Saturday, September 30, 2006

Raul shall sing me to sleep...

As a reward for losing 50 pounds, I treated myself today to a good manicure and pedicure, and also to Raul Malo's new CD, "You're Only Lonely" (cover songs). Yes, Raul will be singing me to sleep tonight and I can't wait to hear this CD.

I bought it from a local music store. I love our local stores -- they are fantastic! This one in particular (Earshot) has just about everything you're looking for (and if they don't have it, chances are the other store will). I came this-close to going to a big box store to get the CD. And yes, I'd probably have saved myself about $10 overall on my purchase. But considering the community very nearly lost this store a couple of years back, I want to support it. The other store -- well, I pop in there on occasion too. But the last time I was there, I spent over an hour browsing and didn't see anything that struck my fancy. Earshot carries both well-known and obscure artists; this other store tends to specialize in the obscure. Now, I love the obscure as much as anyone, but there are times when I want something more well-known. That's when I head to Earshot, or the big-box stores.

Both stores, to their great credit, are extremely supportive of live local music. Now, I'm not much into the concert or music scene like I used to be. But I still believe a strong local music scene only enriches the community. So I am glad that these two stores promote and support the venues and artists who are out there!

So anyway -- my hands and feet look fantastic, and my ears will be all happy tonight. WOO HOO!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You know it's a good day when

... on your drive into work, you hear "Dixie Chicken" and "Moondance" -- I mean, honestly! Little Feat and Van Morrison -- as the Old Milwaukee commercials from the 70s said, "Boys, it don't git no better than this!!!" And also when you hear an old favorite that rarely gets played, and it brings back memories both wonderful and wistful.

... your pants don't fit -- but it's because there's too much material and not enough you anymore. 45 and counting, bebes. I'm so pumped about that, I don't know what to do!

... you get a few minutes alone (besides your commute) and it's one of the most precious gifts of the day. I know my solitude will be coming to an abrupt halt in 20 minutes or less, so I am going to relish every second of it.

... all your customers are at the ready with the check number of the payment they just mailed yesterday..... oh wait. That falls under pipe dream. Sorry about that.

... you enjoy a good laugh, or give someone else a good laugh.

... you can remember to post this all!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

The long and winding road...

always leads me to deep thought. And luckily, nearly 9 hours of not-too-long and not-so-winding road this weekend was plenty to allow for quite a number of meanderings and musings.

I thought about the past --- mostly trying to answer the question: "If I could go back and say something to my 14-year-old self (when I was a freshman), what would I say?" Well, first would be to lighten the hell up! Next would be to lighten the hell up! And then to lighten the hell up! Yes, I was Miss Serious, where my world revolved around my studies and extracurricular activities. Think Tracy Flick from Election, only I didn't sleep with any of my teachers. In the years hence, all that activity amounted to jackcrap; it looked good on my college application, and that's as far as it went. I haven't done a damn thing with the 5 math credits I struggled to earn (and believe me, I might have been in AP math but it was a mountain to climb). I loved literature with all my heart, but I don't purposely dissect stories or poetry anymore. The graphic design skills I used on yearbook staff are the ONLY thing I did in high school that has remotely carried over to my adult life.

Then again ..... I think I wouldn't go back at all, even given the opportunity. You know -- that whole space-time continuum thing Doc Brown warned about. If I changed even one thing, it would disrupt my life in the present, and quite possibly in a way that I wouldn't enjoy. So best to leave things as they are and enjoy the valuable lessons learned, especially those learned the hard way.

All that being said, it reminds me that within a year, they'll be planning the 20-Year Reunion. Oh God, please, in Your great mercy, make sure it's a good one. No lame-o stuff, or I will develop a bad case of anal glaucoma -- meaning I can't see my @$$ going to it. I know You understand where I'm coming from......


I also did some thinking about some things from my adult life. In particular, I thought about two important events of my adult life that changed my whole perception of life itself.

The first situation was when someone ripped out my heart and walked all over it. I have come to realize that I share in the blame of the first situation .... but not for the reasons originally given to me by the Heartwalker. No, my share of the blame was there from the onset. It came from not being true to myself, and for stifling the me that I had discovered and grown to love in my college days. I sacrificed that wonderful person for someone who never would have appreciated or even understood her. It has taken some time, but I have forgiven myself for that.

Most importantly, that event taught me to say "never again!" When I was betrayed by another supposed friend, I was able to stand up and declare "NO! I said never again, and I mean it!" I could not have survived the second without having survived and thrived after the first incident. I had to rebuild my entire life, my whole foundation of who I was, what I thought, what I held to be real and true, and what could be discarded. As a result, I have come to know myself again and love myself much more than I ever dreamed.

Both incidents -- horrible as they were at the time -- have served to make me even more resilient. They have made me more open-minded and open-hearted than I would have ever dreamed. I think of it as giving up the trinkets that you are clinging desperately to -- so that God/the Universe/whatever can give you real treasure far more abundant than you could ever imagine. I am absolutely astounded when I think of all the laughter, love and life I have experienced and shared in all the past few years, that I would have missed out on had things turned out the way I thought they should have.

Sometimes I really do thank God for unanswered prayers.....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who'da thunkit?

One of the ways that I reward myself for reaching weight loss goals is to buy myself CDs that are woefully missing from my collection.

So I had decided a while back that when I hit 40, I would buy myself a copy of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. And while in the store, I was hit with the idea to buy the one lone CD that Blind Faith put out. I'd heard some good things about it, and hey, why not?

I put in Layla -- and it did not disappoint at all. But then I put in Blind Faith. I was even more blown away. In the few days since, I have listened to Blind Faith far more often. Frankly, I'm shocked. I never imagined that this one would grow on me so fast. My favorite song? Probably "Can't Find My Way Home" -- but then again, I've always liked that one. Of the ones I didn't know before, probably "Presence of the Lord" (an underrated Clapton gem).

I never guessed this CD would be so good.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

For my parents' generation, they can tell you exactly where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. For my generation, it is the Challenger disaster and 9/11. I hope I never forget.

That day, I remember getting to the church office. One of our parishioners had very suddenly died the night before -- found out at 8:30 that morning. I was in complete shock over her passing. We all were. A few minutes later, I was speaking on the phone with another parishioner about this event, when he said, "Hold it! A plane just hit one of the WTC towers."

The topic quickly shifted, and we thought perhaps it was just off course through an accident. Then he said, "Oh my God. It's hit the other." I told him I'd talk to him later, and immediately went to turn on the TV in the conference room.

My coworker and my boss both came in over the next few minutes. I don't think we did a thing that day except sit in front of the TV and field the occasional phone call. And we passed around the Kleenex -- and the TP when we ran out of tissues.

I remember answering a call from a news reporter around noon, asking if we were going to do any special services. We were still processing everything that had happened -- from our parishioner's sudden death to the national event. I admit that I got very snippy with this reporter and said something like, "I know there's a national crisis, and that it's important. But we have a crisis of our own as well, and we're trying to minister to everyone on every level. {Here's where I got reallllly snippy} And besides, we have a service EVERY day, not just when something happens. So yes, we'll have our regular services and yes we will say special prayers. But as far as a specially planned thing, I'll have to let you know later."

The rest of the day was a blur. I went home, turned on MSNBC, and sat in front of the TV some more. The stories broke my heart. There were so many people on camera, asking the nation to let them know if they knew where such-and-such person was. And I signed on to the messageboard I read often. An Episcopal priest who was a member posted a prayer he'd composed that day. I read the prayer and wept some more. I remember all of us being worried sick over the girls in NYC and Washington.

And here in my small hometown, a local business owner -- born as a Palestinian in Israel -- went to the other business owners on that street, weeping with sorrow over what his fellow Muslims had wrought. Apologizing over and over and asking not to be judged in the same boat as them. And being told over and over by these businessmen and businesswomen that he was not to blame, that he would be just as welcome as ever in their stores, and that they would continue to patronize his business -- all of which has held true.

For the rest of the week, I kept my radio on NPR -- they were running non-stop coverage. I needed to hear it. Over and over and over. I don't know why. On Friday, we opened the church for the National Day of Prayer. I went and knelt there, totally numb. I didn't know what to beseech God for -- all I knew was I had to be there.

Afterwards, I drove to Savannah to visit my friends as planned. And again, listened to NPR all the way down. I couldn't get enough of the news that week. Odd, isn't it?


This morning, I heard Alan Jackson's "Where Were You" on the way in, and it brought it all back. And the firehouse close to work had its own memorial. A flag at half-staff, and a fireman's uniform propped up at the flagpole. It was all I could do not to cry all over again.

How has 9/11 changed me? Like many, I could talk about the loss of innocence for us all that day. The realization that we are hated, because of our freedoms and our blessings. The knowledge that it could happen again, at any time and without warning. The price of freedom, purchased with innocent lives who just happened to board a plane, or be at their office that day.

There is all of that. Yet I still hold out great hope for humanity. I still believe that the majority of people are good at heart, and that if we band together, we can overcome the evil present in the world. It has made me more cognizant of the need for true justice -- as Pope Paul said, "If you want peace in the world, work for justice." It has made me more aware of how very much the same we all are -- that no matter what our occupation, our heritage, our faith, our lives and cultures are, we are all humans with the same needs, desires, hopes, fears.

It is my sincere prayer that this day will never be forgotten -- and that we who watched the events of that day and were horror-stricken at the evil that reared its head will do all in our power to overcome that evil.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dear Coach Spurrier,

I love you dearly. Even when you were at Florida and I hated the fact that you handed us our stuff on a silver platter each year, I had a grudging respect for Darth Visor. You knew how to win and win big.

I know our talent pool isn't what you had at Florida. It's probably even just barely better than the talent level at Duke. I know that you're bringing excellence to my beloved Gamecocks, and I know it's going to take some time. I'm a patient fan.

I would like, however, to make a suggestion: Please talk to Blake Mitchell about his study habits. It seems the poor boy is failing "Biogeology 101: How To Tell The Difference Between Your Ass and a Hole in the Ground." Do you have a tutor who can help him with this?

Many thanks,

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hopped up on caffeine, and need to sleep...

I am such a doofus.

One of the things on WW is that we have to have 2 servings of dairy a day. Okay, so we were out of milk today, and I didn't go pick any up like I intended to do. So no biggie, I thought, I'd just pick some up on the way home from church tonight.

I stopped by the convenience store near home -- and there was no skim milk available. Just 2% and regular. I didn't want 2%; I really can't drink it. For whatever reason, skim milk is the only kind that my system will seem to tolerate. So I was stuck.

Then I saw the Starbucks Frappuccino. Yeah! Those are made with skim or 1%, right? No problem! Except........ I'm planning to go in early tomorrow to do some work on the UK accounts. Early, as in the time I usually hit the gym. As in, need to be in bed this very second so I can wake up refreshed in 7 hours. And what else is sitting in my car? The Diet Coke that goes with tonight's dinner. Not decaf either.

So about an hour ago, I had both a Starbucks Frappuccino *and* a Diet Coke. Plus I had a short nap this afternoon. I'm betting I won't fall asleep until 1:00 in the morning. And I'm still out of milk for tomorrow's cereal.

I should have just gotten the 2% and let it do its "magic" to my innards.