Monday, March 19, 2007

a reminder to me...

Start it; you don't have to be fancy.

Keep moving; you don't have to go crazy.

Visualize; you don't have to admit it.

See the end result; it doesn't have to be material.

Expect miracles; they don't have to be huge.

Pretend you've arrived; you don't have to dance on tables.

And above all else, Christina, have fun. This is why you started it, right?

Life, what a trip -

The Universe

P.S. Okay, okay, Christina, they can be huge and you can dance anywhere you like... but you might skip the tiny tutu.

Get your own Note from the Universe here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

the universe hates me...

Somebody out there hates me.

I just realized how my next few days will be progressing.

Even if I try REALLY hard, the earliest I am usually able to go to sleep is around 3am. That's if I've been running around all day, accomplishing all kinds of tasks, expending all available energy reserves and basically playing Superwoman. I haven't done shit today.

The problem with this is we have work men scheduled to be here throughout the day tomorrow. Framers are coming to fix the creaky floors on the second story, plumbers are coming to install a new toilet, electricians are coming to fix our outdoor outlets, and drywall people are coming to see what it will take to fix the bulge in my bedroom wall. Why all the activity? Our home warranty expires in about 22 days.

Construction folks don't keep my same schedule. I know. No one keeps my same schedule! The framers are supposed to be the first to arrive tomorrow--sometime between 8:30 and 9am. This is a lie. None of these guys ever come at the time they say they will. If they say they'll be by first thing it the morning, that means 7:30am to them... 8 if you're lucky. There's no WAY they're waiting until 9am to get started. My guess is they will be here at 7:42am. Again, that's just a guess.

The plumbers are due to be here between 12 and 3pm. In "home improvement speak", I know that translates to, "We told your builder we'd be there in the afternoon. That's just when we'll actually call you and tell you we need to reschedule for Monday."

I can't bust on my electricians at all. They've been the only sub-contractors through this crazy, ridiculous building-a-house ride to be on time, able to fix what they came to fix, every time. They're supposed to be here between 1 and 3pm.

That means I'm going to get maybe four hours of sleep, my whole day will be consumed with waiting for or putting up with subs, then there's the doctor's appointment 45 minutes away at 4:30pm, followed by dinner with friends at 7. Dinner will be a blast... but we will be out L-A-T-E. I can sleep after that, though, right? Nope. My niece has a soccer game at 8:30am Saturday
and then we're all going to breakfast. We'll be done with family duty just in time for me to come home and start cooking for Bunco Mardi Gras night! Then it's off to party again... That will be another late night adventure. You would think now I could finally get some rest, but through no fault of my own, I'm going to lose an hour's sleep courtesy of Daylight Savings. I know there's something Sunday, too, but my brain and body can't take any more right now.

I can't imagine having much time to write the next few days. Just keep me in your thoughts and hope I don't lose it all from lack of sleep. Heaven knows, I don't have much left to lose...

Last but not least, while I'm running myself ragged, you should too: How to go crazy in one easy step. (Get all the boy frogs to the right side of the rocks, and all the girl frogs to the left side. To start over, click the red arrow. To save yourself the headache, don't follow the above link.)

can't we all just get along...

So I recently fessed up to fudging time stamps on my posts... that will make this update a tad awkward. I swear though there was no manipulation done on the original date and time of my most recently completed masterpiece.

I am prematurely defending myself because I read several eerily similar posts and comments today that fall right in line with my thoughts on who I keep tabs on and why. Summer's post from yesterday (that I just read tonight) was about cyber friends; who do you count among yours and how did you meet? Then on Andrew's blog, one of his regular readers friends, Cheryl, posted the following: "You've been a busy writer. I've seen your comments as I've been blog-hopping tonight. It's a nice community we're a part of, huh? " It's like something was telling me to hurry up and finish the damn post already.

So, it's out there now. For your perusal. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

talk about seeing the world in a whole new way...

©2006 Scott Wade
I know, I know. I don't write for weeks, then I put up eight thousand posts in two days. Keep scrolling down the main page even if you checked in recently--I finally finished a "50 things about me..." post that I'd hate for you to miss. It should only take an hour or two to make your way through... damn I'm wordy.
I had to share this link, though. Talk about thinking outside the box... I have no idea now how I got to this site, but I am stupefied by this guy's ingenuity.

que pasa a la casa de stina...

There's been a lot going on around here lately, and not much at all. How does that happen?

Tuesdays with the girls has continued to be a success. Last week found me not wanting to cook, so we ordered pizza instead. I love my girlfriends. I hope they feel the same way. Even if I don't call them as often as I should. I better start thinking about tomorrow night's dinner...

Bunco was postponed due to a scheduling conflict, and then pushed back again due to a strep outbreak at the hostess' house. I think we were all willing to forgo a lengthy illness in the name of missing rolling some dice. I'm totally stoked for the next round, though. We're doing a Mardi Gras theme... which will be a little weird now that we're getting closer to the holiest of holy days, where we honor the blessed St. Patrick with lots of kissing and green beer. We have to do the Mardi Gras theme though... I ordered two damn boxes of beads for this shin-dig! Somebody is going to celebrate friggin' Mardi Gras. And they'll look fabulous doing it.

Collin finally decided to go get his Learner's Permit. Regular readers, if I even have any, will remember we started this little adventure back in December with my son's 15th birthday. Fear kept him from jumping in with both feet and heading straight for the DMV once he completed his Drug and Alcohol course. Finally deciding enough was enough, Collin told me last Sunday night he was ready to go test. The first appointment we could get was Wednesday afternoon, but we were there with bells on and birth certificate in hand. He's only been driving twice, both times in mostly empty parking lots. He is doing a wonderful job thus far. My Acura has super-sensitive brake and accelerator pedals, so that's added a bit of a challenge to the learning. He said the thing that surprised him the most was that the car would move even if he wasn't pressing the accelerator. This is something it never would have occurred to me to tell him. Now I know. Tomorrow's the big day to try real road driving for the first time. Nothing too stress inducing... just driving us out of the neighborhood to the main road. If I survive, I'll report back with an update.

a new kind of crazy...

Is it just me, or is there a whole new kind of crazy out there these days?

Stephen Grant, pictured above, has been arrested for his wife's murder and dismemberment. He has fully confessed to his crime and detailed how he buried parts of his wife's body in a local park. When he found out search teams were going to be in that same park the following day, he kindly went out there, retrieved her torso, and put it where it rightly belonged. In his garage.

In Texas, a seventeen-year-old was arrested recently after police confiscated a stolen video camera from his home. In the camera, they found tape of said seventeen-year-old making his two and five-year-old nephews smoke a joint. It's lovely footage... he sweetly lights the marijuana cigarette for the two-year-old and laughs coyly as the boy stumbles around the room. I mean seriously. You can't trust a two-year-old with a lighter. The five-year-old appears to be a pro at puffing the chronic. Clearly Uncle Responsible has lit it up for this kid before. Un-f-ing believable.

Remember the best friend who carved her BFF's fetus from her belly to claim the baby as her own? It was hilarious. She also killed her friend's three older children and stuffed them into a washing machine. I'm sure she just wanted them to be with their mother.

Then there's Michael Devlin from my home state of Missouri. You can imagine my pride. He kidnaps little boys and sodomizes them for fun. He even managed to get one of his victims to stay with him for four and a half years. He couldn't have been all bad for the kid not to leave, right? Threat of imminent death if the boy tried to escape couldn't have had anything to do with the kid's decision, could it?

Michael Jackson sleeps with little boys and talks about it like it's perfectly normal. A NASA-f'ing-astronaut puts on a diaper and travels 900 miles to Florida to kidnap and probably kill a woman because some married dude she's not even having an affair with likes the Orlando chick more than psycho-astro-nut lady. There was a father arrested recently for repeatedly using a stun-gun on his eighteen-month-old son. Another father hit his daughter on the head and then left her outside in the snow in single-digit temperatures until she died. This same model citizen is also being charged with sexual assault against another child in the home.

What the hell has made its way into our drinking water?? Where are these people coming from? Has stuff like this always gone on and we're just now being bombarded by these stories because of the internet age and instant access to news? Has society changed to the point that we need to hear this stuff to reassure us our lives aren't that bad after all? What happened to our values? Why don't neighbors look out for each other anymore? Have we really gotten that callous? When was humanity devalued to the point that it's easier to strangle your wife and hack her into pieces than say, "Hey, this marriage thing isn't really working out for me. I think we need to contact attorneys."

Crap like this is why I don't watch the news. I need to put myself on an "internet news" diet, too. I'd rather be blissfully ignorant about current events than have atrocities like these needling away at my soul on a continual basis.

I've gotta go un-wind.

Monday, March 05, 2007

speaking of train wrecks...

I'm working on a post titled "train wrecks...". It will be a fascinating little ditty showcasing my commentary on some goings-on of late.

In the meantime, I found a "train wreck" of a whole other proportion. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ms. Sondra Prill...

50 things about me...

1. I would give everything I have to a friend or family member who needed it.

2. I would NEVER accept, or even consider asking for the same in return.

3. I don't think anyone knows the real me. That includes me.

4. If I could have one hour back in my life, I would spend it talking to my dad. About everything. And I would hold his hand the whole time.

5. I believe in things a lot of people roll their eyes at... like "signs", guardian angels, spirits, "The Secret" and an innate good in people.

6. My husband bought me a sweeeet coral pink Nintendo DS last night (now we all have one--DSes, that is. Mine is the only pink one...), and I am totally addicted to it already.

7. When I grow up, I want to be a Private Investigator.

8. My guilty pleasures in life include "South Park", "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and celebrity gossip.

9. I think I was black in a past life.

10. Despite usually saying the opposite, I have a strong desire to have another baby.

11. I would definitely consider adopting an older child.

12. In a perfect world, I would be living in Costa Rica or Belize, or on a Caribbean island somewhere (probably St. Maarten... it's a short commute to Saba) working to preserve our coral reefs and eating spiced bread, cheese and mangoes for breakfast.

13. There are very few male celebrities I find attractive... Dwayne Johnson and Howie Long top my rather short list, with Jason Statham and Channing Tatum pulling up the rear.

14. I have she-crushes on Shakira and Sara Ramirez.

15. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved to Silver Spring, Maryland when I was fourteen.

16. I spent every summer of my life in New Jersey, trading time between Plainfield and Long Beach Island, until I graduated high school. I lived in New Jersey for about a year when Collin was 4.

17. I have lived in Florida for ten years now. I will NOT move north. Only south from here, baby...

18. I no longer have any connection to my dad's side of the family. I think I'm finally ok with that. They're all strange anyway. What bothers me is to know that my dad would not be ok with it.

19. I have a little brother who lives in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife.

20. My sister-in-law is of Indian descent. She and my brother were married in a civil ceremony last year. We are going to their Hindu wedding this August. It will be my first experience wearing a sari. I am most looking forward to the henna party.

21. I listen to (and love) all kinds of music. Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley are perennial favorites, with 80's/early 90's dance and hip hop always a good alternative. I listen to a lot of classic rock and 80's metal, too. When I'm alone in the car and thinking things out, I either turn the radio off, or switch to the country station. I have listened to country music my whole life and always find comfort in it.

22. My first concert was Willie Nelson. I was in the fourth grade at the time and couldn't understand why my mom wouldn't let me wear my t-shirt from the show to school the next day, just because it smelled a little weird. I now know that smell was all the doobie smoke in the air that penetrated the cotton fibers of my kick-ass baseball jersey style tee, with Willie's goofy face on the front and all the tour dates and cities listed on the back. I wore the shit out of that shirt.

23. I love live concerts. I have seen Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Genesis, U2, the Beastie Boys, the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry, Leon Redbone, and NSYNC all up close and in person. I also saw Katrina and the Waves, but come on... how could I put them in the same list as the Eagles?

24. I will never spend another cent again on Montgomery Gentry, or their music.

25. I do not shop at Walmart. Gross abuses of eminent domain laws, exploitation of their suppliers, their racist, sexist and ageist hiring practices, and the general assumption that Satan himself has to be behind their ridiculously low prices all factored into my boycott decision.

26. I get quiet and keep to myself when I am overwhelmed.

27. I hate pickles on a sandwich, coffee, olives, black licorice and beets.

28. I am in love with Pottery Barn sheets and won't buy anything else for my bed.

29. I am afraid of heights but love to fly.

30. I want to get my nose pierced on the left side. I have personal as well as aesthetic reasons for this desire. Once pierced I plan to wear a very small ball or diamond stud.

31. I am totally obsessed with tattoos, but I do not have any of my own.

32. When I get my first tattoo, it will be on the back of my neck. I want the Chinese symbol for double happiness, but you can bet I will check, and recheck, the artwork so I don't end up here. I want the symbol done in the style shown on the first frame of this artist's gallery, so that it looks like true Chinese brushwork calligraphy.

33. My second tattoo will be on the back of my right shoulder. It will be an image of Kwan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion, done in all white ink. You can see a similar tattoo here, at the top left.

34. I am married and will be celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary this fall.

35. I have a fifteen year old son who I adore beyond all words. He is home schooled because I grew very sick of the public school system that emphasized FCAT scores above actual learning. I want nothing more for him than complete and total happiness and unbridled success. He has a much better opportunity for those things now than he would have in the public school system. He is also free to be who he wants to be, not who kids he would be forced to spend eight hours a day with want him to be. Some would say I'm sheltering him, or am over-protective. They would probably be correct. I make no apologies for protecting my son from drugs, school violence, and a culture that glorifies promiscuous sexual activity.

36. If you're good at math, and hopefully even if you're not, simple addition/subtraction skills probably led you to the conclusion that chances are good my husband is not my son's biological father. Good deduction. My son's father lives in New Jersey, and Collin visits him twice a year. We met in college. We were never married to each other but are both married now.

37. Are you really still reading this stuff? I want to see the Northern Lights before I die. This will be my one, and only, willing foray into arctic conditions.

38. I would rather drown than freeze to death. That given, I'd rather drink at a Tiki bar somewhere sunny than drown or freeze...

39. I still consider my best friend from high school one of my best friends... but it's been about two and a half years since we last spoke.

40. I have always felt more comfortable with my guy friends than I have with most of my girl friends.

41. I almost instantly regret the comments I leave on other people's blogs. I always thought I was a pretty decent sentiment-expresser, but when I re-read the blog comments I leave, I immediately begin to feel like the dorky girl at school who never quite got it right when she'd try to talk to the cool kids.

42. I don't go to sleep until about 4:00am. I don't wake up, unless I have to, until sometime between 10 and 11.

43. I frequently change the time posts on my blog entries in a feeble attempt to hide #42.

44. I am really ready for a vacation. There's a cruise out of Puerto Rico that has my name all over it. A different island every day... mmmmmmmmmmm.

45. My entire house is decorated based on eastern feng shui principles. Some people consider feng shui a load of crap. All I can say is I have seen amazing changes in our lives since incorporating feng shui into our living space. I hired a consultant specializing in the Compass School (luopan) to map our floorplan and make recommendations. I have added to her ideas using many of Lillian Too's interpretations.

46. I have lost 40 pounds since July. Most people ask if I've done something different with my hair.

47. I am really craving Chinese food right now. I used to eat Chinese food two or three times a week. Then I found a roach in my lo mein. COOKED in my lo mein. It had the sauce on it and everything. It was twirled into the noodles, looking out at me from the end of my fork. At the time I'd already eaten most of my dinner... without bothering to look at it before shovelling it in my mouth. Don't worry. If there were any others in my food, they came back up in a matter of seconds. It took me a good eight years before I even thought about Chinese food again. Hmmm. My craving seems to have dissipated.

48. I worked for eight years in law enforcement. During that time I was Intern Coordinator for a major metropolitan police department, a 911 call-taker and dispatcher, a desk officer, and crime analyst. I have also been a bouncer, pre-school teacher, nail technician and PR/marketing specialist. I sold home alarm systems for a while, too.

49. I love reading conspiracy theories. There are some I think have more merit than others. I do think our government is capable of things we can't even begin to imagine. Tattoos, piercings, feng shui, spirits and conspiracy theory stuff aside, I really am a pretty sane person. I promise.

50. The things about me that are not on this list are probably all the things anyone would really want to know. Sorry.

**Thanks to AbbaGirl for introducing me to this concept... I'm glad I only had to come up with 50!! If you read this whole post, you probably are, too.

the thin line...

I haven't posted recently. I know this. No promises are being made to do so more faithfully, mind you. Just stating the obvious.

I do have a reason, though. As of late, all of the time I used to spend writing, I now seem to spend reading. There are some fascinating people out there blogging about their daily ins-and-outs. I can't seem to get enough.

I will freely admit that after checking my email accounts and making sure the world isn't coming to an end, I head directly to 4th Avenue. I find Andrew absolutely intriguing. He is a fabulous writer. I envy his dialogue writing style. My memory is too shot to make a success of such prose. More important than being an incredible writer though is the fact that Andrew is an awesome story teller. His interesting band of cohorts gives him plenty of fodder for blogging, to be sure. He doesn't just tell you about these people though... he makes you see them. You can hear their words, in their voices. He describes even the minute details of his surroundings. Sometimes his descriptions are so vivid I feel like I'm standing by his side--sharing the experience... like the Alabama sunrise just breaking the horizon, or the southern bar-be-que he downs at one of his favorite local haunts. Andrew writes about his demons, too, which I find so unbelievably noble. Struggling with schizophrenia and alcoholism, he sometimes waxes poetic over his homeless days. His candor is raw and can be unnerving at times, but he is living proof of the indomitable human spirit within us all. Flawed though he may be, he understands the path he needs to follow and does what he can to stay on track. Andrew's recovering now from a rough patch in the road, but he has this amazing community of blogging friends who were there to pick him up when he had forgotten how to find his own way. Paying the piper can be a bitch, but I know he's going to come out better for the experience on the other side. He's too amazing not to. (By the way, did I mention his photos? My only complaint about Andrew's photography is that he seems to have slacked off a bit as of late. His photos tell stories all on their own...)

I found Andrew one night by clicking the little "Next Blog" tab at the top of my Blogger screen. I had no idea the new world I was opening up by that one little move of the mouse. I mentioned briefly the blogging community that regularly checks in on Andrew and his hijinks. By clicking a few links on profiles for those commenting on 4th Avenue posts, I was taken to tons of other blogs... each one more interesting than the one before it. Some people I clicked on because I liked what they said in their posts. Others I checked into because their screen name or avatar piqued my curiosity. I was seldom disappointed. I was quite often astounded. I can't believe the diversity and talent among the world of online bloggers. It seems everyone has something fascinating to say.

I am completely enthralled with Austere's blog, AustereSeeker. My favorite posts are when she writes like your senses would take a scene in. There are the sights... the sounds... the smells... the chaos... the beauty. She has amazing insight and makes for a wonder-full read. I love the way she responds to her comment posters, too. And I love that she comments on my blog. All I do is read words she puts onto a computer screen. I'm half a world away. She, however, makes it seem like we're friends sitting on opposite sides of a table at Starbucks. Be sure to check out her other blog, Roughpad, too. Full of creative writing pieces and poetry, it shows how truly talented she is. I'm glad I don't get charged by the visit. My PayPal would be bottomed out by now. "Delightful read" doesn't begin to do Austere justice. Reading her words is more of an "experience". I can't wait til she posts again...

Andrew led me to Abba Girl, too. I love reading her posts about work and travel. She seems like someone I would be friends with in the real world, so why not in the blogging world? Reading at the Wheel leaves me feeling like I'm having a great phone conversation. I don't get to do much of the talking, mind you, but she calls me sometimes, too, and returns the favor. I keep my blog reading to a pretty small, selective group, so blog-wise, I guess you could say I don't get out much. AbbaGirl's post titled "50 Things About Me" was the first one I'd seen of such a nature. I loved reading her list so much, I knew I would have to do a post of my own. Mine is a tad more verbose than hers, and by "tad" I mean my tome vs. her summary... but that's how I roll. Abba is a wonderfully giving person. She cares deeply about the friends she has made online, and it shows. I count myself lucky to know she checks in here on occasion.

I found Summer at the intersection of 4th Avenue and Madison Street. I spend time at least once a day now checking in to see what's new at number 107. Her blog's subtitle reads, "When Summer was fun." I would proffer that Summer's a riot. No longer working outside of the house, I truly enjoy reading about the shenanigans she deals with at work. Stories of Dr. Browneyes and Ms. Percocet make me wish--just for a split second or two, mind you--that I had a crazy office to report in to on occasion. Then I wake up. I'd much rather read about her crazy exploits than have to endure some of the stuff she goes through. Like the whistling. Lately I've enjoyed her soul bearing posts about her grandfather and the amazing account of her son's birth. A lot of the best reading on Madison Street is in the "Comments" sections of each post. Summer has a loyal band of readers friends who clearly care for her deeply. It doesn't take much digging to figure out the feeling is mutual. Reading for the first time made me think, "I'd love to be part of this." So I uncharacteristically burst into the room and commented right along with the best of them. Hopefully it was a welcome intrusion...

I wanted to start stalking Tina, just like the rest of the free world, apparently. It would have involved emailing her to find out where she's gone now, though, and mine are pretty big, but they're not titanium plated yet. In the meantime I just have to wait for her to post again on Summer's blog. Maybe someday she'll send the link all on her own... (hint, hint Tina.)

Another member of the M STREET CREW is AC. She claimed recently to know not what she did/does to warrant a spot on my "who i'm reading" roll, so allow me to extrapolate. AC loves vintage photos. She has one attached to each of her posts. I love vintage photos. Most of my art features vintage images of some kind. AC lists her location as "Western What the Fuckistan, FL". I swear to God I wish I had thought of that first. I usually list mine as "Southeast of Disorder". Most endearing, however, is the fact that she hearts things. I heart things, too. (In fact, when I found AC, I had a saved entry I was working on called, "things i heart..." . After I read her blog, I didn't want to be accused of copy-catting her clever catch phrase, so I never posted it.) I enjoy her tales of el Capeetan, Nigerian stalkers, and life in general. Plus, she sees dead people. Does it get any cooler than that? It may be just me, but I suspect she knows quite a bit. She's apparently having a rough go of it lately and hasn't blogged in a while. I know I'm not alone in hoping she gets back to posting soon because I heart checking in on Western What the Fuckistan...

It's a thin line that separates us all. Someday I hope to be able to thank Andrew for the wide little world on the web he opened up for me. Maybe I just did?