Friday, February 22, 2008

30 days, 30 secrets, come on, did anyone out there really think I would stick to that? I'm not THAT disciplined, and I don't know that I even have 30 secrets. So there.
I was in New York last weekend, and you would think that of all the things I saw there that I would have something else to comment on other than something I caught on TV. Wrong. It just caught my eye - OK, actually my ear -as I was getting ready for bed one night, and it ties in nicely with my new favorite song, so here goes.

It was an interview with Matthew McConaughey(that is really tough to spell -try it) and he was talking about how he thought it was important not to have unfinished business. At first I kind of brushed the interview off - I don't remember who the interviewer was, just that at one point I thought he seemed a little too impressed by a shirtless surfer dude who's made some bucks playing in some movies. That doesn't mean the surfer dude knows what he's talking about, right? Just that he's been incredibly lucky, right? But the more I listened, the more I realized that maybe Matthew has a point. He was talking about unfinished business, and how it's no good to have any. How it changes the way you feel when you wake up in the morning, or how it changes the course of your day if you're not having to look over your shoulder the whole time about something that you should have finished. Maybe it's a friendship. Maybe it's a relationship. Maybe it's an ex-employer. Whatever it is, we all know there is a right way and a wrong way to end things, and wouldn't life be much simpler for everyone if we all made clean breaks and carried less baggage because of it? Simple, I know. But it made a lot of sense to me.

And so on to my new favorite song. At least my new favorite Floating Men song. They have a new album, and, honestly, the whole thing is just kinda weird to me. I usually get their music, or at least get what I think they are trying to say, but this one is kinda weird. Anyway, there is this one song, though, that just speaks to me, hokey as it sounds. It's one of those songs that I liked from the instant I heard the opening strums. When I listen to it, I play it over and over. I think it's about unfinished business. About that one relationship you had that you can't come to terms with. You can't compartmentalize. Or rationalize. And for reasons that make absolutely no sense, you hope that, if you should die before this person, that they would at least shed one lousy tear. I get that. Do you?

"I'd trade our tallest days
Or, hell, our widest years
If you'd stoop to grace my grave
With a single final tear
For all we used to be
For all you lost from me

We piled our wildest dreams
At Laughing Buddha’s feet
And defiled our childish schemes
With feats of light and heat
With sweet and clumsy sins
We'll never know again

I'd trade our finest years
If you'd save one final tear for me

They build retirement homes
On our amusement parks
They plow up human bones
In madmen's salvage yards
Whatever else they find
Nobody seems to mind

They pave our vacant lots
With jewels and precious stones
Our manifestos rot
In madmen's catacombs
Whoever else I've loved
Never measured up

I'd trade our finest years
If you'd save one final tear for me

It's not about my age
I'm not a slave to time
This body's not a cage
I'm not afraid to die
But I'd trade a thousand years
If you'd waste one lousy tear

I'd trade our finest years
If you'd save one final tear
for all we used to be"

-The Floating Men

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Secret # 2

OK, two days, two secrets. So far, so good. Drumroll, please.......
I like to watch America's Next Top Model marathons!!
I usually watch them at night, after I have gone to bed, which seems less wasteful, because it's not like I'm missing doing anything productive, well, other than sleeping, anyway.
It always makes me want to wear lots of makeup, or have a crazy hairdo. It makes me practice smiling with my eyes! Oh, that Tyra. She does make me laugh!

Monday, February 11, 2008

30 secrets in 30 days

I saw something a group was doing on Flickr where you post 30 secrets in 30 days, and a picture to illustrate. Based on my posting habits, mine will probably be more like 10 secrets in 40 days, but I figured I would give it a whirl. I'll start with a secret that probably is not a secret, and a picture that was posted last Halloween.
I secretly wish I could get my nose (or my eyebrow or my lip or something) pierced. I think it looks cool. But I never will, for a few reasons. #1 My mom would physically harm me. (maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I know this because I made her think it was real, and she was aaaannnngggrrrryyyyy) #2 The nose thing just grosses me out when I really think about it - I mean, what happens when you have a cold? Ew. #3 How would I look when I'm 80? #4 What would the mayor think? OK, just kidding - that is not a reason, totally a joke. That was just kind of fun to say. Above is my picture to illustrate. I love Halloween! Time to be that person you are afraid to be the other 364 days.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hey, Red!

I am having a bit of a mid-life crisis, I think. Actually, no, I think it has nothing to do with my age, and much more to do with my newly found free time. I have not yet come up with a constructive way to spend my free time, so I am feeling very, very restless. Plus, things have been slow at work. A snail's pace would be faster. It is quite a change in pace, quite a change. So I am a bit restless. I've always had a dreamy, restless spirit anyway. I have never, ever been perfectly content with what I have. (I have never really thought of it exactly that way before. Hm.) I always want to do more -at least I say I do-I want to write, and be a P.I., and start some crazy business, and blah blah blah. I felt that way even when I was working long hours. Imagine me now with all this time! I will either really start doing some of these things, or perhaps I will go stir crazy. We'll see.

In the meantime, I quelled my restless spirit by getting red hair. Overall, the effect is not that dramatic, but a few streaks here and there are a red color that does not occur in nature. It's my rock star hair. If I could find the camera, I would share. Let's hope I find something else to do with my time before my next hair appointment.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Picture on the run

I am well aware of the fact that I should not take pictures while driving. I will admit that it sounds horribly unsafe. But I just stuck the camera out the window and snapped whatever it got -really. It's not like I was looking through the viewfinder or whatever it's called. Really. I had my eyes on the road. I just liked the way the sky looked this day, and I wanted to capture it. Turned out OK, I think.


Brotha man

Joy Joy Joy

You are Blessed

A few years back some co-workers got me a book for my birthday called Hugs for Women on the Go by Stephanie Howard. I picked it up the other day and read a little chapter called "You are Blessed." I thought it was pretty good so I am going to share.

In everyone's life, there are times when the grass looks greener on the "other side." But the next time you dream about trading your demanding life for one that looks more appealing, think about this: Many people would give their eyeteeth for just a little bit of what you have. If you're single,you enjoy freedom. If you're a wife, you have a lifelong companion. If you're a mother, you witness the wonder of childhood.

Where you are is exactly where God wants you to be. He has placed you here for a purpose. No one else can touch the same lives you touch -your life and calling are unique. Take a look at all the wonderful things about the life you've been given, and you'll realize that through the good times and the struggles, you are blessed!

Pretty good stuff, huh?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I used to catch an episode of Rescue Me on FX every now and then. Rescue Me stars Dennis Leary as a NY firefighter in post 9/11 New York. In one episode a firefighter reluctantly attended a group therapy session in an attempt to deal with the trauma of 9/11. One by one, the group members shared their feelings of loss and anger and despair. The firefighter, who had been skeptical of the benefits of therapy, listened intently to the others’ stories of grief and feelings of hopelessness, and seemed to be identifying with the group. He finally found the courage to speak, and asked one of the men where exactly he had been during the attack. I don’t recall the exact answer, just that the man had been far away from the attacks –like in Maryland. The firefighter was livid. He began questioning everyone in the group and discovered that he was the only person who had actually been present at the attack. He started screaming and cursing about how he had lost his best friends that day, how he had pulled dead bodies from burning buildings, and how he had seen things that no person should ever see. He was outraged at the other people’s anger. He bellowed at a crying, sniffling man to suck it up and get over himself and cry about something that really happened to him – that he didn’t deserve to be upset.

I feel a little bit like that crying, sniffling man -extremely sad for something that happened to someone that I didn't know, and somehow personally affected even thought I'm not. I can’t stop thinking about the O’Charley’s manager who was murdered on Sunday morning, and frankly, I am surprised at the intensity of my feelings. It has been on my mind constantly. As soon as I heard the news, I called my friend who is a manager at the same store to make sure he was OK, and to get the whole story. As he relayed the story, I could see every detail in complete clarity. The parking lot. The back door. The lights from Mrs. Winner’s. The sound the back door buzzer makes. The way the place would have smelled –like a mixture of food, soap, and steam. The radio on the kitchen line. The cooks whistling as they hurried to finish cleaning, doing a slipping, sliding dance across the wet floor. The servers as they checked each station and counted their money. And finally, the manager. In a tiny, dingy, cramped office. He would be counting all the money from the day. Checking each server out and listening to them groan about their worst customers or maybe talk about their plans for after work. Recording the day’s sales, noting anything that would have affected the sales for next year’s reference – the weather, an event in town like a sports tournament, or even a television show. Believe it or not, there are many factors that affect restaurant sales. I remember the night of the Seinfeld finale –the restaurant was basically empty – but of course, that was pre-Tivo era. The manager would be rushing around, in a hurry to get home, but still paying attention to every detail. Is there enough silverware for tomorrow? Are the microwaves clean? The shams? Are all of the lights off? Are the tables and chairs clean? Were the bathrooms cleaned properly? Are there any stray balloons that might later set off the motion detector? (It has happened.)

I know these details because I spent a little over a year in that same restaurant, in that same cramped little office, doing the same thing that Nader Bahmanziari was doing that fateful night. And I can’t get his image out of my head. Even though I didn’t know him, and it has been nearly 8 years since I closed that restaurant down, I feel deeply affected by this tragedy, and my heart goes out to his family and to all the employees who thought that night was like any other, and who will now never be the same.

The restaurant world is a tight community, and if you have ever worked in one, you know what I mean. I have not found that type of camaraderie in any other job. Something about the long hours, or maybe the teamwork that is necessary to run the place –it creates tight bonds. Eight years later, I talk daily to people that I met at that O’Charley’s – one of them being my husband. Although I can't begin to imagine the grief the family is feeling right now, I can somewhat imagine the grief that those employees feel for this tragic loss. That same O'Charley's was rocked by another senseless death in 1998, and I remember the immense effect that it had on each and every employee. Just last year, 50 or so people gathered for lunch in the back room of that O'Charley's in somber grief and disbelief at yet another senseless loss. And today, as the family mourns and the employees struggle to pull themselves together and get back to work, a few miles away, at a 9-5 desk job, in a different zip code, I feel a little bit of their pain.