- Being Salutatorian of my high school graduating class. Probably more exciting than putting in all that hard work that actually paid off in a life that was still reasonably fair was getting to tell the snarky school counselor that she had been calculating our grades incorrectly (thus moving me from 3rd to 2nd).
- Graduating college. Twice. Once with honors and once with a 4.0 GPA.
- Buying a house. On my own. Without going completely crazy (only slightly and it was transient). And the house? Remains awesome.
- My relationship with my brother. Sometimes I think that this is a relationship that just happened and that was forced to happen because of our past circumstances. We grew up in the same house for Pete's sake. But then I look around at all these people who aren't best friends with their siblings and I realize it takes a little effort.
- All my friendships. These take some work, too. I feel very fortunate for having kept people from all stages of my life.
- Moving up in my career. Again with the hard work. It's so nice when it pays off (this time in a world that I know is a little less fair--just means some of us have to work harder).
- Helping kids. A few of my previous jobs entailed helping children--some dealing with natural disaster, some with mental illness, some with abuse. I know I have made a difference in these people's lives whether they will be able to pinpoint it back to me or not.
- Working at HAWC. The Women's Center was a ridiculously hard place to work. I did individual therapy, group therapy, worked with kids and adults, with people who came to weekly visits and some who lived in the shelter, people who were survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. I can't begin to describe how much I learned from these experiences but I sure am proud that I did it.
- The keep-on-keeping-on after Mom died. I finished college, then grad school, then pretty much everything on this list...all without needing to check myself into an inpatient facility somewhere. Or becoming terribly bitter.
- Keeping some sort of morals. In a world where it seems, at times, like all values are shot to Hell I'm glad I still have something to believe in.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
I've been out of town a lot lately (home only one day between last Friday and this Wednesday). Being the sole homeowner, every chore is my responsibility. I'm not complaining. You know, whatever...that's part of it. I have today off due to reaching the 40-hour mark sometime on Wednesday. That's nice--long weekend, can get work done, blah blah blah.
I wake up this morning and am forced to work a little bit despite my day off. The people who come to me with issues can sense my freedom. Like swarming sharks, I struggle to escape them. At about 9:30 I go out to start mowing the yard. I can't start the mower. It's brand new. It has a key start that refuses to cooperate. The battery was charged. Gas was in it. Refuses to turn over. Because my arms are not 10 feet long (nor do I have the forearms of Popeye), I cannot start the alleged back-up pull start. Cursing, frustrated, I walk away.
I can trim some stuff instead. This requires no power tools. I go about my business. Crazy long limbs--be afraid. At one point it sounded like things growing on the opposite side of my car were scraping against it. I go around to the other side. Nothing. Good, right? Yeah, not this morning. As I come around the front of my car whatever wild animal was (is?) hiding under it started hissing at me. I don't know what it was because I don't have eyes in the back of my head (and I'd need to because I immediately turned and ran away).
I go inside and am shaking, adrenaline pumping. Seriously people, it's broad daylight. I've seen opossums and 'coons out and about but that's at NIGHTTIME! Thinking about my long list of things I wanted to accomplish today, I become pissed. Most of these things either require me being outdoors or away from home. Being away from home requires the use of my car. Wild thing under my driver's side...you see the problem. So, yeah, I'm pissed. I grab the spray water bottle I've reserved for the numerous cats that think they live here (this has been an ongoing problem that I'm not sure I've mentioned on here before). I figure if it's a feral cat I can spray it with water (from the safety of my porch, of course). If it's something scarier that tries to attack me, throwing the water bottle at it would not be beneath me. Let me interject here that I really do love animals. I just think some primal self-preservation thing would come into play if attacked by one. Hopefully.
So pumped a little by my anger at this unseen creature keeping me from crossing things off my To Do list, I go outside. Mmhmm. I didn't make it to the car area because what is sitting on my porch steps? Two kittens. That's right. Two freakin' adorable baby kitties. With fleas. That have infiltrated my house. Now, one of the cats thinks it lives here and I resigned myself to taking it in when she got pregnant/was gang raped in my front yard. She was the one friendly cat (with people, not just boy cats) and I wanted an outdoor cat anyway. When she showed up in the family way I thought I'd keep her and one of the kittens, get them fixed, and hope that the other kittens were adoptable. It turns out that I think she had 4 about the time I was in Seattle. I saw them when they were a few weeks old. Now I guess she's down to two. It's a hard life out there in the wild. I know...just look under my car.
***Addition*** There was a wasp in my dining room. I sprayed it with bug spray and then in proceeded to fly into my face. It's currently dying in the kitchen.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The whirlwind that is work continues so I don't have much in me today. I did run across this anonymous quote and thought I'd share:
"You are younger today than you ever will be again. Make use of it for the sake of tomorrow."
Back in the day when a few of us were doing a weekly yoga class I heard a little story that I've carried along with me since. One of the guy's mentioned that he had a co-worker (or friend, I can't remember now) who was thinking about going back to college but was hesitant because she'd be something like 50 when she finished. The guy said, "You'll be 50 anyway." Touche.
Monday, May 21, 2007
- Flying first class. That never ceases to be exciting. Better yet, there wasn't even anyone in the seat next to me. I got to spend the entire flight reading magazines and thinking about/planning house projects. What I wasn't doing? Working. What better way to start the trip?
- That work even has something called a "rejuvenation meeting." Can I say again how much I like this company? Having a meeting titled that means that they recognize (a) that we have feelings, (b) that we maybe could be in better spirits (even though we aren't really in bad ones), (c) that our spirits are important, and (d) they are willing to do something about it. Shocking really.
- "It's a dry heat." I know the humidity makes a difference--I have spent most of my life in coastal Texas for Pete's sake. I hate it when people justify their heat. 102 is hot regardless.
- We stayed here. I've been enough places to know that the websites can be misleading. I thought this place could go either way. It was pretty nifty. It was popular with the Rat Pack, etc in the 50s and 60s. It closed down and then reopened a few years ago. If you haven't already caught on, I like history and unique places to stay.
- My room had a mood light over the tub. I never used the tub (who had time to lounge there when there were other things to do?) but I turned on the blue mood light just for fun. You can see it through the frosted glass on the right in the picture above (from their website--but that's what my room looked like).
- One really gets treated well at these meetings. The food is always excellent (meals and snacks). People take care of you. They pick up your trash, they take your plates, they offer you water when you've been outside in that dry heat.
- It's fun to see coworkers. I hardly ever get to interact face-to-face with the people who work for my company. I really like the ones who are on my same study. They're nice and smart and laid back. And some of the other women are single, too. Good to have people who can relate. I forget that other single people exist in the world.
- Traveling without "working." Sure, we were forced to mingle and play host to some other people. And we received a little training. But it was nothing like my typical trip. I never had to be the bad guy. Heck, I didn't even have to pack my laptop. Oh, the luxury.
- Good conversation. After dinner on Friday night, some coworkers and I hung out talking until we started to feel guilty for holding up the hotel employees. Then we moved to the bar by the pool. It's nice to have both "real" and lighthearted conversation with people. A good time was had by all.
- We didn't get out of the hotel much. Arizona is pretty for what it is...mountains, desert. I prefer living where there is grass but I enjoy the change every now and then. One thing that I'm glad about is that we actually have the time changes here. I think it should be a national thing; everyone's in or everyone's out. It seems crazy that they are two hours behind us now.
So that's it. Lovely weekend. Monday yet again.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
My first car was an '89 Ford Probe. It was April '93. Yes, that's right. I had to wait two whole months of my 16th year without a car of my own. The horror. I'm not quite sure how I ended up with that car. We were looking at used Hondas because they were safe and reliable. I think I ended up with the Probe primarily because my mother--with her one, small income--could get credit at that dealership. I loved that car. It had a digital readout that told you mystical things like your gas mileage. It had a CD player. I didn't even have any CDs yet. And it just seemed cool. Oh, and had pop-up headlights.
In April '97, I decided to send the Probe on its way. Mom had died months before so I had the money to buy a car. Since I was planning on going to grad school up north somewhere (anywhere), I decided to buy an SUV. Ah, the good ol' days of cheaper gas prices... My '94 Toyota 4-Runner was da bomb. (Are you seeing how I'm matching the lingo to the times? Who says "sweet ride" or "da bomb" nowadays?) I didn't miss my old car much. This one was so much fun and so manly. I felt tough. Like a lumberjack. Well, at least I did when I bought my Christmas tree and strapped it to the top of my red SUV. I could off-road if I wanted to. I could move furniture. It was the first time I had leather seats and a sunroof. It was a nice car. Nicer than a 20-year-old needed. But I drove that thing into the ground.
November '04 rolled around. The 4-Runner hadn't had any major problems, just a few things here and there. I was coming up on the end of my two year sentence at UTMB and was hoping to move into what I'm doing now. I knew I'd be making lots of trips to the airport and didn't want to end up missing a flight because of an old, broken-down car. Out of necessity, I bought my first new car. An '05 Honda CR-V. This was the first car I bought on my own. With my own money, not money I inherited. I did the wheelin' and dealin'. I made the payments. It was a decision in practicality. I didn't love it but I liked it a lot. It served its purpose.
Not long after buying it, though, I was already dreaming of other cars. What's that about? I had loved my first cars so much I didn't want to get rid of them for several years. This was a new car--my only new car--and yet I liked it the least. I stuck with it because I had cheap payments, the car worked well, and I was determined to buy a house. Why would I want any more of my income to go towards a different car when it could be getting me one step closer to my very own home? Then I had the house but was a bit freaked out about the payments. Turns out I really can afford it. That's a nice feeling. So I started thinking more seriously about a different car.
Kind of on a whim and kind of not, I bought the '04 Saab 9-3 on Monday. Yes, it's a year older. However, it has 11k fewer miles. Go figure. I really do like this car. It was a compromise between the very practical side of me and the side that wanted to just be young and fun. The other cars I pondered before were very small. Most had no backseat and little (if any) trunk space. Like not enough to fit my luggage. The Saab has more luxury than the CR-V for sure. Leather seats like the 4-Runner, a similar fancy digital readout like the Probe, some other stuff I'm not yet sure how to use... But it has a backseat and a reasonable size trunk even with the top down. It's fits people and luggage. And, like cph told me, it's sassy. I can live with sassy.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I guess I'm taking a little liberty with this topic. All of these songs have made me tear up (or really cry depending on the day). I guess I'd rather the topic be "songs that make me emotional." Here goes:
- Dixie Lullaby by Pat Green--This song came out about when this was happening. Add to that my own personal story and you get a tearjerker of a song. I love it, though.
- I'll Wait for You by Joe Nichols--This song was apparently sung by Joe at Anna Nicole's funeral. Try to get beyond that.
- Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol--Yes, it's because of Grey's Anatomy. When all that was happening with Denny...oh my gosh, sobbing. I don't cry when I hear it anymore but it always sends me back to Izzie coming down in the elevator, looking beautiful, with the future in her eyes.
- Almost anything by Johnny Cash in his later years. He just had such a soulful voice. Not soul like the genre. Soul like he was a man of God (I'm not even a religious person and I can hear it.) Danny Boy really kills me. You can watch Hurt here.
- Skin by Rascal Flatts--Cheesy, yes, but it still gets me.
- I Loved Her First by Heartland--Good grief. I heard this one the first time at my cousin's wedding. It was her father/daughter dance. I was doing ok until I looked across the dance floor and saw my other cousin crying. She, too, lost her father when she was a child. Yeah, my welled-up tears overfloweth.
- Hero by Enrique Iglesias--One of the local radio stations did a montage thing to this song after 9-11. I think about that every time I hear it.
That's all I've got. For the life of me I can't come up with three more and I've been working on this off and on all week. I guess when I'm hormonal every song makes me cry, even happy songs. Even jingles.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I think everything went really smoothly. Food was good, people were friendly, decorations were nice, games were fun, gifts were aplenty. One of the things we did was paint onesies and bibs for the new baby. I obviously love the crafting but everyone else seemed to enjoy it, too. It was very exciting for me to see crafting in my own home. It was also nice to host a shower for one of my bestest friends. I can't wait to meet little baby Bertha (that's not really her name...it's a secret).
After the shower we went to the Astros game. Woohoo! We won! I love the ballpark. Feels like home. Since my schedule has been a bit nuts lately, this was my first game this season. It was good to be back.
On Sunday, I finished cleaning up from the shower (didn't take long) and pulled down wallpaper in my upstairs bathroom. That also didn't take long since I just got the top layer off. Next comes the scraping. Actually, next comes the procrastination and then the scraping. But that was it for productive things. I had a day of leisure.
I watched Shaun of the Dead, went to the Greek festival, played frisbee golf, played Monopoly (which I don't think I have done since I was a reasonably small child), ate BBQ, and watched the regular Sunday night tv. Good day, good day.
All of that has left me feeling refreshed but unmotivated to start the workweek. I'd rather be outside.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
10 Things Most People Don't Know About Me
- I spent the summer when I was 7 with very little adult supervision. My dad was dying and my brother, two male cousins, and I spent a lot of time together. They were 5-7 years my elder. I was forced to watch lots of horror movies, the worst of which was Basketcase.
- I am a pretty rational person. I continue to watch horror movies at times. However, I am freaked out in direct correlation to how unrealistic the movie is. Chucky? Freaks me out the most.
- The name my birth mother gave me was Karen. I'm not a Karen.
- One day when I was driving home from college, it was such a beautiful sunny day that I drove without my shirt on and the sunroof open. That's probably illegal.
- When I was in high school my band director's wife hated me. She talked bad about me to ladies at church. She thought I was after her husband. I was not after her husband.
- I was always good in music/band. I was almost always first chair from elementary school through high school (and, no, not because of the band director). When I was in elementary school we had "challenges" to try to move up a chair. Everyone could only challenge once per class period, once per week. If I made it through the day without needing to use mine, I could challenge the teacher. Sometimes I won (but never actually got to be the teacher).
- I fold my underwear; I don't just stuff them in the drawer.
- If I had to have just one, I'd rather have a baby than a husband. I hope I don't have to have just one.
- I've had ideas about what my wedding would be like since I was a little girl. I've had a baby names for about 12 years. Both of those things seem really sad to me sometimes.
- One of my earliest memories is of Princess Diana's wedding. I think this may have set up some unrealistic expectations.
(If you haven't seen the video below, please don't let this post overshadow it. It is stinkin' hilarious. I think so anyway.)
Monday, May 07, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
After:Gasp! Behold, the beauty. It took me an hour and a half and less than $30 to make this change. But how? This is not real wood flooring (like what is in my bedroom outside the closet). It is not laminate. It's vinyl. Peel 'n' stick tile. I'm not a fan of the vinyl flooring but this stuff looks good! And who would want to lay tile or real hardwoods in such a small space (with lots of weird cuts)? No one. It does the job perfectly. If you have any space that could use this, I'd recommend it. I honestly think it looks just as good as laminate. It comes in 4 "wood tones" and "planks" are 4" x 36". It's ridged like real wood and they even give you about six different prints so not all your tiles look exactly the same. Seriously, shockingly good product (about which I'm ridiculously giddy).
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Then I tackled getting some chairs to go with the table. We didn't have any and I didn't want to spend a bundle. Enter IKEA. They were simple, nude, and about $19 each.
Then I stained them.
And upholstered them.
And of course the room needed to be painted. And my brother and I turned our dad's old gun cabinet (hey, we're from the country, in Texas) into a cabinet for some of my stemware (hey, I now live in the city and a girl needs a glass of wine from time to time). I wish I had a "before" of this one.
Which brings us to the "after." Better, no? I wish you could get the change of the sense of space. The lighter color really opened the room up quite a bit. I've since hung some artwork. And the last step is a surprise. It's far down on the list but we'll get back to it one day.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
10 Movies That Make Me Cry
- The Notebook
- Pay It Forward (This one had me sobbing even after it was over--never good.)
- Garden State (both because of grief and happiness)
- Titanic (I know, I can hear the collective groan.)
- My Girl
- Steel Magnolias (Why do so many movies kill people off?)
- Schindler's List (I have no desire to see this movie a second time...)
- The Pianist (but yet can't get away from the Holocaust.)
- City of Angels (Who thought going to see that would be better than studying for finals?!?!?)
Some of these will make me cry even though I've seen them a million times (like Stepmom). I love it when movies or television shows make me feel, whether it's elated or stressed or melancholic. Sign of a good writer (or an easily-influenced viewer). I'm sure there are others that I've forgotten. What are they?