Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Early Morning Voting Delima

This morning I awoke to a texting frenzy between some of my favorite people in the universe. My TX friend sent out a late night true confession across the country (for real, IN, NY, and Vegas, baby), admitting to the masses her 11th hour undecided status, her aversion to both Romney and Obama (especially O's inclination for the links - Thanks a lot GMA), a possible vote for the independent candidate or, gulp, no one at all.  NY and Vegas did not hesitate to respond, I jumped in at the wee hours of the morning. My post-scripts are included

2:45 a.m.
ME: Hi there, chiming in late since I was in bed at 9 - true story. Now for my 3 am thought vomit...
For me it comes down to the basics:

Civil Rights – I am pro-choice and I believe that all citizens should be afforded equal opportunity. The fact that gay marriage is even an issue still today is archaic. What a joke. That 'issue' alone affects too many people that I know and care about.

Supreme Court - chances are, this next term will bring us at least one new Supreme Court judge, maybe 2, and they will affect those changes of pro-choice and equal rights.
Foreign policy - We just aren't in a position to increase defense spending like Romney wants to. Romney also wants us to intervene in Syria and Libya, which if we did, we'd be all alone on that world stage, all too reminiscent of the Bush era. We can't afford it.
And really, on a global level, the vast majority of world leaders are pulling for an O win. This should tell us something.


The economy - Obama was handed a shit show in 2008, the worst this country'd seen since FDR. The nation was hemorrhaging jobs at 800,000 per month and Obama's 'reckless spending' prevented us from entering into another Great Depression. Instead, we went into a recession, and yeah, we increased debt. That's what happens in a recession (and recoveries) but now we're on a solid path to economic expansion – a lot more solid than where we were 4 years ago. Will O continue to spend like he has been? No. I also like to think that he will have the wiggle room to focus on all those promises that won him the election 4 years ago.  Call me idealistic.
Raise those taxes on the wealthy, they can afford it! And keep our public programs! Save Big Bird!
I wouldn't care nearly so much about the golf thing if Obama could have a more bipartisan representation of golfing partners. The best I can offer on that front is that in this day and age, people are still accessible on the golf course. They can still get good solid work done from an iPad or iPhone. Running a country? Meh.... I can't sleep. I'm too nervous now. Anyone want to take my Pilates class at 6:30 in a few hours?

Also, Romney wants to eliminate all funding to Planned Parenthood which provides family planning contraception, cervical and cancer screenings. He wants to overturn Roe v Wade while eliminating the ability for health care facilities to provide contraception to the uninsured? It's these basic things.
Planned Parenthood got me - and many of us - through my uninsured, twenties as my health care provider, annual exams, and all things related to women's health and wellness.
TX: Just woke up to this. It's awesome and Nicole, you're a smartie. I agree 100%. I want to love O, but I just feel deflated. However, gay rights and vaginas are most important in my book so I'll take Neki, Chris, Kevin, Brett, Blake, Betsy, Rachel, Michael and my vagina to the booth with me and let them vote on my behalf.

Boom.
 
Honestly, there was more that I could have spewed, I didn't even hit education and Obamacare/Medicare - so so much. But I was trying to be cool, it was 3 a.m. and I've been awake since then. Who can sleep at a time like this?? I might throw up.
 
S

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Burning of Big Tex: One Texan's Account...

I didn't believe him at first. The thought that Gary may have started on his State Fair Beer a little early yesterday (because in Texas, it's not a State Fair without beer) did cross my mind. After some quick sleuthing though, I was forced to accept the sad fact that Big Tex, the Big Tex, had in fact perished in a freaky-Friday-end-of-days type of fire.

 

 

 
And so, we raise our cans to thee...
 

 Also see: The Best Day Ever.
 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Texas is Pink, Dammit.

Today Google celebrates the 142nd birthday of Maria Montessori. Maria who?

My early elementary years, deep in the heart of Texas, were spent in a 2-room school house - no lie - where learning happened outside the box, thanks to the educational philosophies of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. In my classroom there was little to no instruction while sitting at a desk, no black boards (you know, the black walls that you could use chalk to write on?), and no grade levels. Fractions were fun and they came in the form of puzzles. Diagramming sentences? Couldn't ask for a better time at the age of 8. Adjectives and articles were shades of brown, prepositions were green, adverbs were pink. These things I remember and these things I think about when considering the grammatical validity of compound and complex sentence structures today. This is what Montessori education does to a person.

Geography was a game. Puzzles pieces and creating and coloring maps that were 3 feet wide were free time. Memorizing state capitals was child's play when I was 7, and memorizing countries and capitals throughout the world was expected and downright artistic by the time I was 9. The Soviet Union was pink and to this day, Argentina is orange in my mind and Chile is still yellow. Country flags and their capitals were also a card game of Memory - I couldn't make this up if I tried.

And also? Thanks to Maria's legacy, none of this seemed like actual work but then I could be glamorizing a bit. My multiplication tables were learned on the above pictured Google Doodle of the beads and cubed cubes and so dammit, math was pretty to me. By the age of 9 I was reading on a 5th grade level because I could. I was also super competitive with Jessica Johnson who was 8 and would have been a grade below me had we been in a more traditional setting. True to Montessori form, we had ages 5-9 in our classroom and we were all one big competitive happy family.

And no, to this day I am not a genius. Due to the whole 'school house' factor, my Montessori mecca ended after the third grade and I went into the 4th grade at a private Catholic school. On my first day I can still remember Miss Draughan (aka 'Dragon Lady') explaining the glories of nouns and verbs. I thought Holy shit, nouns and verbs? Are you effing kidding me? Yep, that was my 9 year old inner dialogue. Private school lasted through 8th grade and in the 9th grade I was in Sophomore Honors English, learning about the intricacies of nouns and verbs. Thank you public education.

So no, not a genius, but daggum, my formative Montessori years instilled in me a love of learning and concrete tangible concepts like what 10x10 actually looked and felt like. 1/8 = an 8-slice pizza and Texas is  still pink, dammit.

Happy Birthday, Maria!

S

Friday, July 6, 2012

So this happened.

Don't be fooled by the adorable smile. That kid has horns.
And he bites too.
Best 3rd of July EVER. Special K put the feelers out for tickets to the Rangers-v-White Sox in Chicago and needless to say, the kid came through in spades. Spades. Not only did we get to go to the game with one of Special K's most fun friends and his super fun fiance, but we also sat 4 rows - four rows - behind the Rangers's dugout. Pause for effect.

The Rangers started the series that night with the best record in all of baseball but despite best efforts from their few-but-mighty fans, they got absofuckinglutely slaughtered. Former pitching great Roy Oswalt made his third start with the Rangers and gave up 7 runs by the end of the 2nd inning. After 11 runs Tateyama replaced Oswalt in the 5th and the shit continued to hit the fan. But you know what? I didn't care because by then, the fans standing between me and the dug out started to thin so yours truly headed to the front row. I was right freaking here:
Not shown, Special K holding my ankles to keep me from throwing
 myself onto the back of Yu Darvish. Or Gentry. Or whoever.
I forced our crew to suffer through the bottom of the 8th as I refused to leave my front row perch. That was at least enough time to witness 2 whole Rangers runs and only then did I feel OK to leave. We came close to getting a ball a couple of times but thanks to that angelic, evil little 9 year old munchkin pictured above, we were denied repeatedly. That kid was actually sitting 3 rows behind us and over away from the dugout but every time the Rangers came in from the outfield, that kid would appear out of thin air, right smack between me and my team. My section 124 besties started to refer to him as 'Ranger Jesus'. He'd grin enthusiastically, call the players by name, and hold up his glove for them to toss him a ball.  Hook, line and sinker. He ended up with 2 t-shirts and 2 balls that I know of and really one of those balls was mine daggum. Special K held up his hand to catch it and there's still debate as to whether or not I actually knocked his arm to make him drop it. I won't believe it until I see the replay. But still, ball dropped, hit the ground at my feet, I went for it, it dropped even further under the seat in front of me, I dropped to grab it but  a skinny little hand came out of nowhere and snatched it only centimeters from my grasp. It was him, that little shit. He smirked at me with an expression that said 'suck it old lady' and off he went, triumphant. I'm fairly certain that he's not really a Texas fan. I've decided that he goes to all the games and sits near the dugout of the visiting team. His dad dresses him in whatever visiting team garb he can, and then sits back and lets the little leprechaun work his magic, raking in the balls and t-shirts, getting signatures on everything. What a racket.

With 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th, Ranger Jesus slinked down to the seat in front of me, ready to pounce. At the encouragement of my section 124 besties (and to the mortification of Special K), I attempted to call the kid out. It went something like this:

Me: (tap, tap on his shoulder) Dude. Is this your seat?
Ranger Jesus: (turning around wide-eyed) Who me?
Me: Yeah. Let me see your ticket. I'm pretty sure you should be sitting back there.
Ranger Jesus: What's your job?
Me: What? (so confused, I almost said I work at a museum, why? But I didn't.)
Ranger Jesus: What's your job? You work here?
Me: (looking down at my own Rangers t-shirt, so confused) Uhhh no,why?
Ranger Jesus: Then why you asking me for a ticket? 

Ouch. That suck it old lady smirk was back and there were plenty of witnesses to my schooling by a 9 year old. Despite the 100+ temperatures, Ranger Jesus, and a 19-2 loss, it really was the best time
S

Saturday, June 30, 2012

No, you can't put a good dog down.

Meet Norm(an) Kozcunningville. Yes, that's his real name, the last name a beautiful blend of the surnames of his 3 - yes 3 - dads. Born in the fall of 1996, this pup is a whopping sixteen in people years ya'll. As in 112 years in dog years which also makes him kind of magical. Do you know anyone that's 112? Bilbo Baggins doesn't count. Norm was born into a frat house where his formative years were, let's face it, probably spent eating cigarette butts out of ashtrays and lapping up bong water. But clearly there's something to be said for the frat house diet because just look at this face. Is it the face of a 112 soul? 



Three weeks ago Norm stopped getting out of bed. He just laid there. Glazed eyes, not eating. We had to carry him down the side steps to go outside where he'd just stand in the yard, disoriented, back legs shaking, and not sure of how to get back to the house. Granted, there was a lot of random shit in our backyard at the time because our next door neighbor was trying to move a giant hot tub from our other next door neighbor's yard to his yard (on the other side of us). To accomplish that task, sections of our fence had to be taken down on both sides, but then 'The Great Hot Tub Move of 2012' was suddenly put on hold due to lack of funding, so our fence was propped back up with 2x4's and cylinder blocks for weeks. All of of the ladders and moving equipment also stayed in our yard and now that I think of it, it's not fair to say that Norm's disorientation was entirely due to old age and failing vision but maybe more due to feeling like he was stuck in a corn maze and couldn't find the shortest/safest route back. Inneresting.


All weekend Norm refused to eat and had no interest in water. I kept telling myself - and Special K - that he'd rally like always. Finally Special K came onto the porch, my porch, to have a sit-down, a crucial conversation if you will, where he pretty much assured me that Norman is 16 and probably would not be bouncing back this time. Keep in mind that Norman is my first dog. I grew up with cats which I now don't like because I think they're aloof and judgmental. Thus our conversation went something like this.


Special K: We need to make a decision about Norman soon.
Me: A decision about what? We can keep carrying him up and down the stairs. I can do mornings before I go to work and you can do afternoons and evenings.
Special K: Not that kind of decision.
Me: Food? Does he need a different kind of food since he can't really stand up? Something soft maybe?
Special K: Nicole, we need to decide when we are going to put him down. He can't keep living like this. 
Me: WHAT!?! How do we get to make that decision? Who decides that we get to decide that?! (Again, I'm so new to this.) The tears are flowing now.
Special K: Um, we do actually because we are his owners parents. He's not going to come back from this. We will probably need to do it soon. Trust me, I've been through this before.
Me: How can you say that? He always comes back. He can still stand on his own. His eyes may not see us well (at all) but he still smiles! He was walking around the living room a little bit and nibbled on a treat (before his legs gave out and he hit the floor). Not even Bubba can do that and no one's talking about putting her down! 


Clearly at this point I had stopped making sense and Special K shook his head, patted me on the knee, and left me to cry in my coffee. #saddestmomentever. The next day, I went to work, puffy-eyed and somberly, I informed my co-workers of Norm's impending doom. Then I masochistically used the above photo as my screen saver and I actually have two monitors (because I need 2 to toggle) so it's like I'm surrounded by that face all the time. That night one of Norm's other dad's came over after work to spend some quality time with him. He still wasn't maneuvering the stairs at all but was at least getting out of bed on his own. Eyes still gray, he was eating only those things which were covered in tuna juice until he threw up so then we had to stop the tuna juice. It ended up being a slumber party because Jamie wanted to stay with Norm. The next morning he got out of bed when I came downstairs and after being carried up and down the side stairs (Norm, not Jamie) he ate his breakfast. My 13 year old brother made a surprise visit the next day and stayed for a week and a half (that's a whole nother post - maybe 2) and in that time Norm-Dog continued to get showered in love and affection. Then I took this picture, check out that smile:





He started going down the stairs on his own if a treat is thrown down ahead of him, and he started eating more. We still have to him carry up the stairs most of the time, but ever since Special K  we accidentally left him out all night the other night (He was still standing in the morning but man did he sleep the rest of the day! #worstparents), he has started making his way back up the stairs on his own. He has even has started whining again to let us know he's there and ready to come in. 


The moral of this story boys and girls? You can't keep a good dog down. 
You can't put a good dog down either.

The End. To be continued.
S

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Weight.

Still finding things to make me (and you) #furiouslyhappy.
You're welcome.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Progress, Ya'll.


In honor of all things Gay Pride this week and because I'm finally getting around to it, I wanted to make sure that I documented this post for My Future Self.

Dear Future Self, remember back in November of 2008 when we were all warm and fuzzy for all things change while reserving the right to still be miffed regarding Obama's - and California's - stance on gay marriage? Well, wouldn't you know, for all the shit that's hit the fan since then, some things did change. Some things like Presidents and Vice Presidents finally taking a stand and saying it loud and proud:

"Personally it was important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married”
- President Barrack Obama, May 2012

Years from now this will be seen as both a historical inevitability and a no-brainer. Kind of like how today's generation thinks of interracial marriage as a no-brainer. But really, it wasn't that long ago when folks were fighting for Civil Rights and equality for blacks while remaining pretty conservative regarding interracial marriage. It wasn't until the late 1970's that public opinion started to change. When the 'younger generation' started to grow up and see interracial marriage as the norm, but it took time.

While today public opinion polls reflect a growing-but-barely 50%+ approval on gay marriage, our conservative right are still passing their legislature to ban it in their conservative right states. And to them I say, enjoy it now because that too will change. As our 'younger generation' grows up with openly gay friends and sees same-sex couples pushing strollers and walking down the aisles, my optimistic self finds comfort in knowing that our current generation of conservative friends will be out-grown on this subject. I look forward to the day when folks realize that homeosexual marriage did not end up undermining heterosexual marriage, contributing to it's ultimate demise and downfall of procreation and families. That it did not in fact, open the door for the leaglization of polygamy and legalized marriage to animals. And instead, what it did do,was create an additional avenue to grow well-balanced little humans with open minds. That it allowed for said little humans to be raised by 2 loving parents in a nurturing environment because they were wanted and they were loved. That it paved the way for all little humans to feel free to be who they want to be and to know that they will be loved no matter who they love (cue Marlo Thomas's Free to be You and Me here).

So where do we go from here? When do we get past the part where as some states continue to ban same sex marriage others fight to legalize it? At what point does it finally get to become a federal issue and thus acknowledged that this is vital to the pursuit of happiness

My optimistic self doesn't know ya'll, but for now, let's appreciate Obama and Biden's pronouncement for what it is - a small victory, a stepping stone to an inevitable social norm, an inevitable no-brainer.
S

If Wonder Woman was a Hot Wheels Car...


I imagine that she would look something like this...



See there? Still having fun at work.
You're welcome, Mattel.

S

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Solo de Mayo

Lots going on since my Aunt Marge laid down the law back in April and as a result, Facebook has been getting more love than you but that's about to change...

Work. It's great. I love it in fact. Having my nights and weekends suddenly free is still taking some getting used to but this is me not complaining. My yard looks great and my summer tan lines are ahead of schedule. I admit, most mornings I get to work earlier than I'm supposed to and leave later than is necessary but that's me adjusting to all my new found time and the fact that there is always work that needs to get done. But I guess that's it, it's always going to be there, just a steady flow and just because I knock out a whole bunch in one day does not mean there's going to suddenly be less on my plate the next day. I suppose that should sound daunting but it's actually kind of comforting in a really weird freaking way. Also weird is that even on nights when I leave at 6 instead of 5, I still feel like I'm getting home early. This is the kind of crazy shit you can do when you don't have kids. My new bosses lucked out in that realm, as well as the fact that I require very little sleep. And don't worry, I'm not all work and no play. I've been doing other cool stuff still, I promise.


Yoga and stuff. In keeping with my New Year's Resolution # 3, I'm back to doin it again - yoga that is - and Oh, what a rush! I even tried my hand at Scorpion again for the first time in wtf 3 1/2 years. I'd be depressed by that stat but then it would take away from the sublime awesome that I felt when I got my butt upside down and doing it again. Sigh. Rush. On that same note, my toes have never looked so good, again thanks to Res # 3. I've been treatin m'self. Still waiting for that massage though.
 
50 Shades of WTF. I was seriously in the middle of and almost finished with 4 more great reads (see Res # 2) when the books in the 50 Shades of Grey series by E. L. James landed in my lap - blush. I went through all 3 of them , and I'll be honest, I was hooked and finished within a week, sleeping even less than I already do. After being mostly annoyed (but let's face it, not enough to put the books down) by the fact that the storylines and main characters were all too similar to our friends in the Twilight series, I discovered that the Shades series actually stemmed from fanfiction based on the Twilight series. Makes so much more sense now. So kinda Twilight-esque but with the sexual politics and let's just say it - female submission overtones - that just aren't allowed in YA ficition let alone most local libraries. So yes, a guilty pleasure read with no great literary genius, but with just enough power to surpass 10 million sold in a matter of months and it's sent sales at sex shops across the nation sky rocketing. I repeat, this is not YA so if you have any YA readers that are not old enough to vote, or hell, even by alcohol, you must snatch these books out of their influential little grasps.

Running. At the end of an evening out with good friends from the studio last week, I confidently (and just a wee bit inebriatedly) agreed to train again for another half marathon, something that I haven't done in 4 years ya'll. Crap. This is much different than training for half Triathlons, which if you recall I tackled last year but without really training. That's not bragging folks, that's just lazy and lucky. But this time it's different. I've committed to doing this thing in September so this is me saying let's do this. So much found time and no kids, let's do this now.

Special K is out of school officially. We're going camping this weekend and after that I'll start busting out the honey-do list. It will be weird going into this summer so much differently than I have in the 5 years past. There will be some things missed, I believe that, but there will be so many more new things to be done and had and I can't wait. I promise to come back strong in June with  Updates on my Rangers and all things Indecision 2012. And more books.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dear Facebook, you have my Aunt Marge to thank.

Meet Aunt Marge, via the 'Face
Thing' on the computer.
I tried. I tried and I failed because clearly I am no match for Aunt Marge and Catholic guilt. No one, is a match for Aunt Marge and Catholic guilt. Those 2 are basically the same person/thing, barely distinguishable.

After 4 years of ups and downs but mostly ups, I deactivated by Facebook account. I did it quietly, no fan fare, no big announcement of a countdown for my 'friends' to say their last goodbyes. I just... did it. And after 18 minutes of insane hoops and Are you sure? Please enter the totally unrecognizable characters in this field for the tenth time, and Are you sure you're sure because so and so (a montage of my friends' profile pics came streaming across the page, no joke) will miss you...  I was more ready than ever to deactivate that shit.

I felt liberated and Special K was like Duh, I did that years ago. My reasons for taking this bold move?

  1. Despite my best efforts at keeping my account private, I was constantly logged in to 5 different computers in 5 different states. Creepy.
  2.  I felt overexposed - not shocking. I am a social media junkie which is quickly becoming the norm. Like me, more friends than not these days are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (which is surprisingly awesome and not too personal), at some point I joined Tumblr but have no idea how to use it, LinkedIn, and I keep forgetting about GoodReads but I'm on that too. Oh, and I'm here in my own Schovillova-verse which I love but neglect most of all. All of them for the most part, serve different purposes. Facebook for me had the heaviest weight so I decided to cut it.
  3. Again, despite best efforts, I tried to limit how people could find me. I tried to prevent humans that I don't really know that well, don't know at all, or that I don't want to know me at all, from requesting to be my friend because eventually it gets awkward when you ignore a request and then run into said human on a daily bases. In the words of Special K, It's hard to be so popular.
But who am I kidding. All of these excuses were null and void after a late night conversation with my Great Aunt Marge in New Jersey, who I apparently need to call more often. I will just include her part of the conversation below but when you read it, you must read it in your best 80-year-old-New-Jersey-great-aunt-voice.

  • Have you talked to your Cousin Jane? Oh, that's right, uhwl you kids are on the 'Face thing' on the compuduh.
  • Well, (sigh) at least you keep in touch that way. See the pictures and have your conversaytions through the compuduh. I guess that's uhwlright.
  • You kids don't write  your letters anymore, I know. But now no one even knows phone numbuhs! But I'm glad you're on the compuduh. I get my news from your cousins about how you arrre and how the Texas family is. (sigh)
  • I just don't know what anyone looks like anymore, but at least they have the pictures on the compuduh... 
  • You of course know that Mary took a turn but fought her way back, more radiation and rehab therapy. I'm glad you can keep track of her on the compuduh, Jane says she talks about it there a lot so everyone can know...
  • What? You're not on the compuduh with them anymore? Well, that's too bad. I'm going to miss hearing about you and Kev. How am I going to hear about you and Kev? I pray for you uhwl the time you know...
  • Keep Mary in your prayers and keep letting everyone know how you are with phone calls then. Do you need everyone's phone numbuhs and addresses? I' liked that you kids kept in touch on the compuduh....
 And like that I was back on the compuduh, on the 'Face thing'. 
Well played Aunt Marge, well played.

S

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Some people go to church. Some people watch others go to church.

Spring is back ya'll. The scent of lilacs, the sounds of birds and oh the view of the Sunday morning church-goers, all from my porch. I'd forgotten how much I'd missed this.

Here are some almighty scenes that I witnessed from my perch porch this Easter morning...

Easter Mass at St. Joan of Arc begins promptly at 10:30 a.m.

10:10 a.m. Tan minivan creeps slowly down the street and finds parking comfortably across from my porch. Mom, Dad, and 3 little ones jump out in their Easter Sunday best and make their way up the street in one unified group.

10:16 a.m. Blue SUV finally decides its too big for the tight spot behind the minivan, avoids the large tempting space by the fire hydrant (in front of the minivan), and so makes its way further down the street. Exit Dad, 2 young boys in half-tucked shirts, Mom, and Grandma, walking at a quick, but unified, pace.

10:19 a.m. White 4-door coup slides easily into spot behind van. Older man with silver hair emerges. Hands in pockets, he strolls towards the church whistling.

10: 21 a.m. Gray minivan proceeds quickly down the street and jerks to an abrupt stop in front of the hydrant space. Red car waits patiently in the street and then creeps around the Gray van. Heated debate takes place inside the Gray van between Mom and Dad as gestures are made towards the tan minivan. Dad's shoulders shrug as if to say 'So what if we get a ticket'. Mom's arms flag forward and thus, Ol' Gray rushes further down the street. 2 girls in hats jump out first, one of them is crying, and they walk/run towards the church, Mom follows close behind. Dad strolls behind, shaking his head.

10:24 a.m. Red car reappears and zips into the giant space in front of the hydrant as if to say 'Fug it'. Dad emerges with young son. He looks around guiltily, takes his son by the hand and barrels towards the church, head down. The son jogs to keep up.

10:26 a.m. Black SUV freaking flies down the street. They find parking 6 houses down from Chez Schovillova and a million doors fly open and bodies pour out from all sides. A gaggle of hats, bows, ties and patent leather haul ass up the street. Thinking back I can't confirm the existence of grown ups in that gaggle but I'm assuming there was at least one to drive the car.

10:28 a.m. Another vehicle flies down the street because you know, the risk of taking out a small pedestrian or 2 on Easter Sunday is a lesser evil than the risk of being late for the Mass itself. Man and woman emerge and walk briskly, heads held high, towards the church. White sporty SUV thing flies past and continues down the street.

10:34 a.m. White sporty SUV thing returns from the opposite direction, despite the one-way nature of our street. He assess the approximate distance between bumpers on either side of the hydrant. Howls and shouts of protest are coming from within. 10:35-10:37 a.m., the SUV makes a 20-point turn in the middle of the street, jumping the curb from time to time, and finally aligning itself with the last space in the 205. Dad seems to be weighing the risks of possible ticketing (little do any of these saps know that hydrant never gets ticketed. Ever. It's a well-kept secret in these parts and we prefer to keep it that way.) or possible bumper on bumper action. Mom shakes her head from the front seat, adamantly opposed to the idea. Howling continues. 10:38-10:40 a.m. and this time it's a 20-point parallel parking job - OH THE HORROR! Growing up this was usually around the time that my mom would say 'Fug it' and take us to IHOP instead. It would seem that this Dad was cut from the same mold because after unsuccessfully  squeezing into the very last spot, I'm pretty sure that I could read the words fug it on his lips as he pulled back onto the street and so help me I heard cheering from within the vehicle. And so they went. I like to think it was in pursuit of a happier place like IHOP or 'Waffles and Chicken' just down the way.

And so goes my Sunday morning ritual. I'm glad to have you back. 
Happy Easter.

S



Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Still G's World.

So Alethea and G came to visit a couple of weeks ago - be still my beating heart. It was a quick trip and I worked most of the time but we managed to find some good times in there.

We made a late night run to Napolese for dinner, one of our faves. The best part of the night came at the end when we made a girl trip to the restroom and New Order came piping through the speakers. Who knew bathrooms could be so much fun?
 

As you can see, G is has some strong opinions about wanting to move to Indiana. Let's hope she can convince her parents! 


These videos make me #furiouslyhappy ya'll.



Friday, March 16, 2012

#4 Breaking up is hard to do.

Don't panic, me and Special K are doing just fine. Swell in fact.

This break up is about a job. My job. My other spouse of 5 long years, and after 5 long years of ups and downs of roller coaster like proportions, I have decided - and thank you Jesus I've been offered - a whole new path with shiny new opportunities and an office with a door yo. And the best part? I don't have to change my work address. Just my desk and all that's in it. It's all so grown up but trust me, this wasn't an easy decision.

I was never a good breaker upper. The guilt, the feeling of loss, the feeling that I was abandoning someone. Breaking up with jobs has always made me feel that same way. I know, I give myself way too much credit because 9 times out of 10 those people and jobs are way better off without me. Not only do they manage to survive the profound impact of my absence, but they also thrive. I've struggled with this decision to start looking outside of my professional comfort zone for months but when the universe smacks me in the face with opportunity  I have to listen.

Introducing my super secret #4 of 2012: Grow up. 

Grow. Professionally, personally, physically and creatively dammit. You name it. I've felt stagnant for so long. A victim of my own long hours, laptop, and loyalties to a fault. By venturing onto this totally new freaking path, I have to believe that these other things will fall into place. More hours in the day to do those things because no one else is going to do them for me.

So there you go. I've been chewing on this for months and it just became official 2 weeks ago. Sleep continues to elude me - that bastard. I'm hoping when the dust settles and I'm officially on that 'new path' that I will also return to this space of writing and thought vomit. I've been feeling creatively tapped and I just can't manage to get all of the conversations out of my head and onto or into a place that's more productive. My apologies.

Digging for dinosaurs in the summer time? I'll miss it. My summer camp campers? I'll miss those faces too. The Jedi trainings, the Hot Wheels, LEGOs and all things Egypt, I was lucky to become a self-proclaimed 'expert' in all those things as I hang up my aviator hat and put away my frogs and penguins. Through all of that I was most lucky to work with some of the best people who I still get to work with but in a totally different way.

But I'm ready for new and I'm ready for totally different.
Wish me luck.

S

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dear Mom, How Could You?

Dear Mom,

I have spent my whole life taking your advice (ok, most of the time), learning from your experiences, hanging on your every word, and most importantly taking your book recommendaitons. As a mom this is a very important role for you to play in my life. As a result you have led me to some of my faves like Gone with the Wind, The Alienist, An Unquiet Mind, The Robber Bride...  All terrific reads. All flawless recommendations. Until now. Thus Dear Mother, I say to thee.. seriously?

Introducing my #3: A Reliable Wife, C-


I'll be honest, even the C- seems slightly generous. My Dear Mom recommended this nugget to me about a year ago and after 10 different attempts to read it, I finally forced my way through it. I kept hoping that it would get better but by a  third of the way into it I soon discovered that I was being driven only by the desire to check this off as my number 3 read of the year.

What a disappoint this was. The novel started off slowly and depressingly, against the backdrop of a turn of the century Wisconsin winter and it stayed that way. I was depressed and anxious from start to finish while the one dimensional characters were consumed of sex and revenge and the townspeople were busy eating dictionaries, hanging themselves, and throwing their children down wells. That last bit makes this book sound way more interesting that it was. My anxiety came from my waiting for the plot to improve, waiting in vain for that No way! moment. But instead I found myself only saying Damn all these mundane details, gray skies and white snow, when will this effing book end.

Notice that the cover reads '#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER'. So not only was I completely depressed upon finishing, but I left feeling totally disillusioned by the #1 Best Seller status. What was wrong with me that I hated the shit out of this book? A quick glance at Amazon had me feeling better as I discovered that I was not in fact alone with my disdain. The reviews were all over the map with some ranking it as 5 stars (like my mom perhaps) while others gave it only 1. I was in good company.

So no, I won't rehash the plot lines or giveaway the ending. I'd hate to ruin the experience for you should you decide to venture down this depressing-ass path. Maybe you'll like it and maybe you won't make it through the first chapter but either way please remember:

I do not recommend this read but my mom does.

S

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened... Again.


Remember back in December of 2010 when a funny thing happened in the restroom today?  Well, it happened again.  This time I was still in the shower after a morning run at work, and I heard someone come into the restroom, go into the stall...  and then, nothing.  I even took my time and kept the shower running in hopes that that would give them enough time and noise (I know you know what I'm talking about) to do their a.m. biz and then leave but no, they just sat there and rustled a newspaper. 

I finally had to turn off the water in fear of being late for a meeting and you know, wasting water.  Clink went a coffee mug against what I could only assume was the metal trashcan lid inside the stall.  Apparently a flat surface and perfect for holding one's beverage while one conducts their...  business.  But that's the thing.  The newspaper and mug were the only noises coming from that stall.  No splash, no plop and it made me restless.   I resisted the urge to sing Come out, come out whoever you are!  or Let it out girl!  Everybody poops!  They could not have been comfortable.  Here we go again  I thought only this time I didn't even bother to check if they were wearing shoes.

So I expedited my getting ready process because I was in no mood to play this reindeer game again.  I was not going to wait this squatter out this time.  For whatever reason I felt like I was encroaching on their territory, like I had disrupted their routine because I'm guessing that this morning business of theirs has been more consistent since December of 2010 than my morning running.  I couldn't get out of their fast enough.  I even waited for final face and hair until I got up to my office area bathroom.  But me and this mystery stall dweller are going to have to come to some sort of agreement to coexists eventually because in case you haven't been keeping me up, 2012 is the year that I treat myself to things like early morning runs (and apparently I think that 7 a.m. runs are a treat what the fu). 

We'll see what happens next week.  Stay tuned.

S

Enter the Dragon

Over all I give 2011 a C.  Just a C.  There was some good stuff that happened last year, I know this. The Packers winning the Super Bowl, I did a freaking mini triathlon, my Rangers going to the World Series again with me there to see it, a 10 hour old-country music and Budweiser marathon with Bubba...  All good stuff.  But there was some shit too.  Some I wrote about and posted.  Some I wrote about and didn't post.  Lots went unsaid.  A lot of ugh.  A lot of pft and a lot of what the fug... 


But this, is the Year of the Dragon ya'll and that means me. Born. Year of the Dragon xx years ago. Translation?
This is my year bitches. 

I should frame this and put it on my wall at work.  That would be awesome and that would probably make things happen for me even more.  Inneresting.

Friday, January 20, 2012

#3 Treat Yo Self.

And this...  is my inspiration for my #3.  Treat. Yo. Self.


That's right ya'll,  Treat Yo Self.  Fun words to say and powerful in their implications when said together.  What does this mean for me?  This means that I need to remember to do stuff for me because for the most part, no one will do the following things for me...

Do more yoga - and working out in general.  I put this into practice this week but think I may have been a little overzelous yesterday after running in the a.m., teaching a mat class last night and then followed that with a heated yoga core kick you in the ass class.  Getting up today was difficult and I mean that literally. Note to self: space it out.  I have a whole year - and lifetime - to do this.

Get more pedicures.  It sounds petty (or pedi - ha) I know, but seriously, I'm on my feet a lot and taking care of your feet is super important, especially when one of my jobs requires me to not wear shoes, and really it just feels good.  Plus the pedicure chairs are amazing - practically a full body massage and I admit, I'm a foot looker.  One of my good guy friends from childhood-highschool told me fifteen years ago that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they take care of their feet.  I found that both fascinating and scary and I have never forgotten it.  Thank you Ryan - aka Iceman back in our playground days.

Get a massage in 2012.  A real one.  Maybe two (or maybe 12 but I doubt it). There's a lot to be said about the benefits of a good massage for the mind, body and soul.  The human touch, the physical assault on the day to day stress on one's body,  working out the kinks which we insist on carrying around with us with hunched shoulders...  I used to get these on a fairly regular basis but somehow I let life get in the way.  And a little thing called finances.  But I think these are worth it so I am totally prepared to make cuts elsewhere in my life.  My fancy Starbuck's coffees just aren't that important.  I think.

To some of you these things might seem petty or superficial.  But then you probably have not done these things for yourself or don't do them often enough.  So to thee and me I say treat yo self.
 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

#2 Read More Books

I admit, 2011 was not my year for reading, my efforts abismal at best.  Sadly, I'm pretty sure I read no more than 10 books all year.  Probably less.  When I go through my rolodex of excuses reasons why I sucked so bad last year I find... work, social media consumption, work, work and um, work (because playing with Hot Wheels and LEGOs all day is exhausting business).  All of this left me tired and uninspired.  I have 20 books that I was either given or I bought last year  that I never even read.  It's shameful I tell you.  So now in the spirit of all things new and resolutions and stuff, I give to you my number 2 in 2012:  Read More Books.  Let's say I'll read 20.  Twenty books in 2012.  Not an impressive number to some of you but  christ on crutches I really need to set the bar where I can at least hope to reach it.  And guess what. I only have 19 to go.

Today I finished my first book in 2012:  The Fault in our Stars by John Green. 
My rating going into it knowing that it was a book about teenage cancer:  B+ (I was a little weary of the possibility of post-read depression) 
My rating at the end of the third day that it took me to read it:  A

Note to reader:  Never be dissuaded by a YA (Young Audience) classification. I promise you are not too cool for them.  Some of my best books read have been YA.  If you have any type of soul or love of awesome, you must read this book.

I don't give out A's easily as you will learn but I have never been disappointed by John's work and really?  This might be my favorite.  It definitely produced the most punch-you-in-the-gut wrenching sobs the likes of which could only be rivaled by Bridges of Madison County back in the day.  Hours later my stomach muscles still ache and my eyes remain swollen and puffy.  Special K continues to look at me wearily out of the corner of his eye, not sure what to make of it all.  I read the last 75% of the book curled up on the couch for a 6 hour readathon this afternoon.  Every time K came down he asked:  Is it funny?  or Are you laughing a lot?  It was like he was willing it to not be a sad book, knowing himself the subject matter and knowing that yes, he would read it eventually. And yes,  I did laugh.  A lot and out loud at would be considered normally inappropriate times.  Towards the end there was a  point when the tears were just astreaming but I still had a smile on my face dammit and even let out a belt of laughter.  K came in then.  Looked at me.  And then walked away shaking his head.  High praise my friends.
The 2 backdrops of the book take place in locales close to my heart:  Indy and Amsterdam.  I absolutely appreciated John keeping the story set in our own Naptown back yards, including favorite haunts like Holliday Park, Funky Bones, and he even gave a shout out to Broad Ripple's Farmer's Market.  Nicely done.  He also took the story to Holland (I'm not giving anything away) where he described the canals, boats, side saddle bikers and Anne Frank's Annex to a tee.  The amount of detail in this journey was awesomely immersive as I fought the urge to wipe the falling seeds from my arms and hair.  Knowing that he spent 2 months in Holland to put imaginary falling seeds on our arms and in our hair made it even more awesome.  
The star-crossed love of Augustus and Hazel is so sweet and tragic and half the time you forget that she totes an oxygen tank while he sports a prosthetic leg and they muster phrases like 'The universe is not a wish-granting factory' and It would be a pleasure to have my heart broken by you.  Tug.

Other quotable quotes: 
Oh, I got over it darling.  It took me a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints and forty minutes to get over that boy. 
Excellent.  You'll find my leg under the coffee table.

So here's to more good stuff like this in 2012.  It was the perfect read to start the new year, like being on a roller coaster that only goes up.  Thank you John.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

#1 Drink More Champagne



Be impressed kids cuz this is how we rang out 2011 - With oodles and oodles of champagne.  Fun fact:  When you get to be our age you don't have to wait until midnight to pop open the bubbly good stuff.  In fact it's best that you open it early on because chances are you won't make it to the stroke of midnight (not because you'll be dead, just likely unconscious due to earlier bed times with increasing age).  True story.  So yes, we feasted on fancy Chinese take-out and tested our mad champagne tasting skillz.


What I learned remember:
1.  My champagne pallet is not awesome.  It's so not awesome  that I ranked Korbel as my numero uno out of 6.  I even commented BEST! Bubbles dance on tongue.  Nice finish.  Yum.  
2.  I am not a Dom girl.  Not only am I apparently not a fan of King Dom, but I ranked it as my number 6 with comments:  Awful.  Probably Korbel.
3.  Special K is a Dom guy.  Who knew the kid could pick a good bottle of bubbly out of a line up?  Go figure he chose The Dom as his top pick.  He even had seconds and thirds if you count my left overs which as you know I turned my nose up at since it was after all to my thinking Korbel.
4.  I do love my Veuve.  Thank you Jesus my only saving grace was my number 2 - Veuve.  I even wrote in my comments:  Love this.  Probably Veuve.  That was my only hint of awesome.


That grin on Special K's face is pure
unadulterated triumph. Can I have some
more please?
There were 3 other champagnes that I butchered and chose not to recall.  I fear that tasting will haunt me til the next one at least.  The next one that I will totally bring all of my awesome to since top on my list of resolutions is Drink more champagne in 2012.
For the record we did manage to make it to midnight and for the 4th time that day (because we counted down down to noon.  And 1:00.  And 2:00. at my work earlier in the day) I counted down dammit.  And then it was over. My calendar reset to January and left 2011 in the dust.

2012 I will own you and your fancy champagne too.

S

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some Days My Job is Cool


Remind me that I wrote this.  Today was a good day.  A 2 hour meeting filled with LEGOs and Hot Wheels play research.  These days it's worth it.


Guess which one's mine.  Directions?  Who needs 'em.

It's all very scientific.  There's gravity...  and speed... 
and gravity...

When LEGOs and Hot Wheels collide.  Some things just
weren't mfeo.