31 December 2012

Live a Life Extraordinary With Me

current state of mind: nostalgic

Time rolls on; and dreams they die
And I’ve thrown out the pictures I had of you and I
And if you’re ever wondering if love can be true
Well, think of me; remember, darling, like I do
~ “I Do” by Jude

Here is the final post for 2012. Looking at the statistics, I can clearly see I am not living up to my end of the bargain. I have not written nearly often enough to retain regular readers. I am really lucky that anyone is reading this, actually, due to the inconsistency. I’d say it will be a New year’s Resolution; but I think it has been for years and I still cannot seem to keep up the pace. We’ll blame Obama. It’s easier that way.

The new year will be bringing changes; including me finally going through all of my stuff that has been in storage since my move from Texas. While some people would say “Just toss it all since you didn’t need it all this time,” the fact is, a lot of what I have in boxes are “memories”, knick knacks, photographs, etc. These are things that I cannot just throw away without review. I do intend on reducing my physical possessions by 60%. Purging in this manner is emotionally exhausting and can have moments of brutality. This is where an old friend comes in.  First, some backstory . . .

The summer between my junior and senior years in high school I attended the Nebraska Scholars’ Institute (NSI) for two weeks. While there, I made many lifelong friends. One of these friends was a very attractive boy from Columbus, NE. I kissed him once in the front seat of “VeggieGirl’s” car while she was driving and she was not amused. In fact, she was so “not amused” that she pulled the car over to tell us to stop. We did! We stayed in touch through college; found each other years later on FB, and then when he and his wife moved back to Nebraska recently, we came across one another and had coffee.

While catching up on each other’s lives, I happened to mention that I was planning on getting rid of a plethora of belongings because I feel tied down by them. I revealed my fear of having too much emotional attachment to physical objects. ‘Columbus’ said that he does a lot with “all-natural” remedies, including essences, plants, extracts, etc. He told me that he would like to give me a solution which will help me through the process.  I took him up on his offer and this past week he provided me with a dropper bottle filled with some liquid. He explained that I should put 4 drops under my tongue, 4 times a day. He said that the e4ntire experience will be emotional and cathartic and to just go with it, embracing the emotions and the detachment.

I am ready to get started, so I have ingested my first 4 drops. It didn’t taste the best; but I trust my friend’s knowledge and experience with natural remedies. The thing is, I was telling a coworker about it, and he asked what was in it.

“Um, I really don’t know. Here smell it.”

He did; but it brought neither of us any closer to knowing what is in this proprietary ‘brew’. I suppose that it is for the best that I not know. Instead, I am just going to move forward and let it do its magic.

Speaking of magic. . . K-Shrub just called me to tell me that one of her customers gave her some “wonder product” that “detoxifies fat” and makes you skinny. She described it as a really large Crest Whitestrip for fat. And she is convinced it will work, because her friend wouldn’t lie.

HaHaHaHa – She is being ridiculous. She wants to put the before-and-after pictures on the internet for her female friends only – but she is going to photoshop them because she doesn’t want anyone to know how much pregnancy weight she really has. And she reasons logically that if she photoshops the before picture, then she has to photoshop the after picture so that the results are closer to reality. Luckily, you only have to do it once a month. So, yay for the fat detoxifying ‘whitestrip’.

On that note, peace out!

PERSONAL NOTE: I love you!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Thank you for being one of four.

26 December 2012

Reagan and the Bears

current state of mind: sleepy

Searching to find myself
And all I find is you
I could hardly stand myself
So what am I to you?
~ “Every Night” by Imagine Dragons

The world is going to . . .  wait . . . that was supposed to happen on December 21, during the Winter Solstice. I am assuming the world did not end since I am still here. Bloody hell. If we cannot count on ancient stone age societies to know when the world is going to end, on whom can we depend? Compounding matters is NASA, who has publicly announced that Asteroid ‘2011 AG5’ will NOT hit the Earth in 2040. It looks like we are on our own to destroy the world now that celestial help has been shot down, once again, by scientists. One can read all about how the world will not be ending at : http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html

This week is filled with excitement; Christmas Eve on Monday, Christmas Day on Tuesday, Boxing Day on Wednesday, my sleep study on Thursday, and hopefully, I will spend Friday with my dragonfly. Then next week, I get to have New Year’s Eve at K-Shrub’s place, New Year’s Day at home, organizing, and then have my root canal/oral surgery on Wednesday. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that the fates have generously bestowed on me a toothache? The best case scenario is that the oral surgeon will retreat tooth #18with a second root canal. Worst-case scenario is that I will have an apicoectomy performed on #18 and a root canal on #19 (just in case). You’ll have to Wikipedia this stuff for an explanation, as I have no desire to make anyone queasy. Moving on . . .

I did a terrible thing on Monday. Firstly, it should be noted that I was functioning on very little sleep and I was in massive pain from my toothache. Secondly, it was Christmas Eve and the emergency dentist could not give me the Christmas present I wanted, which was a pain-free tooth. Therefore, I took another gift in exchange; I walked out of the dentist office with the January 2013 issue of Smithsonian Magazine in my purse. I would like to tell you I did it by mistake; that the disappointment of the day rendered me forgetful. Alas, that would be a lie. I rolled the issue up and shoved it into my purse while I was still in the examination room. Then, I walked right past the table of magazines in the waiting room and went to my car, knowing that I was likely going to get chased down by the dental staff. Except, no one noticed. And thanks to this act of defiance, I will be able to read January’s issue cover-to-cover on someone else’s dime. I’ll throw it back in the mail to them when I have finished . . . maybe.

I have more to say; but other things are calling for my attention. So, until we meet again . . .

PERSONAL NOTE: I appreciate your friendship. I wish we lived in the same state.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Vos es unus of quattuor quod illo vos es infinitus recipero quod diligo.

12 December 2012

Sparkling Little Gems Just Pour Out of My Mouth

current state of mind: comfortable

You can't go to bed without a cup of tea
Maybe that's the reason that you talk in your sleep
And all those conversations are the secrets that I keep
Though it makes no sense to me
~”Little Things” by One Direction

I am terrible at remembering song titles. In fact, if providing full disclosure, I am terrible at remembering songs in general. This is never as apparent as when I am in the car with GirlTwin. She can remember every song she’s ever heard; therefore, when I comment on a song, she’ll tell me everything she knows about it. Nothing seems to amuse her more than when I make the same comment multiple times, about the same song, as if it is the first time I have heard it. One such song is “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. Every time I hear this song, my first thought is, “I like this song. Is it new? I wonder who sings it.” When GirlTwin is in the car, I will state these thoughts aloud; much to her amusement. It took me almost 4 months to remember that I had heard the song before. The thing is, the same situation has happened to me with two other One Direction songs: “One Thing” and “Little Things”. There is something about this “boy band” that makes me love the music; yet still forget I have ever heard it. Thank goodness for the Shazam app. Now when a song comes on that I like, I ‘tag’ it and can keep track via my phone how many times I have liked and tagged the same songs. Oh Technology!

On the other hand, there are songs which no one has ever heard to which I am also exposed on a regular basis; courtesy of K-shrub. You see, she loves to make up parodies of songs to amuse herself and the Dragonfly. In the past couple of months I have heard songs about vampire hunters set to tunes from Disney Classics, songs about cute babies set to dance hits, and of course, songs about K-shrub set to whatever pop song she last heard. Her creativity is brilliant. Her sense of humor is one of the qualities that I pray she passes on to the Dragonfly. Thus far, she is doing a good job.

In addition to singing, K-shrub also has a tendency to display symptoms of Tourette’s with her random comments. Below are just a few I have heard in the past week: 
“There’s no crime on I-80. You know why?. . . Because those state troopers are ‘effin scary. If you want to end crime, you need to put state troopers in the city. . . I’m giving this one to Mike, cause he’s a stand-up comedian and needs all the good material he can steal.”
“There is a snow truck in front of me; it’s dropping snow and ice all over the interstate. . . and my car. Not cool man, not cool.” 
 “I stayed up as late as I wanted to watch TV and I ate cookies for breakfast. I feel like I’m at a point in my life that I can be proud of.” 
 “Someone said that Obama wanted to get rid of Christmas. Is that true? Is he the Grinch? Because I love Christmas, man . . . My house is like Obama Christmas; not a Christmas at all. Trees are so expensive.” 
 “Are you writing these down? I am not demanding that you do; but your blog is always funnier when you write things that I say. I cannot help that sparkling little gems just pour out of my mouth.”
In a few days, I will be heading to the nation’s capital to visit my baby brother, the robotics engineer. While there, I will also be spending time with my friend, the Real Estate Appraiser/Realtor/Photographer. Between the two of them, I am sure that my trip will be filled with fun, adventure, and a lot of nerdy stuff. Yay for smart peeps!

PERSONAL NOTE: I still cannot find my eReader. Bloody hell, man!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I love the fact that you are willing to lose 30 pounds so that you can be a bridesmaid in a wedding which will likely never happen. That is true dedication to friendship!

05 December 2012

It’s a Shame about the Weather

current state of mind: dizzy

It's only love, it's only pain
It's only fear, that run through my veins
It's all the things you can't explain
That make us human
~ “Human” by Civil Twilight

My right contact fell out this morning. I didn't notice until I got to work. I thought that I was just really tired, which generally explains blurry vision. The end result of a missing contact is a headache. There are worse fates.

Last night I went to visit “Gretzky” and “the Dancer” in their new digs. I helped get the washer “ready to use” while “Gretzky” worked on the dryer. No one was electrocuted; most likely because “the Dancer” said multiple times “Don’t get electrocuted.” Once we had the laundry room up and running it was time for movie night. Normally, we would have gone to a movie; but instead I brought over a Redbox. I am actually embarrassed to talk about this since the movie was so ridiculously bad.

Let me preface this with some mildly-interesting disclaimers:

  1. I love Edgar Allan Poe. I mean, I don’t love the man. He was dead long before I was born. I love his writing. I love his imagination. I love the fact that his words have generated an innate and unreasonable fear of being buried alive. I get short of breath and a little panicky just thinking about the imagery.
  2. I love John Cusack. I have adored him since he starred in John Hughes films. He is the epitome of “the guy next door” and I adore him. He has barely aged since “Say Anything” and no one should ever make fun of him, ever. 

Do you know where this is heading? I’ll bet you don’t; if for no other reason than no one saw this movie (and those who did will deny it). The Redbox film (I use the term loosely) that I chose was “The Raven”. It was described as a period thriller about a serial killer stalking 19th Century Baltimore – using Edgar Allan Poe’s imagination as inspiration for his crimes.  John Cusack played Edgar Allan Poe, the alcoholic writer who must help the police and cater to the whims of a madman. 

The movie started off with some lame dialogue; but two very gruesome (and low-special-effects) killings based on two of Poe’s better known stories. Once the pendulum killed its victim, however, the film took a rapid turn into amateur acting and mediocrity. The quotes from Poe’s works were the only highlights worth mentioning. On the other hand, there are many low lights that are certainly worth mentioning. My favorite scene to “recap” is the one where the lead inspector is in bed after being shot. And go . . . 
“Good God, man, you have a bullet in your chest. Let me use this magnet to find it. (He runs a magnet across the left pectoral muscle of the inspector).
(Then to an off screen character) You, over there, put some whiskey on that pillow case. Give the rest to him; he will need it.” (The lead inspector guzzles whiskey as the doctor uses a scalpel to cut into his chest to dig out the bullet.)
I am going to spoil the rest of the movie for you . . . The killer is not clever – instead, the police are really bad at their job. Poe had remarkable penmanship. Printing ink is magnetic. The newspaper owner is killed. The girl lives. The killer is the guy who sets the printing press at the newspaper. He runs away to France to taunt Jules Verne.  Poe chooses to drink poison in exchange for the girl’s life. Poe dies. The lead inspector somehow beats the killer to France, awaits him in the hired carriage, and shoots him. Then the movie ends with some weird animated montage that is definitely NOT inspired by 19th Century events.

You’re welcome!

PERSONAL NOTE: Stay focused on staying focused.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I think you are handsome. 

20 November 2012

Gravity is Gravity and Other Clichés

current state of mind: disappointed

Everything I did was wrong
Everything you said was true
I've been hiding way too long
All I really want is you
~ “All I Want to Do” by Jude

  • “Why aren't you blogging?” my friend asked.
  • “I am. Just not as often as I used to do so,” I responded.
Then I thought about it and wondered why I have been writing less often. I suppose it’s because I am busy trying to accomplish things before the weather turns to shite and I am stuck indoors for months. Also, my laptop has been temperamental. Plus, I have been painting cabinets with magnetic primer, which floods the apartment with fumes that may be killing my brain cells too quickly for me to write coherently.
  • “Do you not allow comments on your blog?” ‘BB’ asked. “Most bloggers are flattered by comments, both good and bad . . . “ he said.
  • “Why would people want to comment? LOL,” was my response.
  • “Because it is a BLOG! That is what blogs are for! They are interactive!” he exclaimed, as if he were talking to an amusing child.
  • “I don’t blog to be publicly interactive,” I responded.
  • “Okay. I understand. As long as you are self-aware that you are dancing to the beat of your own drum, that is cool,” ‘BB’ stated in his last message.
This is not your everyday dating site conversation. Strike that. It may be YOUR everyday dating site conversation; it is definitely not mine. Most of my dating site conversations involve me typing, “Thank you for your message. I am not interested in corresponding. All the best on your journey.” Very few people who send messages via the dating site actually have a conversation with me. It isn't because I am better than any of them. I don’t believe that I am; even when a response comes back calling me shallow, unattractive, stuck-up, too picky, and every other negative descriptor that makes the rejected feel better. I just know myself well enough to not waste someone else’s time when I know there is not a “connection”. Maybe I could respond with total transparency and explain that I am on the site as a homework assignment for my counselor. The thing is, if I were to do that, then I would be hiding behind the very activity which is supposed to be helping me practice healthy communication skills with potential love interests. I am supposed to be looking for red flags and identifying interactions which make me feel uncomfortable, while opening myself up to healthy vulnerability.  Moving on . . .

The referenced conversation above sparked some introspection; because, the Universe knows I don’t get enough of that in my life. I suppose that I first started writing publicly so that I knew I was being heard. I didn't care who listened to me, as long as someone did. I lived a pretty sterile existence at the time and preferred my thoughts being read by strangers than by people I knew. Now, however, it is different. It appears, to me anyway, that I have evolved. While I still welcome the general public to read what I have written, I actually write to be heard by those who know me. I know that words on a screen are not nearly as intimate as a face-to-face conversation. Still, it’s a start.

With that, I am signing off until my muse pinches me in the arm once again.

PERSONAL NOTE: Congratulations! I cannot wait to hear all about it.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE 1: “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” ~ Stinger, Top Gun

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE 2: “That’s a pie crust promise; easily made, easily broken.” ~ Mary Poppins

12 November 2012

Then a Flash and a Bang

current state of mind: detached

Water’s getting deeper
And I can’t feel my feet
I keep on bailing buckets
But it flows right back to me
~ “It Takes Time” by Glen Phillips

Saturday night I celebrated a friend’s birthday at a local watering hole. There was a gentleman there, wearing a ring, but alone. My friend, uninhibited courtesy of some fruity drink, asked him where his wife was. He said, “I’m not married.” She laughed, pointed to the ring, and asked again, “Where is your wife?” He acknowledged the ring with a nod, then stated again that he wasn't married. “It’s a long story,” he murmured. He was saved from further interrogation by the DJ calling his name to sing. As the unmarried man with a ring belted out “Welcome to the Jungle” with some skill, my friend cheered loudly and we went on with our evening.

When finished singing, he refilled his beer glass and walked over to the bar where we were sitting.  He introduced himself to the four of us, and then explained the story of the ring. He has been dating a woman 11 years his senior for 3 years. She has been married 3 or 4 times already. They do not live together. Recently, he awoke to her slipping a ring onto his finger. She said she was tired of waiting for him to propose, so she bought a ring for him to wear until they are married so he would “remember” her impatience. I am not known for my “soft and gentle” approach to these matters. Incredulously, I asked, “Are you effin serious?” He was, indeed, serious. Holding eye contact with me, he said, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose her, but . . .” and his voice trailed off.

Why do strangers find themselves compelled to confide in me? I could feel his desperation. He needed someone to listen to him.  I needed another drink to deal with this conundrum; but was driving, so instead, I sipped my water and listened as he went on about his relationship with this woman. When he stopped talking, I asked him if he wanted my insight or just to continue listening. He chose the former, so I told him that while I don’t know him or his partner, it is clear to me that he is not ready to marry her. When he asked me how I knew that he wasn't ready, I responded with a directness he may not have been expecting.

“If you wanted to be married, you wouldn't be at a bar by yourself, telling another woman how you aren't sure about your relationship, and confiding with a level of intimacy normally reserved for dear friends. Also, you wouldn't be looking at me in the way you are, if that ring meant anything to you. I am not judging you or your relationship. Everyone’s life is his own. I have learned, however, that staying with someone because you don’t want to lose her is unhealthy. Either stay with your partner because you want to be with her or let her go so you can each find someone who fulfills your needs.”

He sipped his beer without saying anything. His expression was thoughtful. I wished him luck, grabbed my purse, hugged my friends goodbye, and then, dismayed by the icy blast of winter that had arrived while I was in the bar, I walked to my car. Waiting for Lucius to warm up, I thought about the man with the ring. I hoped that he would make a decision that brings him joy. So many people fear being alone. What they don’t realize is that being alone is far superior to being with someone and wishing they would leave you alone (especially if it is so you can be free to be with someone else).

What do I know? I’m a twice-divorced, single woman who has spent a majority of life excusing boys’ bad behaviours.

PERSONAL NOTE: Girlfriend, you need to love yourself as much as we love you . . . then kick up your heels and rejoice in life.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Your support is ever-present. Thank you.

08 November 2012

What the Heck is a Rubric?

current state of mind: frazzle dazzle

Don't you tell her how I give you something that you never even knew you missed
Don't you even try and explain how it's so different when we kiss
You just tell her that the only way her heart will mend is when she learns to love again
And it won't make sense right now but you're still her friend
~ “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn

I gave two presentations in my Biz Law 2 class this week. One was on “Chapter 13 Bankruptcy” (assigned topic) and the other was on “1929: Black Tuesday” (choice topic). I rocked them. This is not the time for false modesty and humble pie. I was well-prepared, knowledgeable about my topics, and I am comfortable performing presentations with Power Point that do not consist of me reading the text on the slides.

 ** Side Note: If you present in this manner, please save everyone the ordeal and just send them the Power Point slides without bothering to present verbally. **

Instead of reading bullet point after bullet point aloud, I emphasized what I was saying with animation and graphics. I had an outline to follow – but overall, I ad libbed both presentations. While I am not entirely sure that the class was entertained or even paid attention, I do know that I scored bonus points for my “exemplary performance” and “excellent use of technology and video” on my “Class Presentation Grading Rubric”. Only one more class period remains before I am finished with the term. All in all, I will have achieved a 4.0 for my paralegal educational experience, will have made a couple of really close friends, and most importantly, will be free to begin studying for the national certification exam, which I am taking in January. Woo hoo!

Unfortunately, school appears to be the only aspect in my life that is running without a hitch. At home I have a pile of cabinet doors waiting to be painted, a shed full of belongings that need to be organized and/or purged, a healthy diet to undertake, and a lot of laundry to wash and put-away.  I also need to begin writing consistently and with discipline.

Friday evening I will be giving a short, but informative, speech to 300 sixth graders and their families. I gave a similar speech last year at the same event. This is the easiest task I need to accomplish as far as my responsibilities as president of the “OG”. I am definitely in need of some guidance in that realm. I feel as if I am constantly stumbling in my role. Granted, I am used to literally stumbling with my klutzy self; but metaphoric stumbling is not as familiar of territory. I have many people counting on me and I don’t want to fail their expectations (or my own).

I am open to suggestions for any of the above.

PERSONAL NOTE:  Just breathe. I promise you that things will get better.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE:  Every time I think of castles or airports, I think of you.

PUBLIC NOTE:  My little dragonfly is the smartest and most handsome godson and nephew in the whole wide universe.

16 October 2012

Scars to Prove It

current state of mind: nostalgic

Remarkable as it seems
Turns out the night was much shorter
Than you wanted to believe
But we're only in Dakota
~ “Dots on Maps” by Say Hi

I know that I have been remiss about writing. If it is any consolation, I have also not been tweeting for @HistoryinaFlash. School, the Opera Guild, and work have kept me rather busy. Plus “My Dragonfly” is so darn cute that any spare time I have had is spent messaging K-Shrub for updates. At least it seems that way. Seriously, the little guy is so perfect. I don’t know that there is a baby in existence who could steal my heart the way this one has; absolutely enchanting. In less than a week I will be driving to Texas to see the twins (and everyone else). I am looking forward to the trip and am hopeful that the weather stays cooperative for driving.

I was asked the other day why I ever started blogging in the first place. I gave the inquisitor a pat answer along the lines of “I have always kept a journal; so this seemed the next logical step.” He was satisfied with my response and I was able to move on with my day. The thing is, that isn’t why I started blogging. I mean it is; kind of. I have (inconsistently) written in a journal for most of my life. When I was very young, I kept hidden diaries that have long been discarded along with my childhood. My teen years were  better documented through consistent entries and story writing. When I was married, it changed.  My first husband explained to me that secrets were not supposed to be kept – so I allowed him to read my journal – though it was filtered and eventually, I stopped writing in it altogether due to the lack of a private venue where I could share my thoughts.

Near the end of my first marriage, I found myself journaling in secret. Sorting these thoughts helped me make a lot of decisions without being forced to ask for advice from others. I had never been one to allow myself the level of emotional vulnerability which accompanies sharing my innermost thoughts with another person. My second marriage brought with it its own circumstances which eliminated any opportunity to journal with an expectation of privacy.

I didn’t write for a couple of years. Any personal feelings I did write down were thrown away or recycled. Then, K-shrub introduced me to MySpace. Y’all can laugh; but MySpace introduced me to the blogging community. So I joined a blogging group – similar to a writers’ circle where a group of writers get together and write about similar topics. I suppose I should have titled this post “Confessions of a Top Ten MySpace Blogger”. In that group, I was once again able to find my voice. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I adopted the use of nicknames and pseudonyms to write about my life with a veil of anonymity. I developed a new writing style which was entertaining, informative, and cathartic. It was in that blogging group that someone first referred to me as “girl genius”. The name stuck.

I miss those days. I miss the accountability which comes with being part of a group. While I am not going to fight the losing battle of “Mass Exodus from Facebook to MySpace”, I wish that we could move back to a social networking site which wasn’t in it for the advertisers. I am nostalgic for a site designed for the convenience, customization, and well-being of the user. Now that I have my own URL, I don’t need a social networking site to host my ramblings. I also don’t need a list of rankings based on readership. I do, however, have a need to be a better writer and I cannot do it on my own.

I want my writers’ circle back. I want the challenge and sense of discovery which accompanies writing as a group. Before I approach the idea of forming something permanent, I’d really just like to do a “workshop” over the course of 7 days. Perhaps it will help me find my muse again. I hope you’ll consider taking part.

I am inviting anyone who would be interested to send an email to: jct7779@geniusinwonderland.com Dates and more information will be sent to interested peeps!

PERSONAL NOTE: You’re sexy and you know it!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Why do we not say aloud what we already know goes unsaid?  

02 October 2012

I’ve Got the Gift of One Liners

current state of mind: preoccupied

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free
~ “Living in the Moment” by Jason Mraz

I have been sleeping with more consistency. Granted, I am still tired all of the time; but, I believe we are finally beginning to win the war against insomnia. The meds I am taking to combat the daytime sleepiness are helping considerably, if for no other reason than the crash from them makes me extremely tired by early evening. Early evening tiredness means that I can generally fall asleep before midnight. As many of you know this is a huge improvement from 2008 when I was going 24+ hours between sleep sessions.

Recently I made a very big mistake. Unfortunately, it is one that cannot be remedied because the damage has already been done. I gave K-Shrub access to my Rhapsody account. She and “Little Dragonfly” took it upon themselves to make me a “Muuuuuyyyyyyy Triste” playlist. Granted, I should have known better than to trust her when she titled it in Spanish, making a reference to our “Sooooooo Sad” game.  I agreed not to look at the playlist songs and just hit ‘Play’. Holy Moly!

I give her props for bringing me “way up” before sending me plummeting through the basement floor of emotional despair. The following facts should be noted before I share the entire playlist with y’all:
  • The Canadian band, Moxy Fruvous, is my automatic “go-to” when I need a pick-me-up
  • When the Bodyguard came out on VHS, I bought it and watched it over and over, sobbing every time.
  • Britney Spears is my girl crush and always gives me a sense of empowerment when I listen to her.
  • The theme song from Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On” makes me cry, even when I am in a good mood. I cannot even watch the trailer for "Titanic".
  • My favourite album of all time is Blues Traveler’s FOUR.
Without further ado, here is evidence of the method behind K-Shrub's evilness: 
  1. King of Spain by Moxy Fruvous
  2. Stay by Sugarland
  3. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion
  4. You Were Mine by Dixie Chicks
  5. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
  6. Smile by Barbra Streisand
  7. Run-Around by Blues Traveler
  8. Starts With Goodbye by Carrie Underwood
  9. Womanizer by Britney Spears 

Truly, I think the only thing she could have done to jack any more with my emotions would have been to include “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams from ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’. Though I suppose two Kevin Costner movie references would have been too many.  I triple dog double dare any of you to listen to these songs in this order and not feel like someone just threw you head first into one of those Sour Patch Kids commercials. Curses, K-Shrub, curses!

PERSONAL NOTE: Three days until the opera! Woot!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE:  I suppose you are correct in your assessment of the situation. I don’t care. I know what is best!

27 September 2012

Just Walking Through the Front Door Makes Me Nervous

current state of mind: serene

Falling in love filled my soul with fright
You said "Come on baby, it'll be alright"
I must have been a fool 'til the bitter end
Now I hold onto hope that I'll have you back again
~ “Here with Me” by The Killers

About a month ago, K-Shrub, in all her pregnant glory, knocked her tooth out while trying to open the safe at her work. She was given a retainer with a tooth affixed to it as a replacement since the dentist couldn’t do oral surgery due to the pregnancy.

Present Day:
This morning, K-Shrub rang me on her way to take “Little Dragonfly” to the pediatrician. She was in mid-conversation when there was a pause, followed by “Man, I really wanted to wear my tooth today; but I left it in my other bag.”

I started laughing. “Um, did you really just say that? If so, may I blog it, please?”

She agreed as long as I quoted her with accuracy and provided the backstory so that everyone knew why her tooth was missing. She did not, however, provide me with any stipulations regarding the discussion of why the replacement tooth was “in her other bag”.

How many bags does she carry? Why would she not make sure that she always had the bag with the tooth in it? There are so many questions left unanswered. I will give her a free pass this one time and blame it on having a new baby at home. I mean, “Little Dragonfly” doesn’t have any teeth, why should K-Shrub be concerned about missing only one?

More details to come . . .

PERSONAL NOTE: We need to catch up soon!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Thinking of you and hoping you are well. I am here when you are ready to talk.

26 September 2012

Not Waiting for the Morn

current state of mind: hesitant

I've been getting' used to liars
They sing me love songs; store-bought words
They make promises; like politicians
So we stumble and we disconnect
Over and over again
~ “Modern Love” by Matt Nathanson

Greetings and saluations!

At least once a week, I am asked about my love for opera. I have never studied music and my singing voice leaves much to be desired. My parents did not bring me to the opera when I was a child. In fact, my first exposure was courtesy of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd on a Saturday morning. While Wagner could not have possibly foreseen music being performed by animated characters, I don’t think his artistic integrity would be offended. It is entirely possible that he’d enjoy Fudd’s rendition of “Kill Tha Wabbit”.

Opera is for everyone, regardless of preconceptions. This past weekend I spoke to several groups of 6th graders and their parents. Most of those present had never been to an opera. I think I shocked the kids when I made fun of the concept that opera was just for old people with stodgy ideals. I told the story of bringing my 7 year old daughter to ‘La Boheme’. Most adults thought I was crazy for thinking that a young child would appreciate a century-old opera she “wouldn’t possibly understand”. I had faith in the transcendental power of art. Of course, Puccini didn’t let me down.   Girl Twin was fascinated by the performance. For almost three full acts she sat up in her seat, alert and mesmerized. As the third act closed, however, she drifted to sleep. I did not wake her for the tragic fourth act, as it was already well past her regular bedtime. When the audience broke into applause at the end of the performance, my daughter opened her eyes and began to clap as well.

As we were walking to the car, she looked up at me and took notice that my eyes were red and swollen from crying. Very concerned, she asked why I was crying. I explained that during the last act, Mimi had died. She looked thoughtful for a moment before responding with candor, “Well, you had to know she was going to die. I mean, she was really sick throughout the whole show.” I smiled, gripped her hand a little tighter, and enjoyed a mother-daughter moment that would not have been possible without opera.

Thank you, Puccini!   

PERSONAL NOTE: Welcome home, little man!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I suppose that time will tell. Until then, let it ride.

21 September 2012

I Stand Corrected

current state of mind: preoccupied

And if I fall asleep
I know you'll be the one who'll always remind me
To live in the moment
To live in my life
~ “Living in the Moment” by Jason Mraz

My apologies for the delay in publishing a new post. In the past couple of weeks we have welcomed a new family member into the world, Elizabeth has dug multiple holes under the privacy fence, I have been haphazardly navigating the dangerous rapids of volunteer board politics, school started, and the new network television season has begun. I believe, however, that things have slowed down enough that I can actually write something coherent AND worth posting. Perhaps . . .

Let’s start with a “first” that I experienced recently. I received a 90 minute professional massage from a very attractive male masseuse. I love getting massages. I have no gender preference for a masseuse as long as he/she can do the job without being chatty or breathing heavily. This one wasn’t chatty and he didn’t breathe heavily. He was in his mid-20s (I think) and way too attractive to be my masseuse. Unfortunately, the appointment was made and it wasn’t as if I could go to the front desk and say “Um, excuse me. This is going to sound like a weird request; but, you see, um, the masseuse you assigned to me is way too attractive for me to relax. Do you have an uglier male or a female available?”

During the first 15 minutes of the massage, I was extremely tense. I focused intently on forgetting about the physical attributes of ‘Mr. Hands’. I practiced meditational breathing and eventually drifted into that zone between lucidity and sleep where I like to be during massages. By the time the massage ended I had forgotten how attractive ‘Mr. Hands’ was. 

Disaster averted!

PERSONAL NOTE: Counting down the days until the opera!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: This is definitely the best idea we have had in a while. Now to find the right candidate.

05 September 2012

Some People are Jerkfaces

current state of mind: intrigued

You can have me when you want and
Lips are sweet when you are talking
Yeah you make me want you madly
And you've really got me going
~ “Just Like Chocolate” by The Dollyrots

In the not so distant past, I received an email that I took as a personal attack on my work performance. I responded with the level of concern I felt was appropriate. Luckily for me, this dialogue created a coaching opportunity that was identified by someone who knows my work persona well. He asked me to read both emails aloud in the tones of voice I thought they were conveying. He then read me the same emails using different tones. And holy moly, I sounded like a be-yatch when he read my email response back to me. Granted, he fully acknowledged that he knew I did not intend my words in that tone – but he also warned me that email correspondence takes on the tone of the recipient’s brain. Therefore, if a situation appears to be ‘heated’ or ‘strained’ he suggested the best course of action is to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face. 

We went round and round with the discussion because I prefer email correspondence as it is easier to clearly state out the details without getting caught up in the emotion. After careful consideration and perhaps a little soul searching, I have come to the conclusion that I agree with my coach’s assessment when dealing with sane and logical people.

Unfortunately, some people are crazy bullies with illogical, personal agendas. Those people suck! If you have any suggestions for dealing with difficult people, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Adding fodder for the fire, I started school this week. I will save my assessment for a later date – but I can say with the utmost confidence that I am not the least intelligent person in my Business Law II class. My faith in Darwinism decreases exponentially with each class that I attend.

That is all.

PERSONAL NOTE: Will you arrive already? Geez!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Looking forward to the Opera. 

31 August 2012

Utterly Adorable – Yet Oddly Terrifying

current state of mind: frightened

Now he's marching towards scaffold
Head erect he shows no fear
And while standing on that scaffold
Ireland cross he holds so dear
~ “Tom Williams” by Flying Column

When I arrived home on Thursday afternoon, all I wanted to do was take a hot bath and relax after a stress-inducing day. Five minutes after lowering myself into my amazing Turkish-style bathtub, my phone rang. It was K-Shrub, and I ALWAYS answer her calls because she could give me a nephew any day. This particular time, however, there was no announcement of labor or hospitals or babies. Instead, she wanted to “chat”. I let her know that I was trying to take a bath, to which she responded, “Oh, that’s cool. I need you to talk to me until after I get gas for my car.” I agreed to her terms because she is pregnant and uncomfortable and she just wanted someone to talk to while she was filling her car with fuel.

When I tried to say “goodbye” after she was back on the road, she explained that she just wanted to talk to me until the air conditioning cooled the car off. Again, I agreed, knowing that her car cools off rather quickly. Twenty minutes into the phone call, I realized that she was not going to let me off the phone until she was in her apartment – a 45 minute drive. I let the water out of the bath and put on some comfy clothes. I opened a beer, grabbed my Nook, and started reading while listening to K-Shrub talk. 

30 seconds into this process, she asked, “What are you doing?” 

I responded, “Listening to you.” 

She paused, then said, “No you aren’t. You’re reading. I can tell.” 

I put the Nook down and replied, “K-Shrub, I am not reading. I am listening to you.” (Note: This was true as at the time I was no longer reading.) I then spent the next half an hour chatting. Any time I attempted to get off the phone, she reminded me that once the baby is born she won’t have time to talk to her big sister like she wants to, so . . . you get the point.

Finally, she arrived in her parking garage and said that after she walked the two blocks to her apartment, she would let me hang up. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I actively engaged in conversation. 

About a block from her house, K-Shrub started whispering, “There are a lot of blind people outside my building again. I wonder why they are always outside the building.” 

I asked why she was whispering and she explained that when you lose one sense, the others get stronger and she didn’t want them to here her talking about them being in front of her building. Fair enough! 

As she passed them to walk into her building, K-Shrub chatted with them about the weather. Before the door closed behind her she shouted, “See ya!” 

At this specific choice of words, I burst out laughing and the beer I was drinking came out of my nose. 

“Why are you laughing?” she asked. 

“K-Shrub, you just said “See ya!” to a group of blind people. 

“Ooops! I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just being nice.” 

I just shook my head and reassured her that it was fine. Sometimes she is so sweet and well-intentioned that even social faux-paux work for her.

After hanging up, I fielded three more unexpected phone calls before I was finally able to sit down and relax. Scrolling through the Guide, I saw that “Paranormal Witness” was on. Turning to it, I found myself caught up in the terror and creepiness of paranormal experiences being described by real people just like you and me. Unfortunately, it was a scary episode and the re-enactments were causing my heart rate to increase. Adding insult to injury, when the episode ended, another one started. I rechecked the Guide and discovered that there was a “Paranormal Witness” marathon going on. I was too frozen in my seat to change the channel. I don’t know how many episodes I watched before sleep finally took over. What I do know, however, is that I am a very big fraidy cat and that my fear of the dark is not tempered by my incessant desire to watch scary shows about scary things. At least I had three dogs and a cat to protect me through the night.

I need a life.

PERSONAL NOTE: Good luck on your Robotics competition over the next couple of weeks. You are so amazing and we love you so much! 

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Happy belated birthday to you, handsome! SWU! 

29 August 2012

Hungry Hungry Hippos

 current state of mind: perplexed

And the sun rose over the city
The wind swept through the valley
You don't get over a broken heart
You just learn to carry it gracefully
~ “The World Moves On” by Jens Lekman

I love to eat at restaurants – but I rarely bring home leftovers. The thought of reheating food that has been sitting out on a table (and then in a Styrofoam container) makes me gag a little. I do grant an exception for foods that do not require reheating. I will bring home pizza, fried chicken, bread, and desserts. Recently I visited a local pizza establishment and was asked if I wanted to bring the remaining pizza slices home. I accepted, because the pizza was damn tasty; however, I left the restaurant without the pizza box. The server came running into the parking lot to give me the abandoned pizza. Great Service! When I arrived home I placed the pizza box in my fridge; where it will sit until I remember to consume it or throw it out. Chances are the latter will be the case. Sad times.

As I type this, my tummy is growling rather loudly. Growling tummies are so embarrassing because people around me don’t know whether I am hungry or have serious gastrointestinal issues. I have to wonder if anyone else feels it necessary to state loudly, “Hmmm, my tummy is growling,” every time it happens. I know it is a silly insecurity – yet it is one I cannot seem to shake.

This is a monumental week for me. It was my birthday and it is also the week that includes the 14th and 9th anniversaries of my wedding celebrations. I suppose that I should use this time to reflect on the reasons why both marriages failed. The reality is, however, that I already know why they failed. I made a lot of mistakes. They made a lot of mistakes. Many of those mistakes were severe enough to irreparably damage the relationships. What I learned from both is that sometimes amazing, beautiful things end in ugliness – but after enough time passes, it is possible to look back and fondly remember the amazing, beautiful things once again.

This is why the human experience is so wondrous. Peace out!

PERSONAL NOTE: I am happy that you are back to being yourself again.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I am sorry you are still in pain. I wish I could hug you right now.     


27 August 2012

Yeah, Um, We Don't Cover That

current state of mind: concerned

As you walk away, holding things I won't confess
I hope you'll learn to see it for what it was
Sacrifice your dignity and forfeit your regrets
It's a brand new day; let's wash our hands of this
~ “This is Goodbye” by Honestly

My beautiful, amazing sister, K-Shrub, is going to give me a nephew pretty soon. He is my belated birthday present. I am holding my breath in anticipation. This past weekend, I celebrated my birthday and K-Shrub took me to dinner. We sat in her car at the Sonic and giggled like schoolgirls as we made jokes and ate cheesy tots. K-Shrub and I are very different in so many ways – but our sense of humor is almost spot-on. I am so lucky to have her as the mother-to-be of my future nephew.

We also went to a matinee showing of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”. I am not going to say much about the film because you really should go see it for yourself. What I am going to tell you is that you need to bring a steady supply of tissue. I started crying 5 minutes into the movie and did not noticeably stop until we left the theater. It is definitely heartwarming and bittersweet. I laughed many times during the film; but the tears kept falling. K-Shrub only mocked me a little. Looking back I am surprised she didn’t say, “Are you soooooooooooooooo saaaaaaaaaddddddddd?” She missed a golden opportunity with that one.

*Changing Topics*

Saturday night I was treated to dinner by Ms. Wine. Then, we went back to the wine lounge and she worked while I sat and drank a couple of Diet Roy Rogers. After closing time, we went to a friend’s place to watch some English Premiere League Football (soccer for those of you who live in America). 
SIDENOTE:  For the record, I have been a soccer fan since 1989, due to a boy who played on a select team. Then in high school, another boy (or 2) kept me interested in soccer. By 1994, I was an actual fan, no longer needing a boy to inspire the love. The 1994 World Cup was held in the U.S. and I watched EVERY game courtesy of three VCRs and a large supply of VHS tapes. I have been a Manchester United fan since 1995. David Beckham, one year older than me, was the squad’s up and coming star. In January 1996, I walked into Dublin’s Man-United Superstore and felt like a pilgrim at Mecca. I spent more money there than anyplace else in Ireland. Upon my return to the states, there were posters and stickers of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Roy Keane, and Gary Neville all over my dorm room, my notebooks, etc. Even my phone (landline) was decorated in Man-United swag. :END SIDENOTE 
It is important to note that the Manchester United-Fulham match we were watching was recorded and played live earlier in the day. I knew the score before it began. Still, I seldom get to watch the matches so I sat down on the couch, excited to watch the Red Devils win in a relatively high scoring match.  Granted, I was also on the happier side of some wine and birthday shots – which explains why I was willing to put on a Jersey over my dress when encouraged to do so. It also explains why when the match was over and we were triumphant, I looked at the clock, saw it was almost 4 in the morning and agreed to stay and watch the Chelsea-Newcastle match as well. Woot! I had also switched to water, so by the time that match was over, I was exhausted and able to drive home safely. Before falling into my bed, however, I reached into my closet and took out the Manchester United jersey I bought so many years ago in Dublin. It is still in pristine condition. Goal! Goal! Goal!

PERSONAL NOTE: I am so excited to meet you when you arrive into the world, little man.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I am going to move forward with the BYOG concept. Brilliant idea!  

24 August 2012

I’m Not With the Event

current state of mind: intellectually simulated

It's undeniable how brilliant you are
In an unreliable world you shine like a star
It's unforgettable now that we've come this far
It's unmistakable that you're undeniable
~ “Undeniable” by Mat Kearney

Having a good friend who owns a wine bar is pretty cool. Having a good friend who owns a wine bar where match.com holds events is AWESOME! It means on those nights, I can sit at the bar, listen to some live music, talk to the staff, and people-watch until my heart is content. This past Wednesday, I did just that. Unlike the last event which was “all ages”, this one was aimed at the 35 – 50 crowd. I saw 4 people who used to work for my employer there. I spoke to one of them. He told me background stories about some of the women who were there, as he had gone on dates with several of them.

I saw a guy from a dating site I am on that I was supposed to have drinks with a few weeks ago; but didn’t. That was “Awkward” (with a capital A”). He recognized me, though we have never met, because I display recent pictures of me on my profile – unlike many people. He was nice. I was appropriately apologetic about not following up on the previously cancelled plans. He asked if I was on match.com. I said, “Oh. I’m not with the event.” That line was repeated several times throughout the night. In fact, one guy heard it 3 times. We’ll call him Dr. Chatty, as he was a doctor, I think. I practiced the behaviors of “active listening”; but didn’t actually listen. I stopped focusing once he started telling me about his afternoon trip to Menards. I mean, I love Menards; but I don’t need a play-by-play account of your visit. He was really nice – unfortunately, I wasn’t with the event. (*lol*)

This week, I also attended the Project Pink’d Calendar Event. MiMadre went with me. We had a wonderful time in honor of a wonderful organization!!! Overall, it’s been a wonderful birthday month!

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you for giving birth to me 36 years ago today!!!!!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I am sorry you got shafted. I wish there were something I could do to right the wrong. Your brilliance should not go unappreciated.

21 August 2012

In the Event of a Water Landing . . .

current state of mind: under the weather

We'll fast forward to a few years later
And no one knows except the both of us
And I have honored your request for silence
And you've washed your hands clean of this
~ “Hands Clean” by Alanis Morissette

I flew home from Phoenix last night. The flight was delayed because some school group’s plane was arriving late and we were flying to their destination. Considering the fact that I was once in the very same predicament and the plane waited for me, I had no issue with the 25 minute delay. While boarding the plane, we were informed that there would be plenty of empty seats so we could feel free to spread out. Yay! 

I went to my preferred row over the wing and sat down in the middle seat. I then lifted both arm rests and laid my blanket on one seat and my pillow on the other. Then I made eye contact with boarding passengers, just daring them to sit in my row. They didn’t. In fact, only one even slowed down, but he then thought better of it and took an aisle seat three rows back. Once we began taxiing to the runway, I laid across the three seats, fastened the seat belt over my blanket, and promptly fell asleep. I was awakened a couple of times due to turbulence; but I just chanted “I am on a bus” in my head until I fell back asleep. I sat up as we touched down in Omaha. My ears were clogged terribly and I am 95% sure I had been drooling on my pillow. Still, I want to give props to my Southwest Flight Crew who knew better than to wake me up for our final descent.   

My trip to Phoenix was amazing! I adore Ms. Arizona and all her girlfriends (whom I also claim as my girlfriends). And her two daughters are so dang precious. Ms. A’s 2 year old refers to me as “mommy’s friend”.
  • “Mommy’s friend, you came on an airplane.”
  • “Mommy’s friend, you sleep with me.”
  • “Where Mommy’s friend?”
  • “Mommy’s friend, come swimming pool.”
  • “Mommy’s friend no go on airplane.” 

On Saturday night, Ms. A and her girlfriends took me out on the town. Beforehand, however, they played “Clueless” and gave me a style makeover. I must admit that I generally would not have worn the dress they squeezed me into. The results were pleasantly surprising. So, a huge thank you to my style team for making me feel like a movie star for an evening.

Looking back, I wish I would have packed the dress in my suitcase and asked for forgiveness after the fact. LOL There’s always next time.

PUBLIC NOTE: Friday is my birthday. Yay for being born!

PERSONAL NOTE: I love and miss you and the girls!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I am patiently waiting.

15 August 2012

Too Close in the Pouring Rain

current state of mind: peaceful

And there are no strings attached,
You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give.
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have.
I give you thanks for receiving, it's my privilege,
~ “You Owe Me Nothing in Return” by Alanis Morissette

Yesterday, I flew to the beautiful desert oasis of Phoenix, AZ. Sky Harbor welcomed me with a very turbulent descent, courtesy of the mountains. The girl behind me was “cray-cray”. She was snapping pictures non-stop with her SRL and singing her thoughts in a very high pitched tone. “Look at the mountains. They are so pretty. I am taking pictures of the mountains. We are landing soon.” All I could do was wonder why in the world I had obeyed the rules and turned off my electronic devices. The plane’s sporadic movement was making me nauseated and Miss Photographer’s singing was creeping me out. I had been sound asleep until the descent so I suppose I should have felt lucky that the first 2+ hours of the flight took place while I was dreaming.

It was a Southwest flight. The plane was sold at 85% capacity, which meant that there would be plenty of open middle seats. My strategy upon boarding the plane had been to make sure the middle seat in my row remained empty. I was the 10th person on the plane. I selected a window seat, directly above the wing, two rows ahead of the emergency exits. As I watched other people board the plane, I made sure to avoid eye contact and scowl if anyone slowed down by my row. Eventually, a 20 something Asian kid stopped and asked if the aisle seat was taken. He was on his mobile phone and standing there waiting for a response. I said the seat was empty and he claimed it. I realized at that point that I needed to include him in my strategy if we wanted to keep that middle seat as a buffer between us.

I turned to him while he was still chatting on his phone and said, “Listen to me. If we want this seat to remain empty, we have to work together. The key is, we lean in just a little and look very unfriendly. In addition, throw your sweatshirt on the seat to make it look occupied. Plus, if anyone slows down, glare at them.” He looked at me incredulously, and then asked, “Does that really work?” I nodded and he complied. Sure enough, all three people who stopped and looked at our row kept walking after seeing the two of us hovering over that middle seat with evil looks in our eyes. Once the doors were closed on the plane, the kid looked at me and thanked me for teaching him a remarkable method of comfortable flying on Southwest. I laughed and drifted off to sleep with the help of Dramamine, a double-vodka with tomato juice, and an intense disdain for remaining awake on airplanes.

Ms. Arizona picked me up from the airport and it was as if we were teenage girls due to how fast we started talking and giggling. Being here with her and her daughters is such a blessing. I was surprised that my first night in Phoenix consisted of a huge thunderstorm, Chick-fil-A, and a bunch of animated British kids on some children’s show. Well, now I am off to play Clue: Master Detective with my Arizona family.

PERSONAL NOTE: Life is good! Hope your drive back to school was a good one.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: What’s it like not being the most brilliant person in the room?

Eidetic Vision

Main Entry: ei·det·ic Pronunciation: I-'det-ik Function: adjective : marked by or involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall especially of visual images - an eidetic memory Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.