Friday, January 30, 2004

So, I've been thinking about the movie "Big Fish" again. It has this character in it played by Helena Bonham-Carter that intrigues me. She was never able to be with the man she loved so she ends up in her house alone. In the mind of the main character, she becomes a withered witch-like old woman with one eye living in the ruins of her mansion. I've often thought that I will become a woman like that. The kids of the neighborhood will call me Old Lady Malaise and will dare themselves to touch my front porch. I've always thought I'd like to end up like Miss Maudie from "To Kill a Mockingbird." The friendly old maid who looks out for the neighborhood kids and gives them cookies and lemonade. In all of these fantasies, I have always seen myself living alone. Maybe with cats and dogs. And it doesn't bother me. It just seems sort of inevitable. I guess we'll see.

I drove past the cemetary down the street a few days ago and it was all covered in snow. In the summer, the cemetary looks almost cozy to me. Like people are sleeping in the warm ground. But in the snow, it just looks so cold and lonely. I've always liked cemetaries. My ex-boyfriend and I used to go on long walks through the cemetary down the street. It's so old and interesting. I think for most of us, we accept the fact of death but we don't really absorb the reality of it . I guess cemetaries force me to think that one day, that will be me. I already have my cemetary plot in Dallas. I even designed the monument that rests there. I know where my remains will rest. It's an odd feeling. But kind of peaceful too. It is the inevitable end that we all face. And I at least have the certainty of where my remains will be. Unless I die in some weird way like a plane crash in the Amazon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

So, you may have been wondering why my blog has been silent for a few days. Well, I have been down with food poisoning compliments of On the Border. It has been really terrible and I don't recommend it. I am definitely on the road to recovery but I am as weak as a kitten. I am back at work, though. There is only so much laying around at home that I can stand.

I would like to welcome my friend Genevieve to the world of blogs. It is such an ego-stroking endeavor. You'll love it. You start to believe in the importance of your own words and you really think that several people may be tuning in to you every day. Even if they aren't. But you can still believe it. Right?

The Oscar nominees were announced today. I was pleasantly surprised about the Golden Globes. For once, the nominees I wanted to win actually won. Especially Charlize Theron. Her performance was amazing. I'm just glad "Cold Mountain" didn't win anything because frankly, it left me...cold. I'm so looking forward to the Oscars this year that I think I may just host my very own red carpet Oscar party. We'll see.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

So, one faithful reader of my blog wants to know what the Junior League is.

"The Junior League of Denver, Incorporated (founded in 1918), is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable."

Most Junior Leagues started at the turn of the century. They consisted of young socialites who banded together to do good works in the community. These were the gloves and pearls set. In the South, Junior Leagues are famous for cookbooks and charity gala and ball events where women get dressed up and dance for various causes. The idea of the League was to teach young women to be leaders in their communities. Upon leaving the League, they were supposed to graduate to become members of Boards of various charitable institutions. In Dallas, the Junior League is a prestigious stuck-up institution that is as hard to get into as a sorority. In fact, it is a grown-up version of a sorority. Most Junior Leagues now are open to everyone and focused more on service than socializing.

Does that answer your question, Andy?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

After talking to several married friends, I have decided that male friends are something you basically have to give up with marriage. I guess men are too insecure to handle it. The weird thing is that if Bill wanted to go out with a close female friend, it wouldn't bother me. But I am typically a trusting loyal person. Unless given reason not to be. I guess I just don't like the idea of someone trying to change me or tell me what I can or cannot do. I don't mind compromise and being reasonable, but there is only so much of me that I want to give up for another person. It makes me think of the story "The Awakening." The main character tells her friend that she would die for her children but she wouldn't give up herself. Or something like that. Maybe this is why I will never marry. I'm just too set in my ways. Being asked to give up a friend or set of friends is just unacceptable to me. I can't imagine asking anyone else to do that. Maybe I'm spoiled because my friend Greg continues to see movies with me and have lunch with me occasionally even after he got married. Maybe this makes Sara (his wife, also my friend) jealous sometimes. I doubt it because Sara is a really strong independent person and she knows Greg and I are just friends. And my friend Amy does things with guys etc and she's married. I just wish we could all get past petty jealousies and insecurities. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place?

Oh, well.

I had dinner with a woman I met in Junior League last night. She actually dropped out because the time commitment was too much but we are trying to develop a friendship outside of Junior League. She seems like a really nice down-to-earth person. I worry sometimes that I come off as flaky and goofy. And I have a hard time with personal boundaries. There are few things that I don't feel comfortable sharing. Because I like making life connections with people. "You have suffered from depression before? Me too! So we have that in common!" I like finding out what I have in common with people. But I'm worried that sometimes my exuberance and frankness scare people. I hope I didn't scare Katie off.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

So, I went skiing this weekend. I forgot about how nice skiing can be. It's really quite a solitary sport. And it makes me feel empowered when I manage to get down the mountain on my own. With apologies to Britney, it becomes "me against the mountain." And the scenery can't be beat.

No more news on my stalker but today is my first day back to work. We'll see.

So, I have a question for all of you. Once you are in a relationship, can you still have friends of the opposite sex? I tried to see a movie with a male friend last night and my boyfriend blew his top. Which in turn made me very angry because I hate being controlled and told what to do. For me, it's a trust issue. Either he trusts me or he doesn't. And I even invited my boyfriend to join us but he didn't want to watch an art film. But he didn't want me to either. Because I should never be alone with a male in my house other than my boyfriend. Huh?!! It's my house, my friend, my time. This is exactly why I don't want to get married. I hate possessiveness and jealousy and I don't want to have to change for anyone. I think he really regrets ever getting on me about that.

So, am I wrong for wanting to spend time with my friends, be they male or female? Does being in a relationship mean I can no longer do things alone with my male friends? Am I being unreasonable?

Friday, January 16, 2004

So, I've had a weird thing going on at work.

A man I've never seen before (or maybe I've just never noticed) decided to sit in the chair right in front of the circulation desk. He pretended to be reading a newspaper but I noticed he was staring at me. Finally, he caught my attention and waved at me. I was thinking, "Am I supposed to know this guy?" He then went up to my co-worker, pointed to me and said, "I've been watching her and she is so efficient! That is a great quality to have!"


Then, he skulked around some more and then came back and said "Ding! Ding! Ding! You've won a free lunch or dinner!" and he handed me his business card with "good for one free lunch or dinner" written on the back.

I shrugged it off. I never know how to respond to things like that. It makes me uncomfortable. And my Achilles heel is my fear of hurting anyone's feelings. So, I just acted noncommittal about the whole thing and hoped he would go away.

Well, today I worked at a different library branch and he came walking in. "A little bird told me you would be here." He then printed out something from the internet and on his cover sheet he wrote "Dan likes Amy" over and over again. Okay, this isn't funny anymore. He hung around the circulation desk for an hour. I kept finding excuses to leave the desk until he finally took off.

Now, I'm nervous about the whole thing. I feel a little like I'm being stalked. It's really strange. I don't want to sound the alarm if he's just a harmless guy. But at the same time how do I know he isn't some scary freak person. It's hard to know what to do. If he shows up again, I'm just going to have to be nice but firm and let him know I'm not interested. And I hope I don't hurt his feelings. Because I hate that.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

So, here's part two in my self-image series.

Until I was about 22 or 23, I didn't care much about clothes. In fact, my mom was mostly responsible for my clothing. When I was in college, she'd send me care packages full of clothes that she'd find on sale. She knew my size and my taste so it worked out well. I didn't start caring about all of that until I broke up with my boyfriend in 2001. Then, I felt this tremendous need to re-invent myself. I've been doing that ever since. I find it really comforting to go walk around the mall. Even if I don't buy anything. Part of me deep down believes that if I get just the right outfit or just the right look, it will boost my self-esteem. And sometimes it does. If I get a really great outfit and wear it out, it really does make me feel good and confident. I love going through "Elle" and "Vogue" to check out the new fashion trends. I won't adopt them but it's fun to see. And I love the designers Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez so I always look for their clothes. As Romy and Michele pointed out, fashion is a great way to express yourself. But it also makes the need to get another ego-boosting outfit that much greater. Shopping has become the quest for the next reinvention of self. The next boost for my self-image. And that isn't always a good thing when you are trying to live on a budget.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I'd like to talk a little bit about self-image today. And maybe some tomorrow.

I actually got a good night's sleep last night for a change which was great. I decided to go get my haircut. While I was in the chair, I told my stylist, Jerry, that I wanted to try something new. So I got bangs. And my good haircut left me in a positive mood. So, instead of my usual pants/jeans plus button-down/pullover shirt ensemble, I decided to dress up with a black and white tweed skirt, a fitted black turtleneck and some knee-high boots. That made me feel good, so I decided to add a new white silk flower to my shirt. And then I put on lipstick! This odd chain of events led to compliments from all of my co-workers. I think just about every one complimented me in some fashion. And that raised my spirits even more.

You see, until recently I've always had a pretty good body image. In fact, I had a better image of myself than was realistic. I always thought I was thinner than I was. And then, somehow, over the last two years I packed on twenty pounds. That is not an exagerration. Now, nothing fits and for the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my body. I hate the way I look. I'm trying to eat better and exercise but the limitations of my body right now tend to discourage me. And with this change in body image comes a change in confidence. My self-confidence has taken a dive. That's why it amazes me that a decent haircut, a nice outfit and a bunch of compliments can affect me like this. I can just about catch a glimpse of my old confident self. The one who was mostly happy in her own skin. I've got to get that girl back.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I am still looking for that perfect job. And when I think about it, what most makes me happy is volunteering. I also enjoy working in museums, non-profits, working with kids/teaching, or I would like to be a lobbyist. I'm really interested in politics.

My perfect work week would be:

Monday--Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Tuesday--Dumb Friends League
Wednesday--Habitat for Humanity
Thursday--Safe House/Damen House/Warren Village
Friday--Local Soup Kitchen/Food Bank

Weekends--a Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado project

I would also throw in occasional volunteering at local museums or arts venues.

Then, at night I'd like to hit the occasional symphony, play, musical, opera, art opening, etc.

Maybe I just really want to be a professional philanthropist.

I am reading this really great book about John James Audubon (the famous bird explorer) and his trip to Labrador. It is a fictional account and it's really lyrical. I have found lately that I really enjoy books about all the explorations of the 19th century. People were really getting out and exploring the world. It was a great age of science but, in some ways, it also spelled the doom of many indigenous people and animals. It made previously unexamined and unexplored areas available to many and changed everything.

There is a quotation from the book that I really like. You may always navigate by three points:

"Where you stand, where you strive to be and the unreachable star by which you measure."

I wonder if that is how we all measure our lives.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

I just finished reading a book called "Lunch at the Piccadilly" last night. I was attracted to the book because the cover had a photograph of a few little old ladies dressed up sitting in a convertible on their way to the Piccadilly. For those of you who don't know, Piccadilly is a chain of cafeterias in the south. I used to go there with my MawMaw and PawPaw in Waco, Texas at the Lake Air Mall. It's probably gone now.

The book was about a group of elderly people in a nursing home who decide to start a movement to combine churches and nursing homes. That way, instead of going to church every Sunday, maybe some churchgoers would come and visit the elderly wasting away and lonely in the nursing homes. It was funny but sad as well. Made me miss my grandparents. And it made me feel sad for all the people in nursing and retirement homes who have no one to visit them. And elderly people trapped in their homes as well. I'm glad that my grandparents didn't have to spend a lot of time in those places. It must be odd going to a place like that and knowing you will be there until you die.

The book brought back several memories for me. Especially about the Piccadilly at Lake Air Mall. I started to think about all the random memories in my head that will eventually disappear since they are only mine. I have decided to start putting these random memories into a book as they pop into my head. No one may ever read them but I like the idea of them being preserved in some small way. After all, in some ways, all these memories make up a life. They define who I am.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

There have been quite a few insightful comments on my last blog and they brought to my attention some clarifications that I need to make.

I have nostalgia for CERTAIN ASPECTS of the past. Obviously, every generation has its own trials and tribulations and nothing is perfect. For example, the many trials that we faced during WWII. However, when comparing the current war on Iraq, I have to say I would rather have the sort of spirit that existed during WWII. Not the human losses. But the surge of patriotism and the sacrifices that people were willing to make for the war effort. We really came together as a country and truly supported our troops. No one has asked me to help out my country during this war on Iraq except to "keep shopping." How about conserving? Or donating? Or offering my time? It doesn't feel like we are one country united anymore. And people don't feel that there is much they can do for the war effort besides wear buttons and put bumper stickers on their cars.

Check out Bill Maher's book WHEN YOU RIDE ALONE, YOU RIDE WITH BIN LADEN for a more eloquent description of this national problem.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I'm sure that every generation experiences nostalgia in some form. But it seems especially prevalent among Generation X. I'm not sure why that is. Our nostalgia for our lost childhood is so strong that I believe it has spurred the resurgence of such toys from our past as Strawberry Shortcake, Transformers and Care Bears. Why do we miss our childhood so much?

I was one of those few children who never wanted to grow up. I couldn't see any advantage to being an adult. Even now, there don't seem to be that many. I tried to linger on in childhood as long as possible. Parts of me right now actually miss high school. I hated every moment of it but it gave me a lot of hope because I knew the future could only be better. I had all of these dreams. I knew I was hitting the peak of my life. And now I'm almost thirty, unmarried, carrying around 20 extra pounds and languising in a job outside of my field. I'm running out of hope for the future. So, that makes my nostalgia for the past even more profound.

I'm even nostalgic for times I didn't live in. I think I would have been very happy living in the 1940's. The woman dressed well. The men were men. Gentlemen. Families gave off the appearance of being wholesome. People were more into togetherness instead of being alienated by technology. I look at the movie "A Christmas Story" and feel sad that things aren't like that anymore. How many kids do you know that actually head outside to play after school? Or simply play games or read a book? It's all about Playstations and watching DVDs. And people eat more terribly than ever. We have gained so many things in the last 60-70 years. Many technological advances and unprecedented rights and choices. But maybe we've lost a lot too.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

We all have different ways of dealing with difficult times. Sometimes, when I feel down, I like to go walk around the shopping mall. I don't always buy anything. But sometimes it's nice to be around people. Especially people who aren't asking anything of you or making any demands on you. And people usually seem in pretty good spirits when they are shopping.

I also enjoy books and movies as escapism. C.S. Lewis said, "we read to know that we are not alone." I think we see movies for the same reason. Watching "Scrooged" again this year for the zillionith time, I was struck by the line where Frank says "Scrape them off. You wanna save someone, save yourself." It can be very hard sometimes when you feel the need to make everyone happy. I tried to do that New Year's Eve and no one ended up having a good time. Including me. And then the evening ended tragically with a friend's attempted suicide. Which made a line from a movie I saw today resonate. I saw "Mona Lisa Smile." Only an okay movie. But Katherine responds when asked how she feels, "Stupid. Deceived. Very very angry." That's kind of how I feel right now. But I know we'll all get through it with the right support and lots of prayers.

In the meantime, I will find solace in my books. And my movies. And my loved ones.