Call and response

Note to self (courtesy of CrissPiss): Sometimes it is just good to write down your feelings and put them out there in the universe.

Ah, love me the CrissPiss. Not only did her comment on my last post bring happy tears to my eyes, but it was spot on. So spot on that it's a little bit spooky.

I've mentioned before that I get daily "Notes from the Universe" delivered to my inbox. More often than not, these notes send a jolt right down to my core and make me look over my shoulder just to check and see who is following me around, because seriously, how do they know that's what I needed to hear at that exact moment? After my oh-my-goodness-I'm-going-to-be-an-old-maid-forever-better-start-investing-in-cats post from yesterday, this was the present the Universe left me in my inbox:

"You can make anything happen, Little Ms. Notetaker."

I love my mom and my Universe, and I can make anything happen.


One of those posts

This is going to be one of those posts where I just start writing and we'll just have to see where my meandering rambles lead. It's one of those posts where I'm writing because I've got a lot going on in my brain, and I need to process it somehow, and I'm tired of having conversations with myself in my car (yes, out loud) during my commute to and from work, so instead I'll have it with the Internets. It's one of those serious posts.

I'm really struggling right now.

I know that I have an amazing life. And I feel very fortunate to be able to say that. I try my hardest not to take that for granted, and to recognize that the amazing is a result of my hard work, and sometimes even scary risks. I wouldn't really classify myself as an ambitious person; when I think of ambitious people I think of people that truly know what they want and go out and get it. I think of my little brother, who has had a dream job since he was in the first grade--a dream job that in all reality is not really a job that is accessible to the average person. To even be considered for this dream job you have to overcome so many barriers and obstacles, certain things have to align, and you have to preform so perfectly, that most people who would ever dare dream of this job would not truly pursue it, and even fewer would actually have the chance to move from pursuit into being considered for it. But little brother doesn't let that deter him. And he is actually is a finalist for his dream job--this is just unbelievable. He's an incredible source of inspiration for me--and I don't think he knows that. I am so gosh darn proud of him and am utterly in awe of his ability to stay focused for nearly 25 years on this dream. Guess what my dream job was when I was a first-grader? Dallas Cowgirl.

So, there's little brother, on the precipice of making his dream happen. And here's me, still trying to figure out my dream. Obviously I'm not--nor ever will be--a Dallas Cowgirl. And I never even really wanted to be one. And since giving up that dream, one that I probably really gave up in the mid-1980s when I lost my blue and silver pompoms, I've had dozens of "dream jobs." The job I'm currently in is an iteration of one of my dreams, and I really do enjoy it. But here's the thing, my dreams are so fleeting. I'm not like little brother who has known what I wanted for a quarter of a century. I'm lucky if I know what I want and hold onto it for longer than two or three years. Then I get bored and I think, okay what's bigger and better and next? But even despite not having that one enduring long-term dream and not being what I would consider ambitious, I have been able to make some really cool things happen in my life. All of that is not lost on me. I do see that I have a lot of power, that I do have the ability to have laser focus when I want it, and that I can use both of those to create things that I want in my life, even if those things are fleeting.

But I'm still struggling.

And here's what I'm struggling with: I do have a long-term dream and I have known what I wanted to be since the first grade (even earlier actually). And what frustrates the hell out of me is that I can make all these other amazing things in my life happen, all of these other things that at times can seem ridiculously random, but no matter how hard I try I cannot manifest this seemingly common and simple thing. And the fact that I can't do that scares me.

I have always dreamt of having a family, of being in a loving relationship, of being a parent. It's the one dream that has never been fleeting, the one dream I've held in my heart longer than any other dream, and it's the one dream I have yet to realize. And I live with the fear, a fear that grows stronger every year, that this may be the one thing in my life that I can't make happen.

Internets, I'm not throwing this out there because I want your sympathy, or because I'm looking for advice, because I'm not. Especially if that advice treads anywhere near the lines of: "Little Ms. Notetaker, when you stop trying that's when you'll find it," or "good things come to those who wait," or heaven forbid "you should try online dating." I've heard all of those things more often than I have wanted. I'm not looking to be consoled here, I'm just throwing up my arms in teenage-like angst and screaming out a giant "WTF?!"

In all honesty, I don't like admitting what I just did. I want to erase all of that rambling (except for the part about how proud I am of little brother). I really feel ashamed, and foolish, and whiny, and pathetic for saying all those things, but it is an honest-to-goodness fear. And it's not my only fear. My other fear is that all of the amazing things I have made happen in my life are actually in response to my incapability to handle the fact that I have this open and unanswered dream out there. And that living with that reality is too painful to bear. So, I create other temporary "dreams" that I can pursue to compensate. And because I'm a hard worker and am ambitious enough, I can chase those temporary dreams and accomplish them. However, maybe I end up completely screwing myself because pursuing them with the tenacity I do actually takes me further away from my real dream. But it keeps me in a safe little bubble where I don't have to face reality, and where I can say, look at how amazing I am, I can do so much. And what I'm really saying, in incredulous subtext, is, "LOOK AT HOW AMAZING I AM! HOW CAN I STILL BE SINGLE?!" Not realizing that my efforts to protect myself might actually be a horribly awful self-fulfilling prophecy.

Maybe it would have been easier if I'd have stuck with Dallas Cowgirl.


A manifesto of sorts

After a long day of volleyballing, I found myself at home with an open evening. Of the many things I could have done, I settled onto my couch and fired up the trusty old DVR, my new boyfriend. And my new boyfriend was very very good to me. Yesterday I took to filling him up with multiple movies I found on all the superfluous movie channels I have and never watch. And now I have Julie & Julia at my fingertips for always.

I love this movie so much; how about I count the ways for you: 1) Meryl Streep, 2) cooking in a Le Creuset, 3) Julia Child and her friends having highballs in the middle of the day, 4) the set for Julia Child's mid-century modern homes in Europe and everything in them, 5) the set for Julie Powell's tiny apartment in Queens and everything in it, 6) blogger turned published writer...

Okay, that last point I do love, but more than that, I find myself insanely jealous. Deep down, I really want to be a blogger turned published writer (and if we're being completely honest here, I'm also quite jealous of the all of the decor for the sets on this movie, but that's another story). And here's where I need to silence the inner-Gremlin reciting a litany of reasons why that is an insurmountable challenge. Reasons like, "everyone on the Internets wants to be published, what makes you different," "you are a small potatoes blog with a handful of readers, maybe," or "all the good ideas have already been taken."

And for those of you that are sitting there, composing your comments in your head telling me to silence Kathy (that's what I call the Gremlin), hold on just one second.

As with most of my posts, when I started this, I had no idea where it was going, I just sat down with the intent to start typing and hope that some coherent--and mildly entertaining maybe even funny, but mostly coherent--sentences would come together (now that I think about it, on a micro-level that's my approach to this whole blog: who knows where it's going, just start typing and hope for the best, oh, and minimal typos). So there I was, writing about how I'm in a relationship with my DVR and then all of the sudden I'm telling the Internets that I want to be a published author. And as I'm divulging the limits my Gremlin is imposing, especially that "all the good ideas have been taken," I start to think about the quote that a patent officer in the 1800s that goes something like, "everything that could ever be invented has already been invented." And being the diligent little blogger that I am, I did a little Internets search to find the direct quote and attributable information, only, and this is a big only deserving of all caps, ONLY that quote is a myth. THAT QUOTE IS A MYTH (and wow, that was one really long run-on thought).

This is important because my Gremlin is trying to keep me going down a path for mythical reasons. I mean they're only reasons not to only if I really believe they are reasons not to. All the good ideas aren't taken. Pshaw. Not everyone on the Internet wants to be published, and even if they do, not very many of them will do what it takes to make that happen. I'm pretty sure of that, and even more sure that I will. That makes me different. And someday, handfuls of readers maybe more will want to read what this potato has to say. Someday.

Writing a book is something that's always been on my short list of "very important things I want to do," the list that has included the following items: buy a house on my own, perform on stage in a musical, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. Seeing as Kathy hasn't kept me from accomplishing those challenges, something tells me it's time to break out the duct tape and silence the Gremlin. Who knows when this will happen, but shutting Kathy up now will make sure that someday it does.

And becuase I just have to do this, although I'm not sure if it meets my intent of being coherent (but I'll be damned if it's not funny, at least it is to me), I must go back and quote my JV basketball sweatshirt circa 1992. Note to self: Body achieves what the mind believes.


White glove service

While you wait for the conclusion of the Keri Russell post, here's some other LMNT goodness.

Let's face it, I'm cheap. I have a strange relationship with money. Buyer's remorse is really a standard symptom of my craziness. It's something I have with a lot of things, big ticket items sure--buying a house stopped my heart; but I sometimes even have it when I buy mundane and necessary things like groceries. I know that's crazy, and it's not like I don't buy the groceries, but I get very anxious about trying to keep each trip under a certain (and arbitrarily set) amount. I've always had this thing with money, and it was especially heightened when I was working in education and living on an extremely strict budget.

I don't work in education any longer and can live comfortably without having to count every penny, but even yet, I have some very cheap tendencies. It's hard for me to splurge on things--even on things I can afford--but, as I've learned, sometimes you have to get over yourself and just splurge. I did that this week.

I even feel weird saying it here, like I'm going to be judged. Judged because I'm spending money on what some might consider a luxury, especially in a down economy. Judged because I'm spending money on something I could do myself. Judged because I know a lot of people that don't pay other people to do this, so when I pay for it either I'm rich, spoiled, and privileged, or I'm not able to do everything on my own. Both might be true, but neither of those may be bad things. I know that I need to get over the feelings of being judged. I shouldn't care, but the fact of the matter is right now, I do.

So what did I do? I hired a woman to clean my house.

I love a clean house, and I actually love to clean, but the fact of the matter is I wouldn't do it. Working and life just keep getting in the way and when it comes right down to it, what little free time I have I just don't want to spend dusting, scrubbing, and vacuuming. So why not give someone the gift of employment (see how I can trick myself out of thinking of this as a luxury and into think of it as altruistic). Note to self: There are people in the world who actually really want to be cast as Cinderella.

As much energy as I spent on worrying about spending money or being judged about not being able to handle cleaning my own house, I can tell you now: OH MY GOODNESS! My house is so clean. It's Saturday, everything is spotless, and I didn't have to lift a finger, except to open up my wallet. Judge me all you want, I tell you what, keeping the country employed is worth every single penny.



Last week, Facebook in its infinite wisdom recommended I become friends with someone I went to junior high school with (and a little bit of high school, barely), but with whom I have never even spoken. Sure, sure, Facebook often does this, recommending people that I should be friends with whom I don't know at all, most often the parents or siblings of very very distant friends. But this recommendation was ridiculous enough that it gave me reason to give pause, laugh, and even write a blog post about it.

Facebook suggested I become friends with Keri Russell. Yes, Keri Russell, the Mouseketeer; Keri Russell, Felicity; Keri Russell, the Waitress; Keri Russell, the everything else she's doing now. Oh, Facebook.

I have three distinct memories of Keri Russell--and I would say that none of the three, even when all added together, would even come close to constituting Facebook friendship (mostly because I only have three distinct memories of Keri Russell and I guarantee you she has zero to negative four distinct memories of me, she'd be all like, "Friend request from LMNT? I have no idea who she is. In fact I have negative four ideas who she is." That's how much we don't know each other).

First memory is of her short shorts. She was an eighth grader and was so cool. And I was a seventh grader (and simply by virtue of being a seventh grader), was so not. Me awkward, acne, braces. She beautiful, no pores, veneers (or ridiculously straight white teeth). And she wore short shorts. Of course we'd all try to emulate her style, which I know looked straight-up ridiculous on my gawky, lanky, translucently white legs. It's not so much that her shorts her short to begin with. It was spring 1990, so they were actually kind of longish, but she (and when I say she, I mean she and all of us to follow) would cuff them up multiple times to make them shorter. I would usually go for a double roll, but I swear to you she would push the limit and go for the triple. Because she could. Because she was KERI RUSSELL. True, the world didn't know who she was yet, but everybody in our suburban junior/senior high certainly did. And when I think about it, the shorts rolling thing was kind of like when we used to peg our jeans. In fact I might even have a half memory of how Keri Russell pegged her jeans like an absolute pro. Of course she did.

Second memory is of her showing up at 1991 Homecoming. She would have been a sophomore at the time, but had left our school to go be a Mouseketeer, and even yet was still so unbelievably cool. And I was a freshman, was not a Mouseketeer and was still awkwardly not cool. I remember her showing up at the cafeteria turned formal dance venue wearing a tight short red dress. And it was not the kind of dress that any of us, your average thirteen and fourteen-year-olds, would have found in the juniors section at J.C. Penney's or May D&F. It was the kind of dress that only famous actresses would find in their famous actress stores where famous actresses live. And she had red high heels. We are talking high high heels. Me awkward, acne, braces, relatively conservative black dress and flats. She beautiful, no pores, fantastic teeth, lady in red with heels that nobody I knew at the time would have been allowed to leave the house wearing. Which reminds me of the awesome black and white dangly Claire's Boutique earrings I bought with my babysitting money and I hid from my mom. I'd take them to school in my ESPRIT canvas bag and put them on when I got to my locker. Oh, did I think I was pretty smart and cool, not to mention HAWT! Yeah, it's kind of like that, only not like that at all because I'm pretty sure Keri Russell didn't have to sneak out of her house and change into her sexy red dress and heels in the school bathroom. Oh and also because she actually was cool and HAWT! Gah.

And the final memory of her? Well, that's actually a whole different post in and of itself, one that I promise you'll get sometime soon. Suffice it to say that Keri Russell and I might have had the chance to have more encounters, but lucky for her (or maybe it was not luck and was just really good representation from her talent agency) she dodged a proverbial bullet and her career bloomed instead of being flushed down into--what some might call--a pool of anger.

To be continued (eventually)...


The grounder

I should stick to dancing at weddings. THAT'S WHAT I DO (and do it well, I might add). And sometimes, maybe I can venture out and be the wedding singer, but that's it.

Note to self: Do not put yourself anywhere inside the range of a bride and her bouquet, even if it is a joke.
The whole family is in town for the wedding of a family friend and tonight at the reception, I assumed my typical position on the dance floor. All was going well and then it came time for the bouquet toss. Groan. Typically, I find any reason I can to avoid this tradition. In fact, pretty much the one thing you can do to ensure I'm off the dance floor is to call for all the single ladies to get out there. Groan, again. As if we all needed to be reminded of the fact that we do not know the absolute joy of wedded bliss and then need to have an object hurled at us because scrambling for it might just be our ticket right out of singledom and into said bliss.

However, tonight at the last minute I decided that I'd abandon my bouquet-tossing-party-pooping ways, and I'd get out there and grab those flowers. I think I even told my brother and sister-in-law that I'd throw a couple of elbows to get it (actually, I know exactly what I said, but I'm not going to repeat it here). And as I got out there, ready for the rumble, I looked around and had a change of heart. The only people I knew at this wedding were the groom and my family. I had only met the bride minutes before this, so I felt kind of guilty about stealing the bouquet from some of her more deserving, eager, and undoubtedly way-closer-to-actually-getting-married-than-I-am friends. So as she did her little pre-toss routine, I started to back farther out of the crowd. And when the emcee counted three, she let go and her beautiful flowers I thought I was in the clear, but then they bounced off some girl's head. And then they landed. On my feet.

I said something I'm not going to repeat here, and looked to the girl to my left, and then to the right, desperately hoping one of them would dive for my shoes. No? Really? So I bent down and picked it up. Serves me right for trying to make a joke out of tradition. Yep, I'm sticking to dancing from here on out.


The salutatorian of preventative dental care

Note to self: Flossing the day before a dental appointment--albeit regular and routine--does not constitute a flossing regimen.

Okay, I get that. But might I add, Ms. Hygienist, that asking me about my hobbies, scribbling it down, and putting it in my file, and using it as small talk conversation starter does not count as "knowing me" the next time you see me.

Guess where I was today, Internets? That's right, the office of the official dentist for the blankity blankhawks. I was there for my once every 4 month visit. Nothing truly noteworthy happened, except that I just realized that they scheduled my next appointment for 3 months from now. Hey, wait a minute. Tricky, Doctor, tricky.

My appointment was good, but do you want to know something? I've always treated the dentist like I treated school. Always. This will come as no surprise to any of you, but I was a little goodie-two-shoes (except for the handfuls of cigarettes I mentioned smoking yesterday, well, and a few other things that I'm not going to confess here). I always did all my homework--to perfection--and would head into a traumatic tailspin if I ever received any marks. Ninety-eight out of 100?! WHAT?! HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED TWO POINTS?!

So now that I don't have school to fuel my ridiculous perfectionist ways, I have to find other outlets, like doing my taxes, and going to the dentist. The only problem with the dentist is I don't really do my homework; I mean I use my Sonicare toothbrush (following the manufacturer's instructions to the letter, of course), but I don't floss daily--sometimes not even weekly or monthly. If there's a habit I wish I would have picked up from Mr. McMichael it's flossing (followed closely by doing the dishes). Man, that dude would floss. But alas, it didn't rub off on me. In fact, he'd go off and floss, and I'd actually resent him. He's just doing his thing, flossing you know, and I would sit there not flossing and stewing, "Oh, look at you, Mr. Flossy-pants. You think you're so good with your waxy string. Better than all of us non-flossing people. Oh yeah, well, humph." And he's just standing there flossing, not thinking anything, or if he is thinking, it's probably, "Now this tooth, now the next tooth. Oh, look at my sweet little girlfriend over there. Wonder why she's scowling at me?" Whoa. I suddenly understand what it was like to be in class with me, and not be me. That's what all those stink-eyes were for when I was the first person in my class to join the "Pen and Ink" club for having the best spelling and penmanship.

So there I am, today, in the chair, mouth agape, critically analyzing every scrape, thinking, "Man, I hope she doesn't grade me down for that." Or, "Just don't poke my gums. If you don't poke my gums, then I won't bleed, and maybe you'll never know that I haven't flossed in weeks." I sit there staring out of my dark protective glasses interpreting her every facial tick, "Oh, that was definitely a look of disapproval. Oh, and that one is certainly filled with shame and disgust. The horror! I've disappointed her--oh, wait, no her nose itches."

And then waiting for the dentist to come and inspect the final product is like waiting for the report card. And when she finally comes, I'm told I have beautiful teeth and I need to floss more. In other words 98 out of 100.


Coping mechanisms

A couple of months ago, I found out some interesting news: Marinara Jar is engaged. I always wondered what it would feel like to hear that news. We broke up nearly three years ago, and believe me I do not regret that one iota, but I have been curious about how I would respond tin that moment? Turns out, it made me want to smoke.

For those of you that don't know me, I'm not a smoker. I've maybe had a handful of cigarettes in my lifetime (almost all of them regrettable college choices, well, and a few times coincidentally with Marinara Jar himself, ahem, choices I do regret). And I didn't really want a cigarette when I heard the news, what I wanted was to be a smoker so that I could go outside, stick a cigarette between my fingers, aggressively put it to my lips, suck in as hard as I can, pull it away, hold my breath for a second, shake my head and exclaim, "what the what?!" Because that's what the moment was calling for. Do you know what I'm talking about?

I know it's a weird response, but it's honestly what I wanted. And even just going through the motions, sans cigarette, it made me feel better. I didn't need to go out and be a smoker, I just needed to pretend I was one. There was something about the kinetic energy of that scenario that was strangely calming. Well, kinetic energy, or my overactive imagination. It makes me think back to when I was a kindergartner over at a friend's house and she asked me if I wanted some Kool-Aid. My response? No, because all I had to do was think of a flavor, say grape, and swallow the spit in my mouth and voila, grape Kool-Aid. Yes. Yes I did actually think that. And yes, yes I did actually just tell the Internets that.

Actually, it's not really like pretend Kool-Aid at all; I think it's more like the catch phrase on my JV basketball sweatshirt circa 1992: the body achieves what the mind believes. Only I think when we came up with that saying, we weren't talking about fake smoking to help deal with the reality that your ex-boyfriend is getting married.


There I was, in Arcadia

Before I start this post, I just need to give you a glimpse into the setting from which I'm writing. I'm in one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle (one with free Wi-Fi, w00t). It's an old building that used to be a lodge for the Oddfellows Society. Thus it is aptly named, Oddfellows. I was feeling a little sorry for myself today, so I decided to treat myself to dinner and am so glad I did. Here I sit, with a belly full of good wine, gnocchi with sharp cheddar fondue, bacon, and broccoli, and chocolate ginger bread pudding. Every table is lit with a small tea light candle in dainty little mugs and small bud vases with babies breath. The music selection right now: Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone (one of my all-time favorites). And I'm blogging again. Ah, all is right with the world, at least for tonight.
Last night saw the close of the play on which I've been working so hard, Arcadia. It is a very heady, very challenging play by Tom Stoppard. It took me three full reads and a listen to a recording on NPR before I actually started liking it (and by that time I had already been cast in one of the lead roles). Suffice it to say it's not my favorite play and that's not what drew me to audition or accept the role, but I'm so glad I did.

Heading into the audition I knew I had a good chance at playing the role of Hannah Jarvis, a sarcastic, independent, somewhat reserved and stand-offish, published researcher. I mean, hello? Do you know me at all? Can you say dream role? Oh, and she's English, so yes, I got to pretend I was Emma Thompson for the past three months. And according to the biased reviews from my friends (and some unsolicited genuine comments from a handful of strangers), I managed to pull it off.

I auditioned for the show the night before Mr. McMichael and I headed to Mexico. And I did so under the auspices of hoping for the ridiculously big challenge of playing a lead role. There's a lot of dialogue in this show. A LOT. And considering I had only been in two productions previously--playing minor characters in both--the thought of all that memorizing (oh, did I mention it's a play about math and physics?) scared the crap out of me. And because of that, I auditioned.

And because of our Mexican vacation, I missed call backs. So, I just had to hope that I nailed my initial audition enough to land the part. I felt pretty confident that I did well and got a sign of sorts that first night on vacation. Mr. M and I were walking along the beach and we came across a beach-front restaurant. The friendly host convinced us to stop and have a margarita on the beach and as he grabbed us a couple of menus, I looked up and noticed that we were indeed having drinks at: Restaurant Arcadia.

Two days later, I was offered the role. And in that instant I was extremely thrilled and ready to vomit. For a moment I considered not taking it simply because it scared the crap out of me. But take it I did, and I ran the hell out of that part. At the risk of sounding really arrogant (please believe me, I'm not, I'm just really proud of myself for tackling a very big, very scary challenge, and working so very hard on it), I was really really good. It helps that I was fortunate to share the stage with a couple of amazing actors, and it also helps that I didn't really have to act too much to play the neurotic Hannah (if you saw the show, you know what I mean). But as is the case with most things I do in life, I threw myself into this 100% and I feel so good with the result.

Only now, it's over.

Arcadia refers to the pastoral and the idyllic. And while I can say the lead up to the show would not have been considered in most circles idyllic, it was perfect for where I was. I learned so much about myself, so much. I fell even more in love with acting and live theatre. I was challenged. I made new friends. And, although neither the best nor the most healthy coping strategy, I was able to focus on the show and not on the ending of my relationship with Mr. M.

As is the case, all things come to an eventual end. And here I am now in an Arcadia of sorts (I still have some bread pudding and wine left, yay). It's time for me to deal with real life. First, I think I need to catch up on some sleep and maybe deal with some of the emotional stuff I've been displacing, for very soon, a new challenge will be calling me, they always do. I'm not going to lie, the thought of "what's next" is scaring the crap out of me right now. But I also know that I can and will rise to the challenge, and I will eventually feel so good with the result.


Too good not to share

Note to self: Hey kids (and furry forest animals), smoking is bad for your health.

Earlier today I was in North Seattle and I witnessed something only I could witness (trust me, when you read the brief account below, you're going to think, "Of course you saw that, LMNT!"). I texted a friend about it, and were I on Twitter, this is what I would have tweeted:

"Relatively normal looking woman with a furry animal tail coming out of her jeans @ bus stop. Lends a man a cigarette. They talk, he yells, she runs, he pursues."

"He was, quite literally, chasing tail!"

With that, have a happy weekend, Internets!