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Friday, June 30

Conglomerates Can Kiss My Beefy Butt

I think it is time to renew my rant on certain American corporations. The horrors that these organizations have inflicted on me and the rest of the American public is enough to make me want to puke in my new, cute shoes.

Just a few days ago, I had to use one of these institutions. Please trust me when I say I didn’t want to. Inner me was kicking and screaming all the way out of the car and through the automatic doors but there weren’t any choices for me to make and pain won out with its need for speed and convenience. It went just as poorly as I remember of so many past experiences.

You see, I was sick. And didn’t have time for a visit to the doctor. So the lovely man who is responsible for my rosy-cheeked health took pity on me and decided to call in the prescription I requested without making me go through the rigamarole of his usual poking and prodding. I guess he has finally realized that I am not an antibiotic-obsessed drug seeker. I don’t even take any drugs on a regular basis! Which was a problem. Because with everything packed, I had not a single container with my usual pharmacy’s number on it. With much trepidation, I pilfered through Kimono Hubby’s things and came up with his pharmacy’s number… the dreaded Rite Aid. Now I have repeatedly asked (read closer: nagged) him to switch to someone who wasn’t ripping us off but he staunchly refuses. Something about convenience and blah, bitty blah, blah, blah… Oh, were you saying something, honey? But desperate times call for desperate measures. So I stated the hated number to Doctor Save-Me-From-This-God-Forsaken-Pain and he called it in.

Three hours later, which I felt was entirely generous on my part, I went to pick it up. I kindly pass along my name and a big toothy grin to the counter person to show the man that I am extra special nice and ever so happy to be here at your fine Rite Aid establishment.

“Hmmm… no prescription for you,” he says.

“Yes, you do have it. Look again, pretty please with sugar on top.” Smile falters but remains mostly intact.

“No, no. One for Kimono Hubby.”

“No – mine. You’re wrong and I am right as always. Now give me my damn ‘biotic pills, asshole.”

“Doctor was not to be understood so we say it is Kimono Hubby’s pills.”

“Fine. What-the-frick-ever. His! Now give me! I pay and you give… damn-it-all-the-way-to-hell-and-back!”

“No – if not for you, then unlawful.”

“But if you couldn’t understand the Doc, why didn’t you ask for clarification like anyone with the intelligence of more than a knat would?! Mother %@#%$ ho-bag!!!!”

“Just didn’t understand... so guessed.”

And then I reached over the counter and choked him out until he was a purple-faced, bulging-eyed puddle on the floor.

Maybe it wasn’t exactly like that but it is very close. And also it is just another fine example of why I hate the Rite Aid institution. They overprice their products and hire the some of the densest people. Perhaps I am over-generalizing but I just can’t be responsible for giving those crooks any more money. In my defense, this case only had the prescription costing $1.63 and I was peeing needles so I made an exception. I won’t be dumb enough to do it again.

My beef isn’t just with Rite Aid. I hate Blockbuster, too. Those thieves automatically took money out of my account without my authorization for a late fee. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t have paid it. It was that I didn’t know I HAD a late fee. Does that give them the right then to just appropriate my money as they see fit? Perhaps calling me or mailing me to explain the situation and ask for me to handle it would have been a better approach? How they got my account information, I still haven’t figured out. Except from previous transactions… perhaps? I haven’t been back to them since. (Sunny aside – hugs and kisses to you, my lovely Netflix. I love the simplicity and ease with which you operate and make my day a sunnier one!)

Don’t even get me started on the con-artists that people call Walmart! Someone stop them already! They are raping not only the American people but our small businesses and their owners! My hate for Walmart is sooo deep and violent. I get sadistic if receipts show up in my house with their vile name on them. It is beyond me how people can not see the filth and wretchedness that encompasses all of their lousy buildings. Must stop now… I think I just saw steam in my peripheral vision. (Another even sunnier aside – bigger hugs and kisses to you Target! You are so pretty and clean and organized. And your little phones for assistance in every aisle are about the greatest thing since TP. I give you big, sloppy, wet-kissed props!)

I think it is high time that you join this fight with me! And while you are at it, who else do you want me to spout violence and hatred for? Because I am on a mean role this morning and will be the first to wave your flag with you!

Important Note to the Japanese: Please do not let me find these organizations in your pretty land. I don’t know where I will have to go to get away from these people next if you can’t ban them from your respect. I’m just not ready to move to Guam.

Thursday, June 29

All Gone Except For One Smelly Bra

We are now totally computerless at home. Do you know what this means? No more daily writing. It’s been only one day since all was moved and I can describe how last night was and what future nights will be like in one word… abysmal. I was made to watch five hours of Ultimate Fighting. Please tell me how to make this stop. I don’t want to share the television! I want to watch what I want to watch! This is completely unfair. *feet stamping and pouting commence*

I tried to waste time sitting at dinner last night. I took the longest time with the chewing just to avoid what was waiting for me at home. Or should we say what wasn’t waiting at home. Because there really is nothing. I really wish this was an exaggeration.

It is so hard to even find clothes in my luggage. So for the past three days, I wore the same outfit. While your gag reflexes probably just checked in, I did find the bag that holds my underwear and I changed them. That should count for something. The bra wasn’t so lucky though. I don’t even think this one will be worth saving. I’m pretty sure I can’t wash the stink out of it at this point.

And the rain. Good God the rain. Why does it rain every time we move? Roads were flooded everywhere. Businesses were shut down. Admittedly, I was so glad I wasn’t sitting in beltway traffic when they closed it down Monday morning at the exact time I would have tried to go through there to get to work. But moving in the rain isn’t a picnic either. The movers were soaked and I never did figure out if it was sweat or rain. Either way, I just sat there cringing and silently begging them not to brush the walls on their way in our out.

The movers were completely scary… the kind of guys you don’t want to meet in a dark alley without an Uzi… or whatever the “in” weapon of choice is these days. The one told me how he has a “4-bedroom house with a pool but he can’t keep it no longer because the friend he bought it with is going to jail and he don’t have no cash to cover it without him.” He also told me about his three babies with three mothers and how the ho’ he was with now was sleeping around on him. This because she wouldn’t answer her cell and go pick up his babies like he done told her to. Mover buddy tried to calm his ass down without much success. Major drama happenings in our little suburbia.

They did pack everything pretty quickly although I am quite certain that several things will not survive the trip. I don’t want to think about that just yet.

3 weeks and 2 days left. The to-do list is almost done. Work is winding down. I’m forcing myself to maintain some motivation but it is dwindling quickly. I just want to GO already! I’m so sick and tired of the planning. Hey! How do I get me one of them there universal remotes? I promise not to damage Hasselhoff’s face any more than the plastic surgeons already did! I’m just in need of One. Good. Fast-Forward. “Click!”

Monday, June 26

It Ends Here

Today is it for all household goods! All will be gone. Left with nothing but borrowed towels and sheets and an air mattress. Good God how will I survive? I can’t even stand to think of the hell these next few weeks will be. No computer to write nonsense on. No cds to listen to. I'm betting I will stay much longer hours at work just to get some alone time with the internet. We are left with just ONE tv that we have to SHARE. I will not be forced to watch anything with has-been Hogan. I will not be forced to watch anything that requires a deal or no deal. I will stand firm on my anti reality campaign. And if by some off chance I am made to, we have plastic knives that will be left behind and I know how to use them.

Sunday, June 25

Originally uploaded by kimonokaren.
This picture was totally supposed to be at the END of the entry. But new to Flickr as of today and I suck. Maybe next time things will be ordered correctly.

There's A Tear In My Beer

What I should be doing is about anything BUT writing. I have my day's plan all laid out and just can't get started. So instead of packing because pul-leeze!... the movers will only be here in 16 hours... I've got all the time in the world!

Instead I will tell you that yesterday was just fabulous. We got to PA around 11 - late because I was putzing around all morning. Helped mom with the last minute preparations. Dad and I shared our first beer at noon. (It is a family rule that you should switch from coffee to beer as the clock strikes twelve and who am I to break a rule?) Guests began arriving at 2. I mingled and chatted and played. I received the most lovely going away presents. I didn't know there would be presents, people! But thoughtful and touching they were. Amoung them, an Angel of Hope, a plaque about memories, friendship and hope, a box of my wedding chocolates recreated (and even better than the first time around!), and a ring that has the birthstones of all of my immediate family members. The gifts were so touching and I am so happy to carry these things with me on our adventure. But even more touching are the memories that these people continue to make for me. The thoughtfulness and love behind those gifts means more to me than anything they could ever bestow. I feel that I am taking a piece of each and every one of the people that I shared time with yesterday with me overseas, deep in my heart.

Do you know what really got to me though? Not the presents because they definitely tried with those and the cards! Oh my! No... it was saying goodbye to every one. Not that I won't see them again. But when I do, they will be changed, having had their own adventures. There will be new children, jobs, homes... new hopes and dreams. I am so sad to know that I will miss sharing these things with them. Some people I have only recently come to understand how important they are to be. Some I don't think I will know how to live without. Some I may never see again. Not for passing but who knows where their lives will take them or where ours will take us. Yesterday was really a goodbye to all of us, to the people that we are now.

That was entirely the hardest part.

By nightfall, I think we were all pretty done for. Emotionally, there was nothing left. Physically, we had no more to give. As the evening winded down, only a handful were left to sit out in the evening coolness. I tried to pay attention to what was going on around me but I got lost in my own thoughts a lot. It wasn't sad that I was feeling at all. Just longing. Wishing that all could change and yet still be the same. That we could sit there forever and talk and laugh. And somehow still do that while in Japan.

Finally throwing the day's wistfulness aside, I made my mom and myself a Mandarin and Red Bull. Her first of that sort of drink and I was hoping for a reaction. Within a glass and a half... and I'm talking a lowball glass... mom referred to herself as a "wush." All senses were done for her, as well as the rest of us. So we just drank on. For God's sake - there was beer and hard liquor that couldn't go to waste!

As the hours got later, a few more headed home... a few crawled into beds... and some didn't make it to the stoop of the front door.

But we all slept very soundly.

The end.

Friday, June 23

Beer Me!

Can I just tell you how very excited I am for this weekend’s brouhaha? I really, really am! No one likes a party better than me. And especially when it is for me! Oh yeah… me and that other dude. What’s his name again?

The party will be extra special good because it will be with my family! Even though they are all completely crazy, I totally love the lot of them. We don’t get a chance to get everyone together often. You know… family’s grow up, move away, have babies and ultimately end up focusing on their smaller inner circles. These opportunities where all the extensions are together are rare and wonderful.

Oh, sure. Someone will do something to upset so-and-so. That is to be expected. But then you have a story for the next time everyone is together. Like… remember when my parent’s threw a little family shindig and a bull (yes, a BIG cow) came running out of the woods. And then some of my drunker cousins led by my father decided to try to wrestle the bull to the ground? Or remember the time we had that party where the next morning, there were people sleeping in the front yard? And then the school bus came to pick up my brother and I? And the other kids wondered why people were sleeping there? Or remember the time I threw a party for a handful of friends and about 100 people showed up? And then my friend stripped down to nothing so she wouldn’t puke up hotdogs onto her pretty outfit or even her skivvies? And mom stayed in the kitchen cutting up little carrot and celery sticks for people while my dad and brother broke up fights that were started because of the naked lady in the bathroom window? I love parties back home.

And this will be no exception! I guess one would call this a kind of “get lost, and here’s a drunken boot in your ass to help you along your way” party. “See you in three stinking years... if you’re lucky and I can remember your name until then.” Hopefully that really isn’t what you are all thinking. But I wouldn’t put it past a single one of you.

So tomorrow there will be beer and barbeque and deviled eggs and even that Nilla Wafers and banana dessert I loved as a kid. Well, only if I am a good girl, mommy says. More importantly, it will be one more opportunity to get those I love into one place. That alone is the best cause for celebration.

Wednesday, June 21

Another Instance Of The Crazy That Lives In Me

Sunday night we were having a discussion about what we had going on for the week. Monday – dinner and drinks with friend, sell my truck and KH will be out of town. Tuesday – KH works late and I need to run errands for this weekend’s party and do various packing errands. Wednesday – spend some quiet time together enjoying a night in our house… while there is still furniture to sit on. Thursday – doctors appointments to attend to and trip to donate articles that we found hidden in dusty corners. Friday – KH works late again and wants to have drinks afterwards with friends. So I should ask to borrow the neighbor’s car.

And thus sparked the inner crazy.

Everything was going fine until that final days’ plan. The problem is that with my truck sold to the neighbors, we are down to one car that we have to share. Only for a week though because then his car, our last, will also be gone. Sharing should be soooo easy. Boy, were we soooo wrong. Neither of us are good little sandbox players.

From the time that the neighbors decided to purchase my truck, they have been totally willing to let us borrow their van when there is a need. (Well, damn they have three vehicular modes of transportation now! And we… will have none! How could they not allow us to partake in their car fortune?) I, unfortunately, have always been opposed to the idea but willing to go along with it for logic’s sake. You know, so we didn’t have to drop more cash on a rental or big bucks on a daily taxi to haul my ass around. BUT! I hate the thought of driving someone else’s car. For many ridiculous reasons but one major is that I just don’t feel like putting people out. This just feels like one more instance where I am doing just that. But they are willing so it looks like the planets aligned and I would have a car. (Okay, really a minivan. But PLEASE! Don’t point and laugh if you see me cruising down 95 in it the next week or two with the windows open and the Dixie Chicks new CD blaring.) We scheduled with our neighbors that I would use their van the week that we are carless, right before we move into a hotel. Every second I have since thought about it, my hair stands on end.

And to think that KH now wants me to ask for an additional day?! The pain I feel about this is truly excruciating. As we lay there discussing how this was logical and we were certain the neighbors will be fine with the extra day, I kept feeling my mentality inside cringing until I couldn’t hold it in anymore.

I laid on the edge of the bed in a ball and cried.

Big heaving, bed shaking, hiccuping sobs. Weeping tears streaming down my face. And absolutely no good reason for it.

What is my problem getting all worked up over this? It’s not that he wants to go out and have a few drinks. I am a big encourager of that. We all don’t drink half enough, I think! So I’m not at all telling him no to that. But somewhere deep inside of me, something was so mortally wounded that he would even ask me to go and request the dang minivan for an extra, wretched day that I just couldn’t control myself.

I think the problem lies in this. Not surprisingly, another irrational fear. I fear that ever since we have sold our vehicles but are still driving them until titles are transferred, I am certain that I am going to get mangled on the beltway. And it isn’t my health I am concerned about at all! No sir! It is the price that I would have to pay back to the person who paid me for the car. The purchasers hardly want to buy a Rent-A-Wreck from us. If I trash their paid for vehicles, will Metro Police hold me for ransom until I can put the car back into one piece?

Is this senseless rioting worth it? He sat there laughing at my nonsense that night. And wouldn’t you? I certainly would if I was lying next to a psycho every night.

The next morning, KH had left town but there was a note on the table. Call the car rental place. Do not pass go. Proceed directly to the phonebook.

But you know what? I think I will figure out how the bus transit system here works after all.

To hell with fighting crazy for now. I know she’ll be back another day and I should really save my energy.

Tuesday, June 20

The Longest Day

Things I did yesterday. Started training another person as my replacement. Yes, that makes two that are now handling my clients. I am feeling a little like the bomb diggity for this fact. What I do find tricky is the training of two at a time. Couldn’t talk by the time I left work without garbling through a mouthful of lozenges. Left work in glorious sunshine only to arrive at my destination five miles (and forty minutes) away to torrential downpours. I called and said to have a seat at the bar and I would be in when the rain slowed. Got very impatient as is expected from me. So I took off my pretty kitten heels and decided to make a run for it through the parking lot. Walked through the front door of the restaurant looking like a drowned cat trying out for her first wet t-shirt contest. My white blouse was soaked through and you could see my bra. And it wasn’t one of the prettier ones. Went into the bar amidst fifty comically staring eyes to meet my date. He was not my husband. Don’t worry… Kimono Hubby was on a date too. Although he denies that description. My date would not hug me. Guess he isn’t into slick honeys. Dried on the outside while we dined but only got wetter on the inside with the beers. Left late and headed in the direction of home. Made one stop to do the final wheeling and dealing and sold my truck. Progress! But I cried. Just a little. And I left lipstick soaked kisses on the steering wheel. Finally walked in the door. Ran straight for the bathroom and peed for twenty minutes. Or so it felt like. Changed into warm pjs and curled up to watch a Japanese horror flick. You know it was scary if you were reading the stupid movie and you still jumped. Went to bed way too late and dreamt about being slaughtered. A lot. Woke up really wishing KH was never away at night. And that I wasn’t dumb enough to watch horror movies alone.

Monday, June 19

Scratching The Important Stuff Off The List

Exactly seven shopping days left before they pack my crap and send it half way around the world. I am in a serious state of tizzy.

To calm myself down, I went to the mall yesterday with BB and bought as much as I could possibly find to properly fill those boxes. I bought an outfit to wear on the plane… because I totally needed something new to wear for our 15 hour flight that said sexy world traveler in her favorite pretty jammies. I bought Washington Nationals t-shirts for myself and KH because we have gone to something like ONE game (and that was only on Friday). Bu again, I felt like we totally needed something that said we lived here in this great nation’s hometown city. Once we get to Japan, how many want to place a bet that I buy some crap like a stupid Tokyo Typhoons t-shirt? I guess the Nationals tees are an entirely cooler idea than the “F.B.I. – Female Body Inspector” T-shirts with DC slapped underneath to acknowledge that receipt happened in our lovely Capitol. I don’t see how anyone would feel this was a proper tee to acknowledge a trip but someone must be buying the crap because they can be found on every freaking street corner for a “2 fer 10 dolla” deal. Then I bought an American flag T-shirt for KH because I am feeling suddenly extremely nationalistic. I did find a tee for myself that said “I Love Tokyo” with a little, round sumo wrestler but was talked down on that one and instead opted for the bright green “Cool Cucumber” tee… because I am cool like that. I certainly can’t forget that other shirt that I bought that I think will fit into my new zen style nicely. Well, as soon as I buy some zen-like pants to wear with it.

Let me not forget to tell you that I went shopping on Friday as well and got an adorable tee with a lobster on it. Do they even have lobster in Japan? Oh! And two sweatshirts, both navy, both zip up, one for myself and one for KH… because we totally needed them and didn’t have a single sweatshirt already. Ahem.

Is this enough, you say? Absolutely not. Banana Republic is only four blocks from my office, Ann Taylor comes in at five and Ann Taylor Loft at seven. I think if I hit each one at lunch, each day of this week, I might feel like I am ready to go and have enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day for the rest of my life… or at least the first year in Japan. And if not, there is also a Gap and a Nine West marking themselves in at three short blocks. I have five days this work week and I intend to take care of some serious business. Who the hell cares that the “to do” list isn’t getting shorter anyway? Isn’t being protected from nakedness more important to worry about?

And they say I have a problem.

Friday, June 16

Aftermath = Komaniwanakickya

There is one thing above all that I hate about being in my 30s... more than being called ma'am on a daily basis... the hang over. What is up with that?! I can still drink like a sailor but I will seriously pay for it the next day. I just don't see how it is fair to finally get your tolerance to an acceptable level, only you can't test it out unless you plan on feeling headache-y and pukey the next day. Fortunately, there was only vestiges of the carnage to my hand this morning. It had transferred to my face. But the manicurist doesn't care about that now so why should I? There is a big ole list of moving errands waiting for me to do. All I really want to do is to lie very still in my soft little bed and hope that the gerbils in my head get off the damn wheel already. And the worst part? I have to do it all again tonight when I go see the Nationals kick some Yankee butt. The beer and weenies are already calling my name.

Thursday, June 15

I (apparently) heart the pee-pee

Already a slacker, yes I am, for not posting today. And pointed out it was! Just this evening indeedy-o. So here is your freaking post. Work was hell. Nothing seemed to go my way or even get close to being completed. I may or may not have even cried in front of the boss man when he told me that the company would always have a place for me when I moved back to the states, right after telling me they hired a replacement. Then I had plans to hang out with my friend Yang-me and we somehow ended up with a group of friends. She and I drank Komaniwanalaya's like they were going out of style and it took me some time to even pronounce that correctly to the waiter who I am sure had a grand time laughing at me for not understanding what exactly I was ordering. And then she may have written "Karen licks it" and drew various sized penises all over my hand. The same hand that was planning on getting a manicure tomorrow... only if the pen comes off now. This is what happens after a few cocktails. May I never drink again. The end and good night.

Wednesday, June 14

Fiending for the Freak Out

Along with all good sides, there is always its counterpart… a balancing down side. I try to be the most positive person I can be and focus only on the good of any situation. But I can’t help but get a little nostalgic and even a little angry at times these days when I think about how this move will cause me to leave so many wonderful things behind. Not forever. But a forever goodbye or a just-for-now goodbye… they are all just as hard to say.

I have been having a really hard time since last week when we found out about Grandma. I can tell you that if Alice Cooper would have thrown me a chicken, I would have bitten its head off last weekend and showed him how it’s really done. I yelled, I cried, I pouted. I threw tantrums and stamped my feet and held my breath until my face turned three shades of blue. It really wasn’t pretty. My emotions are just all over the place. That is probably to be expected but I just hate losing control. I am sure that my family was hoping that I would at least learned to show a little grace when things aren’t going my way. Too bad. So sad. Pffft.

It isn’t all about the diagnosis either. That just compounds it. Sometimes – most of the time – I am just not one that knows how to hide what she is feeling. I read like an open book. I can deal with that.

In these final weeks, people have been making their plans for our last hoorahs together. Sounds like fun! Give me a drink or two and I will be clinging to you and telling you how very much “I wuuuuv u.” I may even kiss you. But only if you are a lucky duck.

I am going to miss my mommy and how we talk every night, even when one of us isn’t really in the mood for chatting. I’m going to miss my friends and our lunches, coffee dates, shopping excursions and any other indulgent soirees we partake in. I’m going to miss not meeting my new niece or nephew until Christmas. That’s if we can even afford to make the trip back then. I could go on forever and ever about the people I will miss. Because I love each and every person I have gotten to know and trust and call a friend. One of my oldest and dearest friends used to say “out of sight, out of mind.” He’s lucky that has never been the case. And it never will be for anyone else that calls me a friend either. The bond I feel with all of my friends is stronger than distance. At least I really hope that is the case for both ends.

There is also leaving the security of being implicitly familiar with my surroundings. I was walking down Washington Street in Old Town yesterday and smelled my favorite wings from Southside and the best brick oven pizza in town at Faccia Luna. Even the Chicken Out on the corner smelled good and I freaking hate that place! Soon I won’t be walking through town and bump into friends that I have made on every corner. I won’t be so easy as knowing that the fastest way to DC in the mornings is on the GW Parkway. I won’t be able to walk past the fountain where we got engaged or go to the place where we first met. I won’t be frequenting the bar where I made my first Virginia friends anymore. I will be lost in someone else’s world. I will have to start all over again to make it mine.

Leaving my job means I am giving up my financial independence. I will have to rely on someone else and relinquish the control I have over the way I choose to spend my hard-earned dime. It won’t be mine anymore to be frivolous when I want to. I will wake up in the morning and have to figure out what to do with myself, trying not to frivolously fritter my days away. It won’t be as easy as being obliged to go to work and earn a paycheck. I will have to learn the values of other types of paydays… the ones were the thing you earned was strictly for your heart and soul’s benefit and not your bank accounts. It is going to be hard letting go of conceptions that I am worth nothing if I am not working to benefit us monetarily. I’m terrified that we won’t have enough money and I will have to go back to work before we return, crushing so many of my plans.

While I am thrilled about school, I am also scared as hell that I will lose the nerve and not finish yet another thing that I have started. What if I have forgotten how to study and can no longer pull a decent grade? I have watched my dear friend JL go back to school. I know how very hard she works and what she has sacrificed to go back. I’m afraid I won’t have the stamina that she has shown and I will quit after one semester because I just can’t hack it. I’m afraid of being a quitter.

What if I can’t make any friends? I fear that no one will like me. I’ve been told more than once that I wasn’t exactly a favorite upon a first meeting. Either I become the terribly shy person who sits there in silence or, more likely, I become completely obnoxious and boisterous. No middle ground can be found. What if they can’t get past this and see who I really am, just a scared little girl inside who feels the need to constantly overcompensate? I don’t know how I would handle not having a single person to hang out with when KH is busy doing his real stuff in the real world. And what if I just continually make a complete ass out of myself? I don’t like the thought of drastically standing out now and I would hate it if people were pointing and laughing on top of it.

There are so many positive things to be grateful and excited for. And there is still the negative side that is constantly questioning the decisions I have made and will make when we get there, as hidden as I can keep it. Please allow me this freak out period. Forgive my anger, my tears and all of my frustrations. I am trying to get a grip on the crazy. I apologize now for anything I may say or do over the last few weeks. You have permission to slap me… but only if you feel it is absolutely necessary to get through. Above all, please love me anyway and try to understand me. Maybe even buy me a Krispy Kreme. Or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles popsicle from the nice man who drives his truck through our neighborhood every night. Whatever you do, please… just don’t throw a chicken my way.

Tuesday, June 13

Every Intention of Bettering Myself

It is pretty obvious that we are embarking on a journey that will introduce me to a place that will provide me with numerous explorations and many different cultural experiences. With that, I will get the chance to make new friends and set up a new home in reflection of a new country’s fashion. But these are all things that I could do anywhere we lived or visited. I am honestly thrilled about the area we will be living in, but there is so much more to the whole affair that excites me. What I truly look forward to are the other opportunities.

When you think of a move like this, it is all about the opportunities. Maybe I am overusing the word when I talk about the move, but those opportunities are endless. Can you really overuse a word that so completely portrays “endless” to your heart? Think about having a door opened to you that would allow you to do the things that you have always dreamed of. That’s what really excites me about this trip. I am being presented with so many opportunities to do things that I never had time to do because I worked too long and too hard or because we didn’t have the extra cash or the extra time. This is probably the biggest reason why I am so eager for this chance.

It is also pretty obvious that I have an immense list of interests. The things out there that I have longed to see and do are so copious and the list is always growing. There are some solid things that I feel are important for me to accomplish. Things that I feel are important for me to be a success personally and professionally. And there are also more abstract things that I would like to do just because of an immense love for them or a need to know and understand more about myself and the world around me. I want to realize what makes me passionate. What makes me happy. And what I could pass on doing for the rest of my life (I would add skiing to that list off the bat). Most people try to figure these things out in their formative years and by the time they graduate college, they have a pretty good idea of who they are. I don’t think it works like that. In your early years, it is just too much to ask of yourself to pick one thing to be fervent about and become the best at when you could have 80 years left of experiences left undone because you didn’t change your focus. Why not spend your life learning out about all two hundred things that you love and want to do rather than narrow yourself down to one or two in the dawn of your years on this earth. You could turn a corner any day and find something new and interesting. Why stop yourself from doing it because you have too many commitments already on your plate?

But that is what I have done these past few years. The time has come to stop that practice. I want to find beauty and animation in every new encounter. I want to hone my interests and talents as well as find at least twenty new things to become zealous about. It is time that I make a pact with myself to not let every day life get in the way of trying something new and different. And this move is the golden opportunity of my life.

For years, I have wanted to go back and finish my degree. I got my associates degree not far out of high school. Then I worked on my bachelors while I worked full time. It was never an easy road but I kind of liked the pressures of trying to do it all at once. Then I moved to Virginia and really wanted to enjoy the DC experience so I held off on my last two years of schooling. I am still not sure this was a good idea or a bad idea. I have had a hard time motivating myself to go back after the freedom I have of nights open to whatever chance brings my way. But it has been good that I gave myself that time. I was feeling pretty burnt out when I got here. Finally I did find the motivation to get back into school and finish what I started, but not really the time. The time I always forced school into just didn’t top the things I put there in place of that. Like enjoying time with my friends and family. This move will allow me the opening to go back without taking away from those other truly important commitments. I have even found a school online that I like and can finish my degree with, permitting me to have the right amount of free time I will need when we have visitors. As far as concrete opportunities, this is number one for me in what I want to accomplish with my time overseas.

Along with never enough time while living in DC, where traffic can sometimes keep you in the car for an hour each way, I have always wanted more free time to volunteer. I have already made contact with someone about volunteer opportunities overseas. With my medical background, I want to get re-updated on my certifications and start with the Red Cross as soon as possible. Who knows, I can always come back home with a paid position with them if I play my cards right with the degree program I have chosen. All of this is such a blessing to me. I will not have to work in the traditional sense of the word during these three years that we are away and I can instead focus my “work” on two things that mean so much to me personally now, and professionally later. But I do not want to weigh myself down with only big expectations. I want to make sure I give myself the time to appreciate the area and what it has to offer.

When we first debated the moving overseas question, Japan was not the highest on the list. I had big dreams of places like Italy and Greece! I could see myself sitting on a Tuscan vineyard enjoying a daily wine stupor or laying on an island beach sipping iced Ouzo while staring out at the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean. And Kimono Hubby would be there feeding me strawberries and pizza and rubbing my feet. Okay, I didn’t really except the last part. But the first was definitely part of my overseas vision. I would, of course, have loved to move to these places. But Japan has opened my eyes to something bigger than a love of fine wine and good food.

The Far East conjures thoughts of a certain lifestyle. A Zen way of life. People are more interested in self-contemplation and intuition making you a better person than believing that devotion in one supreme being is your only way to salvation. I do not fault or disregard anyone’s religious beliefs, but I do feel that there is more to it than faith. And here I am moving to a place where I can learn from great, enlightened minds. I can take more time to understand the differences between religion and spirituality and guide my life in a healthier direction. I want to learn inner calm through meditation and yoga, something which continually eludes me in an area where you have to be moving faster than the person beside you and doing everything two times bigger and better. This move is providing me with that very opportunity, to find peace and contentment within myself and not by the things I can attain physically.

Let’s not forget that the Japanese are known for many more teachings than strictly the spiritual sense! There are some other trades I intend to pursue when we arrive. Ikebana is the Japanese art of floral arrangement. Emphasis is placed on balance, harmony and form. I am really hoping to find an instructor that would be willing to teach me this art form to help me become skilled at a pastime that I would love for life. And if I ever get to open that flower shop, I think it would be a technique that could prove very profitable. Never hurts to think ahead!

We received information the other day about karate courses that are available to us. I have done a little research so far and it looks like Aikido could be for me. I don’t really think I am the type to be a karate chopping mofo so I think I should stick with a self-defense expertise. Aikido uses principles of non-resistance to debilitate an opponent’s strength. Basically more like a bad ass Buddha than the vengeful Bride in Kill Bill. I got me skills that you all don’t even know about yet! I’m also hoping that competence in Aikido could help me to not fall down and crack my head open every time I do the notorious Karate Kid move.

Then there is always the question of to kid or not to kid which many have asked us about. We do plan on having children in the future. I want my children to have the opportunity to see amazing places and do amazing things with us while they grow. But let’s be realistic. How many people have children and think, hey! The Far East would be an awesome place to vacation with our precious, little baby! It is much easier to think of a vacation in Europe than to a country where they may or may not eat dog. We know so little about life in Japan and that side of the world. The unknown is so scary for someone on their own, let alone with small children. I think God had a hand in it when we were chosen for Japan. This time, this experience, is perfect for us just as we are now. No tiny attachments. Just two people who are ready for a change and don’t mind to rough it when necessary. Well… as long as roughing it means a relatively clean bathroom and maid service. Some of the countries we want to visit are not places that as the overprotective mom that I am sure to be would want to papoose my children around. To do this as just the two of us, couldn’t have been a better fit or a better time. So kids are still a wish but probably not one we want to or will be realizing any time soon.

This move is the key to all of these things. Every thing that I want to learn and experience to make myself a better, calmer, more balanced person. It’s all about the opportunity… and how I will use it.

A cousin stated something recently that I knew in my heart but had surprisingly never voiced. The credit for this door laying wide open for me should be said and heard. This opportunity is something I have always wished for and it took such a very long time coming. There is only one person to thank for providing me with it. My loving husband. I am blessed for so many reasons. But mostly I am blessed because I have someone in my life who understands and shares many of my interests and curiosities in the world around us. I am blessed with someone who isn’t afraid to work hard to get us where we have dreamed of going. I am blessed with someone who wants to experience every little thing this world, this life, has to offer us. And I thank him so deeply for sharing this journey with me. I can’t wait to see what will happen next for us.
I dreamt last night that I went to Michael's and bought one of those round, foam inserts that you use to make wreathes. I bought it for Bruiser. Because I thought he would like nice wearing it. What does this say about me?

Monday, June 12

Miss Manners Does A Table

Some important tips and info that Miss Kimono Manners would like to share with you so you don't embarrass her at the knee-high table:

Did you know that it is bad manners not to eat everything on your plate? Try licking the bowl to get out all of the rice. Go on… no one will notice.

Did you know that it is customary to always serve another their alcoholic beverage before serving yourself? If someone wants to refill your glass, you should quickly empty the glass before holding it out to be filled. Seriously? Are they all drunks?

Did you know that you should not drink until everyone at the table has a filled glass and a toast is offered? And don’t yell out the “chin chin” toast as this refers to the male genitals. Unless you are looking for a date.

Did you know that you are supposed to eat your sushi in one bite? For little people, they must have very big mouths.

Did you know when eating noodles, you should coax them into your mouth with your chopsticks using a controlled, quiet sucking, copying the slurping noises of those around you? If they are slurping quietly and yet you are supposed to listen and do as they do, how close do you get before you get splashed?

Did you know that you should not pass food from your chopsticks to someone else’s? This is only done at funerals where the bones are passed from person to person that way. Wow! Chopsticks are truly multifunctional!

Did you know that you should not point at people, stab your food or play samurai with your chopsticks? You could poke an eye out. Or *gasp* even offend someone.

Did you know that it is not common to tip in Japan? When leaving, say “gochisosama deshita!" which means “here’s to no tip for you!” Or it could mean “thank you for the meal”. Me Japanese no too good yet.

Friday, June 9

Fear #1

My biggest fear in this whole moving process was that someone would get sick when I moved away. I would say goodbye and never see them again.

My mom called last night to tell me that my grandmother has cancer. Has there ever been another word in human language that is more horrifying?

At this time, the word is that she won’t have the surgery. She is refusing. The family is trying to talk her into it. But just shy of 88 years, the woman certainly has the prerogative to her own mind.

She’s a tough lady. Always has been. But I know that there is love there. So very much of it and it goes deeper than she would ever have anyone know.

While I hate this turn of events, I can't even stand to think about how I won’t be there for my mom during this long road that lies ahead. Because we all know how this goes. It isn’t easy. It’s so very damn hard.

I don’t even know what to say to anyone else or even myself. Except I hate cancer. It certainly puts many things that have been causing me anxiety into a different perspective. Who cares about my silly list of things to do? Taking care of my family will always be my number one priority.

But for today, I think I will just cry.

Thursday, June 8

A Call for the Raw

I can’t wait to eat real Japanese sushi! And I mean the really real stuff. Where a man who works a corner sushi shop in Tokyo on the humid July afternoon slaps some cold, dead fish on top of some rice, ties it together with seaweed, splashes some fish eggs over it and calls his art “lunch”. Who cares what the fish is?! Like my lame American taste buds would know the difference anyway. Just has to be raw and really fishy and I will be perfectly content. Poor Kimono Hubby, though. He will starve if there aren’t other options. That guy will eat NOTHING raw. Nothing a little bloody even. I have never figured out how he has lived all of these years without eating nice, rare, bloody steak that just dissolves in your mouth. Aside: Vegans, please don’t collapse in a pool of revulsion and loathing. I can’t help being a carnivore! My parents raised me on hotdogs. And we all know what they are made out of.

As the adventurers that we like to think we are, we like to try different food. (I can honestly say, though, that I will never eat Ethiopian again. As Kimono Hubby stated, why the hell would you think it was a good idea to eat Ethiopian when the country is known for starving? He has a very good point.) We have tried many, many Japanese restaurants. But the funny thing is, we never ever eat anything but the sushi! And for KH, it’s always a California roll. But just how does one order a California roll in Japan, I’d like to know?

The Japanese establishments we have tried certainly have carried other menu items. We honestly could not name a single one of those other things. I can say that I really dig the edamame! But one shouldn’t live on dead fish and soy beans alone. When we do head for Japanese place, we have every intention of experiencing a new menu item, but somehow always end up with a plate of sushi. Why mess with perfection? Plus, I don’t think KH can eat anything else with chopsticks. I’m going to have to sneak that boy a fork into every restaurant.

Either we really aren’t the adventurers we like to think we are or we just really like cold, stinky, dead fish.

So if anyone can recommend another dish we should try, let me know! Surprise, surprise – I’m making a list! I just don’t want to be known as the girl who thinks the McSushi at McDonalds is the authentic, good stuff.

I did watch a show the other week on the Travel channel… something like Weird Foods of Asia. If you suggest anything from that show, I will politely refuse. And then I will probably stop calling you my friend.

Wednesday, June 7

Lunch Chat

Kimono Karen: My cousin mentioned the other day that she was a little envious of the freedoms I had while growing up.

Friend: Well, I’m sure those freedoms are part of the reason why you are so eager and ready for a move as big as this.

KK: Or maybe I’m just too dumb to know any better.

To Do List (of which nothing has been done)

Reasons why I feel like hiding in my closet and upchucking in my pretty shoes until July 22nd:

The house. Is not sold. Not even contracted.

The stuff. Is not packed. Not even a little.

The language. Is not learned. Not even enough to ask where the damn hole in the floor is to pee in.

The SUV. Is not sold. Not even cleaned out of the dog hair mound so someone could actually contemplate purchasing.

The food. Is not eaten. Not even the pretty pastel Easter candy.

The alcohol. Is not drank. Not even the big bottle of vodka that would like to soak my cares away.

The monthly bills. Are not paid. Not even forwarded to someone in the country who will pay them so we may actually be allowed U.S. credit when we come home.

The copies of important documents. Are not copied. Not even my driver’s license so that should an arrest happen while wandering the Far East, someone will be able to prove my existence and bail my ass out.

The passport. Is not available. Not even in my possession.

The job. Is not left. Not even so I can take care of this stupid list.

6 weeks, 3 days, 13 hours, 53 minutes and 12 seconds left.

Update: The Easter candy has been eaten! No one can say I don't have my priorities straight.

Tuesday, June 6

Bru-sie Poosie Pudding and Pie

I miss my puppy, Bruiser. Yes, I know he wasn’t really a puppy. And yeah, maybe I complained about him a little bit. But, dag, I do miss him!

Two and a half years ago, I decided that I really wanted a doggy of my own. To pet and hug and love forever and ever... all that happiness... bunnies, babies and rainbows and shit. Yes, I knew that a doggy would be work. It’s like “owning” a baby that just never grows up. The work I could totally handle! There are two parents here and this will make our family unit perfectly complete. Yes, yes. A new little child was just what we needed.

Requirements: any kind, but lab preferred, any color, aged 2-4, potty trained, a rescue doggy. Growing up, we had always rescued dogs. There are just too many doggies out there that need a good home to have someone MAKE one just for me.

Early one Saturday morning, we arrived at an adoption day for labs at the local Petsmart. We were sure that we really wanted a doggy and all the responsibilities that came with one. But what I didn’t know when we got out of the car that morning was that we would be carrying one home by afternoon.

We walked around and said hello to all the doggies. We heard their stories. Some of them very tragic. I totally would have taken the poor doggy home that had the list of 305 health problems and just needed a good place to live out his golden years if KH hadn’t stopped me. We stopped in front of this chocolate dog. Spoke to the handler, and fifteen minutes later, we were in the Petsmart buying supplies to ready him for his new home.

What the f*@%? Who in their right mind thought it would be ok for us to walk away with this dog?

Indeed, two short hours later, the newest Kimono family member was sitting in the back seat of my SUV looking at me like he was some kind of pimp with two new bitches that he had to handle. Oh yes, he took over immediately.

The rescue people had named him Chocko. How dreadfully original of them. Kimono Hubby and I immediately set out to remedy the name situation on the way home. I mean, he only had the other one for something like ten minutes. How bad could it be to screw with our new baby’s mind and change it to something cool and thug like? Remember, doggies are like practice for the real thing so let’s get some of the screwing up out of the way.

One name was spoken. One name was accepted. And he was reborn as Bruiser.

You know that no other name is adequate if you have met this dog. He is weighs a full 75 pounds (ok, maybe he peeked over 100 that one time but I still feel that he really needed all those cookies!). He has massive paws that he uses to stomp your piggy toes into the ground with as he is anxiously circling you. He is about as maladroit as a lab could come.

Bruiser seemed hesitant but cool in his new pad. He checked things out and we made a few house rules, none of which we ever did keep as Bruiser really did rule the roost. Day one went by relatively smoothly. We stared at him quizzically and he stared back. Day two, all hell broke loose.

We had been told that he was food aggressive. They had found him as a stray and a little on the meager side from his dumpster diving days. It was understandable that he would feel slightly possessive of his new chow. But no one told us he was mildly couch aggressive and didn’t share at all and that he was a complete Alpha Male. With one in the house already (and I mean me), the house was not nearly big enough for two. But we worked together and over time we became friends. He never was a much of a hugger though. Really kind of hated it. That doesn’t bode well for someone who wants to strangle hug their puppy and give them big kisses. Not to mention that he had a slight attitude and peed on the floor on a daily basis for two months. And that was right after you spent a half an hour walking him. Spiteful is my little Sir Nastiness.

But my puppy love is big! So we worked at it together. There were some tears. There was some shouting. There was even some reverse psychology attempted (probably more him on me). But at the end of the day, there was love.

So the decision to leave my puppy behind when we found out we were moving was a terribly hard one.

I know you all probably think me a terrible mom right now. I mean, you wouldn’t move to Japan without your human child so how could you, you cold, heartless bitch?!

Honestly, Bruiser couldn’t handle it. Many of our big problems with him came after we bought our first home and moved in. We only moved four miles. He destroyed the house and I am still scared every day that I didn’t get all the pee out of the carpet and every potential buyer can smell it. He destroyed my SUV. He chewed panel covers off the wall and then the walls themselves when the covers were gone. He is a bit of an anxious traveler, I guess you could say. I load him up with natural mood relaxer treats and it still doesn’t help. Just makes him fall over every time we go into a turn. The vet suggested puppy Prozac but my Just-Say-No-to-all-drugs-including-that-damn-killer-Tylenol! husband gave me a big “fat chance.” To even attempt a fifteen hour plane ride to Japan with him would be senseless and reckless. Bruiser could hurt someone. Or even worse, himself. And I would never forgive myself.

So my puppy has moved back to my parent’s home in the country to stay until we move back to the states and he can once again live with us. He has two friends he lives with now, Rush (Limbaugh) and Rusty, one black and one yellow lab respectively. How awesome is it that my daddy now houses a lab in every color?! Well, I thought it was a good selling point when I asked him to keep him for us anyway.

It is so quiet here without Bru. In the morning when my alarm goes off, no one jumps of the couch, of which he isn’t supposed to be on, to come running up the stairs and hang out with me as I get ready for the day. I sometimes think I hear his collar jingling. But it turns out to be Kimono Hubby’s chain. (GOLD with a cross – not that I keep my husband on a chain! Although what an awesome idea.) I miss that my Bru-sie isn’t here following me around everywhere I go. I miss that he doesn’t bark every time a doorbell sounds in a commercial. (He wasn’t necessarily the brightest. What robber rings the damn doorbell, Bruiser?) I miss his soft and lovely ears that I could rub and rub until the world became a better place.

I’m so glad he is someplace safe. I’m so glad he is waiting for us. And I’m so glad that every time I go back home, I get to see his big brown, loving eyes again. Hopefully he understands that I did this with affection in my heart. Hopefully he knows that I am loving him and hugging him every day in my prayers.

Monday, June 5

Theme Me!

I think I have confirmed another little issue in my state of being. I have a notion problem. Hello, my name is Karen and I am a notion addict. You know what I mean… I get a notion stuck in my little noggin and I just can’t seem to let it go. I beat it and beat it and beat it into just another dead horse. You all have seen me do it.

Okay, you might be more accurate to say that I have a functional brain ailment. As in, mine isn’t quite functioning. Remember back in the days of record players when you would be sitting in your room listening to your favorite Andy Gibb album imaging you were kissing him by a pale blue Italian stream? And then the record would skip and Andy was left repeating “what a fool, what a fool, what a fool…” as your stream dissolved into the lavender shag rug on your bedroom floor. You see, my brain works like that record player. It even sometimes takes someone smacking me in the head to make the final jump to the next point in the song. Literally.

So a few years ago I got a notion that I needed to have a theme song. God only knows where this stuff ever comes from and how it sticks inside my head with the force that it does. But I found myself with a need so strong, for a tune meant just for me. I dragged out over 1,000 cds from under my bed and started going through the crates, trying to find that quintessential song that just screamed “KAREN! I LOVE YOU!” Lo and behold I found that Len really did make that song and it was meant for the one and only me! It seemed… but it really wasn’t. (Too drug infused.)

Then I tried “Baby Got Back”. While this was suitable in a literal sense, I wasn’t sure I like what it said about my overall music prudence. The succession of testings included: “I’m Too Sexy” (too obvious), “Ring of Fire” (too drunk), “Fast As You Can” (too angry), “Brain Damage” (too f-ed up in the head), “One Way or Another” (too desperate), “Dancing Queen” (too gay… in the happy sense), “Freak on a Leash” (too close to the truth).

There was one though that stuck out in my mind and made me all warm and fuzzy inside every time I had heard it. “Everyday” by Dave Matthews Band. Sheer perfection if not slightly cheesy compared to DMB’s earlier musings. But so it was adopted nonetheless. My one and only theme song. Oh, how I love thee! But do you know what is funny? Now that I had it, what the hell do I do with it? Absolutely, peanut butter on bananas, nothing!

And yet I find myself wanting a new one. Because the record that I call my brain is apparently skipping again. This time it should be a moving on song. Something that shows all of my love, all of my odium and all of my reverence that goes along with this big relocation.

I have tried on many a song. “Moon River” (probably why the damn thing is so high on the Ipod rotation right now), “I’ll Be Around” (whenever we get a phone and computer hook-up, I’ll be around then anyway), “Let it Be” (kind of makes me bawl really loudly so not my first or favorite choice), “Good Riddance” (because I certainly have had the time of my life here in DC). While these all touch on my current feelings, I still don’t think I have found that one song to complete my thoughts these days. I’m still on the hunt!

I am absolutely certain that I am not the only crazy one out there. Especially if you are friends with me, know that you were picked for a reason. While I may be slightly more intense then most when it comes to my fancy fixations, I am definitely not the only one having them. What makes your brain tap along to the beat? What song gets you moving or makes you smile or makes you feel all sexed up? And if anyone has a suggestion for a new song for me, let me know! I also wouldn’t mind if you have a prescription for Xanax that you would like to share. Or do they give you something else for voices in your head?

Friday, June 2

The Weekend Plan

Some weekends you just gotta have a drink.

Only An Echo

There is an echo in our home these days. Several weeks ago the first part of our move happened. The movers came and packed up everything that was to be placed in storage for the next three years. The morning they were to arrive, it didn't seem like it was a big deal. Until those things were gone.

I cried when they moved my dressers to the truck. They weren't anything special, but they were mine. And I have had them ever since I can remember. My mom says they were bought at an auction when I was a child. Cheap and used but again… mine. And with each knick and scrape that I put on them, a little bit more of myself went into them. They had moved back and forth from every apartment and town I have ever lived in. All those moves, but they were always there. Familiar. Comfortable. As they were carried out of the bedroom, it was like a piece of me went missing.

We spend all this time trying to fill up our lives, our homes, with belongings. Some are small, some are silly, and some are sentimental. We want to make ourselves comfortable. Some of the things that moved to storage were completely inconsequential. In fact, in three years, I am sure I won’t even remember I owned some of them.

What has been left behind is only what moves with us. The essentials. With the rest gone, my heart has felt a little hole open up. In my home, only an echo is left behind. It seems lonely in our home without our belongings. I am a lonely without them.

And yet these are just things. Oh, how I have cried over them. How will I handle being without my family... my friends… if this is how worked up I get over a beat up dresser?

Two nights ago another piece left. Just a baker's rack. Sold to the highest bidder. As these pieces are taken away one by one, I have to wonder who I will be without them. Who I will be without my relationships. Will the new experiences waiting overseas fulfill me the way I have hoped?

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to this experience wholeheartedly. Yet still, I look forward to the day when all will be rejoined again. I look forward to the day when the echo that invades my home now will once again be filled with love and laughter of those that care for us.

And, of course, I can’t wait to see my dressers again! My clothes miss them!

Thursday, June 1

100 Things

Here are 100 things that you probably didn’t want to know about me but I am sharing with you anyway. Because I can.

1. I was born with white blond hair and am still a natural blond although these days I have help to make it purty.
2. My middle name is Nicole. I liked it so much that when I moved to a new school in my senior year, I told everyone I preferred it. Plus there was already another Karen and I just hated to be like anyone else.
3. I now pride myself on being slightly different although as a child I hated that I wasn’t like everyone else. It wasn’t until late in high school that I started accepting me for who I am. It took me until my late 20s to really love what I had made of myself. These days, I think I am pretty darn awesome.
4. I still have a long way to go, though.
5. My birthday is August 9th. As we move overseas in July, this will be my first year without my friends around to celebrate with a hard core night out. I hope I don’t spend the day crying because I miss them so much.
6. I was born in Gettysburg, PA. I love going home to slow down and spend time with family in Pennsylvania but I don’t think I will ever move back there. Very sad for my mommy.
7. I’ve lived in apartments or homes in Lancaster, Spring Grove, York, Spring Grove, Spring Grove, York, York, McLean, Alexandria, Alexandria, Alexandria, and finally Lorton in that order since graduating from high school. That’s 12 moves in 15 years. Restless spirit?
8. I’ve been a hostess, waitress, student, medical assistant, administrative assistant, bartender, retail manager, cold call sales person (one whole day!... I cried when they said no), customer service rep and production coordinator since high school. Indecisive maybe?
9. I use one whole walk-in closet at home all by myself. My clothes hang in color coded order, and within that classification, by sleeve length. Separate sections include tops, pants and skirts. I need to use a second closet for coats though because the darn things just won’t fit. I once counted all the articles of clothing that I own not including undies or socks. I will never, ever reveal that number.
10. I’m not OCD or anything, just anal retentive.
11. Like all great women (hail to Imelda Marcos!), I have a bit of a shoe collection. I don’t wear even a third of them but I love them all. I have bought three more pairs in the past week.
12. Coach really is the only brand of handbag that I consider. I try to not be such a snob but I just can’t let it go! The quality is excellent and the styles last forever. See… am practical! Not just squanderer!
13. I love, love, LOVE my Ipod. It was a gift from KH this past Christmas. I have six and a half days of music on it and counting. In the top 25 most played you would find Andy Williams (Moon River), Coldplay (The Scientist), Death Cab for Cutie (Title and Registration), Kelly Clarkson (Miss Independent), Dean Martin (That’s Amore), James Blunt (You’re Beautiful), The Spinners (I’ll Keep Working My Way Back to You) and the Pussycat Dolls (Don’t Cha). God help me.
14. I swear that I have never watched a whole show of American Idol. I know who has won maybe two seasons and I couldn’t care less. I like Kelly only after her first album came out.
15. I wish American Idol would die a slow and painful death forever and ever and take all other reality shows with it. Except for America’s Next Top Model. Who doesn’t love catty bitches in preposterous clothes and bizarre poses?
16. I wish I could go live on the island of Lost. I’ve got information that would help them! I could solve all their problems and get them to open up with one another! And I totally know the numbers to push for the button.
17. I’ve also tried to become a Gilmore Girl and move to Stars Hollow, CT. Did you know that the place doesn’t even exist?! Perhaps they would allow me to live on the set…
18. If you call my home during the hour that Lost or Gilmore Girls is on, I will answer, explain that you have called during my show, and I will hang up. No other words need be spoken. I have done this more than once.
19. Besides the first two, I can’t get enough of The O.C. and Desperate Housewives. Simple guilty pleasures.
20. After these four shows, I wish the television would cease to exist. Although my husband would spontaneously combust so I guess this can never happen.
21. I dream often about getting on the school bus with new shoes on or roller skates. I hate this dream because how could a girl with a closet like mine not wear appropriate foot attire?
22. After my childhood dog Gizmo died, I dreamt that my family went to the SPCA to get another doggy just like him. We found one but they were taking him out of his cage. We asked where they were taking him and they told us they “had to cut his ears off because they didn’t sell them like that anymore”. It was heartbreaking. What kind of a maniac cuts off a dog’s ears? I still have to remind myself that it was only a dream.
23. Gizmo was not the cutest dog. Yes, he had lovely ears that perked up like Gizmo in the Gremlins. But he was also pink. You see, Poor Gizzy had a skin disease that made him get very red. Since he was also missing a lot of hair because of this disease, the red glared from the few white hairs and gave him a pinkish tint. Hence the nickname Pinky that everyone learned to know and love him by.
24. Gizmo/Pinky was the best dog ever! I miss this pet more than any that have passed to this day. We used to put baby bonnets on Pinky! Green to bring out the pink of his skin.
25. There is a new best dog ever though! My doggy Bruiser is now living in Pennsylvania at my parent’s place. You see, he has a bit of an anxiety problem and we just won’t be able to move him with us. But he will come home to us when we move back! And I can’t wait to have my puppy back! Just please, Bruiser, stop peeing on the damn carpet.
26. I was pretty mean to my little brother growing up. I only had one and I never knew why I was so rough on him. Probably only years of deep psychological therapy will ever tell.
27. I’ve never been to a therapist although I’ve often thought I should. Then I realized that I am no more messed up than anyone else. So why bother?
28. I was a bit of a tomboy in my younger years. For our birthdays one year, both my brother and I asked for GI Joe guys. (His birthday is 4 days before mine.) I really wanted the Cobra twins. But my damn brother got them instead of me. When we played GI Joes, I was always good Joes and he was always the bad Cobras. Because I said so, that’s why! So we were play fighting in a big spring puddle one day with our Hydroplane and I killed one of the twins! He fell to his death in the murky waters below. I stomped him in the mud… deep. Never to be found again and rescued from his muddy grave. Now my brother didn’t have the twins either.
29. See? Told you. Mean.
30. But only to my little brother. I acted the part of an angel to anyone else.
31. One day, in my brother’s early teens, he hit me. I never messed with him again.
32. In high school, I fancied myself an artist. I spent all free hours in the art room painting and drawing and making crap. My teachers said I was something special and that I had a lot of potential. My parent’s encouraged me to do something with my skills. That never panned out.
33. The move to a new school at the start of my senior year gave me a new art teacher. He said I sucked. I got a D for the first time ever in an art class. I let him steal away all of my enthusiasm for creating art.
34. I will never let anyone take anything away from me like that again.
35. Before that happened, a friend and I dreamed of owning our own gallery some day. The walls would be filled with my work and she would play the piano to fill the room with music. She still teaches piano in her spare time. But I don’t think we will ever see our gallery realized.
36. One day, I will have one dream realized though. I will own a flower shop. It will have a small town, romantic feel and the walls will be painted yellow. Those walls will be covered with the art of local talents who have the enthusiasm still that I lost so many years ago. Every floral display that leaves the front door will be unique and beautiful and crafted especially for the receiver. I don’t care if I make money in my flower shop. I just want to create the work… an art in its own right... and to regain a smidge of that old enthusiasm for art for arts sake.
37. I once painted black footprints on the ceiling of my bedroom. With my feet. My cousin pushed me around the room on top of a dresser while I kicked and kicked at the ceiling. That was the day of my mother’s first near-heart attack.
38. When I ran out of walls and ceilings to draw on, I turned to my body. I have three tattoos. The first, a little, springy daisy. The second, a warm, summery sunflower. The third a large design that I crafted and placed on my lower back. A friend once told me that it looked like fallopian tubes and started calling me “Fallop”. I still am very mad over that comment. She is no longer a friend. For other reasons entirely, but that one didn’t help her cause.
39. I wasn’t much on the piercings. It looked cool especially in a nose but I prefer my eccentricities to be slightly more hidden. I have two holes in each ear. There used to be more. So glad I grew out of that rebellious stage.
40. The top holes only ever bear tiny diamonds. A Christmas gift from my daddy. I never take them out.
41. Tennis is the only sport I can play. And even that I am not an expertly skilled at.
42. Any sport that involves running will just never be part of my favorite repertoire. I do go to the track to get some semblance of exercise. I hate it more than anything else in this world.
43. Power Yoga at 6 am is about the only thing I do on any regular basis. The man that does this on TV is very perky. I hate perky in the mornings.
44. In fact, I hate mornings. I growl and I don’t like to be touched or spoken to at least until after 9 am. To be on the safe side, you should probably wait until 10 am.
45. My work hours are from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. The morning grumpiness has always sort of posed a problem for work. But I have worked my current job long enough that most people know not to call too early. If they must, I hope they understand that one word answers are all I can muster. Even that could end up just being a grunt.
46. There is only one way to get me moving in the morning… offer me Diet Coke. I used to drink more than a six pack a day but I have since healthied myself up a bit and now only drink the original eye opener.
47. No other caffeine source is acceptable. I don’t like coffee except for the smell. They just don’t put enough sugar in juice. Milk without chocolate just isn’t natural. But I will bend the rules on occasion for a Dr. Pepper.
48. The only other thing I drink during the day is water. And the occasional cup of hot tea. None of the iced crap though! No wonder the English pooh-pooh us so much. Icing every damn drink down like the sissies that we are.
49. If you are going to mix my Diet Coke with anything, the only acceptable choice is the Captain. 50. And then the Captain introduced his son, Parrot Bay. Mix it with pineapple and cranberry and you have yourself a darn good cocktail. Hmm… Looks like I do drink at least one juice of sorts.
51. It never hurts to begin the night with a Mandarin and Red Bull. Although if you are smart, you will quit after one or face the demons of the Technicolor yawn the following day.
52. The worst hangover I ever had was after my bachelorette party. They made me wear a big, ole penis with fun stuff to do on it. There were multiple shots listed for me to consume. The final was to do a shot in every color of the rainbow. A good friend made it better for me and put it in one glass. To this day it was the single most horrible thing I have ever ingested. I was sent home the following day with puke in my hair and a hangover so bad that I couldn’t stand to hear bottles clink together for months afterwards. I spent two days in bed and had the shakes every time I stood up.
53. I’ve only had two bones broken. My collarbone broke when I rolled off a table as a baby. I know. Who puts a baby on a table? But I was the first and was some sort of test project, I think. The second broken bone was during a pillow fight when someone got a little two close and broke my nose in their swing. I passed out instantly and to this day have a crooked nose. Because of COURSE we didn’t think to go to a hospital. They just handed me another drink!
54. I have only passed out three times in my life. Once for the stated pillow injury. Another time waiting two hours in the sun for the newest water ride at Hershey Park. And the third in art class in high school. I climbed up some shelving and with my art in one hand and the other hanging on to the shelving unit, I jumped off to get back down. Only my class ring and finger stayed put to leave me dangling from the top of the shelves. When I got down, I showed the injury to the teacher but honestly don’t recollect much of the immediate afterward. Shock or something silly like that. She sent me to the nurse’s office. I walked the hallway alone, into the nurse’s room and hit the floor only just after removing the dented ring and flinging it across the room.
55. The ring was fixed but I never had the guts to wear it again.
56. To this day I could light the one side of my finger on fire and never feel it. Cool party trick.
57. I convulse something crazy when I pass out. What a freak show!
58. My first kiss was with a boy at a campground who hunted frogs with me in the lake. I was 14 or 15 and very gangly. We snuck out very early the morning that he was leaving for home to say goodbye. My father caught me on the way back to our campsite. It was my poor parent’s first taste of what I would put them through in the next several years.
59. I made a list of lists of things to do before I die.
60. One is a list of books to read before I die. There are over 600 books on the list. If I read 20 a year, I can die in 30 years with the list completed.
61. Two is a list of all 50 states that I must visit before I die. 25 down, 25 to go.
62. Three is a list of all of the continents, of which I must also go to each before I die. Only two down so far but I am fast approaching number three.
63. Four is a list of all the restaurants I must try in the DC area before I die. I will never. Ever. Complete this.
64. Five is a list of the reasons why you don’t want to read about all of my lists.
65. I am a list maker in more ways than this alone. I write a list every day just to get myself through to sunset. I still say it isn’t a disorder.
66. I am extremely susceptible to commercials.
67. I will quote those commercials repeatedly until someone breaks down and buys me whatever nonsense I am after.
68. I once ran around my house for a half an hour yelling “Domino’s Dots are Coming!” What do you know… someone had them delivered to shut me up.
69. I also bought Maybelline lipstick that had “diamonds” in them because I just needed my lips to sparkle like the girl in the pretty pictures. My lips were stained a shade of fuchsia pink for three days afterward.
70. I have a lot of needs. We shall not go there again.
71. I really love the Steelers. And I really love that I saw them for the first time ever this year. Another gift from the wonderful Kimono Hubby!
72. I also love that they won the Superbowl this year. Just for me! Because they just knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get up at 6 am and watch them while living in Japan.
73. Beer and hot wings are the only acceptable foods for football Sundays. The day should be spent at Southside doing mass consumptions with intermittent screams and tears over the game. I am really going to miss those Sundays spent there.
74. If I were stuck on a deserted island, I could survive on pizza, grape leaves and strawberries. I wonder if Widmore Labs delivers those things...
75. I count calories like a fiend. The doctor tells me that it is the best way to lose weight. Stick with a 1,200 calorie diet. I’m starving but I am doing it. Well, he actually also said to exercise more, but what does he know?
76. I eat salads every day to maintain my meager caloried diet. I. Hate. Lettuce. I end up picking half of the lettuce off and throwing it out. No matter how hungry I am, I will not eat the stupid lettuce. And you can’t make me.
77. I believe that tiny people live in my pillowcase. These people like to party! They also like to only come out at night. So I insist that whenever I go to bed, all pillows must be open end out so the tiny people can come out and get down! Aren’t I just so darn nice for doing that for them?
78. It drives me crazy when the toilet paper is pulled from the underside. People, it just isn’t right! I have been known to change it at friend’s houses. Perhaps they don’t notice.
79. The first thing I do when I come home is go through the mail. Do not pass go. Proceed directly to the mail stack. I go through it piece by piece and sort it into the toss pile, the keep and peruse on a later day pile and the keep and peruse at the end of checking the rest of the mail pile. I do not even think about going to the bathroom before I get through the pile. No matter how bad I should. The mail comes first.
80. I receive approximately 30 catalogs a week, 5 a day not counting Sunday. You wouldn’t believe the selection I receive even if I tried to tell you. Recently I started getting catalogs for tools. I’ve never bought a tool but now I might start. We have to take our trash out every two days because the catalogs will fill the can daily.
81. It is a wonderful thing to drive down a street on any given night and see houses with their windows open. Please don’t call the police but I like to look in people’s windows. I only care a little about what they are doing. I mostly want to see how they decorate. Bonus if they are watching TV and I can figure out what they are watching and maybe even make fun of them for their reality show habits.
82. There isn’t a movie made that I wouldn’t watch.
83. I often have the opposite reaction to the movie than the producer intended.
84. I love me some chick flicks! To this day, I can watch Doc Hollywood over and over again. It is the ultimate TV dreamland movie. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Boy goes to LA. Boy decides he wants girl instead of fancy schmancy job and car. Boy goes back to girl in boonies and says “I don’t want LA… I want you!” Bullshit. Only in the movies could that ever happen.
85. I also really like independent films and foreign flicks. Movies should either make you think or entertain the pants off of you. No one ever goes to see the movies you have to read with me and I have never understood why.
86. I used to watch a lot of horror movie series. Like all of the Halloween movies one after the other. It didn’t matter if it took me all day and all night. I watched Hostel the other night and laughed when the crazy man sliced his captive’s Achilles tendons. Perhaps I have become desensitized from the multitude of these viewings.
87. Then again, maybe those movies scare me a little. When there is no one at home, that is when I like to watch my horror flicks. I get curled up on the couch with my Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked and enjoy the show. The only problem is that I can’t get off the couch after it’s over because of the monsters that live under there. They might bite my poor little feet! Perhaps having someone in the house when I watch them makes me cockier.
88. I am extremely thin-skinned. I would never let anyone see it directly but I will walk away with big, fat tears in my eyes at often the most innocent of comments.
89. I also can be quite sassy. And a bit headstrong. And maybe even a little bit irrational.
90. Everyone has a best feature. I think mine is my hair. It gets all kinds of compliments that make me all giddy inside.
91. This is kind of surprising because I do not take compliments well. Or at all. I always throw something negative back at the complimenter. A habit I am desperately trying to amend.
92. I kind of like my legs too. My daddy says that I have my mommy’s legs when she was a hot young thing and out on the town in her skimpy minis.
93. My childhood was much like the show All in the Family.
94. I have my dad’s knobby knees. I have included my own battle scars to them throughout the years. Including a nice, long, purple scar where I ate pavement while on my bike that one time.
95. And I have my mom’s pixie ears. And I mean they stick the heck out. On my wedding day, I had an updo done. Even my hairdresser made the remark of how hard is was to hide those babies.
96. I am fiercely protective of my family. They may be crazy. But they are mine. Especially my mommy. Don’t even think about messing with her.
97. My friends are what give me life. Without them, I wouldn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.
98. I was blessed with wonderful in-laws. In fact, they don’t like to be considered that. We are family. Period. Sure they may be crazy too. Just like my own family! But that’s why they fit so well with me and I with them.
99. My husband is everything. Simply everything.
100. I type very, very fast which is fortunate for my listing habit and especially this tirade.