There's no Friday Five again, so as many blogs have done, I've put together 100 very uninteresting facts about myself.

1. i smoosh jelly beans together, only of the same color.
2. i've never broken a bone.
3. i celebrate my birthday on the eleventh day of the tenth month.
4. i am a perfectionist.
5. i am engaged.
6. my first job was as a bank teller.
7. hate to cook, love to bake.
8. played piano for 20 years.
9. guy friends are better than girl friends.
10. favorite flower - daisy.
11. i don't ever want to grow up.
12. favorite girl scout cookies are Thin Mints.
13. i'm a Libra - it fits me.
14. i'm addicted to shoes.
15. i'm a procrastinator.
16. i'm indecisive.
17. i'm extremely optimistic.
18. my favorite holiday - Christmas - not because of the presents, the lights & happiness.
19. most people don't think I look 30, more like 25.
20. my favorite jeans are from Old Navy.
21. i know that Non-dairy creamer is flammable.
22. i've always wanted to put a slinky on an escalator.
23. music downloading junkie.
24. movie junkie.
25. pop culture junkie.
26. i wear contacts, but I'm seriously thinking of LASIK.
27. i'm into symmetry, but trying to break that habit.
28. i'm right-handed.
29. my first car was a Mercury Capri.
30. i'm easily amused.
31. i'm so easy to please.
32. some have told me they think I'm psychic.
33. i worry a lot.
34. i over analyze.
35. i believe in reincarnation.
36. i despise conflict.
37. i have blue eyes that are red in pictures.
38. i'm totally in love.
39. my third toe is longer than my second.
40. if i won the lottery (which I rarely play) - i'd travel.
41. i have degree in Mgmt Info Sys.
42. i went to grad school shortly - couldn't study.
43. i have an older brother.
44. my parents are divorced, but I don't remember it.
45. i'm divorced, and I remember it.
46. i'm very superstitious.
47. i'm addicted to candy.
48. i love spontaneity.
49. i'm addicted to running.
50. i don't watch television.
51. i'm addicted to movie trailers.
52. sometimes people tell me i think too much.
53. i like my job.
54. i have a hard time taking things seriously.
55. i'm getting married in September.
56. i'm extremely competitive.
57. i live in sunny Florida.
58. sometimes I eat cereal for dinner.
59. i drive an SUV.
60. i suffer from mild road rage.
61. i think Seamonkeys are neat
62. i voted for Nader.
63. i have a half brother i can't talk about.
64. i like coke and I can tell the difference.
65. i have a golden retriever.
66. favorite smells - cookies baking, puppy breath, men's cologne.
67. i hate laundry
68. i like facial hair, only on men though.
69. i'm trying to learn to play the guitar.
70. i enjoy writing in incomplete sentences and starting them with conjunctions.
71. i don't believe in chain letters.
72. i still get gifts from Santa.
73. i look very angry when I'm not smiling.
74. i don't smoke, but I used to.
75. i haven't smoked a cigarette in almost 9 years.
76. i have a fear of spiders.
77. i have a fear of clowns.
78. i'm always cold.
79. i just made Shrinky Dinks the other day.
80. my color is green.
81. i very easily get songs stuck in my head for days.
82. i detest materialism - i divorced because of it.
83. i lettered in high school. In band.
84. i would rather hang with the guys watching football than in the kitchen with the ladies.
85. i have won the football pool at work three times.
86. i have climbed the ancient Mayan ruins.
87. i prefer listening to talking.
88. some think I've been abducted before.
89. i don't have a green thumb.
90. i would live most anywhere in the world for 6 months.
91. i am a sorority girl.
92. but i only joined to put it on my resume at first.
93. i ended up making some lifelong friends and actually enjoying the experience.
94. i have run two marathons and two half-marathons.
95. they were some of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
96. i just recently started playing tennis again after a 15-year break.
97. many of my friends have kids, i still haven't decided.
98. my mother isn't being very patient about that.
99. i've never read Moby Dick.
100. it took me 49 days to make this list.


Not All Bad

When people ask me about my brother, I often tell them stories of how he tortured me as every big brother does to their little sister. I guess it wasn't all that bad though. There was this one time we were staying at my dad's house for our monthly visit. He lived in this great A-frame house on the top of what seemed like a mountain. So what is there to do on a mountain? Go exploring!

Maybe it was because I was the only other human there under the age of 30, or maybe it was because I whined enough, but finally he agreed to let me go with him. It was great - sliding down the hills, jumping from tree to rock back to tree. Then we found it.

It was camouflaged under some leaves and twigs, but I still spotted it. A piece of blue plastic something was peeking out from behind a large rock. I felt like an explorer, thinking of all the things it could possible be. Then I pointed it out to him and we raced over to it. He picked it up - it was like buried treasure.

It was an AM/FM radio. In the shape of a toilet.

What a find, indeed.


Picnic in the Park

Every Friday for about the last month there was a gathering in the park close to where I work. There are several food vendors there, usually free stuff, and live music. The atmosphere is casual and usually promoting enviromental issues. That's not the point of this post, though.

Next to the park there is a head start program consisting of what seems to be about 10 children. Each Friday they are escorted to the park to enjoy the day with the rest of us. I undoubtably catch myself in awe of their innocence and energy. To be so young a free and to think the best thing in the world is running around in circles or clapping your hands to the music. To be so interested in leaves and the sunlight. To not care about who likes you and what people think about you, just that your friend wants to hang on to your hands as you both spin in circles, screaming.

It takes me back and makes me appreciate the small things again.


The Friday Five

1. What's the last vivid dream that you remember having? This morning I was dreaming about having a manicure, except she kept talking and wouldn't finish it. I know we were in current time because we were talking about Memorial Day weekend and our plans.

2. Do you have any recurring dreams? I don't anymore, but I did when I was a child. I had a lot of dreams involving Batman and Robin and us trying to save the day. I also had one that would end with this huge, scary, purple monster tickling me. I eventually developed the ability to get out of dreams that were scaring me by closing my eyes and picturing my room. Every time when I opened my eyes, I would be awake.

3. What's the scariest nightmare you've ever had? The scariest are always the ones where someone's chasing me and I can't run very fast or scream. They usually have a gun as well and I always get shot in the same place - on the right side of my lower back.

4. Have you ever written your dreams down or considered it? Why or why not? Some of my dreams are so bizarre that I should write them down. I usually wake up laughing and think I'll remember enough of it, but I never do.

5. Have you ever had a lucid dream? What did you do in it? Again, only as a child. I always chose to fly.

And up for this long weekend - Sweet Dave and I are going to a bed and breakfast and a music festival. Headlining tonight is Styx- yeah, baby! Everyone have a safe, fun weekend - I'll be back on Tuesday.


The News

Unbelievable. I can't imagine what I would have done had I been in that classroom.

As if I weren't already having anxiety about something going wrong at our wedding in a few months, I read this, and this, and this. OK, maybe not the last one. It's just too weird to leave out.

And as you probably already know, Chandra Levy's remains were found in a D.C. park. The weird thing is I caught part of Oprah yesterday with her parents still pleading for any information on their daughter. Supposedly it was taped yesterday morning as they were recovering the remains. I suppose it brings some closure for them, but I can't imagine how sad they must be. Oh, and by the way, I think Gary Condit is a big fat lying sack of shit. Maybe he didn't do it, but he knows.


"You're getting very, very sleepy..."

My brother thinks I should get hypnotized. I'm a little scared of what I might see.

It all started about ten years ago when I was running at the local college track. There were only two people there that night, me and an older guy who was running some, but walking more. I distinctly remember passing him several times when he was walking and getting this extreme sensation in my stomach. Like butterflies, but to the 100th degree. The weird thing was, I wasn't scared of him but it happened every time I passed. This went on for what seemed about 45 minutes when I completed my run.

Afterwards, as I often did, I drove to my then boyfriend's house to see him before I went home. When he met me at the door, I could see that he was already angry. I spent the next 10 minutes talking with his parents, though, anxiously trying to finish the conversation so I could find out what was wrong. I made up some excuse for having to get something from his room before I left.

"Where have you been?" he angrily asked.

"At the track, running as usual. Why?"

"You're 2 hours late."

"Huh? Uh...what?"

"You're 2 hours late."

I had no explanation. I stuttered through some sort of explanation, retracing my steps out loud. I had no explanation.

Not until a few years later did I see an actual show on missing time. And it all became clear, then frightened me.

I don't remember being poked. I don't remember being proded. I don't remember being examined. I don't remember being probed. I don't remember being pregnant with an alien baby.


Memorial Day

Sometimes I am very ashamed of the city I live in. Not of the city, actually, just some of the people in it.

Each Memorial Day weekend, Pensacola hosts upwards of 50,000 gay and lesbians for some fun and sun. There are beach and dance parties all weekend and opportunities to meet interesting people from all around the world.

If a lot of the people in this town and neighboring areas had their way, though, they wouldn't be here. And it's quite embarassing some of the things they do. I've heard of everything from people placing roofing nails in the road so cars get multiple flat tires to verbal and physical assault. All to a group of people who are here to just party and have some fun.

I wonder sometimes how can people be so hateful? I wonder sometimes if these people were treated the same way for having green eyes or liking pizza, i.e. something they cannot change, would they have the same view? I wonder sometimes if our city suffered the financial losses of no longer having this influx of tourists, what would these people blame it on? I wonder sometimes if these people got to know some of my gay friends before knowing they were gay, would knowing change their mind about them? I wonder sometimes if these people could ever realize that the friends that I have that are gay are some of the most caring and generous people I have ever met in my entire life?

I travel most Memorial Day weekends. Not because I don't like the tons of people that visit here, because I'm embarassed they must put up with some people in my city. But when I return, it makes me smile when I get change at the store and written across my dollar bill is "GAY MONEY". I know the good things they do for this city and I'm glad they choose to stay here.



While shopping for a casual dress in the mall:

Dixie-flag t-shirt guy: "Now that outfit would look good on you."
Big-hair girl: "I don't know if I like it. I don't really like salamanders."
Dixie guy: "Yeah. They change colors and all."


Wanna go visit the International Space Station. "One may now qualify to fly to the International Space Station without being a career Astronaut or Cosmonaut."
Bidding is up to $1,100,500.00, and the reserve has still not been met. Speaking of auctions, celebrities are auctioning one-of-a-kind shirts for the Make A Wish Foundation. A full inventory of items can be found here.

How embarassing.

How mature.

How weird.

How is this possible?

And in this week's installment of disturbing search requests (drumroll, please):

Is there such a thing?

This, I am not.

Very. Disturbing.

I also received a lot of search requests for information on a great new artist find of mine, Avril Lavigne. Go here for the real deal. "A skater-punk, a dynamic spirit, a true wild child. One of those rare creatures who started wowing people with her voice and character at around age 2." Oh, and by the way, she hates Brittney Spears.


The Friday Five - The Mane Game

1. What shampoo do you use? No idea, I only know it by the look of the bottle. I think it may be some kind of Suave "professionals" product that smells really good.

2. Do you use conditioner? What kind? Yep - the same brand as my shampoo - no idea.

3. When was the last time you got your hair cut? I usually cut my own since it's naturally curly. It only takes about 5 minutes and 20 snips, so I can't justify paying $30 of more for that. So, I probably cut it about a month ago.

4. What styling products do you use? Hair gel and gel spray - being naturally curly, sometimes it's pretty hard to tame.

5. What's your worst hair-related experience? Every single prom - the salon always made it way too big. I usually ended up washing it and redoing it myself. Other than that, I tried to have bangs once in college, usually not a good idea with the curls.


Oh, my, my

I was one of the fortunate ones this morning to see Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, at 12:01am. Let me just say this, it was awesome. Like most movies, I did watch the trailers, but I refused to see and read the spoilers. It was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Of course, that's coming from a big fan, so take that with a grain of salt. So many questions were answered, and so many new questions remain.

If you're thinking about seeing it, go now. That is all.

update: One of the unexpected previews I saw was for Matrix Reloaded. Check it out - I hate waiting until 2003.


This week's question of the week at Raising Hell:

Like tiny jiu jitsu masters, children mortify parents with only a few well-chosen words, usually where there is no escape, like in a slow checkout line at the store or trapped in a crowded restaurant. Have you ever witnessed a child de-construct his parents in public? Have you ever done this to your parents? Has your child done it to you? We want to hear about it.

Having no children of my own, I find my friends' children stories pretty amusing. One particular friend's daughter is very curious and asks her mother a lot of questions.

One day as they were standing in line for groceries, the little girl asked her mother innocently, "Why is that lady so fat?" Remembering that her mother was pregnant, the little girl immediately added, "Is it because she's gonna make a little sister too?" Of course, she said it loud enough so everyone within a 50-mile radius could hear. Trying to end the conversation, her mother simply said, "Well, I guess so." The lady then turned around and snapped back, "No, I'm just fat."

This is also the child who at 3 recognized racial differences in people. In a restaurant full of people, she proclaimed, "Mommy! That guy has a black head!" A ten minute lesson followed about the differences in people. I don't know if she was listening at all as she was staring open-mouthed at the guy the entire time, mesmerized.


The Alabama Project

Seventh grade was when I first started really standing up for myself.

We were paired up and assigned a state in geography class. We were to get together and do a report on Alabama. Me and Mary, the most popular girl in school.

Me, being my usual nerd self, planned the whole project and asked her to come over to my house to work on it. I was ready with a hugh National Geographic atlas, several freshly sharpened pencils, index cards, and a stack of notebook paper. My mom even bought some extra snacks in case we got hungry working so hard.

It was scheduled for the Saturday afternoon before the week the project was due. I confirmed with her on Friday that we'd meet at 2pm.

She never showed. I waited extra long, eating the Oreos, thinking maybe something had come up and she'd call.

I ended up doing the entire project myself.

Before it was our turn to present, I asked her what happened. From her response I gathered that she never intended to do anything. She was out buying shoes with her mother, then she was over at a friend's house prank-calling boys.

In class I presented the entire report while she silently stood next to me. Finally, after a few questions that I answered confidently, someone asked one directly to Mary. She was stumped.

If I had been my sixth grade self, I would have helped her and given the impression that she had actually done an ounce of work. Nope, I was my seventh grade self and I just stood there staring at here like the teacher and the rest of the class. Thoroughly enjoying myself.

The teacher deferred the question to me. I answered it most eloquently, adding, "...and if Mary had contributed at all to this project she would have easily known that."

Sounds like one of those after-school television specials.


When I was younger...

I thought that if you swallowed watermelon seeds, watermelons would grow out of your ears.

I thought that grace before dinner went like this:

"Goddess great, goddess good.
Lettuce thank him for our food.

I thought the words of the Pledge of Allegiance were "...And to the republic, for witches stand, one nation...".

I thought my mom didn't know I hid all my vegetables until they went in the garbage.

I thought you could get pregnant from kissing.

I thought rolly pollys were ladybugs that couldn't fly.

I sang a song about Jimmy Carter to the tune of the Oscar Meyer weiner song.

I thought my barbie and sunshine family people played together while I was sleeping.

I thought my dad was a pirate.

And speaking of the younger years, I'm the favorite at Raising Hell for my birthday horror story this week. Glad you could laugh at sympathize with my fear of clowns.
Retro Friday Five, v2.0

No Friday Five again, so I picked one from last October:

1. What's on top of your refrigerator? A camera, dog bones, toys and medicine.

2. What's your favorite meal of the day? Actually, it used to be breakfast, but I think I"m slowly converting to lunch. I guess dinner's next.

3. Wash dishes by hand or in the dishwasher? What detergent do you use? Without a doubt, dishwasher. No idea what detergent, I just grab one as I'm hurrying through the store.

4. How often do you eat out compared to eating in? Sweet Dave and I have been trying not to eat out as much lately. It used to be about 3 days a week, now it's closer to 3 days a month. It's amazing how much money that adds up to.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? wedding planning, mother's day plans


Predictions, schmreditions

"Today, Jen, you might seek to beautify your home in a very special way. You might go on a binge of buying houseplants - preferably flowering houseplants - and try to arrange them in such a way as to bring a small part of the outdoors inside. This is a great day to start growing herbs in pots. It's important to feel and be in touch with the earth. Go for it!" Don't the stars know that I kill plants?!!

In other news, economists are concerned. Not about DOW or the NASDAQ or interest rates. About the ecomonic repercussions of the opening of Star Wars. Amazing that a movie can have such an effect on the world. I am planning on being one of the first to see it, Thursday morning at 12:01 am. I may be yawning and high on massive amounts sugar and soda, but I will enjoy.


They're ALIVE!

Remember, I have new Sea Monkeys?

I forgot to mention the pain in the ass it was to purchase said monkeys.

I looked online and found some, but really wasn't interested in paying more that 10 bucks for my aquatic primates.

So I decide to look around at area stores for said monkeys. Toys-r-us? Nope. Discovery Zone? Nope. KBToys? Nope, that's way "old skool". My friendly KB associate actually said that.

We found them at Spencer's of all places. Amongst the boob pacifiers and penis warmers. There they were, said monkeys.

And after all my complaining, they are alive and well. At least 50 of them. And about one-tenth of an inch long. One day my monkeys will grow up to be happy, productive adults I just know it.



A few days ago all the reviews of those who participated were posted for the Peer To Peer Review Project.

With over 700 entries, only about 30% actually finished and posted their reviews. Unfortunately, this site was one of the unlucky ones that did not get reviewed, but you can find the review of my assigned blog here. Hopefully next round, more people will actually complete something they signed up for.

And a generous thanks to Rasmus for the project. I'm anxiously awaiting the next round.


Birthday Reflection

New at Raising Hell, the Question of the Week:

Birthday parties are supposed to provide great memories for children. Sometimes it works out that way, and sometimes it doesn't. What was your or your child's best/worst birthday party experience?

And since I don't have children, I'll answer about moi.

My birthdays were always "special". In fact, I now have a serious fear of clowns because of my 2nd grade birthday party.

How do you find clowns anyway? Are they in the phone book? Is there some mom-networking that recommends clowns? I'm not sure where my mother found this one, but he was a piece of work.

First of all, it was a complete surprise. My mother thought it would be great to have him show up right after I opened my gifts to make balloon animals or something.

Second, he showed up drunk. Not happy drunk, falling down, cussing, beligerant, morning-after-liquor-smelling drunk.

The balloons popped. He slurred and breathed in everyone's face. The flower didn't squirt water. He fell over the picnic table. The horn didn't honk. He couldn't remember any tricks. The never-ending scarf up his sleeve ended. My friends left.

Oh, and the worst part. He had this problem controlling his diarrhea. I guess it's difficult when you're in a clown suit.

Enough said.

I don't know if my mother noticed or she just figured out that I didn't really enjoy him being there, I never talked to her about it. But, she never had a clown at one of my birthdays again. I had many other more memorable, less insane birthday parties consisting of goofy golf, Chuck E. Cheese, and movies, so I guess I turned out alright. Enormous mice that serve pizza and sing are OK, just no clowns.

In my adult years, probably the worst was when my ex-husband forgot my birthday. Not a word, all day. When I asked him about it, he became defensive and actually answered, "Well, I did give you a card last week?!"

The list is official. And in my lifetime, I have owned at least 10 of the 50 coolest albums ever. And 8 of the uncoolest. So what does that say about me? Ehh. When Rolling Stone considers Merle Haggard and The Strokes to be in the top 50 coolest, I'm thinking I'm glad I can't relate. I do, however, agree on the Hanson, Carpenters and Biz Marke selections.

And if you've read about all the controversy with Hoopla (now The Historical Present) and Verisign, link here to Verisign, in your next post. It's a google bomb and it's for a good cause.

Oh, and I'm quite disappointed that I didn't find out about this until just now. Damnit, I'm always late!


Retro Friday Five - Firsts

No Friday Five today, so I randomly picked an old one from January to do:

1. What was your first job? If you don't count mowing lawns and babysitting, I guess it was as a bank teller at a small bank on the beach. Guess I was pretty lucky to land that one.

2. How old were you when you had your first kiss? 14 from one of the basketball stars in high school.

3. What was your first car? What happened to it? A Mercury Capri purchased for $1500. Being the irresponsible kid that I was, I neglected a little thing called "oil in the engine" and oddly enough, it stopped working.

4. What was your first concert? Rick Springfield with Til Tuesday as the opener. Quite memorable.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? 10K race and recycling meeting Saturday morning, Spiderman Saturday afternoon, and purchasing a new TV sometime.


Can't See THEM

I have new pet(s) at work. I can't see them yet though. They were supposed to hatch this morning, but all I see is about 100 white specks floating around aimlessly.

Sweet Dave bought me some Sea Monkeys on Monday. Yesterday was day one of filling the container with water and emptying a package of water purifier in the water. Then wait 24 hours.

Santa did that to me one year. He brought me a huge, shiny swingset. He also left me a note that I couldn't play on it for 24 hours. I must have driven my mother crazy asking what time it was all day.

But I digress.

Instructions for day number one: "Packet No. 1 is a 'one time' formula. This means that it is needed just once - to start the 'system' and is never again used. It 'conditions' the water so that when Packet No. 2 'Instant Life' is added you will SEE your Sea-Monkeys HATCH ALIVE!"

I did that.

Instructions for day number two: "Now that you've completed the first step, your 'MAGICAL MOMENT' is about to begin. You will now bring Sea-Monkeys to life - in a 'flash', and absolutely ASTOUND anyone who may be watching! After you have waited at least 24 hours, open Packet No. 2 'Instant-Life' and pour the entire contents of the packet into the purified water. Stir gently for about one minute so that the crystals begin to disolve. At the same time, some of the tiny Sea-Monkey eggs will hatch and INSTANTLY you will actually see your newborn pets - ALIVE!"

Did that too. Nope, no "MAGICAL MOMENT".

All I see is stuff that looks like salt.

Like I said, maybe I shouldn't have children.