Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Year in Review

Once again, thanks to Jacqueline for this idea (and for most of the categories), I humbly present to you my 2008 Year in Review awards "show."

Song of the Year:
• 1963 - Rachel Yamagata
• fuck was I – Jenny Owens Youngs
• The entire soundtrack from the musical Rent

And the winner is: This is a difficult category for the voters to decide this year. Music has played a huge role in Jess’s life over the course of the last 12 months, even inspiring her to start blogging when the song quoting just would not stop. The song “1963” sums up Jess’s spring and summer. The song “fuck was I” sums up a very specific episode during the month of September which still makes Jess cringe in humiliation when she thinks about it. The soundtrack from Rent has been played continually for the last four months and contains some excellent quotes and is therefore the winner in this category this year. Jess would like you to remind everyone to “forget regret or life is yours to miss.” She also states that she is “looking for baggage that goes with mine.” And she would also like to apologize for getting Rent songs stuck in so many people’s heads, thank you all for putting up with her.

Book of the Year:
• Drunk Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair – Laurie Perry

And the winner is: Drunk Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair, the only nominee in the category this year, is the winner. Jess says this book made her laugh out loud and helped her realize that no matter how horrible she might feel at any given moment in time, it always gets better, especially if you have a little wine and some feline companionship to help you through. Jess recommends this book to anyone who’s ever had their heart broken. She also says that this book was the impetus for her to begin her illustrious knitting career. Look for lopsided scarves in garter stitch at a homeless shelter near you!

Broadway Show of the Year:
• The Color Purple
• Mamma Mia!
• Rent

And the winner is: Mamma Mia! Jess imagines you’re all surprised by the winner in this category. It was a very close vote, but seeing her mother laugh so hard she cried tipped the scales in favor of Mamma Mia! The Color Purple was a very distant third and was only nominated because it was one of the three shows Jess saw on Broadway this year. Rent, though not the winner, will always hold a special place in Jess’s heart.

Movie of the Year:
• The film version of the musical Rent
• Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
• Juno

And the winner is: Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog takes the award this year. Who doesn’t love Neil Patrick Harris? And Neil Patrick Harris singing? Even better! With lines such as “Oh, look at my wrist!” and “What a crazy, random, happenstance!” Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog made for stiff competition for the other nominees.

Work Accomplishment of the Year:

• Surviving the PeopleSoft upgrade
• The search to fill the 4th DM position
• Jess continuing to learn how to work with her new boss

And the winner is: While learning to work with a new boss is a repeat nominee (and winner in this category in 2007) it is not a two time winner. The search for the 4th DM position takes this category this year. The search to fill this position took nearly 8 months. Jess had her first choice stolen from her by her boss to fill another position in the department (Hi Courtney!). The next candidate accepted another position on campus. The third time was not the charm as that candidate dropped off the face of the planet. The fourth choice turned the position down because she felt it was not the best fit for her and her family at that time. Finally, after months and months of frustration the person Jess had been waiting for walked through her office door for an interview. This fifth and final candidate accepted the position and has been a most welcome addition to Jess’s staff.

Phrase of the Year:

• I find you aesthetically pleasing. – Heather
• I feel so lucky to be here. - Sara
• I’ll just wait for him to pull out - Francesca
• Hey Jessie, ever do something crazy? Want to rent a car and drive to Florida to swim with the manatees with me? – Scary Lori

And the winner is: Again this was a hard category for the voters to decide, but the award this year goes to Francesca for “I’ll just wait for him to pull out.” This phrase allowed the inner 15 year old boy in Jess’s head to come out of hiding and made the trip to Bar Harbor that much more fun. And as clarification, it was said in reference to waiting for the guy in front of us at a gas station to move his vehicle. The “aesthetically pleasing” phrase comes in a close second however due to the fact that it was received as a P.S. in a text message.

Meal of the Year:

• Lobster from Nunan’s Lobster Hut, Cape Porpoise, ME
• Chicken and veggies cooked over a camp fire, Hancock, NH
• Brazilian food at a restaurant who’s name I don’t think I ever knew, NYC, NY

And the winner is: While Nunan’s is a repeat nominee from last year, it does not win this category for the second year in a row. The Brazilian food was excellent (as were the drinks) and the company for that meal was also fantastic, but this year the award goes to the meal cooked over a campfire. The inventiveness and flavor of this meal coupled with the company of the folks Jess shared it with make it the most memorable of 2008.

Scariest Moment of the Year:

* Coming home from work and finding Maggie unable to walk

And the winner is: Jess says there can only be one nominee in this category this year and thus the winner is Maggie being unable to walk. The two weeks before her surgery had to be one of the absolute worst times of Jess’s life. Thankfully this story has a happy ending with Maggie being completely pain free and able to walk on her own. For a while Jess was not sure that would ever happen and she was envisioning how to make her split level house user friendly for a dog in a cart. Jess would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement as she has gone through this ordeal with Maggie, it has meant more to her than she can ever find the words to express. She thanks each and every one of you from the bottom of her heart. Thank you.

Storyline of the Year:

• The Poison Ivy Saga of June – where was Jess getting it from and would it ever go away?
• Jumping back into the dating world – after almost 10 years would Jess even remember how to get to know someone new and how to go about this thing called dating? Would she find love in the process?
• The push to get published – would Jess be able to muster the courage to send her work to literary journals for consideration?

And the winner is: This was an interesting category for voters this year and unlike last year a hard category to find nominees for. The winner this year has to be jumping back into the dating world. The poison ivy saga lasted a long and very very itchy month and while Jess isn’t certain she found the source of the poison ivy she managed not to re-infect herself with it for a third time and will be far more careful about her gardening this coming spring. The push to get published started off strong after the initial terrifying act of clicking send on her first e-mailed submission, but the push petered out when her dog got sick. Jess hopes to get back to the submitting now that the holidays are behind her. Jumping back into the dating world was an incredibly scary prospect for Jess this past winter. After an eight year relationship starting over is hard to envision. She did have six great months with a woman whom she will never forget (and with whom she did fall in love) and Jess will always be thankful they met, but sadly that relationship came to an end and Jess is starting from square one yet again. This year’s winner may make a repeat appearance in this category next year. Stay tuned…..

Moment of the Year:

• Seeing the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain
• Censored

And the winner is: Seeing the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain is an experience that Jess will never forget. And she has 30 some odd pictures of it to help jog her memory in case it gets fuzzy in the future. However the censored nominee is the award winner in this category. Jess would like to tell you more about it, but suffice it to say it was memorable and worthy of an award this year.

Thank you all for following Jess's Year End awards, we hope you enjoyed this year's presentation. Nominations for the 2009 awards will begin at 12:00:00 on January 1, 2009. Jess says she’s looking forward to seeing what another exciting year has in store for her.

The song lyrics for this post come from one of the nominees in the Song of the Year category. From 1963 by Rachel Yamagata I present to you:

Oh, the days you come around
I feel so good for me
I can take most anything
Cause what you bring

I find it to be magical
I feel like I'm loving you in 1963
Flowers in my hair
Little bitty hearts upon my cheek
Baby, you'll be on my mind
Until I kiss you next time

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On how to ruin a holiday for someone

Christmas is in two days. I haven't had much Christmas spirit this year. Maybe it's because I didn't get a tree again this year (I do have lights and decorations up). Maybe it's because I didn't really have any shopping to do this year (my parents asked me not to get them anything because of the cost of Maggie's back issues and I don't buy for any other family members and there is no special someone, so very limited shopping was done this year). Who knows why, but the spirit just isn't in me this season. So, since I don't really have Christmas spirit to ruin I figured it was a good time to blog about how this holiday was ruined for me a few years back.

Today's lyrics are from the Rent soundtrack, the song is You Okay Honey and these lyrics really just set the scene and are not from that song.

Christmas bells are ringing,
Christmas bells are ringing,
Christmas bells are ringing,
Somewhere else, not here.

Three years ago Ms. Ex and I had been together for seven years. I had moved to CT six years before to be with her. We'd bought a house together and lived there for over a year breaking our backs to fix it up and make it our own. We'd adopted two dogs. We were a nice little family. That Christmas Ms. Ex bought me a ring. Yup, that kind of ring. The one that implies "forever." The one that is usually followed by a wedding. The one that says "I want to spend the rest of my life with you." That is the kind of ring I got for Christmas in 2005.

Now, in the spirit of complete honesty and full disclosure, getting that ring scared the bejesus out of me. I'm not even sure scared is a strong enough descriptor for what I felt when I opened the box (incidentally, Ms. Ex was not even in the room when I opened the box, she couldn't bring herself to watch me do it, this should have been clue #1...). By this point in our relationship I was not happy and was depressed, or at least I know that now looking back on it all. But I had made a commitment and damn it all if I wasn't going to stay committed to that commitment. I am a loyal person and also incredibly stupidly stubborn about some things. Ms. Ex wasn't perfect, but then neither am I. So, I accepted the ring, said yes, and was actually pretty happy about it all. Somehow the ring signalled to me that she still loved me and that she wanted to be with me and that would make every thing okay. Of course you know the outcome of this story already since I refer to her as Ms. Ex and not my darling wife, or my sweetheart....

So, where were we? Oh right, ring accepted, happy me. Three weeks after Christmas Ms. Ex comes home from work and wants to talk. And she tells me "I don't want this anymore." And by "this" she means our life together. THREE FUCKING WEEKS after she gives me a ring and tells me that she wants to spend the rest of her life with me she comes home from work and tells me she's changed her mind. Seriously? She couldn't have figured that all out BEFORE she gave me the ring? I mean these thoughts (feelings) don't just happen over night. Merry fucking Christmas to you too.

When she told me that I did what any sane and rational woman would have done at that point. I ripped the ring off my finger and threw it at her while yelling something about how she could give it back if she ever made up her frigging mind or something equally as eloquent. It's all a bit of a blur thankfully.

So, Christmas of 2005 was the beginning of the end of my relationship with Ms. Ex. It took another 18 months or so for the last sentence to be written on that chapter of my life. It was a very long, very emotionally draining 18 + months for sure. I certainly don't look at Christmas the same since that time. I don't look at my birthday the same way either, but I'll save that for another post. And sure as shooting (where the heck did that saying come from?) I don't look at Ms. Ex the same either. I don't think she's a bad person, but I think the proposal and then taking it back does speak for the kind of person that she is. And that kind of person is all wrong for me.

Merry Christmas every one. And if Santa brings you a ring, I hope he also brings with the ring the desire of the person giving it to you to actually spend the rest of their lives with you and you know, not just the next few weeks until they change their mind and decide that they don't want "this" anymore. Hopefully this time next year I will have found my Christmas spirit again and have that special someone to buy gifts for. But not a ring, I wouldn't want to ruin the holiday for someone if I suddenly changed my mind....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reason Number 852 why I'm glad I'm not still dating Ms. Ex

Starting right off with the song today. Rain by Breaking Benjamin

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day,
All the world is waiting for the sun

It rained yesterday and last night. And when I say rained I mean it poured buckets. And by it poured buckets I mean it was as though someone unzipped the clouds and an ocean fell out of them. I really didn't think anything of all the rain other than "if this were snow there would be feet of it" and "I'm really glad I have no where to go tonight" and "damn it, Maggie won't pee in this weather, I hope she can hold it all night." So, I went to bed as normal and slept through the night peacefully (with the aid of some Nyquil since I still have a cold).

I got up this morning and as expected my back and side yards were (still are) a cross between a swamp and a lake. This did not surprise or concern me. It's just what happens. Someday when I have a little extra money I'll address the drainage issue, until then, it's just swampy. I got ready for work and got Maggie ready to go to hydrotherapy and was about to put her in the car when I decided to take the blankets I'd thrown down the stairs and into my family room last night all the way down to the basement where my washer and dryer is. I have no idea why I decided right then that I needed to do that, but I did. When I flicked on the light in the basement I discovered water. See, my basement leaks. Not horribly, but enough that there will be water on the floor when it rains.

Every house in my town has at least one sump pump in the basement regardless of whether or not the basement leaks. We sit on a high water table. Again, it's just how it is here. My sump pump was not pumping this morning however and the sump well was full and there was water on the floor around the sump well a good three to four feet in every direction. Thankfully it was only enough to just cover the floor but still...this is the first time this has happened to me in this house.

So, I did what any rational person would do, I calmly stepped into the puddle, bent down and lifted the float on the sump pump to see if the pump itself was kaput or if the float had just gotten hung up on something. As soon as I lifted the float the pump kicked on and the water started being sucked out. It took a couple minutes but before long the sump well had been drained and everything was fine. Sure, water was still trickling in, but it wasn't a gushing torrent and I knew it would be fine. So, I dried off my hand, shut off the light, put Maggie in the car and off we went; me to work and her to hydrotherapy.

Now, if Ms. Ex and I were still living together the scene I discovered in the basement this morning would have been cause for utter panic and chaos. I would have had to call into work to say I would be late (even though she works less than 10 minutes from here and I work a half hour from here). Then I would have had to call the vet where Maggie goes to hydrotherapy and say we'd be late and then SIT IN THE FUCKING BASEMENT AND WATCH THE SUMP PUMP. For hours. To be sure it was working. This is of course AFTER we would use every towel in the house to create a barrier around the sump well to contain the water. You think I jest, but I am not joking. Some day I'll have to blog about the great basement watch of 2005. And then again the great basement watch of 2006.

And what pray tell do you think I could do if I sat there and the pump wasn't working? Suck the water out with a straw? Bail it with a bucket? No, all I could do is call some company that would already be flooded (ha!) with calls and get on a list for them to come look at the problem in the spring. Of 2010. There would have been arguing and tension and lots of grumbling under our breaths at each other. And it would have been a shitty day all around. And that is why this blog is titled "Reason Number 852 why I'm glad I'm not still dating Ms. Ex." Because this morning I spent five minutes dealing with the problem and didn't even think about it again until the very end of the day at work. When I got home tonight with Maggie the basement was fine just as I knew it would be. No stress or tension or arguing or time wasted sitting in the fucking basement watching the water come in and the sump pump run. I'd call that a pretty damned good day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am sick

I meant to post over the weekend, but I have come down with the cold from hell and so that just didn't happen. In fact the only reason I am posting now is because I left work early today because I am still quite sick. I didn't want to go in to work at all today, but I called out sick yesterday (for the first time in I think two years) and was off on Monday to take Maggie for her re-check appointment at Tufts (they said she looks great!) so off to work I went this morning.

Most of my coworkers where wondering what I was even doing there today. I think I had at least 6 people tell me to go home as soon as I walked in the door. I stayed until just after noon. And if I'm so sick why did I bother to go in at all you ask? Why thank you for asking, let me tell you. There are a variety of reasons for this. In no particular order they are:

1. needed to get out of the house for a while
2. an incredibly strong compulsion to go to work every day
c. my boss came to work horrifically sick every day for two weeks so therefore I must come into work while sick too
4. in this economy I feel like every move at work is being intensely scrutinized
e. just because layoffs are supposedly not on the horizon for us does not mean that they won't happen in the future
6. this is the busiest time of year for me at work and a horrible time to be sick

I'm sure there are other reasons, but because I am still sick they aren't coming to me at the moment. And just a comment on number C above. If my boss had stayed home a day or two when she was sick then I bet I would not have gotten sick and had to be out of work. Nor would three of my employees have gotten sick and been out of work. I'm just saying.....

Oh, and today's song is Right Here Right Now by Jesus Jones. How does it relate you might ask? Well, here are the lyrics:

I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now,
There is no other place I want to be

And where I am right now is at home on my couch in warm fleece pants and a hoodie. I'm about to turn on a movie and have some hot chocolate. I can't think of any other place I'd rather be at the moment than where I am right now. I should have just stayed in bed this morning....