Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Vacation in Indiana 2008

Every year I go back home to Indiana in July to enjoy the weather, have fun and visit with my beloved old friends and family. The trip home also helps me get my head together. (Wish I could do it more often!) Every year is a new adventure and 2008 was a great one, productive too I might add!

Thursday 7/17
I had a pleasant flight on the fabulous Allegiant Air. When I arrived I was able to organize an early dinner with my folks, my godparents, Aunt Carol and my fav cousins Larry & Suzanne at the best authentic Mexican restaurant in South Bend, La Esperanza. After that I settled in for a peaceful night at the home that I grew up in. I spend almost every night by myself in the back yard with a Blue Moon hangin out with the lightning bugs & crickets.

Friday 7/18
I'm going to call this "the day I over-did it". I got very little sleep and jumped out of bed early to run to Vikie's salon, Illusions, to get my hair cut & colored. I swear I drank a gallon of Aveda calming tea while my hair processed. I would just like to add here that Vikie is the greatest hair stylist in the whole freakin world!! From there I hit the ground running and spent the entire day eating. I hit up the beauty supply, went downtown to pay off my car loan in person (woohoo!) and slid through Rally's drive thru for a banana shake and the most killer french fries ever. The same pretty black girl is always there and every time she compliments me on my nails, hair or shades, this time it was my hair. :)
Vikie picked me up later and we drove to Lake Michigan for the start of the Venetian Festival where we ate kettle corn, Chicago hot dogs and wandered through the cobblestone streets of St Joseph, MI shopping in the over-priced boutiques. I was now experiencing sensory overload from all the visual stimulation and the memories jumping out at me from behind every building. I passed out briefly in the car. I took a 20 minute nap when I got home and then headed right back out to meet Vikie and her new boyfriend at Hacienda for dinner. Oh, that orange margarita that tastes like a push up from the ice cream man! How I missed that! Afterwards we sat at the pool having blueberry mojitos. I gained 6 pounds that day. haha
What an amazing day....but later that night a migrane headache kicked in. It traveled down the back of my neck preventing me from being able to lay down. I curled up on the floor and rocked back and forth in the fetal position. Finally after several hours of praying in agony I ran to the bathroom to throw up. As I look up with tears rolling down my face at my parents standing there in their bed clothes, I said, "I wasn't drinking! I promise!" Yes, I'm still 16 years old you know!

Saturday 7/19
This was the day of my 20 year class reunion. I was so fragile and weak and still nursing a dull headache. I took it easy all day and was able to pull myself together in a fabulous mod dress with brown patent leather boots. Although a light breeze could have knocked me over, I looked vibrant and couldn't wait to meet up with my great old friends Mike & Mandy. We met at Mike's house first for a Blue Moon and a pep talk. I think everyone was worried that everyone else would be judgemental. Once we got there and realized that everyone else was worried about the same thing, everyone seemed to lighten up and have fun. Some people got married and had kids, some pursued careers, some did both. Just because one path is right for one person doesn't mean a different path isn't right for somebody else. I wish I was married and could build a home. I'm sure somebody must have wished that they lived in Las Vegas and could have had dinner with Robert Plant or walked around on the arm of a few rock stars. My old crush Mike Copenhaver mailed a 3 page letter to us detailing his life and regretting that he couldn't be there. Mike and his letter were the talk of the evening. The best comment said to me by a few people when I told them I live in Las Vegas was "of course you do." I guess I'm still proud to be the rocker chick of the class. Those who made an impression on me at the reunion were Karl Roemer (what a catch he is, his wife is a lucky lady), Mike Hover and his wife, sweet & funny Nick Macri, Lori Myers, Ann Balint, Stacie & Gail (who remember all kinds of crazy things about me). A huge thanks to Michele Thompson for reading my blog--I wanted to talk to you about having fond memories of all the slumber parties at your house listening to Donna Summer records and stuff! Honestly, everyone who took the time to talk to me that didn't get a special mention here have a new spot in my heart. I was way more tickled to see everyone than I ever imagined. I'm really looking forward to our 25th.
The reunion was on the campus of Notre Dame University and after they kicked us out we took the party to the Linebacker (the lamest place in South Bend) but something about it felt just like high school all over again. It was suprisingly cool. After that, Mandy & I went out with a couple classmates for cheese fries at Steak N Shake.

Sunday 7/20
Aunt Carol is going to be 70 years old in August. I wanted to celebrate her birthday early while I was home so my parents cooked up some lobster tails and king crab legs and we had a little dinner for Aunt Carol on Sunday afternoon. Afterwards we went shopping! Later I met Vikie & Veronica at the dollar movie theatre to see What Happens In Vegas. Listen people, that was not the cheesy movie it appears to be. It was the sweetest funniest love story I've seen in a long time. I was just swooning over Ashton Kutcher. It was hard not to cry at the end. Totally awesome chick flick with no cheese factor--go rent it when it comes out on DVD in late August! After the movie, we grabbed a bite to eat, Veronica went home and Vikie and I had some good deep talkin' in the back yard with the beer, lightning bugs and crickets. It's times like these that I cherish most about my friendship with Vikie. She owns my heart. (PS: I'm SO glad she didn't sell her house move to the Netherlands!)

Monday 7/21
I had planned to go up to the beach on Lake Michigan today but it rained. My cousin Cheryl couldn't go with me this year so I guess it wasn't meant to be. I made the best of the day and met Mike for lunch back at La Esperanza again. While in the parking lot, I spotted a new little boutique across the street called Deviant Couture so I zipped right over there and discovered a tiny slice of rock n roll heaven. I bought another Rolling Stones shirt for myself and got a cool Beatles magical mystery tour shirt for Bobby. That evening, my parents and Aunt Carol took me out for some REAL pizza (Vegas people, you have NO idea) from Barnaby's downtown. Then I went to see Sara & Cheryl from my old salon (Salon Nouveau). Sara just moved back to South Bend after being in Montana for 7 years. I had so much to talk with them about I nearly hyperventilated. Wish I'd had more time to spend!
Later that night while having my usual back yard rendevous, the answer I've been searching for finally came to me. At 1am I made a phone call to my boss at Beauty Bar and with that one tiny baby step I set the course for changing my life completely. You'll have to read my next blog to find out just what I mean by that. (sorry!)

Tuesday 7/22
This was the most lovely day I had during my whole vacation. I drove up to Buchanan, MI to see my old friend Jane who couldn't make it to the class reunion. Lord knows how I love to drive and I love to drive fast! I flew up the bypass, flipping between the classic rock/metal radio stations and some oldies channel that played mod 60s stuff singing my head off, wind in my hair! Jane has a beautiful house on the St. Joseph river. Her husband made strawberry daquris for us and we sat by the pool with big ol' daddy long leg spiders and dragonflies everywhere. We talked about everything--God, men, books, school, family... This was the first time I've seen sun since last summer. Since I've been back in Vegas, everyone thinks I lost weight when really, I just got a little tan! haha Later on we sat by the banks of the river for a while before I had to head back to South Bend. With the decisions I made the night before, this couldn't have been a more peaceful, perfect day. When I got home, my parents and Aunt Carol were waiting to take me to my favorite Japanese restaurant Hana Yori for dinner. That's the last dinner I'll have with my family til I head back again at Christmas.

Wednesday 7/23
I got rested, I got packed. Then Vikie and Veronica swooped me up and we headed south to Indianapolis! My beloved friend Stefanie hooked me up with a great deal at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indy. We checked into our posh hotel and scrambled to get ready. We had just enough time to eat at a cool restaurant with outdoor sidewalk seating and still make it to Conseco Fieldhouse for the FOO FIGHTERS concert. We missed the opening act but who cares? It's all about Dave Grohl you know! That's when I realized that every guy I've dated in the past 3 years (with the exception of Mark) looks like some Dave Grohl/Jesus/Chris Robinson hybrid. Well, at least I'm consistent! The Foo Fighters ripped my face off. I even looked in the dictionary under 'rock star' and there was nothing more than a photo of Dave Grohl. That explains everything.

After the concert we went to a very cool bar called Radio Radio to meet my friend Mike Farmer whose band was opening for the Mother Truckers. The girls were wasted, I was sober (what's new) and we all had a great time. My Twilight Zone moment came while sitting on a ramp outside the backstage door. The drummer for the Mother Truckers, knowing I'm from Las Vegas, asked me if I knew any of the Blue Man guys. I said I know most of them and he asked if I happened to know MK. There I am in an alley in Indianapolis talking to a guy from Texas and he asks me if I know MK! Surely the world cannot be that small...oh, but it is! So we got MK on the phone and had a laugh.
When that place closed, Mike and his friends took me and the girls to Broadripple Village per my request. 10 years ago when I decided to move, my choice was between Indy and Vegas. I chose Vegas and have always wondered if I made the right choice. After walking through Broadripple all these years later I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I had made the right choice. So there I was in this dirty alley outside the Alley Cat bar with some chick peeing behind a dumpster, her friends were hollering some kind of shitty stuff at me. Someone else was puking around the corner and Mike was more drunk than I was comfortable with so I rounded the girls up and we cabbed back to our amazing hotel. It was the best night's sleep I'd had in months. If only I could take that bed with me! In the morning we went to an organic breakfast/lunch place downtown and ate breakfast on the sidewalk cafe watching all the business people walking by. It was the perfect end to my trip.

I flew back to Vegas the next day and I almost got on my knees and kissed the filthy sidewalk upon returning. There's no place like Vegas, there's no place like Vegas, there's no place like Vegas....

GIANT THANK YOU's to: Vikie, Veronica, Mike Nespo, Mandy, Jane, the John Adams class of 1988, Sara, Cheryl, Stefanie (for the hotel), my whole amazing family, Mike Farmer and Amy (for picking me up at the airport)!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Small Miracles

Over a month ago, I received 2 free nights at Hooters Hotel through a 944 Magazine email promotion, all I had to do was sign up for the players club. The nights they offered were not the best choices for my schedule but I decided to take advantage of it anyway and booked them for Monday 5/26 & Tues 5/27. I would still have to go to work those days but I pictured myself ordering room service for breakfast, going to work and coming back to chicken wings, beer and penny slots. Woohoo!

On the Sunday afternoon before my Hooters mini vacation, I noticed a puddle on my balcony and went to investigate. My water heater had created a waterfall that was running off the edge of my balcony! I stared in disbelief. (It was very lovely, actually). So, I shut off the water and a plumber came out the next morning to assess the repair work. Not only were they charging me a hefty amount of money, they couldn't complete the work until Wednesday morning. 48 hours with no hot water heater! (Don't even get me started on the plumbing company thing, I was totally ripped off.)

I was really in the dumps as I packed my bags for Hooters, but then suddenly reality hit me! GOD knew that my water heater was going to break when it did so He provided me with this free hotel room to take a hot shower in for the exact same 2 days that I was without a water heater in my home! I couldn't have planned such a thing if I tried! I went from bummed to grateful in a split second. I simply can't deny the obvious hand of God in this whole situation. A big miracle in my little world.

Because of the pending plumbing expense, I didn't order much room service but I did enjoy talking on the phone and drinking a beer while soaking in a most fabulous bubble bath one night. The next night I turned $20 into $90 while playing a Megabucks penny slot machine. I tried really hard to make the best of it all and had a fun little time all by myself.

Just as the Lord took care of keeping me clean and comfortable during this inconvenience, I know He will also take care of the bill. I don't know where the money's gonna come from but I believe if He took care of that, He'll take care of this too. Amen!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Frustrated, Burned Out & Helpless

I am grateful on so many levels for my job at Beauty Bar. The job has helped keep my finances level ever since I left the Hard Rock over 3 years ago. To begin listing the amazing people I would have never met if it were not for that job would be a task I couldn't even begin. So, why? WHY? WHY??? Why am I tired of doing something that has only brought me good things? I still need the money and I wish I didn't. Why can't I make enough at the salon to not need any extra jobs? I'm so ready to kick Avon and Beauty Bar to the curb just because I'm so tired, overworked and frustrated. Life gets really sad when you can't even enjoy something you love anymore. I don't know how to fix it. I don't know what to do about it.
I sit here thinking about all the wonderful people who visit my table at Beauty Bar every week. I love them all. I get to connect with them for 20 minutes then like a revolving door, 20 minutes later there's someone new sitting there. I only get to scratch the surface. And I come home knowing that so many people genuinely like me yet I'm so totally empty. I've been fine with this as long as I've worked there but not anymore. Ever since Mark moved I'm starving for emotional connections. I never seem to notice it that much except for the days I work at Beauty Bar. And tonight sent me straight over the edge into bad attitude zone...
All I wanted to do from the minute I got to work was talk to this stranger with blond shaggy hair and eyeliner who had caught my eye. He came over and spoke with me for a minute and after every nail customer I told myself that when I was done I would take a quick break and go talk to him. But after every customer I had 2 more waiting in line and I was literally trapped at my table as hours dragged on. My attitude got crappier and crappier as I filed and polished as fast as I could. It was like fate was preventing me from talking to this guy. I was beyond frustration's breaking point and of course by the time I finally closed my shit up at 2:30am, he was nowhere to be found. All I know is that his name is Christopher and his birthday is June 6th. I'd give anything to see him one more time. After 7 months I think I'm kind of ready for another boyfriend. But more than anything I just want to work less than 40 hours a week and still have enough to pay my bills. I'd give anything to get 8 hours of sleep every night. What can I do to not feel cold, empty and frustrated? How much longer can I keep doing this? Helpless...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Confession of a Fast Food Addict

Yeah, that's me...well, it used to be me. When I stepped on the scale February 20th and it read one pound shy of a weight I said I'd never weigh, I got angry. Thankfully, anger and I are good friends and when I get angry I get motivated. I decided right then that I was gonna go for 30 days without eating fast food. At that point in time I had been eating fast food between 4 to 8 times a week. I've been eating fast food this often for the past 22 years!

Here's how I got to that point:
I was born with a very high metabolism and was always so skinny that people would ask me if I was sick. In college, I barely weighed 100 lbs and could eat 2 full plates of food in the dorm cafeteria while the heavy girls sat there with two peas on their plate, hating me. All eyes would watch me if I ever got up to go to the bathroom after eating. I swear I've never thrown up my food purposefully nor have I ever been anorexic. I was born skinny and I was teased and tormented about it but instead of gaining a low self esteem like the heavy girls, I got an attitude. Damn right I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound. Food was a best friend, a comforter and a source of pleasure. My boyfriend back then was super skinny too. Every weekend we would eat at places like Outback, Pizza Hut, Colorado Steakhouse, Fondue Parlor and the people that worked there knew us by name. During the week, we kept Taco Bell and Burger King in business. We each gained a few pounds over the 9 years we were together but it wasn't a big deal and I shrugged it off as normal age-related weight gain.
In mid-2004, I left my job at the Hard Rock Hotel to be full-time self-employed. That's when it all started catching up with me. I was now in my 30s, never exercised and had the craziest, busiest schedule. Although I shopped at health food stores and cooked good nutritious food for myself when I was at home, I wasn't at home enough for it to make a big difference. My life was changing in other ways as well. Instead of hanging out all night partying with rocker friends every weekend, I'd go home early, swinging through Jack In The Box for a large order of stuffed jalapenos before bed. I was steadily gaining around 3 pounds a year which is a lot on my little frame and at that rate I'd be looking like Jabba the Hut by the time I was 55 years old. No more, I screamed!!

I made a complete diet/lifestyle change overnight. Thankfully my good eating habits at home made this easier for me. It was lunch that was killing me. So now, instead of deciding which fast food joint was going to see my smiling face at lunch time, I now nuke up a frozen dinner by Amy's Organics (or sometimes a Budget Gourmet or Lean Cuisine) and have some fruit. I also have a Nutrigrain or Soy Joy bar an hour before lunch and a snack 2 hours after lunch and that keeps me from starving.
I promised myself that I would go for 30 days with no fast food. I had to prove to myself and only myself that I could kill this habit. The first 2 weeks were SO hard. I was physically sick. I was consumed by non-stop thoughts of Jack In The Box and In N Out Burger. I was lethargic and sleeping 10 hours+ a day. I thought I was going crazy but then I found a study online about fast food addiction that was done overseas. It seems that the extra sugar/fat additives that all fast food restaruants put in their food to make it taste good are recognized in our brain the same way nicotine and heroin are. I was, by all definitions, an addict!

Today is day 29 and I would like to proudly annouce that I have so far lost 8 lbs. I have so much energy I don't know what to do with myself, I'm sleeping less and I'm more alert. It sounds silly but I can't deny that I feel like a different person. I am going to treat myself to In N Out Burger (hoping it doesn't make me sick) this week because I love it, I really do, but I will never, ever go back to eating at places like that every day. My overall plan is to practice moderation from now on but I had to go cold turkey for a month, just to say I did it.
I should probably stop by the Taco Bell drive-thru just to let them know I'm okay--I'm sure they're wondering what happened to me.

This blog is dedicated to my client friends Wendy & Carrie, who shared with me their nutrition & diet knowledge, without which I wouldn't have had the tools to accomplish this, and to my friend Jizzy who let me cry on his shoulder with a broken heart in the Griffin one night and convinced me that the answer to all my problems was to just lose a little weight. Thanks!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Angels And Airwaves @ The Joint: Concert Review

A short concert review I wrote after seeing Angels And Airwaves a couple months ago....

I attended Area 107.9's Big Damn Holiday Jam on 12/11 at the Hard Rock Hotel. I was so excited to finally see headliners Angels and Airwaves and they gave a performance that surpassed my expectations! Angels and Airwaves is the new project of former Blink-182 vocalist/guitarist Tom DeLonge and former Offspring drummer Atom Willard. They first caught my attention with their 2006 hit "The Adventure" which remains one of my favorite songs to this day. If you listen to alt-rock radio, you've heard the chilling lyrics: "Hey oh, here I am/And here we go/Life’s waiting to begin/I can not live/I can’t breathe/Unless you do this with me". The most recent single off their new album I-Empire called "Everything's Magic" is currently in heavy rotation on 107.9 fm.
DeLonge spent a lot of time telling jokes and stories to the crowd as it was obviously very important to him to let everyone know the inspirations behind their songs, things like the death of his grandmother, for example. Not only do I hear a major U2 influence in their music but also mixed into their powerful rock sound is a lot of trippy spaceship synthesizer sounds a la Pink Floyd, very conceptual and anthemic. That and their WWII themed props and visuals give them a larger than life stage show. The youth already adore DeLonge's emo vocal style (and so do I) but with this interesting new direction and Willard being such a beast of a drummer, I hope they will attract other rock fans too. Angels and Airwaves is an impressively mature departure from the members' former bands.