs where I learned about my limitations, how to push them, and that sometimes that isn't always smart. I learned that my physical exertion brought me closer to the pain in my life, and closer to the joy.

All of it is connected.

There is a rhythm in running that can soothe my frustrations, or it can be the back beat to pounding out those frustrations. When I run outside I feel small and insignificant but distinctly connected. When I run inside, I use it as a tool to disconnect from all the noise around me, and most importantly the noise in my head. Those first few moments of cool down after a run my thoughts are crystalline clear and as sharp as any blade. Even bad runs serve a purpose, they challenge all that power and clarity, taunt you to come back and try and get it right next time.

Bitch. I. will. be. back.

I'm sure there are people out there who will say physical activity saved their lives. The health benefits of 'just moving' are undeniable. I believe running saved me from a darker fate. I know I got a few good long looks at that fate while cruising the streets of Sterling with a german shepherd. It was ugly and scary there. I believe I ran for my life. I didn't run the grief out of my life, it's still here.

Nothing erases loss.

I ran this morning, one foot in front of the other, rhythm, breathing, pace.

Running made me strong, and maybe I didn't beat grief, but it didn't beat me either.

Friday, November 17, 2006

History Lessons...

Ever since my first "real" boyfriend, RT, broke my heart at 19, I've been a believer in the "this didn't work, let's pretend we never met" philosphy of ex-boyfriends. I've never once tried that 'can we be friends?' crap.

Now, I'll be the first to admit, my choices in men have not been stellar. Often when the relationships ended I was every bit as relieved as anything else. I can honestly say that after one of these relationships ended, I often suddenly realized that this person I'd been involved with wasn't really someone I'd even want to be friends with, that in fact, he simply wasn't up to the standards I hold my friends to. (Let's not look to deeply into the fact that I rationalized that despite I wouldn't have this person as a friend, I'd sleep with them). We'll save that for the therapy couch.

About 2 years ago, an ex-boyriend that I never thought I'd have a nice thing to say to or about ever again, made the effort to reach out to me when he learned of my brother's passing. We have spent a fair amount of time since then, chatting, instant-messaging., and yes, we've even seen each other several times. No, this is not a reconiliation, nor do I want it to be, but the hurt and anger and resentment are gone. He sends me text messages, little things from my past that make me laugh out loud when I'm cruising the grocery aisles for pudding pops. Just loud enough to make the woman in the same aisle hustle her sticky-looking children away. (A win-win situation in my book). It's nice. It might even be better than nice, but for now, nice is all I've got.

This might seem like nothing to the average reader. However, in my history., this is huge. I am one of those women that just isn't able to forgive those who were reckless with her heart. I don't plan their untimely demise, I just don't fully let go of the hurt. I am blessed or cursed (depending on my mood) with an almost photographic memory., so even when I want to, I'm never fully able to forget hurtful things that were said, no matter how insignificant.. like the equal packets, the infuriating equal packets. After your equal packet tantrum -- did you ever figure out I was intentionally leaving them in weird places? places you couldn't help but see them?, just to annoy you, and point out how stupid the whole thing was. Letting go is huge, and I feel like maybe I owe you a bit of gratitude.

I've jokingly said many times that I would learn forgiveness in my next life. Thanks to you E., looks like I'm getting a head start.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Also reposted from former blog...I just liked it. :)

My co-workers started an email chain the other day, I can't remember what inspired it, but it started out as 'what song or songs will make you leap to change the radio statio the second you realize what's coming on?'.
The girl who started it, (we'll call her 'Pearl') selected "We built this city" by Jefferson Starship., other contestant entries were 'She's like the wind' by Patrick Swayze; Hey Mickey (by that annoying 80's band who's name is gratefully blocked from my memory); and Tommy TuTone's 867-5309, and my personal most hated "I would do anything for love" by yep you guessed it, Meatloaf.
After a day of dragging things best left in the dark out into the light of day for one more round of insults we switched it up to 'what song/songs will you "throw a bow" into anyone who gets in your way as you head to the dance floor?" or maybe compel you to pick up the nearest hairbrush and 'air microphone ' your way around the house?
I was stumped. The emails were a-flyin' this category inspired everyone. One of my favorites that was offered up was "Meeting in the ladies room" - But when I started thinking about "my songs" I was empty-handed. I couldn't come up with anything. I couldn't believe it. I love music why couldn't I come up with anything?
I left work that day and mercilessly scrolled through radio stations looking for "my songs"... no luck. I looked through my CD's., nothing strikes me. This was just depressing.
It's been about a week, and I'm still thinking about this., thankfully, I've found a few... and in retrospect discovered that "my songs" are directly related to my mood. For example, the songs "Roam" by Metallica, "Raise Up" by Saliva and "Break Something" by Limp Bizkit not only pick my pace up when I'm listening to them on my Ipod while running, but get in my way and I will throw a bow at your azz.
John Lennon's Imagine still makes me cry., .. Steely Dan's entire Aja album makes me think of my brother..the very best memories I have of him., and (insert diety of your choice) help me, American Pie (Don McLean) makes me laugh until I cry. I have a very specific brother-Mark memory attached to this song, and it still makes me giddy. Miles Davis' CD, Kind of Blue makes me remember an ex-boyfriend who turned me onto Jazz, ultimate fighting and the problems that surround growing weed in your bathroom. All the great old Springsteen makes me think of my best friend from High School, when I got her wedding invitation this past summer with a Springsteen quote on it, I knew not matter how many years had passed, the 15, 16, 17 year old girl I had so much fun with, got in SO much trouble with was still *there*, Crystal Method, Chemical Brothers, that's all Heather, one of my favorite people of all time., Tupac's "holla if ya' hear me' doesn't make me think of anyone, but totally makes me feel cool, Marilyn Manson, an ex-boyfriend who wanted to wear my underwear, and a friend who, disgusted with my Manson fascination took me to a Manson show., thinking I'd "get over it". - it backfired on him. I lost touch with Jason, but everytime I see Manson's creepy anti-christ superstar look, I think of Jason Hersey.
So, I feel redeemed, I found them: my songs, my music.. and it was such a great journey., all those great memories.
What fun.
If you're reading, for whatever reason.. post yours..I'd love read what your associations are, and what they inspire in my memories.
Edited to Add: Lace, I don't know how I let WASP and Cinderella slip through without an honorable mention. I laugh everytime I hear ol' Blackie Lawless, the background music to my de-flowering... And Cinderella, well my history with you and that Cinderella album is cemented in my brain. In fact, make sure Nightsongs gets played at my funeral., and you, have my permission to sing "Spiders from Mars" on top of my coffin (should I have one)..or better yet, 'Proud Mary" Tina Turner style.
Peas and carrots:? maybe. but damn it, peas and carrots are good.

Random Friday night Ramblings

So, here it is another friday night, that I've chosen to stay home and ignore the urgings of others to join them at one drinking hole or another to watch Jennifer Love Hewitt talk to the dead.
What the hell does that mean? I'm old? I have a crush on JLH? (I am amazed by her perfectly in place hair - what makes it sooo.. stiff? super glue? Hurricane force winds can't move that shit, oh and what is up with her eyelashes, exactly?)
Seriously, I think if I ever have another night where I wake up in the morning and can't locate my underwear only to have it fall out one leg of my pants at the gas station a few hours later I might drive off the nearest suspension bridge. I don't need those kind of nights ever again. Those nights and paying for gas with CHANGE defined my 20's., and I don't wanna go back.
Perhaps, it's not age, perhaps it's what I affectionately call my antisocial nature. Merriam-Webster defines antisocial as (1)averse to the society of others and (2) hostile or harmful to organized society; behavior deviating sharply from the norm.
So, in the M-W sense of the word I'm not anti-social. I'm not averse to the society of others (ask around, I'm a nice guy!) and I'm only hostile when provoked by stupid people or their sticky-handed children who always want to touch me with their sticky-little fingers, and most of time my hositility is confined to cussing at my steering wheel, and taking out my aggression via angry, young white, probably drug addicted musicians playing what my co-workers call 'chainsaw metal'. Hey, don't hate, it's better than kicking pupppies.
So, alright, we've established that I'm not truly anti-social, however I do seem to choose the company of myself and my dog over that of a myriad of others (seemingly not abnormal others). So what is it?
I could wax poetic here, about solitude, like Thoreau style solitude, but even I can't imagine Holly Springs into a Walden Pond.
So the answer will have to wait for another night, for now, I'm going with the up side, I suspect that I like myself and whether or not the 'others' do is irrelevant., and it sure as hell wasn't 'back in the day'. Okay, so that's no revelation, no oprah-inspired 'light bulb moment', but it's better than focusing too much on the fact that I can't stop looking at JLH's eyelashes. We don't need to investigate that particular compulsion.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Speed Lacer

The last couple of weeks, I've been feeling really close to some far-away friends. I don't exactly know when it happened, but the connection between them and I just inexplicably strengthened.
One of them, I met in high school, and as she recently stated, 'how did I screw up so much in high school and still manage to pick you as a friend' (close enough). I didn't have an answer when she asked and still don't today.

In high school I was always picking up these people that were "damaged" somehow, I always thought I could 'fix it'. Ninety percent of the time it ended badly for me or my family. Cars were vandalized., I was threatened physically again and again, it was like an S.E. Hinton novel minus the Dallas Winston character to come along and save the day at the rumble in the vacant lot.

Lace was the other 10%. She was beautiful, and funny and so smart., and she could sing. Neither one of us can recall exactly how we met., there was a purposefully set fire in a trashcan at a police station, greasy pizza by the slice at Poor Pauls, lace gloves, Madonna, boxes and boxes of blonde hair dye, Bruce Springsteen, an angry skin head, a very cool human behavior class, numerous trips to Kings Dominon, a "band" of wanna-be heavy metal guys, the military guy with the cool car, the homecoming dance, and of course, the horse complete with cowboys.

Twenty years later and her name on my cell phone can still make me feel like I'm 17 and I better quickly come up with a lie to tell my mom, because I'm gonna need it. Of course it's no longer true. We both grew up and became responsible (mostly) productive (attempting to be) adults, with mortgages and vet bills and ..stuff. But for that 15 seconds when I see her name on my cell phone, all that goes away. It's magic. I'd like to tell her how much it means to find her and know her again after all these years, but she knows. That's magic too.

I remember shortly after she graduated from undergrad with a degree in sociology me asking her what she was going to "do with it" her immediate response was "frame it". The next thing she said was "I don't know why I ever went to college, all I ever wanted to be was a rock star."
Flash-forward 20 years and you'll find her finishing her PhD. and, if you're lucky enough you'll also find her in her city somewhere singing in her band. There are few people in my life that have had as many severe ups and downs as this girl (ups and downs I chose not to chronicle, [that's her story to tell]), but she pulled it off in bigger and better fashion and with much more style than I've ever had. Maybe it was her brains, her "good upbringing" her moral compass, that pulled her through, I can't answer that., and despite all things rational and logical I'm going with my gut.

I think it was Magic.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

And so it begins..

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to write. I wrote the typical angst-filled poems in junior high school, a couple which at least my mom thought were good. :)

My sophomore year in high school my oldest brother came to teach at my high school. He was a real writer, a poet in fact. Suffering from no more than the average amount of high-school girl insecurities this was enough to send me over the edge, I couldn't write or at least I couldn't write and show Mark. His opinion mattered the most., and I was too insecure, too afraid of letting him down. I let that insecurity get the best of me, and I just gave it up.

It's been (gulp) almost 20 years since high school and that same brother has since passed away. The last 5-6 years of his life, he was my best friend. I am still having trouble imagining my life without him. In the last few months I've been re-consumed with the desire to write. It's nearly out of control.,not knowing where to start, I started blogging on a dreaded myspace account. I've been amazed by my response to the exercise of putting thoughts, no matter how random, onto "paper". So I'm moving up or on to this as a permanent blog., I like the idea of being a little more anonymous, as well as being able to share it with whomever I choose.

I don't really know if this will lead me down the road to writing I've been imaging doing for so many years, but one never knows.