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Month: August 2004

Obsessive much?

Obsessive much?

Okay, I admit it.  I can get pretty obsessive about things.  And I am not talking about normal things that a lot of people get obsessed about.  Plates I can see myself in?  Don’t care.  That April Fresh smell for my clothes?  Not so much an issue as long as they are clean.  A house that is spotless 24/7?  Can’t say that tops my list either now that the house is no longer for sale. 

No, I am talking about things that usually send him from the room shaking his head.  Things that really would probably make the “normal” person give a double take and then move on.  Oh no, not me.  I get a hold of one of these things and it will haunt me for days (alas, sometimes weeks) at a time.  Do any of these things make any difference in my life in any way, shape or form?  Absolutely not.  Let me give you a few examples.

I have said it before, I will say it again.  I really do not understand why people cry reading this book.  I don’t get it.  Rather than just accept that there are people that just find some sort of emotional ties to this book, I can’t let it go.  I ask anyone I see that has this book or has heard of if they cried when they read it. If (oh heaven forbid) they say they did, they will be treated to about a 10-15 minute round of questions.  Questions like: Why?  Could you please explain it to me!  Do you not see the whole stalker attributes to this??  Were you neglected as a child?  Are you currently seeking medical attention for the fact that this book made you cry?  Why?  I mean, really, why???  I don’t get it and cannot let it go.

You’re still here?  Wanting more examples?  Okay.  Here is another.

Whenever I am traveling and come to a state line, I have this really bizarre obsession where I have to lift my feet up going over that state line.  No, really.  Not only do I have to lift my feet, I have to announce that I am doing it until we cross the state line and then I have to shout, “Welcome to [insert state name here]!!” Something that I just do?  Well, yes.  However, if I have fallen asleep (not while driving of course!), and no one woke me up to do it, I am mad.  Clint has gotten more than one knuckle punch to the arm for not waking me when crossing a state line.  IF that has happened, I am seriously distressed that I missed it.  There have been nights in hotel where I will lay there in the middle of the night and mumble (loud enough for him to hear of course) “I cannot believe you just blew through there without letting me know.  Do you know how mean that is?”

More?  Wow.  You may just be as weird as I am.  Good to know.

Okay.  Last one.  (Not the last one I have, but the latest and last I am sharing with you today.) I was recently online IMing with a friend of mine who happens to also be a writer.  We are looking at different websites sharing links and urls that we think the other would enjoy or benefit from.  We are in a sense brainstorming together.  Then she happens to come upon a site by an author that probably had really good advice.  I will never know.  Why?  Because of the picture she chose to use in her byline.  I am not going to tell you what the picture was, but I will say that it was inappropriate.  Totally.  Completely.  It baffled me to no end.  Right there, the obsession began.  I mean, WHY?  Really.  WHY?  My writer friend got over it rather quickly, but I couldn’t let it go.  See for yourself:

Her: Another good one….but promise me, when we’re published we won’t use a cheesy picture like this for our byline.

Me:  That was my FIRST thought! 

Her:  I hate having to come up with a good headshot.

Me:  Seriously…why why why why did she use that picture?  OH MY GOD that is bothering me to a very OBSESSIVE degree.  WHAT??  WHY WHY WHY??????

Me: Probably thought that she really looked her best.

Me: Clint is laughing his butt off at me.  I made him come here and look.  And kept saying WHY WHY WHY?  WTF?  WHY?  I don’t care who she is, I can never ever ever read her again.  I need to email her.  Just one word.  WHY?

Her: She left that tip out of her article. Don’t use inappropriate pictures for your byline.

Me: Let me just remind you….I obsess over the weirdest things.  This would be one of those things.  Do not ever show me stuff like that again.  I am going to have nightmares seeing that picture and wake up screaming WHYYYY FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS NORMAL AND SANE WHY?

Me: I need a new brain.  Mine is warped

Her: You should definitely email her then…just to get it off your chest.

Me: Can you see it now?  “Dear Writer Chick, WHY?  For the love of all things good in this world, WHY that picture?  Because really you are freaking me out.”

You’d think that was the end of it, right?  Not so much.  I am pretty sure that every conversation I have had with my friend since then has at one point or another come around to WHY THAT PICTURE?  Oh sure, sometimes she brings it up to see me go all off on a rant, but still.  It still comes up.  In fact, years down the road when we look back on when we were first starting out, I am quite sure when we get together at least one of us will (a) bring it up and (b) make up a mock picture of it ourselves.  It is inevitable. 

Want to hear one last confession (not obsession…confession)?  This entire entry came about because I came across that picture again and really I had to tell someone.  And you are that someone.  Yes, I was willing to air my dirty laundry of strange obsessive behaviors for one reason alone.  To say again…WHY?

Because really, once one of these things gets stuck in my brain, it is there forever.  Sad, but true.  Stay tuned because who knows, maybe one day I will share with you about sock monkeys, Gilbert Gottfried and bra straps that really need to be TUCKED in!

*update* This is not an author on my blogroll or anyone’s blogroll that I know.  In fact, I don’t know her and have not even run across her on any of the writers groups that I belong to.  Seriously, it was a drive by page hit that caught our attention.  You have my word on that.  Besides, if it was you, I am not that nice that I would keep quite.  I would suggest in a nice manner that perhaps you are a bit off course with your photo choices.  grin

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A word of advice

A word of advice

Since I have been hanging out in the blogging world for over a year now, I can safely say that I have come to learn a lot about many bloggers.  One thing I have found among several of them is their desire to break into writing as a career.  For some, it is novels they seek to write.  For others, they would like a shot at the freelance world with newspapers and magazines.  (And others of us who have totally gone insane are going for both.) That being said, I would like to offer up a word of advice to any writer who is just embarking on this journey.

When you submit a column to an editor and he asks for revisions and a photo and thanks you, there is a good chance that the editor was actually interested in what you wrote.  Therefore, it truly would be in your best interest to actually read the publication that you submitted to soon after you have been accepted.  Because really, it can be very embarrassing to email an editor later and ask if he still has plans on running your column only to be told by that editor that it already ran last week

I’m just saying.

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Wanna share my crayons?

Wanna share my crayons?

When I was in 3rd grade, my family moved from the only house I had ever known to a suburb of Houston.  Looking back, the move was a good one, but in the mind of a 3rd grader, it was horrible!  How could they?  How could they take me away from my friends like that?  Do they hate me?  Oh the INJUSTICE of it all!  (Yes, Drama Queen was a nickname of mine.  Why do you ask?) So, there I am in a new elementary school not knowing anyone.  (Whereas my brother and sister were in the same school.  Just proof that my parents loved them best and orchestrated the timing of the entire move in order to ensure that they would be together and I would be all by myself…an island adrift an ocean of strangers.  Drama Queen much?)

The first day of school, I am nervous.  I look around the sea of strange faces desperately seeking out a friendly smile that would reassure me that these people living out here in the sticks wouldn’t eat me alive just for sport.  You see, 3rd graders are not really big on social graces and making the new kid feel welcome because it is the right thing to do.  No.  They are involved in covering their own butts and making sure that the bully isn’t sitting next to them or that the teacher likes them best.  I will admit it. I felt very out of place.  They all knew each other.  I was the new kid.

Then came art class.  There were 4 of us to a table.  I was lucky enough to have a girl at my table that had the oh-so-very-cool 64 pack of crayons with the built in sharpener. The one with colors like aquamarine, raw sienna and umber. I didn’t even know what umber was, but my crayon box didn’t come with umber.  This surely was the jackpot of crayons partners.  (Oh sure, there were probably some showy kids that had the 72 pack, but they were out of my league.)

She opened up her crayon box, looked around and the 3 of us (probably drooling over her way-cool crayons) and smiled a little sheepishly.  She told us that she asked her mom to get this one in case someone else didn’t have any crayons, she could share hers and make new friends.

And she did. Our friendship lasted the next 10 years.  (Then we went to college.  I later heard from her that she tried the same trick in her dorm, only she used beer instead of crayons.  She told me it worked then too.)

Gabriella just started preschool.  Every time one of the kids starts in a new school the whole “getting to know each other” process begins all over again.  Oh sure, the kids have to go through it too, but I am talking about me here.  They can use the old crayon trick.  What am I supposed to do?  Meeting other moms that you get along with is tough.  Have you seen some of these people?  They can be kind of scary!

What is the adult version of bringing out the 64 pack of crayons?  (I know beer or martinis, but I am pretty sure it would be frowned upon to bring these to preschool.  I know for a fact that would get me sent to the principal.) You have to remember, the part of town that I live in, everyone else not only has the 72 pack, but also happily flaunts that they have it!  And that they wanted all gold, but that they couldn’t get it.  You get the point.  These women carry Prada bags. I carry a boobie purse! We don’t, how shall I say, have the same values.  But I know that I am not the only mom in this town that is ….searching for the right word…..normal.

I have an idea, though.  The next time I go to write at the Bookstore with a Coffee Shop, I am going to take my 64 pack of crayons and set them down in front of me on the table and open them up.  Maybe some other cool mom will come up and sit beside me and want to share my crayons.  And we will drink coffee together and be lifelong friends.

Maybe not.  Maybe I will just color until it is time to pick up Gabriella from preschool, but it never hurts to try.  It worked before.  Would you come share my crayons and coffee with me?

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Back to School Quiz Time!

Back to School Quiz Time!

Okay, people, let’s have ourselves a little back to school quiz.  Come on, even you people who do not have children or whose children are too old for you to think about the back-to-school craze can play.  Ready?  Okay.  It will be multiple choice.  There may be more than one answer that is applicable.  Choose the one that you feel applies the most.  Pencils up!

Go!

1.  You know school has started again when:

a.  All of the stores are having Back To School sales on clothes

b.  You suddenly couldn’t buy a number two pencil in town to save your life

c.  The stores are void of anyone under the age of 18 during the day

d.  The children are being pimped out by the schools to hock their wares to make the school a nifty little profit.

2.  Your doorbell is suddenly ringing more and you have people at your door constantly. This is because:

a.  You have suddenly become the most popular person in town due to your amazing wit

b.  Rumor has it that Ed McMahon will be visiting you with your million dollar check.

c.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses are recruiting again

d.  The children are being pimped out by the schools to hock their wares to make the school a nifty little profit.

3.  When driving around town, you notice a change.  That change is:

a.  Soccer moms in SUVs are racing around like Mario Andretti trying to get their kidlets to school or soccer on time.

b.  The malls are now filled with Moms with Strollers and not goth teens.

c.  You don’t have to play “Dodge the Child on the Bike” when driving through neighborhoods anymore

d.  You see children going door to door because they are being pimped out by the schools to hock their wares to make the school a nifty little profit.

4.  Your phone is ringing a lot more than normal.  This is because:

a. The PTA is recruiting again and you forgot to change your phone number.

b.  Your kids’ friends are just calling to say something ultra cool like, “ ‘Sup?” to each other.

c.  Your credit card company wants to thank you for single handedly helping them reach their quarterly goals.

d.  Some kids are too lazy to go door-to-door when they are being pimped out by the schools to hock their wares to make the schools a nifty little profit.

SCORING:

For every question that you answered anything other than D, add 2 points. (And know that you have my understanding and sympathy.) For every question that you answered D, subtract massive amounts of money from your wallet and checking account.  (And know that you have my understanding and sympathy.)

Did you guess that perhaps now that school has started, so has the fundraising?  Normally, I just say no and blow it off or just buy something to appease the children.  (They always have prizes for those who sell the most, whether it is an individual or a class. The student who sells nothing is usually the one that meets with great scorn and ridicule by the other kids.  So, I usually try not to send them back with nothing at all sold.) However, we have reached the pinnacle of fund raising:  The 5th grade fundraising project that they’ve all known about since kindergarten. 

You see, the 5th graders get to go to camp.  All of them.  During school.  For a week.  Out of state. The catch?  They have to earn the money for the camp fees.  Camp costs $210.  So, they sell cookie dough.  Cookie Dough. In this day and age of Atkins and Weight Watchers and healthy eating, they are hocking cookie dough.  (Darn right I plan on stocking up.  Why?) There is no way that I can look my little guy in the eye and tell him that I won’t let him sell what he needs to in order to go to camp with everyone else.  Therefore, I do what any good mother would do.  I join the cause and pimp out my child to hock wares for the school so that he can go to camp with the other kids.  Who wants to bet that come next month, I will have about 50 pounds of cookie dough sitting in my freezer because I had to buy that much to push him over the top to meet his quota?  It’s what we parents do.

But seriously, the first person who asks me if I am going to participate in the big Wrapping Paper Fundraiser in a couple of months will be beaten over the head repeatedly with one of those economy rolls of Santa and his Merry Elves wrapping paper. 

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After all we’ve been through, Sergei??

After all we’ve been through, Sergei??

Recently we were having problems with our Voice Over IP.  (Sounds like I know what I am talking about, right?) So, when there are problems, you put in a call to the tech people, right?  And usually, the person putting in the call is the one who knows what the problem is, right?  Let’s just say that I was not the one who put in the call.  The problem was that we couldn’t receive calls.  People calling in would get a recording saying we were unavailable.  Calling out was hit or miss for the most part. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not so much.  So, I was the one home when the tech people called.  (Sidenote:  Working as a receptionist in my previous life-before kids- I knew how boring it could be and therefore started a habit of chatting up the people on the phone.  Just light hearted talk.  It makes the job easier for both of us.) This is what happened with our service calls.

**rinnnnng**

Me: “Hello?”

Tech: (with quite a thick Russian accent)“Yes.  Hello.  This is Sergei. I am your technical representative for your Voice Over IP.  I am calling to test your phone line.  Does it work?”

Me: “Well, Sergei, it certainly seems to be working seeing as we are in fact talking on the phone right now.”

Sergei:  “Yes.  Well, I will be testing your phone with several phone calls.  Yes.  To see that your phone it does keep working.  I will call you back later.”

Me: “Okay, Sergei.  I look forward to talking to you later.”

Less than 10 minutes later:

Me:“Hello?”

Sergei: “Yes.  Hello. This is Sergei. I am your technical representative for your Voice Over IP.  I am calling to test your phone line.”

Me: (getting a bit snarky with him) “I am so glad you called, Sergei.  You see, sometimes men promise to call you and you never hear from them again.  I just knew you were different than those other men, Sergei.”

He never breaks from his speech.  He pauses a bit as if unsure how to proceed or what to say, so he decides to stick with what he knows will work.

Sergei: “Yes. Okay.  I see. I will be testing your phone with several more phone calls.  Yes.  To see that your phone it does keep working.  I will call you again.”

Me: “Promise?  Don’t tease me, Sergei.  I will be here waiting by the phone until we can talk again.”

Sergei: “Yes.  Okay.  Goodbye.”

10 minutes later

Me: “Hello?  Sergei?  Is this you?”

Sergei: “Yes.  Hello. This is Sergei. I am your technical representative for your Voice Over IP.  I am calling to test your phone line.”

Me: “Sergei, darling, I thought I told you never to call me at home.  You know how risky that is for us!”

There was much longer pause this time.  I know he wanted so badly to say something.  I could just tell the way he answered me that although he was amused, he wouldn’t give in to it.

Sergei: “Yes. Okay.  I see. I will be testing your phone with several more phone calls.  I think we have isolated the problem.  I believe that the problem has been fixed now, but I will be calling again.”

Me: “Is it me, Sergei?  Did I cause these problems between us?  Just tell me and I will fix them.  We can make this work.”

Sergei: “Okay.  I will be calling one more time to make sure the problem has been fixed.  Okay.  Well.  Goodbye.”

20 minutes later

Me: “Hello? (seeing that it is Sergei on caller id) Sergei?  I was so worried.  I thought you weren’t going to call.  It’s just that it’s been so long. I missed you.”

Sergei: “Yes.  Hello. This is Sergei. I am your technical representative for your Voice Over IP.  I am calling you to tell you that the problem has been solved.  I will not be calling you again.  “

*pause*

Me: “So, that’s how it’s going to be is it?  Just like that and it is over.  Don’t I matter to you anymore?  Wasn’t what we’ve shared something special?  And now, just like that and it is over.  You’re breaking my heart, Sergei.”

Sergei: “Yes. Okay. If there are any problems again, you can just open up a new service order with [voice over IP company]”

Me: “Oh, Sergei, I will miss you so!”

Sergei: “Yes.  Okay.  Goodbye, my little phone muffin

*click*

I laughed my ass off!  After all the straight faced (toned?) conversations and taking my snarky flirty teasing, he actually showed his sense of humor and got in the last word.

Gawd I hope my phone breaks again.  I miss my Sergei!  wink

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So, where were we?

So, where were we?

A common question people like to ask when interviewing someone or simply getting to know them is “What regrets do you have in life?” I really don’t like that question.  I’ve said it before.  I just don’t do regrets.  Everything in my life that happened, good and bad, has made me who I am today.  If I take one of those away, it changes who I am.  Oh certainly there are things that hurt and I would’ve elected not to go through if I had a choice at the time, but looking back, I’ve learned from them.

That includes relationships with people.

I’ve been told all my life (and it’s true) that if I love you, I love you with all of my heart.  And I will love you forever.  (In a good way, though.  Not that scary book way.) (I am talking about friendships here for the most part.  Close relationships that for one reason or another fade away.) It would really take something very horrible to cause me to cut someone that I love out of my life for good.  Really, only one person comes to mind when I think about that happening.  Even today, if she called me up out of the blue after decades of not hearing from her, I would meet her for drinks and talk.  Who knows when an old friendship may emerge again?.  I just don’t have it in me to change my heart like that.  My heart knows that if you were once loved by me, you will always be welcome back.  That is just how I work.

On the flip side, if we were just casual friends or I liked you, but we weren’t close enough to say I love you or even if we have never been anything but a glare from across the room, watch out.  I have also been told that if you have hurt me deeply or crossed me unforgivably or, god forbid, crossed my children, you will experience a new kind of wrath.  I do not seek you out to hurt you.  I don’t do anything to you.  I don’t fight with you.  I won’t curse you.  I won’t even talk about you.  Why? Because if you have had the power to get me that upset with you, you no longer exist in my life.  Literally.  I have been known to stand in a room with someone who has crossed me one too many times and you would never even know she was in the room.  You simply do not exist.

This makes for very interesting situations when you find yourself in a room with someone I love and someone who is on my “You don’t exist” list.  We in the loop like to refer to it as a PTA meeting.  *grin*

Why do I bring this up?  Because it has been one blast from the past after another lately. 

A friend that I used to spend hours a day talking to (either online or on the phone) found me the other day through this website.  We haven’t had contact in years.  So, when he does finally email me, the email starts with “So, anyway, where were we…?” I loved that!  That so sums up how I am with people in my life.  Even if we have lost touch for one reason or another, it is like we never missed a beat.  Let me tell you, it filled me with such joy to connect with an old friend like that.  (No offense, old friend.  I meant old as in we’ve been friends for a long time not old as in “What’s up grandpa?”) The cool thing was that he never sweated whether or not his email or presence would be welcomed.  Like I said, if you know me, and you know you were a part of my heart, you are always welcome.

Then, just this week, a best friend from high school called me out of the blue.  I haven’t talk to her on the phone is decades.  DECADES!  We have kept up with the occasional email to announce movings, the birth of babies and other big events in our lives, but that was the extent.  It was absolutely amazing talking to her!  She sounded exactly the same as she did in high school.  Although now, instead of talking about the cute boys in homeroom, we were talking about how cute our CHILDREN are.  Our children for goodness sake!  She told me that she never hesitated to call me because she she was pretty sure our last parting was on good terms.  (You see, she and I had a very roller coaster type friendship.  We went from best friends to rivals to friends and back more times than either of us could count.  None of it mattered in the long run.  We were friends.)

(I think that is one reason I love this site!  When my old friends find me and let me know they found me, it makes me giddy!  Okay, a 30 something giddy doesn’t sounds so cool, but trust me, it is fun to find old friends!)

I guess that is just how I am in life.  If I lose touch with someone, either by choice or circumstances, it is more like a long pause than a goodbye.  I don’t do goodbyes.  I just put things on pause and catch up when we can.  Does that make sense?  Are you one to end things if the friendship is fading or do you just move on and forget about it?  Do you welcome people from your past into your life or would you rather those doors be closed?  I am fascinated by how people react to “blast from the past” in their own lives.  Do tell!

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