Thursday, April 30, 2009

Writer's Workshop: No, I Would Not Give You False Hope

Every week, I check out MamaKat's writing prompts, and yet another week appears with a prompt perfectly suited to my needs today. Actually, a 2-for-1:
4.) Have you thought about shutting down your blog? Why haven't you and what would cause you to make that decision final?
5.) Today I will...

Today I will shut down my blog. No, wait, that was just a comment I left recently. I will not be shutting down, sorry to disappoint. However, I have been reading quite a bit lately about those out there that are shuttering blogs, or are debating so.

Today I was barreling along, in between one mundane appointment to another mundane errand, toting along my 22-mo old toddler who was very bitter about being strapped into his stroller->carseat->stroller, ad infinitum.

My toddler does not prefer to be tied down. Strapped in. Told where to sit, and for how long. He resents being told where he needs to be, for how long, with whom he can play, that he must not climb over the baby gate, change his wet socks, when he must eat, and that he can't go outside when it's 50 degrees and raining. HE would prefer to make all of those decisions himself, thank you.

I totally understand his plight.

Back to barreling down said road, pacifying said bitterness; "Mother and Child" by Paul Simon came on.

No I would not give you false hope On this strange and mournful day But the mother and child reu-nion Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine.

How could I possibly be bitter myself, about this new "occupation" that I've been tasked with? How could I possibly resent the place I've found myself in at times? How could I be jealous of working professionals? It's unfair and un-motherly and unnatural, to resent one's own stay-at-home-station. Right?

I've been rather emotional lately, or at least today. My eyes welled up with tears. I fast-forwarded 13 years. I don't know why I chose thirteen, but just go with me. I pictured a bitter, resentful teenager, who constantly wanted to be away from me. Hanging with his friends. A young man who picked up on his Mommy's own bitterness and chose not to hug and spend time on lunch dates with Mom, but instead head towards the skating park/soccer field/ice rink/you get it.

I know I can't control everything. Least of all these emotions. But it made me realize that I can control my focus. And if I continue to focus on what I don't have (job out of the house) and what I do not get to do (lunch with friends) and instead decide to cuddle, hug, have dates with, and generally fall in love with spending time with my firstborn, adorable little cherub of a son (see? I can do it), then my attitude will change.

So you see, I want to blog about this. I need to blog about this. I need this outlet, and I need the will to get it out there. Thanks for listening.

(Wait, CDB. This wasn't funny today. I want my money back.)
Trying to talk a toddler into eating something he has just spit out is like asking for your sandwich on regular bread at the bagel shop. It doesn't make sense, it won't work, and it will just make everyone uncomfortable.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RTT: Random Tuesday Trips

I had a dream last night about a poisonous bird that got into our house and was going around, trying to "peck" Mom was there, simultaneously consoling and warning everyone, which is so true-to-life. What does this mean? Is there some "poison" in my life, running after my sub-conscious? Is someone in my life trying to "peck" me to death? Do I have a deep-seated fear of beautiful birds?

Or, it could just be that "fancy" parrot picture in our Spanish "Mis Opuestos" board book? Hm.

I'm ashamed how late my RTT is this week. I blame it on the high pollen count. My punishment is keeping it short. (Should I repent too? Sheesh, you can tell I grew up Catholic.)

I truly love blogging. But I read a comment recently about the possibility of us all needing to do it during the cold, dreary winter months. Now that Spring and 90 degrees are here, are we all finding a few more projects that have been sitting around? Opening doors to new found sunshine, revealing old forgotten dust? (P.S. That was an analogy.)

Warm weather makes me crave fresh fruit and veggies. I'm still fascinated by vegetable packaging, but don't have any psychosis-inducing questions on it this week. However, I'm convinced the bottom of our fruit bowl is a wormhole that leads to a parallel dimension, so we've never reached the bottom of it.

This post is trippy!

Head on over to Keely's place, grab the button, and let her know how fabulous she looks today! and tell her I said so. (:

Yes, this counts as "short" in my blok. Everything is relative. We've talked about this.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

When Brains Shut Down: Next on Fox

Something about blogging just makes it an honest sport. There's nobody across from your laptop, checking your facts. Nobody is standing over you, arguing that the story you just typed out did not go exactly as you'd described it. It's a free-form creation of art, each little piece you choose to drum up, craft, create, and push-button publish.

It's sitting in a roomful of strangers (or, happily, former strangers,) confessing, guessing, undressing (?) and blessing. Very liberating, indeed.

Which is why I find it easier to confess my greatest faults on here. At the two 2nd-year old birthday parties we attended this weekend, upon meeting new parents-o-toddler friends, I didn't break out with, "I really don't ever finish anything that I start." Or, watching the happy kiddo chomp his first bite of yummy birthday cake, I didn't make the announcement, "the less productive I am in my life, the harder it is for me to get anything productive done."

Lately, I just don't feel like a productive member of society. Sure, raising the next generation of responsible and self-respecting adults is an important task, but really.. does it matter if it's me all the time?

Don't get me wrong, I really and truly love being home with my son, and I'm (honestly) grateful and not ever bitter about thrown wet food, crayon markings and Diaper Champs that I can.

But I constantly ask myself if parts of my brain are shutting down their operation, either for 10 weeks this summer, or for forever.

So, I've gotten myself on a very busy volunteer committee for a service organization I'm a part of. I'm in charge of the raffle at the MOMs club picnic. I'm still teaching yoga. I trade stocks during our most volatile moves in the market.

And now, I've set my sights on finding the next great deal in real estate. We live in a real estate market that is predicted to rebound more quickly than other areas of the country. With rates low, and some opportunities out there, I've designated myself the temporary real estate Queen of the house. (With a roll of the eyes):

We'll see how it goes.

"It leaves ya baby, if you don't care for it.."
One, U2


Thursday, April 23, 2009

See? Too Busy To Title.

I lost a follower. I'm trying to keep my perspective as I refresh the tissue box.

It happens to the best of us (and the worst of us, I suppose.) You're running along at full speed, maxing out life capacity, and decide for some ludicrous reason that makes sense at the time, to ramp it up a bit.

I've decided that we just can't fit in our house any longer and must find a new domain, and quickly. (That's literal. I'm not searching for a new domain name, techies. A house.) Since this is such an EASY thing to do, find a house that is bigger and better in a down market, settle on it and try to convince someone to buy your own minuscule house for at or more than you paid, then pack all of your useless, hardly used CRAP and move it all, all while entertaining a toddler and two increasingly bitter and bored dogs...should be no problem. Are you tired yet?

So am I.

The problem is, more and more research time means less blogging, which is totally unacceptable. But I'll admit it. I'm overwhelmed. And nobody is even paying me to be stressed out all day long at a real job!

So! Look forward to some fabulous guest posting soon!

In the meantime, a quick funny.

I can be a bit of a Primadonna. I got sick yesterday. Yes, in the disgusting way. Many reasons that this happens to people, and that's not important now. What is important is that I told my husband the story, including the horrible part about heaving so violently that toilet water splashed up on my hair/face. He was laughing so hard, he could barely ask, "well, did you wash your face?"

Oh! Good idea....


Monday, April 20, 2009

RTT: I Missed You, O Blogging World!

What is up with celery half-bags? Have you seen these? Where the bags only cover the ankles and upper calves of the celery stalks? Who decided that celery was relegated to the life of the half-dressed, like a generic Playboy model, or .. hairy topless male sunbathers in St. Maarten?

(Welcome Back, CDB! Gosh, we missed your pointless drivel about vegetable packaging!)

I didn't take any photos of the Dave Matthews concert on Saturday; NOT because there were huge signs that said "NO CAMERAS". Because I forgot it. But, suffice it to say, it was awesome. For you Dave fans, "Two Step" was off the hook. But we only got two songs for the encore, and after breaking in backstage, storming down Dave and demanding a personal serenade of "Crash", I woke up.

A note on our getaway: my husband and I got to sleep in, then go downstairs and eat a full breakfast that someone else had prepared for us. Then THEY cleaned it up. Heaven? No, just life PreK. (Pre-Kid.)

I hadn't gotten on a single blog until this evening, so I'll be catching up for a while. But I will be there, commenting and reading. Oh wait. Not in that order.

Today was a very special day. Today, the blogging world COLLIDED with the real, when, out of the pouring rain, my toddler and I walked up the front steps to find TWO packages awaiting my excitable hands.. both from the blogging world. That's right! I received TWO packages from two of my fellow bloggers, one prize, and one thank-you gift. More, including pictures, later.

What is all this talk about nationalizing banks?! We are so far away from that and yet we keep hearing about it. The government buying non-voting shares of a bunch of stock is NOT nationalization. When we get closer, I can understand pundits on both sides freaking out, but we are not there.

Moose Trax ice cream is the best. Little nuggets of choco-peanut butter heaven waiting to surprise you at every turn of your spoon. Mmm.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spin Cycle: A Different Celebrity!

I know, I know.. all of you Spin Cyclists that read my blog are justifiably expecting the Kevin Costner story. But I tried that once, remember? Yes, I had the chance to go out to his place in Colorado, twice, yes it was fabulous, yes I loved it, yes he's fabulous for letting us, no he was not there, blah blah blah. Let's not go there (again.)

BUT! Casey reminded me, I did have a brush with celebrity prior to this. In college. And it was WAY cooler because I actually met the celebrity. As opposed to just staying in his house, using his kick-ass Keurig Coffee (I met my) Maker and his snowmobiles and sledding hill.

This is a little less glamorous: I was invited to a friend's wedding her Senior year in college. They'd been dating since High School, he went to Duke (blech) and she went to Carolina (yay) and got married in Duke Gardens (blech) and had the reception at an old historic Inn in historic Hillsbrough (closer to Chapel Hill..yay!) I rode on the Equestrian team with her, and she was a very cool chick.. pretty laid back, concomitantly ditzy and smart, and hilarious.

I didn't know her well enough for her to break out with, "So my aunt married Michael Mann."

Let me pause here and give you Michael Mann's filmography:

Frankie Machine (2010) (in production) (rumored)
Public Enemies (2009) (completed)
  1. Miami Vice (2006)
  2. Collateral (2004)
  3. Ali (2001)
  4. The Insider (1999)
  5. Heat (1995)
  6. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  7. L.A. Takedown (1989) (TV)
  8. "Crime Story" (1 episode, 1987)
    - Top of the World (1987) TV episode
  9. Manhunter (1986)
    ... aka Red Dragon: The Curse of Hannibal Lecter (USA: TV title)
  10. The Keep (1983)
  11. Thief (1981)
  12. The Jericho Mile (1979) (TV)
  13. "Police Woman" (1 episode, 1977)
    - The Buttercup Killer (1977) TV episode
  14. 17 Days Down the Line (1972)
  15. Jaunpuri (1971)
  16. Insurrection (1968)
I'm standing in the historic grass, in the beautiful May sunshine, and someone casually mentions there's a major Hollywood producer/director/writer standing over yonder. I was a flim major, so my heart missed a few beats. We all wound up surrounding him, like a gaggle of eager boarding school girls around the sole male, but only one guy could think of a brainy question to ask him.. about the sub-plot of the driver in Heat (1995).

Mr. Mann was intrigued, and took his time answering. I was so insanely jealous of that question. All I could stammer out was, "I'm a film major! But oh well. We are in North Carolina."

He corrected my assumption and said North Carolina's film industry was really ramping up. Not to count it out. Pursue all projects.

(Well, if I HAD taken his advice, do you really think I'd be writing this blog right now as opposed to the next screenplay he directs?! )

Michael Mann was one cool cat. Married to an aunt of a friend of mine. They go to family weddings. I met him once, had casual conversation. And he has every Hollywood A-list actor on speed dial.

This was years before the Kevin Costner "event". Is God trying to tell me something?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Dave-style Getaway

MamaKat's chosen prompt works perfectly for me today, it's almost unfair: 1.) If I sent you four hundred dollars today what is ONE thing you would spend it on and why. PS. I want my change.

I felt the need to make you laugh today, and, I'll be honest, I needed to laugh myself, after the emotionally charged remembrance of which I shared. We are heading out of town tomorrow, ironically to the same locale of which I spoke; the very locale which conjured up such bittersweet memories as late.

We're heading to the Dave Matthews Band show in Charlottesville, VA. By ourselves. NO kid. NO pains in my asses, stuck inside and all the more bitter for it dogs. The very definition of... THE GETAWAY.

It's okay.. the dogs will look after the 22-mo old toddler just fine. And toddler knows how to feed them. And I've previously stated he can get his milk out of the fridge, so what does he need us for? (In-law Grandma is heroically stepping up.)

We saw Dave in 1999 when we'd just started dating. We chose "Two Step" as our wedding entrance song. Our first dance was "Where Are You Going?" We saw Dave&Tim Reynolds in 2003 on an acoustic tour and listened to the live recording every car ride for two years.

So, yeah. Kind of a big deal to us. (That, and we haven't been to a concert since the Rolling Stones in 2005.)

Clearly you can see what I would do with the wad of cash MamaKat handed me, since tickets are a ridiculous nominal $65/ea. Hotels are an average of an unconscionable $200/night, and I we have very expensive taste nice favorite restaurants. She is not getting change. In fact, could I go time-and-a-half here?

Where's the funny? To save a few extra Benjamins, I've been looking into cheaper hotels, and reading their reviews. I think you'll appreciate these anonymous guest reviewers' honesty and attention to detail as I have:

:: Actual comments from the reviews on EconoLodge (if you don't believe me):
"In our room there was a used towel left on the bath door hook, the cold water in the sink did not work, and the phone did not work. The pool, although open in Sept., was murky. The bed was clean and comfortable and the location was good for us, but I would not go back."

"The expectations weren't high going into this as we were staying at an Econo Lodge. These low expectations weren't meet. There was no hair dryer, no iron, and a weird white film on the rug. The shower switched from cold to hot and back. This place was awful."

"This was probably the most dilapidated hotel I've ever stayed in. It's probably 15 years overdue for a renovation. We stayed two nights, but the housekeeping service never came to our room between the two nights. The towels were threadbare, the pillows were just collections of lumps inside a pillowcase, and the matresses were nearly crushed."

"1. The pillowcases were wrinkled, and unattractive on the bed. 2. The box spring had visible cigarette burns on it. 3. There was obvious lint & dirt behind the night stand and on the side of the bed closest to the wall. 4. There was no accessible outlet near the coffee pot, so I had to move it over to the next available outlet, which was very close to the sink. 5. The sheets didn't appear to be clean--there were brown spots on the top sheet."

"Do NOT stay in this hotel. It is dirty, the tub even had a ring around it, the towels were tan with dirt, carpets were dirty, PLUS we even had a bug, (I didn't see it, my daughter tells me it was a roach), crawl up our wall."


So, MamaKat.. send all $400, and send it quickly. The Omni's a bit more, food and gas are not cheap, and let's build in a little for parking tickets.

On second thought, don't worry about the cash. This getaway will be priceless.


In Memoriam: Remembering Rachel

Please, no comments (see note at the end.)

Two years ago today, April 15th, 2007, the world lost a beautiful, amazing, kindred soul, and we, a friend. Two years ago today. I'd like to set aside this corner of the blogosphere for her today, and share with you a little bit about Rachel. As I type this, I'll try to hold back the tears.

Every now and again, you meet someone that reminds you of yourself.. a little bit. And, that person reminds you of what is potentially better about yourself, that you weren't aware of.

It was 2004, and all the Fall '04 Darden students and their spouses were gathered on the top of a parking deck, waiting to load up for the big Camping Trip that would kick off our two years in Charlottesville, and forever bond us to one another through tents, hiking treacherous terrain, flip-cup, campfires, and speed-friending. My husband ushered me over to meet Rachel and her husband. She smiled shyly, and I remember thinking how sweet and nice she seemed, and yet.. there seemed to be so much more.

There was. Over the course of two years, we "partners" (some weren't spouses yet) grew close. We met for weekly knitting and wine (mostly wine. I never did get the hang of knitting.) We traveled together. We saw each other weekly, bi-weekly, often several times a week with various events, get-togethers and parties (both obligatory and not.) It was a very condensed, but very real bonding of friendships.

No, I didn't have the privilege of knowing her my entire life, or even most of my life. But I feel as if I met and got to know Rachel in the stage of our lives where we finally discovered who we were becoming, as women, as wives, as people. That delicate stage between "single working" world and "now kids have taken over" world. The beautiful place called (spouse is in) "graduate school."

If you'd met Rachel on the street, you might notice a few things right away. . that she was beautiful. She was probably smiling. She empathized with your situation-whatever it was, and that she cared. But what you couldn't see from the outside was her tremedous selfless spirit and generosity. In her own time of need, she reached out to comfort others. She sought the good in people, and reminded you, by doing so, to do the same. She asked the best of herself.

She had an amazing singing voice, could beat the pants off of any man playing soccer, ran marathons, was a very serious student who went on to get a graduate degree in Social Work, and she loved her dogs. More, she loved everyone with her whole heart.

That, really, is what brings tears to my eyes while I type this. I feel like there are a few other people in my life that love with every fiber of their beings.. who are truly alive because of it. Rachel was one of those people.

Two years ago today she was taken from us forever, a fact alone that took a very long time to register with me.

The phone call started out harmlessly. It was a mutual friend, a good friend I hadn't caught up with in a while. I was yammering on about how our baby shower had gone, how everyone was so happy, things were great, wonderful. Pause. She'd asked if we'd talked to Rachel's husband? No, why? She didn't know how to say it, and I didn't know what was coming.

It was a driving rain.. there was very little visibility. Another truck involved. A car accident.
"Colleen... she didn't make it. She died."

We had just seen her a few weeks' prior. She was 31.

I remember thinking, as my hand was caught in mid-air, that I was looking down a tunnel. I could see all the way through the tunnel to the end - the grief, that I would someday, at some point, understand. Accept the gravity of what she had just said. But right now they were just words.

Just words hanging in mid-air, nobody really understanding what meaning they had. Nothing made sense and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

I would estimate 1,000 people came to the memorial service, held at the chapel where she was wed. I tend to exaggerate, but there were people from all over her life, far and wide, by plane and by car, any means necessary. It was a celebration of a life full of beauty, full of happiness, full of the richness of life. The true richness of a life, celebrated, mourned, and never forgotten.

The most remarkable thing, as I wet my keyboard with tears, is that her memory will live on in her giving spirit with the Rachel Haberkern Sherman Memorial Scholarship, for which hundreds of thousands of dollars has been raised. If you've been moved by what you read, please visit the site. Her memory will live on in perpetuity because of generosity.

PLEASE READ:: I would like to do something a little different. Please honor a moment of silence with me by not commenting on this post today. You can use this post to comment. I would like to honor her memory with our collective silence. Thank you. ::

and May flights of angels sing thee to thy Rest.


Monday, April 13, 2009

RTT: Inextricable Velcro Kix

Soggy, milk-laden Kix become the strongest balls o' Velcro in the world. You could use these to hold a cement block on the ceiling.

Why are toddlers so fascinated with bee-bo's? Oh, that's belly buttons, for those of you beyond the "Belly Button Book" phase of life.

Flat Pellegrino tastes like.. well, regular water from Italy. Ok. Fine. Just regular water.

No matter how much of a SuperMom you think yourself to be, don't ever, EVER, walk into the grocery store at 5:00 PM with a toddler and proceed to set grocery-store shopping records by purchasing one thing on every aisle and a dozen in the produce section. Inexplicably.

Especially, if, when you get home to unload the 143 bags of groceries you just cursed yourself for buying (inexplicably), it starts to rain. This does not score you bonus points.

Enough toddler talk. Have we really gotten so far away from the actual origins and modern-day manifestations of piracy - real pirates, that when I walk up my neighbor's stairs to deliver our neighborhood newsletter, I read a sign posted on the door with a skull/crossbones that "PIRATES ONLY... ARRRG" are allowed?

Lighter note! A lighter, lemon-ey note! Thanks, Kelly, from My Voice, My View! I really appreciate it! Further award information will follow.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Don't we all so much look forward to Tuesdays now that Keely turned us on to being random? Go over, grab the button, and by all means, turn on your own random-word generator.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

As Fleeting as Blossoms

I've been thinking a lot lately, about this inability of mine to absolutely embrace the stay-at-home-mom life. I never thought in a million years, deep into my "illustrious" career with banks and internet start-ups, that I would "stay" home with my son. Quotes are "sarcastic." I thought I'd BE home a lot, working for project A or starting up that new endeavor B. And I may still (stay tuned. I've been doing a lot with the 35mm lately.) WILL SHE get SERIOUS, folks?
As I was passing by two gorgeous previously-in-full bloom cherry trees in our neighborhood, admiring the scattered petals over the ground, it occurred to me how similarly fleeting childhood years are. We get busy, we turn our heads, and tiny fingers, toes and curly locks grow, leaving an older, different child in his place.. much as the wind blows the blossoms from the branch.

Delicate intricacies of rose, red and pink
Look up, look about
Delicate stoop for Cheerio; pause and think
Catch that baby pout

Sunshine and springtime and growing in full bloom
Now big, ever stout
Like birds of a feather in full-spectrum plume.
Childhood years, now in doubt

Far more delicate, our time spent together
Always know his whereabouts
Fleeting and flying and enduring all weather
I'm the one who must pout

Sunlight filters the whites and pinks of soft hue
Wind blows and -- watch out!
Slowly, inevitably, becoming unglued.
Look up, look about

Blowing and flying, catching wind, catching breeze
These miraculous years are, I know, but a tease.

The 35mm pictures I promised of said cherry blossoms (from a Japanese weeping cherry.) More 35mm to come!

Happy Easter, everyone!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spinning: Mystery Post

This week it's a free-for-all, over at the Spin Cycle hub, Sprite's Keeper. I like free form writing, clearly, since I subject you all to it every week.

But this week is a "Mystery Post" for my Spin. Why do I always ask so many questions? As in, what is going on with these random things with me?

1. Why am I dusting and cleaning spaces in my house that rarely see dusting and cleaning?
(Spring time? Warm weather back in season?) There must be dust in my head, so when I look around I see it, like dust-colored glasses.
2. Why do I still have this danged head cold, going on two weeks now?
(Stubborn? Won't take anything? Went to the doc and didn't take what they gave me?)
3. Why am I oscillating between irritation and tearing up at car insurance commercials?
(Ah. PMS? TMI? LOL?)
4. Why do I not feel any motivation to do anything, at times?
5. Why did I fall off the wagon just days before a true commitment to participation in Casey's HASAY project?
6. Related, why did I spend 20 minutes trying to choose between Butter Pecan and Moose Trax ice cream, when my favorite flavor is Mint Chocolate Chip? (I wound up getting both.)
7. And please tell me, someone, why it is that I forget where I'm going the minute we start driving somewhere? The poor toddler is running out of back-up plans. And "Toy Store" is getting redundant.

For what this post lacked in humor, it made up for in mystery. Now go check out the better Spins at Sprite's place.. her Keeper is pretty hilarious.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Horrid Tastes from my 20s

From MamaKat's Writing Workshop, my chosen prompt: 5.) What is an unpleasant experience you had eating? Write a poem, paragraph, or something else about the experience.

How 'bout a novella? I'm going to share this story with everyone, in the hopes that I might save someone else the horribleness of it. And if you're reading this on Facebook, there is a minute chance you are in this story. Minute.. say.. one-half of one percent. 50 bps for you finance folks. 50 pts if you figure out who you are.

My first job out of college. Ah, what an adventure. I was recruited
by a large wholesale plumbing distributor for their "Management Trainee" program, which is a pseudonym for "bitch" and "do whatever anyone tells you to do" and ridiculous crazy things like lift 135-lb Kohler sinks and drive forklifts (withOUT knocking down a pallet of bathtubs.) What I struggled, whined, got dirty and foul-mouthed from did at this job is irrelevant, the important point is it was nearly 99% MALE. Men in the warehouse, men in inside sales, men in outside sales, men in management. This was good training for later in my career, when I'd work on a testosterone-crazed trading floor.

We'd all hang out a lot, the trainee guys and me. We'd have little happy hours with the ONE or two other ladies and all the guys.. going to relatively nice places with pool tables and quality beer. At one relatively nice place that we frequented, one night I was surrounded by a bunch of my male colleagues, and shots were ordered. No, I didn't become the drunk victim of shots.. it's so much worse than that.

There is a shot called a "Cement Mixer." Have you heard of this? I had never heard of this. One was ordered, a challenge was presented, and attention was being paid. And, since I'll do anything for attention (see: blog creation), I was game.

This particular shot is two shots.. (Bailey's Irish Cream and lime juice); you take one just after the other. Then, in some nightmarish scene out of a horror chemistry experiment, the liquid solidifies in your mouth.. .curdled Bailey's. All eyes were on me as I choked, struggled, became increasingly confused, and then... yep. Shot it back like a pro. Swallowed.

HUGE cheers erupted. "You guys suck," and "what a horrible prank," and "never coming out with you guys again", were barely audible. I think I actually got slapped on the back, like this was some sick, twisted initiation rite for being able to sell plumbing equipment.

So, my 20s were filled with learning experiences. No matter how much someone bets, cons, pays or bribes you, under no circumstances do you EVER do a Cement Mixer shot.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ode to You, and You and You

Just a quick note tonight, to let y'all know that I'm thinking about you. Literally. Thinking about you all, in your glory and honor as stir-crazy soldiers of the written word fellow bloggers. In your written splendor and photographing genius, which beauty and thought-provocation keeps me coming back, again and again.

I do get obsessed easily. When I joined Facebook, I stayed on it for about 14 days straight (didn't everyone?) But still.

Driving down to the airport today to fetch my husband back to the real world, I heard "Tangled Up in Blue" by Bob Dylan, and was immediately taken to Blicky's analytical mind (games.) Frustrated with myself mid-day for failing (yet again) to get my 35mm roll developed to share the cherry blossom explosion, I thought of myself standing on a riverbank, like IB. Just.. waiting my life out. Waiting to really get serious about photography; waiting until the right ending "hits me" to finish that short story. Putting off April is Poetry Month reminders.

Thinking about all my new friends in Canada, (who thought the Final Four was a band!)

Cheering a fellow bloggers' 200th post in all its simplistic glory. Recognizing the joy of a blog post from real life, since I was at the party. Sparring with others on the "big games" of this weekend, reliving college rivalries again. Watching a community come together with amazing support for a fellow blogger when the unthinkable happens.

Getting caught in the beauty of a new Followers' profile picture, full wind in the sails. Laughing at Jeanne, laughing at Jenners. I even cooked a recipe straight from Buff's description! And it was fabulous!

All of this and more. It's support. It's caring and consideration. Not to put too fine a point on it, but .. a lot like family.

You all are with me, truly. Madly, deeply.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Obsession

I can't think of ANYthing else besides the Final game tonight (NCAA championship, for those of you NOT following along at home.)

Some might call it an obsession. Some may call it loyalty. I just call it passion.

Somehow, watching the Heels warm up, watching the Carolina fans in the crowd, I am instantly, immediately connected to my 1) undergrad years in Chapel Hill and 2) every year since the year we graduated which is.. (ha! Wouldn't YOU like to know.) There really is an undeniable tie that binds in sport. It's true.

But I do feel random, as usual. I'm really surprised Kevin Spacey sold out and did an Infiniti commercial. He is one quality actor. Can't his agent get him some better gigs?

Half-time: UNC 55, MSU 34

There is more drama in one casual late-afternoon outing with a toddler than in all the daytime soap operas on at the same time.
Why don't the writers of those shows just observe an average 22-month old at the Barnes&Noble kids section, surrounded by competing bright colors, board books, other targets to take trains from kids around the train table, and multi-level climbing opportunities not designed for that purpose? You've got your mystery. Your comedy. Your bait-n-switch. Your betrayal (Mom beckons you over to show you the book she found. You walk the other way.)

The cherry blossoms have bloomed here, and are already blowing off the trees, leaving a gorgeous rose-petal like mosaic in the wind's path. We're walking up an altar-like sidewalk of dropped petals upon the approach to the house. Like the royalty that we are.

Final score: doesn't matter. THEY DID IT! I'm so proud of these guys, I feel like they are my own kids. They deserve it. GO HEELS! (And for anyone who cares, 89-72!)

And my husband was there to witness it.
(Don't worry. I'll get a SWEET trip out of this.)


Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Do It For Love, Love, Love

I might have missed it by a mile, but I'm still responding to MamaKat's prompt from Thursday:

WHY, pray tell, did I get on the phone to the North Carolina booster club and Ticket Office in an undeterred effort to get TWO tickets for the Final Four?

WHY, pray tell, did I then book a frequent flyer ticket and stick it on hold, ensuring the husband could physically get out there?

WHY, pray tell, did I sign up to take him to the airport and take care of our toddler for four days while he's gone? (Thanks be to MOM for offering to come up and help out!! Moms are the best. Aren't we?)

WHY did I stifle my jealously that he'll get to see the Final Four live, next to his best friend, while I stay back and watch it on TV?

Here's why. And I don't say it often enough. Because I love my husband more than anything else in the entire world. Because he asks for nothing, but provides everything in return. Because he is content to live in a cardboard box and eat Ramen minimalist state, operating for his entire life as if we are, indeed, in a Depression, and saving. Because he plans ahead for the future. Because he looks out for his family. He's careful, he's scrupulous, he's rarely indulgent, and passionately loyal. (Yep, he's a Scorpio, too.)

Because he's exceptionally spiritual, without imposing any value judgments on others. Because he's just a genuinely nice guy, that people like. Because he fought me tooth and nail, initially, saying there were so many reasons it wasn't practical for him to fly off to Detroit to watch a bunch of college basketball.

(Oh.. but not just ANY college basketball. This boy bleeds Carolina blue. Chapel Hill is literally in his blood. He would cross oceans in order to watch a Carolina basketball game [on time] and the world actually stops when he is. I call it his 'addiction', but mostly, it's just.. his thing.)

Because he's all of these things, and more. And I love him.

And I'll be thinking all of this while scanning the television tonight for his face in the crowd! GO HEELS!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our "Big" News

I wasn't going to post today. I was giving you all a break, visiting and commenting, reading and tearing up and laughing. You all really are the best.

But! I must post this story today. I recently discovered "irony"; just after posting what a cheerful fellow Elmo is, I have to stop my arm from launching our Chicken-Dance Elmo across the room. (Oh! Just wait! I'll post a video soon and then you'll launch your laptop across the room!)

The story is simple and uncomplicated. I am WIFE OF THE YEAR. Let me tell you why.

I got my husband Final Four tickets. Then, I booked a frequent flyer ticket for him to Detroit. That's why.

I called yesterday morning to request tickets from our school's booster club, of which we've been loyal high acceptable paying members for seven years. They took my information and said we'd find out later in the day.

In the meantime, I got onto to check flights using my own frequent flyer number (this way I could check seat availability.) One or two left, here or there. So, I booked a flight and put it on hold (using HIS frequent flier miles this time. Right? At least I did that.)

I got a call mid-way through the day from an 18-year old kid at the ticket office, asking for my credit card info again; why? I wanted to know. "Because you're pretty much good.. to get tickets."

Really?! Seriously?!! We're getting the two tickets that I requested on a whim? My husband, the fanatic, the addict, the college basketball guru that would live only for March Madness if that career option were open to him, is going to get to go see his Heels in the Final Four?

(Before you act glum and start telling me how lucky I am, just know that 1) we have a toddler, 2) we have two b-day parties this weekend and 3) I am not going. No, the other ticket is for his best friend, who, with a flight booked and no ticket, is delighted he's not spending $1,000.)

The clincher: What day is today?! April Fool's Day, hello! Here's your irony... this is a TRUE story. Ask my facebook friends.

So, for April Fool's Day, I called my mother and left a message that we're pregnant and having twins.




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