31 March, 2012

In This Crazy World, Clearly Anything's Possible!

Just a small taste…some food for thought…

I walked into town this morning. Not unusual for a Saturday.
I was wearing baggy jeans and a hoodie sweatshirt. Not unusual for a Saturday.
I had my hands in the pockets of the hoodie because it was a bit cool this morning. Not an unusual thing to do.

There was a guy about 30 yards ahead of me most of the way into town. Not impossible, because from where I live there is only one street to take that will cross the canal into downtown. A part of me wanted to call out to him “I’m not following you! Just heading into town!” but I didn’t because that’s not me. …unlike my friend Aphrodite, who would probably do exactly that and then end up walking the rest of the way into town with a new friend. I wish I had that knack.

Anyone who’s lived in a major city knows that, even if there’s no conceivable reason for someone to be following you – or perhaps especially if there’s no reason – when a stranger is taking the same path you are, your radar perks up. We just stay alert because in the big city that’s what you do, for your own protection. I do not live in a big city, but could tell this guy’s radar was perked up. (This particular hoodie is several sizes too big for me, so not exactly figure flattering, and with my hands in my pockets and my short hair, it’s not inconceivable that from a distance I looked like some hoodlum up to no good.)

I knew I wasn’t doing anything suspicious, and assumed the guy ahead of me wasn’t, either.

A family going the opposite direction rode by on bikes on the far side of the road. I could see them look at the guy as they passed. I could see them look at me as they passed. Something about the – to my eyes – puzzled look on the father’s face made me wonder:

If it was night-time, and I suddenly put my hood up, would I have been shot?

(Those of you who can’t imagine why this thought would cross my mind…look up “Trayvon Martin”. Very big case in America these days.)

30 March, 2012

Go Ahead - Toot Your Own Horn!

It will be a busy day today, so I’m not being creative at all, but instead want to share a farewell letter I received in my work email.

Part of my job is hiring seasonal staff. I live and work at the beach, which means everything is seasonal. Our seasonal staff runs between 85 and 100 people depending on the staffing budget. I am responsible for hiring, scheduling, training and supervising about 30 of these people.  (This is just a tiny part of my overall duties.) However, I don’t actually have to hire 30 people each summer, because I am so awesome that most of our seasonal staff returns each year. That’s right, this is “toot your own horn” day in my universe. Feel free to do so yourself.

One of the guys who keeps coming back for more torture summer at the beach every year has been in positions of responsibility in his past, and so I was very flattered to receive this letter from him:

This news of you leaving saddens me. I for one am truly sorry to see you go.
Working with you as my senior has been more pleasure than not over the years.
You have many great characteristics that most bosses fall way short of.
Such as: Actual listening & follow up in response to ideas, questions, and issues at hand from your underlings.  You’re approachable, realistic, fair, very practical, no huge ego issues, personable, no power trip, reliable, looking after & over her peps with due diligence. As an intellectual you do possess the ability of being able to entertain an idea without actually accepting it. J

~(I'm particularly proud of that last line. He knows that sometimes I'm just humoring the ideas that are presented because there are reasons that the idea won't work.)~

You strike me as the type that lands on her feet. And even though the job market is tight right now; your personality and character will shine through as one who can handle people and pressure.

Returning home to live with parents is always a difficult road to walk. (you’ve changed/grown, they haven’t) Wait till you see how much your room shrunk in size.J

~(Actually I never lived there, so don't have an old bedroom to return to. But either way.)~

But I think you might want to focus on the positive. This gives you the ability to negotiate stronger with potential job offers. You won’t be as desperate to except anything due to financial impending doom. (which companies love to see so they can steal you for ½ - ⅔ of the money you’re really worth) In my humble opinion, it’s a safe/smart move to start off with; especially in the current times.

I wish you the very best, it was great working with you.

Who’s replacing you?

"No hay mal que por bien no venga"
There is no bad that comes without a good.
Always look for the positive in things.

“De que tocan a llover, no hay más que abrir el piraguas”
If it starts raining, one has nothing left but to open up one´s umbrella.

~(He would come in at the end of his shift and correct my “Buenos noches” with “Buenos tardes”, and try to tutor me in other Spanish which I never remembered.)~


Anyway, this brightened my day, and it is after all “toot your own horn” day, so what a perfect thing to share! I hope you all have similar words of support to brighten your day. Now go toot your horn!

29 March, 2012

On Surprise Parties and Being a Lush

Two Things
(that’s how I start a lot of my emails to my boss: “Two Things”  and then I have two questions or comments, or warnings to give him.) So today, I have just two things to share. They amuse me.

I had an email (in my personal email) from my office-mate a couple evenings ago about a “Red’s last day luncheon” but when I tried to respond from my phone, it took me to google and I didn’t want to go there. So yesterday evening I tried to do it and got the same thing… (it wanted me to download Google+ calendar or some such thing, and I SO don’t need another calendar!)... anyway, I just emailed her separately and said I had received the email and yes, I would be there. (LOL. It's at work.) Her very quick reply:

U r NOT!!!  Suppose to know about this it is a surprise...stupid new phone ggggrrrrr


That made me laugh and inform her that:

> LOL. Don't feel bad. It is divine intervention. I hate surprise parties.
> And actually, it only shows your name and mine, so until you said "surprise", I wasn't sure if you were just being funny and saying "let's do lunch".

So she recommended a local Mexican restaurant that is close to work. … Of course now I don’t know if she also wants to go to Que Pasa or not…hmm...

I do hate surprise parties. I wasn’t joking. I will ruin it if you try to throw one for me. I hate a fuss - unless it's due to my own brilliance and wit. (ha!) 

There’s something contrary in my nature that just can’t handle other people doing that kind of thing for me. I don’t know if it’s just the idea that I’m not included in the joke – and therefore on a perverse level it could be construed that I am the butt of the joke (don’t judge me!) – or if it’s a control-freak thing. One of the joys of being single is having control over when I do things, where I go, and who all is involved. Besides, if I don’t know I’m going to a party, I won’t be mentally prepared. Yes, I need to mentally prepare - what? (I’m a closet introvert in an extroverted world)

The second thing CRACKS ME UP SO HARD!

So this office-mate I mentioned above has been my wingman on nights on the town. Well, we’ve been each other’s. We started hanging out outside of work some 5 years ago. We have some good blackmail stories on each other. Of course, gas started going up (and other stuff), and we don’t just go out for random fun-nights very much anymore, but they are there, and the attitude is there. 

With that kind of history, there are some entertaining conversations in our office. I’ve started telling people I’m working on my reputation as a lush, because I want to leave them with something. ...it's my farewell gift to Lower Slower Delaware...

~If it’s a rough morning, we will joke about going out "to drink lunch".

~When we got new office furniture, I noted that if we installed a shelf under the front panel of these fancy desks, then we could set up a hidden bar.

~We often talk about going out for drinks after work, whether or not we actually do.

All of that is a set up to tell you about the sweetest woman who works upstairs. She’s very conservative Catholic which is just a way to say that everyone cleans up their language around her. The point is that she will freely laugh at our drinking humor, but not likely participate.

The copier/scanner/miracle machine is in our office downstairs, and Sweetie comes down to use it several times a day. OFTEN, she’s walking in at just that point in a conversation between my officemate and myself. It always makes her laugh. Mostly because it happens so often. I’ve taken to suggesting alcohol as a solution for every problem if Sweetie is around, just because it makes her laugh.

So yesterday she told me she has an idea for a website. She wants to start a “What Would Red Say?” website (complete with a store where you could buy WWRS wrist-bands and t-shirts). The idea being that people could pose questions and I would answer them. (I really don’t think I’m that witty.) And the first “What Would Red Say” item that she would post? “What would Red say about non-alcoholic beverages?” Sweetie’s suggested answer? “Dude! What’s the point?” She has my voice down. I say “dude” WAY too much not to be a surfer.

She thinks I’m such a lush. My mission is accomplished. >smiling<

And today’s “reason to celebrate”:
It’s the 205th anniversary of the discovery of the 4th asteroid named… VESTA! Vesta Vayne, this party’s for you!

28 March, 2012

Life Revolves Around Food

I started a list of things I’ll miss when I move to the American Midwest, and was a little ashamed at how much of it involved food. If I satisfied all my closure issues by eating all the things on that list, I’d weigh 400 pounds before I move! Why is that?

I went out last night with a friend I don’t see very often anymore, just to be sure we got to say good-bye, in case we can’t make our schedules work to get together later. Originally it was going to be coffee; then I suggested a glass of wine instead, because coffee that late would leave me wired. When we got to the bar/restaurant we had agreed on, we realized it was happy hour and they had some lovely appetizers on special.

Scallops. One thing I will miss in Indiana. I’m sure some high-end restaurant somewhere out there has scallops on the menu, but how fresh could they be? And how experienced could they be at proper preparation? Oh my heavens how I love scallops! My mouth is watering to think of them. Properly seared they just melt in the mouth. Yum. Clams in chowder are fine. Oysters – eh, you can have them. (I’ve had them fresh and that is gross.) Mussels are actually hard to get out of the shell, believe it or not. But scallops…my favorite of the bi-valve shell-fish.

So I ordered the jumbo scallop appetizer, she ordered crab cakes, and we split the fried pickles. (That was all her. I just tried them…like potato chips with dill pickle juice. Tasty, but I have a sense of shame for eating deep-fried vegetables.)

She freely said that she always likes to get together with friends for food. (She’s Jamaican and makes FANTASTIC Jerk Chicken.) I agreed there’s often not much alternative when trying to get together.

Me: We could go for a walk.

Her: If we ate afterward!

~~You would not assume she felt so attached to food to look at her. She must have a hollow leg.

I forgot to get a picture of the food. Is that bad?
Aphrodite and I went to the symphony Friday, accompanied by a delicious meal at Iron Hill Brewery – which is a very nice restaurant, more than a brewery – on the river front in Wilmington. The other day she called to see about having dinner tomorrow night.

I got an email from a coworker about a “Red’s last day” luncheon on my last day at the office. Again, food.

I’m not complaining, I enjoy eating with friends. And what else are we going to do? Especially the work party. Really? Sit around and shoot the breeze? No. There has to be food.

My niece spent a month with me one summer (another post for after I move and have access to my photos) and she was in a bike accident and taken to the ER. It wasn’t a huge deal, but she got a huge amount of sympathy. When I went to pick her up – and okay, let’s talk about the heart attack of a single non-parent who is responsible for a teenager and gets the call from the ER! Holy schnockers! Talk about my heart pounding out of my chest! – when she was all bandaged up and ready to go, what did I say?

Me: Would you like to stop for ice cream on the way home?

Her: Yeah, that sounds really good.

Of course it sounds good! Comfort food, baby!

So I have a dinner tomorrow night. Dinner in Baltimore probably next week sometime (and coffee or something with Misty whenever that happens). Indian food sometime. A going away “luncheon” at work. My own “help me drain my liquor cabinet” party on the 20th. A farewell reception at my church.

…it’s all food! Conclusion: “Goodbye” is all about food.

Today’s Reason (not?) to Celebrate (again, thank you Cranky&Difficult :
The 3-Mile Island nuclear plant meltdown near Harrisburg, PA - Let’s all celebrate surviving it! (Vesta can you hook us up with a “Nuclear” beverage of choice?)

27 March, 2012

Can "Brown" Do This For Me?

You know that ad campaign: "What can Brown do for you?"
Logistics, isn't that the answer? 

(I don't want to plagiarize their actual marketing)

I'm without TV at the moment, so haven't seen any recent UPS commercials, but for a while they were about how fantastic UPS was at handling the logistics of your problem. (Overseas readers: UPS is a delivery company – I don't know if they're international.)

Well, I have logistical issues, Brown! Where's my cute delivery guy in an ugly brown shirt and shorts? Come on, UPS, break out the white board and connect the dots for me! Here's a list of my logistical issues that I'll give you to start with. In one month I have to:
  1. Forward mail – easy in theory, but they now want a credit card number for verification online? Why?
  2. Contact magazine subscriptions – good luck finding the number for High Country News!
  3. Reserve a rental truck
  4. Schedule a final doctor's appointment – you know, I'm leaving all healthcare benefits behind, and all.
  5. Schedule a final optometrist's appointment – (that will give me a valid prescription for two more years of contact-ordering)
  6. Schedule car service – 700+ miles is a long way to drive with a loaded car!
  7. Clean my home-office in order to pack it – not just file papers that need filing, but this includes deciding what old stuff is a “memento” or “reference”, and what can  be tossed out. Be careful, Brown. It's a delicate balance between memento and junk!
  8. Sell piano, entertainment center and dresser – this will be hard, because they are in use...how will you get a picture to show the buyer? Tricky, Brown, very tricky!
  9. Cancel gym membership – Ooh...timing on this one is critical.
  10. Banking – I need to know if my bank has branches near my new home. If not, my accounts will need to be transferred or something. This may involve a meeting actually at the bank. Yeah. Have fun with that.

Got it all, Brown? You see, the logistical problem here is not the time-frame, but that I have to do this...

...All while working a full-time job, a part-time job, and making plans to visit the places with sentimental significance, and finding ways to say my good-byes.

Now, Brown, you don't have to worry about the logistics of good-byes – one more concert with Aphrodite and a “help me drain my liquor cabinet” party will cover everyone if I don't see them beforehand. And you don't have to worry about the sentimental places – I'll be day-tripping to as many as I can when my internet fiance is off the grid for a week.

Just focus on the above list, and we're good to go. I really appreciate your help, Brown. I'll keep an eye out for my cute, brown-uniformed logistical specialist. Thanks!

And today's Reason To Celebrate (thank you Cranky & Difficult):
I almost hate to say this, but it's too funny not to celebrate - On this day in 1998 the FDA approved Viagra! (Seems like we've been getting their spam emails a lot longer, doesn't it?) There's a joke in here somewhere...

26 March, 2012

Leave Me Alone! I’m Blogging!

I feel like I’ve been offline forever, but I realize it was just the weekend. I’ve been a little distracted, and am losing sense of time. I want it to speed up, but need more of it to successfully wrap up my loose ends out here and arrange all the logistical details of actually getting to the Midwest.

…”Let’s do the time warp again!”
[Doggone it, I’ll have to try to add the video later. This isn’t working.]

I had a good weekend, although I have to say I’m bit too distracted these days to call it a truly productive weekend. But now, on a beautiful sunny Monday morning – after a week of fog – they actually expect me to work! How dare they.

Seriously, I think I mentally checked out before I ever gave notice at my job. Winter is the very downest of down time in my job (or more accurately, in this region), and that’s when I started reading blogs again, and decided to start a new one. And I’ve been sucked in. On top of my two jobs, my theatre-thing (which is now over), and the church-thing. And planning a move. And they expect me to be all responsible and get work done today. Yeesh.

Anyway, I’m going to put forth the required effort at my job, and hopefully have something pithy and clever to post tomorrow.

(… my mood today is best summed up by Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. Sweet.)

Today’s reason to celebrate:
It’s the Otago Anniversary in New Zealand! Apparently this day in 1848 the Otago settlement was begun on the South Island. Cheers, Kiwis!

23 March, 2012

The Trouble With Men Is...

(ha! Thought that would get you!)

I play a unique role in the world of the men in my life. I’ve always been one of the guys. My dad had football (American-style) chalk-talks with me during summer vacations in Junior High – that kind of “one of the guys”. But I realized what makes my “one of the guys” different from most women’s “I’m one of the guys” is the boarding school factor. Seriously, that one factor seems to have colored the person I am more than anything else. Forget about the school, whether I liked it/them or not, whether I fit in or not, let’s think socially.

It might be an old-fashioned notion these days.

First: Dining. If you live at home, then regardless of the gender of your closest school friends, you eat with your nuclear family –
well okay, when I was a kid, people ate with their families. But away at school, eating in a dining hall, you eat with your friends. So the half-dozen guys I hung out with and maybe my roommate would share a table.  

Second: Evenings. If you live at home, when the extracurricular activities are over, you eventually come home to siblings and some type of parental unit. At the school I eventually graduated from, we had mandatory “study hours” when students were to be in their rooms and quiet – hopefully studying – for an hour and a half.

If you made the honor roll one semester, you were exempt from study hours for the next semester. It took me one semester to become free of study hours forever because they didn’t accept my honor roll from my previous school. After that, although not allowed inside the dorm of the opposite sex during study hours, my friends and I would gather at the gym to play cards for the time. (I found out at a high school reunion that one guy worked really hard to get off study hours so he could spend that time with me. AWWW!)

Third: Sunday afternoons.
In America, this is football time.

I am a fan. I spent my Sundays hanging in the guys’ dorm lounge watching games and giving the occasional back-rub, while the girls’ dorm played some silly chick-flick. After football season, I’d be downstairs in the guys’ dorm shooting pool, or out on the quad with the skaters.

In all that time, I apparently absorbed some “male” tendencies. I’m not saying I scratch myself in public (Ash), but while in college, a roommate once accused me of “thinking like a guy”. I don’t remember what about – priorities, movies, manicures? Anyway, I get men. I really understand where you’re coming from most of the time, and I can empathize!

Except when it comes to relationships. Thing is, I hung out with the guys. I really didn’t do much dating. Relationships with boyfriends were relatively short-lived, because it was just too weird! Here’s this guy who taught me to shoot pool, who was Dungeon Master of our D&D game (yeah, I was THAT KIND of nerd), and suddenly our whole interaction is supposed to change? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind all of it, but it was the girly-stuff you guys expect of a girlfriend that was a big-time FAIL for me. I don’t know that emotional stuff.

Nowadays, I seem to be a kind of touchstone for male friends of mine when their relationships fail. 

Case in point A: Guy I knew in PA. We were in a play together and became friends. Turned out he lived nearby. I went to his movie nights and other parties. We had a good time…actually there’s a funny story in here about how he thought we were dating, but I didn’t get it, but that’s beside the point of today’s post. Eventually he married a former flame from high school who was recently divorced. Fast forward a few years, and my phone rings. It’s him, telling me she asked for a divorce. We talked off and on for months until he started dating someone again. (I get it: most women are very suspicious of a platonic relationship their man has with another woman.)

Case in Point B: Another guy from PA who calls me very randomly, always between girlfriends. Finally I have stopped answering his calls because he seems to only be able to talk about movies or theatre, and I just think there’s more to life than that. …and it’s always a long conversation. …and he’s usually drunk, apparently. A two-hour drunk dial? I think not.

Case in Point C: Old friend from the Chicago days got in touch with me a few years ago. This guy is, on paper, perfect for me. It never worked for us in Chicago because he loved to push my buttons and I have no tolerance for that. Now we live a continent apart. We get on great over the phone. When he was back in Chicago visiting family, twice it worked out that I could be there simultaneously. Good fun. But that’s all. Old friends.

I finally figured it out. When a relationship fails,

girls collect with their girlfriends and analyze what happened (I think). But maybe guys just want to be reassured that there is at least one, eligible, available woman who has characteristics that are desirable! (We were friends for a reason, after all, even if it went nowhere else.) Does this sound on track, guys? (I really want to know.) Or am I completely blind and these guys are hoping I’ll be the next in line for them? (Not inconceivable.)

This is all coming up because of my impending departure. I met this guy by being cast opposite him in a play. Twice. He’s a good guy, and I was urged for a long time to date him. I don’t know if he was urged similarly. It never happened. But we’ve stayed friends and are in occasional contact . Well I ran into him in the grocery store recently and told him I’m moving to Indiana.
His response? I love Indiana! Indiana’s great – I get there two or three times a year!
Why is he telling me he visits Indiana? Does he expect us to get together there, when we didn't while we live near each other? My guess is that he doesn’t want to lose his single-girl touchstone.

I’ve gotten a few “You can’t leave!”s from various guys I know in the area, who I’ve either dated non-seriously, or not at all. I assume they’re just being polite. I don’t know what they could expect me to stay for. If they need a between-relationship-female-perspective, I’ll still be reachable.

Now that you know the whole spiel, am I smoking crack? The "female touchstone" idea is the only theory that makes any sense to me, because clearly there is no interest in a relationship coming from these guys. I’m so confused.

So I guess, “the trouble with men is...” that I’m confused. Help me out, if you can!

Today’s reason to Celebrate (thank you, Cranky&Difficult):
On this date in 1775, Patrick Henry (An American Patriot, for my non-US readers) made his “give me liberty or give me death” speech. Rock on! Sounds like a reason to toast the man.

22 March, 2012

Today's Post is Brought to You by the Number 3

Gather ‘round, dudes! There’s an award-winner in your midst!

That’s right. Last week the inimitable Bozo awarded me the “3”. Woot-woot!

That means she wants to know more about me. The rules are simple: List 3 things about myself, and award it to 3 more bloggers I want to know more about. Easy-peasey, right?

As I tried to think of 3 things to share, I was startled to find how much I’ve already stated in my blog. So if these 3 things don’t satisfy you, check my archives; there’s a surprising amount in there!

1.       First, I feel I should satisfy Bozo’s curiosity about my appearance. (btw, Bozo, I notice that you don’t post photos of yourself either: “Hi, Pot? It’s the Kettle…”) Here goes: I’m tall. Not WNBA tall, but tall for a girl. I’m 5’10”. It’s the most noticeable thing about me, except maybe the hair, which…take a deep breath, people…is a bottle-red. There. It’s out. My natural shade is a sort of dark strawberry blonde that’s getting dull with age, truth be told. Trouble with that color is, anytime I’d do something stupid I’d get an earful of blond jokes. Annoying. So when I was in college I decided that if people were going to stereotype me, I’d help them a bit, and colored my hair to match my attitude. It looks very natural, because there's recessive red in my blood, so I have the right skin-type for it.
2.       The 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony stops me dead in my tracks. Always. In fact, I was going to list something else for number 2, but I’m watching “Immortal Beloved” (a movie about Beethoven) as I write this, and the score got to the point where I had to just put down my pen and let the music wash over me. Listen to it once. It’s more haunting than Barber’s Adagio for Strings (most people know the Adagio from the movie “Platoon”) ...>sigh<... Trite as it sounds, I LOVE Beethoven! When I saw his 9th symphony live – HEA-VEN! (A recording doesn't do it justice) – it became the central theme of my Christmas letter that year.
3.       I have lived in six U.S. states – in more than one location in most of those – and 3 countries outside the U.S. I’ve seen 47 U.S. states…at least driven through or on a plane stop-over.

Fascinating stuff, yeah? If you think I should have listed something else, please ask a question in the comments.

Now for the 3 bloggers *I* want to know more about:

1.       Jeff Laws. Jeff writes a “daddy blog” (would you say that’s accurate?) and he lives in Indiana. He’s totally open about the joys and struggles of fatherhood. As someone who has lived in Indiana (I think) his whole life, I hope he has some familial, Midwestern stories to share. (If you’re new to my blog, I’m moving to Indiana in a month.)
2.       Ash-MaticI can’t sum him up, because clearly he is nuts. (That's a compliment.) I always enjoy his posts and comments - on anyone's blog, so I wish to know more about what makes him tick.
3.       Cranky&Difficult“Cranky&Difficult&anEnigma”, more like. All I know is that he apparently loves history as much as I love geography, and I use his website when my own calendars fail me and I need a new “thing to celebrate”. He has two blogs, and as much as I use his history blog, I have a feeling he found me because of the Movie Whore, because his other blog is movie reviews.

There you have it: My award! …and now, Yours!
Visit these guys, and let me know if I missed a vital point about myself. I’m [usually] happy to oblige.

21 March, 2012

The Movie Whore Dumbs Down

The Movie Whore needed a cinema-fix recently. My shoes had all stayed relatively free from sticking to floors. (The brewery tour reminded me of that.) Needing a fix of sticky shoes and salty popcorn, I took my alter-ego to see This Means War. I have to say, I was hoping to go see The Hunger Games, but realized after my movie-craving began that it’s not out yet! I was afraid that This Means War would be a “date movie”. Bleah. Oh well, dumb movies aren't always a bad thing.
First the good news:
  1. There are some really good action sequences.
  2. I laughed a lot more than I expected to. Even during some of the action sequences. I actually laughed so hard at one point that I almost choked on a Raisinet. Good reason not to get Raisinets at a movie – which I usually don’t do. I don’t know what prompted me to do it this time.
Bad news:
  1. The ending is kind of saccharine, but they add a couple twists to reduce the sweetness, which is fun.
  2. She picks the wrong guy, IMHO. Before you shout “Spoiler Alert!” - that is not a spoiler because you don’t know my opinion!
The Movie:
Early on during the movie, The Movie Whore nudged me saying Wow – I am Lauren! – never dating and desperately trying to prevent friends from entering me into some online dating service!...but without Lauren’s actual desire to date and with no ex that I feel a need to impress.
Then we meet Chris Pine’s character – whose incongruous name is NEVER EXPLAINED – and that crazy Whore nudged me again to correct herself: No! This is me! Skeptical of the dating scene and furiously happy in my singleness!...but without all the womanizing and scheming.
That Whore is crazy. And schizophrenic. Personally, it just took a while for me to think of Chris Pine as anyone other can Captain Kirk.
Two other points:
First a direct quote, which I almost didn’t want to quote thinking it would be a spoiler, but the only way it’s a spoiler is if you as a movie-goer are more in sync with this movie than I am. So here it is:
Lauren’s friend says to her, “Don’t choose the better guy. Choose the guy who makes you the better girl.” Wow. So true! Yes indeedy, friend; that is good advice. Personally, I look for the “light bulb moments”. There have been only a couple guys I’ve dated who provided that “light bulb moment”. You know, that moment when someone enlightens you about something either you’ve always wondered about, or never thought to wonder about. (Like Brett’s Rainbow Theory, but with facts.) I’m addicted to the lightbulb. Paradigm shifts are catnip to me. Yum.
And the second thing...
The Movie Whore is very curious: do people really try to work out their problems talking to a mirror? Lauren does that in this movie and I couldn’t help but think it was weird. Of course no one does that in a public restroom - that's a movie device, but even in your own mirror? Do you? I might discuss an issue with myself…sometimes even out loud, but not in a mirror.
Anyway, a fun flick. Probably not one I’ll purchase though.
…and not one that requires a big screen.
Something to celebrate:
Today is "Naw-Ruz" - the Baha'i and Persian New Year. Yes! Another New Years celebration! I love having a reason to break out the bubbly.
Happy New Year, dudes!

20 March, 2012

Aphrodite and Denial

This will not be a funny post. Sorry in advance. If you’re looking for humor, I recommend Of Axe-Murderers and Other Creepy Folks, Reply All = EPIC FAIL, or if you’re a sci-fi nerd, maybe Star Trek: 2013… wait, WHAT!?!.  Or peruse my blog roll. Most of those bloggers make me laugh! Sorry I’m out of humor today. I had a post all set to go, because the Movie Whore resurfaced over the weekend, but she’ll have to wait.

Anyone still here? Then, read on…

There’s this river in Egypt that runs past the tombs of the Pharaohs, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. You know it? Of course you do. We’ve all been there. Funny how quickly we forget.

Well I just got my wake-up call to rouse me out of that river.

Last night I had a meltdown. I won’t go into the details, but…well it’s hard to say anything about the cause without going into detail, but the details are long and boring. The cause isn’t really important, anyway, but after it happened I drove up to Aphrodite’s house in tears. (For the full pantheon of my life, see this post - there’s a quick cheat sheet at the bottom.) While driving, I recognized my De-Nile!

There IS a certain stress to do with packing up and moving your life across country, no matter what the logic behind the move, and no matter how positive the expected outcome is. I’ve been so busy parading around in my big girl panties doing the “I’m tough enough” dance that I didn’t realize I was on a sail barge through Moses’ birthplace!

I’m not ignorant of the need to “grieve” the place one is leaving. Indeed, I had made a list of places and things I need to see or do before leaving. I couldn’t turn the list into any kind of interesting blog-post, but I believe in closure on anything I may miss out on. In Indiana I expect to miss things like walking on the beach, visiting the Smithsonian, going to Hersheypark… I guess that’s neither here nor there.

ANYway, I got to Aphrodite’s and she understood the reason for my meltdown. She did NOT say, “you must be smoking crack to do that”, but gave me advice on next steps. There was a legitimate action that had upset me (it wasn’t simply overwhelming stress) and I need to address the person responsible. I cried; she listened. Aphrodite is an outstanding listener.

Gradually the moment passed and we moved on to other things, like her poor dog’s bad leg (ACL?)…the dog was snuggling up to me the whole time – recognized my distress. Animals can be amazing.

I want to stress that I AM NOT a waterworks factory! Aphrodite is one of an extremely small number of people who have seen me cry. This wasn’t me. I started to say I should go. She asked if I needed help packing or…anything. God bless Aphrodite! 

And thus we arrived at the “moving” issue, and why I'm going, and how lucky I am to be able to uproot myself, and pretty soon we were all cry-ey and huggy again. Guh. I hate tears. They’re my worst look.

But AH! Catharsis! I’ve never been able to talk to Aphrodite properly about my wishes to leave – for the past couple of years. It’s been a stumbling block to me in our friendship. Now, we understand each other.

It was a very rough night for me. But needed. I realized while overcoming my denial that I’ve been bargaining all along, too. As I tell people I’m leaving, I leave it open: “I’ll be back!” …yeah, next February for the Polar Bear Plunge, at least. Why am I doing that? What’s next? Anger? Maybe I got through that step with this meltdown. I sure hope so.

That’s all it was, but my heart hurts this morning. I’ll recover, don’t you worry.
Tune back in tomorrow when the Movie Whore will make another appearance!

OH! And your reason to celebrate? (you thought I forgot...)
Ostara – a pagan festival that basically means “spring is coming”.
OR, if you’re more conventional you could just celebrate the equinox. Similar, but astronomical, not pagan.

19 March, 2012

For the Love of a Brew!

To start at the end, when we left the brewery, I had an overall feeling of well-being. More than just the very light buzz (they wisely have started splitting up the samples: 2 before the tour and 2 after). Dogfish Head is just plain old feel good beer! Maybe part of it is that – after you take the tour – you know that it is good for the environment! What a delicious feeling.

Ha! Jealous yet? Yeah.

Although I’m not hired by the company, I plug them everywhere because they are awesome, so in case you want to learn more, their website is www[dot]dogfish[dot]com. (Also, they’ve stopped distributing to Indiana, so I hope to become an ambassador for them and create the demand to change that!)

This is Red’s Dogfish Head Show & Tell There really is some cool stuff in here. (keep in mind I’d had two before the tour):

This tree out front...

is left from some artists’ environmental gathering in the American Southwest. All these artists designed and built it out of recycled materials but couldn’t leave it out there to rust in the desert. Pretty cool.

There was a guy wearing a Stormtrooper t-shirt, so I thought it would be fun if I could get him in all my pictures. (See if you can find him...it's like Where's Waldo but with a t-shirt.)

I couldn’t do it because we were usually facing the same way, but at least it gave me a chance to practice my photo-ninja skills. (I bow to the master, Misty of Mistyslaws ). It’s really hard! I got some awesome shots of my own hand, and I think by the end of the tour he was hiding behind his lady’s ample bosom. (So I had a few shots of that, too.)

Oh, that little window high up the wall in this photo? That’s the brewmaster’s room, where he oversees the brewing tanks.

These pipes look plain ...

but are another “green” feature. The hot water from one step in the process runs in one direction through one pipe, and inside the pipe is a skinnier pipe of cold water that needs to be warmed up. So instead of using the energy to heat it, the hot water in the outer pipe brings it up to temp. ...Or maybe it's vice versa. Either way.

This is funny. Sam Calagione, the founder, was an English major before discovering his talent for beer, so there are puns all over the place. DFH has several continuously “hopped” beers, and their hops infusers have names.

This one is “Me So Hoppy”.

When we came to the bottling room...

I was surprised that no one – including myself – broke into the Laverne & Shirley theme song. It really did look like that scene! We got there just when the machine started up.

And the machine that fills the kegs is called the “Tunnel of Love”.

(See the sign over the tunnel-entrance?) Ha! Love in a keg.

I had to take this:
"Capacity 12,400 gallons". That's the label on one of the vats. I don’t know about you, but to me that is A LOT of beer!

This next – vat? Urn? Cask? – is made from the wood of the Palo Santo tree that grows in Paraguay. (The one on the left is regular old oak.)

Apparently the guide showing it to Sam shot a gun at it and the bullet ricocheted. Tough wood! DFH uses it for its caramel/vanilla aroma. ...and yes, the Palo Santo Marron beer is rich and caramel-y. Yum. Also, expensive.

After our final 2 samples, and some shopping, we left the Dogfish Head facility. But we were not done. Oh no!

Tour guide Dwayne had told us about a beer float we wanted to try: DFH Chicory Stout and coffee ice-cream. We stopped to get the ice-cream and some food because, well, even though the four samples weren’t huge…have you ever toured oh, say, the Anheuser-Busch factory or something? Those mass produced beers are about 3-5% alcohol. The four samples we were given were 6.8-12% abv.

Yeah. Food was important.

ANYway, just for fun:
1. Start with beer.

2. Add ice-cream.

3. Beer floats!

4. Cheers!

And with that: Cheers, people!