Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Festival Season! (Part 1)

This past weekend, Tom and I opened "Festival Season" with Pickerington's Violet Festival and the Columbus Jazz and Ribs Festival. I love summer festivals. I love the food and the music, but what I love the most is the people watching.

Pickerington's festival is a nice little community festival. We enjoyed some typical fest-food and were settling in for some music when it started to rain. We just weren't feeling that die-hard, so we left at that point.

Sunday, we headed into Columbus for the Jazz and Ribs Festival. We listened to some really nice music and had, as one might have predicted, some pretty fine ribs. There's not a lot I love more than sitting in the grass on a beautiful sunny day and listening to some music.

The people watching was extraordinary. I did my part by wearing my favorite festival dress. It is very long - to my ankles - and very lightweight and comfy and (if I say so myself) pretty. Then, under the category of: Making Lemonade From Lemons, I was not having a great hair day, so I covered the whole mess up with a hat. I LOVE hats! I rarely wear them, because, well, actually I don't have any idea why, because they make me so darn happy. I should wear one every day! It could be my signature piece! The crazy old fat lady in the hat! Ahem.

Women definitely get the style advantage, don't they? Men pretty much were wearing T-shirts and shorts. There were minor variations (Jean shorts or cargo shorts? T-shirt tucked in or left out? Logo shirt or plain?), but for the most part, the guys just don't stand out. At least not the guys clothes. The women, on the other hand! Oh boy! Let's just say, I don't think I was the only one wearing my favorite festival dress. Not that anyone else was wearing my dress, but that I think they were wearing their own favorites. See? I loved just watching the parade of cute summer outfits. Are knickers back in? I saw 2 women just rockin' the knickers. And there were women there - walking around a summertime festival - with heels! It's a rare day when I wear heels to work! But maybe 20 years ago. Yeah, now that I think about it, almost certainly 20 years ago. Or 25. Whatever.

And if this festival, and the logo shirts folks wear, was any indication, Obama should do very well in Columbus come election time. I saw many Obama shirts and buttons being worn and sold. I saw one McCain shirt being sold and one guy wearing a McCain shirt. I almost felt bad for him. Almost. He was out of his element, for sure.

So, the season is off to a great start! Fest on, dudes!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here Comes the Rain Again

I love to sleep in the rain.

Last night we had the most wonderful sleeping storm. It started with rolling thunder that sounded gentle as a lullaby. As the thunder began to reach its crescendo, the rain slowly and softly crept in. As the rain increased in tempo and strength, I began my rainy night mantra: I am warm and safe and dry. Outside is a tempest, but here in my bed I am warm and safe and dry.

I love to sleep in the rain.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Get in Line, Get Your Tickets for the Show

Last night Tom says to me (he says) "I DVR'd a few things I thought you might like to watch." There in my lineup was The Who's "Tommy", "Rush"'s first appearance on American TV in over 30 years on "The Colbert Report", and "VH-1's Rock Honors The Who". The heavens opened and the angels sang. And the angels looked a lot like Roger Daltry, which is kind of how I usually picture them anyway.

As I watched, I felt the goosebumps starting to rise. Then I felt a huge (and completely uncool, but totally genuine) grin slipping over my face. And then there was a lump in my throat, then the burning behind the eyes, and before I knew it I was actually crying. Lea thought this was hilarious, as she is only a junior squealy fangirl and hasn't yet experienced the full rapture that can come on when the music you've loved for decades starts up. Though I was around her age when I first saw "Tommy" and - that was a long time ago - but I'm pretty sure there were tears involved. And a funny feeling I didn't have a name for yet. I've since learned the name for it: full-on lust.

We haven't gone to a concert in awhile, unless you count the concerts we've taken the kids to. But growing up, that was it. That was what I did. I grew up in a small town. It was actually the town where they filmed "All the Right Moves" and it was portrayed pretty accurately in that film. ("Slapshot" was filmed there, too, but that's another story for another day.) Entertainment in my town was pretty limited, especially since I couldn't have been less interested in sports. But I had concerts. We had our "War Memorial Arena" where we very frequently saw bands on their way up or down (rarely, if ever, in their prime). I went to every show they had, starting with "Nazareth" around 1977 or so. I had a wineskin of "Boone's Farm" around my neck and a neat little row of bright pink joints tucked into my sock. Now you're messin' with a son-of-a-bitch. I didn't really care if it was a band or even a genre I enjoyed ("Molly Hatchett", anyone?) I was there - fighting my way to the front of the general admission crowd.

When I moved to bigger cities, I had to be more discerning, because so many shows came to town I would've gone broke trying to see them all. But I saw some good ones. I saw "Aerosmith" 4 times in one year when I lived in Philly. I remember one of those shows - I was going with two friends who I'd seen several shows with before, but one of them brought along a friend who'd never seen "Aerosmith" live before. We counted on being able to buy tickets at the door, but by the time we got there, the only thing they had available was behind the actual stage. We took them. After the show, the newbie voiced what we were all thinking: "Um, guys? Whose job was it to bring the dry panties?"

I went to see "The Rolling Stones" in Pittsburgh and when they took the stage (after "Living Colour" warmed up the crowd for them, holy crap!) those tears came without warning, and I found myself punching my then boyfriend while screaming in genuine surprise, "It's Mick Fuckin' Jagger! Oh My God! It's Mick Fuckin' Jagger. Here! In the same place I am!" He looked at me like maybe I'd done a little business with the folks approaching us in the parking lot whispering, "trips. trips. got trips". But that was not the case. I was just completely and utterly overwhelmed. I know it's only rock and roll, but I like it. I like it a lot.

That screaming, overwhelmed fangirl is how I usually present at concerts, but one band literally knocked me on my ass, and that was the aforementioned "Rush". The second time I saw them was in D.C. . I was jumping up and down and screaming and doing the fangirl thing during the warm-up band, then "Rush" came out and the sheer force of that much talent in the same room with me literally took the strength out of my legs and the air out of my lungs. I sat quietly in my seat like a good little prog-rock nerdgirl. Damn.

Then there are the one's that got away. I never saw "Queen". I never saw original recipe "Van Halen". I never saw "Nirvana". Yeah, some big one's got away. But I don't think I've caught my limit yet. I may still have a good show or two left in me. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a nostalgia tour... (Though we do have tickets for "Jethro Tull" this summer. Gonna bungle in the jungle, whatever the hell that means)

Rock on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You Look Mah-velous

I've been spending a lot of time visiting size acceptance blogs and read recently about someone's decision to not compliment people on weight loss. As someone who gains and loses a lot, it made a lot of sense to me. "You look great": nice compliment. "You look so skinny": WTF?

I had coffee with a friend today who doesn't wait for the compliments, she gives them pretty freely to herself. She was telling me that her daughter had told her that the shirt she was wearing "made her look really skinny". I took that opportunity to tell her that I'd decided to stop equating skinny with good. Her eyes got big - she was quite taken aback - and she said, "but how could you? I don't even know how to wrap my brain around that." Well, I consulted the thesaurus, and it did not find the two to be remotely synonymous.

I know what she was saying, though. Society certainly equates the two. This wasn't something she made up. (And I fear I may have jumped down her throat a little more than was necessary) She's just living in the world. She was so taken aback by my response because it certainly does not represent a world view.

But now I'm even more determined to keep it up.

You, by the way, look great. :-)

Huh? Get a Job? What For? I'm Trying to Think.

Last night the e-mail I've been anticipating came. My immediate supervisor at the university wrote to ask if I'd be interested in teaching 2 courses in the fall. Tom and I talked about it a lot (months ago) and came to the conclusion that I would indeed not be interested. The adjunct gig just isn't worth it anymore. The gas alone, to get me to a school that's not right around the corner, should serve as enough of a deterrent. Add that to the fact that the moment they are able to hire someone for a full-time position, I'd be gone without a moment's thought (as they came very close to doing 2 years ago). And the fact that every year I find myself less and less tolerant of my students and their drama. And the fact that I've been away from the field long enough that my classes are more based in philosophy/history than they are in current real life experience. I could go on, but those are some of the key points.

So what now?

I am so very lucky because I don't need to jump into something - anything - just to get a paycheck. Things are very tight for us (as they are for so many right now), but we can get by on Tom's salary. We can get by in a very tight-budgeted, no frills way, but we can get by.

So I'm in the perhaps enviable position of wanting a job, but not needing one. That, for sure, is the good part. The bad part is, at the tender age of 45, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I'm pretty sure I'm done teaching, but I don't think I'm ready to step away from education altogether. So I know that. Or think that, anyway. But what, exactly, to do? What to do?

I can't believe I walked away from a job without having anything waiting for me in the wings. That seems so irresponsible. But the adjunct job wasn't working out, for the reasons noted above, and it involves an 11 week obligation - so I would be rendering myself unavailable to start something new for basically 3 months. But what if nothing new turns up? It's so scary!

I want to work. I want to feel like I'm making a contribution - both through the work I do and through the money I bring home. I want to talk to people every day! I want a sense of purpose. I do not want to waste my time just doing something for the sake of doing it. Perhaps I'm being idealistic, but I really believe I'll find something that fits if I just keep looking.

Or not.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh Baby, I Think You Are Lost in the 70's

My guilty pleasure this summer has been watching "Swingtown". I went into it hoping for some fun music (it delivered) and maybe a little summertime soapy goodness(also delivered). But I ended up with more nostalgia than I'd bargained for. It made me search for my Dr. Scholls (unsuccessful - may need to buy a pair) and yearn for the days when I could look cute in a halter. It has made me wish I could let my kids ride their bikes till the street lights came on (like I did) instead of either having an eye on them or worrying about them every moment that they're out of my sight. If their bikes could be 10-speeds with rams horn curled handlebars, that would be a serious bonus.

More surprisingly, though, is the cooking/baking I've been doing since I started watching this show. I've been calling my mom for recipes she regularly trotted out in the 70's and I have been enjoying their yummy comfort way more than is probably reasonable. I made a tuna casserole when one of Lea's friends was over last week. She loved it - had never heard of it before - and wondered if her parents knew how to make it. This weekend I baked a cherry cheesecake that uses a box of yellow cake mix in the recipe. Now I make a really excellent cheesecake from scratch (if I do say so myself), but it has never satisfied me the way this trip down memory lane has done. In the oven right now is what will become a Jell-O poke cake - a staple at any potluck in the late 70's/early 80's. And I am seriously jonesing for some Watergate Salad. And a Tab. With a pop top.

I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and I noticed a relatively large display of old Billy Joel CD's (and, yes, I typed "albums" originally and had to delete it...) So apparently I'm not riding this wave of nostalgia alone. The title of this post, for those who don't recognize it, is taken from an old Billy Joel song, "All You Want to Do is Dance". I realize I've used it out of context, but I think it works. Speaking of music and not being alone on this wave, how about "Mamma Mia"?

"Swingtown" has also reminded me of how ubiquitous AM radio was in that era. You just always had the radio on. I loved laying on the beach, soaking up those harmful UV rays, and listening to my own as well as everyone else's radio. You'd hear several stations at once because of this, but it never annoyed me. I liked it. It was the beach. Now that everyone listens to their own MP-3 players that is something that is gone forever, I guess. My daughter is so used to being in total control of everything she listens to all the time that she has a really disproportionate response when her charge runs out and she is forced to listen to something that she didn't personally choose. It doesn't seem right or fair to her. I grew up listening to my music, my parents music, my grandparents music - whatever was on. I think it made me more well rounded. So while, in retrospect I realize that disco did indeed suck, at the time I was as likely to be listening to Donna Summers or Rod Stewart as Heart or Jethro Tull.


Have a nice day :-)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

I have noticed a definite pattern in my weight gains/losses and it became very clear to me over the last 2 days when I actually bought myself some new clothes. I am normally and comfortably a size 18. Not thrilled with that, but that's where my body seems to be most comfortable. That's where I've spent the majority of my adult life. I can get down to a 14 (still not anyone's ideal, by current societal standards, for sure, but a personal best) through SERIOUS diet and exercise. I can get up to a 22 through serious depression and lethargy.

One would think, then, wouldn't one? that my wardrobe would be predominately size 18 clothing with a few 14's, 16's, 20's and 22's hanging around for when they're needed. But that's not how it works. I'm not thrilled with 18 being my normal size, so I really tend to just buy the basics I need to get by in that size. Lot's of jeans and T-shirts and a few dresses (most of which can be worn in the 16/20 days, too). I have NOTHING in my closet that is a size 16 or a size 20. Now here's the part that's interesting to me: The nicest clothes I've ever had have been the 14's (that makes sense) and the 22's (hubba wuh?).

With this accident and other factors that have kept me pretty sedentary this spring/summer, I'm sorry and a little ashamed to say I've gotten myself back into the 22's. I've been feeling really yucky about it, and I've been looking pretty yucky, too, trying to squeeze myself into the size 18 clothes that just no longer reasonably fit. So a couple days ago I resigned myself to it and bought a pair of shorts that actually fit (instead of being something I could manage to get into). The difference they made in my mood the next day was amazing. So I went shopping and got a few outfits in this new (and, don't get me wrong, utterly distressing and unacceptable) size. And they're CUTE! And I can't wait to get out and wear them! I actually want to go out!

So this is how the cycle works, if past experience has taught me anything (and it is so odd to realize this in the MIDDLE of the cycle) : I gain weight, resign myself to it, and decide if this is the weight I'm going to be, then I'm going to have to accept that and make the best of it and look the best I can. I buy clothes and start making more of an effort with hair, makeup, etc. Then, I start to feel better about myself and I find it easier to exercise and eat better (and, as previously mentioned, leave the house). The obvious result is that I lose weight. But when I'm in a "lose" cycle, I don't want to stop at 18! Losing is fun! And it's addictive! And this time it will stick! So I plateau around that size 18 for awhile - where my body wants to be - but if I work really hard and am really determined I can work through the plateau and diet down to 14. At this point, I'm so proud of myself that I buy a lot of new clothes. I don't know why I don't buy 20's or 16's on the way up OR down - I guess I just don't notice one size difference, but I sure notice two. At this point I give away all of my "fat clothes" (like 14 is skinny. eyes rolling) Anyway - I start to feel good, and comfortable, then the pounds start inching back on - trying to get myself back to that place it likes to be. And there I'll stay until the next crisis has me packing it back on.

Rinse. Repeat.

My hope is - that by writing this out on the internets - I'll recognize it for what it is and perhaps, when I start inching down again - which I inevitably will - instead of defiantly throwing these clothes out because "I'll never be that fat again", I'll instead box them up and store them. Just in case. I envision a big clothes rack in the basement separated by little size dividers like they use in the stores. Maybe I could even get some 20's then 16's this cycle through, so I can ALWAYS be wearing something that actually fits.

Because it really does make a difference.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Teenage Wasteland

I went to Subway to pick up dinner for the girls and I tonight. I was going to boycott Subway based on their offensive new ad campaign, but it's the Fourth of July and my options were pretty limited. (Yeah, yeah, I could've cooked. Shut up. Who asked you?) So, I guess I'll boycott them when it's more convenient...

The point I wanted to make, though, wasn't about Subway per se, but about the teenage workforce in general. I try my best to grocery shop during the day on a weekday, when the grown ups tend to be working, because the weekend/evening teenage staff seem to have a hard time taking a break from their conversations to actually deal with the customers. More often than not I feel like I'm intruding on them when, in actuality, I'm just trying to pay for my groceries.

So I walk into Subway and I'm the only customer there. There were two teenagers behind the counter. As soon as I walked in, one of them actually walked into the back room. The other, instead of waiting on me, called back to the first and said "you've got a customer". He made his way back out and proceeded to do a little more prep work before finally looking up, acknowledging me, and asking what I'd like. He stopped a few times in the course of preparing my subs to actively continue his conversation with his coworker. (smoke breaks, who called out sick, and my favorite, "OMG, so you have to work 4 solid hours today? Gawd! You must be dying!"). After ringing me up , he bagged the three subs. He did not even OFFER to bag the two bags of chips, the pack of cookies, and the three soft drinks. He just left it all on the counter and headed to the back, where his coworker had already retreated. I stood there, brace still on my arm, trying to figure out a way to pick up all of the above and still get my car unlocked and opened. Grrrr.

In all fairness, I have worked in enough pizza/sub shops to know what a Peyton Place they are. When I first was laid up with my arm, I was practically in withdrawal from the rampant socialization that went on at the pizza shop. It's fun. But it is (and I can't stress this enough) SECONDARY to customer service. A customer should never feel like an interruption. Without the customer, you don't HAVE a workplace to be social in WHILE YOU MAKE MONEY! While I may argue the adage that the customer is always right, it is inarguable that the customer always comes first. Or should.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there are some kids on my lawn I need to shake my fist at...

P.S. Double boo, Subway