Friday, December 30, 2005

2005: A Building Year

"Everything happens for a reason!

Now, for a sports analogy:
When you have a bad year for a team, it's called a 'building year,' a year when everyone is young and learning to work together, or the coaching staff isn't quite 'gelling' yet.

2005 was, perhaps, a building year.... "
-- Beth, in a comment on Becki's blog

Indeed. 2005 was, without question, a building year. Now before I launch into the, uh, building experiences, let me say this. I know that there are a brazillion people out there who have had a harder year than I have. Loss of friends, love, homes, jobs – you name it, I’m sure someone has experienced it. I realize that overall, the stuff that I went through was minor and instead of dwelling on it and letting it win, well, I just turn it into a learning experience. Most of the time. Sometimes I’ll cry about it, most likely I’ll complain about it, but once the initial reaction passes, well, I’ll be just fine. Especially after I turn it into a blog entry. Heh. Anyway.

So I was recently going through the blog and compiling all of the entries I’ve written this year regarding the guys I’ve dated. It was most definitely a building year in the dating arena, people – I wrote SEVENTY PAGES. Of those, 55 were about the random losers and the other 15 were about Not Boyfriend. The thing about it is, when I read back over them, I only wince about a couple of them. The rest I totally laugh about. So yes. My wish for myself in 2006 is that I find someone – just one person – who I can write seventy pages about. And those seventy pages will be about how he is everything I want, and how good he is to me. My wish for YOU is that I spare you from those seventy pages.

Now if I went through and found all of the references to how much I hate my job, well, that would take up a lot of pages as well. The thing that keeps me going in that respect is that no matter how many resumes I send out and how many jobs I apply for and don’t get, there is ONE out there that I’m supposed to have. So I keep looking and keep the faith. In the ideal world, I would get paid for writing. Or doing stick drawings. This is not the ideal world. My wish for myself in 2006 is that I find a job that makes me happy, at the very most. At the very least, a job that makes me not miserable. Both of those would be a giant step up from 2005. And 2004, 2003 and 2002.

Compiling the entries about my friends and family would most likely outpace any other subject. In regards to my friends, 2005 was NOT a building year. I think our last building year was maybe 1992 or so. And now, through the magic of the internet in general and blogging in particular, my girls and I are closer than ever. I can tell a story once and get everyone’s input on it – no matter how mundane – and that way, the next time we’re all together, they can immediately start making fun of me, instead of being delayed by my having to tell the story. Everybody wins! Except maybe me. Or whoever else is getting made fun of. And of course, all of the people who I’ve never met and yet feel like I’ve known forever. That would be you, blogfriends, in case that was unclear. So my wish for myself in 2006 is that I continue to be surrounded by people I love and care about who love and care about me.

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, per se. I don’t know why – I just don’t. I think my mindset is that I’ve got stuff in my head that I want to change in the coming year, but putting them down on paper as a “resolution” beginning January 1 isn’t my style. In any case, I’ve got a mind full of changes to make and things I want to remain the same, and believe me – I’ve got my work cut out for me. But hey – I got through the building year relatively unscathed, so I feel that next year can only be better, right?

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Welcome to my Fridge

Alie tagged me to show what's in my fridge. So here it is in all of it's NOT glory. Yes, I have two kinds of eggs -- organic for eating and regular for baking. Cheese, assorted juices, water, Perrier, and of course, because it's Colorado, Coors Light. And don't forget the essentials -- mini bottles of vodka. What? No tonic? Don't worry. It's in the door. So yes. This is what your fridge looks like when you live by yourself. And this is after I went to the grocery store today. I know -- it's sad.
Ok, so here's the part I added myself. The inside of my fridge might be boring, but the outside certainly is not. I think you can tell a lot about people by what's on their fridge door. I'm not sure what mine says about me, but I like it. People with bare fridge doors make me suspicious.
Anyway, hope you've enjoyed this little insight into my refrigerator. Once I overcome my severe case of writer's block, I'll attempt to be witty again. But hey -- did you note the clarity and picture quality? That's the new camera, baby!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

I'm reasonably certain that hijinks ensued

I say reasonably certain because I did have a lot of wine. Just kidding. I totally remember everything. Mostly. JUST KIDDING.

It’s hard to put into words (especially FUNNY words) the festivities of the weekend. Mainly because most of the fun came from laughing about stuff that if I wrote it here, you would sit there in dead silence, crickets chirping, not getting the joke at all.

Friday night was spent at the Hot Tub House, at their annual party. It was cool because their daughters Jacque and Nicole were there – we grew up together. In fact, Jacque and I started 1st grade together and have been friends ever since. So I guess you could say we have a history. Ian was with us as well, and so the four of us ended up drinking a lot more than we meant to. The original plan was for us to go out downtown with Jeff and his brother, however, when he called, Jeff was treated to Jacque and I giggling uncontrollably and not making a lot of sense. Shocking. But part of it was because for some reason Ian was outside with his shirt off, pressing his chest up against the window in front of us. The reason behind that is still unclear, but I’ll wager it had something to do with the copious amounts of Corona he’d been drinking. Bottom line is, we decided to stay home, since hey, the alcohol was free and also you can’t get a DUI in your kitchen. I think this was a good plan, since none of us lasted much longer than 11:00.
What I learned: “Bitch” is my new favorite term of endearment. We rarely called each other by our names all night.
What I heard: After hearing a really funny (to us) quote, I asked Ian “what was that quote just now?” And he said “Ummmm, I was going to say ‘coo coo ca choo’ but I know that’s totally not it.” I’m going to go out on a limb and agree.

Saturday was pretty mellow. Did some stuff around the house, did one last Christmas errand, and had dinner with my family. Then I went home and did a ton of baking – lemon cookies and a chocolate Kahlua cake and a green chile casserole. The last two things were for dinner at Sally and Joe’s the next night, and the cookies were part of the holiday baking extravaganza of ’05. I made them for my neighbors. Anyway. In the meantime, my brother came over and got his present – I guess I don’t have to tell you that he loved it. Awesome.

Sunday. I went to church and sang for the service. I had taken a Claritin the night before so I wouldn’t be stuffed up, which was great. The unfortunate side effect was that my mouth was SO DRY. I got through my first song ok – not my best, but whatever. It was fine. I was sitting up on the altar with the pastor and I had a bottle of water, but I knew I had to have some gum. My mom and dad were sitting off to the side, and so I got my mom’s attention and was like “I need gum.” She’s one of those moms who always has gum. She stealthed it up to me – vocal tragedy: averted. In fact, the second song I did went so well that there were people in the audience bawling (and no, smarties, not because I sucked. I swear). I got a lot of compliments, which was cool. It never ceases to amaze me that I’ve been going to the same church since I was born and I’ve sung about 8 million times, and people still say “I had no idea you had such a beautiful voice.” It makes me wonder whether I just suck every other time and they’re constantly surprised, or just don’t pay attention. Who knows. After church was presents at my parents’ (and yes, I DID get my coveted digital camera – YAY!!) and then lunch.

Early evening, I went to Sally and Joe’s for an evening of drinking and dinner and laughing. Jacque and Nicole were there again, as were their parents, Joe’s brother Chris, the next door neighbors (Anita and Ned), and Cass and Ian. We had an amazing dinner and everyone essentially ate themselves into a near coma. I say near coma, because the coma didn't kick in until, oh, an hour. Then almost everyone basically called it a night. I think it may have been around 9. Joe and Chris and Ian and Cass and I started watching “The Big Lebowski” and I think I probably saw the first 30 minutes before falling asleep. I’m certain I made it longer than the other four people on the couch. I woke up around 1:30 and went home. It was one of our more mellow Christmases, but I would like to point out that even though I fell asleep, I managed to live up to my resolution from last year -- “No passing out in ’05!” – since last year I was maintaining pretty well, sitting in a chair looking at a book, and then the next thing I remember is when I woke up on the couch at 5 the next morning, wishing I could just die. This year no one had to carry me anywhere and I didn't even feel remotely like dying. Everybody wins!
What I learned: Ginormous crab legs can be hazardous to you. I was having some difficulty getting the meat out of the leg, and those suckers have sharp pointy things on them that hurt my girly hands. Also, FYI, if someone is walking toward you with an armful of frozen legs, make sure you leave enough room to pass each other. Because those things hurt when the sword-like tips of the legs stab into your upper arm. I’m not going to lie – it hurt.
What I heard: Laughing. There was a lot of inappropriateness (which is the usual for us) and a lot of playing off each other in the way that people who have spent a lot of years together can do. And before I fell asleep, I also heard the lines that made me remember how much I LOVE “The Big Lebowski.”

Which brings me to today, most of which I spent on the couch. I actually did some cleaning up, but for the most part, couch. I plan on painting my bedroom this week and basically getting stuff done that I haven’t had a chance to do. I have great aspirations of getting a lot of stuff done, but those goals may be usurped by my penchant for naps. Mmmmmmm. Naps.

Friday, December 23, 2005

We wish you a Merry...

...whatever it is that you happen to celebrate.

Ok everyone. I am out of here until I come back. Not that that's vague or anything, right? I'm not actually leaving the general vicinity, but I've got places to be and people to see. Or something.

I would like to say something now that I never thought I'd say, being as I'm a total foodie and all, but OH MY GOD. I AM SO TIRED OF EATING. And I'm almost as tired of drinking. And I still have tonight's party and two Christmas Day events to go to. The thought alone is making me nauseous. Anyway.

I will return next week with pictures from the digital camera I REALLY HOPE I'm getting and many tales of Christmas fun and hilarity. Chances are good that there may be hijinks. I'll be spending Christmas first with my family, and then at (and I quote Sass) "a gathering of the closest friends - the ones that have become a branch of the family we never knew we needed till we realized they're also the ones we can't live without."

So with that, I wish all of you the VERY BEST of holidays...xoxoxo

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The one where I go shopping for my brother's Christmas gift

So I went shopping for my brother’s Christmas present today. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I was going to get him something, um, non-traditional this year, and so I headed off to a, uh, specialty smoker’s shop. I’m just going to warn you now that this post may contain a lot of italics and “ums” and “uhs.” Because although I do my share of, uh, partaking, I've never actually gone shopping for like, accessories. So it was new to me.

Kind of like one time in college, one of my friends got it into her head that she wanted to be a stripper. I’ve given some thought to it myself, but only so far as to say that if I WERE a stripper, my signature song would be “Cowboy” by Kid Rock. And I would definitely be wearing cowboy boots and probably a hat. So yeah, I THOUGHT about it, but I would never actually DO it. Anyway, she wanted to go check out the big upscale strip club here, and so we did. It was the middle of the day, and so the lunchtime pervs were there. You boys just couldn’t get through the day without a midday naked chick fix? So sad. And also ew. We watched the dancers for a while and then she talked to the manager, who told her to come back the next day to audition. So of course she wanted me to go with her. And because I’m a good friend, I did. I will tell you right now, there is nothing more awkward than sitting in a strip club watching one of your friends strip while trying to be encouraging and giving her the “Hey, you’re doing great!” thumbs up while also covering your eyes. She didn’t get the job, and I think I can pin it down to the moment when she was removing her dress and she got her four-inch stiletto caught in it and kind of stumbled. That was difficult because it’s also hard to be encouraging while trying not to totally crack up.

But I digress. This is about TODAY’S experience. So I eventually found the place, which took some doing, because I didn’t actually write down the address. Who's the smoker here? Anyway, it ended up being two blocks past where I thought it was. So I go in, and the guy who comes out to help me is not the crazy hippie I thought he would be, but a fraternity boy. I’m not sure why I thought he’d be a crazy hippie, because none of the pot smokers I know are crazy OR hippies. Oh and also? This is not a shop to buy paraphernalia for an illegal substance. This is a place where you buy handmade, blown glass tobacco products. Just to clarify. So I’m perusing the handmade glass items and I decide that I’m going to need something a little bigger than a pipe for my brother. Maybe a bong. That’s when I committed my tobacco shop faux pas by asking if he could show me some bongs. Fraternity Boy looks at me and says “We don’t sell bongs here. You should read the blue sign.” I turned around, and right behind me was a sign that said “Bongs are illegal. We do not sell or discuss them.” I almost laughed out loud. But I controlled myself and asked if he could show me something in a um, “blown glass water pipe.” And by golly, he totally could. In the meantime, some high school girls came in and then some wannabe little gangsta boys. And this couple who had clearly been in this sort of shop before. Maybe like just minutes before. Busy day -- apparently, I'm not the only one doing my Christmas shopping there. And everyone (except me) committed the awful sin of leaning on the glass cases (because let’s face it, if those cases broke, there would be an awful lot of lovely craftsmanship in pieces on the floor) even though there were signs all over that said “do not lean on case.” Fraternity Boy and I got along just fine once he realized that I was there to drop some cash and not to lean on the cases or trick him into a sting of some sort.

So I picked out a very cool, ah, water pipe for my brother and another one out for one of my other friends, as well as a cute little pipe for yet another one of my friends. I love one-stop Christmas shopping in which I don’t have to set foot in the mall.

And with that little excursion, I'm pretty sure I've achieved the title of "Best Sister EVER" in my brother's book. And if my mom ever finds out, probably "Most Dead Daughter EVER." But hey, what's life without some risks? BORING.

I think I'll go listen to some Kid Rock now...

Merry Christmas!!

*UPDATE* I apparently forgot to mention the "decoy present." I had planned on just giving him a card, since we usually don't do big presents for each other anyway. However, I thought my mom might get suspicious. So I decided to get him a cd, and I called to see if there was a specific cd he wanted. As it turns out, my awesome brother is getting me an iPod for Christmas -- well, he's TRYING to, but apparently they are sold out all across the land. So the NEW decoy present story is that I have some cds coming for him from eBay to replace some of the rare stuff he lost when the condo my family was vacationing in last spring burned down. That way it looks like I put some thought into it AND my mom doesn't understand the complexities of eBay enough to be suspicious. Muahahahahahahaaaaaa.

Monday, December 19, 2005

If you are a freak, you will fall in love with me

I’m not sure why, but I seem to have a gift for attracting the freakshows from my high school. You may remember him and him and who could forget him, and so with the addition of the guy I’m about to tell you about, well, we’re four for four.

Against my better judgment, I have a profile on myspace. I got it primarily because a bunch of my youth group kids are on there and also my brother and it’s easy to keep in touch that way. That’s the only reason. Anyway.

So I get an email last month from this guy whose screen name is “Brother D.” Also, even though it’s killing me, I am leaving the punctuation (OR LACK THEREOF) as he wrote it. Because he’s an idiot. Geez – would it kill you to use punctuation?

Nov 30, 2005
Subject: Call or write me any time just to chat
*his phone number was here*

I would love to talk to you sometime...just to make up for the distant past when I didn't try harder to talk to [hit on] you...or email me at your leisure at *his email was here*

ps this is what you get for posting your profile at Bear Creek!

have a swell day

So first of all, I was like “Who the hell is this?” and then I was like “Hit on me? Really? Is that the best you can do?” So I looked him up in one of my yearbooks, and vaguely remembered who he was. He hung out with some guys I knew – I actually went to prom with one of them – and also one of his friends on myspace is Karen’s brother, so I figured “eh, I’ll send him a response.” So I sent him something like “Nice to hear from you, what have you been up to” -- that kind of thing. I received this back (edited for length):

December 1, 2005
Subject: RE: Call or write me any time just to chat

Thanks for responding -- I confess I was totally nervous about opening this reply of yours...I am still a little shy, but I have better learned when to speak my mind. (Did I mention you look very pretty and very sweet in your pictures?)

please dont think anything bad about my emails, obviously im just trying to be cute. no scary pressure k? k! hope to chat more soon! D

I called Karen and told her about it, and she’s like “DO NOT talk to him. He’s the biggest loser and I can’t stand him.” She said more, but really, you get the gist. So I was like “good to know” and decided not to respond to the email. Oh, and when he mentions in there about “no scary pressure,” what he forgot to mention was that he was saving the scary for later.

Ok. So far, all of this is pretty lame and harmless. And then I get email number three, entitled “Church?” I linked it because it’s too damn long and also I didn’t want to offend anyone who might not want to read the preaching of Crazy Boy.

Even though I had already decided not to communicate with Crazy Boy, well, this email cemented it. I cannot tell you how irritated I was by it. The arrogance was staggering. I sent it to Beth, after telling her the story and she’s like “I thought you were exaggerating, but now I see that you are not – not even a little.” Yes. So I didn’t respond, and yet? Two days later, I get email number four:

Dec 5, 2005
Subject: Hi there
How is Amber. You dont write, you don't call...should I be worried? just kidding...msg me when you can!

Worried about what? Worried that I think you’re a complete nutcase? Worried that your overbearing presumptuous preaching made me gag? If that’s what you mean, then yes – you should be worried.

Dec 7, 2005
*his phone number was here*

Are you kidding me? I haven’t responded to the past three emails and so you think that if you tell me to CALL YOU, I’m going to? And also? FYI? The capital letters scream “desperation.”

Dec 13, 2005
RE: RE: Call or write me any time just to chat
you arent writing and you arent I am you already have a boyfriend?

WHAT? I think I might have laughed out loud at this one, for two reasons. One is because in his head, the only possible explanation for me not responding to him is because I have a boyfriend. It couldn’t be because he’s a big weirdo – no, no it has to be because I’m with someone already. And two? The arrogance shines through because he clearly thinks that if I didn’t have a boyfriend, I’d totally pick him. I love how he assumes that I would. LO-SER.

Dec 15, 2005
long time no hear
long time no hear...dont i even get any clues...?

I might have laughed out loud again. Because dude? I wish you WOULD get a clue.

I finally realized that this guy would be getting no clues. Clearly he doesn’t understand that when he sends me SEVEN emails and I only respond to the first one, maybe, JUST MAYBE I’m not interested in talking to him. Apparently the whole “not writing, not calling” bit I was doing wasn’t OBVIOUS enough. So I sent him an email telling him that I didn’t like the preachy email he sent me, because I felt that it was presumptuous, considering he doesn’t know me at all. I also said that I thought he was too pushy. I ended it by saying I would appreciate it if he didn’t contact me again. So of course, he responds with “I see you have a lot to learn…no worries.” Dude, I am so not worried. And speaking of having a lot to learn? You clearly need to brush up on your reading comprehension, since you seem to not understand the whole “don’t contact me again” concept. Just to be safe, I blocked him from contacting me. Freak. Show.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This is where the witty title would theoretically be...if I were actually witty today

I’m giving you another boring, completely wit-and-humor-free entry because I haven’t updated in a few days and I felt it was time. So fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a wild ride. Oh no it isn’t. Go ahead and leave your seatbelt off. That way at least one of us will be living on the EDGE. And that one is not me, just to clarify.

I think I’m getting a cold. Why this is bad: I have things to do every night this week. I don’t want to be sick for Christmas. I CAN’T be sick for Christmas, because I’m singing at church on Christmas morning. Why this is good: More time off work. Time off work is ALWAYS GOOD.

I watched “Love, Actually” this evening, and realized again how great that movie is. I was at Sally and Joe’s with Ian and Mandy, and Sally made homemade soup and bread (because it’s back to being the Arctic Circle here). Prior to the movie, we were watching hockey, I was laying on the couch under a down blanket, and I fell asleep. I woke up and I was all by myself and it was dark. I went upstairs and since I was sniffling, Sally made me drink this vitamin C stuff and then we had dinner. That, my friends, is how you know you’ve crossed over into the “family” category. No one has to entertain anyone else and I can fall asleep on the couch and not feel like I committed a social faux pas.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I have to chase down my live heating pad (or “my cat”, as he is also called) so that when I climb into my cold bed I won’t immediately freeze to death. No, that’s not an exaggeration. Ok, maybe a little. But just a tiny bit. HOWEVER, I am working on a little piece about another desperate loser from my high school. Apparently, if you were a male who went to my high school and graduated in 1993, you were doomed from the beginning to being either an ass or a loser or clueless or all three. More on that later. But not MUCH later, because although I’m back at work in the morning, even though I’ve been gone for a week, I can bet you money right now I’ll be all caught up about 20 minutes after I get there. Maybe less.

Wow. THAT was BORING. I apologize and sincerely hope you had your coffee before reading this...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ok, NOW you can be jealous of my fabulous life

I have nothing hilarious or witty to write about today -- so I'll apologize for that. However, the reason why I haven't posted and why I've been sporadically commenting is because, well, I haven't been in front of my computer 24/7 this week. Why? It's because of my fabulous life. Observe.

1. I have the week off from work. I go back next week and then I have the week between Christmas and New Year's off. Not going to work + getting paid for it=fabulous.

2. My aunt and uncle are here this week. They are hilarious. My family+my extended family=fabulous.

3. My aunt loves to decorate and to paint. And she's awesome at it. As you know, I'm currently working on the paint-a-thon of '05. See how well this works out? My aunt+me+"Warm Summer" paint+ "Sweet Spiceberry" paint+ 8 hours= a fabulously painted kitchen and accent wall. The bonus add to this would be the fact that my uncle hung up my new curtains and my aunt also re-covered two of my dining room chairs. My house looks, well, fabulous.

4. My mom turned 60 yesterday and so we went out to dinner to celebrate. Birthday+excellent restaurant+two glasses of wine+one EXTREMELY TASTY chocolate martini= Happy birthday, mama!

5. Friday night kicks off the "Amber Holiday Party Tour." For some reason, this year I have six parties to go to between the 16th and 23rd. This does not include the Christmas night celebration at Joe and Sally's, which I pretty much look forward to all year. And which I swear I am not going to pass out at this year. Last year's incident was a FLUKE -- apparently it's just not a great idea to mix lots of wine AND shots of Patron. Go figure -- lesson learned. Anyway six parties+ delicious holiday snacks + festive beverages-the time I'm going to have to spend at the gym=fabulous.

So that about covers it. My life is fabulous -- I'm lucky and blessed, no question about it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Don't be jealous of my fabulous life

So I was eating dinner on Friday night, and since I generally never eat at the actual table, I was sitting on the couch. I had come home, sat down, taken off my favorite boots, and started eating my dinner. I had a little plastic dish of barbeque sauce sitting on the table and I’m not sure how it happened, but I hit the dish and it flipped in the air, landing sauce down IN MY BOOT. I grabbed it and put it aside, hoping that it hadn’t landed on the OUTSIDE of the boot, which is light tan suede, and at the same time totally laughing because I couldn’t believe that it actually ended up inside my boot. So now my right foot probably smells vaguely of barbeque sauce. I don’t actually know, as I don’t spend a lot of time smelling my feet.

After the sauce debacle, I went to Karen and John’s so that we could go get our Christmas trees. I did NOT go back to the original tree lot -- instead I got the most awesome tree ever at a different place. Every time I walk in my living room, I'm hit with a very strong pine scent. VERY STRONG. The best part was that John delivered it to my house on Saturday morning, set it up in the stand, and offered to come and get it after Christmas. Karen, we have the best husband EVER. I then spent upwards of two hours decorating it. Between finding an extra strand of lights and replacing some burned out ones, watching "Miami Vice," and then getting all the ornaments exactly where I wanted them? Well, it took a while. But the tree looks awesome. As did Rico Tubbs.

Yesterday I went and saw Elton John’s “Aida.” I’ve seen it before – in New York 3 years ago – and I loved it. The production we saw yesterday was so good. It takes place in Egypt, and so there were a lot of half naked men dancing around. Men with smokin’ hot bodies, who can dance and also sing? Merry Christmas to ME! Even though the chances are excellent that every last one of them were gay. Sigh. Anyway, it was great. I find that whenever I go to shows like that, I miss performing SO MUCH. I always loved it. I would still love to do shows. Double sigh.

Then last night, I went to my friend Trish’s going away party. We had to dress up as a t.v. or movie character, so Jeff and I dressed up as Charlie Brown and Linus from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Jeff had on a yellow shirt with the trademark zig zag, a winter hat with ear flaps, and he carried around a scrawny Christmas tree. I had on a red shirt and toted around a blue blankie. Trish is all about wine, which worked out well, as I am ALSO all about wine. Therefore, I drank a lot.

So let’s recap: barbeque boot, awesome tree, half-naked hotties, and wine. That, my friends, is a weekend I can get on board with.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A banner day for amusing conversations...

Actual conversation with my brother yesterday…

Tim: Hey! You’re the sixth hot chick to call me today!
Amber: You’re so popular. I don’t know how you do it.
Tim: I know.
Amber: So what do you want for Christmas?
Tim: I don’t know, what do you want?
Amber: Well, I want a digital camera and an iPod. Neither of which I expect you to get me. I’m pretty sure mom and dad are getting me the camera. I might have to remind them.
Tim: I want money
Amber: Don’t we all
Tim: So the other day I was looking for an extra phone cord, and I knew we’d have one because dad has tons of crap like that, and I found a pile of cds that I think he got us for Christmas. And one of them? Was Cheech and Chong.
Amber: Well, clearly THAT one is for YOU
Tim: I KNOW! Which then makes me wonder “hey, exactly WHEN could I smoke pot with dad…?”
Amber: Well, a while ago when mom one time found a pipe and your stash in your room, she threw the pot away and I was like “What?! Mom! That’s expensive!” and she said “That’s exactly what your dad said – I swear, if I hadn’t made him stop smoking pot in our garage after you were born, he’d probably still be smoking today!” So I’m thinking maybe he’d do it.
Tim: I think it would be a great family bonding experience
Amber: Hey! Duh. I’ll get you POT for Christmas! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!
Tim: That would be cool.


So I’ve been trying to make plans with one of my friends from elementary school to go out for drinks. We were going to go last night, but I realized that my next set of aunts and uncles were coming to town on Saturday and I needed to get the tree put up in order to avoid my mom being like “where are all your decorations? Don’t you want our company to see them? Blaaaaahhh.” She wouldn't actually say the "blaaaaahhh" part, but you know how moms are. So I emailed him and told him I needed to get the tree put up – maybe next week would work better? So I get an email back saying “Blown off for a tree. That’s a first.” So I explained to him the logic behind needing to get the tree decorated and I’m like “Blown off for a tree. Ha. At least you know I'm being honest -- I couldn't MAKE that stuff up.” And I get the following email back from him – and I laughed out loud.

“See... I don't know about your excuse. It's lame alright... lame like a fox!

It's either so bad that it can't possibly be a lie OR you realized if you came up with a really bad excuse I couldn't possibly think you're making it up. And iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows. And Australia is entirely peopled with criminals. And criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me. So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you...”

In case you don’t know pretty much EVERY LINE of The Princess Bride (as I do) you wouldn’t get the iocane reference. But it made me think that our elementary school must have put something in the water or something because the wit? Of my friends from there? AWESOME.

And because I know he’s reading this – I think July of ’06 just…might…work…

Oh, and speaking of the tree? I went and picked it out, and then when I went back at 7:30 to pick it up (after the guy at the lot ASSURED me he'd be there until 8:30) I waited for 30 minutes and he never showed up. Apparently "be right back" (which was the sign on the fence) is totally subjective. I'm getting my tree tonight and I'm getting it at a reduced price. Says me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

So you say it’s your BLOGDAY!!!

Duhnuhnuhnuhnuhnuhnuh…it’s my blogday too! (You must do this in the style of Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles. MUST.)

That right, party people. Today my blog turns one year old. It was on this date 365 days ago that I stumbled in to the now and got a blog. All I wanted to do was make a cat-related comment over at Beth & Meri’s, and voila. Insta-blog.

I’ve never been good at keeping up a journal. I stopped writing in them altogether when, about 8 or 9 years ago, my brother looked for and found my journal from my freshman and sophomore years in college. Think back to those years, and if yours were ANYTHING like mine? Probably not little brother-appropriate material. I can guarantee you that mine were definitely not. Anyway. He read it, and left it out for my mom to read, but luckily she realized immediately that it was mine and stopped reading. When I found out, my dad managed to get to me right AFTER I pinned my brother to the floor but right BEFORE I punched him. It took a while, but I forgave him, although we did hit a slight bump in the road when I found out three years ago that at some point he had ALSO taken it and read it to his friends in the youth group. Oh. Dear. God. When I found that out, I went back and reread the journal and wanted to jump out a window. Suffice it to say, some of the kids know WAY TOO MUCH about me. Professional role model indeed. I’m a walking “what not to do” handbook.

Anyway, I figured the novelty of the online journal would wear off in time as often happens due to my short attention span. But as you can see, it has not. I am now fully addicted and I can’t stop. I talk about the blog to pretty much everyone. I am now almost incapable of having an experience where I’m not formulating an entry in my head as it happens. I dream about blogs and comments sections – for real – it happened last night. I refer to “my friend (insert name of fellow blogger here)” right before I tell a HI-LARIOUS story about something that happened to someone I’ve never met. I’ve become totally invested in the lives of the people whose blogs I read. There are bloggers I secretly loooooove, there are bloggers I wish were my best friends, there are bloggers I think are complete morons*. I formulate my opinions of strangers according to how well they write. I am pretty sure that none of these are foreign concepts to any of you.

What I'm trying to say is thanks for a great year. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for the advice and the sympathy and all of the other things you’ve offered. Thanks for allowing me into your lives and letting me add my two cents. Thanks for making me feel like I’m a good writer and (sometimes) validating my own opinion of how funny I think I am. I love you guys!! *tear*

Also? You may notice a new listing in the sidebar, called “File under ‘greatest hits’ or ‘biggest legend in my own mind’”, which is a selection of entries I liked the best from the year. Do with it what you will.

*Oh, and in case you’re wondering, none of you, my regular blog friends, fall under the complete moron category. Just to clarify.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Notes from the frozen tundra

I have issues with the weather.
I know I’ve said that it’s cold here in pretty much every comment I’ve made in the past few days. Because it is. And actually, I think Dr. Evil stated it best when he said “It’s frickin’ freezing in here, Mr. Bigglesworth.” Because it is. We’re in the negative numbers as far as temperatures (not even factoring in wind chill), plus it snowed. Yes, I realize that it’s Colorado and that it snows here. But when it snows, generally the next day it’s in the 40s and the snow melts and we’re done with crappy roads. This sub-zero temperature thing hardly ever happens and so that’s why I feel like I must complain at every possible turn. So there. Complaint: noted. You realize that I'm old, and therefore I am now required to talk about the weather at great length. Expect a manifesto detailing my physical ailments and the subsequent dealings with the insurance companies in the near future. Just kidding. You young whippersnappers have no sense of humor.

To be filed under the heading “dirty old men."
I would like to add to said list the name of one of the university presidents here. You see, we had a board meeting the other day, (which means I wore something other than jeans to work) and so I was dressed nicely and had on makeup and my hair was done. I was wearing a black turtleneck sweater, a black and white skirt, and black knee high boots. I introduced myself to the president, and he shook my hand, at which point, he took a totally obvious gander at my, um, chest. I was like “ew”, but that’s not the FIRST time that’s happened, so whatever. I walked him to the board room, at which point he shook my hand again, this time looking me up and down, eyes finally resting at my chest – AGAIN – at which point I usually would have ducked my head and been like “Uh, hi. My eyes? ARE UP HERE.” However, since he is much higher up on the food chain than I am, I restrained myself. Hey, if you’re hot and you’re checking me out, fine. But lecherous old dudes need not apply.

The last word -- in real life. Insert evil laugh here.
I was minding my own business at home last night when my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered it anyway. I should really learn not to do that. It was History Boy(who, as you might remember, apparently has a horrible allergy to phones). WTF? Here is what he said, with my imagined smart ass comments included:
“I know we haven’t talked in a long time and that’s my fault.” Really? You’re so smart. It’s no wonder you’re a lawyer.
“I don’t really have an excuse.” That is very true, because to dust off a phrase from high school ‘there’s no excuse for you.’ Ass.

Now, this went on for a couple of minutes – him nervously babbling and making jokes, me sitting there in total silence, secretly REALLY ENJOYING his discomfort. Finally he’s like “I’m going down in flames here, aren’t I.” And I said “Yep.” He then said “well, I wanted to call you before too much time had passed.” To which I replied “You’re a little late then – because too much time has passed.” I went on to tell him that I really had nothing to say to him. Which of course meant that I had plenty to say to him, it just wasn't altogether nice and I was going to thoroughly enjoy saying it. I said that the last time we talked I had told him that if we were going to have any sort of relationship at all, it would require, oh, I don’t know, us actually TALKING. He agreed wholeheartedly and that was the last time I heard from him. He then gave me the tired excuse of “well, I had a lot of things I was still dealing with – the divorce and the psycho girl I dated after” and I’m like “I know all that and would have been totally fine with us not talking or seeing each other if you had just let me know instead of just suddenly disappearing.” Of course, he agreed, but really, what could he have said. I then told him that I tolerate a lot in people, but rudeness is not one of those things. And that the way he behaved was rude. Again, nothing to rebut that. Because I was ON FIRE. So finally he’s like “I don’t mean to be obtuse here, but does this mean we’re not talking?” And I said “It pretty much does. For me to talk to you again would require a hell of a lot of effort on your part, so you just need to decide if that’s what you want to do. Because I already made my effort with you, so I’m done with that.” I’m certain I’ll never hear from him again, but boy did that feel good. It reminds me of that scene in “Friends” when Ross and Rachel are fighting and she tells him she doesn’t want to see him anymore and he pretends to cry for a second and then goes “FINE BY ME.” So yeah. Not talking to History Boy ever again? BoohoohooFINE BY ME.

Anyway, that's the news for now. I'm sure I'll think up some more equally fascinating material again real soon...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Letting go

I came here to let you know... The letting go... Has taken place...

Not Boyfriend is moving to Nevada at the end of this month. He has a job waiting for him out there that pays nearly double what he makes here and he can live with his parents while he’s there. He can pay off his divorce debt. He can save money so that he can finish school. He can be in a place where she isn’t – it’s not that she’s physically here, it’s just that when they got divorced, he went about doing everything he had before, only without her. Same job, same friends that they had had together, everything the same. So now he can escape that for a while. He can be on his own and figure out what he wants to do.
Isn't that what we wanted all along...Freedom like a stone... But I can say goodbye... Now that the passion's died... Still it comes so slow... The letting go...

And he can do it without me.

I don’t need to go anywhere to escape the ghosts of bad memories. I don’t need to go somewhere and figure out what I want to do, or who I am. I already know who I am. I like who I am. I have a degree, and I’m working on a second one. I own my own house. I know what I want out of life. I know what I want in a husband, and I know what I don’t want. What I don’t want is someone who is still “finding himself” because there’s always the risk of him finding himself somewhere where I’m not. And there's also the risk of him eventually finding himself a different person and me not liking what he finds. Lots of possibilities. None of them good.

You know, you always hear that women are more mature than men – that they’re years older according to maturity levels. That may or may not be true, but I feel like in this case, it is. Not about maturity, necessarily, but about where we are in our lives. He’s starting over, and that puts him way behind me – I’m up here, knowing what I want, while he’s back there, not having a clue about what he wants. It’s not a limbo I’m willing to live in any more. I can’t hang out in a holding pattern, hoping that he’ll eventually pick me. I can’t let the opportunity to be with someone I think is amazing pass me by because I’m waiting for Not Boyfriend to get his shit together. I can't, I won't, and you know what? I don't even want to anymore.
That's all I ever wanted to be... The closer that I got... The further I could see... But when lovers change... And the night feels strange... We choose our road... The letting go...

I don’t want to stand still. I've already done that. I was with a man for four years who I knew I was never going to marry -- and I knew it from day one. But I loved him so much. And we finally broke up because it was time for me to go forward and be with someone who I could have a future with. And so who is the first guy I really fall for? Not Boyfriend. Someone who I spent a year with while our relationship didn’t go forward. Do I regret those four years? Never. Not one minute. Do I regret the year of ups and downs with Not Boyfriend? Not at all. I learned plenty of good stuff from both experiences, and in both cases, I was loved.

I know Not Boyfriend loves me and he is still the guy who would kick the ass of anyone who hurt me. And I know he’ll miss me, because he told me he would. When he called me last month after he decided to take the job in Nevada, he said “You know I’m going to miss you. You’re the only one I can talk to and the only one who can make me laugh.” Which is sweet and yet? Not enough anymore. He went through another phase of not calling for a couple of weeks before he told me he was for sure moving to Nevada -- and in those couple of weeks, I decided that his time with me was up.
Piece by piece I take apart... This complicated heart... And I hope to find... Something I can prove is real... I can feel is truth... I can say is mine...

I’ll miss him too. But it’s time to let go. And you know what? I’m okay with it. I want to let him go and I'm ready to let him go. I’m not sad. I’m happy that I decided to do it after all this time and I’m happy that I feel like I can go forward and not worry about doing it for fear of moving too far away from where he is. I’m glad that he is doing something he wants to do and I hope that it works out. And I’ll hope that as I let him go.
I came here to let you know... The letting go... Has taken place...

*I didn't write the purple lyrics, in case you were wondering. It's from a song called, appropriately, "The Letting Go" by Melissa Etheridge. If you haven't listened to it, you should.

Monday, December 05, 2005

If you give an OCD mouse a cookie...

So there’s a book that I used to read to my brother when he was little – it was called “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” It was about how this little boy gave a mouse a cookie and then the mouse needed a glass of milk to go with it, and then it snowballs into pretty much an exhausting day long experience of activity that ends full circle with the mouse being hungry and asking for a cookie.

Stuff like this happens all the time, especially when I’m cleaning. I decided to clean my bathroom the other day, and got distracted by the drawer where I keep all my makeup. So I tidied that up and in the process had to put something in the bathroom closet, at which point I noticed that the closet was a disorganized mess. So I cleaned THAT out and after a couple of hours and a ton of stuff to get rid of, I finally got around to the actual cleaning of the bathroom.

Saturday, I wanted to start putting up my Christmas decorations and so I was looking at some of the places where I usually put them and I decide I need to dust and tidy up before I put anything new up. So I take down the 85 million picture frames on the shelves over the t.v., dust them and the shelves, put some of the frames back up and put some in another location, and hey! It’s time for lunch and so I’m making myself something but while I’m waiting for it to cook, I’ll just unload the dishwasher and clean these counters and oh yeah! I told Dan I’d give him the paint I used to paint the second bedroom so I need to get it out of the storage closet on the patio. Hmmm. I forgot that this pumpkin was out here – gross. I’ll just put it in a bag and scrub off where it was all mushy on the porch. Ok, done. You know, maybe I’ll rearrange this coffee table and see if I like it better this way – yes, yes I do. Where’s the Pledge? This table needs dusting. Hey! My lunch is ready. I’m just going to eat this and start burning Jeff’s cd. Oh wait – I need to load on a couple more songs that I want to put on it. I’ll just check out some blogs while I’m waiting. Hmmm, Becki hasn’t updated in a while – I should call her. Ok, now I’m going to make the cd cover – hey! “The Wedding Singer” is on! I love this movie. Man, I want a guy who would sing a song like “I Wanna Grow Old With You” to me. That is SO SWEET. Damn – is that really the time? I better take a shower and get ready to go to dinner.

The moral of the story is, if you give an OCD mouse a cookie -- or an idea that involves putting up decorations and therefore cleaning – well, it’ll turn into an all day activity that ends with the mouse still needing to put up the decorations. Sigh. I swear, this week I’m putting up ALL the decorations AND the tree. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m going to ONE tree lot this year (instead of last year’s 4) and I’m just going to pick out a tree. It’s not rocket science. It’s not life or death – IT’S A TREE. That’s the thought process, but whether I’m actually chill about it remains to be seen. Yeah – wish me luck.

I'll leave you with a picture of me and my boy Dane -- Merry Very Early Christmas!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Of Hard Drives and Pet Names

I’m a music downloading maniac – which is what I’ve been doing today. Remember I said a while back about how Dan and I got drunk one night and listened to music for hours? Well, we were laughing because he kept referring to his “external hard drive” and since we’re 12, we’re like “ha ha – you said external hard drive,” and it’s become a running joke. I keep asking him when he’s going to let me utilize this mythical “hard drive,” and finally the other night, he let me. Oh no, you pervs, it's an ACTUAL computer disk drive with about a jillion songs on it. So I made a folder with all my choices on it, and Dan let me take the drive home. So I’ve spent this morning loading 215 songs onto my laptop. Dan sent me an email the other day asking if the hard drive was “satisfying my needs,” and so Dan? Yes. Needs satisfied. Heh.

Part of the reason I was downloading music is that I’m making another mix. My friend Jeff turns 30 next week, and so tomorrow night we’re going out. Jeff and I have been friends since 7th grade – we met in math class, so at least I got one good thing out of 7th grade math. And since he was also a music guy, we spent a lot of time together in high school.

We were occasionally partners in our show choir and once we had to gaze into each other’s eyes romantically while someone else sang a solo. Of course we couldn’t just sit there quietly and so we started whispering things to each other like “you’re the scum on my soap dish” or “I love you like I love the little piece of wilted lettuce at the bottom of the fridge.” Needless to say, we got in trouble for laughing during a SERIOUS song. We still sign our emails to each other in that way. And I can’t actually remember the last time I called him “Jeff” when I talk to him. One time in high school (again) we were talking about how we had a hard time pronouncing our names when we were little – I called myself “Ambo” and he called himself “Beffrey Nonnooner.” His last name is rather difficult to pronounce for a little kid and actually nothing at all like Nonnooner. But ever since then, we’ve been Beffrey and Ambo.

I once got a letter from him in college on Valentine’s Day. It was doused in cologne and was the cheesiest love letter ever – supposedly written by Mitch, a guy I had a ginormous crush on. In the letter, “Mitch” was professing his undying love for me and it came complete with occasional
words smeared by “tears.” I laughed so much – it was a great Valentine’s gift.

Anyway, now that we’ve conquered our teens and 20s together, we move into our 30s. We’ve been friends for more than half our lives – and I imagine we’ll probably be celebrating many more birthdays together. So tomorrow night I’ll raise my glass to my boy Beffrey – Happy 30th Birthday my little moldy apple core!!

*The picture is us on Halloween -- you can't see his outfit, but he has a sport coat covered in playing cards and there's a dorsal fin on his back -- he's a Card Shark. And I'm well, STREET.*

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Inappropriate cards for every possible occasion

So Linda and I were having an instant message conversation the other day about greeting cards. She recently sent me a bunch of awesome “I’m sorry” cards (go here to see them) and I was telling her about how I sent one to my friend Chris in Croatia and he loved it. So we got to talking about if we made our own cards, what they would say. Behold the conversation of card-creating GENIUS…

Amber says:
We should work on some cards like that
Linda says:
Seriously. I need cards like that.
Linda says:
Most of mine would start, "You know what?" and then go from there.
Linda says:
You know what? (and on the inside) aren't Mr. Right. I just like the sex.
Amber says:
...Just because I call you doesn't mean I'm trying to figure out your china pattern preferences
Linda says:
…I'm just here for the vodka and the sex. -- that one would be popular.
Linda says:
...In this day and age of cell phones and email, your excuses are JUST NOT GOING TO FLY.
Amber says:
...Just because we had sex, it doesn't mean that I want anything more than sex
Amber says:
...Why are you such a monumental ASS?
Linda says:
...Just because we had sex, it doesn't mean that we should do that again. Ick.
Linda says:
...Is your real name ass, or is that just what I call you?
Amber says:
...Did you really think I wasn't going to find out about your girlfriend? It's a frickin' small world and you're clearly an idiot
Linda says:
For sure the one about the "I feel you make me ...whatever it was....that one you always used to say.
Amber says:
...I you make me feel like shit
Linda says:
...Check my blog. I mock you there.
Linda says:
(no not you ...that's another card)
Amber says:
...Everyone on my blog hates you -- I have proof
Amber says:
(again, not you -- a card)
Linda says:
HA HA HA!!!!!
Linda says:
Those would be awesome!
Linda says:
...Survey says: You're an ass
Amber says:
...I was drunk and you looked good. We're not together.
Linda says:
...P.S. who taught you to kiss? She was wrong.
Amber says:
Linda says:
Oh my god are you writing these down or printing them out or something?! We're not even drunk and we're so funny
Linda says:
...Your "routine" just isn't working for me.
Amber says:
...I've been patient. KISS ME ALREADY
Linda says:
...Either work on your foreplay or skip right over it.
Amber says:
...Either work on your foreplay or this is the last time you see me naked. Ever.
Linda says:
Ha ha
Linda says:
...On a scale of one to ten? Nevermind. I'm not that mean.
Amber says:
...Yes, I hate your ex wife too. Probably not for the same reasons, though.
Linda says:
Linda says:
...You've been hurt? Get over it. You'll have to eventually anyway.
Amber says:
...I especially hate her because now I have to deal with the repercussions
Amber says:
...Thanks bitch
Linda says:
...Hey ex-wife? He said I'm the best he's ever had.
Amber says:
...Yes. Size DOES matter.
Linda says:
...The other guy I'm dating doesn't know I have other options either.
Amber says:
...When I said I'd wait for you, I didn't mean I'd be waiting alone
Linda says:
...Drunk dialing IS a sign of affection. Get used to it
Linda says:
...STRIKE THREE. You know what that means.
Amber says:
...I don't hang out with you because you're good company
Amber says:
...I have things to do -- can we cut the small talk and just have sex?
Linda says:
...There's a reason I haven't told my friends about you.
Amber says:
Linda says:
...Enough with the chit-chat. Take your clothes off.
Amber says:
...I know, you like to talk about FEELINGS. Fine. I'm feeling pretty horny.
Linda says:
...It's a myth that girls always want to snuggle. You can leave now.
Amber says:
...Get off me. Yes, I know, I'm so funny. Seriously. Off.

And there you have it folks. Look for the Linda & Amber line of very useful greeting cards for pretty much any occasion, um, somewhere. Eventually. You know, once we actually make them. And feel free to leave suggestions for more. Genius loves company -- and so do we.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving a-go-go

I'm not sure why I titled it that way, I just thought it sounded good. Anyway.

So my aunt and uncle were in town from Illinois for Thanksgiving, which was totally fun. My mom comes from a family of seriously hilarious people, and in order to marry into the family, you also have to have a great sense of humor. And a big mouth, otherwise you’ll never get a word in edgewise. I can’t imagine where I get it from…anyway, my mom and her sister went to town in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. Turkey and ham and a brazillion (tm Alice) side dishes – for six of us. It was borderline ridiculous. Ridiculously YUM. Plus, my dad made pies, and he makes the best pies. I was so full after dinner, but my aunt had made this sweet potato dish with brown sugar and pecans and it was so good I just wanted to lay my face in it and take a little nap. Oh no I didn’t. Ok, yes I did. But I didn’t actually do it.

However, all the fun stuff came later. My aunt and uncle are in a band, and for as long as I can remember, we’ve always sang at family gatherings. So my uncle and my brother got out their guitars, and my aunt and I sang songs we’ve been singing since I was little, plus songs everyone knows. My uncle plays and my brother improvises with him, and my aunt sings and I improvise the harmonies – I’m just going to brag here and say we sounded pretty damn good. Then it turned into “hey, have you heard this song?” and we were getting out cds and playing different songs here and there, all sounding awesome on the surround sound in my parents’ living room. Somehow we got on the subject of one of my favorite renditions of “Proud Mary” – nobody does it like Ike and Tina Turner did it. So we put that on and I start doing my imitation of Tina Turner and the dance she does to “Proud Mary.” Then my mom and my aunt decide they’re going to be my back up dancers. We’re laughing and there’s a lot of hair tossing and strutting across the living room, and frankly, I don’t know how Tina Turner could do that show and still stay on key what with the throwing your arms in the air and the running across the stage in stillettos. That’s a lot of moving around when you're also trying to sing. My dad videotaped it, but luckily the song ended before my brother got his camera out – otherwise I would have been at the mercy of his blackmail pictures for the rest of my life.

Anyway, it was so much fun. I can’t really tell you all of the hilarity that ensued over the few days that they were here, because not only would you have to be there, but you’d have to understand my family’s humor, and it’s just not something I can explain. But man, did we ever laugh.

Saturday night was my night out with the girls – Karen, Kendra and Beth (look at my pretty friends!!). We went to dinner at our favorite restaurant (CafĂ© Jordano) and then went to Karen’s and hung out. As luck would have it (or not) I was the focus of all the teasing for the evening. Which is fine – I’ve been on the giving end plenty of times before and am confident that the time will come again. Muahahahahahahahahaaaaa. What? Luckily, Karen’s husband John came home and tried to divert attention from the girls’ single-minded quest to make me want to sink further into my chair, covered completely by a down blanket. The diversion was successful for about .05 seconds, and then the train got back on the track. And since I know they’re reading this – no, I’m not mad, yes, I know why you were doing it, and yes, of course I would totally do it for you. I can also say that no matter what, I always love nights like that, because I may have mentioned it before – I have the best friends in the entire world. Unfortunately, now it’s Monday and my four days of living in a work-free, fun-only zone are at an end. But I won’t focus on that, and instead be thankful for the pretty much constant fun of the past four days with my family and my friends. I’m so lucky.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I'm thankful

I’m thankful for my dad. He has been the kind of dad every kid should have. Someone to read to me every night before I went to sleep and someone who would play any game with me whenever I wanted. Someone who bounded up the stairs every night after work yelling “Daddy’s home!!” Someone who always pretended to be surprised when I would jump out of my traditional hiding place. Someone who built me beautiful things. Someone who would drive to 5 different 7-11s just to find the perfect Slurpee flavor. Someone who would sing songs to me in French. Someone who is generous with his time and his money. He’s such a hard worker. His family is his priority and always has been. Someone who overcame nature and nurture and became an incredible person. Someone who has a kind heart and a funny sense of humor. Someone who left me a message on my answering machine last week when I was feeling down, singing a song that we both like and telling me to keep my chin up. I’m thankful for 85 million other things about my dad. I’m thankful that because of him, I know what a good father and a good husband can be and should be.

I’m thankful for my mom. She’s the kind of mom that every kid should have. Someone who took me everywhere with her when I was little. Someone who encouraged me to do the things she saw that I was good at. Someone who still does that. Someone who was always home when I got home from school. Someone who, even after my blatant rejection of any sort of faith, never gave up and continued to hope for a change there. Someone who isn’t a hypocrite about church – she lives what she believes, whether it’s easy or not. Someone who is a hard worker and who is always willing to do things for others. Someone who loves her family more than anything. Someone who will go to my house while I’m at work and play with my cats and vacuum the living room and leave food that she knows I like in my fridge. Someone who makes me laugh and who always laughs when I tell her something funny. Someone who I talk to every day at least once, and who is the first person I think to call when something happens. I’m thankful for 85 million other things about my mom. I’m thankful that because of her, I know what kind of mother and wife I want to be.

I’m thankful for my parents. Because of them, I grew up with great examples of how to be a good person and how to be a great parent. And seeing them together after 32 years, I have a fantastic example of what I want my relationship with my husband to be like. They still love each other A LOT and most importantly, although they do their own individual things, they genuinely enjoy being together. I want that, and I am lucky to have seen that that truly exists so that I never settle for anything less.

I’m thankful for my brother. It took us a long time to finally get him, and so when we did, he was a treasured baby. I’m glad I got to see him grow up – and that I remember that. I’m thankful that though there’s a huge age difference and that we fought like crazy, we’re friends now. Someone who makes me laugh. Someone who is an amazing artist. Someone who is an amazing musician. Someone who sees the good in people that others may not bother to look for. Someone who is a good and caring friend. Someone who is willing to help others that he cares about. Someone who hugs me and tells me he loves me.

I’m thankful for those three as a whole. I love to spend time with my family (including my extended family). We laugh until we cry and have fun and fight and get annoyed with each other, but ultimately, we enjoy each other’s company.

I’m thankful for my friends. People who I’ve known for 24 years, 15 years, 2 years, 6 months. Doesn’t matter – my friends are the best. I’d be here forever if I listed what and who I’m thankful for. The bottom line is that I’m thankful that I have so many people who love me so much. Old friends, new friends, blog friends – I’m thankful for them all.

I’m thankful for my cats. Yes, my cats. Little fuzzballs who greet me at the door every time I come home and who want to constantly sit by me and lick my face and sleep with me at night. Who are always good for a hug when I’m sad, and who don’t mind if I get tears on their fur. Who will purr and purr because they love me, and always will, because they don’t know any different.

I live a blessed life. No question about it. I could pretty much write a book about the things I have that I’m thankful for. I know it, and I try every day to make sure that the people who make my life so great know how much I value and adore them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Things that are official...

…I am no longer one of the millions of people who find love on I actually never WAS one of those people, but now that I have officially cancelled my subscription, I’ll never BE one of those people. And I’m not sad about that. At all. Because while I didn’t find love, I did find lots of fodder for the blog, and clearly, that’s what’s important in this case. I finally got tired of the emails entitled “Your Matches.” Dudes, those are so NOT my matches. I can pretty much guarantee you that. And how could they be, since I hid my profile like two months ago? Anyway, my foray into dating websites has ended. Thank God.

…I’m accident prone and as a result, I broke my pinkie toe on my left foot. I was running (yes, running -- I don't know why) out of my room on Thursday night and caught my toe on the edge of my partially closed door. I fell, and proceeded to roll around on the floor in pain. I was talking to my neighbor downstairs the next day and asked if he heard a big thunk the previous evening and he said yes. He wasn’t concerned, because if he called me every time he heard a loud thud from upstairs, we’d be on the phone all the time. He did call me the day after I may or may not have fallen into the fireplace that one time because apparently that was pretty loud. Hypothetically.

…I can now call myself a true Coloradoan because I have joined the masses of people in this state who own Crocs. For those uneducated on the newest ugly footwear craze to sweep this state, for the low low price of $30, you too can own a pair of rubber clogs. Frankly, I’m surprised that I didn’t get kicked out of the state for not owning a pair before now. I kept hearing how comfy they were and I’ve worn Sally’s, so I know that that’s true. Only they’re ugly. However, I found a black pair – apparently they’re called “the Metro” – that I can live with and I bought them. Because in the past three days I realized that I can’t wear backless shoes because it hurts to flex my foot, and I can’t wear tie shoes because they smush my toes together and flip flops are ALWAYS an option in my world, except for when it’s 30 degrees out. Crocs it is. And dammit, they ARE comfortable. Stay tuned for when I buy a pair of these – and then commit me, because it’ll be a clear sign that I’ve lost my mind.

…I’m looking for a new job. I know, I know, I keep saying that, but this time it’s OFFICIAL official. Due to circumstances beyond my control, my job may be in jeopardy – AGAIN. And then again, it may not. Stupid job uncertainty. I think I’ll find out in early December after our board meeting. Whatever. I can’t do anything about it, so I might as well do what I can, which is send out resumes. And go shopping. What?

…My new bedspread looks so good and I got all new pillows. Because my mom freaked me out with her retelling of something she saw on Dateline about dust mites and how you need to replace your pillows every year because they’re probably filled with dust mites. Gaaaaaahhhhhhh!! I seriously could not buy new pillows fast enough. And, as soon as I get Sally’s final take on paint colors, let the painting commence. I hate painting with a passion, but my house WILL be painted before the end of the year. That’s all there is to it. Now I just have to find new art for my bedroom, since the flowers are moving out. I’m looking at Ansel Adams stuff, because I prefer photography and I like the black and white images – and it’s pretty (for lack of a better word) nature stuff without being flowers. Any suggestions are helpful – keep in mind that this is art I’ll have to look at every morning when I wake up because it’ll be on the wall facing my bed. No pressure though – just the burden of knowing that if I choose your suggestion for art, you will be solely responsible for my mood when I get up because the picture makes me happy or sad. Just a small disclaimer.

Ok. That’s all. I have a busy day today, between going out to lunch and going to the mall. I love the fact that I can forward the phones at the office to my cell phone. I have no clue why I haven’t found a new job yet – it’s obvious that I’m the best employee ever.

Monday, November 21, 2005

When you're just too lazy to write stuff

I’m kind of out of things to write about today. However, I give you these links to one of my favorite websites ever. I could probably come up with many more links, and maybe I will. we'll see how the week goes. Until then, here you go.

This pretty much sums up my feelings during my daily, long-ass commute.

This I just thought was funny as hell and probably a conversation I would have with myself.

And this one will make total sense to you if you know me BUT AT ALL.

Thank god I only have to work 3 days this week.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What I lost

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I was a nanny for seven years. I started when I was 20 and the boys were 1 and 3. Even after I stopped being their nanny, I had become a part of the family and I had gotten to be really close with their mom. They owned restaurants and clubs around Denver, all of which my friends and I could go to pretty much free of charge whenever we wanted. She was unbelievably generous with everything – time, money, whatever – you needed it and she could provide it? Done. She was there for me through two big boyfriend breakups, and countless dramas. When my roommate got evicted two months after we moved in, she immediately put me on their cell phone plan so that I wouldn’t be without a phone. Birthdays and Christmas were extravagant – I usually had as many presents as the kids did, and when I graduated from college, she gave me a pair of diamond earrings. We went to Napa Valley together on vacation. We went to kid events, we did family events – I was one of the family, through and through. I learned about cooking – she’s a chef, and I watched her cook a million times – I loved coming into the house in the winter because it smelled like her unbelievable homemade spaghetti sauce. Big dinners, small dinners, simple dinners, fancy dinners – you name it. Sundays meant Mexican food, Saturdays in the summer were barbecue. If she happened to be in the kitchen when I came into one of the restaurants, I didn’t even have to order – she made me what she knew I would love. Which, I’d like to say is no small feat, what with my myriad of food issues. Anyway. I learned how to properly set a table and I learned how to host a fabulous party.

I learned how to deal with an alcoholic. I can see drunk a mile away now, no matter how hard the person tries to hide it. I can smell it, I can see it, I can recognize someone hiding a problem. I learned how to overlook it, to gloss over it, to cover it. She used to call me when the boys were little so that I could come over and put them to bed because she was too drunk to do it. I've hauled her out of numerous neighborhood parties – literally hauled, as I dragged her down the street back to her house, after she'd pissed off her friends for the first time... after she'd pissed them off for the last time. I’ve driven her home from numerous occasions and stayed the night because she said she'd be home at 10 and didn't show up until 3. I’ve stayed up for hours trying to listen to and console her drunken ramblings, to keep her from calling anyone, to make sure that her husband was home before I left in case the boys needed something. I've endured ten and fifteen calls in an evening, and I've endured calls in the middle of the night, even when I had to go to work the next morning. Most of all, I've made countless excuses for her behavior. She is a very powerful and intimidating person, and in all the years I’ve known her, she is always the boss of everyone because no one dares to say otherwise. Including me. I knew she had a problem. But I didn’t know what to do – she lost so many friends because of her drinking behavior that I couldn’t leave her. She'd done so much for me. She needed me. The boys needed me. I did what I did because I loved her and I love those boys and I thought I was helping.

But a year ago came the last straw. My boss lives across the street from her, and mentioned to me how the older of the boys (he was 10) came over and asked to borrow a cooking ingredient. When my boss asked him why, he said “because mommy drank too much and can’t cook me dinner.” I lost it. See, in my head, I could tell myself that the boys didn’t know, and if the boys didn’t know, that was somehow ok. But for a ten year old to know what drinking too much is, much less that his MOM was drinking too much, much less that he had to make dinner for him and his little brother because of that? No way. I had let countless “incidents” slide over the 8 years that I knew her, but this? This was not something I was going to let slide.

That day after work, I drove straight to their house and walked in, looking for the 10 year old. I found him and told him I needed to talk to him outside. I asked him if what my boss said was true, and he said no, but I knew he was lying to me. I told him that I needed him to tell me the truth, because I was going to talk to mommy about her drinking. His little lip began to tremble and he finally told me that what my boss said was true. It was all I could do not to cry as I hugged him and told him that he was a good boy for telling me the truth.

Just then, she walked out of the house and asked what was going on. I sent him back in and told her that we needed to talk. I am a patient person. But when I do get mad – I get really mad. Especially if it has something to do with someone I love. I was furious – so furious and hurt and sick to my stomach that I was shaking and I wasn’t sure I could even talk. I told her I couldn't do it anymore. That her drinking was out of control and I couldn't deal with the calls every night and the drunken crying in the middle of the night. That most of all, I couldn't watch her destroy the lives of her boys.

She sent me an email the next day, apologizing for putting me in difficult situations, but that that drinking was her way of dealing with the fucking worthless son of a bitch that she’s married to (MY words, not hers – I have no use for that bastard). She said that the story my boss had told me must have just been a misunderstanding. I wrote back and told her that she didn’t need to apologize to me – that she didn’t do anything to me that I couldn’t forgive her for. I told her she needed to get help, and that I would do whatever it took for her to do that, because I loved her. I would take the boys, I would stay at the house – anything she needed, but she had to get help. That the people she needed to be apologizing to were those boys. But she refused to admit she has a problem. I haven’t seen or talked to her since.

This was by far the hardest decision I’ve ever made -- harder than any break up. And I constantly question and second guess myself, wondering if I did the right thing, or if I was just being selfish. I love those boys as if they were mine. I would throw myself in front of a car for them without a second thought. But this wasn't something I could protect them from -- and I felt totally helpless.

I miss them so much, especially the younger one. He was MY baby. He came to me for hugs and stories. When he was a little bitty one year old, he'd get up from his nap and want to dance. And we'd dance around the living room forEVER. When he learned how to talk, mine was the last name he said -- he called me "Ma ma ma", which got confusing, because that's also what he called his mom. I got all choked up the first time he got his blonde baby curls cut off, and when I looked at him one day and realized that his fat baby belly was disappearing. When I'd spend the night there, I’d put him to bed and without fail, he would come in and want to climb in bed with me. We talked about lots of stuff, and he went everywhere with me. He's 10 now. I miss him so much. I still see him when I'm in the neighborhood -- it's the place where I'm always housesitting and also since my boss lives across the street. My boy always runs to my car to give me a kiss and then he follows me around while I take care of the dog. He asks me why I don't come over anymore, and I tell him that it doesn't mean that I stopped loving him because I didn't and I never will. And from what I hear from everyone (but never him), his mom has gotten worse. It tears me up. I feel like I deserted them. I feel like I left them to a life...what kind of life? What did I leave them to? I feel like if I keep thinking about it, my heart might break. I feel like that every single day when I think about them and I feel awful.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I am the consummate corporate professional

Marlene: Can you write the names on these invitations for me?
Amber: Sure. *looks at list, sees name of guy they can't stand* Ugh. Are we using their titles?
Marlene: No.
Amber: Ok then. Is "fuckhead" one word or two?
Marlene: Maybe it's hyphenated.

Half Naked Thursday!!

Welcome to Half Naked Thursday. It's obvious from the picture that I'm in public, therefore, not actually naked -- half or otherwise -- because I'm just not that kind of girl. What's also obvious is that I'm dancing. I'm dancing at Karen and John's wedding last October, and as you can see, my girls standing behind me are not dancing. Which makes me think that perhaps I'm jamming out to "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." In case you didn't know, I love this song. Oh so very much. And therefore I was THRILLED when the DJ put it on at the reception. While my girls all like this song, no one was as ecstatic as I was about it, and clearly? I didn't care. You know why? Because by this point in the evening, I had had, *ahem*, a few vodka tonics and some champagne. If by "some" you mean "mine and everyone elses's at the head table." Mmmmmm. Champagne. Yaaaayyyy "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"!! Oh, and also, since that's Kendra standing there with her back to me (see how they are??), this is serving as her contribution to HNT. Happy HNT!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How to make me fall in love with you

With words. Write me letters and emails that are so unbelievably good that I can’t help but fall so hard for you. Tell me things about you that not many people know. I like secrets -- and I'm pretty good at keeping them. Tell me random things. Tell me your feelings – your feelings about me, your feelings about life. Really talk to me. Be descriptive – use big words in the correct context AND spelled correctly. Nerd, party of one – your table is ready…yeah, that’s me.

I have a cedar chest at home that holds all of my important tangible memories. I have a large box of every note that Beth wrote me when we were in 7th grade. I have a ton of notes from Becki and Kendra from when we were trying to stay awake in 11th grade English (a.k.a “the class where time stood still”). I have programs from when I played Chava in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 11th grade, with a note printed in the back from my parents (they bought ad space) wishing me a happy 17th birthday. I have my first teddy bear that my dad brought to the hospital when I was born. I have a box of love letters.

It seems like no one writes love letters anymore. In fact, hardly anyone even writes letters at all. But these letters are from the summer before my senior year of high school, the summer before my freshman year in college, and the summer before my sophomore year in college. It was the mid-90s – we weren’t big on email just yet.

They were from a boy named Justin. He was a tall, dark haired boy from Nebraska. He had a gorgeous tenor voice. He was a big jerk. When he moved to Lakewood and joined our show choir junior year of high school, I did not like him one bit. He was cocky and arrogant and it seemed that NOTHING could possibly measure up to his beloved Nebraska. He came from a small school where he was a big fish, to this big school where nobody knew him and most people didn’t even know he existed. But after his initial really bad impression on us, he slowly began infiltrating our tight knit group. He lived in a big house, and so eventually, every weekend there would be 10 or so of us at Justin’s, eating them out of house and home, listening to music until all hours, playing games, making out, staying the night. When spring came, the parties included the pool in his backyard and afternoons of sunning ourselves by said pool once school was out. Justin eased up and began to let us in – he realized that his Nebraska friends were good, but shocker! Somehow in all the resistance to us, we had become his best friends (and vice versa). And we realized that underneath the cocky exterior beat the heart of an incurable romantic with an enormous capacity for love.

I say we, but I guess I mean me. Justin and I got along for the most part, but when we clashed – we’d clear a room in no time flat, because everyone wanted to escape the inevitable fiery combustion. I kept a little bit of distance between us, because there was another girl in our group who was IN LOVE with him, and I didn’t want to step on that. He had no interest in her, but for some reason, I attracted him like a magnet. He asked me to prom about 40 times – I kept saying no. It bruised his inflated ego, because he’d never experienced that before – a girl? Turning him down? Impossible! And so we’d fight and make up and fight and make up and fight and then kiss. What? I can’t remember when it happened, but it did. Probably one of those late nights hanging out at his dad’s house, talking the deep talk that you so often do in high school. And when it happened, I think I told him that that was it – it was just a kiss and wouldn’t happen again because I didn’t want to hurt my friend. Which of course made me ever so much more attractive to him because now we were competing. I wasn’t going to give in, and he wasn’t going to give up – it was on now. He clearly underestimated me.

This is still all in the course of one year. We finally managed to come to an understanding and let down enough to create a friendship. And we did this just in time for him to leave for the summer. He spent every summer working on a ranch somewhere in Nebraska. And that’s when the letters began.

He told me he had a lot of time to think out there in the fields all day and that maybe he’d been too hard on me. That maybe the things that irritated him so much about me did so because they were the things that irritated him about himself. That we clashed so hard because we were so much alike. That maybe I made him so mad because he liked me so much. Once we got past the initial apologies, he would talk about the other stuff he thought about. His honesty was amazing – he told me things about what he was scared of and what he wanted from life and what the stars looked like when he was in his sleeping bag at night. I wrote him back, and I got a letter from him every week for three months. He went back to his school in Nebraska for his senior year, but he spent most of his time that year in Colorado. With his best friends.

I fell in love with that Justin. The Justin of the letters. And when he came back? He was that Justin with me. We never dated, but we loved each other THE MOST. We always joked about how we’d end up getting married one day. We eventually went our separate ways, but always stayed in touch.

I went to his wedding a few years ago. My mom made me go – I didn’t want to. It was so silly, but I didn’t want to see him marry someone else. I didn't think I could bear it. I sat in the church before the wedding, bawling. I saw Justin looking so handsome in his tuxedo, standing at the front of the church. His bride started walking down the aisle, and when I saw the look in his eyes as he looked at her, I stopped crying. I recognized that look and I knew that she was his world now -- and that's how it should be.

Things are different. Times have changed. But I will always have the box of letters to remind me that once? Someone great adored me and told me all about it. And with those words he made me fall in love with him. Simple, right?