Friday, November 28, 2003

Choose Your Own Adventure

Sam: "Lets face it Mr. Frodo. We're lost. I don't think Gandalf meant for us to come this way."

Frodo: "He didn't mean for a lot of things to happen Sam. But they did."

Growing up I read many a Choose Your Own Adventure book. However, I must confess, a majority of the choices made in my adventures were prompted by peeking ahead to discern the proper path to the desired conclusion. God, I wish life were that easy. Unfortunately, we can make all the choices deemed proper to reach our desired ends, but in the end, who knows where tomorrow will lead?

Sometimes (ok, multiple times daily) I wish I possessed the ability to peek ahead at life in order to have the foresight with which to choose the proper path to my desired end. If only I could see what lies around the next corner, or the next decade; or if a next decade, or corner, for that matter, even exist.

You see, even if you made it through to the end of the book, the adventure eventually ended. No matter which path you wandered down, a story already existed. No matter how cleverly orchestrated your path through the story; an end eventually lay around the turn of a page. The only way to truly create your own adventure lies not in your hands, but in your mind, in your imagination. To make our own adventures, we need not pick up time-stained books and peek through dog-eared pages to see what options suit us best. Rather, we need to dust off the too frequently abused and misused grey matter inside our own heads and dare to imagine routes to happiness and freedom not yet discovered by author or dreamer.

Granted, a certain portion of our lives lie in front of us, pre-planned. Before we even knew breath or beat, some cartographer mapped out our futures. Our DNA, for example, plays a large part in our formation and deterioration. In some fashion, personally, or through the illness of family or friends, everyone I know has faced, is facing, or will face the affects of some form of cancer. For me, I have seen two aunts, a mom and a grandma struggle with this disease over the past 7 years. Maybe more, who knows? And these are just in my direct family; there are still the families of friends. I’ve also had another grandmother seized by mental illness, not to mention the rampant alcoholism on both sides of the gene pool (or shall I say, gene wet bar).

I could look at this backdrop in despair. What chance have I with genetic makeup such as this? And yet, some choice still remains in my corner. In my adventure, I choose not the disabling vices of my ancestry, but their unmitigated strength in overcoming the seemingly impossible. The Choose Your Own Adventure of my life may have a set binding with predetermined outcomes, but with the means left to me I choose joy for today and tomorrow for the unknown.
Retractable Posts

Well, after I wrote that post yesterday, my dear, wonderful, amazing friend Ashley brought over some leftovers from her family's Thanksgiving meal--amen! Love that family. = )

AND, I'm back at work today. Still not feeling up-to-par, but I'm here because I really have GOT to do some of this work. However, someone has already chastised me for having the gall to be sick yesterday on our busiest day and fine today. Imagine that-- the nerve of me to spend the day absolutely sick and alone while everyone else celebrated being thankful for families, friends and what not. Well, I know one thing I'm *not* thankful for right now...

Thursday, November 27, 2003


One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving as a kid were leftovers. My dad usually had a trip to leave for the day after Thanksgiving, so he'd take a sizeable portion with him, but there were still plenty to go around. I loved sneaking into the fridge, opening the gallon-sized plastic bag and picking out the best white meat, cold turkey to throw on some buttered bread or directly into my salivating mouth. Other Thanksgiving staples included mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, black olives, buttered rolls, stuffing, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce (maybe green beans or something, but who cares about those?). Have you ever had a turkey and cranberry sauce sandwhich? yummy. If we were lucky, my dad would have made orange-cranberry muffins. I loved it when he did that. No, we didn't have sweet potatoes, something I now realize as the travesty it is, but don't worry, I am working everyday on making up for lost time.

Shortly after my my parents' divorce, we started having Thanksgiving over at my aunt and uncle's house, which was great because I got to see my cousins more and the more family, the merrier. Not to meantion the perks of my Aunt Julie's homemade apple pie, her frosted sugar cookies made just for me and potatoes hand mashed by my cousin Mike (note to everyone out there: if you keep complaining that the potatoes are too lumpy, you'll eventually be made to mash them yourself!) There was really only one true downside to Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house-- no leftovers. To be fair, there were leftovers, they just weren't in my fridge, they were in theirs, which is completely understandable.

Well, this year Thanksgiving has rolled around once again, and to be honest, I don't know how my family is celebrating. You see, they're in Wisconsin (and didn't answer the phone) and I'm in Tennessee-- although I did get to spend some of last week with them. I had plans for today: go to work where we're having an extravagant Thanksgiving meal for the homeless (of which I would be able to partake, even if only from a tray at my desk), then head to one of a few friends' houses for Thanksgiving merriment. All of this changed, however, when I woke up last night, in the middle of the night, horribly, horribly sick. Therefore, I never went to work, I never went to friends' houses, I never got to partake of succulent turkey or rapturous sweet potatoes and I surely will have no chance at leftovers. As a matter of fact, I can't believe I got through writting this entire post without making myself violently sick, once again.

Happy Turkey Day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Could've been

I wrote an entire post about love. About ways that love manifests itself and how it differentiates from lust. But, you know what? I don't really want to post it. I don't want some long, sappy post about what kind of love I want or need. I don't want to go on some over-emotional rant about this, that and the other thing that I have no idea about. I don't want to share that right now and I don't want to talk about it anymore.

I want to write about completely non-emotional things, like earthworms. Earthworms used to fascinate me as a child. The way they would all of a sudden over-ride the streets after a rain so that they wouldn't drown in their little holes. How they inch and wriggle, and can heal themselves. People say Love makes the world go round-- but maybe it's really earthworms. If not, there are definitely more insects than love in this world, so maybe it's the bugs-- and no, not the love bug, dang it.

On another note: I got my GRE scores back in the mail and, even though I got a higher score on the math part than the verbal, there were something like 67% other test-takers lower than me on the verbal and only 55% on the math. Go figure.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Miss Me?

Liar. = )

It's been a whirlwind of a week (well, 10 days). I flew back into town this morning and came straight to work-- ok, after a Starbucks detour.

While the change in weather congested my head and lungs, 10 emotion-ridden days of running around with little food or sleep, took its toll on congesting my thoughts. As the week progressed, my mind raced and whirled, processing the bare minimum of extraneous events, focusing on specified tasks. The world around me boiled down to a steeped concentration of the next five minutes. By bedtime Saturday night, my sore feet pulsed and my pulsing heart soared. Surrounded by family and friends, loved ones, new and old, filled me with joy and wonder at the blessings of miracles.

The two families meshed together wonderfully and everyone had a wonderful time. After the crazed week, my mind has finally gotten a tidbit of rest-- enough to know that I am content with today. Enough to know that there is joy and contentment in the world and I have been blessed with a small taste. Enough to look forward to every minute of today until it bleeds into every anticipated second of tomorrow.

Life never ceases to amaze or surprise me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Belle Noche

Ah my home town! Where the streets are bordered by family run shops and restaurants with names like: Pasarelli's, Chiapetta's, Madrigano's, Infusino's, Ruffalo's, Paelli's, Luigi's, Tenutta's and of course, it's neighbor, Ron's. And don't forget Shenanigan's, the drive-through liquor store. Ah yes, I'm back where I was born and raised. A city littered with Italian mom and pop restaurants and a drive-through liquor store. O, why did I ever leave? Well... that would be a long post.
May I Take Your Order?

I can't do it anymore. For that matter, I don't know if I ever really did. I mean, I always thought I was doing it, but I guess I've been fooling myself for, well, almost 25 years.

Wait, Melissa, slow down. Fill us in. What the heck are you talking about? We're not mind readers here.

Exactly. We're not mind readers. Not you. Not me. However, for most of my life I have tried to pre-guess people's needs and reactions. Tried to look at life from every angle and determine all possible paths, or at least most.

What? That's crazy! That can only lead to stress and ulcers and utter failure and disappointment!

Yeah, now you tell me. Why couldn't you have said that a million years ago?!?!

I bought super girl underwear today. (stick with me here, I'm going somewhere, I promise) If I would have bought these before, I think it would have been to boast my strength and independence, at least to myself-- and anyone snooping through my undie drawer. Today, however, I bought them because I have matured enough to know that I want to cherish my childhood, my immaturity and inability to solve all problems. I bought them not as a sign of strength, but for fun and comfort. For me. Not for anyone else.

Today I went to breakfast. For me. Not for anyone else. And I sat in a booth by myself. And I read and I enjoyed solitude. I enjoyed taking time for me. To chill. Hmm, fam's home. Looks like time's over.

I wish I wasn't so sensitive to the wiles of the world.

Let me to some wild desert go and make a peaceful home where storms of malice never blow, temptations never come.~ Psalm 55 Isaac Watts

Friday, November 14, 2003

Bwa Bwa-dop

Spring of '99 introduced me to the strange and wonderful world of a cappella linguistics. Over the next few years my vocabulary expanded exponentially with "behr wehr"s and "leh-deh-deh"s, not to mention hours upon hours of "oo"s and "ah"s. Whether we crammed into a teeny-tiny practice room, savored the acoustics of the stairwell or were blessed with the use of an actual classroom with piano, our group of 12-18 women occupied some room of the Humanities building anywhere from 6-16 hours a week. Come spring of '01, Acting 101 gibberish exercises flowed off my tongue as I simply recited my a cappella parts to my partner in varying tones.

Mostly we stood in a circle, singing in toward each other. There's no sound like it-- being part of it, immersed in it. The sad part is that I never fully appreciated the succulent sound of our lovely divas until May 14, 2001-- the last time we ever stood in a circle and sang to each other, tears rolling down our faces, voices quaking from the pain of our best mix in 3 years being separated. A number of our "founding members" were graduating and moving on-- myself included.

That summer I finally began to truly cherish the friendships made in those cramped quarters-- to understand that the harmonies clicked so well because we clicked so well. And let me tell you-- finding a mix of about 15 women that can cram into a small, hot, sweaty, stinky practice room and get along is nothing short of a miracle. Heck, it's a miracle to get that many girls to get along at a luxury spa...

We sang beautifully together. We inspired each other. Well, they inspired me at least. If it weren't for their confidence, their sass, their belief in me (their putting up with me) I wouldn't be working on music right now. I guess I'd be in Madison, WI or Chicago, IL in some advertising job. Or I'd be across the world in a mission field. Instead, I'm in Music City, USA-- at my own sort of job in my own sort of mission field.

Even if we are not always in touch, the women in that group will forever be with me: spinning in my cd player, ringing in my ears, breathing passion into in my heart--carrying me through every movement in the score of life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Does anyone else get physical symptoms when they get upset by things, or am I just an anomaly? My stomach is very, very sensitive to my emotions. It gets upset with the slightest tension or grief. I heard some news about a friend tonight that really boggles me and it makes my stomach lurch and churn and I think I'm breaking out in hives.
Night Terrors

I swear, if I don't get a decent night's sleep soon I'm going to scream. Oh, wait, I already do scream. 3 or 4 times a night. When I wake up with severe charlie horses. Hopefully I'm just dehydrated. We'll see what a gallon of Gatorade can do... I serious here.

Monday, November 10, 2003


I am undeniably distracted today. My mind is everywhere but at work. There are a ton of songs that I really want to listen to, and some I want to write. Therefore, I have a bunch of stuff I should do, feel sick with almost no sick days left for the year and my phone is ringing off the hook.

Here's part of what's in my head and trying to get out:

She don't stand up straight anymore
And she don't lift her chin anymore
She just walks with glazed eyes fixed on the floor

She don't smile too much anymore
But she don't cry too much anymore
She just avoids your eyes and claims she's fine.
That's how you know she's lying.

Friday, November 07, 2003

I hate it when doing the "right thing" really, *really* sucks.
Interactive Stories

After yesterday's comments, I feel the need to expound upon the meaning of "interactive stories." Let's see if I can explain. You know how when someone's telling you a story, you sometimes ask questions to clarify or add to said story? Sure, some people might consider this "interrupting," but we like to call it "interactive storytelling."

My friend, Ashley, and I are particularly good at interactive storytelling (or bad, given your view of interactive storytelling) on our own-- put us together, and you're lucky to ever get through the story. Actually, now that I think of it-- I wonder if conversations between Ash and I ever reach an intended destination.... ; )

We have one dear friend who gets particularly disturbed by interactive storytelling-- so much so we've really ticked her off at times. We don't mean to, we just like to help with the stories! Ok, maybe there's also a more selfish motive of making ourselves laugh, too. Not to mention Ash and I feed off of each other-- a lot-- since we both might as well have Attention Deficit Disorder, which finds tangents delectable! ah well. There's the story on interactive storytelling.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I knew a girl. Her name was Truth. She was a horrible liar.~Ben Harper

It's not that I wear my heart on my sleeve. It's not that my face reads like an emotional book. It's not that I speak my mind. Oh wait, maybe it is.

I used to be a good liar. Heck, I convinced my parents that I had to cut my hair in 7th grade while they were away because I was up late watching a movie the night before and fell asleep the next day while chewing gum, which subsequently fell out of my mouth and into my hair. I told them I tried to use peanut butter, but all we had was chunky, so I just had to cut my hair off. (Because obviously chunky peanut butter wouldn't work...)

And in 10th grade I convinced my mom that they had to take me to the hospital to treat my swollen-shut eyes because I had used Visine from Mexico. Why had I used the Visine? Because I didn't want her to know I was crying over a boy. Yeah, that's it. --actually, I didn't even know that it was really an allergic reaction to a guinea pig and cannabis (haven't gone near either since).

Now, however, my friends can even tell when I'm lying over IM! Of course, I don't try to hide it all that much. I prefer to be honest with people (to an extent-- and on a need to know/level of friendship basis). Even after years of training, I still make faces when I mess up in a song. After receiving a degree in both Communication Arts and Journalism, I still manage to stick my foot in my mouth and stumble over words (heck, I still manage to do the worst on the Verbal section of the GRE--I did better in Math! what the heck is that?!?!?!).

I'm honest to a fault. I even find lying for the good of others difficult. I will tell you not to get those pants or at least not to pair them with that shirt. I will tell you when you have food on your face or a tag sticking out. I will randomly compliment you-- not to suck up, but because I genuinely believe it. As a friend, I will tell you what you *need* to hear-- straight forward, or hedged. Not because I'm mean or vindictive-- because I love you and I believe you deserve honesty.

That does not mean that I don't heed Thumper's advice: If you can't say anything nice, don't say nuthin' at all. Therefore, you can hardly imagine what I keep to myself. heh heh.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Drum Roll Please...

ok, so maybe they're not all that exciting to you... but here are a few rough pics that I might use for my CD. Remember, the title is: Won't Get Any Easier; Can't Get Any Harder.

Thanks Matt Grace for hosting and KaeB for the photography skills!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I am exercising the right to not talk about that crappy thing I'll be retaking in December.

on a more positive note: pictures coming soon!

Monday, November 03, 2003

Me and the DMV

After living in Tennessee for over two years I figured it was time to get a TN driver's license. (well, it did take almost a year for me to switch to TN plates). Ah well. Plus, I need it to take my GRE tomorrow.

So, Friday afternoon I hauled my butt down to the DMV and stood in line for a couple hours to get my TNDL. Then I proceeded to lose it Friday night. Not "have it taken away" lost-- just "where the heck did that thing go" lost. I remember taking it out to show a couple of people what I normally look like (given that I was in full pixie get-up: ears, wings and long purply wig). So, either the last person didn't give it back to me, I dropped it or it fell out of my purse in the taxi on the way home (which I think is most probable). However, the taxi drivers won't bring in items left in the cabs over the weekend until Monday night. I looked around the block that I walked Friday night, called the last person I talked to and have had no luck-- the cab co. will call me back if it comes in.

Remember, I have to have the license to take my GRE at 8am tomorrow morning. Doh! Given my luck I would get a replacement and the cab co. would call this afternoon with my license. However, had I not gotten another one, they wouldn't call until tomorrow night or, quite possibly, never. So, I trucked it back to the DMV today and got a new one-- or rather, a duplicate.

Ah the irony-- it took me two years to get a license because I didn't want to wait in line, and now I've been to the DMV twice in the past two business days.

I had a relatively busy weekend. Halloween was good, for the most part-- and those parts which weren't will be duly forgotten.

I actually got to play dress up more than once this weekend! Yesterday I had my "photo shoot" for the CD. Basically, I got "dressed up" (black strapless dress with red sneakers) and a couple of friends and I took three rolls of film in front of a beautiful building with a lot of trees and leaves covering the ground.

I love playing dress up. I actually surprised myself when I realized that I hadn't "tried out" my make up for the photo shoot. Ah well, it worked out anyway. Getting the pictures developed today!!! yay! Perhaps I'll find a way for you to see some. (read: post them with the courtesy of Matt Grace)

Ok, off to do work-- the messiness of my office is killing me.