Friday, December 4, 2009

From the Midst of the Montage

Have you ever felt as if you’re in the midst of your life-changing montage?

You know what I mean, right?

In movies, we watch our hero/heroine suffer some tragedy, be it the death of a loved one, the loss of a career, or a broken heart, some combination of events that leads them to their lowest of lows, and then …. the montage.

The montage typically consists of 60 seconds or less of quick flashes of scenes showing our hero/heroine (Oh, let’s just go with “she” shall we? What? No reason) taking those necessary steps to pick herself up, dust herself off, and move on with her life. We see glimpses of her at the gym, beginning a new job, meeting new people, throwing out old things, buying new, painting or decorating her home, perhaps physically moving to a new locale. The montage ends, of course, with our heroine shiny, new, and completely physically and emotionally ready to turn the corner and *BAM* run into that love of her life who was just waiting, it seems, for her to get her own together.


A good, recent example of this is the movie (500) Days of Summer.


[Stop reading if you have plans to see this movie and don’t want spoilers.]


We see our hero, Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt [remember that cute little alien from 3rd Rock from the Sun?] writing greeting cards and falling in love with a girl named Summer. The film jumps around a bit time-wise but we see how Tom views their relationship, his hopes and dreams, and then we see those dreams crushed, revived, and finally obliterated when she finds someone new and he quits his job. Then … the montage. Tom finally takes up architecting again, trashes his apartment but starts drawing on the walls (I know, right?), and starts pounding the pavement looking for his “real” career. He focuses on making his own life better … and getting over lost love. We end with him 1) at an interview for the job he’s likely to finally get and 2) meeting Autumn …. that girl who was just waiting for him to notice her.

Wow, that almost made me gag and I LOVE that movie.


Do you know why directors make use of the montage? Because the actual process is long and excruciatingly painful. The actual process takes months or years. The actual process is ripe with setbacks, false starts, minor (and major) horrors, grief, and disillusionment.

The montage doesn’t show you the day-to-day, seemingly never-ending stress, the psychological and physical warfare a person goes through as she recovers from the lowest point in her life.

And, when is the montage over?

When has our heroine “finished” her re-construction to the point that the requisite *BAM* happens?

Is there a checklist out there that someone is hiding from me?

Do I simply need to check off “new car” and *BAM* … or “painted wall” and *BAM*?

Ooh … can I yell “CUT! SCENE!” and start the new scene?

‘Cause I’ll do it. In public if necessary.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Really Not About Steve At All!

I ignored the bad reviews and went to see All About Steve today. I mean, it's got Sandra Bullock so it can’t be all bad, right? Right?

Eh … not all bad. Some bad, oh yes. But, some good as well.

In short, All About Steve isn’t all about the character Steve. It’s all about the lovable yet uber-quirky cruciverbalist [psst … that’s a crossword puzzle maker] Mary Horowitz, played by Bullock, who sets her sights on easy-on-the-eyes camera man Steve, played by Bradley Cooper (in one of his few not-entirely-an-asshole roles this year) in order to be what others want her to be: normal.

Were bits overdone? Well, yes, it seems that is a given in most movies these days (see my take on 2012) with the exception this year of Star Trek (all hail). Were bits unfunny that were supposed to be funny? Well, yes, but I found myself wondering how much of my reaction or non-reaction was because of the expectation of unfunny I had walking into the theater.  I had laughs, I got a bit teary, and I left with that happy ending feeling - and that's about all I ask of movies on any given Sunday.

Just promise me this: If you go to see this movie, don’t go expecting a romantic comedy in which the main character gets her guy; she doesn’t.

What she gets is the insight that she’s already perfect ... and perfectly unique.


“If you love someone, set him free; if you have to stalk him, he probably wasn’t yours to start with.”
~ Mary Horowitz.  Now those are words to live by.


A word on Bradley Cooper: Isn’t it about time for this guy to do a movie in which he’s actually the good guy who gets the girl??? I have not seen all of his work but what I have seen this year includes the above movie in which he shuns the seemingly-crazy-but-lovable Mary, The Hangover in which he plays an irresponsible ass of a best friend and husband, and He’s Just Not That Into You in which he plays a cheating bastard. Seriously, be the good guy, Cooper, ‘cause I will learn to disregard the good looks if you keep playing the ass.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What Began As a Tweet-Sized Review of 2012

On a last minute whim (and a last minute cancellation of the party I was supposed to attend today), I went to see 2012 this afternoon. 2012 – the big disaster movie with John “Better Off Dead” Cusack sans sister Joan but with a wigged out Woody [Harrelson].

Latest, greatest special effects? Check.

Main lovable star in a sad rut ready to turn his luck around? Check.

Adorable kids in serious need of smacking at various points of the movie? Check.

Cynical guy calling the shots who we’re supposed to believe is evil but who seems to me to be the only sensible person in the film? Check.

[I’m with you, Oliver Platt; that probably means I’m going to hell, but I’m with you!]

Instance after instance of excruciatingly drawn-out suspenseful moments? *sigh* Check.

Actually, I could simply say this:

2012 – There are moments for thought-provoking words of feeling and long looks of love … but not when a freakin' tsunami is going to crush you in seconds unless you do that one thing you need to do!!!!!

Who DOES that???!!!!

Apparently, John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Yeeeah, I have no idea on that one either), "President" Danny Glover, and George Segal, to name just a few.


Side note: To the two women who needed to change seats after the movie began in order to sit in the row directly behind me, for the love of GOD, WHAT WERE YOU EATING???? 
*crumple* *slurp* *crunch* *rustle* *cough*
*cough* *cough*
*cough* *giggle* *cough* *cough*
You, dear ladies, deadened completely the beginnings of sympathy I had for the doomed people in the movie.  Thank you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All I Ask ... Is For A Smile!

Oh, irritation! Oh, lack of customer appreciation!

I bought a few books Saturday at my new Barnes and Noble. One was a new hardback from Charlaine Harris – Grave Secret – a continuation of her Harper Connelly, I-was-struck-by-lightning-and-now-find-dead-bodies heroine (no, seriously, it’s very entertaining), along with another sci-fi book … and a romance book (don’t you judge me).

Standing at the register, making my purchases, I commented to the worker that I thought the Harris book had a members’ coupon available so she looked online for me and the following exchange took place.

“I’m not seeing one.”

“Oh … okay, I thought sure there was one but maybe it was for her other new release.”

“Well, if you buy it today then find the coupon, just bring it back with the receipt and we can take care of that for you.”


The coupon was in my email; I found it the next day. It expired tonight.

So, I made sure that I had the book, still in the bag with the receipt, in my car and headed there tonight after Sadie aka Sadistic-even-though-I-had-a-baby-10-days-ago fitness instructor extraordinaire found new and vicious uses for exercise balls. Finally back at Barnes and Noble, I made my way (gingerly) to the registers and explained to a worker there what was going on … no problem … she just needed a manager to authorize it.

The manager arrived. Here’s where the irritation began:

Hmm … the two were having problems getting the return to go through and the worker asked me if I have another receipt as the Harris book is not listed on the one I gave her.


I look at the receipt and then find myself in the awkward, and extremely irritating, position of explaining to them what apparently happened. I bought three books Saturday: The Harris hardback and two paperbacks. The person checking me out rang up one of the paperbacks twice and forgot to ring up the Harris book.

Initial blank looks. Final recognition.

“Sooooo ...” I noted, much to my chagrin, “it seems I’ll probably end up owing you more instead of getting any money back.”

No response as they are returning one of the paperbacks and ringing up the Harris book.

“Well, I guess at least this will help with your inventory.”  I chuckle.

No response.

No smile.


Now, I realize that I simply ended up paying for the books I received. I get that. But given the circumstances – that a customer believing she was entitled to money back from a coupon ends up paying more instead because of a mistake of one of their employees – could I have a bit of, oh, I don’t know …. extra kindness at least??

A freakin SMILE perhaps??!!

Honestly, I left feeling as though they thought I had done something WRONG when I can just as easily envision another customer flatly refusing to pay the additional amount because it was an error by one of their employees. It felt as if, because I was honest, I was only penalized.

All I ask … is for a smile while you’re taking MORE money from me. Is that too much?

I don’t think so.

Boo and hiss, Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Quiet ... But Not Quiet Enough

Halloween 2008 included friends, handing out candy to cuties, and my red hair with one hell of an afterlife.  Actually, that afterlife lasted almost a full year.  In short, the red spray did not only get on my hair for a fun spooky night effect but also on my bathroom walls, sink, and, most importantly, the bathroom linoleum.  From light tan to pink in one step.  Nothing got it out. 

A few weeks ago, I sucked up my pride, contacted my apartment complex and finally asked how much it would be to replace that bathroom linoleum.  I anticipated that it would come out of my security deposit anyway once I moved out; no one would want an apartment with linoleum that looks like it got a bit too intimate with the Pepto-Bismol.  My landlords rock ... not only did they replace it promptly once I asked, they essentially patted me on the head, told me I'm a good tenant, and didn't charge me a dime for it. 

*lively linoleum limbo

Sadly, I now love my bathroom linoleum and hate the perfectly adequate kitchen linoleum. *sigh

Thus ended the horror of Halloween 2008


Halloween 2009 includes no friends, no candy, no dress-up.  Sad? Pfft.

Halloween 2009 began with a facial (Aaaah, Indigo), continued with a flick (Aaaaah, Clive Owen in The Boys Are Back at Celebration Cinema), included a hot, soft pretzel with cheese and dark chocolate English toffee (Aaaaah, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory), moved on to new boots (thank you JCPenney), new books (via the new Barnes and Noble), and rounded out nicely with Chicken Bowtie Festival and Tiramisu (care of Carino's). 

Not bad for a single person with no plans, right?


I'm home now, cocooned in my totally cool, black Hogwarts hooded fleece, watching a channel surfer's combination of an NCIS marathon and spooky movies (Halloween 1, 5, 4, who knows).  All should be well.

[Note: picture is a year or so old and, although I have been known to enjoy a stogie once in while, I am not doing so tonight. It is the only pic of said fleece I could find.]

And all would be well except for one annoying fact: people keep calling, texting, or otherwise notifying me of their party-dress-candy-fun-family-friends-filled plans for this all hallows' eve.  There is nothing quite like seeing pictures of others' beautiful children dressed in horrifically cute costumes, eager faces smiling with bags and pumpkins in hand ready to beg for sweets to remind you of what you lack.  Don't misunderstand me, I love seeing the pictures, love hearing about the fun ... just not in the seemingly concentrated two-hour span that just ended. 

And not when I'm home alone with no candy and no prospects for kidsters knocking and getting miffed at the oversight of sweetness.

I remember a time when I dressed up to hand out candy while my ex took my stepson around the neighborhood for trick or treating.  I LOVE handing out candy.  I also love finding glow-in-the-dark makeup and attempting to inspire some nightmares that will later shock the kiddies out of their sugar-induced comas. 

I miss that.

So, next year, when you're making your Halloween plans, take a second to think of any of your own single friends, living in apartments, who might like to come help with your candy hand-out.  Believe me, even if they have some hot adult party they are attending (please and thank you), they will still appreciate the invitation.

Meanwhile, it's quiet here ... but not quite quiet enough.
Happy Halloween, All Hallows' Eve, Festival of Samhain ....

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Biggby Jinx

Is my Biggby Coffee jinxing me? I think so.

It's a well known (to me) fact that there seems to be a shortage of hot (to me) professional SINGLE males (HPSM) in my city.  Believed to spend much of their days in office buildings, these elusive creatures are rarely seen.  Their continued existence is, at times, only confirmed during the summer festival days when groups of females will wander downtown Grand Rapids in a daze with one shared thought:

"Where have you (and you and you and you) been hiding??!!!" 

Now, perhaps a less known fact is you can occasionally run into a HPSM at local coffee houses.  For example, I was stunned recently when standing in a building lobby outside my local Biggby, talking on my cell phone, to be confronted with not one, but five such individuals walking through the lobby.  I continued bravely with my conversation but blaring through my head, reminiscent of a festival day, was, "Where have you (and you and you and you and YOU) been hiding??!!!" 

[Answer: apparently in this particular building, the location of which I will take to my grave.]

One would think this phenomenon suggests we should support our local coffee houses thus feeding the addiction that brings the HPSMs out in the open.  That's probably true; however, recent events suggest that my local Biggby is actually jinxing me around the HPSM.

Two days ago, I made my way to Biggby for my daily SSML (that's skinny skinny mocha latticino, no whip - oh yeah, I'm one of those people).  Leaving with my cup o-chocolate goodness, I began walking through the lobby when a seemingly HPSM rounded the corner walking toward me.  Eyes met, smiles were exchanged.  He said, "Hello."  I said, "Hello." 

Jinx #1:  Said "Hello" was followed promptly by a stumble worthy of an I Love Lucy episode.  Although I managed to keep my ass from hitting the ground and (most of) my coffee from doing the same, my undulations and grunts were really not the stuff of successful first meetings.  *horror*

One day ago, I made my way to Biggby for my daily SSML.  Leaving with my cup o-chocolate goodness, I made my way through the lobby and was approaching the doors when I heard an elevator *ding* over my left shoulder.  Instinctively, I looked toward the sound only to see the same HPSM exiting said elevator and shifting his eyes in my direction.  A smirk.  A smirk followed by a "Hi."  Excellent, right?

Jinx #2:  My uncontrollable response to this encounter as a 30-something professional female was to giggle.  GIGG-GAAAAL!!  I also managed one squeaked, "Hi," worthy of Jr. High but apparently that was not enough ... another giggle escaped on my way out the door.  *mortification*

Today, I made my way with a certain amount of trepidation to Biggby for my daily SSML.  I did not see the same HPSM today. No. I did see an older specimen encountered three times before but lately thought extinct.  I had actually engaged the older specimen (and by older, I only mean that I would not feel quite as puma-ish around this particular HPSM as the other admittedly puppish example) in casual conversation about the daily trivia question, shared laughter, no trippage.

Jinx #3:  The older pup entered Biggby with a tall, leggy brunette. *throws up hands and walks away*

I'm beginning to think there's something in that latticino. 


Because, well, because the alternative is that it's just me. 


Naaaaaaaah.  It's the freakin' coffee.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Twilight Saga ... Seriously Condensed

Click *here* ONLY if you've already read all four books.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

I would give proper thanks to the artist but I haven't a clue who that would be ... I can only thank my little sister for a chuckle-filled tweet.

A [Likely Temporary] Epiphany

Do you remember where you were when you first really recognized your own mortality? You know, that complete realization that you WILL die at some point in the future?

[I know, great cheery topic for my first post in two months but don't fear ... there's a good point.]

Now, logically, we all "know" this from early on, especially if you've watched a Disney movie. Ever. Someone at Disney seems intent on informing kids early and often that their parents might just up and kick it at any moment. Cinderella loses both parents, Snow White as well, Bambi, Simba ... sheesh! But I'm talking about that knock-you-on-your-ass moment of clarity when you truly recognize and accept that you will die.

It happened to me today. I was walking along the Grand River at lunch not listening to my MP3 player (dead battery) and in the midst of some absolutely asinine daydream about nonexistent characters (yes, I'm THAT immature), it hit me.

I believe my exact thought was, "I wonder how I'll die."


I stumbled.

[Granted, this wasn't my first stumble of the day. That happened on my way back from getting my morning coffee. I was walking through the lobby of a downtown office building when I looked up and saw a hot man in downtown Grand Rapids. A rare find indeed and I managed to say "Hello" right before launching into a full-fledged Lucy stumble complete with undulations intent on keeping my ass in air. And to think I'm single. I know, I'm shocked, too. But I digress too long.]

Now, you would think that such a realization would frighten me, but I have to admit, it was somehow liberating. At that moment, the thought that this life is somehow finite, that this life ends, felt freeing. And I don't mean in a depressing way.

Recognizing my own mortality highlighted just how precious a gift we have in living in the first place. We have this incredible opportunity to live ... to have an adventure of literally a lifetime. Why on earth would we ever consider squandering that? It ends, people! This life!!

Regardless of your views on what, if anything, happens after that end, the fact that this is OUR TIME, right now, down here (all hail the Goonies) should mean something. Why hide or sit quietly by while time keeps moving on to that inevitable end? Even if you tried (anything) and failed miserably at it ... it's finite.

Quite simply, there's NO reason not to try to fulfill whatever dreams you have.

Holding on to that feeling is the hard part. My moment of clarity inspired me, yes, but I know too well that similar feelings get smacked down by the day to day responsibilities and drama. I've yet to learn how to keep from blinking another week gone, another month, another year.

If anyone has the answer to that dilemma ... there's oodles of money to be made and Oprah to meet.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll focus on the memory of today's epiphany ... and on not stumbling Lucy-style around hot men. Lofty goals indeed but one must start somewhere.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Again with the Whatifs!

Whatif ~ Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:

Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?

Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!


Oh Shel, Shel ... what an amazing life. So many of us know Shel Silverstein's name from Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, but did you also know the Shel wrote the song, A Boy Named Sue, and one of my all-time favorites from childhood, Boa Constrictor, both performed by Johnny Cash? Or One's On the Way for you Loretta Lynn fans.

I saw Julie and Julia tonight starring Meryl Streep. [Excellent movie BTW.] Streep sings another of Shel's songs in Postcards From The Edge. I'm Checking Out ends the movie.

What a big life.

I started out wanting to write about the poem ... the whatifs that plague us/me each day. He hits both the minor (Whatif the bus is late) and major (Whatif I get sick and die). I simply never realized the size of his life before. The contributions he made. The lives he touched in so many different formats. What a life.

We worry about so many inconsequential things in our lives. So many whatifs that never happen. So many whatifs that keep us from pursuing our dreams in the first place.

Whatifs never stopped Shel Silverstein. Whatifs never had a chance.

Whatif we could all have as big a life?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Battle for the Butterfly

The main battle has taken place ... minor skirmishes have followed.

And, no, I don't care if I've set feminism back 2- 50 years; when a friend offered this morning to stop by and man the spray, I took him up on it with the glee of a woman NOT being stung.

I stood not so bravely by the door ... okay ... inside the door ... while he sprayed down the butterfly stone and shot the occasional returning wasp. I thought I'd have to wait a day or so before trying to figure out how to get the nest out but, "what's that you say, do I have a screwdriver? Why yes, YES I do." My friend figured out how to take the bottom off of my solar-powered butterfly and found three nests - a large on on the butterfly and two smaller ones.

More spray, some knocking on wood, and the nests were casualties on the battlefield called my balcony.


I thanked profusely ... then left the battlefield to let the blood dry before cleanup.

I came back later alone and, feeling quite the victor, stomped on the nests to ensure complete desolation. Yeeeeah ... so ... don't do that. Weird pink gooey stuff does not go well with my tennis shoe or deck. Blech.

I swept the bodies off the battlefield then quickly retreated when more soldier wasps returned home to ... well ... visions of Luke running home then staring idly into the sunset come to mind. Seriously ... this one fellow stood off to the side all contemplative.

Until the evil empire struck again and sprayed his ass. Oh yeah. I killed three more and retreated again. I was feeling all Mel Gibson waving the "watch this" flag in Braveheart when I noticed yet another casualty of the mayhem. But this wasn't right ... not right at all!

It was darkening outside by this time ... but remaining dark on my balcony as well. Alas, stone butterfly remained dark. Was the unleashed stream of killing spray too much for her??!!!!


But wait ... wait ... 20 minutes later - enter R2D2 all fixed and shiny during the victory ceremony!

She's all bright now! My butterfly survived and shines brightly on my abode. WHEEEE!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wasps and Butterflies

I have wasps. I hate wasps. There are wasps on my balcony impeding my enjoyment of a perfect little chair with color-coordinated cushions and side table ... all waiting for me to sit and ponder shit. But I can't. 'Cause I have wasps on my balcony.

I also have a butterfly. A beautiful solar-powered butterfly ... a stone with a cut-out that lights up at night. I've had this wonder rock for a couple years now and it still shines bright. Kinda bright. It's little light is dimmer now ... BECAUSE I'VE GOT WASPS!!!

Yes, the wasps have made their den of buzzing evil INSIDE my beautiful butterfly. I see them flying into it ... crawling over it. I cringe. I HATE WASPS.

Today I bought Raid Wasp and Hornet spray. Killing spray. It says to use at night or early morning ... you know ... to lessen the chance of the evil wasps yelling charge with their sharp stingers of pain and targeting oh ... I don't know ... MY EYE!! Lessen the chance ... "when insect activity is minimal." Minimal. Not NON-EXISTENT. Minimal. That means little Wilbur the Wasp who drew the straw for night duty will be on guard waiting ... waiting to finally seize the night/early morning ... AND MY EYE!

I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I brave these fears and spray the butterfly den myself with the full knowledge that screaming and bottle tossing off the balcony are very real possibilities? Or do I beg for assistance ... you know ... from those guys. Those guys who are likely to drink too much beer and attempt to pick up a rattlesnake. The same guys who climb up a ladder to try and cut down the beehive. Those guys.


Anybody know those guys?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Much of Life is a Dream Deferred?

Dream Deferred ~ Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


How many deferred dreams do we have in our lives? Is that, in part, what defines happiness? The less dreams we must look on ... stuck away in a closet ... dreams we take out every so often and ponder, maybe dust off, shine up, consider ... then slowly pack away for another day ... is the key to happiness whittling away at the number of those stuffed-away dreams?

I still say that we all get older but few mature. I include myself in the 'all get older' group and continually find myself thinking some of the same thoughts and tackling the same insecurities I had at age 18, 23, 30, 34. I grow older but I am as I've always been in many respects. Now, this isn't all a negative ... I might grimace at my faults but, in the end, I like me (as all should in my oh-so-humble opinion).

But damn those packed away dreams!
Those missed opportunities.
Those worn what-ifs.

I need to do some spring (summer) cleaning and dust a few off.
Bounce them around. Stare.

One of these days, I might just keep one or two out. Watch them finally explode into something.

One of these days.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Yearning for Less Yeahbuts

"Yeahbuts" = 1) That internal rationalization we sometimes engage in when evaluating a potential date that takes some undesirable trait and deflects the natural tendency to walk away by noting a mildly positive one. 2) The person we date following such a rationalization.

Example 1: He seems to be an alcoholic ... but he's a damn fine kisser.*

Example 2: He seems to have a third testicle aka odd growth ... but he's a damn fine kisser.*

*Yes, damn fine kissing can successfully, if only temporarily, deflect way too many evils.

I want substantially less Yeahbuts in my life. I'm contemplating a safari into the jungle of online dating and am determined to have less Yeahbuts as dates. See, a Yeahbut might seem a quick fix for loneliness but is, in fact, a contributing factor to sad panda syndrome everywhere as Yeahbuts muck up your life, sucking out all time and energy for those elusive creatures with only the positive - "but" factors.

In short, I need more good "buts" in my life.


In fact, I enlist my friends as allies in this endeavor: Be on the lookout for Yeahbuts. If I appear to be succumbing even momentarily to a Yeahbut, you have my permission, my plea, to smack me upside the head.

[For those curious ones, yes, examples 1 & 2 stem from the same real person who shall remain a nameless EMT alcoholic ass with Dallas-worthy initials.]

The Shoe Scrape

Today, I witnessed possibly the most disgusting spectacle I've seen in the last five or more years ... all while walking to the restroom in my office building.

In order to reach said restroom, I had to traverse an interior walkway that, because of a wall of windows from 1st to 4th floor, allows for a full view of the parking lot outside of our building. Crossing as I was, I aimlessly stared outside, wishing for the sun, a walk, and my mp3 player (currently playing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith).

[Side note: Go buy the book above right now. Any book that begins with "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains" and includes the five Bennet sisters being skilled in the "deadly arts" is a necessary read for all.]

My eye landed on three patriotically-clad people walking through our parking lot - two men and one woman. I watched with some disinterest as one man and the woman walked a bit ahead of the other man ... until I noticed the lagger step off to one side, farther away from the couple. My mild interest quickly turned to horror as the man then put his hand over his nose and proceeded to attempt a bushman's blow in public.

Now ... a bushman's blow is essentially ... blowing your nose without tissue or Kleenex or other suitable receptacle. Oh yeah ... make that face. It was dis-gus-TING! The attempt was apparently ... uh ... fruitful ... since he then flung the contents of his hand to the ground. Yeeah.

But wait ... there's more.

He stopped a moment, considering his hand. The flinging didn't quite do the job so he then lifted up the back of his shoe and scraped his hand on it.

Another look ... another scrape ... a few steps ... look ... scrape ... step ... look ... scrape ... step. The man's impromptu booger dance continued until he had scraped his hand off about six times.

It may have continued longer but he was then, thankfully, out of my view. Alas, not out of my memory.

I know not where the urban bushman went, I only know this - Watch where you step in downtown Grand Rapids people; between the spitters and the lagging bushman, it's a snotty mess out there.

[And lest anyone misunderstand my use of the term bushman as being racial, I'm talking about the action and nothing else, in fact, the bushman blowing today was Caucasian. Disgusting habits know no color boundary.]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Going Down

God bless regional and/or familial differences; they keep us on our toes. Or at least wiping the tears away as we nearly get thrown out of a Jeep.

I spent part of this weekend with my little sister, Jenny, in Chicago. Jenny manages a SEE Optical there and is my personal dresser when it comes to my Velma look. So, this weekend found me doing at least two of many things I hate: driving to/from/in Chicago and picking out glasses. Thankfully, the trip also included a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry for the Harry Potter Exhibition, which is there through September 27, 2009. [YOU MUST GO!!!]

It was on the way to said exhibition that Jenny and I were delighted by the following exchange:

Jenny's friend, Beth, was gracious enough to go with us on our adventure and even more awesome by driving. On the way, Jenny was in need of caffeine so we pulled into a Dunkin' Donuts that was blessed with the drive-thru window. Now, I'm generally not a DD customer and, so, wasn't sure what, if anything, I'd want. I noted this as we were pulling in and Beth, rather than go forward to the drive-thru .... stopped in the middle of the parking lot.

"Do you need to go down?"

Um ... must not have heard her right.


"Do you need to go down??"

Silence ... whadahuh?

"Do you need to go down?"

Let's go with the safe answer.

"Um ... no."

Jenny finally asked Beth, "Do you mean go 'in'?"

An exasperated, "Yes!" and stunned, "OH!!" later, Jenny and I dissolved into laughter. In the midst of that giggling, a now irritated Beth demanded that Jenny call her cousin to confirm that, yes, people actually DO say "go down" when they mean to go INTO a place.

I googled it. Um ... yeah ... not so much. [BTW, I don't recommend checking my research if you're currently at work. Just sayin'.]

But, yes, it was confirmed in that call that in Beth's family and circle, one meaning of the phrase "go down" is to go inside a place. Fun!

And we can't tease her too much given what our Mom calls the toilet ("stool") or her word for cleaning the floor regardless of its covering ("sweep" - it doesn't matter if you're using a vacuum aka "sweeper" to do it, it is still "sweeping" the floor - although at least backs her up in both of those).

It's a regional/family thing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What Did You Push??!!

I spent a large part of this holiday weekend with family in northern Indiana. Saturday night included a bonfire with s'mores, Sunday included juicy grilled chicken, Butterfinger dessert (a concoction so good that it must include an illegal substance), and hillbilly golf (the next 'it' event at the Olympics), and today included two very different trips to the Shipshewana Flea Market.

My sister and I took an early morning trip and whipped through the 900+ vendor flea market in 1 1/2 hours. It was relatively quiet, we parked in the first row, and I purchased a 1985 Goonies character glass with Sloth on it.

That's right; I'm a rock star.

I returned an hour later with my stepmom, a friend visiting from Florida, and her three-year-old daughter to face the largest crowd I've seen at the flea market ... um ... ever. We parked in the back "vendor" parking lot and I nearly maimed several people simply getting to the booths.

Question: Why is it that "Oh, look Edna, isn't that sweet" must be accompanied by said Edna wandering slowly and aimlessly into the center of the row before halting completely to look around with slightly glazed eyes? Or better yet, a family of four or more doing the same. These people move as if their winder is winded and they are destined to grind slowly to a halt ... directly in front of me. Always ... directly in front of me. Oh, except the eerie old man in the white hat who decided to fondle the three-year-old's head as if directing her away from us when he thought we weren't watching! Pappy nearly got knee'd.

The wee one with us managed just several rows before it was clear that she just wasn't going to make it. So, we headed to the produce row for some fruit, jam, and homemade ice cream then crawled in traffic to JoJo's Pretzels downtown in the Davis Mercantile. The pretzels were amazing as usual and my stepmom treated us to blended mochas as well. Ice cream, pretzels, and mochas, oh my! Our sugar level buzzing, we nevertheless headed to the elevator to ride up and see the fully-restored 1906 Carousel on the Mercantile's top floor.

The four of us cram into the elevator with several other people and my stepmom pushes the floor button, the doors close, and the following 30-second Twilight Zone episode then punctuated our midday Shipshewana visit:

[Disembodied voice] "Hello? Hello?!"

We look at each other dumbfounded and see that the phone button in the elevator is blinking.

I immediately accuse my stepmom of a digit mishap: "What did you PUSH!!??"

"I didn't push that!"

[Disembodied voice] "Hello?? Hello????!!?"

I say, "Are you sure?" as I push the 'cancel call' button several times.

[Disembodied voice] "Hello?? Hellooooooo??"


I gave up. "Hellooo?"

[Disembodied voice] "Hello. Are the shops in the Mercantile open?"


Seriously ...


I answer, "Yes, they are."

[Disembodied voice] "Is the whole town open today?"

"Yes, it is."

[Disembodied voice] "Oh good! Thank you!"


*Ding* as the doors open.

Theories? How did a customer service call, or ANY call for that matter, get transferred INTO the elevator? And what did the caller think was going on at the other end (our end) of that call?

(260) 768-7300 if you figure out that answer 'cause the Mercantile is looking into it - or if you just have any questions about the shops or special events.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Glory of Solo Movies and Vexation of the Seat Between

Going to the movies - a few questions:

Will you go see a movie by yourself or must there always another person with you? I know some individuals who refuse to go to the theater alone. I honestly don't understand the negative. I love going to the movies alone. Why? Well ... let's see ...
  1. I sit wherever I want to sit. Not in the back or middle ... I generally walk in and go one row closer to the front from the walkway. Often there is no one in front of me or, you know, anywhere near me, which, given my general hatred for people (see introduction), is a desirable result.
  2. I eat what I want to eat. NO, I don't want to share a popcorn. I don't eat movie theater popcorn. Give me a hot, soft pretzel with cheese, please. [One exception, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's Rocky Pop with white and dark chocolate drizzled over it. I LOVE the fact that Celebration North allows you to take in goodies from the RMCF next door. Oh, sweet goodness thy name is Rocky Pop.]
  3. I arrive before the previews. Pullease. Part of the fun of seeing a movie in the theater is seeing previews on the big screen and that building anticipation for the next great flick. [HP6 is going to be soooooooo sweet!]
  4. And I stay for the credits. Why the hurry? Not only can you answer those nagging questions (why does Spock's mom look so familiar??) but more and more movies have an extra scene at the end. The alcohol will still be there, buddy. Sit your ass down.

Try it! Start out small with a weekday matinee on your next day off. There will be fewer people if your problem is some social phobia about being alone ... which brings me to the next two questions.

Dude, seriously ... I'm the only person currently sitting in the entire theater and you need to sit right in front of/beside/in back of me? Why? Why, why, why, when there is a sea of seats open to you, must you be near me?

Do you honestly believe that sitting next to your buddy makes you gay? I recently went to see Sunshine Cleaning (wonderful movie, highly recommend) and the theater happened to be much busier than usual (curse my decision to wait for the 6:20 showing on a Saturday night). I was there early after shopping and settled in ... exactly where I wanted to be ... one row down and in the middle ... aaaaaah. I yum yummed through my hot pretzel, sipped my D. Coke, and zoned out to the pre-movie trivia and promos. The theater started filling up around me. One couple sat two seats to my left ... another couple sat two seats to my right.

Then I see three guys come down the row in front of me. You know exactly what happened, right? Yep. Homophobe, empty seat, homophobe, empty seat, homophobe. Actually, I shouldn't say homophobe because I doubt these guys were actually worried about catching a sexual preference from each other; more likely they were worried about what others would think of them - more akin to a social phobia than homophobia. Normally, I would just shake my head (silly boys) and enjoy the movie. Not that day. That day it was so crowded that a woman from a group who came in at the END OF THE PREVIEWS tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I could move over a seat.


I did. Not doing so seemed bitchy. So, outwardly I was a sweet woman while the real Justabitch was exploding in my head in all directions with thoughts of, "NO, sorry, see, I actually got here before the lights went down and the previews started so that I could sit where I want to sit ... which is right where my ass is going to remain! Suck it up, sit up front, and get here earlier next time!"


Under those circumstances, having Darryl, Darryl, and Darryl cautiously acknowledging each others' existence from a seat away really yoinked my happy. Guys, the next time you go to the movies with your buddy, dare to believe that sitting next to them won't 1) result in either of you molesting the other or 2) somehow affect the opinion of anyone about whom you should give a shit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Danger of Being a 30-Something Single Daughter

Do all mothers believe their daughters must be banded, i.e., married, in order to achieve happiness in life? Or is that just mine?

Do all mothers lose consciousness as they get older of the potentially flushed-face embarrassment their actions can inspire in attempting to orchestrate such happiness for their daughters? Or is that just mine?

I cringe as I write this. Still. It happened this weekend and I still cringe.

I visited my Mom this past weekend. Mom is the perpetual newlywed these days. To say she's happily married seems somehow lacking. Brainwashed seems more appropriate. But, you know, in a good way. Suffice it to say my Mom is the happiest I've ever seen her.

The set up for this brief glimpse of my horror is a phone conversation I had with Mom sometime during the past couple weeks. She mentioned that she ran into an old high school friend of my older sister. This friend has a younger brother John who had been in my grade in school and who, the last I had heard, had entered into the military with the intention of becoming a pilot. I remember this classmate - from elementary school in fact - as the annoying little brother of my sister's friend who tripped me as I ran up the stairs at his house and with whom I got in trouble in Mrs. Troyer's 4th grade class because our impromptu contest of who could spell "Mississippi" the fastest got a little on the, um, loud side. So, just smack me for my stupidity, I made the ultimate error in this exchange: I asked Mom if the friend had said how her brother John was doing.


The answer was ... oh she had forgotten about him. No, no, she didn't think to ask. Mistake #2: I forgot about the conversation after that.


Back to this past weekend. I was inside the door for roughly five minutes before Mom got all excited and said, "Oh, before I forget." The woman then produced a scrap of paper with two phone numbers on it - the friend's home and cell phone number.

I looked at her blankly as she explained that she got those for me so I could call the friend.

My look turned a bit more pale and incredulous as, at my blank look, Mom further explained that I could ask the friend about John.


I tried to explain how odd it would be for me to call this woman up - this woman who had been my SISTER'S friend, not mine - and ask about her brother out of the blue.

My mother's response to this sensible concern? Oh, well, she could call for me.


Now my look turned the shade of mortified that keeps creeping up on me each and EVERY time I think of this conversation.

"NOOOOOOOO! Mom ... Mom ... no. Seriously, if you see her again, then sure, asking about him is fine but for God's sake do NOT go out of the way to ... just no. Please ... no."


Uh oh ... wait a second ...


"Um ... where did you get those numbers?"

"Oh, from a woman that works with her."


The woman hunted down contact information like a detective!! It feels as if she turned an offhand question about a childhood friend into a mother's quest for a man for her child. Now, I realize that Mom just wants me to be happy ... but encouragement for me to be happy with my life as it is now is what I need, not the Mom attempt at matchmaking.

In short, I made the rookie mistake of mentioning any male in my mother's presence. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Oh ... and ...

What did my Mom say to secure the friend's home and cell phone numbers from a coworker? I didn't ask. I couldn't ask. I can only hope that the imagined conversation in my head is much worse than reality. But, really, I'm incapable right now of thinking of a version of that conversation that doesn't make me cringe.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Power of a High-Pitched Yelp

[Disclaimer: Remember, I work downtown in a building that houses not only the Prosecutor's Office but also the Probation Department, which means it is filled with not just those mentally and emotionally unstable prosecutors, but also angry defendants and probationers meeting with agents as well as taking drug tests, etc. Apparently, there are reasons we must go through a metal detector to get inside the building during the week and must therefore wait until the weekend to bring in our large knives.]

Yesterday was a bright, sunny, happy Thursday in Grand Rapids. I am lucky enough to have assigned parking downtown in a lot right next to the building in which I work. In order to enter, I park in the lot then use a walkway down to Ionia Avenue, where the front entrance to the building is guarded by deputies and a large metal detector.

I was strolling down the walkway yesterday alone when I noticed a large man sporting a doo rag walking towards me. I thought nothing of it until he started to pass me and I heard the following words mumbled in a low, guttural, "I don't even realize I'm talking out loud" kind of way:

"This is bad .... this is bad .... this is bad ...."

The man continued on his way and I, evil as I am, had a moment of chuckle wondering what he did and what part of his probation was causing him angst. About ten seconds later, my adrenaline jumped when I heard the pounding of someone running behind me. I turned to see the same man who had just passed me, running back toward me.

I had two thoughts flash through my mind: 1) No one is going to assault me in broad daylight right outside the Prosecutor's Office; 2) well, except perhaps some wigged out man talking to himself about things being bad ... oh no.

Now, did my years of karate training (my brown belt is in a closet somewhere) leap to the forefront and aid me in my time of panic?

Yeeeah. Instinct took over and I let out a high-pitched squeal and jump. Now, if you know me, you know that had this been a friend or family member (Jenny) trying to scare me, what followed would have entailed many many bad words and possibly violence.

There was no need this time.

The man jumped nearly as high as me and immediately began a litany of "Oh no no no, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" and I dissolved into an embarrassed "No problem" pool. He continued on his way ... and I have no idea what he'd forgotten or why else he needed to hurry in the other direction but it had nothing to do with attacking the short APA in his way.

I continued weakly into my office building, laughing at myself, and wondering if Sanchin Ryu still has classes in the area. Apparently, I need a refresher.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh, Guilt, Shame, Lamentations

I know, I know ... apparently the aftermath lasts a good month.

Bad BAD Justa!

If it helps, I've spent over half of the past month in an almost tizzy of stress over multiple cases being submitted to the Court of Appeals all in April. I have visions of a clerk somewhere taking glee in wreaking havoc on my mundane life. [Oh yes, I am that vain. Please, I write a blog of me.] To that clerk ... know that a tiny bit of the flames licking at my soul are thanks to you "Oh Reason That I Spent 17 hours at Work on Easter Sunday." Do I earn halo points for doing my part to keep killers behind bars? Let's see, today it was two killers and one nasty husband of 19 years who took advantage of a mentally disabled woman in a sick sad way. Prolonged periods of time with my face stuck inches away from a trial transcript throws logs on the Manns sisters' mantra, "Have I Told You Lately How Much I Hate People?"

Not all people. Just evil people. And annoying people. An occasional stranger.

Just some short notes to jog my brain after this quiet blog time:
  1. Evil little sisters dominate you.
  2. Life can quickly become one giant technological mind-suck.
  3. Tweetdeck could be addictive and I've had it for less than an hour.
  4. People spit ... a lot. Don't look down the next time you stroll in downtown GR.
  5. Owain ... mmmmmmm.
  6. A Blackberry might be a necessity.
  7. It bothers me that I can usually make a better argument for defendants than their attorneys ... but not a lot.
  8. I don't appreciate the length of time it is taking for the mythical unicorn maker to find me.
  9. Most of you won't understand #8 and for that I am glad.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Aftermath

I spent much of last week in a NyQuil-induced coma. What started as a rough "like I've been screaming at a concert" throat Tuesday morning quickly disintegrated into a burning throat/chest and desire to remove all of my facial bones by Wednesday. You know, that wonderful feeling where all of your teeth just ... ache?

I parked myself in my doctor's parking lot Thursday morning and begged inside once they opened. [Side note: Really ... I'm already sick ... MUST we include the friggin scale moment on top of the pain?] I was told I had a fever of 101 F. Really? Hmmm ... I should probably purchase one of those thermometer thingamajigs one of these days.

Diagnosis? "You have a sinusitis/bronchitis mixture, could be viral or bacterial, but we like to wait a week before starting antibiotics anyway to see if your own immune system can handle it."


Now, just pause and let that immense wisdom ... that comfort and knowledge sink in a moment.


It left me with a definite feeling of, "Well, no shit Sherlock ... I'm thinking my immune system had a problem handling it since I'M SICK! Give me my $10 copay back."

Remember the days when you'd go in, a culture was completed, and an antibiotic had you feeling better before you could spell its name? These days, don't bother going into your doctor's office until you've been sick at least a week or you'll likely receive the same line I got.

The one thing you can still count on these days as you could way back when? NyQuil. That green elixir of the gods, that cure-all, only slightly alcoholic so it's okay, wonder liquid that somehow left you opening your eyes to a moment of clear breathing in which you were horribly afraid to move. My days and nights blurred together last week in a -Quil haze punctuated only by bathroom breaks, some soup, and the occasional phone call that always had the same 2nd sentence, "You sound horrible!!"

Well, yes, a quick descent into the Exorcist will do that.

I began to come out of my stupor this past weekend with small successful excursions to the outside world and went back to work this morning feeling 90% better. I'm in the remnant stage. That aftermath where you swear you're back to being well ... and for hours on end you are perfectly fine. My reminder to the contrary are the occasional coughing fits that bend me over and leave my eyes watering before they end. The remnants.

I had two especially special remnant moments today:
  1. While lying nearly naked in a tanning bed at the gym. Oh yes. After noting several particularly attractive men working out at my gym this evening, I made my way into the tanning bed area, stripped, lotioned up, and settled into what I expected to be 15 minutes of relaxing heat. About 45 seconds into this bliss, I blanched at the first tickle at the back of my throat ... and just knew the bliss was at the end already. I coughed until I was afraid I'd throw up .... eyes watering .... covering my mouth as much as possible to stifle the sounds ... unable to run to the bathroom (that nearly naked part). Ugh.
  2. While pumping gas on my way home from the gym. After my fit at the gym, I was again perfectly fine ... in the solitude of my car. As soon as I got out in order to pump gas, the tickle started again ... and I entertained my fellow gas pumpers with a spectacular coughing fit that included that rare but always impressive sneeze DURING a cough.

Now? Oh I'm perfectly fine ... sitting quietly at my computer describing the remnants.

Evil lurking remnants. If only illnesses would leave us as quickly as they come upon us.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

For the Love of Delivery!

I look and laugh at my "my baby gets delivered Thursday" talk below. I purchased my precious loveseat in the "bark" brown color on the evil holiday, it is true. And, it was supposed to be delivered the following Thursday. I left work early, rearranged my living room (resulting in a temporary set-back in the back spasm area ... seriously ... have you ever started to pass out from back pain? I can now claim that experience. Not pretty), and sat nervously awaiting my major purchase of the year.

About a half hour after their two-hour delivery window passed, the door buzzer made me jump and I ran downstairs to greet the delivery men. I was pleasantly surprised that these men seemed belted or otherwise "covered" and show one upstairs to the area waiting for a perfect brown suede-y loveseat.

They had the loveseat at the bottom of the stairs when I suspected there was a problem.

I called down to them, "Um ... what color is that?"
"Yeeeah ... I'm supposed to have a brown one."

*longer pause than you'd expect

"Well, uh .... do ya want this one?"

*raised eyebrow*

"Noooooo ... I want my brown one."

After talking to the store, checking and rechecking the label ... as if that would suddenly convince me that a red loveseat is actually a brown loveseat ... they took their "Berry" colored piece and left.

The next available delivery time was Saturday morning, which a cancellation on my part of what, I'm sure, would have been a highly entertaining volunteer trip to the Veteran's Home. I was apparently second on the delivery list and the guys showed up soon after 9 a.m. I was SO excited!!

Until I saw the guy carrying this across the parking lot toward my door:

"Um .... what color is that?"

"I'm supposed to get a brown one. That's why this was rescheduled from Thursday."

*delivery guy #1 yelling to delivery guy #2* "It's supposed to be brown."


"Yeah, brown."


It was after this visit, that I made a call to the salesperson at Art Van who sold me the now mythical loveseat in "bark" brown. Tom was shocked, SHOCKED, at what had happened and meekly added that I should be entitled to some sort of compensation for my trouble.

Some sort of compensation?

"Not some sort of compensation, Tom. Let me tell you what I expect ... I should not be paying for delivery. I said nothing after the first failed attempt because I understand that mistakes happen ... but this is the SAME mistake that once again is taking up my time."

To his credit, Tom called me back in 5 minutes with the authorization from his manager to refund my delivery charge, rescheduled delivery for this past Wednesday, and added that someone would be calling the day before to make certain that the piece loaded on the truck is brown.
Loveseat: $479
Delivery: $0
Color: Bark .... and it's perfect.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Evil Holiday 2009

It may come as a surprise to you that I hate Valentine's Day ... of course, it being a surprise means that you don't know me very well. Um ... or at all. Actually, it probably means you've somehow stumbled upon this blog for the first (and perhaps last) time through some misguided google search and am now wondering vaguely whether I'm on medication. And ... welcome.

To recap for newcomers then, just a few reasons why February 14th should be wiped from existence:

  1. The years of junior high/high school wondering, trying not to hope too much, that you might ... just might ... be surprised by an actual Valentine. *short pause for laughter*
  2. The first time you ever had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day, he took you out for dinner ... and proceeded to explain to you at said dinner why he needed "space" [this reason should probably have been listed first].
  3. The red/pink commercial overload that begins in early January pushing hearts, flowers, and chocolate in your face each and every time you enter a retail establishment.
  4. After enduring a freezing, dark, depressing winter and hearing yet again that the little fur ball claiming omniscience over the weather has scuttled back into his den for six more weeks of this dismal mess, I do not also need a particular day devoted to reminding me that I'm alone, thank you.
  5. The whole asinine concept that we need to have one particular day for people to tell their special someone that they care ... when that should be in practice all year long.

As far as evil holidays go, this one has been endurable. A friend, in the hope that I would refrain from causing harm either to myself or to members of the opposite sex, surprised me Friday with a lovely card and lovelier box of Hershey's Pot O'Gold chocolates.

There are few things in this world that can't be fixed with chocolate and/or ice cream. Granted, it is probably advisable not to indulge in the entire box of said chocolates in one night, but who doesn't need a good sugar buzz and dive once in a while?

I woke this morning with a headache and sense of purpose ... I had a plan. My plan was to spend money on the one person most likely to secure my happiness. Me.

Happy Evil Holiday!

In preparation for said spending, I went to see Confessions of a Shopaholic with my same chocolate bearing friend, and fell in instant like with Hugh Dancy. Of course, I now hate Claire Danes, his [current] fiancee who has an even smaller chest than me ... but I digress. The movie was cute albeit a predictable story about the ditsy girl in debt who just happens to enchant the successful boy making his own way despite having a well-known and wealthy family. You know, 'cause that actually happens. Ever. Pffft.

Happy Evil Holiday!

I wandered no less than four furniture stores today in what had become a yearly search for a piece of furniture that seats two people. I searched Furniture Row Outlet, American Signature, La-Z-Boy, and Art Van Furniture. I hate furniture shopping. Other than a used car lot, where else can you be scouted as soon as you walk in the door and cornered soon thereafter with offers of assistance and business cards? And which is worse? Being cornered like that and having to pull the "I'm just looking" plea ... or being scouted and found apparently not worth a "hello, can I help you?" at all? [La-Z-Boy can suck it for that reason.]

After much pacing and note taking, I finally found my love seat! The color is called "bark" ... I tend to think I was still a bit intoxicated from the Hershey's chocolate when I picked out the dark chocolate colored, microfiber/suede-y love seat. My baby gets delivered Thursday.

Happy Evil Holiday!

Finally, I took my post-purchase-buyer's-remorse self to Barnes and Noble and picked up an appropriate compilation of stories titled, Dates From Hell.


Thus ended Evil Holiday 2009.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Random Thoughts From a Weekend

I saw The Day The Earth Stood Still on Saturday. The movie was entertaining ... about midway between "That was awesome!" and "And then I got up and walked out." I did notice fairly early on that my feeling of warmth toward the cute little boy, played by Jaden Smith, had turned into a vague hope that he wouldn't make it. Why is it believed that 70 minutes of hearing a cocky little smartass talk smack to the woman who had stepped in to care for him after the loss of his parents can be completely wiped out by one whispered, "Mom," inserted at the end?

That tyke needed an alien ass-kicking.


I saw Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans on Sunday. If you liked the first two, then you'll also like this prequel. Don't let the 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes deter you. The first two films received 29% and 14% respectively. If I were a slightly more bitter or cynical person (I know, right?), I'd start writing reviews for that website. I swear 80% of the reviewers need to take a freakin happy pill.

I enjoyed the movie enough to want to revisit the first two films. Which brings us to ...


You know how when you rent a DVD, the clerk will pop open the case to check the disk before scanning it out to you? Ever wonder why they do that? I do now. You'd think that it must be to ensure that the disk is the one you wanted to rent ... right?

Apparently not since after watching the first Underworld and readying myself for Underworld: Evolution, I was a, oh, let's say "tad" irritated when August Rush appeared in the case instead. Sadly, I was not in the appropriate sappy mood to watch Felicity follow the magic music to her long lost, now musical genius, son. Actually, I don't think I'll ever be in that particular mood.

[Hey, perhaps I'm nearer to the Rotten Tomatoes reviewer career than I first thought!]

I returned the sap tonight in exchange for the vampire/werewolf blood fest I desired in the first place.


Finally .. and sadly ... I must also report that the battle of the Christmas tree was lost once again this past weekend. This, of course, means that I am looking at a fully-decorated, 200-light, pre-lit Christmas tree as I type. Yep. A wine-colored ribbon. Ornaments spanning 20 years.

Oh ... and the Christmas cards are still hanging up.

And ... my ceramic table-top Christmas tree, a gift from my Aunt Eula, is still on the table.

I know ... it's sad. I think there's a reason why this is the first time in 5 years that I've had a Christmas tree. I obviously have a Christmas decoration removal issue.

I believe it's called laziness.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I feel about 80 ... no ... about 73 years old. Specifically, I feel like my 73-year-old aunt with chronic back problems.

The past few weeks, I've been taking advantage of our county employee fitness program. Different classes each night Monday through Thursday. It's been wonderful and I sat in glee last night after realizing just how tight my thighs are becoming. GLEE!

You know that glee you feel when something you've been working hard on begins to show progress. That "Oh yeah, that's right, uh huh" feeling.


The progress hasn't been pain free. Obviously, when you're working out and building and rebuilding muscles, there's some soreness involved. My lower back aches now and then ... it bothered me last night and during the day today. Annoying but no biggie. I thought I'd attend kickboxing tonight but perhaps take it easy on any of the moves that might put extra strain on my lower back. Often, if I have a sore muscle, a bit of exercise loosens it up, makes it feel better.


So, at roughly 4:50 p.m., I dutifully changed into my workout clothes in my office. My last step was to raise up my left leg to put on a sock.

How dare I do such a thing!

Such a simple, every day, BASIC movement. I lifted my leg and, for the first time in my life, actually bellowed in pain and nearly dropped to the floor. In that span of 5 seconds, I went from someone gleeful about tighter thighs ... to my 73-year-old aunt with chronic back problems. At least that was my immediate and likely (hopefully) exaggerated reaction to the pain.

Of course, it didn't help that clearing the snow off my car as I left work brought me to tears.

It didn't help that I had to slowly lower myself into my car with my hands behind my back then use my right arm to pull my left leg inside ... kinda like my 73-year-old aunt with chronic back problems.

It also didn't help that 30 minutes later I was flat on my back on the floor of my apartment with frozen peaches under my back ... at the advice of my 73-year-old aunt with chronic back problems.

According to Dr. Peter F. Ullrich ... Jr. ... lower back pain is one of the most common conditions and reasons for office visits ... and four out of five adults will experience it at some point in their lives. Well, okay ... I suppose that makes me feel less pitiful. At least I'm not by any means alone. But ... the estimate that 90% of patients with such pain will no identifiable reason, i.e., "here, let me actually FIX that for you," is just annoying. It reminds me of going to the doctor and having the amazing diagnosis of stress.

If in doubt, stress caused it.

If the words, "it's likely stress," come out of any professional's mouth tomorrow, I will cause physical harm to another.


Meanwhile, I have some peaches to eat.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kickboxing with Cadets

My Tuesday night kickboxing class also takes place at the training room for our local firemen/women and last night's class had an added treat ... one of the firemen poked his head in before class and asked our instructor if it would be okay for seven of the cadets (all male) to participate.


Our answer to this request was a hearty "SURE" ... provided that said cadets take the front rows. *evil grin*

This experience taught me several important things:
  1. Never worry about what you look like during a fitness class - believe me - everyone looks like an idiot no matter how hard they attempt to avoid it.
  2. A person's ability to keep a beat is in NO WAY related to their attractiveness.
  3. At some point, every woman should get to watch manly males attempt aerobic exercise to music .... MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Debut of the Doohickie with the Jingly Bits

Yeah, I should probably learn some belly dancing terminology, eh?

Monday night is belly dancing night in Justacogitating land at the moment. As noted in an earlier entry, the class, taught by Na'imah, takes place at a training room for firemen, which at times leads to awkward wanderers, feelings of silliness, and general sassiness.

I prefer to label myself sassy rather than rude. Anyone disagreeing with that assessment can suck it. *bright grin*

A coworker of mine recently returned from a trip to Egypt with an arm full of belly dancing .... uh ... doohickies with jangly bits ... you know, those wraps with the coins that you ... wrap ... around your bootie before shake shake shaking away. Hmm ... according to the wonderful Wikipedia, the proper term appears to be the ultra-exotic"hip belt" even though it's certainly more of a bootie scarf if you ask me.

My coworker had been determined to haggle the market man down to $5 (quite a bargain) per hip belt and ultimately succeeded by offering to buy everything he had left. The result? I am now the proud owner of two ... TWO doohi ... I mean hip belts ... one a bright light green and one a bright blue.

I tried out the green Monday night, relishing in the jingle/jangle. The belt absolutely adds to the experience and fun. Of course, I also quickly realized you can jingle/jangle the belt right down your derriere, rump, heinie, caboose and/or moneymaker.

I apparently need a sailor to teach me some knots.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is It Even Possible??

You know that feeling you get right before a charley horse hits? That feeling of inevitability that leaves you afraid to move lest something be the final trigger that results in you popping up in bed frantically rubbing rubbing rubbing, crying, moaning .... um .... all in a really BAD way ... in the hopes that the painful cramping taking place will subside? Yeeeah. I just had that feeling.

In my left glute aka butt muscle.

That's a first.

I was lucky. I managed to slowly stretch and loosen and avoid the actual charley horse but it left me wondering two things:

1. Who is this Charley and what the heck did he do to his poor horse??

Apparently, the phrase "charley horse" was first used in the 1880s among baseball players! Its true origin is disputed. Some say it began with an actual horse named Charley while others claim that it originally referred to an injured baseball player who limped like one of the elderly draft horses that used to be used to drag the infield. Modern Language Association (MLA):
"charley horse." The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company. 22 Jan. 2009.

2. Is it even possible to survive a full-fledged, butt-muscle charley horse?

May I never EVER know the answer.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Belly By Any Other Name ...

Life lately has made me acutely aware of my sore and/or jiggly bits. Such is life after the beginning of employee fitness classes. Each Tuesday and Thursday include kickboxing after work. The classes are taught either by Tammy, the perpetually in-shape, all-around instructor or Sadie, a young woman appropriately named (it has been suggested this is a shortened form of "Sadistic"). Consequently, this morning I find myself absentmindedly rubbing my bottom, something I should quickly find a way to avoid before heading into work and Court.

Ah, but Mondays .... Mondays are reserved for belly dancing.

I showed up for my first belly dancing class having absolutely no idea what to expect. Taught by Na'imah (not her real name - duh!), the class began with the request to rub our tummies of various sizes and to be happy they exist as those pouches of blubber that never quite go away no matter how many crunches we do are absolutely necessary for belly dancing. [I KNEW there was a reason!!!]

Now, stand with your feet a normal distance apart, i.e., you should not be able to see light through your thighs ("I am SO ready for this class!"), knees slightly bent, and "zip" up your butt.


Use your lower abdominal muscles to pull your bottom forward, tucking it. Ziiiiip. Now use your upper abdominal muscles to lift your chest. [Feel ridiculous yet? Oh, just wait.]

Slowing begin to bend one knee further than the other, back and forth, back and forth. Now, double time it ..... okay, double time that .... and faster, and faster .... you are now doing your first shimmy. [For those who are wondering, this is at least four times faster than the potty dance.] Now, if it appears that you've descended into some sort of seizure, you're locking your knees. Never ever EVER lock your knees when belly dancing. Bad things that should only be seen on SNL happen when you lock your knees.

The class progressed and Na'imah eventually directed us to line up on one side of the room for our "attitude" exercise. [Oh, no.] We were then instructed to saunter Beyonce or model style across the room exercising our sexy, confident attitudes.


Na'imah wonders why I'm shaking my head with a maniacal smile on my face and I blanch at explaining. What do I say? That embarrassment doesn't seem to quite cover the feeling I'm having? That the stupid-ass grin on my face is now sorta semi-permanent? Oye.

Two steps into my nightmare, a side door opens and three firemen wander into the room and begin to mill about. [Did I mention that the classes take place at the training center for GRFD?]


I stop. Everyone else, of various shapes and sizes, has continued to saunter, to walk with attitude, across the room except for me. I'm not moving. Huh uh, no way, no how.

Na'imah again wonders at my behavior. This time I know exactly what to say. "Ya'll [pointing to the firemen] need to get the hell out."

There are some brief chuckles.

"I'm serious, I'm not moving while they're in here."

Am I being childish? I don't care.

The men can get in line with the rest of us and show some 'tude, zip and shimmy, or ... they can get the hell out. There is no in between ... there is no try ... there is do ... or do not.

Still chuckling, they left. Whew. And I painfully made my way across the room.


Soon thereafter my first belly dancing class ended. I'd shimmied, gingered, and snapped those hips. I got into my car, patting my belly (or "pooch") and thinking seriously about purchasing one of those doohickeys you wear around your waist with the little jinglies (I probably need to get a better grip on the lingo).

The following class, I'll learn that I give good "frosting" ... oh my. This is going to be fun!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Fantastic!

Or so I've been told.

Granted, the guy who exclaimed this (twice, no less) was possibly drunk and most definitely distraught but, hey, I'll take the compliments where I find them.

I am also suppose to keep doing what I've been doing.

Now, I tend to wonder at this advice since I'm not really where I want to be at this stage in life and someone, somewhere, presumably more worldly and intelligent, said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action but expecting a different result.

So then, if I just keep being my incredibly sarcastic, slightly (ha!) bitter self and occasionally speaking without thinking, I will continue to be deemed fantastic by drunk and/or frazzled men?

Alrighty then.

A New Love

I think I have a relationship. Things started out slow ... I'd see "B" every week then every few days ... we now see each other almost every day. We're Facebook friends, of course. "B" is always happy to see me ... ALWAYS! Do you know just how nice it is to be greeted every day with a smile and sweetness?

"B" bought me a Christmas gift. It was so sweet, the type of gift that tells you someone was thinking about you in particular and the types of things you love before buying it.

And communication! Oh. My. God. It is so nice to know that if "B" and I have a disagreement, a discussion, not an argument, takes place. Just recently, "B" called me at work to let me know that my advise had been heard and was being followed.

So, "B" is always happy to see me, bought me a gift, and listens to what I say. We see each other every day and life would not be as sweet without our time together.

I think I must admit it to myself at the very least ... I'm dating Biggby Coffee (aka always and forever Beaners)!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Right (Albeit Left) Side

I few minutes ago, I turned off the TV and light after several entertaining episodes of NCIS (how did I miss this show for so long?), then attempted to turn off my head, and go to sleep. That's when it hit me ... an epiphany of sorts.

This past weekend, I did some cleaning and decided I wanted to move my bed. Now, given my 5'3" (on a good day) frame and the fact that my bed is a king, moving the beast by myself takes some leg work. By leg work I, of course, mean that at several points during the maneuver I was on my ass and pushing with my legs (I have strong legs). I'd managed to lift the mattress up into a standing position and, with a wish that it not fall on me, I pushed and prodded until I'd moved my bed a couple feet. Whee-hoo.

Given the location, I also ended up changing "my side of the bed" from the right to the left. As I was going to sleep tonight, I found myself wondering about how we choose our side of the bed. I found myself looking back in time to when, if ever, I'd slept on the left side of the bed. And it hit me. Like a ton of bricks.

This wasn't the first time I'd switched sides of the bed. I remember that during my first, only, and failed marriage, I slept on the left side. I ended my marriage on the left side, I began and continued single-hood on the left side, and so it might have remained unchanged until I ended up changing my side to please another. Yep, roughly two years ago, I changed sides to please a boyfriend ... and I didn't realize that, hadn't remembered or thought about that, until tonight.

Changing to please a guy hits a particularly tight nerve of mine. I made some massive changes, none good ... NONE GOOD, during my marriage in attempts to please a guy. You would think that the first time I wandered, post-divorce, through a Target and found that I lacked the simple ability to pick out kitchen items without automatically choosing what my ex-husband would have wanted, I would have learned my lesson, but nooooo. When I started dating, I'd find myself constantly wondering and worrying over what the guy was thinking at the time when I should have still been considering whether I even liked him. And so it continued for years.

And so it also entered into my last relationship in various ways ... including my automatically changing "my side" because we were both lefties. No thought, it was automatic. And, long after that guy took off, I remained on the other side.

Now, some other realizations came along with this first one, but I'll save those for myself. The important thing is ... I'm finally back on my side.