January 30, 2011

An Evening of Dumb Moves

How many dumb moves can one person make within a ten minute time period? Let's find out.

Dumb Move #1 - Opening my front door without first looking to see who was knocking after dark.

Dumb Move #2 - Assuming because I live in a small town, it's OK to open the door without looking to see who it is.

Dumb Move #3 - Standing with the door open as the innocent looking late teen/early 20's guy explains his program and need to ask me questions.

Dumb Move #4 - Answering his questions, which included telling him where exactly I work, what I do for a living, how long I've been there, etc. Oh and by the way, that there is no one else at home that he can talk to to ask these same questions.

Dawning realization that I'm making Dumb Moves...

Hmm. I just told this stranger I'm gone all day and that I might live alone. Time to cover myself, "Yeah, my boyfriend lives here too, but he's busy. He's freelances and works here out of the condo all day." (Um, no, that doesn't sound made up at all.) For all you potential stalkers, creepers, etc. out there, I have a big dog, a 6' 4" boyfriend, sleep with a gun under my pillow, and recently obtained my black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Test me.

It turned out the kid wanted to sell me magazines, and I'm assuming he's not planning on coming back to murder or rob me. Before any of you lecture me, my neighbor took care of that.

Lesson Learned - Always look to see who is knocking before answering the door after dark (or any time really), and never give out personal information to strangers, even in small town nowhere.

January 26, 2011

Magical Moving Mushrooms

Agaricus Bisporus

I go to the same grocery store for most of my stuff because it's the best deal in town. I also like the fact that I can count on items being in their usual spot each and every visit; with one glaring exception.

Yesterday it took me forever to find my beloved mushrooms, and this isn't the first time. I've decided they move them when they know I'm coming just to mess with me. I swear they're on a different aisle and a different shelf every time. Conspiracy? Or imagination?

January 23, 2011

Pet Peeve of Mine

Among things that bug me, news headlines that are poorly written. 

Today online at a Spokane news station... 

"Family Attacked by Hammer Asking For Community's Help."  

Really? There is a homicidal hammer on the loose? And it's asking for the community's help? Should I be afraid of other tools as well, or is the hammer working alone?

January 21, 2011

An Eight Week Agenda

Death has been a theme in my life lately. No, I haven't lost anyone near and dear to me (thankfully), but a few people I know have, and that has prompted conversations one normally wouldn't have with friends and co-workers.  One of the more interesting focused on what we would do if we found out we had only eight weeks to live.

A friend and I, of course, had the standard answer of selling everything we own and doing all the things on our "bucket lists."  Once we had shared what that might include (trips to Rome and New Zealand for example), she paused for a moment and added that a friend of hers had been told he had only eight weeks to live two years ago, and all the bucket list stuff flew out the window. Instead of living it up around the world or going on daring adventures, all he wanted to do was stay at home and simply be with his loved ones. If he couldn't get the transplant he needed, he wanted to spend every waking hour enjoying his last moments on earth surrounded by people he loved, who loved him in return. This made such sense. Why go off and spend your last weeks doing things that didn't include the people you care about? Fortunately, he received the liver he needed and he's still here to enjoy life.

But this made me wonder. If I really only had only eight weeks to live, and if I were really honest with myself, what would I do? If the eight weeks was a sure thing, no transplant on the horizon, no misdiagnosis.  What would I do?

  • I'd sell everything I own, and I mean everything. My condo, the contents, my car. Everything. I won't need them in eight weeks. Why not get as much cash as I can for them while I'm here?

  • I'd use the cash to travel to each and every friend and family member who is scattered across the U.S. and Paraguay. And if anyone wanted to join me on the journey, so much the better! If they were all located in one place, I'd stay there, but they aren't, so travel I must.

  • But before I left on my sojourn, I'd round up everything I've written that was even remotely worthy of being read and every photograph I've taken that touched my soul, and I would have them printed in a book that could be distributed to those I love as part of my legacy. This is who I am...this is who I was. And I'd make darn sure that the best photo ever taken of me was included, so generations from now, someone would know what I looked like as they read my work or admired my photography.

  • And if there was any money left at the end of my adventure, I'd see if there was any way I could set up a trust for each of my nieces and nephews with strict stipulations. They would have to take a year off after high school, travel somewhere outside the U.S., volunteer their time for at least six months, not get married or have children during that year, and learn another language. If they did all that, and I'm sure I'd think of more "live it up while you're young" things for them to do, then they would get the money from the trust to do with as they pleased.

  • Finally, I'd end my journey in Texas. It wouldn't really matter where, as long as it was in my home state (but preferably not West Texas or far South Texas...maybe it does matter). I would want to breathe my last at home, hopefully with at least one or two people who loved me, who were there to hold my hand and wish me well on the next leg of my journey.

So that's what I would do if I found out today, without any doubt, that I only had eight weeks to live. What, dear reader, would you do? I'd really like to know, so e-mail me or comment on this blog.

January 17, 2011

True Classic - True Grit

Before we begin, let me state first, dear reader, that I'm not a movie critic, nor am I an avid movie buff who knows the ins and outs of moviedom, but I do feel led to comment on one I saw today.  My mom and I took a little break from life and went to see the remake of True Grit on the advice of friends and co-workers.

Normally I'm not a big fan of remakes if the original is a classic. Why mess with a good thing? I've never understood the need to take something beloved by many and redo it, sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable. It seems lazy. But today's remake was the rare exception.

I went in with an open mind, hoping for the best and having not seen the original in many years. I had it on good authority that this remake was one worth viewing, so my hopes were high. I was not disappointed. What made it even better, I went home and immediately watched the original version. Nothing against Mr. Wayne, an American icon to be certain, but the new version improved upon the old. It took away bits that were unnecessary, changed things that needed to be, and casting was dead on.

But I think what struck me most about the revamped version, what I most admired on the part of the actors and directors, was the ability of the actors to convey so much in subtle gestures or facial expressions. All it took sometimes was a look, a nod, a hand twitch for the audience to know exactly what was going through the character's mind. Subtle, and everyone got it. There was no need to overdo a scene or explain what was meant. They gave us credit for being intelligent people who would get it. That seems to be missing from so many movies and television shows these days.

Often I'll watch something and wonder why the creators, the writers, the directors think the American public is so simple that we won't get the subtleties they give us. Why do they feel the need to follow a brilliant scene with something that diminishes it by blatantly explaining what we just saw? Give us credit. We get it. So when a movie like True Grit comes along and the actors are allowed to really show how good they are at their craft, we appreciate it. This is why I'm hearing about the movie from so many people.

And there you have it, dear reader, my first movie recommendation on my blog. If you don't like westerns, you should give this one a try. If you're not a big Jeff Bridges fan, look past it. If you think two hours is too long to sit in a theater, OK, I'll give you that one, but you must see it when it's available on On Demand or DVD.

January 4, 2011

Live It Again Moments

It's a new year, dear readers, and rather than give you a list of resolutions I'll likely never keep, I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and tell you the ten things I wish I could experience for the first time again. We all have those moments, those experiences, those feelings that were so amazing, they can only be felt that way once.  And so, after much thought, and in no particular order, here are my...

Top 10 Wish-I-Could-Live-It-Again Moments

  • Staying up late, watching really bad, black and white, scary movies as a kid - The thrill of staying up past my bedtime on a Saturday night, struggling to keep my eyes open until the closing credits, and being scared by zombies was awesome.

  • Taking a road trip alone in Texas at night - I felt like I had discovered the secret to losing all stress, and quite possibly have never been so relaxed as an adult.  My hair was a mess and I didn't care.  My car was iffy on making the trip and I didn't care.  My bank account was low and I didn't care.  I was young and just didn't care about much.

  • The wonder of snow - White stuff fell from the sky and the first time I remember seeing real snow, I was mesmerized.  I felt as if I had stepped into an old movie, one in which people sang about their feelings and danced for no good reason. It was magical.

  • Riding a bicycle - For the first time, I had wheels!  OK, so I didn't know how to stop the thing, other than running it into the garage door (after laughing at me, my family showed me how to use the breaks), but the freedom I experienced was great.  I could go places!

  • Singing in front of a crowd - There is nothing so thrilling as singing in front of a group of people, but doing it for the first time, was electrifying. I made people smile simply by opening my mouth. That was a first. Usually opening my mouth did the opposite.

  • Entering and winning my first writing contest - I never expected to place, let alone win; when I did, I was elated. No one outside my trusted circle, not even my family, had read my writing. The rush I felt is hard to explain.

  • Buying my first vehicle on my own - The thrill of knowing exactly what I wanted, how much I was willing to pay, and negotiating a lower price than I thought I could was incredible. I left the dealership feeling like I could do anything.

  • Getting my first library card - Having a card of my own, with my name on it felt like I had been given the key to the entire library. They may as well have engraved my name above the door because I felt like I owned the place. I could check out anything I wanted without asking my mom to do it for me.

  • Owning my first computer - It was the future and I had to be part of it. My first had no hard drive, only 640K of memory, a 5.25" floppy drive, and didn't do much of anything, but I knew it was the beginning of an exciting love affair with technology. 

  • Seeing Jaws for the first time - I saw it in a small town in Texas in an outdoor movie theater where we sat in lawn chairs, and I have never been so frightened of something that truly existed. It was awesome. Swimming in the river was never the same again.