I tagged myself

I don’t like these memes and never thought I’d tag myself, but I liked this one, picked up from Follow That Star, enough to steal it for my own blog.

Directions: Pick a musician/band and answer the questions using ONLY song titles from their repertoire.

Artist/band: Billy Joel
Are you male or female: She’s Always a Woman | Modern Woman
Describe yourself: Everybody Has a Dream
How do some people feel about you: The Stranger
How do you feel about yourself: You’re Only Human (Second Wind)
Describe where you want to be: River of Dreams
Describe what you want to be: Keeping the Faith
Describe how you live: I’ve Loved These Days | This Is the Time
Describe how you love: Just the Way You Are | You’re My Home
Share a few words of wisdom: Honesty

I couldn’t limit myself to just one song title on some of these. Otherwise, I have to say this was a total no-brainer for me since Billy Joel is one of my very favorite artists. When I mentioned yesterday that I had seen a Broadway show in New York? Well duh, It was "Movin’ Out." All Billy Joel music.

Assault on the senses

I like to consider myself a helpful person, and to that end I am going to perform a public service and offer some valuable advice. Should you ever travel to New York, you would be wise to request a room that does not overlook Times Square. Because if you think you want a view of Times Square, you might as well be ordering 24-hour daylight. Flashing neon daylight, at that. I did draw the draperies closed but I nevertheless knew, just knew, those lights were still out there taunting me, blinking right outside my window even when I could see them no longer.

And while I am in the mood for dispensing advice, I’ll recommend against taking a room that opens over the atrium lobby only a few floors below. Or a room next door to a partying crowd. The entire city was conspiring to keep me awake, I know they were. Every last sleep-depriving one of them.

New York was an interesting experience. It’s been so long since I was there (except for that eventful rerouted flight a few years ago), that I didn’t really remember it. So when I unexpectedly found myself with time to kill on Saturday, I took advantage of the opportunity to do some exploring. It was beautiful fall weather, and I got to enjoy my longed-for taste of autumn. I stuck within walking distance after promising my husband I would not ride the subway alone (though I’m used to traveling solo for work and well versed in subway common sense, having traversed subways the world over; but it is New York, so it was easier to err on the side of caution and agree). I covered a lot of ground on foot. Quite the opposite of Orlando, which is not at all a walking city. It turns out there is no better place than Times Square and the surrounding areas to experience the sights and sounds of the big city.

My first stop, after parting with a couple of bucks for one of those delicious soft, warm pretzels from a street vendor that I had spied from the taxi on my way in, was the giant Toys R Us just across the way from my hotel. I walked in and pretty much right back out again because it was so overwhelming. Where do you even start in a place of that magnitude? Noise was coming at me from every direction and staff were posted everywhere to direct people toward the exit. Otherwise no one would have ever been able to find their way out. Though had my family — including my husband, the eternal kid — been with me, it might well have been our one and only stop for the day. I know I would have enjoyed it more if they had been there too.

I pushed my way through the throngs of people, pretzel in hand (feeling very much like a native New Yorker!), wandering in and out of shops as I made my way toward the Empire State Building. Due to the gorgeous clear day, it had been my intention to go to the observation level, but the two-hour wait changed my mind. Instead I backtracked to the New York Public Library and went inside for a brief respite from the traffic and people and noise. Oh, how I wish I had such an elegant place to which I could adjourn for a little quiet reading once in a while!

I was not able to see all the things I would like to have seen, had I had more time to play tourist. I wanted to tour Ellis Island, and pay my respects at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center. I wanted to head further in the other direction toward Rockefeller Center (but no ice skating there for me, for obvious reasons) and Central Park. I just didn’t have the time. Perhaps I will make it back with Kent one of these days so we can see the sights together. It’s on our list of travel destinations.

I did, however, get to take in a Broadway show, something I’ve always wanted to do. So now I can say I’ve done Broadway. But truthfully? I didn’t think it was any better than the touring Broadway productions we’ve seen locally. It did not, for instance, surpass the touring production of Les Miserables, my favorite theater experience to date.

Also on the weekend’s agenda was catching up with an old friend who lives in Manhattan, which was tremendous fun. We ate at a Thai restaurant that he selected, and even I, the pickiest eater alive, found something scrumptious on the menu.

And oh yeah, the work part of the trip went fine too.

On blogging

Should one write when one is not in a writing mood? I have the time at the moment, but not the inclination. There is not a creative spark in my head. This blogger acutely realizes that she hasn’t written anything original here in nearly a week. My sister called the other day to demand more posts, but they just aren’t in me right now. I’m going to go visit some other blogs instead.

I’ll be out of commission for the next few days as I am traveling for work, but I’ll be back next week with new material. Traveling always gives me inspiration. To tide you over, my loyal and appreciated readers, I’m once again pointing you to some older entries.

Embedded in this one is one of my very favorite stories about Maia:

This entry is the one that landed my first regular reader who was not a personally invited family member or friend:

And this one, just because I need it at the moment:

Happy Birthday to me!

I’ve already done my reflections on age here, so no mushy sentimentalism about growing older will be found in this location today. Let me just say that 34 was a great year in many, many ways, and I hope 35 turns out to be its equal. It would be greedy of me to ask for it to be even better.

I love birthdays, even if this one did sneak up on me out of nowhere. Happy birthday to me!

From the archives

I’ve got a crazy week, gearing up for a work trip this weekend. Not much time to write, so I’m going to send you to some of my favorites from the archives. Today’s nostalgic look back is one of my early entries, from way back in the day June.

Yes, I am making you work hard for your humor and (gasp!) click an extra link so I can avoid duplicate entries in my blog. If the thought of the extra click doesn’t give you carpal tunnel’s syndrome, you can find the entry here: Me, tough? 

I’m sporting a new look tonight … a goose egg in the back of my head. All because of a birthday party. An ice skating party. You already see where this is going, don’t you?

I had been planning to drop Maia off at the party, but common sense got the better of me since she had never been ice skating before. I stayed, at her request. She was afraid she might get hurt, and so was I. You get one guess as to which of us actually got injured.

Things started out great. I hadn’t been ice skating in 15 years but was getting into a groove, thinking about how it’s just like riding a bike. After 30 minutes, I hadn’t fallen once. But I should have known better than to get complacent, because I am a klutz. Things just happen to me. I have a scar on my leg from a spill down the stairs earlier this year. I have a scar on my wrist from an incident with a binder at work. I’m the one who tripped on a curb and landed underneath a parked car once in college, ending up on crutches with a sprained ankle (no alcohol involved, which made the incident that much harder to explain!). It’s kind of amazing, actually, that I’ve never broken any bones. I’m sure that’s just a matter of time.

So there I was, skating with Maia, minding my own business, when for no good reason my feet started to slide out from under me. My body ignored my brain’s commands to right itself, and my butt connected with the ice. But my head wanted a piece of the action too, and thunked hard. Very hard. And very, VERY loud. People came rushing over and started asking me difficult questions, like what day it was. It was a test, and I was relieved to have the right answers. It scared poor Maia to death. Someone brought me ice (wait, wasn’t it ice that caused the problem in the first place?). A knot swelled large and fast. It still hurts.

Oh, but it gets even better. There was another birthday party going on at the Ice Den this afternoon. It just happened to be for one of our neighbors. So, in addition to Maia’s first grade classmates and their parents, every single middle school aged kid that lives in my immediate neighborhood witnessed my humiliation.

Whose bright idea was it to have an ice skating party for 7-year-olds, anyway? Then again, this 34-year-old mom was the only one who got hurt. If it was going to happen, it was going to happen to me. The good news is that this is one individual who knows how to get back on the horse, so to speak, and after a brief interlude to ice my swollen noggin, monitor for signs of a concussion, and nurse my bruised pride, I did get back out there. Happily, I have no further misadventures to report.

Death by candy wrappers

“Crinkle, crinkle, shwoooop,” said the vacuum cleaner.

“What was that?” asked my mom, who heard the unmistakable sound of a candy wrapper being sucked into oblivion from clear across the house.

“Uh oh,” thought Aunt Marge*.

Poor Aunt Marge. It wasn’t her fault. She was only trying to help. Little did she know, that single sucked up candy wrapper would result in one of the worst coming-home-from-school experiences I can remember.

I, on the other hand, knew better. I knew I wasn’t supposed to have food in the bedroom. I also knew that when I inevitably broke that rule, I certainly wasn’t supposed to leave the empty wrappers lying around to be discovered. What was I thinking? I mean, surely I had heard of a garbage can by then? But candy wrappers and empty potato chip bags left in the garbage can in my own room would have been a sure-fire giveaway, come trash night, that I had disobeyed, and I was too lazy to seek out an appropriate receptacle in a non-rule-breaking location, like the kitchen. So I did what any red-blooded American kid would do. I hid the evidence of my sins under the bed.

Such was the state of my room at that inopportune moment when Aunt Marge charged in with the vacuum cleaner, eager to earn her keep as a visiting houseguest. As soon as she heard the sound of that crinkly paper being sucked into the central vacuum line she knew, she says these many years later, that I was in for it.

And in for it I was. My mother swooped in out of nowhere. One look at my room of course did nothing to appease her anti-candy-wrappers-in-the-vacuum mood. So in one of her finest “Mommie Dearest” moments**, she methodically set to work.

I wasn’t there to witness the actual deconstruction of my room, so I can’t say for sure, but I suppose she started with the closet. She raked everything out into the middle of the floor, and I do mean EVERYTHING. I’m sure there wasn’t even a piece of lint left in there. She moved on to my dresser drawers, dumping them out on top of the closet contents, then left the empty drawers sitting on top of that. These items were soon joined by more that resided under my bed or on any other surface within reach. By the time she was done, if it wasn’t a piece of furniture, it was in a heaping pile of mangled mess that consumed my entire bedroom floor.

Such was the new state of my room when I arrived home from school that ill-fated afternoon. I don’t think my mother said a word about it as I walked back to my doom. She didn’t have to. I knew I was in big trouble the moment I saw the sheer devastation. Talk about shock and awe! One thing you can say definitely about my mom—she knows how to make her point. I don’t remember how long it took to undo the damage. Probably days. I do remember shedding many tears at the unfairness of it all. Where do you even BEGIN to clean up something like that? Somehow I found a way, because I’m still alive to tell the tale.

I learned a valuable lesson that day, but I don’t think it was the one Mom intended. The lesson I learned wasn’t “Don’t break the rules,” but rather, “Do a better job of covering my tracks.” I guess mother really does know best, though, because I never again let my room get so bad that I had to endure another such catastrophe.

_____________________________________

*Special thanks to Aunt Marge for reminding me of this story after reading my entry about sitting on the spot.

**My mother isn’t really Mommie Dearest, though I’m sure I thought so at the time. It’s a family joke, and it’s how she always refers to herself when she leaves messages on our answering machine. Hi, Mom!

I, as do all living, breathing, bipedal creatures who presume to classify themselves as genus “homo” species “sapiens,” have many character flaws that routinely put me in my place and prove me only human. But probably the most fatal is that I was not exactly blessed with the gift of patience. Just ask anyone who is related to me. I suppose you could say I am the boss in the family, the one who dictates who does what, and when. And woe to the person who doesn’t stick to the plan or to the schedule. I have been known to be, shall we say, snappish. It’s true what they say. You always hurt the ones you love. I’m a nice person, really I am.

But I do have excellent news to report. I looked up “patience” in my Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, and here is what it said:

Patience: n. the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient

Okay, so far so good. However, in the interest of full disclosure and cross-referencing, I also looked up “patient”:

Patient: adj. 1. bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint 2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain 3. not hasty or impetuous 4. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity 5. able or willing to bear

Boy is it ever my lucky day! First of all, I’m not as bad off as I thought. I can be capable of great patience in situations that demand it. I’m generally not a whiner or a complainer. Yet when it comes to the minor, insignificant details of daily life, I am an instant gratification kind of girl. I want results, and I want them now! I want my daughter to find her backpack so she doesn’t have to walk to school when she misses the bus (yes, I made that threat in a fit of impatience). I want my husband to take less than eternity to check all the doors (from both the inside AND the outside) every time we leave the house to make sure they are locked. I also want it to not require confirmation from at least ten witnesses before he is satisfied that he did in fact put the garage door down. I want the drive-thru line at McDonald’s to move just a little faster when I have two hungry kids in the car who are eager to eat so they can go trick or treating. I want my computer at work to recognize that I am a multi-tasker who runs many applications at once, and quit giving me virtual memory errors that render the accursed machine all but inoperable. And I generally just want people to do what they say they will, when they say they will. (Though for the record, I’ve been known to break my word too).

So in a stroke of good fortune, I’m relieved to discover that while my dictionary did not disprove the notion that patience isn’t exactly my strength, neither did it anywhere define patience as being a virtue. Thank goodness for small favors, because I would hate to think I lack a virtuous quality, even if my family does disagree on occasion.

Still, I’m resolved to work on an attitude adjustment and exercise more patience with the little things I cannot control. Because in the end, I am accountable to a much higher authority than Merriam-Webster.

Halloween in my house

This funny conversation took place in my house earlier this evening…

Maia: Who’s taking us trick or treating tonight?

Me: I am. Daddy’s staying here to give out candy.

Maia: Well, somebody better tell him not to scare the pants off the trick or treaters.

Oh yes, Maia knows her father very well. He has a few favorite tricks that he likes to pull every Halloween, like playing haunted house music very loudly out the front window, thumping hard once on the door from the inside just before opening it, or emitting a deep, loud cackling laughter (he has perfected the evil cackle) as he yanks the door open. He has managed to frighten more than one trick or treater in his day, all without dressing up (except for the year he scared the daylights out of a toddler after donning an impromptu mask made from a paper plate). And I do believe he was successful in spooking a few more tonight while we were out.

We live in a very family-friendly neighborhood with lots of kids, so tonight Kent was in his gleeful glory.

Thank goodness this weekend marks the end of Daylight Saving Time once again. Hallelujah! Not that I don’t appreciate the evening daylight—I love long days as much as the next person. It’s just that, this year, the extra hour of sleep we’ll get tomorrow night from changing the clocks back couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been staying up way too late and I am paying the price. Partly it’s of my own doing because I was obsessed with committed to working on my new blog design, but also a lot because I’ve been so busy with work. I really do try not to bring it home with me, but lately it can’t be helped. I’m in extra overdrive mode at the moment because of an upcoming trip, which is our biggest industry event of the year. It’s been consuming every ounce of my attention, and my family has been missing me. So I’m taking a blogging break for the weekend to spend some much needed time with them. I also have a good long appointment scheduled with my bed. Finally, some rest for the weary.

Stay tuned in coming weeks when, in an abrupt about face, I begin muttering under my breath about how I now have to drive home from work in the dark.

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