Monday, February 28, 2005
My kidlets could totally beat yours.
So despite having one totally green coach (Your's Truly) and one last minute swapped in coach because the previous head coach had to have surgery, the team did GREAT!
I'm so proud of my little gals.
They went out there and concentrated and did their best, and incidently that got us into the finals and a very respectable Fourth Place! I'm so proud of them!
I think the whole time I was more nervous for them then they were, but I tried so hard not to show it. Poor little Mindy came in from running five laps (she totally won) gasping for breath. I told her her take deep breaths and she went *Inhale, inhale, inhale*. Her lips were turning blue until I said, "Out, Mindy, breathe OUT!" I think Jessie slid in for the pin some many times that I had to almost comepletly cover her in BandAids by the end. Ariel's little knees shook so bad the first time she got up to run, that I had to stand as close to her as I was allowed and keep up a stream of chitchat to keep her from falling over before the starting whistle. (She totally won.) Adorable doe-eyed Rachel totally took my instructions of 'crazy eyes' to intimidate the bigger girls in the bean bag grab.
I adore those girls.

Friday, February 25, 2005
".......... Yet I trust the sanity of my vessel .........."
To the Harbormaster
By Frank O'Hara

I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Jonny's Bedtime Story by 'Rezzie and VJ.
Warning, excessive use of the word 'tit' ahead, because 'Rezzie is too lazy to type out 'Titania'.

'Rezzie says:
you want a bedtime story?
Mr Bradshaw says:
'Rezzie says:
veajae, how about we create one between the two of us.
Mr Bradshaw says:
with monsters
'Rezzie says:
ok, do they win, or lose?
Mr Bradshaw says:
up to you
'Rezzie says:
VJ says:
I think they are nice monsters.
'Rezzie says:
once upon a time, there were six monsters.
VJ says:
And they are named Oberon and Titania.
Mr Bradshaw says:
'Rezzie says:
all six of them.
VJ says:
And, um, Bottom, Flute, Hermia and Lysander.
'Rezzie says:
Ok, they've just changed their names to become individuals.
VJ says:
'Rezzie says:
So, Ob and Tit were the ring leaders.
Mr Bradshaw says:
I actually am in bed now. Laptop power.
VJ says:
And they like to ride bicycles.
'Rezzie says:
and Bot, Flu, Herm and Lys were all rather small monsters and thus like butterflies, make a story pretty withotu really changing it.
'Rezzie says:
cause this story is really about Ob and Tit.
VJ says:
Do we have to call her 'Tit'?
Mr Bradshaw says:
it's ok with me
VJ says:
She's a bit offended by that.
'Rezzie says:
and they had been bicycling... yes... for about six weeks when all of a sudden...
VJ says:
A bird flew straight into Ob's face.
'Rezzie says:
look, you made her name TITania. if it had been TaTiana...
'Rezzie says:
but then, Tatiana is Tit's identical twin....
Mr Bradshaw says:
arguing narrators. very avant garde
VJ says:
Ob ate the bird.
VJ says:
Because most birds are evil.
'Rezzie says:
Ok, so after the bird incident, Tit decided she was hungry too.
'Rezzie says:
She looked around but all she could see were Bot, Flu, Herm and Lys
VJ says:
Did she breastfeed?
'Rezzie says:
hee hee hee
'Rezzie says:
no. she resents the implication.
VJ says:
Right. Sorry.
Mr Bradshaw says:
[smiley face with glasses]
'Rezzie says:
so, Ob was gloating, because he had eaten an evil bird, when all of a sudden
'Rezzie says:
he became evil.
Mr Bradshaw says:
just like that?
VJ says:
And Tit ate him?
'Rezzie says:
because the evil bird was actually HWMNBN and when HWMNBN is injested, horrible, horrible things happen.
'Rezzie says:
well, no, because she saw what would happen if she had evil in her.
Mr Bradshaw says:
[smiley face with glasses]
'Rezzie says:
soooo she decided that she was going to get HWMNBN out of Ob.
'Rezzie says:
before it was too late.
VJ says:
So she bound him with scotch tape.
'Rezzie says:
so she went on a quest.
'Rezzie says:
(yes, and in the meantime, he was bound with scotch tape)
Mr Bradshaw says:
[smiley face with glasses]
VJ says:
A quest to find the fluffiest omlet ever.
'Rezzie says:
because everyone knows omlettes cure everything.
'Rezzie says:
especially when you eat them with a bagel.
'Rezzie says:
and tea.
VJ says:
Because omlettes are the opposite of evil.
'Rezzie says:
VJ says:
She came to a small diner.
'Rezzie says:
is jonny still awake?
Mr Bradshaw says:
'Rezzie says:
in this diner, there were waitresses on skates.
Mr Bradshaw says:
I'm captivated
VJ says:
And the waitress was a bat.
'Rezzie says:
a bat, skating.
VJ says:
And she had a smokers cough.
'Rezzie says:
her name was Scnhoooooo.
'Rezzie says:
but everyone just called her Hoo hoo.
VJ says:
And everything on the menu was swimming in oil.
VJ says:
'Rezzie says:
So Tit decided that she wasn't hungry after all.
'Rezzie says:
and decided to resume her quest.
VJ says:
She did stop for a quick drink of silicon, however.
'Rezzie says:
and also, she made friends with a magic potato that was swimming in that oil.
'Rezzie says:
the magic potato decided to stop relaxing in oil and join her on her quest.
'Rezzie says:
yes, silicon is very rejuivinating.
VJ says:
Because everyone knows, all potatos are magic.
'Rezzie says:
exactly, exactly.
'Rezzie says:
(side note to the other narrator - we are good at this)
Mr Bradshaw says:
[confused smiley]
VJ says:
Feeling firmer, she continued on her way.
'Rezzie says:
potato in hand.
VJ says:
(sidenote- Totally!)
'Rezzie says:
ok so she came to a bridge.
'Rezzie says:
and the wise potato (everyone knows potatos are nothing if not wise) told her to bring an umbrella.
'Rezzie says:
but he didn't explain.
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote - veajae, we didn't name the magic potato)
VJ says:
'Rezzie says:
Lowell said "bring an umbrella. prefereably a pink one."
VJ says:
Of course, a pink one.
VJ says:
A monster named Tit could only own a PINK unbrella.
'Rezzie says:
So Tit pulled the pink umbrella in her purse (it was about half the size of veajae's and she carried half of england in it)
VJ says:
It was a LAW.
Mr Bradshaw says:
[smiley face with glasses]
'Rezzie says:
out of the purse.
VJ says:
(sidenote - my purse is not that big)
'Rezzie says:
you need it, Lowell continued, to give as an offering to the bridge troll.
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote - is too)
Mr Bradshaw says:
'Rezzie says:
"WHAT?!" Tit replied "I have to give up my PINK umbrella!?"
VJ says:
(sidenote - its just a standard size Gap purse)
Mr Bradshaw says:
(but still listening)
'Rezzie says:
[insert different friends, objects, and tests to get to the end of the quest which is]
VJ says:
(sidenote - from now on, PINK must be spelled in all capitals)
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote- agreed, but you have a ginormous purse. is it PINK perchance?)
VJ says:
(sidenote - yes, actually. PINK and black)
'Rezzie says:
.. the end of the quest was approaching, and Ob had been taped up for a good eight, nine years
Mr Bradshaw says:
'Rezzie says:
VJ says:
(sidenote - and small!)
Mr Bradshaw says:
hey, stick to the story
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote- HA HA HA HAH AH A HA HAAH A HAH A no it was not)
VJ says:
(sidenote - Jonny's touchy)
Mr Bradshaw says:
just in suspense, is all
Mr Bradshaw says:
it's exciting
'Rezzie says:
so, nine years later, Ob still being evil, and monsters of that size having a lifetime of usually roughly eight or nine centuries...
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote- i know eh? yeesh!)
VJ says:
Right, the story. The bridge troll was so impressed by Tits gift (or the fact that she was a Tit)...............
VJ says:
That he invited her back to his house for breakfast.
'Rezzie says:
that he decided to eat her.
'Rezzie says:
no! no wait! i take it back.
'Rezzie says:
*erases last line*
'Rezzie says:
and he served omlettes, happilly.
VJ says:
And made her the fluffiest omlette ever.
'Rezzie says:
so she took some back to Ob. It was a long, long, long meal.
'Rezzie says:
I mean, Ob was stuck for 8 or 9 years, afterall.
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote- this is my new favourite story.)
VJ says:
The moral, Men and Trolls can never resist Tits.
'Rezzie says:
(sidenote- i repeat my last sentence)
'Rezzie says:
The End.

The coffin in the attic.
When I was young, my father owned a construction company. When his Grandmother (my great-grandmother) died, my father built a lovely coffin for her, as a tribute, he said.
We loaded it into the RV and drove to Hurricane, Utah (the ancestral home of the Hall family). I was allergic to the stain used on the coffin and coughed my lungs out the whole way there.
When we arrived, it was determinded that since Dear Great-Grams had died while being propped up on pillows, she wasn't flat enough to fit in the coffin my father had made. My Grandmother actually used the phrase, "I don't want my mother's face smashed in that coffin for the rest of her life!"
*VJ giggles, then bows head and repents flippancy*
So we had to take the coffin home. Cough, cough, all the way home.
My mother banished it to the rafters of the garage, despite my requests to use it as a coffee/coffin table. And there it sat, scaring anyone who looked up.
"Um, what's that?"
"My Great-Grandmother's coffin."
*terrified stare*
"She's not in it or anything."
"Um, ok. But that only makes it marginally less creepy."
"Good point *hacking cough*"
When I was in High School, my boyfriend at the time, Josh Cantor, had to do a presentation on a poet, and his poet was a particually morbid one. Part of the project was to bring a prop that symbolized the poet. (You see where this is going.) He was making a cardboard tombstone, but I told him he could borrow our coffin. No, surprisingly, that's not why he broke up with me. He broke up with me because he said God was calling him to a single life. (If you are reading this, Josh, say hi to your wife.)
So anyway, we discoved that few things attract more attention than walking through a private high school with a full sized coffin. I told my biology teacher it was a march to bring awareness to pediatric AIDs in Nigeria and she gave me extra credit (score!). I told the admittance office that it was my pet dog and that I would need time off for therapy. (double score!)
There is no moral to this story or even much of a ending. Just thought it was funny.

For Petey.
Jenny Kiss'd Me
by Leigh Hunt.

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss'd me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss'd me.

Clarence the Bee.
Last friday as I was leaving work, I saw on my cars driver's side window, a bee. He seemed old, lethargic and his buzz was idling very low. I had read somewhere that when a bee acts like that, it's because he's old and dying. I didn't want to bat him off or anything, because I didn't want to get stung.
I've been rather wary of bees ever since I was 8 and was stung by one, on the hand. I was wearing my favorite dress at the time (light blue, with a circle skirt that fanned out when I twirled) and when my hand swelled up, I couldn't pull the sleeve of the dress over my hand. My mother threatened to cut the dress off. I threatened to spread a rumor she drank whiskey on her breakfast cereal if she even looked at me with the scissors. I think I wore that dress for three days straight before I could get it off over my hand.
So I felt sorry for this little bee on my window, being disturbed while old and dying. I gently opened my door and slid in, thinking he would fly away when the door closed. But he hung on.
He continued to hang on as I started the engine, and backed out of my parking spot.
Three blocks later, he was still hanging on. He looked like a surfer, gripping with his little bee feet.
At this point I told him that we would be getting on the freeway soon, and that would be no place to fall off. I told him he should just find a nice spot and fly off. Just as I was about to pull over and try to help him off and put him in a bush or something, he flew off and over the car in the direction of the golf course I was passing.
All those trees and lawns, it would be a nice place to die if you were a bee.
And sometimes that's all you can ask for.

You can say you knew me when.
My art is being well recieved.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
My Poor Little Lou
This weekend had the setup, the ingredients for perfection. I had Lou all weekend, and the randomness and craziness flowed freely. We went to the movies in our pjs. We slid around the slick mall floors in our slippers. While driving around, we would pull up next to people at intersections and Lou would take a picture of them, then we speed away. We drag raced and won. We watched silly movies, and ate nothing but junk food. And disturbing amounts of candy. My teeth almost fell out.
Then after church on Sunday, I had to go to a meeting, so Lou headed over to Coco's house for a few hours.
That's when I got the phone call from her mother.
Lou's grandfather had killed himself.
In the same manner Lou's father killed himself just five years ago.
Her mother was trying to fly back, but was snowed-in in Denver, so it fell to me to tell Lou.
Now don't get me wrong, Lou's a strong kid. A smart one surrounded by people who love and adore her.
But it INFURIATES me that she's been put through this.
Being put through this by someone who knows what this would do to her. By someone who should have died to protect her, not killed himself and hurt her.
I'm sure in some way she's losing her father all over again.
And I'm IRATE that three (count, one, two, THREE people!) have looked at her and murmured, "I guess it runs in the family." If I hear one more person say that in the remote vicinity of little Lou, I WILL sock them in the face.
And Lou, if you're reading, you know how I said that the rest of the weekend we would just revolve around you and what you wanted, and if you wanted to cry, we would cry, and if you wanted to laugh, we would laugh, and if you wanted a pony, I would get it? That's still stands for a while.
Whatever you need, Lou-Lou.

Today's Soundtrack is credited to
Jonathan Clive Bradshaw.

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Another Actual IM Conversation
I was on Lauren's computer this weekend and one of her friends IMed me. I will go to hell for messing with her this way, but here goes................

serpent22352: Hi.
RelientK12735: Hola!
serpent22352: if you got the time I can show you how to draw the horse
RelientK12735: Que?
serpent22352: que este?
RelientK12735: This is Marilyn.
serpent22352: o
RelientK12735: Hi.
serpent22352: hi
RelientK12735: How are you?
serpent22352: I am good
serpent22352: Y usted?
serpent22352: y usted?
RelientK12735: Muy bien.
serpent22352: bien
RelientK12735: Soy de Japan.
serpent22352: wow
RelientK12735: Si.
RelientK12735: Who's computer is this?
serpent22352: de lauren
RelientK12735: Follow the red string.
serpent22352: que?
RelientK12735: The chicken flies at sundown.
serpent22352: ok
RelientK12735: Yeah.
serpent22352: Lauren esta aqui?
RelientK12735: I don't know. I just wandered in the front door.
RelientK12735: It was open.
RelientK12735: I think someone is in the shower.
serpent22352: oh ok
RelientK12735: If they come out, I'll have to go.
serpent22352: ok
RelientK12735: So tell me about you.
RelientK12735: Dainty mint?
serpent22352: I don't know if that is a good idea
serpent22352: i am going to wait for Lauren
serpent22352 is away at 12:18:42 PM.

Friday, February 18, 2005
My first day in the lobby.
I've been at this job for a little over a year. I'm not sure what I did with myself until July, when I got this blog. But I do remember my first day at work. I had hesistated to take this job, as I told JR, "Everyone has perfect hair and looks like they've never spilled coffee in their whole lives." My previous job had been at a warehouse with guys I'd known forever. When I interviewed for this job I saw only Coworker, She of the Lovely Curls and Coworker Who's Breasts Came with a Recipt. Frankly, I was intimidated. But that's mostly why I took the job, when something makes me nervous or scared, the only thing I know to do is to run screaming straight towards it. But my first day started badly. I'm on of those people that give themselves a looooooooong time to get places, but the traffic was even worse than I anticipated and while I was supposed to arrive at 8:00, I yanked open the lobby door at 8:02. Breathless and a little sweaty. "Great," I thought. "Great start." But then I noticed that Coworker, She of the Lovely Curls wasn't behind the reception desk. The lobby was empty. I stood around for a few minutes, wondering what to do. Then she poked her head around the corner and said, "Oh, you must have been waiting forever, poor thing! I had to run the bathroom, I spilled coffee on my pant leg and it took me 15 minutes to get it out."

I felt much better after that.

jack shiny
Let's face it, why
IS the rum gone?

Which one of Captain Jack Sparrow's bizarre sayings from Pirates of the Caribbean are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

"Vintage Actual Conversation" or "Why Sven Shouldn't Want My Liver."
This took place a few years ago. Coco and Lou, I will give you a twenty minute speech (using shadow puppets or not, your choice) on why you should NEVER act like this. Just laugh at me and learn how not to behave.

Supervisor - "XYZ Telemarketing firm, [Supervisor] speaking."

Valancy Jane - "I'm calling in absent for today."

Supervisor - "Are you ill?"

Valancy Jane - "Yeah, I'm, ah, sick. And in ........................ Mexico, it would appear."

Supervisor - "Well, feel better and hopefully we'll see you tomorrow."

Valancy Jane - "Oh, and you know your boss? He won't be in today either ............ it would appear."

Actually IM Conversation Containing An Imaginary Conversation
ValancyJane says:
By the way, we have a new project when we go to England.
ValancyJane says:
Jonny says it's impossible trying to get him to dance.
ValancyJane says:
We must be creative about this, but I don't want to leave until we've made him dance in some way.
Thérèse says:
Ooooooooh is it??!
Thérèse says:
we could just make him really happy so he could do the dance of joy like balki bartakoumous from perfect stragners.
ValancyJane says:
Actually he said he'd slowdance with me for 5 billion dollars.
ValancyJane says:
So if we start saving now............................
Thérèse says:
did he say 5 billion dollars in what currency?
Thérèse says:
cause i think it would be really funny to give him five billion dollars in monopoly money.
ValancyJane says:
I believe he used the pound equivilant of $
ValancyJane says:
Maybe there is an english version of monoply.
Thérèse says:
Thérèse says:
what were his exact words?
ValancyJane says:
That he'd do it for $(pound thingy)5 billion.
Thérèse says:
okay, you're right then. just have to find 5 billion in english monopoly money.
Thérèse says:
Thérèse says:
he'd HAVE to.
Thérèse says:
hey, you could probably print it, and colour it.
ValancyJane says:
Good idea.
Thérèse says:
he never said it had to be real money.
Thérèse says:
you could put glitter on it.
ValancyJane says:
Lets try to get through customs with that.
ValancyJane says:
Good plan.
Thérèse says:
ValancyJane says:
Wonder how long we'd be in jail.
ValancyJane says:
I can just see that going down.
ValancyJane says:
Male Customs officer - "Why are you trying to enter the country with 5 billion in forged money?"
ValancyJane says:
Us - "To pay a man to dance with us."
ValancyJane says:
Male customs officer - "Hah! I'm sure."
ValancyJane says:
Female customs officer - "I believe them."
Thérèse says:
Thérèse says:
Male customs officer - To dance, though?
female customs officer - Well, yeah.
ValancyJane says:
Us - "It would probably be cheaper to get him to sleep with us."
Thérèse says:
Male and female customs officers, in unison, while nodding - True.
Thérèse says:
Even better would be if we tried to bribe the customs officers in the end with a cool extra billion in our other pockets.
Thérèse says:
as in,
Us (waving extra billion around) - There's something in it for you guys, doooooooooon't worry... (both of us wink and grin)

Thursday, February 17, 2005
23 minutes and counting..................
............ until I leave work and drive to Lou's house where I am to be entrusted with care of her for four and a half days. What were they thinking?


Seriously, this is going to an unlawful amount of fun.

Today's Soundtrack is credited to
Pete G. Lover and a band called Reef.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Al Capone's Vault has nothing on this. This is ............... really boring. Really.
I have decided to make a list of everything in my purse, for a couple reasons.

A. Men seem mystified by women's purses. My own boyfriend won't open it even if I ask him to grab something out of it for me.

B. I like lists.

C. It's a big purse, and I haven't cleaned it out in awhile, so even I don't know what all is in there.

D. I love rumaging through people's wallets or purses (ONLY with permission, of course!) and seeing all the little details of people's daily life. Your life story is in there, I just know it.

Side Pocket 1

Cell Phone, named Luca, which has scratch and sniff rose stickers on it.
Work Badge/Electronic Key to work. With stickers on it. Again with the stickers, I'm such a child. But the one that says "Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again" makes me giggle.
One phone card.

Front Pocket 1

One small tin of mints that my company hands out as a promotional item. Very strong, small pills that look as though they should be sold in baggies at a rave.

Front Pocket 2

One broken candy cane and one orange Starburst candy.

Side Pocket 2

One notecard with envelope and my father's business card. I forgot to send him a thank you note for my birthday present. Oops.

One black barrette with rinestones.

One tube of lipstick (Yes, Jonny) "RoseBarely".

One tube of chapstick, Avon's Dew Kiss, the best chapstick EVER.

One tube of oral analgesic paste (for a pesky wisdom tooth that the dentist doesn't want to remove just yet).

Tweezers. Never go anywhere without them.

Nail clippers.

Inside Pocket

Avon's Mira-Cuticle cream. I highly reccomend.

Another tube of lipstick, (I almost never wear it) Avon's Tender Peach. Slightly melted. Damn warm climate.

Avon's Slick Tints in Glossy Opal. Yeah, I'm an avon junkie.

In My Wallet

Phone number of another youth leader at my church.

Three photos of JR (yes, Jonny).

My drivers license. Odd picture. I look a bit like a mad dog. A young mad dog. Once a cop pulled behind JR and I while we were parked at a lake and asked to see our ID's. He almost hauled JR away because he thought my license was a fake and that I was lying about my age. Admittedly, if I put my hair in a ponytail and wear a t-shirt, I look all of 12 years old. Other people have made that mistake.

One small florist card from JR that came with flowers he had delivered here.

One note from JR. No, I will not tell you what it says.

The Idaho drivers license of a hispanic man name Jesus. When I worked in the mall, back in the day, I had a female stalker that would come into the store for like 6 hours at a time. If it was my day off, she would leave presents for me, strange ones. This was one of them. Oddly enough, I miss her. Sort of.

My health insurance card, and a business card for my doctor. I like her, she's a good listener.

Discount cards for Vons Grocery, Albertson's Grocery, Ralphs Grocery, Petco Pet Shop and a Starbucks gift card. No idea how much is on it.

A Border Cafe Frequent Drinker Card. That sounds wrong. Seven more coffees until my free one.

A Subway card. One more stamp until I get my free 6 in. sub.

Tropifruit card. Great smoothies. 7 more purchases of $5+ and I get a free torta.

Coupon for a free slice of pie at Marie Callenders.

$100 Gift Certificate for Ciao Bella's Spa. Not to be confused with Ciao Bella's Resturant, which is better than a facial any day.

Recipt from Albert's Taco Shop (on the corner near my house) for two orders of rolled tacos. Yummmmmmmmm.

$1013 in cash. Don't ask, it's a long story, I don't usually carry that kind of cash. Or announce that I'm carrying that much cash on the internet. Good call, VJ.

In the Main Compartment

Two paycheck stubs.

One recipt for kitty litter from Vons.

One letter from my Gramie Dude with pictures. Including one of my aunt's cat. I love my Gramie. Both of my Gramies, really.

One flyer for the day trip we are taking the kids on to Mt. Jacinto. Hiking, but with a gift shop, so boys and girls are both happy.

Two 1 week passes to a local gym.

My small green leather planner with includes notes like "Remember to write stuff down in me!". On the cover is a post-it with my Gramie Darlin's number on it, and inside is a phone card with Sven and Pete's numbers on them.

Five CDs, The Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady, Garden State soundtrack, Dido - Life For Rent, Robert Downey Jr - The Futurist, and Switchfoot - The Beautiful Letdown.

One TRN - "Sweet Liar" by Jude Deveraux. Don't tell.

One box of 10 Crayola Markers, classic colors. Shut up.

A small cosmetic bag with Intense Moisturizing Cream, Oil-Free Make-Up Remover, Oil-Free Hydrating Gel and Indulge Soothing Eye Gel, all sent by my Gramie Dude who is trying to convert me from Avon to Mary Kay.

Small bag of Lundens cough drops, wild cherry flavor.

Small change purse, shaped like a turtle. Named Reggie, with $0.87 inside. And a small ring from a quarter machine.

Small stuffed blue walrus, named Walter. To keep Reggie company.

One blue hairbrush, with my phone earpiece cord caught in the bristles.

One silver eyeglass holder, used to hide my tampon stash. What? You had to have known that was coming.

A tiny notebook where I jot down ideas to blog about. Obviously there's nothing new in it today, or I wouldn't be writing this post.

A blue origami swan made by one of my kidlets.

One set of keys. The teeth of the keys all face in one direction, and are in order of size. I have one old skeleton key that I bought at Arcitechtural Salvage, a Sebastian the crab (from The Little Mermaid) keychain and a lobster keychain that Lou gave me.

One bottle of nail polish. "Femme" by Avon. Deep, deep red, almost brown.

One lipstick case that actually holds Q-Tips.

Three packets of Pepto-Bismol tablets.

One roll of adhesive tape, the sort used to hold bandages on.

One small pin tin with goldenseal tablets and a leftover Vicodin from when I broke my butt.

Five ballpoint pens, one red, the rest black. I used them on Sundays to hand out to my kidlets in church. One pen with a Santa Claus on top, that was a gift from JR. One wooden and painted, that Anna brought me back from Russia, one green calligraphy pen and one red marker, scented like cherry.

I also have two scented pencils (cherry and cinnamon) that I bought and don't, ah, intend to anyone that reads this. What? I don't know what you are talking about. What pencils? Who are you?

One plastic lighter, dark blue.

One pad of pink heart shaped post-its.

One empty Altoid Tin.

One sugar packet.

Two Band-Aids.

One small baggie with 11 bobbie pins and one safety pin in it.

Anyone still reading this?

If you are, make a list of the contents of your purse or wallet.

For Jonny, who can actually read this.
The never-ending pineapple

Oh. Really. Then what happened?
Mountain of guilt, if you will. Or, alternatively, a pre-packaged navel

Gibbons on fire!
Oh. Really. Then what happened?

The shoegazing incident
900001 pancakes, please, leutenant
56 penguins about turn!
900001 pancakes, please, leutenant
Death to the montage

The shoegazing incident
900001 pancakes, please, leutenant

Greetings from da' Stamp
New pictures of my apartment.

Another Actual Conversation
Receptionist - (walking down hallway) "You following me?"

Coworker, Who's Job I Can't Even Begin to Guess - (chuckles) "Always."

Receptionist - "Well, if you follow me home, remind me to pick up milk and tortillas, ok?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Another Actual Conversation
*Girlfriend kisses Boyfriend*

Boyfriend - "You just brushed your teeth, didn't you?"

Girlfriend - "It's Valentines Day, I even brushed MY HAIR."

I'm watching you. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005
I really wish he hadn't moved.
I saw one of my neighbors moving out this weekend and the thing that caught my eye was that he seemed to have every tool known to mankind. (Who keeps a skill saw and a drill bench in an apartment?) He would have been a very useful person to have in the complex, especially if, I don't know, the apocalypse came or something.

Another Actual Conversation
Cute Fourth Grader Who Doesn't Know Me Well Yet - "The girls were telling me that earlier you were talking to a cupcake."

Leader Who Really Did Talk To A Cupcake - "I just winked and told it I loved it."

*long pause*

Leader Who Really Did Talk To A Cupcake - "What? I really did love it!"

Letter to JR

 Posted by Hello

Whenever I write you a love letter, I feel I must strike a delicate balance between expressing how much good you have brought to my life, and reminding you that you are too good for me.
If I write about all the times you've bailed my sorry ass out, then you might just realize what a raging incompetant I really am. (If you didn't already know.) The times you've mopped up my messes, or my tears. The times you've remembered to actually put the check to the electric company IN THE OUTGOING MAILBOX. With a stamp, no less. The times you've acted like the adult when I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and whimper. For always having the key to my apartment in hand by the time we get to the door, while I'm still fumbling in a purse full of old paystubs that I've never gotten around to taking out. For making me dinner on nights I would have just defrosted a frozen burrito (and gotten my month's reccomended allowance of salt in one sitting). For cleaning my apartment while I'm off having fun.

See, right now, I'm sure you're thinking, "Yeah, I do all that. Why don't I find a woman that's a bit less trouble?"

Truth is, I don't know why you don't. But I suspect it has something to do with the fact that after a year and a half, I still get butterflies in my stomach when you come in the room. That I still love slipping my hand into yours when we are out, and nodding to people as if to say, "Yeah, he's with ME." That I don't just love you, I have a raging schoolgirl crush on you. I wanna doodle your name all over my desk calender. In short, no woman will ever love you, want to snuggle with you, or grab you by the ears and kiss you, as much as I will. I hope the fact that you are still here proves that all that love makes it worth it to you.

You are my favorite thing. Ever. You have managed to exceed my expectations in every way. You are kinder, more thoughtful and more loving than any Prince Charming I could have ever dreamed up. And I have a good imagination. Just when I think you couldn't be any sweeter, you are. You are perfect for me, in every way, and I intend to deserve you.

Friday, February 11, 2005
This morning I spent almost an hour and a half in traffic this morning. I can hardly ask for sympathy, because of course, I'm not the unfortunate (hopefully living) driver of the tanker big rig that sprawled itself on it's side across three lanes this morning. But I would like to point out that at 28 minutes into my commute, I was actually back closer to my house than I was 3 minutes into my commute.

Another Actual Conversation
Owner Who Jokes A Lot - "[Valancy Jane], it's raining outside."

Receptionist - "Sorry, sir, I'll clean that up right away."

So Then I Said..............
"What the heck? It's raining. AGAIN. I mean, it rained like, last month."

Books in/around/under my bed.
Therese once listed all the books she was reading, and where in her house each book lived. I could be here for three days if I did that, so lets just start with my bed.

In the basket next to my bed, which also contains slippers, a flashlight and some cough drops -

Sin Killer by Larry McMurtry. My Gramie loaned this and the two sequels to me, with high recommendation. It's about an English family traveling west through the American wilderness in the 1800's.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I decided that it was simply shameful that I had managed to go 24 years without reading it, and that I simply must before anyone found out that I'd never read it. (Of course if anyone asked, I responded with my usual line, delivered in a haughty tone, "Not in english.")

Next to the Basket by my bed -

Cat Facts by Marcus Schneck & Jill Caravan. This was a gift from my dear Mother Hen Apartment Manager. From it I discovered (both my cats are obviously part some long haired breed) that Maximus is part Mainecoon and that Dulce is part Turkish Angora. Which might seem like useless information, but it does explain why Max is so keen to go outside (Mainecoons were bred as farm cats) and why Dulce is always attempting to poach table scraps (Turkish Angoras need more meat in their diet than other breeds).

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oats. This book was in a box of free stuff someone left in the laundry room at our apartment. I decided to forgive the "Oprah's Book Club" logo on the cover and read it anyway. Haven't started it yet.

Under my bed -

All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. Re-reading an old favorite, I pull it out when I want the comforting companionship of a well-thumbed friend. It's a must read.

Under my left pillow by Leon the heating pad -

When You Look Like Your passport Photo, It's Time To Go Home by Erma Bombeck. Terribly funny collection of stories from all her years of travel. It's for when I want to laugh myself to sleep.

Under my right pillow -

Catwatching by Desmond Morris. This was a loan from the ever interesting Glen Holt. (Hi Glen!) Written by an animal behaviorist, he manages to walk that thin line between cat enthusiast and scientist. And now I know why my cat always cleans himself after I pet him.

The Anthropologie Spring 2005 catalog. Their clothing line sucks this season. But I forgive them utterly, because they came out with this.

Consumer Electronics Lifestyles Magazine. Full of a lot of pretty products that I make JR explain to me.

Thursday, February 10, 2005
In my post about my neighbor on my right, somewhere between the sentence, "He's so quiet, I never hear a sound" and "His christmas tree is still up" it occurred to me that maybe I should check in him.

I hope he's, um, ok and everything.

Another Actual IM Conversation
Discussing JR -

Thérèse says:
fine fine, you're like.. a fridge, and he's a magnet.
Valancy Jane says:
Did you just call me a fridge?
Thérèse says:
um maybe.
Valancy Jane says:
So I'm large, square, cold and full of food?
Valancy Jane says:
Sven says:
you're like a fly, and he's one of those blue lights you hang up when you're preparing food
Valancy Jane says:
I'm a fly?
Sven says:
a very nice one
Thérèse says:
no no, you're full of energy, keep things at the right temperature, and all these boy magnets just stick to you
Sven says:
with glasses
Valancy Jane says:
Valancy Jane says:
Thanks, I feel much better now.
Valancy Jane says:

Shout Out to My Tiny Gramie..........
.......... who I dearly love and who's osteoprosis(sp?) I should find NO HUMOR IN WHATSOEVER, but I have a theory that she will never die so much as she will shrink away until she's so small she's simply misplaced. And she will live in a mouse hole in my house, and if I say anything disrespectful about her, I will feel the jab of what feels like a tiny knitting needle in my ankle.

I know, karma will insure that I am re-incarnated as a moth for making jokes like that.

Oops. I think I threw off her whole day.
The Postage Stamp is an apartment on the second floor, in a row of apartments. So I have neighbors below me, that I never hear, except when he yawns. He yawns FREAKISHLY loud. The neighbor to my right, I have never once heard. Even when you speak to him in person, you can barely hear him. He's a lovely neighbor, for that reason and the reason that he still has his christmas tree up, which makes me feel smug and superior by comparison. But really, he's the perfect neighbor and I should leave him a note telling him so. On my left is another quiet neighbor, but for some reason that wall seems thinner. Since our apartments are mirror images of each other, my kitchen and bathroom walls are also her kitchen and bathroom walls.
I think she uses me as her alarm clock. See, my alarm goes off at 5:45AM and I hit the snooze button most mornings. So the actual time that I get out of bed and into the bathroom, varies by about a half an hour. But as soon as I flush the toilet, I hear her get up and open her bathroom door. By the time I've stripped outta my pjs and am in the shower, I hear her toilet flush and her shower start. Like clockwork. Every morning.
So the other night I woke up at like 3AM and had to pee. After I flushed and washed my hands, I heard her in her bathroom.
"That's weird," I thought to myself.
It wasn't until I hear her shower start that I realized what I had done to her. I should leave a fruit basket by her door or something.

Reason I should carry a camera #1,057,823
Last night as JR and I wound our way up the coast to visit my Gramie, in 75 degree twilight, watching birds soar above the surf, I saw a sign. Manchester Ave, Next Exit, read the sign, rising out of a mass of blooming oleanders. I thought to myself, "Oh, Sven, Jonny and Pete would think that's funny." Then I saw the exit which led to a small beach nestled between two hills, with palm trees framing the last of the sunset.
I should take a picture and send it as a postcard.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Actually Said to Me
Adorable Jr Higher Who's Innocent Mind Should Be Dipped in Bronze and Preserved Forever - "I spent the weekend with my grandparents at their condo. And at like two AM, the guy in the condo above us was moving furniture. Who moves furniture at two AM? My grandpa went up to complain, but the guy just went right back to it. Finally like twenty minutes later, he stopped. Isn't that weird?"

I'd be happy to write that memo.
At work, we all got a flyer stating that on Monday, Valentines Day, we will all get a two hour lunch. "Afternoon Delight" they called it.

And then in tiny print at the bottom, it said, "More Information To Follow."

See, I thought it was pretty self-explanatory.

But if there needs to be a memo with, um, suggestions, hints, "Lift with your knees, not your back", "No nudity on company property" and "Coworker who handles travel arrangements has negociated a company discount at the local Hilton can be reached at ext ###" I very much want to be the one assigned to write it. Really. I'll come in on a weekend if necessary.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Feeling giggly.
Tee, hee.

Coco says she'll pretend to be my daughter and come to work with me on on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day in April.

And there is a large block of cement drying outside, and no one is watching.

Both of theses things make me giggle with the possibiliities.

Standing Knee Deep In The River
Saturday night I was helping JR move some stuff around in his room, and I came across his old yearbooks (we went to the same high school and I lost all my yearbooks in a breakup) I looked at the page dedicated to the memory of Roger Ballard (click link and read for necessary background on this story) and tears came to my eyes. And I flipped to the page where our senior pictures would have been side by side. In addition to the familiar sense of loss, I felt angry, betrayed, robbed. Not at Roger, but at my parents. Let me explain.
My picture isn't in that book that year either.

After Roger died, I retreated into myself in many ways. I had three friends that were lifesavers, Josh, Lissy and Liz, but they were all I had. And Josh (someday I will post about him) had to return to Belgium at the end of the summer. He offered to take me with him, and I almost went. I couldn't sleep again. I blew out my knees, badly, and couldn't dance anymore. That silenced a part of me. I was feeling more and more detachted from reality. School became very hard. Not the studying, in fact I rather welcomed the chance to think about something else for a while. But the going every morning, the seeing people and being forced to interact. I just wanted to go home, sit on my bed, look out the window, hug my knees to my chest and rock back and forth. I couldn't be at school with people, with memories of Roger. The heartache of his passing wasn't healing. At home, I was alone with no one to help, no one to push me out of myself, but at home at least no one forced me to act happy. It was the lesser of two evils, I felt. Not long after Christmas and my seventeenth birthday, I knew I couldn't continue this way. I went to my parents and begged for help. I told them I knew I was too sick to know what I needed, but that I needed something, desperately, and I needed it soon. I told them that I reached a point where I was incapable of going to school. My mother said, "Ok, I'll help you." I went back to my room. I thought she was going to check me into a psych hospital or something. Not a welcome prospect, but I was willing to try anything at this point. The next day she came in and told me that she had un-enrolled me from school. That was all. I was floored. I had gone from the highest ranked student at the school to a drop-out in the moment. I didn't know what to say. It wasn't like I had a better plan, and I knew that without some sort of medical or physiological help, I wasn't really capable of going back anyway. But she had simply given up on me. But in that moment I realized that I was in the care of people that, despite a small lingering hope I'd still had, had no intention of ever stepping up and helping me, no matter how much I need them to. I should have known that, they'd always acted that way, but I have never felt more alone than I did in that moment.
A year went by. One completely lost, forgotten year. Really, I have almost no memory of that year. I know I spent most of it on the couch, aimed vaguely in the direction of the TV, so that if anyone cared, they would think I was watching it. I was almost comatose. Horrible insomnia, long empty days. There was really no excuse for my parents lack of action. I lost more weight. I looked, acted and felt like a zombie. I thought nothing. I felt almost nothing. Lissy and Liz let me cry, encouraged me to feel, and I depended on them for my life. They were the only thing that could get me off the couch or out of my room.
My father said my 'bad mood' was affecting the house (i.e. he didn't want anyone to know that I was sick, he felt it would reflect badly on him) so he shuttled me off to my Gramie Dude. For a few weeks we hung out at her house in Texas. Then I got a phone call early in the morning that Liz had died in a car accident. She had been rushing down a mountain road after it rained. When I got the phone call, I remember my mind going blank except for one thought, "I have to go home. I'll go home and Lissy will tell me it's not true." I grabbed my suitcase. I told my grandmother, "I have to go home." I think it was the last thing I said for two days. My dear Gramie rushed me to the airport and put me on a plane home. Lissy met me at the airport. There were tears in her eyes. So she couldn't tell me it wasn't true. There would be no waking up from this. We said nothing the whole way home. Lissy and I spent more time around each other, in silence. It was healing. But everything else seemed to continue the downward spiral. Even my church. A staff member started a rumor that I was on drugs, and I was shunned. I began to feel anger, which isn't really healthy, but at least it was an emotion. I took the GED test so that I could at least reclaim my dream of going to college. My father told me that I had to stop crying and moping around. I told him to shove it up his ass. I moved out that afternoon. I was barely 18.
My dad told me that he would pay my college expenses if I would major in Law, Medicine or Architecture. When I declined and enrolled in a local community college as a Multicultural Studies major, he told the financial aid office that I was his dependant, out of spite, so that I recieved no funding and had to quit.

As I sat in JR's room Saturday night, I felt angry again. The two people on earth who should have encouraged, protected and looked out for me had abandoned and robbed me, through ignorance, spite, arrogance, selfishness and lack of anything resembling concern. They had taken my childhood and my dreams.
I was mad.
I started to cry harder. JR came over and just held me. I sobbed louder. JR picked up a large teddy bear and snuggled it up to my chest. I kept crying. JR picked up a puppy stuffed animal, and began to do a puppet show with it. The puppy kissed my forehead, then romped around my knees, then snuggled into my neck. By this time I was giggling. I told JR,
"You should have picked up that stuffed animal and slapped me across the face with it. Listen to me crying about all this crap. What if I had gotten the life I wanted then? What if I had gone to college? Would I have met you? Would I be sitting in a room with a endlessly sweet man willing to do puppet shows when I cry? I don't believe for a minute that it was God's will that all that junk happened to me. I think it was the consequence of people's actions and bad choices. Free will is a bitch. But God took this mess of a life, like he can take any life, and turned it into something amazing. Why am I going back and whining and getting angry about old stuff? God took that burden off me and I want to go back and cry over it. To hell with that. I'm done."

And I meant it. So what my life isn't what I thought it would be? It's wonderful, and I wouldn't be anywhere else for anything. All the dreams I never had, came true.

Monday, February 07, 2005
Things that are true about my friend Nick that probably won't believe.
He has like sixteen tattos and works as a chef in a Victorian B&B.

He once made out with Lisa Loeb backstage after one of her concerts.

He likes to chase bums.

And the kicker, when he was a teenager, he babysat the Olsen Twins a couple of times. I swear to you.

So last Friday I was chatting on the phone with Sven and Pete. (Do you like how casually I threw in a reference to an international call as if I do that all the time?) Sven or Pete (sad to say when they are both on the line, I lose track of who is who sometimes) said it was nice that I didn't do the "typical North American thing" and squeal about how cool their accents were.
What Sven and Pete don't realize is that I live in California. The nucleus of the melting pot. Do you know how many accents I hear in an average week? And I'm not talking just people of another nationality or American regional accents, I'm talking about recent immigrants with an accent.

In my own apartment complex, there my Adorable Jordanian Neighbors, and the tiny asian woman, who's 258 year old boyfriend can barely make it up the steps to see her.

At work*, just off the top of my head, I can think of the English guy in QC, the Russian gal in Sales, the Nigerian man in the RMA dept., the Ukranian man in sales, the girl from Ecuador in order processing, the Chinese man in something technical, he tried to explain it to me and I didn't understand, the Italian woman in production, the Philipino guy in recieving, the Mexican guy and gal in production, the Mexican woman in engineering, the Thai woman in SE, and the cleaning lady who doesn't even speak english, only spanish.
That's not even counting all the accents I hear over the phone. People call to order from all over the world.

*These people have names, of course, but I don't think I should post them.

There is is the Korean woman who does my nails, the Italian couple who run my favorite resturant, the Mexican guy at the mexican food place on the corner, the Caldenean man at the liquor store and so on and so forth.

So Sven and Pete, you do have lovely accents, (a bit sexy, really). But I'm a sophisticated woman of the world. So of course, like any sophisticated person would do, I waited until after we were off the phone to grin and squeal, "Ohmygosh, they sound so british!!!"

Friday, February 04, 2005
Today's sense of alertness is undermined by-
This weird stomach thing, possibly acid reflux, that left me spending most of my night in the fetal position on my bathroom rug. For the third time in as many weeks. That's it, I'm going to my doctor. I have a very high pain tolerance, but this is ridiculously painful. And the nausea, and the fact that it seems to be getting worse each time. And I can feel my stomach bloated, like a balloon pushing out of my torso.
Last night I had Pepto Bismo in three different forms, chewable, caplets and liquid. The chewable are the easiest to get down, but leave your tongue black in the morning. Which is harmless, but more than a little freaky.
The Pepsid AC worked with excruciating slowness, but eventually I could get a little sleep.
I couldn't find the Prilosec OTC from last time, must look for that now that I'm capable of standing upright again.
And I must kiss Lovely and Perfect Boyfriend who got out of bed at two AM to run to the drugstore for me and stroke my head and bring me water.

Thursday, February 03, 2005
I'm rooting for Edward Furlong and the lobsters......
Edward Furlong was arrested last year for attempting to free a tank full of lobsters from a Kentucky supermarket.
Now, the troubled actor says there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for his crustacean crusade. "Lobsters are people too," he earnestly tells Complex magazine (via the New York Post). "Lobsters, they are great spirits and they need to roam free. I know it was a bad idea. And, of course, you read it everywhere afterward and you get to [the] set and people are like, 'Hey, Lobster Boy!' All I did was free their little claws, man. They wanted to be free."

Reason I should carry a camera #907453
Despite the 80 degree weather, there is a stiff breeze today, and it's actually BLOWING THE BARK OFF TREES in thick, foot long strips.

Was there ever a better feeling than.......
......... watching a pet grow fat and happy in your care?
Last summer I was at the fair and won two goldfish and they told me to choose. I picked Bianca because she was a pretty snowy white. Then I felt guilty for wanting a pretty one. That's when I saw Luigi. He was grey-ish brown and ordinary looking to say the least. But he was staring at me, so intently. So I had to have him.
When I got them home, I really didn't expect them to live out the night. My one prior experience with goldfish was getting two for my birthday and them dying by Christmas. My birthday is Dec. 23rd. Do the math.
But Bianca and Luigi seemed to adapt to their new little home right away. The started growing bigger, and when I upgraded their food, Luigi changed from dingy grey-brown to resplendant orangy-gold.
Last night, Bianca and Luigi moved into their new big tank. First thing they did was cower behind a plant, Luigi hovering protectively above Bianca, while they scoped out the new digs. After a few minutes, you could see that something had dawned on Luigi. He went from, "Oh no, this space is so big, it's scary!" to "Hmmmm. This space is so big, I bet I could dart around and not hit anything."
He sorta twitched sideways like a rambuctious colt. Then after a moment's hesitation, he darted across the tank. Then back to Bianca who was watched, wide-eyed. He wiggled happily her face, like, "OHMYGOSH, DID YOU SEE THAT!?!?"
After that, there was no stopping them. This morning they were still flitting around, then wiggling up to each other, as if to say, "Look what I can do!"
I feel really good about myself this morning.

If there is anything that can get Happy Valancy Jane down...........'s watching her friends suffer and not being able to wave a magic wand and fix it. Which is not to say I feel helpless, because I know I can offer sympathy and prayer, which I know is valuable. It's just that I'm really the most impatient person EVER and I hate to see the people I care about suffer. I want poor 'Prince'/'Friend I Used To Be Like' to be finished with, free and clear of a horrible situation he doesn't deserve to be in. I want Svenny to feel better. I want poor Col's friend to be able to fast-forward to the day months from now when all the proactive choices she begining to make result in her being happy and peaceful and feeling loved. But these things take time. And in the meantime, things might suck for them. And I must watch and wipe tears and offer sympathy and pretend that it isn't ripping me apart to watch them suffer, and not shake them and say, "Get better already!" because even in my impatient and selfish mind, I'm still vaguely aware of the fact that it's not about me, but lordy, I hate this.
Then I go pray my most comman prayer, "Daddy, help!" (Yes, I call God 'Daddy'. Whatever. Shut up. That's between me and Him.)

Then comes peace.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

This is where we're going this weekend, Lake Cuyamaca. We're going to rent rowboats and take a picnic lunch. Posted by Hello

Another Actual IM Conversation
This morning on the radio they were discussing the cost of having flowers delivered on Valentines Day. I told JR I would question his sanity if he felt compelled to spend so much. Later this morning he IMed me. Prepared to choke on all the sweetness.

Your Very Own Nerd says:
i got a question for you

Happy Valancy says:

Your Very Own Nerd says:
*bang* why would you (assuming i do this) question my sanity if i got you flowers in the next couple of weeks??

Happy Valancy says:
Because they jack the cost of flowers up insanely around Valentines day.

Your Very Own Nerd says:
your point?

Happy Valancy says:
I'm not so consumed with the gimmies that I would expect you to pay outrageous prices.

Your Very Own Nerd says:
its not the "am expect to", but rather the "i get to do it"..... if it was an "expected" thing, i would hate doing it.... i do it out of want

Happy Valancy says:
Sorry, apparently I forgot how perfect you are.

Happy Valancy says:
My bad.

I think we should all go.
This will give me a chance to finally wear that hat that JR thinks makes me look like 'an old man fisherman'. He didn't say that out loud, but I could read it plain as day in his eyes.

The following will either make you jealous or sick to your stomach.
Yesterday I had cramps, and mentioned that to my boyfriend. When I got home from work, he had made me a nest of pillows (including two new ones he bought me) and blankets on my favorite corner of the couch, all ready to crawl into. He had a hot cup of tea ready. And while I took a hot bath, he made me dinner. And when I crawled back into my nest of blankets, he told me to turn on the tv, where he had put in one of my favorite movies, and even fastforwarded it past the previews, right up to the begining of the movie.
I don't deserve this man, but I'm selfish enough to hope he never figures that out.

A Fairy Tale
Once upon a time, Ferdinand*, Prince* and Valancy Jane sat in the courtyard of their castle late at night.

Ferdinand said, "Happiness is a choice. You choose it or you don't."

Prince said, "I am happy, except for one thing."

Valancy Jane said, "I'm happy."

Prince said, "That's true. Ferdinand, even when she cries, she's happy."

Ferdinand said, "That sounds like it should be a song. 'She's happy even when she cries.....'"

Valancy Jane said, "Hmmmm, that song would need a banjo."

Ferdinand said, ".......And there's tears in her eyes............"

Valancy Jane said, "And it would need to be uptempo."

Ferdinand said, "....... pooling up by her toes............"

Valancy Jane said, "The video would have to somehow include a baby duck."

Ferdinand said, ".......... and snot is running from her nose..........."

Valancy Jane said, "No one ever asks me why I'm happy. Guess that an answer you have to live, rather than tell."

Ferdinand said, "Why are you happy?"

Valancy Jane said, "Well, my happiness comes from choices that I made, but the choice wasn't to simply ignore reality and paste a smile on my face. My happiness is based on reality and facts. It ties into what we were talking about earlier, my new mantra, 'Live Truth'. I dont' live out a 'positive spin' or 'unrealistic hope'.
Fact, I've made my peace with God. Which makes it really easy to be at peace with all His creation, everyone and everything else. Who's left to be angry at?
Fact, I've invested in tomorrow. Between surrounding myself with great people, and knowing what I want out of life, the odds are good that I will have a happy life. And if bad things happen, I've been through enough crap (FACT!) to know I can survive it. And if it kills me, well, I have a very real faith in a heaven that's more beautiful than anything I can imagine. What's left to worry about?
Fact, I know why I get up every morning. I know why I'm here, or at least I know enough of the reason that I feel incredibly fufilled. What more purpose could you ask for?
So my happiness is born of these facts, not of sticking my head in the sand and refusing to face real life. Because it's a fact that bad stuff happens. To good people and bad people alike, sometimes. And my hope is not based in denying that or saying 'Oh well'. It's in knowing that I'm equipted to handle real life. And what is true of me can be true of anyone."

Ok, Valancy Jane didn't really say that. She just wishes she had been ready with the words.
But she did live happily ever after. I'm sure of it.

*Names changed, because they didn't ask to have their souls bared on the internet.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Who wants to come over and have a tipsy toast to anything and everything with me and my new glasses? Posted by Hello

To Sven, Jonny and Pete, who might visit, and to MooCow, who has mentioned moving here........
......... I would like to point out that it is 84 degrees here today. In January. Yesterday it was 86. I'm just saying.

Read-a-long with Valancy Jane
This was my favorite book as a child.

The Caboose Who Got Loose
by Bill Pete

When Katy Caboose rambled down the train tracks,
The engines were steamers with puffing smokestacks.
She was a caboose who disliked being last
With an endless black cloud of smoke rolling past
"It's not only too smokey," the caboose would complain,
"There's the jerks and jolts of this noisy freight train."

The engine up front always wore a big smile
As he lumbered along for mile after mile.
He was proud of his being so powerful and strong
That he could haul a freight train a hundred cars long!
So on he went chugging no worry or care,
Leaving Katy caboose in dark clouds of despair.

Katy had little hope she would ever get loose
Or ever be anything but a caboose.
"I can wish," signed poor Katy. "What else can I do?
If you wish hard enough then your wish might come true."
Often Katy would wish that she someday could be
Something quiet and simple like a lovely elm tree,
Or a ramshackle barn all alone on a hill
Where the noisiest was a squeaky windmill.
"It might become lonely," she thought, "way out there,
But at least there's a view with a lot of fresh air."

Whenever she passed through a small country town,
Katy wished she could stop and just settle down
And be one of the houses who sat in a row
On a tree-shaded street and have no place to go.
"It's so restful," thought Katy, "where one can relax,"
As she hurried and scurried on down the train tracks.

What she most wished to be, much more than the rest,
Was a cabin she'd seen on her trips through the west.
A little log shack half-covered with vines
Perched on a slope in a forest of pines.
"How perfect," thought Katy, as she hurried on by it,
"To live there in the trees where it's peaceful and quiet."
But all the caboose could look forward to
Was a deep rocky canyon the train traveled through,

Where huge boulders leaned way over the tracks
In towering, top-heavy, gigantic stacks.
"What is holding them up?" frightened Katy would wonder,
As the earth-shaking train went rumbling right under.
If one should come loose and fall down upon her,
It would squash Katy flat, and then she'd be a goner.
If she didn't get squashed there was more to be dreaded
Up the winding steep grades where the engine was headed.

High up in the mountains where terrible ledges
Where the track ran only feet from the edges.
The view was breathtaking, but after on look,
It was so upsetting she shivered and shook.
If she slipped off the track, then down she would go
To be smashed into bits on the rocks far below.

Then poor Katy received even more of a fright
From a smoke blackened tunnel as dark as the night.
And she crept through the tunnel with a horrible thought
That far back in the darkness she suddenly be caught
By caboose eating monsters who lurked all about.
They would gobble her up before she got out.

Her trips always ended near a city somewhere
Way out in a freight yard with smoke clouding the air,
Where a turmoil of trains made a great noisy rumble
On crisscrossing tracks, an impossible jumble.

The train came to a stop and the cars were unhitched
Then off to a sidetrack the caboose was soon switched,
Where Katy could sit and take in the fine scenery
With such lovely sights as a load of machinery,
Coal cars and flatcars, lumber stacked on their backs,
Squealing carloads of pigs with snouts poking through cracks.
They always left Katy in the midst of it all,
While the engine received a complete overhaul.

The huge engine at last had run down from the strain
From the ten thousand miles he had hauled the long train.
Back in the roundhouse men swarmed all about
To check over and under him, inside and out,
Replacing old pistons and bolts that were missing,
Patching leaks in the boiler that made a loud hissing,
Cleaning rust from his piping that ran everywhere,
Checking steam valves and pumps in great need of repair.

As Katy sat there through one long dreary night,
Staring up through the smoke at a red signal light,
A small house appeared in the sky like a ghost,
A shack of a switchman, perched high on a post.
"I'd like to be you," said the shack very sadly.
"If I could trade places I would be very gladly.
A caboose is what I've always wanted to be,
For you have the very best life from what I can see."

Before Katy could think of some way to reply
All at once a long freight train came thundering by.
The next thing she knew she was jerked and then jolted,
Then hitched to the train with her coupler bolted.
As the train left the freight yard poor Katy looked back
To catch a last glimpse of the sad little shack.

"From now on," Katy promised, "I shall never complain.
I'll be a happy caboose at the end of the train
And put up with the jolts, the train noise and the rest,
All the smoke that rolls by - or at least try my best."
With her new point of view she enjoyed the long ride;
It was fun on a trip through the broad countryside.

But when the train crept up a steep mountain grade,
Then poor Katy found she was still as afraid
And once more she began to shiver and shake
At the thought of the frightening curves she must take.
Her unsteady wheels could cause her to slip,
Which would suddenly put a quick end to the trip.

It was a hot afternoon so the going was rough
And the engine up front was in a puffing big huff.
He groaned, "What a day to chug up such a grade
On a bare mountainside without one bit of shade."
When he came steaming over the very last hump,
He lunged with a fury that made the cars jump.
All the way back to Katy, who got such a jolt
That it snapped off a rusty old coupling bolt.

She was free of the train! At last she was loose!
And away down the track went Katy caboose.
On down the grade she flew faster and faster
Straight for a curve and certain disaster.

When Katy hit the curve she took off like a kite,
High over the treetops on her first and last flight,
That would quickly have ended poor Katy caboose
If it hadn't been for two towering spruce.

The caboose became caught in a very tight squeeze
Between the tall trunks of two evergreen trees.
At first she could hardly believe her good luck.
What a wonderful place it was to be stuck!
She thought she was dreaming; it couldn't be true.
Here she was in the trees with a beautiful view.
"It's so perfect," sighed Katy, "yet I'm not really free.
I know sooner or later they'll come after me."

And then, sure enough, up the mountains that night
Came a train with a crane and a powerful light.
"She could'a gone leapin' off here!" came a shout.
Like a great glaring eye, then, the light searched about.
It flashed past the trees down the steep rocky bluff
And it searched high and low, but not quite high enough.

Or it would have soon spotted the missing caboose.
But all they could find was a startled bull moose.
"Let's all call it quits," growled the boss of the crew.
"For all that I care she's in Kalamazoo."

Katy stayed in the treetops, no one ever found her.
Except for the squirrels and the birds all around her.
At last she was free, just as free as the breeze,
And how Katy did love it up there in the trees.

And indeed, oh indeed, oh indeed Katy did!