Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A few weeks before going on vacation in September I felt this need, not just a want, but a most definite NEED to start replacing my jewelery. I don't really wear bracelets (I feel like they get in the way, but I wear a watch all the time, no I don't know how they are any different, but in my head they are) and I don't wear necklaces anymore (most likely in protest of Ms. Ex who sometimes wouldn't let me leave the house until I'd gone back into the bedroom and put on a necklace to accompany my t-shirt. I wish I was joking. Also I'd have to put on a belt if I wasn't wearing one. Again, wish I was joking.). What I really wanted, needed, to replace were my rings. I love rings and I wanted some that didn't remind me of the past. I wanted some that had absolutely no connection to Ms. Ex.

I spent hours shopping for rings online and flipping through the catalogs that inexplicably show up in my mailbox (thank you whoever sold my name and address, I just love getting catalogs that I immediately throw away, good use of our precious natural resources). You know what? There are some god awful looking rings for sale right now. God. Awful. I'm talking fugly. Stuff I wouldn't be caught dead wearing. Stuff nobody should be caught dead wearing. I am a simple person. I like simple things. I wanted basic silver rings. These are apparently harder to find than I thought they'd be. Who knew?

Eventually I found a few I liked, ordered them and then waited impatiently for them to arrive. Two I love, one I like and one is eh. But that's how things go sometimes right? The ring below I wear all the time. I even sleep in it. I only take it off to shower. The inscription on the outside is in Italian and I have a feeling it doesn't say what it's supposed to say as is typically the case with these sorts of things. It's probably close, but off just a touch (Francesca, can you translate?). But it's the inscription inside that caught my eye.

I wear the ring all the time to remind myself of what it says. Anything is possible. No matter where you are in your life right now ANYTHING is possible. ANYTHING at all.

And that my friends is not always easy to remember is it? Life tends to drag us all down at times. We get mired in the day to day and we forget about our dreams. We forget TO dream. And that's not good.

I'm trying to hold on to my dreams. I'm trying to remember to actually dream them. I'm trying to prioritize, figure out what I want badly and what I want a little less. Where I'd like to be five years from now, ten years from now, for the rest of my life. That is HARD. I do know the most important thing to me is to be happy.

People have different definitions of happy. For some it involves money and things (and more money to buy more things). For me happy means friends and fun and family and the simple things in life, preferably with my "one," my soul mate at my side. But if she doesn't materialize for a while that's okay too. It'll happen in time.

And in the meantime, I've got my ring to remind me that anything is possible, to remind me to hold onto my dreams and to work toward them no matter how small a step I take in their direction. To remind me TO dream.

Lyrics for this post come from a song that for a while was the ring tone on my cell phone, Happy Together by The Turtles.

Imagine me and you, I do
I think about you day and night, it's only right
To think about the girl you love and hold her tight
So happy together

If I should call you up, invest a dime**
And you say you belong to me and ease my mind
Imagine how the world could be, so very fine
So happy together

I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

**talk about immortalizing the price of a phone call. If this song were written today the line would be something like "If I Facebooked you."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Snain, Dreams and Knitting

Okay, so it's snaining. For those of you who don't know what that means it's snowing and raining at the same time. The people on TV who use a magic eight ball to predict the weather often call this a wintery mix. I prefer snaining. I also prefer it to snain in say, oh I don't know, December and NOT the middle of October. WTF? As if not having summer wasn't enough we don't get to really have fall either and we go straight to winter? Seriously? I am not prepared for winter yet. And by prepared I mean mentally prepared. I haven't even gotten used to it being dark so freaking early yet (Hello S.A.D., welcome back. I have not missed you in the least). I haven't gotten over the fact that it rained for the entire month of June. Or was it July? I can't even remember now, I just remember that it rained every freaking day and it was COLD. Cold and wet and my yard was (still is) a swamp. I was really hoping for a nice, mild, long autumn. Guess I'm going to be disappointed again.

In other news I am nearly finished knitting my first hat. It took about eleventy hundred tries to get the gauge correct, and I frogged way more attempts than I'd like to admit, but by golly I believe I finally did it. Up next is transferring the knitting from the circular needles to the double pointed needles (a.k.a. scary sticks). This will be my first experience with the scary sticks and I'm a tad intimidated. But today at lunch while eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich I watched some videos about proper usage of the scary sticks and I'm a bit more confident I won't poke my eye out with them. Or ruin my hat. I really like my hat. A lot.

The picture doesn't even to it justice in my opinion. I'm knitting it with Malabrigo worsted weight yarn in the Stonechat colorway on size 8 needles using this pattern from my favorite knitting blogger. She explains exactly how to do each step in terms I can understand (honestly, best. pattern. ever.). As a novice knitter I really really really appreciate that. I will be using this pattern again for sure!

On Tuesday I went to see the movie Whip It. I loved it and I soooooo want to play roller derby now. Or at the very least go see an actual bout. That night I had a very involved dream. Shocking for me, I know. In said dream I was playing rugby which is apparently how my brain translated my desire to play roller derby. As I was playing rugby (which, by the way, I have never played or watched and don't know the rules of) folks from the other team tried to tackle me. So there they are hanging off my back when I realize that it's FMHW and her roommate.

And why was FMHW in my dream you ask? Honestly? While watching Whip It I kept staring at the skin on Marcia Gay Harden's neck and thinking how much it reminded me of FMHW. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly strange and perhaps creepy. I am well aware of that thank you very much. But you asked. Okay, you didn't ask and I'm just talking to myself now, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I'm positive that's what prompted her appearance in my dream. I haven't really been thinking about her at all lately. But what the dream, and thus my subconscious, was trying to tell me was I need to shake her, get her off my back, in the most literal sense. And really I'm not sure it was her specifically but more my past in general. I don't even need to look that up in a dream dictionary in order to interpret it. In the dream I believe I said something to her and her roommate as they were hanging off my back and I was dragging them around and she responded but I can't recall the conversation now. Should have written it down. Oh well. I should start a blog just for the crazy dreams I have. Maybe someday...

Anyway, it's snaining and damp and cold and I have a hat to finish and I'm soooo tired. And tonight is the night that's packed with TV shows for me. I should just go to bed, but I know I won't so I'm not going to kid myself. Lyrics for this post are from Dream On by Aerosmith.

Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face gettin' clearer
Th past is gone
It went by like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay

I know what nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Got Day Maggie

Tomorrow is Maggie's Got Day. Four years ago tomorrow my happy goofy little beagle came into my life. A lot has changed for both of us since that day and in the end those changes have all been for the better.

Four years ago tonight Ms. Ex and I were up for most of the night. It had been raining for 9 straight days. We got something like 20 inches of rain during that time and as Murphy and his damn law dictate right before we were going to go to bed our basement started leaking. So, we spent the night bickering, using the shop vac to suck up the water as it came in, building dams with towels and anything else we could find, venturing outside in the torrential downpour to try to extend our downspouts as far from the house as possible, creating a dam in the driveway to divert the water which was flowing down the hill from the lot next door and ending up against our foundation and praying that our sump pump would continue to work even though it started smoking around 2 am.

Needless to say we were exhausted and very cranky when we went to go pick up Maggie. She'd had a rough time of it herself having spent a couple days on a transport truck as it made it's way up to New England from Tennessee. We waited patiently as one large dog after another (mostly Labs or Lab mixes) was led off the transport truck and handed over to their new owners. Finally off came Maggie, this tiny little dog who seemed more intent on finding a good place to pee than the stranger holding her leash. After what might have been a world record length pee we got her into the car and headed home to our water logged house. As we drove away realized she was covered in her own poop. Awesome.

Maggie shortly after arriving at her new home.

One year ago at this time Maggie couldn't walk. She was in a lot of pain and though she didn't know it yet she was about 10 days away from major surgery to repair the herniated disc between her T11 and T12 vertebrae.

This is Maggie a couple days after the surgery.

She did not have a good Got Day last year. Neither did I.

Thankfully the hell that was the month of October 2008 has passed us by. Maggie has recovered nicely and I think more than anything else right now she simply lacks the confidence in herself rather than the ability to do certain things. I will say that all my animals are due for their yearly trip to the vet and I have been putting it off because it was about a week after I took them all in for their last yearly exams that Maggie got sick. I'm scared that's going to happen again even though I know that's crazy thinking so I haven't made the call yet. I will though. Soon.

Maggie seven months later, in May of 2009.

So, Happy Got Day Maggie!!! Thank you for bringing so much joy to my life. Thank you for always being happy to see me no matter how much pain you were in or how depressed and just plain not fun I might have been. And even when our lives turned upside down I knew I could count on your smile and your wagging tail and your silliness to bring a smile to my face. You'll never know how much good you've done me and I can only hope I'm repaying you for that in some small way. Mommy loves you very much.

God that got mushy huh? No lyrics for this post unless you want to sing Happy Got Day to Maggie in the tune of Happy Birthday. She might howl along with you though....

Monday, October 5, 2009

You've come a long way baby....

I started re-reading The Grapes of Wrath at the end of last week. It's been a few years and frankly in this economy it kind of seems apropos. As I picked up the book to read before going to sleep last night it occurred to me that I've had this battered and worn copy for quite a while. That in itself isn't all that unusual. After all, us bibliophiles tend to hang onto books that we enjoyed or that have meaning to us.

What occurred to me as I picked up the book last night was where I purchased the book, a Salvation Army in Ithaca, NY. That's where I bought a lot of books right after I graduated from college. See, I was poor. Or rather, I was po', so poor I couldn't even afford the other O and the R. I worked as many hours as I could get at an Auntie Anne's pretzel store in the mall, but there weren't a whole lot of hours, especially at first. An auspicious start to my life in the "real world." And if I'm being honest, the gig at Auntie Anne's wasn't even my first job out of college. I worked a total of one day in the bakery at Tops (I cannot for the life of me remember if there should be an apostrophe in Tops...anyway....). Tops is (was?) a grocery store.

But I was a great experience for me. I learned as much outside of the classroom as I did in the classroom. Truth be told I was a very young 18 years old when I went off to college. Sheltered and probably a little naive and from a very very small very homogeneous town. So, for me the experiences outside the classroom were as important, if not more so, than what I learned while in class.

What I didn't do in college was prepare for the future. I never made a life plan or even figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I thought that would all just magically happen (and in the end, it kind of has, to some degree). So, there I was during senior week (the week between the end of finals and commencement) scrambling around to find a place to live, never mind finding a job. The one thing I was certain of at that point in my life was that I wanted to stay close to my college so I could be close to my then girlfriend who was still in college. As always, I followed my heart. The story of my life which I've come to accept as who I am and how I'll likely always be. Following your heart is far better than following some other things that's for sure.

Honestly though since I didn't have a life plan staying close to the place that felt so very much like home to me seemed as good a plan as any. At that point in my life I didn't have the greatest relationship with my parents (ALL my doing not theirs, they have been the best parents anyone could ask for) so moving home just wasn't an option in my mind. Besides I'm from a town which is barely a dot on the map. If I'd moved home my options for employment would have been working at the creamery, the gas station or the other gas station. Oh, or maybe at the school where my dad was a teacher. So, Auntie Anne's wasn't really all that bad in the scheme of things.

So, to Ithaca I moved. Into my very first apartment. I had no furniture, just my car full of crap and a kitten that a friend had given me as a graduation present.

Being po' I did what any person would do, I went to my local Salvation Army to see what I could scrounge up for myself. I managed to find a cheap mattress (I don't even think I got a box spring for it, just the mattress), a $5 couch and a $10 recliner. The mattress was still in a bag and was new from what I could tell but the couch and recliner were battered and had seen better days. But they were cheap and they were mine. And honestly? They were pretty damn comfortable.

While buying my furniture I discovered that the Salvation Army also sold books. I was in heaven! Books for ten cents or a quarter! Books I could afford to buy even though I was po'! (yes, I do know about libraries, but I like to actually own the books and be able to spend as long reading them as I'd like and then keep them after I'm done with them or pass them along to someone else who will enjoy them) After that discovery I made it a point to check out the book selection pretty often. I'd wander the whole store while I was there. It was a cheap way to kill time since I didn't really have any friends (that statement alone could make for a whole series of posts, perhaps I'll cover that topic at a later date) and I wasn't yet working full time.

I don't think I have many books left in my collection from that time in my life. Just like I don't have many other things from that era any more. The mattress went to my friend Karen when my parents couldn't bear the thought of me sleeping on an $84 mattress on the floor and bought me something slightly more expensive. With a box spring! And a cheap metal frame to raise it off the ground! Oh the luxury!! The couch and recliner went back to the Salvation Army when I moved to CT (to be with Ms. Ex). In fact, the recliner didn't even make it back into the store as a donation. While unloading the truck in the parking lot a customer saw it and asked if I was getting rid of it. I gave it to him for free. I'd say it was my good deed for that day but since my apartment was flea infested the recliner might also have been flea infested. I sincerely apologize to whomever I gave the recliner to if I infested your house also.

I've come a very long way since the days when I lived in flea infested apartments where my neighbors kept their gas grill in their bedroom (god how I wish I had taken a picture of that!). I have a house now. And brand new furniture that I bought at a store and had delivered to my house. I have a mattress, a box spring AND an actual bed frame with a matching dresser and night stands. I have a good job and (a little) money in the bank. I have health insurance and a car that's paid for. And I still have the cat my friend gave me as a graduation present. He's a bit larger now however....

And if my neighbors DO keep their gas grill in their bedroom our houses are far enough apart that should they set their house on fire it likely won't do any damage to mine. All in all I am incredibly fortunate.

That's what I thought about last night as I picked up my beat up copy of The Grapes of Wrath as I settled into bed. I've come a long way since my days as a newly minted college graduate with a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Sociology who made pretzels for a living. That's something to be very proud of if I do say so myself.

I was listening to music as I wrote this post, the acoustic channel of Sirius Satellite radio that I get on my dish (which was THE deciding factor for not changing my TV service earlier this fall) and up popped the song Walk On The Ocean by Toad The Wet Sprocket. This song will always remind me of college and the period of time directly after college and thus it seems fitting for this post.

We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything's better, everything's safe

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

And half an hour later we packed up our things
We said we'd send letters and all those little things
And they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
It seemed they'd already forgotten we'd came

Now we're back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don't know you
And trust is a joke
We don't even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old