Wednesday, January 31, 2007

brrrrrr

I'm tired of winter. Come on, spring.


(I know, I know...it's the last day of January and I live in Texas. I proudly accept my sissy-ness. Mostly I'm just tired of wearing socks.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

friendship

Yesterday I went back to my hometown to attend my friend's father's funeral. We've known each other forever. As was the case throughout my youth, I was the little sister. About ten years ago we became friends in our own right, not just through my brother. Because life tends to get in the way sometimes, we haven't really kept in touch the last year or so. Regardless, I went to the funeral because this person needed his friends. I went because of the Aggie football games we attended together, because of the wedding we went to where we danced along side his parents, because of the annual weekends we all gathered at his bay house to live commune-style, because of the real conversations we had quietly and alone when the guys left the room to take a break from "shootin' the shit." I went because he could bring tears to my eyes by saying "Now I know how you felt; I couldn't really understand it all these years." I went because there are some people you come to know and love and you can pick up right where you left off regardless of the time and space that separate you.

I am very grateful that my brother and I were given the ability to make friends. It's a characteristic it turned out we really needed. I'm grateful we both have such wonderful friends, many of whom we've grown to share. And I'm grateful that we're friends ourselves in addition to being siblings. It makes life easier. Now if I could just convince someone to become my personal assistant I'd really be in business...

Friday, January 26, 2007

bookends

I have not posted in the middle of the week at all over the last two weeks. What's up with that? This week was busy with travel, what with me being in the DFW area for 4 days. Then a delayed flight yesterday. By 9:15 this morning I had my 40 hours (I "went to work" at 9). You'd think that would equate to a very productive week. Not so much. I'm in need of some office time. But not today... I'll be home all next week for that. Nothing that absolutely has to be done right now.

In the personal life, however, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. I need a list so I can start crossing things off it.
  1. Get groceries. I have now owned this home 7 weeks and have yet to make a real trip to the grocery store. I've been surviving on other people's food and crackers (which started out as someone else's food as well).
  2. Buy mothballs. I hear this will drive the cats away. I don't know if I mentioned it before but the house came with 9 cats. All outdoor. Now, I'd like one or two for practical purposes but 9... Before, the only thing standing in the way of me being a crazy cat lady was not having any cats. Not anymore... Actually, I think I'm down to one lingering kitty. But the neighbor cats feel compelled to come over and party in the wee hours. The last thing we need is them reproducing.
  3. Get my computer fixed. Hey, I put it in my car. That's a start.
  4. Make dentist and doctor appointments.
  5. Buy a new cell phone. I really tried to do this one but the salesman was an a$$hole. Must try again. Seriously, mine's on life support.
  6. Fill out some sort of forms to get reimbursed for a piddly portion of my eye exam.
  7. Sort mail. This tends to pile up when gone for 4 days.
  8. Pay bills.
  9. Introduce myself to my across-the-street neighbor. She left a note on my door last Saturday and I still haven't talked to her. The only time I was home, she wasn't. I'd hate me.
  10. Figure out what it's going to take to actually use frequent flyer miles.
  11. Figure out what's up with my gas. Something has to be leaking somewhere. My bill was crazy high, the end reading was done correctly, and it appears that I used a lot of it while I was out of town. I know, it makes me feel safe, too.

And those are the pressing things. There are friends I need to call. I'd like to plan to go to the rodeo and maybe to see Wicked. Even though it has been on my list for 6 months, I still haven't gotten a passport. The list of things I'd like to do to the house grows... And I have 17 days to work in a crisis before I turn the big 3-0.

But, first, I guess I need to shower.

Monday, January 22, 2007

did you count mississippily?


I just watched that episode of Friends where Ross goes to the spray tanning booth and gets sprayed on his face 6 times. I think that's one of my all-time favorite episodes. What's your fave?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

may cause painful itching

Why do so many medicines have side effects? I know I’m not the only one who has commented on this when watching commercials for the newest treatment for, say, headaches. The next-to-last blurb lists side effects and reasons to contact your physician. “This product may cause nausea, dry eyes, and insomnia. In rare instances gastrointestinal bleeding may occur. Call your doctor if your toes curl upward or hair starts sprouting from your belly button.” Really? I’d rather have a headache.

When I was a teenager and trying to find the miracle cure for acne, I was offered up a medication that may cause night blindness. Hmmm. Having pimples vs. becoming blind. Even if it did help my skin I’d only be able to enjoy my appearance during daylight hours.

Now, as I lay here in bed, I’m battling that disconnected feeling. I’m a little groggy, a little shaky, and am in a bit of a fog. I went to the doctor on Friday and got meds. Not wanting a repeat of my last bout with sinusitis, I told her which family of meds I wanted. So while I’m thankfully not hallucinating, I’m still feeling weirder than I did prior to the appointment. I can take a two-hour nap and wake up wanting to go back to sleep. And, yet, I’m up with the sun confused by the noise outside that turns out to be rain for something like the sixth day in a row (this should not confuse me).

Maybe medications are getting worse. Maybe they aren’t curing us at all. Their sole purpose is to confuse us so much that we aren’t sure if we have the symptoms any longer. Or give us new problems that make our previous ones seem like a walk in the park.

Because I don’t have the house set up for wireless, I’ll now make my way downstairs to the internet connection to send this out to the world. Because of the dizziness, I’ll be tempted to sit on the stairs and thump, thump, thump may way down toddler-style. But at least my nose won’t be running.

Monday, January 15, 2007

at a loss

So yesterday I lost my voice. Not in some tragic metaphorical sense. Literally. That doesn't happen to me very often at all. In fact, I can't remember another time I wasn't able to eek out anything more audible than a whisper. Today I'm squeaking out a few words in between bouts of uncontrollable coughing. Life is fun...

It's cold. I'm not going out there. I'm so Southern.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

morning

You want to know what I did this morning?

I cooked breakfast.

You want to know where?

In my kitchen. In my house.

You want to know what I used?

My pan. And my toaster. And my utensils.

Either this medication I'm taking to battle the sinus congestion (yet again) is making me loopy or I'm happy. See, it really is the little things... Not only because they themselves are pretty cool but because sometimes they represent years of hard work and sacrifice.

Friday, January 12, 2007

self

If you're interested in some good self-care information, go to Tigger's (aka StacyG) site. If you'd like to read my experience from yesterday regarding taking it too far, read below.

I boarded the plane to come back home and sat in front of Self-important Guy. Here's what made me come to this conclusion:
  1. He was talking on his cell phone. Not uncommon while boarding planes. I realize people have terrible cell phone etiquette. Is there a Miss Manners book on that yet? But this guy was talking on speaker phone. It appeared that he was on some sort of conference call so you not only got to hear him talking loudly but also some of his employees.
  2. It appeared that he was high up in his company (it could have even been his company). He was traveling with a lowly employee to whom he said, "I want two pillows. Tell her to get us two pillows." And...
  3. "If they come around handing out peanuts and you don't want all of yours, I'll take them." To which the lowly guy said, "Why don't we just ask for extra peanuts?"

It was all in the manner and tone. I have had strangers ask if I wanted to trade my M&Ms for their carrots. (Uh, no.) And even though they were strangers, we were eating together. The "meal" had already been served and it didn't appear that I was eating my candy (which I save for last because it's dessert, duh). I have had people ask if I could do numerous other things for them while on planes (switch seats, use my blanket, help with a bag, etc.) and I'll gladly do it. Why? Because they ask, not demand.

I think StacyG's on to something with this self-care business. I certainly don't do enough of it myself. I encourage you to head her way and put a little thought into what she's posting. Just remember your manners. Putting yourself first doesn't mean you have to do it to the detriment of others.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

memorials


Today I'm in Oklahoma City. I got finished a bit early this afternoon so I headed to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It was amazing. I was in high school when the bombing occurred. It, however, hit sort of close to home. One of the teachers had a sister who worked in the Murrah building but for some reason decided not to go in that day. From what I recall, she wasn't sick and hadn't planned in advance to skip work. One little decision and crisis averted.

The memorial was really well done. It takes you through the whole event and then the aftermath years later. I think it makes you feel exactly what a memorial should. I was on the verge of tears the entire time. It's so hard to imagine someone committing such a horrible act. Hard to imagine being in that building, being trapped or even what the people who walked away from it must have felt. The poor people who had to wait up to 41 days to get confirmation that their loved one had died.

But then it ends in hope. There are 1,000 metal cranes hung from the ceiling, in the spirit of Sadako. If you aren't familiar with her story, here's an except from the sadako.com website:

Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl, on the threshold of adolescence, developed leukemia in 1955, from the effects of radiation caused by the bombing of Hiroshima. While hospitalized, her closest friend reminded her of the Japanese legend that if she folded a thousand paper cranes, the gods might grant her wish to be well again. With hope and determination, Sadako began folding.
As the story goes, she died with less than 700 cranes folded. Her friends finished the thousand for her... After the bombing, tons of paper cranes started rolling in. The significance wasn't recognized at first. Ten thousand cranes later, the significance was apparent (and then some).

It was somehow fitting that I saw this memorial to the worst act of domestic terrorism on a day that marks a more personal tragedy in my life. One to which the only memorial is (like some of you said in the last post's comments) my brother and me. (And just for the record, I didn't have a miserable, wallowing day. Just reflective...)

Monday, January 08, 2007

10 years ago

Do you know where you were ten years ago this evening? I do.

I was 19 and was home from college. It was my last night there before I had to go back to school. My brother wasn't at home that night...he had to work out of town the next day. It was just me and Mom. I can't remember what we did earlier in the evening but I know when we were about ready for bed she came in my room and we started talking. We just gabbed and gabbed about all sorts of things that I hadn't told her about the previous semester. We talked about friends and relationships and the dorm. We ended up staying up later than we intended to but eventually went to bed. That was the end of my life as I knew it...

The next morning (January 9th) I woke up to banging on the front door. I didn't want to get up. I was home alone and it was early. I didn't have to get up early...so went the life of a college student. But the banging didn't stop and I got up to see who was there. I let in what would be the first of many guests that day. They told me that Mom had been in an accident. Looking back, I don't know why I wasn't terribly worried. Bad things had happened in my life before. Accidents had happened before and it didn't cause three adults to wake me up... So, yeah, eventually I was told that my mother was dead. That, at 19, I was parentless.

I was in my brother's room when they told me. I had been trying to find some sort of contact information for him (in the days before cell phones). When they told me I just wanted to get out of there and go into my own room. I'm not sure why. And on some level I was aware that I was still in pajamas. So I got dressed. I had to call my brother and tell him. I had to talk to my mom's sisters. One of them was also her best friend and was terribly broken up. Another hadn't really gotten along with her very well and suddenly felt guilt. I don't know what was harder--having to deal with her death or having to deal with everyone else's reactions to it, forcing me to be more adult than people who really were adults.

I found out later (probably that same day) that my mother had recently told the ladies in her lunch group that she thought she had finished raising us. That we could be ok on our own. Even all these years later I think that's a ridiculous statement. I don't think you ever finish raising your children. As long as a parent and child exist, they need one another. That doesn't stop at 18. It doesn't stop with death.

It's a sad day and I think it should be. It's the day that marks the beginning of a completely different phase in my life. It meant that every major event in my life, good or bad, would be incomplete because there was one person missing with whom I should be allowed to share it. You know, like graduating or changing jobs or breaking up with someone or having your best friend move to Africa or buying a house. You know, life.

She was a great mom, a great woman. I still want to make a 100 Things list about her. Maybe I'll do that on her birthday; it could be the happier counterpart to this post. In the meantime, since all of you are like me and catch up on blog reading when you get to work in the morning, how about you toast my mom today? Oh, and call yours.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

do you know the way...

As you should know by now (see here), I have a tendency to have celebrity boyfriends. A few years ago it was John Mayer. I got in on that before he became super popular with his first album. I bought his second album. I not only loved his music as a whole, but loved his voice, his lyrics, his guitar skills... And he's cute and seemed, I don't know, like someone who was grounded and couldn't believe he got to the big leagues, etc. I have since moved on but still enjoyed the memories... Today, I saw this. Oh, John, I'm so disappointed in you...

In other news, I'm in our great state capital this evening. I'm staying here. It's very hip. I think maybe too hip for me. Maybe too hip for me merely because I used the word "hip" to describe it. I'm surprised they let me in. Well, I am wearing corduroy...

I know I should be writing about resolutions (see poll, as requested) since it's timely. When I finally get around to it it will be old news. Kind of like my Christmas post. The problem is that I still haven't gotten my computer fixed and my resolution stuff is on there. Yes, I'm anal. I would also love to post pictures of the progress going on at my house but can't get pictures from my camera to a computer since I also can't download stuff to my work computer. It's a terrible situation. So maybe my first resolution should involve getting my computer fixed. Or perhaps taking care of errands a little more promptly in general since it was pointed out to me on Monday that my car's inspection was due in October. I hadn't noticed...

Or maybe the only goal I will have this year (other than working on the house and maybe changing up the blog's appearance a little) will be to find a man. I've been thinking about this a little more lately. Maybe it's because I have this great house for just lil ol' me. Maybe it's because of all the obligations of the holidays where society expects you to have a significant other. (Thank goodness the only thing we Singletons have to make it through now is V Day.) Maybe it's because as I was reviewing my Happy List items (the stuff below the title up there that I change periodically) I realized I must have written those things when I was smitten with someone. I haven't been smitten in some time.

So there you go...a hodge podge of things on my mind this evening.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006 reads

This is probably incomplete but here goes:

17. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
12. Harry Potter and the Sourcerer's Stone
11. The 158-Pound Marriage
10. The Devil Wears Prada
9. Hank Aaron and the Hit That Changed America
8. Pretty Boy Floyd
7. Trading Up
6. High Fidelity
5. The Rescue
4. About a Boy
3. The World According to Garp
2. Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood
1. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

vacation equals work

I remember when my best friend from college and I went on vacation to Grand Cayman to celebrate her graduating. We tried to cram in as much as we could into those few days. Let's tour everything! Let's snorkel! Let's hang with some creepy Jamaicans! Well, that last one just sort of happened... Meanwhile, there were people there who lounged by the water reading. What the hell are they doing?! You're in this beautiful place with so much to see and do and eat and you're just reading?!

As I've gotten a little older I totally understand those people. There are times I long to vacation in their low-key fashion. These days it seems like vacation means getting all those things done that you don't have time to do while working a 40+ hour week. Add to that the joys of moving (into an 80-ish year old house) and the week is pretty much crammed full of things to accomplish because when the days of vacation are over it's on the road again...

I did get quite a bit done this week. Here's the list...

- Cleaned the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, stairway, master bedroom, office, one bathroom, and sunroom (now the craft/exercise room). I mean really clean. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that several cats surely exploded in here in some unfortunate accident, leaving a not-so-fine layer of cat hair on every horizontal and vertical surface. Add to that the normal wear and tear that it seems these people never addressed. There were lots of cleaning products left under the sink. Of course they were. I'm sure the woman did not need them wherever she was going (as she did not use them here).

- Really set up the above-mentioned rooms so that they are fully functioning.

- Unpacked lots and lots o' boxes. I don't have an accurate count here but it was a ton. Coincidentally this means that you can again see the glory that is the purple room (it's actually a lovely shade of lavender) and see that it has a floor. Oh, crap, must drag boxes to the road. It's trash day.

- Took down 19 (I think) windows of lace curtains. Replaced lace curtains on the French doors with plain sheers. Hung curtains in the kitchen. Hung 2" faux wood blinds in the living room. Praise Buddha, Jesus, etc. that the horrible, malfunctioning roller blinds are gone. At least in that one room...

- Finalized my ideas for almost all paint colors for almost all rooms.

- Bought two replacement light fixtures that, while they totally rock, have not yet been hung.

- Hung a few things on the walls. If there's one thing I can't stand it's empty walls. I have no idea how people live with them even for a short time. A house doesn't feel like a home to me without them.

- Decorated the guest room bath with stuff from my old apartment's bathroom. It's amazing how comforted I feel by seeing my stuff again.

- Turned my old grandma-made dollhouse into a little cabinet to hold my games. The dollhouse furniture moved to it's attic.

- Assembled and installed some of those solar-powered outdoor path lights. Way cool.

- Lined the kitchen cabinets and changed all the hardware on the cabinets (well, other people did most of this but it still happened). Changed out the light fixtures on the ceiling fan. There was/is a lot of tackiness here.

- My brother (who was also on "vacation" and worked his butt off, too) refinished my grandpa's old dining room table and built a replacement leaf. It rocks. Fits perfectly in my dining room. And if you're nice (and a bit limber) you can peek under the table when you're here and see that it still has my grandpa's name and location written on it in pencil along with what I'm presuming to be the delivery charge of $6. He also refinished a dumpster find, what is now a great little dresser for my bedroom.

What I haven't done is check my blog friends' sites as often as I normally like to do. I have not written anything of substance in quite some time. Somehow that's easier to do when working. Often I take time out to write at hotels. I leave tomorrow for my first trip of the year so maybe I'll hash out a year in review or something to do about goals for the new one. At some point I also need to reflect on how all this transition has been for me emotionally, I think. I hope you all had a fun-filled holiday season and enjoyed some time off from the daily grind. I'm glad to have started reading and writing the blogs this past year. Here's to another fun year with all of you!