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lisa marie corley | greenville, sc

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zzz.miscellany

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I just love a good collaboration with a fellow artist. Feel free to borrow this image if you need to illustrate a hermaphroditic runner suffering from penile elephantiasis. Who is permanently erect. And has accidentally superglued his hand to….er, himself. And is apparently quite elated about his situation.

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A lonnnng year of whaps

Geesh. I’ve started this post over at least five times now. Apparently my drunken pixie-muse has passed out again, abandoning me. He’s visited quite a bit in the last few weeks, but he never stays long, and he comes at inopportune times — like when I’m driving to work or spending a non-laptop weekend with family or being pleasure-serviced by my naked houseboyman Miguel. OK that last one was just a dream but I certainly didn’t want to leave it to type on a damn computer.

So I’m just going to string together a series of potentially unrelated paragraphs, mmkay?

The OCD chatterdevils in my head want me to write some sort of transition post. They tell me that, since I only posted six times in 2009 and an uberpathetic *one* time in 2010, I probably need to address the “WTF?” questions bouncing in your heads. I keep arguing with them that they are being waaaay too presumptuous to assume these questions — not to mention readers — actually exist. But you know how OCD chatterdevils are.

Oh. You don’t?

Ahem.

Anyway, they tell me I should write some sort of summary of the time that’s passed, and, of course, it is essential that I put a positive spin on it (please imagine these words spoken in a sarcastic, snobbish, old-Southern-money drawl). Like a list of reasons why 2010 didn’t suck stinkyass butt. Or a description of things for which I am grateful. Or a list of new and exciting perversions I’ve nurtured. The post should be a perfect balance of pensive reflection, humor, optimism, and OF COURSE irreverence.

Let’s see if that happens.

Winter and spring rockalong pretty well
2010 started out FABulously. I was training with old runbud friends, out there in my VERY favorite running weather. There’s nothing like a healthy, pumpin’ heart 10 minutes into a 35-degree joggytrot. Lovelovelove freakinlove it. The group experienced some unfortunate interpersonal strife, but we came together on race day and completed Greenville’s Reedy River 10K in early March. Invigorating!

Something else cool was that I dug deeper into my social media obsession. You know I’m not happy unless obsessed, right? Luckily, my interest coincided with some initiatives at work, so I raised my hand high and became able to integrate the fun into my workdays. Have been feeling the buzz ever since. And buzzing the feel. Which is way more satisfying than copping a feel, at least when comparing longterm benefits.

Nursed a small tinge in my foot for awhile, but I kept in shape enough to continue regular running with friends, and went on a hardcore hike or three. Nature really sets me ‘right.’ Some people sit in church. I take deep breaths of fresh air. Ran another 5K race in May, and right after that started training for a half marathon. I didn’t really think I’d do well with that longer distance, but I gave myself permission to walk as much of the 13+ miles as necessary. About this time I also started an intensive strength training regimen, and in mid May, I bought a bike! Soooo excited to have a new type of challenge.

Whap, whap, whap, whap
Whap #1. Here’s where the year started to s u u u c k. Only a few weeks after getting my new bike, I crashed it twice on the same day during a 26-mile ride up the Swamp Rabbit Trail & back. I’m considering changing my story to a 26-mile trail ride at Paris Mountain, though…that is soooo much more impressive than accidents on a flat paved trail, don’t you think?

Hmmm. Yeah.

I thought I just had a deep bruise or two in my left upper arm and shoulder, but as the weeks and weeks went by and the pain didn’t get better, I made an appointment with my superfave orthopaedist for late July.

Whap #2. Overlapping all the other midyear whaps was an ongoing bunch o’family stuff that I won’t discuss in great detail now. Maybe later. The “stuff” was basically two-fold — my mom’s move from a two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom apartment in an independent living facility… and my sister’s declining health. Planning, busywork, moving, and medical research and education blanketed nearly all of our free time during the summer.

Sadly, these were the last times the five of us would spend together.

Whap #3. Another ongoing annoyance was some weirdness in my own health. These topics are beyond dull — just a few getting-older issues which, while temporarily draining me of time and energy, I’ve since gotten under control. Mostly. I will warn you right now, though, that the constant ringing in my ears will — I repeat, WILL — drive me to insanity one day. Hoping to plan ahead so that I snap in some sort of interesting or entertaining way. I’m open to any ideas.

Whap #4. So. The evening before my scheduled orthopaedist appointment in July, my ankle mysteriously gave way during a run in the park. Something twisted and crunched and I went down, grinding my knees hard against asphalt and into lots of gravelly debris. Ouch. I limped pathetically to a nearby stump and sat there, blood streaming down my calves, while runbud-angel K rushed to get her car. Several bikers and runners stopped to check on me while I was waiting….I imagine I made a pretty distressing sight. :)

Diagnoses, healing, and settling in
The next day at the doctor’s office I made lots of jokes about old rickety women pretending they are still 25. They poked, prodded, and x-rayed all sorts of body parts and properly dressed my knee wounds. I left that day in a boot cast and with instructions to cease and desist physical activity until further notice. Within a couple weeks, I’d had an MRI, been diagnosed with a hard-to-heal tear in my shoulder, declined a recommendation to see a surgeon, and started what would turn out to be six months of physical therapy.

The sprained ankle healed relatively quickly, and the knees got OK eventually, but the shoulder….UGH. I honestly didn’t think I would ever be able to do some common movements again, much less any serious upper body work. But I had an awesome therapist, and I refused to quit, bygollydammit. I started getting optimistic early-Octoberish, and nowadays I’m noticing gains in strength and flexibility almost every week. I’ve kept it up even since “graduating” from my therapist’s care last month.

My mom got somewhat settled into her new place, absolutely fawning over the staff and facilities. We got everything out of the old apartment, unpacked into her new apartment, and began to help her get organized and truly settled in. We decided to take a bit of a break, though, so that my mom and sister could get some extended rest. Finally, my sister began to take steps toward managing her own health, seeing various sorts of specialists for advice and minor procedures. She, her son, and husband went on a nearly 4-week vacation to Florida. She returned in early October, happy to have had the time away, but utterly exhausted.

Should I mention here a brief li’l relationship o’my own? I don’t really want to, but those damn chatterdevils won’t leave me alone. I guess it’s significant because for a couple months or so it created some blissful moments during a time when I really needed some respite. It also catalyzed an epiphany or two — which is always, always, always a good thing.

An email to family, October 21
“Hi there, I hope everyone’s doing well. I have some news about my sister — please forward so everyone can keep her in their prayers.

“Dianna’s husband Ray woke up about 3am Tuesday morning to find her unable to breathe well. She’d had chest pains (mild) on Mon evening and had been out of breath a lot for several days. They called EMS, who took her to Laurens County Hospital who very quickly sent her to Self Regional (Greenwood) for congestive heart failure. They slated her to go to the heart cath lab Wed morning for angioplasty at 7am, but on the way there she had a seizure. They gave her medicine to alleviate that, but then she threw up a significant amount of what they called “coffee grounds,” i.e., dried blood. At that point they abandoned treating her heart condition temporarily to investigate the other stuff.

“It has been a roller coaster since then. Today she’s had a constantly upset stomach, pain, dizziness, and three seizures since the first one this morning. The doc has ordered an EEG and a CT scan to try and determine the cause of the seizures. They are adjusting meds and doing everything they can to stabilize her enough to even get her downstairs to do the CT. Friday they hope to do another diagnostic stomach scope.

“The heart attack appears to be the result of one partial blockage in the left side of her heart. I am still a little unsure about the details of this. At first Ray was told that the heart muscle damage was only 2 percent, but this afternoon the doc had another chat with him (I was in town running an errand…just my luck) and implied more damage to the left side of her heart than had been originally communicated.

“Today Dianna has mostly been asleep, but has woken up now and then. Not feeling good at ALL. At one point she asked me ‘What’s going on? I feel like I’m dying.’ It occurred to me that maybe people had been talking around her rather than to her and she might be really scared. I reassured her, and hoped she understood. She fell asleep very quickly before I could tell her any details. She is sleeping an extraordinary amount even though they aren’t giving her anything to specifically make her sleep. Her nurse seems perplexed at that, but did say she’d received a lot of the seizure-relieving medicine. They are watching her very closely and I’ve been impressed with the staff’s diligence.

“Mom is of course antsy, worried, and frustrated that she can’t be at the hospital. But she is receiving a lot of support from the staff and residents at her new independent-living home. I’m going to do my best to visit with her this week and weekend, but she keeps telling me she’d rather me be with Dianna.

“Ray and Johnny are tough troupers, although the worry and stress really got to them both this afternoon. We all know Dianna is a rock of strength and stubborness, but it is very hard to see her like this…..sigh…..

“Dianna is in the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit). They are not currently putting calls through to her room, though, and won’t until she is feeling well enough to receive them herself. I’m sure she’ll be there at least through the weekend….probably into next week. They haven’t even begun to treat the original heart problem yet.

“Thanks so much for forwarding to others in the family….as you know, Dianna believes in the power of prayer and I am sure she’ll feel everyone’s thoughts and well wishes around her.”

The next day
My sister died. We all knew she was very sick, but I’m at a loss to describe how completely shocked we were. I watched the doctor’s face closely as he told us, waiting for some sort of punch line or reassurance that “…she’ll have a tough recovery, but with time she’ll be herself again.” I couldn’t tear my gaze from his tired, sympathetic eyes as he did not speak these words. I wanted to urge him to go back in her hospital room and double check. I wanted to explain that he just doesn’t know how tenacious she is. It couldn’t be true.

Sigh….
I’m afraid I’ve dumped a whompin’ huge load o’bummer bricks on my naughty little monkeyblog, so I’m going to abandon the story there. For now, anyway. I considered not posting this self-centered chronology at all, but in the end I thought it might provide a better frame of reference for you devoted mm readers. (Ahhh, the presumptuous ego of my little chatterdevils surfaces again!)

You see, I’m not exactly the same person I was eight months ago. And I’m pretty eager to meet the person I’ll be eight months from now. 2011 is decidedly promising, full of good friends, family healing, healthy pursuits, and interesting insights.

Plus I have a brandnew, deep-redvelvet piece o’potential depravity in my fireplace room. Stay tuned.

Hoping this isn’t a permanent state of affairs

Hi guys! Yep, it’s been a sparse 2009 in magicalmonkey land. I hope inspiration will kick in again, but for now I’ve needed to let some things go in my life to make room for other things.

Neverdones: retired
No more, y’all! It was a great series and really spurred me to tackle new things in my life, but eventually my neverdones — or, rather, writing about my neverdones — became just another pressure. And trust me, additional pressure is something I don’t need. :)

Another 5K
Yesterday I ran the GHS Swamp Rabbit 5K, my first race since November 2008 in which I busted the 30-minute barrier. An injury in January and flareups of a couple biomechanical issues have hampered my training this year…..which was reflected in this weekend’s disappointing 34:19 time. I had to walk three times! Auuuuugh!! I must get hardcore on my own ass again.

Immediate future
MUST get work under control. NEED to spend more time with family. WANT to hang with friends more often. WILL kick up my workouts a notch. Those are the goals that are at the top of the list now — yay, focus! :) I’ve finally signed up for and have learned to appreciate Facebook, so hop over there and look for me. The short-and-sweet blips are much more conducive to my schedule than blogging.

Later, ppl! Check back now and then in case I’ve had the time or inspiration to post.

Look what I saw in the grocery store tonight

Happened upon an interesting sight last weekend…

Nooooooooooooo!

Look what I missed. Damn.

This is where I first learned of the…um, special celebration. (What, there’s something wrong with surfing the internet on Christmas morning?)

Actually, my damn-I-missed-it reaction was premature. Follow the “this” link in the previous paragraph to read….

Ooooh fuckity fuck fuck fuck … Are they actually going to ruin orgasms? … I’m sorry, but there is no way I’m donating an O to world peace framed in this shit. I’m giving my orgasms to the terrorists and the war-machine just out of spite now. … And let me also warn you, don’t cruise the site unless you want the sexy stolen from your life for a good while. I’m starting to wonder if the dude sauce can be some sort of antidote, like an anti-snakebite kit.


Well. Alrighty then.

Announcement

I am currently interviewing muses. If you know any good candidates, please send them my way. This is a new position created because current drunken-pixie muse, dedicated to the visual-arts parts of my imagination, claims to be overworked. New muse will be responsible solely for blogging inspiration. Mythical creature with a clinically diagnosed insanity disorder and curmudgeonly disposition preferred. Bawdy, inappropriate sense of humor required. Must not emit foul odors, at least not on a regular basis. Compensation negotiable.

Wig Day at work!

You think a creative department needs to be bored in order to invent and celebrate something called “Wig Day”? Pffft! It’s pretty darn interesting to see what types of stress-bustin’ diversions emerge when overworked, exhausted people decide that a little FUN is in order. Here I am with a few mm readers. In case any of them decide to run for political office one day, I’ve incorporated the ever-so-functional “rectangles of anonymity.” Can you guess which one is “S” and which one is “M”?

Just trying to turn you on

I don’t talk about music much, do I? I’ve thought about it, and even had a suggestion last year from a mm reader to review a CD every now and then. The problem with that approach is that I so rarely buy an entire CD nowadays — I’m quite happily entrenched in the iTunes per-song purchase model.

What I thought may be interesting instead is to turn you on to some cool artists I’ve found recently.

Low Motion Disco
I discovered this duo just by scopin’ the iTunes store. Their music — categorized as electronic, and almost entirely instrumental — is rich, multilayered, intricate, emotive. Perfectly perfect for piping over your Shuffle while cooling down in the gym. Great for lazy Sundays, too.

The Cat Empire
Caught “Voodoo Cowboy” on WNCW, and just had to hear more! Browsed through their offerings on iTunes, and within minutes I was the superdelighted owner of 7 songs from three different CDs. Many tunes have an upbeat, ultra-fun Squirrel Nut Zippers-ish vibe….others are just wide open and make you want to shake your booty with abandon….others are a bit slower, moody, and deliciously drunk. All are different and guaranteed NOT to induce any yawning.

Los Lonely Boys
Another great group I found by browsing iTunes. This Texas trio has an appreciatively diverse sound — their repertoire takes you from driving blues to Mexicali-esque happiness to just-plain-good body-bouncing beats. Compelling rhythms, all of them.

DJ Rekha
This woman was featured in an NPR interview which I caught one morning while getting ready for work. Intrigued by the funky, complex, worldbeat sound, I made it a point to look her up later, and wound up purchasing five tracks from the “Basement Bhangra” CD. The perfect venue in my particular universe? My pulsing, sweaty alone-time in the spinning-class studio. In another lifetime, it would’ve made kickin’ dance music.

Rufus Thomas
I’m a little embarrassed to admit I didn’t know this legend by name until Pandora directed my attention his way. I certainly recognized his music, though. Remember “Walking the Dog”? That’s him. He has another lesser-known but equally fun toe-tapping song called “Can Your Monkey Do the Dog?”. Ha!

Nouvelle Vague
This French group covers older songs, almost exclusively — I really like to hear a great new spin on an old favorite, and these guys hit the target almost every time. I first heard them in a TV commercial for the cable reality show “LA Ink.” It was a nearly unrecognizable, bouncy-and-cheerful version of Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself.” They’ve also remade more obscure songs — one of my faves is “Too Drunk to Fuck” because it makes me laugh.

Rhyme time

Yep, I’ve been surfing again. This time I found a cool, user-friendly website which helps you with rhymes. A mood hit me. So I started to write.

I came upon a magical monkey
Who seemed quite impolite and smelled a bit spunky.
He just sat there and laughed
While caressing his shaft
And throwing poo that was chartreuse and chunky.

Wow, that was fun, wasn’t it? Hey, I wonder what words rhyme with ‘penis’?

If you had an immensely large penis,
Would it require the service of several hygienists?
One armed with floss,
Another with gloss,
And another for tasks intravenous?

Not quite neverdones

Way back in May, I mentioned a list I’ve been keeping on my laptop. It’s a list of neverdones that didn’t quite make official magicalmonkey status…things that seemed too contrived or too trivial or too….whatever.

What’s that? Do I hear a rumbling amongst you?

Yeah, OK. I’ll admit some of them which made the blog probably qualify as “trivial.” Pedicures and visits to oxygen bars are not exactly significant occurrences. And running has made the list so many times that it seems like ANY running topic should be off limits by now. I have no defense, really — only that I was in a mood to write when they happened. And it’s my blog. So there. :)

Well. Anyway, I figured that the 2008 half-way point was a good time to post the “lame neverdones” list so far. I’ll share more of them later if they seem interesting enough.

Size 6 jeans. It felt great last year when I fit into size 12 jeans for the first time in a couple of decades. Size 10 felt euphoric. Size 8 messed with my head a little — I never dreamed I’d be in a single-digit category again. Then size 6 rolled around, and….oh….my…..goodness! That is just so unbelievable it’s absurd. Technically, I’d never worn that size EVER, because the last time I wore jeans that small, I was buying the odd-number-sized clothes for juniors. But the bottom line for official neverdone status was that my ass was once the size it is now. Even though it was during junior high school.

Geocaching with kids. Ohhhhhhh wow! I promise you, geocaching with kids is not the same as geocaching. I am amused on SO many levels…..the questions, the stream-of-consciousness banter, the unfettered imagination, the absolute JOY of finding treasure! I’d wanted to post a blog entry containing nothing but the dialog, but I couldn’t remember it all. Maybe next time, I’ll take along a tape recorder and transcribe it for you. I didn’t count it as a neverdone because it just seemed like a closely-related subset of geocaching. I realize that running on the beach and running in a 5K are also subsets of running…..but…….eh.

Flash mob event / cache bingo. I attended my first geo-flash-mob-event this year and played a cool geo-game of cache bingo, but I didn’t count them as neverdones for the reason cited in the previous paragraph. Bingo was loads of fun, but the flash mob was not what I expected. That was partly my fault since I was running late, but it’s also the nature of that type of event. The whole thing was over by the time I smiled and said hi.

Beach trip philosophy. I took a weeklong all-female trip to the beach this year. I’ve done that many times before, but different this time was the overriding philosophy — do what YOU want. It was sort of assumed that you would be totally on your own the whole week — come and go as you please, sleep as long as you want, stay up as long as you want, go to the beach when and if you want, go into town when and if you want, partake in activities that you enjoy and do nothing that you don’t, and eat what and when you want. If your schedule or desires happened to coincide with someone else’s, you could do it together. Or not. No one’s feelings got hurt if you declined any sort of invitation to do something with the group, and when you did join in, everyone laughed and had a blast. Once in awhile I love to feed that anti-social part of me, and this trip hit the mark. Why didn’t it become an official neverdone? I think I just wasn’t in the mood to write about it. Too many other things were knocking around in my head at the time.

Relinquished hair control
. Never in my life have I said to a hair stylist, “Just do what you think is best.” I did last month, though. I’d heard so much about the talents of a friend’s sister that I completely trusted her judgement. I’m glad I did! This one didn’t become a neverdone because it seemed too….I don’t know…..vain, maybe?

Nose sweat. For the first time in memory, I worked out so hard that sweat dripped off the end of my nose. This amuses me, but I didn’t think it would amuse you. In fact, I suspected it would be just nasty and gross. So I spared you the blog post. I did share it with my spinning class instructor, though, since I figured she’d be proud to be the cause. Apparently she was proud, indeed, because during the next class she made me tell everyone about my fabulous little achievement.

Squid salad. Sounds nasty, but it’s not. It didn’t make the list because eating things I’ve never eaten before just seems like a piddly, stupid type of neverdone. Although, I promise you, that if I ever consume something like a bull penis, it WILL make the official list. Don’t watch for it, though. Seriously.

Ouch. How in the heck did I manage to grow up in the country and never get stung by a bee or a yellow jacket or a wasp or ANYthing? I did go outside quite a bit, I swear. Hung out in fields, by the creek, in the garden, and in the woods. Maybe I lived in a fairytale land where all the insects were nice. Like that bee movie where Tim Allen did the voiceover for the main character. I didn’t see the movie, actually, but in the previews it looked like all the bees were nice. And, on second thought, maybe it wasn’t Tim Allen….hmmmm. Well, anyway, yesterday I got stung by something — I think it was a yellow jacket — while jumping a teensy weensy creek to get to a geocache. It didn’t become a neverdone because it seemed so passive — it took no effort…I did nothing to earn it.

Finally…pictures!

Well, I finally culled 50 share-worthy scenic shots from the more than 500 I took during last month’s trip to Sunset Beach. Not satisfied with the slideshow function at photobucket.com, I decided to try Google’s Picasa. It takes less than 3 minutes to view all the photos, and it’ll stop automatically at the end. Check it out….

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

An impressive banana

Wow. I never would’ve thought this sales pitch would actually snare a couple takers: “Hey, guys! Isn’t this the biggest banana you have EVER seen? Who wants to have their photo taken with it? I’ll post it on my blog.”

I certainly wouldn’t do it. :)

On a totally unrelated note, are you aware that May is National Masturbation Month? I am not making this up. You can, ahem, give yourself a hand all month long. And there’s a huge celebratory fundraiser in San Francisco on Sunday, May 25th. I know we are on the other side of the continent, but don’t worry — you can participate online.

Please click on the links. Please, please, pretty puh-leeeeeeese click on the links.

Yummilicious no-mayo chicken salad!

Just for future reference, if you make fun of a potential magicalmonkey post, you pretty much guarantee it’ll be published. :)

I started playing with this recipe after having a similar version for dinner at a friend’s house. She served it with croissants to make sandwiches, but I like to eat it by itself. A couple of posts ago, I said it was fat free, but then I realized it’s not because of the chicken…..but it’s close.

All you do is prep the ingredients and mix in a big bowl. Easy! Makes 4-6 servings.

1-2 apples, diced
shredded carrots, a pile equal in size to that of your apples
celery, diced, a pile slightly smaller than the previous piles
chicken, 2 6-oz packages
Wishbone fat free Italian dressing, 1/2 c or a little more
thai blend seasoning
fresh ground pepper

Notes:

For best flavor, don’t buy just any apples….use your favorite. I like honey crisp, pink lady, or sonya….they all have texture like a granny smith, but are sweeter. Yum! I don’t think an apple with the texture of a red delicious would work, but don’t let me stop you if you’re feeling experimental.

I use the bagged, pre-shredded carrots. They’re crunchy. Seems like when you shred it yourself, it’s too soft.

I’m waaaay too lazy to actually cook the chicken myself, like my friend did at her house. I buy those pouches of oven-roasted, 96% fat free white meat. You’ll have to chop up the meat a little more. But not too much….chunks are good.

Don’t use Kraft dressing, unless you want it to taste like a Pizza Inn salad bar. Ewwwww.

Use a LOAD of thai seasoning. Use it until you think it’ll be nasty…..then use more. Adds a tastebud-tingling kick! Who needs mayo? Spoogy white substances are no match for kickass spices, baby.

Nuts (almonds and walnuts, in particular) are also very good in it….they will add more fat, but at least they’re healthy fats. My friend used raisins, and they were good. I’ve thought about trying oranges, pineapple, or pears.

Random confessions

I’m blogging right now in a distinct effort to procrastinate. I hate house cleaning. And by “hate,” I mean loathe. Detest. Despise. Abhor.

A friend introduced me to clementines last year. I can’t eat one without singing the tune in my head: “oh, m’dar-lin’, oh m’dar-lin’, oh m’daaaaaar-lin’ Clementine…”

Sometimes I imagine that another person has transmigrated into my head, and can see and hear everything that I see and hear. They can’t access my thoughts, though, so they are constantly wondering what the hell I’m doing.

An amusing thing about having a baby would be that you could legitimately call the father a mother fucker.

I worry that my cats are bored and are not living the happy, carefree cat-life they could be living elsewhere.

The most vivid dream I ever had was an end-of-the-world scenario involving King Kong and a traffic jam. I think I was in college at the time. In the dream, I was riding in the car with my mom along a major interstate when we come upon a huge standstill — no traffic is moving as far as we can see, and people are getting out of their cars, wondering what is wrong. On the radio, we hear an announcement: “Well, this is IT, folks — the end of the world! Get ready. Here it comes. Prepare yourself NOW!” Suddenly, we see a 60-foot-tall, very angry gorilla-monster stand up from behind a bridge, and he’s roaring and grabbing every person within reach and eating their heads. Yikes! I woke up in a sweat, convinced that the END was imminent. Took me several minutes to shake the fear. Weird, man. It was crystal-clear real.

The most sexually amusing dream I ever had was last year. I was on the official US Olympic sex team. There were 10 or so of us, women and men, and we were all strung from the masts of a sailboat so that fans could watch from the shore. Oddly enough, we were dressed — in long-sleeved pro-cycling-like gear, but with “appropriate” holes for easy access. Ha!

My favorite republican presidential candidate is McCain. This is partly due to process of elimination because Mitt Romney and Ron Paul both have exhibited slacker-design-student typography in their signage. Romney’s small caps are not “true,” which is a pet peeve of mine, and Paul’s kerning is so bad it’s offensive.

I can’t pinpoint my favorite democratic candidate. I thought I had a pretty good idea until Clinton and Obama acted like spoiled playground bullies in their Charleston, SC, debate. John Edwards began looking a lot better after that.

I’m DVR-ing VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” nowadays, and am trying not to be ashamed of myself for my fascination with the show. Remember the handsome guy from “Taxi” with the lion’s-mane blondish hair? Today he is a pathetic, empty shell of a man who was a train wreck in BETTER days. He’s in a wheel chair all the time, and acts like a person who’s had a severe blow to the head. I feel bad for what he’s going through, but….well, he did bring it on himself. I hope he gets it together.

Hmmmmm, my confessions are getting progressively more serious, so it’s time to get off my couch and clean. What a bummer of a buzz kill, man.

Mini pleasure moment

This morning I carried my laptop and its charger/power adapter inside my soft-sided brief case. As a result, there was some heft to the load swinging from my left shoulder, and the charger made a hard little lump on the side. As I walked from my car into the office, this hard little lump was repeatedly propelled against my left glute — at JUST the perfect angle and momentum to “massage” the spot that was sore from my Sunday afternoon workout.

Ahhhhhhhhhh…..

Parking lot diversion

This week I found myself with some time to kill in a nearly-deserted bowling alley parking lot. There was a Nikon burning in my hand and a muse whispering in my ear. Well….sort of. I think the muse was actually a drunk, slightly dimwitted pixie, but sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

That weird bathroom lump of nastiness

For some reason I’ve conditioned myself to go to the last stall when using a public restroom. In the women’s bathroom at work, I follow this habit without thinking. I close the door, turn around, and sit. My eyes wander a bit, and it never fails — I catch sight of this snot-colored, sticky-looking glob of mucouslike mess about half the size of an M&M. And if that’s not enough, attached to it is a curly strand of dark hair that loops around a couple times and hangs off each end about 2 inches.

It’s been stuck to the backside of the stall door for at least two years.

A few times I’ve considered sucking up my squeamishness and scrubbing it off — I mean, it would be better than looking at it for another two years, right? But it’s quite strange. By the time I walk five feet to the sink, which would be an ideal moment to dampen a paper towel and turn around to remove the offensive substance, I’ve completely forgotten about it. And it stays forgotten until the next time I enter that stall, close the door, turn around, and sit.

Only today did the temporary memory loss fail to happen. Because this time, I thought…..blog entry.

How could it have gotten there? Do the glob and the hair have the same DNA? If I worked in a crime lab, I’d stay late one evening to test them. Maybe someone came to work one day with a really severe phlegm-laden cold, and had a deep, gutwrenching sneeze. Maybe her hand didn’t make it to her mouth in time. Maybe she conscientiously cleaned most of it off the back of the door, but missed one small spot, which — while she leaned over to wipe a particularly large bit of unpleasantness from the floor — pulled a strand of loose hair from the top of her head.

Or…..maybe someone actually planted it there. It might be a sociological experiment to test how much nastiness women will put up with in the workplace. There could be a camera hidden in a ceiling vent to record people’s reactions.

Or…..maybe ….

Hmmmm, never mind. Those appear to be the only two scenarios I can imagine.

Ten photographs

Not really in the mood to write this weekend, so I thought I’d play with the slideshow feature at photobucket.com. Here are some abstract shots I took at Freedom Weekend Aloft, held in May this year at Simpsonville’s Heritage Park.

Just wondering

Yesterday I saw something abominable as I left the office after a busy workday. The automatic doors swung open, and it felt like I was walking into a stifling, steamy sauna. For a second, it was hard to breath. The air conditioning at my back was efficiently snuffed out, and, as I began walking toward my car, the sweltering Southern summer humidity clung to my skin almost wetly, sucking more energy from my body with every step I took. Mind you, this has not been an unusual feeling lately. All sorts of weather records have been broken this month — we’ve had triple-digit temps like no one has seen in decades. Uggghh!

About 20 feet from my car, I innocently glanced to the left. You know, just your typical looking-around-as-you-stroll type of glance. I’d looked to the right mere seconds before, and survived the experience extraordinarily well. There was no way I could have been prepared for what I saw next.

Right there in our parking lot — in front of God and everybody — a man walked to his car, talking on his cell phone, wearing an argyle sweater over a long-sleeved dress shirt.

What in the expansive, blue heavens would possess someone to wear that in THIS heat?? Is his office located in a refrigerator? Does he have a personality disorder which compels him to wear only outfits found in the 1982 LL Bean fall/winter catalog? Does his always-cold, elderly mother dress him? Is he in a sexually explosive, masochistic relationship with someone named Mistress Olga, who gets off knowing that her partner sits in a human stew of a sweatball all day? Is he wearing saran wrap as underwear?

Sometimes you just have to wonder about a person’s backstory.

Lisa 101

1. Ha! This list is going to be FABulous fun! I absolutely love to write when I’m not expected to persuade. Or create characters and develop a plot. Or make a point. Or inform. Or be creative or profound in any way whatsoever.
2. I started “Lisa 101” after a business associate–a quirky character of a man who amuses me greatly–posted a challenge on his own blog for others to “do a 101 on yourself.”
3. I can be pretty flighty with my spare time, so the likelihood that I’ll keep blogging is slim. We’ll see.
4. Most people I know believe (or assume) that I’m creative….whatever that means. But in my own head, I’m a poser who just gets lucky now and then. Years ago, I read in Andy Warhol’s diary that he felt the same way. He lived in fear that one day the world would figure this out about him.
5. Out of everything I’ve read about Warhol, the thing I remember most is his “Piss Paintings” series, called “Oxidation Paintings” in polite company. He and his friends would urinate on canvases prepared with minerals and paint. There was one friend in particular who produced very richly colored pee because he was quite healthy and took a lot of vitamins.
6. Hmmm. That last one isn’t really about me, is it? Should I rewrite #5? But it *does* make a bit of a statement about me. I mean, geesh…..some of the things that stick in my head are just sorta weird. And that observation makes a great #6.
7. I love my Mac.
8. I love my Powerbook.
9. I love my AirPort.
10. I love my iPod.
11. I love my new iPod Shuffle.
12. I acquired my Shuffle a few months ago after I started going to the gym on a regular basis. Which, by the way, is an entirely different experience nowadays than back in the day. Everyone (OK, not everyone, but a heck of a lot of people) has some sort of listening device attached to themselves, and they navigate the fitness equipment while in a self-contained audioworld. Some of the people smile at one another…..but the wires trailing from their ears to the tiny box attached to a body part screams, loud and clear, “leave me alone!” The effectiveness of that message is why I bought my hip little lightweight Shuffle-with-a-clamp. Swwweeet.
13. I can be anti-social at times.
14. As a child of about 6 or 8, I remember wondering….if I weren’t me, would I be someone else or would I just not exist? If I didn’t exist, what would it be like? Would I know that I didn’t exist, or would there just be…..nothing? What would nothing be like?
15. I used to beg my mom to burn the green beans on purpose. The crusty black part was yummy.
16. My Barbies lived through precarious times. I used to strip off all their clothes, tie their hands and feet, and then stash them somewhere dark and scary, often leaving them there for months. I never did that with Skipper, though. Only the grown-up Barbies.
17. My parents would never allow me to have a Ken doll, no matter how much I pleaded.
18. I grew up on a 100-acre farm in Upstate SC.
19. I hate that I keep using the word “I” in this list. How can you avoid that when you’re writing about yourself? Hmmmm.
20. Am having second thoughts about publishing #16 on the internet. Do you think it will attract some sort of bot designed to notify “the authorities” about potential n’er-do-wells? Ha! Perhaps it would help my image as an artist if I were labeled a subversive.
21. In the third grade, I started a school newspaper. I was forced by my teacher to go to the principal’s office and ask for official permission….and, boy, was I scared! As far as I knew, only very BAD children made trips to the principal’s office. He asked me questions about how I planned to get it done, and I guess I had the right answers, because he provided his blessing. My itty-bitty staff and I (was it two other kids? I can’t remember now…) only produced an issue or two before getting bored with it. It was a 1-page, 1-sided, legal-sized deal replicated on mimeograph equipment by the school librarian.
22. The third grade was also when I started to mull the idea of becoming an artist. My home room teacher could paint flowers very well, and she’d have little art sessions with the class now and then.
23. Was it the third grade when I started to write stories, too? I think so. Gee, I was blossoming.
24. I don’t remember the fourth grade at all.
25. In the fifth grade, the boys in my class started talking dirty to the girls. I smoked my first cigarette. I idolized the “bad” crowd.
26. In the sixth grade, I had a friend–a rail-thin, mousey-haired, nervous girl–who bragged about smoking pot with her big brother. She also had a pet monkey. I was very jealous of her life. Another friend had a neighbor–a very cute curly-haired boy a few years older–who shared stolen cans of his daddy’s beer.
27. The summer before my seventh grade year, my parents had a very serious talk with me, and said they were sending me to private school. Ha!
28. My mom tells me nowadays that if it weren’t for peanut butter and rolls, I would have starved to death as a child.
29. The best food on the planet is Thai. On a hotness scale of 1 to 10, I usually order a 20.
30. In recent months, I’ve begun to really enjoy sushi. A year ago, the thought of eating raw fish disgusted me. The same friend who introduced me to Thai food also introduced me to sushi.
31. Change is good. It shakes things up and keeps us all from being bored.
32. I’m not lazy….I’m hedonistic. I came up with that one three or four months ago, after an exhausting ass-kicking session with my personal trainer. Sitting on my butt in the middle of the gym seemed like a MUCH better idea than doing more of those damn ‘plank’ things.
33. Mediocrity scares me more than death. Of course, that’s easy to say as I sit on my blue couch on a sunny Saturday morning. No one’s aiming a gun at my head or anything.
34. It’s hard to fathom the courage it must take to willingly put yourself in a situation where a gun WILL be aimed at your head. Well….unless you’re suicidal….
35. One of my uncles survived a Nazi prison camp. I never heard him speak of his experiences, myself….I was told he didn’t like to talk about it.
36. The most life-changing book I’ve ever read is “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell.
37. TV shows I can’t miss: “Lost,” “Jericho,” “Heroes.”
38. Traits that I admire in other people: irreverence, nonconformity, honesty, loyalty, empathy.
39. Many years ago, I remember telling Friend A about Friend B’s blog. Back then, blogging wasn’t common at all, and Friend A thought it was amazingly, unbelievably arrogant. “Why does he think anyone will CARE?” he asked. This keeps running through my head as I write today, because it really does seem arrogant, in a way.
40. No one has ever accused me of being arrogant, but I’d bet a freakin’ enormous sum of money that some people have thought it.
41. I *have* been accused of being deviant. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
42. I enjoy a good dirty joke. And obscure sexual innuendo. And not-so-obscure sexual innuendo.
43. Pickles are revolting. The abundant quantity of juice that bleeds out of them will taint anything in its path.
44. Mayonnaise is revolting. It’s spoogy.
45. Mustard is revolting. German people who own deli restaurants are offended when you ask them to hold the mustard on a sandwich.
46. Catsup is revolting. Bleck.
47. Tomato soup is yummy. Yeah, yeah…..I know. That doesn’t make sense in light of #46. I don’t delve into the psychology of those opposing sentiments.
48. Tomato soup is not as yummy as tom ka gai.
49. Last year, I was obsessed with Geocaching. I’d get back into it in a skinny minute if my OCD had not latched onto exercise after the holidays.
50. This year, I learned that if you get back into exercise after a nearly 20-year hiatus, you’d better take it slowly. If you don’t, body parts will protest in ways which raise concern.
51. I don’t really have OCD, but I do think I have a tendency or two. Or three or seven.
52. The mind-numbing tedium of everyday lifecrap annoys me. Lifecrap includes things like washing clothes, going to the grocery store, cleaning house, washing dishes, and paying bills.
53. Perhaps I have a touch of ADD, too.
54. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only female in the world who doesn’t particularly like chocolate.
55. I enjoy playing Texas Hold ‘Em, but I’m not that good at it. I have to use a cheat sheet that tells me which hands beat others.
56. If I’ve told you in the past 3 or so years that I’ve read a particular book, chances are I haven’t technically read it. I’ve probably listened to it on my iPod.
57. I used to love a good Mac vs. PC argument, but lately I find it boring.
58. Also boring: conversations involving fingernail polish.
59. Not boring: using fingernail polish to paint designs on…..well, anything.
60. Boring: watching golf on TV.
61. Not boring: going to a golf course and racing those little carts.
62. Boring: listening to endless chatter about nothing particularly important.
63. Not boring: authoring an endless list about nothing particularly important.
64. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers since mid-January. The number of points in a glass of sweet tea is obscene! Seriously.
65. I love naps.
66. I love to talk about the artist Piet Mondrian because I love to say “Piet Mondrian.”
67. I love to be challenged with an unconventional thought.
68. It would suck if the Thought Police really existed.
69. I used to wonder as a child if everyone could read minds….everyone except me. Sometimes I still wonder that, because it sure would explain a lot.
70. I don’t wonder about things as much as I used to. Nowadays I’ve accepted that I’ll never have all the answers, and I’m pretty peaceful with the answers I do have.
71. Hmmmm, that was a lie. I do wonder about things. For example, why does it never occur to some people to zig–at least occasionally–when other people zag?
72. I took a nap in between #69 and #70.
73. I’m disappointed with myself that I didn’t do something more creative with #69.
74. I don’t hear very well. I blame a Motley Crue concert in 1989…..my ears have been ringing ever since.
75. Almost every weeknight, I fall asleep watching “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. Then I wake up around 4am to the unpalatable sights and sounds of those 30-minute-long “Girls Gone Wild” commercials.
76. So how many people are still reading this list at #76? If I had the money, I’d offer expensive, sparkly prizes to anyone who posted a comment incorporating the phrase “buoyant monkey-bullet.” Ha! That would amuse me.
77. Something in my psyche compels me to save coupons, but I never–and I mean never–use them.
78. One of the few things I remember from my college art & architectural history classes is how to identify a five-part Palladian structure. Another thing I remember is that Michelangelo, after a heated disagreement with the pope who commissioned one of his large mural paintings, painted the pope’s head onto the end of a penis in the painting. I can’t remember if it remains to this day, or if he was forced to remove the image.
79. I have a font based on Leonardo DaVinci’s handwriting. I like it.
80. Several years ago, I took a series of wheel-thrown ceramics classes after work. It was buckets o’fun to muck around in the mud for 3 hours a week!
81. I have several magazine subscriptions which I never read: Graphic Design USA, Smithsonian, Creativity.
82. I browse the magazine aisles at local bookstores and make pretty regular purchases. I bring them home and skim them….but I never really read them, either.
83. I do have two subscriptions to magazines I occasionally read: Bottom Line, Remedy.
84. I have some sort of disorder which prevents me from throwing away a magazine I haven’t read.
85. Stacks of unread magazines litter my house.
86. I eat a banana almost every day.
87. I don’t eat red candy. It’s because it’s red.
88. I love Butterfingers and Reese’s Cups. Peanut buttery yumminess, yeah!
89. I’m OCD about wrinkles in my clothes. The iron and ironing board are among the most significant and virtuous tools in my house.
90. A couple weeks ago, I bought something that made me feel ever-so-slightly naughty.
91. Last week, I did something ever-so-slightly naughty. The item I bought the week before was not a participant.
92. A couple months ago, I did something VERY naughty, in plain view of a lot of people. No one noticed.
93. Every day, I say something naughty. Someone usually notices.
94. I enjoy the little light bulb above people’s heads when they see something–anything–in a new and surprising way. It’s hard to beat a good epiphany.
95. One of my favorite epiphanies occurred during my freshman year of college at Winthrop, in my very first psychology class. Our professor said, with an impressive air of quiet wisdom: “I want to make it clear that you don’t have to believe anything I say. Almost everything I will teach you is theory. In fact, this will be true of most of your classes throughout college. Always challenge information which is presented to you as truth. You are here to learn how to think for yourself.”
96. I attended three colleges, finally obtaining my degree from the last one: Winthrop, Clemson, Lander.
97. I had the most fun at Clemson, but it was at the great expense of academics. I was there for two years solid, but received incompletes in most of my classes for two semesters in a row.
98. I took a 5-year break from school after that. I needed the rest.
99. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done or said. Yep, that’s right. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve made plenty mistakes. But I’ve learned from them and moved on. Regret implies that you’ve wasted time worrying about things that are done.
100. If you order a quesadilla at Corona’s and ask for no cheese, the waiter will look at you like you have genitalia growing out of one nostril.
101. I asked a friend for help in writing this list. “What fundamental knowledge do people need to know about me in order to ‘get’ me?” I asked. The swift answer: “Harder is better.”

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