Monday, February 27, 2006

A piece of tale

Zach called yesterday. He was finally in Kuwait.

They flew from San Diego to Maine, then from Maine to Ireland, where the guys got to have an authentic Irish beer before re-boarding another plane and heading to Hungary. From there they arrived in Kuwait. He was going to fly by helicopter to Iraq today.

He's going to have some great stories to tell when he gets back.

I, on the other hand, am not living a grand adventure as of late. Mine is more a cautionary tale: "Beware descents into wild optimism. They are often followed by gargantuan screw-ups for which you have no one to blame but yourself."

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Top 10 lessons I haven't learned from my past

1. Never spend thirty minutes straightening naturally wavy hair on a humid day.
2. Eating Flaming Hot Cheetos before bed does not facilitate a good night's sleep, even if you wash them down with milk.
3. Do not drink and dial law enforcement officers.
4. Teenagers are not capable of making rational decisions.
5. Children are miniature adults who know exactly which buttons to push to elicit a response from you, for either good or evil.
6. Consuming more calories than you expend will cause weight gain.
7. Hiding bills in a drawer does not make them go away.
8. I will never please my mother.
9. Octopus sushi is never a good idea.
10. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A temporary descent into wild optimism

At the risk of jinxing everything, I must admit I'm beginning to love my job.

I enjoy the people I work with on a lot of different levels. It's like having a smorgasbord every day; I have a variety of interests and each person there seems to appeal to a different one. Very nice.

Even the drive is pretty cool. I am not a morning person (those of you who know me are laughing at this gross understatement). Working a traditional job seemed anathema to me because I hate having a set schedule. But this one is easy because I just go in after I drop the kids off at school, no problem, no stress. I shoot for 8:30, but as long as I get there before 9 it's all good. I usually make it before 8:45. It's a great commute. Thirty miles of country highway. Only a transplanted suburbanite can truly appreciate the joy of seeing trees and pretty scenery on the way to work instead of non-stop traffic, idiotic drivers and endless concrete.

Still, I've heard myself on the radio. I'm convinced the only reason they're keeping me is because no one else will take the job.

Oh well. It beats the heck out of Walmart.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm back, baby

Yeah, it's been a while, but I have been SO out of commission. I'm definitely re-thinking the flu shot decision next year.

I've stirred from my cocoon of blankets and mountain of used kleenex. The last five days have been spent bouncing between the couch, the bathroom and bed, with my 5 year-old daughter, Savannah, in tow. Luckily, she's the only casualty so far among the kids.

I actually felt better enough this morning to venture into the kitchen to make coffee. I passed the microwave cabinet at least a dozen times before looking down to see a furry white mouse wiggling around in one of those stupid, sticky mouse traps designed to be more humanitarian than a killer, wire snap trap.

Screw that.

This mouse deserved to be snapped. He'd gotten complacent, smug even. Before he got caught, he didn't even bother scurrying in a blur across the kitchen floor in the dead of night anymore. He would just lope across in broad daylight while we were watching tv in the connecting room; one time I swear he winked at me.

Anyway, I'm sure all the other mice are using him now as an example. Stupid, complacent, fat mice get caught in the sticky trap. And yet, they still gross out recovering-from-the-flu, yelping, gravity defying, forty year-old women who were just trying to make some damn coffee.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

From me to flu

I'm sick.

It cost me $99 for this diagnosis, "Yep. You're sick."

I have the flu. No I didn't get a flu shot. I might re-think that decision next year. Right now I can barely think at all.

It's like having a buzz, but not in a good way. My skin is so sensitive the tiniest thing sends pain shooting through my body, everything seems to be happening in my periphal vision, my throat HURTS, I can barely remember leaving work yesterday, I can't get warm even with my best jammies on and a huge comforter wrapped around me, and I want my mommy. This is bad, people.

They shoot horses, don't they?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Thrills, chills and spills - and that's just my trips to the kitchen during commercials

I am an Olympics freak.

I love everything about them, although there are sports in both the Summer and Winter Olympics I can live without: Winter - women's hockey, cross country skiing, and curling; Summer - basketball, volleyball, and certain track events.

The opening ceremonies are always great because you know the athletes are going to get wasted when the cameras stop rolling. Then they're really fun to watch when they try to compete with hangovers. This is particularly true for the downhill skiers. Barreling down the side of a mountain with last night's buzz is never pretty, but frequently entertaining.

The snowboarders are fun to watch 'cause they're pretty much stoned, or on their way to getting stoned the entire event. Watching the media interview them is hilarious. "Well, Flying Tomato, what was it like out there when you lost your footing? Were you putting too much pressure on yourself?"

"Shyeah - I was freaked, man. I wasn't putting any pressure on myself at all. I was totally loose. It's like, make it all the way out here and not make the finals? Bogus." He laughs, throws a hang ten, asks where the snacks are and wins the gold medal in the next round.

And the Luge guys outfits are so tight they all walk around super straight backed, scowling 'cause they can't wait to dig out the wedgie and have their man parts back where they belong...

Or can they?

It's just so fun to watch someone else under pressure for a change. No matter how tough things get, at least I don't have to do it in front of 30 million people.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Now and zen

The radio station is helping me with the whole live-in-the-moment zen phase I'm going through.

There is nothing more immediate than radio. (Well, my pre-taped show isn't immediate, but we won't hop down that bunny trail yet). Everything happens now - it's out on the air and then it's gone. History. Yesterday's news.

It's great therapy for recovering perfectionists because there are no do-overs. You go with what you have. You don't have time to stop and agonize over a mistake, it's just a bump in the road. The car keeps going, baby.

Of course, people will call you on your screw-ups, but someone else's screw-up is always waiting to take the spotlight.

Now, if it just didn't take me an hour to do two 30-second commercials, I could say I'm there.

Right, Tiffany?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pain, love and time management

Zach's girlfriend, Danielle, e-mailed me today. She is having a hard time with his deployment coming up so soon. She has been crying and upset, but trying to snap out of it.

I tried to explain to her something important and painful that I wish I'd figured out a lot sooner. To not enjoy the time we have, when we have it, with people we love is the worst kind of waste. You can never get that time back.

All you have for sure is right now, this minute. That's it. Why spend it being sad? Why take away from it by doing anything other than focusing on the one you love and squeezing every last ounce of wonderful out of the time you have together?

I'll never get back the wonderful I've wasted. But I can try to make sure I don't waste anymore.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The importance of losing control

Cast Away is one of my all time favorite movies.

A man thinks he has life figured out. He has a fast paced job he's very good at, the perfect woman; he's ready to settle down, he's made plans. Time is on his side.

Everything changes in a matter of minutes, ironically enough.

At first it's ok. Things are difficult, but he uses the resources at hand to survive. He still believes he is in control. He thinks his situation is only temporary. But that belief is slowly stripped away until there is nothing left but the realization that he doesn't have control over anything. He can't even kill himself.

Still he has objects with him that help him hang onto sanity. The picture of his woman, a package with wings painted on it, and a volleyball he personifies.

After four years, an opportunity in the form of part of a port-a-potty suitable for a makeshift sail washes up on shore. He takes the opportunity. Still, things don't go as planned and he ends up completely void of everything he's tried to hold onto, completely helpless, and he lays down to die.

Then he is rescued.

The woman he thought was his perfect mate has had to move on with her life. She's become another man's wife and a mom. Life continued without him and he doesn't see where he fits. Nothing is what he thought it would be.

The only thing he has left is the package with wings. What he doesn't realize is, delivering the package is going to lead him to the future that is perfect for him. A future he would never have known any other way.

The whole time he was alone, he had the past, the present, and the future with him.

It just took stranding him on a desert island for a few years to get him to come around.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

On pessimism and the Superbowl

For those of my friends and acquaintances who are concerned by my last entry, you should know I am prone to fits of cynicism; please take it as such.

I'm sure I'll feel better someday and see things in perspective.

Does that make everyone feel better?

The Superbowl was fun. I've never seen so many ridiculously long names on the back of jerseys in my life, and I still can't say "Tatupu" with a straight face.

Seattle beat themselves; it felt like we had a Houston team there. The first half was pretty good, better than I thought it would be. But Seattle's coach lost the game on the way to the locker room at halftime with his cry-baby attitude about the bad call on Pittsburgh's touchdown. Yes. It was a bad call. Suck it up. You were still within reach, ya girl.

The refs really were making some terrible calls, though. Even the Steeler's fans were flinching by the end of the game. The officials semi-redeemed themselves on the recall of Seattle's fumble in the last quarter, but by then I believe Seattle had already been tainted by their coach's bad attitude.

Me and Howard Cosell. What can I say?

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Whoever said, "Don't cry because it's over, laugh because it happened," is full of crap.

People who tell you one day you're going to look back at a situation and see it in perspective should be locked in a closet with whoever wrote the above mentioned full-of-crap sentiment.

Same goes for well-meaning bystanders who say "It's going to get better someday."

It's not better now. I do not feel like laughing. Someday DOES NOT COUNT.

Don't mind me... I'm just crying over spilt champagne.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Near misses, near hits

When DeDe was here for my birthday, we drove to Temple, TX (near Austin) to visit her father-in-law who's been sick with lung disease.

Let me clarify. He was almost my father-in-law too, several years ago, because DeDe's brother-in-law is my ex.

Anyway, I haven't seen the man in a long time. He was asleep on the couch when we got there but he got up and moved around fine, dragging his oxygen tank behind him on a carrier-type thing. He even had a cigarette and a beer while we visited. Yes. He had a cigarette. While he was hooked up to an oxygen tank. All I could think about the whole time was Roy Scheider blowing up the shark with one well aimed shot at an oxygen tank at the end of Jaws.

But I digress.

Wayne died last night. They sent him home from the hospital because his lungs were filling with fluid faster than they could pump them out. They told him he was going to die, so he wanted to go home. And last night he just quit breathing. I'm assuming that, technically, you could call it death by drowning.

Less than a month ago, he was sitting at a table on the back porch, smoking, drinking, and chatting it up; now he's dead. I'm not going to get into the whole, how-crazy-he-was-to-still-be-smoking-while-he-was-hooked-up-to-an-oxygen-tank issue. I have enough of my own crazy habits without self-righteously judging someone else's addiction.

It's just weird when someone you know dies.

It's the one time we come face to face with the inevitable. There's no shelfing it. There's no not thinking about it. Someone we know, someone we've talked with, hugged, connected with, is now in a place that is totally unkown, but a place we're going to be someday. Without a doubt. Weird.

One thing on the other side is for sure. Smoking won't be an option. Unless you're on fire.