34-36: Ten Cent Skee Ball

I’ve fallen a little behind in my 365 blogging, so in order to catch myself up, I’m combining some entries together.  I guess this could be considered “cheating,” but since this 365 days of blogging thing was my idea in the first place, I figure I get to make my own rules.  While there’s nothing that says I HAVE to blog every day, I do think I should at least ATTEMPT to get myself back on track.

Anyway…

Last Friday (June 17, as it were), my childhood best friend, Meredith, came over for a day of fun and frivolity.  The original plan had been to go to that theme park of apparent number bias, Six Flags in St. Louis (Why only six, oh theme park gods?  Why not Eight or Five?  Or one of THESE numbers…).  Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative, and in the best interest of our hair and clothing, we decided against braving a rainstorm for roller-coasters run-ins with too chipper costumed versions of Bugs Bunny and the 1990s’ favorite t-shirt decoration, Tweety Bird (*shudder.  Don’t act like YOU didn’t own one too.)

Instead, we checked the weather and decided to head south where the rain was on its way out.  Meredith and I, in a fit of boredom, decided on a rollicking day of trashy mini-golf, outlet mall shopping, and outdoor arcade games at the Lake of the Ozarks.  The Lake is like Branson-lite (if there is even such a thing): it has a few awful country music shows, a “strip,” outlet malls, mini-golf, tourist trap stores, and a wealth of tanned-to-the-point-of-looking-leathery women whose outfits reflect their desperate cry to recapture their youth and their rich, corny husbands who espouse such sentiments as “God Bless America” or “Proud to be an American” every five seconds.

The Lake has its merits too though.  First and foremost, the lake itself is large and beautiful, and there ARE a lot of rich people who live on or around it in huge homes with even bigger boats.  There are some decent restaurants (selling “fresh seafood” as it were, despite the fact this is a FRESHWATER lake in a LANDLOCKED state, but whatever), and there are some great golf courses around (so I’ve been told.  I don’t play golf or even pretend to understand it.).  But all this does is make me upset that I don’t live closer to a REAL beach on one of the coasts where fresh seafood is actually fresh and there’s a chance I’ll spot some cute, rich boys who aren’t backwoods white trash.

But back to our roadtrip, Meredith and I got down to the Lake and headed straight for the Black Rock  Pirate Cove mini-golf.  It features two different courses (the Captain’s Course or Blackbeard’s Course) with historical facts about different famous pirates at each hole.  There’s also a giant, blue waterfall.  When I say blue, I mean BLUE.  Apparently, the groundskeepers (I imagine a Hagrid-like furry man who only comes out at night) at Pirate Cove want to give the waterfall a Caribbean, tropical feel by way of INTENSE aqua dye probably last used by the costumer for the Lawrence Welk Show in the 1970s.  Anyway, Meredith and I chose to play the Captain’s Course on recommendation of the nice, old man at the ticket window.  We golfed our way around the course, hoping to not lose our balls (Yes, you can snicker), giggling at each subsequent historical fact, and not giving Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus any reason to worry about upholding their golfing titles.

Me with the gorgeous, BLUE waterfall at Pirate Cove mini-golf

After our golfing excursion, we noticed two things:

1) Despite our best attempts at saving our hair from rain troubles, we had NOT saved it from humidity troubles.  Damn.

2) We were hungry.

We hit up Vista Grande, my favorite place to eat at the Lake based on its awesome salsa, margaritas, and chicken chimichangas.  It was reliably tasty and a welcome escape from the swashbuckling “fun” of Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate Cove.  It also provided us with a chance to bemoan our humidified hair.  Following our Mexican fiesta, we headed right across the street to the Factory Outlet Mall for some bargain shopping although it turned out to be a lot of looking around at clothes not snapped up by the tanned, leathery ladies of the lake (ha.  Ladies of the Lake?  Get it?  Lady of the Lake?).  I wound up buying some awesome jams but that’s not the good part of the story.

So last but not least on our grand tour of the Lake, we went to the old “strip,” which is like if a 1955 carnival came to town, overstayed its welcome, and slowly but surely became a forgotten, backwoods, junky version of its former self.  We found the Holy Grail of outdoor arcade games: 10¢ SKEE BALL.  As we walked up to the building, I instantly thought of the awesome movie Adventureland starring the awkwardly cool Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg (and the girl who defines acting as biting her lip and running her hands through her hair whilst she kisses a vampire or werewolf, Kristen Stewart): I got the feeling that if you worked there, you’d feel like you were dying a slow, painful death from heat, white trash, junky prizes, and the annoying sounds of the skee ball machines.  Meredith and I played $2 worth of skee ball and with our collected tickets, we won two cheap finger traps and a couple Tootsie Roll Pops.  Awesome, right?

Ten cent Skee Ball place on the old "strip"

Right across the street was the “Haunted Hotel,” which basically looked like it had been decorated by the leftover Halloween decorations from Wal-Mart.  There was a sign in the door window indicating that if we wanted a tour, we’d find the owners across the street at the Old Time Photography Studio.  Clearly business was booming.  There was also a dead cat skeleton in the window, which they claimed was from a cat that disappeared in the building in 1977 and was found in 2004.  CLASSY.

The cat skeleton from the "Haunted Hotel"

So it may not have been roller coasters and log flumes, but I’d say Meredith and I had a successful if not memorable sojourn.  At least we know we fared better than the cat in the window of the Haunted Hotel.

32 & 33: Wide My World, Narrow My Bed

“Personally, I think if a woman hasn’t met the right man by the time she’s 24, she may be lucky.” –Deborah Kerr

For the second time in the last six months, I received a wedding invitation addressed only to me.  This one was from my good friend Olivia who had a baby about a year and a half or so ago.  It feels like her life is in the acceleration lane in comparison to mine, at least when it comes to the so-called “settling down” part.  The thing is, I’m fine with being twenty-two and single.  I don’t feel in any rush to run out and find a boyfriend or god forbid, a husband.  There’s just too much in my life I want to do first.

I actually find getting married and starting a family at twenty-two strange.  Back around a hundred or even fifty years ago, I would be considered strange for being twenty-two and unmarried, but in this day and age of more opportunities for women, I simply cannot fathom missing out on my own independence and having a life of my own before I even think about dedicating it to someone else.  Am I selfish?  I guess, but I choose to look at it as embracing having a LIFE, embracing my OWN life.  I wouldn’t want a family right now, because I’d resent it.  I’d resent my husband and child/children because I’d always feel like I settled, like I’d missed out on doing all the things I truly WANTED to do.  Eventually, I WANT to get married, but only when I’m truly ready for it, and I know that at this point in my life, I’m not ready.  And that’s not selfish, that’s smart.

“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed.  If I fail, no one will say, ‘she doesn’t have what it takes;’ they will say, ‘women don’t have what it takes.’” — Clare Booth Luce

It probably sounds like I’m on an über-feminist rant against Olivia and any women who choose to get married before they’ve had any sort of career, and I don’t mean it to.  As a woman, I fully support women having a right to choose what they want to do with their lives, since god knows that hasn’t always been the case.  I think if Olivia is happy with her life, then more power to her.  I support her choice fully; it’s not right for me, but she seems to be happy, so I think it must be the right one for her.  I suppose time will tell, but I AM truly happy that she is happy.

Anyway, thus begins many years of being the single girl at weddings.  But you know what?  I might just be the one everyone is jealous of, because I’ll be having a good time…whether at the wedding or just in LIFE.

31: Tony, Tony, Tony

The Tony Awards were on Sunday, and it’s one of my very favorite nights of the whole year.  It’s the one night when musical theatre is broadcast to the cultured (and uncultured) masses (and no, Glee doesn’t count as “musical theatre.”).  It’s also a chance to review key players in the industry and celebrate the power of live theatre.

Lately, I’ve been in an artist funk.  By that I mean I have been feeling very detached from that world, the artist’s world, and creative inspiration/motivation has been quite low.  I’ve felt stifled and unoriginal.

But something started happening Saturday night.  I went to see J.J. Abrams’ spectacular new movie, Super 8, and was emotionally stirred.  The film conjures up so much nostalgia for childhood and films of the past (like basically ever Spielberg movie ever made).  It was well written, deftly acted, and beautiful.  As I sat in the darkened theatre, I thought about how much I wanted to be a part of something like that.  It was an overwhelming feeling.

Then during the Tony Awards on Sunday night, that feeling of motivation and inspiration kept churning as I watched some of my idols perform and speak.  Gone were all the feelings of dullness and detachment.  The purpose of my waitressing job seemed clearer than ever: keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll be able to move to New York sooner than you think.  This state I’m in is temporary; soon I’ll be able to audition with the rest of the masses in hopes of one day landing a job that allows ME to perform at the Tony Awards and maybe even one day win one.

30: Proust Questionnaire, Vol. 1

Vanity Fair magazine always features the infamous “Proust Questionnaire” on the last page, asking various celebrities to give their answers.  To change up from my usual posts, I thought I’d answer a few:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

– Thanksgiving Day with my family.

What is your greatest fear?

– Settling for less than what I truly want out of life.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

– Insecurity and impatience

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

– Intolerance and ignorance

What is your greatest extravagance?

– Purchasing too much sheet music

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

– Practicality

What is your favorite journey?

– The one on which I’m currently on

On what occasion do you lie?

– To spare people I love from great pain

What do you dislike about your appearance?

– Like all women, I detest my stomach.

Which living person do you most despise?

– Terrorists and the founders of the Westboro Baptist Church both for their intolerance and hatred of good people around the world.

Which living person do you most admire?

– J.K. Rowling

What is the quality you most like in a man?

– Humor

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

-Class

Which talent would you most like to have?

-I’d like to be fluent in several languages.

What is your most treasured possession?

-The teddy bear I’ve owned since birth and my Harry Potter books

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

-Math tests.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

-Harry Potter and Jo March for different and yet somewhat similar reasons.

I’ll answer more in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned.

29: A State of Flux

Friday was quite the long, busy night at the winery.  Fridays are always so stressful.  It’s the busiest night of the week, and customers are never very patient even when they can see it’s crazy.  The weird thing is that Fridays are starting to feel less…glamorous, I guess.  All my days of the week are starting to run together.  Weekends don’t feel like weekends, but sometimes I think Monday is actually Saturday because I might not be working then.  I guess this is what happens when you’re finished with school, don’t have a regular work schedule, but work all the time and hardly ever go out.

That’s another thing: my social life is gone.  Poof.  Vanished into thin air.  I probably shouldn’t have gotten so accustomed to going out every Thursday through Saturday night, seeing friends constantly and drinking and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.  The adjustment to not doing any of those things anymore has been astonishingly difficult.  Well, at least more difficult than I thought it would be.  While I realize this state-of-flux I’m in is fairly temporary for the time being, I can’t help thinking that I will somehow never fully recapture those nights of frivolity or at least, they will be few and far between from now on due to financial instability and just plain old work schedule problems.

Adulthood is a strange land to navigate.

27 & 28: Keeping My Eyes On the Prize

I’ve only worked at the winery about a month, so I really don’t have a right to complain, but I hate working closing.  Last Wednesday night, I worked five to close, and I didn’t wind up leaving until around 10:45, and we closed at like, 8 pm.  For one thing, I work more than probably anyone else who isn’t a manager (I’m not complaining because I’m making good money).  Not only that, but I also have worked every single weekend since I started, and usually, it is every day/night of the weekend.  I just wish the work shifts were better distributed because I feel like I’m working my ass off when other people are barely working any shifts at all especially on the weekends.  SHARE THE WORKLOAD, PEOPLE.  I LIKE THE WEEKENDS TOO.  I’d LOVE to have a social life, but we don’t always get what we want, do we?

The thing I have to keep reminding myself of is that all of this is for New York.  I’m doing this for New York.  She is a demanding lady of a city, but she’s worth it.  She’s worth the hard work.  I just have to remember to also apply this to myself when in dating situations (Ha.  Whenever THAT happens.): I am worth the hard work, boys.  But back to the point: I am withering away here, and the only way to cultivate myself again is to get my ass to Manhattan where I can plant my roots (where all this gardening lingo is coming from, I don’t know).

I was also asked by one of my tables to sing.  It was a group of middle-aged women who all had an interest in theatre.  I think one of them might have even been a community theatre director in Jefferson City.  Anyway, I wound up singing just a bit of Chicago for them to uproarious applause from the table.  I realized that might be the first of many requests to sing by people I’m waiting on in restaurants.  Like, I might land a job from doing that in New York.  Weird.

Thursday evening, I went to Nicole’s house to watch our favorite summer TV obsession: So You Think You Can Dance.  After a pizza and several glasses of wine, we were more than relaxed.  This also meant we were prone to ridiculous Twitter updates and the imminent viewing of our golden oldies dance recital videos, this time from 1997 and 2000 (I don’t remember any really old recital routines except by costume, so…).

What I love about spending time with Nicole is how grounded and relaxed she keeps me.  I’ve known her since we were five years old.  We’ve danced together basically our entire lives and seen each other naked backstage more times than we can count (not in a creepy way…in a we’ve-got-to-change-costumes-in-under-45-seconds way).  Nicole knows me better than most people ever will, and she’ll always keep me honest.  Hanging out with her requires no actual effort like it does with some people.  Like, we don’t have to look perfect around each other; there’s no weird, underlying competition with each other.  What you see is what you get.  It’s easy and uncomplicated.  I appreciate that.

And oh my god, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

26: It’s Just the Near(sighted)ness of You

Day 2 of the new portions of my workout routine aka Tracy Anderson’s ab and arm webisodes.  For those of you unfamiliar with Tracy, she’s a major celebrity personal trainer, working with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jennifer Aniston to Madonna.  Needless to say, the girl knows her stuff.   What I like about her Method is that she believes in high reps with lots of different sequencing.  She doesn’t like her clients to become bored so she changes their workout routines every 10 days to insure maximum muscle confusion.  I like the variety of movements, because it doesn’t feel like the same old thing.  Not only that, but I actually can feel the exercises working on the muscles in my body as I’m doing the movements.  Her ab webisode is a staggering 10 minutes of floorwork and a standing ab section.  It’s great and hurts like a bitch.  It’s definitely not just your basic crunches or Pilates.  The arm webisode is awesome too because the first half of it doesn’t even require weights, it’s just using the resistance of your own body.  This portion also hurts like a bitch, but I instantly feel stronger upon completion, and it makes me feel accomplished as I fight through the pain to the end.

After a trip to the eye doctor today, I found out I am slightly nearsighted, meaning I have slight vision distortion when I look at things far away.  I HAVE noticed the last two years or so that I’ve had some trouble with reading things at a great distance.  However, the eye doctor said it’s not really that bad and definitely not bad enough for me to need glasses yet.  He said I still have 20/20 vision, but it’s a weird feeling.

It’s the first time I’ve ever realized that I am, in fact, getting older and will one day start showing visible signs of aging.

It’s not really something I’ve thought a lot about, to be honest.  I think when we’re young, we feel invincible: forever young.  We don’t think we’ll ever get to be “that age.”  I can’t even imagine what having crow’s feet around my eyes is like, because I stubbornly choose to believe I won’t get them.  The concept of ever turning 40 is so foreign to me.  I can’t picture it.  Maybe I just don’t want to.  I just want to bask in my youth and then deal with its consequences later when I somehow become 40.  Is that acceptable?

“God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.” — anonymous