Monday, February 28, 2005

Live Long & Prosper?

There was a news story a couple of weeks ago that I have put off blogging. At first, I didn't want to write my thoughts about the story because it is sad, yet the blip on the news stuck out and the Sheepsheadians talked about it at some length.

The blip I heard was that a group of women were sexually assaulted by men dressed up as Vulcans.

I did not hear any more of the story. This was the problem. If I had heard more, I may not have thought the wrong things about the incident.

My first thought about it was, 'Wow, those are some aggressive Trekkies.' It played with the stereo-type of a Trekkie in my mind. I figured a man who dressed up like Spock would not be so forward as to form a group of men who were all willing to commit such an awful crime.

This turned my thoughts away from actual Trekkies. I thought that a group of men just decided to use Vulcan costumes as disguises for their crime. What woman would be afraid (in terms of sexual safety) of a few guys with pointy ears? Trekkies are not commonly thought of as being great at dating or as overly sexually active individuals, so maybe a Spock costume would create a bit of trust from the victims.

But it begged the question, 'How are a pair of pointy ears a good disguise?' The victims could still get a good look at their attackers.

I was perplexed. At karaoke the following Sunday, I told DM about the story. Her first words were, "But, but... Vulcans are PEACE-loving people!" This was useful in only one way. It just showed how much of a closet Trekkie DM really is.

Long story short (too late), I spoke to many about this news story. I finally found someone (and I forget who, otherwise I would give credit) that knew more about the story. As it turns out, the Vulcans were not your run-of-the-mill Star Trek variety.

In Saint Paul, there is a celebration each year and there are the "bad guys". The group of men are called Vulcans and they run around causing mischief at carnivals. They wear red and cover their faces in red face paint and black marks. They used to kiss women in crowds (this changed a few years ago - I'm sure it was a concern) and they take black grease paint and write a "V" on a person's face. It turns out the attackers of these women were dressed as these Vulcans, not Spock.

And that, somehow, makes so much more sense!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Too much fun

I was reading flea's blog tonight and found the link for Gizoogle, the site where you can have any site translated into Snoop-Dogg-eese.

I realized just how little I would be able to communicate with Snoop-Dogg. I don't get any of it.

Check it out: Gizoogle

Peace out,



This was me.


The picture was taken Sunday at the gift exchange. There are more pictures from the day in a post below.

I've been teasing DM lately with not telling her what I did. Last night I saw her, so it's time to unveil the change. Here's me now:

Beth 03

I visited Liese on Monday. She put highlights and lowlights in my hair. I also let her cut about 7 inches off of it and she put in minor layers.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (David Bowie)

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the strain)
Don't want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

(Turn and face the strain)
Don't tell t hem to grow up and out of it
(Turn and face the strain)
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I'm going through

(Turn and face the strain)
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
(Turn and face the strain)
Pretty soon you're gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time

Sorry DM, I couldn't resist. I'm still not telling! Hee hee.

"Did I ever tell you about...?"

One of the best parts of friendship (new or old) is storytelling. I've mentioned this before and it is one of the main themes of this site. I love listening to stories and I enjoy telling stories. Fiction rarely appeals to me, I enjoy the stories that are about real people, real life, and what made people who they are.

Everyone has stories about themselves or their lives. I look around my group of friends and think of the stories that are so important. Everyone has one or two that always come up. DM has the Fish Hook Saga and Matt has his most embarrassing moment. I have heard these stories so many times that I feel like I was a part of each one, even though I was never there.

After work tonight, I went out with Char. I've hung out with Char a little bit outside of work and I've also got to meet her husband, Tom. They are totally awesome people. She's one of those people that when I met her, I just knew instantly that she was cool and that she was someone I could see being a friend. It is a lot of fun to have Char and Tom start making appearances within my circle of friends. Matt has hung out with us before (and we're up for playing pool on Friday night! Keem and DM, care to join us? I hadn't heard anything about the queens getting together and ANSWER YOUR PHONE! I tried to call you, but I don't think you were home either of the days I tried to call. Bummer.)

What happens when you're getting to know new friends? The stories come out. Tom has even mentioned how much he enjoys Matt's stories. Matt is known as the storyteller to Tom. And Matt has fantastic stories. It's fun to listen to him. I can't wait until Tom and Char get a chance to meet DM.

Char and I were talking about astrology tonight (it spawned from talking about dream analysis and tarot card reading). I had done a post not too long ago about my sign. I was trying to see in that post if I fit my astrological sign or if I thought it was a load of bull. One of the things I had noticed about my sign is that I don't want to fit my sign. I try very hard to hide the negative aspects of my "personality" as dictated by my sign. I was mentioning this to Char, about how I don't like the fact my sign is known for vengeance. According to the stars, I am deeply loyal until I'm crossed. Then I will hold the grudge until I die, plotting my revenge the entire time. I do not like this aspect of my sign and those who know me may say it doesn't fit me.

Yet, my natural instinct when crossed is to write the person who crossed me off for life. It is instant and final. I think back to different groups of friends from my past and one incident where I ended my friendships permanently. In my current circle of friends, the ones I want for the rest of my life, I don't have anyone that I feel has crossed me in the past. The only person from my past that I still associate with that I have poor feelings against is Adam. And I have pretty much written him off. The whole trying to maintain my friendship with him has more to do with my stubbornness against my natural instincts than with his value to me as a friend.

Without mentioning my sign, Char mentioned that she always felt the same about her sign. She didn't like the vengeance part of her sign, but always felt the natural impulse to react as her sign dictated. So I asked her what her sign was. As it turns out, we're the same sign. Which is strange, because our sign is not known for getting along with others of the same sign.

I don't know where I'm going with any of this. I'm not sure if this post makes any sense what-so-ever and I don't really know why I'm writing it. Other than to share what I did tonight.

On that note, since I've confused myself, I'm going to bed. Maybe I'll be clearer tomorrow and can think of a good story to share that I haven't told before.

And to quote the woman I spoke to for EIGHTY FREAKING MINUTES tonight (she went on and on and on and on and on...), "This is America! There are ways to do things here!" Like there are not ways to do things EVERYWHERE! She didn't need to tell me this for an hour and twenty minutes.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Explanation Necessary

My big brother commented on the post below and mentioned something I have not shared. It's not something that needs to be hidden, it's just more I didn't remember to write anything about it.

While sitting at Fridleykin's with Matt (I think that's where I had this realization), I found myself surprised by a change in my outlook of life.

When I was in middle school, my friend had a crush on a senior at the high school. Back then, I thought four years age difference was a huge deal. I still believe that a 13-year old shouldn't date a 17- or 18-year old, but I remember thinking, "But he's soooo old!"

As I grew up, I found myself attracted to different men. It's odd to say, but I always found myself attracted to men a year or so younger than myself. I don't know if I'm just find it cute when a guy acts a little sillier than most or what, but I've always found myself looking at men closer to my age or younger. Not cradle-robbing younger, but just a little younger. Andriy was actually the only man from my list of dates (prior to this past year) that was older than me. He was three months older. That's not what I could consider a significant age gap.

During my pool hall days, I was hit on regularly by men that were 30-years old or more. I was 20-22 during those days. I drew the line at 25 for my possible dating pool. It may have just been an excuse to avoid certain men, (such as Mouse or Uncle Ga-Ga), but I also had a problem with an age gap of 8+ years.

I have this thing for this guy. You know who he is, he's The Boy that I have written WAY too much about. He's 30-years old. I'm 26 now.

The surprise to me was that I've finally reached an age where a 30-year old man is someone I could be attracted to. It made me feel a little old. I don't really think 30-years old is ancient or anything like that, it's more that I realized that I'm not a kid anymore.

There are certain things in life that I believe are more adult based behaviors. The day I finally break down to purchase furniture will also be a point where I find myself thinking, "But, I'm not old enough for that yet!" Sure, I've bought some furniture before, but I've never purchased a couch or living room chairs. I have not bought my own bed (I still have my bed that my parents bought for me when I was 12). I bought a computer desk and computer chair, but that's not a central point of a living room. I have not bought a dining room table or chairs in my life.

I no longer think that 30-years old is too old and that makes me feel a little old. Matt found this funny for some reason. I don't really see the humor in it, I just thought it was an observation.

As for the changes, I'm NOT TELLING! Na-na-na-na! I'm keeping something hidden mainly to drive DM bonkers. The changes may be unveiled soon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I'm not talking about hygiene. At gift exchange last Sunday, Matt and Scott gave me the first season of Soap on DVD.

This show ran from 1977 - 1981. I was a little young to remember the early seasons, but I do remember watching the later seasons with my parents and watching the reruns on TV.

My lack of blogging recently (not telling any stories from the past) has to do with the fact I've been watching the shows.

I've got to say, I have not found myself sitting alone in my apartment laughing as loudly or as often as when I'm watching these.

That's why I've been slacking lately. But I only have a few more episodes left and then I'll try to share some stories.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


The only thing that remains the same is change.

It's time for a change.


As I was graduating high school, one of the bands that I truly enjoy just started topping the charts. I remember sitting in a room with all the kids from my graduating class at the Senior All-Night Party and hearing the group name, "Matchbox Twenty" for the first time.

I've never been one to listen to the radio with a regular frequency. I adore music, I need music in my life, yet I don't listen to the radio nor do I watch video channels. I purchase CDs (and vinyls back in the day) when I hear a song or two that I enjoy. With iTunes, I find myself purchasing more music, but in a better way. Instead of buying five CDs for five separate songs, I purchase the five songs individually and don't end up with a CD of crap.

I had heard two songs by Matchbox Twenty the summer after high school. Exposure was from driving with others or spending time at their homes. I decided to purchase the first album by the group, "Yourself or Someone Like You." I figured I would end up liking the two songs that I had heard and nothing else.

I was pleasantly surprised. I put the album in and was able to listen to it, straight through, without getting annoyed (I made it through 2 Dave Matthews Band songs before I HAD to take that CD from the player, I'm not a fan.)

When the band released their second album, "Mad Season," I was hanging out at Bugs and we had been playing the first album on the jukebox regularly. My thoughts about the album before I purchased it were, 'I was surprised with the first album. The second won't be as good.'

Again, I was surprised. Songs like, "Bed of Lies" and "Rest Stop" grabbed my attention and I listened to the disc over and over. When Michelle suggested we go to the concert, I thought it was a fantastic idea and we went. The first concert I saw was not overly impressive. Going home and playing the CD would have been about the same, but wouldn't have had the traffic. I still loved the music though.

The third album, "More Than You Think You Are," came out the first year I lived with Adam. The band couldn't do it again, could they?

Well, they could. And they could do it better. The influences of 70s rock is apparent on the third album and I became instantly addicted to it. It is fantastic! Because I enjoyed it so much, I went online and bought three albums by Tabitha's Secret, a band that three of the members of Matchbox Twenty are originally from. The albums are ones that I can listen to over and over.

Now Rob Thomas is trying a solo project. The first song of his upcoming album, Something to Be, is available on iTunes (thanks Matt for telling me!) The song is called, "Lonely No More" and I did purchase it.

Again, I'm surprised. The song has a more pop feel to it, but it still has the strong lyrics that are such a constant in other Matchbox Twenty songs.

The song starts out with a heavy drum beat and then there is synthesized music. It's catchy, like pop, but I still find myself drawn to the emotion of the lyrics. I'm still making up my mind if I love this song, but I think I don't dislike it. I do think Rob Thomas has an amazing talent in songwriting, as proven from other albums. I've posted a few other lyrics for Matchbox Twenty and Tabitha's Secret before. Check those out here: Bed of Lies, Soul, Hang, Dear Joan, Paint Me Blue, and Dizzy. (The last three are all in the same link.)

Lonely No More - Rob Thomas

It seems to me
That you know just what to say
But words are only words
Can you show me something else

Can you swear to me that you'll always be this way?
Show me how you feel
More than ever baby

Well I don't want to be lonely no more
I don't want to have to pay for this
I don't want another lover at my door
It's just another heartache on my list

I don't want to be angry no more
You're the one who could never stand for this
So when you tell me that you love me, know for sure
I don't wanna be lonely anymore

Oooooh oooooh oooooh oooooh
Now it's hard for me
When my heart's still on the mend
Open up to me
Like you do your girlfriends
And you sing to me
And it's harmony
Girl what you do to me is everything
Let me say anything just to get you back again
Why can't we just try?

I don't want to be lonely no more
I don't want to have to pay for this
I don't want another lover at my door
It's just another heartache on my list

I don't want to be angry no more
You're the one who could never stand for this
So when you tell me that you love me, know for sure
I don't want to be lonely anymore

Oooooh oooooh oooooh oooooh

What if was good to you?

What if you were good to me?
What if I could hold you till I feel you move inside of me?
What if it was paradise?
What if we were symphonies?
What if I gave all my life to find some way to stand beside you?

I don't want to be lonely no more
I don't want to have to pay for this
I don't want another lover at my door
It's just another heartache on my list

I don't want to be angry no more
You're the one who could never stand for this
So when you tell me you love me, know for sure
I don't want to be lonely no more

Oooooh oooooh oooooh oooooh

I don't want to be lonely any more
I don't want to be lonely no more
I don't want to be lonely no more
I don't want to be lonely any more

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sunday has come and gone...

After gift exchange, DM and I headed out to The Chalet for karaoke. Today was President's Day so the place was a bit busier than normal. Not all of the businesses were closed for the holiday (like Memorial Day or Labor Day weekends), but more people had Monday off than normal and more made the trek out to the bar.

I had a wonderful time last night. Michael was there and we had missed him the week before. Dean showed up and we got a chance to chat with him for a bit. Stephanie (another regular to karaoke and a fantastic singer) joined us for a while at the table.

Most of the crowd were partaking in the alcoholic beverages last night and so the crowd was upbeat and happy. Nothing too crazy or funny happened, but it was just a good time. Angie (one of Michael's friends) asked me to sing a "new" song and I tried it. I had tried it one time before and felt extremely self-conscious singing it, but I was talked into it yet again this week.

I thought I needed an oxygen tank after I was done singing it and I was so nervous. It felt like my first time singing karaoke ever. It was fun, but intimidating. The song I sang was, "Me and Bobby McGee," the only Janis Joplin song they have in the karaoke book. It's a fun one, I can say that.

Those looking for an update about The Boy and Pete, there isn't one. They didn't show up this week. They don't normally make every week so it doesn't bother me. I'm slightly disappointed because I know I like stories from Sunday and I know that I want to find out more information (and it's just fun), but I will survive.

I laughed so much yesterday at gift exchange and at karaoke. It was a day to remember.

"It's a family thing. It's a tradition..."

Immortal words from Keem from yesterday's 4th Annual Sheepsheadians Gift Exchange. She just followed up those words with, "You hide the pickle in the tree."

Out of context, it's rather funny. Keem and DM gave Matt and Scott a pickle ornament to put in the Christmas tree for the kids. It's a German tradition and Keem gave us the story about it.

I picked to use a quote from Keem to start off this post because it fits what I felt yesterday during the gift exchange. I was surrounded by my best friends, I was with my chosen family.

We told many stories during our get-together and laughed over and over. I felt love in the room and everyone had a good time. The simple pleasures in life can be the most fulfilling. It wasn't the gifts, it never is. It's the time spent with friends that make the day memorable.

Keem, DM, and I are scrapbookers. This is a pretty well known fact and it is not surprising to me that over 130 pictures were taken at the gift exchange. DM's self-portrait is already on this site (see post below), but I wanted to share some of the shots from yesterday. In narrowing down the selection, I found that I picked 41 pictures! I'm not going to put all of them into this post, but I'm going to share quite a few. I hope you enjoy. Moments from the day will be inserted between the images.

The Sheepsheadians

Here are images of each of the five people from our gift exchange:


matt cats eye

Keem gift


beth 2

Green Duckies

DM likes to give out presents to each member of the Sheepsheadians for Christmas that match. This year we were all treated to little bears, moose, and frogs (or as DM said, "Frug!") DM calls frogs "green duckies" and hence the name of her website.

The frogs were a huge hit and we each had fun playing with our new toys. These are some pictures of the frogs and the image of DM holding the frog up is now forever going to make me think, "Full Frontal Frogs!"

froggy eyes

full frontal frog


DM also bought these things called "Crackers". They had toys inside the packages as well as paper hats. We each wore a hat for a bit. Here's a picture of DM reading the package and then a picture of each one of us wearing the hats. I hate the picture of myself, but in fairness to each of the other Sheepsheadians, I will include it here.

DM crackers

DM hat

Beth hat

Scott hat

Keem hat

Matt hat

More images

And here are some other images I wanted to share:

scott frog

matt gift

Keem & Scott

yummy buffy
DM tries to eat her new DVD collection - She was trying to get the plastic off with the use of her teeth.

Matt & Scott

I hope you enjoyed the photos. I enjoyed the day and wanted to share just a bit of it. My friends are the reason for my happiness and I had a great time with them.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Here's DM, taking a picture of herself in her "cool shades" that she needed Scott to help her put on. Keem took the April slot in the pool for when she looses them. And Scott is crying because he has to get bifocals (or as Scott spelt it, "b-i-f-o-I f*ing hate myself - c-a-l-s."

She's a good listener...

DM called me a bit ago. She and Keem are getting ready to head out and come over here. I was frantically wrapping the presents I purchased when she called and I had just managed to write: "To Keem!" on Scott's gift. Oops.

As I was chatting with DM, I rewrapped Scott's gift and wrote the correct name on it. I was telling DM, "I want to write a post about how I'm the world's best wrapping expert and that I should start a career in wrapping presents, but I don't think anyone would get the subtle humor except for Matt."

She says, "Okay."

There is a pause.

"Did you hear anything I just said?"

"Uuuuummmm, yes."

"Okay, what did I say?"

"I can't remember. I get distracted." DM is known for the bright, shiny object syndrome.

This is also one of the reasons (besides my job) that I hate talking on the phone. But DM and Keem are on their way over and Matt and Scott will be coming and we'll have a ton of fun!


The fourth annual Sheepsheadians holiday gift exchange brought me out of my apartment this afternoon, heading towards the mall. I had one specific destination in mind and I made it there safely. Creativity in gifts escaped me this year (which it tends to do) and I knew exactly what I wanted for DM, Keem, and Scott. I had one idea for Matt and then I was stuck. I ended up calling him from the store and said, "WHAT do you want?" He's hard to shop for because he doesn't give ideas. He says, "I'm happy with anything."

I'm walking into the store of the mall and in the corner of my eye I see this guy walking towards me. As he passes me, I realize that he looks familiar. But I have absolutely no clue where I know him from. At first, I figured he was some regular at the pool hall or a regular customer from my days as a teller.

After I pass him, I hear from behind me, "Beth." He whispered it. When I turned to look at him, he was looking the other way in that obvious, 'I'm teasing you' way. You know what I mean? His head is stretched in the opposite direction in an exaggerated manner.

Well, logic took over and I knew I needed to buy gifts. So I kept walking. I totally ignored him.

And as I was driving home from the store, it hit me. I do know this person. He used to work in our call center at NABABNA. He's a nice guy and I totally didn't stop to say hello. I feel bad about it. I'll get over it quickly, but I would have liked to see what was going on in his life.

I still cannot remember whose team he was on. Maybe the Sheepsheadians will know.

Do you ever do that? See someone that you think you know, but you're too afraid to just walk up to a stranger and say, "Where do I know you from?" I feel like saying that to someone could be an insult. What if it's someone that you do know and they remember you? I've had people from high school stop me and I don't remember most of them. I think it's because they didn't mean that much to me. Oh well. Less than an hour and a half until the Sheepsheadians are here!

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday...

I set my alarm to wake up today at the same time I do on workdays. By doing so, I have about three hours before DM, Keem, Matt, and Scott will be over here and we start exchanging gifts and taking a zillion pictures*.

Last night at work, a woman asked me, "So... what is tomorrow?" She had the grin on her face and I broke into a smile. Sunday was coming soon! Yea! And this Sunday is even more special.

The woman I work with told me that she looks forward to each Tuesday (the beginning of each of our workweeks) just to hear the karaoke update. She just may be the biggest supporter of my crazy crush.

I told her (in response to her "what is tomorrow?" inquiry), "It's Christmas AND karaoke!" To which she furrowed her brow and then asked why I thought Christmas was in February. I explained and she was smiling again.

I hope I have good stories to tell her on Tuesday!


*Last year's gift exchange produced enough pictures for me to fill an ENTIRE scrapbook. One day = one scrapbook. It's like Vegas. I had enough pictures to fill three scrapbooks for a week's vacation, AND I'd been to Vegas before. What's going to happen when I go to PORTUGAL with DM? If I could take 2,000 pictures there, I'm sure I would. I took 23 rolls of film in Germany and I was only there for 21 days. And that was pre-digital camera days.

4th Annual Sheepsheadian Gift Exchange (which has turned into a vant about an ex-Sheepsheadian)

The holidays are over and it's time for the Sheepsheadians to get together to exchange holiday gifts! It may seem odd to those out there in the blogosphere that our group is getting together tomorrow afternoon (at 5 PM Central) to celebrate Christmas, but it's the truth.

The first year of gift exchange was split into two evenings. Adam, Keem, DM, and I got together to share gifts on Christmas night, after the family obligations were complete. We held it at DM's apartment and I remember that Keem and I made scrapbooks for Adam and DM. A few days later, we all got together at Matt's place to do gift exchange with Matt and that other person whom we have expelled from our group. At the second gift exchange, I remember DM getting magnetic poetry (the erotic version) and we each took turns using cookie sheets to make up poems in Matt's living room.

The second gift exchange included Matt, DM, Keem, Adam, that evil witch, and myself at the apartment I shared with Adam. It was a scrapbooking extravaganza for Keem and DM and we all had a good time watching DM play with her new Ken doll and Gandolf dolls. Who knew Gandolf was gay? That exchange was pushed back from the actual holidays, but not too far. We celebrated that one during the first weekend of the new year.

Last year's gift exchange was pushed back to late January, mainly because of budgeting reasons. It made more sense to let everyone get another paycheck before going out to shop for each other. One other reason for the delay was to see what everyone got for Christmas from their families and to avoid duplication. Unfortunately, Scott couldn't make it last year although we sent home presents for him. It was at my apartment with Adam again. The attendees were DM, Keem, Matt, Adam, and myself. We laughed quite a bit while watching this on my computer (no negative comments please. We know we're going to hell for finding enjoyment in this.) It was the first year we didn't have to purchase gifts for the woman who makes Satan look like a saint and we enjoyed the day. I do remember not being pleased with Adam's choice of wardrobe for the day (he wore a shirt that said, "Rock N Roll Motherf***er" when he knew we would be scrapbooking the pictures).

We decided early in the year to push gift exchange back to February this year. Since most of us get paid on the 15th (okay, Keem, DM, and I do, but three out of five is not bad), we decided we could hold it after Valentine's Day.

Tomorrow afternoon it will be Keem, DM, Matt, Scott, and I sharing gifts and making memories. It is the first year Adam was not included. And you know what, I'm finally at a point where I'm okay to say that. If he were to read this site (which he doesn't, it's not about him so why bother?), I would not care if he read it. He has drifted so far away that I don't care anymore. Yes, I was hurt terribly and constantly reminded of how much like dirt I was to my "best friend" when I lived with him, but the healing has been in full effect.

I tried to maintain his friendship. Don't ask me why. Common sense told me to drop him and I fought back against all logic and reason for way too long. I guess I didn't want to admit that someone I cared for as a friend could feel so indifferent towards me.

And he's good at being fake. He knows how to react when you're in front of him, but he doesn't deal with anyone not in his face.

I got a Valentine's Day card from him a couple of weeks ago (early) and it surprised the hell out of me. I have known Adam for five years and this was just a little out of character for him. I'm sure he saw a penguin card and it reminded him of me, just as if I would have seen a dolphin figurine and thought of him. I emailed him and tried to call him after I got the card. It was like talking to a wall.

If he were to call and want to talk, I'm sure I would talk to him. But I don't rely on his friendship anymore. I don't crave talking to him anymore. I miss the five hour conversations in our living room, but I don't miss living with him. I don't miss him when he's not there.

So he was not invited to gift exchange this year. I'm going to have a great time with the friends that count and no bad feelings are being harbored anymore.

I don't know if anyone reading this has ever been in an abusive relationship (mentally or physically, friendly or romantic), but I imagine everyone has had a situation somewhat similar. I'm talking about when the status quo doesn't seem to be healthy for you anymore, but you don't know what to do. Severing the ties seems like such a huge step and it seems like such an impossibility. When I lived with Adam, that's what it felt like. I knew I was unhappy with the arrangement. I felt like I should hide in the corner to not bother him and I felt disrespected. In the last few months of the arrangement, it was false smiles and small talk. I felt like an intruder in my own home.

When the lease came up, I had such a hard time dealing with the fact I wasn't going to be living with him anymore, even though it was making me miserable. It's probably the closest I've ever come to depression. It was a situational depression and I found ways to cope (thank you, thank you, thank you Matt - you truly are the best big brother in the world and I don't know what I would have done without your support. I can never begin to express how grateful I am to you in words other than to say I love you. You are part of my family.) Even though I was miserable, I was scared to death of the possibility of NOT living with Adam. It was what I had come to understand as the norm. I couldn't see past the present and all I could think was, "Well, it's bad, but it's not that bad."

Since I no longer see Adam, talk to him, email him, or work with him, I smile more. I'm getting back to being "permagrin" (one of the many nicknames I picked up at Bugs). I don't worry about coming home from work and having to hide in my room. I don't worry that doing homework at the computer will be uncomfortable.

I do understand that Adam found a man that he loved and that Rich was living with us. I was fine with Adam's relationship, it was the disrespect that I had a problem with. I did not enjoy being forced to try to finish my education while they were hot and heavy on the other side of the wall. And for the love of God, I WORK NIGHTS!!! Get it over with BEFORE I get home. (Well, maybe there is a tad bit of aggression left - who knew that two years of hell could do that to a person?)

I have not written much about my friendship with Adam. The main reasons are because it hurt and I was scared to ever have him feel pain because someone else in his life decided he wasn't worth it anymore. He's good at chasing people away and I didn't want to run. I didn't want to give up and that was part of myself being stubborn. It hurt me too much to tell him that I didn't really like him anymore.

I guess I still consider him a friend, but he's a distant friend. He's like an old acquaintance, one that I could hold a conversation with, but I don't search out. I told myself a million times that I wouldn't let him get to the point where he could look around and no one was left, but now I just don't care if he gets there. I tried. I can finally admit that I did give it all I could. Anymore would have hurt me too badly to heal. The wounds may have been mortal if I tried harder.

It feels good to be able to say that. And it feels great to know that tomorrow afternoon, I'll be surrounded by those I love and we'll have a great time, without the drama, without the hurt. And that's the way it SHOULD be. Now, I just need to shop and wrap presents before they all get here! (And I am cleaning my apartment tonight, I promise. I've already done so much! I'm slightly proud of myself and I deserved a break to blog!)

I can see clearly now, the rain has gone.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Bet I'm Not What You're Searching For...

No, this isn't a dating post. I am fascinated with the searches that produce this site for people out there. I tend to keep a list next to the computer and it's time to share again. Beware, some are funny, some are frightening. I think the most frightening part is which posts ended up triggering my site on the search.

"birth stories"
dating frustration - not so scary
enema stories free (there have also been four separate other searches for 'enema stories')
penguin tattoo (three separate searches)
why do i keep losing at sheepshead
"Bridge over Troubled Waters" meaning
fictional stories how we were introduced to swinging
brian wilson and "lying in bed"
dad and son "gay" "stories" "pics" "bi" - This search managed to produce the post about the Fridley 49er day parade
sappy sweet love story
"funny child birth stories"
bug squishing stories
sheepshead hat
"necrophelia" + "picture"
gay mens stories
play makeovers
conan ford taurus
cleaning sheepshead (apparently it's more than a game! It's a fish!)
stories of girls stuck in glue - Where the hell did this one come from?

And on a side note, I searched Google for "enema stories" just to see how quickly my site popped up. It was not in the first 170. How badly did these people want to hear a story about an enema?!?

Want versus Need

I keep telling myself, over and over, I don't need an iPod. I don't. I don't need it, do I?

Do I want an iPod? Well, yes. I do. But I only want it for the trip. This can't justify me spending $300 on it. Right? I can't do that. I don't need an iPod.

Yes, Beth, keep telling yourself this. It will go away. Yeah, right.

I'm doing well, I haven't bought it yet and I don't think I will in the next week or so. Take it one day at a time...

Hold 'Em or Fold 'Em

Telling tales of my days at Bugs is an interesting experience for me. I tell the stories in passing, but sitting down to type them out makes me miss the old joint and the good times. Yes, some of the times were not great and many of the characters were shady, but I still had a place to go, a place where I felt a part of the crowd. It's not that I don't feel like I fit in though. In my life, I see a trend. I always have a place where I feel at home. At this point in my life, I feel just as comfortable at Fridleykin's or The Chalet as I did at Bugs. I have a strong sense of loyalty to both of those places.

While thinking about what story to spin about Bugs next, I realized that most of the stories exist outside the walls of Bugs. Our crew got together to do things after the place closed, or we went out on days when the primary regulars didn't work. There are quite a few parties that I will get around to sharing, but today I wanted to find a story from inside the walls.

Searching through the database that is my mind, I remembered playing 7-card stud with the crew. If the owner had ever figured out that we played poker for money right in front of the entrance, we probably would have all been banned from the place. Maybe he knew and never said anything, but I think he just never knew.

Gaming is not legal in Minnesota. Money games (poker or pool) are not something that should be happening, yet it did. We played poker pool all the time (a fun game if you want to equalize the playing field) and I left Bugs with pockets full of quarters many a night.

On one cool autumn evening, someone grabbed a deck of cards we'd been using to play poker pool and suggested we get a game of 7-card stud going. The joint was slower that night, I remember it was a Saturday night and many high school football games were still playing. The kids kept away and it was mostly regulars in the place. Seven of us pulled up barstools next to the bar box right in front of the counter. Dennis didn't have the funds to play so he was our honorary dealer. Big D was working behind the counter, that's probably how we got away with this. If Michelle had been in the place that night, we would have never been allowed to gamble in such a public view. But we did.

Our poker table was the pool table we played so many games of eight-, nine-, and ten-ball. There were six players in the games of stud and I was the only woman. Inexperience was a quality I possessed when playing poker. Sure, I knew the games from days of sitting around playing for pennies with my parents, but we were not playing for pennies that night. Most of the pots were laced with five and ten dollar bills.

We laughed as we played the hands out. Sometimes I folded, sometimes I held my cards. I won a few early pots and maintained my position at the table. The other players that night were Mr. Clean (the inbred), Uncle Ga-ga (the perpetual pregnant with two-year twins man), Mouse (the stoner), Aron (upcoming class clown), and AJ (future bouncer in a strip club who was deathly afraid of women).

Each of us had started out with about sixty dollars. To me, it was enough to have fun and I didn't mind losing. Most of the pots would end up at about thirty dollars, but there was the one hand where it was all or nothing.

As the cards were dealt out, I checked my hold cards. Not bad, not great. Just a pair, but it kept me in the game. Dennis kept dealing the cards out and I watched as Uncle Ga-ga folded. Mouse bowed out. AJ folded quickly. The pot still only held about fifteen dollars after the first face up card was dealt.

Mr. Clean had a grin from ear-to-ear. The second card was dealt out and he was now showing a pair of queens. My lowly six showing didn't seem impressive, yet I stayed in. Aron bowed out. The bidding wars started. The third card was dealt. I now had a pair of sixes to Mr. Clean's queens showing. He started trying to push, trying to get me to bow out. He thought I was so inexperienced in the game that I wouldn't realize that queens beat sixes. So I stayed in.

The fourth card flopped up and he bid high. He was trying to build up his stock of cash. I matched his twenty dollar bet and he still figured I was bluffing or an idiot. As the final down card (down and dirty, I remember that's what we all said, cheesy) was dealt, he tried once again to break me or take me for all the money. He came close too. His bet depleted his funds and I had to borrow one dollar from Uncle Ga-ga to stay in the game. The pot now held $170. He looked at me and said, "If you can't beat what is showing, fold."

I looked at him and rolled my eyes. No shit Sherlock. But I matched his bet. It was time for him to show his cards.

He flopped up a pair of sevens to go with his queens. "Three of a kind isn't going to beat this," he told me and reached for the pot.

"Okay, I understand that. But I don't have three of a kind. I have two pair, kings over sixes." I said it with the innocence of an inexperienced blonde, trying hard to fit in with the bad boys in a pool hall. I was out of place, but holding my own.

He kept reaching for the pot and froze. All of the guys at the table broke into roaring laughter. The arrogant prick was out of the game and pissed. The shock on his face was priceless and I still look back and laugh. Mr. Clean is the primary reason I do not go to the pool hall anymore and this is just a fun memory for me.

I walked away from the table that night about fifty dollars up. I had a good time and put Mr. Clean in his place. I paid Uncle Ga-ga back his buck, with a tip, and Dennis ended up making a little dough in tips. We had fun and we never did repeat our poker night.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Searching for Independence

The first tale of Bugs that I want to share (well, the first tale since I decided to focus on stories of Bugs) is of one hot summer day and one cool summer night in July 2000. By this time, I was fully integrated into the inner circles of the Bugs’ regulars and it was the one day of the year when the establishment shut its doors. It was July 4th, Independence Day. The story is a break-up story, but it’s not mine. It is something I witnessed during my days as a regular.

Michelle, the headstrong, sassy woman leading the pack had been dating this older man, Dave, for a couple of months prior to this day. Her relationship with him took the same path all of her relationships did. She claimed him, controlled him, played him, and then dropped him just as quickly as she picked him up. It sounds horrible, yet it is true.

Dave, although nice, was not a strong man. The crew knew him from leagues and Michelle had known him for years. She got it into her head one day that she’d like to date him. The next day she was living in his apartment. Please do not take Michelle’s gung-ho ferocity as a negative. There are qualities about her that I do admire, even if her approach is not one I would take. She thought she knew what she wanted and she went for it. And she took prisoners. Dave was one of them.

The demise of their relationship had been coming and the night before the annual Bugs’ closing took the cake. Michelle’s complaint about Dave was that he didn’t talk. The man was shy and never expressed himself around the regulars. He also never expressed himself around Michelle when they were alone together. I witnessed repeated attempts of hers to get him to open up, to get him to say anything.

On that night, Michelle had had enough of him. He was calling her at work and then just sitting on the other end of the line, saying nothing. Sure, he let her know it was him. He would say, “Hi, this is Dave.” And then it was silence. He spoke so little that people would have to keep asking, “Are you still there?”

Now, Michelle was strong, confident, and men didn’t have much of a chance against her. She loved to pick arguments and I will admit, I would watch her fight with others just to pick up pointers. In my entire time at Bugs, I never saw her lose a single argument. I also made sure to never end up on her bad side. Her temper would flare and her mood was sure to be known by every single patron in the place. You may be thinking, “Why would a man want to date her?” The answer is simple. She fits the physical attributes that men seem to fall over. I’m not saying all men, but she had her share of boys drooling in the back of the pool hall and her share of the regular men falling at her feet to just get a glance their way. She is tall, thin, and fit. Dave enjoyed her physical features and never gave much thought to how to react to her intellect.

The night before the Bugs’ crew decided to celebrate the national holiday, Dave called Michelle again. She told him that she didn’t want to talk while she was working. He forced her into making a promise to talk out their problems after her shift ended. She was going to call him at the end of the night.

When closing time arrived, we ushered all the kids out of the joint. Bob, Mr. Clean, and I stayed around, waiting for Michelle. We all witnessed the argument over the phone line.

Before picking up the phone, Michelle set herself up behind the counter to be comfortable. She was completely prepped for what she wanted to say. It was easier for her to handle this part, she was experienced in fighting with lovers and her emotional attachments to the relationship were minimal. She had her fun and it was time to ditch the guy. The chair was pulled up and she made sure she had a full can of soda and a full pack of cigarettes waiting to be smoked. Taking a Marlboro light from the pack, she lit it, took two drags, and then picked up the phone to dial.

Dave answered and Michelle gave it all she had. The argument replayed over and over, she told him that he didn’t talk and it drove her nuts and it was over. He told her, “I can change. I can talk.” She would ask him to talk and then she’d wait for a full minute of silence. He couldn’t do it then and she knew he couldn’t do it in the future. Even if he could have done it, she wouldn’t have changed her mind. He told her that he loved her. She laughed at the thought. Michelle was cold and calculating, but she was right too.

While Michelle was having her argument with Dave on the phone, Bob, Mr. Clean, and I were joking around the counter. Bob kept making faces at her, trying to get her to crack a smile. She wanted to go out with us for some food and was getting more and more annoyed with Dave’s pleas for a stay of execution. I remember that Bob picked up a barstool and put it on his head, running back and forth, pretending to ram the vending machines and jukebox.

The conversation finally ended and Michelle hung up the phone, figuring that was the end of Dave. His short-term membership in the Bugs’ club was revoked. Little did we all know how insane with lust he would become.

The plans for the next day were set. The crew would be going to the Zoo and then swimming at Uncle Ga-ga’s apartment building. After swimming, the crew would go see fireworks and then a small party would be happening at Michelle’s. Dave was not included in the plans.

Once we left the pool hall, Michelle turned off her cellular phone. In the morning, she awoke to pounding of fists on her front door. The phone line was ringing and her brother answered it. The neighbors were concerned about the crazy man who had been pounding on Michelle’s door for the last two hours. Michelle and her brother sat at the top of her stairs, out of view, waiting for Dave to leave. Dave started walking around their house, peering in the back windows, screaming that he “knew [she] was in there!” She grabbed her cell phone and turned it on. There were twenty messages of Dave saying, “I wish you would answer. I love you.” Then there would be silence until the line finally cut him off.

Her brother finally confronted Dave and demanded that he leave, or they would call the police. Dave hopped into his little blue car and took off. Michelle got ready for the day and headed to our assigned meeting place, the pool hall. Bob had borrowed his father’s Suburban for the day and we each left our vehicles in the parking lot of Bugs. It was off to the zoo!

Dave kept calling. Michelle would not answer the phone and she finally turned it back off. He kept leaving the same message over and over. By the end of the day, the message count was 72. One in twelve messages would have more than, “Answer the phone. I love you.” The one in twelve with more words scared us all. He would say, “You bitch! I love you! Answer your f***ing phone! You’re cheating on me!” (She wasn't.)

After awhile, we started laughing at him. It was rather amusing to see this mild-mannered man lose it. He was destroying his social circle with his actions. His calls to Michelle were also not the way to win back her heart.

We walked around the zoo, laughing with each other and checking out the animals. Cracks were made that Dave should be the one in the cage and we headed back to our neck of the woods for swimming at Uncle Ga-ga’s. The crew had a good time and we were thrilled that Dave did not find us. The fact that Bugs was closed for the day made it hard to pinpoint our location. It was not like he didn’t try to find us all there though.

After the dip in the pool, where the competition for the palest person in our clique was awarded to yours truly, we headed back to Bugs to split up and get our vehicles. I was going to miss the fireworks display (I had a four-hour shift at NABABNA to cover), but I would be meeting up with the rest of the crew later at Michelle’s. When we got to Bugs, we found a “note” left under the windshield wipers of Michelle’s truck.

This is where my knowledge of banking really could have made Dave’s life miserable. He had torn out a deposit slip from his register to leave the note for Michelle. All he wrote was, “You bitch! You need to call me! I love you.” His account number was on the paper, along with his address, name, and all the pertinent information needed to create checks. We did not teach him a lesson in information security that day (or any day after), but I lost all respect for his intellect when he left his confidential information sitting outside for any passerby to grab.

I went to work and the crew went to see the fireworks. After work, I tried to meet them at the Taste of Minnesota. It was only a few blocks from my work, but traffic made it impossible. I left downtown St. Paul and headed towards Michelle’s. The crew was stuck in traffic so I ended up at her house much earlier than the rest of them. She told me to just park on the street and wait. This was not a problem for me, I had some tunes in the car and I had a book. I waited.

While I was sitting in my car in front of her house, her brother came home. He noticed a light blue car, similar in style to that of Dave’s car, and I noticed the double take. I unrolled the window and said hello, just to let him know that the stalker was not making another unwanted appearance. The crew showed up shortly after that.

We headed inside and continued laughing at Dave. His calls had stopped, finally. Michelle took joy in playing the messages to everyone there and we each felt a bit of shame in our amusement. I do not know about anyone else, but I know that I also had a sense of pity for Dave. He overreacted yes, but he was also a pawn in Michelle’s games. He allowed himself to be a pawn. And a pawn rarely defeats a queen.

Dave must have come to his senses during those hours of Michelle not answering her phone. He never made another appearance at Bugs and he stopped calling. Once in awhile, Michelle will hear through the grapevine about him at a different pool hall, but his days as a regular were over.

I still wonder about our entertainment that day. The exhibits at the zoo, the animals behind bars, paled in comparison to the show we got from Dave. We all also learned to never get on Michelle’s bad side.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Thoughts on Comments...

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post called "Concentration". It was about how I was having a difficult time finishing up my school work because my mind kept drifting off.

DM commented about the post. This is part of the comment: "I can tell you that analyzing it is not going to change what happens. Not that I don't do the same thing myself sometimes." She finished the comment off with, "Relax."

I am analyzing again. It drives me insane, but it is something I do. I don't know if my post was clear enough to reveal what I've been analyzing, but those who know me should find it pretty obvious. I'm stuck on thinking about the whole karaoke saga. The part of the comment I am having the hardest part with is the "Relax." I don't know how to relax. I'm really not good at it. Even when I try to read a book, you know, escape for a bit?, I try to read it all at once and end up working myself up. I have NEVER fallen asleep while reading. It activates my brain too much.

I also wrote a post about astrology last night. It's because I am intrigued by it, but I don't actually believe in it. I was trying to determine if I did believe in astrology, but I really don't. Everything is generalizations that fit pretty much anyone. For those wondering, I'm a Scorpio, according to my birthdate. I saw some of the qualities in my personality, but they could be in any personality.

That's really about all for now. I wrote a post to start telling tales about my days at the pool hall. It's below this one.

Rack 'Em Up

Hop into my time machine with me, if you will. We’re going back to late 1999, a time when I was still reeling from Andriy’s return to Ukraine, a time when I was still attending the University of Minnesota and starting in the elite business program, and entering my third year of employment at NABABNA. I had already been going to Bugs, that around-the-corner pool hall I used as part of my identity for so long, yet I had not been a “regular” until this year.

Bugs was a small, hole-in-the-wall establishment. There were only 11 tables in the place, four "bar boxes", four eight-footers, and three nine-footers. The lighting was minimal, the place still held commercialism back, refusing to decorate the walls with neon and refusing to light the tables with fluorescent fixtures. Bugs had the distinct smell associated with bars, you know, the thick cover of cigarette smoke. It didn't matter how many filters the place used, it always smelled of stale cigarettes.

My first impression of Bugs took me aback. The place was the exact type of pool hall I imagined. There are other establishments advertised for their billiards in the Twin Cities, yet Bugs had the feel of a well-kept hall that hadn’t been sold out to corporate America. The crowd was older and it was not the meat market I saw at other pool halls. The people coming to Bugs actually enjoyed playing the sport. They didn’t use the sport as an excuse to check out other patrons.

Music always played through the speakers in each room of Bugs. The jukebox held 100 CDs and still provides the main source of income for the owners. The younger kids, the ones who were not a part of the "Regulars" made sure that Steve Miller's "The Joker" played on that machine at least 8 times an evening. The other overplayed songs of the time made their rounds. Certain Prince (you know, that artist formerly known as a symbol) songs were played only after the owner left for the night. The Santa-looking man was not a fan of "Pussy Control" or "Sexy Motherfucker."

Underlying the music, there were always sounds of someone breaking a fresh rack or the hoots and hollers of a kid who just ran the table clean. And at the counter, you could find the regulars. You could hear them laughing and smiling.

The regulars were a group of fascinating characters. The group always compared itself to the TV show, "Cheers". Everyone knew their names. There was the sassy, yet "fun" woman leading the group, Michelle. Bob held the position of being the funnyman. He would get everyone laughing each night, telling jokes that won't be repeated unless they are inside Bugs. Mouse hung in the back, usually walking through the door in a cloud of cologne, trying to hide the smell of his habit that everyone knew. Uncle Ga-ga would arrive with a smile on his face, get his soda, and then tease the other regulars, sometimes stepping over the lines of decency. Mr. Clean, a result of massive inbreeding, would try to disgust everyone out each night by licking his eyebrows. AJ and Aron would arrive; they were the youngest of the regulars. Focusing more on their love of pool, they would usually grab the bar box right up front and start up games of poker pool for quarters. Susan would show up and the men would fall over her because she had the best "rack" in the joint. On the sidelines, other regulars would appear and disappear. Mikey, Jessie, Dennis, and Terri held honorary places at the counter. Big Dee would show up occasionally. He'd stop and say hello, then he'd find his way to the back by the video games.

And then there was me. I was eighteen when I started hanging out at Bugs, yet it wasn’t until I was twenty (almost twenty-one) that the crowd started to “know my name”. The attendants behind the counter knew what name I put on the table, but I was just a regular customer. In the late summer of 1999, I entered the realm of the accepted regulars and held my place within that clique until May of 2001. Putting the time into perspective makes it seem short. It’s strange really. I think back on that time as a huge period of my life. It was a transition; it was a time of finding myself.

I fell in love with the atmosphere of Bugs the first time I walked into the place with Harry (the jerk). It was my ideal pool hall, the place where I felt I could learn how to actually play the sport and I could act older, not younger. The fancy, neon light filled halls around my home never appealed to me. Sure, I enjoyed playing the game, but I didn’t enjoy having to act like a teenager. I never did like being a teenager. My dad even says that I never truly was one. I went from being a little kid to being an adult. Immaturity in my friends annoyed me and I was always cast as the leader of a group, trying to get my friends to have fun without getting into trouble. I liked the fact that at Bugs I could get into a pick-up game of pool. It was a place where one person could go and not feel out of place. You didn’t have to have friends with to grab a table and play.

After Harry and I stopped seeing each other (or I stopped answering his calls and requests to purchase lewd materials in downtown – what a prick), I still went to Bugs. Sometimes I would call up Charlie and we’d go there. The place was close enough to make it there quickly and easily, but far enough away from our high school that we didn’t run into those we didn’t want to see. When Andriy visited our home, I took him to Bugs. I enjoyed the games of pool; he enjoyed the fact he could actually smoke indoors somewhere in America. I had a couple of other friends from high school that I’d call up and invite them out for a game or two.

One night, in August of 1999, I went up to Bugs with a friend I knew since our high school bowling days. It’s someone I don’t correspond with anymore, but I remember going up there with her because we both loved to play pool. A guy I had a minor interaction with was there that night and it was a strange situation. Looking back, the situation with the guy was so idiotic (it’s not even funny or note-worthy enough to write about and he’s not one of the guys in the Dating 101 section), but it was a door opener. After his group left, my friend and I went up to the counter and started talking to Big D. Big D had been working that night and it was getting late. The place would be closing at 2 AM (back when bars only stayed open until 1, but the pool hall could stay open later). Big D started telling us stories and we started talking to him (at first it was to gain knowledge about that guy, but then that was pointless). Bugs was less than 10 minutes from my home and I didn’t park my car in the driveway until 4:15 AM that morning.

My friend and I started going up to Bugs more than once a week. I started to meet the regulars I had always seen hanging out at the counter. Quickly I was able to walk in and strike up conversation with any of the regulars. The branch of NABABNA that I worked at was right next door to Bugs and I would swing by after work for a pick-up game or two. My friend stopped visiting the establishment after a couple of months, she never kept her focus on any one person or place. She found a new boy-toy and he was more interested in different pastimes, yet I remained as a regular at Bugs. I had new friends.

That sounds terrible, yet it is what happened. I felt included and I felt adult being part of a crowd that was older. I had turned twenty-one and it felt good to be with others that could go to different bars. Our group never frequented the different bars in the area, but we could. It was natural for me to start going to Bugs each night after work. The days I didn’t work, I could be found at Bugs. I am not exaggerating in the slightest to say that I spent more time inside that hole-in-the-wall than I did anywhere else, and I slept at home. I helped close the place each night of the week. I would jump in and help the person closing with certain duties (like brushing tables, cleaning ashtrays, etc). On Friday and Saturday nights, I would help fill in as a “bouncer”. I was never tough, but I was fearless when it came to kicking drunken teenagers out.

For two years, I held a part-time job at Bugs. On Friday nights, I would work a mid-shift, helping to run the counter during the busy hours. I also worked there on Sunday afternoons in the winter. I was paid cash and it wasn’t much, but the discount I got on playing pool was worth the job. Plus, I was there anyway.

I was leaving for work the day my parents told me they were getting divorced. The people at Bugs were the first I spoke to about it. I started spending even more time there. Avoidance was my coping mechanism. Right after my parent’s divorce, I applied for a job at the call center of NABABNA. I got the job and I started working nights. I would swing by Bugs before work and then head back there as soon as my shift ended. I will admit I stopped going to as many classes because I wanted to be with my “crowd”. I had friends at college who would comment that I had found my “hang-out”. A couple of them were jealous that I had a place. And it was my place. Sometimes I miss being one of the regulars at Bugs (the story about why I stopped going there is for another night). It was a good place for me to go during a time of my life where many things changed. It was a transition.

Big D used to comment that I didn’t fit the typical description of a regular. I didn’t do drugs. I had a steady job with a corporation. I didn’t dress in ripped jeans and cut-off T-shirts. And as much as I tried to be classy, there was always a part of me that wanted to be a regular. I wanted to be part of a group that was real. I was a part of the group for a period of time and the question, “Was it real?” still lingers in my mind. As time passed, I saw more superficiality in the “crew”, but there are glimmers of memories in my mind.

My time at Bugs is a period of my life I have not written a ton about on this blog. I think it is time for me to start revisiting some of the stories. I hope to clear my mind and find what I want to remember about the place. I promise more stories in the next few weeks. My hopes about this post are that it helps set the tone for these stories. The backdrop if you will.

I have many memories of the crew. For those who have heard some of these stories before, where should I start?

Strange Days

You know that the day is going to be a little off-kilter when you wake up and the first thought you have is, 'I knew they were aliens because when I touched them, their skin fell off.'

Then the dream faded and that's about all I have left. I know there were these really nice, normal looking women who were taking over everything, but when I touched one of them, her skin around her jaw just fell off. I was not scared in the dream, just perplexed.

The next thought I had was about work. I had been awake for about three minutes when I realized that I have 3 separate obligations scheduled today and they all are at the same time. This might prove to be a problem.

And since my life has seemed to find a random track again (which always messes me up), I leave you with this short little blip I found in a magazine 11 years ago:

What are the seven qualities of an action hero?

1) Takes whatever he wants and lays it all to waste.
2) Wins all gun battles
3) Is surrounded by weaklings who need protection
4) Wanders, untouched, through scenes of carnage
5) Tends to have everything he encounters burst into flames
6) Isn’t even slowed down by the death of his friends
7) Uses cool tag lines like “Hasta la vista, baby”

It is interesting to note, by the way, that Scarlett O’Hara meets all seven qualification of the action hero. But only if you consider, “Fiddle-dee-dee” a cool tag line.

Advice from CHIP:

During my high school years, I created a family newsletter. (This may prove how much of a dork I am, but you know what, I like being a dork.) Each month, my parents and I would spend an entire weekend putting together stories about the extended family into the "journal". It was usually 6-8 pages (double-sided, so 12 to 14 full pages of text and pictures) and sent out to about 30 households.

It was a fun experience to work with my parents for a weekend each month preparing the paper. It really brought us closer and I learned a ton about my family from the work. In some ways, I miss working on it each month. College arrived and it just fell by the wayside. But sometimes...

I liked how I heard from my family more often. Once the paper stopped, the communication in our family fell away. I hardly ever talk to relatives anymore. It takes a huge effort in our family to communicate (extended family) and without the paper, a distance formed. C'est la vie and all that.

One of the monthly "columns" was an advice column from my dog. It's so cheesy and I still laugh. My mom was paging through some of the old issues the other day and found herself giggling. It's funny, she wrote the column, yet she still feels the words were his.

I am going to share some of the old stories and articles on this blog. Tonight I want to share a little bit of Advice from CHIP.

July 1993:

Dear Chip:

My boyfriend is handsome, charming and fun to be with. He treats me great, has plenty of money and a nice car. He even loves to cook and clean! One small problem---whenever I want to go for a walk together he finds something else to do. He has asked me to marry him. Do we have a future together?


Dear Hopeless:

Stupid question! Everyone knows that taking walks together is the only real basis for a long-lasting relationship. You two don’t have a chance! Next time you write, think first—and bring me something to eat!


Dear Chip:

My wife and I walk together most evenings. I like to keep moving all the time but she is always stopping to look at water and trees and bushes. What can I do to speed her up?

Tired of Waiting

Dear T.W.:

You could be more patient. When she stops, give her a minute to look around before gently letting her know that it is time to move along. Maybe you will even find something in nature to appreciate too. If that doesn’t work, you could bite her ear playfully and run so she chases you. Is it time to eat yet?


Dear Chip:

When I was talking a walk in the woods yesterday I met a really cute boy. He said hello in a very friendly way but I was shy and only nodded back. Now I wish I could do it over again. PLEASE HELP.


Dear Teen:

Don’t give up! You should go for that same walk everyday until you meet him again. I could go with you! Then he will ask you questions and you can tell him all about me without being shy. I am so cute that he will want to walk with us and you can get to know him! Let’s go get something to eat now.


August 1993:

Dear Chip:

Eating out is fun. I like to try everything. My problem is this. After the salad, breadsticks, rolls, soup, relishes, etc. I’m almost full before my main course arrives. What are my options?


Dear Full:

Option #1 – Ask not to be served what you’d rather not try – but remember you still pay for it.

Option #2 – Eat only a little of each item and leave the rest. Do you like wasting food?

Option #3 – Eat everything but go easy on the things you can take home in a doggie bag. The meat portion is what comes to mind here. That it real easy on the meat and you can have room left for dessert! You will be full but comfortable and someone will love you for it.

Speaking of meat, let’s see what’s in the frig!


Dear Chip:

We like to eat out quite often. There’s a buffet we really enjoy but we often wonder. How much should we tip when the server only brings the beverages?


Dear Diner:

I don’t know. Here’s one for you. Did you know that you can’t get a doggie bag at most buffets? Just think about that! Give me something to eat now.


Dear Chip:

I used to bring home doggie bags and split the food for my dog and my cat. My cat sometimes wouldn’t eat it and never said thank you. So now I give it all to my dog. Is this wrong?

Fair or Foul?

Dear Fair, no Foul:

No, this is good. Your cat would have to be starving and be served on a silver platter to appreciate leftovers. Cats just drive me nuts! Especially when they walk on top of the fence and sneer down at you!

I wonder if there is any pizza left.


September 1993:

Dear Chip:

Please help! I am so depressed and unhappy! Someone I love is going away soon and I don’t want her to go. There will be soon be a big empty spot in my life. What can I do?


Dear Heartbroken:

I am so sorry. This must be a very hard time for you, but life does change and people move on. You must wish this person the best and be happy that you had her with you as long as you did. If you look outward to new friends and relationships, that big empty spot will fill up fast. Otherwise you could always store more paper towels there! Going away…Going away?? WAIT A MINUTE! Is that like packing things in bags and cases and big boxes? This better not be someone who gives me treats and scratches my ears and tells me how cute I am! HELP! I’m so depressed and unhappy! I better have something to eat now!


Dear Chip:

I went to the cupboard to find a bone and lo and behold I was not alone. These kids are running me ragged! What’s a mother to do?

Sleepless in Stoughton

Dear Sleepless:

I know what you mean! There were some babies in our neighborhood (9 of them) and they cried ALL the time! But they were almost as cute as me and it was amazing how fast they grew up! You should enjoy your babies as much as you can because they may soon be going away—there’s that nasty “going away” words I don’t like!

Exactly where is this cupboard where you can get bones?


October 1993:

Dear Chip:

I have a favorite older granddaughter (Traci), a favorite younger granddaughter (Beth), a favorite older grandson (Christopher), a favorite younger grandson (Matt) & a favorite great grandson (Aaron). But now Traci has fouled me up. Do I have a favorite double great granddaughter Alex/Sam? Please help me with my dilemma.


Dear Grandfather:

Wow, this is tough. I think they could be your favorite twins! Maybe my readers have some other suggestions. If so, please send them in.

It sounds like you don’t want one to be more favorite than the other. I would like the one who eats less better because I really like leftover milk and cereal. Probably other kinds of baby food too.


Dear Chip:

Halloween will be here pretty soon. This is a holiday that spotlights cats! HA HA HA HA – dogs don’t have any holidays about them. So what do you think about that?


“Dear” Fluffy:

You hear a lot about cats around Halloween because this holiday is for evil and scary things. Not that I am scared of cats, of course, but some dogs and people are and they are bad luck besides!

I think I like Halloween anyway because we gets LOTS of candy for kids but not many kids come to our door. I like corn candy and little Snickers bars and Hersheys and Rolos and (get this) even Kit Kat Bars!

So dogs don’t get a holiday, HUH? Who do you think Arbor Day is for?


Dear Chip:

I’m selling my house soon. Any hints for a quick sale?


Dear Moving:

Yes! Here’s a good one. When someone is coming to look at the house I will come and sit in the yard next door. I will sit very quiet (not in your front yard though) and wag my tail (cute) and tilt my head to one side (very cute). Everyone will want to live there!

Also, leave some fresh cookies out for them to give me when they leave.


November 1993:

Dear Chip:

The answer to Grandfather’s dilemma is technically Alex is 5 minutes older than Sam is. So he still has a favorite older great-granddaughter and a favorite great-granddaughter. And for you Chip, they usually don’t leave much leftover milk. They are pretty hungry girls.


Dear Traci:

Are you sure? No leftovers? Oh well…Thank you for a very good solution. You sound like a nice woman and I would like to meet you. Couldn’t you come here and visit us and maybe bring some extra food along in case your babies are messy or something???


Dear Chip:

Who is this Grandfather guy anyway? Tell him for me that he has too many favorites! Is everything a favorite something? When he eats a bologna sandwich, does he have a favorite left side and a favorite right side? Or a favorite top layer of cake and a favorite bottom later? Get real!

BobbyJoe (Houston)

Dear BobbyJoe:

Don’t you get it? These are people, grandchildren even, that Grandfather is asking about. Not something for lunch!!! Lunch?? What is for lunch?

Who do we know in Houston anyway and if we do, how come he didn’t send us some steaks?? I like steak too.


Dear Chip:

My human wants me to wear a costume next year for Halloween so I’ll be cute. Is my human nuts or what?


Dear Pookie:

I used to think that too. I didn’t want to wear a costume either at first. But Taco was wearing his so I tried it. It was nice having everyone tell us how cute we were and taking our pictures.

Let me tell you about this whole Trick or Treat thing! You go right up to houses, ring the bell and THEY GIVE YOU CANDY!! Really! We got lots of candy and we could wet on the bushes too. I liked Halloween a lot and I’m pretty sure the next holiday is a good one too---turkey and pie---I hope it starts soon.


December 1993:

Dear Chip:

Please help me out. I’ve been living with the same guy off and on now for six years. I’ve always told him how much I would like offspring, but he doesn’t want to discuss it. I’m not one to play “Hard-To-Get”, but he ignores my advance. I think he’s neutered. What should I do?

Toiling Tilly, Milw., WI

Dear Tilly:

Six years and you just think he’s neutered? What are you, a cat or something? If you really want offspring, your choices are pretty limited---have an affair and hope he doesn’t remember how you get babies! But do you really want babies? You know, they eat a lot and you have to stay home with them all the time. And once you have babies, you aren’t the baby anymore! I am only one year old so I had to look up “neutered”. Eeeeewwooo!!! It’s almost enough to take my appetite away!

So, Tilly, want to have dinner with me next Saturday?


Dear Chip:

I love the holiday season, but I always seem to over eat. Yes, I’ve read all the popular (old, worn-out, boring) theories on how to avoid this—but everything looks so good! Any suggestions?

Holiday Binger

Dear Binger:

YES, Yes, yes!!! Take a good long walk every evening! This works great! Also, run around a lot and bother your big brother (or whoever) and—Wait a minute—You get too much to eat? I’m always hungry. Maybe you could just put some of that extra food in a bag for me!


P.S. The world is a pretty dangerous place….if you take long walks, it is much better to take a dog with you—for protection, you know.

Dear Chip:

Last month’s editor’s column said that you have gift suggestions. I almost hate to ask, but what are they? I have a wide variety of friends and family to buy for.

Concerned Shopper

Dear C.S.:

There are two great gifts that always fit—OK, three if you count cash—puppies and food! My editor may have been a little confused. I meant I have suggestions for gifts for me! 1) Steak 2) Pork 3) Hot Dogs 4) Candy.


Dear Readers:

I found this interesting small piece of news in our daily paper:

“In January, Robert Williams, a University of Tennessee neurobiologist, reported that the brains of housecats are getting smaller, probably attributable to their associations with humans.” Merry Christmas to All!!!



*During the summer of 1993, my cousin Susan lived with our family while attending school in Minnesota. When "Chip" is talking about someone leaving, he is referring to Susan.

**In August of 1993, my cousin gave birth to twins. That was an actual submission by my grandfather about his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The link is the last time I saw them. Not pretty. Somewhat funny, but not pretty.

***Tilly was my cousin's cat. There are more submissions from "her" in later columns. I will probably share them here.


"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

"I think so Brain, but burlap chafes me so."

I have no clue what-so-ever why I started tonight's post with a Pinky & The Brain quote, but it's been in my head. Random quotes and songs have been popping in and out of my brain all day long. Like finding myself singing, "Chantily Lace" while I was answering questions at work today. Where did that one come from? (I've got to admit, the comments intertwined within the lyrics here are amusing. The Big Bopper never knew it was coming. Poor Big Bopper. Why the hell am I feeling bad for the Big Bopper now? I'm losing it.)

Does anyone out there take any stock in astrology? It's always been one of those subjects I never looked at heavily, yet still found myself checking out my horoscope, laughing as I did it. I've never really found a horoscope and went, "OMG! That's soooo true!" Yet, I still have these little books about astrology.

And the subject has been stuck in my head. I'm trying to figure out if I fit my sign. I'm not sure if I do. For those who know me or read this site and have gotten a taste of the crazy that formulates in my brain, does any of these sound like me?

  • Only reveals what they want to be seen and conceal their strong emotions beneath the surface.
  • One reason for secretive nature that powerful feelings leave the individual quite vunerable. Letting others know how deeply it feels brings fear that others may use the knowledge against it.
  • Another reason for secrecy is that powerful emotions might explode if not reined in.
  • When a temper tantum happens, it can be devastating.
  • Concerned with emotions more than ideas, principles, or money.
  • Feelings are constant.
  • When giving its heart, it is given completely.
  • If this sign likes you, you have a friend for life. If not, this sign will not change its opinion easily.
  • Being sensitive, this sign stays away from things it cannot control in order to avoid pain.
  • Pleasant surprises reminds the sign that some things are beyond its control.
  • May act like a loner, but longs for intimacy with others.
  • Careful in choosing friends and lovers who will respect its privacy and feelings.
  • Rewards intimacy with intense affection and steadfast loyalty.
  • When wounded, responds with a deadly sting. The sign has a long memory and will eventually repay any injury after cool deliberation.
  • When being cynical about human nature, this sign believes it is only being realistic. The realism is also the source of this sign's compassion. The sign understands how difficult life can be. If someone is truly in pain, the sign will find a way to help.
  • This sign has no sympathy for those who are down-and-out through their own folly.
  • Able to see through social masks and recognize people for who they really are.
  • Sensitive and self-possessed.
  • This sign benefits more from diet and rest cures than from invasive procedures or strong drugs.
  • Fiercely protective and demanding with high, inflexible standards.
  • Teaches children survival qualities, such as good behavior, honesty, and obedience. Children of this sign have strong sense of security that comes from knowing they are deeply loved.
  • Will try to preserve love relationships at great cost. Known for jealousy and possessiveness; however, will reward devotion with deep understanding and loyalty.
  • Likes order and organization, such as hiding places, drawers, and closets.
  • This sign rules banking and the professions that control other people's money.
  • Work behind the scenes to create efficient organizations.
  • Need for control.
  • Will replay arguments for days - and seek revenge.
  • Extreme self-control.
  • Will clam up if it is expected to reveal the truth openly and if blunt questions become too invasive.
  • Piercing, searching, and knowing eyes.
  • Penetrating mind.
  • Craves emotional security.
  • Private.
  • Sensitive to criticism.
  • Prefers to manipulate the emotions of others to control the world.
  • Does not like surprises.
  • One track mind.
  • Anything other than fact is not to be trusted.
  • Passionate and intense.
  • Usually suspicious of everyone, especially those it loves because these are the people who have the power to hurt it the most.
  • Expert in the art of the silent treatment.
  • Plots revenge.
  • Stubborn.
  • Finds it difficult to let go of a conflict, the urge to sting still lingers.
  • Honest about themselves and their abilities. Not given to boasting or false modesty.
  • Rarely displays feelings with gallant gestures or lavish compliments.
  • Makes friends and lovers effortlessly.
  • Dislikes short-term arrangements.
  • Deep need for privacy may make it difficult to seek outside help.
  • Will file away information for later use.
  • Wants power for the security of being in control, not for the status power brings.
  • Hides intense emotions under a cool exterior.
  • Gets what it wants from others without their knowledge.

I don't know if any of this sounds like me. Maybe some do. I can't even think it out anymore. Why am I stuck on this?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Lifting the Weight


There is something about that feeling of relief that just feels GREAT! It's like a weight has been removed from my shoulders.

In the last half hour, I completed my final paper for my employment law class, finished up my weekly summary, and did all the little end of course things. Then I called the admissions office and requested to have my next class not start until August.I am taking a break from school.

Yes, I know it makes the degree farther off in the future. The thing about it is that the company I work for, NABABNA, only pays the tuition up to a certain amount each year and I really can't afford to take more than about 4 classes a year. I only have about 8 left, so two years looks good.

I was planning on taking one more class and then having the break (because I'm going to PORTUGAL!), but then the school decided to stop giving us the week off between classes. So I decided now would be a good time to schedule that break.

Economics, as "exciting" as they are, were not my top priority for the next five weeks and they look good for August.

And now, with class out of the way, I can check up on blogs, write more, and go out more! Yea! It's fun!

I'm sitting here with a very large smile on my face. I have a cold, but it is knocked into submission with this happy news.


For the past five weeks, I've been taking an Employment Law class. When the class started, I was fascinated with the topics. The class has proved more interesting than any other class I've taken so far in my program (such as that horrible computer class or statistics), but now I'm having a problem.

The topics grab my attention and the reading is easier for me. I don't cringe when I open the textbook (PDF file) on my screen and read about such topics as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Family and Medical Leave Act. I see the relevance of these topics in my daily work. I believe in the laws passed to prevent discrimination.

The class is almost over and these past two weeks have been hard for me. It's not that the topics are less interesting or that I am struggling in the class, in fact I'm still maintaining a good grade and I get the assignments done. But...

But I can't concentrate on the work. I am supposed to be writing a paper about employee safety, health, and welfare law right now (FMLA is the subject I'm focusing on), and I got about half way through it and found myself staring into the distance. And hell, I found myself doing it again while writing this post.

I have about two hours left before I need to go to bed and I have to finish this paper and then make some Power Point slideshow about affirmative action. And yet, I stare at the wall. It's driving me batty.

What is it about my personality that grabs onto one topic and keeps spinning it in my mind over and over until I can't remember where I started? Is it logic? That doesn't make sense. Logic should make things clearer, not cloud them. But I can't concentrate on topics that I need to focus on. And I'm interested in the topics I need to concentrate on.

I'm crazy, I just thought everyone should know. I seem all normal on the surface, but that's just a joke. I'm crazy. And I'm getting worse, not better. What is the cure? I think the only cure is answers to questions, but what questions?

Bloody hell. I'm just insane. Someone smack me upside the head now (but please, do it gently, I don't really like pain).

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mood Music

Music is something that fills my life. Ever since I've lived alone, I've drifted away from watching movies and have turned my focus towards music, music that I have always loved but never took the time to really listen. Now I have time.

One of my all-time favorite performers/artists/singers or whatever you want to call her is Melissa Etheridge. People have told me before, "Oh, you must be gay if you like her." Well, that's a load of utter bullshit. I think she has an amazing talent, a beautiful voice, and I think her songs help me find the paths to my emotions. Her songs touch me. I don't always have the same situations or the same feelings, but the energy in her voice, the emotion conveyed if you will, grabs at my soul and forces me to feel. It's very easy for me to sit back and ignore my feelings. That's something that I've done for most of my life. If something hurts, I can just ignore it until it either goes away or gets so bad that I have to do something about it.

I am going to share many songs here tonight, if only for myself. If you enjoy song lyrics, feel free to check out these songs. I am going to write a few things about what I've been thinking while listening to these songs.

The Late September Dogs

Just outside my window I hear the late September dogs
And I understand their warning I understand their song
Since you left I feel the change in the air
And night after night I'm searching for mercy everywhere
So I wake in the street and I call out your name
I shout to the sky please

Come on let it rain
Let it rain down on me
Let the rain touch my hands
Let the rain set me free
Let it rain down on me

Silence is the steel that pierces and cuts me to the bone
In dreams the hand that touches you is mine and mine alone
Cruel is the light is the morning shining down on me
Hours with the Devil to understand just what you need
So I wake in the street and I call out your name
Shout to the sky come on

Come on let it rain
Let it rain down on me
Let the rain fill my eyes
Let the rain set me free
Let it rain down on me

Just inside the distance I hear the late September dogs
And so I beg for sleep the child who walked before she crawled
Damn my soul that remembers and clutches to this pain
The spear in your side is me

Come on let it rain
Let it rain down on me
Let the rain touch my hands
Let the rain set me free
Let it rain down on me

This song is from her debut album, Melissa Etheridge. The album is full of raw emotion and only recently have I started to listen to it. The verses are quiet, focusing on the singer. Words are clear and punctuated. The chorus is where I find the swell of emotion in my soul. Rain is the key focus in the chorus and more power and energy is placed into the word, repeating and gaining throughout. I have no idea what the Late September Dogs are. I just know the lines, "Let the rain set me free" and "Damn my soul that remembers and clutches to this pain" make me stop, think, and feel.

Watching You

That's a good question
Why am I standing out here alone
I guess I don't know enough to come in from the rain
I was watching your window
From here below
I think I just might stay here all day
Cause I gotta do something

If I can't love you
I don't want to love you
If I can't hold you
I don't want to be thinking of you
And if you don't want me
I don't want to want you
And if you won't see me
I don't know what to do
But oh keep watching you
Until I see right through
Oh I keep watching you

You could throw me down a cigarette
I smoked my last one quite a while ago
No, I gave it to the man that swore he had no need
You know sometimes if I listen real close
I can hear the dark side of the moon
And there's always yesterday's Times if I care to read
And I gotta do something

If I can't love you
I don't want to love you
If I can't hold you
I don't want to be thinking of you
And if you don't want me
I don't want to want you
And if you won't see me
I don't know what to do
But oh keep watching you
Until I see right through
Oh I keep watching you

Sure I'm alright
No I'm not very cold
Every now and then I can feel the subway heat
So go on inside
I'll leave you alone
Anyway Bogart's on in the window down the street
And I gotta do something

If I can't love you
I don't want to love you
If I can't hold you
I don't want to be thinking of you
And if you don't want me
I don't want to want you
And if you won't see me
I don't know what to do
But oh keep watching you
Until I see right through
Oh I keep watching you

As I listen to this song, also from the debut album, I do not associate with watching someone from outside their window. Stalking is not something I'm interested in. What grabs me about this song is the chorus, yet again. I don't know about the "if I can't love you", but I do understand the "If I can't hold you, I don't want to be thinking of you." Again, the energy is saved for the repetition of the chorus. The verses are almost spoken, not sung. The chorus builds and then brings the listener back down to the next verse.

If I Wanted To

If I wanted to I could do anything right
I could dance with the devil on a Saturday night
If I wanted to I could turn matches to gold
I could smoke drink swear and I would never grow old
I wouldn't have to be in love with you
If I only wanted to
If I only wanted to

If I wanted to I could run fast as a train
Be as sharp as a needle that's twisting your brain
If I wanted to I could turn mountains to sand
Have political leaders in the palm of my hand
I wouldn't have to be in love with you
If I only wanted to
If I only wanted to

I could leave tonight
And I would be all right
Stop holding on
If I wanted to
If I only wanted to

If I wanted to I could be as patient as death
Fix this hole in my heart leaking into my flesh
If I wanted to I could turn sparks into ice
There'd never be another woman who could make you think twice
I wouldn't have to be in love with you
If I only wanted to
If I only wanted to

This song is from the album, "Yes I Am". The energy of the accompany instruments is stronger and the lyrics run faster than the previous two songs. It again speaks about want and desire and the uncontrollable nature of emotions. The singer is telling a story about wanting someone and having control, but the control is false. "There'd never be another woman who could make you think twice" is the line that makes me smile every time I hear the song. It's like she's saying, "You know I'm lying, but believe what you want."

Chrome Plated Heart

I got a chrome-plated heart
I got wings on these fingers trying to tear it apart
I got angels crying from up above
And they got rust in their eyes
They got rust on their love
But I have learned to leave no stone unturned
And keep the wall against my back
And the love is real as the day is long
And the night is black
As black as night

I got a two-dollar stare
Midas in my touch and Delilah in my hair
I got bad intentions on the soles of my shoes
With this red hot fever and these chromium blues
And I will feel another lover's wheel
And drive for miles and not look back
And the love is real as the day is long
And the night is black
As black as night

On my chrome-plated heart
Wings on these fingers trying to tear it apart
I got angels crying from up above
And they got rust in their eyes
They got rust on their love
And the only way I know where the train will go
Is when I'm sleeping on the tracks
And the love is real as the day is long
And the night is black
As black as night
And the night is black
As black as night

This song is also from the first album. Can you tell it's what I've been listening to lately? There's a steady beat in the background and it's mostly guitar playing the melody. When listening to the song, I sense a guardedness in the singer. The lines that I enjoy the most are, "Midas in my touch and Delilah in my hair, I got bad intentions on the soles of my shoes."


How could I stay
How could I breathe
There had to be more for me
Promises gone
Plastic and stone
I'm doing fine all alone

So you're having a breakdown
So you're losing the fight
So you're having a breakdown
And I'm driving and crying
Unraveled and flying
I'm coming to your breakdown tonight

I cannot run
I cannot hide
It came with me locked inside
The bough will break
Cradle will fall
It only takes one call

So you're having a breakdown
So you're losing the fight
So you're having a breakdown
And you need me tonight
I found my place in this downtown
Salt air and yellow street lights
So you're having a breakdown
And I'm driving and crying
Unraveled and flying
I'm coming to your breakdown tonight

From the album named for this song, "Breakdown" starts sweet and slow. The singing is liquid until the chorus. The accompaniment builds during the chorus and the lyrics sound like reaching out, begging to help. It's about being there because one wants to be there to help. At least, that's what I hear when I listen.

Don't You Need

I had a dream late last night
The water was running low
And my fields were on fire, burning my sky
My body was moving slow
And when I awoke I tasted the sweat of desire in my mouth
And I realized my heart had abducted my mind
And they were last seen headed south
Now I can't sleep I'm so wired
And I find myself screaming out

Don't you need don't you want
Can't you taste it when you're alone
Don't you cry don't you feel
Sometimes I wonder if you are real
Don't you bleed
Don't you need

There's no quenching the thirst there's no relief
For the hungry at heart
And as far as you're concerned I'm just a thief
Entertaining in the dark
But it's you that holds the cards
Now that the joker is wild

Don't you want to lay it down
And feel your skin against the ground
Don't you want to ride the storm
And then sleep inside the calm
Don't you want to get that high
Don't you want to be satisfied
Well if you don't want it from me
Don't you need

I had a dream late last night
The water was running low
And my fields were on fire burning my sky
How was I to know
That I burn every night in my dreams
And only morning can set me free

Don't you need don't you want
Can't you taste it when you're alone
Don't you cry don't you feel
Sometimes I wonder if you are real
Don't you bleed
Don't you need

This song is also from the self-titled album, Melissa Etheridge. It's strange, most songs of other artists, I identify with the verses, finding the non-repetitiveness a way to discover a bit more about the emotions being portrayed. With ME, I find the choruses stronger and filled with more power. In this song, the chorus is filled with questions, inquiring to the subject, "Don't you feel?" I've stated, a hundred times before, that I think logically. I try to see what makes sense and I try to understand the emotions behind one's actions. I do look for the hidden meaning in many aspects of my life. This tends to go against logic, but it comes from my desire to understand fully what is happening. In this song, I hear it in the singer's voice, pleading with the listener (the original object of affection) to share the emotions with the singer. To open up and stop hiding behind imaginary walls, to be honest and to be real.

Dance Without Sleeping

I don't want to talk about it
I've done enough I think
I don't want to spend more money
Don't want another drink
I would scratch out all the images
If I had the chance
Don't ask me what I'm thinking
Can't you see I only want to dance

Dance without sleeping
Dance without fear
Dance without senses no message I hear
Dance without sleeping
Dance till I'm numb
Dance till I think I can overcome

Walking on the edge of rage and understanding
Between the black and the white
This child is so angry
Alone here tonight
Alarming desperation
Leads me to believe
With all my shields and protection
It's only me I deceive

Dance without sleeping
Dance without fear
Dance without senses no message I hear
Dance without sleeping
Dance till I'm numb
Dance till I think I can overcome

The eyes on a magazine
The voice on the radio
The kiss on the movie screen
This is the story I know
Fathers hold on and they never go
Mothers hold on and they never go
Lovers hold on and they never go
Lovers they come and they never go

Dance without sleeping
Dance without fear
Dance without senses no message I hear
Dance without sleeping
Dance till I'm numb
Dance till I think I can overcome

This song is from the album "Never Enough". It conveys a completely different feeling than "Don't You Need." It's more about finding that place where one can hide, where one can avoid emotion, yet not being able to find it. The singer wants to dance without sleeping, dance without fear, dance till the singer thinks she can overcome, but never finding that place of being numb. The singer does not want the pain, yet almost understands that it will never subside. "It's only me I deceive," brings that feeling to me.

When I listen to the songs by Melissa Etheridge, I usually find the emotions of desire and wanting. I truly believe that ME is an amazing artist and I could listen to her albums over and over. That's probably why I've worn out a few of the CDs I've purchased. Don't let anyone else's opinion of music change what you enjoy. Don't let someone's opinion of a performer's life limit you from experiencing something that will move you. I'm not saying that everyone should love her music, I'm saying don't restrict from listening because someone else told you. Listen to what gives you energy, listen to what makes you feel, listen to what makes you feel alive.