Thursday, February 21, 2008

The abuse!

Picture this: we've all been sick with the flu and germophobe Chris caught the bug last. He stayed home yesterday from work, so I thought, 'Hey, great time to do the wedding invitations!' Chris, being a gentleman to the last, sits quietly on the couch staring at the wall while I fuss and fume at the computer, only barely aware that he is there. His occassional interruptions, "Can I turn on the TV now?" are met with a fierce "NO! You're helping me with the invitations!" Meanwhile, I am furiously balling practice sheets of paper and hurling them all about the living room. Damn printing wizard! And why did we have to get invitations with monogram tags anyway?!?! Finally, four hours later I inform him, "Guess what? We made great progress today! We printed all the invititations and we only have one more address to add to the spreadsheet and then we can run the mail merge and print off all the envelopes!"

"Great," he says, "Can I turn on the TV now?"

He truly is an abused man.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Observation

Ok, now it's not like I don't know when the wedding is happening. I mean, I helped pick the date! And yet, I still have not begun my diet. I know the shame of having to look at pictures of myself where I am so heavy I look like I'm going to fall out the bottom of the picture. My face puffs up like a big Puff Adder snake and expands exponentially with each gap-toothed grin. Jiggly underams? Check! Bookshelf ass? Check! "Third Hand" stomach roll? Mile-high ass and jelly-roll hips? Check! Check! Check!

You know that commercial where the lady bends over at the fireplace with her red robe on and her kid yells, "Santa!" Pretty funny, huh? Yeah, well I bent over in front of the fireplace, and I hear this voice yell, "Hey, look! Ruben Studdard just came down our chimney!"

You'd think that knowing my blood sugar is frequently sailing into the 500s would motivate me to get on the right track. Unfortunately, I've been sucking popsicles like they are going out of style since getting sick. Hey, it's the only thing that helps my sore throat! And I've never, ever had a sore throat as bad as this has been.

So, what is it that I need to get motivated to lose weight? I have now a little over a month to lose weight before the inevitable picture-taking at the wedding. Help!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Total Freak-Out

Why another university shooting? I just do not understand a mentality that walks into a lecture hall and begins unloading bullets on a bunch of innocent, unarmed students. After the Virginia Tech shootings, I saw a guy on TV who invented bullet-proof backpacks. At first I was like, what a wacko. But then he explained. He had kids in school and feared for their life. Feared for their life. His school kids.


I could use five of those bullet proof backpacks.

The thought that my sweet, innocent girls could get shot and killed at school is terrifying. Or anyone's kids. Remember the slaughter at the Amish school? This kind of terrorism has to stop.

What is the sickness that drives people to do something like this? Is it the violent movies like "Saw" or video games like Halo that just insulate people against the suffering deaths of other people? Obviously, the kids in the picture here think it's real damn funny to slaughter people. I can't remember who said this, but I learned it in a college history class: you can gauge the health of a society by their art. Whenever a society has crumbled morally and politically and financially, it was first reflected in their art. Whoever it was cited the Roman Empire as an example. And I do believe that art is a reflection of societies' ills (just as it can be a reflection of societies' achievements), which makes us a pretty depraved society.


Why is no one screaming about these slaughter movies marketed to kids from middle schoolers to young adults? My girls keeps talking about how they want to see the movie where if you miss your cell phone call, you're dead. Hellow, they are only 12 and 10! And yet the marketers have found a way to appeal to these young kids. Yeah, indoctrinate them early, and you'll have a customer for life, said Ray Croc with his soon-to-be McDonalds empire. I don't mind so much with hamburgers (they kill much slower), but now it is MY girls and their peers being targeted by those sickos in Hollywood and you know what? I truly fear for their future safety. I know they would never turn a gun on anyone, but who knows what potential wacko is brewing in their midst?

In the violent, unstable world we live in, the only true thing we have to offer our children is faith. We can't predict what future events may strike us, but faith gives us the strength to continue on in spite of the fear, in spite of the violence around us and, God forbid, in spite of it spilling over into our lives. All we can really do, I guess, is pray.
Still, it makes me really mad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary, beware the Ides of March!

Shakespeare did a very interesting thing in his play "Julius Caesar." He juxtaposed the conspirators after Caesar's bloody assasination in a scene which teaches a valuable life lesson: when it comes to politics, people may think with their brains, but they'll act in accordance with their emotion.

In this scene, after killing Caesar, Cassius and Brutus stand before the people and deliver well-reasoned speeches condoning the killing and effectively winning over the crowd. People stood around going, "Well, it sounds like they did the right thing." While they are shrugging their shoulders, Marc Anthony leaps upon the stage and begins his famous oratory, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." He rants, he pulls on the consciences of his listeners, he implores them to consider the heinous murder of a good man (arguably so). The listeners become whipped up into a mob that chases Cassius and Brutus out of town and a bloody battle begins.

And with this scene comes the explanation for the force that is Barack Obama. Obama isn't saying anything much different from Hillary, policy-wise, that is. The difference is that while Hillary does a stand-up job of explaining her well-reasoned policies and how she plans to implement them, Barack appeals directly to the places where people are hurting, where they have anxiety, where they fear things may go wrong. He also invokes historical references, inspiring a nostalgic sense of patriotism, whipping people up into a frenzy of emotion. I like what Barack says, but what scares me is that here's a guy with scant political experience on a national stage with a noticable lack of well-reasoned policies and explanations of how he intends to implement these policies.

However, what all of this bodes for Hillary is trouble. Barack is beating her up over her vote for the Iraqi invasion and her "ready to be President on day one" refrain is not hitting home, at least not at the polls. She's a smart woman, but she's facing a growing emotionally-charged movement, and if we learned anything from Shakespeare's infamous scene, it is that emotion wins over a crowd like no other. A review of the 2004 debate between Bush and Kerry is a prime example; Bush was impassioned and appealed to voter's emotions. Kerry was logical and appealed to voter's common sense. The outcome speaks for itself.

So, in politics as in life, emotion is much more motivating than logic, and that is a lesson Hillary needs to learn quickly if she wants to stay in this race.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Forgive!

Yeah, the post below is a little in your face, but I have to tell you that over the last couple days, every time I get on the road, we have some jack ass with a big 4 wheel drive riding right up our tailpipe. The thing is that people tend to drive as fast as they safely can in weather and road conditions like this. If we are not driving over 30 or 35 miles per hour, it's because we know that with our light little car or our light van that we could not maintain proper control of the the vehicle, particularly in stopping or turning. It just makes me so uptight that they try to force us to go faster by pushing us from behind. Hey, this is not Nascar! It's like that Allstate commercial says, the road is not filled with just drivers, it is filled with families and people like you and me who are counting on getting to their destination safely. Obnoxious behavior like I've experienced over the last couple days is just not called for. I wish people were more considerate of the lives they are putting in danger, damn it! And THAT is why I published that grotesque post below. But you gotta admit, that guy is pretty great, n'est ce pas? He really gets the point across even if it isn't pretty! I'll go back to my nice pictures soon, but for now he has to stay!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Salut!

I'd just like to send out a big thank you to all the SUV drivers and big truck drivers who think it is *cool* to tailgate people who don't have 4 wheel drive and just aren't driving fast enough with their regular little old cars on these slippery-ass roads. You're the reason families have funerals and little girls grow up without mothers, so here's to you, asshole!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Speaking of Music

Hey, since we are talking music here, I've got two great finds for you to check out. If you love great music, you will find something to sing about:

Matt Costa: Songs We Sing (no pun intended)

Best songs are "Balad of Miss Kate" (I could listen to that all day), "Sweet Thursday" and "These Arms;" "Behind the Moon" is really cool, too - another all day listener. His sound is really diverse; always melodic, at times folksy or rocksy at others mellow but always, always sounds great. "Cold December" is really good, but don't make it your first listen. Get a feel for him first or you'll think he's a chick-y singer, cuz he's really not.




Jack Johnson: Thicker than water

Bluesy, funky with that spicy island dash that makes Jack Johnson one of my favorite boys, and here he grooves with several talented musicians and balladeers. This is the kind of music that if you hung out with really great musicians (you wish!), this is the kind of stuff they'd jam on improvisationally. It's got that raw sound of pure musicianship. Great tracks to check out are "Rainbow"which is a wicked blues ballad with a Emmalou Harris sound-alike, and "Even After All" has a funky mellow reggae sound. "Honor and Harmony" is a great surprise, so treat yourself and take a listen! There are a few instrumentals on here and normally I don't like instrumentals, but "Hobo Blues" and "Liver Splash" are not to be missed. "The Cove" and "Holes to Heaven" are vintage Jack, so enjoy those, too!

So, take advantage of the streaming audio on-line and take a listen at amazon or itunes. You'll thank me!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Songs for the wedding

Ok, I want my reception to be KICK ASS, so I'm starting to compile a list of must-have songs for it. Alright, I've been compiling a mental list of must-have songs for over a year now, but I'm just now getting down to actually making a real list, so I know I've forgotten a lot of songs I wanted to have! Dang it! So, I'm going to put down some of the ones I can remember, and you guys let me know what I've forgotten - or just what you'd like to hear! ;) Some songs may not work out, so if you see something that pulls a red flag, let me know! I'm trying to keep it mostly songs that people either already know or will (hopefully) love instantly. And dont' forget - A. Val's doing an accoustic "Thank You" by Led Zeppelin with Marty, which to me will be the show stopper. How I will make it through that song without crying, I do not know.

For the slow dancing:
1. Live Like You Were Dyin by Tim McGraw (This song reminds me of Chris)
2. Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison (our song)
3. Everything by Alanis Morrissette
4. Unlonely by John Prine (our wedding song)
5. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin (our fave song by LZ, but it's a toughy - slow or fast song?)
6. Let's Get Together by the Youngbloods
7. For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield
8. Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
9. Everything Is Cool by John Prine
10. One Thing by Finger Eleven
11. Love's Divine by Seal (accoustic version)
12. Better Together by Jack Johnson
13. Change by Sean Kingston
14. You Don't Know How it Feels by Tom Petty
15. Thank You by Led Zeppelin
16. Little Star by Steena Nordenstram or something like that
17. Cruisin by Smokey Robinson (or should we do the song from 'Duets'?)

For the fast dancing:
1. What I Got by Sublime
2. Good Times, Bad Times by Led Zeppelin
3. Sexyback by JT (I LOVE this song!!!!)
4. Ain' No Other Man by Christina Aguilera (my song to Chris!)
5. The View by Modest Mouse
6. I'm Your Captain by Grand Funk Railroad (just cuz it's a cool song)
7. Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin
8. Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
9. Sheep Go Heaven, Goats Go To Hell by Cake
10. Mrs. Robinson by the Lemonheads
11. Casey Jones by Greatful Dead
12. Just Lose It by Eminem
13. Beverly Hills by Weezer
14. Fortunate Son by CCR
15. Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum
17. Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett
18. Mr. Brightside by the Killers
19. Fergalicious by Fergie
20. Canned Heat by Jamiroquai (think Napolean Dynamite)
21. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
22. Are You Gonna Be My Girl? by Jet
23. Goldigger by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx!!!!!
24. Respect by Aretha Franklin
25. Run It! remix by Chris Brown and Bow Wow
26. My Humps by Black Eyed Peas
27. Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
28. The Joker by Steve Miller Band
29. The Weight by The Band

I think I may have too many songs. But....here are MORE songs I love but are not very well known. What do you think? You can check them out on i-tunes without buying by double clicking the song.
"I'm the Man Who Loves You" by Wilco
"Kundalini Express" by Love and Rockets
"Local God" by Everclear
"Sweet Potato" by Cracker
"Song 2" by Blur
"Been Caught Stealing" by Janes Addiction (or I have a great live version of "Jane Says")

I know there are great songs out there I just can't think of right now, but I know I got a few winners here, as well! But PLEASE, let me know if I missed anything!

A Man's Man!


Personally, I think he looks better in his uniform - er, apron, I mean! :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Braving the Elements

Today I actually braved the elements to get you these pictures. It is the same old crap - snow! snow! snow! When will it ever stop?!?!? I can't wait for spring and this is what I get! Anyway, I wanted to give you some new views of the hell-frozen-over we are living in here, so I actually put my boots on and went outside. Brave! This view here is from the back deck looking toward the front of the house. It is snowing pretty profusely which is why it looks sorta fuzzy. Either that or I moved or something.


You can really see how hard it is snowing in this picture. The visibility is down to a quarter mile as you can see from the background. I was going to take the girls to the pool to swim today, but the roads are really bad. One thing we've noticed over the past couple years is that winter starts later every year and lasts longer into the spring. If we are right about this, we may just have a frigid-cold wedding day! Stupid snow!


Just to tantalize everyone with visions of a warmer time, here is a pciture of our roses and dogwoods from last spring and summer. Ah, to be warm again!






Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A New World

My life is different now. Part of it is being in love and being loved, truly loved, in return. I feel loved. It is a hundred different things. The way he looked at me today and said, "Honey, this food is killer." It's the way he said, "Oh, that feels sooo good." when I casually rubbed his shoulder. I'm not trying to be all Valentinesy-romantic here, but when you are in love there are a thousand things that transact in a day that say, "You are worthy, you are a good person, and I love you." My soul needs that.

Did Chris save me? Absolutely without a doubt. He saved me, but not in the way you might think. I had been single and alone for much of my adult life. The thing about being single and alone is that you can continue all the dysfunctional crap and there's no one there to confront you, there's no mirror reflecting back what your behavior is doing to those around you, the ones you love. Chris was that mirror for me. Living with someone who spends every waking moment working his heart out for the people he loves and is responsible for is confronting, especially when you are used to just plain having it your way all the time just because you want it that way. He is such a good person, he made me want tobe better, too. I had a lot to learn.

The reason I am saying all of this stuff is because I'm in a very different place in my life and that change is reflected in this blog. This blog began at a time in my life when I was very confused and very conflicted, and I was making things tremendously worse by staying involved in a bad situation, trying to figure out a way to make it work. When I read the manic posts written during that time, I can remember the torment twisting my guts every waking moment and the anxiety that never let me rest. It was hell.

I'd like to go back and erase those posts, but erasing those posts won't erase that part of my life. It is part of my story now, and like it or not, I'm stuck with it. Now, though, when I sit down to write I'm not driven by the terrible feelings I had back then which stirred my mind up into a mental frenzy of words and emotions which fell into place like stout little soldiers marching into battle; each blog post was just one more attempt to validate myself in what was ultimately a soul crushing time in my life.

Now, I sit down to write and my words are different. Don't mistake this post as a declaration that I've arrived and that I no longer struggle. Oh, I struggle. But for me struggling is part of my human condition; I have no life apart from struggle. It's just that now I focus on different things. My family is everything to me. When I sit down to write, I'm thinking of that funny thing Emily did or how Grace and Brandie are growing into such beautiful, intelligent young girls and how thankful I am every moment of my life that I have such an incredible life partner in Chris. This is healing to me. This is bringing me back to my soul and it's drawing together all the dissociated, broken parts of myself. I have a vision now of who was hiding inside of me all these years, and you know what? I am so excited. Now the question is, will I have the courage to become the woman I was meant to be? You will have to tune into this blog to see. But I'm guessing that with the love and support of the best man on this earth, I can do anything. Anything.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Slip of the lip

If I said to you "Let's do it Tuesday," you should know I meant Thursday, should you not? In my brain I said, "Thursday," but my mouth said, "Tuesday." A simple slip of the lip.

Here's another one. Let's say I walk into your office one morning, and I say, "There's something wrong with the copy machine. It's making strange noises and no coffee is coming out." Ok, now that one is obvious. Coffee machine, idiot! No reason to ask me if everything is ok at home.

This one is the worst. Imagine a romantic moment of absolute bliss. In a delirious haze you say,
"heaven."
Ok, I don't know why you said it, but just imagine you did. Now, don't you think it's weird to hear, "Who's Evan?"

Do you think this could be related to random turning? I know someone - I'm not saying who - but this particular someone, while driving, will make random turns. Say you're going to the store. Going there requires a straight shot down Comstock. Well, for some reason, this person would turn on, let's say, Ferris or something. Startled, you say, "Hey, why'd you turn this way? I thought we were going to the store." Jolted from whatever mental detour she'd been traversing, she says, "Oh. We are. I don't know why I turned there." That's somewhat strange, doncha think?

But undoubtedly the best of all is this: Let's say you are friends with a couple for a long time. Like several years. One night you are at their house along with a large group of all your friends and you want to pray for this couple. The couple whose house you are at. The couple you've known for years. Ok, so you start out really well, "Dear Lord, please help.....um....." and your mind goes completely blank! Names? Who knows. Your mind frantically searches and come up with nada, "Yeah, please help uh...." Luckily, your good friend, the guy, chimes in, "Brian and Sue...!" Yeah, that's embarassing. But at least they weren't mad at me. Not like the time I got excited because I saw a friend drive up, and I said, "Hey, look, Gloria's here!" Everyone gets excited because Gloria was there, but in the door walks Victoria. I meant Victoria, but for some reason I said Gloria. Everyone laughs it off, but strangely enough.....call her Gloria for the rest of night on accident. Gloria/Victoria didn't seem to enjoy our little slips of the lip as much as we were. Unfortunately for her, this bad habit was catching with our church friends; about half the congregation started doing it. Victoria and I had always been good friends, but I know that after the Gloria incident wound down, she still wondered why I did it. Hey, it was just a slip of the lip.

Just sayin.