Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boy, That Must Hurt ...


When I was nineteen years old ... before I discovered the rapture of alcohol ... before I discovered the bliss of weed ... I discovered the joys of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

K and I went to our first midnight showing of Rocky at the Legacy Theatre.  Of course, back in those days, it wasn't known as the Legacy Theatre.  It was just ... "The Theatre."   We bought a study guide and rented a VHS copy to prepared ourselves.  K bought the soundtrack and we listened to it in the car and sang along.  We got a list of props and went shopping. 

Finally, the night came.  We walked in quietly and sat in the back row ... trying to be inconspicuous.

Bad, bad idea.

A friend in mine in the theater community spotted us ... and came running over with a group of ushers waving flashlights and chanting, "Virgins! Virgins! Virgins!"   They had us stand up and made examples of us.  It was mortifying.  It was horrifying.  It was so ... much ... fun!

We shouted and we threw toast and we sang.  By the time the show was over, it was around two a.m.  My friend came over and told the performers and the crew were going to Denny's ... and we were invited.   The restaurant was full of outcasts and misfits and outsiders.  They were subversive ... and for that one night ... we were part of the their tribe. 

It was ... amazing.

I don't think we made it home until around five a.m. ... yawning with exhaustion ... shaking handfuls of glitter out of our hair and our shoes and our bras.  And thus ... a tradition was born.

K and I went every year ... and time passed.  Eventually the legacy theater stopped showing Rocky ... and we went to other venues.  We grew up.  We got older.  But Rocky never did.   Maybe that's the draw in these sort of things.  Year after year, we get further away from from that nineteen year old kid we once were.  But going Rocky brings it all back.  And for just a little while ... you feel like that teenager again.  You feel like one of the cool kids.

K kept going ... even after I stopped.  She got her husband to go ... and their friends.  They went every year.  I wish I would've been there to go with them ... but at least I got to go that last year.

A whole big group of us went that night.  Stoney went with ... but he was there as K&J's friend.  We weren't together yet (although I wouldn't have minded if we had been).  But he wasn't into me ... and heck, K was still trying desperately to hook him up with someone else at that point.  In any case, he was good sport and let them draw a big V on his forehead since it was his first time at Rocky.  He even let us take a picture of him with Frank at the end of the night.

It was a good feeling to be back.  It was a good night.

But ... the world keeps turning.  Things change.  Good things ... Stoney and I did become a couple.  Bad things ... we lost K.

J sent me an enthusiastic e-mail today ... full of exclamation points and caps ... telling me that tickets for Rocky were going to go on sale ... and even though K couldn't be there ... she would WANT us to go.

Would she?  Probably.  But I don't care.  Because when I go, I'm not this ThirtyWhat ... I'm the nineteen year old ThirtyWhat.  I'm the ThirtyWhat that went with K.   That show wasn't about me ... and it sure as hell wasn't about J.  That show was about K ... and how much she loved it ... even when she was stuck in a wheelchair and couldn't dance the Time Warp anymore.

And who knows?  Maybe I'll want to go again some day?  But that day isn't today.


In the velvet darkness
Of the blackest night
Burning bright
There's a guiding star
No matter what or who you are

Rocky Horror - There's a Light

Monday, July 21, 2014

Performance Anxiety ...


So ... tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow we meet the next future Mrs. J.  

We're going to Osaka with First Wife to meet J's newest girlfriend .. and J is, to put it lightly, beside himself.

Everything I know of her, I've gotten second hand through J.   If you listen to him, they sound like a couple of sixteen year old's who decided to go steady after passing notes in second hour American History.

He has declared his undying love after only two weeks ... she, likewise, has declared he will be "the last man she ever dates."   It's hard not to look at this situation and hear the faintest whisper of, "red flaaaaaag!"   But since they're both wanting to shift from zero to sixty ... I guess the bottom line is ...

How's it hurting?

I talked with Mom about it tonight ... and her opinion is very blunt.  "His first marriage was hard ... for better or worse, she's gone.  He deserves some happiness ... he should just go for it.  Get married.  You and Stoney just go up to the court house with them, stand up with them, and get it over with."

She's right ... he deserves happiness.  And I don't have any bad feelings about anything ... just nerves over meeting her.  I hope she's nice ... and I hope I like her.  For him ... because for some reason he's really fixated on me liking her.

And here is the secret. 

If I don't?  I'm going to lie.  I'm going to smile ... I'm going to tell him that she's wonderful ... and I'm going to let it all go. 

K was my friend ... and she's gone.  What J does or doesn't do at this point has no effect on her ... and it has no effect on me. 

I love Stoney ... and as long as he loves me?  It's all good.

'Cause each night
I ask the stars up above
Why must I be a teenager in love

Dion - Teenager In Love

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vampire Corgie Says, "Bite This"

I'd like to say I've been watching True Blood since the beginning ... but I haven't.  I was in the library one day and saw that they had the DVDs for the first season sitting there on a shelf ... and I thought, "Hmmm ... vampires?  On HBO?  Well, Sopranos was awesome so ... alright then ..."

And just like that ... I was addicted.   I was hooked ...

Sure, there was naked viking vampire sex ... but it was kitschy and funny.   The first season was awesome ... the second season was alright.  But True Blood is real life example of the law of diminishing returns.  Each season was slightly worse than the last ... and the level of suckitude just kept increasing exponentially.

Tonight's episode, like every other episode this year, was a yawn fest.  But ... two weeks in a row now ... there has been a moment where I got all misty eyed.  Maybe it's just me ... since my cousin didn't find single sentimental moment.

Last week it was seeing Terry Belfleur saying goodbye to Arlene ... telling her to stay with the kids.  Tonight was Andy Belfleur of all people.  I don't even like Andy Belfleur ... and yet and his awkward, wonderful proposal was so sweet.

True Blood has run its course ... it's time to put it out of its misery.   Sorry, Vampire Eric ... we knew this day would come.


Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'

Robert John - Sad Eyes

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Little Corner of the World ...


I'm not as creative as I once was.  I used to draw non-stop.  I painted on occasion ... first on canvas and the eventually painting gifts like a custom Winnie the Pooh toy box for a friend's baby shower ... or a tiny Teletubbies rocking chair for my godson's second birthday.

Maybe it's age?  Little by little, the muse left.  I guess maybe part of it goes to the blog now?  Although this isn't really creative as much as public therapy.  

These days, if I create anything, it's usually crocheting.   A friend on Facebook shared a flower patterned window treatment with me ... and it got me thinking.  Stoney saw the post and immediately texted me to say, "That's not going up in my house."  No no no ... it looked pretty ratchet hanging on a window ... but ... as a baby blanket?  We have a friend whose daughter turns a year old next month ... and so ...

And so I started crocheting flowers.  Today I spent the day making flower after flower ... and letting movies play in the background so I can listen and look up occasionally.

No ... it's not canvas anymore.  And I don't carry my sketchbook with me like I used to.  Heck, I don't even know where my paints are in this house.  But ... I guess every little bit helps ...


Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Pocahontas - Colors of the Wind

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nostalgia ...


For 23 years I worked in the same building.  I worked for the same agency, although not at the same desk.  I started out a clerk, worked my way up to a position as the director's secretary, and eventually found my way to the back of the office, first as a computer assistant and then as our LAN administrator.

Every day, I drove the same roads ... parked in the same lot.  I ate at the same lunch spots ... used the same bank branch.  Twenty three years is a long time.

My city is pretty small.  In fifteen or twenty minutes you can get from one end to the other ... from the north side to the south side ... a straight shot down 5th/6th ... from the east side to the west on Madison or Wabash.  So there's really no reason to not go anywhere.   And yet ...

After twenty three years, I work at the exact opposite side of the city.  Nothing is the same.  There's a McDonalds and a Hardees and an Arby's.  There's a Chinese restaurant.  There's a nail salon.  And I'm trying to adjust to my new surroundings ... but everything still feels so foreign.

So tonight, since I didn't have anything planned after work, I drove back to my old stomping grounds.   The minute I reached Sangamon, it hit me ... I miss this area so much.  There's a little Chinese restaurant that makes the best dumplings ... so I stopped to pick up dinner to take home.  I drove past my favorite nail salon ... and almost stopped to say hi to the owners ... even though I didn't need a pedicure.

I drove past the fairgrounds and almost turned onto the grounds.  I did take a drive through the park that I used to have lunch in ... and then I made my way back to my house on those same streets I drove for all those years.

I've only been at my current job for nine months.  I'm sure eventually that area of town will feel like home.   I'm sure eventually I won't miss my old job and my old friends so much ... right?

Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes

Lynyrd Skynyrd -
Sweet Home Alabama

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Better Day ...


This week at work has been stupid busy.   Supposedly summer months on my team are historically slow ... but this year has not been like years past.   Every day we've had multiple 50-state orders ... and those are the worst.   A 50-state order can take sixty to ninety minutes to complete ... meanwhile the queue is backing up and we're getting calls asking why jobs are sitting there untouched.

So I was sitting at my desk ... stressing out ... ignoring multiple e-mails and texts from J who was in the middle of an epic moonfest over his newest girl, Stitcher.  I was tired and frustrated and more than a little overwhelmed.

And then I got an e-mail from Stoney ... just a normal, "How you doing this morning?" kind of thing.  I stopped what I was going and took 60 seconds to write him back ... and then continued chipping away on the monster order I took.  Over the next half hour or so, we wrote back and forth ... snippets of peace in the middle of a virtual shit storm.

I'm not one of those squeeing girly girls ... but at one point he wrote something that was special.  I'm not gonna lie ... I was sitting there a little weepy ... trying to play it cool cause I don't want my co-workers getting all gossipy or thinking somebody died.

It's hard to trust people when you've been hurt ... and everybody's been hurt.  It's a wonder that anyone over the age of 12 trusts anyone at all.   We e-mailed ... and we talked ... and he made me feel better and special and loved.  No, the work didn't let up.   I was busy until the moment I said, "Screw it," and shut my computer off for the night.  But it was alright ... because I was still smiling. 

Thanks, Stoney ... for making my day a little better and my load it a little lighter.

And When I Go Away
I Know My Heart Can Stay With My Love
It's Understood
It's In The Hands Of My Love
And My Love Does It Good

Wings - My Love

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Friday Five for July 4th: Schwag

I've missed Friday Five for several weeks now ... and that's a shame.  Because they're great questions and are fun to answer.  So ... please excuse the tardiness ... but let's do a special July 4th Friday Five!
 
The Friday 5

* From Wikipedia: Promotional merchandise, promotional items, promotional products, promotional gifts, or advertising gifts, sometimes nicknamed swag or schwag, are articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo) used in marketing and communication programs. They are given away to promote a company, corporate image, brand, or event. These items are usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or slogan, and given away at trade shows, conferences, and as part of guerrilla marketing campaigns.

1. What’s the most practically useful article of schwag you’ve ever received? - I think the schwag I've enjoyed most were the perks I received working within the State Fair.   My ID badge got me free entrance on and off the grounds at any time.  My parking pass got me a front row spot 24 hours a day seven days a week.  Other perks varied.  In the early 90's, I had a friend in the front office who gave out bundles of carnival ride tickets to a few of us.  I usually had extra parking passes to give out for one or two days of the fair.  In the last few years, I had books of admission tickets to give away.  Silly things like lanyards ... coffee mugs ... and t-shirts were pretty common.  There was knowing the secret WiFi password for the grounds.  Oh, and let us not forget the holiest of holy perks ... the use of a golf cart.

Don't misunderstand me ... working on the grounds was, for the most part, an enormous pain in the ass during the fair itself.  The traffic was a nightmare.  The visitors could, at times, be staggeringly rude.   The heat was mind numbing.  But I also met some of the nicest people on the planet ... I tried a lot of weird, new food (mostly fried) ... and I was able to use my perks to give some people a really special fair experience.  This will be the first year since 1991 that I won't be a part of the Illinois State Fair ... and I think, much to my surprise, that I'm actually going to miss it.

2. What’s the most useless schwag you’ve ever received? - For awhile ... back in the early 90's, I had a part time job at a video rental store.  The owner would receive schwag from various movie companies ... and from time to time he'd share the items he didn't want with the employees.  We would come in to find various items stacked on his desk in the back room with a "Free to Take" sign next to them.  The items were always stupid ... like a handful of key chains from whatever new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie was coming out ... or a t-shirt from a Rodney Dangerfield movie that was size XX-small ... a size that fit no one on the staff.  The worst was a clock for some action movie ... that didn't even work.  So lame ...

3. What schwag do you receive on a regular basis, and how do you feel about it? - I don't get a lot of schwag these days.  In my last job, there was always something fun in our "prize closet" ... rain gauges or hats or garden gloves or totes ... calculators and mouse pads and tape measures.   These days I am, sadly, nearly schwagless.

4. What’s something that could reasonably be great schwag material but for some reason isn’t? - About four months ago, my current employer passed out cool little pedometers ... with the idea that all of us could get a little healthier.  Not a bad idea, in and of itself.  The problem was the way it was presented ... which was more in the vein of ... "Here, ya bunch of fat asses ... do something with yourselves!"

My pedometer is still in my desk drawer ... still unopened in the original cardboard box it came in.  I may be fat?  But I am also a woman ... and sensitive ... and, I suppose, a little stubborn.  So how about you show a little sensitivity?  Asshats ...

5. What the schwag that’s physically closest to you right now? - There is Vision Care bag two feet from me ... a "goodie bag" that came with my newest pair of prescription glasses.  There's a magnet and pen in there ... along with a little bottle of glass cleaning solution and a microfiber wipe.  I love that stuff ...

That's it ... that's the schwag report for the day!  YOLO!


Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine

Justin Beiber - Baby

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weird News/Good News ...


So ... weird news ... and good news.

I went out at lunch today to buy a few things at Walmart.  Mom wanted a cover for her new cellphone ... and I wanted to look at yarn.  Plus this morning I pulled out my favorite pair of jeans only to find a rip in them.  No, not at the very bottom ... where all my jeans are ripped.  It's the curse of being fun-sized.   I was also going to be needing a new pair of jeans ... at least one pair.

So I set off at lunch ... leaving my sweater at my desk because it was hot as balls outside.  I could just tell I was getting worn down ... the heat was getting to me ... I wasn't feeling ... right.  And when I got back to my desk, I noticed that my hands were shaking ... a lot.  I'm guessing I was overheated?  It wasn't a pleasant sensation.

By the time I left work, I wasn't shaking anymore ... but I was terribly nauseous.  I came home, called mom to tell her I was alright, and then laid on the end of the bed and took a nap.  I woke up an hour or so later when my text message chime went off.  I felt ... better?  Not 100% but better.

So ... that's my weird news.  I'm only blogging about it in the off chance I die in my sleep tonight ... someone please tell the coroner I was feeling wonky, kay?

My happy news.  Walmart didn't have my favorite jeans in my size.  I'm round and petite ... an awkward combination.   They did have my favorite type of jeans ... just one size smaller.  I stood there (profusely sweating and shaking ... take note of that, Dr. Quincy) and debated the situation.  My jeans were loose on me.  I mean my jeans are always loose on me because my kidneys hurt when I wear anything tight.  But ... they were very loose this weekend.

So ... being as how I felt like I was going to pass out if I didn't get something cold and liquid in me soon ... I picked up the smaller size and thought, "If they don't fit, I won't cry ... I'll just take them back."

I didn't try them on when I got home ... cause I felt like shit.  I didn't try them on when I woke up ... because by then I'd forgotten about them.  When I finally got up to go to the bathroom around nine, I spotted the bag on my bedroom floor. 

New jeans.  Try them?  Ugh ... it's going to be depressing and I'm going to end up sad.  Oh well, I already feel like shit ... let's do this.

They ... fit.   They fit fine.  Not hanging off me, by any means ... but just fine.

YAY ... yay for me.  Mild heat stroke aside ... this has been a relatively good day.

Now ... back to bed.  Small victories!


Good news is sweepin' cross the country
Good news is spreadin' all around
Good news is hittin' in the city
Good news has sprung up in the town

Randy Newman - Good News

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Again ...


I was doing so well ... trying to get back in the habit of writing each and every day.  Then I forgot to take my laptop with me this weekend ... and I was far too lazy to drive back over here and get it ... so ... the blog, like the cheese, stood alone.

We played trivia at a United Way charity event ... and our table won second place.  What you have to know, is that this is ... stunning.   The amount of fucking around that was going on at our table was insane ... and our second place victory is less a compliment to our playing skills ... and more a harsh statement on every other table in the room.  Common, people ... 60% of our players were half lit and throwing candy at one another for the last half of the night ... what were you people doing???

The night was fun ... and the only down side to it was that we were hosting a BBQ the next day ... so there wasn't a whole lot of recuperation time.   Luckily it didn't start until two o'clock ... so I had time to run to Walmart to pick up a few things ... Stoney did almost all of the prep work ... and we were able to unwind for a few minutes before people started showing up.

The BBQ was great!  We all ate together ... but ended up splitting up into two or three groups ... some in the kitchen ... some in the living room.  I should've been a better hostess ... but by eight o'clock I was leaning against Stoney and wishing desperately that it wasn't poor etiquette to tell everyone goodnight and go to bed with a half dozen people still in the house!

This week, I'll write about my sleep study ... I'll get caught up on the Friday Five and get back into the groove.   But tonight, it's Big Brother and True Blood ...

I feel so blessed.  I had a great weekend ... I have wonderful friends ... and I have a gentleman friend who isn't just someone I love ... he's also my favorite person.

How do I love you. well let me see
I love you like a lyric love a melody
Baby, completely wrapped up in you
How do I need you, well can't you tell
I need you like a penny needs a wishing well
Baby, completely wrapped up in you

Garth Brooks - Wrapped Up In You

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Passing The Test ...


This is the night ... the night of my sleep study.

About six weeks ago, I went to my nephrologist and complained about fatigue.  I asked her about Vitamin B shots ... something to give me a boost.  Before she would talk about treatments, she wanted to find a cause.  I left feeling frustrated.  My function is down to 23% ... isn't that enough of a cause?  Gimme the damned shots already ...

But ... after I got home, I had a conversation with Stoney.  I do snore ... sometimes worse than others ... but I do get snorky.  And over the last six weeks, we've talked about it off and on.  I'm paying attention to my sleep habits more ... when I wake up with a sore throat ... when I wake up with my mouth dry.   I'm heavy ... so losing weight would help ... but if snoring is causing issues with fatigue, there's no harm in fixing it while I work on other areas.

So ... we'll see.   I'm taking my super special pillow ... and my yoga pants ... and an ice cold bottle of water.  I'm so nervous ... I've had stomach cramps all day.  I just want to sleep ... and get this over with.

Here we are out of cigarettes
Holding hands and yawning
Look how late it gets
Two sleepy people by dawn's early light
And too much in love to say goodnight

Dean Martin - Two Sleepy People

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

My Surprise Phone Call ...


Years ago, I worked with a girl that we'll call Blondie.  When I first met her, I disliked her ... a lot.  She was loud ... and slutty ... and everything about her was drama.  But after a couple years, we got to talking and I realized she was really, really sweet.  At least when she wasn't doing body shots and dancing on the bar ... 

A few people who were bad influences on her moved away ... and we ended up being the best of friends.  We told each other our secrets ... well, most of them.  I was the maid of honor at her wedding ... and I genuinely cried when she moved to the east coast.  We tried to stay in touch ... but it's hard.  She works umpteen hours a day ... and I was going through a hard time with my divorce ... so we just kind of grew apart.

We've wrote back and forth on Facebook for the last couple years ... and today she surprised me by saying, "I'm stuck in traffic ... why don't you call me?"  So we talked for nearly an hour.  I have missed her so much.

She wanted to know everything about Stoney ... good lord ... 75% of the call was me answering questions about him.  Come to find out, she has everything planned out in her head ... I had to tell her to slow her roll.  She's way ahead of us ... but God love her, she's enthusiastic!

I miss you, Blondie ... and I love you dearly!  But no.  Under no circumstances will there be a  princess/princess Disney thing.  Nope.  Not happening.

Hans: I mean it's crazy
Anna: What?
Hans: We finish each other's
Anna: Sandwiches
Hans: That's what I was gonna say!

Frozen - Love Is An Open Door

Monday, July 07, 2014

A Coke And a Smile Indeed ...


I'm enchanted by this whole "Share a Coke" campaign.  I saw it a week or two ago and didn't give much though to it ... until I was at a Walgreens.  I was picking up a handful of things and thought I'd get a Coke and drink it on the drive to Stoney's.  There, in the case, was a random mish-mosh of names.   Brandon - Holly - Ashley - Tyler.   Names I didn't recognize ... then I saw one I did.  It was one of Stoney's friends.  I pulled it out ... thinking it would be a laugh to take a picture of it.  And went to shut the door ... then I saw one two rows over with the name of this guy's wife.

So I bought them both ... took them to Stoney's and took a picture.  I thought that would be the end of it ... and then his friend said, "Hold on to them ..." so I did.

For the record, I ended up running to HyVee the next day to pick up a few things and bought a bottle of Coke named "Chris" ... just because I had been denied any the day before.

In any case ... fast forward to tonight.  On the way home, I decided I wanted chicken wings (again).  I stopped at County Market and was heartbroken to see no wingettes in the case ... or legs ... it was pretty much a bust.  I stopped this short of buying a whole cherry pie.  That wouldn't have ended well for anyone, let me tell you.  But I settled on a package of butterfly pork chops and a loaf of garlic bread ... and headed toward the checkout.

There, next to the salad bar, was an open bin full of bottles of Coke.  I stopped ... really hoping I'd find one with Stoney's (real) name on it.  But before I could even look, I saw a name which made me stop ... Stoney's friend who just passed.  And right next to it ... turned just slightly to the side as if to face it ... was his wife's name.

His name is fairly popular ... but her name is pretty specific.  To find them ... not only in the same bin ... but next to one another was so oddly touching.  I took them gently out, sat them on the salad bar, and took a picture to show Stoney.  I decided I needed to have them ... so I put them in my arms with the pork chops and garlic bread and headed to the checkout.

I don't know what I'll do with them.  Drink them eventually, I suppose.  I can't have a bottle of Coke for every person I've ever known.  

It's just odd ... the names I've looked for ... Stoney ... College One and her husband ... Idiot's Anonymous .... Miniature Moose ... none of those names have shown up ... although two of the three girls have fairly unique names and one is very unique.   I don't ever expect to see mine ... and if I do it will be spelled the "normal" way instead of the way mine is spelled.

I need to stop buying bottles of Coke just because there are familiar names on them.  It's a brilliant marketing plan.  I'm sure there are people all over the country saying, "Hey!  My brother's name is Tyler!" and buying an extra bottle just for that reason.  But tonight's find was special ... and for now it's a nice reminder of someone who liked to make people smile.

Wonder if your name is on a bottle at some gas station somewhere?  Coke has put out 250 of the most popular names.  If you're in the US, look for yours here ... other countries have different names, but apparently you can't bring those up from here.

Zip City it's a good thing
That they built a wall around you
Zip up to Tennessee
Or zip right down to Alabama
I got 350 heads on a 305 engine
I get ten miles to the gallon
I ain't got no good intentions

Drive By Truckers - Zip City

Sunday, July 06, 2014

A Relaxing Holiday ...


I have had a great weekend.  It started way back on Thursday ... when I was sitting at work craving garlic bread.  I whined about it to Stoney ... who went to HyVee and got a loaf of fresh garlic bread and fixin's for spaghetti.  Everything was delicious ... I mean, I think it was delicious.  I didn't eat more than a few bites of spaghetti because I was too busy eating my weight in crusty garlic bread.

Friday night I stayed at Stoney's ... because my neighborhood on 4th of July weekend is just slightly this side of insane.  The Honey Boo Boo Clan hangs out in the empty lot next to their house and lights M-80's for approximately 48 hours straight.   Wake up at two a.m.?  Fireworks.  Open the windows at 9 a.m.?  Fireworks.  It's like living next to a live shooting range.

But ... thanks to Stoney, I got to spend the weekend in his cozy home ... in a nice, peaceful neighborhood.  Yes, we heard fireworks but it was the normal 9:30 p.m. background noise that tapered off long before we fell asleep.  This year versus last year is like night and day.

I ended up staying with him from Friday until this afternoon.  A long time, I know.   I didn't want to wear out my welcome ... but I probably would've asked to stay tonight so I could watch True Blood or Leftovers with him ... but I was almost out of clean clothes ... and I was completely out of clean undies.

He's very easy to be around ... he laid down and took a nap while I watched Big Brother and peeled some potatoes ... conversely while I slept in, he was up taking care of things ... cleaning out the fish tank and such.  We watched several movies this weekend ... Lone Survivor, Anchorman 2, And The Band Played On, and Frozen ... some funny ... some serious.

It was a nice weekend ... it really, really was.  My only complaint? 

I'm greedy.  I wish I had one more day ...

Everybody spread the word
We're gonna have a celebration
All across the world
In every nation
It's time for the good times
Forget about the bad times, oh yeah
One day to come together
To release the pressure
We need a holiday

Madonna - Holiday

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Do You Wanna #$%& a Snow Man?


So ... six months after everyone else on the planet, Stoney and I watched Frozen.   No, we aren't the cheapest bastards on the planet ... although we did catch it on Starz.  It was just a matter of timing.  College One invited me to go see it in the theater with her several times ... if I remember right, one time all three girls went ... but I just couldn't find the time to go.

So anyway, fast forward ...

I love Disney animated movies.   The Little Mermaid used to be my absolute favorite ... until I burned myself out playing it hour after hour while working part time at a video store.  But Beauty and the Beast stands the test of time.  It's flawless ... a perfect movie.

Frozen was at a disadvantage going in ... because it was so over-hyped.  Everyone told me how amazing it was.  You expect that from little girls ... and women.  But straight men were gushing about how much they loved Frozen.  That's a lot to live up to.

It's weird ... there are parts of Frozen that I adore ... parts that remind me of classic Disney.   For instance ... Do You Want To Build a Snowman?   It's so adorable.   When lil' Anna sings, "Okay, bye ..." you just want to hug her and build a goddamned snowman with her!  

The song about opening the gate was fun ... I was still on board.   But then the love song?   Um ... okay?

I guess one of my problems with Frozen is that it feels ... unfinished.   Kristoff's Reindeer Are Better Than People is genuinely cute ... but it feels unfinished.  It's the beginning of a cute Disney number.   I liked Olaf ... although he didn't seem to fit?   Almost like an addition.  Like there was a conversation in a board room somewhere, "This movie is cute ... but it doesn't have a talking animal side kick."  "Well, we have the reindeer."  "He doesn't talk."  "Well ... um ... we could add a snow man?"  "Yeah!"

And here's where I'm going to get crucified by the Frozen devotees out there ... Let It Go ... sigh.  Taken separately, it's an amazing song.  It's catchy as hell ... I can't stop singing it in my head.  But it was so much more orchestrated than the rest of the numbers.  It's over the top.  It's a Broadway show stopper ... not a Disney piece.   I guess it isn't any grander than Be Our Guest ... so maybe my problem is this ...

I can't get Idina Menzel out of my head.  She is Elphaba.  She is Maureen.   I hear her voice and she is Idina Menzel.  At no point did I look at Elsa and think of Elsa as a character because all I heard was that beautiful, distinctive voice.   I'm sure people who aren't Wicked obsessed like I am won't have this issue.   But for me ... a fair-skinned, silver-blond haired queen does not fit that voice.

I'm so glad I watched it ... it's not bad.  But it wasn't the overwhelming experience I was expecting.  I was expecting another Belle.   Anna is adorable ... but she's no Belle.

Every single day,
I walk down the street
I hear people say 'baby so sweet'
Ever since puberty
Everybody stares at me
Boys girls I can't help it baby
So be kind and don't lose your mind
Just remember that I'm your baby

Rent - Take Me Baby Or Leave Me

Friday, July 04, 2014

My 4th of July Memory ...


My grandfather was  a piece of shit.   He didn't work unless it suited him ... cheated on my grandmother on a regular basis ... hell, he was in the process of leaving her for another woman when he had his last heart attack and died.  Make of that what you will.  

My grandfather was a special kind of awful.  He kept a scale in the kitchen.  If he felt you were too heavy, you would be asked to step on the scale.   He would then comment on how much you've gained ... or, if you hadn't gained, how the clothes you were wearing were unflattering.  It was a lose/lose situation, no doubt about it.

Now ... I bet you think this is a post about how a waste of carbon twisted my poor child's psyche into the damaged woman I am today.

Wrong.  I told you that story ... to tell you this story ...

One of the nicest memories I have from my childhood ... and I don't have a lot ... I suspect brain trauma at some point ... involves my grandfather.

My grandparents lived in a small town in a large farmhouse ... right on the "hard road."  Across that road, there was a business that sold fireworks around the 4th of July.  This is way back in the day ... back when stands sold everything from sparklers to raw nitroglycerin.

Every year, my grandfather would walk across the road with me and let me pick out a bag full of fireworks.   I had fountains ... roman candles ... bottle rockets with tiny parachutes that you ran to catch.   He would always tell me, "Now this is it ... this is all the fireworks we're buying." 

He was a cheap bastard ... and I had no reason to doubt him.

But most years ... late on the 4th ... he'd wander back across the hard road by himself and come back with two or three paper grocery bags CHOCK FULL of fireworks.  

Now that I'm adult, I can tell you two things about this ...

A)  He was friends with the old dude that ran the stand.  By eight or nine o'clock on the 4th, my grandfather probably got a hefty discount buying whatever was left over on the last night they were open.  As a child, I didn't realize that ... all I knew was that after all the other fireworks were gone, he would show up carrying bags of fireworks ... like a savior ... like some kind of demolition-expert Jesus.

B)  My grandfather was an alcoholic.  I don't mean finishing a twelve back of Budweiser on a good night.  I mean high ball glasses full of straight whiskey.  When he died, my grandmother snuck dozens (dozens) of empty hard liquor bottles into the trash ... bottles hidden inside other garbage ... so the trash man wouldn't see them.  As if everyone in that town didn't know what a souse he was.  Anyhow ... the point is ... by eight or nine o'clock on the 4th of July, he was probably so drunk that he didn't remember buying the extra fireworks.   Again, as a child all I knew was that he was carrying bags of fireworks ... and that his breath smelled funny.

Now ... mixing those two stories together ... the moral of this story is that fireworks can leave a good memory ... even when it involves a worthless piece of shit like my grandfather.

Fuck the law.  Drive over to Missouri and buy your kids some fireworks. 

And stay off the sauce ...

And I'd like to say, "I'm sorry"
But we lived to tell about it
And we lived to do a whole lot more
Crazy, stupid shit

Drive By Truckers - Let There Be Rock

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Breathe In Breathe Out ...


For those of you who don't have asthma and have never had to use an inhaler ... give yourself a clap on the back.  You lucky, lucky bastards.  I envy you.  I really, really do.

I've had asthma for as far back as I can remember.  One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandmother's kitchen counter in the middle of the night when I was three or four.  A light bulb had gone off somewhere in my developing brain and I made the connection between not breathing and dying.  It was the first time I felt panic in the middle of an asthma attack.   It wasn't the last.

For the most part, an asthma attack is almost a non-thing to me anymore ... barely a blip on the radar.  Back in grade school, doctors told us that most people "grow out of it."  In my case, that wasn't completely accurate ... but things have definitely improved for me in the breathing department. 

I have dozens of stories involving my gimpy lungs.  Thing were pretty bad when I was little.  I remember going on my first hay ride somewhere out in the country when I was six or seven with my parents ... and winding up in a tub of ice water because they didn't know if I'd make it to the hospital.   I remember my mom having to put my stuffed animals into individual plastic bags because they collected too much dust and I couldn't breath around them.

I remember when I was around fourteen or fifteen, my dad brought home these two gigantic pillows ... meant to lay on and watch television.  They looked so comfortable ... but we discovered they were filled with goose down shortly after I threw myself on top of them and and my throat closed up.  The pillows were banished to the garage.

Things were worse after we moved to the country ... too many fields ... too much pollen.  The windows and doors were never open ... either the furnace or the air conditioner were running at all times.   Autumn was hard ... the frost killed everything off and made breathing easier ... but harvest kicked too much corn dust into the air.  There was only a week or so of optimal weather ... before it got too cold to breath outside.

Everything triggered an attack ... heat ... humidity ... cold ... smoke ... dust ... pollen ... animals.  I was given syrup and shots ... and when I went to grade school I was given an inhaler to carry with me at all times.  Oh yeah ... I was not one of the cool kids in grade school.

These days, I'm a lot better ... a combination of just "growing out of it" and knowing what to avoid.  I still can't sleep with down pillows ... a fact that I find tragic.  Being around a cat is torture ... short visits aren't bad but any amount of time and my nose will close up and I'll be wheezing like a chain smoker.

No, these days ... my asthma attacks mostly come from laughing.   I'll get to laughing ... which triggers wheezing ... which invariably leads to that embarrassing circus seal barking cough.  Ugh ... it's not attractive ... and it's especially frustrating that a cough like that starts with happiness and joy.  It's frustrating to stay the least.

It's alright.  I don't panic anymore.  Fixing that smothering tightness is just a matter of taking my inhaler, knocking that wheeze down, and opening up the airways.  The problem is that the process is utterly and completely exhausting.  I'm not exaggerating.  I'm not sure if it's the coughing or the medicine or a combination of the both ... but after a spell, I just nothing more than to crawl into a ball and sleep.

So last night, I was laughing so hard I was near tears ... and everything kicked in.  I had to take four puffs off my inhaler before I could get a full breath.   I went to my house and crawled into bed ... no shower ... no ice water ... nothing.   I guess the silver lining is that I slept like a baby last night.

So ... small blessings.   I'll take the inconvenience every time ... the laughter is worth it.

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and chose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

Pink Floyd - Breathe

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

My Day Was Awesome ... Why Do You Ask?


Dear customer service representative:

I am not paid on commission.  I do not get a bonus for any documents I retrieve.  Conversely, I do not get paid a bonus for every document I do not retrieve.   I am not telling you a document is not available just to screw with you.  I don't enjoy telling you no.  I don't get a sick thrill out of giving you bad news. 

I want to help you.  Trust me on this one.  I want to help if for no other reason than it shuts ... you ... up.

But in this particular case, I can't.  What you want is NOT available.  It doesn't exist.  Demanding doesn't help.  I can stand there and demand they let me withdraw a million dollars out of my checking account ... but they won't do it.  Know why? 

Cause that money doesn't fucking exist. 

Just like your document.

Go home.  Have a drink.  Smoke a joint.  Take a Valium or three.  Whatever ... just unclench

Tomorrow's another day, boo.  Things will be better in the morning.

But for the record?  Yeah, no ... that document will still not be there.


You're intruding on what's mine
And you're taking up my time
Don't have the courage inside me
To tell you, "Please let me be"
Communication, a telephonic invasion
I'm planning my escape...

No Doubt - Spiderwebs

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Wonderful You ... It Had To Be You ...


I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out.
I love that it takes you an
hour and a half to order a sandwich.
I love that you get a little crinkle
above your nose when you're
looking at me like I'm nuts.
I love that after I spend the day with you,
I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.
And I love that you are the last person
I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.

So ... almost one year ago, a dozen of us sat at Mario's on Clearlake ... having a discussion that had us laughing so hard that a few at our table were turning blue.  I'm ashamed to say we wound up literally clearing the dining room of every other guest.  We weren't obnoxious ... but I'm afraid we were rather loud.

In any case, the conversation revolved around the question, "What is our song?"  Everyone started out genuinely suggesting love songs ... songs they loved ... songs they thought were romantic.  Either Stoney and I would shoot them down ... for one funny reason or another.  As the evening wore on, the conversation devolved into suggesting the stupidest, craziest songs we could think of.

We finally called it a night when the restaurant was getting ready to close.  The final decision was made that night ... we weren't going to pick a song that way.  We were going to let it happen organically.

And so ... the months passed.  We had more conversations with friends ... always suggestions ... always without luck.  Sometimes we would be driving somewhere and hear a song on the iPod.  He tried several times to convince me that MacArthur Park would make a great couple's song.  I gave a stirring presentation on why Tesla's "Love Song" was the song ... and while he's "okay" with the song ... he was not okay with it being our song.

Which leads us to tonight.  We were laying on top of the bed just stretching out ... making plans for the rest of this week.  Our conversations tend to drift ... one topic to another to another.  It's one of the things I love about us.  We started talking about poop at one point ... and don't ask me how ... it wound up leading to Forrest Gump.

In his best Forrest Gump voice he intoned, "I am not a smart man Jen-nay ... but I know what love is." 

I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I was not his Jenny.  "Why?" he asked.  "She was a whore."  I answered.  "Okay.  If you aren't my Jenny, who are you?"  I immediately answered, "Sally."  He laughed and said, "So I'm your Harry?"  I said, "Well, I am always cold ..." and he started singing "It Had To Be You" ... I joined in.  Pretty soon he stopped ... and I kept singing the rest of the song ... cause I'm weird like that.

When I stopped, he said, "That's it ... our song."

And so ... even though I'm cold when it's 71 degrees out ... even though I ask Monty's to cook my sandwich two minutes longer than everyone else ... even though I ask for every pizza I order to be well done ... we have a song.

It had to be you
It had to be you
I wandered around and finally found
The somebody who
Could make me be true
Could make me be blue
Or even be glad
Just to be sad thinking of you

Some others I've seen
Might never be mean
Might never be cross or try to be boss
But they wouldn't do
For nobody else gave me a thrill
With all your faults
I love you still
It had to be you, wonderful you
It had to be you

Harry Connick, Jr. - It Had To Be You

Monday, June 30, 2014

Communications 101 ...


This weekend, Stoney casually said something along the lines of ... sometimes I learn more about you from your blog than from what you actually tell me.

That's ... probably ... accurate ...

I should be a better communicator. 

Share more?  I guess?  

Women have this reputation for being dramatic ... wordy ... for being weepy ... for yelling about little things that don't amount to a hill of beans.  I suppose in an effort to not be that type of woman ... I've gone too far in the other direction.

In the past ... which, believe it or not, I try very hard not to talk about ... I had to be the strong one.  I was the one who fixed everything ... to grin and bear it.   My ex wasn't ... well.  And no matter how many character flaws I have, and I'll admit to having quite a few, I was the one who worked ... the one who kept things together.

So now I'm in uncharted territory.  I'm with someone who is strong and capable ... someone with friends and interests and hobbies ... someone who has taken care of himself for many years.  So while I think he's enjoys having me around ... he doesn't need me.  Which I'm not saying is a bad thing ... it's just new ... and means I have to learn to let go.

It's very (very) hard for me to depend on someone else ... to let my guard down and relax and have faith that he'll be there.   I still do stupid things ... like ask if I can ride with him to a funeral ... or ask if I can stay the night ... because I don't want to assume anything.  But he's patient with me ... and that helps.

The little things that everyone else takes for granted still amaze me.   I loved having a house full of friends ... seeing them sitting around laughing and eating and watching soccer this weekend.  I love that he listens to podcasts ... has magazines he wants to pick up at the store ... plays poker ... looks forward to football season ... watches documentaries when I'm not around.  Stupid shit that no one thinks is special ... but that makes me want to cry because it's normal ... and it makes me happy.

So I need to get better at communicating ... cause I could've told him all this ... but instead I wrote it here.  Sigh ...

I love you, hon.  Baby steps ...

There is freedom within
there is freedom without
Try to catch a deluge in a paper cup
There's a battle ahead
many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over

Surrounded By Love ...


Well, one thing is obvious. I'm going to have to start taking my laptop with me when I go to Stoney's house.

I haven't posted since Thursday ... and that's because from Friday until this evening, I didn't have access to my laptop.   Have you ever tried to write a blog post on an iPhone?  It CAN be done.  But it isn't pretty.

Friday was family dinner.  First, let me stress it was wonderful to see everyone.  Really.  I love each and every one of them ... although some to lesser degrees.  But having said that?  We had plans this weekend and I really would've liked to have spent Friday night at home watching TV with Stoney and maybe ordering a pizza?  Instead we had dinner out ... and then went grocery shopping for the upcoming party.

Saturday was a day of work.  And while Stoney says I did a lot on Sunday, it doesn't begin to touch all his prep work on Saturday.  He got the hose out and washed down the siding ... sprayed for ants along the walks ... knocked down a wasp's nest ... knocked down spider webs.   He basically worked like a dog.  And yes ... I did a lot of clean-up on Sunday ... but it was in a nice, peaceful, air-conditioned kitchen ... not in a 100 degree, 90% humidity, spider and wasp infested, outdoor nightmare.

I don't like being outside.  Obviously.

So ... it was a wonderful weekend ... I'm happy and content ... and I'm also exhausted.

So please excuse me ... while I go take a hot shower ... put on the softest, cleanest pajamas ... and then go watch some hot Nordic vampire action ...

Well, it's your heart
That talks you into to stayin' where you are
Love will turn you around
Turn you around

Kenny Rogers -
Love Will Turn You Around

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Infinite Dominos ...


So one time, I broke up with this guy.  Or maybe he broke up with me?  I'm not sure.  Hell, I don't even remember who it was.  One of the good things about getting older is that a lot of that shit fades.  The details really doesn't matter ... other than the situation culminated with me driving in my Rabbit with my best friend ... listening to Aerosmith's "What it Takes" on a loop.

My best friend was quietly sitting there ... a) hearing "What it Takes" at least a dozen times ... and b) hearing me singing along with it at the top of my lungs inside a very small car.

This wasn't anything new.  She'd heard me sing Gun's n Roses, "Knocking on Heavens Door" an obscene amount of times.  I have an addictive personality ... even when it comes to music.  And if hearing a song once is good ... then twice is better ... and a dozen times is fucking amazing.

So we sat there, and on the umpteenth play she reached over and paused it.

"Do you want him back?" she asked.
"Ugh ... no!" I answered, defensively.
"Alright then ... why ... are we listening to this?  Are you listening to the words?"
"Yeah ..."
"Have you heard anything they are singing?"
"Yeah ..."
"Then why ... do we keep listening to this?"
"I don't know."
"Can we please be done?"
"Um ..."
(Silence ...)
"Just one more time?"

I un-paused it, started howling again, and she just sighed.

Sometimes I think I'm the cause of a lot of the problems that are going on.  K could be pushy ... and sometimes I think she was pushy because she had to be because of me.  Consequently, K dies ... and J is pushy ... because K was pushy.

Maybe we're all miserable ... because I played What it Takes by Aerosmith one too many times.

Just one of the many things I thought about today ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sunday? Wednesday? Whatever ...


I've put off writing. Every single day I think about pulling out my laptop and writing a post ... and every single day I think, "Not today."

I really don't want to be someone who mopes around ... and I don't want this small corner of the web to be the catch-all where I write all sorts of depressing stuff.  I'm no Robert Smith, after all ...

June is hard.  My dad died nine years ago on June 13th ... effectively ruining every fathers day from now until the end of time.  Then last year my cousin passed away of colon cancer on June 20th ... and my best friend followed him on June 26th.   This year we lost our Truckin' friend on June 11th. 

I just give up ... let's just consider the month of June a lost cause.

I'm past being angry about someone acting like an asshole ... because I've come to accept that's who he is now.  I'm past openly grieving or weeping ...

I'm just numb.

Too numb to write ... I haven't even opened my laptop to balance my account.  Too numb to watch television ... I've come home from work the last two days and read a book.  Too numb to talk on the phone ... Mom called me last night worried that something horrible had happened because I hadn't called her on the drive home from work.

No ... nothing horrible happened.  I'm just ... tired.  

I thought maybe my kidney function had gone down ... I've been so exhausted lately.  I was late for this month's blood test ... so I ran to the clinic Monday night and let them take my blood again.  I'm still at 24% function so ... that's not it.  Not that 24% is good news ... I'm just saying that I've been so tired I was worried something really bad was going on.

So now ... I guess I'll just look forward to my sleep test next month.  Maybe that will help?  Or maybe just being out of June will help.

Blerg.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

The Monkees - Pleasant Valley Sunday

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Call For a Vote ...


So ... I'm putting this out there for the world ...

MacArthur Park

Worst song you've ever heard?
or
Worst song ever recorded?

It's okay.  Be honest.  You can vote either way. 

Because common ...
What other choice
do you have with lyrics like:

Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and the prayers
Still love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

Like a striped pair of pants.  Soak that in.

My hair bands did suck for the most part ... 
but at least no one was singing about their pants.

Back me up here, Internet ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wishing For a Quiet Night ...


So last night was ... interesting.  

I woke up a couple times to go to the bathroom ... nothing terribly unusual.  But then at 3:30 I had a dream ... and I was wide awake.  Completely wide awake.   Terribly ... wide ... awake.

I tried getting on line.  I tried reading.  I tried several things ... none of which accomplished the goal ... which was make me unconscious.

At three thirty my thought was, "My alarm goes off at seven ... that's three and a half hours from now ... that's practically a half night's worth of sleep left to go!  Awesome!"

At four my thought was, "Ugh ... still awake?  Oh well ... I'll still sleep three more hours.  Woot!"

At four thirty, I was starting to get a little punchy, "Son of a bitch, are you serious?  It's been an hour?!  Ugh ... Stoney's alarm goes off in fifteen minutes ... I could be there in fifteen minutes ... I have a key ... ugh ... no!  Go to sleep!"

At five o'clock, I was despondent.  "FUCK ME!  I only have TWO hours left.  Should I get up?  Maybe I should just get up.  No ... this is it ... go to sleep.   Just GO TO SLEEP."

About five fifteen ... I dozed off into this weird, fitful sleep.   My phone buzzed with a text from Stoney around seven ... and I realized I wasn't even under all the way ... just barely.  And so ... my day began.

It wasn't a bad day ... but honestly I was so tired I'm not sure what I missed.   Entire conversations went on when I would snap to and be like, "Huh ... wha ... wait ... I'm bringing what tomorrow?  It's food day?  I agreed to this?  When?  Fuck ..."

And so ... let's try this again.  To sleep ... perchance to dream ... 

You tell me that you want me
You tell me that you need me
You tell me that you love me
And I know that I'm right
'Cause I hear it in the night

The Romantics - Talking In Your Sleep

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Know ...


I need to compartmentalize my weekend.  I want to paint it all with a wide brush and write that the entire thing was stressful.  But that wouldn't be true.

Friday night was emotional ... finding that old letter.  I've come to terms with it.  Between having a really good conversation on the drive up north ... and doing a little research ... I found out that in the summer of 1970, postpartum depression wouldn't have been openly talked about.  Depression of any kind was a stigma ... and so Valium and other "nerve pills" were often given freely to women.  Doctors basically let an entire generation self-medicate.   And, as I said the other night, I can't be angry considering this was a painful, private moment for my mother.  Maybe someday I'll talk to her about it ... but not today.

Saturday was awesome.  We drove up north to visit with Stoney's parents and celebrate Father's Day.  It was a great visit and, while the guys went and picked up dinner, I had a nice talk with just his Mom.  She's really easy to talk with ... and they're coming down for a cookout sometime this summer.  She wants to meet my mother ... so now that's a thing.  On Sunday, a couple that we're friends with said they wouldn't let their parents meet until the bridal shower.  Brilliant idea ... where were you on Saturday?

Speaking of Sunday ... that was kind of the beginning of the hard part.  We said goodbye to one of Stoney's good friends.  His visitation was ... awesomely unique.  He had a great sense of humor and was such a neat guy.   He had an open bar ... at the visitation.  The funeral home played the greatest hits of the Drive By Truckers ... and he wore, as his wife told us, a "highly inappropriate" t-shirt as his final request.  She told us that he wrote everything into the will ... and had her sign it ... promising not to change a single thing.

We went home ... tired and a little weary.  We found out the concert that we'd planned on going to was being streamed live ... so instead of watching the Game of Thrones finale, we listened to the concert ... and cried a little for the really great guy who would've loved to be listening with us.

This morning we woke up early for the funeral.  By this point we're extra tired ... we've been going for three days straight with no breaks.  On top of that, something was wrong with Stoney's eye.  He'd known it the day before ... and thought maybe it was a stye ... it hadn't been too bad.   But by this morning, it was swollen and the skin beneath his eye looked almost bruised.

So as if it weren't enough sitting at the funeral trying not to sob at the beautiful song this friend chose for his wife ... (Pause here for a second ... seriously, I know Stoney and I aren't married ... but he cannot ever do this to me.  It was so beautiful ... but if I were our friend's wife, when I heard that song, I would've started crying and never stopped.)  Un-pause ... if that weren't enough, Stoney was in pain.  His eye wouldn't stop tearing up and he can't hardly open it at this point.

We left the reception afterwards early ... because he needed to go to Prompt Care.  Prompt Care told him he had to leave and go immediately to their eye specialist.   I was so scared sitting at the eye doctor.  My aunt has had to go through several eye surgeries recently ... and I was terrified thinking he'd torn his retina or something. 

No ... he has a bad corneal abrasion ... which is still worrisome.  He had to keep his eyes closed today and put medicine in them.  He's not going to work tomorrow ... and, after dinner, I came home so that he could sleep and relax without my alarm waking him in the morning or me keeping him up tonight in general.

I ... am ... tired.  This was such a non-weekend.  We need a weekend of nothing but binge watching Netflix and maybe grilling something ... or ordering a pizza ... I don't know.  I'm exhausted and worried.   I have a cute story about Tesla's "Love Song" ... and I also want the world to know about my own funeral plans ... which involve the song "Fly to the Angels" by Slaughter.  But not tonight ... I'm just too tired.

Hug your kids ... hug your loved ones ... you just never know.

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns
The stumbles and falls
Brought me here

Ben Folds - The Luckiest

Friday, June 13, 2014

We're Better Off Not Knowing ...


Someone much smarter than me once said, "Let sleeping dogs lie."  How very wise that person was ...

Stoney, mom, and I went to dinner tonight.  We got to talking about a picture on Mom's digital frame.  It's of me as a child with all my Christmas presents when I was around four.  I'd apparently got it into my head to haul them all over to my grandma's house to show her.  I packed my toy suitcases and everything.  

Anyhow, I was telling Mom that the photo on her frame was cropped.  There is a toy Coca-Cola dispenser on the couch that isn't in the photo ... she didn't believe me.  So, I came back to the house and dug through everything ... piles and piles of clippings and photos ... looking for that one photo. 

I found it ... but I also found a letter.

It was a three page handwritten letter my Mom wrote (but obviously never sent) to her mother in August of 1970.  I wish I'd never found it.

It was folded into a square and tucked behind a picture frame.  I don't know why I saw it this time ... I've looked through these pictures a hundred times.  Why did that cheap little plastic frame come apart tonight?  I don't know ... but it did ... and the papers fell out.

Three pages of small, neat cursive ... written by a woman who was miserable.   Written by a woman who wanted to leave her husband ... who wanted to move back to Illinois ... who said she wished she hadn't had a second child.

I'm speechless ... I really am.  I can't be mad at her ... how can anyone be mad at someone who was  hurting so much ... who was so genuinely miserable.   I was a sick baby ... and needy apparently ... although I'm not sure how many babies aren't  needy.   She was taking "nerve pills" just to tolerate me.  How horrible to read that.

I don't know what to do.  Do I tell her about it?  I want to take it to her ... to show it to her ... let her read it ... apologize to her for being a terrible baby.  But ... wouldn't that just hurt her all over again? Wouldn't it just make her feel guilty for something she really felt?

She didn't send it.  Maybe she wrote it in a moment of weakness?  Maybe she was at her lowest ... with a sick baby and a ten year old and a husband in the Marines who was gone all the time?  She sounds angry and frustrated and sad.  Meanwhile ... I'm lost.  I just don't know what to do.

I guess we all romanticize our childhoods.  Well, I know the girls don't ... they talk about remembering hearing my ex-husband and their mom fighting.   But I don't remember anything like that ... I don't remember much of anything of my childhood, if I'm being honest ... but I don't remember life being anything like this letter.

I've always wondered why I felt like Mom loved my brother more than me ... guess I know now it wasn't in my head ... she did ... and she always felt that way.  

More things to think about ... to slog through.  I know one thing ... the fortune cookie was wrong tonight ... turns out I'm not the lucky one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rest In Peace


Today we lost another dear friend.

He was a brave man ... a great father and a great husband.  I wish I would've gotten a chance to know him better.  By the time I started dating Stoney, his friend had already been diagnosed with ALS and had gone on medical leave. 

I've spent time with him and his family at two Drive By Truckers concerts ... and they couldn't have been more friendly and welcoming.   At the ALS walk this weekend, there were around 300 people who came to walk for him.  That's the kind of love he brought out in people.

It's been a hard year. 

Give your loved ones a big hug.  We never know how long we have with them.

If you woke up on the
wrong side of the bed, count on me.
If you're feeling that freight train
running through your head, count on me.
If you just need a friend to talk to,
or maybe not talk at all.

Drive By Truckers - Mercy Buckets

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yeah Yeah ... I Get It ... It's a Metaphor ...


We got some very sad news today.  The friend of ours who has ALS is nearing the end of his journey.  Stoney talked with his wife and is going to see him tomorrow night.  When I read the Caring Bridge post at work today, I couldn't help tearing up.  It's hard to lose anyone ... but to lose someone who is young and has two young children ... it's heartbreaking.

I went over tonight ... not so much to cheer Stoney up ... because I'm not sure you should try to cheer someone up in this situation.  But sometimes it's nice just not to be alone.  We spent the night just talking ... talking about our jobs ... the frustrations we're both facing with new bosses and new desks.  We talked about silly things ... movies and television shows ... and a particular song which is, I'm sorry, the worst.

In the end, I drove home thinking about the last year.  We had so much loss ... and sadness.  But happiness too.  I guess that's what life is all about ... the never ending balance. 

No matter what, there will be sadness.  But as long as there is happiness in the mix ... I guess that's the best we can hope for.

They reach into your room
Just feel their gentle touch
When all hope is gone
Sad songs say so much

Elton John - Sad Songs

Monday, June 09, 2014

I'm Wrong ... But Can't Say I Care ...



I want to bitch about something ... but I have to be vague.   Sigh ...

There is a certain document for a certain state that I can order online for a reasonable price and obtain immediately.  It's a matter of a minute or so and it's downloaded and ready to go.  It's awesome ... one of the best websites I use, quite frankly.

Anyhow ... this same document can be gotten manually by sending a request to the state.  By doing it that way, you save $27.  However, ordering it that way is an enormous pain.  You have to fill out multiple forms ... request a check and wait for it be delivered ... then wait for the runner to take the request to the state.  And, since we're ordering it routine, instead of expedited, we then wait two or three or even four days for it be returned to us.

All that work ... versus 60 seconds online ... all to save $27.

Now you're thinking ... "But ThirtyWhat ... saving money is a good thing!"

True.  True.  However ... we're talking about orders than can easily run upwards of $10,000 ... we're going to haggle over twenty seven measly dollars?!  This is insanity.  Pure, unadulterated insanity.

Only one rep orders documents this way.  Only one.  But today I decided ... screw it.  I was going to order the docs online, have all three orders filled in a matter of minutes, and I wouldn't charge this rep the expedite fee.  Easy peasy rice and cheesy.  BOOM!  Couldn't be any better, right?

Nope.

This rep noticed ... and sent a vague e-mail to the entire team ... including my boss ... saying that she noticed on an order that someone had ordered docs online ... and even though this person hadn't charged the expedite fee to the customer, that only meant that we were absorbing the costs ... and this was unacceptable.

I haven't had to talk with anyone about this ... but I'll happily take responsibility at tomorrow morning's staff meeting, when or if it comes up.  I'm in the wrong ... I'm not trying to justify it ... but it is frustrating.   I want to yell at this rep and tell her, "Hell, I'll pay the $27 out of pocket ... let me write you a check ... just to not have to sit for 30 minutes putting together an order that takes me moments to complete online!"

That is my bitch for today.  Carry on.


Is it all just wasted time
Can you look at yourself
When you think of what
You left behind

Skid Row - Wasted Time

Sunday, June 08, 2014

But It's a Good Tired ...


It's funny how fluid time can seem.   It's also funny how a weekend that's busy can seem so much longer than a relaxing one.   It's a paradox ... but one that, fortunately, works in my favor.

I've had  such a good weekend ... even though from the moment I got off work on Friday until just this morning ... there was hardly a moment to unwind.   We were booked solid ... and even once or twice when I thought I'd have time to take a nap or put my feet up ... we wound up hurrying just to get things done in the nick of time.

Friday night we went to a bonfire at a friend's house out in the country.  I bet I know what you're thinking ... "Who has a bonfire in June?!"  It's a valid question. 

It was originally planned for May ... but we were rained out.   The first hour or so was tough, I'm not going to lie.  The sun was still terribly hot and the wind had died down.  Standing by the fire to cook a hot dog was brutal.   But after awhile, it cooled off ... and it was a great evening.  Sitting around in a circle ... everyone laughing.  Stoney and I had been dragging our feet about whether to make the drive ... but I'm so glad we did.

We fell into bed exhausted Friday night ... only to get up early to head to the ALS walk. 

Stoney has a good friend with ALS ... and the family has really had a hard time of it lately.   We walked the shorter path ... because I didn't think I could make the whole 5k.  I have enough pain after grocery shopping ... walking the whole 5k might've killed me.  There were around 300 people there ... just on our team.  So many people ... so much love.  It was really touching.

I wish we could've gone to the reception afterwards ... but we had to rush home.  Stoney was smoking ribs and I was making homemade macaroni and cheese because we were having two friends over to celebrate First Wife's birthday.   This was the point that I honestly thought we had wiggle room.  I thought we'd get the crock pot of mac and cheese going and he would get the smoker going ... and I figured after a shower, I'd have plenty of time to nap.  Hardly!

He was busy prepping the meat ... patting everything down with the rub and all ... I was busy cleaning up some of my mess ... washing some of his prep stuff.   It was just crazy.  He keeps a very clean house ... so it's not like we had to "prepare" for company.   But we were so busy that he ended up jumping in the shower right as First Wife texted that she was on her way.

I'm not complaining ... even as tired as I am right now ... it was a great weekend.   We had a great evening visiting with our guests ... dinner was delicious ... and we ended up watching a bunch of Jimmy Fallon clips that First Wife had never seen ... Whip my Hair with Bruce Springsteen and the History of Rap and the lip sync contests he does.  We laughed so hard I thought I might pee myself at one point.

All in all ... I wouldn't change a thing.  My legs are tired and my feet hurt and I'm achy ... but it's all fine.  Fine as wine.  I finally took the nap that I'd been wanting since Saturday.  It's so great to spend time with friends ... to give time to a good cause ... to eat an amazing dinner ... and to feel so loved the whole time.

I'm truly a happy ThirtyWhat ...

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

The Cure - Love Song

Friday, June 06, 2014

You Had ONE Job ...



Dear Steak n Shake et al ...

"Coke" ... is not a "Diet Coke." 

Those two products are not the same thing.   I'm looking at my receipt right now ... and it says:

1 Regular Coke - Add Vanilla Syrup

It does not say:

1 Generic Coke Product Of Our Choice

I am one of the thousands of people who have a reaction to Aspartame.  No, not everyone does ... but I do.  I get a splitting headache from just one or two drinks.

Today I paid close to $2.50 for a medium vanilla Coke.  Now, we could argue about the insanity of you charging ... or, worse, me paying ... two dollars and fifty cents for sugar water.  But we'll skip that for now.  My issue is that I paid good money for something that I dumped on the ground as soon as I tasted it. 

"But ThirtyWhat, why didn't you just have them give you a different one?  I'm sure they'd happy replace it."

I'm sure they would.  But like most Americans, I have a job ... and my employer frowns on extended lunch breaks.  And since I made the mistake of pulling away before taking a drink ... of waiting for that first magical sip until I pulled into the parking lot ... guess what?  I'm out $2.50 ... and I'm out my vanilla Coke, you bastards!

I am very proud of the fact that I've cut back on drinking soda.  In fact, I don't drink much of it at all.  Every day I drink one Capri-Sun on the drive to work.   I usually sip on peach tea throughout the day ... sometimes it's lemonade.  But soda, of any kind, is a treat at this point.

So if I'm craving something specific ... say a vanilla Coke from Steak n Shake ... and I make the effort to drive clear over there at lunch ... only to find myself sitting here at my desk with a headache ... well, you can imagine that I am not a happy camper.

Goddammit ... I want a vanilla Coke.

Thank you,
ThirtyWhat

PS - Apropos of nothing, my lone ovary might be kicking in.

I'd like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company

New Seekers - I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing