Liebster Award

Liebster Award
I am excited to have received the Liebster Blog Award thanks to the support of a wonderful soul and excellent writer of Pullmyfunnybone Blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tommy Two-Wheels: Frank Thomas Tholke

He who holds the key can open my heart.

( I have the heart and pop has the key)

How do I even begin to describe the connection I have with my Pop? We have an amazing relationship and friendship that grows stronger with each passing day. We are so much alike, which my mom really loves! They divorced when I was 6 months old and she moved us to Florida, leaving Pop behind in Chicago. For days, he played “It’s not supposed to be that way,” written by Willie Nelson. If I respond to her in a certain way, be it the tone of my voice, or a smart-ass remark, she’ll say, “You sound just like your father.” To which I respond, “Thank you, what a compliment!” She chuckles, because she knows it’s true.

When we talk on the phone, there is nothing but belly-shaking laughter, with occasional gasps for air, only to fall into more fits of hysterical, spontaneous laughter. What are we laughing about you may be wondering? We talk and laugh about nothing, anything, and everything in between, but the conversations are always priceless, to us. 

I tell my Pop everything that is going on in my life, and he tells me what’s in his heart as well. He may have a few stories he’s not ready to share with me just yet: this I know. I can feel it and that’s OK. “It will all find its way, in time,” to quote Tori Amos. We have a beautifully cathartic relationship that no other father/daughter can match, and for this I am eternally grateful. I wouldn’t change a thing.

We often text each other Willie Nelson lyrics, and he gets surprised at my quick responses with the rest of the line to the song. He introduced me to Willie’s music early on. He took me to my first Willie concert by the age of 8. We were always backstage hanging with the crew. We absolutely have a Willie Nelson bond. He loves Willie Nelson as much as I love Tori Amos. Our mutual respect for these two musical artists works in our favor, because WE GET IT -in turn- we get each other. Our father/daughter dance at my wedding was -and my ring tone for him- is “Always on my mind,” written by Willie Nelson. And he is, always on my mind. 

I know he knows how much I love him: unconditionally: most people have conditions. That’s sad. If we’re both having an off-day, we sense the disturbance in each other from 1,232 miles away.

He’s a wonderful soul, a loyal friend, a loving husband, Tok’s- the fisherman- and also fondly known as, Tommy-Two-Wheels. 

He is my pop and most importantly, he is my best friend. Eternally

"I've got a couple more years on you babe, and that's all," Willie Nelson

Tori Amos: Sonic Architect

Music is the soundtrack to the soul. My ears prefer a harmonic register in a minor key; it strikes the minutest nerve of my core.

I will do my best to illustrate my deepest appreciation for Tori Amos.

She has the natural ability to evoke in me the ultimate paradox: happiness and sadness; a raw emotion and release of which no drug could ever take the place. From the first passionate stroke of her Bösendorfer piano, I’m hooked.

There is no fluff in her musical composition or lyrical content. She speaks the ultimate truth, even when -at times- her tongue cuts sharper than any object you may have lying around in your kitchen drawer.

She is other-worldly and is my safe place that I run to when I need soothing, need a reality check, or feel the need to put on my brass ovaries. Whenever her music is playing, I am completely consumed in her rhythm; which in turn, seeps into my being, setting me off into my own rhythm. I dare not be interrupted, or my world turns upside down and I become instantly livid, as it breaks my vibe and changes my frequency. 

She is the opposite of zero point energy.  

Throughout the course of my days -by the minute or hour- there is a meaningful and purposeful lyric, completely appropriate for any situation, and because I GET IT, I internally smile with pride. It is my hope for others that there are musical artists who resonate with their souls.

I am truly blessed to have awakened the connection to incorporate Tori into my life. Her music allows me to see everything in different hues, not just rose-colored glasses. Also, Tori seems to speak a different language. She has an innate ability to deliver a word like you’ve never heard before and ends up giving new life to a word you’ve always thought you’ve known.

Over the years, I’ve realized as Tori matures, so do I. I find it intriguing that she and I seem to be riding on a similar wave, even though we’ve never met. Her metaphors pierce through my heart and soul on a deep and mystical level that is undeniably meant for me. Her voice instantly heals and soothes my soul, leaving me literally aching for her deliberate tones and next breathes that once-heard are unmistakable and incredible. That sounds odd to read and even stranger to write. But, it’s what I know and it’s very real.

Tori’s music has opened a metaphorical door, which has guided me towards my evolution into a strong, confident, fierce, and most importantly, vigilant woman. She’s helped me realize that -under no circumstance- must we settle for anything we’re told to do or be if it does not agree with our own common sense, or if it goes against our gut feeling. We must fight the good fight musically…defiantly, musically.

“Concertina, concertina- a chill that bends, this I swear- you’re the fiercest-calm I’ve been in”- Tori Amos

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Filter (or lack thereof)

A friend once told me that I could make friends at a post-it convention, which I felt was a nice compliment.

What can I say? I am a very sociable, extroverted soul. I will and do engage in conversation with ANYONE, solicited or not. If I sense a disturbance in the force, I will back off as to not go into stranger-danger mode, but if we gel, hot damn, it’s on! 

This is where my fun begins!

I am passionately curious and genuinely interested in people: their thoughts, ideas, personal stories and the overall absurdities they’ve encountered during the course of their lives.

It’s quite the experience when I am with my true balls-to-bones home girls. There is never any need for explanation; and for that, I am thankful to an infinite degree. Anything can set us (me) off: the sound of someone’s voice, the song on the radio, the tasteless kitschy objects at lunch, etc. It’s difficult to appreciate the insanity of my inner-circle: we’re all bat-shit crazy.

Those that do know me and hear my ramblings are secretly waiting to witness the hysterics that will ensue or cringe at the content that will definitely escape from my pie hole.

It’s difficult to pinpoint what happens during the course of my unusual days. Sometimes I feel that I have Tourette Syndrome, but mostly it’s that I have no filter or a lack of a filter, like a Dyson vacuum. I call things as I see them, no matter the circumstance.
I can’t help but call out the obvious stupid bullshit people say, so I ask questions that create more questions.  At times, I completely repel people by voluntarily elaborating on my own personal stories (that I don’t consider too personal, but is apparently TMI for others). When this occurs (which is daily), it’s never in a rude, but most always in a noticeable way.  It either takes them aback in disbelief to what they’ve just overheard, which either makes them want to join in on the conversation because the topic hits home, or sends them running for the hills because they know they’re about to be embarrassed because I would totally ask them a personal question if they were in my peripheral.

Do I really give a rat’s ass HOW people react to my lunacy? Not really. I know I’m off my rocker, but I honestly don’t care. I am who I am. Some people get me, others don’t. I understand that, but it is what it is and for that, I have no apologies. 

We’re all different ‘human’ beings coming from different backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings; but come on, when something is funny, wrong, harmful, or just downright ridiculous, how can you not expose it? You can’t just keep it in like a rumbling fart waiting to explode. You have to let it out or one day you may pop. Can you image the mess that would be?

I have ONE voice; it’s neither indoor nor outdoor: it’s ONE setting, and it’s quite loud. Whenever I begin a story or I am about to comment on something, I preface it by saying, “I’m not yelling!” For example, Asian people don’t get my sense of humor; they think I am yelling at them and being a smart-ass.

Are there really that many personal questions?  I’m not asking the color of their fecal matter that morning (although sometimes I do). However, in a professional environment, I am consciously and constantly aware -at all times- of who is around and their proximity of my bullhorn to their ear. 

I don’t believe in small-talk bullshit such as “the weather’s nice, isn’t it?”  Nobody really cares to talk about the weather; they have real issues they’re thinking about.

It’s a proven fact that people are attracted to others who have shared similar experiences to which they can relate. What better way to know who those people are than to reveal your thoughts and experiences to them?

I’ve learned that once you self-disclose to someone, they unconsciously open up. I love when this happens; it’s like a mental picture of a calving glacier. Their walls come crashing down. I can feel their catharsis and that’s when I like to dig in and probe, like an alien abduction searching for what makes people tick. It’s fascinating and heartfelt. We both walk away satisfied; at least I do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poop Chute Report

Welcome to my experience of the dreaded colonoscopy.

While being driven to the hospital, I decided to read through their brochure.  I noticed several spelling errors and word omissions and was immediately riddled with anxiety about their ability to stick tubes up my anus if they couldn't even hire a qualified editor.

Upon arrival to the hospital, I met Beverly.  She was a dear, elderly woman.  I jokingly asked her for a sip of her juice, because I was parched beyond belief. She chuckled, but declined; greedy b*tch.  Anyway, she handed me my check-in form and a laminated number and asked me to have a seat until my number was called (they give you a number as to not call your name out for all of creation to hear). BT and I sat down, and I began to examine my check-in form.  It stated I currently worked at the Hartford (which I haven’t since 2004), that my husband’s last name is Tholke, and that his phone number is the same as mine.  Perhaps for some of you this is not a big deal, but for me, this is set off numero dos before 8:00 AM with no coffee or food for over 24 hours.  I was HANGRY.

To alleviate some frustration, I took pictures of said errors and texted them to my friend in disbelief.

“Number 10,” said Valerie.  Ah! Sweet Valerie… She greeted me and walked me to the automated check-in kiosk to electronically sign my life away.  I began clicking “yes,” “I agree,” and “next” until I completed the process.  Well, as luck would have it, the machine flickered on and off and then powered down.

I said, "Valerie, I’m about to lose my shit.”

Valerie said, “Don’t worry. I am the Patient Experience Coordinator; you can tell me anything.”

To which I said, “GREAT! Well, first your brochure has spelling errors and word omissions, of which I have taken the liberty of correcting for you, IN INK; my check-in form information is incorrect; and this f*cking machine just blacked out on me after inputting information and agreeing to multiple questions. Frankly, I’m not very confident about this hospital!”

“That’s OK,” she said. “I have a hand-held mini-computer you can use to input the same information.”

“OK,” I said.  Just as I signed my name and clicked “next,” like a glitch in the matrix, that lil mini bastard flickered on and off, on and then OFF.  DEAD…the battery was kaput.

I paused, smiled and turned my gaze to Valerie. She said, “It’s OK, I got your information recorded, I’ll just print it out and you can look it over for errors.”

While she was jacking around with the cord on the mini bastard, she said, “Are you an English major?”

“No, just a grammar Nazi,” I replied.  She laughed, but asked if she could call me in the next few days and thanked me for pointing out the errors.  She, too, was in disbelief.

“Jennifer?” I heard. So much for anonymity! “Let’s get you started.”  I started to feel better as I followed Nancy down the hall, but honestly I was mostly excited for the Propofol!!  Two nurses, Marlo and Lisa, began to fire off questions, which sounded like echoes; “What’s your name, who is your doctor, and do you know why you are here today?” (As if I had forgotten). I know, I know, it’s all protocol; I just found it amusing. “Is there any possibility you could be pregnant?”

I busted out into laughter and shouted “uh, No!” Since nurses are not allowed to take your word for it, off I went to piss in a cup and lest we forget, shit like a goose, as I’ve not yet-STILL- stopped shooting liquid out of my anus.

ONE minute later, knock-knock- knock...“Whatcha doin in there Jenn?” asked Marlo.

“Dancing, Marlo-I’m almost finished.”

After the peeing, questioning, signing, initialing, and vein poking, I was greeted by Scatman Crothers to whisk me away. As he wheeled the gurney through the halls to the ‘prep room,’ I noticed literal signs everywhere (God made the heavens and earth and Mother Mary figures illuminated in the halls, etc.). We engaged in small talk, and then I asked him if he enjoyed his job to which he replied, “Yes, ma’am.” He was pleasantly wonderful, so polite, and wished me well when we parted ways.

My next stop on this joyful morning was to meet the wonderful inducer of pleasure, Dr. Purkey, the anesthesiologist (yes this was his real name). God Bless this man. Seriously, please bow your heads. He hooked a sister up! He was a bit of a jokester, but I honestly don’t remember one ounce of that blissful half hour slumber. BOO.

When I awoke in the recovery room (AKA: the bog of eternal stench), my wonderful husband was sitting next to me, laughing at my flatus and when I perked up enough to laugh too, I then became conscious that I might shit myself if I wasn’t very careful. We were literally in a recovery room of fart rippers.  It was hysterical and a pre-requisite in order for discharge; no pun intended.

Finally, the doctor came in and informed me that I was as clean as a whistle and off I went.

In the words of Tori Amos- “Exit 75-I’m still alive, I’m still alive!”