Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week in Review - Exciting Stuff, My CNN Behind the Scenes Moment and Smelly Neighbors

I was way excited this week when I was mentioned in a "Behind the Scenes" video on CNN for a great Tweet I sent to the amazingly awesome Brooke Baldwin. Now I have definitely mentioned Brooke in this blog before and I am sure I will again, but just want to thank her for talking about my excellent taste in music (She's right! :) We like a lot of the same music. I would definitely pay money to just get a glance at her MP3 player. If I was ever really motivated to take a music tour of the US following awesome bands, I would absolutely ask her to come with me.).  If you want to check it out, the video is here: Christa mentioned in WeekWinddown   It is about 2:30 on the video if you don't want to watch the whole thing. I am assuming I will really be on her show in the flesh one day when my novel gets published and everyone loves it.  (Positive thinking on....) I try to have her show on every day - 3-5pm EDT.  Check it out on CNN. 

Another excellent thing that has happened is I have signed on, FULL FREAKIN' TIME as a writer for a communications firm.  I have been very busy writing articles and the work is fun.  It keeps my attention, it is different every day and most of all, it is steady work.  On top of this, I have been hired for a month long project for an Australian company writing articles for them, so you will have to excuse me if you notice misspellings like "energise" instead of "energize". (This is also why I am home writing a blog post on Saturday night...I had to work!) It is nice for everything to fall into place like this.  I am very thankful for it all. Though I have had pretty steady work writing e-Books and articles for other websites, it wasn't always as steady as I would have liked, so this is amazing.

Speaking of being thankful, I want to say how thankful I am as well for my friends.  I have been lucky enough the past few weeks to have seen a few college friends in addition to re-connecting with the friend I spoke of in my last post.  One may have given me mono and another may have given me a new perspective on life, but that's what friends are for, right? 

Let's talk about my neighbor for a minute...this particular neighbor is the one who slams the door 17,000 times per day and who has the mysterious smell coming from his apartment that may or may not be a meth lab.  It should be mentioned that I do not live in a neighborhood where meth labs are prevalent.  I live in the "Gold Coast" area of Lakewood, if anyone is familiar.  I feel very safe here, love the diversity and have never  seen or heard of a major crime of any kind even remotely near me. Honestly, I have no idea what this smell is like no smell I have ever had the displeasure of smelling in my life. I don't know what meth labs typically smell like, so it could technically be anything, but I would bet $5 something illegal is going on in there. Today, I was sitting on my couch with my laptop at 7:30am writing about how to get your baby to sleep when I noticed this horrible smell was lightly seeping in. (Yes...I know I only have a dog and a few plants. I  have little to no experience with babies...though in my defense I was able to grow two little mini tomatoes and Chloe is almost 6 years old...that has to count for something)

I don't know if he likes to make meth at 7:30 am on a Saturday or what, but I opened the door to take Chloe outside for a little walk and I gagged because the smell was so noxious and offensive. I don't know that it has ever been so bad as it was this morning.  Honestly, I have no idea what the smell is, all I know is it is nasty beyond belief.  To make things even more mysterious, there is something alive in that apartment...I hear it's first I thought it was a cat, but after hearing it a few times...that sound is like no other cat I have heard before.  Seriously, I almost wonder if it is a monkey of some kind.  It almost sounds like a baby (human, not cat), but not a baby, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
Are You My Neighbor????

As an animal/monkey/sometimes human lover, I now feel it is my duty to help whatever creature may be in there to safety, so I am going to try to talk to my landlord about it.  Now that the smell is actually coming into my apartment, I am going to take offense. There is, however, another reason for my vendetta against this neighbor.....

I stopped at Subway today for a $5 foot long. I love Subway because they are reasonably healthy and where else can you get lunch and dinner for $5? Anyway, I pulled into the driveway of my building to get into my garage and I see my neighbor's car in front of me. (We park near each other in the garage, so I know his little Toyota). Oh wait....I need to preface this story first...I drive an SUV....he drives an older Corolla.  There is a definite size difference between our cars...this will be important in a moment) Now to get into the garage, there is a key you must use. Since he was already at the key stand, I simply pulled up behind him to enter the garage. To close the garage, soon after you enter, there is a pull-string you use to close the garage. I see him reach out to pull the string....except ALERT, ALERT, car is right behind his, directly under the garage door! At this point, it definitely goes all "slo mo" and I hear BANG on my roof as the garage door comes down on my car.  I beep the horn and start yelling "MOVE UP! MOVE UP!" BANG on my car. Honk again, BANG on my car. I see his car door opening, BANG on my car.  He leans out and looks behind him, BANG on my car.  I start screaming at him to move forward, BANG on my car. Finally the imbecile moves forward and gets out of his car.  I also move forward and immediately get out of my car, climb up in the door frame and look at the top where it was SMASHED by the garage door.  There were no dents, just paint and rubber marks from the bottom of the door. I finally turn to him and this is the conversation we had:

Him - "Wow.  Um...I didn't see you there" (Remember, I have an SUV, he has a small Toyota!!!!)
Me - "How could you not see me?  I was yelling and beeping my horn at you!"
Him - "I am really, is your car OK?"
Me- "Well it looks OK, but I will probably want to have it checked by a professional" (Meaning have my dad look at it, who is NOT a car professional)
Him - "I'm sorry, it's not like you don't know where I live if something is wrong, (Maniacal laughter from him) I will take care of it. I had a medical procedure yesterday and I am a little out of it"
Me - (In a higher octave) "Then you shouldn't be driving!!!!"
Him - "I know.  I just went to CVS.  I am really sorry.  I will take care of it if there is damage." (Mind you, CVS is directly across the street.  I walk there all the time)
Me - "Yes.  I will let you know."

I got into my car at that point and drove to my parking spot.

A few hours later, I got this note under my door:

"Dear Resident: The rollers on the garage door entrance have snapped off.  The garage door company has been alerted, and will stop by to see what parts they need....."

The letter goes on about the door being fixed on Monday and to call the Management office if you have any questions.

I crumbled it up, threw it away and went back to writing about baby sleep schedules.

Have an awesome weekend.

PS - By the way, my dad is celebrating his birthday tomorrow (8/21) so wish Jim/Todd a Happy Birthday.  I have been  looking for a funny card for him (a little tradition between us).  I finally found one today that made me not only laugh out loud, I almost peed my pants.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day in Review - Friendship and Feelings: As Scary as it Sounds

This is not your typical post from me.  It actually has feeling....sure I could make fun of Sarah Palin, talk about how I want to send Michelle Bachman to Antarctica and how I think Ron and Rand Paul should be locked in a room covered in honey filled with angry bees, but I won't tonight.  Politics in general is leaving a bad taste in my mouth from both sides of the coin. This is about friendship at the deepest levels, when it almost seems like it feeds your soul.

I recently reconnected with an old friend.  Old friends....they carry a part of your heart sometimes. You can live without it, of course, and you probably don’t know you are missing it until you hear their voice or have a conversation.  Within 2 minutes, it can be like the 11 months you spent not speaking never even existed. It is simply a continuation of the last time you saw each other. The memories flood back and take their place in your mind like they never left. You feel safe, complete and you yearn for those times you spent together from the totally ridiculous times where the two of you were causing trouble to the deep talks where you couldn’t speak through your tears. 

"You were the one who made things different, you were the one who took me in. You were the one thing I could count on, above all, you were my friend." 

The times you remember are covered in a haze of Pinot Grigio, laughter and Sarah McLachlan’s Greatest Hits album.  Every word of every song rings true and explains everything you feel for this friend that you can’t verbally express either due to embarrassment or not being able to utter your words the right way. Fear that they won’t get it...that she will take it the wrong’s not like never was.  It is purely and simply a connection you can’t explain. Nothing you felt with any lover, friend, parent, or anyone else.  A soul connection that you are half afraid of because your friend can look into your eyes and read everything you hide.  It doesn’t matter that you hold back from everyone else, this friend sees past the walls with an x-ray vision that both terrifies and fascinates you.  You hope, that in some way, she understands.  This isn’t a romantic relationship at is a friendship at the height of friendship...something not everyone can experience, but you wish they would.  You know, however, that people will judge and people will think whatever it is they think.  Why can’t two people be that close, love each other unconditionally and not be romantically involved? Who are you to judge another? 

"Through this world I stumbled. So many times betrayed Trying to find an honest word To find the truth enslaved"

Friendship can be extraordinarily simple, yet amazingly complex. I have other friends.  I love each and every one of them. I hold friendship above most other things and though I have few friends that I really let in, those friends that do can count on me, no matter what.  This friend though....she is not just a friend...I don’t know what she is.  Certainly like family...her family was my family for a few years...I wish I could go back to that.  It isn’t that I don’t love my family, obviously I do.  I need my family, but when I wasn’t near them, her family was mine...they took me in, no questions asked. They made sure I was warm, fed and did all they could when I needed work.  

Ultimately I made a choice...that choice was something I needed to do and still do not regret.  I am in a much better place physically and mentally. I have come far, made changes and grew closer to others.  I still missed my friend.  I thought about her, prayed for her and her family daily and dreamed about her.  I knew she would contact me and she did.   It is hard to explain a connection like that.  Almost no one understands it.  I won’t blame you if you think I am insane. All I can say is she knows things about me no one else knows.  I think I probably know the same about her.  We have said things to each other we never have told anyone else.  She taught me to dance. She gave me confidence. She accepted me for who I was, even with my faults. 

And now I channel Sarah McLachlan...who we listened to, in silence, letting it feed our souls as we drank good wine....the lyrics are amazingly accurate.  

I had the sense to recognize I didn’t know how to let her go when I I just left. She didn’t fight it.  We fought to try to make it easier...probably hurting each other in the process. I did what I had to do.  She did what she had to do.  Whatever made it easier. I couldn’t stay, she couldn’t go. She expected nothing but friendship and I did the same.  Sometimes I failed...not because I didn’t want it, but because I was afraid to open up to someone.  As she would say...I was the ”Typical Scorpio”.

“Hold on...hold on to yourself...because this is going to hurt like hell” – “Hold On”. 

I can listen to the song “Full of Grace” and every word rings true in one sense or another.  I listened to it often when I moved away...there are a few songs that can touch my soul, but this one is really the exception to all the rules. She may be the only one to understand....and that’s OK.  It’s probably how it should be.

The whole point of this post is to tell you, if you have a friend like this...and I hope you do...hold on to them.  Tell them you love them, give them a hug, a kiss, let them know what they mean to you. I hope to do the same with this post. 

I love all my friends, and all of them hold a special place in my heart, each different than the last. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day in Review: Why I am Still Single and a Special Thank You - Part 2

Part 2: How a Random Event Saved My Life....

I assume it saved my life, but no one really knows....I guess I could be run over by a truck tomorrow, but I have the feeling I have a lot left to do on this Earth.

Randomness is weird, isn't it?  Obviously something you aren't expecting, but sometimes you aren't surprised when it hits you...

I was a smoker.  I smoked cigarettes and had for years.  I was an addict. (I suppose I still am and will always be) I started smoking regularly in 1999 and was still at it. 

I had seen people fight against cigarettes, seen people sick from cigarettes and seen people die from cigarettes...yet I still smoked.

Lets be real. If you smoke...and are truly a smoker, no amount of pictures of diseased lungs, body bags or lectures from concerned loved ones are going to make you stop.  You have to make the choice yourself, when it is right for you to do it and you get the right influence. I did it 6 months ago, on February 1st. Lets go early January, 2011....

I was sleeping....and dreaming....and in my dream, I saw a woman...and she was my friend, though I didn't know her.  She held my hand and led me along.  We were friends in the dream...I felt closer to her than anyone...then she disappeared.  In her place a very old man...all I remember is him telling me this: "Remember the woman".  I can still feel her hand in mine to this day.

When I woke, I was nervous...I almost always remember my dreams...I interpret them regularly.  I was afraid of what this meant. Why did I need this woman and why was she in my dream.  I knew her, but I couldn't place her yet in my mind. How do I interpret this? I didn't know this woman in my waking life so why was she invading my dreams?

I am a dream interpreter, as I said above.  (Everyone should listen to and interpret their dreams in my opinion, especially if you see people who are unknown to you!)  I have done research.  It is common, among those who believe in the power of dreaming, to believe when other people visit our dreams, they are one of two things: 1) Our loved ones visiting us from the other side or 2) The souls of people on Earth, connecting with our own for a reason.
This woman intrigued me...and bothered me.  I knew her...but I didn't.

I kept her face in my head as I went through my month...I smoked a cigarette almost hourly...I was at a pack a day....I saw her face in my head...I felt like she was my friend, but it bothered me that I could not place who she was...until I did.  I had seen her over and over in my head and honestly, it annoyed the hell out of me...until one day...I saw her.

It was similar to a movie moment, where things moved in slow my mouth opened slowly, my hand went to my mouth in shock and I just stood there...staring, kind of afraid to move like it was a ghost...I lit a cigarette...and smoked.

I watched her often...(I know, probably like a don't have to tell me!!!) trying to figure out the mystery. The more I learned about her, the more I heard her talk about herself, we really did have a lot in common...freaky things like a love of the same obscure band that no one I know had ever heard of.

She said two words...and that's all it took for the light bulb to come on. "Don't Smoke". That's all it took. That day, I smoked my last cigarette. I don't know why it was her that set the process in motion, all I know is I knew I had to do it. I just stopped. No patch, no gum, no nicotine replacement. (Although as many of you know I put on about 100 pounds from eating nothing but 500 pounds of peanut butter M&M's for a week)

So that's it.  Is it that simple? Do I say thank you? She didn't really know what she did. (I did tell her later, though I don't know if she remembers) What did she do? Maybe she saved my life? Is that too dramatic? I'm a dramatic person though. It may not be so dramatic, it may just be truth. No one knows if that next cigarette could have been the one that started the process of disease. I feel like I have known her for years.

When I think about this, I think of the book "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". Who knows if it's true, if that's what happens...there are millions of interpretations of Heaven...what I do know is I am thankful for the dream, thankful for this person crossing paths with me and I thank God I was there at the right place and right time to run into her and hear those words.

So if you are reading this...Thank You. Just remember, when you have a bad day or feel down like we all do sometimes...that you made a difference. Smile.

"So raise a glass to turnings of the season and watch it as it arcs towards the sun" from "Don't Carry it All" - The Decemberists

Day in Review: Why I am Still Single and a Special Thank You - Part 1

Hello. I am 32 years old and as single as a numeral bout you? How has your week been? This is a two part post. The first part discussing how I solved a mystery, the 2nd how my life was saved by a random event. Both are momentous in my life and both are insignificant in everyone elses life. That's just how life rolls....

Part 1: Mystery Solved

Picture it...Cleveland, 2011...a poor writer discussing her life with an old friend. The poor writer is sick and tired of being alone so she shares her woes with a friend. The friend shares her advice and the poor writer is struck by the simplicity of said advice. Perhaps this is what she has been needing.  Perhaps this is the secret....What was this magical information?

"You are way too won't let a man take care of you".

Those were the words of my friend. (I am the poor writer if you haven't caught on)  I spoke with a fiend one the phone and that was her thought....I am single because I am too independent.

It makes sense to me on one hand...on the other, I wish for someone who can just be my equal partner and look past the lack of "need" and focus on the "want".

She is right, my life-long friend.  I don't need a man. I have cared and supported myself for years. Though I am a poor writer at the moment, I left the corporate world for a reason.  I followed my heart.  I made a lot of money a few short years ago...more than many people make...but I wasn't following my dream...I put the wheels in motion and set myself on a new unknown path...and I found happiness.  I don't need a man...I want an equal partner. Is that too much to ask?

That being said, I still don't need a man to support me. I certainly didn't before and I don't now. Is that what men want? A woman who will really be the submissive one in the relationship?  I can't do that and I won't do it.  If that's what it takes then I won't marry. It confuses me because I see so many strong women in my life...  I was born into a family of strong women.  Hell...even my dog will stand up to any dog in the area, even those 4 times her weight.  (She is single too, by the way, but only because I make her choose that life!)

Is this what I am missing?  Is the big secret the fact that I should act like I "need" a man versus want a man? Do I need to play the role of the damsel in distress and wait for my prince to come sweep me off my feet?  I would much rather be the Queen on the throne and have the knights in shining armor fight for the love of the Queen.  Perhaps I am just totally disillusioned? Who has words of wisdom?

I am at a loss.  Of course I think I am not fit enough or pretty enough or smart enough...because that is what society teaches women.  I will never be as pretty as the women on TV (They have professional make-up people and 3 inches of foundation...seriously, have you SEEN TV make-up?) . I will never be as fit as models in magazines (They have personal trainers and cocaine....well, some do) I will never be smarter than I am supposed to be.  I didn't go to Harvard and I can't go back in time to change that.  What I do know is I have amazingly beautiful eyes and the beginnings of nice biceps, and 2 college degrees (One in History, the other in Communications with an emphasis in TV/Radio Broadcasting)

Is that enough for someone?  Only time will tell, I suppose.  In the meantime, I am focusing on me...and my accomplishments.  Like quitting smoking, which will bring us to part 2...

PS...this was more of a "tongue in cheek" post than anything. Don't take it too seriously :) Discussion is fantastic though.  I love hearing people's views on issues.  Thanks to Heather, Katie and Elisha for really getting into the discussion on Facebook.