Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An ugly kind of blind

It’s been a blustery, rainy couple of days here in Brew City, but I'm seeing more clearly than I have in years.

While most often people celebrate anniversaries, or even half-anniversaries, yesterday I celebrated sixth months of freedom from a relationship wherein I allowed myself to be – pausing to tame my tongue – emotionally trampled on, unbeknownst to me at the time.

I'm not celebrating the arbitrary numeric aspect of the six months themselves. Rather, I guess I’m celebrating my long-awaited, recently attained realization of just how pathetically blinded I was. So, Happy Half-Un-Anniversary to me!

If there's one thing I've learned in the past incredibly edifying year of my life, it's that love can be an ugly kind of blind, but, thank God, the twenty-twenty view of hindsight is a thing of beauty from above.

So whether it takes six months of begging our Father for mercy and healing, a stellar date with a super cute attorney, or some combination thereof, when you reach that point of clarity, see your blindness, and put it behind you, Hot Dang does it feel good!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Against all odds

My beloved Hawkeyes upset Old Man JoPa’s then-ranked-number-5 Nittany Lions on Saturday – for the second year in a row. My usually terrible kickball team managed our first victory last week, fully ninja-masked and all. And, I actually arrived to work on time a few days last week. Lately, it seems things are going in my favor, even against all odds.

When I first picked up the hit book, He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt, I was getting over my very first “love.” I was twenty-years-old, thought I was experiencing a broken heart, and was searching for any practical means to help me see the light at the end of my miserable tunnel vision. My Bestie fed-exed it – The Book – to me overnight, I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting, and my perspective on dating was instantly changed for life, and for better.

Second only to the Bible, The Book is the most liberating piece of literature any single twenty-something could possible read. Its mantra can be summed up very simply: If a dude is into you, he’s going to make it very, very clear. If he does NOT make it clear, don’t waste your time, because, “he’s just not that into you.”

More specifically, it says if a guy wants to see you again, he will confirm the next time he gets to see you before the first encounter comes to an end. Conversely, if he doesn’t confirm the next time to see you while still in your presence the first time, it means he’s not going to call, at all.

Well, I recently realized I have ample data to compile my very own statistically conclusive facts on the aforementioned matter. The calculations are in, my friends, and while The Book says he’s just not that into you if he doesn’t ask to see you again while still on your first encounter, and you’ll eventually get an “awkward e-mail rejection,” my experience says otherwise. It turns out that, in the life of yours truly, even if he doesn’t ask to see you again at the conclusion of your first encounter, there is still a 63% chance you will hear from him in the near future.

So to all the single ladies, keep your chins up. The odds are in our favor.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When the Lights go Down in the City

At 11 p.m. last night the wind outside was howling, I was on my couch with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc watching TV, and all of a sudden the lights flickered and, aw snap, everything went out in my neighborhood. There I sat, me and my lonesome, in darkness and silence. God bless charged laptops!

Whether in your home, or in life in general, there are several things we can do when we find ourselves powerless and in the dark.

Light a candle… or nine
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb now used by the Christophers, “It’s better to light one candle that to curse the darkness.” You can choose to sit in the darkness, or you can get off your couch, dig through your messy drawers to find matches and a candle and be amazed as its flame pierces the darkness.

Put the candle in front of your cute nephew
When you muster up the means to light some candles, see the bright side, and get the flames-a-blazing, focus the candles' light so it shines on something clearly, obviously joyful, like, a picture of your adorable nephew Jack. His smile, coupled with the flames, will light up the room.

Hang with the Big Guy
Even if you already offered a rosary that day, pick another method of prayer and pray harder. It’s a great time for prayer when the lights and noises of the world are gone, and the Lord is the only one - no people, tv, radio, internet - to occupy your time and receive your love and affection.

Appreciate the night
I’m reminded of my favorite Pat Green song, “Crazy,” from his Three Days album. He sings, “Yeah, sometimes I sleep with all the lights on. It helps me to appreciate the night. Don’t you think life would be awfully boring if the good times were all that we had?” You’re right, Pat. You are so right. So take the time to appreciate the slower, more mellow pace of the darkness.

Call Customer Service
When you have no power on your own, chances are a friend does who would love to help you out. In a power outage, you’ll be lucky to have We Energies’ Customer Service line in your cell phone for an ETA on power restoration. In general, a cell phone can reach a friend at any time of the day or night, so be sure it’s charged up and has plenty of numbers stored, ready to heed your cry for help.

Eat all the ice cream in your freezer
Because it's delicious, and, tomorrow it will be melted.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can I get a re-do?

I play pick-up volleyball at my gym twice a week, and while sometimes I get lucky and it approaches almost competitive, most of the time it's approximately the level of my 8th grade South East Junior High A-Team. Recently, those of us with some degree of skill have adapted our strategy to, rather than pass-set-spike, just keep the ball away from Chuck, a darling but 80-year-old grandpa with thick goggle-glasses who moves at a pace slightly faster than a giant sea turtle.

Last night there was a new girl. I'll give her 9th grade, freshman team skills - you know, where some people start getting cut. So my team was down 5 - 7 when the serve comes over, hits the tape on the net, and my teammate dives in front of the ten-foot line to pop it up. I get under it and set to the middle hitter, who swings and has a kill right in front of Newbie. My team celebrates the well-deserved side-out, but Newbie across the net breaks up our party with her whiney shriek of, "But I didn't know the ball could hit the net on the serve!"

Ummm, gosh, I'm so terribly sorry, Newbie. Here's an idea - how 'bout you learn the rules before you step on my court.

Her whining continued, so in order to shut her mouth, the majority decided to allow Newbie's team a redo, which, to me was absolutely ridiculous. Instead of throwing a fit and demanding justice, I chose to roll my eyes to myself and I thought of all the times I wish I could have a re-do.

Like the time I thought I had a month long grace period to renew my expired driver's license, but didn’t, and I ended up getting pulled over during that month, fined for both speeding and driving without a license and being mandated to call a tow truck AND appear in court, which happened to be the day after a break-up, to-boot.

Or like the time I spent .2 seconds too long gazing at the pretty dresses in the boutique window and crashed into the Honda in front of me.

Or like the time I was on a date with the cutest, most Irish, most athletic, most intelligently Catholic man I'd ever been on a date with and I said the dumbest things a chick could ever say.

Truth is, we all do a whole lot of stupid stuff, and people don't always give us re-dos. But we have very Good News that God is much more gracious than all of us, especially me in the midst of any competitive activity, and when we offend him, he gives us a re-do whenever we approach him with contrite heart.

So go to the Ultimate Referee, tell him you're sorry for screwing up (insert plug for the awesome Sacrament of Reconciliation here), let our gracious God impart more grace to you than any opponent/date/policeman/Honda driver ever could and be refreshed, renewed, and re-done.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lessons from my corner pick up

So I picked a guy up on the corner yesterday. I was stopped at a red light and he was waiting to cross the street. He smiled and said I was cute, I smiled and said thank you, we chatted for fifteen seconds, and as I drove off I invited him to join my group of friends at our local watering hole destination.

I sat down with my group and was joking about my corner flirtation, when in walked Corner Flirt himself. His name was Rob and he was an attractive and tall young professional with a cute accent from the deep south. Rob got mad bonus points for just showing up at all! But then Rob went ahead to display ten of the most annoying male flirtation habits of all time. While I know Rob won't be reading this entry, I know other single men will. So, for you, single men, I offer the following advice in your honor and wish you much success in your future flirting:

1. Do not stereotype and slam a faith group before taking the time to consider how the object of your affection might feel about that group, and the fact that her entire identity as a human being might rest in the fact that she is a joyful and willing participant of that group.
2. Do not slam and stereotype the people of a particular state before taking the time to consider where the object of your affection might have been born and raised and still call home.
3. Do not stare at an area of the object of your affection's body unless that area happens to be her eyes.
4. Do not attempt to win the object of your affection's heart by boasting about the specifics of your salary.
5. Do take a hint when the object of your affection starts responding to your obnoxious comments with "hmmmm. interesting." and turns to talk to her friend.
6. Do not attempt to occupy 90% of the table conversation by telling stories about how awesome you are.
7. Do ask the object of your affection questions about herself.
8. Do ask the object of your affection's friends questions about themselves.
9. Do not flaunt and wave your cash around as you prepare to pay for your drink.
10. Do not expect the object of your affection to call you if you royally bombed on all nine of the above instructions.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ice Cream Socialism... not

Although it seems rare now-a-days, I love seeing a good example of a governing body actually looking out for its people and protecting their wallets from the tax-and-spend frenzy to which so many have become accustomed. This from today's Journal Sentinel reports the Village of River Hills voted to cancel its annual ice cream social (a mere $3,000 event) this year because their budget is already projected at $658 over budget.

Being $3,658 over budget is nearly negligible, especially considering the standard home in River Hills is $700,000. The Village probably could have easily gotten away with hosting the annual ice cream social and nobody would have cared about the minor budget overage. But the principle of the Village's bottom-line, balanced budget decision making deserves praise.

So three cheers to you, River Hills. Thank you for doing your job. And to any of your residents, I personally invite you to my house for a privately-funded ice cream social... and I won't even mandate your toppings.