30 January 2012

Little Girls – Bah Humbug

current state of mind: migranious

Little girls, Little girls
Everywhere I turn I can see them
Little girls, Little girls
Night and day, I eat, sleep and breathe them
~ ‘Little Girls’ from the musical, ‘Annie’

My friend “Bah Humbug Little Girls” (who we will call BHLG for short) contacted me via text this weekend and requested that I write about those little uniformed girls (and their cookie-pushing parents) who are impossible to avoid this time of year.  I want to preface this with “full disclosure-disclaimer” that I used to be a Girl Scout leader and a cookie pusher.  I trained the other cookie pushers so that I didn’t have to have a pallet of 1,000 boxes of cookies in my storage room.  I was one of those people who not only went door to door with a wagon of cookies; but also displayed them on my desk and sold them at the Devil-Mart on Sunday afternoons.  Yeah, I was proud of handing a box of cookies to the cutest little girl in the troop and telling her to sell those boxes as if she were a starving orphan. 

So, BHLG sends me this text that declares without shame that she is glad she has a son and not a daughter because she doesn’t ever want to be coerced into selling GS cookies.  She even admitted that she only bought a box from a coworker so that she could then tell anyone else who asked that she already bought some. 

On the day that cookies went on sale, I was asked by 7 different little girls (and/or their parents) to purchase a box. One little girl and her mom even tag-teamed me and kept asking even after I told them that she was the 8th requestor.  Since she is K-Shrub’s BFF and our neighbor, I will buy a box.  One box, since everyone is selling and I don’t even like them that much.  “What?” you all gasp, “You don’t like Girl Scout cookies?”  I don’t after selling them for years. 

I also don’t like being guilted into buying anything or donating to anything.  I am tired of people standing in the street with cardboard signs asking for money or food or a fifth of whiskey.  If you can afford that Sharpie, you can afford a pen to go apply for a job.  Is that cruel of me?  I happen to know that I don’t want to donate money to people on the street who get that money tax free; ever since I saw the 48 Hours special that showed how some panhandlers clear 60k+ a year tax free by begging.  WTF!?!     

Now all of this may seem rather hypocritical since I am virtually a “beggar” for Susan G. Komen and I am dating a man who runs a local non-profit.  But, I am not forcing minors to sell you food that makes you fat.  So, I get a pass.

PERSONAL NOTE: 1 month and you are married, baby shrub. 

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE:  20 questions have turned into 21

27 January 2012

The Last Winter

current state of mind: inquisitive

I see you the only one who knew me
But now your eyes see through me
I guess I was wrong
So what now it's plain to see we're over
And I hate when things are over
When so much is left undone
~ ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Deep Blue Something

We have a family dog! His name is Sleepy McJoe and he is a pretty incredible dog. Without genetic test results in hand, I am making an educated guess that he is a Lab-Chow mix. That is what I tell people and I always follow it up with “And Chows are biters.”  You see, Sleepy McJoe was an abused puppy and when we rescued him from the Humane Society, they warned us that he did not like to be touched around his neck.  Sleepy still doesn’t like to be touched around the neck unless you are just hugging him and saying his name really sweet-like.  Oh, and you are in our immediate family.  That last part is pretty important, because if you aren’t and you try to hug him, he’ll bite your face off.  That’s really the point I am trying to make here.  Sleepy is a great dog, but Sleepy will bite your face off if he wants.  I am pretty sure everyone in the fam, except ‘Mi Madre’, has a scar or two from Sleepy’s canines. 

So, now, Sleepy is 14 or 15.  He’s arthritic and slower than he used to be. He can still climb on the couch with ease when no one is around; but he is a lot slower getting off the couch when he gets caught than he has been in years past.  He pretty much does what he wants when he wants and we just smile at him.  For the past 3 years, I have often made the comment “Well, this is his last ^insert season here^, so we can let him do what he wants.”  Sometimes peeps get upset that I choose to imply that Sleepy may die soon, forcing me to explain that I have to prepare myself in this way.  It makes every day we have him with us a special one. 

I am not in any way suggesting that everyone should just start introducing people and pets in this manner.  “Hey, this is my friend, Bobby; it’s his last winter.”  But, I do suggest that you treat people in your life with the care and devotion that one would treat am aging pet:  Give lots of affection, Cherish the time you spend with them; Buy them Tempurpedic beds; and let them sleep on your couch when they are over.

PERSONAL NOTE: I am looking forward to date night!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: You are rocking it in those jeans, girlfriend!

26 January 2012

Yo Yo Yo

current state of mind: sleepy, not weepy

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run better run outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run better run faster than my bullet
~ ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster the People

This song is quite the motivator in the morning, even if it is filled with violent imagery, threats of mass murder, and a catchy pop tune.  I read an interview of Foster the people and they said they were shocked by the popularity of this song due to its subject matter.  I’m not surprised.  That song by Third Eye Blind about crystal meth addiction did great, all because it was put to upbeat music.  Blues Traveler said it best in the song ‘Hook’, “It doesn’t matter what I say as long as I sing with inflection . . . because the hook brings you back.”  True story!

Lately, I have been burning the candle at both ends and it is running me a little ragged.  I realize that I am always biting off more than I can chew, but it seems that as of late, I have almost found that needle in the haystack which contains the straw that will likely break the camel’s back.  WTF?!?!  I do not know why I find speaking in clichés so bloody funny, but I do.  I really really do.  My guess is that my dose of Adderall this morning is kicking in faster than usual giving me the overwhelming desire to start chatting.  Unfortunately, the only ‘person’ I can chat with is Ebie and she really would prefer breakfast and a nap, I think.  Like her momma, she loves her naps.

For those of you who haven’t received the bombardment of messages from Google, they changed their privacy policy and terms of service and they want you to read it.  So please do, because when Google comes to collect your first born and a cookie from your home, you’ll want to know the reason why.  Unlike the Apple agreements which were mocked irreverently in South Park, the Google ones are a little more clear and concise. Yay team!

I have to make this quick so I can head to work; but please know that I appreciate you for reading these silly blurbs of thought that I pour out into the very public and permanent venue known as the “interwebs”.  Thanks, peeps!

On that note, I am off to see the wizard that pays my bills.  If you have a topic request for any future posts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  You are a preferable conversation partner to the little black dog who only listens to me so she can get fed.

PERSONAL NOTE: Sorry you were jonesing for something to read.  I hope this didn’t disappoint.


17 January 2012

And When I Lose My Way I Close My Eyes

current state of mind: a little bit country; a little bit rock-n-roll

And she don’t care that I could fly her
To places that she ain’t never been
If she really wants to go I think deep down
she knows all she has to say is when
~ “Hey Leonardo” by Blessid Union of Souls

I bank at two banks. One is local and easy to access.  The other is a national bank that happens to have no branches within 150 miles.  I use them because they are a corporate sponsor of the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure.  Every time I use my debit card, they make a donation.  For that reason, I am generally happy with the arrangement even though I don’t have a local branch.  Recently I regretted my loyalty because an auto-pay withdrawal came out of my account and I forgot to plan accordingly. This little “memory slip” resulted in an overdraft of six dollars and some change. Now, we all know how this works . . . whether it’s a penny over or $100.00 over, the bank will pay for it and charge $35.00 (or some ridiculous amount) to the account for their “trouble”.  Granted, I could have wired funds from my local bank account to the national one; however, the wire fees would be about the same as the overdraft fee – so that seemed pointless.  Then it occurred to me that I have friends across the country.  Someone has to live close to a branch. 

I contacted “Sun Devil” in Phoenix.  I figured she had time on her side due to the time zone difference.  I asked her to deposit $10.00 into my account.  Since her car was in the shop she contacted her dad and asked him to drive her to the bank so she could make this deposit.  She called me from the car and asked if I really only needed ten bucks or was I asking all of my friends across the country to deposit ten dollars each so I could get all my bills paid for free.  She made the point that most friends would give ten dollars to a friend who asked for it without batting an eye.  Even her dad was willing to chip in ten bucks for the “cause”.  I laughed and assured her that I just needed the one ten dollar deposit.  But our little chat got me thinking.  

What if I really did ask all of my friends for ten dollars?  Could I quit my part time job and just “pan-handle” from my friends and acquaintances?  If I spaced out the asking to seem “random” I could bring in an extra $100 bucks a week for sure.   I am not at that point – but if the economy doesn’t turn around, we may all need to borrow ten bucks from a friend. 

Life is good!

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you for running that errand for me. Give your dad a hug for me as well.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I am really proud of you.

13 January 2012

When the Stars Fall I Will Lie Awake

current state of mind: frazzled

I’ve been searching deep down in my soul
Words that I’m hearing are starting to get old
Feels like I’m starting all over again
Last three years were just pretend
~ “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch

I remember the first time I heard the song above.  It was during a late 2001 “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode where Willow was being taken over by her powers and Tara couldn’t deal anymore, so she said “goodbye”.  I also remember crying during the episode.  I wasn’t crying because I particularly cared that Tara would be leaving the show. Instead, I cried because it was the first realization that I had regarding the state of my marriage.  I was 25 and had finally realized that love did not solve everything and couldn’t always heal that which was broken.   Within half a year my marriage was over; “citing irreconcilable differences”. 
“It hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time. I want what’s yours and I want what’s mine. I want you; but I’m not giving in this time.”
I am not blaming Joss Whedon and Michelle Branch for the breakup of my marriage; though I would have preferred maintaining my naiveté about the power of love for a little longer.  I mean, don’t we all want the fairy tale?  I know I did. 

Now, however, 10 years later, I am still a sucker for “fairy tales” and “love trumping all”.  I am an “in the closet” historical romance reader.  I love reading about unconventional women in history who were smart and sassy and constantly fighting the mores of society.  And they still always ‘got the guy” with their love conquering all and they lived happily ever after in a really nice house with servants.  Let’s be honest; that is the fairy tale I want and less because of the love and more because of the servants.

Lately I have been daydreaming a lot about having servants.  My apartment is completely disorganized and I need a lot of help – but I hate asking friends and I don’t really have any money to pay a professional organizer – so I think about how wonderful it would be if I had live-in servants who did everything and all I had to do was go shopping for hats and reticules. 

Geez, I am really off track now.  I don’t even know what I originally wanted to write about.  Oh, wait, yes I do. . .  This weekend is ‘K-Shrub’s” birthday and we are having a sleepover party and going to watch Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 3D.  My family always compared me to Belle because she is considered a little quirky due to her obsession with reading and learning.  And while my first name does not mean “beauty”, it does mean “Youthful” which is better than beauty when you are 35.  And in the end, she gets the prince and the castle and a library filled with books and servants.  Golden!

PUBLIC NOTE:  Happy birthday K-Shrub (and J-Shrub).

PERSONAL NOTE:  Congratulations on your new job!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE:  You are stronger than him – just keep moving forward.

11 January 2012

Lessons Never Learned

current state of mind: borderline

Make amends for what’s been done
Cause I believe that she’s the one
And I will go where sea gulls fly
And try to find sweet Lorelei
~ “When Mermaids Cry” by Eagle-Eye Cherry

On Sunday, ‘Dad of 3’ and I went to a vineyard and winery in Iowa. A couple other friends joined us. The wine was mediocre; but the scenery was pretty and the place had a plethora of farm cats. As soon as I was out of the car, I spied a little ginger kitten with light stripes. She was looking at me from around a well. I knew right then that I had to have that kitten. I approached it slowly; worried that she may flee before I could pet her. Luck was on my side. The kitten stayed still and I kneeled down to stroke her soft fur. She purred and arched her back in that way cats do when they want you to take them home so they don’t have to live on a vineyard where they serve mediocre wine. Of course, Eleanor, as I silently named the kitty in my head, had her claws and she wasn’t as fond of being picked up as she was just being petted. I told her I would be back and then went inside to sample the wine. I explained to ‘Dad of 3’ that I really needed to take my new kitten home. He said that there was no chance in Hell that kitten was riding in his car. Granted, he didn’t actually say “no chance in hell”; but I could read between the lines of his thoughtful answer.

I continued to talk about the kitten until he made this compromise:
“If you ask the owners if you can have the kitten, then I will support you bringing it home. But, since I know you won’t actually ask them, I am pretty confident that the cat is staying here on the farm with her brothers and sisters where she will be happiest.”
This little turn of events created a conundrum. I really wanted the cat; but I really did not want to ask for it. Still, I was willing to test the waters. I went up to the bar and asked for another wine sample from my list. While there, I casually mentioned, “Wow, you sure do have a lot of cats out here.”

The proprietress smiled and said, “Yeah, we need them to control the mice population. My daughter loves them and thinks they are her pets. She even names them all. When one wanders off or gets killed by a predator, she is always upset.”

All of my bravery was stolen in that moment. I mumbled something about how I saw that really sweet little ginger kitten and had to pet it. She laughed and mentioned that particular one was one of her daughter’s favorites because she was so friendly. I thanked her for my wine and went and sat back down.

‘Dad of 3’ was laughing at me. While he acknowledged his surprise that I even broached the subject, he also made sure I knew that he knew I was not given permission to take Eleanor home. He topped it off with mentioning that I would not only be breaking the kitten’s heart by stealing her from her family; but I would be breaking a little girl’s heart as well. I did rationalize that the kitten would likely be dead soon anyway, living out in the cold Iowa elements with predators and cars and frigid temperatures. He didn’t buy my argument. When we were driving away, I looked over and saw Eleanor playing with two other kittens by a well-constructed pet house in the yard. Needless to say, I did not run over and steal her.

Morality – 1 / Girl Genius - 0

Moving on, I have a scratch on my index finger. It may have been a gift from that cute little ginger kitten or just a result of my clumsy nature. I am not able to definitively ascertain the true origin of this particular scratch. I am able to discern, however, that it is infected. It hurts, is bright red, and radiates heat. Yesterday, I attempted to do the “right” thing and cleaned it with soap and water, then put some Neosporin and a Band-Aid over it. By early evening, the Band-Aid was annoying me so I removed it. As a result, I am back to square one. Now, I have my own effective (though conceivably staph-inducing) method of removing the infection. It has only failed me a few times in the past (e.g. when I did self-surgery on my elbow last spring). Luckily some antibiotics cleared that issue right up and now I have a pretty scar to show off.

All of that being said, I really would like to avoid another doctor’s visit over a little scratch, so perhaps I need to just get another Band-Aid. Okay, good talk. Thanks!

Also, if you haven’t already, please go on Facebook and “Like” Billings Photography. Because my parents are rock stars.

PERSONAL NOTE: Congratulations on your new job!!!!!!!!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I am almost out of lotion! Grrrr.

09 January 2012

I'm Not Giving In This Time

current state of mind: empathetic

I’ll find repose in new ways
Though I haven’t slept in two days
Cause cold nostalgia
Chills me to the bone
~ “Vanilla Twilight” by Owl City

Received a telephone call from across the pond today. The caller had the audacity to tell me that it sounded like my accent had picked up a “twang”. WTF?!? I think that is the most serious case of "the pot calling the kettle black" I have ever encountered.

Watching movie previews is fun to me. I love getting excited about upcoming films and turning to whomever I am with to either say, “We have to see that” or “That looks ridiculous.” Recently, while at the movies, I saw that “Titanic” is coming back out in 3-D on the IMAX. “K-Shrub” turned to me and said “We have to see that.” I shook my head, explaining that I don’t think I can sob through that movie again. I haven’t watched it in its entirety since college because it makes me so sad. By mistake, two years ago, I was flipping channels and watched the scene where Rose has to let go of Jack’s hand so she can blow the rescue whistle. That quick blurb triggered the waterworks and I had to watch the rest of the movie, crying the whole time. Even hearing that Celine Dion song makes me tear up. The first time I saw that movie, I was in college. My roommate, “Nickel”, and I went. We walked out sobbing, only to get in the car and have that song playing on the radio. I had to pull over because I couldn’t see through my tears.

“Titanic” is not the only movie with this effect on me. I haven’t watched Goose die on Top Gun in over a decade. I leave the room during the flat spin and don’t start watching it again until Maverick shows up at Viper’s house to talk about his options. I don’t know why it makes me so sad; but it does. I am well aware that the movie is just a movie. Sometimes, rational thought flies out the window and all I can do is turn into an emotional ball of crying fluff. Generally, the crying doesn’t stop until my face is all red, my eyes are swollen, and my head is pounding from the emotional deluge.

Recently I had a conversation with ‘Dad of 3’ when we were on our way home from a dinner date. A song came on the radio and I mentioned how the first time I heard the song, tears just started running down my face. It was the singer’s voice and the emotions behind it which triggered the response. I am not a crier in real life situations; only when being affected by the arts. My first recollection of this emotional crack in my veneer was during E.T. when I was a little kid. When E.T. was finally going home, I turned to my dad and said, “Daddy, can I have your hankie? My eyes are watering.” I cried when Darth Vader died. I cried when Savannah was returned to her parents in ‘Savannah Smiles’. I sobbed at the ‘Last Unicorn’. And every time I read the book, “Behind the Attic Wall”, the tears start about 2/3 of the way through and continue until the end.

So, if you ever come up to me and see I have puffy eyes and I look a little worse for wear, assume that I need a hankie cause my eyes are just watering.

PERSONAL NOTE to L.S.: Oh, Darling, I wish you were here.

PERSONAL NOTE to K.H.: War Horse . . . War Horse . . . he can pull anything.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: You totally stole my cookie. Grrrrrr.

05 January 2012

At the Start of the Conversation

current state of mind: apprehensive

Well you’re my green eyed girl
And I’ve been running around with you
It’s the afternoon
And we got nothing left to do
~ “Lay Me Down” by The Dirty Heads (featuring Rome)

The end of the world is coming. I know this because it is almost 70 degrees outside in January AND I had Chick-Fil-A for lunch. If I were living in Texas none of this would be the sign of impending doom – but, I am in Nebraska, where the average temperature for this date is around 28 degrees and Chick-Fil-A is a magical place people have only “heard of”. Still, if these are, indeed, the end of days – let’s keep up the good work!

I want to go outside and dance a jig! Perhaps I will. Does anyone know how to dance a jig? I may be Irish – but I truly have no idea what a jig even looks like. I know that it involves the kicking of feet, leaping of leprechauns, and maybe a tambourine or a sheleighly. I don’t think I have to actually hit anyone with the sheleighly, however. Actually, I really just love the word, sheleighly. It is as fun to say as shenanigan. What is it about “she-“ words that make them roll off the tongue with a little giggle? There is even a band called “Sheleighly”. Is there a band called “Shenanigan”?

Okay, I believe the warm weather and chick-fil-a afterglow are causing my brain to become addled. To think that I started this day out with a migraine and fewer than 1.5 hours of sleep. Never again will I assume that a nauseating migraine equates to a horrible day. Nosirreebob. Not that any of it matters, since the world will soon cease to exist.

Okay, peace out!

PUBLIC NOTE: Do not high-five me, please. Not ever. Unless you are under the age of 10.

PERSONAL NOTE: Thanks for bringing me Chick-Fil-A. You are so good to me.

03 January 2012

I’ve Got Nostalgic Pavements

current state of mind: unsettled

And when I saw you kissing that girl
My heart, it shattered;
And my eyes, they watered
And when I tried to speak, I stuttered
~ “We Get On” by Kate Nash

Do you remember ‘Friendly Guy (FG)’ from my plane trip in September 2008? If not, go here. Well, ‘FG’ and I are still friends and he blessed me with a beautiful picture he took in Nicaragua over Christmas. It shows the sunset, rainforest, the ocean, and a volcano all in one beautiful image which will forever be seared into my brain as a place of peace. I have made it my new desktop wallpaper in hopes that some of the peace will find its way into my brain. Here’s to hoping . . .

It is January 3, 2012 and I am still in the running for keeping my New Year resolution of “laughing every day”. Yesterday’s laughter was courtesy of Daniel Tosh who makes me feel rather ashamed and dirty when I watch him. His blatant irreverence is funny; but, shouldn’t be. Yesterday, I also was able to laugh at the morons who go on Fear Factor. If you know that you will likely have to dangle from a helicopter or lie in a coffin filled with snakes, why in the world would you wear a two piece string bikini that is at least one size too small on top? Seriously?!?! Boy shorts and a sports bra would be far less asinine. I do not understand these women. Also, for the record, last night’s stunt with the snakes was far worse for the snakes than for the humans, so I don’t see what the contestants were crying about.

As for the UFC fights on Friday Night – a shout out to Alistair Overeem for providing a brutal kick to Brock Lesnar’s liver. I understand that I should have been cheering for the American; but let’s be realistic, Lesnar is a db. And while I feel a little sorry for him having to retire on a loss, I don’t think I will ever forgive him for having that ridiculous sword tattoo on his chest. He should get its handle engraved with the words “douche bag”. Just sayin’!

PERSONAL NOTE: Looking forward to lunch with you on Thursday!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I will win the pullover.

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.