Friday, August 29, 2008

Nothing Worth Having Ever Comes Easy

I just saw the best romantic comedy that I’ve seen in a long time. And when I tell you what it is, you’re not gonna believe me. It looked so stupid and so bad. Are you ready? Don’t laugh! What Happens in Vegas But it was so good!!

I love Cameron Diaz, I idolize her in a weird little way because in my mind she is the absolute perfect female. But Ashton Kutcher? Ech. No. Not cute, not that funny, and I don’t believe him when he smiles. But this movie was great! I loved it. It had me cracking up, and I don’t think the two glasses of wine I had at dinner had anything to do with it either.

As I was watching it, I was thinking that I just loved his character. And then I started wondering why. It’s because he’s such a guy’s guy, and I love guy’s guys. I love a man who loves his sports, would rather be drinking beer than anything else (and if he has anything else it’s something country and manly like whiskey), has idiotic, hilarious friends, and is slightly weird but really funny and charming. A guy that doesn’t cry or pout, teases me a little, playfully argues with me, yet always gets the door and does the little, chivalrous things. He might watch a chick flick with me because he loves me, but he makes fun of it too.

Really, I’m looking for a guy that’s like all my favorite guys. My sweet cousin who I adore, my other cousin’s sweet husband who always has me smiling and cackling, and my sweet friend, Goofer, who is the absolute funniest person I know. Goofer is great. And he takes good care of me. I’ve been pretty down lately, and the other day he left me the best message I have ever gotten. He played that Kermit the Frog song, “The Rainbow Connection,” on my voicemail. So random and goofy and thoughtful too. He definitely made sure I had a big smile on my face.

Isn’t it annoying when you think you have it all figured out and you know exactly what the best match for you would be, but you just can’t find them? Everyone in my family thinks I’m too picky. Ev-ery-one. From my Papaw on down. They always tell me I’m always the one who breaks up with the guy. Which, alright, is maybe true more often than not, but I’ve also had my heart broken enough times.

And, I don’t know, why be with someone once you’ve figured out they aren’t the one? That’s why we date someone, right? I mean, there are all the Gong Show contestants where you just know instantly it’s not gonna work. And then every once in awhile you find someone and think, “Well…I don’t know…maybe…” So you give it a shot. But when you realize it’s not a fit, you end it.

This is a depressing thought, but I’ve spent many long hours alone in the car over the past few weeks so forgive me. I figured out that I can pinpoint the exact moment in each relationship where I realized he wasn’t the one for me. The. Exact. Moment. I told you it was depressing. But it gets worse – I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized I loved any of them. I think that’s something that I just gradually realize. Or maybe when he says it out loud, I realize I love him too? I don’t know. I do know that I never say it first.

It sounds so nice and lovely to meet someone, instantly connect, start dating and never stop. Though I’ve tried that a time or two, I always seem to lose interest. One of my best friends got engaged recently to a guy she’s been dating for six months. On the third date, they talked about how they each knew this was it, they found their someone. Third date! And they’re happy and doing well and la dee da.

I don’t think I could ever do that. I always take relationships slowly. I’m guarded because at this point, I feel like you have to be. It’s just smart. My last boyfriend pursued me for two whole years, almost to the day, before I finally gave in. Two years! There were good reasons for turning him down for so long, but it also always takes time for me to commit and open up fully. Why would I close off all my other options for a guy I’m not totally sure is long term quality?

Right now, I'm talking to someone. We're only emailing. And every once in awhile, it's a little annoying because he has my phone number but has never called. But then I think this is actually the best thing for me right now. To move as slowly as possible. In fact, I'd kinda like it if we went a couple months without even going out. I need a lot of time to myself right now. And it's just always better when you get together with someone after you actually know them.

In the movie, they got married after knowing each other for a few hours, but after living together for six months, fell in love aw. They made each other miserable before they realized they made each other happy. Cute. I definitely need someone who challenges me, that is without a doubt. And isn’t it just better when you move slowly? Like easing into a cold swimming pool, one step at a time. For me, time makes all the difference in securing someone a place in my heart and a few obstacles thrown in there too makes the happy ending that much sweeter because that’s how we both realize how much we mean to each other.

It’ll at least be a good plot for the movie they make out of our story. Cuz it will be that good. That much I know. It may take a lot for me to fall for someone, but this girl loves with everything she is, and when it happens, the poor sap is really stuck with me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Dating is Like the Gong Show

I drove in the rain tonight from Atlanta to Knoxville. I’ll be on the road a lot over the next couple of months so I might as well get used to it, but ugh. Driving in the rain sucks. And, of course, almost no one I called answered. My friend Brad did talk to me for awhile, which was nice because conversation is always good with an old friend.

Brad and I talked a little about what it is to be excited about someone that you’re dating. I think it’s rare. And usually dwindles with time, though that’s not how it’s supposed to work when it’s right. It’s damn hard to find anyone exciting, but it’s always something that I think you can pick out in the first few moments you spend with someone.

I told my mom once that it’s gotten to the point where I have such a good idea of what I’m looking for, I can tell almost instantly. Remember that old children’s book about the bird that falls out of its nest and is looking for its mother? It was called “Are You My Mother?” So I told my mom I feel like that little bird except my book would be called, “Are You My Boyfriend?”

Like when the little bird finds a bulldozer and asks, “Are You My Mother?” and, seeing that a bulldozer doesn’t have wings or feathers, it realizes instantly, “No…you’re not my mother.” I meet a cute guy and think, “Are You My Boyfriend?” and then he asks if I’m for or against global warming, and I instantly think, “No…you’re not my boyfriend.”

So that’s one way to describe it. Another is that dating is like The Gong Show. Because, honestly, aren’t there more circus freaks and variety show acts out there than anything? You meet one such clown, give him a few moments of your valuable time, and then he shows his crazy and GONG! Next contestant, please!

I had a bad date Friday. Bad. Horrible. Top of the worst list. I didn't really know him, but we talked on the phone a few times, and he was really funny. Funny will trick you every time, girls! We agreed to meet at a local brewery for some beer and then grab dinner after. My best guy friend, Goofer, sent me a text that day inviting me to meet him, his girlfriend and a couple friends at the same brewery. Total coincidence, but I thought it was funny and at least if the guy turned out to be a tool, I’d still have fun.

To protect the innocent (or not so innocent), I’ll give the tool (cuz he did turn out to be one) a nickname. I dub him “Captain Awkward” for obvious reasons – he was the captain of awkward. I get that it’s hard to be a dude. It’s hard to ask a girl out, and if you’re visibly nervous on the first date, you get a pass in my book. But Captain Awkward exhibited awkward behavior before we even stepped out of our vehicles.

I parked first and called him. We figured out where to meet, and then he awkwardly laughs and says, “Uh…huh huh…so when you see me tonight, I’m just gonna go ahead and apologize for the way I look.”

“Oh…um, what?” I am totally confused.

“Huh huh…well, yeah, see I kinda had a beard for a week and it was itching, and when I shaved it just now, I figured out why it was itching huh huh.”

“Oh…um, what?”

“It’s all broken out and stuff. There are these huge red bumps, and I guess that’s what was itchy. So huh huh just know that I don’t normally look like this.”

“Oh…ok…well, I’m sure it’s fine…so I’ll see you there then.”

Immediately, I hang up and call my mom to tell her this latest development and that I am now worried I’m going on a date with a dude who has hives all over his face. Could I catch them? But when I see Captain Awkward, he looks fine. Cute even. Sure, he has a couple red spots on his chin, but they clearly look like razor burn and needed no explanation.

We get our beer, he’s nervous, I smile sweetly and ask him questions about himself. He mentioned that he lived with his brother so I ask about that. He awkwardly adds that he also has an older brother who he doesn’t talk to at all. Then laughs uncomfortably (huh huh!) and adds that I probably don’t wanna hear about that. Oh no, I do not. No need to make this conversation even more awkward.

We see my friends and say hello. They invite us to come outside on the patio with them, and we agree we will later. After several more minutes of dull chit chat, my friend passes us again and extends the same offer. I’ve already downed two beers, and this guy is not getting cuter or more interesting so I suggest we go hang with the group.

We talk together, and I feel better about Captain Awkward. I give him the benefit of the doubt (when will I learn my lesson about this?), and after the third beer, decide that he’s probably a nice guy who’s just nervous. He makes a couple bad jokes no one gets and starts to get moody and…dare I say it? More awkward! Alcohol cannot even salvage this date. Then he says something that I think means he’s racist. Oh double no.

Admittedly, a few minutes do go by with me talking to one of my girlfriends and Captain Awkward talking to Goofer. And admittedly, it cannot be easy to have a girl’s best friend crash your first date. But adults should know how to play well with others, and any dude that wants to be my dude is gonna have to hold his own with my friends. It’s a necessity – period. And a task that Captain Awkward is not up for.

He leans over and asks, “So are you gonna go eat with them?” Because they invited us both to join them all for dinner.

“Yeah, I think we should, it’d be fun!” I smile sweetly. I am trying to conquer his awkwardness with kindness.

“Well, I’m not gonna go.”

“Oh…ok.” I say, while still smiling.

“And I think you know why…”

“Oh…ok.” Still smiling…not wanting to talk about why…

“And I really am sorry about the way I look. Like I told you, I normally don’t look this bad. So I just want you to know that.”

Wha-huh? “No…you look fine!” He really did look fine. Cute even!

“No, it’s ok, I mean, you can tell me. I know it’s my looks so, I just want you to know I normally look better than this.”

“No. Really. It’s not your looks. You look fine.”

“You keep saying that, but I know you’re just being nice. I know I look bad. I don’t usually look like this so…”

“Honestly. You look fine. There’s nothing wrong with the way you look.”

“Well…so what is it then?”

I blink.

“It’s ok, you can tell me, I mean you say it’s not my looks so then what is it? Just tell me.”

“Actually, you were really nervous before and then that made me feel nervous and…I don’t know what to say.” Patience is wearing thin.

“Nervous?” he asks while laughing nervously, “Huh huh…I wasn’t nervous, I mean, nervous? Really? Huh huh...”

“I thought so. Yes.”

“When? Like just now?”

“From the beginning, I thought you seemed really nervous. Which is ok, I mean…”

“I wasn’t nervous.” And now Captain Awkward should be crowned Captain Defensive. “I mean, you can just tell me what it is. Really, I want you to.”

“And now you’re making me feel really uncomfortable with how you keep talking about something being wrong with the way you look.” Oh yes, she can be honest!

“Well, you’re making me feel really uncomfortable by being standoffish.” Mayday! Mayday! At this point, I start pinching the girl standing next to me. And eventually she turns around and starts talking to me. Phew. After a couple really awkward!!! minutes, Captain Awkward turns to Goofer, and says, “I’m gonna go get another beer.”

As soon as he walks away, I start laughing and say, “He’s leaving! He’s leaving! He’s leaving, and he’s not even going to say anything to me!”

Goofer says, “What? No, he’s just going to get a beer. He’ll be back. He told me.”

I am hysterical now like nothing has ever been funnier and cackle, “No! Look! He’s leaving! There he goes!” I point as we watch him jump the balcony and walk down the stairs. Thankfully, one of the girls is smart enough (and kind enough) to tell me to stop laughing so he doesn’t see and then asks what happened.

Before I can explain, we see him angrily rip off his collared shirt (he had a t-shirt underneath), throw his hat off and then stomp through the parking lot like he was having a temper tantrum. GONG!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Songs That Help Me Breathe - Songs for Z

Whenever I’m going through a hard time, I shut people out. I don’t return phone calls, I curl up with my puppy at home, I take care of myself. As soon as I got to Knoxville Friday, I turned my phone off. Anyone I needed to talk to was right there in Knoxville. And I just don’t want to talk to people about being sad. Who wants to hear that? They can’t do anything about any of this so why make them feel helpless and sad too? There are a few reasons I usually don’t talk to people when I’m feeling blue, but at the end of the day, I like to work through things on my own, in my own way and time. All that said, it always make you feel better when your friends let you know they care. Even if I take longer than usual to return calls or emails - it helps and I appreciate it.

One of my good friends, Z, understands all that about me. I was upset once, and she asked if I wanted a hug and then added that she knew some people don’t like to be touched when they’re upset. I thanked her and said, “Yeah. That’s usually me.” But when I said I really wanted to take a shot of tequila and dance in the kitchen to Madonna, she hopped up, got the tequila and told me to play whichever song I felt like dancing to first. And when she learned I was grieving, she mailed me a package. So when she sent me an email today asking me to recommend new music, I decided to take the time to write this little blog. Music is my therapy. And red wine. :)

A couple weeks ago, when I learned I’d be driving straight from DC to my grandfather’s house, I decided to make myself a good playlist for the ride. Songs that mean something to me because of the lyrics (I’m a words girl!) and songs with a peaceful, calming effect on me. I called it “Breathe.” I think I’ll be listening to it a lot in the next few months. Here are some of my favorite songs from that mix.

1. Alexi Murdoch – All My Days

I have another song by Alexi Murdoch on the list too, which is also beautiful. It’s called “Orange Sky.” But “All My Days” is my favorite at the moment. Here are some lyrics:

And I’ve been trying to find
What’s been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night

2. Amos Lee – Better Days

I love Amos Lee. He’s a chill dude. I love just about all his songs. “Southern Girl” is a fav for obvious reasons. “Arms of a Woman,” “Bottom of the Barrel” and “Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight” are other goodies.

When all the faith's been gone,
Still we found a reason to carry on,
Through the worrry, worry, worry,
Caught in an endless maze
Oh when the lights go out,
All i can think about,
Is how, we've seen better days...

3. Blu Sanders – Hold On

I quoted from one of his songs in a blog I wrote this summer. It’s a sweet way of thinking about freckles, I think. He says, “Your freckled chest, my wishing stars.” Aw. This is my favorite by him, though. It's about a spouse dying.

Hold on to things you can’t explain
Hold on to dancing in the rain
Hold on to kisses on the lips
Savor every sweet moment
Baby, this is it

4. Bob Schneider – A Long Way to Get Back Home

This guy is awesome live. He’s got so much energy, he’s so into it, and he’s kind of a wild man honestly. Like a coke someone shook up and then opened. One song that’s pretty hilarious is about how much he likes big butts and blowjobs. You won’t find that one on iTunes, honey. Others I really like are “God is My Friend,” “I’m Good Now” and “Best Laid Plans.”

I've got a mountain to climb before I get over this hill
I've got a world to unwind before I ever sit still
I've got a hard row to hoe before my seed is sown
I've got a long way to get before I get back home

5. Foo Fighters – Razor

This song is probably one of my top five favorite songs of all-time. It means something different to me just about every time I hear it, which means it’s good poetry I believe, and it always calms me down and makes me feel peaceful. And they’re just a great band.

Sweet and divine
Razor of mine

6. Rosie Thomas – It Don’t Matter to the Sun

This is a sad but beautiful song, and it’s the one I was listening to when I cried for the first time about losing PaMa. Other great songs by her are “Wedding Day,” “Farewell” and “Since You’ve Been Around,” which to me is a close to perfect song about falling in love. This particular song makes me think about how the world just keeps going – people’s daily lives don’t change when we lose someone even though our world changes forever.

It don't matter to the sun if you go or if you stay.
No, the sun is gonna rise, gonna rise.
Shine down on another day.
There will be tomorrow even if you choose to leave.
Cause it don't matter to the sun, no, no.
It matters to me.

7. Ray LaMontagne – Shelter

His voice is full of emotion and soul. I also like “Forever My Friend,” “Hold You In My Arms” and “Three More Days.”

Listen when
All of this around us'll fall over
I tell you what we're gonna do
You will shelter me my love
And I will shelter you

8. Ben Lee – Catch My Disease

I had a hard time picking a Ben Lee song for this because so many of his songs are light and positive. “Whatever It Is,” “Begin” and “Dirty Mind” were all close. But “Catch My Disease” is the most peppy and happy so it won out. This one's a bit overplayed, I think, but so cute and fun! Another lyric in it I like says, “She told me she loved me like fireworks.” I really love fireworks.

Your body's a dream that turns violent
and that's the way I like it
and that's the way I like it
The winter is long in the city
and that's the way I like it

9. Jem – Just a Ride

Jem is also super positive and fun.

It's too much to take
Don't like to feel out of control
So we make our plans
Ten times a day
And when they don't go
Our way we
It’s just a ride, it’s just a ride…
Don’t forget to enjoy the ride

10. John Mayer – Heart of Life

I’m sorry. I know he’s cheesy and poppy and whaa whaa, but dammit he is talented. He’s a great songwriter and an amazing guitarist. And you know what? My body is a wonderland. Ok, now that I’ve had my rant, let me say that while I like John Mayer, my most favorite thing about him is his love for the blues. So check out John Mayer Trio and John Mayer Live in Los Angeles before you write him off as just another Top 40 pop star.

For brevity’s sake, I’ll just share with you the best lyric in the song – Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood. So true, so true.

11. Will Hoge – Washed by the Water

You know I love me some Will Hoge. But I think I love that old boy for his sound more than anything so it was hard to pick a song of his for the lyrics. Since I’ve blogged about this one, though, I thought I’d share it with you. It’s about Katrina.

Down here we're washed by the water,
The water can't wash us away.

We'll put it back together,
With our own two hands.
Ain't nobody gonna turn us around.
It's oddly a little empty,
And it all seems broken down.
Oh Lord we sure could use you now.

12. Josh Kelley – Cain and Able

Truthfully, I’m not a huge Josh Kelley fan. I mean, I enjoy him, but I’d never list him as a favorite. This song, on the other hand, is definitely in my top five all-time favs list. And I just don’t think it’s right to give it to you in part so here are all the lyrics, my lovelies. My favorite is the second verse. Please do me a favor, and take a listen to this one because the music is what’s especially calming and adds to the interpretation of the song, I think.

I’m sick of chasing after things, I’d rather them chase after me
Keeping up is bound to wear me down
There’s a million ways to skin a cat, I’ve put my choices in a hat
Picked a few and threw the bad ones out

I know now…

So if you want me you’d better knock me down
Cause I ain’t easy and this ain’t hallowed ground

I’ve been thinking about ol’ Cain and Able, sitting at a breakfast table
Talking about the way things used to be
Well Able looked at Cain and said all that shit was in your head
I’d like to think that Cain was hard to please

I know now…

So if you want me you’d better knock me down
Cause I ain’t easy and this ain’t hallowed ground

She said no one loves you more than me
I looked at her, she looked at me
I think she’s waiting for me to believe

I wish that love was all it took
I’d fall into you if I could
Hoping for a graceful recovery

But I know now…

So if you want me, you’d better knock me down
Cause I ain’t easy oh, and this ain’t hallowed ground

** Ok...P.S. I have two honorable mentions I had to add to the list.

13. Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You Into the Dark

The 16-year-olds holding cell phones in the air and singing all the words (loudly!) at concerts has almost ruined this song for me. But it's just a sweet and beautiful song. And it makes me think of Heaven and that I'll see loved ones there.

My favorite lyric says Fear is the heart of love. Because it is. When you love someone so much, you're afraid you might lose them, you're afraid they don't love you back, or they don't love you enough. You're afraid they might die. You're afraid they might be in pain. You're afraid you can't help them. You're afraid something bad is going to happen to them. You're afraid of ever not having that person in your life. At its core, if these fears are there - that is love.

I think that even when you care about someone so much it scares you into not being with them, that's "fear is the heart of love" too. That's happened to me. And it happened for someone I dated too. He loved me so much, it was overwhelming, and he didn't think he could handle a big love at the time. Even though I know that feeling and have been guilty of such weakness, it seems so silly and futile right now with what I'm going through. It seems so selfish and wasteful that I ever felt that way.

But who am I to talk? Fear itself is selfish, and love is selfish. I'm afraid of losing my grandfather, and that is a little selfish of me. Love only cares about itself.

14. Chris Rice - Hallelujahs

Take three and a half minutes to listen to this song. I think it's breathtaking. If I ever get married, someone will sing this song on that day. It always calms me and speaks to me and is especially poignant now. It's hard not to smile when I hear it.

The pulse of life within my wrist
A fallen snow, a rising mist
There is no higher praise than this
And my soul wells up
Oh my soul wells up
Yes my soul wells up with hallelujahs

Back to School

Back to school
Back to school
To prove to Dad that I'm not a fool
I've got my lunch packed up,
My boots tied tight,
I hope I don't get in a fight
Back to school
Back to school
Back to school...

Yes, that's right, I'm back in school. And here are some observations from my first two days on campus:

I finally checked my student evaluations from last semester. I’m always so nervous because I care so much and hope they learned something. Thankfully, they were great evaluations. Literally, one student wrote that I was "the shit." Ha!

I should buy stock in Vitamin Water and Zone Bars. I live off them and perhaps single-handedly keep them on the shelves at the campus quickie mart.

Things I overheard on campus –

  • “There are a lot of black people.” Welcome to Hot-lanta, playa!
  • “She’s a really hard teacher.” Fingers crossed they were talking about me!
  • "You know that movie Malibu Most Wanted? Well, his music sounds like B-Rad rapping over a soundtrack of springs jumping. I don't know, man, maybe it's avant garde or some shit, but I think it just sounds bad." I think this quote is funny enough to stand on its own.

I have a chili pepper next to my profile on This means some former student of mine thinks I’m hot. Is it sick that I kinda enjoy that and want more little peppers next to my name? Hmm…should I wear a lowcut top on the first day of class or a mini-skirt?

The university bookstore is everything I hate about Times Square. Hoards of people, jammed in together tight, shuffling along because they can’t move any faster. The difference is that instead of hearing foreigners point and shout in a dozen different languages, you hear students grunt about the dorm they got stuck with and chat excitedly about what bar they’re going to get wasted at. Well, and of course instead of giant neon signs and billboards, there are textbooks and dictionaries and school t-shirts. That’s a bit of a bummer actually. The student bookstore could use some bling.

In each of the three classes I’m taking, I found a favorite character. In the first class, there’s a guy that looks like Noah. From the Bible. Noah of Noah’s Ark. I don’t know what it is about him that makes me think Noah. It’s not like he has animals trailing behind him two-by-two. I think it’s the grizzly beard he’s sporting.

In the second class, there’s a girl (?) that looks exactly like Wanda from In Living Color. Remember Wanda? Jamie Foxx played her. I’m sure this woman is nice and smart and all things good, but geez it’s hard to look at her and not expect her to say she’s going to rock my world. Or “I’m ret t-go!”

The last woman is the definitely the best. Her name is Millie, and she’s got to be in her 60s. She said that she wrote a cookbook on recipes from old fashioned tea houses. In class, she was wearing a skirt suit that was made entirely from pink crochet. She also had a visor covered with pink fabric and a giant plastic flower. Hilarious! I want to ask her to crochet me a blanket.

One day in the near future, I am going to be swallowed by my books. This semester, I have to buy 25 books and two course packs, which are essentially books themselves and will definitely cost as much. I’m going to be eating cereal for the next four months because all these damn books are so expensive. Or maybe I could just sell all my furniture to pay for the books. It’d certainly make more room for them. Who needs a kitchen table when I have so many books I could just stack them up and eat off them? Chairs? Eh, I could get rid of those too.

It’s been two days, and I’m already thinking about my winter break. Sigh. It’s gonna be a loooong semester…

Monday, August 18, 2008

Counting Sheep

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
For if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul will take.

Why did I pray that prayer as a little child? Why did I ever learn that at all? Seriously, little children should not learn that it’s a possibility they might die in their sleep. Little children have nightmares and shouldn’t be frightened before the lights go out.

I don’t have nightmares. Well, not often anyway. If I do, I don’t dream about monsters or ghosts or natural disasters. I dream about someone I love dying or about being chased by someone who wants to harm me. Nightmares are the least of my worries. And for that matter, dying before I wake is not high on the list either. Oh but I do have worries that keep me up late and give me restless nights.

It is the absolute worst feeling in the world to be so exhausted and yet unable to sleep. It’s torture. In fact, it really is a form of torture, isn’t it? Lately, I’ve had such trouble sleeping. It started about two weeks ago. I got some bad news about my sweet, loving grandfather and since then, I just haven’t been able to sleep. Worse yet, that first night, I wasn’t sleeping alone.

I have such a hard time sleeping with someone. (Settle down, kiddies, I’m talking actual sleep.) The first few nights I sleep next to someone new, I don’t get a wink of sleep. I toss and turn all night. I wake up at least half a dozen times, and it’s really miserable. But everything’s a process, isn’t it? And most of the time, I do eventually get to a point where I can sleep soundly and peacefully next to someone. It just takes a long time.

Actually, I find that to be a good gauge that tells me when I’m comfortable with someone and when I really care for them. Before I can sleep through the night with someone, I can do naked things, maybe tell a few secrets and even feel comfortable enough to have an orgasm, which always takes awhile because it takes time to feel close.

At least if I’m alone, I can get up, have a glass of wine or warm milk (yes, she’s a baby), read the Bible, write something. Writing usually helps, even if it’s just writing a to-do list, it gets the thoughts out of my head. I’ve tried everything – counting backwards from 100, the alphabet, even tried counting sheep. My mom says to pray because the devil will put you to sleep since he doesn’t want you praying. Praying doesn’t help me sleep – it just gives me more to think about.

Next to someone, you just have to lay there and stare up at the ceiling. But if I’ve been dating someone for awhile and feel comfortable, I’ll get up and sleep on the couch. The bed feels too crowded with the both of us and all the thoughts in my head. I once dated someone who would always get up in the middle of the night and come get me to bring me back to bed. I liked that. That his unconscious mind would notice my absence.

It is always hard sleeping with someone, though. I’ve dated a lot of cuddlers, which is nice, but I usually can’t fall asleep touching someone. My last boyfriend, I couldn’t touch him while we were sleeping. I don’t know what it was. I just wanted my own space. Sometimes he would roll over on me, and that was awful. Oh man, and he snored like a beast. It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep in the same bed with him at all, and I thought that was a bad sign. I never want to be one of those couples that sleep in separate rooms. When I can sleep while touching, though, it’s nice. And waking up still in their arms is rare and lovely.

The last guy I slept next to, we cuddled and it worked. One night, I woke up and needed to change positions. He was out like a light, and I tried to move slowly and gently so I didn’t wake him. His arm followed me as I slowly moved and kept holding onto me. He was sleeping deeply, but I don’t know, I like to think that something inside him wanted to keep holding me. When I finally rolled over, he followed and wrapped his arms around me, without ever waking. All that sounds sweet, but he did knock me in the head with that same arm that very same night. So sleep may just be sleep, and it might not be personal at all.

Definitely isn’t in all cases, but after sleeping next to someone for a long while, that’s very personal. The one time I was in love, he always held onto me all night, and both our bodies moved with each other, we always had to be touching. It was so peaceful and perfect. After we broke up, I used to imagine sleeping with him when I couldn’t fall asleep, and it would calm me down.

As hard as it can be for me to sleep with someone, I have to confess it might be nice not to sleep alone the next couple of months. But who am I kidding? It’d be nice to be held, sure yes, but I know I have a lot of sleepless nights ahead of me, and I’d rather sleep alone in my bed than on the couch. And then, what if the next one snores? Or whacks me upside the head?

Now that I’ve gotten something written down, I think I’ll grab that glass of wine and pray sleep comes soon. 100, 99, 98…

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Want.

We lost our sweet PaMa. Her name was Katherine, and she was married for 65 years. She lost her husband two years ago, and she died late Thursday evening a day shy of the date he passed. They did everything together. She always smiled. She never had a bad thing to say about anyone or a complaint to make. She always laughed and always prayed. Her obituary said, “She taught us how to grow older with dignity and grace.” She was indeed a dignified, graceful woman with a good sense of humor and a kind heart. She was the perfect example.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot these past few days and what a wonderful woman she was. She was 93 and had a good, long, happy life. I don’t know if I’ll get 93 years, but I know what I want out of life. Since I graduated from college, I feel like all I’ve done is look back at past mistakes or heartaches, look forward trying to imagine what I think I should be or my life should be, and in the present moments, I’ve wasted a lot of time worrying and fretting. A lot of the things I’ve worried about really didn’t matter. Of the ones that did, they worked themselves out eventually. Making the most of the time we’ve been given is what matters.

I want…

I want to always laugh loud and be loud and shrug off people who shush me. I am loud, and I like it.

I want to see more sunsets.

I want to keep all my old friends and always make new ones.

I want to read more for fun. I read so much for school it’s exhausting, but I used to love reading. It used to be hard for me to put a book down. I want to re-read Crime and Punishment.

I want to spend more time with my family.

I want to always make my mom proud.

I want to take more bubble baths.

I want to take more chances.

I want to never be afraid to speak up.

I want to forgive myself more easily.

I want my heart to always be open. And to never be afraid to love.

I want to do laundry more often! I always let it pile up, and it’s just awful!

I want to travel.

I want to take better care of my health.

I want more sexy underwear for days that need a little spice!

I want a perfect New York date. I’ve had one planned out for years, and oh is it perfect. I want to show someone why I love that city and why it’s the best city on earth.

I want to be more patient.

I want to read the Bible every day.

I want to watch less TV.

I want a little boy and a little girl one day.

I want to trust my instincts about people. I’m a terrible judge of character because I just like everyone. But sometimes I notice things that I push aside and out of my mind, and I should listen to my gut more often.

I want to enjoy my work.

I want to learn how to make crabcakes.

I want to always see the good.

I want to never let the sun go down on my anger and always talk things out.

I want to exercise more.

I want to save more.

I want to always make sure my loved ones know how loved they are.

I want to always help. And I want to always be at the back of the line so everyone goes before me.

I want to be a good friend.

I want to always try new things.

I want to learn from suffering and heartache. And I want to be thankful every time my heart hurts because something good will come of it.

I want to wake up earlier.

I want to teach my students well.

I want people to always feel good when they’re around me.

I want to be outside more.

I want to find my guy, my partner in crime, and have 65 years of marriage too!

I want to worry less and trust myself more.

I want to always increase and strengthen my faith.

I want to listen better and surround myself with people who challenge me.

I want to walk in the rain and play in the snow.

I want to make more funny stories. And I want to find the funny in every situation. It’s always there – you just have to look and let yourself go.

I want to love well.

I want to leave a mark on this world somehow and do my small part in making it a better place.

I want to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” and for everyone to say I had a good, long, happy life like sweet PaMa. I want to follow her perfect example.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Need a Raincoat

My other grandmother just died. I need a hug. Everything is sad.

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
Its raining in baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no ones around

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call

These train conversations are passing me by
And I dont have nothing to say
You get what you pay for
But I just had no intention of living this way

I need a phone call
I need a plane ride
I need a sunburn
I need a raincoat

And I get no answers
And I dont get no change
Its raining in baltimore, baby
But everything else is the same

Theres things I remember and things I forget
I miss you I guess that I should
Three thousand five hundred miles away
But what would you change if you could?

I need a phone call
Maybe I should buy a new car
I can always hear a freight train if I listen real hard
And I wish it was a small world
Because Im lonely for the big towns
Id like to hear a little guitar
I think its time to put the top down

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ya Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs...

I am now in Charleston, South Carolina. The last stop on what I told a friend a couple nights ago is my Tour of Peace. Yay.

I was in the car for…almost 7 hours today. Which is awful - it was raining so it was extra long and boring. I had lots of random thoughts to keep me alert and awake, though. For example, I counted how many boyfriends I’ve had in my little life. I mean actual relationships, not just one or two monthers. Since I was 16 (13 years ago for those keeping track), I’ve had seven boyfriends. Is that a lot? I’m not sure. Most have been six months or so. A few long ones in there. I like to think I'm a tough catch, but that seems like a big number. Oh well. 7 it is. As I was trying to think of their similarities, I actually came up with a list of differences.

I think dark hair is the hottest, but have dated quite a few blonds. Even one redhead. I also prefer blue eyes, but the majority has in fact not had blue eyes. Maybe that’s a sign I should stick to a dark haired, blue eyed boy since that’s what I like best, and it hasn’t worked out veering away from that image. Dark hair is hot too because guys with dark hair usually have hairy chests and scruffy faces. Hot and double hot.

None have been bald. And most have played the guitar. In fact, I’d say most of the guys I’ve dated period have played the guitar. I don’t know what that’s about. It’s a popular instrument.

So then I started thinking about all the guys I’ve ever dated, not just the boyfriends. Because ooo there was a one monther that was in a band. He wasn’t particularly hot, but really hot in the bedroom ooo ahh. Looked hot on stage too. Hands are something that first attract me to someone. Hands are a big deal. And guitarists usually have big, strong hands and know how to use them! The last guy’s room I was in, I remember walking in for the first time and seeing guitars and thinking, “Uh huh. Of course you play the guitar.” I seem to have a knack for seeking them out. Or maybe some kind of secret siren that attracts them to me. I do love the guitar, though, so guilty as charged.

And as far as I know, I’ve never dated a guy that played any other musical instrument. Definitely gotta find me a harmonica player. That's right up there with a tongue ring.

I figured out today I’ve dated two anarchists. That’s an odd one, don’t you think? Two Jewish guys, two Catholics…well, no, probably more Catholics than that, but with the others it just never got to the “what religion are you” conversation. Probably more atheists than I’d like. One of the anarchists was atheist. Oh! And the other was Catholic so that’d make three total. Sorry, now I’m categorizing them. I don’t mean to sound callous or diminish them to a bunch of boxes to check, but it was an entertaining driving game. Hard to play the license plate game alone, you see, so please don’t think I’m being insensitive. They’re all complex, caring, interesting people who have been good to me, and I think we’ve had a lot of fun too.

All had straight hair but one. I also don’t think I ever went out with anyone from California. Or Texas. In fact, I think they’ve all been from the East Coast. I did date a guy from Reno, Nevada. He was really into Reno 911, but I think Super Troopers is way funnier. That guy was actually strange. We ate at an Indian restaurant, and he made a big deal about how he wasn’t going to buy me any Naan. I was paying for my own meal anyway, but he got all weird about the bread.

I had a few dates with a vegetarian last summer. Meat is good. I love to cook, and what would I cook for him? Bor-ring. I’ve never dated anyone who has been married or has a kid. Those are adventures I want us to have together for the first time. Athletes…a few guys who played football in high school. No college athletes. Ooo well a soccer guy. Soccer guys are the cutest. The cutest guy I dated in high school was on the soccer team. Aw I had one boyfriend who played football in high school, and I still wear his Catholic Football t-shirt! It’s comfy. I love stealing shirts.

I’ve dated princes and paupers. A few guys had lots of money. One kept trying to buy me things so that freaked me out. I would honestly rather go to Taco Bell on a first date or his favorite dive bar than a four star restaurant. It's more genuine and relaxed. I’d just rather date someone who’s making his future than one who’s already living it. I’m making mine now, and I like the idea of us making one together, answering life's questions and figuring things out together. I think that goes back to my old dream of being poor, traveling the world and living off of peanut butter sandwiches and sex.

Jobs. Ok, I’ll do a run-down of the big seven first, and I’ll tell you what they were when I dated them because that makes the most sense. High school student. College student, college student. Pothead/Video store clerk. Accountant. Music agent. Journalist/firefighter. See? Runs the gamut. Ok, so jobs of guys I’ve just dated. I went out with a guy once who works at the Pentagon and writes Congressional testimony. Yikes. I’ve dated lawyers, but never a doctor. Never a teacher either, and that’s too bad cuz I like teachers. Two firefighters actually, but never a cop. A few investment bankers...snooze. Paralegal. Assistant minister of music. Cigar bar owner. That was interesting, and he introduced me to cigars, which are so yummy with college football. Caterer. Rock star! Ok, so he wasn’t a star, but I did tell you he was in a band.

My aunt teaches psychology, and she’s big on birth order. Did you know that the most successful match ever is between either two youngests or one youngest and an only? I’m an only. Though also kinda a youngest, and evidently, my personality matches the youngest. Out of the seven, there were…three onlies. Three oldest. And one youngest. Actually, the last boyfriend was a youngest, and I’d definitely say he’s the closest to what I’m looking for so maybe that’s why. If I ever make a pre-date interview, that’ll be a survey question. So see? This is helpful. Dark haired, blue eyed, youngest. Who plays the guitar because that seems to be cosmic and out of my control. And a hairy chest because it's just hot.

The one common denominator in all of them is that none are dancers. I love to dance and have never, ever dated a dancer. Maybe one date. I’ll give the one date wonders the benefit of the doubt, but nobody I've ever really dated. And I definitely want a guy that dances. It’s silly, but important to me. I hope I find one.

I don’t have a body type. I’ve dated tall, short, thin, stocky, athletic…I don’t even know what I prefer. Tall. I definitely prefer tall. Tall is hot. Though hard to find and not being bald is a higher priority so I’d sacrifice tall for hair. Ok, now it just sounds like I’m ordering take-out! “If they’re out of broccoli then no Kung Pao Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken instead.” Aw but if it were that easy, think of all the fun we’d miss out on. And all the mistakes we’d make too. We don’t know what’s best for us. Sometimes what we think we want, we don’t really like at all. Or don’t need.

That’s the whole process and purpose of dating, I guess - figuring out what you’re looking for. But it's actually just a way of getting us to where we need to be because we don’t really know what we’re looking for until we find it and it fits just right. So I may end up with a bald blond with green eyes and two left feet, who’s an oldest. I don’t know. It’s a mystery. But I sure have had fun adventures with some great guys along the way.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No Baby For Me! No, No, No.

So my sweet cousin, C, is pregnant. Yay! I’m really excited. I do love little ones. I’m really good with kids, they usually think I’m pretty fun, they’re so curious and it’s exciting watching them learn something for the first time, and I love how sweet and full of love they are…but I just don’t want one. Not now, I mean. Eventually, I will want some little rugrats, but right now, that would be a very bad idea. And scary idea - for me and for Baby!

A few years ago, I broke up with a guy my mom was really pulling for, and she went through a couple weird phases. One was when she was convinced I should marry the guy that sat in front of her at church, whom neither of us even knew. And the other was when she would periodically say random things about wanting a grandchild. They were so surprising and subtle that I would just ignore them, but finally told her, “Hey, Mom, if you really want a grandchild, I could give you one. I mean, I don’t even have a boyfriend, but that doesn’t matter. I’m sure it’d be easy to get pregnant if I tried.” And that shut her up.

My friends are starting to have cute little ones, and now with my cousin getting pregnant, the question of babies does come to mind. But yeah…just don’t want one for awhile. A good friend recently told me she believed that God had children waiting just for her, and I believe she's right. I believe it's all in His timing, but I really just don’t think He wants me to have any now. And after reading this list, you'll agree.

So here’s a list of the top ten reasons why I’d be an absolute rotten parent right now:

1. I sometimes forget to feed my dog or give her water and only remember when she barks at me. I think it’s really bad to forget to feed your baby. Another difference between dogs and babies – you can’t just leave the baby at home when you leave the house. You actually have to take it with you wherever you go. Annoying!

2. I really like shoes! And dammit if those babies don’t need new shoes every two weeks. I’d be real grumpy if I had to keep buying baby shoes and couldn’t get any for me because Baby was going through shoes like we were burning money.

3. I like to get drunk and go to bars, and I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon to get drunk and take your baby to a bar. They have coat checks, but no baby checks for a reason.

4. No spontaneous road trips with baby in tow. Babies can’t live off of Vitamin Water and protein bars for days at a time. And singing loudly to my iPod might wake Baby up. Not to mention how smelly Baby’s diapers would make the car.

5. Speaking of smelly diapers - poop is gross. ‘Nuff said.

6. I haven’t had enough wild animal sex yet. And I think it could be scarring for Baby to walk in on Mommy and Daddy doing something kinky with costumes and props.

7. I scream when I orgasm. Even when I’m trying to be quiet, I know I’m really not all that quiet. And if Baby woke up and started crying, that’d really kill the mood, and I just don’t think I’d be able to get it back after that. Even if Daddy was a harmonica player.

8. Babies don’t like to watch Grey’s Anatomy. In fact, Baby probably wouldn’t be able to shut up for an hour to let Mommy see if Meredith and Derek are gonna work it out.

9. I love going to concerts and always scowl at people who bring babies or toddlers to rock n roll shows. They have tiny, developing ears, and I can’t imagine they’re all that fun to stand or sit next to either. As for me, I’m not ready to give up my rockstar lifestyle just yet. And I plan to dye my hair pink one more time before I really settle down anyway.

10. Babies have sooo much energy! Especially once they start crawling and walking. Geez. Can’t you just chill out, Baby? All that running around, picking things up they’re not supposed to, turning the TV off and on, throwing toys, temper tantrums, chasing the dog, pulling the cat’s tail, crying, wetting the diaper…ah! Simmer down, Baby. Simmer.

So yeah…not good for me right now. Too selfish. Too wild. Too little patience. Sleep too important. But maybe one day. When my husband, Derek Jeter, gets me a nanny and buys me three new pairs of shoes every time Baby gets one. Sigh. Oh, that Jete. Such a sweetheart. Yeah, I’ll just wait til then.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

I had a perfect day. Saturday was just the most lovely, most perfect day. I drove from DC Friday afternoon to my sweet Papaw’s house and spent the night. My cousin, C, and her hilarious husband, R, were also there with my mom. Then Saturday morning, the rest of the family came up, and we had a long, fun day laughing and teasing and playing in the sun.

For years now, we’ve had a family get-together up at my grandfather’s house in August around my aunt’s birthday. After we ate lunch, my aunt was serving some homemade ice cream when C made her stop and sit down to open a present. It was a picture frame that said, “Life isn’t perfect - That’s why God made grandparents.”

She’s pregnant!

They’ve been married for five years so for the past two or three, everyone’s been hounding them. And they are really just the cutest couple. The way they dote on each other and cuddle and joke. They’re just as giddy in love as they were six years ago when they got engaged.

I remember when they got married. I was the maid of honor (shocking, I know) so I was first down the aisle. C’s friend told me I would cry and tried to give me Kleenex, but I’m not much of a crier and never cry in front of anyone so I just shrugged and said, “No…I don’t think so.” Oh, but when I looked down the church vestibule and saw my uncle whispering something into her ear, my eyes watered and I grabbed a Kleenex.

On the walk down the aisle, I just kept telling myself to look at R. I love him to bits and knew he’d be grinning a big wide grin that would make me smile too. But no! He was tearing up! So then I lost it. Not to mention his father, who was the best man, was just bawling. We all ended up sniffling our way through the ceremony, and it was one of my most favorite days.

I can’t even imagine how beautiful the day will be when I meet that little one for the first time. And see how happy and proud C and R are. I am so blessed to have such love in my family.

I really do love my family. All day long Saturday I had a big smile on my face and felt warm and gooey. I kept thinking to myself, “My cup runneth over.”

We laugh a lot and joke and tease each other constantly. We were joking about what the baby would call everyone. The conception happened while they were vacationing at the Biltmore, and R said he thinks they should put that in the brochure. "Make babies here!" My other cousin E, who’s in med school, told C all the gross things that are about to happen to her. He said something really icky about how the iron pills she had to take would make her stool turn black (yes, he said the word stool! ew!). R thought that was so funny, he started singing new words to that old country song Black Velvet. He renamed it Black Stool.

He is really one of the goofiest people I have ever met, and I just can’t get enough of his nonsense. Friday night, he told me that he wants to trap Bigfoot. He’s seen every special about Bigfoot and even looked into going on a excursion looking for Bigfoot, but doesn’t want to go because they won’t let you bring a gun! C and I were leaving to go to the grocery store, and he told me to watch out for Bigfoot.

“R, if I see him, you want me to tell him anything for you? Do you have a message for Bigfoot?”

“No. If you see him, here’s what I want you to do. You find a way to get him to follow you back here to the house so I can shoot him.”

“You’re gonna shoot Bigfoot? Then what are you gonna do with him?”

“I’ll keep him, of course.”

“Oh. Right. Ok. Well, so what? You’re gonna mount him or something the way they do deer?”

“No, I’m gonna make a statue out of him. And I’m gonna put him in the middle of the circle driveway in front of my new house so everybody can see him.”

“Sure, ok. Now will he be doing some kind of pose? Or will he have a prop?”

“He’ll be pointing like this, at his gonads.” Then he demonstrated by pointing both his thumbs at his crotch.

I am telling you, I couldn’t make this stuff up. He really is that goofy. And I just eat it up. My cousin E is just as silly, and they egg each other on. R told me last night he was saving up some “explosions” for E cuz he wanted to blow him away. He was talking about farts. These are grown men, but nothing makes them laugh harder than a fart. When E did get there on Saturday, the two of them had a cannonball contest in the swimming pool. They're big, tall boys so when they were done, there was more water outside the pool than inside it.

This morning while we were setting everything up for lunch, R kept trying to scare me with spiders or by telling me I had a bug on me. I would just shrug, look down and try to find the bug. He said, “Well, that’s just not bothering you, is it? You are one tough mama.” He loves to tease and get a reaction out of you. Finally, he settled on tickling me, which he knew would get me. He told me he's 39 going on 29.

I’ve said many times that I hope to one day find a man like R, and I mean it. He's a blast. I hope to find someone who fits in with this loud, goofy family of mine too. That’s important.

But today I started thinking that if I’m looking for someone who’s tall, goofy, tries to gross me out with bugs, who wants to hunt Bigfoot and has fart competitions, I may be setting my sights a little low. Aw but then he comes over and gives me a big hug and tells me he loves me. And I see him giving C a kiss, and I know he's the sweetest, and I'm looking for that in a man too. Sure he’s goofy and gross, but he’s a real tenderheart too. And I really can’t wait to see how tender and goofy he is with his little one.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Love Will Hoge!

I don’t know what I would do without music. Tonight I saw one of my favorite artists live. Mr. Will Hoge of Nashville, Tennessee.

The first time I saw him was about four or five years ago at a little bar in Athens, Georgia. I’ve seen him probably ten times total and swear each show tops the last. I always drag whoever I can with me to the shows because no one’s ever heard of him but me, and every person I’ve brought has fallen in love. He is just incredibly talented.

Now you know I love the Great State of Tennessee, and I think he just might be the perfect combination of that fine state. His voice is Memphis blues, and he's got rock ‘n roll from Memphis too, with swanky Nashville country. Maybe a little mountain twang from East Tennessee too. He’s got a great sound.

I went with my friend, K, to the show tonight, and as expected, we had a fun time. We weren’t crazy about the opening act so we sat outside on the porch of the music venue.

A little girl comes up with her dad, and she’s just as cute as she can be with her little blond curls. She’s about three or four years old and asks him to take her inside "to see the rock and roll. " When she comes out, I asked her if she liked it, and her dad said, “Oh yeah, she had fun. She told me she wants to rock out.” Love her!!

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, she comes back dragging her mom behind her. They peak in at the concert, and I hear the little girl say, “Look, Mommy. It’s loud, and I like it.” This is now my favorite little girl ever.

Finally, the time comes, and our main man is on stage. He is HOT. Dark hair, lots of scruff, that unkempt I’m-too-cool-for-primping look and wearing tight, faded jeans with one of those cowboy looking shirts with the snaps. K points out he kind of looks like Ryan Gosling, who I will forever be in love with, and I agree.

He puts on a great live show! He always has so much energy, and he literally has the best voice of anyone I’ve ever seen live. His voice is so strong, and in every show, he’ll sing a little without a microphone and at least once without any accompaniment. A-ma-zing.

Now one time I saw him, there was a bit of a scuffle…but this time, the crowd mixed together well. Meaning no one tried to beat me up.

Ooo and he plays the harmonica too, which I’m a sucker for. I love the bluesy sound it makes, and I think it’s an instrument that is often under-appreciated. But also…damn is it hot. I figure any man that can play a harmonica has one skilled tongue. Come to mama, honey.

Even though the venue told me he’d play until 10:00, he ended up treating us for over two hours. After telling us he had one more song, he was tuning his guitar, and by that point, K and I were very close to the front. So I said, “I really like Washed by the Water.

I do love that song. It’s beautiful and moving. It’s about Hurricane Katrina. He looked up and grinned. “Oh yeah? You like that one, huh?” And I said, “Yeah, I like it a lot. It’s a great song.” He grinned again aw. And then some jackasses started shouting out other song titles, and he said, “Oh we’ve got a lot of good ones, do we?”

Will started to strum, and then walked down off the stage and out into the crowd. He walked to the center of the venue where his two band members were, and they played a song right there without any amps or microphones while the audience circled around. It was great. And then…he played my song! He said they weren’t gonna do another one, but that he liked that song too. And it was beautiful.

All in all, another great concert night. So look up that little guy from Nashville and see what you think. I recommend Washed by the Water, Woman Be Strong, July Moon and Sweet Magdeline. I’m not sure you can really get the feel of him, though, without seeing him live, but I betcha he’s coming soon to a music venue near you.

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