Great (Mississippi) Expectations

Sometimes visiting home can be stressful.  Who are you going to see?  Will you have time for everybody?  What are you going to eat (which is obviously the most important question of all)?  But seriously, there’s a part of me that really hates planning things out especially when it comes to my social engagements.  So when I’m forced to divide my time between mom, dad, sisters, and friends AND I need to come up with some suitable activity, I get a little stressed out.  I have all these expectations of how my trip should go and other factors are always getting in the way!!

But all my neuroses aside, I had a great time at home.  I got to see some friends and catch up, but I also got to relax quite a bit.  Highlights from the trip include: seeing at dear friend at a barbeque (and no one does a barbecue quite like Mississippi in my opinion), playing Settlers of Catan, insisting on a ‘spa day’ (which just means I forced my mom and sister to use this awesome new mud mask I bought), and watching Lifetime original movie Steel Magnolias starring Queen Latifah with my mom.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t have extremely high expectations for the film, but mom and I were both quite misty by the end of it.  Was it exactly what I was expecting?  Maybe not.  But sometimes that’s when the best things happen.

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A beautiful view of a Mississippi interstate highway.

On a slightly unrelated note, I stuffed all three of the Fifty Shades series in my suitcase for my return flight home.  My sister convinced my mom to read the first one and she just had to finish the trilogy.  Do I have great expectations for these books?  Not really.  When I asked my mom about the books she said, “I have to admit, I do not think I am limber enough for some of the activities in those books.”  These books may be trashy and horribly written, but with a statement like that, how can I not read them?  I need to see what all the fuss is about!!

Please, take me back home to Mississippi!

Tomorrow, I leave for an extended Memorial Day Weekend getaway.  I’m going home for a few days which I realize doesn’t sound very exciting, but I haven’t been home since Christmas.  I’ve gotten proportionately more pumped as my travel day has gotten closer.  I’ve called my mom/sister what seems like every hour just to remind them that I’m coming home.  They will probably be sick of me before I even arrive.  Needless to say, the excitement of my trip has made it quite difficult to give a damn about anything going on here in Chicago.

A few examples:

1.  Yesterday, I thought it might be a good idea to skip my morning shower (it was not).  Since I am classy, I did wash my bangs to get rid of the greasy/creased mess that wouldn’t fit in my ponytail.  Clean bangs does not offset the effects of not showering!  However, I just didn’t care, because I was leaving in just two short days.

2. I have gotten fast food for almost every meal in the past three days.  I was basically out of groceries and didn’t feel like shopping before I left town.  Gross?  Yes.  Do I care?  Nope.  (I also had another incident with a giant Diet Coke from Subway.  Basically, I squeezed it too hard and soda spewed all over me like a fountain…on the day I skipped a shower.  Still – not caring)

3.  I just found out I have to present my principal with certain data from my students Drama assessments.  Somehow, I didn’t realize exactly what form this information was supposed to presented in.  But am I stressed?  Nope.  Just something I’ll figure out next Monday when I’m back in town.

4.  I noticed that my throat was a little scratchy and my glands might be a little swollen.  Usually, I pay attention to this kind of stuff, but I’m just bee-bopping along.  Even a little cold/allergy flare up will not bring me down.

5.  Even an empty Hulu queue couldn’t diminish my mood last night!  Bring it on Mississippi.  (Now, if only I was packed!)

Chit Chat

My sister hates chit-chat.  Smiling and making polite conversation is her idea of pure torture; she is a true introvert.  My dad is the opposite, and I guess my mom, too.  They could strike up a conversation with a brick wall.  I’m probably somewhere in between.  I’m not likely to strike up a conversation with just any old stranger, but if someone wants to chat, I will oblige.  Does that mean I am happy to have these conversations?  Not always.  But I am polite sometimes to a fault, so I smile and begrudgingly indulge someone’s need to talk.

Times I am not in the mood to chat:

1.  Today has not started out so well.  The weather is gorgeous and I got to sleep in, but I’m still managing to harbor a bit of a bad mood.  It probably has something to do with the Dr. Pepper in purse.

Let me explain: I went to Subway on my way in to work.  While reaching for a large  lid for my gigantic diet coke, I somehow managed to press the Dr. Pepper switch on the beverage fountain and pour the drink directly into my purse!  No major casualties except for my checkbook.  But I have been a little sour ever since the incident.

What does this have to do with chit chat?  Well, the usher on duty at the theater would love to hear my life story.  She’s very sweet, but I just want to mentally check out until the next customer comes in….argh.  But I don’t have the guts to coldly ignore her while pretending to read something important on the computer.

2.  Last month, I had to run by the post office on my way to work.  As per usual, I was running a wee bit behind.  As I parked my car, I saw a homeless man eyeing me.  I did not have time for this!  I put on my tough girl face ready to ignore him while I paid the parking meter.  He started right in on his sob story.  When I turned to look at him, he said, “My, you are beautiful.”  Damn, you are good sir!  I don’t have a stitch of make up on and my hair is still wet from the shower, but I actually believed you.  He started to tell me about his dream from the night before which was all about finding his mother or some such meant to pull on my heartstrings.  I didn’t really want to hear the story, so I just gave him four dollars.  He was upset that it wasn’t a 20.  Well, that’s the last time I make conversation with you, mister!

3.  The winner of unwanted chit chat was a gentleman I encountered last weekend at the bar.  My friend and I were having a conversation (and if I’m being honest checking out all the hot guys who were there….most of them were married or with a girl already), when we were so rudely interrupted by a man almost 20 years older than us wearing a white turtle neck under his polo shirt and holding  glass of red wine with ice cubes in it.  I know he sounds like a winner, but it gets better.

First, he started in on all of the problems with our healthcare system.  My friend to cut him short, “Actually, I work in health insurance.”  (Which is true.)  That did not stop him.  At this point, I realized this guy was a close talker and had a distinct smell described by my friend as ‘a mixture of hair gel, tobacco, b.o., and desperation’.  He informed us that his name was DJ and he was part Spain.  That’s right not part Spanish or from Spain but part Spain.  Then, he warned us that lead is put into all lipsticks and that he was writing a book.  We should look for it – his name was Hector.  What!?!  I don’t know where DJ went, perhaps that particular personality had fled the conversation like I so desperately wanted to.

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Image from Hyperbole and a Half.

To try and exit this awkward situation, I turned to the t.v. (positioned away from DJ/Hector/part Spain man) and saw a preview for a movie with Morgan Freeman.  I started a conversation about it with my girlfriend.  You would have thought we were the biggest Morgan Freeman friends on the planet (which I guess isn’t that far from the truth because Morgan Freeman is pretty awesome, don’t you think?).   Our new friend took the hint, informed us that he was looking for 39 year old woman, and walked away.  He did remind us about his book one more time.  The whole situation provided us with a pretty good laugh – the turtleneck alone was comedy gold.

But that is not the end of my story.  He returned to try yet again to engage us in conversation.  My friend turned to him and let him know that we were having an important conversation.  His response: I’m not talking to you – I’m talking to her.  (AAAhhhhhh!  Why me?)  But she’s a good friend and she did not leave me hanging.  She told him to please leave because she is much braver than I am.   I would like to think if she wasn’t with me that I would have done the same, but honestly I most likely would have suffered through this guy’s ramblings for much longer.

He did finally leave but not before reminding us that we should be going to church and that miracles happen everyday.  Thanks for the spiritual advice, Hector (DJ?).  Next time I’m in a crisis of faith or need advice on my healthcare, I will know who not to ask.  By the way, it’s 65 degrees outside.  Lose the turtleneck!

This Man is a Hero 

This Man is a Hero

I’m not big on reblogging or reposting or what-have-you.  But I saw this article and I just had to indulge.  This man (a theatre critic) was ejected from a theatre for throwing a woman’s cell phone because she was on it during the entire show!  The best part – he’s not sorry.  This man is my hero.

It all goes back to manners people.  The world would be such a better place if we considered those around us and how our actions affect them.  I admire this man in the article because he did something about it.  Too often I give a dirty look or roll my eyes, but ultimately I ignore horrible behavior.  Read about this gent who took a stand against improper audience etiquette.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

If mo’ money means mo’ problems, one might assume that “No Money, No Problems” also stands true….but you would be wrong. Having no money brings about a whole new set of problems.

To be fair, I don’t have absolutely no money. It just so happens that almost every penny I earn is already allocated to a basic need (food, rent, electricity, gas). But it doesn’t stop there. Like so many young professionals in their 20s, I find myself paying back a huge amount in student loans. (I just had to attend that small private university) Add those loan payments to my other expenses and monthly finances start to get a little tricky.

But it still doesn’t stop there. Because I have chosen a profession in the arts, up until recently I lived in a land called unpaid internship. Because of this, I had to call my student loan lender about two months ago (well, one of my lenders) and was forced to listen to pop music while waiting on hold. I’m sure the intention for having pop 80s hits play for individuals on the brink of financial disaster is to cheer the patrons who find themselves drowning in a sea of student loan debt. However, I did not find Message in a Bottle comforting whatsoever. Yes, I am sending out an S.O.S. to the world, and it says “I’m broke”.

Last month was pretty rough. Through what I thought were missed payment dates, I ended up paying double for a few of my loans. Even with multiple jobs (babysitting, box office, teaching), finances got REAL difficult at the end of April. Two weeks ago, I actually took all my spare change to a Coinstar to add to my grocery fund which was practically my last 20 dollars of the month.

But fear not – this is not a sad story! I went to pay my loans this month, and they had already been paid! (So, I guess I was just paying May’s payment early last month? I don’t know. Money is confusing.) Also, apparently I only have to make car insurance payments every two months. (This is very weird to me, but if the balance says zero, I am not going to argue.) This means, I have MORE money than I was expecting to have. A smart person would save and set aside for a rainy day. A smart person would start to think about creating a savings account. Or a smart person might even go ahead and pay June’s loans. What did I do? I spent some of this extra money on three new dresses at TJ Maxx – DUH. They were real cute (and a total bargain!), but I might need some lessons on financial responsibility.

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All the dresses I bought were blue. Is blue in? Or do I just have boring, monochromatic taste?