Friday, December 29, 2006

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all that jazz

For the last two weeks, I've been sick. It's really taken the wind out of my holiday sails, which annoys me because I enjoy the thrill of the holidays. Finding the perfect gift...surprising people...trimming the tree and decking the halls.

This year, that has all been cut slightly short. So let me simply say....

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Kwanzaa!
Festive Festivus!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Recurring Dreams

I have a handful of dreams that keep coming back...the courtroom, the sunscreen....and now, add the trip to Prague. It's not a BAD dream, just confusing. Now that it's started returning to my nocturnal naps, I thought I'd vent a bit and get it out there. And Farrago, if his sounds familiar, it's because this is the narration I sent you the first time I had it nearly a year ago. Each time, I get no new detail, but none fades either. It's bizarre to me.

In my dream, I was in Prague for work. This is odd because I've never been to Prague, nor have I studied it to know anything about it. When my flight got delayed. I agreed to take a bump to the next day, because I could visit the city on my own...I walk out of the airport and I'm in the middle of a city that looks, sounds, and smells like London, but I know in my dream that it's still Prague. So I start walking.

I visited museums, I walked by the river, I ate lunch, and then I remembered my friend Ed. Ed works for a university, but in my dream he worked for an investment firm, and for some reason I knew exactly which building was his. I walked to it and got on the elevator, hitting the button for the top floor (again, I somehow just knew it). The elevator was small - only held about 8-10 at a time, and was mirrored. This kind of detail never survives in my mind after a dream, even after I've had it a few times. Anyway, back to the story - I had plenty of time to examine those mirrors because I never made it to the top floor. Everytime someone got on, the elevator would go to their floor next, but never to mine. So I rode the elevator....up to 5 , down to 1, up to 3, up to 4, up to 8, down to 4 down to 1...but never to 9, where I needed to go.

On one of the rides, a little red-haired girl got on the elevator. I say girl, but she was my age or so...just looked younger. She had short curly hair cut to her chin that was frizzing out everywhere, with dangle earrings sticking out from under the hair, and wore a denim jacket over a purple shirt, black pants and shoes. She started talking to me, and we struck up a conversation as we rode this elevator. She asked where I was from, what I was doing in town, et cetera.

"You know this elevator will never go to the ninth floor. It's just not programmed that way. You need to take the stairs if you want to get there," she said.

I looked at my watch. It was 3 minutes till 6, and Ed got off work at 6pm. "There's no way I'll make it and I don't know how else to get in touch with him," I said.

"Well, you're welcome to come and hang with us at my place," she offered. So we got off the elevator the next time it hit the ground floor, and started walking toward the underground. We took the train and got off at Dalrymple Place (I have no idea what that is, but I remember the name. It has no meaning in my life....except another piece of insane detail!) and came up on the corner of something that looked like a quaint town square. The buildings were old and crumbling, no neon signs or updated store fronts, all stacked one right next to each other and they bordered a "town square" of sorts, except the square wasn't was a grassy field that covered the train exchange below.

The girl whose name I never caught despite all my details in the dream told me to stop gawking and grabbed my hand to pull me directly across the grassy field on a diagonal. We ran all the way and stopped facing a row of storefronts...

"This one's my house. C'mon in" It was a pub. One large room where crowds of people packed tables in the front, but as we moved to the back, we passed a kitchen and then the decor changed to a more modern home kind of thing. Another woman was already there. The girl from the elevator offered me a drink. I asked what the local specialty was, and she pulled out a six pack of a grape cooler. "Best thing out of Prague in years," she said. The bottles were small - about the size of an aluminum can. I can still see the design on the bottles - purple label with gold filigree, written in Czech so I don't quite know what the name was. She popped the top and offered me one - it tasted like Grape Nehi. The three of us finished the six pack, then her friend left without having too much to say.

Elevator Girl said, "Lets get out of here - it gets kinda loud at night and you didn't come here to watch men smoke cigars" so we went on a tour of her part of town. The buildings were pretty at night, lit to accentuate the stonework and the gables. She pointed out all sorts of architecture and historical places - the kind of tour you'd never get from the guidebook. We stopped on a bridge over a stream and talked to some of her friends, then they went on and she decided to stay. I thanked her for the tour, and she started talking. Philosophizing is more the term...I don't recall it all but she ended with...

"Sometimes it takes going places you've never been before to see your own life in a different light."

And with that she kissed me. I was surprised, but I let her, and when we were done, she said, "Thank you - I've always wanted to kiss an American redhead. Too bad you can't stay - I think we'd have great fun"

We started walking back to her house like nothing had happened. We walked into the pub again, and that's when I woke up.

Strange. And it keeps coming back.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Holiday Shopping

A random couple of musings tonight, cause I don't have the brain power to cobble together anything coherent!

1) What on earth is wrong with me this year? I know I've been sick, but still! I usually enjoy the hunt that is Christmas shopping. The thought that goes into finding just the right gift....the surgical strike of going to the store, getting it, and getting out while the other crazies browse and ponder and call home to question every little decision.... This year, not so much. I find myself wandering aisles of tried and true retail friends, looking for the perfect gift to bonk me on the head. When really, my head just isn't in the game.

2) Went out dancing the other night. Very little is quite as disturbing as hearing a 60+ year old man dancing with you mis-sing the lyrics of "I'll take you there" by the Staple Singers as "I'll take you to bed"...

3) And little is as comforting as knowing you belong with someone. Even in as small a way as a dance. I took the floor with a very good dancer I know, and three steps into the dance, he dips me all the way to the floor. A move that soon, before partners are in sync...that's silly, and can even be dangerous, depending on who your partner is. But this man is strong and good. When I was on my feet again I laughed and said, "Wow, wasn't that a little soon?" He simply said, "Not with you. You always follow me....and I always catch you. Regardless. You get me. So no, not too soon." It's nice to belong somewhere, even for a split second.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

iTunes Shuffle

Sitting here this morning, paying bills and what not, trying to surf for Christmas presents, and I thought I'd post my last 12 songs on iTunes....I'm trying not to be too heavy here, I've not done that in a while and it's beenan interesting mix!

Desire - U2
Heart of the matter - Don Henley
Civil War - Guns 'N' Roses
Wicked Little High - Bird York
Queen of Hearts - Juice Newton
One Mint Julep - Ray Charles
I'm Not the Man - 10,000 Maniacs
Ring of Fire (Wanna Be Sedated) - Cigar Store Indians
Backwards - Rascal Flatts
Soul of a Man - Susan Tedeschi
At This Moment - Billy Vera and the Beaters
True Religion - The Duhks

Anything in there ya like?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Random quiz time

Okay - question of the week.

For those of you without kids, do you want kids?

For those parents who read these ramblings....were you ready to have kids when you did?

No, I'm not in a family way or anything like that. Just a random question inspired by the whole family time of year

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Gobble Gobble

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and that the travel to and from home wasn't too daunting. Most of all, I hope you had the chance to indulge your family traditions.

In my house, we really don't have a traditional Thanksgiving. We opt for Black Friday instead. Some years I cook, some years Mom does, some years we eat out. Some years we go to the mountains, some years we go to the beach, some years we don't travel at all, but the pattern remains the same: every year Mom flips through the ads and lays out the game plan Thursday night. Friday morning she bribes me with a cup of coffee when she comes to wake me at 4 am (after I've already reached over and turned off the alarm clock totally) and we're on the road.

We stop for a second cup of coffee at the mall about two hours into the excursion. This after she's purchased some Doorbuster or Early Bird special for Dad and my grandparents. This is also about when my brain starts to function. We hit the other stores in the mall with specials, then we start driving to the outlying towns. A boutique in this burb, a depot in that downtown...all to get ideas for what I want for Christmas before I leave to return to my house and they go back home, or return to life as normal.

Ah, the comfort of tradition.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Or...maybe not

Okay, maybe you don't miss me. Who knows. Anyway, a friend of mine said something today that made quite an impression..

We live each other's lives pretty easily.

Hard to explain why this hit me like it did - except that we are two very similar people. In fact, our personalities may as well have been cut from the same cloth, our situations only differ by one choice, one that was made for me. We both see things from the outside that need changing in the other's life, and both can't seem to take the steps to start the changes in our own.

We live each other's lives pretty easily...

What's left unsaid, is how we live our own. Makes me wonder.

Monday, November 20, 2006

They miss me!

Wow - you guys really do miss me!

I'm sorry to have been gone so long....quite a few things piling up in life that needed addressing and many that still do. but since two of you have written me in the last 24 hours looking for me, I promise I'll try to do better this time.

So we begin with a heavy hitter - questions with no answers that have occurred to me in the last 24 hours.

Where has human kindness gone?

Why did the chicken cross the road, anyway?

Who is John Galt?

Why is it the ones you love are never the ones you're with?

And the question that occurred to me this evening - Do you ever look in the mirror and feel that you know the person staring back? That he or she is someone your age...your experience...your life? Or is there always that slight disconnect between who you feel you are and who you feel is looking back at you?

Yep - I'm back! Talk amongst yourselves..time to go get a glass of wine and read my book.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Talk about a smartphone!

I learned a new word tonight!

My cell phone has the feature to fill in the rest of the word once it thinks it knows what you're trying to say. So I'm trying to type in "Neon." I get to the N-e-o, and the phone fills in "neologism"

What on earth????!?!?!?

ne ol o gism–noun
1. a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase.
2. the introduction or use of new words or new senses of existing words.
3. a new doctrine, esp. a new interpretation of sacred writings.
4. Psychiatry. a new word, often consisting of a combination of other words, that is understood only by the speaker: occurring most often in the speech of schizophrenics.

Thank you, Motorola!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thank you

Blogging has been off the radar screen in the last few weeks. I've has a lot of stuff going on that has distracted me from the keyboard...the biggest being the number of hours a day I spend at the keyboard at work! So getting an email from two of you asking where I've been was not only motivational, it was down right inspirational

I've been feeling remarkably underappreciated lately. I've given up much of my self to care for others. Now they are moving on without me. Meanwhile, someone whom I thought had moved on, returned. And then there's work, a subject I won't blog about except to say that it's not going well. So while I'm not begging for compliments or attention, to know that at least two of you miss me here in the blogosphere is more positive reinforcement than I'm getting in my real sphere of existence. And for that I want to say thanks.

I could keep going on about far too much personal shit, but I've had a great Labor Day, just got in from a last minute party, and I'm having a touch of trouble typing. Instead, I will, as promised in my last post, introduce you to the Great Lingerie Debate, which should be properly named The Great Lingerie Paradox.

Ladies, I think we've all experienced this at some point. Men, here's a primer into the mind of the female. Know that nothing with us goes unplanned, or at least unconsidered.

I received a phone call from a gal who has come to be known as my younger twin. We have similar views, thoughts, speech patterns, the works, except she is 8 years younger than I. So it stands to reason that when faced with a shopping dilemma, she would call me. She had a guy coming over and there was the prospect of physicality, but she knew she didn't want to take things from the couch to the bedroom. So she called with a question: What kind of lingerie to buy, and from where.

Here's where men usually raise their hands and say, "What's the issue...something slinky from Vickie's Secret and we're good." But it's not about you guys. In fact, we determined (or, I determined and she agreed) that this is, actually, the only time in which we can truly buy the lingerie we like, even though it's for someone else. There are many layers to this issue. If we buy/wear something from Vickie's or Freddy's then it sends the message that more than the clothes will come off. The old comfies in the lingerie drawer aren't an option because there COULD be clothes coming off. Going to Macy's or the like could result in an overpriced purchase that is suitable but not comfy enough to be worn again when a man is not involved. So we decided that the perfect place was Target, where you can buy a comfortable matching set that can be worn again, but also don't look too out of place (read: No lace, no cartoons) - basically, it gave her carte blanche to buy the undies she had been looking at for a week!

T'was a great teaching moment for my "younger twin" - that at times, the greatest way to help others is by acting in your own self interest. Ah, the Great Lingerie Paradox!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Your Call Will Be Answered in the Order It Was Received...

I've not posted much of late, mostly for personal reasons. Life isn't about me lately, it's about friends who are having hard times and need a hand...but I'm trying not to completely sublimate my being to their pain. Basically, I'm not letting their experiences invade my private spaces, which are few and far between, but this being one of them.

On Wednesday night, though, I had a great post in mind after another woman and I debated the Great Lingerie Question. I returned to the keyboard prepared to launch this debate for you to weigh in on, but internet service! However, it was midnight, so I went to bed.

Thursday service. Thursday night - still fritzing when I got home.
I restart the computer...
I unplug the modem...
I disconnect everything from the wall...
I start browsing the modem settings...
Everything's fine.
Friday morning, more of the same. So I figure I'll send an email when I get to work. After all, my service provider has a great online section for troubleshooting and chat with an agent.

I logged in from work, and the customer service pages were down. I clicked on "Troublehooting" and the page was broken. I clicked on "Having a Problem?" and the link was broken. After chuckling in that irony, I tried the eChat, and it too was down.

This morning, I got up, and, frustrated with my lack of connectivity, and called the help line. For 20 minutes I listened to constant recordings, a canned, inhuman voice saying, "We apologize for the delay. please continue t ohold, we anticipate your call will be answered in less than one minute." So I waited. And quietly thanked the Lord for the person who decided tp put speaker phones on cordless handsets!

Finally, a customer support tech comes on the line. I explain the problem and he says, "Have you tried resetting the modem?"

"Well, actually, I've tried it numerous times, but if you need me to do it now to check it off your troubleshooting list, there's no harm in doing it again."

"Please do," he says.

So I'm unplugging the modem, thinking that this guy doesn't realize that he's dealing with someone who has some inkling of what's going on, even if I'm not TOTALLY technosavvy. He askes me two questions, then says, "Okay reconnect the modem."

I did.

THE DAMN THING WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Stupid" does not BEGIN to encapsulate the feeling I had!

"Thanks, have a good day" I said...then slunk off to get my morning coffee.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Two Great Bumper Stickers

The title of the post says it all. Both spotted here in the South in the last week...

1) on a Toyota Camry:

January 20, 2009
The End of an Error

2) on a Lexus (whatever their luxury Sedan is called - I don't know my high end cars very well..)

If that fetus you saved turns out to be gay,
Will you stop fighting for his or her rights?

That one even had an African-American couple in their 50s in the car....hope is out there I suppose!

I just finished watching Elizabethtown and I have decided that I, too, am a substitute person....and if you haven't seen that movie, go rent it immediately! Perhaps it was the experience with my gransfather's funeral that spoke to me so much, but I thought it was great and had an awesome bend of family and humor!

I'm going to bed now. G'night

Friday, July 07, 2006

Give and Take....

Life is not about one single solitary person. It is about how we all interact together. My decisions impact you, and yours me. Even though I am the only person who will look out for my best interests, and you are the only person who will look out for your best interests, neither fact gives any of us the right to act as though the world revolves around us. However, each person must still make decisions in such a fashion as to guard their best interests.

Yes, that's a lesson I've learned the hard way.

That said, society teaches us that in order to properly love another on any level (friend, family, or beloved) we must subsume our desires, wishes and needs to their's, therefore making our well-being secondary.

So my rhetorical question du soir for the collective "you" out there is this:

As one who has spent my whole life giving from the shadows, to my job, to my parents, to my friends....when is it acceptable to take something I want, and expect them to give me support for once? When can I act in my own interest and expect them to condone it? Even if only for an hour... When can I allow my actions to exist as a primary force, and expect you to be acted upon, rather than me to take all of your actions instead?


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Checking in

I didn't realize quite how much time had elapsed between posts. And here I thought life would slow down...perhaps now that the holiday is over. I am still alive, still working, the new car is good. I'm slowly driving myself crazy with a few decisions that have to be made kinda soon, and coordinating another monstrously huge dance weekend. But other than that I'm still here. Just thought I'd take a second to check in before work this morning and try one of Schprock's 3 paragraph posts.

Last night, I went out with the gals to see Superman Returns. I didn't bone up on my previous backstory before I went, so some of it took a bit to come back to me, but I left there with mixed emotions. The movie was very well made and had a good story to it. They even had a plausible reason to have the damsel in distress be all dressed to the nines at her hour of need. Even so, two things struck me.

1: The movie was just too long. It almost felt as long as "The DaVinci Code" at times. I understand the use of fluidity of time as an effect, especially when dealing with the Man of Steel. However, I could have taken about 15 minutes off of it by cutting out some extraneous stuff all along the way without hacking a scene or taking away from it all. The motion just slowed down at some of the most inexplicable spots. Not to mention it could have ended a number of places in that last half hour. Then again, it's a summer blockbuster, so most people probably want an excuse to spend an extra 30 minutes in the A/C!

2: This movie, more than I remember, has a Messianic complex about it. I won't go into here because it's just too much spoiler potential for a movie this new, but if any of you see it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

One word survey

Holy mackerel, we won the Stanley Cup. The Freakin' Stanley Cup! I can't even BEGIN to explain how much this means! So suffice to say that I'm on a high that hasn't even come close to ending yet!

Anyway, I don't want to flood you all with words on ymreturn to blogosphere, so here's something I was sent - the One Word Survey. Give it a shot!

1. Yourself: Thrilled
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: Unsure
3. Your hair: Long
4. Your Mother: Relaxed
5. Your Father: Bored
6. Your Favorite Item: Music
7. Your dream last night: Odd
8. Your Favorite Drink: Wine
9. Your Dream Home:Mine (as in "not the bank's!"
10. The Room You Are In: Messy
12. Your fear: Regret
13. Where you Want to be in Ten Years? Happy
14. Who you hung out with last night: Co-Workers
15. What You're Not: Supermodel
16. Your Best Friends: Fun
17. One of Your Wish List Items:Comfort
18. Your Gender:Female
19. The Last Thing You Did:Dishes
20. What You Are Wearing: T-shirt
21. Your favorite weather:Fall
22. Your Favorite Book? Hardback
23.Last thing you ate? Cereal
24. Your Life:Insane
25. Your mood: Calm
26. The last person you talked to on the phone: Co-worker
27. Who are you thinking about right now? Mr. Karaoke

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thoughts from the Shower

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I'm not your typical girly-girl kinda chick. I'm not a down-and-dirty type either...I'm just not overly concerned about my appearance. And even that is an improvement since I've started caring a little more in recent years. Even so, I do have my fair share of stuff scattered around the bathroom.

This morning, I'm in the shower and I reach for my shampoo. Like most women (I think), I have two bottles of shampoo in the shower - one for every day and one for once a week just to switch it up. I grabbed the everyday bottle and for some reason looked at the directions:

Wet hair and lather, then rinse.

Out of curiosity, I felt compelled to look at the directions on the second bottle:

Drench hair and invigorate it with the rich, luscious lather. Excite your senses and enjoy the delicious fragrance. Rinse when ready.

Wow! I like it when life comes out of the second bottle!

So my question now - how many bottles and other items are in your shower? I'll even start:
2 bottles of shampoo (see above)
2 bottles of conditioner - one every day and one that matches the scent of Shampoo #2
Bar of soap
1 bottle body wash
a Razor
Tube of Face Soap

I suppose this is why I'm known as random to some.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Does She Speak Eloquently?

A quick update before I dash off to work. Remember the karaoke place I was going to last night? Somehow, I ended up entered in a contest there, and guess what...I came in second! I won't fool myself - the DJ is a grizzled old character who probably wasn't lying when he said I got second for the "most professional use of the word 'fuck'" but still - wow! There were some awesome folks up there too! I can't hear myself when I'm singing - the return isn't the greatest, and I'm okay with that - so I'll have to take people's word for it that I did okay.

I sang You Oughta Know at the request of the Birthday Boy. First place went to Mr. Karaoke. He was there. I didn't look at him...or anybody....when I was singing. Didn't want him to get offended. Of course, I think he already was. I don't know much of anything anymore though. But that's for later in the week, since I have to leave for work in less than 15 minutes.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Headache revisited

I just read over last night's post, and I find it remarkably well-written for someone in a state of buzz, if I may say so myself. Anyway, thought I'd chime in to say there was no headache this morning. Not bad, eh? I'm surprised myself.

Tonight, I think I'll do karaoke again. I went last week and got a very good reception. I've been trying a few new songs (okay, who am I kidding - they're all new. I don't practice and I don't do this often enough to sound like a pro) and people loved the Alanis Morissette. I may try it again tonight if it won't offend the audience. I was sad that Mr. Karaoke wasn't there to hear it, not because of the text of the song but just because I missed him - even though he didn't believe it when I sent him a text to that effect. Maybe he'll come out tonight.

Also, as promised - the random baker's dozen off my iTunes as I've been sitting here paying bills and blogging.

At this Moment - Billy Vera and the Beaters
Wait - Sarah McLachlan
One Promise Too Late - Reba McEntire
A Woman's Worth - Alicia Keys
Who Dat? - Cigar Store Indians
Wait - White Lion
{Podcast came up here - that won't count cause it's 6 songs!}
She's a Rebel - Green Day
The Scientist - Coldplay
I Am an Illusion - Rob Thomas
Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
For You - Staind

Hmmm....looks like iTunes is feeling kinda mellow today.

One Heck of a Hangover

I will probably wake up with a hell of a hangover in the morning. (Yes, only my subject lines are family friendly at this hour.) To keep myself awake long enough to drink some water, though, I figured I'd drop in and say hi.

Talk about a crazy day. I spent the afternoon tooling around in my new car. Yep - I bought a new car. Last week. Didn't mention it earlier because I wanted someone to see it instead of read about it here, but now that he knows, I can say it. So I spent the day in the new car, then went to a wedding I never thought would happen. We were literally making book on whether the groom would pull out before the ceremony.

You see, the pair had dated for 10 years before he proposed. 10 years of ups and downs and break-ups and back-togethers and do I want her? does she want me? questions. She managed to build this man up and tear him down many times a day. But in the end, he couldn't live without her. Or so he thought. So he proposed. But he still had doubts. Luckily, he went through with it and we all got him trashed at his reception. Then we left, cause there was hockey to watch. The score when we left: Edmonton 1 Carolina 0 Claire 3 glasses of merlot

So we set up the party. About a dozen of us watching every check, every pass, and cringing as it happened. I had time to chat with another friend and her husband who I've known for years but you rarely see in the same place because one is with the kids. We moved the party twice to mix up the karma. No luck. Final score: Edmonton 2 Carolina 1 Claire 3 glasses merlot and 3 Coors Light.

But this all adds up to good things. My friend went through with what he called one of the hardest decisions of his life. There will be more hockey (a foriegn concept to me this late in June) and I laid claim to one afternoon of my friend's time by telling her husband to plan on kid duty. Aside from the fact that I feel like I'm getting stupider as I get older, it'll be worth the headache in the A of M.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sound and fury signifying nothing

I really don't feel like sitting here and typing, but I have a few random thoughts in my head, and when that happens, it's either call someone and talk or sit down and write. And tonight, I don't feel like talking because the only people I wouldn't have to explain myself to are pre-occupied with other items. So let's spin the random wheel and begin, shall we?

1) A post from Wordnerd sent me back into my upbringing. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. The golden rule of my household. And since we were a family who dealt in the verbal currency of sarcasm, even that "something nice" had to be measured in tone so as not to be labelled "smart aleck" and therefore grounds for additional punishment. No wonder I keep my mouth shut now. I can't even do a good version of trash talking at a sporting event. Which brings me to

2) The Stanley Cup. I don't have any wood to knock on though, so...'nuff said.

3) I just watched the series finale of "Will and Grace" and it made me happy, yet sad. I hate the idea of losing someone so important to me for so many years. I'm glad they got back together in the end, but still. Sort of a protracted version of "When Harry Met Sally" and if I'm going to meet up with my Harry again somewhere down the line, it would really be nice were we young enough t0 enjoy it. After I turned that off,

4) I watched Valmont. 1989 adaptation of Dangerous Liasons with Annette Bening and Colin Firth. Interesting, but I'd only give it two stars. Even as far as period pieces go, it just didn't thrill me. But anything that has a swordfight as a pivotal moment definitely goes up a notch in my book.

There ya go - four random thoughts from the head of Claire. More later if I think of them, but otherwise, good night and good luck!

Kick it up a notch

This has been an intense couple of days. Car shopping....parental visit....Stanley Cup pressures....second job pressures... But I do have to say I got in some good dances last night, so that makes it all better. Well, maybe not ALL better, but significantly so.

Anyway, with all this going on, I choose instead to write about something in the news - The best album of all time. According to a poll taken on, the best album of all time is not the Beatles or Nirvana, but Oasis "Definitely Maybe" I have to admit, that WAS a kick-ass album, but I would have put Joshua Tree above it. That said, we all know what a U2 fan I am! It is nice, however, NOT to see Kurt Cobain atop one of those lists. Just goes to show, the public isn't always wrong.

That said, what's your favorite album of all time?

And you know, I haven't posted a random baker's dozen in a very long that I use iTunes more, I'll have to do that again in the coming days. Maybe tomorrow night where there's no hockey game to stress me out.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Riddle Me This...

How is it that I can lay out in the sun for 45 minutes and barely get any color - just a touch of red that fades in a day - but I wash my car in the very same yard - only out for about 20 minutes - and my back is burnt and hurting? Bizarre, I say.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

DaVinci Code Broken

Very rarely will I go see a movie for full price. It's just...WRONG! Both financially and morally, it gives me pause to pay someone my hard-earned money for the privilege of sitting in THEIR seats to watch a movie. However, I do recognize that there are quite a few movies where part of the film is the experience of seeing it in the surround sound, coming at you off the screen, or where I feel it would enhance the movie to see it in a darkened theater to set the ambiance by forcing me to take two hours out of my busy life to focus on something.

The DaVinci Code was one of my rare exceptions. I read the book a few years back and loved it. I've been waiting on the movie to come out sice before the casting was complete, and I knew I would go see it as soon as I could. Opening weekend, I was dancing my tootsies off, getting some great lindyleads and awesome blues moments in there, but no moments for moviegoing. So last night, I decided to mix up my hockey karma and go see a movie instead of going to a sports bar.

In short, I can sum it up in three words - too damn long! - but it was well done and I feel like it deserves a little more explanation. The DaVinci Code has been an anomaly in my opinion: a work of fiction that makes you think that still manages to grab the attention of a nation where thought is too often discarded. A novel that truly is novel. A book embraced by the faithful and the secular alike, for different reasons but to the same end. The creation of a shared culture in a time when culture is splintering into microcosms.

It proved to be an anomaly on the big screen as well. Most of the time, the book is better than the movie because the adaptation leaves out what the reader would find to be key points or gets details wrong, or excises entire chunks of story in order to stay within the time allotted by Hollywood. The DaVinci Code is better as a book for all the opposite reasons. It stays very true to the story line. In fact, nothing is cut out because so much is necessary for that story to make sense and have the impact. That makes the movie drag at times. It's quite thought provoking...but at times plods along. I applaud the visuals in the movie - a nice bit of foreshadowing in technique with the power point presentation behind Langdon at the very beginning. Ron Howard did well illustrating memory and history and keeping you in the moment at the same time. However, it just didn't translate as well onto the big screen. I didn't feel the urgency of the chase that was there in the book. I've often called Dan Brown an author for the MTV Generation - writing appealing pieces that also cater to the shorter attention spans of today's multitaskers. Believe it or not, I felt it slowed down on the big screen.

Final opinion: Glad I saw it, not likely to buy the DVD, VERY glad we won or I'd be upset I wasted the time and money and didn't get out of the theater until 1 am!

What did you think?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pure Exhaustion

I have spent the last three months helping organize a dance event. Four days and nights and overnights of activities (mostly physical in nature), housing for all the guests, setup, tear down, the works. It was a small weekend as far as these things go, which is good, because the committee was TINY in comparison to some of the other events.

The event was this weekend, and I am STILL exhausted. As I told my boss yesterday, I think I got 12 hours of sleep TOTAL from Thursday night until I went to bed Monday. I'm still recovering. And tonight there are more playoff games to watch. I missed last night's cause I hit the hay so early.

Brain, tired. Body, exhausted. A good weekend of kicking up my heels? Priceless :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ping me

A nifty little exercise that I found on Wordnerd's blog invites folks to take an assigned letter and list ten things about themselves that begin with that letter and why they are significant. She assigned me the letter "P" here goes, in no particular order, thought pattern, or importance:

Packed: The best word to describe my schedule of late!

Prioritize: Something I have to do to get through the day...and let me say, I lament the things that fall to the bottom of the list!

Pet Lover: Okay, it's two words, but the first starts with a P! I'm a fan of nearly anything with four legs and fur, and right now my life is all the emptier without an animal in it at all.

Pierced: No, this isn't as exotic as it sounds. The only additional holes in my body are in my ears, but I'm an avid earring collector! I *love* earrings, and they don't have to be expensive or flashy, just unique. I even have my "International collection" - it includes earrings from Japan, China, England, France, Mexico, Canada, and (my favorites) Namibia!

Piqued: As in, my curiousity. It doesn't take much for me to become intrigued and want to dig up more on some tidbit I hear or read.

Press: I'm both an avid consumer and creator of media!

Picky: I prefer discriminating, but I didn't get "D". I know what I want and I go after it, and when I don't know what I want, at least I know what I don't want and won't accept that either. But at least I know it and try not to be a pain about it.

Perfectionist: I am my own worst critic. 'Nuff said.

Papasan: My favorite place to curl up with a book or some crocheting on a rainy day like this...


Photographer: I'm far from professional, but I love to click away with my little Olympus digital. I've even framed a few and hung them on my walls...not bad for a picky perfectionist, eh? I've had a camera ever since I can remember, and when I was a kid, I truly think two of my parents' largest expenses on me (aside from the standards) were books and developing film!

So there ya go - ten "P" words that give you a slice of who I am.

Edited to add: "P" is also for Playoffs. We survive to play another day. Well fought, Flash. I do tip my hat to you for a helluva series!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Wayback Machine

Well, I remember it all very well lookin' back,
it was the summer I turned 18....

Mr. Schprock started a very intriguing thread on his blog called Time Portals, its basic question being: what triggers your memories? Sounds? Smells? Sights?

For me, there are some of each, but the strongest trigger is music. A few notes of a song can send me right back into the annals of yesteryear, some so vivd in my mind I feel as though I'm watching the movie play back, or standing in the room watching it happen. I'm in my dorm room sophomore year, dancing to "Fields of Gold" with the man who thought I was the one. Or singing "Hotel California" with the brothers as they learned to play guitar. Getting my first birthday dance to "My Baby Just Cares for Me"...and tearing down the streets of our small town in Dan's convertible screaming the theme to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

But I digress. The conversation in the comments made both an interesting observation and provided fodder for another topic, so rather than pollute schprock's comments with the conversation, I'll drag folks over here. The question is: What songs are hard for you to listen to, for personal associations one way or another. I'll start (after all, I can't really expect an answer if I'm not willing to give one, can I?)

In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel - I still can't listen to this one because it takes me straight back to a green wool plaid couch from the 70s where I got my first kiss (and second and third and 10th) from the one who got away, as three tracks were programmed on permanent repeat - In Your Eyes, Red Rain, and Mercy Street - but for some reason, IYE is the only one that still makes me cry.

Under the Milky Way by the Church -how ironic that the song to which I lost my virginity to that man could also be such a theme for the way the relationship ended... "Wish I knew what you were looking for...Might have known what you would find."

Ol' Rugged Cross and Amazing Grace - my grandfather's absolute favorite hymns. He wasn't a religious man, but he knew what he liked, and he knew what he believed. My mom and I were the only ones at the funeral who could sing the old songs (as he called them) but I don't think I'll ever hear them the same, at wedding or funeral or even a basic church service of some sort.

Anyone else?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Who gave that chick some caffiene?

I can tell I did a late latte tonight! It's 1 am and I'm still up and typing. Whew! I'm still taking opinions on the photos below, but I thought I'd pose another question, and I'll try to do it in schprock's three-graph format! :)

What do you do when you work toward a goal, only to achieve it and discover it's nothing like you thought it was and that you've been going after the wrong thing? I'm feeling that way in a number of areas in my life right now - that a series of successes have all fallen flat, all about the same time, and all I can do is chase my tail to keep up with a life I'm no longer fond of.

I know the long term solution is to start looking for new situations to replace the current ones, but how do you survive that space in between? How do you live with yourself day to day when everything you do is falling short, every project you take on is greeted with cheers that turn to jeers once you're too deep in to turn back, and you can barely stand to see yourself in the mirror in the morning out of disappointment in yourself?

There are band aids...quick fixes that can get me through the worst of it, but to employ them daily would result in a lack of self-respect and the respect of those about whom I truly care, even though they are at times part of the reason I feel I am a disappointment. I guess what I'm asking is - what do you do when plenty of things in your life turn south at once to make you feel worthless and at times even less than human? Or am I the only one who lets life get to her that way?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Back by Popular Demand

Okay, so really only by about three people's demand, but I'm back. I fixed what needed to be fixed and perhaps it won't break again. If it does, well, we'll cross that broken bridge when we get to it, now won't we?

Until then, which of these do you like best for my avatar? I think I know what people will say, but I'm curious anyway. After all, I knowit won't be the one I would choose :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One of These Days, Alice, One of These Days.....

Ladies and Gentlemen, I implore you.

Think about all the people you know. Your parents, your siblings, your spouse. Your best friend, your best man, your best employee. The mailman you greet with a smile at the office. The barista or barkeep who knows your usual when you walk in the door. You.

Chances are quite high that one of you needs a Karmic Kick in the Ass.

The target is anyone who doesn't admit, or doesn't even realize, they are living in an interconnected world where one person's actions impact everyone else. Let me lay out a few examples.

First off, there's a woman we'll simply call Starr (you'll see why in a moment). The day before my vacation, I needed a java jolt to get me through work, so I decided to stop at the Starbuck (get it now?) at the mall. Plenty of parking, no lines at that hour, and I'm good to go. I pull into the parking lot, only to find an H2 bearing down straight at me! after a few quick evasive maneuvers, I'm in the clear, but the driver is shaking her fist at me. Road rage barely existing in my little town, I let it slide and grab the fourth parking space from the door (the first three being handicapped spaces.)

I get out of the car to see Miss Starr climbing out of her H2. Evidently parking beyond the handicapped spaces was beneath her, as her monstrous mode of transportation is in front of the door, blocking both a parked car and the mall entrance, flashers on full speed. She is about 35-40, petite, dressed completely in a black yoga outfit, her hair pullled back into a quite severe ponytail. As we entered the building, she RAN to make sure she was ahead of me in line. And as if this weren't enough, she proceeded to berate the barista because they had to go into hte back to get more vanilla soy milk.

Miss Starr needs a swift karmic kick in the ass.

So does a man we'll call Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith doesn't quite seem to realize that everyone must play by the rules of office politics. You see, our office is staffed day and night. Sometimes, if you want a day off and can't get it the conventional way, you're allowed to switch your shift or your day as long as you're both willing. As anyone who has ever worked in retail or food service or customer service knows...those kind of situations can sometimes come down to "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" and the scratches aren't always tit for tat. Mr Smith doesn't get it...he wanted a night off and asked to switch shifts with my co-worker....just HOURS after turning down a request of hers. Karmic kick in the ass.

Or what about the family I met in the airport. Come to think of it, "met" isn't quite the appropriate about - who inflicted their voices upon me in the Philadelphia airport! Three of us, stranded overnight because of weather, trying to catch some sleep. We were the only people in the entire three gate area, yet this family...first ones in for the morning....felt the need to ignore every empty bench in the place and sit down next to us. Their kids were cranky and crying, and they were screaming above the children's noise to talk about how they wanted to get on the plane and go back to sleep. And you can't tell me they "didn't see" three women stretched out on airport benches next to them. Kick, please.

I could go on for hours, and probably will come back with more that I've forgotten....but what about you? Who have you encountered who needs that karmic kick in the ass?

(Yes, I got back in, finally!)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Feeling small

I'm trying to email entries into my blog now, as I can't seem to access the page through blogger.  So if you never see this, it's just me whining anyway.  However, I have to vent to someone.
People have such easy ways to make you feel small and insignificant.  Aside from the constant criticism at work and the feeling that I can't do anything right in ANY of my social circles here lately, you know what became the icing on the cupcake?  I got my hair cut and virtually no one has noticed.  About five inches hacked off and three people noticed.  That's it.  A girl I work with who has been after me to cut it for years...a woman who works a shift opposite mine and never sees me...and a man I dance with.  That's it. 
I don't have to be in the spotlight at all times, but damn, talk about making a girl feel useless except when serving their purposes.

An Undesired Absence

Eek!  I can't get logged into my blog.  And I have this long post waiting to go up...full of chuckle-able material, but I can't get in to post it.  I admit, even this is a test message - I'll check tomorrow to see if it went up.  Until then, it's the playoffs, so I guess I'll have to overindulge on hockey when I should be blogging.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Troublesome Dreams

It's 4:30 in the morning and I can't get back to sleep. I've had two bizarre dreams - one strange and one troublesome - that pushed me to get out of bed and check my email. While I'm here, I figured I'd tell you about them.

In the first, I was on a boat - something with living quarters but smaller than a cruise ship - and we were adrift at sea. There were about 5 other people on board, and everyone was plotting some way to get off. The atmosphere was similar to that of Survivor...everyone trying to form alliances but no one getting anywhere with them. At every turn, something would happen that kept us stuck where we were.

Finally, the boat ran aground at a small resort. This was our chance! However, I was somehow indentured to this burly blonde man, and what he said was law. He sent me to this party to try and find a way to stay on at this resort, and when I arrived, I knew all the people inside. I told them my story of servitude, and they clucked and pshawed and said they'd love to help but really didn't have the time. At that point, a young girl from the boat walked up to me with my backpack on. I asked her to take it off, and she said, "No, I'm stealing it from you to trade for money on the black market."

"Okay, can I get my book out of it?" I asked.

"No," she said, "it's what you've put into it that makes it valuable. And now I'm taking it."

From that point, I remember her walking away, and hiding under a table from my acquaintances at the party. One of them saw me, however, and crawled under the table, put a pair of handcuffs on me, and returned me to my owner. He dragged me back to the boat, never letting me quite get my feet under me, and when we arrived, he threw me in a small, windowless cabin with a single bed and locked the door. That's when I woke up.

After a few fits and starts, I finally managed to get to sleep again...this time having a slightly more bizarre dream. I was with a woman I work with a a girl from high school I've not seen in years, and we were all in the waiting room at the gynecologist's office (No, this won't get too graphic for the men reading this). They called us back to the examination rooms, and there were no rooms...not even curtains...just beds in plain sight, and all the women working there were my friends. Friends who now knew every intimate detail... so I left. But when I walked out, I noticed the waiting room had a second level. I looked up, and a band started playing. People started pouring in...the place was turning into a night club. Very bizarre!

No telling what I'll "Dream up" next!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moon's so bright, like to light up the night

I have another stamp in my passport now...last weekend I went to Mexico, land of the margarita and beautiful beaches. As with all vacations, I left my life behind to learn a little about someone else, a little about somewhere else, and I picked up a little about myself along the way. What I learned this time is that for all my efforts to learn about other cultures and respect their practices and views, Mexico is not the place for me. I may not be an obnoxious American, but I am definitely an American.

The lesson began as soon as we hit the ground. "We" being myself and two girlfriends, one of whom having a birthday. It was a whirlwind trip taken at a snail's pace. We could only get a few days off, so we flew into our resort town on Thursday, ready to slather up with SPF, grab an umbrella drink and hit the sun. T'was not to be...we got off the plane and were greeted with a one hour wait to get through immigration. Not that the airport was overly busy, but because there were only two clerks working, and one went on lunch.

As the vacation progressed, we learned that time is of no essence in Mexico, and five minutes could easily mean a half hour or more - a concept we three queens of multitasking could not comprehend. But when in we didn't raise a stink over anything, simply mused to ourselves that we would not fit in were we here more than a weekend.

In a place where time doesn't matter, everything takes longer. Perhaps that's why I was so bothered by the concept of constant bargaining for everything you need. We stopped at Super WalMart to get groceries for the condo, and that was the only time a price was fixed on anything. Everything else - food, drink, cab ride, you name it - could all be had at the price quoted you, but that price is always too high. The only way to gain respect and save money is to barter. Something that's hard for someone who does not speak Spanish!

So I readily admit, I am a proud member of a society that's going nowhere, but doing it at breakneck speed, while talking on the cell phone and checking email. I love taking my tap water for granted. I'm spoiled by the idea that some things cost what they cost and if it's too much, I can go elsewhere.

I also felt badly about my gringo status. The Condo we stayed in was not in the touristy part of town. Instead, it was in a separate village, surrounded by a fence. Traveling through the village gave us a look at a side of Mexico most people never see. We saw evening gatherings of people just sitting and chatting. Houses with holes in the roof. Houses with NO roof. Families sharing one meal between them. I'm not a rich person by American standards, but this made me feel downright opulent and almost embarrassed by it.

All that said, it was still a wonderful vacation, and I still have the sunburn to prove it. Hours on end spent by the pool, on the beach, doing at the same time nothing important and perhaps the most important thing of all...preserving our collective sanity. Now I'm back to the rat race, but I have the memories of calm blue waters, palm trees in the moonlight, and an intriguing night at a local dance club after one of my girlfriends decided to give me a makeover. Ah, memories...

Monday, April 10, 2006

I'm Baa-aack!

Nothing like a vacation to clear the mind and offer a new perspective. After four days in Mexico, I've come to realize a few things about myself....among them that I can hold my liquor better than I thought (as long as it doesn't involve tequila straight) and my overt appreciation for multitasking. I've always considered myself a thoughtful, aware and accepting American...but this trip really underlined the word "American"for me. Not in a good way or a bad way, but in a way that again forces me to look at myself and realize things that will make me a better citizen of this society (I think, I hope).

It also made me realize that the southern Mexican sun is no match for some Coppertone SPF 50 on my pale white skin. Religious application every hour and a half, more often when swimming, which is twice as often as I would here, still didn't keep the burn away.

For now, I'll go smear some more aloe on my aching skin and go to bed, but I just wanted to say "hi."


Thursday, April 06, 2006


An awesome song, isn't it? Sarah McLachlan's an amazing singer, and she makes the whole concept of not being able to live without someone else sound so beautiful. Think about it...

Through this world I've stumbled
So many times betrayed
Trying to find an honest word
To find the truth enslaved
Oh you speak to me in riddles and
You speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath
Your words keep me alive

Rumor is, those words came from a letter from an obsessed fan...and she turned something of potential fear into something of great impact and import. But even if taken at face value, the tale of the lovelorn stumbling through this life can appeal to us all at times.

So why am I writing about a song that was released in the 90s? Because I was reading another blog in which the author asked if it were possible to love someone without possessing them. I started to respond in her comments, but rather than pen an expansive diatribe there, I decided to bring it here instead, and the first thing that popped into my head was that song, so it's the first element in my blog entry as well.

It's a rhetorical question with so many aspects to its answer, it's not even funny. Some would say that the ultimate love is one in which you posses no one. Others would say the ultimate end is one in which you are married, and therefore each possesses the other in every aspect imaginable. I believe that the ultimate love for me is one in which I am in possession of my own values and desires and can therefore choose to love someone freely and without restraint on them or on me.

In my opinion, love without possession is an acquired ability. When lovers are young (not love, for love can be young when those who feel it are not), love is all about laying claim to your emotional state, owning a feeling or an experience and adding it to your limited pool of experience you call life - that thing that people have told you about, but you're so young you feel you haven't experienced for yourself yet. That's why people say "my boyfriend" or "my fiancee" instead of using names. In doing so, they lay claim to the feeling, the state, and the person. For some, that is enough. That is all they want and all they need, and as long as they find someone who feels the same, then that is good.

Others pursue a different goal that is a step beyond. These are people who know that you get only what you give, but are not willing to give it all. This is the category where I place "starter marriages" - people who are willing to give all in the good times, but only part in the bad, and eventually pull apart.

Finally, there are thosepeoplee who know themselves, and who know that love without possession is more than just the pure love written of in poetry and novels. It's not the courtly love of the medieval times, or thecourtesans of Japan (the term for which escapes me at the moment). The story books and poems and literature all say that to achieve the perfect love you must give all of yourself. Those who pursue an unpossessive love know that this is dangerous - that by giving all of yourself, there is nothing left of you, leaving you to develop into little more than a mirror of the person you love. If your amour is a narcissist, then that's fine. But if (S)he fell in love with you because of who you are, that person will disappear if you attempt to sublimate yourself to their wants, needs, and desires. A precarious position to start with that can tip completely out of control if the other person is determined to do the same. Soon, both are throwing their "selves" out the window to reflect the other, who has done the same so there is little there to reflect.

Love without possession is a survival skill. It is respect, both for your partner and for yourself. You must love without possessing if you do not want to find yourself possessed in turn. Again, if you don't mind being kept, then that's fine, but it is imperative you find a partner with similar desires. However, I believe that the only way a relationship of any form can survive is through healthy exchange of ideas and dialogue and personalities between two participating people. Remove the participation, and it is not the kind of love I seek, and for me, being someone else's property - physical emotional or otherwise - removes me from being able to grow as a human being. It does the same to someone else. Therefore, I owe it to them to learn to love without express the jealous twinges without going over provide input into their decisions, and them into mine, without MAKING the decision for them. Only then can love flourish.

And on that note, I leave you for a five day vacation. Ponder...discuss...comment (even though I may not get back to you until next week)...and have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Tonight, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.


 This won't ever happen again in our lifetimes.  (somebody has too much time on their hands)


Now you too can impress your friends


Monday, April 03, 2006


I've had two days to think about this, and I'm still at a loss for words - a situation that made me, on the surface, consider not even writing this entry. However, when I took a step back from the keyboard, that's exactly why it needs to be written. No matter how clumsily, how lackluster, the fact that her loss can leave me in this condition deserves recognition.

I won't keep you in suspense - we had to put down my dog on Friday. It was a sudden thing - she was 13 and everything apparently gave out all at once. Within a span of a month she went from "elderly yet healthy" to having a list of medical problems so lengthy, there was no doubt in our minds what must be done. She lived a long and happy life, even a charmed one as far as dogs go. Never a surgery except getting fixed, and not even the hip displaysia that troubles many labs.

She wasn't always my dog - I met her when she was 3, and she's been "my girl" ever since. I would protect her from her crazy brother and his littermate....I was the reassuring voice and calming hand when she was getting her nails clipped...I was the one who could get her to eat or take treats when no one else could. I was the only one allowed to groom her - and for years until I discovered the shedding blade, it had to be done with my hair brush!

In return, she held onto her youthful ways with me as long as she physically could. She long ago quit sleeping at the head of the bed when her daddy was home, but when I'd stay over, she'd come up and join me like she did for much of her younger years - head on pillow, body parallel to mine. With him, the routine changed as she aged...with me, it was as though she tapped into a font of memory sprung forth from her youth. She would sit on the couch next to me until her legs would make the jump anymore, then I would join her on the blanket on the floor. She quit coming to see me because she couldn't keep her footing on my hardwood I went to see her, no matter how busy I got.

She knew on which side her bread was buttered - when her daddy and I were around, I was chopped tofu (because a dog would be all over chopped liver in a heartbeat!), but when she had settled down, there were always tail wags and kisses before she went to sleep. I may not butter the bread, but I'd slip her a nibble of it from time to time :) In fact, that's exactly what I did the night before she fell ill - fed her some of my French fries from dinner. The next morning she collapsed. It wasn't the food that did it - which was my first worry. So many things were wrong with her - internal bleeding that began that morning, tumors growing large enough to impact systems, heart problems, enlarged organs - that the vet said it was just a matter of time before it all started to give out.

Now, she's gone. In the grand scheme, she went in nearly the best way possible - sick for less than a day, resting peacefully in her own home. I've spent the greater part of the last two days looking at pictures and trying to remember the good times, of which there were plenty. I've smiled, I've laughed, and I've been very happy that she is in a better place. But I've also felt empty, knowing that the only companion left who loved me gone. That with her death I was robbed of the one true and sure source of joy and smiles and kindness and care in my life. She never cared if I said the wrong thing or couldn't get that dance step just right or screwed up the project at work or any of the millions of pitfalls that dot modern society like potholes after a winter storm. I loved her. She knew it. She loved me back. Simple, eloquent, perfect. And now, no more.

I don't see myself getting another dog anytime soon - I know it wouldn't replace my girl, but even so, my schedule just won't allow it. Until it does, I'll have to hope the memories of my yellow girl will sustain me when I need to feel loved.

Rest in peace, my love. You gave me so much peace in the decade I knew you, I pray the same for your eternal rest.

Good-night, sweet princess,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Adventures in Karaoke

A few weeks ago, I went to a karaoke joint with a few of my friends, and actually attempted to sing. I wasn't a hit, but I wasn't a flop either. One of those in-between, okay to listen to but wondering how good the next person will be type of folks. For most people, that's fine.

Not me.

I think we've already established that I'm a perfectionist. However, what we didn't establish is the fact that I took voice lessons in high school and college. I know I can sing, and that I don't have the voice for most of the pop music offered in karaoke bars. I'm good with Broadway tunes, and with the classics, but getting a bar full of drunks to listen to "My Baby Just Cares for Me" or selections from Les Mis or Phantom without the room quickly turning into a bunch of empty chairs at empty tables is just not going to happen. So last night, I decided to take the challenge and find something within the options presented to me.

First, I went for Norah Jones...and the selections I wanted weren't there. Then I tried Sarah McLachlan....until I heard the vocal arrangement on Possession. Ugh! Not for me either. I thumbed through hundreds of pages, song after song, artist after artist, looking for Van Morrison in both the M's and the V's, just in case someone thought that was the name of a group (and yes, "Brown-Eyed Girl" was hidden in the V's)

I was about to give up when I found something that might I grabbed the little golf pencil and slowly wrote in "Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield" and carefully transcribed the song number on the tiny form. I turned it in and waited.

The people before me ran the gamut. Most were quite good. The kick-ass rendition of Black Velvet, the hilarious version of "Strokin'" one of my friends did from a female 80s song I hadn't heard in years (Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring). I had a shot, sang along with my friends and almost forgot I was in the mix. Until they called my name.

Deep breath. Here goes nothing, right? Nothing by my pride since the last time I sang, one of the best Karaoke singers I know had a hard time hiding his disappointment that I sucked, and there he was, front and center. Oh well - the CD started and there's nothing to do but dive in.
So I did. The song had people clapping and singing along, and the key was perfectly within my range. I didn't belt it out - I just don't have a belting kind of voice - but I nailed it! Even Mr. Karaoke himself had to admit it.

I'm already thinking about what to try next time. I have a few options already in mind, or perhaps I'll stick with what works. We'll see how courageous I feel like being, and what kind of crowd it is....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Help me!

Here lately, I've had the song "You Can Leave Your Hat On" running through my head. Of course, when I tried to tell people at work where it came from, it appears I'm the only one who has seen9 1/2 Weeks.

That said, you now know why I had to post the results of this last online quiz:
Your Stripper Song Is
Closer by Nine Inch Nails
"You let me violate you, you let me desecrate youYou let me penetrate you, you let me complicate youHelp me I broke apart my insides, help me I?ve got no Soul to tell"
When you dance, it's a little scary - and a lot sexy.

Of course, I changed one answer on which I waffled, and I got "Master and Slave" by Depeche Mode. What about you?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

You can take a picture of something you see...

I've spent much of the evening playing around with blog quizzes. To me, those hold the same fascination as horoscopes - I don't put stock in them, or believe they'll be accurate, but I get a kick out of seeing whether they get anything right at all. Tonight I've learned, among other things:
  1. my aura is blue (I could see that...);
  2. of the Sex and the City ladies, I'm most like Carrie (which is what most people tell me anyway);
  3. were I a cup of coffee, I'd be a cappucino - outgoing with strong opinions and seemingly complex, but in reality, easy to please;
  4. my inner pop princess is Beyonce;
  5. and if my life were a John Cusack movie, it would be High Fidelity (which is actually the most likely...).
Most of them, rather accurate. Whether it's because the questions I answered were go generic that even a monkey could live a Cusack movie, or if there's something to it, who knows. After spending far too much time doing this, there's a bigger question here for me.

Why on earth does this fascinate my idle brain so.... What is it about these little pithy quizzes that makes me sit down, embrace my mouse, and click away a few precious minutes? Is it the idea that my answers to a handful of questions will result in an answer that sums up my essence better than I've been able to do in my years on the earth? Or is it the hope that I'll learn something about myself in these pithy little answers?

This is actually something that's been on my mind a lot this week - why certain things fascinate us so, while others could pass us by entirely and we'd never be the wiser. Last week, spring made an early appearance in my corner of the world. For two days, women donned tank tops and men sported shorts. Tops went down (on cars, sillies... get your minds out of the gutter!) and wind ruffled hairdos across the south.

One of those days, I had my windows rolled down and decided to pop in a mix CD I made a few months ago. It starts off with a good tempo - Lionel Hampton to Train "Get to Me" to Coldplay - but from there, it takes a turn I never really noticed before. Alicia Keys, Eva Cassidy, Sarah McLachlan, Bruce Springsteen, Jackopierce, Norah Jones, Van Morrisson...I was obviously in a piano and guitar mood when I made this mix.

Piano...acoustic guitar...violin. Three of the sexiest instruments out there. Not so much in their shapes (especially pianos) but in their sounds. I can't even describe it, but there's just something about the tone of a string, resonating in the wood that I find to be a plaintive call to my own heart and emotions. Whether it's a slow ballad on the piano or a lone note drawn out on a violin, or the not-so-polished sounds of a guitar, there's something in each of those sounds that resonates within me. Something that can draw me into music like nothing else.

But what is it? Why can small things like that, or a web quiz, or the flicker of a candle's flame draw me in so easily and send my mind pondering so many things, but the bigger picture - the day to day, the things that I need to think about, can not seem to elbow their way in when I need them to? Random questions.

Random questions are over for now...time to go to bed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Luck O' The Irish

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I followed Yoda's link to get my Irish name..

Your Irish Name Is...
Ella Roche

Hmmm...Ella...I had a cat named Ella once, and she was rather hospitable. Really the only Ella I've known.

Ah well. Stay tuned for more after the hockey games tonight. Yeah - that's why I love March - Hockey, March Madness, and a day to drink green beer and celebrate all things Irish. Definitely my second-favorite month! :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

20 Minutes on a Soapbox

Here lately, I haven't wanted to blog quite as often. Quite honestly, my new project at work requires about 10 hours a day of computer time, and when I get home, I don't want to even SEE a keyboard! Or, on the occasions where I wouldn't mind, my creative side of my brain is completely drained, or I'm so tired I just don't want to short change my efforts, so I sit down and crochet instead. DC...DC....DC...ch3 and turn....very therapeutic until my gym finishes the racquetball courts they're putting in!

Anyway, this morning, I feel like writing, but have no substantive topic in mind, so this will be one of those occasions where I write merely to write and get words out and clear my head. Fluff blogging, if you will... In going back through some news articles I emailed myself earlier in the week, there's one that inspires a feeling of utter indignation at the appalling cluelessness of America these days.

Here's the issue. How many of the Simpsons can you name? No Googling, no cheating...just list 'em off.

Got that? Okay. Now how many provisions of the First Amendment can you name?

Didn't do as well on that one? Neither did the rest of America. A new study showed that 22% of Americans could name Madge, Homer, Bart, Lisa and little Maggie. Only one in 1,000 could name freedom or speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government to redress grievances (yeah, the last one's a doozie, but an important doozie!)

One in one thousand people. I'm at a loss to what to call that. Sad? Pathetic? Shameful? Those words don't even begin to describe it to me. Those are the freedoms on which our entire society is based. Without those freedoms, we wouldn't HAVE the Simpsons, and if we did, their humor would have absolutely no edge to it because everything they find funny would not be protected speech and therefore would likely not make it onto TV to start with.

Here's another one for you...more people could name the three American Idol judges than could name three First Amendment protections. I can understand not remembering freedom to petition the government in redress of your grievances...but press, religion and speech are the three biggies! I suppose Paula, Simon and Randy are even bigger.

Venting time is over. Now pardon me while I go join the rest of the lemmings out there and clear the American Idol results show off my DVR so I have room for tonight's Simpsons. I hear it's a new one ;)

Friday, February 24, 2006


A very dear friend once told me about "fast fiction," a challenge by Warren Ellis to write a complete story in 200 words or less. So I tried it. And as I sit here digging through old files, I found my attempt. And in the darkness before dawn, it seems like as good a time as any to share. So let me know what you think.

Just friends?

tumblers fall


hinges creak

I want you…right…now.

“Can I come in?”

door opens

My turn.

lips embrace with a sense of urgency, your body pulls back

“Not so fast, dearest.”

door slams

trace your collarbone with kisses until I take your pulse with my tongue

“Do you like that?”

I know your buttons…

press my thigh tighter to get your answer

“Then come with me.”

lead you slowly to the bedroom

button by button, you watch me loosen your shirt

“I love you for your mind,”

unbuckle your belt

“but tonight, I want you for your body”

Can’t keep my hands off you

you pull off my sweater

Can’t keep my lips off you

you hike up my skirt

“The boots stay on, baby”

All the better to ride you with

push you onto the bed and climb on top
ride, and ride and ride until you explode
and I collapse, barely breathing

kiss your earlobe as I get up

“Always told you I’m amazing”

pull on my sweater

“Believe me now?”

straighten the skirt

“You want more? Oh…Sorry..I thought we were just friends…”

hinges creak

door slams

Friends with benefits. Amazing, fuck-tastic benefits.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Claire version 2.1

I'm sorry to keep the handful of you reading this in suspense, but I needed a day or so to process exactly what happened. (And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, start here - one post back.)


That's precisely what happened.

I can't say it was or wasn't what I expected, because, as I said last night, I wasn't sure WHAT to expect, and perhaps it was the lackluster qualities of the evening that struck me the most, leaving me to ponder whether I missed something or if there was, truly, "nothing to see here."

I arrived at the house and only knew one person - "Jim." Two of his friends I had met once before, but couldn't have chosen them from a lineup if my life depended on it. And the rest were work friends from the office long after we were no longer together. As I'm taking off my coat, and scanning the faces for an island of recognition in this unfamiliar sea, a woman tapped my shoulder.

"Are you Claire?" she asked.

"I am. Have we met?"

"No, we haven't. I'm Blair." (Name also changed to protect the innocent)

There she was. Right in front of me. "Nice to meet you! Jim's told me a lot about you! How's the trip been so far?"

But she wasn't having any small talk. She had done her duty, or so it seemed, and introduced herself. Any opportunity for me to obtain my conversational sea legs was not to be, as she walked away, found Jim, and stayed plastered to his side the rest of the night.

I don't say any of this to be catty. I have no problem with this woman. She makes Jim happy and enough for me. That said, that's my disclaimer for the rest of this post.

In watching the two of them, I noticed a couple of things. First off, she reminds me of me when we were dating. Not surprising, since people tend to date within a certain pattern. Similar hair cut, similar height, similar clothes. But since then, I've lost weight (she's thinner than I was with him) and become more girlish in my appearance (I was quite "who Cares" in my fashion sense with him), donning jeans that fit my new form and tighter sweaters that replaced the chunky winter turtlenecks. And yes, there's even a similarity in the names (totally coincidence, I'm positive, and not in a facetious manner either).

When we dated, I was a polar opposite to the woman who came before me. He got to the same point of near marriage with Abby as well before she cheated on him and broke his heart. After me, there was a pendulum swing back toward the Abby type, and an "off the board" choice in there somewhere too. The impression I got was that Blair is the midpoint between Abby and I, combining the traits he enjoyed and abandoning those he found annoying. So in that respect, I see her as an upgrade - Claire 2.1 if you will - instead of an entirely new model.

I also learned something more about myself last night. I'm surprised to say, I don't feel any pressure to get married because of the encounter. Many people see a former S-O moving on to the next big step in their lives and feel inadequate, as though something is missing. I don't. Probably because I know I'm not at a point where that is an option right now, so why waste effort and self-esteem longing for what isn't practical.

I think one reason I miss him, is that I miss being with him. I watched their easy-going nature, the sense of humor, the caring and the love there, and I remembered what it was like to love Jim. Life was easier then because he was there. There was no stress, there was no strife, there was just an ease to everything about us. The relationship was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, or we'd still be together. There were problems and incompatibilities, however, in spending time with him, you felt good about yourself and about each other. That's what I'm looking for and can't seem to find.

Not only do I miss that, but I miss the person I was at that point. Unjaded, open to love, caring more for him than for myself. Naive? Yes, to a degree, but a naivete that opened my heart to an extent I don't think it will ever reach again. Now I'm more closed off. No one will see that side of me again. Many people who know me now would likely never believe that person ever even existed. I miss her, and seeing that last night brought it all flooding back.

So there you go - the report card. no fireworks, no attitude, no catfights. Sorry if that's disappointing. I just call it, a sign of maturity. Now, if only I knew what to call this small pang of regret I feel....or how to assuage it into oblivion.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Upgrade? Or New Model?

It's Sunday night and I'm playing that game normally reserved for earlier in the week...staring at a phone, waiting for it to ring. Luckily, it's a cordless, so I can blog while I keep it on the fringe of my peripheral vision. My ex is in town, and he wants me to meet his new fiancee. Not new as in "just got engaged this month." New, as in, "not me."

You see, Jim (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent-but-did-his-time-in-the-doghouse-and-reformed) was my first love. We met in college and he swept me off my feet in every sense. He's a few years older than I am, but our goals matched perfectly. We thought we were destined for each other and immediately started thinking long term. Then grad school reared its ugly head and we never saw each other. Our Sundays on the couch turned into two people setting alarm clocks for 3 a-m to see each other in the middle of the night because of his research or mine. And in the end, that drove him into the arms of another woman and out of my life.

About a year later, we started speaking again, and it was like no time had passed at all. We were both out of grad school, living in the same area, and we clicked, but I was seeing someone, so I didn't notice it until another year or so later when he asked me to come back to him. Lord knows I was so tempted...He knows because I talked about it with Him every night, and never seemed to get an answer. So I took that as my answer, and didn't go back.

A few years later, he moved away, and after a little while started dating someone. I've been nothing but happy for him, as he is one of those people for me whose happiness is paramount to anything I want for myself. He still means that much to me. Even so, his engagement unexpectedly reduced me to tears. I want him to be happy, I want him to have everything he wants in life, but there's a twinge of regret in my heart that I don't get to share that with him. I've never stopped caring for him, though that caring has evolved from the love we once shared into the deeper feeling of respect for his place in my life. He will always be my first love, and as such, he has become the yardstick by which I measure all others. He's helped make me into the person I am today, for better or for worse.

Now someone else is taking the place I once thought would be mine. And tonight, when that phone rings, I'm meeting her for the first time. It leaves me with so many questions... Am I still important enough to him that he chose for us to meet? Does he really want my opinion? Or is he doing it out of obligation - the feeling that if they're in town and I find out that I might be offended? Is she just going along with him? Or did she instigate this dessert and drinks party because she wants to see who I am and if I'm a threat? And, yes, there's a petty side of me wondering if this is an upgrade? Or a new model.

And as I typed those words, the watched pot boiled. Let's go see, shall we?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Got a light?

No, I haven't taken up smoking - I'm simply burning the candle at both ends these days, and am considering cutting it in half so I can burn it at all four ends to get more done! I don't blog about work, but suffice it to say that my new project at work has a voracious hunger, and it's diet consists of my time. Which is why I haven't been around.

Want to hear something sad? Since my computer crashed, I haven't even taken the time to reinstall iTunes. Okay, so I did, but I somehow ended up with two copies of every song I reloaded onto this thing, so I've uninstalled it and I'm waiting till I have a good hour or two to sit down and plow hrough and figure out what I did wrong.

It's interesting how dependent we become on our computers. I'd be in a world of hurt had I not written down all my financial passwords. I still haven't re-downloaded the money management program I purchased last month. I never would have become a writer were it not for I'm still trying to salvage my last few items I wrote.


Anyway, I didn't log on to bitch...I feel like that's about all I do of late...I just logged on to say hi and hope that maybe starting the day writing something could put a new spin on the rest of my day. So good morning and I hope all is well in your worlds.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I'm Back!

Yay! I've resuscitated my computer, and my online connection is back! So waht better way to say hello than with a rather odd article from the News & Star.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Brief Update

My computer is up and limping, but still no internet connection yet.  Perhaps I'll get that done tonight.
And since I've received your comments by email, a quick response:
Yoda:  I'm not as worried about sending a quick email as I am logging into the server and blogging.  If they want to track me that badly, they can, I'm doing it after hours on an approved email site, and there are no work references here anyway.
Farrago: Yeah, I'm a strange bird.
Paula: More later when I'm not starving!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cut off!

Aack!  My computer has crashed!  Rolled over and died, even.  Stayed up until 1 am trying to get her limping along again, and finally succeeded.  Then this morning I reinstalled Windows so she's starting to look like herself.
Hold on a second - if I've lost my computer, then how am I posting?  Well, since I can't blog from work, and really have no desire to anyway, I'm trying to email an entry from my personal account after hours.  I think I remember my post-it-by-email address that I created so long ago.  If I don't, then you'll never read this anyway and you'll all just start wondering what happened to me...but on the off chance I do, I haven't totally disappeared.
Keep your fingers crossed - it could be another long night.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Which Muse Am I?

My friend mr. schprock asked a valid question on his blog....Who is your Muse? First time through, I misread the post and thought he said Which Muse Are You? I could only remember two or three off hand, so since I haven't been sleeping much this week, I dusted off my Greek Mythology and read up on all nine of the Greek muses...Terpsichore, Calliope, Clio and the crew. Then I scoured Google and found this great quiz that says I am Euterpe - muse of music and hapy when all is in harmony. Accurate, but geesh, couldn't I get a better name?

After a second reading, I realized he wasn't asking which muse *I* was, but who inspires my writing. DOH! Guess it's all that sleeplessness clouding my concnetration. Which reminds me - update: still no word from him. The social circle in which we first met reconvenes again tomorrow night and I'm entertaining the idea of not going. Part of me is thrilled to see him and part of me scared to death to see if he will ignore me in person as he has all week, and avoidance will allow me to continue to dwell in denial a bit longer, grasping to that hope that perhaps he still cares, just a little bit. And right now, that's all I have going for me.

Also, as an aside, anger is inspiring my writing because I wrote this long and beautiful post that blogger lost when I clicked publish. Thank goodness I'm not sleeping cause I'll be up a while trying to recreate that thing!

But I digress.

The first line of the post suggests that all bloggers want to be writers. I disagree. There are a significant number of bloggers out there who care naught for the proper turn of a phrase, much less stringing them into a coherent and compelling whole. These are the people who use their blogs as cyber-extensions of their real lives. Who use the written forum to gossip and play and bully. These are also the people who type like they text - all done as fast as possible, no time spent, no effort expended, words reduced 2 stuf lik this. C'mon people - I only text like that when i'm driving. Get real!

Anyway....the bloggers whom I read take the time to put effort into their work. We may not share our true identities with the blogosphere, but we share our true selves, something much more precious and guarded. We write not to please others, but to please our selves. Sometimes that means a lengthy tale, a dream, or a diatribe.

I am a very private person. You will never see a photograph of me on this blog or an identifying detail. I was actually quite frightened when I started getting comments, afraid that it would be someone who would recognize me. I started this blog just as an outlet for the words I couldn't say to the people who were special to me, so I wrote them here, knowing they would never read them but not having the patience to write them longhand. But as time has passed, I have started to use this not only to exorcise demons, but to stir them up a bit as well. One person who knows me in real life has this address, and he never reads it anymore....even so, I stay away from the personal stuff and try to write that which will connect with someone.

I think we all do that. Whether it's a dream, a story, or a current event commentary, I think we all try to strip away the identifiers. We strive to use that one common thread of language to delve beneath who we are and into what we are. I speak only for myself, but I think that if I can hone my words to the point that, for one brief moment, you forget that you don't know my face or my name, and can instead identify with the moment frozen in time, or see a picture of what I'm describing, or feel the heartbreak or joy or elation or confusion....if I through my words can reach beyond the day to day and evoke a moment of shared emotion, then my muse, whomever it is that day, has been successful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Etiquette Questions

I really should be asleep right now, since I have to get up in a few hours, but I can't make my mind relax. It may be the headache that's been working on me all day, but something tells me it's more than that. It's the pain of being completely ignored.

I'm not an overly obtrusive person. I don't push myself into other people's business or lives. However, when those who mean so much to me suddenly turn a cold shoulder without so much as an "I need a few days to sort through some things," that's when I feel hollow.

Let me explain. As the faithful few of you know, the last month has been extremely hard on me. I haven't had much to offer the world except pain and heartache, so I've kept mainly to myself and my family. I've been there for my mom as we've lost her father, and for my dad as we lost his uncle in body and his mother in spirit. I've shed more tears and turned more earth in the last month than I care to in the next year. Through it all, I've asked for very little support, but when I have, my requests have been denied. My best girlfriends can't be expected to drop their lives and take sick days to help me shoulder a weight I'm not sure how to carry, and I didn't even feel I could ask my boyfriend to make the trip.

These are the experiences that teach you who cares, and how to care about yourself. After weeks of life's chinese water torture dripping away at my forehead, I took a night this weekend after work just for me. To sit in solemn silence and shed anonymous tears for lives changed in a split second. For the unborn children who will never have the privilege of knowing their great-grandfather or great-great-uncle as more than a photograph or a story. And for myself - for the opportunities past...the kick in the stomach that stole my breath as my former fiance uttered the words "I'm engaged"...the worries that perhaps my own father will never see me walk down the aisle, not for reasons of martyrdom or self-esteem, but for reasons of sheer mortality.

This is the state I've been in for the last few weeks - these thoughts, half-formed, running around in my brain, emerging at inopportune moments at times crippling me with their presence, then retreating to find more sustenance in the recesses of my consciousness. Add in a massive overhaul of procedure at work that has required more hours, and a second job to cover unexpected expenses on top of the Christmas budget, and I've been turned quite inward this month. It's something I have admitted and apologized for each step of the way.

Which brings me to the topic above. It appears my life has become too much. Without warning, communication from one I hold close, has ended. Kaput. Text messages get no response. Phone calls are ignored. And tonight, I was stood up for our dinner plans without so much as a "I'm not coming" note in any form.

My question to you, faithful readers, what is blog etiquette in this situation? He has a few blogs - nothing as personal as this...each one focuses on certain topics - that I would love to check just to see if he's at least posting there. Part of me feels that would be an intrusion...that if he chooses not to communicate with me, that he would not appreciate me reading his words. The other side of me, though, says that he wouldn't put it out there if he did not mean for others to read it. I'm not worried about the content, I'm just being a girl and seeking solace in the words and cadences I know so well. And yes, he does have this addres, but I don't think he reads it anymore. I've kept quiet this month so as to keep him from feeling uncomfortable, or learning about my life from a blog versus from me, but now, I need to vent to someone, especially since this turn of events has left me hollow, stunned, saddened, and confused.

Perhaps it's the lack of sleep for nights on end, or perhaps I'm just numb, but I feel like a girl made of Magic Shell. Once upon a time there was ice cream - sweet and desirable - that some one found intriguing, but would find even more so with a layer of Magic Shell. The shell hardened, but instead of digging in, he walked out of the room. Now the ice cream has melted, leaving behind only the shell, and pieces of that have been shattered and thrown to the wind as well.

Okay, I should try to go to bed again now. Maybe this time it'll work. If not, I'll get up and write again. Remind me to tell you about my mirror image friend sometime that's another post that's rattling around in my head when I can't sleep like this.