30 October, 2013

The Aftermath

I survived!
Like I said before, I wasn't worried that I would NOT survive, just stressed about the event itself.

The dinner I'm referring to happened, what, 3 weeks ago? I'm lax in my writing. Sorry.

It started badly. I shot right by the restaurant, even with my GPS...the signage was all on the other side, on a one-way street. So I was running late now, having to navigate the stupid one-way downtown streets. Almost hyperventilating. But I prevented myself from crying, thankfully.

I arrived later than I intended, but earlier than the guests. One coworker was there,  and the Founder Of The Firm! Oops. He was actually a big help. I think we're bonding. 

And I really think most people are more flexible about time than I am, so no sweat.

People came in, I gave them nametags and explained about the wine (bottles of red were out, but they had to ask for the white, which was still on the chill). Once I was behind my little greeter table, I was quite comfortable, and would have been happy to stay there until I left. But my boss arrived, schmoozed some clients a bit, and came by to check who hadn't arrived, declared they wouldn't be there, and pointed me to a seat between two clients' wives.

Oy. Socializing.
I survived. More than that, I was hailed as the organizer of the event! And both big bosses thanked me for all my hard work. (awww...)

When I felt done, and thought everyone was comfortable with the scenario, I excused myself to my boss, who gave some final instructions, and I left.

The weight of the world was off my shoulders.

Next day, at work, my boss offers me a gift card to this restaurant. Apparently they made a deal to get 2 or 3 gift cards, since we were giving them HUGE business, and everyone felt I earned one of them.

I'm very grateful for that. It is a great restaurant for Brett - a Brazilian steakhouse where the meat just keeps coming. But I don't eat red meat, so $50 a plate is too much for me to spend on a salad bar and a couple pieces of chicken. Now, I get to take him to a fancy restaurant that I would never go to otherwise!

I'm so excited.

We have reservations for this weekend.

He just got *another* 100% on his last class, so we're celebrating that.
And Also? It will be the 1 1/2 year anniversary of the day we met. AWWW!

05 October, 2013

The Agony And The Ecstacy

I'm trying to be better about blogging weekly - or close to it.

This week? Anxiety. That's what's on tap.

There's this huge event on Sunday, and I have to go.

And it doesn't involve my people.
But I've been doing most of the planning and organizing.
It's for work, so I'm paid.
It's for work, so I have to be professional and polite - as compared to casual and normal.

Now, I can'thonestly say I suffer from some kind of "social anxiety disorder". I'm not afraid of people. I don't avoid touching, or  avoid crowds. I won't end up curled in a ball under a table from fright. I'm just not social.

Oh, I *can* be. I'm a P.K. (Pastor's Kid) I'm used to putting on my Sunday manners in front of strangers. I dress up well, and you can even take me out!

I've come to realize, though, that I don't like it.

No...stronger than that, just not to a diagnose-able level...
It stresses me out beforehand. It's emotionally exhausting during.

Even parties held by people I know - I tend to change my mind 19 times before going, thinking how much I'd rather stay home and read a book. Sometimes I go, sometimes I skip it.

I can't skip this one. I can't even tell my boss that it bothers me, because he's been trying to get more of these clients to contact me directly, so I know it's important that they put a face to a name, associate a person with the email, etc.

Here's the deal:
Me, a half-dozen coworkers I know, 3 or 4 employees I've literally never seen, and 70-ish clients and potential clients. A fancy (VERY) restaurant. They will all be coming over from a conference.  A pretty important crowd.

I'm not worried I'll embarrass the firm or anything, and I actually half-hope that next week my boss will tell me how impressed he (or everyone else) was. I just don't like hanging with people I don't know or care about.

That's my vent. Now for the good news:

BRETT'S COMING! Oh, not to the dinner. At $50 a plate, I'm not high enough on the totem pole to bring my S.O...although he's much better in social situations. He may not like them, but he does well talking to strangers while I just linger back. I will happily pretend to be his arm-candy. 

But he's here this weekend. He has a calming effect on me. He's just so matter-of-fact about everything. Easy-going. Logical. By the time he leaves on Sunday afternoon, I know I'll be ready to take on the old men in suits!

26 September, 2013

I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill!

(...that's a title of a Louis Armstrong song.)

It's also the name of the restaurant where we ate Brett's "birthday" lunch.

My Promised Post About My Recent Weekend Road-trip with Brett.

It was a fun weekend. We went to St. Louis, to specific places we'd not been together before. We must have walked about 8 or 10 miles on Saturday, in downtown, and up in the University City (?) area, where Blueberry Hill - a very famous restaurant - sits among cool shops, art galleries, and coffee-shops.

It was a pretty low-key weekend, if you call "Champagne Brunch" low-key! (I learned that a Mimosa made with cranberry juice is called a Poinsettia. Yum.)

Wait, back up...

Brett's shoulder, sans monkey.

On TUESDAY (I think), Brett was in the ER with his horrible, possessed-by-a-monkey shoulder. His current job is very physical, so by the time the weekend rolled around he had movement, but was still on some kind of painkillers, and the arm was in a sling. Fun times!

It was. It is always fun times. We just enjoy each other's company, so any "activity" or "meal" or "location" is just a setting for our fun.

At one point, I noticed that we didn't seem as in-sync as usual, and I guessed that his shoulder was bugging him more than he was saying. Later, at Blueberry Hill, I got some kind of "stuff overload" from all the very cool memorabilia. So I was kind of out of sync for a while.
My wounded hero mimicking art.

But it doesn't matter! It was still a good time, with good food, and good art. In fact, it was an exhaustingly  good time.

After meandering the University City (?) area, we both needed to relax, so we headed back to the hotel. I'd received a reliable tip on a good blues club to visit in St. Louis, so we looked at the website together, saw who was playing, looked up both acts, and decided we liked the later one better. Later as in 10pm-2am...or something.

No problem. That's why we were chilling.

...and comfortable.
...and ordered a pizza.
...and relaxed.
...and didn't want to go anywhere anymore.

but my feet were tired.
but I could lay my head on Brett's shoulder here.
but I could take out my contacts if I stay.

And here's how awesome Brett is for me, knowing how I am about following through with my plans.
He put down his computer, leaned over to me where I was playing Sudoku on my phone, looked me in the eyes and said:
"You know, we don't *have* to go out again." - notice, no CAPS, just *asterisks*.
and then...
"I'm happy to go wherever you want, but we don't have to if you don't want to."

I think my logical response was, "But I really wanted to report back to [Otis] about going to this place."

But I thought about how I truly felt right then...

And I realized that Brett was right.

(I compromised with myself by taking Brett down to a hotel restaurant for drinks and an appetizer)

Added  bonus of the perfect boyfriend setting everything right:
"Otis" saw one of the pictures Brett posted the next day and commented about the location, and Brett simply let him know we didn't make it to the particular club he mentioned, but that there will be other times.

He is so perfect for me.

17 September, 2013

10 for Ten - Four to go!

I am now 4 days away from my next road-trip with Brett. Six days ago I challenged myself to write "something" every day for the intervening 10 days.

I wrote a blog post.

I have caught up with old friends - with pen and paper!
I helped a friend with her research by answering extensive questions.
I wrote my Christmas letter - well, it needs tweaking, but it's basically there. 

It occurs to me that, 'round about the beginning of the year, I made some kind of goal-thingy to blog once a week this year. I have failed miserably. This 10-day challenge I gave myself inspires me that I really CAN do it!

After tonight, my next 3 "writings" will likely be more cards to friends, and hopefully finalizing my Christmas letter.

Then, well, the deal with this weekend is...my mistake. I saw that Blue Man Group was playing in the area and Brett said that sounded cool, so we assumed the weekend was on, for here. A couple-few weeks later when I went back online for tickets, I realized I had been looking at the wrong prices. $87.00! If it was something one or the other of us was wild about I'd consider it. But I've seen Blue Man Group, and Brett was only interested because "they seem cool".

Anyway, I suggested we "go away". And that's what we'll do. Nothing extravagant, just a new adventure to try.

Now that I'm back in a habit of writing, I will post something about the weekend afterward: Promise! 

11 September, 2013

10 for Ten

In 10 days I will see Brett again.

We get together about every other weekend, but recently our weekends were back to back, plus his birthday is the 19th, so I thought it would be fun to do something on that weekend.

(actually, there was a show that weekend I wanted to take him too, but that fell through.)

Anyway, I suddenly thought, this afternoon, that it would be fun to challenge myself for the next 10 days. Over 10 days, I will do 10 specific cleaning tasks... Over the next 10 days I will cook/bake a different item each day... 10 days of a certain genre of movie.. I will shop for 10 specific items... Something.

I solicited suggestions on facebook, and succeeded in confusing people. SO...tonight is day one and I will WRITE something each day. Might be blog posts, but I also have some cards to send to people I've not contacted since my move, and I have a Christmas letter to write, and you know, Brett's birthday is at the end of 10 days - I suppose I could count a birthday card to him if I make it special.

Any thoughts? What "10 for 10" comes to your mind? Alternatively, what subjects would make good blog-fodder, in your opinion?

03 July, 2013

Red and Brett Take a Road Trip

Overheard in my car about a half-hour on the road...

*Brett's phone rings*

Brett: Hey!
Okay. Bring your X-Box.
Just bring it.
See you when you get here!

Now, he had looked puzzled when he saw the number, but recognized the area code and prefix, so answered. After he hung up...
Me: Who was it?
Brett: I dunno. He just said, "I'm going to be about 20 minutes late..."

This is the fun and spontaneous man I love. A stranger calls him, sounding about the right age to own an X-Box (like what, 18-45?) so Brett plays along.

I kept randomly cracking up the whole wedding weekend, thinking of some guy showing up at his buddy's house with his X-Box, and the buddy being all, "Why'd you bring that?" and the guy getting annoyed, "Why'd you ask me to?" 
...Did they look up the call and find out that he mis-dialed? Did they just laugh and set it up to play? Did the buddy who was supposed to get the call leave before this guy arrived, because he never got the message that someone was running late?

Sadly, I’ll never know. Brett cracks me up!

21 June, 2013

Zombie from Hell - It's a New Look for Me

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my postings this morning, but to sum up:

A) I awoke feeling like a zombie.
B) When I got to work I felt like a zombie in hell.

The day didn't really improve. It just got tiring.
So I decided to shop after work. Might as well add to the hell. 

I hate shopping, but I had seen an "over-the-door" ironing board at Target and my little counter-top version has seemed sub-par since then.

...I hate ironing, too, but even more, I hate not being able to sit on the sweet window seat in my bedroom because of the 3 pairs of pants sitting on it, glaring at me, accusing me of negligent care for not ironing...

So I went to get the ironing board. And see what else jumped out at me.

I passed the shoes, so I looked, and even tried on a pair, but at about 8 minutes I realized my attention was fading, so moved on.

More than anything else, the worst form of hell of all is: clothing shopping. I really only buy clothes if either I'm desperate, or they practically jump off the rack at me. There was a cute top that jumped off the rack, so I tried it on. Blah. Cute on the hanger, shapeless on me.


Ironing board. check.
Some baking needs. check.
Oh! Looking for a tea kettle...
Wait, a big saucepan is $40-$50? Crap. I need a big saucepan at some point, too. Not today. Tea kettle...tea kettle...

I know it's time to leave when I start "hmm"-ing out loud as I consider items on the shelf:
"Hmm" - considering this one.
"H-hm" - I don't know, maybe this one.
"...hhmmmmmm..." - get me out of here!

OH! And then the sweet retiree ringing me up. I loved hiring senior citizens for summer work at my old job. They're reliable, usually pleasant, and as long as they're trainable, you have a good employee who won't rock the boat. But he was meticulously slow and gave me all the details about the credit card options I had. Fortunately I was just worn out, and not on the verge of tears (which has happened from shopping overload).

I got what I needed, including 7-up so that I could make the fantastic margaritas I make. (Sorry Brett, I had to use one of your beers.)

The good news is, a margarita and some Big Bang Theory, and I can see the light!

Maybe tomorrow will be less hellish. Maybe my margaritas will ensure a solid night's sleep!

26 May, 2013

Another Reason Why Red "Doesn't Speak Klingon"

If you intend to watch Star Trek: Into Darkness, you may want to skip this post. Thanks for stopping by, but fair warning is fair warning.
I will not give away any plot points, but "some people" don't like knowing anything about a movie before watching it. (I love you, Brett!)

My Movie Whore has been sadly neglected of late, what with my big move and all. I hadn't even intended to let her out of her shell yet, but partway through the movie, I could stifle her no longer, pulled out a pen, and started jotting notes in the dark. SO...

First, with all respect to my beloved, I LOVE Benedict Cumberbatch! So worth watching the movie just for him.
John Harrison...aka...

Oh, it's not a physical attraction thing, no-no. I think if I ever met Benny-boy face-to-face, I'd probably find him too skinny, too aloof, and his piercing eyes would make me uncomfortable. Not my type. But I swoon over his acting talent.

Always great to see on screen, Benedict Cumberbatch does not disappoint in Star Trek. He gives his character such life, such passion...  His brand of villainy is the kind where you love to hate him, even while he makes you sympathize with his cause.(if you've read anything about the movie at all, you know he's the villain.)

Actually, Mr. Cumberbatch would have made a great Spock.

Nimoy on the left, Quinto right. Wouldn't Cumberbatch be  better?

I am not a fan of Zachary Quinto's Spock. Leonard Nimoy breathed life into Spock. Even to this day, Nimoy makes you care about Spock, logical as he is. Quinto's Spock is...dry. Even his rare exhibits of humanity feel somehow "alien".

(Jim Parsons would even have made a better Spock, IMHO, but since Big Bang Theory was already running before this Star Trek series began, it would have just been ironic.)

This is a good action movie. Kind of like the last Star Trek. You don't have to be a Trekkie to get into the action sequences. Good fights. Great villain. Iconic characters.

Aside from Spock, I still appreciate the casting of this crew! I have loved every Star Trek captain I've known: TOS' Kirk, TNG's Picard, Chris Pine as Kirk. Okay, I guess that chica who was Captain in Voyager didn't light my fire, but I didn't watch it much, so don't remember her much.

Bones? Pretty even, but I gotta give Karl Urban the nod for Dr. McCoy. Possibly I just identify better because we're nearer in age, possibly I just find him hot as Eomer from LOTR. He won me with his first dialog in the last movie, when he explained his new nickname "...all I got left is my bones." Haha.

Scotty? Even-Steven. Love Simon Pegg, but this character is all in the writing, I think. The original Scotty made me laugh just as much. But I have to say, I LOVE Scotty.

Uhura? I love that she's a bigger role now, but that kind of gets watered down by her mushiness in the new romance created for this series. Nichelle Nichols wins by a nose. (Through no fault of Zoe Saldana, who is exceptional.) It's just the new character-twist that bugs me.
John Cho as Sulu ROCKS!

Sulu rocks. Again, seems to have a bigger role now, so overshadows George Takei's take on the role. But this new Sulu? ROCKS! If you're not a Star Trek fan, you should become a fan of John Cho, and watch these Star Trek movies for him.

Random notes from the Movie Whore:
"42". There was an homage - surely intentional, in a sci-fi movie like this - to Douglas Adams' "ultimate answer" as defined in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (Unfortunately, the line was before the Movie Whore made me start taking notes, so I can't remember how they used it. "Suite 42"? "42 days"? No idea. The Movie Whore's gonna make me watch it again.)

They are flying a shuttle early in the film, which from a distance resembles the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars - (RESEMBLES! I said RESEMBLES! When they come in close, it's too bulbous-y to really look like it, but the overall shape is similar, and the maneuverability seems akin. Geez! Take it easy!) If the resemblance is intentional, kudos for connecting to both HHGG and Star Wars. If not, happy coincidence.

This movie does ascertain to me however, that I am more of a Star Wars fan than a Trekkie... In case there was any doubt. The storyline of Star Wars in continuous, and - complain about the acting all you want - it goes from beginning to end. Star Trek is a bit more disjointed. Like episodes of a TV show.

Huh. Go figure. 

Nice one, Gene Roddenberry. Well-played.

Finally, I doubt there is a soul alive in the Western world who could deny the iconic status of the Star Trek theme music.

The new theme (during closing credits) by Michael Giacchino incorporates the original, but with punch.

FINALLY, finally, the dedication at the end choked me up. 'nuff said.

AND... I made a comment about this movie within the last week or so on facebook that elicited an odd response.
...Now I am very confused, and must watch Wrath of Kahn to understand the response.

22 May, 2013

We May Have Reached an Impasse

You’ve seen it on TV before. I know there are scenes in both How I Met Your Mother, and in Big Bang Theory dealing with it, and probably lots of other shows, too. In HIMYM, Ted forced his new girlfriend to watch Star Wars, because it is his favorite movie. She didn’t get it, and he hid the fact of how important the movie is to him.

The dramatic saga of Red and The Transformed Non-Conformist has reached such a roadblock.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Brett and I have known for a long time that we have wildly different taste in movies. There is some overlap. We have successfully watched DVDs together during most of our weekend visits, and have been to see movies in the actual theater… what, three times? (The Avengers, Brave…what else?) But there are concessions. When I’m coming over, Brett tries to ensure that Netflix sends him something “Red-appropriate” (AKA: not horror) although we did begin an attempt at horror-indoctrination. (Brett put a lot of thought into it, but we never got beyond step one, which was actually kind of an accidental movie and not the one he intended.) When he comes to see me… well, frankly, I’m having issues with my DVD-player, so we are kind of limited in that regard.

I’ve threatened him with Bridget Jones’ Diary, He’s Just Not That Into You, Moulin Rouge, and all kinds of other chick-flicks and classics. Last weekend, I put in Breakfast At Tiffany’s – one of my top three favorite movies, ever.

He hated it.

He hated the characters.
He hated the story.
He hated … well what else is there?
He didn’t chuckle at the bits that make me laugh.

I love this movie. The Movie Whore in me watches it a lot. And quotes it. We - the Movie Whore and I - find Holly Golightly to be a sympathetic character – oh, not that I can identify with the details of her life, but the way she deals or doesn’t deal? The abstract? Yep. I get it.

What to do?
My Love hates one of my favorite classic heroines!

...My new working theory is that Brett has a subconscious tic in his brain that will not allow him to appreciate any movie that is highly acclaimed. He must find fault with it. It's only a theory, but I have some evidence: He doesn’t like Casablanca. He doesn’t like The Godfather. He is "okay" with Star Wars (or so he tells me) but not wild about it. He said he wants to watch Doctor Zhivago (possibly my all-time, most favorite movie).

I have a sneaking suspicion he will hate it, too.

It’s a classic.
It’s hailed as a work of art.
It IS a work of art, in every respect.

I love him. I love Brett, and he can have any opinion he wants. We may be at an impasse on some movies, but you know what? That SO doesn’t matter. At all. If we’re ever in a situation where we have no available movies that we can agree on, there are plenty of other things to do instead!

12 May, 2013

Family Ties

I’m back!
And so’s my brother!
(If you’re still with me, THANK YOU!)

Poseidon (see this post) is fine, back in the country for the time being (he’s military), and actually we just celebrated his birthday together – YaY! I'd not seen or spoken to Poseidon for about 8 years. Long story short, he reunited with our parents last summer, and when a crisis happened in his life this spring, the girls came to live with Mom and Dad.

His two little girls are a joy.
The girls:
I’ll call the oldest (5yo) Titania because she is SO very fairy-like: An elfin face, running around on tiptoe, fluttering her hands with excitement. She is a child who sparkles. If I posted a picture of her, you'd see it. It’s in her energy, her eyes, her manic grin. I love this girl.

If big-sis is Titania, her younger sister (1yo) shall be called Tinkerbell – just as light as a feather, and well-suited to Tinkerbell-green. Tinkerbell is just as sweet as sweet can be. She’s such a happy baby that if she’s fussy, you know something is wrong. She’s observant, too. She’s already figured out cause and effect: If she makes goofy noises with her mouth, so will all the adults around the table – then she can stop and watch us! Very clever, little lady.

Observations on my brother, after having ZERO contact for 8(give or take) years:
1.This is a kinder, gentler Poseidon.
Although truthfully, he was always a pretty sweet kid…even if I was a snarky older sister who gave him a lot of grief in high school. He gave it right back, so I think we’re even.

2.How did he get so smart?
He was talking about financial matters like saving for his daughters’ education and major money stuff in such a way that he actually sounded more like our big bro Zeus!

3.Family is still family.
It’s amazing to me how little has changed. We’re “all growed up” now, but the interaction is basically the same. As hurt as I was, as concerned as I was for his well-being – none of that matters now. He’s here, and he clearly appreciates his family, whether he agrees with everything we say and do or not.

Seeing him so much in the last few weeks... just like old times, but grown up, I realized that the family feels complete again. I didn't realize it was incomplete.

If you have any estranged family-members, reach out to them. Don't lose hope. Family ties are a unique and special bond, that cannot be denied.

I'm so glad to be back! I can get back on-track with my resolution to post at least once a week!

18 March, 2013

Moving Mayhem

Just a quick blurb today to say if you want to know what's going on...follow me on twitter. sorry to say that, really. i moved this weekend, a tweeted a bunch during the process. My internet isn't hooked up yet, and i don't know how soon that will happen. (i'm posting this from my phone until that happens, but there's no formatting. twitter works better on my phone. anyway i'm here, unpacking and tryingto settle in, and those of you who follow me are in the loop. Happy st patricks day

08 March, 2013

FINALLY...settling in after a year

Okay, that's an exaggeration. I've been under my parents' roof for about 10 months, not a year.


I have my own apartment. At last.

I love my parents, but I've been independent for too long for this current arrangement. They'll appreciate getting back to their own routine, too. I'm teaching them how to pre-set the coffee-makers so their coffee will continue to be ready by the time they are up in the morning, so that's good.

Anyway, I know I've been a slacker, and my resolution was to post weekly. I missed what, 2 weeks now? And tomorrow I head out to Brett's again, meaning that I probably won't post again. [teehee]

But my excuse is that I've been looking at apartments, considering neighborhoods, signing a lease...

and I'm finally moving!

I'll post pictures when I'm in.

18 February, 2013

It's So Lonely Being Me

I mentioned here that “I am the sole creative individual in an office of logicians.” As a writer of business documents, and somewhat of a graphic designer (though I’m better with the words), I make sure everything reads well and looks good.

I recently was charged with designing a new template for a document that goes to a particular entity who declared that ours are “hard to read” and “boring” and “too technical”. They wished we would use one picture more often than the thousand words.

Yes, these are boring documents.

Yes, they are technical.

I’ve been working within previously delineated parameters since I arrived, but now I could break FREE!

*[insert sound of knuckles cracking]*

I turned it landscape. I imported a generic image to fade as the background of some of the pages. I …had to include staffing… hmm… 

Have you ever done something like, oh, say...Grant writing? Similar deal. Pages and pages of writing the stuff they NEED to know, to know that you can do what you say you will do. They want to see who is in charge and why they can be trusted.

WELL… Every time I tried to search for generic images pertinent to the job, Google asked if I was searching for a particular movie star with a similar name. SO I used his image as the image for the head guy on this project. What the hey, it’s just a template!

One of our other guys has a popular name, so I searched by name, and came up with another movie star! This was getting very cute!

The other names didn’t have movie stars leaping at me, so I just pulled up a headshot of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. HAHA! I laughed out loud so hard over that. 

I had also incorporated images of famous places/things to show our “experience”, so it was a totally fictitious template, but showed where images would work or not. Like saying “Our guy is so awesome, he singlehandedly designed Stone Henge!”

I love it. It’s awesome. It's creative. It was fun. I couldn’t wait to demonstrate it to my superiors. That happened Thursday.


Such a focused bunch.  Did they not recognize the movie stars? Surely they recognized a stormtrooper! No questions. Just about how that page would be used in an actual document, where this element would go, etc.

Sometimes it’s so lonely being me. Nobody inside the business finds it funny, because they’re all so straight-laced. Nobody outside would get its brilliance.

Still – at least I am appreciated for my “unique skill set” – honest-to-God Quote.

I really do love my work. I can't wait to find a creative outlet and make friends who will laugh with me at this stuff. Maybe one of my sisters...

10 February, 2013

Love and February

For the first time ever, I am in love, in February. No matter how many times a day Brett and I say "I love you", I still think Valentine's Day is a crock.I'm reposting what I wrote last year on the subject, because aside from the "being single" part, I still feel the same way.

Some of you may not have seen this post from last year anyway, so I don't feel bad about a re-post.

I give you: February 13, 2012...

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day and it has nothing to do with being “alone” which is my choice, or being “reminded that I don’t have anyone” or anything like that. I don’t wear black in protest, or mourning, or whatever that’s supposed to signify.

Here’s my deal: It’s NOT ROMANTIC, homies! St. Valentine was a martyr! While incarcerated he wrote notes to the jail-keeper’s daughter and signed them “your” – as was common even in Jane Austen’s day – which gave us the phrase “your Valentine”. …at least that’s the popular one of many saints Valentine. February 14 celebrates the date of his burial. Happy Valentine’s Day, ya’ll!

Besides, if you love someone, do you really need a special day to tell them? Haven’t you already told them? Don’t you show them in myriad ways? If not, shame on you. Doing something special on Valentine’s Day is a cop-out. How much nicer when it’s a surprise for no reason!

So okay, a lot of people might appreciate a “gimme” holiday that basically tells you what to do and how to celebrate. Fine. But really? Named after - and celebrated on -  the day a MARTYR was BURIED? Let’s call it what it is: Happy “Hallmark Totally Made This Up” Day. Or, my personal favorite: Happy “Anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” Day. Heehee. Did I mention I used to live in Chicago?

I’m wracking my brain, and I don’t think I’ve actually been in a relationship on the fake holiday. But then, if I was involved with someone who decided to “do something special” on that day, I would probably get up and walk out of the restaurant, or otherwise ruin all the careful planning. Because really, if we’re together, you KNOW this about me. You KNOW I find this holiday trite and phony and a waste of time and money. So if you have made the colossal mistake of attempting “romance” (key point: I’m not romantic, either - at least not in a traditional way) then you MUST be hinting that it’s time for our relationship to end.

I actually have a commitment – not romantic, and not one-on-one – tomorrow night, so it’s a non-issue for me. But when I get home? Sweats and the movie “Some Like It Hot” which opens in Chicago and includes reference to the massacre in question.

And maybe pizza.
And a beer.
Ah, romance!

To all those who also are not celebrating this martyr: You're welcome for the logical excuse.

04 February, 2013

A Winter's Tale, or "Everyone Has a Story"

On Thursday of this week, there was a snowstorm. Big surprise, it's winter: This is the Midwest.

On Thursday of this week, there was a major pile-up on a major interstate, due to the storm.

On Thursday of this week, it took me over two hours to get home from work - a drive that usually takes 45-50 minutes. 

I know, everyone has their story of the big storm from "that" winter. And to be honest, the thing that makes one of these stories any good is if you were there. This is not a story like that. I've been in worse storms, if I want to tell a storm story!

But during my massive drive home, which included Interstate, State highway through a business district, State highway through the country, and backroads in the hills, there was just one incident that sort of reminded me that everyone is in the same boat.

It was in the hilly section. I'd been driving long, and probably about 5 minutes from home. I was ready to feel the relief!

The second to last street before home is hilly. I make a left turn, down two small hills, down a longer slope with an even longer rise at the end before it almost levels and I make the final left turn onto the street to home.

(with me so far? It's a straight road, but for the vertical curves including one steep descent with a steeper rise.)

I turn onto this road, and see a car with flashers pulled to the side just before the steep hill, and see the reflections on the trees indicating more such lights at the base of the steep hill.

Upon asking, the woman in the first car says she's fine, but isn't sure what's happening at the base of the hill and wants to be sure the TWO cars down there can go before she continues. Since I was out of my car already, I just started walking toward the hill to find out. A guy met me at the top of the slope, walking up from the (what I assumed was an) accident.

This guy recognized me as living in the area. (who knew!) He said that it wasn't an accident, and asked if I have 4WD. I do not. He said, "Well, without it I don't think anyone will make it up that hill" (on the steeper side).

Turns out, his girlfriend's car couldn't make it up the hill, so he brought his 4WD pick-up out to try to push her up the slope, but her wheels wouldn't grab and she ended up pushing them both back to the bottom of the hill. But everyone was fine, and they were working on it.

I don't know why I love this. The woman with her flashers, waiting patiently in the snow to see what's up with the icy hill. The guy who went out in the storm to try to push his girlfriend's car up the icy hill. The fact that the hill was so icy that my normal route was impassable, the camaraderie with people whose names I don't even know ...maybe it's just the fact that it had been such a long drive and I was so close to home ...

All these hilly roads connect up. I was able to back up and go around another way and get home 15 minutes later.

But I do think that next time I meet people in these types of situations, I will introduce myself. It would be nice to know the names of these neighbors I don't know!

What's your "winter storm story?"

26 January, 2013

True Love by Donuts

SHHHhh... Brett and Kirsten are still asleep.

That's right. I'm blogging from Brett's house. (This post will probably only be interesting to regular followers of the "Red and Brett" romance. If you're new here, check out last year's post that started it all for some insight into where I'm coming from. OR, just for something different, I recommend my "pervert" post.)

I'm up but Brett and his daughter are not. We're from two different time zones. My body is in the habit of getting up an hour earlier because of the time difference. Well okay, that and the fact that I get up super-early to be at work early, whereas Brett works nights. Yeah. We're not exactly on the same schedule.

When I awoke this morning to the point where I couldn't ignore it, and could see light coming in the kitchen window, it was 6:35. They're sound asleep. I decided to walk up to the gas station for coffee. See, there are some unavoidable differences between Brett and myself, besides the whole time/schedule thing:

Coffee - He doesn't drink it on a regular basis.

The Cold - I think he recently posted something about how much he hates cold weather, but maybe that was on Facebook or Twitter. Anyway, he HATES it. So I wouldn't consider asking him to venture out this morning.

Exercise - Actually, Brett and I always end up going for a walk when we're together. Usually after a meal, sometimes with the dog (if he's visiting me). But first thing in the morning? ...well okay, we've never tried.

ANYWAY, I'm awake, so decided to walk to the gas station. I figured "if Brett gets up, he'll see my blankets are still all messy on the sofa, and know I didn't just leave."
...I don't know why I had that thought, like as if this was some trashy booty-call or something. It's a totally bizarre thing to cross my mind! But I thought it. Call it lack of caffeine or whatever...

I got up, pulled on jeans from yesterday and a ball-cap, reached for my coat...

There's a problem. I'm a bed-maker. At home I don't get into the shower before my bed's made, and I certainly couldn't leave the house with the "blankets all messy..." so I folded them neatly and put them away before I left.

DUDE! It's friggin' COLD! It was a nice walk, but I couldn't feel my ears by the time I got there.

One giant coffee (to last me the morning), one Mt. Dew for Brett, and a half-dozen donuts later, I went back into the cold.
The donuts were kind of an after-thought.

We have a donut thing.

I'm not a huge donut-fan, but ...caution, this is kind of sappy!...

Brett and I, living so far apart, text frequently. And occasionally there will be a series of texts trying to humorously comparatively better describe our affection. One time, Brett randomly texted "I love you so much I'd share my donuts with you." To which, I'm sure I replied something sweetly endearing like "What kind of donuts?" Because my mental image requires details! You know what I mean: am I visualizing a Dunkin Donuts box of a dozen, in which case will you let me have the "creme-filled"? Or are we talking about Entenmann's cake-style donuts in which case I want the crumb-top, or do you have a dozen Krispy-Kreme glazed? There's a different visual!

...Brett's so awesome. I think this quirk (I say "quirk" because it sounds cuter and more fun than "neurosis") of mine to need details drives him crazy, but he laughs.

Well, the next time I visited we bought donuts. I think that was my idea, because I distinctly remember discussing the *fact* that "Of course your town has a bakery where they make fresh donuts" because if we were going to do this, I wanted to go all out and get fancy ones, and Brett informed me that he was sure there was no such bakery, that donuts came from the grocery store or the gas station, or a truck stop, but he did the research anyway just to verify that there wasn't a bakery he didn't know about, BECAUSE I kept pestering him to prove a point HE LOVES ME.

So today, donuts. Just 'cause.
From a gas station.

...and I think I might hear stirring in the back rooms of the house, so I better be done.
I am totally becoming "that girl" who always talks about her relationship. What about you? Tell me your funny relationship story! (I know you've got them...)

19 January, 2013

Gun Control - IS There an Answer?

Yoiks. I hate this subject.

It's all over my Facebook page, both sides. It's all over the news.

This is what America is reduced to this year: Arguing over "solving" an issue that perhaps is unsolvable.

Oops. How terribly un-PC of me to say that.

First off, I probably wouldn't even discuss it, but I've found a very open-minded, both-sides telling, non-judgmental columnist to read in the Indianapolis Star. Here is a link to Erika D. Smith's writings, so you can judge for yourself. (I don't know her, am not advertising for her, I just love her and follow her on twitter.)

She recently wrote about the gun argument. A non-gun-owner, and not a fan of guns in general, she tried them out, talked to people she knows, in order to better understand where the other side is coming from.


She didn't just lambaste everyone with an opposing view, call them all idiots, and discard their opinion. She looked into it.

But moving on...

It's easy to say "look at the gun laws of [XYZ country] - they seem to work" but should we just repeat what another country is doing? That's a bit like looking at the way other parents do their job and saying "it works for them - it'll work for us" when every child is different. We are a different country, with different issues and attitudes, good or bad.

No, let's not copy another country's laws.

Stop me if I've told you this, but when I was a kid, going to school in India, one year we were getting ready to come back to the States for a year on furlough. We were going to live in Chicago so my Dad could study at the University of Chicago. All my friends in India signed my yearbook that year with messages urging me "Don't get raped or mugged in Chicago!" "Don't forget to lock your door!" "Don't go out alone in those mean city streets!"

The Irony? The previous three years were full of terrorist attacks in my home country of Sri Lanka, and related demonstrations outside my school in India, and all our friends in the States continually wrote concerned letters asking how we were faring through all the violence, and urging us to be careful, that they knew we would be, that they were praying for us, to get in touch and let them know we were okay...

It's the same! The brand of violence may differ, but it's everywhere.

Anyway, I avoid the subject, as Brett can confirm. Nobody can keep their calm when they discuss gun control, and it really brings me down. I guess that's why I decided to write this. It's not funny, or even fun, but I can say my piece here. (sorry for the un-funny)

I have no answer. No one has an answer, but everyone likes to think there is one, that we can somehow control violent behavior when we can't.

...Or can we? What do you think? Really.

13 January, 2013

Happy New Year! (wait, did I already say that?)

Last year around New Years, I posted this meme, just on a whim, and looking for things to write. I thought it would be interesting to do it again, and see how things have changed.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Well... took my niece horse-back riding in a State Park; heard Beethoven's Fifth Symphony performed live; um... Lots of the same stuff in new locations.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
According to this, last year I resolved to organize my house - HA! I organized it all right into storage! This year I resolve to post more, starting with at least once a week. ...so far, so good.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Apparently 6 employees at my new job had babies in the past year. I didn't know them at the time, though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I recently heard about two deaths from among my Delaware acquaintances. One former employee, and one friend from the theatre. Both getting on in years, neither one terribly shocking.

5. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Last year I said, "A new job, please." BONUS! For this year? My own residence!

6. What countries did you visit?
No countries this year.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:
Brett and I have several dates to choose from.
May 2 is when we met in person, March 21 is the fateful flowers, February 14 he "proposed". I pick any of those. (I was going to list the date I moved, but I can't remember if it was April 28 or 29.)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Fitting into that bridesmaid dress!   >>>

9. What was your biggest failure?
I really had hoped to get back to Delaware for the Polar Bear Plunge this February, but I just can't afford it yet. Pretty bummed about that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not significantly.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My hot new car! Not fancy, but it suits me. (Pontiac G5...yellow.)

(Not unlike this...)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
No one. Everyone was an idiot in 2012.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Shooters. Sandyhook, most recently. But EVEN MORESO...the debates that followed. Everyone is so deadlocked on their own side that I am beginning to believe that this country has completely lost all ability to compromise. It's very sad.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Gas to go visit Brett!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Most trips to see Brett, but I think
Thanksgiving was most anticipated. And well worth it!

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
None, really. Different songs had significance, but I don't think any will make me think - "Oh! That was 2012!"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier, overall.
ii. thinner or fatter? about the same.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. After moving, it took 5 months to find the job I have, and another month+ before the hours picked up.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With BRETT! Dinner and church on Christmas Eve, and then a big meal/games at his brothers on the 25th.

21. What do you feel you missed out on in 2012?
When Brett and I were
in Indy in July, we saw that there was a display at one of the major museums that looked interesting. It was going to be there through September, so we decided not to visit yet, since we could always come back. We never got back.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?
TOTALLY! (But not with the guy I was considering when I did this last year.)

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Being in my parents' house, I didn't get to watch "my" programs much. Hm... Probably The Price Is Right, based on how much I posted about it on FB. (I wasn't working - what do you expect?)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Not at all.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Help.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
No discoveries this year.

28. What did you want and get?
Brett! ...my dream man come to life. (AAAAWWwww...)

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
My impulse is to say "Moonrise Kingdom". Although I love "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" too. My movie watching fell off near the end of 2012.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My parents had cake. I don't like doing things for my birthday. Brett very sweetly had no gift for me, and even asked to verify that was what I prefer. Yes. It is.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting this job early enough that I could be in my own place by now.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

34. What kept you sane?
My parents have been very supportive and deserve a lot of credit for not stifling me as they could have. ...and my nightly talks with Brett.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
They're all idiots.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Having just survived another election year, I am now totally turned off to all things political. This nation is so polarized now that I want to scream. Seriously, it makes me look at the virtues of a dictatorship: No Arguing!
37. Who did you miss?
My friends in Delaware.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Ha! BRETT. (again. Yes, I know I'm a broken record.)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
With the right people around you, any problem isn't a problem.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Blue canary in the outlet by the light-switch, who watches over you?” Doesn’t exactly “sum up” the year, but food for thought, no?
The rest of the meme says I should tag some people but isn't the point of a meme that anyone who likes it copies it? Yeah. That.