Monday, June 30, 2008

Retro Blog: Love Is In The Air

First published February 14, 2007

How do I know that?

Because Howard Stern (the Sirius radio shock-jock, not Anna Nicole's lawyer man) has just gotten engaged. He popped the question to longtime girlfriend and model, Beth Ostrosky.

In other news, apparently Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy are also planning a romantic day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against St. Valentine or cupid or even heart-shaped cookies. In fact, I really like cookies. However, I have noticed this week that lots of us feel sort of uncomfortable with February 14th. If you're in a relationship, there's pressure. Yesterday I watched as some of the guys I work with were really sweating it out. In fact, I even spoke with a police officer about feeling 'under the gun' to perform. We went from discussing a dump truck accident to how he could use to find a reasonably priced flower arrangement. Men, I don't envy you at all.

What's up with those bogus Cosmo polls from 'real men' stating that 85% of males 'would love to receive flowers.' Are you serious? I find that idea somewhat farfetched.

American society has even gone so far to have special Valentine's Day episodes of television shows. How cute. I did go so far as to enjoy Brothers & Sisters this past Sunday.
In college, we were always very aware of this holiday. It's when the Student Government Association would host a chick-flick in the auditorium, you know, like Maid in Manhattan or Sweet Home Alabama and only girls would show up. Well, okay, along with one or two couples who hadn't lucked out in the restaurant reservation department. Avoiding the dorm lobbies was also a huge priority. Since we lived in single sex buildings, my dorm's lobby turned into a PG-13 (scandalous!) love scene.
Personally, I'm pretty low-key in the romance department. I like simple. I'd rather do laundry with a guy than go out for dinner and dancing. It's a little too much. Especially when I'm just getting to know someone. My favorite love stories when it comes to movies are the ones where two people are forced to spend time with each other though unusual circumstances. IE: There Goes The Neighborhood, Bringing Up Baby, The Breakfast Club, Love Actually (Colin Firth and the Portuguese housekeeper). I'm trying to think of more, but they're slipping my mind at the moment. Although I have to admit, I'm a huge sucker for John Cusack in Say Anything. That boom box scene gets me every time. Heck, that guy from Napoleon Dynamite (John Heder) could show up outside my window doing that and I'd probably go for it. But I'd prefer Anderson Cooper, even though I'm probably not his type.
One day, I hope to have that unconditional, human love for someone. Where we accept and embrace each other's flaws and shortfalls. When that happens, I get the feeling that I'll be able to do things for them that I'm afraid to do now, because it leaves me vulnerable. Making sacrifices of myself, cooking for them, supporting their dreams, merging finances, having children together. Whether we realize it or not, those are massive commitments that require a tremendous amount of trust in someone. In order to do that, one can't be so independent. That's when they become a partner, a team.
It's difficult to be hopeful when I look around and see so much brokenness. Many men and women have the downfall of not being able to give up their solo ways and realize that love is altruistic and not self serving. It's not encouraging to think, "If so many others fail, what makes me so sure I can succeed?"
One reasoning that convinces me that there is a God is knowing that two people can find each other. The belief and faith that there is someone out there in the world that will know everything about me and love me for it. That thought is just so wild that I'm positive that nothing in life is accidental. In fact, every step of the way truly has that divine purpose.
I don't always live up to this verse below, but I'm working on it...
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
-John 13:34-35

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Art of Strength & Other Fanciful Ideas

Themes are present in many classic and modern pieces of literature: freedom, love conquers all, prejudice, truth, beauty, courage, greed.

Now, I will admit that identifying these abstract ideas has never been my forte. Whether it be Shakespeare, The Brothers Karamazov, Lord of the Flies, Jane Eyre, or even A Streetcar Named Desire, my primary tool was Spark Notes. I am terrible at reading between the lines. Terrible. How am I supposed to know that Piggy's glasses represented the intellectual and ordered side of humanity? And that the breaking of the glasses meant the end to the humanity that the boys possessed? Seriously!

So that's why I'm stunned that I've actually been able to pick out two different recurring themes in my own life. Weird, huh?

The first is strength. Although I'm a fairly cheerful and easy-going individual, I still cannot figure out why I am the way I am. Often, I think part of my personality tends to hide the rough patches. Almost like a fresh coat of paint over many old layers of dirt, wall paper, and 70's shades of coral Dutch Boy.

Few can suspect how beaten down, emotionally scarred, and the hurt that's made its place inside me. Being adopted, I think I'm prone to feelings of abandonment and some insecurities. The child of divorce, I tend not to believe in lasting relationships and doubt that I will experience love. As for my father, he's an okay guy, but is not the kind of model I'd use as a husband and father. Even now, he will not come visit me in Florida because his mother is the quote on quote, number one priority in his life.

We had very little financial means during my childhood. Looking back, it's quite something that I was able to go to a good college and now, four years after graduation, have most of my student loans paid off. As a 25 year old woman, I'm completely self sufficient with a great job.

Six years ago, I went through a break-up with my first boyfriend... Not very well, I might add. It took me several months to really feel again.

Less than a week ago, it happened again... with the second guy I was ever seriously involved with. I was afraid that I'd lapse into my previous state. For the first two days, it was like deja vu. But not anymore. Since then, I've gone out with friends, talked to old friends who live in other cities, even flirted a little, and feel stronger than I ever have in my entire life.

Of course, I miss him and still love him. But really, there's nothing I can do to change the situation. I will not let it cripple me or hinder me from living my life and being who I am.

Going along with the theme of strength, is survival.

It's unreal to fathom all the challenges, obstacles, joys, failures, and successes that one person takes on. I can hardly believe it myself.

Personally, I do not consider or think of myself as much of a "rock" or a survivor. But that really isn't true. In fact, I am strong and no matter what happens to me - I will prevail. You are also strong. We are able to bear much more than we think we can, and withstand the impossible. We are human.

The Temporary Recluse: Part 1

This story is partly fiction (many of the tidbits about myself are true), and is based on the nights where I hole myself up and don't go out (aka: being lame)


"What are you going to do on all that time off?"

"Getting away for awhile," I told Kelly. She's my department head at the television station I work at.

"Sounds great! Where are you going?"

"Hoping to visit some college friends in Boston. We haven't seen each other in more than three years."

That actually was true. I do someday hope to make it up to Bah-stahn to visit Leah and Jared. But this time around, it just isn't happening.

Why is it that everyone seems to want to take a trip out of town to, quote on quote, "relax." I don't find anything tranquil and peaceful about that. Especially not with the bungled airport security mess, costs of being a tourist, and the confusion of being in a new place where you don't know where the heck anything is.

No thanks.

Instead, I have decided to spend one entire week in my apartment... without leaving it at all. My roommate, Kevin, was in Hong Kong on business for six months. He's a computer guy. That's all I know.

Yeah, I know it's a little crazy cat lady. But I'm allergic to cats anyhow.

I spend a lot of time with people. And talking to people. And being annoyed by people. And being disappointed by people.

Not quite the party you'd imagine.

So the first plan of action was to secure rations for my week in exile.

Thank God for the Publix down the street. Here is the rundown on my diet for the week. (I did leave a few spaces in there for some pizza/Chinese delivery)

4 frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizzas (Barbecue Chicken variety)
Deli turkey & roast beef
Ice cream
2 Stouffer's frozen lasagna dishes

Total cost: $42.77

Really, that would be how much I'd pay for 2-3 meals at a restaurant on a vacation.

Between work and all sorts of social commitments, I hardly get time to recharge the batteries and contemplate deeper issues.

Very few people get the chance to be totally alone. I think it's crucial to figure out who you are and what you want out of your life. Why go through days, weeks, months, and years without even having direction and passion?


I spent the weekend doing stuff totally for me. Re-reading Shmuley Boteach's "Hating Women" which is one of the most influential books I've ever had the pleasure of poring over. Seriously, give it a try. I promise it's not some feminazi crap. Taking several long, hot baths. Cooking dinner. Baking cookies. Eating out on the lanai.

Of course that also means sleeping in, and staying up way too late watching my TV on DVD sets.

Monday, I did not get out of bed until 3 o' clock in the afternoon. Then I organized my closet, did four loads of laundry, and gave myself a pedicure and an at-home facial. At night, I watched six episodes of Designing Women.

Tuesday morning I actually woke up rather early, at 8 a.m.. As I stepped out of the shower, there was a knock at the door. Oh crap. On went the ratty bathrobe. I was not expecting anyone.

This is going to sound like the beginning of a porno, but on the landing, was a rather attractive man.

I'm completely serious. And it wasn't a pizza guy.

"I'm Drew," he introduced himself while trying to shake my hand.

"Claire. Can I help you with something?" I asked furtively. "Are you one of those Kirby vaccuum cleaner dudes? Cutco knives? I'm guessing you're not with Avon..."

Then I noticed a large pack at his feet.

"I'm not too into cosmetics," he laughed. "Old buddy of Kevin Watson's."

"I do know him. He lives here. Well, usually. But I'm afraid you missed him. He left for Asia a few weeks ago."

Drew looked slightly confused. "He didn't say anything about me coming? I'm from Pittsburgh. Kevin and I have an arrangement for me to sublet his apartment-"

What? I stood speechless. Absolutely speechless.

The guy handed me a letter on Kevin's company letterhead. It was easy to tell by the verbage, that the note had indeed been written by Kevin.

"He sent me a key, but I thought I shouldn't just come barging in." Drew then held up the silver key that matched mine exactly.

Who IS this guy?

"Uhh... Do you need help with your stuff?"


Anybody interested in seeing a Part 2, let me know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Real Heartache


They won't stop rolling and pouring down my face. Every time I've had a solitary moment today, moisture welled up in my eyes. I tried the whole, pretend your eyes are watering thing. Not working too well.

Haven't slept at all in two days. I've spent hours in my bed completely restless. Ate a little this morning, but don't have much of an appetite at all.

Over the past day, I've had flashbacks of many memories over the time we were together. The very first time I saw you. It was at your house last year. You had bright, kind, eyes and such an engaging way about you. I liked you instantly. That night. You told me I needed to sit next to you and talked to me for hours, after our friends had drifted off to sleep.

Over the past year, I've really grown to love you. I could picture our life together, with me by your side as your career grew. Sleeping in on Sunday mornings and making breakfast. Going dancing and spending evenings with family and friends. You're the only one I've ever thought of having children with and I know we could have had a beautiful family.

The hardest part was being four hours away, and not being able to have what most people call a "normal" relationship. It does feel strange to mostly see your love on the weekends, but I enjoyed every minute I've spent with you.

Why can't you be in love with me, too? I'd give anything for you to have those feelings for me. I understand that you don't think it's fair to be with me if you're not sure about a real commitment. But I can't understand why you won't take a chance with me. In my head, I can't help wonder why and how. You spent so long letting me get attached to you, only to leave me alone again.

Maybe I do deserve "better" as you said, but that's not what I desire at all. I only want you.

I'm torn between swearing off you forever and wanting to run to you so you can hold me.

My heart hurts.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Barely Legal? Hardly the Case

It's not that often that I take the time and money to play the Florida Lotto. But lately, I've been buying a few dollars worth on a weekly basis. Hey, you never know who will win the jackpot, right?

Today I went into a Rally on Ulmerton near work to fill up for $3.97 and then stepped into the store to buy $5 in tickets. When it was my turn at the register, I asked for the tickets. The clerk asked, "Are you 18?"

Laughing, I said that I was. "Would you like some ID?"
Clerk: "Actually, yes."

Wow. Occasionally I'm carded at bars and restaurants, but for lottery tickets?? Hahaha. It was rather flattering though, having someone think you might be a minor when in fact, you're closing in on 26.

I wonder if it had anything to do with the honey and aspirin mask I've been applying at night. My skin has been great since I've started doing that. And yes, I'm rather petite and have a youthful appearance.

Let's just hope that helps my lotto luck Wednesday night!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Don't get me wrong, I love the male species. You guys have so many wonderful qualities and I feel so lucky to have so many good ones in my life.

But sometimes... to quote a friend... Men just... suck.

Yep, you heard me right. Suck.

Currently, I'm in a fairly serious relationship. Well, the guy went to Chicago for his brother's graduation.. and besides like, two four word text messages, I didn't hear from him for four days.. And that was only when I texted him to say "Hey, haven't heard from you." When I asked him why he couldn't find five minutes to call me, his answer was, "My phone was dead." But his entire family has the same phone/chargers. Oh well. I hate having to tell men what I want, because then when they do it... it doesn't really mean anything. It's an empty action.

For about two years I was very into another guy that I was friends with. When he was sick, I brought him a pizza and medicine. We went to grab coffee, we went hiking, we talked Instant Messenger for hours at a time. I truly felt a connection with him, and like we really understood each other. He had a crush on one of my friends, and pursued her even though she was high maintenance and very non-compatible with him. I waited it out. One day, I thought, he'd realize that I was perfect for him.

When he asked me to go to a fancy work function, I thought that maybe there was a chance of something happening. Instead, we stayed for dinner and left before dancing even started. It was a magical evening. (Not really)

And that fairytale ending never happened. I even laid my heart on the line, only to be shot down with this answer "I'm lost in the sauce and out to lunch." And that God was calling him to be single at the time. Yeah. Right.

So apparently he has a new girlfriend. And I'll be frank - she's totally unattractive. How anti-climactic is that? That's why I titled this post "Seriously??"... because that was my response. Couldn't he at least have gone for somebody cuter if he's going to shoot girls like me down? Apparently not.

There are days when I can watch WE television's bridal shows and can dream along with all the other honeys sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and a kitten.

But that isn't today.

Right now, I'd rather not have to deal with that crap.

Sorry guys. I'm a little pissed off.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What happens to witnesses?

Do you ever feel like you’re not doing enough with your life? Like you want to start fresh and have a completely different existence?

Lately, I’ve become hooked on In Plain Sight, a new dramedy on USA about a team of U.S. Marshals who work with people in the Witness Protection Program, or Witsec, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I find the process and the show fascinating.

What happens to people if someone wants them dead? Move away from everyone and everything you know... Never talk to anyone from your past. Get a new name, new job, new life. It has to be extremely strange.

And what if someone you currently know is in the witness protection program, and used to have another life. What if they’re a money launderer or drug runner?? So weird to think about.

Anyhow, I’m going to keep on watching In Plain Sight and the sassy repertoire of Mary Shannon.