Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thirsty Thursday


Actually, this photo was taken the night of my class reunion. To celebrate our youth and lack of responsibility to drink whilst underage, the food table adorned with none other than three bottles of Boone's Farm Wine: Kool-aid with a slight buzz attached.
Naturally, your's truly had to pose with a bottle. The Strawberry Hill flavor had mysteriously vanished. So, here I am with watermelon flavor. I think it's somewhat fitting considering the model.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tagline Tuesday

This is not a regular feature on my blog, but this called for alliteration. Maybe I'll carry it over into future weeks using random shots. This photo was taken at my class reunion this past weekend. I will be writing about that in greater detail later this week.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is tell me what YOU think is going on at the time the picture was snapped.

I need a new laundromat


I'm a realist. I've said it before. I'll say it again. I'm a realist. I know a red flag when I see it. I recognize the sting as it bitch slaps me across the face. The laundromance hit a spin cycle that can only get out of control.
For the sake of protecting myself I will not go into details. However, I know when I'm not compatible with a person. I'll cite lifestyle as the cause for hanging this romance out to dry.
I am not an authority on relationships. Nor do I fully understand the proper protocol for dating. Perhaps there isn't a rule book. I have never been inclined to play by anyone's rules. I make them up as I go. However, I do have a stern set of expectations. I know what I need. And what I don't need is for someone create drama for me. What I don't need is to get lectured on maturity. What I don't need is for someone to change their demeanor on a dime.
That all being said, you can all return to your regularly scheduled programming. This laundromance has been preempted with reality: sponsored by Red Flag "The gut feeling you should always trust."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday's Snapshot

Shhh, no. No. Don't say a word. Just sit back. Enjoy. Yeah, eye candy for all. sigh contentment.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm a bad mutha -- shut yo' mouth!

With great tenacity and perseverance I do my utmost to be a fantastic parent. Being the only adult in a household containing a teen-ager doesn't sound like it is difficult. And, it's not. Not thus far. Man-cub is just 2 weeks shy of being 14. He's a good kid whom I can trust implicitly. His only shortcoming in life is not performing the same three chores assigned daily: Put away the dishes; take out the trash; scoop the cat litter.

If I leave him a gentle reminder, such as a list, he'll typically execute the tasks immediately after receiving my call warning him that I'm coming home. I don't question whether or not he's accomplished the daily three when I speak with him. My hope is that he'll do it without prodding. I have lofty dreams.

On Thursday evening I arrived home some time after 9:00 p.m. Upon my departure earlier in the day I hadn't made a list, but I did give him a verbal reminder of what needed to be done.

When I came through the door, I found him lounging on the couch munching on a mini bag of Funyuns. The TV was on God knows what. Nothing questionable, I assure you. I gave him hugs, asked what was new and headed to the kitchen. Dishes were still sitting in the sink awaiting proper placement in the cupboards. deep breath

I made tracks to the bathroom. When one sits down in our bathroom there is a full view of the litter box. It's impossible to overlook. deep breath -- gag. Another chore tossed to the wayside by my darling and beloved Man-cub.

"Hey! Little dude! Did you forget something today that is supposed to be done daily?"

With that prompt I thought certain he'd make his way to the bathroom to take care of business. He didn't. Clearly the television gremlins had taken him hostage and letting him budge from the couch wasn't on their agenda. deep breath

I went about my nightly activities and insisted I couldn't keep my eyes open. In my exhausted and somewhat agitated state, I made the following irresponsible comment to my incredibly sensitive child:

"If you don't start taking care of your cats -- this includes feeding, watering and maintaining their litter box -- I am giving them away."

A heartless, empty threat fell from my lips. His happy demeanor faded and he declared he didn't want to watch TV in his room or in the living room. He just wanted to go to bed. He listlessly kissed me goodnight. I closed his bedroom door, changed my clothes and slipped into my bed. Minutes later he came to my door asking if he could come in. "I'm not able to fall asleep. Can I watch TV in here?" His tone was droning indicating something was wrong. So, I asked why he wasn't able to relax. With that question he burst into tears. His deepening voice echoed in the sobs. My teen-ager still has the sensitivity of a wee child. "you're not really going to give the cats away, are you?"

I felt nauseous that I had hurt him with such a careless threat. I assured him the cats would not be given away and although I try to never make empty promises or threats, I let my ignorant thoughts flow from my head and out my mouth. I apologized profusely and snuggled him as I had when he was small. Of course, this is a mighty task taking into account that he's bigger than I. All the same, he needed reassurance that I had not suddenly become monster mommy.

A list is posted where he'll see it. The reminder is there and an allowance is received weekly. From now on, he knows the cats will remain, but his payment will be cut if the duties assigned are not completed with regularity. That's a threat I can follow through on and remain the cat's meow.

Freaky Friday

This weekend is the 25th Reunion of the Eastridge High School Class of '83. I can't believe so many years have passed; yet, I look so young! I don't feel a day over 29. Well, on most days I consider myself youthful.
Those assembling for the celebration will be a small number. I blame the rough economy for the low attendance. I wasn't able to attend the 20th year reunion, but it was a bigger shin-dig. I'm certain there will be faces I will be happy to see again. I was a brunette back then. I wonder if they'll recognize me?
My days in high school were spent singing and dancing in our show choir and performing in musicals. Those friends I acquired then are still my friends today. I'm looking forward to reminiscing, singing, dancing, drinking (a little) and spending much needed adult time with familiar personalities.
Today, the video posted reminded of the joy and carefree nature I felt back then. In spite of the turmoil my family life endured, my friends, musicals and show choir saved me from a demise unfitting for a teen-ager.
We'd dance at parties or during time slotted for rehearsals. Music always blared from a stereo or boom box. It was then we danced THE CHARLIE BROWN. You know the move I'm talking about. When you view the video below you'll get up and dance along. You're sure to get a fit of the giggles as I did. Thanks to Cajunvegan for sharing this on plurk.



Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, sweet Sunday

Normally I do not work on Sunday. This is not one of those Sundays where I'm able to lounge about, read on the deck or do whatever strikes my fancy. Today I have to shower, dress and go to work. Bummer.
I made coffee and I sit here sipping from one of those cups that are ridiculously big, but I like it. By the time I reach the bottom of the cup it's room temperature and barely drinkable. I do it anyway. There's no reasoning. Today's creamer of choice is hazelnut. Yesterday I simply went with plain ol' half & half.
I'm a maniac. Unpredictable. You never know which way I'm going to go. I live my life in a serpentine pattern, baby.

[image borrowed from jgcf on flickr]

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's a me thing

This little gem was posed by Jane on her blog, Confessions of a Middle-aged Suburban Diva:


"Describe something seemingly unimportant or ridiculous that makes you happy."
Hmm, where do I begin? It seems there are daily occurrences of such things. I'll give it a go!
I'm tickled pink over the way our kitty, Silver, flops on the floor, rolls and pops back up as if it was a choreographed gymnastics routine. On the same course, our more mature cat, Mo-mo, thinks it's her duty to act like a paper weight by sitting on the letters, cards and loose papers that reside on my desk. One never knows when a strong wind will carry them off. She's at the ready to protect my mail. Or, the manner in which she squeezes herself into small boxes and containers. Contentment never looked so unbearably uncomfortable.
As crazy as it sounds, I am amused and chuckle when my neighbor brings a pillow into the middle of the yard and takes a nap. There's no hammock or blanket. She just curls up where I presume is the softest area of the yard. The garden gnome has nothing on her for keeping predators at bay. Oy!
I'm ridiculously overjoyed when my co-worker, Scott, walks into the lab in a crazy legged manner. If I'm fortunate enough, he'll break into a dance that sends me into a snorting fit. His antics make me riotously gleeful even when I resist attempts (by others) to make me smile.
On Plurk.com I've made some interesting acquaintances. By that I mean there are intelligent, witty, insightful people who've befriended me. In a matter of 140 characters or less, those plurkers have me in stitches. Ruprecht, Danleone, Sprezzatura, Citizenjaney, Perpstu, Cajunvegan, MissAttitude, Yoonamaniac, tx_guy, CHiC, Lilacspecs, Mentrualpoetry, Greytfriend, Cablegirl, Andex, ClassTax, Edmcbride, JBligh, Quiltcetera, Reneguerrero, Seijikat, ... thanks. **like accepting an Oscar, I'm sure there are people I've not listed, but surely never truly forgotten. Your timelines prevent that from happening *snort*
Blurting those few words or lines of a song that I do know and realizing my co-worker Stephanie is singing the same part equally loud. "LEONARD BERNSTEIN!"
Yeah. Good times, kids. Most excellent.

Saturday Snapshot



This is Royal Street in the Rain. Location: New Orleans.
It's raining in Kankakee, Illinois. For some reason I am not upset by the lack of sunshine. I suppose it could be due to having to work. Rain drives the customers to the mall; customers who are willing to extend their financial limits in order to find refuge from rainy weather's blues.
Upon viewing this photo I don't feel the blues. Even though the photographer probably heard such music being played somewhere on this narrow street.
The bikes parked along the sidewalk reminds me of the numerous times my friends and I found ourselves caught in the rain. As kids, we'd stop, drop the two wheelers and seek shelter on someone's porch. It didn't seem to matter if we knew the residents or not. We'd wait for a break in the weather and commence to our childhood lallygagging ... finding the biggest puddle to ferociously peddle through.
Nope. Summertime rain isn't pestering me today. I wish I had my blue and white bike with the banana seat. I'd go find a puddle.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Freaky Friday

Yeah, baby! Relax. Chill. Don't sue me if you have a seizure.
Oh, and PUNCH BUGGY!!




Thursday, July 17, 2008

Man-cub's blessing

"You deserve to be happy."
Those are the words my 13, soon to be 14 year old son said to me last night. We'd taken a walk to the post office and, like usual, I took that quiet setting as a time to discuss important matters with Man-cub.
We'd been strolling along and I asked him how this new man entering my life made him feel. I stress that it's important for us to be open and that I will not dismiss his concerns.
It's been many years since I've dated or met someone whom I felt strongly about. Moreso, worthy of being in the presence of my child.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: "So, I spoke with Running Man today. He asked how we were enjoying my day off."
MC: "You talk to him a lot. I think you really like him. He seems like a nice guy."
Me: "Do you feel OK about that? I know it's out of the blue for you. We did, after all, just meet. So, we're getting to know each other. "
MC: "Yeah. I'm good. You haven't dated really at all. Do you think we'll all hang out more?"
Me: "It seems to be on that path. Unfortunately, I can never tell how the future will be. I do like him. I enjoy that he's respectful about me being a mom first."
MC: "But you have to take a chance once in awhile."
"But you have to take a chance once in awhile." Out of the mouths of babes. His mouth to my ears. Advice from the teen-side.
I admitted to Running Man that I'm feeling a little anxious about dividing my time. Not that it's an issue, I stressed. It's simply the unknown. I've not recently been in the position of sharing myself with anyone outside of family. When Man-cub's dad lived near us I was afforded a fair share of Marissa time. Now that his dad lives in Texas, I am a single parent in every sense of the word. I don't share my son's custody. It's been he and I against the world ::cue Helen Reddy::
The truly relieving aspect of sharing my angst with RM is that he understood. He's a fantastic listener. He communicates his own fears and concerns. He inquires about how Man-cub is processing our new relationship.
Respect. Lovely concept. Amazing.
Last night RM paid me a visit. We knew it wouldn't be a long one as he was exhausted. The night was warm, but still comfortable. We sat on the front porch and talked about everything. Literally under the stars. We lay back and stared into the sky while I talked about my childhood. He sincerely seems interested in learning about me, as I him. The tales of sleeping on our front porch in the summer time didn't bore him. Or, camping in the backyard in a tent because we needed adventure.
Comfort. Ease.
On occasion Man-cub would come to the front door to check on us. We always invited him to join us under the night sky. He declined, but the door was left open. Our conversations were free for a child to hear and consider. RM apologized if he was intrusive on my time with Man-cub. I assured him that I sought the boy's approval before extending the invitation.
"Wow, you're an awesome pair. I like that. "
After woefully declaring that he needed to get home, we stood on the sidewalk in front of the house talking and singing for another 30 minutes. He'd said earlier that he always gets what he sets out for. Being that I managed to detain him an additional half hour I broke out into The Rolling Stones.
"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes. You just might find. You get what you nee-eed!" With that he laughed and realized how adorable I am, yet again.
This ignited a fierce flurry of relatively loud singing of T.V. theme songs. He exclaimed that he couldn't wait to have his apartment tenants begging for more as we sing duets from the balcony. Me on harmony, naturally. I laughed uncontrollably. This cued Man-cub to fly to the front door and holler out with a chuckle, "What's goin on out here!? People are trying to sleep."
So, RM departed but not until I was inside with the door closed.
I sat on the couch with Man-cub and we talked further. "You like him, mom. I think he likes you."
Me: "How does all of this make you feel? I want you to be happy, too. You are always welcome to join in when we're together. This is a partnership, ya know. It's been you and me for a long time. What's going on in your head right now?"
MC: "I like seeing you happy. I know how much you love me. You deserve to be happy."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Waddyaknow Wednesday

I snagged this from Miss Attitude's blog. I have ideas of what to write about swirling in my brain, but I'm an impulse writer. I do it on the fly while my heart is on my sleeve ... closest to my hands & fingers. Ideal for typing. You get the idea, right?



1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? It's a derivative of "Mary" which was my mom's name. The five girls in my family all have names that are versions of Mary. I think it's a wished virginal thing. Who knows.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? You mean cry-cry? About 3 weeks ago.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It changes with my mood or speed in which I have to write. But, no, I am not especially fond of my handwriting despite the number of hours practicing in grade school.


4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Honey Ham

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? One fantastically awesome 13 year old (soon to be 14)

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Hell yeah. I have my issues, but my heart is golden.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? At every opportunity.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yep.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Ain't no freakin' way! I don't trust a giant rubber band to support this bodacious bod *snort*

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Special K-Berries

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Assuming I wear a pair with laces, no.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Mentally, emotionally & physically. Just because I cry at the drop of a hat does not mean I'm not a strong woman. I'm raising a child alone. You cannot be a wuss and do that!

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Ben & Jerry's "CHUNKY MONKEY" Nanner ice cream mmmmm.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Depends on the sex and if they are simply passing by, walking toward me or end up talking to me. Usually, their mug.

15. RED OR PINK? Pink

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? My lack of confidence!

17. WHO OR WHAT DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My parents

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? It'd be interesting to see what others would write, but it's not necessary. I'm narcissistic.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Purple nightie & pink satin robe. I'm all girlicious this morning.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Coffee

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The sound of silence

22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Petal Pink

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Coconut & Pineapple. Fresh laundry.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Cute Tushy Running Man

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Miss Attitude is doggone awesome. I'm loving getting to know her through plurk.com and her amazing blog.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Sports? SPORTS? nada.

27. YOUR HAIR COLOR? Naturally it's dark brown. However, if I were to 'let it go' I'd bet I'm 30% gray. With that being said, I use Miss Clairol what'cha'callit "colors in 10 minutes" to fool the general public into thinking I'm honey blonde.

28. What kind of email do you like to receive? Real Ones. Not forwards unless they are fantastically unique. I don't care for political-rhetoric because it's assumed I think the way the sender thinks. I don't want to be threatened that I'll succumb to horrific events if I don't send out to a specific number of people in 10 minutes. I don't care if you think I'm a pretty mommy or special friend. Every freakin' day is that on the Internet. Just send me a heartfelt personalized note telling me how f'n awesome you think I am. Better yet; call me.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? *blinkblink* nope. Have you seen my bitchin' spectacles? I rock this look!

30. FAVORITE FOOD? P O T A T O E S of any variety in any way, shape or form (Even the Richard Dreyfus rendition of Devil's Tower looked delicious to me)

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Give me happy. Whether it's slapstick stupidity or cheesy chick flick. I need happy, but I watch drama.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? "Love in the Time of Cholera" (clearly does not apply to question 31)

34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Give me Springtime with 72 degree temps and sunshine.

35. HUGS OR KISSES? Lately, both are pretty spectacular.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Apple Crisp a la mode.

37. PERSON MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? N/A since I'm posting

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? N/A since I'm posting

39. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING NOW? "The World According to Garp"

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Nada

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? "Goldmember" on TBS

42. FAVORITE SOUND? laughter

42a. Least favorite sound? sorrowful tears

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Sheesh! I hate either or questions. Not answering on the grounds that I CAN and WILL have both. Hmmph

44. Your Favorite Movie Of All Time? "About a Boy" (the book is next to read)

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I make up lyrics while I'm singing to suit my mood

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Kankakee, IL

47. Where Is Your Favorite Place To Shop For Home Decorations? I don't decorate. Deal with it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ground control to Miss Riss


"Re-entry into earth's atmosphere is complete ... welcome back to reality"
In case you're wondering, that's what the voices in my head told me this morning. I'm back from outer space. My head has become one with my body and is no longer out in the stratosphere of googily eyes and puppy dog's wagging tail.
Regardless of all the flattery and warm fuzzy feelings meeting Running Man brought me, I know that I can't stay in that 'head in the clouds' mental state. I am a realist. I can't let myself get too wrapped up in the romance of being wooed. It sucks to be me, but that's how I roll.
We had a lot of walking and talking at our disposal over the past weekend. It was fantastic. I felt a protection and comfort that is strange to me. And because that overwhelming feeling of just letting go came over me, I needed a serious sit-down-firm-get-a-grip talk with myself. As I lie in my bed awake last night these words flew from my mouth:
SNAP OUT OF IT! And so I did.
[image borrowed from macgirlpg on flickr]

Monday, July 14, 2008

THUD







*thud* Yeah. I fell on the floor. Good golly! He's delicious. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin. Gracious! Someone get me a towel.



Grammar Girl is my hero

Onomatopoeia. What makes it so striking is that, by definition, it means: the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss) . For such a lengthy and difficult word to spell, onomatopoeia is one of my favorite words.

I subscribe to Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. You probably can't tell by my writing that I am an avid reader and loyal note taker of Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty's website. However, I do. I am. I try.

Each week I receive an email focusing on one grammar do or don't. Sometimes these pointers are rather mundane, but helpful (oft times, the most boring details deliver the greatest punch). This week's spotlight item really caught my eye. It's so fantabulous that I had to share it with my utterly groovilicious blogging pals. Web-logging and learning all in one hit. Would that be blearning?


  • Portmanteau Words

    "Last week the Make-It-Green Girl did a show about smog, which made me think of portmanteau words because the word smog is a combination of the words smoke and fog. Such words, made from the combination of sounds from other words, are called portmanteau words or blends. Portmanteau is a French word for a type of suitcase that opens into two halves. Lewis Carrol assigned portmanteau its newer linguistic meaning in his book Alice Through the Looking Glass. Other examples include brunch (made up of the sounds from breakfast and lunch), spork (made up of the sounds from spoon and fork), and Bennifer (made up of the sounds from Ben and Jennifer)."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday in the Park

Today's forecast: Brilliant. Extremely perfect. Nary a cloud in the blue sky. The temperature; ideal. Breezy, but far from windy. I couldn't have selected better weather that exemplifies my mental state.
Yesterday evening, Running Man and I managed to get together for a couple of hours. It wasn't formal or pretentious. We met at a local park that is situated along the Kankakee River. It's the place where I spent many days as a child. Numerous things have changed since I took to the swings like soaring bird, but one thing has remained: Sunsets are glorious along the river.
All the homes with their unique architecture are new to Running Man. He's fascinated with the very things I saw as a little girl. I shared stories about walking to the park and finding new friends and being occupied with the limitless activities offered to kids on summer break. That was then. Now, the homes are hit or miss with care. Yet, with new eyes he manages to see what's beneath the peeling paint and cracked lead glass windows. He sees the beauty and magnificence within the structures regardless of the current condition. With that, I realized what might have very well made him speak to me that fateful day in the laundromat.
I'm writing with hesitance to overly gush about the new person in my life. It's too soon to tell which direction it might take. Today is all I know and count on. I'm keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground while letting my head float in the clouds. I'm deserving of this.
For a time, I felt safe and protected as we walked along the familiar roads of my youth. Yet, somehow as my footsteps kept in time with his, those old roads were brand new.
Every once in awhile I manage to let someone chip away the mortar on the bricks of this fortress I've built around myself. Last night, I dropped the draw bridge and welcomed a visitor ... but the armor is still in tact.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

ArtSeesDiner


This is a new spot on the 'Net where you can get a fix. What makes it so incredibly unique is that it's all in the family. My family, to be more precise. I'm one of 10 children. Our father enjoyed writing and did so with great verve. He had many opinions and had no issue with putting pen to paper and sharing them. My sister Mary felt we all have a bit of that writing bug (who would have guessed?) So, she took it upon herself to bring us all together under one roof.
My particular specialty on the menu is called, "Marissa's Tantalizing Tray of Tarts" -- quite fitting, no? There, I'll share many of the views and insights you see here including pop culture ala mode! -- Retro Refreshments, if you will.
Our family diner is new and we're getting our feel for the surroundings. Like any new establishment, it relies on the input of its patrons. Like what you see? Make sure you come back again and bring plenty of friends. Think something is missing in the recipe? Give us a shout! There's a guest book/suggestion box and we welcome your thoughts.
As the patronage grows, so will our menu.
Thanks for dropping by!

A Ride to Remember


People tell me to enjoy the ride while it lasts. I get a little agitated because who says the ride is going to end? I prefer to be less of a pessimist. I want to be optimistic and live for the day. I can do that. It's my heart. If you tell me to save up my pennies for a rainy day, then I need to think to the future.
I know most people are well intentioned, but I just met Running Man and already I'm getting opposition. I've not requested a transcript of his entire past; nor, insisted on viewing his financial records. I pray he never ask for mine. It's a mess. What I do know is that we've spent over 10 cumulative hours talking. Talking about life, hopes and dreams.
I am unsure of his favorite musician, movie or book. He doesn't know my favorite color or shoe size. I do know that he's a God fearing man. He knows that my son's well being is of utmost importance and will never take a back seat to my own pursuits. Man-cub will always ride shot-gun with me. Running Man gets it thus far.
I like this ride. It feels nice. It's a merry-go-round that plays a sweet song. No thrills of a roller coaster or the jarring motion of bumper cars. The speed is just fine as I laugh and feel the wind in my hair. Like a child I feel exhilarated and joyful. Let me bask in the dizzying elation.
[photo borrowed from madischlappi on flickr.com]

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Steve Spears!


Today, July 10, is the anniversary of the birth of Steve Spears. He's the creator of the fantastic podcast Stuck in the 80s. Not only is he the Lord-God-King-Guru of the podcast, but he has a phenomenal award winning blog. Hell to the yeah! Happy, happy birthday!

Like Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller's Day off -- He didn't think he saw anything good that day -- Steve Spears doesn't think his birthday is noteworthy. He's just treating it as any other day. I'm sure his mother wouldn't see it that way. In fact, I hope she sends him a case of beets instead of a home baked cake for such goofy thinking.

Something that brings Steve great joy is seeing his blog counter shoot through the roof! Help set his blog on fire by visiting and commenting. While you're there, tell him Marissa sent you and wish him a Samantha Baker style birthday.

Steve Spears, you've given me a joy greater than Duran Duran, The Breakfast Club and Rick Springfield ever could. OK, maybe not Rick Springfield. Have you seen him? He's still so, so... ok, this is about what a sanity saving service Stuck in the 80s has delivered to your's truly.
With the greatest sincerity, I hope your birthday rocks you like a hurricane.

I'll Tumble For Ya

This is the continuation of the blog down yonder. Just scroll a little. If you've not read about my laundromat liaison, you must read the previous post before going further with this one.

If you have read Tales From the Spin Cycle, then you're fully aware that I met a guy at the laundorama. You'll also be privy to the fact that his blog moniker is Running Man. In addition, you're in the know that I possess his phone number. Being completely void of calling protocol when given a number aka digits aka the proverbial ball, I had to consult the great and mighty pals at plurk.com. Their advice was unanimous: Call! Now! Don't wait! No games! So, you're saying I should wait a couple days? I'm thick as a brick. (Jethro Tull, thank you very much)

I didn't call him Sunday. I was struck with panic: What if it's a fake number? What's the chance he won't remember me? What if, if, if!?
Monday at work I asked one solitary male co-worker how long a woman ought to wait after being given a number of a man whom she met, say, in a laundromat. His reply was 72 hours. Seventy-two hours!? By then I'd figured he'd given up and be irritated that I hadn't called earlier and moved on to better things. Sheesh! A more sensible response came from a female co-worker who said to just call after dinner. "Have a drink and chill. Keep it casual and light."

Once home from work I cooked dinner. We consumed. I sat down at the computer and dilly-dallied. I forced myself to start writing Tales From the Spin Cycle. It was half way through that composition that the urge to talk to Running Man struck. I pulled his card from my purse and dialed after asking Man-cub if he needed anything, had any questions to ask or dilemmas to pose. With that the digits were pressed and the phone began to ring. I nearly succumbed to panic and hung up. Then, realizing he'd have my number, but totally unaware that it was me who prematurely disconnected, I held strong.


"Hello."


hard swallow


"Hi, D****. This is Marissa.... we met yesterday" my voice trailing off with an upward inflection. Totally idiotic-like.


"Marissa! Oh wow! I'm so glad you called. Every time my phone rang since yesterday and today with your area code I grabbed it with hopes it was you! "


... and so it went. For four incredibly enjoyable, seemingly quick hours we talked.


I surprised myself by being upfront about my philosophy on dating and being a single parent. His reaction not that of disgust but awe when I told him that I don't believe in co-habitation as a single mom. Words like "refreshing," "admirable," "grateful" were involved. He's a father of an 11 year old boy. His ex-wife is remarried. He feels similarly about not appearing as a hypocrite in his child's eyes. We agree that intimacy is wholly different from sexual intercourse.

My philosophy:


"Building a relationship on physical attraction and sex is like attempting to put the roof on a house before the foundation and walls are built."

It doesn't matter if anyone reading this agrees with me. I'm not asking for opinions. It's how I choose to live and prosper. I figured that would put an end to our call, but it seemed to only intrigue him further. Running Man wasn't bothered by it as the conversation continued for 3.5 more hours after having spelled that out. Call me a fool. Tell me he's a con. I'm not making judgement calls at this point. His beliefs are similar to mine. I'm accepting him at face value. Values.

Prematurely subjecting myself to torture is unnecessary and brutal. I want to ride this out and see where it goes. It might not go the distance. It could have ended with that long, gloriously pleasant phone call.

I do know this much: At a time when I feel like I've been put through the ringer, it sure feels spectacular to have someone switch things over to the delicate cycle.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tales from the Spin Cycle

Sunday is typically my day to do laundry. I get up pretty early, make coffee, check emails, visit a couple favorite blogs. Then, I load up the car and head out to the laundromat with hopes of getting there before anyone else does. I like the solitude of me and nothing but the the hum of the washers and dryers. My only companion is my trusty iPod Nano. Once in awhile the owner or his in-laws will be there to clean up the joint, collect money from the machines, etc...

I've explained in a previous post that I rent a house that isn't equipped with a washer and dryer. I could buy a used set, but the water pressure here is so pathetic that it's a challenge to rinse shampoo and conditioner from my hair daily.


Don't leave me yet. I promise this will get better. The good stuff is coming. Just be patient and let me set the scene. It's crucial!


Sunday, July 6, 2008 my routine went askew. I woke up later than usual: 7:00 a.m. Instead of making coffee and bothering with my computer routine I made immediate tracks for the door. That means I rolled out of bed, put on clean undies, a bra, yanked a tank style, ribbed knit jersey sundress off the hanger and threw it on. I might have run a brush over my hair. I can't recall. My eyes were barely open. I put the locks up in a scrunchied pony tail, brushed my teeth and slipped on flip flops. Out I went.




With the car loaded, I opted to stop by the Shell station for coffee. That slowed me down a few minutes. I knew if I didn't get to the 'mat before 8:00 a.m. all would be lost and I'd end up waiting to get my wash started. I got there by 7:30 a.m. Hot dog!! Only 2 cars in the lot. Unloading the car and staking my claim on washers required speed and diligence. Clearly, others were privy to the perfect time to launder their dirties. Blast!



I hit the trunk release button and hopped from the car. While I was doing this I heard someone approaching and turned -- a normal reaction. A man who had clearly been running nodded to me as he went in the laundromat. My first thought was he needed to make a pit-stop potty break while out on his morning run. I thought wrong. He was doing his laundry and obviously took advantage of the 26 minutes it takes for the washer to complete a cycle. He managed to get a cardio work-out while his whites washed, rinsed and spun.


I placed my baskets in front of the washers I intended to use. I needed quarters (so annoying). The change machine is located next to the dryers. Dryers that Running Man was loading. As I'm jamming a wrinkled $10. bill into the machine over and over he asked me something. I didn't understand him so I said, "pardon?" He inquired again. Once more I didn't grasp what he said. Feeling deaf and foolish, I replied, "I still didn't understand." He enunciated, "Did your maid quit, too?" I chuckled and said, "yeah, she said something about running off to Vegas."


I absolutely must add that this sort of thing doesn't happen to me. Men do not approach me for no apparent reason. I am not making that up to appear humble or pathetic. It just doesn't happen. I shrugged his comment as just being polite and went about collecting my quarters from the machine's trap and moved along assuming that was the end of communication.

While I loaded my washers Running Man left the 'mat. He went out to his car and sat. I can't blame him. It's bloody boring watching your clothing tumble about. I went about my business and did so with my iPod earbuds shoved in my ears ... shutting out the goings on of the spin cycle.

Once the detergent and softener are added I take the products out to the car. I always do this. I think one too many people without such products have asked if they can borrow some. This time I was hesitant because Running Man was parked next to me. I didn't want it to look as if I was trying to get his attention. But with the iPod attached to my head it pretty much declared that I was in my own little world.

With the slam of the trunk lid, he popped from his car and appeared to be speaking to me. He motioned to his ears as if to ask me to remove the 'buds from my ears. I giggled a little while taking them out. He asked if I was from around this area, he asked about the year of my car (we both have Saturns -- mine is newer). A conversation ensued until ...

He told me I was like dynamite or looked like dynamite. Either way I could feel my face and ears set aflame with embarrassment. There I was having just rolled out of bed without make up or a shower and this man is telling me I'm attractive ... or comparing me to an explosive. With that compliment I retreated by saying, "Now that I'm thoroughly flattered; yet, embarrassed, I notice my washers have stopped." He quickly apologized for making me blush but reiterated that he thought I looked great.

I went inside and he followed me (making me fully aware of the jiggle my arse makes when I walk. Especially in such a dress). His clothes had completed their dry cycle as I emptied my washers. Yada yada... quarters in, dry clothes out. Fold. Fold. Smiles exchanged.
I couldn't help but notice his fantastic bi-ceps and the athletic pants he wears show off an adoration worthy tushy. His shoulders are broad and he's quite tall. His clean shaven head reveals scars acquired from a car accident when he was a teen. He wears glasses. His teeth are nice, but not overly straight or bleached. No noticeable tattoos. And no, no ring or tan line left by a ring on his left hand. His white t-shirt is beaming white. This tells me he's an avid bleach user or the shirt is brand new. Either way, it's not stained or thread bare. Despite watching him with my peripheral vision, I cannot see the type of underwear he's folding. At this point you're free to color me a pervert. I have been referring to him elsewhere as Cute Tushy. I felt that painted me as a superficial chick. So, I've opted for Running Man to be his moniker until I'm willing to divulge his name or initials ... or a more appropriate nickname.

We continue to exchange short glances accompanied with smirks or knowing smiles. That is until ...



Two women with three children (one on Wheelies and two in pajamas) joined the laundry patrons. One woman is LOUD. She's shouting across the room as if she is a Waffle House waitress yelling to the short-order cook behind the grill. Quickly this becomes annoying. I'm not alone as Running Man and I simultaneously look to one another with shocked and irritated bug-eyes. The din is more than I can bear; I grab my purse. As I walk toward the door to make an exit, I notice Running Man's car lights are on. I lean in to him as I pass and whisper, "Your lights are on." Quickly he turned. With him walking behind me I realized my ill fitting undies have attempted to become one with my posterior division. I pray he's not eyeing my bodunkadunk. Such a thing would surely make an obvious indentation in my overly fluffarific derriere.

I got in my car, rolled down the window and sat with the door open. My legs were turned out so I could still face him as he stood by his car (once again). We talked about a plethora of things and he walked to my door pulling a card from his wallet. Handing it to me he said, "If you're interested; call me." I'm a dork and just smiled with a reply of, "I'll do that."

He returned to his car and sat inside. I'm not sure if the closeness seemed to invasive or what. It meant me having to look up at him. Perhaps because he had been out running he feared he was quite odoriferous. From the driver's side, he leaned over saying he could actually hear me better because the loud woman had come outside and was talking, naturally, very loudly on her cell phone. She went back inside, but returned shortly. This time, she stepped off the curb between our cars and began closing my car door. She bent to talk to Running Man asking if he had a cell phone she could use, "let me tell you 'bout my 'mergency." I was baffled as she had just been talking on a cell phone. Her children came out and flocked around me like I was giving away Skittles and Kool-Aid. Cordially I asked how old they were, etc... Meanwhile, Loud Lady explained her dire 'mergency to Running Man. I was beside myself and rightly befuddled. Going back inside I turned to mouth an apology.




In a matter of minutes, Running Man, Loud Lady and her children followed suit. I was unloading my dryers and beginning to fold as the women turned to him for guidance, sympathy, a hand out. I don't know. He folded his clothing he listened to their tales of woe. I'll admit that his tact and concern was impressive ... more impressive than his white whites.




His laundry tasks were completed. His baskets packed and ready to go. Before departing he told the more calm, less obtrusive woman that he'd be in touch with numbers and names of agencies who might help both of them. There I stood feeling slightly robbed. Selfish, I know, but keep in mind this occurrence was an anomaly. I reminded myself that I had his phone number. The proverbial ball was in my court. His departure without further conversation didn't mean an absolute end.




He realized after putting his laundry in his car that he didn't have his keys. Standing at the entrance he asked if I knew where they were. NO! I did not. I didn't take them to prevent us from parting ways prematurely. I'm goofy, but not insane. I suggested he look on the passenger's side. He did, but found them under the driver's side seat. Joyfully he paused long enough for me break away from my laundry duty and meet him at the door. Preferring not to have an audience of women in distress and their offspring, I met him outside. Small talk; awkward shuffling about. "I really need to get showered to make it to church. You have my number. I don't know what there is to do around here, but call me."




I'm not an overly aggressive woman. I'm an insatiable flirt when I'm terrifically comfortable with the receiver of such endorsements. However, put me in the unknown and I'm a babbling idiot with two tongues. Neither of which is capable of forming a cohesive sentence. It's more likely that my brain is in overdrive with fears I'll say too much of the wrong thing.




I consulted a league of virtual friends for advice. All insisted I act impulsively and call. Don't play the waiting game. Take a leap of faith.




Take a leap of faith ... and so I did

... to be continued


Monday's Melody

I have a ton of things to write about, but little time or motivation ... for now. I'm certain I'll get my blogging mojo back. I want to tell you about the boy I met at the laundro-mat. This sort of thing happens to other chicks. Not Me! And he isn't ugly or old or lacking in verbal skills.
My friend Lydia posted random photos on her blog and one in particular inspired me. I proclaimed that I could write an entire short story on that one image. She has challenged me to do so and post it right here. Who doesn't love a challenge. Especially one that gets the creative juices flowing.
I need to put a toothbrush over my teeth, a comb through my hair and anti-perspirant under my pits. So, I leave you with this song that is my theme song. In fact, I insist it's played at my funeral (when that day arrives).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Get me a Bucket!

It shouldn't surprise anyone reading this (who knows me) that I am not a hoity toity, high falutin' lady. I'm a kooky chick who prefers to put away all the pretense and let it all hang out. I keep Thelma and Louise tightly nestled, mind you. It's not that sort of hanging out I'm discussing here. If something of high grade quality is offered to me, I'll take it (if I desire the item), but otherwise, I am pretty easy to please.

Yesterday was the Fourth of July. To anyone not living in the United States that's just the day situated between July 3rd and 5th. For Americans it's license to get loose, wild and free ... and potentially lose phalanges, an eye, ability to drive, etc... It seems that for every holiday in this beloved country of mine we are revelers who need to eat, drink and be merry ... and blow shit up and react with oohs and ahs. It's the American way! And I'm no different.

I had to work on Independence Day which kind of chapped my hide because I actually had something to do this year. In past years the Man-cub and I would sit around and wait for dusk. Then, we'd jump in the car in search of errant aerial displays somewhere in the distance. I'd park. We'd watch with little excitement. Then, if we happened to be parked in a crowded area we'd wait. And wait. And wait for traffic to clear.

So, this year was different as my sister Maureen invited us over for a cook out and general merriment. I'm down with that! Man-cub would hang out with them until my shift ended. Then, I'd make tracks to make one with fun.

In order to make getting Man-cub to sis's house a bit easier, I took him to work with me. All I can say is thank God for Nintendo DS. I knew I wouldn't encounter any issues with the boss-lady since Man-cub wouldn't be there for long ... or so we thought. While waiting I asked if he might get an eye exam. Oddly, we were booked for the morning and I was expecting the boy to be picked up around Noon.

Needless to say, time seemed to stand still for the boy who was waiting. Eventually, I made contact with sis and she was moving slowly. Hell, why not? It was a holiday, after all. A day when most of the world is allowed to move at a sloth's pace. In her place, my nephew would step up and serve as chauffeur. Shortly after I made the alternate arrangements, I was told a spot had opened up and Man-cub could get his peepers checked. Groovy!

Nephew got there a lot faster than I figured he would. But he patiently awaited while the doctor took a look-see at the big, beautiful brown eyes of my incredibly amiable 13 year old. Once that task was accomplished, they hit the road and I quickly became bored out of my mind. Did I mention a sloth's pace earlier? Yes. Well, that's exactly how quickly the time was passing.

I sent my co-lab partner home early. The general manager decided to go on a shopping trip 'since we're dead.' Great! As a store key holder and supervisor, that means I'd have to sit and wait for her to return before I could depart. I won't go on about how ridiculous the logic is regarding this manner. I was getting paid. I ought not gripe. However, I wanted to get the party started! I would wait for 1.5 hours for the GM to return. I had already changed clothes to a more BBQ worthy outfit. Denim capris, white t-shirt and flip flops. Hell to the yeah! I was ready. Far from professional, but with a GM who leaves for 1.5 hours to buy nuts for her party, who's going to scold me?

At 5:05 p.m. when she returned, I had my hand on the mouse ready to clock out. WRONG! GM decided to hold me hostage with her woes about her mean sister, a security guard in his birthday suit, and hot pink toenails. There are times I wish I had the ability to shut people up with the flick of a wrist. Sometimes, I wish I lacked all sense of decorum to look in her face and say, "would you pleeeeeeeeeease just shut. up." But I don't. So I suffer.

At 5:20 p.m. I clocked out. Twenty minutes of pay to listen to her drone on about what a poopy sister she has while I have a really groovy sister who is awaiting my arrival. Not really. The festivities weren't held up on my account, but my sister is truly great and I was getting hungry.

The boys were in the backyard lighting things that go boom, bang, crackle. I don't understand the thrill of inflicting pain on my ears. We had to keep telling them to slow down or they'd have nothing to blow up once the sun went down. Sis informed me that Man-cub had no interest in such shenanegans. He said told the boys something like, "I don't want to lose my hearing. Don't come crying to me when you can't hear anymore. Can you please make them stop?" He'd later eat those words.

Much to my delight, my sister had bought a bucket o' margaritas. This is where my declaration of not being hoity toity comes in to play. Margaritas are my favorite adult beverage. I'm not particular about much other than the quality of tequila. Mind you, we aren't inclined to buy Patron or some other high end brand. My budget says Jose Cuervo. Availability of anything higher grade isn't common in these parts. So, Jose Cuervo Margaritas from a bucket it was.! YEEHAW!

I had bought, as a gift, 4 plastic, bright green margarita glasses for Maureen. Sort of a house warming gift. That particular color of green is her color. The rims of the glasses are wider than the margarita salt container. We improvised with a bigger bowl. I also found that fruit wiped around the rim makes for better salt holdin'-on than plain water. I like margaritas on the rocks with plenty of salt. WOO DAWGY! Thems were some goooooood 'ritas.

So, there we were with our plastic, bright green, highly salted margaritas ... poured from a spout out of a bucket. Life. Is. Great!

We didn't venture out beyond the back yard in our *ahem* condition. The kids blew up fireworks without losing any limbs or eyes. No fires were started. No major incident to be had ... other than the chilly night air. Even Man-cub joined in the dare devil thrills of lighting mortar balls, Roman candles and other things that explode. He was loving every minute of it. I was thrilled to watch the kids, but especially my own, have a rip roarin' 4th of July blast.
Due to my over consumption of the good stuff from the bucket, I felt it wise to chill at Casa Sis. Even if I hadn't over indulged I would have stayed. Too many loo-loos out on the roads. It felt great to just hang out feeling very much at home.
The early morning sun peered through the window and I took my cue to leave so I could ready up for the work day. Man-cub still soundly asleep remained. Off I went in the dewy morning ... stopping by McD's for a morning after drinking chicken biscuit. Mmmmm.
2008 Independence Day: A good time was had by all. No hang over. I worked early, but with each yawn I was reminded what a fantabulous Fourth of July I spent with Man-cub, family and friends ... and Jose.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another first for Man-cub

A parent's greatest; yet bittersweet, moment is seeing their child make firsts:
    • His first bath
    • First full night's sleep
    • First Tooth
    • First word
    • First step
    • First boo-boo
    • First birthday
    • First day of school
    • First Funyun

screeeeeeeeeeech His first what?!

You read it correctly. The inaugural taste of Funyuns took place today. The Man-cub became one with the beloved snack of my favorite music critic and Stuck in the 80s podcast co-host SEAN DALY. Sean warns listeners and fans to beware of the Salvador Dali-nightmare inspiring effects the Funyun can have when consumed along with a large glass of water too close to bedtime. All more reason to keep the Funyuns. Who doesn't like a trippy-trip from time to time?

There is currently a radical movement to oust the Funyun as the official Stuck in the 80s snack to bring in Munchos or Bugles. BAH! I say.



It wasn't long ago that I won the coveted signed bag of Funyuns for getting the mystery 80's tune correct. I admitted that I sorta kinda cheated in order to guess it. But I was the only entry. Plus, I think Steve took pity on me after Sean read my pathetic tale of woe on the air. My crushing, heartbreaking letter about unrequited love in the summer of 1980. A story so painful that I'm sure the entire 80's nation wept (or laughed). Regardless, I keep the bag far away from psycho cats and, yes, the Man-cub. [the bag in the image is not the fun-size I won. That was a love and devotion shot from earlier this year]


Man-cub called me at work one day Jonesin' for some snacks. He had spied the mini bag of Funyuns perched (still in their shipping box) on the dining table. Lucky for him, he called to see if consuming them would be A-OK. Of course, I said, "nooooooooooooooooo. Tell me you didn't already eat them and you're calling me in retrospect." He hadn't and he didn't.


Ever since then, his curiosity has been piqued about the taste of this oniony flavored ring treat he hears so much about on the podcast. And, WHY would I hold these Funyuns so dear to my heart that I'd forbid him from a wee taste?


Today, I saw Funyuns on display at the Dollar Tree. It was the 3 1/8 oz size bag. Much bigger than the prize bag on my bookshelf. I had to get them. Like a siren's call, they beckoned to me. I figured if Man-cub didn't want to eat more than one, I would tape up the bag and ship it to Sean in St. Petersburg, FL (as a joke, of course). That would not be the case. The boy loved them.


Because of the importance of this auspicious occasion, I documented the entire event in pictures. From the opening of the bag to the emptying of the bag. Below you'll find the Photo Chronicle of the Inaugural Funyuns Bag.

"How do you like them?" "mmmm They are really salty, but good. Delicious! ... really onionish. They are going to give me really baaaaaad breath. But it's worth it. mmmm Can I have the entire bag?"