Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Seriously, if I read ONE MORE POST about somebody's Ipod and how great it is, I may have to stop talking to you people. REALLY, is this all you people do? Ipod? It's like a cult.

Let me introduce you to my new best friend who will be accompanying me to Thailand tomorrow. I like to refer to her as my Nonpod. Her name is Kermita. She is the Creative Muvo Mini.

She doesn't hold nearly as many songs as an Ipod. But she is much smaller in size than an Ipod. I can put only my favorites on her, so I don't have to sift through a million songs to get to one I like. And really, I bought her to help with the bike training. I needed simple, light, non-breakable.

I am not tied to her like an umbilical cord, as you Ipod-people are to your Ipods. I do, however, refer to her as a person.

There is mp3 life outside of Ipod. People, you have all been brainwashed by Ipods that they are the only acceptable mp3 player out there. I am here to tell you there are others! And they are ok!

She can't do all the fancy things your Ipods can do. But, she is affordable. And cool. And I can record directly to her without using my computer to transfer songs. HA!

And she is pretty green.

And I love her.

She's my new best friend.

My Nonpod.



I probably should be packing now. I get on a plane tomorrow morning for my whirlwind tour of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Eh, I'm a last minute packer. I'll be fine.

I'm very excited for my trip. I love getting really far away from my world. I think I like it better when I get back if I've gotten as far away as possible for awhile.

It should be quite an adventure, especially being someone who tends to stick to sweet and sour chicken when it comes to "chinese" food. I realize I'm not going to China. My point is that I have a history of saying I don't like Asian food, even though I just really haven't given it much of a chance. I'm branching out. It's growing on me.

To prepare for my trip I rented:

The Killing Fields, for Cambodia.
We Were Soldiers, for Vietnam.

I've already seen Good Morning Vietnam several times.

I am now going to Southeast Asia with the fresh picture in my mind that Americans do, in fact, suck. We are quite horrible, actually. Why on earth do people want to come to America? We are mean.

So, blogging will be light for awhile. I hope to blog from the other side of the world. That will be fun for me.

Tomorrow I will sit on a plane for 108 hours. But at least I won't be working.


Oh, and if anyone can pick me up from the airport on a Monday morning when I get back in a couple of weeks, email me. I'd appreciate it.


Monday, June 27, 2005

International Crisis Averted
I leave on Wednesday for a trip across the world to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Friend C is already there, and Friend A will join us this weekend. Fun should be had by all.

That is, now that I've narrowly escaped a major international incident that was nearly diastrous for my trip.

I originally planned to get my visa for Vietnam while in Bangkok with Friend C, but she decided that I would not have enough days to successfully aquire the visa. So, I had to scramble to get the visa here in the States before I leave.

This involved sending my passport away to the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington DC. Something which I wasn't too thrilled to do, especially without much time left to get the passport back in my hands in time to board my plane.

I sent off the passport, hoping I had followed all of the instructions correctly. And then, I waited.

It takes 5 busines days to get the visa, or 2 business days to get an expedited visa. I decided to gamble and go with 5 days to save some money, and hope that since I had a buffer of a few days, all would be well.

I waited. 5 business days and no passport.

Naturally I assumed that I had done something wrong. I hadn't sent enough money, or I forgot to fill in something on the application, or they didn't believe that the passport photo I sent was recent enough (I think it's several years old), or I put the wrong address, or they hate skinny white girls trying to go to Vietnam for no good reason except to have fun. I tcould have been any number of ridiculous things running through my head as to why Vietnam had confiscated my passport, forcing me to go into hiding to escape the army of little vietnamese women they would send after me because of whatever I had done wrong.

Then, the weekend. There is nothing I can do about it over the weekend, so this meant I had all weekend to worry about it. But I finally put in the tracking numbers of the Fed Ex slips to see where my passport might be. I learned that it had been delivered overnight to the Embassy. But it had not been shipped back to me, yet.

This sent me into immediate panic. But, quiet panic. When stressed, The Cynical Tyrant tends to get even more quiet than I usually am. I also have bad dreams and lose a lot of sleep.

I didn't sleep much this weekend. I had two dreams that my passport arrived without a problem, on time. I had one horrible dream that the passport didn't make it back in time for my flight. The bad dream stuck in my mind all weekend.

This morning I began calling the Embassy in DC as early as I could. If the passport hadn't shipped, yet, I needed to convince the Vietnam Embassy that it is vitally important that they ship it to me right away, so that I would get it by tomorrow, and make it to my flight Wednesday morning.

I anticipated this to be a problem for severalfold reasons:
1. When I called the Vietnam Embassy to get the fees for the visa, the person I spoke with spoke very little english back to me. I figure my whining on the phone now would not translate well into vietnamese.

2. Why would Random Vietnam Embassy Person have pity on me when I could have spent the extra $20 for expedited service, which would have brought my passport back to me last week, within 2 business days?

3. As I began calling the Embassy this morning, I kept getting a busy signal, then no answer, then a busy signal, then no answer, and so on. I naturally assumed this meant that the Embassy had ceased to exist over the weekend, and they had disappeared with my passport that I would never see again. If I couldn't get ahold of them, I would not be able to explain my desperate need for my passport before Wednesday.

By this point I was super stressed and fairly certain I would not be boarding my plane on Wednesday. Plus, my co-workers are in on the whole story, so they kept asking if I'd gotten my passport, yet. Which made me panic even more. I began wondering what to do with an international (and not cheap) plane ticket, but no passport which would allow me to actually get on the plane. Certainly that would not be a good situation. And I began congratulating myself once again for being an idiot and not going with the expedited service that would have been more expensive, but would have saved me from several heart attacks and a fear of not flying.

Finally, I got through to the Embassy, and was rewarded with a conversation with a Vietnamese woman who did not speak much english. It was probably the same woman I talked to before.

Eventually I communicated to her my birthdate, first and last name, and that I needed to know the status of my visa and passport.

She said they had sent it back to me on Friday.

I asked if she was sure, because I had checked the tracking and it said that it had not shipped, yet. She gave me the tracking number (oops, it seemed I had written it down wrong in the first place....). I said thanks.

I walked back to my desk and put in the correct tracking number on the Fed Ex website. Sure enough, my passport had shipped Friday. Had I known this before the weekend (meaning I would have needed to write down the tracking number correctly to know this pertinent tracking information), I would not have freaked out about not knowing the whereabouts of my passport all weekend.

About five minutes after getting off the phone with the Embassy, the receptionist called to tell me I had a Fed-Ex... which I found to contain my passport.

Crisis and international incident averted.

God bless the Vietnam Embassy and Fed-Ex, without which I might never make it on my plane on Wednesday.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ninja Documentary
Over the weekend I witness what I believe to be a ninja documentary disguised as a major Hollywood motion picture. For decades, the ninjahood has been looking for ways to infiltrate mainstream popculture to influence the movers and shakers of Hollywood. Because we all know that celebrities are the most influential people in the world.

Why? Because they are better than us.

And what is this ninja-mentary I saw? None other than..... Batman Begins.

Friend Z muttered something to me about ninjas and Batman last week. I did not understand what he was trying to tell me. It could be that he mutters in Spanish. But, once the ninja-mentary began I quickly understood that he was communicating to me that Batman is a ninja!


I loved the movie and all it had to offer. It's by far the best Bat-flick, and Christian Bale is by far the best bat-dude.

And even with all the TomKat (Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes) romance brew-ha-ha, Katie is suprisingly non-annoying in the movie, with the exception of a few Joey moments that put her right back on the Creek. Not that I didn't enjoy her on the Creek, but what happens at the Creek stays at the Creek. She is much better in Pieces of April, a film in which I developed a strong liking of her as an actress, which has since been marred by this whole Tom Cruise nonsense.

But really, the film focuses on Bruce Wayne as he wrestles with his demons and becomes our hero, Batman. There is very little Katie to contend with. He is driven by fear, which was interesting to explore. Lots of good quotes struck a chord with me, both as a ninja, and as someone who struggles with fear. We are a rare breed.

"What you fear most is your own anger."

"Look past your own pain, Bruce."

"It's not who I am underneath, it's what I do that defines me."

Such wisdom found in a movie about a dude dressed as a bat.

I highly recommend this movie. For cool ninja stuff, and for an exploration into what drives us out of tragedy, and into who we are to become in the face of what we fear most.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Prayer Request

PLEASE, pray hard to make this happen, people.

What the world needs now is a bit more spice. A Spiceworld, if you will.

Spice up your life.

Viva Forever.


Field of Weeds...
Or is it?

I drive by a field on my way to work everyday. There is nothing unique about it. Everyday, just a field of weeds. It adds nothing to my drive, and really actually reminds me that Texas can be really ugly when lots of earth are left to their own devices and not landscaped. We tend to have an abnormal amount of scraggly weeds here in Texas.

Then one day last week I noticed the field isn't weeds.

It's a field of really tall, really beautiful.... sunflowers.

They just hasn't bloomed, yet. And had until recently only appeared to be a field of tall, nasty weeds.

I've looked forward to seeing it everyday. It surprised me.

I'm sure there's a life lesson in there somewhere.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Crazy, Part 2
Be sure to read Crazy, Part 1 first.

This is a series exploring the issue of if I am or am not crazy, and how much crazy I really am.

While I was in Cancun, I decided to read The Catcher in the Rye. I brought it with me. Yes, it is an odd choice. But then, I am odd.

Or crazy, some might say.

I've begun collecting old books, namely classics or old books I read when I was younger. I love the "library" variety of books. The ones from when I was a kid 20 (yipes!) or so years ago. Hard cover, well-worn, yellowed edges of pages. My mom would take my sister and me to the library every week during the summer and we'd bring home loads of books to read for the library summer reading programs. The books smelled like the library, and I loved that smell. I loved reading through books as fast as I could. No matter how many books I brought home that week, I read all of them.

I didn't so much play with other kids. I pretty much just read books.

I have to confess that my sister started the "old book" collection hobby. I guess I inherited that interest from her. I haven't pursued it seriously. And I don't buy expensive books. But what I like to do is shop library book sales, like when the city libraries sell old books that they have and that people donate. Or used book stores. I don't go very often, but I try to keep my eye out for cool old books. That cost a quarter or so.

The cheapness is what makes them super special.

So, I've started my collection, even though I don't read as much anymore. And so far my collection consists mostly of books that I haven't ever read before, but that I would like to read, or that I feel like I should read because society considers it a "classic". Like, Last of the Mohicans. Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn. You know the ones.

In my collection I have a really old paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye. I think I did pay a quarter for it. I finally decided to read it. I just finished it tonight.

First of all, that dude Holden Caufield? Straight-up crazy. I loved it. He just rambles on and gets himself in trouble and makes no sense, but just keeps going along like he's ok.

Second, I won't ruin the story for you by telling you what's up with the "catcher in the rye". But you won't run into it in the story until way past halfway, so don't give up on it if you really want to read it and figure out what's up with that. And when you get there, be prepared for a "Rosebud" moment.

Third, his last sentence is pessimistically brilliant, and something I am sad to say I agree with right now. It speaks to me. But that could just be because I'm partly straight-up crazy, and I have a lot of heavy things on my mind right now.

"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

It's a strange story and nothing really happens in it, but I found it oddly calming. However, if anyone ever notices that I start buying a copy of it every time I see it, and my cool old book collection turns into a ridiculous collection of multiple upon mulitple copies of The Catcher in the Rye (like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory), you have my permission to borrow Angelina's straight jacket from Girl, Interrupted, put me away somewhere where I can't hurt myself or others, and give me a math proof to work on until I solve both the proof, and the reason behind my crazy.


Crazy, Part 1
I've begun to seriously consider lately that I may be somewhat straight-up crazy. I think maybe I've known this for most of my 29 years. But only recently have I had the guts to put the "crazy" label on it and wonder if I should begin to embrace all that lies within my crazy.

Three things over the past week or so have helped me feel better amongst my own crazy:

1. Boy J took me to see a play. It had nothing to do with my crazy, nor did he know it would be good for me to see. At least I don't think he knew, unless he is smarter than I gave him credit for and knows me better than I thought I'd let him know me thus far. But the play itself spoke to me in my language of crazy. It was called Proof, and it is about a twenty-something girl who spent several years caring for her genius, yet mostly nuts father, until he passed away. During this time she begins (as well as those around her) to question her own state of crazy, wondering if she has inherited any of her father's crazy. They are both geniuses and a lot alike, and it's a beautiful story of a messed up family where there is still love in the struggle to understand parts of life, personality, well-being, and emotional states that don't always make sense to the ones we love who are outside of our head. I loved it. Even the really uncomfortable scenes that showed two people yelling passionately at each other, trying to make sense of each other. It spoke to me.

2. I watched a movie that is quickly becoming my new favorite movie: Bend it Like Beckham. In fact, I bought the movie last week. I don't even like soccer, and I can't understand half of what they say in the movie because of their British-ness. But I love this movie. I love British accents. I need someone to follow me around all day and just say things to me Britishly. Even when they are angry, they sound cheery, or at least silly. And sometimes I just need silly Britishness. For no good reason. If I ever have voices in my head, I do sincerely hope they are British.

3. I watched another movie that has been a favorite, but I never bought it. Until last week, that is. I watched Girl, Interrupted. Angelina is in it, which makes it good, even though her hotness is questionable. But what I love about this movie is that when I am feeling crazy and like I don't make sense to anyone around me, sometimes I feel better to watch a movie about people who are clearly crazier than I am. They are completely nuts, but they say things that make sense to me. Each character is an extreme manifestation of every insecurity I've felt, or feel now. But what's more important is that they all fit together and they work, maybe in spite of the crazy. Or maybe because of it. One person's crazy is another person's comfort, or security. And sometimes, the thought of checking out of my life and into the looney bin is appealing just enough to the point when the possibility of a straight jacket comes in to play. And by then I've watched enough of this movie to realize I can probably keep going with my world, outside of the asylum. Either way, I'm intrigued by this film. And it helps me feel a wee bit saner.

These things three, have brought peace to the crazy in my head of late. Yet the true state of my crazy is still to be determined.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Forget Katie and Tom. Brad and Angelina are WAY hotter.

I just saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith. One word.


I am in love.

Granted, it is not the film of the year. There are some cheesy moments. It needed more exotic locations. Plot? What? Who needs it!

And, continuity. I'm pretty sure I saw Brad shoot up Angelina's car, then ride in it through some bushes and down a hill (ie: crash eventually off screen). But then Angelina is back a scene later in what looks like the same car, only it is in perfect condition. Was this done on purpose? Is it a mistake? Is the car magic? Are there two of the same car never seen together anywhere else in the film? Only Brangelina know for sure.

But overall, good film fun. It is action packed. It is funny. There are spies doing spy things. Lots of guns and things blowing up. The dialogue is actually smartly witty. And the performances are of action/comedy caliber.

And did I mention, it is HOT.

Although I do have to say there are some certain aspects missing from any film containing Angelina or Brad. Noticeably missing. Namely both actors keep their clothes on.

It's. So. Odd.

But.... hotness anyway.

And also, I believe this to be a Christian film for the following reasons (see if you can spot these references in the movie):

1. Reference to the classic Amy Grant song, "Baby, Baby". She is not the one singing it in the movie, but we all know she made the song famous and that she sang it to Jesus.

2. "Jesus Rocks" proudly displayed on attire.

3. Jesus fish proudly on display in a home.

Therefore, I can only conclude that Brangelina and their movie are of God. You are henceforth blessed to watch it.

Also, I have developed a strange fascination and liking of the hybrid name "Brangelina".

I may name my firstborn child Brangelina.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sale of the Century
My garage sale was a success. And I hope to never do that again. At least not for a very, very long time.

MAN, that's a lot of work! I'm still recovering.

But I sold a lot of crap (thanks to those of you who donated your crap to my crap!). And made a bit of cash so that I can pay some bills, and also go buy some much needed new threads. My clothes are so out of date, they can actually still be referred to as "threads". Like in the '70s.

I did not sell the computer desk. It was the ONE thing I absolutely wanted to sell, mostly for spite from years of suffering through banging my knee on the drawer nearly everyday. It sat by the sidewalk all day, looking ever-so-appealing. I marked it down twice. By the end of the day during my 1/2 Off Sale, it was priced at $7.50. Who wouldn't want a desk for $7.50?? But, someone ended up with it for free. When I closed down for the day, I put all the bulky junk by the curb for the trash. And by the end of the next day, all of it had been carted off by "after garage sale shoppers".

Whatever. At least it's out of my house.

The rest of the "treasures" that could be of use are now sitting at my church, donated for my church garage sale next month. Hooray!

Overall, the house is much less full of clutter. I still need to put it back together and clean, but I'm feeling good about the place. It's just so nice to get rid of stuff you really don't need anymore.

And, as every garage sale has at least one good story, here is mine.

Fairly early in the day, a man arrived with his daughter in tow, both dressed in traditional Middle Eastern garb of some sort. The man spoke some english, but he was using his daughter to translate.

He had in his hands two phones, a drill, and a digital camera (which I got for free and I'm pretty sure doesn't work, but I figured I could sell it anyway). All together this stuff was priced at over $20-ish, and it was still before 10am. WAY before bargain markdown madness.

He said: "You take $10 for this." He meant for all of it.

The daughter translated for me: "Will you take $10 for all of these things?"

I said: "$15". I mean, come on. He had TWO practically brand new cordless phones, a drill, and a digital camera. $15 was a steal.

He said: "You take ten." This was no longer a question. He was informing me that I would be taking $10 for all of it.

I said: "I'll take $15." Not because I really wanted the $15, but because I didn't like his attitude, and I knew the stuff would sell later in the day if he didn't take it. And because even if it didn't sell later in the day, I didn't like this guy ripping me off. I'd rather give it away later.

He moved towards the electrical outlet. "This work?" He meant the drill. He plugged it in. Of course it worked.

He said: "Fine."


Then he said: "Bag please." Also not a question. I was to give him a bag.

The daughter translated for me: "Can we have a bag for this stuff?" She seemed nice. I felt bad for her. She was probably 13 years old or so. You know her dad drags her to garage sales every Saturday and insists on paying no more than $10 for whatever amount of stuff he has in his hands, using her to translate.

I said: "Sure! You can have a bag. The bag is $5."

The daughter looked at me, like I was insane. The dad wasn't paying attention. He was looking at other stuff on a table.

I smiled: "I'm just kidding. The bag is free."

She laughed. "That's really funny."

I know. I'm hysterical when it comes to garage sale humor.

I began putting his stuff in a bag, and then I watched him. He had the drill still in his hand, and he had found an orange plug adapter thingie that I had on the table, marked with a sticker for 25 cents.

I watched as he put the plug adapter thingie on the plug part of the cord attached to the drill, then I watched as he tore off the $.25 sticker and threw it on the ground, and then I watched as he put all of it in the bag with his other stuff and walked off to his car. HE WASN'T EVEN SNEAKY ABOUT IT!

The daughter didn't seem to notice.


He makes a big deal about paying practically nothing for the "expensive" stuff. Then he thinks he has stuck it to me by stealing a 25 cent plug adapter thingie????

I could not stop laughing.


He sure showed me.

Thanks to all my helpers, Dad, Mom, and Boy J. Without your help I would have been outside in the heat all day by myself, dealing with the likes of that guy.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Eyes!! My Eyes!!!
In the last 7 minutes I have seen the three most horrible things I will likely ever witness in my entire life.

I have not had much time for TV lately, but in the 15 minutes that I have been home tonight, changed clothes, made my dinner cereal, and made it to the couch to flip on the TV for a few minutes, I have seen such horrible things as I will try to describe here.

My co-workers and I were just today lamenting that there is no good TV on in the summer. We have nothing to watch. Tonight proves that point ridiculously well.

I happened to catch 19 seconds of Will Smith rapping at the NBA finals game. His hat was on sideways. Didn't that stop being cool... um, before people wore it as something that might be cool? Dude, you are no longer the Fresh Prince. Granted, some people I know can't get enough of you. And you are cool. But not when hopping around a stage with your hat on crooked. Straighten it out, for the love.

But alas, this does not even begin the horrible-ness my eyes were yet to witness.

My TV then made it's way to the most horrible thing I have ever been forced to watch. It is a new show called Hit Me Baby One More Time, on NBC. I had never seen or heard of it before. As if the name of the show isn't bad enough (why must we keep encouraging Britney? If we ignore her, maybe she will go away), I had a hard time deciding if this show was for real, or if everyone on it realizes that the entire world will see this as a huge joke.

As I watched a few minutes of a has-been band (The Knack) perform in front of a live audience that song that is everywhere by The Jetts, and as I tried to figure out the point of this show, this is what came out of my mouth (thinking aloud):

"Hmmm. What is this? Lame old bands that have disappeared cover songs of new bands hoping we will like them better now? Is this really what I'm seeing? This idea has actually made it on TV?"

And what I then read on the NBC website was this: "a one-hour competition program featuring veteran music hit-makers who will each perform their greatest hit -- as well as cover a popular contemporary song -- with the favorite to be determined by audience voting"

Oh. My. Goodness.

I was right (I'm getting way too good at quickly recognizing and analyzing bad TV). And it was awful. I was soooooooooooooooo embarrassed for everyone on the show, including the audience. Yes, there was an audience. And yes, they were singing along and cheering, just like this was a good concert with a good band.

After The Knack finally had the decency to get off the stage, some old dude slithered around the floor singing Toxic ala Britney (seriously, people! Together we can make her go away if we stop propagating her music!)

But the best (and by that I mean the worst) one was Vanilla Ice covering Survivor by Destiny's Child.

He rapped the whole thing. It was genius. The bio piece before his song let us know that Vanilla appears to live in Dallas now. We can all be glad to have him so close. Especially because.... he was tonight's winner!! I'm so glad he's back.

I have to wonder if the current bands belonging to the songs that are being covered by the has-been bands are feeling good about these has-beens butchering their songs on national TV. I mean, really. It's like karaoke for people who used to sing for a living, but don't anymore because they were bad at it. We don't pay them to sing anymore for a reason, people.

Apparently I missed the first week of the show. Oh yes, it's a weekly show. Not just a one time special event. But I might have paid money to see last week's performance of Tiffany covering Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway.


Ok, back to tonight.

After they made this show finally stop playing on my TV, they showed a promo for the next worst reality show ever, I Want to be a Hilton. Yes, as in Paris.

Seriously? This is a show?

And then I saw a commercial for ER.... the video game. Yes. A video game representation of the TV show ER.

Um.... what? Is this like an electronic version of Operation, except you get to be Dr. Carter or Dr. Kovac, or Abby, or one-armed Dr. Romano? So lame.

Folks, all of this horror took place within about 20 minutes. I can hardly believe my eyes.

Where has all the good TV gone?!? Why must we be tortured with such crap during the summer? Most of us don't get vacations that last for months, like actors who only work 6 months out of the year. Just because they are off for the summer doesn't mean we have to suffer. The common people need good TV to survive.

Speaking of Mrs. Britney, do you know what I accidentally saw 2 minutes of Monday night? Her terrible reality show on UPN. I thought I was fairly familiar with white trash before. But after spending two minutes with her and her hubby, she has introduced me to entirely new depths of white trash-ism. It's amazing, really.

Their poor child on the way. It's doomed.

I'm going to wash my eyeballs now. This will certainly teach me to not stay home on a Thursday night. Or a Monday night.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The late-spring cleaning bug has bitten, and I've spent much of my free time at home over the past several days cleaning out my house. I'm getting ready for a garage sale this weekend, so I am making my way through the house, all closets, all bedrooms, soon even the attic, to clear out as much clutter as possible. I call this "nesting".

Surprisingly, even after being in the house only two years, I think I will have quite a pile of crap to sell on Saturday. Where did all this junk come from?

I blame invisible trolls who bring crap in and leave it around when you aren't looking.

Several things about nesting are cool to me:

1. My a/c.
This has nothing to do with the garage sale, but after a couple of weeks without cool air, today's housework has been much more pleasant due to my newly fixed a/c. To whoever invented the a/c, thank you. I have no idea how people survive summers in Texas without it.

2. Reminiscing.
I've refrained from going too far down memory lane, otherwise I would be a pathetic pile of tears in the corner, getting no work done. I tend to keep things for sentimental reasons, and I tend to be overly sentimental about most things. I have scraps of paper and random tidbits of "junk" that I've found over the last few days that can evoke a memory, a smile, a tear just by seeing them again after digging them out of a closet or a drawer. Sometimes it's nice to take time to remember things, events, people, places, times in our lives. And then it's nice to move on.

3. Closure.
I've finally gotten to a point with some things that I can now throw them away, or sell them. I hang on to things for a long time. Not necessarily because I think I might use it again. But because it meant something at one point. Today especially, I've been able to let go of quite a few things that I have looked at during previous house clean-outs, and chosen to keep, being unable to let it go just yet. It feels good to set it free, and to set myself free from what tied me to keeping it around just because I couldn't let go, yet.

4. Renewal.
It's like a cleansing process, really. I bought the house so I wouldn't have to move every couple of years out of apartments that get old, or gross, or because the rent gets too high. So, even though I haven't moved, cleaning out closets, moving things around, removing things that created too much clutter is almost like getting a new house. Rooms are different. I don't like change very much, but every once in awhile it's nice to have a fresh perspective on your own space, even if the space itself hasn't changed.

5. Growing up.
This is the first garage sale I've ever had, on my own, in my own house. I'm like an adult or something. In fact, my parents are bringing stuff to sell at my garage sale, as opposed to all the garage sales we've had in the past when I've brought my few pathetic pieces of junk to their sale. Of course, the stuff they've brought to my sale is "fancy" junk. Much fancier than mine. But still, it's my first garage sale at my very own house. Feels very responsible-like.

I'm selling my big computer desk. It's a desk my dad bought, I think when I was in highschool, for his computer. I got it as a hand-me-down a few years ago. I've always hated it because the drawer on it was at just the perfect height that every time I turned my chair to get up, my knee would smack directly into the pointy corner of the desk. At long last, it will be the end of my bruised knees due to computer work.

This weekend I moved the computer back to my old desk, and moved the computer desk out of the way. Actually, the old desk was my uncle's desk in college, then it was my dad's, and then it was mine since I was a kid. It has traveled with me almost everywhere I've ever lived. The drawers have held a random variety of things over the years. And still, it is in great shape. It's solid, like back when they made furniture out of real wood. It's not pretty, but to me it is one of the coolest things I own.

It's a terrible computer desk. Obviously when it was made, back when my uncle used it in college, it wasn't designed for computers. Desktop computers had not been invented, yet. There's not enough room for the monitor to sit straight, and as far as ergonomics go, this whole set-up is about as anti-ergonomic as a desk can get.

It's not a large desk, but it is taller than the computer desk, as far as the surface area for working. So, here I sit typing. The keyboard is a little too high up. I feel almost like a kid sitting at a desk that is too tall for me. I've had to raise my desk chair to make this set-up work.

But, I am strangely content and at peace right now. I love being back at my old desk. I love this set-up. It is simplified. The rest of the room is a wreck, and it's driving me nuts. I want the new arrangment to be set-up and presentable, but I can't finish the room until the other desk is moved out and I have the full room to work with again after the garage sale. But I have my familiar desk, free of clutter. I haven't really used the desk in awhile. I'm glad to have it back.

I've downsized my office furniture, even though the desk makes me feel smaller. I'm clearing out the unnecessary, keeping only things I use or look at or really want to hang on to, or need. I'm focusing. I'm removing.

I'm enhancing.

I'm nesting.

I'm not a super Star Wars freak or anything. But I finally saw Star Wars: Episode III over the weekend, so that I am no longer the only person in the world who hasn't seen all six films. I enjoy them well enough. But out of everything in this final movie, one thing has stuck in my head. Yoda is talking to Anakin about how the anger is starting to consume him and lead him towards the dark side. He points out to Anakin that fear is ruling his thoughts, his emotions, his life. Anakin is afraid of losing Padme, his love.

Yoda says this (not word for word, but you'll get the idea): "Train yourself to let go of all the things you fear losing." His point is that instead of being afraid to lose, be okay enough to lose.

It's so simple. And so true. And as much as I hate to admit gaining a bit of wisdom from a tiny green muppet, I've thought about that sentiment a lot over the past few days. I get so scared of losing the things, the people who are important to me. I lose focus. I over-work. I over-fix. I get selfish. I ruin things. I fail. I'm afraid.

Letting go. Refusing to live in fear. Not fighting so hard to hang on to the things we don't want to lose. The fear will take over and ruin what you're fighting for anyway. And if we're ready to lose the things we fear losing, if we know we're okay without them, we're okay. We think we are fighting for what is right, for what is best. But really we are chasing what is only fueled by fear.

We just don't have control, ya know? The things and people we have that we don't want to lose, they're just a gift anyway. Enjoy them. Be thankful for them. Don't try to keep them.

I'm nesting.


Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm experiencing something that is the opposite of what Samson experienced in biblical times. When his long, flowing locks of hair were cut, he lost all of his superhuman strength. His lack of hair reduced him to something lesser than what he was.

I, on the other hand, am experiencing a strange phenomenon, quite the opposite of this. Too bad the times are no longer biblical.

I got a haircut on Saturday, and through the process of this haircut quite a lot of hair was cut. It was necessary. It is hot outside. It has been hot inside my house (although thankfully, at long last today my a/c has been fixed!). And, to make hair matters worse, I'm pretty sure I was sporting the unintentional mullet again.

Hence, I had to go with the mullet-ectomy.

The hair is now a good deal shorter than it has been in a really long time. And, while it took me about a day to get used to it, I have to say I am quite enjoying it.

So, I don't know if being free from the weight of all that hair has lifted some tension from my brain or something, but I am in a much better mood than I have been in awhile. Lifting the hair has lifted my spirits, it would seem. Maybe I'm finally able to think better with less weight on my shoulders.

Whatever the real reason, I have to say that less hair is what works better for me. I went with super short hair several years ago, as a way of dealing with stress, grief, and needing to simplify. It's amazing how much it helps to not have to worry about your hair, or to have to spend time making it look good. The less hair you have, the easier it is to deal with, and sometimes life just calls for one less burden.

My hair was literally within about one-quarter inch of being a buzz cut. And, to even further rebel against the ugly face of life's traumas and pains, I dyed it blonde for a few months.

I don't know why, but it served a purpose at the time. Admittedly, "fashion forward" was not that purpose...

Now being a few years older and wiser, I've grown the hair out. It was nearly shoulder length until Saturday. And I've managed to deal with life well enough with the longer, no longer blonde hair, even having to spend about 10 minutes a day on the hair. Any more than 10 minutes and I am about ready to pull my hair out. I just don't have the patience for it. And if it requires more than 10 minutes, I am doing too much to it. Over-doing the 'do, if you will.


So, with my newly shorn locks of hair, I'm feeling better in general. I can't explain it.

But it was definitely time for a haircut.


I just noticed....
.... that the theme song to the KFC (aka: KENTUCKY Fried Chicken) commercial sounds an awful lot like Sweet Home Alabama.



Not the same.

Or maybe they are.

Eh, I don't really care.


Friday, June 03, 2005

No, I did not misspell Tivo.

I've been in a money crunch lately due to some unexpected expenses. Thusly, I have put myself on hiatus from all shopping that does not involve basic necessities. And by basic I mean I buy enough food to keep me alive, gas for the Jeep, and that's about it.

But, some good blessings may have occured that may be saving me a lot of money, so yesterday I decided I could buy some shoes.

I have not purchased any clothes in awhile because essentially clothing is a luxury. Of course, some may see clothing as an essential, and I would agree to that in the sense that we cannot go through our daily busyness while naked. Although I think we would all agree that would make life a lot easier, and a lot funnier.

But the way I see it, I already have clothes. They may be old and I may not like them, but I have them. And since I have not been able to justify the expense of affording new clothes, I have put clothing in the "luxury" category for now.

However, I desperately need some wardrobe help! Oh my goodness, I hate all of my clothes...

Anyway, I decided the biggest necessity of the moment is new shoes to wear to work. Work sandals, if you will. But they have to be cheap.

I went to my favorite cheap shoestore, DSW, during lunch yesterday. I found some sandals that will do. They may even be cute. They were definitely comfortable and not ugly. For me, I'm usually cool with that. I love shoes, and I prefer funky shoes, but I'm not always the best at picking out great shoes. Especially when it comes to work-appropriate shoes. The great ones cost more than I want to spend.

I must confess that I am lately a flip-flop junkie. I love them. I used to never wear sandals or flip-flops. I hate my feet and didn't want to wish them upon the world. But one day I discovered a flip-flop that was soooo comfortable I couldn't NOT wear it all the time. In fact, it would have been cruel to my feet to deny them these wonderful flops.

So now I'm all about flip-flops and super comfortable summery shoes. And.... on my way out of the store yesterday, I happened to see a perfectly innocent pair of Teva flip-flops that were just begging to be on my feet.

Now, I realize that Teva flops are nothing new. But ever since my trip to Israel a few years ago, where I learned that Tevas are manufactured in our holy land, I've been moderately obsessed with Teva. I'm all about supporting the Lord's chosen people, especially if it involves the making of fabulous flops.

I tried on the flops. There was only one pair, on the clearance rack, and it happened to be in my size. I was pretty sure these flops were meant to be mine.

It was like heaven on my foot. Holy, Israel, made-by-God's-people, heaven.

PLUS, they were on sale. My rule is to never buy things that aren't on sale. Tevas aren't usually super cheap, so I've never considered actually buying a pair unless they were on sale. When it comes to flops, since they are basically rubber with a strap, I see no reason to pay more than $10 for a good pair of flops.

My favorite pair of flops cost me $12, and I have been wearing them for 4-ish years. Got my money's worth, and they are nowhere near destruction.

These Tevas on sale? $11.

Eh, close enough.

So yesterday, I splurged and bought two pairs of shoes, both super cheap. And I have to say, I have a new favorite pair of flops.

I wore them to work today. For casual Friday.

And even after I got home, I kept wearing them. It's almost more comfortable to wear the Tevas than it is to go barefoot.

They are the chosen flops, made by the chosen people.

It's a sin not to wear them, really.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

I am so unbelieveably tired.
But for the past 30 minutes I have seriously doubted whether I would ever get to sleep at all tonight. Here's the story.

Spring and summer are my favorite times of year. I love everything about it. Except one thing:


These disgusting creatures come out in full force during the warmer months, and I hate them with everything that I am. No exception.

Now, it's not like I have a roach problem. I've lived in my house for two years and I have seen maybe 10 roaches. I don't even think that many. Yes, the big disgusting "water bug" type of roaches. I do live in Texas, after all.

I'm holding out on hiring professional pest control services, because I am poor. I prefer the Home Depot remedies of roach traps, Amdro for ants, and Ortho Home Perimeter spray for all other things buggy. My house is fairly bug-free. I see the occasional spider and random crawly thing. I have those tiny spiders in the corners. And then there are the roaches for a few months out of the year.

Again, only a few. Bugs in my house are fairly under control.

Now it is worth mentioning that every roach I have seen in my house, I have killed. Every. Single. One. I do not rest until I have tracked it down and smacked the crap out of it with a shoe. No roach has escaped me. I am very proud of this. I cannot stand knowing there is a roach loose in the house if I have seen one.

Of course, I realize that for every one roach I see it probably has 15 buddies laughing at me inside the wall. But I prefer not to think about that.

Anyway, I got home late tonight from another night of working on a very special project that will debut at church on Sunday. I arrived home at about 10:45, after a full day at my day job, plus several hours working on the super spectacular, extra cool project that will emerge on Sunday.

Very tired. I hadn't even had dinner, yet.

So, I walk into my office in my house, sit down at the computer (even though I've been at a computer literally all day today), and I check my email. It's my "getting home" routine, even though I know that I have no email, I don't want to read it if I do, and I want to do anything but look at a computer screen anymore today. My next plan is to change into my pjs, eat something that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and consume, then go to bed. I estimated I could be in my bed in 17 minutes.

Then I felt something scurry over my foot.

I proceeded to leap about 8 feet into the air, take off my ultra comfortable, just-bought-today flip-flop that has now been desecrated by something scurry-ish, and scream. I looked down (hoping it wasn't a mouse - my house is mouse-free!!), and saw a gigantic brown roach scurry towards the wall under my desk.

Oh, for the love.... it is 11:00 at night. I just want to go to bed!

I carefully set aside my wonderful new flip-flops and went in search of my outdoor, roach-smacking flip-flops. The difference is that the new flops I can wear to work on Fridays, and to many, many places. The outdoor flops are reserved for being in the yard, and smacking bugs. It's a very important distinction.

I returned with the roach flop just in time to see the roach scurry further behind my desk, heading towards a giant pile of junk mail and receipts on my floor. This pile of stuff is headed towards my shredder and then to the trash, but I have been "not having time" to deal with it for so long, it's a pretty huge pile of stuff. Perfect hiding place for a disgusting roach.

SO disgusting, in fact, that I could hear him back there rustling around.


I composed myself for a minute, then headed into the corner, beginning to move stuff out of the way. I picked up my guitar case (yes I have a guitar. no I don't know how to play it)... only to find that the roach was hanging onto the other side of it.

I screamed again and threw the guitar case down. The roach ran back into the pile of paper. How he got to the guitar case so quickly and without me seeing him, I will never know. But by now I was extrememly mad.

And still super tired.

I started picking through the pile of paper again. I decided now was as good a time as any to begin shredding this stuff that needed to be shredded. Sure, it's after 11pm and I'm still in my work clothes. But why not start shredding this pile of paper that has been sitting here for a month or so?

Have I mentioned that I hate roaches???

I begin making my way through the pile... when I feel something scurry across the heel of my foot.

Son of a... he came from behind!!

I watched him run towards the other wall, then along the wall, and pause to look at me. He had made me think he was in the pile of paper, all the while planning a sneak attack from behind.

Cheeky little bugger....

But before I could head him off with my smacking flop, he ran into the closet.

OH, FOR THE LOVE!!!! I will NEVER get him out of the closet!!

I was beginning to see that I desperately need to clean my house. So much clutter, tons of dust and cob webs. It's a roach's paradise, pretty much.

I dropped the flop and went to fetch the "perimeter" bug spray. I sprayed down the entire room, including all of the floor in front of the closet. Surely this will at least keep the roach in the closet, where he will then die from the bug spray. Plus, I sprayed in the closet. He should be dead within minutes.

Not feeling confident that the roach would, in fact, be dead in a few minutes, I left the room to change into my pjs. Now, this is a tricky thing to do. I can believe the roach will stay in the closet and die like a good roach, even after I leave the room. But in reality, the second I turn my back on that closed closet door, that roach could literally be anywhere in the house. Running free.

Yep, I'm never going to be able to go to bed tonight... can't rest until I see that roach very dead.

I changed into my pjs, washed both of my feet - twice, grabbed a bowl of cereal using milk that is 5 days out of date (my day just keeps getting better...), and headed back to the Roach Room. I wanted to blog about my adventure, at least long enough to keep myself awake to make sure the roach didn't reappear. I didn't really want to be in this room, with my cereal, with the roach. As far as I'm concerned, this whole room is contaminated with roach cooties. But, I didn't feel comfortable or safe going to bed.

You know the minute I get under the covers in my bed, the roach is going to scurry across my head or something.


So, I sit at the computer and I check the weather for tomorrow. No sooner had I clicked on Blogger to get started with my post, then I see the roach scurry by me and into the hall.

AAAH!! He's left the room!!

I put down the cereal, pick up the roach flop, and begin turning on every light in the hall, the foyer, everywhere. This roach will not escape me! I have not lost one yet!!

No matter what occurs... I will find you!!

Best. Movie. Ever.

Anyway, I open the closet in the hall because I think that's where he ran. From one closet to the next. Apparently I have a gay cockroach on my hands....

I don't see him in the closet.

I check the hall. I check the living room. I am armed with a flip-flop.

I am so tired.

THEN.... I see him on the door frame of the closet. He blends in with the wood paneling, but I see him nonetheless.

All I need is one second. I raise the flop... and that's it. Lights out for the roach.

He fell to the floor.

HA! Victory is mine, you cheeky little bugger!!

Great. Now I have to dispose of it's squished carcass.

I grabbed my dustpan and broom, swept him in, and deposited him in the trash. He was still moving.


I am now worried about the following things:
1. He isn't entirely dead, and he will somehow climb his way up the trashbag and out of my tall kitch trashcan (even thought the lid is snapped shut), drag himself to my room, and somehow kill me with my own flop in the middle of the night. He'll probably use my new fabulous flop, just to spite me.

2. The roach I squashed with the flop just now is not the same roach that terrorized me tonight. It was a decoy. A sacrifice roach, if you will. Sent out by the mastermind roach to make me think I had killed the right roach, when in fact, it was the wrong roach. Once I fall asleep later, the right roach will then creep into my bedroom and kill me with my flop.

3. All of the roach's buddies will exact their revenge on me by first, scurrying all over me throughout the night. And second, continuing to do this until I go insane, or become one of them.

4. I will still not get to sleep tonight because I am so tired, yet so worked up. It's my third night up past midnight in a row. I'm not really sure how I'm still functioning right now. All of this typing could be complete gibberish. As opposed to incomplete gibberish. Because good gibberish is complete.

Maybe I imagined the whole roach thing because I'm so delirious from lack of sleep.

I will attempt to go to bed now.

This weekend you will find me cleaning my house from top to bottom.

And next Saturday I am having a garage sale to get rid of all the superfluous roach hiding places that are currently in my house.


P.S. This story just happened. Like, an hour ago. You've seen it here before it hits the major news outlets.