Thursday, September 27, 2007

In my...Chevy?

The care I give my car can only be accurately termed neglect. When mechanics hear how often I change my oil their looks of disgust rival the kinds of looks I might receive for leaving a child unattended for the same length of time.

That’s why when I was at Auto Zone the other day I didn’t feel compelled to tell the clerk exactly how long I’ve been driving around without an oil cap, pouring oil into the tank as needed.

I think it’s been about a month since I first lost that cap. The front of my car was covered in oil and bugs and the man glanced at me warily, "Is this from your car?" There wasn’t a point in denying it since as soon as he popped the hood he would risk drowning in the oil that would pour off of it. I thought about offering him some paper towels, but then I thought that a professional like him probably knew what he was doing. I’m pleased to say that he’s recovering nicely.

I also bought new windshield wipers since the ones on my car have never worked. It’s much less of an adventure to drive in the rain now, but I’m enjoying the novelty of seeing the road.

Yesterday one of my co-workers informed me that my tire was flat. Her tone indicated that anyone who lets their car get a flat tire probably also sacrifices cats at midnight, but one of my other co-workers confessed that she had a flat just the other day, and not only was her tire flat, but she’d broken the rim. I’m glad to know I’m not the only non-cat-sacrificer who gets flats, but I was a little worried about the rim of my tire. Forget money, I don’t have the time to get new tires.

I spent most of my lunch break swearing at my car, and occasionally the people around me, under my breath. For whatever reason Firestone has seen fit to recess the air valve-nozzle-thing so that one must reach through the hubcap to twist off the cap. If the cap does not want to come off you’re out of luck. You will probably cut off the tip of your finger before you get anywhere with that cap.

But eventually I got things all worked out and was amazed at how high my car sits off the ground when there’s actual air in the tires (it’s a much smoother ride too!). I was still worried about that rim, but my tired hasn’t flattened out since yesterday afternoon so I think it’s ok.

I think that since my car has come through all of this trauma so well I owe it some kind of reward. Maybe I’ll take it to one of those automated car washes. My car would like that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eye of the beholder...

The woman who owns this loveseat and matching couch didn't think it was so bad. But people online voted it ugly enough to fly it and its owner to New York to be on the Regis & Kelly show.
If you have a couch to cover up or disguise you can do what Christina Stefano did an try SureFit - though for most people the covers aren't going to be much of an improvement.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Forgive or Else?

A grew up under the assumption that forgiveness is a choice. It is the advised course of action for many good reasons, but you can't hold someone at knifepoint and force them to forgive someone else.

Certainly if you've done something to someone else you can't force them to forgive you. All you can do is be sorry and try to make it right, when possible, yes?

So I have to say that it baffles me the number of people who insist that I have to forgive them. It's happened before and it happened again last night. I was on aim and got a message from an old roommate who told me I had to forgive her for what happened (she stole some of my stuff and some other people's stuff and said I manipulated her into doing it) because she'd learned to forgive herself.

I haven't really thought about her or the events in quite some time. I suppose that really I forgave her a long time ago. But her demand that I bury the hachet made me want to tell her exactly where she could get off. I didn't, I told her there were no hard feelings - because there aren't. But whatever happened to asking for forgiveness?

No, "Will you forgive me?" or "Can you forgive me?" or "Please forgive me," just, "You have to forgive me."
Do I? I should. It's healthy. Do I owe it to the person who's hurt me? Can they demand it?

Another friend in college had been a huge jerk for months. I'd finally talked to him about it - he was horribly sorry, yada, yada - but when I wasn't a-okay in the next couple days he got angry with me. I wasn't angry, but I was still quite hurt. He told me that wasn't acceptable, he couldn't keep feeling bad about what he'd done - he had a paper to write and I had to forgive him & forget about it.

I've encountered other variations on the demand, "You can't ignore me," "You have to spend time with me," "You have to understand," "You can't not trust me,"...I'm sure you can come up with others.

Who told these people they were entitled to any of these things? I guess I find it particularly offensive because I would be traumatized to even ask for any of these thing. I hope people won't ignore me, I hope they'll spent time with me and try to understand my quirks/issues, I hope they'll find me trustworthy...but how could I even ask it of them? Isn't that their choice? Isn't that something people will decide on their own based on how they percieve me? Shouldn't I leave that up to them?

What, if anything, do people have the right to expect from other people?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Might Become a Nun

A very, very different type of nun - but still with the whole single thing going.

So...I met this guy online. He lives in the area, seems nice, I told him we could meet sometime. Well, subsequent to that, I've realized that this is a horrible idea.

He's nice, but really-clingy. I wasn't online one night and he said he missed talking to me and then I wasn't online for two nights and he thought I blocked him?

So, he's still expecting a date. Should I go on the date and hope he says, "Ew you're a fat cow, why would anyone date you?" (it's never happened, but that only increases the odds of it happening on this date, wouldn't you say?) or am I allowed to be honest and say that even now I can sense that this is a bad idea?

I mean...better now than later, yes?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

So we went to Lowe's today to buy a fridge and check out paint samples.

We're pretty much basing our living room color scheme around these lamps that Robin bought at Pier1. Two walls are going to be a medium-light aqua and two are going to be a very, very pale tan. It will be amazing.

I also think we need new light fixtures. The two upstairs bedrooms have lights like in the center photo. The left photo if the living room and in the downstairs bedroom is Ugly Betty (right). If we can't get Robin's bed up the staircase of doom, that's where she'll be.

I also think we should get a new shower head...because this one looks like it was made out of a tin can.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Every five years or so my parents try to do something nice for their anniversary.

It never works.

First my brother broke his wrist playing soccer (and didn't realize it for a good 24 hours) and the parents have to take him to the hospital today to get a cast instead of leaving for Tennessee. Plus they'll be doing it in a rental car, since some kid ran his car into theirs.

But mostly we're just glad that Daniel didn't hit either his head or his wrist in the crash (which wasn't bad - aside from some bruises everyone in our car was fine, the other guy's girlfriend hit her head on the windshield, but probably she just needed stitches).

On the headache front, he does have chronic migranes. The doctor told my mother that MRIs are just for anxious parents - but given our family's history of tumors and especially braintumors she told the doctor she would go ahead and be an anxious parent, thanks.
Daniel also has a slight heart murmer and possibly some kind of syndrom associated with it...involves being tall and thin and having big hand and feet and having a heart murmer, but the tall and thing thing runs in the family...though it skips a person here and we're not worried much.

On the more cheerful front Robin and I get to start moving tommorow. And I got a raise! I didn't think I would, so I'm pretty phsyched. I also talked my boss into re-checking about getting company health insurance - which would be amazing.

These are the little things that keep me happy. That and going to the mall.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I hate business people.

Like I told you, it was weird that the man was calling and offering me free popcorn two and a half months after the photo was published, but basically I think he was hoping to get some free photography. He kept talking about things he'd like photos of and asked if I had my camera right there. I don't do freebies, so I lied and told him I didn't have my camera with me.

Don't worry though kids, it doesn't show up on God's sin radar if you lie to a business man, because they don't have souls.

He then mentioned a book he wants to sell. It would be pictures of the area during each month of the year - various attractions. He asked if I'd take pictures for it and I asked if he'd pay me. He said he would, but looked startled. That, children, is what is called a bad sign.

He asked if I did free-hand drawing and went on forever about this story he wants to get made into a book. He asked if I'd bring over a sample drawing sometime. And offered me more popcorn if I did. Because everyone likes to get paid with popcorn.

I told him he'd have to talk to my boss. Kids, this is a good example of smart. He looked really startled then.

My grandmother worked with this type of person her entire life. I love my grandmother, but she was swindled more than a few times. Obviously some of her clients were more ethical than others, but my grandmother should be a wealthy person, rather than a woman fighting to pay for office space.

And in spite of our widely varied locations and subject matter, I just can't help but feel that business people are the same anywhere, in any field. Now obviously there are people who own/run businesses who are not immune to the dementor's kiss, but they're not business people, they're just in business. There's a difference.

People shouldn't mess with my lunch break. Popcorn.

Now it's just getting silly.

We got a call this morning from a man who owns this place

We published this picture on the front of the July issue of our monthly magazine. I don't know why he waited till mid-September to call, but he did. Apprently he was pretty excited about the photo and since I put it on the cover he wants me to stop by on my lunch break so he can give me a free bag of popcorn. I hope its the carmel kind.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Christmas came early...

Most of our advertisers are content to send in their advertising information and wait for their ad to appear in our publication. They trust us to make that miraculous transformation from barely-legible-scribble-on-a-napkin to professional advertising.
Others don't feel safe unless we send them a proof for them to make changes/corrections (this, by the way, is irritating for me, but recommended for you - don't get advertising without a proof) . A select (and irritating) few, insist on sitting there and guiding us step by step as we alter the font size and location.

While explaining your vision and the emphasis that you would like you ad to have, providing sample ideas along with any artwork you would like to use, and asking for a proof are all excellent ways to ensure clear communication between you and your graphic designer - sitting there and directing her every move is an excellent way to get kicked in the head.

Also, your ad won't be as good. It is very hard to be creative while someone is watching you.

For some ads this isn't important. One of our clients has the same ad with tiny alterations each time. He doesn't really need to be sitting there each time...but he feels better doing so and since the ad is mostly price lists anyhow, it doesn't bother me. Besides, he tips me ten bucks every time he comes.

Today I was scheduled to help someone who when I last tried to ask his vision for his ad he said, "You're the one that does this kind of thing." Yes, this is true; however, I am not the one who runs your business and I can't know how you want to portray it until you tell me.

But he cancelled, thank the stars and constellations (though I'm not actually sure what they have to do with it). After he cancelled the christmas card man who came in last night at five till five wanting an ad design called and said he wanted to sit down and design his ad.

Oh, goody.

This is the same person who called three times to change his last ad...mostly he kept finding new things he wanted to underline. He was here for three hours designing two ads and making small changes to the previous ad. This is when I'd already spent half an hour doing prep typing for the biggest of the three ads.

I had grand plans for his ads. I could have done great things. It wasn't to be.

As he was leaving he asked what he owed me for my time. Technically design time in included in the price - but no limit is afixed to this price. So this means that while most people get a paltry 15 minutes per advertisment (give or take - depends on how inspired I feel/how much time I have till the deadline) people like him can sit here for three hours directing the formation of thier advertising.

I told him there was no charge and he walked out for a moment during which my boss jokingly said "No charge for design time, but $100 for mental anguish." I couldn't help but wish the man had felt compelled to tip me even five dollars for my time.

When the man returned he was laden with candy boxes and informed me that they were for us. I'm not talking about Hershey's or Russell Stovers. You can keep your boxes of molded wax. He had boxes of Jelly Bellies, Lindt, Guylian, and Ferrier Rochier. There was at least forty dollars worth of candy there.

I carried them into the break room and told my boss that the man had covered the mental anguish bit. Money is nice, but I would feel compelled to spend it rationally. I have no option but to enjoy chocolate.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Rocking it Old School

I'm not really one of those, "Oh I love old people" types. They are out there, wandering around saying silly things like, "It's so cute when old people love each other," or, "It's so cute how old people get angry," or, "It's so cute that old people sneeze," as if being old somehow makes human behavior unusual.

But, there are two things that I adore about old women.

1. They tell amazing stories.

2. They are always appalled that I don't have a boyfriend or ten.

It used to bother me when people got all shocked that I wasn't seeing anybody. But in college a friend told me, "It's better than them finding it perfectly reasonable that you don't have a boyfriend," and I've chosen to look at it that way ever since.

But back to the old women. It isn't really that they think I'm such an amazingly wonderful person that I should be struggling to find empty spaces on my calander, its just that when they were young people dated someone different each night of the week. Whenever I am told this it is always in a tone that could double for comments about the high rate of crime or unemployment. The tone always wonders, "What is the matter with young people these days?"

My first reaction was to be amused. After all, old people are supposed to be more conservative than my parents, not less. Still, as I look my and my friend's experiences/traumas with dating I begin to wonder if the old ladies are not, in fact, right to shake their heads at the way we date.

Whenever you get something for nothing, someone gets nothing for something.

But, this is the way we date. Without commitments, but with expectations.

In the 1940s, until there was a ring involved no one got to expect anything. Yes, Sue might be out with Bobby tonight, but that certainly wouldn't stop Sue from seeing Stewart the next night and likewise Bobby will probably be out with Anne. Why not?

On the other hand, expectations are taylored to match this lack of commitment. Sue may be seeing four different boys, but she will not expect any one of them to fulfill her emotional needs. None of these boys are going to expect Sue to make her world revolve around them. Dates would be a lot less pressure for everyone and there would be ample opportunity for everyone to observe what they do and do not appreciate about the opposite gender.

Currently dating several people at once would make a person a player, but if it were understood that until a commitment is made no commitment can be expected back, this wouldn't be an issue. And when when that commitment was finally made (whether its "going steady" or an engagement) I think it would mean more and be better thought out for being a concious decision rather than this slippery slope where one day you think someone is attractive and all of a sudden you're stuck with them.

That's why I think we should bring back 1940's dating...and dresses...they had some real cute dresses back then.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Kung Fu for Jesus

I was going to post something all introspective about impatience and worry, but I saw this and knew the theme had to change.

In additions to people's blogs I browse a couple message boards and someone posted this in hopes of inspiring other people to post absurdities as well, but mostly what they got were a bunch of "wtf?!" posts, because...its really hard to top a book that sells Christian exercise.
I do like the golf balls and fishing bait with bible verses on them (perfect for father's day!)
And I've always been fascinated by the decorative crown of thorns. Decorating with torture devices does have a certain macabre appeal.
But honestly, the defies all of these. It really does.
So I just want to congradulate Laurette on a whole new level of seperatism.
Why should the devil have all the good exercise?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Remembering to Breathe

I like reading other people's blogs - I have rather long list of blogs that I check with frequency that depends on how often those people tend to update their blog/how often their blog is interesting.

I read the blog of one Mr. Longbrake, partially for the lovely photos and partially because I think a lot of what he says is bunk - but fascinating bunk.

This is his latest post, uncharacteristically short:

"Of the few things I feel I have begun to learn in the last year, one of the most profound to me has been this: It is ok to suffer. It ok to be in the midst of pain and hurt and to simply sit under it. I (and you) do not have to push the everything is fine appearance all the time. I have discovered that covering up pain and burying it can be altogether much more detrimental to my soul in the long run. And because of this, I must not only accept pain, but in some way embrace it."

Not an original thought. I remember when I was in highschool Nicole Nordeman came out with her first cd and her songs "Burning" and "Why?" made my friends and I stop and say, "What?" because they weren't the typical Christian answers to pain - at a time when the typical answers had really stopped being effective for us.

On the other hand it frustrates me when people talk about just going ahead and letting ourselves hurt, as if we had some choice in the matter.

It reminds me of being 12 years old with a broken leg and facing surgery and everyone kept telling me how brave I was, as if I'd chosen a broken leg. As if I'd chosen to have a tumor.

And its kind of funny, really, because I was very good at getting out of things I didn't like. I manipulated and lied my way out of uncomfortable situations and I remember waking up the day after I broke my leg, in so much pain that I had spent all night dreaming about pain, and all I could think was, "I can't get out of this one. I can't make God fix my leg."

So the idea that I was somehow brave in taking on this broken leg, it made me laugh even as a 12 year old and the grown-ups never seemed to understand why.

Years later I spent my college fall break in the hospital waiting room while my little sister had a brain biopsy to determine exactly how maglignant her inoperable brain tumor really was.

Before my sister had gone into surgery my parents had, had the pastor in to pray for her. After the prayer Holly demanded that our younger sister Bethany do a magic trick she had been practicing for sometime.

"Everyone always says, 'I need that like I need a hole in the head,' well..." Bethy started, before appearing to pop a quarter in the top of her head and cough it out up again second later, "My doctor hates it when I do that," she finished.

Holly, Bethany, Daniel and I laughed like anything and our parents and pastor smiled uncomfortably before asking us why we were laughing so hard at the fairly lame joke. Holly rolled her eyes and laughed again, "I need a hole in my head."

The adults remained mildly confused as my sister demanded funny stories from each of us. The nurses loved my sister, she was in excruciating pain, facing cancer and maybe death, but always cracking jokes. It wasn't being brave. It wasn't embracing pain. It wasn't burying it either. My sister loves to laugh. She couldn't do anything about what was in the center of her brain. If she could have opted out I have no doubt that this is what she would have done.

Do we really have to embrace pain?
Is there some need to experience it as fully as we possibly can?

I think we embrace our pain a little too much. We cling to it and we take it out an examine all the little nuances and cry over them.

That's kind of natural. When I broke my leg I instinctively would hold my breath and grit my teeth whenever the doctor's moved it to wrap it or x-ray it. More pain was on its way and I was bracing myself (they dropped my broken leg three times while I was in the hospital - I'm lucky I still have a leg). But the doctors kept telling me, "You need to breathe, it hurts less when you breathe."

Its true kids. The doctors will spout some kind of smart sounding business about oxogyn flow, but I think its because when you're in that kind of pain you have to concentrate just to keep breathing and when you're focused on breathing you can't focus on the pain.

I think that's true in life. It is going to hurt - you can't change that. You can't make God take it back.
Don't forget to breathe.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"You've met my mother?"

Katie and I went to see "Hairspray" tonight. We walked in late as Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) belted out, "I Love You Baltimore". The film is truly odd, but it was too much work to try and dislike it.

The characters weren't really highly developed, but they were incredibly likable. The songs weren't as smooth as they might have been (most of the lines are in there, not because they make sense - but because they rhyme), the quirkines made me smile.

On the other hand...Tracy gets sent to detention after her rejection from the pretty white skinny kids and finds out that dention is where the black people party. At first there's some tension, but when she proves that she too can dance in sexually provocative manner, the black kids all accept her.

What? That's it? Sexy dancing equals integration?
In the end it gets lost in the bigger issue of inequality. Tracy is innocently appalled that black people and white people can't dance together. Penny (Amanda Bynes), Tracy's naive friend with an oppresive mother, doesn't seem to notice much at all except that Seaweed is hot and her mother is unreasonable.

Corny Collins (James Marsden), host of the Corny Collin's Show, just thinks that integration is the next big thing and that if "you can't fight, it you might as well rock it."

But of course the evil blondes are trying to keep black and/or fat people off of tv at any price. And while both the black people and the fat people are portrayed as being willing to give it away any moment, it is the blondes who get frowned at for the same feeling, which was confusing more than anything. Sexuality is good - except for when mean people have it?

Again, what?

The movie was fun, enjoyable, makes you happy and even makes you want to dance...just don't ask it to make sense.

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