You are the Hand-Raiser, that annoying kid in class who always had an answer for everything. No doubt, as a child you probably sat in the front of the class, anxiously waving your hand back and forth in the air while your teacher desperately tried to avoid calling on you because you were the ONLY fucking kid that answered her questions. Clearly, the key traits of your personality are your rationality and your extroversion. You are like a little talkative calculator, in other words. You also tend to be rather gentle and less arrogant than most people. So what is your defect, then? Well, you're boring, and when you're not boring, you are just plain annoying with your ultra-logical responses and constant need to talk to others. So keep waving that hand in the air, son. I'm still not calling on you. You are too logical, you talk too much, and your humility and gentleness only makes me hate you more, because they make me feel like I almost SHOULDN'T hate you. But I do. Big time.
To put it less negatively:
1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.
2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.
3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.
4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.
Your exact opposite is the Brute.
Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Braggart, the Haughty Intellectual, and the Robot.
Monday, February 27, 2006
The girls and I have always had an agreement; they could do whatever they wanted to in their bedroom as long as the mess did not extend into the shared living space. Often times, I would regret this arrangement, as much as it helped me with keeping the rest of the home clean, just opening the door to their bedroom would fill me with frustration. "What is that CD doing on the floor? Why are there crackers ground into the carpet? Isn't that your new coat getting stepped on?" Needless to say, this has been a point of contention between us.
During my extended illness things ballooned out of control. I didn't care what they were doing in their room; I had enough on my plate just going to work and keeping us fed. Over the past two weeks, I have worked diligently to get our home back up to the clean standard we used to enjoy in the pre-illness days. I scrubbed all the surfaces, moved furniture, cleaned blinds and baseboards and windows. Things are lover-ly.
But - to my horror of horrors - I had to have the cable guy out on Saturday morning. The poor guy had to wade through the detritus of the girls' slovenly habits to get to the cable line in their bedroom. I wanted the floor to crack open and me to fall straight in. I was soooo humiliated. He nearly fell over trying to step over stuff. I could hear stuff crunching under his feet. That's when I knew: it was time to tackle Hell Room.
So, when Grace and Emily got home from their dad's last night, we made a deal: I picked up trash, Grace picked up toys and Emily picked up dirty clothes. We cleaned that room from top to bottom, even going so far as to reorganize the closet. Now *I hope* the girls will have a much easier time keeping things clean.
Or the daily beatings will commence. (insert evil laugh here) Haa aha hah ahah ha ha hah!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Here we are, the happy family! We were playing around with the camera to see if we could get a pic with all three of our heads in it. I think Grace is holding the camera in this pic. It is the least bad pic of the lot! But we almost giggled ourselves to death doing it, so who cares. :)
My little diva. I wonder who she takes after? This pic was taken after she quietly primped herself into school mode one morning. I was getting irritated with her extended bathroom time, but was really pleased with the results. She's such a girly girl!
We had seen this funny commercial where this guy had his hand stuffed in his mouth. It was a hoot! So I told Emily to do it, and I'd take her picture. Always up for a challenge, of course she complied! If you look closely, you can see a little tear in her eye. Perhaps it isn't too comfortable to stuff your hand in your mouth, do you think?
I keep this photo on my desk at work. Not only is an excellent specimen of photography (if I say so myself), but she looks so darn cute!
I have to include this picture of my little bowling queen. She hardly looks strong enough to lift a ball, but she amazingly rolled an 87! Her score would have been higher as her first roll was a strike, but unfortunately her mother (sigh) didn't know how to work the scoring stuff and I accidentally deleted her score. Her arm became tired toward the end of her game and instead of getting spares she was rolling 6's or 7's. Even still, she did amazingly well for such a little thing, and I am really proud of her!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Oh, a GRAND time was had by all at Pynhead's in Whitehall on Saturday night. There was karaoke (I sang "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"), bowling and LOTS of dancing!
L to R: Brook, (unknown), Grace, Megan, Emily, Shawn and Jamie (Shortensweet) doing the Casper Slide. Check out that expression on Jamie's face! Scary!
Jazmine, Emily and Brook get totally wild on that dance song from "Napolean Dynamite." Emily regaled the crowd with her wackiness. But THAT's a separate post altogether!
Aint' she sweet? She's hanging with Brook and Jazmine here.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Thing is, I WAS thinking and at the moment I posted it, it represented a truth or something I thought was funny. At that moment. Alas.....that's where my personality quirks come in.
See, I'm 95% a good, solid, nice human being. And I'm 5% naughty. So, I'll be going along and writing a perfectly nice post about something and then go and throw a naughty comment in like posting slutty pictures to my blog. Now, in my brain somehow it fit in (in a rather perverse way). I do think some of my pictures have been rather come-hither, but could be described as slutty, if you're wanting to be risque, which I sometimes want to be. But only because I'm so thoroughly nice and solid and good.
See, it all works together to create intrigue, so keep reading! And expect to be (occassionally) shocked.
C'est moi, Bunnyjo!
Alas, the heroine decided to go....
As her "date" was the best friend of the Chairman of her company, she was *mysteriously* told to take the mail and go home a half hour early on Friday. The boss-man surreptitiously signed her timecard for "5:00." Hmmm....very interesting, grasshopper.
As our heroine walked into her date's home, she was greeted with the strains of Vivaldi, a pleasant candlelight ambiance and slight smell of potpourri in his immaculate home. Apparently, he knows how to make his date feel welcome and appreciated. Score one for the date!
Said date goes by the name of Chris. Chris lives in a very nice little ranch house and surprisingly, decorated it all himself in a somewhat ornate and Victorian style. And more surprisingly, Chris turns out to be quite an artist. He has an amazing and gorgeous poster he worked on from 1977 until he finished it in 1998. In addition, he has several other portraits and drawings framed throughout his house. Very impressive.
Chris and our heroine joined two other couples at the local benefit for the local music programs at the public schools, of which our heroine's daughter is a direct beneficiary, being a viola player in the youth orchestra. The benefit, unfortunately, was filled with fuddy-duddies who did not either know how to appreciate or were unwilling to admit they appreciated the music offered. Even worse, the heroine was placed at a table at the very back of the ballroom, which prevented her from being able to watch the performers, which is her favorite part, other than the music and the dancing.
But NO ONE was dancing. The sticks up their anuses prevented them from moving too freely, you see. However, the music was really first-rate. There were two members of Verve Pipe performing, along with several very talented groups. One former member, something Van Arken, performed alone with his guitar playing only original stuff. Very EXCELLENT original stuff. And his wife also played (when she wasn't hoisting her very chubby little baby around on her hip), and had the earth-mother thing going on. Overall, quite disappointing for the heroine who would have genuinely loved every minute of it had she been able to sit up front and dance.
As the evening wore on, Chris morphed from the "as friend" date to the "wow, you're beautiful" date. Did you know I was the most attractive woman in the room? Did you know my eyes, my lips, my hands, my rings, my outfit was all mesmerizing? I was lucky to have a date that paid attention to those kinds of things. However, it was a little uncomfortable to me because he is strictly in the "just friends" box. He made it clear, however, that he wants to be more than just friends.
Poor Chris. Now we have to have the "let's take this slow" talk. Sigh.
So much for being "just friends."
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I celebrated by adding the BackwardsBush countdown clock to my blog. The course of true love never was smooth, the Bard said.
After all, our entire psychological safety is based on absolute concepts - up is up, down is down, gravity will always be there and the sun will continue coming up every day for the rest of our lives. Without these absolutes, which includes our ideas about what is right and wrong in love and relationships, our brains know that our physical, emotional or psychological well-being is threatened. That is why truth is so powerful and so important: it gives us the absolute safety from which we can function in our everyday lives.
And that is why lies are so damaging. For both the liar - especially for the liar - and the one being lied to, the absolute safety is threatened, and the brain is thrown into crisis. It is worse for the liar because the brain simultaneously knows the truth, and it knows the lie.
In order to rectify the crisis, the brain re-orders reality: "The lie was necessary because..." Or maybe it was close enough to the truth the brain accepts the lie as truth. Or maybe the brain alters memory so that it becomes truth.
However the brain resolves the crisis, morality is altered. Our lives become distorted and corrupt.
Unless...we allow our brains to admit it was a lie, we reject the lie, embrace the truth and declare it with our mouths and our actions. Then, crisis over, our brain is restored to stability and our morality not only remains intact, but is strengthened. We walk away from the crisis a stronger person, more trustworthy and better equipped to remain stable in our relationships.
I like this reality; it makes me feel better about the world. I like it because it tells me that no matter how bad the truth is, accepting it, declaring it and living according to it will bring me peace. And that is something worth writing about.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
When I was a little girl, I could be seen everyday either riding my bike or – if I was lucky enough to have a pair at the time – roller-skating up and down the road. I had a certain circuit I would follow with imaginary stop lights and traffic signals and "cars" to honk at or swerve to avoid hitting. I went around and around and around my circuit on our little street and grew to know every detail of it intimately, including Hanz.
Hanz was a German immigrant, ancient in my childhood. He was a little, shriveled up man with filthy, ill-fitting clothes, a rarely shaven face with permanent tobacco stains trailing down his chin from chewing tobacco drool that had never been wiped off when he spit. His few teeth did nothing to help to make his stuttering, heavily-accented speech comprehensible to people. Few people other than the Lipka's could interpret his speech. As such, he had no friends, and no one talked to him.
He lived above the Lipka Drug Store in the little town of Montague. He always seemed slightly dazed as if his brain was always about two steps behind everything that went on around him. His job was to sweep the sidewalk in front of Lipka's Drug Store. I have no idea what the financial arrangements were, but that little job was the only thing elevating him above bum status.
For years I assumed he was single, but I was wrong. The townspeople rarely saw his wife, a short stocky little woman with wrinkled ankles and a flat-brimmed black hat with a cheap, red plastic flower adorning it. On the rare occasion she would be seen outside the apartment, it was always with Hanz shuffling beside her struggling to keep up as she strode brusquely along. There did not seem to be much love between them.
The reason I am thinking about Hanz today is because he would frequently appear with cuts, bruises and abrasions on his face and hands. I have a clear memory of him sitting on the sidewalk with a jagged hole in his knee and blood poking out, him looking up at me with a vulnerably imploring expression. It was announced by Carol, a long-time employee at Lipka's, when people would inquire that he had fallen down the stairs again or fell down in the street. Everyone knew he drank continually by the tell-tale paper bag and zigzagging gait lilting up and down the sidewalk. He was rather an object of scorn.
As I began to grow up, Hanz fell off my radar. While I had always observed him with a slightly repulsed interest as a child, my life became busy and I forgot about him. One afternoon when I was in my early teens, I was in Lipka's Drug Store buying a chocolate ice cream cone. They had the best hard chocolate ice cream. The absolute best. Carol was talking about Hanzee.
"Oh, yeah, he hasn't had a drink since the wife left. She used to kick the tar out of him, poor guy, knocking down the stairs and everything. With his medication he was taking, he never should have been drinking anyway. And now he isn't taking that medicine, he isn't so confused. That was how he was finally able to learn to read. I always thought it was sweet of the librarian to help him out like that. Now I guess he spends most of his time reading. Opened a whole new world, he told me the other day. He's doing so much better. I'm happy for him."
As I began to contemplate Carol's words, I realized he was a human being who had been living under an immense shadow for all those years. What had he been thinking, as he sat there staring at the world with his small, vulnerable blue eyes? Was he thinking that if he went upstairs his wife would knock him about the apartment? Was he wondering how to get out of the trap that had become his life? Was he wondering how it was that the rest of the world moved by, never really taking notice of him, except to move to the other side of the sidewalk so as not to smell him?
His life must have been a lonely one. He lived years an isolated, lonely, cast away in the midst of a thriving town. But once the dark shadow of his wife was gone from his life, suddenly he blossomed. He quit drinking. He cleaned himself up. And he learned to read. His speech wasn't so slurred, and his accent smoothed out. Life had finally begun to include him.
Thinking about Hanz, I realize what a dark shadow hangs over you when someone in your life abuses you. I've been living under the dark shadow of someone who hurt and decieved me, culminating in an act of betrayal which finally woke me up to the fact that what I thought was love was not love at all.
I wonder what my life will hold now that I'm no longer under his shadow?
Monday, February 13, 2006
Above, a radiant Grace during the encore call after the first production of the "Drama at Castle Draem." Emily and Brook are also pictured. Love-love-love!
Emily enjoying herself as a Holstein cow during her stint in summer reporatory theatre.
My monkey Grace. The monkey bars are her FAVORITE. Can you tell?
Emily makes a funny face while riding a pony at the Mayfest. Her look is saying, "Mooo-om! Are you taking a picture of me?" Of course, she'd be soooo disappointed if I didn't. Brat.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Last August, my father's grandmother was on her deathbed, and he flew home to say his last goodbyes. It was the first time I had laid eyes on him in 15 years.
Just so you can put this in perspective, I never really felt like I fit in very well with my mom and brother and sister. Or the rest of my family, for that matter. I seemed to think and feel differently about the world than they did. Simply put, I was a fish out of water.
Please don't think my family was mean to me about it. I really believe that they accept and appreciate me with all my quirks - in fact, we often remember my zaniness with love, acceptance and appreciation - as well as giggles and guffaws at family get-togethers. Being different is no longer an issue for me, but it definitely makes life with me more interesting. :)
Having come to a place of (relative) maturity, sitting down and talking to my father was a revelation for me. In spite of growing up almost entirely devoid of his influence, I had become akin to my father. The flash temper, the gregarious personality, the tendency to get close to very few people (the moat of detachment from which we safely observe the world), so open and yet so closed, the disdain for status quo and the rules of society, the intense self-rule that dictates justice and fairness and love and concern for the precious ones in life, the rebellious hellion, the devoted lover and parent...he is all of this and so am I.
I am glad I had the opportunity to get to know my father. I can say for the first time in my life, I understand what a father is and why he is so important. I not only have an appreciation for him now, but I feel like I really, truly have a love in my heart for him that is not born of obligation or duty. I know this guy, he is like me.
Thank you, dad, for everything you've given me that is me, and everything I needed that I never knew you gave. I love you.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Oh, you think I'm bitter just because I don't have someone to buy me a Valentine? Not so, you suspicious old crone. I'm bitter because Valentine's Day does three things, none of which do anything to further the already shaky cause of true love and romance.
The first problem with V-Day is that it makes single people sad. Sure, we can get together with friends. Sure, we can do something special with our children. Sure, we can just get out there and have a good old time regardless of our couple-free existence. But deep down inside each one of the single people having a great time not being a couple on V-Day is a person who longs for that romantic moment when some Special Someone hands over the goods and professes an undying love and devotion.
The second thing V-Day does is put stress on couples. Whether the couple is new or old, there's always the Big Question: will the V-Day gift make the grade? Because if not, buddy, you had better just forget about getting Valentine's sex because it is not happening. As a matter of fact, you'll have to jump through fifteen fiery hoops before privileges are reinstated. So there.
And finally, the last straw that puts V-Day on the bottom of my holiday list is the fact that it promotes the trinket trade. How many stuffed bears holding a heart need to be produced? How many gas station flowers need to give their life? Plus, when you add the obligatory keeping of the love-token...dusting the damn thing, letting its putrid ugliness mar what would otherwise be a tastefully composed room design...it is absolutely excremental.
So, what's the solution? Rent-a-Valentine for singles? Gift registries for couples? Levying massive duties against all cheap teddy bears imported from China?
The truth is there is no solution for the stupidity of V-Day. It is a billion-dollar retail boost after the predictable post-Christmas slump. It is the all-too-significant milestone in relationships all over America. It is another reason for single people to get drunk. In short, it is as permanent a staple of American society as death and taxes. And just as pleasant.
Which leaves just one question left to ponder:
Ain't love grand?
Monday, February 06, 2006
The pic at right is Emily being her usual self. Who couldn't love a face like that?
Sunday, February 05, 2006
There's just something about seeing happy kids having fun that takes the pall off the long, dreary winter days, n'est ce pas? Ah, the dog days of summer when trickling sweat on the back of your neck hearkens not drudgery but the excitement that only running in the sprinkler, licking ice cream on the boardwalk, body surfing the waves, chasing through the dunes on a bright summer evening before roasting weenies over a bonfire can evoke.
To be a child again, when summer means play, not taxes and high air conditioning bills. sigh.
This is one of the last good memories in our house before we moved. It is unlikely that they will find themselves running through the sprinklers at our apartment as our "yard" consists of two 6' x 8' half-dirt rectangles bisected by a concrete sidewalk nuzzled right up to the rather busy street we live on. However, considering we live within walking distance of the library, Central Park, the waterfront pier, the beach, the boardwalk, the YMCA etc we really can't complain.
So, here's to a great summer! Oh, the adrenaline's just a-buzz!
Friday, February 03, 2006
"Grizzly Man" is about Tim Treadwell's 13 summers spent on Alaska's Kodiak Island, a national park and protected wilderness habitat, living and romping with America's most ferocious beast, the grizzly bear.
If you are looking for a nature film, this is not it. In the first minutes of this documentary, I couldn't help almost giggling as I wondered, is this a self-parody? Is this guy for real? However, as the documentary unfolds, a picture emerges of a gentle, sweet soul who co-exists with wildlife far better than he could with his more sophisticated human counterparts. He could trust his animal "friends" because their motives were primal, not obscured by hidden agendas incomprehensible to his rather immature view of the world. He was a man who couldn't function in society, and he knew it. Living with the bears not only gave meaning to his life, but it gave him companionship of a type that was impossible because of his idiosyncrasies, insecurities and inability to enter into mature relationships. Giving his life to save the already protected bears, while contradictory to the rest of the world, made sense to him, made sense for his life.
Much has been made of Treadwell's mental health in the aftermath of his bloody demise at the hands of one of the bears he claimed to be protecting. After all, not only did he put his own life in jeopardy, but his girlfriend's as well. Her name was Amie Huegenot, and she was with Treadwell, sharing his fate the day the bear turned on Treadwell in a surprise attack, leaving a trail of scattered body parts. Just hours before his demise, Amie held the camera while Treadwell described his life in the wilderness, poignantly declaring the danger that daily threatened his life. In what were his last words to the world, Treadwell declared, "Everyday I am here, giving everything I have to protect these bears, these misunderstood and threatened creatures. I'm proud of myself, I'm proud of what I do. I would die for these bears. I love them."
In the end, this is not a film about Treadwell, even, so much as it is about the sad reality that for people who don't or can't find their niche in society, finding meaning in their lives is often difficult, if not impossible. Treadwell went the way of addiction until his accidental discovery of the bear habitat in Alaska changed the course of his life. Unquestionably, Treadwell lived the last 13 years of his life in harmony – at last – and with meaning. Still troubled by the fact that he was a human and not a bear, he finally met his ultimate fate, the fate that awaits all wildlife. And long after the last frame fades from view, you will feel the impact of the life he lived. He was crazy. He was a narcissist. He had demons. But he was also a person that finally found something worth living – and dying – for. For that, if nothing else, Treadwell's life gives us all something to strive for.
If you are interested, this documentary can be seen tonight on the Discovery Channel. Enjoy.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
A. Mad Cow Disease was already taken.
my four favorite books/authors:
Middlemarch by George Elliott
Confederacy of Dunces by forgot his damn name but he (posthumously) won a Pulitzer for it!
Cabbages and Kings by O. Henry
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (one of the best books ever written)
four hobbies/things I've been into:
Playing the harmonica
Editing and writing in a newspaper (award winning!)
Once upon a time...physical fitness i.e. rollerblading and teaching aerobics
Photography (but not nearly as good as DCvR...my hat's off to him!)
four things I wish I could get done:
Get my car cleaned out (I have Buffalo Wild Wings bones in my car from NOVEMBER – eeek!)
The girls bedroom cleaned and organized
My bills paid off
Getting my ass out of bed in the morning to exercise....ugh!
four people who've inspired me:
(people I admire)
The formerly fat finalists from the Biggest Loser
Anyone who has overcome serious hardship to improve their life – now that's inspiring!
(people who inspire me to want to be a better person)
Grace and Emily (because they need me to be)
I promise tomorrow I will write something that is actually interesting. Promise.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
1. Dog Bather (and anal-gland squeezer)
2. Car Hop at drive-in restaurant (Dog-N-Suds)
3. Phlebotomist (drew blood at local hospital – and with only on-the-job training – be scared, be very scared when someone comes at you with a needle)
4. International Sales (I love to say that, but in truth I basically just processed the shipments and customs docs)
Four Movies I can watch over and over:
1. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (Jim Carrey is a comedic genius in this movie!)
2. The Big Lebowski (The language is superb...I just savor every word... "I mean, it's just like, your opinion, man")
3. Gosford Park (The supercilious ins-and-outs of British stratified society crashes straight into a good old whodunit - luscious!)
4. Being Julia (My heart soars with gratification every time the revenge scene unfolds – it makes being a woman feel faaaaabulous!)
Four Places I've Lived:
1. With my parents
2. With my grandparents
3. With my brother
4. With my ex-ficking-husband
Four TV shows I love (Damn, this was hard for me. Do I REALLY love what I watch, and do I want to admit to it? Oh, the struggle):
1. Dog Whisperer (This guy teaches people training for dogs – a must-see for any dog lover on the National Geographic channel)
2. Seinfeld (These are people I understand – I get these people and if they knew me, they'd get me, too. We're practically family.)
3. Project Runway (Oh, the drama! Crazy Santino, Sweet Sensitive Gay Andrae, Heidi and her "You're out." Ah! Can't miss!)
4. I'm drawing a blank, people - ok, it is a toss-up between Will and Grace (this show should be called Jack and what's-her-name Megan McNally's martini-swilling character) and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (except for the wedding shows - gross)
Four places I've vacationed:
Vacation? Hellow. That's for people with spare time and spare money. Not me.
Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Mexican Casserolle (homemade)
2. Swiss Steak (homemade)
3. Applebees Oriental Chicken Salad
4. Buffalo Wings! :) You know what they say about women who like spicey food...)
Four sites I visit daily:
1. Melly Girl
2. Happy Dad
3. Jamie's Uber Thoughts
4. Bunnyjo's Biggest Fan
Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In bed with a certain someone
2. On vacation ;)
3. Snuggled up on the couch next to a certain someone
4. At a play
Four people I'm tagging/slightly alienating:
Oh God, my friends don't love me that much! Perhaps we shall make this a volunteer-only tag...(cop-out, I know)
BTW, Jamie, did you know you were tagged? Yup, and by the same person who tagged me. Check out Melly Girl for more details.