Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Domestic Stuff

Last night I finally went to my long-anticipated (by me, anyway) quilting class. Just a one-night affair, called "machine-quilting basics." I was quite concerned that I would be the dunce of the class and probably asked to leave before I infected the real quilters with my dunceness. Thankfully, this did not occur, although it was touch and go there for awhile.

Really, who would expect to go to a quilting class, the qualifications for which were "must be able to sew a straight line" and after a brief introductory lecture, be told to START QUILTING?! I had to slap my quilt sandwich together (and yes, that IS what it's called) lickety-split and just go with it.

It turned out okay. By the end of the night, my neighbor had said to me, "My, you're really good at squiggles."

I'm good at squiggles. Huh. Who knew?

I actually did take a picture this morning of my squiggles (and my name -- I quilted my name, isn't that cool?) but unfortunately, since I was quilting with tan thread on cream muslin, the picture came out looking a lot like nothing. You'll have to just take my word for it. I'm going to do some practicing on the really pretty fabric panel I bought which we didn't actually use in the class, so I'll post that when it's done.

In lieu of a quilting picture, I thought I'd pass on this great recipe for homemade ice cream that I made this weekend. (If you don't have an ice cream maker, I highly suggest you buy one. I bought a cheapy one for $18 at Target and it's working just fine so far.) Homemade ice cream, even made in an electric maker, reminds me of being a kid and cranking that ice cream crank until I thought my arm would fall off, then getting to eat multiple bowls of drippy, smooshy yumminess. In my family, we only had three flavors: banana, strawberry or peach. I made banana on Sunday, with the scandalous addition of dark chocolate chips. I'm planning on trying some more adventurous flavors this summer, but for starters, this one's a classic. It came from my mom, who got it from HER mom, so it has a great pedigree.

Homemade Ice Cream

2 quarts Half and Half
5 eggs (Yes, it has raw eggs. It came from a grandma, it must be okay.)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
pinch of salt
3 cups of fruit

Mix together and run through a blender to chop and distribute fruit. Chill for as long as you can stand to wait. Freeze according to your ice cream freezer's directions, then put in your regular freezer for a few hours to harden further.

Best eaten outside in a lawn chair, swatting bugs and letting your favorite dog lick the bowl.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The 48-Hour Marriage

This weekend Todd and I "escaped" from normal life to enjoy a day together. Because it was supposed to be the rainiest of rainy days (which it totally wasn't, after all), we didn't make any outdoor plans and instead cooked a fabulous dinner and watched not one, but two movies.

Movie #1 was Babel. I resisted this movie for a long time because I am currently in an anti-Brad Pitt phase of my life. (Dude, you can't dump Rachel and not expect some fallout.) All I have to say about it now is if you absolutely must watch it, at least make sure you are up to date on your chosen anti-depressant. Because if you combined that movie with the song "Yesterday," you would have a big-time global weapon on your hands. Mass suicides would ensue.

Happily, our Movie #2 was one of my old favorites, Same Time Next Year. I don't think it was as well-received around the house as I had hoped, though, and I've been doing some thinking about why.

I fell in love with this movie in a past life when I was very unhappily married. At that time, the story of two people, both married to others, carrying out a 25-year affair one weekend of every year, seemed like the most romantic thing ever. I was convinced that was the best I could ever hope for -- a really great guy on the side.

But now, in my current life, I have that great guy as the main course, every single day. I don't have to wait for one weekend a year. So the whole adultery thing isn't quite so attractive.

And the whole we-have-such-a-wonderful-relationship-that-we-can-sustain-it-in-only-one-weekend-a-year thing? It just seems like cheating.

No, not just cheating on their respective spouses, but cheating as in that's-not-a-real-relationship-at-all kind of cheating.

Because really, who couldn't sustain that kind of attraction for 48 hours out of a year? Think of all the things that don't have to clog up those 48 hours: laundry, badly behaved pets, conversations about money, cleaning the bathroom, summertime colds, etc., etc. It's easy to envy them, in a way, seeing as how they've essentially cut out all the steamed broccoli of life and cut right to the chocolate cake.

But then there are the other things that won't be in those 48 hours: long lazy Saturday evenings on the couch, cooking dinner together, teaching the dog to give hugs, earnest conversations about life, falling asleep by a campfire, explaining to your niece that she's descended from monkeys, etc., etc. All those "broccoli" things.

And I think that what I know now is that without the broccoli to hold you together, one of you might end up with chocolate cake and the other with banana pudding or something. Or you might both end up with chocolate cake, but one has suddenly developed some kind of chocolate allergy and the other is . . .

Okay, maybe the cake analogy can only go so far. What I mean is, the great thing about a 365-day marriage is that you and your chosen honey can grow and change and have adventures TOGETHER, not just talk about your adventures once a year.

Now, don't get me wrong, I still love the movie. Those two are so cute together you'll need to eat a potato chip after watching it. But I don't envy them anymore. (I mean, aside from Ellen Burstyn's fabulous skin. That woman can't ever have had a zit in her life.)

I'll keep my 365-day marriage, thank you very much. Broccoli and all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


In the latest of a long line of the world's injustices, I feel the need to report the following:

Even though I actually DID swim laps for 30 minutes last night, including SPRINTS for crap's sake . . .

And even though I CLEANED THE BATHROOM . . .

I woke up this morning with a cold. Life is so not fair.


I learned yesterday that The Center for Women and Families here in Louisville is focusing all their fundraising and expenditures on the prevention of domestic violence, which includes job counseling and economic education, rather than actual shelter for victims of domestic violence who may currently be in danger.

Interesting, huh? Even more so was the comment I heard first-hand from the Center's President, when asked why there were not more beds being added to the shelter: "If we keep building them, they will keep coming. I see it like ghettos, they just keep filling up."

Just thought I'd pass that along. Consider it a public service announcement. Like the Milk ads, only without Mariska Hargitay and a milk mustache.

Sheesh, it's been somber around here lately. I'll try to make it lighter tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Again With the Random

Hmm . . . I think I have the beginning-of-the-week blogging blues. It always seems to be hard to get going, then by Thursday I'm ready to crank out a bunch in a row. Since it's just Tuesday, you get a bunch of randomness from me today.

Random thing #1: I had a Very Bad Day in court last week, and I'm still mopey about it. Ridiculous. My current Old Man in a Black Robe made some really just horrible decisions -- I mean objectively horrible, not just horrible because they were not what I wanted -- and there were a few brief moments in which I contemplated that I just might be on my way to jail. Luckily, I made it out of there without such consequences. Seriously, they've changed the women's jumpsuits from orange to a yellow which would just not be flattering to my complexion at all.

Random thing #2: As you should know, Father's Day was this past Sunday, and in my family, we celebrated by having lunch at my sister's, in which my Father was honored by being allowed to bring the homemade strawberry ice cream. I was feeling a bit bummed out about my present for my dad -- a gift certificate to Tractor Supply Company -- when he told us that his "building" (which is really like his second house) was burglarized last week, and the scumbag in question took all the power tools which my sister and I had previously "given" him for Christmas (an excellent arrangement in which my father purchases his hand tool of the moment and we give him Christmas money for the purchase). So I guess it was an okay present, after all.

And -- if you happen to be the scumbag who burglarized my dad's building -- we know who you are, and YOU SUCK! Harumph.

Random thing #3: In the never-ending Quest for Self-Improvement (really, I think looking around the world for Horcruxes that house bits of Lord Voldemort's soul would be more fun and successful) I have instituted a new practice of making a weekly to-do list and exercise schedule. Last night's tasks (which were successfully completed, by the way) included swimming laps for thirty minutes, putting away laundry, and cleaning the craft room. Tonight's list includes fervent prayers that storms prevent the pool from opening as well as avoidance of cleaning the bathroom.

Random thing #4: As of this morning, Penny the Wonder Puppy is officially Todd's dog. I washed my hands of her (quite literally) after an incident involving poo and breakfast. As in, simultaneously. As in, HER poo and HER breakfast. Do I really have to spell this out for you?

Random thing #5: If you are the dude who was walking a small weinie-type dog at 11:00 p.m. last night in front of my house, I apologize profusely for the appalling behavior of Sam the Best Dog Ever. He was (understandably, I think) startled to see a weinie dog walking down the street at that hour. But seriously, dude, your weinie dog put up a hell of a fight. Kudos.

Random thing #6: As further proof that I am not growing marijuana in my front yard, there are actual, recognizable tomatoes growing on my tomato plants. I was a bit upset to discover that one of the plants is, in fact, a cherry tomato plant, but I suppose I will survive.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Fripperies Get Personal

If you are someone who has known me for very long at all, you know there are at least two things that I can never resist (well, three, if you count Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns) -- home retail parties (think Tupperware, candles, Pampered Chef, etc.) and those Learn More About Your Friends e-mails that people send 'round periodically.

So when I got the blogiverse equivalent of one of those e-mails, challenging me to a little two-by-two action (how's that for yet another exciting search term possibility?), I couldn't resist.

So . . . here goes:

Two Names You Go By:
1. Kara -- because that's what my mom named me!
2. Madame Prosecutor -- when Louisville's own Wacky Wiccan Judge is on the bench.

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now
1. Black Mary Jane Danskos -- the most comfortable shoe in the universe.
2. Fish-netty black cardigan -- if I just painted my fingernails black, I'd look like Louisville's own Wacky Wiccan Prosecutor!

Two Things You Want in a Relationship
1. Challenge -- I've never enjoyed conversations -- okay, arguments -- with anyone as much as with my husband, who is smarter than me on almost every subject. (I say almost, because he is woefully ignorant about all things Buffy.)
2. Comfort -- It's amazing to have someone whose job it is to always be on your side!

Two of Your Favorite Things to Do
1. Lay (lie? who knows, really?) on the couch with a new, really long book (the new Harry Potter, for instance, which I would have already reserved if only I could figure out which Snape sticker I want. Snape -- friend or foe? Again, I say, who knows, really?)
2. Go on long drives in hokey little towns with my husband. Except to Eminence. Eighteen years in that hokey little town was plenty.

Two Things You Want Very Badly at This Moment
1. The ability to orb myself home.
2. Red cowboy boots. I'm gonna just keep sayin' it until I get 'em.

Two Pets You Have or Had
1. Sam the Best Dog Ever -- rescued from the Humane Society about three years ago, and an integral part of the household.
2. Penny the Wonder Puppy -- rescued in March from the pound, and has already survived a life-threatening illness and her first camping trip.

Two People Who Will Fill This Out First
1. Kelley. The only person besides Jennifer who I know reads this blog and actually has one herself.
2. My mom, from whom I inherited the love of e-mail quizzes.

Two Things You Did Last Night
1. Made chicken tacos for dinner.
2. Sorted through my new stack of library books, trying to decide what to read first.

Name Two Chores That You Do Not Like Doing
1. Laundry -- it involves going to the basement, which I despise. One time falling down those steps was enough for me, thank you.
2. Cleaning the bathroom -- really, does anyone REALLY like this? Ew.

Two Things You Ate Today
1. Bran cereal with raisins. Boy howdy, I know you are jealous of that one.
2. Beer. (At least, I'm planning to, right after work.) It's Friday, and yes, Beer Is Food.

Two People You Talked to Last
1. My office-mate, Liza
2. My lovely husband

Two Things You are Doing Tomorrow
1. Working in the Domestic Violence Intake Center. Good time, that.
2. Relaxing, and maybe watching a movie. Because I'm old, and I need to relax on Saturday night.

Two Favorite Holidays
1. Christmas. It's too stressful and too much work, and I SOLEMNLY SWEAR I WILL NEVER ATTEMPT TO HAND-KNIT GIFTS FOR MY ENTIRE FAMILY AGAIN, but I love it!
2. March, or The Lewis Family Birthday Stretch-Out Month. A holiday just for my own little household.

Two Favorite Beverages
1. Mojitos . Mint and sugar cane, what's not to love?
2. Diet Coke. Some things are just classic.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Life's Milestones, Part Two

I know that I promised a camping-trip recap on Monday, but I didn't quite make it. Better late than never, that's what I always say.

This camping trip, besides being our first of the season, (and actually, we missed what I consider the actual start of the camping season. Summertime camping is not my favorite. Bugs, you know.) was also our first trip with both Sam the Best Dog Ever and Penny the Wonder Puppy, and with Maddie the Kindergarten Graduate.

Milestones, people, milestones.

I have to say, Penny did not make a very good showing for her first trip. There was lots of barking and biting and running in circles and biting and barking some more. It was exhausting, I tell you.

I've said it before, and it's still true -- she's lucky that she's so cute.

I reminded myself (and Todd) several times throughout the weekend that Sam was not exactly The Best Dog Ever on his first few camping trips, either. Who could forget The Great Clifty Falls Skunk Incident?

Maddie was quite the trooper, though. She brought all her birthday present camping gear and was generally ready to partake in all the camping activities, including hiking, fishing, swimming, campfire cooking, and LOSING TEETH.

Losing teeth is not a normal camping activity in your family, you say? Well, you've obviously never been camping with a six-year-old.

The event occurred during the swimming portion of the trip. Things had been going, well, swimmingly, when Maddie met another little girl right about the time that the baby pool cleared out. The two of them decided to make that little pool into their private, 12-inch deep spa. Since the pool was approximately six feet away from my chair and my book, this seemed okay.

That is, until I heard the screams.


Well. I found this to be a bit alarming. Not nearly as alarming as the . . .

Ahem: I must interrupt here. Maddie, if by some chance you are reading this, you might want to stop right now and pick it up nearer the end.

. . . MAJOR AMOUNTS OF BLOOD GUSHING OUT HER MOUTH. Sheesh. I do not remember my own baby teeth causing such trauma. Turns out, not only had she knocked out the tooth (which was already loose, by the way, so keep your shorts on), but she had, as her new friend helpfully put it, "busted her lip."

So, after our new friend retrieved the now freshly chlorinated tooth from the pool ("I found it!" she cheerfully cried. Quite the resourceful kid, that one.) we headed to the bathroom, where I cleaned her up as the automatic paper towel dispenser spit out piece after piece of paper towel.

Seeing as how I do not have children of my own, and never actually made it past Brownies myself, I bundled her up lickety-split and took her to my own resident Eagle Scout, Todd, who confirmed that she did not need stitches, just a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

(Maddie, you can resume reading now, if you're still around.)

Luckily, that was the most traumatic event of the camping trip. We managed to recover quite nicely, and went on to make the most classic of campfire meals: hobo stew and roasted marshmallows.

She lived, and her mother even says she might want to go again sometime. In case you need proof of her living, I present to you her first ever Camping Trip Portrait, taken post-tooth-incident:

She even went on to catch a fish:

I call that a success.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Itchin' For a Fight

An article in the Courier-Journal (and please don't forget to read the accompanying comments, because they will really restore your faith in humanity) really stuck in my craw (I love that expression) this morning, so I thought I'd stick it in yours, too.

Craw, that is.

I never, ever, in my childhood career dreams, had any interest in journalism. Creative writing, yes -- journalism, no. But lately -- I tell you what -- the crap that spews onto the pages of my local paper everyday is making me rethink that.

Because I think I could do better. And I KNOW I could do better on the courtroom beat.

The number of interesting stories floating around this building (The Hall of Justice, in case you're reading this and don't actually know me) is astounding. (Hell, the number of interesting stories floating around the periphery of today's stupid article is astounding. ASTOUNDING, I tell you.) Throw in the Judicial Center across the street, along with a few government offices and some private attorney's offices? They wouldn't be able to print enough papers to go around, it'd be THAT interesting.

And I know that it's not just the criminal justice system. I'm convinced that everybody, out there working their daily jobs and living their lives, knows some story that would blow us all away.

In the interest of keeping my current, non-journalism job, I guess I can't expound upon any of those stories. Use your imagination, and you might just reach some conclusions that are halfway to the bizarre reality of this place.

But the local media? They never even get close.

I wonder sometimes if it's because they really don't know where to look for the big stories, or if they're just not publishing them.

Are journalists and publishers too "litigation-shy" to put the real dirt out there? Whatever happened to those old-style reporters, who lurked around the dark corners of life while smoking their big stogeys and wearing trench coats? And the femme fatales who would give up the dirt in exchange for safe passage out of town?

Maybe it's time for the gloves to come off.

Maybe, if we're really interested in cleaning up politics and courtrooms and heck, the world we live in, we should forget about libel and slander (and who can remember the difference between those, anyway?) and tell it like it is.

Maybe the real crooks out there don't deserve to be coddled and bowed-to and tiptoed-around anymore. And I don't mean that homeless guy who makes you nervous when you walk to your car at night. I mean the real crooks -- the ones who wear suits and sometimes even black robes and sometimes have offices that might be considered oval-shaped.

I mean the ones who ruin lives every day just because they feel entitled. The ones who sleep like babies every night while the rest of us try to do the right things and still survive. The ones who haven't seen their own bootstraps in generations, much less know how to pull themselves up by them.

Maybe THOSE people should wake up one morning and see the truth about themselves splattered across the front page. The REAL truth.

Maybe we should all get rid of those blinders that make life so easy.

And YES, now that you mention it, I AM on my high horse today!


Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday Fripperies Gone Wild!

Oh, dear.

This little tidbit has just made my morning:

Creation Museum's 'Adam' shared sex exploits online

Seriously, people. Could the irony get any better? I think not. The lead-in sentence ("The man who portrays Adam for a museum based on the Bible's version of history led quite a different life outside the Garden of Eden . . .") just slays me -- SLAYS ME, I tell you!

And, just when you thought it was safe to be interrupted again, I give you . . .

Interrupting Starfish! (cue ominous music)

Me: Knock Knock
You: Who's there?
Me: Interrupting starfish.
You: Interrup-
Me (interrupting): *smack open palm in B's face*

I haven't gotten up the nerve to actually try this one on somebody, but it's making me giggle nonetheless.

Todd and I are taking Maddie for her first camping trip on Saturday night. Expect a full report on Monday.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Here We Go Again

I recently ran into someone I hadn't seen in several years who happened to mention a mutual friend, also someone I haven't seen in a long time.

"She's HUGE!" he cried, "I mean, she's really gotten HUGE!"

And I just know he's going to say the same thing about me the first chance he gets.

Seriously, weight has always been an issue for me. I don't remember ever thinking that I was okay, size-wise (although looking at pictures from high school, I really wasn't huge then). And lately, it's becoming that issue that I really can't ignore anymore.

I get out of breath when I walk up the stairs. I worry that anyone who is looking at me is thinking, "she's gotten HUGE!". And I can't keep up with my husband.

(Actually, most people can't keep up with my husband. He truly does have some kind of super-human stores of energy. We went for a bike ride last night and he talked the whole time. Like, in a normal, not out of breath at all kind of voice, just like we were hanging out on the couch. Meanwhile, I was so out of breath that my mouth was hanging open, which meant it got all dried out from the wind, and when I tried to respond to him, all that came out was some kind of lame squeak.)

I spend WAY too much time thinking of things I would do if I were normal-sized.

I'd wear really cool clothes, and I'd never buy a single thing from Lane Bryant, ever again.

I'd go dancing regularly, even if it was only in my back yard, and I'd wear sleeveless tops and throw my arms over my head and shimmy like crazy. And I'd learn to do that cool hula-hoop dancing that the hippie girls do down on the waterfront. And to belly dance.

I'd learn to surf.

I would travel all over the world without worrying that I would get too tired to walk the trendy neighborhoods or that I'd be embarassed to be in the trendy neighborhoods.

I'd walk up to the MAC counter with all the confidence in the world, and tell those girls to do my eyes up right. And I'd maybe dye my hair blond, just for a weekend, or get PURPLE SYNTHETIC DREDS which would look great while I was hula-dancing on the waterfront.

I'd believe my husband when he tells me I'm pretty.

These are all things I would really like to do. And I'm tired of always thinking of what I WOULD do, if I weren't HUGE.

So I'm going to try to do something about it. Again. And this time, I can't quit. I'm posting this today because I'm hoping the ol' internets will somehow keep me accountable (since I simply can't abide the thought of one more Weight Watchers meeting in my life, and they may have finally banned me from the group anyway).

So, okay. I can do this. Seriously, I swore I could never learn to do a cartwheel and I did, PLUS I quit smoking, and, really, I can already shimmy pretty well, so I can do this.

I couldn't quite face a "before" picture here today . . . maybe later, when I can post an "after" picture along with it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Leftist Rant

I've been meaning to post about this for awhile, and figured today is as good as any.

Ah, yes. A Creation Museum. Why, oh why, does it have to be HERE in MY state? It's bad enough that every time someone is interviewed on national tv from Kentucky, it has to be that person who likely didn't graduate from Kindergarten, has two teeth, and really should have gotten a guardian's permission to give an interview.

It's bad enough that when Todd and I vacationed in Seattle, we had the unfortunate experience of meeting a woman from Idaho who, when she learned we were from Kentucky, could only ask, "do you have JOBS?".

Yes, even Idaho looks down on Kentucky.

And now this. If you haven't heard about it, it's worth poking around on their website, just in case your blood pressure is currently at a dangerously low level. It'll raise it right up there.

I love the "Main Theme" -- "The Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation!"

Is that so?

I've wondered recently if maybe I make it too easy on myself, by so easily trusting that my religious beliefs and science can get along together just fine. Maybe I'm a bit too loosey-goosey about the whole thing.

Maybe it should concern me whether there really was a flood of epic proportions, and whether poor Mary had ever had sex before giving birth.

But really? It just doesn't. I believe in God, and everything else? Well . . . let's just say I'm working on it.

I know that the God I believe in is SO smart enough to have created a system capable of randomly selecting genes to make humankind over eons.

I know that He has a sense of humor like nobody's business. (Hello? Do you REMEMBER the popular music of the eighties?)

And I know that God is beyond complete understanding. It's amazing to me that scientists are able to get us tiny steps closer to that understanding with every new discovery.

'Cause God made scientists. Cool how that works out, isn't it? I like to think that God is sitting up there giggling like a kid, watching us figure stuff out, ever so slowly.

I don't think I'll ever get those people who insist on putting God into one little book and trying to trap him there. Who think it's okay that God and Satan conspired to ruin Job's life, but that Harry Potter is evil.

Who think that a God who gave us sunsets and strawberries also gave us AIDS as a punishment for people who fall in love with the "wrong" people.

So . . . no. I DON'T think I am too loosey-goosey, religion-wise, thank you very much. I heard a great minister recently telling his congregation to always remember that "God delights in you."

And I think he's pretty cool, too.

And about descending from monkeys? I ask you, who doesn't think chimps are pretty cute?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Random Monday Stuff

Well, it seems I should have something coherent to say after having a whole weekend to think about it, but alas, that is not the case.

So, in lieu of a well-organized, highly planned post, I give you the following:

1. I had a great weekend visiting with my mom and Hank. We ate delicious food and talked and laughed and had general bonding time. I was not, however, prepared for how much I would miss my lovely husband while being gone for a WHOLE WEEKEND!

2. The big task for Week 4 of The Artist's Way is to NOT READ for the week.

I repeat: NOT READ.

I think this is highly unreasonable, and in fact, impossible -- I have to READ the week's lesson to discover that I'm not supposed to be READING, first of all. Harumph.

3. Surreal moment of the weekend: Gatewood Galbraith, inserted into the Lexington Opera House's production of The Producers. Very strange. I think, being from Louisville, that I just didn't get it.

(Interesting aside: I was going to link you to Mr. Galbraith's official site above, but at work, I'm blocked from the site -- category: "Abused Drugs." Awesome.)

4. What I learned while making dinner last night: one should, theoretically, be MUCH more careful with one's very sharp knives, particularly when one's index finger is nearby.

5. The season finale of The Riches is tonight, so it's too late for all you slackers who haven't watched it so far. At my house, at least, we will be on the edge of our seats.

I would like to say something cheery, like, "Happy Monday, everybody!" but really -- the words "happy" and "Monday" almost never belong in the same sentence.

The good news is, Monday always begats Tuesday, which then begats Wednesday, and by that time you're more than halfway to the weekend!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday Fripperies, Part Two


Check this out.

(Hint: Use your mouse if George gets stuck!)

A Girl I Used to Know

This post will start out kind of depressing, but get better.

Just thought you should be forewarned.

So, since I've been an adult (I don't know when exactly that happened, but I think it has.) I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I royally messed up my adolescence.

Actually, I've tried to just not think about it at all.

I mean, I really, really, made some bad decisions and screwed up some stuff. I have a lot of regrets, and often fall into that "what might have been" sort of angst that can only come from the kind of woman who wrote very dark, very bad poetry as a youth.

When I look back at that girl that I was, I don't really know her very well. I'm completely shocked by some of the things that she thought were A-okay.

Shoot, I don't think I like her much.

But -- (here's where the post gets better) -- last night, I had an urge to sit down at the piano and play for awhile. And not just muddle through some Nora Jones or play "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as loud as possible -- but to get out some of the actual music I played when I seriously studied the piano and see what I could do.

Let me tell you this -- Alice Newman? My old piano teacher? She would be appalled. Many years of not practicing have taken its toll.

Nevertheless, flipping through those dog-eared pages of my Chopin books covered in contact paper, I found some of that girl that I was.

And I remembered that she wasn't really that bad.

I remember, now that I've seen things like "robbing tempo here" and "wait for third beat" written in my own 15-year-old handwriting, what it was like to go to those lessons once a week and play while Ms. Newman knit the most amazing sweaters.

I remember playing scales louder and louder and LOUDER when I was too angry and sad to do anything else.

I remember my Dad being proud of me for doing something he couldn't, and I remember the first time my Mom told someone I was better than she was.

And, although I've lost some technique, occasionally last night my fingers would remember something that my mind had forgotten, and I would fly through a passage and remember what it felt like to do something beautiful.

Maybe THAT's why my parents didn't just lock me out of the house and pretend they didn't know what had happened to me when I was a teenager.

As a bonus, I have figured out that some of the things that were so hard when I was a teenager -- they aren't anymore. Because the woman I am now has just a bit more flair, a bit more NOIVE, as the cowardly Lion would say, than the girl I was.

The woman I am now can trill like the dickens when the mood strikes her, and isn't afraid to sway at her piano bench if the situation calls for it.

That girl I was, and that woman I am -- they've made their peace.

They may even get together for a drink sometime.