Today my thoughts and prayers are with the people whose lives have been upset and/or devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as well as with those who are risking their own lives to bring said people left in her terrible wake a modicum of safety and comfort.
Seriously, this is just heartbreaking to watch unfold. My deepest sympathies are with all y'all.
Okay, besides the "fanatical television snarking" and the "random bitching and moaning," I also promised "questionable political analysis," so I am just going to go ahead and blurt this out:
Cindy Sheehan? SHUT. UP.
Liberty cannot exist passively. By all accounts, your son KNEW this.
The Grief Pimping must stop.
Go home, woman, and get the grief counseling you so desperately need.
Oh, and stop slamming American Idol, yo? I mean, honestly.
That is all.
The house may still be in a state of disarray, the pictures may not be hung yet, the TV and DVR may not be installed yet, the master bedroom closet may not be built yet, but we will make do!
The kids are home.
The girls may have nary a stitch to their names, as TGIM accidentally up and left one rather large, unchecked, slightly vital piece of luggage (a suitcase stuffed chock-full of ALL the girls' clothes, including their brand-spankin'-new school clothes!) sitting on the curb of Sky Harbor Airport-- with not even a SCRAP of identification on it WHATSOEVER! I'm so serious! NOTHING! NADA! NO ID! It's totally been stolen or, I don't know, blown up by airport security by now! MY DAUGHTERS WILL GO NAKED!-- but no matter!
The kids are home.
We may have received incredulous stares-- not to mention a much-appreciated brief smattering of applause-- from weary travelers waiting for luggage in Baggage Claim Area 13 at BWI Airport, as my daughters entertained us with an extremely loud, harmonically correct, heartfelt performance of "Angel of Music" and "Phantom of the Opera," complete with snippets of dialogue from the movie. In stereo. Oh, yes. Wait. Did I mention the LOUD part? Because OMYGAWSH. A much aggrieved TD looked on in disgust: "See, Mom?! They did this THE ENTIRE TRIP!"
The kids are home.
I believe the BBQ grill may have broken my foot, when just as I shouted "Watch your feet!" to TD (who was helping me and TGIM haul its gazillion-pound bulk up the stairs of our new home's deck), I-- in fact-- was not bothering to watch my own. But it will heal! It didn't bleed for too long! And the colors of the bruising and swelling? PRETTY! Looks good with flip-flops!
The kids are home.
I am cooking for five again, instead of two, so I'm pretty sure I'll put back on those five pounds I lost this summer, but my clothes will still fit! Just tighter! No biggie! Buns? Still STEEL! Just... bigger!
The kids are home.
Last night as I kissed the girls and put them to bed, then climbed up into TD's behemoth loft-bed impressively assembled by yours truly (with crucial assistance from that European jet-setter Kalki and her twin-bed loving, "geek-genius husband"), and I watched his sweet little eyes flutter shut, and I turned to gaze at the ceiling (which, incidentally, was a mere five inches or so from my face-- behemoth, I tell you! GOSH!), and I stretched and sighed-- you know, a deep, heavy sigh from the very depths of my heart and soul-- it was then that I realized that finally? Finally, y'all? I could BREATHE.
Who knew I was holding my breath?
The kids? They are home.
At around 6:30 A.M. yesterday I received this picture on my cell phone:
Whoops! Hee hee, sorry! Didn't mean to scare anyone! Should have flashed some sort of "BEWARE: Graphic, Scary-Ass Image!" warning first, eh?! Much like this guy should have done for ME, because this picture?-- aptly entitled "facial tatoos" (yes, spelled incorrectly)-- scared the living bejeebies out of me!
Everyone, meet Tom. Tom, everyone. Tom is a former student of mine, a graduate of my illustrious Basic English Skills for Dirtheads class (a class which incidentally caused me so much grief I could write POSTS and POSTS about it! and probably will! after therapy!), and-- boy oh boy!-- I obviously taught him a BUNCH. Except, of course, that friends don't let friends tattoo drunk. You would think after the TWO (junior AND senior) years he spent in my class he would have learned this basic rule. I mean I usually slid that lesson right smack between Fundamentals of Grammar and Usage and the unit on Story Mapping, but thinking back maybe he was absent that day? Or high? I guess we'll never know.
So, after receiving this lovely morning pick-me-up, I TM-ed Tom right back. I should add that Tom lives in Arizona, so it was around, oh, 3:30 A.M. his time. Yes, I am EVIL. I believe my exact words were (wait, let me consult my cell phone archives...), ah yes, "GAH! Holy God! WHAT, I mean WHO the hell is THAT?!" Because, quite honestly, I didn't recognize him. I am still having a hard time recognizing him. I mean, look at that face! The boy did not LOOK LIKE THAT the last time I saw him! He was a cutie once! For teenaged jailbait, I mean! Stop looking at me like that!
Amazingly, Tom was awake. Well, I assume he was awake, anyway. I don't know. Thing is, when I get a TM, I usually have no idea. My phone will beep one time, one little blip, and I usually don't even notice. It's pretty pointless to TM me actually. I won't get it for hours. Or days. If EVER. Last week I found one from TGIM that read, "I'm at the airport. Pick me up." It confused me. I turned to TGIM and said, "You're at the airport?"
But I digress. My point is unless Tom has his phone set to, I don't know, RING or something when he gets a TM, he must have been awake. This, my friends, is what we educators call "deductive reasoning."
Almost immediately I got a reply: "LOL its me, tom."
I was understandably shocked, and responded accordingly: "NUH-freaking-UH! Wait. Are those PERMANENT?!" (Note my use of proper punctuation and capitalization. TM-ing is hard when you're anal, yo?! Takes me forever, that's all I'm saying.)
"Yep y woldnt they be" (OMG. I failed as a teacher.)
"U crazy, boy! Go back 2 sleep..." (I was getting my TM groove on... look at those hip abbreviations! Gosh! I was just itching to use something like "'Sup, sk8er?" or "U R kewl"!)
"Haha heck no those arnt real, do u think im that dumb?" (sigh)
Okay, I admit it. I thought he was that dumb. In my defense, this is the kid who wrote a paper about accidentally setting himself on fire when he threw a bundle of firecrackers into a bonfire at a kegger, and the hilarity that ensued as he was tackled and rolled around in the dirt by his fellow partygoers. This illuminating magnum opus concluded with the sentence "My eyebrows have almost grown back." Now I just feel bad. Relieved as all get-out, but bad nonetheless.
He went on to assure me that, no, he was not drunk-dialing me, and yes, he was working hard. He also mentioned that no, he wasn't at vocational college anymore, but he was toying with the idea of hitting the pro skateboarding circuit.
"Hardcore!" I TM-ed. I'm pretty sure that's a skater term for, "Wow, buddy. That sure is neat. You are TOTALLY throwing your life away, but you're only young once, so good on you, man." Or something. Then I told him to get himself to bed. And he did! Or so he said. Which was amazing, really. He never obeyed like that when I was his teacher. He just flashed his devilish grin every time I asked "Please stop hitting Daniel with that medieval sword, Tom." Or "Please put your shirt back on Tom." Or "No, stop asking, I will not go to Prom with you, Tom." So, see? Amazing. Maybe I taught him something after all.
Now, reflecting upon this experience, this little blast from the not-so-distant past, I am left praising God above that I am not teaching anymore and wondering this... How the hell did he get my phone number?!
Fine. We are the house-poorest people EVER. In the whole known universe! Good lord, are we house poor. Which is why I am at this very moment hysterically crying-- honest-to-goodness sobbing-- as I watch the A/C tech put in my brand-spanking new $400 thermostat. OMG! That's INSANE! Too much money! I can't believe the damn thing broke as soon as we moved in! Damn Murphy and his stupid Law! Damn him to hell! Damndamndamndamndamn...
Wow, I feel a little better now...
Okay. Not really. I totally lied.
ETA: Scratch that. Make it $500! FIVE HUNDRED EFFING DOLLARS!
panic... attack... setting... in...
Post-Traumatic Farmboy Syndrome (PTFB) can rear its ugly head at the most inconvenient times.
On Sunday as we made our way home from the grocery store, TGIM-- who was in the midst of recounting a terribly amusing story about a trainer at his work-- pulled cautiously into a left-hand turning lane on the main street running through the city, looked both ways, and turned into the intersection. Ooh, mad props for the exemplary driving skillz, right? A total Safety Boy, yielding, looking both ways, watching for danger, proceeding with caution, right?!
We were at a red light. A RED LIGHT! No green arrow! No blinking yellow! A RED freaking LIGHT! It all happened so quickly, I only had time to gasp out a terrified, "OOOOOOOH!"and do the hands-to-the-dashboard thing. I may have clenched my eyes shut, as well. I don't know why. I suppose I have no particular interest in actually WATCHING as my life flashes before my eyes. You know, repression and whatnot.
TGIM never paused in his storytelling, but when I finally managed to unclench my eyes and began frantically searching the streets for cop cars, traffic cameras, a CHiPs-style ten-car pile up in our wake, he did glance over at me and cock an eyebrow as if to say, Um, excuse me? I am telling a terribly amusing story, Cat, and you are not paying proper homage to my superior anecdotal detail with your childish, wide-eyed, Oh My Gosh You Are Such A Crazy Driver antics. How rude. Or, you know, something to that effect.
I admit to slight voice immodulation when I am under extreme emotional duress or have imbibed large quantities of Dr. Pepper, rendering me unable to control the pitch or volume of my voice. So, when I am trying to say, "Um, honey? What's going on? You may not have noticed this, but you just ran a red light," it comes out as "GAAAAAAH! HOLY MOTHER OF HEAVEN! YOU JUST RAN A RED LIGHT, MAN! A RED LIGHT! ARE YOU INSANE?!"
"I did?" He glanced in the rear view mirror, then turned around and looked behind us. Then he looked at me and flashed one of those nervous, uh-oh! kind of smiles.
"Heh. I did, didn't I? Heh-heh..."
"YOU'RE LAUGHING?! WE COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED! OH! MY HEART! MY HEART!"
TGIM turned down a quiet, tree-lined, neighborhood street, pulled up to a stop sign, and this time, thankfully, actually stopped.
As I put my hand to my pounding chest, engaged in a few deep, cleansing breaths, and muttered something about, "Left on reds may be okay in a tractor on the FARM, but city folk don't play dat," he looked at me and said in his most matter-of-fact voice, "You're going to blog this, aren't you?"
My heart was still somewhere in the vicinity of my throat, so I stayed quiet. We stared at each other for a moment, then TGIM struck his best, most nonchalant left-arm-hanging-out-the-window, right-wrist-on-top-of-the-steering-wheel, eyes-peeled-for-danger pose.
And there we sat.
For one minute.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.
"OH! MY! GOSH! ARE YOU GOING TO GO OR WHAT?! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!"
He jerked out of his pose, quickly put the car into gear, and accelerated through the intersection.
"WELL?!" (Damn that voice immodulation.)
"I was waiting for the green light," he admitted, with a sheepish grin.
I just stared at him, wide-eyed and silent.
"You are already writing this in your head, aren't you, Cat?"
"Oh, ho, ho... yes I am."
(WARNING: The following post was inspired by this Demotivation poster. Just so you know. That is all.)
Sometimes I walk so fast it is as if I am in a dark tunnel and the only thing I can see is the distant arc-shaped patch of sunlight and trees breaking the darkness, and the path that I am speed-walking winding before me, away from me, until it is only a tiny prickpoint in the distance... I drag my children along with me by the hands, three of their footsteps for my every one, and they complain and whine and beg me to slow down. TGIM walks beside me saying, "Girl, why are you walking so fast?! Why don't we slow down? Look around? Smell the flowers?"
But I can't slow down. And because I am so focused on getting to where I am going and making it out of the tunnel so I can bask in that sunlight and cool my heels under those trees with TGIM and the kiddos, I ofttimes miss out on the delightful graffiti decorating the insides of the tunnel, the piles of trash lining the dank, greasy walls, the straggling, poopy-hued weeds straining for sunlight, oh, and the cat-sized rats scampering about, scrounging for cast-off food to take home to the wife and ratlets.
Wait. Hold on just a sec. Why should I slow down, again? Hmm?
Whoever said "Life: it's not the destination, it's the journey," was not traveling in MY tunnel, that's for damn sure.
Come to my newly purchased home where there is a slight bit of renovation going on (read: Extreme Home Makeover DISASTER AREA), accompanied by yummy cupcakes and a "geek-genius husband" who was A) strong enough to help TGIM move our couch, kitchen table, and the behemoth, gazillion-pound entertainment armoire which has been sitting all skew-whiffy in my kitchen for three aggravating weeks, and B) smart enough to oversee the construction of a monstrous IKEA loft bed (with no actual words in the instructions, but plenty of pictures and extraneous !exclamation marks!) which if left alone with it at this point in the game no doubt would have led to many a harsh and profane word spoken between myself and TGIM, I kid you not. Oh, and quite possibly spurts of physical violence in which I growl and perpetrate Buffy-like ninja moves upon my rock-solid husband while he smirks and shouts, "You wanna PIECE A ME?!"
Girlfriend, you guys saved my marriage.
Living room in Cat's home. The room is dark and sparsely furnished. Boxes are strewn about, half-packed. The television is on, its bright glow the only light illuminating the room.
[TGIM discovered sprawled across a couch. CAT is lounging on the floor, leaning against couch. The sound of a credit card commercial set to Five For Fighting's "100 Years" is heard wafting from the television.]
TELEVISION: [set against montage of life milestones]
'I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life...'
CAT: [riveted to tv screen] Man oh man. I hate PMS.
TGIM: [without looking] You're crying, aren't you.
CAT: [wiping away tear] Shut up.
Bad grammar and kick-ass vocals aside, these words? They haunt me.
All right, I admit it, I am definitely going through a phase right now. A phase of discontent, if you will. A phase of "Is this it?" A phase of "Life is passing me by!" A phase of "There has got to be more than this, right?!" Because, truthfully? There are times when I can't help but feel that I still haven't found what I'M looking for. GOSH! May I just say, there are bucket-loads of guilt attached to those eight words? Seriously. Bucket-loads. Tons and tons of guilt, people. Maternal guilt. Relationship guilt. Professional guilt. I mean, what?! I have three beautiful, smart, loving kiddos. I have a patient, sweet, utterly hawt TGIM. I have a supportive and loving family. I have a decent paying job doing something I enjoy. I have FRIENDS. So what the hell?!
I have thought carefully about this and I believe I have pinpointed the exact moment my current state of discontent began: it was a moment a few weeks ago when TGIM-- completely out of the blue, mind you-- began pestering me about my retirement plans.
"Hey, do you know when you can retire, Cat? Is it at twenty years of service or at twenty-five? How much money are you putting into your TSP again? Oh, and is your company matching your contributions? Wait, don't you have a federal retirement plan, too?..."
And there I sat, a captive audience, trapped in the car with this overly-aggressive Fidelity Retirement Avatar, and suddenly all I could hear echoing through the deep tunnels of my mind was "Twenty-five yeeeeaaaars... Twenty-five yeeeeaaaars... Twenty-five yeeeeaaaars..."
I mean, hello?! Twenty-five YEARS?! At ONE JOB?! Day IN, day OUT?! In the same CUBICLE?! GAH! *gasp* (Hold on a sec,... must... grab... paper... sack...)
At this point-- if I remember correctly, it's all a blur, truthfully-- I began humming to myself, "La la la la la la la... I'm not listening!... La la la LA LA LA!... Can't hear you!... LA LA LA!" but still, I felt it, this crushing weight descending upon my chest, a thousand pounds of responsibility and routine and, dear lord, commitment, and I couldn't breathe, but he wouldn't STOP with the talking about IRAs and domestic stock funds and brokerage accounts and the importance of properly managing my portfolio...
"Dude, you need to roll over all those retirement accounts you have from teaching in Arizona, you know? Have you done that yet? What about that TIAA-CREF account from NIU in Illinois? No? What about ARS? Huh?! No?! You really need to do that, Cat. Seriously..."
So, yeah. TGIM freaking freaked me the freak out. What was he thinking?! I mean, honestly. And I apparently have a rather HUGE commitment problem. Yep. Complete Commitmentphobe, right here. Because the thought of doing the same job for twenty-five years? Scares the bejeebies out of me. Heck, the thought of doing the same job for FIVE years terrifies me. Honestly. How is it possible that I have remained married for almost thirteen years?! It is a powerful testament of TGIM's stubbornness and long-suffering nature that we are still together, I tell you what. Well, and the sex. But still! Thirteen years! With the same man! But I digress...
So the discontent, it descended, and though I went about my day acting as if nothing was different, inside it felt as if EVERYTHING was different, completely out of whack, wonky, and that's when The Crazy began to set in. That's right, The Crazy. I hate The Crazy. It hurts. So I did what I always do when I feel It coming. First, excercise. Big lots. Like, say, Tae Bo or some Power Step. Maybe a long jog. Then, y'all? Then I went to my underwear drawer and I pulled The List right out of retirement.
"What is The List?" you ask?
Come on, The List. The List! "The List of Things I Want to Do Before I Die"? Yes, THAT List. The list on which items such as the following reside:
#4 Gondola cruise through waterways of Venice
#19 Backpack through Europe
#26 Appear as an extra in a major motion picture
#43 Publish a novel
#105 Kiss the Blarney Stone
Et cetera, et cetera, and so forth.
Because if I am supposed to work the same freaking job for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS I will damn well check off every single stinking item on The List, so help me God!
And because looking at a list of things I would like to do at some point in my life but haven't managed to do yet is SUCH a good idea in the face of debilitating depression. I know. I KNOW! The Crazy? She is a hard master.
So now, in the midst of all the remodeling and the painting and the moving and the spending I can add to the list "obsessing." Obsessing over all the things on The List that I would like to do. Obsessing about finishing that novel I started when TGIM just needs me to finish painting the bathroom. Obsessing about saving for a trip to Italy when we need to pay off that new bamboo flooring we're installing and buy school clothes for the kids. Obsessing about learning an entirely new language, German perhaps, when I should be brushing up on my rusty espanol. Obsessing. And all the while desperately hoping that these things will possibly fill this void, assuage this discontent, so I can finally feel as if I have found what I'm looking for.
Though on a rational level-- and here's the kicker, this I know-- I am pretty sure I have always known that what I am looking for has been with me, has been within me, all along.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
Oh, my dear, sweet internet, my lovely little world wide web, how I have missed you...
Freak! If TGIM ever-- EVER, I say!-- disconnects the internet again with no word of warning to me first, well, I will just have to kill him. That's right. I said it. You don't mess with a sistah's connection, you know what I'm sayin'? Oh, I think you DO.
That is all.
In what UNIVERSE is it kosher to comment on (read: pass almighty judgement upon) a person's lunch-eating habits? Hmm?! Seriously. When did it become acceptable to walk up to a person YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW and say, "Girl, you gonna blow away if you keep drinking that stuff..."? Huh?! I mean, how was I supposed to respond to that?! I also distinctly heard a stage-whispered "That skinny bitch is NOT drinking Slim-Fast, now is she?!" drift into the hallway as the lounge door was shutting behind me.
Hey! Now listen here, Little Miss Lunch Police. I am NOT a skinny bitch. Or... well, it's not as if you could possibly KNOW that I am a skinny bitch, anyway! I mean, I don't know you from Adam! Or Eve. Whatever. You know what I mean. And as far as I know, you have never interacted with TGIM or any disgruntled members of my family. Or, um, any of my former students. You? Me? No talky. Ever.
So, OMG!! WTH?!
All right. So I am a lazy mofo. I mean, just look! I am too lazy to even spell out the above exclamations of disbelief and chagrin, so why should it be surprising that I don't like to pack a lunch? What?! So I like to drink frozen chocolate Slim-Fast. There! I said it! I drink a freaking Slim-Fast for lunch! And I like it! I don't care! I DO! It has all the nutrients I need in one little can, is easy to throw in my backpack at 4:45 a.m., and tastes chocolately delicious when frozen! And let's NOT forget the five grams of fiber per serving! Seriously! FIVE GRAMS! Of FIBER! So there!
And don't think that the Big Mac and Super-Sized order of fries escaped my notice, biznitch, because it totally didn't. Nor did the super-sized pants you had on, but did I say anything?! NO! Because I have manners, damn it! MANNERS!
Sheesh. The nerve.
I have compiled a list of the top 5 things I will no longer be able to do in a week and a half when my kids return from their summer break with the grandparents in Podunky Small Town, Arizona:
1. Plant my arse on the couch in front of the television and eat a bowl of my favorite cereal for dinner. Usually a combo of Frosted Shredded Wheat, Cinnamon Life, and Quaker Oat Squares. Mmm-mmm!
2. Sleep in on Saturday mornings. Nope. My Tater Tot will commence with her Saturday morning ritual of standing next to my bed, leveling her wide-eyed piercing stare at me, and chanting, "Mom... Mom... Mom... Momma... Mom... Mom... Mom... I'm hungry, Mom!... Mom... Momma... Mom... Can you make pancakes?... Waffles?... Mom?... Huh?... Momma?... MOM!!"
3. Get to church on time. Fully clothed. It's a long story.
4. Shop at the grocery store without the constant, nagging fear in the back of my mind that my children will destroy the magazine and candy aisle before I am even halfway through my grocery list, which will cause me to forget the milk and eggs, which were all I really needed anyway, in my frantic attempt to shepherd the kids out of the store before anyone notices the mayhem left behind in the greeting cards section.
5. Power Nap after work. Ah, sweet, sweet Power Naps. Au revoir, little naps of power. Au revoir. What?! Please. Like no one else does that.
I feel restless.
I feel unmotivated.
I think it must be all those boxes-- oh! so very, very many BOXES!-- stacked to the frickin' ceiling in my living room. And in the kitchen. And in the dining room. And in the hallway. And in the upstairs hallway. And in all the upstairs bedrooms.
Boxes. Full of stuff. EVERYWHERE.
That is all.
(If you want to play, go HERE first! Seriously! No cheating!)
1. Oh, ho, ho, yes I AM. An adrenaline junkie, that is. I have done all these things and would love to sky-dive again, this time solo (vs. tandem). WOO! It all started when I was around 2 or 3 years old and decided to take a ride up the escalator at the local mall by grabbing hold of the hand-rail belt and hanging on. I still remember the heady, exhilarating sensation as I went up, up, up... on the OUTSIDE of the escalator. Yep. Dad still speaks with pride of his wild sprint through the play area (where I should have been), to the planter JUST beneath my dangling legs, where he executed a near-perfect Ninja maneuver in order to jump up, grab my leg, and pull me to safety, saving me from certain death, or at the very least some broken bones, as I hit the glass wall adjacent to the 2nd story escalator platform.
2. I have, in fact, seen the movie "Grease" over 350 times. We were the first family in our neighborhood to own a VCR, and the only video tape we owned was a pirated copy of "Grease" which we watched on a daily basis. Hey, the OCD apple doesn't fall from the neurotic tree, you know what I'm saying? EVERY DAY! FOR A YEAR! When I was older and finally understood half the things people were saying-- "A hickey from Kenicky is like a Hallmark card..."?!-- I was all, "Mom! What were you THINKING?!" Although "Grease" IS the word, it was eventually bumped by a bootleg copy of "Star Wars." "Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things." So there you have it.
3. In retrospect, maybe all those Sundance Sparkler bottles rattling around in the back of my old Pooh car weren't the greatest idea, especially taking into consideration my propensity to be pulled over and made to Walk the Line for any little thing! "You switched lanes too fast!" "You were going 25 over the speed limit!" Whatever. And for the record? I totally was NOT evading arrest that one time, I just couldn't hear the sirens over Billy Idol! OKAY?! I mean, my friend Di didn't hear the sirens, did you, Di?! NO! No reason to haul me away in handcuffs, that's all I'm saying! But I don't want to talk about it.
4. LIE! Embarrasingly, however, if you took the "and kissed" part out, it would be TOTALLY true. A post for another day...
5. As Kristine pointed out, this is SO true. So very, embarrassingly true.
For a little TGIF fun, behold! A game for the masses! Or, like, the twelve of you that read this. (Hi, Mom!) Interestingly, I used to do this game with my high school students during the dreaded "Break the Ice" portion of the second day of classes. (Oh! How I SO don't miss teaching!) Or maybe not so interestingly, actually. Sorry.
Well. This is awkward, isn't it?
ANYHOOS, moving on...
Below are five "Facts" about me, Cat, the Desperate Working Momma. Only, one of them? One of them, guys? Is a TOTAL lie! Complete fabrication! Never happened! El Lie-oh! Lie-a-mundo! LIIIIIIAR!!! So, you know... absolutely untrue. Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to ferret out the lie.
1. I am an adrenaline junky and have experienced the thrills of wake-boarding, cliff diving, bungee jumping, and sky-diving.
2. I have seen the movie "Grease" over 350 times. No, really. At the very least. I can quote pretty much any line from the movie. With feeling.
3. I was arrested twice while in my senior year of high school. Luckily, my record, and my lips, are sealed.
4. I once went on a date with and kissed my HAWT first cousin, neither of us (at the time) having any freaking clue we were related. (We hadn't seen each other in years! YEARS! Since we were, like, FIVE, or something! OKAY?!)
5. I love karaoke and can regularly be found belting out such varied songs as Captain and Tenille's "Love Will Keep Us Together," Avril's "Complicated," or "Janis Joplin's "Preacher Man." And sometimes a little "Lady Marmalade" is in order. I do a mean Xtina, y'all. Rawr!
So. Which is the lie? Hmmm?
And if any of you would like to list your own Five Facts, well go for it! It would SO make my day, as well as give me something to do so I can appear "busy."
(Um, any of you lurkers out there can feel free to delurk for this one. I don't bite! Much.)
Feeling nostalgic. That is all. Feel free to add to the list, if you are an old duffer like me. And Shaun (Hope you had a happy b-day, Mr. Kristine!).
Things I Miss from the 80's:
1. Seeing 95 pounds peeking out at me from my scale. *sigh*
2. Cruising for boys on Gurley Street with my homies, blasting the remix version of Billy Idol's "Catch My Fall" (killer bassline, y'all), sipping Sundance Sparklers (nonalcoholic!), screaming "Memory! All alone in the MOOOOONLIGHT!" every time we passed by the scene of a make-out or break-up. Of which there were several. Ooooh! And "Old Man Driiiiiiver!" (to the tune of "Old Man River") whenever we passed by guys WAY TOO OLD to be out cruising. Of which there were several. Huh, Di?! Huh?!
3. My ginormous Esprit and Guess? bags, which held everything from my Adventures in Literature textbook to my clunky cheer shoes to five or six really radical to the max cassette tapes to my assorted jelly bracelets and banana clips. And sometimes my lunch.
4. Rainbow-colored eyeshadow and blue mascara. And blue eyeliner, of COURSE. Duh.
5. Wham! The Wham Rap? Classic, y'all. CLASSIC. I still know all the words. Ask anyone. Go on. Try me.
6. The Solid Gold Dancers. No, seriously. LOVED. THEM. Wanted to BE. THEM.
7. Saying "psyche!" Oh, and "freak!" Wait...
8. Star Search. When it was GOOD.
9. The Brat Pack.
10. Crimped hair, big bangs, strategically placed headbands, bangle earrings, and Swatch Watches with jelly Swatch Guards.
11. Cyberpunk Max Headroom. CATCH THE WAVE!! 'Member, guys?! Do ya?! Dude. That was totally our Homecoming slogan one year. Go, Badgers!
12. Atari. I mean, c'mon... Frogger? Pitfall? Hello?!
13. Spandex biker shorts under my paint-splashed, acid-washed denim mini. It just LOOKED COOL, okay?! Geez.
14. Debbie Gibson.... What?! I DO!
15. A time when I actually WANTED my MTV.
16. Echo & the Bunnymen, Cutting Crew, Scritti Politti, Tears for Fears, and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark.
17. My acid-washed jean jacket covered with ENORMOUS, entirely superfluous silver buttons and an assortment of safety pins with multicolored beads strung through them. Which meant I was very popular and had lots of friends. Right?
18. Sleep overs with my girlfriends, at which we listened to KISS FM, gossiped about boys, experimented with our hair, traded comfy pink Esprit sweatshirts for zip-tapered, pastel-flowered Guess? jeans, and-- contrary to TGIM's much-fantasized belief-- DID NOT engage in naked pillow-fighting. But TGIM? Said girlfriends DID teach me how to French kiss. That one's all yours, baby.
19. Slap bracelets. Preferably neon. Lots of 'em.
20. Freezing my ass off while cheering at home football games. In the snow. In a cheerleading uniform. With NO pantyhose or tights. Because that would be TACKY.
21. Singing along to "Wig" by the B-52's at the top of my lungs on the bus during away football trips: "What's that on your head? A wig! Wig, wig, wig! Wig's on fire! Wig's on fire! Wig's on... fire! It's 2525 and we've got the most wigs alive!" Why does nobody REMEMBER this song?
22. Tanning on the roof with a fluffy towel, my boombox, and big-A bottle of Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil. For the Tan of the Islands! Or more freckles! Whatever!
23. Every single solitary stinkin' John Hughes movie. I mean, sometimes I even watch The Dead Zone on USA just to see Farmer Ted (AKA: The Geek from Sixteen Candles) and reminisce. "I never bagged a babe. I'm not a stud." Seriously. Who writes stuff like that anymore?! No one, that's who!
24. Jams with coordinating t-back tank tops.
25. Comfy, unlaced Keds.
26. First REAL kisses. Cheetos optional.
27. Boys in cuffed jeans and unlaced Reebok high tops. I don't know why, really.
28. Slouch socks. Ooooh! And slouch boots! Because they totally hid my freakish chicken ankles, all right?
29. My mini black lace ra-ra skirt, a la Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. HAWT.
30. Wearing sunglasses at night. Hey. Don't be afraid of the guy in shades, oh no.
Sadly, I could go on and on and on...
Not that NOW isn't good! Oh, I LOVE now! But your high school years, they stay with you, you know?
Which, once you think about it, is at the same time slightly comforting and absolutely horrifying. Especially, it seems, if you lived out your teenage years in the 80's. Just sayin'. That's a hard era to shake. The hair, the styles... I mean, just look at all the Mom-Pants out there. Totally 80's! Honestly. It's 2005! Lose the MOM-PANTS, ladies! LOSE THEM NOW.
And sometimes, guys? Sometimes? I have this almost overwhelming desire to poof up my bangs. You know, just a little. Like, "Oh, just an inch or so won't hurt...." But it would! Dear lord, it WOULD!
Oh, NO. I just realize that the bulk of my childhood was spent during the 70's! Don't even get me STARTED on homemade polyester bell-bottoms, roller skating rinks, my Donna Summers fixation, tetherball wars, and hula hoops. PLEASE. Just... don't.
That's a post for another day, y'all. A post for another day...
link | posted by Cat at 1:30 PM
Nothing like a little demotivation!
Yep. I am so buying this poster.
(Warning: TGIM! Long and tangential narrative ahead! Proceed with caution! And yes, as a matter of fact "tangential" IS a word.)
(My cutie-pies enjoying the AZ sun with cousins...)
Currently the children are obsessed-- oh, and I do mean OBSESSED-- with the movie version of "Phantom of the Opera." Last night TGIM and I listened on speaker phone while our three children heated up the phone lines with their sizzling virtuoso renditions of "Think of Me" (in key!-- Hannah), "Phantom of the Opera" (complete with "dun, dun, dun, dun, DUUUUN!"-- Tanner), and "Angel of Music" ("CHRIS-tine, CHRIS-tine... where in the world have you been HI-ding?!"-- Alli).
Funny. When my little brother (and I use the word "little" loosely here; the boy is what? 22 now? and must be all of 6'3' and 280 pounds!) was in kindergarten, I inadvertently introduced the "Phantom" soundtrack to him. Hooked him right in, I did! What IS IT about The Phantom, y'all?! It's MESMERIZING... I don't know that he feels any particular gratitude towards me helping make him such a well-rounded kindergartner, what with his "Phantom" fixation and all, but then again, he didn't do himself any favors with the Michael Jackson obsession a few years later either. I mean, a little white kid ripping open his shirt and shrieking "Dirty Diana! Oooooh! Hee!" doesn't exactly endear himself to the masses, let me tell you. Sorry, Josh. Just sayin'.
Back to "Phantom." Let's see... I was probably 17 at the time, and was upstairs in my parents' room on the bed playing cards with mi madre. Now, on any given summer day, this is where you would more than likely find me or my sisters or my other brothers, or just about anyone my mother could wrangle into playing cards with her, basically. You had to have pretty thick skin to play cards with my mom, you see. Let's just say she had a tendency to gloat when she won. Gloating which more often than not involved some variation of exuberant shimmying and jazz hands accompanied with "I WIN! YOU LOSE! LOOOOOOOOOOSER!" And if you had the luck to beat her? You were invariably subjected to "Best two out of three! Best three out of five!" and so forth. You know, until she won.
So there we would be, sprawled out on my parents' comfy king-sized bed facing each other, and Mom would deal. Then she'd say, "Loser goes first." Which meant, "Go, child. Don't forget to check your self-esteem at the door because I am going to whoop your ass again and again and AGAIN! Mwah ha ha!" Or at least that's what I imagined it meant. At the time. But still I played. Because I may be just a tad competitive. And beating Mom? That was an upset-- a coup, if you will-- indeed.
But I digress. As usual. Sorry, TGIM!
Anyhoos, one of my favorite aspects of the card playing tournaments in el roomo de mi madre was the MUSIC. If I was going to be cooped up playing cards with a parental unit when I could be, I don't know, reading a book, writing emotional, angst-filled diary entries, or you know, perfecting my savage tan (or freckles! whatever! shutuprightnow!), then by damn, I would be selecting the musical entertainment! Am I right?! Can I hear a big, "Hell yeah!!"?!
So now, thanks almost single-handedly to me (and a smidgen of Kasey Kasem), my mother can identify any given song by such varied artists as U2, Prince, Van Halen, Def Leppard, INXS, The Scorpions, Bon Jovi, OMD, Erasure, Tears for Fears, Pat Benatar, Heart, the J. Giles Band, Boston, Madonna, oh, you name the 80's band! She knows it! (Oh, ho, ho! You are SO welcome, Mother.) This is not even to MENTION the Monster Ballads by every 80's hair band in existence. Ooooooh, remember Europe's "Carrie"?! "Caaaaaaarrrrie! Caaaaaaaarrrie! Things they change my friend..." GOSH! I loved that song.
But this day was different. I remember it perfectly. Occasionally, since my mom and I have a fondness for (read: obsessive love of) musicals, I would let my mother select some form of show tune or rock opera for our listening pleasure. This day my parents had just purchased the soundtrack to "The Phantom of the Opera" which I had managed to go 17 long years without ever hearing, so we broke it out, slapped it in the old tape deck, and began to play cards.
Then? Then, you guys? THEN? I heard Sarah Brightman sing that note. THAT note. The note which pierces your very SOUL. In the song "The Phantom of the Opera" when the Phantom commands Christine, "Sing my Angel of Music!" and she begins those opera chords which grow higher and higher and HIGHER until she is singing so high and so beautifully that you can barely STAND IT. And glass trembles, but doesn't quite shatter.
You know. That part.
(If you have never heard this song, I suggest you go and listen to it today. Like, speedy quick. It will blow you away. Sarah Brightman? Amazing. Total diva, but AMAZING.)
So of course I did what any self-respecting closet show-tune loving OCD teenager worth her salt would do. I replayed that freaking song over and over again, card game almost completely forgotten, calling to everyone in the house, "You gotta come hear this song! Come here! Comehererightnow! LISTEN!"
Josh, my 5-year-old brother, was the only other person in the house that day. The rest is history. And let me just state for the record: It's not MY fault he chose to carry around his own personalized copy of the "Phantom" soundtrack, playing it for all his friends when they came over to play. It's not MY fault he subjected his carpool buddies to it every time they got in the car with him. It's not MY fault he knew all the lyrics to the songs and sang them-- with abandon-- anywhere and everywhere (read: grocery store, school, church) without any type of advance warning whatsoever. It's NOT MY FAULT!
Blame Sarah Brightman. And Andrew Lloyd Webber. I know I do.
Because now my kiddos are carrying on the fine musical tradition of their ancestors. Oh, yes. They are feeling the "Phantom" love. And honestly? I wouldn't want it any other way.
ROCK ON, Lambson kiddos. ROCK. ON.
ETA: My mother laughingly relayed to me that my li'l bro Josh used to refer to this song as "the one where the lady sings her lungs out!" Apparently, this was the hot TRL song of the Abia Judd Elementary School carpool, with all Josh's schoolmates and friends hopping into the car and requesting, "Hey, Josh! Play that song where the lady sings her LUNGS out!"
What a bunch of weirdos.