Thursday, August 28, 2008

Labor Day Weekend - Emphasis on Labor

My Labor Day Holiday will consist of exactly that ... labor.

This weekend I will be helping my little sister move from an apartment in Evanston, which she shared with her now ex boyfriend, to a solo apartment in Chicago.

I envision a day of bending, lifting, sweating, swearing, and the inevitable need to lower a piece of heavy furniture half-way up the stairway because giggle fits have completely depleted our strength. And, have you ever noticed how moving always takes at least 46% more time than you originally planned, part of which is spent puzzling over the exact angle of lifting needed to fit a couch or chair around a corner?

Added to this day of merriment is the location: Chicago. I dislike Chicago for several reasons, one of which is admittedly petty.
  1. There are too many people ... 9.7 million in the Chicago metro area ... and by reading this blog you must know that I generally hate people.

  2. Driving to Chicago takes too damn long ... why?

  3. Because there are too many people

  4. Driving in Chicago sucks big hairy donkey balls ... why?

  5. Because there are too many people

  6. And, finally, Chicago is the city of my exhusband ... thank God there are too many people.

So, as you are sitting around the lake/pool/grill/backyard enjoying this holiday weekend with a burger and ice cold drink, take a moment and add to that enjoyment by picturing me sitting in a car for several hours with my mother fielding the standard questions of whether I'm dating anyone and/or attending church regularly, then fighting to curb my swearing in front of said parent while driving around Chicago, followed by the bending, lifting, and sweating.

Rinse, reverse, and repeat for the return journey.

Yep, I love my little sis ... and that Venti Mocha Light Frappucino she'll have waiting for me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Invasion of the Bowl-Cuts

It seems that names like Devon, Doyle, Maynard, and Doris are on the rise across the country! Those of us who grew up in northern Indiana, particularly Shipshewana, Indiana, are accustomed to road apples decorating our roads and losing half of our classmates after 8th grade; however, according to this recent study, the Amish population has nearly doubled in the last 16 years and settlements are spreading across the country.

The article also mentions that more than half the population is under 21. You know what that means, right? More and more of the country is being introduced to J.O.'s - our local Shipshewana slang "jerked over" for our Amish teens who are currently driving cars, wearing jeans, a bit of makeup, and otherwise stretching their freedom before deciding whether to stay with the Amish way of life. The vast majority do stay in the church so be prepared to welcome the bowl-cuts and bonnets coming soon to a town near you. On the plus side, they are generally peaceful and friendly neighbors.

Um ... I do not recommend googling the phrase 'jerked over Amish' ... and noooooooooooo, I did not click on it!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Speaking about Chianti ...

About four years ago, while working at an appellate court, I met my 10 year twin.

I was a research attorney, meaning that I would read the briefs submitted in a case by the appellant and appellee, research the issues, and write a report for the panel of three judges who would decide the case (oh so exciting, I know). We occasionally had interns in our department and it was in this way that I met Amy. Now, I've admittedly had many Amy's in my life ... I have my best friend from college and ongoing, all-around, closest of close friends Amy, my 'one good thing that came out of my marriage, wine partner, excellent chef, close friend' Amy, and my 10-year twin Amy.

My 10-year twin Amy interned at our office soon after my divorce was final. What I remember about Amy was that she is a tad eccentric, intelligent, a bird-lover, and exactly ten years younger than me. Amy drew me out and back into fun during a time when I could easily have fallen into a deep dark hole. Amy also introduced me to Chianti.

I am not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination. I am not a connoisseur of any particular alcoholic beverage. I hate beer. I was, and sometimes still am, that annoying girl at the bar asking if there is a bar menu or giving some sad-assed request for a drink with rum in it. Wine was an acquired taste for me and Amy helped me figure out that I enjoy red wine, particularly Chianti, best. If you have ever been that person waiting very impatiently at the bar behind me ... you owe Amy your thanks.

Chianti, and other varieties of red wine, is generally an alcoholic beverage of choice among those of us acutely aware of calories. It has lower calories per serving than many other drinking options. I like the warmth of red wine and its sometimes spicy, oaky, earthy, taste.

If you are currently one of those annoying, indecisive bar patrons, let me recommend a wine tasting. Take a moment and google wine tastings in your particular city and I have little doubt that you'll find several from which to choose. Typically, for a set price, you and your group of friends can have a relaxing evening trying a variety of wines and learning a bit about them at the same time. It is the perfect way to find out whether you're a fan and have fun doing it.

Thank you, my 10-year twin!

I Know I Hate People But ...

Every once in a while, you run across a person or persons who shock you in a way that doesn't inspire the desire to maim or kill.

I have a family and a group of friends like that. Friends with whom I've shared my high points ... keeping a convicted killer behind bars with his new best "friend" Bubba (I'm making up the Bubba part, that's just my hope, but you can find out more about the murder this fall on the Discovery Channel), losing an 5th grader in weight and hitting single size digits again, volunteering at the zoo, reclaiming myself ... and my low points ... too many to list and, frankly, you people already have enough ammunition on me.

I am lucky enough to have people in my life who accept me for the warped, funny, sarcastic, bitter, cynical, broken person I am and it amazes me daily. I have recently had occasion to feel ashamed of myself (oh shut-up) and explained why to a few of these friends. The response? Pointing out that I had just described millions of people, that I'm human, and that I'm a good person. Absofuckinglutely amazing.

I truly hope you have people in your life that mirror these inexplicable accepters from mine. They are what keep us honest, keep us humble, and keep us sane.

And I swear that is not just the Chianti talking ... trust me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

I hate people.

In particular, I hate physically healthy people who nevertheless feel the need to impede my day by getting on the elevator and hitting “2”. Yesterday, I watched as a stunning blond, perfect figure, perfect legs, waited until the elevator door was closing then stuck her tan, toned arm out to stop it and stepped inside smiling as she pressed the “2” button. You know what doesn’t look so stunning, sweetheart? My Beaner’s aka Biggby mocha chill all over that blindingly white top of yours!

Seriously?? It’s one freaking flight of stairs!! I realize that you’re probably one of those over-metabolic freaks who can down a McDonald’s super sized fries every damn day without adding a mere jiggle to your cellulite deficient form but I think the bloody nose from my upward thrust might just mar your dainty face for a day or two.

God, I wish an assault conviction wouldn’t muck up my career.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Why Oh Why Oh Why!!!

Why is life so hard?

Life has become a jumbled up heap of mangled relationships growing higher and more unstable as we get older. I forget now how old I was when I realized that we never truly grow up, we simply get older, and the cliques we hated in high school simply changed locations to the workplace and church or our other current social groups.

Bridget the perfect cheerleader has been replaced by Bridget the perfect mother, Rob the ultra athlete is now Rob the successful vice president, Ben the slacker/pothead is now .... well, Ben the slacker/pothead.

Do you remember at what point you realized the falsity of "growing up"? I sit here feeling much of the same insecurities, the same fears, the same uncertainties about my life as I did when I was a senior in high school, a senior in college, a law school graduate.

Maybe it is just that I haven't crossed the invisible boundary; is it parenthood?

Maybe we finally "grow up" when forced to attempt to shepherd our own children into and through this life. But, no, that's not necessarily true either. I have been an aunt and even a step mom yet nothing has changed. I still feel the same. And I've certainly witnessed the vast ability of parents to behave as children or even worse than children.

I give up. I might as well accept the fact that I am now and forever will be an adolescent of life living in this adult version of high school. Fine. Then I only have one question.

Who the hell is taking me to prom!!???

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wanted: A Fantasy Football Ringer

Have I mentioned today how much I hate people?

Just under a week ago, I was banned for the first time in my life from a message board. It's true!! I am such a sweetheart, such a caring, considerate, *cough* completely non-bitch that I can well imagine your shock. In all honestly, I don't believe I've ever felt more hurt and betrayed by this many people at once.

Weeks before receiving that fateful "removal" email, I had been talked into joining a Fantasy Football League by the very people who tossed me with little comment out their cyber door. I only recently remembered the League and promptly removed myself; however, there are now two empty teams sitting there waiting for the draft on September 2nd.

If, by any chance, a reader comes across this blog and deems himself or herself a king or queen of such fantasy games, might I suggest that you go to ESPN's Fantasy Football Homepage and join the Daily Dose League? They need some good competitors and somehow it will not cause me any distress if one or more of you kick some ass there.

Bitter? No, why do you ask?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's an ABBA Summer!!

This is my own personal summer of ABBA. [FYI: You SO want to turn down your speakers before clicking on that link!]

Among their many songs, the Swedish group made up of Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), Agnetha Fältskog gave us Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Winner Takes It All, and my personal current favorite, Take a Chance On Me. And now, the 70's/80's group has invaded my summer of 2008 from three unrelated directions:

1) Mamma Mia, the movie. I highly recommend seeing Mamma Mia, a musical based on the songs of ABBA and starring the fabulous Meryl Streep along with an ensemble cast that includes my Pride and Prejudice boyfriend, Colin Firth. Now ... this post is about ABBA, I know, but really ... could there have been a better Mr. Darcy? I think not. *Sigh* Okay.

Mamma Mia is simply fun ... fun and lively and funny and feel good and, did I mention fun? I was entertained, impressed with most of the singing, and slightly uncomfortable listening to Pierce Brosnan sing S.O.S. Oye! Pierce needs to stick to those "I'm the coolest British [spy, thief, mystery man] you'll ever meet" roles.

2) The Grand Rapids Symphony Picnic Pops - ABBA, The Hits. If you've never attended a Grand Rapids Symphony Picnic Pops concert, you're missing one of the many things that make Grand Rapids a wonderful place in which to live. The concerts take place outside at the Cannonsburg Ski Area. You grab food, drink, friends, and lounge under the stars while the symphony plays. I took my stepmom to the July 31st concert based on ABBA songs. Surrounded by people of all shapes, sizes, and ages, we enjoyed an evening of ABBA songs that began rather mildly yet ended with an all-age MOSH pit for lack of a better description. I cannot begin to describe the level of people watching that these events supply. I had tears in my eyes and smile-pained cheeks by the end of the night.

3) The Murder Trial. Finally, on a more somber yet just as insane note, ABBA again entered my summer through a trial in which a man was convicted of first-degree murder for killing his estranged boyfriend by shooting him five times and beating him with the boyfriend's metal crutch. What caused this man to snap? To lash out in such a vicious way? An unfulfilled promise that the boyfriend would "hold" him after they were intimate.

Defendant claimed that this was a murder committed in the heat of passion and not worthy of a first-degree murder conviction. This man went down to a basement, grabbed a loaded gun, went back upstairs to the bedroom and unloaded that gun into his sleeping boyfriend. He then went back downstairs to reload the gun, went back upstairs, and attempted to shoot the victim again but the gun jammed. Did he then stop? No. He grabbed a crutch when the gun jammed and proceeded to beat the boyfriend until he stopped crawling and the crutch broke. I say that these events took enough time for a reasonable person to think about what they were doing; that's first-degree murder. And, let's face it, the thought of cuddling after sex as a reasonable basis for a murder to be deemed committed in the heat of passion should frighten all men, gay or straight, young or old.

The ABBA connection? After murdering his friend, defendant went into the living room and proceeded to listen to the same ABBA song, "their" song, over and over again for 3 hours before calling anyone to the scene. What song? It is rumored to be Fernando; however, the officers responding to the scene have apparently blocked the specifics of the blaring music out because they are now not certain. So, we only know that it was ABBA.

After all of this, could I help myself digging out my ABBA Gold CD from the depths of my unused CD collection? Of course not. How else can I listen to "my" song over and over again on repeat? Share the insanity. It is the summer of ABBA!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

@#$& Cheap Ass Plastic Containers!!

I sit in my apartment eyeing a large, crecent moon shaped, dark spot on my carpet that hugs one corner. Following my disappointing afternoon at the movies (see below), I dutifully got groceries including a large gallon of spring water from Meijer. My little sister called while I was driving home and, consequently, I found myself balancing my bag o'groceries, a 12-pack of pop, and the gallon of water as I used my key to unlock my door, the opening of which threw off my delicate balancing act.

Picture with me the subsequent and sad attempt at juggling, the slow fall of the gallon jug of water to the nice, cushy, carpeted floor, and then the ensuing string of profanity that followed my realization that the gallon container burst upon impact. Burst! No trickle, no small leak, a gushing ruptured bottom. Do you know how much water is in a gallon? Because it certainly seems like way more than a gallon when soaking down into the carpet. Over three full-sized bath towels ... then I gave up.

Stupid, cheap ass, plastic water containers!

X Files ... I wanted to believe, too.

I miss the X-Files. I miss Dana Scully and Fox Mulder's chemistry and wit. I miss the freakishly fascinating show about paranormal cases and Mulder's obsession with porn. I miss the smart twists and the swing between alien shows and completely warped non-alien shows. And after paying my $6.50 and watching the new X-Files movie, I still miss all of those things.

We join the pair as Dr. Dana Scully is treating a terminally ill child in a religious hospital and Fox Mulder is playing the hermit he was always meant to be ... until the FBI asks Scully to find Mulder because they need his help with a psychic. The first scene between our beloved Scully and Mulder disturbed me ... dare I say the acting wasn't what you thought it should be? They just had no chemistry anymore. It was awkward watching it. And the movie went down for me from there.

SIDE NOTE: I miss the smoking man, William B. Davis, who, by the way, is a spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society and started smoking herbal cigarettes on the show when he realized that his old smoking addiction was coming back simply because of his infrequent appearances on the show. Raise your hand if you, at some point, thought he might be Mulder's real father. No? Was that really only me?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What the Hell am I doing?

Why, I'm following my little sister, of course.

Is this all because I'm getting older? She's 8 years younger and dragging my slightly sagging ass into new-to-me things like Facebook (never did set up that Myspace page), Twilight (sharing the addiction), and now blogging. Blogging! How did this happen?

My little sister is on Facebook ... I should join. I did. Now words like "flair" and "walls" and "status" have whole new meanings for me. People I haven't heard from since high school, even people I don't believe I ever knew in high school, are becoming friends with me on Facebook, bringing that small town, "everyone knows what everyone is doing" feeling of Shipshewana, Indiana, right back into focus ... which now makes me wonder what the hell I'm thinking.

My little sister hammers me to read a teen book called Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I fly through that, New Moon, Eclipse, and, finally, Breaking Dawn, deeply offended that I passed through high school totally unaware of the hot vampires and werewolves roaming around. See, I knew there was something odd about those Amish!

And now I'm starting a blog as if I'll have things to write that others will want to read. Ha! I feel slightly ill. Ooh, and I'll have to try and watch my language. Do I write about all one type of thing or just random thoughts? Will my random thoughts just succeed in pissing people off? In painting the banner over my head that states "I hate people"? Hmm ... and is that necessarily a bad thing?

I can't imagine what will be next.