Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Over My Dead Iris

It's almost Spring. How do I know this? Not because the temperatures are warmer (we had snow this morning), but because my irises are about to bloom. I have some of the most beautiful heirloom irises in my front yard. A few years ago, I painstakingly extracted them from my sweet neighbor's yard (with permission of course) and planted them. I care for them all year in order to see their beautiful blooms for about 3-4 weeks. That's all I get, but it's worth it.

Speaking of irises, I'll never forget a guy I met last year. While I was pumping gas into my Sexy Dude (that's my car's name), I was watching the storm clouds roll in at an alarming speed. A guy about my age was pumping gas at the pump next to me (we'll call him "Texaco Guy"). Texaco Guy turned to me and asked if I knew where the storm was coming in from. I had just been at home on my lunch break and was watching the news, so I told him that it was headed our way from Stephenville. He then replied, "Oh! I know Stephenville! I used to go to school out there."


So I told him that I, too, went to school in Stephenville, so we talked about the town for another 4 gallons of gas. He and I were each getting in our cars, and I said "Well, it's starting to sprinkle, so you better get wherever you are headed!" He told me that he only lived a block away so no big deal.


I thought he was a nice enough guy, so I offered up that I, too, live about a block away, and we marveled at the small world we live in. He waved and drove off and I went on my merry way. Not interested in the guy, but he seemed nice.

Fast forward two weeks. I get home at around 9pm on a Friday night (yes, my life is that exciting) and find a note and flowers on my doorstep. WOW!! What a nice gesture! I wasn't dating anyone at the time, so this was a big surprise. I read the note and it was from Texaco Guy and he was asking me out on a date. Hmmm... interesting. The flowers were just laying there in a pile, which was odd, but they were beautiful. Yellow irises! My favorite! There is no way he could have known that, but the coincidence was nice. There was also a single red tulip in there. Strange. But whatever.

Wait, how does he know what house I live in? I was vague at the gas station, right?!

I promptly set my alarm, shut the window shades (just in case he's lurking somewhere) and decided to put my new beautiful flowers in a vase. They are so pretty, and I could not figure out where he found irises. Those are not usually found in flower shops because they die pretty much the same day you cut them. Hmmm...

I admired my flowers for a minute, and remembered that I needed to get my mail out of the mailbox. Once I was out there, something caught my eye. What is different in my front yard? Something... looks... strange... Wait. Where are my beautiful irises? They are all in full bloom right now and I don't see a single bloom.

Then it hit me. Texaco Guy cut all MY irises down and gave them to me! WHAT IN THE WORLD??? I wait ALL YEAR for my irises to bloom and he cut them all down?? And who on my block is missing one red tulip? What the heck?!

If only I knew what house he lived in, I would have gone and dug up all his shrubs and left them on his front doorstep, with a note that said "Thanks, but I'm busy."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ball of Lent

There are so many things I could give up for Lent. 40 days and 40 nights of missing something in your life. Something you get too much of.

How do you know when how much is too much? Too much too soon. Too much information. Too much fun. Too much love. Too much to ask... And when is it all just too much to bear?

I could give up dating, for instance. You know, the game of getting to know someone… finding out if they are your type… hoping they are being honest with you when they tell you things that you really want to hear. It’s awkward at times and completely exhausting! But the thing is... there are some things people don't admit because they just don't like the way it sounds. Like, “I’m lonely”. I admit it. I am. The loneliness is palpable. But I'm not desperate. There is a difference. Therefore I will not give up.

I could give up reading my girlie books and read something more sustaining (like the Bible). But I love my easy books. Give me a vampire novel and a cozy chair and you have one completely content girl. When I first moved to Fort Worth and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy a book instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more. So I’m not giving it up.

I gave up alcohol last year. That was a fun one. I felt healthier, although I found myself turning into a recluse because I couldn’t bear to go to social events where everyone was enjoying a drink and I was sipping on water. The jealousy was radiating from me. Not that I need alcohol, but it sure does make for a more fun evening, given the choice to partake or not. This year, I am not giving it up.

I had to think of something I love, something important to me and my daily life. So I am giving up excess sugar. This is a sacrifice for me. I am like a little kid. I love sugar, in my coffee, in dark chocolate, just spooned into my mouth. Whatever. I love it.

So we’re one day down, 39 to go. Check back with me later when my coffee is sugarless and I am passing on the cake in the breakroom. I might be ready to hang it up. But I won’t. This is important.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Tricky World of Men

When men make big, bold gestures, they are considered romantic and chivalrous. When women make big, bold gestures, they are considered desperate and psycho. Explain this to me, please.

I'm all for romanticism. I actually live for that kind of stuff. However, why can't women be the ones to do it without looking crazy or clingy or pushy? Oh the mysteries of dating life... I guess if we don't want to appear crazy, then we just have to wait around like the good old days and hope that he calls... and today’s “Guy Code” dictates that 3 days must pass before they call us. Seriously?

It's not that we ladies can't pick up the phone and call or text someone - it's that we might look crazy if we do it! I can't help but wonder "Am I bothering them?!" So do they wonder the same thing when they are thinking about us and wanting to send us a little text??

It’s a risk. Not the kind of risk where you'll find yourself in some guy's basement being ordered to put the lotion on the skin or you'll get the hose again. But it’s a risk to our pride, and to our hearts. We don’t want to look bad and we don’t want to potentially lose a great guy because he thought we were pushy by contacting him first. On the flipside, if a guy is going to run screaming from something like that –do we even want him?

Sometimes I wish I had the deluded self confidence that causes people like Ross Perot to run for President; or people like Lady Gaga to run around in a banana suit. I wouldn't care what they thought. If I wanted to call or text someone, I'd just DO it. Confidence is sexy, and I have tons of confidence (except when it comes to this one issue).

In the words of the brilliant Carrie Bradshaw: "Men are like the New York Times Crossword puzzle: tricky, complicated and you are never really sure you got the right answer." Amen, sister.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

A great poet once said “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.” Okay, so maybe that was Stevie Nicks. But she is a poet to me.

I have been thinking lately about those sweet little lies we tell, the ones that are intended to make the other person feel better. Or to make ourselves look or feel better. Or to just generally help a certain situation. And yet. How dangerous.

A retrospective of a past sweet little lie I told:

Once, when I was in college, the kind men of our brother fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, kidnapped my roommate Dawn and I in an effort to coerce our pledges to find us (and in turn, maybe bond or something). We were hidden away all night in a town 45 minutes from our college at Houston and Elaine’s house. Once the pledges found us after an elaborate scavenger hunt, it was in the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, I was at my 8am class without a wink of sleep, and by 3pm I was sitting at my desk at work and barely keeping it together. I was alone in the entire office and at some point I must have fallen asleep because I woke up with my forehead on my keyboard and my boss saying my name (in a very offensive tone, I might add). I kept my head down and immediately said “… in thy precious name, Amen.” I looked up innocently, “Yes? I was just saying a quick prayer. What can I do for you?” She bought it! And I kept my job.

This is an example of a sweet little lie that was relatively harmless. I went home that day, prayed for forgiveness and explained to God in such an authoritative tone that I couldn’t lose my job. Somebody had to pay the rent. I slept better that night.

And I have had a funny story to tell for years and years.

Then there are those big lies. The ones that hurt people or hurt myself. I have been lied to, so many times. Usually by men, sometimes by girlfriends. And it always hurts. But I don’t let it hurt the trust I have in people from the beginning. Everyone gets a clean slate at first.

Somebody once asked me to try to remember the biggest lie I have ever told. Unfortunately, I had been dishonest so many times that I couldn’t pinpoint the biggest one. I have lied to get a job (and then worked extra hard to prove myself, and once I caught up to where I needed to be, I didn’t remember that I shouldn’t have gotten the job to begin with). I have lied to save face. I have lied to make people feel better. I have lied to make myself feel better.

Thankfully this behavior is not recent. I have made a concerted effort over the past few years to be honest, sometimes brutally, with myself and the people in my life. It helps to have a person holding you accountable, and that person is God. It’s not easy. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I hurt someone else. Sometimes I embarrass myself. But I sure sleep better at night.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cabin Fever

I am sitting on my turquoise-colored couch, snowed in. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself.

I have my rituals before work - such as my cold cup of coffee. I have a habit of drinking the same cup of cold coffee all morning, and that drives most people nuts. If I’m out for breakfast, the waitress never quite knows how to react when she approaches me for a warm up and I immediately cover up my coffee cup and decline. I don’t mind it a bit.

So here I am with my cold cup of coffee (which was hot at some point today), my menagerie of animals are snuggled next to me and my computer is fired up. Even though I have no world wide web internet service (that’s what I like to call it-sounds more impressive), which means that I am writing this and putting it on my thumb drive/usb thing and will upload it later, when I am in front of the world wide web internet. That’s my choice by the way, the “no internet thing”. I have found profound peace in not having it at my fingertips. Which means I do not have one of those thinking phones either. And that’s fine with me.

Peaceful morning. And yet. I just don’t know what to do with myself.

I could clean, since I’m pretty much obsessed with having things clean. But that’s the problem with being obsessed with having things clean – they are already clean. So that’s out.

I could cook, since I love love love to cook. But I need groceries. And I’m snowed in. So that’s out.

I could go to work, but the morning off is probably a good thing considering I have a tendency to work myself to death, what with a bunch of side jobs and an apprenticeship. Plus I’m snowed in. So that’s out.

I guess I’ll just sit here and relax. What a novel idea. Hmm…is it normal that I have no idea how to do that for long periods of time?? I better go look for a good book. I’ve got plenty of those.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Son of a Beach

I spend about as much time on the phone today as I did when I was a teenager. I think I’m addicted to the damn thing. That’s probably just a side effect of living alone. I can only talk to my pets so much before their lack of response starts to give me a slight complex. But I digress…

Last night I was talking to my mom on the phone while she was driving home from “Toastmasters”. I’m still unclear as to exactly what Toastmasters is. I am leaning toward a cult that sometimes wears strange hats, and when you go, you are forced to give impromptu, highly personal speeches. She insists it is a nice group of people who enjoy public speaking and gain confidence and friends. Hmm. You say pleasant crowd of folks, I say spooky cult. Tomato/Tomahto…

She pitched a speech idea to me. It involves the land we have in Arkansas, ticks and the word “foreplay” is in the punch line. I see the humor. Arkansas is redneck, ticks are great, especially when they give you Lyme disease, and who doesn’t love a good foreplay joke? However, I just wasn’t feeling it. Not because it is a story about my parents, intermingled with the word “foreplay” (there isn’t actually any foreplay in this story. I may not know what Toastmasters is, but I’m 99% certain it’s not that kind of establishment), but because it just gave me the willies.

We decided to nix that story.

So we started recounting our trip to Honduras in 2005. When our boat docked, my dad and sister took off for some diving and my mom and I found ourselves in paradise. We had signed up for an excursion that included a tour of the island Roatan and a day on a private beach. We promptly board a 1978 bus that looks like it is headed for a prison and proceed to drive through the most poverty-stricken area I have ever seen with my own blue eyes. I can’t describe what it was like. But it’s certainly something I’ll never forget.

We then got to our first destination, an Iguana Farm. Sounds harmless. Those are like the Geico Gecko, right? WRONG. Those are bigger than Bama (who is my 14.7 pound Shih Tzu (yes she has lost .3 pounds since the diet began, thank you very much)) and their eyes are bulging out of their heads. Their fingernails are longer than the ones on the gloves that come with witch Halloween costumes and they are running around at our feet. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there are thousands of them. My mom grabs me and tells me to stay close, but I immediately went into a trance and started walking through the iguanas. I figured out later that I was transfixed on a monkey that was on display. The poor emaciated thing was pitiful, but it was enough to get me to walk through thousands of iguanas. While walking through the sea of green lizards, I was handed a huge leaf. I thanked the kind woman for her gift, and then she informed me that I was to feed the lizards. So I hold the leaf out as far away from my body as possible and one quick little fellow eats it in about 2 seconds. Before I knew it, the little sharp teeth were up by my fingers! I immediately did a full body shiver and ran screaming from the scene.

I spot my mom at the same time all of the iguanas spot her. She is wearing a long swimsuit cover-up that is moomoo-esque and has a print of huge green leaves on it, so in their minds, she is covered in their dinner. She starts getting surrounded by iguanas and I can see the panic creep across her face. Somehow she sidestepped and did a little dance and got away from the monsters. I made my way over to her and we clung to each other for safety. Meanwhile, everyone else seems to be having a fine time. Weirdos.

Out of nowhere, my mom starts screaming and running across the dirt parking lot in pursuit of a bright red bus, the only bright red bus in the place. She starts beating on the windows and screaming for them to stop. The driver stopped and then had to tell her we weren’t on his bus, that all of his passengers were accounted for. She comes back over, looking frazzled, and I point out our bus to her (which I have not let out of my sight) and make sure that she sees that it is not bright red and that it is still here. I assure her that we were not going to be left. Over my dead body. She and I needed a Xanax.

Finally, it was time to leave the hell that is the Roatan Island Iguana Farm, and head to the private beach. This place was magnificent. Beautiful sand, warm water, setting sun… a nice beach dweller cooking lobster tails. Paradise.

Once we and our full bellies got settled in our chairs, the woman lounging in the chair next to us says (unsolicited) “You know, it was a beautiful day just like today when that horrific tsunami hit and killed all those people.”

Thanks, lady. Now we’re afraid for our lives again. Just when Roatan was starting to redeem itself.