Monday, September 29, 2008

We put the assy in classy.

So, I survived my 15-year class reunion. It was very low-key – out of 174 graduates, only like 20 or 25 attended the festivities.

But really, it was great. Everybody talked to everybody. Some highlights:

  • The drunken wife of one of my classmates regaled BFF and I with tales of her infertility woes. I couldn’t even look at BFF, who is Very Childless By Choice. A note to the dear woman in question: sweetheart, know your audience. I don’t know you, and I don’t know what a progesterone implant is. And that’s ok. I’m glad you have a beautiful daughter now, and let’s just leave it at that.

  • A boy I’ve known since we were 4 years old told me all about his first DUI. Evidently, our hometown jail closes at noon on Saturday, so if you get picked up Friday night, you better make bail pronto or you’re stuck til Monday morning. Good to know.

  • I talked college choices with one of our class jocks. His stepdaughter is a senior in high school and is looking at one of my alma maters. I believe this makes us old.

  • My sweet, inebriated friend John talked about how proud and humbled he was to have grown up with such amazing people. “I look at you all now and you are nice, good people,” he said. “I was so privileged to grow up with you. I’m so proud of you all.”

    Me, too, my friend. My thoughts exactly.

  • BFF and I talked about how there’s no place we would have rather grown up than our hometown. That was bittersweet, as we had this conversation at a high school football game, 10 days before she moves to Africa for two years, courtesy of the U.S. government. More on that later, but suffice to say that there were lots of teary goodbyes this weekend along with the joyful reunions.

And the best part?

My Raquel Welch wig-esque hair looks just fine. My mom took my picture as I headed out to the reunion, just like the first day of school. I wore a pair of her jeans, as yes, my mom is way cooler than I am. Then, my sweet daddy looked at me and said, “I really like your hair. You look so pretty.”

It makes me think of the ninth-grade dance where I didn’t have a date. My dad bought me a corsage.

I couldn’t ask for more.

Friday, September 26, 2008

And this is what love looks like.

It’s been a hectic and stressful and painful week.

Issues at Corporate Behemoth have exploded to the point where Cha Cha, Queen of Just Doing Her Job and Figuring it Will All Come Out in the Wash, has actually had to do spin control.


And then there’s the break with Mr. Wonderful.

Be still my aching heart.

I am not sleeping. I am not eating. I am a hot flippin’ mess.

And my class reunion is this weekend and I look like I am wearing a Raquel Welch wig.

I’m working from home today in hopes that I can sneak away early afternoon to get my reunion on. And I’m exhausted and I haven’t packed and blah blah blah.

Geriatric Poodle has been very fussy today. Finally, I just plopped him on my lap and he is now completely satisfied. I must say … having his soft little body snuggled into mine is one of the few calming influences in my week. And really? If somebody shoves their nose into your armpit to find comfort and solace, you know you are loved.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baa baa black sheep.

Today’s question comes from Melissa of Green Girl in Wisconsin. If you don’t know her, you should. Her tales of holding her own against Team Testosterone make me laugh, and she is a seriously good writer. Like, seriously.

Oh, and I’m dying for photos of her remodeled bathroom. Hint, hint.

Melissa posed the question, “If you had to move to another country and start a new career, where and what?”


My brother actually did move to another country and start a new career – twice. He moved to Ireland and became a bartender – and a darn good one, too. He is now incredibly particular about how to properly pour Guinness – that shamrock is for American pansies. And he moved to Wales and became a shepherd. It was lambing season, after all.

I have always been in awe of my brother’s ability to feel the fear and do it anyway. I was the kid who did everything she was supposed to do. He was the kid who did sort of weird stuff that everyone was secretly (or not so secretly) jealous of. Like ending sentences with a preposition.

So, if I had to move to a different country and start a new career … I’d move to Canada and become a rock star. Because I like cold weather. Canadians are nice. And I could be Canada’s female Dave Grohl. With less hair.

Or, I’d travel around Europe as a stylist/designer, which would be my official excuse to go junking in flea markets around the globe. With other people’s money. The joy is in the hunt.

Or maybe I should just focus on being happy where I am. Because it’s never too late to stop doing what you’re supposed to do and start doing what you want to do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ahoy, matey.

Today’s question comes from the lovely and amazing Linda Crispell. I blame Linda for the fact that I can hardly move today. Her blog features her collections, collages and amazing home. After a visit to her blog, I got a wild hare to paint my laundry room and realized that another finished room in my home would mean an entire new room in which to decorate and fill with excellent estate sale finds … and so, it’s totally Linda’s fault that I have Kilz in my hair.

Blame her and check out her blog. We love her!

Linda’s question is: “If you did date Dave Grohl would you address the hair in the eyes thing?”

Mmm. An important question, especially in this election year. I don’t see the candidates addressing this issue enough.

Let me state first that My Boyfriend Dave Grohl is married and has a daughter. I believe in The Girl Code and would never put the moves on a married man. Ick. Plus, Mr. Wonderful and I are on a break. This doesn’t mean it’s ok to screw the copy girl … or Dave Grohl.

That said … if I was single and My Boyfriend Dave Grohl was single, and we bumped into each other at Dairy Queen and he bought me a chocolate dipped cone and the sparks flew (as they of course would) and we became an item … I would not address the hair in the eyes thing.

But Cha Cha, why?

Because he’s a grown man and can wear his hair however he darn well pleases. I love him just the way he is. Unless he’s getting hair in the lasagna or something.

Plus, people make fun of the way I pronounce “barrette.” I think I put too much emphasis on the R, so I sound like Pirate Hairdresser.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Letters! We get letters!

Thank you for posing questions and providing me with some blog fodder while I am On A Break. Keep ‘em coming. They make me feel popular.

The lovely Mrs. G. chimed in, asking,

If you had $500 and no debt what you spend it on?

Really, I should spend it on a shrine to Mrs. G., who was the very first non-personal friend to ever comment on my blog. Whether she knows it or not, she has inspired me many a time to keep on writing, keep a sense of humor and give homeschoolers a break already (Mrs. G., I hope you didn’t see the homeschoolers portrayed on last week’s SNL – I thought of you and cringed.).

Anyway. If I had no debt and $500 …

I mulled this one over, and I realized, “Hey! I don’t have any debt, except for a mortgage, and everyone has a mortgage, so that doesn’t even count. And, I have $500. And, I’m sad! And, I should totally spend $500!”

While I don’t believe the original intent was a call to action, my tiny brain and overactive wallet took it as such.

So. What did Cha Cha do with those 500 glorious American dollars?

I wish I could tell you that I increased some charitable donations, or helped out the homeless man who told me he couldn’t get a job because he couldn’t afford a phone.

But I am not that kind of lovely right at this moment. No.

No, with $500:

  • I paid for some blood work and bought some Chinese herbs for the Geriatric Poodle. He seems to be doing well. And if you’re ever in need of a low-carb, low-sugar treat for your dog? Canned pumpkin, my friends. They lurve it and it’s great for mixing in meds and herbs. Just a tip. I didn’t actually spend $500 on canned pumpkin.
  • I bought two books recommended by my counselor. And a cookbook that was on sale but I had to buy it because a) it’s vegetarian cooking and all of my cooking expertise is Iowan and therefore involves lard and ground beef; b) it features full-color photos of each and every recipe. Because I am what I graciously like to call a “visual learner,” this picture book of food was just up my alley.
  • I scheduled a massage. Yeah, it’s my third one in six weeks. Shut up.
  • I bought a five-class yoga punch card. I attended the first of these classes last night. While I was afraid that my two-year yoga hiatus would render me That Woman who can barely lift a limb and falls down during class, I was instead greeted by my body screaming, “YESSSSS! Thank you!” I don’t know if the other class participants heard the Hallelujah chorus, but I sure did.
  • I bought some new face powder, two lotions and two shower gels. Because averting shine while also smelling purdy makes a girl feel good.
  • And finally … I had the main sewage line from my house to the city sewer snaked. Oh, yes I did. Because when the kitchen sink gurgles when you flush the toilet? I’m not an expert, but I can tell you that that’s not good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm fine. No, miserable, No, ok. No, really sad.

Yesterday, I attempted the cute-shoes-to-cheer-me-up move again. The shoes in question? Cork wedges with pink and purple polka dot uppers. Very cute.

Sadly, these only cheered me up marginally. Today, I'm working from home, so I'm going barefoot, which should cheer me up in a different way.

Mr. Wonderful and I are now officially On A Break. The general reaction to that seems to be "Don't fuck the copy girl," as my generation seems to automatically equate On A Break with Ross and Rachel from Friends. I have no concerns about fucking the copy girl. I'm just trying to figure out what's what.

As I attempt to be a Klassy Lady, I won't air our dirty laundry here. Suffice to say that my heart is alternatively feeling positive and optimistic and breaking into a million painful pieces.

So help a girl out and give me something to write about. Pose a question or give me a topic. I need to do something besides sit on the couch and moan, and blogging might as well be it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stone in love.

I accomplished a major life goal.

Yes. I finally saw Journey.

Mr. Wonderful had seen them twice, post-Steve Perry. He told me we'd be seeing the best karaoke show in the world.

But, alas, no!

Journey's new lead singer is the real deal. The band found "the thriller from Manila" on YouTube. Yep. Arnel Pineda was fronting a band in his homeland of the Philippines and Neal Schon saw them on YouTube.

While we were waiting for the band to come on, we noticed that the entire row in front of us was filled with Filipinos of all ages. A few rows in front of that, there was a row of Filipinos with banners and signs.

I had heard that when Mr. Pineda landed the gig with Journey that it was big news for a month in the Philippines. The folks we saw at the show obviously weren't familiar with the music, but it was like they were watching an Olympian represent their country.

The couple in front of us was, well, really cute. She spent the entire show text messaging on her phone that had a picture of a rooster as the wallpaper. He took photos of the concert pretty much nonstop, which was a chore because I don't think he topped 5'3".

In a crowd filled with people in varying stages of inebriation reliving their misspent youth, singing at the top of their lungs along to songs that probably accompanied many a back-seat deflowering, it was touching to see this outpouring of pride from folks who obviously have no personal affiliation with the music or the singer they came to support. It made me happy.

And Journey? Kicks some serious ass. Jonathan Cain plays, like, 27 instruments. The band sounds even better than you remember. The new lead singer is amazing.

And I totally need to score a pic of a rooster for my phone's wallpaper.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why my blog is anonymous.

My 15-year class reunion is coming up in two weeks. I'm one of the members of the six-person committee. It's been a train wreck. We're trying to do everything fast, but it's all moving at a snail's pace. We're trying to do it on the super cheap, but we can't avoid costs like name tags and room rental.

BFF and I have feverishly been tracking down classmates, but thus far, only about a dozen of my 170 classmates have agreed to attend.

I know. I've actually been dreaming about this stupid reunion. It's going to be lame and there's nothing I can do about it.

One classmate has been hounding BFF for the better part of a year about this reunion. Let's call this classmate Sandra.

Sandra is a bit hard. Her MySpace complains about how she and her (older?) husband aren't allowed to see their grandkids.

We're 33? You have grandkids? Plural?

Anyway. Word on the street is that Sandra did a bit of time for using her employer's money for her own purposes. I believe it's called embezzlement. Not judging, just providing background.

So, Sandra has been all crazy gung ho about this reunion for a year. And we couldn't figure out why, of all people, she hadn't RSVPed. But finally, our prayers were answered and she replied to the Evite.

"We might come but won't pay $18!"

I wanted to beat my head against my desk. And then I decided that no, what I'd really like to do is reply, "That's ok, Sandra. We all know how you are with money."

Friday, September 12, 2008

A few things I've figured out today.

1. Wearing those "I've always loved these shoes even though they sort of hurt and the toe isn't super in-style right now" shoes can brighten your day, even if it's the sort of day when you wear your glasses because your eyes are too puffy to cram your contacts in or, really, apply mascara.

2. You'll pay the price for #1, though, when you wear those shoes all day, including a trip to the grocery. Your pinky toes will curse you and plot their revenge.

3. Watching brides pick out their gowns on Say Yes to the Dress probably isn't the greatest idea on a Friday night when you make chocolate chip cookies, eat a good portion of the dough, and consider how your boyfriend of a year and a half is reassessing whether or not you're a good match.

4. Growing your pixie haircut out goes in stages. One day, you will wake up to find that even though your boyfriend calls you ChaChabacca, you, miraculously, have something that resembles a hairstyle. This, despite the fact that just yesterday, you looked like a yeti.

5. It's impossible to think "Yeah, maybe we aren't a good match" about a boyfriend who calls you repeatedly during a bad storm to make sure you're ok because you freaked the fuck out about a thunderstorm a few nights ago. This is especially true when said boyfriend tells you to call him if you get scared and means it.

And this, dear readers, is evidently what personal growth looks like.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Learn to fly.

Mr. Wonderful and I flew to Denver yesterday to see the Foo Fighters. Because we are insane.

It was one of the concerts rescheduled from the unfortunate incident that caused me to temporarily break up with My Boyfriend Dave Grohl. Mr. Wonderful and I had tickets to see the band not one, but two nights at Red Rocks. We got there to find plentiful parking and no band. My Boyfriend Dave Grohl was sick and they postponed the shows.

So, Mr. Wonderful and I flew out yesterday, toured some fine breweries and sampled their fine wares, then went to Target.

Yes, we went to Target to buy hats and gloves and extra layers of clothing. It’s the beginning of September and it was 48 degrees in Denver. I wore a stocking cap to the concert. And not because I’m a skater dude.

The show was great. The parking was not. We finally got out of the parking lot around 1 a.m. Then, we drove to the luxurious Sleep Inn near the airport.

Yes, I imagine that’s where the band was staying as well.

When we got there, no one was manning the front desk. Finally, a guy comes out buttoning his shirt. Had he been freshening up? Getting a little something something in the back office? I can’t say.

However, when Mr. Wonderful questioned the room rate and seriously asked me if we should just sleep in the car, I evidently had something to say. I don’t remember quite what it was, but it was enough to get him to sign for the room without further ado, and it made the desk clerk attempt not to laugh.

I evidently have a way with words.

We slept for three whole hours before trekking to the airport for our 6:30 flight. I slept the entire flight, and while Mr. Wonderful actually went to work for the day, I slept for a few hours when I got home, too.

I feel like crap.

I woke up feeling sad. Yes, I was sad because it was 1 p.m. and I was finally facing the day. But I was also sad that I didn’t just mindlessly bounce back from something that was supposed to be lots of fun. Mostly, I was sad because this fun little excursion seems like an island in a vast, choppy sea of figuring shit out.

I have the rest of the afternoon off, and I think I might celebrate by working the yard a little. And going to the library. And trying to figure out what the fuck I’m doing in general.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yeah, you should be jealous.

Two of the last three nights, I’ve dreamt that the Geriatric Poodle got kidnapped. In the first dream, I took him to the movies (which he will obviously enjoy, what with being blind and deaf). We saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. At the end of the movie, he was gone.

I finally found him tucked inside the coat of some man I didn’t know. I got him back. The man was nonplussed.

When I woke up, I was upset, then I realized that no one would want a blind and deaf geriatric poodle. And that made me sad.

Last night, I dreamt an acquaintance got in trouble at work, and had to offer up Geriatric Poodle to make good on whatever he messed up. I had to go to City Hall to get my dog back.

Makes sense, obviously.

On one hand, the dog is putting on weight and has a spring in his step. On the other, he doesn’t always eat, still doesn’t settle down, and … I’m dreaming about him dying.

There. I said it.

But everything’s fine, because at work? At work, all of the Indian guys have started calling me the wrong name. Consistently. Out loud and via e-mail.


Usually, I’m Char Char and it’s fine. I am too completely inept in all languages but English to throw stones. But lately? Lately, I’ve become Gladys. I will send out an e-mail, sign it “Cha Cha” and include my “Cha Cha, Czarina of Editorial Whoopass” super-impressive e-mail signature footer.

And the replies? “Dear Gladys …”

Someone keeps stealing my dog, my coworkers don’t know my name, and my hair looks like circa-1982 Joyce Dewitt. Huzzah!

Oh. And my boyfriend says he thinks we might want to take a break from each other while I straighten out my life / work balance issues.

So, yeah, there’s that, too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What would Nina do?

Nina was my grandma. She was the youngest of eight kids and adored by all. Two days after her nineteenth birthday, she married my grandpa and promptly set up house in the middle of western Kansas, which is just as desolate as you think. She set up house for herself, her new husband … and his three teenage brothers.

Did I mention this was during the Depression?

This would surely explain Nina’s lifelong ability to produce amazing meals from completely bare cupboards. She loved it when company would stop by, and she’d never let them leave with an empty stomach. She could make a casserole out of lint and some potato chips, and it would be lovely.

Nina also didn’t take any crap, although she’d never use the word “crap.” During the war, she babysat in her home while many of her friends were being Rosie the Riveter. She had one little boy who was always biting the other kids … until she bit him back. The kid never bit anyone ever again.

My grandma always had things under control. She passed away six days before my brother was to move to Wales. The funeral was held the day before his departure. He was able to pay his respects and make his plane.

A few weeks later, I ran into one of the ladies who volunteered at the funeral luncheon. She was four hours from home, wandering through an architectural salvage shop, and seeing her was like seeing an apparition – I was totally unprepared. But this kind woman spoke so sweetly about Nina, and wondered if my brother had made it to Wales. I replied that he had, and that it was almost like my grandma had planned the whole thing.

This kindly woman looked me square in the eye and said, “Cha Cha, your grandma always knew what she was doing.”

I’ve carried this with me for the last six and a half years. I can’t believe she’s gone. I still find myself thinking that I’ll have to remember to tell Grandma thus-and-such. And I have so many things I wish I could ask her.

If I’m still, I know what she would say about just about everything. This daughter of an abusive, alcoholic dad, this very young wife, this mother of three and grandma of eight, this wife of 69 years, this woman who was never as old as her numeric age … she’d tell me to get over it. Whatever it is, get over it.

I am battling a severe case of work burnout, bordering on depression. And I’m desperate for any words of wisdom, any kind help to right my ship. I know that Nina the pragmatist would tell me to just stop worrying so much, be glad for my job, and tend to Mr. Wonderful, lest he disappear altogether.

And then I’d provide more details and more mess. And yet? And yet, her advice wouldn’t change, nor would it need to.

Nina once told me that the secret to her 69-year-marriage was that they took one day at a time. At the time, this made me laugh and laugh. But now, I see that’s pretty good advice for life in general.

So. Any questions for the smart lady with the mischievous look in her eye? Send ‘em my way and I’ll do my best to channel Nina.