Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perhaps I should explain...

What my previous post really boils down to is that I'm frustrated with a situation at work that I can't control, change or tolerate (natch).

As the red-headed stepchild of the department (meaning they inherited me rather than birthed me themselves), they:

a) Have no idea who I am or what I offer in terms of experience
b) Assume I'm going to make trouble
c) Aren't especially invested in me and never will be

I haven't any desire to make trouble - but I do wish that they would stop assuming that before they came on board, I was sitting around eating raw chicken and sticking my fingers in light sockets.

For their information, I've been in the service industry since I was 15 years old, and I excel at customer relationship management (I also have a great phone voice).

I don't really care how you did it at your last company, or what you think of the people who worked in the department before you that you NEVER MET. I knew them, and you putting them down to me isn't going to make me your bestest buddy.

The fact is, people from all over the company come to ME when they have questions. Not you. Actually, a lot of people have told me what they think of you. It's not good.

So, yeah.

That's kind of what had me feeling agitated.

Also, I don't really know that wearing Brut cologne makes a person unqualified to serve in our department, but I do know that I'm going to perform a purification ritual in your office using the very same cologne the next time I'm in at 7AM.

See, now I feel better.

Surviving January

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I'm not the biggest fan of January.

So, good thing January's almost over.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Universe Provides

When we last left our heroine, she was distressed over making a trip to Atlanta this coming weekend and wondering if she should just cancel.

And then, a path cleared.

Tuesday afternoon my boss came to see if I'd be amenable to traveling to Atlanta on Wednesday for a training/goodwill session with a client. Would I? Ha!

I went home, packed my gear and was on the road by 6PM and in Atlanta by 10:15.

I spent the night with Mom and Dad and played with the pups. It was a good time.

In the morning, I called the client, who set our meeting for 1:00. That gave me time to have breakfast with my parents, spend some time at the house, and then head to my meeting. The clients' office was right across the street from the first office I worked in out of college. But that area has changed so much, I barely recognized it.

After five hours with the customer, I went back to my parents' house and got Dad. We had dinner at their favorite little neighborhood restaurant and ordered dinner to go for Mom and one of her colleagues, then delivered them dinner at the hospital.

I waited up for Mom to come home, spent a few minutes with her, then went to bed. Five hours later, I was up and on the road. Vroom! Back in Nashville and in the office by 8:45.

The universe provides. Not only did I solve my "visit to Atlanta" conundrum, but at dinner with Dad, he gave me an unsolicited pep talk - the exact one that I have been needing to hear for awhile. He somehow pinpointed the source of some of my angst and addressed it.

So, I'm back in Nashville, feeling a little more rested (though I had a hard time wrenching free from the bed's magnetic pull this morning), and I have a whole weekend spreading out before me.

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Zoom!

Well, it only took 34 years, but I found exercise that I actually enjoy and that really challenges me.

As luck would have it, the Y added a Zumba class - Mondays at 7:15 pm! The Y loves a working woman! We got to the gym last night at 7:10, and I decided, hell, why not?

The instructor started out by telling us there was no right or wrong in her class. We then spent the next 45 minutes busting moves to Latin music. Ok, I was probably the least coordinated person in there (after that one lady left 10 minutes in), but so what? I had a blast, and I definitely worked out.

So now, I need to find other classes to get my fix...

And I also need some cuter workout clothes. If I'm going to be shakin' what my mama gave me, I might as well look nice doing it.

ae

Saturday, January 24, 2009

And that's when it fell apart...

I did something last night that I haven't done in years. Got rip-roaring, full-on, praying to the porcelin Gods drunk.

And it's not as though I planned it. My plan was to go home and take my husband to dinner. I was waylaid in the parking lot by Seb and Steve who were headed to Mafiaoza's for a drink. I figured I could use an Amstel and a laugh, so what the hell? Matt bowed out because he was tired and I promised I'd bring a pie home for dinner.

So I found a great parking space and Seb was waiting on the patio of the place. When Steve arrived, he started talking pitchers, and that's when it fell apart. We drank either 4 or 5 pitchers between me, Seb, Steve, Alex - and eventually Matt, who they called to come pick up his drunk wife. Which is always the call you want to get at 7:30 on a Friday.

I arrived home without incident and ended up on the floor in the front room for a bit. Then I got sick, took a hot bath, and called my parents. Why? I don't know -I just felt like talking, I guess.

True to form, I woke up at 3AM with a screaming headache and insomnia. Came upstairs, noodled on the computer for a few minutes, took another hot bath, and went back to bed.

Today, I feel fine. A bit tired, sure, but otherwise, AOK. I texted Alex and Seb to let them know.

So, special thanks to Steve for the pitchers (I offered to pick up 2 of them, but that didn't happen), to all three guys for their company, and to Matt for keeping me from either driving impaired or attempting to walk home. And for unselfishly driving me back to the scene of the crime to get my car this morning.

It's not something I'll do again soon, or, ever - but it's a good reminder that you're never that far from your misspent youth.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bit by bit...putting it together!

Things are starting to fall into place in some ways. Work seems to be going better than it did a week ago.

I should have time to wash the dog this weekend, maybe get a few loads of laundry in - but there's nothing so pressing that if it doesn't get done, lives are ruined or feelings are hurt.

To that end, I apparently told my mother we were going for a visit at the end of the month. Uhhh. I'm sure I said it, but I sure as hell don't remember saying it. We'll see.

I would like to take a trip to Atlanta for an eye exam. Yes, yes - they do have them in Nashville, but Matt has requested the LensCrafters at Lenox in Atlanta, on the chance that he might need a new pair of specs, they have the best options.

Personally, I just need an exam as it's been 10 years, and in that time, I haven't been spending any less time in front of a monitor. Also, my once crisp vision is mushier than it used to be. I'm likely still 20/20, or damn near to it, but a little professional look-see never hurt anyone.

I'd also like to hit IKEA and Crate and Barrel. I really miss Crate and Barrel. And Pastis.

It's almost tempting, in a way, to come to the ATL incognito - get a room on the cheap, make plans to do our thing, then call Mom and Dad on the fly and offer to take them out. Then vanish under cover of night.

It'll never happen, but a girl can dream.

Even though it's only January, our year is starting to fill up with tentative plans. If only I had planted a money tree in my garden last Spring!

In other news, my sinuses continue to cause problems. I'd love to find a good ENT, but who has the time? Aside from which, I really just want my tonsils out, and I don't think many people would touch me with a 10 foot scalpel for that.

Nothing much new to report. Mom sent me a picture of her pugs and two "Yes We Did!" bumper stickers. One for me, one for Rosie.

And for the moment, let's let that be it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reflections on lungs, Lola and hope

Yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in awhile. I got home at a decent hour. And since Matt had a late shoot that was going to put him getting home late, I had a decision to make. Should I take a nap? Clean house? Go to the Y? Take Lola on a walk?

Given that it was quite cold out yesterday and that these days, I can’t seem to sleep enough, that whole nap idea sounded terrific. But I decided against it. I also decided not to clean house. Yes, I really need to do it, but there’s time for that this weekend. So I was left with either the Y or Lola.

Ultimately, I decided the time spent getting to the Y, finding a suitable machine, hopping on it and working out, then getting back in the car and getting home wasn’t worth the end result. And let’s face it – Lola loves a good walk and really doesn’t care if it’s 21 or 81 degrees outside. So I threw on some warm clothes and my favorite Lowa hiking shoes and released Lola from her cone. As soon as we got out the front door, she threw herself onto the lawn and rolled around on her back in ecstasy. I’d made the right decision. As we started walking, some fat, fluffy snow started falling, and I took in a bunch of deep lungfuls (or would that be lungsful?) of cold air.

And I felt good. In fact, I felt better mentally than I had in about 2 weeks. Physically, I felt good, but it’s clear that I have some work ahead of me.

I’m kind of out of shape. I’ve never been a total fitness junkie, but I’ve really let my regimen go, and out there in the cold dark night, I started remembering where I was eight years ago. Back then, I decided, based on seeing myself in some really unflattering photos, that it was time to make a change. Lola, aged two, was my companion, my motivator, and my crutch for during that time. As it happens, I found myself taking an unplanned Sabbatical in the Summer of 2001. So, every morning, before it got too hot, Lola and I got in the car, went to the Roswell Park and hit the walking trail – 2.5 or 3.2 miles, depending on how we felt that day. At first, I was so out of shape, I’d have to stop at the top of the hill to catch my breath – I let Lola be my excuse – letting her sniff and find a place to mark her name with a fresh pee. But while she sniffed, I gasped – and so it went. Eventually, I caught my breath and my stride.

And here we go again. Now, I can justify taking it slower because Lola, now ten, is no longer a puppy. She betrays me often enough by acting much younger than her age. But her desire to sniff and pee has not waned, so I'm in luck.

The more I walked yesterday, the more fresh air I got to all the cells in my body, the better and more hopeful I began to feel. I know, I know – it’s not just because Obama got inaugurated yesterday, but that can’t hurt, either.

What I decided, which isn’t rocket science, is that I cannot control people. What I can control is my reaction to them.

That doesn’t mean I’m never going to snap at Matt, or get angry at rude drivers, or get frustrated when there aren’t any registers open at WalMart (although, seriously, WTF?). I can’t change the fact that some of the people I went to High School with seem to have drunk the Fox News Kool Aid and act like raging nutjobs.

But what I can do is say, “Hey, Lola – do you want to go for a walk?” And then we will.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finally!

I thought this day would never get here. I have a "1/20/09 - End of an Error" bumpersticker on my car, and when I first put it on there, back in 2006, I thought this day would never get here.

And here it is.

And I'm missing it.

My bad, I should have taken the day off and glued myself to the television.

But I didn't, and instead, I'm reading about it on CNN.com. While President-Elect Obama was becoming President Obama, I was training some new clients. I think that's fine. I have a job, and in this economy, I'm glad to have it.

What I can tell you is this - I'm dying to see Mrs. Obama's ballgown. Seriously. I hope it's awesome.

The last time I watched an inauguration on television was 1993 - Clinton's first. I was a high school senior, and back then, I remember being incensed that people were dogging Chelsea. I also remember Maya Angelou's poem.

So. Here we are. I'll be either replacing or adding to my car a new sticker, en route from Mom which reads, "Yes We Did!"

I'm excited.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Mixed Medley

So, occasionally, even with my overwhelming good cheer and optimism, I get cranky. Here are a few of the things bothering me today and in general:

The weather. Ok, we get it. It’s cold. And the snow this morning was lovely (if fleeting), but my skin and hair are both taking a beating from the cold, wind, and lack of essential humidity. Plus, I really hate wearing my big fuzzy sweaters, which do keep me warm, but also make me look bigger and fuzzier than I am.

Meetings. If you already know what the outcome of our meeting is going to be before you schedule it, count me out. I’m not a member of the Boys’ Supersecret AV Club, and never will be. I don’t care what decision you make, but if you’ve already made it, don’t waste my time pretending to consider other options. I’m not that stupid, and I thought you were smart enough to realize that. If you do decide to waste my time, be ready for me to be as contrary as they come.

PMS.
The older I get, the more of a lunatic having a uterus makes me. I haven’t felt a biological imperative and doubt I ever will, so it seems kind of cruel that I feel like I’m about to grow fangs and go on a rampage, ending with cake. And thankfully, it’s not every month, and it’s only for a few days - but when I have PMS, I swing between rage and melancholy for what feels like a lifetime.

Loud talkers. Dude, I get that you really like the sound of your own voice, but I’m busy wondering if you have a mute button. Maybe you should get a job as an announcer for a high school football team, but your talents are wasted on me and everyone else within a 40 foot radius.

Having to be polite. Sometimes, opening a letter with the greeting “Dear Douchebag,” really would be the best way to get your point across. It’s kind of a shame that I have to stifle my self-expression.

Itchy tags.
People, silkscreening technology is amazing – I think the guy who first started screening tags into the backs of shirts and underwear deserves a Nobel Prize, and the people who are using the extra itchy tags in clothes should be punished by having to wear their own clothes. Maybe I’ve grown soft over the years, but seriously…I have nearly impaled myself while trying to remove a tag while still wearing the garment.

Old classmates on Facebook. We used to be friends, but now that I see you’ve joined the Sean Hannity Fan Club, I really don’t want to have anything to do with you. Nor do I care how ridiculous you think PETA is, or what crap you’re watching on TV, or what you ate for lunch. Also, it’s incredibly freaky to see the girl who used to give out hand jobs like they were Halloween Candy with babies. Especially since the father of those babies once stole my mailbox. Actually, it’s freaky to see any of them with babies: klepto, ho or average Joe. Fair enough, I graduated in 1993 – so, clearly, we’re old enough to have families, but the whole playdates play-by-play is creeping me out.

Having to come up with dinner. If tonight’s Crockpot Chicken Florentine works out, it’ll be a miracle. But I’m starting to realize that no matter what combination of ingredients you throw together, the Italian Chicken and the Southwest Chicken taste remarkably similar.

Exercise. I want to feel better, and I’d like to find a fun way to get my calories burned, but when the YMCA limits their classes to after 9AM and before 5PM, then I’ll be spending my time there on the same fucking elliptical I’ve been on for years. Moving in circles and going nowhere. Has it occurred to them that working people might also enjoy Zumba? We would. I’m not saying it would be pretty, but I’d like to give it a shot.

That should do it for now.

Now get out there and make it a great day!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Unexamined Life

It's evaluation time at the office and I've been kind of dreading it. I never like having people put me under a microscope, and this year, given that my boss gets to evaluate my full year, having only known me for five months of it (and let's face it, not the greatest five months ever), well...I'm feeling a little squeamish. And nauseated.

I finally went through mine today and completed it. I think I was fair, but we'll have to see what the Bossman thinks. Regardless of how it comes back to me, I had a tough year, I gutted it out. Anything above and beyond that is fleeting in importance.

Of course, I'm starting to reflect on a lot of things. Like, that I really need to start eating right and exercising. I want to look better and feel better - and these things don't just happen without a little hard work.

I also want to have some fun this year. I'm thinking about improv.

Plus there's the whole organization thing. It would be nice to roll out that new initiative globally. My house needs a once-over in a big way. Matt bought a cabinet for tools yesterday. It's a good start.

So, although I hadn't planned on making any resolutions, I guess the 18th of January isn't too late to start.

Ugh, here we go -the first day of the rest of my life.

Confidential to Laura: Andy Rooney? Ouch. You know how to hurt a girl.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I got nothin'

This week pretty well took it out of me. I'm looking forward to the weekend. Matt and I are going to early vote tomorrow - they want to make the official language of Nashville English.

I have news for you, most Native Nashvillians, hell, most Americans have a hazy comprehension of English.

I work with a person who makes two gaffes regularly - "irregardless" and "mute point". If I'm lying, I'm dying. I know a lot of people who say something is more easy than something else. And that's not to mention people who drop the -ly from words they intend to be adverbs.

Then, we have people who are constantly "loosing" things - their key, three pounds, their minds. Affect/Effect seem to trip people up, as do the old standbys - you're/your, its/it's and the dreaded to/too/two.

So yeah, let's make Nashville "English Only" - you go first, Jim Bob.

Mea Culpa

For reasons not worth explaining, I'm feeling a little like Eunice today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJLVgPPF40M

SAW-REEEEE!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pity, party of one - your table is now ready...

Laura often comments that I got the domestic gene. And it's true. I can hostess with the mostest, set a great table, create a menu, and get it all on the table at the same time. It's just something I can do without too much thinking required.

Luckily for Laura, she got the organization gene. She has a system, there are never piles of anything sitting in her house, and if I were to accidently wander into her junk drawer, there wouldn't be junk. She's organized - it's just something she does without too much thinking required.

It's not that I'm hopeless. But it feels that way.

As a kid, my desk at school was the one crammed full of papers. I was constantly losing, forgetting, and frustrated.

And unfortunately, I never grew out of that.

If I didn't know that I was smart, it would be easier.

What I mean by this is, if I thought I were just a stupid person to begin with, it wouldn't matter - I could blame this deficiency (and let's face it, all deficiencies) on general dullardness.

But I know I'm smart - how do I know? Well for one, the Middle Tennessee Mensa people sent me a prospective member newsletter. I can't trace the source, but suspect that buying a subscription to Mental Floss magazine for Matt's cousins is what put me on their mailing list.

But I also happen to know (and I wish I didn't) that if I were to test for Mensa, there's a good chance I'd be a contender. When I was in 4th Grade, they tested me to see if I had Attention Deficit Disorder - that was the catch-all diagnosis for kids whose grades inexplicably dropped. Well, they dropped, geniuses, because my best friend moved away, and I was depressed. But since they weren't hawking pills for depression back then, I got rubber stamped for Ritalin, which with a combination of some time to grieve, worked wonders.

Anyway - they threw an IQ test in with all the other crap (like the one where they show you a picture of a cow and you have to say what's missing, the one where you have to draw a picture of your house, etc.) and I happened to see my scores. So, empirically, if you believe the tests, I'm smart.

But I still can't keep a day-runner for more than a week, and that, mes amis, that is sheer dumbassitude. Which wouldn't bother me if I were inherently a dumbass. Which, I'm not. See previous paragraph.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, the Bossman and I had "the talk" (which I've had many, many times in my life with various people) about this opportunity for growth yesterday. And so, I'm not on double secret probation (or am I?), but he wants me to come up with a plan. He wants to help me help myself.

A plan? Why don't I plan to spend the rest of my days working in Metaphysical Bookstore selling crystals and unicorn farts? Why don't I start a puppy mill in my basement and breed cut-rate Point-Setters and Bull Shih-Tzus? Maybe I should plan to read another book about time management that doesn't apply to me and won't help me. I'll add it to the pile I already started - or maybe I'll start a new pile.

After freaking out a little about coming up with a plan, it came to me last night as if it were in a dream. So this morning, having created a plan, I went to Wal-Mart to commence execution of said plan. I bought an inexpensive 2009 Planner (let's see how that goes) and a binder that's going to hold a daily log (which I will be printing on neon green paper so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle). I also bought myself some pens in assorted colors so I wouldn't feel so bad about the fact that I tested chaos-positive. Today was my first day of the rest of my organized life, and so far, so good.

So... that's the plan. I'll keep you posted. Or, hell, check my day-runner, if you can find it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

X Meets Y

When Matt and I were in college, we took a screenwriting class. I was not in the best emotional/mental state when I took the class – it being my final quarter of my senior year, and because the instructor said attendance wasn’t required, I didn’t go that often. I should have.
What I do remember from the times that I went was that quite a few of the students took themselves, and by extension, this class, very, very seriously.

We all had to sort of give updates on our script ideas, talk about our characters, our plot. Invariably, after anyone gave their plot synopsis, someone would sum up what they had just heard by saying ,“Oh, so it’s like Influence X meets Influence Y.”:



“Oh – so it’s Blade Runner meets The Sound of Music”

“It’s Misery meets Gilligan’s Isle meets 9 ½ Weeks.”

“Umm…Fried Green Tomatoes meets Bonnie and Clyde”

“That sounds like a hybrid of Schindler’s List and Old Yeller”

“So… it’s part Dead Poets Society, part The Jazz Singer with a hint of Midnight Cowboy”


We were complete assholes about it. Basically shooting down anything we could. They did it to me, I did it to them. Partly to show how well versed we were in popular culture, but mostly to prove that there is, to quote Ecclesiastes, “nothing new under the sun”.


And there isn’t, really. I saw three great movies over the weekend:


Let the Right One In – a Swedish vampire movie – it was Stand by Me meets Fargo meets Silence of the Lambs. It was excellent. Spooky, dark and occasionally funny. Plus, those Swedes really know a thing or two about making a movie


The Fall – It was Big Fish meets Princess Bride with a sprinkling of Pan’s Labyrinth and a heavy dose of Wes Anderson thrown in. – Phenomenal. Really drew me in. It was shot in 18 different countries and the cinematography was breathtaking. A must-see.


Tropic Thunder – Apocalypse Now meets Full Metal Jacket meets The Naked Gun meets Survivor – HILARIOUS! It’s both a fun special effects comedy, and a biting satire of actors and how they perfect their craft. Or don’t.


I have a cold, and aside from a long afternoon at work, an outing at the skating rink, and a quick run to Trader Joe’s, this was a weekend for cinema and sleep. I could use another two days in bed.

It’s sinus issues meets tension headache meets body ache meets sore throat. A box office hit if ever there was one!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Medley of Extemporanea

I had the "math test" dream again. Where I walk into a classroom realizing I haven't been to class in ages, and it happens to be the day of the test. This time, there were some tests from the previous class sitting on the desks, and I realized they were going to be about statistics and that I was screwed.

I also had a dream that Lola and I were leaving a QuikTrip and I saw this woman stealing my car - so I ran after her, only to realize she was driving her own silver Echo, and that my car was right where I left it.

Also, I think I'm getting a cold. Matt says he has a cold and I gave it to him. WTF? Regardless, I'm feeling kind of beat up from the feet up. Thankfully, it seems to be isolated to throat and ears for the moment. And of course, general body ache. I gutted out one training session this morning and I'm giving another in about 1.5 hours. Yaaay!

Our internet was down last night, which was not very Comcastic at all. Especially because I was working on a training class for Customer Support Analyst certification. Grrr.

I got junk mail from both Weight Watchers and the New York Times yesterday. A not-so-subtle reminder that I need to both lose some weight and become better informed in the new year.

I also got my 401K statement for last quarter. And let's put it this way - it was a 401K, now it's more like a 298G. Har, har, har. Only not really. That's my money, damn it!

That's all for now - I'm hungry, tired and cranky. What fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm going to have to ask you to stop.

Can someone please explain this:


It's a sofa, yes, this much I know. What eludes me is this: what is the point of the karate chop to the top center of each throw pillow?

This is a trend I'm seeing all over the magazines, and yet, thankfully never in anyone's home.

It looks stupid. It makes the pillows look like they have butt cracks, and honestly, who wants to see that, upholstered or not? The tassels and fringe only make it worse.

Who is the style maven who came up with this brilliant touch of foppish frippery?

I'm going to say it once. This has got to end. Leave the damn throw pillows alone. And maybe cut the amount by half.

And while you're at it, can we agree that in five years, chocolate brown/pale blue is going to be so 2007? You don't agree? Two words: Harvest. Gold.

Thanks.

No, really, I mean it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

That wasn't so bad, now was it?

I cracked out the new sewing machine, and after stabbing my finger a few dozen times, ripping out about 3 feet worth of seams and wasting a football field's length of thread, I have the "skins" of two throw pillows.

I need to buy more guts for them -aka, polyfil or whatever. Tomorrow.

But then, we'll have pillows.

And then, I can start thinking about a curtain for my bathroom.

Susie Homemaker is alive and well in Nashville.

Photos to follow!

On the Street Where You Live

It’s unpopular to admit, but I had a happy childhood. I had a loving family, I liked school, and a big influence in the early years was my neighborhood.

My parents moved into North Point Subdivision in 1972, and they’ve been there ever since.
We were lucky to grow up in a neighborhood with tons of kids our age and whose parents were all friends with one another. This is a neighborhood where we could go out on Halloween without parents, and there was never a second thought about safety.

When I got married, some of the mothers of the neighborhood threw me a shower, and many of the daughters were there to party with me. The same was true the day of the wedding.

When Dad got sick, everyone rallied – sending cards, helping Mom, visiting Dad...getting Matt to the hospital when Dad’s car wouldn’t start the night his heart stopped (twice). I know I shouldn’t be surprised at the goodness and kindness of human nature, and I'm generally not, but people went consistently above and beyond.

A testament to the power of the ‘hood? There’s a group on Facebook devoted to the kids who grew up there, and there are roughly 100 of us who are members.

Now, many of the kids I grew up with have kids of their own. Most of us are married, living our own lives and are for all intents and purposes, grown-ups.

Being grown up is great, but it means you have to deal with grown-up things – like losing a parent.

One of my favorite mothers, Nancy – whose two sons (Brad and Curt) are one year older and maybe eight years younger than me respectively –died after a year-long battle with cancer on Sunday.

She was diagnosed last Christmas, and did about everything she could have done.

My mother has known her for 45 years - since Nursing School. She was one class behind my mother. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know her. They moved away for awhile in the late 80’s, then moved back when I was in my mid-twenties. It was as though they’d never left.

Nancy once made me promise that if at age 35, Brad and I weren’t married to anyone else, we’d get hitched to each other. That said, at my wedding, she was still perfectly happy for me. Laura broke out in hives once while Mom and Dad were traveling and she came over to check on her (and Brad and I went into the backyard and threw rocks over the fence until the neighbor yelled at us). Once, she was giving me a ride home, and I called Brad’s hobby (HAM radio, if memory serves) either nerdy or geeky, and she called me out on it (Brad wasn’t in the car – I do have some social skills). Since she was important to me, I felt ashamed then, and I still do.

But the thing I remember most is that Nancy introduced me to chunky peanut butter. One day, when I was about 4, for reasons I don’t recall, and which don’t matter, Nancy was looking after me. I think she picked me up from Kindergarten, but like I said, my memory’s a little vague on that. What I can tell you is that she took me to her house and made me a sandwich with chunky peanut butter. When I mentioned that I’d never had that before, she was a little taken aback. What can I say – my family eats smooth. They still do. I married a man who likes chunky, though – so Nancy got me ready for that.

And now Nancy’s gone. I sent a sympathy card to her husband and sons this morning. I told them an abbreviated version of the peanut butter story, which I hope doesn’t come off as flip.

The last time I saw Nancy was over the summer when Dad was sick. We were outside on the street talking with a handful of people and she and her husband were driving by and stopped. We couldn’t talk long – she was on chemo at the time and hypersensitive to the sun.

Mom visited with her last week, and though I offered to go with her, Mom declined. Which is probably for the better.

But it feels completely wrong that she’s gone. I have associative survivor’s guilt. By all counts, Dad cheated death last spring. But I haven’t had to memorialize a parent. Why Brad and Curt? To say nothing of her husband.

I could offer trite bromides – she’s in a better place, she’s not suffering, it was her time, blah, blah, blah. No disrespect meant, but come on. Nobody wants their loved one to die. And 64 seems way, way too young.

What I can tell you for certain is that I, like a lot of other people, will miss her.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Was there ever any doubt?

Last night, I got a little taste of Haterade from Sebastian and Alex, who both felt my shout out to them during my year-end review (see previous post) was weak. Now, they had been drinking, so they might have just been pulling my chain, but point taken.

Alex and Seb - for what it's worth, last night was without a doubt the BEST New Year's Eve ever. EVER. E-V-E-R. Thanks to you both!

They always say New Year's Eve is when the amateurs go out to party, and maybe that's true - the pros can't possibly limit their craft to one night a year.

Our plan was simple - spend the evening hanging out with our two favorite bachelors and some of their friends from Kentucky at their house - maybe play a little XBox 360 - whatevs. As my friend Abby from O-House Dorm Freshman Year would have said, "No big whoop."

So I crock-potted up some meatballs, gathered up the cheese that Dad sent home with us as well as the wine that Alex had requested, and we headed East on 40.

When we arrived at their house, Seb announced we had lane reservations at Donelson Bowl at 10PM.

So, we dropped off the snacks and spirits and caravanned to this place:

When we arrived, I learned that for $40 per couple, we could bowl from 10P - 2A. Plus funny hats and noisemakers, plus a DJ who played nothing but great music...plus...a 12:30 AM Pancake Breakfast.

Eight of us slow-bowled, spared, striked and guttered our way into the New Year.

And it was awesome.

Now comes to the part where I plug my favorite Mt. Julietians - Seb, Alex - you're the tops. For some reason, you've decided to include me and Matt in your lives, and we're lucky to have you.

May 2009 bring lots of fun and happy times!

And to that DJ, wherever he is...thanks for playing Brickhouse. Nothing says NYE like the Commodores.

PS - Guys, when you're done with the meatballs, can I have my Crock Pot back? Thanks!