I am thankful for…

Airplanes. Because riding in a car for ten hours is a bitch.

I’m grateful that they sell Hazelnut Dunkin Donuts on the base where I work on because if I have to drink Starbucks or generic coffee, I losemyshit.

I’m grateful for Moxie and how she’s really taught me about unconditional love, considering she loves me whether I’m pretty or ugly, fat or normal, wretched or pleasant. This might not be saying much, though, since I think she blacks out every time she blinks.

I’m thankful to have such fantastic siblings and parents and 2 savings accounts, even if my husband refuses to let me take money out of one of them.

I’m grateful that we have a coffee machine in my office and that when its cold out, I have a coat to wear and heated house to come home to.

I’m grateful to be able to live, work and travel in Europe.

I’m thankful that I still have a crazy and chaotic full head of hair, which seems normal, but I’ve seen that early female balding shit and it’s NOT pretty.

I’m grateful that I had the courage to leave my normal life in order to chance that I could have a brilliant one. I was right.

I’m grateful that my husband likes condiments as much as I do so that I don’t have to argue why we need to buy a new bottle of salad dressing every time we shop for groceries.

I am grateful that I have amazing girlfriends that are strong and beautiful women. To mention a few: There’s my loyal, selfless, counterpart who’s known me since I was 9. My crazy, reliable companion who knows all the very bad and is my partner in crime. The responsible, beautiful and thoughtful one that cried in approval when she saw me marry (in relief, I think). The opinionated vixen that reminds me to stop dressing frumpy and gives me lipstick for my birthday. The true lady that’s great for lingerie suggestions and marriage venting. The sweet outgoing one that’s a trainwreck with me when I feel like bad behavior. These ladies and others? I could.not.live.without.

I am grateful that my family hasn’t actually disowned me this year, as this blog has only given me a new avenue to express my inappropriate opinions daily.

I am thankful that we have both American grocery stores and German stores to choose from. Obviously I wasn’t going to die of starvation in any case but too much pork is never a good thing.

I’m thankful to have a husband that is my best friend, my wrestling partner, my personal chef and my shrink. He’s also good for reminding me that I’m famous only in my own head.

I’m thankful that we won the war because otherwise I’d be afraid to leave my house.

I’m grateful for bookstores and down comforters and sweater dresses in the winter.

I am grateful for white wine, especially in the absence of a shrink or sedatives.

I am grateful that my mother taught me that all you need is self-confidence and that my father taught me not to settle.

I’m grateful for defrizzing solution, kraft paper and Amazon.com.

I am grateful for my ability to tell a good story and for the sound of the laughter that it often brings.

I am grateful that I grew up by the ocean and that I had a childhood full of camping, crab hunting on the cliffs of the sea, running barefoot in fields in a cell phone-less environment, and riding bikes on back streets with my gang of helmetless friends. Oh, and New Kids on the Block. I’ll forever be thankful that they came into my life.

I am thankful that a few years ago I chipped my front tooth because every time I look in the mirror, it reminds me that I’m not perfect.

I’m grateful that I can be loud and crazy and opinionated and there’s not one thing in the world anyone can do to silence me. Well, maybe when I’m in my own country.

I’m grateful that I’ve felt pain and loss so that I truly appreciate the magic of happiness and love.

I’m grateful to all the people who love me back.

I’m thankful that so far, in 31 years, I’ve woken up every day to give it another try.

Off to Todi, Italy

Seems fitting to make all of my blog posts this week about giving thanks, my favorite things about Thanksgiving and appreciating what I have in my life.

So today. I am thankful to have the ability and resources to jet around the world for work and play, something I never in a million years thought I’d be doing if you asked me five years ago.

This week we’re off to Todi, Italy, to celebrate an American Thanksgiving with about 12 friends in an Italian castle (The Todi Castle, picture included). I know. Weird. Well, conceptually it’s weird, but I imagine it’ll end up being great fun. We’re all packing coolers with the staples, (turkeys, hams, potatos, gravy, rolls, pies, etc) adult beverages, kids (not mine) and dogs (ours) and heading out for the ten hour drive after work tonight. We’re there for 4 full days and then back again on Sunday with most likely more liver damage and lots of new memories with the little family of friends we’ve established here.

It should be a good week, outside of the fact that it’s supposed to be 50 and raining all week. I suppose it could be worse (snowing and grey in Germany). On the upside, the rain will give me a chance to max out my sweatpant wearing, finish two books and work on that blasted scarf I started in 2008. I will not be able to blog, however, which is such bullshit, due to lack of internet for four days. Not being able to write is going to make me losemyshit but I’ll see if I can upload somehow.

So, let’s summarize my big plans this week: 1. Picture taking in a new-to-me part of Italy. 2. Visit Rome! 3. Boozing and QT with good friends.
4. Excessive holiday eating (check out the dinner table in the castle!)

One thing I would like to bring back with me from Italy is a video of me (and most likely my friend Caroline) doing the surfer dance on a coffee table. Should be pretty easy and then I can upload it to the Chronicles because I am a big fan of my surfer dance. I do it everytime I get excited, which is a lot. Add booze to the mix and I should be able to put together a whole Thanksgiving routine to post sometime next week. If we’re all lucky, it’ll be to The Cupid Shuffle, which I just want to mooooove to.



Which reminds me. I’m thankful that I am still limber enough to shake what Linda gave me and for my ambitious, one-of-a-kind and sweet dance moves that I whip out during random social situations.

High fives and happy Thanksgiving Tuesday!

Cool Water cologne and holiday not so cheer

Usually today is my most favorite day to blog….Nothing to do but curl up in sweats, watch football and blog about the week and the week to come. Not today, though, and it’s a shame because it was bitter cold, rainy, dark and bleak, just like Germany likes it, and it was perfect nap/blog/nap weather. Instead, though, we did 86 million moving/packing/cleaning/post wedding/pre Italy tasks and at 9pm, I’m just sitting down to write. No worries, though, I have a few random things to spew and then I’ll go back to the chores. Thorough, thoughtful blogging will have to wait until later this week….

So, first thing before I forget. I need someone to back me up here. Cool Water cologne. (picture chosen because of Mr. Holloway, not this gross, Italian bath water) Yeah, as in the cologne every guy we went to high school with wore on Friday nights after the football pep rally with the hopes that his hand was going up your shirt or his gross tongue in your mouth. Anyway, back to the Italian bath water. I’m sorting through our bathroom baskets and I dump out a pile of cologne on the floor, crinkling my nose and telling my Mr. H that his cologne are old, gross and in poor taste.

He dares to hold up Cool Water, spray it towards me and say, Cool Water, Heath?, as though I must have not seen that one lying in the pile of crap.

“Yeah, especially Cool Water. That’s for Italians, high school kids and brothas.”

“It is not for brothas.” He acts like he doesn’t know that Snoop rapped about it in “Lodi Dodi.” Duh.

“Yes, it is. You’re not one. Throw them out.” End conversation.

Can someone please back me up here that Cool Water is for one of those three categories: 1. Italians 2. High school kids 3. Brothas. I’m trying to prove a point here and no, it’s not racism, it’s appreciation of good cologne.

There. Not so serious topic to break into my depressing topic of the day.

It’s holiday time and I knew it was coming. I was just wondering when it’d hit. Well, last night was night three of the “Dream About Trying to Save Your Dead Father” series. It’s one of my most*fun times of the year.

So the other night I woke up confused, sitting up, realizing I had been crying, and hard. I was still doing that catch your breath thing little kids do when they are crying so hard they can’t talk. I couldn’t even remember when I had been dreaming about until I put my head back on the pillow and stared at the wall for the next three hours, wishing I had just one more week without the holiday sadness. And then I remembered.

It was just the same as every dream, but all the different versions in one with a new twist. This time we were at Katie’s wedding. The grass was lush and green and we were all wearing celery colored dresses, that pale green my sister knows the fancy name for. There was an apple tree with a wooden swing hanging from tattered rope, which seemed out-of-place because it didn’t belong at Katie’s wedding. It was from one of the fields from a house we used to live in when we were young and my father was very much alive. I remember sitting in that apple tree in the dream, in the dress, swinging and wondering why I felt so child-like for a few moments and then I realized my out-of-body Heather was in the dream too because she was there, trying to tell pretty in a dress Heather that the tree didn’t belong. I didn’t belong there.

I can’t explain to you why Heather in the dream is always accompanied by Heather who knows what ends up happening in every dream. It’s current me battling past me and I sometimes just wish the current me would leave the unsuspecting in dreams me alone. I know, sounds like a lot of crazy shit, but it’s not. Ugh, well, it kind of is, but it’ll all be over in a month and a half. I promise not to subject any of you to a daily dose of my holiday crazy.

So next in the dream, I’m having dinner with my step-mother and sister and I look out the window. There, as clear as day is my father. He waves and I look at my sister to see if she sees and I look back. He’s gone, but not because he’s disappeared. He’s now walking in the door. We all look, silenced by the surprise and then stare at each other. My step-mother gasps and cries out and then jumps up to see if he’s real and I am too stunned and cannot swallow and my sister can’t stand. He’s real and he’s come to say he’s sorry, he needed some space and he’s sorry for how it all went down, but he’s back.

I hate this dream. Even dreaming Heather hates this dream because every time I have it, and this is no exception, I losemyshit and start yelling at him, lashing out as though I forgot that for three full years I thought he was dead. Forgot, as I’m swearing and foaming at the mouth and hitting him over and over again, that Real Life Heather would trade everything on earth for that one moment.

And then phase three of the regret and desperation dream series. The part where I can’t make him stop. I hate this more than the part where he casually tries to walk back into our lives. I hate this part because no part of this is a dream. This is what happened. This is what I’m left with and this is what I can’t fix and probably what I’ll spend dreaming about for the next five years or so or forever because I thought maybe this would be the year the dreams stopped but I guess not.

We’re walking in the woods and there’s a frost. He’s telling me how proud he is of me and how he’s sorry he missed my wedding. I’m telling him funny stories, the ones I’ve been saving for years, the ones I would use now if it was July of 2007 and I needed material to keep him interested in life. As I tell him, I hear him laughing loud and the corners of his eyes crinkle and sparkle, like Katie’s. He reaches for my hand and I feel relieved and hug him and kiss him on the cheek and then Out of Body Heather whispers in my dreaming self’s ear, You better hurry. He’s about to leave you again.

And then I pull away and dreaming Heather and Out of Body Heather start to become the same and I start to wake up but never before the worst of it. He is starting to fade, to become invisible and I can only feel the slightest touch of his hand and I realize that I’m losing him again. He always goes away.

“Please stop,” I plead. “Please, decide to stay and I think you can stay. Just want to be here. Please. Don’t leave me again.” I can barely see him and I’m crying and barely able to stand or speak. He’s almost gone.

“I miss you.” And then he’s gone.

I’m thankful, though, that I can still see his face in my dreams. It’s the regret of not being able to say goodbye that turns my dreams to nightmares and makes it so much harder to miss him. I wonder when I’ll stop wishing the holidays away and get over wanting to say goodbye.

I think not being able to say goodbye to someone you loved with every last inch of you is probably the world’s worst punishment in the world. Goodbye is what allows people to let people go. I wish he had given me that. Actually, I just wish he never left in the first place. Dear Santa……..

And so, here is today’s song of the day, Mindy Smith’s “One Moment More.”

SWF seeking premature ejaculators, emotional train wrecks and mammas boys.

First of all, I’m never one to give dating advice. Ever. And I’m never one to be all, I hate boys. Vaginas rule. Men are stupid, blabbity blah, females unite bullshit, BUT, when I am subjected to listening to these god awful stories my friends tell me about men around the world making them lose.their.shit, sometimes I just have to vent….

Now back to my title: SWF seeking premature ejaculators, emotional train wrecks and mammas boys.

Seriously, if one of my closest friends in the world was to take out a singles ad, I’d swear that’s what hers said. Or so you’d think. Which really confuses me because she’s a great gal and we’ve only gone over the age old question, “Seriously, WHAT.THE.FUCK.IS.WRONG.WITH.ME???” question a million times now. (Typically after each failed dating escapade)

In the beginning for her, it wasn’t that bad. The behavior on both sides was pretty normal. (Typical idiot male “I’m so into you, then I disappear” behavior. Typical girl drinks vodka, girl takes pants off type behavior.) The usual. But then as she progressed through a few young bucks (we don’t call her Coug for nothing), things got a little bizarre and honestly, I had to tell her that I took a whole night to evaluate what really could be wrong with her.

But then I ran through her list of guys she’s dated since I met her, which are 7 guys in 3 1/2 years. (Dated, dated…not “dated”) First of all, I almost pissed myself as we ran over the details together, briefly pinpointing the level of dysfunction each brought to the table, what was wrong with their penis and bedside manner and how it ended. As she reminded me of things I had blocked out, I alternated between holding my crotch and jotting down notes on the calendar at my desk. And so, to brighten her week and to perhaps reassure all my other gal pals that hey, maybe you’re not the only one dealing with a douche out there, here’s the run down on the Coug’s train wreck seven.

7. Mr. New Zealand. No, he didn’t win any body building contest and he was about my height, which is maybe why he always looked scared of me. That or he was typically sober which really didn’t work out during this phase in our lives (2007). He did play rugby and was kind of a super secret spy of some sort but he also locked himself in furniture less apartment with little lighting so he could carve shit out of wood and draft children’s books. It is said that he was great in the sack so I guess outside of all the weird woodworking and hermit living, we probably liked him the most of the seven. Most meaning for sure.

6. Mr. Plumber. What a fucking douche. This ginger was not only a (the horror) Giants fan but a toilet salesman, which I wasn’t informed of until way too late in the game but either way, he was a dick and he used to look around for other girls while we were all at the bar. And his name was incorrectly spelled in my eyes, not that I’m fucking Webster but Jesus, his mother was obviously a moron. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, he had a dick that hooked AND he was always so amped up or just plain mental that he’d mess all over her before anything got inserted in anything else. Nice effort, champ. Real winner. Ever hear of rubbing one out so that little nightmare doesn’t happen OVER.AND.OVER.AND.OVER.AGAIN?

5. Not so Private Ryan. Here comes another gem—the not so honorably discharged vet turned American Eagle tee-shirt folder. This wonder boy lived with his parents and when he asked me to help him with his resume once; he listed Target at the very top, followed by Coyote Ugly. WTF? Even beyond that he was obsessive about back door loving the way Elton John is AND he would spend hours talking about this stupid little show dog, Joey, they (meaning him and his parents) had at the house that had insurance on it even though it had something wrong with it. Oh no, Joey doesn’t do hikes, Joey doesn’t go outside, Joey doesn’t…whothefuckcaresaboutyourshowdog?? I think his penis was fine from what I remember and he had nice hair but he was a real basket case. His reason for breaking it off was his love for strippers, tattoos and motorcycles and that he was sick of the “nice girls go for bad boys” shenanigans. Not to mention that he broke up with her via an email to me, which I probably still have somewhere. Assclown.

4. Marty McFly. Not that he’s as cool as Marty McFly, but his love for outdated cars is. I actually never met the kid and I was told of all of them, he really isn’t one to talk shit about but mmm, this is MY blog so I will say what I want. It’s not that bad, really. 1. He was “fine” in bed. I’d rather be either horrible or fantastic but guess he’s one that prefers mediocrity for Olympic-esque performances, who knows. 2. He was afraid of vagina. Not her vagina or all vaginas but that notion that once you’re stuck with one vagina for life, your life is over. So not only is he boring, he’s typical. Number 3 is the only reason he even made the list. 3. He drives a blue mustang. And he’s proud of it. Game over.

3 A Christmas Story. No shit, I almost got hit in the streets of Paris when she relayed this horror story to me on the phone. First of all, this pro-golfer is the younger brother of one of her previous roommates and close friend. As if that wasn’t enough of a warning for her to stay away, she really gave the Coug treatment to this young cub. (I like to say he was 22 but I think he’s really 26) Here’s how she described it.
“So I took down X’s younger brother last night. The one with the nice girlfriend that the whole family loved.”
“Holy god, what the hell is wrong with you? Tell me more.” (Anything with “take down” in it is usually going to be epic)
“So he’s giving me the eye at the bar when we’re out with the family and then one thing led to another and he comes in my room late at night and we had drunken sex. I think the headboard was banging and oh yeah, when he walked out to go to the aerobed in the living room, his mother was sitting on the couch and surprised him by saying “were you doing nasty things in there?”
“Oh my god, this is amazing.”
“No one said a word when his parents drove us to the airport (she was flying out for work, he back to DC) and I thought we had gotten away with it. Until we headed to the airport bar and he said “I need to tell you something” and went into the story of how his Mom asked if we had been doing nasty things and that his sister (my roommate) also knew. The whole family knows.”
“Oh dear lord what did your roommate say? Nice work on banging her younger brother, btw. I’d kill you if you banged my brother.”
“Oh, she told me I ruined Christmas.”
Hahahahahha, I have never heard of anyone ruining a whole holiday, let alone Jesus Day, by screwing the younger brother. Truly awesome.

2. Stormin’: Ok, so this is when shit starts to get real (weird). I get this email one day, “Hey, check out the new guy I’m dating….he’s on YouTube and he’s hysterical. She sends me some link to some weirdo jazz handing it to some American Idol Maine contest entry. AMERICAN IDOL IN MAINE. Yeah. She says he’s hysterical but instantly I think, whack job. “He’s a riot,” she says, which to me means he’s committable. I look at this video. His jazz hands are so aggressive that I find nothing about this video experience funny.
“What’s he like in bed?” I ask with full judgment in my tone.
“Weeeellll. He doesn’t stay hard.”
“What in the fuck are you talking about?”
“Well, he has this trick.” There are too many “wells” in one conversation to be good.
“What trick?” I ask. It better be good. Like better than cutting someone in half in a magic show better.
“So, ummm, when we do it he also puts a few in me.”
UMMFUCKINGWHAT. I ask her to elaborate.

“Digits. At the same time.” Oh dear GOD. We are on the streets of Boston on my first night back in the States, a few shots deep, giving ourselves cancer on a sidewalk and my husband nods, like this is acceptable behavior.

“WHAT. IN. THE FUCK.” I am appalled.
“Yeah, so anyway, it’s over. I can’t deal with that.”

Yeah, I think not. We should all aspire to only have one thing at a time in our jage and who in the Christ showed him that trick?
And last, but not least. God help us all.

1. Copperfield: This one is more than a magic trick and he came out of nowhere. I get this call one day.
“This one is normal and we get along really well and I think this could be it. Don’t judge.”
I put my Judge Judy hat on. I will not be tricked. “Why, what and how?” I wanted to know.
“So I met him and this could be the last of my dating problems. “ Oh good for the sake of loving cock GOD.
“He’s a gentleman and he knows what champagne I like and he pays and he’s a normal guy.” I assume he has a small dick.
“What is wrong with his penis and the sex?”

“Nothing, I swear.” Mmmm hmmm.
And so in a matter of ONE WEEK The Magician wines and dines the Coug. Hotels, paid dinners, expensive champagne are involved. There is even a weekend to the Cape in the midst on their second weekend together. I am impressed. I am promised this won’t disappoint. He even friends me on fb, which she knows better than to request if this is some match made in heaven bullshit we’ll all regret. I wait.
Then on day four, he professes his LOVE. Via text.

“Oh my god, is he touched?” She insists it’s cute but I already know I’m planning my next pep talk because no guy that is already getting the sexy time pulls that shit out and lays it on the table.
Two days later.
“How was the Cape?” I ask, thinking I’m going to be the maid of honor.
“He never called.”

“Fuck you.” She’s silent. I carry on. This isn’t good. “What do you mean? Aren’t you in the Cape enjoying sexy bliss?” I’m perplexed. This seemed good.
“After the hotel he never called.” I want to slash his tires myself. After all, we’re practical girls.
“He had limp dick syndrome.” Oh fucking dear Christ.
“What does that mean, outside of the obvious.”

“Well, we were having sex and then he just went limp and then started stammering like he was special and apologized and then never called. Is it me?”
No, sweetheart. Limp dick is never you, unless you’re a sad case or missing a limb, which you’re neither.
And so it goes. The Magician couldn’t even pull his own rabbit out of the hat. Well, well, we can’t all be performers, can we?

So maybe it’s not her fault. Maybe it’s the fault of a generation too proud to use Viagra. Maybe it’s that of men that have umbilical cords that cannot be cut. And maybe it’s not just a, “He’s Just Not That Into You” scenario, but more so a, “Maybe He Just Can’t Get Into You” thing.

I don’t know. I do know one thing, though. I’m so fucking happy I don’t have to date these douche bags. Here’s to you, best friend. Thanks for doing the dirty work for all of us. You’re my hero.

I wanna be the kind of wife that…

Whatever that title I just typed is referring to, I promise you, I’m not it. And as the days go by, I think I’m beginning to become the wife I promised myself I’d never be. (see: nagging.miserable.irrational.bitch)

Take last night for instance. Me and my Mr. H are riding home in the car and I counted at least four times where I blatantly picked a fight just to, I don’t know, 1. be wicked annoying or 2. exert some sort of power I think I have that I’m continuously trying to abuse.

Topics of said spats?

1. What I wanted for dinner. (which is no surprise because I start asking what we’re going to have for dinner over morning coffee.) We had reubens, which is what I wanted in the first place. It was the type of french fries I wanted to battle over. (sweet v. crinkle v. spicy) Fatgirlsydromemuch?

2. How no one was going to make me pack after dinner. (there are only two of us living together)

3. Why he didn’t send out the pre-drafted email to his family. (and yes, holy fuck I am pre-drafting family emails which is enough to make me want to toss myself into an intersection)

4. He was singing the Oscar Myer bologna song just to irritate me because he knows I.HATE.THAT.SHIT.

And then, when the bickering isn’t good enough, I shout, “I have had just about enough fighting with you for today and I don’t appreciate you fighting with me in closed environment.” (the Prius) That is how I blame all of the day’s fighting on him–table-turning at its best.

He says, ever so patiently, “I think that whole bc issue thing is making you go crazy. Do you want to wrestle when we get home?”

If wrestle is the publicly acceptable substitute for stab, then fine.

But then it happens again, not an hour later. He’s making dinner and I am loading the rest of the previous night’s dishes into the half-filled dishwasher and my blood pressure starts to rise and mid-huff I realize I’m

huffing and all I can think is,

WHY IN THE LIVING FUCK DOES HE NOT KNOW HOW TO LOAD A DISHWASHER????? Everything has to come out and I have to do it my way and I’m tossing things around and acting like any old mental patient while he’s over at the stove whistling some song about nothing and then I realize.

I’m slowly (not that slowly) turning into a nutjob wife that cares about shit like what order to arrange the glasses in the dishwasher and the right way to fold towels and I’VE STARTED TO PUT DOWN COASTERS AT DINNER. My god, WHO.AM.I???

I really need to get back to the basics. The girlfriend basics. Takeout for dinner, saying “Oh, it’s ok or no, really, I don’t care!” and really mean it, less eye rolling and frequent, unsolicited blowjobs.

I will not let the shackles of wifeyhood win.

High-pitched voices make me giggle

And not just any high-pitched voice. The voice of David Sedaris, who I often find as funny in person as in his books. Well, not in person-in person because that just hasn’t happened yet and when it does, DEAR WORLD, YOU.WILL.KNOW, but when I see him occasionally on TV.

Which is here, this month on Jon Stewart, pointed out so very thoughtfully by my Mr. H.


So two things:
1. Who is going to buy me his new book and mail it to me for Christmas??? Thank you in advance.

2. I want to know when gay men turn on the voice. And don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. That voice gay men use (maybe we shouldn’t take Sedaris as the exact example I was hoping to use because he is almost at white noise level BUT STILL) is NOT the voice they were born with. And it’s not the voice they were using when trying to trick the free world into thinking they were banging straight chicks while at the same time figuring out the equation of water+cigarrettes=skinny pant success while in the glitter isle at Target. Bitch, please.

So to find out the secret, I asked my focus group, “Resident gay men for the Chronicles” to weigh in and let me know where this begins, when, and how they each craft their fabulous voices that are like little cherubs singing in my ears. Because let’s be honest. Elton John may look gay as a lark but he doesn’t quite sound like Jack from Will & Grace and T.J. Knight does not sound like RuPaul.

Here is what one FABULOUS member of my focus group had to say:
I feel I keep it at a pretty consistent level of gay but not fairy. There are some guys who lisp it up like it is their job. They definitely annoy the rest of the gays who try to stay away from the glitter-wearing gogo-dancing image that is portrayed by so many of those guys. I think the only time I really gay it up is when I am at work (at H&M) and a straight girl asks for my opinion and wants to be dressed by me. Then, my wrist breaks in 12 different places and I can fly away with my fairy wings and glitter.”

Holy shit, he said breaks in 12 different places, glitter and fairy wings in the same sentence. Wow. That really makes my day. And I thought I had nothing really to talk about.

On reading, on writing and on authors of the day

I say book of the week (BOW) because I’ll finish it by tomorrow night and I read 92 pages in an hour yesterday on my plane. This time it’s not just that I’m one of the world’s fastest readers, it’s that I’m enjoying it that much.

Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a great read. People are always asking me for a good book recommendation and I never seem to have anything ready. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone–only my aspiring writer friends–but it’s good.

Since I’m always in the market for another book on “how to write a memoir” I ordered this months ago from Amazon. Honestly, I wasn’t ever going to bother with this one, considering I don’t actually die for his books, but I’m glad I did. I may not be into every book he writes, but he’s a great teacher and lately, I’m in the mood to be taught. Plus, I find it comforting that he banged through his first couple of books drugged up and hammered. So romantic. And he’s funny. Straight shooter funny and to the point, which I think is what I’m always aiming to be.

Anyway, that’s this book of the week.

Now. I’d have to take a weekend to compile the following but I was tagged in a fb note about favorite authors and so I figure we can start mine here and maybe on a different rainy day, maybe once I’m in my new house, in my new office, I’ll go through all my books and update this list and make it complete. For now, we’ll just go with what comes to mind.

Heather’s Favorite Authors (*who have had at least one book that I heart, even if all the others are terrible)

David Sedaris
J.D. Salinger
Richard McCann
Alice Walker
Robert Frost
Dave Eggers
Richard Russo
Joan Didion
Anne Lamott
Yann Martel
Dan Brown
Elie Wiesel
Nicholas Sparks (for the purposes of The Notebook only, to be clear)

Random Heather comment/follow-up question of the day: It makes me lose.my.shit when people list “The Bible” as their all-time favorite book. Don’t get me started. What I want to know is who the author is, or is this some compilation of random short stories? Is that how that would work? Or on the inside cover should it say, The Bible. By God. Or is it Peter or Paul or just the Catholics?
Shit. This is a whole other post. Nevermind.

And so that’s today, my first day back in Germany where it’s dreary, rainy, cold and well, Germany. Seemed like a good day to post about a book…especially because I’m not even sure I’ll stay up late enough tonight to read mine…

When a good toast is kind of a roast….

By the time you get back from the madness that is your own (second) wedding, you find yourself surrounded by heaps of gifts, cards, ripped up wrapping paper, wondering where the time went and is it wrong to start using the gifts and cashing the checks before you send out thank you cards??

My thank you cards will not be out until December. Sorry.

So in unpacking our gifts the other night, I was running my fingers over the smooth glass of my new plates, imagining what we’d set out in the new baskets for our first dinner party in our new house, picking out which white I’d taste first in my fancy, new wine glasses, and then I remembered.

“Where is Mark’s speech?” Our friend Mark L, Chris’ hysterical longtime friend from college, had written us a speech and gave it during our cocktail reception at the wedding. I had asked him to months ago. I knew that he would be the right person for the job. He would know just how to summarize Chris’ *interesting dating history (only one nightmare is actually considered *interesting) and also how to capture my behavior/mouth/personality most accurately, as he’s seen me many times in rare form.

Mark did not disappoint. He is a great performer, knows exactly how to roast while toasting, and as we stood in front of the fire, listening to him poke fun of and congratulate us, all we could do was laugh and smile and wait to hear what was next. I may or may not have slapped my knee a few times.

What Mark left us with was with this speech, tons of laughs and as always, memories we hope never to forget. So as he and his beautiful celebrate their four-year anniversary this week (actually last week—wooo hoo, congrats, Mark and Kel!!), I thought I’d post this very special gift.

• Good Evening, my name is Mark L. I’m here with my lovely wife Kelly. I take my wife everywhere I go. She always finds her way back.

• When I first met Chris, many years ago at UCONN he was wearing a toe ring, his partner at the time was leading him around by his ear and he had this small dog named Dante that would attack my dog at every chance he got. What’s interesting now…… is that seemingly nothing, other than the continent has changed.

• When I first met Heather, she was a swashbuckler to say the least. Salty and spicy with her vocabulary…. however very sweet with her compassion for others and willingness to participate so freely in all aspects of life. A word of caution about Heather though, a poker player she is not She’ll surely let you know her displeasure for the game should it not go her way. So much so that one such tirade sent our friend Sarah’s visiting father Bill back to Indiana on the first flight out that evening, his head all the while shaking in shock and awe.

• Chris and Heather are road warriors to say the least. When living in the states they made many trips back and forth from Washington, D.C. to CT to spend time with a group of us east of the CT River, and if you’re a follower of Heather’s never ending Facebook and Blog posts, you’ll know that they’ve covered much of Europe as well. For those times they came to CT we thank them and remember those times so fondly. I’ll be honest with you though, had it not been for their frequent road trips to CT I would never have seen them. You couldn’t pay me to schlep all the way down to D.C.

• Chris and Heather are legendary in participating in cross Atlantic chop busting via email. If you really want to feel down on yourself, all you have to do is sidle up to your laptop for a real one-upmanship tongue lashing. All in good fun of course, but it really shows that these 2 are a force to be reckoned with.

• Let me get down to brass tacks. The covenant of marriage is like no other. I’m so thankful to have a life partner there watching my every move day after day after day after day (hold up paper showing ‘Help Me’ scrawled on the back).

• My wife has given me 2 wonderful children one of which we just welcomed into the world less than 3 months ago. I once heard Chris say that all he wanted was many, many, many children surrounding him well into his golden years (a ‘flock’ I recall him saying). I’m sure like me, that he will enjoy not having a moment of his free time to himself (hold up paper again showing ‘No Really….Help Me’ scrawled on the back).

• Some words of sage advice:
o Heather, a husband is like a fire, he goes out when unattended
o Never be afraid to ask for help outside of your marriage. If all else fails it will get you a laugh and buy you some time.
o Chris, don’t expect meals with Heather to be prepared all that well. It takes time to find just the right restaurant.

• Long story short, best of continued success to Chris and Heather, as individuals and as a couple. Kelly and I love you guys very much. We look forward to new adventures that we are forced to read about in Heather’s web postings, and sharing a long friendship.

• Please raise your glasses for this toast: May your love be like the misty rain; gentle coming in but eventually flooding the river banks and wiping out a town. Cheers!

The original toast is now in my hope chest, where it will stay until we’re old and gray.

100 Things You Never Needed to Know About Me

Today is a great day. This is The Heather Chronicles’ 100th blog post! Woo hoo!

It took me a year and 5 months to get here, but I’ve arrived. In honor of said 100th post, I wanted to think of 100 of something to talk about. Because I wanted to keep writing, was pressed for time, am heading out-of-town and am slightly too busy these days to be REALLY original, I opted to go with the fool-proof “100 things about me” blog. I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy. It took me days to come up with this stuff. But here it is.

100 Things You Never Needed to Know About Me

1. I believe that people don’t always remember events, gifts, words that were said, or exact moments in time. What they will always remember is the way someone made them feel.

2. I love the sound and feel of popping that bubble pack stuff.

3. I’m going to name my first daughter Smith. As in first name. Furthermore, she will not be pretentious, which would probably be a first for anyone with the same first name.

4. I love the smell of hazelnut coffee, lilacs, the ocean, honeysuckle and that vanilla sugar cookie candle.

5. I love milk. Skim milk and it makes me violently, rotten ass sick within ten minutes flat of drinking it. Regardless, I eat chocolate and cookies and peanut butter mostly so I can drink milk.

6. I walked down the aisle to this version of “Hallelujah”.

I knew it was right when my stomach dropped, my throat closed and I almost cried at my desk. I was reassured when my sister said it made her cry. I knew it was perfect when I walked out and saw Chris.

7. I love the feel of a baby’s cold feet. Or a cold, kitten’s paw. Both of which make me sound like a weirdo.

8. I was a cheerleader. Don’t tell anyone.

9. I love ice cubes. All of Europe either hates them or hates me for not making them. In the states, we tell kids that too much sugar will make your teeth rot. I think they tell European kids that ice will do the same.

10. All you need for a great road trip is a sleeping bag, a laptop to watch movies, and wipes. Lots of wipes.

11. My eyes are green and blue and gold. That means hazel.

12. I live in the continent of great coffee drinks and it took me a full year to realize that a latte was a cappucino without foam. I like the latte more but I still order the cappuccino because I feel it’s more distinguished.

13. I’ve considered stalking and kidnapping David Sedaris so that I could keep him in my house as my friend. I plan on telling him that one day

14. I like to put on a show. One of my dream jobs would be a comedian if I wasn’t so scared of heckling, silence and awkward moments.

15. I hate blue ink. And red ink. Both vile.

16. My top three favorite beverages are milk, ginger ale and white wine. In that order.

17. The man who plays the cello in the darkness of the tunnel outside the Louvre plays music so beautifully that it brought me to tears.

18. I’ve ordered a white russian at a bar to cure a stomach ache. Because that makes sense.

19. I think the hobbies I’d like to take up this year are shooting, as in guns, and Krav Maga, that really badass Israeli killing technique, primarily because I not so secretly want to be Heather Bourne.

20. The Bourne movies are my favorite.

21. This is my lucky number.

22. “Heather” is a common meadow flower that when taken out of its context and moved indoors, radiates an uncommon aura of beauty and dignity. This flower has come to represent transformation and growth, a change from the regular to the spectacular. I like this definition.

23. I love like a 12-year-old girl. Irrationally, like it’s the end of the world, with no caution and like I’ve never had my heart broken. I think it’s the only way.

24. I only like a very small percentage of children. Give me a gypsy child in the streets of Europe, though, and I melt.

25. I think cemeteries are tacky. I’d rather be mounted on someone’s wall.

26. There is an art to making the perfect cup of tea. I have not mastered it.

27. “Go big or go home” suits me.

28. I have the same nightmare about my teeth falling out, over and over again. All of them. One by one.

29. People who were emotionally affected by the movie Avatar scare me. Trainwrecks.

30. That whole, I’m George Costanza and I look busy at work, thing? Yep. This girl. I’m a master at this.

31. I have no interest in watching the Celts. Sorry.

32. I love it when airport security pats me down. Seriously.

33. I have considered collecting all of the hair that I pull off hair elastics and making someone a very pretty, curly wig, so that I don’t technically have to cut it, just collect. Then I creeped myself out.

34. I knew when I met him.

35. Second goal in my adult life: Be published by The New Yorker.

36. I think AFN TV is outrageously awful and they should be punished for their excessive red, white and blue commercials. Eh.

37. I don’t like going to movies or restaurants alone. It makes me uncomfortable.

38. Pierce Brosnon is my favorite Bond because he’s dead sexy. Or Roger Moore because he could charm the pants off half the world.

39. If it were an option, I’d communicate only via text. Ever.

40. I’d like to have an Etsy site but I can’t craft.

41. I still haven’t finished this same fucking scarf that I’ve been working on for three years. Probably because I don’t work on it.

42. I have great intentions in life, often very little motivation.

43. I drink iced coffee from March-November, or when they start giving me the, are you crazy? look.

44. I find cleaning the bathroom, including the toilet, therapeutic.

45. Doing the dishes makes me gag.

46. My favorite place to nap is in a hammock. Or anywhere in a bed where there can be a window open if it’s raining, and I mean pouring. So two naps spots.

47. I don’t trust tunafish unless I make it.

48. He forgives me even when I don’t deserve it.

49. I want to own a bookstore. Used, with deep, soft chairs and an espresso machine that whizzes in the back room.

50. I believe happiness is a choice.

51. Under no circumstances do I hang my feet off the bed anymore, for fear that I will be dragged away by a ghost.

52. I find running stressful. I run like I’m a SO participant.

53. I still don’t believe in God. Instead, I believe in myself. Seems more reasonable.

54. I lend out books to only those I trust will return them to me.

55. Gin makes me aggressive. More than normal.

56. I think foie gras is overrated and tastes like ass.

57. I settle 98% of household disputes with Chris by playing RPS. I often lose due to my insistence on throwing paper.

58. One of the best feelings in the world is having your hair brushed from your face. Or at least for me.

59. Salzburg, Austria is still my favorite city in the world.

60. I have no depth perception. I took a test at the eye doctor’s two weeks ago. You’re given a who-knows-what-it’s-called-test but anyway, cats are supposed to jump out at you, all 3D like from the screen. Out of 9 cats I knew were up there, I saw one jump out. No.depth.perception.

61. I hate black licorice. Hate.

62. I will only eat apples if they are sliced. With salt on them. Otherwise, they are junk. Unless they are baked in a pastry, but that just has nothing to do with raw apples.

63. I don’t have any gray hairs yet but I know I’ve turned a few gray in my time.

64. I hate the color pink and most things that are red.

65. My husband is one of the most fantastic cooks I know and cooks for me every night. I try to keep this to myself so that he doesn’t get an ego about it. You know, gotta keep them in check.

66. If I won the lottery, I’d hire a driver. A young, pretty, gay, male driver who would also be my personal assistant.

67. I like porn.

68. Grapes and walnuts do not belong in chicken salad.

69. I still bite my nails. Every day.

70. I’m afraid to have kids because I’m afraid I’ll disappoint them.

71. I would rather create fake equations to calculate temperature than pay attention to someone telling me the scientific approach. I feel like my way (times 3, plus give or take 5) works just find in figuring out celsius. Same goes with kilometers (divide by 2, plus or minus 3, depending on the day) and calculating the exchange rate. Charming, huh?

72. I would rather die of starvation than eat bologna.

73.I don’t have a black eye under my right eye. I busted some capillaries crying over a boy. 15 years ago.

74. I love grocery stores almost as much as I do bookstores.

75. Watching The Jersey Shore 1. Makes me feel great about myself. 2. Proves a lot of my previous theories about people who live there. 3. Reminds me of why I’m just fine living here for the next 5 years.

76. I ask for a watch every year for Christmas and then I wear it only until March.

77. I prefer to have six pillows on the bed. Four if I can’t have six. There is no such thing as just two, one for each head. That’s nonsense.

78. I think Moxie sees dead people.

79. I need the window seat on a plane or I.lose.my.shit.

80. I want one of those high-tech hand blowers in my bathroom.

81. I fucking hate nylons.

82. I cannot spell to save my life.

83. As a kid, I only lost four teeth on my own. The rest needed to be pulled to make way for the big ones. Guess who isn’t scared of the dentist as an adult?

84. I want a pixie cut but anyone with curly hair knows what happened when Kerri Russell pulled that shit. No thanks.

85. Apparently my license is suspended in Virginia. Who knows why and as far as I’m concerned, the VA DMV can screw themselves.

86. I love mowing the lawn. I love the smell and I love the way the grass feels after under my feet.

87. I get excited for Christmas when the grocery store put the bins of nuts out. This reminds me that I’d like to be the type of person that sets out the nuts and fancy cracker in the middle of a festive table setting. I am not this person.

88. I sometimes despise our dog Dante because I think he: 1. is out to get me. 2. Is smarter than me.

89. I have already been at my lowest in life. Not sure I’ve peaked, though.

90. I think cleavage is the best accessory.

91. I pee in the shower at least 4 times a week.

92. I don’t blame anymore.

93. I am great for giving advice. Not so much for taking it.

94. Anything involving hand-eye coordination? Not for me.

95. I cut up all my food before I start eating it. All of it.

96. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go so that I can remember people, sayings, locations, how things smell, taste, feel.

97. I fear losing my memory more than I fear death.

98. My thought on people who don’t vote (if you can): You don’t count and I don’t want to hear your mouth. Ever.

99. I think part of my duty as International Liaison to the World (my unofficial title) is introducing my new friends to important American treats such: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese (Kraft) and Slim Jims.

100. I don’t want to be perfect. Just memorable.

99 problems but a bitch ain’t one

Actually, I have almost no problems right now, certainly not 99 of them and none including a bitch, unless you include that N-bag landlord of ours with the purple hair. She’s not just a bitch, though, she’s most likely a blood relative of AH (I guess niece) and she isn’t bothering me today but I have a feeling once she gets our “Letter of Intent to Vacate” this week, she’ll pull some Trunchbull shit (like be herself) which will make me want to make this face (picture included). Anyway, if I did have a problem, I’d most certainly be making that face. It reads, oh.so.you.thought.you’d.try.to.fuck.with.me.today, no words necessary.

There aren’t too many people who see that face each week(day). My current landlord would be the exception because she is so, definitly-was-busy-Hansel-and-Gretel-ing-people-earlier-this-century- I-smoke-butts-in-the-pouring-rain-like-an-animal-wear-stretch-pants-at-250-lbs-because-i am-a-nightmare-I-beat-my-husband-AWFUL. Hence why we are moving next month to a better and more lovely house in a different village nearby. That and because she hates Americans, which is why I’m putting menorahs in our windows for the month of November, as an early celebration and to spite her and her evil presence. (**I would not display such behavior for any other person at this time in the country I reside. Unless they give me reason.)

Not that I hold grudges.

Anyway, 99. Today’s post is numero 99 for The Heather Chronicles. Post number 100 is making me nervous. Post 100 should be something great, right? Well, I have no new wedding pics to post. I could talk about the travel I’m set to do in the next three months but that’s boring. (Italy-Germany-Italy-Montenegro-Switzerland-Armenia-Poland) I considered 100 lessons I learned in 2010 but if I could think of 100 lessons one could learn in their 30s, I’d write a book, not a blog post, however, I imagine I did 100 idiotic things that led me to learn some lesson in the past year. Really time-consuming, though, considering I’d want to be all wise and thought-provoking. And also considering no beam of light shot down from the sky, announcing visually that i had “discovered” my true self, I imagine I’m still going to learn a few more things so we’ll wait on that…..

And so, unless I am robbed, kidnapped, struck by lightning, arrested or something else equally entertaining happens between today and say tomorrow or Wednesday, when I plan to post said 100th blog entry, I’m going to have to go with the very generic,
All Things Heather, the Extended Version: 100 Things You Never Needed to Know About Me. Wait for it.

However. I’m big on this, 100 things I learned this year, and so I want to hear what other people have learned. So, to drag these lessons out of you, we’re going to have a contest and if all goes well, I’ll make it monthly. Here we go!
The Heather Chronicles’ “Lessons Learned for Loot” Contest!
Who: Whoever reads about my random life.
What: Email me your best lesson learned of the year (so far). Or last year. I’ll never know.
When: By Friday, 12pm, EST. That way I can read them all and decide while I’m in Italy.
Where: Email your lesson to heathindc1@gmail.com. Please put “LESSON OF THE YEAR” in the subject line.
Why: Because why wouldn’t you want me to send you a few thoughtful things from Italy. Or Germany. Or France. Or wherever the hell I go in the next three weeks. I promise to make it good and to attach a pic of the gift on the blog, to prove it was worth it. And I will be posting your lesson, with or without name attached.

SO MAKE THESE LESSONS GOOD! Can’t wait to read them.