March 2010


(Note: I really hate the title I gave this post. Really. But I’m taking a break from filing taxes and I’m just…not in a good frame of mind.)

So I’ve determined that I really do enjoy grocery shopping. It’s nice. I get to spend money and not feel terribly guilty about it, which is always a plus. It gets me out of the house, which I often need a big incentive (like starving) to accomplish. I’m a homebody. But the grocery store is a place of peace for me.

However, there is one thing that can completely ruin a trip to the grocery store: a bad buggy. You know what I’m talking about. You roll the buggy at a normal clip and it sounds as if you are discharging an automatic firearm inside the store. Generally this is caused by gum stuck to the bottom of one of the wheels, or a “flat” wheel, or some other defect involving one (or more) of the wheels. In the grocery store I frequent, the entrance where the buggies are kept has a textured floor (I’m convinced they do this for the specific purpose of making it impossible to tell if you have a screwed up buggy) so I’m already inside the store before I realize I’ve obtained a crappy cart. Turning around is still an option, but with the luck I’ve had in this regard, the next buggy I pick up will probably be screwed up worse. So I just push forward.

Interestingly, it usually happens that I’m the only one of the sixty people crawling the store who happens to have picked up a machine-gun-buggy and I’m convinced people stare and make faces in my general direction for being so obnoxious. So I make efforts to lessen the noise. I lift the handle on the side of the defunct wheel so that the crashing noises are slightly dampened (but rarely silenced). This only works until I start to fill up the buggy with grocery items, then I try pushing down on the handle to see if that affects any change. Nope, only makes things significantly worse. People turn their heads to stare. I blush. And now it really is too late to switch buggies. Not to mention the fact that my entire experience is overwhelmed by the offensive noises emanating from my cart every time I push forward. I slow down.

BANG.
BANG.
BANG.

More like a handgun being fired now. Honestly if I had one handy, suicide wouldn’t be out of the question. Inevitably, I forget something and have to crash back through the store, avoiding nasty looks and jeers from my fellow shoppers. I arrange my hair in front of my face and duck my head. Realize this makes me look suspiciously like a disgruntled former employee toting a firearm and straighten back up.

I adopt a very apologetic expression on my trip back through the store and sigh in relief as I find a relatively short check-out line. Wonder idly if the noise of the buggy will be better or worse as I trek through the parking lot.

Find that it is crashingly worse on pavement but better in regard to distance travelled and lack of echo.

When I finally make it to the buggy disposal area nearest my car in the parking lot, I give the old piece of…junk… an overly enthusiastic shove and hope the resulting damage as it crashes into the cart in front of it is enough to retire the thing for good. Sadly, I realize I’ve probably only managed to further maim my own buggy and damage the one in front of it to boot. FML.

(Note: the FML is as much for the buggy-situation as it is for my current indebtedness to the effing federal government. Fair Tax, people!!!)

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It’s been a year since my last visit to the opera. I’m sure a year has changed my perspective on a lot of things, but since my first operatic experience was something of a “eh, so-so” event, I wasn’t expecting to have a particularly strong response to The Marriage of Figaro.

Thankfully, I was wrong. The music itself was beautiful (though I still cringe at the idea of opera singing, for some reason); I guess I can thank Mozart for that. I’m certain the cast was ideal, though I don’t claim to be anywhere near an expert on the subject. There was a tie between the hilarity of the action and the ideal cast for ‘the-best-thing-about-it,’ because I doubt a less skilled group of performers could have convincingly expressed the action in a way that could be easily grasped (yes, the subtitles were a great help, but the whole thing was in Italian and I swear I could have looked at the action on the stage and kept up with things fairly well if the subtitles crapped out – which they did at one point). There were some ridiculous characters in the opera, not to mention some exceptionally backwards ideas about marriage and fidelity, but those things didn’t seem to bother me at the time, which is all one can ask for.

And just as the audience was giving the entire cast its standing ovation at the end, when I thought things couldn’t possibly get anymore gratifying – they did. The lead (I guess…Fab Friend, is Figaro considered the lead?) proceeded to propose to his girlfriend (also a member of the cast) on stage! It really was adorably romantic. It seems the two had met while performing The Marriage of Figaro some years ago (what a lovely coincidence) and the woman said “yes!” before he even got the question out. That was the first time I’ve witnessed a public proposal of marriage and it sent chills down my spine. Eeep! So cute.

If I had to analyze what made this experience so much better than my last, I’d put it down to two things: 1) The action itself was memorably comedic. I can’t remember what happened in La Traviata and honestly, I can’t be bothered to look. But I don’t think I’ll forget what happened in The Marriage of Figaro because it was patently absurd and made me laugh out loud multiple times. 2) I attended this performance with Hubby, who has a genuine appreciation for music and radiated enjoyment throughout. Last time I attended with three girls similarly unrefined as myself (sorry Funky and Dear Friends… but I doubt you’d deny it!), and I think we all were sort of confused most of the time. I don’t think it would have spoiled this performance for me, but having someone there who was truly looking forward to the arias and overtures certainly didn’t hurt anything.

I am so glad I gave the opera another chance. I’d like to thank Fabulous Friend for the tickets and Hubby for joining me and adding to my enjoyment! Brava!

Y’all, I love a good cry. It’s a comfort beyond compare in certain situations. I watched the movie My Sister’s Keeper tonight and wept for at least half of the movie. (In reading My Sister’s Keeper, I also cried half the time, and absolutely bawled during the last twenty pages or so – thank goodness Hollywood saw fit to rewrite that ending, it was pure evil.) And you know, I feel a lot better now. I didn’t exactly know I was feeling down before the movie, but apparently I was, as I feel much more pleasant now.

Interestingly, this afternoon my Sis-in-Law made the observation that women need to cry every now and then. It isn’t that we like to cry particularly, or that there’s always a terrific reason to cry. My Mom-in-Law likened the process to something like a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Emotions build and build and build and you may not explode in the end, but if you don’t release the pressure, things start going really badly. I don’t know if it’s sexist to say that sort of thing. Is it? I mean, is it so off-base to suggest that most women are more emotional than most men? It seems pretty innocuous to me.

Anyway, I don’t cry all that terribly often. Sad movies/books send me over the edge pretty quickly, but I tend to read happy books, or silly books, or literary stuff that makes me cry when it’s over just because I never wanted it to end. But when it comes to my personal life, I think there may be two or three times a year when I break down because it’s all just too much. That two or three times, plus the three sad books a year I read and the six or seven sad movies a year I watch seem to keep my emotions in check. Holy cow, that’s crying about once a month. Hmmm. Wonder if there’s some pattern? Probably.

I’ve heard of people crying because they were so happy, and crying because they were so scared, but I don’t think I’ve ever broken down from those emotions yet. Maybe anger, but not generally. I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried, but I don’t feel like that’s the same thing. It certainly doesn’t provide the same sort of emotional release (although it’s pretty fun!). I am pretty sure the main emotion that evokes tears for me is sadness. And sadness can be just the most enveloping emotion ever. Sometimes I just have to cry I’m so sad. It’s not like depression where everything’s dull and awful but you hardly feel anything. No, it’s much more urgent and acute (at least in my experience). And it amazes me every time that once I’ve cried for a few minutes, everything really does look better. I think God created crying to help us pull things together and see a more pleasant picture afterwards. I’m sure there’s some scientific/anatomical explanation for the fact that I feel so much better after I cry. Endorphins or something.

But gosh can you imagine being in the saddest situation ever [insert your own devastating image here] and not being able to cry? I feel like I’d start to resemble burnt popcorn. I’d dwell. I’d fall apart. I’d be impossible to be around. I’m not saying that crying solves anything, but whatever lovely chemical is secreted into my brain through the tears, it helps me to see things with a little more optimism and sometimes that’s all I need to push through and fix whatever it is that’s got me down.

So folks, I think we should celebrate the fact that we as a species are capable of crying. I think it ought not be a sign of weakness in men (or women for that matter). I know it’s a little cliché to suggest to a sad friend to “just have a good cry, you’ll feel all better,” but honestly I think it’s advice to live by. Three cheers for Tears!

Okay. I hate myself in advance for you. This is one of the most embarrassing admissions I’ve made on this platform. But I’ve said enough of my love of Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake (okay, I haven’t fully admitted my feelings regarding JT as of yet, but love is one of the many and varied emotions he evokes in me) that a deep appreciation for Ke$ha’s “music” shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone.

Here’s the thing. She doesn’t do a lot of actual singing when she sings. And she’s basically one of the um…(is it slander or libel when it’s in writing?)…skankiest pop stars I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m not sure what I’m worried about because I think “skank” is the look she’s going after. I don’t see how it can’t be. Classy is not a word she appears to be familiar with. In any sense of the word. Except the sense in which it is spelled this way: Klassy.

I recently got forwarded a link to Ke$ha’s ten trashiest lyrics. Or was it stupidest? I dunno. But you know, it’s one of the reasons WHY I love her. She’s unrepentant in her total stupid grossness. She talks about brushing her teeth “with a bottle of Jack,” which actually sorta makes sense. Doesn’t alcohol kill germs and stuff? More people should try it. And she wants a dude that looks like Mick Jagger? Really? I can’t figure that one out. And according to her Blah Blah song, she has no appreciation at all for a guy who likes to talk. She’s missing out, but at the same time, she’s hilarious. And she’s real. Well, I guess somebody else probably wrote all her songs (oh my, do I have no journalistic standards? It would take about ten key strokes to find out if she had any input into her music, and it probably would have taken less time than constructing this aside. Really? So sad), but her songs are honest. She is a young woman who really just enjoys youthful frivolity and excess. She doesn’t try to hide it. There’s something to be respected in that sort of self understanding. She doesn’t hide her true colors. She embraces them. Plus, her song called Dinosaur about old dudes hitting on her is perhaps the funniest EVER musical expression not intended to be funny. Or at least I don’t think it was intended to be funny (but what do I know?).

Her songs are catchy (or should I say, ‘katchy’) and silly and rebellious and fun. She’s perfected the skill of talking in a way that sort of resembles singing and I think her speaking voice is very intriguing. The friend who sent me the link to her stupid lyrics said point-blank that poor Ke$ha can’t sing. I don’t know about that. I’m no Simon Cowell. I don’t always know the difference between fantastic and mediocre singing when I hear it (though I’d like to say that I can hear it when people sing off-key), so I won’t claim to say she’s got the best voice on the radio. I don’t think that (not even close), but I do turn up the volume when I hear one of her songs come on. We all know, LizHarrell is addicted to crap pop music and the people who read this blog probably fall into one of two camps – 1) who is Ke$ha?, or 2) how can you listen to that crap?, so I’m not really in much hope that I’ll have many supporters on this one. All I can say is that the CD player in my car is broke (“broke” instead of “broken” is an intentional typo to show how down I am with the hip young lingo), I have an iPod shuffle that used to connect to my radio but I don’t know where the cord is anymore, and I like to dance while I drive. Perhaps not good enough excuses for most of you, but I’m addicted to pop now. I can’t stop!

Also, Ke$ha is totally bad ass. I mean, she has a dollar sign in her name. How awesome is that?

Seriously, has there ever been a word more useful than the word RATHER? I love it. It modifies adjectives (a rather short piece), adverbs (I wrote rather hastily), nouns (rather a bad habit to get into), verbs (I’m rather worried), it can indicate a comparison (rather than thoughtfully) and preference (as I’d rather work). Such range for one word!

I didn’t notice my addiction to this word until Mom pointed it out after reading my revised first chapter, at which time I did a word find on my entire novel. I probably used it once every ten pages or so, on average, which seems okay now that I realize the startling number of uses to which it can be put, but when I first saw the trend, I almost had a panic attack. It’s not good to repeat one word (especially one as noticeable as ‘rather’) without a really good reason. I used it about seven times in the first eighteen pages, so obviously I had to do some rearranging there. But it rather informs the voice of my character, so I left it in a lot of places. If I were doing a word search on the blog, I don’t think I’d find ‘rather’ all that often (it wasn’t in the top ten on my word cloud post) because I don’t think it’s part of my typical voice. It features heavily in Darcie’s voice though, so I’m not all that worried by its presence.

But I was rather concerned for a moment there…

Something happened between middle school and high school. Sure, sure puberty and all that. But something else, something far more mysterious: I started to be creeped out by libraries.

I’m not opposed to the idea of the library – it’s nice that people can have access to books without having to spend money to obtain that access. I don’t begrudge peeps from checking out all the library books they want. I just really don’t want to have much to do with it. Today, however, I got my very first library card in at least fifteen years. And I am still just as grossed out as ever by the whole thing.

Why do I have a problem with reading “used” books? This makes me feel like 1) a germaphobe (which I am NOT) or 2) a snob (which I probably am). In chatting with Dear Friend about my library book phobia, my  main word choice was “gross.” I explained that I don’t like touching books other people have touched, unless I know the other people. She asked me what I thought was living on these books. My response: “gross things.” She replied by saying that most “germs” have died by the time I get my hands on it. To which I replied, “gross. dead germs.” This is logical to me, but only made Dear Friend laugh at my absurdity. Reasonably, she questioned my motive in getting a library card to begin with. Honestly, I felt I had no choice. As I have literally $0 to allocate to book purchases and the book is a recommendation of my father’s called Financial Peace (Dave Ramsey), I figured it would show a little maturity to do the library thing.

Gross.

It took me awhile to find the book in question because I’m just not used to the Dewey Decimal System. I find it absurd that non-fiction books are categorized by subject and then by author but the subjects aren’t labeled on the shelves! Take a note from ANY bookstore, libraries! Luckily “Finance” wasn’t a difficult subject to locate on my own (once I found the astoundingly large “Faith” section) but come on. How hard is it to print and laminate a sheet of paper that has a list of categories on it, cut it up, and tape it to the shelves? I don’t feel like waiting in line for use of a computer just to check where in this place a book might be. Make it easier, please (and not just for me, a rather erratic library user – for everyone else!)!

But mostly I feel like I need to go buy a box of medical gloves before I read this newly checked out book. I don’t like the plastic covering. I don’t like greasy fingerprints. I don’t like unrecognizable stains on the pages. I don’t like being distracted from the reading experience by anything, and most definitely not by my fingers sticking to the cover. Ick.

In the end, I’m willing to do it to save a buck. But I think the world would benefit from some sort of book cleaning dip or something. Like dry cleaning! Or something! Other than sticky book covers! Please!

I’m forcing myself to break the hierarchy at this very moment in writing this post. I have a to-do list. Frankly, scooping the litter box actually seems a bit more appealing than sitting down to write a post without the support of a funny experience or even the willingness to write my Justin Timberlake entry this early in my first month of forced writing. It’s too early to blow everyone’s mind with that comedic gold.

It’s funny to me how tempting working on my novel seems right now. I’ve been planning every morning to open it up each day, and each day I’ve forgotten to do it. There’s always something distracting me. But the moment I have a chore (or a blog entry) that seems less appealing, the novel makes an immediate appearance in the forefront of my mind.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to neglect my unsavory chore (or blog entry) and pick up the writing just because it seems like the easier and more rewarding option. Sometimes you just gotta do what’s got to be done. But…oh my gosh this is the most boring post I’ve EVER WRITTEN!

How ’bout some jokes to liven things up?

Oh, nevermind. I got nothin’. I’m not a comedienne. I’m a girl who gets herself into ridiculous situations then does something stupid in the attempt to extract herself from said situation. It’s a simple formula. Only something strange has happened. My life isn’t very interesting without a job. I guess there’s a small chance I’ve just stopped doing stupid things, but I know that’s not the case. In fact, one of the more stupid things I’ve done was screwing up my laptop and I only did that in the last two weeks. It just wasn’t funny stupid. It was stupid stupid.

Even the discovery of further proof that some animal is indeed living in my laundry room (aka, the magical squirrel) doesn’t seem like enough of a topic to carry an entire post. (By the way, the proof was in no way magical, because magical squirrels do NOT defecate.)

And certainly nothing I say about weight loss will be original, as I have posted on this subject more than once already. My Sister-in-Law suggested several topics in the comments yesterday for me to pursue, but I feel that in order to do them justice, I’d better hear her thoughts on them first. S-i-L is hilarious and should write a blog herself, but as she doesn’t, I will happily steal her funny stories. So no worries, S-i-L, I haven’t forgotten your comments. A Reporter Friend of mine gave me a topic to avoid, which is probably for the best. Just as no one wants to read about my stupid stupid computer woes, he’s right in suggesting that my inability to keep up with installation discs and product keys is not inherently an interesting subject. Thus, for the past two hours I’ve hemmed and hawed (what an awful expression) over what to write about. Pretty certain the resultant 550 words are not nearly as interesting as they could have been if I’d just taken my own suggestion and run with it.

Damn you, Justin Timberlake! Why are you the only thing I can think about?

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