"You have the voice of an angel. Your voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus. "

I can’t believe it’s more than three weeks into the new year! I’m pretty sure most of you have blown your resolutions to hell already; you might as well get that over with now so you can move past the guilt and proceed to have fun with your life again.

I’ve been having a blast with life these days myself. I am now officially 35 years of age (do NOT listen to Motu when he tries to tell you how good I look for 40. He’s evil and he must be destroyed.) It’s true that I’m a crazy, wild and fun-loving gal, but you might all be surprised to learn that I didn’t do a damn thing for my birthday. I had just returned from Texas less than a week before, drove 185 miles on New Year’s Eve to hang with Magic Man and Feisty, drove 185 miles back on New Year’s Day, AND was sick with the worst sinus infection/cold/black plague I have had in years. Because I was so sick, I had opted not to go into work on Monday, which meant I had to work my birthday on Friday (and I was still sick anyway). Suffice it to say, I was mother-effing TIRED on my birthday. Plus, I missed Puppy, who had been kennelized for two weeks at this point (yes, I just coined the word “kennelized.” Tell your friends.) Mame had planned to come out that weekend, but she was sick, too, so we postponed.

So for the big three-five I got out of work at one, went to the mall, bought myself some slippers and a George Carlin day-by-day calendar (both at half price, of course) and then took myself out for a fabulous steak lunch and warm chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream. Then I picked up Puppy and curled up with him in my favorite chair with a mug of hot tea and a movie. If any of you think that’s sad, believe me when I tell you: it was the BEST birthday I’ve had in years, even with chapped nostrils and an end table littered with tissues.

Last year I had Smaug get indignant at having to take me out to dinner (he was very annoyed that I didn’t make other plans and now he had to spend his own money on me), then get irritated at some completely innocuous comment at dinner, which turned into him screaming at me in the car on the ride home and then him freaking out and leaving the house for several hours. This was pretty much SOP for him anyway, but for my birthday it was just so special (the birthdays prior to that were similar, but that was the worst one thus far). If you’re wondering what he freaked out about, it was this: he commented that he could take bigger risks at his job because he had no family to support, and I kidded him that he’d never have that problem to worry about. Which made him blow up at me for suggesting that he was never going to propose to me. Which is really funny, considering that I ended up being RIGHT about that. My point is, for any of you who were thinking “oh, that’s so sad how she spent her birthday” – don’t. I loved every single drama-free/watch whatever the fuck I want on TV/listening to Puppy snore while I rubbed his belly minute, believe you me. Then I spent the entire weekend and the week following doing a 1000 piece puzzle of Times Square in New York. After books, puzzles are my bliss. I hope this lovely, peaceful birthday has set the tone for my entire year. Four years in a row of stupid bullshit that leads to me crying by myself on my birthday is OVAH.

In the interests of starting fresh, I thought it would be a good idea to do something that my doctor and some other people suggested to me but that I couldn’t bring myself to try before. I’m warning all of you now: the following content may make you uncomfortable. I am planning to talk about my pooper, so if you don’t want to hear it then skip the rest of this post. There will also be a lot of puns. You have been warned.

So… I decided that I would do one of those colon cleanse things. This is something that had always struck me as kind of gross. In my head I pictured it would be like that scene in Dumb and Dumber, and I would spend an entire week glued to the toilet as though I’d drunk a gallon of Mexican tap water. But, since I’ve cleaned a bunch of other shit out of my life, why not do it literally?

I started by researching online, which I do for everything (I love you, Wikipedia. You are my bible. Not for this research, but still). First I looked at the remedies that promised the fastest results, but in all honesty it didn’t take me long to disregard them. I mean, I spent 30+ years polluting my body, and the idea of cleaning it in seven days or less sounded… a little bit uncomfortable. Imagine that you spent the last 30 years throwing all of your garbage into the basement, and now you’ve sold the house and you have exactly 7 days to clear all that shit out… and the punning begins.

So I started looking at more natural remedies, and settled on the one that was most highly recommended. It also had a free trial, and I live to get shit for free (ha ha, there’s another one!) A week later my all natural, Acai Berry based cleanser was there in my mailbox. Instructions: take three pills daily in the evening. Day One, take one pill; Day Two, take two pills, Day Three, take three pills from then on. That seems logical. It is going to be so easy to do this shit! (That’s number 3, if you’re counting. It’s just too simple.)

I decided to start on Monday night. One pill, no problem. Can’t say I really noticed any difference the next day, but I was out having fun at the Hibachi grill with a bunch of coworkers from the old Pennsauken plant and didn’t really think about it. Got home, took two pills, packed for Boston…

A word now about proper planning. Even if you’re going to use the most mild, gentle cleanser on the planet, you probably shouldn’t start it the Monday before you take a business trip to Boston. You just never know. I mean, here it is, on Wednesday, the day I’m flying out, I only took two pills the night before, I’m taking my third dump and it’s not even noon yet, and I can’t help thinking “when is this shit going to stop?” (#4)

I have to pause for a second to mention that, aside from the new concern about pooping opportunity, I felt great. In fact, that third movement I had was so amazing that I actually turned around and gave it a salute before I flushed it on it’s merry way. Seriously, I was positive that I could whistle with my sphincter after that, and I can't whistle with any of my other lips.

So now I’m thinking ahead, and I realized that I could get stuck in traffic on the way to the airport. Or I might have to go again on the plane. What if the urge hits while I’m on the plane and there’s a really cute guy sitting in the last row next to the tiny little airplane bathroom that I am about to defile? It’ll certainly rule out any invitation to the Mile-High Club. Hmmm.

By the way, you can all thank my cousin Dancer for this entry. She had to listen to me talk about all this while I drove to the airport, and the only feedback she gave me when she finally managed to take a breath was “you have to write about this on your blog.” So all this shit is her fault (ding, #5).

Anyway, I managed to fly all the way to Boston and get to my hotel without incident. Now, a dilemma. I’m in the hotel, on the top floor, gazing out at my incredible view of Boston Harbor at night (I love my job), juggling three pills in my hand. I am about to head out for a night of food and drink and debauchery with a couple of customers I’m really friendly with, and I have a very important design meeting at a different customer site the next day, followed by lunch. I’m not so much worried about the folks I’m going to dinner with (let’s face it, these are people I would hang out with in the normal realm, which is why I asked them to go out with me. They are, therefore, completely unfazed by anything I say or do and would just laugh their asses off if I left the table in the nice restaurant to go blow up the bathroom). It’s more that I have a schedule the next day, and don’t know when I’ll have bathroom opportunity. Did I want to abandon my quest for a cleaner me in the face of professional obstacles and start over some other time? Hmmm.

I took the pills. Fuck that shit (#6)
(to be continued... I just LOVE cliffhangers!)


"We accept the love we feel we deserve."

Finally, finally, FINALLY the new year is here and all I can say is that I look forward to it like a fat kid and cake. I have had some pretty bad years in my life, but 2008 had, for the most part, a degree of suckage unlike any other. So last night I rang in the new year with a very old friend who we'll call Magic Man, and a very new friend: his fiancee, Feisty. We spent six hours leading up to the ball drop talking about everything you can imagine, and a couple of hours after, too. Magic Man and I reminisced about the past, Feisty got to hear a lot of funny stories about things she hadn't been there for, we talked about our old lives and where we were going with the new. I thought about what an interesting thing it was to be at this turning point in my life and be spending this moment with the old and the new; and I hope the entire year to come is like this for me. I hope I spend quality time with all my old friends, and quality time making new ones.

A couple of months ago I had absolutely NO idea where my life was going to lead. I'd had a plan, and I liked it, and I had worked really hard to bring it to fruition. I loved someone so much that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and have his babies (I know, I know. Shut up). He was frustrating and miserable and had absolutely no idea how to enjoy life without enhancement of some sort -- but I loved him nonetheless, and to me love is something that you stick around for. You try to help get over the bad times, you try to be supportive, and sometimes it gets hard and even you get frustrated and take it out on the other person. I mean, nobody's perfect. But when two people love each other equally they can equally overlook and forgive and move on.

The problem is when people DON'T love each other equally. And sometimes what happens is that the person you love doesn't love themselves very much. There is nothing you can do for a person with self-loathing. It's been my experience that loving people like that does nothing but burn you -- the more you give them, the more you look like an idiot. They feel they don't deserve love, and because you're willing to give it, there must be something wrong with YOU. I remember, towards the end, that Smaug said to me "why do you want to marry ME anyway?" It occurred to me then that he thought I was crazy for loving him. And you know what? In that moment, I realized that I WAS.

Love, like any other emotion, is an uncontrollable thing with many faces. Anger can be slow and simmering, or boil over suddenly and be done in a flash. Sorrow can follow you for ages like a pale ghost hovering at the edges, or grab you by the throat and leave you shaking with violent sobs. Love is like a jungle cat: sleek and silent and creeping unseen through foliage most of the time, deceptively beautiful and powerful. But love has claws and teeth, and can attack in an instant and leave you in pieces. It acts of its own will and desire, it wants what it wants. Sometimes it wants to sleep in the sun and stretch its limbs, and curl up against another warm body for comfort. Sometimes it is cruel and dangerous, and it cannot be forced.

You cannot make someone angry about something that upsets you. You cannot force logic on people or make them see common sense. You cannot convince people that they are worth loving by loving them more. They will resent you for it, and they will never benefit from your affection by waking up whole someday and realizing that they love you that hard in return.

I joke with people all the time that I make the same resolution every year: I resolve nothing. But this year I think I will make a resolution. I resolve to accept nothing less than I deserve. I resolve not to give more of myself than what is given to me. I resolve to dream great dreams and see great sights. I realized that in this world I've been pretty high and pretty low, both figuratively and literally. I have visited caves hundreds of feet below the oceans surface filled with blue, blue water so clear that you could see how the caves went on and on as though they were infinite. I have climbed to the top of an ancient Mayan ruin and looked at the splendor of the world for miles in every direction and realized how very, very small I was in comparison. I have loved and lost, and loved and lost, and done it again, and maybe once more for good measure... and it didn't kill me. I think about people who are afraid to take that risk, or any risk to LIVE LIFE, and all I can say is that I'm so glad I'm not one of those people.

What I would wish for all of you is to do the same. Fear nothing that has the same chance to be as painful as it does extraordinary. If I had feared the rough-hewn and rain-slicked stone steps of a monument, I would have never stood atop the ruin. If I had feared dark and close places I would have never seen the caves (actually, I can be claustrophobic sometimes -- but I don't let it stop me). If I had feared heartbreak, I never would have loved, and if I hadn't I might not be as tough as I am now. That's the thing about scar tissue folks -- it's much stronger than the regular stuff. Let's all resolve to go get scarred. Let's all resolve next year to "drink to our legs" (if you don't get it, go watch Jaws. I'm tired of having to explain everything to you people).

See you next year!