Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nostalgia

I know I'm not that old, but seeing kids these days, I feel older than I am. My nephew is four and can navigate an iTouch better than I can. Seeing how much has changed since I've been alive makes me wonder how different things will be ten years from now. I mean, remember:

1. When your phone was only used for calling people
2. When your computer was two colors: black and green
3. Typewriters
4. Sending mail through the post office
5. Walkmans
6. Winding those god damn cassette tapes because the tape was always coming out
7. Your first cell phone that didn't even flip open
8. Blowing on video games to unfreeze them
9. Literally recording tv shows with your VHS player
10. Records
11. Buying an entire CD just for that one song you liked
12. Computer paper with perforation and holes on the sides
13. When eBay was actual people selling their old shit
14. Sending checks to pay for things you bought on eBay
15. Radio shows as entertainment (Fibber McGee & Molly, Suspense, Dragnet et al.)
16. Take and bake pizza
17. Books
18. Bikes and scooters without motors
19. Disney movies before Pixar
20. Developing film to see your pictures

We've come a long way, baby. Every thing is faster and more convenient. It scares me to think of what could be next (although Steve mentioned cars that drive themselves - that's one modern marvel I am not afraid of).

Tell me what you miss that I missed. Or maybe you don't miss it, but you laugh now at what a pain in the ass it was then.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

before i hate it...

Winter blew in yesterday. Tucker and I were on our daily walk because neither of us is ready to let it go yet. The wind blew his beard like he was on the cover of Glamour. I gloved up for the occasion. At the post office today, the distinctive smell of a heater just-turned-on-for-the-first-time-after-the-summer-months filled the air.

I put the down comforter on our bed. We slept in later because we didn't want to get out from under the covers. The skin on my nose is already getting dry the way it does in the winter. The trees are naked and I saw birds flying south in a V on my drive home today.

I went to the library and borrowed some books. I laughed out loud while reading today at lunch. This weekend I will buy some Swiss Miss hot chocolate and some marshmallows that I will rarely use and leave in the pantry too long as happens to most all marshmallows.

I like winter. Other than the driving in the snow part and the shoveling the driveway part. If vehicles weren't involved at all, I would love winter. I like listening to Christmas music. I like scarves and hats and snuggling under blankets and reading books. I like coveting all the shiny things in ads and buying a couple things for myself even though it's not the reason for the season.

I like hanging stockings and the idea of firing up the ol' fireplace, although I haven't done it yet. I like addressing Christmas cards and getting them in return. I like to have a New Years' Party where we all get too drunk and try to piece the night together afterward.

And this year, I'm going home for the holidays. I like to see my brothers and my little niece who can say my name now. My mom makes fudge and candies and cookies which is my heaven. My dad has a Christmas ritual of pointing out all the houses with Christmas lights on them like we've done since as long as I can remember and every year he still says, "I see some lights!" to me in excitement as if he forgot that I've grown up. He wants to still think of me as his little girl.

I like to go shopping the day after Christmas where the crowds are insane with teens who got the cash they asked for and can't wait to spend it. I like to come home after vacation and sink blissfully back into normality. I like it all a lot. Not quite love, since I reserve that for fall, but a close second.

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.
~Henry Beston, Northern Farm

Monday, October 25, 2010

wedding hells bells

On Saturday, pre-glass-slinging, my recently-engaged sister and I went shopping for wedding dresses part II. We drove to some fancy place in Lincoln where they told her they don't make appointments, just come on in. We got there and had to take off our shoes. Strike one for me. I hate being brought down to my normal unshoed height. And don't even get me started on the shit that is on people's carpet that is way worse than whatever was on my sole.

The front desk girl told her it would be 2 1/2 hours until a room opened up. So we sat outside on the curb and zipped our knee-high boots back up. "What snobs! Making me take off my shoes then telling you it'll take two and a half hours!" one of us complained. Amber's friend was along as well, and her GPS told us of a bridal outlet within ten miles. We got excited thinking of a clean and organized outlet with Vera Wang and Monique Lhuiller dresses priced at $200 in perfect condition except for a gold line through the tag.

Yes, we dream unrealistically. Instead, we were greeted with this:
"Atleast they won't make us take our shoes off in here," I muttered. I was wrong. We had to take off our shoes and let our socks soak into the church fellowship hall carpet sweat-stained by countless discount shoppers in a place where wedding dresses were covered in face makeup and pit stains and kids' jam hands. I snapped a bootleg photo of the inside because I know a blog op when I see one:

After laughing manically at the selection, we left for some lunch and waited for the normal place to call us. The snobby ones with a 2 1/2 hour wait. Neither one is our people, we're somewhere in between. But given the choice, we both prefer a place without hypodermic needles under the racks. But Amber couldn't leave until she tried on a dress:

And I couldn't leave without this photo:


The whole escapade made me realize that buying my wedding dress online might not have been such a stupid idea after all.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

shattered glass

Being a birth mother is not easy. It is emotionally exhausting enough on its own already. Every day you think about it and try to push it away. But always, it's there. It's a part of you that never remains in the past as some other things do. Then you throw a couple people who sling hateful comments at you into the mix and it becomes even more draining. Last night was my second instance of some drunk girl saying, "why don't you go give another baby away?" I lost it. Steve had to escort me to the car to prevent me from going to jail for assault.

When I was pregnant, the adoption agency I went through had me fill out a booklet that went through my decision making process. I found it the other day and I had answered this question: Are you thinking of making that decision based on other people's feelings? with: I want to make the decision based on what I think is best for me and my baby, but it's hard when I'm surrounded by people who don't support my decision and think I'm selfish. The woman who works at the agency wrote back, "I just can't understand that line of thinking!"

Neither can I. But it's out there. It's out there representing itself in cold stares and whispers and a few people that say exactly what they feel about it to my face. It's out there beating me down and making me feel worthless over and over again. I know I did the right thing, but it's hard to know something is right when so many people think it is wrong. I guess what's right is all relative. So you might say it was wrong when I hurled my glass at this hateful drunk girl, but I say it's all relative.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spider kids

As a kid, I was one of the lucky Christian homeschoolers that could observe Halloween without rotting in hell. Well, we'll see about the consequences later, I guess. Anyway, we didn't have a lot of money, so every year we made a costume out of things around the house (see picture from last year's Halloween post). In that post, I alluded to our T-shirts with spiders glued on them. Here's the picture:

Please note my older brother is wearing a headband with two spiders on it. And yes, those are spider rings on our fingers. It's amazing what you can find at the dollar store.

I read a blog post today where the author dressed like a pack of her mom's favorite cigarettes back when she was eight years old. I thought that was hysterical. Can you imagine that coming to your front door and asking for candy? I would say that all this sugar really wasn't good for a kid, but what would it mean talking to nicotine? I wonder what will come to my door this year. Do you think parents would mind if I snapped pictures of their kids for my blog? I can already imagine authorities being called to my house...

Holidays make me nostalgic. They make me miss being a kid and make me regret growing into an overwhelmed and stressed-out adult. It's really the little trinkets and decorations that remind me most of my childhood. Every time I'm at a garage sale, I see something that my mom owns and miss home. Look at those trick or treat buckets hanging on our stocking hooks: did you know McDonald's still makes those? Some things improve, some things die out, but most things just change colors with each new generation.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I tried to google this bitch and ended up here

I'm not feeling inspired by anything lately, just overwhelmed. So we'll count on the anonymous Googlers to provide us with entertainment today (not that I'm all that entertaining, but just go with it):

The latest phrases Googled that ended someone up at my blog (pretty much just put the word "bitch" in front of anything and my blog will end up in your search results):

1. Best evolution personalized plate
I don't know anything about that- maybe "Fsh2Frg"?
2. Live for yourself not society
Preach it
3. Just bitchin translate
Translate it into what language? Some things get lost in translation.
4. Bitchin pain
Google says that's me
5. Mother using masking tape on son pictures washington
This is so demented
6. "People tell us who they are" we choose not to listen
That's from Mad Men, but I'll take credit because it's effing brilliant
7. Bring it back bitch
Yeah, bitch!
8. Bitchworlds
A video game? I think I could ace that one in thirty minutes flat.
9. Puzzle pieces falling from the sky
What are you smoking?
10. Bithcin root beer {sic}
Apparently I attract people who can't spell which has never been my intention

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Leaf me be

Today, while raking up six yard waste bags and three trash cans worth of leaves, I wondered what apartment rent prices were running these days. Having a house can be such a pain in the ass sometimes. So I forced myself to think of a happier memory: like the day we first came and saw this house.

I had poured over internet listings for weeks. Steve and I picked our ten favorite houses. Our realtor told us to meet her at our favorite house. "But I do have some bad news: it was sold yesterday." For some insane reason, she still wanted us to come look at it; to compare to other houses and because, you never know, it could fall through. Right.

So we pulled up to what is now our driveway and waited. We looked at the perfect yard and mourned that someone beat us to it. We waited and waited. Finally, Steve called her. "I'm at the house, where are you guys?" she asked. We were already at our favorite house. She thought our favorite was a different one. She hadn't met me yet and didn't know I would want the house that was the most expensive biggest newest best. She probably thought we'd be picking on charm and affordability and other bull shit like that.

So we went and met her at our second favorite house and toured house upon house until we finally ended up right where we started: at our favorite one. And now it is our's in all it's glory: the millions of leaves, the leaky water heater, the air ducts with dead mice in them (we got those sucked out last week). But I don't think I would trade it for anything, because despite all that, it's Home Sweet Home. Because we couldn't afford a brand new mansion and for that reason only. We had to settle for one that was affordable and had charm.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time ain't on your side

On Saturday night, on our way home from Worlds of Fun not two miles from our house, Steve and I saw the wreckage of a terrible accident that had just happened. "Drunk driver," I had muttered. That's a real problem around here. I don't like to drive anywhere past 10 pm for that very reason.

Yesterday, I read the article: a drunk driver hit a newlywed couple. The woman, 26, died. That could have been me. Had we been at that intersection three minutes earlier, had I not insisted we stop at Dairy Queen for that Blizzard since my throat hurt from screaming, we would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I've been thinking about time lately: how there's never enough of it. I hear people say, "I haven't found the time for ___" (working out, reading books, taking a vacation). News flash: you won't ever find time. There aren't these minutes and hours that you don't know about lurking around somewhere between your regular scheduled programming. The lurking minutes and hours are in the activities you already have.

You make time for what is a priority for you by shuffling around some of the activities that are currently sucking your time away from you. You stop watching a TV show (preferably Biggest Loser or something else that is 2 hours long). You quit sleeping in. You use your lunch break productively. I'm saying all this to myself, really. My one goal in life has always been to write a book. And thinking of death without notice reminds me that I haven't done it yet.

I've been putting off writing this book because I can always find other things to spend my time on: puttering around the house, watching premium cable, surfing the internet. Without a definitive deadline, I always think I'll find time later. But I haven't so far. So here's to making time for it now: here's to turning ambitions from dreams into goals.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

guilt cookies

In an effort to lose one of these chins by the time I fly back home for Christmas, on Saturday I decided I would change. I decided I would work out more and eat less sweets. Sunday I went for a long run. Yesterday, I didn't drink a root beer float and I didn't eat any chocolate (except where mixed with granola which doesn't count for shit since granola is healthy). I felt pretty damn good. And I didn't feel like I would wake up this morning with four new zits breaking out across my face (post-pubescent acne is a slight problem for me).

I was going to keep a journal: day 1, day 2, etc. to post for you on this blog. Well, there it is. Because today, I order four fried taquitos for lunch from this fantastic Mexican place the payroll girls order from. I had two root beer floats with dinner. And I topped it all off with two double stuffed E.L. Fudges smushed together. And I do feel like I will have four new zits breaking across my face tomorrow morning. But I'm OK with it; that's the reason I bought the face wash after all.

I felt horrible most of the night which is the reason I binged on the E.L. Fudges; our doorbell rang and since it gets dark so early now people can tell we're home with the lights on and all. That is really killing our avoid-them-and-they'll-leave tactic. It was a small boy who couldn't have been older than seven and as socially adapted as six. He was shy and had the blushing cheeks like I do. His parents stood on the sidewalk with a wagon full of popcorn; it was obvious they made him join the boy scouts to interact with other children. He asked me if I wanted to buy some popcorn. I asked him how much and he said, "different prices for different sizes," in a hurry as if he was being timed. He showed me a brochure from afar which doesn't work on a woman who was recently diagnosed with needing glasses.

I could only read one price, which was $20. I thought that rather steep for some microwave popcorn. I did a quick inventory of our pantry and realized that we really didn't need it (who ever needs something that is sold door-to-door?). I didn't have any cash (these are all excuses, I'm sure you're aware). Kids don't hear excuses, they hear only 'yes' or 'no.' So I told him 'no' and sent him on his way.

No sooner had I closed the door than I felt a wave of guilt rush over me. I made a terrible mistake. I could picture this mom muttering, "what a bitch! Who can say 'no' to a boy in a kerchief?" But I couldn't take it back. So I asked Steve to buy some popcorn from his boss' son so I can do right by at least one boy scout. I mean really, what did they ever do to me but make me scarf down E.L. Fudges out of guilt?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

worlds of thrill seekers

Two years ago, my sister and I had the perfect day: we got Starbucks and Winchell's for breakfast, then drove to Kansas City. We went to this giant outdoor mall complete with a Banana Republic and Gap outlet. We found clothes for each other and went over the allowed items limit in the dressing rooms. Then we went to Worlds of Fun for a few hours where there we no lines and we could get right back on the same roller coaster we got off of within three minutes. There was that definite fall nip in the air and everyone else was at home raking leaves or watching football. We talked and laughed on the way back home: it was carefree and adventurous.

Recently (ok, always) I've been wanting to get away. I'm a person who feels a definite need to separate myself from my daily routine every so often. I need to get out of the house, get out of the city, not think about work or chores. It is when I do something different that I feel alive. That is when I think and am inspired to write. All of my writing was written on airplanes, a weekend, or on a weekday off of work. On any normal day, I work and workout and eat dinner and read and go to bed at a reasonable time so I can do it again tomorrow.

I've been dying to have that perfect day back. In an attempt to recreate it, Steve and I drove to Kansas City yesterday after stopping at Winchell's and Starbucks. We got to the mall and Steve sat in the bar while I hurried through Gap and Banana Republic so he wouldn't have to wait too long. We arrived at Worlds of Fun where the perfect weather had brought out what seemed to be all the residents of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. Your thirty second thrill ride would cost you an hour of standing in line.

The first ride, we finally made it through the line and were harnessed into the car when the ride operator told us they needed to shut it down and we wouldn't be able to ride it. I got thirsty, but stepped out of the concession line after fifteen minutes of not moving a step and being talked to by some lonely old man with a copious amount of nose hair.We only went on three rides. We decided the third one would be our last because battling crowds was the last thing two crotchety homebodies want to deal with.

The final ride was the thrill I had been waiting for all day. I was literally drooling while we whipped around the loops and turns in the front row with only the air beneath my feet. It whipped us so quickly that Steve lost a contact. Not ten miles into the drive home, he ran over something in the road and I demanded he pull over and let me drive.

The whole ordeal wore us out. We came home and jumped in our giant bed and slept. We could have slept forever if football didn't exist. I did get away yesterday: I bought some usually overpriced clothes at somewhat reasonable prices. I got my thrill, although this time only one and it took four hours. But the memorable part of yesterday will not lie in it being carefree and adventurous: rather, it will be that yesterday I learned you can never recreate a memory.

Friday, October 8, 2010

STMP LDY

When I was a kid, I had pen pals. Loads of them: camp counselors, kids from church that I saw weekly anyway, aunts and uncles, strangers from chain letters. If I knew their address, I wrote them letters on the personalized Looney Tunes stationery I spent my birthday money on. I ran to the mailbox each day the second I heard the mail truck coming down the hill. The mailman would tell me before handing me the mail, "you got one today," and leave it on top for me.

Now that I'm older and too grown up for frivolous niceties like sending letters to people, I don't go through the mail. I retrieve it from the mailbox and set it on the counter and Steve rifles through it: bills, ads, Val-pak coupons. Shit, shit, shittier shit (in no particular order). My glossy weekly celebrity rag is the only mail I ever end up looking at.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this:

I haven't seen a hand-written envelope in ages. But who would be writing me? Oh look - it's my neighbor right across the street from me. The one with the mailbox right next to mine. How does he know my name? I've never talked to him save to borrow his snowblower last Christmas, and I don't remember being polite enough to introduce myself. It was more like, "It must be nice to have a snow blower. Seeing I'm the only one on the street that doesn't have one, and I nearly broke my back shoveling a couple days ago, can I use your's?" The old pity routine is how women get what they want after their youthful beauty fades away.

The mail itself was junk mail. It was probably just hand-written because his printer was on the fritz: what a tease. It was something about leukemia, I don't know, Steve threw it away. I guess men get what they want by faking hand-written letters once their youthful charm dissolves into grumpiness. Didn't work on me.

Here's my contribution: hand me all those letters you are sending all around the neighborhood and I will hand deliver them. Add up the 44¢ x 100 and contribute that $44 from Holly Carter: the good neighbor who doesn't make postmen work harder for no reason. I can not believe this letter went from his home right across the street from mine, to the mailbox right next to mine, onto a mail truck, to the post office, back onto a mail truck to end up right back where it started except about six inches to the right. I'm going to go put an unstamped envelope in his mailbox with my blog URL to give him a subtle hint of what I think of his hand-written envelope.

P.S. If you knew what this title meant, you are my favorite reader.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Famous women who annoy me

Worst 4 female celebrities edition:

Most annoying actresses:
1. Katherine Heigl
2. Drew Barrymore (she is growing on me, but I will never forget E.T.)
3. Kirsten Dunst
4. Meryl Streep (I know she wins awards, I just don't get the appeal)

Singers that make me want to scratch my ears off:
1. Taylor Swift
2. Lady Gaga (talented, sure, but not for me)
3. Katy Perry live
4. Girl from Evanescence

Worst fashion sense:
1. Jessica Simpson
2. Diane Keaton
3. Britney Spears
4. Jennifer Gardner (can you say "slubby"?)

Are Look the most strung out:
1. Courtney Love
2. Lindsay Lohan
3. Amy Winehouse
4. Fergie (sure it was years ago: it settles in the face)

Should have been born male:
1. Jamie Lee Curtis
2. Hilary Swank
3. Madonna
4. Kathy Bates

Get off my TV:
1. Kathy Griffin
2. Heidi Pratt-Spencer
3. Kirstie Alley
4. Tila Tequila

I don't want to read news about you so get out of my celebrity rags:
1. Angelina Jolie
2. Snooki
3. Vienna from the Bachelor
4. Bristol Palin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book lovers only

A blog friend of mine introduced me to a fantastic website for book lovers: Shelfari.

You have a profile and you keep a log of books you read and your rating and review of each book. You also can keep track of the books you own and want to own and befriend people with similiar taste to get ideas of what to read next. There is not enough time in this life to read every book you've been told about, so you have to pick and choose and not waste time on the ones that suck.

If you befriend me on Shelfari, rest assured you will get an earful if I waste my time on a book that sucks. Nothing pisses me off more than wasting time I could have spent watching tv reading a book. Except maybe losing things.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hicksville, USA

Those of you who read my blog from some urban location probably imagine I live in Hicksville, USA. After all, I live in Nebraska. Although I live in the state's main city, the mere mention of the name "Nebraska" or any other state that ends in "A" probably suggests to you that I live on a street like this:

With a backyard that looks like this:

And when people come to visit, their only option is to stay in a place like this:


Quite to the contrary: I live in a suburban housing development like everyone else. But my sister and I enjoyed driving through rural Nebraska to get to the apple orchards yesterday. It was a lovely fall day to be surrounded by cornfields and windmills.

We bought Amish candy and popcorn balls and taffy. We picked up some gourds and pumpkins to later decorate my "puzzle table" with (it's really the formal dining room table but it hasn't been used for anything but puzzles). Later, we went to the Omaha Nighthawks UFL game. I love fall for the few weeks we get it. I love everything about it from the falling leaves to the crisp air to the football games. And fall is absolutely gorgeous on a rural drive.