Thursday, March 31, 2005

I Bet You Can't Do That Again...

Traveling back in time to 1996, I recall an adventure on my trip to Germany. I traveled with other students from my high school to a city named Osnabrueck in Northern Germany. We experienced the night life, the school life, even toured a peat bog (oh, the joys of peat!), and yet, when I think of the trip, I remember two parts in particular.

The first part of the trip that pops into my head is the day we spent in Koeln (Cologne). Seeing the Cathedral was amazing. Some night (when I get photos loaded from that trip) I will post a couple of the pictures and discuss the eyes on the sidewalk. But that's a story for another night.

I've been playing more pool lately. Char is willing to go out after work and we keep ending up at another local pool hall (not Bugs) and we shoot for about two to three hours a night. I like the practice and Char is improving in leaps and bounds. Sometimes she gets a bit discouraged, but she is getting really good. Playing pool reminds me of the impossible shot I made one simple night in Germany.

The local pub in Osnabrueck was called the Gruener Jaeger. In English it means the Green Hunter. The bar had two rooms downstairs and a run down billiards table upstairs. One of the nights of our three week stay, the host families allowed for our group to meet up at the pub and enjoy the evening. Others in our group stayed downstairs, shooting the breeze and tipping back the pilsner. Not being much of a drinker (I don't really enjoy the taste of alcohol all that much), I suggested a few games of pool upstairs. A girl from our group, Katie (Simone was her German name, we each had one. I was Frieda), decided it sounded like a bit of fun. We gave the deposit to the bartender and got the rack of balls to take upstairs.

The table was old and the owners of the pub did not take care of it. I could tell that drunkards (or just inconsiderates, who knows really) had used it as a chair or couch on more than one occasion. One of my pet peeves in a pool hall is to see someone sitting on a table. It doesn't seem like much, yet the weight of a human being can loosen the glue and allow for the rail to come off the table. On this particular table, one of the rails had been pushed down and created a bit of a ramp. (Can you see where this is going?)

I was shooting at one of my balls and made the ball into the far corner pocket. The cue ball then caromed off that ball and hit the rail. (Should I just say ramp?) I had hit the shot much harder than it needed and of course, the cue ball launched off the table. It also made it past the edge of the floor and headed for the crazy drunken chaos downstairs.

I thought, "Oh no. Here's where German lessons are going to come in handy!" I headed downstairs to look for the cue ball, hoping that I hadn't hurt anyone. When I made it down the rickety stairs (this was one classy joint, I'll tell ya!), I found a group gathered around a table, laughing a bit louder than the others inside the place. I wouldn't have been able to not laugh if it had been me at that table. What else do they see than an innocent, 17-year old blonde, blue eyed American girl wandering around, speaking broken German, looking for a cue ball.

Then they handed me the cue ball, complete with the beer stein filled with pilsner surrounding it. What I could gather is that my cue ball landed perfectly in the pint. I do not know if it actually made it in the glass by its own course of motion, yet I want to believe it.

I stood there, flabbergasted. It was the impossible to me. I tried to remember the German from class, yet nothing we learned could convey the message I wanted to say. I had no clue what the drinker of the beer (bier) had wanted me to do about it, but I could only stand there, apologizing over and over. Finally, I passed over the price of the pint to allow the partaker to partake in a fresh pint, cue ball free.

The drinker then gave me the stein with the cue ball laying so quaintly at the bottom. It fit almost perfectly. The other Americans had noticed the ruckass by this point and gathered around. Pictures were taken, the story was retold, and the dilemma of how to empty the glass to get the ball back was examined. I didn't want to drink the beer and it was almost impossible to get the ball out without emptying the glass. We eventually found an empty glass to pour the beer into and I was able to retrieve the ball.

Katie and I gathered up the rest of the balls and returned them to the bartender. It was enough adventure for one night. Besides, who wants to keep buying a beer for each game of eight ball? That gets a bit expensive, especially when one doesn't like beer.

I've gotten a bit better at pool since that time, but the most important lesson I learned was to make sure the table is in better shape when I decide to hit the ball with all my force. I also learned that my German skills could be much better and that funny stories can come from anywhere.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


When it comes to entertainment news or gossip, I am behind the times. I know that there is some big trial going on because Michael Jackson has been accused of molesting a teenage boy (or is it more than one? I don't know). I know nothing about what movies are coming out or who is sleeping with whom and this sometimes spills out in every day conversation.

A few months back, a woman at work (she no longer works at our place) told me that she went to high school with Laci (or is it Lacey) Peterson. My response? "Oh, that's nice. Who's she?"

This caused the woman to look at me and say, "Wow, you're not kidding when you say you don't watch t.v." She explained to me that this woman was killed and her husband was the main suspect (and I guess he did it, according to other bits of news I have absorbed).

Well, the reason I'm writing about this is because someone at work walked up to me and said, "Johnnie Cochran just died."

I stood there, overly confused. For starters, I had no idea who he was. The name was vaguely familiar. For some odd reason, I thought she was talking about Tom Cochrane, the one hit wonder who had the song, "Life is a Highway". What I was really trying to figure out was why she seemed so concerned and how that news had become an important fact in the media. I'm sure Tom Cochrane has a lot of family and friends who care if he's alive or dead, yet I didn't see this being the top news story of the day.

Later in the evening, another banker brought up the death of Johnnie Cochran. Then he said, "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." It took me a full minute to realize that the dead man was not the one who sang the 'brilliant' lyrics, "Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long, if you're going my way, I want to drive it all night long," but the man who defended O.J. Simpson in that huge fiasco a few years back.

I really should keep up on the news more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Have You Misplaced Anything Recently?

With Char and Tom's permission, I am writing about karaoke last night at The Chalet. Sometimes, laughter is the best medicine.

Spring has sprung here in Minnesota. The birds are singing, robins are being sighted all over town, the grass is turning green, and a couple more days like today (70 degrees! In March!) and the remaining piles of snow will melt all away. I was able to open the windows today to air the place out and enjoy a little sunshine (yes, spring fever has hit me, the vampiress who abhors the sun).

With the wonderful weather outside and a certain religious holiday (named for a Pagan god and set on a time table so the Christians could covert more Pagans) going on, karaoke at The Chalet seemed to be a slow, intimate evening. Everyone was relaxed, DM and I arrived at our normal time and didn't mind that Bryan didn't get the show started right away. We sat and talked with him, text messaged Char and Tom to see if they would be joining us, and looked through phrase books in Portuguese*. Char and Tom did text us back to let us know they would be showing up.

When they arrived, Bryan started up the singing. We sat and laughed and had a generally good time. Char was not feeling so hot, she had a reaction to something this past week and was dealing with itching and swelling, yet she still smiled and tried to make the best of it.

Because she was not feeling 100%, the duo decided it was time to head for home. We said our good-byes and then out the door they went. Two minutes later, the door opened and they came running back inside.

"Someone stole our tires!" This is what Char told DM and I. I grabbed my coat and left DM inside to talk with Dean, Liz, and the others who had joined our table. (She also made sure our stuff was safe and secure.) When I got outside, I stared at the front end of Char's car in disbelief. 'Who steals tires?' kept playing over and over in my head.

Char called the police and an officer arrived to the scene rather quickly. While we were waiting for the cop, I went back inside to let Bobby know what had happened. Bryan also looked concerned and I shared the incident with him.

Soon, Bobby and Bryan both made trips outside, to see the damage themselves and to also check out their own tires. Sure enough, there sat Char's vehicle, propped up on the two jacks that the criminals left behind. The thief (or thieves) even left the lugnuts behind!

As we were standing outside, I had a strange feeling of deja-vu. A few months back, DM challenged me to write a novel. I have about 35 pages of it complete. It is a murder, suspense story about two girls leaving karaoke and witnessing a murder in the parking lot. Yes, it is loosely based on our adventures at karaoke (mainly setting and stereotypical characters). All of a sudden, I found myself at the scene of a crime, surrounded by the 'Jovial karaoke host' and the 'Bartender/Bouncer', shaking my head in disbelief and awaiting the police to arrive and survey the damage.

Char handled the whole situation like a pro. She was calm, collected, and started to laugh. I guess there are times when the only thing you can do is laugh. We all joked about what happened; knowing it's not that funny, yet it was. It "sucks rock" that Char and Tom have to pay a deductible to get new tires, new brakes (when the car fell, one of the rotors landed on the jack), new rims, and minor body repair to their car. We all compared Maplewood, Minnesota to New York City, trying to figure out why someone would even bother with stealing tires. The weather was nice, but it wasn't nice enough to lay on the ground and take a couple of tires off a car at midnight. One of the things we kept saying was, "I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ than to jack a couple of tires."

The officer arrived at the scene about the same time karaoke erupted. A bar down the road closed at 1 AM and all the drunks headed to The Chalet. Quite quickly, the volume inside The Chalet multiplied ten-fold. The officer, a nice "Boy in Blue" looked puzzled when Char told him that her tires had been stolen. He started the report and then got out of his squad car. Walking towards the front end of the vehicle, he grabbed his flashlight to take a look. "Sure enough, your tires are missing," he stated, oh so matter-of-fact.

A couple other regulars walked outside when the policeman arrived. We stood around talking to the cop for a few minutes and he made an observation, looking at one of the regulars and at Char. He pointed at the guy and said, "Where do I know you from?" This, of course, started the jokes. I can just imagine the jump one’s heart must take when an officer points and questions your identity. Char mentioned, "Well, imagine him like this [she puts her hands behind her head, fingers laced together]." The cop laughs and gives Char his card.

Was it just fitting that the officer who helped Char on Easter be named, "A. Gabriel?"

We headed back inside for the remainder of karaoke. We wanted to wait until the parking lot cleared out to see if we could find the last remaining lugnut on the ground. Liz kept telling Char, "I know it's not funny now, but think of the story you will always have!" Everyone was positive and sympathetic. We tried to joke about the 'Tire Fairy' who takes the tires but then replaces them. We joked that we just caught someone in the act of rotating Char’s tires. Unfortunately, none of these ideas were true, yet they helped lighten the mood. When the bar closed, we headed out to look for the lugnut. It was not found and then I drove DM home. Then I took Char and Tom out to at late night dinner and home to their place.

Char was able to get her car towed this morning to a shop near her home. The good news is that she was planning on getting new tires anyway. She had considered doing it this past weekend. She's quite happy she waited. And now she has a good story. Also, she was able to get medication for her allergic reaction and doesn't itch anymore.

Char was also able to leave a message for our supervisor explaining why she couldn't make it into work tonight. She told him, "I misplaced my tires." Needless to say, but I'm going to anyway, he was quite confused to get that message and then get a phone call from the tire company for her. We like to keep him on his toes.


*One of the phrases in the book is, "Will you put water in the battery?" Maybe this is a culture thing, but why would you put water in a car battery? Is this a lost in translation type of thing? I would think the whole electrical current and water combination being bad is pretty universal.


I have to be going insane. I've been sitting at my computer for three hours now, trying to organize the different sound files from my old computer.

Let me explain something about this. One particular band has 282 songs and files on the computer that I am trying to clean up the tags for (to import to iTunes) and also to delete duplicates. I really should have been better about doing this when I got the music in the first place.

I'm also hoping that Blogger will work tonight. I tried a post earlier that won't publish and I also have had problems commenting on anyone's site. I can't get the comments page to load.

Ugh! Well, at least I'm listening to music!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

100 Things You May or May Not Know About Me

I've seen this type of list before on other blogs. It's always intrigued me, but I never decided to give it a try until I saw the list on Johnny's site (Which Surprised Her.) I really enjoyed reading her list and I hope that this one is half as fun.

1. My first name is Beth.
2. It's not short for Elizabeth.
3. Or for Bethany.
4. I hate being called Bethy.
5. I am an only child.
6. I like this.
7. I love dogs.
8. I can handle cats.
9. I don't like chocolate.
10. I do like white chocolate.
11. I'd rather eat gummy candies than chocolates.
12. I love Coca-Cola.
13. I collect penguins.
14. I have a penguin tattoo on my right calf.
15. I don't watch much t.v.
16. I do watch movies.
17. My DVD collection is rather large.
18. I go to The Chalet every week for karaoke.
19. I don't really enjoy singing myself.
20. I do like singing, it's the being in front of people that gets me.
21. I am terrible at putting away my clean laundry.
22. I have too many clothes.
23. I wear the same outfits over and over.
24. I am addicted to buying boots.
25. I can't walk in flat shoes.
26. I can't dance.
27. I lip-sync Celine Dion songs that play on Musak.
28. I've been told to stop this.
29. I can't stop.
30. I hate, I hate, I hate bugs.
31. I'm not afraid of rodents or serpents.
32. I am terrible at sports.
33. Bar sports don't count on this list.
34. I love playing pool, going bowling, and I even enjoy darts.
35. I once made an impossible shot playing pool in Germany.
36. I had to buy that table a new beer and try to retrieve my cue ball from the beer stein.
37. I once hit a parked tractor with my car when I had my license a week.
38. I never told my parents.
39. I was kicked out of 9th grade science class because of a roll of paper towels.
40. I also never told my parents this.
41. I graduated in the top 5% of my class.
42. It would have been higher, if I had been athletic and could do better in Phy Ed.
43. I was never cool in school, yet I blended well.
44. I was the captain of the high school bowling team for Fridley all through high school.
45. I was voted MVP during my junior year.
46. It's one of those moments of my life I'm proud of myself.
47. I've only failed one class in my life.
48. It was finance.
49. I work for a bank.
50. I failed it twice.
51. Actually, I failed because I didn't take the final either time.
52. The first time my power was cut off and I overslept (no alarm clock).
53. The second time I forgot to take the final (correspondence class).
54. I had a crush on my first Human Resources professor.
55. I changed my major to HR after that class.
56. I quickly change my major to accounting after that.
57. Now I'm going for a general business management degree.
58. I don't cook.
59. I don't even know if I'm a good cook or a bad cook.
60. I've only gone grocery shopping 5 times in the last 3 years.
61. I spend too much money eating out.
62. I love math.
63. I like reading.
64. Men with Slavic accents are sexy.
65. I hope to someday stand in Red Square to see the scenery.
66. I don't sit still very well.
67. Even when watching movies, I feel like I have to do something.
68. I love music.
69. I've become addicted to my iPod.
70. I still have 4,000 songs to load into it.
71. My ears are different shapes.
72. The only jewelry I consistently wear is my dad's wedding ring.
73. Watches don't count as jewelry.
74. I do feel naked without a watch on.
75. I've only broken one bone in my body.
76. It was my index finger on my right hand.
77. I didn't tell anyone all day long because I wanted to go to a birthday party.
78. My mom took one look at it and took me to the emergency room.
79. I was late for the party.
80. My finger never healed properly and it leans to the right now.
81. I love office supplies.
82. I worked in an office supply store for one month in high school.
83. My entire paychecks went towards paper, pens, and other fun toys.
84. I've been playing more pool lately.
85. I had an eight-ball break the other night.
86. One time at Bugs I broke and made the 9-ball five times in a row (playing 9-ball).
87. I have my own cues.
88. One was a birthday present when I turned 16.
89. My cues are a prized possession to me.
90. When I get mad at someone, it sticks.
91. I'm not good at forgiving.
92. I have a lot of 80's music, but I don't really like it.
93. I love classic rock.
94. I was born in the wrong era.
95. I should have been in high school in the mid-70's.
96. I'm one of the youngest of my friends.
97. It doesn't seem like it sometimes (this is nothing about immaturity).
98. I've been outside the United States twice.
99. Once was a three week to Northern Germany.
100. Once was a day shopping trip over the border into Mexico.
101. Germany was better.
102. I don't remember much Spanish or German.
103. I tried to take Russian.
104. I wasn't good at it.
105. I'm going to Portugal.
106. That's all I can think of.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Shuffle, Shuffle

Three minutes after I had hit the snooze button on my alarm clock, silencing Rob Thomas, the buzzer for my apartment blarred and I sat up in bed, instantly wide awake. It took about five seconds to register just "What the hell is that noise!?!"

Now, on a typical day, sleep outweighs EVERYTHING else before 2 (ah, the joys of a night shift). I had the thought, who could be stopping by today? Then I realized the truth, it was probably the FedEx guy delivering my new toy.

And it was! My iPod arrived a couple of days earlier than I thought it would. To add to the joy, it arrived charged up! So I spent the extra hour that I normally snooze loading all the music from iTunes to my iPod. The little, light weight iPod now has over 3,500 songs in it and I'm busy taking all the sound files from my old computer and preparing them for iTunes and the iPod.

I normally don't listen to iTunes on shuffle and I will probably start listening to albums or artists on the iPod, but to test the new toy out, I've been playing the shuffle tonight. Here is just a taste of the random playlist and my music collection:

Walking Away - Jonny Lang
Jane (Live) - BNL
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Keep the Faith - Bon Jovi
It's Your Thing - The Isley Brothers
What a Good Boy (Live) - BNL
Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
Someone Saved My Life Tonight - Elton John
Busted - MB20
Get What You Give - Jonny Lang
Peggy Sue - Cast Recording - Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Kodachrome - Paul Simon
Me - Paula Cole
You'll Accomp'ny Me - Bob Seger
Congratulations - Traveling Wilburys
The Boy in the Bubble (Live) - Paul Simon
I Wear My Sunglasses at Night - Corey Hart
I'm Alive - Seal
Down - Fuel
Only in Miami - Bette Midler
Ride Captain Ride - The Blues Image (I have no clue where this one came from)
Still Don't Give a F*ck - Eminem
Some Fantastic - BNL
Wet, Wet, Wet - Badly Drawn Boy
King of the Hill Theme - The Refreshments
That Summer (Live) - Garth Brooks
Radio, Radio - Elvis Costello
Waiting for a Girl Like You - Foreigner
Rock and Roll Part 2 - Gary Glitter
Stand Inside Your Love - Smashing Pumpkins
Learn to Do It - From Anastasia (the cartoon)
Breathless - The Corrs
Proof (Live) - Paul Simon
Next Time - BNL
Love in Store - Fleetwood Mac
Clouds (Interlude) - Janet Jackson
Walking on the Moon - The Police
I've Got the World on a String - Peggy Lee
The Lady is a Tramp - Frank Sinatra
Dizzy - Tabitha's Secret
The Other Side - Aerosmith
Silver Thunderbird - Marc Cohn
Hangnail - Nickelback (Dana! They took our idea and made it into a song!)
Come Out and Play - The Offspring

This is just a small sample of the songs that I've been listening to. I'm having way too much fun with the iPod.


*Note, I wrote this post last night, yet Blogger was being difficult. Does anyone else think that Blogger can act like a stubborn little child, kicking and screaming? Here's to hoping this post finally works.
**Also, the lack of posting is because I've been organizing a bunch of sound files on my computer for the iPod.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Daddy's Little Girl (Part II)

My family moved to Minnesota when I was five years old and just about to start kindergarten. When we arrived in the Twin Cities, my parents decided that a father/daughter program would be a great bonding experience. My dad enjoyed the idea of spending one night a month and a full weekend a quarter with me and other father/daughter teams; my mom enjoyed the idea of some time to herself.

The program we were enrolled in was through the Y.M.C.A. It was called "Princesses" and it was modeled off of the different Native American tribes. I have many fun memories of times in the program and my dad. His name during those times was, "Silent Oak." I was named, "Little Oak."

Once a month, our "tribe" would get together for an evening or Saturday afternoon filled with activities. I remember going to the archery range and learning how to shoot a bow and arrow. One time we had a wood burning/engraving project where we made name badges for our necklaces. In the winter, we would go sledding or cross-country skiing. I think ice fishing was even one of the events.

Three quarters of every year there was a weekend long event. During the fall, we would meet at a local camping area with all the other "tribes" and play games (Tag, trivia, charades) and have a large bonfire. All the fathers and daughters would gather around the flames and sing campfire songs, like the classic (at least it's a classic to me) chant, "I said a boom-a shaka-lacka-shaka-lacka-chica boom!" Then we would repeat it in various voices (operator, football player, pick a stereo-type and you got it). People would tell ghost stories and the girls would hide behind their dads.

At one of the autumn events, our tribe set up our tents at a large field away from the main campground. We were surrounded by forest and the little pocket was a perfect place for us to be away, yet still close to the action. The girls in my group had a great time climbing the chain fence set up as an obstacle course. Someone had told us the spooky story about the man with a hook for a hand trying who escaped the mental institution. I'm sure most have heard a version of this urban legend. Not one of us fully believed the story, yet we had fun pretending it was true. I remember hiking through the forest with a couple of the other girls and we would pretend the man was stalking behind us. We'd get to different parts of the obstacle course set up (the chain fence, tires arranged in a pattern, etc) and then we'd try to make it through the obstacles quickly so "he wouldn't get us". None of us were afraid at bedtime, we had our daddies right next to us in our individual tents.

There is one thing I can definitely say about my father. That man can SNORE. Oh, wow. Girls in the other tents actually thought there was a bear in the tent with my dad and I. My dad's snoring builds. It starts off low and quiet. As each breath is taken in, it gains in volume until he gets to the point where you think, "It can't get any louder." Well, it can't. That's when he snores so loudly it wakes him up. Then he looks around, confused and disturbed as to what woke him up. I used to bring along a Walk-Man and listen to the same tapes over and over, hoping the music could drown out the snoring. I have enough trouble falling asleep with sounds around me, but my dad's snoring didn't even have a steady beat to it!

One of the winter events involved building snow houses to sleep in at night. My dad and I spent the entire day, bundled up from the cold, packing snow into a little igloo to share with another girl and her father. Once the building was made, a candle was lit inside of it, to melt the insides into ice.

As the ice house was in its final stages of preparation, it was time for a little bit of fun. We took our intertubes and went sledding. The girl that was supposed to stay in our house with us that night ended up crashing into a fence and had to go home early. Since our house was built with certain people in mind and cutting two individuals out of the equation, the body heat wouldn't be enough to keep us warm while we slept. My dad was able to find another parent/child team for us to share an ice house with that night. The other child didn't want to sleep in a house that she and her father didn't build, we ended up sharing their cold home.

In the middle of the night, I awoke and I did not feel well. My spot was close to the wall of the ice house and my sleeping bag was not enough to keep me warm. I remember feeling terrible about being miserable. I lay awake, silent for about an hour, crying softly to myself. I didn't want to wake up my dad, yet I finally realized that I would have to.

I found my boots and put them on. Then, wearing my nightgown, moon boots, and my bulky winter coat, I stood outside the entrance to the ice house, shivering and whispering, "Dad, Dad, please wake up." I was trying not to wake up the others in the same house and I cried and cried to myself. It wasn't so much the cold as the inconvenience. I hated the idea of ruining someone's fun.

My dad tells this story sometimes and always says the same thing. When he finally heard my pleas, his first thought was, "Oh, she's just cold and whining." Then he reached over and touched my sleeping bag. As it turns out, the ice house we were in should have only had three people sleeping in it. Four had too much body heat and the walls started to melt. My sleeping bag was completely soaked through and I was sleeping in a pool of ice water. It took my dad exactly three minutes to gather our stuff, load the car, and take me home. He made sure to let me know it wasn't my fault, I had a right to complain.

My dad is a great man. He is a wonderful father and I love him very much. He is my hero and I strive each day to be more like him, as much as I don't admit that to him. I will be telling a few more stories of our days in this program.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Random Chatter

This post is not a story and it's not about the angry moments I had last night. I'm still a bit upset with a person, but it's more because I don't want another person to have ANY part of my life anymore. Long story, maybe one of these days I get another blog and tell it. It just doesn't fit here.

I was SUPPOSED to go to the dentist today. I did not. I rescheduled the appointment for next Monday because I have a cold and my chest hurts a little (cough) and my throat is a bit sore. Because of the symptoms of my cold, I figured having a drill in my mouth for an hour would not be a pleasant experience (which it isn't normally, but it makes it worse when you hurt in other areas).

This past weekend has been a project weekend for me. My project? I'm loading all the CDs I never loaded into my computer before. Since I'm waiting for my iPod to arrive (it should be about Friday for delivery), I figure it would be good to have the whole music collection available to upload.

DM stayed over on Saturday night. We are working on planning our trip to Portugal (explains the vast number of books I bought yesterday, I don't do anything lightly). We watched a few movies she had never seen before. I was hoping she would enjoy some great movies. We watched "Casablanca", "The Usual Suspects", and "Reservoir Dogs". I think she enjoyed them.

We had a good time at karaoke last night, even with the drama of some other regulars. A couple of really great singers, girls we have started to talk to, had a problem with a friend of theirs who was quite drunk and upset by actions she did while she was drunk. But beside that, we got to sit and talk to Liz and Dean for a bit. I don't know why, but DM and I both think, "Oh, the cool people talked to us!" It's kind of silly, yet we really like these people and enjoy the time we get to spend with them.

I'm working on posts that are more story orientated. The post about growing up and bonding with my dad is longer than I expected. So that might take a couple of days. I'm trying to find a way to break it up.

I'm also waiting for the travel agent to call me back. She's looking up tickets and prices for me right now. And then maybe we'll have tickets to Portugal booked! Yea!


I removed a post that I put up earlier.

And here's a special 'Thank You' to the person who decided to reintroduce the blogging world to a person I'd rather not ever talk to again. I finally got to a point where I knew he would never read anything about my life again, and you've reminded him of blogging. Thanks a fucking lot.

Notice, I'm a bit pissed off. Sorry to those who don't normally hear this part of my personality come through in writing.

On a much, much more positive note, I went to the bookstore with DM tonight before karaoke. I bought a bunch of books about Portugal. I'm getting extremely excited about the vacation and seeing Johnny. I also now have a map of Lisbon.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Falling Off the Wagon

I broke down. I did it.

I blame Donovan. He showed me the pretty new toy and I HAD to have one. I couldn't resist.

But the flights to and from Portugal are going to be filled with music goodness.

Within 5 business days, I'm going to be holding my very own IPod. Oh, the joy!

Is it just me?

No, I'm sure it's not, but Blogger is getting bad lately. I am having the worst time trying to publish anything. I'm hoping this one works.

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHNNY! I hope this day is special and filled of beautiful memories for you. You deserve them.

My mom called me at 3 in the morning and talked with me for 45 minutes. I guess Taco (the dog) has "the runs". Wow, she is dedicated to those animals. I can't think of a better place for them to be. She'll do anything for them.

I'm trying to post a story about my early years and starting a series about how I learned to know, bond, and love my dad.

Daddy's Little Girl (Part I)

When I was little, my family lived in a small, quaint town just outside of Waterloo, Iowa. I spent the first five years of my life knowing one quiet street in middle America that was as wholesome as apple pie. I never lost my way; I could just look down the street and find our yellow house, the one with the larger than life picture window on the second floor. My dad sold his motorcycle to afford the down payment on that house.

In my bedroom, the yellow scheme continued. I remember my old bedspread, large, comfy, and yellow with little blue flowers and white lace ruffles. In one corner stood a life-sized Big Bird. I found out later in life that yellow is my dad's favorite color.

I had a large toy chest, filled with Barbies and Barbie clothes. On both sides of my family there were girls, but all of my female cousins were at least ten years older than me. I received many hand-me-downs of dolls and girl appropriate toys. It accounted for a large Barbie collection.

During the first couple years of my life, my dad worked construction and played on a traveling hockey league. If Iowa had a professional team, my dad would have been a part of it. He spent many nights out on the road, traveling with the team to a game. His days home were filled with work and he picked up many jobs to help our family make it. My mom also worked, yet she had a regular hours job, not much variance in the work schedule. When they were both working, I would be watched by four different aunts or even my mom's best friend, Joni.

My dad worked so much that I barely knew who he was. What I did know was that when he was gone, I could sleep in Mom's bed with her (a nice, heated water bed) and the dog. When Dad was home, I had to sleep in my room, alone and scared by the phrase, "Don't let the bed bugs bite*."

I didn't like the fact this man got so much of my mom's attention. Who was he to take my mom and my buddy (the dog) away from me? One day, when I was about three-years old, I stood at the end of the hallway and stuck my tongue out at my father. His reaction was just, he walked over to me and gently tapped the side of my face and told me to never do that again.

I was furious! How DARE he!?! Being the defiant child that I quickly grew out of, I stomped over to where my mom was sitting. I turned towards her, stared her in the eyes, and pointed at him, angrier than I had ever been before and said, "HE hit me!"

My mom laughed a bit. Then she told me, "He can do that. HE, as you put it, is your father."

I looked back at this man that I barely knew and furrowed my brow. That explained everything. Then I broke into a smile and played games for the rest of the evening.

I never thought anyone else was my father, I just didn't realize I had one. This is the mind of a child. The facts of life, you know, the birds and the bees, are just not born with someone. There is a learning process.

Once I knew he was my daddy, I started to have fun with him. He would pretend to be Fozzy Bear from the Muppets. He taught me how to play poker with pennies and when he got laid off, he stayed home with me and I got to bond with him.

One morning, my mom came home from work (she was working three jobs at this time, two waitressing/bartending jobs at local bars and an overnight shift at a plant that is for her current employer). I was wandering around, asking for "Aqua" (Electric Company was a good show for children) and she asked me, "What did you and Daddy do last night?"

I looked her square in the eyes and told her, "We watched 'Poker Guys'."

She paused, a bit confused, and then asked me for clarification. "What is 'Poker Guys'?"

"A scary nuvie, duh!" I just couldn't figure out why Mom didn't understand Poker Guys.

The next thing I heard was, "Terry, why are you letting our four-year old watch horror movies?" (The movie was Poltergeist).

This was not the first time someone got into hot water for letting me watch a scary 'nuvie'. My aunt and cousins were watching "The Exorcist once when I was just a little child and they had thought I was asleep on the couch. They believed it until Linda Blair's head spun around and pea soup came out of her mouth and they heard me say, "Icky!" The movie was quickly turned off.

In the next few nights, I am planning on writing about different memories of my dad, my mom, and my early childhood in Iowa. I'll explain how I learned to bond with my dad.


*To this day, I can still remember the vivid nightmare I had as a child about bed bugs. They were trying to eat me! I can remember about three nightmares of my life and of course, the one about bugs is the most vivid. Stupid sayings.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

More Music

It's been said by me before that music plays a large role in my life. I've always enjoyed listening to music (whether it be current or oldies, classical or rock), I've always been involved with music (choir all through school and now karaoke - yes, it's not a rock band or anything, but I just like being able to feel the music and expressing the lyrics in my own way), and I would rather play a CD over and over than watch TV. Going to a concert is a major event for me and each concert I've attended has formed a vivid memory in my head. The first time I heard Stephen Page belt out, "Break Your Heart" live I was moved to tears. The second time my face was washed with the happiness and joy coming from my eyes.

I have a significant music collection, described by some as "eclectic". It has opera, it has rock. It has country, it also has a few rap albums. I have soundtracks, I have folk albums, I have disco. But there are few albums that I always have to have. When half of my CD collection was stolen a few years back, I didn't cry over most of the albums. Luckily, the majority of the albums that were taken were the ones I had bought for one song and never listened to. (Believe me, I had no problem with the Dave Matthews Band CD disappearing.)

One of the albums that was taken that I felt the need to replace was the self titled album by Seal. I was in eighth grade when my cousin, Susan, lived with us and she introduced me to this album. Seal has a light rock feel, yet his lyrics and his tone are strong. It's an album I never get tired of playing.

I want to share a couple of songs here tonight. Maybe a line or two will pop into my head and then the songs take on new meaning.

Don't Cry

Don't be so hard on yourself
Those tears are for someone else
I hear your voice on the phone
I hear you feel so alone
My baby

Ooh, my baby

Please my baby

My baby

When we were young
And truth was paramount
We were older then
And we lived a life without any doubt
Those memories
They seem so long ago

What's become of them?
When you feel like me I want you to know
...They've all gone for sure...

Don't cry
Not alone
Don't cry
Tonight my baby
Don't cry
You'll always be loved
Don't cry
My baby

Today I dreamed
Of friends I had before
And I wonder why
The ones who care don't call anymore
My feelings hurt
But you know I overcome the pain
And I'm stronger now
There can't be a fire unless there's a flame

Don't cry
You're not alone
Don't cry
Tonight my baby
Don't cry
You'll always be loved
Don't cry oh...
Limousines and sycophants
Don't leave me now
'Cause I'm afraid what you've done to me
Is now the wolf
In my bed

In my head
In my head
In my head

The challenges, we took were hard enough
They get harder now
Even when we think that we've had enough
Don't feel alone
'Cause it's I you understand
I'm your sedative
Take a piece of me whenever you can

Don't're not alone
...don't be so hard on yourself...

Don't cry...tonight my baby
...These tears are for...someone else...

Don't'll always be loved
...I hear your voice on the phone...

Don't cry...tonight sweet baby
...I hear you alone

Don't cry...don't cry...don't cry...don't you cry... baby
Cry...don't cry...
'Cause you still be loved
Don't cry
Don't cry tonight

My baby my baby my baby my baby my baby my baby my baby da ba ba da da...

my baby my baby my my baby my baby my baby my baby (I think you get the picture now)

My baby...

You'll still be loved

Prayer for the Dying

Fearless people
Careless needle
Harsh words spoken
And lives are broken

Forceful aging
Help me I'm fading
Heaven's waiting
It's time to move on

Crossing that bridge
With lessons I've learned
Playing with fire
And not getting burned
I may not know what you're going through
But time is the space
Between me and you
Life carries goes on

Just say die,
And that would be pessimistic
In your mind
We can walk across water
Please don't cry
It's just a prayer for the dying
I just don't know what's got into me

Been crossin' that bridge
With lessons I've learned

Playing with fire
And not getting burned
...burned, burned...

I may not know what you're going through
But time is the space
Between me and you

There is a light through that window
...light through that window...
Hold on say yes, while people say no

Life carries on
...on on on...
It goes on...oh-ee-oh, whoa-ee-oh ho oh...

I'm crossing that bridge
With lessons I've learned
I'm playing with fire
And not getting burned
I may not know what you're going through
But time is the space
Between me and you
There is a light through that window
Hold on say yes, while people say no

'Cause life carries on...oh-ee-oh, whoa-ee-oh ho on...
It goes on...oh-ee-on
It goes on
Life carries on

When nothing else matters

When nothing else matters

I just don't know what's got into me

It's just a prayer for the dying
...dying dying dying dying...

For the dying

People Asking Why

Why, am I changing?
Why do people get complacent with the things they're told?
World disasters they come and go
I'd give anything just to be back home
'Cause there are people, asking why
There are people, who believe in

In life, gets confusing but I don't know why
But I've made my plans already
Had this trouble with it all my life
Well world disasters, they come and go
I'd give all my strength to be back home
'Cause there are people, asking why
There are people asking

How do I get back to where I've come from, now?
How will I plant this garden I've destroyed, green?
Can I get back to where I've come from?
'Cause there are people, who believe in life

Well how do we get to where we come from?
Peace and love ain't enough these days
Evolution says, "Time is running out,
We've been here too long..."

'Cause there are people, asking, why?

Ohh, there are people, asking...

How do I get to where I've come from, now?
How will I paint this garden I've destroyed, green?
Can I get back to where I come from?
'Cause there are people, who believe it (Repeat 2 more times)

...How do I get back to where I've come from, now...?
How do I get back to where I've come from, now?

How will I paint this garden I've...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Corresponding with God

"You know, when you talk to God, they call it praying. When He talks back, it's called schizophrenia." (X-Files)

Imagine my surprise last night when I opened the mailbox to find a letter, addressed to the "Friend at [insert my address here]" from Jesus. That's right, Jesus sent me some mail.

And not just any old letter, no this one is special, Jesus has sent me a chain letter! Oh, I feel so special and blessed.

I am now just sure that as Jesus was hanging on the cross, he must have thought, "In about 2000 years, I hope to one day have my name used to create junk mail."

By opening the envelope, I am told that good changes will come to my life and that I will be given the desires of my heart. Oh, I can hardly withstand the promises made by this. My lucky, lucky mail carrier who was so blessed to help deliver the message Jesus wanted me to hear! I hope he or she also gets the blessing of "spiritual", "physical", and "financial" benefits just by touching the letter.

The return address shows Tulsa, OK. It makes me wonder if Jesus has returned and he's just in hiding, like the other King who frequently gets spotted roaming around the South. And he picked Oklahoma. You know, if I were the Son of God and decided to return to Earth for the Rapture, I couldn't think of a better place to go than Oklahoma. Just think, they wrote that play about it.

Jesus knows all and tells all. In opening the letter, I am moved with passion and faith at the opening. "Dear...Someone Connected with This Address." Wow, he really knows me!

The letter comes complete with a "Jesus Prayer Rug" made of newspaper. But it's just on loan. I'm not allowed to keep it. Darn. I wanted to frame it and mount it on the wall.

The letter asks me to check mark what subjects I need someone to pray for me. It's great, I have the important, soul cleansing options like, "A new car, a better job, a home, or money." Sounds like a game show almost.

I'm supposed to return the letter, complete with the "Jesus Prayer Rug", a "seed gift to God", and my check marked prayer options.

I'm thinking that Jesus must be thrilled right about now that someone is using his name to create junk mail. I bet he wants those people to enter into the gates of Heaven.

My Mom

About a month ago, my mom got another dog. His name is Pepper. She found him through an animal rescue program (older pets who were abandoned by their owners and have a hard time getting homes). He's about 8 or 9 years old and she fell in love with him as soon as she brought him home.

I visited the house not too long ago and found this little guy to be adorable. He is lovey and sweet. He gives hugs right away and he doesn't bark at all. Pepper just wants a good home and he's found one.

My mom sent me some pictures today of him and the rest of the gang. I just wanted to share.

Room for One More


"He's OK, I guess"


Sweet Baby


Mac and Smoke on the Couch (Looks like Smoke is finally fitting in)


Monday, March 14, 2005

On the Edge

Tonight, as I was driving back to my apartment with DM to assemble the new bookcase I bought, the road brought us to a stop sign. On a side street, with absolutely no cars in sight, I jokingly said to DM, "Should I blow the stop sign?"

Her reply was simple. "No."

As I was braking, I said to DM, "But, what about living dangerously?"

And DM was logical (one of the rare occasions), "If we want to live dangerously, blowing a stop sign really isn't at the top of the list."

It was a fun weekend hanging out with DM. I'm glad I was able to spend her birthday weekend with her.


Just a note, I wrote this post two nights ago. I have had more problems with Blogger in the past two days, I'm hoping it will actually publish this time. Argh!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The "Gig"

On Saturday night, DM and I ventured to a new bar to hear a different host of karaoke run a show. Our friend from The Chalet, Michael, was hosting at a bar named Michael's (funny!) and we went up to see him there.

I should explain first about our karaoke experience. We don't go to bars because they have karaoke, we go to The Chalet (and occasionally Wild Tymes) because we like the people there. We enjoy Bryan's singing and we've got to meet some awesome people like Dean, Stephanie, Liz, Michael, and others. We like The Chalet because the Coke products they use are actually Coca-Cola brand and Bobby pours a mean Diet Coke with Lime. When DM and I were going to spend a week in Vegas, we talked about going to karaoke out there. We decided against it. Why? Because it felt like cheating on Bryan (this is a joke, but we just like going to where Bryan is hosting, it's more comfortable).

But our friend Michael was hosting at Michael's and we had a Saturday night free, so we went. The bar, well, let's just say it was a little bit of a dive. It wasn't that bad, but it is in an interesting neighborhood. We found the place just fine (this is significant in the fact DM and I are both directionally challenged) and as we pulled into the parking lot, a trio of men made it a huge point to say, "Helllllllooooooo" to us. Let's just say, I'm not good with men hitting on me. It confuses me.

We walk in and find Michael. We're very happy to see him. He shows us the books and the choices are overwhelming. There is only one other frequent singer there, a man named Jim whose choices in songs would not have been on my list for him. But he was nice and we clapped for him. Another man approaches our table and asks me for a pen. And then he asks me about some 80's hair band song. He reeks of liquor, but then, this is a bar. He breathes heavily on me and I'm ready to puke, but I hold it in. The man asks me what my name is and I figure I can't lie, so I tell him, "Beth." He grabs my hand for a handshake and tells me, "My name is Pete." Well, his name was not actually Pete, but it is the same as the Pete in The Boy stories, so I figure the same fake name works well for this guy. I might even remember it. I have trouble remembering the real Pete's name.

Did I just write "The real Pete's name"? I think the whole fake names are messing with my brain.

He gets up to sing a song with his buddies and it is, um, horrible. Oh well. That's a price you pay if you enjoy karaoke.

DM and I both sing a song. Then an older gentleman (he was probably only 40 or so but years of booze has aged him a little faster than most) asks if either of us will sing Janis Joplin. He stinks of whiskey. I think he got more on his shirt than he consumed.

Then another drunk man approaches our table. There were only about 15 people in this bar, but we seemed to be the focus of all of them. This man stood next to me and used me as a wall to hold himself up. I hate people touching me, especially men I don't know. He wanted me to find a Barry White song in the book for him. Apparently, the man cannot figure out where "White" would be in a book divided up by artist. I found it for him, hoping that it would make him go away. Then he tries for about 2 minutes to read the numbers on the page and write down the song. He finally asks me to write it down for him. I do and then hand him the slip, saying in that "You're a drunk and you act like a child" tone of voice, "Now, write down your name." I had to stop the man to give me my pen back and I think he takes the hint that I'm not interested. He does get up to sing his Barry White song. He doesn't actually know the song, so it's a fascinating assault of the microphone.

We had a lot of fun talking with Michael and trying out a couple of new songs that The Chalet doesn't have. After bar closing, DM, Michael, and I went out for breakfast at a place called "Flameburger". I've never eaten at one of these establishments before and found it to be very good. It was kind of like truck stop food, good and cheap. We talked with Michael for a bit and then headed home.

Tonight's agenda is to visit my dad (laundry and quality time with Dad!) and then going to karaoke at The Chalet. I'm a little hopeful that The Boy will be there and DM is looking forward to a real Diet Coke with Lime poured by Bobby. Here's to fun!

Saturday, March 12, 2005


For some odd reason, I've found myself drifting back and forth between my mind and reality today. I don't know, maybe it's because DM and I just ended up sleeping pretty late, scrapbooking until recently, and watching episodes of Quantum Leap, but it's like my mind is trying to figure out a puzzle again.

Does that ever happen to you (blogosphere)? Sometimes I get so wrapped up in something I cannot control that I find it hard to concentrate on other things going on in front of me. I'm not saying I've been a total space cadet, in fact I've been having a great time hanging out with DM and celebrating her birthday. It's just that when I'm alone (like taking a shower or falling asleep), my mind wanders off. I guess that's pretty common.

I'm thinking about all sorts of things, but one thing keeps coming back over and over. Probably explains the strange dream I had last night that involved pretty much EVERYONE I've ever known, an 80's 'modern' apartment complex, Pink Floyd music, a large explosion, a faked death, and a huge boxing ring full with spectators. I should probably dig out the dream book and take a look at this one, but I just don't feel like it.

It might be avoidance. I can avoid the topic I keep thinking of if I don't believe it is going on. I guess the first stage of grief is denial. I'm not even sure why I'm grieving. It's not like I'm affected, right? This makes no sense and since I'm not writing about what actually happened within the circles of my world, it won't make sense here. Ugh. No one died. No one left town. It's not something I should be grieving. And I'm not.

But still I'm dealing with it like grief. That's where the denial comes into play. Maybe I'm just bored. Yeah, right. I guess there are just a lot of questions left unanswered and my mind doesn't like puzzles that are not solved, my thinking patterns don't enjoy not knowing the answers. So I'm trying avoidance (denial) to postpone thinking about the problem. And it's not even MY problem. It really isn't.

DM and I are going to a new bar for karaoke tonight. As it turns out, our friend, Michael, runs a show on Saturday nights. We rarely get a chance to go out for a Saturday night, but with her birthday, it makes it a perfect time to go. I'm hoping we have a great time. I'm sure we will.

That's really all. I didn't have anything earth-shattering to write or share, just junk on my mind (in cryptic form, seems to be popping up a lot lately).

"They Won't Let You Take Passport Photos Naked"

To celebrate the birthday of DM, it is now a weekend long celebration of the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Universe". Even through all the fun, there are a couple of things that we need to make sure to accomplish.

The first thing we needed to do today was to spend time standing in line at a government office to obtain our passports. Banker's hours are typically 9 to 5, so our thoughts fell along those lines. We figured the passport office would be open until 5 PM and so getting up early was not a priority. Last night, we chose to sit and watch episode after episode of "Quantum Leap" and then we slept quite late.

When I finally awoke (DM got up a couple of hours before me, typical for a day-walker), we searched the Internet for the information we needed. As it turns out, we needed to obtain DM's birth certificate and also have me find my old, expired passport. Amazingly, I was able to find the old passport quickly and luckily, DM was born within a thirty mile radius and we were able to go get her a birth certificate.

The office where DM's birth certificate was on file was also a place to apply for passports. How convenient! Now, if we had only gotten there in time for the passport service! As it turns out, the office we went to only allowed passport services until 3:30 PM and we arrived at 3:45. We figured it would be a good idea to at least get our passport photos taken at that office.

While we were getting the pictures taken, the photographer asked me to raise my shirt higher in the front. As it turns out, the V-neck is not something they appreciate in passports. Who knew? Since the pictures are a headshot, they want to make sure that clothing shows in the picture.

Hoping against hope, we decided to try another passport office. We had one hour to get there before they closed and fought traffic (with snow! Ugh, the snow!) to make it to an outlying suburb.

We made it to the office with DM directing traffic from the passenger seat. She got quite upset when the cars did not part at her will, bumper-to-bumper traffic will cause a little road rage in some. (Sorry Dana, couldn't resist.)

When we got to the other office, DM saw someone walking outside. She said, "That looks like a bald Tammy Driskoll*". I really need to get my hearing checked. My response was, "A bald tuna frisco?"

Well, long story short (too late!), we have our passport applications on file and in about three weeks, we should receive them in the mail. And we're getting more and more excited every day about our trip!


*DM actually said a different name of someone else we know, but I changed the name to protect the individual (slightly).

Friday, March 11, 2005

In Honor of Dana

Happy Birthday Dana!

You are one of the best people I've ever met in my life. I smile every time I see you and I enjoy your company more than anything.

I think about all the times we have been able to share laughs at karaoke. I remember our trip to Vegas, how we were able to spend a week there and enjoy the sights, make some memories, and just have a grand old time.

We can watch movies (or old TV shows) together and have no problem rewinding certain scenes over and over (The Rundown comes to mind - oh, the shotguns). We can scrapbook and tell silly stories with each other. You introduced me to blogging last June and I thank you for opening my eyes to how much I enjoy meeting others through this medium and telling stories from the past.

You've been there to watch me go completely insane over The Boy at karaoke. I've witnessed your Greek God obsession (I seem to remember a phrase, "He's so cute!"). We're going to have a weekend long celebration of you and I look forward to every minute of it!

Happy Birthday DM! Best wishes to you!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Love at First Sight

It was back in May of 1987 that my family was blessed with another member. In Minnesota, opening fishing weekend always seems to correspond with Mother's Day. My mom enjoyed the weekend to herself while my dad went fishing with Grandpa and Grandma. This particular year, my mom decided it was time to visit family and friends back in Iowa.

I was thrilled to be spending the weekend in Iowa with my family, but more importantly, I was going to be able to see my first friend ever, Amy B. When we had lived in Iowa, Amy lived directly across the street from me. I remember looking out the big picture window in our living room on the second floor of our yellow house and seeing my friend waving to me from her front lawn.

When we visited that particular time, her dog, Muffin, had just had puppies. The puppies were just six weeks old and full of energy. They were so adorable! Cute, little, balls of fur that hopped back and forth in the playpen in her garage and just loved attention. One of Amy's "chores" ended up being a responsibility to exercise the puppies in the yard. She would run back and forth and have them chase her. I was eager to help with the puppies (okay, I just wanted to play with them) and I was slightly disappointed when all the puppies ran after her. Except one. One of the little guys kept following me around, jumping at me and his little puppy claws made a mess of my bare arms.

I fell in love with him. It was time for me to convince Mom to let him come home with us. It didn't take much. She took one look at him and it was love at first sight. How could we not love him? He could fit in the palms of my hands, he had shiny, curly, and pitch black fur. He licked our faces and yipped in excitement when we paid attention to him.

I had a name for him instantly. I was going to name him, "Puppy!" Granted, I was eight years old. Mom and I found a laundry basket for him and we brought him home in her old, orange and brown Ford Pinto (the one that I managed to melt crayons to the back window a couple of years earlier). The entire way home, we kept talking about how we were going to convince Dad to let this little guy stay. I'm sure Mom always knew that Dad would allow him to stay, but I was a gullible 8-year old. We also kept telling the little guy bundled up in the back seat just how cute he was. In fact, he learned the phrase, "He's so cu-uuuu-te!" so well that he answered to it for three years.

When we got home, we snuck the little puppy into our house (full of boxes, we were going to move in a week to a place that actually allowed pets), and waited for Dad to come home. He took one look at the little black ball of fur and pretended for a moment that he was angry about the decision my mom and I made without him. Then he broke into a large grin and said, "Of course he can stay! What's his name?"

Dad didn't think Puppy would last as a name for long. Fate kicked in, and that night I was a typical eight-year old. I was eating a bag of tortilla chips and at bedtime, I didn't remember to put the bag away.

The little puppy kept taking trips back and forth from the couch to the bag of chips on the table. He would climb into the bag, pick up one chip, and then bring it back to the couch, where he nibbled on it daintily until it was gone. Then he went back to get another chip!

The next day, Dad told us that he thought the name of our new puppy should be Taco. And it stuck! We've had Taco for almost 18 years now. He's a member of our family and we have many, many happy memories of him. He's a little more than a small ball of fur and he may not have the same amount of energy to rip up my arms in play fighting anymore, but he's still that adorable little puppy we brought home. I love him very much. I have since I first laid eyes on him.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

What a Parent Won't Do...

Once in awhile, I think about my mom and I remember a story. More often than not, my first thought is of my mom's crazy antics (see this story, this story, and this story). Then, sometimes, I remember days of elementary school and bonding with my mother.

At age 7, I was in first grade. Being a fall baby, I was always a little older than most of my grade and the extra few months made school easier for me. Since I didn't struggle as some of the other students did, my mom never had a problem with me missing a day or two of school. I remember sitting in class one day, watching a movie about dinosaurs on those old movie projectors (oh, what an honor it was to be the one who got to push the rewind button!) when there was a knock at the door.

Much to my surprise, my mom stood there! She spoke to the teacher for a moment and then I was motioned over to them. I was a little afraid, trying to figure out why my mom was now inside my round school*. The teacher told me that my mom was there to take me to a doctor's appointment.

My heart sank. I didn't remember a doctor's appointment on the schedule, but then hey, I was 7 years old. I didn't know why I had to go to the doctor and now I was a little worried. I kept pulling on my mom's shirt, asking her to tell me why I had to go to the doctor.

Once we got outside the school (and outside of earshot), my mom explained that there was no doctor's appointment, she just wanted to play hookey! She took me shopping and to a movie and to McDonald's.

About three times each year, I would wake up to my mom coming into my room, gently waking me up, and hear her say, "What do you have on your schedule today at school?" I'd tell her about the classes or subjects we were going to learn about. She would ask, "Do you have any tests?" If I didn't, she might surprise me. I can still see the sly smile when she said, "I think you don't feel so good today. You have a 'fever' and you need to stay home. I guess I need to call into work to take care of you." Then we'd either go shopping, or to movies, or just stay home cleaning and blasting the radio.

But the best thing my mom ever did for me regarding sick days and school was a day when I was in fourth grade. My teacher was the scariest woman I have ever met in my life. She had large eighties hair and wore more make up than Tammy Faye. And she was mean! One day, a classmate of mine didn't have his homework done. It was the sixth day in a row that he didn't have his math problems completed. Our teacher stood him up in front of the 25 other students and yelled at him! She was so angry!

That night, I went home and realized that I didn't bring my math workbook home. I was mortified. It wasn't as if I had missed homework days before, but I was so afraid that she would yell at me and point me out to the class. I had planned on doing my homework that night, hey it was math, I loved math (and still do!), but I was now faced with the dilemma of not having the problems in front of me. My English workbook was no help to the missing math problems.

My mom knew something was wrong. She comforted me and asked me what happened. I told her how afraid I was of the teacher and what happened to the other kid that day at school. She knew my teacher (from conferences) and was just as afraid of the woman. It was time for Mom to save the day!

The next morning, my mom told me to stay home and she called into work because I was 'sick'. Then came the twenty questions. Mom asked me about recess a lot. "When does your class go to recess? Where do they go? Does your teacher go with? Where do you sit in the classroom?"

You guessed it, my mom broke into my elementary school, snuck INTO class, and stole my math workbook. She brought the book home and helped me with my homework.

I love my mom. She is just amazing.


*My elementary school was round. It was almost impossible to get lost in it. This may have something to do with my lack of directional skills. But you could figure out where your class was because the kids got taller as you went around the school!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Want to increase a hit counter?

A sure fire way to increase your hit counter is to post the lyrics to the new Rob Thomas song. I get more searches for that post than I do for any other post ever. Makes me a little happy to know there are people out there not looking for enema stories! I've had 19 searches that produced that post in the last 5 days. I've also had a couple of other searches, now listed here:

removal of wisdom teeth with novacaine
goofy relationship apologies
straight men first time stories
discovery mommie
son help his mom lactate stories
mother figure dating

And then there is the person who found me and read quite a bit, but didn't comment. The person may be someone I know IRL, but they are hiding their identity. Who are you?

Weekend Update

It's been a long weekend, and I'm only halfway done with mine. I went to karaoke tonight, as usual, with DM and Char joined us. Michael called to tell us that he wouldn't be able to make it tonight. The place was very slow.

The Boy was there. I talked about rectals. Because I'm an idiot. Long story. DM will write it up one of these days.

My mind was somewhere else completely. I couldn't concentrate on karaoke much. I'm worried sick and lost.

I have not been wanting to write much this weekend. I keep hoping...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

This is not going to make a lot of sense

Last night I posted a quick couple of sentences, hoping that a certain someone would read this site and contact me. It's not going to make sense to very many people and I am not going to explain. I just need to use all resources I have to try and contact this person.

This is to that person:

I am worried about you. Please, please, please contact me. Call my cell phone or call me at work. Email me please. Show up at my door and talk to me. I don't have a number to reach you and I'm scared and I want to know what is going on.

I don't know if you are mad at me for something. If you hate me, I'd like to at least know why. I was not expecting this at all and I feel lost. I want to be there for you, please let me know how I can be. If you want me to be there, I guess.

I don't understand what happened. I hope that you still want me as a friend. Please call me.

The Rock

In life, there are two groups of people you associate with that you don't get to pick. Only God gets the choice of who you get as family members and as neighbors. This is a little tale about a neighbor from the past, my mom, and a rock.

During my early teenage years, my family lived in a townhome complete with association dues. My parents had to attend regular meetings to discuss what color your front door had to be and what you could and could not put on your front lawn. Our family followed the rules, yet we had a neighbor who didn't like us. I don't know why she didn't like us, I may have been a bit young to understand the war waging on between her and my mother. It's possible the woman didn't like my mom because she spoke her mind at the meetings, but it could have been something as simple as she didn't like our dog. (Taco was a yippy puppy.)

One night, we were sitting out on the deck, grilling up brats and talking and laughing. The neighbor's deck faced ours at an angle and she could hear all of our words as we could hear hers. She was complaining to someone visiting her about our front door. There were two approved colors by the association, white or yellow. We had a white front door. It was there when we moved in. She HATED it. The woman kept making comments about it, trying to speak up to make sure we were listening, and she kept stealing glances and glares in our direction.

At the next association meeting, an open letter was given to voice grievances. There was a complaint about our family and our front door. The complaint was primarily written about the door, yet the underlying tone was about our family in general. The woman made sure to include, "Only ignorant and disrespectful people would have a white front door." Now, this makes absolutely no sense, but it's what the woman wrote.

After careful deliberation (or 30 seconds of anger), my mom came up with a plan of action. This is not something I'm proud of, although she probably still is.

My mom worked with a younger man who sometimes looked for odd jobs to get a little more cash. The odd jobs would help support his cocaine usage habit and help him buy the stickers he later covered his entire car in. Shane (changed to protect the guilty) was the classic stereo-typical metal fan in looks. He had long blonde hair that went to his ass. He was skinny as a rail, but showed off his "pecks" in his cut-off black T-shirts. Shane looked like a hoodlum. My mom had her thought and then smiled to herself.

This neighbor had a very large rock in her front yard. She had it brought in for landscaping and it took up most of the space in her small yard. It was hideous looking. I've never much understood the value of plain, gray boulders, but she loved it. And it was completely against association standards.

One morning, I woke up to find the neighborhood in an uproar. The woman was standing on the street, screaming at the top of her lungs about the indecency of what happened and how violated she felt. The rock, the item she was so proud of, was gleaming in the sun. There were a few words spray-painted on the boulder discussing the culprit's opinions of the woman.

Coincindentally, the spray-paint color? It was white, just like our front door.

My dad never knew that my mom might have had something to do with it. It could have just been neighborhood kids. Yeah, that's the ticket...

Friday, March 04, 2005

What is Going On?

I'm quite a bit worried about something right now. If anyone who I am not able to contact easily wants to drop me an email or call me to let me know what is happening, I'd appreciate it.

I'm worried about you. I'm here to listen as well.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

"I bet you've never been so happy to clean up poop..."

On Tuesday, my mom called me as I was leaving for work. She has impeccable timing. If she has bad news to tell me, it always comes as I'm trying to go meet someone or start a shift at work. For example, when she and my dad decided to tell me about their divorce, they let me know as I was putting on my coat getting ready to go open the pool hall. I had two minutes to talk that time. When my grandpa died, she actually waited until I was done with work to call me and I was on my way to meet someone who I couldn't contact for dinner.

This time was no different in the timing, yet it was a little better situation. It was better for the outcome, not the emotional rollercoaster.

She told me on the phone that Taco, our dog of almost 18 years now (his birthday is next month), had not had a bowel movement in 5 days. Mom was completely freaked out by this (Taco really is the most important aspect of her life, and I don't have a problem with this at all). She had called the vet and she was planning on taking Taco in to see if anything could be done. The enema she gave him didn't work and he was getting all "puffy". Her fear was that they would want to cut him open or put him to sleep.

Then she told me, "Check your messages on your lunch break. I'll let you know what happened."

Great, now I had to work through 4 hours before she'd bother to tell me what happened. I'm sorry, but the results of what happened seemed a little more important to me than a customer yelling about being overdrawn.

I don't know how I handled the waiting. I know that I did take comfort in the distractions of work, but my mind was somewhere else entirely. I found myself crying as I was driving to work, scared about Taco.

At lunch, I called her because she had not yet left a message on my phone. The vet had given Taco some laxatives, hoping that would solve the problem. They had done X-rays and saw that he had a blockage. That was all the news she had. She was still crying when I spoke with her.

After work, I went to IHOP with a co-worker. At about 2 a.m., my phone rang. It was my mom. My heart skipped a couple of beats, worried about why Mom would call me so late at night. This is not typical for her.

As it turns out, the laxatives worked. Taco ended up cleaning out his system (five days worth) all over the floor of my mom's room. (She had been smart enough to put towels and sheets down on the floor, hoping that he would go on those and save a run of the carpet steamer.)

Mom was ecstatic. And the news was wonderful to hear. My co-worker did not know what was going on (I don't share things this close with many people) and really looked confused when my end of the conversation was, "I bet you've never been so happy to clean up poop." My mom's response was, "I did a total happy dance about it!"

Mom was very worried that when she went to the vet that she wouldn't be coming home with Taco. I was scared about this outcome.

It's getting closer and closer. We don't know when it will happen, but one of these days, we're not going to have Taco anymore. I don't like to think about that. It hurts to think about that. And it hurts worse to think about how Chip will act when it happens.

I love my dogs. They are a reason for me to smile and my reason for joy. When the day does come, I'm not going to be ready for it and I'm not going to be able to just roll with it. In my recent review at work, I was called adaptable. I don't think I can adapt to this.

But he pooped! (DM and Matt, imagine clapping hands and a loud voice for this one.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Side-swiped by a folding chair

It pains me to say this. It's something frightening and embarrassing.

I know someone who has appeared on the Jerry Springer show.

Television watching is not my first choice of leisure activity, well it's probably not even on my top ten list, but even if I watched TV, I would not watch this show.

For starters, I just don't care about it. I don't care for shows like this (Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maury Povich, etc), because I couldn't care less which books I really should read or about children who need to be sent to boot camp for an attitude adjustment. I can handle Conan O'Brien, but that's because it's a funny show, he's not trying to change the world by giving out gifts and his appeal does not come from watching people fight over who treated who like crap.

With that said, I wouldn't watch the JS show because it exploits people's emotions, trivializes problems, mocks people with unique life situations, and uses violence as a selling point. I don't even know if this show is still on, but back when this person was on the show, it was nothing for a guest to pick up a chair, hit another guest with it, and start a riot.

And I know someone who was on this show.

It's almost shameful and embarrassing. What's worse:
*Knowing someone who was on the show
*Knowing someone who was on the show TWICE because the audience reaction was good enough to boost ratings

The guy I know who has been on the show was a semi-regular at Bugs, the pool hall of my youth. He was a larger man with a long, blonde mullet. He was called to the show to have his wife tell him a secret.

Why don't people realize that if one of these shows calls you and asks you to visit, the secret is probably something you don't want to have the world know? Or it's going to be painful and the show is just trying to capitalize on your pain? How stupid can people get?

The guy's wife sat on the show and then explained to him that she was leaving him for another woman.

I never did watch the shows he appeared (I've never watched any JS shows), but knowing the history of the show, I realize that he was probably called back because he got violent. The audience requested a repeat of the performance.

And this scares me. The fact that I know someone who was on this show makes me feel dirty. I would rather be many more steps away from Jerry Springer. And the appearance was his fifteen minutes of fame.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Heading out in the chilly night, I went to IHOP with a co-worker. As I walked into the restaurant, there were three employees standing at the cash register. One of them was a waiter I've seen before, the other two were new employees, both younger women.

The three stood there, staring at me. Typically, when I walk into a restaurant, the employees say, "Hello, and how many tonight?" Not tonight. They just stared at me. It lasted beyond the point of being uncomfortable. I walked up to one of them and told her, "Two please."

She led me back to a table and I waited a couple of minutes for my co-worker to show up. We ordered, but I kept finding it strange that the employees would walk by and stare just a little too long at me.

After we had eaten, one of the women walked up to our table, finally getting the nerve to talk to me. She said, "Excuse me, but is your name Beth?"

This is where I got very confused. My name, obviously from the sidebar, is Beth. But I've never seen this woman in my life.

I say, "Yes, it is."

She replies, "I thought so. You were here last night talking about such and such."

Then I give her an extremely blank look. I know that I was at an IHOP yesterday, but it was a different IHOP. I also know that I was still feeling the gas from the dentist office, but I was not that out of it.

I think I have an evil twin. I'm not sure if she's evil, and she probably is not, but it's more fun to think of an evil twin than just a twin who has the same name as I do.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Busy Weekend

Sunday was a fantastic day!

Each week, I look forward to Sunday for a few reasons. 1) It's my first day of my weekend. 2) I'll get to go to karaoke with DM. 3) I get to stay up later than normal and it's a good time for myself.

This Sunday was special. It was the 4th Annual Sheepsheadians day at the opera. This year I went to see The Gondoliers with Keem and DM. The show is put together by the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company here in the Twin Cities. I've been attending the annual shows since 1987 and a few years ago, I invited the Sheepsheadians along.

As always, the show was wonderful. We left singing and dancing and smiling. After the show, Keem, DM, and I went to Manny's Steakhouse. Oh my. What wonderful, wonderful food. It has been decided that we're going to make it tradition to go to Manny's after the show every year.

After Manny's, DM and I headed to karaoke. Keem went home (I wish she'd come to karaoke more often than twice. I like Keem at karaoke.) Char showed up (yea!) and we had a great time. Michael was there and we laughed with him. Dean showed up and we got to talk with him a bit.

When karaoke was over, I took DM home. Then Char came over and we watched Ed Wood. It was enjoyable.

On Monday, I went to the dentist (again) and they gave me the gas this time. So I was feeling pretty good for most of Monday. I was going to work overtime at NABABNA on Monday night, but when I got there, they really didn't need me. My boss let me leave.

I called up Char and we met at IHOP for some food and then went shopping. I was able to use a gift card that I had for Best Buy and purchased some new DVDs. I got the 2nd & 3rd seasons of Soap. Okay, I bought a lot more than that (but it only cost $4.35 out of my pocket. I had a lot of gift cards.) I also got the 1st & 2nd seasons of Quantum Leap, the 5th season of The Simpsons, The Gods Must Be Crazy 1 & 2, Cellular, the special edition of The Terminal, and Plan 9 From Outer Space.

I also finally watched Tears of the Sun. A man at work lent it to me a few months ago and I've been putting off watching it. It was good, but really hard to watch. It's not an overly happy story. War stories never are. I guess I should never say never, but most war stories are not full of warm fuzzies.

That was my busy weekend. I have a full week ahead, but not as much planned for the evenings. I'm sure Friday night will either be a Fridleykins night or a pool night.

Great News

Regarding my employment law class, I finally got my grade. I did well in the class.

I got 99 out of 100 points for the ENTIRE class!

I just had to share my good news.