Sunday, February 27, 2005

Road rage

Tonight I had my first brush with honest-to-goodness road rage -- I figured it must be what they talk about, because I actually considered spinning my car around and chasing down the offending minivan in an attempt at intimidation. But we live in the same subdivision, so i didn't think it would be smart. However, the dumbass in the minivan didn't think THIS was a problem:

To the minivan a**hole that honked at me tonight:

You. Suck. In case you didn't notice, the roads were wet, it was dark, and cars were zooming towards us from the other direction as we waited to turn left into our neighborhood. These are not conditions under which I take chances. EVER. And even though you couldn't possibly know that almost 2 years ago I hydroplaned on a damp road and had a horrible head-on collision with a Tahoe; and how the resulting health problems plagued me for a year; and how my nephew's baptism had to be postponed TWICE because of this wreck and its aftermath. You couldn't know this, but maybe in the future you'll think before you so rudely honk. I'm sorry, I'll wait an extra 30 seconds before jumping out in front of an oncoming car -- and if you're behind me, well i might be saving your life too.

WHAT exactly made you think it was okay to HONK?? TWICE?? Were you rushing home for the Oscars? Because you needn't have rushed, they still went til after 10.... The second time I honked back a "f*** you" honk, and I'm proud to say it did indeed say exactly that and more. In a stroke of momentary horn-honking genius, I managed to pop out the perfect honk to answer your insistent, whiney, impatient honk. Mine said "I am not a grandma, I am not going before I'm good damn and ready, and btw: f*** you."

I'm sure you got the message, because when I did turn into our neighborhood, you sheepishly followed. And when we turned in separate directions at the stop sign, you feebly slunk off to whatever your most important destination was. I was still steaming and thinking of chasing you and saying bad words out loud in my car and how dare a MINIVAN rush my badass Camry SE... but you know? Thinking about writing about this calmed me down. And I do feel better.

Still, you'd better hope I never see your minivan in a dark alley.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Memory lane

I admit it, I stole this from another blog. But I thought it might be interesting, so... I'm also going to challenge my thousands of readers to answer the same questions and share them with the internet ;) Here goes:


[What year was it?]

[What were your three favorite bands?]
Wham!, Berlin, Adam Ant

[What was your favorite outfit?]
jeans, a button-down shirt tucked in, a belt (HA), flats in the same color as my shirt

[What was up with your hair?]
really long and curly with poofy 80s bangs

[Who were your best friends?]
Ann, Christine, Chris

[What did you do after school?]
either talk on the phone for hours to Ann or Chris, or hang out with one of them

[Did you take the bus?]
Luckily, I was never a bus kid. My senior year I drove a '63 VW bug in a bright, kelly green color. No AC, no shoulder seat belts... the perfect car for a new driver ;)

[Who did you have a crush on?]
Barry J., hunky football player

[Did you fight with your parents?]
Oh yes.

[Who did you have a CELEBRITY crush on?]
Adam Ant. John Cusack (Better off Dead)

[Did you smoke cigarettes?]
Nope. Although I faked it once, as a freshman, to make a boy think I was cool. p.s. -- it didn't work. (although there is karmic justice -- about 10 years after HS my sister and I were at the local Jim's near my parent's house and this very same boy was now our overweight waiter)

[Did you lug all of your books around in your backpack all day because you were too nervous to find your locker?]
No, I carried a small stack of books w/me and looked forward to going to my locker because there might be a note in there from my best friend or boyfriend.

[Did you have a 'clique'?]
I don't think so. I hung around with my boyfriend and his friends, mainly.

[Did you have "The Max" like Zach, Kelly, and Slater?]
Um. I don't think so. (I know this is a 90210 reference, but who is "The Max"???)

[Admit it, were you popular?]
No. Although in retrospect, I think people knew who I was, but I was always associated w/Chris and was considered "shy and quiet." HA.

[Who did you want to be just like?]
Molly Ringwald or Tanya B. (who, incidentally, dated Barry, my secret crush).

[What did you want to be when you grew up?]
I suppose I thought I'd be a wife and mother.

[Where did you think you'd be at the age you are now?]
Married, living in a nice house in the burbs with a handsome husband and beautiful children, driving an Iroq (sp) Camero.

You're it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cat love

I don't know if it's an insecurity thing or what, but ever since I left the kitties for a few days last week, Jess has been craving Kitty Crack (aka catnip) every day. Usually it's like a once-a-week thing; he tells me when he wants it, and I usually comply. I mean, it's not ILLEGAL or anything... But like I said, I leave them for a few days and he becomes a junkie. And he's taking Piper down the path of destruction with him, because she worships him and does whatever he does. Including eating whenever he eats, even when I can totally tell she's not even hungry. Luckily she's smarter than me and will usually stop eating in a few seconds when she realizes she's not really hungry. How 'bout that. Huh.

So I'm used to being kissed awake in various stages of the night to feed Jess. I can do that without really waking up, actually. Occasionally he tricks me and gets me up in the MIDDLE of the night, but usually he lets me sleep until a) my alarm goes off on a weekday or b) the sun comes up on a weekend. Have I mentioned how smart he is? Or is it crafty? Maybe manipulative? Oh, it doesn't matter, we're in love.

ANYWAY, the latest thing is now he not only wants catfood, but he wakes me up for catnip. And I think he's even more insistent when he's craving a fix than when he's merely hungry for pellets of dust. All this is leading up to a point: finally, this morning he started kissing and nuzzling on me the first time my alarm went off, which is a NO-NO. But he wouldn't let up, so I stumbled into the kitchen and saw that he had food -- then I realized he wasn't at the food dish, he was standing up against the cabinet where the catnip is. He was reaching for the catnip. He is very tall. A very long cat. So I shrugged my sleepy shoulders and gave him and Peeps a pinch of the good stuff. Went back to bed for about 30 more minutes. When I woke up again, he was back on my head, where he sleeps, but now he was purring MUCH louder than before, and it was a contented, relaxed purr rather than a "normal" run-of-the-mill purr. Awww, how sweet, right? I sat up and realized then WTF?, it couldn't be...but it was........DROOL. Jess was so stoned he drooled into my ear. Enough that it pooled and trickled down my cheek when I sat up.

Now you know I adore the gray man. But this was a little above and beyond, I think. It set me off-kilter for the day and I have been mildly disturbed ever since then. Maybe that's why I'm having so much trouble writing this RIVETING ARTICLE on MOBILE TECHNOLOGY!!!!

That is all. Any weird pet stories you care to share?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Loving normalcy

I can't tell you just how glad I am that this week feels "back to normal" -- what I might have in the past considered "dull" is now a virtual paradise. While I did go to SA this weekend, I came back Sunday night and spent yesterday by myself, napping and vegging out -- things I love but haven't had much time for as of late. The highlight was when my mom called last night and said dad went home yesterday! So basically, he went from the ICU, to a reg. ward for 1 1/2 days, then home. I know I personally was scared to go home after my pulmonary emboli, but was also VERY glad to sleep in my own bed again. I just remember for weeks, every time I bent over to do the cat litter or pick something up, I expected to have a brain clot and die instantly. (I still think that, but i've learned to live with the fear and uncertainty ;)

ANYWAY, dad is home, work is back to being busy (which gives me a sense of job security, no matter how flimsy), my sister is hosting bunco tonight with the ladies, and things are feeling...very normal. I don't have anything exciting to write about -- THANK GOD! Let's keep it that way for a few days, shall we?

Friday, February 18, 2005

What we don't remember

Since I've had hours and days on end to read my Oprah magazine, I mean READ it, every article, I learned some really spooky stuff in this month's issue. Most notably, there is an article on repression ( Like, things we know but won't face. Don't think that applies to you? Well, here are the questions it says to ask yourself:

-What do I almost know?
-What do I almost feel?
-What would I want to do if it weren't forbidden?
-What am I tired of hiding from myself?
-What really happened, though I act as if it never did?
-What is it that my family and I all know but no one ever talks about?

People, these questions reverberated inside my brain and stopped me in my tracks. I might even make some reference to my heart actually stopping, but that would be tacky under the circumstances. Here's the part that is freaking me out -- even as I read the questions and get goose bumps and think to myself "wow.", I WILL NOT LET MYSELF ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. I have reread the article several times, but I canNOT make myself respond, even in my brain. Like, that is such a blatent example of what the whole article is talking about, that it's frightening. I don't think I have anything truly earth-shattering hovering below the surface, but to answer these questions honestly? Holy crap. I'm going to have to work up to it. And I may not post the answers in the blog when I do face them. We'll see how incapacitated the answers render me.

My brain is now officially and completely fried for the week. It has had all it can take and has separated from my body.

Guess i'd better get back to work... ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Well my dad is back from la-la land, and he’s most definitely still my dad. We left him about an hour ago and he was ordering the nurse around and cracking jokes – all while in a great deal of pain and high on morphine. Good times. So he’s awake, mostly alert, and does not show any signs of having a stroke – all good news. Before we went into the ICU to see him, his surgeon came out and asked us to work hard to convince him that he was okay – we were like ok, whatever dude. The heart surgeon (also somewhat hot, I might add) said lots of times his patients wake up from this surgery convinced they are dead. Seriously. They think they are dead and it just takes a while for the anesthesia to wear off and the pain to subside before they get it. Well my dad didn’t think he was dead, but he certainly didn’t believe any of us that the surgery was so smooth – no crises, nothing unplanned or scary, completely on schedule. Which leads me to believe he was not nearly as optimistic about the whole thing as he would have us believe. Hmm.

Well his doctor wasn’t kidding --- my dad urgently questioned first my mom, then my brother, then me, asking, “Am I okay?” “Yes, everything was great, you’re great.” “You’re lying.” “No, I’m not – really, the surgery was fine. “Quit lying to me.” “No, REALLLLY…” “Liar.” “Dad, I am not lying to you, you know it gives me a stomach ache to lie.” and on and on for about half an hour. But I think we convinced him. Some interesting things I noted during the hour we spent with him in the ICU before they kicked us out:

• My dad: “where’s the nurse?” “I’m here.” “who are you?” “Nancy.” “Come here, I want to see you.” She pokes her head around my mom to say hello, and my dad, from behind his oxygen mask, says “Oh good, I got a pretty one.” My dad, the fossil. But I’m guessing the nurses at the army hospital are used to such attention… Anyway, her response was “We’ll be sure your nurse tomorrow is big and ugly.”
• My dad: “My fingers are stuck together.” This coming from a man who had been telling us over and over to uncover his arm that wasn’t covered. So my mom was all “babe, no they’re not.” “Yes they are.” My mom, to humor him, lifted his hand and I’ll be damned if his fingers weren’t stuck together. Apparently the yellow goo all over him was sticky and his fingers were webbed. HA.
• He kept asking what time it was, compulsively, from the moment we got in there. 7:30. 7:38. 7:52. 8:00….. after asking about 10 times he said “my life…is creeping…by…”. The nurse told him it was going to be a long night. No shit. She really has NO IDEA what she’s in for tonight…
• Here’s another good dad quote; my mom was holding his hand, smoothing his hair and he says through the oxygen mask, “Jan, FIX MY HAIR”. This is noteworthy because the first thing he asked when we arrived this morning was for my mom to fix his hair. The nurse had to go track down a comb. This is Normal Dad Behavior. See what I mean? He’s all there.
• My dad to Nurse Nancy (whose name he kept forgetting b/c of the drugs): “Did they tell you I wrote a book?” “No, they didn’t,” “Well, I wrote a book.” Us: “He sure did.” Nurse Nancy, politely: “what’s the book about?” My dad: (long pause) “I don’t know.” (that damn morphine). She looks at me and I say “It’s about Vietnam.” (brief pause) “Wow dad, wouldn’t that be cool if you forgot about Vietnam?” No comment from dad. But I think he was laughing on the inside.

So now we’re home and I’m completely numb. I don’t feel tired, I don’t feel stressed, I don’t feel anything at all. So I’m going to finish writing this and then go knock myself out so I can get some sleep. The hospital will call us if anything goes down during the night -- his surgeon said for some reason, complications always seem to happen in the middle of the night. Tomorrow we’re going up there again early so we can catch his doctors doing rounds and hear the scoop. My dad will also be a lot more alert by then. God help his nurse – she has no idea how long the night really is going to be, trapped in a small room with an ornery, morphine-filled, retired Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Army.

That's my dad.


I have been here in the waiting room at the hospital since 5:45 this morning. I have taken two 30-minute “naps” and the rest of the time I’ve been chatting with my mom, then my brother, then my sister in law. I feel very disconnected right now. I am sitting, looking out the window into the hallway at the double doors leading into the ICU where my dad lies, very still, very pale, covered in yellow “paint”, filled with tubes and wires, submerged in beeps and bells and the breathing machine. He came out of surgery about an hour ago and will remain in the ICU for several days. Right now we are waiting for him to wake up from the anesthesia. This is that trigger point I was talking about yesterday; that’s the part my Grandmother never did: wake up from the anesthesia. The surgeon sat us down and told us everything went well, he didn’t expect any complications, BUT he cannot guarantee that my dad didn’t have a stroke. They won’t know until he wakes up and “follows orders” enough for us to tell he is alert and still my dad. So here I am 12 hours later, waiting. I am in this weird, tired, goofy state; so far today I have knocked over two drinks and dropped my laptop on the floor; almost read an entire Oprah magazine – something I’ve never yet accomplished in my life; and watched 4 episodes of Law and Order, 3 episodes of ER, 2 episodes of Judging Amy, and now, the cartoon-like melodramatic nightmare that is the San Antonio 6:00 news. If you’ve ever compared the news in S.A. to the news in Austin, you will know what I mean.

Observations I’ve had today are many. Things like
• the first breakfast item listed on the menu in my dad’s room before his quadruple bypass surgery was fried eggs
• 3 out of 4 of my dad’s doctors are cute – and there really is something about doctors – hubba hubba
• food in hospital cafeterias does, indeed, suck; I was also surprised that there was nothing, absolutely nothing healthy to eat in the caf – in a HOSPITAL
• it’s hard to make small talk for 12 hours in a row
• it’s difficult, but not impossible, to sleep sitting up under fluorescent lighting surrounded by strangers
• socks are really absorbent – I discovered this when I spilled my 2nd can of coke in the waiting room and while frantically digging through my mom’s bag for Kleenex, found my dad’s socks - voila

Early this morning, during the hour or so before he was rolled into surgery at 8am, my mom reached tenderly for my dad‘s hand, stuck full of tubes. She picked it up and I thought “Awwww, I’ve never seen my parents touch” -- then she pulled his hand up to her face and said “your fingernails look weird.” BUT when they were rolling him into surgery, she did take his hand, just for a moment, for real. When we were waiting this morning, my mom was standing by my dad’s bed and I noticed that she subconsciously began to bob and rock, dancing to the bleeps on the blood pressure/heart monitor machine. And the first thing my mom asked the nurse when we got there this morning was, “how long until he can fuss at me again after the surgery?,” and the nurse, who had spent the night caring for my ornery dad, replied “how long do you want? I’m sure we can work something out.”

And so we wait.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Personal therapy

The nighttime drive I was dreading tonight turned out to be quite cathartic and soothing. It’s an easy drive, straight down I35, and it’s well lit, with hardly any traffic. I found myself just driving with the sunroof open and the radio off. I had intended to make a bunch of phone calls on my way down, but I decided I wasn’t really, truly in the mood to talk to anyone at that time. So it was just me and my thoughts for most of the hour drive.

I was thinking about how this journey to San Antonio mirrors the one I made 9 years ago, about this same time, for my Grandmother’s bypass surgery. Only that one didn’t turn out well. She had a stroke during the surgery and never woke up. I do not think that’s going to happen to my dad, but I can’t help but be triggered. I was thinking of how some things are different and some are the same. I am solo on this journey, sans husband. But really, I was also alone on the last journey, even though he was there in body. In fact, during the week of my Grandmother's surgery and death, I began shutting down to him. I didn’t even realize it at the time – or maybe I did? I do clearly remember sitting with my mom at the Black-eyed Pea on Walzem Road, and I was telling her something about how he was unsupportive. She seemed surprised because I had never before said anything to her about him that wasn’t positive. I remember I felt like I was babysitting during the whole ordeal, because my ex was being so irreverent and trying to make jokes, trying to lighten the mood – but it was not appropriate and he was pissing everybody off. (That was a common theme in our marriage, me being embarrassed by him and him laughing at me and telling me I was uptight.)

I was thinking about how I’ve never really had anyone there to support me during traumatic times. I have always taken it upon myself to be the “big sister”, which is fine, but I also sort of end up feeling like a parent. I go into this weird robo-mode of strength and numbness. I retreat there and help where I’m needed, and only feel it, really feel it, much later. I asked my friend Hope tonight what it felt like to have someone to lean on. I didn’t realize until it came out of my mouth that I really and truly don’t know. I cannot imagine truly leaning on someone. I have always had my friends, and they're awesome. But certainly not any of the men in my life. I really wonder if it’s a relief to have someone there to be strong for you – I mean it must be, right? I was starting to feel sorry for myself, oh poor Lisa, never had anybody, then something went “ding” in my brain – maybe I have never allowed anyone to support me. Maybe people have been there, offering support, but something stubborn in me will not trust or lean on anyone but myself. I’m not talking about the ex, he was NOT there. But like my sister, brother, friends – I never just sigh and totally lean into them and let them feel and shoulder some of my pain. I don’t know how. This was one of those moments of clarity I used to have with Julie after we’d worked hard on something for weeks, even months – suddenly the window would open up and I’d be like “wow.” Wow. What does this say about me, that I don’t trust any of the men I’ve been in relationships with? Maybe I don’t just pick losers, maybe some of them truly wanted to be there but I wouldn’t let them.

So I’m sitting here in my dad’s chair by the TV, laptop on lap (how about that), typing away – and I can hear my mom clicking away on her computer in the next room, sending emails to people about my dad. I am glad I’m here. Here, with my mom in this house, and here, at this point in my life.

Positive, happy thoughts and prayers.

Heart Disease 101

My dad's cathertization this morning indicated what they already suspected -- he has major arterial blockage that cannot be fixed with stents this time -- he needs bypass surgery. And fast. Probably tomorrow or Thursday, but I'm waiting to find out. He has three major blockages, any of which could cause a heart attack literally anytime -- so they want to preemptively operate, before more damage is done to the heart. My mom said there is a big "branched" artery on the back of his heart that is almost completely blocked; there is the large artery that runs down the front of the heart -- blocked. And a smaller blockage to one side of the heart -- the side that has not been treated before. So none of his previous stents have failed, his heart just keeps producing more gunk. Heart disease runs rampant in my family, unfortunately. And ironically, the relatives who have had heart attacks have been thin. What does that mean for me? It means I need to get my ass in shape. But that's for another post.

My dad is understandably glum at the thought of his chest being cracked open, but everyone I've talked to whose loved one has gone through this, the person has come out feeling 100% better and 10 years younger. So positive thoughts.

I will drive to SA when I know what the deal is, and I will update this blog again when I can. It would be great if you could send good energy/vibes/prayers in my family's general direction.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Broken hearted

This post is probably not what you're expecting, with it being Valentine's Day and all (boo-hiss). I am not broken-hearted this year, actually; maybe numb-hearted? resigned-hearted? Anyway, this post is not about me, it's about my Dad.

My Dad has been experiencing heart problems again and tomorrow they're doing a heart cathertization to see what's up. This will be his third one -- the first one was after his first heart attack in 1999 (I think - maybe 98?) and they put in a bunch of "stents", which are steel tube-like things that hold open the heart's arteries that are clogged with plaque. They work by smooshing the plaque back into the artery and opening up the passageway. He then had another cath after his second heart attack in 2003, and they again filled him up with stents that were supposed to fix everything. But 2 years later, he's having heart symptoms again and has actually been taking Nitro on a daily basis to hold another heart attack at bay until tomorrow, when they Check It Out. He is trying to be blase about it, saying he's not worried, they'll just stent him again, no big deal, but the underlying feeling in my family is that it IS a big deal. My mom has been bursting into tears and worrying incessantly that something bad is going to happen. I went to SA yesterday, ostensibly for my birthday celebration, but really, for a stealth family reunion, at my mom's request.

It was classic O Family fare: my mom would leave the room and my dad would come up to me and say "if you didn't know it, your mom is really worried...I dont' know why... she's being all morose..." and I would say "well, dad, are YOU worried?" "No." "Well you know mom." "Yeah, she's a worry wart". Then my mom would return and dad would leave the room, and my mom would turn to me and tearfully say "i'm sooo worried, i wish he would be more serious about it, what if he is having heart pains but he's ignoring them???" and I would say "mom, give him a little credit, he's had two heart attacks and I think he would know if he was having another." Dad would return and the conversation would turn to something equally uplifting like Vietnam. It was a fun-filled weekend with the O Family. The highlight was the boys, as usual; my sister's kids are delicious and delectable and made us all laugh and get warm fuzzies all day.

Last night, before I went to sleep, I picked up my dad's book that he wrote about Vietnam and began reading it for the first time. I have not been able to read it before because it upsets me too much. It's like I can't watch "Saving Private Ryan" or "We Were Soldiers" and movies like that w/out falling apart, because I know that war made my dad who he is and has had a profound effect on our whole family. Until now, I've been afraid to pick it up. But I began reading it, and it was really mesmerizing. I heard, for the first time, the voice of my dad as a young man. I heard his voice pre-war, filled with optimism and naivete. I began to see through his eyes, and there is a lot to see. Like everyone else in my family, my dad is a talented writer, and I was reeled in for several chapters before I fell asleep. I'm really glad I read it. I will probably finish it in the next few days, and I will tell him I did, and he will be happy. And I have a feeling i'll be getting insights into my dad's personality I've never even dreamed of.

So I'm counting on the miracles of medicine to fix my dad's broken heart. Because if anyone deserves 20 more years, it's my dad. He lives an active life filled with loving his grandkids and children, reconnecting with his Vietnam war buddies (and the book has made more of that possible), and living in the moment. For the first time in his life, actually. I am going to go against my own nature, inherited from my mom, and be optimistic about tomorrow. He is in good hands and has a good attitude. However, I'll be glad when it's over, as I'm sure he will be too.

So, Happy Valentine's Day -- even though I'm not big on this holiday at all. But this year I am focused on more important things than where I'm not going to dinner. I'm focused on true Matters of the Heart. Because every breath we take is truly a gift. And every moment in life is another chance to turn it all around.

Friday, February 11, 2005


Ok, I'm feeling better than this morning. Lunch was fun. I have been mildly busy today, but not crazy-busy. And best of all, the time is drawing near for my birthday dinner! So on that note, I'm going to try and do what I wanted to do earlier but wasn't in the mood. So here it is and i've changed it up a bit; now it is going to be the Top 10 Major Accomplishments of My Life So Far:

1. Making it through high school without killing myself or any of my h.s. boyfriend's whores with whom he cheated consistently.
2. Graduating from college. -- this was evidently such a miracle that I still TO THIS DAY have major stress dreams about it. The recurring theme is finding out I did not really graduate, that I have like 12 hours to go, and fearing that my job is going to find out and fire me. Love-ly. And people, it really wasn't a close call or anything, so I don't get why this one lingers on...and on...and on........will it ever go away???
3. Graduating from college with a "real" job lined up -- a major coup, especially since I didn't have any idea what I wanted to "be" until maybe the 2nd semester of my senior year. I also remember that at graduation, so many of my fellow journalism majors were griping about how they couldn't find jobs, how they were going to move in w/their parents and "take a break" for a while. Major coup, I'll say it again.
4. Surviving a very bad marriage and coming out of it better than I went in.
5. Supporting myself and my ex-husband -- as much as I hated it, it was good to know it was possible.
6. Supporting myself for all these years -- with only the one hiccup, the year of unemployment, when I needed financial help from my parents -- and I didn't lose my house or totally ruin my credit, either. Amazing.
7. Buying my own house. -- Never even occurred to me that I'd be doing this alone, but it seemed like a good idea when I was 30, and has proven to be a great idea, in fact.
8. Successfully switching careers midstream -- this was tricky and took two tries before it "took", but here I am, a copywriter and not a technical writer! A few years ago I didn't see how this would ever be possible, but it was. Yay!
9. Digging myself out of debt -- this is a huge undertaking, and is still in process; but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and when it's finished I will feel such an awesome sense of relief that I can't even imagine it -- life after debt.
10. Creating a life for myself unlike the life I always pictured for myself -- and having this life be "okay". More than okay, actually -- I've created a life where I will be happy even if I never meet the right guy and settle down or even have kids. I know I will be okay, no matter what.

There it is. 35 is not so bad after all.

The day I was born

Today I was all ready to write about how it's not SO horrible turning 35; I was going to compare/contrast how much happier I am at 35 than I was at 25; how I'm not where I thought I'd be, but that's okay. How if I was actually where I thought I would be, married to my ex-husband and with his kids, I would be miserable, if not dead by now. And all of that is true, but I'm just feeling blue today. There is some serious stuff going on with my dad's heart condition, and it seems like these things tend to happen right around my birthday. Twice before, heart conditions have turned for the worse right around my b-day -- my grandmother in 1996 and my dad in 2003....and it's not like I'm particularly superstitious, but still. AND the sun is not out again today.

BUT. I am going to lunch with work friends and going to dinner with best friends, so the day holds promise -- if I can just pull myself out of the current funk. And I'll see my nephews tomorrow, and Cole has reportedly been drawing me tons of pictures for my birthday, so that will be cool. The one i'm looking forward to the most is his interpretation of "broccoli in a tornado". I can't wait -- I think he's a genius.

So for now, I will go and put on brighter lipstick and try to laugh at lunch. Maybe i'll feel more inspired to write something more inspiring later this afternoon.

Til then...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Grossest moments

Warning: This is a super-duper-long-ass entry. You have been warned.

Something earlier made me think about my hotel in Venice 7 years ago, and how that was the absolute worst shower I've ever taken in my life. I became inspired and challenged to think up more grossness. So now, I will entertain myself and my vast reading audience with a list of The Top Ten Grossest Gross-Outs in Lisa's Limited Life. (this can also be considered a general introspective since i'm having a dreaded birthday this week - ugh.) Here goes, in no particular order:

The Top Ten Grossest Gross-Outs in Lisa's Limited Life

1. Grossest Shower of all time: Venice, Italy, 1997. Tam and I found this literal hole-in-the-wall "hotel" by stepping off the train at the crack of dawn, after traveling all night from France, and running into some Italian man holding a sign that said something to the effect of "hotel." Lurking at the train station, waiting for the sleepy and silly Americans to get off the train, he honed in on us when he saw the look of desperation on our faces. Anyway, he sold us -- it didn't sound terribly expensive and it was not that far -- and in retrospect, the location really was excellent. However -- and I'd read this in the guide books and thought whatever, paranoid-- we really should have SEEN the place before agreeing to stay there for 3 nights. BUT I DIGRESS which is my perogative since it is my blog.

So. In a gigantic, coco-nutshell, this "hotel" was like the 4th floor of an old building (I mean, all the buildings are old in Venice, hello) with no elevator (which normally wouldn't be a big deal, but I had fatally sprained my ankle a couple days prior and was lugging perhaps the heaviest, most awkward duffle bag in the land -- no, the continent). We were delirious. If I ever figure out how to post photos on here, I have some great ones of this incident. The desk lady spoke no English at all. We finally made it past her and opened the door to our "quaint" Itallian room and realized there was something missing... a TOILET. There was this bidet-looking thing, only it wasn't a looked like a sink, with a faucet and a sink drain, in the form of a bidet -- and to the day I don't know what it was. But I know it wasn't a sink b/c there was a sink right next to it... Anyway, we used it for multiple purposes while we were here, but that might be another entry on this list IF I EVER GET TO THE FIRST ONE...

Ok. The point is: Communal Toilet, down the hall, nowhere near our room. One TINY room with a toilet and a sink, barely big enough to get in and close the door behind you. The first time I was in there I noticed a drain in the center of the tiny room. My gaze shifted upward and saw a shower head. And it was then that I realized that this was also the Communal Shower. Here's how it worked: after using the Gross Communal Toilet, you were to stand up, take all your clothes off, and hang them on a hook on the door, about 6 inches from the shower head. You were to stand naked in this room about the size of a one-man shower in the US -- and you were of course standing on a damp gritty floor that served as a shower and a germ collection for every other patron. You turned on the lukewarm water, with no water pressure to speak of, and realized that now everything was wet -- all the porcelein surfaces and your clothes. No way to avoid that. After this (and after realizing there was no soap) you were to feel somehow cleansed. And because you had to pay extra for a towel the size of a postage stamp, you then had to re-dress in your dirty, damp, smelly clothes to slink back to your room.

Yeah, that's what we thought too. Thank God I was uber-skinny in those days -- I don't think I could have pulled it off in my current state. Now, on to...

You know what? I just decided that instead of writing a 50-page entry, I'm going to keep the Gross-List going indefinitely and just write about Gross Things as they come to me. Yeah, that's what I'll do. Stay tuned...the inspiration could hit again at any moment.......

Monday, February 07, 2005

Shrink etiquette

After meeting my friend Babs for lunch today, I whipped across the street to drop some stuff off at the post office. As I was getting out of my car, I ran right into my former therapist who I hadn't seen in almost 2 years! We hugged each other and she walked with me into the P.O., but it was kind of awkward. I realized I don't know what the etiquette is for hanging out with your ex-therapist. I mean, are we allowed to be "friends"? I was so happy to see her, and I would love to meet her for lunch sometime and catch up -- but is that allowed? Or do I just schedule an appointment? Do I have to pay to be friends? And it's really weird making small talk with someone who knows ALL your deepest fears, weaknesses, evil thoughts, etc. She helped me become the Lisa of Today, and that's HUGE. So how do I just say "Hi, how are you? Fine, fine. Take care!" You know???

Also, I felt weirdly evaluated, like she was thinking, "wow, she's gained more weight, she must still have issue XXX". I know that's ridiculous, but I wonder how I seemed to her in that one-minute timeframe. Together? Mature? Or frazzled and still confused? Should I have played it totally cool and pretended to be "all better" now? Or should I have caved in to the secret relief at seeing her again, and allowed myself to feel the mild sense of loss I got because I no longer see her on a regular basis and she no longer knows what's going on in my every thought.

Am I perhaps overthinking this??? Maybe I really DO need to schedule an appointment...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Top 10 reasons why I'm glad I didn't bail on the Addy's...

Ok, this is a special request from Babs ;) I did indeed go to the dreaded Addy's, and while I still have mixed feelings, I'm going to attempt to scrape up 10 reasons why I'm glad I went... so here goes:

1. I met the hot new contractor from work.
2. I finally spoke to the [other] cute new guy from work -- and found out he actually knew my name :O
3. The giant cookies were soft and yummy.
4. The mashed potatoes were excellent.
5. I saw people from my last ad job -- it was good to touch base again.
6. I bonded with my creative directors.
7. I said I would go and I did -- this is a huge commitment hurdle for me.
8. I got to steal samples of the Addy creative my company worked on.
9. I ate less than if I'd gone straight home and picked up food on the way.
and 10. I got to break out my black girdle, but this time when I fell asleep on the couch Jess did NOT discover the trampoline that was my belly.

I have to add the number 1 reason why I wish I HAD bailed: I ran into my ex and he looked cuter than I remembered.

Friday, February 04, 2005

10 reasons to bail on the Addy's tonight

Tonight half of the agency where I work is attending the Austin Addy's, a local advertising awards show. So many people are going because we sponsored the Addy's this year and did all the creative work associated with it -- tickets, website, decor, posters, etc. It all looks really cool. Plus, because we made the slideshow that announces the winners throughout the night (no, there isn't even a real announcer -- it's on a slideshow -- because nobody pays attention to this anyway), we also know that we won 4 Addy's this year -- as opposed to 1 last year. A testament that our agency is growing and rocking.

So you might ask why I no longer feel like attending this festive event. Well, I'll tell you, with 3 hours till touchdown:

1. Don't be fooled -- "Addys" and "Grammys" and "Oscars" are not EVEN in the same class.
2. I don't feel like dressing up -- usually i'm all for an occasion to wear my black girdle, but this has been a crappy week and I'm really not in the mood, so to speak.
3. I am broke and forlorn -- this is due to the $200 I had to unexpectedly spend yesterday on two new tires and the $600 I had to unexpectedly spend this morning on getting my garage door fixed. (Yes Dad, it's FINALLY working).
4. There is a very good chance I will run into the guy I dated this time last year and haven't seen since -- and this year I weigh 20 pounds more. (How is that even POSSIBLE??)
5. I have had the same headache for 2 days now.
6. It is cold and gray and I want to just huddle under a blanket and watch the last 4 episodes of Sex and the City that I have on NetFlix.
7. I'm turning 35 in a week. Dear God, isn't this reason enough to stay home??
8. I get tired just thinking about all the mingling and smiling and networking to come.
9. It is Friday and I want to go home and play with my recently repaired garage door opener. I want to open and close it over. and over. and over. and over. and...
10. My hair looks like utter crap today. As usual.

So we'll see what happens... I haven't bailed YET... but i'm thinking about it VERY seriously... tune in for updates...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The many stages of helplessness

Something horrible happened to me Saturday night, and I knew right away I needed to write about it -- but I've honestly been too traumatized and twitchy to do it until now. So, here goes.

First I will say I was decompressing from a busy day of getting up early and driving to SA for family pictures (oh, how i love to be photographed) and concentrated parent-time, as I drove back to Austin from San Antonio. Usually it is a 45 minutes drive from my parents' doorstep to mine. Well. The first 30 minutes went quickly and smoothly. But then it all came to a screeching halt (and I do mean 'halt') just past San Marcos. It was there I stopped, and there I stayed -- for the next 4 hours. That's right -- F-O-U-R hours. In that time I moved approximately 3 miles. I know I tend to exaggerate at times, but people, I am not exaggerating. I was at a full on stop/go, mostly stop, all that time, along with hundreds of other people.

I was supposed to meet my friend Sarah, visiting from CA, at my house at 7 so we could meet some friends for dinner at 8. What ended up happening was she sat in my driveway for 45 minutes and then went on to the restaurant without me. Let me say here, Thank God for cell phones. I can't imagine how much more panicked I would have been had I not been able to call her every 15 minutes and bemoan my situation.

So from 5:30 - 9:30 I sat in this mess, while I missed my friend, our dinner, and almost missed seeing everyone. I disengaged from the traffic jam and managed to get to the restaurant as everyone was paying -- so at least I could see everyone, if not hang out for a while. Never mind that I was brain dead and glassy eyed at this point. But I digress.

The real point of all this is the curious behaviour I experienced and observed (from outside of my body) throughout the ordeal of being STUCK IN MY CAR FOR 4 1/2 HOURS (i'm counting the 30 minutes i drove before hitting the jam). At first I was annoyed, but hopeful. Sometimes traffic gets clogged through San Marcos, but it usually clears up pretty quick. After about 20 minutes, the annoyance increased. That's when I heard on the radio that there was "road construction" slowing people down on I35. Uh, yeah. I listened to the same CD two times in a row and went into a somewhat vegetative state. Then I started getting really pissed, and panicky. I knew Sarah was on her way to my house and I was not there. Then the time became meaningless as it often does in stressful situations. When I talked to Sarah and told her I'd just meet her at the restaurant, I went through a brief phase of panic -- I HAD to get there, I COULDN'T miss dinner. About 1/2 hour into the dinner I let it go, realizing I was not going to make it and there was nothing I could do. I call this my "acceptance phase".

I started to have wacky thoughts. I started wondering how this was affecting the other cars around me, backed up for miles now. Like, somewhere in all this, was a woman in labor? Was she going to have a baby in the car? What about people with little kids? Or people who had to pee? I then realized my situation wasn't nearly as dire. At least I was alone, didn't have to pee, and wasn't really hungry. Nor was I in labor. I started looking at cars and giving the people inside personalities. Wishing I could be a fly on the windshield and hear their conversations. This went on for some time. I went through a short phase where I just screamed in my car for a couple of minutes. This released some pressure and I actually felt calmer afterwards.

Not that this story isn't already too long, but I'll try to wrap it up by saying that by the time I even saw any road construction signs, there was nothing going on and there was no way to tell what had actually caused the jam. All of a sudden my wheels just rotated one whole time around, then another, omg, i'm going 10 mph now, wheeeee, 20 mph, swoon, 50 mph -- and 15 minutes later I was in Austin.

I swear, if anyone asks me "why didn't you just exit?" I will smack them. Hard.

So Sarah and I had planned to maybe check out the outlet mall in San Marcos on Sunday, but there was no way I was getting back on I35 so soon after my ordeal. As a matter of fact, I don't think I'll ever look at that 3-mile stretch the same way again. I have been permanently scarred. I am a broken woman. Damaged goods. But I am learning to deal with my pain, and I am confident that someday I will be healed enough to trust, and maybe even love, again.

And yes, i'm still talking about traffic.