Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions…

Every year, I say I'm not going to make a list of resolutions, but then I do. I'll probably fail at better than 50% of them, but hey, at least my intentions are good, so here goes...

1. I resolve to color outside the lines more often, and use the brightest most obnoxious colors in the crayon box.
2. I resolve to eat more desserts, especially anything involving chocolate frosting.
3. I resolve to be more playful in mind and in spirit...and in bed.
4. I resolve to dance like no one can see that I dance like a middle-aged white woman who can’t let go of the 80's.
5. I resolve to stop wearing black all the time (doubtful this one will come to pass.)
6. I resolve to give up my hidden stash of chocolate (also doubtful.)
7. I resolve to quit hounding my daughter about cleaning her room, and just shut the door once in a while.
8. I resolve to try to stay up til at least 10pm every night (instead of crashing at 8pm.)
9. I resolve to stop sweating all the small stuff, thus saving more energy for the really big stuff.
10. I resolve to make time for the things that I love that I never seem to have time for anymore.
11. I resolve to stop procrastinating about I don’t--never going to happen.
12. I resolve to engage in more heartfelt belly laughs.
13. I resolve to let go of relationships that are 75% effort on my part, and 25% effort on the other person’s part.
14. I resolve to spend more one on one time with my daughter, whether it be playing chess, or rummy, or just hugging her extra tightly.
15. I resolve to hold hands with Bill whenever I have the opportunity, and make every kiss count.
16. I resolve to call my family more often.
17. I resolve to let go of life’s pettiness and drama, and concentrate on what is really important.
18. I resolve to focus on my contributions to the world around me, instead of just the lack of contributions of others.
19. I resolve to breathe more deeply, and stop to recognize the beauty around me.
20. I resolve to make every moment count, good, bad or otherwise because the sum of those moments are what makes us who we are.
To each of you, I wish you every a new year filled with joy and laughter, good health and happy moments. We have all earned a good year, I think, so let's try to make it as wonderful as possible.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And that’s Why Christmas should always come with cocktails…

I love Christmas. Want to know why? Because a couple of decades ago I decided to remove the real stressor of the holiday season – people who piss me off. Christmas for me has come to mean time with my daughter and my husband, my animals, my friends, my family when we can get together, although we all have our own families now, so it's a little tough. I fill my holiday time with laughter, and long heartfelt chats, and cocktails...lots of cocktails. For me, Christmas is a celebration of life and all that with which I have been blessed. I’m not a religious person, but I do love to reflect on the spirit of the holiday. I’ve even been known to go to a Christmas Eve service once in a while. Is there any time of the year that is more wonderful than Christmas Eve? Not for me.

It makes me sad to hear how completely frustrated and anxious people become this during the month of December. I understand that for some, their angst may be family or other people who loom large in their life. And yet, for others it’s the endless cadre of idiots behind the wheel of a car, or barrelling through the shopping malls without a thought or a care for anyone who gets in their way. It's all about them, no one else. Everyone’s “trigger” comes in a different form. Whatever form it comes in for you, you should exorcize it from your holidays, LIKE RIGHT NOW.

I think somewhere in the holiday mayhem, it is easy to forget one simple but profound tidbit. No matter what you celebrate – Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (pick one) – that time of the year is supposed to be, well, fun. It’s a time to reflect on your life and take stock in all the things that are near and dear to your heart. It’s not about dreading the arrival of your in-laws, or dealing with your great aunt who insists on intruding into every aspect of everyone’s life, or listening to your grandmother ask one more time about when you are going to settle down. It’s not about the gifts, or who makes the best cookies, or whose spouse has been the most overzealous in his gift purchases. Take my word for it, no one really cares. Quite frankly, there is little more irritating than those who are constantly trying to “one-up” everyone around them in order to make them feel better about themselves. Not only is it annoying, it’s just plain sad. Those folks need to just be thankful they have someone in their life who cares about them that much. Chances are, if they need to declare that loudly what they have or what they got, then I am guessing the one thing they are sorely lacking are real friends.

Holiday shopping your stressor? Don’t do it. Order what is absolutely necessary (say, for your kids) online and leave it at that. Years ago, my family made a decision that the adults would not buy each other presents. The only presents we buy are for each other’s children. You know what? It took about 80% of the holiday madness out of my life. And really, what do any of us really need anyway? I know, as for myself, I can go out and get anything I really need on my own. And eliminating the endless gift buying cuts down on what ends up being everyone exchanging the same money between each other, be it a present, a gift card, or cash. Really feel like giving someone something for the sake of giving? Bake some cookies, knit a scarf, or better yet, how about giving some of your time to that person. I guarantee it will mean more to them than any gift you could possibly give.

If it is family that sets your hair on fire and makes you wish Christmas would just go away then I have an idea. Don’t spend Christmas with your family. Plan a trip, or just stay at home and spend the holiday with someone who DOESN’T make your life hell. If you’re not enjoying the time, then you need to do something else with it. There is one thing the holidays are not supposed to be, and that is miserable.

The holidays are about children, and watching their faces light up on Christmas morning. It’s about meeting up with friends for some special time together. So often that little bit of time spent together reminds you of how lucky you are to have such incredible people in your world on a day to day basis. I am blessed with some amazing friends, and an extraordinary family. I wish the same for everyone else. I make sure that every Christmas is exactly how I want it to be, and that it is a happy and joyous occasion. Tomorrow is promised to none of us, and that simple fact is not lost on me. Make the most of this holiday season, and do the things YOU want to do. I promise you will return to work on January 2nd not feeling drained and exhausted.

May the peace and joy of this holiday season fall like snow on you and your families. To my closest and most trusted friends, I could not imagine my life without each and every one of you crazy fools. To my family, you will never know how much I love and appreciate you, not just at Christmas, but every single day of the year. To my daughter, thank you for making every Christmas since you were born the most special holidays of all. And to my Bill, thank you for loving me unconditionally, with all your heart, and allowing me the room to be who I really am. You are my one true love, and you always have my heart in your back pocket.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ballad of Shakira

Ok, it has taken me some time to get over a somewhat traumatic situation that occurred, but I think I can get through it now without tearing up. It should be noted that the perpetrators of the horrible crime still have not been apprehended, but if I ever find out who caused me such worry and heartache, I shall make their lives a living hell, and I totally mean it. Paybacks are a bitch.

So I shall start at the beginning. I am in LOVE with the writings of a woman living in Texas known as The Bloggess. The first time I read her hilarious online column, it was a particular blog about a big metal chicken that she purchased in what I can only assume was a Homegoods store (the only place that would sell big metal chickens, or so I thought.) It made me want a big metal chicken of my very own. She named her big metal chicken Beyonce. I would name mine Shakira, keeping with the musical theme names. She tortured her husband Victor with this ginormous big metal chicken. I could see it adding a whole other dimension to my relationship with Bill.

The Friday after Thanksgiving my friends, Sherrel and Rich, left with me on what can only be described as a road/field trip to hunt down the perfect big metal chicken. I had seen an antique store in Lucketts, Virginia with literally hundreds of metal chickens, even one as tall as a house, but I didn’t have time to stop and look around. It was perfect thing to do on a bright sunny day. We decided to leave before we started drinking, probably a wise decision. And our road trip was indeed fruitful. Sherrel and I both purchased a metal chicken. While not as large as I had hoped, my metal chicken was completely adorable at about 18 inches tall. (Sherrel's was much smaller, more of a baby metal chicken. She named hers JayZ by the way.) So $36 later, Shakira was sitting in the back seat of Sherrel’s jeep, happily looking out the window. We went directly to one of our local watering holes, Shakira in tow, and ordered some wine (and a beer for Rich.) Shakira sat on the bar, and was the STAR. She’s a very social chicken.

I took her home so I could show Bill my chicken score. Funny, he wasn’t as excited about it as I was, nor did he find the hilarity of the situation of owning a metal chicken. I let him read the Bloggess’s blog about her Big Metal Chicken…still nothing. I would not be deterred. I put Shakira on the front steps of our house so I could show her off to the entire town of Manassas. Everyone would be so jealous, I just knew it.

The next day, I patted Shakira on the head as I walked out the door and went shopping. Upon my return, Shakira was GONE. A ransom note was wedged in the door, stating that Shakira had been kidnapped, instructions for payment of the ransom would follow. Damn my friends. Heads would roll for sure. I paid 36 bucks for that damn chicken. This wasn’t funny. Ok, it was mildly funny.

That night, I grilled them all over drinks. No one knew anything, and they all lamented about Shakira’s disappearance. The next thing I knew, Jackie, our server, came over with a POSTER SIZE board with cut out letters:

“We have your cock in our custody. We demand one million chicken feathers and a lifetime supply of wine. If you don’t meet our demands, the cock dies a terrible death. Hopefully this will teach you not to go around Old Town bragging about your cock. Good-bye Bitch. The Farmer.”

Note, there were three photos of Shakira at the bottom of the poster – one of her in an oven, one in a dumpster, and one of her with a noose around her neck hanging from someone’s porch. Shit, the porch was unidentifiable. I looked for other clues in the phots...nothing. Damn, these kidnappers were good.

My first thought was, who the hell has time to put this much effort into fucking with me? My next thought was, crap, it’s going to take a while to get my $36 chicken back.

Two days later, as I was leaving for work, I found a KFC bucket with another ransom note and some metal pieces in it. The note instructed me to go to the local SERVE food donation center and leave the wine. The feathers were to be left at the Habitat for Humanity store. Receipts should be placed in the bucket and left on the steps. Fucking great. Now I have to go make a food donation (the food bank obviously wasn’t going to take the wine) and a furniture donation in order to get blank receipts so I could get my $36 metal chicken back. I considered driving back to Lucketts and buying another chicken.

I was having trouble finding the time to get to either location to make donations and collect receipts. I would do it Saturday. That damn chicken better come back in one piece, that’s for sure, or someone was going to pay for that chicken in flesh.

Saturday was the Manassas City Christmas Day Parade. Everyone met at my house heading a few blocks into Old Town for the parade. We stopped at one of the local restaurants for some breakfast. As we sat down, suddenly my friend Bruce walked over and handed me - you guessed it - SHAKIRA. He said she was left at the front door when he arrived early that morning. I was elated. I was also slightly pissed that someone would leave her at the front door at the risk of being stolen again. But she was there, right before my eyes, and sporting a new red feather boa, an elf hat, and holding a small leopard purse in her beak. In the purse was note detailing Shakira’s adventures with the Farmer and his lovely wife. (Seriously, who the hell has time to even come up with this stuff???) Also attached to the note was a $20 bill for a round of shots. Beautiful. The farmer knows my love for a yummy cocktail.

Now Shakira is relaxing next to our Christmas tree, in her festive holiday outfit. I will never leave her outside again. I love that cock.

So the moral of the story is if you don’t want someone messing with your cock, best to keep it someplace safe.

the end.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yep, she's the black sheep...baaaaa...

I don’t fit into the mold of a certain “type” of woman. I never have. I used to think that it was me, that it was a bad thing. I thought that for years. I saw the way people looked at me, and I wished I could be different. But I am a woman dictated by my emotions. I feel what I feel, and I am very bad at faking it.

It’s difficult to always feel like you are on the outside looking in - the different one, the one who just has something wrong with her. I really tried to be just like everyone else, I really did. And then, I would fail miserably, which allowed the depression to kick in, rendering me completely useless for weeks, sometimes months. I am excellent at withdrawing from life, pulling shut all the curtains, crawling into my bed and refusing to venture out for any reason. Or, as my manic side would sometimes dictate, squirreling myself away with my paintbrushes to paint – all hours of the day, sometimes seemingly non-stop. Yes, I am probably unmedicated to some degree. It’s ok. I’ve been medicated sufficiently before and it was miserable. I hate not feeling anything at all, so I will deal with myself just they way I am.

So (there is actually a point to all of this) when people hurt me, it cuts to the bone. They may not mean it. They may not realize they are even doing it. But it happens, and when it does it is painful in ways that physical injury is not. One thing I have discovered is that most hurt stems from people trying to exercise control over your life. So today, when someone I care for lashed out accusing me (albeit passive aggressively) of failing as a family member (not my own family by the way) I was devastated. For years, I have tried so hard to please this person, and now I realize that it didn’t matter. No matter what I would have done, the outcome would have been the same, because I had deprived her of control. And she would never forgive me of that. My first reaction was anger, then hurt, then utter heartache. Again, I had failed in my efforts, even though there was really no way I would have done the right thing in her eyes, other than to completely set aside everything that is important to me, in order to handle what she deemed important.
It’s always worse when this crap happens around the holidays, but inevitably it does. It sucks the life right out of you, makes you feel like inadequate, unwanted, unnecessary. The one thing that keeps me from falling down the rabbit hole is the fact that I have this incredible network of friends who would walk on fire to be there for me, in whatever they could. I also have my daughter and my own family, and they are more precious than gold. They don’t always understand me, but they always believe in me…daughter, friends, family…and in the end, they always save my heart and my soul.

I know this has not been the cheeriest of blogs, but sometimes the best thing a person can do is empty their heart onto a piece of paper. It’s cleansing, cathartic, a spiritual experience. For me, it helps me to understand myself a bit better, without paying a therapist (I’ve done that enough in my life.) So thank you for listening, for caring and for being supportive. You know who you are, and I love you with all my heart.

Next blog will be funny, I promise.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why can’t you be like all the other moms?

This question has been posed to me more than once by my 12 year old offspring, Patricia. She says it with such conviction that it immediately causes me to look at her in disbelief. Really? Really??? My first thought is always to wonder exactly what “all the other moms” were doing so differently than me? Hmmmm...ok, admittedly, I have a much more active social life and a wide circle of unmedicated friends. No, we are not the type of people who sit at home drinking coffee and comparing stories about our kids. Hell, most of my friends don’t have children. Most of them don’t even really like children, although they adore my daughter - mostly because she is just like me with the same sense of acerbic wit, but shorter. We are also not the people you will see hanging out at their kid’s soccer games every weekend yelling like lunatics when the ref makes a bad call against our child’s team. I get it. My friends are a bit “different.” We drink, sometimes to excess. We curse. We like all kinds of music, including what she listens to (except for Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber, but that's just me. I can't speak for the rest of my friends.) We are loud and obnoxious and we really really like to just “hang out” together, mostly because we just enjoy each other’s company. Truth be told, I am thankful for my slightly insane friends. Bill and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But is that really a bad thing? Apparently, in the mind of a 12 year old the answer is a resounding “yes” at least on the surface. She tries to convince me that she would be much happier if I sat around in my pink track suit and extra forty pounds, baking cookies, and devoting every moment of the day to her well-being. What she doesn’t get is that I do devote the most significant portion of my time to her well-being, I’m just doing other things at the same time. I am a master multi-tasker.

If you ask most people who know me, they would never use the word “traditional” to describe me in any sense. I don’t fit the “mom” mold. For a long time, I felt really bad about that, but honestly, the whole June Cleaver thing was just never right for me. I tried on the “stay at home mom” routine, but to me, it just plain sucked. Maybe that comes from having my daughter when I was a bit older (I was 34) and having experienced all the great things out there in the world, like a fulfilling job, and a life of my own that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was always in awe of the moms who could pull off the traditional mom persona with such ease. I can tackle some of those mom tasks. I am a world class baker and I’m way too artsy craftsy for my own good. I also make a healthy and nutritious dinner every night, one habit I’m fairly sure my child wishes I would give up because she is always bitching about not liking vegetables. But in the end, I’m never going to win that “Mother of the Year” award. Maybe that is why I only have one child. And maybe that is why I don’t have a crapload of friends who also have children. I love my daughter to death and cannot imagine one moment without her, but my patience with other people’s children is almost non-existent. You'll never see me begging to hold someone's infant,that is for sure. At some point (I’m guessing of course) Higher Powers looked down on me and said “ is enough for that girl. She’s already going to put the child she has into therapy at an early age.” It should be noted that Tricia is not in therapy...yet. I’m sure one day she will be, and I’ll be happy to contribute monetarily to her sessions, since it is likely that I will be the source of her neuroses. I hope it brings some clarity into her life as to why her mother is a nutcase with the attention span of a two year old. I never said I was perfect, or easy. I’m not even very mature when you get right down to it.

But I’d like to think that my certain level of immaturity is what makes me fun and sets me apart from all the other moms. I’m letting Tricia get a pink or blue streak in her hair (to me, if that is the worst that I have to give into, I’m doing pretty well.) I give her a fairly wide berth of independence and I am what I consider a good listener when it comes to difficulties that crop up in her day. She’s not afraid to say the word “boys” around me because in my mind, knowledge is power, and I’d rather she be able to talk to me about anything rather than experience the fear of reprisal for bringing those taboo subjects up. When I’m not yelling at her to clean up her room, we actually get along quite well. I’m not sure that would be the case if I was a “traditional” mom. I’d be too over-protective, too worried about what “might”happen. I’d be more of a pain in the ass than I am now, I’m fairly sure about that.

So while it’s true that I have some “challenges” in the parental department, I think the good actually outweighs the bad. No, I’m never going to be one of those moms who doesn’t care about her personal appearance (vanity will most certainly always rule the day) or never leaves the house on the weekends. I’m not going to dote on my child endlessly and I’m not going to obsess about what she is doing every single friggin moment as long as I am breathing. I trust her, and I think I’ve instilled a healthy dose of common sense in her which will help a lot when it comes to making the right choices in her life. If you never give your child the opportunity to make a decision for themselves, then in the end, doesn’t that render them completely helpless without any real world coping skills? And while I will always have a ton of friends, a busy social calendar and an appetite for a good martini, there will always be time to listen to her and dispense some much needed advice that will help her get through life relatively unscathed. She knows I love her, and secretly I think she is glad I’m not June Cleaver...not that she knows who June Cleaver is, but you get my point.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What's that sucking sound???

Recently while out and about one night, someone mentioned that she had liposuction on her waist and hips. I was surprised since she was already an very attractive woman with a knockout figure. Now I am certainly not one of those people who shuns cosmetic surgery, unless of course it is to the extreme and you start to resemble something out of Madam Trussard’s Wax Museum, or your skin is so tight, your eyebrows are hidden in your hairline. Indeed, I have been contemplating a little Restalyn or perhaps some Juvaderm for my upper lip which is starting to resemble that of a woman who has been smoking for 30 years (no idea why, I’ve never smoked in my life.) I’ve had breast reduction surgery and to this day, I can say without hesitation it was the best decision I ever made – not because I was worried about my back failing under the weight of my 38DD’s. I had it done purely for vanity's sake. Let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing attractive about breasts that enter a room before you do on a 5’3” frame. At least men will now look me in the eye. Alas though, poor Bill. I married a “boob” man, and now he’s got a wife with teeny tiny, albeit perky, boobs. He keeps threatening to buy them back for me. I keep telling him he needs to become a leg/ass man.

But liposuction? Liposuction is the one procedure that conjures up some really horrible images. I’ve talked to people who have had this procedure and apparently what happens over time is that the fat you had sucked off one part of your body will appear in another area entirely. This is not an urban legend, I swear. I have anecdotal evidence. So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you have liposuction on your stomach. Does that mean you’ll eventually grow a butt as big as Kim Kardashian or Jennifer Lopez? Not like that’s a bad thing, mind you. I’d kill for J Lo’s rear end. But what if the fat comes back, let’s say, around your neck and you look like you have goiter for the rest of your life? I like scarves and all, but that would be a tough one to cover up. Or what if you have liposuction on your thighs and the fat comes back on your arms and your look like you have curtain valances instead of well-toned triceps? Worse yet, it comes back around your ankles and you then have the dreaded cankles for all eternity? Think about it, there are worse places to have a little “cushion” than around your fanny or your tummy. This fear of lipo has helped me to develop a happy and satisfied relationship with my “pooch.” And it has helped me develop an appreciation for a strategically-worn pair of Spanx under certain outfits.

It sucks to grow old for a lot of reasons, not all related to physical attractiveness… memory loss, eyesight issues, the inability to sneeze or laugh without wetting your pants are on the top of my list of complaints. Wrinkles? They definitely suck, and I work hard to ward them off by whatever method necessary. But you know what? Eventually they will come and you realize IT WILL BE OK. I don’t want to look like I’m 20 again. Hell, I still had acne at 20, so really, there is nothing even remotely enticing about that prospect. I’ll settle for looking ten years younger than my age and that is just fine with me. I’ll be forty-seven in February. Recently, a gentleman guessed my age to be in my late thirties. I was so elated I nearly kissed him right there on the spot. Really, what more could I ask for at this point in my life? And when I’m 60 and someone tells me I look 50? Hell, I’ll be REALLY happy about that. While 50 may seem a bit old now (it’s definitely closer than I wished), someday I will look back with great fondness and remember how young 50 really was.

The goal for this girl is to grow old gracefully, with dignity, and with a twinkle in my eye, and probably a cocktail in my hand. I’ll take a bit of help here and there and I will still work to “maintain the buffet”, but in the end, I want to appreciated not only for who I was years ago, but for who I am right here, right now. And that folks is the lesson in growing old. Time can either drag you along with it, kicking and screaming, or you can dance along side it, and enjoy every moment. I choose to dance.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

Dear Santa,

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written, in fact it’s been since I sent my “I WANT” letter last year. I apologize for not keeping in touch, but it’s hard to find five free minutes on any given day, what with all the screaming at my daughter to clean her room and trying to get the endless pile of laundry done. I’m sure you’re busy as well, so let’s not dwell upon the fact that I have neglected our relationship. I’m sure you’ve had more important things to be concerned about, such as keeping those pesky elves out of the spiked eggnog, and making sure the reindeer don’t shit in the front yard. I know those two points would be at the top of my list of endless crap to worry about if I were you. I saw you at the mall last weekend. Looks like you’ve been hitting the cookies a bit too hard, and the liquor too. (I believe you’ve gone from rosy-cheeked to full on “gin bloom.) You might want to cut back on both…just me being concerned about your well-being. See how caring I am? I’m not always a bitch.

This year, I’ve compiled a very concise list of things that I would like for Christmas. My letter to you last year was quite “wordy” and mostly I just bitched about all the stupid things and stupid people that annoy me on a constant basis. By the way, thanks a lot. I asked for patience last Christmas. All I got was another set of bath products and a jolly “good luck with the patience thing.” Way to go. Thankfully I killed no one this past year, which I think should automatically put me on the “good list”. Go ahead, argue that point as much as you want, but in the end, you know you did not keep up your end of the bargain. Oh, and I hate bath products that smell like cupcakes. Cupcakes are for eating, unless, of course, you have someone fun to lick them off of you.

Anyway, here is a sampling of all that I am longing for. Feel free to pick and choose as you like.

1. I would like my daughter to stop rolling her eyes every time I ask her to hold up her end of the household chores. I would also like her to stop acting as if I have no brain in my head. I’ve gotten this far in life, so I am fairly certain that I am not an idiot. She would be well-served to take note.

2. I would like to stop putting on exactly two pounds every single freaking weekend. My eating habits during the week are about the healthiest out of anyone I know. I should be rewarded for my efforts by being able to eat and drink whatever the hell I want Friday night through Sunday afternoon. I hate having to lose two pounds every damn week...annoying.

3. I would like the work week shortened to three days. Seriously, don’t you think everyone would be a lot less stressed if we simply had a four day weekend and a three day work week? The mental health benefit alone makes it worth a try.

4. I would like a year’s supply of duct tape. There are too many people that I run into on a day to day basis that really just need to shut up. Telling them this doesn’t seem to help, and a smack upside the head is equally ineffective. So I am thinking that perhaps a good strong piece of duct tape across their flappy lips would be useful. I know my ears would LOVE it.

5. I would like Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga to just go away. Forever.

6. I would like a year’s supply of wine. Good wine. I’m tired of being relegated to the cheap stuff. You can also drop off a few bottles of Pinnacle Whipped Vodka. While you’re at it, drop some off at my friends’ houses too. They keep drinking all of mine.

7. I would like the Kardashians’ television show to be cancelled on E!. You can drop that bimbo Kendra as well. I’d like more E! True Hollywood stories, and I don’t mean about the Kardashians…or Kendra. Let’s try to take it up a notch, shall we? We’re all stocked up on shows about rich useless dumbasses.

8. I would like a one year unlimited subscription to TouchTunes. That way I can play Andy Gibb’s “Shadowdancing” as many times in a row as I want on the local jukeboxes from my phone, which will drive my friend Rich out of his mind. It’s one of my most favorite things to watch. I’m waiting for his head to explode.

9. I would like a “free weekend” – one that I can use any way I want without any demands on my time. I’d like to specifically spend it watching Law & Order SVU or Criminal Minds...naked and in bed. Oh and I’d like that to come with a weekend supply of takeout Chinese and chocolate chip mint ice cream. And I don’t want to gain any weight from the food/doing nothing combo.

10. I would like that very big metal bobblehead chicken I saw at that store in Lucketts. And I would like it cemented into the ground in front yard so my friends can’t kidnap it and torture me like they did with my LAST metal chicken which I lovingly named "Shakira." I’d also like the new big metal chicken to be electrified so it will zap their dumb asses should they actually try to kidnap it.

Well, that’s about it for this year. I think I’ve been pretty conservative in my “wants for 2011, so pony up big guy. When I’m happy, everyone is happy, so it will be like a present to them as well…win win I say.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I love happy endings...

But more than that, I love happy beginnings – the beginning of something beautiful, something that lasts a lifetime. I wish I saw it more often, but happy beginnings are becoming very rare these days. They do happen though, and since they occur less frequently, when one does come around, it’s that much more special.

Such was the case today. Two really wonderful people – one of them that I have known since high school – got engaged today. There was something so magical about it for me that I have yet to wipe the stupid grin off my face. It’s not that people never commit to marriage anymore, but these two people, both of whom have walked a sometimes difficult path in their respective lives, just kind of stumbled into love. They knew each other before the “love thing” hit them in the head like a bat, and they suffered through nagging doubts and trepidation because, let’s face it, the whole “sex/love/marriage” thing can be incredibly scary and overwhelming. It was for me when I met Bill, and subsequently started a relationship. But somehow, I always knew he was the one. I think my friends have had a very similar experience.

When you’re “slightly beyond 29,” you learn quickly what works and what doesn’t. I’ve tossed countless “first dates” aside because honestly, there was no point in pursuing something that was obviously pointless. It’s there or it’s not. You know instinctively, like when you know a thunderstorm is about to hit, or when you know that your child needs you, even though there is no outright indication. Instinct...more people should trust it, follow it. I wish I had trusted my instincts more in the past. After enduring the shame of two failed marriages though, I realize that it was my "path" to walk, my life journey. What I took away from those relationships was incredible learning experiences that lead me to exactly where I am supposed to be. Everything serves a purpose.

Bill has never been “work.” And while our relationship has not been picture perfect, our love has been rather effortless for me. He grounds me, centers me. He reminds me that sometimes I’m just a freaking nutcase who needs to stop and remember what’s really important in this world. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I do believe that I am the one who reminds Bill of similar things, as well as the fact that HE is important. He neglected himself and was overlooked in a loveless marriage for so many years, but now it is my mission to make sure that never happens again. For the most part, we waltz along our chosen path, content with each other and the life we are building together, for each other. It’s an amazing feeling, one that I never thought I would experience. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, just to make sure I remember that this real and remind myself that I deserve this...Bill and I both have earned it.

Congratulations Marie, and Wayne. I wish you EVERY joy and happiness together. May the thought of “growing old together” be as pleasant a thought as it has become for Bill and me. What you have is so special. People wait their whole lives for it and never find it. Nurture it, treasure it, and above all, remember that you have earned this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's just a couple swirls of paint, but it makes me happy...

I need to paint again…and I’m not talking about changing the color of my living room.

This thought occurred to me as I was thumbing through someone’s photos on facebook...wonderful pictures of flowers, butterflies, wonderous scenes and incredible sights. There was a time when I would turn photos into paintings, but it’s been so long that I worry I’ve lost my ability to recreate such things witht he swirl of a paintbrush. It also reminded me how much I miss my DSLR camera, a constant source of subject matter for my painting projects. I used to never be without it. Since my camera’s “demise” over a year ago, I have felt lost without it. I keep meaning to replace it, but then something else comes up. It’s always something else that take priority. It’s a shame, really.

My need to paint is not because I am fantastically talented, or my secret desire to be an aspiring artist, but simply because it soothes my soul. There is something so calming about painting that it allows me to find my focus not just on whatever project I am working on, but in other areas of my life as well. I used to paint all the time, like some sort of manic female Van Gogh (although not nearly as giftted.) My specialty? Decorative painting – mostly in the form of floral work, strokework, zhostovo (Russian folk) painting, as well as anything else that caught my attention. I can remember periods of time in my life when I would paint until late at night, only to set my alarm for four or five o’clock in the morning to begin again. I would scour antique stores looking for furniture that I could turn into usable works of art to adorn my house, or give as gifts. People love a gift that is a direct reflection of the person who presented it. And I loved being able to give family and friends something so deeply personal, like a little piece of my heart.

It’s hard to make time for the things in your life that bring you back to center. I’m living proof of that statement, believe me. Most of my days are spent whipping around Manassas at breakneck speed. I’ve said before that I need to take time to breathe...painting and using my creative spirit is part of that process. Creativity allows us to focus our energy on something that provides joy and self-satisfaction. You need not be inordinately skilled, you just need to have the courage to try something new.

I have more hobbies than I can count – painting, photography, knitting, quilting, cooking, drawing, gardening – but the common theme in all of them is my hobbies allow me to reach deep down and find that certain something that makes me happy. And for me, that “something” is color. All my hobbies revolve around color. Color makes me light and carefree. Color makes my heart sing in ways that nothing else can. Of course, this all seems strange coming from a woman whose wardrobe revolves around the color black. Only in my fashion choices do I purposefully leave out loud and riotous colors. What can I say? I’m a product of the 80s and 90s, destined to forever dress in dark colors, always looking to appear ten pounds smaller than I am. Maybe when I am “elderly” as my daughter likes to say, I will be different. Maybe then I shall wear lots of color.

So for now, my challenge comes in the form of time. Time to paint, time to create, time to learn new things to challenge myself. I have always been good at making time for a lot of other people – some deserving of my time, and some not so much. Maybe a requisite re-evaluation of what I am doing with my time is needed. Maybe?

Definitely...time to reawaken my creative side and find that joy and focus again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The art of breathing...

I have forgotten how to breathe.

Not in a literal sense, but the art of being able to slow down long enough to simply take in the air, let it out, and relax. I’ve become accustomed to moving at such a rapid pace all of the time, that I have literally forgotten how to enjoy the moment. I miss those moments.

When did life become such a conglomeration of chaotic interactions, stitched together with all the things that drive us crazy, such as the endless list of tasks that are unfinished, birthdays that were forgotten, phone calls that never seem to get made. I’ve become so inherently bad at remembering anything, that I am start to wonder if I have early onset Alzheimer’s. I never expected to have “senior moments” at 46 years old, but they happen with alarming frequency these days, causing me to write everything down on haphazard slips of paper, or leave myself notes on my cellphone. A fair amount of stuff just falls through the cracks.

I can remember when sitting in my living room and having a cup of tea while picking up my latest knitting project was one of the great joys in my life. Or filling the tub with hot water and Mr. Bubble, and slipping in with a glass of wine was pure unadultered heaven. Those peaceful snippets of relaxation have all but disappeared from my day to day existence. It’s my fault, really. I could still have those moments if I would simply stop scheduling my life from sun up to sundown, and started leaving some open time on my Outlook calendar. I am missing those quiet times with Bill as well. Our weekends are packed with social obligations, household to-do lists, and running around in all directions. I remember when we used to just take a nap together. We haven’t done that in months. Well, he has napped, but I’ve been too busy to nap. Again, my fault, not his. I should make more time for the man I love. It’s so easy to think “we have the rest of our lives” but the truth is, if we don’t make up our minds to make the time now, one day we’ll open our eyes and there will be no more time.

I think, this year I will make a heartfelt New Year’s resolution to SLOW DOWN. I need to reclaim my “me” time, my “Bill” time, and my “Tricia” time. I want to be able to stop and focus on the little things, because in the end, it’s only the little things that matter – the softness of my daughter’s hair on my face when she hugs me, the sound Bill’s snoring when he’s sleeping. I want more long weekends to walk the beach, and less of the constant hustle and bustle that fills my days.

I think it’s a good New Year’s resolution, one that matters, and one that will add immeasurable joy to my life. Most importantly, it will make a difference to the people I love the most.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'll knock your socks off...

It’s taken me several weeks to recover from the trauma of our yard sale. I can only now just start to review the events of that day. It’s over now, and Bill and I are $730 richer than we were before it started. I met some really interesting people, and some that flat out defied explanation, but I made it out the other side intact. GO ME.

After two weeks of cleaning out closets, the basement, the attic, and everything in between, we were ready to begin our foray into the wonderous world of yardselling. I planned everything meticulously, placing a post on Craigslist at just the right time when it would appear at the very pinnacle of the yard sale category. We placed ads from Tricia’s and Bill’s email accounts as well, so I’m sure our event was ingrained in the collective yardsale psyche of everyone within a 20 mile radius of Manassas. Our items were clearly priced, and priced to SELL. We had enough cash to make change, although I failed to come up with the requisite fanny pack to keep the cash. We had enough tables to display our sh$t in the most desirable and effective manner. We placed easy to read signs at all the major intersections. I even researched yardsale advice online. We were ready, more ready than I had been for the birth of my daughter, more ready than I had been for my driver’s exam when I was 16. Dammit, I would sell it all!

I had no idea what I was in for.

I was still setting up my priceless treasures on tables when they began to show up, like the zombie apocalypse. Seriously, we posted that we would start promptly at 7am, only to have people begin to dig through our stuff at 6:45am. Some of these yardsale aficionados even helped me set up. The early risers were mostly senior citizens, who not only wanted to buy our crap, but also wanted chat about things I knew absolutely NOTHING about. Still, they bought, with great gusto, excited at the yardsale “scores.” Several informed me that we had great junk. I was buoyed by their admiration.

My totally loyal friends showed up, with liquor and supplies to make margaritas. I love my friends. Only they realize the true value of drinking while trying to sell mountains of useless crap. We sat on the steps of my house, in complete awe of the ability of people to buy sh$t that serves no use, or purpose. The Latino population followed the senior citizen crowd. That is when I discovered Latino women will jew you down no matter WHAT the price is…

Latino woman “How much you want for these socks” (insert broken English here)

Me “They are a quarter a pair”

Latino woman (after long and thoughtful pause) “Ooohhh, that too much, you think? I give a nickel.

Me “They are BRAND NEW socks, with the tags! A quarter is as low as I am going.” Instantly I was sorry I hadn’t priced them at 50 cents a pair. Then she would think a quarter was a bargain.

She walked away. Are you kidding me? A brand new pair of socks for a QUARTER, maybe the best deal EVER. Screw her I’m not selling them for a nickel. I went back to my margarita drinking friends and took a slug of my ice cold delicious tequila-laden breakfast beverage. I could see her looking at me from the corner of my eye. It was ON. She would not wear me down. I would not yield to her nickel demands. Pretty soon she was back, this time with the entire BAG of white anklet socks…all new, all with tags.

Latino woman “I give you $5 for the entire bag.”

I knew there were about fifty pairs of socks in the bag. I snickered.

Me “Deal, yours for $5.”

She handed me a five dollar bill. HA! Suck it Bitch, I just got TEN cents a pair for those socks that you only wanted to pay a nickel for. I WIN I WIN!. I gloated, and nearly moonwalked back to Sherrel and Rich, who were obviously very impressed with negotiating skills. They shook their heads and refilled my cup.

This went on all day, well, at least until 2pm. Out of the $730 work of stuff sold, less than $200 of it was prices at $10 or more. That means we sold approximately $530 worth of crap for $1 or less…most of it less. I’ve never work so damn hard for my money, ever. But they wore me down, this relentless, bartering, yardseller crowd. In the end we sold about half of what we were trying to sell (you have no idea just HOW much we started with – believe me, it was a LOT) and the rest went to charity. It didn’t even come back into the house, which was my goal in the first place. I think I saw our house breathe a sigh of relief.

Will I have another yard sale? Well, given that most of the junk is gone, probably not. But should you decide to embark on such an adventure, I have a bit of advice for you.

1.Make sure you have friends present to keep you sufficiently supplied in alcohol.
2.Preparedness pays off, so do your homework.
3.Don’t let the population of Latino mamas lowball you. Don’t give in. Better to meet them somewhere in the middle than have them win.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here piggy piggy piggy...

I have noticed that as I get older, my tolerance for watching any animal in pain or distress is becoming weaker and weaker. Bill keeps looking at me like I’m a some kind of PETA freak every time I try to catch a fly or moth in the house and release back into the wild also known as our back yard (fly free little moth!) probably only to be eaten by our pet spider, Simon. Simon, of course, is the giant man-eating eight legged fellow that built a super indestructible web over one of our back porch lights. Bill takes great pleasure in watching Simon catch whatever bugs he can in his shining example of spinning mastery, marvelling at how Simon wraps the little bugs up ever so neatly, then sucks the life right out of them. “Isn’t that amazing honey?” he’ll ask me with all the childlike wonder he can muster. I, of course, am sitting in the kitchen crying for the poor bug who lost his life to Simon. Was it scared? It must have been terrified! Did it cry out for it’s mommy? Maybe I should take its poor lifeless body out of the web and give it a proper burial. I probably would, but then Bill would probably have me checked into the psychiatric ward of Prince William Hospital for a mandatory 72 hour “vacation.” I assume that thought has already crossed his mind on any number of occasions. No need to further reinforce it.

I love animals, all kinds of animals. I’d have a farm if I could, although as usual, Bill isn’t really on board with my notions of owning a farm, or a petting zoo. I just want to cuddle all the animals, give them hugs, be their mommy and kiss their boo boos. It matters not whether they have fur or feathers, they are all special to me, and somewhere in my mind, I just know their lives are incomplete without me. Ok, maybe not, but I sure would be the best animal mom EVER. We already have three birds and two dogs, and all of them are blissfully ignorant of the fact that they are actually animals, not our children. I think my daughter often is upset by that fact, and sometimes accuses me of loving them more. Maybe. I don’t have to remind them to clean their room 5000 times a day, or to brush their teeth. And they don’t give me endless amounts of crap in the form of smartass remarks. Usually I ignore her accusation. I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

My love for animals has gotten to the point that the thought of becoming a vegetarian is starting to hold a certain appeal for me. I mean, really, who wants to think of the senseless slaughter of innocent animals for the sake of a meal. There are plenty of plants to eat, right? Peanut butter has protein, and it’s not an animal. I love peanut butter. There is only one thing that seems to be standing in my way of making the leap into a meat-free lifestyle…and that one thing is bacon.

I could give up a lot of different carnivorous delights, but bacon is one of those things that is so full of yummy deliciousness that it is hard to imagine life without it. As my daughter said to me when she was four or five, “Mommy, piggies are so cute but they are SO TASTY!” Amen, my sweet child, piggies are indeed one of the tastiest animals to walk the earth.

I could eat bacon on just about anything. In fact, I believe that bacon could be added to just about any dish and it would only make it more delicious. I was always thankful that I’m not Jewish. The whole thought of never eating another BLT, or relishing a bacon and egg breakfast is almost too much to bear. I remember once when I worked in catering for Marriott, someone put ham on the buffet at a bar mitzvah. The chef, who was very French, and very arrogant, was pointedly asked if it was pork. He never even blinked, never flinched. He answered without hesitation, “It’s a specially cured cut of beef.” They ate it. I felt like our whole staff was going straight to hell. Which reminds me, ham…the bastard son of bacon…almost as good but not quite.

I’ve always wondered about those people who buy pot-bellied pigs for pets. While those little critters are truly adorable when they are small, eventually they grow up and look like, bacon - with four hooves.

Here, piggy piggy, stand right here. This won’t hurt a bit. I think I should probably never own a pig of any kind…just sayin.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every Doormat Says Welcome...

I had a conversation with a friend today - a heartfelt discussion on her unending need to give everything of herself to everyone, only to be disappointed when others do not respond with the same level of enthusiasm when she is in need of their help. I’ve been in her shoes, and I remember how hard it was to not be disappointed in people and their lack of appreciation, let alone ability to give something back. She told me how she tried to be there on all levels for her significant other, no matter what his needs were. She even told me that if he had a headache, she would offer to massage his temples for him to alleviate his pain. I was touched by her efforts...but wow, just wow. If Bill has a headache, and even bothers to tell me, he’s thankful if I offer to go get the Excedrin for him. More often than not, he says nothing until he’s already taken the Excedrin and is on the road to recovery. I don’t think there is a chance in hell he would expect me to rub his temples for him. And I am sure he’s not dumb enough to ask me to do it.

Since the beginning of our relationship, Bill and I have tried to always be there for each other, but we are not the type to encroach on each other’s space or our individual need to handle things alone. That is one thing we have always had in common. We’re both extremely self-sufficient, and loath to ask anyone for help. Honestly, I think we could both stand to be a little better about asking for help. But, when the chips are down and something comes up that requires us to be there for each other, we are a team that always holds each other up. I like it this way. I’ve always been headstrong (some might even say stubborn, although I don’t see it) and I am fiercely independent. Bill mirrors me in that respect. Both of us are givers though, and sometimes we see the need arise when we have to pull each other back from putting ourselves out there far too much for those around us. It’s just our nature, but over the years we have both learned how and where to draw the line between helping and being the doormat.

There are many that have their “doormat” out for anyone and everyone, and for those who are truly givers, their doormat most certainly says “welcome” in very large letters. For most of my life my doormat didn't just say "WELCOME". It said “Come on in and have a seat. What can I do for you to make your life perfect for you.” I’m not kidding. The situations (not of my own creation) that I have gotten pulled into over the years run the gamut from comical to downright pathetic. My mother, for years, would shake her head at the number of people who would happily wipe their boots on my forehead/doormat and take advantage of my kind and giving nature. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for another person, whether I knew them well or not, even at my own personal expense. After a while, such things tend to wear down a person’s heart and soul. Even though you may say that you have no expectations for something in return, deep down somewhere in the subconscious, it is only human to expect to at least be treated in kind, should the situation arise. For the most part though, people just cut and run, leaving you standing there bleeding, not knowing what hit you, or how they could be so unfeeling and cruel. But the fact is, they don't mean to be cruel, they’re just not you. It is unfair to expect others to act exactly as you do because not everyone has the same level of compassion etched upon his or her heart. And not everyone realizes that paying it back, or even paying it forward, is the only real path one should sad for them, really, for there is no greater pleasure than giving of yourself to another person for the sheer joy of giving.

These days my doormat tends to say “Come on in, have a seat, and we can talk about what’s going on in your life” before I overcommit myself to something that is clearly not my problem to fix. I’ve found that if you fix everything for a person, they lose the ability to fix things on their own, and it becomes an endless cycle of you giving, and them taking. I believe the shrinks call it “enabling.” Better to give someone the tools to fix their life all by themselves. That is the real gift, sort of like the “teach a man to fish” thought. And in the end, you expect far less in return. You just feel good for having helped someone move forward in their life in a positive way.

I hope my friend sees her own worth, and realizes that you don’t need to do everything for anyone. Usually they are more than capable of handling most things themselves, or with just a bit of assistance. I, for one, think she is a truly incredible person who deserves better. Relationships are never always 50/50, but certainly they should never be 80/20 or 90/10 all the time. My advice to her was REEVALUATE. Look at what the real expectation is from the other person. Do they really expect you to put yourself out there completely on their behalf 100% of the time? Probably not. Givers have a hard time distinguishing between what is expected, and what is “too much.” I have a few years on her, so I’m guessing she will learn this lesson eventually, then pass it along to the next poor sap with the filthy doormat on her forehead.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Smile for the Ode to the Dreaded Grade School Portrait

Today my daughter is having her school pictures taken. To say that preparation for this annual event is exhausting and painful would be a total understatement. It sucks in ways that I haven’t thought about since I had my last school photos taken. She thinks I don't “get it” but she is wrong. I sooooo understand where she is coming from. Every teenage girl thinks she is ugly, or too fat, or too thin, or geeky. It's a right of passage.

First of all, my daughter is beautiful, from her impossibly curly hair to her long legs. She doesn’t see it. She never sees it. But her smile and her eyes can light up any room she enters. THEN she opens her mouth, only to have the driest, wittiest humor fall from her lips like water in the Sahara Desert. She is brilliantly funny, and delightfully sarcastic. Her comments and observations about the world and people around her are intelligent and spontaneous, and usually dead on. As anyone will tell you that has spent a half a nanosecond on her facebook page, she is a HOOT. Actually as far as her sense of humor goes, she is me, but shorter. Sometimes I worry about that.

Anyway, back to the school pictures...

Every year, we straighten her wringlets for the occasion, which involves two enormous round brushes, a blow dryer that will heat up an entire room, a lot of complaining (from her) and even more cursing (from me.) The really marvelous fact about all of this is that she wears her hair curly every day – except on picture day – so her school pictures don’t even really look like her “regular” days. This morning was no different, except for the fact that the whoever cut her hair last (she insisted on her father taking her one weekend when she was totally pissed at her hair) must have cut it with a pair of kindergarten scissors while wearing a blindfold. I didn’t realize this because normally, her hair is a mountain of curls, so you can’t really see what kind of shape it is in. I tried, I really did. I used product. I wrapped sections of her hair around a four inch round brush over and over (I’m actually quite skilled at straightening hair since I straighten mine often.) I contemplated whipping out the flat iron, but I could see my efforts would be in vain. Finally, I looked at my gorgeous girl and said “Sweetie, it’s going to have to be curly this year.” She was mortified, completely distraught and overcome with drama that her school pictures would not be EXACTLY as she expected them to be. May I add, there is little as exhausting as 12 year old female drama. I sprayed her hair down with water, applied more product and slapped the diffuser on the dryer, all the while thinking that if her hair didn’t turn out right, I’d have to shave both of us bald in solidarity...not a road I really wanted to go down. After a fair amount of scrunching, drying and flipping, she emerged from the process with beautiful spirals of spun silk that would make any woman with poker straight hair hate her on sight.

She looked in the mirror. “I look like Madonna.”

Me – “You do NOT look like Madonna.”

Her – “Everyone will make fun of me.”

Me – “If they make fun of it, it’s only because they are jealous.”

Her – “Only you like big hair, because you have big hair. Big hair is not cool.”

I looked in the mirror. OMG, was I not cool? Did I need to consider a “mom bob” and forego the groovy highlights and lowlights? What’s next? Sweatsuits in a really unflattering shade of pink and some keds? I didn’t have time to think about it. She was beyond disappointed. I assured her that her hair was enviable by any standards, but the damage had been done. She changed her clothes three times, then informed me she would not be getting any pictures, so don’t even write the check. Mark my words, these will be the best pictures of her entire school career and I won’t have one for my wallet.

Then I remembered, I always hated my school photos, every single one of them. Hell, if I ever glance at any of them again, it will be too soon. So I gave up, threw in the towel.

“Honey, if you don’t want to get any photos that is perfectly fine with me.”

For a moment, the drama and the disappointment floated away. She looked at me, and realized that her big-haired, 80s-inspired Mom really did in fact “get it.” It was a teaching moment that shall be forever emblazoned in my brain and on my heart. She’ll be twelve on Sunday, and I’m starting to think she may actually live to see her 16th birthday. Of course, that could change. She has four years to prove me wrong.

But no matter what, being her mom is the best job I will ever have. Happy 12th Birthday, Baby!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Please, get a publicist...the 99% can't HEAR YOU!!!!

So last night, Bill and I are sitting in our kitchen (I like that room the best since its’ renovation last winter) watching the news. It’s our schtick, what we do every night when we get home...that and have a cocktail. The 6 o’clock news was “pre-Steve Jobs is dead” breaking news, so we actually caught a glimpse of the protests in New York. I must admit, while my politics is mostly center, I am captivated by these people who seem to be so solid in their convictions. I am always that way when it comes to underdogs. Anyway, as Bill and I watched the news piece, I looked at Bill and said to him “You know, they really have a point when it comes to some of this sh$t…screwing the little guy all in the name of corporate greed, no accountability, backdoor payoffs and the like.” Now I know, we can all sit here in our little bubbles and pretend it’s not that way, but I think we all know it is. Bill (who is more conservative than me) was actually in agreement with what I was saying. You know, it’s not that we’re starving in the Tucker household. Indeed, compared to most, our life is quite comfortable. We work hard, we play hard, we count our blessing frequently. But honestly, even those of us who are reasonably comfortable (not wealthy, mind you) are feeling the squeeze of an abysmal economy. Every time some loudmouth financial pundit comes on CNBC and tells me that “the U.S. in NOT in a double-dip recession” I have to fight the urge to vomit just a little in my mouth. Really? You’re joking, right? I wonder when the last time that dumbass filled his own gas tank, or noticed the 30% or more increase in the price of pretty much everything in the grocery store? Oh yeah, that’s right, he’s loaded...good for him. Now shut the hell up.

Then this morning, I pulled up a friend’s facebook page (no I’m not stalking him. Really.) He is a libertarian by all definitions, and I like to see what he’s sayng when it comes to what is going on in the world. His post of the movement made me think even more. His posting was, shall we say, not in agreement with what was going on up there in Manhattan, so I decided to do a bit of research for myself. What I found was disturbing on a level I cannot even explain. It was basically a list of “demands” posted by some lunatic under the guise of the movement only he has it posted under the site I shall not go into the contents but I am posting the link so you can see for yourself. I also posted the link on my facebook page. I went back and forth about it with friends. The conclusion? This grassroots movement needs a better PR person. Their message wasn’t just “hard to find” it was completely lost. When you google “occupy wall street” the lunatic’s post of demands is #1 on the freakin google list. How the hell did they let that happen? So now, a group of individuals with some very valid points have been overshadowed by some delusional fellow with the economics knowledge of a kindergartener, who obviously needs to stop smoking pot and get a job...nice. He reminded me of an ex-boyfriend.

So to the movement...

Rule #1 – if you want to make your point, don’t make people look for it. Something in big bold letters is good. No one wants to plays "where's Waldo" when searching for your message. People are lazy. People are basically in it for the instant gratification. No one wants to “guess” about what you are trying to say. Get on your url "soapbox" and shout it at the top of your lungs. Otherwise, your message is invisible, lost in a sea of misinformation, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.

I don’t agree with everything that the has to say (I found that out once I figured out WHAT they were trying to say) but I do think they have some ideas and thoughts that deserve some serious attention. They are angry. So am I, about a lot of things in our country, in our political system, in our streets. I do believe the right to protest is healthy, it fosters discussion, and hopefully positive growth. There needs to be a national discussion, and we all need to stop being afraid to talk about it. We can no long rely on the media, for they are simply trying to force their perspective down our throats. It’s not about the facts anymore.

My point in all of this? To those people who are trying so hard to get their message out there? For God’s sake, hire a damn publicist. You are obviously good at the “organizing the masses” part, but your ability to effectively convey your message downright sucks. Once you master that, your voices will be much easier to hear, and maybe the “99%” will be more eager to support the cause.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What would Jesus do?

Ok, against the advice of most everyone who knows me, I’m going to go there...

What the hell happened to all the normal Christians?????

Go ahead, I am prepared for the onslaught of "opinions." If I at least inspired a reaction out of you with that statement then my job is done. Honestly, it’s something that has been festering just under the surface for some time, and it is now a pox upon my sense of humor, and my sense of humanity. I think what really brought it to a head was an article that one of my facebook friends has posted from a local newspaper. The article by Tom Ehrich, from the State-Journal Register of Springfield, Illinois, makes some very valid points about today's Christians, and how they totally don’t act in very Christ-like ways. They are narrow minded and bigoted, often isolationists, who believe that it is “their way or the highway.” Really? I know I’m not much for sitting down and reading the bible in my free time, but didn’t Christ preach tolerance, compassion, and turning the other cheek? I hardly think what he meant by “turn the other cheek” was that whoever you are degradating, they should turn their cheek so you could abuse them on the other side. Correct me if I’m wrong here. Didn’t Jesus hang out with prostitutes, skells, and other people of ill-repute? I believe so. Wow, that Jesus, he was really out there in his thinking. You would have thought he would have rather just spent time with his “own kind” which by the way would have been Jews, for all of you who don't like Jews either. I bet God wasn’t happy about that. I bet he wished that his son would have had a better class of friends...what a joke.

I hear “Christians” preach intolerance, hatred and bigotry on a constant basis. If you don’t think exactly like them, they you must be “doing it” all wrong. They’re not particular, they pretty much hate everyone – homosexuals, social outcasts, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and anyone else who doesn’t subscribe to what “their” definition of religion is. They want to help the "poor people" as long as the "help" isn't coming out of their wallets. They're all pro-life, but they're not going to adopt any of those bastard kids, or pay a dime to help those awful single mothers. Why those women are single-handedly destroying the traditional family and all it stands for...whatever. It’s all about their standard, their “God”, their view of the world, damned be everyone else. You know, there is pretty much NOTHING about those qualities that speaks “Jesus” to me. Not one damn thing.

And here is something else that really sets my hair on fire. How many people hand over how much money to their “church” only to have “the church” build the most extravagant of places to worship. Wouldn’t that money better served if they instead helped those who really needed it? Really, do you think God really cares about how big your stained glass windows are? I’m willing to bet his “stained glass windows” could kick your church’s windows' collective ass.

I’m sure I’ve pissed off all my “Christian” friends, but the intolerance of the world is really tweaking me. I’ve always tried to fight for the underdog, help those in need, and not judge, because the only one who can sit in judgment is far bigger than me. It’s not my place, not my job. My job is to be the best person I can be, hold myself accountable on all levels, and do the right thing. And I'll be damned if I am going to let some narrow-minded hypocrite dictate to me what kind of relationship I have with God. I'm pretty sure that is between God and me, and no one else. I think if more people subscribed to that line of thinking, the world would be a much more pleasant place to live. People would be kinder, more understanding, more appreciative of the individuals that surround them, no matter what their background, socio-economic level, or beliefs.

Ok, bring it, I’m ready. Tell me what you think, prove me wrong. I can’t wait to get this conversation going. In the meantime, I'll just sit here and wait for my facebook friends count to drop.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Naughty Red Boots…

Once upon a time, in a small quaint town called Manassas, there was a boot store, filled with the most wonderful cowboy boots in the world. There were brown boots and gray boots, blue ones and forest green ones. There were boots for working, and boots for playing, boots for church, and boots for just being lazy. There were boots made of lizard and boots fashioned from the skin of pythons. All were beautiful and quite proud of their fine workmanship. But in the back, on the bottom shelf out of sight stood a pair of lipstick red cowboy boots. No one ever tried on these lovely boots. Big drippy tears fell from the boots’ shafts, and they were terribly sad that no one loved them. Then one day, a woman with firey red hair and a sunny disposition walked through the door. She was looking for the most special pair of boots in the world, a pair of boots that would last forever, and would accompany her to special places. All of the boots stood up straight, showing off their glossy finishes and their intricate stitching. The woman looked at each pair, touching their beautiful leather, and contemplating their appearances. They were beautiful indeed, but not quite the boots she was looking for. She wanted extraordinary boots that could be seen from far away. As she approached the back of the store, the little lipstick red boots stood up as tall as they could. The woman bent down and smiled. These boots were special indeed. She slipped on the lovely little boots and they were a perfect fit. Then, something strange happened. The little red boots, as if by magic, began to make the woman dance and whirl about. These were the most magical boots EVER. The redheaded woman sashayed to the cash register and plopped down her plastic card. The little lipstick red boots were soooooo happy, they had finally found the perfect person to take them home. And the woman and the little red boots lived happily ever after…well…sorta…

Ok, so maybe not so happily, but at least it was never boring, for those little red boots, MY little red boots, turned out to have not just magical powers, but naughty magical powers. Right now the boots are grounded, relegated to my closet for their often borderline bad behaviour. I know you’re wondering what they could have possibly done, such a lovely sweet pair of lipstick red boots.

Ok, so it was a Friday night, a number of months ago, and Bill’s friend Bert came to town for a visit. We love when Bert slips into Manassas for the weekend, for inevitably, some sort of wicked fun ensues. After a “happy hour cocktail” at the house, we headed to one of our favourite establishments for the evening to see a friend’s band work their own special magic. Everyone would be there, so I was particularly excited about the prospect of a good time. I changed into something to fit my mood, made my hair as big as I could, and applied enough makeup to set a drag queen back on her heels in astonishment. I looked in the mirror...hmmm...something just isn’t quite right. Then it hit me…MY LIPSTICK RED BOOTS! I hadn’t worn them out since Bill had gotten them for me. That would be just the thing for an evening such as this. I slipped them on, and I swear to you my feet felt tingly. Ruh roh, this wasn’t going to be good. Oh well, you never know how far down you can go unless you make the leap...snicker...

So away to Clarke’s we went. And yes, all of our friends were there, even some I hadn’t expected to see. We chatted, we laughed until our sides hurt. We poked fun at each other, and we drank. Now I’m not going to say how much we drank, but trust me, I am pretty sure I smelled like an intoxicating combination of Chanel perfume and vodka. I felt fine though, just perfect. Then Bert ordered shots of Jaegermeister for everyone. We all toasted our wonderful lives and threw back the shots. That is the very last thing I remember.

But apparently, my boots and I had lively conversations with just about everyone, about all sorts of philosophical sorts of topics, including but not limited to, love, politics, religion and the color of my underwear. I danced while PJ belted my favourite Heart tunes into the microphone. It’s a good thing Clarke’s does not have a pole, because I am sure I would have been on it. The boots would have been all about pole dancing. I’ve never pole danced in my life. I’m not sure that would have turned out so well.

As the evening wound down, Bert and Bill took it upon themselves to get me home. Each one grabbed me from either side and hauled me out the door. My boots, however, were hell bent on staying. They screamed all the way to the truck. In fact, they dragged themselves toes down across the parking lot. Bill and Bert hoisted me into the back seat of the truck, but were unable to deposit my limp drunk body on the seat itself, so they put me on the floorboard. Unfortunately the boots were trying to make a quick escape and were still hanging out of the truck. So Bert and my darling Bill, in their infinite wisdom, simply folded up my legs and shut the door. All you could see through the back seat window were the magical red boots sticking up, yelling at the top of their shafts for Bill and Bert to let them the hell out of the truck. They weren’t finished yet! They had more to say! They wanted to dance some more. It was useless. Bill and Bert headed home, but not before stopping at the City Taven to say hi to some folks, leaving the boots and me in the truck! The nerve...

The next day I woke up not feeling my absolute finest, and that is all I am saying. What was interesting however, is that I was in bed, on TOP of the covers, fully clothed, including the boots. I looked down at my beloved boots and thought to myself, “Oh, this CANNOT be good!” Bill and Bert told me what had happened. It wasn’t good. If I could have, I would have spent the rest of my life hiding in bed. I removed the magic lipstick red boots, put them in their box, and shoved them in the closet. BAD BOOTS! NAUGHTY NAUGHTY BAD LITTLE RED BOOTS!!!

The boots have been out since then, but they aren’t allowed out very often. I wore them last weekend, but I kept a close eye on them to make sure they didn’t give any repeat performances. They could have been better, but they had definitely been worse. They’re back in the closet. I’m thinking about letting them out around the holidays.

So next time you’re shopping and you see a pair of innocent looking red cowboy boots peering up at you, begging to be worn out of the store, think long and hard about that purchase. It is my belief that all red cowboy boots are magic, and believe me, they don’t always use their magic powers for good.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I hate the “new” facebook...

Understand, while I consider myself a forward-thinking person, I do not personally like “change” to my everyday routine, and facebook is a large part of that routine. It’s usually the first thing I check in the morning, and I often have it running in the background at work all day. My friends are there, my family is there, even my cockatoo has her own page. I love that I can virtually keep up relationships with the click of a few buttons. I’m nosey. I like to know what is going on in everyone’s world. And I’m opinionated, so I like to let the world know what I’m thinking. What the world does with my opinion is really not important to me. Believe me, I’ve had many people tell me to take my opinions and shove them up my a$$. It’s all good…love me or hate me, but at least I inspire a reaction.

So I truly sympathize with the millions of people whose lives were thrown into utter chaos by the changes that facebook made. It was horrible, simply the worst thing to happen this week. It made the local and national news. I’m pretty sure that Congress will be convening a special session to discuss these changes and then do nothing about them. I’m surprised the Pope did not jump on the bandwagon and condemn this as the Devil’s work. It was all over everyone’s status messages. My facebook world was littered with comments, criticisms, jokes, and diatribes devoted to the “new” facebook. It was ugly, and for a while it could get uglier. According to sources in the all-knowing media, this is merely the first in a series of facebook renovations coming in the next weeks and months. Word on the street is that the Powers That Be in Facebookland are making the changes because facebook’s user base is becoming “emotionally detached” from the site. Instead of wanting to be on facebook, we are now somehow forced to be on facebook because it contains most of our daily world. Are we that pathetic? Does Zuckerberg really believe that we will all curl up in a ball and die without our beloved facebook? I, for one, would probably manage to overcome the trauma of losing my social media life. It would involve alcohol and a certain amount of crying, but my world does not revolve around facebook, at least not completely. Is it important? Absolutely. Is it a necessity? Well, not really. My biggest concern would be how my classmates and I would plan our 30th reunion without Facebook. I have an amazing amount of high school friends on Facebook. Out of all of them, I have a handful of phone numbers and addresses. Without facebook, I would have no way of tracking them down and checking to see if they were having a good day or a bad day. I wouldn’t know if their dog had crapped in their living room, or if their kids were driving them crazy…oh, the travesty of it all.

Facebook has made me lazy. I no longer pick up the phone and call many of my friends to check on them. And while I know the right thing to do is send a handwritten thank you, it’s just too dang hard to dig up a stamp and drop it in the mailbox, when I can leave a handy dandy “thank you” right there on their facebook page. Facebook allows me to “cheat” when it comes to such things. And the funny part? Everyone seems to be just fine with that, because they cheat too. We all cheat, then we pat ourselves on the back for leaving messages and birthday wishes and condolences on our friends’ pages, when the truth is, a phone call would really be the right thing to do.

I’m not maligning facebook. Anyone who knows me will tell you that, in my case, it should be called “facecrack” because sometimes it really is an addiction. But I’m ok with that, since the end result gives me so much pleasure. And, for the record, I have no problem with a thank you left on my facebook page. Save the stamp, save a tree.

So here we are, left with our forever-changed facebook. And apparently there is no going back. We subscribe to the good and bad, the right and the wrong, the motivation and the laziness that facebook provides us on a daily basis. I do believe that the pros outweigh the cons. I’m not happy out the changes, but then again, it is free, and really, how can I bitch loudly about something that is my choice. If I don’t like it, I could leave. Of course my entire social network would collapse and Bill would find me huddled in a closet, sucking my thumb, and drinking vodka out of a paper bag. But instead, I choose facebook. I will adapt, I will embrace, and I will continue to drive all my friends nuts with my goofy posts. I must be doing something right. I don’t see my “friends” numbers dropping like a rock.

So next time you see my page, don’t forget to hit my “subscribe” button. Not sure where that is? Top righthand corner, right next to the “message” button…one of the many changes coming to a facebook page near you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I want a Pomeranian like Boo…

I’ve expressed my longing for an adorable ball of fur in the form of a Pomeranian that I can cart around in some ridiculously expensive doggy purse, but as usual, Bill is resisting. Big surprise, I know.

I didn’t always know that I wanted a Pomeranian. My first wistful thought of owning one occurred when my extremely evil friend Sherrel introduced me to the facebook page of a Pomeranian named Boo. Boo has 1.6 MILLION facebook fans, and if you take a look at his page, you can see why. He is an absolute ball of fluffy cuteness. And his owner entertains me with witty little quips under his pics. I am smitten. Boo even made it on the Today Show and Good Morning America to promote his new book, “Boo, the Life of the World’s Cutest Dog”. It’s amazing there aren’t more Pomeranians in the world, because he’s even cuter on TV than in photos.

So imagine my disappointment when Bill said “we are NOT getting a Pomeranian. If we get another pet, I am pulling an RV into the driveway and living in it. Five pets is more than enough.” I quickly reminded him that we used to have SIX pets, but my Pekingese, Marlen, tried to eat my daughter’s hamster at 4am one day. It wasn’t a good outcome. By the way, if anyone needs $500 worth of Ovotrail hamster paraphernalia, please let me know. I am damn sure we will not be getting another hamster. The violent demise of Mable was very traumatic.

So, I thought perhaps if I went down the road of “We USED to have six pets.” Bill would relent to my need for a Pomeranian...nope. He did not yield. He did not even waver in his response. He then informed me that when we do get another dog - apparently we have to wait until one of our other pets “takes the big dirt nap” - it will be a “hunting” dog, such as a beagle or a Jack Russell. Don’t get me wrong, beagles and Jack Russell’s are adorable, but in no way does their cuteness exceed that of a Pom. I told him I heard Pomeranians make excellent hunting dogs. He shook his head and rolled his eyes. Damn, I thought I was more convincing. . .apparently not.

I know I have a lot of pets. Currently, we are the parents of a Pekingese, a geriatric mixed breed dog, a cockatiel, a blue-headed pionus parrot, and a cockatoo who thinks she is a child (not even kidding a little.) They are all spoiled, all badly behaved, and all needy. But really, how much space can one more pet take up in the house? Poms are little, not even ten pounds. How much can they eat? I know my fifteen pound Pekingese’s poop isn’t much bigger than a rabbit. I would have to guess that Pom poop is even smaller. So many checks in the "win" column when it comes to Poms.

For now, Bill has won this battle. I don't have a choice really, so for now I'll just gaze at Boo's facebook page, and hope that someone leaves an adorable Pomeranian puppy on our doorstep.

I wonder how he’d feel about chinchillas?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Throw pillows...they aren't just for throwing...

It is an ongoing battle in the Tucker household.

I would like a bedroom that speaks to my romantic side, with deep plush carpeting that doesn’t smell like dog and just the right mood lighting to always make me look fifteen years younger. I want a vanity where I can sit and blowdry my hair like some middle-aged Rapunzel or put on my ten pounds of makeup. And, as the centerpiece of my fabulous bedroom, I want a bed that looks like a big marshmallow, complete with about 20 throw pillows. Bill isn’t really onboard with this idea.

On more than one occasion, the conversation resembles this…

Bill “Can you please explain to me why all of these little pillows are on the bed?”

Me “They’re for decoration. They are shams and throw pillows.”

Bill “So I can’t lay on them.”

“No, they are not for your head.”

Bill “Ok, I give up, then why in the hell are they on my bed?”

Me “So the bed looks pretty.”

Bill “That is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Let’s get rid of them.”

Me “We can’t…they cost a fortune and I love them.”

Bill “But you can’t do anything with them. They are completely useless.”

Me “I don’t care, they make me happy, now get your fucking hands off the throw pillows.”

Currently Bill is winning the battle, but only because the wife of one of Bill's friends got really drunk (damn lightweight) at last year's Christmas party, then got sick and vomited sangria and beer margaritas all over my Calvin Klein comforter, essentially trashing it. I have not yet found a replacement. To be honest, I'm not so sure Bill didn't pay her off to do it on purpose. By the way she never called to apologize. I have not forgiven her. She will not be at this year’s Christmas party...just sayin...

I know that throw pillows are useless. I know they take up space unnecessarily, but they are important to me, and to most women I know. We want a fluffy bed, a sexy bed, a bed that says “throw me down and have your way with me.” Right now my bed says “oh fuck it, let’s just go to sleep.” I hate my bedroom. It has ugly flowered wallpaper, a bed with mismatched sheets and a lightweight ugly blanket, and it does indeed have carpeting that smells like dog.

Why is it when it comes to a couple’s marital residence, the bedroom always comes last? It’s the spot where clothes and dust cover the unused treadmill, and the top of the dresser looks like a pharmacy. None of the furniture matches and the closets look like they are about to explode. The rest of the house can be spotless, but the bedroom often looks like it’s inhabited by a hoarder with a penchant for dirty laundry. Even when you clean it up, it still looks awful. I'm tired of awful.

I have a plan, and I’m not sure if Bill is going to like it. The bedroom is going to be my winter project, and when I am through, it will be the envy of all the other girls. I’m going to have that fluffy marshmallow bed and my mountain of pillows on top. There will be clean closets and plush carpeting that squishes between my toes. I'm thinking about doing it when he goes hunting...can't bitch if you're not there, ya know what I'm saying?

And every night, after I have created my completely fabulous bedroom, Bill and I will turn down our impossibly thick comforter and leave it at the bottom of the bed, because as any woman entering menopause will tell you, hot flashes are a bitch. And Bill will complain as he removes all the throw pillows because they aren’t for his head. But I will be happier. I will sleep better, and Bill will get lucky more often, so in the end it’s a win win.

Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's not middle age. It's my "happy place"...

It’s difficult to make someone younger than 40 understand how really great life is after 40. I was thinking about this as I lay in bed, waiting for my slightly arthritic hips to wake up as well so I could move. I didn’t say everything was great about life after 40. On the shortlist of "unfavorite things" is deteriorating eyesight, thinning gray hair (thank God for my very talented colorist Tirrani), memory loss, and my personal favorite, incontinence. Sleep has taken on a greater role in my life. Before 40, I stayed awake as much as possible, constantly fearful I would miss something fabulous. After 40, my biggest fear is missing my Sunday afternoon nap.

After 40, watching reruns of “Sex in the City” have become nostalgic for me. I loved those years in my life, but at this point, I really don’t have any desire to relive them. It was an exhausting time, filled with working crazy hours, staying up so late that I saw the sun rise on too many occasions, and trying to keep track of a social life that required an event planner. Did I have fun? More than I had ever hoped for, but now, while Bill and I still have a pretty busy social calendar, it is filled with casual, happy moments with friends instead of bouncing around to as many nightclubs as possible in one evening, and handing out my phone number like it was a winning lottery ticket. It was a blast, but those days are behind me and I am glad. In all honesty, I have no complaints about my life before 40. I had more fun than allowed by law, filled with crazy friends, passionate loves, and that breezy lifestyle that allows you to thumb your nose at responsibility, at least to a point, and do whatever you damn well please. Of course, having my daughter at 34 changed all that quite a bit, but more so, I can look back and admit that even with a child, I was much more carefree pre-middle age. Now, I worry about the big things, like retirement, paying off the house, getting my kid through college, and napping (always a concern.) I also have to worry about my health, which is a new one for me. After a visit to the doctor last week, I discovered I have slightly elevated blood pressure. I was in shock, considering my blood pressure has always been so low that giving blood was not an option for me. Really? Hypertension? Holy crap, I started to wonder if all of those episodes of tremors and pounding headaches were mini-strokes killing me off slowly. Then I realized they were hangovers, and only occurred on Sundays, which by the way, is why the Sunday afternoon nap has become a critical part of my week. I was immediately relieved. The doc put me on water pills that also lower blood pressure. So I filled the prescription and am going to just chalk it up to “getting older.” The bonus? I’ll probably lose five pounds in a week without even trying. I was giddy when the doctor mentioned that part. I asked if he had a pill to get rid of nose hairs and wrinkles. I’m not sure he got my joke.

So many things in life that used to pass by me unnoticed now seem almost poignant at times. Before 40, being still for any given amount of time was nearly impossible. After 40, some of my favorite moments are simply sitting with Bill, in near silence, as we watch the news or comb through our emails. We don’t need to be constantly moving, constantly chasing some new “thing” that requires our attention. I’m thankful for those quiet moments when I can simply breathe and be content with my life. We talk about the future and what we want to do when we reach the next chapter. Do we live on a boat somewhere down south? Do we become snowbirds? If we travel the winters in an RV, we can simply park it in my daughter’s driveway for the summer months and drive her crazy. She’s really not on board with that idea, by the way. We’ve had the discussion. She’s threatening to leave the country and not tell us where she is. I think she is kidding…maybe.

A friend posted on their facebook page today “happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.” No wonder I am so happy about where I am at this moment in my life, post-40. I have so much to be happy about now, so many happy memories about where I have been, and so much to look forward to in the future.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best…and always have vodka on hand...

So, after our earlier “earthquake event” this week, we are now officially moving onto a “category 3 hurricane event.” Get out your ark and your paddles folks. Load up the animals, and batton down the hatches. It’s supposed to be a frog-strangler.

Here is the really interesting part. I just read that Virginia has already declared a “state of emergency”. My overriding thought? I wonder how late the liquor store is open? We are completely out of vodka, and there is no way in hell I am going to weather a hurricane without some hooch. While the rest of the world is laying in supplies of non-perishables and toilet paper, all I can think of is “what would be an appropriate cocktail for a Force 3 hurricane named Irene??? (By the way, have you NOTICED how many hurricane names start with the letter I – Irene, Ike, Isabelle, Igor…and those are just the ones at the top of my head. Maybe we should start at “Z” next year, and work our way backwards through the alphabet, just for a change of pace. We can call the first one Zazu, or Zippy.)

It’s always such fun to watch the masses scramble to clean out every item known to man from the grocery store shelves. Hell, a half inch of snow in the metro DC area, and chaos reigns supreme. I challenge you to find anything worth eating, drinking or wiping your butt with when there is an approaching snowstorm around here. I guarantee if you don’t head out at the first sign of a disaster, you will be cleaning your posterior with toilet paper the consistency of sandpaper. (Everyone knows the Charmin and AngelSoft are the first to go.)

So as I sit here at the office contemplating the impending doom headed straight for the East Coast, I am making out my list – vodka, bourbon (for Bill), club soda and pepsi for mixers, a couple of limes, maybe some champagne for mimosas, and of course, Charmin. I can’t be bothered cooking on the weekends (Irene is making her appearance on Saturday) so we will be reduced to whatever is easy and handy. I see hotdogs and pb&j’s in my future, because as everyone knows, nothing goes with a vodka tonic quite like a good peanut butter & jelly sammich. Domino’s will probably still be delivering, so pizza is always an option. They will deliver in ANY kind of weather, I swear. Hmmmm...what else do I need to put on my list of “hurricane essentials?” Movies, of course, and hell, there will be pre-season football on the telly so we should have plenty to watch. With any amount of luck, maybe a “Criminal Minds” or “Law & Order SVU” marathon??? You know, on second thought this whole hurricane thing isn’t sounding so bad. We have booze, entertainment, potty paper, and pizza. What else could a person need? Certainly it could be worse.

I know I am good at poking fun at just about everything, but on a more serious note…to our many friends in Hatteras, NC…you are in our thoughts and prayers. Be smart and be safe. WE LOVE YOU ALL!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A whole lot of shaking goin' on...

Earthquakes are funny things. Having lived through only a couple aftershocks (long ago during a trip to California), and a very small one here last year (certainly nothing as strong as what I felt today) I was humbled by the experience. I was also terrified, and found myself wishing I kept a bottle of vodka in my desk drawer.

It is good to be reminded of how insignificant we really are in the grand scheme of life. I spend an inordinate amount of my day worrying about all kinds of things including, but not limited to, how white the grout is in my bathroom, whether or not my daughter remembered to close her dresser drawers before leaving for the day, and whether either or both of the dogs will pee on the floor while I am gone. I spend countless hours obsessing about work, making it to the gym, if my jeans are fitting a little more snugly, or if the neighbors really do hate us because we have lousy landscaping. It is truly amazing the amount of senseless junk we clutter our minds with on any given day. I’m guilty, you are guilty, we are all guilty. Sometimes it takes an event to “shake things up” and give you some perspective.

From now on, I believe I will spend my time filling my pint-sized brain with more pleasing, and lovelier thoughts. I will spend more time marvelling at the color of my daughter’s eyes, and how she has the most magnificent head of hair that she doesn’t appreciate, or brush. I will remember to always say “please” and “thank you” and “how can I help?”. I will spend more time laughing and less time bitching about things that really just don’t matter, like the condition of the basement, or how many lights are on in the house. I am thankful for my life, as well as everything and everyone in it. I have all that I require, and I am blessed in so many ways I cannot even count them all.

In the end, its fifteen minutes at a time, and that is exactly what we have the right to expect any given moment. It’s good to be reminded that the world is fragile, and so are we. Hug your kids, remember to tell your spouse and your family members that you love them, and that they count. The worst feeling in the world is knowing you should have, but you didn’t.