Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Precious Things

At first, I wasn’t sure how to answer this - so many of my possessions bring me joy. My piano is one beloved thing. My little container garden is another, as are my cookbooks and kitchen. But then I thought – hmmm, I have lived without each of these things for many, many years of my life. I had next to nothing in college (I mean, what fits in a dorm room? Laundry basket and a mini fridge? Certainly not a whole kitchen!) Clearly, I can live without these items – I have empirically proven this is so.

So then - I just thought of 3 things I’ve never been without since college – the 3 things I always find a way to have – the 3 things that I would choose (and have chosen) over food, or clothes, or (gulp) beer, if it came down to pennies in the wallet. And here they are, in no special order.

#1 – Gym Membership

There was this one time, in Australia, when I decided I was just too poor to maintain a gym membership, so I didn’t get one. I instantly, and I mean within two weeks, gained 20 pounds. I was pretty miserable, and as soon as I returned home, to the gym I went. It would seem that I literally cannot live without a gym membership - my heart would give out on me in short order. My evil metabolism has me trapped that way, damn the bastard.

#2 – Library Card

This is sort of cheating, because what I actually mean is I can’t live without books. I go through withdrawal and start reading cereal boxes and Nutrition Facts when I am without a book to read. I never buy them anymore – they were overtaking our house. So now I take a monthly trip to the library to collect my goodies. It’s like shopping, only free. (And yes, on occasion I have absentmindedly slapped down my credit card at the checkout desk, only to look down at a bemused librarian giving me a raised-eyebrow stare over her glasses.)

#3 – My Computer

My photos are on my computer. My poems, stories, lyrics are all in my computer creative writing file – I just can’t write anything in longhand. I still have my favorite college papers in a folder, and my grad school thesis is backed up on a couple of computers. I write my blog entries on my computer, my one guaranteed daily creative act. Computers let me email friends who would otherwise have long been lost to me. I look up directions, watch funny YouTube videos, read my news, find recipes, google for information. I create Christmas letters, organize our budget, and lately, I’ve started playing online video games with some girlfriends of mine who live in other states – we actually talk on headsets and everything (it is really fun. None of us are gamers, really, so we all are equally bad, and have an excellent time stumbling into each other and blowing each others’ heads off, usually by accident.) When my husband travels abroad, we talk over free internet software. It would be like dying to be cut off from all of these precious things.

That’s it. My list. There you go. Peace and materialistic love to all of you - G

I Wonder What I Couldn't Live Without...

Let me start by saying that I love how super jane laid down the law on Monday! I love that she is forcing us to be materialistic and that I now get to be materialistic without anyone judging me. So, here I am. Materialism and all.

There are three things that I couldn't live without. These three things bring me such happiness and joy that I almost can't explain it.

1. My Bear
2. My Camera
3. My Running Shoes

My Bear is a very old friend of mine -- so old in fact that I don't remember when I got him. He's just always been mine. Bear is a Care Bear, Friend Bear to be exact, and his fur is so worn that he is no longer the vibrant peach color of his cubhood. Now he is this sort of light brown, pinky-grey color. He's been through illnesses, junior high school drama, and surgeries. He's even got an ACE bandage wrapped around his right leg because he had knee surgery with me my freshman year of high school. I've slept with him for as long as I can remember and because of that, his nose is a little bit squished in. My husband, I am sure, thinks that I am crazy for still having Bear (no, he never had another name. Bear seemed quite obvious to me as a kid.) and I know he would prefer that I cast him off to the side as I fall asleep at night. No such luck. Bear stays and I don't know what I would do without him and his comforting cuddles.

My camera is a more recently acquired item, but I love it nearly as much as Bear. I've always had the dream of being a photographer and my husband is kind enough to encourage me. I got my fabulous camera at the beginning of this year and I've taken no less than eleventy million pictures since. I love to take pictures of people most of all, but I will take pictures of anything. Flowers, inanimate objects, animals, etc. I love seeing the world through my camera's eye and I love playing with effects. Film noir-esque shots take my breath away and vibrantly colored pictures that pop make me smile. I love capturing the perfect moment, the happiest smile, or the craziest face. I love giving people photos that they can treasure forever and can take them right back to that exact moment.

My running shoes are something that I really do love. Most people hate running or working out in general but that is not my sentiment at all. I love lacing up my shoes and taking off on a run. Running helps clear my mind, it helps me feel strong, and it plays perfectly into my competitive personality. My pretty running shoes keep my feet protected and I love the sound they make as I push off with my foot to take another step. That sound is the symphony that can carry me anywhere as I huff and puff through another mile. I could not live without it. Or my shoes.

***Other items that I seriously can't live without but didn't quite make the cut: trashy magazines, my computer, Cheetos!, my red leather high heels, strawberry margaritas, most candy, high thread count sheets, slogan t-shirts, modern medical marvels (hello, birth control pills!), and vacations.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Wonder What--

--it's the first week of classes, so the only thing I can wonder about right now is when the madness will end. Sorry.

Monday, August 27, 2007

i wonder what 3 things i couldn't live without...

i want to lay down a few guidelines for my fellow ww. this topic is not about our husbands or our children or our pets. it's not about needing love or peace or any other type of feel good idea. this is all about the materialistic side of life. three items that we possess that we absolutely could not live without. got it, ladies? ;) okay, good. now let's proceed.

the three things that i could not live without are ...

1) my boppy
2) my watch
3) a ponytail holder

let's begin at the top. i love my boppy. yes, a boppy, that bizarrely shaped pillow that most use for breastfeeding. i received a boppy as a baby shower gift for my second daughter. and while i never did breastfeed her, it's been one of my favorite gifts ever. i use it as my pillow at night and it is beyond divine. it cradles my head and supports my neck just so. no more sleepless nights due to a lumpy pillow. no more waking in the middle of the night to readjust said lumpy pillow. no, those days are long gone. with my boppy, i get a perfect night's sleep every. single. night. it is pure heaven! unfortunately for me, my oldest daughter began sleeping with it during nap time and now, she too understands the glorious sleep that it brings. as a result, my boppy has now become her boppy. she just loved it so much, so being the selfless, giving mother that i am, i gave it to her. i told her though that she had to ask for one for her birthday so that i could have mine back. which she did. and her birthday is in 2 weeks. the countdown has begun.

my watch is another thing that i could not possibly live without. i love my watch and must have it on during every waking moment. i'm such a time watcher and worrier over departure and arrival times that my husband once made me take it off while we were on vacation. we headed to disney world one year while we were in college and when we arrived he said, 'okay, give me your watch.' i was stunned and protested, but he eventually won out. he knew that i would be so worried about staying on some sort of schedule that we would have no fun at all. i hate to say it, but i'm sure he's right. i am a definite time watcher and scheduler. i do the exact same things at the exact same time every day. it's awful, but i just can't stop. ocd, anyone?

the one thing i love about having long hair is that i can throw it into a ponytail (or 'pretty' as we call them it in our home) to keep it out of my face. when i had short hair, i honestly missed my ponytail. now that my hair is well passed my shoulders, i love my ponytail even more. most days, i wear my hair down to work. when i get home though, i change into my comfy clothes and my hair gets pulled back. i love the way it feels and looks. a tasseled ponytail is perfect for me. i can't do headbands (although my 4 yr old can rock them out like nobody's business) or barrettes (the same rockin'-ness can be said about my 2 yr old when it comes to barrettes). the hair style of choice for me is most definitely a ponytail.

there is no doubt that i love me some boppy, some watch, and some ponytail and to think of life without them is pure madness to me! here's hoping i never have to experience life without them or somebody will have to pay!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Wonder Why The Weekend Feels So Short?

I'm back for Free For All Friday here at WW at the request of MSO Rin who was supposed to post last Friday, but didn't for personal reasons. Understandable. And then? Today she is too busy to post again!? Considering that I do virtually no work at all on Fridays (ok, any day), I am more than happy to help her out. :)


I wonder why the work week feels so dang long and the weekend always feels so short? I mean, I get that the week itself is five days and that the weekend is only two, but seriously. The work week seems to drag on and on. My entire eight hour work day seems to pass by so slowly and my evenings are filled with making dinner, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping and maybe something fun like a golf lesson or dinner out with friends. By the time Friday rolls around, I'm so tired that I almost always fall asleep on the couch at some ridiculously early hour, like 8:00 p.m. So, Friday night passes in a blur of sleep.

The weekends are sometimes filled with fun things like a round of golf, sitting by the pool, or running a jillion miles. Weekends sometimes mean traveling to see loved ones or going out to a lingering dinner with Superman. Often, the weekends are also full of errands that didn't get done during the week -- the grocery store, dry cleaning, Tar-zhay, etc. I think most of the time I'm too busy to even realize that my Saturday just flew by in a mind-boggling twelve seconds.

By the time Sunday rolls around, I always just want to be lazy. Lazy often means reading trashy magazines and taking a nap. Another thing of note is that naps somehow make time sail by. I fall asleep at 1:30 and wake up at 3:00? It seems as though ten hours of time have been lost during the "recuperative" nap. Hm. Sunday night brings the typical Sunday-night-dread-of-upcoming-Monday-morning-work and then the weekend is gone. In a flash!

All I know is that by the time Monday morning rolls around, the weekend was way too short and I could use another weekend to recover from my weekend. Now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Wonder Why Patrick Won't Like Her?

She’s fearless. She’s clever. She is a totally hot blonde with great hair, great style, and quick wit. I have introduced my husband to this beautiful girl time and again, hoping they would get to be friends, so we could all hang out together. I’ve even tried to set up one on one dates for the two of them. Despite all she has to offer a young hot-blooded male, he refuses to like her. He calls it being principled – I call it being pigheaded.

Veronica Mars, played by Kristen Bell for three all too short series before an untimely cancellation, is one of my favorite tv heroines. MSO Rin browbeat me into watching her, for which I am eternally thankful, and I have since been slowly Netflixing my way through all three seasons. It has taken a long time, because my husband will not allow the show to be on when he is home.

Veronica is just one of many gorgeous blondes spurned by my husband. See also Portia de Rossi’s character in Arrested Development – another show he refuses to like. He despises Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie in Sex and the City – OK, I’ll give him that one. But Patrick is an equal opportunity spurner – he also refuses to meet and fall madly in love with stunning brunettes like Jaye on Wonderfalls or Mary Louise Parker’s character on Weeds.

I was able to bridge the gap between him and Firefly (maybe he has a thing for statuesque badass black women?) I forced him to watch one or two, and then on the day he asked to watch a third episode with me, I instantly mailed the Netflix back and raced out to purchase the whole series. We can share laughs over Seinfeld or Chappelle’s Show, and after a slow start we’ve both become completely obsessed with Deadwood.

But, as you can see, the list of shows we both know and love is a lot shorter than my personal faves in the Netflix queue. I have to try to time the mailings of “my” shows to coincide with days he’ll be out bowling, or playing video games online with some far flung old friends, or even out of town. The Sopranos is on my list next , one of the longest series I’ll attempt, so we’d better be able to come to some kind of understanding or it’s going to take me the better part of a decade to watch it.

Someday I’d love to start Buffy the Vampire Slayer and see what all the fuss is about – but I’d better save that until Patrick is deaf or out of the country.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Wonder Why My Husband Can't Just Share?

Superman and I live in a teeny little two bedroom apartment. And our teeny little two bedroom apartment has only one itsy bitsy bathroom. This itsy bitsy bathroom makes for many funny situations and has also been the source of several disagreements. The biggest issue? Superman can't share the bathroom. Ever.

Now, I'm not asking him for a completely open-door policy. Oh no. I believe that there are some things, and bodily functions, that should remain private. However. On a busy Tuesday morning when both of us are trying to get ready for work, leave on time, and get a shower, Superman's inability to share the bathroom is a problem. His explanation is that as a child he had to share the one itsy bitsy bathroom in the house with his two sisters. He never got any privacy and when he did manage to steal five minutes, well, it was the fastest getting ready situation on the planet. As a result of this sharing as a kid, Superman now requires to have the itsy bitsy bathroom all to himself.

You're probably thinking to yourself that this isn't that big of a deal. Believe me, it is. It's so bad that Superman very nearly refuses to even come into the itsy bitsy bathroom when I'm in there. I could be showering and he could be bleeding from the eyes, desperate for the gauze beneath the sink, and he would rather sit on the couch bleeding to death. If I have the audacity to try and grab my toothbrush while he is toweling off in the morning, he will grab his towel and huff out of the itsy bitsy bathroom because HE NEEDS HIS SPACE IN THE BATHROOM. Now that I think about it, this is kind of hilarious.

What's not hilarious are the mornings in which Superman enters the itsy bitsy bathroom and gives me no idea as to how long he'll be in there. Most mornings I am found in the kitchen virtually inhaling my cereal in the hopes that I may get lucky and get a window of time in the itsy bitsy bathroom. Other mornings, he will shut the door and only come out after doing any number of things. He'll shave, shower, brush his teeth, floss, blah, blah, blah and come out after leaving the itsy bitsy bathroom a temperature that is equivalent to the sun. I will be stuck in the hallway, tapping my toes, thinking, "If I could just get in there for five seconds, I could brush my teeth!"

Ah, the joys of "sharing" an itsy bitsy bathroom.

*It should be noted that most mornings we are not getting ready for work at the same time by design. Since I work out in the mornings, I wake him up when I leave and he does his thing while I'm gone. It has made for a much easier start to the day.

**Something that occurred to me as I started writing this entry today. If we had done this blog a year ago at this time, neither G Love nor I would have had a husband to speak of. We would have had fiances to speak of (and probably wedding planning issues to complain about), but how cool is it that all four of us are married now? Moving on...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Wonder Why He Can't Just Drink It ...

The Boy is not, nor has he ever been, a coffee drinker. He was born and raised in the South, and the breakfast beverage you drink in the South if you don’t drink coffee is Coke. Nobody from the South (or even transplants who’ve converted) thinks this is odd or decadent or a quick way to spend hours at the dentist’s office having twelve fillings. He’s a Coke man, and his habit far exceeds my coffee habit.

I don’t begrudge him his cola fix—I imbibe from time to time. Sometimes we even share a can. I just wish he didn’t scoff at my daily need for a hot cup of joe. He calls it “hot wet dirt” and makes faces when I try to give him a peck on the lips after I’ve had just a few sips.

I think he might really like it if he just gave it a try … it’s not like I’m a purist or anything. If my coffee isn’t a mocha, it has to have a good dose of Splenda and milk/cream/half & half. That’s practically got the sweetness of a Coke, right?

I think the thing I wonder about most is what it would be like if we could share a leisurely pot of medium roast (Montana has tons of local coffee brands and they’re all pretty dang tasty, but I am too frugal to spring for any of them—Capricorn, remember?—and usually have that summer-camp-size tub of Folgers in the fridge) over a Sunday morning chat. Or how close we’d feel if we could chatter on our way to the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays about what the special might be at the Loose Caboose booth. Or how, if The Boy would just be normal and like coffee like he should, he would understand how I feel when we’re running late and I don’t have a chance to make a pot and have to go to work on a busy day with no time to make or buy even one drop of fragrant, eye-opening relief!

Sorry. I’m only about a half-cup into my morning and I stay cranky until cup two.

So … I wonder how to convince The Boy that coffee is good and right and the only way to start a day?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

i wonder why my husband can't....

let me just preface this entry by saying that i have a fantabulous husband. seriously, he rocks. while we do have our differences (and we both agree that we are as different as night and day) and frustrations with each other, i think he's tops. the one thing, however, that i find myself wondering is why in the heck my husband doesn't see the state of our house for what it truly is - a pit.

i'm very adamant about a couple of things when it comes to keeping house and one of those things is that my kitchen must be spotless. i cannot have any dishes in the sink or clutter on my counters when i walk in the door after a long day at work. the sight of a dirty kitchen makes my stomach churn.

super jas has been a stay-at-home dad now for nearly 2 1/2 years. those first few months were rocky as we adjusted to our new roles. i expected the house to be neat and tidy when i returned from work and well...let's just say that he didn't understand that. many discussions arguments later, we finally got things settled. and while my house isn't spotless by any stretch of the imagination, my kitchen is. and when my kitchen is happy, i am happy.

i still don't understand though why he doesn't "see" the rest of the mess in our house! in my opinion, it's not that hard really. stepping over a million homeless puzzle pieces and a large, plastic, red and blue slide in order to get into the master bedroom is a good enough clue for me and yet, super jas refuses to see it. he doesn't see that the baby dolls and their 75 piece clothing wardrobe strewn across our sitting room need to be put away. he doesn't see the piles of laundry on our guest bed need to be folded and put in the girls' rooms. he doesn't see a million other things that slap me on the forehead each time i enter another room in our home.

in his defense, he's not lazy. if i ask him to, he will most definitely fold all of the laundry or vacuum the floor or do whatever else it is that i ask of him. he's very handy and is always doing maintenance jobs around the house -- fixing a leaky sink, installing a new water softener, changing light bulbs, working to located the squeak coming from under the hood of our car. and he's also very good at yard work and can spot a weed a mile away.

which leaves me to wonder why he can't spot the endless number of 'weeds' popping up in the middle of his own living room!?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

American Beauty

"There's nothing worse than being ordinary," says Mena Suvari's character in the movie American Beauty.

This is a shameful fear of mine, but one I can't deny. I'm afraid of many things - death, yes, like how I wander through the old 19th century graveyard and stress about when I'll be just a name on a stone. Our student loan debt - I won't go there, I talk about that crap too much already, but thinking about it makes me lose my appetite. I'm afraid of wooly spiders - not so much the glassy, plastic looking ones, but present me with a wolf spider and I'll run a mile. My great, overweaning fear, though, the one that guides me, for better or worse, the fear that has deeply shaped my personality, is fear of being typical.

Ask me my job, and I'll tell you, but I'll also tell you that the corporate world isn't my calling, that I used to be a naturalist, a baker, an actress. Sure I'm in HR, but really I'm a piano player/ poet/runner/artist. I'm much more interesting than my job, my subtext will scream - see, see look at my dangly earrings and how I don't wear makeup! See how different I am?

Send me abroad and I'm in heaven. "Who's that?" people ask, and other people answer "She's the American." Thrilling.

Throw me in a room with my four siblings, and whoa, just step back as we riot for attention. I'm positive that growing up in a clamoring household of 9 (2 parents + 5 kids + 2 grandparents = 2 many people) is what cultivated this fear of mine. When you're 1 of 9, and you're the oldest, and you have the capability to change baby diapers and old people bedpans, well then Mommy just doesn't have loads of time to be interested in you except to give you orders. This is not a criticism of my mother by any means, my parents were very loving and attentive. It's just to say, getting noticed when I was little was a tough prospect when there were lots of other noisier more pressing things to deal with.

And then there's the moving every 3 years. When you are the new kid in school, if you want to get the parts in the plays or the leadership roles in the clubs or the first chair in the band, you have to make yourself stand out pretty quick. Most of the other kids have 3,5,8 years of experience with these teachers before you ever get there. They are known entities. They are established - Jane's the best singer in school, Martin is sooooo funny, Caroline has always been the fastest runner, even when she was 7 years old. If you want to get included in anything, you better be able to make a splash, and fast before you're gone to the next home.

So now here I am, miles and years away from those stimuli, but still acting as though my very life depends on being a stand-out. I'm terrified of obscurity. Please God let me write a book of poems/get a big part in a movie/become a famous public servant/rescue a child from certain death, so that the world will remember me, and think I'm an amazing person/hero/so talented.

At least I'm not the first. I'll close with a quote from Ovid, part of whose Metamorphoses I had to translate from the Latin when I was in college (see, there I go again - how many people can read Latin? Wow, I'm so unique and individual. Aren't you impressed). This is my own translation, which I'm using simply because I can't remember any other. I remember it because when I first translated it, I cried. It pinged a painful little heartstring that I didn't know was there. Dear God, there's nothing worse than being ordinary and forgotten. Don't let me be forgotten.

cum volet, illa dies, quae nil nisi corporis huius
ius habet, incerti spatium mihi finiat aevi:
parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis
astra ferar, nomenque erit indelebile nostrum . . . .
. . . vivam.

When it will, that day possessing power
over only this my flesh and bone
will end the span of my uncertain hours,
and the better part of me alone
will last, be lifted up beyond the stars
where my name will ever fill the sky,
And I shall go on living, though I die.

Peace and Love to all you Unique, Memorable people - G Love

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Wonder Why I'm So Afraid of the Dark?

So I am coming out publicly and saying it. I'm afraid of the dark. Terrified, actually. It stems from my childhood and the night terrors that plagued me for years. I had a recurring nightmare that caused me to scream and cry and my poor parents were unable to do anything. They had to shake me for minutes to wake me. My grandma still likes to remind me of the horrible dreams I had as a kid because it makes her laugh. Imagine a little five year old girl with pigtails yelling about wolves under her bed (one of my other recurring nightmares as a kid) and asking grandma to get them. Looking back, it is funny. When it was happening? Not so much.

I guess it makes sense, then, that I would be afraid of the dark. I never had nightmares while awake or when it was daylight. For me, the night was full of things to be feared. I also have a wild imagination and I can conjure up almost any sort of awful person, animal or occurrence if I have enough darkness and time. This fear is also a big reason that I abhor scary movies and haunted houses. I frighten myself enough without those things!

I panic if my husband walks out of a room and turns the lights off. He does it out of habit or as a joke, but my immediate reaction is to freak out. The fear grips me and I can feel my pulse begin to race. I dash for the light switch and my fear vanishes as quickly as it came. When my husband travels, I sleep with the television on so that I won't be encased in darkness. Otherwise, I would be awake for hours worrying about every little sound or horrible thing that could be slinking around the corner in the dark.

I know it is irrational and silly. No matter what I do, I cannot seem to overcome this fear. The dark holds me in its grip and probably will forever.

Monday, August 13, 2007

i wonder why i'm so afraid of _______________.

i guess there are lots of things that i'm still afraid of. and many of them are stupid things really, but i'm scared of them nonetheless. like mice for instance. i'm terrified of those little, furry rodents. the really weird thing is that i used to have a pet mouse growing up. he was a white mouse with beady red eyes and a nasty tail. his name was peanut and he ended up dying from a number of tumors that slowly covered his body. gross. anyway, i didn't mind peanut, so why am i terrified of them now? (and let me just point out that 'afraid' is much too passive when describing my fear of mice/rats/any rodent really. 'terrified' is much more like it. i'm most definitely terrified of them.)

i think the reason why i'm very terrified of mice is because i know they have much larger relatives called rats. and when i think of rats, i think of nasty sewer rats that i've seen documentaries on. they scare the holy living hell out of me. and i'm not even kidding. just the fact that a rodent can grow to be the size of my toddler is enough to freak me out. unfortunately, this fear trickles down to the lesser mouse and even the mere thought of one makes my heart pound.

those little buggers are fast too and i hate that. i hate knowing that something can chase me...and get me. again, i shouldn't fear the little mice, but i do b/c of their big daddy relatives. if a rat caught me, it could chew my leg off and that seriously frightens me. and i know they can chew my leg off too because i saw the documentary, you see. they can. they really can.

obviously, i perceive mice/rats to be disease ridden creatures. they did help spread the bubonic plague after all. i think a lot of it goes back to the sewer rats again. they eat some seriously nasty shtuff. when i see a mouse, i get this awful image of it eating all sorts of filth and dead animals...and dead people even. it's just too much.

i know my fear may be unfounded and irrational. and for this, dear peanut, i apologize. i've never had a bad experience with mice. to be honest, i've only ever had nice encounters with mice before. unfortunately, though i doubt i'll ever get over my fright of these nasty, beady, toothy creatures. you just never know when you might find yourself being chased through the streets by a rat who is attempting to bite your leg off in order to infect you with the bubonic plague. you just. never. know.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

i wonder when i turned into my parents.

i'm not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere, somehow i morphed into a strange combination of my parents. it's not a bad thing by any means, but it is a bit freaky. i always saw traces of my grandparents in my folks growing up -- the way they handled various situations or the phrases they would say -- it all pointed back to my grandparents. and now here i am, slowly but most assuredly turning into my own parents.

i wonder if my girls can tell yet.

i've always looked like my mother. she always looked like her mother and she like her mother and on up the family tree. my parents have a painting of my great-grandmother (whom we adored and lovingly called 'mom howey') hanging above the fireplace mantel in their living room. my great-grandmother was about 3 at the time and if you didn't know any better, you'd swear on your life that it was a painting of me - right down to the cocked head and crooked smile. it's kind of neat to know what i'll look like when i'm 80. i just need to look at a picture of mom howey and i'll know for sure. as the years have passed, i have slowly begun to take on the likes of my mom. what astounds me most is when i look at my hands. my hands are a carbon copy of my mom's and when we're together, i'll hold her hand and glimpse down at them. her skin is just a tad bit thinner than mine, but everything else is an exact match - our fingernails even have the same grooves and ridges on them. i like that. i love my mom and think she is a very beautiful woman. i used to roll my eyes when people would comment on how much i looked like her. but now, i say 'thank you' and realize exactly what a compliment it is.

i look nothing like my dad or his side of the family. what i have taken on, however, are his style of discipline and mannerisms. there are times when i nearly laugh when i'm scolding my own girls. from out of nowhere, i'll begin to speak very slowly. very quietly. and through gritted teeth, i'll sharply say, "do. you. understand. me?" or "i will not tolerate that kind of behavior." or my absolute favorite "for cryin' out loud!" my sister and i recently discussed my dad's way of discipline one night over a card game. we were in stitches recalling all of the things my dad said or the manner in which he said them. and now my sister and i are continuing the long line of slow-talking disciplinarians in the family. it's quite comical to me, actually.

i'm proud to be turning into my folks. they are marvelous people and phenomenal parents. i have been very blessed to have had them as role models in a number of areas. they've taught me how to be a good person, maintain a happy marriage, and raise 2 well adjusted young women. so as the clock ticks and the mirror turns me a bit older, i'll delight in knowing that where i'm headed is a beautiful place in all aspects of life. i know that i'm carrying on the physical appearances and idiosyncrasies of my ancestors far back into the upper branches of our family tree. and i certainly hope that i am able to leave my mark on the generations to come.

How am I described?

I have it in a word – nice.

It’s ok. There are worse things I could be called.

People who know me really well would come out with some additional words, I’m sure, but invariably the first word that springs to someone’s mouth when describing me (I’ve heard it dozens of times) is that I’m nice. That is part of what drew Darlin’ to me, so he says. It’s what makes me pretty good at my current job, where I have to deal a lot with people (unhappy people, delivery people, people looking for a job, people who I’m firing, people who report to me who are my mother’s age, and on and on). It’s what sometimes gets me in trouble – I can get so afraid someone will think I’m NOT nice that I’ll fall all over myself and sometimes put my family and closest friends all out of sorts in order to make ridiculous and inappropriate concessions to someone who might look a little put out so that I can win the “Nicest Girl of the Year” award. At times like that being nice is a disadvantage, but sometimes it can be a deadly weapon. I deal with confrontations by out-nicing people. If you barge in line in front of me I’ll step back and make room for you, then strike up a conversation and be as genuine and sweet as pie and GUILT you into feeling bad and giving me my place back. I have sweet talked my way out of speeding tickets, into promotions, and through huge arguments, and won the day. Nice is me, and I am nice, and I used to want to be something more exotic like “strong-willed” or “no-nonsense” or “a real spitfire,” but now that I’ve lived with me for almost 29 years now, I’m ok with what I am.

Now, besides nice, here’s some other things. I’ll start with a couple of bad, but end on some good, because I’m trying to do a fair assessment here and there ain’t anybody in the world without some unattractive traits. OK, so the bad: kind of a know-it-all; kind of wishy-washy (I like to call it open-minded, but sometimes it’s just fence-sitting); obsessed with money and all things financial; lacking confidence and clear direction (aren’t we all, though?); competitive for attention, knowledge, money, love, just about everything else. And the good: adaptable, spontaneous, can get excited about truly anything (these all came from being a Navy kid – you have to be able to go with the flow when you move every 3 years); self-aware, outdoorsy, easy going, kind of a free spirit, makes an effort for her friends, and can get ready to go out in five seconds. As for looks - I’m the one with the long brown hair and dark brown eyes, average sized with a “trunk full of junk” that I’m not ashamed of (anymore) – that too helped me win my Darlin’s affections. I’m the olive-skinned one who doesn’t wear makeup, sometimes does her hair and sometimes doesn’t, dresses kind of sloppy but cleans up nice when she makes the effort. I’m the one in the tall shoes. I’m the one with the dangly earrings. I’m the one over there who looks like a really nice person.

Peace and love to you all - - - especially those of you about to write comments about how you describe me. Have I told you that you’re looking stunning today? Absolutely gorgeous. No seriously, have you lost weight?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I Wonder How Other People Describe Me?

This subject has always confounded me. I really do wonder how people would describe me. Initially, everyone is described how they look, so I suppose I'll start with that. I've never thought of myself as physically striking and I am certainly not what anyone would call gorgeous. I'm also clearly not the girl that any of my friends ever compared themselves to. However, I would assume that people would describe me as cute. They would also probably describe me as having short brown hair. I've always had shorter hair than all of my friends, so that is an easy thing to point out when describing me. I'm probably also described as tall since I am taller than the great majority of my friends and I would say I have an average build. I'm not fluffy, but I'm no stick figure either. The other physical characteristic that people would probably use to describe me has to do with my eyes. Typically, their color is called into question and I am constantly being asked if the color is real or enhanced. My eye color is real people and it does change almost every day. They go from super duper green to a hazel color depending on what I'm wearing. My dad's eyes do the same thing, so I can prove it is a reality.

As for how people describe outside of my physical characteristics, I'm stumped. I'd hope that people would describe me as warm and compassionate. I would also love to be described as funny and intelligent. I'm sure some people would describe me as opinionated and loud. I know that my family and closest friends would describe me as loyal and honest. A great majority of people would probably describe me as competitive and as an athlete (and more specifically, as a runner). Driven and stubborn are probably two words that my husband would use to describe me. He would probably also say that I am sweet and strange.

Like most of us, I guess I am a bit of everything. I'd like to think that we all share some of these characteristics and that is why we all get along so well. Share with me, friends. How would you describe me?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Wonder How I'm Described?

Unlike super jane, I’ve not had the pleasure of overhearing myself be described. Like super jane, I work in higher education and students often can’t remember my name if they’re new to the department. I do hear, “Um … I talked to … um … oh, her!” b/c I’ll just come out of my office and put the youngster out of his misery. So without the help that eavesdropping can provide on this entry, what do I think people say about me?

I’m the blonde at the end of the hall. I’m the person who can help when you can’t find your advisor or you want to change your major. I’m the woman who goes to every single production in town (except for one company I refuse to patronize no matter what) in which a faculty/staff/student participates. I’m The Boy’s wife. I’m Shorty’s oldest daughter. I’m Kat’s big sister. I’m the chick w/the really loud laugh. I’m that girl who used to infuriate her sorority sisters by complaining about how fat she was when she so obviously wasn’t (WonderWomen, I’m still really sorry about that).

I think I’m probably described as “fairly small.” I’m not tall, but I’m not particularly petite or thin or anything. My hair is (just barely still) blonde and I have blue eyes. We all hate it, but we all know that when you’re describing someone, the first thing you talk about is that person’s appearance. So I’m “average.” I certainly don’t have striking looks or a keen fashion sense. But I do try to always be clean and make sure my socks match.

I think it’s safe to say that people will describe me as “nice” ... maybe even “chatty.” I am quite shy; to compensate for that, I’m often over-jovial and talkative with strangers and recent acquaintances—probably to an annoying degree, but once I get started, I find it very hard to stop. One way I hope I’m described is “smart.” I take pride in doing my job very well and as you know, I’m a fount of useless knowledge (thank you, high-school academic team!). I don’t have a lot of common sense, so don’t ask me for directions anywhere, but I feel that I can convey my intelligence pretty well. I think it’s pretty obvious when the person you’re talking to is an idiot, so I hope it’s clearly communicated that I actually do have a college degree. I hope I’m never described as “boring.” That would be one of my worst nightmares come true.

Verdict time! What say you, dear readers? Am I the enigma I imagine myself to be, or can you accurately describe me in five notes?

Monday, August 6, 2007

i wonder how others describe me.

i sometimes think about this very topic while i'm at work. i can hear the conversations between my colleagues and students who are seeking help and i'll hear a student say, "i'm not sure what her name was, but she was _________." then, i'll hear my colleague take a shot at who that person is trying to describe. the best one i've had to date was a student who said, "she's very pretty and has long hair." my colleague inquired, "was it super jane?" the student responded, "yeah, that's it. i spoke with super jane." i was walking on air for the rest of the day, my ego a bit inflated.

i think that most would describe me as outgoing. last friday, i was told that i talk a lot, but i would have to disagree with that. i only talk a lot to this particular person because she hardly talks at all! i loathe awkward pauses in conversations, so when she looks at me and says nothing , i feel it necessary to say something. am i outgoing and willing to strike up a conversation with anyone? most definitely. do i talk incessantly just to hear the sound of my own voice. no. (at least i hope not anyway.)

another adjective that i believe most people would attach to me is 'positive.' unfortunately, i disagree with this one, although i do put on a good front. my faith in God keeps me going through the tough times which i won't get into here. let's just say that we've faced our share of incredible health issues (aka husband with a brain tumor) and i'll leave it at that. i believe that God has a reason for it all and that's where most may see me as positive. i, myself, am not a "glass 1/2 full" gal although i lead people to believe it a lot of times. after all, who wants to hear about all of the bad stuff going on in my life? or who really cares that i feel like the world is crashing down? okay, there are a handful of people out there, but the majority of society could give a poop. so, when asked about things, i put a smile on my face and say, "well, we'll make it through. we always have and we will again!" waa laa -- fake positivity. i'm good, aren't i?

let's go with the looks route. unlike the student who described me as 'pretty,' i would say i'm more average. i'm not a rock star, but i'm not someone you shudder at either. i'm normal looking although i would say that my body looks fairly good for having had 2 babies. my body isn't what it used to be back in the day, but i am back down to my pre-pregnancy weight which is nice. i dream of the day i'm down to my wedding day weight, but i know that i will never see that size again. that's okay. i think i may look a little anorexic if i got back down to 120 lbs. i'm happy with my body and i don't look too bad, if i do say so myself.

i'm anxious to hear what my fellow wonder women have to say about me. and to those of you who don't know me irl (in real life), let me know what you think too. i'm curious to see how my writing portrays my personality.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I Wonder What My Last Meal Would Be?

Thanks to reader NJaney for a FFAF topic for me (FFAF, I think you all know, is Free For All Friday).

It’s 2021. I’m 43. I’m caught red-handed attempting to assassinate a well-known American politician (who also happens to be a, well, a really bad person) in a far away, unknown country. Although my mission was assigned to me by my employer the CIA (didn’t you know?), when I am extradited to my own country for trial the CIA denies my existence and I realize they’ve set me up for a patsy. I’m tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang at dawn. They give me the slip of paper on which I write my last meal request. What do I choose?

Oh, man. Well, let’s see, I love me some filet mignon. Tasting a medium rare juicy pink filet, wrapped in bacon, tender and practically mooing, is like angels crying on your tongue. That with a salad of crisp Romaine, carrot shavings, chunks of bleu cheese and diced hard-boiled eggs, baked potato with tons of butter, salt and pepper, and a hot yeast roll with honey butter – accompanied by a Blue Moon beer with an orange in it. Dessert would be an ever so slender slice of cheesecake, drowning under a sea of juicy raspberries, with a tiny glass of dessert wine. That could do me.

Or. My mama’s lasagna, mmm grazie. Sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce, layers and layers of light sheets of pasta with mushrooms and cheeses and meats all mixed up in it. A crusty French loaf with olive oil and balsamic to dip it in, and asparagus just tossed into boiling water for a minute, with oil and salt and pepper drizzled on top – round it out with a glass of pinot noir, finish it off with a cup of lemon gelato and an espresso, and I’d die happy.

Well, of course there's my favorite English meal. Sausage and mash, with the thick heavy English sausage, and mounds of garlic butter mashed potatoes, drizzled with onion gravy. Sweet peas would be my side, along with a Killian's draught in a genuine old English pint glass, and of course HP Brown sauce to dip it all in. I'd finish it off with chocolate bread pudding with custard and an Irish coffee, oh yes.

But no. No no no, it must be coconut shrimp, skewered and grilled, crispy on the outside and hot and tender on the inside. With jasmine rice, hot conch fritters, and thick slices of sweet potato, green pepper, onion, and yellow squash, grilled on a rosemary stick for flavor. I’ll take that with a margarita, on the rocks, extra salt, the way I like it (along with MSO Rin, who introduced me to the best, no, the ONLY way to have a margarita). Dessert would be a thick slab of coconut cake with chocolate sauce for dipping, and a coffee with plenty of full cream and a spoonful of sugar.

Oh my god. I am so hungry. I have to stop before I eat my shoe. Have a great weekend - peace and love to ya! G

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dreaming the Dream

I've had my dream job twice now. Luckily for me, I realized both times that I loved what I was doing while I was doing it. Unluckily for me, I'm not doing either at the moment.

C'est la vie, and all that. Is this not the definition of maturity - sacrificing immediate pleasure for the greater long-term good? One day, one or both of those jobs will be mine - or perhaps another that is completely fulfilling and nourishes my soul and makes me bound out of bed in the morning, ready to face the day.

Aw heck, even when I had a job I loved I did NOT bound out of the bed. I am not a bound out of bed type of person, I am a roll out of bed last minute and try to take a shower and brush my teeth and dress without opening my eyes kind of person.

Anyway, let me tell you just a bit about the jobs I loved, because I love even thinking about them. The first was work as a naturalist at an outdoor center near Cincinnati. I taught small children classes about nature, recycling, and pioneer life; I performed in evening reenactments about the UnderGround RailRoad; I led children on canoe trips, hikes, horse rides, high ropes courses, mountain bike trail rides, camping trips. I taught kids about compost, about camping, about pioneer tools, and about sleeping out under the stars, on a tarp, no tent (LOTS of bug spray required). In summers I did big trips with them, and as I white water rafted down the Gauley River in West Virginia, I marveled that I was GETTING PAID FOR THIS. One memorable day, I had taken my kids to the camp's tallest climbing wall - about 60 feet. One by one my girls all went up to the top of the wall, tagged the flag, and rappelled down. And then, up came my little blind camper. She strapped on the gear and stepped on the first handhold, and I belayed her up and called out directions to guide her hands and feet. I was pretty certain she wouldn't go far - she couldn't see! A crowd of girls slowly gathered around me, teenaged girls, girls who tended to be nasty to one another and form cliques and be difficult as girls that age do. It started slowly, with just a "You can do it" here and a "You go!" there. By the end, the girls were screaming for this blind climber to make it. By themselves they delegated one leader to instruct the climber on where to step, while the rest of them banded together and made up cheers for her. What had taken the sighted girls 10 minutes took this girl at least 45, but she never tired, and she didn't quit, and neither did her cheerleaders. She made it to the top. I actually cried.

My second job that I loved was working in a bakery by day and acting by night. I got up at 5 in the morning - yes that's five a m - and headed into the bakery by 6:00. I was in there alone, listening to the radio and making cookies and bread and cinnamon rolls, until the owner of the bakery arrived at 9am. She and I worked together until 3, and then I left for the day and would usually take a long leisurely run through the Indiana pasture, or down by the Ohio River. I'd shower, write some poetry or letters, and then head to rehearsal by about 7 pm. We'd rehearse until late, and then I'd go home and collapse into bed. The best thing about that job?? I had worked normal hours Tues-Thurs, worked Friday from 6am to 9pm, worked two hours Saturday, and had Sunday and Monday off. Something about having Monday off was just the greatest schedule ever.

Aaaah, those were the days. Flexibility, variety, autonomy, creativity . . . it was wonderful. One day, one day, I'll have that back.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I Wonder When My Dream Job Will Come Along?

I think I am a pretty typical 30 year old woman in that I have absolutely no clue what I want to be when I grow up. It's funny, I think, how it seems like you either know exactly what you want to do or you have no idea.

When I was a little kid, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a doctor. People were always impressed by this answer and I spent a lot of time as a kid watching surgery shows, reading medical books, and plotting out my path to success. However, things don't always work out the way you plan them. I had a professor in college who basically told every woman in the room that they would never be doctors and he promptly gave D's and F's to every single one of us. It was a great motivational tool, I suppose, for some of the women. For me, it made me hate the subject of chemistry and opened my eyes to other professional options.

The college that I attended was a liberal arts school and required students to take various types of classes. I hated Philosophy and Theology, but I loved Communication. I got paired with a faculty advisor who basically told me I was the greatest thing since sliced bread and my love of people made Communication seem like an obvious major. I took all sorts of classes and started to plot my professional plan.

Once I got out into the real world, reality hit me square in the face. My plan basically shifted from thinking about what I wanted to do with my life to what would pay the bills. I got a job in customer service and while it was a good match for my personality, I absolutely hated dealing with angry people all the time. I got promoted to sales within that same company and I hated that more anything. I am definitely not a "works well under pressure" kind of gal. I mean, I can get the job done and I was really successful, but all the money in the world didn't make up for the fact that I was waking up in the middle of the night freaking out about contracts and what I needed to sell to hit my goal the next day.

After the dream of being a doctor fizzled out, I started thinking that event planning would be my dream job. Then I realized that the hours involved would mean that I would never see my husband and that if I ever decided to have kids, I would never see them. I think it would be a lot of fun to work with people to plan some of the biggest events of the careers and lives, but the hours just don't cut it for me. Now I am back to working in a job that pays the bills. It isn't a particularly stressful job, but it does have its days. I am certain that this job isn't one that was ever on my list of dream jobs. However, at least there is an end in sight and I am working toward what has become my new dream job -- kept woman sitting by the pool eating chocolate chip cookies all day. That's a joke, people! My dream job right now is to be a stay-at-home mom (though my husband thinks I would be insanely bored) and a photographer of some sort.

My dream job is definitely a few years off, but it is in the works and that is what keeps my going right now. For now, I'm content to dream.