If you are a former contestant of LJ Idol Season Five (current season), please see this post for details. Uncle Gary Wants YOU! All contestants of Season Five are asked to vote in this week's contestant-only voting.
Could I use the word contestant one more time? Contestant!
I've made a lot of new friends and I'm so glad that I made it this far.
Thanks to kathrynrose for dragging me by the ear. Seems we're always getting in trouble some way.
It is physically impossible for me to color outside the lines.
The sky must be blue. The grass must be green. The sun must be yellow.
A dinosaur may be purple if I’m feeling chipper.
Flowers must be pink with yellow centers. Firetrucks must be red.
Dogs must be brown or black. Cats must be black or white.
Houses cannot be purple. Trees must be brown with green leaves.
People cannot be orange.
It is mentally impossible for me to color outside the lines.
I must follow the rules and if there are no rules, I must make some up.
I cannot cut across a parking lot.
I cannot cut corners. If I cannot get whatever needs to be done within the guidelines, it doesn’t get done.
I must count the items in my buggy before getting into the ‘20 items or less’ aisle.
I must match, socks, undergarments, shoes.
I cannot eat food past the expiration date. I cannot eat leftovers past the second day.
I cannot leave the heat on while I'm away from home. I cannot go to bed without checking the function of the smoke alarm and making sure all the doors are locked.
I must finish a book completely, even if I hate it, even if it takes me two years.
I cannot be late.
I cannot say no.
I think it might be better for me if I tried to color outside the lines.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been friends for nine years. That’s the longest I’ve kept a friend. That’s the longest a friend has kept me.
And she knows all my secrets. And she knows all my fears. And she knows all my doubts. And she knows all my hopes. And she knows all my quirks.
And she still lets me come to her house and be around her children. She even lets me give them advice and help them with their homework.
She is larger than life. She is light and sunshine. She fills up a room with an energy that restores. She laughs like she’ll never get another chance. She makes me laugh. She makes me laugh most whenever the only thing I want to do is cry.
My mother died and she was the first person I called. She came to pick me up from work. She asked me what I wanted to do. I said, “I need a drink.” “Oh, well, we’re going to my house, then”, she said. She put some silly movie on the tv, fixed me a drink and covered me up with a blanket.
I’m at her house at least once a week. She feeds me and she listens to me and I decorate her house and teach her things she needs to know about money. I’ll never know if it is an even swap, I’ll never know if she knows how much it all means to me. Stability and strength and friendship; sisterhood and love and family of choice.
She keeps me cracking up and she keeps me from cracking up. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her.
I keep my nose on the grindstone, I work hard every day
Might get a little tired on the weekend, after I draw my pay
But I'll go back workin', come Monday morning I'm right back with the crew
I'll drink a little beer that evenin',
Sing a little bit of these workin' man blues
Six ‘til two. Two ‘til ten. Ten ‘til six.
Double shifts. Overtime. The wife says, “Gotta make that money.” Kids need braces, need to pay for college.
Graveyard. The kids don’t like it when I work graveyard. They say I’m a grouch. “Watch out, Dad’s on graveyard”, they say.
Hold out a few more.
My daddy retired from here. Started at 16, worked 41 years. I started at 18, and they told me last week that I’m on the shutdown crew and then I can’t come back no more. I’m too old to do anything else, too young to retire.
Hey hey, the workin' man, the workin' man like me
I ain't never been on welfare, that's one place I won't be
Cause I'll be working, long as my two hands are fit to use
I drink a little beer in a tavern
Sing a little bit of these workin' man blues
Thanks for coming, governor. It’s a bit too late.
I don’t really understand what happened. They just flew in from
The wife did my resume and there’s a job fair next week. They say to come “properly attired”. I guess overalls and work boots ain’t considered proper attire. Gotta spend money that we don’t have on a tie and shine my boots.
I really don’t know what we’ll do and I know we’ve got it better than most, but somehow I’ve got to figure out a way to get another job. And shake off these feelings of being past my prime and useless.
It’s all gotta work out. There’s really no other choice.
Sometimes I think about leavin', do a little bummin' around
I wanna throw my bills out the window, catch a train to another town
But I go back workin', I gotta buy my kids a brand new pair of shoes
Yeah, drink a little beer in a tavern,
Cry a little bit of these workin' man blues
Merle Haggard - "Workin' Man Blues"
So I slid by in the polls this week at therealljidol . Thank you for your support. This week is a Free Topic week and anyone can post an entry. It isn't required and there won't be any voting on the topic. For more details, see here.
I'm taking the week off (AND THANK GOD, I heard you all say) and enjoying some down time to go along with the vacation time I'll have.
Thank you for your support last week. I remain in tribe millysdaughter.
The poll will be up until noon EST Tuesday. I'll post a reminder Monday or Tuesday.
The sky that day was dark and overbearing. Thunderclouds had rolled in from the west and lightning streaked across the air. The weather mirrored my mood as I sat in a passenger car of the
Thunderclouds had rolled in that day from the west and lightning was streaking the sky. The excitement was palpable, we had all just spent a day on Steam Engine 201 of the historic Texas State Railroad, rocking and rolling through the piney woods of
As the train rolled through the last curve and headed towards the depot, despair washed over me as I searched the faces of the crowd from my seat at the window. He was not there. I was too late. I had made a fool’s errand and this was my reward. The locomotive slowly pulled into the depot, breathing for me, for I surely could not. My heart was broken and I was going to just stay on the train and return to my quiet, safe life.
As the train rolled into the last curve and headed into the depot, a strange and intense feeling washed over me. I had seen this picture before. I had felt this feeling before. I had been here before. Something… missing? Something… supposed to be here? Where? When? How?
Through a blur of tears, I looked one last time at the depot before steeling myself and returning to my humble life. That was when I saw him. Walking out into the early twilight of a stormy evening, placing his hat upon his perfect head and striding to wait by the main entrance of the platform, looking as if he were prepared to wait for eternity.
Through a blur of tears, I felt joy and contentment. Happiness leapt at me as I tried to take it all in. The exact color of the clouds, a dark gunmetal gray. The exact shape and architecture of the depot, a Victorian-era lodge and painted like an iced gingerbread house. The flicker of the streetlamps in the looming storm. The greenness of the leaves of the trees set against the darkening sky. The electric, heavy feel of every breath. The feeling of familiarity, of certainty, of rightness, of realness.
Iron and metal, wood and smoke, beams and stones gave me all of that.
Just as surely as the depot stood in 1917, it stands today.
Thank you for your support last week. I remain in tribe millysdaughter.
The poll went up on Friday evening and is open until Monday evening. I'll probably post a reminder sometime Monday.
These are the drugs that my grandfather used to heal people.
He was an epidemiologist working for the state department of health with a concentration in the prevention and control of STDs.
When I was a teenager, he took me to work with him one day. I think it was his way of explaining things to me, making me understand that with great sex comes great responsibility. What I saw that day were multitudes of people lined up in front of his office. Some were regulars, some were new - each one getting a discreet test, a comforting hand on the shoulder, some pills, some sage advice and a handful of condoms. I saw nurses who loved him, who joked with him, who worked diligently by his side.
He spoke to the community - speaking to the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, the local university, the medical community - trying to make people see that sexually transmitted diseases were unfortunately common-place and could easily be prevented by education and safer practices. Teaching people that one couldn’t get HIV/AIDS from a toilet seat, training on proper preventative measures, and that talking freely and openly about sex and STDs was a good and healthy thing.
He never talked to me about his patients, never told me their stories. He was a stickler for keeping confidentiality and never taking his work home. I know that he lost patients, I know that he went to their funerals.
He retired in 1989 after we all knew what HIV/AIDS was, after he realized that he was just one man in a fight for millions, afraid of what the overabundance of antibiotics was doing to the fight on the spread of disease, an old dog tired of fighting the bureaucracy of state and federal agencies, tired of watching politicians play with peoples’ lives.
When he died in 2003, there were so many people at his wake that there wasn’t enough room in the sanctuary. People that were his regulars, his nurses, his co-workers came to pay their respects to the man that treated them with respect and dignity.
Thank you for your support over the last ten weeks. It is much appreciated. The tribes have been reshuffled and I am in tribe millysdaughter.
She said she didn't want to wind up stuck in a hotel in BFE*, Mississippi. Because all of Louisiana is New Orleans, you know. Just so you know, it really isn't.
It most certainly was about me.
I’d extended an invitation along with my fellow cyber-snarking Louisianans for New Jersey to come visit. All of our little group would manage to be in New Orleans at some point for drinking and eating and talking and laughing. It would be a grand time. Until she made her demands and the record skipped.
I didn’t say anything. I laughed it off and my BFF*s in BFE came up with a cutesy name for ourselves to make us feel better. But, I decided that I didn’t really want to show my beloved city in my beloved state to some jackass from New Jersey. I pulled away from my little internet support system there and clung to bitterness in my heart at a flippant try at humor.
And every time I’m in BFE, Mississippi, I look around and I see everything that New Jersey missed.
We have parishes and drive-thru liquor stores and drinks named after natural disasters. Hell, we survive natural disasters. We have the longest bridge in the world. We have statues of men on horses, wrought iron balconies and people that will do anything to get some beads, mister.
We are a state steeped in culture and history, in music and food, in politics and weather.
We can read and we can write and we even wear shoes on most days. Not all of us have alligators as pets or have to row to work. We sometimes use “ain’t” and “y’all” in a sentence, but that just adds to the flavor. And by the way, y’all is plural.
We’re born knowing how to make a roux, that things are not always pronounced the way they are spelled, and what that little piece of tape over the straw-hole in the go-cup is for.
There’s more to
It’s probably for the best that
BFE - slang term, Bum-Fucked Egypt, meaning the middle of nowhere, the end of the earth, past civilization, offensive to bums and Egyptians everywhere
BFF - Best Friends Forever, what Paris Hilton is trying to find on MTV, I'm glad I don't have to find my friends there.
I used to post gratitude lists - five things every day that I was thankful for. I've gotten out of the habit and I think that it's made a difference on my outlook. I read somewhere that it's impossible for the brain to be grateful and angry at the same time. Perhaps I should start again. Mundane things like yellow school buses all in a row, waiting to take young people to knowledge or a perfect cup of decaf Earl Grey tea. Waking up without a headache. The internet. The night before's Bones or House. My chosen family. All of you.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in America. Every year for the last nine years, J and I have sat at a table loaded with food that I've prepared, glasses raised and told what we're each thankful for. Tomorrow will be no different. My list always has the big three: Him. The roof over my head. The food we are about to partake.
I’m thankful for my friends and chosen family that love me for me. They support me in ways they will never know.
I’m thankful for my family for showing me how not to do things and for pushing me to be more.
I’m thankful for my job that affords me food and shelter, transportation, benefits, vacation time, spending cash.
I’m thankful for my doctors, my medical insurance, modern medicine.
I'm thankful for every step that got me here because if it weren't for those steps, I wouldn't be here now.
There is no "voting topic" this week, BUT there is a Free Topic. Anyone can write an entry (yes, YOU can). The topic is The Giving of Thanks. Once you've written a post on this topic, just post a link to your entry here.
Thank you for your support last week. I remain in tribe rm.
ETA: The poll went up late Friday night due to LJ outages earlier in the week. The poll will close on Tuesday at 1 pm EST.
Subtitle: If ibuprofen were chocolate-coated.
Seven months ago, at the age of thirty-one, mostly on a whim, I decided to get braces. Orthodontia. Metal mouth. Brace face.
I’ve always had trouble with my teeth. They all came in crooked, but thankfully all the front ones mostly straightened out by the time I was fifteen. They were crowded. I never flossed. My family couldn’t afford regular dentist trips much less braces. At 21, with my first full-time job with benefits, I went off to the dentist. My first cleaning took two visits. I love my dentist. He’s warm and kind and no-pressure. He asked if I wanted to have my wisdom teeth out, I said “No thank you”. He said, “You’ll be asking in a few years.” Well, in a few years, I was asking. He asked if I wanted to be referred to an orthodontist. I said, “No thank you”. He said, “You’ll be asking a few years”. In a few years, I was asking.
Every couple of months since February, I’ve had your basic wire changes, repositionings, checkups. I never know what to expect, never worry about how it’s going to go. I go in unprepared and come out in various stages of pain. Today, I’ve started what my ortho calls “custom work”. Like I’m a ’57 Chevy.
The top wire snapped into place and with a snip-snip was done. It felt weird, but I could live with it. If the rest were like that, piece of cake. It was not to be. The bottom wire had many custom bends and was the size of bailing wire. On the first try, I held my breath. On the second try, reinforcements had to be called in. On the third try, the tech and I were both crying. A bracket broke. The doc had to be called back in, we started to try again. I asked for a cigarette break. I don’t smoke.
One last try and it was finally in. It felt like my teeth were being ripped out by the roots with no anesthetic. Which, I guess, is what was happening. I was unprepared for it. I really don’t like crying in public and I’ll be eating potato soup for dinner, breakfast and lunch.
No matter how much it hurts, no matter what comes next, no matter how much I feel like a sixth-grade reject, I am okay with all of that. And I was completely unprepared for that.