Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trick or Treat?

I have to admit - Criss Angel is much better looking in person than I expected. He's in the Tampa area to do a death defying stunt tomorrow night at the Spyglass Hotel on Clearwater Beach. Part of my job involves field producing celebrity interviews from time to time.

Prior to this event, A&E hosted a press junket at the Hilton. There was actually food at this one! And it was good! The photo above, I took of him during our interview. He's actually kind of cute...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas

Leah and Jared Thomas should be on their way to Maine for their honeymoon as I write this. This weekend... was really incredible.

Thursday night I flew into Pittsburgh International Airport, picked up my lovely Hertz rental car - a black Mazda M3, then drive up to Zelienople to stay with my friend Mike in his new place. Zelienople is one of those really small towns where the main drag is about a quarter of a mile long with three traffic lights. As we walked with Max the German Shepherd down the main street, a group of high school kids in an SUV invited us to the St. Greg's fair. What that is I have no idea. We had Yuengling and a blooming onion, chicken wings, and a cheeseburger at the local bar, which was a block from the house. The tattooed, pierced, bartender wore an "I <3 Zelie" t-shirt. They were on sale for $15. I almost bought one.

Friday morning, I drove a little more than a half hour to Rachel's Roadhouse, a restaurant we used to hang out at in college. Leah's aunts threw her a pre-wedding lunch. The food was excellent. For dessert, I tried a blueberry cheesecake that was out of this world.

We then went to the Acker household to help Leah with her gifts and other miscellaneous tasks.

Leah Thomas (nee Acker) received most of the gifts on her registry, and two more boxes were delivered as we hung out at the house.

Nelly the little poodle sat right in the middle of the action. At first, I thought she was a bichon frise. Then I learned that the family had originally wanted one, but after learning that bichons are difficult to housebreak, just "got a light colored poodle and let her hair grow long."
Check out all the loot! A quesadilla maker! Not one, but TWO picnic baskets! Stemware! A clock!

At the rehearsal dinner at Quaker Steak & Lube, someone anonymously sent Leah a shot. She didn't refuse!

Later on Friday evening, we went back to the Acker house while Jared and Leah stopped by at her grandmother's house. Andrew Acker (Leah's awesome brother and my wedding partner-in-crime) told us story after story about the bride while rolling on the floor laughing. Then he suddenly remembered that he'd left Nellie outside 45 minutes earlier. She wasn't too happy about it.

Before the weekend of the wedding, I had never met the other two bridesmaids. Let me tell you, they are fabulous ladies. Hillary lives near Boston and was Leah's roommate for a semester at Grove City College. She passed out while waiting in the Acker's basement.

Calling all guys! You need to meet Becky (pictured below). She should be Maid of Honor of the year or something like that. She is organized, let me crash at her house. Woke me up the morning of the wedding, laid out towels, brought over a delicious homemade breakfast to the Acker house for everyone to eat that morning, SANG beautifully at the ceremony and reception, and God knows what else! Becky is a sweetheart. It was both an honor and a privilege to be in a wedding with her and Hillary.

Finally, the happy couple showed up around 2 a.m. Just kidding! It was more like 10 o'clock! But then they started doing Jared's laundry for the honeymoon. Jared actually took off the shirt he is wearing in this picture to throw it in the washer. Andrew actually finished up the load. What a great brother.

"You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you."

It's all a result of us getting a little too rowdy at the late night Bachelorette gathering/Sheetz run. As you can see, I couldn't resist the lure of Fufu Berry Jones soda.

So after that, we went to sleep early! I stayed at Becky's house. Slept like a baby. Was out of bed and in the shower by 7:15 the next morning.
After a few hours at Leah's house, we made it to the church. Don't you love Leah's outfit? The bridesmaids were given pearl earrings and necklaces. I'm telling you, being in weddings is the best way to get a good collection of jewelry. Aren't they gorgeous?

One of my favorite parts of being in a wedding party, is getting to know the parents. Peter and Pat Acker were so gracious, kind, and fun to be around. They met on a blind date and have been married since 1980. I know. I saw the wedding pictures to prove it. Don't they sort of remind you of Laura Bush and John McCain?
Mr. Acker is a local attorney and Mrs. Acker is a high school teacher. They did most of the planning for the Acker-Thomas wedding. We took wedding photos at a park gazebo named after the family. The reception location was absolutely stunning. The food was excellent and the wedding cake was carrot cake. Yum. They are such warm people, and am very glad we got to spend some time together.
While driving to the reception, the brakes cut out on their car, and they managed to coast into a parking lot. Thank goodness they were okay. I guess you can say they sort of hitch hiked to the reception? What a day!

Here I am waiting down in the church for the ceremony to begin. I'm holding off on putting on the shoes though... They are not that comfortable.

Andrew drove Leah, Jared, and I around town on Saturday. He's a hell of a driver! I'm trying to convince him and his dad to come down for the St. Pete Grand Prix next year. Mr. Acker actually roomed with Bobby Rahal back in the day. Crazy, huh?

Guess who's holding hands in the backseat?

Answer: Leah & Jared Thomas

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3 <3<3<3<3<3<3<3 <3<3<3<3<3<3<3

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lessons Learned

(Circa August 2007 - Jill's wedding)

(Circa September 2006 - Calley's wedding)

As I procrastinate from what I should be doing, packing for the Pittsburgh wedding, I have been doing some reflection. At the ripe old age of 25 (about to be 26), I honestly think I've gotten a little smarter and a tad bit wiser. Especially about my bridesmaid duties. So I'll share a few tips I've picked up over the years.
  • Using a topsy tail to "do your own hair" is a really, really bad idea

  • If the Best Man who used to send you interesting poems on AOL Instant Messenger, the best thing to do is pretend if never happened and slow dance with him anyways

  • Get a pair of strappy silver high heels and wear those to every wedding. They go with any dress!

  • Don't let the bride eat bad chicken at her bachelorette party

  • Try to avoid having the bride stand too close to objects that could fall on her while she's trying to put on her dress (ie: an old air conditioning unit stacked on a closet shelf)

  • As a bridemaid, it's your job to really get the party going! Whether that's dancing with grandpa, doing the electric slide or requesting that the DJ play Ice Ice Baby

  • Make sure that you order the dress in the correct size. Best thing to do: order one size up

  • Have flip flops on hand for the time when inevitably, the silver shoes will start to kill your feet

  • After the reception, take the other brides to a gas station for snacks while still wearing the matching dresses

  • Don't take a date if you don't have a boyfriend or husband. You never know who you'll meet!

  • Give Sally Hansen's airbrush foundation a try. It's awesome!

  • Bring cash. You never know when you'll need to tip, or get a strong drink at the cash bar

  • Leave a comfortable change of clothes in the car just in case!

  • Do get a Tide To Go stain stick pen

  • Make sure to help with clean-up afterward and taking gifts to a car. It helps the Bride and Groom to relax and have a good time themselves

  • Eat a lot of wedding cake

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Irony: Story Of My Life


the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.

Sometimes... things happen to me that wouldn't happen to anyone else... except for perhaps Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon on the NBC show 30 Rock.

One time in college a drunk middle aged man approached me and held onto my hand at an Eat 'N Park. He told me I was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Yikes.

Although I've never been on a date with my cousin, my cousin Jeffrey was my first kiss at age 2 or so. He was standing up, I was sitting in an aluminum lawn chair. There are photos. (In our defense, I am adopted.)

One Christmas Eve at church, I met a guy who seemed nice. The next night we went to the movies together. That movie was Bowling for Columbine. It got weirder and weirder from there. He smoked pot. He sold knock off cologne and perfume at gas stations and the mall. He tried to make out with me during the Michael Moore flick. Not thinking ahead, I couldn't escape out the bathroom window. It was bad. Really bad. A few months later, I heard he was living in his car and that someone caught him having sex with some chick in said car. I'm eternally grateful that the girl wasn't me.

Last year at Barnes & Noble, a rather cute young man asked me to have coffee with him. Then, while we were talking, he reveals that he's into some kind of mysticism and starts going on and on about magical forests and crap. Seriously! He also told me that he wasn't hitting on me, but that I looked like I needed someone to talk to. He was in love with his martial arts instructor. Against my better judgment we exchanged email addresses. Later that night, he sent me a strange invitation to a costume party because he found me "erotic." Ew.

Recently, I went out a few times with a guy named Tony. Keep in mind that I have also dated someone with the last name Miceli. Tony. Miceli. Who's The Boss coincidence or what? (Okay, so it's missing one "L"... )

Earlier today, I received a text message from New Guy. Okay, okay, Tony. He had briefly mentioned that he plays in a kickball league. Well, then today our reporter said she was going to do a story about kickball leagues in the Tampa Bay area. And of course she is going to Tony's kickball game this Saturday. The reason he'd contacted me wasn't to ask me out, but to see if I could get him more "face time." Luckily, I'm neither involved or in town for that. But I have to confess, I don't think I want my crew chatting up a guy I've gone out with romantically. Way too weird.

A rather um, unusual guy I work with has contacted me over the internet even though he barely says "hi" to me in the hallway.

The past two nights, I've had rather bizarre and inappropriate dreams about Ex-Boyfriend. Maybe I shouldn't go to sleep ever again.

There's someone that I can't really stand and have no respect for, but I'm secretly very attracted to.

Seriously, have I gone off the deep end? I'm not even sure I can survive tomorrow, let alone this weekend... and the wedding. Help!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wedding Bells

I am not well right now. This morning I woke up with a sore throat and feeling sort of achey.

This is so not good timing. So I went to Publix and stocked up on groceries and orange juice. I drank an entire glass with some Airborne in it. (Keeping my fingers crossed!)

Thursday I fly to Pittsburgh for my annual summer wedding party. Four days of merriment, food, and matrimonial bliss.

Two years ago I was a bridesmaid in my college roomate, Calley's wedding... to a guy named Dave.

Last summer I was the maid of honor in my best childhood girlfriend, Jill's wedding.... to a guy named Dave.

And six days from now, I'm standing up in the nuptials of Leah and Jared, two college friends from Grove City.

I think my life is turning into the movie 27 Dresses, except without the very cute James Marsden hanging around as a not-so-discrete newspaper reporter.

Although it's a lot of work, time, and money, I do enjoy being a bridesmaid. Wearing a cute dress that I can never put on again, standing at the front of the church, eating, drinking and dancing. However, the fun must come to an end. I think this may be the last wedding I'll agree to be in.

So far the details are a little fuzzy. There's a family and friends barbecue Thursday night, but by the time I would be able to get there, I think it would be over. Then Friday, a ladies' luncheon, shopping with the bride, and the rehearsal ceremony and dinner. Saturday, heading to Leah's to primp, then the ceremony at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

Another exciting factor in this trip: staying and hanging out with my friend Mike D! Thank God for male buddies! Sometimes the mama drama can be a bit much. With Mike, we can get a little drunk and say crazy things. It's a good thing.

It will be nostalgic to get back to Western Pennsylvania. That's where my college, Grove City is. The weather will be pleasant, we'll be returning to a few of our old stomping grounds, and eat at Rachel's Roadhouse and Quaker Steak & Lube. Oh yes, and there will be a SHEETZ gas station!!! That's what excites me most. Seriously.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Honesty Is The Best Policy

I'll be the first to admit, it's pretty difficult for me to open up about all matters intensely personal. It's always been so easy to talk and write about any other topic or anyone else. And I have to confess, I'm guilty of censorship here. Some of my friends are able to be brutally and refreshingly honest. And yet I'm still afraid of being judged or making myself too vulnerable.

Not anymore. As I've been blogging over the past five years, the fear has slowly slipped away. And not just on Blogger, but within my own life. So here's my deal:

Today after quite the heinous day at work, I stopped in at my neighborhood Chinese takeout place for some General Tso's. And of course, what comes with this meal?

The fortune cookie!

While the first one I opened said something about being a gentleman, I got a great one for the second.

"Your heart is a place to draw true happiness."

Ain't that the truth!

Truth be told, I think mine feels really confused. I've been single again for close to a month now. And man, this is hard!

For about 48 hours after being broken up with, I felt absolute heartbreak and disbelief. And then, just as quickly as it descended, it was gone. No more tears. No more despair. I felt free and clear. Like countless possibilities started pouring in. Not to mention the fact that I will save about $200 a month in gas.

In the aftermath, I immediately threw myself into a whirlwind of activities. Going out with the coworkers, going to a church near my house, and yes, even getting to know a few new guys.

For the first time in years I drank too much. That was two days after the break-up. One week after my night of debauchery, I went on a date with someone new. It was easy to talk to him and he seemed cool. Two nights after that, this particular someone kissed me. It was far too weird and too much for me. Instead of being "into it" I was extremely uncomfortable. I felt like I was being unfaithful to my now ex-boyfriend. Quite abruptly, I told New Guy that I needed to go home. Really, I just had to get out of there.

Driving home, panic and horror ran through my entire body. I felt guilty. Like a kid who'd just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. But I hadn't done anything wrong. It also seemed to further cement the reality that my previous relationship was indeed over.

After seeing him one more time, when I invited him out with a group of friends, I realized that I didn't have much chemistry on my end. Maybe it's the timing, maybe it's not. Rebound fling? I'm really not sure.

If that's not throwing enough of a wrench into things, I've started sort of an email/phone connection with someone I'll call Pittsburgh Guy. While I don't know him very well at all, he seems like a great person. He's been contacting me several times a day and even took photos of the Steel City skyline to send me so I could have something scenic to look at. Next week I'm actually going to that area to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, and may meet up with him. But at the same time, I'm not sure what exactly I'm looking for right now. I just got out of a relationship, and I have to say, I'm a little freaked out. He is moving to the same area I live in fairly soon.

I'm lost. This is new territory for me. While I'd do anything to deny it, I still can't shake Ex-Boyfriend. I'm not the same. That's also another weird side to a break-up. You'll never be in the place you were before. You are forced to move forward and keep on going.

Last night I severely hit my elbow on the bathroom door. I was cursing in pain, it was so awful. As I drifted off to sleep, it continued to throb. When I woke up this morning, I thought everything was fine again. Until I put pressure on that spot. Then that same pain returned like it had never left.

That's what this time feels like for me. I'm okay until I accidentally lean on a pain-inducing emotion or memory. I've had really great days and moments, and darker ones too. Some of my notions do tend to be rather polarizing... I waver between being social and wanting to hole up alone in my bedroom. Jumping into a new love story and living my life completely on my own. Being completely sacrificial or taking everything I can for myself. Still loving him or consciously ending that chapter in my life for good. This is hard.

Like the song often sung in churches I'm reminded of these lyrics...

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for
Brokenness is what I need

Is this what it takes? For me to be broken down, in order to be built into someone new?

If that's not enough, my mother emailed me this video from the Today show. Marriage tips from a priest. Yes, a priest. A man who will never be married. And you know what? It wasn't bad advice! Actually it rang close to home for me.


Despite what the fortune cookie says, I'm not sure what my heart's good for these days. All I know is that tonight it hurts.

Still, I know this all has purpose and meaning. I am learning and evolving into a woman I can take pride in being. She is loving, confident, warm, friendly, strong, intelligent, and beautiful inside and out. She cares for herself and for others. She doesn't take any crap. She smiles genuinely and laughs a lot. She's passionate about everything she does. And it's amazing that I'm becoming her.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Office Blogging

Usually I don't blog about work. I've heard of quite a few people getting in trouble for writing about office activities.

But that's no longer a problem!

Employees at my station are submitting blog entries for an online blog. Here's mine! (In case you wondered what I did for a living.)


It was actually kind of fun!

I Give Good Phone

Why is it that time spent on the phone flies by so quickly? In the past 24 hours, I've spent nine hours combined on the phone (not including work related calls). That's a heck of a lot of conversing.

Back in the day, I could barely spend five minutes on the phone with anyone. The exchange would go something like this:


"Hi, how are you doing?"

"Great! How about you?"

"Had a good day today. Are you busy tonight?"

"No, did you have something in mind?"

"Want to go grab coffee?"

"Sure, at the Starbucks on Transit?"

"Sounds good, see you soon!"

Apparently my communication skills have evolved past blinking my eyes or giving the thumbs up. And it's now one o'clock in the morning and I HAVE to get some sleep. I'm exhausted from doing this last night, also.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This One's For You, V

While I may have strayed to watch 30 Rock, The Suze Orman Show, In Plain Sight, and other gratifying television shows - there is really only one that I pledge my undying allegiance to. You know what it is.

Yesterday while doing laundry and picking up my bedroom, I rewatched the first half of season two.

When I feel like my life is complicated or glum, this is the perfect remedy. Veronica's sarcastic, tough, out-smarting, and her world seems to be littered with males of every type. Her best friend, boyfriends, devoted dad, vice-principal, sheriff, bikers, public defender, sleazy rival private investigator.

"Aghhh... Sorry. I got so swept up in your beauty that I forgot my assignment." - Vinnie Van Lowe.

As I write this, I am watching one of the most gripping episode of the series - 2.11 - "Donut Run."

Although most Veronica Mars fans tend to be supportive of the Veronica/Logan romance - nicknamed LoVe... I tend to think differently.

While I found the character Duncan to at times be dull, his romance with Ronnie takes the cake for me.

Veronica and Duncan dated during their sophomore year of high school, as Duncan's sister Lily (Veronica's best friend) dated Duncan's best friend Logan. Veronica's mom and Duncan's father had an affair, and it was widely rumored that Veronica was actually Duncan's half-sister.

To break up the pair, Duncan's mother tells him this information. He breaks things off with Veronica. Then Lily is murdered.

A year passes. Duncan and Veronica's friend Meg get together in episode 1.15, "Ruskie Business." Veronica gives them her blessing at Neptune High School's 80s dance after finding out that Duncan had been Meg's secret admirer.

When Veronica discovers that she and Duncan are unrelated, she tells him. Duncan breaks up with Meg, and during the summer - reunites with Veronica. He persists in hanging around her at the coffee shop where she works. On her birthday, he leaves her a gift box. Viewers see her open it, read the fortune cookie message inside, then run to him. But no one is privied to the message.

But... Meg is pregnant and goes into a coma following a tragic bus crash. She briefly wakes up and asks Veronica for help. Meg's parents are abusive, and Veronica assures Meg she won't let her parents send the baby away to a religious adoption program. Soon afterward, Meg dies but the baby lives.

Following through on this promise, Veronica helps Duncan escape the country with his infant daughter, never to see him again. I can't imagine what that had to be like. Especially since the only reason Duncan dates Meg is because his mother convinced him that he and Veronica were brother and sister. Talk about star-crossed. Helping your love's dead ex-girlfriend with her last final wish. Whoa there.

At the end of the episode, the song Adelaide plays as viewers see Veronica taking a walk on the beach. We then see what the fortune cookie said: "True love stories never have endings."

As a rabid fan, I can definitely see why Veronica was so touched by that gift. After all the turmoil and drama, Duncan reminded her that their love still stands a chance. That he's loved her all along. It was so perfect.

To me, this love story is so much more meaningful than the one between Logan and Veronica. Logan has destructive and hurtful actions, while Duncan's affections for Veronica are good and well intentioned. Throughout the series he never does anything malicious or intentionally wrong to her. He is good to her. This, to me, is more characteristic of epic love.

It's enough to make me wonder whether the fortune cookie statement has a lot of truth to it or not. Will one always have feelings for someone they truly love? Or does the end of the relationship mean the end of that story. As Carrie Bradshaw once asked, "When two people break up, where does the love go?" That answer, I really don't know.

When I looked up the phrase unrequited love on Wikipedia, this is the entry I found.

Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may not even be aware of this person's deep feelings for them. This can lead to feelings such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and rapid mood swings between depression and euphoria. Being such a universal feeling, it has naturally been a frequent subject in popular culture.

There are some instances, where I can see why unrequited love should remain... unrequited. For example, if one or both people are already married. Commitment is commitment, folks.

But then I ponder why others who could be happy and in love with each other don't get together. Sometimes it's for reasons that just aren't that valid. I believe that if there's a chance for two people to find love with one another, that's a risk worth taking. We are not guaranteed a soulmate or even close to it.

So Veronica, this one's for you.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Modern, Cool Nerd

65 % Nerd, 57% Geek, 26% Dork
For The Record:A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd. Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)! Congratulations!

Girl Behaving Badly

A few weeks ago, two other young ladies plus myself definitely had a little too much to drink. It was all fine when the drinks were free and I was on my third rum and coke.

But then I had a whiskey sour... and remember little else.

After being extremely hungover at a Rays game the next day and eating five hot dogs, I decided not to drink for a really long time.

Yeeeeeah. Right.

It's happening again right now. I was fine at Hooters and drank two glasses of water. Then we went to another place.

Someone ordered a pitcher of beer, and I kept drinking. My glass kept being refilled.

But the killer tonight: a kamikaze.

That was baaaaad.

I'm really not the type to be at all drunk. But I definitely don't know what happened to that.

As I write this, I'm still pretty buzzed. And tired.

The worst part is, I did this with a certain member of the opposite sex that I've now gone out with a few times. And I feel sloppy.

This is so not good.

I'm never doing this again. Or at least not until tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A New Twist on a Popular Game

I love my Guitar Hero III. It was purchased on an Amazon.com when it was marked down to $59.99 from $89.99. So far, I've gotten through all the songs except for the very last challenge to the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

But here's my one gripe. Yes, I enjoy listening to classic rock - but I'd like to hear some girl music. No Doubt, Heart, The Veronicas, The Cardigans, heck - even some Kelly Clarkson.

So I mentioned that to some folks and we came up with a new version: Angry Chick Hero... This is what we came up with as a collaborative effort.

Instead of levels like "Backyard Bash" they can be called I'm Too Fat, Men Suck, Crimson Tide, etc...

And for the super Christians out there, what about "Guitar Savior" where you get to rock out with a Jesus Christ avatar??

Monday, July 7, 2008

Call Me Crazy! (Really, it's okay)

Not everything that I do seems logical, or even like a good idea.

Although there are more than 6.7 billion people on Earth, there are a precious few that just... stand out. They're not like the rest. They are truly special and unique beyond the others.

I think I have figured out why. They do things that make no sense to anyone else. Often, these individuals are thought of as crazy. But I think they're the smart ones. Possessing the passion and determination above all else, they will truly change the world and make it a better place.

When you think about it, the movers and shakers such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Christopher Columbus, Jesus Christ, Noah and so on.... they have all been considered nuts by some. Heck, Noah built an ark in the desert.

So I think that's the secret.

We will never accomplish anything significant without having other people tell us we're wrong or that we're going to fail. That's a fact of life.

It's hope that fuels our inner fires. What truly brings us to life.

Recently, I have been witness to a rather unusual situation. A dear friend of mine is someone I've really been seeking and hoping the very best for. In my opinion, they have been unfairly let down and disappointed. This person has been so influential and meaningful to me, that I would do anything to help them have a happy ending that they deserve.

Against my better judgment I made the decision to insert myself as a catalyst in the attempt to possibly help affect this person's life in a positive way. I realize that I'm writing this in a blog, but I do not wish to share the specifics of my actions. I'm not sure what this friend's reaction would be to my sort of anonymous intervention, but if they do discover it, I can only hope that they can sense my pure intentions.

It is my most genuine and heartfelt effort to do what I can in my lifelong pursuit to see the people in my life happy. At times, that means appearing insane. I am okay with that.

I've spent the past week mulling over giving in to the more reserved, passive side of myself or finally getting some unapologetic guts. And finally today, I decided to go bold and take no prisoners. It was very impulsive and daresay, crazy. And you know what? I really think things will work out for the best. What can I say? Having no regrets is the only way to go.

It felt wonderful and freeing. To be able to be honest and emotionally risky. I like it. A lot.

This may sound cliche, but giving... complete giving of yourself, is the utmost act of selflessness and unconditional love. I believe and have faith in the fact that pure, genuine love will set anyone free. We will not love until we have loved someone. No matter who you are or where you've come from, I know that's the one action that will bring healing. Peace. Joy.

I am so lucky to be able to say that there are people in my life that I truly love. Not in a romantic way. In a human way. We understand and accept each other. When they are happy, I am happy. When they feel broken, I also feel torn apart.

I will do whatever it takes to enhance the lives of the people I know. They are those truly special, crazy people. And really, the happier they are - the happier I am, too. The one thing I do wish for - is for everyone to know what joy is. And that's my mission in life.

Behind the Blog

It's a little late, but I've failed to notice something.

I have never explained the name of this blog. My blog.

Becoming The Marshmallow

No, I'm not nuts about puffed sugar. It's actually an homage to the best television show ever - Veronica Mars. Why? Because I feel it's very fitting to who I am.

In the pilot, there are two instances where Veronica is referred to as a marshmallow. If you have not seen the show, Veronica is a tough, sassy, teen sleuth. Her father is the town outcast/former sheriff, her mother has abandoned her family, and her boyfriend has broken up with her because he thinks they are half brother and sister. Oh yeah, and her best friend was murdered.

This first episode paints a colorful picture of Veronica's shattered life, which she must survive daily. We learn that her father was ousted as sheriff in their small town of Neptune, California and is now making ends meet as a private investigator. We learn that Veronica was drugged and date raped at a party. Yet, she shows strength and class, humility, and compassion through it all.

After helping her new friend Wallace out with some trouble at school, he replies:

Oh no you don't. You really think I'm gonna let you get away with that? That might play with the masses, but underneath that angry young woman shell, there's a slightly less angry young woman who's just dying to bake me something. You're a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A twinkie.

After finding out that her mother may still be in town, Veronica tracks down the motel room in question only to find it empty. Her voiceover ends the episode like this:

Okay, it's a long shot but I can't help myself. I used to think I knew what tore our family apart. Now I'm sure I don't. But I promise this: I will find out what really happened, and I will bring this family back together again. I'm sorry, is that mushy? Well, you know what they say: Veronica Mars, she's a marshmallow.

Due to some disappointments and issues during my childhood, I often tend to be guarded, distrustful, and afraid to get close to people. It's something that I've dealt with for my entire life, and there are times... like now, when it's 3 a.m. and I lie awake wondering if I will be loved, that I want to close myself off forever. That I need a hard, rigid type of strength to protect my heart.

But that's not what I need. I don't want to be angry. I don't want to be hurt. I don't want to be afraid. I don't want to be lonely. I don't want that "angry young woman shell."
And that's what this is about. The process of becoming a vulnerable, feeling, and gracious woman. One who is strong, but also open-hearted and approachable.
So yes. What I'm saying is that, I want to be a softie.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Temporary Recluse: Part 2

Tuesday: 12:31 p.m.

I have just finished helping a total stranger move his stuff into... my apartment.

Yes, you heard me right. My apartment.

He's 28.

He just returned to the States after a stint teaching English to kids in China.

Okay, that's just awesome.

His name is Drew Jackson. To describe him, I'd say he's just shy of six feet, slim yet athletic. Rather shy looking green eyes and buzzed blond hair. He looks like he's straight out of an old photo of a Navy sailor, much like my father was.

You don't see too many men who look like this. Most of the ones I run into have weird emo hairstyles or they use more styling products than their female counterparts. Kind of creepy if you ask me.

Well, with this guy as my new roommate, I'm going to have to get used to it I suppose.

The two of us stood rather awkwardly in the kitchen together. I'd long since changed into sweat pants and my company "Team Fox" t-shirt.

He sat down on a kitchen stool leaning his elbows on the island.

"I'm about to make a sandwich. Can I get you one?"

Drew raised an eyebrow. "Did you say sandwich?"

"I did. Honey roasted turkey. You interested?"


Opening up the fridge, I fished out the bread, turkey, mayonnaise, and some muenster cheese. It's by far my favorite.

Five minutes later, we were munching on lunch and drinking some new pineapple mango juice that had looked appealing at the store. It was pretty damn good.

"So..." I shifted toward Drew a bit. "How do you and Kevin know each other."

"He and I actually used to be roommates." A smile came across his face. "We went to Georgetown together. Both finance majors. Freshman year we were placed together and we joined the same frat. So we just kept on living together. We're like, the perfect couple."

"And he has a sense of humor!"


"Kevin has quite the gig over at Raymond James. Is that why you came here?"

"Not at all," he shook his head. "After graduation I was over at Goldman Sachs in New York for four years. My dad is a corporate vice-president."

"Like father like son?"

His face fell just a little. "No," Drew said quietly. "Actually, that's why I'm not there anymore. I was working 70 - 80 hours a week. The money was great, but I never saw anyone outside of colleagues and clients. And the job itself... I didn't feel like I was making a difference in anyone's life. It was, well, work. I was dating this really nice girl, but I just didn't feel right at that point in my life. "

"I'm sorry to hear that. Doesn't sound like you were too happy there."

"Anyways, late one night, it must have been four or five in the morning... I found this Web site with information on how Americans can teach English in other countries. The school pays you a modest salary, your plane ticket, and an apartment in exchange for a year long contract. It sounded like just what I needed. To take a break, think about what I really wanted to do, and to help kids learn. I applied to become a teacher, and was accepted. Broke up with the girlfriend. But then I had to break the news to Dad. He really flipped. Told me that I was throwing my life away and that I was a jackass."

I took another sip of juice. "Sounds like he was less than thrilled."

"You can say that again. Long story short, I decided to go to China. He hasn't spoken to me since. My mom has written me some letters and calls and emails occasionally. She's trying to get him to soften up, but it hasn't worked."

"I'm not even sure what to say to that. I bet you miss them."

"Definitely. I wish Dad would at least see me, but he won't even let me come into the house. He cut me off completely. But just so you know, I don't regret my decision. It was the best year of my life with those kids. I just got back last month, crashed with a friend in Shadyside for awhile, then chose to come here to get my masters in Education so that I can continue working with children. While I was working, I was able to save a lot of money up. That'll pay for school."

"Oh..." I looked away for a moment. "That's a really wonderful plan."

"But enough about me," he plastered on a small forced smile. "What are you doing here?"

"Well... I'm 24. Born and raised near Buffalo. Went to a really tiny college, also in Pennsylvania. Used to live in Texas producing newscasts. Then I got this job here in the Tampa area to produce feature stories. It's a lot more low key and laid back. Not to mention, I finally get weekends and holidays off!"

"Are you happy?"

Hmm. I tilted my head to one side. "Sometimes I believe that I am. But many times, I feel like I'm totally alone. Like I don't fit in, I guess? Anywhere. You know, you're way too open to be a guy."

"A ha. And you're way too closed off to be a girl, Claire."

"That's an entirely different conversation in itself."

With that, I stood up, put our dishes in the sink, and retreated to my room.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Virtual Confessional

I do not think I will drink alcohol for awhile.

It was Thirst Thursday at Bishop Tavern downtown. So we took advantage. A little too much advantage. That whole "Ladies drink free 9-12" really gets you. Myself and two other girls took a cab to Bishop's.

So we mingled, I had four rum and cokes. Then I took a break. Accidentally walked in on a dude using the urinal. In my defense, the restrooms were all single rooms and the door I opened had pictures of both a woman and man. However, the room only contained a urinal. Hmm...

My coworker met a really cute guy. They exchanged phone numbers.

A very large man asked me to keep his friend company while he walked his wife to the car? The guy was kind of cute, but was really, really uninteresting. So when a more fun coworker I knew passed by, we left this other guy sitting on a couch. I think he's probably still there texting.

I had a whiskey sour and I think that was what did me in.

All of a sudden, I couldn't walk very well. My other friend passed out on a sofa.

Before I knew it, our coworker Tom was pulling us out to the car to take us back to our original meeting spot. When we reached our destination, I immediately passed out on my friend's couch.

The next morning... let's just say was pretty rough. I found myself running to the bathroom and my stomache was not happy with me.

Around 8:30 I headed home to sleep the rest of my hangover off. And now I'm feeling a little better. Watching Nathan's 2008 Hot Dog Eating competition on ESPN. The Japanese guy and the defending champ Joey Chestnut actually tied, so there was a five dog eat-off. And Chestnut is once again, the winner. They both ate 64 hot dogs in about 12 minutes. That's quite something!

It makes me feel less bad about my stomach.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Carpe Diem

So I'm sitting here in a various stage of undress, as I've got an hour to get ready to go out with some friends. It seems like there's a new kind of energy in the air. I can't explain it or describe it, but I feel like this is going to be a season of change.

I'm a firm believer that pushing your own boundaries is the quickest and most impactful way to grow. Even if it's change that hurts or is unwanted, in most cases, I really think it has a positive effect.

Recently, I've been in touch with a few close friends who I've known for years. One of them is a very passionate guy, and I really applaud his bravery in certain situations. He's handles them with class and has a very realistic grasp on what's best in the long run. Momentarily, he is hurting. But what he's going through, I know will only be for the best. He is single and recently went through a break-up.

Then there's another friend who I'm a bit worried about. On the surface, he seems to have it together more than the first guy, and comes off as very congenial and warm. But he's really not happy. He is in a relationship, and while he has good intentions, he's emotionally crippled by a past relationship.

So then I asked him if he'd feel content with his life if he were to die tomorrow. He said no. When I told him he should do something about that, discover what will truly make him happy, and do something about it now.... this was his response: "You're 100 percent right, but I doubt I'm going to do anything."


If you are that friend, and you're reading this, I am not criticizing your decision. What I am wondering though is why? Why waste another day feeling unsatisfied with your life? We have choices and I believe that in a way, we do choose whether to be happy... or not.

I sincerely hope that everyone can experience the many lows and highs during their years alive. I'm the type who would far prefer to live in a world full of light rather than darkness. And it makes me sad when the people in my own life are hurting and struggling when they could have joy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You Know You're Bizarre When.You...

1) Fall asleep at 10 p.m. and wake up at 5:19 a.m.
2) Can't find the DVD player remote, so no way to rewind College Road Trip
3) Have a constant craving for chicken wings and refer to yourself as the "Chicken Wing Monster"
4) Actually want to go to a baseball game on July 4th
5) Find yourself counseling other people, even when you're in the aftermath of a break-up
6) Have everyone constantly tell you that you sound much different on the phone (Really?)
7) Agree to play tennis
8) Tell a Rays player you find their 50 something year old team manager "cute"
9) Plan a Co-Ed Ladies' Night
10) Compile a list like this one