Thursday, April 30, 2009

Picture It, High School, 1984

This morning, the TV was on in the background as I was getting ready, and I heard someone say the words, "Impossible Dream" and BOOM! A memory popped right into my head:

He was Don Quixote. I was the Moorish girl. It was our first run-through of the scene. The Moorish girl dances and tries to seduce Quixote. She twirls around him, teasing him with her veil. She stands with her back against his chest, swaying seductively, and then…

Holy Shit!

It said something like “She takes his right hand and places it on her right breast. She takes his left hand and places it on her left breast.”

No really –Holy Shit!

Of course, we tried to be very professional about it and not even react. But we also realized that we were in a high school production and hands on breasts would never fly. So we improvised and wrapped his arms around me until he was holding me from behind. We thought we did an awesome job with it until we heard, “CUT!”

We were both thinking that we couldn’t believe that she was going to tone that down. I mean, come ON! We were all adults here (sort of). And then our seriously batshit crazy (not even kidding – she was insane) drama teacher said,

“It says she places his hand on her breast, not her waist. She is seducing him, not cuddling with him!”

Blank stares from us. Giggles from everyone else.

“Oh cut it out! Act like grown-ups for Pete’s sake! This is called acting! It’s not like it’s a relationship! She puts his hands on her BREASTS!

About six hours later (and for the next several months), we were practicing that scene in the backseat of his car. And his room. And the back of the auditorium. And the dressing room. And the...well, you get the picture.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


To whomever thought it would be a good idea to stand on the corner during rush hour, while school buses drive by with your huge anti-abortion banners, I have one thing to say: Shame on You.

At the time I went by, traffic was still moving pretty well, but at that 5-way intersection, it was pretty much a given that we would see. I am sure that’s why you chose the location. That’s exactly how I wanted to start my day – with graphic photos of aborted fetuses. But you know what? I’m an adult – I can handle it. I might not have liked it, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that buses (and most likely cars) filled with young children saw your signs – saw those horrible, ugly images. Shame on You.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and where abortion is concerned, there are certainly a lot of them. I have one. But my opinion on the legality or morality of abortion doesn’t really matter right now, because it has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Regardless of how I feel about abortion, I am against such a display simply because - while we are entitled to our opinions - we need to be responsible about the forum in which we choose to air those opinions. On a busy street corner while kids are in their way to school (or worse - as I experienced a few years back - a soccer field with teams of kids 10 and under, or last year – a panel truck driving around a park emblazoned with the same images) is NOT the appropriate forum. Shame on You.

Children are fragile and need to be handled with care. Exposing them to a topic such as abortion like that can frighten them. It’s a complex issue that needs to be dealt with carefully, regardless of your views. Anyone with any kind of conscience should be able to understand that, but you didn’t. Shame on You.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels that way. Maybe one person would tell me how abortion is murder and that young children need to understand and not be protected from it. That they need to learn right and wrong. That they need to understand the rights of the unborn. Maybe another person would tell me that even kids need to understand that they are not alone and that they have somewhere to turn if they are in trouble. That it’s important for them to know that no one can tell you what to do with their body, and that they need to understand the rights of women.

Well, I’m here to say that I respect the rights of women and the rights of the unborn, but it’s the rights of the existing children that you have forgotten about. They have the right to be children and not be forced into complex, adult, scary discussions like abortion. They have the right to have their parents decide when they are ready to learn about it. They have the right to a nice, sunny spring morning without graphic, bloody images and screaming old men. They have the right to be children, unburdened with adult problems. Regardless of the views parents plan to teach their children on the topic of abortion, the fact that they use discretion and compassion when deciding if their kids are ready shows far more conscience, good judgment, and just plain intelligence than you have shown us. You put your need to spread your opinion before the rights and needs of those kids. Shame on You.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Helping Others is Not All About You, Assholes

This Saturday was a busy, volunteer-y day. First, our scout troop helped out in the morning with our town’s cleanup day – picking up trash, planting, mulching, etc. Then, when that was over, it was pick up day for Scouting for Food.

Every year, we spend one Saturday distributing bags all over town and then the next Saturday we spend the day picking up donations, sorting, boxing and delivering them to the local food bank. It is these kinds of scouting activities that keep me involved despite my absolute hatred for some of the policies of the organization. There isn’t a whole lot of organized giving-a-shit around these parts lately, so any time we can do good, it’s worth it.

Sometimes it’s hard not to get a little jaded when it comes to this kind of think, though. The folks that run the food bank out of a local church basement are kind of assholes. You’ve met the type – older folks who get their jollies by being big, obnoxious control freaks. Late year, we spent hours in the heat, collecting and sorting and packing thousands of pound of food. When we were all set, it turned out that the food bank decided to be an asshole. They were under the impression that they were doing us a favor. And so even though we have been doing this for approximately 20 years they decided that they could not possibly accommodate us for dropping off (and carrying in and stacking) the food. We had to do it while the food bank was open. But the food bank was only open from about 9-4 on weekdays. Exactly when all the boys were in school and t\all the leaders and parents were at work. We tried to explain this, but they wouldn’t budge. Not one single one of those old harpies would come in for less than an hour on a Saturday to receive huge donations of food to help the needy and fill their almost empty shelves. Not. One.

We kept trying to work something out, but they were adamant. OK, then. We still had a ton of food and we still wanted to help the needy, so we called the local salvation army food bank, which serves the entire surrounding area, in addition to our town. They were thrilled and immediately agreed to be available for the drop-off. All was well.

Until, that is, the food bank called a few days later demanding, “Where is our food?!” the leader explained to them that since they refused to accept the donation on anything but their strict hours, we were forced to donate the food elsewhere. Then the shit hit the fan. Someone from the food bank wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper accusing the scouts of stealing food out of the mouths of the local hungry. This couldn’t have been further from the truth and a rebuttal was sent by the leader, but it still got out there. It sucked.

This year, the leader spoke with the food bank and they gave him a little bit of a hard time about being available, but he reminded them about whet happened last year and they got a little more flexible. They still managed to keep us waiting in the alley in the heat just to make sure we know who’s boss, of course.

But sadly, this year, the donations were low. We passed many houses where people had left their bags still hanging from mailboxes, fencepost, etc. The donation we did get were smaller. It was sad, because it’s a vicious cycle – worse economy = more need, but it also means that more people are less able to give and fill that need. We definitely had less when we got back to the sorting location. And then, we had to weed out a lot of expired stuff, which shrunk the donation a little more.

I think the thing that pissed me off the most was that the large majority of the donations came from the poorest parts of town. There were people who saw us and ran in and filled up a bag, because hey missed theirs, etc, and clearly, they could ill afford it. But next, we headed to the most affluent part of town, expecting a haul. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Only a coupe of houses in a large neighborhood had donations out. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in an entire development filled with in-ground pools and huge houses with Mercedes and BMW in the 3 car garages, you would expect more than just a few bags.

One lady saw us and apparently when her bag was labeled with the date, someone made a mistake and had Sunday’s date on it. She said to folks collecting, “This bag says Sunday.” They apologized for the mistake and told her that it should have had that day’s date on it. The she looked them right in the eye and snapped, “Well TOO BAD! It says tomorrow so I will put out my donation TOMORROW!!”

It disgusts me that so many people are too busy being superior, or controlling, or downright crazy that something important gets passed over. They don’t seem to realize that it’s not the Boy Scouts that they are punishing with their attitude, it’s the hungry and needy. And it pisses me off.

Helping others mean nothing if you completely miss the “others” part.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Damn Right I've Got The Blues

Friday night, mr b, our nephew, and I went to see Buddy Guy. Back in the fall, as soon as we heard he was coming, we knew we had to go. I mean, he’s not getting any younger and we didn’t want to miss a chance to see this blues legend in person. Years ago, on a trip to Chicago, mr b and I went to his club, Legends to see Tommy Castro. When we got there, the bouncer stopped us at the door – they were full. There were a couple of people in front of us, who left after a few minutes, so we were the first in line and a few people came up behind us. After we stood there for about 15 minutes, waiting for someone to leave so we could go in, a limousine pulled up out front. And who stepped out but Buddy Guy himself! We said hi to him (the people behind us didn’t say a word – I don’t think they even knew who he was), and he asked what we doing standing around outside. We told him we were waiting to get in and he turned to the bouncer and said, “Let these people in.” We followed him in and shook his hand and he headed backstage. And then we both acted like little girls at an Andy Gibb concert in 1978 (OK, like me at an Andy Gibb concert in 1978). Because seriously? Buddy Guy! Squee!

That night, he did a quick walk-on with Tommy Castro, but it was nothing like really seeing Buddy Guy perform. And we swore if we ever got a chance, we would take it. So when we heard he was coming, I jumped online right away and got us some pretty awesome seats – only 9 rows back, on the end of the aisle. Now I have been to a lot of concerts, but let me tell you, this was one of my the best I have ever seen. He came out and blew us away. He is soft-spoken and kind. He was funny and engaging. And he can play the fuck out a guitar.

He plays with his entire body. His face shows every emotion of every song. He played with three different electric guitars and one acoustic, and each one was better than the last. He played his own stuff, peppered with old blues like Muddy Waters. He played a medley of music through the years who he claims inspires him, but many of those artists have said that Buddy Guy inspires them Artists like the Stones, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. He made the guitar speak and sing and scream and do things you never knew a guitar could do.

A little more than an hour into the show, he came over to our side of the stage and I thought Awesome – better photos. But then he did something odd. He took a step down. And then another. And then, OMG, he started walking up aisle! I wasn’t sure if I should,. Be taking photos, but I used the approximately eleventy-thousand other cameras going off around me as my moral compass. He was singing to people and joking with them all the while still practically setting his guitar on fire. And before I knew it, Holy Shitballs, Buggy Guy is standing RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!!!

This was truly the most incredible thing I have seen a performer do at a concert. He went all the up the aisle, climbed on some sound equipment in back, out into the lobby, up the stairs, all over the balcony, came to the edge of the balcony and leaned over the edge, back through the aisles upstairs into the side “boxes” or whatever they are called, down those stairs and back onto the stage. It was like a giant game of Where’s Buddy, set to the most awesome fucking music, ever. As he finished up his final song, he spent time shaking hands and handing out picks and signing autographs from the stage. I tried to get my poster signed, but just as I was in reach some asshole shoved me out of his way and stepped on my foot hard enough to knock my toe ring clean off. I hope he shit his pants on the way home.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Guys, I have to say: YOU ROCK! I wish I could send each and every one of you a prize, but since I can’t, I just want you to know that you are kind, caring, generous people and I am glad to consider you my friends. MWAH!

Anyway, because I gave additional entries for larger donations, I couldn’t just do a random draw from the comments. There were 57 entries for 12 people, which emphasizes your awesomeness. Instead, I put the entries into a spreadsheet and got a random number. And the winner is (sorry for the shitty quality):

Meno! Which is awesome because about 5 minutes after I posted my first entry (before the contest) about the March for Babies, she was on my walk page and making a donation. Congrats, meno. Email me with your info and I will get your prize out within the week.

Like I said, I'm sorry you all couldn't win, but thank you so much for helping with this great cause!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


REMINDER: My March of Dimes Giveaway/Raffle for Maddie is down to the last few days! Join in!


Ever since I was a child, I have hated to ask for things. Even the smallest things. When people hear I’m an only child, they often say, “Oh I bet you were spoiled.” I won’t go off on all the reasons why this pisses me off – but basically, it has to do with a) judging me based on something that means nothing, b) way to be rude, asshole, c) you don’t know me so shut the fuck up, d) god, I’m so sick of stereotyping, and e) not knowing the meaning of spoiled. It’s the “e” that relates to what I have to say today.

I had a good life. I had toys and clothes and things and stuff. But to me, having things does not mean you’re spoiled. Not wanting for things (and believe me, I wanted) doesn’t mean you’re spoiled. To me, being spoiled is demanding things and getting them. And I never demanded. I rarely even asked.

I would want something and hope and wish and dream and occasionally hint, but I hated to ask. I can remember being very young (maybe 5 or 6) and picking up my grandma at work (Montgomery Wards “Buffeteria”) and dying for a donut from the donut case. I would hope that my Grammy or Gramps would read my mind and offer me one. I would look longingly at that case. And even though I knew they would give me a dozen if they knew I wanted it, I would never, ever ask. Not once.

I don’t know why asking for things was so hard for me. I can remember - as an older child - not wanting to inconvenience anyone, or worrying that giving me what I wanted would cause someone financial problems. But I felt this way even before I knew anything about finances and inconveniences, so it’s just something in my personality, I suppose.

And I imagine you are saying, well, it’s hard to ask for stuff. No, It’s not hard for me. It’s painful. I feel sick. I cry involuntarily. I hate myself. It’s like a little piece of me shrivels up and dies every time I have to ask for something.

I hate asking for things, I hate asking for help, and I hate depending on people for anything. And yet, depend on people, I do.

Three days a week, I drop my kids off at my parents in the morning, and they get them off to school and daycare. My girlfriend brings the boy home from afternoon band practice. Two of my friends often stop by to pick up the boy in the mornings when I am home, so I don’t have to drag the girl out. My aunt takes the kids to the gym when I can’t. If I have to work late, I call my dad or aunt. I hate it. I hate it with a passion, but I have to do it.

Every year, my company changes hours in the summers. We work an extra hour on Mondays-Thursdays and work ½ days on Fridays. So in the summers, I have to have my dad and aunt get the kids from daycare every day. Last year, my girlfriend pitched in, too. I hated it.

And when I say I hate it, I don’t mean to imply that I don’t appreciate the help - I do. I don’t know how to repay these people who I depend on. But God I hate depending on them.

Mr b and I rarely go out, because I hate to ask anyone to babysit. We don’t know any teens that sit, so it falls on family. And my family does enough. The thought of asking a friend makes my heart race and makes me feel sick to my stomach. So we don’t go.

So this week, I am extra stressed out.

First off, the daycare won’t be open Friday, meaning that I either have to ask my dad to keep the girl (I didn’t have to because he already told me he won’t be around). Everyone else works, so I am stuck. Sure, I didn’t have to ask anyone to watch her, but I have to ask my work to either take the day off or work from home. I don’t want to take the day off, since I need to hang on to my vacation days, but at the same time, I worry that working from home will be perceived as taking advantage of the company (and I would never, ever want to do that because I love Awesome Company). I hate it.

And then Friday night mr b and I have tickets to see Buddy Guy. Which means I have to ask someone to keep the kids. I hate it.

And summer hours are coming up and I will have to ask/depend on other people to get the kids for me almost every day. I hate it.

And kindergarten registration is next week and - of course - is during working hours (which – IMG I am so sick of the assumption that there is a mom at home to take care of stuff), which means asking to work from home that day, too. I hate it.

And then there’s pre-school “graduation” coming up. And a doctor’s appointment for the boy. And several kid-related events in the summer. And vacations. All requiring asking for days off/working from home/help with childcare/etc. I hate it.

And then finally the boy came home with his summer band practice schedule yesterday and when I saw that there will be mandatory practice all summer, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 – 10:30 am, I cried. I actually broke down and cried. Because, again, with the responsibility.

I need help. And I hate it.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

They Aren't Worth It

REMINDER: My March of Dimes Giveaway/Raffle for Maddie is still going on! Join in!


I was in the mall recently and overheard a couple of girls taking about some friends of theirs that were feuding over a boy. And I just don’t get it. Even when I was an angsty, needy teen, I never fought with my friends over boys. No matter how much I “loved” (or, more likely “lusted after”) my boyfriend/crush/booty call, it was never more important to me than my girlfriends. I always had the attitude that even if I married this guy today, on our 50th anniversary, I would b e celebrating my approximately 65th anniversary with Hedge. I had a friend who put boyfriends first. Every time she had one, you never saw her – it was all boyfriend al the time. This started when we were about 13 and continued well into adulthood. As in, she just grew a pair a coupe of year ago. But even she didn’t play those bullshit games that these girls seem to be playing. There were rules. You didn’t date your friends’ boyfriends. You didn’t date your friends’ exes. You took your friends’ sides in every disagreement. Because boyfriends come and go, but friends are (mostly) forever.

But you also know when to let it go. I have had people wonder if it’s weird that hedge is married to someone I used to date. No. It’s not. Because we are adults and high school was twentysmrrphnngg years ago. I’ll admit, if she had ended up marrying THE high school boyfriend, it would have been weird for a while. But she didn’t. She married the Freshman Night Date. Big fat deal. I think she may have written “Good luck with Asshole (not his real name)” in my freshman yearbook. By the time she started dating him, I barely even knew him anymore, so who cares.

We did fight over him once. Recently, in fact:

Hedge: You take him

Gina: Hell no

Hedge: Come ON

Gina: No way – why would I want him?

Hedge: You owe me

Gina: What? For what?

Hedge: Well… - I know! Remember that time we hid a bottle of Old Granddad in the bushes and then we went back to look for it and it was gone?

Gina: Yeah?

Hedge: Well, you owe me.

Gina: Why on earth would I owe you for that?

Hedge: Did we not take photos of the bushes so we could use the flash as a light?

Gina: Yeah.

Hedge: And it didn’t work?

Gina: Yeah.

Hedge: Well, it was YOUR camera.

Gina: You’re crazy, bitch. I let you wear my prom gown any time you wanted. I owe you nothing.

Hedge: Eh. You want a beer?

Gina: Yeah.

Hedge: ……..

Gina: ……..

Hedge: Seriously, though. Take him.

Gina: Fuck you.

Hedge: Well, it was worth a try.

Gina: I know. Hey – didn’t he date that skanky girl? Maybe she’ll take him!

Hedge: Give me the phone.

I wanted to tell those girls not to fight over a boy, because 20 years from now, neither of them would want him anymore.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Britain's Got Wankers

REMINDER: My March of Dimes Giveaway/Raffle for Maddie is still going on! Join in!


The internet has been all abuzz with Susan Boyle. If you are the one person left who is saying, “Who the fuck is Susan Boyle?” - she is a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent. She is a dowdy 47 year old woman who, in a pre-performance interview, admits that she has never been on a date, never been kissed.

She comes out on stage to perform and talks to the judges, telling them she always wanted to be a professional singer. While the judges roll their eyes and look disgusted, the entire audience laughs at her.

The she starts to sing and she is incredible. She blows everyone away. Within a couple notes, the judges’ faces completely change – the audience is screaming and on their feet. The hosts are asking, “You didn’t expect that, did you?” It’s all framed as a “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” story and it’s touching and sweet and warm and fuzzy.


After I saw the video, I just wanted to say, “Are you fucking kidding me??

Everyone in that video, other than Susan, came off as a COMPLETE FUCKING WANKER!! I’m not touched or moved by that. I’m disgusted. I’m disgusted and embarrassed that we – as a society – are so caught up in how people look that we associate appearance with everything – intelligence, success, character, and now talent.

I get that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Hell – I just wrote an entire post about that. But I will admit, I can see how it happens sometimes. Not that it’s right, but it’s understandable. For instance - when someone is dressed shabbily, you might make assumptions about his wealth or success. This is the very thing I wrote about in my “Need” post (only backwards). It’s wrong, but I can see how one thing might logically point to another.

But when we start judging peoples character and personality and morality and intelligence based on their physical appearance, we’re getting into dangerous territory. And worse than judging is actually acting on it - in this case – laughing and mocking her. It hurts. I’ve been there. I am overweight now, but I grew up thin. I gained weight in my twenties and then lost it all again. Then gained. Then lost. You get the picture. And I can tell you in all honesty, that people treat you differently when you are more attractive (in my case – thinner). People are friendlier. Salespeople are more helpful. When I was thin – they couldn’t wait to help me. With extra weight? They barely look my way, and they are sometimes downright disdainful. When you are thin, you can eat and entire 12 course meal with no hands and no one cares. Try eating a funnel cake when you are fat and see the looks you get. When you are what society has decided is unattractive, people assume you are stupid and lazy and boring and – most of all – unworthy. Unworthy of kindness, or friendship, of courtesy, of respect.

But hair color and tattoos and clothing style and skin color and weight and boob size have nothing to do with who that person is inside, and most people would agree it was wrong to assume differently (even if their actions speak otherwise). So why, then, is this video different? Why should I be “moved” because a bunch of assholes were impressed by someone’s talent?

Why on Earth should I be surprised by her performance? Why would the hosts assume that “I wasn’t expecting that?” I wasn't aware that talent and physical beauty/youth/big boobs/whatever were somehow related. And regardless of how surprised everyone was, regardless of how they cheered and applauded and complimented her after she sang? What matters is what happened before she sang, when she was treated like a joke – something to be mocked and not taken seriously.

And now she’s being lauded and paraded all over the internet and TV and newspapers and magazines while everyone involved pats themselves on the back for the “inspiration” of it all. But meanwhile, this treatment is no better than the boos and jeers that she got before she ever opened her mouth – it’s focusing not on her talent, but on her appearance. It’s like an old-time freakshow – “Look – the beast can sing! Put down your pitchforks – the monster is worthy!” So what does that say? That it’s OK to mock and ridicule the ugly or fat or tall or short or black or white or bald or disabled person, as long as they don’t have a special talent?

I hope Susan Boyle milks this for all it’s worth. I hope something good comes out of this for her. And then I hope she tells the whole world to fuck the hell off.

Here is the video, in case you've missed it (it can't be embedded)

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

March for Maddie Giveaway

As I have already said, on March 9th, I (along with the most excellent Burgh Moms and Dads) will be participating in the March of Dimes Pittsburgh March for Babies in memory of Madeline Spohr, who passed away on April 7th, 2009.

Originally, I was planning on having some giveaways during this month to celebrate my 5th “blogiversary” (I already held one and the winner – Hedge – has requested that I substitute her prize with booze. A girl after my own heart. Plus –she’ll share.) However – in light of this tragic loss, I have decided to pool the prizes and do a raffle/giveaway to help raise money instead.

So for any donation of $5 to my walk page (click the button at the bottom), I will enter you into a drawing to win a Box ‘O Goodies. In that box will be:

* A $20 Victoria’s Secret gift card

* A $15 iTunes card

* A $15 Starbucks gift card

* A $25 Target gift card

Also, I will throw in:

* A dvd of the Sex and the City movie

* Assorted goodies to be determined after I pick the winner (so I can gear it towards the winner a little based on gender, location, etc) but will include at least one book, something yummy, something weird (because…duh), something kid-related if you have any, and who knows what else, but I’m good at gift baskets so fear not.

You will get one entry for every $5 you donate. So $10 gets you two entries, $15 gets you three, and so on.

Once you donate, please leave a comment here so I can figure out who is who (if you want to remain somewhat anonymous on the amount of your donation, you can comment here that you donated, and then email me to let me know who you are and the amount so I can give you the appropriate number of entries (sugarmag_at_live_dot_com). For those of you who have already donated (you know who you are and I love you – smooch!), I will enter you as well, but go ahead and comment here, so I have a reminder all in one place.

You don’t have to know me to enter. I don’t care if you’ve never commented before. I don’t care if you’ve never been here before. What I care about is doing the best we can to help a great cause. Because no one should ever go through what the Spohrs and so many other families have endured.

Although I love to give people stuff and usually die of anticipation before every birthday or holiday, I am going to drag this one out a little to give more folks a chance. I will keep it open until Saturday, April 25th.

Help out if you can and feel free to pass this along.


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Princess Fail

That bitch Barbie has been trying to break into the princess racket for years...


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Need More Chocolate Bunnies...

What a week!

On Tuesday, I got a call from a local radio station saying that I was a winner! That’s it – they just wanted to boost my self-esteem a little. No – actually, they were calling to tell me I had won an iPod nano and a $50 iTunes card. They were having a contest sponsored by Diet Pepsi for an “escape” to Arizona. You had to write in and tell them why you needed an escape and they would pick one preliminary winner a day and then a grand prize winner out of those four. I almost didn’t enter because I usually don’t enter two-part contests because the preliminary prizes are generally a cd or something I don’t care about. But this time, I figured an iPod would be great because mr b is very jealous of mine and the boy’s. And the clincher was that when I was considering entering, the weatherman was telling me about snow and I thought about Arizona and thought, “Oh yes I DO need an escape.”

So anyway, Tuesday morning I was happy and mr b was happy and then I realized that I now had one in four odds to win the grand prize! And Holy Shitballs, on Friday morning, I got the call! I fucking won! In September, mr b and I will be spending a weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona at this beautiful resort. I am so excited! We also won a Visa gift card, a blu-ray dvd and a two-month subscription to netflix. Woo!


After getting the call on Friday, work was pretty much out of the question, especially since it was a slow work day, so I took the afternoon off and had a “girl’s day” with my bean. The boy was off to the movies and a sleepover, so she and I headed to the radio station to pick up our prizes and then headed out to eat and shop.

The girl had a couple of bucks to spend and we went into Claire’s. While we were there, she noticed the piercing chair in the front of the store and asked what it was for. When I told her it was where people got their ears pierced, she asked me if she could do it. I was a little surprised since for the past couple of years, she has been saying that she wants to, but not yet – when she’s bigger. I was worried she would be upset that it hurt, even though I was honest and told her it hurt a little bit. But she surprised me and both of the piercing ladies (they did both at once) by not only not crying but not flinching at all. Her expression never changed, except when she looked in the mirror and broke out in a huge smile. She told me that she was always jealous of people with pierced ears, but now she didn’t have to be. She kept saying how proud she was of herself (and jealous of herself), and how she was so big now. She looked in every single reflective surface she came across all that day and night. And she told just about every single person who even looked in her general direction, “I just got my ears pierced!”



Saturday, I had planned to clean the house, but that never really happened. I had the kids clean their rooms while I boiled eggs and prepped for dyeing them, which was a great idea in theory, but in practice, it was more me boiling/prepping all the while breaking up fights about who was cleaning and who wasn’t,(if only they spent as much time doing what they were supposed to as they do worrying about what the other is doing), kids getting distracted by everything that wasn’t room-cleaning, having to answer “is it time yet?” approximately twenty-seven thousand times, breaking up more fights, and denying requests for “a break” (because apparently 10 minutes of not cleaning is exhausting). Great fun.

After we made our groovy tie-dyed looking eggs, I was ready for a break, but immediately the “when are we making the cupcakes?” inquiries started. Yes, I – hater of baking – decided that the kids and I should make these adorable Bakerella cupcakes. See how cute those are? I assure you that ours where not even on the same planet of cute. My icing wasn’t quite thick enough (actually, it was exactly the way I like it, but not the best for “gluing” on the candies). And my sour punch straws were too short for handles – I don’t know if there are different size packages or if Bakerella is just magical. I think the latter. I ended up using rainbow twizzlers. They looked OK, but they were heavy and fell over. Then I discovered that I had one package of Airheads extreme things which are flat and multi-colored and they were actually perfect. But once I covered the cupcakes so they wouldn’t dry out, they – well – didn’t stay dried out enough – and the handles all collapsed. But even after that, they were still sort of cute. Until I dropped the container carrying them to my aunt’s Easter dinner and they all smooshed around. Whatever – they still taste good (minus the god-forsaken sour airheads).

Sunday was dinner at Aunt Twin’s house – the kids had a great time with the egg hunt I set up for them. I was smart this year and color-coded the eggs – one color per child, to ensure that they all got equal amounts of candy and prizes, which worked out really well.


Anyway, this is the most boring entry ever. Here’s hoping I get more interesting soon.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

For Maddie

Madeline Alice Spohr
November 11, 2007 - April 7, 2009

There's not much I can say that hasn't been said already. Like so many others, I am heartbroken for the family of this beautiful little girl. I can only begin to imagine what they are going through right now. I watched my sister-in-law lose her son at 16, and I still see the pain my grandmother feels 60+ years after the death of her son. And I wish that no parent ever had to go through what the Spohrs are going through right now.

All I can really do to help is do something in memory of Maddie - something that will help prevent this from happening to other babies, other parents.

On March 9th, I will walk in memory of Maddie and in support of the March of Dimes. I know times are tough, but if you can help, a lot of people would appreciate it:

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dirty DIana

Since I mentioned her in my last post, I want to give you a little background on dirty Diana so you can fully appreciate what a giant douche she was.

I started working in the biostats department at Pitt as a student. They put me in a room with about 6 or 7 other women, including Diana. We did coding, transposing, data entry and verification of factory records, and I also ran errand, made deliveries, etc.

Pitt has a standardized job title/salary base system – you have staff specialist 1-5, research specialist 1-5, etc. Staff 1 was the lowest. Research 1 was equal to Staff 1. Everyone in the room, including Diana was Staff 1, but Diana introduced herself as the “room supervisor.” This wasn’t an actual title. She had been there for more almost 20 years (she was late 50s/early 60s when I met her) and had never been promoted or received a raise other than cost of living. This was because she was only qualified to work at the lowest level. And she hated this fact. It drove her crazy to see other people move up the (albeit short) ladder. So to appease her they let her believe she was the “room supervisor.” This basically meant that she got to keep the phone on her desk. She loved this, being a huge control freak. She wasn’t actually the supervisor of anyone. But she thought she was.

Diana was annoyingly stubborn. And while a lot of people are stubborn, Diana was the deadly combination of stubborn and stupid. We would code and transpose plant records onto entry forms and she had absolutely no common sense or ability to reason. For example, one plant was in a very French area and even though an “e” looked like a “b”, it just didn’t occur to her that the name she was coding was Le’toile and not Lb’toile. Or when a person wrote her first name in all lowercase and the “a” looked a little off, she decided the woman’s name was Climee. (even though in both these and many, many other cases, looking hard enough through the records would find the answer). And I know we all make mistakes, but her problem was that when one of us would verify the records and send them on to entry, she would receive the finished entry records to refile, see that the change was made, change it back to the incorrect name, and send it back up to data entry to be updated. This cycle would repeat itself over and over, because of She Who Could Not Be Wrong.

She was a liar and loved to make up shit to get people in trouble. Once, I was coming back from lunch, and my actual supervisor stopped me outside the office and asked me to run an errand. She didn’t hear what was said, but she did see this happen. While I was out my dad called for me. When I came back, she told me to call my dad (which I had to do standing at her desk, because she could not give up control of the phone for even a second). Anyway, when I called my dad, he was pissed at me for not taking my job seriously. WTF?? It turns out that when he called and asked for me, instead of simply saying I was not in the office, she proceeded to tell him a long tale of how I left for lunch at 12, but I hadn’t come back to the office yet even though it was almost 2 and she just didn’t know where I was because I should have been back buy 1 but her it was nearly 2 and oh my, she just didn’t know because I didn’t come back and I didn’t call or anything. Nice, huh?

Diana was a grudge-holder like no other. If she was wronged by someone, that was it – she would throw a hissy fit, stomp, give the silent treatment, or in some cases, cut off ties completely. When she and I had our final blowout, she pretended like I did not exist (which was fine by me), but she acted like a baby in that she would refuse to look at me, refuse to talk to me even if there was a work conversation, tell someone to tell me something, etc. For YEARS, this went on. This wasn’t surprising though because she was estranged form her entire family. When I first started working there, she talked about being estranged from her son, because of his girlfriend turning him against her. I felt bad until I heard about the other son, her brother, her sister-in-law, her husband’s siblings, the neighbors, her mailman, and so on. I am not exaggerating – she was “wronged” by al these people.

She constantly offended people. Once, I brought in a piece of apple pie and she asked what it was. I told her and she went, “Yuck, blech, gag, ack – along with full-on retching sounds for (I kid you not) 2 whole minutes. And then said “I hate apple pie.” I wanted to shove that pie in her disgusting face. She was overweight and sloppy, but she didn’t hesitate to make a comment about someone else “not needing a donut.”

And speaking of donuts, she was diabetic, so if someone brought in treats like donuts, she couldn’t eat one. But since she was the kind of person that felt like she should get her share, she always pushed and ran to get one to take home for her husband. Now don’t get me wrong – no one cared if she too one home to frankenbob, but it was motivated not out of wanting to being him a treat, but out of not wanting to miss out on what she was owed. And we’re not talking about company purchased treats, either – this was other employees springing for something out of their own pocket, so if you ask me, she wasn’t “owed” anything.

And she was disgusting. She had some kind of scaly skin condition. That’s not what is disgusting- lots of people have dermatologic disorders. What is disgusting is that she would wear sneakers into work and change onto flats. And she’d keep knee-highs in her desk – worn over and over knee highs. And on donut day, she would put frankenbob’s donut in a scaly, dirty knee-high to take home. Gag!

Her house was cluttered far worse than anything I could ever imagine. She collected bells and had over 3,000 on display. She once brought photos in of her Christmas decorations and seriously –every single surface was covered with knickknacks. And I mean covered as in, tchochke shoved right up against each other so that no table surface showed in between. Every table, every shelf, every windowsill, every appliance, everything. We asked her how she dusted and she looked confused.

And the grossest. One day she was telling up one of her “humorous” stories, and said that every night at the same time, the cat would walk over to (Franken)Bob sitting in his chair and spray him. Then she laughed like it was hilarious. WTF???? We never ate anything she made after that.

And speaking of her food – once, she brought in a cake for my friend Toenail’s birthday that frankenbob made. It was box cake with can icing – fine by me. Except he mixed a ton of vanilla extract into the chocolate icing before he iced the cake. It tasted like shit.

She was one of those people who had to be different. If you said black, she said white, you said up she said down. Every St. Patrick’s’ day, she would wear this droopy, greasy looking orange shirt and rant all day about how she was protestant and protestants wear orange and not green, blahblahblah, like anyone gave a shit about her, protestants, orange, Irish, or anything other than getting the fuck out of the office and away from her crazy ass.

Lastly, she was a one-upper type. She always had it worse than you, she always knew more than you, etc. And the strangest thing is that every single day she would come in and say, “327 was the daily number last night (or whatever the number was). I’m mad I didn’t play it because 26 years ago, Bob had a friend whose mother lived at 327 oak street.” Seriously –every single day, she would have some obscure, 3 times removed connection to the lottery number. And sometimes it was really bad, like 26 years ago (it was always 26b years ago), I knew a woman who had 3 kids and her phone number had a 27 in it.

Finally, you may wonder why I call her husband frankenbob. Well, that would be because he looked like and had the manners of a monster. Once he stopped in the office and we were all talking about the lottery and winning a million dollars. I said that I would still work because I was young, I like my career, and because a million isn’t really that much. And he got in my face and yelled that he would actually come to my house and shoot me if that ever happened because how dare I take a job from someone else who needs it. Which were big fucking words from someone who hadn’t worked in 30 years. He had been in a car accident in his 30’s, which he walked away from. Some other were seriously hurt and there were lawsuits. He jumped on in. And yes – he really did probably hurt his back a little. But he never worked again. Never tried to find anything else that wouldn’t affect his “bad back”. And I use the quotes because I saw and heard about all the shit he used to do that should have been impossible for a man too hurt to work.

There are so many more stories, but I think this should give you a pretty accurate picture of Dirty Diana.

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Monday, April 6, 2009


OK – FINE! You have beaten me – No one is getting three songs. I swear, I thought it would be easy, since I'm a hippie chick, I have a song reference in my username and email, and since I have talked about artists I like. But turns out it wasn't so easy. I will probably just do a random pick for the iTunes winner. Unless someone guesses before i get around to doing it (I'm super busy at work right now) Dammit.

Because of the super busy, I am delving back into the archives. This was originally published in November 2007. I have been pretty open over the years, writing about my insecurities and failures, about heartbreak and marriage issues. I’ve shared embarrassing moments and been brutally honest about family problems. But strangely, this was by far the most difficult post for me to write and share.

What Does Need Look Like?

Back when I was living in the city and attending the most awesome church ever, I used to volunteer at the church's weekly meal for the homeless and less fortunate. I'd show up around 7:00 am and we'd start chopping, prepping and cooking. We generally served something simple - chili, stew, pasta. Anything that was inexpensive and could be stretched a long way.

We got a diverse crowd at these meals - some obviously homeless folks, veterans still struggling with what they had been through, lonely elderly men, addicts and alcoholics, mentally challenged people living on their own, and the hardest ones to see - families. It took everything I had not to cry when a toddler or young child would smile shyly and politely ask for "more milk, please?" I can't tell you how many times I'd have to turn away and blink back tears, knowing that my childhood was so very different than theirs. At that age, my biggest worry was if Teddy liked me (yes, no, or maybe so) or which of us was going to get to play Dorothy when we played Wizard of Oz at recess that day.

Anyway, occasionally we got people (mostly men for some reason) that didn't really look needy. I know - needy doesn't have a "look", but it's the best description I can give. One week, we had two men come in that fit this description - one older (maybe in his 50's) (also - this was years ago when I included 50's in the "older" category and not the "potential hot sex" category) and one younger. They may have been father and son, maybe just acquaintances. They were dressed pretty well, especially the younger man, in clean, neat clothes and a well-made jacket.

They were welcomed just as everyone else was - no one was questioned or turned away there and rightly so. But I overheard someone make mention of their "not needy-looking" appearance. It wasn't anyone working at the meal - everyone there felt the same about our guests. It was someone who was at the church for another reason. But when I heard their comment, it really bothered me. I mean, who are we to judge? What does "needy" look like? And does needy only mean financially needy? What about the lonely, the scared, the sad? Aren't they just as needy of our fellowship as the hungry were of our food? And yet, while part of me understood the person's comment, I also knew how ignorant it was. While I was never "needy", I had had an experience a few years before that made me feel judged and needy and humiliated because of it.

Back when I worked for the University and made a salary that I could never have lived on alone, mr b and I went through some pretty hard times. I was going to say that we were the epitome of "paycheck to paycheck", but that isn't exactly right, because the money never quite stretched from one paycheck to the next. Now, let me get this straight - I was never in any danger of losing my home or starving to death. I had family, mr b had family - if we were truly anywhere near that, they would have stepped in to help. Hell - they have helped us many times. But no one likes to ask for help. No one wants to admit that they aren't making it, that they are failing at life. I grew up being almost unable to ask for anything, so I was no exception.

So one month, things were really tight. My monthly paycheck wasn't due for a week (whopping $625 that it was), and mr b's small pay wasn't coming for a couple days, either. There was nothing in our account - in fact, we were overdrawn. This was a relatively common occurrence, given our paltry salaries and our rent, utilities, student loans and a pretty large IRS bill from an old business venture when mr b had to choose between paying his guys and paying his taxes - he chose right. Anyway, the money was gone, the food had run out the night before and we had long since started walking to work to avoid bus fare.

In the office where I worked, there was a small group of us that pitched in every month for a lottery fund. We played the big jackpots a couple of times a week and put any winnings back in the pot. The envelope was kept in one woman's desk (the territorial crazy-ass bitch - I have some stories about her for another day). Since there was usually more money in there than we generally needed for the lottery, it became a "bank" of sorts. If someone in the group had forgotten their lunch money or bus fare, they'd borrow from the pool and pay it back later. So, on that day, I was getting ready to leave (I was the last one in the office), and I was fretting about what we were going to have for dinner (and lunch and dinner the next day - I had already skipped breakfast and lunch that day) when I remembered the lottery pool. I checked the envelope and we had way more than we needed, so I borrowed five bucks. We had enough in there that if we divided it by the contributors, we'd have 10 dollars a piece, so technically, I didn't borrow anything more than – and actually less than - my own money.

I left work, walked to the store (no way was I wasting my $5 on bus fare), bought some ramen noodles and ground beef and walked home, feeling slightly relieved that I didn't have to skip eating the next couple days. I guess I should mention that we were out of checks and they were on re-order, because otherwise, I would have knowingly written a bad check. I mean - eating versus bouncing a check (as I said a common occurrence)? No contest.

The next day, as soon as I got into the office, I was called upstairs on a project, so I didn't see any of the other women when they came in. It wasn't until hours later when I caught up with my friend Toenail, she told me that Diana, the crazy-ass bitch was freaking out because someone had stolen our money. She came in and immediately checked the envelope (being a paranoid, territorial, crazy-ass bitch) and freaked out. No - that's not exactly true. She first assumed that someone had borrowed it, but when she asked the other women (completely unbothered by the thought of it) and they said no, she freaked out. They others said it was probably me, to calm down. But she hated me. So suddenly, what was perfectly OK when she assumed it was one of the others was thievery when it was me. She ranted and raved and screamed and cried (yes - she actually cried - she was really good at mustering up fake tears to suit her needs).

She went upstairs and cried and told everyone and anyone that I had broken into her desk and stolen her money. Before long, I was summoned in to the (world's worst) boss's office. I was interrogated and humiliated. I sat there before my anus of a boss and explained that we always borrowed from the fund and that it was never a problem. I explained that it was my money. I explained that the other women weren't upset at all - only dirty Diana (oh the stories I could tell about her). Still, he had heard the word "stolen" and that was as much as his tiny brain could handle. He wanted to know "why I did it", what I needed the money for. After explaining yet again that I didn't "do" anything, I told him the truth - I began to cry as I explained that we were out of money and out of food. He looked at me incredulously - as if he couldn't even comprehend being broke and hungry. He didn't feel any sympathy for me. He didn't care that his employee could not afford to eat on her salary. All he wanted to know was, "What can you get for five dollars?"

This made me cry harder. If he was intent on humiliating me, he was doing a fine job. I felt terrible. I was ashamed. Not of what I had "done", but of the fact that needed to do it. I was ashamed to have to explain to the man who once told me how cheap his airfare to Paris was and told me I should go (it was more than my entire monthly paycheck) that I had bought ramen fucking noodles just so I wouldn't go hungry for the next two days.

And why should I have been ashamed? I was working. I had gotten a college degree. I was earning a living. I was doing everything I could and it Just. Wasn't. Enough. Why should I be ashamed? Shouldn't society be ashamed? Shouldn't our government be ashamed? Shouldn't my fucking asshole boss be ashamed? Ashamed for not paying me enough to live on? Ashamed for judging and humiliating me for something that he was partially responsible for? And yet, I hung my head and cried and took the rest of the day off so I didn't have to face anyone. I walked out the back way so I wouldn't run into anyone. I had already seen Dirty Diana's satisfied, smug face and that was enough. I stopped in the bathroom on the way and threw up, so deep was my shame. I cried all night and most of the next day.

And you know what I was wearing? Clean, neat clothes and a well-made jacket. So you tell me - can anyone really say what "needy" looks like? I try to give and help whenever I can, and even if I can't? I'll never judge someone asking for help. I know how ashamed I felt that day, and I imagine it is hard and hurtful and humiliating for others to feel "needy". Believe me, no one is judging them as much as they are judging themselves. No one can imagine what they are going through. No one would put themselves though that feeling if they didn't feel it was their only option. And if they did? Then they are clearly in need of something, if not food or money. And I for one, won't deny them.

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Friday, April 3, 2009


Don't forget - the iTunes contest is still going on

I was reading this article yesterday and I was struck by a part of it. Many women complain about their husbands not doing enough when it comes to the house and kids (and most are justified), and I do it as much as anyone. But this one paragraph got me:

“Here’s my take,” says Barry Schwartz, author of Paradox of Choice. “There’s been a lot of attention paid to the amount of work women do in the household. But it’s not really equal. I think what hasn’t been focused on is the emotional and mental work — namely, who makes the decisions. This is incredibly important: Even if the husband’s around, and shares the kid workload, who’s making the decisions about playdates, schools? The overwhelming, crushing responsibility of it all still lies with the mother. It’s a false sense of being equals.”

Exactly!! Someone finally put into words what I haven’t been able to.

I do bitch about mr b not doing enough, and often times I am right. But I also know that my housekeeping skill, etc could use some improving too, and then I feel guilty about complaining about his. Or sometimes, I’ll think about the things he does do and I’ll realize that maybe he’s not as bad as I implied with my complaints. And yet, I still feel undeniably right about them.

And this guy hit the nail on the head. It’s not the actual work. OK, it is the actual work sometimes, but more than that, it’s the implication and the responsibility that wears me out the most. It may not be physical exertion, but it is exhausting nonetheless.

Because of our schedules, mr b leaves earlier and gets home later. We work the same hours, but his drive is slightly longer. And to be honest, he likes to stop for coffee in the mornings (which I understand, but even those few minutes of his time would make the mornings easier). So because of this, I am the one that is responsible for getting the kids up and ready in the morning. I am the one responsible for dropping them at my parents or school or the bus stop or daycare. And because I am the one who gets home before day care close, it’s my responsibility to pick them up. If I have to work late and can‘t make it, it’s my responsibility to find an alternative.

When we get home, they are hungry, so it’s my responsibility to make dinner. Often times this involves cleaning up first – I’m responsible for that too, then.

And while I know he can’t get home as early as I do every day – but sometimes he can, and does he ever call me and say, I’ll get the kids? I’ll let you guess. And while I can’t say for sure, I would be willing to bet that when the end of his workday is near, he never feels the stress of “I have to get home” or “I can’t be late.” I sometimes wonders if he takes his time, or decides he has one more thing to do, or one more call to make simply to avoid the responsibility. His drive is “Yay, day’s over” and mine is “Goddammit, this traffic is going to make me late! Move, motherfuckers!”

And I realize that because of out work schedules, there isn’t much that can be done about this, but it sure would be nice if when he got home, he would pick up some slack – clean up after dinner, give the girl a bath. Something, anything that he clearly feels is my job. I would appreciate it if when he walked in the door and saw me knee deep in cleaning or cooking or whatever, that he would ask what he could do, instead of heading straight for the couch or the computer, while telling me how exhausted he is. I would appreciate it if he would call me and let me know he’s going to be late. I would appreciate it if he would make a point of listening for his phone on the way home, since my rushed schedule doesn’t allow for me to add a trip to the store when I realize we are out of paper towels (and seriously – I know it’s not very green, but for me – trying to cook or clean or live without paper towels is like trying to be a crackhead WITHOUT CRACK). When I ask him to get the girl bathed or wake up the boy in the morning to get in the shower, he does it, but not without a big SIGH, leaving me feeling like I have to say thanks for something that is his responsibility as much as mine.

And even when it’s not about actual physical work, responsibility can be a daunting thing.

I know when pre-school tuition is due. I know how much it is. I know when the boy need lunch money. I know when the book fair is. I know when it’s gym day. I know when it’s “wear purple” day. I know when report cards are coming. I know what library books are due and when. I buy birthday and Christmas presents, for the kids and for everyone else. I send cards. I know when the sheets were washed last. I know when holiday parties are. I make treat bags. I make sure we have lunch fixins. I go to birthday parties. I plan birthday parties. I know when the dentist and doctor’s appointment are. I know what size clothes the kids wear. And what size shoes. I know what vaccinations they have had and still need. I plan the vacations.

I am responsible. And it is exhausting.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Fairy Godfather Drank Black Velvet

Reminder- the iTunes giveaway is still on

This was originally published in July 06, and since I was thinking about this guy just last night, it seemed like an appropriate archive to dredge up:

I was having a conversation recently about “the good old days” and we were bringing up people in our past who were “characters” and the one person that always comes to mind for me in that situation is my friend Walt.

Walt was a legend on the campus of my teeny-tiny (first) college. Legend had him anywhere between 21 and 27, depending on who was retelling it. He was an icon. A permanent fixture. Don’t get me wrong, he was a smart guy and loved college. Or “college”, if you will. He was a stocky guy with the white blond hair. He almost always had a smile on his face (probably because he was at least a sheet and a half at any given time).

The first time I met Walt, I was a little intimidated. Here I was, a freshman, a baby, and there HE was - a. . .well. . .I have no idea what he was, since legend had it he was in his 6th or 7th year. But he was older. He was a grownup. As a sophomore, my friend Dave would drag me to Walt’s place to party, and I’d feel uncomfortable the entire time. The crowd there was always (to me, at least) a little older, a little smarter, a lot cooler. I have to admit, the discomfort was totally on my part - everyone there treated me just fine, but I felt inferior and stupid. But in time, Walt became my Fairy Godfather.

I never really thought he noticed me. I figured he saw me as the kid Dave dragged around with him. I didn’t even think he knew my name. But one day, I was walking to Victorian Literature (otherwise known as Stick Hot Pokers into My Ears and Eyes Lest I Explode from Boredom class) and I heard a voice from across the quad yell, “Hey! MaidenName! Let’s go drink a bottle of Black Velvet!” And given the choice of going to the world’s most boring class ever and downing a bottle of Canadian whiskey with a somewhat intimidating near-stranger - no contest!

I sort of thought he was kidding - that he just had some beer or a partial bottle left over from his last party or some good bud and was just looking for some company, but when we got back to his place, he pulled out two shot glasses and a brand new bottle of Black Velvet and we got to drinking. We spent the next couple of hours drinking and talking and having a great time. By the time his roommate (another older, even more intimidating silent-type) got back, along with some of the other of the usual party crowd (including Dave, who was until now, my only ticket into the place), Walt and I were pretty much trashed and laughing like fools. The roomie gave us a raised-eyebrow and everyone else looked a bit surprised. So perhaps I right and they were just tolerating me, or maybe they were just surprised that Walt was drunk on whiskey with a sophomore they all barely knew. Or maybe they were just surprised that I wasn’t with Dave - we were pretty much inseparable and I found out years later that everyone thought we were a couple - no big deal until I had some hot guys tell me they wanted to ask me out, but they knew I was Dave’s girl - DAMN! But I digress. . .

From that point forward, Walt became my Fairy Godfather. No matter where I was or what I was doing, if I thought about Walt, he would suddenly be there. We’d be partying in my friend’s dorm room and we’d say, “Walt should be here”, and a minute later the door would open and he’d walk in. Or we’d be at a hotel for homecoming, and wonder where Walt’s room was. So, we’d walk up the halls and just say, “Walt!” In 30 seconds, a door would fly open, and there he’d be. I’d be walking to class and think, “I really don’t feel like going today - I wish Walt would come rescue me” and before I knew it, I’d hear the by-then-infamous, “Hey MaidenName! Let’s go drink a bottle of Black Velvet/tequila/case of beer/” and off we’d go.

My favorite magically-appearing Walt occasion was after he graduated and I had left our small-town college for the last time (as did Dave). It was 1980-something, at a Dead show. It was the first of two shows and I had a ticket for both nights, but my friend Trish only had one for the second night. She came along anyway and we met up with Dave and some of his friends to party. A few hours before the show, we were making our rounds of the parking lot and a few people cut through our group, and in that sea of people, that was all it took to be separated from all my friends. I spent the next couple hours walking around looking for them and occasionally hanging out with some fun strangers. I finally gave up when it was time for the show to start. My ticket was a single, so I couldn’t even find them in their seats, since I had no idea where they were (not to mention, that at a Show? Seats, Schmeats!). I ended up running into a guy I knew who was also on his own, so I hung with him during the show. Afterward, we parted ways and I was once again alone in the lot.

I went to where they had been parked, but they were gone. I spent about an hour walking around, wondering how the hell I was going to get home (it was after city buses quit running, I had no money for a cab and it was way too far to walk, especially since I’d have to make my way through the Hill District to get home). I was feeling pretty freaked out and was about to find a group of folks who would let me hang for the night, when I started thinking about Walt. So I took a chance and said, “Walt!” And I swear - a van door popped open and there he was! That’s when I knew it was official - Walt was my Fairy Godfather.

Since last night, I can’t get him off my mind. We got in touch a few years ago and emailed a few times. He lived several states away and was married with a child. We lost touch again and I regret that. He was a good guy and a lot of fun. He was an unexpected friend. I find myself thinking about him quite often. So I have one thing to say:



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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pick Three - A Giveaway

Updated: No winners yet, so check the comments for some hints.

In less than 2 weeks, it will be my five year blogiversary (I started off at diaryland way back in April 2004), so I have decided to celebrate. I will probably share some of my favorite entries over the past five years and pretend that it’s not just laziness keeping me from writing something original. And I’ll justify it by telling myself that most of my current readers didn’t know me way back when, so it actually is original. So there.

But I’ll make it up to you with five giveaways – one for each year. And I think I will add a little to each giveaway (but don’t get too excited – there won’t be any laptops or iPods here – I’m no Pioneer Woman. Still – free stuff is free stuff) . C’mon – it’ll be fun!

The first prize is a $15 iTunes gift card, which will go to the first person who can name three songs that are on my iPod (yes, I’m making you work for it – I get so little pleasure these days – humor me). You can guess more than once, and I’ll keep it open until someone gets it.

The rules: the songs must be by different artists and can’t be any of the songs I list below.

Hints: I have varied tastes in music, though I am not a big fan of current R&B or rap. And I’m not a jazz fan. Otherwise, I have stuff on there from current albums and from 4 decades ago.

Anyway, since today’s prize is about music, I’ve decided to do a music meme. The “Pick Three” music meme.

And also – I need to point out the fact that many of these are old, since I am so entirely out of touch with today’s music.

Song(s) That I Loathe to the Core of My Being

* Cherish – Remember that song? I don’t know who it is by 0- I think of them as “the miserable, evil fuckers are who tried to kill me with it”. All these years later, it makes me want to stab someone.

* Viva la Vida – I like Coldplay well enough, but I find this song entirely annoying.

* The horror that is Carrie Underwood’s version of Home Sweet Home. Stabby!

Musical Artist(s) That I Loathe to the Core of My Being

*post-80s Madonna

*Shania Twain

*Michael McDonald. Never liked him, but 40 Year Old Virgin and Taylor Hicks cemented it.

Rolling Stones Song(s) I Love

(I’m not a huge Stones fan, so there’s only about 3 that I really like. . .)

* Wild Horses

* Angie

* Not Fade Away

Beatles Song(s) I Love

(How could I possibly narrow this down to only 3?)

* While My Guitar Gently Weeps

* She Came In Through the Bathroom Window

* Rocky Raccoon (this one was the boy’s favorite song when he was 3)

Who Song(s) I Love

* The Kids Are Alright


*Long Live Rock

Reggae Song(s) I Love

* Three Little Birds - Bob Marley

* Redemption Song - Bob Marley

* Is This Love - yep - him again

Country Song(s) I Love

(Gah - I’ll stick to the older or less mainstream, since I couldn’t narrow the new stuff. And it’s still impossible.)

* Lay You Down - Conway Twitty. No – Hello Darlin. No. I don’t know.

* Seminole Wind - John Anderson

* Luckenbach Texas - Waylon Jennings

Movie Soundtrack(s) I Love

* Oh Brother Where Art Thou

* Dirty Dancing

* Pretty In Pink

Musical Soundtrack(s) I Love

* The Civil War (The Nashville Sessions)

* Man of la Mancha (because I was in it in High School and know all the words. Plus I had sex for the first time with one 18 year old Mr. Don Miguel de Cervantes/Quixote himself, so it holds special memories for me)

* Beauty and the Beast (this may be cheating since it was a movie first, but damn it –I love it)

Cover Song(s) I Love

* Shameless by Billy Joel (cover by Garth Brooks – my wedding song)

* When You Say Nothing At All by Keith Whitley (Alison Krauss cover)

* Crazy by Willie Nelson (cover by Patsy Cline)

Contemporary Top-40 Artist(s) I Secretly Love

* Love is really too strong a word. . .

* Because I can’t think of one I love

* But then, maybe I am being too narrow in my definition, because all I think of is Britney Spears and Mariah Carey and Celine Dion and then I puke. And get stabby.

Song(s) That Bring Me to Tears

* He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones

* The Dance - Garth Brooks

* Where’ve you been – Cathy Mattea (I actually have to turn this one off sometimes because it leaves me a sobby mess)

Song(s) That Make Me Shake My Ass

* Smooth - Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas

* La Bamba - Ritchie Valens/Los Lobos

* Shakedown Street - Grateful Dead

Classical Composer(s) I Love

* Mozart

* Chopin

* Vivaldi

Rap/Hip-Hop Song(s) I Love

* Rappers Delight - Sugar Hill Gang (Old, old me. . .)

* I’m sure there are more, but I’ll be damned if I could name them

* Does Word Up count as rap? (God, I’m old)

70s Disco Song(s) I Love

Man- I love disco – I can’t narrow it down. Other than everything by Earth Wind and Fire:

* I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

* Last Dance - Donna Summer

* Dancing Queen – ABBA

and eleventy five others (have I mentioned how old I am?)

70s Supergroup Song(s) I Love

* Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ - Journey (I love all Journey songs, actually)

* Dazed and Confused - Led Zeppelin

* Best of Times - Styx

Metal Song(s) I Love

* I haven’t loved metal since the 80s and I’m getting tired of thinking, so suck it, music meme

New Wave Song(s) I Love

(Do these count? Because they were “new wave” in the 80’s. I checked, though and they’re on “new wave” compilation albums, anyway, so I am using them)

* Melt with You - Modern English

* Safety Dance - Men without Hats

* Hungry like the Wolf - Duran Duran

Soul/R&B Song(s) I Love

I only rally like the old stuff (again with the old)

* Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight

* Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul

* Kiss and Say Goodbye - Manhattans

Power Ballad(s) I Love

This is another hard one to narrow down, because power ballads are all about the 80’s and being an angsty teen I the 80’s, I loved this shit.

* Mama, I’m Coming Home - Ozzy

* I Wanna Know What Love Is - Foreigner

* Keep on Loving You – REO Speedwagon

Pre Rock and Rock Era Songs I Love

* Run Around Sue (this one because it reminds me of Tammy. It might not exactly be PRE-rock, but it’s close enough)

* In the Mood - Glenn Miller

* Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - Andrew Sisters

Punk Song(s) I Love

* London Caling – The Clash

* I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones

* Anarchy in the UK – Sex Pistols

Singer/Songwriter Song(s) I Love

* Rocky Mountain High - John Denver

* River - Natalie Merchant

* Positively 4th Street - Bob Dylan

MTV Video(s) I Love

(hello - I show my age by merely admitting that have ever seen a video on MTV. I guess I should just say Video Killed the Radio Star and call it a day)

* Take on Me - Aha

* Drive - The Cars

* Keep Your Hands to Yourself - Georgia Satellites (I know - no big special effects or anything, but they just looked like they were having so much find riding around in the back of that truck)

“None of the Above” Songs I Love

* Row Jimmy - Grateful Dead – My all-time favorite Dead song.

* Hillbilly Deluxe - Brooks (my sexy future husband) and Dunn (it’s not really a “none of the above”, but I don’t care. We’re talking about my future husband here and if I want to include him again, I can)

* Primal Scream – Rusted Root

Guilty Pleasures

* Eh - haven’t I embarrassed myself enough already?

Songs to Have A Little Fun (*ahem*) To

* Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd (ahh, this one takes me back to college and my favorite One That Got Away. The one I always hope I’ll see again and yet sort of hope I’ll never see again, because I don’t know what my reaction would be)

*I don’t know – if I have enough alcohol, any song can be one

* But I can tell you which song is not good, and that would be the song that was playing just as I was about to have sex for the very first time – Relax, by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (lyrics: “Relax, don’t do it, when you want to go to it, relax don't do it, when you want to come”). Not very romantic. I told Frankie to suck it and did it anyway.

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