Thursday, May 11, 2006


Thirteen Things I Learned on my Vacation in MEXICO


1…. Cinco de Mayo is NOT celebrated in Mexico AT ALL. It is a totally Americanized holiday, and contrary to popular belief, is not Mexican Independence day (which is actually September 16th) but is the day of celebration of the Mexican Army’s victory of France or something random like that.
2. All doors open IN toward you, instead of OUT away from you. This can lead to some serious injuries if you’re not careful.
3. I can still drink like I used to in my early 20’s, and get up in the morning feeling no pain. I probably wouldn’t attempt it now that I’m back, but it was good to know I could still “hang”.
4. When you’re on vacation in a foreign country, even a rat looking animal can be “kind of cute”.
5. Boys will be boys, and whether you’re in Boston or Playa Del Carmen, there is always a romantic triangle to watch and be entertained by.
6. The hottest guy in the group will ALWAYS be gay; this does not change whether you’re in America, Mexico or the North Pole.
7. Reports of machine gun armed soldiers parading the streets and patroling the beaches at night are HIGHLY exaggerated. The whole time we were there, only one of us actually saw one of these guards.
8. I will do things on vacation that I would never do in real life, i.e. snorkel, get on a jet ski, parasail, horseback ride IN THE OCEAN, or a number of other water related activities, when I am deathly afraid of drowning
9. When you wake up to the sound of exotic birds, look out the window and see a blue/green ocean and can smell the sea air, there is very little chance that you could possibly be in a bad mood.
10. Small rinky-dink charter airlines are evil and unless you enjoy 4 hours of “oh crap I am going to die” feelings, they are NOT the way to travel.
11. The Mexican sun WILL burn you, even if you are Mexican and already have a mega-tan, so note to all white Americans, wear sunscreen, but you will still burn anyway, so bring aloe.
12. Americans are way too uptight and prudish and take EVERYTHING way too seriously, impairing their ability to just LIVE sometimes. From sexually charged jokes that would certainly get Americans in a tizzy, to revealing costumes for both the female AND male dancers on stage in a “family geared” evening show, to the relaxed way both males and females will show physical affection, to the lax rules regarding driving an ATV through the jungle at high speeds, to the lack of “fences” along a walk-way in the resort which was surrounded by (shallow) water, in which a child could have easily jumped in (had I not stopped him last minute) (and yes, I know some of these are probably necessary safety measure type things), there is just a much more laid back feeling about life in general in other cultures, which I already knew, but was reminded of this week.
13. And yes, EVERYONE does wear speedos at a tropical resort, even those that certainly should not.


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Thursday, April 13, 2006

My March in Books


I haven’t done my March Book Review yet, mostly because I’ve been busy, but also because I didn’t read that much in March. Well, I did, but it doesn’t appear like I did.

Here’s why:

I read the ENTIRE Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, but they were all collected in ONE book, so I felt like I took forever reading just one book. In truth, I read the following:

1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
3. The Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair
7. The Last Battle

About 900 or so pages later, I had managed to read the complete series. I won’t review each book individually, simply because they really are a series and should be read as such. If you have not done so yet, now is the perfect time to do so, because they’re selling these Volumes with all seven books in one all over the place. Mine was a Christmas gift.

My review: I absolutely loved these stories. In a time of Harry Potter and other sophisticated “children’s” books that adults can’t get enough of, the Chronicles could have been too “simple” for readers of the present. At first, while reading the Magician’s Nephew, I sort of had that reaction. The reaction of “This is a kid’s book, and written in a very childlike and fairy tale voice”. But as I got more into the books, and forgot about more grown-up style we’re used to, I began to lose myself in the stories. In a way, they are fairy tales, but they are wonderful. The stories of human children wandering through and adventuring in this wonderful world of Narnia are fantastic, they are fun, they are creative, and extremely entertaining. There is also no doubt of the Christian undertones. I have read about the “debates” about whether or not these tales were in fact meant to be religious-like, and I don’t understand the debates, because there’s no question about it. All seven stories center around some moral lesson, and The Last Battle hides nothing in its relation to a higher being, and an afterlife. For those who are religious, this is a pleasant turn, and a wonderful way to introduce children into the “good versus evil” moral debate. For those who are not, the stories stand on their own as just wonderful tales of a wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) world.

RATING: 4/5

The above took up most of my month, but I did also read:

See How they Run, by Bethany Campbell (in paperback)
This is the story of Laura Stoner, who works at a school for children with special needs. When Trace and Ricky, autistic twins, witness a murder, all three of them wind up in protective custody, under the watchful eyes of Montana. This being a romance novel, sparks fly, but so does the gunfire, the violence, the fear and the twisted world of the mafia, government corruption, and a run for their lives.

I picked this book up for 25 cents at a Salvation Army store. I really enjoyed it. It had just the right amount of mystery, romance, drama and intrigue.

RATING: 4/5

In Audio, I “read” Book IV of the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King: The Wizard and The Glass. This audio book is 27 hours long, so it pretty much took me the entire month, and into the first week of April to finish it.

In The Wizard and The Glass, the adventures of Roland, Susanah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy, the billy bumbler continue. Only here they must stop for a while, because it is time for Roland to tell them his story. Most of the book takes place then, during Roland’s time as a teenager, dealing with his entry into his role as a gunslinger, and his first love. King does a wonderful job drawing the reader in to this world of young love and corruption, and the end of a time, the beginning of the “world moving on”.

Again, I am really glad I’m “reading” these books. Never having been a Stephen King fan (I don’t like horror books), this series is surprising me in delightful ways.

A note about the narrator, Frank Muller: In Audio books, a lot of time, for me at least, a narrator can really make or break a book. If the story is compelling enough, I can get over the narrator if I don’t exactly like them, but in a story that is not as strong, narrator’s have made me HATE a book. However, if a narrator is good, he or she can turn a mediocre story into a work of art. (Audio book “creators” should take that to heart). That said, Frank Muller is without a doubt the BEST narrator out of all the audio books I’ve “read” to date. The Wizard and The Glass has a large cast of characters, and not once did I have to wonder who was “speaking” at any one time. Mr. Muller had a different voice for each character and was not just reading their parts he was living them. This novel therefore was a play, a story, a film.

RATING: 5/5

Prom Dressing - 2006


So, I don't have a picture of me in my prom dress to show you. And, even if I did, I still wouldn't show you, because...well...it was the early 90's. Need I say more?
Anyway, you can imagine pretty much what it looked like if you attended any prom in that time period. All dresses were poofy, ruffly, scrunchy, sleevy (as in poofy sleeves), and sparkly or a combination of two or more. They were also...well...DRESSES. One did not wear a bikini, or some variation of the theme to their prom. I thought I was being riske because I wore a short dress (knee length) with off the shoulder sleeves.
Nowadays however, I would have been looked at as matronly or something. After all, the picture above depitcs just SOME of the prom dresses I came across when reading this article:
http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/1331/whats-hot-for-prom?fr=fp-buzz-morebuzz
THESE, my friends are the promdresses of 2006.
Let's not forget that the girls wearing these dresses are all between the ages of 16 and 19 at the MOST.
Wow...times have changed, haven't they?

Silly Poem

(Originally written on April 11)

So, I went away this weekend. Actually, I went away on Saturday morning and came back Sunday afternoon. Just a mini-getaway, had a lovely time. But while I was gone, my friend Chan stayed at my place. Her place was being renovated and she needed somewhere to crash, and shower. So I put her in charge of feeding Calla Lily, and playing with her. Calla is a very temperamental cat, and she doesn't exactly love every one of my friends, but Chan she adores. It could be because she was actually the one to pick her up from her litter, and keep her for that first weekend, when I was actually away, before I finally brought her home. She knows her. When Chan was over Friday night, Calla was all over her, purring and cuddling and loving the attention. I knew she was in good hands.
Well, it turns out that Calla proceeded to hide all day Saturday, into Sunday morning. Chan barely saw her the whole time, and when I came home, she hadn't even eaten her dinner from the night before. I told you she was temperamental. Anyway, I'm not much for inspiration these days, and yet I found myself penning a very silly, and not really all that great poem about this phenomenon that is my cat. Could be because I've hit "the wall" at work for today and needed something mindless to do. Either way, here it is:
Calla Missed Me

She pokes her head around the corner
And slowly, carefully walks in the room
She sniffs, she taps quickly with a long outstretched paw
And then she purrs and entwines herself between my feet.

I’m home again.

As if she sensed my absence, she didn’t eat
Didn’t come out to play, I’m told
She hid all weekend, they don’t know where
But now I’m here, so she can be bold

She bounces in, and out of the room
Follows every step I take
Jumps on the couch, cuddles on my lap
Jumps down again, wild at play

She leaves me be, off to her hiding spaces
But now and again, pokes her head around
Jumps in the room, grabs at my arm
Then leaves again, cause it’s okay

I’m home again.

Still Feverish

I've been insanely busy and not able to post my blog entries, which I have drafted, but just not posted...so here's some old ones just now making it on-line.

This one was written on THURSDAY, March 30th:

Spring Feverish that is.
I’m in a great mood today. It’s all the sunshine. We’ve had a gorgeous week in the 60’s with sunshine and springyness in the air. I’ve realized that I definitely suffer from Winter Blues, and when the weather turns, like it has, I become a completely different person! Seeing as it is unseasonably warm, and we did NOT get our usual March Blizzard, I’m still a bit suspicious that Spring is really here…I have a feeling we’ll get a nice fat snowstorm in about a week or so…but, I’m enjoying it while I can.
I haven’t written in here for a while now, but that’s mostly because I don’t really have much to write about lately. Life is crazy busy, but nothing overly exciting is going on. Good or bad, which I guess is good overall. I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day about how “boring” our lives are, and yet, how much we enjoy them anyway. I mean, on paper, (or on a computer screen), when I try to think of something different or unique to write about, and come up empty, because there just isn’t anything of note going on, it could seem depressing, or even slightly pathetic. But, the thing is, I’m really enjoying my life right now. I live a very peaceful day to day. I get up in the morning and still have this sense of pride that my messy house is MY HOUSE, it’s strange, you’d think after 3 years of being a solo homeowner it would wear off, but it hasn’t. I love my place, and am so proud not only that I own it, but that it’s decorated just so, just the way I like it, just ME. I feed my crazy cat, who I adore, and who gives me great pleasure when she jumps up on the bathroom sink to rub up against my face as I’m trying to brush my teeth, because she makes me feel so loved, purring like a maniac. Then I head off to work, and even my drive in I look forward to, due to the magic of audio books, and my addiction to them. And now that the weather is nice, I love driving in with the windows slightly down, and the fresh air hitting me first thing in the morning. And even work, although stressful and insanely busy, is giving me a certain sense of something I can’t quite explain, but that I like. I feel useful, and appreciated, and I don’t know, even good at what I do. I love that the clients all know me by name, and trust me to do right by them. It’s different from any other job I’ve had, I’m not just “staff” member, I’m part of this really small (and getting smaller by the minute) team, and I think that if I take the right attitude and approach, I can be even more included and have more of a say in the future. My loyalty here is not going unnoticed, FINALLY.
Then, after work, I head to the gym almost daily now, and that too, for some strange reason, is giving me a great sense of pleasure. I’m damn proud that I’m working out so hard, and I feel great. I don’t think I’m actually losing any weight yet, but I’m not so worried about it now…because I feel great, I can see my stamina and my strength is increasing. Just last night I was able to do the elliptical machine for 2.5 miles in about 30 minutes, when just 2 months ago, I couldn’t stay on the damn thing for 5 minutes without feeling like I was going to die. That’s got to mean something, right?
And then I head home, and whip myself up something healthy to eat, and that too makes me happy. Just the other night I made myself an extremely healthy and completely satisfying meal, in less than 20 minutes. I felt so great when that was done.
Some nights, I have dinner out with friends, and I love those nights. I love my friends, and I really enjoy my time with them. I love just sitting around chatting about everything and nothing in general. My friends are extended family to me, and I always look forward to seeing them. Other nights, I have dinner with my family, and I also love those nights. I love that we all get together to enjoy each other’s company.
After dinner, whether in or out, I plop myself on my lovely newish couch and I watch my T.V. shows. And yes, I watch way too much television, but I enjoy it, and see nothing wrong with it. And then I go to bed, and every night, as I get in that bed I still love how comfortable it is, and if you know me, you know I love my sleep, and just the feeling of laying down for a good night’s sleep is wonderful.
On Saturdays I try to hit the gym in the morning, then I get to see Kayla when I take her and her sister to gymnastics, and then I usually spend the afternoon with a friend, shopping, going to eat, hanging out. Sundays I’m lazy, and usually lounge around in my pj’s, vacillating between watching movies, cleaning the house, reading e-mail, doing laundry, until late morning, early afternoon. Then I run chores, sometimes I hang with Lil' K, other days I just relax on my own, enjoy my own company.
Like I said, it’s not much for excitement, but it’s the small things. It’s all in the details, you know? And I love the details of my life. My life is simple mostly, but it’s filled with love, and with a sense of peace and serenity, amidst all the crazy day to day. I can live with that, in fact, I do, and I can’t complain.
And every once in a while, I have something like a trip to Mexico, to stir things up and excite me.
Yep, Spring Fever definitely has me in a giddy, reflective and kind of mushy mood doesn’t it?
I LIKE IT! ;-)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I've got Fever

Spring Fever that is. I’m in a great mood today. It’s all the sunshine. We’ve had a gorgeous week in the 60’s with sunshine and springyness in the air. I’ve realized that I definitely suffer from Winter Blues, and when the weather turns, like it has, I become a completely different person! Seeing as it is unseasonably warm, and we did NOT get our usual March Blizzard, I’m still a bit suspicious that Spring is really here…I have a feeling we’ll get a nice fat snowstorm in about a week or so…but, I’m enjoying it while I can.

I haven’t written in here for a while now, but that’s mostly because I don’t really have much to write about lately. Life is crazy busy, but nothing overly exciting is going on. Good or bad, which I guess is good overall. I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day about how “boring” our lives are, and yet, how much we enjoy them anyway. I mean, on paper, (or on a computer screen), when I try to think of something different or unique to write about, and come up empty, because there just isn’t anything of note going on, it could seem depressing, or even slightly pathetic. But, the thing is, I’m really enjoying my life right now. I live a very peaceful day to day. I get up in the morning and still have this sense of pride that my messy house is MY HOUSE, it’s strange, you’d think after 3 years of being a solo homeowner it would wear off, but it hasn’t. I love my place, and am so proud not only that I own it, but that it’s decorated just so, just the way I like it, just ME. I feed my crazy cat, who I adore, and who gives me great pleasure when she jumps up on the bathroom sink to rub up against my face as I’m trying to brush my teeth, because she makes me feel so loved, purring like a maniac. Then I head off to work, and even my drive in I look forward to, due to the magic of audio books, and my addiction to them. And now that the weather is nice, I love driving in with the windows slightly down, and the fresh air hitting me first thing in the morning. And even work, although stressful and insanely busy, is giving me a certain sense of something I can’t quite explain, but that I like. I feel useful, and appreciated, and I don’t know, even good at what I do. I love that the clients all know me by name, and trust me to do right by them. It’s different from any other job I’ve had, I’m not just “staff” member, I’m part of this really small (and getting smaller by the minute) team, and I think that if I take the right attitude and approach, I can be even more included and have more of a say in the future. My loyalty here is not going unnoticed, FINALLY.

Then, after work, I head to the gym almost daily now, and that too, for some strange reason, is giving me a great sense of pleasure. I’m damn proud that I’m working out so hard, and I feel great. I don’t think I’m actually losing any weight yet, but I’m not so worried about it now…because I feel great, I can see my stamina and my strength is increasing. Just last night I was able to do the elliptical machine for 2.5 miles in about 30 minutes, when just 2 months ago, I couldn’t stay on the damn thing for 5 minutes without feeling like I was going to die. That’s got to mean something, right?

And then I head home, and whip myself up something healthy to eat, and that too makes me happy. Just the other night I made myself an extremely healthy and completely satisfying meal, in less than 20 minutes. I felt so great when that was done.

Some nights, I have dinner out with friends, and I love those nights. I love my friends, and I really enjoy my time with them. I love just sitting around chatting about everything and nothing in general. My friends are extended family to me, and I always look forward to seeing them. Other nights, I have dinner with my family, and I also love those nights. I love that we all get together to enjoy each other’s company.

After dinner, whether in or out, I plop myself on my lovely newish couch and I watch my T.V. shows. And yes, I watch way too much television, but I enjoy it, and see nothing wrong with it. And then I go to bed, and every night, as I get in that bed I still love how comfortable it is, and if you know me, you know I love my sleep, and just the feeling of laying down for a good night’s sleep is wonderful.

On Saturdays I try to hit the gym in the morning, then I get to see Lil' K when I take her and her sister to gymnastics, and then I usually spend the afternoon with a friend, shopping, going to eat, hanging out. Sundays I’m lazy, and usually lounge around in my pj’s, vacillating between watching movies, cleaning the house, reading e-mail, doing laundry, until late morning, early afternoon. Then I run chores, sometimes I hang with Lil' K, other days I just relax on my own, enjoy my own company.

Like I said, it’s not much for excitement, but it’s the small things. It’s all in the details, you know? And I love the details of my life. My life is simple mostly, but it’s filled with love, and with a sense of peace and serenity, amidst all the crazy day to day. I can live with that, in fact, I do, and I can’t complain.

And every once in a while, I have something like a trip to Mexico, to stir things up and excite me.
Yep, Spring Fever definitely has me in a giddy, reflective and kind of mushy mood doesn’t it? I LIKE IT! ;-)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Happy Birthday to me


The thing about birthdays is this, you either love them, or you hate them. I fall into the LOVE THEM category.

I think birthdays are fantastic and everyone should celebrate them no matter how old you are. In fact, I’m a firm believer that the older you get, the more you should celebrate. After all, you made it through another year, what a gift that is. Appreciate it; be proud of it, LOVE IT.

I’ve always been a big birthday person. From the time I was a little girl, birthdays were always a big deal in my house. My mom would make these insane cakes, of little dolls in a dress made of cake, or a picturesque scene by a lake in a park, with edible swans. Every birthday was a special occasion. So I’ve grown up to think of my birthday as a very special day.

As I get older, a lot of my friends don’t want to acknowledge their birthdays, either because they don’t want to recognize the fact that they are getting older, or because of some misplaced sense of guilt, that perhaps it is inappropriate to celebrate one’s own birth?

I disagree wholeheartedly. And maybe as I’m proudly stepping officially into my “thirty-somethings”, certain people feel that I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, but to them I say “phewy”! That’s right “phewy!” It’s my day to celebrate me, to celebrate life, to celebrate another year on this planet, and I will make a big deal out of it if I want, and if you don’t like it…well, I don’t much care.

So, yes, I am one of those people that tells everyone around me that it’s my birthday, and I dress extra nice on that day, and I treat myself to something special, and I get giddy when others remember that it is my day. I throw myself birthday parties; I buy myself gifts. I love the attention on this one day of the year.

And I don’t know why it is that society makes it seem so wrong to do so. Why should we feel guilty that we want to celebrate ourselves one measly day (or maybe the week surrounding it) out of an entire year? I work hard all year, I take care of others, and I remember their special days and make a big deal out of them as well, so why shouldn’t I be excited when it’s my turn?

I’ve attempted the so-called good manners on this issue, attempted to tell people that it wasn’t a big deal, that I didn’t need presents…like everyone I say, “oh, you didn’t have to, you shouldn’t have, I don’t need anything”, but damned if I don’t get happy like a kid in a candy store when someone gives me a present, surprises me with a cake, or just simply sends me a card.

And to every single person who has remembered me today, I just want to say THANK YOU; you really have made my day, over and over again. I feel blessed; I have some incredible friends. You guys make it worth it.

So there it is, I’m 31 today (30 freakin’ ONE), and I still act like a child on my birthday. And you know what? As long as I have birthdays, I will continue to do so, because I’m blessed each and every year with a new start, and I intent to start each and every year celebrating myself.

Who’s with me?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

America the Beautiful


So, today marks 21 years that I’ve been living in the United States of America. I still remember the day we got here very clearly, or parts of it at least. I have vague memories of saying goodbye to friends and relatives in Portugal, and don’t remember the flight AT ALL, but I have a very vivid memory of the drive to Lowell from Logan Airport. I remember we were in my brother’s soon-to-be Godparent’s car, and I remember getting the strongest occurrence of deja-vu I’ve ever had. I remember saying to my mom (probably in Portuguese) “I’ve seen this before, and I know what’s coming up next”. Weird.

I don’t remember a whole lot more of that evening, but the next day was my 10th birthday, and I remember there was a cake, and lots of relatives I’d never met.

The memories get very blurry after that. I remember we lived at my brother’s Godparents house for a few months, until we found a place of our own. I remember playing with my cousins Sue and Ruben at my grandmother’s house. We used to re-enact “Three’s Company” episodes. I remember several months later, when my other cousins, Paula and Monica also came to the U.S., and how we all used to play “Kids Incorporated”. I remember being given the finger by one of my cousins, and her mother telling me that it was just the way she “pointed”. OH my God…do you girls remember that? It’s so weird the things your brain retains.

There were Easters, and Thanksgivings, and Christmases at grandma’s house. CCD, and going to church. Going to school where I didn’t speak any English, and the teacher didn’t speak any Portuguese. Learning English well enough the following year that I didn’t need translation anymore, and better yet the following year when I no longer went to a bi-lingual school.

I made friends, I lost friends. I had crushes, I got my heart broken, I probably broke a few hearts myself. I did the all American things, played with Barbies, went trick-or-treating, crushed on New Kids on The Block and went to concerts, had pen pals from all over the world. I watched Growing Pains and Full House and it blows my mind that Michelle Tanner is now Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, all of what 19 years old??

My parents took a citizenship test while I was still young enough to become an American Citizen by proxy. I registered to vote, I voted. I always vote.

I graduated high school, went to college, fell in love some more, got my heart broken some more. Learned things, taught things. Made friends that will last a life time, made others I’ve since lost touch with. I worked at McDonald’s, I worked retail. I went dancing, I drank, I partied.

I discovered the internet, I made incredible friends once again, that I think will last a lifetime.

I traveled, learned the love of experiencing different lands, different cultures.
I graduated college, I got a job, then another job, and another…I bought cars, I bought clothes, I became a shopaholic. I saved money, I planned, I became a homeowner. I “adopted” a little sister. I adopted a cat, I had to give up the cat. I adopted another cat.

I made more friends, I lost some more.

A LOT has happened in 21 years, but the biggest of all is that I became the woman I am today. Truly an American, I am blessed, I have never taken for granted the advantages provided to me by my parent’s decision to relocate to an entirely different country (twice, by the way), to give me a better life. I’ve worked hard, but I’ve reaped the rewards. Am still reaping the rewards. I plan to continue to work hard, and I plan to continue to enjoy my spoils.

Anyone who is lucky enough to end up in this country, and can’t appreciate all it provides, is a fool. Yes, America has A LOT of problems, and yes, there are times when it doesn’t seem that great a nation. But oh the opportunities it provides, if only you know how to look hard enough. If only you MOVE and do something about it. That’s the beauty of it, here, you can complain, you can challenge, you can try to make a difference.

I for one can tell you that I will never leave this country, because it is my home. This is where my memories live, where my loved ones, and my friends reside. This is where I hope to grow old, start a family, make a difference, and leave my mark.

This is America, and I’ll be damned if I’m not living the American Dream.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

February Movie Review


Well, I’ve been meaning to post this for at least a week now, but time has gotten away from me. That said, February was a good movie month for me. I love movies, but unfortunately, don’t get to actually “go to” the movies very often. My goal is to at least make it to the theatre once a month this year. It will most likely not happen every month, but I will try.

I do, however, have TiVo, and because of that, am watching a lot more movies at home now. I’ve never been a “blockbuster” person, going out to pick out a movie, having to watch it in a certain amount of time in order to return it, that’s just too structured and constricting for me. And it requires leaving the house to go find a movie when I do have some time to actually watch one, and that is usually the time when I just want to sit back and watch something right then and there. With TiVo, I have this huge catalogue of movies that I’ve been saving, so every now and then, I can have an evening of just watching a few back to back.

It also makes it easy to find movies I might want to watch in the future, even if they are on at 3AM, and save them for a more appropriate time (when I’m awake).

That said, I watched one Theatre movie this month, one DVD, and the rest were either tivoed, or Lifetime movies, which were on when I was at home sick.

The Theatre Movie:
WALK THE LINE
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in Antarctica, you know this movie is the story of Johnny Cash and June Carter, and has won a gazillion awards. I personally think it deserves every award it receives, and was very excited to see Reese win at the Oscars. I thought she was excellent, and was pleasantly surprised by her singing. I have always liked her as an actress, and she didn’t disappoint once again. Joaquin Phoenix, in my opinion was just incredible. Not only did he do a wonderful job portraying the angst ridden and tortured Johnny Cash, but he really did an amazing job with the music. He was enthralling to watch, and damn it if I didn’t walk out of the theatre with a new Hollywood crush. The movie was fantastic. 5 out of 5 stars for me.

The Silly Movies:
New York Minute
Starring: Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen
Yes, I love stupid little teenybopper films. They are mindless entertainment, and a nice distraction from the day to day of trying to be an adult in this world. This movie was cute. It is the tale of twin sisters who spend a day in New York City being chased by a truancy officer, trying to foil his attempts to catch them, and trying to make it to an appointment on time. It was your typical story of twin sisters who are complete opposites, and find themselves in the middle of an adventure a-la Home Alone style. Stupid pranks and silly escapes ensue, and they save the day, everything and everyone lives happily ever after. Something like that anyway. Like I said, silly, but cute. 3/5

Twitches
Starring: Tia Mowry and Tamara Mowry
Not exactly sure how I wound up watching two twin movies this month. This is a silly Disney movie about twin sisters separated at birth, who are reunited on their 21st birthday, only to discover that they have magical powers and are actually from another dimension. Typical good v. evil story, where evil wants to take over the world, and they are the only ones who can save it. Cute, but predictable and corny. 3 ½ /5

The Lifetime Movies:
It Had To Be You
Starring: Michael Vartan, Natasha Henstridge
Tale of a man and a woman who meet when they are planning their weddings, to other people. They spend a weekend running into each other, and making their plans (finding a band, registering, etc.) together. As would happen in any Lifetime movie, they fall in love, but as they are both planning weddings, there is much angst and “we can’t be together, it’s not right”. Sappy, cute, again predictable, but still entertaining. 4/5

Cake
Starring: Heather Graham, Taye Diggs, Sandra Oh, David Sutcliffe
Well, Taye Diggs was in the movie, so of course I had to watch it. That said, it also starred Sandra Oh, who is fast becoming one of my favorite actresses, and the premise of the story was cute. Heather Graham plays an independent single woman, who is, as her friends call her “wedding phobic”. Her father gets sick, and she ends up running his “Wedding Bells” magazine during his illness. This leads not only to hilarious hi-jinks, but also, of course, an unexpected romance, and possibly a change of heart, maybe? Maybe not? She’s not so sure. It was really cute, funny, and I really did enjoy her philosophy on life. At one point she is wearing a t-shirt, which reads, “I think, therefore, I’m single”. I want that shirt! I was however disappointed that the movie took the typical “a single woman is not truly happy until she minds a man, she only thinks she is” road. I could have done without that, but it was a romantic comedy after all. 4 ½ /5

The rest:
Van Helsing
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale
Van Helsing is the hero who captures and kills all the mythological monsters of yesteryear: Jeckyl and Hyde, Werewolves, etc. He goes to Transylvania to find and destroy Dracula. I had no idea this movie was a comedy. If it wasn’t meant to be funny, oops, because I found it hilarious, but not necessarily in a good way. It was your typical good guy v. monsters flick, but with a bit of sarcastic and just silly humor thrown in. It really wasn’t that great a movie, but it was entertaining enough. 3 ½ /5

Rebel Without a Cause
Starring: James Dean, Natalie Wood
I love this movie. I’ve seen it more than once, but it had been at least 10 years since the last time I saw it, possibly more. I think I picked up on a lot more of the subtleties this time. It’s a classic, so reviewing it feels inappropriate. The acting may have not been the greatest, but who cares? It is a coming of age story of a troubled young teen that moves to a new town and has trouble making friends. James Dean is…well, he’s James Dean. 4/5

While You Were Sleeping
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Peter Gallagher, Bill Pullman, Peter Boyle
Cute love story of a woman who pretends to be the fiancĂ© of a man in a coma who she’s been crushing on, and falls in love with his brother. It was cute, sweet, and Sandra Bullock was her typical adorable self. She’s one of those actresses that you either love or hate, and although she may not always pick the best movies, I enjoy her. This was a typical wrong place wrong time love story. It was cute. 4/5

The I Inside
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Piper Perabo
Story of a man who wakes up from a near death experience to find himself in a confused state where he’s traveling through time and finding all is not what it seems. I’m a huge fan of Ryan Philippe usually, so I thought I’d enjoy this movie. It was weird, freaky, and I kept expecting it to make sense. It did not. The ending left much to be desired. 2 ½ /5

Ray
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington
This is, of course, the Ray Charles story, which won Jamie Foxx, all the awards a few years back. Because of all the hype the movie received then, I really thought it was meant to be a tribute to Ray Charles. If so, I would ask nicely that the writers of this movie refrain from ever writing a tribute to me or anyone I like. All this movie succeeded in doing, in my eyes, was make Ray Charles seem like a tremendous jerk. The movie itself was well done, and I loved the way they would jump back into Ray’s childhood memories, it was gripping. But, unlike in Walk the Line, where Johnny Cash, although also drug addicted, and a womanizer, manages to come through as troubled, and tortured, and therefore, somewhat of a victim, so likeable in a way, here, Ray just comes across as rude, self-entitled, and cruel. I’m not sure what exactly they were trying to convey, but respect for Mr. Charles it wasn’t. I understood the demons he struggled with, but didn’t feel it gave him a right to become one himself. And since the movie leaves off about 40 years ago, I’ll tell myself that he did straighten himself out, and become a better person for the last 40 years of his life, and just try to forget the image this movie created in my mind. That said, the movie as a movie, was excellent. 4/5

If Only
Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Paul Nichols
Samantha and Ian live in London where he is a businessman about to make a major presentation, and she is a music student about to graduate from a prestigious music school. They love each other, but Ian doesn’t know how to love and appreciate Sam properly. When she is taken from him, he realizes what he had, and when he is given a second chance, he pledges to make things right before it is too late. This was a very sweet “I wish I could find a man like that” kind of love story. It is also a tearjerker on more than one occasion. It is hard to say what I really want to say without giving too much away, so I’ll stop here. 4/5

Garfield
Starring: Brekin Myer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Bill Murray
I found myself watching a lot of movies with the same actors and actresses or the same themes this month. Strange. Anyway, this is the story of the big orange lazy cat, and his owner. When his owner gets a new dog, Garfield feels snubbed. But when the dog is kidnapped, it is up to Garfield to save the day. Silly live action movie with a computer animated (or something) cartoon cat. It was silly, bordering on stupid, but still funny and entertaining. I wasn’t expecting a work of art here. 4/5

Miss Congeniality II, Armed and Fabulous
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, William Shatner
Gracie Hart is back, only this time she’s been made into the “face of the FBI” and is an overly made-up, highly styled Barbie Doll. That is, until her friend from the beauty pageant is kidnapped, and Gracie sets out to save the day. Sandra Bullock and Regina King are great together in this. It wasn’t quite as funny or sweet as the first one, but still highly entertaining. 4/5

Gia
Starring: Angelina Jolie
Note to self, do NOT watch movies about supermodels that die of aids in the 70’s when you have a cold. This results in a blocked ability to breathe. This is the true life story of Gia, a 70’s supermodel who contracts HIV, and later dies of AIDS in a time when the disease was just beginning to become rampant. It was an excellent movie, but depressing as all hell, I think I went through at least half a box of tissues watching the last 30 minutes or so. 4/5

The DVD:
RENT
Starring: Jesse L. Martin, Taye Diggs, Anthony Rapp, Rosario Dawson, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Tracie Thomas
Based on the Broadway musical by the same name, with most of the original cast members (all but Dawson and Thomas are original), this movie was fantastic. I had seen Rent on stage quite a few years ago, and it was great to see the play with “movie magic”. Beautifully shot, the music was incredible, the actors naturals. I was extremely impressed with Jesse L. Martin’s performance, and his singing ability. Taye digs and Rosario Dawson also pleasantly surprised me with their musical talents. For those who don’t know, Rent is the story of a group of young “bohemians” living in New York City during the time when AIDS is becoming widespread. It deals with the disease, homosexuality, drug addiction, love, friendship, life and death. It was funny, emotional, sad, gripping, and extremely well translated to film. 5/5
DVD Extras: I had to make sure I mentioned the extras on the two disc DVD I bought, because the second disk contains a documentary about the life of Jonathan Larson, the creator of Rent. I knew of the story of Larson’s life, but didn’t know the details. It is a story made for the movies. The documentary was excellent. It was interesting to hear from the original cast members who knew him when all the Rent action was starting, and his family and friends, who knew him before. I’m pretty sure I cried more during the documentary than the actual movie. There went the rest of my box of tissues. 5/5

So, let’s review, in February I watched:

Two silly movies about twins, two movies about famous singers with drug problems who cheat on their wives, two Sandra Bullock flicks and two with Jennifer Love Hewitt, and two movies about AIDS in the late 70’s/early 80’s. And a bunch of made for TV movies that left a lot to be desired. I MUST diversify in March.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My February in Books


I started off the month in a futuristic Los Angeles, now known as Crimson City (by Liz Maverick). I struggled with Fleur DuMont a vampire, as she met and fell in love with Dain Reston a human, in their Romeo and Juliet style relationship. The struggles between the races, not black and white, but Vampire, Human and Werewolf, and the impending race war, set up an interesting mystery and just enough conflict to keep me on the edge of my seat.

I continued on the vampire streak, but moved on to a much more lighthearted read with Bitten & Smitten by Michelle Rowen. Here I met Sarah Dearly, a contemporary chick lit protagonist, who is set up on a blind date, but instead of meeting Mr. Right, she meets Mr. Man of the Night. Suddenly thrust into this world she never even knew existed, Sarah is forced to reconcile her ideas about Vampires, which she’s gathered from watching Buffy and Angel, with the reality in front of her. There is of course a little romance, and some mystery and good guys v. bad guys thrown in for good measure. This book was funny and entertaining.

From vampires to humans with magical powers I went. In “A fistful of sky” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Gypsum is a member of a family which comes into their magical powers around the time they hit puberty. Unlike the rest of the clan, Gypsum doesn’t go through her “transition” as expected, and is then forced to accept her life as a non-magical member of society. Just as she’s beginning to make peace with her fate, something happens, and everything changes. But is getting the one thing she always wanted more than Gypsum bargained for? I found this story extremely creative, unique, and sweet. Without the magical element, this could be any “coming of age” tale of a young woman trying to find her place in the world. Throw the magic back in, and it was a fantasy filled whirlwind of spells, strange creatures and beautiful imagery.

Although I spent the better part of the month with fantasy creatures, most of them still lived in our very familiar world. I took a trip into distant fantasy lands however, with my next read. I started the “Chronicles of Narnia”, reading first the “Magician’s Nephew” which is the tale that introduces Narnia and explains how it came into existence, and then “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”. I had never before read these books, and am finding them very entertaining, if a bit simple, and childish. I have to keep reminding myself that they were written for children of the 1950’s, unlike the Harry Potter fans of today, which as we know, kids are very different today. Still, I am enjoying the series so far. I am now halfway through the next tale “The Horse and His Boy” and expect to be done with the complete series very much in advance of next month’s review.

Throughout all this reading in “real” book form, I have also been listening to “Wicked: The Life an Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire on audio book. This audio book is about 19 hours long, so it’s taking me a while to get through it. I’ve also had that ear ringing/head buzzing thing going on, so haven’t been able to listen as much as I’d like. I should finish the book by next week, so I’ll save the actual review for March, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

All in all, I’d say it was a very enjoyable reading month for me. I had not realized that all I read this month was fantasy, but it’s fitting, considering I needed an escape from my reality in which my head was zooming half the time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What about your friends?

The beauty of friends is that they come in all shapes and sizes, colors and schematics.

I’m really lucky in that I have some truly wonderful friends, who fit more than one mold, and are just wonderful to have in my life at all times.

But I was thinking the other day, in one of my “bees buzzing in my head” moments, about all the other friends. The “peripheral friends” I’ll call them. These are usually the really interesting ones. They are usually good friends, but not “great” friends, thus why you keep them on the peripheral.

The only true difference, in my eyes, between a GREAT friend, and a GOOD friend, is that a GREAT friendship doesn’t require maintenance from either party, the friendship just IS. Whether you see each other every day, or live thousands of miles apart and only see each other every other year, the friendship is true, and effortless. This is not to say that you will never fight with a “great” friend, because you will. It just means that once the fight has been fought, you’ve just become that much closer, the friendship is that much stronger.

In “good” friendships, you can have a lot of fun together, you can go through a lot of stuff together, be there for one another, and even think the world of each other, but, there’s always been a bit of a struggle to connect. You know those friendships where you have to think before you speak for fear of hurting their feelings? Or the ones where there’s always been more than one occasion where one of the friends felt snubbed, or ignored, or left out and it just always takes some work to make sure the friendship runs smoothly. Or maybe it’s simply the kind of friendship which with time, and distance, just slowly dies out, never to be heard from again. There is nothing inherently bad about about a “good” friend, it’s just lacking some mysterious ingredient which would make it great.

So, it was in thinking about friendships that I gave some thought to the types of friends every woman (for I can’t really speak for men) has both in the close and the peripheral classes. Here’s a few, and it is possible that a friend can be more than one of the following at once:

DISCLAIMER: The following is a completely fictional list of characters and none of my friends should take the list as a list of who my friends are (unless it makes them happy to do so). I have some of these in my circle, and I have others that don’t quite fit into any specific mold, if you take offense, let it be known that you are definitely NOT the person I was thinking of (if I was thinking of anyone at all) I love you all dearly for your virtues and your quirks.

The Pleaser: This friend is the kind that whether she does it on purpose, or it simply comes naturally, she is so eager to please that you sometimes wonder if she has any interests of her own. She will wait for your suggestion as to what you should do together, or if she does make a recommendation of her own, it is quickly followed by a “is that okay? We don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.”

The Database: (Sometimes this friend is both the pleaser and the DB): This friend is the one who always remembers every birthday, job interview, date or special event you have on the horizon and calls you the very next day to see how things went. Personally, I love this friend and wish I could be her.

The Shoulder: This is the one you ALWAYS call when you’ve been through a break-up, or you’ve broken a nail. She listen, she hugs and she always knows the right thing to say, even it it’s just “That sucks, I’m sorry”.

The Drama Queen: Needs no explanation really, but you know with this friend, she’ll always top you with her stories, her ailments, her crisis’s. Very closely related to the Negative Nelly.

The Negative Nelly: There is NOTHING in the world that can ever go right for this girl. And even when it does, it just means it’s somehow going to explode and go wrong. This is not necessarily the truth, but stick with her long enough, and you’ll start believing it too.

The Positive Patty: in contrast to Ms. Negative, this girl always sees the bright side of things. You stubbed your toe? Well, at least you stopped thinking about your headache right? Lost your job, well now you can find something you really love to do. Not a bad person to have on your side. Except on those days when you really just want someone to scream with. Call Nelly then.

The Bad News Bear: This friend, unlike the Drama Queen, won’t necessarily call you with her personal woes, but always has a terrible story to share, or some news article she read that will put the fear of God into you. This is also the friend you should NEVER discuss your health with, because she is likely to respond with “I don’t mean to scare you but…” Friends are supposed to say “I’m sure it’s nothing”, you never want to hear the other words come out of their mouths. (the bad news bear in my life by the way, was the inspiration for this entry).

The Flake: God love her, she is one of your favorite people in the world, but you sure hope this girl always has friends like you around her to keep her from walking in front of a speeding bus. She would give you the shirt off her back, trouble is, she might ACTUALLY give you the shirt of her back, in public, in broad daylight.

The Boss: You know her, she’s always in charge, and although sometimes you may resent it, most of the time, you don’t really mind, after all, someone has to do the planning, make the phone calls, grab that cute boy’s attention and push you right in front of him on the dance floor. Yes, I know we can be annoying (yes, I am very aware I fall into this category), but you do love us for it.

The Superstar: This is your glamorous friend. She always looks perfect, has all the new toys, knows all the right people. She can find out any information you need at any time, and is sure to be the first to plan that exotic vacation. The only real problem with this friend, is you always feel like the frumpy younger sister next to her. But at least she’ll let you borrow her clothes. (NO, I absolutely do not think I am her, I am always the frumpy younger sister).

These are just a few of the ones I can think of. I am sure there are more, and I’m sure you’ve got plenty you can share with me. Please do.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Where in the World is my Muse?

Been MIA for a while here...sorry. Not only can I not find my Muse, so therefore, no inspiration to write, but I've also been sick in the head. Go ahead, laugh, it's funny, but only because it didn't happen to you.
See, a week ago Saturday I woke up with an extremely bad cold. I troupered through the day's errands, and even a one year old's birthday party, because usually, I don't really get very sick, so I figured I could handle it. By Saturday afternoon when I made it home, I felt deathly ill, and didn't leave the house again until Monday. Feeling like I'd gotten over the worst of it, I was feeling pretty great on Monday, until mid-afternoon, when out of the blue, my head got woozy, and I started feeling pretty sick. By that evening, I had this insistant buzzing in my head. I woke up Tuesday with this constant buzzing in my head/ringing in my ears. After a little internet research, I realized that I had some form of tinnitus, which for those not in the know, is a swarm of bees buzzing around inside your head for a consistant period of time. My entire head vibrated, I couldn't think straight, and just the sound of my computer humming made me want to scream. It wasn't a headache, it was a buzzing/humming/ringing...By Tuesday night, I was volunteering for decapitation. Woke up Wednesday not feeling any better, so I decided to stay home, to recoup. After reading an entire book (only thing that calmed my head was complete silence), and no improvement I went to the doctor only to be told that since I did not have an ear infection, there was nothing they could give me, this would have to work itself out...and it could take WEEKS for it to go away. LOVELY.
Since then, I've had better days, and then relapses, I cancelled most of my weekend plans for fear of exacerbating the problem, and read yet another ENTIRE book, while trying to block out the bees. I did learn, by the way, in case you are ever faced with a case of tinnitus, that although the sound of my refrigerator was enough to send me into a tizzy, the purring of my cat had a calming effect on the bees. Go figure. I'm still not 100%, but I'm thinking I'm getting closer and closer to it...let's hope.
In the meantime, I haven't gone to the gym in almost two weeks, been comfort eating like food will calm the buzzing, and the thought of squeezing into a bathing suit in less than 3 months is looming large and frightening.
I have also done a whole lot of reading when the buzzing was on, and television watching when I was feeling better, but staying home to avoid getting worse. There will be a few book and movie reviews to come from this escapade. Stay tuned, I watched some doozies!
Today I'm at work, and for the first time in a week, I've been able to concentrate and get A LOT accomplished. It is now almost time to leave, to go meet my friends for drinks, except, I won't be drinking anything fancier than Iced Tea, since the buzzing in my head does NOT need any aid of alcoholic substances.
I am looking forward to the day when I again have a clear head. Oh the things we take for granted!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Tuesday

So, it’s here, the flowers and candy and hearts and pink balloons, and jewelry and Hallmark cards holiday (if we can truly call it that). That one day a year when love is in the air and all is cheerful and romantic. WHATEVER…

It is without a doubt the one calendar day when the masses divide, into the haves and have-nots, the lovers and the lonely. And therefore, as a representative of the single class, it is expected of me to have something to say. In fact, it was requested of me by my cousin that I post one of my blog entries, with my witty (my word, not hers) and sarcastic sense of humor. So, Moni, this is for you.

Here’s the thing though, I’m not feeling Valentine’s day this year, one way or the other. I’ve had plenty of Vdays when I was both single and “entangled”, and on these days, I’ve had both negative and positive reactions. There have been the “he’d better remember, I’d better get flowers” days, and the “oh, he’s so sweet, I can’t believe he showed up with flowers and candy” moments. There have also been the “I’m such a loser I don’t have a date” days, and the “whatever, I’m just going to spend it with my also single friends and mock the whole thing as being a corporate holiday meant for spending money and driving people crazy” rants.
But this year? I almost forgot it was coming. Then last week I decided to buy some Valentines to send out to all my friends. But, in typical procrastinator fashion, I still have them sitting on my desk at home…maybe I’ll send them out next year (sorry girls, it's the thought that counts right? Imagine getting a Hello Kitty Valentine in the mail...it's from me, it says "Be Mine" or some other corny thing). But the key is this, I’ve barely noticed the hearts and ribbons and pink and ads for flowers and Kay Jewelers. It’s just not been on my priority list of things to obsess about. The main reason being that I have truly made peace with being single, to the extent that I’m comfortable, satisfied and even happy with my status.

So, for those of you who were anxiously expecting the inevitable sarcastic rant, I must apologize for this year, I just don’t have it in me. I’m not getting soft, and I’m not “giving in”, I’m just not interested enough. As far as I see it, it is Tuesday, I have some sort of ear infection (great fun), and I’m hoping the ringing in my head subsides enough to make it to the gym tonight. I don’t want to go home and sulk, because I’m not in a sulking mood. I don’t want to find a way to celebrate it with other singles, or to “treat myself extra special” because it’s Tuesday, what’s so special about it? But I’m also not anti-Valentine this year. I hope those of you who find yourselves in relationships get lots of flowers, candy, and romance. I know if I was in your situation, I’d want it too, all “snarky remarks” about commercial holidays aside.
So, in honor of the holiday that I almost forgot existed, I’ve decided to share some Valentine’s Day memories with you.

The first took place in 1992 or so; I was in high school and working at McFast food restaurant. There was a boy, we’ll call him “O”, and he asked me out for V-day. I don’t remember too much about the actual date, besides these two things: He gave me a pink stuffed monkey, (and possibly a flower, but I don’t recall) and his car smelled like gasoline, therefore the pink stuffed monkey smelled like gasoline for months to come. I’m pretty sure we had a nice time, but I also know we never went out again, though we continued to work together and get along just fine. I still have the pink monkey, he is now part of a collection of stuffed monkeys I’ve acquired as gifts over the years, in fact, I went on to receive at least one other stuffed monkey at a later Valentine’s day. Still trying to figure out the monkey thing…wonder if they’re trying to tell me something?

Next memory takes place possibly 5 years ago, it was my second time with my most recent ex, who had also been my first real love, we had a 3 year break between our two times together. I remember that he didn’t call me that day until much later than is acceptable for Valentine’s day. I also remembered that he was one of those “Valentine’s day is commercial, I love you every day why do I have to make a big deal out of today” kind of guys, so therefore, I spent most of the day mad at him. Typical in our relationship. So, after a day of no flowers at the office, and barely a “Happy V-Day” on the phone, I came home cranky and frustrated to find a box of chocolates and flowers on my bed. The jerk had stopped by my house on his way home from work and dropped them off. I’ve never forgotten how this was the perfect example of how this holiday can be so manipulative. I’d been angry all day, and he turned out to do something completely out of character and sweet, romantic and unexpected. And then of course when I called to tell him I loved it, he blew it off with his typical “yeah, whatever, I only did it because you didn’t think I would”. Sigh…EX-boyfriend for a reason.(or 10)

The final memory I will share with you is my favorite "dear to my heart" Valentine’s Day memory. I was in college. Valentine’s day was on a Monday. On Friday a group of girls was bemoaning their lack of boyfriends, and therefore the impending misery of the coming Monday. With us were some guys as well, among them, hmmm I’ll call him “G”. We were informing G, in that teasing way girls do, that we were expecting flowers and candy from him on Monday. We were also quickly informed that we were dreaming, and would receive no such thing. Fast forward to Monday, VDAY. Sitting in class, and G isn’t even there. I should add quickly that G and I had had some flirtation with each other prior to this, but nothing too definitive. So, suddenly the door to the class opens, and in comes G, a little late, possibly out of breath from climbing the 20 flights of steps (hey, my memory is a little failed here, so I’ll make things up if I want) and plops himself down on his desk next to mine. He is carrying flowers, roses if I remember correctly (I really need to do some memory exercises). Obviously I assumed someone had given them to him, and truth be told, was probably a bit disappointed. That is until he plops them on my desk, and proceeds to dig out a box of chocolates (big red heart shaped kind) and plop that on my desk as well. HOW TOTALLY CUTE is that? That began a fun, and strange on-again, off-again thing with G and I that lasted for years. He left at some point during school to join the army, and we had one of those “relationship by correspondence” things where we weren’t really together, but every time he’d be home on leave, we’d re-connect like we were together. Last I heard he'd gotten married, but never told me directly about it. We lost touch, we moved on, I wish him all the best, and hope he knows what a special place in my heart he’s got. We were never very serious, but he’s always been one that defines romance for me.

Well, hell, maybe I am getting soft. Must be the ringing in my head. I’m going out to buy a stuffed animal, preferably a monkey, to give to Lil K (the little sister) on my way home. And if you do want some Anti-Valentine’s sentiments, go here: http://www.meish.org/vd/ (where the above picture was stolen from). I was directed there by another blogger, and it’s funny as hell, so I had to share.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Randomness

Life is crazy beautiful! Okay, well, it's crazy anyway, and therefore, I've been neglecting my blog (as well as other people's blogs that I need to catch up on).

Anyway, this past weekend here in lovely New England we were hit with a Nor'Easter. For those of you not in the know, that is New England for "a whole crapload of snow". We knew the storm was hitting on Saturday night, so it was all about getting stuff done before mandatory hibernation set in.

Friday night I went to the movies and saw "Walk the Line". I really enjoyed this movie. I was impressed with Reese Witherspoon's acting and with her singing. She's not going to win any Grammy's, but she certainly held her own. And Joaquim Phoenix? Well, I have to tell you, he blew me away. Not only is he an incredible actor, but he sounded so much like Johnny Cash. It was very impressive that these actors took on the added role of singing the songs themselves, and I think that it added an extra level to the movie. They deserve every award they get! This movie gets 5/5 stars for me! I will watch it again when it's out on DVD.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling sick. Turns out the cold I thought I'd kicked about a week and a half ago, was only on hiatus and came back with a vengeance on Saturday morning. Even so, I got my arse out of bed and went to the gym like a good girl. Aren't you all so proud of me? After that I made what was supposed to be a quick trip (and turned into a NOT so quick "wait") to AAA to pay for my vacation to Mexico. A small heart attack and large credit card debit later, I headed home to shower and change. I then rushed to pick up the girls to take them to gymnastics, and while they were somersaulting and cart wheeling, I made an unsuccessful attempt to find the ever elusive winter boots in February in New England (see previous post for related rant). Upon picking the girls up from gymnastics and taking the hyper active one home, lil K and I went to my friend Shizzy's one year old's birthday party. OOH Joy. I was very sad to not be able to cuddle with the little guy, but alas, I was infected and therefore banned from the kiddies. So I oggled and cooed from afar, feeling like death warmed over. Once the party ended, I made a quick jaunt to a megastore that shall not be named, as I'm supposed to be boycotting it (oops) for catfood, and AHA I found the ever elusive black boots!

Cat food and AWSOME black boots in hand, I dropped lil K off at home, and went home myself. Pj's were thrown on, blankets and pillows were grabbed, and I took up residence on my couch, from where I would not move again until the bed was calling. In my medicine head funk, I somehow decided to watch "New York Minute", a Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movie...ha! DELIRIOUS I was...actually, it was a cute mindless flick and I much enjoyed it. I then attempted to watch Van Helsing, but fell asleep somewhere in the middle and woke up 2 hours later with a kink in my neck. Sunday morning I woke up to find the pretty white stuff falling from the sky. Normally snow makes me cranky, but as I'd decided that I was not leaving the house until Monday, I was happy to see my excuse all white and shiny outside my windows. Over breakfast I finished watching Van Helsing. I had no idea this movie was a comedy. It's kind of a mix between a sci-fi monster flick and a silly movie full of cliches. I enjoyed it, it was fun to watch, but it was not at all what I was expecting.

It turned out that my cold had only visited on Saturday so I wouldn't get my baby time at the birthday party, because Sunday I was feeling much better. I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house, doing laundry and watching Lifetime movies. I watched "It Had to Be You" with Michael VArtan (of Alias) and Natasha Henstridge which is a story of two people who meet on the weekend they are planning their weddings to other people, and fall in love. Typical sappy, love story, but cute. And then I watched "Cake" with Heather Graham, Taye Diggs (YUMMY), Sandra Oh (who I love) and a bunch of other people who I don't know. This was a cute story of an independant "travel writer" who is a single woman and as her friends call her "wedding phobic". She winds up running her dad's wedding magazine while he is sick, and hillarity ensues. Another one of those sappy love stories, but still cute. My favorite thing of the movie? A t-shirt she wore which read "I think, therefore I'm single"...MUST get one for myself.

I ended my Sunday watching the BEST EVER episode of Greys' anatomy. If you don't watch this show, run out and buy season 1 and then find a way to catch up on season 2...this show is incredible TV! I highly recommend it.

Woke up this morning in a nice rested, happy mood. AND then I went to work and it all went to hell...but really, I'm not going to get into that here.

Tomorrow, as promissed to someone who asked, you shall get the obligatory "Anti-black Tuesday" post.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Thirteen Things about ME


1…. Karina is my middle name
2 . I was born in Africa
3 . I lived in Portugal for 10 years
4 . I've lived in the USA for 20 years
5 . I've been a big sister through "Big Brother Big Sister" to my "lil sis" for 5 years
6 . I'm older than my real little brother by 10 years
7 . I think family and real friends are the most important things in life
8 . I'm addicted to reality television
9 . I love sushi
10. The cat in the picture is my little devil Calla Lilly
11. When I grow up I want to be a writer
12. I kill all plants except for my one bamboo and my one cactus which for some reason I've managed to keep alive for years now
13. I'm happy to be turning 31 this year.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Snow Shoes??


I live in New England. It is cold here from about September 20th to about the end of May. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but really, if you’re a New Englander, you know I’m not stretching it all that much. Summer lasts about 3 weeks or so, falling somewhere between July and August. The rest of the year is mild at best.

This winter, we’ve had what they’re calling an “unseasonably warm” winter. The temps have stayed in the mid to upper 40s and 50s, the sun has been out, we are all very pleased, well, except maybe the skiers. Winter appears, however, to be on it’s way back in, and as New Englanders, we will grumble, and complain, but we’ll grab our shovels, our hats and mittens, and deal with it. We live here, therefore, we deal.

The weather, per se, is not my issue today. Today, my issue is with the retail industry, so if you will indulge me:

An open letter to retail America:

Dear Retailers:

In case nobody alerted you, the groundhog saw his shadow. This means that we are expecting six more weeks of winter. For us New Englanders, that means about 12 more weeks of unreasonably cold weather, and the occasional Nor’Easter. While I understand your excitement at the colorful new bathing suits you’ve created, do I need to see them now? When just the mere thought of going outside in a bikini sends shivers into my brain, walking into Target and seeing rows upon rows of multi-colored itty bitty swimsuits is NOT a pleasant experience.

Now, let’s talk shoes for a minute, shall we? Shoes, as I’m sure you are aware, are an essential part of any self-respecting woman’s wardrobe. We love our shoes. We take our shoes very seriously. So, it goes without saying that a woman in New England will not only have a vast collection of winter shoes (ie boots), but won’t be caught dead in open toe shoes until AT LEAST May, for fear of losing her poor little toes to frostbite.

That said, why is it that in the first weeks of February it is nearly impossible to find any footwear in any retail establishment that would cover afore mentioned toes? Boots? HA! Nary a one. Are we then to presume that if we have an unfortunate accident mid-winter, for example, a heel breaking off the staple "every woman has them" knee high black boots, we then will have to refrain from wearing black until it is safe to show our toes?

I’m not asking for much, I would just like to buy shoes and clothes during the actual season when I can actually wear them. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, now that you’ve released the swimsuits into the wild, can we keep them around until those of us who live in layers for warmth have had a chance to shed the “winter weight”? Say…May?

Many thanks.

Friday, February 03, 2006

To baby or not to baby?


THAT is the question all over that place lately.

In Hollywood: Is Angelina pregnant with Brad’s child? Is Katie…excuse me, I mean KATE Holmes really pregnant and what kind of alien child will be born of this strange coupling? Is Brittney pregnant again?

In Washington: Alito has been confirmed, and what does that mean for women’s reproductive rights?

In the Media: Walmart is being sued for not carrying the morning after pill. Germany is concerned over their low birth rates.

In day-to-day life: friends are having babies, planning babies, talking about babies.

And in books, but only because I just finished reading a book titled “Maybe Baby”, which is a collection of essays on the issue of baby-making, or not. This was an excellent book, which so eloquently stated all sides of the breeding issue. Those who have them, those who want them, those who don’t (have them or want them). As I read the book, I started reflecting on my own personal feelings on this issue.

As a 30-year-old single woman in today’s society, I’d be lying if I said the baby thing doesn’t cross my mind often. I’m surrounded by all the above factors, not to mention that I’ve always loved children, and simply melt at the sight of a cute kid. I stop in my tracks when a baby stroller goes by me, and get lost in the smiling and cooing and flirting with the small child. Therefore, one would think, that I’d be ITCHING for motherhood. But, one would be wrong. At least I think one would be wrong. See, that’s the thing, when it comes to the prospect of having my own children, I’m completely ambivalent. Reading “Maybe Baby” I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with some of the writers who discussed their reasons for wanting children, the unexplainable desire, the joy they imagined (and then realized) it would bring them. But then I also found myself agreeing just as adamantly with those who explained their reasons why they couldn’t imagine themselves parenting, yet, or ever.

And this is the exact spot where I just lost most of you. “Never parenting?” you ask appalled “But how could you say such a thing?” Those who know me personally are shaking their heads in disbelief, after all, I’d make such a good mother, and I’m so great around kids. Those who don’t are just thinking, “Oh, she’s one of THOSE women”.

Now let me be clear, I have NO idea, if I will or will not ever have a child. I’m ambivalent remember? BUT, the thought has crossed my mind on several occasions, that I may always just be the “cool auntie” and never the “mommy”. There are several reasons for this. Reason number 1: I’m single. But that of course isn’t the heart of the reason, the heart of it is that I thoroughly enjoy being single. I toy with the idea of love and marriage, and most often return to the “no, thanks, not for me” stance. I may be on the fence about whether I’m ready to be a mother, but I have no doubt that I am in no way, shape or form ready to be a wife. I don’t know that I EVER want to get married. I might, as I’m constantly told by the “smug marrieds” around me “just meet that guy and fall deeply in love and blah blah blah”. I might. And then I might not. I might meet that guy, and still not want the marriage, the invasion of my space, the complete handing over of my trust. I have trust issues. I work for lawyers, we do lots of divorces, I don’t think most of society takes marriage seriously enough, and therefore, I take it too seriously. BUT, I might decide one day that yep, I want to marry this man and make babies with him. It’s true, it could happen. Reason number 2: I’m selfish. Now, this one I know for a fact is a passing thing. But I’ve spent most of my life trying to please those around me, and it’s only recently that I’ve begun to focus on ME. I like it. I don’t want to share it. I don’t want to give up my sleep, I don’t want to give up my nights out sipping martinis, I don’t want to become one of those people that only talks about her babies, not because it’s annoying, but because it means I have NO OTHER LIFE but my babies. Not yet, I’m still having too much fun. Reason number 3: Pregnancy doesn’t appeal to me in any imaginable way. There is absolutely NOTHING about the condition that I find even the slightest bit tempting. I blame this mostly on my ex-co-workers for sharing more birthing information than any childless woman should EVER have to hear. And yes, I know, it’s a beautiful thing, and you feel your baby inside and you have a special bond and blah blah blah…I know all this. I’m still absolutely petrified of the whole idea of pregnancy and giving birth, and there really is nothing anybody can say that will change my mind. I am sure, however, that once I go through it myself, IF I do, that I’ll probably have to eat my words because I’ll be one of those women who loves every moment of being pregnant. I tell you what, I’ll happily eat my words, because I have a feeling I’m more likely to be the miserable pregnant person who everybody feels sorry for. Reason Number 4: I think our world SUCKS. There I said it. There is too much violence, disease, hatred, anger, depression, and just nastiness. And it’s not getting any better; in fact, daily I’m shocked by how much worse it gets. The thought of voluntarily bringing a child into this world, and then watching them have to survive in it? Not only does it sadden me deeply, it terrifies me. I am a worrier of the worst kind (thanks mom for this trait); I have constant panic attacks about the state of my family, my friends, and complete strangers. And I understand that a maternal connection to a child is intense, so I can only imagine what a basket case I will/would be as a mother. Not so sure I can handle it, and I’m not so sure it’s fair to inflict my dramatics onto a poor innocent child.

There are more reasons, but these four top the charts.

There is, however, a loophole around most of these reasons. That loophole is actually something I’ve thought about for most of my adult life. Adoption. See, I’ve always wanted to adopt. And with the exception of reason number 2 (selfish), adoption would eliminate most of my reasons. And as we discussed, the selfishness is temporary. For adoption, I actually don’t need a husband, or even a boyfriend. Reason number one –gone. And yeah, I know all about “scientific” ways to have a child without a man, but I’m not interested in those because…see reason number 3 for starters. But also because I think there are too many broken homes in this world, and I refuse to purposely bring a child into one. If a child already doesn’t have a home, well, then one parent is better than no parents, right? And let me quickly say, before I get lambasted, that I am not knocking single parenting in any way shape or form. I think single parents are amazing, and I applaud them with all my heart. I know most single parents didn’t choose this as their situation, and even if you did, you have EVERY RIGHT to make that choice. I’m just saying that for me personally, it’s the wrong choice. This also brings me back to reason number 4 above. I don’t want to bring a child into this world unless I can at least have the fantasy that I’m providing them with a daddy too, because the world is already so screwed up, so I just couldn’t do that. But adoption? Well, that child is already in this world, so if I can make it better for them, then there you have it, reason number four – GONE. And quite obviously, adoption does away with the whole pregnancy issue all together, and that’s just fabulous!

But of course loopholes come with catches. The catch is, there’s no way I can afford adoption. So there you have it, for the time being at least, no babies for me.

What I loved about this book was the realization that I am not alone in these feelings. I loved that the writers were from all walks of life, and had all made such different choices, with such unique reasons for those choices. It made it easier to see that I don’t have to have all the answers, now, or ever. And if I do end up choosing parenthood, even then, I don’t have to have all the answers. Good to know.

So the moral of the story is, that I just don’t know where I stand on parenthood, except that I know now is not the time. And that’s okay, in fact, it’s great. I have plenty of time to figure things out while I play with everyone else's kids.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Concert Review


In keeping with my new year’s resolution to LIVE life a bit more this year, I went out on a “school” night this week! Yep, I’m living dangerously folks.

My friend N had mentioned at the beginning of the year that Lifehouse would be playing at a Boston nightclub in February, and did I want to go. Not really sure who Lifehouse were, but being familiar with their one song that the radio plays INCESSANTLY “You and Me”, and actually really liking the song, I agreed. I then actually decided to make the concert ticket her birthday present, and so the plan was made. In case you don't know, this is lifehouse: http://www.lifehousemusic.com/

I used to love going to concerts. I love music, and I love live music that much more. For years, starting in highschool, all the way through the end of college, there wasn’t a summer that wasn’t populated with various concert attendances. I’ve seen everyone from New Kids on the Block (yep, I said it) to Aerosmith. One of these days I’ll have to do an entry about all the concerts I’ve been to, but that’s for another day.

Anyway, as I’ve gotten older, and funds have gotten tighter, time and money have prevented me from going to as many concerts. So, it’s always nice when a reasonably priced opportunity to see a live band presents itself.

Not wanting to be clueless at this concert, I borrowed N’s Lifehouse cds, burnt them onto the mp3 player, and studied up on the band. Turns out I really like their music. BONUS.

So, the concert was last night. After a “so not on my diet” dinner at Boston Beer Works, we headed over to Avalon for the show. The opening act, a girl by the name of Mozella, was performing when we got there. She was actually pretty good. Sounded a bit like “Nelly Furtado” but more rock then pop. Folksy. Different. If you’re curious, go here: http://www.mozellamusic.com/

This being a general admission show, we managed to work our way all the way to the front, a little off to the side of the stage. We were pretty much standing right by the velvet rope to the area where the bouncers were hanging out to keep crazy fans from...I don't know...rushing the stage or something. We wound up having a fun time just joking around with the bouncers before the show even started. Except for this one guy who was on a major power trip. He was an idiot.

Anyway, then Lifehouse came out. Huh, these guys are pretty young. I had no idea what they even looked like, so it was kind of fun to even just see them and find out what they looked like. They’re an odd bunch, the lead singer has a “Charlie from Lost” look to him, the guitarist looks like a surfer dude, the drummer is more of a punk rock, shaved head looking guy, and the bassist had that rough n’ tough look to him. But they sounded great. You know how sometimes you’ll go see a musician live, and you realize that the only reason their album sounds good is because it’s all digitally re-mastered or whatever? This wasn’t the case at all. These guys sounded better live than on the cds. The lead singer has a great voice, and they all play with passion. They take this stuff seriously, but also have fun performing it. It was a great show, and I’m really glad we went.

I also had another one of those “man, I’m getting old” moments. Actually, I had a few of them last night. There were the obvious ones, when all the teenybopper girls (the show was an all ages show) were squealing in delight, and I thought my eardrums were going to burst, the fact that my back was killing me and I just wanted to sit down for FIVE minutes, those moments. And then there was the big one. At one point Jason Wade (the lead singer), jumped off the stage, and ran over RIGHT to where we were standing. He actually stopped about two feet from me to sing for a while. I thought it was pretty cool of him to do that, but that was the extent of my excitement. The little girls around me were all going insane, hearts aflutter “Oh my God I touched him”. And I thought to myself “huh…not so much”. Actually, truth be told, I also touched him, but I didn’t mean to, but IDIOT above mentioned bouncer decided that I was obviously a threat, and in his rush to protect Mr. Wade from me, actually pushed me INTO him. It wasn’t a full on collision or anything, just a “oh, oops, okay balance is back” moment. But it was funny, because all I was thinking was “please don’t let me get trampled”. Yep, I’m getting old.

All in all it was a good show, great night, and the best part is, I’m obviously not THAT old, because even though I was out until…gasp…midnight, I had no more trouble getting up this morning than usual (which is to say, it sucked, but not any more than it always does).
Hmmm, what concert can I go to next?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Movie Reviews

I wanted this to be a movie-watching weekend, because I have about 30 movies sitting on TIVO taking up space, that I really want to get to. I watched 3 and 1/20th movies, so I guess I didn’t do too badly.

It all started Friday morning when I was driving in to work and made the executive decision that I was going to see Memoirs of a Geisha that night. I did end up going, here is my review:

Memoirs of a Geisha: I just finished reading the book about two weeks ago, which by the way, I LOVED LOVED LOVED. With this in mind, I decided I wanted to go see the movie, even though I’m well aware that the movie is never as good as the book. I’ve decided that from now on, with the exception of Harry Potter, I shall no longer read the book before I watch the movie, EVER. If I’ve already read the book and they make a movie of it, I simply will not watch it. Or at least, I will wait until enough time has passed that I’ve forgotten all the details. In fact, it’s probably best if I’ve forgotten the book entirely. As you can see, I didn’t exactly love the movie. It started wrong, it ended wrong and it was wrong all the way through, pretty much. BUT, I think I would have been willing to overlook some of the liberties they took, had they not completely ruined the essence of the story. As long as I live, I will never understand Hollywood’s desire to take a perfectly good story, and change it COMPLETELY for the screen. In this movie, you’ve got characters having things happen to them that happened to completely different characters in the book, you’ve got a strong protagonist who survives a series of difficult circumstances and still always comes across as strong, and intelligent, and witty, coming across as dumb, and weak, and meek. I feel that anyone who watches this movie and doesn’t read the book, is getting cheated. This is a story of a smart, resilient girl, with some gut-wrenching, deep and emotional twists. I thought the movie, in comparison was bland, superficial, disappointing. That said, if I don’t compare it to the book, I will say this, it was beautifully acted, the scenery was GORGEOUS, and the music was incredible. My friend, who has NOT read the book, loved the movie, she thought it was sweet, and the ending brought tears to her eyes, so I guess it wasn’t as bland as I saw it. This is a tough review, because as a stand-alone, I can see why this movie is getting such great reviews, but as a movie made from a book, it paled in comparison. I’m going to be generous, and give it 3 ½ out of 5 stars, because it was a beautiful movie, if only I’d been able to not compare it.

MOVING ON…Saturday night I decided to work on some of those tivoed movies. I started watching “Girl with a Pearl Earring” but was about 15 minutes into it when I realized that I wasn’t paying the least bit of attention, as it just wasn’t AT ALL a movie I was interested in watching. I’ve begun having the same attitude towards movies as I have towards books, if it doesn’t grab me in the first chapter (first 15 minutes of a movie), I don’t bother with it. There is way too much out there to read/watch, to waste time on something that’s just not grabbing me.

So, I watched “Taking Lives”, with Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, and a bunch of other people that you go “oh yeah, I know who that is. This one is a suspense/thriller about an FBI agent (Jolie) who goes to Canada to help some detectives with a serial killer case. The movie was twisted, creepy, intelligent, and just fun to watch in general. I won’t say much more, because with these type of movies, you can’t say much without giving away the twists and turns, but I highly recommend it if you like suspense. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I then watched “Ed Wood”. I’m on this mission to watch every movie Johnny Depp has ever made. I’m not really sure why, but there it is, he’s hot, he’s been in a lot of movies, and I’ve decided I want to see them all. This of course means that I’m bound to watch some incredible movies (Edward Scissorhands, Blow, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), some strange movies (well, actually, they’re all strange), and then some “What the hell were you thinking JD?” movies. Ed Wood falls somewhere between the two latter categories. This is the story of Ed Wood a 1950’s B-Cult Movie director. The movie is black and white and that in itself should have probably warned me that I was in for some strangeness. It also stars Sarah-Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Martin Landau, Bill Murray, and that kid who played Vinnie on Doogie Howser (Max Casella is his name). It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t good either. It was weird. I don’t even know what rating to give it. I fell asleep half-way through it and finished watching it the next morning, because it wasn’t bad enough that I didn’t want to see the rest, but it just wasn’t good enough that I forced myself to stay awake to watch it. Know what I mean? But hey, JD was in it, so that’s a plus. Of course, he was in drag through some of it, and that’s just weird. 3 out of 5 stars, I guess.

That, my friends, was my movie watching weekend. I also watched the SAG awards last night, which were boring (I was reading at the same time), and Grey’s Anatomy, which is fast becoming one of my favorite shows. That show is laugh out loud hilarious, and Sandra Oh, who by the way won a SAG (and a Golden Globe) for her role in that show, is funny as hell.
Okay, I’m done playing Ebert and Roeper for today.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Marriage or Martinis?


Sitting here thinking about the fact that I have about a month and two weeks before being 30 turns into being 30something.

Realizing, that I’m totally okay with this, in fact, I’m better than okay with it, I’m feeling great about the 30’s.

Not being able to explain what it is specifically, but knowing a sense of inner peace about the new juncture of life I’ve entered.

Reflecting on why it is that 30 feels so much better than 20.

I’m not in my 20’s anymore, which means that I no longer need to feel like the “kid” in the room. I’m over 30, therefore, I am now an adult. No longer a young adult, just an adult.

As a 30-year-old single woman, I can confidently sip a chocolate (caramel, apple, insert yummy flavor here) martini with a group of girlfriends, and not ONCE look around the room wondering if the cute guy is watching. I don’t even notice the cute guys; I’m too busy enjoying my friends’ company. How refreshing.

I’ve now been in my line of work long enough now, that it really has become my career, and although I’m not sure this is what I’ll always want to do, right now it I’m good with calling it my career choice. After all, I did choose it, I’m good at it, and it does pay the bills.

I can come home after a day at work, and walk into MY condo, and feel the satisfaction that I pay my mortgage every month on my own, keep the utilities turned on, and manage to feed myself AND the animals, and still have money left over for above mentioned martinis.

I’ve learned that there are things worth splurging on, and things that I just don’t really need to have, no matter how much I “MUST” have them, and can take a step back and wait it out. Therefore, securing extra money for said martinis.

When I plan with a girlfriend to go out for said martinis, I don’t have to worry about who’s going to get drunk and “act a fool”, because a martini is about savoring, not inhaling, as are glasses of wine, and other fruity concoctions. And going for drinks, in your 30ish stage (at least in my immediate world), is a euphemism for “spending quality time with my friends”.

I’ve reached a stage in my life, where I can do pretty much whatever I want to do, without worrying if it is socially acceptable. If it is acceptable to me, at this stage in my life, then it shouldn’t matter if it is acceptable to others. Granted, I’m also not running around half naked or sticking my arse out of moving car windows at this stage in my life, so I run less risk of offending someone. But the thing is, I don’t much care if “they”, whoever “they” are, wouldn’t do things my way. I do things my way and I’m the only one who’s allowed to judge me.

I’ve also reached a stage in my life in which I don’t feel the least bit guilty about being a little bit selfish. I’ve earned the right to check the caller ID and not answer the phone if I don’t feel like talking, to spend a Friday night at home, curled up on the couch watching tivo’d episodes of my guilty pleasures, to NOT want to share my space with anyone just yet, not a man, not a child, maybe my cat.

At 30, I’ve realized that the things that I used to stress over in my 20’s, were so minimal compared to the things that I know I will be stressing over as I get older. Marriages, children, job opportunities are bound to take friends to far away places and remove them from my immediate line of sight as time progresses. Disease, old age, and just pure bad luck are sure to take loved ones away from me and others I know as the years move on. Too many things will change, not enough will stay the same, and I will have to deal with them all, now that I am an adult. This obviously does not sound like a positive, but this knowledge, this awareness, makes the daily trivial stresses, laughable, and manageable. It makes getting up in the morning a blessing, and laying in bed at night a success. It makes every little thing, from my cat licking my face to say good morning, to a good workout at the gym, seem like such a miracle. And at 30, I’m finally able to appreciate this, and enjoy it. This is not to say that I don’t stress, fume, rant and rage at the daily stresses, but I’ve learned to let things go a lot quicker. It always feels better when you exhale.

It took me 30 years, but I’ve actually started paying attention to what I eat. I don’t just mean, “dieting”, but for the first time in my life, I’m paying attention to portions, and calories, and nutrients, and what is good and what isn’t for my body. I’ll still melt down and grab a big fat burger now and again, but I’m kinder to my body now, because when I do, I take note, and therefore, am less likely to do it as often.

Even though I joke about the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” curse that follows me (hey, I’ll be in my 5th and 6th weddings this year and next), I’m truly very comfortable with my position as the “single” friend. I’m genuinely happy when friends get married, or have their children, and I’m at peace that I’m not the person experiencing it directly. I have an opportunity to experience the world like not many 30ish-year-olds get to do. Without attachments, without having to “check-in” with the significant other, or find a babysitter. I get the joy of cuddling and coddling friends’ babies, and the outsider’s view of watching the mania that is wedding planning. I don’t have to rush home to make dinner for anyone, I can pick up and take off on a Friday and not return until Sunday night without much preparation.

There are so many other little things that made me glad to be 30ish. I’m finding it to be this time when all things are possible, I’m no longer “too young” to participate in certain of society’s rituals, but I’m also not quite too old to NOT take part in them. It’s a good time to be me. I have choices, options, and the ability to NOT choose, to opt out. I can date, or not. I can be ambivalent about whether or not I actually want to EVER get married at all. I can also be confused about children and motherhood. It’s perfectly acceptable for me to want children and not want them all in the same breath. To love kids and to think of myself as potentially a wonderful mother, to consider adoption as a choice, and at the same time, to be so sure I may be emotionally ready, but not quite financially, intellectually or physically ready to take that step, to give up my space, to shake my independence to the core.
I can look back at the past year, my first in my 30s, and be content in that even tough nothing earth shattering happened, I had a good year. I enjoyed it, I lived it, I appreciated it. And now as 31 looms, I don’t need to make any big plans, to set any major deadlines, I can just continue to live life, bit by bit, day by day. And I guess that’s what I love the most about this idea of the 30’s. There is no major “milestone” impending. There isn’t the I’ll finally be able to drive, to drink, to graduate college, to buy a home…there’s just the day to day, and hopefully they’ll be good days.