Sunday, February 28, 2010

CBS, reproduction, Gattaca

I am a CBS junkie. If I could only watch one show for the rest of my life, it would hands down be Big Brother. I could call myself an addict. Last year, when we had showtime 2, I would record Big Brother After Dark and fast forward through them sitting around in hopes of seeing some strategy they didn't show on TV. My dream job would be Julie Chen's. I think she's a fantastic interviewer. I already interview people, the only way to make that better would be to interview reality TV stars.



Recently, I also got into the Amazing Race. Survivor sucks, so CBS didn't get all reality shows right, but Amazing Race is awesome, too. This season, they threw Jeff and Jordan from Big Brother into the Amazing Race. I feel compelled to root for them, since they're from my favorite show. But Jordan is so stupid, it's hard to want to see her win after she already won Big Brother unjustly.



Today, I laughed out loud when Jeff tried the same thing incorrectly three times (I believe the definition of insanity), then realized how stupid he was and said, "we should never reproduce" to Jordan. Too bad it doesn't work like that. Too bad there isn't a way where a woman's egg won't accept a certain man's sperm if they're not compatible. If only. Can you imagine how much more balanced the human race would be? Maybe in the Gattaca days. Which speaking of, Steve and I might hold off reproducing until that technology is out. It would really be nice to be able to determine what gender child we would have. Wouldn't it? I know "I just want a healthy baby," blah blah. I just want a boy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ahoy


I have never been able to figure out what all the men in the navy do.

I can figure out the army and air force, as they pretty much run their own villages and do things with guns and planes. But the navy? What on earth can a bunch of men be doing on a ship? What are their jobs? I just imagine them knotting their kerchifs and saying "ahoy" to each other in passing. I mean seriously, only one or two of them can actually be looking out the portholes with binoculars.

OK, patriots that think I'm slamming our military, just can it. I'm not saying they don't do anything, I'm just ignorant and would like to know what they do. I didn't invite any magnetic-ribbon adorned car owners onto my blog. What are you doing here? Read elsewhere. So anyone with insight, please, enlighten me.

I know they must be patrolling the open seas for pirates. I hear those still exist. But what goes on on those ships?

~A baffled civilian

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

overrated assets

Every woman who doesn't have large boobs wants them. Every woman who does have large boobs wishes they were smaller. I am a part of the latter group. I really don't see what all the fuss is about w/breasts, anyway. Must they be large? Does that make them better? Because really, either way, they're just round mounds and I don't see the big deal.

Mine are a hassle, more than anything. Bra shopping sucks, because all they put on the racks up front are As and Bs and in the back, the ugly, huge, disgusting off white boulder holders.

I don't wear strapless. Well, I did once to my friend's wedding when I was a bridesmaid and the whole time was thinking about how I should have straps on. Never again.

I like to run, but my breasts create some injuries. I have open wounds up on my shoulder bone where my sports bra rubs incessantly until I get off the treadmill. Then I take a hot shower and inevitably get some water into my open sore and then I scream profanities.

Women throw away thousands of dollars to enlarge their breasts and meanwhile, I'm considering doing the same but to shrink mine. I guess we'll always want what we don't have. But ladies, no one should want cleavage that looks like an ass crack. That's just whack.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring Thaw



It's under a month until the official start of Spring. I have never been more ready for a season to end in my life. I really do love the change of seasons. I love how the year cycle emulates life. But this winter has been dragging on, reminding me only of the end of life, and it's become a bit depressing. It seems that much around me is depressing, too. I'm in a funk. I'm in a February funk.

The snow has become filthy, disgusting mounds on the edges of every road. Everything is a dull gray. I'm ready for the sun. I'm ready for the gold to come and melt the grays back into colors. It's like I'm living in Wizard of Oz while still in Kansas. But there is something better to come.

We're almost there. Soon, the snow will turn into rain. And the rain will wash away this filth and grime and salt. And they days will be longer and I'll be able to take walks again. And as the temperature lifts, I can only hope my mood will, too. I want to write this Spring. I want to start my book (for real this time). I want to run to the lake and back. I want to read dozens of books. I want to plant flowers.

I want to see little seedlings. I want to see life beginning. I've nearly forgotten what green looks like. I love green. Perhaps more than any other color. When I was a kid, I liked blue the best, but I think I've grown out of that. There was this one year when April 1st came along and I was sitting outside on the porch and writing about what a perfect day that was. I will never forget that day. And that date is only five weeks away. We can make it. We're almost there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

sound the alarm

Yesterday, we got an alarm system installed. Now I feel like we should be rich. When I was a kid, no one had alarm systems. Most of us didn't even lock our doors. In fact, sometimes I would go down into our basement and some neighbor kid was standing there. We didn't have a fence for the majority of childhood, either. Neighborhood kids and dogs would congregate near our rope swing and wait for us to come out and entertain them. In 1990, I was blissfully aware of crime and creeps.

Now, I'm all too aware of it. Once you work in Human Resources, you see just how many people posing to be normal have rap sheets a mile long including things you didn't know about, like "terroristic threat" and "false imprisonment." Also, not helping my fear of humans, I recently saw "Unlawful Entry" (yes, I know it's from 1992, we didn't have a TV then. I'm still catching up on TV shows and movies from twenty years ago). I feel our monthly bill from ADT is now justified, because a cop like Ray Liotta could very well fall in love with me and try to take me away from Steve. Hey, it's not probable, but possible. Maybe if I kept my mouth closed and had my makeup on and was wearing something from someone else's wardrobe.

So here we are at 11:30 am. Tucker hasn't been let outside for 12 hours. His tiny bladder is about to explode. Yet I haven't let him out yet because Steve is still sleeping and I know our alarm system is armed. I know it's only a matter of time until I open a door and invite the cops to our house. And that's exactly the kind of thing I don't need. Just my luck they'd show up on a day where I had my makeup on and one of them would instantly fall in love with me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

chicken legs

In elementary school, I fit the stereotype for homeschoolers. I was awkward looking with buck teeth and freckles, I wore hand-me-down and homemade (by my mom, not me, thankfully) clothes, and I could recite 132 Bible verses in four days at Neighborhood Bible Time.

I'm sure I was mocked relentlessly behind my back. Luckily, there is a bad stigma about insulting a homeschooler to her face. Even Satan or Chelsey Lately couldn't do it w/o a twinge of guilt. Because of this, I was blissfully unaware of anyone making fun of me. Until sixth grade.

At my own church, I was a fixture. I had been there since 2nd grade and no one was going to make fun of me now. It was too late. But when you're the new girl, all bets are off. The summer before sixth grade, I started going to my friend Sarah's church on Wednesday nights for Master's club. Master's club is like a cross-breed of AWANA and Girl Scouts. It was there that I quickly acquired a nickname of "chicken legs."

I was skinny, so at first I thought it was because of that. But as weeks went on, the nickname became accompanied by snickers and sometimes even pointing. My eyes followed a point one day down to my legs. And I saw something I hadn't realized before. They were sprouting hair. Blond as it was, it was still rather noticeable - that's how long it had become. In fact, I remember comparing my hair w/my older brother's once, and I think I had him pretty well beat. Something had to be done.

I asked my mom if I could shave my legs. She said I was too young for that. So I pulled out my Friskars and trimmed them. Although it was a little better, the hair was still there, glistening in the sun. Sure, it was shorter, but I needed it gone. So the next Wednesday after dinner, I finished dinner early and ran upstairs. My parents should have been suspicious, because on pasta night, I always loitered around the dinner table until everyone else had left and I could gobble up what was left of the buttery noodles.

But this night, I had an agenda. I wasn't going to Master's club again until I addressed the chicken legs issue. So I pulled out my dad's navy blue bic razor. I knew nothing about shaving cream or water, so I rubbed the dry razor up and down my legs in a frenzy, nervously watching the door to make sure no one was approaching. I finished, and gave a quick glance of approval at my now patchily haired legs. Much better. But when I was replacing dad's bic in the precise spot I had found it, I noticed long blond hairs on the blade very obviously contrasting his stubby black whiskers.

There wasn't a towel, and I heard dishes clammoring, so I ran my index finger across the blade to hide the evidence. Blood gushed from my finger like Old Faithful. I grabbed a Band-Aid. I bled right through it. I replaced it, then grabbed four more to tie me over for the rest of the night. All through Master's club, my finger bled. I wondered how much blood you need more blood pumped into your body. I was in such agony over my finger all night that I didn't even notice if anyone had seen my freshly shorn legs. I don't even know if anyone called me chicken legs or pointed or laughed.

On the ride home, mom noticed me sucking on my finger and asked what had happened. I confessed. I knew there would be consequences, but I also thought of how had I not done this, the pain never would've happened. After all, she tried to protect me, it was me who hurt myself. That Christmas, I opened up an present - an electric razor. I still have it, actually. I don't think any female has used an electric razor since 1996 (and that was me), but I just can't part with it. Maybe I'll give it to my daughter one day, the summer before she enters sixth grade.

But then again, since my daughter won't be homeschooled, maybe I should give it to her the summer before kindergarten.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

beyond the tree

There are many things I don't like about myself. Dozens actually. Maybe hundreds, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. One thing in particular I can't stand about myself is how nearsighted I am (confession: I just had to google that. I always confuse nearsighted w/farsighted, even though it should be pretty self-explanatory). I don't mean physically, although my eyes are taking a turn for the worse. I mean I can imagine what tomorrow and the rest of this week should be like, but after that, I have no idea.

I am a terrible planner. The day before a trip, Steve will pack his clothes neatly into a suitcase, check us in online, put his two ounce liquids in a ziploc, then store the boarding passes safely in the middle pocket of his backpack. The extent of my planning is to set my alarm an extra five minutes early to throw some belongings into a bag and hope there isn't traffic on the way to the airport. I either am afraid of what the future holds, or just expect it to change and don't want to have my hopes either up or let down.

I live in the moment so much that it made a mockery of my resume. This job I have now, although it's my second stint there, is the longest employment I've held. And every day that my badge still works, I am thankful and a bit surprised. I'm not saying I'm bad at my job and expect to be let go, it's just that the longevity is something new for me.

Other than this marriage, I never held a relationship that lasted any longer than a season. The night of our rehearsal dinner, my dad kept cautioning Steve and I of the evils of divorce as if it was looming right around the corner for us. He told Steve he couldn't divorce me, no matter what. I believe he even used the scenario of me killing someone as proof that no situation, no matter how grim, could be more grim than divorce. Maybe he was just trying to keep Steve around for me, because he was afraid my personality would eventually scare off the one man that was able to tie me down.

And here we are upon three and a half years of marriage and a mortgage and I'm just realizing how permanent everything has become. And it all just sorta snuck up on me. But I'm still not planning anything. I have Steve for that. I just take it one day at a time (the lazy route) while he meticulously takes care of the rest (everything). Each day, I'm happy to be able to badge myself into work, and every other Friday, I'm happy that miraculously another paycheck has arrived, and every 5th of the month, I'm grateful I was able to pay yet another mortgage payment. And every day, I remain conscious of how lucky I am for all of it, because no, you know I don't have a backup plan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

cashing in coupons

Confession: I am terrified of driving in the snow. I'm not from a snowy area. Give me ten inches of rain that floods the streets and I'd be fine, but give me a centimeter of snow and I begin to hyperventilate. I have a very loyal husband that offers to drive me to work when it snows, and even does so once in awhile grudgingly. I will drive to work in the snow, but nowhere else. Nothing else is so much of a necessity that I would risk my life. That is, until today.

I have the day off, being President's Day and all. So I woke up with a giant list of errands to run. I packed myself and my list into my Saturn, scooped the snow drifts out of my way, and backed onto the street. It was only then that I realized it was snowing. And I panicked. I inched my car slowly down my street. My drive was more of a crawl. My speedometer needle looked as if I was parked. You know those senior citizens who are driving out on the streets and making commutes hell for everyone else? That was me.

I was pissing people off left and right: if I wasn't going to die in an in-climate weather accident, I was certainly going to die in a road rage one. It hit me how stupid this was, and I thought maybe I should turn around. But I didn't (Me making a U-turn in the snow? I might as well commit suicide and save myself the terror). I had a couple coupons burning a hole in my pocket. If there's one thing I'm more of a freak about than driving in the snow, it's coupons.

They expire tomorrow. It's do or die time. And if it's both, at least my coupons didn't expire on me. So I ran all of my errands. I used all my coupons. And by the time it was time to head home, the roads were melted and life was back to calm once again. Getting my heart rate up reminds me I'm alive.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Valentine

My Valentine's day was low-key, which is exactly what I prefer. Steve made me a breakfast burrito this morning, then we worked in the basement. We had dinner reservations at Spezia, a nice Italian restaurant that neither of us has ever been to. We looked at the menu online and decided we'd rather go to TGI Friday's. So we canceled our reservations and went a place we knew we'd both enjoy. It was fantastic. Every year, we write cards to each other that say how we feel about the other, and that is what really makes the day special, anyway.

And now I'm going to shovel the driveway, run on the treadmill, and give Steve a haircut, and watch a movie with him, and there's nothing to complain about. Because that's how we like it: just him and me living our lives as though nothing is out of the ordinary, but saying stupid things like, "be mine" to show today is a little unordinary. And I know this doesn't count as a real holiday, but I hope you all enjoyed today regardless. I hope no matter how grandiose or how relaxed, you all felt loved.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

blog therapy

I'm nearing 200 posts and one year of blogging. I started my blog when I was unemployed and liked to fill my days with something other than Judge Mathis. I guess I didn't think much more of it than that. But it's done something for me this last year. It's reminded me what it's like to love to do something. I've tried to love running, but it's not the same. You can't force yourself to love anything. I never had to force it with writing.

Since I was a girl, I've wrote. I used to type up short stories on legal paper and staple them together as birthday presents to our family friend, Brenda. I drew portraits of the characters on the second page. She probably would have preferred a bag of Reeses, or even just a card, but I was always told it's the thought that counts. I thought long and hard and spent hours retyping pages after making a mistake (the gloriously inefficient days of the typewriter). I wrote a monthly newsletter, I wrote a diary. I drew the town that was the setting for my stories on the back of church bulletins. I wrote stupid little stories and asked dad to read them. He read them, then ruffled my hair and said, "that's my little writer."

But I'm not. I'm not a writer, just a person who likes to write. But this blog has made me forget that. It's made me feel like someone was reading - my few but loyal readers have made me want to keep writing. And it's made me rediscover a part of me that had been neglected. I've been less cranky, less argumentative. Less is more. I've been more forgiving, more sympathetic. So thank you. For reading my humble little blog, commenting, and making me feel like a writer. Thank you for giving me back a piece of myself with your thereness - through your IP address on my sitemeter. The tiniest things to some people are the biggest to others.

Immortal

Sometimes I think
of
What I would write
if I didn't plan on
it one day
having an audience.

If one day it was
never
discovered in a
battered notebook
locked away in a
wooden chest
in my attic.

And I think
if
I would write
anything at all.

-February 5, 2008

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

indie

Indie (adj): abbreviated form of independent - referring to a fad that would hate to be called popular, but that's exactly what it is.

Indie movies (or indie kids would probably call them "films"): Movies without a happy ending. Or, perhaps more commonly, movies without any conclusion for an end.

Indie music: the music that all the kids who think they're cool claimed "they discovered." Bands that make EPs because they can't come up w/a whole album. Bands whose tours include basement bars and if they're lucky, one late night show appearance. I'm sure your friend's cousin's friend knows their drummer, or at least claims to.

Indie kids: claim to be different, but all have the same black hair, track jackets, and CDs. They go to the same concerts and do the same head bobbing and occasional closed eyes swaying. Need to buy their clothes a size larger than they do now.

What's in a name? Irony of all ironies.

ipod compromise

One issue Steve and I haven't yet found a compromise to is music before/during bedtime. My compromise is slapping a pair of earphones on him, his compromise is turning down the volume when I moan about it, only to turn it right back up when he thinks I've forgotten. I haven't.

In fact, that is the reason I'm awake right now. I hate hearing music before I drift off to sleep. Every song reminds me I'm still awake, until it's every sentence and every note that nags me that precious moments are ticking away that I'm not asleep. I lie still on the bed, watching out the window. Tonight, I watched our neighbor's porch light burn out, and I was jealous that even a 60 Watt bulb found rest when I still haven't.

But it's not all bad: Steve's music has created a soundtrack to my life. As Steve's musical tastes change, so do my chapters. When I first dated Steve in 2002, it was Newfound Glory and Jimmy Eat World. When we dated the second time, it was Death Cab for Cutie, Jack Johnson, Angels & Airwaves and Ben Folds. When we lived in Illinois, it was Cold War Kids, the Decemberists, Damien Rice. Now it's Lil' Wayne, the Fray, One Republic.

I lay in bed tonight listening to the soundtrack from "Last Kiss," wanting to turn it off while Steve snored, but afraid to wake him. He has changed something in me. He has turned the iciest part of me to slush. Where I used to not care at all, I care a little. And where we haven't yet found compromise, I insert that "yet" because I know we will.

“Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.”

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Grandpa's house



This is my favorite road in the world. It leads to Grandpa's house. Grandpa lived in a large farm house that originated as one story. They added stories as the family grew, until it was a towering three stories tall full of eight kids. My mom is the oldest. We didn't live nearby, like the other seven children did, but every Thanksgiving and after every Christmas, and sometimes in the summer, we would come by and stay for the weekend. I looked forward to those visits for weeks.



I loved playing with my cousins, especially exploring the house, the barn, the attic, and the creek. Grandpa had about ten pairs of humongous adult rubber boots we could borrow when we went to the creek (every year, we attempted to make a dam or a bridge to see what was on the other side w/o getting soaked up to our knees). This is the mud room, but used to be the kitchen when the house was just one story. The refrigerator in there was too cold, and our milk always had floating ice chips.



We couldn't explore the whole 20 acres on foot, so we used the four wheelers. We drove recklessly through mud and blackberry bushes, getting whipped in the face every four seconds or so. It's a miracle none of us ever died on one of those beasts.



Grandpa had a picture of each of us hanging in his hallway. Our parents before the door to the kitchen, the 24 of us grandkids after the kitchen. The Pelesky ones were rarely updated. I think Joel's picture with a cloth crown and a matching outfit stayed up there until his senior picture.



Here is the incredibly unsafe barn. If memory serves, my sister fell out of those second story swinging doors once.



One Thanksgiving, nearly ten years ago, I decided to take pictures of Grandpa's house. I wanted to always be able to remember it as I knew it as a child. The barn, the field, the creek, the greenhouse, Grandma's garden, the strawberry patch, the pond, the trails, the raspberry rows, the attic, the old refridgerator. And how all of these landscapes contributed to some of my happiest memories. How they provided the setting for my favorite days.

Two and a half years ago, my grandpa passed. My mom and my aunts and uncles cleaned out the house and the barn, and rented it out to a family. This family doesn't know my twenty cousins or my five uncles, my two aunts, or my mom. They don't know that by the window was the most coveted seat at the dining room table, or that all of our pictures were hung in their hallway, or why there is a refrigerator and an old stove in the basement. They don't know those old doors downstairs used to be the front of a much smaller house once upon a time, before all the rest of us happened.

Holidays aren't the same, without Grandpa's house for us all to gather in. Sure, we tried meeting at my aunt's house, but it wasn't the same: my uncle was in a frenzy making sure no one's shoes were still on and that every drink had a coaster. But I guess that isn't a bad thing. It shows us that things will change, and change makes us remember all that we had before. And I will never forget Grandpa, the man who made that house my favorite place in the world to be.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

dear body

Dear Chin,
You're not a twin, nor a triplet. Quit trying to clone yourself and multiply all over my neck.
*********************************
Dear Stretch Marks,
I hate you. I hate that I believed my mom when she said I wouldn't get you because she didn't get you. Too bad genetics aren't as predictable as we'd like to think. Can you leave already? I feel like you'll be here forever and that's not a commitment I'm ready for.
*********************************
Dear Skin,
Pale hasn't been in style for almost 100 years now, and I know you can't really believe that fad is going to come back around. I don't need to look like a leather bag, but a shade darker than translucent would be nice. Now even my veins get sunburns.
*********************************
Dear Love Handles,
My pants hate you. I know, I know, you hate them too. But I'm siding w/the pants because I shelled out a lot of money for them and you came w/o a receipt. So learn to live w/the pants - they're not going anywhere, and I'm not trading them for a roomier set, either.
*********************************
Dear Eyebrows,
You are much too high-maintenance for my taste. That is the reason I rip out all your little follicles w/scalding hot wax. If you weren't such a pain, maybe I'd take a nicer approach.
********************************
Dear Feet and Hands,
Quit your crying. I'm over it. Quit reminding me that you're not.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

white collar crimes

Everyone is good at something. They have to be. This is the only hope I still hold out for the world. My cynicism has taken over every other nice thought I've had about people, but I still think everyone has some talent, no matter how worthless the skill is.

And mine happens to be returning things. I have been great at it for as long as I can remember. I used to do returns for my mom when I was ten or so. It intimidates most people. It excites me. I have honed my skills to nearly perfect, and sometimes I'm afraid I'm on the brink of making it a hobby. I find myself not trying on things or buying things and following it up w/the justification, "if it doesn't work out, I can just return it."

And I do. Every customer service manager in West Omaha has seen my driver's license by now. I pride myself on always having the receipt, and keeping tags (not on, just for if I have to attach them later). My greatest feat was returning washed and worn pants to the Limited. They are very strict about that. I swear they hire people who can sniff detergent the way drug dogs can sniff cocaine.

I have returned through the mail, I have package-taped boxes, I have even made my own little "I" things that adhere tags and buttons to clothes. I have lied, cheated, and finagled my money back one way or another. A few times, I accidentally made a profit on it. If I lost my job, I could probably sustain myself for at least a month on income from returns alone.

The number one secret is to have a story ready. They will always ask. These sales people have to meet sales goals and returns put them behind for the day. They will try to talk you into an exchange instead. Don't fall for it. Stay strong. They can detect fear. Be fearless.

Yesterday, I took two shirts back and immediately said, "I bought them for my sister and she already had them," I think before the lanyard could even ask. This is my fallback story for all returns. You can't argue w/me, it's my sister's fault. I was trying to give you money, but she made me take it back. It's one of the few perks of being a middle child: you learn how to dodge a bullet so quick it blows Plaxico Burress' mind.

Then, I went to B&N where the woman asked me the reason for the return. I told her "because I accidentally bought two of them." She studied the receipt and realized sure enough, I am that stupid. Or maybe that was my returns subconscious buying that day. When I leave a store w/money in my pocket or a debit card credit receipt in my hand, I am happy. I am elated. I feel like I just pulled off a terrible crime. Hey, even us normal, spotless-record civilians need to feel like criminals once in awhile.