Stick that one on the personal resume

Kids, take a lesson from Little Ms. Notetaker, when the universe is conspiring to shower good things upon you, careful not to deflect them with fake walls you've built.

Note to self: Don't waste energy on making up stories on why things have or haven't happened. And have patience.

Remember that contest? The one that I entered, and then became a top-20 contender (and then begged and pleaded for your votes), and then became one of the four finalists? Well, when I found out that I was a finalist the e-mail notification I got stated that the grand prize winner would be notified on or around September 22nd. And in my brain that read, "The winner will be notified ON September 22nd," and then I went ahead and filled in the blanks with, "our messages to you have been timely, so if you don't hear from us on the 22nd then you're not the winner. Thanks for playing. We've selected the flute-wielding dude, but good try, Little Ms. Notetaker."

Self-defense mechanism, much?

And I knew I was doing this when I was doing it, but old habits die hard--and it actually feels good and safe to do that. I had fortified my walls with the resolution that to be in the top four was still an amazing accomplishment, that amazing friends and family had bolstered my self-esteem, that I was the real winner because I ended up with a dream kitchen that I love.

But you know what feels better than making those walls, finding out you actually won. Holy buckets, geez, and hot potatoes! Not but an hour after I told someone that had I won, I would have certainly heard by now, I got a pleasant surprise.

I'm humbled, and honored, and looking forward to two hours with Steve Watson, and money for my next project. I'm still really shocked and needing to keep pinching myself. Thanks to everyone (friends, families, complete strangers who succumb to my badgering or the badgering of my friends and families) for your support. I love what Coach A had to say, "You've got fabulous down. Check that box." So yeah, don't let yourself get in the way of your fabulousness.


In honor of Den Pants

Although we surprised my dad for his 60th birthday last weekend, today was his big day. The initial plans for last week's event was just a small gathering, but when we added up all the family and friends that have been a part of his life, the invite list continued to grow.

All told, we had over 50 people there to celebrate. Most of the people I've known if not my whole life, at least a good two-thirds of it. And throughout the night I caught up with everyone telling them what I'm doing, hearing them say they can't believe how fast time has flown, or that they still remember as the little red-headed girl running around in diapers. It was great reminiscing and reconnecting.

But the best conversation I had was with a person from my dad's office that I was meeting for the first time. As we were getting acquainted, he said that he already felt like he knew me and my brother because of how much he hears about us from our dad. He continued to say that it's obvious that dad is very proud of his kids.

I've never really stopped to think about that, but later in the evening, I was talking with another couple when my dad came up and started rattling off all of the things I'm doing (work, the kitchen, Improv, the musical, even my blog--which up to that point I had no idea he really knew about), and he was genuinely beaming as he talked about it all.

So dad, in the event you have gotten around to reading this (or if at this point mom has said you need to read this and dragged you over to her computer), thanks for everything. Every day I count my blessings and I know that I wouldn't be doing any of the things I have done, am doing, and are yet to do without your love and support. And even though I don't say that a lot, it's one of my life's truths. I love you and happy birthday.

I promise to keep making you proud.


And so it goes

I've tasted my own medicine, and it isn't so great. All those guys I eschewed for liking me too much, I'm feeling their pain, at least I think I am.

NF and I are in the weird zone, and I'm thinking we've passed the point of no return. All week I've been trying to restrain myself from self-abuse about how everything has transpired, and that's left me exhausted. I'm not going to go into the weeds on this, but suffice it to say: trust your intuition. When you think someone is out on a date with another girl, or that reciting half of a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica on a voicemail message (especially when it includes the words, "I throw myself into life 100%." WTF?!) may be a little over the top, you're probably right.

But I need to stand up for myself (for myself, against myself) and say that my longwindedness all made perfect caring-in-a-friendly-way-sense in the context of the situation, but it was grossly misconstrued. And because of that the truth came out about him dating other people, and I have to admit that was a punch in the gut. True, we had never had any sort of status talk, but we were at a point where I had made an assumption. Silly me.

But I think the real root of all of this was the fact that I liked him too much, or at least showed it too much, too early. I killed the chase, and in doing so dampened the spark. I knew it when I was doing it and I just couldn't help myself; someone else was running the show. I hate it when I'm on the receiving end of that, but I was like a girl possessed and just. Couldn't. Stop.

I thought this was different. I thought I was different. I thought this would end differently. But everything that felt different is actually the same. And that's just plain old disappointing.


Throwing myself a bone

Is it really all about the chase?

Let's compare "it" to the dog park. You've got all types and temperaments of dogs. There are the big dogs, the small dogs, the alpha dogs, the meek dogs, the outgoing playful dogs, the shy and timid dogs; it's a melting pot of canine personalities. And when a new dog crosses the threshold into the pen most of the other dogs come over to greet it--a literal sniff test. Some dogs respond with aggression, some retreat, and some sniff right back.

And then there's the dog that immediately flops his body onto his back, belly exposed, completely submissive. That dog, right there? Yeah, that one? That's me.

Whenever I see that dog I think, "Come on, buddy. Don't give in so easily, you just made an alpha out of a honest-to-goodness zeta." But you know what? That's just how that dog is wired. And try as he might to change that, his nature is to throw himself down, as if to say, "hey, here's everything I got, check it out, no need to hide anything, I think it's all good but you be the judge."

I know that well. I trust almost everyone from the very beginning. But that makes me vulnerable. It leaves me open for attack, and for disappointment, but also for possibility; you just don't know what you're going to get. And when you come across one of those skittish dogs, the one that needs a lot of time to build trust, the one that's leery of your every move because he's experiencing those moves with his own filter building his own story around why you're moving the way you're moving. You really don't know what you're going to get.

But the thing is, you're a dog. And at this point, you're reflexive response is not going to change. So you just have to keep doing your thing and maybe the skittish one will eventually come around. Or maybe one of the other types will come by and will be the one you play fetch with for the remainder of your time in the dog park.

You just don't know. Note to self: the only thing you do know is your nature, and you have to be true to that. No matter how vulnerable it leaves you. And no matter if that takes you out of the chase, new tricks are not really an option here, but knowing your old ones and knowing what that means and what you need is. If every dog was in a chase, how would order ever be served? No, you need all types at the dog park--even if it means you are lying supine, exposing yourself and your heart to the world. Not all dogs will know what to do with that, but some will. And when one of those ones come along, he will make every day in the dog park the greatest day.


My life is better because of you

And then there were four.

I got the news yesterday that I'm one of the four finalists in the home improvement contest, and I should know in the next couple of days if I ended up winning the whole shebang.

I've taken up a lot of air time and have created a considerable amount of noise with this project and contest--and those of you that have put up with my trifecta of harassment for your vote (pleading e-mails, begging blog posts, and Facebook status updates) are truly deserving of sainthood. Were I the Pope, I'd make it happen. What's stopping me from ordaining you? Poof. You are now St. Internets.

Friends, colleagues, even complete strangers voted for me throughout this little contest, and I could understand doing it to stop the incessant nagging from me to "PUHLEASE GO VOTE FOR THE DO-IT-HERSELF KITCHEN!" but in all honesty, I realize now that so many of those votes were genuine displays of love and support. And I am still a little beside myself.

A side note, I had a very emotional, heartfelt post that expanded upon this point that I wrote on my plane ride home from Colorado, and right as I finished it and was saving it, my computer crapped out and none of it was there when I rebooted. So rather than recreate that post--I'm going to save that bit for another day and just leave you all with my gratitude.

Thank you. Thanks for voting. Thanks for reading. Thanks for simply being, and in doing so being a part of my life, no matter how big or small. It means a lot to me.


Things you never think

Greetings from my parents house in Colorful Colorado. I flew out for a quick weekend trip; my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and I threw a surprise birthday party for my dad last night. Preparing for that, and play rehearsals, and craziness at work, and just life in general has taken up the time I usually spend writing. My brain is overflowing with notes.

Whenever I have a lapse in posting, I find myself scribbling down one or two words on scraps of paper, to remind myself at a later time of the posts I have brewing in my head. Sometimes, I even create draft posts with bullets of what I want to cover. But then I don't get to them and it almost feels as if the moment has passed and those little posts will never get to realize their blog potential. Oh, sad for those posts.

But just like the pack-rattiness I have inherited from my father (although, I have it to a much less degree), I keep those posts in my folder, thinking, "Someday, someday that story is going to come in useful."

Take for instance, the post I started two months ago after a trip to the supermarket. I was in the "ethnic foods" aisle when the musack that was piped in began playing the Scorpions, "Wind of Change." Yes. The 1980s heavy metal band's rock ballad.

So there I was, looking for soy sauce, when I was immediately transported back to my junior high school bus. The bus driver was a rocker, as were a good number of the other kids. And then there was me. I liked Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. And at that time, I know I definitely loved Roxette. But I tolerated the metal--I was trying to play it cool, even though the braces, glasses, and spiral perm with mile-high bangs kinda made me not so. And on all of those rides home, rocking out to Metallica and Damn Yankees, there were a few things I never thought. One, I never thought those songs were getting ingrained in my memories. Two, I never thought there would come a day when I'd actually use those songs to get me "pumped" to run long distances (cue Whitesnake). And three, I never ever thought I'd be whistling along with the Scorpions in a Safeway in Seattle.

Of course, I never thought I was going to be in my thirties either. And come to think of it, I never thought I was going to make use of that post, but would you look at me. I did. Note to self: Sometimes the things you never think of, will become the things you do. That's not to say that story was particularly useful--or even that note for that matter, although that's some pretty deep stuff, Internets. But I did help release that post to the world and now it's reaching it's blog potential. And I can sleep peacefully now. Thank goodness.


Last ditch effort

Please vote for me, Internets.

Thank you. I love you.


Enter stage right

Note to self: The next time you try out for a play, if there is a next time, know that your life becomes one giant rehearsal.

Posting is thin. In fact everything in my life that does not revolve around some warped version of a classic fairy tale, is thin. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving being in Into the Woods, but holy geez, it owns me! It takes me in its giant mouth chews one or two bites, swallows me mostly whole, spits me out, and then does the same thing right over again the next night.

For the next five weeks, I have four hour rehearsals Monday through Thursday. Leaving me the weekends to do any life maintenance like going to the store, cleaning, trying not to fall off the face of the earth. I completely feel like I am in high school. Only I have more money. And boobs.


Status Reports

Do you hear that? That giant sucking sound? It's Facebook, and it's here to suck a huge portion of my day away. You know you've been spending too much time on the book when every single thought in your head is formed as if it were a status update. I am obsessed. Here is my day (I did a lot today, so my status-report-brain was on overdrive):

Little Miss Notetaker...

... doesn't want to get out of bed, because she and the girls were cutting some rug to classic 80s covers last night.

... has sore feet from wearing 3 inch heels. Fashion has a price, people.

... was startled by the tattoo on her chest when she finally did get out of bed. Oh yeah. Thank you, Mr. Miyagi.

... says, "don't worry, Mom. It's temporary."

... is wondering like crazy.

... thinks she rambled on for too long.

... is riding the bus.

... is wearing what she deems "socially acceptable" crocs to the concert hall, but they are paired with a cute skirt.

... can't shut the wonder off.

... loves Faure's Requiem. Wow.

... is frustrated that it took her three trips to the car wash to get it washed. Stupid quarter machine.

... is still wondering, so she's going to go for a run to hopefully clear her mind.

... made herself a new chair today. A little bit of spray paint and presto-change-o.

... bought too much chard at Pike's Place Market. It was just too damn tempting.

... made the most random dinner, but it incorporated all the food groups.

... needs to memorize her music for Into the Woods.

... loved that Monster stopped by for a quick visit (and that she is able to make use of the extra chard).

... is determined to hit that F.

... is still wondering. And she knows it isn't her, and has nothing to do with her, but she can't help but wonder if it is or does... just a little bit.

... thinks her random dinner did not agree with her.

... is getting the wonder out of her head so she can get a good night's sleep on her latex bed.

... must be an aggressive spray painter because she has no feeling in her pointer finger. Did she spray the skin right off of it?

... is serious now. It's time for bed.

... is going to be better about blogging this week.

... says good night to the Internets.


I feel a skin graft coming on

A few weeks ago, I went out and bought myself a new mattress. The weekend I started demolition on the kitchen, I had a new bed frame delivered to me, which means for four months I had an empty bed frame in my bedroom. And I was still sleeping on my old bed (that only had a Hollywood frame). So there was my room, one bed no frame, one frame no bed. Oh and two dressers, but that's a completely different story.

The time had come for me to bite the bullet and replace the bed I've been sleeping on since I left college. I knew this day was coming, and have done some pre-mattress shopping. Part of me really wanted a Tempurpedic, but thought I might sweat to death because I hear they can trap body heat, and when I sleep I'm a giant kiln. So there I was, thinking "To Tempurpedic, or not to Tempurpedic..." when lo-and-behold, Mr. Mattress salesman showed me this "hot" new item, that's really not hot, it sleeps much cooler than a Tempurpedic, he said. It's a mattress made out of latex.

After much hemming and hawing, and tossing and turning, I decided on latex--and I know that I'm not the only person that thinks that's just a funny thing to make a bed out of.

Because my old bed was a full (so tiny), and my new bed is a queen, it was time to go shopping for all new bedding. So I spent the better part of a morning wandering around a big box store comparing sheets. When I thought I had finished my search, I ran across a set that was the most luxurious I've ever felt. They had to have been 10,000 count of only the finest hand spun and woven Egyptian cotton. And, Ms. Sheet saleswoman told me, they wick away moisture.

I'll take them.

I went home immediately and threw my sheets in the wash, anxious to make my new grown-up bed. As I pulled the sheets out of the wash, I noticed on the tag that these were not cotton sheets. No. In fact, they were polyester.

Immediately my brain flashed to the worst-case scenario: me in bed, house on fire. Sleeping on latex covered in polyester. The good news: I won't be sweating. The bad news: I think the whole of my bed will melt onto my body.

Note to self: Cigarettes are banned from the bed. Wait, I don't smoke.


Ain't too proud to beg

Internets, I need your help!

Remember how I remodeled my kitchen? And, remember how, on a whim, I posted it on HGTV.com? Well, on another whim, I entered myself into a Do-It-Yourself contest sponsored by True Value, and now I'm a semi-finalist.

Hello. This is me at the crossroads between my hatred for begging, spamming, and asking for stuff, and my intense desire to win. Guess which side I'm taking?

Some of you have already been hit up by me (once, twice, seventeen times), and I really appreciate your patience. But for those of you who have not received my plea, or for those of you that have been sent this information by others (sly plug to all of my blogging friends to link back to this post, or non-blogging friends to copy and paste this content into an e-mail that is then released unto the universe), here's all I'm asking you to do (by the stroke of Midnight, Central Time, on 9/18):

1. Visit http://www.startrightstarthere.com/contest_vote.aspx
3. Scroll through the pictures to "Do-It-Herself Kitchen" (for all regular readers, the picture should look familiar).
4. Click on the red button that says: "Vote for this Entry" (kissing my blog anonymity good bye)
5. Forward this info (or link to this post) on to everyone you know... seriously. This is a popularity contest now, so I'm calling in any and all past, current, and future favors. Please help me feel popular!

I greatly appreciate the support, and promise to share the winnings with you. And when I say share the winnings with you, I mean blog about my consultation with Steve Watson and invite you, the Internets, over for a BBQ on the new gas grill I will purchase from True Value. I hope you like bratwurst.

Note to self: Must reconsider shopping at Lowe's.


Quick update

Hello, dear Internets! Have you missed me? My life is in hyper-drive right now and blogging has taken a backseat (my sincerest apologies). But that's not to say I haven't been taking many notes! In fact I have a good six or seven posts started and am hoping that I'll have the time to write them this week. I certainly don't want to disappoint the Internets. No.

So, before I go into those notes, I wanted to be sure to let you know I am still alive and kicking. And just to be sure I keep my readers happy (I'm afraid I may have lost a bunch in my radio silence... is anyone still out there), here are some teasers of posts you can expect from me in the recent future:

1. Bed safety--an important public service announcement from LMNT.
2. Perhaps the best date ever--it involves, cats, costumes, scones, rural-type people, scones, as seen on TV merchandise, did I mention scones?, and an amazing New Friend. Sigh.
3. Money issues--LMNT's best practices when needing to get 400 single dollar bills in a pinch.
4. Rocking the vote--I'm actually moving this one to the top of the list. I need your help to win a contest.

Oh, Internets. I've missed you so and promise that I've only been thinking of you, even when I've been with other people. I'm serious.



Sondheim makes me want to throw my Speak 'n Spell across the room.

Rehearsals for Into the Woods are in full swing, and if ever a void was left by the completion of my kitchen remodel, the musical has filled it. My cup runneth over. In fact it runneth over so much, I think the levies may have failed.

Being in a musical is really hard. Being in a Sondheim musical, well that's just sadistic. If you're not familiar, you're just going to have to trust me on this. Of course, the difficulty is compounded by the fact that I've never really been in a serious theatrical production. And that I haven't looked at sheet music in over 16 years. And that my vocal range is honestly that of an 80s hairband. And that I don't have a piano here at home to help me find my notes and practice.

The Stepmother is not a major role, but she does have a few brief solos to sing, and tonight I tried to tackle one of them. Oh, and it was a valiant effort, but it's Sondheim, and valiant just won't cut it. Weird notes and of course they are similar to another one of my solos, but just different enough that it makes my head spin completely around and causes me to shoot fire out of my mouth, ears, and nose. Look out, castmates!

Tonight I stood up in the front of the room--thankfully most of the cast had been released. And tried my hardest to hit the notes, and did so with maybe 20% accuracy. And every time we'd have to stop and start over again at a slower pace than before, I'd become more and more frustrated. But more and more determined to get it right. Alas, it wasn't in my cards to get it right tonight. And as the attempts added up, I got more and more flustered, a note here, a missed beat there. I am really feeling stretched and challenged.

My Speak 'n Spell was one of my favorite toys as a young kid (nerd, much?). I remember when I first got it having the toughest time with some of the more advanced words, and remember thinking that it shouldn't be that hard, that I should know this, and that I should be able to get it right. But every time that computer voice would beep and say in it's robotic voice, "That is incorrect. Try again," I would just want to scream out in frustration and chuck the red plastic know-it-all across the room.

That's what tonight felt like.

This is really hard. And I'm not very good at it, yet. But that's the thing, I'm determined to get this right. They obviously cast me because they think I can do it--although I think both the acting and musical directors may have had their doubts tonight. So now I just need to go and prove it to them. And, I need to prove it to me. Driving home from the rehearsal--slightly mortified that I am leading the remedial pack--several thoughts filled my head. I thought what if they tell me I'm "fired" from the play, or how long will they give me to get this right, or what if I just freeze up on stage, standing still and singing is one thing, but add in dancing, and counting, and memorizing your lines and all of the songs and thinking and breathing... WHAT AM I DOING?

And then, then I silenced the voice of that gremlin. Because they did cast me. And I can do it. When I put my mind to it, I can do a lot of things. I can do this, and I'm going to do this. And the path might not be pretty, but it will be worth it. I've never been one to give up and I'm certainly not starting now. I dry those tears of angry frustration and remember that I can finally spell ocean. OCEAN, OCEAN, OCEAN, and that's because of me.

I'm not gunning for a "best supporting actress" nod here, but I am thinking I will most certainly be the "most improved," and that's because of me.


And he didn't run away

Note to self: When going for full disclosure, be cognizant of the full picture.

At the grocery store over the weekend with New Friend.

LMNT: Spotting the magazine rack. Oooh, wanna see something cool?

NF: Sure.

LMNT: Grabbing Modern Bride off the rack and proudly bringing it back to NF.

NF: Growing visibly uncomfortable, flushed, and dare we say starting to perspire?

LMNT: Say you're thumbing through this magazine--

NF: Wait a minute! I've known you for two weeks and you're already thumbing through bridal magazines wanting to show me "something cool?" Nervous laughter.

LMNT: Oh, this is NOT what it looks like.