Friday, October 31, 2003

Nanowrimo: SOS, Mayday, Abandon Ship, HELP!!
Ok, so this hasn't proven to supply any ideas (good or bad) for my Novel-athon.

People, this starts TOMORROW!!!

I've received one idea, verbally. I'm, um, keeping it in the idea pile. For consideration. With hopefully more to pick from within the next 24 hours.

I will probably sign up to do Nanowrimo, regardless of if I have a real idea by tomorrow or not. If I go completely bust on this whole last minute adventure this year, I will try again and be more prepared for next year.

Of course, I may surprise myself (most of all) and crank out the world's best novel in the next 30 days after all.

But the fact remains, I do still NEED AN IDEA to get started . . .


I'm Not All Good
Thanks to Tim Samoff, I was able to check out this link and determine that my blog is only slightly more good than evil. In fact, here is the result:

This site is certified 59% GOOD by the Gematriculator

That means my blog is (completely scientifically, of course) 41% evil. Pretty silly, huh?

Or is it . . .

Mwahaha . . . .


PS: According to my recap of an episode of Newlyweds, Jessica Simpson seems to be 42% evil, which makes her 1% more evil than me and my blog.

Based on this, cargo pants are only 20% evil.

And according to my thoughts on Bob the current Bachelor, he is only 35% evil. Frankly, that surprises me.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

That Halloween Thingy
I'm relatively new to the whole Halloween phenomenon. My Dad's birthday is on Halloween, and he hates Halloween. So as kids, we would would either leave the house on Halloween to take my dad out for his birthday, or we would hide in the basement with the lights out, watching TV in the dark to ward off trick-or-treators. We rarely dressed up in costumes, except for school stuff. We never went trick-or-treating.

Well, we did once. But when the guy next door answered the door in lady's lingerie, my mom quickly pulled the plug on that outing, and we never went out again.

This year, I live in a house again for the first time in a long time. And it's my house. So, technically no one can make me hide in my basement and pretend I'm not home. Mostly because I don't have a basement to hide in.

But, I have no idea what to give kids that come trick-or-treating. And I am too poor to go out and buy lots of candy for the 108 million kids in my neighborhood. So, I will either plan to not be home. Or, I will venture into my pantry and get creative.

I learned from a very wise man that anything given out to trick-or-treators has to be individually wrapped. This narrows down the selection some, but it also forces me to be more creative, which I enjoy. I figure I might as well start my career that will inevitably cause me to end up as the Crazy Old "Something" Lady, living alone in the same house many years from now, when kids walk by and point and say, "That's where Crazy Old 'Something' Lady lives."

So, here are a few options to give out in lieu of candy, which I've discovered in my house to help me on my way with the 'hook' effectively describing who I am to the neighborhood in the coming years:

Crazy Old Peanut in a Ziploc Bag Lady- I have a jar of peanuts that I will never eat. I can place one peanut in a ziploc bag and hand out literally hundreds of those.

Crazy Old Packaged Oatmeal Lady- I have a box from last year of packaged instant oatmeal. I also have one box of the 'old lady' version, given to me by my grandma because she didn't like it. Kids will love that, right?

Crazy Old Raman Noodle Lady- That's pretty self-explanatory.

Crazy Old Nutri-grain Cereal Bar Lady- Well, those are kind of expensive. So only the kids who don't throw things at me will get those.

Crazy Old Ice Cube in a Ziploc Bag Lady- Same concept as the Peanut in a Bag, but with ice cubes.

Crazy Old Box of Scooby Doo Macaroni and Cheese Lady- Wait, I ate that the other day. Nevermind.

Crazy Old Band-aid Lady- These come conveniently individually wrapped, so I don't even have to do anything with them.

Well, you get the idea. I still have some exploring to do. And I'm open to suggestions.

I'm sure this will be a Halloween to remember.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

What We Learned as Youngsters
My thoughts were provoked by someone last night who had an interesting, and somewhat silly thought about the things we are taught in life. He noticed I have an old school desk from my elementary school in my house now. As kids, we always had a time during the day when our teachers would tell us to put our heads down on our desks, either for a nap, or when we'd finish our work. The teachers told us to do it. So, we did it. Put our heads right down. It's what we were supposed to do.

But, when we got older and into highschool and college, it was frowned upon to put your head down on your desk and snooze for a bit. So, what is up with that? As youngsters we are trained by our teachers that our desks are there for us to lay our heads down on for a nap. But when we get older and we continue to do what we've been conditioned to do in our early years by the authority figures in our lives, we are then breaking the rules, rewarded with punishment for napping in class. No wonder as adults most of us are so messed up and unsure about who to listen to, and what is right or wrong.

As an adult, I still find myself wanting to put my head down on my desk in my office to take a wee nap in the afternoons.

I'm pretty sure that's frowned upon, but I feel like I can justifiably blame my teachers if I ever get caught.


Some people run 26.2 miles, I prefer to write 50k words.
It's a different sort of marathon.

Ok, so I'm thinking of trying this. I saw links to it on a couple of other blogs, so I decided to check it out. It will be a challenge, but I think I can do it. I've always wanted to write a novel, so this seems like a fun way to dive into my first novel.

The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, the month of November. Writing starts on November 1 (3 days away!), and ends on November 30. I'm not sure exactly where I will find the time for this, or if I have the attention span to stick with it, but I think it will be good to give it a go.

The cool part is, the novel doesn't even have to be any good. The point is just to write a novel. About anything. Even if it sucks.

Here's what I need: Ideas for my novel. Since I'd have to get started on this in 3 days, I need a fabulous idea to inspire me. I don't win anything if I complete the 50,000 words, except acknowledgement that I did it. So if I use your idea, you don't win anything, either. Except acknowledgement on my blog for inspiring me.

So, if you have any brilliant, funny, silly, poignant ideas, leave a comment below. I appreciate it.

If I find something I like, or think of something myself, I'll be signing up for Nanowrimo, and commencing my noveling on Saturday. I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003

My Two New Favorite People
I realize I'm the last person on earth to jump on the Jessica Simpson bandwagon, but I am proud to admit that my new favorite people on the planet are Jessica and Nick, ala Newlyweds.

I don't have MTV, and believe you me, I flog myself daily for not having this channel. It's a sin.

Consequently, I have to keep up with my MTV via other people's MTV. I had heard talk of Jessica, and I'd even read things about her online and in magazines. I knew from what I heard, this Newlyweds phenomenon was reality TV I needed to get in on. I knew I was missing out on something really, really good.

Sunday morning I got the call. Newlyweds would be on in about an hour, and if I wanted to see The Jessica in action for myself, I'd better get to my friend's house, post haste. Foregoing even a shower and definitely not looking my best (but hopefully not being too stinky), I quickly dropped everything I was doing (um, sitting in my chair, drinking coffee, noticing a picture of Jessica Simpson advertising something in the paper) and I hurried over to watch my MTV.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. In fact, it was the best hour of my morning, as not one, but TWO Newlyweds were on for my viewing pleasure.

In the first episode, Nick attacked bees with a water hose and Jessica whined while looking confused. Then Nick and Jessica went to Home Depot, and Jessica whined while looking confused. Then something else happened, and Jessica whined while looking confused. She also misplaced a shoe, while it was on her foot.

In the next episode, Jessica took two days to cook one dinner, while whining and looking confused. Then Nick planned a romantic getaway for Jessica, apparently for their anniversary, and Jessica whined and looked confused. Then she looked confused while she told Nick he was the best husband ever. I was confused as to why Jessica didn't seem to do anything for Nick or remember to acknowledge the anniversary on her own, while Nick went all out to make it a special day for her. But I didn't whine about it.

All in all, two thumbs up for quality television viewing. I am heartbroken that I missed the entire season, but I can only hope it comes out on DVD soon. And hope that I also get a DVD player soon. So that I can have a Newlyweds marathon, of course.

Incidentally, the Jessica ad I saw in the paper Sunday was for a mall appearance here in town tomorrow. Yes, The Jessica will be right here, close by, at the mall, tomorrow. I'm debating whether I should leave work early to go catch a glimpse of her in person.

I can only hope that she is all that she is on TV, in person.


Monday, October 27, 2003

Um, No?
I don't really have an answer for someone who comes to my office door and, seeing no one in the office next door at the moment, points into the empty office which I can't see into through the wall in between the two offices, and asks me, "He's not in?"

Um, if you don't see him, then yes, he's not in. Or no, he's not there.

You decide.


My Eyes! My Eyes!
I am so blessed to have the world's worst pair of eyes. I have my parents to thank for that. Not that my eyes are disease ridden or anything. They just can't see anything other than blurred chaos on their own.

This morning I made a trip to the eye doctor, one of my least favorite places in the world. My doctor is one of the nicest people on the planet, as far as doctors go. Everyone in the office there is top-notch nice as can be. My eye problems and I, afterall, are paying to put their children through college. But many years of eye doctors and eye issues have made the eye doctor one of my lesser favorite things to do.

When I was five years old, my teacher noticed I squinted at the blackboard a lot. She called my parents, who took me to the eye doctor, and I was rewarded with my first pair of eyeglasses for my squinting efforts. Following came much ridiculing and name-calling among my peers. Four-Eyes, Glass-Face, and other such creativity.

By the fifth grade my eye doctor at the time discovered he could not keep up with the speed at which my eyesight deteriorated by using conventional, yet funny-looking and increasingly thick glasses. So it was decided I should become the youngest person ever at my elementary school to wear contact lenses, in an effort to slow down the poor eyesight madness. After a horrific visit to the doctor's office, during which the contact assistant person proceeded to jam contact lenses into my tiny fifth-grade eyeballs by coming at me from across the room with a lens on her index finger and aiming for my eye, I was quite the phenomenon back at school. The day before, I wore glasses and was made fun of. This day, I was glasses-free, and suddenly very cool for wearing contacts. Very blinky. But cool.

Today I still struggle with the contact lens hoopla, being too poor to afford that new-fangled Lasik mumbo jumbo. And since my eyeballs, as am I, are growing older and more tired by the day, I decided it's time to give my eyeballs a break from contact wear on occassion by upgrading the ancient eyeglasses I currently have, for a new, hip pair that I can wear in public. Without people going back to the pointing and laughing and name-calling.

Currently my glasses are only worn at night when I'm sure no one else is around to see the horror. You think Halloween scary is bad. You haven't seen me in my glasses, yet. By Thursday, I will be able to debut my new look, and my new, much relaxed and very thankful eyeballs.

However, I did have to endure the eye doctor visit today. The first few tests are fine, and kinda fun. Watch for the blinking squiggly line and press a button when you see it. No problem. Stare at a hot air balloon while some machine takes it in and out of focus as it makes weird noises. No problem. Pretty balloon.

Then they have me take out my contacts and read eye charts. They might as well turn off the lights and take a nap for a few minutes because without my glasses or contacts on, I can't see the chart at all, much less decipher any letters or numbers on it. At this stage in the poor eyesight game, squinting has lost all its power. And let me tell you, I have nearly superhero capabilities when it comes to squinting. Look out, George Costanza.

Today the assistant person handed me an eyechart card and told me to cover one eye and read the lowest line I could see. I held the card, covered an eye, and promptly asked her if I still had the card in my hand because I couldn't even see the card itself. I wasn't joking, but she didn't find it funny. I did.

The eyechart on the wall didn't fare much better. With some of my very best squinting techniques, I saw the big 'E'. But it was pretty much a lost cause after that.

Then she took me back to the first room we were in (I forgot to wear my running shoes, which would have been helpful because I literally spent my entire two hours there this morning traveling from room to room for different tests and lots of waiting. I should have packed a snack, too), and we did the stare at something else test. And then, the glaucoma test.

I hate the glaucoma test.

In my opinion, every time they blow a puff of air directly into my eyeball, I should get to flick the assistant person in the nose with my thumb and forefinger. It's only fair. And seriously, I think they just made that test up because it's funny to watch us jerk back as we get hit in the eye with the puff of air. I mean, she did my left eye twice today because the first one wasn't good enough, and I swear I heard her giggle both times. Do they really think we believe that shooting air at our poor little eyeballs tells them if we have glaucoma? I think not.

Anyway, the doctor checked me out and said I appear fine, except slightly blinder than the last time he saw me. Legally blind, if we want to get technical. But I just like to think of it as not as blind as my dad, but definitely blinder than say, your grandma.

I picked out some sweet new glasses, and thoroughly entertained the glasses helper guy as I tried on every pair of the kind I was looking for, and promptly asked him how sexy I looked. I narrowed it down to four frames that looked almost exactly alike, then left it up to him to give me his best opinion. Hopefully I don't look like a freak after I pick them up on Thursday and proceed to wear them more often than my contacts. I will blame the glasses helper guy.

Then came the worst part of all. The eye dilating brew-ha ha. They save that til last, because it's the worst. And they conveniently save it until after you've paid for everything, because the dilating proceeds to blind you worse than you already are, which could keep you from being able to find your money.

So they put these drops in my eye, which then proceed to blow up the pupils to maximum occupancy, and then the doctor shines bright lights at me while staring at my eyeballs through that scope-thingy. The point of this? I'm not sure. And certainly if it held any real merit they wouldn't wait to do this part until after they've done the bulk of the exam and let you pick out new glasses. Like they'd dilate your eyes, look in there, discover you've got a gigantic eye tumor that they couldn't see before when your eyes were normal size, and then break the news to you that the sexy glasses you just picked out and paid for will be totally useless to you in four days because tomorrow you need to have one eye removed. But, you can still pick out a sexy patch to cover up the gaping hole in your head, which thank goodness was discovered after we dilated your eyes!

I really think it's just another thing they make up to make us look silly so that they are thoroughly entertained. As I stumbled out of the office and into the sunlight wearing my new roll-up, gigantic safety sunglasses which they gave me 'for free', they are likely taking pictures to hang up and point and laugh at later. Good thing I parked the Jeep right in front, or I'd still be bumbling about in the parking lot looking for my car, whilst burning my retinas.

After a very slow, very treacherous, braille-ish drive in to work (I swear the sun is set on 'extra bright' today), and now that I'm stumbling around and into things at my office and freaking people out with my gigantic pupils, my suffering today will pay off in a few days when I can wear my new glasses and give my eyes a rest.

Interestingly enough, my new, hip, sexy, trendy brown-rimmed, square-ish glasses look remarkably like my very first pair of glasses when I was five years old.

I knew those things would come back in style someday. And this time, Four-Eyes will be cool.


Friday, October 24, 2003

Which is Worse?
I'm not sure which is worse: the usual urine-themed aroma that dominates the homeless shelter building where I work, or the new scent of the Glade Plug-in air-fresheners that seemed to have appeared overnight all over the building, mixing with the afore-mentioned aroma.

Either way, it's giving me a headache.


My Protest
I want all of you to know that I am vehemently, whole-heartedly, adamantly, definitely, superfluously against setting my clock back an hour this weekend for Anti-Daylight Saving Time.

Sure, they make it sound like a cool thing with the promise of an extra hour of sleep Saturday night. But did you forget that they took that hour away last spring? So it's not really an extra hour after all. It's an hour they owed you anyway.

Not to mention, now it will be dark by 5:00 everyday. I HATE THAT. I can't stand leaving my office everyday in darkness. I like to arrive home with plenty of time to enjoy my yard for a bit before I call it a night. Arriving home in pitch black darkness makes me want to go straight to bed, even though it's only 6:00. When it's dark in the morning on the way to work, and dark again on my way home from work, I can only assume the sun has completely left the solar system until April.

I enjoy long sunny days. Why must they take that from me, telling me they are saving it? There is no daylight saving. If that were true, there should be enough stored up somewhere in a secret vault, for just such a time as these next few dark, cold months of winter to come.

Be warned. As you all giddily roll your clocks back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday night, as you giggle like school girls at the thought of a whole extra hour of sleep even though you've stayed up an hour later, anyway. As you rejoice in the thought that fall is here and the weather is cooler, be afraid. For my winter depression begins at the stroke of 2:00am Sunday morning, and will not dissolve until April when the sun emerges once again.

I protest the whole Daylight Non-Saving Ploy.



Thursday, October 23, 2003

My phone, My life
For someone who has a rather large aversion to talking on the phone, my life truly does revolve around my cell phone.

I'm not a fan of phone conversations because I just don't do them well. I don't call people very often because I fear the voicemail almost as much as I fear actually getting the person I'm trying to call. I prefer email. Being a hermit, conversation in general is hard. But I am better at carrying on a conversation in person when I can see eyes and lips of the person on the other side of my conversation.

Now, that doesn't mean stop calling me because I don't like to talk to you. I do like to talk to you. I'm just saying Phone Conversation is not my best sport.

So, knowing that most, if not all of my phone conversations are awkward, drawn out moments of jumbled nonsense, you'd think I could do without my cell phone as a major key to keeping in touch with people. But, the contrary is actually true.

If I ever lost or broke my cell phone, I would likely never be heard from again. Why? Because every phone number I use is saved in my phone, and conveniently not written down anywhere else. Everytime I get a phone number, it goes in the phone. Friends, family, doctors, haircut person, everyone. In the phone.

Come to think of it, I have no idea what my parents' phone number is. I'd have to look it up in my phone. There's a niner in there somewhere, I think.

Every once in awhile I remind myself that I should make a list of all my phone numbers in case something ever happens to my phone. But I usually forget soon after I remember, and I have consequently never gotten around to it.

The other night I dropped my phone on the hard kitchen floor. This is not an out-of-the-ordinary occurance. I drop the phone all the time, and it's always fine. It's a very resilient phone. However, this time I picked it up and noticed the screen was blank. That was new.


I pressed the 'on' button. It flickered for a few seconds, then went blank again. Crap. This was bad.

I took it to my bedroom and plugged it into the charger. For some reason I thought this would magically bring it back to life. It didn't.

I started freaking out. What's wrong with my phone? Who do I call? Phone Fixer People? AT&T? Um, no. See, the phone number for AT&T would be in the phone. The dead phone.

It dawned on me that I couldn't call anyone. Except 911, but I didn't figure this was that kind of emergency. Plus, many people couldn't call me, since they never seemed to embrace the fact that I actually have a home phone with a home phone number. Most people just use my cell phone to get ahold of me, which is fine. But at that moment I cursed them for not ever making use of my home phone.

I felt cut off from the world. Alone. Frightened. Suffocated . . .

I looked at the phone and begged it to work. I can't afford a new phone, and even a new phone would not get back all the phone numbers lost inside the dead phone. I pleaded with it. I picked it up and banged it several times in the palm of my hand, in a classic ER-type moment of resuscitation. STAY WITH ME!! I NEED YOU!!! WORK!!

It did. It suddenly came back to life. I was relieved.

Apparently beating on things really does fix them. Thank you, ER.

But I should make a list of my phone numbers, just in case.


Lunch is . . .

Big Blob o' Beef (not a burger, not a patty, it is truly a blob)
Big Mound o' Beans
Big Bunch o' Soggy Rice

And it only sounds good because it's free.

Mmmmmmmm. . . . . blob o' beef . . . .


I swear it was the Hindenberg.
Ok, so it wasn't the Hindenberg. It was the Fujifilm blimp. But still, it was a big giant blimp.

During my traffic-filled commute to work this morning, I gazed up over the sky of downtown and noticed a giant blimp floating about over the buildings. It wandered along, then eventually started turning a very slow turn.

To my knowledge, there is no major sporting event in town today, a Thursday, at 8:00-ish in the morning. Typically blimps are found floating over sporting arenas and whatnot, so naturally I was a little confused as to why I saw a giant blimp hovering above.

Why else would there be a blimp, if not a sporting event? The usual things I see in the sky in the morning are traffic helicopters, darting about ahead of where I am to let me know that I will soon find myself in a big pile of traffic. They are traffic copters of impending doom. But really, if the city has switched to Giant Traffic Blimps, that isn't making a traffic jam any more pleasant for me.

Could the blimp have been out for an advertising stroll through the morning sky? I sometimes see those little planes flying around, pulling a sign behind them, usually for Hooters or something else I can't read while trying to drive. I've never quite understood that advertising tactic. The planes are too high, the signs are too small, and everyone on the ground is moving. Is that really an effective way to get your sales pitch across to the masses? I can't really say for sure. But watching the Fujifilm blimp overhead this morning did not seem to create a sudden mass exit from the freeway as hundreds of cars headed for Wal-Mart to pick up a pack of Fujifilm.

The blimp is such a curious contraption. It just floats along, not really going anywhere, yet taking forever to get there. I have to wonder what the real point of it was for whoever invented it. It seems like you could throw a rock at it and punch a hole in it, causing it to gently waft to the ground, rendered useless. It's hard to imagine it going down in flames or being very dangerous at all, yet the Hindenberg seems to have met a tragic end in such a manner.

It's not like you can haul lots of cargo in a blimp. Seriously, I can carry more stuff, run, and get there faster and with a better payload than a blimp.

I guess you could sneak up on someone in an attack using a blimp. It's quiet, and could probably be painted as a giant cloud to float near a target and proceed to drop things in an attack-like fashion. But if they retaliate by throwing rocks, down we would go. Gently wafting, more than likely. But down, nonetheless.

I wonder if the inventor of the blimp would be proud that today the blimp is used to hover over sporting events and advertise film and tires.

I'd be cool with that. Too bad I didn't invent the blimp.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

More and more, my blog has become a conversation that I haven't had with people. People will say something to me or talk about something that I wrote about here on my blog, although not in the context of 'Hey, I read this on your blog.' They'll repeat a phrase I've written, or look at me with a knowing look like we're both in on the same joke about something, yet these are things I haven't yet talked about in actual conversation form. I think.

It's great and quite funny really, but a little trippy for me. I'm thrilled that people are interested enough in me and/or my blog to read my ramblings here. But I have a bad enough memory problem as it is, so when someone makes a comment or a joke related to something I blogged about, it takes a minute for me to remember that I didn't actually have a conversation about it, but it is on my blog for people to read. Keeps me on my toes, that's for sure.

I don't forget that people can read my blog as it is on the world wide web for all to see (and I don't forget that tuna is not actually chicken), but I think I sometimes forget that people I know actually do read it. Quite often.

Of course, mentioning this will provide an excellent opportunity for people to mess with my affliction, making comments to me and insisting that we did, in fact, have a lengthy conversation about it that I should absolutely remember. Be warned, I am already on to you.

My blog seems to also have become a place for people to check up on me, get the scoop, yada yada. I guess I tell better stories in print than in real life. I don't ever want the blog to take the place of conversations, and I definitely write things here knowing that people do stop in here and read and will likely enquire about it later. Everything here is up for conversation and okay for public knowledge.

It's just funny sometimes to have written something that someone mentions later, as though we are both on the same page of knowledge about it, yet I'm fairly sure I haven't had a conversation with them about it, yet.

Hopefully it's just the blog, and not people inside my head.


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Ode to the Peanut Butter Cracker

My afternoon snack, the peanut butter cracker.
So salty, so crunchy.
There when I need you, there when I don't.
You fill the void inside me, when that void is hunger.
Compact and convenient, in your cellophane wrap.
I carry you with me. Always and forever.
My peanut butter cracker.


Monday, October 20, 2003

Reason #1081 why I do not love my job.

Because I want to work here. (start with 'best of')

(thanks to emergingminister for the link)


Reason #1080 why I do not love my job.

I have to ASK to get the toilet cleaned in the ladies bathroom.


The Most Bizarre Place in the World
I found the most bizarre place in the world Saturday night. It's a bar on a street that I'm not sure really exists.

Some friends of mine are in a band. I've never heard them play before because they always play late at night at shady bars, and that is just not my scene. But Saturday night, as I laid on my couch in my comfy shorts and t-shirt prepared for a quiet evening at home alone, I was called and convinced to get off the couch, get cleaned up and check out the band.

After a wonderful dinner, (which later proved to be the best part of the evening and had we any clue as to what the next few hours held, we would have stayed with dinner a whole lot longer), we ventured out to see the guys in the band. We had general directions to the bar, as well as the name of the bar: Home Bar. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Homey? Oh so wrong . . .

We drove to the area where I knew the bar to be. There are several bars in this area, so I figured we'd just drive up and down the street until we found the right bar. We proceeded to drive up, and down, and up, and down, and up, and down, until we were convinced that Home Bar was definitely not on that street.

We saw a bar with a giant green elephant on top. It was fairly empty inside, which may have had something to do with the Republican Party office headquarters being on the top floor of the two-story building. Something about a big 'Republican Party' sign capped off by a giant, lit-up green elephant just didn't seem right. We decided this was not the right bar.

Across the street from the green elephant place was the Across the Street Bar. Seriously. That was the name. We couldn't decide what that said for the bar. Is it a great bar? No, it's just the bar Across the Street. Is it a bad bar? Not sure. It's just Across the Street. Plus, if you are at Across the Street Bar, you are no longer across the street.


We decided to park the Jeep and poke our heads into Across the Street bar, to see if we could determine where this mysterious Home Bar might be, or if maybe we were looking for the wrong bar. As we walked over to the fine establishment, we heard a band setting up outside behind the building. We walked over to an iron fence and we could see band equipment on the other side. We figured this had to be it, but it was very, very confusing at this point. Nowhere did we see a sign for Home Bar.

We walked around to the front, which happened to be Across the Street bar (even though we were on the same side of the street now. don't get confused, as we were). There we found a man who didn't look like he should be the bouncer at a bar, and we decided to ask him if the band we were looking for ( was playing here. He said no, they were playing at the Home Bar.


He then pointed out that Home Bar is directly behind Across the Street bar, and we could get there by walking around the corner. Keep in mind, this is a very dark street in not the best part of town. We looked where he was pointing to see darkness, and what looked like the back of closed warehouse buildings. He said it was just a short walk, and then pointed around the corner.

We decided to believe him. So, we started walking. We reached the commuter train tracks just in time to see a train whiz by, and we decided it might be a better idea to drive around the corner, rather than risk walking around on train tracks in the dark late at night in a scary part of town. We turned around and headed back up the street.

Across the Bar Bouncer Man stopped us and asked if we were really going to drive over there. We said yes. He said that was silly, there wouldn't be any parking, and seriously, it's directly behind Across the Street bar. He made it sound like it was the most idiotic idea in the world to drive around the corner.

So, not being sure what to make of the situation, we turned around again and headed towards the Train Tracks O' Doom. Just in time to see another train whiz by.

We crossed the tracks (quickly) and turned down the street, conversing about the strange Bouncer Man. We decided he looked more like a dad, or a football coach, rather than a bouncer at a bar. We decided he probably didn't even work there, and he had sent us off into the night on a scavenger hunt for this bar we felt sure did not really exist.

We rounded the corner to find another dark street (this being the street that we still aren't sure actually exists) with closed-looking warehouses, and some, but not a lot of cars parked along the street. Available parking? Plenty. We walked toward a lighted, albeit still desolate-looking building, and finally saw our destination: Home Bar. Actually, the sign was faded almost completely to white and simply said 'Home' on it, almost looking like someone had written it up there thirty seconds before we came around the corner.

We assumed this wasn't someone's actual Home, so we decided this must be the place. At this point we also decided these friends of ours had better be the best band in the whole world. We feared we'd made a bad decision by finally attempting to see them play.

We walked in the door with a few minutes to spare before we were told they would go on stage. A band was already playing, but we couldn't tell if it was our band or not. However, we could tell that it was really, really, loud.

We were stopped at the front by another non-bouncer looking bouncer who insisted on collecting five dollars cover charge from each of us. Then he mentioned that I couldn't bring my purse inside.


Crap. My car was on the Across the Street Bar street, which meant our walk around the corner, over the tracks, through the woods, and straight on til morning had taken us away from the place where I now needed to keep my purse. It was too loud to ask the guy why I couldn't bring in my purse (we assumed it was a security issue, since this 'bar' was obviously a hot spot for terrorist activity), so my partner in despair on this bizarre adventure for the evening offered to run my purse back to the Jeep.

I tell you now, not many guys would volunteer to run a girl's purse through a dark alley late at night to a car parked on another street. That was the sweetest part of the evening, and almost made the whole adventure worthwhile. And run like the wind, he did. Skinny guy with a purse alone on a dark street. He wasn't messing around.

He also was thoughtful enough to drive the Jeep over to Home bar, and park it conveniently right in front of the bar. Take that, Strange Across the Street Bouncer Man who said there wouldn't be any parking.

Once we were both inside, we discovered our band hadn't made it on stage, yet. We saw a room full of really young people. And we saw a gross, gross non-home-ish bar-type place. I was afraid to touch anything.

We pushed our way through the crowd to the back of the room and stumbled upon a few other people we knew. We clung to them. Soon our band friends showed up and let us know they would not be playing for another hour or so. After midnight. Oh dear God. . .

Well, we had made an incredible effort to be there, overcoming many obstacles to be there for our friends. We decided it would ruin the effort to leave at this point. So, we sat through one very loud band. Then another even louder band. We had ample time to people-watch, so we did. We saw more bumping and grinding than I ever need to see again, but it was strange bumping and grinding of the nature belonging to young college kids who are trying to bump and grind, yet they just aren't good at it. It was awkward. And sad.

We also saw a lot of strange outfits, and we determined that I had definitely worn the wrong thing. I wasn't showing enough skin, my clothes just weren't tight enough, and none of my clothing was falling off. I made a mental note in case we were ever forced to return here against our will.

Then I began to notice purses. Everywhere. Purses amok. My friends had their purses. Other girls had their purses. I saw a guy with a large European Carryall-type bag. Several backpacks walked by. If the rule of Home Bar was no purses inside, I was confused as to why I saw so many purses inside.

We were baffled. By now we were laughing at everything about the bizarre evening, but in a bitter sort of way. My cohort had risked his life carrying my purse to safety in the dead of night, yet other purses ran abundantly free inside Home Bar. It was beginning to look like discrimination. Had we wronged Home Bar in some way? Had we wronged the universe in some way? I don't remember doing such a thing, but we were certainly the target of something bizzare and out of our control.

Bravely sitting on a couch that I'm sure I would not have sat upon had I seen it in good lighting, we continued to watch the room. If security was the issue for my purse to have been banished from Home Bar, we were seeing some strange things around us. Several people were wearing giant foam cowboy hats. Sure, safe in the event of a potential head injury, but also large enough to conceal a good sized automatic weapon.

We then saw several people wearing toy plastic cowboy guns in hip holsters. Wha-huh?? Purse containing lipstick and chewing gum, not allowed. Things that look and act like guns? Yes, by all means bring those right in.

We decided Home Bar needed to post a list of acceptable items to bring into the bar. Anything resembling my purse, must stay out. Guns, nuclear weapons, box cutters, bombs, hand grenades, and toxic chemicals, please bring inside.

Once we tired of people watching, we began taking a closer look at Home Bar. My cohort noticed a sign asking people to please not put cigarrettes out on the carpet. At this point, we noticed the disgusting floor was actually carpet, littered with cigarrette butts and other random debris. We noticed many trailer-trash couches scattered about the room. Pictures on the wall resembled something your grandma might have in her house, complete with a picture of what we think was Jesus with a flock of sheep.

Clearly someone intended for Home Bar to be a 'homey' environment. But I assure you, this was nothing like my home.

Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, our band went on stage. They were the loudest of all. We managed to survive several songs, but eventually we couldn't take anymore. They weren't bad, we were just too tired to really enjoy it in the middle of a smoke-filled throng of youngsters going nuts. We made an executive decision to call it a night, feeling sure we had successfully supported our friends and their band.

If I didn't know it before, I walked out of Home Bar knowing without a doubt that I am old.

So old, in fact, that instead of sleeping in really late the next morning after getting home around 2am, I was awake at 7:30am. Just like my grandma.

I blame the evening at the most bizarre place in the world.


Friday, October 17, 2003

Adventures in Parenting
My parents are currently houseguests in my home for a few days. They are the first houseguests I've had in my new house, and this is also the first time they've ever stayed with me when they've visited. Since my parents are used to a certain level of comfort when traveling and staying somewhere overnight (ie: preferring a bed, and food), they usually prefer a hotel over my previous one-bedroom, mostly crappy apartments. My housing situation of the past has not typically provided much in the area of good hospitality.

Needless to say, I've had a certain amount of anxiety about this particular visit from my parents, although it has been countered with excitement, too. There's a good bit of pressure to make their first official stay with me into a good experience for all. I always enjoy seeing them and spending time with them, and I'm very glad they are here. We've gotten closer and are knowing each other better over the past few years. But, as is true with many parents far and wide, it's also difficult to spend that much time with them in one chunk.

It's not that they are high maintenance, exactly. They are just sort of particular in many ways, and I'm not used to having them around constantly, as opposed to having a break when they leave to go to their hotel during past visits.

Not to mention, my mom is Martha Stewart's non-evil twin. She loves to decorate, and her house is immaculately clean all the time. So, for the past week I've been rushing around the house, cleaning everything, even if I haven't used it in the two months I've lived in my house. I've made sure everything matches and coordinates and overall looks mostly nice. I bought lots of food that I don't eat but that I know they eat. I've tried to be the best hostess I could possibly be, trying to make the few days of their visit as pleasant as possible for everyone. It's not a five star resort, but it's pretty darn close.

Of course, there are the usual things that are typical of a visit from the parents. No matter what time of year it is, my home is always too hot for them. The first thing my dad does when he walks in the door is find the thermostat and crank it down about 20 degrees from where I keep it. I hate being cold, and I get cold easily. But my parents prefer to live life in an igloo environment, so even though it is 80 degrees outside, for the next few days you will find me tightly bundled up in sweatpants and sweatshirts while at home.

Living by myself, I generally keep things pretty neat at the house, although I don't generally care if stuff is out of place sometimes. It's just easy to keep things neat when I'm the only one there to mess things up. So after we'd all been home for five minutes last night, and I walked out of the room only to come back two minutes later and find all of the pillows from the couch all over the floor, suitcases everywhere, newspaper all over the table, my dad's feet propped up on one of my good napping pillows where my face usually is, and a new aroma coming from the bathroom, I had to fight the urge to run around behind them, pick up after them, and fuss at my dad to get his feet off of my pillow. It dawned on me that I was experiencing a reversal of roles, where they used to notice the same things about me and run around cleaning up after us kids. Things were out of place and it bothered me. So bizarre.

I promised their visit this time would not involved any work on my house. Their last visit was a week long adventure of helping me clean and paint and generally fix my house up when I first moved in. They had no time to relax and enjoy my home. So this time I wanted to make sure everything was in good working order, intending for them to not lift a finger during their stay. I'm even going so far as to cook dinner for them tonight. Something I have never done for my parents. Ever.

Mostly because I love them and I fear for their safety.

But, I think my house sensed that Handy Man Dad was in the house again, because the very second he walked into the house, a repair need erupted. The ceiling fan in the guest bedroom was already a source of concern for me, as it wobbles uncontrollably when it runs on 'high' mode, and personally I wouldn't dare sleep underneath it. But alas, this was where my parents would be sleeping for the next couple of nights. The fan was in bad shape when I first moved in, but after a run-in with my head while I painted in that room on a ladder, the fan just never was okay after that. Nor was my head. However, the fan was still functioning on a low speed, and my head eventually recovered. Neither were entirely broken, yet.

Of course, my dad walked into the room before I even got home from work yesterday, and knowing nothing of my concern, flipped on the ceiling fan. He was promptly rewarded with a fan blade breaking off in his hand as he noticed the wobble and tried to examine the problem. When I got home from work later, my mom made him tell me what happened to the fan, and I realized he thought he broke it. Once I assured him that it was already on its last leg and it wasn't his fault that fan blades were falling from the sky, I realized that my plan to one day save up for a new fan and eventually replace it was over. The time was now.

So, after dinner we made a trip to Home Depot and my dad bought me a new fan, which he then installed for me. Poor Dad. I had promised him no housework. I swear I didn't plan for the fan to freak out for him like that.

Today, there was the 'at-work' phone call. My mom called me at my office, from my house, just to see what I was doing. There is nothing wrong with this. I'm just not used to it. I may have sounded annoyed because she kept asking me if I was okay, which annoyed me more. I'm just used to a bigger buffer zone.

Tonight we'll have dinner, which I will make for them. We'll play our family tradition of Scrabble. Tomorrow morning we'll all three play golf together for the first time since my mom picked up the sport. Then they'll hop on a plane and head home tomorrow evening.

Another great adventure in parenting.


Thursday, October 16, 2003

Wimbledon, here I come.
I always knew I would win Wimbledon. I just never imagined it would be such a long and strangely irrelevant road to get there. A road of mostly not playing tennis at all for many, many years. Since high school, really.

I love to play tennis. I'm not a great player, but I'm better than horrible. When I was a kid I was fascinated with the whole sport. I followed professional tennis, dreaming of one day playing against Chris Evert, or Stefi Graf, or Gabriela Sabatini. I was in love with Andre Agassi back when he had hair and wore colored clothes to Wimbledon. Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg- also secret boyfriends of mine. Well, not so much Ivan. I just liked saying 'Lendl'.

I picked up a tennis racket at a young age, although probably more to chase the dog around the house with it than to play any form of tennis. I vaguely remember a few tennis lessons in a group setting around the age of ten or so. I'm not sure I knew what was going on, but I do remember holding a racket and seeing my mom watching from the sidelines with the other moms. She was so proud that I held onto the racket without beating any of the other kids with it.

I played for fun every once in awhile for a few years, probably holding out for the right moment at which to let my inner child prodigy emerge onto the tennis scene, but being smart enough to know I needed to play on occassion to keep my skills up. I remember hours of hitting a tennis ball against the brick wall of the house in the backyard, which to my neighbors and parents may have seemed like an odd thing for a kid to do. But to me, I was winning match after match against Stefi Graf and a very young Jennifer Capriati. I was undefeated, of course.

My first year in highschool presented a crossroads in my athletic career. My family and I had just moved to a new city and I was beginning a new school. As I sat in the office with my mom and a school administrator deciding which classes I should take, I had a choice to make. My first love was actually basketball, and I had spent the last three years as one of the stars on two different basketball teams. But I was too late for basketball tryouts at the new school, so my basketball career would have to be placed on hiatus for awhile.

I wasn't sure what to do for my extracurricular activity. I chose band as one activity, since I was also a child musical prodigy. And since there was still time to tryout for the tennis team, I thought I'd give it a go.

Of course, never having had any real lessons or match experience didn't seem to cross my mind as something that might be important in making the team. Imaginary Stefi Graf did not actually translate into real tennis experience. Although had she and I actually played a real match, I totally would have won.

But, I showed up for tennis tryouts and gave it my best shot. And somehow, all those hours in the backyard paid off. I managed to walk onto the tennis team, and I knew this was my first step towards taking over the women's tennis circuit. Sure, I was a late bloomer compared to all those other people who were born with a tennis racket in hand. But after my first Grand Slam win, my belated rise to the top would make an even better story than the usual, boring sports hero stories. Sports Illustrated cover, here I come.

I worked hard on the team, as I discovered during our first practice that I was the second to worst player on the team. The worst person being someone who was basically there so that we had an even number of people to play practice matches with. My coach was impressed that I played as well as I did without ever having any actual instruction, but I think she also wondered if there was any real hope for me. I did not want her to think she had made a mistake in letting me on the team, especially since I would need to thank her later for giving me my start as a professional athlete. I practiced and listened to her instruction. I was determined to be better than second to last.

When matches began, I was having a blast. Granted, I didn't win many matches at first, but the whole tournament experience was really cool. We would travel in the school van to other places in the city, then watch each other play singles matches throughout the day. Of course, I watched many more matches than I played at the time. But it was a huge high to get out there on a court with people watching, and play someone while actually keeping score. Amazing.

My first tournament success came towards the end of the season. My mom was on hand to be my driver for the day, as we didn't have the van for this tournament. I actually won my first match of the day, and advanced to the next round. I knew this was it. The beginning. Next stop, US Open.

I actually made it to the quarterfinals in this tournament, with my mom on hand to witness her young tennis star's rise to fame. I blew through each round as though the other opponents weren't even there. And in fact, they weren't. I won two matches by default because the other girls didn't show. Intimidation? Maybe. But on paper, a win is a win.

This tournament would prove to be the pinnacle of my highschool career. I savored my quarterfinal status, even though I finally lost in that round. By the end of the season I was suffering from a muscle pull injury in my shoulder that effectively ended my rookie tennis season. I finished out the year, actually lettering in the sport. And then retired my racket, never again to play the highschool tennis circuit.

Years of depression followed. Drugs, alcohol, and fast living ruined any chances I had at a comeback, and I was forced into a downward spiral of shame and evil. I spent years on the streets, dressed only in a tennis skirt and a headband, attacking strangers with a muddy tennis ball I kept with me at all times. I changed my name to Serena Williams, hoping to start a new life with a new name, only to be devastated to learn that there was a real Serena Williams already winning Grand Slams. . .

Or at least that's what I would tell Sports Illustrated: Behind the Baseline when they show up to do my life story one day. In reality, I found other stuff to do, and my racket continued to collect dust in the back of the garage.

College came and went, and tennis was once again only a social event played every once in awhile.

But, I have found a renewed urgency lately to stage my tennis comeback. Last night I played with a friend, and I was amazing. We didn't technically keep score, but by my own secret calculations, I won 108 games to her 2 games. While she was a worthy opponent, had we officially kept score, it would have been a massacre. I would have emerged as the unquestionable victor.

I figure if I keep playing at least once a week for the next few months, I will be in shape for my comeback in no time at all. I'm a little rusty now, but just wait.

Next year, Wimbledon here I come.


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

There are times in life when something comes along that's new and different than what you usually have. You don't plan for it, you don't know what it really is, you don't really know anything more than what you have and see and experience at that moment.

But, it's nice.


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Columbus Day is dead to me
In my honest opinion, if some people get a day off from work for Columbus Day, then all of us should get the day off.

Let's dissect Columbus and his day, shall we? I think you will find that I am right about the unfairness of this holiday situation. And if you don't, then you probably got a day off for Columbus Day yesterday while I was at work all day, and I don't want to hear what you have to say.

Now, we all know that Columbus discovered America. Sure, in theory that sounds like a big deal. And we are all thankful to Columbus for his big 'discovery'. But truthfully, do you think if he hadn't done it, we would never have found it? And if we want to get technical, do we really know he was the first one off the boat, setting foot on shore? You don't think he sent a servant or some boat rower with a gun out first, to make sure there weren't any aliens on shore to eat him? Columbus Day could just as easily have been Jim Bob Boat Rower Day. Why does Columbus get all the glory?

And honestly, would it be so bad to still be living in Europe? If Columbus and his boat rower had never made it to America, starting the fad of "hey, let's all go live in America", would it be so bad to not live here? As many future vacations as I have planned for Europe, I wouldn't hate Mr. Columbus if he never found America and we all still lived there, so I could visit it for much cheaper.

If we take a closer look at Columbus, it turns out he wasn't even aiming for America. So in my estimation he technically didn't 'discover' anything. He just stumbled upon it, and truthfully, any idiot can do that. One day when some scientist guy discovers the cure for cancer, it won't be because he tripped and fell into a vat of lard that bonded to his aftershave, and suddenly cancer is no longer a problem for mankind because scientist guy's shoelace caused him to trip over himself and into the very thing scientists have been looking for for decades. That's not a discovery. That's an accident. Happy Tripped-Up Scientist Guy Day.

Columbus eventually figured out that this wasn't where he was supposed to be (Jim Bob Boat Rower probably told him), and that was the first clue that he 'discovered' a new place. He then proceeded to be turned into a hero 'explorer', taking all the credit for finding an enormous hunk of land that probably didn't just appear overnight, and now everyone thinks he's a big deal worthy of being honored by a holiday on the calendar.

You know, eventually I will 'discover' a giant meteor crater the size of Texas in the surface of the earth if I keep walking in the same direction long enough to fall into a giant, meteor-shaped hole. Someone may have to tell me what just happened when I hit the bottom. But if I do make such a discovery, I expect a holiday to be named after me.

Now, as far as this Columbus Day 'holiday' goes, since we are mostly all Americans (here in America) and we all apparently have Columbus to thank for putting us here, doesn't the question beg to be asked: why don't we all get Columbus Day off for a holiday? Why don't we all get the chance to celebrate our 'hero'? Why are banks, and school teachers, and post offices more thankful than the rest of us? I will venture to say I work just as hard as they do, and if hard work is rewarded with obscure holidays for random people who stumbled across a big pond to get here, then I am just as deserving as the next person who gets to lay around in their pj's all day watching a Newlyweds marathon, to 'honor' Columbus.

The mystery doesn't even stop at just banks and post offices and teachers. My DAD gets the day off for Columbus Day and he sells computer software. Wha-huh?? I mean, he's a hardworking individual, very deserving of a day off. But SO AM I. Who is the person who decided which people are worthy of Columbus Day, anyway? I want his home phone number. He needs a phone call.

My next question is this: Does anyone having a day off on Columbus Day actually use the day to celebrate Columbus? Be honest, did any of you teachers or bank employees use Columbus Day to go to a Columbus Day parade? Did you sit around a Columbus ficus plant and tell the story of the discovery of America? Did you sing Columbus Carols? Did you really stop for a moment during your busy day off to pay homage to the discoverer of the land you walk upon? You didn't celebrate Columbus anymore than I did working all day in my office. In fact, I was quite angry at Columbus all day yesterday.

I mean, for the Christmas holiday people actually celebrate Christmas. It's not like people are neglecting gifts and Jesus on Christmas, because that is what the day is for- to celebrate Christmas. But Columbus Day? I don't think anyone is really paying any attention to Columbus on that particular day, or any day thereafter.

If I were Columbus, I'd be a bit ticked off. People are using him as an excuse to slough off work, yet he gets no credit for it. When I 'discover' my meteor crater, and am consequently rewarded with a holiday named for me, you people had better celebrate me and only me on that day.

I want a parade. You can wear your pj's.


Monday, October 13, 2003

Adventures in Wedding
Now that I think about it, the 'wedding' part of the wedding trip I took on Saturday was really a very small part of the adventure.

I love occassions when you are with all the right people to make whatever you are doing a nearly perfect day. Everyone gets along, everyone is fun for everyone else, we all look out for each other, and things just seem to go smoothly.

Well, there is a certain amount of chaos. But it's all in good fun. I would expect nothing less.

A bunch of us planned a road trip to a wedding, so we convened to caravan for the three hour trip. Five cars, simple enough. Even though we left forty-five minutes later than we planned, we actually planned for that. We know us well enough to plan a lot of extra time.

I was put in the lead, and approximately thirty seconds after we left the parking lot, we managed to lose everyone in the caravan. So, I pulled into a parking lot to figure out what happened to everyone. My mom doesn't call me a 'mother hen' for no reason. I take very seriously making sure everyone is okay and where they are supposed to be, keeping my 'chickens' all in order. Or in this case, rogue wedding attenders driving amok from the get-go. I do not leave a chicken behind!

We finally located everyone and continued on our way. As some of us were already dressed for wedding (you can bet if I'm dressing up enough to be in a skirt and fabulous top, I'm going to wear the heck out of it), yet some of us were not dressed for wedding, we had to take over a Wendy's bathroom once we were in range of the wedding location. Aaaah. There is nothing I love more than a greasy burger and a Wendy's changing party before a wedding.

The wedding was great. True love, a gazillion bridesmaids and groomsmen, lots of people we didn't know. Good times.

Reception, much the same. Although the large contingency of us dressed so nicely (as this is out of the ordinary for our particular clan) seemed to put us at the center of attention for much of the reception. We were very photogenic, apparently, as we seemed to attract many people with cameras as we congregated in one spot. Until the bride and groom arrived, of course. They totally stole our thunder.

Cake, reception festivities, bride and groom away in a carriage. And now the adventure was only half over.

We piled back into our respective cars to caravan home, with plans to stop midway at a much talked about mexican restaurant a little out of our way. I was assured it was only a little out of our way, and was promised that it was Mexican food not to be missed. Can't beat that, can you?

Of course, as it grew dark outside, and as we continued to drive with no mariachi band in sight, the adventure was less fun for a bit. Hungry, tired, weary of driving, we turned off the main highway and headed south, with promises of food nearby.

I am fairly certain we drove so far south that we were well into Mexico before we finally found the restaurant, but once I had a few fajitas, followed by free sopapias, I was in good shape. Well worth the drive.

Of course, the return trip was now a bit longer, but I was annoyed into driving faster to get home quicker by the sounds of Justin Timberlake crying me a river while he rocked his body. That is one annoying CD.

And it did the trick.

We made it home safe and sound, and in safe record time.

And we were still all friends afterwards. A nearly perfect day.

Completely perfect, only had it been my own wedding.


Friday, October 10, 2003

Bah-humbug to Wedded Bliss
I'm a bit bah-humbug when it comes to weddings. But that's only because I haven't had one of my own to get excited about, yet.

Sure, I'm happy for friends and family of mine that get married. I love to see true love and happiness, and I'm always honored to witness the occassion. I cry like a big sap, even though I try not to let people see such a sensitive side of me. I'm all about romance and finding that special someone, and it's a thrill to see people I love and care about find that person and embark on forever together.

It's just about dang time it happened for me, too. That's all I'm sayin'.

Tomorrow I'm off to another wedding. It will be a fun day, and a joyous occassion. An adventuresome roadtrip with lots of friends to watch two of our other friends get hitched. I am truly looking forward to it, but with mixed feelings. It's weird to watch people you know end up with someone, to know them before and after they found their true love. It's great, and exciting. But weird.

And it's about dang time the whole weird, exciting thing happened for me, too. That's all I'm sayin'.

They say weddings are a great place to meet guys, so you'd think I'd be excited about the possibility of meeting my true love at someone else's wedding. Whatever. That only works for other people. Never for me. The guys at my family weddings are all related to me (although at times I fear one of my family members doesn't care about that little detail). And the guys at friends' weddings are the other people like me who have been to a million weddings, to watch other people tie the knot on the loose end I still seem to be. We show up with a group of friends to mask our alone-ness, but when the dance party gets started, we're looking for the punchbowl. Alone.

It's really about dang time I found the other end of my knot to tie, so I can send him to the punchbowl for me. That's all I'm sayin'.

Aaaah. Wedded Bliss.



Not exactly water, but it'll do in a pinch.
I knew there was something I missed from when I was in Russia a few years ago. . .

Good times. Glad I finally remembered . . .


Thursday, October 09, 2003

There is a man who comes to the homeless shelter where I work every week. He's a volunteer who has come here longer than I've worked here. He's an elderly man, frail to look at, but always in good spirits and definitely stronger than he looks, so I've learned.

This man plays the piano for our Thursday morning chapel services. Every week, there he is, leading the group of homeless people and staff in song. You almost don't notice him hidden behind the piano until you hear the notes coming from that direction. He never says much, but is always there on time, twinkle in his eye, looking his best in a full suit and tie, ready to play. He's by far the best dressed person in the building, but not in the sense that he's proud to wear nice clothes. He's just an old man who is used to wearing a suit and tie for church.

A few months ago his wife had a stroke, and she was in the hospital on life support since then. He never said much about it except to stand up one week and timidly ask for our prayers for himself and his wife's health. They've been married a long time.

Even during the months that his wife was under hospital care, here he was every week, playing the piano, in his suit and tie, twinkle in his eye. Just like always.

I've been here almost two years and I can remember him missing only two weeks in that entire time. He doesn't have to be here, but he is always here, faithfully, without complaint or excuse. He missed one time because he was sick.

And, he missed last week because his wife passed away the night before.

Today, he was back. I didn't think we'd see him so soon, but I should have known better. He buried his wife on Saturday, and today he joined us again for chapel. He didn't play piano this morning, but he came to sit and share in the chapel service, like he always does. Faithfully.

I come to work here everyday because I have to, and most days I can't say I enjoy being here. But seeing this man's dedication and his servant's heart to be here for these homeless men every week without question, even when he is losing a loved one, reminds me that my heart could use an adjustment sometimes.

I'm inspired by that.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Understanding The Tyrant
So many of my 5-7 readers, and many friends who are not necessarily my readers, ask me 'Who is the Tyrant? What makes her tick? Why does she seem to hate me and people in general? What is her problem? Is she in a coma? Why is she so hard to know? Why doesn't she like to hang out with me? Why is she such a hermit? What drives her brilliance and sharp wit? Why can't I be more like her?' Well, I have found something that can shed a little light into the dark shadow of the mystery of the Cynical Tyrant.

Thanks to Tim Samoff for the link to this article about my people: introverts.

I may write some of my thoughts on some of the characteristics in the article as it particularly pertains to me at a later time. For now, I will let the article speak for itself. Simply substitute 'she' every time you read 'he', and 'Tyrant' every time you read 'Jonathan', and you will have a fairly accurate description of life from my point of view. It's not entirely accurate or applicable to me personally, but it's probably the best summary I've read about introverts, why we are the way we are, why we do what we do, and the lives we lead.

I can really, really relate to it. And you are now one step closer to knowing the real me.


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Cosmic Messages
I think the universe is telling me to shut up today. The comments aren't working on my blog. I've tried to post comments on a couple of other blogs, but they didn't take even though comments from other people have appeared. The breaker in my office blew earlier today, causing a total power failure in the building, right in the middle of writing an email. Naturally I lost everything I was working on, and have since not had a clue to help remember what I was typing at that moment.

Fine. I can take a hint.


Monday, October 06, 2003

I have a picture on display in my house. It's on a shelf where I can see it fairly often. It's a picture of me with a friend of mine, a friend who I used to be really close to, but not so much anymore.

It's a great picture, taken at a fun time. Happy memories, and a great friend. Someone who was instrumental in helping me through a difficult time. A picture I was proud of, because I was proud of the friendship.

But it's painful sometimes to look at the picture. It reminds me of something and someone I miss. In fact, shortly after the picture was taken, our friendship changed and it's been a bumpy road every since.

So why do I keep the picture if it doesn't mean what it did when it was taken? Why keep it where I can see it if it's painful to see? Why not put it away, in a box with other pictures of people I don't hang with much anymore?

Well, because even though I don't have that relationship as something I can count on or even truly enjoy anymore, and even though it's hard to look at the picture and the passing friendship sometimes, it's also a reminder of good. It's a reminder that people are good at the right times, and times can be good when it doesn't seem possible. And even if people come and go, there is great value in what they brought to my life at the time, even if I only had it for a short time and even if it may not have been what it seemed then. They were still there for a reason.

Even if I miss it now, and it doesn't make sense.

The picture is good.


Thou Shalt Not Speak Out Against 'Trading Spaces'
This article is completely blasphemous, to say the least. I may be seriously offended by the whole thing.

Obviously the person who wrote the article is unhappy with the decorating in her own home, and she is taking it out on the wrong people. Maybe she was rejected by the show, or perhaps Ty spurned her love-infested advances as she stalked him from afar. Maybe she hides in the bushes during every episode and got one too many chigger bites in the process. I don't know. But whatever the case, she is way out of line writing such trash and filth.

Sure, people don't talk about Trading Spaces like they go on and on about the drama of Bennifer. Sure, maybe it's lacking a certain gossip-ish, glamor-esque, scandalous, over-the-top flare that people find intriguing and buzzworthy. But if you think Spaces isn't as 'hot' as it once was, well, then you just never appreciated the many, deeper levels of Spaces and the powerful message contained in each episode.

And if you don't know what that message is, then I'm not going to tell you.

Long Live Spaces!!


Thursday, October 02, 2003

Still More Fun With SPAM
Ok, so it's probably a more logical, better researched idea to not reply to SPAM emails (thanks, suzi!), and I respect that. But, I find it's much more fun to respond to the ones that make it into my Inbox, rather than just delete them. And truthfully, I've noticed a significant drop-off in the amount of SPAM I get at one of my email addresses since I've started doing this experiment, using only that email account. Today I got another SPAM email, and it was the first one in probably a couple of months, in my actual Inbox rather than the Bulk mail folder.

So, I won't recommend it, since maybe it's a weird fluke because I am, in fact, often a weird fluke myself. But I will share today's SPAMARP (SPAM Annoyance Reponse Plan) adventure. SPAMARP, annoying SPAMmers in the same fashion they annoy me. At the least, this will publicize yet another email scam for those of you who have trouble deciphering a scam when you see it. Following is the original email, immediately followed by my response.

THE EMAIL (as-is, typos, grammar, and all):

From:Basil Davidson
Abidjan, Ivory Coast West Africa
. Tel:+225 07563921.


. Dear,

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your name and contact from the Ivoirian chamber of commerce and industry .I prayed over it and selected your name among other names due to its esteeming nature and the recommendations given to me as a reputable and trust worthy person that I can do business with and by the recommendation ,I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business .

I am Basil Davidson the only son of late Mr and Mrs Joseph Davidson.My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan , the economic capital of Ivory coast, my father was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outings on a business trip . My mother died when I was a baby and since then my father took me so special. Before the death of my father on January 2001 in a private hospital here in Abidjan he secretly called me on his bed side and told me that he has the sum of ten million,five hundred thousand United State Dollars. USD ($ 10.500,000) left in fixed / suspense account in one of the prime bank here in Abidjan ,that he used my name as his only son for the next of Kin in depositing of the fund. He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned by his business associates. That I should seek for a foreign partner in a country of my choice where i will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose such as real estate management or hotel management .

dear, I am honourably seeking your assistance in the following ways:

(1) To provide a good bank account into which this money would be transferred to .

(2) To serve as a guardian of this fund since I am only 22years. (3) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and to secure a resident permit in your country. Moreover, sir i am willing to offer you 15% of the total sum as compensation for your effort/ input after the successful transfer of this fund into your nominated account overseas. Furthermore, you indicate your options towards assisting me as I believe that this transaction would be concluded within fourteen (14) days you signify interest to assist me. Anticipating to hear from you soon. Thanks and God bless. Best regards,

Basil Davidson

MY RESPONSE (hee-hee):

Dearest Basil-
Did you know that is my favorite spice? Basil. Mmmm. Just the sound of it makes my mouth water for a big hunk of Basil.

So, Basil, you write to me with quite a predicament. What a pickle you are in! And my name was recommended to you by someone you trust? And you prayed over this? Can I ask who this is that recommended me to you? You see, I've spent the last several years of my life living under an assumed name. Basil, I am in the Witness Protection Program, specifically to hide from the last Abidjan person with whom I did business. I actually get these emails all the time. I'm quite popular, really.

So if you have found me due to a recommendation, this means one of my dearest friends/confidants/security guards has leaked my moniker to you, and therefore must be terminated immediately. I must fight fire with fire. I simply cannot be found. And I think a little fire to the belly of this traitor will do just the trick, if you know what I mean . . .

Now, back to the business at hand. You want my bank account number, and a plane ticket to the USA. And you want me to be guardian of your cash because you are only 22 years old? How do you know I'm not only 21 years old? And since when is being 22 years old not old enough to hang onto a large sum of money? Here in the US we let small children run around with wads of cash tucked away in their diapers for safe keeping. Being 22, I assume you no longer wear diapers, but I trust you could guard your own pile of dinero all by yourself. Put it in your pockets, or stuff it down your pants, if you must. You're a big boy now. Don't underestimate yourself, dear Basil.

Now, about that 15% of the total sum. I will gladly accept that and/or watch that much money for you on a permanent basis. Just send it in small unmarked bills to:

Witness Protection Program
c/o Basil's friend
Spamville, USA 77777

I will be expecting it within 14 days, or else I will come looking for you. And don't think I won't find you. I'm in the Witness Protection Program. No one knows who I am because I technically don't exist. So I have nothing to lose and no fear of anyone or anything when it comes to getting what I want. I will stop at nothing to find you and get my money, so don't think you can run from me.

Well, you could probably run for awhile, but when you get tired and your legs cramp up, I'll be there waiting in my parked car with dark tinted windows, sipping a cool glass of lemonade, watching you sweat. Since you said you know me to be a reputable and trustworthy person, you can trust that I mean everything I've said here.

So good to hear from you, Basil!

Your Dear Trustworthy Friend

PS: If you call me 'sir' one more time, the deal is off. And I am doubling my fee. It's almost like you don't know me at all, Basil. And that hurts. It really, really hurts.

Take that, SPAMmer.


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I'm an Adult?
Sometimes I'm amazed that I'm what is commonly seen as an adult. Late twenties, job-having, car-owning, home-owning adult.

I don't feel like an adult. I don't see myself as an adult. I don't even think I look like an adult. My friends don't look like adults to me. I'm still waiting around to grow up. Not in the sense that all I want to do is play with toys and eat ice cream. But the picture of my life through my eyes still looks like I'm hanging out, waiting to become the adult that I may already be.

I feel like a big kid playing around in my dad's suit at work (although as his daughter I typically don't wear his suits, or any man's suit). I feel like I go to this place all day where I have a job, just like my dad did when I was a kid. I come home at the end of a long day, just like he did. But it still doesn't click that that's me, having a job, like a grown-up.

I feel like a kid playing with my mom's pots and pans at home in the kitchen when I make dinner. I use the dishes, banging around, making lots of noise. Food is the finished product. Usually. But it still doesn't quite feel like I have a kitchen, filled with my own dishes, where I can make meals and have friends over for dinner parties, and freeze stuff for later, and recommend recipes to other people. Like adults do.

When I mow my lawn I feel like people drive by and see the teenage daughter doing her yardwork chores. I get out with the weed whacker and the mower and I make my yard look great, with straight edges and nicely kept grass. I pull the weeds and take care of the bushes and trees, just like my dad used to do. But it still feels like my dad will walk out of the garage and yell at me to go pick up the dog poop in the backyard, after I get finished mowing the front. Just like we used to do every Saturday when I hated yardwork as a kid.

I've grown to cringe at the thought of responsibility, yet I seem to find myself with a lot of it. I take care of my whole house all by myself. I have a car payment and car maintenance to attend to. I go to work everyday and I have responsibilties there. I have church responsibilities and meetings and important things and relationships to take care of. I am accountable to many people, many places, many things.

I still run to my parents for all sorts of issues and occassions. I'm on my own now, even though when I visit them we still fight over the bathroom, or about putting up the dishes, or about leaving my shoes out in the living room. Just like we used to do when I lived at home. But instead of crying over a cut, needing a Band-aid, or needing help with homework or prom dresses, I seek their advice now on income taxes, house contracts, hot water heaters, home maintenance, and planning for my future. I still look to my parents for guidance and to make me feel safe, just like I used to. Only now it's a long distance phone call, and all they can do is point me in the right direction. The rest is up to me.

When did I grow up? When did I become a neighbor, a tax-payer, a morning commuter, a concerned citizen? I can drive by my old houses, where we once lived as a family, and it seems as though nothing has changed. I'm still a teenager coming home after a night out with my friends, trying to make it back before my curfew.

But then I realize I have to keep driving past the house, and head back to the home I have now, because it's time for me to water the lawn before I go to bed early to be ready for work in the morning.

I am a responsible member of society, but I still feel like a kid playing house, expecting the real world to catch up with me any second.

Even though it already has.