A Moment To Put It Back Into Perspective



I do tend to lament the hard parts of my life a wee bit too much. I should be more grateful … especially as someone who grew up in a “third world” country and has seen and experienced so much worse. I have a job. My kids are healthy. I am able to put food on the table. That should be enough.

Yesterday Very, very, very early this morning I posted my last entry. In reading over that short blurb about my responsibilities, I am quite sure you surmised that I am quite a bit more than exhausted by Friday evening each week. Today was no exception. I was wiped when my workday ended. So tired.

I left work at 1600. I went to pay my rent and pick up something from my ex. I was prepared to get my youngest child ready for baseball practice at 1730 which, thankfully, was cancelled today. I was relieved. Still, I had to feed the boys dinner and then get the youngest gussied up in his official choir attire as he was scheduled to perform at the local ‘Race for the Cure’ walk taking place this evening. We had to be on premises at 1900 dressed and ready. I complained. Not aloud, mind you. I don’t allow myself to put a damper on my son’s excitement, but my heart was not in the entire process.

We arrived at the ‘Race for the Cure’ venue and practically the entire town was present. There were games. There was food. Race teams were walking the track. Parents with cameras were lingering around the staging area waiting for the moment their child(ren) would be on stage. Big K (age 13) and I lingered with them sans camera (no batteries). The kingergarten/1st grade choir sang. The 2nd/3rd grade choir (including Little K) sang. The 4th/5th grade choir sang. Somewhere in there it hit me. This is small-town America and, yet, we have managed to keep the arts alive and well in our schools here. Choir. Band. Art. It’s all here and our children have the opportunity to participate in artistic programs throughout their education. I love this. My boys love this.

And, then, the 4th/5th grade choir stepped off of the stage and took up the area directly in front while their younger choir counterparts filed back onto the stage. There they stood … all the elementary school choirs combined and they sang. They sang as one voice in joy and harmony. White children. Black children. Oriental children. Hispanic children. The stunningly beautiful children of mixed race. While I live in Redneck Hell, USA we are still a diverse community. With my background, this is something else for which I should be grateful. I was still marveling at my sudden thankfulness to our school system for providing such opportunities for our children when I had to digest that living here isn’t always so bad. Truthfully, I was feeling a bit shell shocked and then I began to listen to the words of the song those children, my son included, were singing … and I cried. I very rarely cry. Ever. Let me share the lyrics with you (as recited by my youngest as I experienced serious Google fail in an attempt to find them myself):

I am a child of this world.
My voice is a voice that matters.
I am a child of this world
And when I sing, my voice is heard.

Can you imagine if everyone in the world
sang together, together?
What a wonder that would be.
And can you imagine if while we were singing,
we all forgot to hate, forgot to fight?
What a wonder that would be!

They say that music touches everyone, it’s true.
Oh, I know that my voice is part of that music, too!
©2005 Teresa Jennings, Plank Road Publishing

There is more, but I can do better! I found it because, again, my youngest child is awesome and he had a copy of the lyrics residing in his backpack. It just took him a bit to remember that it was there!! Go HERE and click “Play MP3” to hear it. Listening to children … CHILDREN … sing these words serves to give me hope. Hope for the future. Hope for my own life.

I am humbled tonight. Still exhausted, but the little people have helped me put some things back into perspective.

“Have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight again after coming through a long dark tunnel?”…Always try to see life around you as if you’d just come out of a tunnel.” ~Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Film (1939)



The One In Which Life Gets In The Way



“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” ~Josiah Charles Stamp

Responsibility: I have a lot of it. I am a single working mother.

I have two kids. One child. One teenager. Two days a week the post-work hours are consumed with baseball games. One day a week the post-work hours are filled with baseball practice. My eldest has landed the titular role (awesome) of “Charlie” in the Jr. High spring musical production of “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.” This involves mom (that would be me) running lines with said teenager and listening to songs (all the songs) … on top of choir performances for both children and the daily grind that is homework. (If you thought you hated homework in school … wait until you have kids. You’ll hate it more.) Somewhere in there I have to clean house and wash dishes and do laundry and feed my children and try to keep them healthy and this goes on and on and on. I do not have family in this town which means I am, essentially, on my own. And, somehow the bills have to get paid. Yeah, I do that too.

I work in a resort and the slow winter months morphed into insanity somewhere around Spring Break week one. That insanity will grow into full on madness over the next month and stay that way for the duration of the summer and beyond.

All of this to say, “I do not have time to write.” Do you have ANY IDEA how painful it is to type those seven words? So …

[Insert your choice of well written, wise cracking, witty blog entries here.]

Origins (Repost)

Originally posted: January 7, 2008.

As revealed in Parental Units I am a product of adoption. It is not something I think about on a regular basis as my adopted parents will always be my parents and I find no fault in that logic. I have, however, been considering the idea of origins … my origins … a lot this week.

“Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.” ~Dante Alighieri, Italian Author & Poet

I was born in San Antonio, Texas somewhere around 3:00 a.m. on August 15, 1974. I do not know why my birth parents gave me up for adoption and I do not particularly care as there could have been no better set of parents than those who raised me. I know little about my birth mother and father … just a couple of paragraphs of a letter sent by the adoption agency that convey a bit about the individuals from whom I came:

“Her biological mother was in her late teens. She is of Irish, French, German and English descent. She is 5’5” in height and weighs approximately 130 pounds. She has blue-green eyes and brown hair with a fair complexion. She has always done well academically and was in the National Honor Society in high school. She has a great deal of leadership ability, having been active in many extra-curricular activities in school and church. Her hobbies and interests include reading, writing, swimming and sewing.

Her biological father is also in his late teens. He is of Scotch and German descent with dark brown hair and brown eyes and medium olive complexion. He is a quite capable young man. He is especially talented in art and enjoys working with his hands.”


Well, there you go - basic origins: Irish, French, English, Scottish and a lot of German as it comes from both sides. My ethnic background amuses me as European tourists in Kenya consistently asked me if I was Swedish. Obviously, I am not Scandinavian at all. Simply put: I am your basic, garden variety, American mutt. I do ponder where my blonde hair came from as it was almost reflective for most of my life and both birth parents sport brown locks. My eyes were blue until I was five or six when they turned an interesting shade of hazel. Sometime during high school they changed from hazel to full on green and have never returned to either previous shade. I was never in the National Honor Society, I am not a strong swimmer and I can not abide sewing. However, I do love to read and write and I have a small collection of artwork although I do not consider myself an artist. I also seem to carry a tad bit of that ‘leadership ability’ mentioned in my birth mother although those are stories for another time perhaps.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” ~Seneca, Roman Philosopher


I am an American and I was adopted by Americans. From my adopted parents I inherited much. I don’t know how many times others have exclaimed, “You are just like your father!” I look nothing like him, of course, although - I do favor my mother a bit. Perhaps it is all the German blood as she is of German descent as well. I am stubborn like my father. I drive like my father. I am a people person like my father. I am extremely analytical like my father. More than any trait or behavior, my parents exemplify the origin of my faith more than anything else. From them I learned about my God and came to call him Father.

"It takes a village to raise a child." ~African proverb

"I'm an African too ... and why am I wearing this bonnet??"

I am an American … and yet, at the age of four months, I was transported over the big blue ocean and transplanted in Kenya. Home. It will always be. Scientists say that the origins of man come from this region. I doubt their evolutionary theories, but the origin of who I am today lies in the equatorial soil and air of Kenya even more than the biological traits handed down to me through the DNA of my birth parents. I was raised by my adopted parents, yes, but I was also raised by two distinctly different villages.

The first was the missionary village. It seemed to be an unwritten rule to collectively keep an eye on all the children. Subsequently, I have been disciplined by almost all of my missionary “aunts” and “uncles” just as my parents have done their share of parenting my friends. It was a system that worked and my missionary family was (and is) closer to me than most extended family here in the United States.

The second village in which I was raised was comprised of those who were hired to work at Brackenhurst, the conference center where I grew up, and their families. Considered to be the “staff quarters” by most, this was still an area that had all the elements of a traditional village: the wazee (elders) would sit and smoke and watch over the village, the women would cook in the open air and half the young children ran around naked while being minded by older siblings. As I have previously referred to this place as My Childhood Domain it should come as no surprise that I spent much of my free time playing made up games with the children of this village or drinking chai and eating the ugali (cornmeal and water cooked until stiff) that was offered. They, too, were my extended family. Because of this, I have followed the news of my home country closely throughout the years and I am sickened today by what has been happening there over the last few weeks. Still – I am helpless. I repeat: I am an American. I am not Kenyan. I never carried dual citizenship. I can not vote in Kenyan elections in order to make a difference. All I can do is weep in anger when I see photographs of bodies piling up in the morgues of Nairobi and wait for emails from those in country telling me they are well and pray for peace.

“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.” ~Ulysses S. Grant, 18th U.S. President

The Kenyan people are strong and passionate and caring. It is these qualities that brought them to independence and yet racist tribalism and corruption is threatening to set the country back in its progress. It has been thirteen years since I have been home and I wonder how much of another piece of my origin is left. This would be the British influence. I bet it is still there. I remember vividly celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kenya’s independence. Still, much of the infrastructure was very much influenced by the years Kenya spent as a British colony. The main form of currency is a shilling … that word definitely stemmed from colonial times and is just one example in many.

I can not deny that I, too, am much influenced by English society. Many of the words I use are considered extremely English. Heads turn when I refer to someone as being “mad” or when “bloody hell” escapes my lips in a moment of pain or anger. It took me years to begin spelling “colour” without the “u” as is expected in this country. I also have a rather irritating habit of correcting the grammar of those around me. (We may be able to understand one another, but American and English are two distinctly different languages in my book.) My focus in university was English Literature. I adore English filmmaking. I follow the football scores and, yes, I am a fan of Manchester United. My favorite city in the world (to date) is London … aside from any given location in Kenya … and I have traveled a lot. I have ex-boyfriends in Great Britain. I have friends in Great Britain (who are well overdue for a visit). I am a sucker for a man with an English or Scottish accent (little known fact – but true). Like it or not (and I do not mind) my origins are also found in the remnants of English society on modern day Kenya.

“Britain: We may be a small country but we're a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that.” ~Love Actually, 2003 Film

Still, I am an American. I have origins on this continent as well. Somehow it all mixes together and makes me who I am. I happen to like myself. I may be a bit complex at times and it is difficult to understand me in full if you have not set foot East Africa or the United Kingdom, but there is a lot about me to like. Personally, I think my origins did right by me. From the biology I was given by my birth parents to the values instilled by my adopted parents to the sense of community I gained in Kenya to my unexplainable addiction to fish and chips … my origins have made me who I am.

I have no complaints.


100 More Random Factoids - Know Me Yet?


Why? The challenge? Just to see if I could? Anniversary present? Vanity? Psychosis? I completed the first list one year ago today. I started this list at least three weeks ago. At the time it seemed like a pretty grand plan: to publish an anniversary list every year with a new order of craziness. At this moment, I think I have lost my mind as I have to finish in the next 5 hours or I will miss my self-imposed deadline and I still have fifty+ bullet points to come up with. Ready? (I’m not. Obviously.) Here we go …

101. I have an aversion to blue ink pens. Abhor the blue. Love the black. I'm an ink pen racist. [Hangs head in shame.]

102. I have come to realize that I will never be one of the popular kids. You know what? Not only am I 100% okay with that fact, but I actually prefer it this way!

103. “We must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days are in fact here for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives.” ~Stranger Than Fiction, Film (2006)

104. I have so much to do in this life. I am simply unaware of what all those things are at this time.

105. I keep trying to determine who I would be if I could choose to be any literary character. At inception, I thought it would be a simple decision. I was wrong. [A ‘Top Ten’ list on the subject is likely forthcoming.] Update: Like this.

106. I’m a flirt. In person. Over the phone. Online. Incorrigible.

107. Makeover. I hate the word. Everything these days is “makeover this” and “makeover that” and “let’s get a makeover” and blah, blah, blah.

108. I need a makeover serious life change.

109. While growing up, I disliked avocados. Now? I would give anything for a large, fresh, Kenyan avocado as opposed to the scrawny ones that are sold in the grocery here. Avocados are good.

110. I have an astonishingly sensitive sense of smell.

111. Despite my adoration of all things music, my list of concerts attended is not as lengthy as one might think: Bon Jovi (twice), Skid Row, Goo Goo Dolls, Steven Curtis Chapman, Keith Urban, The Doobie Brothers, Kelly Clarkson with Reba McIntyre, Huey Lewis & The News, OneRepublic, .38 Special and ZZ Top. UPDATE: Nickelback, Gavin Rossdale, Heart, Hinder, Celtic Woman, American Idol Summer 2009 (Big K's bday present), Theory of a Deadman, Daughtry, and Muse.

112. I not so secretly wish Steven Spielberg would begin rolling out new episodes of Animaniacs.

113. Apparently, I am responsible for introducing more than one of my high school friends to their initial alcoholic beverage. This wasn’t a fact I remembered about myself, but the stories of just such occurrences keep surfacing.

114. Eventually, some random January, I will choose to read everything by Charles Dickens starting that year. I will do it. Update: I thought 2010 would be the year. I was mistaken. January came and I was unprepared.

115. When I get in an elevator I check the certification certificate to see when that sucker was last inspected. Plummeting 50 floors … or even 1 … is not an appealing thought for me. And, yet, I have absolutely no fear of getting on an airplane and having it fall out of the sky.

116. Nobody in my office knows how to use spell check … or they are simply far too lazy. Apparently, it is much more efficient for them to yell, “Beth! How do you spell ….?” from across the room. Ironically, while I am a great speller, I don’t spell well out loud and won’t be winning a Spelling Bee anytime soon. I quickly type (or write) my response to myself before hollering back the answer.

117. I don’t sew. Needle and thread are not my friends and, truthfully, I don’t want them to be.

118. Resigning myself to the fact that I will most likely live in this country for the rest of my life has led me to the decision that I will move to the greater Dallas, Texas area one of these days. I heart Dallas.

119. My first car was bought for me when I came to the U.S. for college: 1984 Buick LeSabre … two-tone poo brown. It was a boat affectionately known on campus as the U.S.S. Kenya. I sailed that ship on many a sporadic road trip.

120. I love pizza. Big K loves pizza. Little K loves pizza. We have drastically different pizza preferences. This makes ordering pizza a complex and expensive venture with (usually) a lot of leftovers (this is changing as my boys really do often eat like boys and leave nothing behind). All three of us adore cold pizza for breakfast.

121. At some point in my life I have been a subscriber to the following magazines: Highlights, Teen Beat, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Entertainment Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, People, Redbook, Taste of Home and Bon Appetite.

122. I obtained my driver’s license on my fifteenth birthday. Not my permit, my license. We lived in Louisiana that year and the legal driving age was 15, not 16 like the rest of this country. I took the test that morning and we began driving to San Antonio, Texas as soon as I got home. That afternoon my father made me drive through rush hour traffic in Houston, Texas. I have since driven in many a large city with no apprehension at all. (Random note: Honestly, if I can drive in Nairobi … I can drive anywhere.)

123. I speed.

124. I have road rage.

125. I used to cross stitch. A lot. And then I realized that even a pretty cross stitch is truly an ugly cross stitch. I do not cross stitch anymore.

126. I am absolutely hilarious, but only to myself and the 5 other people (that’s a generous estimate) on this rock who get my humor.

127. My brother and I had cookie bake-offs when we were younger. My father was the judge. I always won. I think this had more to do with being “daddy’s girl” then it did the taste or appearance of my cookies.

128. “You are just like your father!” comes out of my mom’s mouth at least once every time I go for a visit.

129. I went to my 5 year high school class reunion. I skipped the 10 year … on purpose. Year 15 came and went without any of us realizing we should have had a reunion. I’m planning my 20 year high school reunion. I guess I will have to be there.

130. If I were a super-hero I would be Black Cat. But, she dated Spiderman and I think Peter Parker is a tool. Bruce Wayne, on the other hand, can light my fire any day. I know. Black Cat having the hots for Batman would be a DC/Marvel crossover and for some stupid reason that is really taboo.

131. I applied for a job at The Disney Store once when I was in college. They didn’t hire me. Apparently, I wasn’t considered “wholesome” enough for the job. Go figure.

132. Despite my insomnia issues, I do not nap during the day even if I feel exhausted. I have tried. The end result of me napping is waking up with the bitchiest and crankiest attitude on the planet for the rest of the day.

133. I have rather small feet for my height and nubby little pinky toes.

134. I think Pepe le Pew is one smoooooth operator.

135. I have decided that I was born at exactly the right time in history. My sarcasm alone would have gotten me beheaded or burned at the stake or mummified alive in any other era.

136. Breakfast food should not be eaten at breakfast. Breakfast food is meant to be eaten in the middle of the night. Waffle House exists for this very purpose.

137. There is a joint addiction of board games and card games in this house. Current count? Board games (51). Card games (10). Update: The counts have increased substantially. I'm too lazy to go count.

138. I hate going to bed.

139. I hate waking up in the morning.

140. I believe, at this point, that money could absolutely buy my happiness … or put me on the road toward it. Update: Still painfully true.

141. When I get really stressed out at work (aka: pissed off at everyone around me), I find myself singing extremely silly songs in my head. “I have a lovely bunch of coconuts …” “Where is my hairbrush? Oh, where is my hairbrush …”

142. There are no “bad” words. There is only ill-used verbiage. A well placed expletive has its time and place and can, in fact, enhance any statement, question or exclamation.

143. I had a great snogging (make-out) session with some random hot English boy on a British Airways flight between Nairobi and London once. I had been home for the summer. He was on his way home from a Kenyan holiday visiting whoever. If I asked his name … I sure don’t remember it now.

144. Sawyer is my constant. Update: This is the last season of LOST. Sniff.

145. Son (8 year old): "Can I have cupcakes for dinner?" Me: “Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.” ~Top Gun, Film (1986) [Does it suck that I parent via movie quotes?]

146. It has taken me 34+ frustrating years to realize the secret to a pretty ponytail is to actually DO one's hair first? Does that make sense? That defeats the purpose of a ponytail, yes?

147. It is acceptable, nay … totally groovy, to do things differently … to go against the grain … to shatter all expectation and to hell with those who don’t like it.

148.
Someone recently asked if we ladies name our boobs. Not really, no. At least, not me. What would I name them? ::sigh:: I answered: "Thing One & Thing Two" ~ Oi! I'm going to hell for referencing Dr Seuss in a boob conversation.

149. Daily after-work conundrum: Write/Blog **or** Responsible Parenting. I don't know. Do the kids need to eat?? (Note: Obviously the responsibility wins this argument or my blog entries would be more frequent and far more original.)

150. “Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.” ~Bruce Banner

151. I once complained about doing chores late. Eldest child: “What does it matter? You don't sleep anyway.” Me: “Touché, Monsier Pussycat. Touché.”

152. How have I not seen this episode of Firefly? Bastards just CUT OFF Mal's ear??? WTH? [Well, now you know what I do while I’m writing these random lists.]

153. Speaking of Firefly … a year ago I was working my way through the filmography of James McAvoy (see #62). I’ve moved on to Nathan Fillion and I haven’t missed an episode of
Castle yet!!

154. VH1 needs me to write their 'Top 100' list commentary. Boo, the bad puns!! Boo!

155. The ability to predict weather changes via my knees is a total bitch.

156. I have no balance in life. My yin regularly bites my yang in the ass.

157. I'm not much of a ooh-that-vehicle-is-so-hot type of person, but have you SEEN the 2010 Chevy Camaro (http://tinyurl.com/6yb422)?? I. WANT. THAT. CAR.

158. Sometimes I just need to be rescued. Tough, independent woman persona be damned.

159. I have a superpower. It’s called P.R.O.C.R.A.S.T.I.N.A.T.I.O.N.

160. "Do things. Do them well. Then, right away, do something totally different and do it even better." - Jim Henson

161. Screw SPEW (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare)!!!! I need a house elf. [That would be a Harry Potter reference.]

162. If, perchance, any of these entries sound ridiculously familiar … I raided a lot of my more random
tweets to help “fill in the blanks” when I found myself stumped. Then again, you’d have to be on Twitter to even notice.

163. I listen to the song “I Remember You” from Skid Row just about once every day. I miss an odd day every now and then, but it isn’t often.

164. I have a habit of repeating myself.

165. I have a habit of repeating myself.

166. If I could pick any celebrity to play me in a movie about my life it would be Charlize Theron. Of course, she is far more statuesque and stunning.

167. I absolutely hated country music until my dad dragged me to the Grand Ole Opry at the end of my tenth grade year (1990). I went into that building pitching a massive teenage hissy-fit about having to be there. I came out a bona fide country music convert. It still isn’t my favorite genre, but I do love a bit of it every now and then.

168. I don’t have any surviving grandparents. I wish there had been opportunity for me to get to know them better.

169. I’m naturally blonde (though it’s getting darker), but I have a teeny tiny patch of hair on the back of my head that is course, a bit kinky and black as tar. When I was two, our Kenyan helper came running to my mother with me tucked under his arm … pointing at those few hairs sticking out of the wispy white blonde. He thought I had been in Africa too long and I was beginning to “become” an African – beginning with my hair.

170. “It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive. My heart is like an open highway. Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way.’ I just wanna live while I'm alive. It's my life.” ~Bon Jovi

171. You know where "Life Sucks" meets "I Can't Take This Anymore?" I'm there.

172. I’m not going in a movie theater five minutes late. I’ll catch the next show, thank you. But, the first five minutes are all previews. Yes, I know. I happen to *adore* the previews.

173. I was briefly unemployed for four months in 2004 and almost went INSANE!! I complain about HAVING to work instead of CHOOSING to work, but I would always choose to work.

174. I cuss like a sailor. I’ve never understood that phrase though. It’s been my experience that those hot marine type boys use much filthier language than the navy or army men.

175. I don’t have a high school class ring. My father refused to buy one citing that I would much rather have one from university when the time came. Wrong. I will one day retroactively purchase a class ring that represents my awesome high school years.

176. Socks. I hate them.

177. I think every person on this planet needs to watch “
Into The Wild” at least once. More then once would be ideal. It is one profound cinematic experience and could change your life … or the way you look at it.

178. I love to sit in the sauna at the gym post-workout but I think about that scene in “Goldeneye” between James Bond and Xenia Onatopp every single time I go in there. Every. Time.

179. I’m strolling down a sidewalk or across a parking lot when … oh-lookie-there-is-a-random-rock-sitting-on-this-paved-surface. I must kick it!!!

180. When I was about seven my mother (the librarian) started a seminary library in Kenya from scratch using donated books from churches and private collections. I have typed many a card catalog card and filed many a book. The dewey decimal system is no match for me!! Perhaps I should have become a librarian.

181. I think that removing Pluto from the list of traditional planets and making it a dwarf planet is the single most asinine decision the modern scientific community has ever made.

182. I can’t be bothered with coupons.

183. I have an obsession with watching home improvement television shows. Why? I don’t own. I rent and can't make major changes to my apartment.

184. My oldest son is now a teenager. I’m too young to have a teenager. It scares me to death.

185. When I was 19 I contracted a hideous case (is there any other kind) of measles and landed myself in Nairobi hospital. My eyesight was affected and I had to keep the room dark. In order to pass the time I had mom read The Lord of the Rings out loud for the three days of my confinement. I should have been grateful. Instead, I spent the time correcting her pronunciation of all the names and places. To this day I’m amazed that she kept reading.

186. I was a campus photographer in high school and college. I desperately want to own my own decent photography equipment. Even my digital camera is total crap. Donations are accepted.

187. In college I was shooting a football game from the sidelines when I noticed the wide receiver for our home team heading in my direction. I knew what was coming before it happened but had nowhere to run. People have told me he and I hit the ground pretty darn hard … but I managed to keep the camera in my hand and elevated throughout the ordeal. See? Being a tomboy and playing rugby with the boys has a purpose.

188. My children and I, when in a waiting room or a car or just plain bored, ponder aloud words we think sound weird: hippopotamus, follicle, nostril, waft, asphalt, etc. Go ahead, run with it. It’s fun!

189. I am absolutely great at making plans. I absolutely suck at following through on them. This applies only to my personal life as I am highly efficient in my work environment.

190. I have a small scar on the inside of my left wrist. My brother was swinging around a piece of sheet metal (Don’t ask why because I don’t know.) and he got a bit too close to me. I lifted my hands to protect my face. Inevitably, if people notice, they try to find some way to ask me if I once tried to commit suicide by slitting my wrists. Just for the record: I have not. I am quite glad the scar continues to diminish with each passing year.

191. Superstitions strike me as silly. Still, I’m not walking under a ladder any time soon and I have been known to knock on wood.

192. I love the feeling of sliding into a tightly made bed with freshly washed sheets.

193. I don’t make my bed every morning. Hell, I don’t make my bed ANY morning. I do make the bed when I wash the sheets, but that usually isn’t in the morning.

194. I’ve never had Poison Ivy, but I keep a bottle of calamine lotion in the house.

195. I have seen the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s David and Milan’s Duomo Cathedral and Rembrandt’s Night Watch and the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum in Rome and the astounding collection of Egyptian artifacts at The British Museum and The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen … and more. I love Europe and I have the greatest parents ever.

196. You know that joke in “The Breakfast Club” that Bender (Judd Nelson) tells while he is crawling up in the ceiling tiles: “Naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other. The bartender says, I guess you won't be needing a drink. Naked lady says...” He never finishes it as he falls through the ceiling. Anyone know the ending to this joke? Does it have an ending? It’s been driving me crazy for 20 years so, please, feel free to share if you have insider information. Update: Someone make up an ending for this thing. Please!

197. There are a lot of stories I would love to share on my blog that I don’t. I think I’ve mentioned before that my mother logs on and read it from time to time. Alas!

198. My brain is my own worst enemy.

199. I am a firm believer that it takes a lifetime to TRULY get to know someone.

200. See? I finished! Perseverance, baby! “Goonies never say die!” ~Goonies, Film (1985)

Whew! Again, I was thinking about making this an annual list. Having now written the second one … I’m not so sure. Maybe if I start on next year’s list now and work on it for 365 days I’ll be a bit more satisfied with it. M – A – Y – B – E.

Trump That Cake

"The most dangerous food is wedding cake." ~James Thurber

I complain about my job a lot. Other than the fact that I am grossly underpaid, it is not a bad gig and I should be more grateful. Truthfully, I am not very challenged and that is probably the source of any discontentment I have. Otherwise, I have great scenery, the people aren’t so bad and I like doing my thing and convincing various groups that this is the place for them. In this, my powers of persuasion suit me well.

Take today. This afternoon I met with a lovely potential client. A bride. She arrived with her fiancé, her mom and his mom. Truthfully, this is a gorgeous location and it does a lot to sell itself, but I am there to seal the deal. Deal sealed. Potential client is now a client. Just over an hour after their arrival I held signed contracts (complete with hefty deposits) in my hands for not only the wedding & reception, but the rehearsal dinner as well. Go me.

Visits with bridal parties can be fun as it always affords me the opportunity to tell tales on previous wedding events we have hosted … excluding all names and dates, of course. There have been some great weddings, some good ones and some pretty out-of-control ones. Some stories are told in jest. Others are told as a humorous, yet subtle, reminder to try and keep your guests in check. There was one instance where we had to drain the swimming pool due to shattered wine glasses. That was not such a good wedding.

We had another one this past weekend. Alas! I missed it, but I have heard the tales. Let me say that all went smoothly. There were no riotous guests running down the halls and no drunks in the lobby. We didn’t even have to drain the pool. No, it was fairly quiet. But … there is the little matter of taste. Redneck weddings are one thing. Rich redneck weddings are something else. As mentioned, I was not present the day of the event. It was not my turn to be present just in case the bridal party needed anything. But, I did see a majority of the decorations on Friday evening before I left. Let’s just say that there were deer involved: huge silver and gold deer … for a wedding reception. I will let you imagine the rest (including father-of-the-bride’s homemade wine) because what I really have to tell you is far more disturbing … amusing ... scary …??? Please don’t sue me for having an opinion.

It involves the groom’s cake. Remember the armadillo cake from the horrible (another opinion) movie ‘Steel Magnolias’ that was made with red velvet cake so it looked like blood when they cut into the armadillo? This TRUMPS that cake.

A friend of mine was bartending at the wedding. Bartenders arrive early to set-up and make sure all required “there will be heavy drinking here” paraphernalia is present. When all met her approval she wandered down to watch the cake-decorator-baker-person assemble the groom’s cake. It started with a large circular ring of chocolate cake. Think massive doughnut with a flat top and a flat bottom. The inside of the ring was filled with some sort of chocolate ganache or pudding. Then, the entire thing was covered in chocolate shavings and crumbled chocolate cookies. At this point, as my friend is animatedly telling me this tale, I wonder, “Hey! That sounds pretty good!” She continues her description. Admittedly, I zoned out for a bit … tuning back in for the good part. You see, when all was said and done, an edible fondant label was slapped on the front of that large, round, flat cake. It read “Copenhagen” … as in snuff. The groom’s cake was a can of snuff. SNUFF!!!! And, apparently (though slightly different),
it has been done before. Snuff cake. Those words don’t even belong together.
I have nothing left to say on the subject, except to ask myself, “Can I leave Arkansas now?”

I Don't Want To Go On The Cart!

Oh, HELL NO!! 10 Fictional Places You Can’t Pay Me To Visit.

You had to know it was coming. Honestly. Is there a surprise here? I think not.

10. The Fire Swamp (The Princess Bride by William Goldman)
Seeing as I know all the secrets, I could probably survive The Fire Swamp. This fact does not bring forth any sudden urges to actually wander into the place. Maybe, someday, I’ll have a craving for a super massive roasted rodent supper. Until then, I will let Westley & Buttercup face the dangers of said location **or** I could just
watch this and wait for laughter to commence.

9. Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back, Film 1980)
This is a planet that is covered in snow and ice. My equatorial blood can barely tolerate the mild winters of Southern Arkansas. I don’t do cold. Damn! I’m beginning to shiver just thinking about this place. Snow & Ice!! ALL. THE. TIME. That, my friends, is my version of hell.

8. The Lost World/Jurassic Park (Pick a source, any source.)
Dinosaurs are predators. They hunt. I am fat & juicy. I don’t want to even entertain the concept of visiting some strange prehistoric land or, God forbid, scientifically bringing back the dinosaurs in our time. They are extinct for a reason. Can we just leave it that way? If you want to see one … go to a museum.

7. Zion (The Matrix Revolutions, Film 2003)
This place is four kilometers underground. I think I have issues with going that deep under the surface of this planet (see #3). I understand that it was built to preserve the human race but, oddly enough, that does not redeem this gloomy place in my mind (or, for that matter, this movie).

6. Vogsphere (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
How do you feel about being slapped in the face? How do you feel about being slapped in the face by a shovel-like parasitic creature that preys on original thought? Feel free to visit Vogsphere if you would like. Just make sure not to think. Need a
visual? (Watch and you will understand. The fun starts around 1:15 into the clip.) Please tell me you are laughing.

5. The Bog of Eternal Stench (Labyrinth, Film 1986)
I have, with no exaggeration, an extremely sensitive sense of smell. I swear I can smell The Bog of Eternal Stench through my television and it makes the bile rise in the back of my throat. Bog (ewwww). Stench (double-ewwww). FOREVER. Nope, I’ll pass.


4. Arkham Asylum (DC Comics Universe)


Now, I will be the first to admit that some of my behavior may, at times, warrant a trip to the loony bin … but a criminal I am not. I have no desire to hang out with the rabble that keep landing themselves in this psycho place only to escape and then come back and then escape and then come back. Well, I think you get the point. Should I find it ironic that the asylum was named for Elizabeth (I’m an Elizabeth) Arkham or that it first appeared in 1974 (I was born in 1974)? (This is where I extend my eternal gratitude to Wikipedia.)

3. The Mines of Moria (Tolkien’s Middle Earth)
Do I actually need to provide reasons on why Moria is not a happy place? It’s dark. It’s creepy. There are orcs and they have a cave troll. “We can not get out. The end comes. Drums, drums in the deep. They are coming." If that is not enough to dissuade you, please remember that here lives the Balrog. A Balrog!!! If you want to travel into the depths of the world and try to adopt the great fiery demon beast of doom as your very own pet then be my guest. I will stay topside, thank you.

2. Libria (Equilibrium, Film 2002)
Have you SEEN this movie? Basic human emotions have been deemed not so good and are blamed for a Third World War. Therefore, anything that elicits emotion has been banned. Literature. Music. Art. All of it is illegal. *Shudder*

1. OZ (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
I see no need to justify this decision. Don’t judge me.

Well, there you are. What say you?

Me? “I don’t want to go on the cart!” ~Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Film (1975)

A Few Loose Screws




Job. A new one would be great. In times such as these I should be grateful that I am employed. This is not the right moment to go job hunting, is it? I wish working was a choice and not a necessity. It just seems to get in the way.

Scattered thoughts are beginning to be the normal. They are consuming me. There is no cohesion. How can I make sense of anything in this condition? Broken. Shattered. Days … weeks … seasons … gone. Years? “And Summers and Winters scattered like splinters… and four or five years slipped away.” ~Jimmy Buffet

Am I doing enough?

Lost: Motivation; Found: Not a damn thing.

The Poet Hiding Within hasn’t been updated in one year (Last post: 04/02/2008). I haven’t written a poem in that year. Not one.

Is finishing university my way out of this hell hole? If it is … how the heck do I manage that feat while maintaining a full time job (ugh) and continuing to raise two boys?

I have been let down. It feels as though I was dropped on my skull. Oh, I’m sorry … is that my brain matter on your shoes?

Stop the planet. I want to get off.

Strength. People (known and new to me) are always commenting on how strong I am. I don’t want to be strong anymore. Can’t someone just carry me for a little while?

The size of my ass is no longer acceptable. Not that it was EVER acceptable …

Is it too much to ask for some sort of hint (a very tiny one will do) on why I am where I am and what I am expected to do while I am here?

My passport expired. Think about that. It hasn’t been used in 10 years. TEN YEARS. Even sadder is the fact that I didn’t renew it because I know there is no hope ($$$) of me going anywhere anytime soon. Wanderlust strangled. No wonder I am dying on the inside.

I’m actually irritated by ignored friend requests on Facebook from people I knew really, really well. Why do I care? Why the hell do I care???

There is not enough time to write. I only posted four blog entries in the month of March 2009. Thirty-one days and I only managed to squeak out four posts. My exact thoughts on this subject can not be expressed without a rather long and colorful string of profanity.

It would be nice if I could figure out how to sleep like a normal person.

You know those people who feel like they are alone even when they are in a crowd of people? I used to pity those people. I used to wonder what was wrong with those people. I’ve suddenly realized, bizarrely enough, that I have become one of those people. I pity me. I wonder what is wrong with me. How did this happen?

I’m listening. Intently. Static is all I am getting.

“Is there anything else on your mind that I should know about? There are all sorts of twists and cul-de-sacs. It’s wild!” ~Firefly, TV Series (2002)

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