Monday, February 27, 2006

iTunes moment

To clear up some confusion, I wrote this poem. It describes an experience I had in 1998. The song in my iTunes that triggered the memory is "Some Kind of Change" by Abra Moore -- also the song I sang.

she listened to music and yearned to sing
wanting to be like that, sound like that, make people feel like that
a child in her room, squishing headpones to ears, envisioning herself singing
imagined that person — that strong, talented, confident, beautiful person —
was her.

then the married years and the music stopped
as did her soul, her hope
but with new love came the music, back, loud and clear
of love and ballads and a strong female voice
slowly, shyly, she sang again
in her car, in her shower, in her living room
rapt audience of cats.

then one magic night
he learned the song
strumming the chords over and over and over
an hour
until she gathered her courage
closed her eyes
and sang with her heart.
for one magic moment
confident, strong, beautiful
and he felt it too
the ache of her hope
every note perfect. yearning real and true. casting a spell.
he strummed and strummed
eyes tightly shut.
when eyes opened
it was over
never forgotten.

years gone by
she never opened up again, never sang to him
or anyone
as time passed
after loss
the music waned, but
never stopped.

today she hears the song again
the old ache
the gentle melody
gentle blue eyes
the sparkle
the courage
the love.
for the first time
she hears the words
with her heart
and finally understands.

poignant, real
but not gone
and never forgotten.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

excuse me while i flog myself for not exercising

So here I am on the eve of another Monday i'm not really ready for. While I was somewhat productive this weekend, i'm still frantically trying to finish my freelance project. Yes, the one that's kinda late. That one. So what am I doing? Blogging. That's how much i love you, Internet.

I am feeling a little blue tonight; I can feel my body changing, feel its shape shifting, yet I weighed myself this morning and only lost a pound this past week. It's my own fault -- I am sticking to the eating almost too well, and have been largely unable to meet my calorie requirements on a daily basis. That is, I keep coming in significantly under what I'm supposed to eat. Because I'm already kind of bored with food. And I don't like to snack. And I needed to go to the grocery store this weekend, but I didn't. And if I'm not driven by emotions, I might as well not eat, it seems. It's hard to get excited about eating yogurt. Again. I've never had a real problem getting hungry on diets; I just get bored. Anyway, the fact that i'm not eating enough is probably causing my metabolism to slow down a bit.

Also? I exercised minimally last week. And I feel like crap about it. But I suppose that's why I hired a trainer in the first place, to stoke my severe lack of self motivation. I cannot seem to motivate myself to exercise yet -- maybe because i'm still adjusting to the drastically different eating? I don't know. I know I need to just do it. But there always seems to be something better to do. Or I get home and it's already dark outside and i'm scared to walk alone in my dark neighborhood full of pod people. Not because it feels dangerous; it just plain gives me the willies. [This neighborhood is full of young families. But come 6:30 pm? Not a soul is outside. Not One. Single. Person. It's deadly quiet and downright creepy. I know it's ridiculous, but when I'm walking I feel like all these eyes are staring at me out the windows, staring at the chubby single girl who also hardly ever emerges from her house. And even though I have the iPod, I am loathe to wear it walking after dark because I feel too vulnerable not being able to hear. Neurotic? I don't know.] But it's only the end of week 2, so I guess I can not totally beat myself into a pulp. sigh.

So I tried to cook this weekend. Oh, how I tried. I bought meat at the grocery store last week. I thawed it in the fridge. I searched the Internet and downloaded a low-fat recipe. I began the dish yesterday, and let it marinate overnight. Today was the big day -- I cooked it. And? It totally fucking sucked. I took one bite and threw all of it away. It was not just tasteless, it was disgusting. And this, people, is why I hate to cook. No matter what I do, I have never had a successful cooking experience. It always sucks.

Um, I didn't really mean for this to be a bitching blog, but oh well i'm already on a roll :)

But, I am also done.

For now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reality check.

So I drove through Chick-fil-a for lunch today (for food that is totally ok for me to eat on my diet, people) and when I got up to the window, the guy looks at me and says "That'll be 5.45, sir." I automatically handed him the money before I realized he'd called. me. sir. omg. wtf?? As he handed me my bag of (perfectly legal) food, he smiled at me, but didn't correct himself or even show a flicker of "oh shit" in his eyes. So this troubled me. Do I look like a MAN? Has my hair gotten to such a state that it now looks messy and manlike?? I know i'm not wearing makeup today, but geez!! To check on this, I took a pic of myself - in the drivethru - with my new camera phone. You be the judge, I just don't know:



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Turning point

I am going to go with Dipu's theme of the week, which is to describe a major turning point in my life. There have been many, but I have two closely related huge ones. The first was choosing to move to Austin to support my then-husband financially while he went back to college to get his degree.

This was undoubtedly the best choice I have ever made, and I made it for all the wrong reasons. Rather, the wrong reasons for a (healthy) marriage. But as it turned out, the healthy-for-me reasons. It was 1994, and I had been married just about 4 months when my ex decided he wanted to finish college. We were living in Bryan/College Station, Texas, where he had grown up and where I had gone to college. It was two years after I'd graduated and I was SO ready to leave. However, one of the sacrifices I'd made when I married him was agreeing to stay there because he liked living in a smallish town -- even though I've always been a city girl at heart (Red Flag Alert). So when he decided one day he wanted to go to St. Edwards, a private college in Austin, I felt a glimmer of hope: this could be my big escape! He saw it as a temporary move until he graduated, then we'd move back to BCS. Um, no. But being the "good wife" that I was, I kept my mouth shut, thinking to myself that he would get to Austin and realize how cool it was and I'd be free, free, free of small-town America Forevah!! (Red Flag Alert).

I had three job interviews in Austin and three job offers. I was a Technical Writer then. Of the three jobs, I was only torn between two of them -- one at a start-up that paid significantly more than the other one, which was at National Instruments. Though NI would pay less, I had really good vibes there. It was larger, more established, and they had a whole department of tech writers. Whereas the higher paying gig had none, and I would be the sole writer. I went with my gut and made the 2nd Turning Point decision: I chose NI. Ex was actually ok with this, because he felt safer with me working for a more established company, plus the insurance rocked. So we moved. He went to school, I went to work.

NI was life-changing for me in many ways. It was where I met all my dearest friends in Austin -- to this day we are all close. It was where I finally felt important, professional, like I belonged. I felt like a grownup. Even though I'd been a tech writer in College Station, it had just felt like an extension of college to me. This was the "real" world.

Through my new co-workers, all of us at about the same life stage, I discovered Austin and all it had to offer. I started growing. I opened my mind to new ideas that I'd never had. Ideas like, maybe there WAS a good life other than being married. Maybe the reason I felt so disconnected from my husband and uncomfortable in my marriage was because I wasn't supposed to be there. As I grew, we grew further apart. He hated that I was becoming independent. That I was forming my own opinions. I'd always just nodded along with whatever he thought, but I was finding out that he was not always right, nor did I agree with him on a bunch of major issues. He didn't like my new friends, he felt threatened. He didn't like who I was becoming, which was a Red Flag because I was becoming ME. Finally. And he didn't like the real ME. But luckily, I did.

The rest is history. I continued to grow, right out of the confines of the marriage, and almost 8 years ago we divorced. I am still here in Austin, still writing but in a different field, still surrounded by my best friends, people that understand me and respect me and have known me through the whole process. He finished school and moved to a small town with his new wife, barely a year after we split, where he still lives with his wife and two children. And people, let me say that I am SO GLAD I'm not there with him. Whenever I think that it could have been me, I physically shudder. It's not that I don't ever want to settle down or have kids; I just didn't want any of that with him. And that's okay -- we are both happier the way things are now. And yes, it did take a long time for both of us to realize that.

So, in summary: if I hadn't moved to Austin and taken the job at NI, who knows where I would be, or with whom. And I would rather be single and childless forever than married to the wrong man.

Things usually work out the way they're supposed to, thank the heavens and all that is holy.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Netflix loves me.

Hello, my name is Lisa and I am the poster-child for Netflix profitability. Netflix is my boyfriend. Netflix wants to marry me. I'm Netflix's bitch.

Today, at long long last, I FINALLY returned two movies I've had out since August. Yes, as in 6 months ago. During which time I've paid $12/month to not watch the stupid movies. This is the inherent problem with Netflix (or any other DVD rental, for that matter) for people like me. I could never return movies on time, so I switched to Netflix. There's no "late fee", but I'd say having two movies for 6 months at a total rental cost of $72.00 -- and not ever watching either one of them -- isn't a solution.

So the smart person would cancel, right? I was all set to do that and then I realized I'm very close to buying a new fancy TV, and I KNOW when that happens I'll be more into watching movies. And I'll again crave the Netflix. sigh. They have me by the cajones, people. Who else is their bitch? 'fess up! And I want to know who the freaks are who watch 30 movies a month -- I mean, who has TIME to watch a movie every day???

Just curious.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


I have a dear friend who lives in Dallas -- we'll call her KJ. We met at a camp in Colorado the summer before my sophomore year in HS -- 1985??? yikes -- and have been friends ever since. We were roommates in college for two years. We are Forever Friends.

We don't see each other as often now as we used to, maybe once or twice a year, but we speak frequently and always know what's going on in the other's life. Right now, KJ is not having a good time. I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago and she sounded happier than I've ever known her to be. She was in love. She had met The One. He was everything she'd ever hoped for -- he loved her, got along with her dogs and her roommate, was earnestly working on an MBA (i.e. had ambition and would get a good job), was eager to meet her family, etc etc -- it sounded too good to be true. You can probably tell where this is going.

Then a week ago, she called me again, not so happy; it seems Mr. Wonderful had left the state abruptly. In a rental car she had rented for him (on her credit card) and after trying to withdraw the money in her savings account (she had trustingly loaned him her ATM card). Thankfully her bank called her when he tried to access her savings, and she put a hold on the account. The next few days were a nightmarish blur, where it slowly sank in that this guy was a professional con artist -- with a police record to prove it -- and that this whole relationship had been a ruse to take advantage of her. She called him, left him messages, text messages, emails, and of course, he never responded. He was gone. Not only had he taken her rental car, he had taken her dignity.

The legal ramifications of this mess are still being sorted out, with the help of her lawyer. But worse than the financial betrayal is the bigger, unforgivable betrayal. She is having a very hard time reconciling what has happened and who she now knows him to be with who he was just a week or so ago. I ache for her. I feel helpless. I can only imagine how she feels, the humiliation of having to tell her story over and over again to police detectives, lawyers, her parents, her friends -- adding insult to injury. She is beating herself up -- she should have known, should have seen that it was too perfect, should have caught on that he was studying her and learning how to be the person she most wanted him to be. She should have known better than go give him her bank card. But the fact is, she is heartbroken. This person who pretended to love her, take care of her, who listened to all her secrets and fears and desires for months, this person cons women for a living. He never cared for her at all. This is the hardest part. She will be ok, but it will take a while.

I have just been on the sidelines, observing, listening, supporting. There is nothing I can do, really. She's already done what I would suggest -- hired a lawyer and taken steps to protect herself. The odd thing about this whole situation is the eerie feeling of deja vu that I keep getting. This is straight out of a Law & Order episode, or a Lifetime movie. It seems unreal. To outsiders, it seems obvious that he was too good to be true -- but that's not helping KJ now as she struggles to heal. While I hurt for her, I can't help but think of it like it's a tv show. I hear myself saying things, like "the detectives can track him with your credit card", "if he tries to sell the car, the VIN number will come up as stolen" -- and I'm thinking, where is this coming from?? It's coming from NBC, people. And it makes me feel icky.

This reminds me of another time, when me and my then-boyfriend were driving at night and almost hit a man who almost stepped in front of our car; then we watched in the rear view mirror as he did step in front of the next car, got hit, flew up in the air, and fell like a rag doll. We pulled over and joined the growing crowd around the scene. I was shaking and felt like I was outside of my body. The man looked homeless. He was lying in a pool of blood, motionless. One of the people who stopped was a paramedic, and was helping until the ambulance got there. We hung around in case they needed statements from witnesses. Throughout all of this, I felt completely numb. I stared over at the college-aged guy who had hit him with his jeep. What I will never forget is that boy's face -- he looked as numb as I felt, with a tinge of disbelief and grief. I remember thinking, this boy will never be the same. Please don't let the man die. I don't know what happened though, because although we scoured the news and papers for days, nothing was ever said about the accident. I still think about that, and my comment to my bf as we drove away -- "I felt like I was watching television."

So how are all the crime/medical dramas on tv really affecting us? It's scary to me that as I watched a man get hit by a car, I wanted to rewind it. I felt so disconnected emotionally. And now it's happening again with my friend.

I can totally understand why people worry about violence on tv affecting kids. It worries me too. But right now, I need to focus on being there for my friend and not turning her into a character on a police drama. Then I can think more about this phenomena of numbness that seems to pervade our society. I can't be the only one, right??

Friday, February 17, 2006

On cheating

So I have a personal trainer now. Part of the program is of course an eating plan -- not just to lose weight, but to be healthier -- to make sure I get enough of the right nutrients, etc. It doesn't rule out any food group (well, except sugar, for now); it's a 40/30/30 plan. My calorie intake is based on my resting metabolic rate and all that fancy scientific stuff. However. I am allowed a "Cheat Meal" once a week, where I can eat anything I want within a 2-hour period. I mean, I should probably not down an entire carrot cake, but you know -- I can get a burger, fries, a shake... with no guilt. Or at least, that's the plan.

Because this was my first week on the plan, it was also my first Cheat Meal and I admit it, i was nervous. I couldn't pinpoint why, exactly; I should have been ecstatic, right? I should have been fantasizing about it all week, right? So today was the day, and all the way home from work I was totally stressing out, going back and forth on what I wanted. I was kind of disappointed that I wasn't starving to death (which is, you know, GOOD) and that I wasn't craving anything. Finally, at the last minute, I swerved into Sonic, my old friend, and got an old fave, a combo meal with a sweetheart brownie shake (note to self: not worth the calories). I had a knot in the pit of my stomach the whole time. I got home, ate it, and felt sick for the next hour. But mostly, the guilt. Oh, the guilt. Sooo guilty. I felt like I'd totally erased what I'd done all week, and that's when it hit me; I was nervous about my Cheat Meal because in the past, if I've fallen off the wagon while on a diet, that was my mental signal to give up and just eat whatever and blow off the whole thing. I am a perfectionist in some ways (and only some ways), and as far as diets go, it's always been all or nothing. Which is not realistic and is why I have never succeeded on any of my previous diets. So it was really hard for me and made me really uncomfortable eating "bad" food tonight.

This is something i'll talk to my trainer about on Sunday, because obviously, I have issues. As lame as this sounds, I want to find out if the Cheat Meal is mandatory; I know, I'm totally crazy, right?? It just fucks with my mind to be "allowed" to "cheat", after a week of whole grains and yogurt and exercising. So does this just go to show that I am a person who will always feel guilty about something, even something I'm told is nothing to feel guilty about??

Then again, maybe this whole Cheat Meal philosophy is a sneaky way of ... well... fucking with my mind. I mean, here I am wondering if I **have** to eat it! And I got no enjoyment out of it whatsoever. None. And maybe that's the point -- to take the "magic" out of food. To force me to deal with difficult emotions with something other than food.

so. there's that.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I know, I know.

I know I have been low-profile lately. And it's not for lack of activity; in fact, more has probably happened in the last week than in the last 2 months. But for some reason, I just haven't felt like writing. I guess I'm having that writer's block thing. In any event, I still don't feel inspired, but I do feel guilty, so i'm going to make a list of things going on and maybe I'll elaborate at a later date. I present to you

A List of the Last Week

- My sistah flew into Austin a week ago and stayed with me for the long weekend. It was awesome. I miss her.

- I turned another year older last Saturday night and celebrated with my lovely friends and my visiting sistah.

- The night before, I had a lovely b-day dinner with my entire family in San Antonio.

- I officially hired a personal trainer and began the program on Sunday. Today is day 5. I have to say, I am hungry right now, but in general it's been fine. My biggest problem is eating enough, actually -- since i'm eating all healthy stuff, it's not as yummy and I don't want to eat much.

- Yes, the above bullet is HUGE, but I am drained and don't really want to talk about it right now. I wasn't even sure I was going to tell anyone, but of course I have a big mouth and so here it is, Internet.

- Yesterday I bought a ticket to San Francisco, where I've been meaning to visit my friend Sarah for months! I'm going the third week in March. Yay, something to look forward to! (I have a strict policy of planning something else fantastic right after completing something fantastic -- this helps with the crushing depression...)

That's honestly all I can manage right now, but I just wanted to say Helloooooo, I'm alive!

that is all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The universe. It is cruel.

Dear Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Store,

Now you know how shy I am whenever I darken your aisles. How I try to get in and out, but end up taking hours because I have no idea what to buy. You know there is nothing that intimidates me more than a wide open grocery store and all its wondrous and fattening possibilities. Yes, you have been wooing me lately, and I was just starting to loosen up a little, but I know that you understand -- for me to buy groceries is an E.V.E.N.T. So please, for the Love of God and all that is Holy, please tell me why, why, why, out of all the grocery bags not to make it back into my basket after checking out, why it had to be the bag with the ice cream??? WHYYYYYYYY?????? Why couldn't it have been the bag of Lean Cuisines? Or the bread -- everyone knows I only ever eat 2 slices and the rest grows mold anyway -- why did it have to be the Ben & Jerry's??????? My precccciousssssssss???

Of course this discovery did not come without humiliation. If the cats could speak, they would describe how after unloading all the groceries, I got a raw look of panic when I realized the ice cream was missing. How I scoured my kitchen for the missing bag. Then went back out to the car to search the trunk. Then back to the kitchen. Then the car. Then the kitchen. Then I retraced my steps from the kitchen all the way back to the car (did I drop the ice cream in the bushes??? better get the flashlight and make sure!!!!!!!) to check the trunk One. More. Time. For good measure I even searched the inside of the car and every room in my house, because SHIT, ice cream doesn't just walk away. The kitties might also mention how I took every. single. thing. out of my freezer just to make sure I didn't pack the creamy goodness somewhere and forget about it. (As if.) Oh, and let's not forget the refrigerator.

After making damn sure that the ice cream was not in my possession, I shakily made the dreaded phone call. You know, the one where I try to explain to the stoic corporate grocery guy that while yes, I paid for the ice cream, and yes, I have a receipt for it, it somehow did not make it into my car or my house with me, and sweet Jesus I swear i'm not lying I am not an ice cream thief I may be a lot of things but not that and -- Well. As soon as I said "I just left your store and I can't find this bag--" the guy replied "Oh, did it have ice cream in it? And Bacardi Mixers?" YESSSSSSSSSSSSS. I forgot about the Bacardi Mixers. Of Course that was the missing bag.

Anyway, they had it and said I could come in any time and pick up my stuff. How freaking anticlimactic. I tried, oh how I tried to just put the Ben & Jerry's out of my mind and be happy with an apple. I would just pick it up on the way home from work tomorrow, yes, that would be fine. I pushed the thoughts away as I watched Tuesday night TV. But by 11pm I couldn't take it anymore. i realized I would not sleep until the ice cream was back in my possession. (and the bacardi mixers) Quite simply, I caved.

and here is where i abruptly end the story because i just glanced over my laptop and noticed the pint of ice cream sitting on my coffee table starting to melt. my precccioussssssssssss.........

Monday, February 06, 2006

All right, all right

So many blogs I've been reading have been circulating this meme, so i'm going to go ahead and do it even though I haven't technically been "tagged." So here goes:

Four jobs I have had:
1. Salesperson at a maternity clothing store
2. Salesperson at Foley's
3. Secretary at my dad's law office
4. Technical writer at National Instruments

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Legends of the Fall
2. Pretty Woman
3. Vanilla Sky
4. Better Off Dead

Four places I have lived:
1. Knoxville, TN
2. Fulda, Germany
3. Ft. Leavenworth, KS
4. San Antonio, TX

Four TV shows I love
1. Gray's Anatomy
2. Law & Order SVU
3. Criminal Minds
4. Without a Trace
(notice the lack of sitcoms...weird)

Four places I have vacationed
1. Paris
2. Germany
3. San Francisco
4. Alaska

Four of my favorite dishes
1. Enchiladas
2. Saag Paneer
3. Chicken-Fried Steak & mashed potatoes
4. Cheeseburger & fries
(hello, fattening carbs)

Five sites I visit daily
(there are many many more, all my friends who have blogs -- I visit yours daily too ;)

Four places I would rather be right now
1. bed
2. Paris
3. a cruise
4. Verona, Italy

I am going to tag the requisite 4 people: Steph, Babs, Tamara, and Sarah.

(this is the perfect Monday post b/c my brain is still in recovery from the weekend...)

Thursday, February 02, 2006


my eyeballs itch today. nothing new, really -- it's allergy season, after all. however, I have a shiny new allergy med i just started, so hopefully that will help in the long run. but, back to my eyeballs. they itch.

and i noticed a familiar phenomenon, one i've never spoken aloud, so i thought i'd write about it here. don't get too excited, it's not that great...but maybe it is, i dunno. SO. whenever i rub my eyeballs, for as long as i can remember (way back into early childhood), when I really get going, I see shapes. like, my eyes are closed, i'm rubbing-rubbing-rubbing, and i notice (?) gray argyles. yes, my eyelid visions are argyles. i have no idea what that means, and of course if i try to "focus" on it, i can't really, because people, my eyes are CLOSED. it's really weird. so today? i was just rubbing my eyeballs vigorously and i noticed that not only were there argyles, but swirlies. SWIRLIES. like, vertigo-looking. black and white and all.

so my question is: is it just me?