fifty questions

March 30, 2016

one. what are you wearing? black, v-neck, short-sleeved, knee-length, cotton night shirt with, in white letters, i don't like morning people. or people in the morning.
two. ever been in love? yep, but not with anyone who was in love with me.
three. ever had a terrible breakup? yep.
four. how tall are you? five foot seven.
five. how much do you weigh? the last time i stepped on the scale, it read one eighty. i'd guess it's a few pounds past that now. i am a F A T A S S.
six. any tattoos? nope.
seven. any piercings? one in each ear.
eight. favorite show? the west wing.
nine. favorite band? van halen, just because i've loved them longest.
ten. something you miss? being held.
eleven. favorite song? u2's with or without you, just because i've loved it longest.
twelve. how old are you? forty-three.
thirteen. zodiac sign? aries.
fourteen. quality you look for in a partner? kindness.
fifteen. favorite quote? i think we live our lives so afraid to be seen as weak that we die perhaps without ever having been seen at all (james spader as alan shore in boston legal).
sixteen. favorite actor? johnny depp.
seventeen. favorite color? green.
eighteen. loud music or soft? loud.
nineteen. where do you go when you’re sad? the backroads.
twenty. how long does it take you to shower? twenty minutes.

one. how long does it take you to get ready in the morning? thirty minutes.
two. ever been in a physical fight? yep.
three. turn on? thoughtfulness.
four. turn off? selfishness.
five. fears? this picky post will tell you about almost all of them.
six. last thing that made you cry? stupid boys.
seven. last time you said you loved someone? about an hour ago.
eight. last book you read? cover to cover? carry on by rainbow rowell.
nine. the book you’re currently reading? nothing at the moment.
thirty. last show you watched? kprc news two houston.

one. last person you talked to? mom.
two. the relationship between you and the person you last texted? gentleman i'd interviewed for an article about some art students and the pods they're painting for the woodlands waterway arts festival.
three. favorite food? chicken spaghetti.
four. place you want to visit? monterrey, california.
five. last place you were? a friend's house.
six. do you have a crush? nope.
seven. last time you kissed someone? romantically? at approximately nine a.m. sunday, march twenty-second, twenty-fifteen. platonically? i can't recall.
eight. last time you were insulted? at approximately eight fifteen a.m. monday, march twenty-eighth, twenty-sixteen.
nine. favorite flavor of sweet? chocolate.
forty. what instruments do you play? the vocal chords.

one. favorite piece of jewelry? london blue topaz ring.
two. last sport you played? i can't recall.
three. last song you sang? big head todd and the monster's broken-hearted savior.
four. favorite chat up line? i'm sorry, what? favorite chat up line? howdy?
five. have you ever used it? sure.
six. favorite film? star wars: episode v-empire strikes back.
seven. favorite time of day? dusk.
eight. favorite candy? hershey's milk chocolate with/out almonds
nine. favorite soda? dr. pepper.
fifty. who should answer these questions next? erin, you're up.

i found these questions on daisy in the willows (though i had to add a few because she didn't actually post fifty of them) because of this view from the third floor post.

tales from the dating world

March 28, 2016

so i'm on this stupid dating website, right? every six weeks or so, i rewrite my profile, mostly because i'm a bored perfectionist. i fork over the funds each year, and nothing ever really comes of it, and that's probably my fault, but i'm starting to think that it's more that dating websites are redonkulus (kind of like that word... only i like the word... it's kind of fun to say). sometimes i write just enough. you have to have two hundred characters, and so once it was:

I work for a weekly community newspaper as a reporter and editorial assistant, writing about upcoming events in the area and raising awareness for organizations that and individuals who do great deeds.

(side note: why do i always type individuals like invididuals? EVERY time.)

i can't remember how it was before what's to follow, but it wasn't that up there.

i don't get a lot of reaction from guys on this site. that could be because i'm forty-three. it could be because i've never been married (because, hey, never walking down the aisle with someone is so much worse than having done so and then broken the vows you'd made). it could be that i don't have kids and don't want any. whatever.

it could be that i have trouble saying what it is i want.

it could be because they're douchebags. :]

in the month of february, i got one email. i got frustrated and so i wrote this:

Can we talk for a minute? I keep rewriting this thing because I'm not saying it right. All my life I've tried to be what people wanted me to be -- the laid-back, go-with-the-flow, happy-go-lucky gal. I'm not that person. I'm a writer. My job is to figure out where the flow is going and what's getting it there. I'm not meant to stand on some stage, reading the lines. I'm the one in the corner booth of some pub, writing the script, and I'm damned good at what I do.

Trouble is when you're sitting in a corner booth in some pub with paper and a pen or a laptop and your only company's the character(s) you've created, when you're not the laid-back, go-with-the-flow, happy-go-lucky gal, when you're inherently shy, it's hard to get people to see you. My eyes are small and dark, and they're usually scrutinizing the surroundings because observing things is what writers do. I'm so much more content to sit back and watch the camaraderie going on around me than I would be were I to engage in it. I'm not the life of the party, but then I don't want to be. That's not my role. I'm supposed to tell the story about the party, and I can't do that if I'm in it. My smile is amazing, but I don't share it with everyone. Yes, I'm serious, but I also possess a surprising wit. I am gifted when it comes to writing dialogue, but I'm shit when it comes to talking to men I find attractive. So that's why I'm here.

I'm a hopeless romantic. I love love. I love reading and writing about it. I love thinking someday I'll get to know about it. Because that's the thing... I've never had a love story. Once, I met a guy on St. Patrick's Day, and I was sure that was gonna be it -- that was my story. It wasn't. So I gave up and settled for more casual affairs. I tried to write a simpler, less exciting tale for myself, but that one's ended more tragically than any other, save one. So now, I'm more hopeless than romantic, and that's not at all what I want.

I have no game, but then, I don't want to. I'm not some chess piece, and neither are you. I'm not looking for some man to put a ring on my finger -- I don't even like diamonds. Having said that, I don't want just any guy. I want a relationship with some semblance of substance. I'm not looking to hook up with someone just to have someone around for nocturnal lighting purposes. I am brilliant -- I can light the night perfectly fine by myself. But... my heart is heavy, and I am weary. I don't need you to take the weight. I can carry it. But I would love it if you would walk with me.

i published it and took a shower. and when i got out, i saw that i'd gotten four emails from three different guys -- one of the emails was a comment on a photo about how my smile is amazing.

that was a month ago. i wish i could tell you i'm still talking to the three, but alas i am not. i can tell you i did go on my first date in a year. with a guy who was five foot four and thrice divorced -- a former pentecostal and seventh day adventist with four biological children and six step-children. he cut our date short because he had to go meet a "friend". whatever.

random quarter: the q&a edition-march

March 26, 2016

i haven't done one of these in seven months. my friend tina, god rest her soul, she did love these posts. (i think she liked'm better when i was rambling, and i'll get back to that... eventually.) she would've missed them. she would've been so glad to be reading one today. i'm kind of glad to be writing one. (also i'm procrastinating mucking out my room for a w-two or transcribing notes from a recorded interview.)

so... in case yall need the reminder... the questions are from a book, q and a a day: three hundred sixty-five questions, five years, eighteen hundred twenty-five answers.the following questions are from, ahem, september. i've put a limit on the responses to five words or less.

one. teacher or student. student.

two. is your home/apartment clean? home? yes. room/car? no.

three. where have you found evidence of a higher power? everywhere. seek. ye shall find.

four. what was the last online video clip you watched? sad ben affleck video.

five. what's the newest thing you're wearing today? reading glasses.

six. who are you jealous of? strong, beautiful, affable, funny women.

seven. what comes to mind when you think of fear? drowning in rapids.

eight. what advice would you give to a second-grader? do your homework.

nine. who can help you? myself, if i let me.

ten. who are the most important people in your life? mom, dad, joph, bambam, shazam.

eleven. what would you want to study at school? photography or film.

twelve. what's your favorite snack food? hershey's milk chocolate with/out almonds.

thirteen. a decision you made today? choosing this post over responsibility.

fourteen. when was the last time you went dancing? summer cruise. eighteen years ago.

fifteen. do you plan, or are you flying by the seat of your pants? flying. planning frustrates and disappoints.

sixteen. do you handle rejection well? no.

seventeen. how hungry are you right now? not. need dr. pepper, though.

eighteen. bad news: sugar-coated or straight up? straight up.

nineteen. how do you get out of a rut? slowly.

twenty. where do you see yourself in five years? same place. different job, maybe.

twenty-one. this is utterly confounding: men. always and forever.

twenty-two. what's your favorite television show? west wing. always and forever.

twenty-three. write down a quote for today. be gentle with yourself (ehrmann).

twenty-four. write down a chronic but minor problem. depression. minor? compared to others'.

twenty-five. where do you think your road is going? heaven, i hope.

this post brought to you by ericka

March 23, 2016

Hey, there!  I'm Ericka and I blog over at A Quiet Girl's Musings of a World That Talks Too Much.  I blog about books, travel, movies, current events, and life in general.  I'm very excited to be Jenn's guest blogger today!

We’re little over one week into the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and there's already been many upsets. Probably the most unexpected upset occurred when #12 Yale defeated #5 Baylor. The Bulldogs, who hadn’t made a NCAA tournament appearance since JFK was President, not only broke their 54 year tournament appearanace drought, but made history by achieving the school’s first ever tournament victory. Although Yale went on to be defeated by Duke in the second round last Saturday, their tournament appearance and first round win are the makings of a small scale, underdog feel good story.  I don’t know about you, but I love a good underdog story.

Undeniably, one of the best underdog movies of all time is the movie Hoosiers.  Hoosiers, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, is the story of a basketball team from a small town in Indiana who wins the state championship against a team from a much larger school. The movie was inspired by the true story of the 1954 Milan H.S. basketball team, who won the Indiana high school championship that year becoming the smallest school to ever win a single class basketball title in Indiana.

There are many lessons that can be learned from underdog movies, the most common being perseverance, which is a evident in Hoosiers.  Even though Hoosiers is not my favorite underdog movie, I consider it one of the most endearing and most valuable because of the lessons it teaches that has nothing to do with perseverance, lessons that are often easily overlooked.  These deeper lessons, in my opinion, are what makes the movie a timeless classic.

Before you can be successful at something, you must possess strong, fundamental, foundational skills. 
During one of the team's first practices, Coach Dale, played by Gene Hackman, runs the team through countless drills - passing drills, dribbling while weaving through chairs, and running what we used to call "suicides," but I think are now called “down and backs” or something.  It’s apparent that the boys are not used to this kind of practice and one of them asks when are they going to scrimmage. Coach Dale explains, "We don't scrimmage and no shooting either. I've seen that you guys can shoot, but there's more to the game than shooting. There's fundamentals and defense."  These fundamental skills are to playing basketball as crawling and cruising while holding onto furniture are to independent walking - fundamental prerequisites.  Also, the physical conditioning he puts the boys through is essential for stamina and endurance, two vital skills that are needed to play a game from start to finish, especially when you only have seven players.

While winning is important, how you play the game is more important.
We play games for fun, but there is no denying the desire that most of us have deep down inside that drives us to win. Despite this, Coach Dale knew that there was more to basketball than just winning.  He knew that many of the skills learned on the basketball court, such as impulse control (passing the ball four times before shooting), discipline, good sportsmanship, and synergy (working cohesively together as one team rather than as five individuals), are lessons that are also beneficial off the basketball court in the real world.  

“Don’t get caught up in thinking about winning and losing,” he told them before a big game. “If you put your effort into playing to your potential, to being the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re going to be winners.”

Second chances are powerful.  
Coach Dale had coached college before in another state, but was suspended after an incident with one of his players.  The principal at the Hickory knew Coach Dale because they attended college together.  He knew of Dale’s suspension, but that didn’t deter him from giving Coach Dale a second chance at coaching, something that Dale was apparently good at.  It’s obvious that the principal thought enough of Coach Dale and his abilities to give him the opportunity of having a clean slate.

Coach Dale goes on to give to one of his players, Whit, a second chance at being on the team after Whit was coerced by a fellow teammate to walk out of practice on the first day. This is something that he did not have to do, but he understood that teenagers sometimes make poor choices and gave him a second chance. 

Later in the movie, Coach Dale offers Shooter, one of the player's father who has a drinking problem, the chance to be his assistant under the condition that Shooter remain sober. Despite his drinking problem, Shooter was very knowledgable of the game and Coach Dale recognized that along with the fact that no one believed in Shooter, not even Shooter's son.  Giving him a shot at being his assistant (and later getting himself thrown out of the game so that Shooter had to take over as coach) allowed Shooter to utilize his knowledge, gain confidence, and start to redeem himself in his son's eyes.

  Had Coach Dale not given him that opportunity, then he and his son's relationship would probably have remained strained and he probably would not have entered alcohol rehabilitation. Because Coach Dale believed in him, Shooter, we assume, was able to turn a new leaf.

There are many more subtle lessons that he movie Hoosiers teaches, such as taking responsibility, having respect for authority, and standing up for others. These are just the three most important lessons in my opinion and, as they say, opinions my vary.

Have you seen the movie Hoosiers?  If so, what lessons do you feel the movie has to offer?

Thanks for stopping by and thank you, Jenn, for having me. It was fun!

and the hits just keep on coming

March 20, 2016

i have gotten through the worst of this month, though i have to tell you, it's been more a challenge this year than usual. i've seen a lot of three-twelve in my day-to-day activities in the past couple of weeks, and before yall say, you're just noticing it more because of the time of year, please know there is never a time i don't notice that number. i've written about this before. but whatever... i'm doing it again.

three. twelve. march twelfth -- the day my brother died. i can tell you where i was for every hour of that day. i can tell you where i was when he died, where i was when my parents were notified, where i was when they'd told me. i can picture that moment -- especially that one -- with painful, awful clarity. i wrote a poem about it. it's probably the best thing i've ever written. i can't tell you how grateful i am that i could take something so hideous and make it into something worthy.

i can tell you my younger brother was vacationing with his then wife and their friends when my parents called him, and when they'd called him another time during his brief stay there, he hadn't wanted to take the call because he was in the exact same spot as he'd been when they'd told him of jon's death.

i'm not noticing it more because of the time of year. every time i notice it, i think it's his way of saying hello. of somehow finding a way to be present in my life. 

it happened just today, for example, when i'd bought my king-sized hershey's milk chocolate bar and my twelve-ounce can of dr. pepper. and the clerk rings it up and says three twelve. 

there was a time i used to freeze at that. i'm getting better.

you could say the depressed gal is choosing depression. whatever. i'm grieving, dammit... still. i'm grieving because goddamn i miss that man. because right now the thing i need most is his laughter and even the memory of it is gone. i can't recall it anymore. i'm grieving because i still can't fucking figure out why god stole him away from us and has kept me here to wallow in this bullshit. me who seems to be so unnecessary...

someone asked me the other day how i'm doing... how'm i doing? i fucking hate life right now. that's how i'm doing. i hate that i can't be the beautiful one, the light one, the good one. i hate that there's this gaping hole in my world, and i can't fill it. i hate that i crawl into an empty bed at night and have to bunch the pillows about me so as to have some semblance of being held. i hate that i have to, have always had to provide my own damned comfort. i hate that others who have an impact on my family dynamic can continually find new ways to hurt us, that it's being done out of the purest spite and malice... that there are more ways to cause death than just taking a life. someone can change a name, too, and in so doing, a tree dies. i know that's vague. i can't be more direct about it. just... there's been enough death in this house... i don't think i can stomach anymore... and yet... the possibility of it swirls about me in the murky abyss of my conscience, clouded by ursula's cruelty... a real-life version of that heinous bitch from the little mermaid. 

i hate life right now, but more i hate how powerless i feel to change the things that matter most to me. that i can't say what i'd most like to say. that doing so would only evoke more ugliness, that the ursula from my world is eager for just that sort of thing. and how much i don't give a rat's ass to change the things i can.

that serenity prayer? i know that thing well. it was beer that killed my brother. i have his chip somewhere. i'd rather have him. those words though... they mean nothing to me. and it hurts my heart to write that, because i'm a writer. words are not empty things to me. but those... they are nothing. this life... it's not a whole lot more than that. 

this post brought to you by the lovely texan-turned aussie, erin

March 14, 2016

The following was originally posted on my blog (TexErin-in-Sydneyland) in January 16, 2014; two plus years later, it still stands true.

We can all relate - whether we grow up or grow apart - life changes, interests change, priorities change - so friends change too.  Sometimes it is necessary.  Sometimes there are toxic people in our lives that we need to get rid of.  Sometimes it's just a part of life, and that's okay.  Sometimes it's very sad, even hurtful to lose a friend.  Friendships experience an array of emotions, so why shouldn't there be a variety of emotions experienced when we lose that friend too?

During the last several years, I've experienced a crazy, stupid amount of change.  Some as a normal part of life; some based on my own decisions (good, bad, or really ugly); and some unexpected.  I've mentioned on my blog before, and I'll probably mention again, that I have done a lot of self-analysis.  I've grown a lot.  I've worked hard at it.  And, I acknowledge that I will continue to analyze, work, and grow.  I'm happy about that path too.

With that growth, I've learned how to look at some things in a positive way.  Sometimes, I have to force myself to do it, but I feel better for it.  Losing some friendships along the way, I've learned to not focus on the sadness, the hurt, the void that is left behind.  I've learned to focus on the memories; to appreciate and value some of the amazing experiences I've had with some tremendous individuals.  There are a handful that I thought would be in my life forever.  Yes, it's sad, even hurtful, and I do feel their absence.  But, I choose to remember those special times, those treasured moments, and consider myself lucky to have those memories.