31 December 2009

"Should old acquaintance be forgot ..."

Foreign Press did a very strange article titled "The Best Years of the Decade."

Well, it wasn't so much of an article as it was a list ... with no explanations whatsoever as to the reasoning behind their choices.

Anyway, I decided to follow suit and come up with a list of my own, based upon my personal experience with the last 10 years. And in case you're wondering, 1 = the best and 10 = the worst.

1. 2002
2. 2001
3. 2000
4. 2009
5. 2004
6. 2005
7. 2003
8. 2006
9. 2007
10. 2008

Okay, so 2002 was a pretty awesome year. I graduated from high school and began my college career. The years 2000 and 2001 marked the years that I finally discovered that I was a pretty cool person, despite not being in the in-crowd (which had included the same set of people since middle school). Sure, there were bad times during this period (9/11, getting my first ticket, etc.), but all in all, it was a pretty positive experience. I got my first job, my first boyfriend (who was an emotionally abusive person but I thankfully had the smarts to get the hell out of that relationship), went on what was probably the most fun prom ever (my friend Jesse and I went together and it was a blast - no sexual tension, since Jesse was gay, and all we did was eat and dance on the General Jackson showboat, my class' idea).

As of yet, 2009 has been one of the better years of the latter half of this decade, at least for me. I, unlike a lot of people, managed to find a job after being unemployed for 7 months. In October, I celebrated my anniversary of moving back with the parents, which has been both a frustrating and a enlightening time. But I'm moving in a direction to where I am a better person.

And now, for the crappy years. 2004 was the year right after I told my parents to get the hell out of my life (because I, like, wanted to be independent, yo), spent all of my savings because I couldn't find a job and I was having to pay for rent and utilities. I bought a dog on credit - love you, Maggie, who was actually named Stoli when I bought her, given my penchant for naming animals after alcoholic beverages. I also got in a wreck with a car I had bought for $600 that I had named Spaz. Spaz was a 1987 Ford Escort hatchback that was kept together by bubble gum, popsicle sticks and happy thoughts and was not able to stop at any point during a driving adventure because the car would die. True story. I got pulled over so many times until the cops realized that I wasn't trying to break the law and just kind of waved as I passed by. Well, I was rear-ended by a semi-truck that completely destroyed the car. That was fun. I spent the rest of this year trying to make up for mistakes I had made with my parents.

2005 is where it is because I can't really remember much of what happened that year except that it was just a bad year; it's kind of like I remember middle school sucking big hairy balls but I've blocked so much of it from my memory that it doesn't really matter that much. I remember that I broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years in July because I realized there was no future. Later on, we got back together for what was the most miserable two months of my life, relationship wise, and then he broke up with me on my birthday over the phone, even though I had stupidly decided to make us work.

Moving on, I brought in 2006 with a glass of champagne and tears in my eyes because I hadn't really gotten over my ass-munching ex-boyfriend. The next four or five months was me being depressed, amazingly graduating from college and trying to find a job. I worked at Borders down on West End in Nashville, under the worst manager I have ever had: Karen. God, I hate that name now; anyone named Karen, I am sorry, but I will automatically despise you and will probably have to start calling you something else to avoid having negative thoughts about you. Anyway, I resigned my job after 3 months because she was a heinous bitch. I'll admit I wasn't the best employee, but she never was able to tell me what exactly I was doing wrong or how I could correct it. Instead, she talked about me behind my back, not only to the other managers, but to the regular employees, as well. The last two weeks of working there, I was called to jury duty, but it was for a federal child pornography case, so I got to watch gay porn with young teenage boys for nearly two weeks straight. But I didn't have to deal with Karen, for which I was thankful. We ended up convicting him of 11 of the 23 counts, sending him to jail for 15 years minimum; I honestly don't know the punishment, as I kind of separated myself after the trial was over. Then I got another job, working for DirectBuy as a shipping specialist and got let go due to poor sales the day my family and I were celebrating my birthday. Plus, I had just made another bad decision and had bought a Harley Davidson Sportster 883 on impulse. Granted, that year, I had met and started dating Kyle, which was for the most part a very positive romantic relationship. We still remain friends, although we don't see each other as much as I would like.

Oh, 2007. What a year you were. First of all, I brought in the year with a bang. The motorcycle I had bought in December was defective and ended up giving me lovely third degree burns on my right leg. When I went to the burn unit at Vanderbilt, I was told I would have to have skin grafts, I had no idea what I was going to do. I had no job and no way to pay for the surgeries, but I had to get them done or else I would never heal. What a great experience. I spent four months in recovery, taking narcotics around the clock and dealing with constant pain. Kyle and I broke up and got back together and then broke up again. Oh, the drama. I started working at Olive Garden in Mount Juliet, where I made a lot of relationship missteps, although nothing too irreparable. I ended up having to work all of the major holidays, although I was told I could have at least one of them off. But nope. I had to deal with holiday assholes. Granted, this was the first year in a while where my birthday hadn't been totally craptastic. Plus, my best friend came back into my life, after I had basically divorced her, for reasons that remain between us. But, as a whole, 2007 was my second worst year.

And then 2008 happened. Sigh. It had started out as such a good year, too. Harley Davidson stepped up and paid for my medical bills and I was able to get out on my own. I was working as a cocktail waitress, making decent money, and I bought my little Zola Pants. Then the summer came. The economy went to pot and so my income went way down, almost to $100/week, so I had to dip into the savings I had to pay for my rent and utilities and other payments. Then the credit card debt went up after that was all gone. And then I moved back in with my parents and I stopped working at the bar. Granted, I was lucky to have my parents when I needed them. They paid my bills when they realized how much trouble I was in and put up with my depressed behavior. So I guess this year, while horrible and arguably my worst financial year, was mixed with little blessings.

So, here ends my little summary of the last ten years of my life. And I am actually kind of excited for 2010 to begin in, well, right now, four and a half hours.

Happy New Year!!!

30 December 2009

Sigh, I want pretty things. Wait, scratch that. I want things, preferably pretty.

I'm in "move the hell out of my parents' house" mode again. Granted, I know that, while monetarily possible at this point in time, it's probably best that I hang around until I pay my debts off. It's not a lot of money, in complete contrast to my previous $33,000 medical bill fiasco from 2007 - 2008, but it's enough to make me uncomfortable.

Plus, I'm going back to nursing school, so there's going to be some issues there. All in all, I am not quite sure what I am going to do. Plenty of people work and get through nursing school without living at home, but I figure if I have the option of not paying rent for the time being, why not take it? Then the little annoying Mature Voice slaps me on the back of the head, telling me to grow up.

Hopefully, my father will win the lottery or some old man/woman will find me so adorable that they have to fund my further education. (That's my "I Will Forever Be 12" persona.)

Whatever I decide to do, I'm still dreaming of what I can use to furnish my apartment/house/basement. Here are some of my ideas (and how inappropriate is this, considering Christmas just effing happened):

1) a princess phone from the 1950s

 (There's something about this phone that makes me happy. I think it's the fact that it is one of the rotary dialers.)

2) a framed copy of Van Gogh's "Almond Blossom" painting (isn't it pretty???)

3) a coffee table/ottoman (complete with tons o' storage for my plethora of blankets)

4) old fashioned table settings (with sugar bowl, creamer thingie, mustard jar, etc. - I frequent the Look in the Attic webpage for all sorts of vintage fun) and vintage silverware (preferably plated since it's not as expensive*)

5) one of those TownHaus doggie dens that, yet again, are ridiculously pricey

6) a turntable for my growing collection of LPs (I know, how hipster of me)

7) plenty of sets of 1000 thread count sheets - I am spoiled on these and do not care that people know this. It's like sleeping on top of heaven.

8) a huge armoire like the one my mom has upstairs in what she and I call the junk/sewing room. It's just handy.

At this point, all I'm doing is depressing myself so I should probably stop. Although what I'm probably going to really do is come up with a non-electronic version of this list so I can stay on top of things. That planner I haven't used since I got it last year really is proving to be quite a wonderful tool.

On a side note, oh my GOD, tomorrow is the last day of the year.

* True story - I found a set of gold-plated silverware from 1764 at an antique store in Nashville and that was going for $5000. Not a penny less. You'd better shit the gold back out in bricks for that kind of cash.

29 December 2009

"This is my favorite."

I usually go out of the office for lunch because it gets a little stuffy in there and well, sometimes you just need to escape from people. There's a lovely little park about two minutes away where I go walk on days when it's not excruciatingly cold/rainy/etc. outside, and today was no different. Granted, it was pretty damned cold, but I brought my extra-insulated gloves and scarf, mainly to further my transformation into the little brother from "A Christmas Story." Unfortunately for that aspiration, I never got out of my car.

Instead I found myself entranced by this angry sounding guy being interviewed by Terri Gross on NPR. His voice sounded familiar, but I could not figure out who it was. It was actually pretty infuriating as I racked my brain in the parking lot, and I had originally thought it was a football player or something. He talked about growing up in the ghetto, having a heroin-addicted father and his lack of role models growing up. Finally, Terri Gross said the "Well, if you're just joining us" speech and reintroduced her guest: Tracy Morgan.

At first, I was like, "Ah, yes, Brian Fellows. That's where I've heard him before." But then I actually started to listen to him. When Terri confronted him about his anger issues, he stated that he wasn't that way anymore; he was just passionate. He spoke openly about his father and his unstable childhood. He discussed his experience with SNL (and his love for Lorne Michaels, who told him that he wasn't "here [at SNL] because [he] was black; [he] was there because [he] was funny) and his collaborative relationship with Tina Fey, including their work on "30 Rock."

He also brought up the interesting notion of black comedians, one that I've noted for a while. He said that, many times, black comedians get comfortable with their audience and don't know how to do anything other than ghetto comedy. This puts them in a niche market and greatly limits their potential to grow as entertainers. Coming from a self-described "ghetto boy," I found this enlightening and actually kind of inspirational. I'm not saying (and neither is he, seeing as he embraces his edgier approach with the ghetto influences) that they should forget their pasts and experiences growing up, but to sequester one's self just seems harmful to any type of artistic pursuit.

What amazed me, though, was how vulnerable he was in this interview. He actually had to stop talking for a few moments, fighting back tears, when he said that he never wanted to hurt his mother when he left to live with his father (who had sobered up from his addiction) and eventually came and got his younger brother and sister from her care. It was very touching, especially when he said that he hoped his mother read his book (I Am the New Black) so she could read about how much he loved her and knew that she had done everything she could for him and his siblings.

Now, I probably won't go out and buy Morgan's memoir, but I might check it out at the library. I probably won't watch any of his movies or rewatch one of those SNL "Best of" DVDs because, well, I never really found Tracy to be that incredibly funny. But I do have a special place in my heart for him now. This interview may just have been enough for me to start watching "30 Rock," though. Plus, I miss me some Tina Fey.

PS The quote in the title is from what Tracy Morgan sketch? Highlight the following portion for the answer: his Maya Angelou impression on Weekend Update with Tina Fey

16 December 2009

But I made a vow to the moon and the stars that I'd search the honkytonks and bars and kill that man that gave me that awful name.

I think I am going to follow the lead of a fellow case worker that works in Davidson County and start compiling a list of all the insane names I see on a daily basis. I'm amazed at what people think is appropriate to call their children. The infamous "Nosmo King" sounds practically melodious compared to some of the ones that cross my desk.

Today, I met a perfectly nice girl who has a 6 month old baby girl, cute as a button. And quiet. Thank GOD. Her first name was spelled interestingly enough (I can't give the full name, due to confidentiality) but it wasn't too weird, respectively, to some of the names I'm going to list later, but it was only when I read the birth certificate that I felt truly sorry for what this little girl is going to have to deal with later in life. Her middle names (yes, names - which isn't too abnormal, but still) are Raven Storm. Like a superhero. My soul gently weeps.

This, however, is not the worst, as I noted earlier. Back when I was in training in Davidson County, I ran across a woman who had named her poor daughter Fellatia. As in the feminine form of Fellatio. Oh, what fun puberty will be. Yesterday, I saw a Bimmer (like the car), and back when I first started working full time in Wilson County, I met a man - a big, burly dude, too - named Molivette. One of my coworkers told me about a little boy who was named Precious, as well as another horribly deemed Imagine That (first and middle name).

Whatever happened to Jane? Or George? Or heck, even Sawyer or Ryan? I blame celebrities. Jason Lee named his son Pilot Inspektor. Gwen Paltrow called her daughter Apple (which I admit is kind of cute). Bob Geldof gave his daughter this name: Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa. Whew. It's almost as if they are taking revenge on some evil done to them by torturing their children. I suppose if you think of all the crap your children put you through, maybe going the "boy named Sue" route is the way to go.

But still, let's give the weird, exotic names back to the soap operas and let our children grow up without having to deal with perpetual mockery, m'kay?

05 December 2009

The time to begin most things is ten years ago. (Mignon McLaughlin)

I'm turning 26 this month. I can't really believe it. I mean, I knew that, following the year I became 25, I would undoubtedly get a year older, given that I wouldn't die or be abducted by aliens or whatever, but it's still kind of a shock.

It's not a milestone birthday, of course. It's like turning 19 or 22 (both of which are particular ages for Medicaid and food stamp eligibility, so I guess there's points there - although that knowledge does paint me as a giant work nerd, since my first thoughts concerning those two numbers were related to my job). Nobody really cares when that birthday comes up, unless you're the perpetual "this day is totally about me" or the "birthday month" person.

And as a side note, can I just say that I hate those people? I mean, the world does not stop because your mother pushed you out of her uterus however many years ago. You're not Jesus.

Plus, I kinda have this phobia about this time of the year. For those of you that don't know me, my birthday has negative connotations for several reasons. I have been sick, taken a Latin exam whilst sick, gotten broken up with, had to take care of alcohol-poisoned boyfriend all night, gotten let go from a job all at least within a day of my birthday. I stopped trying to make a big deal out of it after the 2005 debacle (boyfriend/kinda fiance breaking up with me left me sort of depressed for months afterwards) Ever since then, I have this weird dread that sits over me; so I avoid talking about it or mentioning it. I just assume that if I ignore it that the bad juju/karma of the universe will kind of forget it, too. I secretly would love to celebrate it a little more, not to the extent to where I'm mentioning it at any opportunity. About two years ago, I almost came out of my shell but ended up feeling very sick because of a combination of vodka and wine, so last year, I just left it as simple and non-announce-y as I could. And it went by pretty smoothly - no earth shattering events occurred and I got to spend time with my family.

My mom keeps asking me where I want to go for my birthday dinner. I want to go to Sitar, an amazing Indian restaurant down on 21st Avenue, but neither of my parents will have anything to do with Indian cuisine, mainly due to curry. I've explained that all Indian food doesn't have curry, but that doesn't really seem to matter. In any case, I don't particularly care where we go to eat, as long as it isn't McDonald's or something similar, and as long as I can be with my family. It sounds corny, I know, but it's true.

Wherever we go, I'm sure I'll get my share of "only four years 'til you're thirty" or "so, do you feel 26?"
Nope, don't feel 26. I don't know exactly how 26 is supposed to feel, actually. I mean, before calendars and whatnot, did people just have this sixth sense that they were going to be a certain age? Like how animals know instinctively that they are supposed to do things at a specific time or else they die? Because that's a scary notion; there are things I wanted to do before I turned 30: be a published author, get married, have a child, go back to Europe, run at least a half-marathon, get a nursing/teaching degree, become fluent in Spanish and/or Farsi, go sky diving, etc. And now I've got four whole years to accomplish all of that.

I'd better get moving, or else I'll be writing this very same thing around the same time next year. Off to the treadmill! :)