Thursday, February 28, 2008

**Sorority Girl Programming Note!**

Monday, 3 March 2008 (when the Hades did it get to be March? Nobody cleared that w/me, I'll tell ya!), is National Panhellenic Badge Day.

Wear 'em, ladies!

Wonder no more. Here's what I envy (today).

· People who aren’t crazy-busy at work (so you’re off the hook, super jane).
· People who aren’t in the thick of searching for five new co-workers.
· People with short, chic haircuts (so you’re soon to be on the hook, Wicked M).
· People whose husbands don’t have bad colds.
· People whose homes are cleaned by someone else.
· People who have the disposable income to pay for said someone else to clean said homes.
· People who already know what they’re having for dinner (so you’re off the hook, G Love).
· People who get to go out for dinner.
· People who have balmy, sunny weather out their windows (so you’re on the hook, Kat).
· People who put time, effort, and creativity into their posts (so y’all are all on the hook, WW!).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

today's envies

i had emailed my fellow wonder women late this afternoon telling them that i wouldn't be able to post today. i'm having some serious issues with my job and i was so stressed out today that i didn't eat. all day. not even a dip inside the candy jar which is huge for me. but tonight, as i hear my girls splashing around in the bathtub i thought i would take a break from folding laundry to write my post. because if ever i were envious of anyone, today would be the day.

my bff tara and i talk about this topic frequently. mostly, we are envious of others' money and material goods. aren't we all though? both tara and i have nice houses with nice things furnishing them. we have food on the table and a few extra yummy goodies stored in the pantry. they are things we don't need, but want. and we are blessed to be able to have them. there are more days than not though when we turn to what we wished we had. we look at our sisters and envy their vacations...and their clothes...and their vehicles. we look at our friends and envy that they are in occupations that they love. when will we find all of those things that others around us seem to have? it's all human nature, i suppose - to want what everyone else around us has. to see the blessings given to others while taking our own for granted.

let me bring it back to today though. who do i envy today?
1) millionaires who did absolutely nothing in order to acheive their wealth.
2) people who know their jobs inside and out and feel comfortable in their professional shoes.
3) mothers who enjoy cooking and have no problem whipping up a healthy, home cooked meal in minutes.
4) homeowners with the decorating style to make their homes look like the pages of 'better homes and garden'
5) moms who don't have to yell, "PLEASE DO NOT SLAM THE DOOR. WATCH YOUR SISTER'S FINGERS!" twenty times while trying to type on the computer for 10 minutes.
6) wicked m for the sheer fact that she is probably relaxing at home and eating cheetos right now instead of shouting orders to "PLEASE STOP SLAMMING THE DOOR!" i long for the quiet nights i used to have sometimes.
7) mso rin for her enthusiasm - her constant enthusiasm for life. after my day today, do you think you could ship me a package of your zest, rin? i can really use it right now.
8) g-love for gentleness. she's got a growing baby inside of her belly and i miss the gentleness of how i felt as a new mother. there are nights like tonight when my day has been so rough that i don't have the patience, the sympathy, the love that i need for my own babies.

yes, friends today was a very trying day and i think i envy nearly everyone who isn't in my shoes. but that's today. and i certainly hope that tomorrow is a different story.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Wonder What I Envy?

Envy. It’s one of the seven deadly sins. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s fillintheblank, but who doesn’t? Who doesn’t look at that green green grass over there, and forget to notice her own garden? Well, me, because I’m perfect.

Just kidding. I covet, all over the place.

I covet super jane’s faith. Wicked M’s photography skills. MSO’s wit.

I covet Darlin’s focus and quiet certainty. Sass’s easy attitude. Schmitten’s naptime. Schmupp’s boundless energy.

I covet a non-pregnant woman’s wine and martinis and Brie and cold cuts and stomach muscles. Her quick and coordinated body. Her usefulness. I envy a mother her labor experience, done, lived through, a mark on her history, a moment of triumph, her children the badge of bravery. I envy a single and childless woman’s freedom to go anywhere, live anywhere, be anyone.

I covet the old-marrieds’ years together. I covet the newly-engageds’ enthusiasm.

I want to be a college student again, and have my 20s to look forward to. I want to be 90 years old, a great-grandmother, and have a wonderful life to look back on.

I want to be rich, and know a luxurious life on yachts in the Caribbean and ski resorts in the Alps. I want to be poor, and know that I have nothing at all to lose. I want to be British and have a great accent. I want to be Heidi Klum and have a great body. I want to live in St. John and flourish on conch fritters and Coronas.

I envy the actor, musician, Peace Corps missionary, writer, exotic locale tour guide, and naturalist her career. I envy investment bankers, CEOs, and Steve Jobs their money. I am jealous of George Clooney’s, John Corbett’s, and Paul Bettany’s girlfriends.

In almost every life I see, I notice something that I would like to have. Some days, when I’m not feelin’ the mental health, it makes me a little sick inside to think of what they have that I don’t. Most days, when I’m feeling good, this becomes an opportunity to appreciate someone else’s life choices, their downfalls and windfalls.

I know there’s a lot growing in my own garden that others look upon with a sigh of desire. A happy marriage, in the first bloom of love. A loving pair of animals, in perfect health. A home of our own. A large and loving family, both in blood and in law. A new soul, about to be born, whose body I created inside my own. A lovely blue room waiting for him.

These are the seeds I sowed. And I can sigh with pleasure and a little longing when I look at somebody else’s little patch of grass, but I know deep down that if I were standing there, I’d be looking at what I’d left behind and sighing just as loudly.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Wonder What I Envy

I am not typically a jealous person (unless you are some woman trying to put the moves on my husband -- then? You are dead). I do think that we are friends with certain people for certain reasons and I believe that we also seek out friends who possess qualities, beliefs, experiences, etc. that are different from our own. In finding these friends, we forge strong relationships, learn from them and we become better people. I believe that each Wonder Woman has things about her that are uniquely her own and I love those things about her. And sometimes I am a little bit envious.

I have always been envious of super jane's knowledge that she would always be a mother. I still distinctly remember having a conversation with her while we were still in college -- we were talking about her older sister's children -- and super jane went on and on about how much she loved those kids and about how she could not wait to have children of her own. I was so envious of her surety and confidence. super jane is one of those women that motherhood comes easily to and she wears her badge of motherhood with true pride. She excels at it in every way. super jane is also someone who handles every situation with dignity and grace. She is patient, faithful, and compassionate. Even in the face of extreme adversity, she can see the forest for the trees and she can see the clouds breaking in the distance. She is an eternal optimist and for that I am truly envious.

MSO Rin makes me green with envy for her intellectual wit and her easy laugh. She is rarely met with an obstacle that she cannot immediately see past and she crushes through tough situations with a strength that I am not sure she quite knows she possesses. She is a get-up-and-go kind of girl and she rolls with the punches like no one else I have met. She is a truly thoughtful advice giver and always finds time for her friends. She makes a true effort to stay in touch with distant friends and she is one of the most sarcastically mean (in a nice way!) people I know. She makes people laugh at the drop of a hat and she has wisdom beyond her years. MSO Rin also has a truly unique perspective on the world and I am grateful for the times that she has enlightened me from her viewpoint.

g love is someone that I envy for her many gifts. She is a multi-hyphenate-performer (singer, dancer, actress, etc.) and she is truly a wonder. Her sweet voice is one that I remember singing sweetly at a friend's wedding and at sorority events in college. Her ability to take a piece of music, a poem, or a monologue and completely inhabit the piece is something that makes me green with envy. Her gypsy soul is something that I relate to, but her ability to just go do the things she wants is what amazes me. She never sees the "real world" as an obstacle to her doing what she loves, being where she loves, and living the way she truly wants. In the few months, I have watched her go from a semi-carefree married woman to a woman having a surprise baby. She has handled that situation with an enthusiasm and gusto that I am in awe of. If it had been me that that had happened to, I would probably still be on my bathroom floor crying. g love just pulled herself up by the bootstraps and carried on -- all the while truly seeing the glorious situation for what it is -- a blessing.

Each of these women is a blessing to me. I had to stop myself from writing a million words about each of them in order to keep this post to a readable length! These Wonder Women truly are remarkable. I am lucky to count them as friends, to know them as they truly are in real life, and to be able to learn from them on a daily basis.

p.s. I have every intention of writing the funny things I am envious of about each of these women as they post their entries this week. So, stay tuned because there is some funny stuff coming in the comments section!

Friday, February 22, 2008

... Except It Wasn't Even a Date, So Why Am I Complaining?

Me? Not a big dater. First kiss: with a boy (who may very well be a felon now) I was sporadically “going with” (it was the late ‘80s), outside my house at midday, on a dare, at twelve. First boyfriend: a boy in my church youth group, whom I had to chase for a summer first, at seventeen. There were no dates that I can recall before JBar and I became a couple—we just … became a couple. And there were no dates at all, with anyone, between first kiss and first boyfriend (no other kisses, either, so this is getting depressing. Let’s move on).

I may have mentioned (a time or two or twenty-five) that I was once hopeless over a boy (he’ll never be a man, or even a guy, in my book) who shared my birthday. He was the first person I’d met in my life who carried that dubious honor—it only made me swoon for him more. We were together a lot in the theatre building for classes and shows, and he was two years my junior. And so charming and beautiful and mischievous and (for most of my unrequitedness for him) taken with a silly little Twit Barbie of a girl (she’ll never be a woman, or even a chick, in my book) with whom he had the standard college break-up-make-up drama. We had kissed, once, around Homecoming, but not much else happened all of Fall Term outside of the electricity that sparked between us whenever we were together. Oh, yeah—he called me once over Christmas Break, and sent me a card after I sent him one. Big doin’s.

After Formal Recruitment that year, during one of the longer break-up times w/Twit Barbie, it became clear that his roommate had a thing for one of my roommates. My roommate wasn’t quite sure she was interested in his roommate, but she knew how much I felt for P. and so a double-date was arranged, mostly by the roommates. Hey! Let’s all four go out to dinner at the new Mexican place in Upper M. … on the birthday! Genius! Yay! A double-date! P. and I had been flirting and bickering and deeply conversing and whatevering for months now, and he had always known how much I liked him; I was so excited that he must finally like me back.

I still remember exactly what I was wearing and how nervous I was as K. and I waited for the boys (if anyone else in the world will always be a boy, it’s P.’s roommate) to pick us up. From the moment they pulled into the sorority-house parking lot, we both knew something was … off. J. was being way too nice to me (he was usually only nice to K. and a sarcastic prick to the rest of the universe), and P. was way too chatty and giggly. K. sat up front w/J. and spent a lot of the drive looking around her seat at me with “What the heck is going on here?” glances, while I shot back my best “He’s freaking me out but I think he might hold my hand any second now so I think it’ll be OK” eyebrow raise. (He didn’t, by the way.)

By the time we got to the Mexican restaurant, I had figured it out. P. was drunk. As in six-pack-of-Bud-Light-by-himself-in-the-space-of-thirty-minutes drunk. And at the dinner table he proceeded to turn from the kind of drunk where everything’s fun and funny and happy and "Ooh, isn’t this the best salsa you’ve ever had?" to the kind of drunk where screaming “Hey, garcon! I mean, chico!” and snapping your fingers after the server is not only acceptable but everyone else in the restaurant should make sure to see and hear you do it. The rumor was that this Mexican restaurant served alcohol but didn’t check ID (very important to collegiates who live on a dry campus and the now-obvious reason we went there)—the reality was that the restaurant didn’t yet have its liquor license. As√≠ que ningunas cervezas. Happy birthday???

I had it so bad for this boy that after he yelled at the server a second time and after K. and I went to the bathroom and she could only say, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, are you OK?” while I stared at myself in the mirror, focusing on my flaming cheeks—I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been so mortified, really—and after he almost passed out onto the table before our food even arrived … after all of that, I had it so bad for him that I think I went into mild shock over his actions. I went numb. I don’t remember anything else about that night. I really don’t. Not a single thing. It’s like our food arrived and I was instantly transported into the future.

And then days later, still walking around like a bit of a zombie, I heard that he didn’t know I thought it had actually been a date and that he hadn’t thought it was a date. I continued to like him (a little less unrequitedly) for almost an entire calendar year after that.

Yay for dating! Who else is glad we Wonder Women never, ever, ever have to do it again?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

romance in aisle 5

thankfully, i haven't really had any truly bizarre dates. i dated just a bit in high school and most of those dates were actually pretty nice. i started dating super jas in december of my freshman year of college, so i didn't really have the opportunity to "date" boys before he came along. i liked to flirt with the boys in college and dance and hang out and kiss them in the fraternity houses, but i never got serious with any of them. besides, most dates in college consisted of a walk to the point on campus that overlooked the river. not too much can go wrong on those dates. i am very impressed with g-love though. she went on an actual, real live, honest to goodness date in college. i gotta give the girl props for that!

my worst date ever wasn't really that bad. i had a major, major crush on this boy in high school named thad. i was a sophomore and he was a senior. and he was the valedictorian and the homecoming king and a total cutie with blonde hair and blue eyes. a lot of girls wanted to date this boy and so when a girl in my geometry class asked if i wanted her to set me up with him, i responded with an enthusiastic "yes!"

he picked me up one friday night in his truck which was fine enough. i lived in southern indiana, folks, and it's nearly against the law to not own a truck. plus, i drove one myself, so i had no right to judge. we drove to a town 30 minutes away to grab a bite to eat. we ate pizza over strained conversation. he was really quite shy and i was really quite shocked that i was ON A DATE WITH THAD, so the conversation never really flowed for us. i, too, made several trips to the bathroom for a teeth check and - dare i say this - i actually flossed with a strand of my hair. yes, ladies and gentlemen, i was that desperate to get the pizza out of my teeth. besides, i was determined to kiss thad (yes, i kiss on the first date) and wanted to make sure the moment was perfect.

we had an hour or so before our movie began and this is where the date took a bit of an odd turn. instead of suggesting that we sit and chat at the pizza place, or walk around the city, or play arcade games at the theatre, thad suggests that we go to wal-mart to kill some time. i mean, i knew we lived in small towns and that going to the city was a treat, but wal-mart is still wal-mart, people, no matter how you try and cut it. but, what was i to do? i was on a dream date with my dream boat, so i obliged.

we perused the aisles of wal-mart for a good 30-45 minutes...looking at this...checking out that. he was a big outdoors man, so we hit the fishing and hunting aisle to check out the latest gear. i acted interested because i was ON A DATE WITH THAD and yet my heart just wasn't into the boy.

eventually, we made our way to the movie and had a good time. i even got my good-night kiss that i had been hoping for. we never really clicked, but we dated for a month or two, i think. (which, in my dating history, is like forever.) obviously, he wasn't the boy i daydreamed about in geometry class, but it was fun while it lasted. the kicker is that a good friend of mine ('hammond' for the ww) went out on a date with him later that year. and wouldn't you know it, he took her to wal-mart too! apparently, the boy finds all the romance in aisle 5.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm Just Putting Lotion on My Legs

I have three stories for you. None of them can match Wicked’s amazing adventures, and I’m a little jealous. You haven’t really lived until you’ve had a crazy man fall in love with you after one meal.

One of my worst dates was actually my first date ever. My parents were very strict, black-and-white rules kind of people, and they said I absolutely was not allowed to go on a date of any kind until I was 16 years old. So I didn’t. Even though I met Kris when I was 15, and he became my boyfriend then, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend for several months before I turned 16, I didn’t actually go on a date with him until after my 16th birthday. We decided to just go out to dinner in San Jose, which was a big deal because this meant he would have to take me IN HIS CAR on the HIGHWAY for at least 15 minutes. My mother hyperventilated about this, but like I said – black-and-white rules. They said 16, I was 16, and therefore they had to let me go. Anyway, I was seriously distracted for the bulk of the date, because I kept thinking “Oh my god. I’m on a date. What do I do? How is this different from just eating lunch together in the cafeteria? Am I doing it right? He’s 17, he’s been on dates before. He probably thinks I’m doing this wrong. Oh my god. I’m actually on a date. Oh my god.” When we were shown to our table, I didn’t know where to sit, so I sat next to Kris instead of facing him, and then got all embarrassed, sure that I should’ve sat ACROSS from him, and oh my god everyone is looking at how I sat down and they all can tell I don’t know what I’m doing and maybe I should move, should I get up and move? I knocked over various decanters full of liquid, including, I believe, some olive oil. I spilled spaghetti all over my outfit, because I hadn’t yet learned about appropriate First Date food. I could barely speak. It was a pretty miserable experience.

I had another interesting date experience much later in life. See, there was this guy whose parents I knew pretty well. I ended up working on a play with them just a few months after I had been dumped by my boyfriend. They discovered that I was their son’s age, and obviously single, so the teasing began. I’d never met this guy, but his parents kept telling me that we were destined to be, that I was going to marry him, and that really we should get around to arranging to meet so we could get on with all the marrying, etc. So this was all in good fun, and then came the weekend trip when I actually was going to be introduced to the guy. We did meet – under the watchful stare of his entire family. We were coincidentally sat next to one another at dinner. We were coincidentally sat next to one another at a play we attended later that evening. Our every conversation was monitored by folks who were trying very hard to act like they weren’t remotely interested. I felt like I was in a play. This wasn’t a bad date experience – just unique. It was like a blind date with the entire family along. Of course, 3 years later almost to the day, we did actually get married. So, you know, it ended well.

This last date experience is by far my weirdest, and I almost feel guilty writing this up because the guy was trying his best. But, here goes: so during my junior year of college I dated a few different people. In the springtime of that year, I got word through my former R.A. that one of her friends had noticed me in Latin class, of all places, and was really interested in me. Later that day, one of my sorority sisters said the same thing. We did the whole middle school round robin thing – do you like him? Check yes or no. And eventually it got back to him that I would be willing to try a blind date. Eh, he was cute enough, and he was pretty smart. I was open-minded. So, through the R.A. (whose name was Nicky), we arranged a double date at Pizza Hut. John, Nicky, and Nicky's boyfriend Sam would all pick me up together, and we'd have dinner.

They pulled up in a black SUV right on time, and I climbed in, pretty nervous but game. John was a sweetheart, a gentle giant who helped me in and out of the car and spoke to me very respectfully. My heart was getting a little melty - I like the nice guys. Then we get to Pizza Hut, and John began an evening of berating the waitstaff. He would look at me and ask, all peaches and cream, what kind of pizza I wanted, and then bark at the poor waitress to get it. I felt very uncomfortable about all this, but Nicky and her boyfriend helped smooth things over. To add to my discomfort, I got a huge piece of red pepper flake stuck in between my two front teeth, and repeated trips to the bathroom could not dislodge it. It wasn't too bad, I guess - I didn't really feel like smiling, what with all the yelling.

After dinner, we went back to campus, and John invited me to his frat house (Fiji, for the Wonder Women) where they were having a party. I went - what the hell, right? So we sat in his friend's room for a while (John didn't have a room there, he lived off campus.) John barely spoke, to me or anyone else. Everyone else was drinking, but John just had a Kool Aid, saying he didn't drink. This would have been great, if he hadn't continued to blurt out the story of his alcoholic father who left him and his mom when he was a kid. Um. That is sad, but perhaps not First Date material?

Then, at the stroke of 11pm, John got up and asked me to follow him outside. At the base of the steps, he leaned in close to me, pushed a piece of hair out of my eye, and then explained that he does not stay out later than 11pm and would be going home now, but he would call me later. Then he turned on his heel and left. He didn't even walk me home. This was a Saturday, by the way. Apparently the 11 pm curfew does not relax even for weekend college parties.

I thought that was it, but a few minutes later when I was back in my dorm, he called me. Odd, since I presumed he'd left to stick to his strict bedtime. I said "Hi, John. Um, how are you?" And he said, "I'm great. I'm just putting some lotion on my legs." Oh. Uh, cool.

And unfortunately, that is my worst date story. I was sharing this info with Darlin' last night, and asked him for his bad date stories. He didn't have anything good, either. Clearly, we did not date enough random people before we got married. We're going to have to start making things up if we want anything remotely interesting to tell our kids.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Wonder What My Worst Date Ever Was...

I am so that girl with all of the bad dating stories. I was single for most of my twenties and I had all of the dates. I had the blind dates, I had the set-ups by friends, I had the guys-I-met-online dates. After all of these bad dates, I was starting to think that there were no more normal guys out there, that there were no more good guys left out there, and that I would end up the single lady with a lot of cats. I do have one worst date that truly takes the cake, but I thought I would also share with you some of the little tidbits from my other truly bad dates.

There was the guy who I met online that had an adorable picture. His profile seemed to paint him as a nice enough guy. We talked via e-mail for a few weeks before I agreed to meet him for an early after-work drink. When I walked into the bar, I did not even recognize him. His pictures were certainly not of him and when he turned around to greet me, he had no neck. It looked like his head had been plopped on top of his shoulders like a bowling ball. It was so distracting that I drank my martini in record time, made small talk and then bolted. I felt bad because he was a nice guy, but the fact that he had posted pictures of himself that were not real was a big red flag.

You would think that no-neck guy would have been my last stop on internet dating. Apparently I was still thinking that the man for me was out there via the world of eHarmony. (Which he was, by the way! Hi, Superman!) Anyway, I meet this guy at a restaurant for dinner. He was an ex-marine, well-dressed, and quite polite upon first impression. However. As we sat down to our table and ordered drinks, he proceeded to lecture me on how many calories were in the drink I had requested. Then, as we were brought a bread basket, he proceeded to tell me how many carbs, fat grams, calories, etc. were in every piece of bread. As I placed my order for dinner, he then ordered the exact same thing I did (a salad, some pasta, and some chicken) but without the dressing, marinara sauce, and spices. As I was about halfway through my meal, he asked if I was ready to have it boxed up since eating the entire plate-full would be eating 8,456,743 calories. It was all I could do to not smack this guy. I mean, I get wanting to be healthy and wanting to eat nutritiously. However, I do not think it is okay to start lecturing people ON A FIRST DATE about what they are eating and how you are judging them for doing so. The funny part was that this guy called me for months after that first date trying to get me to go out with him again. I never spoke to him again and I vowed that every time he called I would eat a Twinkie just to spite him. Hey, it made me feel better at least!

Yet another bad date was with the brother of a co-worker. His name was Keith and Keith was clearly an alcoholic. We met for dinner and were told that our table was not ready yet. We sat at the bar and in the fifteen minutes we waited, Keith had four drinks. FOUR. During our meal, he had another six drinks and a bottle of wine. After dinner, I tried to persuade him to skip dessert and to call a cab. He refused and started yelling at me so that the people around us could hear. I had a friend who worked at the restaurant at the time and she helped me extract myself from the situation. Apparently, after I left, Keith stayed and had several more drinks and finally was instructed to leave with the help of a cabbie. On his way home, he called my cell phone about ten times leaving emotional messages about how I was the greatest person he had ever met and could we please go out again this weekend? Uh, no.

I could go on for days about these bad dates. One last bad date experience before the creme de la creme. I met this guy for lunch on a Saturday. He picked me up since he was a friend of a friend and I trusted their opinion. Oh, how wrong I was! We had a nice enough lunch that was basically all of his co-workers and us. What a lovely surprise that was! During lunch the guy proceeds to tell all of them that we have been dating for a while and that he had just been hiding me from them. -sigh- After lunch, I was expecting him to just drop me off. No. Instead he drove me around town for three hours just rambling and rambling. I was sending SOS messages to my friend at this point via text message, but because I did not know where we would end up, I could not tell her where to come and get me. It was a little scary! After the driving around and my begging to just be taken home, we pull into my parking lot and he informs me that he got us tickets to a concert that night. This was at about 5:00p and the show did not start until 9! He proceeded to sit in my apartment until 8 and we went to the show. During the show, he began proclaiming his undying love for me and at one point started to get down on his knee. No joke! I pulled him back up and told him that things were moving WAY too fast for me and that I needed to go home immediately. He took me home and the entire trip was spent with him asking questions about why he was not good enough. Had he not tried hard enough? Was he not good looking enough? Was he not successful enough? Was he not well-dressed enough? Oh. My. God. It was endless. He tried to kiss me when he dropped me off and I turned my head so that all he got was my cheek. This guy called for a solid year after that one date to try and get me to go back out with him. Relentless much? Needless to say, we did not end up together.

I got set up by my mom on several occasions and she did pretty well on most of the match-ups. However, one of the match-ups was an absolute disaster. This is the date that goes down in history as my worst ever. Ever. I was to meet the guy at a restaurant near my apartment. It was a later dinner due to my ridiculous work schedule at the time. He was already at the restaurant waiting for me when I arrived and as soon as I saw him, all I could think about was his shocking resemblance to Howdy Doody. This guy stuttered and stammered all through the meal about how pretty I was, how much he liked my outfit, and about how I was way out of his league. After I had made it fairly clear that we were not compatible by pointing out a few things that we did not have in common, he started going on and on about his ex-girlfriend. How he was totally in love with her, how she had left him, and how he couldn't live without her. He ever cried at the table. Cried! I almost felt sorry for the poor guy. But there was something just not right about him. Just off. Just creepy. Every girl knows what I am talking about. I just felt as if I gave him my home phone number (this was back in the day when I still had an actual home phone!) that he would start stalking me and would eventually tie me up in my closet or something while he sniffed my clothes. Cree-py. I ate in record time, ten minutes, and dashed out the door. I found out a few years later that Howdy Doody married the ex-girlfriend he was so in love with. Good for him. And good for me too!

I always like to think that all of these bad dates just helped me realize when a good date came along, but I really could have done without all of this weirdness and drama! I do have great stories though.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Wonder What I Will Do With the Long Weekend...

Long weekends overjoy me. I love the laziness of them, the sleeping in, the long days of watching bad television. I also love the staying out later than usual and the short weeks that follow them! I always wonder what everyone else does with their long weekends. I figure that we are not all that different.

This weekend should be fantastic. Tonight we are headed to our favorite restaurant for a celebration of sorts. We will be toasting to Superman's outstanding yearly review and to all of his hard work this past year. 2007 really put him through the wringer and the stellar review that he received is a true testament to his tenacity, intellect, drive and strength of character. He is an awesome man and he deserves to be celebrated.

Saturday will be a day of laziness, I am sure. We may run a few errands, we might not. The possibility that we might lay around in our pajamas is very high. We were scheduled to be having dinner at The Melting Pot on this night, but our plans got nixed when something else came up. Which leads me to Sunday. On Sunday we are meeting with a tax man who will hopefully explain to us the ins and outs of the insane U.S. tax system. I am hoping he is a miracle worker and that I can call and re-schedule our Melting Pot dinner as soon as that meeting is over. Otherwise, it will be mac & cheese and peanut butter sandwiches for a while for us. Fingers crossed he is a nice man and is not shady (but a miracle worker no less!).

Monday will probably be the best day of our long weekend. We get to sleep in on a Monday, which always feels a little like we are playing hooky, and then we will get to watch bad daytime television. All. Day. Long. I cannot wait. I love to sit in my pajamas, eat junk food, and laugh at the people that are beamed to me through the little cable box.

I think I am most excited about this long weekend because it is the second one we have had in two months' time! Never in my life have I had President's Day and/or Martin Luther King Day off, so I am taking full advantage of having these two long weekends. Let's hear it for long weekends!!

Post-Valentine's Post

No kitty ... no Adopt-a-Thon visit, even. The Boy wasn't as ready as he thought he was, but he's hopeful that a few months will make the difference.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Plans

1. Fall out of bed at 5:35A to drag my butt to the gym (thanks, W, for going out of town tomorrow so I have to do the two-days-in-a-row thing w/you).

2. Indignantly grab the card I got for The Boy and stuff it in my gym bag to write in at work. I do this indignantly b/c on 13 Feb. at 7:22P, The Boy asks, “You didn’t get me a card, did you?” I reply, “Are you asking me if I got you a card b/c you neglected to get me one? After I looked you in the eye a week and a half ago and said, ‘Even if we don’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day, you know you still have to get me a card, right?’” The rest of this conversation has been edited for length and content: it ended with my laughing, “You suck!” as we got ready for bed.

3. Get to work after the gym. Wait semi-patiently for The Boy to bring me coffee.

4. Get choked up at my desk. B/c he brings me my coffee, a 100-calorie pack of Doritos for my lunch, a chocolate-glazed donut, and a card. A very sweet, honest, heartfelt and romantic card.

5. Call The Boy and sheepishly thank him after getting caught being weepy, slightly freaking out one of my male faculty members.

6. Spend the rest of the day working and pushing chocolate on people. Ooh, and remember to write in The Boy’s card!

7. Go home and cook dinner—a new recipe from Real Simple that incorporates two of my favorite things: wine and olives. Give The Boy his card. Get some kisses.

8. Put a tape in the VCR for “Lost” and “Eli Stone.”

9. Head w/The Boy for the reason we need to tape “Lost” and “Eli Stone”: our celebration of Valentine’s Day.

10. Oh, do you want to know where we’re going? How we’re celebrating? Oh, sure! Well … the local Humane Society is having an Adopt-a-Thon today, tomorrow, and Saturday. And for Valentine’s Day, the adoption fee for little (and big) kitties is only $14. So. It’s been seven months that J has been meowing solo, so we’re gonna go check out bringing home a new friend for him!

11. Possibly begin the process of introducing J to the new kitty.

12. Go to bed late. And possibly w/a very confused and irritated J sniffing outside the office door, wondering who the hell this new kitty is.

13. Get up tomorrow, go to work, and tell everyone we’ve ever met all about the results of the Adopt-a-Thon.

14. Polish off the leftover candy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

our plans for valentine's day.

we set our plans for valentine's day last week at the oral surgeon's office. bright and early at 9 tomorrow morning, super jas will have all 4 of his wisdom teeth removed. my mother-in-law is coming down this evening and will spend the night tonight so that she can take little mama to school in the morning. it's little mama's valentine's party at her school and i definitely don't want her to miss that.

so while little mama is opening valentine's cards from her school chums and eating candy hearts, i'll be sitting in the waiting room, flipping through outdated magazines, waiting for super jas to have yet another surgery done. yippee.

there will be no candlelight dinner (unless the power goes out as a result of the snow), no candy, and most likely no card either. we probably wouldn't even know it was valentine's day if we didn't have little mama reminding us every 4 seconds that her party is thursday. did you know it was thursday? huh? huh? huh? didja? didja? didja? because it is.

i did buy the girls each a little something to mark the occasion. a tiny box of chocolates, hannah montana shirts all around, and new [expensive] shampoo (hannah montana for little mama, high school musical for aj) will do just the trick.

as for me, i'll be caring for the love of my life, which, i suppose, is what valentine's day is all about. nothing says romance though like a drugged up husband with chipmunk cheeks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Wonder What We'll Do on Valentines Day?

On the 14th of February, 2004, I was laying on MSO Rin and stagexing’s couch in North Carolina, talking on the phone to my new boyfriend, who lived in Denver. We’d known each other only about 4 months, been dating about 1, and thus had been faced with the dilemma of what on earth to get each other, especially when we each made *almost* enough money to afford the phone call. If we skipped a meal. He sent me a fizzy bath bomb and the soundtrack to the movie we saw on our first date. I sent him lots of Hershey kisses and a mobile I made out of two hangers and magazine pictures of his favorite sexy movie stars (these included, if I remember, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, Monica Belucci, and some other gorgeous brunette). We talked for hours, and I remember him referring to a “love for the ages.”

On the 14th of February, 2005, my very serious boyfriend and I lived in apartments across the street from one another. We still didn’t make any money, so we couldn’t afford to go out to eat on the most expensive dining night of the year. So we made a deal – I would make his favorite dinner (breaded Southwest style catfish), and he would make a fancy dessert (um, frozen pre-made chocolate √©clairs, and so yes I knew from the beginning that I was not in love with a cook), and we would enjoy a romantic meal at home. I set the table as nicely as I could – I remember not having even two full place settings that matched, and the cups were plastic. But I bought some tea light candles, and one rose that I put in a bud vase, and we had a lovely meal on his rickety kitchen table that he had retrieved from a dumpster a few months prior. I covered it with a sheet and we pretended it was a fine linen tablecloth, and we were on the terrace of an Italian villa, clinking our crystal wine glasses and beckoning the help for a refill on the bread basket.

On the 14th of February, 2006, my very serious-and-why-hasn’t-he-proposed-to-me-yet boyfriend came over to pick me up at my newly bought house, which was about fifteen minutes from the apartment complex where he still lived. We made a little more money at this point, so though we still couldn’t afford to eat out, we were able to manage to buy tickets to the campus planetarium and watch the star show. The stars were lovely, and so was the night, and we wandered aimlessly through the barren rose gardens outside the planetarium for several minutes while I held my breath and waited for the proposal that didn’t come. When he took my hand and started to draw me towards the car, I sighed as yet another opportunity to become his bride slipped away, and we headed back to my house. He pulled the truck up into my driveway, and I saw that the trees surrounding my backyard patio were strung with twinkle lights, and there was a fire in my chiminea. He pulled me to the center of the patio, which was cleanly swept for once, and got down on one knee. My sister, who was my roommate at the time, waited in the house with three glasses of wine and our first engagement card. She had scattered tea lights and rose petals across the kitchen table.

On the 14th of February, 2007, from 7pm-11pm I was performing a preview of King Lear at a small women’s college in Raleigh. I slipped into bed after midnight, and kissed my husband good night, and whispered Happy Valentine’s Day. A couple of weeks later we were enjoying our delayed honeymoon in the Virgin Islands, so missing out on Valentine’s Day didn’t concern either of us too much.

On the 14th of February, 2008, I will be alone in the house for the first night all week. I will be making a coconut cake from scratch, in preparation for my husband’s arrival. He will be packing up his hotel room, readying to fly home the next day for a short visit. We still don’t have any money, but we’ll probably splurge and buy some minutes on the phone card so we can talk to one another that night (even though we’ll have spent the whole day talking to one another for free on our work computers.) My gift to him this year will be a free e-card. His gift to me will be to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, living on the cheap to be sure I have enough money for plenty of fresh and healthy food, so I can nourish our littlest Valentine.

Someday, and very soon, too, we’ll both be working full time. We’ll have the cash to hire a babysitter for Valentine’s night, and go out to a nice dinner, and maybe he could get me roses even though they’re ridiculously priced, and maybe I could get him a bottle of nice bourbon. I could dress up, with dangling silver earrings, and he could wear a tie, and we could enjoy a romantic night on the town.

But. I don’t think we ever will. Expensive dinners are for birthdays. Nice presents are for Christmas. Roses will come on random days, when he’s thinking of me, and we’ll be able to buy more nice bourbon as soon as we run out of the old bottle. Instead, I kind of hope we keep Valentine’s Day as our humble holiday. We’ll keep the tradition of eating at home, on plastic dinnerware, with a couple of candles lit. Maybe next year it will be a picnic on the living room floor, with Jackjack in a Bumbo seat drooling mashed carrots and Schmuppy Dog trying to lick his baby face clean. The Schmitten will be forcing herself into our laps, even though we’ll have plates full of food in her way. We’ll pick cat hair out of our mashed potatoes, and listen to Disney singalongs on the stereo, and our hearts will be full.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Wonder What We Will Do For Valentine's Day

Superman and I are not big on Valentine's Day. We never have been. I do not think it is due to a large hatred of the so-called "Hallmark Holidays", but I think it is mostly due to how expensive the holiday itself has become. Personally, I love the idea of Valentine's Day, but resent that a dozen roses can be up to 50% more expensive just because of this one day. Restaurants are booked months in advance, charge for every little extra, and sometimes set a special menu (and it is never what I would choose off of the menu! Why?!).

Since we have known each other, Superman and I have only spent one Valentine's Day together. (Which sounds really sad, but it is not because we have only known each other since 2005! How crazy is that?!) Our first Valentine's Day was spent apart due to our living in different states. That was the year we started the tradition of dining out at The Melting Pot either the weekend before or the weekend after the big Valentine's Day holiday. That was a year that he went all out with the flowers, cards and gifts. I think it was mostly due to it being our first Valentine's Day and the fact that we were thousands of miles apart and we were both lonely beyond compare. Our second Valentine's Day was spent together because we got snowed in. Actually, we got the day off from work because we got snowed in by DC/VA standards -- which means that we got something like six inches of snow and the world around us panicked beyond belief -- we spent the day at the Post Office applying for my passport so that I could accompany Superman on his international business trips. We traded Valentine's Day cards once we returned home and I fired up the fondue pot and we shared chocolate fondue for two on our living room couch. We had already been to The Melting Pot the weekend before Valentine's Day and had stuffed ourselves into oblivion. That did not, however, deter us from doing it again on that fateful Valentine's Day in the comfort of our own home.

So, I know what will happen at our house on our third Valentine's Day. There will not be bouquets of roses or big fancy dinners out. There will more than likely be cards (I do know that Superman will have a surprise waiting for him in the form of cards but that is only because I am slowly attempting to re-claim the title of Greatest Gift Giver Ever over the course of the entire year). There will probably be a dinner of some sort...Domino's Pizza maybe? I will probably bake Superman a heart shaped cake again this year and I have no doubt that some sort of wine will be part of our evening plans. I know that may sound boring, but I think that there is nothing better than spending some quality time with my spouse to show him just how much I love and appreciate him on the day of love, Valentine's Day.

And if that is not good enough there is always The Melting Pot this coming Saturday. So, really, Valentine's Day for us is more about taking a moment to celebrate us and to use the holiday as an excuse to stuff our faces at our favorite restaurant. Ah, romance.

Friday, February 8, 2008

My Best Birthday

Not to slag on the Reverend, but for a bit of my egocentric youth, I truly thought that we got a half-day off from school because of my birthday, not Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s. Especially the year I got to have a birthday party in the afternoon just after we came home from school.

I’m pretty sure I insisted on Jem everything (or maybe Barbie and the Rockers?) … plates, napkins, little cardboard cutout stuck to the top of the cake. And I’m pretty sure it was awesome. I don’t actually remember too much about the party or who was there besides my little sister Kat, my cousins S & O, and my on-off-on-off-on-off-way off BFF JB. I just remember—like G Love—the presents and the cake and the all-about-me-ness of the day.

So for a long, long while, that birthday was my favorite. Until last year. When I turned THIRTY.

It’s common knowledge that I don’t look 30, and working around the 18-24 demo actually helps. I blend in or something. So I was looking forward to being 30, leaving my angsty/unsettled/nomadic twenties behind. I crowed about my age to anyone who asked (and to a few folks who didn’t) and delighted in their reactions, which were always the same: “Really. No way! You certainly don’t look 30! Congratulations!” It was about a week of build-up and it was awesome.

Then came the big day—a day off from work (now I know to give credit where credit is due … thank you, Dr. King, but not just for my day off) that consisted of sleeping late, visiting Old Navy, making cupcakes for my dear friend so I could take them to her and meet her three-week-old daughter, and spending an inordinate amount of time getting ready to go out. A group of 10 or so of my friends met up at the Irish pub in town for dinner and I was showered w/presents even after I insisted I didn’t want anything but a homemade cake. It was lots of fun.

And then. Things. Got. Interesting.

A friend of mine shares my birthday, and it was his twenty-first. G insisted that I merge my party with his, and I figured, what the hell … you’re only thirty once, and it might be the last time you get to drink too much and act like an idiot without being judged for being too old for that kind of behavior. So we all—both parties—met up at the bar where all the theatre folk go. And then we went other places. And people bought us both drinks. And bought us more drinks. And The Boy, who had to be out of town for work, came home (on a much-delayed flight) at 2A to find his wife happy, barely coherent, and subsequently unable to go to work until 1P the next day. (I know the story seems anticlimactic, but when you … well … can’t quite remember what happened between 10P and 2A, it seems a little gauche to make stuff up.)

So even though I paid for it afterwards, I know that so far, my thirtieth birthday was the best. I rang out my twenties in rare form, and don’t need to drink that much in one evening ever again. Everybody wins!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

i wonder which birthday was the best?

i can't recall many birthdays. unfortunately, they all seem the same from one year to the next. i remember bits and pieces from various birthdays, but there hasn't been a hands down winner yet. like g-love said, maybe my best birthday is yet to come. like a whirl wind cruise for my 50th or something.

i do remember one birthday though that made me feel so special. i believe it was my 23rd...or was it my 24th? anyway, i was working at a university up north and all of my colleagues made me feel like a really special gal that day. one girl brought in a dozen donuts (my favorite food) while another celebrated by bringing in cupcakes. one dear friend gave me a necklace and yet another brought me a huge jar (think bulk, restaurant sized jar) of green olives (another of my favorite foods). i received countless cards and well wishes that day...

and it was nice. i haven't forgotten that feeling of being cherished and loved.

i wish every day were my birthday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Wonder What My Best Birthday Was?

Hmmm. I wonder indeed.

I adore my birthday, because I love attention, and cake, and presents. But it comes at an awkward time, landing right at the end of summer. It also lands right when my military dad always would have to start his new orders, meaning right when we would have to move to a new place. We had my sixth birthday at a Virginia Beach McDonalds, because the house was already packed up and empty and we had to leave town for our new house in California that day. I was six, the age of living in the moment, so I had a great time, but I do remember waving to my friends and my babysitter out the back window as we left and not totally realizing that I would not be seeing them again.

I turned sixteen in a hotel room in California. All seven of us shared one room, because we had to stay there for three months until the people moved out of our house, and two hotel rooms was too expensive. I hadn't yet started my new school, so I didn't have friends yet, but my parents did their best with the situation. We had 99 cent Whoppers for dinner, and then a grocery store cake at the hotel. They gave me a shirt with a sunflower on it, and the Led Zeppelin boxed set.

My twenty first birthday was a quiet family dinner round the kitchen table and some roller blades. No mention was made of alcohol. I rolled my eyes internally about this, but there was nothing I could do!

My twenty fifth birthday was a bittersweet one. A handful of friends drove from all corners of the Midwest to meet me at a dance club, and I danced and drank and laughed, and then spent the night crying on my girlfriends' shoulder about having been dumped only a few months before. It was a turning point in my grief over those dead dreams, and I mark it as the day I really grew up.

When I turned twenty six, I threw a very lame party that no one came to except family. That was embarrassing.

Then things started looking up.

My twenty eighth birthday, Darlin' and I had a wedding shower, which meant I got almost no birthday presents but tons of wedding presents, and a present is a present, people! My twenty-ninth birthday, we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant where I told him we were having a baby and then got drunk on Sprites. For my thirtieth birthday, which falls on Labor Day this year, I was originally going to go visit Darlin' in Brazil and see for the first time the country that has claimed my husband so many months. Now he's coming to visit me instead, to see how much his little son has grown. I am fully expecting a party, by the way, dear.

So, looking back over my life, it would be hard to choose my best birthday. I'm going to say that my best birthday . . . is yet to come. Perhaps this year? Darlin'? Sass? What do we think, surprise party for Mama G?

Monday, February 4, 2008

I Wonder What My Best Birthday Was...

*Wicked M here. I will now be your hostess on Mondays. Welcome to twelve weeks of wicked, wicked goodness.*

This wonder is an easy one for me. It is easy mostly because I just returned from three-and-a-half days of birthday celebration in Las Vegas, baby. My husband, the ever brilliant Superman, concocted this birthday surprise for me sometime around Thanksgiving. He was in cahoots with my best bud, MSO Rin, and together they agreed that whisking me off to my favorite town in the U.S., Sin City, would be the best way to celebrate my 31st.

My husband is notorious for being the Best Gift Giver Ever. It is extremely annoying but also very satisfying at the same time. I mean, I would like to claim the title and all, but I sort of win anyway when I am the one receiving the gifts. So. That is how my 31st birthday turned into the best birthday I have ever had. Superman had this bright idea to invite MSO Rin and her husband to join us in the City of Sin. He surprised me at Christmas with the itinerary and MSO Rin and I furiously made plans all through January. Since she and her husband had never been before, I tried to impart some of my Vegas (baby!) wisdom before we left. Wear comfortable shoes. Do not under any circumstances take a card from the men on the street corners. You know, the basics.

Anyway, we arrived on Thursday and planned our attack on Vegas (baby!). I bought Elvis sunglasses. We oohed and aahed over the lobby of the Bellagio. We gasped at the frescoes in The Venetian. We stuffed ourselves at the Flamingo buffet. We walked our feet off and saw as much of the Strip as we possibly could in the time we had. We laughed our biscuits off. My cheeks still hurt from smiling so much. We toasted my birthday with a fabulous meal (and several bottles of wine) at Canaletto at The Venetian. I got to wear the most fabulous sparkly sequined dress ever. We played roulette and tried to spin the wheel on the giant Wheel of Fortune slot machines. We took funny pictures and laughed ourselves to sleep. It was perfection. 31 started off with quite a bang.

**This wonder was inspired by Superman asking me no less than 4000 times whether or not my 31st had been my best birthday ever. I honestly cannot think of a birthday where I had more fun or laughed harder. I cannot think of a birthday where I was in my favorite place in the world with three of my favorite people in the world at the same time. I will say that the year my Dad made a Pin the Tail on the Groundhog game for my friends and me to play is a pretty close second. I mean, that is creativity! However, Vegas (baby!) wins hands down.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I Wonder What Havoc Wicked M & MSO Rin Are Wreaking on Vegas Right This Second?

You can speculate all you want, but when they return, they’re never telling.