Friday, March 31, 2006

The Monkeys

Can you tell this week has been pretty ho-hum? I haven't posted much at all....but I thought of a good Fun Friday story to tell you.

I think animals are hysterically funny. I was talking to Sam about this on her blog and she wants me to share this story with my readers here. It's better told in person, since I can do the hand gestures, facial expressions, etc. But that's not really an option in the blogosphere! I hope you enjoy it anyway. Here goes.

So I'm watching TV with WLF (Dad) late one night. He always liked to watch
those nature shows, you know, the ones narrated by some old white guy with a British accent. This time it was about monkeys and baboons in Africa.
They did the whole schpiel about monkeys and their habitats and what they
eat, etc. Then at the end of the show, they did their little political blurb
about how mankind is encroaching upon the monkey territory/habitat and it is
causing problems, blah blah blah.

So as they are talking about the monkey/man conflict, they are showing this
little African elementary school playground. All the little African kids are
playing like normal, enjoying their recess, when suddenly they all evacuate the playground.

The monkeys were invading.

There were monkeys everywhere and they were all playing on the playground.
They took over within seconds. They were on the swings and the
teeter-totters and the little merry-go-round. The children made a large ring
around the playground to watch the monkeys on their playground. It was like
the monkey mafia or something. The children appeared confused and frustrated, while at the same time, amazed at their simian abilities to enjoy devices meant for human entertainment.

Anyway, these two monkeys climb waaaaaay up high on the tallest slide,
overlooking the whole playground. They are just standing there, staring at the children, and the children are staring at them. Everyone stops for a second. There is total silence.

The next thing you know, the two monkeys are at it doggy-style. And
the male monkey has this look on his face as he's staring at the kids like,
"What? What are you looking at?" Meanwhile the narrator was going on and on
about the monkey/man conflict like it was nothing.

My dad and I were rolling!!! I had tears streaming down my face! To this
day, that image cracks me up. I love nature.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Coping Skills

This past weekend I learned that two of my friends are having a very hard time of things. My natural reaction is concern and worry. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to help either of them. One is too far away for me to help with anything other than a kind word of support, which they probably wouldn't have the time or energy to read. I'm basically powerless as they cry. At least their problem is tangible and understandable.

The other is going through some kind of personal identity crisis I don't fully understand. There's this feeling of immense pressure to do and have it all. They're bummed out because they aren't where they think they should be at this stage in life. There are some family issues, too. They're stressed out and exhausted and "just going through some stuff." They'll "be fine" because it's "not like a serious depression." And that "it" runs in the family.
They were unable to fully explain how it differs from just normal stress or sum it up in one sentence or one feeling. I don't fully understand what is wrong. I don't understand this "it." Are there varying levels of depression? Because it sounds an awful lot like the big D to me.

The hard part is, these friends of mine are trying to do everything themselves instead of reaching out, talking to someone or trying to keep things in perspective. They are (or have been in the past) on medication for anxiety and depression. They are crying and drinking. Apparently it's been going on for a while and they are just now telling their close friends. I'm worried that both of them are downplaying their problems so I won't worry about them. (Um, that doesn't work. It just makes me worry even more.) So other than telling them I am here for them, and encouraging them to get some help, I don't know what else to do. This kind of behavior is totally foreign to me. I honestly cannot relate.

I have no history of depression, anxiety or any other mental disease in my family. None of us take medication or go to therapy. Trust me, I am grateful for this. And I'm not saying that we don't need it in my family! I just have zero experience with this kind of stuff. The closest we come in my family is what we like to call "The Irish Blues."

My genetic make-up is 2/3 Irish, and my mother is a drama queen, so according to her, we all have this special disorder: In a nutshell, we get bummed out in my family if we aren't productive little monkeys all the time. Sounds weird, I know. When I start having negative thoughts or feeling bummed, I realize that it's because I haven't done anything remotely productive or even looked at my To-Do List in weeks and now I'm feeling like a worthless human. Either that or I'm hormonal. (Why do we think so negatively when we are PMSing?) All it takes is for me to jump up and run a few errands. Voila! Back to normal. It is just that simple.

Don't get me wrong. We suffer from grief in my family, like when my little brother died. And when WLF (my dad) died eight months later. But after a couple of months of being kind of melancholy, it's back to normal. Not that we behave like it never even happened, but it's pretty close. The Czarina (mom) lost both of her parents when she was 21. To this day, she does not talk about it. I know very little about them because she won't discuss them. It makes me sad, but I understand. She is an extremely strong woman and this is her coping strategy. She wouldn't be able to do it otherwise.
Some people see this as unhealthy, but it's just the way my family deals with stuff. I'm not as bad as her, but I'm close. Maybe sometimes it's good to repress, because I'm doing pretty well considering the past two years have been total hell on my family.

I have friends who have lost parents, siblings, grandparents, good friends, etc. Some of them talk about it all the time and are having a hard time moving on with their lives. I can understand this completely. I know parents who have kept the lost child's room exactly as it appeared when the child was alive. Again, I can understand this. It's just not how I cope. I look at their behavior and think, "Woah, that's not healthy." But I'm sure they look at my coping strategy and think the same thing.

Why is it so (relatively) easy for me? I feel guilty that after a couple of months, I was ok. One friend of mine still cries about losing her brother two years ago. It's not that it doesn't even cross my mind. I miss WLF and my brother all the time. And I'm sure The Czarina misses them too. But we've been there, done that. We've moved on. We rarely cry about it and we haven't needed therapy or medication. We don't talk about it, really. They are not forgotten, but we're not dwelling either. Why is my family so different? Are we callous, unfeeling people? Are we in denial to the point of absurdity? Or are we just extremely strong and really good at coping? Are we normal? Or are the other people normal?

Overall, I am a really happy person. Very little gets me down. (Notice I said "down" not "pissed off".) There are a few things I want to change about my life, but no life is perfect. I'm employed, healthy, loved, safe, etc. I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about much and I have very little stress in my life. I try to keep it this way, too, and make decisions accordingly. I try to keep stuff in perspective and stay grounded. (Maybe I just have low standards for myself!) So how do I deal when people I love don't see things this way? How do you tell someone to keep stuff in perspective when they obviously can't? How can I help them when I don't understand them?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Random Stuff

Ok, this post has no theme. Just some random stuff I want to cover before moving on to my two next themed posts....

I have been dog shopping. So far, no luck. Apparently no one ever gives up adorable Boston Terriers or French Bulldogs. Can't really say that I blame them. So after checking out some pounds (mutts are also an option) and non-profit no-kill dog shelters, it's back to the drawing board. I don't want to make any rash decisions. I'm looking for the perfect dog for me. Czarina is pushing for a poodle or a Westie. I'm feeling ok about those breeds. They sound like a lot of grooming. But they're on my list. Along with Italian greyhounds. And although they are ugly, I'm looking at chihuahuas, too. Really, I don't care what it is as long as it isn't too large, high-energy or stupid. This is why I'm not looking at labs, Jack Russells or beagles.

Repo has a coworker who is trying to get rid of her 10 month old puppy. I have seen a picture and it looks like....well, I don't know. Maybe half poodle, half terrier? It's a mystery meat dog. Anyway, it's free to a good home, so I need to meet up with her to check it out.

Speaking of Repo, he now has his own toothbrush at my house. Although, I'm not supposed to tell anyone, especially his roommates, who apparently will give him hell for it. So's a secret. I have decided to call him Sweetie-Poo (and other sickening pet names) in front of his friends because it annoys him. This is very entertaining for me. And his roommates. But he has a good sense of humor about it and retaliates by calling me names, too. We end up laughing our butts off about this.

I wish he would quit his job. Today. He hates it, I hate it. He works about 55 hours a week for this total schmuck of a boss. He works all day on Saturdays and until 9pm during the week.
They are stingy when it comes to time off, health insurance and giving them their hard-earned bonuses. People greet him with guns in their hands (literally!) sometimes when he goes to re-possess their stuff. There's more, but you get the idea. As a result of this job, he is tired all the time, stressed out, hates being there, etc. This job is making him miserable. He is only working there to pay off some debt and save money until he can get into real estate and finish grad school. While I am proud of him for being ambitious and sticking to it, there comes a point when the extra money just isn't worth it. I wish he would reach that point. This job plays a role in the fact that I have a tendency to spoil the bejeezus out of him.

In a couple of weeks, I'm going with him to Charleston, where his mom is getting re-married. I will be meeting his whole family and I'm starting to get nervous. The last time I met a guy's family, they were all rednecks/white trash. As in, missing teeth and possible past felony convictions. So based on past experiences, I'm not super peachy-keen on this idea. Especially when the only phrase he uses to describe his grandma is "extremely conservative". I'm convinced she will instantly hate me. Because I cuss. A lot. And I have a tendency to wear low-cut shirts and too-tight pants. Oh dear...*VB wrings hands nervously*

So, I'm having a hard time deciding if I want to get Internet at home. Dial-up is too slow. DSL requires that I first buy landline phone service, which I don't want to do because I would never use it. Cable won't work because the room in which I want my computer doesn't have a cable jack. Oh, sure, I could split the cable line. But according to the cable guy, it might not work since it's already been split twice. My only other option is to go wi-fi. This involves buying a wireless modem, a wireless card, subscribing somehow...blah blah blah. All of these options sound like a pain in the ass. (And no, I don't have a laptop. If I did, I would just turn into a Starbuck's junkie since they are wireless.) For now, I surf and blog at work. (Shhhh....) And since I have ample time to do this, I'm wondering if I should even fool with it.

Someone crashed into our downtown library this weekend. People are morons, I swear. Just to re-iterate, in case you didn't already know: The library is not a parking garage.

My coworker L (the one with the funny kid) teaches a class about library stuff. One of her students is a total idiot. This is why: his assignment was to write a paper discussing copyright. When he turned it in, L noticed that it didn't sound like something he would (let alone could) write. So she googled phrases from the paper. It turns out that he plagiarized a paper about copyright. She asked him about it and he says that he "didn't really understand the assignment" and "was up really late and was tired." What a lame excuse of a college student. Did he really expect her to buy this? The irony of this situation just kills me.

Wanna see the most disturbing thing I've ever seen? If you are squeamish at all, don't click. Seriously, you will have nightmares. But it is not real, thank God, as you can discover by reading this.

This weekend is The Carolina Cup, an annual event here in SC. I'll post more about it later on in the week. Tonight I'm helping K shop for a dress to wear to it. Being the 100% girly girl that I am, I already have a dress. Or three.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Library Rant

FYI: I posted my lasagna recipe on Virginia Cooks if anyone wants it.

Normally I do not complain about my job, but sometimes dealing with the public gets on my last nerve. Today I give you a list:

Seventeen Things A Librarian is Not

1. Bank Teller--No, I can't break your $50 bill. This is a library, not the Federal Reserve. If you knew you wanted to make copies, you should have grabbed a handful out of your couch cushions or off the floor of your car before coming in here. That's called "planning ahead". And no, I will not break your $5 bill so that you can buy a soda out of the machine. Now go away before I throw Volume 4 at your head.

2. Mindreader--If you don't bring your ID or--shock!--library card, how do you expect me to know who you are? Would you go to the grocery store without any money and expect to leave with groceries, just because you're "in here all the time" and I "know" you? Likewise, I cannot look at you and magically see which books you have checked out and when they are due. I cannot telepathically understand what you want or what you are looking for. Try opening your big fat mouth. It's located under your big schnoz.

3. Tutor--I'm done with school. I got my diploma. Now it's your turn. My job is to show you where the books are. Not to make sure you understand the big words in them. That's where the dictionaries come in. Do you want me to show you where those are? Didn't think so. Now go sit down, lazy ass.

4. Proofreader--No, I will not check your resume or research paper for typos. Do you really want to put your job interview or midterm grade in the hands of someone who knows you owe $15.00 in late fines? File that paper under "Not My Job".

5. Office Supply Store--What's up with people asking to borrow the stapler, hole puncher, highlighters, pens, telephone, headphones, phone book, pencils, calculators, paper, Post-It notes, floppy disks, money, tape, rubberbands, fax machine, scissors, ruler, paperclips, batteries, chair, staple remover, whiteout, etc.? (And yes, I've had people ask for all of these things!) Don't these people ever go to Staples?

6. Public Notary--No, I do not have the authority to sign your official document. I cannot marry you. I cannot help you apply for citizenship. You do not register to vote here. My signature does not prove to your probation officer that you were here between 10 am and 4 pm today. A note from me doesn't excuse you from school or work. I. Just. Work. Here.

7. Lawyer--If you are going through a divorce, I'm sorry to hear the news. But please do not ask me to interpret South Carolina Divorce Law to you. I don't know who gets the third car or if she has the right to half of your inheritance. I don't know if your neighbor has the right to put up that hideous fence. I don't know diddly squat about law. If I did, I would be what they call "a lawyer". And I would be working in "a law firm" and probably get paid a lot more money to listen to your idiotic, petty questions.

8. Doctor--First off, I don't need to hear the details about your gastro-intestinal problems. And last time I checked, I don't wear a white coat to work. I don't own a stethoscope. I don't know what you have or what medicine you should take because I didn't go to med school. I can show you where some books are about medicine, but if you want a diagnosis, you might want to go to a real, actual doctor. Shocking concept, I know.

9. Babysitter--Just because you are too cheap to cough up some money for afterschool care doesn't mean that I have to make sure your kid stays out of trouble between 2:30 and whenever-you-come-to-pick-them-up. It's not my job to make sure they did their homework, either. In fact, if your kid comes here and acts up, I will just simply call the cops. They will report you to social services and you will get in trouble for being a BAD parent. Oh yes, honey. That's just what you are. Because libraries are free and open to the public. So if Mr. Pedophile wants to come in and molest little Timmy, I cannot and will not stop him. (Although, that's mostly because molesters don't exactly have signs around their necks. Not because I favor that sort of criminal behavior.) Next time you want to tell Timmy to "just hang out at the library" until you get off work, ask yourself, Would I feel comfortable leaving him in a mall by himself? My guess is, no. Same goes for the library.

10. Bookseller--This is not Barnes & Noble. We don't serve coffee or cookies. That means you cannot eat or drink in here. And if you like a book, that does not mean you can buy it from us after you are done reading it. We apologize for not having everything you see at the bookstore, but we are working on it. In order to do that, we will have to ask you to pay more taxes. What? You don't want to pay more taxes? Ok, then shut up and go grab an old crappy book.

11. Waitress--Do not raise your hand, call me over to you or snap your fingers at me. I do not work for tips. I do not work for you. I am not a dog. I will not go and get something for you or bring it to you. Be grateful I've allowed your stinky ass in here to start with, because you're stupid, lazy and you SMELL.

12. Computer Geek--I'm sorry the computer isn't doing what you want it to do. It's probably messing up because all the porn sites you've been looking at gave the computer viruses.
Maybe you should do that at home, you sick bastard. That way, you can get your jollies without worrying about scarring the little children who see you wacking off in public. And I don't know why it isn't printing the way you want or if the computer is enabled to do X, Y and Z. If whatever you're working on is so vitally important to your life that this problem is making you suicidal, I recommend you use your friend's or purchase a computer of your own. But that implies you have a job and friends to start with. Nevermind.

13. Miracle Worker--If you have a 14 page research paper due tomorrow and you haven't even picked out a topic, I cannot help you. Sorry buddy, you're S.O.L. If your teacher gave you a really complicated assignment requiring that you "look at some books or something", I cannot help you. Next time, maybe bring a copy of the assignment with you because you are apparently too stupid to pay attention in class. Also see #2. If you saw a book here, and you want to look at it again, but the only thing you remember about it is that it had a green cover, I cannot help you. If you have 10 overdue books and left them all at home, but "meant to bring them" and you want me to not charge you "just this once", I cannot help you. If you owe $1500 in late fines, and we have sent your information to the collection agency and it is to the point that your credit score is being affected, I cannot help you. You, sir, are a complete moron. Because if you had just brought them back on time, you would owe us nada. There's no point in getting mad at me. You're really just mad at yourself, now, aren't you?

14. Maid--Go ahead! Leave your candy wrappers, papers, water bottles, cell phones, keys, musical instruments, personal books, DVD collection, drugs, used kleenex, lighters, wallets, porn mags, purses, library cards, photocopies, drivers' licenses, unsigned paychecks, Social Security cards, computer print-outs, checkbooks, credit cards, cash, lunch, children, bottles, toys and stuffed animals here. That's my job. To clean up after you. It's what I get paid for, isn't it? Just don't be upset if you come back and it's not here. I'll keep your kids and hold them for ransom.

15. Personal Researcher--Do not call the library to ask me the following: "If there were no continents, and the world was just one big ocean, which direction would the current go?" And then ask me to call you back when I find the answer. Teachers--do not call and ask me to pull 35 books on Zebras for you so that you can come and pick them up after school is out. Do not come into the library 5 minutes before closing and ask the following question: "Why do roosters crow? And why can't mountain goats be domesticated?" You need to get a life. Oh, wait. We are fresh out of Get the Life You've Always Wanted! books. That's because most people who have lives aren't in libraries at 9pm on a Friday night. Do not call the library to ask that I look up 10 articles for you, print them out for you and fax them to you. Do not call the library and ask me to read a chapter of a book to you over the phone or find a recipe for you so that I can read it to you over the phone. I am not your personal assistant. If you want me to be your personal researcher, I'll be glad to do it. I charge $100 per hour for personal research. Wait, where are you going?

16. Censor--Yes, I realize the model on the magazine cover has very little clothing on. Yes, I realize that some parents have a problem with Heather Has Two Mommies. But the thing is, there's this law we have. It's called The First Amendment. And it allows this concept called "freedom". Maybe you've heard of it. If you have a problem with what we are buying, here is the library director's phone number. Here's your local government official's number. Call them. They care about your vote. I don't. But don't get me wrong. I get where you're coming from. When I'm a mom one day, there will be stuff I don't want my kids looking at either. That's why I will accompany them to the library, the bookstore, the movies, the mall and other places where I will struggle to control what they see and do. This is called "parenting". You can find books on parenting under the call number 649.1. Have a nice day.

17. Idiot-- I went to school for this. I know how it works, how to do it quickly and how to do it right. You don't. So sit down, shut up, and listen to me. You might be able to squeeze some knowledge into that cinder block you call a "brain" sitting on your shoulders.

Whew! Man, do I feel better. And just for the record, every situation discussed here is true. People really have left their kids and paychecks at the library. Those questions and phone calls all happened. Most have happened to me, some have happened to colleagues. The library is a mecca for freaks. But that's another post.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sick Puppy

Did anyone else have problems with Blogger yesterday? Because I wanted to post this yesterday, but couldn't get in. Anyway, as you can see I'm flexing my teeny tiny blogging muscles. I've learned soooo much, it's hard to know what to try out first. I'm looking into doing new stuff here at VB in addition to learning about WordPress. We started a blog here at work so I've been playing around on that. Let me tell ya, WordPress has its advantages...and disadvantages (when compared to Blogger).

On to more interesting stuff...

Friday night, Repo had some friends coming into town, so he had his Guy's Night. I was supposed to go out with K and meet up with them later on, but she and I ended up napping on the couch after watching my all-time favorite show, Most Haunted. Then Repo called to see where I was. Oops. K went to bed and I met up with the guys. They were all feeling pretty good by then! We had a good time teasing Repo's friend Motormouth until 3 am. We stayed out kind of late, considering Repo had to work at 7 am the next morning. Oops.

Saturday was the annual St. Patty's Day Festival here in Columbia. It's a fun festival with bands, booze and Blarney. This year's was much bigger than last year's. I had a good time with my roommate (K) and a bunch of my friends. Repo joined us after he got off work and I got to meet even more of his friends. K got drunk and spilled beer all over me. We all ate lots of junk food (pizza, gyros, funnel cake). Luckily, the weather was great. And I didn't have to use a Port-A-Potty thanks to strategic beverage consumption (read: I was really thirsty all day). It was worth it. I don't use those things under any circumstances. Icky.

By dinnertime we were all pretty pooped and/or drunk. Repo's wrist problems were acting up again. So he and I left to grab some food. By the time we got back to his house, he didn't feel well at all. He was achy and had nausea and a fever. The wrist pain migrated up his arm, which was now really swollen and red. His whole lower arm looked awful and felt hot to the touch. Brunette told him what to do (she is a nurse, after all) and said he should go to the doctor soon. He decided to forego hanging out with his buddies to get some rest. I was tired too, so we didn't go out. He took lots of pain reliever, borrowed a heating pad from his roommate and came to my house. He was in bad shape! I became Nurse Virginia for the rest of the weekend. I brought him food and medicine. I put a cool towel on his head. I rubbed his back and talked to him quietly. He told me I'd be a good mommy one day. Awww...

He was sick all day on Sunday, too, and I tried to get him to go to the doctor, but he said his insurance wasn't worked out yet. (His jerk of a boss hadn't filed the paperwork for it yet.) Anyway, he feels mostly better now and he got his insurance squared away, so he's getting his arm checked out on Thursday. It's still somewhat swollen.

Sunday afternoon, I was craving lasagna. Since Repo's guests were still in town, I decided to make some for him and his friends. I made them chip in on the ingredients. Then I left Repo on his couch and went home to cook it. I made some brownies, too. Then I brought it all back, where his roommates had made a big salad for us to eat with it. We all chowed down! (recipe to be posted soon...) Golf Guy liked my lasagna so much, he asked me if I would marry him. I said "Sure." Repo was too sick and full of lasagna to protest. And Motormouth asked me if he could hire me to cook for him and take care of him (I guess my nursing abilities impressed him). I told him he couldn't afford me.

Then we all watched Big Love, that new show on HBO. Let me tell ya, this is going to be one drama-packed show! I will definitely try to watch it again. Besides, I love Jeanne Tripplehorn. The good thing is, next time I watch it, Motormouth won't be around. He talks more than any human alive. It is just a constant stream of blabbering. I had to throw stuff at him to get him to shut up so I could watch! He likes to hear himself talk. If he weren't such a good friend of Repo's, I think I would hate him. Almost.

After spending half the weekend babying Repo (happily), I am pretty behind in getting some stuff done. I moved almost a month ago and still haven't put up any pictures! The gym is a distant memory, I have some organizing and shopping still to do for my new place and I have some other errands to finish. I've come to the conclusion that being a girlfriend should not take up so much of my free time. So I'm not seeing Repo all week. He doesn't like it, since he's used to seeing me every day, but if I get all my stuff done this week, I will be able to really enjoy seeing him this weekend. I won't feel torn between being practical and having fun. I won't feel cheated when I spend all of Sunday hanging out watching basketball with him instead of doing laundry.

So last night I finally organized my closet and picked up all the clothes on my bedroom floor. I have never derived so much satisfaction from cleaning my room! It had been bugging me. And so tonight, I'm gymming and organizing....and missing him. Withdrawls suck.

In other brother Fat Dog called me last night. He beat me to the puppy punch! I am so jealous! He got a Jack Russell puppy named Newton. As in, Sir Isaac Newton. What a nerd. That's engineers for ya. Newton looks kinda like this. Fat Dog hasn't sent me any pictures yet, so that's the best I can do.

My other brother, Fungus, went skiing for the first time last weekend. He ran into a tree and almost broke his leg. Typical. This is why Southerners have no business skiing. Actually, this is why Fungus has no business skiing.

I learned something funny about K recently. Until last week, she had never run a dishwasher before. She said she almost called me while I was at work to ask me how to start it! This completely cracked me up. I would tease her about it more, but she is dealing with a bully situation here at work, so I'm feeling more protective of her than anything else. I'll post more about it later. For now, that's it. Whew!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Look! I Did It!

Man, I don't know why that was so hard to figure out! I guess I'm just....well, blonde. But now I think I've got it...


And I figured out why it was blurry and how to fix that. Yay for me! (Anyone who checked this yesterday would have seen a very grainy picture.)

So how do I know if I'm stealing bandwidth???

Friday, March 17, 2006


VB does not stand for Virginia Belle. It stands for Very Broke. Oh well. You can't take it with you, right? At least I'm not as broke as I was when I was a teacher.

Between moving, buying a new cell phone, throwing a party, paying my taxes (oh yes, another year with no refund!) and doctors' bills, I'm broke. I mean, I'm fine. I just don't have that nice little cushion/safety net I had a couple months ago. Which is enough to freak me out. I've been really good about paying off my Visa balance by tripling my minimum payment each month (I've paid off about $1,000 this year! Yesss!), but I think this month, I might just pay the minimum. And I think I will call to see if my car insurance rates can be lowered. And I'll try to cancel my subscription. Kinda cool that I don't need it anymore. Actually, I'd be quitting it anyway. I'm done with online dating! Hmmm...I'll have to brainstorm on how to pinch some pennies....tuna for dinner?

You know I went to Dr. Nazi, the dermatologist. And everything is fine. Since I hadn't met my insurance deductible, paying her $300 between the office visit and lab work didn't seem all that unreasonable. But yesterday I went to the gynocologist. (Looking back on it now, I wish I had spread out my appointments a little more for financial reasons.) Can I just say that male gynocologists are the smartest men around? Think about it. Do you know any other men who actually get paid to feel up women??? I paid mine about $200 yesterday. And left feeling violated. Not to mention some slight discomfort. (Ladies, you know what I mean. Men, trust me, it hurts.) I paid a man to violate me. What is wrong with our society, anyway???

I wrote out my $200 check to him. That is when I realized that my new insurance SUCKS. Last year, Dr. Gyno got $15. Total. And I hadn't met my deductable then, either. You'd think that being a state employee would ensure better insurance....

I owe the IRS $200. (It's actually closer to $300 but I'm getting a small refund from the state, so it's a net payment.) I bought a $100 cell phone. I moved. You know how it goes. As much as I try, I'll have very little play money after paying the bills here soon. I'm just glad I didn't go hog wild at Christmas! And at least I don't have to dip into my savings.

Of course, I just had to buy a new cell phone and had to go to the doctor. But other than that, I haven't been too bad with money this month. I haven't gone shopping. (Although, of course, now that I'm broke, it's all I want to do.) I haven't been going out to eat very much--just about once a week, which is good for me. I even managed to not pay some of the time. Almost everything I've bought for my new apartment came from a gift card. So maybe it just feels like I've been spending money.

Ok, well, I'm off to look at plane tickets for Germany....

I'm using credit card points!!!! Get off my tip!!!!

Happy Fun Friday!

Today's Theme: An Ode to Hair. Enjoy!



Hair Trivia/Facts

Can You Guess?

Repo and I text each other while we are at work. This is today's texted conversation:

Me: I have a present for you. Can you guess?

Him: Nah, what is it?

Me: Hint: It has velcro.

Him: Another clue?

Me: It will make you feel better.

Him: Another hint?

Me: It's black.

Him: That doesn't help!

Me: Ok, that was a bad clue. Hint: It's something you wear. But it's not fashionable. Not that that would matter to you. LOL!

Him: What are you trying to say? I'm not fashionable? Just tell me!

Me: Oh, you are no fun. Duh! I got you a strap-on!

Him: Is this K? Wait, is it weight gloves?

Me: No, silly! But you are close.

Him: Are you trying to tell me something with that strap-on comment?

Me: No, I'm just being a perv. I realized that the descriptions would be similar and thought it was funny. Did I scare you?

Him: No. (I could not see--obviously--but I know he was pouting! Can't you picture him with his arms across his chest?)

So, can you guess what it is? A free strap-on to the reader that guesses correctly! :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Knew Knowledge

Well, this technologically-challenged blogger just had to take a course for work about RSS feeds, wikis, blogs, podcasts, etc. I completely geeked out these past couple of days. So now I have all this new knowledge which I can apply not only in a work-based fashion, but also here on VB. I know you already knew much of what I learned today, but now I feel so excited about my new powers!

You know what they say about knowledge. And power.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Has anyone else used Bloglines? I can't believe I had never heard of this before! I am joining ASAP. It is genius! Now I can take my favorites everywhere I go....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Pervasive Presence of Porn

Does every guy look at porn? If a woman is looking to date a guy who hates porn, is she living in a dreamworld? So far, the only member of the male species I know who does not and has not looked at porn is my dad, WLF. He hated it. When my grandpa died, WLF finally got the chance to burn all his copies of Playboy. (Is there anything creepier than knowing that your grandpa was into that???) Every other male I know, from friends and brothers to coworkers and boyfriends, looks at porn and visits (or has visited) the occassional strip club. Is it too much to ask for a guy to not do these things? He'd probably just start hiding it, right?

Sassafras got me thinking about this subject today after reading her post. She recently discovered that her man has been looking at porn and she got upset. I can relate. When a woman finds this out about her man, she feels like she is not physically attractive or sexy enough for her man and he needs to go elsewhere to get his fix. It makes the woman wonder if she is bad in bed or if her man could potentially cheat on her. Hey, he's already looking at other women naked. It's just a hop, skip and a jump away for him to be touching them, too. And if your man looks at it, what does that mean about how he looks at you? Does it mean you aren't enough woman for him? Or maybe he's interested in one thing only and keeps you around just for one purpose--you are his own personal porn star.

I think it can be very degrading (see, I do have a teeny bit of feminist in me!) and it can be addictive. I can see how it would harm relationships and marriages when done too much or secretly. I half-way believe that it promotes violence against women and there are a lot of bad things involved with the porn industry--drugs, prostitution, diseases. I think it encourages men to view women as objects rather than human beings who are mothers and daughters and sisters. And it's definitely not the best tool for a guy to learn how to please a woman! (To any guy thinking that those women are enjoying it, just stop right now! Trust me, she's acting!)

Unfortunately, I cannot say anything to anyone about this without being a hypocrite. I have been to strip clubs and I have watched porn before. (It was just on! I swear! I don't rent it or buy it or anything!) And yes, in some ways I can see why it's so popular. It accomplishes what it sets out to do. I kinda sorta like it. But that doesn't mean I approve of it or feel good about looking at it. And it doesn't mean I will never again visit a strip club or view porn. (Actually, the stripper lifestyle fascinates would make a good reality TV show, I think. Plenty of drama, I bet! But that's another post.) I can even see how it would be useful for married and committed couples to watch it together. But like many things, I think it should be done in moderation. Much moderation. It should stop before it skews your views. (ha! that rhymes!) And maybe it would be good to limit it to soft-core only? (If that's possible!)

You can say the same things about smoking cigarettes. It's nothing to be proud of, lots of people do it and it has a tendency to be addictive. It is a hobby that is not necessary for a society to prosper. Or is this a bad analogy?

We live in a society that is fairly over-sexed, in my opinion. They make thongs for little girls now, for Pete's sake! While it's great that we are more open than the uber-repressed Victorians, we are a little too lenient about this porn stuff, I think. I know that I have a tendency to look at it as "Oh, boys will be boys!" and laugh it off as yet another obnoctious male behavior. I assume that every guy I meet has looked at Jenna Jameson in action or visited a strip club--if not last weekend, then at least for their best friend's bachelor party. I wish this was not the case. Ideally, for me anyway, porn would be looked at with disgust. I wish it didn't exist. I wish it was a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when I'm dating someone, but eventually I always find the new boyfriend's stash. No, I haven't found Repo's yet. But I know it exists because he told me he has some. And while I appreciate his honesty about it, I was kind of disappointed. To me, it is a character flaw, no matter how omnipresent it is among men. I guess this is just the way of the world. I'm sure men are wishing that women were virgins until marriage, too! Maybe this is a two-way street.

The Pattern

Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope--a slight change, and all patterns alter. --Sharon Salzberg

There is a pattern to each and every one of my romantic relationships. It goes like this:

I meet a guy.

I like him right away.

I am slightly hard to get at first, until I know he's pretty interested.

I'll start dating him.

He will do something nice for me.

Then I start to really like him.

So I start to do stuff for him.

And I like him even more.

So I do even more stuff for him.

Then one day, I realize I'm doing all the giving and he's doing all the taking.

In fact, he hasn't done much for me since date #3.

I have spoiled him.

Then I begin to resent him.

And I hint around at feeling taken-for-granted.


Which leads to a fight and/or my crying myself to sleep.

And then I hate him.

And I stop doing everything and begin to have an attitude.

I turn into an Ice Queen.

And he feels confused, guilty and caught unawares.

Then we break up.

Hey, I never said it was the healthiest, most mature way of handling things. But it is what I do. Does anyone else out there do this? Anyone know how to break this vicious cycle? I have tried and tried and tried to not do things for guys I like, but I can't help it. I derive a lot of pleasure from doing things for guys I date. It makes me feel good to do something for them. I'm a very affectionate person by nature. I have an easier time doing something for them than telling them how I feel. I'm a show-er, not a tell-er. (Had to do the hyphens. Otherwise it would have said, "I'm a shower" which makes no sense.)

I used to think I suffered from this pattern because I was dating selfish jerks, but now I realize that the holding pattern here is me. Every time, the only thing these relationships have in common is me.

I'm dating a nice guy. Who I really really like. Who really likes me. He loves that I do stuff for him all the time. He appreciates me. We even joke about how I've spoiled him. I'm not saying I regret doing these things for him, because I'm crazy about him and I want to make him happy. But I'm getting a little twinge in the back of my brain. That feeling that I'm gradually doing all the giving and none of the taking. Maybe I'm a score-keeper. I hate that thought. I guess I just don't want to be taken advantage of. I don't want to be made a fool. It must be a self-protective thing. Maybe I'm high-maintenance. Or insecure. Or needy. Or just bad at asking for some attention. I know what you are going to say: Love like you won't get hurt. Love makes fools out of all of us. [Insert cheesy adage here.] Well, buddy, easier said than done! I do have some pride, you know!

Maybe we are just getting comfortable. Is that possible after less than 2 months of dating?

I have hinted to him lately about my feelings of doing all the giving. So it's not like I'm keeping him in the dark--he knows what I'm saying. But I am hesitant to say outright, "Hey! I need you to do something for me for a change! Stop taking so much!" Like most women, I don't want him to do stuff because he feels obligated. I want him to do stuff for me for the same reason I do stuff for him: because he wants to. If he feels like he has to do stuff to stay out of the doghouse, I won't enjoy it and it will make him miserable. Then he will resent me. That's why I'm hesitant to be really blunt about this. I don't expect him to read my mind, but I do expect him to pick up on what I'm implying.

I wish I knew what my problem is. At the end of every relationship, I feel empty and emotionally exhausted from giving all the time. And I end up resenting all of my exes. Even the nice ones. And I vow to be self-centered in my next relationship. (It never works, obviously.) I don't want to feel like this with Repo. (I don't want him to be an ex, either!) This is hands down the best relationship I've ever had. So I'm really hoping I will break this pattern. I'm trying to just chill and not worry about it, I can assure you.

Please don't read this and think that Repo and I are having problems. We are good. He just called to see how I'm doing as I was writing this. So don't get the idea that he's not doing anything for me. He is doing little things here and there. And I'm grateful and appreciative. I'm just afraid this old problem I have will rear its ugly head again and the same things will happen with us. This is a pre-emptive post. I want to be prepared in case I start to really feel that resentment creeping up on me. Because it's a slippery slope. A gradual process. I'd like to have a gameplan. Or at least a better understanding of my behavior.

But it sure would help if he took me out to dinner soon! (And no, I still haven't gotten my birthday present yet.) See? There I go, The Scorekeeper! I can't stop! Is this a woman thing, or do guys feel like this sometimes, too?

So much for not talking about my relationship on my blog...

Monday, March 13, 2006

It's All in My Head

Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties. --Jules Renard

This weekend was pretty normal. I didn't get much accomplished, which is giving me a huge guilt trip right now, but I did hang out with some friends, so that was nice. Friday I went out with Nurse P, Brunette and K. We grabbed dinner and then went to see a movie. It was surprisingly good. I don't think Sarah Jessica Parker is much of an actress and Matthew McConoughey doesn't really do it for me, but I will keep my eyes peeled for Zooey Deschanel in the future. She was hysterical. And guys, while this is a chick flick, it is pretty funny. So don't stress too much if your girl drags you.

After the movie, K went her way to meet up with some girlfriends. So I went out to the bars with Brunette and P. We had some girl bonding time and for some reason ended up staying out really late, despite the fact that there was not that much drinking going on and we didn't see many people we knew. Weird how time gets away from you.

I had jokingly mentioned to Repo that I would bootycall him that night, just to say goodnight and say something silly--we wouldn't see each other until Saturday afternoon. I changed my mind later because I didn't want to wake him up. His wrist was still bothering him and he had to work early Saturday morning. So instead, I stayed up late and made him lunch. I went to bed around 4 am. Then I dropped it off at his house very early Saturday morning as a surprise. I even included dessert and a note. He ended up eating it for breakfast on his way to work. Typical.

I got up around 10:00 am. (Yes, six hours of sleep. This will play a role later.) He and I spent much of the weekend watching basketball. He got to my house just in time to catch the end of the USC game (they won, only to lose to Florida yesterday) and then we watched the IU game (they lost, but still got a bid to the NCAA tournament! Yessss!). After the games, we were talking and he said something stupid. Looking back on it now, he was had good intentions with what he was saying, but it sounded really bad. Really bad, in a chauvinistic kind of way. "Oops....that didn't come out the way that I meant it to...." he said. "Nope. It sure didn't," I said, cooly.

Then he got a big, fat dose of me being a Pain in the Neck. When I get tired, I have a tendency to overreact and be overly-sensitive. That's when I sulk and snap and cry. Often I throw in a guilt trip just for good measure. Let me tell you, I'm a peach to be around when I'm tired. And oh-so-drama-free to boot. Luckily, he is an extremely patient and understanding guy. He said, "Let's go get something to eat and we can drive and talk." This is the best strategy ever when I'm upset: feed me and distract me. He is so smart. He even knew to ask, "Virginia, are you tired? Because you told me you get irritable when you are tired." This instantly diffused me, because as usual, he was right. (I hate that.) Then he used the most brilliant strategy of all: He made me laugh. Among other jokes, he decreed that his car was a Drama-free Zone and therefore, I was not allowed to cry in it. Dang! I was now giggling too much to cry. Then I apologized for being a butthead and he apologized (again) and reassured me that he is crazy about me and didn't mean anything by it. He said that next time, he's just going to say, "Alright! That's it! Naptime for you, missy!" This is probably a good idea.

So this week, we both learned how to deal with each other when we are in bad moods. Whew! It was rough, but we made it. We definitely flexed our communication muscles!

He took me home so I could nap and he spent some much-needed bonding time with his roommate, Golf Guy. (GG is having girl problems and so they needed to have a drink together. Awww...guy bonding is so cute.) We called a bunch of our friends to go out with us that night, but in the end, everyone bailed except Big Poppa. (I dubbed it "Ditch Night".) The three of us had a good time anyway! But since we were all tired, we were asleep before 2:00am.

Sunday morning, I somehow managed to get up for church. I realize that lightning will indeed strike me one day for the lifestyle I lead, but it feels good to go sometimes. It helps me stay grounded and it keeps my life in perspective. Seeing as how I was yet again going on 6 hours of sleep, I was now exhausted to the point that I didn't feel good. Watching basketball and eating pizza at Repo's stinky house didn't help. But after a nap I felt better. Then I left to eat dinner with K, hit the grocery store, clean up around the apartment and bake a cake for a coworker's birthday. I hit the pillow just before midnight. Yeesh.

I have been dreading today at work for a while now. I had to create a presentation (which I totally procrastinated on), knowing that no one would show up to see it because no one ever shows up to these presentations we have to make periodically. (Would you go to a library presentation? Didn't think so.) I have been worried that my boss will want to know how many people attended, which is stupid because it's not like she's expecting droves of people to show up in the first place. But I'm quite the over-achiever kind of person, so I feel like a failure/slacker right now. Oh well. At least it's over. But last night I was freaking. I felt insomnia coming on as I was brushing my teeth.

As I was going to bed, I leaned on my hand to reach and grab my alarm clock so I could set the alarm. (It's hard to explain without seeing it, but I have to sit up in bed to reach my nightstand.) When I did this, my hand slipped and all of my weight slammed into the corner of the wall next to my bed--head first. It hurt. (It also looked really funny, I bet. But as usual, no one was around to see me do something hilarious.) I have a nice mark on my noggin from the corner and it's pretty swollen. I was afraid to fall asleep after that because I worried that I would pass out and die from a brain hemorrhage. I kept imagining the newspaper headlines: Woman, 27, found in bed, dead. Cause unknown. Awaiting autopsy reports. I worried about K finding me and freaking out that her roommate was dead for no apparent reason. I kept trying to remember details from the day just to reassure myself that I had no memory loss. So, between the paranoia of having a possible concussion and stressing about my potential half-baked presentation, I didn't sleep much last night. I even had a nightmare--one where you are caught unprepared for something and you are looking around and cannot find whatever it is you are looking for.

I almost called in sick to work since my head is killing me, but Advil is helping tremendously. Since it hurt so badly, I am paranoid that I have a walking concussion of sorts. I have a headache and nausea. According to what I've read, since I didn't pass out and I don't have any memory loss, I am fine. But it still hurts. I can't believe what a klutz I am!

Needless to say, I'm going to bed early tonight.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I Need a Vacation!

So my boss knocked on my office door the other day. She said, "I don't know if you know this or not, but you have to use up your vacation time by the end of the fiscal year or you will lose it."

There are worse things to hear from your boss. I thought I had a year from my hire date to use them, so I was saving up for the annual Edisto Island trip my girlfriends take each August. But, since I am a state employee, the fiscal year ends on June 30th, and my vacation hours will start over then. Turns out I have 50 hours of vacation to use before July 1st! Woo-hoo!

Can I just tell you how excited I am to get the chance to go somewhere? I have not been on vacation since December 2000. Yeah, I know. That is forever ago. It was a pretty phat vacation, though. I went here and here. Which was awesome because I'm a gigantic ancient history buff. Plus, there are great shoes and ice cream there. But I digress. I have been working and switching jobs so much, I have not had the opportunity to have a vacation since, let alone the money to go. Now I do! So the big question is, where do I go? Eeek! It's like Christmas!!!

I would love to go here or here. K and Repo said they would try and go with me. Unfortunately, neither of them can go for a whole week, which is what I want to do. So I will probably end up going here by myself. My friend lives over there and just had her first baby, so it would be great to see her. She is very homesick and her hubby had to go back to Iraq, so she is dying for company. Plus, babies are cute and I love wienerschnitzel! I've always wanted to go there. I can speak some German...jah! Das ist kool!

It would be a very cheap trip, actually. I would stay at her house and she would feed me. So really, I just have to buy a plane ticket. I do have a lot of points saved up on my credit card...

I also need a vacation from Repo's grumpy mood. What is it with men when they are sick and/or injured? They turn into turds! He did something to his wrist and now it is swollen and very painful. His health insurance at his current job hasn't kicked in yet because he just started there two months ago. His insurance from his old job is expired. He's not doing COBRA, which would allow him to remain covered until the new insurance kicks in. So he has been medicating with Advil. It's not working. He needs a doctor. He was at my house last night and was just being a little....well, he was being a s--thead. Nothing major, just grumpy and fussy like a little kid. He was getting on my nerves and teasing me entirely too much. (Keep in mind that I'm an extremely over-sensitive person who can only tolerate so much teasing before it hurts my feelings. So I was letting him get to me. He did not have any bad intentions, really.) We decided that he should go home and use a heating pad on his wrist since he wasn't very sociable anyway. So he left. He's convinced I'm mad at him, but I'm not. I'm just annoyed. I let his bad mood transfer over to me. Since I get off work early today, I'm going to meet up with him for lunch. Hopefully he will be in a nicer mood.

I was going to go to Charleston tomorrow with Brunette and Nurse P, but I don't think we are going to go anymore. I have too much stuff to do and there is a big convention there this weekend so it will be crowded. We are going to go another time. So instead, I'm going to see if Repo will give me my birthday surprise tomorrow night. (We have been trying to coordinate our schedules, but haven't been able to, so this Saturday is our only chance this weekend for a big date!)

Since it's P's birthday, we will have Girl's Night tonight. I think I will invite K and I'm sure Blonde and some others will come. I need a break from the male personality right now! Maybe we can have a "clean-up party"--we have a ton of beer left over from last weekend! Hmmm....maybe some margaritas....and girl talk.....sounds good!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New Favorite Way to Kill Time

My coworker sent me a link to this site today. Since I didn't post a Fun Friday website last week, this will be it, albeit a little late. (I told you my brain has been disorganized!)

It is a blog, but there are all these hilarious videos on it! Click on the orange links under "Educational Videos" to see some really good ones. This guy is so hilarious! He's going on my list of cool blogs, for sure.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dirty Words

No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have, and I think he's a dirty little beast.--W. S. Gilbert

I don't know who W.S. Gilbert is (well, now I do because I just looked him up), but he's apparently been to Repo's house. I'm dating a slob. Who has slobby roommates. Which takes a lot to say, coming from me, The Queen Slob. (I'd rather go to the dentist than clean my room!)

The first time I went over to his house, I thought it was just smelly by coincidence. You know, like they just needed to take the garbage out or something. And I thought that all the dog hair would be gone the next time I came over. Not so much. The next time, it was stinkier and hairier. There was even more clutter and it was even dustier than before. "Look, there are three single working guys living here and two big dogs. This is what happens." And I thought No, this is what happens when frat boys grow up.

The third time I was there, I noticed that the bathroom was covered in a layer of hair. And the formerly white tub is brown all on the bottom. Ew. Repo informed me that his roommate, Tiny, shaves his head twice a week so there is incidentally a lot of hair. "I'm sure that's true. But does it mean that he is incapable of cleaning up after himself?" I asked.

Repo's room isn't too bad. But he really needs to vacuum. It looks like someone threw a parade in there because there are itty-bitty bits of paper all over the floor. Not to mention dirty clothes, trash, mail, shoes, etc. His laundry basket holds about 10 loads of dirty clothes, piled up to the ceiling. He has more clothes than four women combined. There is dust everywhere. There is a coffee cup that has been on his bedside table for about three weeks. Actually, come to think of it, his room is not clean. It's just the only one that doesn't smell.

The other day I came over and he announced when he opened the door that he had cleaned the kitchen. Oh boy, I can't wait to see what you think 'clean' means I thought. I didn't want him to feel like I was testing him or something, so I casually glanced around. It was....okay. He didn't wipe off the food-encrusted stovetop, but that was the biggest gap I saw. Not the best, but much improved. At least there weren't any dirty dishes in the sink.

His other roommate, Golf Guy, is apparently a "neat freak". (Repo's words, not mine.) While GG is the neatest of all by far--it was organized, I could spend at least 45 minutes in his room, cleaning. I'm really amazed that someone who keeps their room so nice would tolerate a living/dining area that is so disgusting.

I'm considering cleaning it myself. Or convincing them to hire a maid. Or at least just donating some candles to them. But I don't want to mother them. Even though sitting on their couch and walking barefoot on their floor and using their bathroom make me cringe.

Don't get me wrong. I know that men's eyes do not see dirt as easily as women. It's a genetic thing. I get it. (I read it somewhere....but can't find it now...) I would never expect a house full of single guys to be as clean as my house. I just expect it to be decent. That's why I have told Repo that I'm not coming over to his place until it is clean. Trust me, you would too.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Party

Wow. I had a great weekend.

Friday night, The Girls wanted to take Brunette out to dinner for her birthday. After giving up on some restaurants with two-hour-plus (!) waits, we decided to go to Willy's Foxfire Grill, one of my favorite restaurants in Columbia. I went to dinner with K, Brunette, Blonde Nurse and Blonde's roommate, The Accountant. It was good to have some girltalk. We caught up on our love lives, our mutual friends and our jobs over apple martinis (and my diet coke!). The Accountant is such a good flirt, she scored us a free appetizer from the cute manager!

After dinner, Repo came over and hung out for a while. He had a loooong day. He worked 12 hours and made over 300 phone calls! I hope he finds a new job soon, because I worry about him. He hates his job so much! But the good thing was, his store made their monthly goal, so they will all get a nice bonus.

Saturday was Party Day. K and I ran errands and shopped all day. We got plenty of beer, mixers and liquor. She cleaned up the apartment and hung a few pictures, including a big shot of this famous photo over our couch. K stated that it is like mistletoe for our couch. :) Meanwhile, I cooked. We had chocolate/peanut butter chip cookies, homemade salsa and cocktail weiners in barbeque sauce. Mmmmm!

Soon people started to arrive, and I got some overdue birthday presents. (My friends are so nice!) Some of my guests also brought more food: Brunette's chili dip was a hit and Nurse P brought a birthday cake for Brunette. Repo and Big Poppa brought even more alcohol and some shot glasses. We all ate and drank a lot. (I myself was stationed at my new blender, trying to remember how to make Bellinis while drinking 4 gallons of diet coke to stay awake and gorging on the birthday cake!) Turns out I should have had some peach schnapps on hand...I was using some peach-flavored vodka, which didn't work as well.

Brunette got trashed on a drink she discovered on a trip to Miami: raspberry-flavored rum, Sprite and Hawaiian Punch. She had a great time, actually. There was a running joke all night about her boobs, since her top was really, really low-cut. At first, we just poked her boobs to tease her. Then we began taking bets as to which one would fall out first. But we started to stick dollar bills down her cleavage eventually. She made $6.00 by the end of the night!

K kept wearing the oven mitts for some reason, which was really funny. (I think it was because she was drinking out of a bottle of red champagne and it was too cold to hold it without some kind of glove.) At one point in the evening, she teased Repo, who retaliated by smearing french onion dip all over her face! It was hysterical and I'm so glad I got it on film!

Eventually, we all transferred the party and went to Local's, where we got Brunette up on the bar to take a shot poured into her mouth by the cute bartender. (That is the standard birthday ceremony at Local's.) It's nice living 10 minutes from the bars.

While we were there, drinking and dancing, Mrs. Basketball (a friend of Brunette's who is also a friend of mine) turns to Repo and I and asks point-blank, "So, are you two having sex yet?" Repo turned away, trying to stay out of this awkward conversation, leaving me to fend for myself. I can't say I blame him--it was my friend who asked the nosy question. He didn't know her and didn't want to say anything wrong, so I told Mrs. Basketball that it really wasn't any of her business because that was a rather personal question. I was pretty shocked at her behavior--usually she is really fun and not the nosy type at all. She instantly felt terrible and I felt even more awkward at answering so rudely. But talk about being caught off-guard! That is girltalk, if even mentioned at all!

She told me later, after apologizing, that the only reason she even asked was because she could tell there was so much chemistry between me and Repo that it would probably be amazing if we took that step. Gee, thanks for your opinion. Needless to say, that explanation didn't make it any less awkward. So I'm blaming the bellinis and letting it roll off my back.

Some people make it very hard not to kiss and tell! Usually I'm really open about stuff, but as I get older, I try to keep personal stuff more personal. I'm a lot better than I used to be, although Stuckey seems to think that I divulge quite a bit about Repo on here! I'm going to keep trying to remain discreet, though, out of respect for Repo. I am pretty sure he wouldn't like me spouting off all the time about what goes on between us. So I'll stick to PG-related topics when it comes to him. Well, I'll try, anyway.

We ended up closing Local's, and most of the group went home, so only a handful went to Repo's house for the "afterparty". Repo's roommates were out of town that night, so he had to let the dogs out anyway. We stayed up for about an hour and then crashed around 3am. Whew!

Yesterday, K and I cleaned up the kitchen and living room. She went to hang with her family and I managed to clean up my room. It helped that the Oscars were on so I had something to watch while cleaning up! Then I went to Repo's for dinner and crashed in my bed, exhausted, around 11!

Friday, March 03, 2006

B.S.-Free Zone 6

1. Like most of my questions, this one is directed mainly at men. (I already know how women work!) Here is a hypothetical situation. You go over to your new girlfriend's house. Things are....progressing, shall we say. Then, suddenly, you see them: granny panties. What is your gut/true reaction? Ok, well, how about if you see cellulite? What if she hasn't shaved her legs in a week and she's prickly? What if she opens the door to let you in and she has no makeup on? How harsh are you about all of these "caught unaware" moments? Are women expected to look awesome all the time?

All of these have happened to me recently. (Well, except the granny panties. I don't wear those.) Repo swears he doesn't mind and that I always look good to him, but I'd really like to get the truth from unbiased guys. Seriously, there is no way I look as good without makeup. I just don't buy it!

2. Why do men cheat? Why do women cheat?

I think men cheat because they can. If they are put in a position of power, where they have opportunities, there is a higher likelihood that they will take advantage. (But I'm not saying all men are cheaters. I think only a handful are.) Something changes in a guy when he gets a hold of power. It's almost like he feels he is more entitled to multiple partners or something. Some men cheat because they are living off of the thrill. It is the same feeling as bungee jumping, I think. I read an article once, sort of a "Confessions of a Cheater" kind of thing, where the man said that life with his wife was ho-hum and his mistress made his life exciting. She was younger, thinner and more up for passionate rendevous in sleazy hotel rooms. Unlike his wife, she was always up for anything, never nagged him and asked nothing of him besides the obvious. She made him forget his responsibilities, if only for a little while. She was not tied down by kids, cooking, cleaning, soccer schedules, etc. This strangely makes sense to me....spontaneity can go a long way, can keeping yourself looking good. Too bad it didn't work for Clara Harris. Too little, too late, methinks...

Women cheat, sometimes, for the same reason--the thrill becomes addictive. But I think this is in the minority of cases. Most women, IMHO, cheat because their man has somehow made them feel alienated, devalued or insignificant. If you are not appreciating your woman, you aren't trying to form an emotional bond with her or you are making her feel unimportant, you are practically encouraging her to cheat. There is always another man out there waiting to replace you, trust me!

3. Do you think love should be easy? Or are fighting and arguments just a sign of growth? Is it possible to have a rock-solid relationship without disagreements? Or are there gray areas?

I think love should be easy. I think it can be easy. Lady Starfish has been dating J for about four months. When I talk to her, I ask about "J news". There is never any news. It is always smooth sailing--he is wonderful to her. Always. Has been from the get-go. They simply never argue. It is, quite simply, "on like Donkey Kong", as I like to say. No disagreements on anything. She would like to say that it's because "it's all about me and he gets that," but I really think it goes both ways. There are certainly times where she has put his needs before her own.

The same was true for my parents. Sure, they argued about money, because The Czarina is the biggest penny-pincher around (She buys clothes once a decade. No joke.) and WLF spent money like it was going out of style. On a bunch of useless crap. But their "arguments" were extremely entertaining to all of their children. They did nothing but take turns hurling insults at each other--funny ones. That was their way of dealing with the problem. One of them would always end up cracking a smile and laughing, and the battle would be over and WLF would get to keep his crap. Then The Czarina would remind him that when he is dead, she is having a huge yard sale and selling all of it anyway. That was the closest they ever came to disagreeing on anything, really.
(Keep in mind they were arguing about sums of money amounting to less than $300. Not anything major.)

And there are a lot of people who confuse arguments with full-blown fighting, which can be a sign of different priorities. Arguments are about little things. Fighting gets ugly and personal and involves big issues: respect, trust, goals, etc. You know it's an argument rather than a disagreement when you say something and then the next day wish you could take it back. This is a sign you are with the wrong person, IMHO. You are fighting about really big issues, and that is not good.

Like I've said before, as long as your partner's happiness is #1 with you and your happiness is priority #1 with them, it's all good. It's on like Donkey Kong. Everything else is just details.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

27 on the 27th

No wise man ever wished to be younger.--Jonathan Swift

This year was a special birthday for me. I think there is some significance to turning 27 on the 27th. I remember being little and looking forward to this particular birthday. (I guess I was a bored and geeky child!) The number 27 has always been significant to me, so I'm wondering if this year will be extra important. I'm excited to see what happens!

Sort of like New Year's, you tend to look at birthdays as gateways between your past and your future. In a lot of ways, I'm proud of what I've accomplished already, but in other ways, I can't wait to see where this journey called life will take me. So I've decided to make a combined list. Below are 27 statements. Some are accomplished tasks and some are hopeful wishes.

1. I have three degrees now.
2. I want two more.
3. I have learned the importance of family.
4. One day I hope to have my own.
5. I have traveled in Italy on my own.
6. I would like to do more traveling with someone I love.
7. The older I get, the more I understand and appreciate myself.
8. The older I get, the more I realize I am an idiot.
9. I have learned how to love, laugh and dance fearlessly.
10. That doesn't mean they are easy to do. But I'll keep trying.
11. I'm glad I've had a lot of fun so far.
12. I know the best is yet to come.
13. I can support myself financially. Finally.
14. The older I get, the more money I will have. (Statistics show!)
15. I have many good friends who care about me.
16. I'm not done making new friends yet.
17. The more life experience I acquire, the stronger and braver I become.
18. One day I'll be old enough to say exactly what's on my mind!
19. I have learned to be somewhat patient, sympathetic, hard-working and flexible.
20. Maybe one day I'll learn how to be more open-minded and less selfish.
21. I am much more health-conscious than I used to be.
22. Hopefully I will get back to a size 8 one day...
23. I know lots about history, baking and make-up.
24. Hopefully, I will learn more about money, computers and taxes. (much more practical!)
25. I have learned that I do not need money, weight loss or a boyfriend to be happy.
26. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying them when they make brief appearances.
27. Most of the time, life is wonderful and I'm grateful for everything I have and will have.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Moving Birthday

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. -- Unknown

That's a pretty sappy quote, even for me. But I like it anyway. Plus, it's shorter than the one I really wanted to use, which I paraphrase: For pessimists, change is stressful because things can always get worse. For optimists, it's welcome because things can always get better. For confident people, changes are challenges where opportunities live.

Warning: My life is totally crazy right now, so this post will not be very organized. Bear with.

Work has been insane lately. Luckily, Boss Lady is on vacation, so I can goof off a little this week...hopefully I will be able to post some more.

This weekend has been full of so many changes. Luckily, they were all excellent. My move went very smoothly, thanks to K's family, who were so sweet to me about moving all my stuff. I tried to buy them dinner, but they wouldn't let me. After a couple of glitches, we got the washer and dryer in and working. By "glitch" I mean a loose hose and water all over the floor. Oops. But so far, it's all good.

As usual when you move, you think How did I acquire so much crap? and Why didn't I throw this junk away? so now I'm dealing with re-organizing everything. I have to find a spot to store my magazines. I subscribe to 5 and I'm behind on reading them by about...a year. I know. I'm ridiculous. I moved all of them. Normal people would throw them away. But I love my mags! (I am definitely my father's daughter--he was King Packrat!)

I have much less storage in the bathroom and kitchen than before, but I'll figure it out. I have no idea where anything is. It takes me 20 minutes to find socks that match. I have some food, but nothing that will make a meal. I have very little time to remedy these problems before Saturday, when K and I are having a party. It's a Happy Birthday/Housewarming/Congratulations on Being Bigfoot-free party.

There are so many great things about this move. I'm loving the fact that there is no Bigfoot and I get my own bathroom! And a bigger room and even bigger closet! K is a super roommate who is always up for Target trips and has a gigantic DVD collection. K and I have fairly different schedules, so we are not on top of each other all the time. One of our coworkers, The Coupon Lady, has a ton of stuff at her house, so she gave us a whole box of dry goods today. (Hey, she's called Coupon Lady for a reason.) K and I are both living closer to our boyfriends now. Soon the pool will open up. We have a hot neighbor. We realized after we moved in that our patio has the perfect view of downtown. It's gorgeous at night! Eventually, with K's awesome decorating skills and my 6,583 home decor accessories, we will have our apartment "cute-ified". It's coming along.

So far, there are only minor problems. I'm worried about my plants because this apartment has few windows and is darker than their old home. And the cable guy told me I cannot have Internet access in the dining room, the only area where I can fit a desk/computer. (Repo says there is a way around it--some kind of special wire or something. I told him that's why I keep him around.) Hopefully, I won't have to buy a wi-fi modem. *VB crosses her fingers.*

As far as my birthday was concerned, it was excellent. K gave me the prettiest decorative box ever. I love it. K's mom made me a huge and delicious birthday cake as a surprise. Mmmmmm...homemade pound cake with cream cheese icing!!! (I will try to get the recipe and post it on Virginia Cooks.) I had not gotten a birthday cake since I was a kid, so that was really great. It made my birthday, in fact. For some reason, The Czarina and Fat Dog decided to send me disgusting birthday cards. Czarina's makes a reference to the night I was conceived (ewwww!) and Fat Dog's was a rather long poem about farts. Typical. Especially when he referred to me as an old one.

At least K, my little sister Smurf, and Repo gave me nice cards. Repo's was actually kind of...mushy. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, my family doesn't do mushy. Ever. Mush makes my whole family feel uncomfortable. So I'm not used to birthday cards like that. On the other hand, I want to say, "Awwww....!" and smooch on him. Instead, I told him I would tease him incessantly about giving me this card. And I would try and find an even mushier one for him at the next opportunity. Then I smooched on him. He thinks I didn't like it, but I've read it about 7 times. It makes me feel all warm inside. But I hate to admit that!

He has not surprised me yet with my birthday present since I was too busy this weekend. He has a couple of spots in mind for where to take me, but hasn't decided yet. I asked him if any of them required protective clothing (ie, paintballing) or no fear of heights (ie, skydiving). Nothing like that, he said. Whew!

Since things were crazy with the move and our boyfriends were helping us get settled, K and I went to a lot of restaurants this weekend: Bojangles' for Cajun Filet Biscuits, Mellow Mushroom for pizza, more pizza at a Mom n Pop, Moe's for burritos and Jimmy John's for my birthday dinner. (They copped an attitude when I informed them that I always get a free substitution--no chips, sub cookie--and despite being informed that it was indeed my birthday, they still charged me extra for the cookie. I might write a letter...I have been getting free cookie substitutions at JJ's for two years.)

Because of all of this junk food, Repo and I are trying to eat healthier this week and go to the gym. He's at the gym right now, actually. I'll join him as soon as I have time and as soon as I find my gym clothes. Tonight he's coming over for a healthy dinner cooked by moi and then joining me for the weekly Heavy Petting Trivia Night. (Heavy Petting didn't meet last week due to scheduling conflicts.)

Luckily, I took my birthday off. I needed an extra day to get organized/totally moved in. To get myself out of bed early, I cooked breakfast for K, K's boyfriend and Repo. Yes, I cooked for other people on my birthday when I could have slept in. I'm nice like that. We all got to start our days with french toast, OJ, bacon, fruit salad and scrambled eggs. Yum! Then I unpacked/organized most of the day.

When everyone left to go to work, I checked our new mailbox. Not surprisingly, it was full of a lot of mail for the old tenants. One was a generic flyer from OfficeMax, complete with $20 off coupon. This is perfect because I need to buy a desk, pronto. I got Czarina's perverted birthday card, complete with Target giftcard. And I got a letter from my dermotologist, Dr. Nazi. My tests came out just fine. No skin cancer here. Yessss! That was a great birthday present! (I'm telling you, it was a great birthday!)

I talked to JB, my oldest girlfriend in the world--she always remembers to call me on my birthday. She is coming to visit me in May and I can't wait! I haven't seen her in about five years!!!

Things are still going swimmingly with Repo. He is amazing. As you can probably tell from above, neither one of us wants to date anyone else. Hence my use of the B word. He's great. I cannot even tell you how much help he has been with this whole move and how sweet he is to me. To show my gratitude, I got him a book he has been wanting to read. And some smooches. A lot of smooches, actually. I'm as happy as a pig in mud. *VB sighs...*

But my inner pessimist is getting freaked out. This can't last forever, you know. Eventually he will start to take you for granted and morph into a below-average boyfriend. Either that or you will feel he is too clingy and start to become irritated with him. So I just tell her to shut up because he makes me really happy. And I think I do the same for him.

Ok, that's pretty much it for now. You should be sufficiently updated. My next post will be more meaningful--this year's birthday kind of inspired me because I turned 27 on the 27th. So I'd like to take stock of my life as soon as my brain is calmed down and organized. Moving makes me crazy!

Have to run...making dinner for cute new boyfriend and then tackling trivia!