Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII. Both are still living. My grandfather, Thomas Halpin, was with the U.S. Navy and stationed in both Puerto Rico and Pearl Harbor following its infamous attack. He doesn’t talk much about that time in his life; however, he still attends his Navy reunions faithfully every year no matter where they are held. In recent years, fewer of his buddies remain alive to attend the reunions, but he still looks forward to getting together with those who remain for a good time. My other grandfather, Elmer Carter, fought in North Africa, Italy, and Germany during the war. He received the bronze star in Italy and fought in the famed Battle of Casino. Today he is 94 years old. He basically lives on a can of Coca Cola for lunch, as well as candy (his favorite is licorice and gumdrops) and pretzels throughout the day. He doesn’t eat vegetables. He is rarely sick and never complains about an ache or pain. He just officially gave up golf last year, but I hear he still sneaks out to the driving range. Although basically in excellent health, the war did take a toll on his hearing. He has two hearing aids and if you know me, you’ll understand, I am one of those few people he does hear. Pop-Pop Carter has amazing stories to tell about his experiences in WWII. Everything from his best friend being taken away in a straight jacket to the beautiful Italian girls he dated in Italy. He’s talked about his driving an open jeep alone through small towns where the enemy could easily have been hiding with clear shot of him to stories of IU’s beloved Ernie Pyle who visited his camp (primarily to drink). He talks about cold, rainy nights sleeping in muddy fox holes as well as seeing his buddies blown apart by a mine. My grandfather’s memories are vivid, almost like it happened yesterday. I guess for him, it has been better to talk about the experiences rather than to try to forget. His military uniform is kept tucked away in a trunk with other mementos of the war.

Not only have I grown up hearing my grandfather’s war experiences, but our family has visited just about every civil war and revolutionary war battlefield, monument, birthplace and historic site from Boston to Georgia. My parents emphasized and made sure we understood about the bravery of those young men leaving home and fighting for their country as well as the tremendous sacrifices they made. For example, Arlington National Cemetery is a sobering place. Not because of an eternal flame and JFK’s grave; it is in seeing thousands of grave markers that cover the hill that opens your eyes to realizing sacrifice and love for country.

Today’s U.S. soldiers deserve the same respect and honor. You might not agree with the current war in Iraq, but let’s not let our political differences, whatever they may be, lessen in any way realizing the bravery and sacrifices shown by the U.S. Military today and tomorrow.

Thank you all for serving our country.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

RunningNheels (literally)

The reason I named my blog, “RunningNHeels” is two fold. Well, maybe three fold. Not only do I love running (see SRSC February 15 blog) and I love wearing high heels, I think the name describes well my personality and my unyielding race to be on time. Although never considered a slacker, I have for most of my life been late. I know…this is a bad habit. I live down to the wire, on the edge and near the brink. Although I consider myself a very organized person, my lateness has forever been a problem.
Living with me back home was a nightmare…I took at least two hours to get ready for anything and then I’d still be late! Even a shopping day with mom couldn’t possibly begin before noon. Getting me ready on vacation was…well let’s say I growled a lot. My brother whom I shared bathroom space with, never really complained about me unless we were going out somewhere together. Actually, Adam was the only person who could get me to “push it”. My freshman year in high school (his senior) he used to drive me to school and all it would take was for his firm command of “Tara, let’s go” and I would be following him out the door. Sure, maybe I’d finish applying my mascara and blush on in the car, but I’d be on time. My junior year, after Adam went to college I relied on my mom driving me to school every day. With my lateness and her phenomenal Mario Andretti driving techniques, I would manage to arrive on time; however, my poor mother would start each day at her job frazzled from the dodging and weaving up Route 70 to get me to school on time. It’s a miracle she didn’t have a stroke! Senior year, I drove myself. Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I'm Mario Jr.
RunningNheels also describes my “girly girl” athleticism. Ok, so I’ve never been considered a jock, but I bet I could out run anyone wearing 4-inch heels in a 100 meter sprint! Jackie Joyner-Kersee, bite my dust!
This week I actually caught myself literally “running in heels”. With only a 45 minute lunch break I had to grab lunch and then make a quick stop at the dry cleaners. I ran in the parking lot like I was in a relay rally! I sprinted from my car to the cleaners, then from the cleaners to my car. All so that I could return to work as on time as possible. And I made it on time…I think they actually waved a black and white checkered flag at my return!
“RunningNheels” also describes my future career aspirations. You know, professional, working female, out to get ahead in the corporate world. Running in heels describes my dreams to not only be on time for corporate meetings, but to lead corporate meetings. Yes, time is money and running makes a winner and if you step on my shoe, I won’t cry. Just watch out for the spike! (teehee).

Sunday, May 22, 2005

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

Doctors can cure everything, right? They can mend collapsed lungs, torn muscles, clogged arteries, torn rotator cuffs, fractured skulls, dislocated arms, broken hips, broken legs, etc. but one thing they cannot fix is a broken heart.

Broken hearts are painful. A broken heart affects the mind, the entire physical body, the capacity to eat, sleep and breathe. Robert Browning once said, “Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”

In the grand total of 20 years, I’ve had my heart broken twice. The first was with my first love when I was 15. It was my first experience with a broken heart and the only thing that finally got me through was realizing I was young and I can do much better. However, it still didn’t make the task of getting over it easy. It took a long time to heal from that hurt since it was the first time I have ever felt and experienced love with another person so closely and deeply.

My second broken heart was recent (too recent to talk about with any detail). Sometimes the best cure is getting back out there and finding love again. Other times, it’s just retreating all together. That’s where I am right now. The hurt, the feelings of deception, of mistrust, of feeling used, and inadequate, just makes you want to hide. I am retreating into the abyss of singleness! I’m joining St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, I’m staying at the Heartbreak Hotel, and I’m singing “what do you get when you fall in love, you only get lies and pain and sorrow”. But, I Will Survive – Hey hey!

Trusting my heart to someone again soon would be a near impossible feat for me. It will most likely always be a problem. How can a nice girl with the greatest Dad ever and two perfect grandfathers for male role models find herself so cynical about men? Guess I can’t find one that comes anywhere close to them. Blog writing helps. It helps me get off my chest what I’m feeling. I’m sorry if this bores you, but as I said before it is like free therapy. Keeping my feelings in has been my style for a long time and it’s not very therapeutic. My cynicism is years in the making, not just from these two episodes but has been from dozens of dating diasters. Some of my feelings are from listening to what my friends go through. And it’s not that I haven’t hurt a guy, I have a few times. I’ve stopped dating guys sometimes for fear of getting hurt. It’s like pulling the reins in on a horse. And then the horse is wondering “What happened?”

So, now the pain (like a bad bad cold) will take its course…first heartache, then anger, then the ugly bitter stage (with the I can’t look at men stage in the middle), then the “eh, I’m over it”, then the “no, I’m not and it still hurts” stage, then the famous, he’s an a**hole stage, then the “I don’t care” stage, along with the “I’m not attracted to him anymore anyway” stage, then finally, and last but not least, after about two years, the “Who? Oh him” stage.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Toto, I Have A Feeling We're Not In Jersey Anymore

Currently I am working in customer service. I have worked in jobs dealing with the public since I was 14 years old. While working at my Dad’s restaurant for years dressing sandwiches for hungry lunch customers, I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of Jersey people who are friendly, who smile and ask how you are doing…Despite paying high taxes, outrageous insurance premiums and driving overcrowded roads, Jersey people are generally in a good mood. However, I’ve come to the opinion that people in the Mid-West are just not friendly people. I see so many miserable customers here every single day. What is wrong with people here? Is it that they are not getting any fresh ocean air or something? Don’t get me wrong I can still get a male customer to smile, but the women…forget it! I’ve been given the finger…I’ve been called a bitch…and I’ve been given evil looks that would scare Satan! One customer mocked my cheery “Have a nice day” by miserably repeating and mouthing my phrase to herself as she pulled away in her car. Hey, I am a friendly person. I believe in providing excellent customer service, however, I also believe in following the rules of my job. If you are asked to present proper ID, it is to protect you, not to insult you! Ugh! I was told when I moved out here I would be living in the “Bible belt”. I’ve yet to see the association. Um...maybe you can compare the Indiana crowd to the hostile crowds at Pontius Pilot’s court…that’s in the Bible. Yeah maybe that’s it. I was recently reminded about the song from The Music Man sung by the townspeople from Iowa when Harold Hill (the Music Man) first came into town. Harold, a friendly outsider, was brushed aside when the they sang these words:
Oh, there's nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you,
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all.
There's an Iowa kind of special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude.
We've never been without that we recall.
We can be cold As our falling thermometers in December
If you ask about our weather in July.
And we're so by God stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.
But what the heck, you're welcome, Join us at the picnic.
You can eat your fill of all the food you bring yourself.
You ought to give Iowa a try!

I’m gonna click my heels three times and repeat, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Yeah Yeah Yeah

One of the best things about getting a college degree from IU is that the classes offered here can sometimes be more fun than highly educational or valuable for future success. For instance, there are classes offered such as Billiards, Ballroom Dancing, IU Traditions, Lyrics and Popular Songs, etc. These “GPA boosters” are sometimes necessary to complete your degree. This summer, I am taking one of those classes for credit. I am taking Z401 Music of the Beatles. Yep, I’m increasing my knowledge of my favorite band the Fab 4! Since my parents were huge Beatles fans and can both recall watching intently to that famous Ed Sullivan Show when the Beatles sang in America publicly for the first time, I have for years been highly cultivated in Beatles music. I know the words and can sing just about every song from She Loves You to The Long and Winding Road. I know Wings music and John Lennon’s solo work as well. I’ve listened to my parents telling me the impact and their early memories of hearing them on their little handheld transistor radios and how everyone from 6 years old through teens were transformed by the 4 young men from Liverpool. My mom's cousin went to see the Beatles movie, “A Hard Days Night” 10 times just to see Paul McCartney wink.
So far, class is awesome! I look forward to every class. We’re learning about their early lives right now, and about the small clubs they played in together in both England and Germany. Of course, my professor is a big Beatles fan and you can tell he is quite passionate about teaching this class. My friend, Brian, burned his complete Beatles collection for me, which will really help since most of the tests will be naming the song, who sang it, the album, and the year. Is this great or what? Thanks again, Brian!! This sure beats having a used textbook at the end of class!!! Now I’ll forever have a great collection of music!
I wish my brother Adam was here taking this class with me. He loves the Beatles and has enough Beatles knowledge to ace the class even if he only showed up for test days. Maybe I can apply this class to my own life and make it an extremely worthwhile learning experience. The Beatles can teach us that enormous successes can unexpectedly come our way when we cultivate our talents and creativity, be driven to “make it” in the business we love, find the right manager to promote us, and most important, market ourselves with a great haircut!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ring Ring

A drunk dialer called me a few weeks ago. He’s actually a friend who had no clue who he was calling from his cell phone. I laughed till I almost peed when once he figured out who he had called he then began repeating not only the story lines to all my blogs but knew my blog site name off the top of his drunken head. Gee, I’m flattered. Maybe I have a subscriber list by now. Other friends have told me they read it on a regular basis and get a kick out of it. My drunk dialer described it as “hysterical but mean!” Honey, all I can say is I’ve been restrained from saying what I think for years. I’ve held back because I was always too worried about being well-liked and accepted. Now…eh! Don’t get me wrong, I am still that nice girl you remember. A nice girl who is finally secure enough to say what she thinks. If you don’t like it, read Dr. Seuss!

For instance, if you disagree with my opinions of men from the mid-west, (see March blog) then prove me wrong. If you think you’re all so perfect then I dare you to…to… fall in love with me…yeah, you see…crawl back and hide like usual. Ha! Actually, I think you guys need some toughening up or maybe it’s actually softening up. Maybe I need to contact “Queer Eye for the Mid-Western Guys”. Actually, it’s not the way you guys dress here or even your chivalry and manners that need help. I’ve had more doors open for me here than in Jersey. In Jersey you get, “Just move all that crap out of the passenger seat when you get in”. I don’t know, maybe Dr. Phil would be a better “fix it” here. He even has a southern accent so I know you’d all like that. Oh, stop being so defensive! I’m just messing with you…NOT! OK, I’ll stop. (Wow that felt good!)

Anyway, thank you for reading my blog…whoever you are. If you’re my friends, I can only say keep reading, laugh without feeling offended, and realize I am writing this for my own therapeutic needs. (That sounds good). See ya!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Kiss Me Damn It!

I’m in my third year at IU, and do you know according to Indiana University tradition I am still not considered a co-ed. According to tradition a female student is not officially a co-ed until she has been kissed beneath the dome of the Rose Well House at midnight. The Rose Well House is an open-air pavilion in the heart of campus. It covers the original well for campus and was a gift from Theodore F. Rose in 1908. I remember during my first IU tour the student guide told our group all about this tradition as we walked by the Rose Well House. Being 18 I immediately thought it was so cute. Time and again I would think about it but then I would forget. I know you might think this is stupid or shallow, but I would really like to take part in this IU tradition. I want to graduate from this school next year feeling confident that I was at one time a freaking Hoosier co-ed! So, what should I do? I don’t chase boys and I feel funny asking a friend, but then again I don’t want to ask a stranger. Maybe I should have a t-shirt made that says, “Kiss me, I want to be a co-ed – midnight at the Rose Well House” No, that’s dumb. What about placing an ad in the IDS news? No, too desperate. I could get a friend to mention it to another friend who might be willing to accept the ceremonial tradition task. Or I could wait at the Rose Well House around midnight with Alexis (who will probably bring her camera) and we could grab and force someone walking by to kiss me…No, I really want a “Kisser by appointment only”. Hmmm. Wouldn’t you know with all the studying I have to do for finals right now, this is what I am thinking about? Maybe it’s just the beautiful weather outside and that spring is in the air, maybe I’ve become so assignment oriented that this is just one more thing I pressure myself to complete, or maybe I just sincerely need a really good kiss right now. (sigh!)