Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Gift of Grace

I was just speaking with my mother on the phone and she said she was cutting photos of decorating ideas out of a magazine earlier when she realized she had already cut the same photos out of the same magazine -- she bought the same magazine twice and didn't realize it. I laughed and called her "Grace," which has become code for, "early onset Alzheimer's."

My grandmother Grace did in fact suffer from Alzheimer's. And anyone who has dealt with this disease understands that it's equal parts horror, heartache, and humor. To appreciate the horror and heartache, you have to know a little bit of what my grandmother was to me. I'll just scratch the surface for the sake of this blurb. When I was very young, I thought my grandmother, my "Mom" as I called her (my mother was "Mommy"), was Lucy on "I Love Lucy." No, I'm serious. There was a distinct period of time when I couldn't tell them apart. OK, I wasn't a terribly bright child. But she was a superhero to me. She was beautiful, and funny, and worked, and bowled, and played golf, and smoked, and drank... Yes, these are questionable superhero qualitites nowadays, but as compared to my paternal grandmother who was all prim and proper and religion and discipline (in my eyes), "Mom" was nothing short of amazing. What's truly amazing, is that Grace (my maternal grandmother) and Alice (my paternal grandmother) as different as they were to me, were in fact best friends in their early adult years, before they were married. But that's a whooooole other story for another day.

So where was I? Grace was my hero and her strongest quality to me was that she adored me in no uncertain terms. She referred to me as her shadow and I believe I was quite literally attached to her at every possible moment during my childhood. So to watch this magnificent woman start to fade after the death of my grandfather and the onset of Alzheimer's was tragic. Thank God it was also funny. I don't know how my mother and I would have gotten through it if it weren't for the humor.

My grandparents owned a two family house around the block from us when I was growing up. After my grandfather died, my grandmother moved downstairs into the first floor apartment and my mother and I moved into my grandparents' apartment on the second and third floors. The third floor was a finished attic and was my bedroom. It was my mother's bedroom when she was in high school, was where my parents first lived when they married, and was haunted. Again, story for another day.

When my mother, grandmother, and I were living in the same house in the early-to-mid 90s, my mother had two of our local newspapers delivered to the house so that my mother and grandmother, both avid crossword puzzlers, could each do the daily crossword in the newspaper. At some point, my grandmother became confused and began stealing my mother's paper and doing the same crossword puzzle TWICE in one day. I used to ask her if the answers came to her a little more quickly the second time around, but she had no idea what I was talking about.

My mother blew a disk in her back around this time and after two back surgeries, wound up worse off than when she started. As a result, it came to me to tie up all the newspapers in the house and take them out to the curb once a week for recycling. Now, my mother didn't just get the two local papers for herself and my grandmother. There were also several weeklies and I believe no less than three different papers on Sundays. When I moved to Richmond in '96 this resulted in a great backlog of newspapers. I had braces at the time and fortunately drove home to NJ once a month to get them tightened, so I was able to help out. My mother took out very small bundles of newspapers as best she could, but on one particular trip enough newspapers had stacked up that we could build furniture out of them. I was leaving Jersey on a Monday and recycling wasn't until Thursday. But these papers really needed to get recycled, so I trucked them all out to the curb. By the time I was done, we had a pretty hefty seawall running the length of our property. The fact that this was done on a Monday and they wouldn't be picked up until Thursday put my grandmother in quite a little tizzy. I reassured her that it would be fine and that they needed to be out there. Being stubborn and Irish, with a touch of dementia, my grandmother had taken in recent years to lying in an attempt to get her own way. Whenever she wanted my mother or me to do something or not do something, she told us the police had stopped by and had told her that whatever action should or should not be done. We had a never-ending porch light battle with my grandmother that resulted in our front porch looking like a strobe-lit disco on any given night as we repeatedly turned the light on and off. As such, my grandmother told me the police had stopped by at some point and told her the recycling shouldn't go out early. Now, it really shouldn't, but I had no choice as I was leaving on a Monday. I hugged that dear woman, kissed her, said goodbye and drove off for Richmond.

Later that night, my mother called and asked, "Um...what happened with the newspapers?" I assumed my grandmother had said something, so I explained the whole story to her. My mother started laughing and said something to the effect that "Grace has struck again."

You see, when my mother returned from work that afternoon, every last newspaper was ON THE FRONT PORCH! The tied bundles were too heavy for my grandmother to lift, so she had to have made countless trips back and forth to bring all the papers onto the porch. My mother said they were everywhere. And when my mother asked my grandmother why they were on the porch? My grandmother responded, "I don't know. Amy Jo put them up here."


My grandmother LIED!!! This beloved woman, who adored me and coddled me and encouraged me and proudly displayed me to everyone she knew, LIED AND SOLD ME OUT!!!!!!

It was hysterical of course, which helped stem my shock and sense of betrayal. And what of the newspapers? My mother had a friend come over and help her take them all out to the curb Wednesday night, for Thursday morning's pickup. So the stubborn old Irishwoman got her way, as stubborn old Irishwomen are wont to do...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

30 Rock

I'd just like to publicly thank 30 Rock for employing Elaine Stritch as Alec Baldwin's mother. Hot damn, what a dame! They don't make 'em like that anymore...

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

I started reading this and thought of a friend of mine, but by the time I got to the author, all I could think was, "How the hell would she know???" LOL! Am I the only one with a visual of her walking into walls and closed doors?? I know, I know, it's crude; but damn it's funny!

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door, that we do not see the one which has opened for us." - Helen Keller

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twofer Tuesday!

My earlier blog was a little too serious for my taste (I loathe overly serious people), so let's see what else I can dig up...

It was the 4th of July 1981 and I was entering seventh grade in the fall. My father, a volunteer with the local Rescue Squad, was set to march in the Plainfield/North Plainfield parade once again. I was going to watch from squad headquarters (a choice viewing location because you could still see the parade from the air conditioned interior) and my mother was somehow charged with walking the dog that day. My mother has never been the most graceful woman on the planet, but much like alerting a child to something's value and warning him not to break it almost ensures its imminent destruction, my father's incessant teasing made my mother even more klutzy. To the point that she had a very difficult time walking anywhere in the 70s or 80s without tripping and/or falling. On this particular day, she tripped while walking the dog and wrenched her ankle pretty badly. I don't remember the specifics, but my mother wound up being tended by the Rescue Squad workers who were on duty and not marching in the parade -- men and women who were friends with my parents or at the very least knew who they were. My mother was very well endowed that particular summer and in a foreshadowing of my own sense of humor, was wearing a tasteful T-shirt that had a saying in large Braille letters across the chest. Anyone looking at the shirt would ask, "What does it say?" to which my mother would respond truthfully, "Let your fingers do the walking."

Bah dum bum.

Off she went to the hospital while word of what had happened got to my father and me. Mom spent the day spreading American Sign Language awareness and a touch of class, while I imagine my father did a good deal of shaking his head and sighing. Mom eventually came home with a large splint around her ankle, crutches, and less love for the dog. I escaped to my grandparents' house around the corner to enjoy the yearly fireworks battle between two of their neighbors. I was all set to hunker down and watch the insanity as two families who lived across the street from each other aimed fireworks at each others' homes and occasionally into the sky. I decided to pop some popcorn for the show. My grandparents had an old popper that could either hold oil in the bottom (which is the way I always did it) or could use butter melted from above the lid. For whatever reason, I went the butter route this time around. I followed the directions and added the butter to the lid. As best I can tell, the butter was supposed to melt, drip down, heat, and then cause the corn to pop. As an adult, I'm fairly confident I DIDN'T read the directions, made that horribly wrong assumption, and screwed the whole thing up. I'm sure the little butter reservoir was just to add butter towards the end of the popping to butter the popped kernels, not to provide the oil necessary for popping. So I added the butter, and nothing happened. And I added more butter, and nothing happened. I must have melted a stick or two in there and all the while the melted butter is heating in the bottom of the popper. At some point, I surrendered and decided to start over with oil. So I flipped the popper over to dump everything into the huge plastic lid -- the way one normally would retrieve the popcorn. Well, what I didn't notice was all the little cutouts around the circumference of the plastic lid -- that is, until the boiling hot butter dripped through the cutouts and down onto my bare foot. Holy hell. The largest blister I had ever seen immediately started forming across the entire surface of my foot and I started screaming my head off. My grandfather came running in and proceeded to rub BUTTER on the blister and I lost it. I never understood what he was doing until years later when I learned that prior to pasteurization, butter used to contain natural antibodies and was routinely used to treat burns. My grandfather, having been raised on a farm, would know this. Sorry I yelled at you, "Dad." (I called my mother's parents "Mom" and "Dad" because that's what I heard her call them. I've always been a terribly confused person!)

Anyway, I survived but went barefoot for the rest of the summer. I returned home the next day and hobbled about in unison with my mother who was on crutches. My father was left tending to us both and there's one other little tidbit....we both had our periods at the time and were crazy bitchy. I remember going with him to the Acme for "mouse mattresses." I had no idea what he was referring to. I kept asking and he kept whispering "mouse mattresses" with more and more emphasis. It was only when I saw him sheepishly approach the checkout line with a package of maxi pads that I understood what he was saying. I really had no chance -- both of my parents were completely bent!

T-T-T-Too Much Time on My Hands

Being home lo these many days has allowed me to revisit my Buddhist leanings that I had abandoned ages ago when my life got very loud and busy with the addition of Voldemort (The Dark Lord, my ex-LTR). Not coincidentally, an author appeared on Oprah last week discussing her book “Eat, Pray, Love” and I knew that I had to read it. Sure enough, it’s got me thinking again and remembering – remembering what used to be important to me and the path I was exploring way back when during my time in Richmond. All this quiet and thought has allowed me to start spotting the coincidences again, but it’s also been a little unsettling. There is something to be said for busily distracting oneself. I’m dizzy and excited and forcing myself to do some reality checks. But I’m also feeling somewhat raw and vulnerable. I have my own romantic issues to sort through and in speaking with a good friend of mine earlier this morning, know that she does too. She’s found herself in virtually the same position I was in when I began seeing The Dark Lord. She’s falling for a man who lives some distance away and who is separated from his wife and has two young children. I’ve warned her (from experience) that situations like that tend to lend an immediate intimacy and depth to a relationship that might not have existed if the person was 100% available and in the same city. She says she knows, but knows of no other way to explore this relationship. She’s not ready to throw in the towel because of the circumstances so she must instead forge ahead, hopefully slowly and with her eyes open.

Likewise, I was discussing my current, clearly futile crush with another friend of mine this morning. She asked, “Is there really not anyone in your geographical area that you’re interested in?” I laughed and explained that I’m not a dog – you can’t take away the pillow I’m not supposed to chew and then quickly substitute a bone. She said that’s not what she meant but that I tend to be interested in people who are not available – straight girls or girls across the country. Which is EXACTLY what I said to my other friend earlier – that she seems to really let go and be interested in the guys who aren’t fully available. I’m not entirely sure what to make of any of this. I responded that I like who I like and don’t seek out unavailable people. But maybe that’s my lot in life. Maybe I’m not supposed to be with anyone and I’m supposed to be channeling my energy elsewhere. Who knows? The only thing I know right now is that I have t-t-t-too much time on my hands!!

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Girl That I Marry

The original Irving Berlin lyrics to that song include things like, "The girl that I marry will have to be as soft and as pink as a nursery." I spent most of the day exchanging emails with a friend of mine who I feel may very well have the one characteristic I haven't been able to find in a woman and the one characteristic that might reflect a truly healthy romantic relationship for me: I think she's the girl I can fart in front of.

Now, now, just hear me out. And yes, I know I ended not only a sentence but a whole paragraph with a preposition, but get over it. Because I think she's the girl I can fart in front of and I'm not ashamed to say it! I come from hideously flatulent parents, one of whom is dead and one of whom is thoroughly embarrassed right about now (thanks for coming down here to take care of me, Moo!) My parents made a sport of their gas. My mother has friends she's had since kindergarten who have had to listen to her toot through the decades. She must be one hell of a friend, because I can't imagine anyone putting up with that unless there was a good tradeoff. My father would routinely use his "skills" as a way to embarrass me in public. His fave move was dropping a random bomb in public and then blaming it on me. I can still hear the disgusted cries of the grocery store patrons as they unknowingly walked into his wall of sulfur while we had already moved several aisles away. Oh, the humanity.

But I digress. I was a hostage to my parents' noises and smells throughout my childhood and somehow rebelled and wound up barely flatulent. I'm sure I produce gas, but my body must reabsorb it or something. Maybe I get it all out by belching after a few beers. Who knows? But I am human and I do need to squeak a few out occasionally. I have one hard and fast rule however -- never does this occur in front of another person!! The horror! I can't even imagine. I've had a couple LTRs and I've lived with friends and lovers before, but I have never willingly let fly in front of them. One or two have slipped out and they're still a great source of shame. I know, I know, everyone poots, but for whatever reason, I can't unless solo. And it doesn't really bother me when someone else does. I just can't do it.

But this girl, there's something about her. I think she's the one. The one with whom I'd feel so totally comfortable and at ease and accepted, that I could just blast away. Where's my Kleenex? I'm getting all choked up here. Alas, we may never find out, my friends. She's really not into me that way even though she knows about the flatulence thing. It's just so hard to woo women these days. Wish me luck and if you're ever with me -- whatever you smelled, there's no way in hell it was me!

Monday, December 3, 2007

I Should Have Slid

So here I am the night before my first ever surgery. I guess I should consider myself pretty lucky. I was completely accident-prone growing up but managed to avoid anything serious. And as far as first surgery's go, this one seems pretty innocuous. Hell, my dad's first surgery was 22 hours long, so what's 45 minutes??

I don't really have anything of note to say tonight, but I kind of felt like I should type something while I still can. Not sure how efficient I'll be when I'm hunting and pecking with my left hand. And no perverts, I'm not adept at one-handed typing!

So, if I'm not around for a few days, I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you keep finding the funny. Here's a nice little story from Saturday night:

I hailed a cab outside Time on Granby Street. The cabbie was older and kind of burly. We were be-bopping along on our way to my house and he asked about my husband and kids. Being a wee bit inebriated, I didn't brush his question off the way I normally did, but instead said that I used to have kids but that they were my ex-girlfriend's and that she's got them. He said, "Ohhhhh, you're gay.....that's cool." And then he added, "You know, I think I might be bisexual................we should hang out some time."

Where do I find these people? He then proceeds to tell me that he lives on my street and points out his house as we go by. Sure enough, I walk my dog by there.

"Oh yeah, that's the one with the Steelers sticker on the garage door!"
"Yeah, that's it."
"I walk by there all the time with my dog; we've said Hi to each other!"
"Hey wait a minute, do you run?"
"Yeah, that's me."

And so, I have a new friend. Who knows where I live. Oh goody! Sometimes it's safer to meet people online instead of the good old fashioned way!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I've Heard This Song Before

Don't grill me about why I prefer your friend over you. Don't question me when you're not willing to do anything differently. Don't toy with me when you have no intention of fulfilling your fantasies. Don't use me to inflate your ego. Don't waste my time. Don't make me feel guilty for preferring your friend to you. Don't ask me to dance if you don't plan to dip. Don't talk. Don't use me. Don't. Don't.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Worst Date of All Time

I hope I have the strength to type all this out. I may have to do it in installments. You may want to go grab a beverage.

I was probably about nineteen or twenty years old. I was living at home with my mother. And I had inexplicably found myself dating a man who was just off the boat from Ireland. He lived in Brooklyn, had a beautiful and completely incoherent Irish accent, and we met in the city (Manhattan). He picked me up in a bar and then we got together the next day and walked all through Central Park. Boy, that really glosses over a lot though. We met in a bar in the city. I wasn't staying over at my friend's place for whatever reason so I returned home around 4am -- but not before pulling a mildly inebriated U-turn on the West Side Highway and getting sideswiped by a cab. I then had to turn around and leave Jersey the next morning at 9am to meet him in front of the Plaza. "How about a walk through the park?" "Suuuuuuuuuuuure." He dragged my hungover ass from one end of that park to the other. And during this forced death march, I discovered that he had no idea when I was being sarcastic. He was the sweetest man I had ever met, and thanks to the language barrier, he thought I was the sweetest woman he had ever met and well, we all know that's not true!!

But hey, he was gorgeous (think young Patrick Duffy), and had the most beautiful blue eyes. I agreed to meet him the following Saturday night at a coffee shop on a specific corner in the city. We were going to go out for dinner and then go to see "Born on the Fourth of July." I couldn't stand Tom Cruise even back then, but he really wanted to see it.

I set out from my house with plenty of time to spare. There was some area around the Pulaski Skyway before you got to the Holland Tunnel that was essentially a tunnel. I think it went under train tracks or something. It was backed up, which wasn't surprising, so I sat. I knew I had factored traffic in and still had plenty of time. And I sat. And I sat. Eventually, people started getting out to see if they could figure out what was going on. About 30 minutes into our wait, word got back to us that there had been an accident at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, three people had died, and they were waiting for the photographer from the medical examiner's office to document the dead. We all surrendered to our wait of unknown duration and turned our cars off. After an hour, I began to worry about Seamus, my date. This being the dark ages before cell phones, I had no way of contacting him and even if I could find a pay phone, I didn't have the name of the coffee shop, just the address. And I sat. Somewhere between an hour-and-a-half and two hours, I began to worry what Seamus must have thought -- that I had stood him up. I would never do that and I would never want someone to think that I had. And then around hour two-and-a-half, I began to worry that Seamus had called the house. Doing so, I imagined he would have initiated my mother's panic mode because the last she heard was that I was driving into the city to meet him. If he was calling, something had gone terribly wrong.

Around three hours or so, we finally learned that the tunnel had been reopened. I was torn between turning around and heading home or just pushing forward to Manhattan to see if I couldn't somehow track him down. Because surely he wouldn't still be at the coffee shop.

It was like a scene in a movie. I found the shop, walked in the door, was STUNNED to see Seamus, and then a roar and a round of applause went out as everyone cheered my arrival! Seamus had in fact waited and a good many people in the coffee shop seemed to be rooting for him as he did so. Several people patted him on the back and I could hear others saying, "I knew she'd show" or "I can't believe she showed!" I explained to everyone what had happened and apologized profusely to Seamus. I was exhausted from just sitting in the car for three hours and really would have preferred going home, but I couldn't possibly leave him after he had waited so long. Besides, he had been drinking coffee the whole time and I suspected someone had to keep him occupied!

Since it was now so late, we decided to just head to the movie. It was opening weekend and the theater was packed. By the time the movie started, there wasn't a single empty seat. I had never seen a movie theater at full capacity. And somehow, in that sea of patrons, I found myself sitting in an odor web of women wearing old lady church perfume. Around the time Tom Cruise is in the VA hospital (in the movie), I decided to excuse myself and go to the ladies' room. I can't remember what was happening in the movie, but I know it was gory, and it didn't bother me.

I got out to the lobby and asked the popcorn guy where the ladies' room was. He pointed, I turned to see where he was pointing, ...................and then I awakened on my back on the floor of the lobby, with someone handing me my wallet and someone else handing me my glasses. It took me a second to put it all together, but then I realized I had passed out! I must admit, I do this fairly regularly. I have really low blood pressure and it's not uncommon for me to get lightheaded. I've dealt with it for so long that I can usually control it when it starts happening so that I don't pass out. I didn't even feel this one coming. I think that between the exhaust fumes I was inhaling in that tunnel and the hideous perfume that engulfed me in the theater, my poor brain just couldn't take it anymore. But according to popcorn guy, it was due to the scene at the VA hospital. He said I was the fifth person to pass out that day at that very scene. I told him that wasn't it, but he didn't believe me.

The folks in the lobby were wonderful and the popcorn guy helped me up and took me outside to get some air. It was winter and cold and just the hint of flurries had started to fall. The cold air was refreshing and was just what I needed. Popcorn guy propped me up against the wall outside and talked to me as I composed myself. He asked how I was doing and as I was telling him I felt better and was okay to go back inside.......................I woke up on my back on the sidewalk!! Poor popcorn guy got me up again, handed me my things again, and stayed with me until he was convinced I was okay.

I think I was gone for all of 20 minutes, although it felt like a lifetime. I couldn't imagine what Seamus was thinking! I shimmied back down our row and into my seat (and damned if the area didn't still reek of perfume - I nearly threw up!) and Seamus whispered, "Did you have a cigarette?"

Now, I was tempted not to tell him right there and then, but I'm usually not one to pass up an opportunity for absurdity when it arises. So I whispered very innocently, "No, I passed out two times in the lobby."

"WHAT??!!" was his very loud and appropriate response. I shushed him, told him I was all right, and that I'd explain after the movie. And so we sat. I can only imagine what was running through his mind this whole time. As soon as the movie ended, he hammered me with questions, and I filled him in.

Once again, all I really wanted to do was go home. I had really had enough at this point and my head was still pounding from passing out. Seamus was worried about my driving and tried to convince me to stay in the city a little longer. We kept talking about it as we left the theater and walked back to my car. As we were walking along, I noticed that the flurries seemed to be picking up a little bit. The city was absolutely beautiful.

I finally convinced Seamus that as much as I'd like to stay, I really needed to get on the road. I was exhausted, my brain had suffered two bouts of oxygen loss, and I thought it was time to call it a day. He said he'd phone the next day and I was on my way.

I'm not sure exactly when the light flurries turned into a blizzard, but I know at the very least that it was before I got on the Pulaski Skyway because by the time I got up there, I couldn't see beyond six inches in front of my car. The Skyway was a special slice of hell on a clear day, let alone at night in the middle of a blizzard. If I remember correctly, it was elevated to a height that could accomodate the passage of a space shuttle, the lanes were just wide enough for travelers on horseback, and there were no places to pull over. And so I soldiered on. My typically 45 minute drive that took upwards of 4 hours earlier in the day now took over two hours on my return, thanks to the snow. Would this day ever end???

When I finally pulled in front of my house, I turned off the car, climbed up the stairs, sat down on my mother's bed and began to cry. I had never in my life been so happy to be home. And my dear mother knew exactly what I needed: a hug and some soup. That was the best soup I've ever had.

What of Seamus, you may wonder? We had a couple more meetings in the city, none as dramatic as our movie date. I found it impossible to talk to him over the phone because of his thick brogue. The only chance I had of understanding him was in person when I could read his lips. The poor dear never did understand when I was being funny and I eventually grew tired of explaining and re-explaining everything. He was a beautiful person inside and out, but it had to end. I'm sure I had developed a crush on one of my female friends by then anyway. Time to move on! But I will always remember Seamus. It's a shame I associate such a lovely man with The Worst Date of All Time!

The End??

Son of a gun, it's the last day of November! Hence, the end of National Blog Posting Month. I have to say, I have mixed feelings about this. For the most part, I really did like having an excuse to write every day. Most of the posts seemed almost effortless when I thought of a topic and I enjoyed the chance to air out some stories and participate in some word play. However, there were days, most notably yesterday, when I had absolutey nothing to say. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your view!) those days were few and far between.

I was surprised to discover that I'm much more private than I ever would have thought. Most of the pieces were not serious, as I discovered I didn't really want to delve deep into my psyche in public. I've been double-posting these blogs on my Myspace page and knowing my audience over there limited much of what I was willing to divulge. Part of me would like that to change because I'd like to write my way through different feelings and emotions, not only for myself but for others who may take something away from it. I've thoroughly enjoyed the comments my MS buddies have left me (and the ones Gloria and Monica have left here) and am curious what everyone would have to say if I explored more serious topics. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

I would like to keep this going. Alas, I'm having surgery on my arm on Tuesday and may be out of commission for a while. Not sure how efficiently I can type with just my left arm!

So, I think I should go out with a bang. Not in this post, but in the one that follows. Think of it as the last ten minutes of a fireworks display.

And thank you dear readers, whoever you are, for reading my unsolicited words and views. I greatly appreciate it!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I got nothin'!

These tame days are killing my storytelling ability! And since this is Day 28 of NaBloPoMo, I've got to come up with something!! And so, an old improv game from my ComedySportz days...

185 forensic DNA fragments walk into a bar and ask the bartender for a beer.
The bartender says, "I'm sorry, I can't serve beer to 185 forensic DNA fragments."
The 185 forensic DNA fragments ask, "What? Why can't you serve us beer?"
And the bartender replies, "Because I find you repetitive."

Hahahahahahahaha! Hoooo! Knee-slapper!!!

Good night, my friends. Let's all pray something interesting happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Last Time I Snooped

I must have been about ten or eleven because we had moved out of our apartment and into our house. The house had two spare 'bedrooms' that were essentially closet/storage/junk rooms. And in one of them, I hit the motherload in the weeks leading up to Christmas: a huge army-green-colored duffel bag FULL of presents that hadn't been wrapped! Bullseye!! I don't remember everything that was in there, but I was pretty excited and I do remember one gift in particular: a chemistry set. I couldn't wait to get my hands on that thing Christmas morning. I'm not entirely sure WHY I was so excited, but being an only child caused me to be excited by anything that had the potential to alleviate my boredom. Now I'm pretty confident I had some fantastic gifts that Christmas because of several factors: 1) I am an only child; 2) my mother always went completely overboard at Christmas -- and still does, relatively speaking; and 3) I was an only grandchild. My mom's parents lived around the block from us and just as things started to settle at our house, my grandparents would arrive with the next load of loot. My head spins just thinking about it. I was still crazy lonely growing up, but boy did I have a lot of stuff to keep me occupied.

After I had exhausted myself tearing through everything, I realized I hadn't received my chemistry set or any of the other gifts I saw. Where could they be? I couldn't ask my parents or my grandparents because then they'd know I snooped. But you know I was obsessed with the presents I had seen and where they went. Maybe they forgot! How on earth was I going to remind them?

After we managed to emerge from underneath all the gifts and wrapping paper, it was time to dress and head over to my father's parents' house, where'd we'd exchange gifts with my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and my two first cousins -- otherwise known as the sibling rivals I never wanted.

As I watched my cousins open their gifts, I was horrified to discover that they were...all the gifts from the duffel bag! There must be some mistake! Why are they getting my gifts?? And finally there, as my cousin David opened his last gift, was MY chemistry set! And the ugly truth dawned on me -- I had found my cousins' gifts, not mine. And I couldn't share my pain with anyone. Kind of served me right, no?

I do come by it honestly though. When my mother was younger my grandmother took her shopping one day and asked my mother to help her find a gift for my mother's cousin Nancy -- her own unwanted sibling rival. My mother was not particularly fond of Nancy, so in an act of pure selflessness and maturity, she picked out the ugliest slippers she could find for her dear cousin.

Imagine my mother's surprise when she unwrapped the ugly slippers Christmas morning! My grandmother wanted my mother to get something she really liked, so she had her pick out her own gift! That, my friends, is karma.

Maybe that's why my mother always went/goes so overboard. I'm sure she never wanted me to feel that disappointment. But most kids do because they're kids. Fortunately, I'm not a kid anymore and I appreciate my mother and everything she's done for me far more than any material gifts. If she never bought me another thing, it wouldn't matter. I know I'm just lucky to have her. And I'm not just kissing up to her because Santa's watching. Honest. ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I had to testify today and while waiting in the hall to be called, I overheard two pretty amusing stories.

The first involved a traffic stop of a guy who plastered walls for a living. The officers saw the white chunks in his car and thought they might be crack cocaine. They field tested them and they were negative -- because they were chunks of PLASTER. They would have just let him go, but when they searched the name he gave them, it came back to a man who had died while incarcerated. They searched it again and sure enough, dead guy in prison. So they asked the plasterer for his information once again and he gave the same. They then asked if he could explain why the information was coming back to a guy who died in prison. He got quiet for a minute and then exclaimed, "Oh man! He was a good friend of mine -- I didn't know he died!!"

Here's a little hint for ya: if you're going to give false information to the police, why not go for someone WITHOUT A RECORD?? Why would you pick a friend of yours from prison??

The second story was about a guy who lost his wallet. Someone turned it in to the police department and they contacted the owner. The police, being police, ran a check on him and discovered he had a bunch of outstanding warrants. So he showed up at the police department the afternoon before Thanksgiving and they returned his wallet to him. But before he could turn to leave, an officer behind him said, "Please put your arms behind your back; you're under arrest." Of course, he then had to surrender his wallet...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaker Breaker 1-9

Embarrassing things usually happen to me all the time. But since I started this thing on November the oneth, things have been very tame. Fortunately, I have a lifetime of shame to delve into for material...

When I was about eight or so, my great-grandmother gave me a book about beavers that was written and autographed by a good friend of hers. I really enjoyed the book and around the same time my father succumbed to the CB radio frenzy that gripped portions of America following the success of the movie "Smokey and the Bandit." My father and his friends used it primarily so that my father could travel in a separate vehicle and still communicate with his friends while they were in turn safe from his near-lethal flatulence. Having acquired the CB radio, my father asked me what I would like my handle to be. And because I enjoyed the book my great-grandmother had given me so much, I chose the handle "Little Beaver."

I was tremendously popular with the truckers for the 24-hour period that my father allowed me to keep said handle. "Hey there, Little Beaver..." greeted us just a few too many times for my father's comfort and he apparently indicated to my mother that she needed to speak with me about finding a different nickname. I don't remember what she told me or what my handle was changed to, but I do remember not being allowed to talk on the CB much after that.

Several years later, my elementary school music teacher decided it would be a good idea for all of us in her class to have musical nicknames. Yes, terribly exciting. She suggested that those of us who played a musical instrument might want to consider a name that reflected the instrument we played. I had recently started taking alto saxophone lessons and since my name is Amy Jo, I settled on the woodwind-inspired, "Blow Jo."

I'm not really sure whether I was encouraged to change that one or not. But I did have a slight upsurge in popularity with some of the boys soon after and I'm not convinced it was wholly coincidental!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rome If You Want To, Rome Around the World

Italian archaeologists announced this week that they have discovered an ancient cave in Rome that is believed to be the location in which a she-wolf nursed the abandoned Remus and Romulus, who later became the legendary founders of Rome. (Just read over that part very quickly and shelve the obvious questions). The cave is located beneath the Palatine Hill, between the Forum and Coliseum, where I was standing this very week last year. Had I known about the cave, there's a good chance I may have thrown my traveling companion (my then-girlfriend) in the cave or would have just thrown myself down into it. What an awful trip!

It pains me to say such things. I had been to Rome and Florence for Thanksgiving back in 2000 and had a wonderful time. I had been plotting my return since I came back home. So it didn't seem like a coincidence when my girlfriend of only two weeks asked me if I'd join her in Italy for a vacation her parents were giving her. Already mistaking infatuation for love once again ("But this time it's different!") I signed on with almost no hesitation. The hesitation started brewing after a month or two went by, the infatuation started to subside, and the seeds of doubt were planted as if by Iago himself. Alas, reservations were already made so I was stuck.

The universe, sensing my dismay, chose to reward me by weakening the US dollar to a historical low against the Euro, by having me sleep on a mattress made of granite, and by rendering my girlfriend both boring and mute. As we walked for 12-15 hours a day, I still gained weight because endless carbs were the only things we could afford. Meat? You've got to be kidding. We couldn't afford meat. Nor could we afford enough wine to help us forget our misery. I spent nearly every waking hour daydreaming of my previous trip with a wonderful friend and her extended family, of extravagant meals that went on for hours, of great wines and conversation and endless laughter...... By the end of the trip I was crippled from the mattress and heartbroken. Funny, I was much more heartbroken over the trip than I was over the impending demise of my relationship. Priorities, you know.

I know I've been incredibly lucky to go to Rome not once, but twice. A bad trip to Rome is still a trip to Rome, no? And there were aspects I enjoyed. I may very well be the only lapsed Lutheran to have a love affair with St. Peter's and the Vatican. I can't explain it. My mother and maternal grandmother were Catholic, so I was exposed to Catholicism growing up, but I really blame "The Bells of St. Mary's" and all those other idealistic Catholic school movies as well as my love of history. There's something magical about Rome (not the least of which is the story of a wolf nursing two human babies!) and I can't wait until I can go back. I just have to make sure I've got a ton of money and wonderful company the next time. Oh, and a softer mattress. My neck is still messed up!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I met up with a friend of mine last night and somewhere in there we were talking about relationships. I found myself saying my pat phrase of recent months, "I've been dumped and I've been the dumper and it sucks on both sides. That's why I'm never dating again. I'm done."

It scares me a little bit every time I say that. I've already explained on these pages that I believe that once you 'put something out there' e.g. say it aloud, it tends to happen. So for me to pronounce that I'll never date again, makes me nervous. It's the diametric opposite of what I truly want. What I really should be saying is that I'll never break up again. Why cut my nose off to spite my face?

Friend responded to my pronouncement by saying, "You're jaded."

I'm really not. I'm still the big mushball who develops crushes easily and is often crushed by them. I'm still Charlie Brown convinced that this time Lucy won't pull the football away. And in this newest formulation, new friend is Lucy.

But new friend has her own baggage and I'm very aware of that. New friend has wounds from an old love that still need to heal and has a new lease on life that is causing her to live life to the fullest and take risks and have fun. I'm all for that. And I also have learned that it's best for me to really get to know someone long term before even considering dating them. But therein lies part of the problem. While I'm busy letting Lucy heal and have her fun and while I'm also getting to know her better and on my red flag hunt, Lucy's going to have many people throwing themselves at her. It's like leaving space between you and the car in front of you -- you're doing it because it's safe and sane and then ZIP! someone cuts you off and slips into a space that wasn't meant for them.

So universe, if you're listening, I'm not jaded. I'm just tired of getting hurt and I'm trying to protect myself. But if protecting myself means that somewhere along the way I get cut off by a faster car, then I'm going to be upset when the football is pulled away again. (Listen, I know what it means and Yogi Berra would be proud!)

Likewise, spelling all of this out is immensely uncomfortable for me, but I'm afraid that by playing it jaded I might give the wrong impression. Ugh, so here I am wearing my heart on my blog. Be gentle, universe. Please. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

March of the Penguin

My mother may be coming down here to tend to me following the surgery on my arm. So to thank her, I thought I'd share this beautiful childhood memory...

A day was not complete without a trip to the Acme grocery store. It was next to the high school football field and across the street from Brotman's Fabrics whose sign had eroded to read "Erotnan's" at some point. I spent approximately 50% of my childhood sitting in our little yellow Toyota in the parking lot of the Acme. You know, back when it was legal to leave children in parked cars. But I guess when I was really young, my mother brought me in the store with her, most likely with a great deal of complaining on my part. One afternoon when I was about seven, I was very annoyed with my mother for dragging me into the Acme. She had picked up a gallon of whole milk and a box of Twinkies already (ah, the healthy 70s) and was arguing with me as she rounded the corner at the head of an aisle. I decided I had had just about enough of this and stuck my foot out. It got tangled in her feet and the next thing I know, my mother is shooting down the grocery store aisle on her stomach, holding the gallon of milk up under her left arm and the box of Twinkies up under her right. Her glasses had flown off her face and were racing her down the aisle, about a foot ahead. As I told my father for years to come, she looked like a penguin gliding down a snowbank. If we had been playing shuffleboard, I think I had a good shot at winning. I sent that woman all the way down the aisle! I remember some other store patrons trying to help her up as I stood at the other end of the aisle in terror. She brushed them all off because she was mortified and attempting to act like nothing had happened. That was the last thing I remembered until I was about nine.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

23rd Hour Blog Entry

Among the many things for which I'm very thankful today, is the following: I'm not sure who decided this, but I'm immensely thankful that we humans greet each other with handshakes and not butt sniffs.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Nightmare Before Thanksgiving

It's unusual for me to have nightmares, but this is what I remember from last night:

I walked in on a male shape shifter as he reached into an old woman's chest, pulled out her heart, and proceeded to eat it. This stood out for me for two reasons: 1) he pulled out her heart and proceeded to eat it; 2) she was wearing a white sweater and there wasn't a drop of blood on her. He reached in, plucked it out, and there was no evidence that anything had happened. I guess he saw me because for the rest of the dream I knew he knew that I knew and I was terrified. Even when he and I climbed into the motorized kayak with the other day laborers shortly after the heart eating incident. There were about six of us including the driver and I discovered the kayak/canoe was motorized when the 'captain' kicked it in gear and I went flying towards the back of the kayak unexpectedly. After a short trip, we were at some sort of pier with a lot of little shops and cafes. I knew a girl who worked in one of the cafes and warned her about the shape shifter. It gets fuzzy here. But at some point, we were running through a neighborhood with another girl, trying to hide from the shape shifter. It was hard figuring out who he was, because he was a shape shifter -- he could change into different men instantly. But he did have a strange gait and he kind of shuffled along, looking for hearts to devour. This still made it hard to spot him because his gait was similar to the shuffle of so many homeless men wandering through Norfolk. The girls and I spotted someone I believed was the shape shifter and hid behind a tree in someone's front yard. I thought we were safe, but then there he was behind us! He began to speak to me and then tink, tink, tink, tink. I was awakened to the house flipper next door hammering something metal, maybe the chain link fence between my house and the next.

So, blockbuster? What are we thinking??

The flipper may have saved my nocturnal life, but I was still a little on edge when I woke up this morning. Looked around the room and tried to figure out if it was a dream or not. So far, so good!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An Arm of One

Wow, I'm really at a loss tonight. I've been scrambling much of the day since I scheduled my surgery and then discovered I'll be out of work for 2-3 weeks. That's really not going to work for me, so hopefully we can get that shortened up! And in true AJ nature, now that I'm faced with not being able to do things, all I want to do is run and work on my house. All the things I normally avoid while vegging in front of the tube. I am the personification of 'you always want what you can't have.' Usually I reserve this mental defect for crushes and relationships, so it's nice to see I'm branching out to Things That Require My Right Arm.

I'll take "Things That Require My Right Arm" for a thousand, Alex!

What is:
Brushing my teeth (oh wait! I have an Oral B electric toothbrush. Awesome).
Wiping my privatous areaus after using the facilities
Washing my face at night
Typing (efficiently, at least)
Blowing my nose (effectively, at least)
Shooting someone with Leather Tuscadero's double gun gesture (single just doesn't cut it)
Scritching under the chin of my dog (to the degree she has become accustomed)?

Well, come to think of it, it's not like I'm curing cancer with my right arm or anything hugely important. I guess the big standout above would be the wiping thing. I'm more than fairly ambidextrous, so I think I'll survive.

But STILL - why is it I'm all rarin' to go now that I can't? I could have been running this whole time or working on my house for that matter, but instead I kept putting things off. When will I learn??

Tomorrow, I suppose. Definitely not worth getting into today. Shoot, the day's almost over. I'm sure there's something on TV... ;)

I wish you motivation, my friends!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Take Another Little Piece of My Arm Now Baby

Backstory: I play adult kickball. We covered this earlier, but if you're a new reader, I'll indulge you. Yes, adult kickball is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or compassionate Republican. I was playing in a kickball game in mid-September and I should have slid into second base. I didn't, wiped out, and suffered a concussion, amnesia, and a broken arm. Didn't know about the broken arm until two weeks later. I have a radial head fracture: there's a pesky chunk of my radius bone at the elbow that has decided to stay separate from the rest of the bone. Think New Hampshire as relative to the United States.

I've had two follow up visits with my orthopedist (that's him in the pic) and my arm's just not healing. That darn bone fragment's as separate as it was 10 weeks ago. So, he's decided to operate. He did say at first that surgery was just an option. He said I could try living with the pain and going about my business and I was all for that. As long as the pain isn't indicating I'm doing MORE damage, I figured I could deal. But then he added that he thinks I won't be pleased with my range of motion or the pain and that I'll be back begging for the surgery. So, surgery it is. He's pretty pleased with the mobility I do have and I gave him an atta boy by adding that everything he's told me has been backed up by the internet. He laughed and I added that I was confident in him anyway, but once I saw Wikipedia would follow the same course of action, that just pushed it over the top for me. He responded sarcastically, "I wrote that entry!"

He seems like a really cool guy and he teases me about kickball, so that's a good sign. I also discovered today that he's run a full marathon, so you know he's just moved up in my opinion. He said it was the worst experience of his life, but I think that's because he ran too fast. He had a great marathon time, but I told him he should slow down like me and it's not so hard. I'm really digging the fact that he runs. At the very least, he's active and can appreciate the fact that I want to go back to being active. But I'm also confident that he has great stamina, commitment, and can hold his urine and/or bowel movements when necessary. Just in case this simple surgery takes longer than it should.

Here's the fun part: he's going to cut open my elbow, take out the broken piece, shave it up a little bit, put in two screws, put the broken piece back, and add a BONE GRAFT FROM A CADAVER if necessary.

Yeah, that was the part that gave me pause. He tried to reassure me and added that they use a reputable company, that we're not in NY (where some poor woman just received HIV and hepatitis from a donated organ), and that the odds of contracting HIV or hepatitis from a cadaver bone graft was approximately 1 in one million. Now, I respect that. And I realize he's just talking about a sliver of bone. But my father had this crazy ass sci fi surgery in the '90s and when they gave him the required list of potential side effects that had NEVER occurred with the surgery to date, including stroke, staph infection, cerebral spinal fluid leakage, and death, among others, damned if his body didn't think it was a To Do list! It took four years, but the darn thing checked every one off.

So, I realize it's unrealistic for me to think that something might go screwy. (No pun intended). But based on my experience with my Dad, I know that anything's possible. I guess if I leave the hospital with all the right body parts, I should consider myself lucky! And hopefully I'll have a healthy sliver hitchin' a ride with me for the rest of my days. And should I receive a graft, thank you to the person who selflessly donated him or herself. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Already Have My Two Front Teeth

Dear Santa,

I would like the following things for Christmas. I know there's a lot, so I don't need everything by Christmas. And I'm pretty happy anyway, so if you can't fill this list, that's okay too.

With love,
Amy Jo

1) a new spine and skeletal system for my mom. I'm really proud of her and everything she's still able to do but she deserves to be able to do more and to be pain-free.
2) um...this one's a doozy; it's the list for my house: a new roof, windows, siding, tree removal, fence, 2nd floor, and porch.
3) someone who can explain how my well water-to-heat-pump system works! Ooh, and someone who knows how to check it each year and/or fix it.
4) a chimney sweep who's helpful and honest like the one I used to have.
5) more motivation, less fear, less shyness. [Gloria, if you were drinking a beverage when you got to that one, wipe your monitor off].
6) security for Bodhi and me. For Bodhi to finally realize I'll always come back for her and for me to find someone who won't leave me.
7) an honest, funny, smart, good, goofy person to share my life with. Someone who's realistic about relationships and knows they take work but who also believes in happily ever after.
8) I'm tempted to start asking for stuff for my friends here, but this is my list and I'm feeling selfish. But, oh shoot, go ahead and fulfill my friends' wishes and desires and please give them health, happiness, and contentment too!
9) I'd still like that red car in the back of the Sears Wish Book. It's too late for me to drive my grandmother and father to work in it, but since it was always on my list, I feel it belongs here!

Thanks and Merry Christmas, Santa!

See you at the charity Santa Crawl next week?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Martha Martha Martha

In honor of the passing of fellow Jersey Girl Martha Stewart's mother, Martha Kostyra (and because I have no blog ideas for today) I offer you two of my favorite Martha Stewart quotes:

1) During her first Christmas special, she sauntered over to her fireplace and picked up a little pine tree from the mantle. She purred and over enunciated, "I like to call these little trees." Freaking brilliant, Martha. No one else would ever think to call a little tree a "little tree."

2) On an episode of her old Sunday morning show featuring rhubarb, she ended the ep by walking through her garden with an armload of rhubarb. She then stated with great emphasis and import, "The Romans called rhubarb the food of barbarians... (pause) (pause) but I like to call rhubarb the food of..........epicureans."

And I like to call you a huge gasbag. But I'm sorry for your loss. Watching you and your mother have cooking pissing matches was loads of fun in the 90s! Rest in peace, Mrs. Kostyra.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jesus Wants You to Accelerate

I'm going to go ahead and confess ahead of time that I just might be stereotyping. We here in Virginia have an overabundance of personalized license plates. A recent story in our local paper put the percentage of personalized plates at 16% but I'm confident they did not take an accurate sampling, because on any given day it appears that a good 75% of the license plates in the Hampton Roads area are personalized. And of those personalized plates, appoximately 80% of them make some sort of reference to God. The residents of this area have found every conceivable abbreviation for God, Him, praise, blessed, and Jesus. You wouldn't think there would be that many, but you would be sorely mistaken. I see one I've never seen before at least once a day. In addition to being incredibly creative with their religious abbreviations, there's something else I've observed about the praise plate crowd: they like to drive at or below the posted speed limit. Even when it's painfully inappropriate for a given stretch of street. Even when there are miles of cars behind them. Even if God Himself was tailgating them, they would just keep on keepin' on. And so I find myself at least once a day saying out loud to the car in front of me, "Jesus wants you to accelerate." Blasphemy? No, I really don't think so. Because for every car praising Him or His existence that's rolling along at a snail's pace, there are hundreds of cars full of frustrated drivers who are cursing Him and taking His name in vain as a result. So really, Jesus probably does want them to accelerate. If only someone had thought to put that in the Bible. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You Do the Math

It was November 15, 1988 and I was nineteen years old. It would have been my parents' wedding anniversary had they still been married. I was sitting in the living room and wondering how long my parents would have been married on that day if they hadn't gotten divorced. So, I started counting away and at some point, a discrepancy came to light. You see, my birthday is on May 26, 1969 and my parents were married on November 15, 1968. -- anything jump out at anyone? Yeah, it didn't for me either until I was nineteen: that's only SIX MONTHS.

I called to my mother in the other room, "Hey Mom! Were you and Daddy married in November 1967 or November 1968?"

Pause. Pause. "Uh...I don't remember," she yelled from her bedroom.
"Whaddya mean you don't remember?? Were you married in November of '67 or November of '68?"
Pause. Pause. "I'm trying to take a nap," came the response from her bedroom.

And that's how, NINETEEN YEARS later, I discovered my parents were preggers when they got hitched. My mother finally copped to it and said that as the years went by and I never did the math, they just assumed I'd never figure it out.

I'm not suggesting there was anything terribly scandalous about my mother being pregnant when they married, I'm just horrified that my math skills were so awful that I never noticed there were only six months between their anniversary and my birthday!

My mother stopped me before I had a chance to phone my father to sing "Shotgun" by Booker T & the MG's or "Love Child" by the Supremes. I did run around singing them to her for several days though. The things that woman has had to put up with...

So, Happy Anniversary, Moo. I love you. Thanks for the front row seat at the wedding and I'm sorry I still haven't sent a gift. ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Dentist, the Husband, and the Chinese Baby

It was a slow day at work today, folks. I wasn't actually at work very long today. Went with one of the senior examiners to observe her give a talk to some Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners because I'll be helping her out with them from now on. Met some nice people and got a free lunch out of the deal, so a good day overall. Just a somewhat boring one for a blog! So, let's scrape the ol' bottom of the story barrel...

About 3 dentist visits ago (~18 months ago) my self-annointed comic dentist came strolling in to do his exam following the cleaning. He's a goofy, friendly guy who likes to joke around when he's not singing along with oldies tunes he has piped in. We're actually quite similar come to think of it... Anyway, he sees me and says in a somewhat playful manner, "'s that husband of yours, the one with the handlebar mustache?"

I have neither a husband, nor a husband with a handlebar mustache. But I thought to myself, Okay, I'll play your silly little game...and responded, "He's doing just fine, ha ha ha, thanks for asking!"

Then he upped the ante with, "And your Chinese baby, how's she doing?"

Try to throw me, will you? I used to do improv comedy!

"She's just fine, thank you!"
"And she's how old now?"
"Two. She's almost two."
"Where is she?"
"Well, you know what? I don't know where she is! I wonder where I left her...ha ha ha"

At this, he started to look a little puzzled and I began to wonder if we were both kidding around. He followed with, "Has she started questioning her heritage? Because the Feldman's baby that they adopted from China has started asking about her heritage..."

"Well, she's only two, so she's...not....talking........very much........," I trailed off.

And then we both kind of looked at each other sideways as I realized he wasn't kidding and he probably began to question my parenting skills. A slight turn of the head to the right, a slight turn of the head to the left; making eye contact all the while. I had committed myself to this story and damned if I was going to turn around and tell him he had the wrong person! But all I kept thinking on the way home was, I wonder what he's going to say to my handlebar mustachioed husband when he sees him next? What about this poor woman who's never misplaced her Chinese baby?? They're probably calling child protective services!

But if there's one thing I've learned in theater and improv, it's that you commit to a scene and a character no matter what!

Sorry, lady....

My friend Anne's rendering of my imaginary family:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Boss Don't Mind Sometimes if You Act the Fool

I don't typically read my daily horoscope, but something made me read mine this morning. Probably a good bit of procrastination on my part. Or maybe just a nice dose of affirmation from the universe. I was greeted with:

"Gemini: Want to take up a cause? How about waving a banner in protest against the extreme underappreciation of whimsy? You're the perfect poster child for the cause of imagination and wonder."

Now, I'm not sure how accurate the second part is, but the whimsy part I think I can handle. According to various sources, whimsy or being whimsical is "lightly fanciful" or "subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change." I'd like to add my own technical synonym: being a goofball. And that my friends, I can do! It seems, even in the most serious of situations, I just can't help myself. I can be serious and appropriate, but if I see the slightest sliver of an opportunity for goofiness -- and that those involved will be open to it, I take it. I like to look at life from two steps to the left. I find overly serious people boring, depressing, and in general, a drain on humanity. Yes, there are serious things in life, not the least of which is death. But why succumb to it all? Why not alleviate the bad with the good, with the silly, with the joy of being goofy? Give it a try, dear readers. Find the funny. It's in EVERYTHING. Name the most devastating situations and you can find something funny about them. This is not to suggest that you should ignore someone's pain or worse, make light of it, but even the most dour events, after a respectful period of mourning or sympathy, can produce laughter if you look in the right places. Who wants to be sad all the time? Find the whimsy, my friends. You'll lighten the hearts of those around you and hopefully your own in the process. Now go BE SILLY!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just Do It

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm always trying to evolve. Definitely not revolve, as I get dizzy and nauseated easily. I often get swept up in my life and activities and forget to check in with myself -- to see if I'm doing things that are good for me, that are helping to better myself, or if I've lost my way. I feel like I've lost my way again recently. It shouldn't be too hard to get back on course, but it will take a good deal of willpower -- something I definitely have selective amounts of: it's been easy for me to not smoke since I quit 5 years ago, because I was truly disgusted and done with it when I quit; it'll be harder for me to get back into my running routine. I truly enjoy running, but it's always difficult for me to get going again after a long absence. I broke my arm in mid-September and the doc advised no sports, including running. That was the only excuse I needed to return to my latent lazy self! But I definitely miss it and know that it's the best thing for my head. So, wish me luck. I'm off to a fresh start tomorrow. No more late nights with Energizer Tim, no more sluggish days at home, and no more excuses for not running!

And if any of you are struggling with change or motivation, I wish you luck! You CAN do it!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NaBloPoMo Day Eleven

This is a cheap attempt at covering my bases. I'm going out soon, with Tim, and we're off tomorrow. Chances are I either won't be home before midnight or will be incapable of writing if I get home in time. And since I've vowed to blog every day, I've got to come up with something NOW.
A poem I carried around forever that was written by my uncle popped into my head and I decided to post it. I believe he wrote it back in the 40s or 50s. I hope you enjoy it. Cheers, AJ

Dear Lord

Let me dream of a better tomorrow,
No matter how troubled this day;
Make my heart beat with a tempo,
That helps to make brighter the way;

Let me live with faith in the future,
And not be afraid of the dawn;
May my deeds have a kindly reflection,
Bringing joy to each glorious morn.

~Alex D. Aiken

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sometimes the Dogs Aren't Lost

So, it seems my friend Gloria is reading my blog and felt it necessary to comment on an inaccuracy she spotted in my "Mittens on Kittens..." blog. Uh, there was this one time...

My friend Anne and I were walking my dog, Bodhi, around the neighborhood. As is very common whenever I'm out and about, I spotted a loose dog. It was one of those white furballs that can be mistaken for a mop head with eyes. I approached it slowly because I didn't want to frighten it and wasn't sure of its temperament. I got within 3 feet of it and everything seemed to be going okay. At approximately 2 feet, 11 inches however, the little bastard began barking its head off at me and backing away in sheer terror. You would think I was going after him with a meat cleaver. He just kept backing away and looking over his shoulder as if he was desperately looking for someone to help him escape this crazy woman. Barking and backing, backing and barking, he heads right into the path of a moving car! Anne screams, the driver slams on the brakes, and I keep terrorizing the little dog by trying to SAVE ITS LIFE! After almost getting flattened, he finally turned around and started running as fast as his little legs would take him towards a house on the corner. He seemed like he belonged there and I could see that their gate was open -- that must be how he got out. He climbed the front steps and sat at the door. I rang the doorbell and a teenager came to the door.

"Is this your dog?" I asked.

"Uh....yeah," she answered in that charming teenager way, indicating that I was a complete moron.

"I found him about a block away. Your gate's open," I scolded.

She looked at me like I had four heads and just pointed over at the fenced in yard. I looked over and realized the "fenced in yard" was only fenced on two sides. The whole freaking back yard was wide open, in addition to the gate. So I don't know if the dog got out of the house or if it normally just walks all over the damn neighborhood. I clearly rescued a dog who didn't need rescuing. And nearly got him run over by a car in the process. You're welcome.

Anne had pretty much dissolved into laughter at that point. For you see, that was my second botched attempt at being a Good Samaritan in oh, let's see, about 15 minutes. Shortly before the "stray" dog incident, I spotted two young girls going door to door, seemingly selling something for school. Nothing strange there, but then I noticed a sketchy looking man driving about 5 or 6 houses behind, staring at the girls. Something seemed wrong and I started following the girls as well. I believe Anne was rolling her eyes at this point. Bodhi was just happy to be going on a walk.

We followed for a while and creepy man just kept coming. Finally, I decided to say something to the girls because we were following them farther and farther from our normal dog walking path. As I approached, the man got anxious and started getting closer. I shot him a dirty look and got the girls' attention. "Do you know that man? He's been following you for a while." In a nice bit of foreshadowing, both girls looked at me in disgust and one said, "Uh...yeah, he's her DAD."

Some days, it just doesn't pay to help! :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Maybe she fractured her 'humorous'

I'm Rosie O'Donnell
i used to be funny

now I blog
poor brit
I want to help her

columbine depressed me
i get larger but my words
get smaller

punctuation you left me

im a blowhard
2 serious
2 b
4 gotten

zero gravity

adsgasiog hasg


Jaysus! Go exercise, take some antidepressants, plant a tree. Do something, anything to help you stop taking life so seriously! You're depressing the crap out of everyone and making us lesbians look bad!! LIGHTEN UP!!!!!!!!!! I remember you when you were funny and full of joy. If that was an act, you may want to go back to it. Sometimes being genuine is EXHAUSTING for everyone else. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mittens on kittens and whiskers on raindrops

The following make me warm & fuzzy inside (this is an incomplete list):

1. Smiling at children, especially if they're on their early morning death march to school.
2. Stopping my car to let pedestrians cross or allow cars in front of me. Yes, sorry, I'm THAT person. :)
3. Yelling "Woo-Hoo!" at Starbucks when they announce my drink is up. NEVER fails to get a smile from the barista.
4. Instilling enthusiasm in the mundane. See #3.
5. Squealing at puppies in a high-pitched voice. I don't know what I'm saying to them, but boy does it get them excited!
6. Singing at the top of my lungs in the car, making eye contact with someone who's watching me, laughing, and then singing even more fervently.
7. Giving a struggling runner the "thumbs up" sign as I drive by.
8. Responding to a cashier or waiter's requisite, "How are you today?" with a genuine, "Fine, thanks! How are you??" They always seem shocked and snap out of their work-induced comas. And they always seem thankful that someone's actually interested.
9. Saying "please," "thank you," and "May I...?"
10. Helping old people find their cars in crowded parking lots. I actually spent upwards of an hour doing this one day. But I know that will be me someday (sooner than later, thanks to all the damn concussions!) and I'm hopeful some youngster will take pity on me.
11. Being the unofficial Keeper of the Strays. I don't know who finds whom -- whether I find the lost/escaped dogs or they find me. But it's a slow week or so if I don't find myself with someone else's dog. Again, I do it because I'm fearful for the dog's safety and because I would hope someone would help Bodhi if she ever needed it.

It really does take a village, folks. Look out for each other. All it takes is something simple. Try some of them out. You'll be surprised how wonderful they make you feel. And hopefully, the people you've touched will pass it along.

And now, it's time for 30 Rock and Grey's. I bid you Adieu!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Red flags at night? Uh-oh. Woh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

Just went over to read my friend Monica's blog and found she had linked to my earlier Red Flags one within hers. Alas, I have no clue how she did this, so please just use this old school hyperlink: to check hers out!

Anyhoo, she's talking about that fine line between paying attention to the red flags and being intolerant of prospective mates. She wonders if she isn't too quick to spot red flags, even when they're in their nascent pink stage. She goes on to say however that she's always regretted ignoring her gut and I know that's been the case for me as well. When I convince myself that I should give someone or something a chance and go against my instincts, I am always wrong. And yet, I still find myself having those inner arguments. When is it being true to yourself and when is it being intolerant or scared? I have to talk myself into nearly every aspect of my life, so why am I so wrong when it comes to romantic relationships?

All of this got me to thinking... I worry that I'll become, or have become, jaded about relationships. How many times have I "fallen in love"? How many times have I found myself in the same infatuation stage with different people, saying or doing the same things? As I've gotten older and been in more relationships, I've felt guilty for the new person -- guilty that I've said these things before or felt them before. Each time I swear it's different, and yet ultimately in retrospect it isn't. And as a result, now that I'm finally, finally paying attention, do I only see red flags? Am I so committed to protecting myself and taking care of myself that I'm incapable of letting someone in? And how many questions do I have to pose in writing before I'm a cheesy Carrie Bradshaw or Doogie Howser, MD knockoff?? ;)

As a gemini, I'm at opposite extremes on everything. So while I'm chewing on something cynical, I'm still daydreaming of my fairy tale future relationship. I worry that I'm jaded but then I find myself downright goofy over "Pushing Daisies." It's whimsical and silly and I can't get enough of it. And it's very much a love story -- between a boy-man who can raise people from the dead and his formerly dead girlfriend, whom he can never kiss or touch, lest she "get dead" once again. Talk about red flags! But dammit, if a dead girl can find true, healthy, committed love, then surely I can too, no?

And while we're at it, let's hope Monica does too. Shoot, let's throw the rest of you in there also. I know at least one of my readers deserves nothing less than a "pocketbook" full of love and happiness, at the very least because it, "Sounds like fun!" ;)

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right and which is an illusion

Red flags have been coming up a lot lately. They started when a friend was cruelly ignored and then dumped by her boyfriend, after they had seemingly overcome their problems and spent the last year or so in a mature, healthy relationship. Well, as with most relationships that come to a close, once it's over the necropsy begins and the dead tissue within the 'healthy' exterior is revealed. My friend began rattling off the various problems he had, not the least of which was his emotional distance and controlling nature. My friend's sister was encouraging her to start dating almost immediately to cleanse her soul of the hurt and betrayal. Whereas I, in my infinite single-woman "wisdom," advised that she needed to take a break. And as she continued to list her ex's shortcomings and crimes against her, I said, "That's all well and good. He may be all those things and may have done all of those things, but what you need to find out is why YOU put up with it. He didn't fail you, you failed yourself." For once I must have said something somewhat intelligent because this little tidbit seemed to stop her in her tracks. So I took a chance on another one, "You need to work on recognizing the red flags. We all see them in the beginning, but most of us brush them aside to be with the person we think is right for us." She and I have now made a game out of recognizing the red flags. Guys are always throwing themselves at her, so we've been getting a lot of practice now that she's single. I'm still slow to see them for myself though. I'm the queen of crushes. I absolutely love them. Even when I know they have no chance of going anywhere, I enjoy the chase, the flirting, and the exhilaration of meeting someone new. Ah, but the red flags! They get in the way of a good crush. I guess that's why we're so quick to fly past them like skiers on a slalom course. So what are the red flags? For each of us I imagine they're different. (Although I think we should all agree on one universal red flag: how someone treats waitstaff is the truest indicator of their character). Outside of that, there are the basic red flags, depending on your wants and needs: employment, education, housing, MARITAL STATUS, children... Then there are the more personal ones. One of my biggest, which I learned far, far, far too late in my last long term relationship is whether someone finds me funny or not or understands my sense of humor. Don't get me? You're off the list. How do you treat your friends? How do you treat your family? What sort of choices do you make for yourself? Are you kind, compassionate? Are you HIGH MAINTENANCE? Are you the center of the universe? These all seem so elementary, but many of us forget. We get so wrapped up in a crush or in feeling great about a person most of the time, or a lot of the time, or enough of the time...that next thing we know, we've compromised ourselves and what we want. And unfortunately for many of us, we don't even realize it until it's over. Or even worse, many people never recognize it and just keep making excuses. So open your eyes, dear readers, and look for the red flags. I'm not suggesting we be rigid in our opinions of prospective mates or that we make snap assessments. Just be aware of your surroundings and don't be so quick to knock down those red flags. Take care of yourselves. Ultimately, you're all that you have.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Soul Train of Thought

Don't worry, this isn't like those days when Soul Train came on and you knew the cartoons were done for yet another Saturday. This is a quick journey on my train of thought. All aboard!!

A friend went rollerskating at a roller rink last week and ever since I've been thinking about two things: gigantic combs and gigantic lip balm. Specifically, Orange Crush lip balm. Damned if I can't find the combs anywhere online though. I'm not even sure what to call them. They were approximately 6-8 inches long and about 2 inches wide. They each had a graphic of some sort on the non-comb portion and when inserted into the back pocket of a pair of Lee, Levis, or Wranglers (this was just before the introduction of designer jeans) the graphic portion would stick out for all the world to see. The boys could also smack the hell out of each other with these things if I remember correctly. Then again, boys can smack the hell out of each other with a blade of grass, so I guess that wasn't much of an accomplishment.

I'm not sure when the combs fell out of favor, but I imagine it was around the same time we started carrying around velcro wallets. We could only jam so many items into those back pockets. Which is why the gigantic lip balms were so handy. They were obviously too huge for pockets, so they hung on a cord we wore around our necks. They came in a bunch of soda flavors (although not in my fave, Sunkist) and I'm pretty sure you either had one or you were drummed out of school. And that was by the teachers.

So, do you remember any of these things? And if you do, what was your fave? Sure, nostalgia is a cheap blog ploy. And don't think I'm not nervous since this is only day 5 of NaBloPoMo and I'm already feeling uninspired. Let's hope something hugely absurd or tragic takes place tomorrow!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Behold, the Power of Blogspot!

This is somewhat creepy, but if I can harness the amazing power of Blogspot just one more time (in case this is one of those instances of things occurring in threes like the granting of wishes by genies or celebrities dying) I would like to state emphatically that I will never receive a million dollars or date a new friend of mine when she moves back here from San Diego. Never gonna happen. No-sir-ee bob.

Boy, I hope this works. I'm typically a firm believer in only putting things "out there" that you want to happen. I believe there is some crazy cosmic communal consciousness and that all you have to do is ask for things in order to receive them. As with everything in life, there are some restrictions. I usually limit the requests to small things rather than the whopping, "I want a million dollars." For example, if I can't remember an actor's name or a place I visited as a child, I need only mention it out loud and sure enough, I'll stumble on the information in the next few days. Cynics will say it's merely a coincidence, but I stopped believing in coincidences a long time ago. Ask and ye shall receive.

So this is completely antithetical to me. But damned if I didn't state on this blog two days ago that we WEREN'T playing the angry leprechaun in the tournament and then as I was writing that very fact the brackets were changed and we had to play his team! Next up, I wrote with some measure of confidence that I would never receive a myspace comment from a sea turtle or that adorable baby harbor seal and what do you think was waiting for me when I got home last night? And I quote, "What can I say I'm a star:) ~Noodle Head :>< " I received this in response to my comment asking NH for an autograph after I saw his picture in our local newspaper. I'm guessing someone had to help him with the typing because he's just a baby. But how cute is that? I got a little seal kiss too! Which I actually know from personal experience is far less messy as an emoticon than in real life. That may be a story for another day. Just be aware that if you ever get a chance to hug a harbor seal (and this should only be done under the supervision of marine professionals) be sure to wear an old shirt. Seals have a tendency to drool. And if they've just been fed, that means your shoulder and back will be covered in the blood of whatever fish they've just ingested.

But where was I? Ah -- I am now 0-2 on my prognostications! So once again I state emphatically, I will not be given a million dollars and I will not date Lady X when she moves back here. And Blogspot, if I'm being greedy by not asking for two things, feel free to give me a million dollars, but by no means are you to work any romantic voodoo on Lady X and have her fall madly in love with me. You hear me, Blogspot? Absolutely. no. Lady X!!

Boy I hope I did this correctly. I'll keep you posted! Have a great day, dear readers. And I mean that. It's my fourth wish, so you should be covered.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

No Seal Left Behind: turtle and seal literacy

The Virginia Aquarium has a marine stranding team that apparently contains some young members. I'm able to deduce this because the rescued sea turtles and harbor seals have myspace pages. Not only that, they have two different pages and tease each other about who's cuter. If that doesn't seem goofy enough, I'm actually a friend on both of their pages and -- here's the part I find really odd -- I leave them comments. Having never studied marine life in depth, I'm not wholly aware of their reading capabilities. But I am fairly certain they can't type and that I'll not be hearing back from any of these animals. I wished Tiki Jr. (turtle) a bon voyage two days AFTER he was released into the wild and earlier this morning I left a comment for Noodle Head, the first seal arrival this fall. Noodle Head was actually featured in our local newspaper this morning and now with the requisite mall appearances, book signings, and talk show circuit, I know I'll never hear back from him. He's going back in the drink in two weeks though, so he'd better cash in on his fame but quick! Seriously, look at him. How could you not write him cute wittle notes?

Friday, November 2, 2007

My karma just ran over my dogma!!

While I was writing the leprechaun version of War and Peace before, they were correcting the standings!! We are playing the angry little f*ck in the second round tomorrow. Unless the last place team can beat them. Ack. :(

There's a little blogspot on the sun today...

Let's hope it's not the same blogspot as yesterday... Since we last met dear readers, lo those 24 hours ago, I was attacked by an angry leprechaun. I have survived the attack, nay triumphed, but was a wee bit shaken by the absurdity of it all. And by 'shaken' I mean, THRILLED that something so ridiculous would take place in my midst. :)

Backstory: I play adult kickball. Yes, at first glance it appears to be an oxymoron. I am a proud member of the World Adult Kickball Association or WAKA. I'd like to say all of the people recognize that this is KICKBALL and not something to get all worked up about. It's supposed to be a social/athletic endeavor - a way for people to meet, socialize, and play a silly playground game. Well, things got out of hand almost as soon as the league started. There are a few teams that are chill but most of the teams are dominated by their psycho-competitive members. My team falls in the chill column. We were always a middle-of-the-pack team. Players came and went but for the most part our record was usually equal wins and losses; nothing to brag about. We were primarily a social team (read "there for the beer").

That was until the end of last season (in June). We played the number one team, Ball Breakers, for the last regularly scheduled game. They pretty much acted like they were playing mentally and physically challenged children. They were all smiles for a change and goofing around and having a good time -- until we started scoring. Next thing they knew, the game ended in a tie and they were trying to act like it didn't bother them. Now, I was pretty sure it did.

So the following Saturday, we were playing in the End-of-Season tournament. It's an all-day single elimination tourney that we have at the end of every season (hence the name -- clever, I know). We won in the first round and found ourselves playing Ball Breakers in the second. The captain dates a good friend of mine and he and I are somewhat friendly off the fields. Before the game started, he said in all seriousness, "Don't expect us to go easy on you in THIS game." And right then and there, I knew we had them. This team is SO competitive that if you can chip away at them in the slightest manner -- by scoring a couple runs or getting some outs against them -- you can get in their heads and they start to implode. And since I knew he was already trying to rationalize the earlier tie, I knew he was vulnerable. Sure enough, we played well, they started making errors, and all hell broke loose. They turned on each other with a vengeance and we eliminated them from the tourney. We actually went on to be co-champs of the tournament which stunned everyone, not the least of whom ourselves.

If you're still reading, you're either incredibly bored or a friend of mine. Thank you either way. I'll reward your commitment by ending this soon!

First game of the fall season and we're short a lot of people. Kickball registration actually stays open for a couple weeks into the season and I had a player who I was confident was going to register, but who hadn't yet, play for us. I was also CERTAIN we were going to lose our first game because we were missing so many people and the ones who were playing had either never played before or hadn't played with each other before. And who do you think we're playing? Ball Breakers. AGAIN. So I asked one of our former players who was dragging his feet about registering to play. Again, I was 100% certain we were going to lose, but I didn't want them to get killed so I asked Pat to play. He agreed and son-of-a-bitch, we beat the crazy bastards again! Now I'm nervous because Pat hadn't registered yet and technically shouldn't have played. But I knew he was going to, so I figured karmically and ethically I was OK.

Next week rolls around and Pat still hasn't registered. The full team is present and good lord, we're playing Ball Breakers again. Pat (who has some sort of personal vendetta against them that I don't know about) asks if he can play. I tell him No, because we have a full team of people who have paid and because he still hasn't registered. He's asking me in front of a player on another team, and I have to act like he IS registered because of the earlier week's game. So I can't really elaborate at that moment on why he can't play. I just say, "Don't you remember Pat, you're NOT FEELING WELL?" Hoping he'll catch my not-so-subtle hint. Instead, as my other team members start appearing and asking Pat if he's playing, he proceeds to loudly say that he isn't playing and that he isn't registered! He does it one too many times and 20 decibels too high and in front of the Ball Breakers, so I finally snap and yell, "PAT, SHUT UP!" My biggest fear is that my team will be penalized because I chose to have Pat play. They really played a fantastic game and I don't want their win disqualified because of my poor judgment.

Well, he has some sort of hissy fit and next thing I know he's told Ball Breakers that he was an illegal player in the previous week's game and then he JOINS THEIR TEAM. Now, I don't know what happened to his hatred of them that he had expressed oh, 30 minutes earlier, but now he's having a love fest on the other side of the field. We go on to play the Ball Breakers and tie them. So now they STILL can't beat us and they're losing their shit.

One of the biggest problems with Ball Breakers is their co-captain, the aforementioned leprechaun. He's angry, he's emotionally and vertically stunted, he's red, and as best I can tell, he hasn't had contact with a female in...ever. He's known for flipping out during kickball games and drinking mass quantities of liquor/beer. He also has one of those gravelly voices that sounds like he's been smoking and eating glass since birth. Well, he's all over me at the bar that night about my illegal player. All pointing at me and posturing and telling me I need to walk away before he does something. For context, I was selling 50/50 raffle tickets to support our charity, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. I have to assume other volunteers don't elicit this sort of response. So, I've given him a pretty wide berth all season and have been able to avoid him and his black hole personality.

Until last night.

Some of my players reffed a game between Ball Breakers and another team. (We all self-ref in kball; if you're not playing, your team usually has to ref another game). So my team stuck around to watch and offer moral support (referees are routinely abused by the competitive teams. Ball Breakers in particular feel it necessary to argue every call. I have mentioned this is KICKBALL, yes?) I guess Ball Breakers won because next thing I know Lilley (the leprechaun) is yelling about how they're going to win on Saturday (tomorrow, at our End-of-Season tournament), and then he proceeds to get all riled up and starts yelling, "And then we're going to take out Balled & Beautiful [my team] in the second round!!" Some of his friends are high-fiving him and agreeing, but I think they mainly do that because they know he looks like an ass and like to encourage it. "That's right, we're gonna knock B&B out in round two!!" And then he sees me and the venom boils to the forefront of his bright red face, "Yeah, we're gonna win! That's right, WE'RE GONNA CRUSH B&B IN THE SECOND ROUND!!!!" Now, God bless my teammates, we all turned, looked at him as the pathetic speck he is and said, "Uh...OK." Well he didn't know what to do with that. So he just kept spewing that they were going to win and and that he hates me and that they're going to win because he hates me and because I had an illegal player. This is on November 1st. The first game of the season was on August 16th. Poor boy's been carrying this load for MONTHS. LOL! I just told him that I really hoped he won and that it brought him some peace. Every time he said he was going to win, we all just agreed with him and said OK. I love my team! The moron didn't know what to do with that. He was completely deflated and his closest friends (two of whom are also my friends) were laughing their heads off at what an idiot he was being.

And here's where karma steps in. We just got the tournament brackets earlier. My team is in third place overall, so we don't have to play in the first round. The leprechaun's team is playing a team that they may or may not beat. If they do, they then have to face the UNDEFEATED FIRST PLACE team before they can even consider playing us! We're not going to play them in the tournament!

Which I guess means they're not going to beat us, which unfortunately means for all of us: no peace for the leprechaun. :(

Time for a pumpkin ale, my friends. Have a wonderful day!

PS -- Go B&B! Play well tomorrow and more importantly, have fun!!!