Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hannah Freakin' Montana

I thought this picture was a bit misguided and
too provocative for a 15 year-old. At least, for
a 15 year-old who has a squeaky clean image.



But this picture? This picture completely squicks me out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ghosts

I've been swimming at the Y every day (well, nearly every day) and thus far, I've loved it. It allows me peace and space to think. I'm not distracted, like I am by the televisions in the cardio room. I don't have sweat dripping down my face and boobs and ass, making me itch and twitch and just generally feel miserable. I can't see a thing while I'm in the water, so I don't even have other people to draw my attention away from what's inside my head. It's almost Zen-like. at least, it's what I imagine a Zen-like state to be. Whatever. It's nice. Calming. Meditative.

Until today. Today, all I could think about was Dave. Dave, my college boyfriend. Dave, the boy who broke my heart, smashed it all to smithereens. Dave, the boy I've never been able to forget, or, if I'm perfectly honest, get over.

I know he still lives in the area. (Yes, I Googled him). I know his mother's still here, too - she's a local artist and teaches at one of the area schools. I also know he's a bit of a hermit, which probably explains why I haven't run into him. I don't exactly get out and about much either. He's also mad about mountain biking and spends most of his time doing that. Or, at least, he did, the last time I saw him.

Dave and I broke up in 1987 (hush. I'm old.) but kept in touch for a year or two after that, sporadically. For a while, it was often enough that I thought there might be a chance of us getting back together again, but that was quashed when I had my son and when he told me he was getting married. After 1989 we didn't speak again. I married (bad, bad idea), moved to Georgia for a few years, had O and that was that.

Until 1997. I had come out here (at the time, I lived in central Massachusetts) to see my sister and go to the Brew Fest in Hipster City To The North. I was standing in this huge hangar-type building, talking to my mother and sister when I turned around and there was Dave, walking towards me. My knees started shaking and I thought I was going to throw up. He spotted me, too, and we both just sort of stopped dead in our tracks, him only for a moment. A smile split his face and he walked over to me and gave me a huge hug. He ditched his friends, I ditched my family and we spent the next three or four hours talking (and drinking) on the lawn outside the building. I told him of my rapidly-failing marriage, he told me of his never-happened wedding and we caught up. And my heart pounded crazily in my chest the entire time.

We exchanged addresses and phone numbers and even though nothing happened between the two of us, I never told my husband that I'd run into Dave. Dave and I exchanged letters, massively long letters about anything and everything. I still have them.... I'd call him on the phone sometimes, when my husband wasn't around. We made plans to get together the next year at the Brew Fest.

By the time I saw him again, my marriage was over and I was days away from moving into my own apartment. And still, nothing happened. We hung out, we talked, we laughed a lot. And it went on like this for another three years. Every time I came out this way to visit my sister, Dave and I would try to get together. And every time, the tension inside me would get ratcheted up another notch, thinking that surely, this time, something would happen, that I couldn't just be imagining the looks he gave me, the fun we had together.

But I knew I had an awful lot of baggage and I knew he was not into children and I figured that's what was holding things back. And so I started dating. I'd been separated for over a year at that point and thought if nothing had happened with Dave by then, it probably wasn't going to. I was disappointed but trying to be realistic. Dave and I still talked and I told him about the people I was meeting and he seemed interested and not jealous and that's when I gave up on the idea of me and him. It was probably silly anyway; a last chance gasp at a fading youth, a shrink (or Dr. Phil) would probably say.

And then I met That Canadian Boy I Married. Who also made my knees go wobbly and my heart go pitter-pat and I thought, here's The One who will put Dave behind me, once and for all. I would still see Dave occasionally, but with no where near the frequency of before. I told him about TCBIM and he seemed fine with it.

Until, one weekend when TCBIM and I were out here visiting my sister again - I'd called Dave to see if he wanted to get together, the three of us, and he was fine with that. Once we got out here, though, I got a phone call from Dave. He said he didn't want to meet TCBIM, he didn't want to see me happy with someone else, that he didn't think he could stand to see that, that it would hurt him too much, and that, furthermore, he didn't think he wanted to continue the friendship.

I don't even know what I said in response. A mumbled "OK," and then I hung up and burst into tears. Why? Why, after all those years when he had a chance, did he wait until now, when I was happy with someone else, did he tell me that?

I put it out of my head, for the most part, but every so often, it crops up again. What if? What if he hadn't waited? Why had he waited? Why couldn't he have told me how he felt before I got all wrapped up in someone new, before I gave my heart to someone else?

Most of the time, I don't think about it. Most of the time, I'm content with TCBIM. He makes me laugh. We get along well, for the most part. He has his faults, and some of them are doozies, but he's a decent person.

But sometimes, when we're having a protracted argument or when the little girls have been demons straight from the lowest circle of hell, for days on end, those are days that get me wondering. Wondering what if, wondering what could have been.

It's not a good place to be, frankly. It makes me feel guilty as hell because, like I said, most of the time, I'm happy.

But still... He's always going to be the one to make me wonder what if....







(I can't believe I'm going to publish this. I haven't even had a drink. Maybe I have more guts than I thought. Or I'm a total idiot. The latter is more likely.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Randomness

I have a big long post to compose but can't summon up the energy. Even though I didn't go to BlogHer, I seem to have caught the BlogHerbola that's going around. I blame SueBob.

So, a few things.

Run, don't walk, and get a copy of Two Men With The Blues by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis. Even if you don't think you like Willie Nelson, this is fantastic. His phrasing and Marsalis' horn playing are just incredible.



Could Wynton Marsalis be any cooler? The dood is slick....

There's a great interview on NPR from a few weeks back that you should listen to, too. It's fantastic.


Lara, over at Life: The Ongoing Education, posted an iPod meme. I'd participate, but my iPod is currently full of This American Life, which doesn't translate. But she did post a stanza from this song, which amazed me.



I don't know why I'm always surprised when people like Elton John - maybe because I've had to defend my liking for Reg for years. But the man can write songs. (Well, him and Bernie Taupin.)

And finally, a meme I can do.

Go to www.someecards.com and find 5 cards that describe your life.

Yet another bonus of being a heathen.

Although I do kind of like Gritty Industrial
City To The South Of Hipsterville.


Truth be told, most weekends, I forget to buy it.... *sigh*

Indeed.

Does this even need a caption? Didn't think so.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Good, The Bad And The Hote Party

Finishing up....

Saturday. Saturday saw us having breakfast at The Happy Traveler, A Fine German Restaurant. The concierge at the Hilton said they send a lot of people there. The Hilton obviously doesn't like its patrons all that much (more on that anon).

Observe the decor:



Because nothing says breakfast like a dead fox glaring down at you over your bacon and eggs.

The food was fine. Nothing special, but not horrible. Better than Denny's. But the decor, man. The decor was just freaky.

Next up was the round table discussion. (Uh, people at the Hilton? If you have a bunch of bloggers coming in, you might want to make sure your internet connection is working. I'm just sayin'.) We all talked about what blogging meant to us and what got us into blogging initially. It was fascinating and I have a huge list of new blogs to check out.

Then it was on to the Jackson-Triggs vineyard. I had no idea that Niagara Falls had so many vineyards.



We were greeted at Jackson-Triggs by Marcus. Marcus was cute. Marcus looked young. Marcus didn't look like he knew jack shit about wine, but Marcus did. And he was funny. And not condescending. And did I mention cute?


See? Cute, no? And wicked smaht about wine.



After touring the facility, we went upstairs for a tasting. Three wines - a Chardonnay (which was delicious), a Merlot (not bad, but I'm not a big Merlot fan) and an ice wine (which was lovely paired with the bleu cheese).


Mmmmm. Cheeses. Meats. Heaven.


I have a ton of pictures from the vineyard, but I will spare you most of them. They're cool, but really, how many shots do you need of wine barrels? OK, maybe one.



After the vineyard tour, we had enough time to go back to the hotel, decompress for about 10 minutes and then head out to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. The food was meh, but the company was great. I spent time talking with crazymumma, Erin and b*babbler about a wide variety of subject. It was loud, but great.

Then back to the hotel where we hung around in Blog Choclate's room (again) and laughed our collective asses off. All night. My stomach hurt for days afterwards - it was fantastic.

Sunday, I slept until 8 a.m.! Such luxury. Although, again, Hilton people? What the fuck with the not cleaning?? No clean washcloths and do you think you maybe could have cleaned the tub? There was a pen - a broken pen - left on the ledge. Uh, hello? And some water pressure would have been nice, too. I was definitely not impressed with the Hilton. The outrageous prices for everything, the lack of anything resembling service and the inability of them to accept a US Visa debit card was nothing short of astounding. Horrible.

The train ride home was uneventful. I read. I spent a lot of time thinking about all the great women (and the token dad) I met over the weekend, left inspired to read more blogs, to write more frequently. I think this gathering was just the kick in the arse I needed to get myself motivated again.


(And if I didn't link to you, I apologize. I suck at linkage. And? The lightning is about to make me go hide under the covers like a five year-old.)


I'm so glad I went to this, in spite of my trepidations.






The Antithesis of Ace of Cakes

You have to go here and look at these cakes.

You want a sample? Here:


Yeah. That's a cake. Fu-huh-huh-reaky. Could you slice into that thing? Me either.


Wear Depends. Don't be drinking anything. Go thru the archives. Read the comments. It's worth it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BFF '08

I get so anxious about meeting new people. I get flop sweat, my stomach goes in knots and I tend to stumble, over my words, over my feet, over anything and nothing at all. I have a comfort zone, a small circle of friends that I am at ease with, who get me, who understand my complete and utter lack of anything resembling style or grace or put-together-ness. I'm rather like a hippo in a tutu - slightly ridiculous and liable to knock over the china cabinet at any moment.

She has better eyelashes than me, though.

It was with some amazement that I found myself signing on for BlogFriendsFest '08 earlier this spring. daysgoby was going and she and I have been online friends for about 4 years now. We talk on the phone fairly regularly and I was really wanting to meet her. This seemed like a great excuse.

As the weeks wore on, I saw who else was coming. MamaTulip! I love her! Kittenpie! I love her, too! Some bloggers signed up but then had to drop out for various reasons, but still. There was a solid core of about 20 women who were going to be there. Some I'd heard of, some I hadn't, but I didn't care. I was determined that I was going, and that I was going to have a good time, dammit.

Well. Good time? I don't think I've laughed so hard or for so long in years. I woke up on Sunday morning with my stomach aching from all the laughing from the night before. I looked in the mirror and saw laugh lines etched around my mouth (and if those don't go away, well, BFF can pay for my botox...on second thought, maybe not.)

When Botox goes bad....or you become a zombie. Either, equally frightening.

I spent pretty much the entire day Friday on a train. Amtrak is slooooooow. We ran about an hour and half behind schedule but I didn't mind too much. I had my iPod loaded up with episodes of This American Life and I had Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince to read (which I finished somewhere around Buffalo). The leg room on the train was fantastic and all the chairs had little recliner things in them as well as foot rests on the seat in front. It was much better than traveling by plane.

When I finally arrived in Niagara Falls, I had enough time to wash up, change, meet my other roommate Gabriella, before heading down to the cocktail party, which was hosted by Random House Canada. Metro Mama works for them, as a publicist (and I want her job), so this party was her baby. There were free books! And free wine! And free food! Wheeeeeee! And all these women. *gulp* I had a momentary attack of the wobbles, but tried to nail a smile to my face and fake some confidence I wasn't feeling. (I need to work on that smile thing - Kittenpie thought I was very serious. I guess I am, a bit, but I don't want to be dour, y'know?)

(The book, by the way, is The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, and it looks to be a fantastic read. As soon as I'm done with Anne of Green Gables [hush], I'll be diving in to that one.)



After the cocktail party, we headed up to Blog Chocolate's (And she? Is so fucking funny. And unbelievably gorgeous, to boot.) room. There was more wine and snacks and laughter and chatting with some fabulous, funny (seriously - pee-your-pants funny) women. It was like the best slumber party in the world, without the drama and angst. We finally headed to bed around 2:30 in the morning. I lay in bed, pretending to read, but in reality, going over the night, the jokes and silliness and fascinating conversations I had with women I'd just met, women who'd made me feel comfortable and who'd made me laugh and think and left me starry-eyed.


I'll leave off here.... there was so much packed into one weekend that it's going to require another post to go over it all. It involved more wine (but of course) and a great round table discussion and even more laughter.

(photo of Blog Chocolate as Botox Zombie courtesy of Mama Tulip and her UglyCam.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Step Out The Front Door Like A Ghost Into The Fog*

We decided to take the house. It's a bit small, but I think it will work out fine. It means we have to get rid of some of our crappe, but that's fine. We have too much crappe anyway.

Problem is, the walls. The living room is teal. The dining room, mauve. Upstairs bedrooms are navy blue and blood red, respectively. Horrible colours. I really hope we can get in there the weekend before we move so we can paint things a little more, uh, reasonably. Sage, maybe, or something. Something that isn't teal or mauve. Or navy or blood red. It's like it was painted by a 4 year-old with a new box of crayons. And not just any old crayons, the big box of 64 Crayola crayons, with all the fancy new colours.

It's an assault on the eyeballs.

My biggest issue with the place, though, is the kitchen. It is microscopic. I think there are about 3 feet of counter space and no room to put an island or anything. It might be 5 feet wide. It's teensy.

But it has a fully fenced in back yard and a deck and a three-season porch. There's a huge old maple tree in the back yard that will be perfect for climbing and maybe a swing. The street is quiet, as opposed to the virtual freeway we live on now. There won't be any dogs shitting in the yard or chewing on the cable wires. There won't be any neighbours with 8 children, running riot over the back yard. It's going to be nice. Nice and quiet. And only about 10 blocks from where we live now.


I also have a job interview on Thursday. I'm not sure if I want to work full time right now. I'm kind of enjoying my routine during the day. Boo to preschool, me and The Bug to the Y, where I'm still swimming like a fish, then home, chores, etc.. I may check into part-time work at night, at Barnes and Noble or Borders or someplace like that. We need the money and I, frankly, need the break. Either way, all sorts of things are changing 'round here....




*

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just Keep Swimming



I do believe I have found my perfect workout.

Laps.

At first, they killed me. I huffed and puffed and my legs burned, but now, it's fanfuckingtastic.

I get in the pool and go back and forth doing an easy breaststroke for the first two laps, then it's mostly back stroke. A few laps of side stroke to break things up a bit, but mainly, it's just me, going back and forth, gazing up muzzily at the girding and banners, listening to the water splursh and sploogle in my ears. (And, if I want to be completely honest, hearing my left shoulder joint crackle and crunch on every third stroke, too.)

It's great. I can't see a damned thing because my vision sans glasses is about 20/8,000 or something stupid. And I'm like a little kid - if I can't see anyone, then no one can see me either. So my pudge and paunch are practically invisible.

It took me just under an hour to do 40 laps - that's if 40 laps is one length of the pool. If it's up and back, then I did 20 laps. I think. I kind of lost track around 36 and may have done 42 (or 21) laps. Either way, I swam for a solid hour. I didn't get sweaty, I didn't get hot, I just swam and swam and swam and zoned out to the sounds of the water and that strange hum that seems to come with every big pool I've ever swum in.

My legs are a little sore, my arms, too, and it feels good. Really, really good.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it.*

Sometimes I don't know why I write this thing. It's such a vanity, having a blog, thinking that people actually want to read the ramishings and ramblings of my fucked up brain. I haven't posted in a while because lately everything seems like gloom and doom.


We're going to have to move. Again. Reasons, you ask?

a. The neighbours. The couple next door have eight children between them (four full time, another four every weekend). On the weekends, my kids can't really use the back yard because it's overrun with their kids and their friends' kids. Our back yard is tiny. Eight kids plus my three is just too many kids. And because most of their children are older, my two little ones get a bit run over.

b. The neighbour's dogs. They have a bull mastiff and two boxers. The bull mastiff chewed thru the cable wires last week, leaving me with no internet and no phone for two days, until the cable company could come and fix it. All three of the dogs are left tied in the yard a lot - the bull mastiff is out there pretty much 24/7. None of the dogs is on a long enough lead and they're all bored, so they dig. And dig and dig. And they shit everywhere. It's disgusting. So the tiny back yard is made even smaller by the area off limits due to dog shit. At night, the boxers are locked in the cellar and the shit in the cellar doesn't seem to get cleaned up, so it stinks down there. Their cat got onto our side of the cellar and peed on stuff, so a bunch of my stuff now reeks of cat pee. It's lovely.

c. The landlady. Before we moved in, there were two people living here and two people on the other side. Now there are five on our side and a minimum of seven (three adults, four kids full time) and a maximum of eleven on the other side. This, naturally, increased water usage which increased her water bill. She decided to raise our rent by $100 a month and charge us $250 for the past three months of water usage. It's illegal to charge for water in this state, but if we don't pay it, she'll kick us out. She's been a pain in the ass about fixing things, too, vaguely threatening to charge us for a visit from the electrician and the plumber. I just don't trust her to not up our rent every time her bills are a bit higher than expected. She gets plenty of money for these two places and I don't feel like I need to pay more because she failed to take her increased water bills into consideration.


In other news, I started on Cymbalta and I've had a headache ever since going on it. Not a horrible one, just an annoying one that I can't seem to get rid of. So far, it's not doing much to alleviate the depression, but I've only been on it a couple of weeks. Plus, I have so much crap going on that even if it did start right away, I might not notice it. I am stressed with a capital ST.

Does anyone want to come and help me pack?


*Eeyore.