Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Survey of the month

Not sure if you have sacrificed yourself to the cult of MySpace, but if you have you know about the influx of surveys that invade the bulletin board every day. Little did I know that these surveys would become one of my favorite parts of this online community. I get to learn all kinds of fascinating information about friends and acquaintances, and these surveys give me a reason to keep in touch with people, even if it is a little silly.

Anyway, I thought I would include a few recent survey questions so you can get to know me a little better...

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Inconsiderate people.

12. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
Yes. I don't even realize I am doing it half the time. Is that weird?

13. Have you ever peed in the woods?
I must have when I was a child, but now I try to make sure I am never too far from a bathroom of some sort.

29. Were you a boy/girl scout?
Yes, and I was kicked out in the 6th grade because my troop leader's daughter didn't like me.

34. Ran out of gas?
Yes, but it wasn't my fault. My boyfriend (at the time) had recently bought a lifted truck and wanted to to try driving it. It freaked me out but I said ok. Towards the end we pulled off the freeway and when on the road circling up the exit to the street, the truck lost all power and I couldn't steer. We started to roll backwards toward the freeway when we navigated it off the road and pull the emergency brake. After a few minutes he realized that the gas guage was broken and we had run out of gas.

40. When you were a kid what did you dress up as for Halloween?
Usually something funny or just plain wrong. My favorite was dressing as a suicidal baby who had hung herself with a jumprope noose. That year I also worked in a haunted house, mind you.

42. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
Yes- quite a few. The New Yorker, Time Out NY, Backstage, and Glamour.

49. Afraid of heights?
Heights? No. I am afraid of falling and dying when hitting the ground.

57. Ever eat a pierogie?
This might be one if those foods I have had, but because I have never seen it spelled before I have no idea what it is.

59. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be an actor, teacher or psychologist.

66. First concert?
Michael W Smith. When I was 14 I had a crush on a boy who was Christian, and he took me to this concert with his youth group.

67.Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart?
Boycott Walmart- they are the most profitable chain store in the country and treat their employees horribly with regard to wages, hours worked, and benefits. They have more employees on state assisted benefits (read: they don't get benefits through Walmart) than any other corporation, and yet they are bringing in enormous profits. Instead of paying their employees, they undercut the prices of other merchants. So, stores that pay fair wages and benefits suffer because Walmart has lower prices (they can afford to when they don't pay a fair wage). Research the stores you purchase from (and products you buy) and make sure you support the way they do business. It is one of the only ways to make a difference in the USA.

End of soapbox. I promise.

73. Is there a profession that you want for your perfect future spouse?

86. Can you hold your breath w/o manually holding your nose?
Yes. Both under water and out of water.

91. Which are better black or green olives?
Kalamata olives.

I’d love to get to know you better too, so leave a comment and put your answers!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who's gonna be our next Idol?

I have to confess... I love “American Idol.” I love singing and I love singers, and this show is a global acknowledgment of the power of music to lift the spirits and engage the senses. It’s the Star Search of the 21st century, and I love the fact that this is one of very few reality TV shows that seeks to show the best side of its participants, as opposed to the worst. And I love that the contestants become famous for something tangible- a talent that is meaningful and marketable.

I guess it also speaks to my heart because I dream of being able to make my living as a singer and actor. I close my eyes and am transported to a place when I can positively impact as many people as these singers do. I get to imagine myself doing all of the things that they get to do, and it inspires me to keep working. To keep getting out there, because if it is possible for them then it is possible for me too.

The final show is halfway done and I am still split over who I want to win. Taylor and Katharine are both so wonderful and I would easily buy either of their albums. My mom is probably going to give herself carpel tunnel from voting so much for Katharine (last week, she got through more than 90 times). My boyfriend is a huge Taylor fan. Who are all of Elliott’s votes going to this week? I can’t wait to find out tomorrow!

PS If you want to see my heart and soul, I invite you to listen to/watch some of my demos.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happiness List

Today’s Happiness List, brought to you by Coffee. Lots and lots of Coffee.

• Freshly painted toenails, especially when they put flowers or cute designs on the big toes
• Coffee. Lots and lots of Coffee.
• Working from home... in my PJs
• Sushi- spicy tuna rolls and edamame. Mmmm...
• Drinking a cocktail in the afternoon
• American Idol- I love that show!
• Chocolate chip cookies
• Kick ass roommates
• Having a great conversation with a good friend
• Knowing your family is behind you no matter what
• A dog who has been your best friend for 10 1/2 years

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Down with the family unit?

It’s a startling reminder that not all US states are as forward thinking as we had thought. Seriously, people...

Friday, May 12, 2006

The joys of being an adult

There are certain things in life that you can look forward to as you get older. Getting to rent a car on your own, inviting your friends over whenever you want, drinking coffee. Having a glass of wine with dinner, planting a garden, shaking your head at kids these days with their weird haircuts. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are also things you can happily kiss goodbye: curfews, notes from mommy when you want to stay home, being forced to go to the doctor when you don’t want to. Report cards, only getting $1 a week for allowance, awkward pubescent years.

There are things you can only know about once you become an adult, and you cherish the ability to close this chapter of you life. The chapter including tantrums, angst, growing pains, and being misunderstood, over-analyzed and under-appreciated. There’s also experiencing something that makes you realize how difficult it was for you parents to raise you. This sort of realization can create wonderful conversations with your parents, where you tell your tale of how frustrating it is when your roommates don’t thoroughly clean their dishes but put them away for you to find later, and your mother says, “See, that’s how we felt with you as a child.” You chuckle, sigh, and and finally have that understanding, nay, a rite of passage, that took years to build.

I went to sleep the other night thinking about these things, an overconfident smile passing my lips. “Life is so good,“ I thought. But how was I to know that the very next morning I would be facing an agony that besets toddlers everywhere.

Teething. I am teething.

I am what people in the dentistry business call “an anomaly.” I’ve had braces twice, have had 2 mouth surgeries during which they pulled out 10 baby teeth that wouldn’t fall out (as well as remove a cyst and reposition a tooth that was coming in backwards.) I have had a spacer put in my mouth to correct a cross-bite, which involved breaking the cartilage of the jaw so it could be moved into the right position. I am also missing 4 permanent teeth- two molars and two incisors, which required the filing of my canines so they could be positioned where my incisors should be. One good thing about the latter is that they didn’t have to bother with pulling my wisdom teeth (I had plenty of room). But all of that pain and work pales in comparison to teething. Holy mother of god, growing a tooth in hurts like a motherfucker. I’m sorry for the language (I usually do not swear to god) but I’ve been in agony for at least a week while my final wisdom tooth is starting to poke out from my bottom right gum. It’s all I can think about, minute after minute, hour after hour. I can’t sleep on that side because I will chew up my swollen cheek, so I try to sleep on the other side but gravity forces my swollen cheek to fall into the path of my grinding teeth. My only recourse is to sleep on my back, which has never been comfortable for me.

I guess the good thing is that I have a new respect for what babies have to go through at such a tender age. I feel like I can empathize with their plight. But the best news is... I now have an abundance of wisdom that I didn’t have before my wisdom teeth grew in. Boo-ya.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

"How Could You?"

Sent to me by my dear friend, Dean...

A man in Grand Rapids, Michigan incredibly took out a $7000 full page ad in the paper to present the following essay to the people of his community. (Though a melodramatic story, its truth touches the heart at its core. Prepare to need a tissue...)

HOW COULD YOU? By Jim Willis, 2001

“When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.
We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs" you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife is not a "dog person" -- still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate.

Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."
As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would've defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told those stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject.
I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf. Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness.
You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers."
You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed
"No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.

You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked
"How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured
"How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry."
She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my
"How could you?" was not directed at her. It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

A Note from the Author: If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly "owned" pets who die each year in American & Canadian animal shelters. Please use this to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, which animals deserve our love and sensible care, and that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Please pass this on to everyone, not to hurt them or make them sad, but it could save maybe, even one, unwanted pet.

Remember...They love UNCONDITIONALLY.“

Consequently, I am a member of a group called "Playwrights for Pets"- I have directed for them and am proud supporter. There is a show coming up Monday, May 22 (7:30pm) called "Duets"- a benefit reading of short plays by New York playwrights. All donations go directly to Animal Haven. To RSVP (or for info on making a donation) please email Sue Yocum, Executive Director.

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