Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Ant and the Boulder

I was having trouble deciding what I was going to write about today, so I dug around and figured that The Sophomore wouldn’t be complete without one of my first essays.

This is one I wrote a long time ago…actually almost 4 years to the day, but it’s still one of my favorites.  For those of you who are new to the Sophomore, you may already know about my little knicker-twist about common sense.  Well, here’s where it started out…

Originally inked on 10/23/06, I wrote this little piece in reaction to seeing a good friend get pulled into the mire because of someone who just had to be a drama queen.  Much less to say, I didn’t like the way things turned out, how my friend got drug through the mud while the drama queen came out unscathed without a single finger being shaken at her.  It still frustrates the daylights out of me when bad things happen to good people, only to see the rotten so-and-so’s that start the messes getting away scot-free.  So, when I see things I don’t like, I write about them, and in the case of this one, it’s Classic Sophomore before there even was this silly blog.  To me, this one ranks right next to “Potholes” as one of my favorite pieces.

If you’d like to hear me read it out loud, it was my first piece that aired on the podcast I’m lucky to take part in for the Myst Community.  It’s on The Cavern Today Podcast #22.  If you care to listen, it’s at around 27 minutes, 23 seconds into the ‘cast.  For those of you keeping up with little neat bits of Sheri trivia…well, this is the very first time I used the phrase, “That’s just me of course…” which has become my signature phrase on The Cavern Today.

So, without further ado…a classic just for you:

Andy Rooney, Paul Harvey and Good Old Fashioned Common Sense,
(also known as the parable of “The Ant and the Boulder.”)

This afternoon, I was stumbling around the internet because I’m truly sick and tired of what is going on in another MMOE (Massive Multi-player Online Environment) that I’m a part of.  It was then that I happened upon a news story on Yahoo, and below, in the corner, was a link to Andy Rooney’s clips from 60 minutes.  In this wonderful “6-Pack of Common Sense”, he took a look at everything from the President’s staff to how truly ugly power lines are.  He has such a comical and dry wit that you kind of have to laugh over the fact that things are just so plainly obvious, but none of us ever bother to think about it.

Growing up, I would get the rare treat of having my father take me to school.  My father is not a tall man, he’s only about 5’8, but he says he’s shrinking now…I don’t know about that, but my father will always be a giant to me.  The one thing that will keep him a tall man in my mind were the happiest days of my childhood; those rare trips to school when we would get into his truck and he would turn on the radio and we’d listen to KBUC radio and Paul Harvey.  Now Paul Harvey is that same brand of humor, it’s dry and filled with common sense.  I always found it a treat when Dad would turn on the radio, and you’d hear that familiar line, “And that’s the rest of the story…”  Dad and I would laugh all the way to school.

Well, that made me think about my life and how some of the things I see every day are really common sense things that people are tripping over.  Common Sense is the rock in the road that they stumble on, yet they don’t bother to look down to see exactly what they’ve tripped on or wonder how they came to be face down on the ground in the first place.  You know, that’s the thing about common sense…it isn’t all that common.

So, in Paul Harvey and Andy Rooney fashion, I’m going to try to pick on the common sense things that people trip on.

I’ll start with one that I’m sure you’ll agree that most people just can’t quite seem to avoid.


I don’t know exactly why people can’t avoid this nasty bugger.  Or maybe it’s just this:

Someone up way up on a hill, who thinks they know better than everyone else, see people below them traversing a road.  Along with the people, they see an ant, that they think shouldn’t be there, and it’s just walking along, traversing the road with everyone else.  So they decide it would be wonderful to kill that little bitty ant, because it would be a public service, that it is such an eyesore and a pest and most importantly, because that particular ant supposedly bit them.   So they put a stick underneath the boulder that they are standing next to and heave the huge rock onto the ant below.  While they might enjoy seeing the rock roll down the hill and get a thrill out of the anticipation of the death of the ant, they don’t think of the wake of destruction it would leave during its trip down to the road, bringing even more rocks and dirt along with it, all raining down on the people that are politely minding their own business.  No one knows that someone was just trying to kill that little bitty ant on the side of the road, it’s just that those pesky people minding their own business got in the way.  Tell that to the people who got squished when the boulder landed on top of them and the fact that the little bitty ant that started it all got missed altogether, he just keeps walking down the road!  What’s worse is that the people who rolled the boulder down the hill in the first place, they get missed, they don’t even get a finger shaken at them for starting the whole mess, and everyone else, who has no idea what’s going on, just end up concentrating on screaming about the boulder in the middle of the road.  So, would it not make sense to figure out why and how the boulder got there in the first place?  I would think so…but then again, I’d just keep walking and go around the boulder…

But you know what?  That’s just me of course.

The newest edition of The Cavern Today is online now!  Episode 6 (yes, we started the numbering over again, who knows why…) is on the website for TCT now.  Download it to your iPod and enjoy!  You’ll get to hear me on the air again for another edition of TCT Talk, our round-table chatterbox about the goings on in the Cavern Community, except this month, I’ve jumped thoroughly out of the box, talking about World of Warcraft’s newest expansion: Cataclysm and the changes that came for players in patch 4.0.

November will be seeing me ink a brand new TJMOC, so for all of my listeners out there, I’ll try my best not to disappoint you.

One more for the hotties list.

I was supposed to have a date tonight.  Yeah, it didn’t work out.

So, I did what I always do when I have a down moment from a disappointment, I see a movie.  It always cheers me up.

Sitting in front of my television for another countless evening of surfing movies on HBO, I got a treat – Ocean’s Thirteen was playing – which brings me to the newest addition to the hotties list.

If you’re keeping track, tonight’s hottie is #7 and joins Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Robert Downey Jr.,  Sam Worthington, Matthew Fox and Matthew Goode on my very exclusive and select list of hot men who grace our screens, theaters and more often than not, our dreams as well.

So, I know what you’re thinking, “She was watching Ocean’s Thirteen…no brainer, it’s Clooney, right?”


Okay, then it’s got to be Pitt, right?


Ooh ooh!  Damon, it’s gotta be Matt Damon, right?


Tonight’s hottie comes to us via the UK and my pal Daryl who introduced me to his royal hotness’ hysterical show Dressed to Kill where his comedy routine on Engelbert Humperdink almost made me pee in my pants I laughed so hard.  But, if eyeliner and heels don’t turn you on, when you look at him in roles in films like The Avengers and the Ocean’s films that I watched tonight, you have to go this one with me…

Eddie Izzard.

He makes the hotties list for two simple reasons, he never fails to make me laugh when I’m feeling blue and duh, he’s HOT!!!!  As a friend of mine says as she licks her chops at a good looking guy…”Smexy!!!!”

Nothing is better to lift my spirits when I’m down than to turn on one of Eddie’s comedy films. For an hour of my day it’s nice to be able to reset my viewpoint just by looking at the world through his eyes and comedic genius. I love how he takes intellectual thinking and turns it back onto itself to show us how incredible of a feat it is that humanity has lasted as long as it has.  His view of history is just so incredible that I honestly think that a university like Harvard or Yale should step up and give him an honorary doctorate in it.

Ok, maybe I am a little jealous that he looks better in black cake eye liner than I do, or that he has a better collection of MAC makeup than I do, or that he can walk in heels better than I ever will. But would you look at that photo, OMG his eyes!!!  Drool!  Yep, he’s a hottie!

But whether he’s dressed and coiffed as a man or a woman, it makes no difference to me because he’s absolutely gorgeous either way.  He’s the greatest example of a saying I use all the time:  “I don’t care if you’re blue, green, aquamarine; straight, gay or whatever, if you’re good people, I’ll love you just the same.”

So, hats off to Eddie…he’s got style and he’s cheered me up as my hottie of the day.


There are some moments in life that are just summed up by a good hearty laugh.

Today, I got a huge laugh out of some license plate holders while I was driving around town.

The first, which arguably, even as an atheist, everyone can pretty much go the fact that Jesus Christ, whether he’s a fictional character, an actual human being that walked the earth or whathaveyou, he probably goes down as one of the first famous motivational speakers…which led me to laugh at the license plate holder that read:

“Give Jesus a chance, he died for the opportunity.”

The second was more personal…

Now as we know, the ex’s girlfriend has a name here on the Sophomore, and trust me when I say I’m not stretching the truth by a long shot, I call her “The Bassett Hound Faced Bitch”.   Wouldn’t you know it, not but two seconds AFTER the Jesus license plate holder went by, I got rudely pulled in front of by a car who’s license plate holder read:

“The Bassettmobile.”

I shit you not.

At that point I doubled over in laughter.  I sat there driving, hollering “ABS!” because as I was laughing, the pain in my abs was amplified by the soreness from yoga yesterday.  Tears started streaming down my cheeks as I sat there laughing so hard.  To tell you the truth, I’m still laughing.  Not only does the Bassett Hound Faced Bitch steal my husband, but she sent her minions to cut me off driving down the street.  As I watched the Bassettmobile go by I realized it was just too funny to get ticked about.  Then I had the worst thought on the planet, to buy one of those license plate surrounds and send it to my ex.

As Bill Engvall says, “Here’s your sign.”

I might just be punchy…who knows, but to me that was just friggin’ hysterical.

I went to yoga class

A while back, I talked about going to a yoga class.  My main goal going in was to explore the spirituality that comes from doing an exercise such as yoga, but I really wasn’t prepared for what was really involved.

Now, anyone who’s watched people do yoga usually come away with the feeling that it’s pretty easy to do.  You stand, put your foot on your leg and stretch, right?  WRONG!  Yoga, as I found out, is a whole body workout and you do as much sweating doing yoga as you do riding an exercise bike or any number of things in the gym.

Sunday evening, I got a call from Mirna, a friend that I sit next to in my Journalism 102 discussion class.  She let me know last Wednesday that she went to yoga on Mondays and I jumped at the chance to get to go, so I expressed my interest and told her to give me a call Sunday night to remind me.  Well, sure enough, Sunday evening, the phone rang letting me know I had to be at the Student Health and Wellness Center at 10 a.m. on Monday morning.

When Monday morning rolled around, I got up, got showered, dressed and was at the doors to the Health and Wellness Center at 10 a.m. on the button.  Mirna was out front waiting for me.  After exchanging hellos, we went upstairs to one of the dance studios to find the yoga instructor, Winnie, waiting for us.  On the floor of the dance studio sat two yoga mats and I found out quickly that it was just going to be myself, Mirna and Winnie that session.

In a way, I was really glad that my first time in a yoga class was going to be so small and intimate.  The dance studio was huge, but at the same time, with only the three of us there, it made it much easier to relax, knowing that I wasn’t going to be judged by 20 other pairs of eyes.  So, with mats spaced out yet side-by-side, I was on the left, Mirna was on the right, with Winnie between us.

Winnie started out by going over breathing.  According to her, breathing is bar-none the most important part about yoga, shortly followed by maintaining control of your body at all times, i.e. no flailing of arms, just making sure that if you’re moving, it’s very controlled.

What I found out over the course of the hour I spent with Winnie is that the people who have done yoga for a long time are the ones that make it look easy.  For me, the yoga class marked the first time I had been out of the house to do physical exercise in a long, long time.  Ok, the Wii doesn’t count, it’s like yoga for noobs.  It’s not even remotely as difficult as going to the studio and having an instructor put you through the paces.

Yoga relies on your core muscles primarily, but it doesn’t stop there, it’s upper body, lower body, hips, abs, butt, legs, back…and all the while you’re making yourself into a Chinese pretzel, you’re still concentrating on breathing in and out through your nose.

When we did one position where my wrists were forced to take the full force of holding up my weight, my wrists screamed out in agony.  Winnie stopped and showed me how to stretch and strengthen my wrists so that I could hold myself up.  All the while, I’m watching Mirna as she’s having little to no difficulty at all with the poses, stretches and so forth.  Me?  Oh hell, I was having a bitch of a time with all of it and realizing how fat I still am, how stiff my whole body is and I lamented at how limber had walked out the door 10 years ago.

All throughout the session, I found myself sweating like I was on an exercise bike, my heart rate was up, my breathing was elevated and I sat surprised that something so easy ended up being NOT so easy at all.  At one point, we were in a pose I can’t even remember the name of, but I had one foot wrapped behind my leg, my two arms intertwined and it was at that point Winnie asked me, “how are you feeling?”  I replied quickly, “Like a Chinese pretzel,” to which I quickly channeled a young Indian man saying, “Would you like curry with that?”

Throughout the class I got to become a number of animals, there was dog, dolphin, cat, camel, cobra, but the one pose that really kind of freaked me out was “corpse”.  Lucky for me, corpse came at the end, because by the time we were done, I was dead.

The one thing that is still sticking with me is the meditation exercise that Winnie gave us while we were in corpse pose.  She said that we needed to imagine a bowl in our minds.  A bowl that would fill itself up with all of the negativity and stress that we were going through.  Then, she took us through the mental exercise of dumping out the bowl and letting the negative go through us and be absorbed into the ground, being carried away from our bodies.  That was cool.  Then, she had us go to fetal position, then slowly get up, symbolizing death and rebirth.  The whole ‘death and rebirth’ thing flew over my head, so I asked Winnie to re-explain it to me.  It was the simple fact that we were letting the negativity die, then being reborn into positivity.  That was something I hadn’t even thought was a part of yoga.

When we finished the class, Winnie assured me I would be sore the next day.  She did not lie.  My whole body is doing a chorus of “ooh”, “ouch”, “yikes!”, “pain, lots and lots of pain”.

BUT!  I can say I got my fat ass out the door and took part in the world.  For those of you who are wondering, YES, I’m going back again. Next opportunity that arises will see me back on the yoga mat, and I’m going to keep going again and again until I hone body back into a lean, mean, beautiful fighting machine.

Laying there, dead on the yoga mat, reminded me of the days my body was a fine tuned machine with striations and muscle definition that would make most people cry.  I remembered the days of doing 250 reps on my abs doing regular crunches, then both sets of obliques, and even the really hard reps of laying on my back and having my feet thrown at the floor by my workout partner, only to have me catch them with my abs and take them right back up again, doing 50-100 of them without even thinking about it twice, then getting on the roman chair for another set of 50.  Velvet ropes didn’t fall for me back in the day because I was out of shape you know…  When I think about the rip that went from below my bust all the way to my throat, then being able to clearly see the striations in my pecs, I want to cry.  I used to look so good.  But, no use lamenting the past, we’re in the present now and even though I’m sore, I’m proud of myself.

Life is about perseverance.  It’s one foot in front of the other, and damn it, if it takes me making myself into a Chinese pretzel, so be it!  For the record, I started out the Journey of the Sophomore at 175 pounds 19 months ago.  I’m now sitting at 147 pounds, 17 off of my goal weight of a healthy 130.  To date, I’ve lost 28 pounds.  If you are thinking, “wow, how did she do that?”  Remember, I suffer from an auto-immune disease which has caused me to have hypo-thyroidism.  I have to constantly make sure that I’m driving my metabolism by eating regularly and being active.  That works for me because that is the nature of my illness, if I work on being active, the weight will come off, provided that I am making sure that I’m eating.  I am one that forgets to eat, so my body goes into starvation mode and holds onto everything that I eat, causing weight gain.  BUT when I’m on top of my diet, eating regularly and healthy, the weight comes off just as long as I’m active.  That’s how those 28 pounds bit the dust and oh am I tickled pink they are gone.  Just a little bit more to go.  Either way though, I don’t care what other people think about how I look.  I know what’s going on with my body and that’s the most important thing.  I think I look good, so pfft to all those who would say otherwise.  I’m down to fine tuning and getting rid of the rest methodically and healthily.

Woot!  Ok, owwww, that hurt to put my arms up and cheer…but it’s so worth it…I’m investing in me.

Mind, body, spirit.  Taking the three, making them one and that one spells:


It’s finally getting cold…

Well, I guess cold is relative, being as it’s 66 degrees and I’m sitting in some flannel PJ’s with my floor heater on. Those living in the great white north would call me absolutely crazy since to them, 66 degrees is a summer temperature.

Two days ago, Vegas sat at a warm 85 degrees.  It’s October, sure, but when it gets up into the 90’s in the middle of the afternoon, I’m sorry but shorts and flip-flops are still on the menu for what to wear outside.

Well, here, I’ll regale you with the tale of last night and a few other tidbits that should make you laugh. To be honest, it should make you cringe in parts and in others it’ll be that moment where you say “Thank goodness that didn’t happen to me.”

Ok, let’s look at Vegas close up for a second.  We get less than five inches of rain per year.  Now, to my friends who live in the Pacific Northwest, that’s piddle, not even a drop in the bucket compared to their nine months of rain per year that they see in places like Seattle.  On the other side, all my folks down in Texas will laugh too, because that’s piddle to them as well.  But, unlike Seattle, Texans will proudly stand up and say, “Don’t like the weather?  Wait five minutes, it’ll change.”  More often than not, the temperate climate of the Texas Hill Country will prove that expression right.  But, I’m in Vegas…I’m in the middle of the Mojave Desert!  Ok…let’s spell that out…


For the most part, desert living is all about dealing with a lack of water, but it is compensated for by having cloudless blue skies for the majority of the year.  But, let’s face facts, there ain’t no rain here on a regular basis.  But, when it does decide it’s gonna rain, get the hell out the way, because it’s one heck of a show when it does.

Which brings us to last night.

Right after dinner, I was sitting in my chair at the computer, as is the norm.  Then I thought I saw a little flash.  I ignored it, thinking maybe it was someone’s car headlights until my apartment shook with a very loud BOOM.  First word out of my mouth?  “HOLY!”  That crack of thunder scared the heck out of me.  After a few minutes, I relaxed and turned on World of Warcraft to get ready for my regular Tuesday night raid.   I get in, I start toodling around, visiting with folks, taking in the Halloween fun that WoW has all set up for everyone…

Another flash came.


Then another flash quickly followed by another…

I started to count, One one-thousand, two one-…


(To which that boom garnered a “SHIT!”)

By that time, I was logged on to our Voice Over IP software Ventrillo (“Vent”) with the rest of my sweet guildies.  I had already told my fellow officers it was going to be bumpy night and I might lose power because we were having one heck of a light show happening, and by the way it looked out my sliding glass door (remember, my desk is right next to the balcony, so I’m sitting right next to the sliding glass door), it was pretty scary.

Well, at this point let’s put together what’s happening.  There is lightning streaking across the sky like some genius decided to seed the clouds with pyrotechnics for a New York City Fourth of July, then lit the fuse and ran for cover.   It was something.  But, whenever you have lightning, what do you get?  Thunder, and oh was it booming.  It was like 100 teenagers and their little bass woofer boom-mobiles decided to get together and camp outside my door.  Then, worse yet, was the fact that it started to rain, and it wasn’t playing around.  It was one hell of a gully washer because it was lightning crashing, thunder booming and then Sammy Davis, Jr. decided he was going to come down from Heaven for a Vegas encore performance, making hail sound like a tap dance against my front door!

All the while I’m talking to the boys on Vent, I keyed my mic to ask if they could hear the storm happening outside…through some lag, I even heard it myself.  It sounded exactly like a television that had nothing but static snow as the picture.

But then, oh no, it got worse.  One crash of lighting, along with simultaneous thunder that scared the hell clean out of me, tripped my apartment building’s alarm system.  Now, if you’ve ever lived in an apartment with a building alarm, you know one thing, they’re loud and they’ll drive you to the point you’ll want to shove ice picks in your ears to get it to stop.  It’s not some droning alarm, it’s a high pitched screech not unlike fingernails on a chalkboard, it went on for at least 10 minutes like that.

So, here’s where we’re at by then…

I’m in the raid, we’d cleared trash up to the first boss in Icecrown Citadel, Lord Marrowgar.  That’s when the alarm tripped, five people disconnect all at the same moment, the lightning and thunder are going like crazy, hail is hitting my front door like someone’s shooting a Gatling BB gun at it, I’m terrified and to the point where I’m about to lose my mind.  Can you say, “that was bit much”?   Yeah.  It was.  But, it didn’t stop until the glorious cherry on the cake, the guys pull the boss in-game in the middle of me trying to figure out how to at least dampen the sound of the building alarm, I sat back down, started running and healing frantically to catch up, and one of the priests dies.  I key my mic, just trying to communicate over the cacophony that’s going on to tell them that for some reason I couldn’t battle rez the priest and my sweetheart of a guild master yells, “Sheri!  Stop it!”  I had unwittingly deafened 24 other people because of the utter chaos that was happening around me.

At that point, I was ready to crawl under my desk and assume the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth.  It was a moment where you just want to crawl into bed, pull the sheets up around your head and cry yourself to sleep.  It was bad enough that the week previous had been one long series of banana peel stepping moments where no matter what I did, I couldn’t quite seem to NOT land on my face.  It has been the last two weeks of nothing but potholes that have thoroughly burnt, soaked and scared the willies out of me.  You ever had one of those days, weeks or even months?  After the building alarm finally shut off, I reached over, grabbed my pill bottle and took a Valium.  If I wouldn’t have, someone would have had to break down the door of the apartment to get me scraped off the ceiling.

Excuse me while I put my head in my hands and just shake my head.

Today at school, I noticed that the fashions have changed.  From tank tops, shorts and flip-flops, the student population has mysteriously morphed into jeans, sweaters, scarves and jackets.  Yeah, that’s all it takes, a 30 degree drop in temperature overnight and you’ve got a campus that looked like it was in Hawaii to now looking like it’s some Ivy League school with what the folks are wearing.

As I came in from class and turned on the television news, the National Weather Service had already issued a new thunderstorm warning for tonight.

While I’m sitting here writing, the sky has gone from partial clouds to complete overcast, the thunder and lightning have started up again and lo and behold, we’ve got ourselves another gully washer.  The thing is though, Vegas wasn’t built for rain.  We’re probably the flash flood capital of the world because the roads are not built with proper drainage, so every intersection becomes Lake Erie, the road below the bridge on Charleston Boulevard downtown becomes a literal lake becoming impassable without a boat or scuba gear.

But, as I just typed that last sentence…a HUGE flash of lightning just decided to tell me…Um, Sher…turn off the machine…


See you after the storm!

More Ghosts

I got a note on Facebook today from a friend from high school telling me they missed me at the reunion.

Reunion?  I didn’t even know they were having one.  You know the phrase “Ignorance is bliss?”  Yes I was happily living in blissful ignorance, and wish I still was because spending even a millisecond thinking about high school is enough to give me the need to pop a Valium.

Ugh, high school.  Excuse me while I wave my arms wildly saying, “get it away!!!!!!”  I don’t want to think about it, I don’t even want to get near that little hole in the ground town for all the tea in China! Just thinking about it and I feel dirty and mentally soiled.  Just EWWWWWW.

Sad part was, the note came from one of my best high school pals.  That made me give a little ‘damn it’ because she’d be the ONE person I would want to see out of that whole plethora of folks who just could fall off the earth and I wouldn’t give a damn.  Sad really.  One can never have enough friends, but as the old saying goes, “in our lifetime, we have as many real friends as we can count on one hand.”  It’s the truth.  The friend that sent me the message was one of my real friends.  They were actually one of the few people that didn’t make my life a living hell day in and day out.  I should really thank her for that.  She was supportive, kind and most of all, she was a pal that in retrospect, I should have spent more time with.

But, fun parts are never lacking when we’re revisiting memories of high school…ok, if you didn’t get the dripping sarcasm, you don’t know me.

Yes, attached to my high school friend’s page were the photos from the event!  Oh yes, I live to look at photos of people I could give shit one about.  But, being as I am a glutton for punishment, I looked and saw that for a few of them, definitely not all of them, time has been fairly kind.  What I was actually the most thrilled at were the girls who removed their heads from their backsides and got out of that hell-hole town.  One gal, who looks amazing, lives in New York City.  I wrote her and told her, “NYC, I’m proud of you.”  Now while I’m not an East Coast gal, I’ll give ANYONE who grew up in that little piss-ant town props for making it their mission in life to get out of it and move to the big city.   I hope my NYC pal is up to her armpits in Prada and fine men.  I couldn’t be more tickled to see someone else who had the common sense to realize the world is a pretty big place and that life does not revolve around a town of 36,000 people.

Now, remember the “dialed the wrong number and talked for an hour” story I wrote about some months ago?  Well, sure enough, on the page of photos was the girl that my high school boyfriend was meaning to call but got me instead…yeah, she’s married now…still though, um, how to put this nicely…there is someone for everyone.  I get points on that one for not being too overly catty.

Otherwise than that, you know what I came away with?  The fact that most of the folks I went to school with are still the same exact people.  Most have outsides that match their childhood insides, the ugly becoming uglier and the few who were really sweet, became more beautiful.  But overall, I saw people with beer.  Lots and lots of beer, which gave me the overall impression that they were sloppy drunks back then and they still are.

Knowing that, I realized that there is some nutritional value to take out of all of it.  Yes, I may have been abandoned by my husband, yes, I may live alone, but through all of it, I’ve been my own best friend and my own worst enemy.  I have not had the horrible folks from high school impose their ideals on me nor torment me going through it all. The only time I deal with them is when I’m going through a bad patch of PTSD, their taunts and abuse only last so long until I get through it and realize where I am again.  Bonus of it all, I haven’t had a major episode related to my PTSD in a while now.  I have little episodes now and again, but they’re short, maybe five or ten minutes here and there, nothing like the two hour plus episodes of the past.  This is a good thing, it’s a sign that I’ve moved on and maybe I might be lucky enough to have had my brain heal a little bit.

But like all ghosts, there are some good and some bad.  Today’s ghost is like the one that stood over my parent’s bed long ago in the house I grew up in, you just knew it was there to protect and watch over you.

So, to my friend who we’ll call Casper the Friendly Ghost…thanks for the note.  Glad to know I was missed, but at the same time, glad I didn’t go.  Come on out to Vegas, we’ll have a little reunion all of our own.

Sigh with me…

It’s another Friday night and yes, I’m at home.  Alone.

This sucks.

Another fun filled evening of WoW’ing when what I really want to do is go out.

Well, at least the balcony door is open, it’s 75 degrees outside and well, at least I can look at it this way, by being home on another Friday night alone, at least I’m not running the risk of spending money, being killed by a drunk driver or a whole list of negative things that could possibly happen…

Did I mention this sucks?


Well, I figure it like this, besides avoiding drunk drivers and the whatall, whether it be positive and negative, it’s also a great time to take in another movie.

Say it with me…

“Life is like a movie.  We may not like how the story goes, we might not even like the ending, but everything always turns out in the end.”

So, in that spirit, I took in another film for the evening.  Thanks to iTunes, I rented Prince of Persia.

Since when do people from Persia sound like they’re from Britain, all the while doing bad impersonations of Johnny Depp’s Cap’n Jack Sparrow?  Yeah.  Well, even taking that into account with lots of tongue-in-cheek, and being as that I never actually played the video game “Prince of Persia”, I thought it might be a fun little jaunt.

First out of the gate, I have to get this out…Jake Gyllenhall.  I have had the hardest time shaking his impression on me from his role in Brokeback Mountain.  I just couldn’t let it go.  To me, every time I saw him in magazines or in a movie, I am ashamed to admit it, but my gaydar went off.  I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling he was gay.  Now remember, I have no issue with folks in the GLBT community.  I’ve got tons of gay friends that I love very much, but every time I look at Jake Gyllenhall, I can’t disassociate him from being gay, there’s just something about him that to me just doesn’t seem like he’s straight.  To be honest, it’s what kept me out of the theater and away from seeing Prince of Persia until now, I didn’t think he could be butch enough to pull off a video game hero.  But, I have to say, the long hair and the scruffy beard and all the other whathaveyou in the film, it made me realize he is a cutie you can’t ignore, I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, blue, green or aquamarine.

So, getting the main eye candy out of the way, we get into the guts of Prince of Persia.  Right off the bat who do we see?  Ben Kingsley in eyeliner.  You know, he won an Oscar for Ghandi, but really, every film other than Ghandi I’ve seen him in has just been ones that have left me looking at him and going “blech, he’s a bad guy.”  You knew it going in that Ben Kingsley had to be the bad guy, there was no one else with enough star power in the cast to really pull off a villain.

Then, out of the blue, who do we see?  Alfred Molina.  Now, funny occurrence, this is the third film in less than 48 hours I’ve seen him in.  First, I’m flipping channels and I see him opposite Selma Hayek in “Frida”, the biopic of Mexican artist Frida Khalo.  One word for poor Frida.  Wax.  Oy veh, no one should go through life with a unibrow, I don’t care who you are.  Next after Frida and her unibrow, I flip channels and spot Molina again, this time as Doc Ock in “Spider Man 2”.  Now, in Prince of Persia we see him as the Cap’n Jack wannabe running an ostrich racing racket and making political jokes.  I’m sorry but Alfred, you get a thumbs down for this…we’ve already seen Cap’n Jack in a nice little beaded bandana, we didn’t need to revisit him in a turban.  Cute portrayal though, he gets points for his comic relief.

Then we get onto the heroine, Gemma Arterton.  More British accent out of a supposed “Persian” girl, but she was sassy and spunky.  Liked her, but the whole little romance thing between her and Jake really didn’t hit home with me that hard.  The filmmakers took way too long to heat it up between them and well, when you finally see them kiss, by the way, just once (remember folks this film is from Disney) it just left me flat and rather indifferent.

But, going back to a previous point on Jake Gyllenhall, after seeing him do all that simulated jumping, swinging from ropes and so forth, then when you see those big blue eyes of his, it made me wonder why the hell they didn’t cast HIM as Peter Parker in the first place instead of Tobey Maguire for the role of Peter Parker in Spider Man.  I mean they do have the same look about them, but I have to say Jake needs to be scruffed up and shaggy to play the sexy hero type really well, if he’s clean-cut, I see Brokeback.  I can’t help it!  I know that it’s narrow of me to say and outright unforgivable, I’m sorry, but that’s just what I see.  Jake, for all of his hotness in Prince of Persia, he still doesn’t make the hotties list.

Overall, Prince of Persia was fun, entertaining and a great thrill ride.  While I’m sure the special effects must have been mindblowing in the theaters, I’m glad I saved $7.75 and saw it as a rental.

But, speaking of the hotties list, we need to make a new addition:

Matthew Goode.

Now if that name seems unfamiliar to you, it probably should.  He actually had a Brokeback moment of his own in the film Brideshead Revisited.  But, he also was Ozymandias in Watchmen.  The one film that was his huge selling point to me was a film not unlike the 1992 comedy Year of the Comet with Timothy Daly and Penelope Ann Miller, a film called Leap Year opposite Amy Adams.  Now, Leap Year was just horrible, but here we go again with the scruffed up romantic leading men…Matthew Goode earned my vote for the hotties list just for the scruff and the big blue eyes.  Ok yes, blue eyes and scruff is doing it for me these days, but if you look closer, it’s the nice emotional depth these actors give their characters is what melts my butter.

So another Friday night alone…not bad, not great either, I got in a movie, a blog post and another addition to the hotties list.

Best thing about a Friday night home alone?  At least I had popcorn.

Unsatisfied genes.

Some nights, as I’ve explained before, I like to watch a funny movie before bed.  Tonight’s selection The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was just what I needed.

See, Douglas Adams, the man who wrote ‘Hitchhiker’ starting in 1979, was also a close friend of Richard Dawkins, also known to the God fearing types as the blasphemous author of several atheist books including the one I’ve read, The God Delusion.  Both men had, and in the case of Dawkins still have, a lifelong pursuit of the age old question of “Why am I here?”  Subsequently, it’s the same question I ask myself all the time.

I guess I love the movie so much because it takes a look at the question and spoofs it, or more to the point, it tries to answer it in some pretty odd ways.  None of us really knows why we’re here, much less take the time to pull ourselves out of our own little dramas to simply ask the question of “why am I here” to begin with.

Today, I actually took the time to break down who I was and where I’m currently at.  Sufficed to say, I’ve got school going on, I’ve got things I want to do, places I want to see, but it’s all really secondary to my unsatisfied “mommy gene,” which coincides with the “Why am I here” question.  I think I’ve figured out a good answer to the “why am I here” question and I think it has to do with the fact that I live to share love.

I don’t have children and that’s very much on purpose.  I’m far too selfish (and too careless) to take care of a small child.  I am deathly afraid that I’d hurt a child absentmindedly or I’d sleep through when it was hungry and about a million other reasons of why I don’t think I’d make a good parent.  Now, I know quite a few people who would look at me and call me absolutely crazy because anyone in their right mind would know that someone that concerned about not damaging another human life would be a fairly decent parent, if not a great one.  I’ve been told lots of times I’d make a great mom, but let’s face it, I’m 39, I’m not having children.

I spend a lot of time expressing that unused ‘mommy gene’ by taking care of those around me.  If it’s not my World of Warcraft guild who I constantly watch over and attend to, making sure that everyone in our little guild family is happy or at least has been told they’re loved and valued, it’s the young people at school who I take the time to copy notes for them when they’ve over slept and not made it to lecture or have questions about our assignments.  I’m constantly a sort of Mom that people come to see on a daily basis.  That, I think is a good thing, but it really doesn’t give grandchildren, now does it?

Well, I guess it’s ok.  I’m at the point that I’m kind of like my Aunt Anita, very sorry she didn’t have children when she had the chance.  But, I also look at it in another way…

Today, while visiting for another 40 minutes on the phone with the friend I’ve been going on about in my last three posts, he asked me for a favor.  It was simple, would I please take him to the doctor’s office for a cortisone shot.  Now, anyone who knows me understands one simple fact, if you ask me, “Hey Sher, can I ask a favor,” my standard answer before I even hear what they need is, “anything you’d like.”  When someone I love or have a friendship with asks me to do something for them, my unsatisfied mommy gene unwittingly stands up and turns into Supergirl, leaping tall buildings to help those I love and value in my life.  I’ve done all sorts of favors.  I’ve held things for people, I’ve been a mailing address and the delivery person for a group of folks who wanted to send gifts to a friend arriving in Vegas after a month of being in Europe.  I’ve babysat, I’ve painted, I’ve given Photoshop lessons…I’ve done practically everything under the sun for my friends and I’ve never once asked for anything in return.  To be honest, I never thought that friendship meant that you had to ask for things in return when all they were asking for was your particular brand of nutritional value to aid in a situation.  Put another way, being a friend shouldn’t require compensation, should it?

As we covered in the last post, my friend is pretty stubborn and to boot, ferociously independent.  He believes he can do everything himself, when what he really needs is a friend to take some time out and unselfishly give him support.  Ah, but there’s that word, ‘selfish’.  See in Vegas, for a good majority, when you ask a favor, the most common response is “what do I get out of it?”  Now, to ask someone a favor and get an answer like that means that they’re really not your friend and they’re just using you for their own ends.  “What do I get out of it,”  HA!  Hogwash!  Anyone who would ask that question of me when I asked them for support would get my boot severely planted up their backside for even thinking of such nonsense.  What do you get out of it?  The fact that you unselfishly gave your time to someone who needed you.  That should be payment in and of itself and that’s coins you can put in your emotional piggy bank for the day when you are feeling down and asking yourself the question we started out with “why am I here.”

So, after some hemming, hawing and other things, my friend finally got down to asking me for the favor of me driving him to the doctor for a shot.  I didn’t think twice, I didn’t stop, pass go or collect $200 on the proverbial Monopoly board, I immediately said yes.  After I answered he tried to explain some more of why he was asking me for the favor and I stopped him dead in his tracks.  Ok, backstory time…my friend has had surgery on both of his knees, both of his shoulders and is currently having back problems.  I may have blew it ten years ago by not being there to help him through the knee and shoulder things, but I will be damned if I’m not showing up for this round of care.  Being that he was on a roll on his explanation as to why he was asking me for the favor, I told him to politely shut up.  I stopped him cold and gave this response:

“Ok, we both know I’m 39, I don’t have kids, but I do have this indescribable need to take care of the people around me.  Now, if this means I have to get up at 5am to get you to a doctors appointment by 7:30am, then by gods, that’s what I’m going to do.  You need support right now and I’m not going to sit there and flake out or do some other boneheaded thing that would prevent me from giving you support when you need it.  I’m your friend, that means if you need me, you call me, you tell me what you need and I’ll move heaven and earth to get it done for you.  I am not one of those selfish people who asks for anything in return.  I don’t want anything from you except to see you feel better.  If you’re feeling better because I took an hour to drive you somewhere, then that’s payment enough.  But think of it another way…by you asking me for help, you’re actually doing ME the favor!  You’re making me get up, go outside, and do things with another human being and that’s what I need right now.  So really the favor you’re really asking is for me to do something that’s good for me mentally and physically, so how could that be a bad thing?  For heavens sake, if you couldn’t get up because you were in pain and needed something from the store, all you would have to do is give me your list and I’d do that for you too!  Now stop all of this hemming and hawing, give me the date you need me to drive you and that’s that!”

You should have heard the sigh of relief on the other end of the line.  You see, before he and I got into contact again, he was with this horrible woman who was treating him like a damn yo-yo and sufficed to say, she doesn’t sound like a very good person because when he’d ask for a favor from her, he’d get all sorts of drama in return.  Ok, stop.  There should be NO drama whatsoever going into selflessly doing something for someone else, especially where their health and quality of life is concerned.  OOH, people who bring drama to someone already in a lot of physical pain just piss me off to no end.  They are the antithesis of my life mantra, “Love is the only truth and worth sharing every day.”  I don’t care if it’s platonic love, romantic love, or whatever…you always step up to the plate and give love, it’s the only constant in the universe that is priceless yet doesn’t cost you anything to just take a moment and be kind.

Which brings us all the way back to the “Why am I here” question…the most base answer I could give and I think the world’s bravest and most unselfish answer is to say that I’m on this planet to share love and make sure those who don’t get a swift kick in the pants and start doing it.  The only drawback is in the fine print…

When someone shares love with you, don’t take advantage of it or be selfish about it.  When you know you have a friend like that, don’t be remiss to ask if you need help or support when you know the person you’re asking just wants to be there for you in a time of need.

Most of all, when someone shares love with you and does something selfless to make sure you’re happy and safe, just be grateful for it and remember you don’t have to pay it back, just pay it forward.

Sometimes it takes years to get things right…

Have you ever noticed that sometimes timing is everything?  I’ve come to figure out that it is.  And well, with me, who is temporally challenged to the Nth degree, it makes having timing my antithesis.  I couldn’t have good timing to save my own life, and what’s funny is that most of the good things that have happened in my life have been sheerly by dumb luck.

But I have noticed one thing that I am beginning to believe is a universal constant, that sometimes it takes years to have good timing.  It takes time to make sure you’ve gotten all of the mental stuff taken care of, your personality just the way you like it, to even go as far as getting to the point where you look in the mirror and you’re ok with yourself.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes it takes years to notice the impact you make on someone else.  As we all know and are still swooning about, I got a phone call from a very dear friend on Thursday.  Well, ok, let’s put this into perspective.  I’ve been very remiss to talk about him before, simply because there are just some things you don’t need to publish on your blog, and the other part is that this is still so new, some details just need to be left out.  But, I’ll tell you a part of the story and maybe someday he’ll be a major recurring character here on The Sophomore.

Right off the bat you should know that my father has never once interfered in my love life.  He’s always stood back, let me make my mistakes and he’s always been there to dry my eyes when my heart has been broken.  My friend, who is all the latest rage, was hand-picked for me by my father and it’s the only time he has ever tried to play matchmaker, so that should immediately tell you something about my friend because it takes a whole lot to pass muster with Dad.  One day, my friend will get his own post and I’ll tell the incredible story (and trust me you will need kleenex), but for now, let’s hit the highlights.  My friend and I used to know each other really well and to boot, he’s, oh let’s just say it, he’s gorgeous in every single way a guy can be gorgeous, with the exception that he is incredibly stubborn.  Mules ain’t got nothin’ on this boy’s hard head.  But, being as he used to be a lawyer, I guess we can forgive that.  After all, perseverance and fortitude are not traits everyone has and makes use of every day.  Well, ok, let’s just put it this way, he calls me onto the mat for my BS.  No one else does, outside of my mother and sister, and well, when I’m so used to intimidating most people, the fact that he can put me in check, well hell kids, the ex couldn’t even do that…which makes him a complete mold-breaker.  It re-writes everything I’ve seen and gone through in the last ten years, and between you and me, well, I think I’m due for a nice healthy shake up.  It goes back to timing, you never know if things are at just the right time, but right now, with what I’m seeing and experiencing, well, let’s just say the odds of having good timing are favoring me right now.

Now, let’s get back to my friend and the amazing experience I had visiting him on Friday.  His house, the beautiful thing it is, ten years ago just happened to have a bad case of “bacheloritis.” Yeah, everything was placed just so, but it still didn’t feel like someone lived there.  Now, this may seem ironic for me to say because for those of you who have been keeping up with The Sophomore from the beginning know that I struggled in my old apartment realizing that I needed to LIVE there and not just inhabit the place.  Well, my friend was the same way.  He was constantly busy, worked hard, and loved nothing more than speeding around in Vivian the Carmine Red Corvette (and oh did Vivian have a nice butt…that car was a work of art).  Long story short, over the time I spent with him ten years ago, I recommended things for his house, a valance over the living room window, sheers over the blinds in his bedroom to soften the light…nothing too major, just little suggestions to make the place a bit more homey.  Now, we all know I have all of the decorating taste of a warthog…I’m struggling every day with what to do with my new place.  Thank goodness my sister is coming over on Tuesday to help remedy that.  But still, I had a suggestion or two for him along the way before I was carried, much against my will, to Montreal.

Anyhow, let’s get back to the ten years that spanned from me making the suggestion to actually seeing it actually happen…yeah, it’s ok, you can be amazed with me.  Let’s just get something straight right off, I’m not used to people listening to me out in the real world.  I’m used to giving people positive words in online worlds and letting them do what they wanted with them, never really seeing what they had done with the exception of some of my Photoshop students over the years…but brass tacks is, I wasn’t quite ready to see what an impact I made on someone else in the real world.

When I walked into my friend’s house on Friday, I immediately noticed that there was the valance over the window, just as I had described it to him some ten years ago.  Then, to my shock, he asked me to look in his bedroom.  That’s when I became floored.  I nearly burst into tears.  (I did later, trust me.)  There, hanging in front of the blinds were sheers that were in the exact colors I had described and hung in just the way I had described it as well.  Excuse me while I choke up a bit.  My mind still really can’t quite seem to bend itself around the fact that not only had he kept everything I ever gave him, but that he painstakingly created what I had described.  I’m not used to that. I’m used to “we’ll look into that,” not someone who actually listens to me.

I came home and just wept.  I don’t mean little sobs, I mean a full blown cry that had anyone seen it, it would have broken their heart.  I was overwhelmed with guilt, that when I left for Montreal I not only hurt him, but destroyed myself in the process all in the name of survival and getting myself out of an abusive situation.  I should just concisely sum it up by saying that the six months before I left for Montreal were the happiest in my life and they were all because of my friend.  We shared trips to Spago, hanging out at 9 at The Palms, shopping trips, laughing over dinners, spending time just hanging out and enjoying each others company.  When I got to Montreal, all I did was stare out the window and imagine his face, imagine the sound of his laughter, and I spent the majority of the time I spent alone remembering every moment I spent with him, down to the most minute details, never letting on to anyone how destroyed I was inside.  But, as anyone in my position would have done, I accepted the responsibility of my actions, I wept inside, but I accepted my fate, becoming a loving and supportive wife, never flinching in my duties in that regard.  But, deep inside, I mourned the loss I had to endure to escape abuse.

Ten years later, walking into that house, it was like it was frozen in time, changes had been made, but only ones I had only dared to imagine, much less had the audacity to express.  The music playing on the CD player was music I had given him, he told me that the CD I had made for him before I left had been played to the point it had distorted and started to skip, and everything in the house looked as if it was intentionally done to preserve my essence in that space.  Everywhere I turned, I saw little pieces of me everywhere and things of his I knew exactly where they were and why they were there.

When does this happen to anyone?  I don’t think it does!

Anyhow, yesterday afternoon I laid on my couch and just couldn’t help but break into sobs again.  In the middle of my self-imposed torment, the phone rang and it was Chance.  He deciphered what I was telling him through my heart wrenching sobs and then he proceeded to politely stick his boot in my backside.  He asked me very point blank, “Why are you crying?  These are all good things, aren’t they?”  Then he said, “I know you feel bad for hurting him, but why on earth are you living in the past?  You’ve got a whole new future ahead of you and if he saw you crying like that, it’d hurt him too.  What’s important here is that you take advantage of the chance you’re getting now and be happy that you have it.”  It was at that point I stopped crying.  Chance had a point.  We talked a bit more before he had to pick up a girl to go to a concert.

About two hours later, the phone rang again, this time it was my friend on the line.  I was grateful for Chance at that moment because he had gotten me to stop crying and look at the positives of the situation.  My friend and I talked for a while and I told him what had happened, what Chance and I had talked about and that’s when he broke it down, had I stayed in Vegas ten years ago, things would have not worked out between he and I because the timing wasn’t right.  He wasn’t ready back then and he told me that simply he would have ended up pushing me away, and in the process, finding himself in my situation, tormenting himself over a bad decision.  Looking back, I realized that ten years ago I wasn’t in any position to be doing much except being in therapy and getting my thyroid disease diagnosed so I didn’t have mood swings that would make even the heartiest blanche.

But, walking into his house on Friday, things were the same, but they were so very different.  The conversation, instead of me talking all the time, were filled with his words, his ideas and resulted in a lot of me nodding, agreeing and not being able to get a word in edgewise without a sledgehammer to back me up.  It was wonderful.  Finally, we got to the point where we began to exchange ideas, philosophies and all of the rest of the parts of our conversations that I had remembered from so long ago.

Most importantly, I was out of my apartment and hanging out with a friend in a different space.  I waited ten years to be able to sit and have that conversation and the ones that have followed the ones from Thursday.  Chance was right, it’s not about regret, and like Chance said, “The best thing you can do is say you’re sorry and move on.”  I did that.  I feel so much better that the air is cleared and my friend and I have said our peace about what happened.

For now, I’m just going to be grateful I have a friend in the real world to hang out with, exchange thoughts, ideas and know (evidenced by the window dressings in his house) that I’m not just decoration or arm candy, but someone who is listened to as well.

And just think, it took ten years, two broken hearts, a reassessment of everything I thought I knew, and look where I am, back where I started with a fresh pair of eyes and a grateful spirit.

Most of all, I have hope because I’m taking things day by day with no expectations or any sort of ideas about anything, I’m just going to be grateful I can spend time with another human being who means an incredible amount to me.

Ok, enough, I’ve stepped up to the confessional and gotten it all out of my system…

Let’s have a song of the day:  Santana’s “Why don’t you and I”…I’ll take a happy tune!  🙂

And then, from out of the blue.

It’s ironic.  It may just be karma.  But, just when I find myself back down in the hole that tells me I’m never going to go out of the apartment except for school, to see my parents or run errands and I’m racked with the pain of dealing with how I got to where I am now, amongst all of the mental rah-rah that going through my mind as I was washing dishes, the phone rang.

My arms were forearm deep in suds, but when I saw the number on my caller ID, I fumbled quickly to answer it.

It was an old friend.  Someone, given how badly I hurt him, I thought I would never get to speak to again.

I’m remiss to talk about the details about my friend.  There are just some things you just don’t need to say, other things that people just don’t need to hear. But sufficed to say, it’s a remarkable coincidence that he called.

Yes, girls, I said, “HE”.  Shush!  All of you!  I don’t want to hear it!  Yes, in my Kenyonesque world of romance novels, video games, school, abuse and the rest…there was a man on the other end of the line and someone I used to know pretty well.  Oh get your jaws up off the floor.  It’s fine…ok, yes, I’m excited as a 16-year-old standing in front of Justin Timberlake…now shush!  We must remain calm.

We spent about 45 minutes on the phone…and guess what, I’m not the one who did all the talking.  He did.  Everyone shush!  Stop gaping!  I sat and LISTENED.  Now, I know what all of you die-hard Sophomorists will say, “It’s impossible!”, “Her? Quiet? Get out of town!”…to all that I turn my noses up at you and hide embarrassingly.  Ok, yes, you’re right, I talk too much, but, I sat back and reminded myself that I needed to take the time and listen, to really HEAR what he was saying.  Ok, long and short of it, it was like sitting and listening to someone that can read your mind…I had an overwhelming feeling of peace just wash over me hearing him talk about the things I’ve been ranting on my blog about.  The need for greater spirituality, the need to spend time with people who are positive influences, the re-examining of your life to find a greater purpose, the angst you get from people who just don’t get it… If I could have bottled that moment, I could have made a fortune!  It was the biggest feeling of bliss in the world!  Swoon!  Ok, 10 out of 10 on the swoon-o-meter!

Remember what I said this morning?  How sometimes you need to call a friend out of the blue and share nutritional value? That you need to tell someone that they’re valued and so forth?  Yeah, gimme some…I got a phone call from someone who doesn’t even read my silly blog doing just that!  Talk about sitting here and being completely floored, I can’t believe it happened to me!

Ok, I’m just going to hush, chill, and go find that bottle of “moment” and just bask.  Some days, we all deserve moments like that.