Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where I've Been and What Happened While I Was There

Lasst week, the hubs and I decided to take a pretty last-minute vacay.  It was so last minute, that we didn't even pick a location until about two days before we left.  We ultimately decided on the hippie capital of the Southeastern United States -- Asheville, North Carolina.

Because you know I love hippies.  I wish I WAS a hippie myself, but in more than very small doses, patchoulli gives me migraines.  Sad, but true.

Also sad?  Turns out, those Asheville hippies are some crazy, crazy THIEVES!  Seriously!  When we went there a few years ago, I got pick-pocketed at a really cool beer pub.  This time, less than 24 hours after arriving, my super-duper, snazzy, totally cool road bike got stolen.

There aren't enough exclamation points to express my ire.  Dude, I loved that bike.  Todd gae me that bike.   On that bike, I learned how to ride in clips, and I learned how to ride up hills, and I learned to actually enjoy riding.   

The crazy ironic kicker?  My super-duper, snazzy, totally cool road bike was stolen while we were in Wal-mart.  For ten minutes.  Buying . . . wait for it . . . BIKE LOCKS.

I shit you not.  

Well, the vacation got better after that.  But MAN, do I wish I till had my bike.

As a postcript to this sad little vacation report, I feel compelled to tell you that I read a really good book while we were away.  Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, was a great creepy mystery about a married couple -- she disappears and he becomes the prime suspect in her murder.  I know, that sounds like something you've probably read before, but it totally isn't.  It was all dark and twisty and turny and it surprised me.  I recommend.

And also, I saw a great movie, Safety Not Guaranteed.  It was one of those quirky little indie flicks about a guy who puts an ad in the paper for someone to time travel with him, and three journalists who try to write a story about him.  It suprised me, too, in a good way.  It won't change your life, but it will make you smile.  And, bonus -- the cute dude from New Girl is in it.  (And you should totally be watching that show, by the way.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Day

It's hard for me to believe that two months have gone by since I have posted to this blog, and when I think about what I may have missed blogging about over that time, I can really only think of one thing.


Sam, our beloved first-born dog, is dying.  He's dying so quickly, and so painfully, that we have had to make the horrific decision to help him end his life as gracefully as possible, before things are even worse for him.  A veterinarian is scheduled to come to our house tomorrow, Thursday, at 5:00 p.m. to do just that.  And I'm sad and I'm angry and I'm worried about the part of me that will be empty afterwards.

I could tell you all the steps that have led to this point, but really, I don't want to write about Sam's dying.  Not today.  Tomorrow is for dying.  Today is for living.

And oh, how he has lived.  We discovered Sam eight years ago in a shelter, locked in a cage too small for him, and covered in poop.

It was the poop that got us.  We gave him a bath before we even left the shelter, and brought him home, and he made us not just a couple, but a family. 

What you need to know about Sam is this:

Sam loves to go for walks, and when he goes on those walks, he holds the leash in his mouth, so it's like he's taking you for a walk.  He trots along in a funny little kind-of-sideways sort of gait, and even before you snap the leash on, he is jumping up to grab it, to hurry you along in getting the walk started.  He likes it especially when there are smelly things to be found on that walk, and if you don't pay very close attention, he will rub those smelly things all over himself.

When Sam hears a noise of any kind outside, or sees someone walking down the street, he will run to you and lean against you to hold you in that spot, as if to say, "Stay here.  I will keep watch.  I will protect you."

Sam hates storms.  He hates storms more than anything in the world, and he barks at that thunder and patrols the house as long as a storm lasts. 

Sam loves pizza, with all his heart and soul.  If you eat pizza near him, he will stare at you until you give him some, and, truth be told, if you don't give him any, he will growl.

Sam is the best listener of anyone I know.  You can pour out your tale of woe to him and he will look you in the eye and take it all in and then listen some more.  His eyebrows say everything for him, that he loves you, that he understands you, and that he would do anything in the world for you, because you are his person, and he is your dog.

There is a lot more for you to know about Sam, more than I could ever tell you, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I got to know everything about him.  That Todd and I got to be his people. 

We love you, Sam.  We will always be your people, and you will always be our dog.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why I Can't Relate to Ann Romney

I'm probably coming a little late to this party, but today I've been listening to the controversy about Ann Romney giving her husband advice on what women are worried about and Hillary Rosen criticizing her for "never working a day in her life," and Ann Romney criticizing Hillary Rosen for criticizing stay-at-home-moms and the political pundits criticizing Rosen for giving the Romney campaign the "gift" of having women rush to Ann's defense.  

Good stinkin' grief.

Let me be clear:  I am not in any way criticizing stay-at-home moms.  Nor do I believe that having money means that you never experience problems.

But here's the thing.  Staying home with my (hypothetical) kids will never be an option for me.  I don't think I'd even want it, but it will still never be an option.  Having money like Ann Romney's gives you that option, and an infinite number of other options that most of us don't have.  It creates a difference between the Me's of the world and the Ann Romney's that I don't think could ever be overcome.  So HOW DARE she try to speak to the economic concerns of women like the Me's?

And the more I thought about what seems to me to be an insurmountable gap between myself and Mrs. Romney, I began to realize that the same difference exists in many ways between myself and Mrs. Obama.  The two of them -- and Hillarys Clinton and Rosen, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and a whole host of other powerful women -- live in a world that doesn't resemble mine in the slightest.  I honestly don't know what those women worry about, but I doubt they worry about paying for gas to get to work, or whether they remembered to turn on the crockpot, or finding time to exercise and do laundry both IN THE SAME DAY.

I was raised by another woman who never had the option to stay home with her kids -- my mother worked every day of her adult life, and continues to do so.  And she was raised by my grandmother, who worked every day of her life.  It doesn't make them any better, or any worse, than those women who can and do make a different decision.  But it makes them women like me.  THEY are the kind of women I can relate to.

And I can't help but think, maybe if the political pundits asked THEM what women are really worried about these days, something might actually get done around here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

March Reading Round-up

Imagine, if you will, that you find a time machine lying around waiting to be used, and you use it to go back to March 31, 2012.

Why would you use it to go there, you ask?  Because if it was March 31, 2012, I would not be eleven whole days late in posting the March reading round-up.

Gah.  That should tell you something about my March reading, namely that I didn't read anything worth telling you about until it was already April, and we're going to go ahead and sneak some April stuff into the March post because . . . well, because it's my blog and I make the rules!

Okay.  We'll start out with Raising Stony Mayhall, a zombie book, because, don'tcha know, zombies are the new vampires.  If you like zombies, I can tentatively recommend this book, but only tentatively.  In this zombie world, zombies are infected with a virus that makes them temporarily lose their sanity, but after a few days they recover, and are totally sane -- just dead and decomposing.  And that just bugged the heck out of me, because everyone knows it's JUST NOT TRUE.  Zombies are crazy, mindless creatures that eat brains and they shamble, they don't run, and they don't organize into groups that fight for equal rights for zombies.

You know, forget it.  Don't read Raising Stony Mayhall.  Read World War Z, and if you love it, I can recommend some other great zombie books.

Moving on.  I was SO excited about Arcadia.  Lauren Groff wrote a favorite of mine, The Monsters of Templeton, and I just knew this one would be just as good.  If I hadn't expected that, I think I would have found Arcadia to be a good solid book.  It's got hippies, which I like, and hippie commune people, which I LOVE.  But it was kind of predictable, until there was a weird twist near the end that was unpredictable, yes, but also a lame and obvious I-ran-out-of-stuff-for-my-characters-to-do-and-the-book-is-too-short kind of twist.  I wil say, though, that the characterization was great.  I really did care about the main character.  And the portions of the book centering on the commune were fantastic.

At the end of March, spilling over into April, I saw The Hunger Games movie (liked it), which led me to re-read the books (LOVED them), which led me to buy another trilogy which Amazon recomended for Hunger Games readers, called the Chaos Walking trilogy.  First, let me say that these books read kind of like a first, or maybe even second, draft.  An editor realy needed to, well, do some editing.  They're too long, and I got tired of the "we're safe!  But wait --there's the villian behind a tree, so we're not safe!" kind of twists.

But.  The more I read, the more impressed I was by this series.  It's young adult fiction, but with some REALLY adult themes.  The heroes (yes, a bit too much like Katniss and Peeta) try SO hard to do the right thing, and discover that it's hard to figure out what that right thing is, and also that they can't really trust anyone else to tell them what the right thing is, and also that in trying to do that right thing they often do very, very wrong things.  There's alot in here -- politics and class warfare and plain old war and prejudice and free will and truth and I'm sure alot of other themes that I'm forgetting.  As a series, it's a fun read, and it will give you things to think about.  And if you've already read The Hunger Games, it will help with that young-adult-dystopian jonesing.

So, that's March.  Happy reading.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Which I Reach Technological Adulthood

I got a grown-up phone for my birthday.  For years, I have been happily using the same phone that my ten-year-old niece has, but I have now graduated to what I understand to be called a smart phone.

Don't ask me what kind it is, because that's too much technological information for me to handle.  It's some kind of Droid something-or-other.  It has a touch screen and I can get on the internet on it, and I can read my Kindle books on it while I'm waiting around in court, and I finally understand how everyone's been "checking themselves in" on Facebook wherever they go.

I find it all to be very exciting.  I shit you not, I tried to check myself in at the Bullitt County Jail the other day, but sadly, it didn't show up as an option and I don't know how to manually enter it.  There must be a way to create your own places, though, because I see people checking in at places like "Our Porch" or "The ______ Farm" or such places.  And somehow, it just seems like fun to me to check in at the Jail.  

Also, I have learned to take pictures with my grown-up phone.  Talia, my good fifteen-year-old friend, showed me how while we were eating sushi the other night.  I'll have to have dinner with her again soon, though, because I don't know how to upload the pictures to the blog.

My boss is trying to get me to start playing Words With Friends, but I'm a little scared.  I like words, alot, actually, but I suck at word games like scrabble.  The words I like never seem to be useful in word games.  "Fortuitous" is one of my favorites, along with "superfluous" and "vitriol," but I'm not sure I could successfully work those into a game.

And I would like to use Pandora to listen to music I like without flipping through  hundred radio stations, but I'm having trouble figuring that out, too.  I tried to make a Carolina Chocolate Drops Station, but for some reason that freaked my phone out and I had to close the app let my phone explode. 

So if you're trying to reach me in the near future, be patient with me.  I'll be trying to respond, all grown-up like, and cussing auto-correct the whole time.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Hoping You Think This Post Is Okay . . .

I've been thinking about confidence lately.  There's nothing like starting a new job to make a person feel insecure about, well, everything.  I came home the other night after a looooong day in court in which everything out of my mouth sounded, to my ears, like Jessica Simpson debating herself about chicken and tuna.

Seriously, at one point I had to look at the judge and say, "Never mind."  Because what I was starting to say was so stupid that it simply could not be salvaged in any way.

So I thought I'd seek a little comfort in my husband, who also happens to be the best attorney I know. I asked him, "Have you ever done something in court that was really stupid and you were embarassed?"

He said, "Oh, I'm sure I have."

Me:  "So tell me about it.

Him:  "Well . . . there was that one time that I lost that argument, but I was actually right.  It was the judge that was stupid."

And that, my friends, was it.  That was as close as he could come to an embarassing moment in court.  He was shocked that this didn't make me feel better.  His advice was "just be confident, and people will be more likely to think you are right."

I know he's right, but man, is that ever hard.  I see people who seem to just stride through life, putting off vibes of "I am the bomb-diggity, so why don't you just do me a solid and acknowledge my superiority" and I have to wonder -- do those people really feel that way, or do they just act like it?

As a teenager, I always thought I'd magically get a big dose of self-confidence just be becoming a grown-up.  What I found, though, is that being a grown-up feels remarkably like being a teenager, just with better skin and more bills.  I still feel compelled to point out my mistakes, lest the world think I am too dumb to realize they are mistakes.  I still care tremendously how I'm perceived.  I still want to fit in and be liked, and still worry that I'm failing on both counts.

Maybe the wry self-deprecation isn't working for me.  Maybe I should quit telling the world that I'm old and fat and the worst violin player ever.  Maybe I should try harder to point out the things that make ME the bomb-diggity and not be so quick to point out my flaws.  Maybe if I just pretend that I am one of those cool kids who never loses sleep over what the world thinks of me, I will actually BECOME one of those cool kids.  Like, for real.

Or, at least, the world will THINK I'm one of those cool kids.  Which is really the same thing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stuff I've Been Doing

I don't know what in the holy heck happened, but I just turned 'round and it had been AGES since I wrote anything on the poor neglected blog.

Here's what's been happening:

1. Penny went for one of her unauthorized races around the neighborhood and got herself smooshed by a car.  There were a few days there that were pretty rough, but she's finally back to her normal, actin'-a-fool self.  She's now the most expensive rescue dog ever.   I suspect that she might actually be bionic.

2.   I turned 39.  Let's never speak of this again 'mkay?

3.  I briefly considered dropping out of the newly-formed community orchestra I play in because the music is SO BLASTED HARD.  However, I decided on a new strategy.  I play the first note of each measure, aim for the last note, and do a bunch of swirly-bow-arm moves in between.  It seems to be going better now.

4. I saw the season finales of Glee, The Walking Dead, and Pretty Little Liars.  I'm available at any time if you want to discuss whether Quinn will survive, who the freaky chick was with the armless zombies, and if Mona acted alone.

5. I had my first new-job case involving illicit drugs up someone's butt.  I feel like  full-fledged public defender again.

I now you're terribly afraid of missing out on such excitement again, so I will be sure to post more regularly from here on out.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Reading Round-up

Friends, I'm here to tell you that as reading months go, February 2012 was not very good.  I was going to say it was a total bust, but then I remembered the one really, really, I mean really good book that I actually started at the end of January but finished in the beginning of February, and I decided that based on that one book alone, I could raise February up from a total bust to just not very good -- or maybe even not that bad.

But before I tell you about that book (I know, the anticipation is killing you), let me tell you about the books that were SO horribly, horribly, bad that I couldn't even FINISH the darn things.  And I HATE not finishing books. I thought about telling you why each one was so bad, but really?  Why waste the time?  I'll just list 'em for you, and if you have an uncontrollable urge to read one, send me a message and I'll talk you you out of it, okay?

Our Lady of the Forest, The Ghost Rider, Ghost:  A Novel, Angel Time, Alias Grace.    Sucky, sucky books, every one of them.

Now, the category of decent books.  The Diviner's Tale was a mystery about a woman whose family legacy is "divining" water with one of those stick thingys.  I liked it.  The mystery is more about whether a crime actually happened than it is about who did the crime.  It had some surprisingly sad and touching moments.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon was just such a pleasant, entertaining little book -- a small town story with some magical elements thrown in -- and I enjoyed it so much, that I immediately read another book by the same author, Garden Spells.  And I enjoyed it immensely, too.  You wanna know why?  Because they're the SAME DAMN BOOK.  Seriously, such a disappointment, because she's written others, and I was looking forward to reading them.  But not if they're all the same book.

Ready Player One is hard to describe.  Let me just say this:  if you grew up in the 80s, and you played any video games at all, you should probably read it.  You'll like it.  It won't change your life, and I recommend reading it FAST, because otherwise you'll get bored near the end, but go ahead and read it.  Just for fun. (I especially loved the description of how schools are run in the dystopian near-future.)

And finally, if anyone is still reading this oh-so-long post -- the one book that nearly redeems the entire month:  Doc.

Mary Doria Russell, who wrote my veryfavoritestwonderfulbookofalltime, The Sparrow, is the writer I would most like to have dinner with. I'd like to have her for my bestie, my BFF, or whatever the cool kids say these days.  Granted, she also has written some notveryfavoritebooks, but  Doc brings her back up to idol status for me.  It's a novel based on the life of Doc Holliday and the summer he spent with the Earp brothers leading up to the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral.

I am not a fan of westerns, usually, but you guys, this book was just marvelous.  Russell is so fantastic at characterization -- you will feel like you know Doc Holliday, and if you're into guys, you're going to wish you could have dated him.  And you'll be mad as hell that nobody found a cure for tuberculosis for him.   This book has everything -- humor, historical insight, sadness, exciting moments -- trust me, even if you don't think it sounds like your kind of thing, you need to give it a try. 

I spent at least two full weeks after reading Doc obsessively looking him up on the internet, finding out everything I could about him.  I even watched Tombstone, and I can tell you, Val Kilmer NAILED Doc Holliday.  (In an ACTING way, get your mind out of the gutter.)  And I can tell you that nearly a month after finishing it, I still find myself daydreaming about Doc and the Earps and all their adventures.

The best news?  There's going to be a sequel.

So.  The take-away from February is this:  read Doc.  Even if it's the only book you read in a whole month, it will still be a decent month.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mornings With Ballerinas

I'm trying to get started out on the right foot with this whole job business, to stay on top of things and get my life in order.  I admit that my house is an unholy mess, and there may or may not have been a little snafu with the water bill this week, but that's okay!  Because I've gone to the YMCA to work out EVERY MORNING this week before work.

It works out pretty well for me -- the downtown Louisville Y is right around the corner from my on-ramp, they have excellent water pressure in the locker room showers, and their hair dryers are better than the one I have at home.

There's just one problem:  ballerinas.

The place has a morning ballerina infestation.  As in, actual, real live dancers with the Louisville Ballet.  Coming to MY Y  and clogging up the elliptical machines with their hair in cute little buns, and their perfect posture, and their ballerina gossip.

I have nothing against the ballet, mind you.  I don't even hold a grudge for how mean Baryshnikov was to Carrie on Sex and the City.  But at 7:00 a.m.?  When I'm trudging along on an elliptical?  Looking how I look in sweatpants, no makeup, and slept-on hair?  It's all just a little hard to take.

I have to admit, though, I find them FASCINATING.  Apparently, they report to all day rehearsals of different types, and eat lunch together, and a certain number of them cry every day.  And I don't mean to gossip, but there is a certain male dancer who doesn't have the arm strength to do lifts correctly, and he should really work on his hand position, and holding the girl he is attempting to lift closer to his body so he can use technique to balance out his lack of strength for the lift.  Someone should really tell him before he ruins EVERYTHING.

I don't think they ever eat.

I'm going to tough it out for awhile, but seriously -- if anyone knows how to handle a ballerina infestation, please, for the love of all that is holy, let me know.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Full Circle

Ten years ago (give or take a few months), I started my legal career as a public defender in Louisville, KY.  I was newly divorced, living on my own for the first time, and ready to take on the world.  That first year was the most fun I've ever had at a job -- and also the hardest I've ever worked.

Life moved itself along, both my personal and professional lives, and I left the PD's office, did some other things, then wound up TOTALLY JOBLESS for over a year.  Have I mentioned that before?  Sorry, I know it's dull.  The only thing duller than being unemployed has to be reading about someone being unemployed.

But today we're not talking about dull unemployment, because today, ten years after I started as a public defender, I am starting over . . . as a public defender.

I've moved over to a different county, so it won't be EXACTLY the same.  But it still feels strangely like going home again.  I know how to do this job, and I know I can do it well.  And real life gets to start up again.  I don't have to check job sites, and when someone asks me what I do, I have an actual answer.  And it's an answer I can be proud of.

I'm excited, and not just a little terrified, and happy.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Post in Lieu of Presents

Oh, dear.

It just never occurred to me that we would be "doing" Valentine's Day this year.  Not that we here at the Lewis household aren't crazy in love, but it's just an odd time.  I've started a new job, but haven't gotten paid yet, so funds are, shall we say  . . . lowish.  I'm taking a writing class that meets on Tuesday nights and the big day just happens to fall on Tuesday this year.  And a few years ago, after a particularly not good Valentine's restaurant experience, we have been staying home and cooking a nice dinner instead.

Imagine my surprise when my Valentine announced that he had made as-yet-unrevealed dinner plans for us, and I think there might be a present involved.

I've spent the day wracking my brain, trying to think of a way to come up with a present. I did a lot of handmade stuff for Todd for Christmas, so I'm a bit tapped out of ideas.  And I just can't bear to subject the poor guy to homemade granola bars for Valentine's Day AGAIN.  (Yeah, I may have done that one more than once.)

I was going to crochet a hat, because crocheting is so fast, but a couple of hours into it I realized what I had forgotten -- I suck at crocheting hats.  I don't know what it is, but there's some mental block that I have.  They always turn out looking not quite like hats.  So I abandoned that and moved on to thinking of presents I can pay for without a paycheck.  I thought about getting some nice locally roasted coffee beans and maybe some cool candy bars from Trader Joe's.  OR, maybe a cool new beer, or a magazine subscription to one of those outdoorsy magazines he likes.  So I dash out to the car for a whirlwind shopping trip, and . . . the car won't start.  Like, at all.

Now here I am, grounded for the day, with no Valentine's present for my sweetie.  Not even a card.  And here's the thing:  my sweetie is AWESOME.  He makes me laugh.  He's smarter than anyone I've ever met.  He's my fiercest advocate and my very, very best friend.  He totally deserves a present.

In writing class, I've been working on a poem, and I don't think it's very good.  The trouble with my awesome sweetie is, he's too awesome to put into a poem.  But that's all I have today, just one little substandard poem.

About You

I tried to write a poem about you
But I wrote about the wind and its cooling breeze, its whispers that drift through my hair,
And frigid gusts that nearly knock me over.

I wanted to write about you
But kept thinking of the ocean, the dark depths that frighten me, waves that carry me,
Soft tickles that caress my sandy toes.

I meant to write about you
But the sun was insistent, so I wrote its blinding brightness, its scalding heat,
And its kiss on my summer skin.

I wanted to write you, but I wrote this --
This poem that I wrote when I tried to write a poem about you.

Happy Valentine's Day, Todd.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Namaste, Bitches

Please forgive me if you find this post title offensive; I saw it on a t-shirt, and have been dying for one ever since. I just feel that it sums up my philosphy of, well, everything. 

I may bow to what's honorable in you, but there's no need to get all touchy-feely about it.

In the Great Year of Unemployment, yoga became a big part of my life.  I had been to a few classes before, but it had never really stuck.  This time, thanks to A LOT of free time, a desperate need for some emotional peace, and a fantastic teacher (Hi, Rebecca!), it stuck.  It was very, very sticky.

Let's get the obvious out of the way first:  yoga is great exercise.  It will make you sweat, and make you out of breath, and you'll be sore the next day. (There's really no way make that sentence non-suggestive, so just go with it, 'mkay?)

But what I have fallen in love with is a lot less obvious. 

First of all, yoga completely changed how I feel about my body.  Truthfully, I have spent 38 years hating my body.  Mostly, it sucks.  It's too big, both in height and weight, and it's very slow-moving.  It can't catch or hit anything that is thrown at it. It trips a lot.  It gets tired way before anyone else's does.

But in yoga, I discovered some things to like about it.  It's pretty strong, and it's surprisingly flexible.  When I'm patient with it, it will sometimes do things that I never thought it could (camel pose, I'm looking at you).  When there's nothing to trip over, it's graceful, and it has some great balance when it's allowed to really concentrate.

These don't seem like big things.  But armed with just these few things to like about my body, I started to stand a little straighter and prouder, and feel just a little more at peace with it.  I almost started to apologize to this poor ol' misunderstood body for being so mean to it all these years.

Then there are the spiritual aspects of yoga.  The Southern Baptist Convention can denounce yoga practitioners as heathen she-devils all they want, but yoga brought me closer to God.  It's a discipline that demands patience with yourself, the universe, and God, if you believe in one.  It also stresses acceptance of things as they are, and a practice of living in the moment, being aware and conscious of your present. 

I'm probaby not expressing this very well. But I can tell you, on a spiritual level, yoga helped to fill in a gap in me. It didn't replace my religious beliefs, it just rounded them out, made them more personal.  My time on that yoga mat became my time to be with God, to grieve for lost things, to rejoice for what I have been given, and to listen for what might bring me peace. 

'Cause you know, everybody could use a little more peace.


Friday, February 10, 2012

A Friday Morning Tale of Woe

I have a cold.

Yes, I realize that hardly qualifies as a "tale of woe," but it is a particularly sucky cold, especially since I am now gainfully(ish) employed and do not yet have sick days.  So I am at work(ish), sneezing and sniffling and looking "fried," as one new coworker informed me.  (Thanks for that, by the way, coworker.)

My teeth hurt.

This might seem to you to be unrelated to a cold, but according to Dr. Interwebs, that is a sure sign of a sinus infection.  Did you know that?  I surely did not, but when I realized I was seriously contemplating pulling all the teeth out of my mouth with my own two hands, I looked it up.  And we all know that if Dr. Interwebs says it, it must be true.  Anyway, they really hurt.  Last night I found myself rubbing some kind of sore throat spray on my gums, thinking it would numb them, and all it did was make my lips numb.  Really, really numb.

So last night my inner, crunchy yoga-loving self decided that I should pull out my neti pot and try to fix up my errant sinuses.  For my less crunchy readers, let me just briefly explain:  the neti pot is a little genie's lamp looking thing that you fill with hot saltwater and pour into one side of your nose and let it drain out the other side.

Yeah, right about now you are thinking just how sexy I am, aren't you?  I thought so.

Anyway, I got out the little pot last night and poured it into one nostril (I hate that word. Nostril.  Yuck.), and waited for it to drain out the other side.  And waited.

And waited.

And the water never drained out.  It didn't go anywhere.  My poor, poor little sinuses are so swollen that even WATER can't get past 'em.

This morning I decided to try again.  It just seemed like the crunchy, yoga-loving thing to do.  I got the water really hot, stirred it up with the salty stuff, and poured it into a nostril.  (yucky word again)

And that hot, salty, water promptly backed up and refused to drain out the other side again, sending half of it gooshing out the original nostril (yuck) and the other half going down my throat. 

Dude.  That hurt. 

I totally water-boarded myself.  At 6:00 a.m..  With hot saltwater.

From there, the day can only get better.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sometimes TV Makes You Think

Todd went away for a cross-country skiing weekend last weekend.  (I think he had to go damn near to Canada to find snow.)  I spent the weekend recovering from three whole weeks of being gainfully employed.  Goodness me, was I tired.   So tired that by 10:00 on Friday I was yawning over my girls-night-out beer and had to come home.  Saturday I made it through girls-night-out wine until 8:00.  Yep, all the crazy cool kids are jealous of me and my wild partying ways.

Catching up on important TV is about as wild as I get these days.  Weekday evenings are so busy that I have to watch everything on the weekend, and let me tell you, it takes some serious time management skills to get it all in.  There's Switched at Birth and Glee, then there's Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries.  Not to mention Once Upon a Time, House, and The New Girl.  And I haven't even started the new season of Downton Abbey.

We have to watch Justified during the week because it's just that awesome.

This weekend, since I was already on a couch and TV binge, I watched Tombstone, because I just finished a fan-tucking-fabulous book about Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, and I can't wait until the February Reading Round-up to tell you about it.  Doc Holliday is my new obsession.  Quite a change of pace from my other literary obsessions, like vampires, and demons and ghosts and things that go bump in the night.

Speaking of demons . . . (and no, I'm not going to talk about Republicans again, at least in this post) I discovered a fan-tucking-fabulous British TV show on Netfllix called Apparitions. It was cancelled after six episodes (probably because it was so good and I liked it) but man, were those six episodes something!  It's about a priest who does exorcisms and becomes wrapped up in a war between Satan and God.  If you are a fan of scary possessed characters, you'll love it.

I'm not Catholic -- I'm perfectly happy being Presbyterian, or what my father calls "almost Catholic" -- but I was amazed by the intensity of the ritual and prayer engaged in by the priests and nuns on the show.  It was full of scenes in which one priest would dash in and out of a room, yelling "you stay here and pray!" in the same tone that an action character would say "you stay here and set that bomb!" or whatever action characters say.

It was very exciting.  There was one scene in which a priest PICKED UP an athiest doctor and, I shit you not, THREW her out of the room so he could keep up the praying.  There was praying with rosaries, and crucifixes, and praying that made people's EYES BLEED.  Several times I found myself yelling at the TV, "PRAY HARDER, PRIEST GUY!"

Man, I wish I could pray like that.  It would come in so handy.  If people made me mad I could PRAY at them.  And if some situation needed fixin', I could be all, "hold this while I pray about this right quick."  I could be like a praying superhero.  As things are, my praying is more  . . . um . . . we'll call it subtle.  I've never had to throw anyone out of the room to do it.

Subtle praying is very polite, but maybe it doesn't get the best results.  'S something for this almost-Catholic Presbyterian to think about.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Goes on in My Head When I Blog

Writing is a strange thing.

I can have millions and millions of ideas hanging out in my head, having a big old kegger of a party, and the minute I sit down to actually write, all those damn ideas have drunk their fill and passed out for the night.  Then sometimes I think I have nothing at all to say, and I pick up a pen, and something comes out.  Not necessarily a good something, but a something.

I decided to take a creative writing class this year to try to even things out a bit -- actually, who am I kidding?  I decided to take a writing class to actually make me sit down and write.  As an angsty teenager/young adult, I wrote ALL THE TIME.  Granted, it was all crap, but I produced mounds of it.  Picture Danielle Steele as an angsty young adult poet, and that's about the volume (and quality) of stuff I could churn out.  The less angsty, adult me is lucky to end up with one poem a year.

Last night was the first night that we actually "workshopped" in class, meaning we sat around and read our stuff and asked for criticism.  I hadn't participated in such a thing since college, and had forgotten how unsatisfying it can be.  When I am told my piece is good, I assume they just don't want to hurt my feelings, and when they criticize it, I assume they want to get smacked. 

Just kidding about the smacking part.  Sort of.  I promise I won't smack anybody in this class.  I mean, there's that one really annoying guy, but he's not in my workshopping group, so I'm pretty sure I can avoid smacking him. I'm almost positive.

Last night I read a poem I am working on -- I keep working on poems to avoid trying to start a novel -- and I kept asking them if it was just too syrupy sweet, and they kept saying no, and I kept thinking maybe they're wrong, and at the end of the night I'm still wondering if it's too syrupy sweet.  I wish I could call my college poetry writing professor and ask her.  She totally made me cry back then with her razor-sharp criticism, and I know she would tell me the truth.

She would also tell me that "razor-sharp criticism" is trite and overused.  And I think she'd be right.  I knew as I was typing "razor-sharp criticism" that it is trite and overused.  Hell, I think I've probably used it before myself.  But I just went right ahead and wrote "razor-sharp criticism" anyway because it's my blog and I don't care what she says.  (If you read over this post, you'll find lots of such word choices.  "Churn out," for instance.  Really, there has got to be a better synonym for "produce" to use in this context, and if you can think of one, please let me know down there in the comments.)

But I honestly do want honest criticism.  (See, now I'm wondering if using two variations of the word "honest" in that one short sentence is a nice, quirky construction or just a plain old annoying redundancy.) I want the kind of honest criticism that results in a big, fat book deal, hordes of adoring readers, and perhaps J.K. Rowling calling me up on occasion just to chat because we are both such popular and lauded writers that regular people just can't relate to us. 

I don't think that's too much to ask, really.  I paid my $99 for the class, so I deserve it. 

Well.  Actually, it was $75, because I got an alumni discount, and I didn't actually pay it, because it was a gift (thanks, Mom!), but still. 

(Sigh) Writing, it sure is strange.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Reading Round-up

I read a lot.

No, really -- I don't think you understand.  I read A LOT.  If books were methamphetamine, all my teeth would have fallen out and I would on the Walgreens hit list for buying too much Sudaphed. 

I read so much that it has recently occurred to me that I have probably completely forgotten about alot of what I've read.  I wish I had been keeping a log or something about the stacks and stacks of books that I go through, like my best friend from college who has multiple binders logging all her reading experiences.  But since I haven't done that, I have decided to do monthly review posts of what I've been reading.  So here we go!

I started the month with  book that has been getting alot of good press and decent reviews, The Last Werewolf It had all the things I usually like -- a supernatural aspect, nice long length, decent writing, etc. And, well, it sucked.  It sucked so bad that I didn't even finish it, which is odd for me.  Man, was that one boring werewolf.  I gave up about a third of the way in because I was just tired of long monologues about how difficult it is to be a werewolf, and be the only one left.  Sheesh, Werewolf, just grow a pair and get on with life, okay?

After that, I raced through a bunch of sort of atmospheric mysteries.  The Strange Return of Sherlock Holmes, Don't Breathe a Word, The Cloud of Unknowing, In Search of the Rose Notes, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter -- all decent, dark mysteries.  I enjoyed them all, and would recommend any of them, but doubt I'll remember much about them in a few months.

One mystery that stood out, though, was Before I Go To Sleep.  It was awesome. The main character is a woman who, after an accident, cannot form new memories.  She starts keeping a journal of her daily life, and through the journal she starts to realize that things are not what they seem.  Granted, it's not a totally original idea; the Guy Pierce movie Memento did it better, and Fifty First Dates did it funnier.  Nevertheless, this book grabbed me and I couldn't wait to keep reading it and see what happened.  You can't ask for much more from a book than that.

We can put The Kingdom of Childhood in the category of Not At All What I Was Expecting.  An odd little book about a female teacher having an affair with a young male student.  For some reason I was expecting the writer to want me to be sympathetic with the teacher, and it took me awhile to realize she didn't.  In fact, I hated that teacher.  But the portrayal of the student was wonderful.  Overall, I liked it quite a bit, and as I write this, I'm realizing that there was a lot in it to ponder.  And I like pondering.

The White Devil was a book I had been looking forward to.  Justin Evans wrote one of my all-time favorites, A Good and Happy Child, and I had great expectations for his new one. I think my expectations were a little TOO great, because even though it was good, and spooky, and nicely written, I was kind of disappointed.  I wanted it to make me think, like Good and Happy Child,  and it just didn't.  It was a nice, haunted boarding school story, but I'm not dying to tell people about it like I did with Good and Happy Child (that one's a great read around Halloween, by the way).

I finally got around to reading another book that's getting attention from literary types, The Night Circus, and for once, I thought the literary types were spot on.  This book was fanTASTic.  I was terribly sorry to see it end. The basics:  two magicians stage a contest between their students, but don't tell them (or the reader) what the contest really IS.  They have to figure out the rules as they go along, and as you read the book, you have to figure out what the HECK is happening. It's hard to describe, but wonderful to read. It was one of those rare books that made me truly irritated that such places and people don't exist in the real world.  Trust me, you should read this book

It was hard to find a follow-up to The Night Circus. I tried to keep up the circus theme with The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb:  A Novel. It was a nice book, and it sent me straight to Wikipedia to find out everything I could about Tom Thumb, P.T. Barnum, and the title character, Lavinia Bump. There's not much to find out, actually, hence the title inclusion of "A Novel."  The author chooses to focus on the relationship between Lavinia and Barnum, so ends the book long before Lavinia's death.  I'm actually hoping she writes a sequel, her treatment of Lavinia as a character was so engaging. 

If you've stuck with me through all this wordiness, let me sum it up for you:  do NOT read The Last Werewolf.  DO read The Night Circus -- heck, you could even read it twice. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Exciting 2012 Thing #1

A post or so ago, I mentioned that there is some fun business going on in these parts, and today I'm here to tell you about one of them.

This funness starts out with some not-so-much-funness.  As you may or may not know, for the past year I've been playing violin with the local Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Orchestra.  (I play a very sketchy second violin, only because there is no part for third or fourth violin.)  I've been having tons of fun doing so, despite being neither Baptist, or a seminary student-- I suppose I am Southern, so that counts for something, right?

Well, evidently it doesn't count for much, and most of the other orchestra members were in the same boat, because a few weeks after our last concert back in November, we got dumped.

As in, kicked to the curb.

As in, don't let the music stands hit you on the way out.

It was a sad situation; many of the members had been playing together for years and years, and the orchestra itself has been in existence since, oh, sometime in the early 1980s, I think.  Add to this personal sad situation the general community sadness of losing our professional orchestra this year as well. 

But!  This story does not remain sad, oh, no it doesn't!  Because this group of saucy musicians (and me) -- those Formerly Known As The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Orchestra -- decided to stand up and FIGHT! for our RIGHT! to PAAAAR . . TY! (Thank you Beastie Boys, for that inspirational tune.)

We have reformed, in an as-yet unnamed, entirely musician-run community orchestra. (Trust me, a snazzy new name is on its way.)  It's terribly exciting.  Never again will we be at the mercy of another organization to tell us when, where, or what to play.  We will be entirely independent, which is more rare than you might think.  Professional orchestras, as well as most amateur orchestras, are funded, and therefore controlled, by other, non-musician entities.  We're going to be way cooler than that.

The exciting-est part for me is that I get to make up for my lack of stellar musical skills with my legal skills by being a part of the Interim board. I'm so proud to be part of this endeavor, and will be sharing upcoming concert dates with you, the loyal readers of Around the Subject. Be looking for a performance in the month of May!

(Maybe we'll just do that Beastie Boys tune.  Hmmm . . . . )

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Musings -- on Politics and Prejudice

One day last week,  I said something really stupid.  (Well, I probably said several stupid things, but one sticks out and that's the one I'm going to tell you about.)  In training at my new job, I spend every single minute of every single day sitting with the only other trainee.  We aren't having in-depth conversations, but we've gotten friendlier as the training has progressed, and have laughed and made casual conversation pretty easily.  A couple of times current events have been mentioned in passing, and we've very superficially talked about some of the recent Repubican debates.

During one such conversation, I said, sort of offhand, "I assume you're a Democrat, right?"

He looked SUPER puzzled, and said, "No.  Why?"

Oops.  Foot.  In.  Mouth.

Now, I will say that there were some legitimate reasons for me to assume his political leanings were similar to mine.  For instance, he had mentioned that his father is in an appointed governmental position, and our state government is, at least technically, Democrat-run.

But the honest truth is, I assumed he was a Democrat because I like him, and found him to be friendly and easy to get along with.  That's about it.  It didn't occur to me that he could be those things, and also be a Republican.

In my awesome Sunday School class, we are reading and discussing a great book by Carlton Pearson, called The Gospel of Inclusion.  In it, he discusses why he doesn't believe in Hell, and why he does believe that everyone -- every single person -- is already "saved."  I love that while reading this book, I can spend a lot of time nodding and agreeing with his ideas.  Does God love people of all religions?  Yep!  All races?  Yep!  All sexual orientations? Yep!  All political affiliations?  Ye -- wait, what?

I guess for all my protestations that I am super inclusive and accepting, I have my own areas in which I'm not very accepting at all.  And there's not really a good excuse for that.  It's something I know I need to work on.  Truthfully, I need to work on WANTING to work on it.

So that's my Sunday confession.

Geez.  I feel like I need to go hug a Republican or something.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


You should all feel sorry for my poor little blog, abandoned here for over a WEEK while I jaunt off to a shiny new job.

The job, well . . . I'm not sure how shiny it really is.  It's hard to wrap my mind around a position in which I am hired for a maximum of nine months and not a minute more.  It feels not much like a real job.  Sort of "job-ish," if you will.   So the job search continues, because I don't know about you, but I hope to live a lot longer than nine more months.

I was terribly worried about adjusting again to the working life, but I think I'm doing ok.  In fact, it occurred to me earlier this evening that I have WAY more energy than when I was at home all day.  And more energy is a good thing, because boy howdy, have things picked up around here.  I shall be filling you in on some exciting new things in the next few days.

In the meantime, have a gander at a moment from my first days of work at My New Job-ish Activity.

Co-worker:  So, how many kids do you have?

Me:   None.

CoW:   None?!?

Me: No, not yet -- maybe eventually, but I'm getting kind of old, I guess.  (me, chuckling at my own attempt at a little self-deprecating humor)

CoW:   Why, how old are you?

Me:   38.

CoW:   Oh.  Yeah, you are getting kind of old.


Well, awesome-ish.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The End of the Lost Year

Tomorrow I will report to a job for the first time in 13 months.

When I lost my job last year, I never dreamed that it would take me over a year to find a job, and that when I found one, it would be a temporary (9 months, to be exact) position with no benefits and a substantially lower salary than the one I lost.
No doubt about it, the career path I was on is over.  That's not to say my CAREER is over, but that particular path?  Yeah, it's pretty much sunk.  And much of the past year has been consumed, at least mentally, with coming to grips with that.  

I could give you a long examination of how I've dealt with it and how it has felt, etc., etc., and in fact, I've written such a thing here and deleted it three times already.  Maybe eventually I'll figure out a non-boring way to write that.  

But today, I'm just as nervous as that first day of school.  I'm nervous about sleeping through my alarm, about finding my way to the right building, about what to wear, about whether I should take my lunch, who I'll sit next to, who I'll make friends with, and a whole list of things I can't even articulate.  

Good grief.  I think I'll go lay out my clothes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crunchy Times at the Lewis House

I never thought, in  million years, that I would ever desribe myself as "crunchy."  You know, like one of those granola, run your car on discarded french-fry oil types?  I always thought I leaned more toward the high-maintenance end of the spectrum, what with pedicures, and a healthy Sephora addiction.

But lately . . . well, I'm starting to at least sway over to crunchy.  I guess it started with wanting to make something for Todd, something homemade, for Valentine's Day last year, and finding recipes for homemade granola and energy bars.  Those were highly successful around here, and are in regular recipe rotation.

Then one day I ran out of my favorite Bath and Body Works sugar scrub, and knew I was too cheap to replace it, so I started looking into how to make it myself, and realized it was totally cheap and easy -- and makes a fantastic Christmas gift, too!

THEN, I read about this method of facial cleansing with a mixture of grocery store oils, and tried that, and it is awesome, and along with the homemade facial oil I made, makes my skin all soft and pretty.

From there, I was sold.  I now spend a lot of time gathering recipes for homemade bath and body products.  So far, I've made the facial cleansing oil, facial moisturizing oil, sugar scrub, aftershave, shaving nick salve, mouthwash, lotion, and body oil.  All completely natural, and custom-scented with essential oils.  And I don't know if this is too much info for you about my personal hygiene, but I'm TOTALLY considering making my own deodorant.  

The more I read about essential oils and natural herbs and remedies and such, the more interesting it is.  As a lifetime migraine sufferer, I'm really starting to think about all the junk that I put in my body -- both through foods and prescription drugs -- along with all the junk I slather ON my body.  I mean, I love a good fancy-smelling lotion as much as the next person, but I can't even pronounce half of what's in the ingredients list.  And I just don't think that all those chemicals can be good for me.  I'd really like to see what my poor little brain would do if it is given a chance to be prescription-drug-free.  People survived for many generations without all the fanciness that we get from the pharmacy these days.

And, yeah, I'm tired of giving half my money to the insurance company and the other half to doctors and pharmacist.  

So now, I'm giving a lot of thought to learning as much as I can about all this to see just how healthy and homemade the Lewis House can become.  It's way too late for me to go to medical school, but I'm still plenty young enough to become a certified herbalist, and just HOW cool would that be?

Pretty cool, I think.  (Although I'm still not planning to give up on that Sephora addiction any time soon.)  

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Perils of Being a Trial Widow

So, at the risk of opening myself up to home invasion burglers and such, I'm going to report that Todd has jaunted off to the wilds of Hardin County for a trial which is expected to take three weeks to complete, leaving me all alone -- and lonely -- to hold down the for.  It's a bit worrying, because the last time he left home for a trial, which was just a couple of months ago, all the proverbial hell broke loose around here.

See, before I came along, Todd had a cat, Tom.  And Tom survived the arrival of not one, but two dogs to the household.  But he was really always Todd's cat.  After living with me for eight or nine years, he started to let me pet him, but only if I were lying down.  Standing up, I scared him.

Todd had been gone in trial for about a week when Tom found his way out of the basement door.  I wasn't terribly worried at first, because he was kind of indoor/outdoor cat, but he stayed gone for a long time.  For days and days I left the basement door open, hoping he would come home.

On one of those days, I made plans to meet my mother in Richmond for lunch, and becaue it was supposed to rain, I left my spoiled dogs, Penny and Sam, in the house.  I got halfway to Richmond, and got a phone call from the electric company that he was there to fix the water line (which had conveniently sprung a leak the minute Todd left town, resulting in a no-water house for several days) but wasn't going to get out of his truck with "that dog" in the yard barking at him.

"Wait, what?  There's a dog in my yard?"

"Yes, a big black dog, and he looks like he's going to bite me."

Unfortunately, I couldn't really reassure the guy that if it was, indeed, my dog, he didn't have to worry, because yes, if it was Sam, he would most definitely bite some random LG&E guy.  (Beware, prospective home invasion burglers.)  So I turned all the way around and came home, where Sam had let himself BACK in the house through the open basement and looked me in the eye and flat-out LIED about being outside in the first place.

The next night, after scouring our block yelling for Tom with no luck, I went to bed, Sam and Penny tucked into their beds next to me, and we all went to sleep.  Then, I woke up around 3 a.m. to the sound of a barking dog.  One that sounded strangely familiar.  I turned on the light to see Penny blinking at me, but no Sam.  So I ran outside -- in my NIGHTIE -- to find Sam barking his fool head off, running up and down the street.

I think he was looking for Tom.  And I think at some point, he decided that Todd was also AWOL, because he was just crazy until Todd came home, escaping the house left and right, running away from me, and generally actin' a fool.   It was a mess.

Finally, Todd finished the stinkin' trial and came home, and Sam calmed down to his normal self (allowing Penny to go back to being the "bad" dog of the house).  But, sadly, Tom never came home.  Ever.  And it's still very sad and I still feel guilty somehow -- I'm pretty convinced that Tom decided Todd was never coming home and living with me was just too horrendous to contemplate, so he ran away.

You can't really blame me for being kind of nervous now with Todd being gone.  If he comes home this time to a missing pet . . . well, it's going to be tough to explain.  If you happen to see any loose animals in your neighborhood, CALL ME.  It might be one of mine, missing their Dad.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Out in the World Without Training Wheels

This past year, for my birthday Todd gave me a fancy new road bike. It's awsomely fancy. Like, in a totally girly way. It's white, with black flowers -- yes, FLOWERS -- painted on it, with some red accents. Awesome. I was very excited that the salesman talked us into an actual "girl" bike. I mean, yeah, I'm tall enough to ride a men's bike, but I'm totally a girly girl at heart.

 So, now that I have a real road bike, Todd was determined that I learn to ride in clips. (For the non-bikers, this means your shoes are clipped in to be attached to your pedals.)

 Now. Let's just get it out there. I often fall down. I trip over things. Recently, I fell off an ottoman -- for no apparent reason. I have -- no joke -- wrecked a STATIONARY bike. So, this clip thing is no small deal.

 What ensued was a series of what we now fondly call "low-speed crashes." These are the ones where you glide slowly to a stop, realize you can't get your foot loose, and have time to analyze exactly where on your body you are going to hit the ground, the curb, or whatever happens to be nearby. Low-speed they might be, but they hurt like the dickens, and leave some impressive bruises. They sometimes result in persons-who-are-definitely-not-me sitting on the same curb and having a good cry.

 But, to my surprise, I learned. And learned to actually like the clips. And now I even go on solo rides in the neighborhood. As in, by MYSELF. Up HILLS. It's shocking. And a little scary. Sometimes cars like to go by really fast, and sometimes TARC buses like to share a lane that really isn't big enough to share. I'm generally a very meek and accomodating bike rider; I like to just stay out of everyone's way and try not to be noticed.  I leave the road rage to Todd, he's WAY better at it.

 Today, though, I went for a ride just as all the parents were lining up their cars for pick-up at the elementary school near my house. I was cruising along, enjoying the brisk air, feeling proud for riding my bike all alone, when some dadblamed mom whipped her car out of the line, directly in front of me, causing me to swerve, yell, "HEY!" and frantically reach for my nonexistent horn to beep at her. I finally managed to unclip and come to a screeching stop, and I opened my mouth to yell some of my best ex-public defender curses at her, when I realized there was a whole school's worth of elementary school students staring at me. So I contented myself with an inward fist shake, and blurted out, "Thanks a LOT!"  As I rode away, I half-yelled, "SOME people need to watch where they're GOING!"

She never even turned around to see my first ever biker's road rage. And I guess as rages go, it was pretty lame.  But when I finally stopped fuming, it occurred to me -- Todd's going to be so proud.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Well, hello, 2012!

Well . . . so . . . here I am!

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's been an age since I've posted on here. Like, multiple ages. Like, I tried to erase the date of the last post in the hopes that I could convince you that it hadn't really been that long.

Things are really different than when I posted last. Mostly, I'm different. After suddenly losing my job on December 15, 2010, (more on that at a later date), I've spent the past year unemployed. It's a position I never thought I would find myself in, and it's been an experience that has taught me a tremendous amount about myself and my life (more on that, later, too).

I've been telling myself for the past few months that as soon as I got a new job, everything would not only change back to the life I had before, but that it would change into something even better. And when that happened, I thought I would start writing this blog again. But here's the thing that I've decided is true: life is what it is, in spite of all the things we wish it might be, and if we don't just go ahead and live it -- well, we'll be missing out on the only life w e get.

So, if last year is to be fondly known in my history as "The Lost Year 2011," 2012 is going to be "The Year of Living 2012."

And, yeah, I'm a-gonna blog about it.