Dec 30

All in all, it’s been an eventful year for me.  I saw the Sistine Chapel, I fell in love with Riesling, I got another dog, I experienced the Iditarod, I lost two friend to untimely deaths, I lost a cousin to homicide, I stopped dying my hair after 13 years, I got 7 more college credits under my belt, I ate Anchovies on purpose, I made more friends, I made it through another year of a fantastic marriage, I got another year older (of course!), I went back into therapy, this blog turned 2 years old and got a nice face lift thanks to Pete and ETS, I made more blog buddies, and most of all I gained more confidence in myself and I have a lot more courage to express myself through my writing.

It’s been good, it’s been bad, and with the exception of deaths, I probably wouldn’t change anything.

And without further ado, I just couldn’t say goodbye to this year without one more “Rent” song, and I think it sums up how we all should really “measure a year”.  In the big picture, anyway.

“Seasons of Love”

Lyrics by Jonathan Larson

Five hundred twenty-five thousand,
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand,
Moment so dear.

Five Hundred twenty-five thousand,
Six Hundred Minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights

In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

How about love?

How about love?

How about love?  Measure in love.

Seasons of Love.  Seasons of Love.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes?
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
journeys to plan.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes.
How do you measure the life
Of a Woman or a man?

In truths that she learned.
Or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died.

It’s time now to sing out,
Though the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love!

Remember the love!

Remember the love

Measure in love

Seasons of love!

Seasons of love.

Oh you got to remember the love,
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love.

Dec 29

I remember back when the first Gulf war began in 1991, I was terrified.  I remember sitting in my living room and watching Dan Rather deliver the news that we were officially at war.  For days on end, I would leave school, come straight home, and turn on the television to see how the war was going.

I also prayed a lot.  Especially before going to sleep at night.  I remember praying for an end to the war, praying for protection of our soldiers, and even praying for the protection of the opposing soldiers.  I remember asking God to help Saddam come to his senses, to help him to be a better person, to help him realize that what he was doing was wrong.  I felt that the only way I could even go to God for help was if I was willing to see both sides of the conflict.  Days later, the war ended and life went on.  I was satisfied.

I also forgot about Saddam Hussein.  Now that we were out of Kuwait, I gave little thought to what he was doing in his own country to his own people.  I had other things to worry about like boys, grades, college, and the drama club.  Funny how I gave a damn when I felt my own way of life threatened, but as soon as the threat was over, I got over it.

Then I grew up.  I began paying attention to what was happening in the world.  And then my prayers changed.  I prayed to God to please forgive me for wishing someone would just kill Saddam.  But in all honesty, it’s what I wanted.  I wanted him out of this world, gone, dead.  I kept wishing that one of his highly trusted guards would just poison his coffee or his doctors would put cyanide in his flu shots.  Just get rid of him.  Sure I felt guilty for it, but my desire for him to die far outweighed my guilt.  I felt that evil like that can’t be changed, and our only option to rid the world of him, was for him to die.

Mostly, I still feel that way.  But now?  Two years after his defeat and capture, I feel like it really won’t matter that much.  I think it would have mattered had we just strung him up after refusing him a trial, we’d have felt more vindicated.  But on the other side of the coin, I didn’t lose my entire family to his evil acts.  I don’t live in Iraq and thank God I’ve never had to live under his reign.  But somehow now it seems way less important.   Maybe I’ll feel differently once he’s gone.  Maybe I’m speaking out of turn when I say he didn’t deserve a trial.  But I realize that as part of our attempts to establish a Democracy, we have to exercise his right to due process.  I can appreciate it, but I don’t have to agree with it or like it.

As harsh as this sounds, for every husband who was tortured and murdered, for every child who was poisoned, for every woman who was raped, every person who has suffered as a result of his evil intentions, I wish we’d have gotten rid of him sooner, denied him a fair trial, raped him, tortured him.

I know how simple-minded that may sound but you ask the widows, the orphans, the widowers, the scarred survivors, and I’m betting they’d feel the same way.

I’ve come a long way since those days in my living room.  I’ve seen a lot and have experience the realities of a tough world.  I’m no longer the sheltered little girl who sees the world only how she wishes to see it from her bedroom decorated with unicorns and the pink dust ruffle.  I’m the adult who believes when appropriate the only way we can feel justified is by taking an eye for an eye.  I just hope I feel it now, two years later.

Either way, a part of me will be happy and relieved they finally hanged the bastard.

Dec 28

Yep. I’m still singing all those “Rent” songs. And I’m still not sick of any of them yet. Oh my God, I think I fall in love all over again, every time I hear one.

Aaaanyway, I’m over all that “feeling sorry for myself” crap.

Of course, that means that my memaw called and I got an email from my stepfather apologizing about Christmas.

Turns out my mom is very sick, sick to the point of barely being able to get out of bed. Yes folks, that’s right, I’m officially the world’s worst daughter. Actually, he said she’s feeling much better which I’m relieved about. My memaw also called me tonight and Tom backed up her claim of worrying about the time difference. My family does Christmas in the morning, which means that if they start at 10am, it’s 6am here, and I can promise you that I would not have gotten out of bed for anyone at that time.

Now my sister? She’s got some ’splainin’ to do.

You know what’s funny too? My stepdad relayed the days events to me, which, of course included a shitload of drama, because, let me tell you right now: My family could have an 8:00pm slot on a major network for the amount of drama they can stir up over the most mundane things. Oh. My. God. Just reading about it, made me want to crawl up under my comforter, clutching my bottle of wine, and turn on the “It’s a Wonderful Life” marathon. All so I could cry (for the frillionth time because I LOVE THAT MOVIE and because GEORGE BAILEY really is the richest man in town) and wish my family could be that happy.

But getting to the whole “you know what’s funny?” part.

When I asked my memaw how Christmas went, she replied “Oh honey, it was wonderful, everyone was here, and we all missed you.” Not once did she mention any of the dramatic things that happened.
Now my memaw is not a lady to lie or stretch the truth in anyway. In fact, she’s got a pretty good sense of humor about all the family drama. What a difference another person’s perspective can make. In all honesty, I would have been in agreement with my stepdad thinking that Christmas really didn’t go too well because of all the drama, but my memaw just accepts it as part of the whole family experience. And who knows? Maybe she is in a state of denial. It wouldn’t be uncommon in my family, believe me. Maybe there really is something to the whole “ignorance is bliss” theory.
But you know what else is funny? Or Ironic? That as much as I whined about not hearing from my family, I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there. Call me the coward. I certainly deserve it.

Dec 25

First of all,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Today was spent lounging and being lazy and later we had dinner with Dusty’s family.

And for once, I waited to see if my family would call me instead of vice versa.

Just as I imagined, I didn’t get one phone call.  Howard did from his mom and his brother and his dad called last night.

But not one phone call for me.

This doesn’t surprise me much, really.  I’m the black sheep of the family.  I’m the one who packed her bags and ran as soon as I was legally able.  I don’t really talk to my family that much anyway.

But it still hurt.  It hurt to know that if I didn’t call them, they wouldn’t call me.

The only one I excuse is my memaw.  She’s elderly and she’s always afraid to call because she can never quite remember the time difference.  I know she’s thinking of me.

As far as the rest of them, they have their own lives.  I can’t really be mad at them either.  When my pawpaw died and I moved away, I knew that most of them wouldn’t make an effort at keeping in touch.  My mom and I email sometimes and that’s fine.  My sister only calls me when she wants something from me and unless I’m with my uncle in person, he and I never speak otherwise.  I’ve always been the different kind of kid, the kid who was the loner.  The kid who was so embarassed and disappointed in her family that she couldn’t wait to get away from them.  In a way, I’ve brought it all on myself.
Through the years, I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with people who have become my family.  I’m so thankful that I’ve made a family with Howard’s own.  And Howard really is all the family I need.  When he randomly walks by and takes my face in his hands and kisses me softly for no reason at all and then tells me he loves me and that I’m his whole life, it fulfills me.  Makes me remember that I’m damn lucky and I turn that cup of self-pity upside down, and toss it away.

I’ve got a warm home, an amazing husband, money in my pocket, food in my cupboards, and deep down, I know my family in all their twisted humanity really does love me.

(And mom or Tom, if you decide to call me after reading this, don’t bother, I know you’ll only be doing it because you feel bad and that would be so phony.  I’ll see you in February, hope you had a Merry Christmas and I love you.)

Dec 22

“Withooooout you….the ground thaaaaws…”

Okay okay.  Sorry.  I hope to be over this whole singing nonsense by the New Year.

Ya’ll.  The last time I checked the thermometer outside it read -36.  Read:  THIRTY SIX DEGREES BELOW ZERO.  That was base temperature.  No wind.  Yep.  “Baby, it’s cold outside?”  Um.  You don’t know cold.  Unless of course, you’re in the South Pole.

The truck barely started this morning even with the block heater plugged in, my skin is zapped of any moisture whatsoever, and I can’t seem to keep my feet warm.

And let me take a moment right now and tell all of you who are curious:  Yes.  I can definitely tell a difference in -36 and 0.  Zero feels really nice actually.  Trust me on this.

I’m not even ready for Christmas.  I have all of my presents purchased but not one of them is mailed which means, NO ONE will be getting their gift before Christmas.  That’s okay though, because both of our families celebrate Christmas when we return to NC once a year.  So, what’s a few weeks right?

I thought that a full week after my extractions, I would feel fine but truth be told, my bottom gums are still really swollen and sore, especially the holes where my wisdom teeth once lived.  I still can’t eat anything really chewy (which SUCKED tonight at Steak night) and I’m constantly getting food caught in my holes.  THANK GOD for my Waterpic. (and thank you God for Demerol…in moderation, of course)
And finally, to all of you who have emailed and to which I haven’t replied?  I AM READING YOUR EMAILS!  Especially you Heather!

I think I’m just going to put a “closed” sign on my forehead until after the holidays.  Is that okay?  Why I would think that would work here in cyberland (see?  I just used a word from the soundtrack!) is beyond me being that none of you actually see me everyday.  Except for that one clever local person who found my blog.  You know who you are, would that be okay?
And if for some reason, I can’t jump on here beforehand, I wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas!

Dec 20

The better part of the entire “Rent” original broadway production soundtrack has been in my head since I bought it in Anchorage last week.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve been playing it every chance I get.

The bad thing is now Howard’s walking around humming and singing it too.  Oh Lord.

I wanted to use that shamlessly stolen title up there for a reflection on 2006 and I will.  I just need to gather more time right now.

It’s Christmas.  I work in Retail.  The end.

And speaking of holidays.  I was really sad that I couldn’t get on here and wish my Jewish family and friends Happy Chanukah last Friday when it commenced.  Oh well, I least I got it in on the sixth night right?  And I did remember to kiss and wish Howard a happy one as soon as I got off the plane on Saturday.
Oy vey!

So eventually I’ll get to a really good reflective post on 2006.  I’d say for the most part though?  It was pretty darn good.

Right now, I’ve got to shoot a few ungrateful and bitchy customers get back to the grind.

Dec 18

Well, my wisdom teeth are all gone and my gums are clean as a whistle.  So glad that’s over.

Tess was a trooper in helping drag my sorry ass out of the dentist’s office and even drove me to pick up my prescriptions.  I swear at the time, I felt lucid but now that I’m completely sober?  I realize that I actually don’t remember hardly anything between the time that she picked me up and the time that I crashed on the hotel bed for about 6 hours.  I do remember pointing out that I had the EXACT same Hard Rock Cafe shirt she wore except mine said “Rome” instead of “London”.  And I remember digging my insurance card, my credit card, and my driver’s license out of my purse.  I vaguely remember hugging her as she left my room and I definitely don’t remember changing in to pajamas and crawling into bed.  Though I did.

Today is the first day that I don’t feel woozy, in fact.  After flying back on Saturday morning, I slept for most of the day, got up, ate a soft food dinner with Howard and then went back to bed and slept for 12 more hours.  Yesterday was spent napping as well.  This morning?  I finally felt like I’d had enough rest.

I did have a scary thing happen while in the Costco parking lot on Friday.  I awoke at about 6:00pm that night and felt good enough to do some last minute shopping while in town.  In hindsight, I know I was in no shape to drive, but I tell you, at the time, I felt just fine.  Just think of how many other people do that very same thing. YIKES!  Aaaanyway, I began walking to where I thought I parked the car, and couldn’t find it.  I actually stood there for almost a full minute wondering where the hell I parked my car.  I had no recollection at all.  I was stumped.  I began walking in one direction and after about five rows, I turned around and went the opposite direction.  Finally, I came to it.  It weirded me out so bad that I got my dinner from the Outback to go and drove straight back to the hotel.

After eating and changing back into my pajamas, I began reading through all the indications on my meds and about the effects of local sedation (which is what I had):  My eyes stopped on one phrase: “May cause temporary amnesia”.

Who would have thought?

Now granted, it could have been my natural tendency to lose things, because let’s face it, I lose things A LOT.

But you know what?  I’m going to milk this whole sedation thing for all that it’s worth.

Or at least until I’m finished with the meds.

Dec 14

I’m catching a flight in a couple of hours to Anchorage to get some dental work done.  This is my first trip to town without Howard.  I’ll either go nuts with the credit cards or be crazily stingy with them.  Either way, I’ll come back with less teeth (wisdom) and less money in the bank.

The good thing is Tess has lovingly offered to take care of me on Friday when I’m all drowsy from the anesthesia and is prepared for possible drug induced rambling about dancing bears.  And possibly about all the people I have mad crushes on and all the boys I’d like to pour over ice and sip slowly.  But she swears she won’t put it on record.  Tess is a good friend that way.

I also want to take a moment and thank you all for your well wishes to my friend Julie.  I know she appreciates it and  you all just rock my world.  Thanks for that.

See you next week!

Dec 11

As if my friend Julie hasn’t been through enough, her mother passed away yesterday, and right now is one of those times that I really hate that I live so far away from her. This is one of those times that I do regret moving to Alaska.

When I found out this morning, I stood in the shower and cried and pled with God, to just please give the girl a break already!

I spoke with her on the phone too and when she told me she wished I was there, I broke down in to tears again. I couldn’t help it. I feel so helpless not being able to hug her and just be next to her when she needs her best friend the most. Julie, ever stoic as always, was running around trying to make her mother’s funeral arrangements, with quick efficiency. I am amazed at her constant strength. If the girl could get a medal for emotional stability and strength in spite of having all kinds of bad things thrown at her, she would surely be the winner everytime.

She got it honest, her mother was the same way. Geraldine “Geri”, as we called her, was born with a heart defect. She’s had numerous open heart surgeries, and as long as I’ve known Julie, has been in and out of the hospital because of her heart. And at the same time, you’d never know it if you met her. At least not the time I spent around her. She was always lively, was always cracking wise about something, making me and Julie laugh, she had a wicked sense of humor and even once had the tits to say “GIRLS! STOP IT! YOU’RE GONNA GIVE THOSE BOYS A HARD-ON!”, in the middle of a Pizza Hut where Julie and I were flirting with high schoolers, shamelessly. Geri struck me as one of those women who feared nothing, was comfortable in her own skin, and who loved her kids very much. Especially, her only grandchild, Aaron, Julie’s son.

According to Julie, Geri went out of this world very quick. One minute laughing and cutting up, the next, she was out of her pain and suffering and into a better place. Her heart finally got the better of her. We imagine she’s up in Heaven right now, making wise cracks and probably sitting next to God, nudging him in the arm with her elbow, saying “buddy, I gave you a run for your money, didn’t I?” and giving him a good laugh.

As far as Julie, I think she knows that God won’t give her more than she can handle, that if anyone is strong enough to bear all the stuff he’s put her through, it’s her.  In less than three years, she’s lost both her father and her mother.  Julie said today “that to lose both of your parents, you just feel kind of lost.”  But I know my Julie, I know how much she is loved, and I know there are countless people out there who will show her the way, even though she does feel lost.  To quote Julie again: “God thinks I’m the shit” when referring to him not giving her more than she can take.
I think you’re the shit too, Julie. I love you and I’m sorry I can’t be there for you.

Dec 7

I just wanted to take a moment and wish my good friend Heather, a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

I love you so much.  I miss you. And most importantly, HAVE A FABULOUS BIRTHDAY!

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