Category Archives: Friends

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Best Friends ForeverBest Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

My Review:  1 of 5 stars

The title for this book is misleading. It should have been called “The Only Friend I Ever Had Treats Me Like Sh*t But I’ll Do Anything For Her Because She is My Only Friend.”  Seriously.

It’s a story we’ve seen time and time again. Two girls become close friends at a young age. As they grow older, one girl, Valerie, goes down the “popular” road while the other, Addie, binge eats and gets made fun of mercilessly.

Then, here is where Valerie’s true colors start to shine through: She tells Addie not let the teasing get to her and that she should just try harder. Um….kids spray-painted her driveway with the words, “fat whore.” Sure, just keep on smiling, Addie. Valerie ditches Addie for her cheerleader friends whenever she gets the chance, and, when she invites Addie to a big party their senior year, she admits that it’s because she knew her mom would let her go if she was with Addie.

When I discovered the tragic incident from their senior year that was alluded to for the first hundred or so pages, I couldn’t have liked Valerie less. Addie speaks up to defend her and basically becomes the laughing stock of the school because, her best friend denounced what she was saying as lies and jealousy.

All of this is told in flashback as the story jumps from present day to Addie and Valerie’s past. In the present, Addie hasn’t seen or heard from Valerie in 15 years. The night of their high school reunion, Valerie gets herself into big trouble and ends up knocking on Addie’s door asking for help.

Addie, even though she’s managed to lose a ton of weight, apparently has still not grown a backbone because the rest of the story, she lets Valerie convince her to run from the law, half rob a bank, and lead her around by the nose (all on Addie’s dime). Up until recently, Addie has lived like a friendless hermit, sustaining herself with online purchases that keep her from having to leave the house.

There’s much more to the story, tragedies galore, a hint of romance, and more cliches then you can shake a stick at. If this is what Addie, or the author, thinks best friends are made of, I feel sorry for the both of them.

Tell me about your past.

There’s far more I need to get out about Red, but don’t have it in me today.  Instead, I’ll move on to the next assignment of chronicling my life.  I guess all therapy sessions get around to this at some point, but let me start out by saying I did not have a troubled childhood, my parents weren’t abusive alcoholics, and I don’t think I’ve got buried memories too painful to recall.

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee.  I have 3 older brothers so I am not only the youngest, but the only girl.  I’ve heard the stories told many times that, while my mother loves all her boys, she really wanted a girl, too. When she was pregnant with me, I think it had pretty much been decided that, girl or not, my parents were stopping at four children.  My dad (in a life before I knew him) used to be big into deer and bird hunting.  It was something he did with his father, who died long before I was born.  Dad had a hunting trip planned with some of his buddies the day mom went into labor with me.  He called his friends later to tell them he had caught himself a doe…a two-legged one!  It was December when I was born and they brought me home on Christmas day in a big red Christmas stocking.

I wasn’t even a year old when my family moved to Texas, so I have no memories of ever living in Memphis, though we went back to visit regularly for many years.  My dad had a job opportunity that he and several of the guys he worked with in Memphis took advantage of so he moved our family to Southeast Texas.  This is where all of my childhood memories are found, starting around kindergarten.  I don’t think I have any true memories earlier than that, only stories and pictures I’ve heard and seen enough to make them feel like my own.  I do know that I loved school and was probably what you would call a teacher’s pet in kindergarten and first grade. 

In kindergarten, I remember those blowup alphabet people were the big thing.  I can’t remember what they were officially called, but I remember they were these large squarish vinyl characters and there was one for each letter of the alphabet.  It seems like each one had a trait or hobby or something that started with the corresponding letter.  Maybe there were songs for each one, too, but I’m pretty fuzzy on this memory.  I remember we had “Grandparents’ Day” and since both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and both of my grandmothers were back in Memphis, a lady from church went to school with me as my adopted grandmother.  Lila Whitford, I think.  I just remember she was a sweet lady and I had fun serving her cookies and punch.

My primary memory from first grade is that we had spelling tests each week.  One week, my teacher, Mrs Jackson, had lost her voice and so, me being the pet that I was, she had me sit at her desk while she called out the spelling words to me as best she could so I could take the test.  After I had completed it (with a perfect score, thank you very much!) I stood in front of the class and called out the words to the class so they could take the test.  Maybe I was oblivious, but I don’t recall there being any of that annoyance over the whole “teacher’s pet” situation.  I got along well with the other kids and had lots of friends.  Perhaps I was too naive to realize they were rolling their eyes at me behind my back, I don’t think so, but it doesn’t really matter now.

The summer after first grade, we moved further from town, just outside the city limits, so I would start 2nd grade at a new school in a much more rural, small town setting.  When I first started, they had me in Mrs Handy’s class, but in less than a week, they moved me to Mrs Allen’s.  There were 3 second grade classes:  Mrs Allen, Mrs Davis, and Mrs Handy.  It seems so terrible now, but we all knew, even back then, how the classes were divided.  The “smartest” students were in Mrs Allens, then it went to Davis, then Handy.  Whether they knew it or not, they had created this miniature caste system among us.  When I moved to 3rd grade, it was the same setup, just 3 different teachers.  But even then, it was a small school, we all knew each other and everyone got along for the most part.  It’s weird to me now to realize that, even at that young age, there were cliques, and of course the “popular” kids.  I like to think that even though I was popular at that time, I “played well with others.”  If I’m honest with myself, I know that isn’t 100% true.  I do remember making fun of a couple of kids.  I feel bad about that now.  The two I recall both moved away so I often wonder what happened to them and hope they are doing well.

I also remember we used to have to take the CTBS (I think that’s what it was) Test each year.  I never have figured out why, but they always took me and one other student in another room, usually the teachers’ lounge, to complete our tests.  We were both “brainy” but I still can’t figure out why they singled us out like that.  The other student, let’s call him Hebert, and I were always at each other’s throats.  We hated each other.  Or at least that’s what we called it up until at least 4th or 5th grade.  I think it was a competitive thing in one way, but perhaps partially a childhood crush of some sort.  Because isn’t that what you do to people you like at that age?  I remember Hebert actually formed a club, the [Daisy-Head] Haters club he called it.  There were several boys I remember being part of it at one time or another.  Seems like there was a girl or two at some point as well.  I think that lasted until about 5th or 6th grade…and then, when the ringleader moved away, the club fizzled.  They never really did anything but get together at recess and make faces at me.  There were words exchanged, but I don’t remember any of it really being that bad.  I wasn’t scarred or traumatized or driven to tears by it.  Funny enough, Hebert and I recently reconnected (after 20+years!) on facebook.  He seems like a likable guy and managed to hang on to his “smarts,” while I think I started to get uncomfortable with mine and “dumbing down” by junior high.  Anyway, he apologized for starting that club all those years ago, and we’ve laughed about it and moved on. 

In 2nd and 3rd grade I was in UIL Storytelling.  This was where students from all over the region would meet and compete in different categories.  For storytelling, the students were put in a room together and read a story.  Afterwards, we left the room and then were taken back in one-by-one and had to retell the story from memory.  To practice at school, the teachers would read me a short story in the hall and then I (and a couple of others who did it as well) had to go in front of the class to retell the story.  It was fun and apparently I was pretty good at it, pausing for dramatic effect, changing my voice for different characters, and remembering the tiniest of details.  I could never do that today.  I can’t remember the movie I just watched, much less be able to tell someone about it in detail!

I also remember that, when I was in 3rd grade, it was all about Michael Jackson.  We had small cassette players and my friend, SS, had copied his Thriller album (yes an actual RECORD) onto tape so we could listen to it at recess.  Oh boy.  I have to tell the whole story here.  We didn’t just listen.  There was a group of about 8 of us girls who would all gather around the tape player, with the album cover propped up (with him laying down in the white suit) next to it and just swoooon over him.  We also danced.  Every day at recess.  The full routine to Beat It and Thriller from the videos.  My family didn’t have MTV, but SS did so she recorded the videos for me.  We learned the dances and taught the other girls.  We would actually get up and PERFORM these in front of the whole school at recess.  We (thought we) were so cool.  We even had a Dance Off with the guys once…and a moonwalking contest.  I still crack up when I think about it.  It’s too bad (or is it?) there’s no videos of that.  Would be hysterical to watch at a class reunion. 

Perhaps one of the greatest memories of my elementary school days was on my first day of school in 2nd grade.  SS, who was the principal’s daughter, came up to me on the playground and said, “Hi.  I’m SS.  Will you be my friend?”  Of course I said yes, and I was, and we are still friends to this very day.  We couldn’t have been more different from each other.  She lived in the country, raised animals, was in 4-H, showed her animals at the fair.  My experience with animals was limited to dogs and cats.  She listened to country music and dreamed of owning a “duelie” truck when she was older.  I listened to alternative music and wanted a Porsche.  As we grew older, she wore Justin Ropers and Rocky Mountains.  I wore crazy tights and big chunky-heeled shoes (I still do actually!).  She was a good girl and I was the wild child.  But ever since we met that day on the playground all those years ago, we’ve been great friends. 

I think these assignments are far too broad.  Or I’m too long-winded.  It’s been far more than the suggested 45-minutes, and I haven’t even made it to middle school yet!  Ah well, stories for another day.  My hands can’t take anymore.  And I’m taking a vacation day from work tomorrow to give myself (and my hands) a rest!

Get a Grip

No, really.  A friend of mine and I agreed to buy and follow the assignments in this book:  Get a Grip: Your Two Week Mental Makeover.  Granted, that was more than 6 months ago, before life as I knew it took an even bigger turn for the worse.  So, now, since I’m no longer going to counseling and the SOS Group was a bust because of my insane work schedule, I thought I’d dust this book off and give it a shot.  Since it requires daily journaling, I thought it might also be a good opportunity for me to dust this blog off as well.  I know venting here has always been therapeutic for me, but I never seem to make the time for it, or for myself, anymore.  So here we go again…

To begin with, the first exercise requires that I take a moment to figure out how I really am…not the standard, “Oh I’m fine, how are you?” that comes out of my mouth every day when asked the question.  But the real, honest to goodness answer.  And then to spend some time answering WHY.  I actually have a hard time when people ask how I am because I know they don’t really want an answer other than the expected courteous response of fine, good, great, etc.  I have a hard time with the fake answer because I know I am none of those things.  I’m not fine.  I’m not good.  And I sure as hell am not great.  I’m a mess.  The WHYs?  I’ve overworked myself, thanks to my boss and her insane deadlines and expectations, to the point of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.  I’m sad because I know this is no way to live.  I’m frustrated because I have to pay the bills somehow.  And underneath all of that, I’m depressed because I miss my best friend, Red.  And I’m still so very pissed off at her for leaving me to deal with this shitty life all alone.

I alluded to it here when it happened, but haven’t actually written about it yet because my feelings are still all over the place.  And still so raw and hurt and overwhelmingly heartbroken and sad.  On December 1, while she was on her self-proclaimed trip of a lifetime to her dream destination in Italy, right before she was supposed to come home, my sweet friend decided to swallow a bunch of pills, some wine, and who knows what else, and end her life.  I was at the dr’s office that day, for some extreme pain I’d been having in my arms (beginnings of carpal tunnel was the guess….diagnosis was reduce my stress level and get massages).  When I left the dr’s office, I noticed I had a text message from Mr. Red.  I found that odd because he and I had not really talked at all since he and Red seperated.  My first thought, knowing that she was due to return home from her trip soon, was that maybe he was looking for someone to pick her up from the airport.  Estranged though they were, they were still civil and sharing custody of their almost-at-the-time 5 year old son.  Mr Red and Little Red had taken her to the airport to begin her trip the week of Thanksgiving.  So all I can think is that he needed me to pick her up.  So I clicked on the message to read his text…

The first few words were the worst kick to the gut I can describe:  Red just passed away in Italy.  I couldn’t comprehend what that could mean, in the split second it took to read that, my mind was trying to come up with all kinds of explanations, a car wreck, anything, and at the same time, my mind was rejecting the very idea that anything could have happened to her.  The next few lines said she killed herself by overdose and that Mr Red was at the airport heading to Italy to bring her home.  Tears were already pouring out of my eyes, but I still did not believe this could be anything but some sick joke.  I immediatley called Mr Red demanding that he take it back.  His voice was so strange, I know he was in shock.  I got to talk to him for less than a minute…he was literally boarding the plane.  He had a stop in Germany and then would be in Italy by early the next morning Central time.  I hung up the phone and screamed at the top of my lungs.  Crying.  Begging that this not be true.  It had started raining by that time.  So there I was, sitting in my car in the parking lot outside the dr’s office, screaming and howling in pain, hitting the steering wheel, hitting the seat, hitting the door, in disbelief and anguish. 

More out of instinct than any clear thought, I called my parents.  I needed to talk to someone.  I got their voicemail and left some incoherent wailing message that Red was dead.  In hindsight, not a good message to leave on someone’s answering machine.  Especially my parents who are 5 hours away.  My oldest brother, Dilbert, was in town for meetings that day and was coming back to stay at my house that evening.  So I sent him a text to see if he was at my house or still in his meetings.  I was hoping he was at my house and could come get me because I knew I couldn’t drive myself home in that state, in the rain.  He replied that he was in meeting so I said nevermind.  He must have had some sixth sense because he asked what was up.  I had to tell someone.  I had to get it out, so I responded that Red was dead.  It took me several minutes to type those three words…each letter was a dagger to my heart.  Almost immediately after hitting send, my phone rang.  Dilbert had stepped out of the meeting to call me.  I was hysterical and just kept screaming she’s dead.  she’s fucking dead.  He tried to help me calm down, figure out where I was and told me he would be at my house within about 40 minutes.  I sat in the car screaming and crying and hyperventilating for some amount of time that felt like eternity.  Finally I managed to pull it together enough to make the short drive to my house. 

I remember, I posted on her facebook page, “someone please tell me this is a sick joke.  please.”  Her aunt, who I’d never met before but heard of a few times, replied and said she was hoping the same thing.  I also had some cryptic message as my status that said something similar.  My friend, Mexigoalie, texted to ask if I was ok.  I said no, but it was not me.  It was Red.  He asked, I think as a joke, is she alive?  Again, it took an eternity to type two letters:  NO.  My mom had called by that time, trying to find out what the hell was going on.  There were so many calls and emails and text messages I can’t keep them all straight.  Other than my mom, brother, and a few friends, I didn’t want to tell anyone.  I didn’t know very much…only a few quick words from her husband.  I was convinced that he was going to arrive in Italy and find that it was all some horrible mistake.  The wrong person.  Or that she was really fine.  I just knew it.  She had to be ok.

I got a text from Mr Red in the early hours of the morning.  He was in Italy and about to go to the hospital where she was.  Next, he was there and had been given her belongings that were with her at the hospital…watch, jewlery, etc.  Letters she had left for their son.  He was waiting to see her but they were doing an autopsy.  I refused to belive it was real.  He hadn’t actually seen her yet, so there could still be some mistake.

I called him at his hotel in Italy later that night.  He had seen her.  Had held her hand.  Had told her he loved her.  She was really gone.  He was so choked up with emotion I could barely understand him.  He was there, in Italy, far from home and all alone and had just had to go identify his dead wife.  To this day, I don’t know how he did it.  He had been to her hotel to get her things there.  The mess he described in her room.  I was collapsing with grief just hearing about it.  He had to be there.  His dad was able to fly out the next day to be there and support him through this, so I was grateful for that.

It wasn’t until Mr Red got back home that I learned more details.  Apparently, she had overdosed a few days prior.  They had called Mr Red, said she’d thrown up a lot at the hotel and had her stomach pumped in the hospital.  She was pretty out of it, but they thought she was going to be ok.  He even got to talk to her on the phone briefly.  He said she slurred badly but made a joke that she guessed she was going to be in Italy a little longer than he thought.  He talked to her again briefly the next day.  I still don’t know to what degree she was conscious or even coherent.  I have so many questions, but Mr Red doesn’t want to talk about it.  But basically, he had called her aunt to see if she could come to Dallas to help take care of Red for awhile.  He was flying out to Italy to get her and bring her home.  It was the day he was catching the plane.  Literally minutes before boarding when the hospital called him back to say that she didn’t make it.  That her heart just gave out.  That she had died.  That was when I got the text from him.  He hadn’t told me anything prior to that because they thought she would be ok and he was just focused on getting her home.  That quickly, his trip had a whole different purpose.  People say it was tacky that he sent me that news in a text message.  I understand though.  He wanted to let me know but didn’t have time to talk and was about to be on an international flight.  I don’t blame him for that.

He wasn’t able to bring her body home with him.  The police had not released her yet.  There was also a big mess with sorting things out with Customs that was taking awhile.  So he came  home without her.  He was having her cremated and her ashes would be shipped to the US in a week or so.  Her family (which is another story all-together…don’t get me started) threw a fit and tried to stop that, saying they would pay to have her body shipped back, not to cremate her, but Mr Red said that was what Red wanted and he would honor that.  To hell with what her “family” wanted.  Luckily, at least they seemed to back off and accept it once they understood that’s what Red wanted (or probably more likely what it would cost to ship her body back).  That’s ugly for me to think that way, but I’ve heard next to nothing good about her family from her or anyone else so it is easy for me to think badly of them.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, but I’ve exhausted my hands (which have been almost worthless the last few weeks due to this carpal tunnel crap) and my heart enough for the time being.  I’ll write more about it tomorrow, because I know I need to get these things out.  And there is just so much that I have been hesitant to write about it because I know it could fill hundreds of pages.  I’m still constantly shifting between sadness and anger and guilt.  It’s a never-ending cycle it seems.  I keep thinking if she was here, I would kick her ass for doing this and then hug her and never let go. 

I’ve never really lost anyone I was close to before.  I mean really close to.  Not to make light of my grandmothers that I’ve lost, but that was a completely different relationship.  Red was truly the first and only REAL friend that I’ve made as an adult, since I moved to Dallas in 1998.  She was the first person I felt truly “got” me and that I “got” in return.  So much of that is in question now because I never would have even imagined she was capable of this.  There was a quote we liked that said:  Best friends, because our parents couldn’t have handled us as sisters.  That’s really how I felt about her.  She was the closest thing to a sister and I loved her as much as if she was my sister…I still do.

A message sent to someone else, but it says what I would have written here.

Right now I can’t think of her without wanting to tell her to fuck off. And that is a terrible way to feel about a best friend. I am just so pissed off at her right now. And more skeletons are falling out of the closet, so to speak. Things she blatantly lied to me about. What makes it worse is some of those things were things that didn’t sit right with me at the time, but I took her at her word…why shouldn’t I? And because of the circumstances, so many things that only her husband and I know. Things I can’t really share with others that know her or her family. So I’ve got all these crazy feelings all jumbled up. Betrayal. Anger. Sadness. Heartache. Guilt. Failure. You name it.

Red was my partner in crime. My travel buddy. My touchstone. My sanity check. My sister at heart. The one person here that I could talk to about anything and never worry about her judging me or loving me any less. She is the person who normally helps me through hard times….and I THOUGHT I did the same for her. Then she bailed on me with this big fuck you. I’m lost without her and confused and hurt at the thought that I didn’t know her nearly as well as I thought and that I couldn’t save her from her demons. And I’m pissed at her for making me feel these things.

Just such a stupid pointless tragedy…and a precious little boy who has to grow up without ever really knowing his mother.

Because I haven’t found the words…

So many things have happened in the past month, even the past year, but none of them will ever come close to the devastating loss of my best friend.  I know I need to write about it, to preserve my own memories, and perhaps as a way to help exorcise some of this pain.

I’m just not ready to do that yet.  I have entirely too much anger in me right now….which turns into guilt, which turns into overwhelming sadness, which turns into anger again.

There are no words…

Today I found out that one of my very best friends, Red, died of an overdose while in Italy.  Of what, I don’t yet know.  I got the news via a rushed text message from her (estranged) husband who was about to board a plane to go bring her home.  I was able to talk to him for less than two minutes before he had to get off the phone.  I don’t know all the details, only that I refuse to believe this was intentional. 

She was in Italy, on her dream vacation, as a way to cope with spending her first holiday seperated from her son.  She had been posting happy updates to facebook chronicling her adventures in Tuscany and then Florence. 

And now she’s gone??  I can’t fucking believe it.

I am in shock.  I am confused.  I am pissed.  And I am heartbroken. 

I keep hoping and praying that her husband will call me when he gets there to tell me that it was all a big misunderstanding and that she is fine.  I don’t want this to be true.

I was better off being ambivalent.

Aside from the tiniest flicker of hope in the back of my mind, I think I’d all but given up on the idea of finding someone to spend my life with.  I’ve been focusing more on trying to take care of myself and making myself happy.  And then this funny, country boy voice from the past made itself known to me via facebook, instant messaging, and then phone calls.  And that made me wonder if certain feelings could have possibly survived the 15-20 years it’s been since he and I shared…time.  We never really dated, but we wanted to.  our timing was off, I was too young, he was one of my brother’s best friends, etc.  We flirted, we exchanged letters, he wrote me poems, we kissed, but never any more than that.  We forged a friendship that endured his marraige and divorce, dating others, hanging out, but always walking a fine line.

Now we’re old enough to make our own decisions and 5 years apart in age isn’t the gap it used to be.  And I decided the drive back to my former hometown for a weekend visit was worth it to find out what, if anything, I might find.  Although I’ve talked myself both sides up and down the situation, I couldn’t help but be happy to see how he still makes me laugh, and how I still have a definite attraction to him.  I thought the feeling was mutual, but now that I am back home in Dallas, I’m not so sure.  I’ve tried to imagine a future with him…sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.  Just the fact that I’ve thought about it is scary.

He told me he knew “without a doubt we would be good together.”  But now things just feel so…silent.  Maybe I need too much reassurance, but honestly, I’d just like to know where things stand.  He says he’s very interested in seeing where this goes, but I’m not sure if his actions agree with that statement.  He works…a lot.  So I know that when he does have a couple of waking hours off, he has more on his mind than just me (if me at all).  

I don’t know.  I think I opened the door to hope and possibilities a little too quickly.  Perhaps I need to force it closed again.  Uncertainty is a bitch.

Bad BeautiControl Rep

I’m terrible.  I love the products, but I tend to mostly purchase the spa products for myself.  I have some of their makeup, but, must confess, I’m a bare escentuals addict.

To top things off, a friend of mine from school is now an Avon rep.  Having been an Avon rep for several years when I was in college, I was curious what they had available these days, so I checked out her website.  Immediately I was reminded of why I quit selling Avon….they have entirely too much stuff for sale!  How can you be knowledgable or focus in any one area when they sell everything but the kitchen sink?!  Not to mention the fact that, most of what I earned (and then some!), I turned around and spent on personal purchases.

And now, they sell SHOES?!  Whoa.  Leave it to me to stumble upon the special offer where certain shoes were only $5 if you bought a different pair.  Shoe whore that I am, I found 4 pairs that looked really cute.  But I restrained myself…I only bought 3 pairs.  😛

What?  I had a gift mastercard from work that was burning a hole in my pocket.  I always loved their speed dry nail enamel, so I picked up a bottle of that, too.

While, in theory, I was buying from my competition, at least I didn’t buy anything that BeautiControl sells.  So I’m not a complete failure, right?  :)

Finding out what you don’t want to know

Is it better to know or not know?

In this case, I guess it is better to know so I can just stop it and move on.  I have had a massive crush on my friend, Curly, for years.  Early in our friendship, he made a comment about never dating a smoker, so I immediatey wrote off any chance of anything ever growing out of that friendship.  But it didn’t keep me from thinking he was an amazing guy, who shared a lot of the same values as me.  And maybe because he’s one of the few, seemingly decent, single guys I know, I fixated on him.  I absolutely adore him.  To the point that, tonight, at a bar to see one of his friends play in a cover band, a friend of mine decided to explore the topic with him.

Apparently we get along and have a lot in common, but it’s stricly platonic.  It stings a little, but at least I can finally just let it go.

We’re supposed to have each other’s backs.

Last night, what started out as a fun-filled, pool-shooting, shot-drinking night out to celebrate the end of the audit at work, and to catch up with one of my very best friends, turned into complete and utter debauchery.  As disgusted as I am with myself over my own transgressions, what I am most upset about is that I allowed my best girl to get caught up in it.  For that, I don’t know if I can forgive myself.

Peaceful, easy feeling

It’s an overcast, breezy Sunday morning and I am sitting on the patio, drinking my coffee, and playing a little fetch with Loki.  The past 3 weeks have been utter hell.  We have an OFCCP audit at work next week and so I have been working 12-18 hour days, including weekends, to make sure all of our ducks are in a row.  I have been the living dead for 3 weeks now.

Friday afternoon, we were able to finish up the most urgent of our work and I actually left the office by 5pm.  It was a tiny miracle so I felt I needed to take the opportunity to unwind a little and talked a coworker into going to the dive bar near work for a couple of drinks.  After that, I met my friend V at one of our fave little neighborhood bars for more drinks and to catch up. 

I just have to say that it was the perfect slice of heaven at that particular moment.  I was finally able to relax, laugh, and just generally feel human again.  And the added bonus is that I was able to sleep that night!  No insomnia, just crashing from sheer exhaustion!  The weeks of little to no sleep had finally caught up with me and the drinks managed to shut my brain off enough to allow me to finally get some much needed rest.

After getting to bed around 2am, I was up letting Loki out around 8…but then laid back down on the couch and slept until…SIX PM!!!  I would’ve felt guilty except for the fact that I KNEW I needed it!

Today, rather than stressing out over the audit and whatever else this week will throw at me, for this moment, this peaceful moment on my patio with my dog, I am relaxing and it feels great.

The Facebook Phenomenon

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I am addicted to facebook.  In recent months, a number of old high school friends have joined and I am having a blast reconnecting with some of them.  I don’t remember who started it, but there is now an abundance of our old school days photos being uploaded there and it’s great to reminisce. 

In a lot of ways, I miss who I was back then.  I miss my independent spirit.  I miss my devil-may-care attitude.  I miss the feeling of being totally, head-over-heels for someone.  I miss trusting people and having close friends that I could talk to about anything.  I miss being so open and unguarded.  And I totally miss that body!!  What the hell happened to that girl?!  I know she’s buried in here somewhere, under many layers of fat and abuse and self-doubt that have accumulated over the past 15 years. 

I’m not one to make New Years’ resolutions, but this year, I’d like to try and find that girl again, dust her off, and let her shine.  Even just a little bit.

Shelter from the Storm

Last Sunday, my high school gal pal, Barbie, her mother and grandmother, and 4 dogs arrived at my humble abode seeking shelter from big bad Ike.  Since my parents and other family members impacted by the storm were already tucked away safely at Dilbert’s, I was happy to be able to provide Barbie and company a place to stay.

It is now almost a week later.  They are still without power in Pinewood, but rumor has it sometime in the next day or two it should be back on.  I know they are anxious to get home.  I am mostly enjoying them being here, but I have to admit, as someone who lives by herself, it has been taxing on my sanity.  I’m a creature of habit and my normal routines have gone out the window.  Nothing compared to what they are going through though, so I am grateful to be in a position to help out in some way.

Her mom and 3 aunts all had beach houses at Crystal Beach.  yes, I said HAD.  All 4 of them are now GONE.  Completely disintegrated and washed away to parts yet unknown.  All that remains, from what we’ve been able to see in videos and online photos, is the concrete slabs. 

It’s so sad to see the massive destruction there and in Galveston.  Growing up, I (mis)spent a lot of my fun-filled youth cruising the beach and window shopping on the Strand. 

Anyway, just had a few quick minutes to myself and wanted to blog a bit while I was thinking of it.

Southlake

In all the years I’ve lived in the Dallas area, yesterday was my first trip to Southlake.  I met my friend, Red, there for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  We’ve both been in a funk and needed to get out of the house, but weren’t up for a full-swing social event with the whole gang.  So, it being daylight, I was brave enough to venture down the road less travelled.

The restaurant is located in the Southlake Town Square, which is a nice little area of shops all laid out like a little town of its own, back when streets were lined with shops instead of the giant malls and shopping centers we’re used to today.  Not exactly square though, don’t let the name deceive you.  It’s similar to what they have recently built in Garland at the Firewheel Town Center.  It’s a nice concept, but with the year-round Texas heat, it’s really only truly enjoyable on a cool day or evening.  But it’s great for running into a particular store without having to deal with the crowds or parking at the malls.

After lunch, we walked around for a little while, not really to shop, since neither of us can afford that these days.  I had seen the neat red brick Town Hall building when I drove in, and really wanted to get some photos of it, so we ended up walking there.  It was super bright, mid-afternoon sun…not the ideal time for photos, but I was there and I had my camera, so I had to at least give it a shot.

Definitely not a good time for photos with all that harsh light, but worth a return visit sometime in the evening light….when it isn’t so freaking hot outside, too!

It was good to get out of the house and out of hermit mode for a few hours.  Red and I are going to have to force each other to do that until this latest funk passes for both of us.

I must be in a funk…

because I just am really not liking people in general right now.  Even some of my friends are grinding on my nerves.  I don’t know what my problem is.  I think I’m drowning in insecurities or something. 

I mentioned my crush in my last post.  Something I’ve had for awhile, with someone I’ve known for awhile (since 2002-ish) but wouldn’t allow to surface previously because of a conversation once where he indicated he didn’t want kids and wouldn’t date a smoker.  So I wrote him off immediately, but deep down, was still seriously digging him.  To make this easier, from now on I will just refer to him as Crush (although he has been mentioned previously in this blog under a different pseudonym).

One of my friends that I met a couple of years ago (early 2005?) met him and decided she liked him.  For current purposes, I will refer to her as Diva (although she has also been mentioned here previously as a different name).  Me, trying to be a good friend, and because I knew Crush well, decided to just ask him point blank if he was interested in her.  So I’d know whether or not to encourage her.  He quite quickly and emphatically responded NO.  So I tried to subtly steer her away from him.

In her narcissim, and because she asked him, she has concluded that he only likes skinny blondes with big boobs (while she is skinny, she’s brunette and smaller-chested).  I guess his sarcasm was lost on her.  But she reminds us all, including Crush, of this anytime the opportunity arises.  And yet, at any gathering he shows up for, she still flirts with him.  Still.

This past weekend, I hosted a game night at my house and Crush came.  Diva showed up later as well.  We were about to play a game.  I was sitting next to Crush on the couch and Diva was across the table from us and she immediately exclaimed that she and Crush should be partners.  I told her partners had to sit next to each other for this game because we had to share cards.  “Oh, ok.” was her deflated response.

As the night wore on and games changed and people shifted about, I had gone into the kitchen for something and the second I was up, she pounced on the couch next to Crush.  The next thing I know she’s re-enacting a scene on a recent flight where some lady was laying on the guy next to her.  Then she stretched out on the couch and had her feet up near Crush’s lap.

I don’t know why, but it absolutely enraged me.  Of course, I have never told her about my feelings for Crush.  Because I figure she would only tell me how far I was from his type, since she thinks she has him pegged so well.  I never told her about my conversation with him and his lack of interest in her.  I just let her reach her own conclusion,  but damn.  Give it up already.  Fuck.

I just can’t throw myself at someone like that.  Not that she’s really throwing herself at him, but it comes across that way to me.  Well, actually a couple of other people at the party mentioned it later, but anyway.  Those few people also know about my feelings, so they are just being supportive.  lol

The thing is, I love Diva.   I accept that she is flirty and I love her for it most days.  It’s just because it is Crush that she always focuses on when he is around…it drives me crazy.

Plus, I just feel so defeated.  I can’t compete with skinny people.  I can’t compete with non-smokers.  I can’t compete with flirty people.  It’s just not me.  Granted, Crush and I have been flirty with each other for years, but on a completely different, much more subtle level.  Winks here and there, odd smirks across the room, exchanged glances.  Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.  I don’t think so though.  But I’ve always accepted it more as a part of our friendship, not interest on his part.

Ugh.  I don’t know.  I think I just need to focus on getting myself back to a place where I’m happy with myself.  Then maybe good things will follow.

I suck at this!

So here is the question I pose to you:

Say you’ve been friends with this guy for several years and have always liked and respected him.  Not to mention he cracks you up.  He helped you move and paint your house…And NOW, years later, you find yourself with a serious crush on him.  WTF do you do?!

The thing is, I don’t see this person very often, and much less often than in previous years.  I always kind of thought he was cute, but just thought he was too much older and set in his ways for me.  But now, 4-years later, the age gap doesn’t seem as big.  And his dry sense of humor is like spanish fly to me.  And hell, I’ve probably become more of a homebody than he is in that time.

I’ve confessed to only a very small handful of people and more than half of them has replied, “But HE has always had a crush on you!!!”  Honestly, I think they are just saying that to give me some guts to explore this possibility.  Plus, I was almost 60 lbs lighter then.  While I’ve joined a gym in an effort to correct that, I haven’t been going anything remotely like “regularly.”

Add to that the fact that I had one of my nervous breakdown crying fits with him back when I was in the deepest throes of my depression.  And I boohooed to him over Mazzy.  Oh, and there’s the time I blurted out, while drinking, about the time he and XYZ got it on.  Did I mention that he was sitting right beside me at the time and apparently that wasn’t common knowledge?

I am so clueless.  And doomed to remain single at this rate.

Disillusioned

The past few weeks have really given me a new perspective on friendships and relationships.  I’m not a confrontational person.  I avoid it whenever possible in favor of trying to be the peacemaker.  And, apparently, I expect too much from people, particularly those I call friends.

I never expected a friend to take advantage of me and use my name in a public forum to give himself some sort of credibility.  And ultimately, include my name in a lie.  A partial truth does not make it true.  That friendship is sadly over.  I have been devastated by it, but finally came to accept that that is not a friendship I’m willing to fight to keep.  Especially when one side cannot accept any responsibility and only point fingers elsewhere.

I never expected friends to so harshly criticize another one of my friends TO me.  Over and over.  You don’t have to have the same friends as me, that’s fine.  But to take every opportunity to talk badly about someone that you KNOW I am friends with, and then to act all indignant when I am “overly-defensive” about it…I just don’t get that.  If it was you people were badmouthing, you’d certainly expect me to defend you.  And I have.

Guess what?  I don’t like some of your friends either, but I’d never try to point out all their faults to you because I respect our friendship.  And because it’s not my business.  This one has been eating away at me for 2 days, can you tell? 

 See, when in the moment, I rarely react.  I don’t cause a scene.  I bite my tongue.  I try to keep the peace.  Then it festers inside me and I want to just explode at that person.  But the rational side of me says, don’t do that…you’ll say something you’ll regret.  So in the end, I feel like a doormat.  And THAT pisses me off even more.

And then to top it all off, I feel like I am surrounded by infidelity lately.  Real or imagined.  Attempted or acted upon.  Online or in person.  I’m just sickened by all of it.  And so disappointed. 

While I try not to judge, it is yet another thing that is forcing me to re-examine some of my friendships.  In one scenario, I want to beat the offending party to a pulp, because that friend broke my (closer) friend’s heart.  And yet, in another, where my friend is the offender, I want be there for them.  And in a third, I want to cease interactions with both parties.  Is it the difference in the “level” of indiscretion that makes me react differently?  Is it the length of my friendship with them that effects my feelings towards it?  Am I a hypocrite?  What is wrong with people?!?!

Again, perhaps my expectations in all relationships are too high.  And perhaps this is why I haven’t found someone to share my own life with.  And perhaps I never will.  And that depresses me.

Hooray for a long weekend!

This past week and a half has been utter hell.  Several times I caught myself wanting to come blog about some things, but decided to wait until some of the hurt and anger wore off.  I’ve buried most of it, but still get beyond pissed thinking about it.  Between all of that, another week of wicked insomnia, and a horribly tedious week at work, I’ve decided to just bite my tongue.  Instead, I’m going to look forward to the weekend!

I’m heading out to my brother Dilbert’s house at the lake tomorrow morning and planning to stay through Sunday.  I invited a few friends, with Dilbert’s permission of course, but it was so last minute that everyone had already made plans.  My friend, V, is planning to come out tomorrow night and stay until Saturday.  My parents are driving up.  So it should be good times.  I’m looking forward to catching up with V, lounging by the pool, playing a little poker, and drinking adult beverages (in moderation however…I did say my parents would be there).

So here’s wishing you all (in my mind I like to pretend there’s more than 2 or 3 people who read this) a safe and happy 4th of July!  Enjoy the time off, whatever your plans are!

MIA

I’ve been terrible, absolutely horrible, at blogging lately.  I guess I’m in one of those weird phases where I am practicing what my momma preached:  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

I’m just really disappointed.  About a lot of things really.  But the latest news was a serious blow to the gut.  You know how you say, “Oh X would NEVER do something like that.”  You are so strong in your belief and faith in this person that you would never waver or even consider it a possibility.

Well, like the saying goes…never say never.  I know we all have our breaking points, and we can only take so much, and considering I’m not in that position, it’s easy for me to say I would never do something like that either.  But these things can creep up on you.  And I think that is what happened to X.  Can you really blame a person for wanting, no, needing something?

I’m not so much disappointed in X as I am at what our society is becoming, at what is acceptable, at what is valued and what is not, and how we are all at risk in one way or another.  Seven deadly sins and all.

I’m not much of one to pray, but I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been praying for X.  It’s not a good path….but I will try to knock some sense into, be there for, support, and love no matter what. 

I’m keeping the faith.

Fantastic Vacation – Part Uno

Now that I’ve had a week to re-adjust to normal life, I thought I’d blog about my trip to Cozumel.  Red and I had such a fantastic time….definitely one of the best vacations ever!

We got to our hotel Monday around 11am and had lots of time to kill before we could check in (at 4pm).  So we changed into our swimsuits and hit the little hotel beach and checked out two of the infinity pools.  The first one was deserted, so we moved to the other one, where Louis, aka Okie Dokie, the bartender at the swimup pool kept our glasses full.  Red has been tanning since February, so she was soaking up all the sun she could get.  Me, on the other hand, took many opportunities to go sit in the water at the pool bar in the shade and make friends with the bartender.

Cozumel 005

A little before 4pm, we headed up to the lobby to see if our room was ready.  After waiting another 45 minutes, they gave us our room keys and sent us off on a wild goose chase to find our room.  We finally found it, no thanks to the directions they gave us, and waited for the bellboy to arrive with our luggage.

The rooms were really nice with marble floors counters, a nice glass shower, and a glass balcony that overlooked the main pool and the ocean where the cruise ships pulled in most days.  After showers and a quick nap, we headed down to the buffet for dinner.  We’d decided we’d just hang out at the hotel that first day.

Tuesday we got up, had breakfast, and then got a cab to downtown to do some shopping and see the city a little.  We were hoping to rent a car to drive around to the other side of the island one day, and we had been comparing prices.  Ended up getting a great deal on renting a new-ish (2004) Jeep for Wednesday.  We’d been told as much as $110 but ended up getting ours for $60, including insurance and them dropping the jeep off and picking it back up at our hotel.

But back to Tuesday…we wandered around downtown for awhile, wasted our time trying to barter with people who were asking insane prices for their sterling jewelry, sampled some tequila at a tequila shop.  I had been hoping to find more coffee tequila to bring home with me and this shop had it….but because it was in a special handmade bottle, it was more than I wanted to pay.  So figured I’d keep looking and find some elsewhere.  Never did find anymore so now I’m wishing I had just gone ahead and bought it.  Oh well.

After walking around in the sun for awhile, Red and I were both ready to find a shady spot and a drink.  One of the places we passed handed us coupons for 4 margaritas and an order or nachos for $15, so we headed there.  It was an upstairs, open air bar that looked out over the ocean.  So we sat there, enjoyed the breeze, the view, the drinks, and the nachos for awhile. 

It wasn’t long before one of the bartenders asked us where we were from.  We told him Texas and he said, “Dallas, right?”  We were both surprised that he guessed that and asked him why.  He said we looked like party girls.  Oh boy.  With that, he brought us over what he called “Bumper Shots.”  Not knowing what they were, but being up for it, he went to Red first.  Stood in front of her, blew a whistle, slammed the shot glass on the table 3 times, and then proceeded to pour it into her mouth and then grabbing her head and immediately shaking it around in circles before jerking it forward and backwards towards his crotch.  I’m cracking up and taking pictures, of course.  Then he annuonces it is my turn.  Oops.

Another waiter came over not long after with another round of these.  He was much more, um, suggestive with his routine, standing straddled over our laps while pouring.  By then, we were having too much fun to care!

After our margaritas and 3 shots each, we decided to go walk around some more.  Red found souvenirs for her hubby and son, we tried a few more jewelery stores, everyone still way too high on their prices (apparently this is a ploy they use when the cruise ships are in for the day).  Then we grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel.  We got back just before 3pm, in time to make reservations at one of the hotel’s speciality restaurants for dinner.  Went back to our room, showered and napped a little then headed down to dinner around 6pm.  We were planning to go out downtown that night.

After dinner, we got a cab and went to Senor Frogs.  Boy was that a disappointment.  The place was EMPTY.  There were maybe 5 other people there.  We had a few drinks, some shots, and then ended up heading back to the hotel because their drinks were too expensive.  By the time we got back to the hotel, Red was ready to go to the room for the night but I talked her into one more drink at the sports bar (all-inclusive, so free drinks).  The next day, Wednesday, our Jeep was supposed to be at the hotel by 9:30am.  So after that, we headed to the room.  I think we were in bed by no later than 11pm the entire time we were there!

More later…