Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Tennessee Conspiracy

Recently I was chatting with a coworker about dating. Specifically, people I've dated (because, you know, it's more interesting than his twenty-five year old marriage). He asked me all kinds of questions about the people I've dated seriously (i.e. long-term), such as their age, professional lives, hobbies, education and where they were from. All pretty standard questions, as he was hoping to set me up with this "kid" he knows.

But this is beside the point. The point is, apparently, I have another "standard" in dating. As of today, I've dated more men from the state of Tennessee than any other state in our union. This includes my home state.

Just think a minute about how strange and unique that really is. And think about how strange it is that this is just now occurring to me.

I am from Colorado. I currently live in Colorado. I have never lived in Tennessee and I have only had the distinct pleasure of visiting the fair state a handful of times. While I can completely see the appeal of Tennessee as well as Tennesseeans themselves, I am a little perplexed. Okay, a lot perplexed. I wonder if I don't have some sort of gene coded specifically to seek out a Tennesseean? Could I pick one out of a crowd if I tried right now? The odds are evidently very good.

They were nice guys, that's for sure. Tennessee #1 was wonderful at the time but we were too young to have a future. Tennessee #2 was one of the most kindhearted people I will ever know, but he wasn't settled and I'm not sure he ever would be. Tennessee #3 made me laugh like very few have but, he was a little on the dumb side. (Sidebar: I do not attribute this at all to the state of Tennessee. I met him in Colorado. We traveled to other states together. Turns out, he was dumb no matter which state he was in).

Whatever this is, I'd like to solve the mystery. I'm sure it's all part of some scheme to expose me to polite and cordial relationships that end up nowhere. I guess that doesn't sound so unique after all.

Most importantly, is the word "Tennesseean" A) a word and B) the proper word one uses when referring to one from Tennessee?

Monday, February 27, 2006


Dear Summer,

I remembered you today. It was so warm and beautiful, it's as if you and late Spring took a wrong turn on your rotation and ended up on these city streets two months early. Fine by me; it's perfect. I had to resist the urge to take off my shoes and walk barefoot through the dead grass in the park.

I couldn't help but start thinking those dangerous thoughts about you, too. You know, ones like sprinklers running in the cool grass, flip flops skimming the hot blacktop, warm nights on the porch. Those things that make sticking it out through Winter worth it. But that's how you are. No matter when you leave and no matter how abruptly you do it, I always want you back.

Your influence doesn't stop there. You make me remember all the things about all the times you were here before. You make me remember walking around the neighborhood with friends all day, drinking iced tea. You make me remember standing in the gutter after a rain storm and finding pictures in your sky. In just a breath of your warm air I'm back on the banana seat of my old bike, rushing down that huge hill, "no hands!" With just a glance at my shadow on the sidewalk I'm on the edge of that lake, fully immersed in July Fourth fireworks, sunburn and teenage love. How do you do it? You have such power.

My love for you, however, doesn't make me forget how well I know you. I know you're not really here, not now. I know you're just teasing me like a postcard from a far-off place. I know you just want me to long for you even more than I already do. You're like that.

Still, like this time and all others, I will forgive you. I will forgive the frigid Winter you left me with and the way you never stay long enough. Before I know it, you'll have me back in your grasp, absorbing every ray of sunshine, making excuses to be with you when I should be in the office. You know I will, because I always miss you and I can never get enough. I'm like that.

Until we meet again...


I found the photo on fotosearch.com

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Saturday is my day. It's the day I get to pretend that I don't have to work for a living, that I can relax, plan travel, read leisurely, and go for a run any time of the day. Trouble is, I don't get to do that very often.

This past Saturday, though, I did. I woke up at about 8:00 (three hours later than usual), drank tea, ate breakfast and walked the dog. I then drove to a nearby suburb and did a 10K.

The 10K was good, if a little cold. I started out strong but my body seemed to know when to start keeping a pace rather than getting too tired too soon. That's a good sign, when the body knows when to say when and the mind listens. The hills were no fun, but not bad. By mile 4 I was pretty tired but still able to keep my pace. I still am not back to the place I was a few months ago with my running but it is coming. I saw a few people I know from other races and visited with them while we drank hot cocoa. This is good hot cocoa, too- or maybe it's just because I ran 6.2 miles. Hmmm.

After driving home I walked the dog over to the park and let her run for a little while. She played with some kids and I just sat, listening to music on my new iPod- which I am in love with. In fact, I originally wanted to write an entire post about my iPod and call it "iLove It" or "iHeaven" but then decided there were two reasons I shouldn't do that. One, I'm so far behind the iPod boom that no one cares and two, no one cares. Nonetheless, I really do love the little thing. After the park, I spent a few hours reading and downloading more of my CDs so I could have music to clean to.

That's when I realized what a perfect Saturday this really was. I pushed the vacuum around my house, iPod clipped to the pocket of my robe, singing along with Journey and was overcome with how happy I was to be at home, doing nothing important. All day long.

Of all the time I spend dreaming about upcoming vacations (T - 10 days till I'm on the beach), it was here, in my home, pushing around the vacuum having just finished reading my third novel of the year that I felt more relaxed than I thought possible. Really, I should have seen this coming, this strange contentment in doing nothing. After weekends like this and this, I was clearly overdue. People usually go away to feel refreshed. Not me, I run, vacuum and iPod.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I Don't Want to Be Brandy

I always felt sorry for Brandy. She was, afterall, a fine girl. She would have been a good wife, had she not loved a man that was in love with something else- the sea.

Whether it be the sea or a job or another woman, I don't want to be the girl that's in love with a man that can't love her back. I don't want to carry a locket on a braided chain (or, in my case, hope) around as the only momento of what could be.

Poor, poor Brandy. She did her best to understand. I don't think I can do that.


There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes
And there's a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin' whiskey down
They say "Brandy, fetch another round"
She serves them whiskey and wine
The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea"
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)
Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the North of Spain
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loves
He came on a summer's day
Bringin' gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn't stay
No harbor was his home
The sailor said " Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"
(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)
Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories
She could feel the ocean foam rise
She saw its ragin' glory
But he had always told the truth, lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)
At night when the bars close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
And loves a man who's not around
She still can hear him say
She hears him say " Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"(dooda-dit-dooda), (dit-dooda-dit-dooda-dit)
"Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)
"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"

Looking Glass, 1972

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

I don't think I've ever written a "true" journal entry here. Today is different. Today, I have something I absolutely CANNOT get off my mind and I have no idea how to write about it.

I can't think of anything coherent or sensible to say about this which, of course, should clue you in that it's about a boy. And not just any boy, but one I can't get over- ha! Imagine that! We met a few years ago and if I'm going to be completely honest, I've adored him ever since. I can't think of anyone who's taken up more of my time than him. Sick, isn't it?

Nonetheless, I can't let him go. And I need to. God, I need to. I need to realize that if he really wanted me now, I would know it. If he woke up one morning and realized he couldn't go another day without me, he would have told me by now. Stupid girl, just realize. I wish!

The thing is, we are SUCH good friends. We talk like we're cut from the same cloth. We get along famously- serious, it should be in history books. I'm quite certain that the way we share opinions, communicate without words and feel so comfortable around each other that we can talk about everything from real estate to poop without blinking is history-making stuff. I'm certain of it. He's everything I'd ever want in a friend, except for the fact that I luuuuuuuv him. Crap, I hate to even type it!

We have similar hobbies- the running, the biking, the skiing, the hanging out with friends, the movies we watch, the places we go, the traveling we want to do, the fierce money management, the jokes we tell, the politics. And yet, we compliment each other so well- I've gotten him to try new food, he's gotten me to try new trails. We give each other courage or bravery or stupidity or something and it's awesome. So awesome.

When I was younger, I dreamed of a person that would get my attention right away. Someone who would make me feel cozy and warm and give me chills at the same time. I dreamed of someone who would "get" me, who would laugh with me, who would stay with me and though I let that go, it's now exactly what I have here. Damn! Just makes me want to say curse words and scream. "WHY?!" Why, when I fall asleep on his couch with his hand on my leg do I fight sleep with every part of my mind and body just so I can have one more memory of the feeling of us together? Why, when he sees me and smiles do I not even care that I look like a complete idiot smiling back? Why, when he tells me I look nice, does it make every insecurity and worry I have about the size of my butt and the flatness of my hair just disappear? WHY?!?

You might ask: Why haven't you gone out with him? What's the hold up? Well, truth time now. He's not over his ex. And, to add more truth to that, I'm not sure he ever will be. I know this girl and she's great. She's kind and innocent and just as normal as the rest of us. But it's SO friecken obvious to me that they are just not right for each other. Them together was never right and though they'll both admit it, they hang on. And I, of course, am silent. I try not to think about it, or him, or her. For about eight months, I actually succeeded. I was able to separate the thought of the two of them from thoughts about the two of us. And it seems so stupid for me to hang on, too. I know I deserve someone who realizes they want to be with me and me only.

Now though, it's different. Now we've spent time together again and I've fallen back into whatever it is that I'm "in" when I can't get him out of my mind. And it's not just the "I am so attracted to him, I want him now" kind of thoughts. It's the "he knows my drink and orders it for me before I even sit down" and "I count him as a blessing in my life" sort of thoughts. Being around him makes me believe that the whole package is possible and damnit if, now that I've seen it, I want that whole package! Trouble is, that package was sent to the wrong address and it appears no one but me has noticed. Crappy, I tell you.

Yeah, I don't know what to do about this. I just want it to go away. Let it go. I just don't know what to do.

I think having a drink is in order, now. Which, if he were here, would have already been poured right now.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Make Your Own Kind of Music

The other day on my drive home from work, I listened to six very random songs. For some reason, I really felt the need to play air guitar to every one of them. Since I was driving, I really couldn't put full effort into the air guitar but that's not the funny part. The funny part is, I'm rarely an air guitar person.

I haven't played music on the guitar since I was eight years old. The last time I played real music on an instrument was in fifth grade, on the trumpet. "Tequila" was the song and as telling as that may have been about my future, it had nothing to do with my musical talent.

All of this makes my obsession with music over the past year seem even more a mystery. I've always loved listening to music. I had CD's before a lot of people I knew. Thanks to my mom, I probably know every word to every classic rock song ever recorded. But I've never felt like this before. And my obsession is growing. I listen to everything and mostly, I love it. I listen to the lyrics first, then begin disecting the song- I hear every different instrument and every note means something. I belt out songs as if I have any place attempting to carry a tune. What is this?

Still, I can't help but think that this is more meaningful than I know. I'm suspicious that music is making it's way into my life in a way completely foreign to me. I really need to look into those piano lessons.

Here are the six songs that inspired air guitar that day:
(And yes, I'm completely aware that they aren't all guitar-ish songs and that they are very diverse.)

Over and Over Again

Sultans of Swing

Thunder Road

Sweet Home Alabama

Magic Carpet Ride

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Monday, February 20, 2006

With Friends Like These...

...who needs plans?

Friday night I planned to be very exciting by going home and tackling several weeks worth of laundry and a mess of a house.

3:50- Leave work.

4:00- Cell phone rings."Stop at the bar for a drink with us."

4:15- I'm having drinks with a few friends.

4:45- Hysteria ensues... everything is funnier with booze.

4:50- "What's everyone up to this weekend?" Followed by several 'nothing' answers.

5:00- Checking airline tickets to Las Vegas. All flights are either grounded due to Old Man Winter or are upwards of $400.

5:15- Brainstorming.

5:30- Cut off booze.

6:00- Headed home.

6:15- Showering and packing a bag.

6:30- Dropping the dog off at the sitter (a.k.a. Ma and Pa's house).

7:15- Jumping in a truck with an overnight bag and 3 pals for a last-minute roadtrip.

7:16- Thinking: "Holy crap, what am I doing?"

7:17- Friends say they're "glad to have me along" and "not many others would get this invite and jump on it, you're awesome."

7:17:30- Reassured and know that I've clearly made the right decision and, I sure do know some fun people.

Several hours of driving later, we're in Vegas. We went. We saw. We ate. We drank. We conquered. We left.

Lesson learned: Plans can change, and it's alright.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Writing is an odd activity. Especially for me. Most the time when I write, I know exactly what I'm going to say. That's because the writing I'm paid to do comes from somewhere else in my mind than the writing I do here. The writing I'm paid to do comes from logical facts, ideas and conclusions whereas I'd be hard-pressed to find a lot of logic in a lot of what I've written here.

So, embracing that observation, here's a very illogical list of things about me:

1. I like to eat popcorn for dinner. But it has to be made on the stove, not in the microwave.

2. I played hockey as a kid and loved it.

3. I know how to play poker, but not well.

4. I like Southern food enough to wrestle someone twice my size for a good piece of chicken.

5. When I'm in the South, I insist on drinking sweet tea as if it's more vital to life than air.

6. I love driving on the highway.

7. City driving makes me feel out of place.

8. One day I'd like to see the country from one of these.

9. Even when I write here, I need to write in a real pen-and-paper journal almost every day.

10. My dog gets to sleep on the bed on cold nights.

11. I want to learn to play the piano ("Heart and Soul" and "Jingle Bells" don't count).

12. I can't relax on the weekend until the house is clean.

13. I'm training for a marathon this year.

14. I want more money to travel.

15. I have a "techie" job and though I never thought it would be possible, I love it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

For a While

We could have made it. We could have worked around schedules, personalities and goals.

We could have spent time traveling separately, grocery shopping together and leading independent, yet codependent, lives. And it would have worked, for a while.

For a while I could have looked at him lovingly, admired his accomplishments and felt his arms around me. For a while he could have been my cheerleader, my date, and my friend. He would have cooked, I would have cleaned. He and I could have been 'we', for a while.

The while never came. I never saw it's face or heard a knock at the door. Or, more than likely, I did see and hear it but I knew I shouldn't answer. I knew in my heart that it had the wrong door, the wrong people.

So, for a while we were friends. We spent time, money and conversation. But never anything more. Sometimes, it sucked. I wanted/needed something to the point that I wanted to invite it in, even if just for a while. There were days when all I saw was the good, the right. But those days never stayed long enough to deny the wrong and eventually, I had to let it go. True, we each had an empty space but his was not my size, nor was mine his.

It took a while for me to realize but if something's not right, it's just not right. Even for a while.

Not Long Ago

It's hard to believe trails looked like this just a few short months ago. Now, if I were to run outiside, my snot would freeze.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love, Sweet Love

Valentine's Day is sweet. It reminds people about love. The Hallmarky part of the day gets on my nerves, but other than that, it's not really a terrible idea to celebrate.

I sort of like that there's a concentration on love, in general. I think if we thought about love and what it really meant to us more often, things could be a little sweeter all the time.

It's annoying that there's aisle after aisle filled with red and pink in the grocery store. It's very sweet when the elderly lady next to me asks me to read the ingredients off a box of chocolates because her husband of fifty-seven years has allergies.

It's overdone when someone sends three dozen balloons to a girl in my office when they've only been dating a week. It's sweet when the wife of another coworker finds a way to sneak in the building the night before and leave her husband's favorite cupcakes on his desk.

It's ridiculous to see the commercials imploring men to buy expensive "gifts of love" in the form of diamonds. It's sweet when I hear the guy in the next cube call his young daughters and tell them they're his Valentines.

A lot of people talk/post about how they hate the day. They don't like that it's couple-focused and they just want to go to sleep for the day and wake up when it's over. I can understand that. If you let it, days like this can bring up some bad feelings. Heartbreak can haunt you. Cards, flowers, etc. can overwhelm a person, if that's what it's about for you. It's just not for me, though. It's just about love, in any form. And that is pretty sweet when you think about it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

This Is Only A Test

One way to look at family expansion is that it's just another way to test patience and understanding. I'm still trying to figure out if I passed my test.

Actual conversation with adopted mother-in-law (AMIL):

Me: Morning. Would you like some coffee?
AMIL: Goooood morning. Have I told you about my sister that was married to the guy that grew coffee?
Me: No, I don't think I've heard of that one. Coffee?
AMIL: Well, my sister was married to a guy in a band. He ran off with a girl from the band so my sister divorced him. Then, she married on the rebound to a guy that was all business, except for in the bedroom. Subsequently, she started drinking to fill the void left by her sexless marriage. She then divorced the businessman and went into rehab. She met a counselor in rehab and began dating him. While this was frowned upon, they believed they were in love. The counselor quit his job when she got out of rehab and they moved in together in his home where he grew coffee in his yard. He had quite a nice piece of property so my sister was very excited to start a new life with him. They married a couple months later. Well, one day my sister was just getting out of the shower -she takes the longest showers- and there was a knock at the door. Who do you think it was?
Me: --shrugs shoulders--
AMIL: The FBI, of course! Turns out Mr. Coffee was growing marijuana along with coffee in the backyard. My sister was shocked though I don't know how she could have been- she barely knew him! Mr. Coffee was arrested and she visited him in jail for six months before divorcing him. Can you believe that?
Me: Wow. So, would you like some coffee?

Friday, February 10, 2006

National Adopt-A-Mother-In-Law Day

In honor of the mother-in-lawless everywhere, I'm adopting one for the weekend.

My sister's baby shower is this weekend and her mother-in-law flies in to join us today. She'll be staying at my house. We've only met once so there's no telling what the weekend has in store. All I know for sure is that I went home last night, spent hours cleaning the house, stocking the pantry and fridge, flipping mattresses and washing the dog to insure a good impression on a mother-in-law that isn't even mine.

I'm wondering how I'll entertain her- the baby shower will last three hours, what are we going to do for the other 69 hours of these three days?

I'm wondering if I have the right food, the right coffee, the right clothes... Why?

I'm anticipating like crazy- as if the impression I make even matters to her.

Is this the universe's way of giving me practice for the future or is it just a cruel and unusual way of showing me the "other" side of marriage [and the new family you take on]?

I hoping, though, that it's just fun. I'm hoping that it's encouraging. I'm hoping that I will see all the joys and benefits of "family expansion." I'm hoping that my sister knows just how much she owes me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Queen of the Treadmill

Lately, my running has been sub-par. It's been sluggish, long, slow, difficult, boring and dull. Every step is a have-to instead of a want-to effort and my mind and body seem to be working together to keep it that way. I try to get excited to run only to get two or three miles in and feel like crap.

I'm not sure why this is happening. I don't know whether to blame it on stress, work (which are really the same thing) the weather or just life. They say running ebbs and flows, especially in the winter, but I've never felt this bad. I haven't gained weight, I have no injuries, I'm not more tired than normal so really there's no excuse to be such a slug when I walk out the door or get on the treadmill.

And, as an added bonus, the running outdoors that I normally love is the hardest part. The trails, paths and sidewalks that used to pass under my feet so efficiently now seem like one endless hill. This has forced me indoors and onto the treadmill. Since the treadmill in my house is not an option (too few steps between the machine and the couch) I'm at the gym every other night begging 4 miles from my body and trying to distract myself with whatever's on CNN. Or, like last night, I try to distract myself by watching people brave criticism and ridicule due to an extremely poor display of "talent". American Idol and the treadmill. Previously that would have been the makings of a nightmare. Now, it's just a means to get by.

What's worse still is I have a 5 mile race on Saturday. How am I supposed to run 5 miles at a respectable pace when I can't talk my body into four 10-minute miles on the treadmill? Really. Is it a break I need? I took a pretty long break after last season ended so I can't imagine that's it. But maybe it is. It would sure have been nice to know this before I registered for the 7 races I plan on running this year. Maybe I need a new plan.

Or, maybe I'll snap out of it. The days will start getting longer, the weather warmer and the trails busier. Maybe I'll find some new trails and see some new sights. Maybe I'll get a new pair of shoes and listen to some good music and forget all about this mess. Then, I can get off this "treadmill" and feel like a runner again.

(Title stolen from a lyric in a song that has nothing to do with running, but maybe something to do with treadmills.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sisters, Sisters

There never were two more devoted sisters.

No, they don't walk alike, talk alike or chase the same men. Nonetheless, there were never two more devoted. So what if it took us twenty-one years to figure it out, it's worth it. The profound respect and acceptance we now have for one another is the product of those years and it appears to have arrived at just the right time.

My sister is hard to describe. I mean, how do you describe someone that's such an integral part of your life that every time you say goodbye you feel like you're losing part of yourself? How do you describe someone that makes you smile on your darkest day and knows how to ruin your good mood with one look? How do you describe someone who has taught you more than she'll ever know?

She's cute. Who am I kidding, she's gorgeous. Always has been. She's 5'5", dark hair, bright smile and has never had to diet or work out in her life. She looks great in whatever she wears, even at six months pregnant. She cooks like she's been in the kitchen for 30 years, manages finances like a pro and has a sense of humor that will kill you. Every time. It's truly one of the most unique expereinces in life to watch your little sister- the one you taught to ride her bike- tell a joke about makin' whoopee.

Nonetheless, I find myself wondering if life can always be this way. I wonder what's destined for our relationship. Will we always be able to share the way we do now? Will we always be the first to call the other with big news? Will we see geographical distance as a burden rather than an opportunity? The only thing I'm really certain about is the challenges to come. Jobs, marriage, children, parents. We have no way of knowing where we'll be a year from now. Her life takes her to far off places, my priorities change rapidly. We don't have the freedom of consistency. We'll have to try harder as the years pass and the miles between us grow.

I have faith we will try. We've been through so many challenges together, 1,900 miles is nothing in comparison. She will be there for me. I will be there for her. I know we are devoted that much, for sure.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Few Requests

Due to a little run of first-date BAD luck lately, I have a few requests to the guys out there.

When dating or wanting to date a woman:

1. Please don't assume I'm desperate. Recently I've actually heard this line: "Come on, I'm the best thing you've got going right now anyway, right?"

2. Don't call me 'young lady', ever. Seriously, are you my grandfather?

3. Don't flirt with the waitress on our first date.

4. Don't drink enough to sink a ship on our first date and then slur my name and laugh at yourself. So incredibly not funny.

5. Along the lines of request #1, please don't assume that without you, I'd be sitting at home watching movies with my dog/cat. Do assume that, in some cases, this is better than being out with you. Afterall, the dog/cat doesn't try to grope me when he's three sheets to the wind.

6. Don't insult me for being 26. Saying I'm "too young to understand" doesn't make me want you more!

7. Don't belittle my job because you don't understand it. Guys, no matter how much a woman may love or hate hate her current occupation, she's there by choice and telling her she's made the wrong choice on the first date is NOT a turn on.

8. Finally, possibly the most important of all, don't say a word about my weight. Fine, I'm not the size 2 you want, that's ok. I am, however, a damn good size 8 and suggesting our next date be at the gym is just wrong. It makes me want to eat two meals, order a whole bottle of wine and stick you with the check when I "go to the restroom" but really leave the restaurant.

Good luck to all those dating this weekend!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Today at work I spent most of the day working on my self-evaluation. I hate it. Hate. It.

It's not that I don't know what I did all year or know how to write about it. In fact, that's what I spend the majority of my time doing. I write about what I'm going to do (proposals), I write about what I am doing (analysis), or I write about what I did (reports). So it's really no problem to go back and read all of those and summarize. Objectivity is the easy part.

But then, being the touchy-feely organization we are, you have to write about your competence as well. Not only how you go the job done but what or worse, who, did you leave in the wake while doing it? And no, you don't just get to say "no coworkers were harmed in the making of my year." They ask questions. They make you contemplate life. Ugh.

One of the best and most-hated questions is: What has been your greatest learning experience of 2005? Please elaborate.

Seriously? Do they mean this?

So, being one to over-analyze (it's my job, thank you very much) I listed about 7,000 items that are in the running as my "greatest learning experience of 2005." While I enjoy my job and work my ass off to do it well, none of these experiences happened at work. While I stewed over what to make up for my evaluation, I thought about all those "great learning experiences." And, how they came to be in 2005.

Just a brief glimpse of the 7,000 would include: watching my little sister start her own life and family, watching a family member go through divorce, watching her children go through it with her, watching a friend repair her marriage, watching another destroy herself, watching my grandmother use a walker, watching what would be her last trip out of the house, watching my own mother take on a new love and, to a degree, a new life. There was a lot of watching and I learned.

There was also a lot of doing. I ran, and ran, and ran some more. I ran on rolling hills for miles longer than I'd ever thought possible. I ran up mountains, around lakes and through the streets of my own city. I ran. There was some breaking up, too. I learned that everything perfect on paper does not equal love. There was some losing. I lost bets, I lost at poker (often), and I lost a good friend to a bad guy. I'm still hoping on that one. There was some cooking, baking, cleaning and mending that taught me a few things. I vacationed, I dated, I met new friends and found old ones. I did what I could and maybe more than I should. Yes, a lot of doing that caused a lot of learning.

I learned at work, too. But nothing like this. It just doesn't compare.

Now that this is all out though, I'll just go back to my evaluation. It won't be the same but I'll somehow find a way to write about how wonderful it is to write report specs, learn to code resource management database records and upgrades and patches, oh my!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cute Saves All

It's not her fault, really. I come and go as I please and she has to stay in, bask in the sun, eat and drink at her leisure and listen to the radio.
All. Day. Long.
So when the smartest dumb dog to ever live decides curtains taste better than rawhide, can you blame her? She's got a hard life on the sofa, ya'll.
Her entire life has been like this. She was rescued from sickness and eventual death by a sucker and hasn't looked back since. She lives in a constant state of 70 degrees, has the undying entertainment of the neighbor's cat on the patio and, lucky girl, everyone in the world is her BFF! Just watch how she runs up to them as if she hasn't seen them in ages. "Oh, dahling," she might say, as she jumps up perfectly to crotch level, " so fantastic to see you. Shall we scratch our asses on the carpet together now?" Her popularity astounds me. Through her I now know what it was like for the cutest girl in school. She could do no wrong, even when she did.
Luckily, she redeems herself sometimes. For instance, she's psychic. She knows someone's coming to the door three hours before they actually do. Hey, there's barking to prove it! She can also tell time. Like last year when it was time to "fall back", she knew better. It was dinner time somewhere. No fooling this one! And finally, her most redeeming quality of all, she is a steward of the environment. Through her extreme dedication and diligence, we now know that we are not recycling enough. Turns out, there are things in the trash can that can still be eaten, used as toys, or just plain look good strewn out on the carpet. Who knew?
If anything, though, she's consistent. Genius even. She has never needed a bit of training. I, on the other hand, am another story. I've got a lot to learn.