Friday, December 28, 2007

The James Bond Meme (shaken not stirred - there are no nearly naked chicks here)

Brian tagged for the aforetmentioned, Cravey nicknamed James Bond meme - this time, instead of me telling on myself, I had to ask my friends to tell on me., and they were only too happy to oblige - no surprise there. Here's the results:

From Renn:
Cravey is handier around the house than most men, and generally more reliable.

She also doesn't suffer fools.

(Is this Renn, or what? Short, to the point and funny. Me likey)

From The Real Mandaroo:
cravey cusses at loved ones when she sleeps*

cravey likes to drink and watch little kids bust their ass*

cravey is a splitter. she'll split things with you in a restaurant. and she knows that crab cakes and green tomatoes make total sense.

*best friend in a hurty time

*will tell you what you need to hear and not bullshit you.

*has a mad crush on rob zombie. which if you see his movies...makes you say, 'huh?' cuz he's fucked up.

*likes a little righteous violence

*eats desert for breakfast

this is why i love cravey

(love you back roo)

From the double-secret-probation-blogger-formerly-known-as-prince (ok, not exactly but I'm not sure he doesn't want to remain anonymous)

From your blog, you're a Christmas-hating curmudgeon who loves running, German shepherds, close friends, and having your house unmolested.

The less obvious stuff: you are intimidatingly kind and pretty, smarter than most people, easy-going as long as things are going your way, incredibly generous, and you smile all the time.

(hands down, one of the nicest things anyone a relative stranger has said to me, EVER)

From the magnanimous Tiff:

1) you are a hysterically funny woman
2) you have a penchant for terrifically ugly running shoes

I thought of a bunch of other things, but then realized that because who you are on your blog is very much the same as who you are in person, I'd just be saying what people already know.
oh wait.

3) you have stunning green eyes.
4) you know that lipstick is a girl's best friend

Okay, I think I was supposed to have six people respond, but only these guys responded, so that's all you get, and other than typos (Tiff) there was no editing. Really. It appears, these people really do like me.

Which seems as good a way to end a year as any.

Very best wishes to all of you in 2008.

I like you back.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I found something I like about Christmas!

I like the holiday pictures of my friends and their kids.

I like it that they remember me at this time of year. Some of them pose with their beautiful kids or sometimes it’s just the kids. Either way, they make me happy. I’ve hung them all on my refrigerator and they’ll probably stay until next year or until they fall off, whichever comes first.

Tonight, I was looking at them while I reheated some leftovers – blonde curly haired sisters Gabby and Grace, little Kyle in his Christmas suit; Sister-Staci and Adrian with puppy dog Eesa, and Debbie with her boys; Astin, Max, and Luke.

I love it that my friends know me well enough that they send the pictures, but skip the annoying Christmas update letter. This is one of the small reasons I am friends with these people.

My friends are well and happy, they have had their share of ups and downs this year, but at the end of the year, they took a minute to think of me and to send me a piece of their greatest joy. It’s right there on my refrigerator, smiling back at me. That's the only update I need.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Awful Truth

Last week I had hardwood flooring put down in my living room, my master bedroom and the little hallways in between. It feels like months since I first wandered into home depot and started trying to poking around at my choices of hardwood, pre-finished hardwood, laminate, tile, and don’t get me started on colors. By the time last Thursday got here, I almost leaped out of my skin when that big black diesel truck rolled into my driveway.

Three guys pulled up and started unloading large table-saw looking things, extension cords, air compressors, nail guns, staple guns, and other stuff I didn’t recognize. They came in, looked at the furniture I moved, and the furniture yet to be moved, they took humidity measurements. I had to run up to the office and right before I dashed off, I asked, “so how long do you think this will take?” The answer came back from Jerry, the veteran of the group and I really wanted to believe he was kidding.. “I’m going to say two days.”

“Two days! Two freakin’ days?!#@!!, I didn’t plan for two days working at home! And by the way, why the hell didn’t someone tell me that? I scheduled this like three weeks ago, and NO ONE Said anything about two days! What the hell am I going to do with my dogs crammed upstairs for two whole days, never mind the fact that I can’t even get to my sink, or my stove.. TWO DAYS!!! AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!”

Okay, so that’s not what I said. What I said, was “okay, I’ll be right back” and off I went to pick up a replacement laptop since oh-so-conveniently sometime during the night I murdered mine, and no, I don’t know how it happened Mr. IT-Help-Desk Person, No I did not drop it, run it over, dunk it in water, or anyway mutilate or mistreat it. I swear. It committed suicide. It hated me. This is something I can live with.

Home again, I worked on my front porch while the banging, clanging, air compressoring, skill-sawing, and my very favorite part, the arguing went on. Delightful. At the end of the day I was stunned at how much I got done under those conditions. I can’t say I’ve ever worked on a porch swing before. I ran out at the end of the day because, well frankly, they were driving me crazy. I couldn’t take their bickering anymore. (Dear Mom and Dad, I’m sorry about all that, I love you.)

I got back and mercifully, they were gone. I almost cried. See, I figured, they’d finish one room, and I could at least put one room back together, you know, find my sink/stove again. But No. This was not to be.
They did ¾ of the bedroom and a little more than that of the living room. This will never make sense to me – and I was very unhappy. I spent that night somewhat miserably chasing the puppy around and pulling pieces of wood, carpet tacking strip, carpet and carpet padding out of his mouth. I had to go out and buy a toothbrush, since my bathroom was 100% blocked by my lovely, comfortable and fully dismantled bed.
I slept for all of 4 hours on my couch.
I was up and had been working (!) for 3 hours when they arrived for Day 2 at 730am. I bolted for the local coffee shop at the start of the first argument. Those first 3 hours were productive. Even over the coffee grinder, espresso maker and the coffee shop girls cheerful welcome to each and every patron. My job being what is, I was doing a lot of hurry up and wait. Hopeful that the large man working on my floor was right when he said they’d be done by noon, I ran home to check.

Only if a dozen men showed up would they be done in an hour and half.

This was becoming a serious lesson in patience and in taming my ADD qualities.
I had no idea I was this bad.
I was a woman on the edge, there were sweaty men and their crap all over my house, and more importantly my crap was all over my house, but in the wrong places.
It was making me nuts. Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining nuts.

My good dogs were shoved in rooms or cages locked away upstairs on a sunny 70-degree December day and I had quite simply HAD IT.
(1pm. Not done) I let the dogs out. I didn’t ask I just did it. We all went outside, we played ball, we had a little lunch..We played ball some more.
(2pm. Not Done) I checked on my work project. I waited some more. I got out the leaf blower I chased leaves. I chased dogs. I even succeeded in not losing my shit all over the large man when I came in from the backyard to discover his grimy paws in my freezer helping himself to ice cubes. I am a generous person, ask and you shall receive, but helping yourself? Not so much.
(3pm. 1 room done – hooray!!). I locked the dogs outside and put my living room back together, I cleaned up after them, I swept, I vacuumed, hung pictures. I moved furniture. Marginally further away from the ledge, I curled up on my couch and got some more work done.
4:30. Equipment starts going out of the house. I think I swept them out of the house with the staples and carpet tacking strips and cardboard boxes. I almost tap-danced. I made my bed. I put my stuff back where it freaking belongs.
Then I took a shower. Then, I looked at my floors, and damn. They. Look. Good.

If someone had told me it would be like this, I would never have gone through with it.
Or, I would have moved out.

You know how every neighborhood has a crazy cat lady?
I think I’m her. Substitute german shepherds for cats and Voila. I'm her.

I'm pretty sure this isn't what my parents invisioned.

Oh, and PS. Kim - I did get that stupid project out - at 5:12 pm.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The end of the year ADD Post

I'm not a Christmas person. I'm just not. Deal with it.

Furthermore, I think Christmas music a vile invention. Particularly Barry Manilow singing Chistmas songs, in case you were wondering, but to be honest, I don't like any of it. When I lived in Northern Virginia there was a spoof Christmas song - spoofing Baltimore - that I loved. I can't remember what the name of it was or who recorded it, but it was a mockery of Winter Wonderland, sung by a guy with an exaggerated Dundalk (suburb of Baltimore) and involved things like VD and impregnating your girlfriend. So that ought to give you an idea of my christmas music taste. Oh, and don't even get me started on that Grandma got runned over by a reindeer song. I will gleefully beat you to death with a Christmas wreath if you sing or play that crap anywhere near me.

I love me some Christmas lights though. In Virginia there was a street - Juniper Street - in Sterling, the whole street went apeshit over christmas lights. The houses had themes, cool themes. One had spiderman (Hi Mat!) in lights climbing the side of their house; another had Snoopy on waterskiis behind santas sleigh; one house had the grinch on their front lawn stealing a real, decorated christmas tree, there were many more, it was a big street, but those were my favorites. They also had a large donation box for a local charity, and the week or so before and the week after the holiday, they gave out hot cider and cocoa for the people walking around admiring the lights.

I looked forward to going down that street every year. I took everyone I could think of with me. Of note, this was not always appreciated.

When I started running, this street was always included in my routes, no matter how out of the way it was. (P.S. those big, inflatable, floaty character things are a little creepy during daylight hours, but at night, or pre-dawn? totally creepy) I swear you can feel them watching you.

Every year, I think I'm going to decorate my house with pretty white lights, and every year I don't do it. I go look at the lights, I imagine what it is I want. Then I realize with my luck I'd probably overload a circuit and burn my house down, and well, somehow I think that would not help with the fact that I'm not a christmas person.

I'm glad the rest of you do it though, it's truly one of my very favorite things about the end of the year, and since the end of the year usually finds me just wishing it would get on with it and over it already, I try to make the most of the few moments I find myself enjoying the current moment.

The turning of a new year always motivates me. I have some internal device that kicks in and tells me to make this year better, brighter, just more (Staci) than the last. Of course I run through the standard list of telling myself that this year, I will: clean baseboards, balance my checkbook, give more to charity and rotate my tires on a regular basis; and no, I never actually do these things. I'm not a new years resolution-er either. Generally those people bug the crap out of me. Especially the ones that join the gym -- because all of a sudden there 4457 more people in my gym and I can't accomplish what I need to. I KNOW I should be more selfless and encouraging but quite seriously, by mid-February 4455 of them have given up, and I'm just glad I can use the chest press with-out a 90 minute wait and a need to run for a snack.
Go ahead, call me selfish. I'll wait.

This year I may make an exception on the new years resolution thing. If not, I'll likely need to call on friends to stage an intervention (sidebar: I may also need an intervention from the show Intervention which is likely a whole 'nother kind of sickness I'm not ready to face, so hush) because I have a problem. It's name is E-bay, and I am an addict. Where is my Jeff VanVonderen when I need him? Last night after paying for my 6th auction win in 28 hours - that's right I said 6th - I found myself researching leather sofas on E-Bay. This is not good. This is not good. This is not good. Oh, and this? All the fault of the Redneck Scottsdale Princess, I'm just not sure which personality I need to blame.

If I am able to avoid the e-bay bankruptcy, I have trips with friends, more intense dog training, the start of competing with my own dog, family weddings, and just maybe another marathon in the works. If I'm really lucky I'll get to meet some new people and make some new friends along the way - there's a Bruce Springsteen fan in Austin I'm dying to meet, and a chance I'll be in Austin next fall. And then there's the best part - there's stuff I don't have any idea about that's coming.

Squeeee! it's like um.. huh.
Now there's a new way to look at things.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The return of an old friend

For the last few months, in the back of my head I've been reminding myself on a daily basis that I ran a marathon in 2005. That not only did I run 26.2 miles, but I did everything that goes along with the actual race, ie the training. FIVE MONTHS OF TRAINING.

This fall was going along nicely. I was training for the Raleigh half, I was working through the umpteenth injury of year, but I was still putting them down. Then the stupid toe thing happened and it blew my long run mileage off the map, and I was out for the race. The "toe blow" wasn't just physical in fact, it's what it did to me mentally that had had me chanting the marathon mantra. It was really getting me down. I missed running. The first frost came and my brain immediately went to how much I love frosty early morning runs ...and I was quietly snarky about the runners I'd pass to and from work each day.

Last week, I went for a run. Three miles after work one day. It was rocky. I felt rhythm-less in breath and pace, and awkward (feelings I usually reserve for dancing). Friday night I ran again. It was awful. Painful. Breathless. Slow. N.e.v.e.r.e.n.d.i.n.g... and it was only 3 miles.

Tonight I laced my shoes and set IPOD playlist and hit the road. Just three miles was the goal. Running normally clears my head. Not tonight. The thoughts came as fast as Rage Against the Machine's Township Rebellion and with it the 2 mile mark. Two more RATM songs and I'm at 3 miles. I'll just run til I hear Lenny Kravitz tell me he can't breathe without me., that's worth running a few more minutes, so is hearing my favorite song lyric ever - 'first one to complain leaves with a blood stain' .. yeah, I'll just run to the end of this song, I love running when Christmas lights are up, man my hair is getting long, I wonder what 2008 will bring, I really wish I had some pie at home, okay, just one Manson song, how do you *not* run during 'The Beautiful People'.. and then there it was the 5 mile mark. Enough.

My pace is slower than it was three months ago.
It was only 5 miles.
But I found it again, the reason I love running.
Running doesn't let me take it for granted. It gives me what I give it. No more, no less. It kicks my ass but leaves me feeling stronger. There's a new challenge on the other side of street even when it's the same street day after day. It never changes, but it's always different.

It's good to be back.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Like The Foxfire 5 joke, or playing "ketchup"

For a couple years before I left Virginia, I made an attempt at my own Thanksgiving tradition -I hosted a 'girlfriends' Thanksgiving. I invited my single friends over and started serving margaritas at 10am. I made a pot roast for Jodye, who doesn't like turkey, and home made macaroni and cheese. Dawn came and brought venison and other "Pennsylvania delicacies".

Everyone spent the night, and the next day we went to brunch and had mimosas and toasted our birthdays (early, but we only saw each other a couple times a year, so we had to optimize our time together as well as maximize the damage to our respective livers.)

When I moved here, Thanksgiving weekend happily became home improvement weekend. Last year, I painted my bedroom. This year my plans were far more ambitious. So ambitious in fact, I needed professional help. I had 11 unruly, pokey-leaved-holly bushes ripped out , and little odd looking trees chainsaw-ed down.. old stumps were removed, two bottles of round up went onto the odd-potentially human eating plant growing in the southeast corner of the yard. Other things on the list include replacing the front door and the back storm door (arguably the most important door in the house, as it's the one with the dog door in it) a hole in my bedroom wall will be patched and painted, a new light fixture hung over my kitchen table, new window blinds will go up in all the windows in the front of the house and some old, unused wood structures in my backyard were torn down. Grass seed will go down, mulch too. Also, I bought hardwood flooring for the living room and master bedroom. I've been getting estimates on a new deck for the backyard.

Pictures, they will be a-comin'. Those of the before and after variety.

If you're thinking I got carried away, you're probably right, but hush up, okay?, because I'm really happy. My non-traditional spending of a very traditional holiday leaves me pleased as punch.

For my birthday frivolity, I took the advice of the lovely Redneck Scottsdale Princess and went designer handbag shopping on E-bay. I came away with two Coach purses and one Coach wallet. I also blew more than a few bucks at L'Occitane. That's frivolous, and fabulous, and just what this girl wanted for her birthday. The actual birthday will likely be spent doing yardwork..because the paying of someone else to do the big stuff leaves the little stuff for me. Of course, I could always wake up on the day and decide I want to eat pie and wear my pajamas all day and make the yardwork wait. It's been known to happen.

I've been completely unable to finish a blog lately. I start them and then my brain turns to mush. I'm blaming it on my productiveness at home and at work which has been leaving me busier than the proverbial one-legged man in a butt kicking contest.

As usual, the end of the year always leaves me feeling like I can't catch up, but I never know what exactly it is I'm trying to catch.

Right now, though, I'd settle for 8 hours of sleep.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ala Mandaroo, it's Trash Day.

I dreamt last night that I invented a new Barbie, her name was Freaky Varroom, and she was stylishly dressed (if this were 1980 something) in a black denim jumpsuit and trench coat.
I have no idea yet am somewhat afraid of what this means.

I am overwhelmed this fall by a sense of urgency to just get to the end of this year. I just want January to get here, and I have no real reason to feel that way. I keep catching myself looking at the calendar and wish I could flip the page, hang the new runner’s world calendar and get on with it.
Get on with what, I don’t exactly know.

I just heard on the news that Triple A expects this Thanksgiving to be the heaviest travel year EVER! Is it just me, or do they say this crap every year? Do you ever wonder if it stops anyone from traveling? Stop wondering. It’s probably going to stop me. I am not proud of this fact about me, but it is true that I often find myself praying for a fully automatic weapon when surrounded my mini vans loaded down with luggage and DVD watching children that want me to wave at them.
This probably makes me not a very nice person.

After reading the story of the 14 year old girl that killed herself after a MySpace relationship ended - a relationship that turned out to be a cruel joke played by A FULL-GROWN ADULT – the mother of a child that used to be friends with the dead teenager, I am even more convinced that having children should require a mental examination, and a license of some kind. Just because you can reproduce, doesn’t mean you should. This whole thing makes me ill. I’m pretty sure we should all stop with the “what’s wrong with kids today?”, and start asking “what’s wrong with parents today?”

After my disappointing seminar in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but be a little happy (or maybe, a lot) at the fact that the woman who taught the seminar did horribly (for her) at the National Championships a few weeks ago. I’d like to say this was her Karma – but it’s probably just me being a small person.
I can totally live with that.

I spent a large portion of the day yesterday with a leaf blower in my back yard. It took me the first hour to teach the puppy that the leaf blower is not an evil thing trying to kill me, and he really shouldn’t bite it. I’m pretty sure I had more fun blowing leaves than anyone else on my block yesterday, well anyone but the puppy.

On a more together day, I probably could have written an entire post on any of these topics. Instead, I took a cue from Mandy, and left the clutter in my head out on the curb with all those leaves.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, They Do Exist....

I went to a wine tasting/art show a few weeks ago. The wine was way better than expected, and the art was, well art, which I’m pretty sure isn’t my thing. I often look at art hanging in public places and usually, it leaves me wondering; a) why someone was compelled to paint/draw/sketch that particular scene, and b) who thought it appropriate for the lobby/hallway/room of the building I’m in.
I usually never get either question. It’s just not my thing.

I had a great time though; the artist was pretty much every artist stereotype you can think of, including slightly drunk and overly affectionate to complete strangers; BUT, she was funny and gracious and it was very endearing. I hope she does well (and I hope someone was driving her home).

There was a funky guy playing guitar and singing everything from Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson to Green Day. He was far better than the average guitar-player-in-a-bar, but I remain quite sure the only person who should be singing Patsy Cline IS Patsy Cline.
It should be a rule.
Maybe even a law.

It was a quick date, but it was the date of my high school dreams.
He was on time, dressed nicely, and complimented me. He was charming and thoughtful, he opened doors for me and introduced me to the people he knew and I didn’t, he held my hand and stole kisses on the elevator.

I admit to being a little sad when he kissed me good night at the door, not because of anything that happened that night, but because it took me this long to find someone who treats me like this.

I've made plenty of bad calls along the way, sure. It's just that tonight, I'm equally sure that all of them together don't add up to not deserving this.

Thanks T.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A little happy

This morning I got stopped on Main Street in downtown littletownIlivein.
Stopped by a police officer, who stopped traffic going both ways, then helped a guy push his broken down car across and down the street to the mechanics shop.

Everyone stopped, not one horn honked, and I saw the police officer and broken down car guy smile and shake hands with each other when the task was done.

Have I mentioned lately, how much I love living here?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wordnerd Made Me Do It

A Thursday Thirteen that is… and I wasn’t off today and I’m not eating dove chocolates. I do however, have a bunch of random crap rolling around in my head and lack the drive to focus on just one of them and turn them into something meaningful.

So.. that means if you’re up for some meaningless drivel, you’re in the right place.

1. I saw/talked to one of my ex-boyfriends yesterday. Other than starting to lose his hair, he’s exactly the same person he was 10 years ago, and for that, he should be ashamed.

2. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I wanted to give out candy on Halloween and by the time I got the store to buy some, the cupboards were BARE. Everyone was disappointed.

3. I did get to see a ladybug, a cheerleader and a little red devil. Those kids made me happy.

4. The teenager lurking around my neighborhood dressed like the grim reaper almost made me pee myself.

5. The dogs had the same effect on him, though - that’ll learn him to walk up behind a girl in the dark with TWO German Shepherds. Heh.

6. I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at thermometers and rain gauges online today, cause I secretly think they are cool.

7. I love pygmy goats.

8. I want to leave a bag of flaming dog poo on my across-the-street neighbors’ doorstep.

9. A friend told me today she’s expecting a baby in the spring. Her joy was infectious.

10. Next summer my best girlfriends and I are renting a house on the coast of North Carolina – I have the distinct feeling this will be one of the best weeks of my life. I’m already excited.

11.The only couple I ever set up is expecting their first child in January. I don’t think I’ve ever known two people more perfect for each other.

12. I want to buy something ridiculously extravagant and utterly useless for my birthday this year.

13. I’m taking suggestions for #12.

Happy Friday and weekend all.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The ongoing dialogue

If you look for it, there is an abundance of advice out there in the world for someone who’s recently lost a loved one. I don’t remember intentionally looking for it or reading it, but I could probably recite it if someone asked. Things like, "don’t make any big life decisions for at least the first year after the loss".

In my case, I waited one exactly one year and started making plans to move. I heard that little snippet of advice in the back of my head every time I got closer to my goal of leaving Northern Virginia. I knew ‘a year’ was intended to be an average. I knew I was probably rushing things. I didn’t care. I couldn’t live there anymore. It was too much, being there without him. Driving past the Van Dorn Street exit on 95 made me cry, every time, so did 5 Guys, and 3 buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s. I knew I’d never be able to, or even want to sit in the bleachers at Hayfield High School and watch a football game again. So I ignored the voice and kept on keeping on.

Later, I saw a grief counselor who told me I should write Mark a letter; tell him all the things I was thinking and feeling – just “anything I wanted to say”.
I never did this.

I knew if I started, there’d be no end. There was nothing unfinished between Mark and me. I loved him and he knew it. He loved me and I knew it. There weren’t any harsh words, or ruffled feathers. This should be good news. In the case of the letter writing though, it’s not. How do you write a letter to someone who you told everything to? Even when you don’t want it to, your life keeps happening. You keep meeting people, and if you’re lucky, you make some new friends.
Things keep happening in the world, things you want to talk about. Books and movies keep coming out.

It’s the worst insult. Never having a conversation with him again. Never sitting across from him in the living room, with the fire burning behind me and the dogs sleeping on either of side of him, talking about crazy, brilliant, funny, troubled high school students, or broken animals made well again, or family strife, or exchanging Monica Lewinsky limericks.

A letter? Never mind not knowing where to start, there simply would be no end.

I ran from the ghosts to North Carolina, thinking it would be better, and it was. It is. It still is. I have new people here, a home that he should have seen, a new puppy, and these are things he would have loved.

That wasn’t the worst of it though. The worst of it was when I realized I was in love. In love with a man who makes me think I’ve never been loved before. A man I can’t believe I finally met and a man I would have been proud to take home to Mark.

His opinion was always the only one that mattered. Even when I knew it wouldn’t be a favorable opinion. I took them anyway. Often, their reaction to him was the beginning of the end of it with them. They didn’t know it, but I always did.

It feels petulant to say ‘it’s not fair’. It feels juvenile to scream it.
I want to do both and I probably will.

The dogs won’t tell.

I miss you Mark.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


So, I'm off to Atlanta tomorrow.

I'm going to an obedience seminar that is being taught by a woman I've been watching compete for oh....10 years now. Watching like, on the edge of my seat, can't believe how amazing she is, watching. This is as close to star struck as I get. I got into this seminar at the last minute - and almost completely by chance. Too good to turn down.

My wild thing puppy, for all my bitching, is exactly the right kind of pain in the arse for the sport I'm aiming for., and that being said, I have very little clue what the heck I need to do to get him from point A to point B. So, I forked over the cash and called in the professionals.

I'm honestly hoping I don't say something astronomically stupid, trip over my own feet, or spit on her in the likely very excited talking I'll be doing. I would really prefer my pup do all the embarrassing for me. He's young and I can totally use that as an excuse. My excuse would only make me sound like a demented stalker and I'd prefer to avoid that, as that is no way to get invited back.

So, if you have a minute over the next 3 days or so, send a wish for smart, coordinated, articulate, non-spittle-spewing Cravey to show up in Atlanta.

Also, like a child who it "takes a village to raise" it takes a village to get me out of town. So I'm going to say thanks here, to Tiff for lending me a super-duper cooler and T. for taking care of my old-man-dog. You gotta love friends that love hanging out with you as much as they love helping you go off on your own and do your own thing.

Worth more than words, that.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Things to come

It’s Sunday evening, and I’m watching an episode of Star Trek. The original one, when William Shatner was young, lean, and kinda hot even in day-glow yellow polyester and jack boots.

Yesterday I had a wicked headache for most of the afternoon, so the only thing I managed to do was clean out my truck. Late last night, I finished reading a book that I wanted to like more than I did. I kept hoping it would get better, right up to the last few pages. Earlier today I cleaned my house, did laundry, went grocery shopping, ran, did some dog training, and cleaned out my refrigerator drawers. I have nothing else on my ‘need to do list’ (shut up - I like lists.)

There’s really nothing wrong with all this, but something happened tonight that made me think of the person I was in my twenties. *That* girl wouldn’t have spent a weekend like this unless she was dying of some Mongolian body rot. That’s not to say I was the ‘belle of the ball’ by any means, but I was busy. My last semester in college I took 28 credits, worked 25 – 30 hours a week and I did my volunteer rotation hours where the director of my program told me to - for another 15 hours. I was quite literally, on the run, constantly. One of my roommates at that time was living the same life and getting divorced. We also had a crazy alcoholic roommate who was either drunk, getting drunk, passed out and pissing on our couch, or passed out and setting the kitchen on fire. (Yes, really.)

After graduation in May, the drunk roommate went to rehab, the other roommate moved to Arizona with her biker boyfriend and I moved into a little guest house on a horse farm. My full time job never went over 40 hours and I had NO idea what to do with all that free time. By fall I was back in college, taking Tae-Kwon-Do, and exercising the horses in the morning before work. Two and a half years later I had to leave the horse farm. I bought a condo, changed jobs, gave up Tae-Kwon-Do, got ‘serious’ with a boyfriend, started racing motorcycles, and got my start in dog training.

When I look at all that, it gets me wondering what happened to all that energy? motivation? Where did it go exactly and when? And how did I miss it leaving? Shouldn’t something that big require an announcement? a parade?, at least a trumpet? Maybe “Taps” would have been appropriate.

Is this how balding men feel? They just look in the mirror one day and suddenly the comb-over is not only an option, but the only option? And they’re all “it was just here yesterday.”

It’s no comb-over, people, but I do not like the look of this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Reason Number 8,987

why I love my friends.

Because randomly on a Tuesday afternoon they will send me emails with pictures like this attached.

Making the snotty woman in Texas who tried in her very proper way to ruin my afternoon *poof* D I S A P P E A R.

Oh yeah.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I'm it.. or the SEO Meme.

Dagnabbit. Renn Tagged Me.

This is the latest meme that’s been all about the ‘net lately. I just spent the majority of this weekend working (boo! hiss! boo!) so this is the first opportunity I’ve had to scan the blogs and here I am.. tagged.

So, I’m supposed to link to 3 of my very own most favorite posts, and then tag 5 more people to do the same.

I’m taking KF’s advice and picking my own favorites.

First things first, those that came before me:
Revellian dot com - SEO Keywords For Beginners, Content: The Kings Illegitimate Stepchild, Tales of Blogger-X IllusionMariuca - Wishing On A Falling Star - Love In Disarray, In Love With A Dream

The Good ClientMariuca’s Perfume Gallery - Perfume Shopping Spree, Defining Beauty, In Full Splendour

Speedcat Hollydale Page - Rocket Boy in Hawaii - DC9, Speedcat’s Death Ride into Terror!,
he Boy Inside All Men

Terri Terri Quite Contrary - Just How Immature Are We?, Finding a Voice, So Much More to See than the Game

Mahala- Uncle Huberts Custom Cows, Pray for the Child at Big Lots, The Legend of Saushie's Crotch

Tiff - How am I like Ron Weasley, A Social Experiment, Absolutely Boring Entry 101

Renn - Mum, Horror Story, Die, Frau, Die

and mine..
Cravey - One Foot in Front of the Other, Madline, A Wee Confession

and My Tags.

Her Rooness, My friend the Princess (when you're hot you're hot baby!) No Celery Please, Roy, and my newest runner/blog crush friend over at JustRunJustLiveJustBe

Have at it.

Oh, and Happy Monday.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A bad day and a cute (& helpful) puppy

This morning, my brand spanking new coffee pot, did something horrible, the water stayed trapped up in the filter/coffee area, and it didn't acutally FILTER into the pot - being as this is it's only job on the freaking planet, you would think this is not so hard. It disagreed, making me surly at best... I should have just gone back to bed, right then.

But no, some part of me, said "it will get better".. Silly silly me.

This day went down hill out of control - like an epileptic on rollers skates at the top of a ski jump.
In short. It just plain sucked.
I was amazed I didn't get hit by a cement truck driving home.

One of my friends used to encourage me to find one good thing that happened in the course of a bad day. I did have a moment. You see at about 6 am this morning my puppy stepped on my little toe. While this doesn't at first blush sound like a good thing, and it hurt like crazy for about 12.8 seconds, it seems to have fixed the problem. How, you ask? I think all along, my toe has very possibly been dislocated, not broken. No joke - it's all better. I even RAN on it during my workout today.

So yeah. I'm running again. Oh.Yes.I.Am.

I have no idea how I'm going to work out the rest of the crap that happened to me today - but at least I'm going to run through my frustration. Oh.Yes.I.Am.

How's YOU?

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I am abundantly annoyed about my stupid broken toe. It has been two weeks and while the bruise is gone, I still can’t walk without a limp, walk for any period of time without being miserable, and there certainly isn’t any running going on, and I’m watching my goal of a fall half-marathon slip away.

I’m also annoyed that once again, I’ve completely forgotten that I have to actually pay personal property tax by the end of the month. I don’t know how I manage this, but every year when that bill shows up, I am surprised, and not in the happy surprise birthday party kind of way. More like the discovering maggots in your trash can kinda way (Hi princess!)

Then there’s the stupid ticket I got on Monday. I can’t even adequately articulate just how stupid this was, turns out I was just lucky enough to meet the cop that was either a) so new he didn’t actually know the law I supposedly broke or b) just so hell bent on writing a ticket he was going FIND a violation to write me up for one way or the other. Why do I say this (you ask) because it took him 15 minutes of rifling through his little police officer manual to figure out what law I actually broke. Shouldn’t there be a 10 minute rule or something? If you don’t know what I did wrong, should you really be allowed to write me a ticket? I think NOT. A 50 dollar violation, which will cost me 170 bucks to pay it and get over it, or 300 bucks to hire an attorney to fight it for me. GAH!

On the other hand, my mom comes this weekend, and my puppy is doing really well and today, it was nearly perfect outside; warm but not hot, low humidity, pretty blue sky and an abundance of sunshine. I drove home this evening with the windows down, Sheryl Crow’s C’mon C’mon blaring from my radio. I sang along, loudly and badly; (because Cravey doesn’t do things half way) and I did not care when I saw fellow commuters laughing at me; in fact Mr. Honda Accord, you made me turn UP the volume, because you Sir, need to seek out a support group for those that cannot UNCLENCH. No way should you be walking around like that.

My sister Staci and her boyfriend are always reminding themselves that “life is good” and someone gave me the sticker that carries that slogan for my car window. Mine has a little yellow dog roasting a marshmallow over a campfire. I think Staci, Adam and the little yellow dog are right. Stupid annoyances aside, Life is Good.

I’m still pissed about the ticket though.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They aren't golden, but they are MINE.

Everything I’ve been writing lately leans heavily to the dark, serious and twisty side of me. While clearly, that's how I’m feeling - I don’t wanna feel that way, so I stole this idea from lil-sister ‘Roo, who never fails to make me laugh, in print, on the phone, and especially in person.
Thanks ‘Roo, I owe you one.

Rules of Cravey.. also in no particular order.

I’m going to have to start with one of Roo’s because I couldn’t agree more.

If you are a stranger to me, there is NO TOUCHING THE CRAVEY.
Do not put your arm around me, try to hug me, touch my face, or any other part of me. THIS is simply not okay. I honestly believe that when friends of mine got pregnant and told me that strangers were constantly touching their pregnant stomach - STRANGERS, like, people on public buses were TOUCHING them. It sealed the deal on pregnancy for me. I feel confident that if you laid your hands on my pregnant stomach you would draw back a bloody stump. This is probably not the best temperament for a mother-to-be.

If you are mean to an animal or a small child in front of me, I will get in your face and I will embarrass you and I do NOT care what your story is. I have recently stood in the entrance of a Wal-Mart waiting for the police with a man and a sobbing child with a hand-shaped welt on his face screaming “you are not my father!” That man easily outweighed me by 100 pounds and had 6 inches on me. He did not get past me and he definitely wanted to. It’s my belief that people that hit children or animals are cowards at heart and confronted with anything that looks like real courage they crumble like dry dog excrement in the sun. I’ll accept that this may backfire on me one day. It will still be worth it.

If you say “Irregardless” to me I will instantly dislike you. It’s not a real word (in dictionary talk they call it “nonstandard”) and it’s stupid. So stop saying that.

I can’t wear white shoes. They just look wrong to me. Also, Capri pants. Many many, many people look great in these, and make them look cool. I have tried on about 457 pairs of capri pants, every time thinking they will be fine. I put them on, and all I can think is “my pants are too short”. Not a single pair has ever made it out of the dressing room.

I think if there were more men like Dr. Phil, there would be more lesbians.
This has little to do with anything – it just needed to be said.

I am generally a happy person. I am more content with my life in the last 3 years than ever before. However, this does not mean I walk around with a toothpaste commercial-style smile on my face. Nothing is wrong. This is just my face.

I think because I was so sports-oriented as a child/young adult I have trouble when I feel like people aren’t being fair. I know that life isn’t fair. I expect the people in my life to do their level best to be fair in their dealings with me. I give what I get. No referee required.

That’s all for tonight, and really.. isn’t that quite enough?

Since this sorta turned into a Meme.. I’m going to tag.. So, No Celery Please. Hit the ‘sphere up with some rules, and the celery rule is a given; no need to repeat.
Also, I need to hear from the Princess – because I *know* she’s got some good ones. And anyone else that wants to pile on, feel free.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who's that knocking on my door?

So, since moving into my house in NC, I've discovered a plethora of critters that live in and around my snakes, garter snakes, skinks (love me some skinks), the ladybugs previously blogged about, tons of toads, and this morning, when leaving my house, these dudes.

Um, Is that the biggest slug you've ever seen? Cuz it's freaking huge by my standards, and totally geeked me out this morning. I went into the office and hit up a manager who also happens to be an entomologist to make sure I shouldn't be worried about the fact that they were climbing up the side of my house.

Note: Slugs are not bugs. The entomologist was NOT amused.

He was kind enough to tell me that I had nothing to worry about after pointing out the above fact. But seriously? That thing is BIG, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


You know how you live somewhere for 2.5 years, and you THINK you know where your furniture is?

Yeah... BIG mistake.


Monday, September 10, 2007

What are you doin' for the next 57 years?

According to this, that's how much time I've got left.

I am going to die at 94.  When are you? Click here to find out!

I need more hobbies.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Farmer's Market Surprise

On the heels of my very industrious Friday came the perfect Saturday. I was up early for coffee with a friend, and out to my little town’s farmers market. I’ve been meaning since JUNE to get out to this market, as it’s brand new this year, and I’ll take shopping under sunny blue skies over shopping under fluorescent lighting any day, all day long.

One of the ‘vendors’ at the farmers market was a town representative. She had a little survey about what other things they could sell, information on the existing vendors and recipes. Two of those recipes quickly became my shopping list. I bought everything I needed for Shrimp and Veggie Stew and Corn and Tomato Casserole right there in the town hall parking lot. Including the best smelling spicy Basil EVER. There was a frappe/smoothie/fair trade coffee stand, a fresh fish stand, a fresh herbs stand, a skin care stand, a raw honey stand and the cutest little old man who called me ‘little missy’ and sold me okra, tomatoes, squash and jalapeno and banana peppers. There was also a big hairy dog named Alice who didn’t sell me anything, but let me scratch her blonde head and wagged her tail for me.

It doesn’t get any better.

I pretty much skipped back to the house to start chopping vegetables for my stew, and right there in my kitchen, is where things got a little freaky.

First order of business on the recipe was to marinade the shrimp in fresh lime juice. I measured the lime juice and poured it into a ziploc baggie – and reached for the shrimp, peeling and deveining ahead, I thought. While not my favorite cooking task, I was completely unprepared for what lurked in that bag. You see, I have never seen shrimps with their heads still on. They have big bulgy eyes, and long LONG antennae things.. and they were looking at me, all prehistorically angry and accusatory. I almost couldn’t do it. I seriously considered throwing them out. It took all of my concentration to slice off their little (freakin' huge!) shrimp heads - while being very careful not actually touch those creepy, bulgy eyes, cuz EW.

In fact, pretty quickly I decided the only way I was going to get through it was to do get rid of those heads (EYES) first. Things got a little better after that, but I spent the next several hours while the vegetables sat in my crock pot debating on whether or not I would be able to actually add the shrimp “just before serving”.

Six hours later, I got over it and added the marinated shrimp.
Not long after that, I was completely over it, because that stew, creepy headless shrimp and all, was awesome.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Busy Season

Fall is coming. Okay, I know, it’s still hitting the 90’s (even the high 90’s) here in North Cackalackey, but fall is coming. Sept 1st the humidity around here dropped by 20% as quickly as if someone dropped a curtain. A few days later it was 63 when I got up at 5:30 to take the puppy out to play. The grass was wet. My feet were a little cold standing in the grass playing. Fall is coming.

I like the way fall air smells. I like the way the light changes. I like the smell of a distant fire. I like the cool mornings and evenings, with the warm day jammed in the middle. I have ten times the energy in the fall. This is the time of year my intended short runs are inevitably extended by two to three miles, just because it feels too good to stop. This is the time of year I can’t get anything done around the house, because I just want to be outside; doing anything. I predict the addition of a puppy this fall, will make that much worse. I simply cannot wait.

It seems that the tiny bit of fall that leaked into the last 7 days leaked into me too.

My list of things to do today included the following:
Freezer delivery
Flooring estimates
Doctor’s appointment
Drop off fundraising money for friend B’s kid

Oh, and also, I had to do this little thing called WORK. This was not a day off.
Holy crow, that’s a lot of crap for one little day.

In the interest of fair and honest reporting, I did reschedule the doctor’s appointment, but I quickly filled that slot with mowing my lawn. A very good friend, after making fun of the ‘wheat’ growing in my front yard, dropped off a lawnmower (a brand new one at that) this afternoon, showed me how to operate the thing and then left me to sink or swim. I thought I was only going to do the front yard, but I was enjoying it so much; I went ahead and did the back yard too. I’d love to know how come no-one told me that shit was so much fun (Staci-sister, I’m looking at YOU). I’m not going to say there wasn’t more than a little sweat on my brow (and other places too) – but in my book that’s all good too (see the little running habit I have).

I’d probably write about the joys of pushing a lawn mower, but I have a list to make. A list of all the things I’m going to do tomorrow and Sunday too. I’ve got a lot to do because fall is coming, and I am not planning on spending much time at home in the next few months, at least until its cold enough to need slippers and hot chocolate with a dash of vanilla stoli.

You're all invited.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Proving that I AM a lemming

This post was completely inspired by Tiff's recent stroll down memory lane. I could not resist this particular bandwagon.

First up, one of my all time favorite pictures, not because it's particularly good, but you gotta dig the 1970's feel here. Plus, I'm totally cute in this. Of course, about 2.4 seconds after the snap of the camera, I'm fairly certain Nate and I were right back to trying to kill each other.
And No, we never outgrew that.
Next up, one of my favorite past times, right up until I discovered Jack Daniels, which I covered in a previous post. And this, clearly taken before I discovered that I was "worth it"..

Shortly after this, came the discovery of L'Oreal hair color and apparently Stevie Nicks type-dresses. The best thing about this photo is the girl on the right. That is Lace... you've read about her here before. Hopefully, she won't kill me for posting this. Heh. This very night Lace and I got into more trouble than you could possibly imagine. Someone got expelled, someone tore a door off a hotel bathroom, someone went traipsing through the woods fully believing a serial killer was stalking them and someone had sex in front of a group of people. Yea, people, this was HIGH SCHOOL.

A little out of order this one, but I had to throw in my High School Marching Band Photo too - got keep up with Tiff. And yes, I'm really in there, I was not however, a hand-waving poofter, here's a hint. I'm in the first row.

The Usual Suspects. This is where L'Oreal gets out of hand. Apparently in high school, my goal was to appear as close to dead as possible. The three people are Lace (she totally looks like she'd fit in your pocket, doesn't she?) Dee, and Dennis. This was the night I graduated from high school. The rest of the night was liter bottles of California Wine Coolers wandering around Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria.

And that is pretty much it. I feel like I should have posted a picture to prove that I did indeed realize my own hair color was just fine, and that looking like a corpse really wasn't that cool.

BUT I didn't so you'll just have to trust me.

Thank you for playing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A little off the top

Welcome to my 100th post.
I was expecting flowers.

Stress seems to be the theme of the month, or maybe two months. Everyone around me is traveling a rocky road right now. Some of the stress is less dramatic - things like starting a new job (Roo, I’m lookin’ at you); kids back in school/kids growing up; new job challenges; new relationships; new issues in old relationships; and some are bigger - like divorces; or getting a letter from your kids school discussing your child’s music teachers summer, which apparently included a sex change (and no, I’m not making that up).

While I’m in the middle of some of it, and have a bit of my own going on, I generally feel more stressed by watching everyone around me bear the weight of the trouble in their life. I am no Florence Nightingale, but when it comes to the people closest to me, I want desperately to just ‘fix it’. Which generally leads to me making cupcakes and home made soup; because that is what I do when I can't do anything else. What I want all you friend-people to know is how much I appreciate what you do for me, just by being in my life, and trusting me to share your burdens. And for the friend with the music teacher issue, I'm sorry, but I so needed *that* particular laugh.

Speaking of friends - please go visit my friend - 6 Truck (link to the right). He’s got a brand new baby blog - it needs love and encouragement, and, um, milk – or whatever it is that makes baby blogs grow. Mr. Truck and I went to the same high school, and as far as I can tell, he tracked me down just to make me laugh and tell me stories about my brother, something I’ll ever be grateful for - much like my silent friend in Texas who’s grateful that Bruce and the E Street Band are coming out with something new.

Take your gifts where you find 'em right?

Monday, August 27, 2007

As a general rule, I try very hard to avoid shopping, especially in places like Wal-Mart.
However there are times, (like today) when my “list of stuff I need” reads something like this;

contact lens solution
two small kitchen appliances
dog biscuits
paint brushes
one avocado
windshield washer fluid

(*shut up, I do so need these)

So, (insert sigh) Wal-Mart was the place.

As far as I can tell there is no good time to go to Wal-Mart, and if there is, it’s definitely NOT on a Sunday afternoon, the day before all the traditional calendar schools start, so I acknowledged that this was not one of my better decisions and prepared myself to be annoyed, I just didn’t anticipate being half way to pissed off before I ever reached the front doors. Apparently the known chaos that is Wal-Mart is now leaking into the parking lot.

1. If you are going to drive the biggest SUV on the planet - Learn to park it between the lines, cuz lady, it’s simply not anyone else’s fault that you are driving a vehicle that
a) you can’t really manage and
b) should have its own orbit.

2. I’m not a parent so I hesitate to criticize, BUT if your child is still in diapers, a t-shirt and no shoes, should said child really be running in between the row of cars a full row AWAY from you? I’m sure that conversation is very important, but surely less so than “junior” getting backed over or decapitated by a rapidly opening car door, right?

3. I’m sure being the ‘cart-retriever’ guy is a suck part of the job, and probably this weekend, with the back to school thing and the near 100 degree temps, the suck factor increased exponentially, but here’s the thing., trying to bring in 6,897 carts at one time, may be a good idea in theory, BUT if some part of this endeavor creates the scenario where the cart-train-thingie is diagonal across the row completely blocking the flow of traffic, it’s really not a good idea. Really. NOT. Next time? Two trips m’kay?

Surprisingly, the tour through the actual store wasn’t nearly as awful. Other than the volume of parents and children alike – what is that all about – when did it become okay for kids to scream for their parents? That kind of behavior was the stuff that made my dad say, “Scream my name one more time and I’ll give you something to scream about”.. Where’s the old man when the Wal-Mart patrons of the world need him?

On a final note, is there an extreme shortage of mirrors in the southern united states? What on earth are you people thinking when you walk out of your house?
Gentlemen, please, I don’t want to play “Gee what did he eat for lunch?” based on the stains on your shirts. Is it asking too much for you to throw on a clean shirt before going out?
Ladies, two things:
1) BRAS are your friend, and
2) just because it says ‘stretch’ does not mean you should tempt that fabric to give way.
I already know exactly what every stitch, stripe or polka dot is on your underwear (or *ahem* in some cases, the lack thereof), I do NOT need the, uh, expose (pun intended).


Note: the picture has nothing to do with the post; he's just cute.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I pretty much forget how small my little town in NC is until a reminder is kindly taped to my door.

That something, this time, was a handwritten note Cindy at the Town Government telling me I had mailed my water/trash/recycling bill in a timely fashion, however I neglected to actually enclose a check. (A pretty smooth move if I do say so myself.)

I called the number on the nice little handwritten note, and:

Cindy: Town of Bladdey Blah, can I help you?

Me: Hi, This is Cravey, and I…

Cindy: Oh hi Cravey! You got our note then?

Me: (thinking she recognizes my name?) Yes, I guess I forgot to include the check.

Cindy: Oh don’t worry honey, we all do that sometimes! (me thinking we do?)

Me: Um, okay, can I just come by tomorrow and drop off the check?

Cindy: Of course! You know where we are?

Me: Yes, I think so.

Cindy: Great, see you tomorrow then.

This morning I ran by to drop off the check and:

Desk lady: Can I help you?

Me: Hi, My name is Cravey and I....

Desk lady: Oh Right! (laughing) You forgot your check!

Me: Writing check – wondering what happened to the nameless faceless bureaucracies I’m USED to.

Desk lady: Thank you honey! Have a nice weekend.

I am from Washington DC.
I lived in the same condo for 10 YEARS.
I never even knew my neighbors last names.

Where the hockey puck am I ?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kingsbury Road

Today is the birthday of the girl, MM, that was my best friend throughout grade and middle school. She and I were inseparable; I used to go to church with her on Sunday just so we could hang out that day, too. One of my clearest childhood memories is sitting on the curb in front of my house with her eating peanut butter and marshmallow sammiches, or eating Kool-Aid Powder because we weren’t allowed to walk to 7-11 and buy Pixie Stix. We were going to grow and be kindergarten teachers together. We were the best of friends right up til about 8th grade. When we met a group of boys.
(I know boys ruin everything, right?)

She was taken with CT; arguably the center of that group, the funny guy, the one that knew all the lyrics to all the songs, and always had a quick comeback. They dated for awhile but for him, it got old quickly. I don’t remember him saying anything directly to me, but I remember seeing the signs that he wanted out. It was painful to watch, her clinging to him (often literally) and him looking like he’d just stepped in road kill.

It did fall apart, and it wasn’t pretty. Especially, when not too much later the “new” friend (CC) in our little group of neighborhood friends starting dating CT. CC was the real deal for CT. He was stone-cold crazy about her – even I could see it. That new relationship fractured the childhood friendship in a big way. I remember the drama, the tears, the angry notes passed between classes. I also remember thinking it was Stupid. Maybe that was harsh, and maybe it was easy for me because I hadn’t yet felt for somebody the way MM said she felt for CT; but either way, I thought it was Stupid. It wasn’t something she ever got over. In her eyes, I had betrayed her by being friends with the new girlfriend. To say I disagreed, would be mild, the ‘new’ girl hadn’t done anything wrong. She didn’t steal CT from her, and MM’s clingy behavior was downright embarrassing. We eventually became friendly again, but I never trusted it, and neither did she.

CC and I became great friends and got into plenty of average high school trouble together, not to mention drank a whole lot of Jack Daniels together. (I realize that may not be ‘average’ high school behavior, but it seemed so at the time). MM still made appearances, and eventually started up with another guy in the group, JR. I feel like that was off an on for years, I feel pretty confident of that, because I can easily recall at least two other friends that dated JR.

JR, I think, looking back was the one guy I think that I should have given a chance. From 8th to 12th grade, people were constantly pushing him at me. His older brother’s girlfriend, every chance she got, CT, when drunk enough, and even in my own mind I knew how he felt. I remember him giving me a rose one night, under his deck in his backyard, and then walking me home. He always walked me home. I remember one year in high school he took me to homecoming, just because I wanted to go. So completely out of character for him, he showed up in a TIE (albeit with a Jack Daniels tie tac) and took me to that stupid dance. We were quickly bored, and we walked back to his house, me carrying my dyed-for-the-occasion heels. He was a very good guy. I don’t know why I never gave in and I don’t know when he gave up. I’m sure I hurt his feelings; probably more than once.

CT and CC eventually broke up; it was heart-rending. She went off to an out-of-state college, and he stayed right where he’d always been. I think they tried to keep it together for a year or so, but it just didn’t work. I drifted away from the group when she left, and became the one that showed up randomly, I think they were always happy to see me, but so much had changed; it never felt the same again.

JR, eventually married and had children with MM. CT married the little sister of someone who was also an occasional member of the group. Both couples are still married today, and CT still lives about 3 miles from where I first met him, and where we all made these memories.

I’m still in touch with some of these people. One or two of them come here from time to time and read and comment.

If CC sees this, I bet her memories would be altogether different, but no less true.

Generally speaking I don’t have any regrets about the decisions I made along the way. I do, however, think about these people and these years more often than any of the other people in my history, about the choices we made, and the ones we didn’t make. I wonder for all of us what would have happened .. If…

To MM, I hope you're having a happy birthday.

To the rest of you, thanks for everything.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Catch up Post

I know, I know, I’ve been absent lately. I don’t have any really good stories about the ‘why’ either. I’ve been busy at work, sure, busy with my puppy, sure., but the truth is I keep starting posts and half way through can’t figure out where I was going with it, and so I give up and go make cookies or something.

What follows is a pathetic attempt to make up for lost time - all requests or inquiries for suggestions of *real* posts will be at least entertained if not attempted.
Seriously folks, cuz I got a whole lotta not much these days.

Trolling the ‘net this morning – I stumbled onto this horoscope…

Have you been experiencing some bizarre dreams lately? Don't worry -- they aren't predictions of your future. They are simply signs that you have an extremely active subconscious right now.

This comes as somewhat of a relief, considering I’ve been dreaming about John McEnroe making potato salad and Spanish-speaking, kiwi-eating skateboarders zooming around my childhood home.

I helped a friend grout the tile walls in a bathroom the other day. Not something I’d ever done before, and I guess technically, he grouted and I, uh, ungrouted(?) (aka rinsed/cleaned up after him. It was far more fun than I had imagined something like that would be, but then again, I love painting, and leaf blowing, so maybe not such a surprise that I had a good time with this as well. I’m fairly sure the company had much to do with it.

My laptop died a week or two ago. The helpful helpdesk guy told me it “would just take an hour or so.” Fast forward to 6 hours later and helpful helpdesk guy bringing me a brand new Thinkpad. When I bust something, I do it right. I think this computer transition is what left me unable to comment on blogs for some time, and for that I’m sorry. You people got all funny and verbose the second I lost my ability to say anything in return. NCP, your comment on my maggots/magnets story still makes me laugh out loud when I think about it. And also, EW.

A week or so ago, I added a movie to my netflix queue; recommended by Neflix (supposedly based on my previous reviews) I think I will be spending a serious amount of time trying to figure out what I reviewed that made Netflix think I would enjoy a movie about two boys that were sexually molested by their baseball coach. One grows up to become a gay male prostitute and the other believes he was abducted by aliens. While not a bad movie, that rape scene will *never* be completely erased from my memory, no matter how many bottles of Pinot Grigio I drink. It was, far more disturbing than the Jodie Foster/Accused rape scene which I didn’t think would ever be topped.


My 20 year high school reunion came and went without my attendance. I was going to go, but with work etc., I just couldn’t make it happen. I did end up on a class mailing list, which landed a bunch of pictures in my in box one day. I must have looked at 75 pictures. My only thought – Who are these people? Judging by that, I don’t think I missed much. Maybe I‘ll try to hit the 25 year one. Maybe. Not.


And that is it from the Cravey.

Thanks for playing. Perhaps on your next visit, I'll have something funny, touching or otherwise entertaining for you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Huh? What's that dearie?

I didn't sleep worth a damn last night, I was awake every couple of hours, just crazy dreams (John Macenroe apparently makes kick ass potato salad) and my crazy insomnia thing that happens from time to to time.

My 6:00 am alarm (aka 5 month old puppy) went off as scheduled.
We played ball before coffee (note: do not try this at home, the manufacturer and our attorneys do not recommend this) I somehow managed to not get bit or step on either one of them (major accomplishment!)

Finally I get to sit down at my kitchen table with my first cup of coffee and log on to company intranet. First order of business - timesheet due by 3 pm today.

The TV is on in the next room and I find myself completely distracted and totally nauseated by the breaking news story that there has been a massive toy recall due to the discovery of "Maggots in the toys"..

I spent an hour trying ot figure out how maggots got into toys - don't ask where my mind went, it's not pretty - then decided I had to know and came out to listen to the whole story. There are "MAGNETS in the toys".

I'm sure magnets are bad.
Maggots are worse.

Pass the coffee pot,
and very possibly, a hearing aid.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Time Travel

On my trip to Pennsylvania in early May to pick out my puppy I was struck by how familiar the landscape felt as I drove away from Harrisburg Airport.

I was born in Johnstown PA - about two hours from Harrisburg - but I didn’t live there for long, my Dad's goal was to get his family out of coal-mining country, having promised his dad he would never go into the mines.
I spent a lot of time traveling back there to visit relatives, strapped into the backseat of the family Chevy Suburban, listening to my siblings argue, playing Punchbuggy!, or trying to catch bits of my parents conversation about my 'Crazy Aunt Betsy' (another post, another day).
It was surreal to be the driver this time, surrounded by the landscape of my earliest memories.

My satellite sister-Daisy called me when I was about an hour from the airport, downright giddy about my arrival. Daisy is the kind of friend that can get over-the-moon-happy about a dandelion growing in the corner of her yard, but somehow it doesn’t diminish the joy she feels over bigger issues. Her joy is the infectious kind; and so utterly genuine you can’t help but get caught up in it. That’s a special kind of happy in my book. I don’t own that kind of happy, and it feels really good to be a part of it even just for a few hours.

It was a whirlwind trip for me, we spent a few hours with the puppies, had dinner together, and after a little more visiting, I drove back towards the airport to find a hotel closer to the airport; no one should have to get up at 4 am to catch a flight that isn’t actually ON the flight.

I’m lucky enough to have friends like this, scattered here and there around the country, people that will drop everything to spend a few hours over a cold beer or a litter of puppies just to see me and catch up.

I imagine when I drive into Pennsylvania I’ll always feel my father’s presence, hear the noise of a Chevy Suburban packed full of kids, the CB radio squawking under the dash in between my mom and dad. I like it that my first Pennsylvania memory as an adult involved these friends, puppies and a landscape that reminds me of how I was able to leave, who I owe for that, and that I could make it back here, the person I am today.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Top Five Signs

(that you're working too hard and sleeping too little)
1. You pour your breakfast cereal into your dogs food bowl.

2. When making coffee, you fill your cup almost to the top with creamer and add just a dash of coffee*

3. You forget to take your socks off before stepping into the shower

4. You reach for the pencil behind your ear and it's not a pencil, it's a Twizzler.
5. You call your Project Manager and when you go to hang up you tell him "I love you".

*Mandy, this proves your people that need coffee shouldn't be making coffee theory.

Carry on people.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Road Trip

My very first road trip was the summer of 1980.
My parents divorce was final earlier that year, and mom decided that we needed a change of scenery. So she packed up my brother, myself, the last of the hunting dogs (Sparky), and Nate’s gerbils, and off we went.

We went out through Pennsylvania, stopping to say goodbye to some family, then on to the northern mid-western states. Mom wanted us to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, The Black Hills, and The Badlands.

Somewhere in the Midwest I remember we found a hotel – something like “The Knight’s Inn” very hokey, you could stay in 'the keep' or 'the dungeon', there were ‘knights’ and ‘maidens’ walking around, you get the idea. We all thought this was so funny we bought a AAA handbook to try and find more of them to stay in on our way west.

We looked for crop circles in Iowa and Indiana and Illinois.

Somewhere in South Dakota we blew a tire. I remember watching my mom as she rifled through the trunk looking for the spare and the jack. I watched Nate set up road flares. I pulled Sparky out of the car to walk in the field on the side of road and noticed him chewing something. I assumed he had gotten into something Nate and I had left out and I knew we would get yelled at for leaving it out, so I didn't mention it. Sparky and I wandered while Mom and Nate worked. There’s lots of wandering space there. As far out as I was I still remember the sound. A deep rumble getting louder as it got closer, not thunder. From where I stood I watched as my mom stood up from the tire changing task and looked toward the approaching sound. Three motorcycles stopped just behind the car, their riders dismounted and approached my mom. I watched them take the jack out of her hands.

I reached the side of the road as the bikes blew past, kicking up dust and gravel as they pulled away. One of them saluted to me.

An hour or so down the road a fierce thunderstorm kicked up, the kind with sideways rain and hail. Mom pulled over and waited out the storm. When the rain let up, we caught up to the helpful bikers; pulled over under a bridge, smoking and laughing. They waved back at me again in the back window as we passed.

Just about then, Nate discovered that one of his gerbils was missing from the cage. He tore apart the back seat searching, nearly hysterical. He made my mom pull over, took everything out the car, yelling the whole time at me, my and at my mom. Watching Nate from the side of the road, I felt pretty sure I knew what Sparky was chewing the last time we got out of the car. I also knew just enough to shut up about it.

Somewhere between the tire, the bikers, the thunderstorm, and the missing gerbil my mom had reached her limit for the day. We pulled over in a diner parking lot, full of motorcycles. I still remember watching my moms hands shake as she took the keys out of the ignition.

The diner was packed. I remember being told there would be a wait, and then a large, long-haired, bearded man, punched his friend in the arm, turned to my mom, and said, “take our seats (at the bar) ma’am we need to head out anyway,” and head out they did, leaving my mom trying to regain her composure and express her gratitude in their wake.

My mom had coffee, and we spotted a hotel to stay the night in. I don’t remember if my mom drank that night, but I sure hope so.

I remember Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, and I remember counting rattlesnakes along a trail we walked in the Badlands. Somewhere I have a picture of me standing under a sign that reads “Don’t touch the snakes.”

In Montana we were momentarily confused by the gray stuff floating around, covering everything. Earlier that year Mt. St. Helens had erupted and ash was everywhere, still. We collected some in sandwich bags laughing about sending it back to the east coast to friends and family.

In Idaho, people were selling small glass bottles of ash for 5 bucks a pop.

We arrived in Cascade Locks 4 weeks after we set out, tired and only one gerbil short.
We lived with my Uncle Byron for a bit, while mom looked for a job and a place for us to live. Byron took us camping every weekend, taught me to shoot a .22. Taught us how to find our way in the woods, what to do if we got lost, what to eat. I don’t think I’ll ever forget cousin Eric biting into a live grasshopper and announcing he’d just rather not get lost. Me too.
I liked driving around with my mom, looking for houses, it made the trip seem 'not over yet'.

I still love to drive. I’d go everywhere by car if it weren’t for paid-time-off balances and the need to get there fast. I don’t mind, and in fact like hotels, even with the scratchy bedspreads, too cold air-conditioners, and really bad art. I don’t mind endless hours of the same scenery (hellllo western Nebraska). I like the sound of wheels over pavement, even in Pennsylvania. I like seeing signs advertising whatever is revered in that state, boiled peanuts, peaches, salt water taffy, fresh corn, apple butter. I like the different accents. I like it that every once in awhile you find someone that truly belongs in a novel, even when the novel may have been written by Stephen King. I even like it that after about 10 hours you need to get out and walk around because your butt is numb. I like the dumb games you play to pass the time. I like it that no matter what state you’re in the people at Cracker Barrel all look exactly the same.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Crazy Horse again. I’d like to see the Southwest too, would like to stand outside the fence line at Area 51, and have my picture taken under a cactus. I’d like to see Devil’s Tower. I’d like to go to Alaska and stand on a glacier.

Where do you want go next?

Friday, July 27, 2007

I"m *So not Paula Deen* BUT

For those of you that asked, and those that didn't, make note of this recipe, it's straight yummy.

1 Ripe Avocado
1/4 cup FF sour cream
Some scallions
2 Tbsp lime juice
salt (to taste)
cumin (to taste)
ground red pepper

2 Tbsp brown sugar
more cumin
black pepper

Combine the top 7 ingredients and set aside
Heat your oven to 400
Combine last 4 ingredients in a bowl and toss 4 chicken breast cutlets in in.
Coat the chicken with sugary/spicy goodness
Heat a skillet and brown chicken a few minutes on each side
Transfer chicken to baking pan and pour skillet leavings into pan.
Cook til done.

Serve with a tablespoon or so of the first 8 ingredients you mixed, and try not to sit down and eat the rest of it with a spoon - I hear someone has done just that..

Happy weekend people!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mayor Spiffy's Meme

Because I can't say no to the Mayor of Spiffytown... and because apparently he thinks I'm "about to discover latent super powers and save the world".

I don't know 'bout all that, but I think I'd look kick-ass in a cape.


For the first time in a very long time, I can't remember. I think this is probably a good thing.


Not really a fan. Does my mom's egg salad count?

Fur-kids only.

Abso-freakin' lutely.

Why? What'd you hear?


Not even.

Cold: Cinnamon Life? Warm: Oatmeal.
Oh, and you "malt o meal"people are freakin' weird. MALT GOES IN BEER. 'nuff said.

Almost never.

Hells Yeah.


Whether or not they are armed.

Red shoes, pink lipstick.

That I hang onto the bad memories I have just as tightly as I do the good ones.


Blue Jeans, barefootin' it baby.

Sage's spicy popcorn.

Criminal Minds on TV.

SILVER, cuz what other color would a super hero be?

Apple pie, my dogs fur after he's been laying in the sunshine, and ivory soap.


Did you not read what I wrote? The man thinks I'm a super-hero!

See previous post, I'm pissed at professional athletes. I'll go with dogsport for this question.

Depends on who you ask these days, the old guy at blockbuster today called me a redhead, the lady in the office next to me called it dirty blonde. Whateva.



These days, this chicken recipe I got from a girl I work with. Chicken, Cumin, Brown Sugar, Avocado, seriously good, and at the moment keeping me from becoming a vegetarian.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith.



If we're talking candy - neither, if we're talking the verbs, Yes, both.

strawberry shortcake - if you make it right and if you don't get away from me..

37. MOST LIKELY TO discover latent superpowers and save the world?

Yeah, that'd be me.

A Thousand Splendid Suns.

I don't so much have one of those.

Law and Order about 457 episodes of it.

the moanie groanie noise my dog makes when he settles in at night, the loud frogs outside my bedroom window, rain in my chimney, firewood pops and crackles, heartbeats.

peppermint patty (I totally get the sensation)

Emotional distance is farther than geographic, and I dont' have the right measuring tape for that, do you?

Depends on who you ask.

Johnstown Pennsylvania

Uh, photographing my girlie parts, 60 times.
It's hanging on my refrigerator, still.

47.5 how many of you noticed that question 18 was missing? If you did, you get to ask ME a question, anyting at all. Go for it, don't be skeered.

OK, you are now IT, unless you did the proper ONETWOTHREENOTIT! chant, in which case you're off the hook.18, 37, 38, and 47 are Do-It-Yourself questions, you can ask yourself anything.