Friday, December 30, 2005

Late night musings

I think the last time I posted anything was last week when I first arrived in BR.. well, I'm still here with a few days to go. I've been having a great time and I can't put into words how great it is to be home. I have to admit it's tough being around my parents for so long, but I love just being out and not doing anything. Some days we'll get the car to run errands and end up driving around. On one of my first runs, I went by my old elementary school, middle school, my college apartments, and the memories (good and bad) come back to me.

I'm not a shopper, but I've done a lot of shopping and finally bought stuff for myself. It's been awhile since I've bought clothes that's not triathlon or workout related, so I made sure to get a few things. Granted I'm in a fat stage right now, but whatever. I've been out partying and having a good time. My little cousins were in for a few days from Illinois and we all went bowling. Christmas morning was good, but my dad was awake for the family picture. I hope to post them sometime. I spent the evening with my older sister and played her and my other sister in a couple games of air hockey, and came out undefeated at the end, 2-0. We grew up playing on an old table top set, so we're cut throat about it. And I've been able to spend some good quality time with my nephew. He is such a good kid and I love him to death.

And it's times like this when I long to move back to Michigan. I've thought about it a lot over the past couple of days. I remember back in late July of 2001 when I lived in Ann Arbor and had dinner with my older sister and her then soon-to-be-husband. I told her that I was going to be moving out East and she said "I don't want my kids to grow up not knowing their aunts". I didn't think that mattered much then, but it's tearing at me now that she has a little one. I want him to know me and I don't want to miss out on him growing up. I want to spoil him, teach him naughty words, give him sugar and give him back to his mom. I want to be the cool aunt. But how can I do that from a distance?

Yknow, I went for a run Wednesday afternoon and it great to not see another soul on my route. I went sans ipod because I wanted to hear my surroundings.. which was absolutely nothing. It was just my breathing and the pounding of my feet. No sirens. No horns honking. No whiny tourists. I liked the solitude.. just me and the world.. nothing else mattered.

But there's so much that matters. I've been weighing the pros and cons of moving back. What is there for me here? What would I be leaving behind in DC? I have a decent job, but it's not what I want to be doing for the next 20 yrs; I live in a decent part of DC that's close to public transportation, a grocery store, and a CVS that's a short walk to downtown DC and its restaurants and attractions. I'm a 2 hour drive away from 5 states, the ocean, and the mountains. I have a good core group of friends and training partners. Do I want to start over? Would I continue to do triathlons if I moved home?

I'm looking forward to New Years and having a rockin' time, but I also start looking back and wonder what I've done and if I'm closer to my goals. I don't make resolutions, but I like to make yearly 'to do' lists. I'm sure I'll start thinking about that over the next couple of days as well as writing down my pros and cons. The longer I'm home, the more homesick I get.

Time to hit the hay.

PS.. I got an A- in my SAS programming class :D

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ahhh.. the comforts of home

it was a long trip, but I am home for 12 days. Yep, back in Michigan.. barely.

I didn't think I'd catch my flight out of DC. My flight was at 7:10pm and the cab arrives at 5:50. It's usually a short jaunt over the 14th Street bridge and down GW Parkway to the airport, but at this hour in DC, there's no such thing as a short commute. I was panicking mildly as the cabbie was driving AWAY from 14th Street. My eyes weren't moving from the clock. I wanted to ask him WTF he was going. Oh, he was going to pick up 395, but he went a mile out of his way to get there. Whatever.. So we're sitting on the 14th Street bridge trying to get to the exit ramp, but traffic isn't moving. I tell him to go another way.. it's 6:10 and I'm starting to get nervous. We pull up to the terminal at 6:20.. 20 minutes to spare to check in.

Then delayed in Detroit. Instead of leaving at 10:40 and getting in at 11:30pm, we leave at 11:45 and get in at 12:30am.. waited 20 min for luggage. It's tradition to go to IHOP when we get in, so we had to get some eats. Didn't get to BR until 3:30am. Oy..

But after getting my hair did today, I took a nice walk through town and up to the library to see my mom. It's just nice to see the old shops and see the new ones that have moved in and remember what used to be there. I'm sure I'll do a lot of reminiscing while I'm here. The weather is a perfect 35 degrees, so I will make the most of what's left of the day and head out for a run.

There is more to see.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The End..

Enough with the shit about losing my wallet. I'm a dumbass.. I know.. I'll admit it. Whether it was stolen or I lost it while in the midst of a drunken stooper.. I take the blame. It took a total of almost $60 (travel and fees) and almost 5.5 hours of transit and wait time to get a copy of my (I have to say - perfect) driving record and license.. this whole ordeal is done with. I'm shutting the door.

I write this after having 4 bottles of Sam Adams Light. Why 4 bottles? Because it was lite or light beer. Why Sam Adams? It was the best of the bunch. Actually, I had an import, but can't think of what it was.. but it was decent. Oh, and I had a few glasses of Red Bicyclette Merlot..

So now I have a new license.. i can drive while in Michigan.. and I can buy alcohol.. because even at my age *ahem* I still get carded. Flattering, sure, but flattery will get you no where with me. The credit cards have been reissued and I'll have them in a few days. I'll get a new soc sec card while I'm home. No rush. Fraud alerts has been placed on my credit report. What else is left for me to do?

I'm enjoying another glass (or 2) of wine while I pack. I'm supposed to be at the pool at 6:30am.. think I'll make it? I know I'll get shit if I don't show. I haven't swam since the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It's closing in on 2am, I'm still have throwing stuff into a suitcase, and I'm sure I'll be hungover.. like it won't be the first time this week.

SO back to the license bit.. I'm closing the book on it. Am I losing hope? Nah.. just moving on with my life. Did I break? Nope. I just can't keep looking back. I could use that line, and I'm sure I'll use that line, for a few other things, but I digress...

I leave for Michigan Wednesday night. I'm really looking forward to being home.. to catching up with my old softball buds.. highschool friends.. and my family and nephew. I look forward to the break. So what if I'll still check my work emails from home.. it beats being in the office.

I bid thee farewell. I might give updates from Michigan..

Monday, December 19, 2005

Wishful Thinking?

"Hope is a good thing.. maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies".

I'm holding out hope that my wallet will be found and mailed to me. I'm not sure what else is left for me to do. I should have a new license by tomorrow, I've placed a fraud alert on my credit account with all three bureau's, I've requested new credit cards and bank cards, and am hoping for the best even though I feel like I am dragging this out by talking about it so much. I just feel very vulnerable.

There is hope.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mysteries of the Past - Unearthed!

Sounds like a new show on National Geographic, eh? Nah.. just what happens when I clean my room. When I was in high school and college, I'd have to clean my room before I could start studying. That didn't survive the 5 year layoff from school, so whatever was on the floor when I started studying this fall stayed there. This whole losing my wallet/ID has left me feeling that I have too much clutter in my life. I had too much junk in my wallet and when I needed to find the proper documents to get a new ID, I had no clue where to look.

I have an unorthodox style of cleaning. I usually go from room to room ADD style when cleaning the house, but since I'm sticking to my bedroom it should be a little easier.. go a little smoother, right? Wrong. I found a magazine and had to read it; I found an envelope of movie/concert/theater/hockey/baseball/soccer tickets that I had to organize; I found old race numbers that I had to put up on the wall; I found old race pictures that I had to flip through; and I had to put another load of laundry in the washer.

One of my first 'finds' was a plastic baggy of goodies. I laid on the floor and dumped out the bag to exam:

-Highschool class ring

-Three prisms - I have bad eyesight and started wearing glasses in kindergarten. I had to do eye exercises and these 3 prisms of different degrees of thickness were supposed to help strengthen my eyes. I'd use one while reading and move it in front of my eye for a few sentences then pull it away - repeat with other eye. I should do them again.

-Bookmark: It's made of yarn and plastic, red and white with a heart at the top. My first girlfriend J made it for me.

-Shrinky dink - It's of 2 fish kissing with smaller fish and bubbles around it. Another item from said girlfriend... from over 10 yrs ago.

-A glow in the dark toy - It's from a box of Capt'n Crunch cereal. Was a bit of a joke with J.

-Bottle opener - This is no ordinary bottle opener, it's one you can mount to a wall. This was on the doorjam between the living room and kitchen of the apartment on Stewart I lived in with J my sophomore yr in college. I actually lived in the dorms but spent more time there. Beneath this opener was an old Maxwell House coffee can to catch the bottle tops. We'd sit across the room and try to fling the tops into the can. I don't think anyone made one in. I keep saying I'll mount this on the

-Pink and black whistle - "Blow the Whistle on Hate Crimes". I got this whistle when I participated in the 1995 pride march in Lansing with J and 3 of her friends. We ended up on the evening news in the background when people in front of us were interviewed. I hadn't come out to my parents yet.

-Six wooden nickels - Okay, so they're not really nickels but they are "good for one free well drink" at the Leroy Razzasque Days. I played in a few softball tournaments in the summer and drank quite a bit, too.

-40th Anniversary Pin - Signifies the 40th anniversary of the Milwaukee Braves World Series. I got this pin at a Brewers v. Braves baseball game in July of 97. I split with J at the end of the school year and met this chick, S, online that lived in Wisconsin. Along with going to see Lilith Fair, I joined her and a bunch of her friends at a baseball game. We tailgated and it poured. Miserable day, trip, and relationship.

-Car keys - The tag on them says "1991 Chev Blazer Black 4x4". This was my first car. I got it my junior yr in college, the fall of 97. I was driving back from Grand Rapids June 98 and it caught fire on the side of the road near Sparta. This, and a nickel that is in the car, were the only things I have left.

-Whole Foods Market pin - I worked at Whole Foods when I was in Ann Arbor May00-Sept01. I had a regular 9-5 while in AA, but was bored on the weekends, so I picked up a part time job working in the grocery department at WFM. The pin is decorative with a plate and silverware in the background and 'Jenny' taped to the bottom.

-Picture of a cyclist.. on a trashbag - After the Blazer I got a 91 Jimmy. In August 01, I turned in my letter of resignation on a Thursday, worked at Whole Foods on Saturday, and drove down to Sylvania Ohio to pick up my race information for a triathlon the next day. I crashed my car. It was in bad shape, but drivable. The back winshield was smashed out and I had to cover it in white trashbags. A chick, A, who lived kiddy corner from me, surprised me one day and drew a stick figure on a bicycle on the trash bags. It lifted my spirits a little bit. I moved out East, we started dating long distance, and it turned out she was a fraud. I still email her off and on and haven't owned a car since then.

-And finally, a one dollar bill. I've had that $1 since I started dating J back in June of 93.. I was 16 and she 19. It was a very rough time in my life - finally admitting to myself, outloud, that I was gay, a new relationship (and having NO CLUE what that included), and my parents finding out via a note before I could tell them myself. Helluva summer. So J and I set this $1 aside and said 'no matter what happens between us - physically, emotionally, parentally - we'll at least have this $1. It's not much, but it's something. Nothing will break us.' Well, we lasted almost 4 years before breaking up, which still stands as my longest relationship. It was a tough split and I took it hard. But I didn't break. As poor as I was, I still had that $1 I refused to spend. I lived on $0.25 granola bars from the vending machine in the College of Business building and corn and rice.

I look at this dollar and everything else from that baggy and realize how far I've come. It holds a lot of memories of my past where both the good and the bad are stirred up. I remember the lazy days of flinging bottletops across the room, yet the pain of three failed relationships are in there, too. I see my past as a failure, but I did not break.

My eyes are drawn to that dollar bill. It's not worth much, but at least it's something. I've come a long way since that $1. I put it back in the baggy and utter my new mantra - I will not break. The world can throw whatever it wants at me, but I will not break. I may sputter at times and have doubts, but I will not break.

I should get back to cleaning.. who knows what else I'll find.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

How I Spent My Saturday

Yknow, the DMV wasn't all that bad. I figured I'd be there for 4 hours, but no.. ! barely even one hour. You see, it helps to have all your ducks in a row when you go there. I had gone online to see what documents I'd need before getting a new license. I wanted to get this done in one trip instead of waiting forever to later be told I'm missing document X, preventing me from getting the license.

So guess who didn't have what they needed... yep.

Apparently my company started to X out all but the last four digits in my SS# on my pay stub making that item obsolete. I had my W2 from last year, but the copy of my taxes wouldn't suffice. Apparently I needed a GOVERNMENT-CERTIFIED copy. So since my social security card was in my wallet, I need two other proofs of ID and I didn't have it.

I don't have my birth certificate and nor did I have a copy of my college transcripts. My health insurance card not only doesn't have my SS# on it (which would've helped me in the previous paragraph) it doesn't have my birth date on it, which was required. So I couldn't prove my identity.

Last kick in the teeth is that I couldn't prove my ability to drive. Apparently this stipulation was on the 'converting an out of state license', which I overlooked. No old license, no unexpired out of county license, or certified driving record. I have to go to the Maryland DMV for a copy of my driving record, a temporary license, or even a new license before getting a DC license.

Basically it was a waste of a day. I was pissed and stormed out wondering WTF to do. Walked over to the bowling alley to talk with them personally to see if someone found my wallet. No dice. I called the cab company earlier and they gave me the number to the DC Taxicab Commission. Can't call them until Monday, but emailed them regarding my lost wallet. Walked the 3 miles home since I wanted to save what little cash at hand I had on me. Called my dad and asked if he'd overnight my birth certificate to me. Won't get that until Tuesday. Was hoping to get to a Maryland DMV, but only one location is metro accessible and it closed at noon.

So I did what any reasonable person in my situation would do - I cried. I started going through old pay stubs looking for one with my full SS# on it and as I sat there, I just started bawling. How could I be so stupid to lose my wallet? Why did I keep my SS card in it? Why did I drink so fucking much that I barely remember leaving the bowling alley, barely remember getting home, and don't remember a single thing about getting undressed (as much as I did) and going to bed. Why am I such a packrat that I have papers coming out the wazoo from 4 years ago and can't find a damn thing. What am I going to do about flying home Wednesday?

So I sat there and cried and felt sorry for myself. I blamed myself for a lot of 'coulda shoulda woulda' that would've prevented this from happening. And I cried.

Finally, I found a paystub with my full SS# on it. A HUGE weight was immediately lifted from my shoulders. A feeling of "things aren't so bad" blew by me and a sense of calm started setting in. So all I need now is to get my birth certificate, which should arrive Tuesday, and a copy of my driving record, which I *should* be able to do Monday. I found a place metro accessible, but it's a HAUL from work. First thing Monday morning, I'm calling the DC cab commission even though I sent an email today.

I swear someone turned it in. There has to be a good soul out there. I'm hoping it was found and mailed to the address on my license. Even though it's my old Maryland license, it will find its way to me. There has been no activity on my bank card or my other credit card, so it's just sitting somewhere. My only fear with my SS card is that someone will try to get a new credit card or something. I'm in the junk mail biz.. I deal with people that freak out when they get a piece of mail addressed to someone else thinking that someone is using their information. I'm now one of those people.

*sigh* Not a fun day.. :(

Off to get a beer and hope tomorrow is better.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Hangovers suck..

..but losing your wallet is worse. Man, this bites. Maybe I should've listened to my friends who say I should get a chain to hook my wallet to my beltloop like every good dyke.

Nuthin like waking up at 10am with my contacts still in, shirt and bra on (with nametag still on shirt), and pantless face down in bed. At least I made it up to my bed, it was my own bed, and I was alone.. well, I guess being alone is a good thing. And at some point when I got home, I took my laptop out of backpack and hooked it up to the internet.. and was logged in to my work email. WTF..

Obviously last nights happy hour at the bowling alley was a hit. I gotta swipe a pair of those shoes, though.. they kick ass. Aside from my misplaced wallet, I think I misplaced $40 or so.. yeah, okay, so I drank it away.. sue me.

So no purchases have been made with my cards yet and I've called to put a fraud alert on them. I think it slipped out of my pocket and into a bag of stuff to donate that I had with me. Last thing I want to do is spend my Saturday morning at the DMV when I could be doing a 3 hour spin class. Damn. There's hope that it's in that bag and I'm waiting for word later today.

Dammit all. And I'm flying home Wednesday and still need to do some Christmas shopping.

Even my brunch of dry cupcakes and a piece of dry chocolate cake leftover from last nights holiday party for my department aren't making me feel better. So I skip a work party to go bowling. Maybe this is my punishment.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Promises, promises

I graduated from college back in Dec 99 with a BS in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Applied Statistics, and I haven't done much with either degree. It is automatically assumed that I teach, which I do not. It is also assumed that I'm smart, which I am not.. (i know, 'smart' is all relative). So how can I have a degree in math/stats where so few women follow that path and not be smart? It's called knowing what teachers to take, their tendencies, and doing enough to get by.

I got by.

Granted it was with a GPA over 3.0, I started in a different program before deciding at the start of my Junior year to go the math/stats route. Why, you ask? (I'm just assuming you're asking.. see a lot of assuming going around!) My girlfriend at the time was in math ed, so I took a lot of math and science classes. I went from Pre-Opt to actuary to AM/AS after taking a few accounting and econ classes. I liked the math.. working with numbers. Since I didn't want to go to school forever, I took out the big book of all the programs Ferris offered and went through, looking at ones that interested me. Those that were of interest were then broken down into categories of how many of the core classes I'd already taken. From there, I looked at how many more classes I need to graduate in 5 yrs (max!), and I decided on Applied math and chose Stats as my 'concentration area' (minor).

One of my last classes was 'market research'. I needed a MKTG class to complete my stats minor and this fit the bill. I think I was the only non Business major in the class and was an easy target because of that. And because of that I busted my ass in class to work on the faculty/staff survey and analysis. I finished at the top of the class and enjoyed it immensely even though it was tough work.

On graduation day my professor was at commencement. She congratulated me and spoke of how she enjoyed having me in her class. She told me how she attended every graduation ceremony and presented the tassel of her cap to one graduating student from her classes. She said it was to symbolize higher academics and she gave it to the one student she thought would go on to continue their education.

I was that one student.

Since graduation, I lived with my parents for a few months, in Ann Arbor, Baltimore, and now DC. In every location that tassel has hung from my bedroom doorknob. It has been a constant reminder of that silent promise that was made when I was handed the tassel.

So in August of this year, I plunked down the money and started school again. Last Wednesday, I completed one course of four needed for my certificate, which I will complete a year from now.

So why the 5 year layoff? For one, I was sick of school.. I wanted to be out in the real world. For two, the real world was a little overwhelming at first and I wanted to get settled. I never felt settled in my Ann Arbor job and the long commute from DC to Baltimore would've been more exhausting if I added school. For three, I finally felt like I had accomplished what I wanted to athletically that I could take off the time from training to devote to studying. For four, my company pays 100% tuition reimbursement - 50% up front and the remaining 50% with a completed class grade of an A or B. Can't beat that.

I still don't feel like I've lived up to my promise. Eventually I'd like to work on a Master's degree, but in 'what', I don't know. But until I figure that out, that tassel will still hang on my doorknob as a reminder.. a reminder of my potential, and a reminder of my promise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That time of the month..


Mid month I start looking at what's in, what's due (overdue??), what's coming up, and allocating funds to cover my ass. I try to pay as much as I can online since I have a tendency to misplace statements, but there are a few things I have to pay for with a check.

Growing up, my mom would (and still does) pay for groceries with a check. I remember her writing out the check as our 2 or 3 carts of groceries were bagged up and sometimes saying, "That was the last check. Guess that means there's no more money, either". I was sure she was joking.. she had to be.. right..?

So I dutifully sign over my earnings to my landlord, to George Washington University, to the cable God's that satisfy my hockey fix 2-3x a week, and to Verizon so telemarketers and creditors can reach us and so DSL downloads my porn faster. I'm kidding.. maybe. I look ahead to make sure bills still pending will be covered before relaxing, knowing that I made it through/will make it through another month.

Twice a year I have no problem writing a check. In fact, I look forward to it because I know it's for a good cause.. helping someone else. This scholarship is hopefully paying for books with a little something left over. It's my way of giving back... or paying forward? It's my way of giving someone the same opportunities I had. It's my way of starting something in 2003 that I knew I wanted to do in 1997. It's my way of fulfilling a dream. It's my way of crossing something off of my 'to do before I die' list. It's my quiet way of showing that I'm not such a hard-ass.. I am a bit of a softy.. that I actually have feelings! It's my way of showing that I care for where I've come from, where I've been, where I'm at, and how I got here. It's my way of saying 'thanks'.

So I rightfully sign over some of my savings using my last check in the book. I know there's more money. I make sure of it.

Homeward Bound

It's that time of year again... yep, I need my hair cut!

Ahh.. talk about the ultimate case of 'not-being-able-to-let-go'! Since moving away from Big Rapids in May00, I continue to go back to get my hair did. Yep. I'm too devoted to Jo and I'd feel guilty if I found someone here. She took care of my hair when it was butch-ass short, helped me through the awful in-between stages, and now cares for my long tresses. Besides, it gives me a chance to catch up on the townie gossip. I think the price is cheap.. but then you add in the cost of airfare and then the price goes up.

But it's more than money.. it's the experience. It's being home. It's leaving 5 minutes before my appointment and still getting there with plenty of time to spare. It's deciding to walk to the shop and not seeing anyone else out walking. It's taking a stroll down Michigan Ave and remembering all the old shops.

I feel like I'm dating myself.. "back when I was a kid, I had to walk to school in the snow.. "

So I'm making the seasonal trip home to spend time with the fam damily. Twelve full days I'll be there.. 12 looooong days. I'm already making plans to hook up with friends and will be spending as much time as I can with my nephew and with my Illinois cousins who will be in 26-28. I hope to do a lot of cold weather running, too, and get in 30-50 miles in those 12 days. That would be a great way to end the year/start the new year.

Also tossing around a few NYE party invites so I'm hoping there will be some midnight smoochin'. No pictures, though..

..hopefully none!

Looking forward to catching up with everyone again.

Monday, December 12, 2005

All I want for Christmas..


Saturday, December 10, 2005

I don't know jack about art

I finally made it over to the Corcoran Gallery on Saturday to see the Andy Warhol exhibition. It's in DC until the end of Feb, but I wanted to make sure I saw it at some point. There's a lot to see/do here that I say I want to see/do, but rarely do. So on Wednesday I made the first "let's-go-out-as-friends" date with K, who had said she wanted to see the Warhol exhibition, too. As awkward as the day was together, it was still a good time.

I'll admit that I don't know much about Warhol with the exception of his Marilyn Monroe paintings, self portraits, and Campbell's soup cans. I also know he was portrayed by David Bowie in a movie and there was a movie called "Who Shot Andy Warhol?" staring Lily Taylor. I saw neither. Needless to say, I was looking to have my horizons broadened.

Started with the usual portraits - self, Marilyn Monroe, and Jackie Kennedy. Also in that first room were portraits of Dolly Parton, Cheryl Tiegs, Debbie Harry, and Jane Fonda. One thing I noticed in each picture was that the lips not only looked the same in each, but they looked just like Warhol's in a picture of him in drag. I don't know where I'm going with that, but it was just an observation. The next few rooms were darker stuff.. knives, guns, pictures of an electric chair, a jumper, and Jackie Kennedy. The picture of 'Jackie Smiling' was one of 5. The next four showed her veiled (2), with a soldier, and can't remember the fourth, but all had this somber, sullen look on her face and far out stare in her eyes post-JFK. Almost haunting.

The next room looked like a kids room with the Mao Tse-Tung wallpaper and portraits hanging on said wallpaper. The way the Tung portraits were created, it almost looked like there was a drawing of Tung, but a child had finger painted over it. It was this powerful portrait of a leader, but had been desecrated with child-like care, which was none at all. The next rooms were drawings and stuff and I was tired by this point.

So we had some time to kill and wanted to see the rest of the gallery. Another exhibition was of Sam Gilliam. I figured 'what the hell'. What the hell indeed! This is where I lost interest in art, or how art is defined. A few rooms had what looked like dirty, paint covered drop cloths hanging on the walls, draped over saw horses, or sort of crumpled up on the floor. Don't touch! This is art! See.. it's a reflection of his studio. Don't you get it?

Don't worry, cuz I was scratching my head too.

He had some splattered paint stuff that looked almost Pollock-esque as well as some splattered paint collages. Masterpieces! Really, I didn't get it.

Here are a few items of his that were on display. I found a few more online as well. There's a lot out there, but I think it's different seeing it online vs. in person.

Maybe I'm not one for abstract art.. at least his interpretation of it. I like art.. really, I try to. I like stuff by Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, M. C. Esher, photography by Ansel Adams, and sculptures by Calder. For those in Michigan that have been in Grand Rapids, you might be familiar with this piece of work by Calder. Well, you might not have been familiar with it, but now you are, so consider yourself cultured and go see it for real.

I guess my bedroom could be considered a work of art.. a messy one.. no! I like to call it a work in progress. I would love to collect art, but I'm.. I'd like to say I'm 'particular' instead of 'picky'. I don't have anything on my bedroom walls. All I have is a border that I 'designed' all my own. I'm a bit of a packrat and have kept my race number from a lot of the triathlon, ultras, and running races that I've done over the years. I tend to forget how I do, so when I remember to, I write the date, the race, and my time on the back of it. It's an interesting collection, I must say, of torn, worn and tattered paper. It's a reflection of me, the artist.

I guess I am starting to appreciate art.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Picture Pages - Fun with Humiliation

In honor of a few too many martini's last night, sleeping on the sofa in my evening wear, and missing my swim this morning, I thought it'd be fitting to finally post a few 'action shots'. It's a good thing I can laugh at myself, dammit.. And, no.. all the empties aren't mine.. they are there as props. This was Day 20 of my quest to drink every day of November, which I failed to accomplish.

Enjoy the laugh at my expense.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


If I put my hand in front of my face, covering my eyes, have I disappeared or are you still there?


It took two weeks to realize this scenario had been clouding my vision.. my thoughts.. Impairing my emotions.

It has been a stressful week if you couldn't tell. I've been going on about 2.5 hrs of sleep the past two nights. I shouldn't complain, though, and I'm not because I put myself in that situation, so there's no one to blame but myself. Sure, it's past 1am and here I am online, but part of it is that my sister isn't home and I'm a bit of a worry wart.

Things are slowly starting to pick up again and I think I kicked it off in style by having a celebratory 6 oz of my Maker's.. tipping back in honor of my first completed semester of college since graduating almost 6 yrs to the day. I've had a lot on my mind besides class and tonight's final exam. And without warning.. almost like a wave of a hand or a magic wand.. things are coming together. I look back at the past week and realize how irrational and over emotional (which I mostly internalized) I was.. and for no good reason, even though I thought I had one at the time.

I was hiding behind my hand.. hoping all around me, including myself, would go away. That's how I deal. That wasn't me. That's not me.

Live and learn.

I can't say I won't get in a funk like this again, but with a lot of good things planned in the next few days and coming weeks, I can only see things going up from here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Living with Ghosts

I have been living with ghosts for over a year.. count it, just about four. Has it been that long? my heart is still sore.

I have skeletons in my closet I might add. I can't seem to shed my skin of the past.. feelings I've amassed.. even with forgiveness.

I have moved on I keep telling myself. I should've known it wasn't meant to be, not with me.. I was just all talk.

I have the strength along with the scars, which all have healed. Tender to the touch.. hmm, this is a bit much. I know I need to let go.

I haven't been in touch, but why do I bother? I feel I am a bother a nuisance a pain.. a ball and chain.. dragging along from the past.

I haven't forgotten the night of the call, your brother. Out of the blue.. was it true? That your entire life was a lie?

It has been four years since that call. It has been three years since I forgave you and your lies. It has been two years since we last talked and two months since the last email, which makes one helluva long time to keep remembering the past.. this past.. when the emotions are still there.. raw.

I did what I thought was best at the time when you lost every thing.. every friend that you had. I stood by your side even with the great distance between us. I wanted the truth. I deserved the truth.. or so I thought. But if everything out of your mouth and into my ears before was false, how could I believe you? Was I that gullible to fall for it twice?

Ah, but I did.. apparently I was that gullible. I took a chance... a second romance? Hell, it was worth a shot.

It was worth the risk if it meant freeing you of your ghosts. Mine are still around me and I can't seem to free myself.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Snow daze..

I don't get it.

Maybe it's cuz I'm from the midwest and used to lake effect snow, but it's amazing how not only flurries (they're flurries to me), but the mere threat of snow in the forecast absolutely cripples the area! I've heard projections of 3-6" and looking at, we might only have 1-3" by the morning. I'll be out running.

By 10am I could overhear coworkers planning on leaving at 2:00 to "beat the rush home". I wouldn't be surprised if school cancellations have already been made for tomorrow. I don't dare go shopping tonight since the grocery store will be sold out of eggs, milk, toilet paper, and gallons of water. Not that I need any of that. Storm Tracker Doppler3000 will zoom on the areas 'hardest hit' by the snowfall. Local news will be forecasting from Home Depot to find out what everyone is buying. WTF do you need a freakin shovel when you went out and bought one when this happened last year!?!? It's not like the area isn't prepared for this type of weather, such as Florida might be if they got hit with snow.

I really don't get it.

Oy.. And this email was just sent out to the company..


Subject: Unfavorable Weather Conditions


I’ve had several employees ask if the office will be closed tomorrow. The answer is definitely not… we’re a 24/7 facility.

In response to conditions caused by inclement weather, employees are required to use their best judgment in determining work schedules. This facility will remain in full operation; you’re expected to work your normal schedule tomorrow. Every employee is personally responsible to notify their manager if they’re unable to safely make it in. If, you do receive approval to work from home you must remain available to your team and manager by e-mail and phone throughout the day. Employees not eligible to work from home and who cannot safely make it in can use accrued vacation time or take a day without pay.


3 inches, people... 3 inches. *shaking my head*

I really don't get it..

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Pandora's Box

Without reading back, I've realized a lot of what I've written might not make sense.. that there is no flow to my daily entries. I think the only thing I've really talked openly about is my drinking habits over the past month, my parents visit for Thanksgiving, and I've mentioned a recent break up. Rarely have I talked about my training, school, and said break up. The rest has been talk of another past relationshiop (or two) and a lot of random thoughts.

Maybe it's the holidays that's doing this to me, but I feel like Pandora's box might be opening. Below is the story..


Pandora was a friend of Epimetheus, who was given a box by Quicksilver. He was a man who wore "and odd kind of cloak" and he had on a cap made partially of feathers. He smiled a lot and carried a staff that looked like two serpents twisting around the stick. He couldn't keep from laughing when he left this box, which Pandora thought contained pretty dresses for her or something for the two of them to eat.

Pandora continued to gaze at this box, which she for thousands of years called ugly. She began to realize the beauty of this box.. the dark, polished surface that shone so that Pandora could see herself in it. She also saw another face carved in the top. The edges were graced with carvings of men, women, and pretty children. Yet as she caught a few glimpses of a face, it didn't look so lovely. When looking closer, she noticed that some faces that was really beautiful had "been made to look ugly by her catching a sideways glimpse at it."

The box was fastened not by a lock, but a fine knot of gold cord. Pandora examined this cord, which appeared to have no beginning and no end. She ran the cord between her thumb and forefinger, trying to figure out the ins and outs of the twisted cord. She kept trying to guess what might be inside. Finally deciding to at least try to find two ends to the cord, she was soon busily trying to undo it. She happened to glance at the face on the lid of the box to see it slyly grinning at her, mischievously. She gave the knot a kind of twist and the gold cord untwined itself. At this point she feared she'd be accused of looking into the box, so she figured she might as well do so. She began to hear distinctly the small voices from within the box, almost whispering in her ear, "Let us out dear Pandora.. We will be such nice, pretty playfellows for you!"

"As Pandora raised the lid, the cottage grew very dark; for the black cloud had now swept quite over the sun and seemed to have buried it alive. There had, for a little while past, been a low growling and muttering which all at once broke into a heavy peal of thunder. But Pandora, unmindful of all this, lifted the lid nearly upright and looked inside. It seemed as if a sudden swarm of winged creatures brushed past her, taking flight out of the box, while at the same instant she heard Epimetheus calling as if in pain, "Oh, I am stung!' he cried. I am stung! Naughty Pandora! why have you opened this wicked box?""

Everything that has since troubled our souls and bodies had been shut up in the mysterious box and given to Epimetheus and Pandora to be kept safely in order that the happy children of the world might never be harmed by them. The first thing that they did was to fling open the doors and windows in hope of getting rid of them: Sure enough, away flew the winged Troubles all abroad to torment the small people, everywhere.

The naughty Pandora and hardly less naughty Epimetheus remained in their cottage. Both of them had been grievously stung, and were in a good deal of pain, which seemed the more unbearable to them because it was the very first pain that had ever been felt since the world began. Suddenly there was a gentle tap on the inside of the lid. "What can that be?" cried Pandora, lifting her head. There was another sweet, little voice coming from within the box. She begged to be let out, claiming she wasn't like the stinging creatures from before. Together, the two children opened the heavy lid and out flew a sunny and smiling little person. She hovered about the room, throwing a light wherever she went. "She flew to Epimetheus and laid the lightest touch of her finger on the spot where the Trouble had stung him, and immediately the pain was gone. Then she kissed Pandora on the forehead, and her hurt was also cured."

She was to be called Hope and would be there as long as they lived. Even during the times they would think she might have vanished, she will be there.


I've been writing a lot recently, most of it not made public (yet), and almost fear doing so. I'd be opening up my Pandora's box and letting out my Troubles. But like the story, in doing so, these Troubles make their way out of my mind, into cyber world, and to those reading. Do I want to risk that? Writing is cathartic, yet spilling my guts is getting out of that comfort zone of mine. Those that thought they knew me might start to see different emotions and dimensions and layers. They have always been there, you just had to dig deeper. Now I'm doing the digging.

But there is Hope. Tucked away in the box was Hope, with the lightest of touch and kiss there to make up for the Troubles.

There is Hope.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Getting out of my comfort zone

I tend to have mild panic attacks when I get out of my comfort zone. We all have our own personal space and I get a bit uneasy if someone enters that zone uninvited.

I love to people watch as much as the next person and I think the best places to do this are at an airport, county fair (esp. in the Midwest), a mall, and The Mall in DC. If I'm going to a mall to people watch I'm fine, but if I'm there to shop, I totally clam up.

I hate, more than anything in the world, shopping. Specifically clothes shopping. Right behind shopping is the trying on of clothes.

Today wasn't so bad, though. At work we have these Christmas Angels where we buy clothes and toys for needy children. I selected a 4 month old boy who was no problem to buy for since I kept my 7 mo old nephew in mind. The problem was walking in the doors of the store. I'm self conscious.. okay, maybe borderline paranoid, so I feel like everyone is staring at me as I make my way thru the cosmetics and up the 3 escalators to the infants section. I was the only one there, I donned my earphones, so I chilled out. $70 later, I'm feeling good about my purchases since I know they're for a good cause, for someone that really needs them.

I can't tell you the last time I went out and spent money on myself on clothes for work or just to have. I think my last purchases were a swimsuit, bike/tri shorts.. oh wait.. of real clothes, I couldn't tell you. I have three or four regular pairs of jeans that are getting holes in them.. crotch, pockets, bottoms are shredding. I think they're all from Eddie Bauer, I love them to death, but they aren't in style. Nothing I have is in style.. I don't think it ever was. I have coworkers trying to convince me that I "have a style of my own." And what's that.. "fumpy"??

I want to wear cool shit, but I'm cheap as hell.. hence not shopping all that often and 'having a style of my own'. I'm not a shopper and when I do wear something new I'm the talk of the town! If I wear a dress or skirt I'm sure people wonder if hell froze over. The deal is this.. I'm trying. I'm going to try. I'm sure there's a lot of shit I'd look good in. I have to be in the mood to shop and today wasn't one of those days. I walked into H&M, browsed the kids section and left. That place isn't my style.. but what is??

I'm sure I won't figure that out until I get out of my comfort zone. Shopping on Black Friday is waaay out of my comfort zone and I don't plan on breaking that cherry anytime soon. Holiday shopping sucks because of the crowds and the "i want" attitude of some people/kids. And trying on clothes in the winter sucks as I've put on weight since my racing season ended and the lighting and..

.. and I'm making excuses. I'm selective.. particular.. okay, okay.. cheap, I get it! No excuses!

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Airing of Grievances

This thought came to me on the eve of Thanksgiving; exactly one month before Festivus. It was a 3 strikes night of sorts as I got 'shot down' by three different people - in person as well as electronically. So it got me thinking deep thoughts after I finished my one (and only) beer of the night; as nice as people try to be, there are a number of phrases that I'd rather not hear anymore. I know LSSU has their list of banished words
that comes out at the end of each year, but I'm doing my list of banished phrases... I'm airing my grievances.

Here we go.. add to the list if you'd like.

-"I love you" - It'll be awhile before I try that one again.

-"Let's be friends" - Too much to say here, I can't even comment since I think both parties know it isn't true. It usually leads to the one or both of the next two.

-"You have a great personality" - Usually means not very attractive, but fun to hang with

-"You're a good soul" - See above

-Anything directed my way that contains the word 'sir'. I've been called 'sir' more times last week (2!) than I have all year. Do me a favor and lift up your effin head and look at me before you open your mouth.

-Any sort of apology that follows the 'sir' sentence. Don't bother cuz you're just making it worse.

-"I don't know how to say this without sounding like an asshole, but.. " Okay, you're not an asshole, but.. yknow, I get it. Thanks for waiting 4 weeks before finally saying, without really saying it, that the one night stand was just that. I figured this was only a hetero thing, but apparently it happens on both sides. Hey, I'm good. No worries. Just think twice before your drunk ass calls me at 2AM as much as I didn't mind getting the call. Still.. you're not an asshole.. cuz that was me when I was your age. I get it.

-"So when is it your turn?" - Two of my second cousins got engaged this past weekend (not to each other). One is on my mother's side and I think she'll be 30, and the other is my dad's side and he's only 20!! Not sure when the weddings will be, but I'm sure between now and well past the ceremony I'll be asked this question many times over. I've never come out and told my relatives that I'm gay (not even my parents, but that's a whole nother story), and I'd rather they just figure it out on their own.

-"You look pretty" - Okay, stop right there. 'Pretty' isn't in my vocabulary. I know that I'm a Glamour "don't", that I wear primarily hunter green, navy blue, or grey and khakis, and that I have no fashion sense, but it's best to just not comment. If you must, assume the new wardrobe is from REI. Start there and let me run with the conversation.

-"You've lost weight!" - So wrong in many ways. It may not look it, but I spent most of September eating hint of lime Tostitos and B&J cookie dough.. which I will point out has 25% less sugar, fat, and calories than the regular flavor.

If it's not that obvious yet.. I don't take complements well, I'm on the rebound.. apparently I look like a dude, and I'm a bit bitter.

Happy (early) Festivus.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Admitting failure

While walking to the pool yesterday, before my kick ass swim, it hit me that I had failed. I am a goal setter.. a list maker.. I find satisfaction in crossing something off one of my many lists.

And it hit me yesterday morning that I had failed. I wouldn't be able to cross something off my list. I had failed.

It started on Halloween. I had a rough week at work with four coworkers being fired and then finally ending my relationship of almost 2.5 yrs that weekend. As amicable as it was, it still sucked because I failed at love.. at commitment. So I started having a drink with dinner.. maybe a beer, a glass of wine, a few tumblers of whiskey.. And I only drank to get drunk twice. I could've easily finished a six pack of beer each night, but I wanted it to be more social, even though I was drinking alone most nights.. a nice way to wind down at the end of the night.

So after the first week I thought "I bet I could have a drink everyday this month"

And so it started. A bottle of My Beloved one night, a glass of wine another.. happy hour. It was nice. I thought at one point I might get desperate and reach for the Nyquil for a fix. I did mix it up and have a glass of pineapple juice (the reserves from the can of pineapple chunks we added to our pizza one night) and vodka.. that was refreshing. Wine for Thanksgiving.. whiskey on the rough nights. I steered clear of the moonshine.

So on the way to the pool yesterday, I realized I didn't drink Tuesday night. How could I have forgotten?? Went out to a fancy, schmancy restaurant with the folks on their last night in the city and I passed up on a drink with dinner knowing I had a couple beers waiting for me at home. Is it possible there was liqueur in the Tiramisu?? The butternut squash ravioli?? Perhaps the butter-marjoram sauce?? I looked at the menu online and it said "served with amaretto cookies"


Ahh, but alas.. I remember no cookies. There was no liqueur, either. So I had to admit defeat. Would I try again in December? Nah.. So I tore up my acceptance speech...

..and used the paper as coaster. Wahoo!! I still had two beers in the fridge, baby, and I wasn't gonna let them go to waste.

Cheers, beers, and queers!