“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”

If the title quote is true….and I believe it to be…does it count if I walk around with a (metaphorical) knife prepared to cut myself wide open at the drop of a hat? Or is it more that I should risk being cut open by someone/something else? I really need to know because the (metaphorical) knife I’ve been wielding lately has become cumbersome and I feel may be scaring people away.

Have you ever found yourself surrounded by a group of people, people who you care deeply about, people who you are pretty sure care about you, and felt completely alone? I had that happen this evening. Friday nights have become something I look forward to lately as a group of us get together and play darts. Tonight was special in that it was one fella’s birthday and I had my own darts that I bought today. All signs would lead to this being a stellar evening.

After my partner and I were eliminated in the first round of the draw…although we gave our opponents a run for their money and I LOVE my darts, the evening took a turn, at least in my mind. I wasn’t really drinking tonight…which is probably why I was so AWARE of things. I felt as though I had become invisible. I would make comments on occasion and try to chat with those around me, but my words seemed to fall on deaf ears. It was like they were looking right through me. Once it was determined that my partner and I were completely out of the draw, I closed my tab and packed up my things. For some reason, as I was saying good-bye, everyone had something to say to me. There were attempts to get me to stay, pleas for me to hang out for just one more beer, etc….But it was too late. I already felt on the outside looking in and no invitation to come in would be enough. In order for me to have stayed there I would have had to had many many drinks very very quickly and I didn’t trust myself to be responsible as the end of the night arrived. I didn’t trust that anyone there would have helped me be responsible either. I felt that if I stuck around more, nothing good would happen.

Had this taken place a year ago, I would have cried uncontrollably the second I left the bar and had a total freak out. With the aid of certain chemicals and a general better outlook on life, I was able to walk away from the situation and chalk it up to not being my night.

You know what really stinks about this whole night? I can trace so much of my angst back to boys. I am so friggin’ tired of having my happiness or lack thereof tied to the males of the species. I mean seriously!!! It is simply not healthy. I would like it if, sometime soon, the planets could align and I would like a guy the same time he likes me. What tends to happen is that I like them, they don’t get it, I get over it and then they like me. Or…and this is much more rare….they like me, I don’t get it, they give up on me and then I like them. It is just so stupid. It’s so juvenile. I love the chase as much as the next girl. I can play hard to get–and deserve an Oscar since I am anything but. But I really don’t want to have to chase or be chased. I want to fall into a comfortable relationship where I don’t feel like I need to read between the lines or anticipate what is coming next. I want to be confident enough in myself in a relationship that I can be confident in him as well. I want someone to hold my hand.

I want someone that I would SO risk being completely cut open for, but know that they never would.

Damn you Chuck Palahniuk and your quotable ass!!!

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It’s OK….he’s Canadian.

I’m madly in love with Michael Cera. Sure, he’s 19. Sure, he’s dating some Asian girl (why do so many of the men I love go for the Asian girls?) Sure, I don’t know him or anything. But these obstacles will only make our love stronger

Ok….I’m kidding. Well, kind of. I really am fond of the kid. Seeing his face on screen makes me smile and the characters he plays are always the kind of boys I like….at least the kind of boys I like in movies.

I saw Juno today and really, everyone should. Everyone with a soul at least…..you know who you are. I’ve been anticipating this movie for months, I think I saw the first preview for it at Superbad. Anywho, I can confidently say that it was better then I thought it would be. That doesn’t happen very often. The characters were so well written and so charming. The story is almost what you think it will be from the previews….but oh so much better.Ellen Page, who plays Juno, is pretty much mind-blowing. At first I was afraid that the character was a tad overwritten, but then I thought about it and realized that life as a 16 year old is, in reality, overwritten. Everything is so heightened. Add an unplanned pregnancy, it gets a tad interesting. Page’s performance was never over the top. She respected Juno as the person she was and played her with all the quirks, strength and vulnerability the part deserved.

Back to my love, Mr. Cera. He’s so beautifully uncomfortable with nearly everything around him, it ends up working as a strange confidence. It’s as though no one could actually be very self conscious and act the way he does. His character, Bleeker, well, he’s darling. He seems to be in that odd group in High School where he isn’t completely cool, but isn’t a complete outsider. The fact that they have him as a Cross Country runner is perfect. All the guys who ran CC in my high school fell into that gray area of “cool-ish.” As many 16 year old boys, Paulie Bleeker is confused and unaware of how to deal with his feelings, let alone his feelings about his best friend who finds herself pregnant with his child. Faced with the strong personality of Juno, he’s even more bewildered…but he hangs in there. The scenes when Juno and Bleeker are hanging out in his room take me back to so many awkward times in adolescence where you have these great opposite sex friends and sometimes you think that it is something more but most of the time you’re just confused. Who the hell am I kidding, it’s STILL that way for me.

Bottom line, Juno is a well written, well acted, well produced film that I would see 5 more times in the theater and will buy on DVD as soon as I can.

I spent my Christmas with my Dad, eating at Baja Fresh and watching a movie about a pregnant teen and it really couldn’t have been much better.

ps.  the soundtrack for Juno ROCKS and includes a couple of cover versions of songs….I LOVE me a good cover version. 

Christmas Music: the great debate

The other day I made a mix cd of my top holiday tunes and have been listening to it pretty much non-stop. I’ve read a bunch of the best and worst lists concerning this seasonal entertainment. I’ve gotten into heated discussions with friends and acquaintances about various songs merits and faults. It’s amazing how this genre that most claim to be completely annoyed by can conjure up such emotion. I guess it’s just that way this time of year…..

Here is my mix and my justification for each song.

Winter Wonderland, Johnny Mathis: My mother has worn out more copies of the Johnny Mathis Christmas record then I can even imagine. You know the one, he’s on a “snowy” scene with skis and such. I think circa mid- 1960s? It used to drive me nuts. Now it isn’t Christmas until I hear it, this song in particular. I used to think that “Parson Brown” was actually “parched and brown”—I lived in Oklahoma. Oklahoma in winter is parched and brown–on a good day. It’s just a good song….

Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt: First off, I like the Madonna version too. It’s a controversial stance, I know, but I am a child of the 80’s and Madonna is my gal. Eartha Kitt, where to start. I like the sex of this song. I like to imagine her singing it to a hot Santa (is there such a thing) in a sultry outfit and ultimately getting everything she asks for. One drunken evening the conversation turned to all the sexual allusions in the song—chimneys and such, but I won’t put you through all of that here.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee: Argue with me about this one, I dare ya!

Mele Kalikimaka, Bing Crosby: Try to sing along with this and not smile. If you can do that, well, I don’t know what to say to you—there are some great anti-depressants out there, check ’em out. This song also rocks because you can “croon” to it and there is the bitching girl back up singers.

Last Christmas, Wham!: Did I mention I am a child of the 80’s? This song is so heartbreaking, you HAVE to love it. I had the biggest crush on George Michael when this song came out (shut up! he claims he was straight then) and I vividly remember being pissed at the idea that any woman would just give his heart away. Ahhh youth, before you know that giving your heart to anyone is the most dangerous thing to do ever.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Mindy Smith: This song tears me apart. I know that it came out during WWII and when I learned that, it killed me even more. This song played a pivotal role in an episode of Facts of Life when the girls somehow (the details are fuzzy) end up singing Christmas carols in a prison. Jo, who’s father had been in prison of course…bless her heart, remembers that his favorite song when he was in the joint was “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” This version by Mindy Smith is particularly poignant. Her voice has an intrinsic sadness that so works with this song.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland: “Meet Me in St. Louis” is one of my favorite movies of all time. I used to watch it each year with my Grandma and just delight in young Judy Garland and the wonderful, but sad world portrayed in that movie. I SO wish that I had seen it a couple of weeks ago on the big screen at The Belcourt…..but alas, I celebrated my birthday a bit to hard the night before and slept all day. This song is so sincere and sweet and such a simple sentiment that is encompasses my desires for this holiday.

Christmastime is Here, Vince Guaraldi (vocal version): being born three weeks before Christmas, my first Christmas pictures are of a teeny tiny baby. One picture is of me with my first Snoopy doll. I got it from my Aunt Yip Yip…who wasn’t an aunt at all, but had been my mom’s roommate her first year in college. I received a Snoopy doll pretty much every year for MANY years. I carried that thing around with me everywhere so they got worn out pretty quick. The Charlie Brown Christmas special is the best, no comparison. This song is so sweet and sort of sad….like many Peanuts things. It’s gentleness and the young voices singing make for a lovely thing indeed.

Sleigh Ride, Johnny Mathis: see the above Johnny Mathis entry for the general gist of how this made the cut.  This song used to represent what I was sure Christmas time with a boy would be like.  I’ve never been on a sleigh ride, with a boy or not. Boys can be scarce around the holidays, many times it seems like relationships were “on a break” or there was some tragic fight right around Thanksgiving that would all be forgotten about December 29, when the prospect of not having a NYE date seemed horrible. Ahhhhh love.

Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses:  I SWEAR, I am not scary 80’s obsessed girl!  I swear! This song ROCKS!  It’s silly and sassy. It shows that being a bit on the “bah humbug” side can be cool. It talks about a boy. What more do you want people?

Christmas in Hollis, Run-DMC: “It’s Christmas time in Hollis Queens. Mom’s cooking chicken and collared greens!” This is the penultimate in contemporary classics.  You can take your Josh Grobans and Michael Bubles and stick it….this is what I want from a Christmas song.  Rap when it wasn’t scary. Rhymes that talk nothing about bitches or Benjamins (well, sure Santa brings some dough…but there are no guns discussed in obtaining it)

Carol of the Bells, The Bird and The Bee: This version of this song, by a band that is a darling of influential radio station KCRW, doesn’t exhibit the gothic intensity that many versions do. There is something so cinematic about this song. The frenetic intensity and simple words make for a song that stands out. Please don’t get me started on the Mannheim Steamroller version…I CAN’T STAND IT!!!

Blue Christmas, Elvis: I’m sensing a sort of theme here….lots of sad Christmas songs.  This song is perfect. Elvis sings the hell out of it. The lyrics are simple and to the point. Holiday loneliness as a theme, long before Dr. Phil, etc. got a hold of it.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside, Dean Martin: I used to have a friend who HATED this song. He had no concept of the wonderful flirtation that was going on. He had no patience for how the two folks in the song just wouldn’t part ways. Ahhh, silly boy. This song ROCKS.  I love that point in an evening when you know you should leave but would love for him to ask you to stay and the push and pull of the conversation weakens you until you are looking for any reason to stay.  You always stay and if there is that much discussion about you staying, it is usually a VERY GOOD decision.

All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey: The cover of the CD this song is on makes me want to vomit. When I worked in a music store I HATED having to deal with it. Mariah before she got slutty and sad, but was trying a little to hard to be sexy…..and failing.  That being said, this song is catchy, fun, flirty and good. I’m not proud of it’s inclusion here, but I stand by it.

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late), Alvin and the Chipmunks: From year to year, my ideas on this song go between wanting to poke my ear drums out when I hear it and loving it.  This year is a “loving it” year.  It’s SO DAMN cute and silly and I remember my parents hating it, which made me love it even more.

Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg: Not really a Christmas song, I know.  Dan Fogelberg passed away the day I made this mix. I have ALWAYS loved this song. Yes, I like soft rock, what of it? This song seemed like a good ending to the mix and I LOVE the idea of running into an old boyfriend randomly…well, not all of them, but you know what I mean.  I also like to drink beer in the car.

So there it is, my mix.  In no way shape or form does this mix make me seem cool.  I could toss in some Ramones or Vandals or Kirsty MacColl & the Pogues…all of which I like. But Christmas to me isn’t about being cool, it’s about the familiar and the soothing and the things that make me happy.

Only Child’s Dilemma?

I must preface this with the following: I am, in general, very happy in my life. I want for little (other then silly, expensive things that would only stress me out to own), I have wonderful friends, a job I love and feel as though I am taken care of (in a universal sense). However, there seems to be something missing.

Growing up an only child (an only child of divorce no less!) I was used to being the center of attention. While I can still be the center of my parents’ attention….it doesn’t really count anymore. At this point in my life I feel like I am a guest star in a few folks’ world, even occasionally a SPECIAL guest star, but I am not a regular. I’m not a permanent fixture in any group of friends. I’m not the first person anyone calls about much of anything. I’m feeling sort of “island” like…and I don’t like it.

This time of year brings out all kinds of odd issues like this for me.  I come from a small family, no matter how far you extend the family tree, there simply aren’t many of us. If you include the people I actually KNOW…even smaller. People I actually LIKE is a VERY small number. Yet, somehow, I feel like I want to be close to these people this time of year.

Of course, this issue instantly brings to mind the lack of a “special someone” in my life.  Why, oh why, does this pop up in nearly every “issue” that arises in my life. I want to say that I am too independent to be in a relationship. I want to say that I am happiest when I am alone. I want to say that I couldn’t care less if I ever find someone who wants to spend endless hours with me learning the random things that make up my history, telling me the random things that make up his history and creating new random stories that will be OUR history together. But that is all a big stinkin’, festering lie. I see myself being attracted to people merely because I think they are more likely to be attracted to me—-usually because I feel like they have lowered their standards.  I flirt with boys that I find truly attractive or interesting and the second they respond, I clam up.

I see so many of my friends in relationships, healthy and otherwise and I compare myself to them. I look for what it is about them that makes them be chosen by someone else and not me. It’s a horrible thing to do, never compare yourself to someone else, but it’s hard not to. 

I’m just kind of spinning here, and I know it. Perhaps the man of my dreams isn’t hanging out at the sort of scary yet fun place we played darts on Friday? Perhaps he’s at the East Nashville dog park, not the Centennial Park one?  Maybe he’s at one of the shows that I can always talk myself out of going to alone? Maybe he’s down the hall from my office?  I don’t know where he is, but I refuse to give up hope that he is indeed out there.

So there.

Who’d have thunk it?!

Yesterday was my birthday. My 34th birthday. That, for some reason, sounds middle-aged. Regardless of my pending senior citizen status, it was an AMAZING birthday.

I am never one to shy away from reminding people of my birthday. So I sent out an email with a variety of events for people to celebrate me.

Monday night was my “trivia birthday” @ Corner Bar.  What used to be a weekly event has become much less frequent….but it was fun just the same.  Three good friends. Good, cheap cocktails. Attentive and lovely servers. Random conversations…….ALL GOOD!

My friend Jenn Franklin had a CD release party/show on Tuesday.  I’m so proud that she has completed her EP. She is stupid talented and gives me chills every-time I hear her sing.  She also announced from the stage that I had a birthday coming up and all of Third and Lindsley wished me happy birthday. God I love Nashville.  I then went to dinner with my pops and had my last corn nuggets of my 33rd year. YUM!

Weds. found me @ Peter’s Thai Sushi (YUM!) having lunch with Ear Injury.  After a near miss with the devil, I mean my old boss on my way in, the rest of the meal was a tasty and delightful experience. Man the food there is SO amazing. Add to that wonderful company and it doesn’t get much better.  I spent Weds. night chilling at the house with the furry friends, watching ANTM and Project Runway (sorry to see ya go Chris–ya coulda been a contender!)

Thursday—my ACTUAL birthday. My phone started ringing at 7:30.  I have numerous voice mails that I saved with folks wishing me a happy birthday. I had cards on my desk at work and my mom even sent me a huge cookie cake with a balloon on it to the office.  My dept. took me to lunch at Yellow Porch (delish)  where Alison Krauss and John Waite had also decided to grab a bite (have I mentioned I love Nashville?) I basically did no work all day and just chatted with folks and hung out. Well, I did have a vendor change the laws of physics and help me solve a problem with a project—but hey….that’s what happens on my birthday.

After work I went to dinner at Eastland Cafe with my dad. We ate tapas style–which is my favorite.  It’s the only way to get shrimp & grits, herbed carrots, green chili mac & cheese, buttered asparagus, coconut rice and a decadent cheese platter at one meal without being sick at the end.  You would hate to be sick at the end also since there was a pomegranate martini, triple chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet and blueberry beignets to be had.  MMMMMMMM

I took my happy mouth (and the rest of me) to meet the Thursday night trivia gang.  I have so much fun with these people I can’t even explain it.  They truly get as much joy out of every situation possible. I usually laugh so much that my stomach hurts. I got a wonderful Sephora giftcard from my super pregnant friend (seriously…the packaging for their gift cards is AMAZING!!!) and we got her soon to be born son making all kinds of moves for us all night. We decided he likes the bar scene already. We didn’t do so well at the actual trivia part, but we had a blast otherwise and I could hardly believe that while a few of the same people were there as had been at my last birthday—the mood was so much different.  My last birthday kinda sucked…mostly because of me….but that is so in the past and I will bask in the afterglow of this birthday instead.

There is still more celebrating to be had.  Pub crawl. East Nashville. Good times! It’s not only my birthday festivity, but that of the lovely Snikki.  It should be a good time. Anything that can celebrate the great way my life is going is a good time to me. Now if I could only have a mega makeout session…………