Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Can't Believe it Either!

I read the comics every day.

In fact, when I moved to Denver, I was disappointed to find that between the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News... not even three of my top five comics were represented. A G**gle search ensued to find my daily comic strips Online. I don't remember how, but eventually I found the Seattle Times Online and along with it, my top 5 comics.

Part of me hates to admit that I read Cathy. Not in my top 5 - but it's there when I check on the others so it doesn't hurt to check in. She's usually good for a laugh.

Occasionally, I share a funny strip with friends. For example: Pickles pokes great fun of humans and cat/human relationships... so that's great to share with my pet owner friends.

But last week, Cathy struck a cord relationship-wise.
Mr. Burns and I have learned that we have very different mental processes.

For example:
As a typical woman, my mind is constantly mulitasking. In fact, when I talk about pursuing photography... before long I'm talking about buying a new SLR with more megapixels because mine only has 6. Next thing, I'm talking about taking out a wall in my condo so I can have room for an office and a potential studio. Mr. Burns gets exhausted and says... "Why don't you work out steps 1-10 instead of jumping up to step 1,243?"

Mr. Burns sticks to one task at a time. I can't ask about plans for holiday travel while he's making breakfast - because he's busy thinking about breakfast!


So, I gritted my teeth and sent him this Cathy strip:
I was a little afraid he wouldn't even read it because it's Cathy. So imagine my surprise when that evening, I asked him a question and he said... "Refer to the Cathy strip." !!!

He's referred to it a few times since then. It takes a big man to embrace Cathy. But for the sake of communication, I guess he thinks it's worth it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Meet Sylvia

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce Sylvia!

After a mindnumbing 2 week search for a car to replace Gracie... I finally found Sylvia yesterday. She's a 1996 Toyota Camry.

I am convinced that car shopping cannot be fun. Unless you can walk into a dealer with $40,000 and say... I want that car - it can't possibly be fun.

My experience was made all the more distressing by the fact that I wasn't prepared to buy a car. Gracie and I were getting along fine. Then suddenly, she was dead. No time to research or comparision shop. Worst of all... I was limited to the cash amount the insurance company gave me for Gracie. $3,000. Yeah. If you think it stinks looking for a car to begin with - try sticking to that price range! Thank heavens the insurance company gave me a rental car for 5 days.

The first few cars I saw were disgusting. I felt as though I wanted to put on a hazmat suit before sitting in them.

So I didn't even sit in them!

I told the salesman no freaking way - that's unacceptable and I expect something as clean and pretty as Gracie or don't even show it to me. I don't want to feel like I have to boil the car to disinfect it!

I did not make friends.

I won't even go into the disappointment of Craigslist scams... Scam after scam... ugh! And the the many people who either don't bother to meet you after you've agreed upon a time... or schedule an appointment with someone else... and sell their car even though they told you they wouldn't even be available until the next evening.

It was disheartening even though I did eventually find Sylvia through Craigslist.

My mechanic checked her out... found just a few problems that are worth fixing... and deemed the car a winner! I went back to my new Craigslist friend with the inspection report and repair summaries and he took $500 off the original offer.

Sylvia and I were united (the paperwork actually says: To have and to hold!) upon the exchange of $3,300!

And now, a moment of reflection for Gracie.
There will never be another like her. (Wish I could put a music montage here!!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home of the Brave ~ Land of the Free

One of my favorite parts of the Olympic Games is the medal ceremonies.

No matter which country is represented - I love seeing the great pride on the faces of the athletes whose life dedication is finally realized.

No matter which national anthem is played, you can often see the emotion well up- in the close-up shot of the Gold Medalist as the music swells.

But there is no pride like that of watching an American on the podium - and recognizing the words of our anthem moving across their lips.
Sadly, during these Olympic Games I have yet to witness that.

I was convinced, at the start of Gymnast Shawn Johnson's ceremony (she's from the heartland of America, Des Moines, Iowa after all) that she would certainly be overcome with the lyrics. Her lips didn't move a twinge except for that weird lip biting thing she does.

So disappointing.

In ALL of Michael Phelps medal ceremonies - I didn't see him mouth the words even once!


Has national pride sunk so low? Or do these young whippersnappers just not even know the words?!?!?!

But to be honest... I was most disappointed in the live producers for NBC. Yes... Michael Phelps won his final and upteenth Gold medal... outdoing even Mark Spitz... but during the medal ceremony for the Relay... the camera stayed on a tight shot of Phelps' face during the ENTIRE NATIONAL ANTHEM!!!!
It was a medal ceremony for the RELAY. Relay. That's four... count them, 4 guys!!!
I'm happy for Phelps but come on... it was like his 13th Gold medal! It was probably the ONLY gold for the three other guys who HELPED WIN THE EVENT!
Way to downplay their accomplishment.

Geez. Now for the history of the world... there will be no footage for these other three guys to show their families and potential grandchildren of them on the Gold Medal podium.

Bone head move NBC! Maybe a 4 shot would have been sufficient if you didn't want to take the bleeping camera off of Phelps.

And Phelps seems to be a pretty down to earth guy. I'm sure he's embarrassed that NBC couldn't stop lauding him long enough to give his teammates proper due.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lessons Learned: Never Drive in a Monsoon

I have the most heart wrenching news. I broke my car.

I am crushed beyond words. I loved my car. Her name was Gracie. She was the first car I owned that wasn't a hand-me-down from my parents. I picked her out and bought her myself.

On Friday night Denver got some much needed rain. I went to fill in at a different studio and ended up in a part of town where I rarely venture. When I closed the shop I went outside and noticed a huge black cloud and knew that it was going to open up.

It did. The downpour couldn't drain off the streets fast enough... and I got caught in high water. Just prior to that, the rain was beating the windshield so hard that I couldn't even see out. I determined that I had best pull over - but before I got a chance, my car stalled.

I sat there, stuck in the far right lane with my hazard lights on, praying that no one would rear-end me while I waited for Mr. Burns to drive all the way across town to rescue me. I could hear and feel the water swell and swirl beneath Gracie each time another car passed by.

We tried to charge the battery but that wasn't it. We went to a nearby auto parts store and asked for advice. They thought it could be the starter - maybe it took on water and given a chance to dry out it could start right up. We let Gracie sit in a restaurant parking lot to dry out all day Saturday.

Come Sunday morning, still no change. We had AAA tow it to the dealership two blocks from where I stalled out.

The diagnosis came on Monday: Water got into the motor... problems compound from there... needs new engine. The cost of this repair exceeds the value of my car by at least $2,000. My insurance company is looking into it.

Tonight as I lay fitfully with sleep alluding me... I realized this:

I totalled my first car on 8-08-88 - and pretty much killed Gracie on 8-08-08.
Weird huh?

8 is supposed to be a lucky number (In China anyway - that's why the Olympic games opened on 8-08-08) But as a friend pointed out... maybe my car stalling where it did kept me from a worse accident further down the road. And in 1988 - my parents didn't want me to take my car to college. Could be Divine intervention there too - totalling the car. Perhaps that prevented a road trip or joy ride that carried a worse fate.

God only knows.

RIP Gracie.

Update: Sad to report that the Insurance Inspector agreed with the diagnosis. Gracie is a total loss. Off she goes to the big salvage yard in the sky.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Heart As Big As This Country

If you want to see what a big heart looks like - go here:

Sending Them Home

The most beautiful and touching story I have seen in years.

God bless each and every man and woman serving to uphold our nation's freedom - and fighting for others whether we like or not.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just Chill

I've decided to chill.

Since Mr. Burns and I hit the one year mark back in February... and especially since he didn't accompany me home for my dad's big birthday party (in May), I've been a bit desperate for answers regarding just where this is going.

More to the point, I've been talking to way too many friends about it. And way too many of those friends have advised me to end it. They say he won't know just what he has until he's faced with being without me.

Well, I just can't. And I finally realized - here's the biggie - that I definitely can't end this relationship with the idea that he's going to beg me to come back. No. If I'm going to end it, it has to be because I'm ready for it to be over and I don't expect a reconciliation. It's just not in my nature to create a manipulation like that. Furthermore, I believe it would be toying with God's will if I pretended that was what I want.

Because here's the thing. It's not as if I'm in a bad relationship. We have a great relationship. I'm just in a relationship that doesn't know exactly what the next turn is going to be. And isn't that most relationships?

I've thought, several times, that if we were already married - this would be a phase of our relationship that we would have to work through. But because we're not married - I'm supposed to end the relationship? What sort of sense does that make?

One particular eye-opener came during a chat with the woman who cleans my condo building. (See, I told you I talk to way too many people about it! Even the cleaning lady.) She's such a sweet and tough little lady in her 50s who is also searching for love. When I told her that all of my friends - the ones who don't live near me and have never met Mr. Burns - tell me to get out. She asked what my other friends say.

"They all say that we're a great match."

So she asks, "Are the friends who tell you to leave married?"

"Yes." I responded with startled surprise. "You're right, they are all married!"

"Don't listen to them. They have distorted hindsight. They think their relationships are so perfect and they don't remember the struggles they had while they were dating their husbands. Marriage has wiped their memory clean." Then she continued, "I am so sick of my married friends doing the same thing to me!"

That really made me think... and it reinforced my idea that if I were already committed to this man with a ring and a house and a sacrament that I would work through it. Why does he deserve less commitment to our relationship because he hasn't popped the question yet? Don't I love him just the same? Wouldn't I expect it from him?

Then I decided - I just need to shut up. He's never going to feel inclined to sweep me off my feet if I'm constantly badgering him about what is coming next. That's no fun. He needs to see the woman he has fun with, who enjoys his company, who greets him sweetly and without expectation. The woman he can imagine spending his life with as a partner - not a nag.

I'm not talking about being a pushover. I'm talking about enjoying my relationship again.
And since I've started doing this - the smile on his face when he sees me is bigger and brighter. His eyes sparkle with joy and affection. His embrace is tighter and warmer. He won't even let go of my hand when he shifts gears while driving!

Suddenly I realize, this may not even be a change. He may have been looking at me this way all along but I couldn't see it because I was busy holding him against my checklist, my to-do list, and my calendar.

When I spent my time being frustrated, I was annoyed at his flirtatious smile because I took it as meaning he didn't feel the anxiety I was feeling.

He struggles with the same anxiety in his own way. Is he the man for me? Is he using up the last of my childbearing years if he determines we are not a forever match? That's a lot of pressure on him too.

I have prayed and prayed asking God to show me if I should leave... and the answer hasn't been clear. I'll just wait until it is. Perfectly.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dear Dove,

Dear Dove,

Is there a shortage of dark chocolate?

Stores in Denver, Colorado are shockingly short on Dove Dark Chocolate! It's been happening for weeks. While their supplies of Dove Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Almonds - and every other concievable variety is plentiful... the shelf space dedicated to Dove Dark Chocolate either sits empty or is filled with something not as fabulous as Dove Dark.

I'm worried there's going to be a run on Dark Chocolate. Is this related to the impending recession? What shall we do?

My boyfriend and I each keep a couple bags of Dove Dark Chocolate in our freezers (it's so good cold!) We usually head to the store to buy two bags at a time. However, for the past few weeks we've been on a wild goose chase.

What is happening? Should we be concerned? Is there any way to help?

Sincerely, and with great concern,