Monday, October 31, 2005

The Wind of Change

Don't you just love those big life changes?

Well, I hate them. In the past year, I've been through quite a few. And I don't do well with change. That's why I hate the changing of the seasons. It takes me a long time to really adjust. I got to thinking about this subject in the car this morning...I popped in a CD I made back in college, and Third Eye Blind's "Losing a Whole Year" came on. It struck a chord with me, because I almost feel like I'm in the same place I was a year ago...November 2004.

Back then, I was still living with my parents, but I was actively looking for an apartment closer to work. The irony is that my lease for that apartment began in November 04, and I just (as in this weekend) moved away from that place back to my parents' house. Today was the first day of my new hellish commute. I know it like the back of my hand, and it sucks every single time. It takes me one hour to drive 22 miles. In that time, I am able to do a lot of soul-searching, which will probably result in more posts like this one.

Back to the story...Moving out of my parents' house was a big change. However, I adjusted quite well to the 10-minute commute to work, being able to leave my bed un-made, etc. I missed my parents, but it was still great. I felt independent and confident.

The next big change occurred in June 05, when my boyfriend of four years moved in with me. This change did not go over as smoothly. To our surprise, we really didn't quite know how to live with one another. We didn't know how to compromise. In brief, our living space was always a disgusting mess. Under the way I've been brought up, this was unacceptable. And yet there wasn't anything I could do. I felt trapped in the mess, which just magnified by the day.

Now, when I speak of the "mess," it is safe to assume that this can apply to the way our whole relationship evolved after he moved in. We went from being a team to being me against him, or on other days, him being against me. And just like the real mess of dishes and papers and bird seed, the relationship snowballed. Every little thing magnified until the problems all seemed like huge obstacles. Without getting into details, I'll tell you what happened... big change number 3...we broke up.

It shocks me just to write it here, and I've been trying to avoid doing that, but I think it will feel better to get this out. Four years is a very long time to be with someone. I have gone through so many stages since the break-up, which occurred about 3 weeks ago. I started with plain old sadness--depression, crying, moping, feeling sorry for myself. Then it become something like nostalgia--fondly remembering all the great times we had. Now? I just feel...empty. I feel a loss. There is a void in me that even emotion is not filling.

How do you go from being practically married (in the emotional sense) to nothing? It's a hell of a change, and it's one I didn't think I was strong enough to handle. But, the one good thing resulting from this is that I am handling it. Sure, I break down in tears at the drop of a hat, but I'm surviving. Which brings us to our final change in the viscious circle that has defined the past year...I'm back at my parents' house.

I've been at the house precisely two days. And, yes, it feels good. It feels so safe and warm. also feels a little suffocating. I've already been informed that I must make my bed every day. I know this seems like a little thing, but it brings out the immature kid in me: "Why should I make my bed? If you don't want to see the un-made bed, don't go in my room."

Alas, I can't say stuff like that anymore. I've gotta suck it up and live by their rules. And maybe one day, when I'm ready to re-introduce myself to the real world, I'll live by my own.

In closing, I give you one of the greatest songs ever made, "The Wind of Change" by the Scorpions. This one's for you, K.

Walking down the street
Distant memories
Are buried in the past forever
I fallow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change

The wind of change blows straight
Into the face of time
Like a stormwind that will ring
The freedom bell for peace of mind
Let your balalaika sing
What my guitar wants to say

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

10 Things I Like About Fall/Winter

In an effort to combat my seasonal blues, I'm trying to think of the *good* things about the colder weather. This will be difficult, but here goes...the 10 THINGS I (sort of) LIKE ABOUT FALL/WINTER:

1. The clean smell of snow and the way snow cleanses the air.
2. My cool weather outerwear... especially my new light blue pea coat and my light blue winter jacket with the faux fur around the collar and hood.
3. The prospect of getting out of work due to snow-driven government closures.
4. The idea of wearing gloves all the time (my hands are always cold at work, and people look at me strangely when I wear gloves in the office...maybe once it's cold outside, they'll understand).
5. Drinking hot chocolate every day and not feeling guilty (because, again, it's frickin' cold outside).
6. My Uggs...all three pairs of them.
7. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and lots of work holidays.
8. My blue scarf made out of rabbit fur. I know it's cruel, but it is so soft and beautiful...and it's BLUE! How could I resist?
9. The fall foliage (and being able to jump in leaves). Even if it does only last two weeks, fall really is one of Virginia's prettiest seasons.
10. Watching Levi (my family's dog) run around outside in his winter parka. He is by far the cutest of all in a winter coat! See for yourself...

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Rebel Rouse-less

I am flabbergasted at my discovery of the day: My high school's mascot, the Rebel Rouser, has ceased to exist! I hadn't thought about the Rouser in years until it came up in conversation with a co-worker today. We were discussing the stupidest mascots, so naturally I brought up the Rebel Rouser, a giant blue puffball with legs, arms and some semblance of a face. Stupid, right?

Well, yes. But...let me give you the whole history. Back in the day, Fairfax High's mascot was Johnny Rebel, a soldier. Then one day, a bunch of people decided it was socially unacceptable to use the soldier as the mascot due to the Civil War--despite the fact that practically every street in the area is named after one soldier or another (Lee Highway, Confederate Drive, etc.). So, a great contest was held, and students submitted mascot ideas and drawings. Out of this came the Rebel Rouser. No one quite knew what he was, or what he had to do with Rebels, but nonetheless he became the chosen one.

We all thought he was dumb and made fun. But in my years at FHS, the little guy grew on me. He was happy and did dances during football games. He even let people beat him up in his big blue casing. Plus, he wasn't a generic mascot, like the Eagles or the Bulldogs. He was our own.

However, something must have gone terribly wrong since those days. I went to look the Rouser up to show my colleague, and instead I find this hideous lion graphic (above) showcasing "Rebel Pride." I was confused, wondering what this could mean. They obviously did away with the Rouser, but why? What do lions have to do with Rebels? What is so socially unacceptable about a blue puffball?

I unearthed the real story on an Internet message board. Here, m-logic writes:
03-20-2005, 09:04 PM
Fairfax High School Rebels
It was later determined that Rebels was a derogatory name so we were required to change it. The school voted on the nickname Fairfax Pride, but instead of completely dropping Rebels and taking Pride, they are now the Fairfax High School Rebel Pride. Ahahahaha

So the problem was not with the Rouser. It was with the Rebels. Again. Do they plan to go through this process every decade or so? The Rouser didn't even last 10 years. Have they never heard of branding, consistency, or professionalism? Schools just can't go around changing their mascots will-nilly.

Anyway, what they came up with (the Rebel Pride) really is laughable. Pride = lions, yeah I get it. Way to be original, school. And way to make me feel sad about something I never knew I cared about in the first place. I guess I'm just getting hit yet again with the realization that I am old now. I've been out of high school for more than five years. I thought mascots were somewhat of a mainstay, but the lesson here may be that nothing is. Everything changes and we all move on. The worst part is that I could not find a single picture of the Rouser on the Internet. Not even a mention. It's like he never existed.

I'm just glad I'm not the one having to go to a school with "Pride" in its tagline. Plus, the school is on "Rebel Run." How much do you want to bet that it'll be "Pride Run" before 2010? At that rate, they should just obliterate the entire area. Obviously, it reeks of the Civil War...the war was FOUGHT THERE and all. Why should we erase history? Just because there are reminders does not mean we believe in the prejudices of that other time.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Songs of Our Lives

Above: My own little songbird, Precious.
She brings me joy with every song she sings!

Isn't it funny how songs can remind us of points in our lives? And even whole eras, situations, or feelings? Songs are just like scents in that way. The smell of homemade spaghetti sauce will always take me back to my grandparents' kitchen in California, just like "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" will always bring me to early mornings in my room at the house I grew up.

I was thinking about all this yesterday when a song came on the radio that triggered an emotion for me. It made me think back to a very different time. So I've decided to compile a list of my most trigger-worthy songs (in no particular order). Enjoy gaining a little bit of insight into my life.

- "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding: Back in middle school, I loved oldies, and I listened to them every day while getting ready for school. This song always seemed to start my morning, and it still takes me right back to those stressful moments standing in my closet looking for something to wear.

- "Best I Ever Had" by Vertical Horizon: This song reminds me of my high school boyfriend, not because he's the "best I ever had," but because at the time... and for a little while after we broke up... I thought he was.

- "Red Red Wine" by UB40: This one is my sister. She has always loved this song, and I've always hated it. I'd hear it blaring from her room so many times when we were teenagers. But now I realize I don't hate it... because every time it plays, I think of her, which is pretty nice since I don't see her much lately.

- "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers: This is last November, moving out of my parents' house. I had the Hot Fuss CD in my car all fall/winter, and it accompanied my exhaustive apartment search with a very good friend. When I hear it now, I think of us speeding in the rain after work to make it to a leasing office by 5:30, talking about our future place and how great it would be.

- "Stuck in a Moment I Can't Get Out Of" by U2: K and I have many many songs, but this one pretty much defines him to me. He bought the CD right when we were getting to know each other, and this song was often pumping out bass when I visited his dorm room.

- "The Wind of Change" (aka "the Whistler Song") by the Scorpions: This is K and I's relationship. Even the lyrics seem to make sense with the amazing journey we've had. But really, this song takes me right back to lazy weekends in his loft, basking in the glow of the white Christmas lights lining his room, listening to our special playlist on repeat. Those were some of the best moments of my life.

- "Reckless Abandon" by Blink 182: This is my best friend S, sophomore year of college. We worked together at Hallmark, and when we got back to the dorm we'd sit in the car just to hear this song finish playing. We had so many laughs and great conversations on those short car trips down the road...and that summer, we saw Blink in concert.

- "Sleepless in Seattle" Soundtrack: This is my parents' house, being jolted awake in the morning on weekends by the most annoying CD in the world blaring from the family room speakers. My mom loved to get up and start her day with a bang, and she expected just as much from me. I used to hate it, but now I feel right at home when I hear one of these songs.

- "Steal My Sunshine" by Len: This is the summer before my senior year of high school. I had just started to get interested in a certain boy (not the aforementioned HS boyfriend) who really liked this song. Then the song played just before I was leaving for Italy for four weeks...and at the time I would rather have spent my summer at home getting to know the guy (forgive me, I was a silly, immature little girl).

- "Hold Your Head Up High and Blow Your Brains Out" by Bloodhound Gang: This is freshman year of college, at the very beginning, back when anything was possible. Me, S and our other roommate, D--we called ourselves the LSD girls--used to blast this on our little computer speakers, because we thought it described how we felt about exams. I can still hear the bass pumping through that all-girls' dorm.

- "Bye Bye Birdie" from the musical of the same name: This is my childhood, and another best friend, T. She was my neighbor for a very long time growing up, and we would sit for hours and watch this musical, then play the CD for the rest of the day. Along with my sister, we knew all the words and nuances. Belting out those lyrics while playing Monopoly was one of our favorite activities, and sometimes I still have the urge to do just that.

- "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman: This song is my dad. Despite the fact that he usually only listens to AM talk radio, he heard this song one day, and went out and bought the CD. We listened to it many times in the car. It was great to have the break from the talk radio, but even nicer to see him so excited about what I considered "my music."

That's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure there's others. This list makes me realize even more how our lives can be arranged around music. Every time I hear one of these songs, I experience a moment. It's not ever a moment of anger, not really even pain. It's something simple and serene. It's the most difficult feeling and yet the most therapeutic.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What goes evil

So there's this thing going around the office. No, it's not a communicable disease (although I think I am starting to see it as one)... it's a Rubik's Cube. But not an ordinary cube, with the 16 colored squares. This is a Homer Simpson. Rubik's. Cube. In other words, my worst nightmare.

Some of you may not know it, but I loathe The Simpsons and everything they stand for (please don't jump on me for that...I've heard it all). The show basically just annoys me. Yeah, I admit that it can be funny--I loved the tomacco episode--but in general, I choose not to watch it. However, there seem to be a crazy number of Simpsons addicts in my office. And I always get stuck with their paraphernalia.

Example: One day, a guy asked me to keep his Homer Simpson plush cup holder "safe" for him while he switched desks. Was someone actually going to steal the hideous thing? I mean, really, who wants an ugly yellow cartoon man? Not I. Nonetheless, I reluctantly accepted, and for a while it was tacked up to my cubicle wall. People loved it...and I always reminded them it wasn't mine.

But anyway, back to the Rubik's cube. Another Simpsons fan dropped it by my cube neighbor's desk about a week ago. Since then, a bunch of us on the floor have been passing it around, trying in vain to solve it. And I'm telling ya, the game was not meant to be solved. It is impossible.

You see, it only has 8 parts, which would make it appear easier than a traditional Rubik's. But it is much more difficult because each part (as you see in the picture above) is a different random shape... a different part of Homer's fugly face. Even if we do get most of the parts in place correctly, some of them may be facing the wrong way, and then we have to start all over. Plus, it makes this squeaky noise when you turn it, alerting everyone around that you are wasting endless amounts of time.

I know this is an inane post, but it really does demonstrate my point. I am so utterly obsessed with this ugly Rubik's contraption from hell that it is all I can think about. It sits in front of me and I stare at it.

Waiting... wondering... wanting.

I won't be able to think of anything else until I pass Homer on to the next person...or until they come over and forcibly remove him from my cold, dead hands.

Want to get in on the action? The impossibleist game ever built is available at Sears for only $7.99. Just a couple bucks for a lifetime of insanity. It's the game that keeps on giving.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Everything in life expires

My question is this: Does lip balm expire?

I bring this up because my lips are extremely chapped to the point of bleeding a little. But the only lip balm I have is Bath & Body Works Vanilla Mint... and I am pretty sure I bought it a couple years ago. I've been slathering it on all day, and it sure feels like normal lip balm. But is it working? Or has it lost its healing powers over the years?

This question can actually be asked about many many things in life that are not food. We all know food goes bad... heck, there are usually dates stamped on to remind us of that fact (plus some other tell-tale signs). But what about other stuff? Makeup is a big one. I know mascara goes bad pretty fast, but what about powder, blush, eyeshadow? Aside from any crustiness, how do you know when it's kaput? Shampoo? Lotion? I find that I often keep things like this around for long periods without realizing it.

Oh, and what about hairbrushes? I realized yesterday that I've been using the same orange hairbrush since freshman year of college (five years ago). I know this because I remember my mom bought the orange brush to match my orange body pillow and orange trash can (yes, we were going for a theme). The brush still works fine. But after all these years, and all the places it's seen, there's undoubtedly a lot of germ build-up on it. Maybe I should stop using it.

It would help me to make this important decision, however, if I had a rule of thumb for how long to keep things. I would say for hygenic products, it should only be a couple months--though I'm not sure I'm willing to put out cash for a new toothbrush that often. But for hairbrushes and similar ilk, what's the cut-off date? Let me know if you've got any opinions on the subject.

My conclusion? Everything in life should have an expiration date. Sooner or later, everything expires (even non-tangible things, like relationships). If every thing we buy comes marked with a cut-off date, we feel better about the things we use, knowing they are as fresh and new as possible. In addition, it would be a great ploy for companies because dates would coerce people to replace certain products more often.

I am a genius.

The best place on Earth

Everyone has their Disneyland story. Or, for some, a Disneyworld story, but we native Californians know that Disneyland is the real deal...

Disneyland, to me, is childhood. I remember going there so many times as a little girl. I remember clomping across rope bridges with my sister in Tom Sawyer's tree house, screaming with my dad on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and marveling at the real-looking hippos spewing water on the Jungle Cruise. Oh, and we can't forget the "It's a Small World" ride, the Pirates of the Carribbean, and, most importantly, the Tiki Room.

The Tiki Room was by far my most favorite thing to see at Disneyland. Since my childhood, I haven't spoken to anyone who's actually heard of this attraction. Established in 1963, it is one of Disney's greatest achivements due to its innovative use of audio-anamatronic technology. It's one of Disney's finest, especially if you're a curious little kid who loves birds.

Basically, the Tiki Room consists of over 200 stuffed, audio-anamatronic, colorful birds hanging on perches from the ceiling. The whole room is decorated in jungle motif, and the birds talk with funyn accents, sing and put on a show. There's even an occasional thunder storm in the room, with simulated rain and lightening. Anyway, the birds sing this cute song that goes, "In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room"... and, oh my God, I just found the lyrics online. Here's the chorus:

The boys in the back are kamikaze
Because of their claws?
No, because they're macaws
And our fine feathered friend is a jolly toucan
And two can sound better than one toucan can
The bird of paradise is an elegant bird
It likes to be seen and it loves to be heard
Most little birdies will fly away
But the Tiki Room birds are here every day
Our show is delightful we hope you'll agree
We hope that it fills you with pleasure and glee
Because if we don't make you feel like that
We're gonna wind up on the lady's hat

Seriously, how cute is this? My sister and I absolutely loved it. We visited the Tiki Room on every Disneyland trip, and now...years later...I still think I would enjoy it. I'll never forget the feeling of stepping out of the hot sun into the dark, cool Tiki Room jungle. For the duration of my time in there, I was in a whole new place, a different world. I loved those stuffed birds. I loved their cute rhyming song.

Now, the audio-anamatronic technology is not such a big hit, but back then, to me especially, it was mind-boggling that these little birds could move and talk by themselves. I was mystified...and I think I still am. I can't wait to go back there someday...and hopefully, Jose, Fritz, Pierre and the rest of the Tiki Room gang will be around when I have kids (others seem to feel the same way). I can't wait to show them one of my all-time favorite attractions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Patience in a bottle

Today I discovered that patience can be achieved in small doses...literally. According to, the herbal extracts in PATIENCE AD can help relieve mood swings and impatience in everyday life. Here's the some of the ad text: "By supporting the brain’s natural ability to relax, PATIENCE AD restores a level of calmness in your life without expensive or habit-forming drugs."

Apparently, up to 90 percent of users say this actually works. This really surprises me. First off, I am surprised that such a "natural drug" even is obviously targeted at anyone who has ever thrown a tantrum (i.e., everyone in the world). What a great idea for a product. Secondly, I am surprised that they have such an inflated success figure (by the way, there are no details to back the figure up, just some testimonials).

Here's their little test for potential herbal drug buyers. I'll answer as we go:

Think about the following questions:
- Do you often feel irritable, stressed and inpatient? Yes!
- Do you often feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with the stresses of everyday life? Yes!
- Are you often restless, irritable or on edge for no apparent reason? YES!
- Does noise and interruptions bother you? No
- Do you have trouble concentrating? Are you easily distracted? No
- Have you lost your temper with a loved one? Spouse, Child or Friend? Yes

So, according to this test, I desperately need my dose of patience. And probably a lot of other people do too, especially people my age going through some life changes (and most 20-somethings are). So we can all buy it for only $29.95 a bottle. I wouldn't be so skeptical if they had a doctor endorsing it or something. In truth, these "herbal" drugs really scare me. I would be nice to have all-natural cures for life's problems, but I doubt that's what this is. If it cures something as big and elusive impatience, it can't be that good for you. This is how I feel when I go into GNC (which is not often). They've got all these great "drugs" for everything from weight loss to muscle gain. But what do they really do to your body?

It's all just a bunch of propaganda meant to target people's insecurities. These drugs offer a great easy way out for people. Has anyone ever used one of these? And has it worked without having any adverse effects? If so, I'm happy to recant all of this. But until then, I will refrain from buying any of these witches' brews. I'll just have to work on my patience the really natural throwing my tantrums and tiring myself out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Stop throwing winter in my face! (and other notes)

Alright, this is getting ridiculous. I wake up to the darkest, drabbest weather we've had since practically last year. It's ugly, cloudy, windy, and it's totally "raining" on my Friday parade (heh). So I walk through the drizzle, hop in the pretty yellow car (which, incidentally, does look pretty good rain-streaked), turn on the radio, and what do I hear? Well, none other than the Mamas and the Papas. Again. Singing about that good old pretty California weather. It never rains or gets cold there (and yes, I know they have horrible draughts and it does get cold in some places like the mountains and San Francisco, but I'm making a point here).

Now, I love the song and all, but why do they keep rubbing it in our faces? These radio folks really need to have a little sensitivity toward a population going through such a harsh seasonal transition. Most of us probably suffer from seasonal affective disorder (yes, SAD is the acronym). They could be completely runing people's days with that song. Yeah, it's a great song, but the message is just a little too close to home right now. Geez! Oh, and there's flood watch today, making it an even lovlier time to play the freakin' song. Okay, rant finished.
Speaking of the Mamas and the Papas, I can't get that "Make Your Own Kind of Music" song from Lost out of my head. Furthermore, I just can't get that show out of my head. I have become obsessed with it. I constantly read the forums, I discuss it at work, I speculate on it in my head, and I completely buy into all the fake Web sites put up to confuse us. It's a brilliant show with a brilliant marketing scheme. ABC, I am so your b*tch.

Finally, I'd like to inform my readers that a great movie is out today: In Her Shoes. I know this because I read the book, which was excellent. Yeah, it's a chick flick, but I think it has real potential. Just this morning, I heard a guy on the radio say he loved it. And this guy critiques movies on a regular basis. He said Cameron Diaz was great, and that he cried. I'll let y'all know how it is, but I highly recommend you see for yourself.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Seasonal Shock

"Snow hits the east coast," courtesy of Ian Britton's blog

Okay, so I'm still hung up on this seasonal issue. I'm realizing yet again that weather in Virginia (in general) is really a drag. It goes like this:

October-March: Frickin' freezing (winter)
April-May: A little warmer, with maybe one week of actual spring
June-August: Hotter than hell (summer)
September: Hot at first but then perfect for maybe two weeks (fall)
October again: Back to freezing

Now, the worst part about this "weather" (if you can even call it that) is that my wardrobe has to change with it. And every year, I can't seem to make a smooth transition. I was very happy wearing my hot weather clothes, and now I am thrown into this middle weather. What do I do? Do I keep wearing skirts? Do I only wear long skirts? Do I switch to three-quarter sleeves instead of short sleeves? Are long sleeves okay yet? Open-toed shoes or close-toed? And what about all those pants in my closet from last year that no longer fit? It's like I have to buy a new wardrobe every time the seasons change!

Furthermore, not only are some of my clothes ill-fitting or packed away in boxes somewhere, but I actually forget how to dress for certain weather. By the time I've got the hang of summer again, fall hits. Once I get the two weeks of fall down, winter's gonna slap me in the face. And winter...oh are the longest and mooost intolerable season. I am forced to wear pants and bulky sweaters for almost 5 or 6 months, and then you expect me to break out my spring clothes? It's maddening!

Either (a) I need to crawl into a hole and never come out, or... (b) I need to go shopping and revitalize my fashion sense with some new fall/winter clothes.

In conclusion, I'd like to sum up with an appropriate lyric from one of my favorite songs (this actually played the other day...what kind of sadistic radio person was running the playlist?).

All the leaves are brown,
And the sky is grey,
I’ve been for a walk,
On a winter’s day,
I’d be safe and warm,
If I was in L.A.,
California dreamin,'
On such a winter’s day
~ The Mamas and the Papas

Oh, PS: I forgot to mention that there is one really great thing about winter. I get to wear my Uggs and my cute fall/winter jackets...and I have a reason to buy more cute winter jackets (because, clearly one can never have enough jackets).

Enter your email address below to subscribe to A Sleepy Girl's Thoughts on Life!

powered by Bloglet