Monday, July 25, 2011

Haunted.

I swear I will catch up on everybody's posts.

Or I will die trying.

Never surrender, never give up!
I've just been so busy and tired and exhausted that I haven't had time to do more than hop on, reply to comments, and catch up on the FARNC, because really, if I let that one slack they might kick me out and then it would be called ARNC, and that just looks silly. Though they could switch the letters around and be NARC. But then anybody who has ever smoked weed would not bother reading them because paranoia is a major side effect of being high.

That's neither here nor there.

This is actually post number 202 for me. Am I supposed to be marking these or something? I didn't do a 100th post special, and apparently I forgot to notice when I hit 200 posts. Maybe I should just wait for number 300 and see if I remember then?

Well, it's too late for the one and too early for the other.

Anyway, earlier this evening at the FARNC I posted a poem someone wrote about me when I was eleven. And as I giggled over the memory, I felt a little nostalgic and decided to look through all of the notes and gifts I received from people over the course of my twenty two years.

It was a mistake.

I found the other poem written for me.

Now, I've only ever had two poems written about me in my entire life, and the first one clearly stated the writer hoped for my death. The other poem was written by a close friend of mine when I was seventeen. He died a short year later, when we were away at our separate colleges. I was supposed to be there with him at LSU. That had been our plan, but I backed out. 

I don't think I'll ever forgive myself for not going with him in the end. He never reproached me for it, even though he knew my reasons for going to TSU were stupid, and I'll never forget that he was my friend even after I changed everything that we had planned together. I know I'll never forgive myself for putting off answering his last e-mail for a couple of days to spend time with the asshole boyfriend I was seeing. 

I'll carry that with me every single day for the rest of my life. 

Maybe one day I'll get over my aversion and visit his grave. I'm more scientific than religious, obviously, but I'd like a chance to apologize, to say my goodbyes, to tell him what he meant to me even if he can't really hear me. Either way, I'm sure he knew how much I valued his friendship.

Anyway, the poem he wrote me was something of a joke between the two of us. He wrote it in the hallway just before we went inside a classroom to compete against each other at a UIL tournament. (And for the record, I took second place that day while he took third.)  It couldn't have been more than five minutes for him to accept my challenge, to write a poem about the nickname he had given me within hours of first meeting me, to make it rhyme.

Purple, deep and dark as night,
Alluring, a sort of soft delight.
A velvet petal like heaven to touch,
A berry of sweetness that may be too much.
Green leaves and stems so shapely and fair,
A mesmerizing scent designed to ensnare.

A dazzling trap lay before thy eyes,
A beautiful mask is Lady's fine disguise.
Beautiful Lady, a find name indeed.
A simple name intended to mislead.

Be careful now for what you trust,
For this fine beauty's power lies in your lust.
Intoxicating beauty tempts the man,
Who will eat of the fruit as much as he can.
Will take what he can find,
And devour it in kind,
But a fitting death awaits the end.
This dark beauty is no man's friend.

Belladonna, yes, a well named flower,
For in her color and shape lies the power
Of guileless deception of the finest breed.
But Devil's Nightshade she is also decreed.

Loving her is dangerous for any man, and dare he...
Let the fool too late realize her dangerously cruel beauty.

He edited it later, refined it, changed some things, and e-mailed the complete product to me, but I always liked this version best. It's not wonderful, obviously, but I like it. He called me Belladonna because he said I was beautiful and deceptively dangerous. (He would know. We went to competing schools. He never beat me.)  

I like it because this is how I remember him best: rising to a challenge with a smile on his face and laughter on his lips. Never a sore loser, gracious in defeat even when our scores were the same and I would win because of the tie breaker essay. (Nobody ever stood a chance against my essays. If ever I tied with somebody, my essay always pulled me ahead.) He was a true friend to me, and I'm sorry that we only knew each other for those few years.

He was nineteen when he died. Four days after his nineteenth birthday.

Suicide, or so they say. 

I don't believe it. Not for one single moment. Anybody who read his last e-mail to me could see that he wouldn't kill himself. Not just two weeks before he was supposed to come back for a visit. Not when we had plans to spend three days together, catching up. Anybody could see that he wasn't depressed, or unhappy. I knew him better than anybody in the whole world. He told me everything. He was the brother I never had, the twin I should have been born with, the friend that never crossed boundaries of friendship to infatuation. Steady, true, and good. 

I don't have a lot of experience with death. Mostly I compartmentalize. I lock things away in the darkest corners of my mind where I don't have to think about them. I write them down, set them free. But sometimes they come back to me, and the hardest memories to recall are the ones where I lose someone. I'm not used to not having things my own way, but there is no amount of bargaining or compromise or stamping my feet or crying or screaming or throwing things that could bring back the people I've loved and lost in my life. I cannot bargain with science. I cannot turn back time and make things different.

I can only remember. And the people I love now and the life that I live makes me happy, and I am grateful for my happiness because so many people are not as fortunate as I am in love and life and family and friends. I have Padawan and Choo Choo, I have music that I play for my own enjoyment, I have a job that I love despite it's imperfections, and a family that, despite our differences, will always be there for me. I have friends that have their own lives, but when we find time to meet it's like no time has gone by at all and we're all the same as we always were, different but somehow the same. Part of each other. 

I may shrink away from casual human contact. I may not like to touch and hug and show affection through physical closeness as so many people seem to do, but I have a deep and profound emotional connection to the people who matter. Even to people I have never met, it seems, because here I am spilling out my regrets and sadness to you when I haven't discussed these things since Alex died on February 21 and I told my friends on the 23, and I never said another word about it. I don't talk about him to anyone.

There's too much guilt. Breaking our plans, not calling enough, putting off that last e-mail.

If I had answered his e-mail would it have changed anything? Maybe he would have been at home e-mailing me instead of dying in that car.

Maybe I could have changed everything.

Maybe I could have changed nothing.

And I still don't believe he killed himself. Never. Not in a million years.

I wish he was alive. He and Padawan would get along famously. 

I've always said that J-Lynn and Mouse are my best friends, and Padawan obviously. But Alex was there, too. He was there, right there, in the same way they were. There for me. And all I have to remember him goodbye are my memories, few and far between because we lived in separate towns and then separate states, and this poem that he wrote for me that I laughed at but kept for all of these years. Because he was my friend, and he wrote it for me, and I was Belladonna and he was Dangerously Dark Eyed and we were innocent children together who planned to conquer the world together, but we'll never get the chance. Because he's gone.

Gone like I myself will be one day, leaving someone behind to grieve for the loss of me. (Though I know several people who will laugh at the irony if I die choking on pork.)  Because such is life, and we are all of us human. We live, we laugh, we love.

We die.

We make mistakes and we learn from them. Regrets are a waste of time.

And yet I have them anyway, pointless as they are. And they leave me sitting here, wallowing in my own self pity and guilt, crying to my blogging friends for some sense of human connection. Because I don't want to talk about this out loud. I don't want to open my mouth and say these things. Who could possibly understand, in my side of the computer? Who could I possibly turn to and say, "My friend Alex died. He might have killed himself. (I don't believe it. Not for a single second. Not for a moment in time. Never.) And I never e-mailed him back. I never went to his grave. I didn't even have the courage to go to his funeral and tell him at his grave that I was sorry. And I might have saved him, if only I had answered him immediately. And now he's gone and I'll never have another friend like him as long as I live."

And don't misunderstand. He was only ever a friend, a very dear friend who I lost. And the way I felt for him is nothing like how I feel for Padawan. There was never attraction. Only understanding, acceptance, and maybe a hint of rivalry. And I miss him. God, how I miss him sometimes.

And...if there is a God...and there is a Judgement Day...will he stand before me on mine and ask how I could call myself a true friend when I might have saved him merely by being there for him like I promised?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Explosions and Anarchy.

Let me tell you about this Schlitterbahn experience.

For starters, going on a Tuesday was not effective. Thousands of other people had the same idea, so lines and crowds were just as bad as always, and the heat was predictably hot. Duh.

It wasn't so bad, though. Schlitterbahn has three parks on two different lots. Schlitterbahn West and Schlitterbahn East, which breaks into two parks called Surfenburgh and Blastenhauf. We parked at West, the main park, with the giant hot tub with in pool bar. 

We were there maybe two and a half hours and got to ride three rides, when suddenly there was this deafening exploding noise. Everybody stopped to look around. Then the water stopped pumping on the water slides and the tube chutes. People got stuck mid slide as the water went down into the pool but the pumps couldn't bring it up. The vendors lost power in freezers, refrigerators, and margarita machines.

The power was gone. 

Why?

Well, those of you who have witnessed a transformer exploding know exactly what happened. Why the transformer exploded is the far more interesting story. A teenage boy, probably texting while driving, drove his car straight into a pole, and thus the transformer exploded, knocking all of Schlitterbahn West into a rideless, filterless existence.

We couldn't ride anything. We couldn't even enjoy the pools because the filters were no longer running, and with all of those people in the water I couldn't even consider the idea of dangling my feet. As for my margaritas? They were melting slowly in their machines, unable to be sold because Schlitterbahn employees couldn't do hand made tickets for anything except cash, and I had no cash. Just my card. 

So we decide to take the tram to the other park after lunch, and it's about two when we finally make it onto a tram (because everybody was leaving West hoping to have fun at East) and we get in line for a ride. And we get to ride two rides because East parks are still running, and then I look up and I see a cover of blackness coming towards us.

We find ourselves in the middle of the worst drought Austin has ever seen, we go to a water park for a little fun, and then a huge storm finds us. We immedaitely decided to go back to West and pack our things and leave. It's already four thirty. Everybody seems to have the same idea, and after waiting for twenty minutes for a tram, the rain starts pouring down on everybody waiting outside. The wind picked up and cut viciously through the scanty protection my swimsuit and skirt offered me.

And then a tram pulls up for us, opens the doors. We think, "Thank you! We can get out of the cold!"

And then a huge swarm of people from the end of the line rush forward and cram onto the tram, pushing over employees, those of us who were next, and people crossing to the parking lot trying to get to their own vehicles. 

Anarchy! 

I don't know what the fuck their problem was. They were all soaking wet from the rides anyway, and we were already cold. The employees finally got them under control, but they couldn't tell who had already been on the trams and who had rushed from the end of the line. Rather than punish everybody, they decided to let them all go. Then a woman and her five kids pushed forward and begged to be allowed to go on, her husband was already on the tram.

We all started shouting, "No, it isn't fair! Make her wait! Make her husband get off!" 

Her husband stuck his head out. They should have made him get off since he was obviously one of the people who rushed the line. How else could he have been on board but his wife and kids stuck at the end of the line? But they let them on. And then let the families of everyone who had sneaked on go, too! We were outraged! We were standing there, the rain pouring down, the lightening striking, thunder clapping so loud we all had to cover our ears, and for what? For a bunch of selfish idiots to break the rules?

When we finally got let on more people tried to run up. And we sent them happily away, yelling at them that they had to wait just like everyone else. When they just decided to stand in the isles and try to wait it out, the bus driver ordered them off, screaming that the tram couldn't leave with people standing. 

When we finally made it back to our stuff we found it mostly dry thanks to having been under the table. And on the way out we got passes to come back another day, free of charge, because between the power outage and the rain it had just been a bad day. 

*sigh*

I hope it's not nearly as bad next time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Say it with me now! Margaritas!

Tomorrow Padawan and I, along with Master Plo Koon, Clueless, and Mother, will be trekking the two and a half hours to Schliterbahn.

For those of you unfamiliar with Schliterbahn, here is a description...Outdoors. Lots of swimming pools. Water coasters. Rafting and inner tubes. Long lines. Did I mention relentless exposure to sunlight? Surrounded by children and crowds of people in swimsuits in the middle of the summer. Hmm, let me count the ways of fun.

Characteristically to myself, I shall find a sweet spot in the shade by the hot tub. You know, the hot tub that has the bar right in the middle of the pool. Can you say margaritas with me?

Margaritas! 

I'm not being a spoil sport. It's just...you know. I don't like wearing swimsuits (but I do have a new one for the season) and I don't like the sun (and it doesn't like me) and I don't like crowds or children. So, you know, this is a great personal sacrifice. Add to it the endless amounts of water, into which a shark could be dropped at any moment, and it's like a day of neurotic hell for me.

Hence...margaritas!

Alas, poor Choo Choo, she cannot go. No pets allowed and all that jazz.

*sigh*

Oh, I did buy a basket to attach to my bike for Choo Choo to ride in! (Shame on you for doubting that I could do it! Yes, you know who I'm talking to. Shame!) I installed it all by myself, and Choo Choo fits with plenty of room to curl up in a ball and sleep during the ride if she so chooses. I'll have to work with her on holding still, and I might need to secure her to the basket so she doesn't jump out. (I don't think she'll try, but precautions should be taken just in case.) 

Speaking of bikes, I haven't fallen yet. In fact, I'm getting faster and stronger and better. But you know what? I've swallowed like ten bugs in the last week! I get so out of breath pedaling uphill (and I will go out of my way to find a concrete path uphill rather than a gravel trail because I don't feel safe on those) that I either forget to breathe, or I have to breathe through my mouth. And sure enough, when I open my mouth and inhale I suck up a bug too stupid to get out of my way.

I nearly threw up the first time it happened, I was so disgusted. It only made it worse when Padawan laughed and said, "Don't worry about it! It's full of protein!" and then I felt it stuck in my throat, probably trying to climb its way back up. 

Ew. 

The only thing worse than it going down in the first place was the idea of hacking back up to touch my tongue. Ug. My strategy is simple: drink lots of water to wash 'em down after they get in, because I bet coming back out is way worse than going in my mouth in the first place.

Pictures will follow, of course, as soon as I can talk Padawan into taking a picture. 

By the way, Padawan and I are almost done with completing the living and dining room aspect of our home! We have new pillows for the furniture, new rugs, a new coffee table, some new decorative pieces for the dining room table and the coffee table, an entry way table to sit keys and such on, a second book shelf, and we rearranged in a way that feels more like home. All we need now are the pictures to hand on the wall and the curtains, and then we can move on to the patio. 

The last thing we intend to finish is the bedroom because we spend the least amount of time in there actually conscious. We spend our waking time together in the other rooms, so it's best that we make those feel like home most. We've also decided we're giving our second TV, the smaller forty something inch from our bedroom, to Master Plo Koon for his birthday.  Padawan and I have no need for the TV in our bedroom. We haven't even used it since we moved into our new apartment in December. What better way to make use of it than to give it to Master Plo Koon as a gift?

Oh, stop making that face at me.

We're giving him a brand new X-Box 360 to go with the hand-me-down TV.  (And some tubing for his pet mice to crawl around in so they aren't cramped in that cage they share. I decided this today when I realized that Pinky and the Brain share one small square shaped cage.) Master Plo Koon is also receiving a puppy of his very own for his birthday. Poor thing, he misses Choo Choo so much he begged to have a dog of his own that no one could ever take him away. 

I suppose I should go to bed now since we've got to be up at the (butt) crack of dawn to go on this fun and exciting trip tomorrow...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Things are going to change.

I meant to do a post yesterday, but I only sat at my desk for an hour, which is when I drink my chai latte and eat my breakfast, and then the other receptionist showed up early to take the desk because we were shocking short handed yet again.

Though it was nothing like Friday when there were seriously only three of us for a majority of the day.

And Manager Man actually had the nerve to tell Jay Jay on Thursday, "Do we really need Origami to come in on Fridays? You guys are always so overstaffed."

Overstaffed? On Fridays? Let me break it down for you. Yeah, we've got everybody to come in on Fridays, except Manager Man and Denominator because it's their day off. But then you have the people who always call in on Fridays, the people who come in late because they gigged the night before, and the people who come in hungover and then claim they are too sick to stay. Almost everybody takes advantage of the fact that Manager Man, who doesn't really inspire hard worth ethic and self discipline anyway, is off on Fridays. We are never fully staffed on Fridays. 

Ever. 

And it was a busy, miserable ass day, too. There was one point when I was running three contracts by myself, and when it was slow I was putting up boxes and boxes of sheet music. Is that my job? No. No, it's not. But if I don't do it the Reverend never will. He spends his days either calling in (for various reasons including bu not limited to: he couldn't find a ride, his tooth hurts, there's a snake in his car, he has to take his son to the emergency room, he has an inner ear infection again, or my personal favorite *total sarcasm there*, he's got the runs), showing up three hours late, and/or spending the entire day on personal phone calls, then leaving early because he has to find a ride and sometimes that ride isn't willing to wait until seven to drive him all the way back out to Florence, which is where he lives. We've got twenty thousand dollars worth of sheet music just sitting in boxes not doing anybody any good. Things that we need. And the Reverend is just happy as pie to tell people, "No, I'm sorry, we don't have that here, but if you go talk to Chanel she can call the South Store for you and have it sent up." 

Then I call the South Store and Bee Tee (the new sheet music manager) says, "Why are you asking me to send that? You've got it! It's in those boxes that I sent you!" 

To which I can only reply, "Well, Reverend isn't going through it at all and I'm trying to help, but--"

"No, it's not your job to do it. You've got other things to do. He gets a monthly salary for running the sheet music department himself. You don't get paid anything for sheet music. Tell him to call me when he get's the chance. I'll tell him to do his job."

And she did.

And for one day he worked in the Sheet Music Department and put out two whole boxes. (This is sarcasm. Between everything else I do all day, and I'm always busy, I can put out six boxes. If I had a whole day to dedicate to it I could put out twice that many.) Then he went right back to either not showing up or just talking on the phone.

And Manager Man won't say a damn thing to him.

But it's okay. We've finally got a survey where we can say exactly what's wrong with the store and shed some light on what's really going on.

And I will be mentioning everything. Everyone's constant tardiness without even bothering to call first, Reverend refusing to stock the Sheet Music, Manager Man sending two people to organize the Stock Room when it's insanely busy, sending three people to break down boxes in the hallway when we're already talking to customers, making some people stock certain departments but then refusing to let them sell the products after making them learn about them. Every single thing that goes on that is stupid, useless, or unprofessional, I will be commenting on. And what it really boils down to, of course, is that Manager Man, though I do like him as a person, has no inclination to exercise his authority in a productive, useful way.

In closing, I thought I'd let you guys see how Choo Choo likes to play. This video is something that occurs several times a day: when I'm trying to clean, when I'm trying to get ready, when I come home from work or the park (and yes, I have bike stories for you guys), when I'm sitting on the couch reading. She always defaults to doing this to get me to play with her.

video

You can't hear it very well, if at all, since I used my cell phone for this instead of a real video recorder, but she can do this for hours. When I went to visit Daddy a few years ago and took Choo Choo with me it always made everyone laugh to see me walking around with my dog attached to my jeans. I was so used to it I hardly noticed the weight trailing behind me. It's one of her more endearing doggy tactics, though I'd be annoyed if she ever actually damaged my jeans.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ah, sweet success!

So this morning I had to be at work at seven forty five.

Oh, yes. I went.

In my pajamas. And a little pink jacket over the shirt because it's always really cold in the store and I don't wear bras so I didn't want to distract anybody.

Somehow while I was there (and I really have no idea how this happened because I was mostly asleep) my phone got out of my purse and wound up sitting on the counter. I didn't realize it wasn't in my purse. When I got home I went straight back to bed and didn't wake up again until twelve twenty.

That was when I reached for my phone and realized it wasn't next to the bed. Or in my purse. So I went to I Can't Find My Phone and dialed my number. And then it hit me. I had left my phone at work somehow and I was going to have to walk in the midday heat to get it.

Well, Padawan is working today because we took Sunday off for the wedding (I will get pictures up soon. I promise) so I thought, "Well, I might as well take Choo Choo with me."

I'd been talking about taking her to work for some time now and it was a golden opportunity. So I strapped her into her harness, slipped her collar on her, made sure the leash was secure, and off we went. Choo Choo is a very good walker. Or, she is now that we've got her in a harness instead of just a collar and leash. Gone are the days of her strangling herself regardless of discomfort. She walks just a foot ahead of me now, looking back ever couple of seconds to make sure I'm still behind her. 

I did worry a little when we came to the cross walk because there were a couple of times where she tried to run out towards cars stopped at the intersection. She danced on her hind legs when I held the leash firmly and wouldn't let her go. She did it twice before we finally got to cross. And I didn't want her crossing the major highway. The asphalt is black and it's pretty hot, so I picked her up and carried her across the big intersection.

But I felt it the moment we got to the shopping center where I work.

There was something different about my dog.

The first sign was when she spotted a family about twenty feet in front of us. Three kids and a mother, all walking ahead of us towards the store. Normally, Choo Choo would bark to announce her presence. Instead, she picked up her pace to prance forward until she caught up to them, then tried to sniff their heels while they weren't looking. I picked her up after that. (Some people have a problem with dogs sniffing around them.)

When we got to the door our delivery man was there and Choo Choo immediately sniffed him, and then Manager Man as well, who were very amused that I'd actually brought her to the store. (They've been trying to get me to for a while, but with her barking habit as bad as it's gotten, I never bothered doing it before.) I took her all over the store, to each and every coworker and she happily let them pet and adore her. She never once shied away, never growled, and never even tried to bark.

I didn't put her down, though. There was a toddler in the store and Choo Choo wanted desperately to get down to see him, but the mother pulled him away when she saw the dog and I guessed she wouldn't like Choo Choo's way of putting her paws on his shoulders to lick his face. It broke her heart. She whined and looked at me and at the boy and back at me, but I couldn't do anything for her. So I stuck her in Origami's lap (she's the new receptionist on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) for some attention. Origami also works as a receptionist and tech at a vet's office, and she's got eight cats and three dogs, so she loves animals. Choo Choo adored her.

All in all it was a great step for Choo Choo and it's given me an idea about her barking. Maybe if we take her out more she'll bark less as she gets used to people.

It's worth a shot.

In other news...

Wheat and MoMo are putting off their plans to move to Colorado for another year. Apparently his grand mother broke her ankle.

But there's more.

A direct Facebook quote from Wheat herself:


Now, we're just going to disregard the glaring typos and the complete lack of grammatical structure in her little blurb here. We're just going to focus on the disease she named.

Oldtimer's Disease.

Oldtimer's Disease?  I don't actually think that's listed in any medical texts... unless...oh! Wait! Could she possible be talking about Alzheimer's Disease? 

Ah, yes. That's probably it. Well, she was kind of close....ish. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Constant vigilance!

Things that make me nervous when riding my bike:

Gravel trails. 

Yes. I  know my bike is made for trails and off road biking. I know that's why my tires are wide with all of the pretty designs (treads?) on them. I know that's exactly why my bike has the suspension system that absorbs shock. It is supposed to handle gravel trails really well, and way better than Padawan's bike at the very least. It doesn't make me feel one bit safer when I'm on the gravel trails, though. Or the dirt ones. I find myself worrying that I will find a loose patch of dirt, lose traction, and fall.

Crossing rail road tracks.

Honestly, it's a little silly. I'm not actually afraid of the trains that may or may not be traveling on the tracks. I'd see and hear the train coming long before it became a problem. I worry that my tires will hit the tracks wrong and get stuck or something. Impossible since I'm crossing perpendicularly to the tracks, but I still have these thoughts whenever we come across some tracks.

Going up hill. 

I have horrific images of my breaks going out and my chain snapping and myself throttling backwards downhill until I hit a tree or a car or a wall.

Going down hill.

Same thing, except going forward instead of backwards.

Passing people. 

Other bikers, runners, walkers, people walking large dogs. Doesn't matter. Passing people makes me nervous. 

Switching gears.

I did gloss over the manual, and Padawan did explain the basics. But I must be doing something wrong with my bike because whenever I try up shifting or down shifting with the left hand gear shift it either doesn't work or the chain pops off. Padawan has no trouble with my gears, which pretty much means it's my fault. And just staying in the same gear is impossible. Going uphill I have to have it in first and fifth or lower, and going downhill I have to have it in three and seven. It's too hard to go uphill in third and seventh, and too dangerous going downhill in first and fifth. 

Riding around cars. 

Parked or moving, I worry. Relly once ran into a parked truck when she first learned to ride a bike, and I worry about that. Or car doors opening suddenly in front of me. Or cars backing into me. Or running over me. 

Aside from these worries, riding is getting easier. I'm pretty relaxed on my own bike. Padawan's bike is a different story. Yesterday he wanted to switch bikes so he could see if my gear shifting difficulties were a result of my own inadequate skills or if they were a problem with a bike. Riding his bike after three days of getting used to the perfection of my bike was not pleasant. His bike is a man's bike. The bar is longer between the seat and handlebars so I have to lean further forward. Also, the handle bars on lower down and straight across which means further leaning. It felt unsafe to ride after getting used to my own smaller woman's bike. On top of that, his seat moves around from left to right and I kept wobbling all over the place. I gave up and just walked his bike behind him while he tried mine.

I am proud of myself, though. On our ride yesterday we went all the way from Brushy Creek Park to the YMCA at Twin Lakes, turned around and went back, but kept going when we got back to where we started and took the other fork on the path which lead us to the creek. And he had already told me he didn't think I could possibly make it even halfway to Twin Lakes. Ha ha ha!

I treated myself to a hot fudge brownie with walnuts and some cold milk after we got home. (After I showered, of course.)

I will post a picture of my bike soon. Maybe even a picture of me sitting on it. I suppose it depends. 

Tomorrow is Raver's wedding. Pictures of her wedding dress will definitely follow if I can manage to take some. In the mean time...

Stop trying to picture my clumsy bike riding skills. You couldn't ride a bike the first time you tried, either. :P

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike!

Padawan and I went to a bike shop today to get a bike for me. (He went and got one yesterday.) 

My vision of a bike was pink with a basket so Choo Choo could ride with me.

Well, wouldn't you know it, that's not the way things work. Every year a company releases a new and improved model of a bike, and it comes in two different colors. They rotate the colors over the years so that you know which year and model you have based on the color. This year's model of the bike I loved (based entirely on ease of mounting and comfort while riding) is white, silver, and blue.

It's not...ugly.

It's actually pretty.

It's just...you know...not pink.

And the ones with baskets actually aren't for the kind of riding Padawan and I plan to do. You know, trails and off road and what not as opposed to riding down the sidewalk singing I Feel Pretty while the wind blows my hair out behind me and my cute little dog watches the scenery slowly pass by. 

Definitely learned a few things, though.

For instance, I am shorter than Padawan by a good six inches at least. We knew that. But my legs are about the same length as his, which I suppose means I've got some long legs despite my vertically challenged genetic short stick. (My sisters, if you recall, all tower over me by four inches or more depending on the sister.) We didn't know that. It's not like I spend a lot of my time measuring our legs against each other.

This means that while someone of my height would normally need a 15, my leg length required a 17, which is just under Padawan's 18. Do I know what the numbers mean? Well, it's not like horses, where you measure them by hands, average being fifteen hands if I remember correctly. But it's probably something like that. And then there's the issue of lowering the seat for my comfort. Ah, yes, that's great. When I tried Padawan's bike I had to lean further forward to reach the handlebars and the high seat dug uncomfortably into places things don't normally touch. So having a lower seat was a great feeling.

The only part that made me nervous was when they suggested that I never buy anything without test driving first. There were two bikes I tried, and I couldn't be compelled to take more than a couple of laps around the parking lot. I tried to suggest Padawan test them for me, but they insisted that it would only benefit me if I discovered which felt better.

Well, I liked the first bike I tried. Except that it only came in this ugly silver with absolutely no other colors anywhere unless you count the black tires. Now, it's not like color is all that important (as the salesman told me when he tried to hide his amusement) but I'm a big fan of fabulous. And plain silver aluminum is not fabulous. 

The second bike was easier to mount because the bar you stand over before mounting was curved lower. Which meant that I didn't have to swing my disproportionately long leg over the bike. That was immediately comfortable. The second thing I noticed was that my arms fit more comfortably and I didn't have to lean as far forward. The overall ride was comfortable. And it's not like I know what I'm looking for in a bike. Honestly, they're all the same to me except colors. I just know what was more comfortable to ride on, and that was more comfortable to ride on. I felt it immediately.

The second bike also had the prettier colors. And then, since I sacrificed the pink bike for what was best for me (and my tires are wider than Padawan's and my bike is more for off the trail. Which is good because it means I have better traction and I am less likely to fall) I decided I had to have a pink helmet. Helmets are, of course, all the same to me except color. I didn't bother looking at design or aerodynamics. I just asked to see whatever helmets they had in pink and then looked at myself in the mirror when I tried them on.

Given that I wear an extra small in motorcycle helmets, there were only two kinds of helmets available in pink AND extra small. One was too bulbous and when I put it on I realized I looked like a mushroom from Mario. The second one looked much better, and it was a slightly lighter shade of pink. Bingo.

Then it was time to buy everything and so I paid half up front (it's only required you pay twenty percent, but I like bigger up front and smaller staggered payments) and then the other payments will be started on the sixth of next month for the next four months. And I got to take it all home.

That, I think, is pretty nifty.

Of course Padawan and I headed to Brushy Creek to try me out on some of the easier trails. I was really wobbly at first, but I didn't fall. And then, you know, the heat combined with my out of shapeness and the lack of food for the day took its toll and I had to stop and go home after thirty minutes. I was pretty sure I was going to die of heat stroke despite the amount of water I was drinking. Then we stopped at Sonic where I got the best freaking Sunshine Smoothie ever and came home and took a cold shower that felt almost warm anyway.

And now I feel like I'm ready to go to Girly Night at the Drafthouse with Jazz to watch Troop Beverly Hills and drink a margarita.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ultimate Failbook Winner goes to...

Don't you know I wish I had a screen shot of this conversation.

A little back story for you guys.

Last night at about eleven forty five I went out with my sisters, Relly and Breezy, to get some IHOP because we really, really wanted breakfast. (I love chocolate chip pancakes.) They had an old friend meet us there. 'Lil B has been a dear friend (and expert hug giver) since high school. Relly and I both adored him, and I guess since we left he started working with Breezy, and since the four of us are much the same in a lot of ways, you really can't love two of us and not all the others. So he and Breezy are very good friends as well.

While we were sitting at our table laughing and giggling over some of the dumbest things (and I will say it again: my sisters are sometimes very dumb) Relly asked me, "Did you know Lydia had salmonella poisoning?"

To which I replied, "Yes, from letting her dogs kiss her after feeding them raw chicken. My question is why did she let them kiss her with her mouth open?"

We all laughed.

Then 'Lil B chimed in with, "Relly tells me you really like to make fun of idiots on your blog, and that you like to make fun of Facebook idiots especially. Want to hear a funny story about salmonella?"

Well, you guys know me. 

"Two days ago on Facebook my friend Hill-Billy Fucktard (his name has been changed, obviously) put up a post that said, 'Alright, asshole, I ate a whole raw chicken breast. Where's my twenty dollars?' (Or something to that effect. Without the actual screenshot, which I hope he sends to me, I can only tell you what he said.)"

'Lil B, in all of his brilliance, replied, "Dude, you're going to die of salmonella poisoning, you idiot."

To which Hill-Billy Fucktard replied, "I am not. I didn't eat salmon, dumbass."

Fail much? 

And that, guys, is exactly why I like to make fun of idiots. 

And then, just to drive my point home, I have a screen shot of something that did directly take place on my Facebook that is a clear example of just exactly how far our education system has fallen since I left high school behind five years ago.

Ah...silly stepsisters...

I blurred out the names to protect the identity of my stepsister, stepmother, and my older sister. And we're not even going to bother addressing the definition my sister offered for self-incrimination. I suppose she's not technically wrong, but that's an explanation one would offer to a five year old, not a twenty year old woman.

Here's hoping I get the screen shot for the chicken thing, but if not...the screen shot of our educational failures as a country will soothe your disappointment.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taco sauce...

It's just one of those Anti-Facebook days.

"If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get twelve years hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegal, you get...shot. If you cross the US border illegally, you get a job, a driver's license, food stamps, a place to live, free health care, housing subsidies and child benefits, education, and tax free business for seven years. No wonder we are a country in debt. Re-post if you agree!"

I love my older sister...but she is seriously ignorant when it comes to the way the world actually works. I hate it when people (my sisters especially) post things like this on their Facebook where I have to look at it. If you're going to be political, you should probably know what you're talking about, right?

But...you know...

I also hate those religious posts, too.

"Our God is an awesome God! Thank you for redeeming me, Lord, and setting me free."

"Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know it will not be put to shame. ---Isaiah 50:17 AMEN!"

"Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. --Psalm 106:1, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 136:3, 1 Chronicles 16:34"

"Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! --Romans 7:25."

These are all from the same person on the same day within minutes of each other. It's not that I have a problem with religion. I don't. You are free to believe or not believe as you see fit. I don't care. But I don't want to have my feed spammed with quotes from the Bible. I mean, this person would probably be highly offended if I started posting several times a day exactly why I don't believe in God and why religion is stupid. Wouldn't it make sense that he not offend me five or six times a day with his beliefs? I'm not being mean. I'm just saying that one quote a day is more than enough for all of us nonbelievers.

And then...you know...

My sister posts this: "Your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life." 

Not that I'm saying that to any of you. She did it right after both our feeds got clogged with Bible verses to prove a point. And it was pretty damn funny if you ask me. I'm only sad she got the chance to do it first. 

And then there are the people who post twenty pictures of their children a day doing ordinary things and then they beg for comments. Do they realize who they are talking to?

Yes, post on my wall that you want me to see the new picture of your kid watering the freaking rose bushes.

Oh, wow. That's so amazing! I never would have guessed any spawn of your womb would develop the mental capacity to understand that plant growth is directly related to being watered daily! She does her manual labor so well, too. She has a shining future ahead of her in gardening and landscaping for other people for the rest of her life. You must be so proud.

You can imagine that wouldn't go over well.

I say nothing instead. But let me just make it clear: if I want to comment on the pictures of your children doing normal things, I will go there myself and leave a damn comment. Otherwise...I am so NOT interested. Unless in exchange you'd like to go and comment on every single picture I put on my Facebook of Choo Choo? She's my furry child, after all. Comment on my kids (no matter their species), I comment on yours (no matter how stupid, ugly, or untalented). It seems fair.  But then...I find that people who have the nerve to send messages and wall posts demanding comments on pictures of their average children are rarely moved by such paltry devices as logic and fairness. 

That being said...

*sigh*

I hurt my neck last week...somehow. I am pleased to say, however, that after a night of sleeping with my neck in a neck pillow to prevent movement I have regained some range of movement. I can turn my head about thirty degrees to the right or left without pain. Any further, though, and it still hurts.

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