Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dames! Dames!

That's right. I said No.More.Wire.Hangers.

Your Score:

Joan Crawford

You scored 40% grit, 33% wit, 33% flair, and 9% class!

You are one tough dame, as tough as they come. You've had to fight long and hard to get where you are, but you always knew you'd do whatever you had to do to get ahead. You aren't above committing crimes (or seducing others to do them for you) to get what you want. You want to be happy and comfortable, but you usually always manage to get the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Even your kids are usually against you. Your leading men include anyone you set your sights on, even married guys that are never seen on-screen. Watch your back.

I'd say thanks to TL for pointing me at this, but, um.. ouch...fuzzy end of the lollipop, indeed.

Tiff's Meme (or What the hell, I got nothing anyway).

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Just started my first writing job, playing softball and volleyball for the company teams, drinking way more than I should have, and six kinds of crazy about a completely unavailable man.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Just started my second writing job - completely panicked that this was going to be a huge mistake and thinking that in another year (aka NOW) I'd be moving to Austin, Texas.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Tortilla chips
2. Popcorn
3. String cheese
4. Apples
5. Ice cream

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
(It would be way easier to name 5 songs I don't know the lyrics to - I have a rainman like memory)

1. The Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson
2. Broken - Days of the New
3. Ice Cream Man - Van Halen
4. Anymore - Travis Tritt
5. Brilliant Disguise - Bruce Springsteen

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Go back to school
2. Give money to HSUS - a LOT of money.
3. Travel the US, by RV with the dogs - I need to see Crazy Horse, Yellowstone and the desert again..soon please.
4. Start running programs for kids (this is Mandaroo's idea - I'm stealing it because I love it)
5. Fund soup kitchens. No one should be hungry.

Five bad habits:
1. I watch too much TV
2. I'm tend to not think things through
3. I hold a grudge
4. The speed of my mouth vastly exceeds the speed of my brain
5. I eat Cool Whip out of the tub with a spoon

Five (g-rated) things you like doing:
1. Playing with /training my dogs
2. Reading
3. Cooking
4. Sitting on my porch swing with a cup of coffee, glass of wine, cold beer, or vodka
5. Talking to my friends

Five things you would never wear again:
1. Parachute Pants
2. Eyeshadow
3. Hairspray
4. Turtlenecks
5. Braces

Five favorite (g-rated) toys:
1. Puppies
2. Laptop
3. Treadmill
4. Running Shoes
5. I'm all out here ...

INSTRUCTIONS:The blog chain that got this here.........If you participate, remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

-Inside Mo's Mind

-One Gal's Musing-Philly Transplant

- No Accent Yet

What Can't Be Looked For

Me, who am I tagging?

Biff Spiffy

Queen Anne


Take That.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Quiz Time

About four and half years ago I met this guy. He worked in second shift in critical care, and I would see him during the week when I would transfer critical anesthesia cases to ICU or when I came in on emergency anesthesia cases after hours or over the weekend. He was always just a little more interested in my patients and a little more helpful than the average critical care tech. I don’t remember when or what made me decide to cross the ‘dating people you work with line’ but I did. He did. We did. Whatever.

Twelve months later, we were still really happy together, saw more of each other than was probably good for either of our sleep cycles (not to mention our work schedules), but we were still having fun, eating sushi, listening to live jazz, watching ultimate fights and that December, talking about moving in together over the approaching summer. The night of that discussion we were sitting on his living room floor, trying to figure out just how we’d make his three dogs, two cats and my dog work all in one house, as that seemed to be the most problematic area of our relationship. We weren’t arguing about it, it was like trying to decide where to put the new sofa.

The next month, on the first Monday of the New Year my brother died. All that week I ran around Northern Virginia trying to keep my family from killing each other, trying to locate friends of the family, and trying to not drive into or off of a bridge. I remember every night that week, just wanting to get to him, to his house, away from delivering more bad news to more people I loved.

The night before the service I finally made it to his house. It was everything I had hoped it would be all week long. Right up until we started discussing the service, and how he would get there. That was when he announced it would be “far too sad for me to go” and “Sorry, but I just can’t put myself out like that”.

I don’t remember responding verbally. I put my shoes on and left. He called a few times after that, but I never did speak to him again.

All that history, to say this.
Tonight, he called me.
A friend of a friend passed on my North Carolina contact information.
Apparently, someone in his life died, and he wanted advice.

So friends of blog-dom – you tell me, how do you think I handled this?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just Joy

When was the last time you had a day so good, it HURT.


Me too. Today.

Bartender, I'll take another, just like the last.

Hells yeah.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Back when the world was perfect.

I heard this phrase used recently, after the speaker described the experience of first real heartbreak and the utter disbelief at the way things had turned out. At the time, the phrase made me laugh a little, but since hearing it, I’ve been unable to get it out of my head.

I’ve been trying to remember what my moment of ‘back when the world was perfect’ was.

My siblings and I joked for many years that our parents divorce was the nastiest divorce in recorded history. Truthfully, though, it wasn’t the divorce that was so bad, it was the separation/reconciliation/vicious fight/separation/vicious fight/reconciliation/divorce. My dad had a violent temper, so there was never a fight that didn’t end with something needed to be replaced or repaired, walls were punched, doors kicked in, lamps thrown, and my personal favorite the night he pushed my mom backwards into a closet door and the door, my mom and my dad collapsed in a heap inside the closet. After the crash that sounded like the end of the world to my 8 year old ears, I heard my mother, calmly and reasonably ask “Well, are we going to talk about this or are you going to kill me, Roger?”

It’s a moment that has stayed with me, for sure, I remember sitting at the top of the stairs, wearing yellow pajamas and holding our golden retriever without a tail by the collar. I remember being scared and crying. Maybe when you’re 8, the world is moving too fast or maybe you don’t even think the world is perfect at that age, because the world is so small when you’re 8, and it doesn’t feel like you control anything.

I remember watching the taillights of my dad’s brown Toyota Celica as he made the left off Bing Court and onto Hayfield Road.

It’s a perfectly clear and perfectly awful memory, but it’s not the memory I’m looking for.

A few months after my brother died, I remember walking around in a grocery store I didn’t normally frequent, and being unable to find skim milk. I haven’t any real idea about why the bloody skim milk became so important, I just knew that it was, and not finding it felt like just one more thing I couldn’t do ‘right’ without Mark. I couldn’t even buy fucking milk. In that moment, I dissolved into a puddle of tears, sobs really. I’m not one for crying in public, so the combination of crying so violently, and the mortification of doing so in a grocery store, was six kinds of horrifying for me. I put down my basket and fled the store.

There was some realization then, that what was ahead was nothing like what I had imagined and nothing like what I wanted, and nothing like it was supposed to be, dammit. Now, I had to re-figure everything.

It felt like trying to solve for X without X actually being in the equation.

My ‘back when the world was perfect’ was the life I saw myself living as Mark’s baby sister. I could live with all my mistakes, my stupid decisions, the trouble my big-smart-ass-mouth got me into; if I saw it through his eyes, heard it through his ears. I could hear every fiber of my being screaming NOW WHAT?

‘Back when the world was perfect’ - I’ve turned this phrase around in my head almost non stop since I heard it. I feel it, the sadness in those words, more acutely than any I’ve heard in some time.

Is there a sense of recovery on the other side of that first real sense of loss? Is it really just never the same again?

I think I know the answer, and it makes me sadder still. I think you move past things, over things, around things, but they never really go back to the way things were... back when the world was perfect.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The past catches up, via Email.

My 20 year high school reunion is just a few months away. Normally, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of going but this past year has been full of finding some people in my life that given any choice, I would have never lost to begin with and they want to go.. so, we’re going. We may end up spending 15 minutes at the actual reunion, and the rest of the weekend walking around in a park in south Alexandria, much like we did on our graduation night, chugging wine coolers out of 2 liter bottles, but that’d be just fine by me. At least this time if we get thrown out of a school function for being drunk, it won’t actually be illegal, and we won’t end up spending the night traipsing down Route 1 in formal wear, or at least, I hope that doesn’t happen, because it can’t possibly work out, twice in one lifetime.

Since reconnecting with these people we’ve been playing the “whatever happened to” game, and so we both signed up on one of those reunion sites. I’ve gotten random messages from people I remember and a few I can’t. Nothing earth shattering.

Until tonight.
Tonight, there’s a message from L.Absher sitting in my inbox. I laughed out loud when I saw his name.

Larry Absher is the first boy I ever kissed. We were in 5th grade and my best friend at the time was Kristi Thatcher and we both had crushes on him. Being the generous guy he was, he let us take turns walking down the basement stairs to kiss him.

We were 11.

I don’t remember what was so charming about Larry now.

I have been amusing myself with the memory of Kristi and me taking turns kissing Larry before running down Bond Street chasing the good humor truck and eating ice cream in her carport listening to Christine Sixteen and Beth on her little portable record player.

I don’t remember knowing Larry beyond that year in grade school and I surely don’t know what made him send me this message.

It’s funny the way memory works, isn’t it?

I remember the kisses, sure, but just as clearly, I remember the smell of hot tar, from the paving on hayfield road, a few blocks down. I remember the smell of cut grass from the mowers taking down the soccer fields behind Kristi’s house. I remember watching Kristi dance to that Kiss album and wondering what Peter Criss looked like under all that makeup.

I’m pretty sure Larry would be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A conversation with a friend

Tonight, I had a conversation with a friend who told me he thinks that all women secretly hate each other.

I disagree.

I’ve talked about my girlfriends here and here, so it’s safe to say I don’t secretly or overtly for that matter, hate them.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to go with his suggestions, women I work with, and women I see at the mall, and to be fair, I’ll start out right away, just for my friend and say, Yeah, I think the women that do this, are astronomically STUPID. I still don’t hate them, but they sure as hell hate me (at least for a few hours).

I wasn’t a part of the ‘in-crowd’ in high school. These are the girls that I think my friend is referring to. The girls that said hi to you in the morning as you passed each other on the way to class, and trashed you in the ladies room during ’10-minute break’.

I had the kind of friends that I’d lay down in traffic for. With my 20 year reunion only a few months away, I’ve already decided that the two people I’m traveling with are really the only two people I ever need to see from high school again. It’s no coincidence that I’m still friends with them after all these years. I keep the people I love to the very best of my ability, and hold no grudges for the time lost. But, I digress.

Unfortunately, I do know the women he’s referring to. I want to deny it, but I’d be a liar if I played completely dumb on this. Part of me wants to defend these women. It wants to say that women in general have been torn down so much, so often and so harshly by the same people who claim to love them, that they look out at the world, at the rest of the women in the world, and see a reflection that resembles the naked body marred by the plastic surgeons black marker. Starkly calling attention to their every flaw and distorting any positive trait.

I understand the distortion pain provides and know how it can cloud your judgment.

The other part of me sounds more like this.

I’m truly sorry.
It is not the end of the world.
You are not the only one who has had bad things happen to them.
It is not the rest of humankind’s fault.
You can either be a victim or a survivor
There are million places, people and things you can do to work through it. Find one that works for you and get to it.
No time like the present.
Chop. Chop.

(And now you all know why I'm not getting paid to counsel anyone on anything).

Am I over-simplifying? Probably. Of course there are some things that happen to people that if I said something, anything in that last paragraph I’d deserve to have my head kicked in by anyone listening, or perhaps, everyone listening, at the same time. For the sake of this argument, please know it’s not those people, or those things that I’m talking about.

I AM talking about your average run of the mill catty coworker, gym member, or chick in the Limited at your local shopping mall (aka the 7th circle of hell).

You see these women, on a good day, you can even feel them giving you the once over, checking out your companions, your outfit, hair, makeup, whatever. Sometimes if you’re good, you can catch their look of disapproval before they quickly try to look benign again.

I find it happening to me, in the company elevator. The door side of our elevators is all mirrors (so are the ceilings for anyone interested in a little 70’s flashback/come-a-basic instinct action) when women get in they immediately start fussing with themselves, OR they start scoping you out.

Here’s my secret, the second I catch them, I compliment them, on anything. Their shoes, dress, whatever. You can always tell you’ve just got an insecure mess on your hands (as opposed to spinach in your teeth or toilet paper stuck to your shoe) if they fall all over themselves being nice, when seconds before you could hear the alley cat howl forming in the back of their throat.

Truth be told, they’ve all been genuine compliments.
I see what’s really in the mirror.

Answer your question, T?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Seven Songs

My most favorite Trivia Queen and Southern Belle tagged me for this, and some people I cannot/will not deny.

I followed her example and did this without much thought, just wrote from the top of my head; in the end, I like what I conjured on short notice.

The River -- Bruce Springsteen
This reminds me of my misspent youth with a very special friend who I loved then, and knowing what she went through in the years we lost each other makes me love her even more. I admire her strength more than words can say, and I *see* her in this song.

My Favorite Mistake -- Sheryl Crow
I’ve had a lot of these and this song makes me feel better about them.

At This Point in My Life -- Tracy Chapman
Because if I could be Ally McBeal for 10 minutes, this would absolutely be my theme song.

Broken -- Days of The New
The pain in this song is so real you can almost pick it up.

American Pie -- Don McLean

I know a lot of people that hate this song. I adore it. I have some very specific older brother related memories associated with this song, and if you ever see a woman singing this (badly) at the top her lungs banging on the dashboard - Hi. It's me.

Lose Yourself -- Eminem
This is a guilty pleasure song. He’s almost as bad as Vanilla Ice. But this is THE best running song, EVER.

Fighter -- Christina Aguilera
My favorite tough girl song. I was slow to get on the Christina bandwagon, thinking she was just another bubble gum pop singer, but she won me over with Stripped.

I’m supposed to tag 7 for this, but I owe Carolina Purl a tag, so I’m tagging her.
When you’re done painting, Ms. Purl, get right on that. I *know* you’ve got the music in you.

Lapses in Judgment

I was a horribly hard headed teenager that ‘ran away’ from my mother’s home at 19 straight into a boyfriend’s life and home. He and I moved in together in September, he proposed to me in late November, and I was sleeping on the couch and counting how many days I could go without actually talking to him by December. I knew I had made an astronomical mistake but felt utterly trapped and completely unable to help myself get out of the situation I had fought my own mother to get into.

I eventually did ask for help and I did get out before my first big mistake became a major legal commitment. Here’s to coming to your senses just in the nick of time.

In fact, I spent most of my 20’s trying to outdo myself with one bad mistake after another.
I was a raging success.

However, no one promotes or praises you for rapid fire-screw ups - in fact just the opposite is true (ahem). Go ahead and trust me on this, no need to try it out at home.

In 2004, grief had its way with me. That whole year is like a black hole, I can’t really remember
any details about it. It’s a wonder I didn’t drive right off a bridge because “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The next two years I spent most of time trying to figure out what exactly I had to do with my life to make the rest of it worth living without him. Really. Writing that makes me feel overly dramatic, which isn’t something I’m terribly comfortable with, yet, there it is.

In my darkest moments, I made some of my worst decisions.
In retrospect, it seems that I set myself up to fail when I was feeling down, almost as if I was off to prove to myself that what I really did best was screw up. Clearly, this turns into some sick Prozac-deficient cycle.

I hope I’ve left this behind, you know, with blue eye shadow, wings, choosing to date people that I thought I could ‘fix’, and running into bad situations because I was being defiant.

I can rock defiant.

I just don’t want to anymore.
I’m finally at peace with what I have and what I’ve lost up to this point in my life. Now, the fear resides in not doing something to screw it up.
It is almost paralyzing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The A-Z thing (Thanks RennRatt!)

A – Attached or Single: S I N G L E.
B - Best Friend: Heather, no, Eileen, no, Staci, no Mandy..um..yeah, in this part of the world, I am RICH..
C- Cake or Pie: Pie. Strawberry, Pecan, Apple, eat, cook, repeat.

D- Drink of Choice: Coffee in the morning, Water all day, and diet dark brown soda now and then. Adult Beverages - Just Add Vodka. Now Please.

E - Essential Item: I don’ t think I have an essential item.
F - Favorite Color: Red, Blue, Green and Black.
G - Gummi Bears or Worms? Bears, dude, bears.
H - Hometown: Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
I - Indulgence: Ice cream and HOT bubble baths, never together, because that'd be gross.
J - January or February? February, because it’s not January.
K – Kids: Fur – Kids Only.
L - Life is incomplete without: Sunshine, good coffee, great friends, critters, and good wine never hurt anyone.
M – Marriage date: I’ll keep you posted.
N - Number of Siblings: A bunch.
O - Oranges or Apples? Apples. With crunchy Peanut butter.
P - Phobias/Fears: Midgets. Balloons. SHUT UP.
Q - Favorite Quote: "Absence is the strangest sort of presence".
R - Reasons to smile: Today? Puppy toes, puppy breath, puppy grunts.
S - Season: ALL of them. For Serious.
T- Tag Three: I think I’m the caboose on this one, I’ll leave it to any unsuspecting reader to tag themselves if they like.
U - Unknown Fact About Me: I worry that there are things broken in me that can never be fixed.
V - Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Four steps away from Vegetarian.
W - Worst Habit: Losing my temper over unimportant things.
X - X-rays or Ultrasounds? I’ve had lots of one and none of the other. You figure it out.
Y - Your Favorite Foods: Peanut butter. Cheese. My moms potato salad.
Z- Zodiac: Sagittarius. A fire sign..and that’s for real.

That's all for this kid tonight.

Monday, May 7, 2007

My time

is not my own these days..it belongs to this little guy.. who looks all sweet and innocent in the photos but - trust me - he's running me ragged.

Someone hit me with something simple, 'kay?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Green-eyed monster

I’ve never been a jealous girl.
However, more years ago then I’d care to admit, awash with a healthy dose of high school angst, I was definitely envious. That is, if your definition of envy is something like this:

a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

For me, ‘a feeling of discontent’ pretty much covers ages 13 -18. I was quite simply, a mess. Looking back now, I can’t pinpoint even one of the things that I would have changed, but whatever I had, it wasn’t what I wanted.

My first real heart-breaker relationship was very dramatic, we were just out of high school, both taking classes a local community college, both working at least one job, and both our families were expecting an engagement announcement any minute. We had been together for a couple of years when one day while dropping his dog off at his house I saw a stack of pictures of him and another girl on the national mall on the 4th of July. A date he’d broken with me because “he had to work”.

I was crushed. I cried for hours.

He had just started a new job that very day, so I had hours to wait before I could say my piece. I cleared my head, dried my tears, and left him a message that I was taking him out to dinner at his favorite place. Over dinner I told him I knew about the 4th of July. He stuttered, sputtered, rationalized, and finally apologized. I listened to every word. Then left his sorry ass with no ride home and the bill.

I was hurt, make no mistake, but not jealous.

As an adult, I’ve been asked countless times by the men I’ve dated if I’m “the jealous type” The answer has always been no. If that first heartbreak taught me anything, it taught me that there truly is nothing I can do to overcome what someone else wants to do.

In the serious relations ships that followed, I quickly learned that if I felt insecure, there was a good reason. And if there was a good reason, I didn’t really need to know who or what it was, I just wanted out. The good reason wasn’t necessarily another woman, it was just as often their own insecurities or inability to commit to a relationship - same feeling, different cause.

Regardless of the cause, I knew that wasn’t where I needed to be. I’ve never bought into the ‘my other half’, ‘you complete me’, ‘soul mates’ line of thinking. My mother gave birth to a whole baby 37 years ago, I wasn’t missing a thing.

That’s not to say that I think there isn’t a great deal to be gained and enjoyed from a good and lasting relationship. I'm sure there are many things, things I can't know and very possibly things I'd like very much if I could know about them. I guess it’s just to say that I’ve yet to see one that made me jealous.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

9 to 5

My very first job was collecting Japanese beetles off my neighbors rose bushes. I was 7 or 8 when I got started down this career path. I can still those shiny green beetles in my memories. I used the lid of a mason jar to gently scrape the beetles off the leaves and petals and into the jar which was about half full of water. Sometimes I’d stop to watch the beetles swimming madly, climbing over each other trying to find a way out of their watery grave.

Once licensed to drive, I moved to mall jobs. The first was at a Hallmark store, only slightly less appropriate for me than baby sitting. It didn’t last long, and there were a few shattered ‘tender moments’ statues left in my 16 year old dust.

I took the next job because my best friend at the time was doing it and I could think of nothing that wouldn’t be fun with her by my side.

This was the first mistake in a series.

I accepted a job at Stride Rite.
That’s right.
Me selling kids shoes.
And hard baby shoes.
(Go ahead, ask me how I know how hard they are).

My experience tells me that little kids and babies really don’t like wearing shoes. Or at least they don’t really like a teenager jamming them on their little sweaty kid feet. Everyone ooh’s and ahh’s over the ‘weeboks’, and people, those shoes are cute,
IF they are dangling from your rear view mirror.

Lace and I used to size up each child being forced into the hard plastic orange and yellow chairs and play rock, paper, scissors to determine who would take each one on.

One day when I lost the battle, I took on a toddler that had disaster written all over him.
I thought even his own mom was going to make a break for the door without the little angel. She looked like she had quite simply HAD IT. Apparently not though since she proceeded to attempt to force her cranky, spaghetti (?) stained toddler to sit still so I could prance back and forth to the store room with a dozen pairs of shoes or more. This kid kicked (see hard baby shoes above) drooled and pulled hair. MY hair. Mom didn’t quit. More shoes. More kicking. More drool. More hair pulling.

Even Lace wasn’t laughing anymore.

Trying to rescue me, Lace pulled out all the stops. Toys, coloring books and finally the lollipops came out. At first this seemed like the solution to all my problems. The wailing stopped. The drool stayed confined to his chin and t-shirt, the kicking slowed to a pace I could easily dodge. As I pulled the eleventy billionth pair out of the box and bent to put them on, with minimal struggle from Junior, I silently proclaimed my best friend a genius. Both shoes on, mom finally satisfied, I bent to remove them.

The lollipop magic was wearing off, but this close to the finish line I was not to be deterred.
One shoe off and in the box.
I reached for the second shoe, get kicked (again)
I felt him reach for more hair and without looking up, pull back to avoid his sticky fingers..(or so I thought.)

Second shoe off and in the box.

I heard Mom gasp at the same time Junior utters his first intelligible sentence.
“I hate you, shoe lady!”

Thinking things that will surely hold me in karmic debt for the rest of my natural life I picked up the box, dropped it on the counter for Lace to ring up and headed for the store room to dislodge the lollipop stuck firmly in my hair.