Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's a Wrap.

The time has come, my little chickens, to wrap up yet another blog.  Now, don't go getting all misty-eyed on me - because starting on Monday, we are firefighters in training at Kat's on Fire.  Don't forget to stop in and follow that one so you can be completely up-to-date on our latest zany adventure.

Since our theme for 2011 was "Self-Improvement," I thought I'd give you a list of things I've learned and/or improved upon.


I give you...Amazing Improvements and Lessons of 2011; Tina-Style

1.  Giving birth 4 times has not improved my abdominal muscles, nor my ability to develop them.

2.  It's not difficult to make changes to your life if you do a small one every few days, as opposed to trying to make a bunch of changes all at once.  It is, however, hard to remember the entire list after 5 days or so.

3.  I can, in fact, drink 100 oz of water in a single day and not die.

4.  You pee A LOT when you drink 100 oz of water in a single day.

5.  Zumba is for someone far more coordinated than me, but I do like the Zumba shoes for my trampoline.  Also, you can work up a good sweat just dancing around your living room like a spastic while the Zumba DVD plays.  Same basic premise.

6.  Crocheting sucks.  If you do it and enjoy it, bully for you.  But I think it does.

7.  My buddy Kludge makes really nice pens.

8.  Trying to write a 50k word novel in a month is impossible.  Seriously.  Anyone who says that they actually DID it is a big fat liar.

9.  Going Vegan over a period of 30 days is not as difficult as you might think, and it completely changed my metabolism and how I view food.  And dropping 30 pounds was nice, too.

10.  I've met 5 really nice guys, and about a dozen not so nice guys, via online dating.  If you are single, you have to try it.  It should be a rule or something, like you can't renew your driver's license or get your car tabs unless you can prove that you've tried online dating.

11.  If you talk smack to a NY Times best-selling author, she will write something really clever in your copy of her book when she signs it for you.

12.  I am twice the person I thought I was on January 1st. 

And there you have it.  It is my sincerest hope that you enjoyed this 11-month foray into my psyche.  Don't forget to follow Kat's on Fire -I promise you won't regret it.

See you around the block.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Details, As Promised

So, we all made it down to the Homeland for Thanksgiving dinner...me, 4 kids of various ages, and TG.  Everyone returned home alive, breathing, safe and sound.  Afterward, TG and I sat on my couch, watched old episodes of The Muppet Show and ate Burger King.  This is why the guys can't stay away from me, because I am truly a party a minute.

I think my older kids liked TG; my youngest, The Boy, might be vacillating.  I'm very protective of my youngest; this is the first person I've dated that he's met.  Before TG, I don't think it had actually occurred to him that "dating" was actually something romantic, as opposed to, oh, like going grocery shopping or something.  At first, The Boy said TG was "cool", but now....

Scene:  The living room of the Siren Sex Goddess, Thanksgiving night

SSG:  So, tell me, Boy, now that we've all spent the day together - what did you think of TG?

THE BOY:  (chin dropped, brow raised) You were touching his leg.

SSG:  Well, yes, TG and I are friends and we like to be with each other.

THE BOY:  Well, I have LOTS of friends and I don't touch THEIR legs.

SSG:  Uhhh...........................
--------------


Yes, that's pretty much how it went down.  Epic fail on my part to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why Mommy touched a man's leg.  Your ideas are welcome here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where Ya'll From?

So...get this.

I've gone out with TG 3 times in the past 9 days.  He is attentive, sweet, caring, considerate, witty, wise and calls me all the time.  I keep waiting for him to pull an HF and disappear off the planet.  But, so far, so good.  I keep trying to scare him off, but he's tenacious.

He's alone on Thanksgiving this year.  My brood and I are heading to my parents, where my brother, his wife and my grandmother will all gather.  And seriously, that's my entire family.  I threw out the idea that TG could join us, mostly because I wanted an excuse to see him again, but figuring there's no freakin' way he'd go for it...I mean, really, who wants to meet the ENTIRE FAMILY of some girl you've only known for, like, 2 weeks, no matter how crazy you are about her?

Well.....guess who's coming to dinner.  TG is one cool drink of water, let me tell you.  Unflappable.

My dad's gonna LOVE his hair.

Details to follow on Friday.  I cannot flippin' believe this. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Taking Your Advice, HF.

I know what you want to know.  "How did it go, Tina?  How did it go?  What do you think of TG?  Details, details!!!"

Well, shame on you.  You SHOULD be asking me how my novel is coming along.  I'm supposed to be writing a novel this month, remember?

So, for the oh, 2 of you who might actually remember our project for the month, let me update you:  it's NOT coming along.  It's impossible. 

Now that we've dealt with November's project....TG is a good guy.  You know how you meet somebody and you can tell right away that they've had a colorful life?  And how that colorful life has formed that person into a genuinely compassionate, all-around caring person?  That's TG.

Remember how The Oldest Son was going to be out of the house for me that day?  Well, Tuesday morning, as I walked out the door, I distinctly remember this going down:  Mommy says," Oldest Son, don't forget my date is today, so try not to get home before 4 or so."  Oldest Son says, "Okay, Mommy."

Guess who's car was in the driveway at 1:45.  That would be Oldest Son.  So, yes, the 3 of us sat around for most of the afternoon.  How nice.  At one point Oldest Son did go to WalMart for an hour or so...I considered locking him out, but good manners prevented me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Oldest Son...Again.

So, This Guy (from now on to be known as "TG") and I are spending tomorrow afternoon together.  There's no school tomorrow, so The Boy and The Oldest Son are home all day.  As luck would have it, I'd already arranged for The Boy to hang around with this friend tomorrow afternoon.  That just leaves The Oldest Son.  Here's how it went down:

(Scene:  Living Room of the Siren Sex Goddess)

SSG:  So, Son, when you drop The Boy off at his friend's house tomorrow, make yourself scarce for a few hours.

SON:  Why?

SSG:  Because I have a lunch date, and we'll probably come back here afterwards.

SON:  (folding arms over chest) Who is he?

SSG:  Nobody you know.

SON:  (arching eyebrow)  why can't I be here?

SSG:  Because it would be nice to have some privacy so we can talk and get to know each other, without you sitting there STARING at us all the time.  Maybe you could use that time to, oh, FIND A JOB.

SON:  (arms still crossed) So, who is he?

SSG:  NOBODY YOU HAVE EVER MET IN YOUR LIFE.

SON:  So, why can't I be here?

SSG:  (stomping off into kitchen)  GAHHHH!

------
Yes, such is my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NANOWRIMO sucks.

I have decided that there's no flippin' possible way that a person can participate in NANOWRIMO and actually WORK at a full-time job as well.  It's not POSSIBLE.    There are not enough FREAKIN' HOURS IN THE FREAKIN' DAY.  It CANNOT BE DONE.

Who's insipid, moronic, idiotic idea was this to begin with?  A seed was planted. Who did it?  EV?  Did YOU do this to ME, your very favorite almost-but-not-actually-blood-related cousin? 

Are you sensing that I'm a little behind, dearest reader?  Well, Johnny, tell them what they've won.  Teener is behind, BIG TIME.  But making great progress on the blog we are starting December 1st!  All those shiny books - and make sure you jump over there and see the cute pic I took last night for it.

Back to NANOWRIMO - What's my word count, you ask?  None of your business.  What's YOUR word count, jackwagon?

You may recall - I warned you it would be a horrid month.  DON'T YOU JUDGE ME on my lack progress-I'm KILLING myself for you people, for cryz-ache.

Tomorrow's Veteran's Day here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  Since I'm a veteran, I get the day off, with pay.  And everyone else I work with does, too...coincidentally.  So I'm loading up the car and taking the boys off to see Baby Girl at college.  Woot woot.  Since we'll be so close to what will probably become our home base in a few months, we might do a little investigational touring of Spokompton as well.  Depends on the weather, as always. 

And I know what some of you are wondering, and the answer is no, there is no man involved.  As usual.  

Sigh.   

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Always Kiss Me Goodnight.

It's amazing how 2 short sentences, shot out in a group e-mail, can change the course of your day.  It greeted me this morning at work.  "He had a stroke yesterday.  We do not know his condition."

He's a man I've known for a few years.  Probably one of the healthiest men I know.  He went from being a vibrant working man, winterizing his property, to a collapsed form on a linoleum floor in a matter of a minute.  I've since heard that he came through brain surgery successfully, and he is improving rapidly.  Praise be to God.

But as I sat there reading those lines this morning, I didn't think about his prognosis.  I didn't think of how he had been shipped out to a larger hospital, how he had to have brain surgery; the impact on his business and family.  Instead, I sat there and wondered - did he kiss his wife yesterday morning before he left for work?  Did his lips brush her temple, maybe even with a quickly-spoken "Love you" before he headed out the door?  What if that moment would have been their last...what memory would she be left with?

I wanted to go directly to my car, round up all of my children, hold them close and tell them how much I love them.  They are scattered around the western part of the country; not terribly practical, but still, it's all I wanted to do. 

And of course, my thoughts went to HF.  He's in a dangerous line of work.  And I'm not his girlfriend; I'm not really anything other than a really sexy penpal.  But since I met him, I watch the news with a fervent eye every night, looking for any "local fire turns tragic"-type headline.  If he was hurt, if something happened - nobody would know to tell me.  I try not to focus on it, but it's always in the front of my mind.

So, in honor of my recuperating friend, and because I've had enough effed up relationships in my life to have learned a lot of lessons, I give you...

The Siren Sex Goddess's Guide to Life in 6 Short Points

1.  If you go to sleep and wake up with someone every day, always kiss them good night and good morning.  Kiss them when you leave the house, kiss them when you greet them after not seeing them all day.  No exceptions.  I don't care if all your buddies are standing right there and you are embarrassed.  Just do it.

2.  If you dating and are in love with someone, tell them.  This whole concept of protecting your heart, taking it slow, not getting in over your head is complete bullshit.  What's the worst thing that can happen?  They don't say it back?  You can't control any other person's emotions.  Whether or not they love you is immaterial to how you feel about them anyway.

3.  Be genuine, open, honest and vulnerable, ESPECIALLY if you are a woman.  Your competition consists mostly of women who are convinced that they have to deny their femininity and be tough as nails, 24/7.  If you are a girl, act like one.  Men go absolutely insane for it.

4.  Did your heart get broken?  Congratulations.  That means you are FEELING.  I'm proud of you. 

5.  Everyone has soul mates.  They come in and out of our lives; they can be dear friends, they can be lovers, you might even marry one, if you are lucky.  But there are people out there who complement you and you complement them...and when you get together, your lives will never again be the same.  

6.  Sometimes you just "know." And when you just know, don't let your friends, family, relationship coaches, even your common sense override your gut feeling that you "know."  Treasure it in your heart.  If it's meant to be, there's nothing you can do, short of committing suicide, to prevent it anyway.

So that's what I thought about today.  What about you?  Care to add any points?

Monday, November 7, 2011

NANOWRIMO - A Week In.

It's right there, I'm telling you.  It's all just right there, waiting to be written down.  cough.

Did I mention that I've moved the launch date for Kat's on Fire up a month?  Did I further mention that I'm so excited about it, I just want to jump around like a lunatic?

Okay, fine.  I'm a little distracted.  So sue me.  You can't tell me that all those other NANOWRIMO hosebags work as many hours a week as I do.  Plus my new blog is gonna be soooo much fuuunnnerrrrr.........and it's got all these shiny books to seize my attention...and HELLO it involves FIREFIGHTERS....

(she chicken-necks and cocks one brow, daring anyone (QUEENIE) to respond about lack of NANOWRIMO progress)

Speaking of work, today was...surreal.  I wrote the classified ad that will be placed in select newspapers around the state, to entice my replacement to relocate here to Small Town America.  There's something really strange about writing your own ad.  Kinda like building your own coffin.  No, that's not it.  I was actually really stoked at the thought of finding Mr. or Ms. Right to receive my brain transplant in January.  But it was still weird.

I did have another minor freakout last night, when I started thinking about winter driving in THE CITY next year.  I've never lived, worked, or even breathed extensively in a city.  And Spokompton is, well, a city.  With people.  And cars.  And parallel parking, which I freely admit I HAVE NEVER PARALLEL PARKED IN MY LIFE.  If I can't pull into that spot, well, boy howdy, I just drive around the block and look for something else.

I can do this.  I WILL do this.  I'm about to be REPLACED, for shit's sake, so I guess I AM doing this.

OH, and another thing about NANOWRIMO.  Blogging is writing.  I am writing.  I am writing RIGHT NOW.  And I never would have guessed it, but I enjoy blogging much, much more than writing fiction.  Seriously, whodathunkit.  It might be my ticket outta here....cue the dream sequence.

(Siren Sex Goddess is in her recliner, gazing off into worlds unseen by mere mortals, contemplating her next conquest.  A cell phone breaks the reverie, but she's so fly, even her ringtone is Zen.)

SSG:  Hello, darling. 

CALLER:  Hello, I'm calling from "Super Fire Rescues" magazine.  We've been following your blog with interest.

SSG:  I'm so happy to hear that.  I absolutely LIVE to bring joy to the masses.  Are you married?

CALLER:  (a sharp intake of breath, followed by a cough) Actually, yes, I am; for the past 30 years to my high school sweetheart.  However, now that I'm speaking with you, her name escapes me.

SSG:  (a lilting laugh emitting from her throat, causing no less than 4 traffic collisions within a 5-mile radius as men of all ages rubber-neck)  Ah, darling, forgive me - I have that effect.  So what may I do for you today?

CALLER:  Um....uh....

SSG:  You mentioned my blog.

CALLER:  Oh, yes.  (clears throat)  We here at "Super Fire Rescues" have been reading your posts every day.  This morning I met with the publisher of our magazine; we've fired our entire staff and have decided to devote the entire magazine to you.  Would you ever, in your wildest dreams, consider becoming a columnist for us?  Please?  PLEASE?   FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE????!!!

SSG:  Now, dearest heart, don't cry.  Of course I will.  This IS, in fact, one of my wildest dreams; as a side note, it's one of the few that doesn't involve peanut butter and AA batteries.

CALLER:  I think I need to go to the hospital now.

SSG:  Do what you need to do, dear.  Do what you need to do.

---------------

It's all just on the horizon.  Do you feel it, dearest reader?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Freaky Friday

Well, the tens of you around the world that read this little blog daily will be happy to know that I had a very nice conversation with HF on Friday.  All is well, we are officially on the same page and I, the Siren Sex Goddess, am content.

For now.

I may or may not have mentioned this- frankly, going back and checking involves opening too many windows - my oldest is out of the Army now and has moved back home for a bit.  So I now have a 22-year old in addition to a 12-year old in my house.  My baby has come home to me.  Evenings of Rockwell-esque family time abound.

Screeeeaaaaccchhhhh.

Well, there have been a few CHANGES in my house since my oldest left home 3 1/2 years ago.  Mommy is no longer married; Mommy is now single.  Mommy likes to go out with her friends and have fun.  My oldest hasn't quite adjusted to this little factoid yet.

Case in point - last night:

(Scene - the living room of the Siren Sex Goddess, 5:30 p.m. on a Friday evening on a kid-free weekend)

SSG:  Okay, son, I'm going out.  Don't wait up.

SON:  Okay mom - have a good time!

(Scene - same place, 9:00 Saturday morning.  Bleary-eyed SSG finally decides to get out of bed.)

SSG:  Good morning, my dear son!

SON:  Good morning.  (Raises eyebrow at SSG) What time did you get home?

SSG:  (remembering exactly what time she got home) Oh, I don't really know....

SON:  Well, I went to bed at 11:30, and you weren't home yet.

SSG:  When I got home, you were SNORING.  And I told you not to wait up.

SON:  (crossing arms over chest) So, what were you doing?

SSG:  I WAS OUT!

SON:  Doing what?

SSG:  (stomps off into kitchen to get a bowl of cereal) GAWD!

Such is my life.  For your information, dearest reader, I was at LB's, watching a rather lousy movie and eating Red Vines.  But I wasn't going to tell HIM that, because he's my kid, and it's none of his business.  Besides, if he really wants to know what I'm doing, he should read my blog.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3 NANOWRIMO Discussion Buffet

Topics for today:


1.  I haven't heard from HF in 7 days.  I keep trying to remind myself that we are supposed to be all mature about this "not really a relationship until I move closer" crap, but dear gawd, it sure would be nice to be fawned over for a change.   And I hate it when he goes silent on me.  Doesn't he know how SPECTACULAR I am????!!!!!

2.  Remember LB?  Me too.  WE talk every day.  My life is like a frickin' episode of Seinfeld.

3.  I practically pee my pants every time I look at my firefighter blog stuff.  I think I might actually start it on December 1st. 

4.  No, I don't mean that.  Just fantasizing.  But it's going to be flippin' amazing.

5.  Once you tell your boss that you are moving in 8 months, your job becomes a lot less stressful.  Even when it really is stressful.  Like now.  Ohmydog, everyone and their cousin has ordered title work from me this week. 

6.  The novel is coming along GREAT!  I might actually write something down soon.

7.  I am so sick of online dating.  Have I mentioned that lately?  It's like going to a bar every...single...night.  Without the shapewear.  Anyway, my match.com subscription expires in a month, and that sounds good to me. 

That's pretty much my week.  I need to go check and see if I have an e-mail from HF now, which of course, I won't.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2 NANOWRIMO update

Okay, so today the last 2 resources I need for next year's blog arrived in the mail...I'm so friggin' excited!!!!  I really, really, REEEALLLY want to play with my new blog toys.

Write my novel...play with my toys....write my novel... which do you think will win out?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1 NANOWRIMO Update

How's it going with the novel, you ask?  Well, I just spent 90 minutes updating my Match.com profile, even though I have zero interest in meeting anyone right now.  What does that tell you?

So go to Match.com and search for user "whazzupbuttercup" and tell me how it looks.  Yes, I really am THAT vain. 

November - NANOWRIMO month

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better - well, now it's November 1st, National Novel Writing Month.  I have a goal of 1700 words a day, the summation of which on November 30th will be a novel that will immediately catapult me to stardom.

I'm writing chick lit - I'll let you know tomorrow how my first evening went.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Names? Names? Names?

Because it is widely known in Internet Land that my readership is amongst the most brilliant, effervescent, educated, witty and charming in all the universe...

And because I am magnanimous to a fault, and wish to include you in my latest journey, embracing all as a mother hen would under her wings...


I've decided to let you in on the fun of NANOWRIMO!

I'm writing a chick lit novel and I need a name for the MALE ROMANTIC LEAD.  The female's name is Cora...but what should we call her soul mate???  First AND last name is highly encouraged.  Heck, throw in a middle name if you like.

Dig deep - concentrate - then let those juices flow.  Just don't get them on your keyboard, they are a bitch to clean.

Post your responses below.  If you submit the winning name, you will be the recipient of the most amazing prize, such as the universe has never seen!

ahem.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Go Away. But Come Back.

So my latest post has to do with a fire station, and since that ties nicely into the 2012 blog, I've posted it there.  So please visit:

http://katsonfire.blogspot.com

and learn not only what I did this weekend, but all about our next big blog adventure!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fine, GEEZ, I'll Tell You.

I think I'm going to have to pop the cork on November a little early, because our November project requires a lot of upfront planning.  I'm already spending a couple hours a night on it, and it's only mid-October.

November is National Novel Writing Month.  Complete morons  Adventurous souls like me and my cousin Queenie sign up to write a fictional novel in 30 days.  That's 50,000 words, folks.  50 big ones.  5-0.

My original intent, back around June or so, was to take my RDJR blog book project and "do" it during November.  However, the rules state that the work must be FICTION, and the RDJR blog was a memoir...so it doesn't qualify.  And we ALWAYS FOLLOW THE RULES, do we not?

My novel is about a 40-something divorcee' blogger who enters the dating world.  I know - amazing.  Where does she get these ideas FROM, anyway?  It's so out there, I might be the next undiscovered sci fi writer.

Back to the question on the tip of your tongue - where's the RDJR book that you were so hot and heavy on back in May?  Well, it's still in my little pea brain, getting more and more locked down as each day passes.  You may recall that I met (briefly) with a publisher about the project last May.  He was very encouraging, even offered to read my manuscript when I had it done.  But his enthusiasm was tempered with realism...and I just hate realism, don't you?  Anyway, his point was (and I'm paraphrasing, but not by much because he only talked to me for like 10 minutes) when you write a memoir about a really painful part of your life, you handle it much better if you allow some time to pass between the "event" and the writing.  You would think it would be better to write it while it's fresh, right?  So much more bold and brilliant in your mind and all? Well, in some ways it might be.  But in other ways, it's much more raw and dark, like a constant series of lacerations...Mr. Publisher equated it to "running naked down the street."  I've made several false starts on RDJR, thinking that it's finally "time", and I can handle it...but when I go back to that place in my mind, it's much darker than I expected..anticipated...remembered.

Kind of like that scene in Titanic, when the old lady drops the Heart of the Ocean over the railing - only it's more like I just want to jump instead of drop my laptop.

Will I ever be in a place to write it?  Probably.  But not now.  Too raw, to fresh, too bloody.  I need some more scabbing, I guess.  And we'll always have  the the most awesome blog ever  that we can read whenever we want.

So anyhow, I'm busy developing characters for my 30-day novel.  Gawd help us all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

National Tina Day - you knew it was gonna happen.

In celebration of my birthday (which is certainly going to be a national holiday any time now), my friend Sheila writes a story for me.  I, in turn, write one for her as well...almost every year.  (awkward cough)

This is the 2011 story; an "article" for our local paper.  Enjoy!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Barack Obama declared Sept. 23 National Tina Day, in honor of the legendary blogger who has made millions laugh with her frank and funny quips.
Tina accepted the award in a packed White House dining room, where fans such as the Dalai Lama, Pope Benedict XVI, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Bono cheered her on. Bono, of course, performed afterward in her honor.
Said Tina: “I accept this award on behalf of all fun bloggers everywhere, who pour their heart, soul and mental instabilities into blogs across the world every day.”
President Obama described his personal connection to Tina’s blogs, saying they affected changes in his administration.
“I have learned better to appreciate the sacrifices of veterans, the plight of the working woman and the wonders of the career of Robert Downey, Jr.,” Obama said, with a glistening tear in the corner of his eye.
In a surprise move, Obama presented Tina with a solid gold keyboard, begging her to continue her work of inspiring the world.
“I was shocked and delighted,” Tina said of the gift. “I especially appreciate the diamond-encrusted spacebar.”
No figures were given for how much taxpayers footed for the cost of the keyboard, but Obama said he’s sure no one minds.
After Bono’s set, which immediately followed the presentation, he and Wood danced and twirled around the floor to the musical stylings of Lady Gaga, Rascal Flatts and others who were dying to meet Tina in person.
“I could’ve done without Gaga,” Tina was heard to say, “I felt awkward in her presence without my meat dress.”
Toward the end of the night, a surprise appearance by Robert Downey, Jr., surprised and delighted the crowd, which by then had consumed a few too many cocktails. More raucous dancing ensued, but Tina maintained her cool.
“I had to be level-headed enough to remember those treasured events,” she said. “You know – so I can write a blog about it in the morning. For instance – who knew the Pope likes to dangle from chandeliers?”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Maybe You Should Try Eating Oatmeal.

So, I'm sure I've mentioned this, but since January I've lost like 30 pounds.  I've shrunk, substantially.  Basically, I'm 2 sizes smaller than I used to be.

However, there's this little part of me that is completely convinced that tomorrow I'm going to wake up and be 30 pounds heavier.  That all these clothes I've tried on are just mislabelled, and I really still wear the size I used to.  I actually get scared to try on anything, for fear that it's all just some sort of really long dream and I won't be able to get that stuff zipped in the dressing room.

I wore my new FDNY sweatshirt today with a pair of straight cut jeans.  I caught a glance of myself in a mirror at my mom and dad's house and thought, "wow, I look really good in this!!"  I was genuinely surprised to see how, well, NARROW I looked.  The only mirror in my house is the tiny one over the bathroom sink.  I don't usually have that kind of view.

Anyhow, I went out and told my mom, "gee, look at how skinny this makes me look."  She gave me the once-over and said, "yes, you do look nice", in the sort of way you enter a room and comment on a beautiful Spring day, when it's sunny and 75, without a cloud in the sky, "gee, it sure is a lovely day out there!"  The person you just spoke to wants to respond, "Well, DUH, I can see that" but politeness forbids.   Anyhow, the fact that to my mom, my hotness was obvious got me to thinking - why isn't it so obvious to me?

I send HF pictures of myself frequently; probably 3 times a week. CLEAN pictures, usually right before I go out the door to work and my makeup still looks fresh, you pervert.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  Anyhow, he always responds with some variation of "Beautiful, as always."  (He's sweet like that.)  I usually write it off with a self-deprecating - "well, it was a good angle, good thing he can't see my ass" or "well, he's just being nice" or "well, he probably says that to everyone, like a Spokompton version of George Clooney".  Why can't I just take a compliment?

It hit me today as I was looking in that little, tiny bathroom mirror.  I can't see myself as attractive because I am at the same weight I was when my Ex first told me I was fat, and then proceeded to give me a list of things I could do to lose weight and therefore make myself more attractive for him.  This girl, this hottie bo bottie in the FNDY jacket with the beautiful blue eyes and killer rack, wasn't good enough for the one person who was supposed to love me unconditionally.  Side note - I had decided that day after "fatgate" to break off my engagement (which is one of 3 times I had come to that decision, but that's a whole other blog, babe), but then some traumatic stuff happened in my life and it just blew over.  The rest is history.  You know how it goes.

I wish I could tell you that this resulted in some sort of epiphany; that I've got a tidy little resolution for you, and that I'll never again suffer from self-esteem issues.  I really wish I could, but I can't.  It's still front and center in my mind.  I guess the talking points you may take away are 1) HF is well-mannered;  2) my Ex is a complete self-absorbed asshole, and 3) I'm not sure what size I'll be in the morning.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Thin, Blurry Line

Oh.My.Dog.

You can't believe how busy things are for me.  Seriously.

The only other person in my department is on maternity leave until the end of the year.  So I'm the Lone Ranger.  My days are a blur, pretty much.  I think I'm handling it okay...at least until around 4:00 every day, when I get really, REALLY tired.  So if you need something from me, you need to get that request in before 3:45 or so.

This is my excuse for not blogging.  I'm just too dog-gone worn out.  Be merciful.

On another note, I'm off to Spokompton next weekend, during which time I'll be going to an open house.  This concerns next year's blog topic (ooohhh, she's so CRYPTIC) so I'm not sure if I should just start next year's blog a little early and make it my first post, or if I should just post it here.

And the fact that I made this topic, about which you care not one iota, into a blog post just goes to confirm my soggy mental condition.

Plus - November is coming.  I've had to do a good deal of planning for November.  November will either kill me or make me stronger, to quote the Great Kanye.  So hang in there and work on yourselves this month in my honor.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Where Ya Been?

Yeah,  I know.  I suck.  I've told you that a thousand times.  You act like it's a flippin' news flash or something.

I had a minor work-related meltdown on Friday night, which led to a love-life related meltdown Sunday night.  Finally today, late today, I started feeling a little better about my job and life in general - at least to the point where I don't want to repeatedly slam my hand in a door anymore.

My point is, sometimes you gotta take a break....so I did.

I've been pondering next year's blog, I think it's going to be a fun one.  Lots of pictures, that will be something new for me.  That's assuming, of course, that I survive November, which will be HELL ON EARTH month.

Want a hint?  Google "NANOWRIMO".  You may wish to empty your stomach first.  Every time I even think about it, I vomit a little.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thing 3 - Turn off the radio in your car from time to time.

Boy howdy, am I EVER going to ace Thing 3.  I love the radio, love to sing along to music while I drive.  I'm the nut bar you see sitting at the stop sign, singing "Where the Streets Have No Name" at the top of my lungs.  But the only radio station I get that isn't Country recently changed its playlist, and has been inundated with crappy 70's easy listening.  It goes without saying that I now FREQUENTLY turn down the radio.  Every chance I get.  Seriously.

Todd tells us that we should turn the music off in order to "take control of our mental agenda."  I agree wholeheartedly.  I do my best thinking in the car.   And I do it out loud.  Yes, I am not only Psycho Car Singer Girl, I'm also Weirdo Talking to Herself Car Girl.  Ah, but thanks to the legislators of the State of Washington, if you are going to talk on your cell while driving, you MUST do it hands-free...so now I look less insane, and more like I'm just on the phone.

But you know better, now don't you.

I like thing 3, Todd.  Go Todd Go.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thing 2 - Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper

Well, you KNOW how this is going to go.

Todd says, on page 16 of his book, that "a diet with a big breakfast resulted in five times the weight loss of one with a lower-calorie breakfast."  He then goes on to cite a study which showed that big-breakfasters lost an average of 40 pounds of 8 months, versus 9 by us light-breakfasters.

I CANNOT eat in the morning.  CANNOT.   I have to be up for at least 2 hours or so before I can stand the thought of eating.  I would like to cite the "Tina the Siren Sex Goddess study" which states that if you eat as little as you possibly can all day long, then eat a small dinner, you will keep your ass smaller than the size of Delaware and you won't feel like barfing at the thought of eating a big ole plate of victuals 15 minutes afer you get up.  It's totally, like, scientific.

I don't think I'm going to be able to check this box.  Ever.  Epic Fail on Thing 2.

Moving on....I've discovered yoga pants.  I bought a pair at Wally World - they are a size 12, thank you very much, and I haven't worn a 12 since the mid-90's.  Anyhow, I now race home from work and fling off my work clothes as quickly as possible, so that I can slide into my yoga pants and my tank top.   I want to live and die in my yoga pants.  In fact, I would love to try everything in my yoga pants - except yoga.  And breakfast.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thing 1 - Start Each Day With a Glass of Water

Todd has informed me that I should start each day with a glass of water.

Well, if you recall, back in August ("I'm the kind of person who..."month), we started drinking 100 oz of water every day.  I also started taking daily supplements.  So, guess what?  I already start my day out with a glass of water. 

Easy squeezy.

Next?

(rest assured, dearest reader - my cockiness is about to collapse.  I'm already balking at what I have to do tomorrow.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October: 21 Things to Create a Better Life

So, Baby Girl and I were in the Chelan bookstore back in August, and I ran across this little book - "21 Things to Create a Better Life" by Todd Bottorff.  I'm sure you recall that I mentioned this in a post at the time.  What I may not have mentioned is that, while I was at that bookstore, HF was texting me from a fire and sent me a picture of himself, looking all hot and sweaty and sooty.  That's just a side note.

Anyhow, for you less dedicated folk who don't live and die by this blog, I did in fact purchase this book for our October project.  I went to the author's Facebook page and gave him a heads-up that we would be exploring his work this month - we'll see if he plays along, like the awesome Sarah Taylor did during Vegan month, or if he ignores us, like, well, pretty much everyone else on the planet.

For those of you who like to play along at home, you can get the book here.  And, of course, I highly recommend that you do. 

So, here's how it goes down (and I'm quoting from page 1 of the book now):

"1.  Write down descriptions of various areas of your life as it is now.
2.     Read the 21 Things.
3.     Go to the final section of the book - 21 Things for 21 Days - and check off the things as you do them for 21 days.
4.     Write down descriptions of various areas of your life after the 21 days have passed."

You know I love me a checklist - and this little book has 21 of them at the end!!!!   We are going to modify slightly (of course, don't we always?) in that we are going to focus on one per day and build on that, rather than looking at a checklist and saying, "Oh, today I did #1 and #8 and #9 and #12"... you get the idea.

So, there are 6 areas that Todd wants us to examine (I don't know him, but I'm sure he'd have no problem with me calling him "Todd" as opposed to "Mr. Bottorff", it's a bond all us writers share) and I will do so with such candor that you might either cry or throw up in your mouth a little.  After all, what's the worst thing that can happen when you put personal, intimate details about yourself on the Internet?

Ahem.

So, the general question from page 2 of the book is, "How would you describe the following areas of your life now?"

1.  Health and Wellness

Both could be better.  After our Vegan month, I'm eating much healthier and have cut out a lot of the crap and sugar.  I try and move a little every day, but it seems that I come up with excuses not to do it.  I've developed a pattern where I eat nothing until dinnertime, then eat as little as possible, and I drink a lot of water to fill my stomach up.  I'm not wasting away - in fact, I'm only losing a pound or 2 per week - but sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to stop.


2.  Emotional State

Riding high, for the most part, now that my divorce is final and I'm officially single.  I get anxious about the future on occasion, mostly because I plan on moving next summer, but I don't know where to, or how I'll make a living when I do.  My emotional state seems to blur with #3...

3.  Relationships (friends, family, colleagues, adversaries, general public)

Well, there's this guy.  Volumes could be written there, right?  He's got the potential to be The One.  But we are a galaxy away from each other for the next 9 months.  So I spend most of my time thinking about how impractical this is for now, and the rest of my time thinking about how much I like him.  This gives me a dating "safety net" so I don't have to get entangled with anyone locally....which would royally suck, since I am moving next summer.  

The general public is getting on my nerves, at least at work.  I have an uber-small circle of friends, and I'm actually okay with that.  I've had a much larger group in my past life.  When it came time to stand up for me, I learned that most of them were complete shams.  You live and you learn.

4.   Career or work

Love what I do, not so much where I do it.  I've maxxed out my opportunities and I feel like there's a giant ax hovering over my head.  My job is tied to the banking and real estate industries; nuff said, right?  I would rather do something else, someplace else.  I would scrub floors all day if I knew I would be going home to a man that truly loves and adores me.

5.  Leisure activities

I spend my spare time watching old episodes of "Rescue Me" on Netflix; writing blog posts; checking my e-mail; and staring at Facebook.  Seriously.  Pathetic.

6.  Overall level of stress

Actually, not terribly high.  But the only other person in my department went on maternity leave on Friday.  So when I answer these questions again in 21 days, boy howdy - that one might change a little.

So there you have it.  Tomorrow we make change #1!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

FDNY - I Love You Anyway.

It's now October, my pets, so it's time to start anew.  Which we will do.

Tomorrow. 

Today I'm thinking about our 2012 topic.  I really need to get this hammered out this month.  You see, October is going to be an 'easy' blog month, in that our project is challenging, but not sleep-depriving or vomit-inducing, as November's promises to be.  (Seriously, it's gonna be a bad month.  If you know me personally, if you see me approaching on the street in November, just back away.  It's for your own good.)  Then it will be December....and I know it's hard to believe from the quality of my finished product, but this blogging sh*t takes time and research, and I need to get my act together before December arrives so I can keep you entertained next year.

It seems that my readership spikes during months when I'm doing something that either a) causes me a great deal of physical pain, like sit-up month; or b) causes a great deal of mental anguish and a moderate amount of deprivation, like vegan month.  So then I had this brilliant idea for 2012 - I was going to test to be an FDNY firefighter.  No, not really BECOME one, but I was going to study for, physically prep for, and take the actual test.  I figured you guys would absolutely pee your pants at the thought of me trudging around a track next year with 80 pounds of gear, and learning how to handle a fire hose - while maintaining my status as the resident Siren Sex Goddess of Okanogan County.  And hello, think of all the firefighters I'd get to meet while I'm "training."

But it turns out that FDNY isn't interested in 42-year old women who spend 40+ hours a week sitting at a desk, and who have only actually handled a fire hose once when they were 17, and that was only for like 15 minutes in boot camp, and they were scared sh*tless the whole time they were doing it.  To quote one of the greatest movies of all time - "INCONCEIVABLE!"   According to the FDNY website, if you are over 29 years of age, you are encouraged NOT to test ("encouraged" meaning "we won't let you sign up").  So now I'm back to square one, topic-wise.  Upside - I did find a link for this really cool "FDNY" jacket which I plan on ordering for myself as soon as I finish the post.  Hopes dashed, but at least I get a souvenir out of it.

Your ideas are encouraged...the more outlandish, the better.  I know that you have my best interests at heart.   

Friday, September 30, 2011

And so endeth this lesson.

It is officially the end of Crochet Month.

I accomplished zilch, other than seriously frustrating myself and wasting a good amount of yarn.

Learn to Crochet = Epic Fail.

ON A POSITIVE NOTE - WE GET TO START SOMETHING NEW!!!

Details to follow when it's officially October - can you stand it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Essay...Haiku...Repeat.

My life is so effin' amazing, I can hardly stand it.

Except for in this one...little...area.  So I've written this little blurb on the one little area to cleanse it from my effin' amazing life.

How Tina Crochets
by Tina, the siren sex goddess 

I make this little chain.  It looks like some sort of post-War Games perforated caterpillar or something.  After that, it all goes downhill.  Theoretically I am supposed to then hook into my caterpillar chain and start making these different knots, but then they get stuck on my hook and piss me off.  So then I throw my yarn, drink a Diet Coke and jump on my mini-trampoline for a few minutes until I calm down.  I retrieve my yarn, cut off the knotty chunk, throw it away and swear to start again tomorrow.

The End


To continue my cleanse, I have also written this haiku:

Hate mowing the grass
Hate stubbing my toe at night
Hate crochet even more.


God, I'm good.  It's like a mental colonic.  I think.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is There a Fireman in the House?

I've been terribly neglectful, haven't I.  I've been a little anxious over the past week, waiting to hear when my divorce hearing will be - and guess what, I heard on Thursday it's going to be this coming Tuesday.  I will be a free woman on Tuesday...I can't flippin' believe it.  After 11 months, it will FINALLY be done.  And you know what, dearest reader?  That's all I'm going to say about that.  If you want more, scroll through the archives, you can probably dig something up.  But trust me - my FUTURE is waaaay more interesting than my PAST.

So, what is my excuse for not blogging from Friday until today,  you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  Friday was my birthday, and with my court date looming, symbolically the end of a really crappy phase of my life...so I went out of town for the weekend to Spokompton.  I stayed in a hotel that was nice 15 years ago, and is average now; but has a great location for walking around the city.  I had no agenda, no plans, nothing on docket...well, almost nothing.

HF.  I finally got to meet HF.  On my birthday.  How freakin' awesome is that.

No, I'm not going to give you the details of our time together on Friday, you letch.  Mind your own business.  But he has a smile that makes your heart stop....and he smiles, a lot.  Sigh.

So, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday answering a barrage of texts from my friends - "did you MEET HIM?"  "when are you going to see him again?"  "is he there NOW?"  Which goes to show you, married women love nothing more than to have a newly-divorced friend that's their age so they can vicariously date through them. 

Anyhow, for the rest of the weekend, I sat in the park and read; ate my dinners in a trendy little bar and drank something called a "flirtini"; bought a red dress at Nordstrom (I've never actually bought anything there before, but what the eff, I'm 42 now, why not) that is absolutely going to make HF swallow his tongue, and in a size that I haven't worn in YEARS, thank you very much; flirted with the front desk clerk who was half my age (and probably freaked him out a little, but what the eff, I'm 42 now, why not) and napped. 

I also drove around a bit, seeking out my new hometown, but then the weather turned nasty so I quit.  I'm a fair-weather seeker.

It was a heavenly weekend.  It's going to be a wonderful week.  Life is good. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

National POW/MIA Day



This is a shot of me earlier this evening, holding my POW/MIA bracelet.  I've had it for 20 years, since my Navy days.  I remember, vividly, the day I got it.  There was this table set up at the Navy Exchange where you could buy these bracelets, showing the name of a POW or MIA from Vietnam.  I picked this one because he was from Washington and he was in the Navy, like me.  For a while, I wore it all the time.  Now I take it out occasionally, wear it for a few days, and put it away.  Which is pretty much a metaphor for America's memory of the Vietnam War.

His name was John Riordan.  Back when I got his bracelet, the Internet was only a fantasy; I didn't know how to get any info about him.  Today, of course, is different - Congress has declared it NATIONAL POW/MIA DAY.   I invite you all to join me in honoring AMS3 John Riordan today.

Please read this.  He died before I was even born - but he was some American mother's son.  I am a patriot through and through, but war is real and war is hell.  Thank God for those who go, and God's tender mercies on those who don't come back.



RIORDAN, JOHN MICHAEL

Name: John Michael Riordan
Rank/Branch: E4/US Navy
Unit: Air Antisubmarine Squadron 21, USS KEARSARGE (CVS 33)
Date of Birth: 01 January 1944
Home City of Record: Seattle WA
Date of Loss: 10 November 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 173000N 1083000E (BK346365)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: S2E
Refno: 0514

Other Personnel in Incident: William T. Carter; Thomas J. McAteer; Eric J.
Schoderer (all missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 1998.

REMARKS: FAIL RTN FM MSN - SRCH BK 3436 - J

SYNOPSIS: In 1966, there were several search and rescue (SAR) destroyers
parked off the coast of North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. When the attack
and fighter people would egress, they would be there to assist a cripple or
pick up a guy who had to punch out or ditch. During the night when the
strike activity would ebb, the SAR DDs would steam around their small areas
waiting for the next day's activities. It was during these night and early
morning hours that high speed surface contacts would probe their positions.
The "Stoof" (S2) helped provide air cover for these surface ships, as well
as utilize electronic technical gear to pinpoint locations of enemy
activity.

As antisubmarine warfare was all but unknown in Vietnam, there were a
variety of duties handled by those trained in antisubmarine warfare. As
marking submarines, and/or destroying them involved the use of marking
buoys, electronic "ears" and other technical equipment suited for target
marking, antisubmarine teams were frequently used for search missions. They
also sometimes assisted in attacks on small enemy water craft. The Stoof
(also called "Tracker") was technically an anti-submarine aircraft, but had
other missions in Vietnam. There were only a few of such planes assigned to
Vietnam at all.

For example, if a ship thought its position was being probed by enemy boats,
it might vector the Stoof out over the target. The Stoof tactic was to drop
a parachute retarded flare from about 10,000 feet over the target, circle
back around at a low altitude (about 300 feet) and investigate. If the
target was unfriendly, then the S2 would engage and destroy it. There was a
certain amount of risk involved in these operations, as the Vietnamese PT
boats had radar that enabled them to strike with no visual contact.

In the dead of night, at 10:30 p.m. on November 10, 1966, an S2E launched
from the USS Kearsarge with pilot LT Thomas J. McAteer, and crewmembers LTJG
William T. Carter, AX3 John M. Riordan, and AX3 Eric J. Schoderer. (AX
designates Antisubmarine warfare technicians and related duties). Their
mission was a surveillance flight in the Gulf of Tonkin.

McAteer's Tracker was last in radar contact with the control ship at 1:45
a.m. It was not uncommon to lose periodic radar contact with a Tracker when
it dived below radar to investigate a surface target. But when the Tracker
did not return to the ship at their expected time, a search and rescue
effort was begun. The search produced aircraft wreckage and personal
survival and flight gear, but no survivors.

The cause of the crash of McAteer's aircraft was not determined. It was
suspected that the aircraft made an uncontrolled contact with the water. The
aircraft was determined lost about 55 miles east-northeast of the city of
Hue in the Gulf of Tonkin. The crew status was initially Missing in Action,
but was changed the following day to Killed/Body Not Recovered.

When considering a personnel loss at sea, the criteria for survival involves
both the location and the cause of the loss. In the case of the S2E, no
reason for loss was ever determined. Therefore, it was either shot down or
went down due to mechanical difficulties or "pilot error."

If mechanical difficulties resulted in the downing of the S2E, in an
entirely non-hostile environment, then there can be little chance of
survival for the crew of the S2E unless they managed to cross 50 miles of
ocean. If enemy activity was present, however, there can be ample room for
speculation that the crew might have been captured.

The crew of the S2E is among nearly 3000 Americans who remained prisoner,
missing, or otherwise unaccounted for at the end of the Vietnam war. Since
that time, cases have been resolved by the return of remains and by other
means. Since the end of the war, nearly 10,000 reports relating to these
Americans have been received by the U.S. Government, convincing many
authorities that hundreds of Americans remain alive in enemy hands today.

Whether the crew of the S2E survived to be captured can only be speculated.
It would be kinder to them and to their families if they died on November
10, 1966. It is impossible to imagine the agony they must feel to have been
abandoned by their country. It is heartbreaking to consider that Americans
still await rescue by the country they proudly served.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She Hangs Her Head.

I can't do it.  I just...can't...do...it.

I can give up meat, cheese, any and all things animal.  I can live out Benjamin Franklin's virtues.  I can become the kind of person who drinks lots of water and takes her supplements.  I can even, on occasion, Zumba. 

But I can't crochet.  It's too hard.

This is the point where all of you crocheters come out of the woodwork to reassure me....I'll wait.

Okay, and I have to be honest - I can't Zumba very well, either.  It's DIFFICULT.  I'm not terribly coordinated, and making my arms go one way, my hips go another and then somehow moving my feet along an as-yet-to-be-discovered dimension is, well, like crocheting- only sexier.  I do try, though - and usually just end up dancing around my living room like an idiot.  But it's fun, and it still counts as exercise, and it gives me an excuse to wear my Zumba shoes.  I Zumba slightly better than I crochet. 

Is it October yet?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life, Interrupted

You know what sucks?  Tell me, dearest reader, if you do this, too.  I have this tendency to forget to live my life TODAY, in anticipation of some future event that's going to make everything different and perfect, so that at THAT point I can start living my 'real' life.   Can you relate?

I was just reflecting over all the things in my "pending" box - each of which is going to make my life effervescent, perfect and wonderful, right?  RIIIIIGHT.  Here's what I'm thinking:

Tina's "Pending Box"

1.   Figuring out what's going on with HF - meeting him in person and hashing it all out - because either he's the real deal or he's not, and then my life will be in order for the...

2.  Long-anticipated finalization of my divorce - which should happen before the end of September - at which point I will be FREE, all questions concerning property and debt distribution will be answered and I can start my life over, right?  Because then everything will fall into place for....

3.  November to arrive, which I can't reveal too much detail on because it pertains to our blog and my novel, but anyhow, I'll get that novel wrapped just in time for...

4.  Wintertime, when my schedule will settle down, because we only have cello lessons once a month; all that extra time will give me security and serenity in my life, aligning the stars for....

5.  June 2012, when school gets out and I move to my "new hometown", wherever the hell that ends up being, and I find a job that pays enough to put a roof over my head and the wonderful man who holds the other half of my soul shows up, and I can AT LONG LAST be happy.

Geesh, it's MY list, and even I don't buy that I will have contentment when I arrive at #5.

Anyhow, do you get my drift?  Case in point - I spent all day, a very hot Saturday, sitting around the house thinking about how I can't wait to power through this list and "start my life."  It's now evening, and all I've accomplished today is 12 hours' worth of collagen loss.  Absolutely no living done today, thank you very much.  I made a batch of laundry soap that will probably last me until next year and watched 5 episodes of "Rescue Me" on dvd.  That's it, baby.  Pathetic.  I didn't even work on that stupid potholder.

What a waste of a beautiful soul.



Friday, September 9, 2011

K-Town: Peace Out

Crocheting sucks.

I'm not Amish, and I'm not currently in prison.  So why on gawd's green earth am I doing this?

You make this chain, and then you are supposed to go back into the loops you made with this hook and make more loops.  But I either end up making my loops too loose, and end up with something that could be used to haul in tuna off the back of a Japanese fishing vessel, or too tightly, resulting in this impenetrable mat of Kevlar in a pleasing tri-color shade.

Who's frickin' idea was this, anyway?  Too pissed to try again today.  Will try again tomorrow.  I'm making a freakin' potholder before the end of this month if I have to quit my job and crochet 24/7 to do it. 

Let's move on, shall we?

I'm on vacation this week, for the simple reason that I have vacation to burn and not much time left in which to burn it.  I went to K-town yesterday to visit my cousin Queenie - and here we are:



We are standing in front of what used to be her Mom's, and our Aunt's, family business.  It USED to be a wonderful, magical place - a jewelry store filled with all things sparkly and delicious.  When I was a kid, we would visit several times a year, and my darling auntie always sent me home with a "souvenir."  Now, the windows are painted black, and it looks like the kind of place you don't let your teenagers go to, but they immediately head for when you aren't looking.  I'm smiling in this shot, but I seriously just wanted to cry.  It was like going to Disneyland and discovering that someone had turned it into an adult bookstore or a Gap or something since the last time you were there.

And my cousin Queenie - isn't she cute?  Just look at this shot - my arm is like the size of her head.  Life lesson - never have your picture taken at a bad angle with someone dressed in all black who's half your size.  Or at least make them stand in front.

Just to prove that I am, in fact, not a Sherman Tank in a pink top, here's another shot of me at Queenie's Nightclub:




I am a Siren-follow my call at your peril, sailor boy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If You Read Nothing Else, Please Read This.

I recently got a silver dog tag on a ball bearing chain.  On September 11th, it hangs from my neck.  The rest of the year, it hangs from my rearview mirror in my car.  It is inscribed as follows:

JOHN P. TIERNEY NY USA
THE WTC 11 SEP 01 VOT
You might not immediately know what “The WTC” stands for, until you see the date that immediately follows it.  Then I’m sure it’s crystal clear in your mind.  “VOT” stands for “Victim of Terrorism.”




This is his picture.  Cute guy, huh.  Looks like a baby to me, but maybe that’s because my years are advancing.  Tierney’s aren’t.  It keeps me awake most nights lately.

I wanted you all to meet Tierney, get to know him the way I have.  Here’s his story.  I’ve cited my sources below, and I hope that you will visit those sites to learn about other heroes like him.
John Tierney was last seen in the lobby of One World Trade Center. Tierney's shift was ending just as Ladder 9 received the call to head to the financial district, said his cousin, John Schreiner. Tierney, 27, of Staten Island, was told he didn't have to go, but he insisted, even though it meant he'd have to sit atop another firefighter's lap. At the World Trade Center, he again was told he didn't have to go in; again, he insisted. He has not been heard from since. He attended St. Joseph's by the Sea High School and was graduated from St. John's University in 1997 with a degree in psychology. This was his rookie year as a firefighter; he was graduated from the fire academy only in July. "For the past two years or more, all he could think about, and his only goal, was to be a firefighter," Schreiner said. Tierney loved fishing and camping, "but his passion was the guitar. He'd just started playing a year and a half ago, and he wanted to be really good - he practiced until he had blisters, and he loved Bob Dylan." Patriotic, "he has a picture of George Washington kneeling before he went into battle of Valley Forge, and a picture of Paul Revere." As a probationary firefighter in Queens, Tierney achieved a bit of immortality: a newspaper photograph caught him holding a hose, spraying down a building. It was his very first fire. "He died a hero, and we know it must have been quick," Schreiner said. "He would have been so proud of what he did." He is survived by his parents, John and Helen; a brother, Thomas; sisters Mary and Jeanne; two nephews and a niece.
And this is the tribute submitted by his brother, Thomas:

John Patrick Tierney was a firefighter with FDNY Ladder Company 9 (located on Great Jones Street in Manhattan). Johnny, as his family and friends called him, was an amazing young man. At the young age of 27, Johnny was among the 343 missing firefighters helping the thousands of New York citizens down to safety. He was last seen in the lobby of the North Tower, 1 World Trade Center, by a fellow firefighter from Engine 33, located with Ladder Co. 9 on Great Jones Street.

Johnny was born and raised in Staten Island, and is survived by his mother, Helen, his father, John, his brother Thomas, his two sisters, Mary and Jeannie, his two nephews Thomas and James, and his niece Margaret. Johnny attended St. Charles Catholic Elementary School, he then attend St. Joseph by the Sea Catholic High School and went on to attend St. John's Catholic University all located in Staten Island. He was an amazing person, not only to his family, but to all those who encountered him. He was very happy with his life and for that I am grateful.

His dream was to become a firefighter and he was for 8 months before his death. He worked for Ladder Company 9 for 6 short weeks before September 11th. The morning of September 11, 2001, Johnny had worked an overnight shift which had ended that morning at 9:00 a.m. His fellow firefighters insisted that he go home, but being Johnny, he jumped onto the fire truck going to the World Trade Center. That was Johnny, a very loving and giving person, never concerned for his own safety, but the safety of others.
(Tribute submitted by Mildred Rodriguez and Thomas Tierney.)

On Father's Day, as Helen Tierney heard the news that three firefighters in Queens had been killed on the job, her heart broke. For the men who died, she cried. For her son John Patrick Tierney, 27, a probationary firefighter training in Queens at the time, she rejoiced that he had had that day off. "He always said, 'Don't worry, Ma. Everything will be fine.' And it was."

So, on Sept. 11, when his unit, Ladder Company 9 in Manhattan, was called to the World Trade Center, she clung once again to her youngest son's words. Her prayer was that he had headed home to Staten Island that morning. But Mr. Tierney had hopped a fire truck so crowded that he was forced to sit in a colleague's lap. "The other guys told him he didn't have to come," Mrs. Tierney said. "But from the first day he went to probie school, he worked hard, he really wanted to be part of the Fire Department."

And he was, for six weeks.
I can’t personally memorialize all 343 firefighters who died that day.  But I can remember one, and Tierney is the one I’ve chosen.  And I can tell people like you about him.
Back on September 10, 2001, the day before life changed as we know it, I was 31. I would have looked at Tierney and said, “Meow! FDNY! Sign me up!” He’s definitely someone I would have wanted to date…I’ve always had a thing for first responder-types. Seriously, even as a little girl, I liked the firemen/police officers/paramedics/military guys. Any man in a uniform was all right with me-okay, and still is. I guess I’m a groupie.  God, was life ever that carefree?

Fast forward 10 years. I’m 41 and twice divorced. Tierney is still 27, and always will be. He never got married, he never had kids. He’s still a probie with 6 weeks on the job. In these intervening years, we’ve sent thousands upon thousands more of our young men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan to satiate and protect Americans like me. I sent my own son, and praise be to God, he came back to me. I no longer look at Tierney’s photo and think about what a nice guy he would have been for me. I look at him and think, what a nice boy for one of my daughters. I don’t think of him as “Tierney” so much now. I think of him as “Johnny.” Like a mom would. Like his mom would. The difference being, my son came back. Her son didn’t. I didn’t get the call that Mrs. Tierney got that morning. I didn’t have the memorial service for my son, and my son’s name isn’t engraved on some random girl’s dog tag, hanging from a rearview mirror.

My son didn’t have to go into the Army, there was no draft.  He knew when he did that he would certainly go to war; it had been well underway for years.  But he did it anyway.  Johnny didn’t have to go either.  Read the articles – he had just finished his shift; his supervisor told him to go home.  But Johnny did it anyway.  Because that’s what our American sons do when we raise them right.


On September 11, 2011, the memorial will be open to the public at the site. Next year on September 11, the associated museum is scheduled to open. I hope to go someday. The Patriot in me wants to put my hands on Tierney’s name etched in that bronze slab and honor what he did. The Mom in me wants to wash Johnny's name with my tears.


I’m proud of Tierney. I’m proud of Johnny. God bless FDNY and everyone else who runs into the building when everyone else is running out. As long as I live, at least one of you will never be forgotten.


Information about John P. Tierney was pulled from these sites and publications:
bravestmemorial.net
New York Times 11/28/2001
For info on dog tags and other memorial items for military MIA, KIA and 9/11 victims, go to: www.memorialbracelets.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

There She Goes Again...blahblahblah

Wow, the 5th already?  Seriously?

Today is Baby Girl's birthday - 19 - her last year of teen-dom.  Woot woot.  When I was 19, I was married and pregnant.  Thank gawd the apple fell a little further from the tree.

All is well with HF, I think, if you consider what we have to be something that can be classified as "well."  It works for me.  Yes, if it were you, and you were telling me that you were involved with somebody in a relationship like this, I'd tell you that you need to be committed for your own safety.  But that's you, and this is ME.  Duh.

I glanced at the yarn and crochet book today.  Baby steps.  Also, I'm on vacation this week, and tomorrow when The Boy is in school, I'll probably get really bored and pick it up.  I'll make sure and take pics.  It's gonna be pretty impressive.

Oh, also this week, the ex's attorney is deposing me, for reasons unknown, as we prepare for divorcepalooza on 9/22.  I plan on dressing up.  What does this say about my love life, that the only opportunity I have for dressing up is a meeting with opposing counsel???  Again, the phrase "committed for your own safety" comes to mind.

On an completely unrelated note, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up soon.  I'm already working on my post.  This year it's hitting me much harder than in the past....maturity sometimes sucks, doesn't it.

Looking forward to a road trip on Thursday to spend the day with Cousin Queenie, who I am sure has a fun-filled day all planned out for us.  Actually, sitting around, talking and eating crapola that neither of us would normally eat even sounds good. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dat Dah-Dah Dahhhhhh!! (That's Supposed to Sound Like a Trumpet.)

Gawd, I'm tired.  Considering the amount of caffeine and diet pills I consume in any given day, this shouldn't be in the realm of possibility.  I think it's because it's cooler today; I know that I'm going to sleep like a log tonight.  I'm already in the mood.

No word from HF lately.  He's either still out on the fire, or my pen pal has moved on to more interesting prose.  If he-or any other man, for that matter- could see me in my new skirt and $9 black heels I got last week, he'd drag himself to my doorstep on his lips. 

But I digress.

It is now...SEPTEMBER!  Our project for this month is a lesson in futility - an invitation to the cosmos of insanity -  30 days of frustration, temper tantrums and flying objects.

I'm going to learn how to crochet.

I've been wanting to do this, believe it or not, for years.  You see, my Mom has "the book" which shows even impaired people like me how to crochet.  In turn I, with the help of "the book", make these long chains, call them "bookmarks", and abandon the project for a handful of Oreos.   But not this month.  No sireebob, I'm in possession of "the book" and we are going to do this.

If you already know how to crochet, well, bully for you.  My excuses are:  I'm left-handed, I'm impatient, and I'm Tina, which means that I'm not expected to do anything that doesn't involve instant gratification.  People who know and love me understand these facets of my personality.

But we are charting a course into the New Tina, who seeks to steadily improve herself, exorcising the demons which have repressed her true nature all these years, and creating a siren of such complete beauty and cultured refinement as to have men shooting themselves in the street over her.

Or maybe I could just make a potholder.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wake Me Up When September Starts

Hey, guess what?  Tomorrow is the end of August...and the first day of school!!!!!

(Pause here for cabbage patching)

It also means that on Thursday we get to start a new project.

Which, of course, means you will get no sleep until then, as you thrash in fitful angst, gnashing teeth and ripping robes as you fret over what on earth we are going to do in September.  I love the power, I do.

A review of what we accomplished in August:

I started drinking a lot more water and a lot less pop - and the pop I drink is calorie-free.

I take my supplements every day.

I eat what I want, when I want, and don't beat myself up over it.

I'm getting some form of exercise every day.

I'm sorta calling people back in a timely manner.

I think that's pretty darn good.  If I improve much more, then I'll implode.

September approacheth - are you ready?