Monday, January 19, 2009

...Must Come To An End

So today's the end of President Bush's term in office.

Can't say I'll miss the man, aside from him giving me many chuckles over the last 8 years.

What I will miss is the

Now when I first planned this I didn't realize that yeah, it's Friday meaning the blogosphere is pretty much dead. But as most of those who did read figured out my plan, I might as well clue the rest of you in.

But first your questions.

The main one was why was I leaving Blogger? Well folks, me and Blogger had a few irreconcilable differences so I went a found a new woman. One with bigger boobs, a bottled tan, and a bigger bank account. Therefore, I'm saying so long and thanks for all the fish.

The second was from Emily asking the following: "and for my question i'll ask...if you could travel to one place in the world, regardless of distance or price, where would it be and why?"

That's an easy one to answer. I would go to Barcelona to track down what happened to Nana's siblings after La Guerra Civil, which I fully intend to do one day.

And now my big surprise I hinted at in emails or on twitter.

If you reread my letter, you'll notice that I only said I was leaving Blogger. I don't plan to stop blogging anytime so soon after discovering it.

So submitted for your reading pleasure, the new home of The Confessions of an Odd Duck.
Be seeing you.

P. S. Yeah, I'm a bastard aren't I?

Friday, January 16, 2009

All Good Things...

Dear Friends,

"Writing is an exploration, you start from nothing and learn as you go." - E. L. Doctorow

And that statement is true. I look back at some of my early writings back in October and cringe a bit. At the time I didn't know what I wanted to say. I basically wrote whatever randomly popped into my head but it didn't mean anything.

I like to mix the lighthearted and heartwarming with the mildly tragic or rage-inducing. This is how I choose to share myself with all of you.

I started this blog on September 28, 2008 and in the past four months I have met some amazing people. You were kind, you commented, you gave advice, you shared my triumphs and my heartbreaks. You became my friends and each of you is precious. And in return for me letting you into my life, you gave me snapshots of yours.

I never would have believed that I could care so much about a group of people I have never met in person. That their lives could evoke honest-to-God emotion in me. I've laughed, I've cried, I've wondered what loony bin some of you escaped from, and I've been blessed with the knowledge that such wonderful human beings exist in the world.

It is very hard to earn my respect and admiration. Congratulations on accomplishing this feat.

But it is with a rather heavy heart that I bid farewell to Blogger. This site has become like my internet home but like all ducks, I must fly south for the winter.

Now as I would like to go out with a bang, I'm asking for your help. My last post here will be an interview conducted by all of you.

Yes, you.

If there are any questions you would like to ask like (what's your most embarrassing moment or why do you put the letter 'u' in weird places?). Must say that if you want to tell me just how much I rock (I practically ooze humility, don't I?) then that's fine too. Ask your questions in a comment or email and I'll answer on Monday for my LAST BLOGGER POST! It'll be published about 10 PM EST that day so stay tuned.

Marching to the beat of my own drum one last time,

Kendall (The Odd Duck)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Workshop: As I See You

Hi everyone, it's the glorious Miss Eva reporting for duty! As Kendall has a bit too much on his plate today he has let me (letting me doesn't necessarily mean he had a choice does it?) take over his blog and allow me to pop my Wednesday Workshop cherry. Ooh, so exciting.

PROMPT: Describe your significant other's most attractive quality (on the inside).

Were it not for that little add-on, there are so many ways I could have fun with this. In both dirty and non-dirty ways. But I suppose I shall simply have to be serious. Kendall had better appreciate this is all I've got to say.


If I had to pick out one characteristic as his most attractive, I might as well use the one that attracted me to him in the first place and made him hard not to fall in love with.

From the stories he's shared with you, some of you might have realized something about the teddy bear I call my boyfriend. He seems to be pretty dang near incapable of not caring about people. This includes people who have done him wrong, people he has never met in real life, people he barely knows, and even people who he has never heard of before.

It's as if he is drawn to people who need help and does whatever they need him to whether that's just listening, making them laugh, giving a hug, or completely changing the subject. He is easily one of the most kindhearted people it has ever been my pleasure to meet.

Me and Kendall (as well as The Bait, The Spawn, and Pippi) went to the same high school and despite the fact that me and him shared a lot of the same friends we never really had the opportunity to become friends ourselves. Now as I'm sure most of you know, I gave birth to baby Daybreak a few months after my 17th birthday when I was in my junior year. Her father, the ex, dumped me about three weeks before my due date.

So here I am, a heavily pregnant teenager whose boyfriend had left her after saying throughout that he would stand by her. I was sitting on one of these tables we had in the student parking lot and trying my very best not to start sobbing. When someone put a tissue in front of my face, saying it might help. And sure enough, there was Kendall with one hand outstretched to me and the other holding a half-full box of Kleenex. This boy, who I only knew peripherally, skipped that full period with me, just listening to me rant about the world in general.

It's just who he is.

I've watched him smile and say "hello" to random people on the street whom I ask if he knows. So very often the answer is that he has never seen them in his life but everyone deserves something as simple as a smile.

Whenever me and him take Daybreak to the park, God forbid he sees one child being picked on. The last time this happened, Kendall helped the boy out of the puddle he had been pushed into and after speaking to his mother for a moment, sent him over to the jungle gym where Daybreak was trying to emulate a pretzel.

Then there are the other things...

...making jokes and generally being silly until a frowning person can't help but laugh.

...even when he's sick, he will get out of bed and in his car, driving to pick someone up in the middle of the night after their car broke down.

...standing up for someone he personally dislikes merely because he thought it was right.

...leaving little notes for people telling them to have a nice day.

...or one of my personal favorites, when I feel like utter crap from menstrual cramps he's ready with a hot water bottle and those wonderful hands.

He's extremely polite, intelligent, humble to an almost disturbing degree, and such a goofball you can't not be happy around him, but his kindness is still my favorite.

Don't ever change, Amore.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

That First Kiss (or The One Where He Proves How Stupid He Really Is)

This is my submission for the 20SB January Blog Carnival.

"We are starting off the New Year thinking all about "firsts."

So, tell us about your first kiss! Sloppy, magical, awkward, non-existent? Spill it!"

Oh, Internet, the things I put myself through for your entertainment.

Let us go back to January 2007, to a time when me and Tinkerbell are not dating yet. Actually at this point neither has admitted out loud to liking the other. We are on the hallway of her floor as she has (for 2,502,713th time) stolen my cell phone. In a moment of what I thought was brilliance I held her wrists while reaching for the phone.

"I bet I can get you to let go of me."

"How is that?"

Now I had assumed she meant kneeing me in the stomach so I prepared to move out of the way. I obviously had forgotten just who exactly I was dealing with and a lesson around Tinkerbell is to always always ALWAYS expect the unexpected. Before I really knew what was happening, she had leaned up and kissed me.

Folks if anyone had taken a picture of us at that moment here's what they would have seen.

Me with the single most pole-axed look I think I had ever had in my life and one hand absently touching my lips.

Tinkerbell with a smug grin on her face as she stepped out of my loose grip.

Because I was convinced there was no way she could like me in that way, I reasoned to myself she was merely playing around. Despite the fact that EVERY. LAST. ONE. of our friends told us to stop going in circles and start dating. Hell, one mutual friend actually refused to speak to us until we had started dating.

God, I was such an utterly clueless bastard.

But wait, it gets better.

Now I had been too surprised (which I want to beat myself for in hindsight) to kiss her back but my chance came about a week and a half later. She had walked me down to my floor as my knee had decided it wanted to be a bitch and was thus concerned I would fall down the steps. Now what she could have really done if I had aside from calling 911 I don't know but it's the thought that counts right?

Anyway, I digress.

So we're standing outside the door and I looked at her and now knowing that she did like me I decided 'to hell with it' and kissed her. I don't know about fireworks but I was most definitely lightheaded after we broke apart. We were both slightly out of breath and me being who I am just have to say something to ruin the moment.

"[Tinkerbell], what the hell are we?"

Yes, you did read that correctly.

To her credit, she merely laughed at my question instead of slugging me in the face.

Instead she has deigned not to let me live that down two years later.

Le sigh.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Wonder If Amazon Deals In Troublesome Organs

Me and my stomach have a long standing rivalry. So severe that it has been in a state of rebellion since Thanksgiving 2006. Quite honestly, there are days (like oh today for example) where just the thought of eating is enough to send me to the bathroom and emptying whatever I have in my stomach at the time.

It's not purposeful.

I just have no appetite. Almost starting to forget what one felt like.

It scares my friends immensely. Tinkerbell admitted that she was terrified the next time she would see me would be my funeral. Before we started dating, Eva would convince (read: manipulate) me to come over for dinner under the excuse of her needing a study partner. The Bait and Pippi would drag me to lunch after Mass every week. And because I hate to make the people I love worry, I would make myself eat.

And more often than not, throw it all up later.

It is so strange to see old pictures of myself where I weighed about 250 to know when I weigh 190 when full of water. Scary part? This time last year I was 170 but I basically forced myself (with help) to eat and exercise enough that I gained back about 15 pounds of muscle.

The worst part of all this?

That although I know my friends only worry because they love me, sometimes they go about it in very wrong ways. When Eva and Imogen cornered me over the break and started in on me needed to eat more I tried to get away. When they wouldn't let me without me pushing them (which they and I knew I wouldn't do) I started to panic. Then Eva suggested they make me weigh in front of them.

I fucking lost it at that point. And while I did apologize later, I made sure they understood that I meant it when I basically said that them doing that made me feel like livestock. I also thanked them for caring about me. It was kind of tears all around from there.

So when people (mostly women) say they would like to trade stomachs with me, I make sure they know what they would be getting themselves into.

1. Cramping (I've lost count of how many times I've lain awake at night in tears because my stomach was cramping. Now consider the fact that I can dislocate my shoulder and pop it back with only a grimace.)
2. Complete loss of appetite (Say goodbye to any holiday meal. Haven't had more than a few bites at a holiday since July 4, 2006.)
3. Acid (When you decide not to eat, your stomach AKA that treacherous bitch decides to punish you by letting you deal with that constant burning feeling in your stomach. The burning that gets worse when you feel bile rise up.)

So anyone still willing to trade?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

So Hard To Say Goodbye

What follows is a speech I wrote/ad-libbed for Mass this morning to say goodbye to Father Oaks, who passed away after fighting liver cancer for four years. Only names and locations have been changed.

"There is little more difficult than letting someone into your life, caring for them, opening up. To do so seems to go against the trend of weariness and caution so many of us develop over the course of our lifetimes. And as hard as it is, saying goodbye is that much more arduous.

I remember sitting in the office before the 7:30 service this morning, trying to figure out how to honour this man who had so very much for so many of us. What could Father Cherry have been thinking when he asked me to do this? I guess he figured I would not try and hide my emotions, something anyone will tell you isn't really a strong point of mine.

Compared to many of those gathered here this morning, I barely knew him. I first met Father Oaks in the summer of 2007 while I have spoken to some whom have known this amazing man from the time they were children back in the 70's. I can't touch on that knowledge but I can share with you all what I do know. The man who I have watched let the little ones braid his hair. Who gave his all to any who needed help. Who always had an open office policy with a ready ear and a warm smile waiting.

I have met few men more humble, more open, than Father Oaks. A true class act, it has been an honour and a privilege to know him. He did his best to prove that he was just a regular man and in doing so proved how much a treasure he truly was. He was a fellow fan of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, a country music fan going back to the days of Little Jimmy Dickens, and quite possibly the biggest fishing aficionado I have ever met.

It is impossible to list all the achievements of his 63 years on this Earth. And it is just as impossible to describe that man with one story. But I have to try my best. It was back in March of this past year and I was in Father Oak's office as he was asking about how I enjoy my first Sunday school class. I don't fully remember how we got onto the subject but we ended up speaking about perseverance. He knew my past and in light of that, told me something that morning that will stay with me until the day I die. 'That faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding on to.' And coming from a man who had seen the worst of humanity as a medic in the Vietnam War, I could not really argue that.

Father Oaks was a man who stressed more than anything else a certain love for your fellow man. Who believed in giving his all in his every endeavor. But lastly, he was a man who believed that even when a situation was its darkest, all we could do was stand up, smile, and walk forward. And as I fully believe that you are home behind the pearly gates, I have a message for you.

Thank you for all you've done and we will do our best to try and fill the enormous shoes you left behind. You are loved and you will be missed. Know that you left us in good hands."
Somehow I made it through without my voice cracking. Seeing the people who I spend hours with every week, who I have gotten to know through my time in the church, hug those around them when a fresh burst of tears hit them. I watched as others stood up to share their own tales. I saw our organist playing her heart out after benediction, despite the tears running without hint of shame down her cheeks. This one man had touched us all.

That, my friends, is real power.

Photo courtesy of The Bait

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday Workshop: For the Love of a Puppy

It's that time again folks! My assignment from Mama Kat this week goes as follows:

"Tell us about your pet! If you have a weird infatuation with your dog or cat we want to hear about it (or if they just plain drive you crazy) But please don't compare them to children, it's just not the same."


Back in September 2008, me, Marilyn, and Scarlett visited the local animal shelter as they were looking to adopt a kitten. I found myself wandering over to the puppies when I heard a high-pitched bark. My gaze traveled down and my eyes locked onto this tiny chocolate lab puppy. She nudged a nearby rubber pall to the edge of her pen then looked back up at me with her tail just waving away.

I would spend the next half hour playing with her. It was like playing with a chipmunk on speed. Then once she was napping on her side, tuckered out from all the excitement, I talked to the volunteer working about how much it would be to adopt her.

The next day, I came home with about 10 pounds of hyped-up puppy. Later that night, it would be Tinkerbell who suggested the name Faith for her.

While I had had dogs my entire life with the exception of when I lived in a dorm, this was the first time I had ever owned a dog that was inside a majority of the time. Paper training has been an ordeal but she's getting there even if there are still accidents on occasion. Like the one on the kitchen floor last night.

I've taught her to sit, stay, roll over, play dead, shake, and come to me.

And I've noticed in the months she's been here that Faith has developed a list of rather funny personality quirks.

Whenever she smells me cooking food, she will hop from the floor, to a chair to watch. The chair that oh so conveniently happens to face her food and water bowls. As if saying, 'when are you going to stop being a selfish bastard and feed the important one here?'

A phone ringing scares the hell out of her. I'm not even exaggerating. Normally I have my cell phone on vibrate as I don't feel like paying for a ringtone and I had the ones this phone came with. So when The Bait's rings or mine does, Faith will start to roll all over the place. If the phone is actually near her, she'll approach it, put a paw out, and then jump back like it's about to bite her on the nose.

In Faith's eyes, ANYTHING PURPLE MUST DIE. I had bought her two pillows for her bed/basket that were a deep purple colour right before Christmas. They were ripped to shreds before the week was out. I bought another of the same colour that met a similar fate. I think I've learned the lesson. No Purple. Ever.

Like most Labradors, Faith is very friendly. When she meets a new person she will follow this formula without fail. One, pace around the legs, sniffing and making little -yip- noises. Two, if they meet her approval she'll cozy up against them. Most people at this point reach down to pet her and as they do she will reach a paw up for them to shake while tilting her head. It's adorable.

On the other hand, she also seems to get a perverse sense of pleasure out of annoying The Bait. Things she has done off the top of my head include stealing his shoes, waking him up by licking inside his ear, decided that the mopped kitchen floor was a great slide and using it to slide-tackle him, and as he puts it "just being a nuisance". Despite how much he claims to dislike Faith and petition me to get her exorcised (not seriously), he does care about her as evidenced by the fact that he bought her a new pillow for her bed and a rubber penguin to play with. Said penguin has since been humped, wrestled with, and chewed six ways from Sunday.

Despite Faith having always loved Daybreak, as said child will feed her table scraps when she thinks me and her mom aren't looking, there was a period of time where Faith did not like Eva. Well maybe not so much as disliking her as her acting jealous. If me and Eva ever tried to kiss, Faith would rocket her little legs to nip that moment in the bud. She has since gotten over this issue thankfully.

My puppy is a weird little thing, at which I wonder whether she was always that way or if I just rubbed off on her. She may be exasperating at times but like pretty much every woman in my life has me totally wrapped around her finger...or paw in this case.

I learned that this puppy, who liked me upon sight, had been rather horribly abused by her previous owners. She was slowly recovering from malnourishment (and still is) and her left hind leg had been so injured that it limps. This is the same puppy who gave me the most sorrowful look when I left. The same puppy who barrels into my legs when I get home because she is so happy to see me walk through that door.

I don't regret giving her a home for a moment.