Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Friday, April 30, 2004

I just want to apologize for skipping around with the tenses in that last entry. I went back and read it again, and it drove me nuts, but I'm too lazy to go back and fix it.

Yesterday I went house hunting. I saw a lot of features I liked in locations I didn't, and locations I liked with features I didn't. There was one house that I liked, but it didn't have most of the features that I thought I was looking for. Go figure. But, I guess there was a misunderstanding between Sam and me, he thought he was pressuring me into buying and I thought he decided not to sell. My house is still for sale, and I'm going to crunch some numbers this weekend to figure out how to finance it. Marianne, one of my mom's good friends, has offered to act as a lender for me, and Sam and Donna are thinking about a seller-financed mortgage as well. So I have several options to think about, and with all that, I'm sure I can work out something. I am a CPA, after all. Seeing those houses and having Marianne look at mine made me realize how much I love my house and how much I enjoy living there. It really is a well-maintained property, and I have lots of ideas on how to improve it more. I may have to put some of my other wish list items on hold, like a new TV and a computer, but I've decided this is really what I want to do. And that makes me feel good.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Reason #548 Why Dementia is in My Inevitable Future
I've been noticing that my truck has been making a high-pitched whining noise. Better to have it checked out, probably just a belt that needs to be replaced or something. I dropped off my truck yesterday morning, walked the rest of the way to work, and went on my happy way. I stayed a bit late at work, finishing up some confirmations, ran some errands downtown, and went to my usual spot in the parking garage, completely forgetting that it would not be there. The mechanic closed at 5:30, and it's past 6:00. Shit. I walk to the mechanic's, hoping they'd left it out. Nope. It's locked in their garage. No truck. I ended up calling Kristen to come get me, since I was supposed to go over there to try on the bridesmaid's dress she'd found last weekend. I took the Cambus to work this morning. Guess who was driving? Wildman. So I rode his bus this morning and I mentioned to him that Chris has been talking about a Nintendo party with their projector for ages now. He was all for it. We just need to plan it. So I'll be heading over to pick up my truck over lunch. I should call to see if it's actually ready. If they'd called me to tell me it was done, I would have remembered to pick it up. Maybe this isn't completely my absentmindedness...

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Oren-Ishii (Cottonmouth)

You're Oren-Ishii! Twisted and homicidal, you respect most people, but let them know not to mess with you. You have a talent for sensing danger, and keep only the most loyal and skilled people around you.

Kill Bill: Which Deadly Viper Assassin Are You? (Vol. II spoilers... results with pics)

Monday, April 26, 2004

I am a celebrity. Okay, not really, I was just called a celebrity. Yesterday was the Hospice Walk for Dignity and Dinner/Auction. I volunteered through the Chamber Ambassadors, a community group I'm in for work, to be one of the "Celebrity Waitstaff" for the event. I think the only real celebrities on the waitstaff were Ron Clark and Jody Hovland (who are not Ambassadors, but I think just volunteered anyway), but we got a big round of applause just for volunteering, and I got my first (and probably only) taste of waitressing. I had only two tables, and everyone ate the same dinner, so that part was easy. I got drinks from the bar, and delivered and cleared plates and kept waterglasses and coffee filled. I was an excellent waitress, if I do say so myself. :) Not to mention getting to flirt with the cutie who was one of the other volunteers. He must be one of the newer Ambassadors, since I hadn't met him before. It was also really fun watching the auction, and seeing people be cavalier with their money for charity. It was interesting to see how much people were and were not willing to spend on items. All the items were donated, so all the money went to Hospice, but it would be an interesting psychological study on people's motivations when charity is involved. They did end up raising a lot of money, which is all that really matters in the long run.

Friday, April 23, 2004

My relationship with Emily has always been...complicated. If there was anything in my life that I regret or feel ashamed of, it's the completely horrible way I have treated, and somehow, continue to treat her. I have absolutely no clue why. My actions have never supported the way I love her. It's like, no matter what I say to her, how I treat her, how selfish I am with her, no matter how angry she gets with me, she will always still love me.

I took out a lot of frustrations out on her, especially when I still lived at home. School tended to be a nightmare for me, socially, and when I got home, Em took the brunt of it. The things I said, the way I made her feel...I am not that kind of person. I don't want to be that kind of person.

I don't know why she still has anything to do with me, let alone ask me to be her maid of honor. I am honored beyond belief, partly because it shows me that I haven't done irreparable damage to our relationship. Then I go and do something like try and choose my friends over her, and I've done it again. I be selfish and hurt her feelings, and I do my best to try and justify it, all the while feeling guilty because I've fallen back into the same old habits after telling myself, 'Never again'.

Emily is the strongest person I know. When she's happy, it's infectious. When she laughs, you can't help but laugh, even if you don't know what she's laughing about. When she's down, it's also infectious. When she's sad, the whole world is sad, and all you want to do is to make her feel better. There's no half way with Emily. When she loves you, she loves you wholly, and when she's mad at you, you'd best just stay out of her way. You can't tell Emily she can't do something, because she'll do it just to prove you wrong. There is now a pizza-eating competition tradition after State Marching Band, solely because someone told Emily she couldn't possibly eat more pizza than Russell Allen. Many a band student has puked because of her obstinacy. I think it's that obstinacy that has got her through all her health problems. She has the gravity of a person who has had to deal with that, but she doesn't let it show.

I suppose in a way, her leaving will be good, because it will be a lot harder to hurt her from far away. But I will miss her laugh, the one that makes me happy the way nothing else does.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

My dad is somewhat of a mystery to me. My understanding of him is based mainly on my understanding of myself, because we are very much alike in personality. My dad is named after his father, who was a doctor and died of cancer in the early seventies. It has been kind of a tradition in my family to name a son Lysle and use his mother's maiden name as the middle name. I'm not sure how this tradition got started or when, but I'll be interested to know if Lew plans on continuing that tradition. My dad is a farmer. There are a lot of things you know immediately about someone when you know he is a farmer. You know that he has battled against nature, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. You know he has spent countless hours tending land, plowing, sowing, spraying, reaping, drying and transporting. You know he has watched the skies with hope, with dread, and with frustration. You know he is intimately familiar with dirt and sweat and hard work. He knows his machines and his land. He is one of the last of a disappearing kind of man.

My early memories of my father are of a somewhat stoic man. I think money weighed on him. The eighties were a tough time for farmers. In 1988, he took a second job working swing shift as an operator at the Louisa power plant. He still farms. I think he thinks of the plant as what allows him to keep farming. I think someday he'd like to go back to just farming.

I'm not sure when the change happened, but I remember it being more of when I left for college. He became a lot more...jovial. Better natured. More quick to smile. He still has the same temper as Emily, but when he wasn't in a temper, he was a lot more likely to be happy. He's still very private; he very rarely says what he's feeling. He shows his love in ways that if you weren't looking for it, you might miss it. Like when he bought me a can of pepper spray. To me, it was as good as saying, "I love you."

There are things that I latch onto because they remind me of him. I recorded Sergeant York off AMC once, and every once in a while, I'll watch it, because it's Dad's favorite movie. He went through a phase once, where he read the Little House books. When we'd groan about our chores, his favorite response was "Well, Laura and Mary had to do this by hand" or "Laura and Mary wouldn't have complained." We were so sick of Laura and Mary. I listen to Variety Time with Leo Greco on Sunday mornings on the way home from church because Dad would. We would groan everytime he'd flip on the radio and a polka would dance out of the speakers. Sometimes he'd acquiesce to our demands and switch the station, but more often he'd make us suffer through it. Now I listen and smile.

Even though I'm not as close to my dad as I am to my mom, I identify with him a lot more. I think we are a lot more alike than we realize, and will probably ever realize, because it's not something we would ever talk about. Being with my dad, sitting in complete silence, is one of the most comfortable places I can be.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I am absolutely sick. The only day we can figure out to do Em's bachelorette party is the 15th. Graduation day. Graduation party day. The last party with my friends. I can't possibly do both, and it makes me sick to have to choose one over the other. And I feel horrible, because I'm leaning toward spending the evening with Josh and Tacia and Brian and Todd instead of Emily. Because as much as I go on about how much my family means to me, my friends have been more important to me than I care to explain. And ironically, I think only Emily has an inkling of an idea why.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

I'm going to start a series of posts about my family. There are several reasons for this, the foremost of which is because it relates to my April 9th post. I feel the need to explain why my family means so much to me, why I can't move away, and why I am so incredibly fortunate to have them in my life. I'm not exactly sure how to do this, and I'm sure I will be jumping around, but I will start at the beginning, with my mom.

I am a first-born. I was four when my sister was born, and thus I was an only child for a long time. My mom was, and pretty much still is, a full-time mom. She went to school to become a chiropractor's assistant, and was almost ready to move away - to Kansas City, I think - when my dad asked her to marry him and she put her plans on the shelf. I was born four years later. We were pretty much inseparable during those first four years of my life, she tells me. I doubt a farmer's wife could ever afford to stay home with her kids today, but there we were. Mom was my everything. I wanted to be her when I grew up. I watched her do everything: cook, bake cakes, clean, shop, talk on the phone, fold laundry, drive, garden. Wherever she was, I wanted to be. I was her shadow. She read to me, she sang to me, she played with me, she taught me everything I knew. She was my best friend. Even after I started going to school and playing with friends my own age, she was still more important to me as a friend than even Cassie. I never went through teenage rebellion with my parents. When I left home, I talked with her on the phone at least three times a week. Whenever I was lonely or excited or homesick or proud or just needed to hear the sound of her voice, I'd call. It only slowed down when Leah and I became such close friends, and now that I can't call her anymore, I find myself calling Mom a lot more often again.

I no longer want to be Mom, as my life has seemingly gone off in another direction, most notably in that I have not yet started a family of my own. She is still my role-model, as all the traits of love and dedication and faith that she instilled in me are still important to me as well. I admire her as I admire no other woman. I admire her tireless dedication to her family. I admire her for caring about the kids she works with in Young Life, Campaigners, and Sunday School. I admire how she stood up for Nile and took him in like he was her own. I admire her love for my father. I admire her strength and her sense of humor and her creativity and her beauty. She makes me feel loved like no one else can.

If I ever become a mother, I have the best experience to draw on, and I will have a difficult time living up to her example.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Let's see if I can save some time by cutting and pasting emails about my weekend, shall we?

What a wonderful three day weekend! Friday I slept until 7:30, lounged in bed until 8, and watched TV until Kristen and I went shopping. I found my banquet dress at Younker's (downtown Younker's, if you can believe it). It's black see-through sparkly material, with a red sheath underneath that looks maroon through the black. It's tight-fitting, so tight in fact, that I had to buy some hold-you-in-so-the-bulges-don't-show underwear. Shhhhh! It's knee-length, with the wispy ends that I like so well. Spaghetti straps. Very sexy. I can't wait to wear it! Although, I had sparklies all over my chest from trying it on three times in the store.

Went to the 9:50 showing of Kill Bill Friday night with the entire gang. [begin spoiler for Kill Bill Vol. 2: highlight to read]QT is a film genius. The scenes with Mai Pei stroking his beard was absolutely hilarious, and I think his scenes were the best of the entire movie. I'm so glad we found out how Elle Driver lost her eye. That was sooooo gross, when B stepped on her other eye. The rest of the violence in the movie was gross, but funny, because it was so over the top. The eye was puke-worthy. I thought Bill's death was absolutely perfect. I was worried it was going to be anti-climatic, and it easily could have been, but the five-point palm exploding heart technique (the best. name. ever.) was hilarious, poingant, and appropriate. I hate buried-alive scenes, but I enjoyed the Buffy nod. [/end spoiler] Tacia and I watched "The Making of Kill Bill Vol. 1" before everyone else got there to watch the first one again, and I loved seeing where QT got the influences for the movie. If I was a better film buff, I would have known (except for the aforementioned, which I couldn't help but comment on during the movie, Chels [wink]), but I can appreciate it nonetheless. I can't wait for the DVD commentary. *anticipatory sigh*

Saturday I started spring cleaning - got my kitchen done - and mowed the lawn. Very productive day. I was glad to spend some time outside, though there's still a lot of lawn work I want to do, and a lot of spring cleaning left on my list.

Yesterday was Emily's shower. The aunts did a wonderful job. Em got a lot of good loot. The waffle iron went home with her, despite protests of tradition and impropriety. I don't know why they bothered. :) I got to be 'host' for the quiz about Emily game, because the aunts thought I knew too much. My impressions don't range to game show hosts, though "Nice do-bok, Trebeck..." ran through my mind. Speaking of, this is for TOD: Jeopardy Quiz. I only got 40%.

All in all, I think my weekend was just the right balance of rest and productivity. Can't be saying the same for this morning, though. ;)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
The extensions are filed, the clients quit calling
“The deadline is near!”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s the hap-happiest season of all!
With returns out the door and tax files off the floor
No more clients to call
It’s the hap-happiest season of all!

There’ll be beers to be drinking
Pool balls to be sinking
And smoking cigars in the bar
There’ll be free food for stuffing
And tales of the huffing,
Most horrible clients by far

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much happy laughter
Relaxing thereafter
So be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I lost five pounds when I couldn't eat for two days. I think I'm gaining it back today. Stupid Easter candy. Stupid lack of self-control. If Master Shin asks me to define self-control, the answer will be "Eating only one Sweet Tarts jelly bean."

Monday, April 12, 2004

My family is hilarious. Especially at the dinner table. We-could-have-our-own-sitcom hilarious. "The ------- Family at the Dinner Table" Of course, it's always quite possible we are only funny to ourselves. Like when Lew put on a Dad face at Easter dinner, and Emily and I cracked up. I'm going to miss those dinners. It's just not nearly as funny if everyone isn't there.

Calvin's new favorite phrase: "I'm going to throw you in the junk...stupidhead." It's hard not to laugh. I'm sure I was not very successful.

Only one egg was not found yesterday. That's a pretty successful egg hunt for us. One of these years we're going to get smart and make maps of the yard for the hiders so they can mark where they hide the eggs. It doesn't make one a spoiled rotten brat if one is twenty five years old and still gets an Easter Basket, does it?

Friday, April 09, 2004

Ever have one of those days where your entire life gets turned upside down and the one thing you counted on most to be your rock isn't? That was yesterday.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

I had a nightmare last night that Emily was kidnapped by a Chinese guy with a stutter. He left a message on my cell phone with his ransom demands. The only thing that I could decipher between the accent and the stutter was "various Goonies memorabilia, including posters and video games." says this:
"To dream that someone has been kidnapped indicates that you are not letting aspects and characteristics of that person be expressed within you. You are trying to contain and/or suppress those qualities of the kidnapped person."

I think it was because right before I went to bed, I watched the episode of Jem where Kimber gets kidnapped because she looks exactly like the princess. I also organized my Nintendo games. I have not yet played Goonies.

Sometimes the simplest answer is the best. Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate, or "Plurality should not be posited without necessity." That's Occam's Razor: "Of two competing theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the simpler one is to be preferred."

Monday, April 05, 2004

So Sam and Donna want $175,000 for the house. I'm sure someone will pay that, but it's not going to be me. The house north of me went for $150K, and the house south of me went for $130K, both in the past two years. The house south of me is a double lot, and a lot of work needed to be done on it. So a conservative figure would be $50K for the patch of land (location, location, location he thinks), maybe a hundred for the house and twenty-five for the rental I'm most definitely going to miss being so close to the action on football Saturdays, but it's not worth that to me.

So I'm house hunting. I went to an open house over on Muscatine Ave., and it was a really cute house. Had oak floors, wood trim and a fireplace. A lot of character. So much character in fact, one of the basement walls was buckling. They did some reinforcing with a lifetime warranty, but buckling scares me. Some things you can deal with, but don't mess around with the foundation. I'm afraid my house-hunting is going to be like car hunting for me. See, I was looking for a manual with power-everything, and it's just hard to find those two in combination unless you want to pay for a sports car. I want an old-fashioned house with none of the problems. I'm just not going to find that unless I want to pay for a completely refurbished house - pricey or in a not-so-great neighborhood. I'll find something. I just hope it's before my lease runs out.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Leah said she believes her friendships with people are based on shared memories. And it got me thinking, what are my friendships based on, since I remember so little? I have a very visual, close to photographic memory. I am very good at remembering where I saw something or where to go to find something. Things people tell me don't have visual cues, so I have a hard time remembering them. If you write it down, I am much more likely to remember it by calling up the visual image in my head. My feelings about people are most definitely based on memories, but more the effects of the shared events on my feelings more than the memories of the events themselves. I spent an inordinate amount of time with Cassie when I was growing up. I remember the types of things we used to do together, but rarely a specific time when we did them. There's maybe one or two memories of us playing Barbies or exploring the creek or jumping on haybales, but I know we did all those things often. It's like I chose an example of those things to remember, to remember that I did do them. Although we don't have so much in common anymore, since we are at very different points in our lives, we do have those shared experiences that started the relationship. But it's not why I love her. It's my connection to the person she is and the trust and affection I have for her that forms the friendship. And that goes for all my friends.

I think I need to explain further why I'm thinking about this. As explained to Leah: It is a source of great sadness to me that I don't have those memories. I wish I was able to say "Yes! And..." when someone says, "Do you remember when...?" Last Christmas, as part of my family gift exchange, we each went around and told our favorite Christmas memory. I actually started crying, because I couldn't remember any. I remember having Christmas, and that someone or another gave me presents or that such-and-such was one of our traditions, but I couldn't remember the actual event. I don't understand why there's this thing that seems to be part of everyone else's consciousness can't be part of mine, as well. It's like there's a part of me that's missing somehow. So all I have are the feelings. I do understand that other people have the connections, too, that memories aren't the only thing that forms the basis of friendships. But not mine.

Congratulations! Your best Firefly match is...Zoe (76%)

Firefly Personality Test

Thursday, April 01, 2004

It's April! Two more weeks exactly! I love the promise of a new month: I'll get all my charge time in, I'll do everything I have planned. Inevitably I'm disappointed on those two points, but I can be an optimist. Oooh, look at all the things I get to do this month: Sunday is the Passion discussion at church, then Easter and all that candy (and I get to see my family, too), April 15th (freedom day!), Emily's shower, the Hospice run and dinner auction. I will be talking more about that after next Tuesday. And Testing is at the end of the month. Holy crap! I need to get going. I still need to practice all those combo kicks for my one-steps, and polish up my form. All this skipping practice has not been good for me.

I have not filed my taxes yet.