Monday, February 28, 2011

FOR MEEEE! You Shouldn’t Have.

I got an award. A blogging award! Or is it three?

I can’t be sure but I can say that of the many things that have happened to me in the last 14 days, this is by far the best.

Thank you, Erin Love, for thinking of me and for finally coming out of the shadows of Lurkdom.

If I were to follow Erin’s example, I’d have to tell you 21 things about myself that hopefully I haven’t already over shared and nominate 45 fellow bloggers for this prestigious honor. I’m sure I can do the first, we’ll see about the second.

Here goes nothing.

1. I’m bossy. So incredibly super, duper bossy. And I like it.

2. I miss Palmer. But don’t you dare tell him! That man is working over time to get back in my good graces. I’ve never seen a thesaurus used so heavily.

3. I knew Erin before she knew me. She took a ballet class with Nat in college. (How’s that for stalking?)

4. Do you have 900 pictures on Facebook? Is your page unprotected? Yes! I will spend my day sifting through your intimate moments.

5. I am sooooo lazy. It’s ridiculous and paradoxical. I hate mediocre and menial tasks but I don’t like having too much responsibility. I should probably work on that.

6. The first time I heard “One Time” by Justin Bieber, I thought it was a girl singing. I was so moved by America’s ability to embrace a 10-year-old lesbian that I told all my friends about this song. I still love you Justin, even though you’re a heterosexual boy.

7. I want four children because I grew up with having brothers and sisters. I got a best friend (Nat) and the world’s best advice on how to deal with teen aged boys (Ethan).

8. I have favorite siblings.

9. I am the eldest of 4 girls and the 2nd oldest of 8 children.

10. I would not want to live in a world without books, airplanes, and Zagat’s. Everything else is negotiable.

11. I went to a different school every year from 3rd to 12th grade. Yup. I went to four different high schools. Life was a nightmare.

12. I just clocked in late from lunch because I lost track of time.

13. I have a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

14. I broke up with a guy during dinner at his house because he let his cat eat off his plate. I just kept thinking, “OMG!, he kisses me with that mouth!”.

15. I love bullet point lists.

16. I haven’t had cable for over three years.

17. I haven’t had a valentine since I was 19.

18. I need to nurture my creative side.

19. I have always dreamed of becoming a professional dancer.

20. I hate sweat. It’s gross to look at, feel, and smell. It’s the visual equivalent of bile in the throat.

21. When I win, I like it to be because I've proven myself against a worthy opponent, not because they never stood a chance.

OK. The easy part is out of the way.

There are three different awards to give away and I am supposed to pick 15 bloggers per award. If you know me then you’ve already accepted that this is not likely to happen. But stick around anyway. I could always surprise you.

The Versatile Blogger Award is being passed to:

I <3 This Blog Award goes to:

The Stylish Blogger Award goes to:
OK. That's really the best I can do. These are the blogs that I absolutely check everyday even if I'm nowhere near a computer. I get hives if some of these people don't post regularly. So, check them out. Especially Ms. Lauren Lankford. And while you're at it, follow her on twitter just because. I've never met a woman more beautiful.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I dont want to do this.

I'm sittng on my Gramma's couch. The same one she's had for the last 15 years. And it feels like I'm 5 years old and sitting on her lap.

I want this couch. Of all the things we will pack into the truck, I want this old, lumpy couch. Because there are memories on this couch.

We talked about my first crush on this couch. She met my first real boyfriend on this couch. Many late-night chats happened on this couch.

Looking around, i see where some things have gone missing. A VCR, an antique radio, the blue satin chair to name a few. It's amazing to me how some things managed to walk away.

It doesn't matter. It never has. I just wish there were more honor, more reverence for the woman who shaped all of our lives.

My dad is here and my mother's husband too. They will do the heavy lifting. And I? I'll be rifling through her letters and boxes of opened mail. I've never seen more paper clips and unmailed checks in my life. Why didnt somebody buy her stamps?

There is a closet full of clothes and coats and a bathroom filled with paper towels and napkins and cleaning products. So much stuff. So much clutter that has to be gone through so that we can find and pay her final bills.

I know that this isn't how she wanted to leave things. But this is the hand we've been dealt. I just wish i was handling it better.
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Doing The Math

I don't have long. We meet with the funeral director in less than an hour. But it occured to me that maybe I should check my finances.

Yes, I've come a long way from where I used to be but I am by no means independently wealthy. All in all, this trip will cost over $1000. That's rental car, fuel, food, and lodging and we're not doing anything fancy. Boarding my dog is costing me a cool $100 on its own.

I just got paid. On Friday. And I had plans for that money. Plans that involved a new tail light, a deposit to: the emergency cash fund, the Vegas trip, and Atitlan, and a plain ol' girls night out.

It's weird to be in a place where I can't seem to save money no matter how hard I try.

I'm feeling super selfish again. I don't wish that I could do my life over, but I do hope that life is done having its way with my finances.

I've grown weary of being part of the working poor.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Beginning

Its day 1 on our journey to settle my grandmother's affairs. You'd never believe the amount of work that goes into settling another person's affairs.

There's life insurance, power of attorney, releasing the body, meeting with funeral directors, choosing between burial or cremation. And that's just the beginning.

We've taken phone calls from my great aunt accusing Mom of telling the doctors that they can only talk with her. There was the phone call from my aunt saying that my uncle (their brother) had already raided Grandma's apartment for the things that "he bought so he can take back" if he wants.

Now, we're finally packed. Mom and her hubby have hit the road. I'm still in the rental lot waiting on my car to be detailed. It smelled like marijuana when it was returned. I demanded that they correct that. The last thing I need is to have that smell emanating through the window during a routine traffic stop.

Nat, April, Rebecca and I will start our journey early tomorrow morning. I'm hoping to get most of the way there with everyone asleep so that I can focus on the road. I've never wished more fervently for something to be a dream.
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Friday, February 11, 2011

My Greatest Fear Realized

Today is February 11, 2011.

It's approximately 9:25AM and I've just been told that my grandmother has died. My mom is a wreck and my sister is unreachable.

I've sent an email to three levels of management and Human Resources and I'm numb. I feel like I'm not allowed to lose it because Mom is not holding it together and Nat doesn't have the capacity to deal with the intensity of it all. So that leaves me pick up the scattered pieces, brush them off, and try to glue them back together.

My selfishness is glaringly obvious to me. All I can think about is myself. How abandoned I feel by the first person to love me exactly the way I am. How I'll have to drive 6 hours wearing sweats and dark sunglasses just so I can deal with the shenanigans of family. How I don't have anyone to be strong for me like I have to be strong for Mom and Nat.

I only ever asked God for one thing: to let my Gramma see my first born child.

People say there is a God. That He walks with me, that He talks with me, that He calls me his own. People say that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.*

I'm reading a book right now that tells me that this world, our world, the way that it is is not at all the way God intended it to be. That He doesn't cause our pain and sorrow to bring us closer to Him. But rather that He has given us all the same freedom to decide on our own what path in life to take.  That he waits patiently for the day when we are ready to open our hearts to live in Him as one in a circle of love, trust, and respect.

It's hard to feel the love. It's hard to give the trust. And I'm finding it even harder to muster the respect. As the days of my life go by and I continue my own countdown to the end, I find myself continuing to ask God why. What good can come out of so much pain? And how can He expect me to find love - especially for Him - when all He wants is credit for what is good in me and my life? Why? And everywhere I turn, everywhere I look says only one thing: Because He said so.

That may be good enough for you but it's not enough for me.

I know I'm not the first to experience pain or suffering. I have witnessed torture and trauma worst than anything I've ever felt. That doesn't bring me any amount of comfort.

Written February 11, 2011 at 10:45AM

The tears are falling sporadically as I write or breathe or think. Nat knows now and I'm trying to distract myself with thoughts of hot food and warm slippers. I'm trying not to think about a world without my Grammy in it. A world where her landlord has given us 10 days to clear out her stuff and make it appear as though she never existed.

It's 11:45AM and Nat and Mom are both home. Mom quit trying to work over an hour ago and Nat texted me saying she just couldn't focus. But I'm still here plugging away. Trying to make sure there are no loose ends while I'm away next week. I've only told one person that my grandma passed. Hopefully, no one else will find out until they read this. My closest partners think I'm taking a much needed vacation. They've noticed how high-strung and disagreeable I've been lately. Thank goodness I didn't tell them when I was on meds otherwise they'd know the reality behind the change.

I'm thinking of my mom crying her eyes out. Those deep, gutteral sobs that are the true expression of immeasurable pain. I think of Nat asking me three times if I were sure that it's our grandma that the hospital pronounced dead - as if they'd make an error so large as to notify the wrong family. And then I think of the email I drafted to my boss. Here it is:

"I just received word that my maternal grandmother passed at approximately 9:00am this morning. My mother is holding up as expected but anticipates completing her work day. These events could cause me to leave unexpectedly today.

I do, however, request permission to leave work at 3p today so that I may pick up my sisters from after care.

Naturally, I’ll require time off to assist in making travel and funeral arrangements to Maryland. I will keep you updated as events unfold."

It's a tad cold, don't you think? Maybe not cold but definitely distant. But it's exactly what I was feeling at the time. Very factual and analytical. These are things that happened. This is the result of those events. I hope I have your support in this.

Am I cold? Am I distant? Does my lack of tears mean that I loved her less? Does my need for distraction mean that I'm trying not to cope? Is it wrong that I can only think about the will that never was? Or all the resistance I encountered when I pushed for its completion.

Am I a bad person for already having a car rental arranged? That I'm prepared to do all of the driving? That I've worked out the prepartion schedule that will start at 3:30 today when this will post and I'll be on the road to my mother's.

Am I sadistic for having played out the war that is likely to ensue? The one that declares that it is possible to steal from the dead if they didn't want you to have anything.

I dread going back to this place. To see the oh so familiar faces of Satan reincarnated. Those that judged me for having the audacity to live my life apart from them. The ones who squatted in my great Aunt's home and were upset that I demanded that they buy it legally. The Aunt who tried to throw herself into my great-grandfather's grave when he was being lowered into the ground.

Them. Why do I have to see them?


It is painfully obvious that I am in no way working. But I'm damned sure not going to leave until I have to.

It's 2:15PM and everything is almost entirely sewn up. My boss has asked me what I need for the third time. And everyone else thinks I'm going on an impromptu vacation. I did get some things accomplished but I won't lie and say it was much.

In 45 minutes, I'll be in my car alone and I'll finally be allowed to cry. Really cry. Then the healing will begin.

*Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So You Are Her Only Friend, Aren't You?

I love Averi. That's not a secret. I've known her for almost as long as I've lived in this state but the crazy thing is that we don't really know each other at all. Every time she comes into town, we find out more about each other that's what makes our bond that even closer.

Actually, I think that's why everybody loves Av. She's so optimistic and hopeful that it just rubs off on you. She has complete trust in everyone she's ever met. Some people (*ahem! ahem!* *cough-yells "Staci!") take advantage of her good nature and kind heart. This is another one of those stories.

The weekend I met Peter Pan, I was only out running the street because Av begged me to go to our old haunt, Ye Old Haunt. So, maybe she didn't beg. But there was some serious pleading. We stopped going to this place in like 2006... for good reason. There was a band playing and I love live music so I was all 'meh. I guess so.' and she was all 'YAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!' because she was working double time to have all of her favorite people there and so far she was uber successful.

She pre-warned me that Aly would be there. Which if you knew the history between Aly and me you'd be all "GASP!" but it's really not that big of a deal anymore. Because I'm an adult and it happened THREE YEARS AGO.

Anyway, I'm leaving Steve's bar and driving in my car trying not to cry because I didn't bring backup mascara when I call to find out if there's cover. Honestly, I was trying to get out of it because I didn't feel like dealing with Aly or Staci and the idea of having the two of them in the same 30' x 45' beer-soaked proximity was more than my soul was prepared to bear. But Av told me not to act like I didn't know how to avoid paying cover and to get my ass down there already because I was her ride. Great.

I found an ATM that dispenses in fives (Totes!) and made my way to the side of Ye Olde Haunt. I found a middle-aged, clean-shaven guy wearing a sweatshirt, baggy jeans, and a lonely expression and asked to bum a cig. He gave me his OMG-I-can't-believe-a-girl-is-talking-to-me smile and was quick to oblige. I fake puffed, he made awkward conversation and then I sat on the railing, so I could straddle the railing, so I could just swing my other leg over when he inevitably asked me if I wanted a beer. Cover-free entry granted.

I make the mandatory lap and find Averi, Staci and Aly up front with 4 other chicks I've never met and all of their collective girl crap on a huge amp. No one is talking. Awesome.

Av makes introductions and it seems like everyone standing there is her friend and not Staci's. Weird, right? How is it that we're eight people deep and the only one who wants to be in this place is Staci? But none of her friends came? So, why are we suffering? Nobody knows.

Aly and I make up without saying the words but that's only because we found a common enemy in Staci. That chick is nasty. She was angry that I didn't want to stay at Ye Olde Haunt because Did I See That Bass Player? She was totally gonna get him tonight. I told her he better drill her like he's J. R. Ewing and she's unchartered oil land because his band sucked and I was tired of listening to them. She got braggy about how she'd had sex in each bathroom and the bar and the stage and how this place had her name all over it.

I thought Aly was going to cry she was so disgusted. She picked up her stuff and clutched it to her chest, "That bathroom?", she said, "The one I just threw up in? OMG! It's so nasty in there!". I confirmed that Staci was just grody and bathroom sex is nothing to be proud of. I mean, what girl hasn't been propostioned. The key is to know that you're better than that and decline it. This gave Staci sad face. Besides, "[they] put down a jacket". Riiight... that totally makes it better.

Staci got super huffy and tried to go on about how she gets more ass than a toilet seat because of course she does. Staci is that girl that's still in the bar at 3:00AM. You know the one. After the lights come on and the rest of us have either hooked up, dipped out, or are helping our DJ / bouncer / bartender boyfriend pack up so we can leave, there's that one girl still there that nobody wanted and that one guy that's really drunk and even more desperate has finally convinced himself that nasty pussy is better than no pussy at all so why the eff not. That's Staci.

Don't give me the "J-Bird you're so damn judgy!" face because everything I just said is true. Staci is 5' 2", over 300 pounds and very insecure. Everything is a competition so why wouldn't she sleep with anyone that asked. This girl bragged about trolling for trailer park snatch. WHAT IS THAT!?! Who brags about these things? She told us the story of how she pushed a wall down whilst making coitus in Ye Olde Haunt. Huh? Ewah!

But Averi still loves her. Even though Staci didn't pick her up to bring her to the bar like she said she would. It didn't matter that none of Staci's other "friends" didn't show. Averi didn't blink when Staci declared that "You can't leave! M already backed out on me!". She didn't flinch when Staci accused her of stealing her precious cigarettes or said that she owed her money for tipping over a $5 beer.

In short, Averi is a saint.

So when she said that she wanted to leave to go to The Pool Hall, I was game. What Averi wants Averi gets. And I did the right thing by not saying one word to Staci when she stomped up to me with, "Where's Av?". (I point like E.T.). "Well, what is she doing?". (I make universal sign for 'check, please') "Why?" (I make driving motion) "I told her she couldn't leave!" (I smirk and shrug because Ha, Bitch!) Anyhow, she stomps away from me and I see head shaking, foot stomping, finger pointing and what seems to be yelling and I want to thrash her. But Av? She just walks past her like it's not happening.

God Bless her heart.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Check, Please!

Ed note: I had such a good weekend it was ridiculous. I'll be telling you about it in broken parts and I'll try to remember to link back and forth between posts to make it even more confusing.

This is obviously a Disney pic but I found it here.
Some people don't know why they're single. And to those people I say, "That's a shame". Because people like me, who know why they're single, dont' have time for people like you. I'm single because I've stopped trying.

Fat jeans, sneakers, and ponytail holders have replaced my skirts, pedicures, and makeup. It's totally my fault. I'm sure that if I updated my wardrobe and changed my attitude I'd be surrounded in penis. That's just the way it is. It happens every summer.

But this dude, Peter Pan, he doesn't have a clue. Or a chance in hell with me for that matter. And it's all Averi's fault.

I went out with the girls on Friday and after all those shenanigans, Averi and I went to our favorite billiards place. I'm a military baby (and a teeny bit paranoid) so I always scan, count & plan.

Scan - the room and identify exits, patrons and threats.
Count - the number of males versus females, potential hazards and routes for escape.
Plan - who you will get to know, who you will avoid, where you will set up camp and how to get out if things go wrong

It sounds complicated but with enough practice, it becomes a very simple and standard part of your life.

So if you ever see me on the street and I haven't acknowledged you, know that is most likely by choice - which isn't something that Peter Pan had figured out.

It was 1:15AM and Averi was still thristy. I had planned to be asleep by then and told her that departure was 30 minutes away.

Averi: I want another drink
Me: *sigh* I'll get it.

I went and had a small convo with the bartender where I had to convince him that making two Sprites and a water were not beneath him and that I planned to compensate him for his time. He laughed softly but told me that it was OK because he saw me earlier waiting at the bar when all I really needed was a band-aid because Av had scraped her knuckle on some filthy surface. And since I never yelled his name or stomped off in a huff, he figured this would make up for my insane amount of patience. We had a playful struggle over whether or not he'd accept my five dollars and when I finally got back to Av all she had to say was, "I'm gonna go smoke". All I could think was, "Again? She is so drunk".

I could see the shift in my left periphery. I could smell the sweetness of his cologne. I thought I was home free until he sat down on my right-hand side.

Oh, shit.

Peter Pan: Hi. I'm Peter.
Me: Hi, Peter.
PP: I prefer to be called Pierro.
Me (totally confused): Umm... then why didn't you just introduce yourself as Pierro?
PP: I'm an only child and I went to an all boys school so I dont' know how to talk to women. It's hard for me to do this right now. But your friend said you were a good woman.

Ah, Jesus Christ, Averi! You and I are going to have a serious fucking conversation when you sober up!

I don't even remember the rest of what he said except that he's from Ghana. I have kinda sworn off Africans for the rest of my life. Rest assured that he knows nothing about me because he doesn't listen. But he did get my real phone number because Av called me out. (Av: Girl, I thought you changed your number!)

And so the text messages began.

I excused myself to get Av so I could remind her how real friends cover for each other and don't throw each other to the wolves. While we're talking I receive PP Call 1 at 1:31AM where he goes to voicemail and has the audacity to leave a two and a half minute message. (This is a problem). That's swiftly followed by PP Text 1 at 1:36AM of: "Did I see ur friend n is she ok". (This is not cute to me).

I ignore his contact attempts because I'm walking back through the bar with Averi to leave. He follows us out. I kill Av with my eye darts. We get in the car and I get PP Text 2 at 1:52: "I like ur smile keep it up".

Me Text 1 - 2:01: Awww... thanks. ---> Beacause really. WTF does that even mean?

PP Text 3 - 2:39: R u girls home safely <--- I'm not even kidding when I say I HATE TEXT SPEECH. And the lack of punctuation makes my eye twitch.

Me Text 2 - 8:07: Yes, love. We are. I got her home before 2A and I was asleep before you sent this message. I hope you have a great day today. <--- See. I don't yet know what a pain in the ass this dude is gonna be.

PP Text 4 - 8:39: Gudmornin dear

PP Text 5 - 10:46: Hi Jbird how r u doin hope to hear from u today

Me Text 3 - 10:49: I'm good. Just laying low today. Lots of chores & errands to do. Then I'll do some reading. How are you? <--- I was being SO serious. I had lots to do on Saturday.

PP Text 6 - 10:55: Relaxin do my homewk n go for church meeting at 3pm

Me Text 4 - 11:00: Good luck w/ your homework. I always hated it. Church on Saturday? Hmm... <--- I'm still trying to be nice. I don't want to be a bitch within 12 hours of meeting him.

PP Text 7 - 11:03: Youth meetin on Saturday n music rehassal cos I play de whole set of drums

Me Text 5 - 11:04: Oh wow! That's great! Have fun today. <--- I think it's over. But it's not. It's not even close to over.

PP Text 8 - 11:05: Wen do I get to c u again

Me Text 6 - 11:06: How's Wednesday?

PP Text 9 - 11:07: Wat time dear <--- I'll be damned!

Me Text 7 - 11:09: Let's say 730. <--- I'm a wee bit ticked at this point.

PP Text 10 - 11:13: ok dear but where do we meet

I get angry. I know I said I was busy and it has occurred to me that I've spent half an hour playing this stupid game with him. All so that he can play the ass and have me set up the date. Aw hell naw!

Me Text 8 - 11:14: I'll let you decide. <--- sarcasm everywhere!

PP Text 11 - 11:17: Ok I will let u no as days go by <--- I have decided he is a waste of my time.

Me Text 9 - 11:19: I can hardly wait. <--- Not only have I forgotten that sarcasm doesn't translate through text but I am absolutely sure that this conversation is over now. Right?

PP Text 12 - 11:22: I no cos am yearnin to c u again

WHOOOOOOOAAAAA!!! Yearning? This is most definitely NOT the verb for this situation.

PP Text 13 - 12:13p: R u doin ok

Me Text 10 - 12:14: Yeah. Just getting stuff done. Going to the salon @ 3p. Lots to do before then. <--- I'm beginning to lose my patience.

PP Text 14 - 12:16: Take it easy n ejoy (<--- not a typo on my part) ur weeken talk to u later

Me Text 11 - 12:18: I never take it easy. Always reaching for a goal; hustling. You have a good weekend too. We'll talk next week. <--- "Next week". Now this conversation must be over for I have ended it.

PP Text 15 - 12:17: Ok

PP Text 16 - 3:30p: How is ur day so far <--- I'm in the salon getting my manicure and telling mom and Nat about his craziness. I will not respond.

PP Text 17 - 6:00 - Hi <--- This ninja is gonna make me lose it all over him!!

PP Text 18 - 6:03: R u ok <--- Averi is dead to me.

I promptly post on her facebook that she and I will have a sit down on Tuesday so I can berate her in person before I have to meet Peter Pan and lay him out. To which she responds, "So we're not going to Africa? Because I had already started packing". Bitch. How dare she make me laugh at a time like this?

Nat Text 1 - 6:12: I wanted to see your face when you heard your phone go off again. LMAO. <--- If we weren't standing on opposite sides of mom in a sub shop I would have hit her.

PP Call 2 - 7:14 <--- Mom gets furious
PP Call 3 - 7:15 <--- He gets forwarded to voicemail permanently

February 6, 2011

PP Text 19 - 9:09AM: Gud mornin

PP Text 20 - 9:34: R u alrite Jbird

Me Text 12 - 9:37: I'm fine. <--- And I'm over him and all this foolishness.

PP Text 21 - 9:40: Ok I was worried n thinkin abt u

Me Text 13 - 9:42: I've been really busy and I'll be at a few super bowl parties today. We'll talk later.

PP Text 22 - 9:44: Have fun n be careful n no dat someone cares about u

Put a fork in me. I'm done.

At 9:44 Sunday morning, he had known of my existence for 32 hours. I've got boogers older than that. What I said after that was that he needed to back off because he was smothering me in affection and it was making me angry.

He may have tried to call but I can't swear to it because he's been forwarded to voicemail. It doesn't help that Steve and I had a fight disagreement and I'm missing the little bit we had. Or that Palmer is being super sweet to me and has made it very clear that the ball is in my court. Or that I'm ovulating and reading a Harlequin Blaze novel. None of that is Peter Pan's fault.

But he's still on my damned nerves. And that is his fault.

UPDATE: Averi upon hearing about the yearning: "J-Bird... I too am yearning for you. Also, I yarn for you. On some days, I yawn for you. Hahaha! But lately I'm feeling beaten out by this guy for affection. I will totally buy you a round or three... especially for his verb fail". I love her so much.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Part Deux has been written

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Me Like to Read: Review - Wuthering Heights

OK. This review will be soooo biased and soooo long because I luuuuuuurrrrrrvvvvv Wuthering Heights. I read it for the first time in college and I read it maybe every two years. Every time I come back to it, I get angry for six hundred some odd pages and then! Like lightning! I remember that bad people come to bad ends and all gets to be right in the world.
Let the review commence.

It's the story of Heathcliff, an orphan who is found and housed by the generous Mr. Earnshaw. Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights - the Earnshaw home - and treated not as a servant but as one of the children. He is despised by the boy, Hindley, but adored by the daughter, Catherine. Years pass, Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley comes home to claim his inheritance including Wuthering Heights and all of the generosity shown to Heathcliff for so many years is stripped away.

Now a servant, Heathcliff struggles to accept that his best friend and lover (in old English terms) Catherine could so easily move on without him in her life. She quickly finds herself reformed and haughty and begins to treat Heathcliff with the same disdain that everyone else in life treats him. One night, while sitting at the table with her housekeeper Nelly, Catherine reflects on the wedding proposal she's received from the local boy, Edgar Linton. She knows that she doesn't love him and that Heathcliff despises him, but in only caring for her comfort she tells Nelly that she accepted the proposal. Heathcliff is sitting just a few feet away and upon hearing the news steals out into the night, leaving Wuthering Heights for good.

This is the part of the book where I inevitably say things like, "Grrr! I hate Catherine! She's a man ruin-er!!!"

Five years later, Heathcliff comes strolling through bringing with him an untold amount of wealth. Hindley has become a gambling alcoholic and is now ripe for the picking. Catherine is living the good life over at Thrushcross Grange - her home with Edgar. Heathcliff stops by and Catherine acts like a 14-year-old girl - totally silly and infatuated. Heathcliff refuses to live without her and they hide their affections from no one. Because she won't leave Edgar and Heathcliff has become a vindictive jerk, he asks her young sister-in-law, Isabella Linton, to marry him. This way, he's a part of the family and can be near Catherine by proxy.

What he didn't count on was Isabella having the good sense to figure out that he didn't really love her and Edgar forbidding Isabella - or anyone in her household - to come to Thrushcross Grange again. Betrayal makes people do and say funny things, doesn't it? Catherine goes stark raving mad. I say she's just a spoiled brat throwing a tantrum but everyone in the book believes that she has some sort of mental illness. Heathcliff plants himself outside her house day after day until he can convince Nelly to let him in to see Catherine. Upon his arrival, Catherine acts a damned fool and refuses to let him leave, even as Edgar ascends the stairs to check on her progress.

Heathcliff pushes her way for the last time and later that night her daughter (also named Catherine but hereby called Cathy) is born 2 months premature. Catherine dies in the process. Edgar prays for peace and Heathcliff prays to be haunted. They both get what they ask for. Isabella runs away from Wuthering Heights which is currently being run by Heathcliff although no one can figure out how he managed to finagle control from Hindley. Word gets out that she too has a child, a son that she names Linton - her maiden name.

Time passes and Isabella goes with it. Heathcliff claims his right to his son Linton and he puts the world's most diabolic plan in to motion all to get back at the man that had the audacity to love and marry his beloved Catherine. Young Cathy is forced to marry her first cousin, Linton, because both he and her father are deathly ill and Heathcliff has taken care to make sure that her father dies first ensuring that she inherits everything. Then when his son dies, he will own all of the Linton's property. Cathy inherited nothing from her mother except for her dark, piercing eyes and her fiery temper. As a woman in the late 1700s and early 1800s, she knows that she's at his mercy but refuses to cow tow to him.

She makes peace with her circumstance and spends her time disobeying Heathcliff while staying firmly out of his reach and helping Hareton - her other cousin - learn to read. It's when Heathcliff walks in on the two of them reading by the fire that he realizes that all his years of plotting and planning revenge still couldn't dampen the happiness of those who sought it. He starts to go crazy and his ever-present scowl is replaced by a permanent and even more menacing grin. For four days he refuses to eat or spend time with anyone around him. He also never writes a will.

When they see him next, he is found on the floor of Catherine's childhood room in Wuthering Heights grinning like the devil and pale as a ghost. All of Wuthering Heights is given back to it's rightful heir and true love blossoms for those who have cultivated it. Thrushcross Grange is abandoned. No one will go down there at night where Catherine is buried with her husband Edgar to her left and her beloved Heathcliff to her right. No one will go down there because - as legend tells it - you can still find Mr. Heathcliff walking among the moors... with a beautiful woman on his arm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Me Like To Read - Review: 'Til Somebody Loves You

'Til Somebody Loves You by Dee DeTarsio was a complete waste of my time. I don't care what any of these people say.

This is the story of Mary Beth, a copy editor for a marketing firm, and her obsession with Dean Dineno (say that three times fast!), the star salesman. Now, the novel is categorized as a Romantic Comedy and that is made painfully obvious through the events that occur. However, I feel like the author could have should have put more effort into building her characters.

Mary Beth is supposed to be a small town, Midwestern girl that's thrust into the fast life of the big city. But anyone who's ever been to Chicago knows that it ain't New York and she could have found her footing just fine. Her best friend who tells it like it is only shows up twice and not to tell it like it is but to mock Mary Beth. And Mr. Dineno a.k.a. Prince Charming is someone that we know nothing about because Mary Beth knows nothing about him. Except he always greets her when he sees her and she's only ever managed to say, "Ham". Oh! and he's dating the boss.

Mary Beth finds that she's been made charter on a new fragrance being pushed by an unnamed rock star. The fragrance will be called "Rapunzel" and she somehow, by the grace of God, has to make it work. After getting stuck in a myriad of hair related slogans she decides to read the ingredients and discovers that "Ph-ux" is a new, top-secret pheromone that supposedly makes Rapunzel different from everything else on the market. Yeah. Ph-ux. Because Ms. DeTarsio is super creative.

Alone in the office - or so she thinks - Mary Beth dabs on some Rapunzel cranks up the Dean Martin tunes these are the details that make me groan and starts to dance carelessly. It's actually a really cute scene. This is how Dino finds her and he is so smitten that he whisks her away - shoeless - to a cab. That they take. To her house. Where they engage in an "orgiastic hootenanny". Until she wakes up alone and he acts like she slipped him a roofie.

She's convinced that the Rapunzel is what changed her life. She gives herself no credit and sinks into even deeper despair when Dino acts like a chode. Her boss takes the Rapunzel and she comes in with the same swagger that Mary Beth carried for so many days before. The three of them (Mary Beth, Dino, and his girlfriend the boss) get stuck in an elevator on page 116. The shenanigans that ensue had me laughing out loud for the first time and our damsel in distress reaches deep down to become the hero.

All in all, the book was free so I guess I got what I paid for.
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