Why is it that bowling is so much fun? It's one of those games that people laugh at when seen on TV, and look at you weird if you say you have your own bowling ball or shoes. Yet, I've taken my team from work bowling twice this year, and we've had an absolute blast. There's something freeing about being in a bowling alley making a fool of yourself. Or maybe it's about the chance, or guarantee, of beating your boss. Or maybe it's just that we're all completely out of the element we normally see each other in. I don't know. But I think I'm going to have to make sure we continue to go bowling at least once a year.
Besides actual writers with published material for which they were paid, what is the difference between people who write well and people who aren't as good at it? Is it really just practice? If you write enough drivel, do you eventually learn how to write well?
I somehow doubt it. There is certainly some level of mastery that comes with practice, but much of the magic of the written word is conveyed by people with a talent for words, for the way they go together, and a willingness to try something non-standard and see how it goes.
Recently, I was at a party where I was mostly in a group with lots of people I didn't know. In these kinds of situations, I do generally get a little bit silly. It's also good to be able to read people's faces and feed off what they are enjoying, and what they are tolerating. At some point, one of the ladies in the group said I should write for this online magazine her daughter ran because they're always looking for fresh writers and I was cracking her up. I took the information about the magazine, but I could never do it. Writing is just a totally different skill than talking. I go back and read stuff I've written, and it bores me to tears. (I apologize to those of you that actually come to this page and read the drivel I put together.)
I know several people that really can write, and I am blessed to know them (and healthier for the laughter). I, on the other hand, will continue to write drivel until I can get it to be better drivel.
Last night we went to a party at a friend's house, and after a certain number of margaritas were consumed, the host decided it would be fun to put on the Discovery documentary Freedive, which my husband and I participated in last summer. When it was first filmed, it was very exciting, and the first viewing was a lot of fun. Watching it now, a year later, was just creepy. I hadn't rewatched it any in the last eight months since it first came out, and now it makes me want to cringe and destroy all copies of it. Thankfully, Discovery never made a version of the film for general sale. So the only copies that exist are the ones that our friends and family recorded. I think it will be tough to get them all deleted, but that is now my mission.
So, my husband finished grad school. This is a momentous event in life. Yes, it is a huge accomplishment. But even more than that, this has been a near cornerstone of our relationship for the last 7 and one-half years. I embraced the challenge, then I accepted it, then only tolerated it, and lately I have come to rely on it for our entire relating dynamic. I didn't realize this transformation was happening until he actually stopped being in school. He's not constantly stressed out. He isn't depressed and mopey. He isn't blowing me off.
He's actually spending time with me. It's weird, and I haven't figured out how to adjust. The thesis, with all its edits, was turned in on Friday. That night, we went to a party. This weekend, we went for a walk in our neighborhood, went to a movie, and had Sunday lunch where I wanted to eat. Monday night we went to the gym together and dinner afterwards. Last night we had friends over for dinner. This is so foreign that I don't know how to react. These are the kinds of activities I expected marriage to entail back when we entered this crazy ride. I think I'd given up that kind of life as still being possible.
It's exciting, don't get me wrong. I just haven't figured out how to process it yet. I'll get back to you when I figure it out.
I have to say I was a bit worried when Antoine Wright entered the draft after his junior year. However, so far so good for my team. Both Joseph Jones and Acie Law IV (as well as a couple of new guys) have stepped up to play well so far in exhibition and non-conference games. They're 6-0 so far for the season, with some great games in there. True, they haven't played Duke or Kentucky or even Missouri, and all but one of their non-conference games are at home, but they are showing the kind of promise that is enough to get me to look through the schedule and see which games I should try to get to. Hmmm...Texas Tech comes to College Station for the Big 12 opener on January 7th. That's a Saturday, and would definitely fit into my schedule. Is it too early to start planning for that?
Since it's cold now, I had to dig out my coat. I stuck my hand in the pocket, and found a business card that pointed out that I haven't worn that coat since a business trip to Michigan last January. That particular trip was one of my more interesting business trips ever, and decided to put it all down on virtual paper.
I got to town the evening before I was to visit the customer, and decided to go to a local Italian restaurant that seemed to have gotten good reviews. When I got there, I found that this was an incredibly busy place, and seeing as how I was a table for one (and didn't want to wait for food), I decided to sit at the bar and eat there. As I'm eating my dinner, a 60-ish fellow next to me strikes up a conversation. Seems he was the Drain Commissioner of the city, and I now know all about what this elected official does. He told me about the size of his staff and budget, and threw in that he used to be the mayor, but since the DC has more power, he prefers that role, and has been doing this job for nearly 25 years. In my I-haven't-dated-in-nearly-eight-years naivete, I still realized he was flirting with me. I pointed out that I was from out of state and wasn't one of his constituents, and was married (I think I made several unnecessary references to my husband to drive this point home), but to no avail.
We continued with some very interesting political conversation, since he was a liberal Democrat, and I'm more conservative, with libertarian leanings, and am not afraid to disagree with people. We talked for a while, and he bought my dinner (despite my insistence that it was a business expense for my trip). He bought me a drink, and then suggested we go to a bar across the street. I was intrigued by this much older man hitting on me, that I agreed. We talked about his family (his daughter is 10 years older than me), drugs (he thinks all should be legal, and has done his fair share), sex (he loves it, and he's good at it, by his perception), and more politics (drains and water control are surprisingly interesting if the elected official in question is passionate about his work). Then he talks about how in his free time he also runs a massage business, and his clients really like his technique. Especially his female clients. Oh, and he's brought some of them to the Big O just through massage.
I start to leave. He says he wants to see me again. He has to go to a wine tasting the next night, and wouldn't I come with him? He'd really like to give me a massage after I'm done working with my customer the next day. He gives me his card and writes his cell phone number on it. He says won't I please call him when I finish up with my customer the next day? I pocket the card, making yet another feeble comment about needing to call my husband and go to bed, and head back to my hotel.
Okay, so I know that's not really how that call goes. And I know that Texas doesn't get nearly as cold as it gets in other parts of the country. However, this is cold. And icy. So yes, we do basically shut down when it gets cold down here. But that's only because there's also precipitation, and almost never in the form of snow. So we have layers of ice across all the roads everywhere. You should have seen all the wrecks and fender benders I saw last night on the way home. Two to three accidents on every overpass that wasn't closed. New closures occurring all the time. I probably saw 15 emergency vehicles last night about 8pm in the 15 minutes it took me to get home. Kinda crazy.
My parents live in Dallas, and they were expecting an inch of ice last night with two inches of snow on top of that. Apparently, during the commute home yesterday, a semi got almost to the top of one overpass there, and freaked out...just decided not to crest the hill and go down the other side. He was concerned that he wouldn't be able to stop, and would cause a big accident. Probably the smart thing to do, but then all the cars behind him were stuck there. On the overpass. Would have been smarter to just not start up that overpass. Let someone else cause an accident and block the road anyway.
I have always been fascinated with people and what makes them tick. Why are some people confident when others are not? Why are some perfectly okay with working for "The Man" and others have to work for themselves? How much of it is upbringing and how much is innate?
There is no doubt that part of how one is is related to innate qualities that we're born with. There is plenty of research with separated-at-birth identical twins to prove that. However, I tend to assume that more of who we are is based on our life experiences. Regardless of whether that's the correct assumption, I have proceeded with it through life, trying to understand people.
The current piece that I'm trying to figure out is why some people are constantly trying to go against the rules and defy authority (my husband), while others have it so ingrained in them to follow the rules that options that lie outside of the accepted realm aren't even considered (myself). Of course, I have several other specimens that I have investigated without their permission during this process of learning and trying to figure this stuff out, but it became interesting to me because he and I are so differing on this. I really like the balance, don't get me wrong -- it helps me branch out, and keeps him from going completely off the deep end. But why are we like that?
One reason, I think, is that I have moved so much in my life that I have developed this desire to fit in. More than a desire, really -- a deep-seeded need to be normal. I was the "new girl" in so many schools, and never fit in anywhere, that I tried to become a chameleon, to be like everyone else. My husband, on the other hand, went to the same school from first through twelfth grade, lived in the same house since he was two, and basically had the same friends his whole life. I think, as a result, he has always wanted to find a way to stand out from the crowd -- to not be lumped in with all the people he grew up with. He has looked for what makes him unique for his whole life. He is nearly desperate to figure out how he is totally different from anyone else. I think there are other things that play into this kind of pathology, having to do with parents, but that's a topic for another day.
For now, I'd say that my working hypothesis is that a stable home and friend life leads to a desire to buck the system, while constant upheaval in early life leads to more caution and desire to go with the accepted norms. Please discuss, and shred my hypothesis to pieces. It gives me more reason to continue to study this particular set of societal activities.
Does anyone else stress this time of year when trying to figure out what to do about holidays and visiting family? Generally, we have Thanksgiving at our house with some kind of family having come in town, and then we go somewhere for Christmas. But this year, we couldn't have anyone come in town for T-day (see previous post), so that leaves Christmas. And to further complicate matters, no family lives in the same state, and my husband's parents are divorced, so that's three entirely separate families to visit. You'd think that after 7 years of marriage we'd have figured out how to handle this lovely conundrum. But it seems that it doesn't matter how hard we try -- we always make the family that we don't visit upset.
One good thing has come from this whole pile of fun, though -- we are now pretty much immune to guilt, which ought to come in handy one day when we have kids.
I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm pretty good at it, if I say so myself. I roast a mean turkey, and all the trimmings are made from scratch (except the pumpkin pie, which everyone knows is better if you just make it from the can). So, this has always been my holiday, from the time I graduated from college and had a place with a kitchen. We either have my family or my husband's family in town for the big feast. But not this year. The husband is expecting to defend the PhD thesis next week, so the week of Thanksgiving, we were expecting him to be a basket case (turned out to be true), and we don't want to be entertaining out-of-town guests. So, what does a cranberry-loving freak like me do on the biggest cooking holiday of the year? Was I really supposed to get turkey breast lunchmeat and make a single serving of mashed potatoes? I refused to stoop to that level. I had to cook this meal -- and nothing smaller than a 25-pound turkey was available at the grocery store when I went.
My solution? I cooked everything I would normally have cooked -- turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, peas, cranberry relish, and dressing. For dessert there was apple pie, pumpkin pie, and homemade vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm.
We had 6 for dinner -- all local folks who weren't going to visit family for the holiday. It was wonderful, I sent home tons of leftovers with people, and I now have 5 cute little pounds of turkey meat in the freezer for future cooking endeavors. I think it worked out fine. Maybe the relatives won't be invited in the future, and we'll just keep doing it this way.
I went last night to see the fourth movie, and it was awesome! I was so impressed with how well they managed to fit an enormous amount of story into 2.5 hours and how good the dragons looked. I guess that means I agree with what they considered to be the important parts of the story. I still dislike the actor they're using for Dumbledore now that Richard Harris died (or maybe it's just that he was so good), but apart from that the movie was really good, and the dragon animation was impressive. I would recommend it to all! Even as a die hard fan of the books (would you like to see the spreadsheet I put together as I reread the books this summer to prove it?), I really liked this adaptation. Did I mention that the dragons were cool?
However, it appears that I have either aged out of the demographic that is allowed to be Harry Potter fans, or we were in a theater in the wrong area. I don't think there were more than 10 people in the entire theater over 18. The first book came out in 1998...if that was set to appeal to 8- to 10-year-olds, then I guess the demographic for this point in the saga would be highschool and early college. But I'm certain that there were more people my age at the opening of the third movie. Have they all had kids now, and can't stay up to watch a movie at midnight? That's certainly feasible, but I just have to ask where a person's priorities are if they can't get a babysitter to watch the kids in order to go to opening night of this movie. Oh wait -- maybe all the potential babysitters were already going to the movie...
Today, I went to the doctor for my 10th appointment in 3 weeks regarding this stupid abscess thing on my hip. I have been doing 2 loads of laundry every day -- sheets in the morning, towels at night. I have taken every last antibiotic pill that was prescribed to me. Finally, it has paid off. As of today, I am allowed to take care of the hole in my hip all on my own. No more visits to schedule! Woohoo! I feel like a free woman, and I hardly know what to do with my free time!
A couple of weeks ago, my grandmother died. She was cremated, and we just had the memorial service this weekend. My grandfather died several years ago, and he was cremated and has been saved in a purple velvet bag in my dad's office. Now, his mom is in an urn. So, there they are -- Urnmom and Bagdad.
College basketball season is finally underway! I know we're just getting into the exhibition games this weekend, but I have been waiting for this moment since the first part of April when the last season ended. Why, then, do I live in a football state and did I go to a football school? Well, I didn't realize I liked basketball so much until college. And then I went to games. I love the speed of the action. I love the sound of shoes on the floor. I love the closeness of the stands where the noise can't help but be contagious. I went to every game I could go to, and I've never been able to shake the fascination. And now the season is about to start again, and I can feel alive once more.
I'm the turkey! Today I will go into the doctor's office again to get plucked and stuffed, or at least that's what I've decided to call it. They have this nice long thin section of gauze stuffed in the open wound to keep it from healing too soon. When I went in yesterday, they pulled the piece out and worked a new one in -- even had a medical student watch the process. Tomorrow they're definitely pulling it out, and I hope they won't decide that they need to put a third piece in. It's no fun having tweezers push gauze into an open wound.
So, yesterday I went to the doctor and had an abscess drained on my hip. Abscesses, or boils, are giant zits of staph infection that, left untreated, cause pain, fever, nausea, gangrene, and could get into the bloodstream and wreak some serious havoc. How do you treat them? Cut a hole and squeeze the pus out. What causes them? Not real sure. How do you prevent them? Again, not real sure. I know my husband brought the bad bacteria into our house (he's had 5 of these things since July), but beyond that, no one seems to know anything.
Here's the part I don't get. Wasn't this one of the plagues that Moses announced to the Egyptians? That's kind of a long time ago. It certainly sounds like something that shouldn't be occurring anymore today in such a medically-advanced culture. Why is the treatment still so barbaric? It is the kind of thing that smacks of leeches to me.
So, we've officially entered the realm of the Greek alphabet-named storms. I have to say, I find this very exciting. Now that we're on Alpha, I know what comes next. All through the season, I've had to go to the website to find out the next name to be used for the next storm. Thanks to my physics education, where it is preferable to do math with Greek letters than with numbers, I know what the names of the next 23 storms will be. From memory! I'm just so glad to see that the money I spent on my education is finally starting to reap some benefits for me.
I found a song recently that I really like, and I play it way too much. I play it often at home and work, at the gym on the iPod, and I've been wanting to burn a CD in order to play it as often as necessary in the car and on trips. I have held off, though, since I'm thinking I'll get sick of it if I do that. This is my MO: listen casually to various songs until I find one I like; then listen excessively until I have it memorized; potentially arrange it for guitar or keyboard; repeat. It means I don't know a lot of songs, but the ones I know, I know really well. Not sure what that says about me, but it probably has something to do with OCD.
I love to travel. My passport is half full, and I am always looking for interesting places to go. Meanwhile, my job wants me to travel a bit for them. My last employer had me go to Hong Kong, Beijing, Stockholm, Basel, Switzerland, so I jumped on the opportunity. However, this company has a smaller geographic radius. This month I've gone to Athens, Ohio, and Normal, Illinois. This week, it's Saginaw, Michigan. Nothing wrong with these places, but they don't help me fill my passport.
When I got home today, I had the strangest message on the answering machine. Someone from a company called to invite me to apply for a job with them. They got my name from a list of their scholarship recipients from years ago, and were apparently cold-calling those people to see if they wanted to be financial planners with the company. I have to admit it was tempting (talking to other people about their money all day), but I decided I do like the job I have now.
My recent highschool football excursion also brought to my attention the fact that some football players have gone beyond the butt slap to show their affection for one another. The quarterback was injured during the first play of the game. He was back in the second half on the sideline, this time on crutches. One of the linesmen came up to him, gave him a tender hug while talking in his ear. Then he kissed the quarterback's temple. I was then entranced by the exchange, especially since said linesman was still hugging the QB. He continued to talked, gave him one more little peck, and walked off. I thought, wow -- there is so much tenderness on this team. I mentioned it to my sister later, and her response was "yeah, it's hard to get a boyfriend here because the guys are all gay." Touching, isn't it?
My little sister is in the marching band at her high school. She is very proud of this (must be cooler at her school than it was in mine to be in the band -- they even have a football player that forgoes the halftime peptalk to participate in the halftime show). So, as the supportive big sister, I took a day off work to visit her and go to a Friday night football game. I hadn't been to one since my own time in HS, and I was surprised how nostalgic it made me. I had forgotten how much fun a good drum cadence can be, and how much adrenaline is produced while performing with such a large group to an appreciative crowd. It made me wonder if there are other adults that were in marching bands as teenagers and miss it. Maybe we could get together and perform at a soccer game or something. If only we could find our horns again.
So, I'm Heather -- a nice, young woman with no real reason to need a place to tell the world about her life. However, I am doing it anyway, and we'll see how much strangeness really can emerge in this venue. For the most part, I'm not expecting you to have a reason to care....at least not until I get some more content up here.