Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Grow Up or Grown Up

One thing that I have decided that is either great or depressing about “growing up” is realizing that you don’t have to feel guilty about the end of something just because you think that it has out-spent it’s usefulness, is no longer convenient, is just annoying or doesn’t match your needs anymore. That “something” could be a relationship, a friendship, a job, your car, your home...anything, really. But I think the most guilt usually comes out of ending relationships or friendships.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m perfect at keeping in touch with friends from far away, that’s definitely not the case – especially in the past year or two. But sometimes you can only make so much of an effort before it’s just not worth your time, and more importantly, emotional investment. And you know what, I have really discovered that there’s no need to offer an explanation or feel bad when that person finally wants to chat or tries to apologize...and you don’t feel like going through it.

The other thing that people need to realize, sometimes things in people’s lives change. Yes, I know. It’s rather shocking. A true unveiling of the evils of the modern world, right here in this blog. Whether they move. Or start a new job. Or enter a new relationship. Or enter a new phase in a relationship. Or have a kid. Or get a new hobby. Sometimes, when that happens, you can’t have everything perfect from your “previous” life. As a friend of people who have gone through those changes...I have learned to let them go if the changes in my friends’ lives don’t allow us to have the same bond as before. And vice versa, for sure.

What really irritates me, however, is when my friends that have gone through those changes try to pretend like all is perfect from before...and then put the blame or guilt on the friend "without change" to not try to accommodate all of the new changes in their life. I’m willing to make changes, accommodate your changes, and keep a friendship alive...as long as we’re all of the awareness that change is happening and all is not the same. But if that friend wants to live in a clouded world, thinking that he or she can have everything the same or pretend to act sorry if it’s not...that irritates me. And frankly, I don’t have the time or patience for that anymore.

And in growing up, I guess I have realized that it’s just plain OK to say that...and to move on.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Holy Car?

I went out to my truck this morning to leave for work, and there was a slice of baby swiss cheese on the hood.

I don't know why. I don't know how it got there. I don't know where it came from.

Sometime between getting home at 9:30 last night and leaving at 8:30 this morning, a slice of baby swiss cheese was placed on my hood.

I think it's a sign that I should go to the State Fair this weekend!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yes, I'm Alive.

**SHE’S BAAAAAAACK. And this may be long since it’s been a while since I’ve posted.**

* Here’s something I just don’t understand. Why don’t the same people who write or edit the teasers/ads/previews or whatever you want to call them for new shows…also write or edit the shows?? The reason I ask this is because of the huge disappointment that some shows are after having phenomenal ads leading up to them. Example: Windfall on NBC. Potentially the lamest, most annoying and hard to follow show on TV. First – every single character looks the same so I can’t tell them apart. They all have the same voices. The same haircuts. The same clothes. And I think there are 28 lottery winners…or maybe I’m just counting all of the “important” people in their stories – like family, friends, lovers, enemies. How am I supposed to have a clue what each of them does? All I’m saying is that the ads for new shows always prove to be better than the shows, therefore the people that edit the ads should edit the shows.

* If any of you Minnesotans out there haven’t been to the St. Paul Farmers Market, you’re missing out. It’s an attack of the senses. Amazing flowers. (Orbitron – they have LOTS of sunflowers.) Great veggies and fruits (stay away from the cantaloupes…they aren’t great this season). Roasted corn. Hot egg rolls. And great people-watching.

* Sadly, I have to admit that I’m getting caught up in the Peyton vs. Eli Sunday Night Football game on NBC in September. I’m considering hosting a party to watch the game. Or just going to a bar so that someone else has to clean up after me.

* It’s starting to get cool in the evening and morning again. I had to put on a long sleeve shirt the last couple of mornings for the first 10 minutes I was outside. Just a few more weeks and I’ll need to put my 300 pounds of sand in my truck again. Wahooo. Actually, following last winter's incident…I may go up to 350 pounds.

* I’m getting a promotion in my volunteer job. Does that mean I’ll get a raise, in addition to more training (Hopefully once again by Billy Baldwin on VHS)? Maybe a second t-shirt?

* This weekend I volunteered to help a friend out a little with some work she does with the breast cancer 3-Day event. I was highly amused by the fact that I almost had to go to battle with another volunteer this morning because she tried to force-feed me water. Let me set the scenario…I was standing at a street corner handing out stickers and talking to walkers entering the area. Highly draining, exhausting work. (That was sarcasm for those of you that don’t get it.) It may have been a grand total of 72 degrees out. Not too humid. It was sunny, but I had on SPF 50 and a bandana and t-shirt protecting myself. I had been doing this task for about 2 hours. This other volunteer comes up to me and says, “Do you have a bottle of water?” I think, at first, that she’s just going to be nice and offer to get me one if I want it, and I just answer, “Nope.” She says, rather roughly, “Well, you need one.” I said, “No, I’m OK.” She then said – rather meanly, “You need a bottle of water. You have to drink something.” I said, “No, really, I’m fine…I drank plenty this morning and I’m doing just fine.” She continues on insisting, rather rudely, that I need to get a bottle of water/stand in the shade/I’m going to pass out, etc. I said, “No, I’m really OK. I don’t need a bottle of water. I can stand in the sun. I won’t pass out. I’m fine.” She said, “That’s what I thought last year and then I passed out under a tree from dehydration. You need a bottle of water.” I contemplated showing her how fine I was by dumping a cooler over her head with my immense, hydrated self…but I just said “Seriously, I’m fine. I have lived in FL and TX…I can handle this measly ‘heat’ here today, even if you guys can’t.” She walked away, distracted by something more important. She then returned with a glass of water about 15 minutes later (which was about 5 minutes before we shut down!!), which I promptly took and set down on the chair with everyone else’s discarded stuff. Here’s the thing…I’m a former athlete, current coach, relatively fit (well, not as fit as I was before I had to drink a pitcher of beer every night The Dad was in town) young woman who knows how to hydrate myself and basically, STAY ALIVE. And I know when I’m going to dehydrate and pass out – and I was NO WHERE near that. Oh, and did I mention it was only about 70 degrees???? It’s not my fault that Minnesotans pass out from heat exhaustion the instant the ice melts off the driveway…don’t yell at me to drink water! The thing is, if she had been friendly about it at all, maybe I would have gone and grabbed a cup of water to humor her. But instead, I decided to dehydrate myself and passed out and wrecked my truck on the way home. Just kidding. But I actually continued my self-imposed liquids ban until I got to Sam’s Club 1.5 hours later where I indulged in hydrating soda as part of the $1.50 hot dog/soda combo after purchasing 18 mangos for $12. I showed her!

* The morning’s entertainment continued by one of the other volunteers proceeding to confuse every walker attempting to cross the intersection and every car attempting to drive through by waving her neon orange flag in figure 8s anytime someone approached. Therefore everyone was being signaled to go in the opposite direction they were headed at the same time, were thoroughly confused and no one went anywhere until everyone took one step forward at once, saw the driver of the car begin to lift his foot off the break and creep forward, and then everyone panicked because everyone thought that a pedestrian was going to get crushed and we were back to square one as volunteer lady waved her flag in a figure 8 even faster in despair. I just stood there and watched and kept taking stickers off the roll and sticking them on my fingers to hand out more quickly since the walkers were building up across the intersection and I was going to have to hand out a lot at once instead of a few at a time because of this massive intersection confusion.

* Last night’s Big Brother All-Stars, Season 7 episode had midgets dressed as gnomes. And a great line from Will – “There are 3 things in life I can’t stand…robot clowns, mini-corns and scary little gnomes.” I don’t get why some people don’t watch this show!! And I have to agree with Will about the mini-corns thing. What purpose do those things serve? They are gross tasting and have a weird texture – and resemble full-sized corn in NO way. They do nothing other than get in the way of getting to the stuff you really want in the Chinese food.

* They have been reoiling the streets in St. Paul lately. For those of you that are not familiar with this process, here’s what happens. First, they block off the street for a while so you can’t park on it. Then, they lay down a thick layer of oil. Then they pour gravel on top of that. Then they leave it for a week. Then they block it off again so you can’t park on it. Then they “clean” it. But the method is much more like the way 4 year olds put glitter on a sheet of paper than the way a professional road maintenance crew ensures we have safe paths for travel. Imagine a child doing an art project: They put a glob of glue in the middle of where they want to glitter, lets say they want to glitter a patch that is about 1inch square. So that means that they put down an inch wide glob of glue that is 3 inches thick. Then they take their pint of glitter and dump the entire thing on that little glob of glue. Meaning that there is a crapload of loose glitter out there annoying you. And that the glue is annoying and sticky. Then eventually they create a half-assed funnel with the paper and dump the glitter into a cup, sorta, and still leave lots of loose glitter stuck to the page that doesn’t really do anything except stick to you when you pick it up to move it. Same idea with reoiling…except that it’s done by 18-56 year old men with big, noisy machines and dirty cut-off shirts. The thick oil and extra two inches of loose gravel on top give you NO TRACTION. And the damn little stones kick up against your car endlessly. And then about a week later they go through and “clean up” all of the loose stones - haha. Leaving a road that still has crappy traction, but slightly fewer stones. And then once it starts raining again, all of that new oil rises up – making an even more slippery surface. At least my truck is small enough to drive on the sidewalk.

* Here is a real life phone conversation that I had today with one of my friends who lives near Detroit. If you knew her, you would understand that this isn’t really that unusual of a story – in fact, if you heard the rest of the conversation, this part might seem normal…but it’s pretty damn funny.

The Steph: So what are you up to?

The Friend: I’m heading to the tattoo parlor.

The Steph: You’re getting a tattoo??

The Friend: **laughs** No, I have a navel ring and I’m getting it put back in because I had to take it out for my shoulder surgery.

The Steph: Oh, OK.

(Normal conversation resumes.)

The Friend: (Not to The Steph, but to someone else in the background.) Are you leaving?? (Then to The Steph) Uh oh, I gotta go. The guy is leaving.

The Steph: Ummm, OK.

(About 37 seconds pass, phone rings again – same friend on the phone.)

The Steph: Ummm, that was really fast.

The Friend: **laughs** Yeah, he brought the tool out to the car.

The Steph: WHAT??

The Friend: Yeah, he brought the tool out to the car.

The Steph: He knew what you wanted just because you were sitting in the car??

The Friend: Well, I’ve had to come here so much to have him take it out and put it back in because of all of the MRIs and surgeries, I guess he saw me sitting in my car and figured out what I wanted. I was sitting here for a while talking to you..

The Steph: Ummmm. That’s kinda scary. Like a drive-through piercing parlor?

During that same conversation with that same friend, the ice cream truck went through her neighborhood, and she desperately searched for money to run out and get an ice cream. Which led to a conversation about the panic that the ice cream man’s bell creates – because no matter what neighborhood you live in, or how used to or excited you are about the ice cream man – this happens every single time. First, you never can find your money when you hear his bell. So you search with great angst for a buck so that you can run out the door. Then you can’t find your shoes. Then you have to chase down the ice cream man because he hasn’t seen anyone come out of their doors because they are all frantically searching for money and shoes and no one has found either yet. Isn’t it unreal how much stress the ice cream man causes?? (Just in case you were wondering, the ice cream man went through the neighborhood too fast for my friend to catch up and she never got her ice cream. It was kinda sad.)

* There is a really cool project going on in the neighborhood (Hamline-Midway area) in which I work. It’s a beautification thing for the area called “Mosaic on a Stick.” (That’s to pay homage to our proximity to the state fairgrounds, where you can get any food you want served on a stick.) Basically the idea is that people in our area (who either live, work or play here) get together and create mosaic tiles that are about 1 square foot. These tiles are then mounted to giant planters in the neighborhood that are about 17 feet around ( meaning we need 16 tiles per planter – there is space between each that is filled in with black tile, and there are 10 planters we are doing this fall, meaning we need 160 tiles…which each take about 1-2 hours for people working in pairs to complete).Mosaic on a Stick,” which is actually the name of the store in the neighborhood where we all go to do this project, is running the art portion and installation. I went to one of the training sessions a few nights ago and it was really fun. I wound up working with a professor from a competing institution, and she was actually nice (hahaha – we’re not THAT competitive. OK, I am…but she really was actually nice.). The planters are going to look awesome when these things are done later this fall! So sometime around the end of October or beginning of November, drive up and down Snelling Avenue between the railroad tracks and University Avenue to see these works of art.

* The Minnesota State Fair starts in just 3 days. I’m working 3 booth shifts for my “real” job and 2 shifts for my volunteer job. I can’t wait to get a Pronto Pup, deep-fried Oreo and an ear of roasted corn. And visit the cattle barn and see this year’s giant pig. These two weeks are two of the greatest weeks in Minnesota. If anyone else wants to go to indulge in amazing people-watching and great fried food – give me a call! I’m game to go.

* Is Tiger Woods amazing or is Tiger Woods amazing? Yesterday he won his 12th major by being the only golfer to repeat as a winner at a course in the PGA Championship (Medinah). And he’s some insane age like 30 – I think he won all 12 majors within 10 years. The annoying thing during the broadcast yesterday (and yes, I enjoy watching golf on TV. Everything I know about playing golf I learned by watching TV… “I am Tiger Woods.”) was how the announcers, at around the 13th tee, began speculating about at which course/tournament Tiger would beat the record for wins in a major (18). So essentially what they started doing was listing off every random major tournament and the course at which it would be held between 2010 and 2016 – and not in chronological order or by tournament – just completely randomly. And stated that every course that is holding a major between about 2010 and 2016 possibly holds a card to being a part of history when Tiger meets or breaks the record. First of all, I don’t care that your stupid statistician gave you a list of every single major and where it will be held for the next decade – you’re not fooling me, I know you don’t have them all memorized. And secondly, let’s just watch him dominate the field one tournament at a time. Stop looking 6-12 major wins into the future. (They also said he could double his major wins number and get 24… therefore “smashing” the record.) The commentators did everything they could to ruin watching great golf on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Somebody should run a televised sporting event where the commentators have to refrain from saying anything stupid. Silence is golden.

* Thanks, Boof…for the shout-out to the winning team with your link. Like I said to you…too bad the Yankees are out of the Wild Card race…SINCE THEY ARE LEADING THE DIVISION. I have to admit that it would be great for the Twins to make the playoffs if only so that I can go watch the Bronx Bombers beat up on TC and his little friends during October in person, like I did in 2004. Hey Orbitron…the kittens are finishing strong, eh? Everyone’s SOOOO talkative when NYY is not in first place and “won’t make the playoffs”, but like always, get all quiet near the end of the summer when they come into form. I have to say I would rather have my team be better at the end of the season that at the beginning…because they don’t count first half wins in MLB. But the Yankees have 26 second half wins……….

* Many other things have happened, including more racing at Elko, I just can’t think of them now! Phew. Welcome back, The Steph.