Monday, December 29, 2008

Fair Warning!

Me and the girls are going out tonight for a little karaoke and conversation!

And I'm taking my camera.......
....with brand new, fully charged batteries!

I might even shoot some video to post!


You've been forewarned!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post-Holiday Musings

Christmas was really strange this year......actually, the strangeness started at Thanksgiving and has just continued on. It's really a mixture of things, I think. I've never been one to just "make it through" the holidays, but this year, I'm glad most of it is past me.

Between my unemployment at Thanksgiving and putting Christmas on hold until my brother-in-law is home from Kuwait, the holidays were just really different for me this year. I still went to my parents house for a few days and enjoyed seeing all my nieces and nephews, but I hope I never have another year like this year. I won't go into all the little things that amassed to make it a big let down so I'm going to blog about something I find very amusing!

If you blog and haven't checked out Site Meter, you should! One of the features I love about Site Meter is being able to see what words people enter in search engines that will land them on my blog. Most are benign, but some are a bit scary. Most of the hits I get from Google or Yahoo searches are from people who are looking up, "what is stelliform". I was delighted to find that I'm the first search result on google when one types this (probably has nothing to do with the fact that blogger is linked to google, right?)!!!! The second most prolific search result that will lead one to my blog is, "Coney I-Lander chili recipe". I don't have the recipe (oh, how I wish I did!), but many people love Coney I-Lander as much as I do and covet the much sought after secret chili recipe. Other searches that have brought people to my blog which I find amusing are, "is the universe sending me a message", "shag balls", "psycho girl" and "starlight manifesto".

I think I find as much amusement in cruising through my blog stats as I do reading my favorite blogs. Seriously......if you're blogging and aren't using a stat counter, you need to check it out! Not only will you get amusement from some of the stats, but you can finally determine how many "lurky loos" are reading your blog and not commenting.

AND while I'm thinking about it, here's a shout out to all the "lurky loos"! It's fine with me if you don't want to comment. I appreciate your stopping by to read the frivolous bit of fluff I send out into the blogosphere!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Words....

Sometimes there are no words.....
....and other times, there are only words.

Here are my words....interpret them as you will (but please don't dump on me for the language....this is what's on my heart).


Road block
cell block
TICK TOCK
unblock

Chock o block
cock block
block kick
DROP KICK

BLOCKADE
block out
blockage
nerve block

Building block
butcher block
CHOPPING BLOCK
cinder block

Block letter
block buster
ball buster
HEART CRUSHER

Starting block
STUMBLING BLOCK
writer's block
head lock

Hip hop
non stop
mind fuck
I'M BLOCKED?!?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Simple Girl with Simple Needs

It's amazing how just knowing I would be returning to work has had such a healing effect on my emotional state. It's usually very easy for me to keep things at an even keel as far as feeling blue goes, but the past two months sort of proved otherwise. Don't get me wrong.......although I had some pretty dark days, my worst days were a picnic compared to other's brushes with depression.

Nonetheless, this entire week has felt like I was emerging from the abyss and it is such a good feeling to feel normal again!

So, to get to the actual topic of this blog, I want to share some of the simple things in my life that make it bearable and normal for me.

A job......that goes without saying, but I've modified how I look at employment. I don't need the moon.....just a place to work and enough money to cover my bills and modest living expenses. Having just a bit more than needed is nice, but I've learned it isn't necessary and it won't make me any happier, so I'm very thankful for what I have. Paychecks are a wonderful thing.

A home....I'm so thankful the new landlord is going to keep me as a tenant!

Friends.....people who are there for the good and bad are priceless gems. I'm fortunate to have a fantastic network of wonderful friends who would do anything for me. [And....if any of you ever need anything, let me know. I'm happy to return the favor]

Instant Messaging.....again, it's the small things that make my life bearable and instant messaging is one. I'm not much for talking on the phone and texting fills up my phone mailbox too quickly and I hate to delete messages, so instant messaging steps in and fills my communication needs perfectly!

Good food....I'm a foodie and I love a good meal. It doesn't matter if it's home cooked, from a nice restaurant or a little hole-in-the-wall dive. If the food is good, I'll be happy. Those who know me personally and have eaten with me know all about the Happy Food Dance! When I put a bite of good food in my mouth, I do a little dance in my seat......it's totally involuntary but it's the true sign that my mouth is happy and a happy, full belly will soon follow. [If you're interested in my Top 10 favorite place to eat, you can check that out HERE.]

Those are my simple needs. Today, at least.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Drumroll, Please...........

After 11 long weeks of unemployment, I'm happy to let everyone know I'll be re-joining the ranks of the employed next Monday!

I don't know what my exact job title will be, but from what I can tell, I'll be managing (or helping to manage) a small accounting office. It's certainly not the kind of job I ever imagined myself doing, but I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

Unemployment has really opened my eyes to lots of things I thought I was aware of and compassionate about already. No longer will I look at a homeless person and assume they just want to beg for money on a street corner in order to buy their next drink. Although I didn't have to give up my home as a result of unemployment, I came too close for comfort and it was such a scary thing! It only takes one bad break to start the ball rolling towards homelessness......and once you no longer have an address or personal phone it becomes just that much more difficult to secure employment......let alone unemployment benefits.

Last Monday I received 2 job rejections and found out my landlord had sold the house in which I live. The company who let me go was fighting my claim for unemployment and I didn't have enough money to pay my rent and bills for the month of December.............it was rock bottom for me. The person who has been my constant voice of reason throughout this whole roller coaster of unemployment took the brunt of meltdown.........he let me flip out and then he brought it all back to perspective by just saying, "breathe in, breathe out.....relax......nobody has died". Exactly! This poor guy has seriously spent 11 weeks of 8 hour IM conversations keeping me sane, keeping my spirits up, keeping me entertained, encouraging me and giving perspective when desperately needed. He should be made a saint because it wasn't a walk in the park! I will love him dearly forever because of his kindness and friendship.

I know I mentioned this in a previous blog, but all those who have kept the encouragement coming through this blog and on facebook.....Thank you so much!!!!!!!!! Those words seem so inadequate to express the gratitude I feel for the wonderful friends I have.......willing to take me to dinner, let me come over and just chill, sending me daily messages of encouragement and prayers.

I'm so blessed!

I'm so employed!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Four Secrets (well, soon to be FORMERLY secrets) About Me

My friend Jessica over at Fustian tagged me to do this meme. Well, she didn't just tag me, she challenged me to prove my worth and since lately, given my bad luck with the job hunt, I'll take any chance I can get to feel worthy for awhile.

Sheesh....this is going to be difficult because I'm really pretty honest with my friends. There are lots of things I could put that would surprise many of my readers, but not Jessica because she already knows about them. So, I'm going to have to go back many years to find something to reveal to her.

1. When I was in the 4th grade, I convinced all my friends that Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker, was my cousin. Not only did I convince my friends of this little scenario, but I also convinced my oldest sister, Julie, to write letters that were supposedly from Mark to show my friends as evidence. At the time, I didn't see it as a lie, it was a game of "how much can I make my friends believe?" Apparently I was so convincing, that 6 years later, when I was reminiscing about this with one of the friends I had convinced, she was floored to find out it wasn't true.......she still believed me after all those years. I guess I never did go back and clarify the situation to everyone......oops!

2. I am obsessed with all things 9-11. Especially documentaries and movies. I own so many of them and I have watched them over and over.....even the wacky conspiracy theory dvds that are out there. I've even read the NYFD survivor's transcripts of their debriefing interviews......I seriously don't know what my fascination is with this, but I really don't tell many people because it seems so morbid and maudlin.....it isn't, really, I just find it all so incredible that I have to read about it and watch it over and over.

3. When I was in the 6th grade, I had a huge crush on Ricky Melendez of Menudo. Well.....there's not much to add to that. The fact that I know the name of one of the most obscure members in the band's evolving line up should speak volumes.

4. I found out Zach H. was the one who told Kent about the blog he tried to fire me over. I also found out he has given info to Kent that has put a couple of other people on the chopping block. HE IS THE MOLE. [Sorry to those of you who won't understand this, but the secrets are for Jessica and she knows who I'm talking about] If Kent only knew all the crappy things Zach said about him........he's lucky I'm not vindictive or I'd write Kent a letter from a "well wisher" and give Zach a taste of his own medicine. [AND.....if this gets back to you Zach, do what you want with my blog....show it to whomever.....they need to know what you're really like] By the way.....just for the record, I didn't get fired over the blog in question.....blogging about being frustrated with your job isn't grounds for termination.

Ok......so the people I'm tagging to do this meme are Rebeckah, DeAnna, Lil Jenn, and Brian W.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Psycho Girl Theory....a work in progress!

Between being born under the sign of Virgo and being born to a mother who was wise enough to teach me how to focus my neurotic, Virgo ways for the best, I've become a master at controlling my emotions and reactions.

I've never been one to "make a scene"...especially when it comes to men, and for years I've been trying to understand why so many men stay in relationships with women who are psychotic and jealous and constantly raise a ruckus over the littlest things.

I blame my inability to be the “psycho girl” on my Virgo sensibilities.

Let me site an example from junior high. Imagine with me, if you will.....it's Friday night and you're hanging out with all your friends at the football game. You're waiting for your steady guy and he's nowhere to be found. Later that evening, you see him sitting on the visitor's side with a girl who's a year older. After summoning some major courage, you walk past, making sure he sees you and then it happens.....he chases you down and tells you it's over.....he won't be calling anymore.

It just seems logical to me; if a guy tells you he's not going to call you anymore, there's no need to let him see you cry, even if you go home and weep into your pillow all night. It may hurt you to the very core, but does one really want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you? [Logically, no, but the heart is not an organ that deals in logic.] I can site example, after example of girls I know....women, even....who, when faced with a circumstance like this, will turn on the tears and throw a hissy fit. And guess what?!? I'd say about 69% of the time.......it works! She ends up with the guy.

Really?!? Where's my reward for taking the high-road all these years? I'll tell you where......he's out on a date with the girl who acts crazy, that's where.

I've seriously wondered about this for years and I had a really good theory going about why and how this tactic works. I had convinced myself this works because most guys don't want to deal with the drama so they do whatever they can to make it stop. In the case of my junior high example, he gets back together with the girl and the drama stops. BUT, what if there's something about the passionate display of emotion which speaks to a man's ego and he thinks to himself, "If she's willing to act like this because of me......WOW, she must really like me and would stick by me through anything!" [okay.......I know that's a long shot, but what if?!? ]

I'm the first to admit I'm unconventional when it comes to men but, I'm at a point in my life where I'm not sure what direction my life is taking. The one thing I know is what I've had up to this point hasn't been enough to satisfy me. My level-headed, Virgo mind is telling me to keep an even keel and proceed like always, don't rock the boat, mind my p's and q's........but it just doesn't seem like the right course at this time. I mean, if I keep doing the same thing, I shouldn't expect different results, right?

To further compound this frustrating conundrum, is my belief that nothing happens by accident. If something is meant to be, it will happen.....regardless of how I react. So, I find myself in the odd position of wanting to speak up for what I want in the situation but not knowing how to balance it with what my head tells me is the logical path to take.

In an effort to try and sort all this out, I've been experimenting with “acting out” a bit when faced with the need to defend what I want in a situation instead of following my tried and true, never-let-em-see-you-sweat, cards to the vest approach. Don't get me wrong.....I'll still never be the psycho girl, but I won't hide the passion I feel in a situation. I'm still trying to find my balance, but the few times I've tried my new-found, passionate voice, the results have been exactly what I wanted.

It doesn't escape my notice how this new theory seriously changes parts of my life philosophy, but I don't want to behave and silence my heart any longer. Isn't something worth having worth fighting for?

So, I'm not going gently into that good night.....not without a little rage against the dying of the light!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Accentuating the Positive

It's that time of year where so many people are writing "end of the year" blogs and lists. Let me be the first to say, "I'm ready to see 2008 to the door!" and have nothing but warm welcome for 2009. I'm expecting a better year. Shouldn't be too hard to meet that expectation as the bar is so low if it's based solely on 2008.

But, even though I'm not sad to see this year come to a quiet close, I feel I should mention the good things that happened in 2008.

Traveling to the Atlantic coast in both North and South Carolina......such beautiful places! Having grown up in a land-locked state, I love to see and hear the ocean any chance I get.

Watching my oldest nephew, Tyler, graduate from high school. He's such a fine young man and I'm so proud of him!

Being true to my word and ending a seven-year relationship because it was no longer the right thing for me.

So many good times with friends.....and usually involving karaoke!

So much good music in the world........it really does lift my mood to listen to music I love! I'm glad to have discovered Julia Nunes and Ingrid Michaleson this year. I'm also glad that Zooey Deschanel is part of the duo, She & Him. I love her voice and am glad to hear more from her!!

I'm happy to have discovered Josh "the Ponceman" Perry and his YouTube serial, The Retarded Policeman. Before you jump to conclusions based on the title of the show, you need to go HERE to read my previous blog about this incredible actor who never fails to put a smile on my face and laughter on my lips! So important to me these days!

Meeting Sugar D......I had no idea how important he would turn out to be, but he has been my northern star which constantly helps me navigate the ups and downs of my journey through unemployment.

I'm healthy and happy.

My parents came to my rescue and helped me by paying for much needed car repairs and don't expect me to pay them back until I'm back on my feet again........thank God for parents who love unconditionally and who will always be Poppy and Lovey Mom for me no matter how old I get!

All of the sweet and marvelous things my friends have said and done for me the last few weeks. I hate to name people because I will probably leave someone out and I don't want to make anyone mad.....but I want to mention a few! Jessica, Jessican, Rebeckah, Kelly, Holly, Amy, Andy, Jeff, Shannen and Sugar D for checking on me on a regular basis and giving me encouragement!
There are so many peeps on Facebook who have been so very encouraging.....because there are too many to name, you can go HERE and look at them if you like.

So......that's my short but very important list of good things from 2008. Let the countdown to 2009 begin!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow? or It's Raining, It's Pouring?

I couldn't decide on the title for this blog. The first one is definitely more optimistic, but the latter seems to be much more appropriate for the situation. The blog I've been waiting to write was one where I would tell of the 2 interviews I had before Thanksgiving and about how well they went.

I did have 2 interviews before Thanksgiving and both went very well. I knew it would be a few days before I heard anything, but I was counting on the 50-50 odds that one of the interviews would turn into an actual job.

Yesterday I got an e-mail fairly early in the day saying that one of the places had decided to go with another applicant after a coming to a "difficult decision". It wasn't the best news, but I had another option still out there.

While I was chatting with my friend and having a pretty good day, my landlord of 4 years called and told me he sold the house I'm living in............I was floored! My relatively good mood totally faded and I started to have a meltdown. Although I've been stressing over how I was going to come up with rent for the month of December, the prospects of dealing with a new landlord who doesn't know me and has no reason to try and work with me on my rent situation until I'm back to work were not pleasant. And I can't imagine what I'll do if the new landlord wants the property vacant and gives me a 30 day notice to move out! I just kept holding onto the fact that there was still the second job that might come through.

About 20 minutes after hearing about the house, I got an e-mail about the second job. E-mails are never the way one offers a job........well, almost never. Anyway, that job was offered to another applicant as well.

So.......this morning I will be scouring all the job sites once again for any sort of new postings and apply for anything I even remotely qualify for. It's hard to keep a good attitude and I appreciate all the people who kindly say, "it'll all work out, you'll find something", but it's so hard to hear that after 8 weeks! And, as much as I hate to admit it, I find absolutely no comfort in words like that......it's very easy to utter cliches like those from a nice, bright office where one goes to work everyday.

One thing that has come from all of this........a new compassion for people who are homeless. It only takes one bad break to start the wheels in motion. Now when I pass people who are sitting with their possessions in a cart I can see myself. Oh, I know I won't be homeless.....I have too many friends who will let me couch surf for that to happen, but I know there are plenty of homeless people with college degrees and marketable (whatever that means) skills who just couldn't catch a break and they landed on the street.

I really, really need to catch a break!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Virtual Mix Tape for You- Volume Two

Before I start in with my music selections, let me give a quick update to the job situation.......OH, there's nothing to update......not really. That's the main reason I haven't posted anything. I'm just afraid everything I write will sound too down in the dumps, so I've chosen to refrain from posting. I have several blogs in the works, but until I can really focus, they will remain on the "to be edited" shelf.

Volume Two of the virtual mix tape is my way of utilzing one of the things on my Happy List.
And, if you missed it, you can see Volume One here.

Click on the title to link to the song on YouTube.

Falling Slowly - Glen Hanserd and Marketa Irglova...from the movie Once. I love this movie and the words of this song really speak to me. Listen to the song and watch the movie!

Seeing Red - Unwritten Law...I first heard this in 2001 when it came out as a single. That year was another trying time not unlike what I'm experiencing now. Also, this song makes me want to bounce around!

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Doris Day....there are so many versions of this traditional spanish song (Quizas, Quizas, Quizas) but this is my favorite. Cake's version is a close second. This version is used in the movie Strictly Ballroom and I love that movie!

Tear In Your Hand - Tori Amos....this is from the Little Earthquakes cd which, in my opinion, is the best Tori cd of all time. I'm a book geek and I love that she mentions her friend and author, Neil Gaiman, in this song.....plus, I love the lyrics!

Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap.....this is from Speak for Yourself and I loved it the moment I heard it.....who puts the word "sewing machine" in a song?!? I was destined to love her and the entire cd. Not only that, she recorded the whole cd in her flat!

Kayleigh - Marillion.....this is a song from the 80's and you can tell by the video it was recorded while the Cold War was still a very real thing. I don't know much about the band, but I loved this song when I was in the 7th or 8th grade.

Sara - Bob Dylan....one of the best love songs ever written. I'd love to have a song this beautiful written about me. Say what you want about Bob's voice, but he'll always be a master with lyrics!

Candy - Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson....one of the best collaborations of all time!

To This We've Come - Eileen Farrell....one of the most beautiful and moving arias ever written. It is from The Cosul, written by Gian Carlo Menotti and is often called the Papers Aria or Magda's Aria. It's an 8 minute aria, but it's in English so I hope you'll listen to it even if you don't like opera.......it's so worth it!

Useless Desires - Patty Griffin...one of the greatest songwriters of all time! This is the first song I really fell in love with and it's still one of my favorites! This is a pretty poor live recording, but it's the best I could find so it will have to do.

Everytime You Cry - The Outfield.....classic 80's rock ballad. This takes me back to the summer of '86. Such good memories. I still have the concert t-shirt from this tour.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Interview Process

Just a quick update on the interview I had today!

This was the first round of interviews and it went well. They have a list of questions they ask each candidate. Of course, I feel I did well, but I won't know until Friday afternoon if I've made it to the next round of interviews.

The job would be challenging and at times very time consuming, but it would be in a field I love! Being busy has never been something that bothers me or stresses me out. In fact, those who know me understand I like to stay busy because of my irrational fear I'll be perceived as being lazy. [And let me tell you......5 weeks of not working has been a challenge, to say the least!]

Thanks to all who have sent me well wishes via, e-mail, text message, myspace, facebook and this blog! I'm feeling confident I'll make it to the next round of interviews, but it's still difficult to wait. If I make it to the next round, I'll most likely have another interview next Wednesday.......and I don't know what will happen from there, but I'll keep posting updates here when I have any news.

I really, really think this is the job for me! I'm excited!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Waxing Poetic

I've already posted a couple of poems here and I intend to post more in the weeks to come. I'm not sure if I'll be posting any new stuff I've written or if it will be stuff from long ago.....BUT, in preparation and anticipation of some readers who either think they're not into poetry or who just don't understand it, I offer this trilogy of poems written to a friend who was reluctant to embrace even the simplest of poems. The poems are written from the Poetry's point of view:

A Cheesy Poem for My Friend (from Poetry, herself), In Three Parts

Part 1

You may not think you like me
I can really understand
With all the flowery mumbo jumbo
And words which seem so grand
But I can take on many forms
And I'm often not so "rhymey"
So if you ever change your mind
Call Heather and she'll help you try me!

Part 2

Please, don't
flee-
I don't blame you for
being reluctant
Poetry is like change
despised
feared
misunderstood
I don't want to change you
I just want a chance.

Part 3

I sat and thought of you today...
Hoping you would look me up
and invite me into your life.
I know, if I am patient, I will
Win you over.
In that respect, we are alike-
Both of us prizes
Each in our own right!
But you cannot see that
because you shut me out.
Please, please don't hate me because I'm Poetry!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Update and Links!

At the time of my post last Thursday, things were really starting to get me down. But I'm happy to report I have a job interview this Wednesday with the American Cancer Society for their position of Community Relations! Not only is the news of an interview exciting, but it's doing the sort of job I love most!



Probably the most fulfilling job I've had, to date, was my seven years as Community Relations Manager for B & N! Not only did I love the type of work, but it came easy to me and it didn't feel like "work"! I didn't leave the job because I was dissatisfied with what I was doing, but because I had some major differences with the manager and knew they would never get any better, so I chose to move on before he chose to try and move me out. Everyday I have missed that job and I'm so encouraged I've got the opportunity to get back into the same field! I'll let everyone know how things go on Wednesday!



Here are some links I've "stumbled upon" and just can't get enough of! [Don't know what I mean by "stumbled upon? Find out more HERE]

The Eyeballing Game - I could seriously do this for hours every day.......okay, sometimes I DO this for hours every day. I think the site is self explanatory, but if you don't understand what to do, let me know and I'll help you out!

Watch Free Movies - Seriously......no strings! There are NEW movies here (I just watched Kung Fu Panda and it was only released on DVD today!) No registration required just click and watch!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sage Advice

The job hunt is going very slowly and my severance will stop on the 15th of this month. I started the paperwork for unemployment benefits, but I found out today that the corporate office is going to protest it and try to deny me.........I have the ammunition to fight, but I'd rather just find a job and not have to deal with it.

I'm trying very hard not to be stressed, but I'm starting to feel the panic rise. So, my very wise and constant IM friend mentioned that I might look at some of the job leads I've gotten for sales and I shut him down immediately. True sales people are horrible to work for and with. I asked my friend if he thought I was being stubborn and he gave me some very good advice. He said he thought I should look into a sales job as an interim possibility.....to get some income flowing.....and then continue my job search from there. I still don't want to work in sales, but I also don't want to be homeless and I don't know how long it will take to resolve the disputed unemployment claim.

If I thought I could bring in enough money right now just sewing and designing, I'd go ahead with that, but I don't like the unknown and there are too many unknowns involved with that.....the main one being, "How much money will I make?" I need to know my bills will be covered. End of story.

I'm off to apply for more jobs!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dawning of A New Day

I'm almost speechless about the outcome of the election. I'm thrilled to have been witness to such an historic event and am happy to have been a part of making it happen.

I don't write many blogs about politics and this one won't be long or overly political. As one of the unemployed on the beginning edge of a recession, tonight's victory brings me hope. I look forward to the new administration of Barack Obama and their ability to repair the damage of the last 8 years.

I'm off to bed for the deep sleep of the contented.
I leave you with my favorite cartoon of this election season......it explains one of the biggest reasons America needed this change.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Poem

I just got back from a few days at my parents and I got to see all of the kiddos (well, 9 of the 12) and I'm feeling refreshed from being surrounded by all the love. It's so comforting to know that love will be there no matter what and it's not dependant on what I do, how I live or who I love. I fully realize there are lots of people who don't know that kind of love and it is so hard for me to understand.....it just baffles me.

This is a poem I wrote my last year in college about a friend who didn't know what unconditional love was like.

[Untitled- for Rich]

Sorry, my longtime friend.
I begin with an apology....

why?

Because I never knew

Your Pain.

never heard it in your voice
never saw it in your eyes
never suspected it in your life.

But tonight--
tonight I sat and digested all of

Your Pain

expressed through written words.

What a heavy pen you use!
(Borne like a martyr's cross)

Yet, through that cross I know
you've obtained liberation--
Liberation of a sort,
but not an easing of

Your Pain

(I didn't realize how alone
you must have felt)

I know I couldn't have stopped

Your Pain

but I should have noticed
your furrowed brow
your eyes which seemed so old
(please forgive my blindness)

Now I sit and think of you--
searching my heart
trying to feel

Your Pain

But--
I cannot
because

Your Pain

is one that you have chosen,
not one that was forced upon you.

So, I end with an apology--
Sorry, my longtime friend
I never knew
Your Pain

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A "Comblogeration" of Things!

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages......but, in reality, a week and a half isn't ages. [Unless you consider that I'm already past the halfway point of my severance.......then it seems like ages!]

I have so many things to share and not enough time to devote a blog to each topic, so I'm throwing them all together.....thus: a comblogeration of things!

First, an update on the job situation!
I'm still unemployed and the pickings out there are slim for the type of job I'm looking for. I'm willing to consider jobs outside of my immediate expertise, but I will not take another sales job as long as I live. The very least of the reasons being this: I really don't care for sales people. Very few of them are genuine and it's so draining to have to plow through all the BS that so naturally falls out of their mouths, let alone deal with an office full of them. [I realize this is a horrible generalization, but one day I will write of the first-hand horrors I've been witness to and you will understand my feelings.]

So, I've been proceeding with my plans to go back to self-employment and I am working on a line of cute, functional and trendy hats and bags! I'm in the process of making the spec samples to photograph for my soon-to-be website......if all else fails and I don't find a job in the next 2 weeks, I will make the best of it! I'm also working on a line of casual wear that I think is going to be incredible if I can just get it all from my brain, to paper, to cloth and then to the website!

I had a job interview Tuesday. The job I applied for was filled, but they interviewed me anyway. While I was there, I got a lead for a copy editor job at a local paper........AND their offices are in the building next to the one in which I used to work! I really would love to work downtown......so many of my friends work there as well and I miss eating lunch with them!

Second, an update on my car situation:
My parents delivered my car to me last Saturday!!! When my dad found out I had the interview on Tuesday, he rushed to get it to me! There are a few minor things he still wants to have done, but for the first time in 3 months, I can go anywhere I want, anytime I want and on my own terms! No more mooching rides for me! BUT......if any of you ever find yourself in need of a ride, hit me up! Ive got to start "paying it forward"!

Third, links to sites I really enjoy:
Stumble Upon - this site is incredible....and also a lot of fun. To use it, you have to add a tool bar to your browser (I normally hate to add things like that) but it's soooooooooo worth it. After you download the tool bar, you select interests from different groups of categories. Once you've done that, you're ready to start! You just click the "stumble" button on your tool bar and it will take you to a random website based on your preferences....then you can select a thumbs up or a thumbs down for the site it takes you to. I have found some of the coolest and most interesting sites since adding it to my tool bar. [a special thanks to Sugar D for letting me in on the secret!]

Site Meter - If you're a blogger and you're interested in tracking visit stats for your blog, I recommend this free tracking site! Not only does it track how many visits your blog gets, but you can tell where the person is located (just city and state) and if they linked to your site from another site. The thing I love the most is the strange google searches that lead people to my blog............the world is full of some strange people looking for some strange things!

Disc Drop - Remember "Plinko" from The Price is Right? Well, this is the web version of that game! I could play this for hours, which comes in handy since I'm unemployed. Check it out.....you'll love it [btw.....this was discovered through Stumble Upon!]

Netflix - Okay....I know one would have to have been living under a rock to not have heard about Netflix, BUT have you heard about their Instant Viewing option?!?! I pay $10 a month and can have discs mailed to me (which I do from time to time) but what I use on a daily basis is their instant viewing option. There are thousands of movies and TV series (whole seasons) available at the click of a button to view on your PC! That's how I view 98% percent of all movies I see nowadays. Quit wasting your time with Blockbuster.......even if you just have discs mailed to you, it's a much better deal all the way around.

Make-a-Flake: Snowflake Maker - Another great site I discovered from Stumble Upon! It's also fun to do this with the kiddos if you have any......I just like to make snowflakes!

Oh Joy! - A blog that I find so visually appealing I could just look at it for hours! It really appeals to me at my very core.....I hope you enjoy it, too!

Scentsy - For those of you would like things that make your home and workspace smell good, check this out!!!! These are the most decorative, flameless "smell goods" I have ever seen.

Fourth, update on Breaking the Rules:
It's not so much for me.
I tried it......it was "ok", but following my tried and true rules seems to be best for me at this point in my life.

Fifth, update on my mood:
I'm in a very good spot emotionally, all things considered. It took a few weeks to hit an even keel, but I haven't had any really bad days in over a week. I think that's a sign that the worst is over. It's nice to be back and blogging!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blah Blog?

I've been meaning to post for a few days, but just haven't been able to make myself. I don't want to write a post that is negative or sounds as if I'm wallowing but some of that can't be avoided. I'm trying so hard to maintain my optimism, but the simple truth is this: I feel really lousy....and I hate it, but please bear with this post because it won't be entirely depressing (I hope).

Three weeks ago I would have given my right arm for 2 weeks without having to go to work....the big difference is I don't have a job to return to and that, I'm finding, is very tough to handle. I never really thought that my self-worth and identity were so wrapped up in my job. I'm finding insecurities I never knew were there and I'm trying my best to learn to deal with those. For the most part, I do okay but there are times when it sneaks up, without any warning, and I find myself scraping bottom. Certainly not a place I'm used to being and not where I want to stay for any length of time.

My parents came yesterday and hauled my car back to their house for some major repairs. It was no easy thing for me to ask my parents for help, but at this point in my life, in these circumstances, I had no other options really and I'm so thankful that I have the kind of parents that will always be there for me. Unconditional love is an amazing thing.

As far as day-to-day life goes, the only thing that has remained constant from before losing my job is my rambling, 8-hour IM conversations with a friend. Without that, I may have really plunged into the depths and not returned to the surface because it's that 8-hour stretch, when everyone I know is working that really does a number on my head sometimes. But, this friend...he puts up with my moody ups and downs and remains a calming force in my life when everything else seems so unstable......and he does it just because we're friends, not because he knows I need that kind of an "anchor" at this particular moment in my life. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to repay him for the extreme kindness he has unintentionally shown me, but hopefully, one day, I'll have a chance to return the favor.

Well, I guess this could have been far more depressing, but I'm hoping it's my optimism and some of the kindest friends in the world keeping it to a minimum. I just have to hold on to my belief that nothing happens by accident........and maybe one day I'll understand this chapter in my life.

For now, I press on.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Virtual Mix Tape for You- Volume One

As a child of the 80's, I can't even begin to tell you how many mix tapes I've made over the years. There is an artform to the mix tape....picking just the right songs to set the mood you desire or to convey a message to that special person. Sometimes the mix tape is used to introduce people to songs you love and think the whole world should know!

This is my virtual mix tape for all of my readers! I've been listening to a lot of music that makes me happy and I wanted to share some of them with you. Click on the title to link to the song on YouTube or lastfm.com

"I Don't Feel Like Dancing" -Scissor Sisters...This song makes me smile and I love the retro disco sound!

"A Case of You" - Joni Mitchell...hands down, this is my favorite Joni Mitchell song. "I could drink a case of you and still I'd be on my feet, oh I would still be on my feet."

"Superhero Lover" - Daze...this takes me back to my days of going out and dancing with Jeff when I lived in Tulsa. Nothing but good memories wrapped up in this song.

"Where's the Playground Suzie?" - Glen Campbell....my all-time favorite Glen Campbell/Jimmy Webb collaboration! I can remember singing this song with the radio when I was 4 or 5 years old.

"Need a New Sunrising Every Morning" - Ronee Blakley....from Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Review show, this song should have become a classic and I'm doing my best to spread the word!

"Like a Bad Girl Should" - the Cramps [warning.....the words and video to this song are for adults only!] This song brings a smile to my face because it reminds me of a very special guy who rocks.

"All Consuming Love" - Alice Peacock..I love Alice! Every song on her self titled album speaks to me....it's like she got inside my head a wrote every song for me! I love them all but this is the one I've chosen to share.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Tori Amos...this is the best cover of a song I've ever heard. The sadness of the song really comes through because of the slow acoustic spin she puts on this seemingly non-sensical song. Haunting......truly.

"Where the Streets Have No Name" - U2.....classic 80's U2.....one of the best videos ever!

"Dancing Barefoot" - U2......a cover of a Patti Smith song and somewhat obscure which is why I love it so much!

"When I'm with You" - Sheriff.....I had to have a rock ballad in the mix and this one is one of my all-time faves!

"Make Me Smile" - Duran Duran.....this is my favorite 80's band. My room was plastered with their images. This is another obscure title from well-known band.

"Is This Real?" - Lisa Hall.....just to mix it up a bit, my favorite trip-hop song.

"Starlight" - Muse.......they put on the best live show I've ever seen! Add a star in the title and I'm hooked!

My Happy List

This is an old blog I pulled from my myspace blog archive....in an effort to stay upbeat despite my unemployed status, I've been reading through the series of blogs I wrote about my life philosophy. For some it will be a repeat, and for that I apologize, but I need to keep this fresh in my mind. And, I have made a few changes to the original post, so some of it's new!

The Eternal Optimist?

I've been accused many times in my life of being silly or frivolous and maybe there have been times when it was true, but more often than not, it was unbridled optimism and enthusiasm that was mistaken for frivolity.

I don't know if I was born optimistic or if it was a trait my incredibly wise mother gradually instilled in me. Most likely it was a mixture of both....the old heredity vs. environment debate. One day I'll write a blog about my mom and her incredible wisdom, but today I'm writing about happiness and finding it when you need it most.

Despite the trouble I've had with my home over the past year and a half, my home is my place of peace and refuge for me. When I need to get away from the stress of the world, that's where I want to be. But, on those rare occasions where my mood turns dark, I pick myself up and get out of the house........I don't want to have bad feelings associated with my time at home, but in turn, I think getting out of the house and finding something to do helps improve my mood so it's a win/win situation!

Once I'm out the door, wondering where to go, this is how I determine what I'll do. I ask myself, "What makes me happy?" And then I do those things. What amazes me, is when I ask other people what makes them happy.....many don't know how to respond. How can that be? (See, even now I'm dumbfounded) Life is what you make it and you can't always wait for happiness to knock on your door......you have to go where you (hopefully) already know it can be found. Here are some of the things that make me happy and some of the places you might find me when I need a little more happiness than usual.

My Happy List

-Glass.....something about the transparency, I think. I'm lucky to live in a city with the largest permanent collection of Dale Chihuly glass. A trip to the OKC Museum will quickly put a smile on my face.

-Roller Skating- I keep my skates in the trunk of my car because I never know when I'll need to roll!

-Books/reading- I might end up at a park with a blanket and a book or at B&N where I can read and have coffee.....either does the trick.

-Family- All of my family is special to me but specifically my nieces and nephews. Nothing cheers me up like talking to them.....and hearing them say "I love you" makes everything right with the world.

-Friends- many's the time I've spent long days hangin' with Jess and her family (which is almost like being with family). Anytime spent with a good friend is a good time and I'm blessed to have some incredible friends who always make me happy!

-Singing/Music- whether I sing at the top of my lungs to music in my car or I go for some karaoke, music always sooths my soul.

-Stars- sometimes I'll drive out, away from the city at night just to see the stars. Having grown up in a rural area, I miss the clarity of the stars away from the city lights. Also, since I collect stars, I've started a new project with my camera......it's too involved to mention here, but it makes me happy too.

-College football- in the fall, this will always do the trick!

-Baking- I love to create new recipes!

-Lips- okay, I know this one seems strange and quite possibly shallow, but I love a nice, full bottom lip on a man. Looking at a picture of Christian Bale (who has many more fine traits besides a killer bottom lip) or Ralph Finnes can always make me smile.

-Writing- whether it's a poem, a blog or just an e-mail to a friend, writing helps clear my mind and restores balance and happiness.

-Breathing- I'm not being funny. Taking time to really slow down and breathe can do wonders! I firmly believe that all the years of proper breathing I learned while singing in all manner of choirs has helped me in so many ways. Breathing calms me, helps me manage stress and pain. I think everyone would feel better if they would slow down and really breathe occasionally.


So, am I an eternal optimist because I feel nothing is so bad I can't find something to shake it off? Maybe. Probably. I'm happy with either. (See, I can't help it!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day Two of Unemployment

It's not even noon on my second day of unemployment and I'm already stir crazy! It's amazing how just knowing I have no job to go to makes me feel so strange. I really feel like I need to take a bit of time to get some things in order before I start to search in earnest for a new job, but given my mood today, I don't know if I'll make it to Friday without putting myself out there for a couple of things.

I've spent most of my morning looking into some places to list some of my clothing designs for sale......I just need to get some pieces made to list and that will be a way to bring in extra income that will hopefully continue even after I have found a "real" job.

A friend of mine has offered to build a website for me and my designs which will also help in the long run......but nothing is happening today and that's what's making me crazy.

I work best when I know there's a plan but at the moment, my plans are sketchy, at best. I have a vague idea of my timeline for the next six weeks, but without knowing when and where I'll be working, I feel like I'm just tumbling along.

Well......I feel like I haven't said much of anything, but I needed to get these things off my chest and out into the blogosphere.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Only Four Things.....

A week or so ago I was tagged by my friend Rebeckah over at Life with Kaishon, so here's my Four Things meme. Go check out Rebeckah's blog!

Four Places I Go Over and Over:

1. The internet (I probably spend too much time there, but it keeps me connected)
2. Jessica's House- I love to spend time there with her and her family
3. Until this week, Work....but I'll be doing that everyday again, soon enough
4. My Happy Place- it keeps me sane.

Four People Who E-mail Me Regularly

1. Jessica
2. Kelly
3. Aim-Dawg
4. various peeps from the Top 5 group

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:

1. With Sugar D
2. On the beach
3. Anywhere with my nieces and nephews
4. Eating sushi

Four TV Shows I Watch
[I only watch shows once the whole season is available on DVD]
1. Gilmore Girls
2. Weeds
3. Heros
4. Ballykissangel

Four Things I Have for Breakfast

1. oatmeal
2. a tasty orange (thanks, Sugar D!)
3. COFFEE!! (and NO ONE wants to deal with Heather BC!)
4. beef jerky.....I know, not very breakfast like, but protein stays with me longer.

Four Animals I Like Best

1. Dogs
2. Monkeys
3. Horses
4. Cats

Four Beaches I've Been to

1. Clearwater Beach, FL
2. Daytona Beach, Fl
3. Foley Beach, SC
4. Carolina Beach, NC

Four People I'm Tagging to Do The Four Things Meme

1. Jessica at Overflowing Bookshelf
2. Jessican at Fustian
3. Lil Jen
4. Kelly (you can leave your in the comments on my blog!)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A New Beginning

I didn't have a chance to post an update last night and I didn't want to leave another hastily written post since I've neglected my blog so much lately.

I did, in fact, lose my job yesterday. The feeling of panic while waiting to hear my fate was not something I enjoyed and it's also not a feeling I've had very often in my life. Over the years I've tried to hone my life philosophy into something that will inevitably see my through the toughest situations and challenges in my life. I'm happy to say, that my views on life have served me well and have made this ordeal seem much less a tragedy and totally a blessing. Although the loss of my job has nothing to do with job performance, it's still hard to separate myself from the work I put into the world. Everything I do in life is personal to me. In my opinion, there's no other way to see it.

I've had plenty of issues with the tone and atmosphere where I work, but as with almost every place I've worked, there are always a couple of people who make work a little more fun and bearable. For those reasons, I mourn the loss of this job.

When I leave my office on Friday, it will be the first time I've been unemployed since I was 16 years old. I have decided to take a week off to rest and recharge before I start my job search and I'm not sure how I will feel with free time on my hands. I've always had an irrational fear people will perceive me as being lazy so I always have tons going on in my life. But, how will I feel without the largest portion of my week devoted to working? I have no idea, but I'm not scared to face the future because, ultimately, I know what it holds for me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Waiting Game

Short post today because I don't feel much like writing as I sit and wait to see if I'll be laid off today.....I'm numb and not sure how to feel or how to proceed.

So.....instead of talking about any of this, I'm going to post a video of my favorite performance from last week. Listening to it makes me happy and Lord knows I need that right now.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 5 Tuesday!

I'm back from Talent Quest Nationals and almost recovered, but not enough to blog like I want so I'm going to start a running theme for Tuesdays........a Top 5!

I'd love it hear what your top 5 answers are......and while you're at it, invite your other blog friends to drop by and participate!

Top 5 songs you could put on "repeat" and never get tired of:

1. The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
2. Beautiful Day by U2
3. Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
4. Northern Star by Alice Peacock (well, any song by Alice would work here!)
5. A Case of You by Joni Mitchell


I could list more, but today, at this moment, these are my Top 5 picks!

Tell me yours!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Talent Quest- Mid-Week Update

Things are going really well! I haven't had to use my Happy List at all this week and I really don't anticipate having to use it at all this week. I'm really happy that I seem to be mellowing with age (like a cheese?!?) and it certainly makes life much more enjoyable!

I'm sorry my posts have been sporadic and short the past two weeks, but sometimes life just starts rolling and builds up too much steam and by the end of the day there's no time left for blogging.

Here's a performance by one of my favorites who participates every year. He's got a great voice and a really big heart.

Enjoy Raydog's performance of Don't Stop Believing

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let the Music Play!

Well......I made it to Laughlin, NV and have made it through the registration and orientation for Talent Quest Nationals 2009! We've got another great group of singers from all over the globe. We have several singers from New Zealand, six from Canada, one from Russia and another from Guam!

The contest grows every year and, if I do say myself, continues to improve. So far we're just over halfway through the first round of competition in the female categories. By the time my head hits the pillow tonight, I will have heard 120 singers!

Although I have no desire to be a performer, music plays such a big role in my life. I can tie a song to all the great moments in my life and many a song can take me back to the glory days of high school and college in an instant! I'm a sucker for good lyrics and if you add a killer bridge to a song, I'm in heaven! Even the worst of the singers in any competition have my adimiration for getting on the stage and doing what they feel in their heart.


You can pour your soul out singing
a song you believe in
that tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway,
sing it anyway

I sing,
I dream,
I love,
anyway

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Starlight Manifesto

I've mentioned it before and I'm sure I'll mention it a million more times in future blogs, but my mother is probably the wisest person I know. She peppered my upbringing with so many great lesson which have stayed with me and helped me in every aspect of my life.

Destiny has not led me down a path that included children of my own (although my life has been richly blessed with 9 nephews, 3 nieces and 2 godchildren) but that hasn't kept me from using the lessons my mother taught me and passing them along to others.

Not everything I pass along to friends is directly from my mother, but all things in my own life philosphy were directly shaped by her love and wisdom. One of the things I share most often is what I call the Starlight Manifesto. On the surface, it seems a very nebulous kind of advice, but over the years I've learned it applies to every aspect of my life and by using as a type of "mantra" has helped me to keep an even keel and avoid some bad life choices.

I feel the manifsto is self-explanitory, so this post won't be very long. I leave you with the words I've repeated to myself and friends more time than I can count. It's short and easy to commit to memory......take some time to think about it after you finish reading this post, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you have your own type of maifesto, I'd love to hear about it!

The Starlight Mainfesto:
It is what it is-
We are what we are-
I can only be myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What the Heck is Talent Quest?!?

The birthday festivities really messed up my blogging schedule, but I think I should be back on track!

So....Talent Quest. Just what is it?!? Talent Quest is a national karaoke and singing competition.

As I've mentioned before, my friends and I love karaoke. Actually, we love to sing and karaoke is just a natural fit if one loves to sing and doesn't have a spare band lying around. But for my friends and me, karaoke has been the catalyst for so many things in our lives over the past 7 to 8 years. There have been births, marriages, national successes and even deaths among our dear karaoke family and life would not be the same without it in my life.


Six years ago (or maybe it was seven......how many was it Jess?) My friend Jessica entered a local karaoke contest for a chance to win a trip to the national contest and a shot at the national title. That single act started a progression of events that brought many new experiences and friends into our lives.

Jessica ended up going to nationals the next 3 years and showed everyone else what a susperstar we always knew she was! She won the National Female Country award in 2004! During her 3 years of national competition she started working for Kim who owned a local karaoke store and who also organized and ran the local and regional qualifing contests for Talent Quest. When Kim was looking for judges, Jessica suggested me.

I started judging at the local contests in 2003 and one thing has led to another and I'm now the Regional Director for Talent Quest. It's a volunteer gig, but it's so excitind to be around people who love to sing and enjoy a good competition. Nationals take place every fall (usually in September) in Laughlin, NV at the Tropicana Express. It'll be eight days packed with lots of work, millions of questions (I'll be wokring the information table for most of the competition) and TONS of music! But don't be fooled......I love every minute of it!

Jessica had to retire from competing because her in-laws are now part owners of the competition, but I keep holding on to the hope that she'll decided to come on-board and help in the future (although I totally understand why she hasn't done it yet).

If you love to sing and want to know more about Talent Quest or would like to find a TQ contest in your area, visit the Talent Quest website and check it out. I'll be at nationals all next week, but I should be able to blog everyday while I'm there....I can't wait!!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Top 5-ers!

For about a year I've been part of an e-mail group. We call ourselves the Top 5 Friends because that's what we e-mail about. When we first started the group, you never knew what would be waiting in your inbox in the morning when arriving at work but it would always be fun and insightful. Here are some examples of some of our past top 5 topics. (feel free to list your top 5 picks for any of these in your comment post! Oh! Maybe I should pick a day of the week to dedicate to a Top 5 interactive blog post!)


  • Top 5 Songs you'd put on the soundtrack of your life.

  • Top 5 Things to do/place to do when the ice storm leaves you with out power.

  • Top 5 songs you hate but always find yourself singing when they play on the radio.

  • Top 5 favorite lines from songs

  • Top 5 favorite childhood memories

So, you get the idea. We used to have a Top 5 everyday, but we've gotten a little out of the habit so I was surprised to see a Top 5 e-mail pop up in my inbox yesterday. It was sent by my best friend, Jessica, and here's what it said:




"So today marks the beginning of Heather's 2008 Birthday Blitz. I thought it would be appropro to dedicate today's top five to her.
Here (in no particular order) are five songs that will always be irrevocably tied to Heather in my brain. These are the songs I can not hear without thinking of her"


It was so touching......and I'm not really sure why other than the fact that it's nice to have a group of friends like my Top 5 group. As always, the responses were fun and insightful and particularly appropriate since we would be going out for karaoke that evening.


I've been doing a pretty good job blogging everyday, but last night, there just wasn't time to fit a blog into my day, but we had a great time last night and I can't think of any other way I'd rather kick off my Birthday Extravaganza!


Here are some pictures.....there maybe some video I can post later!

Headed out to sing!
My best friend, Jessica!
Chrissy and DeAnna

Renea and me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Looking Forward!

Wow! Today has been so busy and the birthday festivities haven't even begun!

I'm really going to try and post everyday this week, but the posts might be very late-night/early-morning posts.

I should have pictures of karaoke fun and antics with my friends, an update on the fine/warrant situation, tales of food and fun from the fair AND........

......pictures form the sold-out American Idol concert in Tulsa!!! That's right, I'm going to see David Cook and the others! I'm not a huge AI fan, but I could just eat that David with a spoon. I've already made plans to pack my spoon just in case I get close enough to make it a reality.

Coming up in the next week or so, I'll be talking about Talent Quest (and explaining it for those who haven't heard of it yet) and talking about the Starlight Manifesto!

I'm so excited about all the b-day fun that's about to begin!

Monday, September 8, 2008

How Did I End Up Here?!?

In my family, birthday's are special, family events. As a young child, birthday celebrations were a time for my grandparents, parents and sibilings to celebrate with food and gifts. I attended the birthday parties of lots of school friends, but it never occured to me to invite outsiders to my birthday celebration. I imagine if we had asked to invite friends, my parents would have had no problem with it, but none of us ever needed that.....family was always enough!


Birthday celebrations always happened on the day of your birthday....even if it was during the week and on a school night. The family would gather for a special meal (menu chosen by the birthday girl or boy) and presents which would be followed closely by cake and ice cream.





This is a picture of me on my 6th birthday...please notice how happy I am about the Captain and Tennielle album I've just unwrapped! That's my Misser Sisser beside me......like I said, we were never apart. That's also my Grandma Cook's hand and my Grandpa Cook's legs. [I'll save the discussion of my unique sense of fashion for another blog.....]





Every year I would choose the same meal for my birthday dinner. Barbequed weiners, mashed potatoes and green beans. Just 2 weeks ago my mom made this meal for me when I was there for Labor Day weekend because I wouldn't be back to visit again before my birthday......yummy!


The family birthday dinner tradition hasn't changed in my almost 37 years of life.......so, it's hard to believe that for the past six years my birthday has turned into this:


The first time I had a weekend full of events for my birthday, it was a joke. I had gotten tired of trying to work with everyone's schedule, so I planned where I would be throughout my birthday weekend and printed a "Schedule of Events" on the back of my birthday invitations. People could join me any time throughout the weekend, whenever their schedule permitted.

It was such a hassle-free way to accommodate as many friend's schedules as possible and was so successful I've been doing it ever since. I often wonder what would happen if I went back to just one night out for my birthday.....but I doubt I'll be finding out anytime soon.

So many of my friends are like family to me, I guess it's not such a stretch from how I celebrate my birthday when I'm with family to how I celebrate when I'm with friends.......it just lasts a bit longer!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Waiting for the Fall

I'm still a bit tender over yesterday's bad news (you can read about it in the post below), but as I learned from reading Anne of Green Gables, "Each day is fresh with no mistakes in it". Being the eternal optimist, I'm pressing on. And, even if I can't find a silver lining, in the situation, I am clinging to the wisdom of my mother. The situation is what is is......throwing a fit or wallowing in self-pity won't change the situation, so I must move on.........

...starting here!

Fall in Oklahoma is sometimes a state of mind more than season. I mean, the weather doesn't necessarily start to cool off in a timely fashion around here. It's not uncommon to be wearing short sleeves at Thanksgiving, or a winter coat at a September football game. Even when it seems as if fall (all two weeks of it) has arrived for good, the Oklahoma heat will find a way to creep back in, at least once, before beating it's final retreat. Will Rogers said it best when he said, "If you don't like the weather, stick around". Truer words were never spoken about the Oklahoma climate and it's one of the things I love most about this state. But, even through the hot, humid days, it's starting to feel like fall!

College and high school football has started and the state fair starts on Thursday. We'll likely have several more weeks of some fairly hot days before I'll make a move to turn my air conditioner off, but I can tell it's getting nearer and I have that excited tingle in the pit of my stomach.

Here's a little poem I wrote many, many years ago that makes me think of fall.

The leaves have such an ideal life
attached to some strong tree.
If I could choose another life,
a leaf is what I'd be.
The leaf just hangs on day and night
and flutters in the wind,
Until one day it is ordained
he must fall to the ground
And his end.

Each day is fresh with no mistakes in it! Thank God for the brand new day!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

I spent the day with my friend, Jessica and her two wonderful kids. We didn't do anything special, but that is never necessary. We like hanging out. We did it a lot before the kids came along and we've done it a lot since they were born. Any day spent with them is always a good day to me.

BUT.....when I got home this evening and checked my mailbox, there was BAD, I mean BAD news.

Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.......not because of any weird neuroses I have from things in my childhood that scarred me, but just because I don't use my head sometimes. It's maddening!!!

So, here's what happened. A month ago I made and illegal lane change and was pulled over. That's when, to my surprise, it was revealed to me that my license was suspended. Before you think I'm horrible, you can read about it here.

Needless to say, I was supposed to go to court on September 4th for the illegal lane change and the totally unwarranted-not-my-fault suspended license. Guess what?!?

I forgot.

When I opened my mail, there was a letter informing me that a warrant has been placed for my arrest (this is NOT a bench warrant). To clear the warrant, I have to pay $856.00.

What is my problem?!? I don't know if I would have had to pay that much had I remembered to show up on the 4th but it makes me even more angry at myself for not having shown up because I work across the street from the court house!

It's a good thing I don't have children......I can't even take care of myself.

The letter states I'm allowed to go before an arraignment court and ask for more time to pay [I have 15 days before they suspend my license (again, and this time with just cause)]. I'm just worried if they won't make an arrangement I'll have to go to jail from the arraignment court. Again, what is my problem?!?

Guess I'd better start organizing my possessions for a big-ass, money-raising, keep-Heather-out-of-jail, garage sale.

I suck and I want to cry because it's no one's fault but my own. Grown-up, schmown-up!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's Time to Get Serious and Make a Committment

I've been blogging for 2 years, but only recently made the switch to blogger. I enjoyed a nice following of my blog on myspace and I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the readers who haven't or won't make the effort to click the links I've provided to this blog. I don't know if I'll ever gain back the readership (I hope I'm not making up words....) but I'm so glad my friend, Jessica, over at Fustian encouraged me to make the switch.

I've read blogs for years, but when I moved to blogger, I was plunged headlong into the world of blogging. It started with links to other blogs on blogger and then carried over into blogs found on the nebulous world wide web or recommendations from other friends who read blogs, etc......

I found The Pioneer Woman's blog through a suggestion from a friend and it's no exaggeration when I say I've become obsessed with reading through all of her archives and exploring the entire site! I've spent no less than 20 hours this week just reading and soaking it all in....it's such an entertaining, thought-provoking, beautiful blog I can't help myself! I've got a link to the blog at the right, so you should check it out....after you finish reading this.

Ree, the Pioneer woman herself, is raising 4 children on a working ranch and blogs every day. She post photos, recipes, poems, sound clips of some amazing burps and Ethel Merman impersonations. Along with all that, she often gives photography tips and always gives step-by-step instructions, with photos, of the recipes she shares. Oh...and I haven't even mentioned the photo naming contests (with prizes ranging from point and shoot digital cameras to $600 gift cards to Amazon.com and lots of things in between)! There's something for everyone on her site.

As a result of having spent so much time getting acquainted with the Pioneer Woman, I've become inspired. If she can blog everyday while taking care of her family, helping run a ranch , taking pictures and home-schooling her children, I'm clearly wasting my time.

I'm not sure if I'll have enough to say to post something everyday, but I'm certainly going to try.

It's time for me to get serious and make a commitment to this blog. I'm excited to see where it takes me!

Thanks for your outstanding and addictive blog, Ree!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sisters, sisters; there were never such devoted sisters!


My sister Melissa (or my Misser Sisser) is one of my best friends. I came into her life before she was two. I was definitely a surprise to everyone, but lots of good things in life aren't planned.

My mother is very wise (probably the wisest person I know) and she had a plan for keeping her children from being jealous of new additions to the family. When Melissa was born, she told my oldest sister, Julie, "This is your baby, too. You will help me take care of her and protect her and love her." When I was born, my mother told Melissa the same thing about me and when my little brother came along, I finally had a baby of my own. I don't know if we would have been jealous of one another if my mother hadn't done this, but I do think we wouldn't be as close as we are.

Since Melissa and I were just a year apart we did almost everything together. I've never been without her and she has no memory of the year of her life before I was born. For years we shared a room (14 years to be exact) and shared clothes, toys, jewelry and anything else you can imagine. All of my fond childhood memories are inextricably intertwined with hers and we were never apart for more than 2 weeks until she left for college (I ended up at the same university the following year). I think I understand a tiny bit how twins must feel.






Our personalities are very different and our lives have taken totally different paths, but our closeness remains the same. She is the loving mother to 4 of my precious nieces and nephews and it has been so much fun to watch them grow. Her two oldest are girls and they are also just a year apart. I can't count the times she and I have sat together and watched her girls doing the same things we did as children.....it was like reliving our childhood! We've had many a laugh remembering things we thought were long forgotten.






I was so excited about spending the holiday weekend back in my hometown, I couldn't wait 'til I arrived Friday evening, so I called my sister that morning from my office. When she saw my number on her phone display she answered, "Oooooooh! I love you and can't wait until you get here!" As I told my friend, Jessica, that's so much nicer than hello! Even nicer than that, though, is knowing there is someone in the world who knows all of my faults (because she's seen them firsthand) and will always greet me like that when I call. I do the same for her and I know she finds comfort in our sister friendship because we never have to explain things to each other.....we just know. I cannot imagine my life without her!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eight Sets of Seven

This is from my new bloggin' buddy Rebeckah over at Life with Kaishon. When you have the chance, check out her blog!

7 Things I Plan to Do Before I Die

1. Buy a car on my own.....no help, all me!
2. Go to Europe
3. Go to New York
4. Buy a house
5. Learn to relax more
6. Write a book (or maybe two!)
7. Enjoy every minute of life!

7 Things I Can Do

1. Sew just about anything without a pattern....just need a picture and measurements.
2. Write Poetry
3. Be a loving and creative Auntie and Godmother
4. I can throw a fantastic party
5. Roller Skate!
6. I can make pretty good guacamole
7. I can wrap my hair around my nose

7 Things I Cannot Do

1. I cannot type without looking at my hands
2. I cannot whistle a tune.....just single notes that are somewhat off pitch
3. Let friends into my house when it's messy
4. Write with blue ink pens
5. Walk over a grate in the sidewalk
6. I cannot understand why so many of my friends love Mariah Carey and New Kids on the Block
7. I cannot forget how blessed my life is by family and friends

7 Things that Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

1. Lips
2. Eyes
3. Intelligent and well-read
4. Hairline (I prefer bald or balding men)
5. Close to family
6. Gainfully employed
7. The opposite of Doofus!

7 Things I Say Most Often

1. "I don't watch TV"
2. "I like living alone"
3. "Jackass" (sorry for the bad language Rebeckah!)
4. "Seriously?!?"
5. "You've GOT to be kidding me?"
6. "I had trouble sleeping last night"
7. "Happy Butt"

7 Celebrities I Admire

1. Bill Gates (he's considered a celebrity, right?)
2. Alice Peacock and her Rock for Reading foundation
3. Bob Dylan
4. Josh "The Ponceman" Perry (YouTube celebrity!)
5. Elizabeth Edwards
6. Jimmy Carter
7. Christian Bale (I admire him for his good looks!)

7 Favorite Foods

1. Conies from Coney I-Lander in Tulsa, OK
2. My mom's jumbalaya
3. My mom's spaghetti
4. The dutch oven potatoes at Iron Starr BBQ
5. Meatloaf......anywhere, anytime!
6. An extra rare steak
7. sushi

7 People Who Need to Do This

1. Jessica at Overflowing Bookshelf
2. Jessica at Fustian
3. My childhood friend, Brian at bigYELLOWbowl and Manic Thrift Store Shopper
4. The Ponce and SAP at WE BE PErrys
5. My friend Renea K. (myspace)
6. Shennanigans! (myspace)
7. Matteo (myspace)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Don't hate me for thinking this is hysterical.....

......but I absolutely love to watch "The Retarded Policeman" on YouTube.

Before you get upset and bash me about this, there are some things you need to know about the actor, Josh (the "Ponceman") Perry, who plays said "retarded policeman". He's a high-functioning adult with down syndrome. He comes from a very talented and well adjusted family who are 100% supportive of Josh's aspirations to become a famous actor.

Before I direct you to Retarded Policeman episodes, you need to watch this:





And this:


There are only 16 episodes and none of them are over 4 minutes, so it's easy to go and watch all sixteen at once, but if you're pressed for time, here's my list of "must see" episodes.

[don't drink anything while you watch these.....soda will probably come out your nose if you do!]

Episode 1: This stars Josh's brother and sister also.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yioJQFrqMXM&fmt=18

Episode 4: Racial Profiling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkc2KinHWiM&fmt=18

Episode 5: Writer's Strike
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U3suqfWRz8&fmt=18

Episode 9: Boobies!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNDlf6hA6TY&fmt=18

Episode 10: Mexicans
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxODBppps18&fmt=18

Episode 16:Stalker (w/ Michael Buckely) [Yes, that's What the Buck?!?]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdJofdGB4-o&fmt=18

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Doofus has Landed!

Well, the Doofus is in Oklahoma. He was supposed to be here Sunday and I thought maybe he had gotten the hint from my hesitancy to make plans with him before he arrived because I made it all the way to Wednesday evening without hearing from him.

But that wasn't the case.

He arrived last night and called to let me know. His parting words in the conversation were, "Call me when you get home from work tomorrow." Right! Not only does he want me to hang out with him, but he expects me to be the one to initiate the contact........like that's going to happen. I'm just going to stay busy (which isn't hard for me) so I'll never have any free time should I have a memory lapse and answer his calls. Who knows......I may not have to worry about it at all.

I can dream can't I? But rest assured, I won't fall into his manipulative and controlling traps ever again!

So, that's the Doofus update.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finally!! A Voice of Reason on the issue of Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

[WARNING: If you're offended by points of view in contradiction with your own, you may want to skip this blog.]

Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God:How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back, wrote a fantastic piece posted on Huffington Post entitled, "Frank! As A Former Pro-Life Leader How Dare You Support Pro-Choice Obama?"

One of the things I appreciate most about Mr. Schaeffer's opinion is his background. He was raised in a calvinist home so many of his core beliefs are like mine.

Given the topic of this post and the opinions expressed by Mr. Schaeffer, I feel it would be backhanded of me not to state my own views on the subject. For the record, I'm Pro-Choice. Now....before some of you have an anuerism, let me explain. My choice is that abortion is not the answer for me......regardless of my situation. But, I feel very strongly about every woman having the same opportunity to make the choice she feels is right for her....even if she choses an abortion. Just as I don't want someone forcing their views and values on me, I can't take away another woman's rights and freedoms to make her own decisions about her own life by forcing my views and values on her.

Having grown up in conservative calvinist baptist churches, I realize many, nay most, evangelical christians base their votes on this single issue. If there were more christians like Frank Schaeffer really examining this issue, we really would see change in America.

Even if you disagree with my opinion and views on this heated subject, I ask that you at least read what Mr. Schaeffer has to say. I will be posting several excerpts, but you can read the full article here: http://news.yahoo.com/story//huffpost/20080817/cm_huffpost/119435

Mr. Schaeffer writes to his fellow Pro-Life detractors:

"Yes, I am aware Obama is pro-choice. Yes, I'm still pro-life. I also believe that with Obama in the White House that there will be less abortions in America than with the Republicans in power.

I know rather a lot about the politics of the "life issues." And I know you know that is true because you are calling me a traitor for supporting Senator Obama because of my leadership in the early stages of the pro-life movement.

The pro-life cause poisoned many of us who were part of it. Me included. It led to self-righteous hubris that extended to a general attitude of hate toward the "other." Our cause became all about power over other people, money and the muscle to win elections, not about the good of unborn babies and women.

Even if Roe were reversed (it won't be no matter who is president) the abortion pill and the acceptance of at least some types of legal abortion by most Americans guarantees there will be access to abortion. Besides, on a state-by-state basis abortion would remain legal in most states no matter what the court does. And, as we have seen, the Republicans haven't really changed anything in thirty years.

So what do we who find abortion abhorrent do if we want to deal in reality rather than fantasies and slogans of winner-take-all propaganda? The reality is that we need to foster a climate in which we can reduce the number of abortions and also keep the moral -- rather than legal -- debate alive.

It's the "holistic" approach that is really what's important if our goal is to reduce the number of abortions rather than just "win" political games.

This is all about tone and moral leadership, not law.

At heart of the abortion reality is this: we are a consumerist society with a heart of stone when it comes to the poor, who account for four times the national average of people having abortions, mostly because of economic needs that Republicans don't lift a finger to address. And we still denigrate women and female sexuality.

When it comes to the issue of abortion there is another side besides legality/illegality: the nature of our country.

What kind of care do we provide to mothers and children? What is our educational system like? Is healthcare available to all? Do our preschool programs and everything from paternal and maternal leave to the economic well-being of our country come first? Or do we argue about abortion rights while we live lives of such supreme selfish decadence that the nature of our country means that no matter what we do with the laws about abortion life will not be valued?

The Republican leadership is not pro-life. They are simply against abortion for reasons of political expediency."