Friday, July 9, 2004

More Random Stuff

Nothing exciting, no great, long anecdotes to write about today (well, actually, there are probably several, which is exactly what's making me not want to write, because there's so much to write about, and if I can't get it perfect, I don't want to do it, so I'm forcing myself to do this instead), but I do want to achieve at least a weekly update. So, here are some shorts to keep you going (think of them as the 10 minute cartoon before the main feature).

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I got to see two, yes count 'em, two! sets of fireworks over the 4th of July weekend. The first one was actually on the actual date of the actual 4th of July, that is to say, July 4, 2004,actually. Linda and I went up to Sunset Canyon in Burbank to the church parking lot to see the show that the City of Burbank does from the Starlight Bowl, that we're always either too cheap or delinquent to buy tickets to. It was a pretty good show. Well, I'm sure it was a great show, but for us, it was pretty good. We were looking at them sideways, for one thing, which even though fireworks are 3-dimensional, we were off to the side a little, so we didn't get to experience the full majesty of them. Also, the lower ones were a little obscured by the hills and trees. Which, doesn't that answer some age-old question? Something about not being able to see the fireworks for the trees?

The second set we saw was in Ojai on the 5th of July, which is to say, July 5, 2004. (I gotta say, it bugged me when people kept wishing me a "Happy 4th of July," because, hello! this isn't the fourth, it's the fifth, so can't we use the real holiday name which is Independance Day? I took to hollering that at people on various floats in the Ojai parade as they would wish me a "Happy 4th." I gave them a look that essentially told them to stick it, and perversely wished them "Happy Independence Day" instead. I'm not nice when there's a soapbox underneath me of grammatical and wordy accuracy). ANYway, when the 4th of July falls on a Sunday, as it did this year, Ojai moves all their celebrations up a day so as to respect the Christian Sabbath, a move which I full-heartedly applaud. So we saw the parade in the morning, then snagged us some good seats in the high school parking lot for the fireworks show that evening. And when I say "good seats," y'all, I am not just whistling Dixie. We only could have gotten closer had we been part of the actual pyrotechnics crew, which I'm glad we weren't because one of the last ones exploded at ground level, and I'm pretty sure I would not have wanted to be there just then.

Anyway, Ojai always does a fabulous fireworks show. The only display I've ever seen rival it is any fireworks show at Disneyland, and that's just because they've got it timed to music. These things were exploding right above our heads, and were brilliant and huge and lovely and made me feel deliciously tingly and goosebumpy. The loud ones were so loud they made my teeth hurt. Quick background -- I got a cavity re-filled and a crown done a couple of weeks ago, and my mouth is still a little sensitive where everything is still settling into their new homes. Hard foods or a particularly deliberate chomp down give me a twinge of pain. I don't recollect having either hard food or chomping down during the fireworks, and when one of those ferocious loud ones exploded right over our heads, it made my teeth hurt.

Which is exactly what I said when I turned to C. "Wow. That one made my teeth hurt."

"What does that mean, it made your teeth hurt?"

Perplexed, I furrowed by brow a bit and said, "It made my teeth hurt. Ow?"

"Oh. I thought maybe it was a new saying or something about how awesome that one was. 'It made my teeth hurt.'"

So, now it is. Feel free to use it. When something is particularly ferociously awesome, just say, "That made my teeth hurt."

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I seem to be getting random bits of unsolicited advice from people about how to get a man. Maybe not that crudely put, but it makes me wonder if there is an invisible-to-me tattoo that says "Unattached/Single" across my forehead.

Last weekend, Linda and I went perfume shopping. The nice middle eastern man behind the counter was very helpful about offering advice regarding which perfumes he thought would attract a man. The one he recommended to me, sadly, had gardenia scent in it, so while it may attract a man, it would repel me, and I just don't see a good relationship coming out of that if he's attracted and I'm repelled by myself. I've had it work the other way before, where I've really liked a boy, but he hasn't me so much, or a boy has really liked me but I couldn't stand him, and I know neither one of those is a formula for success. But to have someone attracted to me when I can't live with myself? Not even Yetta could make that one work.

Anyway, Linda tested it for one of his recommended scents. She sprayed some on herself, walked into the main mall corridor and flagged a nice looking young man down. He didn't appear interested, but that may have been due more to the social awkwardness of sniffing a stranger's arm that's been thrust in front of you rather than the scent not being appealing. We will never know. He left without offering an opinion.

The second piece of unsolicited "how to catch a man" advice came from my tai-chi teacher. She was stressing the importance of building up good thigh muscles. Besides advocating them as the "independence" muscles (nothing to do with fireworks or teeth hurting) because of how much freedom having strong muscles give you, especially in your later years, of being able to get out of bed or chairs without assistance, she said that your legs will just keep better and better looking the longer you do tai chi.

She looked at me when she said it, perhaps sensing I need assistance in the "get a man" category? I don't know.

For the record, I don't know that I really need help getting a man. Well, sure, I could flirt a little better, and wear cuter/shorter/whatever-er clothes and taller shoes. Or I could wear the right perfume (gardenia, though? Yuck!) and have great looking thighs because I'm a tai chi master, but.

Is that the sum formula? I don't think so. I think that there other factors to consider, such as man availability, man compatibility and Laura-putting-herself-out-there. Sadly, they all have about equal chances of simultaneously occurring.

First, let's consider me putting myself "out there," on the market, whatever. That happens rarely, because I know that man availability and likeability/compatibility are rare occurrences in and of themselves. But let's say I do. Put myself out there. With the right perfume and good legs, I should now have a one-hundred percent chance of success. Right?

Rhetorically, wrong. The next factor is man availability. There just aren't a lot of eligible (definition = single, straight, LDS) men. If there are, they are also not putting themselves on the market.

Not to be pessimistic though, there are single, straight LDS men. I will grant you that fact.

The last consideration factor is likeability/compatibility (definition = not still living with Mommy. Has a steady job and income. Is not a nerd. Believes in good hygiene. Practices good hygiene. Is not afraid of an intelligent woman.). As you can see my standards are not terribly high. They were when I was 18 and in the Cinderella stage of waiting for Prince Charming, but I've moved past that illusion into reality. No longer does he have to look like the modern-day equivalent of whoever I thought was dreamy-looking back then. He has to have a pulse, hold a job, take showers with soap and be able to acceptably function in society. This is not a lot to ask, people.

Yet, here I am, single and unattached. The greatest legs and best smelling perfume are not going to help in this situation.

And this, my friends, is the key to my happiness. It's acknowledging what is inside my realm of control and what's out of it. I can control my legs, perfume and own marketability. I cannot control the social skills or preferences of others.

So, thank you, Mr. Perfume Store Guy and Ms. Tai-Chi Teacher for the advice. I am acknowledging appropriately and moving on.

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Things to share next week: Has it been twenty years already? Me and falling off the face of the earth then trying to catch back up with people who really meant something to me back in the days of high school. I am not getting nostaligic for high school itself, merely the people who helped me function (or at least pretend to) normally as a teenager.

Looking forward to Hollywood Bowl Saturday night. More fireworks. Disneyland with a couple of "my girls" (former students) next week. A long weekend to northern California in August for [shudder] a high school reunion (more info on this coming soon). A week's vacation in August/September, then immediately going to a training class in San Francisco the day after I get back. Yes, it seems like my whole summer is planned out right here, but that's because the only way I can function at work right now is to focus on additional days off.

Currently reading: "Blackberry Wine," by Joanne Harris.

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