Monday, December 31, 2007

For my nurse working sis tonight on New Year's Eve...

One of the best party songs of all time. Go on, girl...just because you have to work tonight doesn't mean you can't shake it for a few minutes...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas, Cutting Boards, Floods, and Blood

So, another Christmas has come and gone. 2008 is upon me. Tonight I sit in my beautiful office, surrounded by shrapnel...bits and pieces from the rest of the house strewn about, listening to the sounds of what appears to be an industrial-sized wind tunnel. In actuality, it's about 8 industrial-sized fans dispersed in the house, along with two huge dehumidifiers. I don't even want to know what my power bill will be next month.

A feeder pipe in our upstairs bath busted on Christmas Eve morning, about two hours before fiance's family was to arrive and I was to play domestic parter. About 25 towels and a wet/dry vac later, we got the verdict from the insurance company - resistance is futile...our four-month old house would undergo a massive dry, dehumidify, and rebuilding of walls, floors, and a ceiling. Merry Christmas.

In the midst of the screaming over the stadium fans blowing in the house (which will be here a total of five days, mind you), I got up this morning to let my 6-month old pup out, bent over to get something in the dark and wham! I got nailed in the chin by an excited Great Dane. I bit my lip, and when I finally woke up and looked in the mirror, it was as if I had eaten the head off a dove a'la Ozzy Osbourne. I wasn't sure if I knocked out a tooth...I was glad I didn't - my teeth are the only attribute that seems to not age as much as the rest of me these days. My teeth remained intact, but I do have a huge, red and painful lower lip now. Fiance' offered to drive me to the ER if the bleeding didn't stop and I may need a stitch or two. Then, he got me ice and started calling me "Rocky." I passed on the ER thing. I figured I'd look like a whiney little girl if I did that. So, I sucked it up, waited for the blood to subside, went back to bed with an ice pack on my face, and looked for the silver lining - maybe I'd wake up with Angelina Jolie lips.

Yeah...not so much. Yo Adrian.

With all the hoopla, this has still been one of the best holidays I've had in a few years. I can't even remember the last three, to be honest, but exactly four years ago, I spent Christmas alone in a Waffle House. And, although I may bring that subject up every year in my blog for the rest of my existence, I don't do it for any other reason but to remind myself of how far I've come. Four years ago, I had 50 bucks and a lawn chair to my name. Not to mention a mountain of debt. Sure, the debt still looms, but it's not nearly as bad. And the lawn chair has been replaced by a beautiful home in the country, surrounded by horses, Danes, a boxer, two soon-to-be-stepkids, and a fiance. The weirdest coincidence? I paid off my couch today in full. Huh.

As for Christmas loot, I wasn't really into it this year. I get a little more "bah humbug" every year, I think. I mean, I don't know why we all just don't give each other a check for like $250 and call it a day. Yeah, I know it's not Christmas-politically-correct, but the holiday gets so stupidly stressful from gift giving, in my opinion. Way too much pressure for a chick who can't wrap a decent gift to save her life.

Despite my bah humbug stance, those in my inner circle are still big believers in the capitalist spirit of Christmas. And, that's cool. Whatever gets you feeling happy. And, because of all the generosity in that inner circle, I got a lot of cool stuff that did make me smile. A Nano, my Coco Chanel, a new handheld video camera that's smaller than my phone, a pretty bracelet, a really neat frame with an Emerson quote from my sister, and even a crock pot and an espresso maker. I've become the breve latte queen. Fiance' and I even gave each other a Wii, fully aware of what we bought ourselves, but wrapped it anyway and stuck it under the tree. I rock at tennis, by the way.

But, when all was said and done, and when asked what my favorite gift was by fiance', it wasn't one of his, and it wasn't even the Nano (although the Nano was the single thing I asked for under Christmas-list-duress, and it's glued to me constantly now). My favorite gift was a piece of wood, formed into a cutting board by a 14-year old. Now, let's just reiterate...I don't cook. I don't cut things or do anything really domestic-like in the kitchen, really. Once in a while you'll see me chopping celery or something, but as a general rule, I clean my kitchen and say, "wow...what a pretty kitchen." That's about it. Needless to say, I don't ask for things like a Rachel Ray fondue set like my sister does. I'd much rather have the Nano or the Chanel.

However, the soon-to-be stepson made me the most beautiful cutting board from a single piece of ash wood. One of those thick kinds with a handle and a rectangular groove that you see in Williams Sonoma for 90 bucks, only this one has a slight flaw at the left corner that stepson-kid called his "signature." He made it with his own hands in woodshop, and he told me it took him about 5 days. Considering the fact that keeping his attention for 5 minutes is a monumental feat, this was sort of a big deal. What was a school woodshop project for him is a truly touching gesture for me. I realize that he could've done nothing. Or made it for someone else, for that matter. I'm just the stepmom-to-be, I subject him to 80s music in the car a lot, and I talk too much. But he chose to take the time to make something for me. I guess this is why those horribly-fingerpainted pictures show up on fridges in homes with kids. I was honored by his sheer brilliance. And, I'm not even his parent, so go figure.

So, there you go. My Christmas blog entry. It's come and gone, for sure, just in time to make room for my favorite holiday of the year - New Years. Two days and counting...

Cut me, Mick.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Forever Fighting the Foo

Today, I bought tickets to see the Foo Fighters in Nashvegas in late January. I've always wanted to see them; I say always, but really, I've wanted to see them for about five years. Every time they toured, they either didn't tour in my city or a life event got in my way.

Finally. I get to see the Foos.

Their newest CD, "Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace" came out a bit ago, and while track number one kicks basic Foo ass, my favorite thus far is Track 10. No typical "Dave screaming" on this one, the lyrics are great, and it just spoke to me upon first hearing it.

No video yet, but here are the words to Track 10 - Statues.

You and I were two old and tortured souls
Repaired by a love of broken things
In a life, just some bodies growing old
No fear of the end, of anything

We're just ordinary people, you and me
Time will turn us into statues, eventually

We got by, though we never needed much
A sliver of hope, no diamond rings
We got high, it was heaven it was hell
Flying over them, with broken wings

We're just ordinary people, you and me

Time will turn us into statues, eventually
Oh, just two ordinary people, you and me
Time will turn us into statues, eventually

Our bones forever in stone
Monuments of life
To dust, as everything must
We fade away in time, oh

We're just ordinary people, you and me
Time will turn us into statues, eventually
Oh, just two ordinary people, you and me
Oh, time will turn us into statues, eventually

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Giving Thanks...better late than never.

Today, I received an actual request from one of my two readers for more material. It’s been about a month since I’ve purged my brain here, and I know I'm due.

Let's first get a mental picture of my day today, which will give you an idea of how weirdly chaotic my life has been over the last month. Today, I wrote about a 62-year-old man's gangrenous colon while eating Reese's pieces. (Number 42 on my "to-do-before-I-die" list...check). I ate lunch with a friend of mine at work, who happens to be the wife of a doctor, very Catholic, and that sort of perfect suburbanite that you see in Good Housekeeping magazine. She only works part-time to be social, really, and most days, her perfectly arranged books about Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela on her cube shelves beg me to move them out of order - just to see if her hair will mess up as a result. Today, though, she spoke about a Euchre party she attended last night that was complete with cocktails and transvestites, transgenders, and transsexuals, and went on to discuss what the difference of the three are and how "its" boobs were absolutely stunning(number 67...check). Additionally, it was my first day in four days to actually be at work, as I've been working the last few out of my home office, while simultaneously taking care of fiance' after major spinal surgery. Today, I came home to a healthy man with an unhealthy mental perspective on how well he really is after having his neck sliced and vertebrae messed with by a neurosurgeon on Monday. I had him nicely drugged and numb for the three days I was around. And on day four, sans me and my constant flow of the happy juice, the "oh, I'm fine...where are my car keys?" turned quickly into "wow, I don't feel so good...I may puke" after peeling the nasty, three-day-old bandage from his neck. The actual hair that he does have left was shaved even further, thanks to Salon Neurosurgeon. I managed to be Miss Nursey Jane, cleaning the bandaged area like a champ and doing it all in 4-inch stiletto boots while keeping the wound dry and intact. Maybe I did go into the wrong profession, after all.

Following my forced medical internship, I then had to deliver a phone to a teenage boy. The soon-to-be-stepson needed a new phone desperately, as his old one died. And, we can't have him not talking to the four girls that happen to be in love with him since I took him to get his hair cut like Brad Pitt's. Because I'm the only one of the two parental units that lives at his Dad's house that can drive a car this week, I was appointed to assist in the handoff. And because his mother wants me to die a slow, painful, and more than likely embarrassing public-stoning-type death, I had to make the delivery in the driveway. Despite my faith for one day being like Rod Stewart's family of ex-wives and kids that spend Christmas together harmoniously, I realize that his mother is not likely to invite me to tea in this lifetime. Well, maybe if it was laced with cyanide, perhaps. So, I sit in the driveway, like a teenage phone-crack dealer and do the handoff. And, now I'm finally home, checking email, and realizing that this is so very, very normal for me. It's as if I was born to live in such chaos. Normalcy is the weird and the uncomfortable, it seems. The craziness is my life, in all its dysfunctional glory.

To add to the normalcy of my day, I received one of those "you have 7 new members in your Classmates community" emails from, and like an idiot, I clicked on it, only to learn that one, about 68 people have clicked to see what I'm doing these days, and two, my ex-husband and his Lawyer McStepfordhippie new wife delivered a baby girl in October. Now before you go thinking that I'm upset about his new spawn, I somehow feel as though my eggs are just balls of dust, and I'm hormonal or something, I do have a great epiphany to share here. So bear with me. Where he once had nothing, he now has vomited pictures of he and his new spawn and his wife kissing - much like the Tipper and Al Gore-type political, non-tongue like stuff - all over the site. A picture of their perfect Catholic wedding after the perfect annullment, despite my perfectly riddled-with-expletives-and-tales-of-penchants-for-Asian-porn rants to the archdiocese. The right amount of money can squelch a rant. I'm curious as to how much it cost to shut me up, though. If only Marie Claire paid that much for a lifestyle article. I always wondered what priest has that rant in his possession now, and where my picture is hanging with the caption of, "DON'T EVER LET THIS CRAZY BITCH INTO THE HALLOWED WALLS OF OUR CHURCH AGAIN." You'd think I'd be freaked out a little by the new baby thing. I was with the man for 13 years, after all, but when I looked at the pictures, I just felt, well, relieved. And, weirdly, I feel as though he's so much better off without me. I just wasn't right for the guy. Period. I was too pensive. I analyzed too much. I didn't have a lobotomy.

My initial reaction wasn't what someone would think it would be. I could actually smell the prison walls I once lived in, and the subsequent "mommy and me" group outings I would have to endure in suburbia if I had not escaped years ago. I was reminded of that feeling of having no control over my life. Honestly, there are days when I wonder what in the hell fiance is doing with ME. And then he'll look at me and tell me I'm beautiful and exclaim his wonder that I'm even standing 10 feet away from him. It's funny how love works that way, I guess. When it's the real, take-out-the-trash-together type of love, with all its weirdness and dyfunction, its a no-holds-barred kind of life. If you're smart and really look at things at face value, you shake your head in amazement that this person thinks you're gorgeous when you wake up in the morning with dragon breath and medusa hair...

I wasn't sad. I wasn't upset. I wasn't even a bit jealous of the whole baby thing, even if I have been experiencing periodic baby twangs every so often. I just felt grateful for the man who grabbed my hand the night before, looked deep into my eyes and said probably the most sincere "thank you, babe" for taking care of him this week. I felt grateful for the teenage kid that joked with me in the car, laughed at something I said and said, simply, "thank you" for the phone I brought him. I felt grateful for the teenage girl who said, "if I could afford the gas, I'd come live with you and's more fun at your place." (That really was a compliment, by the way). I felt grateful for the big, clumsy Great Dane and dangerously wagging boxer that knocked me over when I walked in the door today.

My Dad sent me that Dalai Lama good-karma email that seems to go around about every six months. I always forward it, because, well, it's the Lama, and he's my mofo. One of my favorite quotes in it is something like "not getting what you want may be exactly what you need." I don't have the house in the suburbs. I don't have a picture-perfect relationship and a Tipper and Al Gore-like presentation to my life. I don't have my perfect job, and I don't have it all figured out. Hell, I barely understand myself, let alone the male species or the teenage one, to boot. My life is so beautifully flawed at this point, and it's exactly where I know I'm supposed to be. I closed a door, another one opened, and the view is vast now. It just smells good.

And all it took was a stupid spam mail to remind me of that.

Because it came and went without a posting, I must sign off with my better-late-than-never tradition of providing my "What I'm Thankful For This Year" list. I've already stated some, but here are some additions on the tip of my brain, just to keep the love flowing...:

*Fresh Midwestern snow and not being able to determine where my driveway ends and the road begins.
*Friends that tell me, on a bad hair day no less, that I remind them of Ingrid Bergman. She was way cool, and that is way complimentary.
*A 5-month old puppy that eats 7 cups of food a day, and won’t cap out until he’s over a year old. I won't even talk about his poo.
*A 60” television during the SEC championships, even if the Vols choked like a high school team.
*An April honeymoon, to be preceded by an April par-tay, which will be preceded by an April wedding.
*Past students who write me to let me know that they are now attending grad school because of my encouragement to "keep on writing and reading..."
*A subscription to both Bitch magazine and Vogue - and especially when they arrive on the same day.
*Café breves. Full fat, please.
*My little Mazda hatchback that averages 26 mpg.
*Shunning turkey on Thanksgiving and starting my new “All Chicken Livers and Mashed Potatoes All Day” new tradition
*Channel 59 on XM – because the best metal is LED. Oh yes.
*Learning that I really am nurturing and somewhat maternal and surprising my significant other with that (as well as myself)...
*Matt Damon FINALLY making sexiest man of the year. It's about time, people. Ben WHO?
*Horses in my backyard that I don’t have to take care of (thanks, country neighbors).
*A brand new copy of Abbey Road – because my old one was just too worn out - and especially tracks 14, 15, and 16 (...and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make...).
*Having a fiancé progressive enough to not be freaked out if I choose to hyphenate my name (OK, he questioned that just a TAD), hire a female minister, and deem good acoustics, cheap vodka, and my choice of turquoise or red dress color as some major priorities for our day.
*Rawhide. Bags of it. I suppose it's like pacifiers for a tired canine mother.
*Youtube. It's just good brain candy.
*Deadlines met, and the notion of NO overtime over Christmas. Fingers crossed.

Long enough, reader number 2?