Thursday, September 29, 2005

23 Reasons No One Likes Us When We're 23

...or "Why We Don't Have Boyfriends."

Six years later, some of it still applies, and some of it reflects how utterly witty we thought we were at the ripe old age of 23. Oh, who am I kidding -- we still think we're utterly witty!

Since then, Beth and Kris have each gotten married, while Kendra, Becki and I have all managed to sustain long term relationships -- 2, 3 and 4 years, respectively. And now, while we may not be 23 anymore, it could be a good idea to go back and reflect on the words of wisdom from our younger selves. It's like an illustration of "what not to do" this time around. Good times, people. Good times.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED that this is difficult to see. Therefore, if you click here, you can see it LARGE in PDF form over on my CastPost site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


This is just a side note regarding The Dating Horse. In answer to the questions of who did the art? I did.

I'm not sure how it started, but back in high school, I started doing stick drawings to amuse the A-List. I think it stemmed from the time spent in AP English (aka "the class where time stood still") where we would while away the hour by writing notes to each other, When that didn't take up enough time, we started writing with our left hands. And yet, still the class went on. So I think I started illustrating the notes.

Then one day, Becki and I were doing "homework" in the park by my house and we came up with a list called "25 fun ways to procrastinate." And because we were procrastinating, well, I illustrated it. We later added another 20 fun ways -- which I illustrated.

Since then, we've come up with brilliant lists such as "25 Fun Games To Play If You're A Snob;" "17 Reasons Not to Date Anyone Under 17;" "23 Reasons No One Likes Us When We're 23 (OR Why We Don't Have Boyfriends);" "It's All Greek To Me -- 25 Reasons Not To Date A Fraternity Guy" and others. I've drawn a comic featuring a recurring character -- Captain STD (as in 'sexually transmitted disease') -- who happened to be my ex-boyfriend. He had a rep as kind of a slut, which I chose to overlook until he dumped me -- twice -- for not sleeping with him. He was a gem. He had an occasional sidekick -- who we referred to as "The Big Hashbrownie" -- an ex of Kendra's who aspired to be equally as slimy.

So, since the drawings amuse me and they seem to amuse you, I'll do some more. Send me some ideas and I'll try to do them justice. Or I'll totally ignore you and draw what I feel like. Either one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Best Questions Ever

From Miladysa...

If you could perform a duet with anyone of your choice (past or present) who would you choose, what would you sing and where would you stage your performance?
That’s a really tough one. But I think I would choose to sing with Lea Salonga (the original Kim in Miss Saigon) in either a London or New York production of Miss Saigon. If you don’t know the story, it’s about a soldier (Chris) in Vietnam who falls in love with a prostitute (with a heart of gold) there and they get married. They are separated during the fall of Saigon and he thinks she is dead. Years later, after Chris has found a new wife, he finds out that Kim is not dead, and that she lives with their son in Bangkok. He and his wife, Ellen, go there, the two women (who don’t know about each other) meet accidentally and Kim realizes that Chris will never take his son to America where he could have a better life when Kim is still in the picture, so she kills herself. Anyway. The song we would sing is “I Still Believe” – it’s a duet between Kim and Ellen about how each believes that Chris will return to her (Kim) or share his tormented secrets (Ellen). It’s awesome.

Which bird would best describe you?
I would say I’m a parakeet. I can sing and talk non-stop and plus I would hop around and be really cute all the time.

Should drugs be legalised?
In general, no, but I would amend that statement for marijuana.

How do you picture your life 10 years from now?
Hopefully I will be a mom. In a perfect world, I would be staying home with my kids, but you never know. And I really hope that my parents are still around so that my kids will know how great their grandparents are. Oh, and I hope I’ll be married. Not to be all June Cleaver, but I’ve never been really interested in a career other than being a mom, so if the above happens, well, then I’ll have my perfect career as well.

If you were asked to re-write the dating bible ‘The Rules’ what would be your first six rules?
My Rules are for MEN to follow.

1. CALL. You would be surprised at how fragile women AREN’T. We would love to know that you don’t want to date us anymore, instead of tormenting ourselves, wondering if you might call today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. I think that nine times out of ten, the reason girls turn all psycho is because guys are weenies and don’t call to end a relationship, they just don’t call. That’s much worse. So yeah. CALL.

2. Don’t have the “where are we talk” after two weeks. Especially when it’s abundantly clear that YOU don’t know where we are. Here’s what will happen – instead of helping you make a decision (which is what you’re trying to do, right?) you’ll do one of two things. 1) You’ll scare the girl away by looking desperate and needy, or 2) You’ll get the poor girl’s hopes up that you want to be her boyfriend, and then you’ll crush her by breaking Rule 1 when you decide you want to bail.

3. Leave your baggage at the door. Preferably, a door MILES away from my door. Don’t rush into thinking that you’re ready to move on and then have a pathetic breakdown, which leads you to the land of indecision about whether or not you want to be in the relationship at all. Which leads you to break Rule 2, which leads you to break Rule 1. See how this is like There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly?

4. If you have a serious girlfriend, don’t practice your flirting with just any girl in order to boost your delicate ego. Because some girls will take that seriously and think you want a relationship. Some girls will play along, just for the fun of it, but unless you’re REALLY PERCEPTIVE about who those girls are, well, the risk is bigger than the reward. Fatal Attraction is not just a little story made up by clever writers. If it was, then Lifetime would never have so many movies featuring scorned women. Naughty by Nature said it best – “You down with OPP?” Because if she isn’t, well, look for your story to be the next movie of the week. Because yes, girls can be psychos.

5. Don’t jump to conclusions about the status of your relationship. This may come as a shock to you, but just because you sleep with a girl doesn’t automatically mean that she’s planning your wedding. It could just mean that you slept together. If she calls you, it doesn’t mean that she’s trying to figure out your china pattern preferences, it just means she’s a phone talker. This is a difficult concept, but an important one. It is a tricky situation, because some women DO feel that way. However, as foreign as this may be to you, you should probably hold off on sleeping with a girl until you are sure about whether you want to hang around for a while. Just to avoid causing the really emotional ones to have a psychotic break. That’s never good.

6. Don’t be an ass. I know, it might be difficult, because often, it goes against your very nature. But being an ass is not to your advantage. You may have heard that girls like bad boys, or that nice guys finish last. Maybe. But the KIND of girls who like bad boys are not the kind of girls you want to be with anyway. And once those girls grow up, they will realize that the behavior that they once thought was “edgy” has now turned into behavior better described as “childish” or “annoying.” Also, if you’re a generally nice guy, but feel as if you need to play games so that she’ll want you more, well, that’s going to backfire. She’ll get sick of your shit and kick you to the curb before you can show your true, non-ass self. Be genuine. That’s all.

Friday, September 23, 2005

You can lead a horse to water...

I may have mentioned the conversation my girls and I had a couple of years ago regarding what can only be referred to as “The Dating Horse.” I don’t remember the exact conversation – so girls, set me straight – but the gist was that they were trying to get me to move on from my boyfriend. To “get back on the horse,” if you will.

In true A-List style, we couldn’t just leave it at that. There were references to “beating a dead horse” and other increasingly inappropriate horse and/or riding references, and when the conversation ended, I was standing up, shaking my fist in the air at the imaginary dating horse and yelling “F*** you, horse!” Because frankly, I did not want to get back on at that particular time. Again, one of those moments that you really just had to be there. And at the same time, a moment when maybe you wouldn’t want to be there.

At any rate, it’s been a recurring joke/theme ever since. Anyway, in honor of the recent, ahem, adventures that we’ve had in the dating realm, I thought it would be appropriate to do a stick drawing of what I feel depicts each of our experiences. Therefore, I present to you “The Dating Horse.”

So yeah. Wish us luck.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

...And then, hijinks most definitely ensued

So this past weekend was fun. After a really long week preparing for this big (boring) work event, I let all the stress go by drinking wine at Sally and Joe’s on Friday night. You know, enough wine to make you have a big fat headache the next day because you were drinking it as if it was the last day you’d ever drink wine. Ever. Luckily, it’s maybe 50 yards between the houses, and I managed to get home and into the house without stepping on one of the one meeellion apples in the yard and fatally twisting my ankle. Yes, I realize it’s probably nigh unto impossible to fatally twist one’s ankle, but this isn’t called dramatic sarcasm for nothing.

The good news was that I managed to pull myself together in time for the second night of drinking at Sally and Joe’s. The bad news is that I managed to pull myself together in time for the second night of drinking at Sally and Joe’s.

You see, their nephew Ian had come down to visit from Breckenridge, and so we were celebrating the fact that he had gotten here. Or something. We’re not hung up on finding reasons to drink, obviously. Ian and I have been friends for like nine years, ever since we both worked for Joe back in college. We hit it off from the very beginning, and have stayed friends through girlfriends, boyfriends, hookups with each other and hookups with other people. It’s just a cool relationship where things don’t get “wheird.” So it was awesome to see him because he just got back from a year in Japan in June, and I’ve only seen him once since. My friend Mandy came over too (she’s Sally’s daughter) and so the four of us were having quite the time.

Joe was fishing, and made the mistake of calling us around 9. This was after about four hours of the “open bar,” consisting of beer, wine, and tequila and a recently finished (sooooooo yummy) dinner where we could barely eat because we were laughing so hard. Therefore, Joe was the recipient of a lot of babbling accompanied by hysterical bursts of laughter and fragmented sentences which would inevitably turn into more hysterical laughing. It was definitely one of those “you had to be there” situations. When he came home on Monday, he still wasn’t sure what exactly we had been talking about.

So right around 9:30, everyone had kind of hit the wall. Yeah, don’t be jealous of our longevity in the drinking department. We shoot for quality AND quantity in a short period of time. So Mandy left, Sally went to bed, and Ian and I wandered to the Hot Tub House, intending to get in the hot tub. However, we got sucked in by Chappelle’s Show and also by laying down to watch said show. There was no hot tub.

I had to get up early to go to church (I have to show up EVERY week since I WORK there now), but luckily I had ever so wisely planned ahead by tempering my copious wine drinking with copious water drinking. And by not drinking the tequila. I’m a thinker! When I got home later, I went up to Sally’s, where I walked into the front yard, and Ian hugged me. His grandpa (Joe’s dad) lives across the street, and Grandpa yells “I should have known the chicks would start showing up!” And I yelled “Oh, so now I’m a ‘chick’?”And Grandpa says “A KNOCKOUT chick! I may be old, but I’m not stupid!” Oh that Grandpa – he’s a hoot. (
Something you may have noticed by now is that I know pretty much every member of Sally and Joe's family -- I'm around there A LOT).

So yeah. That was the weekend. I have sort of toned down the extent of the hijinks for purposes of time and the "you had to be there" syndrome. Luckily, this weekend promises to have less drinking, even less hijinks, and more sleeping. Which is good and bad, I guess.

But you know what comes before the weekend? CSI!! Yay! I'm excited to an almost unreasonable degree about this! Can you tell?! Because of the exclamation points?! I love this show. It's because of the science. It's because of the writing. It's because of the investigatory techniques. You have to click on the links to know what I'm talking about. ALL THE REASONS TO LOVE CSI...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

He's Born to Radiate

We got to the funeral home and it was packed. I heard later that upwards of 300 people had come through the receiving line. I walked into the room, sobbing, and straight into the arms of my grandma. My cousin Sarah said “are you ok?” And my grandma said “Of course she’s not ok” and she hugged me for a long time. Besides the fact that the place was full of people, there were so many flower arrangements, interspersed with tons of boards full of pictures of Vannie’s life, and there was his art. He was an unbelievable artist – my uncle is good, my brother is good, Vannie was good. I know I walked around for a while, looking at everything, and then I went back in the room. I went to my uncle, Van, and he put his arm around me and said “Stand here with me a while and hold me up.” The way my dad felt about Vannie was how Van felt about me. I was the first baby on my dad’s side, and Van was just a teenager when I was born, and so he loved to hang out and play with me and be an uncle. We stood there for a while, saying hello and hugging people who came through the line. Kids from Vannie’s high school, people he’d worked with, people who had met him once. I always knew how sweet he was and how genuine and easy to love he was, but every single one of those people confirmed it – he touched them even if they had only met him briefly.

The one that tore me up was a paramedic who came through, a guy, just sobbing. See, the night he died, Vannie had an asthma attack. He hadn’t had one in a really long time, and so there was no medication in the house. He went into his parents’ room, and they called 911. They live out in the country a bit, and it was dark, and the paramedics got lost on the way to his house. He died in his dad’s arms before the paramedics could even get there. This guy was one of them, and he was just so sad. He kept saying “I’m so sorry, I’m sorry.” My uncle hugged him and said something nice to him, and the line moved on.

I don’t know how long we were there. But when it was finally empty, the rest of the family was kind of milling around, and I was alone in the room with his body. When I had first come in, I had laid my hand on his chest, and it freaked me out, because it crackled from the tissue paper under his shirt. I remembered years before, when my grandpa died, my mom touching his face and kissing him, and how I thought that was so weird. But standing next to Vannie’s casket, looking at his beautiful face, I couldn’t not touch him. I touched the side of his face and I touched his chest again, and then I kissed him on the forehead. It was cold – a kind of cold that I had never felt before, but it wasn’t scary or gross. And then I just stood there some more until we had to go.

I don’t know what we did the rest of the time we were there. I don’t know how long we stayed. I don’t remember coming back home. I don’t remember talking about it or going on. And yet, here I am.

I remember looking at an incredible self-portrait Vannie had drawn, and asking my uncle for a copy. He took it off the stand and said “it’s yours.” I remember freaking out when my mom washed the jacket I had taken out of his closet, because she took his smell away – even though it had been a long time and didn’t smell like him anymore anyway.

I remember him playing the drums – he kicked some ass on that set. I remember him acting silly, doing impersonations of people and trying to make me laugh. I remember how fun it was when our families got together because we laughed a lot and were loud and there was just love there. I remember that no matter how long it had been since we’d last seen each other, it was like no time had passed. I remember him holding my hand while my uncle gave me my first tattoo. I remember staying up all night with my aunt, because my uncle worked the night shift and she waited to go to bed until he came home in the morning, and Vannie coming home from being out with his friends. He laid his head on my lap and I scratched his head, because he liked that. And the three of us sat there and talked until my uncle came home.

I remember his smile and his eyes and how he never went through a mean or selfish stage as a teenager. I remember how he would always be so sad when I left, and how he always told me that he loved me.

He has been dead for six years, today. He would have been 25 in August. I haven’t been back to Illinois since he died. I’m afraid to go, kind of, because my whole family isn’t there anymore. And I keep hoping that every year that passes will make the emotions less. But it takes time a lot longer to heal some wounds than it does others, I guess. I get surprised at the things that make me cry now – looking at pictures that I’ve seen a million times, hearing a song, talking about him. Sometimes they don’t affect me, but other times I’m undone. And yet, I kind of hope that I never stop feeling sad for losing him, because that’s my right and I want to hold onto him.

I’ve said before that the song “Shimmer” reminds me of him.
He's born to shimmer
He's born to shine
He's born to radiate
He's born to live
He's born to love…

And he was.

He's born to Shine

Here is Vannie's senior picture. It sits in the edge of a frame that holds the card Sally gave me with the verse on it that I love. All his poses have him with at least one piece of his beloved drum set. The picture doesn't do him justice, but he always had this mischievious set to his mouth, like he was trying to hide a smile over something he did that he wasn't supposed to. Or that he was just trying not to smile, but could barely contain it.

Check out the flower girl and ring bearer at our Aunt Felicia's wedding. How cute is he? And yes, my hair is feathered and I'm wearing shiny turquoise taffeta or something. It was 1985. He's five and I'm nine.

Here we are on the front steps of my house. My grandparents brought him out to visit and we did all kinds of fun stuff. Like sitting on the steps while my mom took one of her signature photos where she barely gets us into the shot.Good work, mom. I think we're six and two here.

This picture isn't very clear, but I love it because he's such the man in his little cowboy boots. He's two or three here.

He's Born to Shimmer

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.
Mary Frye (1932)

That was the verse on a card I got from Sally right after my world got turned upside down.

There are some things I remember vividly, some I remember pieces of, and some I can’t remember at all.

It was a fall day like any other, and I was in my office at The Metropolitan, my college newspaper where I was one of the editors. I called my mom to tell her that I was on my way home, and to see how my dad was feeling. He was supposed to leave on a business trip that morning, but had gotten sick, and so he didn’t go. My dad NEVER gets sick, and he was supposed to go to the doctor, and I wondered what he had said. I asked “How’s dad?” and my mom said “Not good. You need to come home because we need to tell you something.” She’s never been good at things like that. My first thought, naturally, was that something was seriously wrong with my dad, and so I immediately started crying and telling her that she had to tell me right now whatever they wanted to tell me. She wasn’t going to, but then she said “Felicia (my aunt) called this afternoon. Vannie died this morning.”

I don’t know what happened next. I remember being alone, and then all of the sudden all of my friends from the newsroom were in the office and I was sobbing – I don’t know where the phone went. Somehow I calmed down enough to drive home – or maybe I didn’t, but the next thing I remember is walking in the front door of my house. It felt weird. Usually my house is quiet, and the t.v. is never on during the day. But it was, and my mom was sitting on the couch just doing nothing – waiting for me to come home, I guess. My mom never just sits and does nothing. I think she hugged me, and she said “Go see your dad – he’s in the computer room,” and so I turned and went towards the hallway. Right then, my dad came out of the room and when he saw me, he started sobbing. Which undid me even more, because my dad rarely cries, and never like that. He hugged me and held onto me for a long time while we both cried.

Both my parents come from big families, and I have lots of cousins, especially on my mom’s side. But Vannie was my dad’s first nephew from one of his brothers and sisters, and my dad had always spoiled him, especially when he was little, because my brother wasn’t born yet and my dad could buy Vannie cool little boy things. I remember the joy my dad got from playing with Vannie when we’d visit Illinois, or when my grandparents would bring him here. So he was heartbroken.

I don’t know what happened next. I think I went to Kendra’s at some point – just showed up there, bawling. I don’t know if I went to school the next day, and I don’t remember how many days passed before we left to go to Illinois for the funeral. We rode the train, and I remember lying on the bed in our sleeper car listening to, of all things, Kid Rock’s Devil Without a Cause at top volume on my headphones. When we got to the train station in Illinois, we were so late, the visitation was starting like right then, we still had a ways to drive and no one was showered or dressed.

I remember my mom and I standing outside the station, waiting for my dad and brother to bring the car, and the waves of nausea washing over me. I sat down on my bag, looked up at my mom and said “I can’t do this. I can’t go to this. I can’t.” She looked down at me and said “You have to go. You’ll regret it if you don’t. You can do it. Just remember – you can get through this – you’ll never get over it, but you can get through it.” I am so thankful to her for that. My mom is not usually the one to go to for sympathy, but in this case, she knew exactly what the score was. When she was young, she lost a nineteen-year-old too – but it was her husband, killed in a motorcycle accident nine months after they were married. She knows too much about sudden death, what it is to have someone taken from you so unexpectedly. And she knew what I was feeling.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Hey! I'm singing for you!

I was going to make this post “A Brief History of Amber’s Musical Journey,” but since nothing I do is ever brief, and also, I got bored writing it, I figured you’d get bored reading it. I’ll give you the highlights:
Colorado Children’s Chorale – hoity-toity prestiiiiigious choir that performs with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and travels around the world performing. I’m pretty sure I was the only kid from a *gasp* PUBLIC SCHOOL in the whole bunch. Maybe not, but the other public school kids were from the fancy rich public schools. Anyway, I did that for two years until I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I was in first grade.
Sounds of B.C. – the top choir at our high school. It was SHOW CHOIR! Woohoo! Fancy dresses! Bazillions of performances! Choreography! I actually hated that last one, because while I can dance, I’m horrible at choreography of any sort. Anyway. I loved it because it was exactly what I wanted to be doing and I had the greatest friends there, and therefore, I have the best memories of that portion of high school.
Fiddler on the Roof – Junior year of high school, I played “Chava.” She’s the youngest daughter that runs away. We had great costumes and it was a fantastic production, only no amount of makeup could cover up the fact that I had spent spring break in Mexico. Therefore, I was about 5 shades darker than the rest of my family – and the entire town.
All-State Choir – one of the biggest honors ever, at least in my mind. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but basically, All-State is the best 300 (I think) singers in the state of Colorado. You have to be in 11th or 12th grade to audition, and as you can probably understand, it’s VERY competitive. I was lucky and made it both years, and it was so cool.
College Vocal Major: I was a voice major for two years in college. I loved it, because I got to sing all the time, but I hated it, because I was sick a lot. It’s stressful trying to avoid all potential voice-affecting situations! As a voice major, we had to take private lessons (my teacher was a total diva who seriously looked like Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid – she was nice though and did NOT try to steal my voice) and we had to learn like nine (usually opera) songs per semester (only one could be in English) and we had to perform a certain amount of times. I loved the history and literature part of the curriculum, and was a miserable failure at theory. I quit after two years because I sucked so bad at theory, and also because I had no interest in performing professionally if I was going to have to deal with the backstabbing divas all the time. DRA-MA.

And here we are in the present, and at the point of this blog. Last October, I did a vocal performance at church with a quartet to benefit the youth group and our community outreach funds. One of the songs I did was “The Prayer,” which has most notably been done by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, and also Josh Groban and Charlotte Church. If you click here (and follow the instructions on the site), you can hear it done by my friend David and I. At least I hope you can, because I’m new to this. Hope you like it!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Last Word 2000-present

Here is installment two of the posts where I get the last word. Because I like to.

Matt – I’m sorry that our relationship moved so fast that I’m pretty sure we broke the sound barrier. That big “boom” you heard was either our relationship ending, or the sonic boom. Yikes. Then remember how we got back together? And THEN remember when you left for your internship in Wyoming and insisted that your best friend T and I hang out, and so we did? And how he and I got on swimmingly – so much so that we spent most days either talking or hanging out and then one time? He kissed me? Remember? Yeah. Luckily you and I had broken up (again) by then, but still. AWKWARD. I should have known better – even though you were so tall and blonde and gorgeous, you’re a Capricorn.

Sean – I’m not sure, in your case, how many different ways I can impart to you how big of an ass you are. Maybe not ways – languages. U bent een ezel. Dutch for “you’re an ass.” Vous êtes un âne – French, this time. And finally, Sie sind ein Esel – German. Wasn’t that multicultural of me? Anyway, not only are you an ass, you’re a really stupid one at that. Have you learned NOTHING about the smallness of the world, especially the Bear Creek world? Did you really think that I wouldn’t find out about your “casual” girlfriend of FIVE YEARS? And what made you think that you could have two girlfriends? Especially because you are decidedly not hot. Though I will say that I was told that even after hearing the whole story (including direct quotes) about your cheating, your girlfriend is still with you, which I find ludicrous. So she’s clearly stupid and obviously you’re stupid, so it turns out that you’re perfect for each other! Just please don’t procreate.

Shawn – for you I reserved my favorite term of non-endearment: Ass. Assity ass ass ass. It would be redundant to go into the whole debacle, so I won’t. I will, however, wish a hearty “good luck” to you in finding someone who will put up with your lame excuses and large U-Haul truck full of baggage. I mean, I have baggage of my own (don’t we all) but for one, all of MY baggage is really cute and it matches (tm awesome greeting card), and for two, I don’t constantly trip over said baggage, thereby allowing it to cripple me emotionally. So yeah. Good luck (I say as I snicker snidely).

So that’s the end of installment two. Same disclaimer applies. Happy weekend!

The Last Word, 1995-2000

I think it's human nature to want to have the last word. Times when, at the time, the words that came out of your mouth were more like "Oh yeah? I know you are, you big jerk" instead of the intelligent and sometimes witty rejoinder you come up with much later.

This especially happens with the end of a relationship. Most of the time, no one gets to say what they really want to. And even if you do, there's stuff you think of later that you WISH you could say.

So this is what I wish I could have said.

Brian – I’m sorry that I ended up liking your fraternity brother enough to make me realize that we shouldn’t get married. There were other things, but that was essentially the clincher. We WERE only 20, and I think I can say with certainty that we would be divorced right now. But it’s cool, right? You and I actually bucked the norm and stayed friends (except for that one awkward as hell hookup when we were 23), you and your fraternity brother stayed friends (“Bros before Hos,” am I right?) and you’re married now to the girl you dated before me. And I have a scrapbook FULL of pictures of us at various theme parties thrown by the fraternity. Fun times. I mean, who doesn’t like to explain to the youth group kids that that picture was proof that they were the beer bong champion among all the other girlfriends? Anyway, I don’t really regret anything, though I sorta miss my diamond. Especially since I heard much later that you had cheated on me. I would have kept it if I knew that. But whatever.

Glen – I’m sorry that you are a sucker. That the first girl you dated after me was super manipulative and not only convinced you to marry her, she convinced you to turn Mormon. You’re a sucker because you believed her when, after the first time you slept together, she told you that now no man would ever marry her if you didn’t, because she’s no longer pure. Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard THAT one. I’d have like…well, probably a nickel. I’m also sorry that once you got married, you disappeared into the powerful Mormon vortex. And I certainly hope you didn’t end up working for her dad (like she wanted you to) at his Amway-esque business instead of using your exercise physiology degree to become an occupational therapist like you wanted to. How do I know all this? Our “couples friends” P&T told me. Only there was more swearing on P’s part. Also? They call your wife “Boobs.” And not in an affectionate, endearing way. That's probably partly because P&T haven't seen you since you entered the vortex. But THAT could have been because when they were invited to your baptism, P was getting bored as the guys were trying to figure out how to best dunk you in the baptismal pool, and so he says, under his breath "He's a G**damned kayaker for C****sake. Just dunk him." And as it turns out, it wasn't so much "under his breath." Anyway, you could have done monumentally better because you were so damn hot. And so funny. And nice. That last one was probably your downfall, unfortunately.

So that's that. For this installment. Oh, and if anyone feels like saying "good thing you're not bitter" or "you're not over that yet?" -- don't. Because I'm truly NOT bitter and I AM over it -- this is what we call writing for the sake of writing. Or writing because we have to sit through a day long conference about really boring stuff because you're the only one in your office that knows how to work the conference room video equipment. It could be either, really.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Other People's Houses

I housesit a lot. I’ve done it forever, and it’s fun. I love my own house and my own cats, but I also love staying at other people’s houses. I will amend that to say staying at a select few other people’s houses. I stay at Sally and Joe’s, the Hot Tub House, and once and ONLY once, I stayed at the Stink House. That was the worst experience ever.

Anyway, I love Sally and Joe’s, because their backyard is so awesome, their bed is so comfortable, there’s always wine in the fridge, and there are books, books, books. I’ve housesat for them for a long time, and they still love me, even though I’ve had to put one of their cats to sleep, I’ve backed into Joe’s business partner’s $80,000 Mercedes (I didn’t see it, and at first I thought I hit a trash can. Ha. I should BE so lucky), and then there was the debacle last year involving one of their birds, their two cats, and the fact I didn’t quite pull the door to the library closed tight enough. Suffice it to say that when they got home, the bird was dead (not because of the cats though – he was sick before and I prefer to believe that that’s why he died) but as a lovely parting gift, they received a stick drawing detailing the experience. I know, right? Why do they keep asking me to housesit? Well, mostly because they’re awesome, but probably also because 9 times out of 10, I’m totally responsible and not as accident prone as I sound. Plus, they know I love their pets.

Two houses over from them are Nancy and Mel. They are the parents of one of my friends who I have known since we started first grade together back in the day. All of Mel and Nance’s kids live far away now, so they travel a lot and consequently, I stay at their house a lot. It’s the Hot Tub House. I love their house because I can lay in bed and watch t.v., or like last night, I can lay in bed and watch the lightning – it was so cool. They have a really sweet black lab who usually sleeps right next to my side of the bed, unless she hears a fox or a coyote or raccoon or one of the myriad of other animals that roam that neighborhood. Then she scares me half to death waking me up with the barking. I always have friends over to that house, because who can pass up the hot tub and the Tivo and the endless supply of Corona in the basement fridge?

The coolest part about these houses is the neighborhood. I am determined to live in that neighborhood one day. I want to get married in Sally and Joe’s backyard (they told me I could and I’m so excited. Yes, I know I don’t have a boyfriend, but could you not rain on my parade?) and it’s just the coolest place. Somewhere in the neighborhood covenant, there’s a rule that no one can have fences. So behind the houses there’s just one big yard and a pond. There are no streetlights, so it’s always super dark at night. It’s really quiet – except for when the foxes scream and that’s creepy as hell. But that doesn't happen all that often, so it's mostly soooo quiet. And I love it.

Anyway, tonight I will be going to the Hot Tub House. I’ll be sitting in the hot tub, looking out over the backyard (it’s in a glassed in sunroom) until it gets too hot. And then I will put on my favorite boxers and my Homestar Runner sweatshirt and I will go to bed with the windows open so that it gets cold in the room. Tomorrow when I take the dog out before it’s light and while it’s still silent, I will wander through the yards, wrapped in a fleece blanket, listening to the ducks on the pond quack and hearing the prettiest sound of the rustle of the breeze through the huge cottonwoods in Sally and Joe’s yard. And I will be happy because I have a pretty cool life.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Notes from Stream of Consciousness Central

Oh the interesting ways people get to my site. Apparently when someone types in “What does it mean when your boyfriend tells you that the timing is off?” in the Yahoo search engine, I come up as result number 12. I think that's totally funny. And actually, a little sad -- does this person have no one they can talk to about this and they've resorted to using the Yahoo search engine? That's sad! However, you know, since they asked and all, here is my advice: Unless he has a stellar reason for saying that? He’s trying to break up with you. Pretty soon you’ll get the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line, followed by ‘I’m at a place in my life where I really just need to focus on ME.’ And yes, I know—hello pot? This is the kettle. You’re black – but hey, I live by my own rules and that means I can give out sensible advice to others without ever heeding said advice myself. Because when I make up the rules? I can change them at will. That’s why it’s great to live by my rules.

So every day I take the exit from 6th avenue to C-470 in order to get home. Quite a while ago, a skunk got run over there. The skunk must have been drunk (as a skunk? Ha) or high, because for the life of me, I can’t figure out why he would think it was a good idea to cross one four-lane highway in order to get to more concrete and more cars whizzing by. I guess we’ll never know. What I do know is that that damn skunk is still there and I’m so grossed out. Seriously, I live in the foothills of Colorado -- where are the hawks and other natural roadkill predators? Because after all this time, it’s now less actual skunk and more clumps of fur and other stuff required for decomposition. And every day, even if I tell myself not to, I look at it. I can’t help it. And every day, my gag reflex kicks in and I’m like “gaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!” It’s just nasty. I feel like calling whatever city or county is in charge of that exit and tell them “Hey, next time someone wants to ‘adopt a highway,’ could you direct them to that particular exit? And could they adopt it with a bucket of water and some push brooms? Like, yesterday? Thanks.” Ew.

So I have mentioned once or twice that I hate my job? Ah – I thought so. I sent out four more resumes today. Once I finish the homework I’ve been procrastinating, I’m going to send out more. I’m trying to ignore the words of an email I got last week that keep ringing in my head “Thank you for your interest in this position (blah blah blah). It was a difficult decision, as we received over 300 applications.” THREE HUNDRED?? This THIS is what I’m up against. At least in the non-profit world. But I keep sending out resumes and hoping that today will be the day that I’m exactly what they were looking for.

You know how a certain song or artist will remind you immediately of a time or event or person in your life? Most of the time I love that, but sometimes, I have to fight through the (insert negative emotion here) memories of the end of a relationship so that I don’t have to stop listening to a particular artist who reminds me of someone I don’t especially want to be reminded of. Past examples include Dave Matthews (Dave’s a survivor – he’s weathered two breakups) and Sting (one relationship and one friendship – good work, Sting). The most recent example is History Boy. In case you forgot, he is now dead to me. However, when we were younger, he LOVED Depeche Mode, and as a result, I always associate him with that band. I have come to really like them over the years, and I refuse to let the fact that he’s a monumental ass overshadow the fact that they’re an awesome band and I love them. So I will continue to listen to Depeche Mode in defiance of him and his lame excuses. HA!

And finally, in case you were on the edge of your seat, saying to yourself “Self, has Amber heard from Not Boyfriend since they saw each other last?” I would answer that yes, he called on Thursday to say “hi” before he left for the weekend to go hunting. Must…push…down…hope…

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Phone Calling Policy: Amended

"Oh sure, they say they're busy. They say that they didn't have even a moment in their insanely busy day to pick up the phone. It was just that crazy. All lies. With the advent of cell phones and speed dialing, it is almost impossible not to call you.Sometimes I call people from my pants pocket when I don't even mean to. If I were into you, you would be the bright spot in my horribly busy day. Which would be a day that I would never be too busy to call you." -- Greg Behrendt, He's Just Not That Into You

That's one of my favorite lines from that book, and one that I have remembered when HE (whoever HE happens to be at that point in time) doesn't call because he's just too busy. "Whatever," I would say to myself. "Clearly he's not that into me and therefore he is now dead to me (tm Becki)." Except for Not Boyfriend, but hey, every rule has it's exceptions, right?

And now, I'm going to have to revise my stance on the "I'm too busy" excuse. Because seriously, I'm too busy. The only person I talk to pretty much every day is my mom, and a lot of those calls consist of me asking her to run some sort of errand for me because I work 45 minutes away from everything non-work-related and because of that, I leave before most places open and get home after they close. I haven't seen my friend Sandra since June. It took me a week to call back my friend Mandy. I think Kendra went out of town today, but I'm not sure, because the last time I talked to her was Monday. I mean to call you, I want to call you, it's just that suddenly, it's 11 at night and a) it may be too late to call you, or b) I'm pretty tired and don't feel like talking anyway.

I'm not saying "oh you should feel sorry for me because I'm so busy" because that's not it. I like to be busy. The CRAZINESS of the past couple weeks I could probably do without, but I figure eventually it'll calm down. Not sure when that'll be, but it has to be sometime, right?

Bottom line is that I guess I can understand why someone wouldn't call back right away. However, I think when it's your friends you aren't calling back, it's different than someone you like. Because guess what -- I WOULD be the bright spot in your horribly busy day. I'm a hoot. And you would probably be the bright spot in mine. If we ever ended up talking at some point.

P.S. You know who I'm NOT amending this rule for? History Boy. He's out of chances and out of slack, so basically? History. Again. I'm going to have to make a rule about not dating anyone named Shawn/Sean/Shaun or any variation on that, because they're inevitably jerks. And Capricorns. I don't date Capricorns well. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Word Association

I've been totally uninspired in the writing department for the last few days. And therefore, we're going to do what psychologists like to call "word association." I'll say a word and then say the first thing that comes to my mind. Here it is:

University of Colorado Law Library – Overwhelming
I’m taking “Nonprofit Legal and Governmental Issues” this term, and for our second class last night, we met at the CU law library, because my school doesn’t have a law library. Anyway, it was amazing. I love the regular library – I know, shocking – but the law library is a completely different story. If my thoughts regarding going to law school after I get my masters weren’t already dashed ($90,000 in loans just doesn’t seem that great to me), the ultra-confusing law library sealed the deal. I’m going to have to get over it though – I have a research paper due in six weeks that will require going to the library.

Brakes – Shot
So for the past month or so, my emergency brake light would come on when I would be using my regular brakes. Because I’m just so “car savvy,” I figured it was simply a wire that my blatant disregard for speed bumps had loosened. When I went to get an oil change today, they looked at my brakes, and lo and behold, it wasn’t just a loose wire. Turns out, I had no front brakes. At all. Before you roll your eyes about how dumb I am about cars, I would like to say that I got new brakes last summer, and I have NEVER had to get brakes on a yearly basis. Plus, my car is relatively new. Anyway, I ended up not making it to work because I had to wait while our mechanic fixed my brakes. Luckily, because our mechanic rocks, he fixed them for a grand total of – $6. Even though it’s technically been more than a year since they did them last, the warranty was up, but they were cool about it. Probably because we take all our cars there. Moral of the story: not having brakes is a bad thing, but when the fixing of said brakes prevents me from spending yet another torturous day at work, well, I’m alright with that.

Job – Misery
So I have had two “phone interviews” in the last couple of weeks, and I found out yesterday that the job I really wanted I did NOT get. It was like turning off a light switch – instantaneously my glimmer of hope was gone and I had an overwhelming feeling that I will be trapped in this job forever. I wanted to throw up. I can’t explain to you how much I hate my job. There are no words. All I can do is keep sending out resumes and have faith that the job that is best for me is out there and everything happens for a reason. Some days it’s harder than others. Yesterday was definitely that day.

Not Boyfriend – ?
So I saw Not Boyfriend on Saturday night. Keep in mind, this was the first time I’ve seen him in 8 months. And amazingly, it was as if no time had passed. We talked and talked and talked and there were no awkward silences and absolutely zero weirdness. I love him. Not “those three little words” love, but like “I absolutely adore you” love. Different. I love that we can talk forever about anything and everything, and it’s never small talk. It’s conversation. I love that he makes me laugh all the time, but tells me serious things as well. I love the way he kisses me (yes, I kissed him – actually, he kissed me because I was not about to instigate that) and I love the way he smells. Even better, I love the way my shirt smells like him after he leaves. Of the four or five guys I’ve dated since we stopped talking in January, not one has come close to him in the “what I want” department. The closest has been Bachelor #2, and he’s not out of the running, but there are extenuating circumstances in his case. At any rate, I adore Not Boyfriend. I want him to be Actual Boyfriend. But as the above question mark denotes, the status of that is uncertain at this point. He’s got his own extenuating circumstances, but things are changing (for the better) for him right now, so I’ll chill and see what happens. But for now? I loooooooove him.

***Oh, and also? If you feel like catching up on the Saga of Not Boyfriend? Check out "A Boy and his Dog" He shows up in a few other early blogs, but that one is expressly about him.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Worst. Liar. Ever.

My brother thinks he’s sneaky, but he really isn’t. I told my mom I was writing this because of the lie he got caught in yesterday, and I needed some other stories about when he got caught in a lie. Because he’s a bad liar. She informed me that there’s no such thing as a good liar, because liars aren’t good. Ok, mom – he’s an INEFFECTIVE liar.

Case in point: he left a message for my mom yesterday that said “hey, I ran into my old buddy Anthony, and so we’re going to go get some dinner after I finish working.” Ok, fine, whatever.

My dad plays basketball on Thursday nights. He has since 1975. Oftentimes, he and the guys go out for beers at the Old Chicago by our house after they play. So he’s there last night, and who should be there? My brother, with his old buddy Anthony. If by “old buddy Anthony” you mean “a girl.” So Tim, Tip #1: If you’re going to lie about who you’re with, maybe you should go somewhere with them outside of a one mile radius of our house. Especially since it’s Thursday and that’s ALWAYS the Old C’s that dad goes to.

My parents go out of town and my mom tells him specifically “no girls in the house.” She tells me “maybe you could unexpectedly show up sometime and make sure no girls are there.” I’m like “what do I look like, the KGB? No.” Also, for one, I don’t care if he has a girl over, and two, if he does, I certainly don’t want to walk in on something that could potentially be burned in my brain for all time. And not in a good way. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

So my parents come home and my mom is collecting laundry and she finds a cardigan in his room. My brother wears some weird stuff, but this is clearly not his. She asks me if it’s mine. I said no – and now you see where this is going. He’s like “Christie left it in my car and I brought it in.” And my mom’s like “Right. You forget to bring in your paychecks, but you brought in the sweater.” Tip #2: If you’re going to have a girl over, make sure she takes all her clothes home with her when she leaves.

My brother was in elementary school, and he was walking home with some friends. My mom sees him coming through our backyard with our neighbors and this teenager, who Tim said had been harassing him the whole way home. The teenager said that Tim called some lady a bitch while he was walking home, but Tim denied that up and down. So my mom called the four kids he’d been walking with and asked them, and every single one of them said “Yeah, he called her that.” Story: shot down. Tip #3: Get your story straight. If there are other people involved in the lie, make sure they know about it.

My brother has been a constant source of amusement almost since the day he was born. While I would sometimes get bummed that we didn’t grow up together because I’m almost nine years older than him, I wouldn’t trade the fact that I have so many more memories of him than I would have otherwise. Seriously, that kid was unintentionally hilarious all the time. Now he’s funny on purpose, only with less hijinks.

Happy 21st Birthday little brother – I love you!

*This picture was taken last summer when we were building houses in Mexico. My brother is 7 inches taller than me, so I'm lucky to be in the picture at all, since he's holding the camera*

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Return of the Monsters of Rock

Ok, so since everyone put in their two cents about what should have been included on my recent metal mix, I am going to post the titles of the songs on the cd. Let's play a little game and see who can guess every single artist -- and it has to be guesses based on your fabulous knowledge of all things hair band and not on what Google has to say about it. Aaaaaaannndd...go!

1. When it’s love
2. Love in an elevator
3. Dr. Feelgood
4. Glamour Boys
5. Pour some sugar on me
6. Hit between the eyes
7. Down Boys
8. Talk Dirty to Me
9. Why can’t this be love?
10. Welcome to the Jungle
11. I’ll Never Let You Go
12. If I Close My Eyes Forever
13. Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til it’s Gone)
14. Love Song
15. Love and Affection
16. Girls, Girls, Girls
17. Cherry Pie
18. Nothin’ But a Good Time
Detroit Rock City

Coincidentally, when I was home on Tuesday (yes, I took a day off work. I was sick. Sick of being there) it was like all metal all the time day on VH1. I watched "When Metal Ruled the World" -- sort of, because it was on at the same time as "NYPD Blue" and mommy had to watch her stories. Anyway, after that was "Inside Out: Resurrecting Motley Crue," in which they tried to get Motley Crue back together for one show. I liked it, because, of course, I like Tommy Lee for some inexplicable reason. Then it was "Behind the Music: Guns 'N Roses." I learned so much. Did you know that Slash DIED one time? Heart stopped, no pulse, drug overdosed dead. But now even though he was a drug-addled mess for a long time (and he DIED), he is amazingly articulate? And not to be all your mom or anything, but he's pretty good looking now that his hair is out of his face. I'm going to have to check out Velvet Revolver. There's more, but I can sense that you're getting bored. Anyway, I think I might have gone into a television-induced coma after that, because I can't remember what I did. Wait -- maybe I watched "Buffy." Or took a nap. Or attempted to read 8500 pages for my law class. Whatever. It was a good day.