Monday, June 30, 2008

And The Award Goes To...

Kirie, a friend and former coworker from my Utah days, gifted my blog with an academy award. Thank you Kirie!

Receiving awards is always fun. The hardest part for me is selecting which blog(s) to pass the award to. I thought of all the blogs I read and finally decided to honor my friend Rexbasior.

Rexbasior is a friend I met several years ago. He had a blog before blogging was cool. In fact, he had a blog before ‘blog’ was a word. I always enjoyed reading the website he updated. He always said he would help me code a website but the idea didn’t interest me. I wanted to read what he had to say but doubted anyone would enjoy my silly stories.

When I moved to Georgia, I needed a way to keep in touch with my former coworkers and friends. I opted to send out mass emails periodically that focused on new southern cultures and experiences. One email in particular (later adapted for my blog) received several responses suggesting I submit my writing to a local newspaper. Although I was flattered, I never took any action.

Until the evening of October 31, 2006. I’d gone downtown to enjoy the Halloween costumes. In a college town, Halloween is the best night to people watch. The costumes are brilliant. I arrived downtown but was unable to find a parking spot. I called some friends hoping to meet up with them but they were at a different party. I cruised through the streets for awhile then left for home. Still wide awake with plenty of energy, I turned on the computer.

I checked my email.

I played a card game.

I was still bored. What to do? What to do? Then the words of Rexbasior came to my mind: you could start a blog.

So I did. Blogging has become a highlight in my life. I never thought a simple entry about a dead fish named Elvis could change my life but that decision is one of the best I’ve ever made. Thank you, Rexbasior, for encouraging me to write. This post’s for you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dancing Around The Truth

Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching.

Dance like no one’s watching.

Back in my college days, I didn’t think I was busy enough so I joined the Student Activity Association. One of the events I helped plan included a homecoming dance. Homecoming didn’t consist of just one dance venue. Friday and Saturday each had several locations students could attend. One of the perks of helping the committee included tickets to any venue. My friend, Jorj, and I each received a pair. We decided to go to one location on Friday using my set and another location on Saturday using his tickets.

I dressed to the nines on Friday. I wore a purple dress that flowed when I twirled. I spun so much that the strap shoes I’d worn began to cut my feet. I told Jorj that I was dressing down for the dance the following night. I didn’t need more blisters. Saturday I wore a classic black skirt, a loosely knitted pale blue top, and flip flops.

The venue we chose for Saturday was a two story museum converted into a dance hall. The top floor was decorated in crazy colors and lit with a black light. The room was reserved for upbeat music and the latest Top 20. The ground floor - the subdued floor - played slower, more romantic songs and invited couples to linger longer in the dim light.

Jorj and I were casual friends and the ground level bored us so we ventured upstairs to dance to faster tempos. I found a spot and we began to boogie.

Let me explain one fact: While I enjoy dancing, I’m not great at it. My sisters always mocked my dancing style when I was younger but nothing they said ever stopped me from trying.

This being said, I wasn't surprised to see some of the dancers in the room looking my direction. I know I look funny when I dance but must they really stare at me? I let Jorj know we were being watched. I suggested we try some dance moves since we had an audience. Now they are smiling. Why don’t they stop looking at us? Rude!

"Look Charlotte, we are glowing."
"I know. It's because of the black light."
Duh Jorj. Have you never stood near a black light before?!
"We are white."
"Yes. Your shirt is and I'm sure my teeth are glowing."
What a silly conversation. And why are those other people still looking at us. My dancing is funny but I don't appreciate their giggles.
"You are glowing too."
"Well, not as much as you. I'm not wearing anything white. Oh, but my nails are white!"
Jorj, change the subject already!
"You are glowing Charlotte."
What is he getting at?!
"Jorj, I'm wearing black and bluu..."

I glanced down and froze. Black light. White bra. Loosely knitted top.

Yes, I was glowing. The stares from the other dancers suddenly made sense. I clutched the small amount of dignity I still had and ran from the room.

"JORJ! My bra is glowing! Why didn't you say something?!"
"I was trying. It's not your average conversation. I didn't know what to say."
"Okay, then. Charlotte, your bra was glowing."
"Thaaanks. And I'm going to need your jacket the rest of the evening."

Blistered feet and a glowing bra ~ I hope to never have a more memorable homecoming.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hit Me

Have a card. Have two or three cards. In fact, have as many cards as you like. I have 500.

Business cards that is.

Each and every last one with my name and email spelled incorrectly.

I've worked for this construction agency nearly three years so when I learned I would finally receive business cards, I was giddy. I was on the phone with corporate a week later verifying my name and company information. All was correct.

The cards came while I was away at camp and I was excited to receive them on Monday. A coworker and I were discussing feedback on a recent situation when I realized all 500 cards were worthless. I bit my lip and stopped my comment mid sentence.

I've had more trouble with my last name. My passport came back twice with my last name misspelled, clients will call 2 and sometimes 3 times to say their emails to me - which includes my last name - bounce back, and now 500 business cards.

If only I could find a guy with the same wrong last name. I could marry into my business card.

What's in a name? Obviously not the right letters.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Little Mistake

I survived camp!

I suffered from bug bites in areas we won't discuss, lack of sleep due to late late nights and early early mornings, a general disregard for personal appearance as the week wore on, and developed some mysterious bruises.

It was fantastic!

The weather was perfect. The days were bearable and the evenings cool. We did get rain on the last night which made packing a muddy job but otherwise camping was better than I expected.

As I packed the previous Saturday, I made a list of items I would need to buy which included a camping chair. I drove to Wal-Mart and headed to the camping area. I wanted a light chair so hiking wouldn't be awkward. I found a few styles I liked then lifted each one to compare weight. The one I chose in the end was rather easy to carry. The $4.94 price tag certainly fit my style as well.

Word to the wise: Test items before leaving on a week long camping trip where quick trips to the store don't exist.

Camping, like I said, was great. And my Junior Sized Chair was easy to carry.

This is the only picture with me and the little chair. Yikes! A week of camping does not make for glamour shots.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Boot Camp

I leave today for a week long camping adventure. The theme for the week is Boot Camp. I'm really excited. I have carefully selected some cute outfits and I can't wait to see what designer boots the other girls bring!

Hang on, Mama Mia is saying something...

Yes Mama Mia?

That's my pile of clothes to take to camp. Do you like the stilettos?

Of course I'm taking those to camp ~ the theme is boot camp. D'uh!

What do you mean it's not designer boot camp?!


Blogging friends, seems there was a slight miscommunication. I need to go, um, repack.

Army. Armani. Really, anyone could make that mistake!
(See ya next week!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Expensive Taste

To celebrate the end of my second quarter in school, my friend ‘Mellow Yellow’ and I decided to bike a trail in Athens. After completing the trail, we secured our bikes to the back of Mellow’s car and drove downtown for a bite to eat. At my suggestion we parked the car at the local newspaper lot and walked a block for sushi.

I’m sure we were a sight to see. Two hours on a mountain bike in the Georgia heat left us both glistening. I’d brought a shirt to throw over my tank and swapped my helmet for a baseball cap but it was obvious we’d been outside awhile. We ordered, again at my suggestion, a particular sushi roll with eel. Our plate came. The roll was so delicious that Mellow flagged the waitress and asked that an additional eel roll be added to our order.

We finished and headed back to the car. I’d been hesitant to leave the bikes. Although they were securely fastened to the car, neither of us had brought a lock. Any passerby could have easily loosened the straps. As we neared the lot, I didn't see the bikes.

Or the car.

We’d been towed. I don’t know the words to adequately describe the pit that formed in my stomach. Guilt mixed with anger; the realization of the monetary consequences dominated my attempt to apologize. Mellow, who remained completely reasonable throughout the entire ordeal, simply called the tow company to ask about the car. We walked the several blocks to the tow yard which allowed me time to calm down.

Mellow was just that - mellow. By calmly talking with the tow yard attendant, the bill was reduced $25. I tried to sweet talk another $25 discount but was met with a curt “no”. $120 later, we were on our way with bikes in tow... no pun intended.

Life has a way of giving the test first and then the lesson. This is what I now know:
Listen to me when I suggest food.
Don’t listen to me when I suggest a parking spot.

Also, if I ever see two pedestrians walking through downtown Athens dressed in biking attire, I’m pulling over to see if they need a ride.

Isn't Athen's beautiful! I love this city.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Saturday was a series of events.

Fortunately I saved fuel by biking to the grocery store.
Unfortunately I didn't bring enough water and suffered from dehydration all afternoon and evening.

Fortunately I carpooled with three friends to Atlanta. We had an enjoyable afternoon.
Unfortunately the car radiator cracked 15 minutes after we started our drive home to Athens.

Fortunately the split was near the surface and the driver had a tire repair kit in the trunk. The super glue, rubber strip, and duct tape seal held together for the remaining 2 hour drive.
Unfortunately we had to drive with the heater on high the entire ride to help cool the engine.

Fortunately I don't mind having the windows down.
Unfortunately we wouldn't arrive home till after midnight.

Fortunately my car was still at Lowes where I had parked it for the day.
Unfortunately Lowe's locks their parking lots when they close.

Fortunately my car radiator was fine.
Unfortunately my car was locked for the evening.

Fortunately Lowe's is open on Sunday.

What a weekend...fortunately it's over!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Chew On This

This is my current favorite flavor of gum. I am a gum addict. I typically have a least one pack at work, in my purse, at home, and in my car. I really like gum. This particular flavor has a new marketing approach. Inside each pack is printed: What do you plan to do before you finish that piece of stride? Let us know!

A website is given and anyone can submit their idea. The gum is arranged in the package so when a piece is removed, five suggestions from the website are printed. In the past two weeks I've purchased, well, several packs of gum and I haven't seen the same list twice.

A sampling of submissions includes:
Find Nessle
Be a rodeo clown
Become a certified jump master
Coin a phrase
Live with the wild llamas of Peru
Discover an element to add to the periodic table
Get into a break dance battle
Live in a tee-pee
Learn to luge
Teach belly dancing at a retirement community
Create a zip line across the state of New Hampshire
Create a life size replica of a yacht using toothpicks
Get a class D driver's license
Walk the Appalachian trail blindfolded
Watch the world's longest movie

These are all items someone wants to accomplish while chewing a piece of Stride gum.

Let's do some math. On average, I can chew one piece of gum for two hours before my jaw hurts, the flavor disappears, or I decide I want a snack. I googled 'world's longest movie' and was directed to The Longest List of the Longest Stuff at the Longest Domain Name at Long

Longest Movie:
Movie Title: None
Director: Buracz Bosnitz
Country: Czech Republic
Length: 908 hours

I would need 454 pieces of gum.

"Hi. I need one ticket for the 9:15 showing of None. And can I get a box of Milkduds, a small drink, and 33 packs of Stride please."

I think I would need the world's longest nap after the credits rolled!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flashback to Reality

Night school will put a damper on your social life. Not only have I neglected friends and family, I missed the final episodes of The Office, Lost, American Idol, and The Bachelor. While this doesn't bother me now, I was a reality show junkie several years ago. I learned business strategy with The Apprentice. I found courage to sing out loud with American Idol. I cringed during Fear Factor.
...and I fell in love every season with The Bachelor. In spring of 2004, a football player by the name of Jesse Palmer won my heart. I didn't receive the final rose but we bonded. Uh, well, kind of...

Journal Entry dated April 20, 2004
Yesterday I came home from work sick at 2:30. I feel asleep from 3-6:30. And this is how I know I am way too addicted to reality shows...The Bachelor especially. Since I was sick when I went to sleep, in my dream I was sick also. In my dream, I was a contestant on The Bachelor. I missed the rose ceremony because I was sick and couldn't get out of bed. When I woke up (in my dream), Jesse had placed a bouquet of roses by my door inviting me to stay for the next round.

Jesse, whatdaya say we give our love another go around. I finish school next Thursday. You free on Friday? I can even pretend to like football.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm Serious

Disclaimer: I've got a lotta thoughts. Most are silly but occasionaly one causes me to stop and really ponder...

I received a forward last week about outrageous shoe fashions. The pictures showed heels so high that the individual wearing the shoe was practically on tippy toe. The email compared the trend to the Geisha custom of wrapping a girl's feet. The pictures disturbed me greatly yet intrigued me to research the topic.
Innocence is bliss.
I read many reasons for the custom but overall, it came down to what the culture defined as beauty. A woman with bound feet was much more desirable than a woman with 'clown feet'. The fact that a woman with bound feet was not able to walk far or very long unassisted ensured that she would be faithful to her family and displayed her tolerance of pain.
This knowledge upset me so much that I wrote my thoughts in my journal. I could not understand how a culture could dictate a custom that was so warped and perverted. Could these women not see that 'beauty' was crippling?
The scary realization came when I recognized some customs I have endured in the name of beauty. I have:
* waxed or plucked my eyebrows for years
* had electrolysis treatments monthly for one year
* had my ears pierced
* own spandex underclothes to help me suck in so I fit in tight outfits
* worn heel shoes so high my arches hurt at each step
* burned my forehead, neck, and fingers various times while curling/straightening my hair
* laid in a tanning booth and burned

I know others who:
* have had botox
* are anorexic or bulimic
* have had chest implants
* have had tummy tucks or liposuction

Why? I don't like wearing heels that make my feet hurt. I don't like wearing clothes so tight I can hardly breath. During one electrolysis appointment, the needle hit a small blood vessel near my eye and it ruptured. I had a bruise near my eyebrow for a week. A friend once told me in confidence that she was anorexic. I asked her what she had eaten that day. She suggested I rephrase the question to what she had eaten that week. It was a Thursday and she had eaten one spoonful of applesauce and three baby carrots since Monday.
This is beauty? No thanks.
I plan on being me. I will wear shoes and styles that are comfortable to me. This does not mean I will only wear sack cloth robes and sandals...I still plan to be feminine but in a way that is comfortable and acceptable to me.
Whew. Now I can step down from the soap box.
step, step, step.
This blog written wearing shorts, a tee shirt, and my new sketchers.