Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Fortnight of Blessings

Wow, that title sounds like one from a Jan Karon book.

So...the past two weeks have been rough. I don't want to bitch and moan here TOO much (I so prefer to do that about little insignificant things like hard cookies and skinny jeans), but I'll just say that they were probably two of the worst weeks of my life, almost up there with half of 2005 until March 21, 2006.

I want to focus here on the good remind myself that even through hard times, it isn't ALL gloom and doom, and that there are many pleasures to come despite the heavy cloak of Nothing's Going Right that we can so easily convince ourselves is taking over our lives from time to time.

++I saw this sign on the way to Youngstown last Saturday. I cropped it artfully to avoid the ugly strip mall below it, and there's a reason you don't see the actual street here (much less charming than the name), but I was totally smitten with the sign. I think I'll make a page someday with this, and a photo of Columbia's own "Short St." downtown:

++Darling Emily reminded me how good it is to call someone you don't really want to talk to, only to get their voicemail!

++I sent a message to Arye Gross on Facebook, just telling him how much I enjoyed his work, and he wrote back! I'm not sure if it counts exactly in my collection of Celebrity Touches, but I'll fit it in somewhere.

++Last night, I finished Breaking Dawn. Key word here: finished. I'm not going to spoil anything, but...MAN, Meyer. Man. Way to earn that "D" Entertainment Weekly gave you. Ugh, ugh, and double ugh. That took me about the full two weeks to read...definitely not a can't-put-it-down-er. But this list is supposed to be for good things, so...moving on.

{oh...wait, though...if you want to read a freaking gut-busting recap of the first part of BD, look no further than here...}

++I swallowed my pride and applied for a part-timer at DBRL. I doubt they'll consider me, given my no-notice leaving a few years back, but I had to try. And I think I'll keep trying even if I don't get it this time, just to show them I want it bad enough. No, it's not the best place in the world to work, but I would rather work there than, say, Country Kitchen. (And that's not a dig at waitresses...I know how hard the work is...I just think the tips would probably be pathetic at the CK, given my week-long stint at Steak n Shake with the continual disappointment of 5% left on the table for me.)

++I'm on Chamber of Secrets now. Obviously these don't fly as quickly as they did on a first read (and audio books, naturally, go a lot slower anyway), but I think I'm noticing little Britishisms here and there that might have been different from our Americanized versions of the books. I constantly forget it's Stephen Fry reading them, which isn't a bad thing or a good thing. You'd swear his Hagrid is Robbie Coltrane stopping in the audio-book-recording-studio for a minute. It's uncanny. I like to think the studio is equipped with a deep red leather chair, a fireplace, and a reading lamp. Also--do you think audio book readers practice the entire book before they record it? I guess they would have to, don't you think?

++I got a silly little fun job with ChaCha, a company who answers questions of any kind via text message. It's surprising the variety of questions asked (although every other one yesterday was about college football)--I get a kick out of editing the questions for the guides to answer, and wondering myself what the answer is. It's a free service funded by ads, so people even send in texts like "Have you been drinking?" and "Are you just sitting there looking up the answers on Google?"

++Becca and I taught Paul, Stacy, Mark, and Neil the game of Celebrity last week. Oh man, it was fun!! Paul was so screamingly unfairly good--I think he blew through 14 names during one two-word round. And it was his first time playing the darned game! We did girls vs. guys, which meant that all the Laura Ingalls Wilders and Jane Austens we'd put down were met with blank stares when the guys drew them, and their Ric Flairs and Joe Rogans were difficult for us to clue. So we discussed mixing up the teams next time. But I love my girls, so it will be with a heavy heart.

++Sean came with us to the Yo, and though he was terrified for most of the trip (see the black beard and his frightened eyes here, sitting in the car): he made it through okay, and was a big hit with the Dazets. I was surprised at how well they liked him!

++One of the major sources of stress was waiting for Paul's surgery to be complete. In my heart of hearts I knew he would be okay, but Wednesday morning had to be the longest few hours ever, waiting to hear from Papa that it was done. When the call finally came, a little earlier than expected, I exhaled the breath I'd been holding all morning. Of the three major things that have been going on lately, Paul's experience is the one that has us all concerned the most, so getting over that hurdle was a huge relief. He's in for some chemo to remove the last little bit of the tumor, but they were able to get most of it.

++The Mizzou football game was on ESPNHD last night, and I surprised myself by getting into it. Is it possible that someday I'll be a football fan? Can that even happen after so many years of hatred? I like that there are THREE (3) Chases on the team.

++We went to PP's (Paul's) church last Sunday morning--his last sermon for the next six weeks. As always, I love hearing him talk, and the fact that I'm sitting in a normally uncomfortable position (mentally) at a church service doesn't come into the picture. It's just PP, talking about his viewpoint, and regardless of whether I agree with him, he doesn't present it as something I need to accept or change. After communion (I think it's illegal for me to take it, plus--CARBS!), Vicki (awesome lady, with even awesomer hair that I want to emulate for the wedding) sat up there with him and asked if anyone who wanted to would come up and surround PP and pray for him. Of course everyone converged, a huge crowd, but Stacy had stepped out and wasn't back yet. I wanted her to be there, but didn't know where she had gone. Just as the first person started to talk, I felt hands on my shoulders and knew it was her. We shared such a lovely moment then, and it brings tears to my eyes that we were able to spend that time together. We all cried a lot and hoped and prayed, and stood silently thinking about how PP was going to get through this just perfectly. Every time I see Stacy, I love her more, and I know how lucky I am to be marrying into such a wonderful family--she'll be my sister! (Not to take anything away from you, Lilz. You are number one forever, and you dress much more fashionably than any of us will ever hope to.)

++Speaking of sisters, Lily says she and Gibbo are leaning toward Columbia for their next move! If it all works out, they may even be here by Christmas. Now we just need Steve to come back closer, and maybe we can actually have a Family Thanksgiving again!

++ Did you know there was such a thing as dwarf hamsters? Becca and I saw some at a Petland (along with dozens of puppies that kicked my Doggie Maternal Feelings into high gear) and they have got to be the cutest little balls of fluff you've ever seen, PLUS no icky pink skinned tail dragging behind them! I hope she gets some. Although, they would be very hard not to squish, as I used to do with those fluffy bird ornaments from Chinatown. I totally couldn't HELP it! They were just so soft! I guess I'm like that Lennie guy from Of Mice and Men, which I didn't read but was always planning to. Until one day, bored out of my BUTT while working at MBS, I picked it up from the shelf and for some godforsaken reason, read the last page. In the immortal words of Hagrid, "I shoudna done dat." But it's probably all for the best, because I only like happy endings. Only. (I don't like all happy endings, but I only like happy endings.) So please don't recommend The Notebook or that book they made a movie of with Keira "Bones" Knightley & Tumnus to me, or anything like those, because even though they may be good books for most of it, an unhappy or unsatisfying ending ruins it all for me. YES, I'm picky. I know. But I read books (and, for that matter, watch movies) for an escape, dangit! Not as a reminder that life sucks sometimes. BRING ON THE CHICK LIT, PEOPLE!
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan? I believe I will, sir.

++I sometimes think I don't have many good woman friends, that my propensity for being alone and my anxiety at social functions means I sacrifice the pleasure of having girl friends around to lean on when I need them. But lately, I've come to realize that, though I don't have a lot of girly Dessert Outings or quilting bees or Martini Nights, I do have wonderful friends. They may not live next door (with the exception of AGA, a couple miles away), and I may not see them but a few times a year, but they are there...and they are there for me...and they have infinite and wise words for me...and I love them. You. I love you guys. Thanks for listening to me cry over the phone, and vent through the written word, and letting me visit and play with your dogs or your kids, or distracting me with the crap that's going on with you lately (seriously, it helps!), or playing silly games, or sending me wedding-shoe ideas, or making me see the BIGGER picture in the face of what seems like a monumental disaster. I am amazed at how wonderful you all are.

++It's August 31st, which means my favorite time of year is almost here...four months of my favorite time of year! I can survive anything when it's a beautiful fall, right? And it isn't like it's been the usual miserable summer anyway. I was off for two months of it, and we never had the long stretches of high-90s temps we usually do. Some people are fearing a very harsh winter, but I'm living in the moment, dangit. I've done enough worrying this month to give me eleven heart attacks.

++I'm eating CiCi's tonight. I'm totally cheating. And I can't wait!

Monday, August 18, 2008


The following post was begun on Monday, August 18. I've been adding and tweaking for several days. The final product begins......


Last night, a lifelong dream came true, thanks to my Neil. In March, while Dad, Joe and I were driving to L.A., Neil couldn't hold my birthday present a secret--he'd scored us tickets to the STL Poison concert in August. I have been so stoked for the event, that when it finally drew near, I couldn't believe it was actually going to happen!

Neil and I drove up to the STL in the late morning, ready for a full day of events. We first stopped at the reptile show, the site of Sean's purchase (I want to change the spelling of Sean's name to S-H-A-U-N. It's cuter, and more British. Do you think that would be too traumatic?) to get him a new, larger piece of driftwood to bask on. It was a very efficient transaction, and we then moved on to the Best Strip Mall on Earth, near Emily's house. It houses a Borders, a Whole Foods, an REI, and a Container Store...I don't believe I've ever left a Container Store empty-handed. My bank account thanks their corporate office that there's not one in Columbia. I'd been wanting a market tote for weeks, and liked the designs they offered, so I finally indulged:

I chose the green, after some consideration.

Next, we trekked over to REI, where Neil purchased some very handsome "hi-lo" corduroy pants and an attractive brown top. Then we were off to Emily's, a little down the road. We spent a very glittery 15 minutes wrapping her "thank-you-so-much-for-helping-us-with-the-wedding-including-invite-printing/
maid-of-honor" gift: a very heavy and large box containing a trampoline.
She came down to see us with little Noah in tow, and we had a wonderful (albeit short) visit.

But the Main reason for the St. Louis trip was drawing near. Neil and I got freshened up (note my TOTALLY HARD-CORE earrings in this cute photo Emily took):

and were on our way. We made it to the UMB Bank Verizon Wireless Pepsico JCPenney Exxon Valdez Amphitheatre right at 7:00, when the opening bands were to begin. I was impressed at the smoothness of it all there: compared to parking at the Chicago Bears field (Soldier? Whatevs) where we were last summer for the USA/Mexico soccer game, this was a breeze. We even parked far away in order to make a fast getaway later, but it was still a fairly short walk.

As we neared the venue, my excitement for the coming show battled with my desire to just stand in one spot and gaze with amazement at the skank-a-riffic fashion choices that had been made by our neighbors, largely female...though there definitely were some questionable hair-and-makeup choices on the men, too. Middle-aged women with inappropriately tiny shorts paired with teetering strappy sandals and sequined tank tops...lace-edged capri leggings underneath a black and white checkered pleated schoolgirl skirt with suspenders, a wife beater, pink-edged hair, and fishnet sleeves...(this girl was standing in front of us. Her boyfriend wore a darker wifebeater, a bandanna tied neatly around his head, a TIE, and had applied a liberal amount of guyliner). The opportunities for people-watching was endless, though, and I knew we'd have the whole night for that.

We rounded the bend to the main doors after being patted down for illegal 80s-Hair-Band weapons, and I heard a voice. A familiar voice. The loudest voice in a sea of drunken people trying to recapture their youth via $9.00 cups of warm beer and frozen margaritas made by a machine.

It was Sebastian Bach.

No, not that one.

THIS one!!

"Crap!" I told Neil. How could they possibly schedule this rock legend to go first? I knew there would be two openers, but in what crazy world should Sebastian Bach, star of television's "Gilmore Girls" (if you've never seen Bach and Lane's band perform "Hollaback Girl" at a little girl's Bat Mitzvah, you have not tasted heaven) as well as a short run on Broadway doing "Rocky Horror," perform before these jokers?

And seriously...DON is not a rock'n'roll name. Don Dokken? Puh-lease.

So, we hurried along, entering the amphitheatre just in time to hear Mr. Bach asking St. Louis politely if they might want to "rock the f*** out" with him. He was wearing yummy brown leather flare pants and his luscious blond hair was as long and layered as I remember. Unfortunately, that lovely scream he's known for isn't as strong, but I suppose once you hit 40, something has to go.
And I'm glad it's not his penchant for wearing tank tops that can be easily ripped off.

The only two songs I knew were "18 & Life" and "I Remember You," but they were fan-TASTIC!

Sebastian, after a good almost hour-long set, left the stage so Dokken could follow. I could give a crap about them, as aforementioned, so we decided to leave our seats for a time (dead center--awesome view) and enjoy the summer evening. We sat up on the lawn, cuddled underneath the gorgeous twilit sky, through the second opener. Dokken kept saying "So far so good?", which I felt was decidedly un-rockerish, like he was checking on us tentatively. His set was about an hour as well, after which we fought our way back to our seats.

And then it was time.

To my surprise and delight, Big John (Bret's bodyguard and backstage-passer-outter from "Rock of Love") made an appearance to announce the band! I hope he gets a lot of tail, because he deserves it. Seriously, would you want to be the protector of an aged rocker trying to convince the world he's not wearing a wig under that hat/bandanna combo?

I will never understand why they always seem to announce C.C. first, because he's the best one. But there he was, first. In some kind of mauve-ish tight jeans, a sleeveless tee, and his axe. (Did you see that? I just said "AXE"! Totally casually, like I say it all the time.) The blond hair was crazy wild, as God intended, and he rocked the shizz out of that stage.

Bret's intro was a little ridiculous--they had him rise up out of the top part of the stage amidst pyrotechnics. I feel like if they're gonna do that, the person coming out had better be super-duper surprise ultra famous or decked out in a LOT of glitter or metal accessories (Gene Simmons, perhaps). But Bret, with his Poison tank top, flare jeans, and ever-present bandanna? Eh. He's a beauty, for sure, wasn't gasp-inducing. At least his cowboy hat was shiny silver.

They started out with some old stuff, "Nothin' But a Good Time" or something. I don't mean to gloss over those first two albums ("Look What the Cat Dragged In" and "Open Up and Say...Ahh"), but I wasn't a hard-core fan until "Flesh and Blood," which to this day remains my absolute favorite Poison record. I find those 80s numbers fun and enjoyable, but I'm not connected with 'em, you know? I don't have specific memories of discovering them, because I already sorta knew them (I mean, who didn't hear "Your Mama Don't Dance" every week on Casey Kasem?), and only later on went back to the older albums because I'd just discovered that I actually liked the band after years of thinking they weren't my style. I suspected that, because the first two albums were so hugely popular compared to "Flesh and Blood," I wouldn't be hearing too much from my favorite this time.

So when Bret started talking about the next number, about riding free on a motorcycle, I hardly dared hope. "Ride the FREAKING Wind???!! NO WAY!!" That song was never very popular, even though it had a presence on KCMQ96.7 and MTV, but it is so my favorite. I was EXCITED!! I shouted every word of that song right along with Bret, bouncing in Neil's arms. I don't know anything that could get me so exhilarated for three minutes straight.

Poison only played for an hour and a half, but did three songs from "Flesh and Blood"--"Something to Believe In" (LORD I wanted Bret to cry, like he does in the video, when he sings "I tried all night not to break down and cry/as the tears rolled down my face" because it was his BEST FRIEND, and he died a lonely man in some Palm Springs hotel room!! But he kept it together, dangit. Nothing gets me going more than a man crying, seriously) and "Unskinny Bop," which I hold special affection for because I began liking Poison from hearing this song (and, alright, Bret's aquamarine eyes and pink pouty lips in the video didn't hurt none). The rest of their numbers were standard--"Every Rose," naturally..."I Want Action" (with full-on 70s porn projected on the screen behind the band)...and, thankfully, no new numbers except one cover from "Poison'd," and we all know how much I adore covers.

Their encore was but one song.

I was a tad disappointed that their portion of the show didn't go on for longer, but these guys are in their 40s...and they tour like every summer.

All in all, it was one of the best nights of my life. We got in some more people-watching as we trekked back out to the car, and I saw another fashion older woman with a coral-orangey tube top (I know! I'm not even done yet though), wearing one of those bras with the clear plasticy straps, trying to look as if she weren't wearing one. Does she think people can't see the Shiny, Shiny straps on her shoulders? Does she not know that the top part of her bra clinging on to said straps is poking out the top of the tube?

In other music news...I'm thinking I just need to give in to Gavin DeGraw. He does exactly the kind of music I love, and I dig his voice, and "Chariot" makes me love music all over again. I think I was so reluctant because he did the theme song to "The O.C," which is totally a show I should like, but don't. Him, Nickelback, Daughtry, Fuel, even Hinder (I hate the cheating song, so I can't succumb to them quite as fully)--all masters of restrained guy-rock.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Love Tags For The Same Reason I Love Line-Dancing.

...because you are guided to do a certain thing, but you can totally make it your own. And I don't have enough confidence in my own creativity to be sure I'm keeping this entertaining, so I have little rules, like "Write an entry on every book you finish"..."Every time you do something exciting or for the first time [keeping it relatively clean, people], record it here"...etc. And while part of me fears that responding to 'tags' is a cop-out, a too-easy way to write an entry, I still think it's more entertaining than "Hi guys. So...this weekend. I went to Emily's (fun!), Dad's on Sunday (fun with Olympics and pizza!), and woke up to a sad Monday. [insert Google images photo of someone looking glum.]"

Unfortunately, I have no occasion to line-dance anymore. Oh, sure, I bust out the Slides, both Electric and Cha-Cha, when I have the opportunity, and there have been times not so long ago when my friends and I would frequent a local dance area that threw the occasional group line-dance into the mix and I'd learn something I hadn't before.

Okay, anyway....

Six things I did in the last 24 hours

1. Read 92 pages of a manuscript for Harlequin (they slept together the second night after they met...sluts!)
2. Drank ~80 ounces of water
3. Cut and/or trimmed about a billion pieces of cardstock
4. Did not use my phone even one time!
5. Watched the pilot episode of 'Greek.' Liked it.
6. Took an afternoon nap and went to bed before midnight (unheard of!)

Six random things about me that you may not know

1. I'm fairly obsessive about keeping all my hairbrushes clear of hairs. This may not be a surprise to anyone, though.
2. I can't chew gum for very long before my jaw starts to get tired. 10 minutes or so is the max, but generally it's much less than that.
3. I am a very poor observer in terms of measurement. For example, if someone has gained or lost weight, or gotten a haircut, I can't tell. If a kid has grown several inches, I wouldn't know. If someone asks me how many miles I have to drive to go to work, I have no clue. If I have to gauge the distance from where I'm sitting to somewhere across the room, I wouldn't be comfortable guessing.
4. I am very frightened of mirrors at night, ever since 5th grade (Thanks, Betty Ren Wright and Ghosts Beneath My Feet. Thanks a lot).
5. I almost never eat breakfast, but I do not necessarily have an aversion to breakfast food. I really like the word "breakfast," too.
6. I had a crush on Darius McCrary, the oldest brother on "Family Matters," from the very first episode on.

Six favorite websites

1. Google Reader (that's cheating, isn't it?)
2. Television Without Pity
3. Rex Parker Does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle
4. Paperback Swap
5. Remember The Milk
6. Facebook's WordTwist game site

Six favorite things to drink
(oops...I did seven.)

1. Freshly squeezed limeade from that one place in Mexico
2. Minute Maid lemonade, with pulp
3. Simply Orange pulp-free OJ
4. Mint chocolate chip milkshakes
5. Wild Cherry Pepsi
6. Sunkist Sparkling Lemonade
7. Apple Slice (or other sparkling apple soda, like Appletise, since Apple Slice has gone the way of the DoDo Bird)

Six foods I could eat every day

1. Jan Moore's birthday cake
2. Penne pasta with Vodka Sauce and extra buffalo mozz, from Mac Grill
3. Baked Lays (or Baked Ruffles) with Central Dairy chip dip
4. Sophia's Caesar Salad
5. Freschetta Brick Oven Pizza (Pepperoni)
6. Big juicy hot dogs from Sam's, with Heinz mustard

Six favorite books
(it's funny to me, such an ardent re-reader, that for some of these, I've only been able to read them once. I think this might be so because they affected me so much upon a first read, and I didn't want to try and replicate that feeling in case it was lessened.)

1. Ramona and her Mother (Beverly Cleary)
2. Jumping (Barbara Trapido)
3. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
4. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
5. Tiger Eyes (Judy Blume)
6. Holes (Louis Sachar)

Six books that were a waste of my time

1. Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping (Sounds fun, right? No. It's more about economics--borrrrring--and the author being on an environmentally-conscious high horse.)
2. Valley of the Dolls (threw it across the room when I was done)
3. A Tale of Two Cities (Sorry, Mrs. Dobbs...)
4. Any Shakespeare history play (except Richard III)
5. Democracy in America (suck it, de Tocqueville)
6. Pay it Forward (I hate endings like this one.)

Six movies I love

1. Juno
2. Brokeback Mountain
3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun
4. When Harry Met Sally
5. Meet Me in St. Louis (zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings...)
6. Waiting for Guffman (thank you, Bill Miller!)

Six TV shows I favor

1. Gilmore Girls (no surprise)
2. Golden Girls (see #1)
3. The Office (American...sorry, Ricky)
4. Coupling (The British one)
5. As Time Goes By
6. Tied: Phenom/The Powers That Be (Early-90s sitcoms that were so, so, so funny...albeit short-lived)

Six movies I really didn't like

1. Speed Zone (I never knew much about the Smothers Brothers; after this joke of a movie, I don't care to)
2. Citizen Kane (I wish I had the ability to fall asleep sitting up)
3. Up Close and Personal (Never believed their chemistry...and horrible ending)
4. Blue Velvet (never again, Lynch.)
5. Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh. An awesome final 20 minutes does not a good movie make.)
6. Phenomenon (see also "Michael." What was with you in 1996, Travolta?)

Six hobbies I've had

1. Collections (pencils, TGIF flair, Oz items, Meanie Beanies, celebrity touches/sightings)
2. Kakuro (AKA Cross Sums)
3. Scrapbooking organization (with some actual scrapbooking thrown in)
4. Short stints in sports: soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball
5. Pottery
6. Community theatre

Six favorite games (not computer)

1. Trivial Pursuit (especially Book Lover's)
2. Celebrity
3. Password
4. Cranium (Regular & Pop 5)
5. Encore!
6. Hungry Hungry Hippos (we could never play it because it was too loud. But man...those were good times.)

Six moments that made my heart soar
(I'm limiting this to one answer per person)

1. When Neil said we'd have to find me a ring sometime
2. When Emily told us Noah was born
3. When Dad and I went to Mom's room in the middle of one night
4. When Steve sang "Anthem" for us
5. When I saw "West Side Story" for the first time
6. When Lily offered to pay for our reception

I'm hitting "Publish Post" now, before I come up with a dozen more lists. Boy, do I love lists!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shoe Addicts Anonymous

So I just finished listening to this, what I assumed was going to be a fluffy, fun, materialistic chick-lit read. But, I'm not really a shoe person. And I don't think the shoes featured on the cover are anything to lose sleep over *anyway*...I mean, I don't think even a shoe-crazy woman would think much of them (and don't get me started about the pink/red combo. Hello?). So I began this book thinking it would be maybe fun, maybe a fast read/listen, but knowing I might have to return it to the library before finishing it if I wasn't digging it. An unabridged book-on-cd is a long time commitment, ya'll.

It began with three separate story lines, featuring Sandra, an agoraphobic phone sex operator inexplicably in love with brand-name shoes; Helene, the senator's wife with a past she guards closely; and Lorna, a broke waitress thousands of dollars in debt, but who can't stop buying the designer shoes she loves. I wasn't a fan of the individual stories; I've never liked reading about political scandal (in Helene's case), and I couldn't figure out why Sandra kept flipping personalities (i.e., if she was so scared of even going to the grocery store, why would she go to some stranger's home to talk about shoes?). I don't think the book was very well written, or thought out, I guess.
But, its most redeeming qualities were the way the author wrote these womens' friendships. I have never been a fan of "chick flicks," which I regard as very different than chick LIT. I am not interested in 'girl power' or women's friendships or talking about feelings, at least in fictionalized stories. I like fun romances, sassy and brassy heroines, funny/mean characters, and authors who aren't afraid to talk sex (without getting too graphic as to be distracting). So when this book began to veer into the 'Woman Bonding' arena, I blanched.
For some reason, worked. The author put her characters into situations where being catty and mean would have been so easy, and would have probably fit their personalities, but you could see each woman, in different situations, thinking better of it--and in the end, they all trusted each other with their secrets anyway, so any lies or embarrassments were revealed. I was surprised to find myself heartwarmed by the women's actions, and their choices not to be gossipy and snarky, when I wouldn't have thought twice about it.
I'm glad I listened to this one.

The last line, though. Oh, the last line!

"And they did."

This is one of my least favorite last lines ever. I've seen it many times before, generally in poorly written unsolicited manuscripts, and it just feels like the author threw in the towel. "Eh, no one cares about this epilogue-y chapter. And I just want to finish this damned thing. Let's just do something like 'The girls were so happy, they felt like singing. And so they did.' I don't even give a rat's anymore."

Tag: Blast from the Past

Q: What television show or movie did you want to be in when you were little?

"Girls Just Want to Have Fun." I watched the CRUD out of that movie at the Diggs' house with Andrea and Sarah. When I got my own sparkling new VHS copy (at age 17, people--no longer little!), it wore out after several years of constant viewing.

Q: Which character or star?

I'd love to pretend I was stylish and fun enough to want to be Helen Hunt's character, but it was Sarah Jessica Parker's. Janie Glenn, all the way. Her hair was GORGEOUS. She wore a leotard with suspenders in one scene. No pants...just suspenders. (This is also the film that sparked my crush on Jonathan Silverman.)

Q. Most embarrassing moment your friends will never let die?

I think my friends/family know I'm too ultra-sensitive to allow them to keep teasing me about things. Even though I should get over them.

But I remember one thing that happened:

I was at Ridgeway, somewhere between 2nd and 4th grade, probably. We'd all line up at the 4-square boxes to play, and there'd always be a huge line. One day, I was next up, and there were big Unit C (5th & 6th grade) kids behind me. I stepped wrong and kind of slowly fell/sank to the ground, but not fast--it didn't hurt. I was totally embarrassed, and decided to play it off like I'd just sat down in front of all those kids. No one else was sitting down; I don't know why I thought this was a good idea. They weren't fooled, though. A big kid reached down behind me, under my arms, and stood me up again. I said nothing; didn't even turn around. I was so, so, so humilated.

Isn't that stupid?

Q: Your proudest moment or accomplishment?

Hm. I know I felt great when I was accepted into various schools (Grinnell, Grinnell-in-London, NYU, law school, library school) and whenever I got a job I wanted. I probably felt the greatest when I got the e-mail from Karen saying she was offering me the Grad Assistant job up in Special Collections. I wanted it so, so bad, and there was a lot of competition to get it.

But funnily enough, I think I was the proudest handing in one little paper. Last spring, I went to a seminar in England, which you could earn graduate credit for if you wrote this 25-page paper afterward, due a year from the seminar's end. I hate papers, unless they can be written, journal entries or opinion papers. And this one had to be as if it were a professional article. I came home from the seminar, and decided to write it on Special Collections, and how they preserved their collection--a topic I'd always been interested in, but had never really studied. I was soon immersed in all the information I could find, and excited about all the examples within the department where I worked. When Neil and I jetted to North Carolina to spend a week with his family about a month later, I took all my notes, photos, and books, and spent a few hours a day closed up in our room typing away on his laptop. With no internet, no regular access to TV, and no car, the days had no distractions other than the rocking chairs sitting on the porch overlooking the ocean--and I spent many hours out there too.

I couldn't believe when I reached the 25-page mark. I formatted photos in the paper (always a nightmare, in the past) and, as soon as we got home from N.C., sent the polished paper off, with fingers crossed. I'd enjoyed it so much, I was sure it wouldn't be up to snuff. It just flowed too easily.

So when I got a note full of praise back from the instructor, saying I was the first student to hand their paper in, and who told me I should give it to the department I'd critiqued, since it would be a valuable resource to them--I was thrilled. I think that was the last little detail that would allow me to get my MLS degree that August.

Q: What adult did you have a crush on when you were little?

Steve Martin.

(I didn't think I still did, but then I found this, the cover from his 1981 album. Yowza-HOT!!)

Q: What habit or personality trait do you have of your mother?

1. I find myself doing a lot of her mannerisms from time to time, and others (mostly her women friends) notice it too.

2. We like things to be done the right way. (But I think that's just woman in general...)

Q: What did you want to change your name to when you were little?

Freakin' anything but genevieve. Gabriella, Samantha, Veronica, Stacey, Kate...

Q: Who was your first kiss?

James Weinheimer. Ginger's birthday party, at her farm. 5th grade, maybe? That was kind of a wild party for little 11-year-olds.

Q: What are 3 adjectives that someone from high school or middle school would use to describe you?

Maybe they'd say...Funny? Temperamental? Moody? (are those two the same?)

Q: What hairstyle, clothes, or other accessories did you rock back in the day when it was cool?

I'm going to limit myself to Junior High Fads, because they were the stupidest, and I conformed (or tried to) the most at that time.


Let's talk about the tight, tight ankle-zip stone-washed jeans.

Let's talk about the tightrolled light blue Gap jeans that came a year later.

The even lighter blue Lawman jeans I can't believe Mom got me.

Slouch socks....seriously thick. I never layered them, because it just would have been too thick. I don't think I got the right kind for layering.

The crunchy, curled, doughnut-shaped bangs. (Always easier to curl the day *after* a shampoo, when little bits of Rave hairspray were still in the bangs from the day before.)

White leather Keds, and trying to convince Mom that it was time to buy new ones when the blue tab on the back came off (because I picked at it all day).

A "BUTTON YOUR FLY" dark turquoise t-shirt, with pink and purple lettering, layered and sleeves rolled with a white t-shirt underneath.

A Swatch watch, with a clear face so you could see the mechanisms inside.

A bright blue leather purse with that tacky Esprit logo across it (a walking ad, basically), followed by a more subtle gray Liz Claiborne. I got glasses, so I was able to guilt Dad into buying me a name-brand purse.

Ooh, remember these?? I think I had a white one. Dang, why did I choose white? That thing must have been filthy.

Let's see...what else?

I never had the fashion sense to put together anything on my own (as Emily did, ingeniously) nor the money to buy a full outfit the Buckle put together for you.

I remember being so show-offy about a green Outback Red (OBR, as it was known) t-shirt that was so plain, with just that notch in the collar.

Mom took me to the Ralph Lauren outlet a couple times to buy polos, and I wore them as much as I could get away with--light yellow, forest green, and a blue one that was a little too small.

I know I had a Hypercolor t-shirt.

I know I had a plain white Russell Athletic sweatshirt (WHY were these so popular? BORING!!!).

Several pairs of Umbros (white, turquoise, navy, and the standard black-with-white trim), with matching bike shorts to go underneath.

Nike Air tennis shoes.

Big chunky Cosby-show (but girly) sweaters with matching turtlenecks underneath.

Deep v-neck cardigans with a white turtleneck under (EWWW!).

Plastic whimsical earrings from Claire's boutique.

Oh, yeah. I had stirrup pants. Good lord. It was like having triangles for legs. And even skinny people looked ridiculous in those. Ginger gave me a pair of stirrup pants with suspenders. Did I ever wear those out? (shudder...!)

I never did the side ponytail, parachute pants, or garish makeup (though Ginger did gift me, Sarah, and Alena one year with blue mascara, which I loved). And I resisted the Grunge movement as long as I could before finally prepping it up with a nice new flannel with a tucked-in t-shirt showing neatly underneath, and matching plaid flannel Converses.

Why was it all about the name brands then?? I could care less nowadays.

Q: What job did those long and annoying surveys in school say you would be good at?

I don't remember specifically doing these, though I'm sure I did. They probably said I'd be a good accountant.

Q: And what did you try and make the test result outcome be?

No memory of this. I would never have tried to skew the answers, though.

Q: What made you laugh harder than you have ever laughed before?

Back then, Lindsay and Emily could make me laugh so hard (Em still does! She makes me laugh just by laughing herself)...Laura Bramon was FREAKING for a specific incident?

Oh...Jamie Hook. Man. That kid.

One day we were in the hall goofing off during Musical Theatre, and I told Jamie I'd seen a comedian the night before on TV, and he was wondering what would happen if a gay guy tried to imitate a straight man, as straight men imitate gay men all the time. I can't recreate it, but the guy started acting effete, then said "Get me a beer" in this over-the-top deep voice, and his gay friends were all "That was almost too real." Jamie laughed so hard, he sat down right on the floor--plop!

I lost it.

Q: Favorite memories of hanging out with your best friends?

Summer nights at the Barn with Ems, Linds, Polly-wolly, Jamie...going to Country Kitchen after...jumping on Polly's trampoline (with Beer & Alex too!)...walking around downtown on summer nights, thinking we were sooooo hip...spending the evening/night at Alecia's, sophomore year, with Em...doing Block projects with Katie and Jamie...walking around the neighborhood with Simone...pool parties with Little Caesar's Crazy Bread...spending the night at Sarah's with Alena, then going to the mall Saturday morning with my $5 allowance after Kaye served us TJ Cinnamon rolls...wintertime at Ridgeway, where SO MANY girls had birthdays, and there'd be, like, 2 slumber parties a month...HHS musical rehearsals, sitting in the audience with homework and kooky friends all around...the summer after senior year, and that mixed bag of feelings--excitement, hanging on to everything while we could, spending all our time with each other, and finally, saying goodbye...NKOTB, Nelson, Dennis Miller, and The Urge concerts...

Q: What is the most trouble you have ever gotten in with your parents?

I was a pretty well-behaved kid. I mean, I was grounded from time to time, but I can't remember ever being in deep sh*t. I never did anything really bad. When I didn't do something by the deadline, they'd punish me, I'd sulk, and that was it. Lily and Steve, though--they were rebels!!

Q: What was your 5-year plan when you had to write it out in high school?

We did a '10-years-in-the-future' survey in Soc class senior year. I think I said I'd be married and working as a lawyer.

Q: What is your 5-year plan now?

Not much different than now! I'll be married, maybe we'll be living in a different place, maybe we'll buy a home...but I'm happy now, too. There's no deadline for anything. If we choose to have kids, that may be something we'd be thinking about in five years. I like my work, and I love my friends, family, and Neil.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Unease, and attempting to lose it.

Monday morning...back at work, full blast.

I'm glad I started on Friday, so it wasn't a totally dreadful Sunday night..I have to squeeze in 40 hours by this coming Friday, so I'm working more than I normally would. And today I'm alone and can play music loud-ish while I work on cataloging...but I don't feel like it. I've been trying to distract myself from thinking too much, which isn't easy when it's so quiet here.

The waiting, as I told Neil last night, is the worst part about this whole thing. We're all tortured right now, and it is 99% likely that this whole ordeal will be fine...Paul will be in for a rough six months, to be sure, but as I mentioned in a previous post, at the end he won't be in such discomfort as he has been for months. And 99%...that's HUGE! I shouldn't worry. And I know if things hadn't gone the way they did three years ago (three years ago, almost exactly), I wouldn't be. I'd know it was all gonna be just dandy, and look forward to the day when PP could call and tell us "Guys, the itching is GONE!"

So, I need to talk myself into being positive. Because my brain knows I shouldn't focus on the 1%. That is nothing!

My next section shall be called:

Focusing on Other Things

  • Last Wednesday, Joe, Tina and I went to see Roger in "High School Musical" in Macon. As Joe astutely pointed out on the way home, that show has approximately five songs in total, which are just repeated at length. I've only seen it twice (once was the movie), but I would feel comfortable singing just about every word from memory, if a gun was held to my head. (Okay, okay...I wouldn't feel comfortable. Or even really "in control of my bladder," if you will. But I could probably squeak the words out.)
  • I made shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower, and it turned out SUPER! Now I have delicious leftovers for, like, a week.
  • My auctions are almost done! Of course, after more than a month of smooth sailing, NOW it seems no one wants to pay and I'm forced to be annoying and threaten Unpaid Item Strikes. And one really neat figure was broken en route. But I'm glad to see that the end is near. I've never done anything so tedious (and I'm a freakin' cataloger).
  • There is a heat warning today and for the next some days, where the heat index will reach 105 to 115. I'd say "Bring it on, bitches!" but we both know I don't really mean that. I suppose it's what we deserve after such a mild and lovely summer. Really makes me wonder if I belong in the PacNW/Frisco area someday...
  • I'm rereading New Moon now, and I'm impatient. It's disappointing that, so far, these books don't stand up to a reread. It's a good thing their red-and-black covers match our decor so well, or I would have regretted buying them. Proof positive that, for me at least, these are not the next Harry Potters. (Speaking of...I finally finished downloading the Stephen-Fry-read HPs!! That was a big to-do-eventually item. Those things always feel great to check off, because you're never sure they'll get done, even though you really want them to. And they're not important enough to make a priority.)
  • Neil talked to Meme and Papa last night, and they told him that, as our wedding gift, they'd completely pay for our honeymoon! Because the budgetary stuff wasn't really going as smoothly as I had predicted, I didn't know if we'd be able to afford leaving town at all, so it was awesome to learn that not only would we get to go, but that we won't have to be worried the whole time about the expenses of the trip. I definitely don't want to take advantage of their generosity, though; we're not going to stay in honeymoon suites or eat at four-star restaurants every night or anything. But we'll get to spend a few days in Cincy, a few days in Youngstown to see our Dazets, and take our time getting there (i.e., we won't have to make that 14-hour trip in one day). Yay! I may have to figure out ways to cut corners elsewhere, but it is WONDERFUL to know that we won't need to be concerned about the trip.
  • Em showed me her new toy last time I was there: Remember the Milk, a to-do-list website. I'm totes hooked now, and since it's way easier than coming here to gray things out, I believe the end has come for posting them here...reducing the minutiae content of this thing, for sure...but don't worry. I have plenty more inanity in my life to share! I couldn't wait to show Neil, so once I got my to-dos on there and organized, I called him over, knowing he'd appreciate it. Before I could say a word, he blurted "Remember the Milk!"--apparently, it was on the Wired list of the best up-and-coming websites. We are sooooo ahead of the crowd, Emily!
  • You know what is an *awesome* song to wake up to? "New Shoes" by Paolo Nutini. It'll have you dancing in bed (not the dirty kind, people--behave) when you're still groggily. Impossible, you say? This song'll make you do it. This morning it was "Closing Time"...which I like, but not as a wake-up song. It's more like a good-night,-weary-souls song. Steve always liked how it rhymes "jackets" with "exits." I'd make a "Good tunes to wake up to" cd and set it for a different track each morning on the alarm clock, but I'm afraid I'd get sick of some of my favorite songs, and I NEVER want to think "Oh great, ABBA again." St. Louis has this radio station called "Up 101" or something, and it only plays upbeat new-ish songs. I LOVE IT SO BAD. It even has a special pre-set on my car's favorite stations, even though it won't work here. I need that station for my alarm.
  • A janitor is talking to someone on his cell, right outside my office, about needing to get someone over to clean up some water in the "liberry." Sigh. I'd accept this from a toddler--maybe even be charmed--but a middle-aged man? (Do you think I'm a snob? Maybe I am. I meanly enjoy when public figures who try really hard to look cultured and intelligent, like Johnny Depp or Kevin Spacey, make a language gaffe in an interview--even though I like Kevin Spacey. A lot! I guess it makes me feel superior for a second, even though I'll probably never get a People's Choice Award or make over $15 an hour.)
  • When I look at my diet over the past couple months, it's been good. I haven't gotten sick of the plan, and feel like I can continue on it indefinitely. But I've been stalling for the last couple weeks, and that's depressing. Especially since I cut out all low-carb products (like sugar-free chocolate) and try to keep my cheese intake down to 4 ounces a day (which is still a lot!). BUT, I am totally envious that all Neil did was switch from regular to diet generic Mountain Dew and is losing faster than I am.
  • In the courtyard outside my window, there is one long strand of a spiderweb running from the building to a bush about 20 feet away. How the hell did that happen? Spiders can't fly, right? I mean, I know they kind of float gracefully, like at the end of Charlotte's Web, but to *float* for 20 feet across, with very little elevation to work with? Is there like some invisible zipline they set up ahead of time? On a related note, ziplines look fun, but I don't know if I'd ever do it. It's probably mondo expensive, too, for like 20 seconds of glee. Same reason I doubt I'll ever jetski. (Another side note: I like the word "spinnet." Any word with "spin" in it is good. In general, too, I like words with double letters. Like, I don't like frogs really, but the French word for them, grenouille, is really fantastic. But it's not the same for words like llama or Llewellyn. *Starting* with a double-letter-combo is just too weird. Can I do that? Call a name a word, I mean. Is "Genevieve" a word? It's probably in the dictionary. But only because it was a saint or whatever.)
  • I am a big fan of stream-of-consciousness writing. If you couldn't tell.

  • I think I'll go now. There are books needing their call numbers verified, and by God, if I don't do it...well, no one will really care.