Thursday, June 29, 2006

The season continues

On Monday night I got home from work and suddenly had a taste for Cesar's. I emailed my neighbor but she said that she needed to go to the gym and was broke. I mentioned that it would be my treat; I was just looking for company. She had to decline because I think she is obsessed with the gym these days. I then called my bar friend. Apparently she had left work early due to raging cramps. She pointed out that she would not be pleasant company. I told her to take some ibuprofen and to give me a call the next day.

Now there is nothing worse than having a food craving and not being able to fulfill it. Nothing in my fridge was appealing in the least -- especially since it would mean that I would actually have to prepare it. Finally I dragged myself over to Triple Rock. I cannot tell you enough times how much I love their burgers and fries. Oh, and the fact that you get a selection of four -- yes, four -- mustards. The fries are the thin ones with just the right amount of crispness. I am making myself salivate just thinking of them. One day I will remember to take a photo of the burgers for y'all but whenever I go there all I can think is, "Eat!" as soon as the food hits the table. So burger, fries, and a pint. Then there was the guy who I met. Because I guess it's really hot to see a woman wolfing down a half-pound burger.

Bar friend called me on Tuesday. She was feeling much better so we were on for Cesar's. Then new boy called. Wanted to know if I was interested in going to dinner. Told him Wednesday worked for me. Because that's how you win me over. Buy me food.

Cesar's was packed per usual. The hostess told us it would be a 10-15 minute wait for a table. The wait was more like 30 minutes. Then we were seated. It took the server about another 10 minutes to come by for drink orders. We were not happy girls at this point. Lucky for them the food is tasty. Otherwise it could have been real ugly. We had the smoked salmon with asparagus, a warm salad of shrimp and bread, the fried potatoes, and some other salad. Once more there are no photos because by the time we actually got food, I was about ready to go into a coma. But like I said the food was good as was the company. We chatted about loser guys who we know, like Retail Boy. When we finished off the evening, she said that this was the best date she had had in a long time -- which was kind of a sad thing. I told her that I understood the feeling.

But then I woke up Wednesday and was kind of hopeful. Because I had a date. With a guy who actually could think to call and to make plans. That alone was a great improvement over some of the ones I have met recently. And the date actually went really well. Maybe that's because he's a grown-up. We went to dinner at Taste of the Himalayas. I absolutely love Indian food and this place was great. I am looking forward to eating my leftovers later today.

Ah, and there's the sad point. I don't have dinner plans for tonight. I guess I should try to stay in the occasional evening.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What's important

I spend a lot of time reading David's stuff each week. I sent a link to his blog to a friend in NOLA and she agreed that in many ways he is our lost brother -- even if he doesn't realize it yet.

I often find myself thinking about my friendship with Jade. If I had met her later in life, I'm not sure that we would still be friends. Jade was, is, and probably always will be, very superficial. But that was her upbringing. I know this because she has been my friend since I was seven. Her family lived two houses away and we were always in and out of each other's houses. I have heard the statements that her mother makes. Her mother is all about appearances. Well, mine is too but not to the same extent that Jade's mother is. Jade's mother is saditty. Nah, actually she's bougie. (And this is why Jade will probably never read this blog. Because the truth can be painful.) So Jade's mom often sat around with her nose in the air, looking down on us plebians, or so she imagined us, and told her daughter how pretty she was.

I had a twisted upbringing during which my mother never allowed people to compliment me on my physical appearance. Turns out that folks actually thought I was cute, but also a little intimidating. Because of my upbringing, I hit college thinking that I was not physically attractive. That was OK though because I learned to appreciate the people who liked me for me and not for what they saw. It gave me the insight to see past the outer shell in others as well. Through my 20s and 30s I have often found the need to explain my choices in whom I date to others. "But you're too cute to be going out with him." Yes, the physical package is nice and all but after a few dates, there has to be something more there.

This is probably why I was so intrigued by online dating in some ways. I usually refuse to post a picture. I want to be judged by what I say, not how I look. The one time I posted an ad with a photo, I got responses from guys who were just responding to the photo and not to anything I had written. I'm sorry but I can get that walking into a bar or club. Heck. I can get that walking down the street.

In recent years I have had conversations with my mother on this topic.

"You just don't notice, do you? That guy almost broke his neck trying to get another look at you."

"Yes, they do that. It's not important though."

Experience has taught me that those guys could care less about what I think, what I feel. And I point out to my mother that in the end, these are the things that really matter. Despite all of her faults, she has given me the strength to be happy with who I am and to not accept anyone who cannot see the beauty in that alone.

Back to Jade. When Jade and I graduated college, I had a conversation with my mom about the whole dynamic when we go out. Jade has always been outgoing. I am a natural introvert. It took me years to learn to be this outgoing. My mother said at that point, "But you have always been cuter than Jade. The difference is your personalities." Jade has always been about acquaintances while I wanted friends. Also Jade's parents were a lot better actors. Or perhaps she was better at not internalizing the stuff going on at home than I was. Either way, I ended up a lot more guarded and slower to make choices about people. I guess that's what I've always loved about Jade -- her ability to live in the moment, to not want to go too deep.

We complement each other. Jade, at heart, is the true partygirl and I was just along for the ride -- a pretender to the throne. No, I was the brains of the operation, always coming up with the plan of how we would get away with our latest hairbrain scheme. Our mothers thought that we were a bad influence on each other. As adults, we told them that we share the blame for everything equally.

David has a hard time imagining 40. I did too when I was his age. Mostly because I didn't imagine that I would ever live that long. I spent my teens and 20s being highly self-destructive -- "Die young and leave a beautiful corpse." My aunt who calls me "The Diva" -- we talk about those times. It wasn't aging that scared me; it was living because sometimes in life, things are not in your control. And no matter how old I get, I know that I will always be beautiful. Because only a beautiful person could look at some screaming homeless guy, like I did last Thursday night, and say, "I will not give you money but if you are hungry like you say you are, then we can go around the corner to the market at the gas station and I will pay for whatever food you want." It took a lot of convincing but as he went through the store, he was as happy as a kid picking out a new toy.

And so I like to think that I am beautiful in my actions and not how I look. (Heck. With the Clairol I can still pass for being in my 20s to most folks.) Beauty is making sure that a soldier has a comfy seat for the ride home. Every now and then true beauty is found in the pages of some magazine proclaiming who is dating whom or who has given birth. But often it's not. That's just entertainment.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Forever young

This was the quiz I was going to post this past Saturday but I was a little busy.

I'm not going to grow up. Nope. Not ever. That sanity thing does scare me though.

You Are Big Bird

Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you live your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."

Monday, June 26, 2006

I thought wisdom came with age

Obviously I was mistaken. Thursday night I was a tad bored which is always a bad thing. I came up with the brilliant idea that my birthday started at midnight so I headed out. Oh, and the band that night was playing bossa nova, some of my absolute favorite music. Yes, I had fun but I paid for it on Friday.

I spent all day Friday at training and then had to drive to the airport to pick up my mother. To say that I was dead tired would be an understatement. On the whole drive my mother chattered on and on. I just wanted to tell her, "Shut up already." As promised we went to dinner -- her choice. My mom, besides being a control freak, is also queen of the 'burbs. Her choice for dinner? Outback Steakhouse. Then she announced that all she wanted was soup. I ordered my usual rack of lamb for which I was chastised. I had the audacity to order it medium rare -- about as done as I like meat. My mother wanted me to order it medium because she was hoping to eat some of my food. After all of that, I headed home and got in around 10. Before I lost my mind on Thursday night, my original plan had been to head out on Friday. I had to be at work at 9 on Saturday though. Seeing how tired I was, I decided it would be for the best if I went straight to bed. I already had plans with Jade and Emerald for Saturday night.

After going to training on Saturday morning, I came home for a nice nap. Then it was time to head out. My first thought of clothing was the leather pants. I just couldn't commit to a top to go with though. I ended up going with that cute dress that I picked up last fall instead. The important thing was that whatever I chose had to go with the bag. Oh, and strappy sandals so I could sprain my foot all over again. I tried to take a photo of the shoes while I was out but it was too dark.

We -- Jade, Emerald, this Spanish woman who works with Jade, and I -- started off at T-Rex. Our joke is that we are working our through the restaurants owned by these folks. Not only do they have tasty food but they also have tasty cocktails. The Sidecars were just what I needed after Friday with my mother. And they have fabulous mac and cheese as well. Jade said that she wouldn't recommend the place for a date but that's because she has issues with eating in front of guys. Well, she used to. Now she's been married for 12 years so I think she's kind of over it. Jade is probably what Eddie Murphy would have called a "salad bitch." ("No, I'm not really hungry. I'll just have a salad." Then the woman proceeds to eat half the food off the man's plate.) I have never been one of those. My male relatives will ask if I am sick if I eat anything less than a linebacker would.

After dinner, we headed over to Emeryville to hit Kitty's. Now this was a big deal because I have not been able to get Jade to go out to a club for a number of years. She has been saying that she will not go to a club until she gets her club body back. In her effort to obtain that effort she has been doing Jenny Craig and is about halfway to her goal. Back to Kitty's. I had been hearing a great deal about the place and have been wanting to check it out. Emerald has been there before for happy hour since she works in the area. Actually Kitty's was her suggestion. I think Emerald is fantastic because even though she is married and has a kid, she does not insist on acting like she has died.

Now the fun of heading out with the married folks is that they are always ready to head in early. Correction. Jade is always ready to head in early. I sometimes find it hard to believe that she used to be able to hang with me until the wee hours of the morning. And being the true friend that I am, I always held her hair. But Kitty's is a fab place because it brought out the old partygirl in Jade. Emerald and I had wanted to try the Ginger Mojitos but they were out of ginger. Can you imagine? We do recommend the Bees Knees though. (I think that was the name of the cocktail. Things are getting a little foggy.) We ended up meeting this group of lovely Ethiopian men. What is it about that country that they just turn out the most beautiful people? One of the guys gave me crap about my shoes -- something about tall women like myself and his sisters who insist upon wearing heels. He asked, "Why?" There is only one response. "Because we can." So I spent the evening standing well over 6' because I was wearing 4" heels. I also love that I was able to stand -- heck, dance -- in them all evening. Emerald and I ended up leaving her there on the dancefloor. Emerald needed to head home. I needed to move to a place a little closer to home. Did I mention that the wenches made me drive? Sheesh. When I told my aunt from Savannah this, she reminded me of her family's nickname for me -- The Diva. I explained to her that divas are not born but are made.

At my usual spot, I made Nicole sing "Crazy" for me because she was already doing country. There's nothing like a little Patsy toward the end of the evening. I also had to keep ducking this drunk Irish boy. He kept insisting that I kiss him. I did not have that many cocktails.

Somehow on Sunday I woke up around 9 a.m. So wrong in so many ways. By noon I felt that I had been up all day. By 1 p.m. I started thinking that perhaps I should head out again. Then I came to my senses and spent the day just relaxing. I even managed to tell my mother no when she called asking me to do things for her. So maybe I have gotten a little smarter over the years because 10 years ago I would have gone out again.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happy birthday, Chico DeBarge and Ted Shackelford!

Oh, and happy birthday to me too. It has finally arrived. The big one. FORTY. How am I ever going to start celebrating? Oh yeah. I guess I have for several months. It all started during the sabbatical (or my pretend retirement as I like to think of it)earlier this year.

And wouldn't you know it? Yep, there's a quiz for your birthdate. (Yes, I know it's a bit early for the quiz but if things go right, I will not have time to post over this weekend.)

You're not good at any one thing, and that's the problem.
You're good at so much - you never know what to do.
Change is in your blood, and you don't stick to much for long.
You are destined for a life of travel and fun.

Your strength: Your likeability

Your weakness: You never feel satisfied

Your power color: Bright yellow

Your power symbol: Asterisk

Your power month: May

Enjoy! I plan to spend the evening with mojitos, sidecars, gimlets, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Getting what I want

Yes, I'm a brat. Always have been. Always will be. And I like nice things so I picked this up for myself. Since I have already received money from my stepmother and my grandma, I guess I can now consider this to be a birthday gift from the two of them.

Kate Spade bag from the sample sale

I think it is great how the two of them were able to come together in purchasing this gift even though they have never met. I need to remember to send the thank you notes. And thank you to Heather for posting the link to the sale on her blog. I will be spending the next couple of days selecting cute outfits to go with the bag.

Oh yeah. The interview went pretty well yesterday. I should know by Friday at the latest. As it turns out, they also have an opening for the fall so I let them know that I would be interested in that position as well.


This afternoon I received a phone call offering me the summer school teaching position. Of course I accepted it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Queen of the control freaks

So yesterday I was feeling not quite right. Then I got some sleep and food and am now feeling a lot better. I thought I would continue the family stories today. In light of the fact that my mother has just pissed me off, she will be the topic today. She would be really thrilled since she absolutely hates it when I talk about her.

I have to constantly remind myself that my mother has issues. That is why she does these things that drives me absolutely nuts. Of course, there are the other times that I just wish she would go to therapy already.

I never knew my mom's dad but I have heard plenty of stories about him. He was quite the ladies' man and met my grandmother when she was around 18. We've done the math so we now know that theirs was a shotgun wedding. A couple of years later, my mom was born. After my mother, my grandparents waiting around ten years before having anymore children. I still need to get an explanation of that from grandma. The family consisted of my grandmother's parents, my grandparents, and my mom and her four siblings. Yes, all in one house -- a two bedroom house. One of the fun discussions when the family is all together these days is trying to figure out where everyone slept.

Back to my grandfather. He worked hard and played harder. They couldn't afford a lot of frills but they had the basics. He could afford to go out drinking every weekend though. When he finished, he often came home and used his family as punching bags. One of my aunts has told me that my mom, the tomboy, took the worst of it because she felt this need to protect everyone else from him.

My mom has said that she realizes now that he was probably very frustrated. He grew up in a rural area and was forced to leave school after third grade so that he could work. My mom says that he was intelligent and probably would have done well in school. My grandfather was the oldest in his family, and all of his siblings were allowed to stay in school. Even though my mother understands this now, she was not as forgiving when she was younger. She still chuckles over the memory of dancing on his grave after he had committed suicide when she was in high school.

Since chaotic childhoods turn out control freaks, I figure my mother is queen or mighy close to it. Friends and relatives frequently complain about spending time with her because of this. It's her way or no way at all.

Ten years ago we had a huge argument because I had had the audacity to invite my dad and stepmother over for dinner on Father's Day. My mother is never around on Mother's Day. Nor is she around for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I think the last time I spent Thanksgiving with my mother, I was in high school. So she gets really mad at me for spending holidays with my dad who is within driving distance. I told her in the argument that I was tired of the two of them bickering over the whole holiday thing and that I was now an adult with options -- many of which did not include either of them. My mother hung up the phone.

I spent weeks refusing to call her back but finally did at the insistence of my aunt. In the meantime, my thirtieth birthday and had come and gone. I had a lot of fun on that birthday because I got to spend it with people who actually listened to me. For the past few months I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be fun to have an enjoyable birthday like that once more?" It's nice to dream. And I will keep reminding myself that the queen of control freaks does not really do this stuff to be mean. She just doesn't know any other way to act.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Maybe it's time for another break

I think I may be continuing my line of bad decisions. Or maybe I'm just having fun. Who knows?

I do know that I am basically stuck in a rut. This weekend was more of the same -- hanging out at my fave bar. Friday I went to hang out with my new bar friend but she was tired and had to leave early. This guy who was outside having a cig with us said that I could join him and his friends so I did. They were busy celebrating Bloomsday. After finishing a round at the usual place, they insisted on going to another bar. I figured that the band sucked so anything would be OK. Well, almost anything. I was not that inebrietated. The other bar sucked because the bartenders were some of the worst known to man. I quickly left and returned to the usual place. Left around 3 after having a long conversation with a guy about his tattoos -- he finally showed me the ones on his stomach -- and had to go work with kids at 9:30 on Saturday morning. There was some really good coma sleep on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday was Father's Day so that meant the roadtrip. Hanging out with family always means one thing -- cocktails. As soon as I got home, I quickly changed and rushed to the bar. I now had bonus money because both my father and my stepmother had slipped me money to help out with the brunch costs. I love it when they don't communicate with each other. So I got to the bar just in time to see the end of the Dallas-Miami game. Also got to see Retail Boy who had sent me yet another text message on Saturday night. Why won't he go away? This smelly old man would not leave my friend and I alone. It was horrendous. Next thing I knew the bar was closing and I had not paid for a single drink the entire evening. I did make folks promise to come back on Friday. I think I even gave some guy a hug and a kiss on the cheek. But he was cute. And tall. And he plays soccer. Then because I was feeling lazy I made one of the other regulars give me a ride home. Bad call. He said he needed to use the bathroom. I figured he had given me a ride so it was the least that I could do. He then tried to kiss me. Ick! So not attracted.

So now I'm going to try to pull myself together because I have a job interview tomorrow. (Yeah, it's going to take me that long to pull it all together.) And I should probably try to rest up for the long weekend ahead. Oh, and how will I be starting the birthday celebration? By picking up my mother from the airport on Friday night. I swear she does stuff like that on purpose. She was supposed to be getting in on Wednesday but somehow that has now all changed. So instead of sitting in a bar, I will spend hours sitting in traffic. And she's not even bringing me a gift.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I almost forgot that it was Saturday. Maybe I should try to get in a little earlier in the future from going out. Hahaha. Not. I first saw this one on Tami's blog.

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

I need a vacation. Maybe I should tell my dad that that's what I want for my birthday.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The D Word

At first I was going to leave a comment on Laurie's blog on Wednesday but then I realized that it would be a really long one. That's when I decided that perhaps once more Laurie had inspired me with a post topic. (Thank you, Laurie, because otherwise I would have written something really bitchy instead.) I realized that since I was leaving bits and pieces of this all over the internet that I may as well just write it all out at once. Yep, it's going to be another one of those serious posts -- and long. If you don't want something serious, then go check this out.

I know I have mentioned my parents' divorce many times before. If you are new here, they divorced when I was eight. My parents were not alone in the divorce; we all went through it. The two years prior to that were not some of the happiest. In fact I have very few memories of home during that time period but I have plenty of non-home memories. (Oh, and my memory starts at about age two and a half.) I do remember being seven and making plans to run away from home. At the time it seemed odd. As an adult, I understand why I probably wanted to get out of there. My parents had some really good fights. When my mom told my dad that she wanted a divorce, he told her that she would never survive without him. She mentioned that to me once more when she bought a house in Mexico a few months ago. If retiring at 51 and ending up owning two homes is not making it, then sign me up.

I wasn't going to tell this one but what the heck. In July of 1974 my dad showed up at the house to pick up furniture. He was not happy about having to move out. He was even less happy when he discovered that we had no birthday gifts for him. Yes, he moved out on his birthday. Apparently I had been sick all that week so my mother had not had the chance to take me shopping for a gift. Bottom line was that at this point he was pissed off. There are still marks in the hallway where my father purposefully ran furniture into the walls. The front door still had the dent in it from the piece of furniture that went flying down the stairs when my mother finally had the door changed last summer. Over 20 years of looking at that dent. Once the furniture started flying, my mother sent me to my room to play -- and to be safe. Apparently it culminated with my dad pinning my mom to the floor in what was their bedroom and trying to strangle her. My "real dad" pulled him off of her. (It seems that I got to witness all of this as well since I was playing in the doorway of my bedroom which is a straight shot down the hall to the other doorway. I still have no memory of this part of the day. I figure it's for the best. I discussed my anger at my mother for sharing this detail with me in therapy ad nauseum. And eventually I got over my feeling of guilt. My mother's point in telling me this was that I didn't try to help her. Who cares that I was eight at the time. Remind me to tell y'all about my mother's twisted childhood sometime.) My mom then went to the kitchen to get a knife. My "real dad" disarmed her. My mom's next idea was to call the police. My dad pulled the phone out of the wall. (This was in the days when your phone was hardwired to the wall. My mom made up some lie to explain to the repairman how it happened but I'm sure he didn't believe her.) The next thing in my memory after being sent to my room was when my mother was changing the locks later and the police showed up to take the report. My mother turned to me and said, "I'm not having your father arrested but someone needs to see the damage that was done. Just in case." You've gotta love life in the 'burbs.

My "real parents" and my father's mom were highly supportive of me during this time period. I don't know if I would have made it through without them. They always provided me with a safe place to talk about what I was feeling. Whenever I tried to talk to my mother, she got defensive so I just stopped talking to her about the important things. Well, it was that and the fact that she felt this need to fix everything. To this day, I still tell her that sometimes I just want to vent and that I'm not looking for a solution because a lot of times after venting, I can find the solution on my own. My other outlet back then was in writing -- either in my journal or through autobiographical fiction. I didn't realize the last one until I was in eighth grade. I ended up in a creative writing class that year. Sure we read novels and all but the majority of the class was spent writing and getting feedback. For open house the teacher put out a number of the stories that he thought were good. This included one of mine which was about two sisters whose parents were going through a divorce. My mother read the story for the first time that night and turned to me and said that the two girls in the story put together were me. Up until this point, I had thought that the stories just came to me magically. I had never thought that they were a way of dealing with what I was feeling.

I spent the summer when I was 12 with one of my dad's brothers and his wife. My aunt was finishing up her doctorate in psychology at that time. (She's now a school psychologist.) At the end of the summer, my aunt suggested that we go for a drive. Just the two of us. During the drive she shared with me that she thought that I was depressed and that she was concerned. Because of this conversation, I told my mother, upon returning home, that I wanted to see a therapist. I spent the next school year in therapy. It helped but I don't think I really got through everything back then. I still didn't really know how to trust people completely. Heck. I still don't.

I don't stay in relationships for too long. The older I get, the sooner that point comes when I think I'm drowning or that I'm starting to disappear. One day I will learn how to choose guys who are not so much like my dad in personality -- guys who want to believe that I am someone who I really am not. Even if they realize that I am not that person, they seem intent on making me into that person. That's what it all comes back to. My dad has always had a picture in his mind of who I should be. Being such a daddy's girl, I wanted to make him happy. (Now I suddenly realize why I spent all that time in therapy. My father was drunk and wallowing in self-pity but all I wanted his acceptance.) This is what I got from my parents' divorce. The need to make everyone around me happy. It turned me into a chameleon. I could have been an actress if only I wasn't so shy. I also got an inability to trust others and sometimes even an inability to trust myself. It was around this time that I announced to my parents that I was never going to get married. I was never going to have children. My mother didn't want to believe the words because I was the girl who believed in fairy tales.

At least the last therapist I ended up with realized that I have huge abandonment issues which have led to my lack of trust. (My dad left. OK. My mother threw him out but he chose to be emotionally unavailable after that. Less than a month after my dad moved out, my grandfather died. In college, my grandmother had the first of a series of strokes and stopped being the person upon whom I had relied for so many years. A few of my peers also had either died or had attempted suicide in this time period. I just came to expect that people would leave.) The first couple of relationships I went through after this realization were really hard on me when they ended -- even though I was the one who ended them. ("Leave them before they have the chance to leave you.") I dated this one guy for eight months which might not sound like much to you but was a record for me. The depression I felt when I stopped dating him was overwhelming at times. It took me at least three years to come out of it completely. At first I didn't go out. Then when I did, I was wild and out of control. I felt like I was dying at times. Probably because I was slowly killing myself off. Not so much the body although the partying probably did its toll on the body. All I can say is thank goodness I had sense enough to say no whenever someone offered me cocaine or ecstasy. If I had ever accepted any of those offers, I probably wouldn't be here today. Instead I figured it was just as good to kill off the inner person. I would say to myself, "If someone says 'this' to you and you don't feel anything, then you're just one step closer." All I wanted to do was to stop feeling. I did this for three years and was pretty successful in becoming emotionally numb. During this time period, my personal theme song was either this or this. Then one night I pulled into the garage after a night out and sat in my car and cried for at least a half hour. No, it wasn't really crying; it was gut wrenching sobs. When I got out of the car, I knew that things had to change.

I stopped going out for the most part for about two years after that. At this point I realized that the person whom I trusted the least was me. I was making a lot of stupid choices. The partying and dating ban also coincided with my decision to go back to school to get my teaching credential. I remember showing up for the orientation for the program and noticing that the guy sitting next to me was kind of hot. But I wasn't supposed to be dating. A few months into the program, we were at a barbeque at a fellow student's home. He asked me why I wasn't dating. I told him that I had realized that I had a pattern of making some really bad choices. Even if the guys were jerks, the bottom line was that I kept choosing these jerks. I told him that I decided that I just needed to step back and to try to figure out why I made these kind of choices. I know. Stupid me. I probably could have had a date with the kind of hot guy. Then again, he was fresh from a divorce and I wasn't ready to be transition woman. I've done that before. Oh, but I went into that situation knowing exactly who I was. It's just that at that time in my life, it worked. What I finally realized during this period of my life was that I could not make other people happy (Even more importantly, I was not responsible for their happiness.) and that I should not rely on other people to make me happy. Happiness is something that should come from within. (Sorry if I sound like some self-help book but it's true.) I finally learned how to be comfortable with being me. The biggest challenge was trying to figure out who that person was in the first place. After so many years of being a chameleon, I thought that I wouldn't be able to find that person again. One of the happiest points in my life to date was when I realized that person wasn't dead and gone; she had just been in hiding, waiting until it was safe to come back out.

I also recently realized that I have not given up on making connections with other people. What I used to look for from men, I now get from my students. Don't worry. I am not about to become one of those women about whom you read in the news. It's just that in teaching I suddenly get to spend my days with people who constantly tell me how wonderful they think I am. Those of you who are still in the corporate world know how few and far between those days can be there. When I went to the promotion ceremony for my first group of sixth graders, I was greeted by hugs and later emails. The thing about kids is that they usually do not have another agenda so their compliments are completely honest. They are easy to trust. After awhile I started to think, "Well, if these kids think I'm so great, then maybe I really am." And it wasn't just the kids. Their parents said the same things. I had finally found a job that inspired me, the night owl, to get out of bed each morning. They filled me with confidence and hope when I thought that I had none left. When I am having a bad day, I pull out the stuff that my students wrote during that first year so that I can feel the hope again. My second year teaching, a student asked me why I had decided to go into teaching. I told him, "Because you're not jaded. I see all of you and believe that everything is possible once more." I then had to explain what jaded means.

So about a year and a half ago, I decided to start getting back out there. It was kind of tricky because in becoming comfortable in who I am, I also have gotten very comfortable with doing things on my own. Years ago when I wasn't so together, I told a friend that another person in your life should be a compliment and not a complement. It's like that story I told about the poundcake. The cake is complete on its own and the glaze just adds a little something extra. Sometimes I hear my stepmother telling me that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. Sometimes I hear my mother telling me that maybe she made a mistake in making me so independent. The one thing that I have definitely learned though is how to look like I have everything together even when I feel like I am falling apart inside. Fortunately these days I don't have the inner feeling that often so it's not so much an act as it used to be.

And how do I get through each day? My mother's wisdom. She is the eternal optimist and believes that there is some good in everything. So I have learned to not plan so much and kind of go with the flow. For some of you it may sound easy but because of all of the chaos in my earlier life, I ended up a control freak. For example, salsa dancing? Hard for me. I can do the steps but I also have to trust that guy. Easier said than done. But in the meantime, I am trying my best to let life happen, to a certain extent, and to enjoy every moment of it. Even if what life brings me is not what I expected.

Oh, and I hate to appear weak in front of other people so please excuse me while I go off to a quiet corner to wipe the tears from my eyes. Yes, I frequently get misty. I just don't like to admit it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Coming clean

So I kind of fibbed when I said that I watched How to Get the Guy on Monday. It was on but I didn't really watch it. Last night while waiting for Janice Dickinson to come on, I decided to actually watch the episode since I had saved it on DVR. My fave line? "A first date without a kiss is just an appointment." I think I might actually watch the show in the future if I can come away with gems like that.

I did play with the phone some more too. I was able to load approximately 50 songs on it. I also decided to subscribe to the "Name That Tune" game because you can win ringtones. Let me tell you I totally rock the 80s category.

The foot is getting better. I refuse to believe that it is plantar fasciitis as Jade does. That would mean several months of non-cute shoes. I am sorry but I have been dreaming about my sandal collection for months.

Now I have to get back to shopping. Heather was kind enough to share that Kate Spade is having a sample sale. I just have to decide which bag I really need.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The official start of the birthday season

I have never relied on other people to give me what I truly want. Every year for Christmas and my birthday, I buy myself a gift. This year's birthday gift showed up yesterday. And let me tell you, I am completely excited.

Isn't it cute? I went with the dark blue cover over the orange. (It comes with both.) And I have had way too much fun playing with it. At this point I could care less about the rest of the gifts I will receive.

It's a good thing the phone showed up too. I ended up messing up my left foot while at work yesterday. Don't ask me what I did because I have no clue. I am always finding mystery cuts and bruises and have no clue as to what I did to cause them usually. Yes, I have always been a klutz. At least I no longer walk into walls. Really. I used to walk into walls. All I know is about halfway through the day my foot started to hurt. Then there was the realization that I couldn't put much weight on it. Since I walk to the bar, my injury put an end to my idea of going out. Instead I took some ibuprofen, wrapped my foot, and put it up on a pillow while watching reality TV. Oh yeah. And I played with the phone too.

I ended up watching Hell's Kitchen and How to Get the Guy. I know that I will be watching Hell's Kitchen all the way through but I'm not sure about the second. Mostly it was curiousity there because it's about dating and it was filmed in San Francisco. Obviously a topic with which I could relate.

Well, enough of this. I have to play with the new phone some more.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Listening to music can be hazardous to your health

Sunday night I sat around recounting my weekend in my mind. Then I looked down and noticed a huge bleeding scratch acrss the back of my left hand. (This was around the same time that I noticed that my right thigh was bleeding.) I was ready to blame the cats for my first injury. (Not the second because I knew exactly when that happened.) Then after about a half hour or so the headphones slipped off my head and I reached to catch them. The rail from the keyboard tray caught me in almost the same spot on my left hand. That's when I knew the cats were innocent. I also was reminded about my true song. In my heart I always want to go with the romantic stuff but I know it's a lie. At worst I always wish it to be this.

I swear that Friday was one of the slowest days ever. By 2:30 I was ready to go home but my conscience overruled me. Not like anyone would have noticed. And I had important things to do -- like dying my hair. (My hair is my one vanity. I will probably never get botox or any surgery but deny me my Clairol? That is just too painful a thought.) Oh and there was some daytime TV calling my name as well because I was not really in the mood to knit nor was I really into my latest reading material. Fortunately the book started to pick up over the weekend.

Saturday was a butt-numbing day. Those women can be so mean. I mean one bathroom breaks in six hours? Just cruel I tell you. It wouldn't be so bad if the chairs were more comfortable. Fortunately my back did not hurt as much as usual. I always feel that cute hair always deserves a night out on the town no matter how tired you might feel. Knowing that neither my bartender nor my bar friend would be present did not help with my laziness. *sigh* Only four more weeks to go. So Saturday I ended up staying in.

Sunday I ws suppose to go to visit my aunt. This was per my dad's request -- because he and his wife are too busy jetting all over the country to visit her. Oops. There I go on that rant again. OK. Just one last jab. My mother said last week that my stepmother is not interested in anything that is not about her. Pretty true. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Aunt. She had her second round of chemo last week. This one kind of knocked her on her butt. I was going to take her a care package but I just couldn't find the energy what with the dismal weather. Besides this was the bitch who talked about me like a dog a few years ago. This weekend I was not really feeling like being the bigger person.

It's a good thing that I rested up. I got a call from my bar friend, Cindy. Her ride home from the airport had flaked as well. The thing is that she was flying on a buddy pass so that meant she was low priority standby. She finally got in around 11 and was highly greatful. She was also very hungry. There are very few drive-throughs open at 11:30 so we went to Jack in the Crack. It's fun torturing the cats with fastfood. Oh, and tonight I have to head out with Cindy so that she can thank me for the ride. Can't you see her twisting my arm?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Just in time for summer

Now I have to admit that I wanted to check off several things for question 4 but I was finally able to narrow it down to one answer.

Your Toes Should Be White

A little funky and a little fresh, you're constantly evolving your flirting style.

Your ideal guy: A witty brainiac with hottie potential

Stay away from: Overly dorky guys who become obsessed with you

And where was this quiz when I was busy dating obsessive dorky guys? Could have saved me a whole lot of pain.

Friday, June 9, 2006

The good, the bad and the clueless

I liked Bet Me so much that I decided to try another book by the same author. On Monday I went to return Bet Me and a couple of other books to the library. While there, I picked up Crazy for You. It features the epitome of the clueless male. This guy makes most of the guys I have ever met seem pretty aware. Part of the fun in reading the book this week has been in thinking to myself every now and then, "Is this guy ever going to catch a clue?" Ah. It's good to get a reminder that life could be worse.

This weekend was supposed to be a girls' night out but Emerald has other things to do -- like shopping for a new car. Actually the whole thing was Jade's idea. Now it looks like it will be just me. Somehow Jade cannot go out if it is just the two of us.

I suddenly had an epiphany. I have spent years trying to figure out that whole dynamic. Jade has always been the more verbal of our group but now she's gained all the weight from having the kids. When we were in college, we were about the same size and I lived in her shadow because she had a bigger personality than I do. Emerald and I have discussed this. Emerald feels that she lives in my shadow and has never thought that she is beautiful. About ten years ago I told her that she wa being ridiculous. Her skin tone is flawless. It makes me jealous. She was just brainwashed by folks in L.A. that being darker complected is a bad thing. (Excuse me if I seem to have problems typing. I am listening to Jill Scott at the same time so I periocically lose my train of thought. Emerald's fave Jill Scott line is, "Do you want some money, baby? How 'bout some chicken wings? Do you want some fish and grits? Hurry and come get it." She swears she's going to use it at work some time.) So Emerald may be darker than I am but she has flawless skin. And she has a husband who loves her unconditionally. I know this for a fact because before they were married and were just living together, I spent a lot of time sleeping on their couch. Emerald would go to sleep and her now-husband and I would stay up chatting and drinking. His worst fear in life is that she would leave him. So he is not amongst the clueless. Well, except for that one time he was trying to cheer me up. He thought that it would cheer me to hear that he thought that I was cool and that if he wasn't with his wife, he would be trying to hook up with me. Needless to say our relationship has been rather strained since that conversation.

So in the meantime I am waiting around for the delivery of my new cellphone. Oh yeah. And I'm getting my hair done tomorrow. Like what Jen would remember because over the past few months its been shorter than that. I am all about the OPH.

And on that note, I am going back to my Jill Scott and dream about a guy who would make me sing those words. However, most of the time I am left feeling like this. (And if you have never heard the song, you should check it out. I love how the musical style changes right before the third verse.) OK. That's not reality. The reality is that most of the time I feel this or this. OK. So it's mostly the last one. Or maybe it's this.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

More Tales from the Asshole Chronicles

I was so excited on Monday to relay the story of Retail Boy that I completely forgot that other asshole. While hanging out with my neighbor on Saturday, she told me about her last conversation with her ex. This guy.. The one who told her he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her and then eight hours later told her, "I can't see you anymore."

It turns out that he never loved her in the eight months that they were dating. He said that he tried to convince himself that he was but he wasn't really. He just decided that it was easier to keep the status quo than to say anything. Also, he kind of liked the sex.

Apparently this guy also has really bad credit. During the time that they were dating, she allowed him to run up hundreds of dollars on her credit card. (She obviously never watches Judge Mathis or else she would know better than to do this. Aren't the majority of the cases on that show about someone suing an ex over a credit card or cell phone bill?) So now she is stuck with a credit card bill that he probably will never pay.

She finds it funny that he decided to dump her at the end of the week during which he finally became financially solvent. (I question whether he was really solvent if he still owes for the credit card charges.) She asked him, "So you were just using me for sex and money?" He admitted that that was probably the case. What a winner. I just hope that she has learned from this mistake.


Completely unrelated is this site. A friend sent me a link to it on Monday because they have a page dedicated to what to do if your child is born on June 6, 2006. Now that was entertaining on its own but I really liked the part on feminine hygiene products. (You can get there by clicking on "Beliefs" and then reading the "General Rules.") Also, do not skip the section where they post the emails they have received. I think they are the winners for "Strangest Website I've Ever Seen."

And apparently, God does not exist.

Oh, and the cult is showing up to my workplace at lunch today. You know I am so there because I have something like 20 pounds to lose. Y'all do realize that is a joke, don't you? And to those of you who are really trying to lose weight, I am with you in spirit. Just like I am with the Bloggers with Biceps in spirit. But hey! I just don't feel the need to go to the gym since I walk a little over two miles per day just going to and from work. And with that, I am going to spend the day drooling at all of the fattening stuff in the vending machine because payday isn't until tomorrow and I'm pretty broke.

Monday, June 5, 2006

They never go away quietly

Before all of the family drama on Friday, I received a text message. "I don't like the way that things ended." This would be from retail boy. I chose to ignore the message. It had been two weeks since I had last spoken to him. You know. If you don't respond, maybe it will all go away.

Saturday after working and running errands, I was ready to go out. I needed to say goodbye to my bartender before his trip. I managed to talk my neighbor into joining me for one drink. She had something called "Key Lime Pie" that she declared was so tasty, she wanted to crawl into the glass. I told her about the text message. She said, "You know he's going to show up here tonight because he knows that you will be here." I told her that I just didn't think that would happen. Within five minutes after she left, retail boy showed up. Fortunately, I was at the opposite end of the bar and could hide.

Later in the evening, my bar friend showed up. (She told her ex who joined us for a bit and had asked how we knew each other that we were not barflies; we were butterflies.) She was freaked out because she was supposed to be flying home on Sunday and had not heard from her ride to the airport. I volunteered to take her.

Things were going smoothly until I went to join her outside for a cigarette. Who should she start talking to but retail boy? He told me that I never gave him a chance before dumping him. (See the connection to the previous post?) I broke down every way that he had pissed me off that night -- demanding food, taking over the TV, turning on the fan when it was cold. I told him that I felt like my space had been invaded and as he had pointed out that evening, we weren't even dating. He said just because he pissed me off one evening was no reason to get rid of him. I explained that it was more than one evening.

Now there's nothing wrong with working retail, but at age 35 there should be more to your life than retail sales. At least that's my opinion so I asked him about his goals. He got defensive and asked, "Are you talking financial?" I said it was partially that. He then said that he would like to one day be a dad. I asked if he thought he was prepared for that at this point in his life. He admitted that his current job was not conducive to raising a family but that he had ambition. Then came my favorite line. "Everyone I know is always saying how I have lots of ambition." That's when I let him have it. I told him that he liked to start statements with "Everyone I know..." implying that I am the only one not seeing it. I explained that if I have to ask the question, then it isn't that obvious. I also told him that when he makes statements like that, it's like the equivalent of saying, "You're just an idiot." With that said, I walked away.

A few minutes later, he came and found me. He told me that he had never thought about how someone else might interpret his statements and that I was right. (Well, I always knew that. Sheesh.) He then went on about how wonderful I am. (I knew that too.) Then he left.

Later in the evening, I received two more text messages. Something along the lines of "I want you." I could give you the exact words but I'm too lazy to go get my phone. Yes, I have the messages saved because I may need a good laugh in the future. I responded that I was busy. I decided that these messages were proof of my original feeling about the one from Friday. He was horny and couldn't find anyone else.

I could give him a second chance but experience has taught me that this is usually not a good idea. So I'm sticking to my original decision.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Tell me something I don't already know

Checked out this free dating site this past week. (Remember? It's all about boredom at work.) This is the quiz they have on the site. (You do not have to fill in the info in the last page in order to get your results.) These are my results.

You are The Sudden Departure.

Sweet. Dear. Loving. At Gate 18. Final call.

You've been in a lot of serious relationships. More than a few have ended ugly. Uglily. Whatever. Our guess is that you're a really fantastic girl who doesn't really know what she wants, and you've broken a few hearts as a result. You fall for people easily, and you enjoy the feeling of falling in love, but once you're there, either boredom or the old "grass is greener" syndrome sets in. The mind wanders, and with it goes the flesh. And then the toiletries.

We know you're not the classic "love 'em and leave 'em" type, at least not in a purely sexual sense. You have too many serious bonding tendencies for that. But even though you're theoretically looking to settle down, you don't settle long on one person. "Serial monogamist" is probably something you hear a lot. "Emotionally loose" is another way to put it. To the poor guys eating your dust and sniffing your panties, it doesn't really make much difference. Of course, it's not really your fault that people get hurt. You have every right to move on when you choose.

ALWAYS AVOID: The Backrubber, The Gentleman

CONSIDER: The Vapor Trail, someone just like you

Your exact opposite: The Intern

All types are described in the glossary.

This all seems fitting given the last couple of weeks I've had. I'll explain this comment tomorrow.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

I cannot do this again

Today's quiz will appear tomorrow. I just need to vent.

So yesterday on my way out to get a burrito for lunch, I decided to call my stepmom because this was her first week as an officially retired person. It ended up being a long chat since my dad is off on a golfing weekend.

*sigh* Let me stop beating around the bush. The gist of the conversation was that after more than 20 years of sobriety, my dad has decided to start drinking again. Up until now, my dad has been a recovering alcoholic. Now I guess we can drop the "recovering." (My mom's sister, a former social worker, corrected me and said that in actuality he is a "dry drunk" since he never did any follow-up counseling after his time in rehab. She said that alcoholism is usually a sign of other underlying problems and that unless those problems are dealt with, there is a likelihood that an alcoholic will return to drinking after rehab.) I had suspected that he was drinking a couple of months ago. I had gone to his office to do some work for him and he wasn't there. The papers I needed weren't out so I started looking in desk drawers. I found a bottle of port, some plastic cups, and a bottle of mouthwash. A part of me wanted to think that perhaps he had the bottle for when friends dropped by, but then there was the mouthwash. I'll admit it. I have problems with being confrontational and so I said nothing to him. I shared this with my stepmother in our conversation. (I hadn't told anyone about my discovery prior to this conversation.) She said that there have been too many evenings to count during which he comes home smelling like mouthwash. She asked him point blank if he had been drinking and he denied it. I think we're in trouble.

After my parents divorced when I was 8, my dad hit the bottle. My mom swears that he drank before the divorce, just not as much. The custody agreement was that I would spend every other weekend with my dad. By the time I was 11, I had to call to ask if he was going to pick me up or not. Eventually I stopped calling. Why? Because the typical Saturday with my dad meant entertaining myself while he watched sports on TV and polished off a fifth of brandy. Then, because he couldn't cook back then, we would head off to dinner at a restaurant where he would kill a bottle of wine at least. Too many times in my life I have had to hear my mother lecture me on not getting in a car with him after he had been drinking. I didn't pay her any heed though because he was my dad. Those were some of the scariest car rides in my life.

He finally quit drinking when I was 18. One of his drinking buddies had committed suicide and it scared the hell out of him. By then the damage had been done though. It has only been over the last five years that I have had a decent relationship with my dad. I keep telling him that he should send thank you notes to my therapists from over the many years because I don't think that I would have anything to do with him if it weren't for them.

My dad met my stepmother about a year after my parents divorced. They dated off and on for about 10 years before they got married. Yesterday my stepmother explained that while she was interested in him, she knew that she could not get seriously involved as long as he was drinking. They got married two years after he quit.

When my dad is drunk, he can be very cruel. My stepmother and I both agreed about this. She had tried to talk to him about it because she is sure that the drinking is a response to his sister's illness. He also had a younger brother die from cancer this past December. He just gets defensive and denies everything. She thinks that I should try to talk to him but I'm not sure I can. I still remember the summer that I spent with my grandma (his mother -- also the one who was the fabulous cook) when I was 12 and turned to her and said, "My daddy is an alcoholic." Her response was, "I know sweetie but there's nothing we can do about it. He needs to realize that he has a problem on his own." She also said that we just needed to be patient and to wait. I don't think I have that kind of patience anymore.

Friday, June 2, 2006

I thought I was safe

It turned out this week that it wasn't the case. Normally my allergies hit around the end of March. I had forgotten that the long rainy season would mean a later allergy season. What realy sucked is that I haven't been hit like this in several years. I end up with the usual sinus congestion but add to that swollen glands, a sore throat, and a fever and you end up with miserable bitch. By 2 p.m. I feel like I want to enter a nice deep coma sleep. Yesterday I even put my head down on my desk. Then the miracle happened. By Thursday night the fever was gone and I was no longer feeling drained. Just in time.

I have to work on Saturday morning. I am also planning to go out on Saturday. I've got to say goodbye to my fave bartender before he departs on his trip. All I know is that he'd better be back at the bar when he returns. The other bartenders are trainable but they are slower to learn. Well, there is one with hope but he only works on Thursday and Sunday if I am not mistaken. Yes, that's right. I know the bartenders' schedules.

So what else I have done this week besides being grumpy and mean? Yesterday I took a walk down memory lane thanks to SFist. It was a stream of consciousness thing -- my fave. Actually I followed a link from their site to East Bay Express since I had forgotten to pick up a copy on Wednesday. I only read the first four paragraphs because suddenly I was thinking of the 80s and one of my fave local bands from back then, The Freaky Executives. (I accept that I have probably lost most of you, with possible the exception of BWB, by now. Just bear with me.) In college I loved these guys. I kind of knew the trombone player and he would putu me on the guest list of whatever club they were playing. After the show I would hang out with them til the wee hours of the morning. One of those times, Mick Fleetwood crashed the party. The joke was we told Mick that he could join the party since he was kind enough to bring a six-pack of Corona. At the height of my true partying days things were pretty surreal -- and I wasn't even doing drugs.

So of course I Googled the band's name and came up with these two interesting sites. The first is an article about a Berkeley cult. Apparently the lead singer of the Freaky Execs was raised in this cult. The second site is the Primus family tree. And I thought that I had too much time on my hands. I know. You're thinking, "I don't want to click on that link but I am trying to understand the relationship between the Freaky Execs and Primus." The drummer from the Freaky Execs was the drummer for Primus at one point. The same guy also played with Charlie Hunter and Alphabet Soup -- more music from the Bay in the 90s that I liked.

Oh, and of course even though they are no longer together, they do have a page on MySpace ... umm I mean Hellspace. The first two songs were my favorites of theirs back in the day. And then I came across this and it made me remember those places that I miss like Berkeley Square, the Keystone, and Ruthie's Inn. I was about to add The Gilman but they're still around.

Sometimes getting older just plain sucks. I obviously just need to get out and dance.