Friday, January 29, 2010

Movie Review- Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart - (Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal) *****
I wasn't sure I wanted to see this movie and after Joe said he heard it was "the Wrestler" for country music, I wanted to see it even less. But after hearing all the Oscar buzz Bridges is getting, I wanted to see what the big deal was. I am so glad I did as this movie is amazing and worth the Oscar nominations. Yes, it was "The Wrestler" for country music, but Bridges is so believable as the main character, I actually wondered if he has gotten psychological help outside of the movie. He actually sings and one performance I felt the urge to clap because I felt like I was there. We were blessed with a small and very quiet crowd in the theater and many of the songs brought tears to my eyes (same guy who wrote them wrote the songs in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou"). Maggie Gyllenhaal is incredible in it and actually very pretty. They both take what could be very cliche roles and add realism to them so I was fully engaged. There is also a nod to Bridges other washed up, but hopeful and funny character, The Dude. Crazy Heart is a sad, sweet, tender movie that must be seen; well worth the Oscar acclaim.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Too Many Blogs In My Head

This blog is a little long because it is a combination of a couple of blogs that have been writing themselves in my head.

Melany turned 40 last week and she, Shelia and I were talking about life, and the general feeling that we really haven't amounted to much. Forty and this is it? We mostly go to work, go home, go to bed, repeat. Melany has had a Lifetime movie crazy bad year and is in a bit of a funk. So we suggested that she make a list of everything she wants to do, big or small, do-able or not. We told her not to talk herself out of anything, not to qualify the list; to just dream and write it down. We all decided to make our own list. I laughed that I was a planner so mine was pretty much done and didn't think any more of it. Then I read Shelia's blog, detailing her wishes, basically her "list". I realized something very important. I am a planner. Planning is very different than dreaming.

Sure I have things I want to accomplish this year. I have goals. But unless I can put together the logistics pretty quickly, it doesn't make my list. It has been a really long time since I have just let myself dream of what I want to do and not worry if it was even possible. So long in fact, that I forgot how.

So over the past few days I tried to get in touch with my inner dreamer. What do I want to do? If someone gave me a million dollars and no responsibilities, what would I do? What did 10 year old Amy want to do, before she became set in the routine of life? According to my diaries from childhood, I wanted to be an author. Then I wanted to travel to Russia and write a book about Russia (inspired by the movie White Nights). Then I wanted to go to Oxford University (inspired by Oxford Blues with Rob Lowe) and happily I can check that off my list as done. I wanted to go to Wimbledon thanks to my crush on Boris Becker. Another done. I wanted to sail in a regatta. I wanted to be a sex therapist. Writing a book came up several times. I wanted to travel around the world. More recently I decided I wanted to rent a sailboat and sail around the Virgin Islands. Maybe I skip dreaming and go straight from idea to planning it. Really, I do a lot, set goals and get a lot done, but it still doesn't feel like dreaming.

My parents bought a sailboat this month and while there still is a lot that needs to be done (and I need to learn how to sail), all of a sudden sailing around the world is actually an option at some point. I've been reading the blog of a friend of the family who in November sold everything he owned and is sailing around the world. The planner pushed the dreamer aside and wondered if I could do that. Could I get rid of all the responsibilities that at the same time tie me down and give me structure? Am I the type of person to throw caution to the wind and just see what happens? I think I'd like to be, but realistically I think I find peace in my routine. My 2009 New Year's Resolution was to lighten up, and while I did OK, maybe I still need to work on that. Maybe that will get me in touch with my dreamer.

Dreaming is hard though. It takes everything that the planner in me is good at and ignores it. Budget? Screw the budget. What about a realistic way to make it happen? Nope - this is dreaming. I have been thinking about this for over a week now and I am still having trouble. Writing a book has been a constant, but I wonder if I have anything to say. Travel is also a constant, so maybe I need to focus on dreaming of that more. I love sailing and being on a boat, and sailing around the Virgin Islands sounds like heaven to me but I worry about the pressure of being the one in charge of sailing. What happens if something happens and I can't handle it or forget how? See? I am not very good at dreaming. I start qualifying and quantifying and talk myself out of it before I even have begun.

So after a week of thinking, I think that thinking is my problem. So here is my spur of the moment dream list: I want to ride a horse in the mountains and not be afraid. I want to dive the Great Barrier Reef. I want to go to Fiji and stay in one of those little huts that has a glass bottom floor. I want to dive in Jellyfish Lake in Palau. I want to teach Miller to dive and be there on his wedding day. I want to hike up to the viaduct with Joe, talk all night and watch the sunrise, huddled up like we did on our first date. I want to go to Jackson with my family and sit at the Jackson Lake Lodge, drinking and watching the sunset while laughing so loudly we make other people annoyed with jealousy. I want to dive naked off a boat into the Caribbean. I want to go to Greece, New Zealand, Bali, Vietnam, Germany, French countryside, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Alaska and India. I want to look good in a safari outfit and hat. I want to ride an elephant. I want to spend an entire day in bed in a hotel room, ordering room service and giggling. I want to be 85 and have my close friends over, and talk about all the stupid things we all did together in our 20s, 30s and beyond. I want to never stop learning, never stop growing and never stop improving. I want to get my PhD in something. I want to inspire people to strive to be better than they think they can be. I want to never stop thinking that having ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner is OK if you really want it. I want to have fresh flowers in my house and clean sheets on my bed every night. I want to never, ever, lose the ability to laugh at myself. I want to lose 50 pounds. I want to wear a bikini and feel drop dead sexy. I want to look good in white linen pants and a thong. I want to learn ballet. I want to learn to speak Spanish. I want to travel with Pacey. I want to go to a Hollywood Awards show, sit as an extra seat filler and be on the red carpet. If my brother decides to have children, I want to spoil them rotten, with the loudest, most annoying toys they make. I want to be in a regatta, to be on board a sailboat, heeling so dramatically I can touch the water.

OK so maybe I remember how to dream and in a way that makes me sad.
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

So on top of all my goals for 2010, I am adding one more; to dream; to tell my planning instincts to shut up and let my mind wander. I've got a great life, but there is always a way to make it better.
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
- Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The music of our lives

For Christmas the first year they dated, my friend Tim gave his now wife Jenn a CD of his favorite songs of the year; an annual mixed tape of sorts. He made this a tradition and now they have a collection of CDs chronicling not only what music they were in to, but what songs were hot in each year. This is one of those ideas that I think is brilliant and wish I had done it myself. Joe and I had such a fun time picking out songs for our wedding CD that I know that it would be a great treat to have a collection of our favorites over the last 17 years. Music has the power to trigger a memory so strong I am instantly taken back. The Blind Melon song "No Rain" always reminds me of the first time Joe and I really spent time together. After a night of talking we walked outside and I saw he drove a Fiero. I asked if I could take it for the night and he said yes. He had the Blind Melon CD in there and it blasted on with the ignition. I have always been a fan of Counting Crows, but hearing my favorite "Anna Begins" instantly takes me to our trip to New Orleans in 1995 and one specific moment, late at night on a long stretch of road in some state. We took this trip right before we broke up for a month, our only time apart in our 17years together. I can see the road vividly in my mind and I can feel the transitional melancholy of the time. I remember the first time I heard Buffett's "Boat Drinks" or ELO's "Mr. Blue Skies". Kelly Rowland sings "When Love Takes Over" and I am in my favorite gay bar in Key West. I just wish I could remember all my favorite songs and all the fun memories that those melodies stir up.

I never planned to work in radio and took this job as a "starter job" until I found something else. I never felt like I had a passion for radio like some people did. But I have realized I do have a passion for music and after 14 years here, I can't imagine not working in radio. I listen to the radio all day long while I work and will never clean or hang out alone without music on. I love when baby bands come and play in our green room at the station and I love hearing new music. I like a lot and am not very picky. I am amazed at people's ability to sing so even if I do not like a genre, I appreciate a good voice. Darius Rucker brought me to tears singing one of his country songs. Up and coming band Paper Tongues gave me goosebumps.

I am lucky to work with other people who have a passion for music and share hidden gems. One of my favorite parties of this past year was at Shelia's. We all brought a playlist of 10 songs, a bottle of wine and simply sat around, listened and shared stories on why that particular song was on our list. It was relaxing, bonding and learning, all piled into one or four bottles of wine.

Music has the power to create atmosphere, to bring back a memory, to inspire, to stir emotions. So I am going to start in a (different) blog, listing my favorite new songs of each month. I will update each month and at the end of the year, will have a collection of the year's best (hopefully). Then maybe in ten years I can look back at the songs and remember the good and the bad of 2010. So don't be surprised if you get a mixed tape from me for Christmas this year!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Introducing Piper Burroughs...

So you may remember Ferretgate...the public debate Joe and I had over getting a ferret. He wanted one. I didn't. It was a contest of wills to see who would win. Well, we got a ferret. I know, I suck.

So here's how it happened. Joe had been talking about getting a ferret for a couple of months. We have had ferrets before so we knew what we were getting into. I have nothing against ferrets; I just didn't want another animal to take care of and was concerned about traveling with one. We talked and talked and Joe assured me he would take care of her and we can leave her for up to a week alone so vacations are fine. He found a breeder in Matthews (what are the chances?) and inquired about available ferrets. Turns out she had one that is almost 2 and is very laid back. Our family is very laid back so we thought we needed to check her out. A few weeks ago we drove out there and met her. She really is the closest thing to a lap ferret I have ever seen. She literally curled up in my arm and chilled. Plus her face is pretty cute. So we brought her home on Friday, just in time for birthday week. So far she has been awesome. She really does sleep all the time. We have had her out a few times but mostly she just wants to sleep. She fits in well.

We haven't introduced Pablo and Piper yet. He knows something is going on and we have just let him investigate where she has been, getting used to her scent. She lays in her bed downstairs and Pablo hasn't even noticed her. Pacey is aware of her and is a bit jealous. The few times that Joe and I have both been holding Piper, Pacey asks for something or squeaks in her "pay attention to me" yell.

So as much as I worried and bitched and really didn't want it to happen, we have a sixth member of the Burro-Manns and so far it has been a non-event really. Call it kismet or destiny or serendipity, but we live 10 minutes away from a breeder that had a very docile ferret and was ready to give her away. It really did work out as it should. I am looking forward to getting to know Piper's personality and having her love us. She really is freaking adorably cute and ferrets are pretty funny. They also are as smart as dogs so I think it will be fun. Joe is happy and it's his birthday week, so that makes me happy too.

Yes we have a zoo in our house and I am sure people think us odd, but Joe and I are animal people; always have been and I am sure always will be. More importantly, we're happy in our home. At the end of the day, when we are hanging out with Pacey on her perch, Pablo curled up in front of the heater and now Piper in her bed, Joe and I will look at each other and smile, and in that moment the rest of the world disappears, and what matters most is right there in that room. For me, that will always be more important than winning Ferretgate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sometimes It's OK to Move On.

A few months ago a long term friendship with "Helen" ended. She hurt my feelings, told me to F*** off and blocked me on Facebook. I was sad and grieved for our friendship but knew it was the right thing. She has since unblocked me from Facebook and has sent a few emails, never once saying what I need her to say; "I'm sorry."

There were four girls in my close friend group; Melany, Sarah, me and Helen. I am sure that this has caused Mel and Sarah some stress since they have to balance interactions and I know Melany feels like she is in the middle sometimes. Yesterday was Melany's birthday. We planned on getting a small group of people to go to dinner with her at her favorite place and I told her to invite Helen. It was Mel's birthday and she deserved to spend it with everyone she loved, and that includes both Helen and me. So we all went to dinner last night and it was a little awkward. Luckily there were enough people that I didn't feel like I had to have any alone time with Helen and I was glad to be able to spend the night with Melany.

I was quiet on the drive home and Joe asked if I was OK about the whole Helen thing. I told him I didn't know. Sometimes I think I should just go, suck it up like I usually do, tell her I was the wrong one and make it better for everyone. I have heard a ton of stories of people's pride getting in the way of relationships and I didn't want the fact that I want her to apologize and she doens't even realize she needs to, to ruin years of potential friendship. But that's not it. Her not saying sorry and telling me to F Off didn't ruin the friendship so her apologizing won't bring the friendship back either. Certainly that day was pivotal, but there were lots of other issues over the years. I have finally changed/grown/whatever to expect more from the people that love me. Funny, that was one of the things I most wanted her to do.

People toss around the word friend too much and I am sure everyone has different ideas of what a friend should be. To be my friend you should support me when I need it, tell me I'm wrong when I am, laugh with me, accept me for all my flaws and neurosis, judgements and failures, listen when I need to vent and play devil's advocate. Let me be who I am and love me for who I'm not. In return, I will do the same for you. I will also listen when you tell me I'm wrong, be appreciative when you tell me I'm right and always be glad to see you cheering me on. We might fight, and that is OK. Friends work through fights. Friendships are relationships and need work just like anything else. Both people need to want it and be willing to put in the emotional heavy lifting.

I used to be OK in one sided friendships where I was the listener, the comforter, the person who swallowed how I actually felt in order to keep harmony. I'm not OK with that anymore. I will be a great friend to you but you better be there for me too.

So here's the thing about Helen. It's OK that she's not my friend anymore. Just like you don't have to marry everyone you date, I don't think you have to be friends with everyone you've ever known. Helen and I had some great times and she shared intimate parts of her life and for that I am grateful. But we have both changed and unfortunately new Amy and new Helen don't see eye to eye. I'm not going to lie and say I still don't feel a little sad, but I think having the revelation last night that it's OK that we aren't friends has made it easier. In truth, I miss OLD Helen and deep down I think she wants to be friends with OLD Amy. I can't go back to Old Amy so it isn't fair of me to want her to go back to Old Helen. So I move forward, without her as a friend, but know that moving forward is OK. It's part of life. We were there for each other when we needed it. In some ways she is very responsible for making me who I am now and for helping me truly value some dear friends. So I thank her for that...and move on.

Friday, January 1, 2010

You say you want a resolution....Well, you know. We all want to change the world....

So it's January 1, 2010 which means for many people it is time to create some New Year's Resolutions that they will never stick to. I know I have done that plenty of years. Maybe it is getting older, or maybe it is just the wine I had out with Sandy and Erin, but I really want to set some resolutions and make them happen.

I am not sure what the difference is between a goal and a resolution. defines them as:

RESOLUTION: a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

GOAL: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Either way, I see them as things you decide to do, hopefully for a positive result.
So my goals/resolutions are:
Do three triathlons (Azalea in Wilmington, Ramblin Rose Rock Hill in July and Ramblin Rose in Huntersville in September.)

Do a half marathon - the Space Coast Half Marathon in Florida

Lose 20 pounds

Improve my running time. (I know I haven't been updating my rupdate, but work has been crazy. But I am proud to announce that on December 23, after 2 hours of sleep, I ran for 30 minutes straight. I felt great. My body wasn't sore at all and really, I could have kept running but my heart rate was getting a little high right at 30 minutes. But I feel like this is a HUGE improvement over the first time I tried. I am still extremely intimidated by the half marathon goal, but know I have the time and I just need to battle my mind to achieve this)

Pay off some debt. I hate having debt. Really hate it. This year we got a little (OK a lot) greedy and got all new floors, braces, went on some great trips and bought a vacation membership for life. So we have some debt and I'd like to get rid of that. I have it all out of spreadsheets, so now I just need to do it, and stop buying things. THAT is the hardest part!

Be a good friend to my friends and let them be good to me. This past year has really highlighted my need for friends. I tend to hold in a lot of things and then wonder why my friends don't ask about me and how I am doing/feeling/etc. So I decided this year I am going to allow them to be my friends too. I have some great ones, really I do. And in the last few months I have slowly let some in and it has made me feel better each time. So I am going to be a better friend and let my friends BE my friends to me.

Try to not drink so much soda. Until May of 2009 I didn't drink ANY soda at all. Now I have quite the addiction for a little bubbly.

Go back to low carb living. It sucks, but it works and my body really likes it better. I have more energy, my skin is better, I FEEL better. I know I need to listen to my body and my body is telling me no carbs. So starting Monday, we are doing a 2 week no carb diet to get rid of the cravings. Joe and I have both gained about 20 pounds and we will both feel better once we go no carb again. I don't know how this is going to work with my marathon training, but let me lose 20 pounds and I will figure that out then.

Continue working for the three non profits in my life right now: Tri It For Life, St. Jude and For Your Cure. Each of these are important to me and each need different things from me. I firmly believe my skill set can help and feel like I was called to do all these things for a reason.

Be the best wife, daughter, sister, friend I can be, right now. I will make sure everyone knows how I feel about them and concentrate on enjoying the now.

Work: Sometimes it is hard to work around a lot of sales people who have work as a priority. As you can tell from these goals, work isn't for me. That isn't to say that I don't want to do my best, I do. I have a new group of employees and I want to do my best training them and teaching them all I know. I want to help them grow while not being threatened. I want them to succeed, even if that ultimately means not working for me. I have one person who is smarter than he gives himself credit for and could literally do anything he wants to and one person who is crazy talented but thinks she isn't at all. I want them to believe in themselves, because from the outside looking it, it is really easy to see how great they are.

Joe and I are starting year 9 of our marriage and I think we are both more committed to each other than ever before. I hope to continue this year with love, understanding, compromise and laughter, and maybe a new addition to our family.

So that's about it...hardly anything really. I want to be a better person and to challenge all the people I Love to be better people. Quite simple.

I really do like the beginning of the year and I like setting goals. I like the promise of improvement and I like having them written down. Writing down goals is the #1 way to make sure they happen. Here are mine - written down for all the world to see. Here's to ought ten, twenty dime and a year of being better all around.