Last Friday night, the little band and I sang for a benefit that honored local survivors of breast cancer. It was a big night. There were 450 people in the room. The emcee was my favorite local news anchor. The speaker for the evening was none other than Geralyn Lucas. She wrote "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy." This girl was hilarious. She was all about telling her story and making sure women understood the facts about breast cancer.
The ladies in the room were incredibly receptive to the speaker and seemed really excited during the raffle. I eventually learned that they were receptive to Geralyn because she had an amazing story and had a way with words. They were excited during the raffle because they were giving away free wine and purses. When the time came for us to entertain the crowd, I was pumped...over-confident even. We took the stage with great energy.
It came time for me to sing Natural Woman for these ladies and I was excited because I had rapidly prepared an intro that I was sure would convey both my awareness about the issue at hand and my winning sense of humor.
You see, when I sing in the shower...Natural Woman is the song I sing. So between the time the speaker discussed the importance of self-exams and the time I took the microphone, I composed the following statement:
"Ladies, the next song is one of my favorites. In fact, it's the song I sing in the shower. However, I'm reminded this evening that singing isn't the only thing I should be doing in the shower."
Nothing. Not a laugh. Not a clap in support of the practice I was promoting. Perhaps the crowd was uncertain of which practice I was promoting - it was clear that the guys in the band were definitely uncertain of which practice I was promoting as evidenced by their raised eyebrows and itchy posture.
The evening eventually got better. I got to stand right next to the real funny lady and someone took a picture of it.
You can tell by my facial expression that I was hoping she wasn't listening to a thing that came out of my mouth that evening.
First of all, my Bu Bu declared today some sort of holiday in my honor. It was around 10:00 this morning when I saw his FB post. My eyes welled up with tears and I felt incredibly special from thousands and thousands of miles away.
We laughed most of the day. My co-workers and I were giddy with anticipation over an awards ceremony which we were all attending later in the day. The awards ceremony was in honor of the top ten best places to work in the state. We were honored to be in the top ten. The winners were to be announced later at the ceremony.
People sent me sweet notes all day to let me know that they loved and appreciated me.
Flowers fresh from the middle east arrived around 3:30 this afternoon. The flowers marked week number two and only fifty more weeks to go until the man comes home for good. Talk about sending someone over the top. What a sweet thing to see come through the doors.
Then we made it to the awards ceremony. We waited as the countdown begin. We weren't in tenth place, ninth, eighth...so forth. We were voted BEST place to work in the state. We screamed. We cried. We laughed about how we screamed and cried. First place.
It was a magical day and I have my sweet boyfriend, my workplace and Jesus to thank for it. My heart was flooded with all kinds of love and happiness today - so much so that I didn't know what to do with all of it. Everyone deserves a day like today.
Because two cats just aren't enough for my studio apartment...meet my new alarm clock:
He is an interesting little addition to my menagerie. I've never had a bird. I'm pretty sure I never got one because I heard they were loud and messy.
Turns out - they are loud and messy. But look...
He gives kisses. And whistles. And, so help me God, he'll be able to sing the 'How I Met Your Mother' theme song. I think he was actually trying to sing it this morning but it came out sounding more like a car alarm.
Last night on the radio I heard we're going to have $5 gasoline this summer. I may have to modify my bicycle (basket, rear rack, side car, air conditioning/misting system) because it sounds like we'll be spending a lot of time together from here on out.
Bu Bu teases me and says he left the country for work because he couldn't afford gasoline anymore. Upon hearing last night's news, I'm not so sure he is teasing.
Ahmeri-cuh? Really? At $5 a gallon, people won't be able to afford running their lawn mower - let alone their vehicles. People will be squatting in their yards with kitchen shears to keep their lawn looking nice. Is that what you want?
An attorney friend bought me a wind-up Easter bunny and bought a chick for herself and we pitted them against each other in an epic battle for supremacy.
My bunny went all Thelma and Louise. Children, please look away.
Last night my little band (it's not the 'Layne' band...just the band I sing for) played a corporate party. It was an awards ceremony for the employees - one where every employee gets an award. It was like the Dundees...some of the 'achievements' were equally as...made up?
After all the awards were handed out, we played, played, played and they danced, danced, danced. The highlight of the evening (aside from the meal...) was the fifty-something lady in a fancy dress singing along to Cee-Lo's 'F [insert Forget] K You.' Girl knew every word.
1. The Nut House? Just a real live sports bar full of really nice people and fully dressed men. There was a lady there with uncommonly short shorts, but aside from that...no nudity.
2. I only know two songs on the guitar.
When open mic'ing winds down, there might be someone in the crowd who owns a laptop, a hard drive with thousands and thousands of karaoke songs. When we ran out of songs to play, we just started k.j.'ing for four or five people that wanted a chance to shine. And let me tell you - there were some stars out tonight, for sure. I was uber impressed.
The night went from high pressure to easy as pie in a few minutes. People love karaoke and loved us by proxy.
Tomorrow night begins a new musical adventure. My pal and I are starting an open mic night at a local sports bar.
I'm concerned for a few reasons:
1. Are sports bar customers really going to be interested in the acoustic music we have to offer? I'm having flashbacks of accidentally walking in front of the television during Monday Night Football when I was a little girl. It was never a good idea...and I wasn't even making noise then.
2. The place we're gearing up to play at is called (screw anonymity) 'The Nuthouse.' [Insert wincing emoticon here]. I've never been to this venue and I'm not entirely sure it's not a strip club for ladies (think Thunder Down Under...only much less toned).
3. I only know three songs on the guitar.
I'm pretty sure free drinks are apart of my contract and I'm sure everyone else will be drinking so that will act as a little buffer between the discriminating ears of the Nuthouse patrons and my less than prepared self.
Looks like someone else in their 20's is still playing with Legos. I'm not sure I'm fully behind these little pumps, but on the other hand, they would be better conversation starters than puppies and babies.
Praise the Jesus for Sunday Funday. It's been a rough week in a lot of respects and it was nice to be in community, in good company and to be...well...drinking a little bit.
Post church and Buffalo Wild Wings with my Facebook Official sister, I hit the streets on my new bike. This is probably, most definitely too early to say this...but I think this one is a keeper. She's smooth like butter, light weight and beautiful in all the ways that count. And. She got me all over town today. Here's a few highlights:
At the end of the day, I can't help but wish life were a little more simple but good friends and Skype really keep the ol' chin up.
The Brown Bandit is vying for the attention of local Craigslisters. In the meantime - I've found a very capable replacement. One that is a much better fit for me.
Meet...the Green Machine:
The Green Machine is so smooth. I purchased it from a local non-profit bike repair shop that recycles donated bikes. They put the right parts together and sell solid, affordable bicycles. This little shop has a great reputation and they deserve it. I had a great experience today.
Hopefully my bad bicycle ju-ju has worn off. I have a feeling the G.M. and I will be very happy together.
My spring bike riding season has not started like I planned. I suppose the idealistic picture of me pedaling down the street in a sundress and ballet slippers set the bar a little high. No butterflies have landed on my hands, I don't have a tan yet (granted, I'm still in long sleeves and have only been on the bike a total of an hour an a half) and I have yet to install a bell.
Here's how things really started.
The work day ended yesterday and the weather was pretty sunny. So. It was time to take the Brown Bandit out on the town. My first stop was the local bike shop that tuned her up for me. My fender brackets keep popping off so I wanted to see if they could fix them. Keep in mind that the B.B. is about fifty years old and nothing is the standard (modern) size. Alas, the bike wizard could not fix the fender brackets. Only a special part from a hardware store would do the trick...if I could find the right size. 'Eh,' I said and decided to ride on yesterday.
I took to the local green belt for the rest of the ride. It was pretty delightful, I'll say that. As I was whizzing (plugging away) past the trees and the river, I was reminded of why I got the bike in the first place. Then the wind kicked up. I felt like I was going backwards and it wasn't long until my lips were dried to my teeth. Magical...right.
Then came the right angle turn I wasn't anticipating. The last bike I had was a cruiser and the brakes were engaged when you pedalled backwards...the B.B. has hand brakes. I swerved! I ran into the dirt and nearly ran into the post that said 'slow.' I didn't fall down. Success. These types of things don't happen unless someone else sees, right? Just as the thought crossed my mind I heard, 'Are you alright?'
'Yep. Just a new bike. Doin' fine. Thanks.' He says, 'Well, what you should have done was applied the brakes just a bit sooner.' I thought the gentleman buzzing past was trying to be funny. So I said, 'Zip it.' He just kept riding. I turned around and went home soon after that. In the quiet of the side streets near my apartment, all that could be heard was the creaking and squeaking of my old bike. Add injury to insult (I know), my bum hurts like crazy. The old seat is pretty but it feels like I'm sitting on a two by four.
Regardless of my misplaced euphoria, I made the decision to ride to work today. I walked down to the bike rack and there it was. Flat tire. I was not shaken. I pumped that thing up and made it to work just fine.
If it's flat by noon, I'm putting the Brown Bandit back on Craigslist.
Hello from emotionally stable Layne. Today was a huge improvement from yesterday. No melt downs (especially no melt downs in front of partners...except for the tear that welled up in my eye when I choked on an almond). The countdown is on and that brings me a whole lot of hope and happiness!
Speaking of happiness, technology (free technology at that) brought me plenty of happiness when McW and I Skyped over my lunch break. Here's a snap shot of the session:
Technology is going to make this adventure a much more enjoyable one.
My man left for the middle east today. I've redone my make-up four times already.
He's the type of man that does whatever it takes to get the job done. Even if it means giving up a year of his life to live in the desert. I'm very, very, very impressed by who he is and proud of how much initiative he has.
It's likely that this weekend is the last one McW and I will get to spend together before he leaves the country for work. I'm taking the day on Monday to elongate the weekend and that opens up a tiny world of opportunity.
We're considering a couple options.
1. The mountains. It's only April but we are dying to get away and build a campfire and do some fishing. There are a few options an hour or two away. The only obstacle? The elements. Snow and cold may get in the way but there is always cuddling.
2. Some sort of gambling location. We are pretty close to a couple regional gambling centers. It's the black jack. I can't stop thinking about it.
It may be best just to head into the mountains. The mountains are indisputably beautiful...72 year olds with worn out coin cups and hot pink lipstick? Less beautiful.
Craigslist and I are on very good terms at the moment. I purchased the bicycle pictured below from a tiny, tiny little man for $60. It's in the shop right now for a quick tune up and some new tires but it will be ready tomorrow.
Spring hit hard today. Sunroof open? Check. Window down? Check. Better attitude? Check.
And it's payday? WHAT!? Little chunks of heaven are just falling from the sky today. Here's hoping all of you (hi Mom) are experiencing the same kind of good fortune.
For those of you who like to keep things simple...and for those of you who are lucky enough to own an iPad (or Kindle):
I don't necessarily know how to express my excitement over this discovery. It's been around for a while...I'm just a little slow on the uptake. It's nearly pay day and this case is VERY reasonably priced (a deadly combination).
The only decision left to make is which color to get on the inside?
Who am I kidding? That butter cream yellow one has my name all over it.
A huge improvement on my already red coffee table.
To replace the boring chair in my corner.
For the bathroom.
I've had A LOT of spare time on my hands lately (unfortunately). I've been on Craigslist and design blogs (mostly mylittleapartment.blogspot.com and re-nest.com) all week. Now I want to throw away, organize and purchase some more functional furniture. Furniture that is less 'I've had this since I was 19.'
The lives of McW's feline and mine have intersected and I plan to post a much more in depth synopsis of their progress. However, I don't plan on doing it until there is a happy ending. At present, they are definitely still trying to figure out why the hell they are stuck in the same studio apartment together.
We did catch a rare and musical moment on camera the other night. Here it is:
It's possible that we are the only ones that think this is funny - but I'm sharing it with you on the off chance you find a little humor in it as well.
We left the little fur balls alone together last night when we went to a dinner party with some great friends. This was my kind of dinner party:
1. Bowl of Cheetos on the counter.
2. Plenty of wine.
3. Two huge helpings of lasagna.
4. Brownies. Brownies made with crushed up pieces of Thin Mints. Yeah.
Post over-eating, we hit the town for a little karaoke. We walked into one of our favorite watering holes to find it totally packed. Still, we each made our song selections and handed them in. An hour and a half later, McW finally got to sing one of his favorites.
Then I tried one that I haven't sang for karaoke before: Mr. Big - The Next to Be With You. I've got the hair for it. Turns out that people like to sing along with that one. Singing along just makes you feel good. When you look out at a room full of people singing the song you're singing, you're all friends. So. I'm adding Mr. Big to the karaoke arsenal.
Also included in the arsenal:
Natural Woman - Aretha
Gold Digger - Kanye (including the sexy backup dancing courtesy of McW)
Lastly - we're considering a trip over state lines this Sunday. What lies over state lines? Gambling. The hope of multiplying what we're going down there with.
Here I am in the waiting room of my preferred Ford dealer. My little SUV is undergoing the first oil change of it's life since I adopted it.
My observation over the course of the last few minutes is this: there is power, power, wonder working power in the wink of a car salesman. A brief mention of another dealer's policy regarding a free oil change? Wink! Done. "I'm sorry it's so dirty! I meant to get it washed beforehand." Wink! Done.
He is even offering me 50 smackers if I send someone his way.
Granted, sometimes a wink from a salesman can mean absolutely nothing (other than, 'I'm about to steal your money'). In my very fortunate case, it means "I'm going to work really hard for your business."
Twenty-six has big shoes to fill, twenty-five was the best year of my life so far. I did more, saw more, said more and felt more than I ever had before. I fell in love with life and summer all over again. It was a brilliant year.
Today I am thinking of my Grandpa who shared a birthday with me. He was simple and tall and strong and good. I miss him. I miss all of them and remember a lot of sweet birthdays with my grandparents.
I'm thinking about the trip my darling and I are taking next week. I'm going to see the Grand Canyon for the first time. That's a great way to start to start a new year of life - that and five days of uninterrupted time with McW.
I'm also thinking about the Anthropologie birthday discount I got in the mail. Nothing says 'happy birthday' like 15% off your entire purchase.
I got a random act of kindness present last fall from Curly. It was this little Oriental Hyacinth bulb. It comes with a vase and a bulb and instructions. It serves as decor (eventually) and a lesson in patience. You have to store the bulb in a cold dark place (the fridge) for about three months and then you can bring it into the light.
Here's what you have after the first three months:
I know. After three months? An onion with an over-sized shoot of asparagus sprouting from the top?
I sent McW a picture of it and he promptly renamed the little plant the 'phallus lonelywomanus.'
But alas. Just three days after shooting that photo - this is what greeted me this morning:
It's not done growing and blooming, but that's pretty good progress.
The progress looks a little like cauliflower but still. Progress.
If I ever make it big, remind me not to accept the invitation to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. I will inevitably erase all the good I've done with my little career when I forget the words.
If I ever make it big, remind me not to accept the invitation to perform during the superbowl half time show. I'm not Paul McCartney or Janet Jackson. It won't be good.
I will confess that I already went back on my word as of February 3rd. My reasoning? I had to wear them because if I wouldn't have, I would have looked like a Russian street walker (hussie, floosy, wh-oore). It was a necessary (it's still stupid winter) evil.
In little kitty's case, the sun is mostly just right there in her face - but I'm pretty sure she feels the love.
Either that, or this will be the author photo on the back of her book jacket - the book that she will write after she escapes from her domesticated oppression.
An excerpt? Ok...
Here I sit, blinded by the sunshine that is magnified by these studio apartment windows. I can barely move as I have constant access to the 'food' the witch puts out for me. "Are you hungry, little kitty witty moo moo" she'll coo at me. That stuff won't cure the hunger but the chewing gives me something to do.
I belong out there...with those squirrels. With the feral cats. With the free cats...I'm developing a plan.
As in, I LOST countless hours of my life hoping that all the time I invested in watching this show would result in all the questions of life being answered (and for Sawyer and Juliette to miraculously find each other on the Island).
Neither of these things happened. Spoiler alert for those of you who haven't yet watched the series finale. I watched the seasons in real time... I just didn't get to watching the finale until last night.
All I'm grateful for at this point is the fact that they didn't string me along for another four seasons...or in LOST context, 137 more plot lines. Seriously, writers, if you intend on introducing a new plot line after every commercial break for six seasons, you better be prepared to conclude each one.
I don't know if I will be able to trust you again, ABC. I just don't know.
I've been singing a lot of top 40 songs lately...hence the Katy Perry lyrics that are stuck in my head all the time.
This is the first post of the new year, which is disappointing to me because it's the 19th of the month. I didn't even participate in the obligatory 'new years resolution' post. Oh, I thought about it. Just didn't pull the trigger.
During the last service of the year at my church, the guest speaker discussed the concept of the new year's resolution. He made the point that a date on a calendar isn't motivation enough sometimes. We can all relate to that.
However, there is something about a fresh calendar, January 1st, that is pretty thought provoking to me. I go into re-organize and re-evaluate mode. The year is new and sparkly to me right about now - I don't want to smudge it up with my un-organized dullness.
Given my track record, I will end up doing something that I consider "smudgy" and it will mess with my new year's momentum. Still, I really enjoy evaluating and re- organizing some parts of my life. So what if it's only once a year? : /
Some of the areas I've been looking at are pretty basic, tangible changes. My closet, for example. Re-organized and much nicer to look at in the morning. My iPhone and iPad apps (this just means that all my game apps are on the same page...still, I feel it counts).
Other areas are still tangible but a little more of a process. I'm excited to buy that bike I talked about a long time ago. McW has started running again and it has me thinking about the way I take care of myself and the things that I enjoy doing that would keep me (get me) in shape. I love my town and my specific location - I could bicycle anywhere in 15 minutes or less. So, step one? Buy killer bicycle. Step two? Ride the hell out of it. Step three? Bikini model with the lung capacity of an opera singing triathlete.
Then there's the money thing. Money management is always something I think about at this time of the year. This is the area that always gets "smudgy" first. So instead of budgeting every single penny, I'm going to try to give more. Hopefully that will come easier and help me re-evaluate my priorities.
So I suppose this is the obligatory new years post. It will serve as some accountability for me and it should kill at least 4 to 5 minutes of your downtime at work (wink wink, ladies).