Random Saturdays – Lake Trip Withdrawls

Last weekend, I hung out with some girlfriends at the lake and had more fun than I’d had in a long time.  I can’t remember the last time that I really had that much time away from work, job searching, studying, cleaning, paying bills, small town football, or even my husband.  That’s not to say that I don’t love spending time with my family, but the lake trip was a break that I didn’t realize I needed.

We drove in two separate vehicles at two separate times and had two sets of travelling stories to compare.  Within the first hour of driving, we already had jokes that will never die, involving such phrases as, “the Liquor Depot” and “cute little road”.  You just never know what kind of stuff will be hilarious when you’re with friends, right?  By the end of Friday night, two of the three women already had new nicknames.  We tried very hard on Friday night to get drunk, but none of us got more than tipsy.  We ate our combined weight in pasta, bread, and cookies too.  We played games, made up jokes, and just had a blast in general.  That was all Friday night.

Saturday, everyone got gussied up in someway (except for me).  I think it’s really cool how much hair and makeup can transform you, but I’m far too lazy and my skin is much too sensitive to do any of that regularly.  This was a special event and I should have gotten all fancy, but I chose to meditate, doze, and crack jokes instead.  We treated ourselves to pedicures that afternoon.  I have never had a pedicure before, but it was amazing.  I had a middle-aged Vietnamese lady who really knew how to work the knots out of my foot.  I meditated during the massage and while my toes dried, and felt completely relaxed by the time we left.  It was a bit expensive for my tastes, but I’m glad I did it.  Since I have some pretty strict personal policies regarding my feet and nail polish, I might try it again some day before I die, but not any time soon.

That night, we barely drank at all and were completely sober.  I think we may have had an even better time than the night before.  We are just such a good group of friends and balance each other out so well and I am in love with us.  If I saw a group of friends like us on tv, I would add them to my Imaginary BFFs board on Pinterest.  We did some more impressions with T-Rex arms, played some Cards Against Humanity, sang along to a billion songs, and stuffed our faces with burritos, nachos, cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries.  It was every bit as much fun as the first night.

Sunday was time to leave, so we cleaned up and headed home.  We stopped at a local restaurant on the way out of town, which turned out to be closed.  So we defied death by crossing the street to get to another local restaurant whose sign said, “ALWAYS OPEN”.  It was pretty good home cooking with lots of grease and carbs.  On the way home, each group sent each other texts about our weekend of jokes to remind us all of how hilarious we think we are.  My car group stopped at the Dutchman’s Hidden Valley on the way home to stock up on souvenirs and handmade truffles.

Before we even got home, real life started settling in on my car group and we got pretty bummed.  Ben had to remind me that vacations are not supposed to be like real life and that’s why we look forward to them.  Bah!  The ladies and I have been texting and Facebooking each other ever since we left the cabin, telling ourselves how funny we are and taking our jokes way too far.

It’s crazy how we all live in the metroplex and still find it so difficult to get together.  We all have different families, different jobs, different routines, and even different tastes in liquor.  This is the case with most of my friends in the metroplex.  It used to make me very anxious and guilt-ridden that I couldn’t spend equal amounts of time with all of the people who are important to me.  Now, I understand that sometimes you will spend more time with some people than others, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are neglecting the other people.  When you get together, you will pick up where you left off and make a slew of in-jokes in less than 10 minutes.  That is how you know that you have quality friends.  They will make hilariously inappropriate jokes about the rough times in order to help you get through the rough times.

Random Saturdays – Lake Trip

Every year, Ben goes with his frat brothers to the crappiest lake around here.  They find the crappiest cabin at that lake, pile in the cabin, and pretend to be in college again, without the school stuff.  As my dear husband puts it, “We chose the location for its crappiness because we’re less likely to be around other people, which means we’re less likely to bother other people, which means we don’t have to deal with complaints from other people.”  Lest you think I’m exaggerating, Ben was one of two guys to take a shower at the cabins last year, and he ended up soaked in stagnant dead fish water…straight from the lake.  He is going to skip the shower this year, not willing to risk staph or e.coli this time.

The wives, girlfriends, and girl friends of the guys are mostly friends with each other.  We had mentioned doing our own version of the lake trip before, but things happened.  This year, we finally got around to planning our Ladies Lake Trip.  Well, a few of us did anyway.  It’s funny;  no matter how inclusive you think you’re being, there are always people that you always realize at the last minute that you never invited people that you probably should have invited.  At any rate, five of us are headed to a Groupon Retreat a few hours away for the weekend.  Our place is a little nicer than the guys’ place.  Ours has a full kitchen, wi-fi, and clean water.  We can go swimming, play volleyball, go hiking, feed deer, do a wine tasting, go shopping, dine at fancy restaurants, dine at comfy restaurants, and take showers without getting MRSA.

Normally, I’m all about planning this stuff out waaaaay in advance and making a detailed itinerary.  I don’t necessary have to follow the plan, but I do have to have the plan so that I don’t feel like the world will fall apart.  This time, I was working at night, subbing in the day, sending out my resume, going on interviews, going to football games in the Sahara Desert, sick, jacked up from steroids from being sick, planning birthday parties, planning family holidays, having long conversations with my doctor and the insurance company, and trying not to fall asleep on the toilet.  So, it wasn’t until three days before the trip that I was able to really look into any substantial plans at all.  Up to that point, I mostly just threw my credit card at people and told my Ladies that we would math it out later.

There’s still SO MUCH stuff that I need to do around the house.  I haven’t even put up a single Halloween decoration yet and Halloween is my mo fo favorite holiday of all the holidays in all the world.  Maybe that’s why I’ve spent so much time staring at the same Halloween decorations when I pick up various meds at the pharmacy.  Either way, my brain has shut off already.  My planning, analytical, and guilt-ridden brain has placed an Out To Lunch sign on my cumbersome To Do List.  Everytime I think of all of my responsibilities, my brain just blithers out and dies.  Doing work is hard because I get frustrated and then the four brain cells that were left behind in case of emergencies just yell things like, “This is the type of junk that forced me on a Groupon Retreat!” or “No, no, no, pbblt!”

A single day of no obligations, no responsibilities, and Girl Time.  This is what I need.  I don’t even want to go because I’m so exhausted.  When I think about it, I just want to pass out when I log off work and then sleep until I have to log back into work again.  However, my brain and soul are talking and conspiring for more quality healing time than just a marathon sleeping session.  When I think about packing and driving and walking and talking, I get tired.  Thankfully, that part of my brain is mostly too tired to think about how tired it is.  That’s what allowed those other four brain cells to take care of everything without worrying about math or exhaustion or responsibilities so that I might actually enjoy myself with my girls.  I’m grateful that when my brain shuts down, it’s sometimes for my own frippin’ benefit.  The fact that my friends are super cool really awesomer than everyone else ain’t too shabby either.


Random Saturdays – Eventful August

Back in January, Cathy did a tarot reading for me for the year.  August was the 3 of Cups – Celebrating with Friends.  August started out pretty roughly, so I wasn’t sure, but now, I think the card completely fits.

  • 12 Day Meditation Challenge – After I got so bummed out the first week, I decided not to do the guided meditations.  Meditating on each day’s lesson was better.  The third week, I was busy, so I slacked off completely.  I still did my normal meditation before bed, but I didn’t pay much attention to the daily lessons.  I’ve kept all of the emails from the challenge so that I can still look back at the daily lessons as I see fit.
  • Amanda and I were able to take a few of the same days off this month.  I’ll write more on that in a different post, but it was fun.  We decided that one of the things we should do is try to get drunk.  We never get drunk.  We always have to drive home and go to work or wake up early to run errands or we don’t wanna risk headaches or blah blah blah.  Between the two of us, we had half a bottle of Malibu rum and half a bottle of some kind of good amaretto whose name I don’t remember while watching Bad Santa (I had never seen it.  Everyone says it’s funny, and it was, but it made me sad.)  By the end of the movie, we weren’t drunk, just sleepy and hot.  It was cold in the apartment, but we were burning up.  We set out to get drunk, but went through peri-menopause instead.
  • RQ School – We had our first session of RQ School this month.  Cathy, Lomo, and I were the only ones able to make it this time, but we recorded it and put it online. (I’ll be posting that later, but if you’re real smart, you can figure out how to see it now.)  I forgot that we were recording this for public consumption, and even though I only expect nobody else to watch it, I said some potentially offensive, but funny, things.  Once we stopped recording, I said some really offensive, but much funnier things.  That was actually the best part, the chat afterwards.  Doncha just love goofing around with your friends?
  • Paris – I decided to go to Paris with Cathy for Christmas.  She was going to go to Ghana with her boyfriend to see his sister, who is in the Peace Corps.  Cathy and Matt broke up this year, though, so Cathy decided to continue saving for a trip, but not to Ghana.  She settled on a Rick Steves tour of Paris.  I have always wanted to go to France, but mostly the south of France.  I have had alot of run-ins with snooty Francophiles who turned me off on Paris.  Even though I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and such, I didn’t want to deal with d-bags like that, or worse, be mistaken for one of Those People.  However, I realize that this is a stupid reason to avoid Paris.  Aussi, c’est trés amusant practiquer mon français a Paris!  I will have to put part of this trip (mostly airfare) on my credit card, but after lots of number crunching, and advice from friends, I decided to go anyway.  In 2005, I began planning a trip to Italy with the RQ Babes, but have yet to go.  I always put off fun for the sake of responsibility.  I’m willing to deal with a little credit card debt for the sake of renewing my spirit by visiting Paris with one of my best friends.  Besides, think of all the money I’ll save on therapy and antidepressants!
  • Root Canal – I went for my first cap fitting (of three) this month, and ended up needing a root canal.  Two hours later, the dentist told me that my canals were too small, which makes cleaning difficult.  So, I had to come back a few days later to finish the root canal and cap fitting.  That was not fun on any level at all.  Friggin’ teeth.

Despite my meditation fail and my small canals, August has, indeed, lived up to the promise of being the month that I celebrate with friends.  Who knew?

Random Saturdays – My Temika Weekend

Since I started this blog, I’ve gone from posting three times a week to twice a week to once a week.  Last week, I didn’t post at all.

It was a combo of being busy, being exhausted, and being lazy.  One of my best friends was visiting me from out of town last weekend, so I spent last week procrastinating about getting my apartment ready for her visit.  Then she visited, so there was no time for blogging.  I’ve known Temika since 1988, but we didn’t become (best) friends until 1992.  Since then, we’ve been inseparable, except for the fact that we haven’t lived in the same city since 1996.  It doesn’t stop us though!  We have been through international plane trips, marathon road trips in the Texas summer without air conditioning, towed vehicles, and, as of last weekend, running over giant sheets of metal on the highway.  No matter what, we stay in touch and visit each other.

Temika, her girlfriend, and her son came to visit me last weekend.  I hadn’t met Melinda before, but she turned out to be one of the coolest chicks both sides of the Mississippi.  My precious little Zakk is turning into my goofy kid Zakk, which simultaneously breaks my heart and makes me proud.  When I was little, I always thought it was lame how adults always said that kids grow up too quickly — I completely get it now.  Friday night, we met up at my apartment.  Amanda met us, too, so that we could all get dinner together.  We went to Cafe Brazil, which made such an impression on Zakk that he kept asking to go back for every meal afterwards.  Zakk fell asleep on the way back from dinner, leaving Temika, Melinda, Amanda, and me to talk and laugh to the point of exhaustion.  We also learned that Temika developed a zebra impersonation after hearing the noise on some show.  Then Amanda did her version.

This is the sound that a zebra makes (skip to the 1:00 minute mark).

This is Temika doing her imitation of a Zebra, followed by Amanda doing her version.

This is Amanda making a second attempt at the sound.

Saturday morning, I made biscuits and a potato, sundried tomatoes, and feta frittata for breakfast.  Afterwards, we headed to the Ft. Worth Zoo.  I’m not actually a fan of zoos because I think it’s sad to keep animals caged.  Then again, some zoo facilities are safer from human destruction than animals’ natural habitats.  I am a fan of taking kids to zoos, though.   On the way to the zoo, I ran over a big piece of metal in the road.  Actually, it flew at me after a giant truck passed it, then flew into my bumper and got stuck under my car.  Due to construction, there was no shoulder and I was in the far left lane.  I had to slow down, ease over four lanes, and drive until I could find a bit of shoulder where I could stop.  Once I pulled over, Melinda and Temika tried to pull out the metal, but it was stuck.  Melinda used a jack to lift the car while I crawled beneath it and pulled out the metal.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt, the car was still safe to drive, and I have full coverage.  (As I type this, a rental car sits outside of my apartment.  I had to get up two hours earlier than normal to drop my car off for inspection/repair, but the rental car guy looked like a much cleaner and less skeezy version of Shia LaBeouf, so that was cool.)

It actually turned out to be a great day to go to the zoo – too hot for my taste, but not too hot by most people’s standards.  All the animals were out and about, curiously exploring items in their areas, bathing, eating, and playing.  When we were ready to head back, we took the toll road to avoid more construction, but there were multiple things in the middle of the road there too, all of which gave me mini-heart attacks.  We grabbed dinner at Eddy’s Pizza.  Then, Melinda and Zakk went to Main Event to play games while Temika and I tried to find a dress for a semi-formal event she needed to go to back home.  It was our lucky day because she found it at Burlington Coat Factory, the first store we tried!  Since we still had time, we also made quick runs to Ross and Old Navy.  Temika found great deals at all of the stores.  I think she bought enough clothes for her, Zakk, and Melinda to wear for a weekend, plus her semi-formal dress, for less than $100 in less than an hour.  We made a quick stop at Yogurtville for dessert before coming back to my place to end the night with some Redbox movies.  We watched Pitch Perfect (which was way funnier than I expected), but were all too sleepy to watch Hotel Transylvania (which we had all seen before anyway).

Sunday morning, we had breakfast at The Original Pancake House.  This time, I was told that I couldn’t make any substitutions on the combo meals, so I ordered á la carte.  I still don’t understand why I can’t substitute bread for meat — the restaurant saves money this way.  We said our goodbyes, and then Temika, Melinda, and Zakk headed back home.  It was a busy weekend with lots of food, lots of driving, but mostly lots of love & laughs.  We were all exhausted, but in a good way.  So, that’s why I never got around to blogging last week.  As an additional penance for missing last week, I offer you, dear reader, Amanda’s impression of a goose.

Random Saturdays – Concert Edition: Maroon 5, Neon Trees, and Owl City

Early Wednesday evening, my boss offered me two tickets to the Maroon 5 concert on Thursday night.  She and her husband bought tickets for their 10-year old for Christmas, but they got better tickets via work (they both work for the same company).  So, she offered them to one of my managers, who turned them down because she had a bunch of family obligations that night and only knew Adam Levine from The Voice.  My manager suggested that our boss offer the tickets to me.  My first reaction was, “Wow, what a nice gesture!”  My second reaction was, “Well, it’s a School Night and I don’t know if I like Maroon 5 enough to stay out late on a school night.”  My third reaction was, “Who do I know that could go at the last minute?”  My fourth reaction was, “I’ll have to deal with traffic and crowds.”  My fifth reaction was, “I need to pull the stick out of my ass and go.”

After talking things over with my boss (who agreed to let both, me and Erica, get off work a bit early so we could go and who also assured me that my manager volunteered to cover my on-call duties for that evening), I decided to go.  My boss did warn me that one of our out-of-town coworkers would be using the third ticket, but I was willing to brave Stranger Danger for a Girls Night out with Erica.  I was afraid that Erica wouldn’t be able to go because she has a husband and a baby that don’t allow for much last-minute-concert stuff, but Richard cordially agreed to watch Eva for the night.  At work, the next day, my boss told me that the third guy backed out, so we now had an extra ticket.  Erica’s sister-in-law, Julie, accepted our offer to go.  She had a baby a month after Erica did, and neither of them have really been out and about as adults without babies and/or husbands since then.  We were all very excited.  Julie was also a full-blown Maroon 5 fan, so we knew she’d be lots of fun at the concert (to be honest, she’s fun shopping for toilet paper, so you can only imagine how much fun she’d be at a concert).  Erica swore she didn’t know any Maroon 5 songs and only recognized Adam Levine from tabloids and The Voice.  After a quick YouTube search, she realized that she did know and like Neon Trees, though.  At least we were all going to the concert together and at least one of us recognized at least one song from each band.

It’d be cool to go see Neon Trees in a smaller venue sometime.

Normally, I only go to concerts to see New Kids on the Block (the first band that I learned about on my own and liked as a kid, and they are way hotter in their 40s than they were in their 20s, so it’s too bad that I peaked when I was 6).  My friend, Heather, flies in from out of town and I have a group of local gals that are equally devoted to the New Kids.  We make it a huge event and shake what our mommas gave us like we’re trying to make rent.  It’s so much fun!  When it comes to other concerts though, it’s so expensive, such a pain to deal with parking, I don’t like crowds, and did I mention that it’s expensive?  So I usually prefer to just listen to music and tune in for a performance on SNL if I’m feeling adventurous.

The first single off their new album that’s due in April.  I love that they still do their Motown dance moves onstage!

I ended up enjoying myself at this concert way more than I expected.  Erica and Julie were fun and we got to talk, joke, and enjoy the crowd together.  We had nosebleed seats, but it also made for great people watching.  We missed most of Owl City’s set, which is fine since none of us were big fans anyway.  Neon Trees were good, but there were alot of young kids in the crowd and the band definitely caters to a teenagers-and-older crowd.  Maroon 5 put on a thoroughly entertaining show, though.  The band sounded great!  Adam Levine was more modest and less douchey than I always assumed he was.  The band seemed to be enjoying themselves, which translated well onstage.  The lights and visual effects were cool.  There was a confetti bomb towards the end that was pretty.  At one point, Adam Levine pointed out a fan who had a sign saying, “Adam You Are My Idol”.  He thanked her profusely, said he was grateful to be where he was, said that he was humbled that she held such a high opinion of him, and then told her that even though he was grateful for his success, his only regret in life is that he didn’t get an education.  Then, he encouraged her and all of the other kids in the crowd to make the most of their opportunities at school.  It was kinda funny and cliché, but also very charming and endearing.  I sang along to most of the songs, bobbed my head, and just enjoyed myself in general.  Erica also realized that she was familiar with most of the older Maroon 5 songs, so she didn’t feel completely lost music-wise.  Julie was a bit embarrassed that Adam Levine kept pointing to her and singing to her because she’s married and it made her feel bad for all of the girls in the crowd that weren’t getting his attention.

My favorite part of the concert, though, was the crowd.  I normally hate crowds of people.  It just takes too much energy out of me even seeing them, much less dealing with them.  Our seats were so far away though, that I just sat and looked at everyone down below.  I also empathize with others (perhaps too) easily.  So, when I’m around people who are in a bad mood, I feel bad.  If I’m around people who are happy, then I’m happy too.  When you’re in a huge arena filled with people standing up, singing at the tops of their lungs, dancing, and celebrating, then you feel it.  I ate it up like it was candy!  I found myself randomly bursting into laughter.  When Julie and Erica went to raid the sales booths during the start of Maroon 5’s set (to avoid the crowds), I sat in my chair with no friends to protect me, and just laughed with joy because everyone else was so happy.  It was truly awesome and amazing because I just felt so connected to all of the good things in people, the world, and the universe.  I don’t know if it’s common for people to feel like this in an arena filled with people when they tend to be introverts who avoid people and strangers most of the rest of the time.  I’d be interested to learn if other people like me feel like this at concerts.

I didn’t recognize this song, but it was a pretty big deal at the show.  After watching the video, I get it — it’s about human connections.

Funnily enough, Amanda went to a smaller free concert in Dallas that same night.  Later, we talked about how going to these concerts reminded us that we actually like concerts because of the happy vibes flooding from the crowds.  So we might start trying to get cheap/crappy seats to more concerts so that we can feed off of other people’s happiness, but, you know, in a manner that isn’t as creepy as this sentence sounds.