Sunday, May 31, 2009

No Shock What This Post Is About Right?

The last day of May. The final post in the challenge I placed on myself the very first day of this month to post something every day. I like challenges. I like to write. It seemed like a perfect marriage of the two concepts and in reality it really was.

I learned a lot in this past month. Mostly about myself and the attitude I have toward writing, blogging specifically. After doing this it hit me that I really love to blog, it is nice to use this space as an extension of my journals. I like that this blog never had a set theme because it allows the flexibility to go all over the place without feeling weird about it. I can write like I have always loved to write, as if I am talking directly to you.

Yeah, you.

Unlike articles or my other blog, I write here for no other reason than to let all of you into my freaky little head. I like sharing a small part of my whacked out life with all of you and although I think most of you are crazy for enjoying reading about it, I am happy that you do. The funny thing is I think it is something I would do even if no one was reading it. I love writing in my journal but some days my stream of consciousness needs to be purged so fast that a pen just does not cut it. Some days those thoughts simply need to be forced through the keys.

Posting everyday was not always good, but not always bad either. Some things that I shared this month surprised me, other times I started out writing one thing and after three or four revisions it spawned into something completely different than the original. There were definitely days I had zero desire to put anything out there. Not just the migraine day but if you read me regularly it will be pretty easy to tell which posts were forced writing or cop out posts. On the flip side, my very favorite post from this month I wrote in fifteen minutes right after I woke up and barely edited before sharing it. This one came really easy too. Sometimes it just works out that way.

I have also enjoyed discovering new blogs this month as I tried to get out there a little more and connect with some folks of a similar mindset -- the more random the better it seemed. On top of that it was just wonderful to have an opportunity to read the people who I have grown to enjoy as a regular part of my day. Perhaps some people might find it odd that I enjoy getting my “news” from the land of blogs but truth be told I feel that the media shares far too little about the lives of the people who make this world what it is. The ability to see the world through someone else’s videos, photos and, most importantly, words, is like a newscast for my soul. It uplifts me seriously. So I read blogs instead of CNN or and start my day with a smile. Thanks to everyone who writes a blog because I really love to read them.

Because I like to write more from inspiration rather than forced creativity, I can’t say that I will keep up with a daily post forever, that is definitely a whole lot of pressure especially on the off days, but I will do my best to try to write as close to everyday as possible here from now on. With the exception of tomorrow. I am taking a well deserved, thoroughly needed day off to recharge my brain so I can come back strong in June. As an addition to the new life in the blog I think I have found that new template I was talking about and it will be unveiled with my first June post.

Thank you for sticking with my month of madness everyone. You are awesome. ♥love♥

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Coolest Sky Ever

A few weeks ago on our way out to the Green Group meeting we go to every month I marveled at the exquisite sky, so much so that I had to try to capture it in a few shots. The rain was coming down ever so slightly but the sky was on fire; I never tire of the amazing splendor of a sunset. There was no rainbow but even though we were running a few minutes late I made the point to pull off the main road so I could attempt to capture the magnificence of the warmth that seemed to envelope us in that moment. Photos never do seem to do justice to such perfection.

Since I am running low on steam after a very long day out soaking up the warm rays of a Boston sun with a couple hundred thousand other people at Earth Fest, and then a casual night of grilled yummies, laughs and a few beers around the fire pit with great friends, I thought it would be nice to share these shots instead. May ends tomorrow, amazing how fast a month goes without noticing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Post Title Today Was thisclose

To reading “Don’t Count Your Chickens” (at least not until you have physically signed on the dotted line because giving up thousands of dollars, liking a person and dreaming of the soothing sounds of a dishwasher do not necessarily account for anything real in this world). Ah yes, the joys of working with a Broker. Too bad I can not fire her, after all this is my Wicked Stepmother (WSM) we are talking about here.

Luckily everything is fine now but last night opened my eyes, yet again, to the beautiful thing called choices.

Matt got home from work at a little after seven and announced that WSM was not his favorite person right now. Considering we just spent a couple hours with her last weekend and gave her a fairly hefty sum of money to secure our new dishwasher it took under three seconds for the rock to appear in my gut as I asked him why.

Turns out someone forgot to mention the fact that our new landlords want us to pay them on the twenty seventh of every month so the money will clear their account by the first. Say what? I have been renting (save for the house for three years) for about seventeen years of my life now. Rent is due on the first. I pay rent on the first. That is the cost of doing business as a landlord, yeah, you are going to lose three days. Sorry but I am not paying rent early.

That is just not how it works.

Also apparently, someone decided that we were going to be writing a check for our first month's rent this Saturday when we sign the lease. Over a month in advance? Oh and that check would be post dated for June 19. Again. I simply can not get behind this, what with upwards of two decades experience contradicting it. Move in date is the first. I pay you the first month’s rent on the first. A post dated check means nothing. You could run right out and cash it tomorrow. It has happened to me before and it will not happen again.

That is just not how it works.

At one point during their conversation WSM asked Matt if we even wanted the place or not. She put on her high pressure Salesperson hat. In turn, Matt put on his “I’m walking right out of this Deaslership and nothing you can say will stop me” hat and told her we needed to discuss it before he could make a decision. He would call her back that evening.

So discuss it we did. At length. I emphatically explained that although I really loved the place the only way I was moving in there was if we paid rent on the first, not a day before, and this post dated, pay this weekend for a July first move in date, check business went away. I was willing to concede to paying a week in advance, especially since they were going to let us move in on the Sunday, a few days early, without any additional monies up front. Matt completely agreed and dialed the phone.

I do not fuck around. Especially when it comes to close to $3000 of our hard earned money and a year long commitment (which turned into fourteen months because their standard lease is September to September and we agreed to go with it). Matt told WSM that we were not comfortable with this arrangement and it would be fine to please just return our deposit ASAP since we would now need to pay rent here in two days and that we would be back out on the hunt for a new place again.

As I visualized all my dreams of soft hands and hours of gained time literally whirlpool down the drain, it occurred to me that I needed to stop myself mid thought and refocus. So I looked at him and in my most gentle, soothing voice asked “are we idiots?” In his most charming head bob he nodded and asked if we could call her back in a minute.

He hung up the phone and we decided that if they would be willing to do things as every other landlord we have ever dealt with in the past that we would still be happy to move in there. About ten more phone calls went back and forth between Matt and WSM ironing out what we felt comfortable with.

We figured they would not be willing to bend, that this is how they did it and that was that. It was a bummer but we both let go of the place right then and there.

And then something surprising happened. They agreed.

We gave up the possibility of moving before a year from September and would concede to giving them a certified check for the first month’s rent on June 22 (six days before we move in). They allowed for payment of rent on the first and no talk of post dated checks.

As soon as we let go of holding onto the new place, as soon as we conceded to the fact that perhaps it was not ours, maybe it was not fate that led us there after all, we were shown that it was in fact meant to be.

There is always going to be some weirdness every time any change is made in life, people have an inherent ability to freak out when the normal is disrupted, but I was proud of both of us that we were able to maintain a level of calm and reign in any irrational thinking to put the entire situation into the correct perspective before making a real choice. Now I can breathe and rest easy for the next month knowing that we are all people willing to negotiate, bend and be flexible which definitely comes in handy when dealing with anyone, most especially a new landlord.

So what do you think? Cascade liquid or Electrasol tabs?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Once, Upon A Time…

How many good stories started out just like that? Probably more fairy tales or fables than good stories I suppose. Well this is not a fairy tale; but it is a good story about a movie we watched last night called Once which was released in 2006 but I had never heard of until it was suggested to me.

Netflix, oh wondrous little goldmine of all things interesting, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your little pop up box that say to me “You might also like” because I did. I really did.

Set in Dublin, the movie is for the most part about a struggling street musician who also just happens to be one of the most amazing songwriters out there. Things really take a turn for him when he meets a Czech girl that is completely inspired by his music and in turn, completely inspires him. Together they discover a whole bunch of intimate things about each other without ever physically connecting; their real and lasting connection is through music.

The story is brilliantly written, very indie-real but not in an overtly “we’re trying too hard” type of way, and the little time we get to spend with these characters (one week) is so not enough. What really impressed me is that just about every original song in the movie is not only sung by the actors but written by them as well. The little Netflix sleeve touts it as a “musical” and in the sense that music punctuates the entire story then yes that is an accurate description but no one just breaks out into song to tell the story. OK yes they do, but it is not done in a peppy, poppy, dance number type of way.

The music was right up my alley -- very soul filled lyrics with a strong attention on guitar and not as strong a concern if the musician is the world’s best singer but more that they were feeling every melody as it flowed out of them. Some of the songs are also heavy on piano and the duets between the characters are so amazing I was wondering how many auditions they had to hold to find the perfect female voice to match with Glen Hansard’s.

While doing a little research into the flick today I discovered that he is the lead singer of an Irish band called The Frames (a band that has released 8 albums since 1991) and the concept of the movie was in fact his. The female character is played by Markéta Irglová and it turns out after the movie was over, not only did they win an Oscar but they started a relationship and a new band called The Swell Season.

I seriously recommend checking this one out as soon as you can and you will probably find yourself, like me today, over at iTunes or Amazon anxious to download the soundtrack.

Killer flick, killer music. So glad I have discovered both as now I have a new artist to add to the ever growing list of stuff I must own and fill my brain with. Then again, I guess technically there are four which just makes it all the better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Google Hits With Dane Cook’s Name in the Title

It hit me this morning that I have been so intent on posting something everyday this month that I have not yet wussed out with a straight up video post (like I sometimes do over at GLR) with the exception of Mother’s Day (but that was funny).

Since I have been so good and everyone has put up with my ADD style writing for this entire month I figure its time to give all of you a break. So here is a super short, funny video from one of my favorite comedians, Dane Cook. I had a quote from this here on my blog comment box for a long time.

Yes it is a true fact that His Comedic Majesty and I went to high school together so I have been following his career since he played Danny Zuko as a senior, long before the advent of Myspace or blogging. It wasn’t like we hung out on Friday nights or anything but we had a few in common friends in drama or sports and some of us used to go watch him and Al Del Bene tear it up at local Comedy Clubs before they were even old enough to vote. There were about as many people in the clubs back then as in these ISolated INcident clips. The difference now is that he set it up this way on purpose. Keep killing; you put Arlington on the map brother.

Dane Cook - Suicide Note
Dane Cook Kool Aid VideoMore Dane Cook VideosJoke of the Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Broken Thought Process Thursday

Since no one really noticed that I did my first Thursday theme post last week on Wednesday, maybe no one will notice that this post is done on Tuesday. Oh crap, I just spilled the beans. So sue me.

No, wait, don’t; I have nothing to give because there is no way anyone is getting my new apartment with a dishwasher. And that place also better have a nice hot shower since now I am going on six days with no hot water to speak of. Not kidding; it just keeps getting better and better over here in the Valley of Despair.

Apparently I could have been in the military because I have learned that I actually can wash and condition my hair, wash my face, wash me and shave my legs using almost lukewarm water in five minutes or less. But I really prefer not to.

Ready for a good laugh? Come to find out our landlord has been trying to stretch one (as in uno, singular, the loneliest number) energy efficient, eighty gallon, hot water tank for…ready for it? Twenty three apartments and two washing machines. And then she called to ask us if we noticed a leak since there was an ‘issue with the hot water throughout the building’ and she was calling everyone. Yup, hilarious right?

35 days.

My plan for today is to boil up a whole bunch of water and do it up old school style. Like, older than old school style really. If I had a barn and a back scrubber I’d be grabbing a tub in the big metal bucket, you dig?

Seriously, 35 days.

So a question has been bothering me lately -- when someone fades out of your life, or leaves your life without intervention of Death, is there really ever any way to fit them back in again?

I have this odd tendency to disappear, sometimes for months or even years at a time, which I never noticed until my friend Dani pointed it out a few years back. She was saying something with regard to the fact that I tend to “run away but always show up again” so it did not bother her, but it got me thinking about the way I am in many relationships, friendships in particular.

There are quite a few friends that I am terrible about keeping in touch with, life just takes over and so much time passes that sometimes I wonder if it is right to stay in touch at all. I do not want to have a whole list of Christmas Card Friends; people I used to hang out with but now we never talk yet they send me cards with their kid’s pictures inside every year and we exchange notes in the card that read ‘we should make plans to see each other real soon’. But we never do.

Is it alright to simply have people in life that are now acquaintances who used to be people I saw everyday? That is tough for me to come to terms with for some reason. What is strange is that I do have some friends that are the exact same way and for some reason we tend to be in the get in touch phase at the same time. That is fantastic, we completely get each other and it’s great. Who I worry about are the people that I rarely call but I feel that they might want to talk more often. Now do not get me wrong, these people are not exactly blowing up my phone either but it is just a strange sense I have.

I guess it is just hard to explain so forget it, let’s move on.

This week was supposed to be the final wrap up at my kitchen reorganization job at my sister in law’s place but unfortunately one of the kids is sick. And not just runny nose sick but really high fever, banned from school for the rest of the week, we are all praying it is not h1n1 kind of sick. So the job is pushing out to wrap next week instead but I am seriously just hopeful my nephew makes it over the fever hump and starts to get well again quickly. That scary virus crap is, well, freaking scary.

Speaking of being and staying healthy, my new favorite breakfast smoothie recipe:

4 medium sized strawberries
A handful of blackberries
Half of a gala apple
3 sprigs of cilantro
Half a lime’s worth of juice and/or pulp
About ½ cup plain soy milk

Chop it all up into small enough pieces for a blender or if you have a food processor have at it. Toss in the milk with all chopped fruit, whir it until smooth. Enjoy! Makes enough for one.

Every morning I have been waking up craving smoothies. Sometimes I mix it up using blueberries, carrots or other easily masked flavors but with the addition of the lime this week I am strongly considering the tropical smoothie with some pineapple and mango next week. Yum!

Wow, only five more days to go of A Post A Day In May Madness. I can not believe I have posted every day so far, this is cool.

OK, enough for today, I expect to see everyone’s themed post full of broken thoughts over the next couple days (linking back of course). Well except Chris, unless it is tomorrow, since he emphatically stated he is doing “Postless Tuesday” as his theme from now on and I am holding you to that buddy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Men Who Served but Lived Such Different Lives

Both of my grandfathers were war men who served in WWII. They both served their country in entirely different ways as one fought right on the front lines of battle, liberating camps and seeing who knows what, while the other, an older gentleman at the time, served his country safely behind a desk. Both were amazing and honorable men with contagious smiles and a genuine love for their families.

Grampa Steve, my mom’s dad, was a somewhat reserved man, short and small in physical stature. He was 24 years older than my gramma Ruth and the most senior in age of all my grandparents. He had worked for the Boston Edison electric company almost his entire adult life, but I believe he may have retired before I came along. My greatest memory of him is that when I was a kid he loved to nap in his chair. Of course he was never really napping, only ever “resting his eyes”. We hung out with aunt Agnes occasionally (Grampa’s sister who lived upstairs), watched a whole lot of M.A.S.H. and made frequent trips out to McDonald’s for dinner when they were watching us.

My grandparents were great explorers and every year they used their vacation time to literally drive the entire country. Of course my Grampa did all the driving which probably left my gramma free to snap the photos he would develop himself when they got back home. If I am not mistaken they may have gotten to all 48 contiguous states and some of them (such as Florida) far more often than once.

When my sister and I went to Disney with other family in 1984, my grandparents were off on one of their adventures. They happened to be in the same state at the same time and I remember getting together down there. It is one of the most amazing memories I have -- to see my grandparents in some random hotel room in a different state just felt like a big, cool surprise -- since we didn’t see them as often it was surreal at eleven to see them that far from home.

The house I spent the most time in as a kid, by far, was gramma Alice and grampa Ed’s. I have shared before about grampa Ed and how I feel that if we are relegated to one soul mate in this world that he was surely mine. At over six feet tall and close to 300 pounds he was a guy anyone would want on their side in a bar fight. It would surprise me to learn however that he had ever been in one because in my eyes he was nothing more than a big teddy bear who loved to belt out a great tune. A traveling art supply salesman, he was the guy who knew people everywhere in eastern Massachusetts.

My grandparents shared their two-family style home with two of my gramma’s sisters and there was always something going on in that house. Friends and family were always welcome to come over and spend a little time but by no means was anyone allowed to sit in grampa’s chair unless he offered it up and then we knew that person must be really special. They were happy to enjoy their time at home during the colder months but every summer they packed up and headed for the beach.

My grandparents owned the cottage in Humarock and as a kid I would hang out on the deck while they played cards or Scrabble with their neighbors and friends over countless beers or shots of Johnny Walker. Grampa was the first one I remember to teach me about the ocean and her power, how to avoid being caught in a riptide and what to do if the undertow was too strong to get back in. For years he would joke that he was going to go “take a dip” when it was freezing cold out and we would all just laugh. Tough as nails, he probably would have done it and no one would have been surprised. He was the consummate jokester and could pull one over on anyone, that is, until the wink followed.

It is more prevalent in my mind to think of both of my grampas on a day like Memorial Day since they were both patriots who served their country in the time of war, but it doesn’t just take this kind of reminder to conjure up recollections of them. Anytime I get the urge to take a random road trip and explore through photographs or get sand in between my toes and salt water in my hair, memories of two of the most amazing men come flooding right back.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Movin’ On Up, to the East Side

“To a deeeeee-luxe apartment, with a dish-wash-er”

What? You mean that isn’t how the theme song went? Well sorry but the Jefferson’s got nothin’ on me because no matter how fancy pants their place was, we are going to double our square footage, get rid of the unidentifiable smell in the hallway that we refer to as ‘dead cabbage cat’ and spend less money to do so.

Oh yeah, and there is a dishwasher.

Seriously, not too much else matters at this point.

My Wicked Stepmother is a Real Estate Broker so yesterday while we were helping them pack and move she happened to mention a place she had been contacted on that morning. The landlord had wanted them to take the place but for their needs it was a bit too small so she thought of us immediately. Technically it is considered a one bedroom but it has a den and an eat-in kitchen. The place is in a four unit house as opposed to a building so there are really no common areas except the basement; but I highly doubt anyone is cooking with dead cabbage down there.

The place we are in now has been fine for its intended purpose, it allowed us to get settled back in Massachusetts, and I am grateful to the landlord here for taking the chance on us after our sketchy-on-paper circumstances that occurred in 2007 but now it is time to move on from our starter apartment to somewhere a little more, well, adult.

Did I happen to mention there is a dishwasher?

We got home somewhat late last night but could not stop talking about the place so we hit Google Earth street view to check out where it is, keeping our fingers crossed that the street was not in a Valley of Despair like our current location. All looked great and there is even a pizza shop right on the corner. Those of you who know Boston are not at all surprised by that fact. There is a pizza shop on just about every corner. Well, the ones that do not have a Dunkin Donuts, bank or hair salon that is.

So the place is like a palace in comparison to our current space, at least double square footage with twice as many closets, and the hardwood floors gleamed in the amazing light pouring in through the windows. There is so much cabinet space in the kitchen and the back door leads into a mud room area which will be perfect for Matt to store his bike.

As with every place however there are some quirks. For example the bed goes in a nook with no door. The nook is off of a pass through room leading out to the kitchen. I am now referring to the pass through space as the West Wing; this area will become the office and my sewing room which I will actually be able to utilize again. It’s a good thing too since none of the closets have attached doors so I will be getting creative with fabric panels and with so many windows I am going to be a curtain making fiend the first week there.

The coolest part of all though, there is a dishwasher.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Responsibility Is Overrated

“So much to do, so little time to do it”

Of late this has felt like my personal mantra. The funny thing is I really don’t have all that much going on in the grand scheme of stuff lately -- just one job this past week and the usual plans at night with friends or family -- so it baffles me why I let strange worries about things I do not need to concern myself with creep into my twisted, tiny, little brain.

I get on these kicks sometimes where I feel an uncontrollable urge to do everything and all at the same time. Wait, that might be explaining it wrong. Let me try a different approach.

There is the stuff that defines my overall life which I take part in without question, without any concern, because those things contribute greatly toward who I am. Hanging out in various ways with my family, spending times with friends, writing, etc.

Then I decide it is time to do something else, something new, or just stir the pot a little bit because I am bored with the same old lackluster routine. Much like the fact that I can not physically sit idle for long, I also never allow my brain to slip into a sense of still routine. My mind and my physical body have got to keep moving but generally the pace is somewhat reasonable.

I have shared that in the past couple months -- my BFF (yes it is appropriate to use this acronym at age 35) and I have begun a new workout routine, I have started sucking back a raw fruit and veggie smoothie every morning, I am writing for a new article page, Matt and I are getting out more by going to the movies, I am working on quitting smoking, I am attempting to post a new blog here every day this month, not to mention a slew of day to day stuff like working this past week out of the house or helping my dad and stepmother move into a new apartment.

For a while I move through all of this stuff with ease, as if I am a heated ice cream scoop creating the perfect coil of delightful dairy goodness. Smiling children line up to witness perfectly crafted scoops of their favorite flavor placed in never ending bowls full of the yummy frozen treat. Rainbows are shining and so is the sun, everything is flipping fantastic. Then at some point, as if a bad horror movie, the utensil skips a beat in the container and that perfect spiral of crystallized cream misses the bowl completely and goes flying onto the floor. And that is where I lose it.

Today is that day.

I woke up this morning with my self diagnosed bipolar mind in full on manic-panic mode. Making money and phone calls, having sex, work related obligations, even showering were being compartmentalized into the number of minutes they would take to complete so I could best determine how to make sure every single one of them got done and not only with as little effort as possible but maybe making up a few extra minutes so I could eat too because I originally forgot to fit that in, and now I have no idea how I can possibly get it all done.

Responsibility is hanging ever so precariously above me in something like a balloon and the wind is tossing around what looks like a pin. At some point all that stuff up in the air is going to possibly come crashing down on top of me and trap me underneath it forever. At least in my mind that is what is going on.

On days like this I want nothing more than to smoke a pack of cigarettes, blow off everyone, have naked Saturday, turn off my phone, eat at McDonald’s for every meal, get drunk and do something completely irresponsible like grow some pot plants and smoke it on my balcony, blowing the smoke right into a cop’s face while I laugh.

Of course that probably sounds like an extreme contradiction and you’re thinking “you just said you are keeping track of every minute down to the second for all of that stuff you “have” to do, how can you possibly try to tell me that you would chuck it all and be that wild woman?”

So I don’t. I stay responsible. I maintain the compartments until they are full or empty or whatever I have deemed they are supposed to be.

Then what happens is for the rest of the day today, likely tomorrow and part of Monday as well the only thing I can hear inside my head is the white noise of my own silent scream. The one that exists to remind me that I am not doing what I want, but at least I am not going to prison for doing what I want. It might sound dramafied but anyone who has this freakish compulsion will completely understand exactly what I mean. Then again maybe I am the only one, so be it.

Generally I just don’t fight it anymore, I mean it is me and that is all there is to it. Most of the time I try not to be around other people when this occurs because I refuse to drag them into my soupy, goopy, mucky thoughts. Well except Matt, not much I can do about that one.

One thing good that comes out of this is that I typically write like a fiend. I literally notice everything (can we say over stimulation much?) from the vibrancy of the color of flowers to the sounds on the street to the expressions on someone’s face and I make double sure I have a notebook with me to scribble down my broken thoughts when I am away from home because I never know when that next fantastic topic is going to present itself.

The bad thing about this is I can not settle, there is no rest for me physically or mentally so I affectionately refer to this as my insomnia week. I am wired until at least one AM every night (think a triple shot of espresso minus the racing heart side effect) and then I force myself to go to bed only to wake up every hour or so for at least twenty minutes at a time for the entire night.

Sometimes I lie there with my racing thoughts and stare at the ceiling, other times I get up and do stuff like clean the house or write in my journal. Instead of journaling today, I am blogging because I didn’t want the hand cramp for some reason.


Because I need to let the responsible side take over, today is the day we are going to go and help my dad move so I had best stop rambling on infinitum. To quell the screaming beast I think I will skip potential cultivation charges and have an extra cigarette instead. It won’t solve the problem but at least I won’t be doing anything illegal to satisfy my overdrive desires. I’ll skip doing laundry though.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hey, Hey, Hey

Until I was six I lived year round in Humarock, a little beach town located on the south shore of Massachusetts. After we moved from Humarock to Arlington it was still the location of summer vacation, most weekends and some days after school since my Grandparents had a house down there and it was only about an hour away. This is not new subject matter in general, I have definitely written about Humarock a whole bunch of times before (possibly even bits and pieces of this story) so bear with me.

It is one of the very few places in this world I consider a comfort place, right at the ocean’s edge I can see all the way around the world.

I was pretty much raised barefoot and sand was definitely a food group; sand is something like glitter, it sticks to anything and everything so something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is no exception. Of course sand is not as obnoxious as glitter since it does actually wash off when you want it to. (Funny side note, a friend of mine believes glitter multiplies during the night and is an evil substance from hell. I tend to agree with him.) Until I started first grade and we moved to Arlington, we lived at The Rock. Sorry Dwayne, residents were calling it that long before you were even born.

As a child of the 70’s and 80’s it was impossible to turn on the television on Saturday mornings without seeing Fat Albert and although I wasn’t a big cartoon watcher, every once in a while I enjoyed the goofy fun those cats had with their Junkyard Band. I always kind of dug the harp and especially loved when Albert made his entrance saying “Hey, hey, hey…” in that signature low voice.

During the summer months my sister, a friend of ours, and myself would hang out in The Pit across the street from my Grandparent’s place and play Fat Albert. We would tuck our Strawberry Shortcake t-shirts into our running shorts (in matching red with the white trim of course), and then we would take pails full of sand and dump it down the front of our shirts to get the perfect “fat” stomach. It would hang over our waist bands and we would walk around the pit saying “hey, hey, hey…its faaaaaaat Albert”.

The Pit was just that, a big pit of sand, blisteringly hot on the top but surprisingly cool just below the surface. We would run over there, barefoot of course, across the gravel and sand street. After so many years of hanging out at the beach our feet had transformed from what we affectionately called city feet into full fledged beach feet. The sand could have been 200 degrees and we never would have noticed, it was summer and we were playing without any cares.

It has been almost a year since the last time I was down at The Rock and today on the way home I rode up along side a little maroon SUV with an airbrushed tire cover on the back of their vehicle. It was done up with the characters of Albert, Russell and another I couldn’t make out. It made me laugh immediately and think back on all those fun, lazy days of summer.

I instantly turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows of the car so I could feel like that carefree kid again. On a day like today when it was in the mid 90’s and humid it sure felt like summer and after seeing that SUV all I could think about doing was digging my feet into the sand to feel the cool comfort just below the surface, right at the water’s edge.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do Not Wake the Dreamer

This morning I leaned over you
Looked into your face but
Could not see your eyes
Because they were closed.
Where you were, I do not know
But I reveled in the presence.
You were smiling, a long look
Of joy and satisfaction
Ran across your face.
You were relaxed inside
And I enjoyed seeing your
Skin soft, without
The tightness it had adopted of late.

You must have felt me there
As I watched you move your head
Ever so slightly
From side to side and
Smack your lips with your tongue.
Your breath stinks, yet
I smile anyway as you
Pull the comforter up to your chin
And tuck your hands
Beneath it, as if a child.
In the land of dreams you can be
Anything you desire.

I want to reach out and hug you
To somehow become part of
The comfort I see on your face,
Sink into your soul.
But I know it will wake you and
I do not want to disturb the
Softness of your spirit.
So instead I do the one thing
That I feel compulsion for:
One kiss on the forehead,
And then I disappear.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Broken Thought Process Thursday

I see all these theme days floating around the blogosphere and I must admit to pondering if I could commit myself to doing it over here. I wonder if things here are far too much like myself -- all over the place, nothing set in stone; unable to be pinned down by rules -- to ever be able to commit to a weekly thing. Of course I never thought I could post something every day for an entire month either and that seems to be working out pretty well so who knows what could happen.

So in an effort to join in the fun, and because I enjoy a challenge, I decided to create my own blog theme: Broken Thought Process Thursday. This is the theme for us ADD types who always have a million shiny things floating around up in our noggins at any given moment! The main purpose of this theme is to be about as random as possible -- make it long or short, post photos or don’t -- you get the idea. I hope everyone joins in and shares their own chaotic thoughts as they come. C’mon people, really go ahead and put it out there, show me the inside of your crazy brains every Thursday. Hey, I’m about to show you mine. As with all these themes just link back to me, blah, blah, blah.

So without further ado, here is the first Broken Thought Process Thursday…

If I suddenly had unlimited resources there are a couple things I would do right away. First and foremost is I would do laser hair removal. You have no idea how much time this would save in my day to not have to shave my legs. Next I would acquire an apartment with a dishwasher. You have no idea how much time this would save in my day to not have to wash dishes by hand. Yeah they all say money can’t buy happiness but they never said anything about money being unable to buy time.

I am mystified by the force that exists on the roads where everyone who wants to go faster than me somehow ends up behind me but everyone who wants to go slower somehow ends up in front.

On the way home today I realized how much I love to drive and listen to my music in the summer. I turn it up really loud so I can’t hear what the people next to me are saying about me singing along.

Smoking is fading out nicely. Last winter I cut my intake down to four a day and that went well. I tried to quit completely the day before Mother’s Day but fell off the wagon after we all had dinner and many drinks so now I’m down to about one cigarette a day. I still have nine in the pack I bought on Mother’s Day.

So we were supposed to see Angels & Demons with our friends this weekend but they are having baby separation anxiety issues and don’t want to subject 14 year old babysitters to the chaos so Matt and I are on our own to see it. Trouble is I have been hearing not great things and wonder if we should save some of that money toward the apartment with the dishwasher instead.

Some stereotypes should not be able to be perpetuated. That song by Carrie Underwood where she talks about keying her boyfriend’s truck, slashing his tires, smashing the headlights, carving her name into his front seat and a whole slew of other things should be banned from the radio. There is no reason to try to convince men how crazy women can be. People can be crazy in general. No need to prove it further. Perhaps that is the reason he cheated in the first place, because you are a psycho and he was just too afraid to tell you he was breaking up with you. Thanks so much for setting women back even further there hunny.

OK I guess that’s good for today’s theme. Who knows if I’ll remember to do this again next week. It will probably happen on Tuesday knowing me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bite Me Migraine

Take your sorry throbbingness and just get right out of my head.

I am lying down with a bowl of soup and a gallon of water for the rest of the day.

See you all tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Strong Enough

I was driving home from a client today with my iPod set on shuffle as it usually is. The first ten songs were by such eclectically different artists that it made me chuckle. At about ten minutes from home, Oreo, my iPod, played the song Strong Enough by Sheryl Crow. I realize the song has been out for a whole bunch of years but as I sang along to every word it hit me as if I was hearing it for the first time. It is so cool when that happens.

The lyrics really struck me today for some reason. Probably because I know that Matt suffers in silence on a daily basis dealing with my fucked up insanity. For those who don’t know the song:

God, I feel like hell tonight
Tears of rage I cannot fight
I'd be the last to help you understand
Are you strong enough to be my man?

Nothing's true and nothing's right
So let me be alone tonight
‘Cause you can't change the way I am
Are you strong enough to be my man?

Lie to me
I promise I'll believe
Lie to me
But please don't leave

I have a face I cannot show
I make the rules up as I go
So try and love me if you can
Are you strong enough to be my man?

When I've shown you that I just don't care
When I'm throwing punches in the air
When I'm broken down and I can't stand
Will you be man enough to be my man?

Lie to me
I promise I'll believe
Lie to me
But please don't leave

So of course this got me thinking about strength and all of the things we all put up with when we are in a relationship. I am fully aware there are few in the world who could actually deal with me in some kind of forever capacity; I am a complete mess and yes I do indeed make the rules up as I go. If you are the type of person who can flow with it and likes surprises you are probably set. The funny thing is that I tend to accept people at face value most of the time; I just accept that they are who they are.

Maybe I am just lucky enough to have found another person who can do the same. Perhaps Matt is strong enough after all.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Am Totally Wussing Out

In order to post something and fulfill the promise I made to myself to post once a day in May, I am going to just ramble on for the next twenty minutes before I have to get in the shower so I can get ready to get on with the day today. Yeah, sorry in advance for the inevitable randomness here but my blog is not named what it is for no reason right?

First off I have been doing a whole bunch of thinking lately about changing up my blog template again. It really sucks having ADD sometimes because I can never just settle on something and enjoy it. At any rate this background has been kicking around a little over six months now and it feels like the right time for a change. The thing is I really like the basic nature of it -- a monotone color palate, not a lot of muss or fuss and a very simple, very me picture of a heart and the ocean in the banner. So I am on the hunt for something similar. Who knows it could be six more months before I find something I am comfortable changing it too (or maybe I’m just lazy and don’t want to deal with the html formatting associated with adding widgets & all that crap back in).

This morning Matt went down to our friend’s house to assist with the completion of their total house re-wiring project. No matter how much construction I did in our investment property years ago though there are two areas which I never took any interest in -- electrical and plumbing. Everything they are doing & all associated terminology is simply over my head, but suffice to say there will be a whole lot of hammering above their heads. Not to mention if he looks anything like yesterday I am making him take out off white bath mat out of the bathroom before he showers. Better yet I will remove it that way it won’t be black.

Once he gets back we are off to run a bunch of errands today. Blah, blah boring stuff like toiletries or household cleaning products for the most part but I am really attempting to hold myself back because all I can think about is purchasing Rock Band. We had borrowed our friend’s instruments while my sister and her boyfriend were in town but shortly after they left our friends asked us to bring everything back so the four of us could play together. Since that was during our cat sitting weeks (and they live right upstairs from where we were staying over) we played a few times and just never brought any of it back home. I have been jonesing to play for the past week now. With all of this exercise on my lower half I feel like I am not getting the proper upper body workout; I miss my drums.

Last night we went to see Star Trek and although I had slight familiarity with the original and loved The Next Generation, I in no way would consider myself a “Trekkie”. And it simply didn’t matter. The movie was wonderfully put together, the special effects were insane and there was even a part where when I jumped in my seat in surprise I actually felt fear pass over my skin for a split second. Awesome. This is the first summer in a long time when I have been really excited to see a whole slew of movies, starting with Wolverine last week and continuing with Angels and Demons next weekend.

Tonight is going to be completely fun as Bridgete is singing in her spring Choral concert and Matt and I are going to see her. It is going to be great to finally have a chance to hear her sing! I was a little bummed to learn though that she had a solo in their concert back in March but would not have one tonight, so I will just do my best to pick her voice out of the crowd.

So other than my current mantra of “rain, rain go away” there is not much else going on here and I am officially out of time to type anyway so that worked out just perfect. Wow, kind of cool to know that, unedited I can ramble on for 752 words in under twenty minutes. Huh, guess I type 37.6 words a minute. Maybe I should market that as a skill.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A New Adventure for this Hapless Writer

Or is it hopeless? Since I can not be sure of which I am -- just unfortunate or completely lost -- I have decided to throw caution to the wind and begin my journey of writing to make some money for the stuff I type all day. I say hooray! Hopefully everyone out there in the fun land of reading says the same. This is not an entirely new concept for me because I have been working on it behind the scenes for quite a while but now feels like the right time to share it with everyone.

Over the course of the past year or so I have been tracking down, and keeping track of, a bunch of sites where they hire freelance writers and/or allow us wordy types to post our stuff simply because we want to. How nice of them. While doing research, joining or attempting to land a paid gig (or fifty), I found there is a whole lot of conflicting information, scams and (thankfully) still some downright honest websites out there in cyberville.

Some of the sites I joined only allow the user a certain level of points or credits, to be applied towards bids for jobs, and require payment to fully join. I completely understand that sometimes the old adage “membership has its privileges” is in fact true but then that other saying comes out singing from the back of my mind. The one that goes “I ain’t got no dough”.

From what I have seen, there are definitely happy campers making money by bidding on and writing lots of stuff but it seems that those people are the only ones who ever get hired and if the proverbial “you” does not have a track record of being a good writer with payment history no one wants to hire you. Well, gee, that makes a whole bunch of sense. Can someone please explain how all those other people were given their first assignments then? I spent about six months reviewing and bidding on countless jobs but I refused to pay so I would be hired. Though they tell you it is unnecessary to do so. Right.

In the midst of these rejections, better known as the day to day life of every writer, I began posting articles up on a couple sites where there was no fee to join, but also no monetary potential. I did this mainly to garner experience writing in a less personal tone (non conversational, or as I like to call it the professional voice) so I would have a decent number of clippings to submit to who knows who when I miraculously went out and found the perfect job (read: someone recognized my verbal flexibility and decided to pay me to write this blog all day long so I did not have to worry about what tone of voice I had). That was going great until I started my second blog back in the fall of last year.

Those who know me understand that I refer to myself as the eco-police so it was only natural that any other blog I wrote was going to be about the environment. Wait, let me back up. First you should probably understand that last June I made my first pennies from writing. And when I say pennies, oh that is most definitely what they were. All 153 of them. Do not misunderstand however, I enjoyed every minute I wrote for The Organic Mechanic and I made amazing contacts of artists that I still keep in touch with to this day but it became clear at a point that it was time to branch out on my own. Thus, Green Leaf Reviewer was born.

Since I am a rather ambitious gal I envisioned myself writing GLR as a potential income stream as I fully intended to post daily. For the most part that has held true too and I have rather enjoyed doing the research to craft the 176 posts already up over there, the part where I live in my world of fantasy was that by placing one little miniscule Google Ads box on the page I would suddenly be paying my rent. OK, maybe my fantasy was not quite that extreme but I at least thought I could pay myself via groceries or dinner or whatnot here or there. Not so much. Yet.

We writers are resilient beasts who will stop at nothing until we get what we want so of course I am exploring alternative advertising options. In the meantime however I am going to enjoy making the connections to all those fabulous tree huggers. Just as soon as I stop smoking. Damn hypocrite. Ok maybe that is too harsh; perhaps I am just a walking contradiction. That sounds so much fluffier.

So for the last three to six months I have been enjoying the interactions between all the people I have come to chat with online be it here, at GLR or on various forums because it has allowed me to network something fierce. And as we all know, its all about who you know. Well it started occurring to me that who I know are an array of amazing people -- teachers, humorists, artists -- but the one thing they all have in common is they are writers (even the jewelry designers, who’s blogs I peruse to drool, had to write up their descriptions so if nothing else they are sure fluent in adjectives).

With refreshed inspiration, stemming mostly from this little exercise I have taken on here of posting once a day through the entire month of May, I set out to locate more writers’ forums. I was itching to discover spots where I could discuss this passion as well because to date I found plenty of places to yak about everything else that struck my fancy. I happened upon this cool place where not only can I join in discussion forums, but I can post my own articles and each will include links to my Google AdSense account, Amazon Associate account and just about any other click through advertising affiliation I have.

So far I have made zilch but I am not exactly discouraged, I mean I only joined two days ago and I do not post about sex, drugs or rock and roll so it will likely take some time. What I have found awesome however is I am actually a fairly decent article re-writer because I have taken a few of my GLR posts and gave them the professional, third person voice, and I am already getting great feedback on them! I will share in the near future a little widget to my profile but for now I am keeping the site a slight mystery as I truly want to feel out if it is going to be something that gets the job done for me. If not I guess I will just fall back on the blogging as a fun hobby and start pursuing that novel I keep meaning to write.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Mystery of the Accidental Celebrity

This morning while perusing I came across a link to an article about a shampoo inspired by Rod Blagojevich. You remember him right? The Governor of Illinois who sold now President / former Senator Obama’s seat to the highest bidder? No? Not ringing a bell? He was the guy with the really bad hair. No, the blonde one is Trump; this is the brunette guy that swears a lot. Yeah that is the one. It was only a matter of time before someone decided to cash in on his bad hair and make a fortune off it.

My gut reaction was to shake my head and utter the word “wow” out loud, but as I considered whether or not I actually wanted to read the silly article, it really got me thinking about people, society, celebrity and fame. Why are we so damn interested in failure, disappointment and the tragedies that people befall? And then after we are done judging them for all of the things they have done so terribly wrong, how do these people suddenly write best selling books, land made for TV movies, end up on the Today Show, have toiletries named after them or make guest appearances on countless television shows?

Remember Joseph Hazelwood? He was featured in the movie Waterworld, the TV show Futurama, talked about on late night talk shows and even made his way into a comic strip. His name was everywhere back in 1989. Maybe if I mentioned that he has a prominent apology published in the book The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez Disaster (by Sharon Bushell) it might start ringing some bells that he was the Captain of the aforementioned vessel. Wow. For a guy who was behind the wheel when one of the largest environmental disasters to take place occurred, he sure got a whole lot of name recognition.

That is the thing about being a celebrity. Those who are attempting to achieve it never seem to get there. OK some do, but it sure is a mother fucker of a time for them to reach their desired level of fame and windfall unless they are doing something insanely controversial to get there. I suppose if anyone ever tracked down just how many pop culture references were made to people like Albert Einstein the list would be so long no one person could ever write it; and he failed his first college entrance exam. Then again, perhaps that is why he made a name for himself; the lowest low occurred for these people and there was nowhere to go but up.

I am slowly convincing myself that every celebrity, be it purposeful such as someone in the entertainment industry or accidental such as these examples above, was in fact, accidentally made famous.

Let’s try a little game. I will throw out a list of names; you tell me what you remember about the thing that made them famous, the moment that their name was “suddenly” thrust into the mass media market. Ready?

Paris Hilton
Courtney Love
Robert Downey Jr.
Michael Vick

In fairness I understand that Michael Vick was a pretty remarkable quarterback before going to the dogs but I would challenge non-football fans to tell me what team he played for before going to prison. That’s what I thought. The jury, better known as the general public, is still out on Vick of course as his sentence is not up for another couple months. After all, it is hard to make it to the set of your movie, (starring maybe Will Smith?) when you are still under house arrest.

The funny thing about the list above is that the other three are in completely respectable positions these days; they took their accidental fame and were able to transcend. Well in a manner of speaking anyway. Courtney transitioned easily into a music career of her own and then slid like butter into movies. Paris actually has so many projects going it is amazing the woman has a chance to sleep. RDJ completely “reinvented” himself (as they refer to it in the biz) by giving one of the best performances of his life when Jon Favreau took a chance by casting him in the lead role of one of the top grossing comic book turned big screen smashes of all time, Ironman.

I guess enough time has not yet passed for Vick. After all it took RDJ almost twenty years to make his return into the open, embracing arms of the public. Even the Atlanta Falcons have not yet decided if they will take him back or attempt to trade him. Perhaps he would be a perfect fit with the often persecuted, Detroit Lions?

He could always do the commercials for the “Bleep’n Golden” Blago hair care products, considering Detroit’s proximity to Chicago. Then again, Vick might want to keep his distance from anything that controversial so he can make some money from his book sales. You know, just in case that football thing doesn’t work out.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How Well Do You Know

There is this new humiliating way to embarrass ourselves floating around Facebook and it is called ‘the quiz about [insert friend’s name here]’. We are responsible for creating our own quiz as well as the answers and then our friends respond by choosing the correct one; then we get to harass them if they only get a few right because, well, shouldn’t they know everything about us? I mean we are friends on Facebook; clearly we should have total access to each other’s lives. Right?

So of course, all joking aside, I want to create one of these because I am completely smitten with silly quizzes and dumb surveys but I am having some trouble with the questions. I am going for ten questions about me. I want the questions and the answers to be as random as I am, but not so out there that it might be too hard to guess. Here is an example of what I’m thinking:

My favorite Chinese cookie fortune says:

♥ A modest man never talks to himself
♥ Those who live in glass houses should wear a robe
♥ Love all, trust a few
♥ Learn Chinese -- Chicken: ròu, Lucky Numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

So now I have to somehow come up with nine more of those. Any suggestions?

You get bonus points if you pick the right answer to this one. What are the bonus points good for you might ask? Well they are the key to my heart that is all. It only takes a few points to make it all the way to my heart so when you score your eleven on this question you are well on your way. That is, if you are not there already.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trash Talkin’

This morning at ten minutes after seven I was sleeping, minding my own dreamy business and waiting for Matt to come in and kiss me goodbye because generally I do not get up until 7:15. A kiss is a fairly pleasant way to be woken up; just ask Sleeping Beauty. Her Prince leaned right in and gave her tongue after she had slept for 100 years and she rose, completely renewed, with a big smile on her face. Not sure how good that was for Prince Charming though. Although in the fantasy world I suppose none of us ever have morning breath right?

At any rate, if for some reason I do not make it all the way to fully conscious after my own charming prince lays one on me, then there is still an alarm clock set to spring me into action at 7:30. Most mornings I do not use the alarm clock because I drift awake just as he is bolting the door at 7:15. This morning I was cozy, snuggly and warm, fully relishing in the last five minutes of my all too important sleep and waiting for my smooch. Then the garbage man showed up.

We live in a building with twenty four separate apartments, three floors that receive daylight and one subterranean level. Our apartment is on the second floor and my bedroom window has the scenic vista of the parking lot in the back of the building. The driveway entrance to get into our lot is shared by the almost identical building next door. Our landlord likes to share lots of things with the owner of the building next door. I think someone once told her that “sharing is caring” or something because we also share the parking lot itself as well as a few angled spaces that run the length of the driveway. Not to mention the plow guy in the winter and the all important dumpster and recycle bins.

The dumpster and bins are located at the far back side of the parking lot and are a straight shot from the entrance of the driveway. I suppose this works out pretty nice for the trash collectors as they simply back in with their little bleepers blaring, pick up the dumpster by scraping metal across metal, shake it as if gravity does not exist for trash, slam it down on the asphalt, pick it back up, shake, slam and repeat at least six more times.

Now I have no issue with the oversized, smelly, metal eye sore being completely emptied because after the stint last fall where “someone was on vacation” and our bin was not emptied for close to a month, I actually thought the raccoons were going to build little huts and start paying rent to live next to the thing. My issue is the part where they arrived at 7:10 AM to perform their little heavy metal concert.

Just after their bin was slammed down for the last time and the still beeping truck began pulling out of the driveway, Matt came into the bedroom. Our conversation went something like this:

Matt: [smooch] I love you.

Me: Hey on your way to the bike path please hunt down that garbage man and pop a cap in his ass would ya?

Matt: Yeah they were kinda loud huh?

Me: Kinda loud and seven AM are not a good fit for me. In fact it’s not a good fit for flipping anyone.

Matt: I can hear him still heading down the street; I’ll chase him down for ya and send a camera phone picture of him lying in a big pool of blood.

Me: Well that might be a little extreme, and graphic. Be safe babe.

As I tossed the covers off, upset with my loss of the five most precious moments of slumber, it occurred to me that I could do a few different things with this simmering emotion of gobeldy gook I had ready to rise up inside.

I could call up the Arlington DPW and scream at them that if they had made it to my house by that hour who knows where else they had already been, waking up the other neighbors. I could find out where they live, stalk them for a few weeks, determine what time they get up in the morning then five minutes before they are due to rise start banging the lids of two metal trash cans together outside their bedroom window. I could do nothing but then let the evilness swirl around inside my head until I snap on some innocent person later. Or I could take it in, recognize it and use my blog as the best place to vent out my frustration through my own charming wordsmithing.

So that is what I decided to do. Besides, Matt has my back on this one.

I’m still waiting for my picture.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tarred and Feathered

It is far too easy to keep it going,
To dust you off and pull it out.
There honestly would be nothing to it.
You are always just outside my door

But when I start to move toward you,
The voice inside asks me to wait.
Look both ways before I cross myself
Close that door and turn away.

Temptation has never
Really been my problem,
It’s more a lack of self-control.
So what is this appeal
That sprang alive today?
As if buried deep inside my core

I always want what I don’t have so
Like a spoiled child I stomp real loud.
But making a scene is just a ruse
Triumph actually frightens me to death.

In the end I succumb to it
Drag it out another day.
This shouldn’t be,
I need to know how I got back

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Would like to Think it Was an Innocent Time

When I look back on my junior high experiences gymnastics, academics, clubs, friends and boys seemed to be the priorities of the day. Gymnastics, which I had been doing since second grade, had become a character trait by the summer of 1985. Wendy, Sharon and I all worked out during the Arlington Recreation Department's sponsored gym times and would practice wherever a gym happened to be available. That particular summer we were in the Gibbs Junior High School gym.

It felt somewhat strange being at the Gibbs, like it wasn't my time yet and I was treading on some ground I was not supposed to be familiar with. On one hand I wanted to check out the school so I would know the halls and walls when I got there in a few short months but on the other it was dark outside the gym; my imagination always took over and I never ventured out. I could sense energy in the building of the memories, dreams and thoughts of so many kids before me.

The summer between grammar school and junior high was excruciatingly hot and the gym had no air conditioning just windows that stretched almost the entire way up the wall, but only opened about a half foot. The conditions were oppressive, even to me who has always loved it hot and humid. It was difficult to stay motivated to work out so we mostly just hung out on the mats, stretched and talked.

I had no delusions that I would go to the Olympics or anything but I could spend an entire day from sunrise to sundown in the gym if I was in the mood. Sometimes there was nothing better than getting on the beam with some loud music and just pounding away. I have had dreams about getting on a beam and throwing a routine together and if I think about it, I can still smell chalk.

That summer seemed to fly by, just like most summers when you are young and wish it could last forever. Gymnastics took up a big part of our time but when Wendy and I weren’t working out, we hung in our bedroom with the radio on, or spent our money on goofy teeny bopper magazines. In September, I walked through the doors of the Gibbs Junior High and quickly discovered that the halls were not as frightening as I had made them out to be in the months prior.

The Gibbs had three floors. Sewing, Computers, Cooking, Shop, Music and the lunchroom were on the basement floor. Eighth grade, The Principal's office, Art, the gym, Library and Languages were on the first floor. The top floor was seventh grade and Ms. B's room. During the first year, I spent most of my time in the gym and Ms. B's art room.

Other than Girl Scouts, clubs were a new experience in for me so I joined Art East as soon as I could. Art East was a small group of creative minded students who enjoyed various forms of art, and it was run by Ms. Bichisecchi. With Art East we got to go to cool places like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and other locations in Boston via subway. We sang out loud on the train and while we should have been singing Van Halen or Pat Benetar, we preferred cheezy pop tunes like Mr. Sandman. When we hung out in Ms. B’s, we could silkscreen, use the light table, draw and anything else creative that came to mind. It was a nice escape from the difficulties of academics now that we were preparing ourselves for high school.

Language was a difficult subject for me but unfortunately a requirement. I wanted to take something cool like Greek, a language I knew I would use in my neighborhood, but we got to choose from Spanish, Latin or French. Spanish it was. I distinctly remember a day in seventh grade when our teacher surprised us with the fact that our oral presentations would be video taped. I had been a ham until Fifth grade, until I started going through my ugly duckling phase, and I was not especially excited to be on camera. Least of all for a subject I struggled with.

On the day of the presentation I wore a fluorescent orange sweatshirt. The color was in but I didn't want to be on camera in it. I hated not having the time to mentally prepare; my face stayed red, palms clammy and I shook the entire time I spoke. The more I struggled with standing in front of my classmates, the hotter my entire body became. It bothered me that I had become so shy in front of crowds and it would take me years to get comfortable with speaking in front of a group again.

The friends I had in junior high were individuals. None of them felt the need to be like anyone but themselves, and it was great to hang out in a group of people that were fun, funny and honest. Our group grew to include more guys and a few of my friends had even started to date. By eighth grade it was cool to let your friends hook you up so, even after my obvious geekishness on Art East trips and total shyness, I found out the guy I liked also thought I was cool.

We started dating and not only went to the year end dance together but we spent the next eight months as a couple. At age fourteen eight months is like forever. Our romance took us right into high school and really capped off such a whirlwind of the two years of fun that junior high was.

I know I am in the minority when I say that despite my awkwardness and overall geek to the core personality, I fall into the rare group of people who enjoyed these years. There was something about meeting new people, making new friends and discovering so many things about myself and the world around me in what I believe to be one of the last of the ‘ages of innocence’ that will forever bring a smile to my face.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Will Never Be the Same Again

Saturday Night Live is a show that has been through so many major ups and downs since its inception in 1975 that I think a lot of people gave up on it but in our house it is still on just about every weekend. I have heard many references to bad casts or terrible writing over the past handful of years. There are people who swear that Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase were the last funny cast members. Still others were Dana Carvey, Molly Shannon, or perhaps even Adam Sandler fans. Regardless if the current cast is being showered with accolades by the general public, I personally feel there are a few gems in the bunch and one of those is definitely Andy Samberg.

Andy is quickly becoming the Digital Short guru in this generation of SNL and he frequently brings other cast members, hosts and musical guests into his crazy plots every week. Those who are willing to take the ride with him will quickly discover their shameless act of courage emblazoned all over the internet the following day. When it’s really good the video is up a few hours after the original airing. Such was the case with last night’s short film.

Three time host, and all around hilarious one at that, Justin Timberlake was back to share his special brand of humor with everyone. Just like the last time Andy and Justin made a short, this week’s was hilarious, even if it was wrong on oh so many levels. Watch out for their Moms, you just might recognize them both.

Happy Mother’s Day ♥

EDIT: Thanks for the info on the vid no longer working Chris. Hopefully this link from hulu will do the trick.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yeah Sorry I Got Nothin’

Tonight I wuss out.
Brain a blur of weekend fun.
Haiku must suffice.

OK, I can at least post a mini recap, I owe everyone at least that much.

Today was our last day in the role of cat sitters. All morning we cleaned the house and did laundry before giving a ‘see ya later’ rub on the noggin to Zoe.

We saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the theater with our friends this afternoon; the first movie I have seen in a theater in about a year. I am a big X-Men fan -- read the comic books, even watched the cartoon -- and was not disappointed with this flick, although when I am a bit more lucid (like tomorrow) I plan to give my review of the entire theater experience.

After that we all had yummy food, fantastic conversation and huge margaritas at Border Café.

Then we headed back to their place to yak and watch Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist care of Netflix. (Definitely a cute movie, will own that one eventually)

I look forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.

Ah yes, and that will finish me off.

And now we are home,
Already in pajamas
Goodnight my sweet friends!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Why I am not a Ninja, or a Chef

This morning after making myself a particularly tasty smoothie from strawberry, apple, kiwi, cilantro and carrot with soy milk I disassembled the blender and proceeded to wash it. When I got to the blade I exercised caution as it is really super sharp, as a blender blade should be of course. The blade is a dual style with one blade on top of the other; one full blade is bent down and the other has one side angled up while the other side is flat. The style allows for very minimal chunkage settling to the bottom. I tend to hold the flat part while pulling the sponge along the edges, front and back of each of the other 3, one inch, blade sections.

All of a sudden the sponge kind of slipped and the point on the end of the upturned blade went right into the middle of my right thumb causing me to yell a curse word so vile I will not even type it out. After twenty five some odd years since my first run in with a blade that forever altered the fingerprint of my left thumb one might think I would have learned how to handle sharp and pointy things.

When I was in sixth grade, Mom was having my Aunt over for dinner so Wendy and I asked if we could help get things ready. Of course as a single Mom she was happy to have any help possible and agreed. Within five or so minutes it is likely she regretted that decision. We were going to have green beans as part of the meal so I asked if I could make them French cut style. Mom said sure. Within three or so minutes it is likely she also regretted this decision.

I have no idea where I would have heard about how to make French cut green beans back then. I was only ten or eleven and it’s not like the Food Network was blaring away in the living room back in 1984. Regardless, it seemed like a great idea at the time. I do not recall how many of those beans I actually was able to filet before the blade of that uber sharp kitchen knife made its way into my thumb but no matter how many were ready, they all went right into the trash, along with approximately four pints of my blood. That might be a slight exaggeration but it sure seemed that way because my thumb would not stop bleeding no matter how long I screeched as Mom flung my hand under the running water from the kitchen faucet.

After applying a paper towel tourniquet, Mom spent the next five minutes dialing my Aunt on the rotary phone and told her not to come for dinner unless she was in the mood for red beans. She politely declined and the three of us headed out to the hospital. By this point in my life I had already spent a goodly portion of my time in Mount Auburn’s emergency room due to gymnastics injuries, chin meets side of pool incidents or a myriad of other klutzy tomboy type stuff. It would not have shocked me one little bit if the nurses had met me by first name and escorted me right into a room they kept on belay for me.

As we waited for someone to assess the damage I hung out and squeezed my saturated paper towel tighter around my throbbing thumb. The Doctor came in and apparently not only missed the fact that I was a child, he had opted not to take his compassion pills that morning. When he opened up the cut to check it out the needle full of Novocain got jabbed in there faster than I could react. I decided it would be much better to just go to my happy place so I did not pass out from the pain.

A bunch of other family had arrived by this point including my Dad who I remember having a fairly heated discussion with someone about the fact that hell would freeze over before he allowed them to give me a transfusion. (Let us not forget that the AIDS epidemic was swinging into full gear around that time and transfusions were deemed to be a big catalyst for the spread). After that conversation wrapped up, they all left me to hyperventilate and sob alone while they discussed the options. Doctor Sunshine came back in to alert me to the fact that I was going to need surgery.

Turns out I did a stellar job on the cut and not only broke the outer skin but had gone almost all the way through the tendon as well. He went ahead to explain that one tiny bit further and that baby would have snapped back to my wrist. Oh joy. I proceeded to throw up in my mouth a little bit. Then, as if a ten year old could understand what on the planet was going to happen, they began explaining I would be put out for this surgery. All I heard though was that I got to stay in the hospital for at least one night. Cool!

Since it was so many years ago, and I was heavily sedated under anesthesia, some of the details are a bit fuzzy but I remember a very handsome man in blue scrubs telling me to count backwards from ten, tasting a weird garlic flavor in my mouth and then waking up in recovery with my Mom next to my bed. I looked down to discover a cast on my left arm up to about mid forearm and they were wheeling me up to my room.

Over the next twenty four hours everyone came to visit and I even got all kinds of balloons, flowers and cards from everyone. It was cool and so sweet. One of the balloon / flower combos came in an ice cream dish which I carried around from apartment to apartment until I was somewhere in my mid twenties when it finally broke. I went home after one night and was excited to go back to school so all my friends could sign my cast.

I was told I would likely need physical therapy to gain mobility back in my thumb because I would be in the cast for quite a while, something like ten weeks or more. After about three weeks the cast cracked at the base of my thumb so there was minimal ability for me to move my thumb around. After half the time I was due to be in the cast, Doctor S. decided it should be replaced so my thumb would be immobilized again so I got a brand new place for autographs. The same thing happened at the base of the thumb after not very long but my next appointment was not until it was due to be removed for good.

Again I was reminded of the need for physical therapy as he revved up the speed saw I was sure he would take to the top of my skull at any second so he could eat my brain for lunch. The cast came off and I went right for scratching my shriveled skin but Happy Pants had other plans. He pulled out a little metal device that apparently measured mobility and he had me flex both thumbs. The thumb with the cut was within 1/32 of my right thumb and I marveled at his inability to disguise the shock on his face that I would not need any further medical intervention. Ha ha!!

I reveled in the fact that I was personally responsible for getting out of PT because I let my thumb regain some movement on its own. Hey the cast cracked, I just figured it was a sign. We left the office and I was thankful I would never have to see that guy again. That was until this morning when, like a flashback from a bad trip, Doctor Sunny’s smug, bearded face, screamed through my mind. Thankfully the Gods of protection were on my side and the jab this morning didn’t even cause a drop of blood, so I enjoyed my smoothie knowing full well that blade will sit in the sink until Matt washes it on Saturday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

That Most Definitely Is a Wrap

I keep posting stuff that is in direct relation to what Jason is posting. Some of you who read his stuff too might just start wondering if I have run out of original material. But then again if you really know me (and believe me, I’m quite comfortable in saying there are many of you who do ♥love♥) then you understand when I say that we are comparable personalities so to sometimes write similar stuff does not tend to bother or surprise me anymore.

Most of the time.

This time is odd because having a similar feeling to his, as documented in his most recent post, is a bit surreal.

But here it is anyway.

For the past two weeks Matt and I have been cat sitting for my friend’s mom’s cat Zoe while they are off touring the west coast, meeting up with friends and generally having some vacation fun. Yea! These people are awesome, my second family seriously, and I am fully comfortable hanging at their place. For a while. What I am not so comfortable with is sleeping in their bed for two weeks, misplacing my stuff all over their house and showering in their shower. What I really mean to say of course is I miss my own home. Even if it does smell like dead cabbage cat in my building, it is mine.

I love to travel so even with the paranoid delusions I have about hotel rooms, there is something about getting away that is so liberating. Call it the nomad in me but setting out for wherever, whenever, is an art I have longed to master for most of my life. But then I get to a point where all I want to say is ‘OK I’m done now’ and poof! Magically I am transported back to my own sofa, my own bed, my own comfort place. I have reached that place now but there are still three more days to go. Boo.

Kids and babies are allowed to whine and cry when they can not have the instant gratification of getting what they want the exact moment they desire it. As adults we have to suck it up and deal; or vent in our blogs I suppose. Well consider this my personal, cranky pants rant.

And go.

I have not slept in almost 10 nights now because their bed is made out of, oh what is that substance I’m looking for? I think it’s called, concrete…? Throw that concrete mattress into a cauldron with some brick pillows, a Maglite streetlight, non-locatable beeping watch at 3AM and a 12 pound cat running around on squeaky hardwood floors every night, chill to approximately 62 degrees no matter what the heat is set on and its insomnia stew! Maybe I wouldn’t be so ornery if it was my own stuff in the house; just goes to show we all get used to our own quirky things and that sometimes stuff is not just stuff.

If I spent most of my life traveling like a touring musician I guess it might be something I got used to but I am not a touring musician, I am a writer and I want to go home.

Admittedly, there are definitely pros and cons to everything in life right? Some of the pros -- we are right downstairs from our best friends and it has been awesome to see them more frequently, we are thoroughly entertained by a complete tweaker cat again since Scrubby passed away so long ago, there is a dishwasher, Matt’s commute has been shortened by about twenty minutes each way everyday, there is a dishwasher, there is a washing machine that does not require quarters to operate, there is a dishwasher, we have about 300 extra square feet to spread out in. Oh and did I mention there is a dishwasher?

We are not even all that far away from home, just three miles away in the same town in fact but since we are required to spend the night I feel like we are on the other side of the planet until I come back here in the mornings to write. But oddly, even though I enter my apartment everyday now, the air in here is not the same as usual. The energy that generally resides in my home is lying dormant due to lack of daily activity. It would be cool to have someone else stay here while we are gone so at least their vibe would be hanging around. As it is all I can pick up on are the teeny waves from the one, almost dead, plant in the living room and whatever slid off me from the day before.

We are due to return to our cozy and comfy abode on Saturday and the sun is supposed to be shining for the first time in about 8 days and it is due to be in the upper 70’s. Coincidence? I think not. It is fairly likely that my activities over this weekend will consist of opening all the windows and blasting some of Jason’s music to commemorate my very own homecoming. Maybe I’ll even force Matt to boogie in the living room with me just to bring the energy meter back up to high again.

End rant.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Rorschach Test Broke When I Took It

Yesterday when I was bored for a minute or two between writing gigs I decided to log on to Crackbook (sometimes called Facebook to those who are not afflicted with the addiction). Lately, I can not get enough of the surveys, quizzes and top five lists. It’s a nice way to turn off my brain a few minutes because in no way do these things require intelligence of any kind, such as reading a blog might. Generally speaking the person who created them had the aptitude of a trash can when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar and although that irritates me in a way I can not explain, I let it go because, well, it’s Facebook.

After filling out the “Top Fourte Things U Always Wanted 2 Know Abot Me” survey, I noticed a friend had taken a quiz called the Rorschach Test. Having heard of this particular test in the past I figured the quiz might be fun so I dove right in.

Sadly, yet utterly predictably, the quiz was completely lame, asking questions about dragons and blood spatters but with no corresponding ink blot pictures to accompany it, so when I woke up this morning I decided to do a little research to see if this type of test, the real one, is available online. I discovered that there is indeed a website specifically dedicated to The Ink Blot Test so of course I had to take it.

Luckily I believe almost nothing that I read on the internet, unless it is the Wiki on Hermann Rorschach of course. Here is what my results said (direct copy & paste is very important in this case):

Sickness Quotient: 81%
Your Sickness Quotient of 81% is definitely something to worry about.

Detailed Diagnosis

Interpersonal Insights
Everyone likes you. This is because your life is such a mess that everyone else is relieved they aren't you. You have delusions of adequacy which are completely unfounded. You couldn't pour tea out of a boot with the instuctions written on the heel.

Job Performance & Attitude
You have little empathy for anyone more successful at work than you, which is pretty much everyone. Your work is of so little value they should just put a shredder in place of your Out basket

Personality Insight
Your personal motto is "Find something you love, and do it." Unfortunately, your test results indicate you really love sheep.

Once again, I trust no test that has spelling errors in its results. Ugh.

Sadly though, they did pretty good with my sickness quotient percentage because sometimes I really do wonder if I belong in some kind of home for the freakishly tapped. Ok, not sometimes, most of the time. Then I just watch stuff like this and it takes my mind off of my own short comings long enough to wonder what the hell this guy was on. Then again I am laughing at it so that should be the first clue of my own whack job-ness.

Yup. Definitely well on my way to cracked-up-ville! Hope you all can come along for the ride.

Oh sorry, I was talking to my other personalities, not you.

But if you’d like to come too I’m sure there is more than enough room in this car for all us clowns. There always is.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Little Thumbs Up for Henry

Last night after returning from a yummy feast to commemorate our meet-a-versary, I started pondering what I might want to write about today. I opened up my little notebook that I always carry and jotted down a bunch of quick burst ideas; something about celery, eggs, soup, bread crumbs and milk. Huh, come to think of it maybe that was just the grocery list and not so much ideas for really rockin’ blog topics. Because I was trying too hard to come up with something interesting, witty and brilliant, I decided to employ Matt to give me a title so I could craft something phenomenal out of it for your reading pleasure.

He pondered the request for a few minutes while updating his Crackbook status and came up with something much too serious sounding. I quickly dismissed it, reminding him what blog this was being posted on, and without missing a beat he uttered the current title of this post. It was just fun enough to be right on the money, just odd enough to be something I would use; there was nothing I could say against it. Damn it.

Now I am even more lost than before and strongly considering falling back on the grocery list, telling everyone about just how much I love celery. Where I bought my last bunch of celery. Why celery is good for weight loss. How to ensure that into every life a little celery must fall. Or something like that.

Maybe I could make up a little story about the bagger at my grocery store being named Henry and after a particularly fantastic job of placing my items in my reusable tote (read: not putting the celery at the bottom of the bag under the cans of soup) I shoot Henry a little thumbs up with a smile like some cheesy end of an 80’s sitcom.

Now that I think about it, there are probably a billion stories I could share about times when I gave or received a thumbs up because 1. I frequently talk with my hands and 2. I enjoy being told I have done well at something -- but the trouble with the blog post concept here is not the thumbs up, it is with Henry.

I do not know anyone named Henry that could act as inspiration, not even in passing, not even a guy I once made out with on the dance floor of some night club fifteen some odd years ago. He told me his name was Ralph. Then again it was at a club and we were making out before we introduced ourselves so he could have been using a fake name. Although Ralph is not exactly the kind of name anyone is fantasizing screaming out in a fit of early twenties passion so it probably really was his name. Regardless, I did not go home with the kid to find out what it sounded like when shouted after "oh God..." What kind of girl do you think I am?

OK in all fairness I sort of used to be that girl, but even in my overly promiscuous youth I knew not to go home with someone whose moniker was Ralph. Never in the history of my dating experience would I have considered a guy named Ralph to be a phenomenal lover. (OK go ahead all you Ralph’s out there, if you are so amazing, prove it. I will watch your silly self made YouTube porn and gladly judge you, bring it on.)

But I digress, sorry Henry. Let us get back to your story, but perhaps instead of being just a grocery store bagger we should beef you up a little bit so you do not fall into the same tragic end as all those poor Ralph’s out there. Miserable. Alone. Not having sex with hot sweaty chics you dance with and French kiss in clubs. Maybe we should make you a superhero.

Henry -- bagger by day, super hero fighting crime by night? The grocery store apron would certainly be one hell of a good disguise. And it could double as his cape. He would run around Arlington saving cats from trees and helping little old ladies to locate the vertical pedal on the right. His superpower would be the ability to perform mind control on everyone driving down Mass Ave to do the speed limit so there was never traffic. The end of each episode would be whoever he saved the night before coming in for groceries and after he does a particularly fine job of bagging, they would give a signature little thumbs up for Henry while he flashes a knowing wink into the camera.


No, even though Superman pulled off Clark, Batman showed the tougher side of Bruce and Peter became a web-slinging building swinger, I still can not conceive of how little old Henry would be able to transform into such a powerhouse of planet saving. It just is not in the name. Sorry man.