Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
This weekend I got a letter from my most excellent friend Kati. She lives in Germany. She goes to University, is very smart, is very cute, has an adorable little flat of her very own and happens to have two of the most awesomely amazing parents you will ever encounter.
Kati and I met in high school. She had come to America as part of an exchange program. Now, my karma must have been really well balanced that first semester of my senior year because Kati wound up being scheduled into my second period ‘health occupations’ class. I’m telling you, this was fate at its finest. I was attempting to keep my head above water in my first period German language class (okay, so I was actually doing really well in the class…heck, I got an A) and who should sit down beside me but a native! I was determined to make a new foreign friend so I introduced myself by way of demanding assistance with my homework (smooth, I know). We got along really well and at the end of the class she asked me for directions to the chorus room…to which I was heading too. See what I mean? FATE!
The long and the short of things is that we became really great friends and had some amazingly fun times.
And we managed to get into some semi-serious trouble too, and this is that story.
The Big Oops!
In-school Suspension: It’s not just for slackers!
While Kati was in America she was living with a ‘host family,’ an individual or family who agrees to have an exchange student stay with them and act as that student’s guardian while they are in the states. (This is totally something I would do once my kids got to be high school age.) Kati’s host parent was a woman named…well…we’ll just call her ‘E’ (like Evil), who had agreed to have two students staying with her. As the school year came slowly to a close (and as I neared graduation) it became very clear that the situation with Kati’s host parent was falling into rapid decline. ‘E’ had some family issues that were affecting the way she dealt with her visiting students and things just kept getting more and more stressful for Kati.
Seeing my new friend so miserable really tore at my heartstrings so I rallied the troops (the rest of my clique…of which I was the ring leader) and asked for ideas. We spent hours and hours and hours at the mall just walking and window shopping, we drove around the county burning gallons of fantastically cheap gas (it was like $1.50 back then!!!), we went to the movies, went out to eat, and laid around at my parent’s house. We did everything we could think of to try and keep our friend from feeling blue.
But there came a day when dear Kati was having a particularly horrible time of things. For some reason (it’s been ten years and I’m a little fuzzy on details) we ran into each other on the bleachers above the football field and it only took about six seconds for Kati to burst into tears and pour her heart out.
Now, what you have to understand is that this event took place on a day much like today. It was late in May (about two weeks from graduation) and it was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, it was warm but not hot, the sky was blue and cloudless, the grass was green and because I was a senior in my final semester of school I got to leave campus every day at 1:30 PM.
Well, I decided then and there that Kati had clearly had enough for the day. So we marched inside, collected her things, wandered up to the office to call the evil ‘E’ (as this was in the days before every teenager had a cell phone) and checked Kati out of school. We climbed into my buddy Vanessa’s truck and took off toward the mall where we had a late lunch, went shopping, and had a really great afternoon.
Then we took Kati home, and the evil ‘E’ was waiting for us…rather like an overgrown spider. The end result (I’m leaving out a lot of nasty bits and yelling here) is that ‘E’ was super duper mega mad. We were, to use a phrase from the linguistic code of my high school clique, ‘funky busted.’
The wrath of the evil ‘E’ was swift and mighty, but would be somewhat defused by the honesty of those involved. The next morning found both Kati and myself voluntarily confessing our abuse of the system to the school guidance counselor who, despite having to maintain school system disciplinary regulations, was actually very sympathetic to our case. She understood exactly what Kati had been going through, understood where I was coming from and chose to support us in the pending personal PR disasters we were both facing.
During the course of the morning Kati and I shuffled from authority figure to authority figure explaining exactly what we had done and why. They would ask Kati a few questions and then look to me for the full story, and no matter how many times I had to repeat our exploits I would always end with the statement: “And I would do it again in a heartbeat.” It was simple enough to understand really. My friend had needed me and I was there for her.
The verdict was handed down (much to the consternation of the evil ‘E’ who seemed to feel that only I should have been punished but hey, Kati went along with it and fair is fair…) and we were both given a day of in-school suspension. And I have a feeling that I’m still the only student on record who was actually apologized to by the principal, the vice principals, and the guidance counselors while being given the form for the day of in-school. I was later told (by a vice principal) that they didn’t want to punish me at all, but that the evil ‘E’ was threatening to press kidnapping charges so they did it to calm her down. Rather nice of them, don’t you think?
Anyway! The next day dawned clear and sunny and when the first bell rang I made my way into the quiet, windowless class room in the corner of the gym. Sort of like the room in the picture…but a lot less ‘homey.’
We were marched down to the lunch room in a single file line at around 11:30 AM. While sitting at the table (not eating …because school food = are you kidding!) I noticed that the administrators were all having lunch in the staff area of the cafeteria. They wandered past and paused to ask me how my day was going. We chatted for a few minutes and during the conversation I asked if I would still be allowed to leave at 1:30 PM as usual. I was told that it shouldn’t be a problem.
We rambled back to the little cold room above the gym just before the first lunch bell for the rest of the school rang and resumed our seats, facing the white painted concrete block walls. Two hours later I was dismissed and handed over my Cosmo to Kati on my way out the door. She was looking pale and scared but I gave her a smile and that seemed to cheer her up. (The coach also asked if I would autograph the wall to commemorate my stay but I politely declined my shot at high school immortality.) Since all my friends were already gone for the day I wander to my dad’s classroom and asked to borrow his car. He tossed me the keys (in front of a room full of juniors and seniors who all knew me and for some strange reason looked stunned) and told me to be back to pick him up at around 4:00 PM.
Kati and I chatted the next day in class and agreed that things could have been a lot worse. Apparently the evil ‘E’ had forbidden Kati from hanging out with, talking to, or phoning me. But since we spent the entire day at school together it really wasn’t that much of an issue. Kati talked to the exchange organization and managed to find a new host family (who were and are very friendly and awesome people). So with as bad as things had been they turned around to become even better than she could have imagined.
And Kati, if you’re reading this, just know that “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Friday, April 25, 2008
My former roommate, the H.O.P.S.F., commented that she always found it amusing that I wear headphones while listening to my stereo. The reason for this is simple to explain. Once I was allowed to have a radio in my bedroom (at age 16) my music selections were not to disturb the rest of the household. I could listen to what ever music I chose (a freedom not granted to me until I reached the age of 16) provided that no one else in the house was able to hear it because that would have been intolerably rude. Thus, the headphones. I maintain this practice in an effort to be both courteous and polite to those who live around me. After all, my taste in music might not echo theirs.
Now, I’m not faulting my parents in any way for the way in which I was raised. I consider myself a very well rounded individual who is both honest and open minded. When compared to my immediate contemporaries (i.e. the other kids who grew up with me in the neighborhood) it appears that my parents did a damn fine job. However, there were draw backs.
Now, I explained all of that in order to tell you this.
The New Kids on the Block are reuniting.
I have few memories from my days as an elementary school student about this particular boy band, due in large part to the fact that my parents did not allow me to listen to ‘contemporary’ music while I was a child. The music I listened to while growing up depended upon which parent I was riding with – Dad was all oldies, and Mom was all country. The only time I heard groups like the New Kids were on those rare occasions that I was invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house. They would pop a tape (yes, a tape) into their stereo and gather around the speakers (all while wearing their New Kids night gowns, clutching New Kids fashion dolls, and swinging pillows with New Kids pillowcases on them at each other) and squeal and sing and jump up and down. I (who was sans band paraphernalia) would stand in the back corner of the room and observe. I didn’t know who they were squealing about. I couldn’t sing along to songs I had never heard before and I certain wouldn’t be jumping up and down for no good reason. It was, in fact, a phenomenon which baffled and confused me.
Perhaps this is the reason that an individual’s total devotion to one particular band is still something that I simply cannot fully understand. Robert is quite the Eric Clapton fan (he’s waxed eloquent about it on his blog), my friend Amanda is a devout U2 fan and has even traveled outside of the country to see them perform. They both own every album released by their favorite artist and can expound at length upon how their music is not only valuable, but also life changing and (in the case of U2) will single handedly save the world! What is it that sparks such devotion? Is there something that I’m lacking genetically which makes me unable to cling so religiously to a single artist or group? Is this phenomenon a product of nature or nurture? Would it have helped if my parents possessed this trait? I just don’t get it!
What I do know is that The New Kids on the Block (and really, since the youngest member is now 35 can they still even be considered ‘kids’?) have an almost cult-like following which has been waiting for this reunion to take place for years. There is a crew member of the morning radio show I listen to who is such a ‘super fan’ that her co-workers arranged for her to fly out to California last night so that she could meet the members of the group this morning at their rehearsal studio and to say that she was beside herself with excitement would be putting it mildly.
A news website I frequent had an article written by a fan that was ecstatic that the long dormant NKOTB website (see link above) has not only been reactivated but has also been updated to include new pictures and information about the impending tour. Apparently the ‘boys’ will need to brace themselves for a tidal wave of reawakened teen longing in their legions of former ‘future Mrs. (insert the name of your favorite member here)’ fans. And I’m 100% certain that at least a few of those girls I grew up with (especially the ones who were devoted until the group broke up) will be doing whatever they can to get tickets for a reunion performance…and probably paying through the nose for them too.
And I just don’t get it.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
We know. Moving on…
Anyway! The show was really entertaining which is good because the tickets were a birthday gift for my best pal LibraryDiva and cost me a freaking arm and a leg! After the show, the expensive souvenir purchases, and a phone call made from one of the old call boxes in the ladies lounge (hey, it was all about atmosphere), LibraryDiva and I happened upon this poster during our stroll back to the pay lot where the car was being held prisoner.
(And this is a very good example of why you should never believe it when the little book that comes with your cell phone says that the night vision setting is perfect for picture taking after dark.)
So I had to take some pictures!
So here is the logo from the upper left corner of the poster. (Shut up! This was the first time I had ever used the cell phone camera.)
And here is the helpful parental advisory (I’m looking at you, parents of the elementary school aged child who was in the audience…FOR SHAME).
And here is the birthday girl in all her redheaded glory.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
At some point in the middle of my very hectic afternoon a representative from the staffing agency I’m contracted through showed up to introduce herself and hand over her business card. I managed to muster up the strength to great her amicably but then she dropped the giant killer…she asked “how is your day?” Oh honey, where do I start?
Let’s see. Thing One and Thing Two decided that I needed to be awakened at 5:11 AM this morning, a full hour and nine minutes before I would have normally rolled out of bed. It seems that the change to daylight savings time has really confused their internal clocks and they are unable to successfully recognize the difference between 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM.
After managing to make it into work in one piece I was contently shuffling my way through the daily paperwork when the CEO stopped by my desk to inform me that we will be visited tomorrow by the wife of the owner. Now, having held down several jobs and being a relatively well educated person (what with the two college degrees and all) I’m well aware of what kind of behavior is expected when someone ‘important’ shows up. And while I did my best to be humble and compliant I couldn’t help but be incredibly irritated and insulted when I was spoken to like a child and had the whole ‘you need to make sure that she doesn’t stand around waiting because she’s important’ thing explained at least two dozen times in the space of two minutes. Yeah, I know…I heard you the first time…GEEZ!!!
There was an incident yesterday involving a radio that I won’t go into (because it is unbelievably stupid and petty and would make a coworker look very bad even if it would be good for a laugh) so I’ve been having to dance around someone’s toes all day.
A customer called and asked to have the identification number on an item that they purchased changed. Now normally this isn’t too much of an issue and just involves a few minutes of simple data entry. However, the file for this item had already been processed through the system and closed out. This makes this request a hundred or so times more difficult than normal.
I’ve had precious snowflakes calling all day long whom I’ve had to placate and cater to.
I had a large stack of mail dropped onto the paper work I was attempting to finish and had to sort though it before I could get back to work on what I was doing.
I slashed my hand open on a file. Check out that band-aid…oh, how I suffer!
And while all of this is going on that nice girl from the agency shows up and asks me how my day is going. So I lied and said that everything was fine.
And then I ruthlessly hung up on someone trying to hock another 'free' magazine subscription...which made me feel a little bit better.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Were there a way, I would love nothing more then to have a brief conversation with my seventeen year old self, on the first day of senior year, in a effort to make the lessons it took me ten years to learn not take quite so long to sink in. So here, in a few moments of uncomfortable truthiness, are things I would tell myself.
Drop this ‘friend’ like a bad habit.
Stop worrying about what others think.
Audition for the play.
Shut up and listen to your elders because you aren’t as smart as you like to claim.
Be nicer to your parents. They really don’t deserve all that ‘teenage’ attitude.
No problem is insurmountable if you keep your wits.
Don’t be a doormat.
Study what you love, no matter who it upsets.
The truth can hurt. But life is easier to handle if you don’t have to keep track of which lies you told to whom.
Say ‘I’m sorry.’
Now, I have reasons for all of these little pearls of wisdom but, as I have mentioned before on this blog, my past is better off exactly where I’ve left it so I won’t be going into detail. But I would like to know what you think. If you could go back and tell yourself anything, even if it is only a word of caution that could change a life shaping event, what would you tell yourself? What would you change? You don’t have to give details or reveal anything too personal. But if you would like to share, the floor is open.
The following is the transcript of a phone call from around 9:00 AM this morning.
Me: Good morning, (company name).
Caller: Are you open?
Me: *silent for a moment or two pondering the stupidity on the other end of the line while being sorely tempted to say something like ‘Well obviously,’ or ‘No’ and then just hanging up.* Yes.
Caller: They why ain’t nobody answering the phone?
Me: *silent for a moment or two pondering what that question implies about my existence* I would be happy to page someone for you.
Yep, this is going to be a fantastic week…I just feel it.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Well, it turns out that my former roommate – the H.O.P.S.F. – had pictures of him floating around on her hard drive. So ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Neville the Very Timid.
He was a cutie and he sure loved carrots.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
And apparently it has all kinds of different settings to take pictures with. Here is the ‘normal’ setting. You will note that the subject of this photo, Thing One, is ignoring me completely. I think there was a dog barking in the parking lot of the building below ours and it attracted more attention than I did.
And here is the ‘daylight’ setting. Thing One is still ignoring me here, but for an entirely different reason…a leaf had just fallen past the window.
And here is the ‘black and white’ setting. The subject of this picture is Thing Two. You will notice that he ignores me as well. But I can forgive him for it, because he was distracted by the object of his deepest desire. There was a squirrel clinging to the side of the tree. You’ll get one someday, buddy. (Okay, so he probably won't ever get one...but I'm not going to be the one to step on his tiny little hopes!)
And here is the ‘sepia tone’ setting. Thing One again, mastering the art of ignoring the photographer... but looking very ‘sepia’ while doing so.
I think that all this might be overkill for a simple little cell phone camera, but who am I to question the advances of technology.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
This time, however, I was not so lucky. It was just before 1:00 PM, I was in heavy traffic on a major roadway, and I was in the left lane. Not the best place for a flat tire. Luckily there was a break in the traffic just when I really needed it and I was able to pull onto the shoulder of the road. Once the nearest traffic light changed and the road cleared I was able to safely get out of the car and go take a look. Sure enough, the driver’s side rear tire was puddled onto the asphalt. After a few choice swear words (it’s after Lent and I’m allowed again) I called my mother and then called my aunt and uncle’s house to see if anyone was home. (Cause really, why pay for a tow truck when you have male relatives?) Alas, I was out of luck.
So I called my cousin ‘Bob.’ (His name isn’t actually ‘Bob’ and I’m not using it to protect his identity or anything. ‘Bob’ is his nickname. No really, it is. Of all the nicknames he could have picked (and believe me he has had more than a few entertaining ones just within the family) he decided on ‘Bob.’) And he was on his lunch break but agreed to come and help me out. So about thirty minutes later ‘Bob’ and I are standing on the side of a major roadway putting the spare tire on my car as semi trailers and oversized trucks rip past us at amazing speed. I’ll be completely honest with you about this one; I was really terrified for the both of us.
But hey, at least my taxes are done.
My day has not shaped up to be a good one, kids.
First, I had one of these this weekend.
(It's a stock photo from a funeral home's website, not the actual funeral I was at...now get your knickers out of that twist.)
Which means I had to have a large one of these to cheer me up.
So when today rolled around and I was back to this:
I was already kinda bummed. So image how much more not great my day became when I got one of these on my way back to work after lunch.
I’m really ready for this Monday to be over.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
(Did you click on the picture? Don’t be afraid to admit it. You know that secretly you want one of these wonderful toys too. Just be honest. I won’t tell, it can be our little secret…but you might want to wipe the drool off your chin.)
I want this with a level of passion and desire that I myself have problems fully understanding. There is just something about this particular piece of machinery that makes my heart beat faster and causes my palms to sweat.
I’ve wanted one of these since I was fourteen. It all started while I was babysitting for some of my favorite kids. I wandered unsuspectingly into the kitchen to get them a snack and there it was, sitting on the counter, the late afternoon sun glinting off the red enamel case and chrome accents. Faster than blinking, faster than I could inhale I was in love.
Over the years (and years and years) of babysitting for that family I found every excuse I could think of for using that amazing bit of equipment. I mixed more batches of muffins and cupcakes and cookies and pancakes than I can count. We (the kids and I) made them for reasons like ‘it’s Wednesday’ or ‘because that cloud looked like a bunny.’
My current favorite blog (outside of my own) is The Pioneer Woman. I wandered unsuspectingly into the area of her blog where she talks about food and there it was. Deep within one of her many recipe posts was a photo of the white KitchenAid standing mixer that she got as a wedding present. It seems that everyone on the planet has one of these fantabulous gadgets but me!!
But one day…oh, one day…this too shall be mine. Yes! I will scrimp and save and cut corners and clip coupons and curtail frivolous spending until I can afford one of my very own (I’m leaning toward the pistachio green, because I like the ‘vintage’ vibe it gives off, by the way). And (and yes, I know you shouldn’t start a sentence with AND but really you should know me well enough to realize that I do this quite a bit … *kicks her English minor to the curb*) if all else fails I’ll ask my parents to get it for me for Christmas.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Blogger’s Note: The content of this post is a copy of an email sent to me by BalletDiva. It is published with her express consent and in it’s original format.
Since everyone in blog land seems to be creating their own "Trapped on an Island" mix CD, I thought I'd create a list of songs as well.
Except, I am striving to keep up my reputation as the dirty whore virgin.
Songs to have sex to:
“Ombra” from Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion, artistic passion at its best.
“Blue Monday” almost any rendition will do, but preferably the original or the cover by Orgy or another up tempo version. This is angry sex at its best.
“Frozen” Celldweller, meaningless sex much, Klay?
“So She Dances” Josh Groban, beautiful music = beautiful love.
“Never Let Go” Josh Groban, as my former roomie once said, it’d be better if he was actually singing it to you, but I’ll take a recording.
“Angels” Wax Poetic featuring Norah Jones, think getting it on in your converted warehouse loft.
“Damn Girl” Justin Timberlake, not that it would take a lot, but if you’ve reduced your man to repeatedly chanting ‘damn, girl’ you’ve probably accomplished your mission.
“Bittersweet Symphony” The Verve, is there anything you can’t do while listening to this song.
“Unchained Melody” probably The Righteous Brothers version, do I have to explain this one.
“Desert Rose” Sting featuring Cheb Mami (whom I was surprised and slightly horrified to realize was a guy during my research for this list. I mean Cheb. I knew Sting was a guy.) The bridge to this song makes me picture two lovers riding horses side by side on a wind-blown desert sand dune under bright moonlight, with lots of gauze-like fabric billowing out behind them. Not that that image has anything to do with sex other than it could be before or after the event.
“Enrapture” Criss Angel from the Mindfreak ’02 soundtrack, ‘thinking of the times when we were one’ so sweetly metaphorical and literal all at once.
“The Chocolat Soundtrack” call me cheesy, but this soundtrack is extremely versatile. It can soothingly drown out the sounds of your druggie roommates getting it on with the flavor of the night. It can be romantic background music for you and your presumably not crack-head lover. It can even be great ballet class music, but I digress.
“Your Body is a Wonderland” John Mayer, this song first came out when I was in high school. At the time I thought it was soooo dirty, but now I think of it as a sweet reminder of being on the edge of innocence. [Innocence not necessarily in a sexual sense here.] My ex-boyfriend Lee (yes my former roomie, the one you think looked like a linebacker) convinced me to think of this as our song, even though we never had sex. Kinda strange but it works.
“Nights in White Satin” The Moody Blues, hippy angst-ridden love at its best.
“In the Waiting Line” Zero 7, this song makes me think about past changes in life and suggests that perhaps you and the person you are with can provide some stability for one another. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but music is all about how it makes you feel.
Well I hope you enjoyed that, maybe got a few laughs in for the day. : )
Friday night LibraryDiva and I took in a show at the Fabulous FOX. We went to see Avenue Q, a fantastically funny Broadway show staring puppets. Yes, puppets. No really, it was good…you should see it. Don’t argue with me!! For more information on the show click on the banner I stuck on the right hand side of the blog. We had a great time and bought fantastically overpriced souvenir t-shirts.
Oh, and during the course of the show we noticed that the people sitting immediately to our right and immediately to our left were friends. So during intermission we offered to change seats so that they could sit together for the second half of the show. We became heroes and got a better view for the rest of the evening.
Lately I’ve been lacking in the sleep department. It seems no matter how hard I try to get into bed by 10:30 it always winds up being closer to midnight before I’m finally snuggled under the covers. I don’t know why this keeps happening! It doesn’t help that I still have to get up when that alarm goes off at 6:20 am and it is just making me so tired that I can barely function during the day. My job (paper shuffler) isn’t really physically hard but by the end of the work day I’m mentally exhausted. I’m starting to understand why my parents were never up for anything during the work week when I was a kid…if they were half as tired as I usually am I’m amazed they had the strength left to drive home let alone tolerate an antsy child underfoot. What I’m trying to say is…I miss naps.
My friend R (name shortened for her protection) whom I’ll affectionately refer to as BalletDiva from now on, sent me a fantastically fun email the other day. After reading all the entries in the ‘What would be on your CD if you were stranded on a deserted island’ game, she came up with her own list of songs. But BalletDiva, in her unique BalletDiva way, changed the game just a little. Her list was a selection of ‘songs to have sex to.’ Ah, BalletDiva this is why we love you.
My friend Karen (the H.O.P.S.F.) called me yesterday on her way home from work to inform me that she had seen a chicken wandering down the center of a major roadway here in our town. The sight amused her and she thought she would share. See…I told you she was weird. (But we love her anyway!). She has also posted a video of her new hamster on YouTube and you can check it out right here.
This season of “Dancing with the Stars” (shut up, Robert and Carl) has been fairly entertaining so far though I don’t think that Steve Guttenberg should have been voted off so quickly. He (unlike several others) was actually a lot of fun to watch and seemed to really be enjoying the experience. Plus he had really improved from the week before… but alas, the voting public didn’t agree.
Last week the CD player in my car decided it would eat a CD. I ejected one, put in another and suddenly the entire system turned itself off and started flashing “THEFTLOCK ACTIVATED.” I don’t know why. After several frustrating minutes the system seemed to ‘unlock’ and the radio started working again. However, my CD is still being held captive by the player and it has taken to taunting me with a ‘NO DISC’ message every time I push the eject button. The most frustrating part of this entire ordeal is that the CD in question is disc two of a brand new audio book. *Sigh*
I stopped by the dealer and asked about the situation. Once I can arrange to leave the car with them they will hook it up to their computer and attempt to reprogram the system via satellite. However, if that doesn’t work they will have to remove the radio and send it to the factory in Charlotte. I have a sinking feeling that I’ll have to order another copy of the audio book…
Let’s see…OH! Apparently I accomplished way more than I realized yesterday at work…because it is only 10:45 am and I’m out of things to do for the day…which is both good and bad. Good because hey, free time. Bad because it means that we are really feeling the crunch of the recession around here. But at least I’m not in production… because that could mean getting laid off. So I wandered through the accounting department looking for a way to be helpful and surprise, surprise, I was given some more paper to shuffle! Wa-hoo.
I think I’ll watch a movie tonight…I wonder what I’m in the mood for…