Friday, April 30, 2010
As for Taylor... I can't imagine what it is like to be her. She still seems to be overwhelmed at times by the enormity of the adulation. I think she doesn't quite know what to do with herself after she finishes singing and all these girls are screaming like maniacs. I mean, what is the proper response to that? I have no idea. She doesn't seem to have a clue, either. She stands there and looks somewhat perplexed and amazed. I get that. If it was just clapping, I think she might be better able to handle it. Frankly, I think it is the screaming that is bewildering. But, maybe that is just me. I know I found it bewildering. Make that annoying. I found it annoying.
However, some of the best stuff was her pre-recorded footage. Taylor is funny. I love a person with a sense of humor. Frankly, I think you need one to make it in life. Particularly a life in show business. I wish I could have found better footage than this, but you get what you get. Someone recorded it with their cell phone. When she delivered the last line, I laughed my ass off. You have to watch it. Forgive the ineptitude of the person doing the recording, and the idiot who walks in front during. Just wait for it at the end.... It is so worth it. Oh yeah, turn off my idiot music player at the bottom of my page...
I laughed so hard I nearly cried. There was that whole period when it seemed like everyone in blogland had the same moral crisis: where's the line? Is is right to write about others if they don't know they are being written about? It is okay to write about others, even if they are the subplot to your own story? When are you crossing the line? Blah blah blah. Of course, my ex was really ticked about a blog that I wrote about him, that pretty much no one read that he knew, and he shot to the moon. Meanwhile, Ms. Swift is writing songs that the WHOLE WORLD is hearing and what is her response? Well, if you watched the video, you know. If you didn't, you should, because she is a teenager and she is right. How can she see this more clearly than I? And the fact that said ex was there to hear the answer at the SAME TIME AS I: PRICELESS. I would have paid money for that had I known it was part of the show. The fact that he paid for the ticket: double bonus.
So, thank you Taylor Swift. You Rock.
Now, you're thinking, "What is she talking about?" That is exactly my point. You have no clue what I am even referencing. That very long blog "BEING ROBIN," which was my own little spin on the TV show BEING ERICA, is the blog in question. I think the problem was multi-faceted. It was too long. Some of you have so many blogs to read and it was just too long. The other problem was that I worked on it over the course of two days. My thinking can change a lot about something in that amount of time AND IT DID. The other key point that I thought that I made clear, but I know that I didn't, is that even in the show the thing that consistently changes the most is Erica's perspective. The time travel is merely a vehicle. It's an interesting concept.
I think where I "upset" most of you was with my list. You have no idea how many things I chose not to put on there, even though they were awful, simply because I know they were learning experiences. However, the deal is that they are all learning experiences and I didn't make that clear. What frustrates me about my own list is how many of the things on that list are repeats. However, it is what it is, and I did have reasons for making those choices. I think I said it best when I indicated that the list is most useful as a future blog topic list for those days when I am stuck.
However, I think that maybe everyone was too caught up in the list.... Maybe disturbed by the list is a better word. It is unhealthy to stay stuck on all of the negative stuff that happens in a life. So, looking at the list halted you in your tracks and even though your eyes kept reading, your brain stopped absorbing, because this is what you missed (which came after the list): "I started working on this blog last night. I picked it up again this afternoon and was just about to hit the publish key this evening. Then I had a revelation. There is a reason I picked BEING ERICA, and told you that her time travel events didn't change much of anything except her perspective. I was too close to it when I wrote it to see it. I know I am not getting any do-overs or a time machine or any sessions with Dr. Tom. The only thing that everyone gets is the opportunity to start from where you are. Today. And if you can find some perspective on your past, so that you can leave it there, then you can walk away that much freer. That is what she is doing, even though she doesn't realize it. Each time she goes back, she gets to let that thing go. It was holding her down. Her burden gets lighter. "
What I didn't do was bring it around full circle for you and close it. Again... bad writing and it is why you didn't connect the dots. I wouldn't change any of the things on my list. I chose them for a reason at that time in my life. There is also a reason that I have already blogged about some of them. It was my way of letting them go. I call this thing that I am doing Blog Therapy. This writing stuff down is my way of letting it go. That is what I didn't say and what I should have said, and again why it sucked.
All of that said, this little piece has been something I have been working on FOR DAYS. So I have NO IDEA how badly I have screwed it up?!?!? I guess it will all come out in the comments. Since we came in with crying, let's go out the same way... sort of. On the drive over to my ex's place to meet up for the ride to see Taylor Swift, I was listening to the radio. Boy, that was a learning experience. It made me realize how little time I spend listening to the radio these days. I didn't know a single song playing. Of course, that really shouldn't have been a shocker. I pretty much write my blog, write my book, read and comment on other people's blogs, troll youtube, and watch my DVR'd shows, and well that's about it. I mean on a daily basis. You can throw in some other non-daily activities, but really.... I used to read, but since I have started writing my own book, I don't want anything interfering with my "process." I digress. Back to the radio... Well, this one song came on and it almost made me cry. Not quite. But almost. So, of course, I had to come home and look it up on youtube. You can turn off my idiot music box at the bottom of my page if you want to have a listen. I doubt you will need a tissue. But you might decide that I am indeed certifiable. Okay, I will take the tissue....
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Turns out that the specialist wasn't completely in agreement with my doctor, but wasn't in disagreement either. In other words, he agreed that filing for SSD was the right call, and that I wasn't capable of working right now. In fact, I was right to sell my car, because I had no business driving. I am doing that because I feel the same way. (I don't think I blogged to you guys that I was doing that, but it will be gone May 5-6. Then my mom and I will be sharing a vehicle. She will probably drive me most places. Doesn't that sound fun?) He is not sure that I have fibromyalgia, but he's not sure that I don't. It is a tricky thing to diagnose. He is more worried about some neurological stuff that I have going on aside from the migraines. I see more tests in my future.
Of course, for me that is a good/bad situation. I am thrilled to find a doctor who is all about getting to the root of the problem and acknowledging that the "fix" is going to likely come in small steps. My problem is that since I have no job, I have no money. This is financially killing my parents and I hate that. My health insurance plan doesn't cover a lot of this stuff. I am going to talk about that and see what I can do to change plans. I know that will spike my premium. If it offsets my other charges enough, it will be worth it. Talk about medicaid has been tossed around and I am willing to talk to someone. My gut tells me that I can't apply for it unless I am already uninsured and that is risky. Throw in how long the application process takes and the possibility for being turned down... ugggh. I loathe government red tape. That is one big ole bureaucratic elephant right there.
The biggest "victory" was that he listened to me. In the end, we both agreed that I had a lot of different problems at work here. That meant that it was going to take a long time "win it" because it was going to be a one thing at a time deal. And there might be some problems that we never actually "solve," but we can put a leash on them. So... I will take that as a win. Plus, he didn't prescribe me anything new. How about that? Not many doctors really want to get to know your situation, think about it in between your visits, run some tests, wait on those results, and then make a decision before they start writing on their prescription pad. I think that we just might get along fine. If he starts suggesting vitamin supplements.... well, then I know that I have hit the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
This one is for Linda Pressman at Bar Mitzvahzilla:
This one is for Purple Cow at Australian in Athens (It is Part 1 of 2):
This one is for Purple Cow at Australian in Athens (Part 2 of 2):
This one is for Bathwater at Momento Mori:
This is for Nic at Tangible Joy:
This one is for Carol at Carol's Prints:
This one is for me:
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
There is a show that my mom and I watch called BEING ERICA. I am going to give you some youtube footage. Before you vomit, it is a trailer for Season 2 that catches you up to speed on the gist of the show. In other words, it explains what the show is about more accurately and quickly than I could. Watching it is going to be kinda sorta important unless you already watch the show and know what it is about. So, cut off my darn my music player at the bottom and kick back and watch a trailer. It'll be fun.
Okay, I am going to assume that you watched the trailer. I wish that I could have found one for when the series first started, but you get what you get. So, Erica has Dr. Tom, her therapist, who sends her back in time, to "fix" her regrets. You read that right. In her first "session" she made out a very long list of regrets, not knowing about Dr. Tom's special brand of therapy, and then they set to work. The most interesting part of this show is that she usually doesn't fix anything in the way that she expects to fix, it or wants to fix it. In fact, sometimes it comes out about the same. If it were a job, I would say that she made a lateral move. Sometimes it appears worse. Usually the only thing that really changes is Erica's perspective on what happened. Sometimes, because she is an adult in a teen or kid body, she can see the situation through fresh eyes and choose NOT to change the situation, but to appreciate the challenges that everyone else was facing. And, sometimes she has the backbone of an adult and tells those little popular punks who make life so damn miserable just where they can stick it. (I think I cheered during that episode!) However, what mom and I have noticed is that, in terms of altering the future in a permanent way, that really doesn't much happen. The person who gets altered the most is Erica.
That being said, I have been thinking a lot about my list. If Dr. Tom is out there, I have one kick-ass list of regrets and I'm ready for my therapy to start any day now. Interestingly enough, this list could also serve as a blog topic list should I ever get stuck... (If they are linked it means that a blog already exists, so you can read at your own risk.)
*The Rocky Horror Picture Show
*The Dog Walker
*The Long Con
*That Bar In Columbus
*Going to the Frater Formal with
*Not Taking The Long Way Down Out of My Loft
*Saying Yes to My Ex on That First Date
*Giving Away the Publicist Interview at Simon & Schuster to
*Not Standing Up to S&D Back in 7th Grade
*Not Standing Up to KS Back In 7th Grade when the bullying started
*Not Calling MH to tell her I was sick at contest in 9th grade
*Not Hiding in the Closet and Scaring the Crap out of my Brother at least Once
*Letting S Talk Me Into Playing Softball
*Majoring in Music
*Not majoring in theatre education
*Not auditioning for plays in college
*Drinking way too much (in college)
*ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, my senior year of high school
*Nykerk play freshman year
*Nykerk play sophomore year
*Becoming roommates with
*Leaving New York
*That first kiss
*Drowning my sorrow in Southern Comfort
*Jello Shots and Twister
*Drinking way too much on my 21st birthday (and all that came during and after)
*The "Seinfeld Dates"
*Not divorcing ex after the "scary" phone call
*Not saying yes to moving in with Right Guy and throwing caution to the wind.
*Becoming a techie in FL's community theatre
*The years I spent trying to tan
*Not embracing a vitamin protocol in my teens (my dad was already a guru)
*Drunk phone calling, particularly to J in the summer of 1990.
*Eating a bunch of Halloween candy with my brother and lying about it.
*Going to Indianapolis with this guy I hardly knew for an Equinox meeting.
*Smoking pot ever
*Drinking most of the bottle of a tequila by myself.
*Sending out email. Most of it I would like to pull back after I hit send.
*Keeping so much of my crap when I moved to FL.
*Making my friends and family listen to the same old sh*t for almost four years while I was married.
*Dropping the connections I had with friends when I was married and then leaving them dropped after. People can only listen to so much crap before they tune out and turn off. It's hard to pick them back up. Sometimes they have moved on.
*Not helping my mother pack for a family vacation when she asked
*Not changing churches once I got a car
*Not getting out of the truck
*Buying the house
*Giving my best friend bad marital advice (I didn't know it at the time, but it was bad)
*Trading vehicles with my ex
*Choosing one friend over another
*Not being able to make a relationship work with a truly *good* person who loved me
*That it took seven years to understand why the above relationship didn't work ~ not a good learning curve
*Not living geographically close to any of my best friends
*Not knowing the truth about my own body: the diseases and autoimmune disease(s) I have... when they say doctors are PRACTICING medicine ~ that is the TRUTH.
I am sure that if I sat here long enough I could come up with a lot more. Of course, a lot of them are related to the same topic. And, if I went back in time and actually was able to change the first event that would change the ENTIRE event. Then it would be a GAME CHANGER. I have no idea what my life would look like. Of course, the further back the event is, the more my life would change.
I remember that when I was in the hospital trying to get my migraines stopped (while I was married), I spent a lot of time thinking about a time machine. I imagined getting my hands on one. Then it was just a matter of deciding how far back I would have to go to "fix" my life. I finally decided on the summer before my senior year of high school. It wasn't that I was yearning to relive my senior year of high school, but I felt that I needed to get on a vitamin protocol to boost my immune system. And I had to cut out all of that college drinking. But, I couldn't go back so far that I couldn't drive, because I couldn't bear that. This way I would get to go to camp again, which I loved, and do my favorite plays again, and see my best friends again. There were lots of pluses. I wasn't sure how I would make it through Enriched Trigonometry. My brain wasn't in that groove anymore. And I would have to take the SATs. Ick. And all of those college classes were a pain in the rear the first time around, and I had lost all of my good study habits. But, this time I would at least get my major right. I had everything all worked out, but I never did get my hands on the time machine, so here I am making a list....
I started working on this blog last night. I picked it up again this afternoon and was just about to hit the publish key this evening. Then I had a revelation. There is a reason I picked BEING ERICA and told you that her time travel events didn't change much of anything except her perspective. I was too close to it when I wrote it to see it. I know I am not getting any do-overs or a time machine or any sessions with Dr. Tom. The only thing that everyone gets is the opportunity to start from where you are. Today. And if you can find some perspective on your past, so that you can leave it there, then you can walk away that much freer. That is what she is doing, even though she doesn't realize it. Each time she goes back, she gets to let that thing go. It was holding her down. Her burden gets lighter.
So why did I pick this topic and why do I need perspective? I have my appointment with pain management tomorrow. I don't trust doctors. I have a really good primary care doctor. It took me years to find her, but I consider her the exception, and not the rule. I want a doctor who is in it to win it, not to band-aid it. That means I am going to need a doctor who will actually listen to me. That sounds simple. I wish. I will let you know how it goes.
When I was two years old my parents left Ohio and moved to FL and we lived there until I was in the fifth grade. I don't remember precisely when my mother found "Dance with Joy," but I think it was probably around kindergarten. Joy taught ballet, tap, gymnastics, balance beam, and trapeze. Joy was a trapeze artist in her glory days. Joy was amazing.
I loved everything about taking classes with Joy. There was a summer show each year that was always a rush. I suppose those were my first stage performances. I was extremely limber and a terrible show-off. There was no place that was sacred in our house. I cartwheeled, frontwalkovered, backwalkovered, etc. up and down the hallway, through the living room, dining room, kitchen and so on. I remember a specific case of showing off for a neighborhood boy resulting in a torn dress because I forgot myself after church and cartwheeled through the living room. My mother said that I could not come out and play because I was grounded the rest of the day.
A friend of mine and I won third place in the local talent show to the song "Greased Lightning." We choreographed it ourselves and our picture was in the newspaper. I was pretty proud of us for that. We went to the same elementary school and she also took classes with Joy.
I really didn't see the move coming. As I said, I was very involved with the dancing and gymnastics thing. I was really close to backhandspringing around the house. I was doing aerial cartwheels in class with a spotter, but really wasn't getting and/or needing much help. I loved the fact that I could stand on one foot and pull my other foot over my head until it touched my nose. I was drunk on the fact that Miss Joy was graduating me up to let me wear tap shoes with a little heel and *toe* shoes. I was good enough that I was moving into the big leagues. And then we were moving ~ literally. Shazam.
My dad was really sick. We lived with my grandparents for the rest of my fifth grade year in Ohio. We moved to Newark, Ohio, that summer. We looked for a place that offered dance classes. Did you know that there is not a single dance studio in Newark that teaches trapeze? More importantly, they didn't even watch me dance before deciding that I wasn't good enough for *toe* shoes or tap shoes with a little heel and they weren't interested in my tumbling skills, either. I can't remember the name of that place. I don't recall ever doing a cartwheel again.
What else can I tell you about that girl? She loved DARK SHADOWS, the color purple, sitting in her dad's lap, walking barefoot, deliberately not wearing her glasses, her cat (Rowr), riding her bike, writing on her chalkboard, and having her hair brushed. I am sorry I can't tell you more. I barely knew her.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I feel like a lawyer standing before the judge. First, I reserve the right to bring this game back at any time. Second, Purple Cow pointed out that several of her "problem friends" from junior high and high school are now friends on facebook. Folks, BOTH of these ladies are friends on my facebook page. One of them (the clarinet player) actually reads and enjoys my posts and took the time to send me an email telling me how much she enjoyed my writing. Of course, she would not have enjoyed these last two posts. They never made it to my facebook fanpage. The other friend NEVER reads my facebook writing. I have tagged her several times but she is "not interested." She is technically a fan of my fanpage, but she is recently divorced and.... doesn't that say it all? Anyway, there are lots of "friends" from junior high and high school on my facebook who were never friends at that time. There are some that were not enemies either, but people I simply didn't know. I went to a very large high school. I have come to like some of them through my blogs. Very interesting. And the people who were my good friends seem to be the people that I have the hardest time to get to read my writing AT ALL. What's up with that? Moving on to something fun....
Rules of the game:
1) Put your ipod on shuffle.
2) Write down the FIRST song that comes on to each question.
DON'T switch the song if you don't like it.. That's the fun of the game.
3) There are 46 songs so if you want to avoid cheating altogether, avoid looking at the questions and listen to the songs FIRST.
*How am I feeling today? Gone Gone Gone ~ Alison Krauss and Robert Plant (how is this different than any other day?)
*How do my friends see me? High ~ James Blunt (it probably has something to do with the
drugs prescription medications)
*What is my best friend's theme song? I'm Not Dead ~ Pink (I suppose that is a message that the phone line works both ways)
*What is the story of my life? Same Mistake ~ James Blunt (LMAO - this could not be more true)
*What is the best thing about me? There's Hope ~ India.Arie (Thank God)
*What is today going to be like? This Is How A Heart Breaks ~ Rob Thomas (now this is more like it)
*What is in store for this week? Ache ~ James Carrington (keeping with the same theme)
*What song describes my mom? The Heart of The Matter ~ Don Henley (I feel a tear)
*What song describes my dad? If Everyone Cared ~ Nickelback (and another tear)
*To describe my grandparents? Same Girl ~ Jack Johnson (hand me a tissue)
*How is my life going? Scratch ~ Kendall Payne (hand me the whole damn box... please)
*What song will they play at my funeral? When God Fearin' Women Get The Blues ~ Martina McBride (Holy Moly, I hope someone is taking notes. For you seasoned readers, this is old news. For everyone else, turn off my video player at the bottom of the page. We have to have some youtube action on this one because, hand to God, I hope someone plays this at my funeral with the video. Of course, no one reading this will likely know that I have died. Note to self: send Purple Cow an email about where she left her husband the letter about her blogsite in the event of her death.)
*How does the world see me? Monsoon ~ Jack Johnson (I don't know what this means...)
*Will I have a happy life? Old Blue Chair ~ Kenny Chesney (I am not sure what this one says, so I went to youtube I am posting it. What do you think?)
*What do my friends really think of me? It Would Be You ~ Gary Allan (that I post too much stuff on youtube... this song is really sad... he's describing a heartache... so I guess that's what I am... one big old aching heart)
*How can I make myself happy? Mandolin Rain ~ Bruce Hornsby (I think my playlist needs some happier songs...)
*What should I do with my life? I Know Why ~ Sheryl Crow (this doesn't even try to answer the question... which pretty well sums up my take on the whole deal, too)
*What is some good advice for me? Man In The Mirror ~ Michael Jackson (finally some good advice!)
*How will I be remembered? Give Me One Reason ~ Tracy Chapman (I think we should engrave that on my tombstone)
*What is my signature dancing song? The Old Stuff ~ Garth Brooks (LMAO)
*What is my current theme song? I'm Alive ~ Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews
*What does everyone else think my current theme song is? Like We Never Loved At All ~ Faith Hill with Tim McGraw (Oh, how does the random song hit it over and over so well? Well, I will put up the youtube and you can watch it or not. I love this video. I would have put up MY theme song (I'm Alive), but I have already done that in a fairly recent blog, so you have probably already seen it. I already claimed it as my theme song. Too weird.)
*Opening Credits: Gold Dust Woman ~ Fleetwood Mac (My favorite line of this song is "Rulers make bad lovers, you better put your kingdom up for sale." I have no idea how that applies to anything.)
*Waking Up: You'll Be There ~ George Strait (Since this song is about dying and going "home," I am once again at a loss. I suppose I do feel that The Other Side is home and this is the strange place. So, maybe this is reassurance from the onset.)
*First Day At School: Someday ~ Nickelback (I guess this is indicative that life is just going to hard.)
*Falling In Love: I Miss You ~ Coldplay (ouch)
*Fight Song: The Dance ~ Garth Brooks (You have no idea how much I want to youtube you right now. It's all real people who lived hard and died violently. "For a moment all the world was right.... I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go.... I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance.")
*Breaking Up: If Love Was Enough ~ Graham Colton (right on the money)
*Prom: The Difficult Kind ~ Sheryl Crow (oddly enough, this is the song that whenever I hear it, I think of my first true love. That came after high school.)
*Life's OK: Deadwood Mountain ~ Big & Rich (this is not a life's okay song... which I guess is the point....)
*Mental Breakdown: Broken Arrow ~ Rod Stewart (totally fitting - who else is gonna bring you a broken arrow?)
*Driving: Back To Me ~ Kathleen Edwards (LMAO - Oh yeah, I've got moves I never use...)
*Flashback: Down So Long ~ Jewel (I was down a long time and I am there again. Yeah, I am in a flashback right now.)
*Getting Back Together: She's Every Woman ~ Garth Brooks (I think this is one of the most romantic songs ever so....)
*Wedding: More Than A Memory ~ Garth Brooks (I loved this song. This little exercise has taken this song and put a very twisted spin on it.)
*Birth of Child: The Scientist ~ Coldplay (Since I don't have any natural kids of my own, the only way it would happen is to go back to the start.)
*Final Battle: Who Knew ~ Pink (Most of the time we don't see the end coming. It sneaks up on us.)
*Death Scene: Gone ~ Montgomery Gentry (I couldn't have chosen better. "Gone like a freight train, gone like yesterday, gone like a soldier in the Civil War -Bang Bang- gone like a 59 Cadillac, like all the good things that ain't never coming back")
*Funeral Song: Best I Ever Had ~ Gary Allan (A little freaky for a funeral song. But this song is played in a minor key and sounds sad. Oddly enough, I can see it.)
*End Credits: If Today Was Your Last Day ~ Nickelback (This couldn't have been more perfect. I know that I overload you with youtube footage, but if you only watch ONE video, make it THIS ONE. Whoever plans my funeral, I hope you pull up the screens and play this for everyone after you play the funny Martina video. Everybody needs a good laugh, too. But this sh*t is important. Watch it.)
*What song describes my mood right now? Have A Nice Day ~ Bon Jovi (This is a great song and a great video. Yeah, I know I watch too much youtube. It's Bon Jovi with just the right amount of in your face attitude, especially if there is someone who has spent their time oppressing you. "I ain't gonna do what I don't want to... Shining like a diamond... Standing on the ledge show the wind how to fly... When the world gets in my face, I say have a nice day")
*What song do I listen to when I'm depressed? Nightswimming ~ REM (This one is right on the money, too. "You I thought I knew you, You I cannot judge, You I thought you knew me, This one laughing quietly underneath my breath, Nightswimming.")
*Happy? I Believe ~ Diamond Rio (not sure happy is the right word, but I do love this song)
*Scared? What Hurts The Most ~ Rascal Flatts (more like sad and depressed, but I guess scared does apply in terms of ending up alone, sad, and depressed)
*Bored? Mary Chapin Carpenter (not so much, but the rest were dead on)
Okay, that's it folks. I encourage you to play the IPOD shuffle. If you don't have an IPOD, go to projectplaylist.com and create a playlist like I have at the bottom of my page. You know the one. It is that irritating thing you have to turn off every time you want to watch a video on youtube. You can set it to shuffle. Have fun. I can't wait to read your the results of YOUR Ipod shuffle.
postmortem definition post·mor·tem (pōst′môr′təm)
1.happening, done, or made after death
2.having to do with a post-mortem examination
Etymology: L, lit., after death
2.a detailed examination or evaluation of some event just ended
As you can see, it can be used as an adjective or a noun. In keeping with my theme that all words that are negative or potentially dire = a junior high school experience, here we go.
Postmortem. Well, I never did manage to pull up the backbone required to just tell the two girls I was walking behind each day that I would rather walk to school by myself. It might not have been safer, but it would have been healthier, in terms of my pride and self-respect. Of course, once we were at school, we went our separate ways. We didn't eat together at lunch or even sit together in class if there were other options.
However, there were still certain occasions that brought us together socially. Birthday parties. Geography was still a bitch. The girl who lived one street over had more in common with me than the girl down the street. Turns out that the girl down the street and I never would have been friends if not for geography. We had no common interests. Her sole interest was boys. I was in band, wanted to be in choir, and also looked forward to the days when I could try out for theatre. The girl one street over was also in band. We both played clarinet. She was better than I. And she also liked choir. In fact, I think she did sing in the choir in junior high. I don't know about her theatre interests. In my opinion, her playing first chair with the clarinet gave her a bit of a swelled head about the rest of her musical abilities.
As for me, I was determined to put in whatever work was necessary to become a part of the High School's elite Swing Choir when I was a senior. It was a HUGE DEAL to me, and even though I wasn't even in high school yet, I knew that I was willing to put in whatever time was necessary to get there. I also wanted to be involved in theatre, so I had a feeling that band was not going to last in high school (I was right).
Anyway, the girl from the next street over who played clarinet had this birthday party and I was invited. At some point, the talk turned to Swing Choir. Aside from the birthday girl and I, no one else had any interest in being in Swing Choir. This could have been one of those conversations about how much fun it would be to be in Swing Choir together. It wasn't. Instead, somebody had to make it a contest and put it to a vote. Who is more likely to be in Swing Choir? WTF? Of course, everyone voted for the birthday girl.
The postmortem on this event happened at my neighbor's house. How is it significant from any other postmortem on any other horrible junior high school experience? Well, those girls really did become dead to me after that. In high school, until I got a car, even though it was a longer walk than to the junior high, I walked it alone. I might have even started walking to the junior high by myself after that. I just don't know. But, it changed me inside.
And, for the record, the birthday girl stuck with band in high school. She never stepped foot inside of the choir room. And I was in Swing Choir. You don't vote against me when I really want it.
Postmortem = junior high school.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Do you remember that scene from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING when the (Greek) father is driving his children to school (and I think one of their friends) and he says, "Give me a word, any word, and I will show you that the root of that word is Greek?" I don't remember the words. But they kept tossing words out and the kids kept doing these eyerolls because he was clearly flying by the seat of his pants and making crap up. It was hilarious. But, to him, everything = Greek. The more I thought about it, the more I had to put it in here. It is less than a minute and it is too funny. For any newbies, go down to the bottom of my page and kill the sound on my music player. Sorry for the inconvenience.
For me everything bad = junior high school. I feel like that guy right now. Give me a bad experience or negative emotion, any bad experience, and I can give you a junior high school experience. I dare ya. Bring it. I'll start. Invisibility. In theory, invisibility could be a good thing if you had control over it and could turn it off and on. It could be a superpower. It could make you a superhero.
Invisibility. For those of you who are new to this blog, we had moved to Ohio from Florida, and I had gone to 6th grade at the local elementary school. However, that experience really didn't help me blend. My best friend was still the girl down the street who had gone to Catholic school for elementary school. However, she was going to go to the public junior high school. There was another girl on the next street over that I knew from elementary school, so before school started I suggested that we all walk together. It was actually a rather long walk to the junior high. Within days, the two of them became fast friends. The year and a half of bonding between me and my friend from down the street disappeared like *that.* After about a week, they let me walk behind them, but not with them. It is true what they say: three is a crowd.
I made other friends at school and left those girls behind. I don't regret that and I wouldn't change it. The friends that I made were *good* people. We had common interests and they were smart girls who turned into smart women. I didn't have a lot of friends, but they were quality friends. I will take quality over quantity any day of the week. I also had one bully and a bunch of people who may or may not have known my name. I wasn't exactly popular.
Invisibility. I do only have one male blog reader, right? Bathwater is pretty hard-core. I think he can take this and be okay. And since I'm invisible, it's no skin off my nose. It's ninth grade. Nope. Can't start there. Although, that is when this "event" actually happened. All girls want to get their period. I don't understand this NOW. But it is true. I was gleeful when I got mine. Was I insane? Yes, I do believe I was. Anyway, it came and then it went. For like a year. And after that it was really sporadic for a couple of years. In other words, in junior high school, the most dreaded years of life, I never knew when my period was coming, because it has no timetable. It could be gone for months at a time. I think you now see where this story is going.
Now, about that day in 9th grade... It was algebra class and I was wearing white pants. Yep. I said white pants. The teacher was big into having kids go to the chalkboard and solve problems. Heck, that was commonplace in every math class I had all through high school. I don't remember working my problem out at the board, but I know that I did. Afterwards, Kris (a girl), leans over to me and says, "John says that you've started your period." Is there anything more mortifying than this? No. I had to have turned red all the way to my hairline. I gathered up all of my stuff and did not say a word to the teacher. I backed out of class and just left. I didn't even ask for a hall pass. I JUST LEFT. I never do that. He must have been stunned. I wouldn't have been a bit surprised if he asked what happened and Kris announced to the class that, "John noticed that she got her period." She was a classy girl.
My dad came and picked my up. Again, where was my mother? I remember pacing the backyard after changing my clothes. I think I was talking to myself and shouting at God. My neighbor, Robin, comes out of her house and inquires about what I am doing. She got the rundown. I finish it up with, "I can't go back there EVER. I just can't." We both know I have to go back. She then tells me some story of hers that was kinda sorta the same and I go back to school. I got some looks, but no one said anything. Nada. Nothing.
I haven't thought about that story in a long time. Either one actually. They both are junior high and both relate directly back to invisibility. The first is two people who wanted me to feel invisible, and the second is a time when I wanted to be invisible, and then we could talk about how I felt invisible as a a general rule, which would make for a third story.
However, I keep thinking about what Kris said to me that day. She could have just told me that my period had started. That is what I would have done. The thing is that John probably did say something to her, and maybe she didn't see it for herself, so she didn't feel comfortable passing along information that she didn't know to be true. Or she just wanted me to feel worse. Either way, chances are really, really good that John did tell her that my period had started. At the time, that was horrifying. Now... John was really hot. And he was checking out my ass. How else would he have noticed that my period had started? Perhaps, this very dark cloud does have a silver lining.
I still maintain my original theory. Every bad experience = junior high school. Just give me a word.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Of course, before all of this began, I distinctly remember when I was in elementary school, and living in Florida, that there were really only two career options for a young girl: teacher or nurse. That was what the other girls asked you if you wanted to be. Do you want to be a teacher or a nurse? Well, this was a no-brainer for me. I definitely wanted to be a teacher, because a nurse was out of the question. I remember sitting on the floor in my room and studying the bottoms of my feet. Just looking at the veins or arteries, or whatever those blue lines were, made me ill. I couldn't walk on my feet after that. If I had to go anywhere I had to do it on the sides of my feet, or I crawled around until the feeling passed. During health class, anytime the subject of blood came up, my hand fell asleep while I was taking notes. That was bad. My hand went numb and I quit writing so I could thump it against my chair. Sometimes I persevered but my writing was AWFUL. The only "C" I ever got was in Health and it was in the 5th grade. I think that there is a direct correlation to that bad grade and my inability to take notes whenever the subject matter went even remotely "bloody." I found the photo above here.
So, being a nurse was not an option.
Fast forward to junior high. I am trying on new careers every other week, or month, or whatever. This continues into high school. I am an avid reader, TV watcher, moviegoer. So, pretty much any time I watch or read anything gripping, that becomes my new career obsession. The other thing that "living" half my life at Robin's house did for me was turn me from a GENERAL HOSPITAL addict into a DAYS OF OUR LIVES addict. I know you were wondering how that happened, and now you know. Of course, that was back when DOL was good. In the summer of my junior high school days I was also an AS THE WORLD TURNS addict. Say what? Yes. I got reeled in by Betsy and Steve. Quit judging. Betsy was played by Meg Ryan. She was brilliant. You would have been reeled in, too.
Anyway, I career-hopped like mad and Robin never said a word. I think she was on to me. I saw FLASHDANCE and I suddenly wanted to be a dancer. Please. Of course, the TV show FAME had me on the hook for a long time. I wanted to be a rockstar. I wanted to be a singer. And I wanted to play every musical instrument, even though my mother forced me to practice piano daily. I just wanted it to "come it to me magically." Halfway through the book RAGE OF ANGELS, I was sure I wanted to be a lawyer. At the end, I definitely did NOT want to be a lawyer. Let's see... there was teacher (it did get back on my list again briefly), therapist, minister (not sure if that was before or after THE OUTSIDERS sermon, but I think after), writer, lawyer again (but not criminal law), and I know there were more. I suffered from indecision.
One day I said, "I have NO IDEA what I will be. Maybe the answer is just to marry someone rich."
Robin finally had something to say. "That is the stupidest thing you have ever said. It doesn't matter what you do, but do SOMETHING. If you want to be rich, if that is what is important to you, then you make it happen, but for the love of God, don't expect some man to support you. You support you. Other people let you down all the time. The only person you can rely on in this world is you." She had my attention. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.
She didn't say it exactly like that, but that was the gist. And, once again, she nailed it. And, in my own way, I nailed it, too. I didn't really want to be any of those things. I just wanted to pretend to be them for a little while. What I really wanted to be was...an actress. Or a writer. I like the idea of trying on other people's lives and then shedding them. Of course, being a salesperson was okay, too, because it is kind of like acting, but that is another blog.
So, why didn't I move to Hollywood and try my luck? Well, I was always a bit too practical to do it. But, let's say I had thrown caution to the wind, I always knew one thing: I didn't want to be too famous. Even in high school I was aware of all of the crap that getting too famous does to your life, and I didn't want that. I think that it was Agatha Christie who said, "And for everything you love you have to pay a price." So, what would I have done? I would have wanted to be on a soap opera. A soap opera, you say? Yep. It's a steady gig with a loyal fan base and you're famous, but not too famous. You get to practice your craft and get paid to do what you love.
If you want a peek at this life that I would have chosen in an "alternate universe," you can click here to watch one of my all-time favorite scenes. Or you can just imagine me as a soap opera diva. That works for me, too.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Oh, and I hope that you take the time to watch the videos even if they aren't "for you," just because I think they are pretty great... that is, if you have the time. I also hope that if you do watch the video, maybe you will be intrigued about the person I "sent" it to, and check out their page. I really do follow some amazing bloggers. They blow me away all of the time with their insights, personal victories, and encouraging words.
This one's for Sharon at Musings of a Mercurial Woman. I really didn't want the whole clip. I just wanted the part in the middle, but you get what you get:
The next one is for Cassandra at Cassagram:
This one is for Patsy at Musings on a 100lbs+ Weight Loss Journey:
This one is for me:
This one is for Miss Angie at My So-Called Chaos:
You have to click here to watch the video. I couldn't embed the video.
This one is for Truthful Mommy at The Truth About Motherhood:
This one is for me:
This one is for Juliana at A Blonde Walks Into a Blog:
I have more because I am spending all of my free time on youtube (yeah, that is a healthy habit, I know). However, a person can only watch so much in one sitting ~ even if it is awesome material like this:-) I hope you enjoyed your HERE'S TO YOU DAY. I kind of like this concept. I think I am going to keep doing it even after my blue funk passes.... just because it's a good thing. I know that today is Earth Day. I am choosing to celebrate some of the people who live here. And I am still working on the rest of you.... I applaud you all. Once again, if you are scratching your head about why I chose your video, and you want to email me, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will elaborate on my thinking process.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Bathwater is so honest about the trials and tribulations in his relationships. The ones that aren't working. The ones he can't get past. The dates he goes on that end in *whatever.* The point is that he's sharing and hoping and wishing and trying. I have lots of reasons for not dating right now, chief among them being that I have horrible migraines, so I don't have a whole lot to bring to the "table."
That said, four years ago, my migraines were really bad, too, and I reconnected with someone who used to be a customer (but, at that time, wasn't). I was a year out of my divorce. It started off with a lot of email and it kicked off again, in person, with a lunch. This isn't going to be exactly right in terms of anything. My memory is terrible. That lunch lasted three hours. I wanted it to last the rest of my life. He was wearing a long sleeve navy blue shirt that zipped at the neck. To this day, I can't look at shirts that zip at the neck without losing my breath for just a second. If they are navy blue, make that a couple of seconds. I wish I could tell you what we talked about, but it was mostly catch up on the last few years. It was more about a feeling. When I broke up with my first boyfriend in 1995 (yeah, you read that year right), something died inside of me. I dated and I even got married, but something died. And it woke up that day. That day was December 27, 2005. I was alive again. So, I don't remember what was said.
What I do remember was that my ex-husband wanted me to babysit his kids that afternoon, so that he could go run some errand. So, after I floated out of that restaurant, I drove over to his apartment and he was PISSED. We hadn't set a specific time, but apparently it was too late for whatever he had to do, and when he gleaned that I was late because I was on a DATE he went through the roof. I really should have known that was the beginning of the end. This relationship just went from possibilities to pissabilities; I just didn't know it yet. However, it all started right then.
First real date New Years Eve:
Location clubhouse of a friend, party with friends from Divorce Recovery Group
Profile Picture: taken by him from that night
First kiss at midnight (promising, but we would later turn this into an art form)
Me: Do you want to dance?
Him: I have never danced before.
Me: Seriously? Well, then we have to dance now.
Him: But I won't know what to do.
Me: It's easy. And, besides, how many virgin experiences do you get? (we danced)
My house is a disaster. This is from too many migraines. This actually precedes the date. My mom is there helping me straighten things up. He comes over to help. I can't describe the nightmare. But he was awesome about the whole thing. I really expected him to run screaming out the front door. Instead he used my Rainbow to clean my ceiling fans and any other task mom assigned. He accidentally broke my thermostat doing something. We went to Home Depot.
Me: I will buy the thermostat.
Him: No, I broke it. I will buy the thermostat.
Me; But you were helping me, so I buy the thermostat.
Him: I am not letting you buy the thermostat. Which one do you want?
Me: I don't know anything about thermostats.
Him: And this is why you aren't buying the thermostat. (He picks out the thermostat and heads for the counter. I follow.)
Me: I can still pay for it even if I don't know which one to choose.
Him: I already have the thermostat. Possession and all that. (He buys the thermostat. He installs the thermostat. He teaches me how to use the thermostat. I sit and try not to drool as he puts it in. It was really hard paying attention to the directions on operating the thermostat.)
He spends nearly every day at my house after first date. Several things become apparent quickly. 1) My house is a disaster (still) and needs stuff to be boxed and taken away. Some to storage and some to goodwill and some to trash. 2) My ex calls daily about the kids. He is not a planner and always needs something. Sometimes it is for me to drop what I am doing and ferry them somewhere or pick them up at school. Or he needs advice about something. It is always something. 3) Because of my migraines I am not working regularly so my income is not good. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to do laundry for my ex in exchange for him to pay my water bill. The initial deal was to wash the clothes for the kids. It turned into washing all of their clothes. Laundry became a full-time occupation. 4) Right Guy can see this whole situation with a clarity that I cannot.
He comes over and walks into my house and hears the washer and dryer going. I am sitting on the couch. He walks over to the laundry room, stands there and looks at it, and shakes his head. He walks over to me.
Him: How long are you going to keep doing this?
Him: Everyone's laundry.
Me: He pays my water bill.
Him: You should have a drop off window.
Me: It isn't that bad.
Him: It is exactly that bad.
Him: Can't you see it?
Me: (thinking hard) So, you are saying that I should tell him that I shouldn't do the laundry anymore?
Him: Among other things.
Me: What other things?
Him: He calls you every day, sometimes two or three times. I have yet to be here that he hasn't called at least once. It is like you are still married to the guy.
Me: I am NOT married to that man.
Him: Are you sure?
Me: Very sure.
Him: Well, he seems to be unclear about it.
Me: So, what am I doing wrong here?
Him: Stop taking his calls all the time.
Me: (doubtful) I don't think that will go over very well.
Him: So, you are worried about his feelings?
Me: It isn't so much that. I just know the guy. He has this hammer/nail mentality.
Me: Well, he will just keep calling.
Him: So, take that one call and tell him that you won't be taking future calls.
Me: His problem is that he isn't a good planner in terms of the kids.
Him: Force him to be a good planner. And if he isn't, force him to find someone other than you to pick up his slack.
Me: (he's right) So, you're saying to tell him to call me on the weekend and give me the schedule and then not call me the rest of the week except for an emergency. And that means a real emergency. Say a kid is sick or going to the hospital... something like that.
Him: Yeah. Anything else he can send to you in email.
Me: You're pretty smart.
Him: No. I've just dealt with manipulative people before and you are too nice.
Him: How is it that you didn't get married a long time ago and don't have a bunch of kids of your own?
Me: I don't know. I always wanted kids of my own. It just never happened. I thought it would. It didn't.
Me: You know how you meet a handful of people in your life and there is just this instant connection. The first time that happened for me was in the seventh grade. It was with my best friend. It didn't happen again until college, and then it happened three times. It hasn't happened again until now. I call it "the click." You can't explain it. It just feels like you've known someone your whole life.
Him: I guess I know what you mean. When I first met you back when I was working at the golf course, you were about the only person I could talk to about what was going on with me. That was strange. You were this random salesperson and I didn't even know you and I was telling you all of my personal stuff. And you sat there and listened to it.
Me: I remember.
Him: That was a bad time for me.
Me: I know.
Him: I really liked you.
Him: I kinda had a crush on you.
Me: Oh. (I should have said that I really liked you, too, but I didn't. Because then I would have to follow it up with my policy about not dating customers and then it would have been followed up with I had a boyfriend at the time. And then it would have been followed up with, I would have scratched the policy, ditched the boyfriend, and gone against my better judgement and thrown caution to the wind, and it probably would have ended in disaster. So, I think blogged later about how silly crushes were ~ totally forgetting about this statement because everyone on myspace was quizzing about crushes ~ and said that I had a crush on Ranger from the Stephanie Plum Series. I am an idiot. I totally hurt his feelings and I wasn't truthful, to boot. I swear I was on board the Titanic and didn't know it. In fact, I was the dumbass steering the boat.)
One of the first times he is over at my house. I made dinner and drank too much beer. Of course, that doesn't mean a whole lot. Five beers and I am puking. Four beers is my absolute limit. Two would be better. Music is playing. We are in the living room.
Me: You want to dance?
Him: Sure. (he is now a pro)
Me: (singing along because I am definitely tipsy ~ the song is Kendall Payne's Scratch) I'd like to know if you'd be open to starting over from scratch...
Him: (looking me dead in the eye) Yes
(I think of that moment now and all I can think of is Rascal Flatt's song "What Hurts The Most")
Right Guy has personal crisis of his own and drops off radar for a while. We are talking on myspace and then weird stuff starts happening on myspace. My comments that I leave for him start getting deleted. That hurts my feelings. I stop calling him on the phone. He stops calling me. We stop talking. I am in my email account when I actually see my messages being deleted by someone other than me. In other words, someone else is in my email at the same time I am. The kicker is that I can see just before it gets deleted that Right Guy had sent me a message on myspace that I never got. "Someone" was in myspace as me deleting my messages and generally screwing with my account.
NEWSFLASH: I was the biggest dumbass ever. Migraines screw with you. They make you forget stuff. I knew that my ex-husband had access to that email account because I had set him up a year ago. I had read an email from someone that I knew he didn't want me to see. It was in the middle of our divorce. He was threatening me and it was ugly. I had a feeling he was in my email then, so I marked it "unread" just to see if it would disappear and it did. I tried everything to get him out of my account. I changed my password repeatedly, but I couldn't shake him. However, it was the only email account I had at the time, and I didn't think he cared anymore about my life and what I was doing. I certainly didn't think he cared enough to sabotage my relationship. He was in a serious dating relationship of his own at that time.
When I saw that message get deleted, it all made sense. My comments being deleted and Right Guy's emails being deleted. We were not speaking to each other out of hurt feelings that were created because of my ex. To this day, my ex denies doing any of these things. I don't fight about it with him anymore. I know what I know.
I delete my ex from my myspace because of this mess. My phone rings and it is Right Guy.
Him: I can't believe it. You deleted him.
Me: Yes. He had hacked my email and myspace. (I explain entire situation)
Me: I know. I feel the same way. (My cell starts ringing. It is the ex.)
Him: I hear your cell. It's him, isn't it?
Him: I bet he calls back.
Me. I know. (He does.)
Him: I am so proud of you.
Me: On the one hand, so am I. On the other hand, I feel really stupid.
Him: I hear your phone again.
Me: It's him again.
Him: This is going to go on all night.
Me: I know.
Him: He is crazy.
Him: Well, you've made your stand.
Me: It feels good. (Phone rings again. I check it. Not the ex, but his girlfriend.) Hold on. This time it is his girlfriend.
Her: He is on his way to your house.
Me: You have got to be kidding me.
Her: I tried to talk him out of it.
Me: Call him and tell him that I am on my other line and he should go home. He is not the center of my universe.
Her: I don't think he will listen to me, but I will try.
Me: He is on the way to my house.
Him: @%^#$%% What are you going to do?
Me: I asked his girlfriend to call him and tell him to turn around. In the meantime, I am turning off my lights and not answering my door.
Him: Do you think that will work?
Me: Not really.
Him: I really hate this guy.
Me: He is not at the top of my list right now, either. Crap, he has just pulled up outside of my house. (Doorbell rings repeatedly. Dogs barking like crazy. Banging on door.)
Ex: I know you're in there. Come out and talk to me.
Me: He can forget that (into phone). (I call girlfriend on cell.)
Me: He's here. Please call him and tell him that if he doesn't leave I will call the police. I don't want to do it, but I will.
I hear his cell ring.
Me: Well, she called him. Hopefully she will talk some sense into that hard head. (They have long conversation by the road. He gets into his vehicle and leaves.) He just pulled away.
Him: Thank God. I am turning around.
Me: Where are you?
Him: On the interstate. I am halfway to your house. Although I realize I am wearing nothing but my underwear. And I have a bat. It is a really good thing that he left.
I breathe big sigh of relief. Like the idea of seeing Right Guy in his underwear. However, the picture of Right Guy beating the crap out of my ex with a bat is not appealing at all. I can understand how my ex drives a person to that sort of extreme, but still.... big sigh of relief.
When the floor fell in on my finances, meaning I had to sell my house, it was a blow. Honestly, there were only three things holding me to Augusta: 1) my job, 2) the kids, and 3) Right Guy. That was it. And because of my ex #2 and #3 were in conflict with one another. It didn't have to be that way. My ex was forcing it to be that way. I wasn't strong enough, or didn't have enough clarity yet, to step back and call him on his bluff. That would be to say, "Take the kids and you do the explaining." When you are locked into a dance for so long, it is hard to break free. I was used to him pulling my strings. It took years of being away from that to see it. Now, that I am back, he doesn't pull my strings anymore. We dance to my tune now. However, I lost #1 and #3 and my relationship with the kids is irrevocably altered.
Before I sold my house and moved to Florida.
Him: Why don't you move in with me?
Me: (want that more than anything) Have you thought about this or did it just come to you on a whim?
Him: Well, I just thought of it.
Me: I can't. (His last relationship was a disaster because he tried to rescue someone who needed a place to live. He hated her. I wouldn't become her.)
Me: We can work something out. (I had a plan. I was going to keep my job and work one week of the month in Augusta. I wanted that week to be spent with him. It would give us a chance to see how things went. That plan never came to fruition.)
Some of our best conversations were on the phone.
Me: If I had to move to Florida, would you miss me? (I say this because it is a possibility. My finances are terrible, but I hope it won't happen.)
Him: I would miss you like I would miss the sun.
You are thinking... another video? Egads. This has already been so long. I have so many blogs to read and SERIOUSLY? Well, this one encapsulates everything I feel. It is one episode of Grey's Anatomy that runs start finish pretty well what happened in the episode. I think it was really well done. Best of all, it captured the FEELING of how I feel about this experience and how it has affected my life. It was called IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT. Oh yeah, it got the feeling.
The only thing I would have done differently is kept the sound on Meredith's voice when Hannah pulled her hand out of that guy's chest (and off of the bomb, which was stabilizing it and keeping it from detonating) and Meredith stuck her hand in. You saw her saying *something* over and over, but you can't hear it in this video. She's saying, "What did I do? What did I do? What did I do? What did I do?" I have been saying that for four years. Only it hasn't been out loud. But I know the panic. I put my finger on the trigger. What did I do? What did I do? What did I do?
I am right there with Meredith on the end. I have spent years trying to remember that last kiss, and I can't for the life of me. If you know something is going to end, you prepare better. You note each thing as it happens, and mark it as the last word, the last dance, the last dinner, the last touch, so that nothing is missed. I don't remember the last time I even saw him, much less kissed him, because I didn't know it would be the last time. And he isn't talking.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Let's ease into this... one of the things that I wish I had for my photo album of this memorable vacation (but I don't) is vehicle photos from each place. I would have them lined up all on one page. The tiny car (Berlin). Bicycle (Heidelberg). Boat (Venice). Moped (Rome). I got the pictures of the mopeds here. I always wondered what happened to the mopeds or scooters. They were a big deal when I was a teenager. I wanted one and didn't get one. I thought they just died out from lack of interest. It is unsafe to drive them here. Turns out it is unsafe to drive them in Rome, too, but they are everywhere. There are also motorcycles, but the moped reigns supreme in Rome. It is extremely fuel efficient, I suppose. However, an accident between a moped and any other vehicle is U-G-L-Y.
The thing that I liked best about Rome was the gorgeous Italian men walking around. I am really lucky I didn't run into signs and poles and trip over benches and statuary and fall off curbs and you get the idea. Moving on... The other thing I liked best about Rome was that I thought that I had experienced the feeling of "old" already with all of the castles, and everything else we'd seen. Europe feels old in a way that the United States doesn't. Rome feels older. I didn't expect that. There is statuary everywhere. We were there for four days and it was impossible to see it all.
One thing I really liked about Europe is that my body liked the clock. I don't know if I just never adjusted, but for those two weeks mornings were good. Mornings have never been good. My body liked European time. Of course, we rose with the sun and went to bed with it, too. We walked all day and were exhausted at night. The whole time we were in Italy, we knew we were on "the clock" and it was a race to see it all. Our room in Rome was huge. Another small hotel in terms of the number of rooms, but our room was twice the size of the one in Venice. Again, it didn't matter, because we were never there.
My love affair with gelatto continued. In fact, I made a point to eat it once a day. I knew that once I left, that would be the end.
I loved Trevi Fountain.
I loved the ruins. I got the photo here. There were sections that archaeologists were working in that were cut off and unavailable to the public. There were maps to help you try to navigate what they thought each building was. I am terrible with maps. If I remember correctly, they were trying to build a subway system, however each time they took it in a new direction, they had to quit because they found more ruins underground. Essentially, Rome was built on top of "itself." I remembered thinking that the archaeologists were in heaven, while the contractor who got this job of building the subway must be pulling out his hair. There was no money to be made here. It was the job that on paper looked great and turned out to be a nightmare. Ah yes, who can't relate to that?
Back to the ruins... aside from the overall experience of taking a trip like that with one of my best friends, this was one of the most fascinating parts of the entire vacation. Walking among this DECAY and imagining what it was like in all of its GLORY. Taking it one step further, and trying to imagine what they would think if they could see it NOW. Would it still be worth the choices, the sacrifices, the compromises, the betrayals, and all of the loss? All great empires rise and fall. History proves it to be true. They rot from the inside out and they leave behind a shell. I stood inside the shell and felt the echoes.
We decided to spend an entire day at The Vatican. It is huge. I should have seen been prepared for this mentally. I had been to St. Mark's. I had read up on The Vatican. I found this picture here. I was really looking forward to seeing The Sistine Chapel, which was the coup de gras of the day. Here's the part where I might offend someone. If you think that might be you, maybe you should skip this part. The Vatican is gorgeous and beautiful and a work of art, in and of itself. On the one hand, my mind is registering the beauty of The Vatican. The other part of my mind is registering the amount of gold and ivory and other gems and precious stones, which are part of the walls and ceilings. That could have fed a lot of starving people. While I am trying to shake off thoughts like these, I notice lines etched into the floor. What are these? They note the length of other churches. Others have noticed these lines and are following them. They are oohing and aahing about how impressive The Vatican is compared St. Peter's, and it has just surpassed the Basillica San Marco. Wow. There is a part of me that just wants to let this go. It is merely a reference tool and nothing more. People are probably curious about how big The Vatican is and this is a way to indicate that. But, I have this other voice in my head that is still screaming about starving people and is now using words like "pompous" and "arrogant" and a third voice is chiming in about Jesus tossing the money lenders out for this kind of crap. Yeah, it was getting a bit crowded inside of my head.
About that time they opened the doors so that we could tour the museum. I think that is a fancy way of letting us look at their treasury. But, I don't know. It all technically belongs to The Vatican, so, you tell me. Anyway, it is all divided up into rooms. The Plate Room. The Tapestry Room. At first, it was all about soaking it up and getting the whole experience. We looked at everything. We had no idea that you could spend weeks in this museum. When we came to realize that the rooms were never-ending, we did a 360 and it became about making it to the finish line. Eventually, everyone came to this conclusion, because, at first, people were looking at everything, and then it was just "go." Sometimes, a person or group would stop, but you knew that they must have a passion for whatever was in that room, because The Sistine Chapel was now "Goal."
The Sistine Chapel makes a trip to The Vatican worth it, and I got the above photo here. There is no talking allowed in there, but, honestly, you don't want to talk. My mind was going a mile a minute. My tongue couldn't have kept pace. First off, it is an overwhelming jolt to your senses when you walk in the door. I have never been completely surrounded by art in quite that way. I know that you can go to a museum and have paintings all around you. This is totally different. I can't even tell you all of the different tracks that my brain traveled. Some of them were amazement at the art itself. Some were about the amount of time that it took to complete the task. Others came when I got a crick in my neck from staring at the ceiling. That made me think about what it would be like to try and paint a ceiling. I got lost in the challenges that it would require: your arm would really hurt even if you managed to rig some device that you could lie on your back while doing the painting. And how would you hold your palette without your colors running together? Of course, the ceiling is one of the most beautiful parts of the entire chapel. I wanted to lie down on the floor so that I could fully appreciate it. I thought security would frown on that, and I would probably get stepped on, and I wouldn't like that. The upshot is that you could spend days in The Sistine Chapel and still see something new every day.
And, by far, the weirdest thing we saw in Rome was The Capuchin Catacomb of Bones. It is what it sounds like (the place is composed entirely of bones) and the picture was found here. The site also gives more detailed information about what this place was about, but I can tell you that it was creepy. It was decorative, but it was all human bones. There were a few skeletons that were intact. When we left I wanted to do one of those whole body shakes. I thought you needed a little bit of weird before we moved on to the plain old sad.
Of course, you can't visit Rome without visiting The Colosseum. I found the picture at this site. That was another place where we got the recording. At least, I think we did, because I know more about it now than I used to, and it has to be because of the recording. You know how you think you can know something because it is famous, and then find out that you don't know anything at all? Well, that was me and the The Colosseum. You can know something, but until you see it, you don't really KNOW it. I don't even like to think about The Colosseum. I really don't want to write about it. It's death. The floor is now gone and you can see the "cages" or rooms that they kept the people or animals in before the fights. All kinds of fighting happened there for the enjoyment of the people. It was to the death. That was fun to watch.
According to this site, "By one estimate, around five hundred thousand people and a million wild animals were killed as part of the games in the Colosseum during the period when it served as a place of entertainment. Over nine thousand animals were said to have been killed during just the inaugural games, according to Dio Cassius."
This is what I recall from the recordings... Of course, I am throwing in information, and my opinion about the information. It could be person against person. It could be person against an animal, say a lion. Fun to watch. Well, unless you were the person trapped in the arena facing off against a lion. Or facing off against another person who was going to kill you, not because they wanted to, but because it was to the death, and they wanted to live. Fun times. I thought about the Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire and I was glad. I was glad it fell. I looked at the DECAY around me, and wished I had a bulldozer so that I could give it a helping hand. But then people might forget, and they might not see what I was seeing, and that would be a shame. Everyone should see this, and feel rage when they look at this, so that it never happens again.