Friday, January 28, 2011

The Long Awaited Sister Day!!

All day Saturday, I puttered around my apartment straightening things here and there. Unpacking that dreaded 10% of moving boxes that inevitably stays packed until you're 36 months into your new residence and quite possibly ready to move again. But I did get two more unpacked and I finally got all of my Christmas decor up into the attic. Groomed the dog and washed my hair.

Basically, I did everything I could think of to bring down the anxiety. Saturday was the most important day of my month. It was Sister Day.


If you don't have a sister, then I'm sorry but you don't get it. And if you and your sister are just "meh" about each other, then I'm sorry to you too because you don't get it either. But if you and your sister rock hard core and have shared rooms, apartments, secrets, crushes (but never boyfriends), drunken celebrations, and public shame then you totally understand the importance of sister day.

Sister Day is the one day (or night) where we get to act like we're in high school and go to dinner, see a movie, drink some wine, have a spa day, and just be sisters. Not wives or girlfriends, not mothers or daughters; just sisters. And it had been six months since we'd had a sister day (our last attempt was squashed) so I was super excited. Actually, we were both super excited. Which is probably why neither one of us made any plans.

Once Nat got off work, she breezed over to my house and said, "What are we going to do tonight?" and I just stared at her blankly because it did not even cross my mind that we would need to have plans. We settled on going to one of the bars that's in our local mall. The place was packed! Especially for it to only be 8:30p. I mean, yeah, it's Saturday, but it's 8:30p! The young people shouldn't even be dressed yet and the old people shouldn't be out! But alas, they were out in droves. We checked in and the gorgeous hostess told us there was a 45-minute wait for a table but the high tops in the bar were first come, first serve. We put our names in just in case, she wished us luck and we marched forward in our fantastic 4" heels (mine multi-colored, round-toe glitter and hers camel, peep-toe ankle boots).

My eagle eye spotted a lonely high top and snapped it up without mercy. Nat couldn't believe our luck! God was smiling on Sister Day! Our server came through and brought us menus. Before our first drink order could arrive, a gorgeous silhouette caught my eye. I double-blinked and asked Nat, "Is that The Volunteer?" She spun around so quickly that I thought she would lose balance and go tumbling from her chair. The way her eyes darted around the room told me that I better be right about this one. She couldn't take the suspense any longer and kept asking, "Where? Where?!?". I pointed with words and then she saw it too. The broad shoulders. The strong jaw. The ruffled blonde hair.

There he stood. Ten feet away oblivious to the world watching some game on the bar's big screen. I was all "Let's go!" while she was like "We can't go". So I said, "I will leave you here!" and she said something that I nodded to but didn't verbally agree to so it's like she never said it at all.

Me: *tap, tap on shoulder*
The Volunteer: *spins around*
Me: The Volunteer?
TV: *face full of surprise* Oh my God! *chuckle* Hey!
Me: *beaming uncontrollably*
TV: Hold on... it's been a really long time... *snap, snap* J-Bird!
Me: Yes! Ohmigawd! I was looking and I was thinking it was you... *airy, flirty laugh* Well, Nat is here!
TV: Yeah? How is she?
Me: She's engaged!!!
TV: No way! I guess I need to come congratulate her!
See how gracious he is? *swoon* I heart this man in a way that words cannot express.
Me: Nat, look!
Nat: Ohmigawd! She said it was you!
TV: So, you're engaged?!?
Nat: *evil glare at me* Yeah? Well, the weddings not on but the engagement isn't off, so... *tinkly laugh*
TV: Ah. So I still have a chance then? *winning smile*
Me: *evil glare at Nat* *sends telepathic message "I will stab you"
Nat: *send telepathic message back "Bring it, Bitch!"

More witty banter and flirty conversation happens before he decides that he should stop being rude to his guy friends and make his way back over to the bar. Nat looks at me all evil-y,

Nat: I told you not to mention the engagement!
Me: What? When?
Nat: I said, 'Icks-nay on the engagement'. I even did this *make throat cutting sign*
Me: *Kanye shrug* I didn't hear you.
Nat: You nodded!
Me: Whatevs. 'The weddings not on but...' *mocks her Tinkerbell laugh*
Nat: Don't hate.
Me: Oh, I'm hatin'.

Nat and I laughed and regaled at how silly the two of us were acting. We ordered food that was only good by bar standards and drank $9.00 drinks that caused us to have minor heart palpitations when we got the check because Really!! the average cocktail in this region is $7.00. $7.50 on a Saturday. On the way out, we went to say goodbye to The Volunteer who noticed that I had a Blow Pop.

He was all, "What's going on with that Blow Pop in your mouth?" and I was like "It came in my Naughty School Girl drink *terribly seductive face and naughty lips*" and he's like "Hmmm... *evily grin and sexy eyes*" and I say "We could cut out the middle man" and Nat jumps in like "Give me a hug before we go!" and I want to stab her again. We find out he's not on Facebook I know right! because he's a new school fool It's a Snoop Dogg reference and we exchange numbers and part ways for probably another two years or at least until I buy a house in his neighborhood. I'm not yet above stalking him and his fine self.

We finished up at a small pub by my apartment that had a great jukebox selection and boasted few patrons on a Friday night which officially qualifies it as my new favorite place, especially after seeing The Volunteer who got me all hot and bothered. Nat and I sat and talked about all the other guys who have crossed out path and either made their marks as friends or lovers. Then we both accepted that from this point on, anyone we ended up with would be settling. In a good way. 8^)

Sister Day was an absolute success and was only made better on Sunday when we both woke up hungover the drinks didn't seem that strong going down but remembering everything that happened. If you follow us on Facebook then you know excatly how amped we were and how silly and giddy we can get over boys. But isn't that the best thing about having a sister. She's the one person you can be 100% yourself around 100% of the time.

Happy Sister Week, Everyone! Hope you get your Sister Day in soon. Next one: March 13th!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Spy With My Little Eye The Best Dinner of My Life

Now that you know The Sag and The Volunteer, I can regale you with my weekend recap! This is only part one. *the crowd goes wi-yald!* If you haven't read those stories, then please go! now! read! because you'll realize just how awesome they are and that I have a knack for finding amazing men.

Since The Sag and I missed our annual birthday dinner (because I was broke and melancholy), he invited me out last Friday. I was already super excited! He picked me up like always (he's such a gentleman) and when I answered the door he said, "You're not wearing a dress?". I was floored. Normally, when we go to dinner out it's just your run-of-the-mill sit-down restaurant but that night he was dressed in dark denim, a chocolate brown and celadon green striped button-down shirt, and a sport coat. I had on my fat jeans, black snow boots, a black t-shirt and a pull-over fleece. What the hell, right?!?

So, I run to my room (a good ten feet) and start changing with a fury. I couldn't wear my black and white dress because I would have frozen my butt off. My favorite polka-dot dress was mysteriously MIA and I didn't want to wear the orange dress again. So I dug out my black wrap dress that he'd never seen me in, threw it on, thanked the gods that I'd shaved my legs that morning, put on some tights and my knee-high boots* and emerged a Goddess.

We walk to the car and he opens my door he is such a gentleman!, once he's in, he tells me how nice I look and that I'm in for a real surprise. Twenty minutes later he's navigating Downtown and I'm super antsy and beeeeegging to be let in on the surprise because I just can't stand it in any longer when I recognize the street we're on and squee with delight at the sight of my favorite Spanish restaurant. That's when I say, "Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Are we going to my Favorite Spanish Restaurant! Are we?!? Ohmigod!" He laughs and nods yes and I whip out my phone to text CBS111, "The Sag has brought me to my favorite Spanish restaurant! I'd have his baby right now if he asked.". That is a direct quote. No lie. Ask her.

We go in, sit down, and I'm suuuuuper excited. He already knows what I want but still lets me order for myself. We talk about stuff that means nothing at all and he tells me that his relationship with The Chick Who Shall Not Be Named is completely over now. Dinner comes and he says, "I wanted to talk to you about something". Me: mouth open. Fork: mid air. Food: untouched. I'm seriously beginning to wonder what this dinner is gonna cost me.

Mmmm... paella.

Because I know that I said thirty minutes ago that I would have his baby but seriously I'm not trying to have his baby. And the last time he looked at me that intently was when he was prepared to put all his dreams on the shelf for The Chick. I know that he wants to get married. I know that he wants children. We've talked openly about our desires for family. He spent Valentine's Day 2009 on my couch beside me watching SNL! I can tell you his future first born son's name!

But we never said we'd do this together and I just feel like if I put this meal in my mouth I'll be obligating my uterus for future use. All I can muster the courage to say is, "OK". He cracks his neck, his fingers, and his wrists. He shifts uncomfortably in his chair. He puts both forearms on the table and says, "I've started selling Advocare". Finally I can breathe! "And I'm coming to you because I know you've been doing this kind of stuff for years". I squint. He continues, "It's not a pyramid scheme, I swear! And I'm not asking you to join. I just want you to try it and if you like it tell your friends". I tilt my head to the right. He goes on, "It's just that you know so many more people than I do. You know like 300... no 500 people, right? You could really help me out if you like, end up liking it".

I finally I say, "Is that why you brought me here? To my favorite Spanish restaurant?". He looks at me sheepishly, "Yes".

Me: "OK".
The Sag: "Really?"
Me: "Yeah".

And then I ate. It was sooooo good. And if all I've got to do is buy some vitamins and meal replacement shakes, I'm all game. So check out Advocare products. Especially if you have fitness goals this year. My first order will be here on Friday and I'll try to remember to let you know if I'm seeing any positive changes.

*The Sag is a sucker for a woman in knee-high boots. *gives wink to every woman out there that's inboxing me for his number*

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Only Thing Better Than You Is Me

My best guy friend in the whole world is a Sag.

That's us on the left. I can't even talk about the kid with the shirt stains!

It's both a blessing and a curse. I love him so deeply because all of my good qualities reflect right back at me. And I could slap the shit out of him at any moment because he always follows up the right thing to say with something completely ridiculous and outlandish.

Example: "J-Bird, I don't know why you don't have a boyfriend. I mean, you're so pretty, you can lose the weight!".

Do you see it? The place where he should have stopped. I see it. He's the Santino of my life. And I've stopped glazing over every time he goes too far because I realize that even though he said exactly what he meant, he didn't mean it the way I heard it. In the example above, when I asked him for clarification he said, "Just thank God you're not ugly! We can't fix that. Like if you were hit in the face? Nothing we could do".

Now, I laugh when he gets word vomit because it's hella funny. Plus, I'm one of three people that gets his jokes. I know when he's sad and make sure to say just enough to nudge him out of his funk. I mean, he's a Sag so I know he'll come out eventually but it always helps to know you've got support in your latest excursion.

He's also my travel buddy. We hit a rough patch when he went to Mykonos 5 months early and without me. I jumped so far up his ass he tasted my toe jam for a week! But then I realized that he'd just gotten the bug and he had the funds and most importantly, I probably would've done the same thing to him. It's not like Greece is going anywhere, right? So we had lunch and I paid and he knew I was sorry and I knew he was sorry and we went right back to the way things were.

That's the other thing. He totally gets my need for space. He's never hurt (for long) when I don't want to do something or go somewhere. He knows when to keep his mouth shut about my boys. And he's never yelled at me for chasing away his girls. Probably because he knows, deep down, that if she were meant to stay I wouldn't be able to scare her away so easily.

And I'm pretty sure that ALL OF THAT is why Nat thinks we'd be so perfect for each other. She's been pressing me for years to get with The Sag. And by "pressing", I mean that once a year, usually around our birthdays (because I'm 4 days older than him) she'll say, "So what are you and The Sag doing to celebrate?". I'll tell her our plans and she gets this shit-eating grin on her face that exudes the confidence that this will be the year that her big sis gets her mind right and marries the man that's just like her so she can be the cool Aunt already. But she's always wrong.

The love I have for The Sag is completely platonic. We met in a call center during the time in my life when I worked two jobs and went to school part time. He sat a whole two rows over, by himself, everyday, because he was the last from the mid-shift to leave. So for two hours after I'd get to work, he'd be in a row all alone staring out the window. And he's too fine for that. I held a mini-summit with my row and we decided to invite him over but I had to be the one to do it. It went like this:

Me: "Hey."
The Sag: "Hey."
Me: "D in my row wants to know if you date black women."
The Sag: "What?"
Me: "She thinks you're cute and if you promise not to make this awkward you can sit with us instead of by yourself for two hours every night."
The Sag: "But only because she thinks I'm cute?"
Me: "Well, it's not like we know you! You could have a horrible personality!"
The Sag: ...
Me: "Are you coming or not?"
The Sag: "Yeah. Just let me take this call."
Me: "Cool."
The Sag: "Hey?"
Me: "Yeah?"
The Sag: "I don't like D, I like L"
Me: "Whuh? Ew! You don't want her! She's hott and all but her boyfriend's a douche and she's gonna marry him anyway because he's rich. I already know you're better than that."
The Sag: "Damn."
Me: "You still coming over?"
The Sag: "Yeah." *kanye shrug* "Why not?"

See? It's a beautiful story. I will say that they year we turned 23, Nat had gotten all in my head and tequila was all in my blood stream so I thought maybe, juuuust maybe, The Sag and I could make this work. I was drunk, he was drunk, and my room was clean so I said "Let's do this!". And then he responded, "Do what?". And I was all drunk sexy and he took his shirt off and I was like "You have a fur coat! Bahahahahahhaa!". Which by the way, did you know that men with body hair are totally self-concious about it?

Anyway, he admitted that he was a virgin, I buckled under that kind of pressure, and we fell asleep laying the wrong way across my bed, over the covers, with him rubbing my back while I dry heaved. No one should start a romantic relationship on that kind of romance so we just let it be. We've never actually talked about that night and I think it's better that way. There's no underlying tensionn from it because we didn't make what would have been a major mistake.

We get to love each other in our own way and it's working for us. At least until he asked me to dinner, took me to my favorite restaurant, and said he wanted to talk...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Story of The Volunteer AKA The Hottest Neighbor EVER!

image found here
I had a life long before I took to coming on here and telling you all my business. And that life included living like a nomad and moving at all hours of the morning. Which is how I met The Volunteer. He's 6'3", 210, blonde, blue-eyed, fun, outgoing, optimistic, gentlemanly, and all sex. This man oozes sex and he knows it but he doesn't abuse so it only makes you wanna give him your sex. Does that make sense? Yeah, it makes sense.

Nat and I were moving into an apartment together that was going to be much closer to where I was working at the time. It was 1 in the morning on Friday, May 30, 2008. All the big stuff would be moved in by the boys on Saturday and - as is my nature - I was too cheap to rent a U-Haul for more than one day and fill it with more than one tank of gas, so we were driving the mom van and my car getting as many boxes and clothes over there as we could.

It was our third or fourth trip of the day and we were banging around as little as possible when he came outside. The night was bright and his gorgeous smile glowed in the light of the moon. He ran his long fingers through his blonde hair and welcomed us to our new place. Then he promptly inquired as to why we were moving all of our own things and where the hell our (apparently) good-for-nothing boyfriends were.

Nat and I were not amused. Not only was he drunk but he was still drinking. And for all the boyfriend bashing he did, he didn't lift one box. Not one. It was only after we had both vehicles emptied that he stood there sheepishly and proffered the now lukewarm beers he'd brought for us when he first emerged from his cave. In all the years I'd lived away from home, he was the first neighbor to ever reach out to me with any sort of gesture; I was smitten.

We sat in the mom van's hatch for at least an hour telling stories from our childhood. It turns out that we shared a military upbringing and while I'd spent so many years trying to put it behind me he seemed to revel in it. I saw every new location as another temporary prison sentence where he had used it to develop his skills of adaptation. Then he told us about his foray into college at the University of Tennessee and how weird it was for him to call someplace "home" for five solid years. He worked his way through school by working for a shipping company and when he left he was the youngest Operations Manager they'd ever seen. Which is how he ended up here - our neighbor - bunking with a friend from college for the last four months.

By Sunday we were great friends and our doors were always open to one another. Mornings were spent scaring the crap out of each other as we exited our apartments simultaneously. Evenings were spent in camping chairs on our 4' x 3' piece of grass with beers and good conversation. Weekends were always spent apart until it was time for the "Sunday Night Recap".

 I always thought The Volunteer was a good guy but I never realized how good until the first major thunderstorm of the season. There I stood, in my doorway, under the shelter of our awning, staring up into the night wearing nothing but a tank tops and panties. Then I hear a creak and low and behold if he doesn't usher out some petite blonde (who obviously didn't know her days were numbered) out to watch the same storm. For a moment, I was so stunned to see a master at work that I had forgotten all about the storm or my dreadful state of undress.

That was the first of our more intimate encounters. All summer I took to cutting his hair. I helped him pack for a trip to L.A. We dry-humped on the roof of his truck because he didn't have a parking pass and didn't want to get towed. He played my wingman when I was being backed into the proverbial corner by that night's guest of honor. Who waits until he gets back to your place to ask if you've ever slept with a white guy? He yelled my name and threw rocks at my window anytime he wanted to watch a movie. And we really did watch the movie. No quotation marks here. He woke me up after he'd partied too hard and asked if I had a soda can he could use as a bong. And he helped me break up with The Australian when I couldn't muster the courage on my own.

We had one big fight because I was a lot too drunk and he just shook his head, murmured an apology and let me win until I woke up feeling like leprechauns were using construction tools in my brain. He showed more grace that next morning than I've given my whole life and reminded me that forgiveness was never required between friends. And then, on September 17th, he told us he was moving out. In a week.

I remember being heartbroken. I knew I'd never find another neighbor like The Volunteer. Hell, I might not ever find another person like The Volunteer. People that open and men that strong don't walk by everyday. He's a special breed and that's why I was high as a kite when after two years and almost four months, I spotted him across the bar...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Me Like To Read - Review: There's Cake in My Future

Hooray for Chick Lit!

There's Cake in My Future by Kim Gruenenfelder is a story about Nicole (Nic) who has finally met the perfect man and is getting married. Even though she lives in California, she holds tight to the Southern tradition of the bridal shower "cake pull". The charm that's pulled will bring the recipient the magical assistance she needs to change her destiny.

She's rigged the cake so that she and her two best friends get exactly what they need from the universe. Melissa (Mel) will get the engagement ring because after six years with the same man she deserves to get married. Seema will get the chili pepper to give her the courage to spice things up with her best friend Scott and get out of the "friend zone". And for herself, Nic has planted the shovel, which denotes hard work, hoping that it will help her get re-employed after a round of layoffs.

But somehow the cake gets shifted and no one pulls the charm Nic has designated for them. When the other party guests' fortunes begin to come true, Nic, Mel and Seema get hyper vigilant (and super worried) about their own destinies. The best line in the whole book comes from Nic's new step daughter, "Suck it up, grow a pair, and let's go!".

It was fun watching the girls iron out the wrinkles of their lives and I felt like I was reading about me and my own friends. I encourage you to sit down with this easy read. Especially, if you just want to clear you mind and have a few laughs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Me Like to Read - Review: Heat Wave

I finished Heat Wave by Richard Castle and I give it 3.5 stars.

A real estate mogul jumps is thrown from his penthouse apartment in New York and leaves his twenty-something trophy wife and pre-K son to grieve him. We find out that the Mrs. is really mourning the fact that he left her nothing because he gambled it all away or spent it on other women. You want to accuse her of the crime because her past is shady. Like stripper poles and rich old men shady. But then she's attacked, so, you know.

There's the accountant that kept meticulous books but always did what his employer wanted. A whole lotta thugs that find convenient alibis in each other and bad people doing bad things. But then... wait for it!... a heat wave hits and causes a blackout in the city. (insert gasp). Things go missing. And just when you think you have it figured out you don't (unless you do) because the writer has decided that you don't need important pieces of information that connects the characters to each other.

The book itself (and all its sequels) were written by a ghostwriter hired by ABC because they wanted to support the series "Castle". Thank God! Because the book was written in an annoying way that dragged me through the streets of New York and made me feel like a tourist. Really, it should have come with a map. Add to that the offhanded attempts at humor (Detectives Ochoa and Raley are affectionately nicknamed "Roach" because... well, just because. I swear man humor is retarded.), the absurdity of the circumstances, and the ridiculousness of trying to have an A, B and C storyline in less than 200 pages and you can see why this book made my head hurt much like the show does on the nights when I wake up on the couch to find it grinding into my subconcious. But if you're a guy? You'll love this book. It has sex, crime, stupid jokes, and just enough pages to keep you intersted to the end. Ladies can pass.

It is, however, the most elaborate marketing scheme since Chris Gaines and since we all know how that ended, I say "Bravo!" to ABC for making this one work. And apparently, they're doing a good enough job at it because they keep pushing out New York Times Bestsellers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Me Like To Read - Review: Mini Shopaholic

Writer's Block.

That's what has kept me from writing a review on a book that I finished over a week ago.

I want to say that I'm at a loss for words because everything in my life is so crazy that I can't find time to sit let alone write about a piece of nonfiction. But the reality is that I have nothing to say about this book because I was so absolutely bored by it.

Snagged from Miss Kinsella's website

In Mini Shopaholic, our heroine - Rebecca Brandon (nee' Bloomwood) is now 29. We've watched her pay off her debt, take on Manhattan, fall in love, find her lost sister, get married and have a baby. After all of that, I expect Becky to have learned something - ANYTHING - about how to handle her money but she hasn't.

I'll admit that this book feels like it was rushed for money. Becky exhibits no more discipline over her life than she did when she was still living in Suze's apartment. All the years that she's been with Luke and she still takes him for granted. I read in horror as she continued to spend like a sieve and get offended when challenged to wear everything she currently owned at least once before buying anything new.

It upset me that she exhibited no control over her child and instead made excuses about how she was simply "spirited" and "normal" and quite possibly a genius when really Minnie is just out of control. So much time is spent scheming on ways to convince Luke to have another child so that she can go and buy more things. I know it's just a book but I was still sickened by her insatiable materialism. Becky is clearly an addict... but no one in her life cares enough to tell her.

There's also the continued theme of lies and fabrications. Becky has told her parents that she, Luke and their daughter will be moving into their own home. Yes, the three of them (and aaaaallllllll of Becky's stuff) have taken up every nook and cranny in her parents home for the last two years and finally declares that they have found their own place. Except they haven't because the deal fell through. But instead of being honest, Becky insists on her fantasy that they can drive around in the moving truck and pull up to a magically available flat. She won't admit the truth of the situation because she's too busy pouting about how her parents are thrilled for her to be moving out instead of begging her to stay.

In the end, she is rescued from her foolishness by - here's the twist - people that love Luke. Everything works out in the end not because they can't stand to see her fail but because Luke deserves so much more. Even Rebecca stands in awe at the lengths that individuals go to see her husband happy. That message spoke to me and let's hope that when Becky embarks on her next journey she takes that message with her.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Swear To God We Are Not Related

Check this company out. They have some awesome designs including these for t-shirts.

Mr. T has a problem with letting Nat have her own things. He likes to think that everything is "ours". Normally, I would say, "Bravo!", "Indeed!", "Right on!". But I can't because it's hard to see them share everything when everything belongs to Nat. The living room furniture is her half of what she and I purchased together in 2005. The bedroom furniture is what she collected on her journey through college and life. The kitchen utensils are all the things Mom and I set her up with when she packed up and went to art school. The car is her car that she will have paid off in April. Even if you don't do a detailed inspection of what has been categorized as "ours" it's easy to see that nothing of Mr. T's made it into the pile.

This has Nat on edge. Which put me on edge. A much sharper, pointier edge than I should have been on when my Sister Day got encroached on. Yes, encroached. Because Mr. T felt that Sister Day should be Sibling Day and called both of his sisters and invited them to our gathering. Which he neglected to mention and we only found out about because Little T (his youngest sister who's 17) blew up Nat's phone wanting to know where we were then, where we were going to hang out, and who was driving because we were going 5 deep. And then Middle T (the middle child and oldest daughter who's 19 and in college) went on about how excited she was to have Sibling Day because "we've never hung out with just the sibs" and this is gonna be "super great!" All I'm saying is that I haven't had a night out with just my sister since she met Mr. T because apparently he has no friends. Which we will address at a time when I'm not angry or distracted.

So we go out - the five of us - and hit up a downtown spot that's known for their whiskey. Middle T orders a beer but I give her the Mom face and let the server know that she's 19. Mr. T calls me a hater. I remind him that I volunteer at prisons I don't reside in them. Whatevs. That's when Little T decides to tell us all that she's pregnant... again. Because she already has a one-year-old. I. Lose. My. Damned Mind. I told her that this was unacceptable. To get pregnant once was a mistake but now she is being careless and disrespectful to herself, her son, her mother and the rest of her family. She obviously has learned NOTHING by being a single parent because if she had she would not have been so careless this time around. What's worst is that it's a completely different individual from her son's father and can't determine if she conceived by her current boyfriend or the guy she cheated on with him.

Mr. T tried to stop me but I told him that I blame him as well. As her older sibling it is his duty to hold her to a higher standard, to expect more from her, to ensure that she was motivated to continue her education. Instead we find him enabling her, fabricating her excuses, and shrugging it off like she didn't just take a dozen steps backward. I told Little T that just because she comes from a family that expects nothing from her and her life doesn't mean that she shouldn't expect more of herself. I implored her to get her GED or a part-time job. I challenged her to rise to the occasion and to use this time in her life to begin the path towards better opportunities for herself and her children.

I should have said it all in Italian because she still would have given me the same blank stare but I would have at least had a chance to practice. (Rosetta Stone is expensive. We want to make sure it's working.) I shoke my head in sadness and mumbled about how they are an entire family that doesn't believe in consequences. Mr. T thought I was being too hard on his sister and overstepped my boundaries by far. I told him that someone needed to say it and he only thinks I was too harsh because I'm nice to him. He was under the impression that I was nice to him because he's good to my sister. So I told him what I really think. That he's not good enough for my sister. That he has nothing to offer her and until he brought something to the table he would - in no way - be in my good graces. I told him that I think he's lazy, entitled, and flat-out ridiculous. When he met my sister had neither car nor job nor place to lay his head and I find that completely unacceptable. I told him more about him than he could ever dream of me knowing and that of the twenty or so people that I've asked about him NOT ONE has been willing to vouch for him. I told him that I'm letting him bide his time but the next time he brings Nat to tears he will be dealt with. I let him know that under no circumstance was I supportive of their union but I will always be supportive of Nat. And that as long as he makes her happy, he'll be allowed to stick around. I told him that he thinks Ashton's mom makes his life hard but he would find out what hard really is if he were to put Nat in the same position.

In short, I put my claws in him so deep that I think I still have remnants of his sack under my nails. I don't know if he's scared and I don't really care. But like I told him... it's in his best interest to believe everything I said because I'm not known for lying.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We Are Not Friends


If someone decided two years ago that they weren't going to speak to you ever again because they thought that you were unjust in your quest to be an accomplice to a major win, do you have to befriend them again?

This question is, of course, anything but hypothetical. It has everything to do with Charlotte - the woman at work that I've started to post about at least 5 times over the past 12 months but never actually got around to telling you about. Procrastination rocks!

Whatevs. Point is: I think I might have led her on.

I'm a Sag girl. We are dirty, flirty birds and optimistic to a fault. I am a firm believer that it sucks now but will soon get better. I may hate you in this moment but give it another five and I won't be angry. I won't forget but I won't be angry. The not forgetting makes me a Champion Grudge Holder. You can ask CBS111. She forgives and moves forward. I forgive and will write it in your eulogy. But that doesn't mean that I have to be hateful.

And that's where I go wrong. Charlotte thinks that because I let her use my dirty fork that it's all good. But the reality is this: She mumbled, "Dammit! I left my fork home" *slams cabinet door*. I looked up and realized I was the only person in the room. I said - and I quote - "You can use mine if you want to wash it".

What choice did I have? To let her starve? I'm not gonna watch anyone go hungry if I can prevent it.

But then, the day after the fork thing, she asked me about Nat's wedding. Then she made some comment to me that was solely work related. And then she said something about the ginormous apple I was eating. And honestly, I don't even know what the hell she said because I was only half listening because WE ARE NOT FRIENDS!

But then this morning, she hustled over here to ask me more work questions and said she knew that I would know the answer and she couldn't ask the boss because he's in meetings and I had to have her repeat the question three times because I couldn't focus on her words because all I could think was "What the hell is going on here?". The worst part is that her visit was obviously contrived. She wanted to know if the spreadsheet would override the system. And it will. Like it has for the 5 years we've been running this program. That's why the spreadsheet was created - to make our lives easier. Why would they change that with just 3 weeks to go?

I'm not telling you this to seek out your advice. I know exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to ignore the shit out of her. What other choice do I have? It wouldn't hurt so much if the fall from grace hadn't been so volatile. I mean, Charlotte and I used to hang out hard core.

I've spent many nights driving down to her place, eating at the VFW, and crashing in her guest room. We even spent a couple New Years' together. So I felt betrayed when she three-pieced me with the liar / thief / cheater accusation. Just sayin'.

So, anyways, that's what's going on there. And Palmer wants to take me out to dinner when he comes to town next. I accepted. He says that he knows that we're just going as friends and he doesn't care where we go because he's putting it on the company card. What I'm going to write next is evil and underhanded and I'm telling you now so you have time to cope with it. We're going to the nicest steak restaurant in town. I intend to wear my nicest dress, arrive with manicure, pedicure, and perfect coif, strike up gay and light-hearted conversation, eat and drink a very expensive, very free meal and then head straight to Steve's house.

Basically. Fuck 'em. Both.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Me Like to Read - Reviewing the Millennium Trilogy Series

It's only the tenth day of the year and I have 5 books under my belt. This challenge has been both the best and worst thing to happen to me this year. It's the best because it's taken me back into the world of literature that I love so much. It's the worst because I forgot how single-minded I can be when engrossed in a good book.

I have recently finished the Millennium Trilogy Series written by Steig Larsson. Collectively, it's one of the best series I've read in a long time. For the purpose of the reading challenge, I will only count one of them toward the 26 books I committed to read this year because I feel like doing otherwise would be cheating. But I will be reviewing them all separately.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first installment of the Millennium Trilogy. It centers around Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who finds himself disgraced when he publishes a story that he can't verify. He refuses to fight against the corrupt financier who has tarnished his name and has all but given up on his profession when he's hired to write a billionaire's biography. The trick is that the billionaire really wants him to find his niece who went missing almost 40 years ago.

Mikael takes on the task with the promise of five million dollars if he succeeds. He knows that he can't do it alone and requests the aid of one of the world's finest hackers - Lisbeth Salander. Together they unearth a secret that Mikael can't tell and Lisbeth won't let go unpunished. You find that Lisbeth is a lot disturbed but when you see the kind of people who have been pushed into her life you understand why.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a full-on adrenaline rush. It's filled with dark twists and demands your full attention at all times. The only draw back is that it includes so much violence against women. So much so that it - at times - vexed my spirit.

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The second book in the Millennium Trilogy is - like in trilogies - the best. Mikael has exacted his revenge and Lisbeth is trying to go back to the person she was before she started to care about anyone that wasn't herself. While she's in the midst of finding her way, she lands smack dab in the middle of Mikael's next big story - sex trafficking.

They find that they are both hunting the same person and share the same source except Lis is accused of murdering him and Mikael's not. She goes on the lam as she focuses more on finding the bastard who really committed the crime and less on clearing her own name. Mikael puts all of his energy into the latter if only because the Lisbeth Salander he knows is one very different from the one the government is hunting.

It's a high-octane ride that's good from the first page to the last. The Girl Who Played with Fire had me gasping out loud and forgetting that the events weren't real. It weaves it way through one of the best kept secrets in the Swedish government and proves how far a country will go to save its global reputation.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

This last book starts with Lisbeth being air lifted to the hospital alongside her nemesis. She's finally been captured by the state and they have no intention of letting her go unless Mikael can prove that she is innocent of the crimes. While Lis is still the star of the book, there's not much she can do as a ward of the state and we are left to put all of our hopes in the lap of Mikael Blomkvist. He knows two things for sure: 1) Lisbeth Salander didn't commit the crimes and 2) he might die trying to prove it.

There are a number of new characters introduced in the first hundred or so pages. I counted two doctors, six police officers and an entirely new entity called "The Section". Being force fed so much new information made it hard to enjoy the book and there was really no action until page 125. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster as the plot would take me to the peak of action and then let me free fall into boredom.

All in all, I was utterly moved by the amount of people who wanted to help Lisbeth simply because they knew it was the right thing to do. The characters were all smart enough to pick up on the goodness in her soul despite her eccentricities. At times it was hard to accept that all of the bad characters were coming to a bad end but I guess that's what fiction is all about.

In the end, Lisbeth finds herself wrestling with her own reality. She can't believe that she has feelings, friends, and freedom. It's a place that I'm sure we've found ourselves in at one time or another and it's the first time that any part of her adventure actually seemed real.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Me Like To Read - First Review: Room by Emma Donaghue

So, let me just say that taking this challenge is probably the best decision I made in 2010.

I've already read 3 whole books, am in the middle of this one and put it aside for this one.

The deal is that I have to write a review of each book read and link that post to the challenge blog.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that this is unlikely to last. I will do my best to tell you about each book but with my Nook, I'm now collecting and blazing through them so fast it's unreal.

I promise to give this whole review thing my best shot. And with that, I present to you the review for the first book I completed for the challenge: Room by Emma Donaghue.

Ed note: Click the link for the title, read Audrey Niffenegger's assessment and embrace it. Right now, you're questioning how she could come to that conclusion; I know that I did. But once I finished Room I understood.

Room is told completely through Jack, the five-year-old son of a woman who was kidnapped and imprisoned by a sexual predator. His mother, Ma, lives everyday in angst hoping and wishing for freedom while Jack spends everyday waiting for his friends to show up on t.v. He doesn't understand why Ma is sometimes "gone", he just knows that those days are the days he has to fend for himself and make his own meals and keep to his rigid schedule.

He knows that Old Nick is bad because that's what Ma told him but he doesn't know why. Jack understands that he is supposed to be asleep in the wardrobe when Old Nick comes around but sometimes he's awake and counts the creaks. One time he participates in some mischief that ends up causing his mother pain. He tells her that he's sorry and she says that she knows, but even at five Jack knows that its not the same as it being OK or being forgiven.

When Old Nick gives Ma some terrifying news, she panics and forgets her role as hostage. It's only after they find themselves at the mercy of Old Nick's whims that she puts together a plan for escape. Only it relies entirely on Jack who has never spoken to anyone expect for Ma and thinks it would be much better to try when he's six.

This is a story that goes inside the life of a captee and their child. It's an angle that's never been covered by any media outlet. Reading Room took me outside of my realm of comfort where I safely shake my head and freely voice my disdain for the people in this world who cause suffering to others. It took me to a place of deeper understanding for the victims - especially the ones that don't know they are.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope that your celebrations were everything you wanted them to be. I forewent cleaning my kitchen to read 200 pages from this amazing mystery novel, but stopped just in time to make all the delicious good luck foods that Gram used to make.

Nat and Mr. T came by to watch Easy A and drink sangria. We finished by missing the ball drop and throwing confetti 15 seconds too late. Hahaha!

Happy New Year to you and your families. May it be filled with prosperity and joy.
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