Thursday, February 25, 2010

Outside Of A Dog, A Book Is A Man's Best Friend

I love to read, it’s something I get from my mom I guess. My mom, besides being an amazing mother (another thing I hope I inherit) is a wonderful writer, taught me the joys of a good book and works as a librarian for the second time in her life.

My mom has her own library at home; I’ve never actually seen so many books in a private collection. The walls are lined with huge shelves that go up to the ceiling, all full, many books lying sideways on top of their vertically shelved friends, plus stacks and stacks of loose books, boxes full and she’s still bringing them home faster than she can read them. All of her books are categorized, fiction, biographies, religion, theory, art, and so many more. It’s incredible the collection she has achieved. My mom has a book on every subject you can imagine, and if it’s a particularly good book, she’s probably got multiple copies.

Hubby and I can be home in less than 8 hours by car, and we’re lucky that his immediate family and his wonderful grandmother live just one city over from my sister and brother-in law. My mom and youngest brother and sister live just less than 2 hours away from them (My parents are still together, for those of you wondering. My dad has been working in Iraq and Afghanistan since July 4, 2004). We appreciate the “killing 2 birds with one stone” aspect of everyone being right there, but it can make for less than relaxing trips once we’ve done all that dividing of time in order to see everyone.

I may be bias, but I love visiting my family. Besides the good company, staying with them is always quite enjoyable. My folks worked hard to be able to build their dream home, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, beautiful hardwood floors and a kitchen to die for (I get my love of cooking from my dad). There is a jet tub in the master bedroom, marble floors and a sky light, I love bringing a glass of wine and relaxing there. The house is set in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on 10 acres with a spectacular view.

Our dogs love visiting my family, too, where they can run for miles, chase rabbits or antelope. My parents own 3 dogs, 2 cats and keep for a friend 11 alpacas and an alpaca-attendant dog. My parents’ dogs are always finding treasures: rib cages, skulls and other bones and gross things that come from dead animals. They have taken over an area we now refer to as “The Bone Yard”. Our city-dogs think this is heaven.

When we leave, our dogs bring home a few bones, and I take a box full of books.

I thought I’d share the list of books I’ve read this year (Since Jan 1, 2010)

Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village -Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
Hubby is a double major, World History and for Foreign Language (Arabic) he had to read this book, he loved it and suggested I read it also. I also loved it. This is wonderful story of self-discovery and gained appreciation of others.

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
I didn’t care for this book, and actually attempted to just stop reading it a few times (Once I start a book, I HAVE to finish). It’s really quite upsetting, but being such a talked about book, I suppose I’m glad I now can say I’m familiar with it.

Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved - Kate Whouley
A memoir, my favorite kind of book, telling the story of a woman who purchases a cottage and attaches it to her existing home. Cute book.

Hit by a Farm - Catherine Friend
Another memoir, very sweet story of a woman and her partner who have no experience farming, but together buy and operate a sheep farm. Full of funny stories and author learning who she is.

On Rue Tatin, Living and Cooking in a French Town -Susan Herrmann Loomis
My favorite thing about this memoir is the recipes! Every chapter describes in great detail the delicious food she cooks, and at the end of each chapter, she shares the recipes! Yum! The goat cheese sauce is de-lish!

Lucky: A Memoir – Alice Sebold
This is the only memoir I’ve read and not liked. It’s the story of how the author was raped and how it affected her life. Spoiler alert: I hoped it would show growth and over-coming tragedy, but it doesn’t. She seems like a lonely and troubled person. I was quite disappointed to have felt so much pain for her throughout the book and not see her recover in the end.

A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
This was also a somewhat upsetting memoir, due to the graphic description of the things the author endured as a child. I blazed through this one in one day, just so I wasn’t left to lie awake that night thinking about it. It’s really a remarkable story. If you plan to read it, I’d recommend you have the next two books on hand to follow it. I have heard that the story is fabricated, and perhaps some of the things he describes are exaggerated, but I wasn’t there, it’s not my place to say, and I could never bring myself to question someone who claims to have endured abuse as a child.

The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family- Dave Pelzer
The second book in this trilogy. This book focuses on the author’s time in foster care and the new challenges he faced as he learned to cope with his childhood.

A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness - Dave Pelzer
The 3rd book in the series, this book offers some closure and you see how the author’s life turns out.

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana - Haven Kimmel
Cute memoir, “scrapbook” is the word I would use to describe it. All of the stories are related, being about her childhood, but not necessarily reliant on each other.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter- Kim Edwards
Before reading this story, “Life of Pi” (by Yann Martel) was my sole favorite book; this one has joined it at the top. A fictional story of 2 babies, twins, separated at birth because the girl has Down syndrome. Following the lives of both and their families, this book’s characters are all “gray” as hubby would call them. Neither good, nor bad people, just very real, you see their faults and weaknesses along with good intentions and strengths. Very good story, and I’m told the movie is good as well.

Animal Farm - George Orwell
A re-read, or to be more honest, a re-re-re-re-read. I love this book, and it's a short one so it can be enjoyed over and over again!

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Wasted Wish

(Image courtesy of Post Secret)

This morning I while driving into work I heard a very unusual Greek-wedding sounding song on one of my programmed rock stations, it made me remember a time when I was young and I called a local station that claimed to play anything, “Even polka!” I called to request a song by Eric Carmen, “Hungry Eyes” the DJ laughed at me and told me that was a stupid song and he wouldn’t play it. He even commented on my ridiculous request after the commercial break.

I love “Hungry Eyes”. I actually just love Eric Carmen, and this morning I wished that the song would play today on my way to work. Guess what the next song I heard was?

I wasted another wish.

When I was a very little girl, I was given a plastic magic wand, it was silver with a star covered with sequins on one end and the whole way home I waved it around saying “I wish I had a baby mouse, I wish I had a baby mouse,”. Lo and behold, just moments after arriving home, real live baby mouse wandered into the middle of the living room! I should have been more specific and wished for a HEALTHY baby mouse, because the little guy didn’t make it into the next morning, but I was still pretty excited!

Apparently the wand was only good for one wish because when my mom told me to wish for a million dollars, it didn’t work.

The next time it happened was sans-wand. My family was going to go to the ARC, a local thrift store, and I wanted desperately to find a book about Peter Rabbit. A sequel, I needed to know what ever came of him. My parents gently reminded me that the ARC was not a book store, and even if there was such a book, the odds of finding it there would be slim. I wish I’d had a camera to save the look on my mom’s face when I brought her the small yellow book, “What Ever Happened to Peter Rabbit?” when we were heading to the checkout line.
I wished a few years later for another book. I had developed a fondness for deformed animals, with extra limbs and such. I decided the ultimate animal would be a 2 headed snake, and surely our library would have a book dedicated to them. Once again, my mom tried to warn me that, although I was very intrigued by multi-headed reptiles, it was doubtful that our small (very small) library would have such a book. She was not surprised when I ran home to show her the book, on the cover a 2-headed snake.

Then there was the time I wanted to see my favorite celebrity, Ringo Starr, in concert. The tour dates had all been posted, and none were in my state. I cried, “but I wished so hard he’d come here!” and the next day, Denver was on the list. Denver never showed up on any of the tour shirts, it was obviously an afterthought, added because I wished it.

My parents had been the only ones to actually see these things happen, so hubby, having never seen it first hand, was unimpressed, until half way through a 15-hour road trip, I wished that we would hear a Sawyer Brown song. There is only one country music preset in Beth (His car), and it’s mainstream new release country, but I wasn’t surprised when “Thank God for You” came on next. He was.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

(I wish for a million dollars, I wish for a million dollars, I wish for a million dollars…!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Face Blind

I have some kind of knack for stumbling across news stories concerning issues, usually unusual issues, which I’ve had on my mind (See, “What Happens to Your Facebook When You Die?”). This was refreshing, a reminder that I’m not alone in my face-frustration.

Most people don’t know about my “face blindness”. I didn’t even tell hubby until recently. It’s quite embarrassing, and since less than 3% of the population is affected, it’s not easy to understand. Instead, I struggle through the day, desperately hoping I don’t cause any awkward moments when I get people confused.

For those of you unfamiliar with prosopagnosia, or “face blindness”, it is essentially the same as being color blind, only it’s faces, not colors, that the brain doesn’t process correctly. Just as someone who is color blind cannot tell the difference between red and green, no matter how hard they try, I simply don’t see the details required in most faces to tell them apart. There are people I recognize, of course, but rarely without practice, and generally not based on faces. I still question my memory when I pick up my own father at the airport, having not seen him in a year, will I know who he is?

I’ve known about my prosopagnosia since high school; however it hasn’t been a serious problem until recently. Having previously established myself, my social network and job, I was fairly comfortable, but hubby and I moved here to Kansas last May, and I’ve had to start over.

Just last week I had to enlist help from a coworker and my boss because almost a dozen guests from corporate were visiting, you can’t imagine the stress I was feeling, knowing that I would meet the owner of the company, and when later in the day I saw him again, I simply wouldn’t recognize him. As if one member of management wasn’t enough, there were more than 10 other officials joining him. The ladies I explained my dilemma to were helpful and compiled pictures of everyone coming for me, along with some helpful information (“He has very red hair,” or “He’s extremely short”). Lifesavers!

Sadly, this situation was not isolated. After nearly 2 months with my coworkers, I still have quite a difficult time distinguishing who’s who. As a matter of fact, this morning a gentleman who is transferring to another installation came to my desk to say goodbye. I’m sure I must know him, because the way he spoke indicated we’d interacted before, but I have no idea who he was. He was very friendly and since there’s no one here I don’t like, I’m sure I enjoyed working with him. I’m just not sure who he was. I’m still not sure who the office manager is.

I feel like crying when someone walks up to my desk to say “Please tell so-and-so to come see me when they get in”.

I want to reply,

“Here’s the thing, I know I’ve been working with you for quite some time now, and we’ve probably had lunch in the break room together a few times, but you’ll have to tell me again who you are. Don’t take it personally though, because I also have no idea who it is you’re looking for, either. Sorry.”

Perhaps pursuing a job as a receptionist in a company with more than 125 coworkers wasn’t my best career move.

(If you’re interested in learning more, this article is not terribly helpful, but Wikipedia has some good information, you can find that

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spider Face

While Christmas shopping with my hubby, I made a comment about "intensive purposes" and my husband looked at me like I had 3 heads. He asked me to repeat myself, which I did. When he finally finished laughing, (it was a while!) he told me what it REALLY is.

“For all intents and purposes”

I've been saying this wrong my whole life.

Before I go any further, let me mention that I am a smart person. I’m not a genius, I’m not sure I’d even say I’m much above average, I’m not tooting my own horn here, ok? But I’m smart. I had a 4.0 student all through high school, and left college with a 3.92 GPA. When I say I left college, I didn’t drop out of college because it was too hard; it was because the accreditation was being revoked. I felt I could do better things with my time than earn a degree that didn’t mean anything, especially in a field I had learned I didn’t like anyway. I should have gone to another school, I didn’t. I do plan to get my degree but next time, in a different field and from an accredited school.

That being said, there are many other things hubby has lovingly pointed out about my speech.
The way I singularize and pluralize things, as in, “would you like a gum?” or “I have a water in my eye”. He also makes me repeat myself, so he can hear me ask again for “a fig NEWton”. To make the sound of a chicken, I whisper “chicken, chicken, chicken,” I’m not sure why. I just do. I’ll never live down the time I tried to look up the weather in Cario, but couldn’t find it because I spelled it “Kyro”.

I’m so glad I have a hubby who loves me enough to catch those sorts of things, so that I don’t have to spend the next 24 years continuing to say “Intensive purposes”. Thank you, “Doctor Scholl”!

I’d like to close with a quote from The Office, which I feel is appropriate for the post:

Jim Halpert: Several times a day, Michael says words that are Way beyond my vocabulary--
Michael Scott: I know where this is going!
Jim Halpert: Do ya?
Michael Scott: No.
Jim Halpert: Ok. Remember spiderface?
Michael Scott: No.
Jim Halpert: Ok because the quote was, "cut off her nose to spiderface."

Season 5, "Stress Relief"

Friday, February 19, 2010

What happens to your Facebook when you die?

Because I have a rather long drive to and from work, and I’m alone in the car (unless you count the morning show hosts on the local country station) I’ve got a lot of “me” time. I should practice my Spanish, pray a rosary or something else usefully, but this tims is usually non-productive, generally spent singing loudly and off key to guilty-pleasure top 40 type songs. Other times, I replay recent situations where I SHOULD have said something witty/sarcastic/funny/smart, or even just said something at all. I always come up with the BEST responses and comebacks on the way home. Sigh.

I also cry in the car a lot. For some reason, being alone in the car puts me in a sappy mood. Lately it’s been over our old dog, the Satchmonger, who we had to put to sleep last summer. I’ve got a picture of us stuck behind the steering wheel, and every time a song comes on that reminds me of my pooch, I look at the picture and cry. Phew. It’s therapeutic to admit that. Also somewhat embarrassing. Yikes.

I digress.

So this morning, a comment was made on the radio that led my train of thought to this morbid gem:

What happens to your facebook (or myspace, or whatever social networking site you prefer) when you die?

I spent quite some time pondering what would happen if on my way to work, I came to a tragic demise, and my facebook page was still there?

First the obvious: My Zynga games would never progress. I’m somewhat obsessed with Farmville; I hate to imagine all of my wilted crops and animals waiting patiently, never to be collected.

I have a lot of “friends” who I’m not close to at all, and would probably not know that I was dead. How awkward would it be if they tried to comment on my wall, but felt snubbed or ignored when I never responded? What if they proceeded to leave nasty comments when they thought I was just being a bee-och?

I’ve told hubby my password, but it’s rather confusing and nearly impossible to remember, it’s doubtful he would be able to log into my account. What would he do anyway if he could get it? Change my status to update everyone?

“Posted Friday, February 19 2010, 3:25PM by Lady Fromage: Today I died”?

No, that would be way too morbid.

I thought about this the whole way to work. Uplifting, I know.

Imagine my surprise when I logged onto my computer to check the news and this article was featured:

What Happens To Your Facebook Profile When You Die?

“In an Oct. 26 blog post, Max Kelly, Facebook's head of security, announced the company's policy of "memorializing" profiles of users who have died, taking them out of the public search results, sealing them from any future log-in attempts and leaving the wall open for family and friends to pay their respects. Though most media reports claimed this was a new Facebook feature, a spokeswoman for the company told TIME that it's an option the site has had since its early days. “

(Quick side note: CNN is not my normal news source. I like Fox. MyYahoo just happened to be promoting this article.)

So there you have it. The article goes on to explain how this process happens, but mostly, I was just relieved to know that someone had thought of this already. Sadly, no mention of what will become of my farm. Maybe I should still leave my password for hubby so he can tend to my crops and cows should that day come before we’re ready.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Airport Syndrom

I am having what my hubby and I refer to as an “Airport Day”.

Flying is a common fear, many people are nervous before getting on the plane, hold on tight during take off and turbulence, worry about a crash during the landing. My fear is not of the flight or plane itself, but the airport.

I hate airports. As soon as I start seeing signs for long term parking, my heart beat quickens, I begin to sweat. By the time I reach the terminal, I’ve forgotten which airline I will be traveling with, I panic because I don’t know where to park. More than once I’ve attempted to check in at the wrong airline. Sometimes I just freeze, like a deer in the head lights, I’m so clearly confused that most times, someone will offer to help. Hubby jokes, or perhaps he’s serious, that for the times I have to fly alone, he will make me a large, bright sign to hang around my neck, attached will be a $20.00 bill. The sign will read:

“Please help me, I am on flight __, I need to be at gate __ at blank o’clock. This $20.00 is for any kind person who will take my hand, help me check in and get me and my baggage on my flight in time. Thank you.”

Back when we were dating, before my hubby knew about my airport syndrome, I had to make a flight by myself to go see him in New York. Even on a simple trip I go into airport mode, and unfortunately, this was not a simple trip. My first flight was delayed due to snow. It was here I had my first breakdown of the day. I called my hubby-then-boyfriend, who had finals that day, he told me I must go to the desk, and firmly, not taking no for an answer, tell them I would be getting on a plane. Easy as that, just tell them I needed to get on a plane. What he didn’t know was that at that moment I was in airport mode, I probably couldn’t have recited my own address or phone number upon request (Besides the fact that I rarely assert myself anyway). Thankfully, without having to persuade anyone, they finally decided to put me on the plane and let me start my journey.

By the time I arrived at the airport where my layover was, I was informed that my next flight, the one that would take me to NY, was cancelled, also due to snow. This time, I could not call my hubby-then-boyfriend for support because he was in the middle of a final. So I called his best friend. I had never met his friend, but I was given his number in case there was an emergency. I saw this as an emergency.

“Hi… Justin?”
“Um… You don’t know me but I’m…. and um, well he gave me your number in case anything happened. They delayed my flight, or cancelled it, I’m not even sure.”

He seemed confused, after a long pause he finally asked what I wanted him to do about it. I told him I didn’t know, I just wanted to call. We hung up.

A few minutes later I called again.

“Hi again, um, it’s me, and I just thought I’d call again, I’m not sure if I told you clearly, but they either cancelled or delayed my flight. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there, so I’m wondering what I should do, like, how should I get there…?”

These guys think a lot alike because he, like my hubby-then-boyfriend, preceded to tell me to go to the desk, demand they put me on a plane, and just don’t take no for an answer. He also didn’t know about my airport syndrome.

When we hung up, I timidly tiptoed up to the desk, feeling about 6 inches tall, I politely requested to be put on another flight. The woman told me there were no other flights going to NY. It was snowing. My flight wasn’t the only one affected, and I wasn’t going anywhere.

I called Justin again. Justin is a very nice guy, and didn’t get upset at me for continuing to call, but there was simply nothing he could do. I just had to do whatever it took to get on a plane.

Eventually, I DID get on a plane. I’m not sure how, I don’t remember. In airport mode, everything is a blur; I just know I made it to LaGuardia.

We’ve flown together since then, and my hubby now knows and understands my airport syndrome. Since obtaining a travel companion who is still able to function in the airport, we can laugh about it, but being able to laugh at it hasn’t made it go away. I still cry at least once every time I fly, and without my hubby there to guide me along, I still get too stressed to remember the order in which I the process goes (Check in, check bags, security, find gate, find seat.). I’m still to overwhelmed to keep up with my boarding pass AND my bag, more than once I’ve realized one or the other is missing. I still seem to forget my numbers, nearly missing a flight because I’m waiting at gate A34 instead of A16, awkwardly being asked to move when I sit in seat 10A instead of 4B.

Maybe he should make me that sign.

I’ve finally come to the realization that I just don’t handle sensory overloads, large crowds, unfamiliar places and lots of directions well. Really, I can’t successfully handle much beyond my structure and routine. And knowing is all the power (Wink wink, babe).

Sadly, airport syndrome isn’t limited to the airport; it can happen anytime I feel overwhelmed. It’s one of the things I like least about myself, my inability to cope, especially with little stuff. It’s never fun to recognize the things you don’t like about yourself, but, it’s the first step to becoming a better person.

I may be having an airport day, but I’m trying to cope. I haven’t yet called my hubby (or any of his friends!) to help. I’m sure Justin appreciates it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

It’s Ash Wednesday. We Catholics are supposed to be fasting (and on all Fridays during lent), but those of you who know me, know what I’m like when I’m hungry. It’s not pretty. I figure God would rather me NOT fast, it’s sort of like doing a good thing for humanity, me eating. No one has to deal with the crankies.

In addition to the fasting, there’s a no meat rule for today and Fridays. Now, I would assume that if you’re fasting, then the no meat thing doesn’t even need mentioning, but maybe I just don’t understand. Whatever the actual rule is, it doesn’t put much pressure on me because in the best interest of my husband and coworkers, I will not be fasting, and, for the last 12 years, I’ve been a strict vegetarian.

It’s been a joke for the last few years that I should give up meat for Lent (Or drugs, smoking, and many other things I don’t indulge in anyway), but really, I do want to be involved, make a sacrifice, you know?

So, I am substituting diet sodas for meat.

I drink a lot of soda. Diet, store brand cola, Safeway makes the best, but you can’t get them here. You should see our recycling. I’m actually doing better now; I’ve cut back to something like 4 or 5 a day. My hubby insists I should drink water, but it’s hard. I’m very much addicted. I tried to give them up once, cold turkey, I don’t remember why, but I won’t do it again! The nerves, the headaches, I imagine it’s like a smoker trying to quit. My husband and I have come to terms with the fact that I am a soda-holic and now we just live our lives accordingly. We never fall below 6 in stock at the house and I keep a supply at work.

My husband even bought me a mini-fridge stocked full of diet soda for our bedroom, although I actually think it was more for him than me, since it’s common for me to need a soda as soon as we start drifting off to sleep. “Baby… Are you awake?” Quiet grunt from the hubby, who knows what’s coming, “Um… Would you please go get me a soda? I love you…” The good husband he is, he would crawl out of bed and go downstairs where the dogs sleep. I’ll write about the dogs some other time, but it’s sufficient to say that by the time hubby came back with my soda, he’d be covered in scratches and slobber. Thus, the mini-fridge was purchased. (Boy, when I look at it that way, I’m a real be-och for asking in the first place…! Sorry babe!)

Tonight after work, my hubby and I are going to get our ashes. He had PB&J for lunch instead of turkey.

I’m drinking cranberry juice.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...