Monday, May 30, 2005

Never Enough
That's a theme I've felt in my life lately, but that's also a post for another time.

What I mean right now is that no matter how many days I get off from work, it is never enough.

I've been home for 6 hours from a fabulous weekend at Friend C's family lakehouse, and already I'm as stressed out as I was before we left town last Friday. It's funny how you can leave your house, your cell phone, your email, and all the problems of your life as you know it, but it's still all there waiting for you when you get back. I spent the last three nights going to bed before midnight and sleeping til well past 9am. So far back at home, I'm already up way too late tonight because I have stressful things on my mind, and I'm dreading getting up in the morning for work.

Man, I wish I lived at the lakehouse.

Friday I had a house full of repair people, checking on things and giving me more estimates on house repair work. This past month is the first time I've felt a tiny twinge of "hmmm, maybe buying a house two years ago wasn't such a good idea...." I don't really feel that way. I mean, when I bought the house I knew it came with a lot of big responsibility. But until now, nothing had really gone wrong with the house. It was still fun.

It's still fun now. But, it's also stressing me out a lot. And making me very, very poor.

But, as it turns out, it truly was a blessing to stumble on to the ad for a plumber in the phonebook with the Jesus fish on the ad. I scheduled the a/c repair dudes and the plumbing repair dude to come at the same time on Friday afternoon. The plumbing repair dude could overhear everything the a/c dudes were telling me. And then he called a buddy of his and found out his guy could repair my a/c for less than half of what the a/c dudes in my house were quoting me.

Not only that, the Jesus fish plumber did not find the same major problem that the first plumbers "found". They had quoted me a hefty repair and hefty price for said repair. One that would require me to take out a home improvement loan just to be able to get the work done.

Jesus fish plumber? He left here after I paid him $127 to look around, clean out the pipes, and recommend to not order the repairs suggested by the big plumber company. He didn't see any reason for the repairs they recommended.

Mr. Jesus Fish (if all works out according to what he reported on Friday) has literally saved me thousands of dollars.

God bless second opinions.

You'd think that would have me sleeping soundly right now, wouldn't you?

I miss the lakehouse....


PS: If anyone needs a plumber, I think I have one that I can recommend.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Repair Dudes
I'm at my house again, waiting for repair dudes to show up and check out my:

1. Plumbing (the pipes underneath my house, you sick people)
2. My a/c.

The pipes have a hole and a leak. I'm going for a second opinion before I start selling organs to pay for the repair work.

The a/c just isn't cooling like it should. I'm hoping I don't need to buy a new one. I don't have enough organs to spare to afford colder air AND repaired house pipes.

The other day as I went through the phone book looking for more companies to call for these repair jobs, it was a daunting task to find what may or may not be good companies. The phone book is full of large ads, mixed with tiny listings, all of which offer the same basic services for a variety of costs.

Two of the a/c places I called actually charge $19.95 just to show up at your door. That's before doing anything. Then they charge another $59.95 just to look at the a/c, still without actually doing anything to it. Essentially this means that just to say hi to one of their repair guys will cost me $80. I can say hi to my friends for free all the time, and get the same good "hands-off" a/c service offered by these companies who charge $80 just to be near my a/c.


And no, friends of mine, I am not paying any of you $80 to come stare at my a/c.

I decided on the a/c company with the word "Admiral" in the title. I thought that sounded reputable enough. I expect someone in an admiral's uniform to show up at my door any minute now. Complete with some a/c armed forces in a tank of some sort, to overhaul the a/c in some sort of military-type manner.

And of course for the plumbing estimate, I chose the small ad with the Jesus fish on it. They bill themselves as the company with integrity.

I mean really, how can you go wrong with the company with the Jesus fish right on the ad??

I feel it is an answer to prayer.

If he shows up with a Bible in hand and gives me a tract on his way out the door, that would be awesome.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Picture Pages
Remember that show? I don't really remember it. But I remember the theme song. Well, a couple of words from the theme song. Picture pages, picture pages....

Yeah that's pretty much all I know. It has nothing to do with what I'm about to write.

Clearly, this guy....

.... who is also this guy....

is the same as this guy, who Friend A and I saw in Cost Rica over Thanksgiving last year.....

.... and is without question Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, as clearly written here on this piece of paper sticking out of his pocket while in the customs line at the airport in Costa Rica.

The proof is in the pics, folks. The really poor quality camera phone pics.



Tuesday, May 24, 2005

It takes a village of ninjas... raise other ninjas.

Yesterday I received a very important email from my original ninja partner, Ninja M. It was with her in Vegas many years ago that we discovered our ninjahood. It went something like this:

(standing in moving elevator)
Tyrant: Hey. I'm a ninja.
M: Me too!

Since then, we have been kindred ninja spirits. And a beautiful friendship has grown, too.

Ninja M lives not near me. So, I rarely get to see her. But when we sense that the other ninja is nearby, we do what we can to meet up and spend some quality ninja time together.

However, somehow over the past year or two she has not only a) met a guy and fallen in love, but also 2) married him, and c) become pregnant with his love-child. All in that order, mind you. And all with very little consultation with me.

Needless to say, this has all moved very quickly. For me. I have needed time to adjust to these sudden changes in our ninja world. But alas, Ninja M and Ninja-in-training Husband T are moving right along with Ninja Baby G soon to be birthed. Or ninja-irthed, as we say in the ninjaworld.

I still can't even believe she's pregnant. And I think she's due any minute.

But yesterday, (and this may embarrass her, even though ninjas are hard to embarrass) she sent me a really beautiful email. Out of the blue. I can't disclose the full contents of the email, as it is top secret ninja-rated eyes-only. But, it made me really thankful for her friendship.

And, I am quite honored (and super excited) to have been asked to be Aunt Ninja Tyrant to the wee little ninja. Really, this means a lot to me. Actual aunthood may never be something I have. Due to circumstances I don't need to go into right now. So to be voluntarily requested as an aunt-type figure for the child of any friend of mine, that's special to me.

I don't really know what this role means, specifically, per-say. But I'm hoping it doesn't require any financial responsibility or adult-like maturity from me.

However, I promise I will always have gum. And a super cool ninja move to teach at a moment's notice. Although Ninja M may want to think twice before leaving him alone with me. I tend to kill living things like plants (and a squirrel) without much effort. Sometimes I don't know the strength of my own ninja powers.

And, in the future, Ninja M, please do not start having more ninja babies without a bit more warning for me. I may be a ninja, but I am old and set in my ways, and I cannot handle so much change in my world all at once.

I'm off to purchase sacred ninja gum.

I'm going to be an aunt!!!

Much Ninja Love-

Monday, May 23, 2005

Random Fun Picture!

I just really like this picture. It's from my birthday party weekend extravaganza back in January. I insisted that we go out of town to see the traveling version of The Price is Right. It is my lifelong dream to be on this show, but I settled for the not-quite-the-real-thing version.

For some reason, people went with me. It was super fun.

I am the one with the shirt that says, "It's My Birthday". Because it was my birthday.

My shirt told me so.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

At what point does this get funny?
So last month I got a fun letter from my mortgage company, kindly letting me know that they underestimated my escrow last year, and I am therefore smack in the middle of an escrow shortage. This means my house payment has gone up several hundred dollars to make up for it. Lovely.

Then the bike thing happened a few weeks ago, and that sucked. I won't even link to it anymore to make you read the story. But I had to buy new cleats so that I can continue biking this summer.

Then what I hoped would be a small plumbing problem in my laundry room has turned into a multi-million dollar pipe replacement job that will take place underneath my house after tunneling through the ground and tearing up my yard. Ok, it's not really multi-million. But it's more money than I put as a downpayment on my car. Or the house itself, for that matter.

And right now I am sitting in my house, blogging, and sweating. Because while my a/c is blowing cool air, it is not actually cold enough to do much cooling of the house. I'm pretty sure my a/c isn't functioning properly. It's been blowing all day, and I'm still sweating. This means I need to call someone and have them come fix the a/c, hopefully not telling me I need a new one.

Because quite frankly, I don't have any money. Within the last month or so the universe has decided to take all of it for major expenses that I did not plan for at this time.

And of course, all of that was after I bought a non-cheap plane ticket for my vacation to Thailand next month. Because I thought I was doing ok in the money department to treat myself to a nice vacation.

I try not to worry about money.

It's when I don't have any and the unexpected expenses keep coming that I get freaked out and depressed.

I wanted to buy some new clothes for summer, for vacation. Not pipes that will go under my house, which I will never see. This sort of thing was funny in that movie The Money Pit. But that's probably because it wasn't real, and Tom Hanks is funny.

Pray for the money elves to leave some cash in my mailbox. I could use it.


Non-Man Crushes
So, all the dudes in my world talk unabashedly about their man-crushes. These are men that they think are hot, but only in an admiration of beauty sort of way. Usually the man-crush is a celebrity of some sort. But sometimes it isn't. I think every dude I know has a crush on Friend D.

I'd like to talk a bit about my girl-crushes of the moment, in an effort for equality of ridiculous conversation topics. The following are 6 of my girl-crushes. Some of them rotate in and out, as the list changes from time to time. A few of them are permanent fixtures that I would laminate onto a list, if I had a laminatey-thingy. Mostly, I would like to be and/or look like any one of the following people (not because they are super people, although they might be. But mostly because they are hot and rich and famous, and that seems fun to me sometimes):

6. Kate Beckinsale

Here is Kate in some sort of trance whilst her hair is blown in the wind.

I don't really know anything about Kate, except that she's hot and I would like to look like her, only not be as short as she is. Kinda like how she looks in that Diet Coke commercial. She's also been in some movies.

Here is Kate in the worst movie ever made - Laurel Canyon.

But, despite knowing much about her, or really caring to know anything about her, from time to time, Kate pops up on my girl-crush list. She's got good hair.

5. Evangeline Lilly

Evangeline is a newcomer to my list, as well as a newcomer to television, as seen on the show Lost. Plus, she's got a cool name. Two major factors in landing on my list.

Evangeline as Kate on Lost, not to be confused with Kate Beckinsale (see #6), not of Lost.

She kicks butt on the show, and I've determined that if I am ever stranded on a weird island with polar bears, I would like to have her with me. She seems capable of all those boyscout things that could save someone's life on a random island. I'd pretty much just be sitting there crying. She would be a big help.

4. Keira Knightley

Also a relative newcomer to the list.

I don't know what it is about Bend it Like Beckham, but that movie always makes me happy. Plus any girl who can pull off being in so many pirate-esque movies without me hating her (because ninjas hate pirates), she must be cool.

Of course, sometimes Keira makes me look fat, because she is ridiculously thin. So sometimes she is off of my list when I feel like I am fat and its her fault.

3. Angelina Jolie

She's just hot. Weird, but hot. Friend A shares an obsession with Angelina, more so than mine. We will be stalking her while in Cambodia on vacation later this summer.

2. Sheryl Crow

Sheryl is a permanent fixture on my list. For many reasons.

First, she is a rockstar, as I hope to be someday.

And anyone who can pull of this rockstar outfit in so nonchalant of a demeanor is definitely the coolest person I know.

And, I do know her. See, one of my co-workers has a sister who is married to Sheryl Crow's brother. I am constantly getting good insider scoop on Sheryl and Lance. Which means essentially, I know Sheryl and Lance. It's convenient because Sheryl Crow is one of my favorite people ever, and Lance is one of my man-crushes.

Here Sheryl shares in one of my favorite activities of biking.

It's too perfect. She's hot, she's a rockstar, she bikes, she hangs out with Lance Armstrong, she knows me personally through my co-worker. She may be my favorite person on the planet.

Except for #1...

1. Jennifer Garner

Jennifer is also a permanent fixture on my list, and my #1. I'm a huge fan of Alias, and a longtime believer that I am secretly a spy. So secret, in fact, that I don't even know I'm a spy, which would totally be something that happens on Alias.

Now, I have been pretty disappointed with Jennifer lately because she decided to go and get pregnant with Ben Affleck's baby. And we all know that no good can come of that. I thought she had better sense than this. I am going to have to have a talk with her. This Ben-baby is tarnishing my list.

Other than that, I hope to one day have arms and abs like Jen's. And to be able to defend myself in really cool ways, should any of my friends turn evil, or if I find out that any of them are clones of my friends that were previously not evil. You can never be too prepared for such things.

Now, you may notice that my girl-crushes all seem to look alike. And you may also notice that they all resemble me in some way (I have actually been told once that I look like Sheryl Crow. It was kinda dark outside, but I believe it to be true).

I don't really know what to think of them all looking so much alike. I guess that means if one of them gets removed from the list, I won't notice as much. But I do enjoy that they all look slightly like me (shut up! they do!), because if any of them went missing I could totally fill in.

Except in pirate movies. I hate pirates.

I'm a ninja.


This is the name of The Tyrant's new line of perfume...

Just kidding.

What I really mean is that today was a contradiction of age for me.

I spent the better part of my day at my parents' house... doing my laundry.

Yes, I own my own home. Yes, I own my own washer and dryer.

I am also the proud owner of a bad pipe underneath my house that sends water back into my house when I run my washing machine. It is a very expensive problem that I have not had fixed, yet. Hence, I spent the day borrowing my parents' washer so I could do my laundry without ruining more of my house because of a stupid pipe.

The doing of my laundry at my parents' house made me feel like a kid again. During college and right after graduating college, I spent many a Saturday at my parents' house, borrowing their laundry facilities. Today felt like this.

Then tonight, I went rollerskating.

Yes, I am an adult. Yes, I am nearly 30 years old.

And yes, I met a group of friends tonight to go rollerskating.

But, after five minutes of the round and round to terrible rap music, I was done. Why was this fun when we were kids? Round and round, same circle, over and over. Falling down. The embarrassing and socially crucial activity of "couples skate". You don't really want to hold hands with a boy and skate, but then again you don't want to be that kid standing by himself against the wall underneath the blacklight.

This whole rollerskating activity made me feel very old. We were surrounded by kids who were both faster and bouncier than I am. They could zip around and fall down, and be up on the saktes again in no time at all. Kids, however, who were apparently not having fun until they bought glowsticks. For whatever reason, skating is much more fun with a glowstick, apparently.

I had nary a glowstick.

It's weird being 20-something. You are physically an adult, but it takes some special reminders sometimes to remember that you are a grown-up.

I'm definitely too old for rollerskating.

But not too old for glowsticks, I think. It would make going to bed at a reasonable hour after soaking in a hot bath much more fun.


Saturday, May 21, 2005

I don't often like to brag about it, but sometimes I do have to mention that I am an actual genius. Pure, straight up, genius.

My genius-ness generally stays under the radar, mostly because I don't like people to feel less genius than I am.

I do it because I care.

But sometimes I can't help but have brilliant ideas that I feel I must share with the public at large. Today, I have had two brilliant (and witty) ideas that I intend to put into practice:

1. Star Wars costumes..... for all movies.
Really, if you are a diehard Star Wars fan, and if you are at all serious about your devotion to this war of stars, you will be with me on this.

Why stop at wearing your Star Wars garb only for the sake of seeing Star Wars movies? I plan to a) go buy some Star Wars outfits, and 2) wear them to every movie I go to from now on. It's not every movie that you can get away with dressing up like the characters in the movie when you go out for a night of seeing the movie in the theater. I'm not really a super huge fan of Star Wars. I have not seen Episode 3, yet. But I am a super huge fan of the genius of it being acceptable (and encouraged) to dress up like Jabba the Hut and go out for a night of Star Wars with a group of your closest friends dressed like Storm Troopers and Ewoks. Pure genius, just like me.

I really feel like this needs to be taken to the next level (plus it would be super hilarious) by going to every movie wearing my vintage Chewbacca outfit.

2. Employ the word "cheeky" as much as possible, and hereby introduce it to the United States as the new buzz word.
I saw a movie tonight that included the phrase "cheeky little mice." I think this word "cheeky" is brilliant, cute, cool, and must now be a permanent part of my vocabulary. I will be saying it every chance that is appropriate, but not so much that it is overused and "last year" before it had a chance to be the word of the year, this year.

You watch. It will catch on.


I may say it while wearing my Han-Solo-Encased-In-That-Weird-Metal-Brick outfit, as I sit in the theater to enjoy a screening of The Interpreter.

My Han Solo Brick costume is made entirely of Legos.

It's so cheeky!


Friday, May 20, 2005

My newest fans
I'm all for gathering new fans. But I never really thought I was much of a role model for kids. However, apparently my latest groupies are none other than Friend C's third grade class.

Yep, a bunch of 3rd graders are all about The Tyrant.

One recent day, Friend C called me saying she had a delivery for me. I always love presents, so naturally the thought of a gift was good for me.

What I received was an assortment of cards, made by kids. The purpose of the cards? To cheer me up from a recent string of bad luck that's been getting me down lately.

At first I didn't quite know what to make of this situation. Here was a class of young kids who now knew the following information about me, as portrayed to them through stories told to them by Friend C:

1. I like the color green.
2. I've had a squirrel in my house.
3. I had a recent unfortunate bike ride.
4. I've been hit in the nose by an apple.
5. I make waffles. (no waffle-related blog story as of yet)
6. I had a trip planned to Cancun.
7. They know me only as Ms. Hot T (a nickname given to me by Friend C... because I am hot, of course).

Basically these kids know a lot about the follies of my life. Did I like being the subject of such tales of mishaps and misfortunes? Um, not especially. Why can't my life have the kind of stories about me saving the world, or being super cool, or at least having a cape like a respectable superhero.

But Friend C gave the kids an assignment to make cards to cheer up Ms. Hot T.

I'm struggling lately with people doing nice things for me. I've discovered I don't understand kindness, when it's directed at me, especially when I'm feeling down. So, it has taken me awhile to grasp why Friend C would have her kids make cards to cheer me up, and why 3rd grade kids would be interested in cheering up Ms. Hot T in the first place.

But, after reading over the cards, I can't help but smile. They're really hilarious. They come with drawings and everything. Here is a sampling (creative spelling and all):

1. "Please do not let squirrel's in your house. And watch out for apples. I hope your noes is better."
This came with a picture of me on a bike at the finish line, apparently in 1st place over two losers named Sue and Kristy.

2. "Dear Miss Hot T. I know your favorite color is green. So have a happy green day. Sorry what happened.

3. "I can't bleave you bork your nose!"

4. To: Miss Hott. "The pig was sick. He went to the doctor. What did they give him. A oink ment. Watch out for a apple."
This came with a picture of a pig, and a lifelike representation of me on a bike saying, "Weeeeeeeeeee."

There are more. It's really cute.

And I can't blame them for their sentiments and efforts to cheer me up.


I mean, I can't bleave I bork my noes with an apple, either. At least a squirrel didn't throw it at me as he passed me on a bike.

Miss Hot T

Monday, May 16, 2005

No shirt, no shoes, no watch, no schedule = Yes Please
The Tyrant has just returned from some much needed vacation time in Mexico.

MAN, is it hard to go to work after vacation. Today sucked.

Three days on a beach, a group of my favorite people, good times, good fun, no schedule. There is something so wonderful about being away from what is familiar, not wearing a watch, not checking email or voicemail, and pretty much just checking out for a few days. I LOVE having no idea what time it is, all the livelong day.

I have to admit, though, that my first day or so in Mexico was rough. I was in a funk. I was there under false pretenses and I needed to change my attitude.

The trip for me was supposed to be a reward for biking 100 miles. All the hardwork and lack of time with people I love over the past few months would be made worthwhile by escaping with them to relax on a beach and just be. However, I did not actually bike 100 miles. So, the beginning of my time in Mexico was a struggle to convince myself that I still deserved this trip.

I don't take lightly spending money, and most things I do tend to fall under cause and effect. I do "this", and then comes "this". I work hard for "this", in the end I get "this". It's all very logical and sensible. So when something falls out of my logical plan of thought or doesn't make sense, it throws me. I have to figure out how to adjust to what didn't follow the plan. I had spent a lot of money for this trip, but in my mind while the trip plans were made I was justifying the expense because I would earn the vacation. So when I didn't accomplish what would earn me the trip as a reward, I couldn't justify in my mind why I should still get to go.

I sometimes forget that we all deserve vacation. And I sometimes forget that it's okay when I fall short of my own expectations.

This is why I need to relax. This is most importantly (more so than reward) why I need days on a beach. Just to remember that it's ok to have that. Not everything has to have a cause and effect. Not everything has to make sense.

I woke up on beach Day 2 on a better side of the bed. Maybe it was all the sand and sun finally sinking in. Better mood, better attitude. It felt more like vacation. I remembered to leave some of my worries behind and just have fun with people I enjoy. Favorite people are special. I was lucky enough to have 7 of them with me for 4 days in Mexico. Consider me blessed.

I hope to see pictures soon. For once, I didn't take any pictures on vacation. I'm dependent on everyone else with the cameras to hook me up with some sweet pics of the trip. There was so much fun and laughter (and sleeping in the sun on a beach), I just wanted to have that. Not worry about getting it on film. (I have not yet entered the age of digital photography. My old-timey camera still uses actual film).

One downfall to the trip was that I not only managed to NOT fix my horrible tan lines from all the biking I've done lately. I actually managed to make it WORSE. Friend Miguel dubbed me Tri-Tone Tyrant. I am quite a mix of red, brown, and still stark white in some places. It's really unbelieveable, and quite a work of art, actually. I was proud to strut my stuff in my bikini on the beach, for all to see and admire.

I hope someone caught it on film. Because even looking in the mirror, I'm not quite sure how I managed such a bizarre worsening of my terrible tan. It. Is. Awesome.

I need instruction on how to apply sunscreen evenly. Seriously, it's like a two-year-old kid finger painted right on me.

Wait, maybe that is what actually happened during one of my beach naps.... That would certainly explain some things.

Favorite People Alicia, Christina, Diego, Esteban, Juan, Miguel, and Zach - thank you for the best Spring Break 2005 ever. WOO-HOO!!

Tri-Tone Tyrant

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dear Simon, see above.

Monday, May 09, 2005

If I only didn't have a brain...
One of my biggest problems is that I think too much. I never stop thinking. I can rarely turn my brain off. This gets me into a lot of trouble sometimes. I over-analyze everything. Even when there isn't necessarily anything to analyze, I will find something to obsess about. It keeps me up at night, and distracts me throughout the day.

I'm in big trouble when I can't find the answer to something that doesn't make sense to me. I will think about it over and over, trying to reason it out. The problem is that I often fail to think of it from another perspective. Not intentionally. I just have trouble seeing things other ways when I'm left to it on my own. I usually have to be shown the alternative, or other contributing factors to see things in a different light.

This is where obsession comes in. If I can't figure it out on my own, and I can't get help with it, and it still doesn't make sense to me, I have a hard time letting it go. Things in my perfect world make sense. There is an obvious solution, and this solution fixes everything. It's clear cut and I don't have to wonder why it doesn't make sense. It does make sense.

Last night at church, I have to admit I wasn't really paying attention to the talk (sorry, talk-giver-person). I'm still in a depressed fog about the bike ride, and truthfully I didn't even want to be there. I just didn't care to listen. Too distracted.

But, the talk ended in a song. And not like it was some epiphany-riffic moment for me. But the song played was U2's Sometimes You Can't Make on Your Own. I listened to the words. It seemed appropriate for my day on Saturday and the bike ride fiasco. It peaked my curiosity enough to buy the CD today during lunch. As a coping mechanism, which is a justifiable expense in times of great tragedy and heartache, and definitely cheaper than some other comfort purchases I can think of.

In a literal sense, I would not have finished that ride had I been out there on my own. I started the ride thinking I could make it on my own. I trained, my gear seemed in good shape to start, I felt good. I figured I would ride, on my own as I usually do, and get to the finish without any major problems. My aching butt ceased to be a major problem a coupleof years ago. Now it's just an annoying problem. But far from major.

But, I was actually forced to ask for help. This is not something I do well, especially of people I do not know. I had to depend on the kindness of strangers. A lot of strangers. It took the help of several people to get my bike and pedals functioning well enough to hobble over the finish line. It took encouragement from friends who I knew were waiting for me in some key places. And you'd better believe that it took a lot of prayer. Among other things, I said some prayers of not-so-quiet desperation while on the bike that day. I needed strength that I did not have, and miracles that I could not create.

Somehow, all of that got me to the finish line. And you can be sure that there were several moments out there that I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Not because I didn't have the desire, or was so tired that I would give up. But because it looked like broken pedals could not be fixed, and it's just not feasable to ride without good shoes and pedals. I would never have thought of velcro, or bailing wire to fix my bike pedals. But, I didn't have to think of it. Someone else did, and provided it.

The U2 song made me think of some other things going on for me lately. Battles of wills that seem to be there, though unintentionally. Alike enough to cause differences. Creating space, but getting distance. Love, yet frustration. Kindness, yet uncertainty. Things I can't figure out, yet can't let go of. A need to understand, when maybe just being understanding is the more important thing.

Thinking outside of the way I see, even when it isn't shown to me. Allowing grace for other factors that I don't necessarily need to know about.

We can't make it on our own, and we don't have to try to make it on our own. But sometimes I can't let go of trying to figure it out on my own.

That's trouble for me, more often than not.

Maybe part of what I'm supposed to learn from the ride that wasn't what I'd hoped it would be is that I need to let go more of the things that I can't control. Especially disappointment. And maybe I need to learn to be more okay when things don't go exactly my way.

Even though it didn't look the way I wanted it to look, when it came down to it, and when I really needed it, I wasn't alone.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still torn up about it.

But at least I have a new U2 CD. Sometimes the world seems better with Bono and The Edge.


PS: I will eventually stop obsessing about this enough to write about something else. But maybe not for awhile.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day
Remember that book when you were little? It seems to have been written about my day yesterday.

Yesterday was the day of my big bike ride. The 100 miler. All the hardwork, training, build-up, and anticipation was to be resolved yesterday. I've been trying to think of the best way to go about telling the story here. I was hoping for a better story to tell. And maybe blogging about it will provide some therapy for me. But it was just a bad day. It's hard to make anything about it witty. I am angry, heartbroken, embarrassed, disappointed, and slightly severely depressed. I haven't slept much since yesterday, nor have I eaten much. Those of you who know me will know this is not normal, and not good for recovery from high activity.

I'm tired.

The ride started out well enough. It was cold, cloudy, and windy. But despite that, the first 40 miles were pretty good. Of course, the wind was at my back and it was mostly downhill. Which was nice. But that meant the wind would be in my face and the hills would be tough on the way back in. That really wasn't the worst of my problems to come, though.

At mile 47, my shoe broke. I'm assuming it was the bumpiness of the road, but at mile 47 I guess the last screw fell out of where the cleat attaches to the shoe, and my foot could not longer hold onto the pedal. I was in the middle of a climb up a hill on a busy highway. This was not good.

My first thought was to scream loudly at the large trucks and heavy traffic whizzing by on the highway. And after that my thought was, who breaks a shoe??? I mean, really. Who does that???

But I had no choice except to continue on, so I hobbled along for about 7 miles until I reached the next rest stop, using mostly my other leg that was still clipped into the pedal. The other foot kept slipping off the pedal since I could no longer clip in to the pedal, so I eventually had to stop using it to push.

At the rest stop, Friends S and L were there to be my Halfway Point Cheerleaders. I was glad to see them.

Friends S and L: Yay C.T.! How are you?
Me: My shoe broke.
Friends S and L: Uh... that's bad.

I had the people manning the rest stop call for the SAG wagon, hoping they would have some tiny screws to fix my shoe.

They had no screws.

But (and this is where it will be funny one day when I look back on it) the guy had some heavy duty velco. Yes, velcro. He may have been MacGuyver. But, I really didn't care. If it would keep my foot on the pedal for the next (what I thought would be) 46 miles, then please use all the velcro you've got, sir.

Friends S and L and I watched as he added velcro to the pedal, and velcro to the bottom of my shoe, and sure enough, it did the trick. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say I continued on my way using the first ever velcro-pedal system on a bike. I guarantee you Lance Armstrong never finished a Tour de France using velcro to keep his foot on the pedal.

Probably because he has shoes that don't break. But, whatever.

I left Friends S and L and biked onward. The velcro lasted about 10 miles, but then the glue stopped holding the sticky side of the velcro to the pedal. I had to stop again.

This time, the other SAG Bubba (aka rural Texas Good Ol' Boy) stopped to help me. I think the first SAG Bubba had alerted all the other SAG Bubbas to the plight of the girl with the velcro-ed pedal, because for the rest of the ride I saw a SAG Bubba drive by to check on me about every 15 minutes or so. I never saw any of them for the first 40 miles of the ride.

Anyway SAG Bubba #2 stopped to help. It went something like this:

Bubba #2: Velcro not work?
Me: The glue-y side stopped sticking to the pedal.
Bubba #2: You ready for me to give you a ride back to the finish, yet?
Me: (near tears) No, I'm not ready to quit, yet.
Bubba #2: (in good ol' boy drawl) You know, I think I got some wire in my truck that could fix that.
Me: That sounds good.

I mean really, at this point, why not?

So, Bubba #2 fished some wire out of his tool box and sure enough, he wired the velcro to the pedal well enough to get me on my way again. I tell you, these Bubbas are nothing if not resourceful. My bike was now officialy "white trash", but I was determined not to quit. If velcro and wire is what it takes to get me across the finish line, I am more than fine with that.

I made it another mile before I had to stop again to reattach the pedal to the velcro-wire contraption.

For the love....

I got it together again and continued on my way. By this time the wind was blowing so ridiculously hard that I hardly felt like I was moving forward at all. My goal at the start of the ride was to not finish last, which was a reasonable goal considering how many people were taking part in this ride. For the first 40 miles, I kept up with several groups. I skipped the first two rest stops and didn't stop until mile 40. And, when I left that rest stop I left quite a few people there, and continued to pass people who had not yet made it to the 40 mile rest stop, which was the turnaround point. Had I been able to continue on at full capacity (aka two good shoes), I have no doubt I would have finished in about 6.5 hours, and I would have finished well in front of the last stragglers.

However, due to the shoe repair needs, I had lost at least 45 minutes of ride time. And by now I was pretty well near the last of the riders. I was all alone. I saw no one in front, and no one behind me. It was getting late in the day. I was getting more and more discouraged. And tired from fighting the wind.

After what seemed like forever, I made it to the next rest stop. They were beginning to close up, since most of the riders had already passed through by now. It was at this stop that I noticed my other shoe was broken. The cleat was hanging on by one last screw, and when I finally got it out of the pedal, it dangled in such a way that nearly brought me to tears again.

FOR THE LOVE... who breaks TWO shoes... I mean, really.

There were two other guys there on bikes, watching me struggle with my now ultra-white-trash shoes.

Random bike dude: Hey, I think your shoe is broken.
Me: No, actually both of them are broken.
Random bike dude: Oh. That sucks.

The bike dudes pedaled off to finish the ride, with their four good shoes. I hated them.

I decided it was time to call Boy J, who was going to be waiting for me at the finish with Friends A and C. I calculated that I had 24 miles to go, and it was going to be slow going. Two bad shoes, lots of wind, and I was so frustrated that I was running out of energy. He could barely hear me over the wind, but I was trying to communicate to him that both of my shoes were broken, and that they didn't have to wait for me to finish. It would be about an hour, if nothing else broke. Fortunately I had no more shoes to break, but anything else was fair game for some breakage.

He asked if I wanted them to come get me. I said no, I'm not ready to quit, yet. I'm not willing to let this ride beat me twice, especially because of broken shoes.

He said they would be there waiting for me at the finish.

It's possible that he just couldn't hear my plea for them to not wait since I was unbelieveably late. I felt bad that they were waiting on me. But, hearing him say they would be there waiting finally did make me cry. My people are just too good.

Then I noticed some riders going back the way I had just come. I asked the guy at the rest stop which way I needed to go, and he pointed the opposite direction of the way those riders were going. Then he said something that just about completely beat me down.

Rest Stop Dude: (attempting to encourage me, as I'm sure I looked seriously pathetic at this point with my two bad shoes and look of pure desperation on my face) It's only about 10 more miles to the finish.
Me: Um, what?
Rest Stop Dude: You've only got 10 miles left.
Me: I thought I had about 24 miles to go.
Rest Stop Dude: Well, the course is only about 85 miles if you follow the map. Those guys that are going the wrong way are trying to add some extra miles to get in the full 100. But the route is only 85 miles.

You have got to be kidding me....

I looked at my map that clearly said "100 miles" at the top. I looked back at Rest Stop Dude. He smiled and nodded as if to say, "Yes, the map says 100 miles, but it's all a lie. You will only complete 85 miles today. But don't be made at me. I'm just the messenger. Here, have another fig newton."

If I'd still had two good shoes to work with, and if I hadn't had to waste 45 minutes of ride time fixing bad shoes, I would have backtracked for awhile to get in a full 100 miles. But at this point it was so late in the day that the ride officials were beginning to close down the route. And I was stuck with two bad shoes, and good friends waiting on me.

I had no choice but to head towards the finish, and I had 10 more miles to stew about how even though I would complete the ride for a second time, I would STILL not have my 100 miles.

This is when the crying actually did start.

I clumsily fastened my two bad shoes onto my pedals and left the rest stop. It was hilly, it was windy, and I was the last one out there, with the exception of a group about 100 yards in front of me. I hobbled along, extremely disheartened, but determined to make it to the Finish on my own.

The course closer vehicle came alongside me and drove with me for awhile. You know, you joke about things like hoping you aren't last. But in reality, even though it was a longshot at the beginning of the day to think that I would actually be the very last cycler cycling, I actually was that cycler. I was the straggler. But instead of hurrying me along or scolding me to finish so he could close the course, the guy in the closer car cheered me on and encouraged me to finish strong.

I felt like the "special" child that people let participate in a sport, but isn't expected to do well, yet people cheer for and help anyway. He was nice, and it helped to have him there, shielding traffic around me by driving slowly with his hazards on, and talking to me through the car window. It had been really lonely cycling through rural north Texas alone for the past 3 or so hours. I had gotten so far behind all the other groups because of the shoe delays, I had to rely on the course markings to find my way back. Fortunately, this situation was vastly improved over the ride two years agao. They had painted colored arrows on the pavement to direct the different routes. It was Tyrant-proof, really. Hard to miss giant flourescent green arrows on the road. Thankfully, they directed me back to the finish.

I rounded the last corner and saw an empty parking lot... save for the car containing my friends who waited faithfully for me to cross the Finish. They honked and cheered as I arrived and I stumbled out of my pedal contraptions to stop, as though I still deserved the fanfare of someone who finished well.

I can't say I responded with as much enthusiasm. I had to pedal away for a few minutes because I was mere seconds away from erupting in a fountain of tears. But they were the best thing I had seen in hours, and just what I needed to see at the end of a hellish day.

I am so thankful for all the support I have received over the past few months of training, and especially over the past few days of getting ready for the ride, and the day of the ride. My friends, family, and even my co-workers have surprised me with how interested they've been in my process of getting ready for the ride, and in sending me off with lots of good lucks and encouragement. My co-workers made signs for my cube on Friday, and they made a ribbon for me to wear on my jersey for the ride. Several friends met me for dinner the night before to carbo-load. And throughout my training, so many people have kept up with my schedule, asked me how it's going, and several people I work with even semi-adopted my food regimen of eating healthier and exercising more. It's been truly touching. Truthfully, I'm not used to so much positive attention.

The downside of that is that I now have to tell all of these people who anticipated a successful ride for me that I did not complete my goal. I did finish the ride, and all of the miles that were charted for the ride. But I still do not have my 100 miles. I had to stop short at 85. And it took me longer than it should have to complete that much, due to so many equipment delays. I haven't really spoken to anyone since yesterday, and those I have seen I've had to tell them I can't really talk about it yet. I even had to ask them to stop congratulating me. I don't feel like I deserve it. I didn't reach my goal, and I had a terrible time of it. Hopefully reading it here will curb their curiosity until I can talk about it. I appreciate their interest and good wishes, I just keep crying every time I think about it.

The amount of disappointment and frustration I'm dealing with right now is really overwhelming. I've trained twice for the same event, for 100 miles, and twice I have been unable to finish that, due to situations out of my control. All that hard work, no matter how prepared I was, I couldn't do it. I don't know whether to laugh, or just to keep crying like I have been since yesterday.

I have to go to work tomorrow and tell my co-workers the story. It's hard to face people who believe in you, and tell them you failed the goal.

I've been told that 85 miles is a big deal, and that everything else I had to deal with (broken shoes, wind, not enough miles on the route) more than makes up for not meeting my goal. And there is some truth to that.

But right now it just hurts that I came so close again, and still didn't get it. You know, you think if you work hard enough at something, and you train and workout a lot, you feel almost invinceable. Like, nothing can stop you. If I do all the right things, I will get this. But all it takes is a tiny screw to show you that you are actually completely fallable, and things start falling apart.

It never really occurs to you as you prepare that things you didn't think of or can't control will cause things to turn out differently than you pictured. If I do what is asked of me, if I follow instructions, it will be good. If things started good, there is no reason why they can't stay good or end good, right? But sometimes no matter how much work you put into it, it just doesn't go the way you want. You think you are doing the right thing, but somehow it's not enough. That never makes sense to me. And I'm not sure what I'm supposed to learn from it.

Maybe this is God's way of telling me I'm not supposed to go 100 miles. Or maybe that I need a new hobby.

Maybe I should look into shoe repair. I mean, really.

Who breaks a shoe?


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Return of the Century
So, it's almost time for the big ride.

I've been training the past few months to make my triumphant return to the 100 mile ride I failed to complete two years ago. This was me then:

See how happy I was before the ride started? That was the last good moment of the day. I never made it to mile 100. I got lost and only did 65 miles.

It angered me greatly.

This year, I wanted to try another 100 mile ride, but not the same ride. Unfortunately, the ride I wanted to do was canceled. So, I like to think of it as God giving me another chance not to get lost in North Texas, and I will once again attempt the same ride that beat me down before.

I also like to think of it as revenge. And, just plain cruel.

Saturday is the big day. I'm extremely nervous, because I know the ride won last time. But, I've trained (although I feel like I should have trained more), and I've eaten more than my fair share of carbs this week. Hopefully, this is the recipe for success.

Upon completion of the 100 miles, it will signify two very important things:

1. I will have successfully trained for 3 months, learned how to read a map, learned how to follow signs, and will have completed an insane goal of biking 100 miles in (hopefully) about 6 hours. If it takes more than 6 hours, I'm probably lost again.

2. It will signify to all the people who I have made wear the yellow Lance Armstrong Livestrong wristbands to support me that they can now free themselves of the yellowness they've semi-faithfully worn with outfits that don't match the wristbands for the past several months. When I cross the finish line, I am confident they will toss their bands high in the air, and not bother to go look for them wherever they land.

I don't know who will be happier. Me, having completed the ride. Or them, ridding themselves of the bright yellow wristbands.

Pray for good weather on Saturday, and no wind!


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pictures of your mama...
I love that song in the HP photo commercials.

I'm learning how to post photos on my blog. Back in the olden days when I first started this blog, one couldn't post pictures without paying money, or hosting the photos on a server.

I like to prove that merely 2-ish years later, I saved a buck or two, AND I can now catch up to these young, hip, whipper-snapper blogs with photos and whatnot - for free.

Enjoy the now multi-media Cynical Rantings.

While he is not my mama, I thought my first blog picture should be me and Aaron, the Bachelor.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Change is Bad
I've felt a lot of tension and stress lately. Some of it is stuff I probably won't blog about. But some of it I've come to understand is another Rainman issue for me.

Change is bad, and even when it doesn't directly involve me, it stresses me out.

Two of my friends are moving in the next two weeks. One, just south a few streets from where she is now. Not a big deal at all, but still. She won't be in the same apartment I've known her in for a couple of years. And she is further away from me. Tonight we moved her recliner to our church. For some reason this made me sad. It means things have changed.

The other friend is moving to New York. In a few days she is moving to her parents' house, still here in town, before leaving for New York in August. But nonetheless, she is moving out of where I know her. Where it is familiar.

I don't like this.

I don't like that good things come to an end, that good things have to change. I've missed a lot lately. Not as in missed out. But just that I miss things that were once a part of what I value in my life and in my relationships. And it's just the beginning of things I will miss when moves happen. I search for stability, but that only stays for awhile.

I love that people grow and explore and change and do what they need to do.

I'm just used to things a certain way, and it takes awhile to adjust to the new.

And it makes me sad that what was once close and here when I needed it, won't be.


I haven't wanted to say this outloud, yet. So by blogging it, I will keep to not saying it outloud.

I am frustrated with my job.

I haven't been there a year, yet. And in comparison to my last job at the homeless shelter (I have to say "job at the homeless shelter", because if I just say "when I was at the homeless shelter" people think I lived there), the job I have now is 108 million times better.

Truthfully, I like my job.

But, the last few weeks have been really frustrating. And I don't enjoy going to work everyday like I did for awhile.

Don't get me wrong, I like what I do well enough. It's not a career choice or something I see myself doing longterm. But for now it pays the bills, is a comfortable, casual work environment, and comes with great people that I get to work with everyday. Overall, it's nice.

But lately it's become increasingly clear to me that I don't know what I'm doing. I know the basics of the job and can get through my daily tasks well. But when it comes to words like "strategy" or "marketing" or "margins" or anything other than just doing the things I do to make things move forward, I am completely lost.

I don't have a marketing or business degree, and to be quite honest, being a go-getter to find more business, upsell, figure out how to make the company more money, or improve the way we do things so that we come out ahead is just really not my thing. I'm more the worker bee, keep things moving, I'll keep things running here while you go make us more money.

Lately the big-wigs at work have been pushing all of us to do more, think more, bill more, be more. I don't have energy for more. This morning we were greeted with a meeting scolding us for mistakes that have happened recently. As an Account Executive, any mistakes on a job fall onto me. Even if I didn't make the mistakes, I'm responsible for making sure no one else makes mistakes. Now I'm more paranoid that I'm missing mistakes.

I want to do well for my company. I like it, I like the people, I have respect for what we do. I just don't like the pressure of the job lately. Some of the fun is gone. I'm tired.

And I'm frustrated that I'm already frustrated with my job. I thought I'd left this feeling behind when I left my job at the homeless shelter. I was frustrated there for 2.5 years, and it was good to feel something better at a new job.

I'm still dreaming of that career where I can just write novels all day, and people will buy them and read them, and this will pay my bills. Then if I make mistakes, they are my own. And I can call them "creative inconsistencies" and market it as something unique.


Monday, May 02, 2005

I saw something looney today.

I'm at the bank. I see a well-dressed business-looking man. An older, gray-haired gentleman. He looked quite important. He's a wearing a nice suit. There at the bank to do some very important bank business, I'm sure.

Then he turns around and I see that he is wearing..... a Looney Tunes tie.

Oh, for the love..... I immediately lost all respect for this man. And he could be worth a billion dollars, for all I know.

People, I don't care how many little kids you own, or how much you have always loved the Looney Tunes characters, or if it's the only tie you own. There is ALWAYS a better alternative to wearing the Looney Tunes tie. If he had been shirtless under the coat to his suit, that would have been better.

It's just not cool. It's not nice. It makes you look stupid.

I have nothing against Looney Tunes, until they made that stupid tie. It's a black mark against the entire franchise.

Say no to the Looney Tunes tie, people. Throw it away. Don't even bother selling it in a garage sale, because you are then wishing it upon someone else who will actually wear it. PLUS, they only paid a quarter for it. This means they will proudly wear it all the time.

It's almost as bad as the Jesus-fish tie. But less holy.

Stop the Looney insanity.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

When Nice Things Happen to Confused People
Here is a rundown of my day on Friday.

I go to work. Blah, blah, blah. I'm at work. Bored. Not wanting to do any work. Tired emotionally, physically, tactically, thoroughly, completely. Training for my 100 mile bike ride has been wearing me out, taking up all my time, and other things are just wearing me out these days. Blah.

Earlier in the week I had arranged for Friend C to move some things into my house. She is going to grad school in a far away place at the end of the summer, and we've talked about storing some things at my house while she is away. I willingly gave her a key to my home, to come and go as she pleases while putting things in my house. She told me she planned to come over while I'm at work on Friday and deposit some items on loan from the Friend C Collection.

I didn't think twice about it. I don't mind loaning some space to my friend. And truthfully, it was fun to think I was doing something nice for a friend. On occasion, you may catch the Tyrant doing a good deed. Write it on your calendar and remember it. It is rare.

So, during lunch time on Friday I get a call from Friend C. Her first words were, "Don't freak out." Now, if you truly want someone to not freak out, it's adviseable not to start a conversation that way. Friend C went on to explain that she had somehow backed the truck into my house. Nothing major, but she just wanted me to know before I got home and before her insurance people called me.

I did not yell. Although my first thought was, "I give you my house and you go and run a truck into it??" I assured her it would be ok, and I went back to work.

Later, I went home. I get to leave work early on Fridays, which is always fun for me. It's great in the summer because I usually have time to mow my yard when I get home, before I go out and play for the evening. This was my plan for Friday. Except all I could think about was the anticipation of the damage that was done to my house. I wasn't mad. I just didn't know what to expect.

Then, the confusion began.

I got home and noticed the garage door area was slightly banged up, but nothing major. In fact, I had hit the same spot myself once before. Some minor work will repair the damage. No big deal. I don't believe the house will be falling down due to the bump on the garage.

Then, I noticed a sign on my front door. It listed some things that I now have time to do. No explanation as to why I now have time to do these things. But apparently someone decided to post a list of things for me to do with some sort of extra time.

Um.... what? Confusion...

I then went in the house and noticed that there was no extra stuff in my house. It was just my stuff, same as always. I walked through my entire house and did not notice where Friend C had left any of her belongings.

More confusion.

Now my thought was, "Why did Friend C come to my house, not leave anything, and then run the truck into my garage?" It just seemed a strange thing to do on a Friday afternoon.

So, with the sign listing things I now have time to do in hand (nap, bike, travel, read, take long walks on the beach, etc.), and much confusion in my brain, I called Friend C.

I think she was expecting my call.

The conversation went something like this:

CT: Why is there no stuff in my house?
Friend C: Hi, T. (giggle)
CT: And what is this random sign that was on my door?
Friend C: What does it say?
CT: It lists a bunch of things that I now have time to do. I'm very confused.
Friend C: (giggle)
CT: The damage on the garage is not that bad, but why did you come to my house today, not leave your stuff, and then run the truck into my house?
Friend C: (more giggles)
CT: I'm very confused!
Friend C: (pause in giggles) T, what did you plan to do this afternoon?
CT: Mow my yard. Why?
Friend C: And what does your sign say?
CT: (fog beginning to lift) What? Did...? What? Nuh-uh. I....

I opened my front door and walked outside to notice that my yard HAD BEEN MOWED!!! And not just mowed, but weed-whacked around the edges. And not just the front yard. The back yard, too!!

Yes, I had just driven past my yard and into my garage, focused on looking at the boo-boo on my garage, and I completely missed that my yard looked MUCH better than when I had left it that morning.

CT: Friend C, did you mow my yard today?
Friend C: Well, there were a few of us.
CT: What? Who?
Friend C: Boy J came over on his lunch hour, Friend Seo helped, too. Friend A thought up the idea and made your sign.
CT: Ok, now the sign makes more sense.

Through the course of more conversations with these kind people over the past two days, I have learned that Friend A birthed the idea of mowing my yard this week (she's a thinker, that one). She recruited Friend C, Boy J, and Friend Seo to come to my house in the middle of the day Friday and surprise me by mowing my yard for me. They even brought an extra mower (hence the truck that ended up denting my garage door).

I am both shocked and awed at how sneaky these people are. Friend C managed to get a house key out of me (too easily, I might add), and they all managed to keep the plan a secret from me all week (and it's not like I don't spend a lot of time with these people).

Once the situation began to sink in, I have to admit I was really overwhelmed. I couldn't call any more of them to say thanks, being a bit choked up. I couldn't believe they had done such a nice thing for me. Props to them for catching me completely off-guard. Even being a ninja, I guess being super tired affects my state of being always aware. I never saw it coming (and actually once I thought about it more, I was a little disturbed that I came home, didn't notice that my mower, blower, or weed-wacker had been used, and a bit weirded out that unexpected people had been in my home! I pride myself in knowing everything about my home at all times!). But the main thing that I felt was loved and cared for. And that hasn't been something I've felt in awhile, being so busy and so tired.

I have yet to determine why Friend A thought of this, or why I am deserving of such an amazing gesture. It was the perfect thing to do for me, and I'm super impressed that she knew that and recruited my favorite people to make it happen. I feel like I've been kind of a jerk lately in some ways that I don't need to go into. But it seems that my friends just wanted me to have some time to rest before my big bike ride next weekend.

Even though I now understand what happened, I don't understand why.

But that was my day Friday.

It was a good day.

Thanks Friend A, Friend C, Friend Seo, and Boy J - hands down the best lawn crew ever. You made my day, and I don't really know how to say thanks except to go relax outside with a book, and snooze in my nicely mowed yard.