Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Vacation, Had To Get Away

I have hit the crossroads of Mental Exhaustion Avenue and Irritable Street. Between buying the house, losing my assistant at work, and putting my sweet little puss-n-boots to sleep, I have been extremely busy and emotional. So I have been eating a lot of potatoes and not exercising. And my dating life has been on hold as in I can't stomach any one guy right now. Except Willem Defoe...where has he been?

So that's the silence.

And when the going gets rough, you realize you need an attitude adjustment to get you out of this funk. So what am I doing about it? Heading south. Miami. South Beach to be exact. And I hope that the recipe of a very long Memorial Day weekend plus tanning in the sun plus drinking Sapphire martinis plus eating fruit and salads plus celebrating Mav's Birthday will hopefully be the catharsis I need to snap out of the depressive funk. Because I don't want to take a pill.

I will be penniless and drunk for the next 6 days.

But before I go and work on an attitude adjustment, I have some things to get off my chest....

People, always let the people OFF the elevator before you barrel in.

Please God, let Barabaro get better, not be in pain, and not have to be euthanized.

Shut up people who think that it is a peaceful death. Because it is not. Besides they need to fix him so he can make some babies. His stud fee will be penniful and he could sire an Einstein.

Hence, I am trying a vegetarian diet this weekend.

I miss my cat very much.

Next time I look up in the sky, please $10,000 fall on my head.

Brangelina, have your baby already.

Movers, please show up on the 31st and like, not take 7 hours that you are telling me you need to move 25 boxes, an armoire, a bed, a chair, a dresser, and a desk only a block away. Because I will ride your ass to get you people moving. I'm in no mood.

Yukkell, please get over yourself already. I don't really give a damn if you use my friend as your real estate agent and it doesn't bother me one bit that you are getting married. You are so 1999-2005. It died.

Bathing suits, please look good on me this weekend. Please look good on me this weekend. Please look good on me this weekend.

So I hope to be back in June slimmer, tanner, and happier. I will be a homeowner come May 30th so that is a start.

God, I can't wait to lay on a Florida beach.....home.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Look What The Snow Storm Brought In

The time was circa 1992. I was in college. And the forecast was calling for a record-breaking snow storm to bombard the entire east coast - pretty much down to northern Florida. Snow in Florida and, oh yeah, it's Spring Break. Mukluks and bikinis!

I was an "old married girl" at this time living in sin with my wee bit older boyfriend who was long gone out of college. Instead he had a job. And he was sweet as pie. And probably the only guy I ever dated who actually "got me." We dated/lived together for most of 3 years. Ironically, my college romance was the most mature relationship I probably ever had. We actually talked about things. And he was an artist type - a damn good writer - so sometimes he would go into his shell when he needed to dip deep into the well to regenerate. Kindred. In fact, the only time he ever really annoyed me was when he was "blocked" and would play the harmonica to blues tracks. This annoyed me about him and I remember thinking at the time, "I can't live with this forever!" - knowing I was never going to commit to him long-term. Now I put up with much worse than harmonicas - the "sound of settling"? (but that is beside the point.)

His name was Pete.

This particular blustery Spring Break we decided to rent a car and drive all the way to Fort Wayne to visit my parents. They were living so far away at the time and I only got to see them a few times a year. Pete knew how much I was looking forward to this trip. And he loved my parents too. In fact, we were so damned determined that we were going to make it there, we ignored the blizzard warnings thinking there is no way Georgia was going to get that much snow and by the time we hit the more northern states, it would be long gone. Our plan was golden.

Were we ever wrong.

By the time we hit Georgia we were definitely driving in blizzard conditions. Sensible and patient Pete carefully maneuvered the highway as we crawled our way up 95. The carrot at the end of the stick - my momma and daddy. Well it finally got so bad that they were closing the highways down and forcing people off the road. The one exit we had to get off at had only one hotel and, oh, about a million people in our same predicament. I bundled up my "winter coat" - which was some flimsy suede jacket I got in a thrift store and had no lining. I was praying for a warm bed and - if I may push the envelope a little here - some cable tv. We weren't in line 15 minutes when the hotel turned on the No Vacancy light, with ne'er a care for the momentarily homeless.

"Shoo people. There's no room at the inn," said the Inn Keeper.

And I said, "Dammit!" The stress of the day and the disappointment welled up inside me. I knew we could not sleep in the car that night. We would freeze. I could feel the tears forming and a patented Lara temper tantrum starting to take shape.

When lo and behold Desperation and a Plan B appeared before my watery eyes when a young guy probably my age - college student - spoke up, "Hey I have a room - with two beds - and it is only me - if anybody wants to share."

To put a brand-new-in-2006 romanticized spin on the story....he was looking at me when he said this. Why, our souls connected. And yes, it was love at first sight! (So in the made-for-tv version of my life make sure that we reconnect years later and fall madly in love. That will make a nice Lifetime Original.)

I pushed Pete forward and yelled, "We do!" I was going to fight and claw my way if I was faced with competition. Heck, at that point, I could have starred in Indecent Proposal. His Redford to my Demi. (And Pete was a Woody, come to think of it.)

So that is how I spent the night in some northern GA hotel in a blizzard with some absolute stranger. I can't remember much about our Hero that night. I do remember he had to call his parents too. I can't even remember what I told my dad. But he knew I was with Pete so he probably didn't worry as much. I had the weirdest dreams that night that I was sleeping with some Ted Bundy. Pete, I know, slept with one eye open.

Alas morning came. And we were alive. And warm. And very tired. And the sun was shining!

BUT - to rain on my morning sunshine parade - there was lots of cleaning up to be done and Tennessee decided that they were going to barricade their lovely state from any other vehicle messing with their plans to plow. The TN border was closed. And they didn't anticipate it opening for a long while. Our options were to (a) wait in the small town at least all day and where nothing was open or (b) turn around and go home. We made the decision to go home.

I cried most of the way home.

And I didn't perk up until Pete said, "Well, I have the whole week off work anyway. How about we go the shelter first thing and get a cat?"

And this came out of the blue. I don't really remember us ever talking about getting a cat. But somehow, at this moment, it seemed like the best idea I had ever heard. Like, duh...this is going to make the crybaby feel better. I knew it. On any other day, I probably would have brushed off the idea. But, see, Pete knew me. And he always knew - even before I did - what was going to cheer me up.

The carrot at the end of the stick now....a little fur ball of my very own!

So the next day we drove to the shelter and when I walked in I was immediately drawn to this one fat sultry looking momma cat just kind of laying there nonplussed by all the people oohing and aahing over her competition, the kittens. Lindsey Lohans to her Meryl Streep. Amateurs. She wasn't playing up to anyone.

I looked at Pete and said, "That's Sophie."

Well, actually her name was Muffin. That was what the cage said. But she certainly didn't give off "Muffin air." It also said that she hated children and other animals and she liked to be the center of attention. It was a match made in heaven - I knew we could be fast friends! And when I held her in my arms I knew that from that day forward I was now going to shelter her from the snow storms.

On that day, I gave her a second chance at life. I learned that my little Miss Grumpy was going to be put to sleep the next day as she had overstayed her welcome at the Inn. If it wasn't for that snow storm....

It's fourteen years later and I had to make the very difficult decision to let her go yesterday morning. Her health failing, there wasn't anything I could do for her anymore. Deep down I know it was the right thing but it doesn't feel right. I made the mistake and stuck around the vet's office until it was over and I will never forget the bellowing I heard from her room. They say she went in peace but I doubt that. That breaks my heart.

I cried all the way home and through the night.

I wonder what Pete would say or do to cheer me up now....

RIP Little Miss Sophie Mae
c. 1987 - 2006

"...I'll show you in spring
It's a treachorous thing
Miss you
The Lovecats..."
--The Cure

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Line Dancing

"Don't stand in line!" -- Ian MacKaye, Al Jourgensen (as Pailhead)

Mav and I don't wait in lines. We like to call it "bucking the system."

I don't remember when it started but I remember a fine show of it. St Patrick's Day 2006. We walked over to an Irish bar - I say "a(n)" because there are about 564 of them in my neighborhood now. And all 564 of them had lines with about 564 people in them. So we decided to go next door and eat mexican food because the Mexican aren't Irish so NOBODY was home. I ask, are we original or unoriginal?

After margaritas sans green, we had the fuel to power through the line and so we walked up to two random guys towards the front of the line. And I say "we" because it was really Mav's doing. All I could think was, "Who is going to beat me up for "cutting"?" I was momentarily transported to 3rd grade and Huston was tugging on my braids as he always stood behind me in line (or I always cut in front of him). And then he would act like he didn't do it. And I'd be all coy about it. That might be when I first learned how to flirt with the boys. Anyways, snap back to 2006, nobody is tugging at my hair so we succeeded with the line cutting....And then, you know, with it being St. Patrick's Day, the Irish bar is allowed to have a cover charge. Mark-ups. Hate them. Well, we must have been walking high on power because we walked right by that Money Taker like we were royalty and, well, it worked. Nobody chased us down.

Then after boredom at that bar, we ventured over to another bar of a non-Irish denomination. It's A-muhr-a-kah afterall. And, well, the drunks were out because there was a line there. This time, all it took was a phone call to a friend inside who kind of "owns" the bar. (And by "own" I only mean he spends 564 days of the year there thus giving them about 564 dollars a day (and this is where I am - seriously - not exaggerating) and so he is kind of like a preferred customer and can call some shots or something like that, one of which is pulling pretty ladies out of line.)

Thus, we spent St. Patrick's Day in no lines. I'll wait while you do an Irish jig.

And so, this past weekend we worked our Line Cutting magic again as we went to Gold Cup. For those not in the know, Gold Cup is steeplechase horse races but that is peripheral to what the day actually is. It entails showing up at a bar at 9 AM. Drinking. Hopping a 45-minute bus ride to The Plains while drinking. Spending the whole day drinking. Trying not to miss bus ride home drinking. Back to the bar drinking. Rinse lather repeat. If you really feel it necessary. It's your liver.

So we bellied up to the bar, partook in some bloody marys and then filled up our jugs of beer in take-home jars. Finally, a to-go cup! And I'm not in the South! We got our cups, our jug and lo and behold. A line! Long lines of people just standing there waiting to get on the buses. About 564 people's worth. So Mav and I were having none of that. We sauntered to one of the buses with the door open and plopped our fannies there. And seriously thought, "Why is nobody doing this?" We watched out the window as people shivered in the early morning breeze, dew forming on their limbs. The bus driver eventually came on cranked up some country tunes and then - I think a little embarrased because he was probably 564 seconds away from boot-scootin' boogeying - noticed us in his rear view mirror with a chuckle.

So we sat there for another 5 minutes in the company of the bus driver and country music until they loaded the bus with the Line Waiters.

And that is how we line dance.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I Could Be Working In A Rodeo Taunted By A Red Cape

Confession: I'm an astrology-geek. It just goes with my whole metaphysical, karmic, feng-shui fascination and my grounding in Yippie 101. The teachings are based in turquoise, Volvos, and Easy Spirits. I only received mildly passing grades on account of the Easy Spirits because they don't have anything in a stiletto so I am kind of a rebellious student like that. Or a failure. Perspective.

So I occasionally read my horoscope and when it says this: "Your people are there for you just when you need them most, and it will feel great just to know they're on your side. Make sure they know you'll support them when the time comes," I look at the ways this is true and it's right on, skeptics! My people are there for me. Because I have a friend who is my real estate agent. A friend who is my lender ("Mother Goose is giving me money.") And Mav who is my counsel. So I trust with this HUGE home purchase that these people are not screwing me. And believe me, when there are talks of money and interest rates, etc., I am dumbed down quite a few notches. I already know that I want to do something for each and everyone of them. So see? Horoscopes have some merit!

Alright. One can argue on the prognosticating element of astrology. I'll give you that platform but I may not agree with you. But one can not argue on the traits of the signs. Because I am a Taurus and it is a pretty spot on description of my personality. Stubborn? Check. Likes emotional and material excess? Check. Change freaks her out? Big check. But, of course, it is never to a tee and that is because of moons and suns and eclipses and birth times and pink hearts, yellow moons, green clovers, and blue diamonds.

For instance, I recently found this description of "me" in terms of a career:

Taurus is well suited to any career in which patience, consistency, and values are important... [Hmm...sounds pretty generic, if true.] ...Of all the signs of the Zodiac, Taurus is probably the most dependable and easygoing employee... [True.] ...They aren’t temperamentally suited to life in the fast lane, but you can count on them to get the job done. They tend to choose careers that pay well and have good job security... [Hell to the yeah!] One of the most determined signs, they are not overly ambitious... [Like I would never want to be the Librarian of Congress. Holy responsibility Batman.]

I chose a safe career. Librarian. I chose to work in corporate/law libraries. Financial security. And I run the whole show, like I have a national title. Does that make me ambitious? Not really because it is still pretty comfortable. I could probably push the glass ceiling a little more but I like the flexibility I have now. So from a general personality perspective, this is for the most part right on.

Then the article went on to suggest and describe jobs that "I" would be good at based on my resemblance to a bull, a la earth sign. This is what "the stars" came up with:

(And the stars are a little silly.)

Gardener/Groundskeeper:This is the sign with a classic green thumb and dirty hands. They would like nothing more than spending their days cultivating roses and pruning scrubs. Taurus can be found running greenhouses, working in garden centers and flower shops, and working for companies who supply plants for businesses. The lucky ones can work at an ostentatious estate, taking care of larger, more complex gardens and dreaming of being the owner.

Well this would be true if I liked to dig in the dirt. And I don't. If I had a yard, I would hire that out. Besides, I am so down on "the flower" right now for my own pity party reasons that have to do with the words none and ever. And furthermore and perhaps more importantly, I kill plants. Not on purpose. Except bamboo. My bamboo is alive and kicking. But most importantly why this career is not suitable for me? I don't really care to tend to somebody else's yard and have them reap the benefits. And this is a classic Taurus trait.

She's charging.

Landscape Designer:The Landscape Designer deals with plant material and other elements on a larger or more complex scale. This profession requires several years of education, a talent for design and architecture, and vision. Taurus has an innate sense of aesthetics, and a love of living things, which make them perfect for this career. Instead of creating a building like an architect, they are able to build a small part of the world instead.

Now we're talking! This might make better sense to me. I get to design AND have other people do the dirty work. And I must say I do have an "innate" sense of aesthetics. I think of everything in aesthetics. For example, I sit on a yearly tax advisory panel for a big legal publisher and just today at our meeting I informed them that they might want to change out these blue binders for a series of texts they publish. It's aesthetics and one might look at the flimsy 3-ring binder notebook as inferior to their competitor's leather-bound compression binder with embossed writing (instead of peel and stick letters). But there is a chevron design and I told them that was cool. (Give them a postive before the negative.) This is why they have me on the panel with the "old timers." My "fresh" perspective?

I'm all about aesthetics. I'll design your garden.

Perfume/Cosmetics Developer:Taurus loves the finer things in life. They have finely-tuned senses and are acutely aware of beauty and elegance. If they have training in chemistry, they can then work in the world of perfume and cosmetics. Finding just the right blend of light and airy floral, with an exotic musk, would engage them on a fascinating quest. Following the latest consumer research they will find the combination of scent that will make crowds flock to their product. They flagrantly disregard scent-free policies.

Holy heck yeah! I have a very acute sense of smell. Too much so sometimes. This mostly gets in the way on the metro when you can smell all peoples. And mostly that is not pleasant when you have the sweat, alcohol, and fried food smells co-mingling. I believe everyone should smell good, scent-free policies can kiss my ass. I could be a catalyst for a beautifully-scented world where we all smell pretty and all the men smell like Chanel Allure. But there is one problem. I SUCKED at chemistry or any science class for that matter. This might hurt me. But they could use me for my nose and I could have someone else do the dirty work (again). We could insure my nose for millions of dollars.

Call me the girl with the million dollar nose.

Model:Taureans are often very beautiful individuals and some might want to venture into modeling. Most Taurus natives love to eat, which may concern those who wish to model. However, they should not let their weight stop them because the Plus-Size Model market could be literally tailor-made for them. Since the population is growing in more ways than one, this field is probably opening up. The money is probably plus-size too.

Oh keep talking..."beautiful"....aahh shucks, thanks.....wait...I'm chubby? Well, I certainly do feel chubby these days. I don't even know how I still fit into my size 4 pants today. And then I read that I am made for plus-size modeling. In that case, see you at Five Guys. And double fry my order.

Hubba chubba to you.

Winery Owner:This venture would appeal to many sides of Taurus. First of all they would have to grow the grapes and harvest them. Then, they would have to make the wine over a number of years, taking the time to get things just right. They are very patient people and will insist on quality and a full-bodied taste. The best part of this business would be the continual quality control and tasting. Finally, they may want to open the winery to the public and entertain, enjoy a glass of the finest with guests.

Ding dong! We have a winner. Who was it that said "winos" were the classiest of alcoholics?

Security Guard:Security is very important to Taurus and this job would probably appeal to them. It would be even more of a bonus if they were on the night shift at a quiet location. They would probably opt for the postings that had the least likelihood of ever being robbed or disturbed. It would be an excellent chance to relax, watch TV, wear a uniform, and be of service. They need to be careful not to let the power go to their heads.

Wh-security guard?! Are you joking? I'm beginning to think "the stars" don't know me at all, after all. I still sleep with a night light. I hear sounds and see shadows in the dark. And why on earth would I ever wear a uniform? Dress like everybody else? And defend OTHER people? That I probably hate anyways. I'd just have to get power-hungry. "No badge, no access." That could be fun.

Yeah, I'm the security guard cowering in the corner securing nothing. Slide the paycheck very carefully to me. Don't make any sudden movements. Don't scare the security guard!

Surveyor:This career is interesting to Taurus because they get to work for the government, but outside in the fresh air. The location could be anywhere from a city lot to a country road. Some of their time is spent driving to and from locations and marking points on the terrain. This job is technical but will allow them to work close to nature. Unless the work is done near the freeway or downtown, most of the time they will be away from major distractions. And, if they take a thermos and a lunchbox, they won’t miss their scheduled breaks.

Let's get this straight. I do not eat out of a lunchbox. If so, I'd have a holster for that thermos.

Pastry Chef:Taurus is very comfortable in the kitchen and this career would appeal to their penchant for quality, fine foods, and, of course, their sweet tooth. Only the best ingredients and the richest creams and butters will suffice. The best part of this job, for a Taurus, is sampling the wares. They will take great pride in turning out a delicious and artfully arranged product. They love working with their hands by rolling out dough and decorating the wares.

You better believe I'd be good at this job. Would I ever. First order of business is stealing Publix's buttercream frosting recipe and then I'd eat the "work." I can only thank god I can have a career as a plus-size model.

I'm liking this career arc.

Park Ranger:In many ways this career is well suited to Taurus. The work is largely outdoors in a park setting. They are in charge of taking care of nature and are concerned with the welfare of the people and animals in its realm. The beauty of this role is that it is a government job with good pay and benefits and is steady work. Taurus, of course, looks very fine in a uniform and they will strut their stuff for all to see. Smokey the Bear has only good things to say about Taurus.

Apparently I have this big thing for the outdoors. I'll have to look into that as my usual contact with the outdoors only consists of the sun and a drink with an umbrella, a pinot grigio, or cerveza in hand. Never sticks, kindling, soup in a can, tents, bug spray, or hiking boots.

Smokey the Bear is my friend.

Loan Officer:The next best thing to working outside is having a desk job and handling financial transactions. A career in the banking industry would make a Taurus rather pleased. There is longevity, room to grow, and the chance to process lots of beautiful money. They get to work with people, solve their financial concerns and then find ways that they can buy more and more stuff. Meanwhile, they benefit from a good job with long-term prospects.

Not bad except I'm not really good with money. Like at all. I spend all that I have. I would not be a good candidate for "handling" money and solving anybody's financial concerns.

Where's librarian on this list? I think it suits me well. I have an almost obsessive relationship with order (there is a logical place for everything), a curious desire to find the arcane (and for that my stubbornness or steadfastness comes in handy), and a love of repetitive tasks (in a mentally therapeutic sense).

So ole!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Pen Pal

I'm working on a few posts but seem to not be able to get them to work. I chalk it up to WAY too much things going on.

What's troubling me this week? In no particular order:

First, coordinating 3 points of the actual move. First, I have to schedule the movers. Second, I have to reserve a time slot in my current residence in order to use the freight elevator. Third, I have to reserve the freight elevators in my new home too. Now I thought this would be the easiest so I saved it for last. It is a smaller building and it is condo so I figured there would be less people moving in and out. Wrong. This is the sticking point. Someobody already has the elevator reserved for that day. And they won't let you move in after 5 so as not to disrupt the homeowners. Conversely, the apartment building I am in now could care less. I could move out at midnight if I wanted to. So this has my thoughts preoccupied this week as I work out the kinks.

On top of this, I have to call the vet to put the cat to sleep. This is hard. It's time and I'm not a very "motherly" type but it is still hard considering I have had the cat for 15 years and even then she was "older."

Finally, I still have not researched the horses for the Derby this weekend. I'm so behind on that. I'm pretty lucky on the horses. Funny. Unlucky with men. But lucky with the horses. Hmm.

So, in the meantime, I have a guest blogger post because this girl is so darn creative it kills me.

There is nothing like getting love letters from your 7-year old niece.

It started when I was visiting Easter weekend and she passed me this note during Easter brunch at her momma's, where she set the table and made the seating chart and strategically placed the potatoes next to me and the sausages next to her so we could be surrounded by the best of the b(r)unch. Everybody else had to settle for the eggs and the toast residing next to them. I did share the potatoes. (I know I have waxed on about how I believe in a potato-ful world.)

Bye Yaya, hope
you get home safely.
When you get
home please[scratched out] run &

get paper and a pen
along with a envelope [sic]
becuase [sic] I really[scratched out] want some mail.

Thus a pen pal was born. So I sent her a thank you letter as soon as I got home as she made me a very cute little kitty coin purse.

She followed up that with this letter:

Thank you for
the letter. I'm
glad you could
find a useful
thing to do
with your change
purse. I made a
song for you

I miss you, I want
to kiss you, why
Oh why can't
I kiss you
We are like
two twins & when
I see you
I will spinnnn!