RTT makes me sad, because it means I'm still very far away from Friday...

*I've been on a rollercoaster the last month or so and I feel like it's starting to settle down. I'm sorting things out in my life at the moment and trying to figure out who and what I want to be. If there is a handbook out there for this, please, someone, let me know.

*Been feeling lonely lately. Spring. It does that to me. Stupid season. Doesn't it know I'm supposed to be independent and strong? Heh.

*Winter semester is over and I am off school for 4 months. I'd be psyched for all the free time but work is going to take over my life at least until the end of June, so, well...gotta do what I gotta do, I guess.

*I am free!! A week earlier than expected! I haven't really posted about any of this, and I'm sure I will soon, so you can just wait on that...

*Softball season is officially underway. My work team? Kicks ass. We had our first game last night and won 18-6, or something like that. And I made a couple good plays.
My other team? We have room for improvement :-) I have full confidence that we'll do it though. I need to hit the batting cages this week, at least once.

*My elbows are incredibly dry. I think I've become immune to all my usual fixes. Anyone have good lotion recommendations?

*I have a tan. In April. This is unheard of for me. (And yes, my tan is another person's ghostly white, but whatever. I have sensitive alabaster skin. Anything other than translucent, blue, or tomato red is a miracle.)

*Thanks to last week's Glee I am on a Madonna kick. So if you happen to see me, and I happen to burst into 'Express Yourself' or 'Like a Prayer'? Don't say I didn't warn you.


In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make...

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

That line, from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, is one that has stuck with me in the decade since I first read the novel.

There's a lot of truth in the sentiment. We search for someone who makes us happy, who makes us better, who makes us complete. Sometimes, we find that person. Sometimes, that person turns out to be the opposite of who we thought they were. Sometimes they hurt us. Sometimes we let them. Sometimes we put all our energy and heart and soul and faith into a person who has done nothing to earn any of them. Sometimes we cry ourselves to sleep, wondering why we care so much, why we can't just walk away, why this "great love" has turned into something we never thought we would put up with.

I know I'm guilty of it.

There was a time when I took any scrap of affection that was carelessly tossed my way and clung to it with every part of me. When I was so love-starved that I would put up with lies and cheating and selfishness and emotional torture, just so I wouldn't be alone. When I would drive home, sobbing so hard I could barely steer the car, totally unsure what I had done that made me deserve this treatment. Wondering when I became so weak that I would stay with someone who didn't give a damn about me. Wanting to rip my own heart out, because it wasn't doing me any good anyway.

But I always stayed. I always stuck it out. I thought that I couldn't do any better. I thought that this was it. This was what my life would be like. I wasn't pretty enough, or funny enough, or smart enough to have the right to be happy, to have someone who actually loved ME. Not the doormat. Not the caregiver. ME. I got so used to being in a constant state of loneliness, even when I was sleeping next to someone. But I still never thought of leaving that. I just wanted something, even if it wasn't love. Even if it was barely involved. Even if my heart shattered over and over again, while I tried to figure out what to do to make myself better, more deserving, easier to be with...anything to make my screwed-up relationship into something more.

But then, something happened. The last straw. The time I really needed someone to be there, and he wasn't. He couldn't be bothered. There I was, crying and lost and empty, reeling from the loss of one of the most influential people in my life, and he couldn't be bothered to even come up with an "I'm sorry for your loss." I ended up going to a new friend, one I barely knew, who held me and let me cry and suddenly made me realize that I WAS worthy of being cared for, of being loved. That I was a good person, and that while I had my faults, I deserved someone who would drop everything to come pick me up when I couldn't get myself up off the floor.

That was when I knew I had to let go.

Since then, I've been in my fair share of rough relationships. I've been hurt, and my heart is worse for the wear. But I have made it a point to never let things get to the point where I didn't know why I was in it again. And yes, I've made some mistakes and given little pieces of myself away to some people who probably didn't deserve them, but it was always on my own terms.

And now? I'm stronger than ever. I'm more confident. I know who I am, and I know what I deserve. And I am holding out for it. Whether I find it now, or next month, or in twenty years, I'll know that, as the song goes, in the end, the love I'll take will be equal to the love I'll make.


30-Day Challenge: End of the line

I give up. I am not writing about anything else for this. Especially since my sister just posted Day 15, and it's 'Fanfic'.

I am not a fangirl.

So, later today, or maybe tomorrow (but probably Sunday) I will return you to your regularly scheduled erratic blog posts.



Day 12: I do what I want

My mind is in all sorts of fucked up places right now.

I'm seeing other people grow up and move on, and it makes me feel...not like a failure...but...like I'm missing something. Like I should be in a better place than I am. Like I should be more of an adult, more stable, more responsible...something. I don't know.

It's not that I particularly want what they have. I don't want to be getting married, or having babies, or buying houses. I like that everything in my life is kind of...temporary.

Maybe *like* isn't the right word. I'm comfortable with it. That's better. I'm comfortable with not being tied down to anything. I'm terrified to put down any kind of roots, anywhere, whether it's a house, or a relationship.

I like only being committed to myself. Everything else in my life is...transitional. If I lose it tomorrow, I'll survive. I'll get through it. I'll move on.

But I wonder....why am I so okay with this? Shouldn't I be looking to settle down? Aren't I getting to the age where it's normal to want to plant yourself down somewhere? Shouldn't I be wanting something real?

Or should I just stop comparing myself to other people, and not putting any stock in whatever milestones signify being a grown up?


Day 11: A photo of you taken recently

This isn't *that* recent, but it's classic Andrea...

Me, rockin' karaoke and Heart's 'Alone'. And no, I do NOT require alcohol to sing. This is my sober (and incredibly exhausted) period.

Cheers, darlins!


Day 10: A photo of you taken over 10 years ago

Today you get two for the price of one!

First off, here is my senior yearbook photo. I love this picture - I actually loved all my senior pictures (except the ones of me in a purple dress - SO not me) but this one is one of my favorites.

And then there's a special treat - for anyone who ever believed that I wasn't always so much of a nerd...well, this will prove them wrong. I can't believe I'm actually posting this. And letting people see it. Instead of destroying the evidence....oi.

This was obviously before I discovered hair product. And contacts. And dressing like a girl.


Day 9: A photo you took

Doubling up today cause I missed a day.

In one of the photo classes I took, we did a self-portrait project. This is my favorite picture of the ones I used. It's an old scan, and not a very good one-eventually I'll need to rescan some of my photography. But I love the picture-the lighting is fantastic, and it just feels like me, you know?

Tomorrow, you get to see maybe the worst picture of me ever taken....and also, one of the best. Photos from over 10 years ago!

Day 8: A picture that makes you angry.

Any Detroit fan would agree - this picture, of our most hated player in the NHL, holding OUR cup? Instant rage.


Day 7: A picture that makes you happy

This picture, to me, is absolute proof that there is real love in the world.

It's what keeps me believing in soul mates, even when outwardly, I'm at my most cynical.

It's why no matter how many times I give up, I throw my hands up and decide that I am done caring, done looking, done hoping....I will always step back, and take a breath, and remember that true love is out there. That it exists, maybe even for me.

My parents at their wedding, September 28, 1979

Because when I look at this picture, and see my parents, radiant and madly in love and so completely happy, I know that someday, if I'm really lucky, I'll find this too. And someday, if I'm really lucky, it'll be my daughter looking at my wedding picture, and realizing that she shouldn't give up hope.


Day 6: I'm an auntie! (free write day)

About a year and a half ago, I posted this: The Groomsman with Ovaries when my best friend Phil got married, and I stood up with him.

Two weeks ago today, he and his wife, Lisa, welcomed their first child.

Parker Graham was born on Thursday, March 25 at 8:01 am. He was 8 lbs, 2 ozs, and 20 inches long.

Look at that kid. How could anyone say he isn't 100% perfect?

So yes. I am an auntie now, and I plan on spoiling my new little sunshine rotten :-)


Day 5: All life is an experiement.

This past Saturday, I was talking to an ex-coworker's older sister about our various relationships, and I said I was due for a good one soon (I still fully believe that).

She's fifteen years older than me, and infinitely wiser. It's nice being able to talk to someone who has so much more life experience than I do, who can help put things in perspective.

She recited this quote to me:
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]
Sometimes, it's hard to remember. Sometimes, it's easy to forget. I get lost in the heartache and the challenges of living, of loving, of losing. I forget that much of the joy comes from the learning. I forget how much stronger I am now than I was six months, a year, two years ago.

And I need the reminder to get up off my ass, dust myself off, and try again.

So thanks to this fantastic woman, I am remembering that it takes trials to make us stronger, and that everything I do is just another opportunity to grow.

And lately, I've needed that. And right now? I fully appreciate her wisdom.


Day 4: Sometimes you find an author and it feels like she writes from your soul....

For me, that author is the incredibly talented Liza Palmer. She has three novels out - Conversations with the Fat Girl, Seeing Me Naked, and A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents.

In the almost 5 years since Conversations came out, I have read it, at minimum, 25 times. The other two aren't far behind. Something about Liza's writing style grips me from page one, and her characters are complex and beautiful. They are flawed yet sympathetic. Confused, but strong. Amazing women who are insecure and loving and powerful and frightened and REAL.

After Seeing Me Naked came out, I emailed Liza to give her some fanmail (cause who doesn't love that?). Here is a part of what I wrote - I can't put in any better than this:
And once again....the characters you write are amazingly complex, sympathetic, and I can see parts of myself in almost all of them.  Even the characters I want to dislike have redeeming qualities, and I find myself wishing them well and with all characters, imagining the great lives they have coming.  I cry with them, laugh at them, and at times, want to sit them down and give them a dose of reality.

Thank you for creating these lovely worlds of people and places, and letting your readers explore them for a while.
For me, letting a talented author know how much I love her work was enough. Imagine my surprise when she not only responded, but made my day when I got her reply:
Okay, so this is officially the awesomest email ever.  Seriously.  What a...lovely, lovely thing (things?) to say.  It has soo made my day.  Just lovely...i can't stop saying lovely-i know more words, i assure you.

I'm working on Book three right now-and this is by far the highlight of my day.

You're awesome--thank you so much.
I also got a signed copy of the UK print of Seeing Me Naked.

Not only does Liza write amazing books, but she cares about her fans. We have definitely had a few Twitter conversations (Billy Squier love!) and she just seems like the most down-to-earth, fun person.

For me, that's icing on the fabulously written cake. Knowing an author is so...human...makes her so much more appealing to read, because it makes all her words feel real.

And I can't wait to read whatever she releases next.

RTT: Things to look forward to...

*Almost two weeks ago, I became Auntie Andrea. No, this is not a child of my older sister, saradoxical, for those of you who know her and would be wondering why she hasn't mentioned it. There's more on this soon - for now, I give you this lovely picture of me and my new nephew:
*My beautiful Mommie Dearest (yes, that is exactly what my sister and I called her until we learned better..) gave me an award. That'll be up soon.

*The entertaining and fabulous Jess also bestowed an award on my unworthy ass. A couple weeks ago, actually. I've been busy. You'll see that in the next few days.

*More posts from the 30-Day writing challenge.

*The semester is coming to an end. Only a couple more weeks. No spring and summer classes this year, so hopefully y'all will be hearing more from me.

*It's been a rough month or two, but things can only get better...right?


Day 3: You just get pictures today

I don't feel good and I don't have much to say. Other than don't judge me for the third one. We all need some eye-candy and mindless entertainment now and then :-)


Day 2: Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken

When I was a kid, without a doubt, my favorite movie was Wild Hearts Can't be Broken.

It was a live-action Disney movie, about a girl, Sonora Webster (played by Gabrielle Anwar who has called Wild Hearts the favorite of her films), who is a runaway during the 1930s. She gets a job as a stable hand for Doc Carver, and his 'diving horses.' She dreams of becoming a diving girl, and eventually gets her break. There is an accident, and it looks like she may never dive again. But hard work and courage pay off, and naturally it ends well. It is Disney, after all.

Throughout the story, Sonora develops a relationship with Doc's son, Al, played by Michael Schoeffling, better known to most children of the 80s as Jake Ryan. This was the first movie I had seen him in (I was 9 - Sixteen Candles was still several years away) and I immediately fell in love. He is the perfect leading man - charming, sensitive, gorgeous, strong, secure. He was probably my first real celebrity crush, and I am still sad that he dropped out of the industry. I would give an arm to see how he looks today - he turns 50 this year and I would bet that he looks amazing still. Sigh. Old crushes die hard.

I think the reason I love this movie so much, still, is that I see a little bit of myself in Sonora. She's a little bit wild, a lot bit stubborn, and she doesn't give up. I like to think that I have those same characteristics. It's an inspiring story without being completely hokey, and there is happiness but also sorrow. This movie, to me, has stood up to time and its classic themes keep me hooked year after year. Recently I discovered Netflix has it on instant movies, so you can bet I'll be watching it incredibly soon.

"I found my destiny, not in far off places but within myself."


Day 1: Who has just ONE favorite song?

For me, music needs to touch me. It needs to make me feel something, good or bad. It needs to hit that spot in my soul that simple words just can't, and connect with me on a level that I don't always get from life in general.

Today, I bring you two of my favorite songs.

The first is Falling Slowly from Once, which is an amazing movie and you all should see.

I find it incredibly beautiful. It's sad and hopeful and uplifting all at once. Sometimes it gets me teary-eyed, sometimes not...but I every time I hear it, I feel my heart fill up.

The second is Just Watch the Fireworks by Jimmy Eat World.

I love the lyric: "Here you can be anything, and I think that scares you" because it is so completely true. That point? Where you are at the edge of getting or being everything you want? It's terrifying. And the point where you can be yourself with someone? When you feel like you can drop all the layers and masks and just be you? Also terrifying.

(Ignore whatever show that is...Smallville? I just wanted a non-live version of the song)

I have a million more songs that I love, and are my "favorites" but they change so frequently it's hard to list them all. What can I say? Years of working in music stores, and many years before that of babysitting at my aunt and uncle's house and making mix tapes from their million CDs, and I am an avid music lover.

Tomorrow - favorite movie. Then and Now!

30-Day Challenge? (Or, beating last year's amount of posts by the middle of April)

I stole this from my lovely and immensely talented big sister, saradoxical.

I'm a couple days late starting, but I will catch up with three in one in a little bit, after I go for a brisk walk/slow run :-)

Look forward to me actually posting this month!
In an effort to write more in here, I am borrowing this 30 day challenge from various friends on LiveJournal. Starting tomorrow, I shall be blogging on these topics:

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fictional book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy


I'll give you the best of me, but you won't see the rest of me....

So, what better way to end a blogging dry spell than by jumping into the Spin Cycle? This week, Jen over at Sprite's Keeper asked us to pick out our favorite blog, and repost that.

Well, I don't have just one. So I'm rebelling. And these aren't necessarily my favorites, but ones that have some kind of meaning to me, or tell you the most about who I am. And I'm just posting a link, and a couple lines about why you should read it. I've picked up a few new readers recently (until I disappeared for weeks, probably) so this is as good an intro to the crazy but wonderful but terrible but entertaining world of Andrea.

Here goes....

"No, those are NOT my Magnum condoms...."
One of my most popular posts - it's how several people found me, after it was featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom. Reading back over it now, I still crack up. And turn red. This story has made the rounds, including at my work. Some things can really only happen to me....
So yes, been there. Done that. Laughed about it afterwards. Sometimes for years, because some of those stories just won't die....

But until tonight, I have never know true mortification.

"Crawling in the Dark"
My struggles, living with a chronic, painful illness. It's a side of me that I try not to show all that often - who wants people knowing they have weaknesses? But to know me is to know this, so here it is.

In the three years since then, I have been to the doctor more times than I care to count. I have had more blood drawn than seems humanly possible, and spent far too much money on medication and Icy-Hot. Not quite what I imagined my life would be like at 26.
I have been lucky.

"my first spin cycle"
This is getting posted only cause it's the first, and I just saw it. The topic was 'poetry' and I was apparently feeling quite angsty. In haiku form.
three small words break me
again, pieces in your hands.
yea, well, fuck you too
(how can i still miss you?)

"and this is why i will never settle for anything less than everything"
My parents were celebrating their 30th anniversary. Of their engagement. It reminded me how lucky I was to have them, and their example. I can't say enough good things about my parents. I love them in ridiculous amounts.
Yes, my parents are that couple....The couple that if you are a stranger walking behind them at the grocery store, you will undoubtedly notice the way that when they are walking side-by-side, their hands just automatically find each other.

"The best I can give you is the worst part of me"
This was actually what I posted for my 'worst' blog as a spin cycle last summer. And part of why I had chosen it was because I was letting my guard down - which is exactly why I'm posting it now.
I AM genuinely happy for all the people I care about, but it just reminds me of my failures. And my failures? Not something I want the world to see. In this post, it's just me, being honest, and putting my heart out there for everyone to explore. And losing my usual cover of strength and independence? Scary.

"I barely have the breath to breathe"
Another honest post. It's odd that I will say anything here, but in real life? I hide it all.

Have you ever woken up one morning and wondered where the hell you were?

I’m not talking about that sinking feeling in your stomach you get after a one-night stand,
where you literally have no idea where you are, although that is part of this--I’m talking
about that sinking feeling in your soul when you suddenly realize you have no idea how your
life got to this point.

"A letter to me, age 17"
Another Spin Cycle post - this was a free spin and I got it into my head that I should write a letter to myself, ten years ago. It's a favorite because I honestly wish I could go back in time and share this with her.
You aren't getting married in the next ten years anyway, and looking back, you'll realize that you should've just slept with him and at least had your first time mean something, instead of waking up after a night of heavy drinking on an air mattress after losing it to some guy you just met. (FYI - This might still happen. In that case, there IS a house alarm, and sneaking off at 6.30am? Won't work.)
"Hell yea, I have someone I love this Valentine's Day"
Yet another Spin Cycle. Jen makes me write better, apparently :-) I love this one, because it reminds me of how far I've come.
This year though? I'm forgetting about the past. This year, I am dedicating the day to myself, and reminding myself why I love who I am. I am celebrating me, and I'm gonna buy myself some flowers, and I am going to remember that I do just fine on my own, thank you very much...
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