frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Monday, February 28, 2005

I Am Alcatraz

So the other day I was having a little round-table discussion with Mark, S4P and the Beccanator. (Yes, we really were sitting at a round table.)

We were talking about marriage and singleness, and Becca shared about how a friend of hers believes that if you wait too long to get married, then you just have more time to build up walls around your heart that will be hard to break down when the time comes. This troubled me, because after all, I've been single for most of my life.

"I must be Alcatraz!" I said, a little worriedly.

"Oh yeah, well then I'm Berlin!" retorted S4P, who has been single for even longer than me, seeing as how he is older. While I was still almost falling off my chair laughing, he thought better of his comment (since after alll, there is no more Berlin wall, hmmm) and ammended it to, "I'm China!" Which, of course, just made me laugh that much more.

But behind all the laughter, I had to admit to myself that there is some truth to this whole wall theory, at least in my case (I won't pretend to speak for Steve, Mark, Becca, or anyone else here). Quite frankly, I find it pretty easy to be single. I don't have to figure out what someone else is thinking. I don't have to worry about whether or not I am loved enough by someone, or whether I'm loving them enough. I don't have to check in with anyone before I make a decision to upend my life and travel halfway around the world for nine months (which I did twice in the past two years).

And yet, all that freedom has come with a price, namely that I am a prisoner (ironically) of my own fears--fears of getting close to someone, fears of getting hurt, fears of hurting someone else. I don't want to be Alcatraz. But that's what I've become, as I've tried to protect my fragile, easily-wounded heart. So yes, I've built some walls, no doubt about it. But, like the girl in the fairtytale, I'm waiting for the one who won't be daunted by their height, weight, and thickness, but who will care enough about what's behind them to get through one way or the other.

(By the way, that's pretty much what God has been doing with me, every single day. He knows what He's doing, though, and He has the right tools, not to mention plenty of patience...that's why I want a guy who knows Him. Breaching the wall is a delicate business and he should get his tips from an Expert!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Frogg is Still Bloggin'

I know, I know. It's been several days since my last post, but I have an excuse. I've been out of town, living it up in Lake Tahoe and now hanging out with friends in the SF Bay Area.

I went snowboarding for President's Day weekend, along with Mark and S4P (steveforpresident). Along the way I had many interesting adventures, including, but by no means limited to: nearly getting hit on the head by a ski that fell without warning out of the sky while I was snowboarding under a chairlift; executing a flawless faceplant right underneath another chairlift, much to the delight and amusement of everyone on the lift; falling into deep powder while riding through the trees and getting hopelessly stuck; falling over laughing while watching S4P get stuck in deep powder; climbing up a four-foot wall of snow just to get to the stairs that would lead up to S4P's cabin; sliding down the same wall of snow to get to the car, only to lose my balance, hit the front of the car, and then fall underneath it; making a snowman (which ended up looking like a snowbear, actually) with Mark and S4P, and then videotaping its demise as Mark and S4P roundhouse-kicked it off the end of the pier on which we'd built it, "sacrificing" it to the freezing waters of Lake Tahoe. (I'd like to highlight that last scene as an illustration of the fact that, while boys may get older, they never quite grow up.)

So it was a busy weekend, as you can see.

I will be on my way back to Los Angeles tomorrow, and hopefully back to my routine of regular postings.

Until then, take care and have a lovely day.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Air: The New Diet

Today I drank Diet Air.

That was the name of a drink I had at Soup Plantation. I couldn't resist when I saw the name. I mean, talk about a contradiction in terms! How is air a drink?? And even more mind-boggling, how is it DIET? Are there lots of calories in air and I've just never noticed? I guess I can stop blaming my eating habits for my inability to lose that last stubborn 10 pounds and instead just blame the fact that I breathe.

Or perhaps, the name of the drink is a clever way of saying that air is the best thing to eat on a diet. Which is ironic, because the drink is...a drink. Which means you don't eat it, per se. Also, I'd like to point out that this drink has calories. Ten per serving, and there are two servings in the bottle. So, to recap: it's a drink, not food, and it is called "air", even though it is a liquid. And it is diet air, even though it has more calories than air actually does. I think.

If this doesn't seem weird to anyone else, then I probably need to get more sleep or something.

Or maybe I just need to drink more air.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Lazy Day

About 20 minutes ago it was pouring down rain, and now the sun is out and shining brightly. For a second I wondered if I had somehow teleported back to Auckland, where people often joke about the seasons changing every fifteen minutes. (I don't know why it's a joke, though--it really is like that.)

Well, it's Wednesday, my last day of work before taking a nice little vacation to the Bay Area for awhile. I'm looking forward to it, a lot. One of the guys at work called me a loner, because I will be doing the six-hour drive from Los Angeles by myself. I didn't argue with him, because he's right. I have definite loner tendencies. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes--not so much.

But I'm not really in the mood to analyze myself this morning. What I am in the mood for is breakfast. Even though it is already 9am. I've been up since about 7.30am, but my typical MO is to wake up early and then lie in bed for at least another hour, trying to pretend that I am still asleep. I am not one of those people who can just leap out of bed when the alarm goes off. That is a shock to the system that, quite frankly, my system has never been able to handle all that well.

Instead I like to loll in bed for awhile before I drag myself out from under my blissfully warm covers and then I stay in my pajamas until I absolutely have to get changed. If I don't have to go to work, this could easily be all day.

Am I lazy then? Well, yes, I suppose I am. Is that a quality-of-life issue I should be worried about? Probably. Am I worried about it? I don't know, ask me after I've had some grub.

If I can ever get myself out of this bed and down to the dining room, that is.

Monday, February 14, 2005

V Day

Well, whether you were dreading it or excitedly counting the hours til it arrived, Valentine's Day is here at last!

A friend emailed me last week, and mentioned that someone dubbed Valentine's Day as S.A.D.--Singles Awareness Day. I had to laugh. To all the singles out there, I offer this piece of advice: talk to married people. Tell them about your life, and watch their eyes glaze over in wistful envy as they remember their own carefree days of doing what they wanted when they wanted, with responsibility for no one but themselves.

I remember the first time I realized that the grass-is-always-greener syndrome applies to people on both sides of the "couple" line: I was working at a magazine publishing house, and chatting to the editor about weekend plans. I asked her about hers, and she started ticking off a laundry list of To Dos, most of which revolved around activities for her kids, for which she would be primarily a chauffer. When she asked me about mine, I thought a minute and said something like, "Well, I haven't quite made up my mind, but I might go snowboarding. Or wine tasting. I'll decide Saturday morning, I guess."

That's when I saw The Look of Wistful Envy. It made me feel a lot better about being single. It will do wonders for other singles too, I have no doubt.

I don't want to sound like a sour-grapes single, because I am not. At least, most of the time. So to all of you couples out there, have some fun today! Don't go overboard, though. Good Morning, America has an article on their web site that says you shouldn't. They are the media, so they must be right.

A couple weeks ago, a young girl told me she wanted to buy an iPod for her boyfriend for Valentine's Day, but she wasn't sure if it was "too much." I asked, "Is he a new boyfriend?" "Yes," she said with a shy smile. "Ah," I said. Then I let her friends make up her mind for her, and they agreed that she should just get the iPod, since he'd been "joking" that she should get him one. I refrained from giving my opinion, which would have been something like this: "Are you CRAZY?? Don't get him an iPod! That's more than $200 and you barely started dating this guy!!! So why do YOU have to buy it for him, just because he's hinting (manipulating??)!" (Maybe there is a reason I've been single for the past five years, hmmm.)

I sort of wished later that I HAD said something though. She seemed like a sweet kid, and I hate to think of her heart being trampled when the guy does one of two things: 1) runs away screaming because the gift was too much too soon, or 2) pats himself on the back for getting a lot while giving relatively little. I mean, was he planning on buying HER an iPod? I ask you.

Which brings me to the topic of Equivalent Giving. This is a delicate area, and I am an expert in Equivalent Giving Guilt Syndrome (EGGS), which is one reason why so few people got Christmas presents from me last year. Basically I always worry that I haven't given enough, in comparison to what someone else has given me. I can't deal with the emotional burden that is a natural derivative of EGGS; I mean, who needs it, really? So I've adopted the Ostrich Approach: bury my head in the sand and pretend that I am, in fact, an ostrich. And who ever heard of an ostrich buying Valentine's Day gifts? Or anything else, for that matter. It's not a perfect solution, I admit, but it's a start.

I am just kidding, of course, Basically my point is: There is a lot of pressure surrounding the official Day of Love. Which, in my view, sort of kills the love aspect of the day. Anxiety is not good for love. Try to avoid it, if you can.

But if you can't, maybe you should check out the following article about pickup lines, written by Pulitzer-Prize winning humorist, Dave Barry. It will make you laugh, and laughter is a lot better for love than anxious fretting, believe me.

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Importance of the Pickup Line

Thursday, February 10, 2005

More Snowboarding Memories

So here I am, listening to my brand-new iPod Shuffle and totally stoked because I got it just in time...I am going on a snowboarding trip next weekend, and I'll finally be able to ride with an accompanying soundtrack! Yeeha.

Yep, the frogg is heading up to Tahoe over President's Day Weekend! Oh glorious day. Will be accompanied by my usual partners in crime: Mark and steveforpresident. Hopefully this time I'll be able to keep up with the boys! Maybe I'll even show 'em a thing or two! You never know.

One of my favorite memories of snowboarding with the boys happened at Kirkwood, a few years back. I can't remember how it happened, but somehow Mark took a fall, and his board went right up over his head, scooping a bit of snow on the way, which then fell off the tip of the board and plopped right onto his head. When he sat up and looked over at me, all I saw was this snow-face staring back at me! Mostly snow, not so much face.

Another favorite snowboarding memory: this time I was by myself, at Homewood (Tahoe again). I got off the lift, first run of the day, and as I went down, I fell--on my back, and upside down on the hill. I'm still not entirely sure how it came to pass, but I vividly remember sliding down the hill, flailing my arms like a desperate bird or perhaps a mangled snow angel, and realizing that I was succeeding at nothing except picking up speed. I couldn't stop!! Finally I hit on the bright idea of flipping my legs up and over my head in a sort of backwards somersault, so that I was on my stomach and then digging the edge of my board hard into the side of the hill, so that I was able to halt my swift descent. It was a close one, but I survived, limbs (but not dignity) intact.

God, I love snowboarding. Of course, I love it a lot more now that I can actually do it.

Here's hoping for a gobs of snow in Tahoe next weekend...and by the way, if any of my Bay Area buds are reading this, get in touch with me! I'll be up there for a little while, and would love to see you if at all possible.

Time to turn in, I have to be at work at 6am tomorrow, oh joy.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Vanity Fair

So today I went to get my eyebrows waxed, which I always approach with a measure of trepidation, because I remember the first time I ever had it done. All these people told me about how relatively painless it was, and I, like a fool, believed them. Actually, I guess they were right, if you compared the pain to, say, childbirth. Anyway, needless to say, I was ill-prepared for the nightmare of first having hot wax smoothed around my brows (this was actually the least painful part), then ripped off along with who knows how much of my actual hair (it felt like all of it), with a nice finishing touch of violent tweezing (which felt like it was done with sharp needles) to make sure all stray hairs were taken care of.

I can recall lying there on the eyebrow-waxing bed (which bore a striking resemblance to a hospital gurney) with my eyes watering behind closed lids and praying fervently with clenched fists for God to forgive me for my horrible sin of vanity. The pain and the punishment were one and the same.

It was a long, long time before I had my eyebrows done again.

Now, of course, I'm a little more used to it, though I still don't do it often. At least, not often enough to make it less painful as time goes on. But today's experience was actually quite nice, because the stylist told me that I have some of the most beautiful brows she has ever seen. She couldn't stop telling me how impressed she was with them. And I don't like to brag or anything, but she did also say that I should eyebrow model. Yes, that's apparently how good my eyebrows are. Who knew?

I'd like to think the rest of me would be model material as well, but so far no one has told me so. Except for girlfriends, but they don't count. Not that I don't love you, girlfriends, but you have to admit, you would tell me I was gorgeous even if I had a Mt Vesuvius-sized zit in the middle of my forehead that glowed in the dark. That is, of course, why you are my friends, but that's also why I don't entirely trust you!

Just jokes, folks. But even if I don't have Cindy Crawford's body, at least I know I can give her a run for her money in the eyebrow department. That has to count for something somewhere. I hope.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Just Dance

So I was vacuuming the floor around Leo's cage today, and couldn't help wondering what would happen if I...well, just sucked him in with the cleaning tube extension. That would take care of my problem--and no mess!

I really have to start thinking about something else. I'm starting to worry about me and my murderous intentions on this pathetic creature. Hmm.

Well, on a completely different note, Wednesday was my brother's birthday. A group of us went to a Moroccan restaurant in Hollywood. Some of us got there on time, but there were a few who did not, and the cowgirl and I were two of these. In our defense, we took a wrong turn. Or two or three. And then we hit just about every red light along Sunset Blvd., and believe me, there are not a few of these.

But we made it eventually, and pulled up to the restaurant only half an hour after we were supposed to be there. That's still fashionably late, isn't it?

Then we almost ran over the poor valet as we pulled up to the curb. "Oops sorry for nearly killing you. Um, would you park our car please? Thanks." Well, at least he was nice about it.

The restaurant was pretty cool. They have a real live belly-dancer, and she is good at what she does. And while I am referring primarily to her dancing, I also meant the way she managed to strike terror into the heart of the guys at our table. The reason they were scared was because she had a custom of draping her gauzy stole over a man and that meant he had to get up and dance with her. We always knew when the bellydancer was making her rounds because the dim light would suddenly brighten and glow red, and the screechy Middle Eastern music would increase exponentially in volume until you had to yell at the person next to you to be heard in conversation. Then the bellydancer would come sweeping sensually into the room, and I'd watch as grown men tried make themselves invisible by hiding under their napkins so that she wouldn't notice them and make them dance with her.

While this amused me to no end, I actually felt pretty sympathetic to the guys. One time the bellydancer, apparently deciding that she'd traumatized the men enough, threw her stole at me and I absolutely froze in petrifaction (is that a word?). I am not the world's best dancer. There is a possibility that I might be the worst. I like to dance if there are other people around because then at least they will distract some of the attention away from me. But get up there by myself with a woman who is TRAINED to dance? I'll tell you what, that would be a great Fear Factor challenge for me, and I'd probably rather eat bugs or worms or something, instead of getting up ALONE in front of my friends and pretending like I have any moves at all. Good Lord, I am blushing just thinking about it. Pass the cockroaches, please!

(However, I did dance while vacuuming the house today, because I was listening to some great music on my iPod--good Apple girl that I am--but there was no one around to see, so it was ok.)

I remember one time in New Zealand, a friend of mine somehow got me to dance with her wildly all around the kitchen of the house where we were this day, I don't know how she got me over myself. But I remember that it was actually a lot of fun.

Not too long ago, I was at Borders bookstore listening to some live music and watching a little girl get her little groove on. She was having a blast, you could tell. No one could help smiling who saw her, but she obviously wasn't dancing for anybody else. She was dancing because she liked the music and she liked the movement, and no one could get her to stop.

I wonder if that picture of total abandonment to joy is what Jesus was referring to when He said no one could enter the kingdom of God unless they became like little children. Not because they would be denied entrance, but because they just wouldn't recognize it if they saw it. Whereas I think children have an instinctive understanding that, where joy, laughter, love, and dancing abound, the kingdom of God is not far away.

Dance your hearts out, kids. It can't hurt. And it just might help.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Leo Must Die!

I swear I really am going to kill that bird.

Last night I was up until 2am working on an article for a client. I got up early to put the finishing touches on it before I head off to work at the Apple Store. So I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep here. The absolute last thing I need to deal with in the morning is a shrieking, impertinent feathered fiend who won't shut up even when you go up to the bars of his cage and yell in his face. (Er, not that I do that or anything.)

But then again, I could be just really cranky because I'm tired. I can be a real snarly-cat when I don't get the right amount of sleep. I'm not sure what the right amount is, but in general I'd say it would have to be more than I've been getting. So right now I'm feeling sorry for the customers I'll be dealing with later today, especially the ones that call on the phone and ask for the billionth-trillionth time whether or not we have iPod Shuffles in stock. I'm actually quite worried for those poor souls, since even on a good day I hate answering the phone almost as much as I hate Leo the screaming cockatiel.

On a more positive note, at least I finished my article on time to meet my deadline.