Psychic Spooky Times

This title brought to you courtesy of Meri’s Foursquare check-in/tweet.

Awhile ago–like, at least a month or long–Meri mentioned wanting to see a good psychic in the area, and she settled on this woman in Uniontown named Charanne that a lot of people really liked, so a small group of us decided to go and made an appointment. It ended up that like half had to drop out, so it ended up just being me, Meri, Stephanie’s friend Erica, and my mom, who was taking the place of one of the aforementioned dropouts on short notice. I probably could’ve gotten Brandon to go, too, if he wouldn’t have had class.

Now, our appointment with the Angel Ladies was about this time last year. Aunt Gina is having them back, but they’ve upped their price to around 200 bucks. I think they’re worth it if you can afford it, are that interested, and have lost someone close to you, but in my case, I feel one reading a year ago was sufficient until a major life event. Charanne, though, I thought was pretty good–not as good, though–and she’s cheaper, so I’d be up for annual visits to her if for nothing else than shits and giggles.

What I found most interesting about my reading last night was two major things that the Angel Ladies also brought up a year ago–my inevitable marriage to Paul and problems with his family, which will flare up when we plan our wedding (obviously). My dad chalks this up to statistics, like most skeptics would, but as far as I know, she’s not telling all unwed girls my age they’re gonna marry the guy they’re with and that they have stress with his family. I, however, find it interesting that two different psychics a year apart who knew nothing about me both said those two things. The Angel Ladies were more specific, saying it was his mom and that one of my grandmothers says she’s “off,” but I still find it interesting. They both also had similar numbers for how many kids we’ll have, but I can’t remember what the Angel Ladies told me specifically. Charanne said definitely one, maybe two, but not to have them four years apart like she was seeing.

As for this inevitable marriage, she sees him proposing next year, but current problems with his job may delay that somewhat, which she eerily asked about out of nowhere when that very morning, he’d gotten a review at random and was told he’s basically got two months to improve or he’s out. But she also said he’s gonna get a new job, and it’ll be a fresh start for him. And he won’t want a long engagement, so we should get married either that same year or the following year and I should suggest to him what kind of ring I want because our tastes don’t match up. We shouldn’t have a destination wedding because too many people will get hurt if we do (same with Meri, and we also can’t get married the same year), and we’re gonna have a big wedding with 300 people. Fuck, I hope not. The wedding party will be big–she sees at least four bridesmaids, and I can say right now without putting much thought into it it’ll almost definitely be more than that. She doesn’t see me divorcing (to which my mom joked, “Me either”) or remarrying should I be widowed.

I don’t want to tell him a psychic says he’ll land a new job because I’d rather let these things play out, ironically, but I did tell him the “new start” business and he asked if I was part of it. I’ve told him the Angel Ladies said we’re gonna get married, but since Charanne actually gave me a timeline, I’d rather not plant that idea and see what happens.

Charanne does things a little differently than the Angel Ladies. The Angel Ladies start just listing names and things and sort of say whatever comes to mind–and sometimes they’re both talking at once and you don’t know who to focus on–but Charanne has you shuffle a deck of playing cards, then reads them like tarot. That was actually pretty neat–she’d lay a card down and ask a very specific life question apparently related to the card. She also read my palm.

She said I had lucky cards and should go gamble because I’ll win a small amount of money, about a few hundred bucks. Funny thing is a few hundred bucks is a big deal to me. I’ll also be getting either a new job or a promotion.

She asked if any of us were related because we all had the same female spirit around us, which I’m thinking is Grandma. She knew Paul recently bought a car and said mine will get minor repairs, which I’m hoping is gonna be a dent from a damn hit-and-run in a parking lot that my mom thinks is pointless to fix because it’ll probably just happen again, since we suspect it happened at my apartment. Paul’s dad has some minor health problems, and I’m prone to minor stomach issues, thyroid problems, and lower back pain, and two of those I for sure already have on occasion.

It was a fun time. I think I was a little more intrigued just because parts of her reading were so similar to the Angel Ladies. I guess we’ll see if Paul and I get new jobs soon and get engaged in 2014.

Friday Five: ID Part 2

  1. How familiar are you with the plants and trees in your area? Not at all. I can identify things that really stand out, especially if they’re included in my mother’s landscaping, and I can obviously pick out the evergreen trees.
  2. How familiar are you with the wildlife in your area? I’m a little better with that, not that there’s much to be familiar with. I’m sure it’s more complicated than I think, but we’ve basically got your typical woodland critters. You know, the ones you generally see on the side of the road (mostly deer) or hear through anecdotes of things like bats in houses or raccoons eating leftovers kept on the porch in the winter to keep cold or snakes creeping in.
  3. Can you name the makes and models of five of your friends’ cars without looking? Nope. I could tell you Paul’s, my parents’, and Leah’s because I just saw it two weeks ago and it’s a Nissan Rogue like Paul’s, except his is red.
  4. How many of your co-workers’ spouses and kids can you name? Some of them I know the names of but would never recognize them. The closed-captioning business is not a particularly social one in which we learn lots about each other’s lives.
  5. If you had the radio on whatever station is playing current hits, how would you do at naming the songs and artists you heard? Probably better than you’d think. For as much as I openly dislike most of it, I like listening to the Kiss Morning Freak Show out of Pittsburgh, so I end up hearing a lot and I know what most of it is. I just usually switch to a trusty CD when a song I don’t like comes on.

From Friday Five.

Mountain Jollies

Paul and I didn’t actually think we’d both be awake at a reasonable enough time Saturday morning to follow through on our plans to go to the mountains. I got in late after dinner and a spiritual session Friday, and then he called me as he was getting off work at 11:30. But somehow, we were both up by 9:30, so once I was ready to go, I drove out to his place and we were off.

We made some quick pit-stops–he needed minutes for his phone and I’m still looking for good, reliable hiking boots but still can’t find any. Everything I have found is either really expensive or ugly–either horrible bright colors or flowers and lace. This plays into a half-satirical essay series I’ve been toying with that deals with the sexist nature of some women’s clothing items, mainly the fact that even athletic shoes are made to be pretty when I just want damn plain boots, not this girly shit that’s just gonna get muddy anyway. Also, a combination of dress pockets and fake pockets on pants/jackets. Fuck that. I wan real pockets. I use them. They have a convenient purpose.

Anyway, after about an hour or so, we made it up the mountain despite slight cold and a very light but bearable rain. Had it been just a tad warmer and sunnier, the weather actually would’ve been perfect–the foliage was gorgeous and probably won’t be in another week or so. For being prime foliage time, the trails and things were pretty empty, which is nice because it means prime parking and freedom to fool around in the woods, until you see someone on the trail a bit away from you, get paranoid, and quit, not that I would know.

They’re doing tons of renovating at Ohiopyle. The parking lot and visitor center are both getting upgrades, and I’m not sure if that deters crowds, too, but it does complicate getting to see the falls somewhat. The rain also made people bail, too, I’m sure, but really, it was light enough that hoodies warded it off fine.

As usual with Paul in the woods, he was super excited because he loves it. His parents joked when we were leaving that he might not go home, and I believe it. He runs everywhere, and I generally don’t really try to keep up with him. (I do the same thing when he gets ahead of me walking. He’s a foot taller than me. Not gonna bother.) Plus he likes climbing things that look too steep to me and absolutely will not say, “Okay, you’re too little, I won’t go that way.” Nope. Either I follow–and he will help me–or I get left behind temporarily.

Turns out he does this on purpose, and probably not for the reasons you’d think.

I was teasing him about it, saying he’s tricking me into getting in shape, when he goes, “Do you really want to know why I make you do it?” Duh. Then he drops this gem: Obviously, the past year or so has left me insecure, so him not even stopping to listen to my protests over steep hills and large rocks and making me keep up with him is his way of trying to remedy that and boost my confidence by taking me to something I think I can’t do and showing me I actually can. Granted, these things are physically easier for him and he has no concept of what could land us both in an emergency room, plus a mountain hike is far different from taking an emotional beating, but the goal and sentiment were so sweet that I almost cried a little and did again when I told Terra the next day or so and again just now typing it.

It should also be said that part of the struggle was I got really thirsty before we got up there, had an iced tea from Starbucks, and was doing some of these things hauling this empty Starbucks cup around because I finished it partway into our hike and obviously didn’t want to just ditch it in the woods. I wasn’t thinking, either, and didn’t expect him to drag me as long and far as he did. But it led to me making a “Little Hipster, BIg Woods” joke, which we then thought could make a good web comic if either of us could draw. One of my favorite ideas for this was a strip of just forest selfies with a bear in the background creeping closer and closer.

We only stopped when we got hungry, so we stopped at the Stone House tavern up there for dinner. I devoured huge homemade gnocchi and then helped Paul out with some cake. Fantastic food if you’re ever in the Ohiopyle area.

I know Paul hasn’t gotten his mountain fill, and I know we would’ve gone farther and longer if we could’ve, so maybe I’ll try to sneak another trip up before it gets too cold…which may be soon. They’re calling for snow tonight.

So much for having Friday night to myself.

Leah and I met up for dinner with Mr. Mac, as we obviously still do on occasion. Last time, we all took in Stage Right’s production of Godspell, this time it was just a gab session. It ended up lasting for about five hours, which we thought proved we need to talk more often. It was a conversation and companionship I think I really needed but didn’t realize I needed. Movie nights with those two–and the rest of the regulars who went–always did a hell of a lot for me emotionally and spiritually. I remember missing them horribly my freshman year of college. Unless I’m getting nostalgic, it doesn’t come up much anymore, but to be immersed in that company and their ideas and perspectives I think was a huge refreshment for me. It was part catching up and talking about life and part the same discourse we used to have then. Leah asked for some career/life advice, and I got my own unexpected but welcome wisdom when I said I’m starting to get bored with my job (I am)–what could I do to see my job as more fulfilling, more purposeful? And the answer is really just as simple as think of what I’m doing. I’ve always said every job has a function and a purpose, making it necessary and valuable, yet I also always am quick to dismiss my job as being unimportant (unless someone tries to say I “just watch TV all day,” and then I of course get defensive). But really, I’m providing a service to keep the deaf and hearing-impaired able to enjoy TV just like anyone else would.

With that simple piece of advice, though, Mr. Mac reminded me of why he was such a positive, profound influence on my life.

We also discussed the internet and social media a bit and my observations on people being douchebags widespread as if this were okay. We agree social media and the internet don’t help. Meanwhile, I am making an effort to scale back my Facebook time, although the ease of communication isn’t helping–typing is better than texting, and since Paul is still using a prepaid phone, it’s free, too. If I would’ve had this bright idea like two weeks ago when Paul was on afternoon shift, my Facebook time wouldn’t exist. But I digress.

Meanwhile, something has me feeling the best I’ve felt in probably years. I can’t pinpoint it and I’m expecting it not to last, but I’m enjoying it while it does. It’s probably a combination of writing, leisure time, productivity, good company, therapy (even though I haven’t gone in a month), and that hot minute I ditched Facebook. I’m still thinking too much and dwelling on things, but I’m not being bothered by that. Now, if I could just stop that altogether and stay focused and in the moment.

Maybe my emotions just needed to catch up to my rational brain. Or maybe I just needed my cure-all–time.

Top 5 on Friday: Dark

Top 5 Dark Songs

 1. “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode Post-punk and the dark new-wave bands were designed for this, and unfortunately, I have yet to get all that on my computer, so I’m gonna forget a lot. But this is one of my favorite Depeche Mode songs, though arguably not their darkest.
2. “Trout Heart Replica” by Amanda Palmer Those backing strings just really add to the mood and the darkness…and it’s a song that was inspired by seeing a trout being gutted. So yep.
3. “It Can’t Rain All the Time” by Jane Siberry Pretty as it is and really kind of uplifting, too, it’s on The Crow soundtrack. Nothing too happy comes out of that.
4. “The Leaving Song Pt. II” by AFI AFI was also designed for this list, and while basically any of their songs could justifiably make the cut, this one has that glorious combination of being a great song, aggressive, and kind of iconic. I forgot how good the guitar riffs in this were.
5. “Gravity” by The Dresden Dolls The Dolls/Amanda Palmer could easily have a large chunk of their discography on this list, too, but “Gravity” wins because of the dark piano and vocals–Amanda sounds really kind of creepy as she’s singing the verses, as opposed to the other darker songs which sound either more sad or angry. Plus it’s one of my favorite Dolls songs.

Friday Five: Roles

From Friday Five.

  1. Who’s the class clown? You know, most people who don’t know him well probably wouldn’t guess it, but Paul is really funny. He gets over the top very easily, but he always makes me laugh.
  2. Who’s the village idiot? My dad. He’s stubborn, and if Fox didn’t say it, it’s not real. And if Fox did say it, it is real, even when science, logic, and fact prove otherwise. Actually, anyone who watches Fox and believes everything they report on is kind of an idiot. Bonus points for if they also think the network is really fair and balanced like they claim.
  3. Who’s the helicopter parent? I don’t know that I’d consider Paul’s mom a helicopter parent, but she’s not exactly far off. It’s like it comes and goes in spurts–for awhile, she’ll be cool and will acknowledge that he’s a grown-ass man living at home and will let him do his own thing, but inevitably a few weeks later she’ll go off about what he’s doing and where he’s going with a little bit of how much she thinks I suck thrown in the mix.
  4. Who’s the big man on campus? I have no idea. I really can’t think of anyone with such a good reputation. The closest might be me, actually, since I’m working full-time and doing editing on the side. And Paul for working full-time and having a short story published in the near future. And then Brandon is family-wise–he’s most likely the favorite right now for going into psychology. Pap Pap Moe said he’d help pay for his master’s. Pap Pap Moe told me I should go back to school for my master’s in case I get married then divorced because I’ll need a way to take care of myself, because, you know, I fully intend on being 100% financially supported by Paul, expect him to leave me, and my current job and degree are worthless in that event anyway.
  5. Who’s the queen bee? Probably my mother. She’s kind of a fierce, sassy bitch who gets shit done and puts people in place, especially my dad, but remains deservedly well-liked both professionally and personally. And she quotes Mean Girls regularly.

Is It the Weekend Yet?

I’ve had a busy week.

Terra and I went to see AFI Tuesday night, who played a set so epic that it went by faster than maybe any other concert I’ve ever been to. They found a great balance of old and new material, plus they encored with their “Just Like Heaven” cover, which is fantastic. It was the kind of show that both reminds you of why you ever fell in love with a band and makes you fall in love all over again. The show was in what I consider to be Pittsburgh’s worst live venue, though–Club Zoo. It currently operates as an under-21 club, and the setup is perfect for that, but it’s about the worst setup imaginable for live music, especially live music that invites large crowds and mosh pits. It has a sort of elevated bar area with rails that zig-zag, so if you’re in one of those corners, you’re screwed. You’re also screwed if you’re on that platform and aren’t in the front two or three rows. You’re also screwed if you’re anywhere past about where the sound guy’s setup is. You basically can’t see from any of these locations, and traffic got us there later than I wanted, so we ended up paying an extra 10 bucks each to get access to the VIP lounge on a balcony. The aim of the VIP lounge is to get people to drink at shows at the cash bars, but everyone up there obviously went for the better view. It wasn’t a bad plan–we could certainly see more up there than we could anywhere else on the floor, and it kept injury-prone Terra far away from the intense mosh pits. The bros next to me were pretty obnoxious and yelled for the band to play their “Halloween” cover maybe every other time there was a brief break in the music at all because “IT’S OCTOBER!” Should’ve told them to shut up.

I usually don’t take the day off from work after concerts–I feel guilty for taking time off, even if I’ve earned it and have plenty of days stockpiled. I suspect this is some leftover thing from college, especially since I really haven’t been out in the workforce all that long. I guess it’s something I’ll have to get used to, and I am starting to. The tons of summer concerts I went to had me all worn out the next day, and when I bought our tickets, we discussed possibly hanging out to meet the band so I figured requesting off was smart, but turns out Terra had a 9 a.m. internship the next morning and we went to Taco Bell instead.

The day off proved a smart move, though, and I’m gonna have to remember to keep doing it. Getting in late didn’t matter and I got to sleep in, and being home all day meant Paul and I could actually talk to each other like a normal couple before he went to work. In the evening, I went to the Pens game with my whole family–my mom got club seats through a company she deals with at work, so we had a great view (I think the ticket value is something around, oh, $170) and we won.

Yesterday, I finally got my ass back on birth control with a trip to Planned Parenthood. I am very excited about no longer having horrible, painful, ass-kicking periods. And Planned Parenthood was a great place, too–the wait was long, but it’s obvious that it’s a great resource for women. I mean, most of the reason I even went to them specifically is because I knew I could afford it and they have a good reputation.

Today was laundry day, but since I actually stayed home, it’s been my night to unwind before dinner with Leah and Mr. Mac tomorrow and a mountain trip Saturday with Paul. It’s supposed to rain. He doesn’t care. Besides, he LOVES the mountains, so it’ll be good for him.

For the most part, weekends (and weekdays, for that matter) are pretty much the same–usually Paul comes over, we go out and do something fun, he ends up spending the night whether or not he planned to. Sometimes I go back home and we do something fun. And me going to hang out with him instead of him coming here is a cock block by default, just so you know.

He’s on rotating shifts, which naturally has pros and cons. On the one hand, it means we work the same shift for a month, which is ideal, but then it also means he works afternoons, which are terrible for being in a relationship because it puts us on completely different schedules and leaves about a half hour for us to call each other on our respective lunch breaks. Night shift next month is probably gonna me more aggravating sleeping schedules, and then he goes to a sort of floating shift from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. We actually suspect that’ll suck somewhat less than night shift, even if it is the weirdest hours ever.

The one kind of nice thing about this is he works Friday nights, which frees me up to hang out with other people–not that I make tons of plans anyway, but Leah and I are planning to get together with Mr. Mac this week–or keeps me in and makes me get stuff done. I’ve found Friday nights tend to be my most productive because by then I’m caught up on everything and can stay up late.

So that means Paul came over on Saturday, we hung out for a bit, he brought over takeout from our favorite Greek place down the road, and we went to the Waterfront to see Don Jon, which I found to be a funny but smart movie and a pretty accurate commentary on modern life, our vices, and expectations within relationships. After that, we wandered around a bit to try to find food, but the best places were packed, so we tried this Japanese place that was good but not my favorite.

And then I took us on an expedition to go see the 40-foot-tall duck currently sitting in the river, which took awhile because we managed to keep missing or making wrong turns. And since Paul was driving and normally isn’t the one to drive in the city, it left him a bit cranky, but in the end I think we had a good time and he did secretly at least kind of enjoy the duck. People tend to fall into two camps here–either they think the duck is adorable and neat because, you know, it’s a 40-foot-tall duck in the river, or they don’t care at all, thinks it’s dumb, and don’t understand the appeal of seeing a 40-foot-tall duck in a river. To each their own, and I get some people just aren’t into ducks, but seriously, an art installation that big in the river is at least notable.

I spent part of Sunday shopping with Terra because she decided for some reason she wanted skinny jeans and wanted my opinion because I have been known to wear some pretty tight pants and she thinks her thighs are huge (mine are easily bigger, and I also decided the size of my ass makes all my clothes 75% sluttier). She did find ones she liked and that I think look good on her, but I don’t think she believed me.

And then I discovered the merits of getting groceries at Giant Eagle instead of Shop N Save, which is pretty much just a bigger selection…which ultimately led to spending more money than I would have otherwise, but whatever. They’ll make up for it with coupons.

Top 5 on Friday: Catchy

Top 5 songs you wish weren’t so darn catchy

 1. “We Are Young” by Fun. I don’t know what–if any–interpretations of the lyrics have been confirmed or disproved, but the general consensus at least with the first verse is that it deals with a man having hit a woman. Frankly, I don’t know how I ever missed that/didn’t make the connection. Some internet rumors have also circulated about the band and domestic violence, though I can’t remember if it was more questionable lyrics or the band’s actual behavior. Either way, if the rumors are true and the theories are correct and this song is, to an extent, about abuse, not good, especially when it really is a well-done song.
2. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke This song has been causing problems all summer, and again, I somehow never put together why, though part of that has more to do with not actually being able to understand some of what he’s singing. But the problem here is themes of consent, and I finally got the point when a bunch of rape survivors took pictures holding posters of things their rapists said to them…which included a sufficient number of the song’s lyrics.
3. “Die Young” by Kesha I can’t stand Kesha. I think her music is generally just not good and she’s annoying, but worst of all, she just can’t sing. In fact, one of my only drunken “What was I thinking?” moments involves liking a Kesha song then realizing while sober that it’s actually terrible. I have no idea how she even got a record deal, but “Die Young” is too catchy for me to resist.
4. “Dreamin'” by Weezer This song haunted me for years. I once heard it playing while I was shopping in a Pacific Sunwear, and since this was before the days of song-identifying apps, I couldn’t figure out what it was. I even tried Googling lyrics when I got home but still couldn’t find it. Years later, I bought Weezer’s red album and the second it came on, I recognized it. I’d remembered it for years.
5. “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus Because then I have to admit to liking a Miley Cyrus song. Then again, “Achey Breaky Heart” means admitting to liking a Billy Cyrus song. I stand by her nudity, by the way. It’s her right as an artist.

Friday Five: Toss

  1. When (and why) did you last intentionally throw food onto the floor or ground? Yesterday. I had some bread that got a little moldy, so I ripped it up & threw it outside.
  2. To whom did you last throw a canned or bottled beverage? Most likely either Paul or Brandon.
  3. When did you last throw a ball? Not sure about tossing, but I rolled one to Duke a week or so ago when I was playing with him at my parents’. By the way, he had cataracts, got them removed over the summer, and is now a much more playful dog than he was before!
  4. When someone throws you a set of keys, how confident are you while those keys are in midair that you will catch them and be cool doing it? Zero. I’m bad at catching as it is, and depending on where and how fast those keys are traveling, I’m more likely to flinch and get hit or drop them and get stabbed in the hand in the process.
  5. What’s something you regret throwing away? My life. Just kidding! I’m happy with where I am. Honestly, I’m not sure. I tend to be a pack rat–my mom fears I have hoarding in my future–so I tend to do the total opposite and keep things rather than throw them out. So when I do go through things and throw them away or donate them or put them on eBay, they’ve already been around for awhile and need to go.

From Friday Five.