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Category Archives: Stuff that makes me happy

I make the earth move, not earthquakes. Pffft.

The other Tuesday, I was in DC during the earthquake that pretty much threw everyone in DC into a tizzy, and I didn’t even realize it had happened. Perhaps it was because I was outside, walking around Arlington National Cemetery, watching the incredible Changing of the Guard, or perhaps it was because I was enjoying the company I was with so much that it rendered me completely oblivious to the ground shaking at a 5.8 magnitude beneath my feet.

I have had this tendency in the past to put myself into relationships almost just for the sake of being in a relationship. You see, I have this irrational fear of dying alone. And yes, I hope and pray that at 30, I’m still a long, LONG way away from dying, but I get down on myself when I am single and my mind goes crazy. That’s what crazy people do, after all – GO CRAZY. Due to this, I jump at any man who expresses interest in me, hoping that after long last, he’ll be the one to make me happy and make it so that I WON’T die alone; however, I tend to reinforce that fear each time another “not right” relationship ends.

Almost a year ago, I joined one of those online dating sites. In fact, over the years, I’ve joined a couple of them but I’ve found the one that claims to match you based upon a whole bunch of dimensions, (and don’t ask, because I don’t know what they are, either), to be the one I prefer the most. I’ve met quite a few men on there and actually dated one of them for a few months. A couple of others resulted in a few dates and free dinners while others still never got farther than the guided communication. And yet, there was this one guy……this one guy that kept popping back up at random, but opportune times, and who always just seemed to say the right things and act the right way and have the right mentality. This one guy, who has more artistic talent in his goatee than I have in my entire body actually finds ME interesting and fun. This one guy who somehow didn’t text me at all during the few months I dated this other guy but he managed to reach out to me days after that relationship ended, just to say hi. This one guy, who intrigued me enough that I went outside of my comfort zone, and worries of ulterior motives, and feelings of potential failure, and planned to meet the dude in DC for some museum touring, Presidential resting place viewing and a National’s game.

It was actually kind of an unusual first encounter, aside from the whole meet up in DC for an overnight deal – but there were none of those awkward feelings when you meet someone for the first time, for me. I was very comfortable, relaxed and just plain happy to be in his vicinity and I’d like to think he felt the same way. We had an absolutely brilliant time, despite the earthquake and a slight misjudgment of distance by foot, and we both agreed that we had a ridiculous amount of fun and that we should do it again. Soon. And this one guy is already making plans with me to come visit so he can show me around his town. This one guy that keeps in touch pretty much daily now, and who actually is opening up to me about these deep thoughts he has, without me even asking. This one guy has got me smitten, me thinks, and I gotta say that I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

 

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Some girls really do have all the fun

This weekend was my annual family reunion. My dad’s side of the family is Italian and they make it a point every year to re-une. Every one from my grandmother to my cousin’s one year old was there this year and it actually was very nice. No one got stupid drunk, no one set anything on fire, and no one managed to cuss anyone else out. All in all, I’d consider it a raving success, especially when you take my family into account.

The last couple of years, my one cousin has been hosting the reunion at his home, which happens to have my fathers house between it, and me, so I called my dad to see if he wanted to carpool. I need to preface this with the fact that I did NOT ask my father if he wanted to carpool with any ulterior motive – I just thought it would be nice, and as long as he was OK with leaving when I needed to so that I could get home to care for my dogs, I thought it actually made some sense. Anyway, so when I got to his house, he had the garage door open and his truck out in the driveway, which meant one thing: we were taking the VETTE! Hot Bloody Damn! Here we go, boys and girls. We were taking the 2000, 6 speed, 345 hp black on black convertible to the family reunion. Please understand, my dad does NOT bring the vette out but on the rarest of occasions, and it must not be raining, have rained, or have rain in the forecast, or else she won’t come out from under her car covered, curtained windowed garage prison. But saturday was GORGEOUS and my dad was feeling ire, apparently, so out she came! AND………….wait for it………………….I got to DRIVE!!!!

We arrive in perfect condition, and I will admit to cresting nothing above 80 in that car – I honestly didn’t feel safe as I drive it so seldom, and if ANYTHING were to happen, I think my dad would LITERALLY kill me. Then and there. Seriously. So the rest of the family reunion carries on as expected – drinking, eating, laughing, reminiscing, kids screaming, adults screaming, etc. – until my dad says “Did you tell your sister you drove the vette?” NO, Why would I do that? So that she can give me some whiny crap about how it’s been such and such amount of time since SHE’S driven the vette? No. Thank. You. So, my sister says “No, but you did” back to my dad. Then started: “Ya know, I haven’t driven the vette in YEARS.” Neither have I, sister. “Well, you know, I didn’t even drive it that far last time I drove it.” Well, sister, I didn’t ASK to drive, dad offered. Next time, you can drive and pick him up so that you can drive the vette. Ok?

I must admit that I do find satisfaction in burning my sisters ass. She gets herself so worked up over the dumbest things, it just cracks me up when she gets so upset. She starts in with the Woe-is-me routines and lays it on thick enough that others not savvy to her ways would be sucked into her abyss of negativity. All I heard was Blah Blah Blah as she rambled on about how unfair it was, half in jest, half in stark faced sincerity. Thankfully, this all happened as my dad and I were leaving for the night, so I simply got in the car and did what ANY good sister would do – I hammered that shit down and just about spun into second gear, then third. My hair waved GOODBYE as my left foot pumped the clutch and I jammed it into third and my smile opened up greater than it has in a long time, and stayed that way the entire ride home. She’s so pretty, she’d make just about anyone smile.

You'd be jealous, too

 

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Who doesn’t like baked goods?

Yesterday was the midway point in what I’m deeming The Great Basement Debacle of 2011. My parents, goddess bless them, have been helping me by pulling all of my shit out of the basement, power washing & bleaching the floor and then applying some etcher/cleaner deal. We still have to prime the cement and stain/seal it but I can say that the worst part is definitely over. It’s been an obnoxious adventure, but truth be told, it’s relieving to be this far into it. We’ve been delaying this for at least two years because we KNEW it was going to suck. And it has not disappointed!

In the midst of all the bleaching and powerwashing and removing of shit, we had one issue that I discovered as I went to shower sunday night, and was greeted with colder than room temperature agua coming out of my shower head. Me, being the brilliant detective that I am, immediately realized that my pilot light must have gotten washed out, or blown out in the cleaning, and I needed IT in order to have the greatest rapture in my life at the moment – a HOT SHOWER. So I put some clothes back on, and ran down into my basement to analyze the situation. Here’s where some knowledge would have come in handy – while I am very able at cooking, baking, painting, tiling, spackling, cleaning and yard care – furnaces and hot water heaters are not my area of expertise, so I called my step father for some assistance. Unfortunately for me, he had no idea what to tell me and directed me to my father who always seems to know a lot about a lot. Dad kinda didn’t help me much either, suggesting that if the furnace said NOT to light the pilot by hand, then I shouldn’t do that. Enter my neighbor. Thankfully, over the years, I have developed a rapport with my neighbors two houses down, and the man of the house happens to be a plumber. A plumber who installed my furnace and hot water heater over a decade ago when someone else lived in this house. A plumber who keeps these immaculate and beautiful flower gardens. A plumber who gives me plants out of his pond, and I put some of my extra fish in his.

Thanks be to my neighbor, who stopped what he was doing (watering his gorgeous flowers!) to come over into my dank, dark, humid ass basement to look at my furnace and water heater. It was an easy fix, but he gave me his time and did so without so much as a second thought and being able to take a hot shower yesterday was such a reward that I decided the man needed some baked goods in appreciation, since he wouldn’t take a dollar from me. So tonight, I ran to the local Amish stand, got some absolutely delicious peaches and decided to throw a cobbler together for them. I did forget that blanching and peeling of the peaches was going to be a prerequisite to COOKING them, and it took me about twice as long due to this, but I think the finished product is still going to rock socks and be delicious. My dad taught me the little “Everyone loves baked goods” trick and I gotta say – it’s true! He lives in a neighborhood where he’s been surrounded by the same neighbors for probably 30 years and they all have the I’ll help you if you need it mentality. Not being a family with money falling out of our asses, my dad was ALWAYS baking or cooking something for someone as a Thank You. A little show of appreciation for someone helping you out, even if they think it was nothing, really does go a long way in this world, and a small token in the form of sweet, baked things ALWAYS seems to send the right message. I might not be able to change the world with peach crisp, but I sure can give my neighbor a delicious dessert, just for being good people. Oooh, I can almost FEEL the good Karma!

 

My newest realization

I’m learning an interesting lesson in life as of late. It seems that forward momentum isn’t necessarily a fast thing, even small steps continuing in an upward trend can be considered as successful when you’re building something. Previously in life, I always felt forward momentum was an immediate thing – it took energy and perseverance and your goal could be quickly reached if you just put enough effort into it – but I’ve had a couple of experiences as of late that are blowing that entire theory out of the water. Albeit in a great way, but it’s still slightly disconcerting to be this far out of my typical comfort zone.

So, I’ve met this guy, and I gotta say, he’s pretty awesome. We’ve been taking our time getting to know each other, getting comfortable with each others sense of humor and our similar interests and we’ve reached a point where we’ve been talking for a few months and we’ve finally decided and managed to set up some time to spend together. We live a few hours from each other, but truth be told, I’m really OK with that. My reasoning behind that insanity is that I often manage to force people into a relationship, well before it’s the right time for either of us to do so. I get so enamored by anyone that indicates even the slightest interest in me, that I immediately think he’s THE ONE that will heal my heart and the issues I’ve blamed on loneliness for years and years. Yet thanks for therapy and some time alone for introspection, I’m realizing that *I* am the only one who can heal my issues, and that I shouldn’t expect anyone else to do that for me, and with that knowledge I gotta say that I’m totally confident, comfortable and excited about the progression of this situation.

I won’t call it a relationship, because it isn’t one, or even anything resembling one, as of today. We’re building a friendship from scratch, and it’s just lucky that we have enough in common, and enough mutual interest in each other that it’s continuing to move forward into some next steps, whatever those may be. There are already a few other tentative plans on the horizon where he’ll either come up here, or I’ll go down there and I’m excited about getting to spend some face time with him, but I’m not anticipating or expecting anything, which is a huge change of mentality for me. My desperation to be loved usually triggers me to freak out and get too deep into my head when in situations like this and I loose all logical thought and rely entirely upon my emotions – which often prove to be disastrous on most occasions. But! I’m not going to do that this time! It’s too important, and there is more than just companionship involved here; my ability to find happiness within myself is my main goal. Anything after that is just a bonus.

 

Nevermind Pandora, check out *MY* station

After my therapy session the other night, I was feeling really, seriously, incredibly introspective and it just so happened that my mp3 player, for the first time in it’s history, delivered an incredible list of tunes, perfectly in tune to my whacked out mood. I find that the songs themselves will speak greater than any words that I could put to type, so I’ll list them out for you, in order of play, and you can kind of judge for yourself.

Holy christ I’m glad that music exists in this world as I truly would not know where I would be without having it as an outlet. Please don’t read into this too much, just enjoy the music and let the mood overtake you.

Oh, and sorry for the stupid ad’s in front of each video – apparently, Youtube is cool like that now…

Taking Back Sunday – This Photograph is Proof (I know you)

Nirvana – About a Girl

Bobby D – Tangled Up in Blue

Staind – epiphany (don’t knock it til ya hear it, ya’ll)

Mary Prankster – Tempest (This gal is a local hero and not well known, but she’s awesome. Sorry for no real “video” but Mary never made any and apparently no one ever recorded it at a concert. Still, awesome song)

G Love – Free (Similar situation as Mary here, except G Love is from Philly…)

DMB – Dancing Nancies

Audioslave – I am the Highway (And yeah, I know he fucks up the lyrics, whatev. Don’t be judgmental, besides, the guitar solo makes up for it)

Aimee Mann – Wise Up

Nirvana – Jesus Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam

Johnny Cash – Thirteen

Blind Melon – Toes Across the Floor

Ani DiFranco – Anyday

The Beatles – Rain

Enjoy!

 

Congratulations! It’s November!

Yesterday, I was thinking about the leaves falling and how beautiful it was here in Pennsylvania about a week ago, with the gorgeously bright yellows and reds that look like they were painted on leaves with super pigmented acrylic paints. In the midst of my wonderment, I was taken aback by the sheer SPEED in which this year has gone by. We were just having conversations on how the year 2010 would be pronounced: 20-10, 2000 and 10, 2-0-10; then I chronologically aged one year closer to thirty and now HOLY SHIT its November. It seems that the older I get, the faster I, and the world, ages.

With age, besides wrinkles, I do seem to be gaining some odd sort of clarity and understanding about me – who I am, what I want to do and with whom – and I’m finally figuring out how to actually embrace these things. November has started out pretty good for me so far: I’ve finally gotten my NEW new couch, work has been busy ergo I have been productive, I’ve been having a lot of good times with great friends and I’ve even started doing some stuff for ME. I’ve gone out more in the last 4 weeks than I have in 4 months and while I do find it tiring in its own way, I’m ENJOYING myself. I’ve started dating again, in the lightest sense of the word possible mind you, and I’m analyzing these men more for what they will give ME, as opposed to what I can give them and I gotta say that I’m actually finding an eerie sense of fulfillment in being single, flirting and enjoying my femininity. And while I won’t go as far as to say I don’t have my moments of loneliness, I definitely have more happiness than not.

I think that one of the deepest reasons behind my past relationships not working out is because I never saw men as being able to contribute to my well-being – I tended to only see them as companions, as an assurance that I didn’t have to die alone and as a vessel that should have given me the love and fulfillment that I needed. Most often, as soon as I started realizing I was emotionally supporting myself and them, things started deteriorating. I became exhausted giving myself to them and getting nothing in return that I started to become resentful of them, and of myself and why I could never find the “right” person. I became disheartened and desperate for that love that I thought had to come from an outside source. I jumped from relationship to relationship to avoid being alone; to avoid myself.

Now, I’m learning that I should be looking for a man who compliments my personality, and has the same wants and future aspirations that I do, a man who doesn’t NEED anything from me other than the love that we share. In my recent past, I think I was simply was looking for that title of “girlfriend” as I saw that as a commitment to me and my future, despite the fact that it was nothing ever of the sort. This is not to say that I never loved any of my ex’s – I did, some more ferociously than others – but I know now that love isn’t enough to make a successful, lasting relationship. The time I’ve spent on my own, thinking about me, since my break up has allowed me to see this and has ignited a non-desperate fire in me, wanting to find someone who falls madly in love with me just because of who I am, not because of anything I can give them. I’ve chased men in the past – acted suave and witty and alluring. I’ve even pretended to have interest in activities that I really did not care for, just to try to win their attraction, and I fell out of love with activities I used to not be able to live without. I understand now, why that never found me a man who I could connect with – if he was looking to me to be something I’m not, then it’s no wonder he never turned out to be what I wanted, either.

So now that all of that depressing shit is out-of-the-way for today, please remember this, if nothing else, about what I’m learning from my life lessons:  Cheers to November, cheers to Fall and all the fantastic colors that it brings with it, cheers to setting the clocks back an hour this weekend, and getting an extra hour out of the day. Cheers to life and actually LIVING it, to happiness and not giving up until you find it and to love – real, true, heart numbing, stomach flipping, speech impairing love; cheers to having enough self-awareness to see that YOU are the problem, not everyone else,  and then doing something about it. And most of all, cheers to my therapist, my friends, my family and even my ex’s – without all of you, I would not be who I am today. And I’m becoming rather fond of this person.

 

Tripod

Last Sunday I received a panic stricken call regarding my one horse who is around 24 years old, typically in great shape and has been my horse since she was 4 – she was on three legs, and the 4th leg was swollen about 3 times normal size. The important thing to realize with this is that if a horse needs to lose a leg for any reason, you can’t just amputate it like a dog – they have to get the pink stuff. All four legs mean survival in flight animals, anything less means death.

By the time I got to the barn, she had amassed a throng of followers who were standing around looking at her, as if their stares were going to make the swelling magically go down. I had already called my vet, who proceeded to tell me that “a lame horse is not an emergency” to which I replied, and excuse the language, “her fucking leg is swollen from hock to ankle. Would a foot abscess cause her whole leg to blow up?!” Perhaps it was the tone in my voice, or possibly the fact that my step father had driven the whole 10 minutes to the vets farm, but he did eventually realize I wasn’t blowing smoke up his ass and about 20 minutes after I cussed him out over the situation, he showed up at my barn, with numerous shots in hand. What occurred next involves pushing a tranquilized, muscle relaxed 12oo pound animal, with 3 legs, up a hill and let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty site.

Since that horrible afternoon, my mom (God bless her) and I have been trading off medicating duties as my mare is on oral antibiotics twice a day, a pain medication twice a day and an antibiotic inter muscular injection once a day and frankly, it’s a pain in the ass to deal with alone. Happily, she’s doing much better 5 days into her captivity and excessive medication and it does my heart well to see her improving day by day. The swelling has all but resolved, she’s not in near as much pain as she was on Sunday but her patience is wearing thin. Horses, by nature, are herd animals. They like to be with other horses and it causes my mare great worry to see the rest of her herd mates in the top of the upper field, while she is locked in the paddock at the barn. Every day I see her to give her her medications, treats and fresh hay and water, and every day I tell her she’s got to deal with this shit until the courses of antibiotics are finished, much to her shagrin.

Yesterday, I pulled her out of the paddock and into the yard to give her an opportunity to do what horses do – eat grass. She was so calm and collected, I even took her off the lead and gave her free range of the yard while I mucked her stall and got her meds together. Tonight when I went to care for her during a break in the monsoon that the mid eastern seaboard is currently dealing with, I thought I’d offer her another opportunity to get some chlorophyll and since she has always been afforded the opportunity to graze in the yard in the two decades that I’ve had her, I tried my luck and took her off lead again, despite the fact that her friends were not within sight. DUMB MOVE. She lasted about 3 minutes, then let out a loud, exasperated whinny, turned on her back heels and took off across the yard, hollering all the way. It’s hard to describe, but this mare and I have a bond that only 20 years will create. Typically, I can just turn on my mean voice and she knocks off whatever it is that she’s doing, however, this evening, she wasn’t really listening. After a moment or two of stupidity, I was able to get in her path and she skidded to a stop with her face about 2 inches from mine. Needless to say, I hooked her back to the lead and didn’t let her off again until we were in the safe confines of the paddock.

My point with all of this is that I really miss spending time with my horse. There used to be a time in my life where I was either home, or at the barn, and I’ve really lost touch with that over the years. As I get older, so does she, and while she’s in great shape and health for her age, it’s reality that horse life spans are only about 1/3 that of humans. She’s relatively OLD in horse years – and one of these days, she’s just not going to be around for me to go see or let graze in the yard or feed peppermints to. Sometimes, it takes a traumatic event to really make a person see what it is that they have been missing, or want in life. When her time comes to go meet her horsey maker, it’s going to be a gut wrenching day for me since she’s been a member of my family for most of my life, so I’ve resolved to get back into hers from now until that sad day comes, come hell or, no pun intended, high water. She’s probably not going to let me get within 10 feet of her for a few days once she’s turned back out, but I’m not going to let that discourage me. She’s been such a wonderful horse, in so many more ways than a typical horse can be, and I’m going to get her healed up, and start giving her the love and attention that she deserves. It might even be good for MY soul to reconnect with the peace that I once found with my beautiful, old mare.