Nigh Eve

The biggest failings I have had in my life have been because I missed something. Most often it was that I missed something that the more suspicious among us saw immediately. I’m a little too Ferdinand the Bull in a lot of ways. I want to sit in a field under a tree and put flowers around my neck and smell the honey from the bee hive. I feel sorry for the bee I accidentally sat on and killed who stung me — I would sting, too if someone sat on me. I am often shocked and amazed at the meanness and pettiness of someone when they do me wrong and I should have seen it coming. I am not lacking in intelligence, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t often pick up when someone is being shitty when I should.

I’ve gotten better about paying attention. I don’t jump in wholeheartedly like I did when I was younger. I question motives. I’m so much more skeptical. It’s interesting, because I’ve always been extremely skeptical about power structures and will more often assume the worst of those in power imbalances.

Yet when it comes to those around me or organizations I have trusted, I can be remarkably simple minded. Oh, wait. You mean it’s actually true that the Oregon State Bar disproportionately sanctions smaller practices rather than lawyers in bigger firms? I thought that was just sour grapes. Of course, it’s people like me thinking such things that allows shenanigans to continue.

Years ago, many, many years ago, I was in love with a man who started spending a lot of time with a woman whom others claimed liked to take boyfriends from their girlfriends. She beguiled them, they said. She worked her female magic, wiggled her fingers, and voila! The man was smitten and the girlfriend was out the door. Pshaw! I said. I didn’t believe such things. I assumed that such stories were again…sour grapes. I was wrong. The man broke up with me. He took up with her. I moved to Germany to get away from the heartbreak (It was a good way to go to get over it). The point is though, that I just didn’t see it coming even when it was right in front of my face.

Like I said, I have gotten soo much better, but I still fail. I still trust in basic goodness more than I assume the worstness (WordPress doesn’t like my using this word and has underlined it in RED to let me know my failings as a speller in its estimation. WordPress lacks the ability to detect the subtleties of incongruence. Funny, it thinks incongruence is spelled wrong also, but it’s not. I just checked the internets to make sure (and internets is underlined in red, too. Good grief.). I have a stove mitt with a picture of a girl hugging a horse. It says, “I hate everyone, too!” WordPress would assume that means my horse and I both hate everyone. Or their programmers would. I can imagine that; it fits the profile of a programmer. Yes, I make assumptions, too. But I digress.)

I was very young when the woman convinced the man I was seeing that she was a better fit for him than I was. I think it’s part of growing up to go through something like that and figure the world out. But in spite of getting a lot older I still have many moments where I get a somewhat into a situation and find myself surprised that I didn’t realize someone or something was complete shit a lot sooner.

And so I exist here. Trying to be aware of chicanery without always presuming it is afoot. Trying not to be bitter and suspicious, but realize that not everyone has my best interests at heart, or that they are even aware of what they are doing a lot of the time. Trying to understand that being Nigh Eve isn’t necessarily being aligned with the dark and the stars…

No Relation

Something about Buck Henry. I don’t remember now. I do remember that at 4:46 when I thought of the opening line to a story that included the name Buck Henry I also thought it wouldn’t seem so profound in the light of day. Considering I can’t even remember what the line was, I guess I was right.

I don’t kill flies. I don’t intentionally kill anything. I hate how our culture uses killing as the first way of getting rid of something it doesn’t like. Fly nearby? Kill it. Gopher in your yard? Kill it. Ants in the kitchen? Kill them. Don’t like the mouse in the walls? Kill it. Death culture, that’s what we have. It extends to plants too. Go to any store’s “garden center” and you’ll find a whole aisle devoted to poisons to murder other beings with. Genocide abounds.

Lately it seems driving around I’ve come across more and more trucks with giant ants, bees, wasps, spiders, mice, etc., on them, all in the business of killing. I can hardly log on to the Next Door app anymore. All the posts whining how someone saw some wasps outside so how can they kill them. I respond to leave them alone and the pack pounces.

I should be a hermit. I can sit in my house and the flies will buzz by. Sometimes they will be annoying. Flies can be. But I don’t think that my annoyance justifies their death. I have taken to leaving the corners of my screens open all summer long. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t let the flies in, it gives them an escape. Except for this time of year when things outside are getting cold, they don’t want to remain inside. Ever notice how they congregate at the windows? They want back out. They don’t know how they ended up in these artificial boxes with giant clear panes they can’t get through. When they head back to the sunlight, they run up against clear obstacles and search all the edges trying to escape. Since I’ve left the edges of the screens open, just a crack wide enough for a fly, they leave. I have a couple of windows that don’t open and the poor things die there. I think it’s sad.

What does any of this have to do with my desire to write a story that had Buck Henry in the first line? Absolutely nothing. There is no relation. I just thought about writing it and ended up here.

Shedding the Rust

A friend asked me if I write on my blog. Not much, I said. I actually have been writing, just not here. Not a lot, but I’m trying to make it a habit again, trying to do it every day, even if just a half an hour. I am rusty. It doesn’t come as easily to make lovely sentences any more. I need to practice and shed the rust.

After he asked if I’ve written on the blog I scrolled through it on my mobile phone and read a few of the last posts I’ve written. I was not surprised at the lack of number of posts, but I didn’t feel like what I had written was fake, which was good. So many times when I read old posts they seem so fake, and I hate it.

I have ideas of what to write, but often I just don’t want to share so much. This is the stuff that ends up in what I write but not on here. I’m the opposite of how I used to be in this regard, the opposite of how so many are these days. Oversharing is the norm. I have no desire for this. I lean in the other direction, away from disclosing too much personal information. Not personal information such as that I think my breasts are too big (which is true, but meaningless), but personal information such as what I’m experiencing and feeling in reaction to what is happening in my life. All the online algorithms think they know us, but they don’t. They might track stuff and try to predict what we want to buy, but if the ads I get are any indication, they’re wrong. Maybe it’s because I’ve made every effort to block every attempt to track what I do. I don’t know. Maybe they would know some stuff, but even my searches wouldn’t reveal the inner workings of my mind as I perform chores on my farm, mulling over whatever is floating around in my brain.

Somehow I got onto texting with Milla about the little people and animals stickers people put in the rear windows of their SUVs or minivans. We realized that ours would be so expansive we would not be able to use the window. It would be:

👸 👸 👸🐶🐶🐶🐶🐱🐰 🐴 🐴 🐴 🐴 🐴🐐🐐🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🦃🦃🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🐟🐟

Yes, that is quite a lot, I think.

So another meaningless blog post that reveals virtually nothing except that I have a lot of animals. And that I can cut and paste emojis. I love it.

😶

Have a mouthless day.

My Spam Rubber

Akismet has protected my site from 284,202 spam posts already. They roll themselves out to protect me from spam venereal disease. Oh, I’m so popular with the algorithm machines. They tell me I’m writing “most great best post” and I can “learn sell many item on special marketing plan.” For some reason, it’s not enough to tempt me. I don’t even see them anymore. Years and years ago when this started, I’d get them in my inbox. This was back in the day when people actually read blogs and wrote real comments on them and you could actually meet people in faraway places and become friends with them. Nowadays, people “like” blogs so you’ll go read theirs and “like” them back so they get followers because having followers and being liked in this way is more important than reality and in fact some people kill themselves because they don’t have enough of them. Tragic. It’s all fucking marketing and I fucking hate it. I’d rather have spam than that shit. I can’t stand the commodification of everything–EVERYTHING. It’s all facebookified. Gag, spit, puke, blurbppprtth. NO.

When I get comments now, they are to tell me to go look at someone’s blog on how to “market” myself. Hard as it is to believe, I have no desire to market myself, and if I did, it wouldn’t be through my blog. So the blog goes unused, but the spams keep coming, only I don’t have to look at them.

I wrote to wordpress and asked about taking back my domain. I claimed and bought it years ago and they “kindly” set it up to pay them for it each year. Well, they sold it on to the domain monopoly. They didn’t ask me. They didn’t make it clear what they were doing. I didn’t sign anything. They just took it. Now if I want it the domain monopoly wants thousands of dollars. For my own fucking name. That I bought and didn’t say anyone could have. This is the world we live in. Creaky, greasy, greedy end of empire.

Have you noticed that internet searching has changed? Type in anything (into startpage because I don’t want my searches monopolized either) and good ol’ greedy Amazon will be at the top. I’ve taken to typing in a minus amazon when I want something. Or type in something you just want to know about and the first sites are those selling something. Just want information? Good luck with that. I often put in site:edu so I get education sites.

I’m PROTECTED. Akismet as prophylactic. “Do you want a condom with that?” We are getting to the point where existing in culture requires we sheathe ourselves in rubber. I don’t want spam, likes, marketing, electronic billboards, being tracked to sell me stuff, any of it, so I wrap myself in a metaphorical rubber to keep it all out by staying off the blog I used to enjoy, never searching on the google, refusing to enter “contests” for a “chance” to win, having no television, never turning on a radio, going into the settings buried deep in my phone and turning off location services and tracking and following and notifying and bugging and bothering. It’s like being followed by a pack of blood-sucking gnats all the time, a little cloud of them surrounding us trying to suck out our blood and marrow and life. No wonder everyone is so exhausted. Late stage capitalism is a fucking vampire.

How did I get here? Not where I intended to go. I just thought it was funny that I’ve had 284,202 spam messages, and “115 are still in my inbox.”

4 Visits to Your Blog Today

I get stats on how many people read this blog. I’ve had times in the past where it was in the hundreds a day. Overall I think the total visitors over the life of the thing is over a hundred thousand. Not so much traffic anymore. Today I have had 4 visits to my blog. That’s what it says: “You have had 4 visits to your blog today.” I don’t think I can keep up with this. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. I know it’s because I never write anymore and most of what I write is boring, which is part of why I don’t write so here I am with my four views today. A couple of weeks ago it got up to over 30. Not sure why. I didn’t write anything that day. Maybe someone shared an old post when I was witty. Who knows?

The blog wants me to link to facebook. Trouble is, I don’t have facebook anymore. I hate facebook. What a huge, useless waste of time. We get 100 years if we are lucky, and probably less. Why would I spend it staring at nonsense and nonsense and nonsense? But I know I’m in the minority. In so many things I am in the minority. It’s why, I think, I am so alone. I have my 5 people and that’s it. There are a handful I would like to be more friends with but my efforts there have not been reciprocated so…

I played with my dogs today. I was giving them treats for lying down. I told George to lie down, he threw himself on the floor and got his treat. Abbie laid down quietly and calmly and got her treat. Then I asked Oliver to do it. Before he could move, George threw himself on the floor in front of him. I DID IT! I DID IT! I’M LYING DOWN! GIMME A TREAT! Oh for crying out loud, George, would you get out of the way? Oliver sat with his head back like he was trying to avoid being smacked by a crazy Dachshund paw. Peaches sat looking at all of it as if to say, “When is it my turn?” She hasn’t learned lie down yet. She’s just a baby. But she sits and sits very well, little angel. All of them are good dogs.

I have to go give my horse his medicine. He’s finally home after 3 weeks at the vet college. He’s been home long enough for me to change his bandage three times and the wounds are looking better and better. Keeping him sane is a challenge though. Thoroughbreds are bred to run, bred to exercise, bred to move. Making one stay in a stall day in and day out is torture for them. Poor guy. I hope all this stall time works and he heals back to one hundred percent. If not, I guess he’ll be my expensive pasture pet because he’s not going anywhere. If by chance you read this and want to help out with the vet bills, I have set up a GoFundMe here. All help is genuinely appreciated. It’s been a tough year, especially for vet bills.

Okay, four people. I’m going to stop writing. Actually, the four already read this so it should be okay, maybe two more people, I’m going to stop writing. I’m hungry. Horse needs drugs to battle infection. Buh bye.

Loose Socks

Socks have to be in deep lockup for me to wear them. I can’t stand them loose; if they’re loose, they drive me bananas. So…only jailed socks for me.

I wanted to know if I was really a ghost so I tried walking through a wall. It didn’t work. Either I’m not a ghost or as a ghost I’m unable to walk through walls. If it’s the latter, that is somewhat disappointing because being able to walk through walls would be one of the most fun things about being a ghost. That and invisibility.

Stuff and Things

It occurs to me that most people in our culture have lost sight of the fact that in chasing money, we are essentially chasing things. Someone wants a thing, and their desire for more money is the desire to have as many things as they want, when they want them. That’s what having more money brings. I’m not talking about the people at the very bottom of our capitalist triangle who have to struggle just to survive, those for whom a few dollars would mean the ability to stay very basically comfortable. I’m talking about any level above having what one needs to survive easily: a safe place to sleep, food, and health well-being. “Security” as it has been sold to us, is theoretically having enough money in the bank to ensure the safe place to sleep, food, and health. Yet for most it goes beyond that into wanting to have things. Ask anyone with dreams of riches and it is the lying on the beach or yacht anytime that they want, the clothes, the jewelry, the gadgets, the cars, and on and on, that fill their dreams. Pinterest is filled with photos of all the things that humans want. People will spend hours creating these online photo albums of all the stuff they desire. (In the meantime, while posting these things and dreaming about them, the interactions with humans and other non-human animals around them are limited.)

Yesterday I dropped off some stuff at the donation center. We are moving so we are getting rid of stuff. I have felt this immense urge to purge. What is all this stuff? The line at the place was cars deep, everyone ridding themselves of things, some of which had to have been wanted at some point. Either that or or they were ridding themselves of stuff someone gave them either out of a sense of duty to give, some obligation, or some other self-serving necessity. Perhaps for some the thing was given in love and received as such, but at this point, the thing is now being discarded, filling a warehouse, filling a landfill, being sold into places where the abundance of things is not as profuse as it is in the good, ol’ USA. Stuff, stuff, everywhere. In the meantime, we destroy the earth to build enormous buildings to house the things. We rape and pillage the land to carve roads and fill the land with things, things that will rot in piles long after we are gone.

Portland is so Friendly

Portland is so friendly. There is a show about how hip and nice everyone is. Lots of people are moving here. But shhh, don’t mention that the livability everyone raves about is virtually gone. Rents are sky high. Traffic is abominable. Food prices remain stagnantly high even though the price of gas has been consistently low for years. Jobs are scarce and wages are below national averages, but hey! We have a great t.v. show named after us and that’s just swell, right? If we told the truth about how Portland really is, all the people who think it is so wonderful might not make the move and the city “leaders” would lose all that commerce kickback and that would be bad. Other Americans watch the special show and see the Subarus at the stop signs waving one another through, and the friendly restaurant customers making sure they know the chicken’s history before they will eat it, and think Oh! I want to be in a place like this!

Let me you in on a little secret: It’s all an act. Portlanders aren’t really so friendly; they just want you to think they are friendly. It’s friendliness for an audience: I’ll speak really loudly in the grocery store offering you the cantaloupe we both reached for so everyone knows how friendly I really am; I’ll wave through the car in front of me so all the cars at the stop sign can see I’m friendly while ignoring the 18 cars stuck behind me; I’ll drive really slowly behind the bike in the middle of the road going 4 miles per hour because Hey! I’m chill with with it. Nevermind that the biker isn’t friendly at all and will chase you down and flip your ass off if you dare go around him because “sharing the road” means people driving cars are all assholes who deserve to die while bikers are revered Gods who can do whatever they want. They get a pass from the courtesy rules of Portland because they are riding bikes and that is better for the planet, right?

If I seem sarcastic (and how could I not, because I am being incredibly sarcastic), it is because I have lived in Oregon my entire life and Portland off and on since 1988 and I know that the marketing campaign that paints Portland as it is is complete bullshit. I’ve known this for years. Anyone who has lived here most of their adult life knows it is bullshit. We talk about it being bullshit. So why now am I suddenly discussing the bullshit on my blog?

I live in the Overlook neighborhood of north Portland. I don’t live in the Overlook neighborhood proper overlooking the ridge for which the neighborhood gets its name. I live over toward Arbor Lodge. It is less ostentatious, more racially diverse, and less economically advantaged over here, but that is changing rapidly.

Mine is currently a BadAss neighborhood. A few years ago, some guys made a Portland Badassness Map. They put together all the little things they thought made the different neighborhoods in Portland cool and hip, that is Badass. See it here. My neighborhood is moving up that list. I think their criteria included the ability to walk to bars, beers, food carts, strip bars, and coffee, but really it comes down to the most gentrified and expensive. (They could have sorted it by which neighborhood had cast out the most poor and colored people and replaced them with white educated people and it would have kept the same parameters. The Pearl (and these italics are so that the name is stated with a hint of sarcasm) is a “Hella Badass” neighborhood, the Pearl being the most stolen-from-the-poor-and-given-to-the-rich-neighborhood of all and one of the reasons all those people keep flooding in.)

I realize that in my neighborhood I am one of the gentrifiers. I didn’t know I was doing it when I did it. I just wanted a house I could afford and when I bought my tiny little house that had been a rental for 20 years I had no idea that my neighborhood would soon be a hotbed of coolness and that the value of my house would nearly double within three years, but such is the nature of gentrification. One of the things I valued about the neighborhood when I bought it was the fact that there were many brown faces walking by. Lately, the brownness is disappearing. I also valued the fact that all of the children in my daughter’s school weren’t wealthy. I’ll bet that will disappear too as the prices continue to climb.

But I digress. I was on a rampage about the Overlook Neighborhood Association. I never did go there, did I?

So I live in the Overlook neighborhood and there is an Overlook Neighborhood Association. They hold meetings and print a paper that is favorable to building ugly cement monstrosities along Interstate Avenue that don’t fit with the character of the city or the neighborhood. Basically, I think they may be a bunch of rich assholes who moved here from somewhere else. All of the meetings have been when I have either had to work or could not find a babysitter so I haven’t gone, though it is my goal to attend one, especially since they have decided to vehemently oppose the homeless camp at the bottom of the overlook ridge. They claim they would like the camp to be “managed responsibly,” but really that just means they want to move them out. Here is a quote from one of the emails I get from the association:

The Overlook Neighborhood Association Board at its monthly meeting on Tuesday discussed the homeless camps at N Greeley Avenue near N Interstate Avenue. Board members expressed particular concern that the city has neither communicated with the neighborhood nor followed through on its promises to manage the camp responsibly.

Therefore, the Board today sent the following letter to Mayor Charlie Hales and members of City Council asking that the city immediately close the camp, exercise emergency authority to open humane shelters throughout the city, and help campers relocate into them or other more suitable places.

Yes. Get them out of here. We don’t like the way they are, all homeless and whatnot, because homeless people don’t act like we do. They live in tents and are dirty and all that. They pee outside! So we want you to shut them away somewhere else. If you can’t do that, then we will just have to do this:

About 75 people attended the Overlook Neighborhood Association special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the homeless camps on N Greeley Avenue near N Interstate Avenue. The OKNA Board heard from a couple of representatives of Hazelnut Grove and about two dozen neighborhood residents. They provided thoughtful, compassionate ideas about how the neighborhood association should respond to the current city plans for the homeless campers.

After the neighborhood testimony, the board discussed the options and voted to take two steps in parallel:

First, we will send a letter to the city reiterating our opposition to allowing the camp to exist on a site that is unhealthy and unsafe. If, over the neighborhood’s objection, the city chooses to issue a permit for the camp, we request that it include provisions that will address concerns raised by neighbors and will improve health and safety for all. Among them, we will ask:

That campers be required to register under their legal name as residents so that the city and neighbors know who is living there. That there be a cap on the number of campers allowed. That a firm deadline be established by which the camp will shut down no later than the expiration of the city’s emergency declaration in October 2016. The mayor’s office has repeatedly stated that this is a temporary, short-term solution. It’s time to define what that means. The full letter and list of requests is in the works. It should be available early next week. The Board will post it to the OKNA website and send it out to our email list.

Second, we will consult with an attorney regarding our legal options to address the city’s plans through litigation if necessary. We remain deeply disappointed that the city has refused to engage with us in any meaningful way and regret that legal action seems to be the only course forward to have our concerns addressed by the city.

Essentially, this is the thoughtful and compassionate view of my neighbors who care: that we get to know everyones’ names (even though we don’t know all of our own neighbors’ names, but hey, homeless people are all criminals), they have to leave by next year (because money and jobs are plentiful in beautiful Portland and they block our view), and since you haven’t done what we want all along, we are hiring a lawyer to sue your asses and send those skanky homeless people packing. They ruin our view of the industrial wasteland along the river! But if we say we are compassionate, we are, and that’s what counts, right?

The City of Portland gave Hyatt Hotels something millions of city dollars to build an ugly hotel by the convention center so more people could come and stay here before moving here and making the city ever less livable by the second and so that the NBA would hold an all star game here, because THAT is important (more traffic, more people, more homeless hidden away in outer Gresham or somewhere). The City cares about its rich friends who build hotels. They are busy! They are important! They invest! The City is too busy being busy and important to be spending the money of its gentrified citizens making sure that people without money have a warm and dry place to live or food in their bellies. Most of those gross homeless people are probably mentally ill too, so the truly compassionate thing to do would be to just kill them because they aren’t able to fully participate in the capitalist dream anyway. Although I did discover in attempting to find links to back up this claim that there are lawsuits trying to block the payment to Hyatt. I am heartened that some people can see that it is fully insane, but my cynical self supposes it has less to do with any real compassion and more to do with hubris.

Meanwhile, in Iran, part of the Axis of Evil, residents have created spaces where those in need can take the excess from those who have too much. See the BBC article here. These spontaneous charity drives were created to help those in need. Interestingly, as these charity walls increased in number, the citizens saw them as evidence that their government wasn’t doing enough to help people in need. Imagine that, expecting those who govern us to take care of everyone rather than making sure their views aren’t sullied or that hoteliers have a free rein to build.

I can see such walls popping up in Portland. However, here citizens would not see such charity as proof of lack by their government, but as proof of how good we are. We could make a Portlandia episode out of it. Portland, the do-gooder city, gets rid of its old clothes and helps out the poor! Aren’t we wonderful? Why don’t you move here and join us? When you get here, make sure to kick out the homeless people you probably displaced when you drove up the costs of living because such an eyesore would ruin the image you have created of yourself as friendly and compassionate. Welcome!

Internal

My crises are always internal. I doubt most who see me would notice the turmoil in my own head. I look like I’m just there, but I am an illusion. My own illusion. We are all our own illusions. Some of us are maintaining our crises internally, while others’ are out like sheets on a line flapping in the wind.

If Wishes Were Horses

I have heard the expression If wishes were horses. I don’t know where I heard this. I am resisting googling this before I write so my writing is not colored by whatever I find on the internets. I keep thinking that if wishes were horses, there would not be enough room on the planet to sustain all of them. And also that wishing and wishing and wishing does not make something true. Desire, desire, desire leads to wishing, wishing, wishing. If every wish were a horse this would be a very strange planet. And what about the horses themselves? Perhaps they are wishing too. What then?

For me, if wishes were horses, there would be a herd indeed.

I did do an internets search and found out that it comes from an old proverb. Horses can be interchanged with birds and fishes. This proverb is recorded in English from quite an early date. A version of the expression appeared in the published works of William Camden in the 17th century. The first known citation of the proverb in the form we now know it is in James Carmichaell’s Collection of Proverbs in Scots:

If wishes were horses, beggers wald ryde.

The date of Carmichaell’s work is unclear, but it does appear to have been published in his lifetime and he died in 1628. Whether it was Carmichaell or Camden who first recorded the proverb is currently not known.

I wonder if this means that beggars didn’t get to ride horses in those days. This should not surprise me. Owning a horse is an expensive proposition. Capitalism would have ensured that those at the bottom of the food chain did not own a horse, which requires food and shoeing and a place to live. No, beggars would not have ridden.

Okay, stream of consciousness, too early because I can’t sleep post is over. Suffice to say, for me, if wishes were horses, I wald haft love.

Thickness

I started to write something and forgot what it was. Thick brained. Lately I feel thick brained, thick limbed, just thick. Like I’m moving through goo.

I used to be airier. I felt like I could flit here to there, there to here, flit, flit, flit.

No longer. Somehow my flitting self landed in something like tar, and movement of any kind, whether mental, physical, or spiritual, seems nearly impossible.

What is this thickness? How to move beyond it? I cannot say. I do know that things like typing this and having the cursor suddenly bop to somewhere else on the page makes me feel like finding a cave and crawling in it. It keeps doing that and the annoyance is part of a mountain of similar annoyances that are a part of modern life. I think this modern life is part of the thickness, likely the cause of the thickness.

Somehow I must find a way back to flitting. How to do it living in this world at this time? I have no idea.

Isabel’s Thought for the Morning

This morning I was wiping down the kitchen counters, picking up clutter, moving here and there. Isabel was sitting at the dining table eating her cereal. She turned to me and said, “Maybe our dreams are real life, and real life is our dream.” Yes, Isabel. I’ve considered that myself. I love living with a five year old. They get you out of the space of business as usual and remind you of imaginative possibilities.

Business Plan

I’ve decided I’m going to start my own corporation to operate in competition with Monsanto. I’m going to hire a bunch of scientists and get them to patent dogs and cats. Then when people try to breed them, I’m going to sue their asses off. Of course this will be after I’ve harassed them and terrified them, taking photos of them out walking the puppies and cuddling the kittens. I’ll have a field day with those idiots who are stupid enough to post a video of themselves on YouTube. How dare these people interfere with my right to own life? I’ll also go after anyone who buys the puppies or kittens unaltered. If they think they are going to let those animals breed without my getting paid for it, they have another thing coming.

Asses

I used to write all of my thoughts down. I don’t write all of my thoughts anymore.

Tonight I crossed a street, and then crossed a parking lot. Two men were walking up the sidewalk when I entered the parking lot. Halfway across one of the men shouted at me, “You have a nice ass!” I said low and to myself, “No I don’t.” Then I got to thinking about the concept of a nice ass and observed that having a nice or not nice ass is a weird construct, but I also thought that the man who said that probably didn’t think it was a weird construct. He probably just had some idea of the way asses look and determined that some ways are nice. I suppose this is the way most people who think about asses being nice or not thinks about them. But I find it odd that we determine that certain shapes of body parts are nice or not. I know there is some biological basis to finding certain features attractive, that it seeks out opposite and healthy genes, and youthful characteristics that are likely to increase the success of child bearing. However, I’m not sure I see where asses fit into that and I wonder how it is that our society has developed into one where we make judgments about body parts. Actually, I don’t really wonder about it. I can ascertain how we got to this place. I just wish we hadn’t, that’s all. Not because I’m offended when someone yells about my butt, but because we are where we are now and that we are headed where we are and it’s not pretty.

I spend much too much time alone. And it’s probably a good thing I don’t write my thoughts down anymore.

Dear New Seasons

Dear Mr. Deli Man at New Seasons:  I know it’s late and the time changed, so it feels later in your body than it really is, but could you please be a little more attentive and properly put the chicken in the plastic bag rather than getting only its hindquarters in, thereby leaving the remaining chicken in the paper bag that isn’t designed to hold a greasy glob of cooked meat? Thank you.

Dear New Seasons:  Thank you very much for installing toilet tissue holders that actually turn easily when one pulls tissue off them. I can’t tell you how much this thrills me. So many stores are stingy and obnoxious with their tissue. It’s a real drag to have to pull one square, have the roller catch so the square tears off, then the roller rolls backwards so that the edge that just tore is in the back, leaving you to then scratch and pull to get that edge to the front, only to repeat the process 10 times in order to get enough tissue to do your business. I don’t want to wipe with my fingertips; that’s nasty. New Seasons, your generous tissue holders make me grateful to you every time I’m forced to use them. Thank you.

Dear Carrot Buyer at New Seasons:  Are you a new employee? Are you a particularly gargantuan human? I have to ask because the carrots you’ve chosen this week are enormous! I could have used one for a bat. Maybe you aren’t actually large, but a sports fanatic, and you would just LOVE it if someone used one of your ginormous carrots and a potato to start an impromptu game of baseball right there in the produce section. I could see it! Thank you though. I only needed to buy two of the things to make my soup, which is easier to carry without a bag than more carrots would have been. I don’t like getting bags in the produce section. They’re plastic and not good for the environment or wild animals, so I definitely prefer skipping the bag. The giant carrots made this more possible.

Dear New Seasons Stuffed Animal Pricer:  I get it that stuffed animals at the grocery store are a pure profit item for you. Who buys stuffed animals at the grocery store anyway (people who forget to buy gifts for small children at a regular store and are up against a deadline possibly?). What I would like to know though, is why you have to charge so danged much for them. Maybe you know purchasers of stuffies at the grocery store are in a last minute kind of thing position, and you are therefore taking advantage of our having not planned better. I would like to suggest you don’t take advantage of us. We’re already feeling precarious, having waited until the last minute and all. Maybe you could lower the price just a teensy, weensy bit? Please? For me? Thank you.

Dear New Seasons:  I would like to suggest that if you run out of whole cooked chickens in your deli section that you allow those of us who wanted one to purchase a whole uncooked chicken for the same price. The reason I make this suggestion is that, surprisingly enough, chickens from New Seasons that are uncooked cost MORE than chickens that have been slow-roasted in that cool turning thingamajig that leaves the meat falling off the bone. The cooked ones are way easier for us buyers, which seems to me to make them a premium item. Raw chickens are way more work. Shouldn’t the higher premium chickens cost more? Or at least the same? But they don’t. And some of your delis are not hip to the cooked chicken demand. The location by my house is AWESOME. They rarely run out of cooked chickens. The one by my old house, not so awesome. They ran out all the time and never seemed stocked like the one by my house now. But either way, making the raw chickens the same price would be oh, so very helpful. Thank you.

Dear New Seasons:  I checked out the Green Zebra. It’s so dang small, you can’t pass another shopping cart when you’re pushing one. And pricey! I’ll keep going to you, so whew!, right?

Dear New Seasons:  I am a loyal customer. New Seasons is always my first choice for food from a grocery store. I have to confess though, that I’m going to be stepping out at another store in the future because they have local, organic fuji apples for half the price of yours. They also have organic, steel-cut oats for a dollar a pound less. On many items, you’re actually cheaper than a lot of the stores people think are cheaper, like Fred Meyer. Fred Meyer is a joke. So is Albertson’s, and Thriftway, and Safeway. I hate all these stores. They are over-priced and have way too much processed and non-organic crap. Plus, they’re REALLY expensive. Arborio Rice at these stores, same brand, same size, costs over $2.00 more a container than the same arborio rice at New Seasons. And they can’t even compare when it comes to produce and meat products. But New Seasons, Sheridan Fruit Company has you beat on a lot of things, and I’m just going to have to buy there more often. I’m sorry.

Dear New Seasons:  You sell Gin Gins, my all-time favorite treat, for $3.99 for 3 ounces. This works out to be $15.96 per pound. I was able to locate Gin Gins on the internet in bulk:  Eleven pounds for $62.00, and shipping is free! Don’t ask me why the sell lots of eleven pounds instead of some more round number like say, ten, but that’s how they sell them. That works out to be $5.64 per pound. Even when you had them on sale at 3 ounces for $2.50, they were still $10 per pound. The bulk price is better, so I bought eleven pounds of the things. I admit it. That bag should last a while. Sorry, New Seasons. stepping out on you for the Gin Gins too.

Dear New Seasons:  Final letter of the night, I promise. I just wanted to say that I love going to your store. Everyone is always nice, even when they’re putting the chicken halfway in the plastic bag. All the workers seem not to mind being at work. The customers even seem happy. You help the local food scene. You buy meats that came from humanely raised critters. You’re a bit overpriced on some things (like fuji apples), but I can deal with that. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I’ll go to a New Seasons just to get a pick me up. I like you, just the way you are. Too bad you’re not a man because I’d date you in a minute.

Dancing Like a Sugarplum Inside my Head

Where did it come from? Why is it there? It came from nowhere and hung in my mind billowing like clothes on the line, the words playing over and over,

a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. …a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. …a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. …a ripe jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

…the fragment just plays, wispy and light, over and over as I take a shower, as I blow my hair, as I feed the dog, as I clean the microwave.

It isn’t Christmas. I haven’t even thought of Christmas. I even remembered my dream right before waking and it wasn’t about Christmas. I have not listened to or read the Night Before Christmas.

So can someone tell me why the right jolly old elf is ripe and why he’s dancing like a sugarplum inside my head?

Lead Me From the River of Woe

If we wish to turn away from that which torments us, do we also turn away from that which inspires us?

I am concluding that some of our deepest compassion comes from our deepest suffering, yet we must survive the desolation in order to make it through to compassion, and sometimes this can feel impossible.

Some days, in order to turn away from the shadows, I bask in the simple light of my little girl. I’m like a fucking Hallmark greeting card. She glows and I glow in return. She radiates divinity. It is impossible to remain in dark places when my focus is on her.

Do I lose artistry in leaving the banks of Acheron to turn toward my Venusian angel?

My Thrilling Coffee Shop Visit

So for some reason I can’t fathom, the coffee shop where I like to go has decided to play the same damn 80s tape over and over and over. No matter when I come in, early morning, late afternoon, midday, there it is, belting out Michael Jackson or Madonna or Bob Marley or one of several one-hit-wonder songs from the era that, if heard, will stick in one’s brain for HOURS and DAYS after. This has been going on for weeks. What happened, did they lose their iPod? They should run across the street to the little used shop and buy something else. Anything. Even a different 80s tape. Please?

I don’t miss Papa Don’t Preach. I don’t. I heard it enough in the 80s. Madonna can sort of rhyme. Preach. Deep. I get it.

I don’t mind Thriller so much. In fact, I really kind of like Michael Jackson, freak show that he was, but I keep wanting to claw the air when I hear it, and I’m afraid the rest of the coffee shop won’t dance with me if I start, so…

Prince’s girl doesn’t have to be rich or cool to be his girl. She just has to leave it all up to him and give him a kiss. He also doesn’t want her to act her shoe size. I have a question about this. If your age is 3 and your shoe size is 10, like my daughter, does this advice still apply? I think maybe he would rather she act her shoe size in this case. Also, is there a point at which age and shoe size align? Maybe an 8 year old would wear size 8 ladies, but she would sure have some really big feet. I’ll have to mull that one over.

As an aside, there are two years out of every decade where birth year juxtaposes with graduation year: 1946 and 1964 and 1968 and 1986. That’s it. There aren’t any others.

The Thompson Twins. Yeah, well. I admit it. I had their tape. I played it a lot until one part got too thin and finally broke. I had to pull the little parts out, cut the thin part away, and tape it. Then the song skipped. You can’t do anything like this with CDs. I tried. I had a CD with a deep scratch that just would not play, so I used one of those CD repair kits that is supposed to fill in the groove. It didn’t work — it broke my CD player. I don’t recommend it. Tapes weren’t great because you had to fast forward or rewind or turn over to get where you wanted on the song, but you could keep taping them together forever if you wanted. My patience for whatever they played wore out before they ever did.

Another aside, did you know drinking blackberry juice will stop diarrhea? Yep. Seems counterintuitive, but it works.

I wish my coffee shop would change the music and that when it does, it would turn down the volume. I can’t think when the music is too loud, even when I like it.

Ooh. Something not 80s. Marvin Gaye. I have a thing for Marvin Gaye. So hot, and that voice, that amazing, delicious voice… Okay. I’ll stop.

This is Completely Bizarre

My friend and I were fooling around on Meetup. I would put in a term to search for groups and see what Meetup came up with. I put in the term Sociopath. Meetup came up saying, “There aren’t any sociopath meet ups near Portland just yet.” Meetup then offered some alternatives that are slightly close and might suit me. Note what choices it offered:

Screen shot

It offered Investment EducationWealth CreationBusiness Strategy and Networking, and Professional Networking. Isn’t it ironic that Meetup thinks a sociopath group would fit with these business groups?

Can Someone Please Help Me With This Letter?

Dear Ms. Gardner,
We regret to inform you that, despite our previous assurances to the contrary, we will not be able to return your brain.  Unfortunately, your brain was part of a shipment of brains that was lost at sea over the Bermuda Triangle, a region of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean in which a number of aircraft and surface vessels have disappeared in what are said to be circumstances that fall beyond the boundaries of human error or acts of nature.  As you may know, some of these disappearances have been attributed to the paranormal, a suspension of the laws of physics, or activity by extraterrestrial beings.  Although substantial documentation exists showing numerous incidents to have been inaccurately reported or embellished by later authors, there is no doubt that many ships and airplanes have been lost in the area.

As is often the case in the place just described, the plane carrying your brain simply disappeared off any radar.  Despite extensive searches and radio calls, we have been unable to make contact with the aircraft, its crew, or the items on board.  In fact, one search plane was also lost in the process.

We sincerely apologize for this egregious error.  We realize now that in attempting to save time by crossing this area of the Atlantic Ocean in order to decrease costs and thereby increase profits, we have created a huge liability for ourselves.  Our only hope is that because it was your brain that was lost, you will now lack the intelligence to realize the error was ours (despite this letter) and do nothing against us in retaliation or to mitigate your loss.  We also offer our condolences; a deficit of this magnitude must be quite distressing.  We certainly understand how you must be feeling right now, even without your limbic system.  There must be some awareness on your part that something is, well, missing.

As evidence of our sincerest and deepest sympathy, we would like to offer you this $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com.  It is our hope that you will be able to locate a nice children’s book or some other fine gift befitting the current state of your intelligence.  Perhaps a book on the alphabet or counting will allow you to find work at a telephone control center or at customer service for a credit card company.  In fact, we would be willing to put you in touch with our affiliates in these areas should you require assistance in becoming gainfully employed.  Additionally, we would also like to provide you with this gift of a handsome wallet for your identification and in some cases, pizza.

Again, please accept our apologies.  And have a happy holiday.  Thank you so much.

Sincerely,

Brain Restoration Services, LLC

Dear Brain Restoration Services, LLC;
I so much appreciated your letter.  Your kindness in letting me know that my brain had been lost in the Bermuda Triangle, and then your further kindness in offering me the $10 gift certificate and possible assistance with employment were both truly above and beyond the call of duty.  I accept the Amazon certificate, by the way, and look forward to locating a book I can now read (as reading has become somewhat difficult in the weeks since losing my brain).  I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have been helping me in all areas, including reading, feeding, and wiping drool from my chin.  Without you I may actually have drowned.  Much gratitude also to my cousin for typing this letter on my behalf.

I would beg your further kindness, if at all possible.  Unfortunately, Amazon does not carry drool rags.  I searched their site high and low (again with the assistance of friends and family) and was unable to locate one in my price range.  I did locate a towel designed by a famous designer (his name escapes me at the moment–a not uncommon occurrence these days), only this towel was both quite large and quite expensive.  It was not really suitable for my needs.  I would prefer something absorbent that will withstand frequent washings.  Actually, two or three would be most suitable so I have something to use whilst my soiled rags are being laundered.

I also would like to inquire whether you are aware if others who lost their brains in this unfortunate incident might like to get together, not for a support group, but to play.  I think it would be quite enjoyable to build things with blocks or stack plastic rings with one another.  Our caretakers may even be able to trade ideas on dealing with the excess drool and, um, issues surrounding personal hygiene.  I have been made to understand that diaper changing on adults is rather difficult, as you may imagine.

Again, I so appreciate your thoughtfulness and hope this letter finds you well.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Lara Gardner

Life is Like That

I often think of new little products, waiting patiently in their boxes to be used. They’re so new and orderly. Pick me! Their calmness and order seems to say as they lie there in their box, waiting to be chosen. They have been waiting their entire life for use, and here you are, choosing. Will it be me? Their orderliness seems to ask.

I wonder whether a pantyliner or other hygiene product really wants to be used. They might think it’s what they want, getting out of that box or off that shelf. A new home! But then they come to realize that their use isn’t necessarily something desired. It results in the trash can or the sewer or the landfill.

I suppose a pantyliner or other hygiene product has no idea that being placed in someone’s crotch or in an armpit or between toes is a bad thing. They have no other existence to compare theirs to. Although the pantyliner might. It meets the underwear and thinks, Oh, a friend. A different sort of friend. Then the pantyliner gets covered in goo and is tossed in the trash, and the underwear gets to stay. It’s not fair on some level, but life is like that. You get to be a professor. She gets to be a mother. He gets to be an electrician. Someone is born and starves in Africa. Another is born and is obese in America. We are all on our different journeys. This really is simply how life is.

Dental Floss Just Doesn’t Cut It

Blurb for the day:

I love popcorn. Too much. I often feel sick after eating too much of it, especially on an empty stomach, but I still keep coming back and love it. If you’re going to eat it though, you have to invest in a water pik. Dental floss just doesn’t cut it.

I Remembered Insomnia

I remembered that I didn’t sleep last night, that I woke at 4 in the morning and that the brain turned on, even though I ran through every means I know to try and shut it off, short of taking drugs, which are not useful when taken at that hour because they leave me feeling hung over the following day and I could not afford to feel hung over.

I remembered that I lay there thinking about finishing my taxes, and whether I’m getting enough exercise, and money, and my children, and global warming, and the novel I am not writing enough of, and you, even though you don’t deserve my thinking.  I also remembered that I thought “You don’t deserve my thinking” and took pains to steer my thoughts elsewhere, even if the alternatives were not very appealing either.

I remembered when I felt tired at 8 and couldn’t understand why because 8 is not that late that, oh yeah, I didn’t sleep last night, and that also, oh yeah, I didn’t go back to sleep, which I usually do, and that, oh yeah again, I had to get up at 7 a.m., but that when the alarm went off, I reset it for 7:20, but still didn’t fall asleep, so I reset it for 7:50, but finally gave up and got up at 7:30 because lying there and not sleeping was foolish and that if I did fall asleep I would feel misery at having to awaken.  Yes, this is a too-long sentence, but forgive me because I’m tired.

Life is Like That

I often think of new little products, waiting patiently in their boxes to be used. They’re so new and orderly. Pick me! Their calmness and order seems to say as they lie there in their box, waiting to be chosen. They have been waiting their entire life for use, and here you are, choosing. Will it be me? Their orderliness seems to ask.

I wonder whether a pantyliner or other hygiene product really wants to be used. They might think it’s what they want, getting out of that box or off that shelf. A new home! But then they come to realize that their use isn’t necessarily something desired. It results in the trash can or the sewer or the landfill.

I suppose a pantyliner or other hygiene product has no idea that being placed in someone’s crotch or in an armpit or between toes is a bad thing. They have no other existence to compare theirs to. Although the pantyliner might. It meets the underwear and thinks, Oh, a friend. A different sort of friend. Then the pantyliner gets covered in goo and is tossed in the trash, and the underwear gets to stay. It’s not fair on some level, but life is like that. You get to be a professor. She gets to be a mother. He gets to be an electrician. Someone is born and starves in Africa. Another is born and is obese in America. We are all on our different journeys. This really is simply how life is.

Bedtime

Tonight I ran, pushing Isabel’s stroller, for a half an hour.  Ava ran with us.  We ran up and down hills and across sidewalks.  Many of the sidewalks were bumpy because of large tree roots.  I love the large trees; I do not love the large roots pushing up the sidewalk.  However, given the choice, I would take the trees and the bumpy sidewalks over no trees.

Anyway.  After I ran I came home, took a shower, and made dinner and washed the dishes, then Isabel was tired so I put her in jammies, changed her diaper, and put her to sleep.  I lay there too for about a half an hour.  It was only 9 o’clock.  I could have completely stayed asleep, but I was still wearing contacts and had not brushed my teeth, and then Milla came in to kiss and hug me goodnight, and I knew if I stayed there I would wake up at 1 and not go back to sleep.  I got up and started working on my book and now I’ve hit a wall, a tired wall.  I can’t write anymore.  I have to go to sleep.  I still have not taken out the contacts or brushed my teeth.  Ack.  I’m going to have to do that before I can sleep.  Instead I sit here and type this.  Okay, I quit.  I’m going to bed.

Accident or Intention?

It has been my experience that when one does something inadvertently or accidentally to another person and it causes harm, the person apologizes profusely.  Perhaps it is a leap in logic to presume this is always the case, but I think in most cases, if someone causes harm unintentionally, apology is the appropriate and common response.  Accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, apology.  I can recall some instances where there was an accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, then acknowledgment of the harm, and acknowledgment of the action.  However, I cannot recall any situations with accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, and defense of original action without an apology.  If there was an accidental action that caused harm, there was an apology as well.

How common is it, do you think, that there is accidental action, unintended harmful consequence, then defense of the original action as accident without apology?  For instance, I trip you accidentally, you fall and get hurt, then I don’t apologize, but instead say Ah well, it was an accident…?  Considering cultural norms surrounding apology in this circumstance, it does not seem to be a stretch to presume that if I trip you and you fall and I don’t apologize, that the original tripping was not accidental.  In this instance, it would be necessary to look to the surrounding circumstances to determine whether or not my action was intentional or inadvertent.  For instance, I’m wearing big shoes that I’m not used to wearing and holding my feet out at a funny angle because the shoes feel odd.  It would not be hard to figure it really was an accident.

However, if there is a footprint on the back of your leg in such a way that for that footprint to have landed there I would have had to have kicked you, and then you were harmed, and then I did not apologize, it would not be difficult to surmise that I intended to cause harm.  I may have intended to kick and tripped instead, but the original intent was to cause some harm thereby negating the need for apology.

Ah, it is all speculation.  I know it wasn’t an accident.  If it were, there would have been profuse apology.  The resulting damage may have been greater than predicted, but harm was still the intent.  The fact there was no apology is just another factor that proves it.

Third Person Lara

Lara is staying up too late.  It is her own damn fault; she fell asleep with her infant at about 6:30 in the evening and slept until almost 9.  Bad idea.  Bad idea, indeed.  Now Lara is awake.  But Baby finally fell asleep at half past midnight, so Lara can go to sleep too, after she brushes and flosses her teeth.  Poor tired Lara. Let’s hope her infant doesn’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn.

Lara thinks she should change her name, but she doesn’t know what name to change her name to.  She doesn’t like the name Lara.  It is such a wimpy name.  Plus no one can pronounce it properly in the United States. It’s always LORuh or LAIRuh, not LARuh, like car, or bar, or far, or tar, or mar, or even the letter R.  It’s not hard (or the word hard), or difficult even, but people here can’t do it.  And even when she spells her name for people, they still stick in the damn U.  What the hell, people?  There isn’t a U.  It’s not the same name.  Laura is the feminine of Lawrence.  It is a Latin-based name.  Lara is a Slavic name.  It is not related to Lawrence.  But try telling that to the morons who refuse to call her by her proper name, dang it.  Annoying.

Okay, awake is going to win if Lara does not head to her bed.  First to the bathroom sink and the toothpaste and the toothbrush, then to the bed.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Ahhhh…

Pointless Rambling

Gads.  It’s getting to the point where I can hardly stand to read anything about the news anymore.  The level of disconnect of so many citizens in this country is disheartening.  So many people get all their information from one news channel and screaming talk radio.  So many have zero knowledge about the issues they scream about.  They know a few buzzwords, but have no idea what the hell it is they are talking about.  And it seems that the typical response of these ignorant fools when presented with a logical, educated response to their ranting is to diverge off into another unrelated rant.  Seriously disheartening.

On a personal note, too often lately I have writing ideas that do not get written down.  I’m back where I was five or six years ago when I didn’t write things down and would lose so many good ideas.  I do that all the time now.  Back then, I decided to carry around a tablet to write on when I thought of something.  Then I became good at writing every day on the computer (and especially this blog) and the ideas started getting captured. Then I took my life down a path and did not end up at the expected destination and stopped writing as much and the ideas are getting lost again.  I think the notebook is going to have to return to capture some of the ideas.  Disheartening too.

Isabel is lying on my lap asleep.  Milla and I watched a movie tonight called The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.  Sadly, I could identify with Pippa’s feelings of helplessness and despair.  I loved it when she finally realized she was free from the cage of a life she created for herself.  I wonder what is going to be my catalyst.  Is there going to be one or am I stuck here forever because I made decisions I thought were the right ones and they turned out to be not so great?  For years I went through life just kind of taking it as it came.  Then I started living with intention, making decisions with some effort towards control of my destiny and things turned out worse.

Of course, here I am saying that with this daughter on my lap I would not trade for anything ever.  With Milla I knew without question that I did not regret one second of my life up until the moment she was conceived because I would not want anything to have happened that would have led to life without her.  Now I would not trade Isabel for anything, but I have regrets.  I cannot reconcile these two perspectives.  I do not know how I can want Isabel with all my heart, yet know that I hold so many regrets.  Although come to think of it the strongest of my regrets are for after she was conceived.  I could live with the choices up to that minute.  I actually wish I had done things much differently after.  So I suppose the two aren’t so different.  Good to realize.

Today I bought a Kenneth Cole leather computer bag for twenty bucks.  Not bad.  Fits the new computer.  My personal computer is a Macbook and it’s smaller, so the new computer would not fit in the bag.  I was thinking I was going to have to get some ugly thing because I didn’t want to spend much, so this was a nice buy.  I would have liked to find a yellow or orange or pink leather one, but that would have cost a lot more, so this will do.  Black works.  Plus it’s big enough I can carry files in it too.

Well I’ve wasted twenty minutes writing about not much so I’m going to stop and go to bed.  I’m tired.  Good night.

How Do I Love Thee

Ah, sleep.  My lovely friend, you are my blissful savior.  For months you have evaded me, trickling in and out like a stealthy lover.  Yet tonight you arrived on my doorstep to spend the night, lolling beside me on my bedsheets, holding me close to your bosom.  Each time you have graced me with your spiriting presence you removed my mind, carrying it off to unknown vistas.  Your visit has restored my thoughts, revived my spirit.  Please do not leave me again–my heart and mind will break without you.

And Then

Liz Cheney is as big a fucking hate-mongering idiot as her devil father.  Spawn of the devil keeps his evil going…

I may have been followed this morning.  A woman I had seen on the train got onto the elevator with me and did not choose a floor while I was on the elevator.  I do have to say though, that she did not get off at the 6th floor as I did.

When I go to businesses that ask my name, I make one up.  Your name?  Aristophanes.  Spell that one.  Then pronounce it.

We are losing.  Here is my prediction of what is going to happen:   The ginormous corporations will continue to get bigger and proliferate.  The masses, increasingly ignorant and sedated with fast food, television, noise,  sports, and religion will become even stupider, turning back into the peasants of the middle ages.  The power elite are going to win and the poor are going to help them.  The poor want to be rich and if they were given the means, they would act the same way so they don’t question being constantly sold and mollified with product, trying so hard, kissing vacations goodbye and futilely trying to shovel their toddlers into Harvard.  Since they will not become a part of that which they seek, they go along and buy their lottery tickets, stuffing their faces, plugging earphones into their heads and turning up the music so they can drown out their own oblivion.  They believe it when they are told there is a magnificent being in the sky who cares about them and will take care of them after death so they don’t have to concern themselves with the fact that the place in which they are actually living right here and right now carries other possibilities.    Numbed and choking on corn and petroleum, they will let the power class continue to take them and take the planet.  In time, those of us who are in the minority and see the damage and want change may rise up and revolt, but success is an unlikely prospect.

And a thought from my friend Carin:  Something that’s been bugging me.  Self righteous boobs claiming to be upstanding and moral whilst they are posing half nude with photographers, getting boob jobs and participating in a meat, sorry, “beauty” pageant.  Or teenage twits who claim they are the voice of abstinence-only sex ed while holding their baby that they conceived obviously not through abstinence.

As I walk to the subway, ride the subway, and walk to my office, I’m filled with thoughts and observations.  The moment I walk through the door and sit down under the flourescent lights, the thoughts fritter away into the ether.  I wonder as I’m walking if I should stop and write some of the thoughts into my notebook, but I don’t do it.  My notebook used to be full of thoughts, but right now the only words there are a note I took to remind myself to contact my daughter’s school about an art teacher who smashes art pieces she deems unworthy of her almighty judgment.  Other than that, nothing.  Is it the flourescent lights?  Maybe it’s the air-conditioning.  Maybe it blows the thoughts from my brain.

My Ideas for Presidents’ Day Celebrations

I saw this funny blog headline.  It said, How to observe Presidents’ Day.  Don’t work.  Other than that, I don’t know.  That is hilarious.  But I know one way.  Dress up like your favorite president!  If you have one of those jobs where they didn’t give you the day off, like so many, you’ll really impress them with your verve and spirit!

Last night I went to listen to music at this place and I swear, a man channeling John Wilkes Booth was there!  He looked EXACTLY like him!  He even had a similar haircut.  My girlfriend pointed out that he also slightly resembled Sean Penn and you know what?  He did!  So I went out on the web and googled images of John Wilkes Booth and Sean Penn to compare.  Man, I wish I was blog literate enough to post the photos here because they have to be related.  They look exactly alike!  At least they have very similar long pointy noses.  I think actually that JWB was more handsome than Sean Penn is.  Just a bit.  Except for the fact JWB murdered a president, they also have in common that they are both actors.  Perhaps they are related.  Wouldn’t that be weird?

Another way to celebrate Presidents’ Day would be to memorize famous presidential speeches.  Then if someone says something to you, answer with the speech.  That could be cool.  If everyone went around one day spouting presidential speeches, perhaps we would all learn to be a bit more oratory.  We could also renact days off from the times of Washington and Lincoln whereby everyone goes on picnics and races in potato sack races or pie bake offs.  Could be fun!  Another possibility is to celebrate the byproducts of the Presidents’ Day holiday.  For instance, we could celebrate not having to check the mail or go to the bank.

Since stores have already appropriated every major holiday for mass consumerism and commercial gain, and since Presidents’ Day primarily serves as an excuse for stores to claim a sale and some jobs to give folks the day off, I propose the stores get more into the act and start selling outfits and decorations for Presidents’ Day. We could all go buy lights shaped like Lincoln standing tall, his hand on his lapel, his top hat high on his head.  Or little Washingtons holding cherry tree axes (truth of the fable be damned).  They could sell Washington and horse figurines to pretend to cross the Potomac.  They could make giant blow up dolls for the front yard wearing festive red, white, and blue clothing.  It could take American yard decor to a new level of tackiness.

I have a friend who is a buyer of holiday goods for a major store in the area.  I ought to talk to her about getting her store in on the act.  This could be the next big holiday thing, with decor coming out at the same time as Valentine’s goods, a week and a half before Christmas.  Could be fun!  Or the lucky few could just keep getting the day off.

Happy New Year Musings

I got a headline in my email inbox that said It Will Never be 2008 Again.  Well, it will never be this moment again, or this one, or this one.  We have all these silly human traditions to mark the passage of time, yet time passes every moment. Each one is a new beginning and an ending.  That moment is the future, now it is now, now it is over.

And on and on.  Every year I mull over this curious holiday celebrating what is essentially the same moment as previous, but we label it as new, give a party, scream and shout, and have another method of categorizing our time.  It does its job, to some extent anyway.

Blogging to Ease Off

Busy busy.  Feast or famine, right?  I went for weeks with little to do except going to the beach, taking Milla to school, and working on some stuff I’m writing.  I would apply for jobs, go to interviews, and other interim things, but for the most part, I was bored out of my skull.  Then Boyfriend came to visit and we decided to move together to NYC and life suddenly hit warp speed,  I decided definitively to apply to grad school at Columbia.  I met a publisher who liked my work and offered me some editing assignments.  My housemates have a friend who needed help in her costume shop.  I have been writing pieces on Huffington Post and wanted to keep going with that.  Literally, all this hit at the same time and I was suddenly buried in things to do, so much so that I felt enormously pressured.  On top of it, my darling Milla went to visit her dad.  He has some changes going on in his life and it will be good for them to spend some time together until I get there, but I miss her like my arms are missing.  Yikes!

Anyway, life has not been conducive to daily writing on the blog, althugh I am getting writing done, just not here.  But I feel like I need this as a mental outlet and when I’m not getting it, the pressure seems only to increase.  Luckily today I was able to take an additional day off from the costume shop.  This is a good thing because I have started to feel like I’m coming down with something.  I woke up coughing twice last night and it took a while to stop.  This morning I was buried in the throes of sleep when Boyfriend sent me a text message at nearly ten that woke me up.  Thank goodness!  I would have kept sleeping all day at that rate.  My body is telling me to find a way to ease off.  Okay, so here I am.  Blogging to ease off.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I keep having these thoughts when I am driving or lying in bed that I think I would like to write about.  Then when I sit myself down in front of the computer and have sorted through emails, responded to skypes, and talked on the phone, none of them are left. I’m not talking spectacular stuff here, just thoughts I would like to write about for myself.  Ah well.

I miss Milla.  She is in Boulder with her dad.  I will be there soon enough, but I miss her oh so much.  It is much more difficult to have her gone when I am in Hawaii where I have not enough to do.  Well, that’s not true.  I am applying to Columbia University for a master’s in journalism.  That is going to take some time. I lined up my references.  I need to begin work on the essays that have been floating in my brain since I decided to do this.  There are things to do.  But my body is rebelling.  It is tired and feels rather like viruses would like to invade.  It is difficult to concentrate when viruses want to invade.

I cannot wait to move to NYC.  Every time Boyfriend and I look at apartments or how to travel across the US, my heart goes pitter patter in excitement.  Apartments are not as ridiculously expensive as one would expect and the neighborhoods look just cool.  I have not felt for a very long time that a place was right for me, but this place, it feels right.  This move, it feels right.  The sense of vagueness of purpose is gone, like I have been a laser poking around in the dark and now I have found my target.  I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it.

You Winner Lottery National!!

You winner in lottery national!

Ooooh!  Excitement!  I received an email today that said just these words.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, me neither.  Somehow I think if I won the lottery, several things would be different.  First of all, I would have had to have actually played the lottery, which I don’t, so it would be difficult to win.  Second, wouldn’t you think they would notify me in some other manner than email?  And finally, would the email really say, You winner in lottery national? Call me a fool, but I would think it would at least say You are a winner, not just You winner.

I hope I haven’t lost out by deeming this message junk and deleting it.  I really hope I have not done some serious damage or something.  Geez.  Oh well.  I have to hope I’ve done the right thing.

Tonight my computer acted like it had Windows installed.  Eeewwwww yuck!  Damn thing.  It kept freezing when I tried to do a find on Firefox.  I had to do forced shutdowns twice and had to just use the button to turn the entire computer off twice.  It was all very annoying and Windows deja vueyish.  I was finally able to restart properly and things appear to be on track, but that Windows behavior, it gets me all sketchy.

Random Thought

You know, I was thinking this morning about giant bank failures after Wachovia bit the dust.  Surprise surprise.  I looked through the FDIC bank failure list.  While it appears a few small banks have failed recently, the number of large bank failures to small ones is bigger in comparison to the overall number of banks.  Perhaps part of the problem is that these institutions were too damn big…a dinosaur effect if you will.

This got me thinking further about those who scream and yell about big government, how it is horrible, etcetera.  I don’t hear these same people screaming about ginormous companies.  They would probably say this is because the giinormous companies are “private” and don’t use taxpayer money.  But that is a false argument.  Just because the money isn’t deducted from a paycheck or mortgage statement doesn’t mean it doesn’t come from taxpayers, and it probably means we paid extra so the private business could make a profit.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.  I just got to thinking about it this morning.  It’s not a discussion I have heard.

Drive Your Car, McCain

This piece can be seen on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lara-m-gardner/a-leader-should-be-able-t_b_129341.html

Out of curiosity, I made a small survey of job postings just to see what kinds of skills employers are requiring of potential employees. Among other things, one of the primary requirements of job seekers is that they possess the ability to multitask. Multitasking is a simple concept really. It means doing more than one thing at a time. Quite a lot of jobs require it. I did this because of all of the discussion yesterday on McCain’s desire to cancel the debate, as well as his temporary cessation of campaigning, both in order to “focus on the economy.”

How does this “focusing on the economy” work exactly? Does one sit and stare at numbers for a while in order to create this focus? Perhaps it means getting together with other people to talk about the economy. Maybe it means actual participation as a senator, an activity he was rightly allowed to place on hold while running for president.

What I find confusing is why McCain’s focus on the economy cannot take place concurrent with running his campaign or why it impacts his ability to debate. If he knows the issues, if he is prepared to lead this country, then he should be able to think on his feet and debate as necessary. He should be able to throw out a sound bite or two or answer some questions on talk shows for his campaign. Basically, he should be able to multitask. While debating may require some skill, certainly campaigning does not require as much. All he has to do is show up.

The man has been a senator for what, twenty-six years? Based on the number of years McCain has spent in public office, debating and campaigning should both be skills in which he is quite adept. These activities should be the sorts of things he can do without a whole heck of a lot of effort, the sorts of things at which he should be able to multitask quite well. It should be easy for him to focus on the economy.

For McCain, debating and campaigning should theoretically operate like driving a car. At first, steering and braking and shifting all at once is overwhelming, requiring our complete attention After a few years, these actions become so automatic we do not even realize we’re doing them. We can focus on other things while we’re driving, even stressful things like driving someone to the hospital or navigating through bad weather. Although our basic skills may be diminished, requiring greater attention so we do not end up in an accident, we do not suddenly stop being able to drive at all just because something bigger is happening at the same time.

I find it puzzling and distressing that rather than using the economic meltdown to display his prowess at multitasking, in order to focus McCain must stop performing skills that should be as automatic to him as driving a car. When older drivers reach the point where they cannot perform these basic functions we take away their driver’s license. If McCain has reached this point, should we really allow him to drive the country? I don’t think so.

Sleepy

I’m sooooo tired.  Somehow adding the extra o’s makes it more.  I like that, that adding a few extra letters means emphasis.

When I first arrived here, my insomnia returned with a vengeance, mostly because I missed my boyfriend and sleeping with him.  Then a couple of weeks ago I started sleeping a bit better, actually making it through the night.  Of course, it helped that I figured out to close the windows to the noisy roosters, put up curtains to keep out light, as well as remembering to wear my usual eye pillow and ear plugs.  These things helped immensely.  Plus I think I just settled down or something and was able to sleep.

Yet the night before last I woke up and could not go back to sleep even though I knew I could sleep in the next morning (for some reason knowing I have to get up the next morning makes insomnia worse for me).    I was tired and grumpy most of the day as a result.  Last night I was so tired and fell asleep quickly when I went to bed.  Only this did not stop me from waking up too early this morning.  Goddamned insomnia.  I hate it.

Yuck.  I know the experts don’t call it insomnia if it doesn’t last 2 weeks.  Whatever.  It’s all not sleeping.  Last night I fell asleep sooner than the night before, which is good, but I’m still pooped this morning so I am going back to bed.  Hopefully I will be able to get over this hump or I’ll turn into a monster and it won’t be good.

Missing is So Unkind

What possible biological basis can there have been for us to evolve a mechanism that allows us to feel like a limb has been removed when we miss another human being?  Is it truly only the mating sequence? Why couldn’t our biology be content to know another mate will someday take the place of the first?  Or is it that in ancient times if our mate died or was lost to us, we couldn’t easily find another?  Is that it? Maybe it is something else.  Whatever it is, I just don’t get it.

Perhaps it is some other mechanism that has simply gotten stuck in the missing another human category.  Maybe we’re supposed to feel serious missing when we lose an actual limb because losing an actual limb could pose a serious detriment to our ability to hunt and gather.  It would impact our ability to find a mate. Perhaps the two are juxtaposed in some manner in certain brains.

I know I am not the only one like this.  I watched this film last night called My Blueberry Nights.  One character, rather than live without the person who left him, drives himself into a tree.  This after drinking himself into oblivion every night for months.  Yep, his limb missing mechanism was severely out of whack. And the woman who left him realized after he was dead that she missed him like a missing limb as well.  So her missing limb mechanism was juxtaposed onto her missing partner as well.  Maybe I’m onto something here.

I am going to see the person who I miss in a little over a week.  Ironically, I am feeling his absence more acutely as his visit draws closer.  It is like knowing he will be here, that he is somehow within reach, makes the desire more visceral.  I have to fight myself NOT to send him text messages telling him how much I miss him and all the things I want to do with him when he gets here.  I have to force myself to be here and now, focus on my legs, focus on my arms, recognize they are actually in place and I do not require a prosthesis.  I can do this.  When I do this it is easier.  See brain?  Limbs intact.  Man will arrive shortly so stop thinking about him so much.

Then he calls and I’m listening to Woody Herman sing about being in love and clouds having silver linings and his own melancholy without his dear, the piano tinkling perfectly in the background, and I feel that old familiar pull in my belly.  Gads, missing is so unkind.

Ginormous Headache

My head hurts like nobody’s business, right at the base of my skull in the back.  I slept wrong.  I wear this eye pillow.  It was cockeyed, plus my regular down pillow had slipped under my shoulders, so I awoke basically balanced on this little lump of eye pillow and my skull screaming in pain.  Every time I turn my head, I see white light and feel like vomiting.  The only thing that alleviates the pain is to stab my thumb or a finger deep into the tight muscle.  Unfortunately because of the angle, my arm cannot twist that direction very well.  I’ve tried stretching my neck to the front and back, left and right, to no avail.  This is so much fun.  I think I’m going to have to try an NSAID, and I generally avoid taking medications for such things.  Only for this, I don’t care.  It hurts that much.

I don’t know why I”m blogging about this.  It’s kind of a ridiculous subject.  But I told myself I would write some blurb every morning and all I can think about right now is this headache and Vantucky.  I know.  It’s silly.  There is a town next to Portland called Vancouver.  Portlanders call it Vantucky.  The reasons for this are self-evident.  Boyfriend is going to Vantucky this morning and he called me on the way. For some reason, the word Vantucky is stuck in my head, along with the headache, and the lyrics to Judy Garland singing I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.  It’s quite a combination, I can assure you.  The song is getting annoying.  It’s been crawling around in my head, worming its way through the neurons for days now.  I’m ready to be rid of it.  I will have to listen to something else over and over and over in an effort to make it go away.  Then that song might get stuck, but at least it will be a different song.  Last week it was Cape Verdean Blues.  I did not mind that song being in my head.  It flittered around, showing up periodically.  I would hum bars of it here and there.  It did not sit insiduously on one line for hours like the chasing rainbows number.  No.  It was a pleasant visitor.  Chasing rainbows is like a houseguest who has overstayed her welcome, leaving empty dishes around the house with food stuck in them and her underwear in the bathroom with the crotch up.  I want her to leave me.

I’m off to take drugs to try to obliterate this headache, then I need to take my baby to school.  Hopefully by the time I return home the drugs will have kicked in and this pain will have been alleviated.  If not, I’ll poke a nail in my hand.  It would probably feel better than this wretched headache.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

So I’ve been convincing myself that it is okay to skip inconsequential writing because I’m working on a book.  The problem is that when I stop blogging or at least writing in my journal, then the words start pounding on the inside of my skull again and I start turning a little nuts.  That’s not a good thing.  I am not the best human when I am nuts.  I guess even when I work on a book I will have to write some little blurb here or in the journal or I’ll never end up completing the book because I will be in an insane asylum.  What a wierd brain I have, one that requires I write in order to be functional.  It also doesn’t seem to remember this until it’s going blathering nuts and I start wondering why I’m such a bitch all the time then I think Well duh, Lara.  It’s like food and sleep.  I know if I’m off and losing my mind, food and sleep are usually required.  I should add writing to the list because lately, I’ll have the food and sleep and still be going nuts.  Duh.  Write.

I have had a lot of thoughts about the political situation in this country, but there is so much to say and so many people saying it, I feel a bit overwhelmed to even know where to begin.  The progressives seem to understand that the McCain Palin ticket is a disaster.  It’s all we’re hearing about.  My question is whether average Joe American who pays little attention to politics can see past the fact that Palin has hot legs and McCain is a good ol’ boy.  Unfortunately, I’m not so sure.  Of course, there is the consolation that a person with these views would not likely vote, but that’s not much of a consolation.

I read an op ed piece today whose author said he did not want someone he could take out for a beer as the leader of the free world, he wanted a super hero.  My sentiments exactly.  I would love to try and reach average Joe American with that image…we need superheroes running our country or we will not be leaders for very long.  I cringe at the thought of what the rest of the world will think if McCain is elected, how humiliating that will be, especially after Bush.  I am not a person who gives much credence to what other people think, but I do care that our country does not appear as a pathetic joke.  If that moron and his Caribou Barbi are elected (or steal the election, which is a possibility with Diebold still in the picture), we may as well kiss our asses goodbye.  Or stage a revolution.  Unfortunately, in 2008, I do not see many people willing to go there.

I read another article where the author argued that we need to send Hilary after Palin.  I could not agree more.  This would eliminate the complaint that the men are picking on her because she is a woman, and Hilary is brilliant as an attack dog.  I wish she would do this.  Come on, Hilary.  If you are with the Democrats, do this for your country.  Take that pitiful excuse for a woman down.  She wants to claim she’s on your side, but she’s so far from anything you represent, she deserves your intelligence, your debate, everything you have to offer.  Go for it.  Do it for the country.  Do it for women.

Apparently Obama went on the O’Reilly Factor.  Here’s hoping they don’t edit the piece before airing it in such a manner to make Obama the fool.  I don’t trust that O’Reilly bastard or his network one bit.  Putting someone who can answer questions intelligently next to a man who screams, cajoles, and calls names….I’m not so sure. We will see.

Well this is it.  We’ll see if I can tame the word poundings.

Another Political Blog

So now no one will read me. For some reason when I go on and on about how pathetic I am, my readership goes up tenfold.  I write something political and it drops. As a political commentator, I’m an unknown voice screaming among many.  I would think I am the same thing as a pathetic wreck, but apparently not.  Or else people like reading about all the pathetic wrecks, so adding me to the mix is okay.

So here is my political blog comment of the day.  Well, actually there will be two.  First of all, I went to McCain’s site yesterday.  His first paragraph says that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Then he says he will appoint judges to fix this decision.  Then he says he does not believe it is right to appoint activist judges who legislate from the bench.

Problem number one:  Is he, or the person who wrote this drivel since McCain is apparently unable to use the “innernit,” completely unable to see the hypocrisy in this statement?  I will appoint judges to overturn this, but I do not believe in appointing legislating activist judges?  He obviously thinks appointing someone to overturn a decision is not appointing an activist judge, thereby immuning him from his own hypocrisy, or else he completely misses that what he says is hypocrisy.  In either case, it’s a problem.

Problem number two:  When judges interpret a law, which is their job, it is not “legislating from the bench.”  It is doing the job of a judge.  Congress (or another lawmaking body) writes a law, executive branch gives it the stamp of approval, judges interpret.  Very little of what is written is 100% clear.  Facts need to come along and give a law some teeth and meaning.  Freedom of speech?  This does not mean you have the right to encourage someone to rape someone else.  And on and on.  All the words in a law need to be interpreted.  That is the job of the judicial branch.  Lawmakers jump up and down and throw a fit because judges do exactly what they are supposed to do.  That is the POINT of a three-branch system.  If lawmakers do not like how a judge interpreted a law, then the problem is not with the judge but with the way a law is written.  If lawmakers want judges to interpret a law a certain way, then they need to write that way into the law.  Otherwise judges are left trying to determine what the hell the lawmaker meant.  If an executive does not want a law to be interpreted a certain way, then the executive should not sign the damn bill into law until it is written more clearly.

It’s basic civics McCain.  Maybe instead of focusing on your time in the military 40 years ago, you ought to spend some time going back and relearning basic US governmental structure.

This leads me to the other McCain criciticism of the morning.  Why is it that we constantly have to hear all about McCain’s military service?  Is this all the guy has done? Uh, yes.  The other 60-some odd years of his life are irrelevant, at least that seems to be what he wants us to believe.  Let’s focus on the fact he was a POW and ignore all the other crap he’s done in between because if we focused on that, we know it would be hard to sell him as a leader.

Annoying.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Spinning Time

My blog has turned into two things.  One is me going on and on about how pathetic I am.  The other is my ranting about the godforsaken political situation in this country.  It’s as if my sense of humor has taken a monster shit and been flushed down the loo.  It does not exist anymore, at least in writing.  I am not sure though that I ever had it.  I just had these magical moments where things came to me and I wrote them down, but they are gone now.  Or maybe it was just that I was not living in mental chaos all the time.  Lately I feel as if I live in mental chaos, in this box where I just want to know what the fuck it is that I want out of life and I go for it.  But the times I’ve known what I want and gone for it have been monumental failures, so I have really almost given up trying.  Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ve not known exactly what I want for ages, and that has been a big part of the problem.  Recently, I have figured out exactly what it is that I want, but it is one of those things that requires others on board and I have not exactly figured out how to present these desires to the other parties involved.  The result is that I mope about wanting these things, wondering if they are the right things to want, waffling whether I actually do want them, then wondering again if I do in fact want them how to present these things to other involved parties.  It’s a conundrum, I can assure you.

As it is I just spin time, organizing my room, thinking about things I want to write, sitting at the computer and staring, trying to remember what it was I sat down for, then getting up and wandering over to my bed to stare at the wall, continuing in my humorless vein.  It’s a good time.  It’s such a good time I am going to do it again right now because I am tired.  Good night.

Blah Blah Blah

So I don’t write a couple of days and they change everything again.  Well, at least they moved things around somewhat.  It’s not as drastic a change as before.  I know a lot of people did not like the other changes, but I did, so I think I can get used to a little column switch.

I don’t have much to write.  Ironic considering most of the day my brain was bursting with words, but I’m so tired now the words all went to sleep.  Running around settling into our new home is exhausting. And I have insomnia again because I don’t have my man.  Love kills insomnia, that’s all I can say.  Sleeping with him every night took it away.  I felt safe with him.  I love him.

I’m going to bed.  I will be a better writer again from now on.

Random Tidbit

Here I sit in Bend, Oregon, listening to some pretty cool jazz music.   BF is playing with a tenor duo and drummer.  It’s good.  I like this venue because there is a place for me to sit in the back and goof off on my computer while listening.  I love it.

I am moving to Hawaii in less than two weeks.  I am not prepared.

little bits

I’m in the middle of so many books.  About ten I think.  This non-sequitur comes from nowhere, as non-sequiturs are apt to do, the sort of thought that has probably been floating in his brain for a bit and is finally expressed seemingly out of the ether.  I am in the middle of so many books too, I tell him.  Later I think that I would have finished these books, but I’ve been fucking instead.  Quite a lot actually.  I could have said that. He would have chuckled.  He would have known what I meant.  But that response only came just a bit ago when I was reading one of the aforementioned books.  Actually, this is a new one.  I’m already in the middle of how many books?  Maybe five or six instead of ten.  Then I found one of my favorites yesterday while sorting through boxes, one I have been wanting to read lately, one I went searching for a few weeks ago and did not find.  So this book moves to the top of the pile in the bathroom and will go with me when I’m a passenger in the car with him or have to go somewhere and wait.  I will finish it quickly because it has been tickling my brain begging me to read it again.  In fact I had to stop myself from buying another copy because I knew this one was nearby.  I just had to search further into the boxes.  And I did that.

I do not like packing.  I do not like moving.  It’s worse this time because I already did it once last month and it lasted several weeks.  I’m down on stuff, but these are things I did not finish or sort or have to decide whether they go to Hawaii or storage for another country I hope.  I have to pack so things can be shipped without breaking.  So far this hasn’t been too terribly difficult because the belongings are not breakable.  My friend, Noelle, helped me with breakable things at the old house, so I’m hoping not packing breakable things will remain not too terribly difficult.

Okay, I know he got his own post a few days back, but Chet Baker…baby.  I’m listening to Chet Baker in Paris.  I’m so in love with that voice.  Man says Chet made the ladies’ panties wet.  You know, I can see it.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), heroin and cocaine addiction isn’t exactly attractive, so I don’t think he would have done much for my panties, but still.  The man can sing and blow a horn.  Man told me a joke that goes What does a trumpet player use for birth control?  His personality.  This may be true, unless one is Chet Baker.  He could have the worst personality and that voice and face would go a long way to alleviating any personality flaws…like drug addiction for instance.

Well time to go investigate iphones.  Yes, I know.  How cliche’ is that to go and get an iphone right when they come out?  I don’t care.  My contract is up with Sprint and my phone is broken, so I’m going to get an iphone to go with my ipod and macbook.  Then I can write all of them without capital letters on the fronts of their names.  The computing world’s version of e.e. cummings.  Brilliant.

Who Wants Me?

WordPress is great.  It gives me lots of information about my blog.  I get statistics on how many people read it, an analysis of top posts and searches, all sorts of things.  One thing it shows is what searches someone used to find my blog.  There have been some VERRRRY interesting searches that somehow found me.  Stuff like “spank nun big broomstick.”  Huh?  I’m just the messenger…don’t ask me.

Anyway, nearly daily there are searches that locate my blog by looking for my name, often several a day.  What I want to know is, who is looking for me?  It’s weird, knowing people are searching your name.  I mean, I’m not naive.  I know people google search each other all the time.  I do it.  It’s fun.  But this happens for me nearly every day.  This means someone out there is searching for my name quite a lot.  I know of 2 other Lara Gardners in the USA.  One is an attorney in Florida.  The other is some sort of scientist who wrote some articles.  So it is possible they are the objects of these searches.  Yet some of them are probably for me and it’s kind of weird.  Who is looking for me?  I wish I knew that.

Thought Clarification

Yesterday while driving home a man who had been standing at the curb waited until I was about 3 car lengths away to step in front of my car.  I thought to myself, idiot must want to commit suicide. Then I thought what if I wanted to commit suicide?  I would have nothing to lose in running the man over.  This is what inspired my thought for the day yesterday.  While I have on occasion contemplated suicide, I was not doing so at the time I had this thought.  Just thought I would point this out, in case anyone was wondering.

Her Hair was Attractively Styled

I am not one of those women who is able to maintain a perfect beauty regimen. In fact, I’m pretty pathetic. I sit here typing at the computer and one of my nails is splitting. I am nearly pathologically unable to quit playing with it until I find a nail file. The urge to pick and chew at the piece that is sticking out near the split is overwhelming. I finally give up and bite the damn thing off, making the nail ragged and ugly. The fact the nail split in the first place is part of the evidence against my ability to maintain western trappings of femininity. Don’t get me wrong, I do not go out of my way to eschew such contrivances. I don’t purposely dress in sacks or not shave my pits or grow a mustache or not wear deodorant or any of it. In fact, such things would bother me immensely. I actually LIKE certain aspects of western trappings of femininity, I’m just not very good at them. And so I exist in my little, pitiful, half-baked attempts.

I have a wonderful hairdresser. She does such a lovely job putting in highlights and cutting my hair. My hair is naturally curly and I straighten it. My hairdresser knows this and cuts it accordingly. She straightens it for me beautifully. Even I am capable of straightening it fairly well, and during the time after it is straightened and before I go to bed or get it wet, it looks moderately attractive. Yet I’ve developed a habit of staying up too late with the male person in my life, so when I have to get up and go to work, I do not want to spend the extra 45 minutes showering, straightening, and coiffing. I would rather sleep. The result is that my hair has odd bumps in it in places where it has been slept on, the places that tried to return to their natural state of curliness, but did not quite make it. Most mornings I throw it into a ponytail, make a feeble attempt at presenting my bangs in a semblance of order, and head out the door.

Oh, and the bangs. Do you know why I have bangs? I have not had bangs in over a decade. I’m not partial to them. Last summer, my hairdresser noticed my hair had thinned significantly. She deduced this was the result of radiation treatments the winter before. Small problem…radiation does not cause hair loss unless the radiation is on the hair. Mine was not. We decided stress was the culprit then. In spite of my attempts to stave off the loss, the hair continued to break and thin. One morning while straightening my hair, a large chunk of hair fell right into my hands. Its ends were burned brittle, sizzling and smelling as I held them. WTF?!?!? It turns out my blowdryer had been sucking hair into its coils and burning it off my head. Hence, the hair loss. I went into hairdresser and described what had been happening. As she laughed in horror, she attempted to repair my mangled head. The result was bangs. I was forced into bangs and layers to deal with the trauma. Yikes. The hair is growing back now. It is healthy and it is thickening. I have pretty thick hair so it’s noticeable when it thins. Since having this happen, I am grateful for my thick hair. I like the way it hangs when it’s thick. It’s pitiful when it’s thin.

The other beauty area in which I am woefully lacking is makeup. I can’t wear it. When I do, I forget, rub my eyes or cheek, and smear it across my face. Lovely! I wear lipstick. I’m actually kind of abulic about wearing lipstick.  The lipstick takes over and informs me that it will be worn, whether I like it or not.  Have you ever seen a baby mouse or rat?  They are so cute when they are really little, just after they get their fur.  What is really cute is how they try to wash themselves before they are physically able to do so.  It is apparent that they are driven by forces outside themselves to clean themselves like they do.  It’s the same way with me and lipstick.  I’m driven by a force outside myself to wear it.  Often when it’s on it’s way to my lips I realize I’ve unthinkingly reached into my purse and removed the stick to put it on.  It’s rote.  I do not like the feel of my lips without lipstick; they are too dry. I also do not like the look of my lips when they match my skin. I like them to look reddish, like lips. I like them to show. Women’s magazines often ask some movie star what one makeup item she would take to a desert island (in order to attract the palm trees or crabs, I suppose). My one desert island item would be lipstick. It’s true. I admit it. Please do not think less of me for this. Give me points for admitting it.

My worst beauty area by far is my fingernails. I cannot keep them manicured properly. I try, oh yes, I do. I file them. I keep them even. I attempt to force back the mountains of cuticle. I let them grow so they look sort of long. I just can’t keep them looking pretty. I have paid for professional manicures before. They look ragged and sad within hours. It’s simply not worth the money. I’ve also found that nails that are too long get in the way of doing the things I like to do. When I do such things with long nails, the long nails break. This is not attractive. I do pay for pedicures. I like having my feet pampered and since my toes are further away from people’s lines of sight, they don’t notice the dings as much as the ones on my fingernails. Part of the problem is that my fingernails are ridiculously thick. Where many of my friends complain of thin and brittle nails, I have the opposite problem. One split goes deep and filing it away does nothing. I have to cut the whole thing off, behind the origin of the split, or it just keeps going. Not good. I’ve had some nasty splits that went into my nail bed because of this. They hurt. I am also constitutionally unable to keep polish looking nice. For one thing, my nails are short and fat things. They match my short and squat fingers. For someone who is rather tall and very thin, I certainly have the fingers and fingernails of a troll. They are like mini sausages. I do not have willowy fingers or hands. My hands look like they could pick up a hammer and start banging something with precision. They’re workers’ hands. And they’re ugly. The nails match. Good times.

I am also woefully lacking in the ability to dress femininely. I always miss, usually on accessories. I see girls who are all put together. Their hairs are tamed, their nails are polished and manicured, their makeup is flawless, and their clothes are pert. Not me. My hairs are wily, my nails are squat and splitty, my makeup is lipstick and sometimes some dark circle coverup, and my clothes seem thrown on at the last minute, even when I’ve attempted to look put together. I just can’t quite manage it. Maybe if I had a personal assistant and makeup artist I could do it. I suspect, however, that I would give such a person fits.  She would follow me around rolling her eyes, doing her best to remake what I had undone.  Such an assistant would need to be the sort who likes to watch her work destroyed and making attempts at rebuilding.  I would be a good project for someone like that.  If I were famous, People Magazine would have a field day with me. I’d be the constant go to girl for hideous shots of stars looking pitiful. Even better, they could use me in the See, they’re just like US! section of Us Magazine.  She gets toilet tissue stuck to her shoe!  She spills gravy on the front of her blouse!  She forgot to zip up her fly!  She drops her groceries, keys, and purse then flails mightily to recover them! They’d love me. They would never run out of fodder.

Since typing this, I’ve managed to worry down the nail split somewhat. It’s raggedy and needs a file, but it’s better than it was when I began. It’s hopeless–I’ll never be a model of western femininity. I couldn’t do it if I tried.

Inconsequential Blabbing

Well I managed to move out of the house I owned and rebuilt over the course of four and a half years.  You know, the first time I received an offer, tears formed in my eyes, but I knew it had to be done and moved forward.  Then that sale fell through, then the second sale fell through, and by the time of the third sale, I was so sick of the entire process, I never thought I’d be rid of the place.  During the sale that actually went through, there were numerous requests and addendums and all kinds of annoying crap that went on.  In addition, I had rented an apartment and begun moving stuff there I wanted to keep.  I needed to organize the stuff I did not want to keep in order to have a sale and get rid of it all.  During that week, I got to the point where I was so sick of it all, I didn’t care anymore.  I just wanted the process to be over.  When I finally visited the house for the last time to pick up my dogs and run a vacuum through the place, I felt nothing really except relief.  On the day the sale closed, I went over to meet the buyers and show them some stuff about the place.  I walked through showing them all the details, seeing this house I had lived in and loved, and felt no remorse or sadness of any sort.  I guess it was time to move on.  I made the house beautiful.  I am glad someone else will enjoy something to which I contributed.

I do not like the fourth of July.  I do not like fireworks. I do not like crowds of people, even if they are gathered together to listen to somewhat decent music.  We went down to the blues festival on the waterfront yesterday.  We walked back and forth through the incredibly dense crowds (so dense the fire marshall closed the place and only 10 people could enter for every 20 who left).  At one point we were at one end of the park and headed down to one of the stages.  As we walked, I noticed all the people sitting on their blankets facing the water.  There was a stage to their left and a stage to their right.  I wondered to myself why they were facing the water and surmised that perhaps it was to listen to both stages.  Then it dawned on me, genius that I am, that the people were there and facing the water to watch the pretty fires in the sky at dark.  Thousands of people were all mashed into that small space, smelling and rolling and milling about so they could spend a half an hour watching noisy fires in the sky.  My goodness.

I bought a Macbook.  I am typing on it now.  I am in love with it.  I like my desktop computer all right.  It serves its purpose.  But this thing is cool. It has so many features and runs so smoothly.  I am loving the steps that are left out.  On a pc, there are so many extra steps to arriving anywhere compared to this.  I also got an ipod.  I had one last year, but had to give it back to the ex-boyfriend who gave it to me.  Lucky Lara, welcome to the twenty-first century.

So now I have a little extra money, but I need for it to last.  I had a mini panic attack this morning considering all the things I am going to need to spend money on in the next few weeks.  I do not want the money to all end up gone.  The weird thing is, the more I have, the less inclined I am to want to spend it.  But I can be remarkably frugal (Macbook and Ipod notwithstanding).  I just have to pay attention.

This is a boring post.  I realized I had not been writing enough.  I have been staying up too late, and when I’m not working or doing things, I’ve been lying on my bed like a blob trying to catch up on sleep.  I recognize, however, that I have to write something, even if it’s boring, preferably every day.  It’s that old showing up I’ve committed to myself to do.  Since I’ve written less in the last two weeks then I’ve written in the last six months, I’ve got to recommit or I’ll end up out of the habit and I can’t do that.  So here I am, showing up and writing boring stuff.  Wheee!

I discovered Nina Simone.  I am in love.  Her voice gets under my skin, in my belly, fills me. I can’t explain it.  I hear her singing and I never want to turn it off.  Apparently she was a classically trained pianist who was not allowed to perform because she was black.  They let her sing instead.  Maybe it’s something behind that story I hear in her voice. Maybe it’s the grief of an entire race.  When she sings certain songs I feel something deep inside, a visceral response in my belly and chest.  There are a few other artists when theys sing that take me to that place.  When I hear music like this I feel like it channels me into that creative energy field, that primal place where I have to write and feel like I will expire if I don’t.  Weird.  I don’t think I’m explaining it well. I’m obviously not tapping into that place right now because I can’t seem to describe this.  Anyway, she’s brilliant.

Book One, Book Two

Have you ever read a book where there are parts, often called books: book one, book two, book three, etcetera? Book one has all its stories, book two has other stories, often connected to the first book, but book two is a very different story, often a book of its own. Perhaps there are further books, three, maybe four or more. The Three Junes by Julia Glass comes to mind. I love that book. I love the name of the main character. I have often thought that if I ever have another child and the child is a boy, I would like to name him Fenno. I love that name. Anyway, this part one, part two world is how I feel about my life right now. I feel like I’ve lived part one and now I’m moving into part two and it will be very different from part one. Only I have little idea how the second part will be. It is exciting and frightening at the same time.

Today I was corrected for thinking Helen of Troy was inside the Trojan Horse. I don’t know where I got that idea, but I had it. I know I heard somewhere that Helen of Troy was inside the Trojan Horse. I remember some story about her coming out and her looks killing the soldiers or something. I was clearly mixed up. In any case, that version of events was in my brain. I was informed otherwise. I went online and read the history. After reading the histo, the history became familiar again. I don’t know where I came up with the idea of Helen of Troy being in the Trojan Horse, but I did. Weird. However, I was wrong. Being told I’m wrong is one of my favorite activities.

My daughter leaves me tomorrow for a month. A month. A whole month. I will miss her. For the first week or two I will be busy doing my thing. Then there will be one or several days where I realize how much I miss her presence. Lately, everyone I know is so busy, I have spent a lot of time alone and have been kind of lonely, especially contemplating the changes in my life. I am not looking forward to the lack of distraction resulting from the lack of child. Ah well. I’ll get through it; I always do.

Song of the Day

Also known as proof that corporate mind takeovers really do work.

I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner,
That is what I’d truly like to be.
‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer weiner,
Then everyone would be in love with me.

Isn’t that special? I know that song because I heard it on television as a child. I spent a lot of time watching television. See how I turned out? Yikes. I’m the poster child for why you shouldn’t let your children watch television or be loners. I’m so Generation X, it’s boring.

Interesting Beats

I had to go to work today since I did not work yesterday and also my boss has a big brief due so he needed for me to proofread it and then help him put it all together in notebooks for the hearing. I’m tired. I woke up too early again this morning. I laid there contemplating things I did not want to contemplate, too tired to get up, but not falling asleep. Then I got the brilliant idea that it might be the light waking me up so I put on my eye pillow and promptly zonked out. Sometimes I marvel at my own incredible brilliance. Truly remarkable, me.

I heard a song I liked today. It’s called Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck. Actually, I love the rhythm. You can download it for free on the internet, so I’m going to. I found it because I’m working on my website. My logo is going to be a lamp with 7/8 in it for 7/8 time and 7/8th houses in astrology. I did a search for songs in 7/8 time. I found a great list. All the works have this unusual time signature. I really liked this one.

I get my new apartment keys today. Yippee. Moving from a house to an apartment sounds like so much fun. But it’s temporary. And I love the neighborhood. And the apartment really is cool if one is required to live in an apartment.

Altogether the day is shaping up to have different sorts of interesting beats. And it is sunny. That’s the best beat of all.

I Don’t Find this Stuff Amusing Anymore

I cannot get the song You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon out of my head. It started because there is a bass riff in it I would like to learn. Unfortunately some of the lyrics seem particularly apropos to my life these days. The line that keeps sticking in my brain is “I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.” Also “ducked back down the alley with some roly-poly little bat-faced girl.” Just kidding. That one isn’t running through my head. I just like saying roly-poly little bat-faced girl.

The lip sore has increased in pain and ooziness. I love it.

Trivialities

Holy criminy.  I don’t look at my eyebrows for a few days and the damn things completely take over.  Yikes.  Little sprouts here and there and everywhere.  It’s not a pretty picture.  I wonder if electrolosis really works and if it does if it costs much and if it doesn’t if it hurts.  If all these pieces can be satisfied I ought to go and get some in order to negate the requirement that I remove these hairs with tweezers every three days if I would like to avoid a forest across my face.  Frida liked that look. It doesn’t work for me.  I’m too pale.

I hurt my back.  I spent 20 minutes bent over picking up dog poop out of the backyard, tried to stand up, and that was that.  My back was out.  I have had difficulty walking, moving, sleeping.  I’m beginning to improve.  I have not had the back strength to sit and write.  I have had lots of interesting things I have wanted to write about, then I think of my desk and chair, my back gives a twinge, and that is the end of that.  Back trouble is not conducive to a writing career, at least for a person who does not have a laptop.

I have another offer on my house.  It is a good offer.  There is another offer in backup if this one falls through for some reason.  It’s not as good as the other, but it isn’t bad either.  Both potential buyers are in love with my house.  I have said all along that I want someone who loves it to buy it rather than some investor who is just going to rent it out.

Last night the man and I went to a hookah lounge and smoked a blueberry hookah.  Or rather an exotic blueberry hookah.  Every flavor is exotic, but when we asked for blueberry flavor, he said, Exotic blueberry.  Oh yes, our mistake.  Interesting little experience.  Lots of over-synthed techno pop eurotrash music that after a few hits off the hookah thingy wasn’t so obnoxious, although it would not have been my first musical choice.  I tried blowing smoke rings.  Can’t do that.  I tried blowing out just one nostril without covering the other one with my finger. Can’t do that either.  I’m not a smoker, never have been, so all those little smoker tricks are lost on me.  Overall though, it was fun to try something new.

Darling Milla, my NINE year old, is off on a trip with her class. They went to a farm.  It’s in Silverton.  She gets to milk goats, among other things.  Lucky for her it is supposed to be merrily warm over the next few days.  If I had to go camp on a farm and milk goats, I would infinitely prefer merry warmth to icy chilliness.

Now I have a drumming lesson.  I like drumming.  I love bass.  I am not taking official bass lessons.  I have been using a dvd.  I would like to take bass lessons, I just haven’t done it yet.  Plus I’ll need to find a decent bass teacher.  I don’t want to waste time or money on a crappy bass teacher.  So off I go to bang on percussion instruments and make noise.  That is if I can remove myself from this chair. The back is not happy I sat this long.  I realize this is a pathetic post.  It’s my effort at showing up since the painful back has kept me off track a few days.  It is what it is.

Frou Frou

So one of the comments on my blog from earlier asked me to write about what I’m thankful for.  I’m thankful for a lot of things.  The thing is, sometimes when I feel like crap I just want to write about feeling like crap to get the thoughts out of my head.  It doesn’t mean I lie around in my bed all day staring at the wall moaning and lamenting my crappy life.  Nothing of the sort.  Writing is how I work such things out and expel some of the negative energy.  Right now, I don’t want to go through some laundry list of my thanks.  I’m not all frou frou about that stuff and sitting and writing out a list on THIS blog would feel frou frou.  So for now, I’m not going to do it.  Suffice to say I am fully cognizant of the fact I’m not living in a concentration camp, I have plenty to eat, and I have a magnificent daughter who loves me.  That isn’t so bad.

Musings in the Library

I saw this book at the library today called God’s Politics.  I only saw it as I was walking by so I did not examine the contents of the book, but I had the thought immediately upon seeing the title that such a thing proves that god is a construct of man because politics are a construct of man.  Why would any god have need of politics?  It’s foolishness.  Politics are the process by which groups of people use to govern one another and to decide who gets what.  If god were a supreme and single being, what would be its need of politics?  It would have control of everything and would have no need to bargain.  In any sense where a god could be involved in politics, god would be a human construct, a way to complicate the political process.

I find it so ironic that people who believe god wants things one way think god wants it their way.  They seem so unable to consider a universe where there might be one god that wants it some other person’s way.  In that regard, the god becomes a further extension of the self and a justification for something the person either isn’t willing to say alone or for which the person has no honest justification.  It’s the devil made me do it reversed.  The god is constructed to back up an idea or to stand for that which the person can not or will not stand for alone.  The reliance on the god becomes a way to remove personal responsibility.  Ironically enough, in our society, the religious person is automatically afforded a moral compass and assumed responsibility simply by the fact of being religious.  Again, the requirement for actual personal responsibilty or development of an actual moral compass is lessened simply via the association.  This is simply absurd.

These are just the thoughts that fumbled through my brain as I wandered the aisles of the library in search of books to play my bass.  Politics, religion, and bass guitar.  Who could ask for more than that?

Meaningless Blabbing

So I’m in California at this conference thingy and I’m all jumpy and wired.  I was sitting in the hottub at the hotel and finished the book I was reading and had this desperate need to write.  Then I realized that unless I wanted to write in longhand, I wasn’t going to be able to write anything.  That made me even more stir crazy.  It was like knowing I couldn’t do it was enough to make me jump out a window.  Then of course I realized it is 2008 so it is likely the hotel has a computer for use, it is almost 11, and no one would be on it if there were such a computer available for guest use.  I was right so here I am.

Problem is I have this urge to spill but a lot of what I want to spill is stuff I don’t really want to write about in a public forum.  Maybe it’s because I can’t get to my private journal at home I’m all antsy?  Maybe, maybe not.  I’ve been this way all day.  Up and down.  I’m lucky because I found a book at the airport by an author I adore.  It isn’t serious writing, just a good story that keeps me entertained and makes me laugh.  It kept me occupied most of the day, kept me from letting the brain take over as it is wont to do on occasion.  I’m not like this so much since a lot of stress has alleviated in my life, but I have my moments and I’m having one today.  Maybe I’ll settle in tomorrow.

Anyway, they have a fifteen minute limit here and I still need to check email and my other blog so I’m off to it.  At least I could pour out these few meaningless words.

Rebate Rant and Personal Update

I hate to break it to the government, but sending people their tax refunds for next year early does not constitute a “rebate.”  Rather it is a loan on money taxpayers would receive back next year.  It makes next year’s tax refund smaller.  Excusing the stock rebate or bill of exchange definitions, a rebate is a refund on something already paid for; it is not money you get on something before you’ve even paid for it, like taxes.  I’m sure there are those who love getting their money now, nothing like immediate gratification.  And actually I think it is best for people to calculate their withholding in a manner that helps them to break even at tax time because overpaid taxes are interest-free loans to the government.  But I just can’t stand it that this early refund tax money is called a “rebate” when that is not what it is.  Have fun next year when you fill out your forms and discover your refund has been reduced by whatever amount you receive now.  It’s also annoying to think a bunch of people spending this money is going to stimulate the economy.  The economy needs more than consumer spending to pull it out of the toilet.  Get used to it, the economy is shit for lots of deep-seated and difficult to fix reasons.  A bunch of Americans going shopping or buying gas isn’t going to stimulate anything.

Enough of that soapbox.  I spent the day preparing for my trip to San Diego.  I am soooo excited to be heading down there.  I need the break.  I need the sun.  I’m looking forward to the conference I’m going to, as well as the people I’ll meet.  I can’t wait!  However, the trip necessitated several activities on the home front to prepare for a) Milla going to her dad’s, b) Milla’s birthday, c) leaving a house that is for sale for four days, and d) digging out clothes from the far-reaches of the closet that will be comfortable in warmer weather.  Plus I needed to pay bills and balance the checkbook and do all that regular-living stuff that bugs the crap out of me.  Overall, it’s been a very busy day.

I don’t leave until Wednesday, but because tomorrow I don’t get to spend much time at home at all, I had to finish most of the preparatory stuff today.  I also have a job interview tomorrow!  Woo hoo!  I’m excited.  It seems like a really good opportunity.  It’s part-time, but would bring in enough income to keep me comfortable until the house sells.  Also it is working with an attorney who seems to be pretty down to earth and practical.  I like that.

After the job interview, I’m getting my hair done.  I love having my hair done.  I love the girl time at the hairdresser’s.  I love the conversations with the women in the salon.  I love the way my hair looks.  I love the way my hairdresser is also a masseuse so she rubs my head and shoulders.  I love the jazz they play on the salon station.  Basically, I love going to get my hair done!  I don’t love paying for it, but that’s okay.  It’s a nice trade-off.  And if I were earning money, paying for it would not bug me in the least.

So I had busy day today and I will have busy day tomorrow, then I fly off on a plane at 10 am on Wednesday to sun and fun.  Yummy!  I will not have access to a computer so I’m not going to be able to write.  Well, that’s not true.  I’ll be able to write in longhand and I do that when I can’t write on the computer.  It probably looks to anyone who reads this blog like I haven’t been writing anyway, but that is not the case.  I have another blog I have been writing on.  I also have two articles I’m writing and I worked on those as well.  So even though it looks like I’m not writing because I’m not keeping up here, that is not the case.

I’m going to bed soon.  I am vibrating.  I’ve been keeping late hours and it’s starting to make me a little groggy, especially when I have to get up.  It’s one thing to keep late hours when you can sleep in.  It is quite another when you have to get up and pretend to be a functioning member of society.  So off I go to pretend to be a functioning member of society.  I know it’s all an illusion, but I can pretend, can’t I?

Doesn’t matter how you slice it

You can argue for or against the death penalty all you want, but the issue still comes down to acceptable forms of murder. If we murder someone for murdering someone else, we as a society are sanctioning the murder of the murderer. Alternatively, if we kill someone for doing something other than murder, we are sanctioning this form of murder as well. In either case, we are saying that it is okay to kill someone under those circumstances.

Go ahead.  Claim it is “the state” doing the murdering, like the state is some giant amorphous blob.  It’s not.  There is a human on the other end of the button or the needle or the trigger or whatever form of weapon is used to end the person’s life.  Sometimes there is a group of people, just like a corporation.  The state is comparable to the court system, in some regard.  Doesn’t matter.  Still comes down to an acceptable form of murder.

I’m not arguing for or against here.  I’m just pointing out that if you are for the death penalty, you sanction murder.  It is as simple as that.

Physical Therapy

The Elbow, Lying on the Couch: When I was young, I fell and was broken. It was a hard fall. Out of a tree. The ligaments surrounding my cartilage were torn. I hurt for months. I was swollen. I couldn’t breathe properly.

Physical Therapist: How do you feel about that?

Elbow: It hurts, you know? I mean, I still feel the ache of that painful day.

Physical Therapist: What do you think you can do to move past this? What is done is done.

Elbow: I just don’t know. Maybe I’m going to have to work on moving past that time, stretch a little.

Physical Therapist: I can prescribe something if you like.

Elbow: I’d like to try and work through this without medication, but if the pain becomes too intense, I may have to take you up on that offer.

Physical Therapist: I’m always here.

Elbow: I know. These sessions help me to maintain my sanity.

American Idol had some kids talking about the statistics on poverty. The thing is, they’re preaching to the choir. Those of us watching this can’t do anything global about the problem and those who can aren’t going to watch this and do anything about it.

On another note, I’ve decided I’m going to start my own corporation to operate in competition with Monsanto. I’m going to hire a bunch of scientists and get them to patent dogs and cats. Then when people try to breed them, I’m going to sue their asses off. Of course this will be after I’ve harassed them and terrified them, taking photos of them out walking the puppies and cuddling the kittens. How dare these people interfere with my right to own life? I’ll also go after anyone who buys the puppies or kittens unaltered. If they think they are going to let those animals breed without my getting paid for it, they have another thing coming.

I don’t think I know how to be loved, at least in the sense of a significant other relationship kind of love. I have gone through every relationship I’ve had as an adult and concluded that the only man who ever truly loved me was my husband, and it was if that relationship was doomed before it began, at least from the point where we got married. The poor man was completely emasculated by his mother, and the day we moved into his parents’ house was the day we kissed that relationship goodbye, even though it limped on for another four years.

Anyway, I thought about this and I have no idea what it feels like. I only know what not being loved feels like. I know what my partner loving someone else feels like. I know what my partner having no clue about love for anyone feels like. But I can barely remember what it feels like for someone to love me. I wonder if a person reaches a point where she wouldn’t recognize it if it fell in her lap. I am so used to unrequited love. I am so used to beginnings that never go anywhere. I have zero clue how to go beyond that.

How do you learn if you never get the opportunity to try?  How do you keep believing you are lovable if no one ever loves you?  The last time it happened for me was fourteen years ago.  That is such a long time.  Actually sitting here and contemplating this I just can’t believe the length of it.  That is a significant chunk of time.  God, all this advice.  Don’t base your happiness on a man.  Live your own life.  Build yourself.  It’s great to do that, but how do you learn the lessons a deep relationship teaches if you never get into that place where someone else really loves you?

I wonder if most people are truly unloved.  I know there are a lot of people married out there, or in long term relationships.  Does that mean they have been loved or are loved?  How is it they get there?  I’m absolutely, utterly and completely baffled by this.

It is a quarter to midnight.  I started to go to sleep but woke up.  That is the worst time to wake up, when you’re still in the beginning stages of sleep.  I find it nearly impossible to go back to sleep in any reasonable fashion if I’m awakened within the early stages of sleep.  I’m tired, but can’t sleep.  I’m too tired really to read.  There is nothing I want to watch on television.  I hate television really.  Maybe I’ll find some Youtube or something to watch.  This sucks.  I have to get up early too.  Ah well.  I’m used to insomnia, just not at the beginning of the night.  I hope this means when I do finally fall asleep that I won’t wake up at 3, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Lara’s Vacuous Brain

I realized after posting my last blog that I have had a dearth of deep thoughts lately.  NONE.  It’s all nonsense.  I wonder if it’s because I’ve been feasting on nonsense for the last week.  But no, my dearth of deep thoughts has been going on a lot longer than this decadent, Venusian week.  Maybe it is because there are so many other enormous changes going on at the moment that such happenings have sucked my focus from philosophical ramblings.  Maybe it’s the books that I’m reading.  But that wouldn’t be it.  Usually books like the ones I’m reading at the moment make me want to write and write and write, but I don’t have that urge, and this is unusual because needing to write usually keeps me up at night.

The simple fact of the matter is that my brain has been dry for several weeks now and the words have not been pounding at my skull trying to escape. The books I’m working on that seemed so important even a month ago seem trivial and annoying now.  I hope their seeming importance returns so I’ll have some desire to work on them again.  Maybe this is what is meant by losing the muse.  Who knows?  I’m not terribly concerned because it hasn’t been going on for very long and I DO have quite a lot of other things to concern myself with.  My house is selling and I need to move in a month.  I’m going to San Diego for a conference and need to prepare.  I need to find a place to live somewhere besides Portland and find Milla a Waldorf school there.  I guess those are big things.  But usually I would want to write about them.  Maybe I’m reacting to a long insomnia spell that is finally over.  I’ve been sleeping like a baby.  Perhaps the brain is healing from that.  Actually, this could definitely be the case.  I was so sleep deprived there for a while I couldn’t remember words like remember.  Uh, you know, that word about keeping something in your brain?  What is it?  Huh?

Anyway, until the deep thoughts come back I’ll continue posting pointless nothingness like this and today’s earlier post.  Good times.

More Mindless Rambling

Wow.  So I check out of reality for a few days and when I check back in the hottest story out there is a transgendered man having a baby and Obama’s bowling ability.  I think maybe it’s time to check back out again.  I normally avoid the news but there are some headlines that are unavoidable.  Plus I listen to NPR and get bits and pieces there, although I extended my news fast to All Things Considered several years ago and have not felt the worse for wear as a result.  Gotta protect that old sanity, ya know?

So I pulled into WordPress this morning to discover many changes. I’m sure there are lots of us out here commenting on it, what we like, what we don’t.  I think once I get used to it, I will like it.  I’m already liking the place to type better than previously.  And I’ve noticed that there is a spell-checker.  Yes, I think I’m going to like it.  I’m not so keen yet on the dashboard, but I think with time and familiarity, it will all be good.

Okay, so right now Piper is spinning around and having a coniption fit because I’m typing and not paying one hundred percent attention to him, and Molly is standing over him, hovering like a bee over a flower.  I’m not sure of the influence she is attempting to exert, but Piper is oblivious.  Oh, and now she just got a good sniff of his butt.  Yum.  How was that for you, Molly?  Dogs.  They are unabashedly willing to partake of their senses, even if it involves a good solid butt sniffing.

I realized today that I am in some regards paralyzed by the sheer number of things I need to do.  Many of them are small things.  I just need to chip away at those things.  Others are huge, like packing, for instance.  I just need to dive in and begin.  It’s funny, just last week I was discussing hoarding with my counselor.  You know, why people hoard, how it gets started, all that.  I know a few hoarders and their lives are completely stuck.  One of the reasons we discussed is how something happens and the person lets things go, then things get out of hand, then they are paralyzed by the mess and magnitude.  Then I discovered this morning that my paralysis is similar; I have not been doing anything because there is so much to do.

Earlier this week, I had dinner at the new house of some very good friends.  They were lamenting all the work they need to do to make the house a home.  I advised them to take it one space at a time.  Break it down into smaller pieces.  I’m taking my own advice.  I’m going to make a list, then I’m going to sort the list into manageable pieces, then attack each piece.  Some of the stuff I need to do could all be done in one day if I just did it.  Like filing a tax extension.  The taxes are done, I just don’t have the money to pay them yet.  So I’m going to file this extension.  I doubt it will take long, but I haven’t done it.  And this CLE reporting thing lawyers have to do.  It’s a pain.  I started it, then stopped for some reason (probably to go do something really important like bang drums or play the bass) and never picked it up again.  Now it’s sitting here on my desk.  Both these things, tax extensions and CLE reports, have a deadline.  It’s a good thing or I could see them sitting there even longer.

What is this, this procrastination?  I’ve not been much of a procastinator before.  Yet here I am.  And this week when Milla has been gone, it has been oh so easy to play.  South Park video?  Much more appealing than tax extensions.  I have a friend who texts me, Want to go watch a late movie? Yes.  Not Uh sure, or okay, but YES.  Emphatically, yes.  Oh, and go here and watch this video.  It’s called Mathmaticious and parodies Fergilicious.  It’s better than Fergie’s.  More entertaining.  His sexy dancing in front of the window kills me.  Very clever.  Pretty soon he’ll be passed all around and end up in a South Park episode getting killed by Chocolate Rain guy.  Good times.

See what I mean?  It’s so easy.  Just start typing your blog or doing something else.  After a bit, feel like a break.  Casually open a new tab.  Type in YouTube.  Then surf a little.  Find something that looks interesting, like Mathmaticious.  Watch it.  Laugh.  Then watch what it’s parodying, or click on something else on the side where all the videos are in a row.  Discover a lot of time has passed.  Shake your head in dismay at your ability to waste a lot of time.  There is facility in time-wasting like no other, especially when computers are involved.  Millions of others conspire to help you.  Yikes.

I have wasted enough time this morning, er, afternoon.  I must do something productive, if only for a moment.  So I’m going to get up and go brush my teeth.  That’s a step in the right direction.  My drum store neighbor is bringing over the drum set this afternoon.  I’m thrilled.  I CANNOT wait.  I keep looking out the window, waiting for him to pull up.  Come on little drummies, come into my house.  I want you.  Banging drums has to be better than watching YouTube, right?  I’m having one of those moments I’ve written about before where I can’t come up with a coherent ending to my post, so it continues to ramble on and on about nothing at all.  Come here little drummies?  Seriously?  Did I say that?  Okay, I’m really going now.  I have to go to the bathroom.  Oh there’s a story there that I can’t tell on the internet, but it’s so awful and funny, maybe I’ll put it on my secret blog, my anonymous blog.  It needs to be written about because it’s that hilarious.

I’ve decided since typing this that I REALLY like the new WordPress. It’s much more user friendly.  It saves my posts for me, eliminating the likelihood of blog loss because of my fucked up computer.  It’s great.  I love it.  I’m going to have to figure out tags and all that, but it will all be good.  I’ll get it done.

Pointless Rambling and My Review of the Tippy Canoe

What do you do when you make dinner for someone and they don’t like what you eat?  Don’t say anything, that’s what. But it’s still somewhat, I don’t know…humiliating? …face scrunch inducing?  I was so pleased to have created this chicken marinade with olive oil, crushed ginger, and garlic.  I personally thought it was delicious.  So did Milla.  Friend did not.  She didn’t say anything, but she took one bite and did not eat any more.  She also did not eat any of the plain steamed brocolli.  She did eat lots of salad.  I guess Nature cooks up better than I do.

Things that should be self-evident but apparently aren’t to me:  Don’t try to wash your face in a big sweater.  It gets wet.  Remove the sweater before washing the face, or at least rinsing.  Also, don’t keep scraping your tongue when it starts to hurt even if it’s still taking off goo.  It makes it hurt worse and you’ll also start to notice blood in the goo.

No one is buying my house.  It has been for sale now for three and a half weeks. People look at it all the time.  No one buys it.  My real estate agent said it is good that lots of people are looking at it because apparently other houses in their office are not getting nearly as much traffic.  And the average time to sell houses has been like 84 days or something, so I suppose 24 is about 2 months shy of average.  I don’t know.

Writing non-sequitur…this adorable little squirrel just ran by my window here past the computer monitor.  It jumped up on a bench and hunkered down to eat a nut.  Wow.  That was cute.

Last night I went to a restaurant that was so bad, I’d recommend it just to go in and see how bad it could really be.  It’s called Tippy Canoe and it is in Troutdale, Oregon.  Just the fact of its location should probably have been a tipoff (or Tippy off, as the case may be), but sometimes you can find some real gems in offbeat places.  This was not one of those instances.  The friend who told me about the place said he had read a review that the crab cakes were bad, but other than that, he had no information about it.  Well, since every item on the menu was exorbitantly expensive, I decided to go ahead and order those crab cakes, in spite of the poor review.  The cost for these tasty tidbits was $14.50.  This bought three silver-dollar sized lumps that were completely inedible.  Seriously like wet cat food in texture, and sort of grilled on either side.  As I began to eat the first cake, I attempted to ascertain whether the foul taste would continue with each forkful.  It did and worsened.  I felt obligated to eat the nasty things since they cost so damn much, so I slathered the second one in ketchup.  I couldn’t finish it and did not eat the third.  It was so horrible.  I may as well have eaten vomit.  They were the same texture and would have tasted better.

And the decor…well.  Wow.  Let’s just set the stage for you, shall we?  The walls are black wood paneling covered with planks.  The ceiling is metal roofing.  Faux-wooden salmon swim all over the walls towards fishing poles with loose fishing line hanging over the tables.  The plates have fly fishing lures painted on them.  The light is low, to add to the romantic ambience, you know.  Then, the piece de resistance….the bathrooms!  The bathrooms alone are worth the drive to the place just to see that such things actually exist and are used to enhance the character of a place.  The original toilet seat and cover have been removed.  In its place is an ill-fitting replacement made from clear plastic.  Molded into the clear plastic are actual fly-fishing lures, the double-hook variety.  As I said, the seats do not fit the toilets, so the basin extends out between one’s legs while seated, and the lid bangs one in the back.  It is possible to glance down and view two hooks between your thighs while doing your business.  Overall, the entire trip to the bathroom is a most enchanting experience.  When I finished using the toilet I closed the lid and looked through the clear plastic and lures into the bowl.  Good times.

Going to Tippy Canoe was entertaining.  Even though the food was so abominable, it was worth seeing such places are possible.  Oh, and I alluded earlier to the prices.  Unbelievably high.  Most menu items START at $25.  The crab cakes were some of the cheapest things there.  And the food looks terrible.  I passed several tables and the stuff wouldn’t pass muster at a Denny’s, seriously.  My friend ate a salad covered in croutons that had been soaked in lard.  I kid you not.  Gag.  Yikes.  But still, it was so much fun to make fun of the place, it was worth it.

Well I’m completely lazy and unproductive right now.  It’s pitiful.  I’m sitting here planning to write and instead I’m watching South Park videos and Chad Vader singing Chocolate Rain and ruminating on cat food cakes and lard-covered croutons.  Delish!  Such sloth goes all against my Virgo sensibilities.  Ah well.  I’m going to go watch another episode of South Park.

Dogs, Blogs, and the Nice Manager at Target

My silly little dog hurt his back leg.  I suspect he injured it while jumping off the couch or the bed.  In any case, it appears to be a soft tissue injury and, while he is limping, he seems to be improving.  He does not like to step on it and walks gingerly.  Today I took him out to go potty and it was hilarious.  He wanted to lift the back left leg which would have forced him to stand on his back right, the injured leg.  He couldn’t do it.  I kept cracking up because he seemed so unwilling to lift the hurt leg to pee, even though he was holding it higher to keep from standing on it than he holds it while peeing.   Poor little guy.  He’s trying to pee and I’m laughing at him.

Now I’m sitting here typing and having to contend with greyhound nose.  Edna’s nose is just the right height to insist upon a pet from keyboard hands.  Yesterday I was practicing my new bass guitar (oh my gosh I’m hooked, it is so much fun!) and Edna kept coming over and nosing my hand while I plucked.  Maybe she wants to play too.  Silly thing.

Today Milla and I went to Target to buy her a new coat.  I normally do not shop at Target.  I think their business practices are as abhorrent as Walmart’s.  However, Milla received two gift cards for Target for Christmas and she needs a coat so I figured we could use the cards that way.  Well, while we were in the store, I put the cards in my pocket.  We found a jacket and headed up front to pay.  I reached into my pocket and one of the cards was gone.  I was so frustrated.  We combed the store looking everywhere, retracing our steps.  We did not find it.  I went up front to ask if the store had a lost and found, but the woman I asked just looked at me like I was a ghost or something and did not answer.  More frustrated, I asked a security guard who was walking by.  I didn’t have much hope it would have been turned in, but it was worth fifteen bucks so I thought we should try.  There was a rather young guy walking with the guard.  He asked us about the card, what happened, etcetera.  He then said he would look in lost and found.  In the meantime, Milla and I had picked up a cheaper jacket we had considered and were in line to pay for it.  While there, the young manager came over and gave us another fifteen dollar card.  I was speechless. We left the store and drove off.  I then realized I needed to go back and tell him thank you so we did.  He was really nice about it.  He said he thought they would find the card during cleanup after closing, but he wasn’t terribly concerned.  That guy earned bonus points from me.  I have never gotten that kind of service from Target.

While typing that my half Lab, half border collie dog, Molly, came over and said hi.  She shoved her nose under my hand for a pet.  I’m here, she said.  Pet me.  Now it’s Edna again.  I love my dogs.  Anyway, that was our afternoon.  Wasn’t that exciting?  And isn’t my life exciting that this is what I’m writing about?  Yep.  I know it is.

Toilet Needs a New Home

I posted this ad on Craigslist last fall. A friend of mine asked me to repost it here, so here it is:
It is time that Toilet parted ways with our family. It has been in this house for longer than we’ve been here. When we arrived, the home inspector informed us that this toilet was “top of the line” in Europe and ordered by all the best home designers in the US. “Pozzi Gnorri,” he said. “Go look them up on the internet. They’re one of the best companies in the world for bathroom fixtures.” So I did and was duly impressed. However, I had to wonder what a toilet of this caliber was doing in my little 1920 bungalow in Milwaukie. But hey, some of us get riches to rags instead of the other way around, so who was I to question things or to remind Toilet of its brilliant beginnings?
To keep reading, click HERE.

The Corporate Addiction Palace Has My Number

Yep.  It’s on speed dial.  LARA!  It calls. Come on down here for a bit.  You know you want to.  Stop writing and web surfing and come on down.  We’ve got a yummy chai tea waiting right here for you.  Oh, it’s not that expensive and you know you want it.  Imagine that warm feeling running through your veins.  Imagine the clarity in your head once the drug bathes those neurons.  Imagine all the fantastic things you’ll want to do and accomplish under the influence of the drug.  Mmmm, now isn’t that nice?  Don’t you want it?  You know you do.

I can’t do big caffeine.  A diet coke sends me into shivers for hours, I’m that much of a caffeine lightweight.  But my brain has most certainly made full use of the small amount I imbibe on a daily basis, spreading it around to all parts.  It might be thin, but it covers.

Okay, non-sequitur here, but human bodies have some aspects to them that are just so yucky.  I know it’s a marvel of engineering design and all that, but some things like mucous…yuck.  And farts.  What is that, Mother Nature’s sense of humor?  Something sent to remind us we aren’t busy and important?  And other things I won’t mention.  Gag.  I just had to point this out.  Yech.

One other pointless rant.  Windows.  You click on something and nothing happens and it gives you a nice message that says, Such and Such is Not Responding.  No fucking kidding?  I couldn’t fucking tell when I clicked on it 800 times and nothing happened.  The stupid message makes me want to throw the computer more than the fact the damn program froze.  Piece of crap.  Some Microsoft techie created that message just because s/he knew it would put people into fits.  They’re having fun at our expense.  I know it.

Black and White and Grey all Over

So the lady who wrote me about the girl who was mean to me in junior high and I had a little chat via email over a few days. I actually enjoyed chatting with her. She seems nice. Anyway, I kept thinking about that time in my life, maybe because my brother is living with me for the time being and I think about childhood, I don’t know. One thing I have thought a lot about was what kind of a kid I was back then, especially from about age 12 to age 14. Looking back, I still don’t think I like who I was. I know there are all these self-help growth books blah blah blah that tell us to go back and love our inner child and embrace that kid who felt so rotten about herself.

Whatever. I don’t mean to be dismissive when a person needs that, but for me, what a load of crap. I could perhaps feel some compassion for the kid who was picked on and whose stepfather had turned out to be mean instead of loving and possibly even for the big dork that I was as I tried to navigate through junior high, hormones, and popularity. But in some ways I was exactly like the mean girls, just trying to survive. Funny what humans will do when they think it will buy them some control.

I watch movies like Mean Girls, where the main characters come to the realization that they are selfish and shitty and shallow, and it’s great that this is how it comes to be for them. But in my life, I was not as enlightened. I decided not to be friends with Sandra Gordon based solely on the fact that the other girls I wanted to be friends with termed her a “scumbag.” I purposely pulled away from her for no other reason than that. I wanted to be included with more popular people and if that meant dumping Sandra, then I did it, even while the even more popular girls were picking on me.

And later I stopped being friends with Dee Roberts for the simple reason that I heard others thought we were gay, and I did not want anyone to think that. So stupid. So shallow. It was years before I grew any sort of personal backbone, years before I quit giving a shit what other people think and standing on my own. Luckily Dee and I have some friends in common so as adults we were able to reconnect.

I look back now and am amazed at my ability to cut my friendships off with such precision. Perhaps we would have grown apart anyway, but I will never know that because when I decided that I was not going to be friends with someone anymore, that was the end of the friendship. Thinking on it now, maybe some of that ability was just the age. I had friends who cut me off with the same sharp capacity when they saw me as a hindrance to their own popularity. Friends one minute, not friends the next.

I followed my friends Rae and Wendy around like a puppy, begging them to love me. Especially Rae. She was my best friend, in my eyes, but I wasn’t hers. I was there for her, but she wanted Shawna Peterson. And at some point Shawna Peterson decided that she hated me. So if Rae was hanging out with Shawna then she was not hanging out with me.  I guess I can hardly blame her.  In eighth grade all my friends had braces.  I had perfectly straight teeth.  So one day I wore tin foil to school.  I told Rae the dentist made me do it.  Seriously.  I did this.  Is it any wonder few people wanted me near them?

Rae never openly told me not to let anyone know I was her friend, but she did not hang out with me at school. I hung out with Sandra Gordon until Rae and Wendy told me I shouldn’t, then I didn’t hang out with anyone. Those years in junior high were utterly hopeless, utterly miserable. Then I went home and life there sucked too.

I wonder where the kids with a backbone get the backbone. In movies, the left out child that the others bully comes back with a vengeance, kicking ass and proving their inner strength. Often the bullies realize that they don’t have to be so mean either. In my real life, I did not have any such inner strength. I hated myself. I think I believed them.

Occasionally I would stand up for myself, but I was fucking scared to death of it. One time on the bus, a torture chamber if there ever was one, these girls put gum in my hair. They were perfect. They had perfect clothes, perfect hair, perfect makeup. And they hated my guts, just because I wore the wrong clothes, the wrong hair, wore no makeup, and probably looked like I was waiting to be kicked. I told the bus driver. She told me to put gum in their hair the next day. I waited, planning to do so, but scared shitless to actually go through with it. I ended up just putting gum on the pants of the girl who instigated it all. I don’t think she even noticed.

Another time, the bus driver made me get off early and walk to my house. I was pissed. So I hid in the bushes in front of my house and when she drove by, I threw gravel at the bus. She pulled it over, brakes screeching. I hightailed it into the house and hid. My sister Melanie wouldn’t let her in. I think I got written up, but I don’t remember. Funny, that bus driver was a friend and an enemy. Mostly I did not like her. She let a lot happen on the bus that shouldn’t have.

It is also interesting that when I would stand up for myself and not chicken out, I was ruthless, kind of like with cutting off my friends. Where is that? Where does it come from, that ruthlessness? That ability to be so cold? I just don’t know. But I could do it. Maybe it’s that survival instinct, that belief in some control.

The main person able to incur my wrath without fear was Kim Dawson, Melanie’s friend. She hated me and I hated her. I don’t recall why. But she was constantly after me. The first time I fought back, I had gotten on the bus wearing purple cropped pants before they were in fashion. I think I just wore them because I liked them but had outgrown the length. As was typical in those days, I did not have a lot of clothes and my parents would not buy what was in fashion. My mom tried making me some pants like the other girls wore, but it didn’t make me popular. Nothing could have, I don’t think.

Anyway, Kim asked me if I was waiting for a flood. When she went to get off the bus, I stuck my foot out into the bus aisle as she walked by, smearing mud on her pants. She was pissed. She pulled my hair when I got off the bus. I pulled hers. The bus driver pulled us apart. We both got written up.

Then another time, the bus was really crowded. I sat in a seat near the front with a little boy. She was in the seat directly behind me. She leaned forward and made some comment about me and the little boy. I reached back and slapped her in the face. She grabbed my hair. I kept hitting her until she let go of my hair. I think we may have gotten written up then too.

Funny, I was written up three times in junior high, but all three times were so far apart that each time, the principal said since it was the only time I’d been written up, he’d let it go at that. Makes me laugh.

The final time I fought with Kim, I beat the crap out of her. I was twelve years old. She was at our house with my sister. The two were nagging me, picking at me, egging me on. Finally, Kim said something to me that I do not remember now. I jumped her. I sat on her and hit her. Melanie screamed. I finally got up and that was the last time Kim bugged me, but we hated each other to death.

Luckily for me, Rae hated Kim too, so we would order pizzas to her house and make hair appointments for her at salons in town. This was in the days before caller id and all that tracking. We knew her address and phone number so it was easy. Later, she got a boyfriend who was a really big dork, and Rae and Wendy would tease Kim about him. I just joined as a watcher. I loved it because I still hated Kim.

I can’t believe now that I got in hitting fights. Actually, my fights with Kim were the only fights I’ve ever had where hitting was involved. And mine wasn’t one of those situations where I saw open violence at home all the time or anything. Our home was filled with the stealthy kind of violence, like a gaseous poison that oozes through the walls; words laced with hate, looks of vile hatred, screaming matches between parents while children hid in their rooms, doors slammed. Except when I would get hit for doing something, which was somewhat infrequent, we didn’t witness hitting or slapping like some of my friends did. My fighting with Kim came from my own inner capacity to whack someone. I don’t know where she got hers.

Funny, I read back through this and it’s as though I’ve unintentionally continued the same theme that permeates all my posts lately: nothing is black and white, human behavior is mostly directed by an illusion of control or an attempt to garner control. Like I said, it has not been intentional. It just keeps coming up. Maybe there is some deep dark purpose behind this, but more likely it is just that these are central themes in human behavior and I happen to be noticing them in my attempt to reach a point. I don’t know. I do know that I’ve been writing for a hour now and my daughter is irritated at me because she wants to go bike riding and she says I “always write” and she can’t understand it. She wants me to stop and focus on her. So that is what I will do. Maybe I’ll have to show her the scene at the end of the movie Stand By Me where the dad is writing and his son who has obviously been waiting and waiting comes in and asks him when they are finally going to leave and the dad says in a minute. Then the boy turns and tells his friend his dad gets like that when he writes. See Milla? I’m not the only one.

Development of the Opossum Approach

Caveat:  I originally posted this with the actual names intact.  Turns out enough people find these posts that a person who knew one of the players contacted me, so I have changed the names to make them anonymous.  All other facets of the story are my memories and true to the best of my recollection.

I have been thinking a lot today about mean people and the opossum approach and all that and I have concluded that a large bit of preparation for being mean is cultivated during junior high. I certainly got a great deal of practice being victimized by mean people in junior high. I was a target ripe for the pickings. And I most definitely mastered the opossum approach. I could walk through the halls invisibly and when necessary, play dead. I’m not here. Do not notice me. Avoid paying any attention at all costs. Sometimes though, I failed utterly and completely at avoiding notice, in spite of my best efforts.

I remember an incident that took place on one particularly memorable afternoon. It occurred in Sex Ed class, which on some level makes the whole thing much more vivid. I had a crush on Mike Jones. Mike was lanky and horse-faced, with tousley brown hair, but I thought he was adorable. Mike was popular. He was on the football team. Everyone knew who he was. He did not know who I was. I would fantasize that he would say hello to me. That was how silly and naive I was. I did not even consider hand-holding or kissing. At age twelve, such conjectures were well without my realm of possibility. No. Saying hello was about as brave as I could get. Because of my crush, I wrote “I like MJ” on my palm. Why did I do that? Did some little part of me hope he would notice and fall instantly in love with me at the sight of his initials inscribed on my hand? Was I a fool? Come to think of it, I doubt I thought much of anything. I probably sat there in my preteen, hormone-addled state, reading something in the library. I read a lot in the library. In fact, I took pride in the fact that I had read every book in the junior high library by the end of eighth grade. I also won the library’s “Ghastly Riddle Contest” at Halloween. It was a sort of treasure hunt through haunted books whereby clues were given in the form of quotes. You went to the quote and it would lead you to another clue. It required some knowledge of the books involved to locate the original quotes. A weekly clue would be handed out to help you when you were stumped. I won a nice set of horse books. I think they knew that I would win since I doubt anyone else tried.  Few people would have been geeky enough to play at a contest like that and I was too clueless to know it was geeky.

Anyway, I digress. Back to my lusting after Mike Jones by hoping he would say hello. I had taken the liberty of professing my love via ball point pen. I sat, hiding, in the far row of Sex Ed class. I do not recall the name of the teacher, but I remember what he looked like. He was one of the coaches. He was tall and stocky, with blonde hair cut in a bowl style. Unlike some teachers, he was actually pretty kind to me. The head cheerleading coach, for instance, acted like I was a virus she might catch if I asked her something about the pre-algebra that she taught. But Mr. Sex Ed was pleasant enough.

There I sat in Mr. Sex Ed’s class. It was a sunny afternoon and I remember sitting and staring lazily into the sunbeams. I had done the reading. Mr. Sex Ed was dozing up front. Most of the class was chatting and passing notes back and forth. Suddenly, Kelly Smith, who sat behind me, leaned forward in her chair and asked me a question.

An aside about Kelly Smith. When my parents chose to move our family to “the country” because that is where I thought I wanted to live in order to have a horse, I was in the sixth grade. The little school in our town had one grade per class and each class had about twelve students. Kelly Smith was in my class. She immediately befriended me and nearly as immediately dumped me when she discovered that I did not smoke, drink, or swear, and that I rode horses and read books. She had perfectly feathered blonde hair. I did not have perfectly feathered blonde hair. Mine curled in all the wrong places and my mom cut it for me. How humiliating. Kelly Smith wore San Franciscos and Sticky Fingers and had several colors of Nike swish shoes. I had one pair of Sticky Fingers, no San Franciscos, and no Nike swish shoes. I wore Keds and Keds were not popular. Kelly Smith knew that one was supposed to carry a large comb in one’s back pocket. Until meeting her, I was not privy to such inside information. In short, Kelly Smith had all the makings of a cool person while I had zero. By the end of seventh grade, when this incident took place, we were in junior high and I was a persona non grata. Kelly Smith was a cheerleader. She still had perfectly feathered hair. Mine still curled in the wrong places. I think I may have finally acquired a pair of Nike swish shoes and a comb, but they were clearly out of place in the library.

I was not happy to have Kelly Smith peering over my shoulder. Kelly Smith did not involve herself with me except to make my life miserable. She had completely mastered the pretend to be friendly and suck me in while simultaneously concocting some nasty evil plot approach. She would say something that seemed kind. Weaving back and forth, back and forth, hypnotizing me, I would respond to the false kindness, believing for a moment that she might actually be friendly, whereupon she would suddenly expose her true nature, losing the lovely exterior, spitting in my eyes and becoming the cobra she truly was. Once she put gum in my hair without my notice. Usually she would say something really ugly and make her friends laugh. “Do you use butter grease to style your hair?” she would sneer. Her friends would erupt in laughter. Ha ha. Real funny. You’re so clever, why don’t you hit the comedy circuit?

Back in Sex Ed, she wanted to know, “Who is MJ?” Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh. Fuck.

“Nobody you know.” My heart was pounding. Why couldn’t she just go away? Why did she have to torture me? Was I really such an obvious target? Apparently so because she did not go away. “So who is it?”

“No one you know. Someone from another school.” God, please don’t let her know. Mike Jones was in that class. If he found out. Oh crap.

“What’s his name? Is it Mike Jones?” What the….? How in the hell had she nailed that on the first try? Maybe she saw my hand and worked it out before saying anything.

“No. No, it’s not Mike Jones. It is not. No.” I stammered, obviously flustered. I must have seemed like a giant bullseye for her pointy cobra fangs.

“It’s Mike Jones, isn’t it.” It wasn’t even a question. “You like Mike Jones. Wow.” She turned and told her friend, another Kelly who must not have been so evil because I do not remember her last name. “She likes Mike Jones. Can you believe it?” Kelly could not believe it. In fact, she was so shocked that she had to share it with the girl next to her.

Then Kelly Smith did the unthinkable. She called out to Mike Jones, “Hey Mike. Lara likes you.” Oh dear God. Please kill me now. I should be punished for having written those damn initials on my hand. Actually, I was being punished for having written them on my hand. Mike turned and looked over in our direction. He may have been looking at me. I don’t know. I was staring at my desk and begging the gods to reach down and suck me from my chair. Anything, anything but this.

“Is this bad news true?” he asked. All the kids who had been paying attention laughed.

My pain was complete. Not only had I been fully humiliated by darling Kelly Smith, Mike Jones saw my liking him as bad news and he wasn’t afraid to say so. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I suffered through the remainder of the class, wishing I could disappear. Having ensured she had gotten a good and deep bite right into the side of my head, Kelly Smith was no longer interested in torturing me. She moved on to discussions of cheerleading routines and hairdos. My face burned and the room swam. I pretended to read my Sex Ed book. At least I could say the bad news was no longer true. I no longer liked Mike Jones and could not wait for class to end so I could go and wash my hand.

Once the bell rang, I shuffled through my belongings to take as long as possible to leave class and ensure I did not have to rise and move with the other students. After every one was gone I sat for a few more seconds. Alone in the room, I took a deep breath. It seemed like it had been long enough for the lot of them to clear out of the hallway.

You know, I must have lacked some serious capacity to foretell possibilities because it had not been long enough for Mike Jones to clear out of the hallway. He was the only one left, digging through his locker that was nearly across the hall from the Sex Ed classroom. Mine was down past his, requiring that I pass him, completely humiliated. Thankfully, he did not look up as I shuffled quickly by. Perhaps part of his dismay at my liking him had been for show. Certainly his reaction had been. At least he left me alone. I went to my locker, deposited my books, and took the long way around to P.E. class because the direct route would have taken me past his locker again, and there was no way I was going there.

Yes, junior high is definitely a breeding ground for mean people. Volumes have been written on the subject. Millions have been made in movies about the outcasts being tortured. Pleasure is taken in the geek who grows up and shows up to the high school reunion in a heliocopter. I think we all assume that as adults this crap goes away. Unfortunately, that’s wishful thinking. Even when you grow into a swan and develop inner strength and confidence, there are those people who never move past being mean to you.

Luckily for me, we had moved away from that school after ninth grade, so Kelly and her friends were only able to harass me for three years. I heard that she got pregnant her senior year in high school. A few years after graduation, I saw her at a discount store. She was extremely heavy and was dragging around four ruffian-looking children. A friend of mine who had finished school with her said they all had different fathers. I remembered her bragging in eighth grade about drinking and having sex. Maybe whatever made her so damn mean was also what made her gain weight and have lots of kids by different dads by the time she was 25. She’d clearly hit her prime in junior high. She was still mean though. At the store, she came up to me and sneered, “You think you’re really hot now, don’t you, Lara?”

I remember looking at her, not knowing who she was because she looked so wretched and different. When it was obvious I hadn’t a clue about her identity, she said, “I’m Kelly, Kelly Smith,” like I was retarded or something. Funny. I realize now she sounded something like Forrest, Forrest Gump. I said hello and turned to continue walking with my mom. Thankfully, when it came to girls from junior high, I didn’t have to pretend I was dead any more.

The Opossum Approach

Weird.  Apparently shitty workplaces are a popular topic.  The story has been hit over and over and over.  My readership stats have tripled, and most of them are to that post.  I have this book called the No Asshole Rule.  The guy who wrote it said it started as an article in Harvard Business Review or something, but he got so much feedback that he ended up writing a book.  Apparently, dreadful workplaces and mean people are pretty prevalent in good old America.  In fact a woman added a link to my post from her blog called www.DecontaminateToxicPeople.com.

Anyway, I think it’s sad we are all laboring, literally, in places that are horrible to work with people who treat us badly.  The thing I find amazing is that in most cases, other than the fact that we are forced to spend some amount of hours with them a week, our coworkers are generally not our friends, at least they weren’t before we went to work with them.  They are not the people we choose to hang out with because we met them and have a lot in common or whatever.  Some may become friends or lovers based on forced proximity, but for the most part, people who work together are all essentially strangers who give their time to a place to pay for their time outside a place.  Yet a large number of these people think it is okay to behave horribly to people they really don’t know.  How pathetic this is.  I guess it would be worse to treat someone you know badly, but there is a different kind of moral reprehensibility in treating a stranger in a wretched manner.

No, actually.  It’s all bad.  I sat here and attempted to separate out whether it is worse to be cruel to people you know versus people you don’t know.  Either one leaves me at the same conclusion:  it’s all bad.  I’m not much of a black and white person.  I can see the grey in many things, even in situations where many others can’t see anything but solid black or stark white.  But in this, in humans treating each other like crap, it all seems morally reprehensible.  I just can’t see where it’s justified.  Over and over I come up with situations in my mind where it might be okay, and I can’t justify any of them.  Well, I suppose it is alright to run over a little old lady who crosses the street against the light, but that’s it.  That’s the only time it is okay to be mean.

All kidding aside, this is my question…under what circumstances is it okay to treat another human being badly?  Because they treated you badly?  For revenge?  Revenge meanness is probably one of the most often employed reasons for hurting someone else.  I would argue against it because in treating someone poorly because they treated you poorly you become as they are in responding in kind.  And I just can’t think of any other reasons that aren’t patently objectionable on the surface, such as being mean because someone is black and you’re white, or not liking the look on someone’s face.  There are just no good reasons to be mean to each other.

Yet it happens. Over and over.  Apparently people don’t care if there is a good reason or not.  I suppose in most cases it has more to do with the person being a jerk than the victim.  Actually that’s probably it most of the time.  Inside the person feels worthless so they get some pitiful power out of being mean.  Or the person assumes no one likes them so they act like an ass to prove themselves right.  Or for some other psycho babble blah blah blah reason.  But these are still lousy reasons.  It says a lot about the state of mental health in most workplaces if this type of behavior is so prevalent, that there are a hell of a lot of people who feel bad about themselves and act this way to compensate.

Based on my own experience I wish I could say that the best response is to be kind and compassionate, and on some level I think that is necessary.  But from a practical standpoint, my experience was to stay the hell away from the toxic people and to avoid them at all costs.  I tried the being direct and professional approach.  They would use it to find a way to hurt me.  I tried smiling.  That seemed to make them mad and would result in some form of retaliation.  I tried being friendly and acting like there nothing was wrong, while simultaneously making damn sure my work was covered so they couldn’t sabbotage it.  That made them sneer and laugh behind my back about whatever friendly comments I had made (I caught them at this several times) .  Frankly, there was no way that I saw to behave except to stay as far away from them as possible.  Play dead.  The opossom approach.  That is the only viable method I advocate.  It might seem pathetic, but it worked.

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick

How is it that I’ve arrived at 10:11 a.m. and have accomplished virtually nothing of substance?  I updated my about page.  I took my child to school.  I went to the post office.  All of that was done by 8:45 a.m.  Now I’ve spent a good deal of time at the computer and am in the same place as I was an hour and a half ago.  Oh, and I took a half an hour nap.  There was that.  But the other hour I pissed away looking at other Blog Presentations and surfing myspace.  What a productive use of my time.  I need to work on a letter for work.  I need to finish my taxes.  I don’t have any desire to do either.  Procrastination is in serious overdrive here.  I guess I’ll just have to jump in and do them.  Yuck.  I’d rather go ride the horse.

In the last couple of weeks I have become quite the irresponsible party.  Having always been the super responsible party, my becoming irresponsible feels quite unnatural.  Actually, I think it was only the week Milla was gone to see her dad that I have been like this.  I did a lot of work on the house, but I also went out, drank some rum and pineapple juice one night, stayed up very late several nights, including one until dawn, slept away a couple of days, and generally didn’t do much productive anything.  It was seriously pathetic.  Now I’m back into the schedule and that feels more normal, but my head isn’t in it.  Add to this angst over heartache and worry over finances and I seem a bit bent on a minor depression.  And of course there was the incident with the old workplace that still has me in a bit of a funk.

While lying in my bed during the aforementioned nap, I stared out at the sky.  The sun wanted to peek through the clouds and there was a squirrel in the front yard whose antics are hilarious.  Lying there, I thought I could lie there all day and do not a lot.  I thought through the things I needed to do and still did not get up.  It took the phone ringing to rouse me from my half asleep, hypnotic stupor.  As I stumbled through the living room to the kitchen where my phone is plugged in I actually had the thought that I was surprised someone was calling.  I’m not much on the radar these days, and I realize this is somewhat self-inflicted.  How is it that I got here?  What is it that I’m doing?  It’s like my desperation to leave Portland is obliterating all other thought.  Living in the moment is a struggle because I don’t like the moment, but my thoughts of future moments as long as they are in Portland aren’t much better.  I hope some of this funk is hormones.  It isn’t really time for PMS, but it would be nice to blame this on that.  Maybe I’m not such a strong person since one, two, three tough things in a ten day period put me in this state.  But I don’t care.  I’m tired of taking strength in being strong.  I’d rather just be.  Only that’s not good for my brain or my daughter.  So I’ll plow on and turn the music up very loudly to drown out my thoughts.

On another note, I thought I would take a moment and clarify a few things.  There:  Not here.  They’re:  They are.  Their:  A possessive pronoun.  It’s:  It is.

Bonding Over Bathroom Fixtures

When my nephew was four he was at the grocery store with my sister and my two year old niece who had finally started using the toilet.  While standing in the line with a loaded cart, Nathanael announced to everyone, “Now my whole family wears underwear!”  It was pretty cute.

I have beautiful shower fixtures now.  My dad installed them for me.  I asked him to do it a couple of years ago when I bought the fixtures, but he told me to hire a plumber.  He didn’t think he could do it.  Then the other day I was showing him the list of stuff I still need to do on my house before selling it.  I was showing it to him to demonstrate just how little is left on a house I’ve basically gutted and remodeled all by myself.  The only project I hired someone for was rewiring the thing and installing a new electric box (another friend who did an amazing job and to whom I still owe money when this box sells).  My dad has helped me on a few projects since he’s a retired contractor and carpenter.  I think he’s proud his daughter has picked up his skills and remodeled the entire kitchen, removed a wall, built a wall, built a ginormous walk-in closet, moved a door, retiled the bathroom, built two sets of built-in bookshelves, painted the entire thing inside various colors, replaced molding, rebuilt window frames, replaced light fixtures, took a jungle out of the front yard, built a rock wall, and installed a yard, as well as countless landscaping projects.  When I ask him how to do something, he seems happy I ask his advice and shows me what to do, sometimes offering to help.  I was so glad he offered to put in the bathtub fixture for me because I had no idea how I was going to pay a plumber.  After he did it and it took five hours because the new fixture was a different shape than the old one and the whole thing had to be installed behind two solar water heater pipes, I was even more glad.  One plumber I had called estimated the job would take 45 minutes to complete.  He had not looked at it.  I have no doubt when he got here and discovered the tile had to be cut and there were pipes to work around, he would not have been so optimistic and it would have cost a hell of a lot more than the $120 he quoted.

Anyway, my dad did this for me and I’m grateful.  I know he’s sad I’m selling the place.  We haven’t told my mom yet.  She’d freak and we all know it.  So continuing the tradition of secrets, none of us tell.  But it’s funny, it’s not like alcoholic secrets where things are obvious yet everyone denies them.  It’s more like we all know my mom freaks about the most mundane of events and won’t sleep for a month and will stomp around the house and make everyone around her miserable, so to avoid the hassle none of us will mention it.  If the information is dropped, well, we’ll spin it to create the best story for her so hopefully she won’t lose any sleep and start to freak out.  In my mind, that’s not really living with secrets.  Rather it’s more like living without a hassle.

Anyway, I’m glad my dad did this for me.  It looks amazing.  Last night I came home from a friend’s party and even though it was midnight, I had to take a shower in it.  It was so fantastic to be able to adjust the heat without pliers, something we’ve done for four years now.  Thanks, Dad.

All the Wittle Animals and Adam

My friend wrote this.  I thought it was such a funny story, I had to post it.

Once upon a time, God got an itch to create himself some little planet.  Yeah.  And on the planet he put all the wittle animals, some shrubbery, and Adam.  Oh, and then he turned on the light.  And then he rested.  Yeah.  And Adam was lonely so he ripped out a rib and created a woman.  Yeah.  And then God made sure that Adam and Eve were stupid and wouldn’t question anything.  Yeah.  So then, there was a snake, a talking snake, that persuaded Eve to eat an apple.  Yeah.  And then, well, then everything went to hell (woman’s fault, you know).  And then, God wrote the bible and told everyone that this was the Bible and that it was the word of God and that you had to obey it all.  Yeah, even the parts where you stone your own children to death if they profess non belief.  — CW, 2008

My choosing to publish this story represents a perfect microcosm of a little problem I have been dealing with lately.  As cliche’ as it sounds, on some level my blog is my own personal therapy session.  I come here and spout and think and muse and make shit up no one cares about.  Part of the deal for me is that I have to be brutally honest.  But also, no censoring.  And lately, I have wanted to censor.  I have been worrying way too much about who might read this and their reaction.  As a result, I have not been the happiest little camper lately.  Part of it, I’m sure, is that I’ve not been sleeping well.  Not sleeping makes me turn into a rather cranky little monster, if you know what I mean.  Lack of sleep will do that to a person.

But another part of my angst has been wanting to write stuff and then not doing it because of my perceived expectation of a reaction or concern over what others will think of me.  I even went so far as to delete the post I wrote on toxic work places because I was worried someone at the old workplace would read it.  I also worried about what I wrote yesterday about wanting a boyfriend, all concerned the man I’m going on a date with might read it, realize I’m bananas, and run screaming for the hills.  I worried a parent in Milla’s class might discover what a foul-mouthed hooligan I can be.  Then there were a few days where all I wanted to write was a bunch of negativity because I was mired in a sleep-deprived, hormonally-induced, mini depressional psychosis and I didn’t want people to think I’m that much of a mental health disaster.  For over a week now I have not written much at all because of concern over someone reading what I had to say.

Then last night I was reading and taking a nice bath to relax before bed in the hope I would fall asleep when I realized what I have been doing.  I realized I was censoring myself and I had to ask, what in the world is going on here?  I am not writing for the audience, I am writing for me, regardless how stupid, opinionated, depressed, or ridiculous I may be.  I want to have an audience, that’s why I put it out there.  But I can’t write with the audience in mind.  So I had this little epiphany and resolved to go back to being my usual blabber-mouthed, opinionated, cussing sometimes self, regardless if I was having a good day and regardless what anyone else might think or say.

Then this morning I received the story my friend wrote and wanted to post it because I think it is hilarious.  I cut and pasted it and put it into my wordpress window, then when it came time to tag it and categorize it, I started to worry about offending someone or the neo-nazi religious types that might read it and send me hate mail and I got a little flutter and almost didn’t put anything in the tags and only a couple of categories to ensure no one would read it.  Then the lightbulb went on and I realized I was doing it again, censoring, worrying about the reaction, and I knew then that I had to post it and add all the tags and categories I would have if I knew no one was reading it.  I had to put it out there, regardless of the reaction.  Because ironically enough, I honestly don’t care whether someone likes it or not.   I’m just too tired right now to deal with the possible reaction.  And that is the crux of it, I suppose.  I have been feeling so lousy from lack of sleep that I do not have my usual strength and resolve to put up with someone else not liking what I have to say.  I’ve regressed back to the person in my teens and early twenties who had zero confidence in her writing or her self.  I suppose it is normal to make these regressions when I’m overly tired, but it doesn’t mean I have to stay there.

So I’ve put on the story and I put back the toxic workplace post and I’m leaving the relationship post and if there is anyone reading it who doesn’t like it, well, I guess that’s too bad.  Go read something else.  I’m not trying to change your mind.  I’m not trying to make other people hate my ex boss.  I’m not trying to troll the blogs hoping some Prince Charming will read my relationship posts and come sweep me off my feet.  I’m writing because I have to and it keeps me sane.  It is part of my spirituality.  I know that’s a useless psychobabble reason, but it’s true, and that’s all there is to it.

A Million Little Thoughts

I was thinking about the book A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.  I found the book to be an entertaining read. James got into a lot of trouble for embellishing some of the book and not admitting it up front. I wonder what he was afraid of that he didn’t just put in some disclaimer saying as much when he wrote it.  I doubt anyone would have cared. Unfortunately, the fallout was huge, and he’s still brought up as some sort of failure of a journalistic standard or whatever.  It all was way too overboard though. I mean seriously people.  Get a grip.  What I find ironic is that people managed to get so up in arms about it considering he called himself a liar several times in the book, and also he seemed the sort who liked to make a story big.  And the stuff he embellished was the stuff that made the story big.  Plus if he manages to offer some other solution to addicts besides various anonymous, then more power to him.  And he was honest about calling himself an addict and a criminal, which he was, at least the addict part.

I don’t know that I like the word criminal.  Yeah, someone did a crime and maybe at that point they were a criminal, but if they repent does that make them a criminal forever? Kind of like an adulterer or murderer.  But if we’re going to label someone something like that forever, then if they had been honest and hardworking then committed a crime then were honest and hardworking again, aren’t they still honest and hardworking?  And are all crimes necessarily dishonest?  I have known more than one person who had an affair while married or in another sort of long term relationship who did not repeat their behavior in other relationships.  Does that still make them an adulterer?  I guess you couldn’t get over murderer though. Once a murderer, always one I suppose.  Funny how we choose certain labels that can be added or subtracted depending on the circumstances, but the bad ones certainly seem to stick around longer.  Okay.  I can’t say anything anymore.  It all becomes some damn theoretical debate in my head, all this trying to get at the truth of something that may just be limited by language

As I may have mentioned before, my brother is staying with me at the moment.  I have been paying close attention to him, and I have noticed one consistent aspect to his behavior, and that is his absolute inability to delay gratification.  I know studies show that inability to delay gratification in early life can be a predictor for addictive behavior later in life.  And Derek just can’t.  It’s nuts.  He wants something, he wants it now, and he is basically obsessed about it until he gets it.  On occasion I have been able to explain him out of his desire for the thing, but often it will come up again several times with me reminding him again of the reason out of the desire until it finally sinks in or another thing rises to take its place.  For instance, I am minimally employed at the moment, so money is tight.  This means I do my best to keep from squandering it on things I don’t need.  Derek, however, has no job at the moment and has about $700 left.  He wanted a new external dvd drive, so he ordered it.  I asked him why and he said he wanted it.  I told him he might need the money for food or something later, and he just kind of shrugged.  I think on some level he must recognize his inability to keep from spending money if he has it because he gave me $500 to hold onto for him.  It also serves as a kind of monetary deposit should he fail to get another job and pay me for the space he sleeps in my basement.

I wonder if this inability to delay gratification is the key behavioral component that makes an addict an addict.  I’m sure all humans at some point or another have moments of unwillingness to wait for something.  I know I have paced and waited and stared at the phone hoping that new guy will call, biting my thumbnail to the quick, jumping like a startled rabbit when it finally does.  Or not even waiting, but picking up and calling him, then kicking myself in the ass afterwards wondering why didn’t I wait, damn it!  And credit cards are evidence alone that many, many people want stuff before they can afford it.  But I wonder if addicts choose to act more often than not.  A food addict wants food and eats.  A sex addict wants sex and goes to find it, regardless of the consequences.  An alcoholic wants alcohol and drinks, again regardless of the consequences.  Curious.  There is probably a body of theory and study out there in addiction medicine all about this, I’m just not in the know about such things.

Well, I can no longer delay my desire to eat.  I’m hungry.  So I’m going to go and make food.  The desire to write has been overridden by my body’s need for something in its empty stomach.

Death and Loving

Ah, Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day.  This is the first year I can ever remember when I haven’t either wanted a romantic Valentine’s Day or the not wanting it isn’t sour grapes.  There have been a few of those years, ones where I pretended to myself that I didn’t care but deep down it hurt that there wasn’t someone special to remember the day for me or I had someone who was careless about such things.  Right now, I am honestly happy just being who I am and love having my little girl as my Valentine.  As a result, this is a really nice Valentine’s Day, at least thus far.

Milla is so sweet.  Last night the two of us took heart cookie cutters and cut beeswax hearts for her classmates.  We then wrapped them in tissue paper and tied them off with yarn. As is often the case in these sorts of projects, I had the assembly line going.  There have been moments in the past where I go off half-cocked trying to be Martha Stewart mom and decided to make 28 Valentines from scratch.  16 Valentines in and 4 hours later I’m ready to slice my wrists with the scissors and poke the glue sticks in my eyes.  One year we hand-cut hearts from construction painting paper, then watercolored hearts on each one, then I helped Milla sign her name to each one.  It was fun for the first 8 or so, then Milla was getting mad because she was sick of signing her name and I was getting mad because there was paint on the ceiling and walls and we were both ready to kill each other so I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m not the Martha Stewart of mothers.  Now I know when it comes to large crafty projects making multiples of anything, go for the assembly line approach.  These kids won’t know the difference and ninety-percent of them will likely end up in the trash anyway.

So last night Milla and I lined up the wax and started cutting the hearts.  Then we piled them up in twos.  Then we cut the yarn for the tissue paper.  Then we cut the tissue paper into squares.  Then we wrapped them and she tied.  At one point she tried tying bows but that deteriorated after about 3 sets because it was a huge pain in the ass.  The yarn kept getting caught on her fingernails and she’d pull the whole lump out of my hand and we both got irritated so we quit that.  We managed to complete the entire project in under an hour, so that was all good.  Of course, we got to school this morning and it turns out her teacher doesn’t do a Valentine’s Day exchange, but with my luck if we’d skipped it there would have been an exchange and I would again look like the mother that couldn’t.  I’m good at that.

Valentine’s Day is kind of a weird holiday.  In some regards it seems almost like Mother’s Day; designed entirely by the greeting card industry to make people spend money.  But it has a really cool history and dark side that appeals to me.  There are all these legends about who St. Valentine may have been, but in all of them, he’s rescuing someone and doing all these good deeds and as a result, he gets killed off.  I suppose that’s the nature of Sainthood, but I find it somewhat ironic that his life is held up as the namesake for a holiday about romantic love.  Isn’t the murder of St. Valentine for all his good and loving deeds kind of a perfect analogy on some level for the way we lose ourselves in romantic love?  It’s all good if both sides are party to the celebration, but more often than not I think it all ends in despair.  And even when both sides are happy about things and ultimately stay together, the romantic part inevitably ends.  And most sane people I know are glad that it does.  It’s almost like death in some ways to be in that place where you’re so in love you can’t eat or sleep or think or do a damn thing and you might as well be dead.  It’s a good thing that part ends or we’d never get anywhere.

Another interesting consideration in the history of St. Valentine is when it’s celebrated.  Some say the mid-February date is to commemorate St. Valentine’s death.  However others argue it was an active choice on the part of the Christian church to obliterate a pagan festival called Lupercalia.  It was one of those native festivals where people prepared their homes for spring and celebrated fertility through a festival to the Roman God of Agriculture.  Well, we certainly couldn’t have people worshipping any Agriculture gods, now could we?  That would be idolatry.  So the Christians murdered off the local religion with a nice little holiday of their own.  How special!  I do find it quite fascinating that in all the history surrounding Valentine’s Day there is quite a lot of death.  And loneliness too.  As I understand it, St. Valentine spent his last days in prison before being put to death.  There he was trapped in his lonely heart and then he was killed.  Wow.

On that special note, I think I’ll sign off.  Someone I know told me he likes my blogs because I just go on my rant without making a point.  Yep.  That’s me.  Pointless.  Ha!  Well, I have a point today, and that’s to enjoy the beautiful girl I made while in the throes of romantic love that ended with a sputter.  Her father and I may have our differences, but if I could go back and choose whether or not to toss that condom across the room (Yes, mom.  That’s what happened.  It didn’t break like I told you.), I would do it again in a heartbeat because the love I have for her is better than any romantic love I’ve ever experienced.  I suppose that’s the point, though, isn’t it?  To fall in romantic love so you breed, have children, and ensure the continuation of the species.  Who cares if the species grows up, falls in love, and ends up killed over it.  As long as the breeding took place and the children were born first, it’s all good, right?  Kind of senseless and weird, but it must work or we wouldn’t have a population explosion.

Drip Drip Drop Little Rain is Falling

Our local NPR station is doing one of its annual membership drives.  They bug the hell out of me.  First of all, they keep going on and on about my having not called, but how do they know?  Maybe I did.  Yeah, I know.  It’s meant for people who haven’t called, but still.  Anyway, today this listener called in and said how her local NPR station makes her feel “connected to the community” and I got to thinking, connected to the community how exactly?  Because you hear what they are telling you, that provides connection?  Then I started wondering what connection is anyway.  Everyone talks about being “connected,” but what the hell is that?  I always considered connection actually requiring something be in one piece.  But some seem to believe connection exists just by knowing some of what is going on.  I don’t know that it is.  You hear about some group doing something or you hear about how some guy shot his wife or you hear about the local elections so yeah, you’re in the know, kind of like high school.  But how are you connected to that just by knowing it occurred?  And some of these things, like hearing about how someone killed someone else, who wants to be connected to that anyway?  Since I happen to think connection connotes, well, one piece, is it one piece for information to be broadcast and for me to hear it without really giving anything back? I suppose if the person on the radio told me about some volunteer opportunity and I went and did it, then maybe by virtue of my having become one piece at some point there was a connection.  But this notion of connection because the information is out there and I hear it just doesn’t quite sit with me.

It’s funny, people seem to feel we are more connected because we can go to the internet and get information from someone across the world, or we can send an email at the drop of a hat or pick up a phone and dial, and maybe in the context of the phone we can have a connection because another person can be on the other end.  But so much of it is an illusion of connectivity.  There really isn’t one piece.  There is one person at one end of an electronic device doing something or hearing or seeing something on the electronic device.  At another time, and possibly simultaneously, there is another person or several people in various places connected to electronic devices and interacting with them.  But the actual people are not necessarily actually connected, especially when it comes to the internet.

I thought about this a lot when I internet dated, something I have given up for good.  It creates this illusion of intimacy.  You go through essentially a catalogue looking for the right visual stimuli that appeals to you on whatever level, be it through photos or what is posted about the person, or what they have to say, whatever.  Then, while sitting alone at a keyboard, you send some signal letting them know you are interested.  At some point in the future, they get your signal, look at your marketing tools, then ignore the signal or respond via another electronic signal.  If that happens to be email, you can spend hours, days, weeks even, sitting and typing at the computer without ever having encountered the other human being.  You may discuss things in depth.  You may keep it light.  Whatever.  The point is, it is an illusion because you have never actually connected to that human being, at least in terms of connection being in one piece.  No wonder it is so easy for dishonesty to proliferate.  I’m not arguing that people can’t lie when they hook up in bars, but at least there you have the visual clues to go along with what is being communicated verbally to ascertain how much of what is going on is the truth.  I would suspect the same is true receiving information from various forms of media and assuming it is true and assuming we are connected.  It’s an illusion and it’s easier to be deceived.

If the rain is falling all at once, are the drops connected before they land?  If I am driving in my car with others on the road, are we connected by virtue of heading in the same direction?  I suppose the answers could be yes and no, spanning science and the metaphysical.  I don’t know.  I think I’ll go ponder these connundrums while I take a shower.

I Apologize in Advance for My Lack of Brevity and Wit

My daughter goes to a Waldorf school. There is a lot I love about the school. She has learned to knit and she is only 8 years old. She can do math word problems like no non-Waldorf 8 year olds I know. And she’s been learning music for years now as well.

But sometimes, if I’m honest, the “I’m liberal and New Ageyness” of some of the parents can be a little annoying. It’s like listening to the local NPR station sometimes with these people. Oh yes. Tomorrow we’re going to the farmer’s market to find grain to grind to make our own bread from scratch. It’s all organic and grown on that lot that was purchased in north Portland. Oh really? Wow. Yes, tomorrow Balfour and Aaliyah and I are going to a pottery class for 3 year olds, then we’re going to chant at the spiritual center. Both of these statements are made to one another in perfectly modulated, quiet voices, our indoor voices if you will. You know, just like NPR. And of course our children have unique foreign names to show our multiculturalism. We may be white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but we’re diverse!

I know, I know. I’m being judgmental. I mean, after all, I am blonde, blue-eyed, white, and liberal. We eat organic and Milla knits. But I can honestly without a doubt say that sometimes our house sounds like trailer trash central. I walk in the kitchen and discover my dog vomited all over the floor and I scream, “What the FUCK is this mess? Goddamned dogs!” And last night, I admit it, we watched Dumb and Dumber without compunction. That movie is stupid and funny. And Milla watched it and laughed right along with me. Uh oh. If any of the other Waldorf parents found out, I’d be voted out. Maybe her teacher could claim the fact we’re late at least once a week is because Milla has heard the word fuck and has seen Dumb and Dumber. The fact I’m the only parent living here and have a hard enough time getting my own ass out of bed let alone my daughter’s has nothing at all to do with it. No sirree. And on the days where we’re late and I’m in the parking lot hollering at Milla to get moving because she’s the slowest thing on the planet sometimes, I swear, the holier than thou, how dare you speak to that child in that manner looks on some of the smug little faces make me want to whack them one. I don’t spank her. She’s got a good life. It isn’t going to kill her for me to tell her to get her damn ass moving already when she’s taking her own sweet time checking out some spot on the car door instead of getting into school. Jeez.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Milla’s school. She used to go to a different Waldorf school where it felt like being in junior high all over again. The exclusion that went on there was out of hand. I guess what bugs me about the “I’m Liberal and New Age” crowd is that it’s worn like some badge of honor and used as a way to exclude those who aren’t in the “I’m Liberal and New Age” crowd. It’s the queen bees in another context. “Oh,” the eyes say as your child walks by wearing, GASP! Something from Old Navy! “You mean you didn’t spend eight-thousand dollars on a pure cotton, hand-knitted, grown up on the remade lot in north Portland skirt and shirt combo? How DARE you! I would NEVER let a stitch of acrylic touch my perfect child’s skin. And I certainly wouldn’t let little Balfour wear something made somewhere besides my own backyard! God forbid.”

It’s frustrating when you agree with the results of someone’s choices, but the why of their choices is problematic. Does it matter? I suppose it does in the context of trying to live without judgment, just letting others live their own life. Even the fact that it bugs me that they judge me for not being “Liberal and New Agey” enough in their minds is a form of judgment on my part.

Thinking about it, I suppose it’s how or why we identify with groups. Do we do it to belong or to exclude? And in belonging is there automatically excluding? Or can you belong simply for the sake of being a part of something? And some things people belong to by an accident of birth, yet this does not stop their identification to the point of even killing someone else who had a different accident of birth. Ireland comes to mind here, or Israel and the Palestine. Why is it that we will fight to the death for something that we wouldn’t have cared about if we had been born to another family? Even a seemingly innocuous choice, like which dog breed you prefer, can be a choice for exclusion as well. It’s weird. The whole thing is tied up in a big, old mess. Humans have this need to be a part of a pack but in doing so they leave others out of the pack and it seems like every conflict centers around this tidy piece of information. It’s the nature of conflict, isn’t it? One side against the other. One view against another. Me against you against me.

Sometimes it’s funny though. I try not to laugh at the “Liberal and New Age” voices in the hall at my daughter’s school. I try not to roll my eyes in class meetings when the parents get into a disagreement that they don’t want anyone to recognize as a disagreement. We’re using soft voices and “I centered” messages so it’s not a disagreement, is it?

“But really, I just can’t have Aaliyah eating cheese pizza for lunch, and we wouldn’t want her to feel excluded if the rest of the class has cheese pizza. She is allergic to dairy, yeast, soy, sugar, brocolli, pineapple, peanut butter, white bread, wheat, and every nut on the planet after all.” (And that’s another thing. Why is it that every kid is allergic to 18 different foods? For Christ’s sake, get a grip already!)

“Well, you know, Galbraith has been so cooperative at home lately, I promised him he could have cheese pizza. I wouldn’t want him to feel like I’m not listening to his needs if I didn’t get him cheese pizza.”

“Well, perhaps it may have been a wiser choice to bring him other options for his calm behavior. Perhaps you could discuss another choice with him. I’m sure he would be awake to such changes.”

“I just think that would create a lack of trust. Galbraith is such a sensitive soul. He has to be open to understanding, but I wouldn’t want to send the wrong message.”

And on and on and on. I just want to scream, For Christ’s sake! Let’s get the fucking pizza already. If your kid doesn’t ever eat pizza, how the hell is she going to miss it when everyone else eats it? And you’re just afraid Galbraith will throw a fucking tantrum if the class doesn’t get pizza. Why are we sitting here listening to this drivel at a parent’s meeting? I thought we were going to find out what they’re working on in class, not spend a half an hour bitching about whether or not to let the class have cheese pizza.

I sit there during these meetings and look at my shoes and wonder why it is exactly that the rest of us have to sit and listen to this nonsense for a half an hour. Oh, that’s right. Because we’re giving them an opportunity to be heard. And we all need to be heard, right? What about my right not to have to sit and listen to the shit? Guess what? We can’t all have all our rights at every moment we want to have them.

Okay, that was the longest, pointless rant ever. Sometimes I wonder about the pointlessness comes out of my typing fingers. I start with one thought and end up somewhere completely different. There is another blogger I like to read.  He wrote about the fact that he writes about a bunch of nonsense sometimes and wondered why he does it. Why indeed? Why is there this need to spew forth our opinions and observations? Why is it that when I’m writing for my blog I can write and write and write but when I just did my journal it was like pulling teeth sometimes? My counselor said that artists need an audience. I just wonder how anyone could call my drivel art. It makes me chuckle. But Full Metal Gerbil is right about one thing, if I’m writing on here, I’m not wasting time elsewhere, so it’s all good. Plus it keeps me sane. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I need to in order to keep the brain sane and last night I realized I was in a depressive funk. I just have to do it. I have to get the meaningless drivel on the page. If someone has the stamina to sit and read all of it, more power to them. I apologize for my lack of brevity and wit.

My Poor Ass

One of the best reasons in the world not to stop exercising once you have started is that you will have to start again.  It’s hell on the body and seems to get worse as one gets older.  I have always been active, had to be for sanity’s sake.  I just have one of those high functioning, high energy metabolisms and brains that suffer from lethargy.  Luckily, growing up, I had no derth of exercising options.  My parents’ driveway is literally a mile long and I had to walk it to the school bus stop rain or shine, sleet or snow.  My sister and I were like the post office: through rain or sleet or dark of morning (not night, we weren’t vampires) we always had to deliver.  We walked or ran that driveway twice a day every day the entire time we went to school.  Nearly daily we would beg our sweet bus driver Annie to drive us up our driveway.  Her answer was always no.  One year for Christmas she gave me a chocolate N and Melanie a chocolate O.  At least her answer was consistent.  One time a bird pooped in my sister’s hair on the way down.  She was pissed off.  I laughed.  For some reason, we weren’t always cordial during those years. Gee, I wonder why… ?  I used to run the driveway on the way home.  It was mostly uphill and I liked getting home quickly.  I got to where I could run up in under five minutes.  Maybe that’s why I was so good in the 1500 m in high school track.

Our parents NEVER let us stay home from school.  I mean never.  I had chicken pox in 8th grade.  My parents sent me off to school even though I felt like shit and was itching like crazy and the school sent me home.  I dislocated my shoulder after having a horse land on me when it crashed through a fence rather than jumping over it.  Again, I went to school the next day even though I was in my own personal hell.

Needless to say, I got lots of exercise without even trying.  Plus I rode horses and ran on track and was even on the dance team a couple of years (that was a hysterical laugh, I can assure you).  Then when I moved away I kept riding and took up running and basically kept moving for the next decade, again, without really trying.  In college I started swimming.  My lifestyle kept me on the go.

Then I got pregnant and felt like a lumbering beast.  It hurt to move after a few months.  Walking was torture.  Everything I read said that if you’re fit going into pregnancy then pregnancy would be a breeze.  I was fit going into pregnancy and if that was a breeze, being unfit while pregnant must be sadistic torture.  My hips hurt.  My back hurt.  And I was as big as a house.  I’d always been stick skinny and suddenly I couldn’t fit into bathroom stalls.  After pregnancy I had to work a bit to get into shape.  It wasn’t as fun.  But I had the baby and bought a jogger stroller and got back into the swing of things.  I started riding again when she was 5 months old and that made all the difference in the world.  You know, all those people who use thigh masters and butt exercisers should just start riding sport horses.  It’s athletic as hell and gives you great abs, tight thighs, and a butt without much effort.  I’m not talking fat western saddles waddling into the mountains riding, I mean sport horses, jumping big fences and dressage on the flat.  It’s good for the body, I can assure you.  I started using a gym at one point to get strength training because I had always done aerobic exercise.  On all the equipment, I was pretty pathetic, using one or two of the little weight bricks.  But on the inner thigh weight lift, I could lift the entire stack!  Those inner thighs become little killers when you ride sport horses a lot.

Anyway, as is often the case, I digress.  In March 2005, I was jogging and sprained the shit out of my right ankle.  Seriously reamed the damn thing.  This killed my running career for the time being.  I was able to continue riding, but I wanted more.  So I took up biking.  I have kept it up.  I love it.  I put a rack on the back and drug Milla around with me until she learned to ride her own bike.  There’s nothing like climbing hills on a bike with a 30 pound lump on the back of your bike for getting strong, I can assure you.

But for some reason this fall, I just kind of stopped exercising as much.  Last year I had the excuse of stress and cancer and all that shit.  I had to sell my horse a year ago to pay the mortgage so I wasn’t riding.  But in the spring after radiation and everything, I started back easy and it wasn’t too terrible, but it wasn’t much fun either.  And I didn’t exercise as much last summer as I had always before.  It probably had something to do with our miserable ass weather.  It rained most of August.  What the hell is that?  We got sun for June and July and that was it.  We got screwed.  It started raining in August and has basically not given us much of a breather since.  During September I ran, doing interval training where you run like hell for a quarter mile or so then slow down then run like hell again.  But once it really started raining again, that was that.

So what brought on this little soliloquy?  Today I went riding again and it KICKED MY ASS.  I’m tired as hell and although I don’t feel those muscles yet, I can tell from the weakness in my hips, back, and abs that I’m going to be so sorry tomorrow and the next day.  Lucky me.   And a few weeks ago I went cross country skiing.  Again, kicked my ass.  And last summer, when I actually had been doing some bike riding, I rode in the Providence Bridge Pedal.  I did the middle distance.  I think it was 12 or 14 miles.   Not much compared to what I have done almost daily in the past.  Kicked my ass.  All these times, the ass kickings have manifested as my being tired as hell afterwards and sometimes lasting a few days.  It’s like my stamina is cracking or something.  I wonder if it has to do with the stress of last year, which was enormous, of if I’m just getting old.  Maybe it’s both.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that tomorrow my ass is going to seriously hurt and I am just not looking forward to that.

Truly Random Thoughts of a Stream of Consciousness Insomniac

My brain is normally overflowing with words.  I can hardly exist sometimes with all the words leaking out my ears and nostrils.  But for the last few days, my brain has been remarkably quiet.  I’ve thought of a few things, but nothing like usual.

Okay, non sequitur here.  But I’m sitting and typing this and my little dog, Piper, is lying down next to me with his funny little back legs stuck out straight behind him and he’s licking his front paws.  Oh!  Now the greyhound started snorting (she does that periodically, kind of gags and snorts like she has something caught in her throat) so Piper just jumped up to warn her with a couple of throaty little barks that he’s here so that snorting better not come any closer.  Oh she’s warned all right.  She’s lying across the middle of the floor taking up that half of the room.  I’m sure she plans to trip anyone who wants to come after me.  Dogs.  They are so present.

So anyway.  Last night I was pondering the fact that my brain has not been very active recently and I had a few interesting thoughts I wanted to write down, but I was too tired.  The brain wanted to sleep.  Sitting here, I almost wonder if it’s the insomnia that’s shut down my brain.  I have not been sleeping well.  It’s been over a week.  I know why.  I have no job.  I’m not making much on the contract work I’m getting.  I’m not sure how I’m going to pay the mortgage next month.  I got a shutoff notice from the city for water.   So I lie there in the middle of the night when I wake up and force myself into the moment, try not to worry about the future, try not to plan how to bring in cash.  I keep focusing on the pillow or the comforter or my dogs snoring or Milla’s arm across my head.  Bonk.  That brought me back to the present all right!

It’s funny how difficult living in the moment can be.  But I find that my days are much more stress free than they used to be, even if I’m not the best living in the moment person.  Compared to how I used to be, I really shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  Now I have to figure out how to stay in the moment at 3 in the morning when my brain wants to consider all the possibilities having no money brings.

So sitting here contemplating this now I am certain that the empty brain is just trying to sleep.  It does not function well without rest.  It loses its verve.  I yawn a lot.  I know this place.  Stress has always manifested as insomnia for me.  Insomnia makes it hard to be awake, in every sense of the word.  It is kind of nice for stream of consciousness, useless blogging though.

I’m selling my house.  I am moving somewhere warmer.  Or at least sunnier.  Milla’s dad wants us to move to Boulder where he lives.  He says it is sunny there 300 days a year.  I have a friend here who is from Denver.  She says it is sunnier there too, even though it’s cold.  I’m curious whether the sun alone will cure me.  I long for heat as well.  In the heat I can wear wispy dresses and flip flops.  In the heat I can pull on a t-shirt and cutoffs and I’m ready for the day.  In the cold I have to go searching for layers that won’t be terribly uncomfortable but will keep me warm.  And the choices!  It’s overwhelming.  So today, I can wear a maroon turtleneck, or hmmm….a black turtleneck?  How about grey?  And let’s see, should I wear the Levi’s for when I’m bloated or am I sufficiently watered that I’m not retaining anything and can wear the skinny ones?  Gee.  I’m not sure.  I could wear khakis, but that would require ironing and I really don’t feel like ironing.  So Levi’s it is.  There are those who tell me it’s because I’m so skinny that I’m cold all the time.  I don’t have enough padding.  So I should just gain a bunch of weight then I won’t be cold?  Not sure that would work.  I’m not the sort who gains weight easily.  And too much sugar makes me insane.  So I could try eating a lot more than I do, add sugar, and I’ll be chubby and meaner than hell, but I’ll be warm.  You know?  I think I’ll move instead.

Well off I go to try and earn some money so perhaps I can sleep.  That would be nice.  At the moment, I would really like a nap.

Derek

So today handed me my first how well can you deal with this new mentality of living in the moment when the moment is shit event.  I knew all along that the real test whether I got it with the living here and now and watching the thoughts but not acting on them would be when something really shitty happened.  So now something shitty has happened and my brain would really like to revert back to its old tricks of getting depressed and worried that life will be fucked up forever.  So I pick up my dog and nuzzle the fur in the back of his neck with my lips and feel its warmth and realize I’m here and right now, this moment I’m okay.  So maybe it will work if I don’t worry how long I have to keep doing it, knowing I’m just staving off the thoughts for now.  I don’t know, it isn’t tested.  But I don’t know what is going to happen the other way either, it just feels worse.

My brother, my baby brother who isn’t a baby anymore, but young enough I remember holding him and carrying him as an infant, I remember my mom’s entire pregnancy, started getting in trouble with drugs when he was a teenager.  He would get in trouble then my dad would pay to fix it and he’d be fine for a while then go back to my parent’s house then get in trouble again then dad would pay to fix it and he’d be fine for a while then he’d get in trouble again and on and on and on ad nauseum.  He’s been to treatment about five times.  He never really gets into it.  It started to be obvious that the key to Derek getting into trouble was going back to my parent’s house.  He’d get in a fight with my dad who likes keeping Derek the bad guy because that’s the only role he’s comfortable with.  Then Derek would use that as an excuse to go find his local idiot druggie friends and go do something stupid and he would get in trouble.

He was so smart as a little boy.  He built a robot from scratch when he was like four years old.  It walked and had blinking eyes.  He made a little motor and hooked it up to the legos and made it move.  But he had Tourette’s and the teachers were annoyed by him and he hated school.  I think he was genuinely ADHD too, but this was before that was the popular label for any kid who didn’t fit.  Luckily the Tourette’s faded by high school.

Anyway, Derek was the kid all the other kids worshiped.  They followed him around like he was the Pied Piper or something.  He is the sensitive sort, but he doesn’t want anyone to know it.  He loves animals like they are babies.  And loves babies.  But he acted tough around all his friends.  They thought he was God.  And he had one special friend, one who looked up to him, a friend he adored.  They were best buddies.  They worked on the farm of this man who was a teacher in Derek’s school, Mr. K.  Mr. K was a kind man and good for Derek because he made him act responsibly.  By the time Derek was 17, he was a foreman in the summer working on Mr. K’s farm.  But Derek had started smoking pot and would get into trouble.  Mr. K would try to guide Derek and get him to make better decisions, but Mr. K was too late on the scene.  Since Derek came along ten years after the rest of us he was handed anything and everything he ever wanted. This meant that when Derek wrecked a car, he got another one.  When he wrecked that one, he got yet another one (I wasn’t even allowed to use my parent’s cars, let alone get my own).  Anyway, so this is how it was.  Derek dropped out of school and passed the GED.  He worked on Mr. K’s farm.  And him and his best buddy Brad were the kings of the dipshits who followed them around like they were gods.

Then one morning Derek spent the night at his girlfriend’s house.  The clock radio woke him up and he was lying there listening.  The DJ told the story of a boy who had been four-wheeling outside town on one of the logging roads.  The logging company had put up a cable across the road up the hill to keep four-wheelers out of there, but neglected to put ribbons on the cables.  A local boy had been riding up the hill and was killed the day before by one of these cables.  Then they said his name and it was Brad, Derek’s best friend in the world.  This news destroyed Derek.  He was never the same after that.  It was like a sadness settled in and became a part of who he was.

Derek told me a story.  He went to the funeral home.  They were not having an open casket.  Brad’s head had been nearly removed by the cable.  The funeral director let Derek go in to be with his body after the funeral.  He told Derek he could open the end with Brad’s feet if he wanted to.  Derek did, but he opened the wrong end of the casket.  He said Brad’s eyes were open and he was crudely stitched together.  He said the image is a part of his brain.  I can’t even imagine.

So after this, Derek kept going to work, but he was darker.  He wasn’t the happy kid anymore.  He got arrested for a DUI and had meth in his truck.  Plead guilty, got his probabtion.  Then about 10 months later, Mr. K was going through the drive thru at McDonald’s and had a heart attack, his car hit a tree, and he died.  They didn’t know if the heart attack or tree killed him.  Derek seemed to quit caring after that.  He quit going to work and started always using drugs.  Of course, my parents would not admit he was using.  He would sleep for days then turn mean then leave.  On and on and on and on.  Then he’d get caught.  Then he’d get ordered treatment.  Then he’d be fine.  Then back on.  In between he married a woman he met online and had a couple of kids.  This came with its usual drama.  Somewhere in there Derek went to jail for the first time.  Then again.

The last couple of years Derek has really seemed to want to stay off drugs.  He took himself to Central City Concern, a treatment program here in Portland, and was doing well, got a job, then went back to my parent’s (there is a whole dynamic there too where my dad asks Derek to “come work for him” that helps keep this going on), then he used drugs again.

Finally, after the last episode, his PO told him he couldn’t go to Marion County.  That was the only place Derek had ever gotten into trouble, and that’s where my parent’s house is.  I allowed Derek to move into my basement until he found his own place, something he planned to do this weekend.  He got a job.  He did not go anywhere near my parent’s house.  The DA wanted to throw him in prison for six months.  The judge gave him probation with a zero tolerance order.  This meant he could not touch any intoxicant.  He could not go where intoxicants were served.  He had to stay in treatment.  He had to keep a job.  Derek was doing all of these things.  He was doing remarkably well.  He would help me with my house and play Clue with my daughter.  His girlfriend annoyed me, but not in any major dysfunctional way, she just isn’t very bright and gets on my nerves sometimes.  He worked graveyard and would come home in the middle of the night and sleep until he had to go to work again.

Then this morning, I woke up and was in the kitchen making tea and noticed the light blinking on my house phone indicating a message.  I did not have my glasses on or contacts in so I could not see the caller id to find out who had left the message, so I just dialed in.  It was a recorded message trying to get me to choose whether or not to accept a collect call.  I felt the flutter in my stomach.  I got my glasses and looked at my phone.  It said Inmate Phone.  I went to the front window and looked out.  Both Derek’s cars were parked there.  I walked down to the basement.  Derek was not in bed.  I called my Dad.  What is going on?  Oh, I just got up.  Not much.  No. What is going on with Derek?  Nothing I know of.  Well there is a call on my phone that says Inmate Phone.  Shit.  No.  My dad told me to call Sarah, so I did.

Man, she’s dumb.  That is the thing about her that annoys me more than anything is how damn dumb she is.  I’m trying to practice compassion, to accept each person as they are.  To love everyone, even if I don’t want to.  She is my biggest practice case.  I just can’t stand it because I don’t think she’s really that stupid, I think she is just used to people doing everything for her when she acts like she can’t do anything, and I don’t think she’s as dumb as she pretends to be.  So when she acts like she’s stupid, it drives me crazy.  And it’s not fair to her.  She can’t help it if she’s been treated like a baby her whole life so she doesn’t do much herself.  And I wouldn’t dislike a dog because it was dumb.  Hell, my dog Edna is dumber than a fence post, but I love her to death.  So anyway, this morning Sarah was as blase’ as ever, Oh Derek got arrested.  Why?  Drinking.  Why was he drinking?  Well we went to Gabe’s after he got off work and he had a beer.  Well the police wouldn’t just come up and arrest Derek for drinking a beer.  They would need some reason to know he had drank a beer.  It wouldn’t just come out of nowhere.  Oh well I was driving us home and I got a ticket and they smelled the beer and arrested him.  Fuck.

So I called my parents back and told them and the rest I guess will be whatever it is.  I don’t even know.  I’m trying not to be angry with Sarah for driving like she’s blind because she does and it’s annoying.  Hell, she totaled her car the day before while driving alone in the middle of the night.  More than likely she was sending Derek a text message.  I’ve seen her text while driving on too many occasions.  I won’t let her hold her phone when she’s driving with me in the car.  But the truth is it doesn’t damn matter how Sarah was driving because if Derek hadn’t been drinking, he wouldn’t have gotten arrested.  I told my dad this.  He wanted to be irritated at Sarah for how she drives and irritated at Gabe for drinking.  I told him none of their actions would have mattered if Derek hadn’t been drinking.  My parents would love for all this to be someone else’s fault, like laying blame will alleviate any of the pain.  It won’t.

I’m trying not to wonder how Derek could be so hopeless to get himself in this mess.  I keep reminding myself that he knew his limits, but he really has this “It won’t happen to me” mentality.  I know that in the journey that is Derek’s life there are many, many choices he could have made differently that would likely have resulted in something else.  I have known for a very long time that I cannot control this and that he is ultimately responsible for what happens to him.  And at the same time it breaks my heart.  I’m so sad that this is his path.  I wish he would choose something different.  It hurts to watch someone you love make choices that hurt them.

Two days ago Derek was sleeping.  I went down and gave him a big hug.  He asked me if everything was okay.  I said everything was fine, I just love him.  I’m so glad I did that.

Listen to the Music

I read this blog on Matt Nathanson’s myspace page.  He was lamenting that we don’t have music like the 60’s.  He thinks music today lacks the depth of the music in the 60’s and that it doesn’t impact us today the way music did for people then.  He received several comments back, mostly it seemed from aging baby boomers, agreeing with him.

Sorry, Matt, but I couldn’t disagree more.  I have long felt the baby boomers were always more flashy and external in their dealings with the world.  Notice us!  We’re here!  Our way is the best!  Since other generations have come along, the baby boomers have lamented their lack of everything, character, depth, taste, you name it.

But I don’t think we lack any of that, we just go about things in a different way, and our way tends to be more introspective.  I’m Generation X.  We are not like the boomers.  Music is just as important to us, it is just more internal.  I think it’s appropriate that Kurt Cobain is held up as a sort of icon of our generation.  His internal struggles are the struggles of our generation. His pain is our pain.

I have recently become acquainted, through an online forum, with a whole lot of people born within the two years before and two years after me.  All of us, no matter what part of the country we’re in, no matter what we’re doing, are all struggling, mostly internally, with the demons the baby boomers loved to scream about.  We just don’t put it out there for everyone in the same way the boomers did.  We mull things over.  We ponder.  We observe.  Our movies are quieter.  Our books can be quite dark (and darkly funny).  Music speaks to us as individuals.

Matt comes from the generation after mine.  I have long observed them as being kind of like the baby boomers, but happier.  They are creative and amazing, and seem to be enjoying themselves.  Us X’ers are struggling with a generational creative angst, but we internalize it more.  I look at the generation after mine and want what they have, their spirit, their verve, their happiness.

Music means more to me than most things.  I listen to certain songs and I am transported to that creative energy wave where I feel connected to all things.  I hear certain lyrics and know that the poet who wrote it (that’s the extent of my poetic ability–Ha!) was speaking my words, only more eloquently and with a beautiful melody.  I have generated some of my best writing after hearing a song that took me to that energetic creative place.

So Matt, don’t underestimate the music of today.  It’s amazing.  I love it that we have avenues to access music outside the mainstream music industry.  Right now I live in Portland and the music vibe here is unbelievable.  We’re tuned in…just because we aren’t screaming it from the housetops like the baby boomers did doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect us just as deeply.

Starbucks Bathroom Epiphany

Okay.  I know this is gross, but I had a little realization the other day.  I was in Starbucks and had to use the restroom.  I went in and noticed it smelled.  I thought to myself, Man, Starbucks’ bathrooms always stink.  Then I wondered why.  Then I realized why.  Starbucks is a coffee joint.  What does coffee make you do?  We all know.  I can’t even drink the stuff because it turns my insides inside out.  Starbucks bathrooms always stink because all those people are buying coffee then having to go poop.  Yuck.  I just don’t think I want to go the bathroom there anymore.

Tales of a Grumpy Mailman

My mailman is grumpy.  He’s the grumpiest thing ever.  I have no idea what bug crawled up his butt, but it has set up residence there and makes Mr. Mailman the grumpiest mailman I’ve ever encountered.  I say hi to Grumpy Mailman, he looks at me like he wants to hit me.  Maybe he does.  He is a mailman after all, and mail carriers are notoriously grumpy, what with shooting up post offices and all that. It’s people like him who gave us the expression, Going postal.

He seems to have a particular problem with my mailbox.  It is a new style mailbox.  I got it to replace the old style one I had previously.  You know, the kind that is a piece of metal bent over into a half circle, flat on the bottom, with a door that has a little handle, and a red flag.  My mailman had well, issues, with my mailbox.  He could not seem to close the door.  I am not sure exactly why, but more often than not, I would go to check my mail and there it would be, door hanging open, mail available for anyone to look at.  It was near the street and under a tree.  I live in Oregon.  It is wet in Oregon.  So having my mailbox open under a tree in Oregon meant that even when it stopped raining, the tree continued to drip steadily into my mailbox.  And anyone who is paying even slight attention knows that identity thieves love stealing mail.

I wrote a nice note.  Dear Mail Person, I wrote.  Would you please be sure to close the door of my mailbox?  Otherwise my mail gets all wet.  Thank you.  That’s polite, isn’t it?  I called the carrier a “person” and not a “man” (I wasn’t sure of the gender at this point).  I said please.  I said thank you.  What more could one want?

Something else apparently because Grumpy Mail Person did not stop leaving the door open.   He also kept leaving the flag up, even after taking the mail.  I’d wait and wait for the mail to arrive, assuming it hadn’t because the flag was up.  Then I would realize the door was open so there was no way the carrier had not been there.  My mail would be inside, damp.

So I decided to go and get another mailbox.  I bought a locking mailbox.  It is black and kind of historic-looking to match my bungalow.  It has a bronze top that makes it look like it’s old.  There is a slot that is about 2 inches by 14 inches.  I tested the slot to see if it was big enough for magazines and whatnot to slip through.  Easy!  I was so excited about my new mailbox. I installed it and waited for the mail to come.

It did.  It was mangled and torn and the lid to the mailbox was left wide open.

Huh?

Consternated, I examined the mail in an effort to determine what had gone wrong.  It appeared the mailman had folded all the large mail in half.  This created quite a large wad of mail, not easily inserted into the slot.  This made little sense.  Why fold it?  I laid it out as originally designed and it inserted right through the slot in the mailbox.  No problem.  And why had he not closed the lid?  Hmmmmm…

Over the next several weeks, my mail was destroyed more frequently than not.  Because of the mailbox shape, when the lid was open, it filled with water.  This left the mail in a drenched sopping mess.  Then one day I received a certificate from the bar association for some pro bono work I had done.  Clearly printed in large letters across the envelope were the words DO NOT FOLD.  It was folded in half, the crease permanently embedded in the gold-embossed letters of the certificate.

Consternated, I called my mom.  My mom is a rural postal carrier.  She has worked for the post office for over twenty years.  I told her about my mail troubles.  She said that if mail did not fit then they were to fold it.

“But it fits!” I told her.  “In fact it fits BETTER if it’s not folded in half!”

“Well then you need to call your postmaster,” she told me.  “Your postmaster needs to know what is going on because that isn’t called for.”

Have you ever tried to call the local postmaster at a local post office?  Have you?  Try it.  Go to your phone book and look up your post office.  Right.  See that?  See that 1-800 number listed for EVERY SINGLE post office in your area?  Do you know what that means?  It means that you don’t get a local post office when you call.  It means you get the central 1-800 number.  It means you get to listen to post office advertising about how great it is to send packages via the US Postal Service.  It means you get to listen to some really fantastic music while you wait for a human.  I finally connected with the human.  She took my story.  She gave me some identification number.  She told me my local post office would call me back real soon.  She apologized for the trouble.  Hey, I just want my mail flat and dry.  Is that too much to ask?

A couple of days later, the local post master called.  He was grumpy.  I began to get an inkling that grumpiness and this post office went hand in hand.  First he spent about 20 minutes trying to convince me that my mailbox was not post office approved.  It was.  It had said so right on the box.  He asked where I got it.  I told him.  He said that place sometimes sold not approved mailboxes.  I told him that this one was approved.  He then said that older mailboxes that had been in stores a while ago and were approved then weren’t always approved now.  I told him I had just purchased it the month before.  He told me it still didn’t sound like it was right.  Finally I asked him if he had spoken to my postal carrier and determined the box was not post office approved.  He told me he had not.  Then I asked him to hold on a sec.  I used my mobile phone and called my mom and asked her.  She had seen my new mailbox.  She said it was post office approved.  I got back on with the postmaster and told him that my mom was a carrier and that she had seen it and that it was approved.  He finally let that go.  Then he informed me that the carriers were required to fold mail in half.

“That’s crazy,” I told him, “Especially when the mail says right on it ‘DO NOT FOLD.'”

“Well that’s what I tell them,” he informed me.  “It’s our policy.”

Well then you need another policy because my mail is getting ruined and it fits just fine without being folded in half.  Incidentally, I asked my mom after this conversation if she was supposed to fold all mail in half and her postmaster is just the opposite.  They aren’t allowed to fold anything unless it absolutely will not go in any other way.  However, I was not privy to this information at the time of this phone call.  And I was getting frustrated.

“You know,” I told the postmaster, “I’m getting really frustrated here.  My mail is getting ruined.  I had to buy a new mailbox because my carrier kept leaving the other one open and I was worried about mail theft, not to mention the fact that my mail was sopping wet 90 percent of the time.  Now you just spent ten minutes trying to convince me my mailbox is the problem, and now you’re telling me all my mail has to be folded in half when it makes no sense to do so.  Do you have a boss I can talk to because I seem to be getting no where with you.”  The postmaster’s tone changed after that.  He said he would talk to the carrier and make sure my mailbox was closed and my mail not ruined.  I thanked him and hung up.

Over the weeks, not much changed except my mailbox was closed more often than not.  It was still left open sometimes, but not as much as it had been.  Then the weather improved and I didn’t notice when it was open because the mail did not get all wet.  I kept trying to be friendly to my carrier when I saw him even though he frowned at me when I said hello.  I gave him a Christmas gift three years in a row.  I figured he needed some happiness with that grumpy postmaster of his.  The two of them were like two peas in a pod.  I would occasionally ask my mother about it, but she kept going on and on about how different city carriers were from rural carriers and how the post office was getting to be such an unpleasant place to work and on and on.  I finally quit bringing it up because I didn’t want to hear about it anymore.

This fall, it started getting bad again.  In an effort to avoid a call to the postmaster or the 1-800 number, I wrote out a nice note on an index card, put it in a ziplock bag, and taped it to the top of my mailbox.  It said:  Please do not fold my mail.  Also please close the mailbox lid because leaving it open makes my mail wet.  This seemed to work.  The mail fit perfectly, it was dry, everything was wonderful.

Then about a week before Christmas, I went out to discover the mailbox lid wide open.  Now, I don’t know if you are aware, but this has been one of the wettest years I can remember in Oregon and this day had been one of those rainy days where the drops are a half an inch across and soak everything.  In the mailbox, my two bills and two Christmas cards were so wet, the letters on the cards were unreadable.  I took them in the house.  They dripped, literally dripped on the rugs!  One of the cards held photos.  They were destroyed.

That did it.  I was mad.  I had maintained some semblance of cool for years while my grumpy mailman went about his shitty day ruining my mail and acting like I was the asshole for bringing it up.  I went online and found the US Postal Service website.  It had a place for comments.  It did not have a place for complaints.  I went to the place for comments.  I said in the subject, I do not have a comment, I have a complaint.  I described what had happened to my mail.  I told them that the lid on the mailbox worked perfectly, that it wasn’t rusty, that it closed easily.  I then stated I had spoken to the local postmaster before and he had not been very helpful and so I was writing this message to whoever got the comments from the website.

Three weeks later I received an email response.  It informed me that my message had been forwarded to the local office and I would be receiving a call within 24 hours.  A week later, I had not received a call.  I replied to the email.  I told them I had received no call in 24 or 48 or even 72 hours, that it had been a week and that I had gotten no call.

The next day I was not home but my brother was here.  He said the post office called and would talk to the carrier about my complaint.  Good.  I was glad.  I had not had to speak to grumpy postmaster, but someone had the message.

Two days later, my mailbox was wide open.  The mail inside was a sopping ball of paper.  Literally, a ball.  I removed the mass and held it, dumbfounded.  I decided I would drive it to the post office and show the postmaster.  And that is what I did.  I went to the post office.  I waited in the very long line.  I approached the counter person (who was VERY nice by the way.  All the counter people were.  Maybe grumpy postmaster doesn’t affect them very much.) and showed them my mail lump.

“This is how my mail was in my box,” I said.  “I have called before, but it doesn’t seem to help.  So I thought maybe the person in charge could SEE what I am talking about.”

The counter person looked appalled.  “This is how the mail was in your mailbox?” he asked incredulously?  “Yes.  Exactly.  I took it out and brought it in just as it was in the mailbox.”

He went into the back.  He was gone several minutes. When he returned, he was carrying a camera.  “Can I take this and photograph it?”  Of course.  So he did.  He told me he would show the postmaster.  He took down my name and address.  I left.

It has been about a month since I did that.  My mail has been flat.  My mailbox has been closed.  My brother went out one day to try and retrieve his mail directly from the mailman because he was here and could do so.  My brother said the mailman snarled at him and would not give him the mail.  So Derek came in and got the key and got the mail.  Seems none of this has made the mailman any less grumpy.

Just now, before I wrote this, I was sitting here working on my book.  I saw the mailman out my window.  He was walking along carrying the mail.  He had a grumpy look on his face.  He does not seem very happy.  I don’t think he likes his job.  I don’t believe he left my mailbox open out of spite, I just don’t think he pays attention.  For whatever reason he is caught up in his own grumpiness and pain.  It’s too bad.  Today is actually sort of pretty.  The sun wants to come out, though the clouds are winning.  He’s wasting every minute he goes grumbling around.  I hope he finds what will make him happy, whether it’s becoming something other than a carrier or learning to enjoy what he does.  In any case, I just want him to close my mailbox.

Would You Like Fries With Your News?

I do not read or watch the news.  I know there are those out there who would consider this irresponsible, and perhaps for them this is true.  But I know most of it is designed to keep my heart rate elevated and probably also to make me shop, two things I have no desire to experience on a regular basis, so for over a decade I have engaged in a “news fast.”

Ironically enough, this has not kept me from being aware of what is going on in the world around me, although I did not know who Laci Peterson was, the pregnant lady who was murdered, until her husband was on trial (and in fact I had to google Lacy and pregnant to get her name for this, such is my lack of knowledge on the subject).  I like to peruse the Living section in the paper and get the little entertainment blurbs.  I also like the Metro section and when I’m at Starbucks or see it somewhere, I’ll read a lot of it.  This is the section on Portland and surrounding areas, so often the information is useful.  I will occasionally glance at the opinions section, and I like to check out the obituaries to see if anyone young died.  Weird, I know.  All of this is only when I’m at Starbucks or another coffee place that has papers and I’m sitting alone and forgot to bring a book or desire something a little more fluffy than whatever I happen to be reading at the moment.

I never watch television news.  Ever.  I absolutely hate it.  When I last watched news, the stories were less like music videos than they are now.  When I catch a glimpse of the news at someone else’s house or in a store where its blaring, it blows my mind how far it seems from anything desiring to impart information.  It’s constant noise and visual effects and seriously, it looks like music videos.  I hate it.

I am on a few political listserves, MoveOn and People United for Change.  I get emails from them and I read through them.  I unsubscribed from most of them because when I was getting too much, I never read any of it.  At least by limiting the number I can absorb some of the information, but I limit what I take in because there is just so much to get angry about, and I do not want to spend my life pissed off.  I know someone once said that if you aren’t mad, you aren’t paying attention, but I can’t spend every minute of every day being angry.  I can make choices that hopefully contribute to change, but being angry all the time isn’t going to help anything and will likely make me sick, so my choice is to limit the sheer volume of information, especially about the current administration.  Yes, they are power hungry.  Yes, they are liars.  Yes, they’ve created multiple disasters that will take years to sort out.  Okay.  I get it, but I’m not spending my time on this planet pissed off every minute of every day.

There is a point to this.  I have a yahoo email account.  I use it for things like ebay or Craigslist ads, stuff I don’t want in my personal email.  When you login to yahoo, the front page is one liner news.  I have been following the Heath Ledger stuff.  I liked him as an actor.  A lot.  I thought he was brilliant in Brokeback Mountain, but he was a standout even in his early stuff like 10 Things I Hate About You.  And I loved A Knight’s Tale.  Plus lately it seems like I keep hearing about people dying from prescription drugs.  A friend of mine died last spring from the drugs she was taking for eczema.  In December, two friends of mine each had a friend who died in their sleep from taking prescription drugs, and I read it was a possibility Brad Renfro died from prescription drug interactions, possibly with illegal drugs or alcohol.  (See my post from 1-22-2008.  It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but I noticed all these people dying from prescription drugs.) So I have been following the Heath Ledger story out of interest from that angle as well.  I’ll be curious what the autopsy report shows.

Anyway, as I logged in to my yahoo account each day, I saw the stories on Heath and I actually clicked on them and read them.  Mostly the yahoo stories seemed to add a new paragraph to the top of the same story while the bottom paragraphs stayed the same.  Then the other morning, I went to Starbucks and decided to hang out for a while.  I went to the used paper bin and started pulling out the sections I like to read.  The front page had a story on Heath, so I grabbed it.  Back at my table, I started reading the story and maybe there are those out there who will not be surprised by this, but the story was one hundred percent, word-for-word identical to the stories on yahoo.

Okay.  I’m not naive.  I know that media is consolidated.  But really, do we get one story every time we read the news?  Does some person out there get to write it, then that is the story that is copied here, there, and everywhere?  For the next several days, whenever I went into a Starbucks, I pulled out the paper and there was the same Heath info straight off yahoo news.  It was the same whether the paper was the Oregonian or the NY Times.  How boring is that?

I KNOW how publicist’s work. I KNOW that if someone wants something to be the official story, get all the news orgs to pick it up and that will be what’s reported.  I KNOW the vagaries of the media conglomorate system.  But does that still mean we have to have one story written by one writer that’s put out into the system of what we get to read?  That is so boring!  And these stories don’t have a byline. They are just bland.

I find this disappointing.  Are we all so used to this now that I shouldn’t be surprised?  No wonder people often don’t believe what is in the news.  You get one story over and over, it’s easy to believe we’re being fed what someone wants us to believe.  Reporters are supposed to report what they observe, the truth as they see it.  And there are those who believe there is one truth, one thing that factually occurred.  But we all know that we each see things differently according to our own conditioning.  If we get five accounts of the same event, we can put those together and perhaps get a more flavorful account of something we were not there to experience.  When we get one sanitized, flavorless, boring version of what supposedly is, it’s hard not to wonder if there is more to the story.  I think we’re all less likely to trust what we’re given when it’s force fed, canned blandness.  Or perhaps we’re less likely to question.  Don’t question it and don’t believe it.  It’s like the television news with its music video visual bombardment, all hype and no substance.  There’s nothing there.  We’re not being told anything.  Here we have the internet and this theoretical access to the entire world, but we’re all being fed the same thing.  We have this opportunity for imagination and creativity to flourish, and instead the entire world gets the same thing. Assembly-line news.  News like Starbucks.  And Target.  And Walmart.  And Sears.  And on and on and on.  Even politicians have turned into mass market products to appeal to everyone and no one.  Yuck.  What a sad state of affairs we’ve gotten ourselves into.

We need a change.  I have been sitting here mulling over the sheer enormity of the bland mass marketing of every single thing.  I guess people will have to want it to change in order for it to happen.  The number of various levels on which change would have to happen to actually succeed is staggering.  As such, it’s easy to see why anyone would look at that magnitude, feel powerless, and so do nothing.  But that doesn’t work.  Each person has to change what they can if they want things to be different.  If each one of us does that, anything is possible.

Laundry Day

So a short time back I wrote a rant on people who don’t “believe” in global warming. A man responded to my post. His blog can be found here.  I went to his site and started to read. He made me laugh and think. I went back today to read his latest post and he had this great gripefest about laundry. Funny, today was my laundry day too. I still have piles of the shit to fold, but at least I have clothes and at least laundry is the worst thing going on, and comparatively, it’s not that bad.

I decided today that I was going to finally FINISH the fucking laundry. I do a load here, a load there, fold it sometimes, don’t fold it others. It was getting out of hand. So today I washed. It took all day. I have been avoiding this task. I poured it all on my bed so I could not go to sleep without folding it and putting it away. I did not count on a visit from my dad. I expected a visit from a friend this evening, but the dad visit threw a wrench into the entire system. So when daughter wanted me to read to her and she was on the couch because our bed was covered in laundry and it was ten o’clock, I realized I was going to have to let go of the illusion that the laundry would be completed in one day or even one twenty-four hour period. I did manage to separate it out into piles though, socks and underwear in the basket, clothes in a pile, towels and sheets in a pile. What a fucking pain in the ass. But I know, I know. I should be grateful I have clothes to fold and that this is the worst I have to bitch about in this moment. All in all, it really isn’t that bad.

Could it Be a Blonde-Actor Murder Conspiracy?

Has anyone noticed how much Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger look alike?  They could have been brothers.  Now they are both dead.  Maybe there is a conspiracy afoot to murder blonde attractive men.  They had the same eyes.  Weird.  I bet no one puts two and two together.  I wonder if a bunch of non-famous blonde men have died in their sleep from unknown causes.  That would be even more suspicious.  Very strange indeed.

In any case, I hope Heath did not commit suicide.  What a sad choice for him if he did.  I have heard of two women near me who died under similar circumstances in the last two months.  One was 39, the other was 26.  Both were taking prescription meds.  Both were found dead in their beds.  Neither of them was depressed and neither death was ruled a suicide.  I have two friends who were friends with each of them.  They died within a week of one another in Portland.  Last spring, another friend of mine died from taking prescription meds for exzema.

Considering the number of people in my life who have died from prescription drugs versus the total number I know, it seems the total numbers of deaths are quite high.  I’ve known one person who died in a car accident.  I’ll bet most would cite car accidents as more likely than deaths from prescription drugs, but based on the number of people I know who have died and under what circumstances, prescription drugs are much more worrisome.

Hmmmm…this is all stream of consciousness, but it is something interesting to think about.  Perhaps there is some validity to my unwillingness to take any drugs, including prescription ones.

Summer Shoe Longing

I went in my closet to find some longjohns to put under my overalls so I can work outside on the house and get it ready to sell.  I bent down to grab them from under a pile of work clothes (you know, the stuff you don’t care if it gets paint or caulk on it) and a pair of summer shoes caught my eye.  They are these gorgeous navy heels with white piping trim.  There are two leather straps that start up near the toes, criss-cross and curve back.  Another strap goes around the ankle and buckles.

Oh I long for warm enough weather to wear those sexy ass shoes.  I love those shoes.  I love having pretty toenails peeking out from the criss-crossing straps.  I love how they make my legs look long and thin.  I love the way the weather has to be to wear those shoes. Makes me long for sun.  Makes me long for wispy skirts and tank tops.  Mmmmmmm….yummy!

I’m sitting here in a heavy sweater, my paint-splattered overalls lumpy with the longjohns underneath, and while it’s difficult to imagine, I am going to San Diego in February and all I can hope is that there will be one day warm enough to wear those shoes.  Maybe I need to schedule a manicure….

Ranting

As a bankruptcy attorney, I dealt day to day with the fallout of the “sub-prime” mortgage crisis.  It’s getting worse.  ARM loan rates go up, people have less money to pay their other bills, they get behind, call the bankruptcy attorney.  I heard story after story, helped when I could, but the system is broken.  There are no safety nets for people.

What I find ironic, and what really actually pisses me off, is that these huge banks have been screaming Deregulation! Deregulation! Deregulation! for years and they got what they wanted.  Credit card companies do what they want when they want.  Sub-prime home loans are commonplace.  What few laws that are left are ignored by greedy lenders looking to suck in any consumer desperate enough to want a home.  And now the house of cards is falling all around us and what do the big banks do?  Go crying to Congress to fix it for them.

Two years ago these banks asked Congress to punish the shit out of consumers filing for bankruptcy claiming they were losing too much and consumers were getting away with something.  Consumers need to take better responsibility for their financial decisions!  They need to pay for their mistakes!  Congress jumped on board and passed some of the worst legislation ever designed.  It ignored reality and served a very rich few.  It has not stopped bankruptcy, it has only made it a bigger pain in the ass.  Now the banks are suffering from their own stupidity and greed and they want Congress to fix it for them.  What happened to RESPONSIBILITY?  What happened to paying for your own MISTAKES?  How about we create legislation like the bankruptcy laws and stick it to their asses?  Oh no, they’ll whine.  You can’t do THAT.  It will hurt the ECONOMY!  Fuck, the economy is a mess.  Anything that looks like stability is an illusion.  Consumer purchases are paid for by borrowed money.  The US is in debt up to its eyeballs.  It’s going to come crashing to the ground.  It is inevitable.   Congress can pretend to try and bail out these stupid fucking banks, but it’s only going to be a bandaid.

Capitalism is a triangle.  It requires a bottom to keep the shit running.  It also requires a down to every up.  We have been in a pretend up for a very long time.  It’s going to come back down.  Everyone who is on the deregulation boat is going to get what they deserve.  There is a reason we don’t want pure laissez-faire capitalism.  There is a reason we need to regulate.  We only need to look at China to see what capitalism without regulation looks like…children working horrible hours for worthless pay, no safety standards, a good deal of the country in poverty while a rich few sit back with guns, shooting those who dare to question them.

Okay.  I have to stop.  I’m getting all irritated.  I just find it ironic that the same banks who worked so damn hard for deregulation are the same ones that want us to bail them out.

Restaurant Status Anxiety

What is it with servers in upscale restaurants telling patrons that everything is their’s?  What is the soup today?  Well, I have the red curry muttonchop pecan basil noodle with french onions.  You do?  Really?  Did you get that mutton yourself or did you have someone do it for you?  And tell me, is bread offered with the meal?  Well, no.  I do not offer bread.  What is that?  Do they want us to think that they are the ones in the back preparing the meal, like we’re having some kind of personal relationship with this person or something?  We’re supposed to pretend that the kitchen doesn’t exist and assume it’s all created out of thin air by some supercillious server?

And what is up with the attitude?  Are they trying to act like an ass as a means to intercept my acting like an ass?  Do they think that if they treat me with a superiority complex then perhaps I won’t roll mine out?  Get over yourself.  You’re doing your job.  I’m buying some food and perhaps enjoying some company.  End of story.  Stop with the attitude already.

Finally, the food.  Why is chicken noodle soup a “chicken broth basted pasta with basil and onion”?  Uh no.  Chicken noodle soup.  Call it what you want.  Charge fourteen times what it’s worth if you want to, it’s still chicken noodle soup!

Status anxiety in restaurants is the most annoying kind.  Customers go in and treat the wait staff like crap because they are servers. Servers treat the customers like crap because they want the customers to know how busy and important their restaurant is.  Restaurants cater to customers who believe they are busy and important because of how much money they have or the job that they do.  All of it is so damn annoying and obvious.  It makes me want to scream.

One time, shortly after graduating from law school, I was eating at a restaurant with a law school friend.  While we were there, a law school alum and acquaintance who had been hired by one of the big ten firms in town came over to say hello.  He flipped his business card at us.  It was so pretentious, I had to wonder what he wanted to prove.  He literally flipped it, holding it in two fingers.  My friend and I discovered after leaving the restaurant that the place had just that week been voted one of the “Top Eats” in town and was a place to “See and be seen.”  Getting a table there was supposed to be a feat in and of itself.  Oh, okay.  Business card now makes sense.  Unfortunately, we were not duly impressed, we were only confused and thought it was weird.  How had we gotten a table?  Was it because my friend had an Australian accent?  Did we give off “lawyer vibe” in our jeans and sweaters and lawyers were customers the restaurant wanted?  We had no idea.  That’s how it is with us not on the radar types.  We had gotten a table without even trying at a restaurant where getting a table was apparently a difficulty and we had zero clue.  I want to stay off the radar.  I want to go somewhere and eat food because it tastes good and the company I’m with is enjoyable.  I don’t want to concern myself with how busy and important the restaurant is or how impressive I am.

I ate at a restaurant today that inspired this bit of restaurant philosophy.  The server was friendly until she discovered we were not ordering large quantities of food, appetizers, an entree, a dessert, and wine.  It felt to my friend and me like she made an assumption about us because her attitude towards us changed after we ordered small meals.  She called everything hers and the food all had pretentious names.  Our order wasn’t exactly as we had asked for and she appeared at our table as infrequently as she could get away with.  As this occurred, I enjoyed the company of my friend and thought briefly about this experience.  She doesn’t know how much money I have or who I am. What if I had an important job (as defined by American culture) and lots of money?  What if I frequented restaurants on a regular basis?  Whatever her reasons for treating us like we were beneath her and for giving us terrible service, I will not go back to that restaurant anytime soon and I did not tip more than ten percent.

Leaving

Every day brings me closer to the decision to move.  I think I’m finally completely there. I have a realtor I spoke to in the fall.  I’m planning to call him this afternoon.  There are also several house things I need to finish that I can work on while I’m unemployed…in between writing pointless blogs and working on my book and articles.

This place does not like me, in spite of my liking it.  It’s kind of like unrequited love with a place.  Unrequited love is my theme.  I am ready for a new theme.  I want a place that loves me.  I want a job that loves me.  I want a man who loves me.  And I am so ready to love them in return.  I just don’t want to be the one doing all the work anymore.

So while taking the steps to leave, I’m searching for somewhere new.  I’m curious where that will be.

Piper Killed the Snooze Alarm Button

010.jpg61,872 new posts today!  I’m going to hurry and post this before writing more and see if it goes up to 61,873.  No!  It didn’t!  Bummer.  I actually thought it would flip ahead like 8000 or something.  But no.  Neither.

My daughter woke up early this morning.  Fidget. Fidget.  Then that woke up Piper. Piper is an I’m AWAKE now! sort of dog.  I don’t want to suffer through four snoozes on the alarm.  The alarm went off.  It’s time to get up.  Feed me NOW!  He jumps off the bed with his short little legs and starts to whimper.  And whimper.  And whimper.  And whimper.  And whimper.  And…Piper!  Shut UP!  That only makes it worse because he then knows you are awake and only faking it.  I’ve tried just picking him back up and putting him back in bed, but then he plods around on it trying to get comfy but he can’t because he’s hungry (at least that’s what I think is going on) and possibly because his legs are so short that walking on the bed for him is like crossing rough terrain for us, so he jumps off the bed again and the whole thing starts over.  Somewhere in the middle of all this the alarm goes off again making it all a moot point.  Yes, Piper killed the snooze alarm button.  That sounds like a cool title for a song.  Piper killed the snooze alarm button (gettin’ jiggy wit it in my chair).

So this morning, Piper didn’t kill the snooze alarm button because it is Saturday and the alarm was not on.  HOWEVER, this did not stop Milla from wakening early and starting to fidget which woke Piper up.  I’m lying there trying very hard not to move and acknowledge to either of them that I am awake.  Unfortunately, Milla is the sort that thinks that if she is awake, everyone else must be awake too.  She’s not loud about it.  She tries to be sweet, I recognize this.  Only it’s SATURDAY and there is NO ALARM so can we please lie there blissfully for a little time anyway?

No.  No, we can’t.  Because Milla is awake and Piper is awake.  Mama, I have to go potty.   Really bad.  I feel like my bladder is going to explode.  Okay, well.  So go then.  But it’s so full. Well, then go pee.  But I want you to come with me.  Milla, I do not want to come with you.  If I get up, then I will have to pee too and then I’ll be awake and I don’t want to be awake yet.

Whimper.

Uh oh.  There goes Piper.  Our voices got him started.  Uh oh, Milla. Now you did it.  Now you’re going to have to take Piper potty too and give him food and water or he won’t stop.  I know this.  So then we went back and forth and back and forth, Milla telling me she had to go potty, me telling her go ahead and get it done, and Piper whimpering. Then me telling Milla to feed the dog too and Milla telling me no and me telling Milla since she woke up Piper she gets to deal with Piper.

Finally, finally Milla’s bladder couldn’t stand it any longer so she got up and went pee.  Piper followed her.  She came back to bed.   Piper followed her.  She did not feed or water him.  Piper grew much more insistent.  I mean, that little girl was up.  She was OUT of bed.  She even walked into the room where the food dishes are, and she didn’t feed me?  What the hell is up with that?  Hey, who can blame him?  I would have been annoyed too.  So I pointed out that Milla not feeding and watering Piper was cruelty and that the devil would dance on her bones for starving a poor, defenseless little dog, and how could she be so cruel?  Piper in the meantime has not stopped whimpering.  In fact, his plaintive little noises could be characterized as whining now.  Full blown whining.  And Edna and Molly heard the words “puppy chow” so they are up too, Edna shaking and making her tags rattle and Molly dancing around like it’s a party in 1999.

Blissful, comfortable, drifty Saturday morning?  Nah.  I don’t think so.

Post #45

Have you ever had a brilliant thought in the car or in the middle of the night when you’re too tired to get up and do anything about it then the second you’re in a place you can write it down it’s gone?  I suppose that is what separates the successful creators from the unsuccessful ones, either the ability to remember those brilliant ideas or the wherewithall to drag your ass out of bed to write the thoughts down.  There is that little thing though, about something seeming brilliant in the edges of sleep, and it turns out to be pretty crappy in the light of day.

Apparently this brilliant piece of drivel was my post number 45.  I don’t know why I didn’t post it or name it.  I was probably distracted by living in some other moment than the one I was in, longing for Ron or Frederick or some other figment of my imagination and not paying attention to the moment I was in.  So today I’m fiddling around with my wordpress account, creating a new theme, doing something different, and I notice there is a little button above where I compose that says DRAFTS.  And after DRAFTS it said Post #45.  So I clicked on it and found this tidbit of thought.  I remember typing it, but beyond that I don’t recall much.  However considering I have wasted many days in the last several weeks not living in the present and focusing heavily on the male figments of my imagination, I can reasonably assume that one of them is the reason the post was interrupted and forgotten.  How sad it is.  How sad indeed.

When I consider the hours, days, weeks, months, years I have wasted living outside the moment I am in….ah well.  I suppose lamenting this would be futile as well.  There is no way to retrieve those moments.  I can only hope I remember to live in the present going forward.

Today is particularly difficult.  I must remember this is only about my third day of understanding, and I would not say it’s full understanding or that my brain is in a groove with it yet.  I would suggest to myself that this will take some time, but I don’t want to limit things.  At least awareness is present, so that should help.  But today I have been wanting to live my old patterns.  I have been fighting the urge to leave the messenger on in the hopes that one of the figments will communicate with me.  He has, but it has been little.  I heard something on the radio that reminded me of the figment and felt something funny in my stomach.  Reminder again, he’s a figment, he’s a figment.  Get here.  Look at the sky.  Isn’t it cool? Look at the clouds swirling in the late afternoon light.  The sun wants to peek through.  It is cold, but it is bright.  Okay, I’m here.

Post #45.  Sounds like a mile marker.  Perhaps I can find some interesting metaphor for the milepost to help me remember that the other stuff is all just figment.  It is where I have been in this qwest to live in the moment and to avoid living somewhere else.  It can help me give up the figments who are really only synapses firing in my brain.  Here I am.  Here is this bright computer screen.  Here are these keys that I type on so effortlessly.  Here is the heater on my cold feet and my bladder that feels as if it would like to be emptied.  Click on the mute button so if the figment sends you an IM you do not scramble in an attempt to respond immediately, thereby engaging the figment or hoping the figment will communicate further with you.  Relax.  Breathe.  You are here right now.  And that is all that matters.

Dharma Struggles

I have been thinking a lot lately about being present in the current moment, living right here right now, because living anywhere else gets me into trouble.  I have been struggling with this concept for some time now.  I think I originally started with the Tao Te Ching a couple of years ago, and at that time it seemed right, but I didn’t start to live it.  Then I lived the worst year of my life and the concept was placed before me in a book by Pema Chodren called When Things Fall Apart.  There were moments last year where existing hurt so badly, where if I had not had my daughter I would have chosen to die (although some of the moments would not have happened without having my daughter because they came from problems with my ex and his girlfriend so who knows how things would have been).  In any case, I did not want to be here I hurt that much.  During those moments, sometimes the only way I could get through would be to read the book about being in the moment and be in that moment reading that book.  Or I would lie in bed and hold my daughter and focus on that moment alone to get to the next.

Then Peter came along and I became obsessed with his lying and cheating and totally tossed all the living in the moment out the window.  Focusing on him took the focus off me.  But that got old and I finally chose to walk away.  Since him, I have had a series of “relationships” where in each case, the man would be there but not be there or disappear or act in any number of ways that were not present.  Finally, I have been communicating with a man for over a month via email, chat, and phone, who makes no effort to see me in person despite ample opportunity and despite many claims that he would like to meet.  And with him I just realized I was projecting this entire what could be scenario onto him and absolutely not living in the present.  He’s this, he’s that, he’s everything I think I want, yada yada, but these are all external things.  They are not him because he is not real.  He is not here.  I have never seen his face in real life!  Jesus, it’s ridiculous!

And it dawned on me, what the hell does the universe have to do to get me to understand this point?  After the last couple of years, I have lamented to anyone who would listen, if the universe just told me what to do, I would do it.  But the universe did just that:  it gave me the Tao Te Ching over two years ago.  I did not live it.  It gave me the worst emotional pain I have ever experienced and I did not live it.  It finally gave me a series of relationships whereby each subsequent man was less present than the first.  It finally took one who is really not here for me to think, “What in the world am I supposed to be learning from this?”  I was asking this question before, but I was NOT getting it.  Now I think I’ve got it and I wonder, why the hell was it so hard to fucking figure out?

So now I am here and I am trying to live in each moment.  As part of this, I am trying to accept who I am in this moment, not to judge, not to criticize, not to worry, just to be.  And it is the most peaceful I have ever felt.  I have been worrying incessantly about where my next dime is supposed to come from.  I have been terrified of owing taxes and where my next mortgage payment is coming from.  But all of those things are not hurting me right now.  In this moment, the mortgage is paid.  In this moment, no one is taking anything from me because I owe taxes or my family-law attorney.  I am going with the dharma, existing here and now.  Why waste this moment worrying about what is not happening, right now?

Yet here is where I get confused.  I need to find some way to earn money.  I do not want to wait until the moment when my house is being repossessed to realize that that moment sucks!  There has to be responsibly planning for the future without sacrificing the now.  Only I have no idea how to go about it.  Another big part of all of this process is choosing the life I lead in a manner best suited to who I am.  I chose law school to escape where I had been rather than to choose a life I wanted.  This was a terrible reason.  I hated being a lawyer.  It was the biggest mistake I have ever made.  I wanted to write so I chose law school thinking I could make money writing and because I feared that I couldn’t make money writing any other way and feared that my writing wasn’t good enough and made this major life choice without having had any idea what my life would be like.  It was all about escape and fear and concerns about what other people thought about me and making money and nothing about living my life on my terms or accepting who I was or what I could do without worrying about other people.

So now I am trying to make active choices about who I want to be, what kind of life I want to live, doing things that nourish my soul, and at the same time, I have to pay the mortgage.  One part of me says keep doing these things you need to be who you are.  Write the articles and books.  Try to teach the classes.  Do the astrological consultations.  And if you do these things, money will flow to you, because you are doing what you need to do.  But I admit it.  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid if I don’t take more active steps like even applying at Starbucks or putting this house on the market before I get behind on the mortgage, I will lose this house and end up in a worse position than I am in now.  It is all coming from fear.  I do not trust the universe to take care of me.  I suppose that is the crux of it, isn’t it?  Maybe I should pay attention and try to get whatever lesson is in this before life gets really rough, like it did with the living in the moment stuff.  But I just don’t know how.  So I am asking the universe, please, give me some guidance and I will pay attention.  I will do what I have to do to pay attention so you do not have to bonk me on the head.  I will do my best to trust and have faith that I will be cared for and that everything will be okay.  I don’t suppose I have any other choice.

Brainless, but no anal probes

I wrote to my good friend Goro in Hawaii.  Because he is a fellow space creature, I asked him if he had seen the mother ship, that I was lost.  He told me had not been able to locate the ship.  He wondered whether I could take him to my leader.  I had to tell him that I have no leader and that I have no brain.

“Haven’t you read the letter I received from Brain Restorative Services, LLC?” I asked him?

In case you are not aware, my brain was lost over the Bermuda Triangle some time ago.  Aliens have no interest in me because there is no brain to probe.  At least they are leaving my anus alone.  There are some benefits to being brainless.  I mean, you could end up president, you know?  Then instead of taking people to your leader, others would bring people to you.  If you were so inclined, you could pass them on to the aliens to study.

“Troubled” Actor Dies

Brad Renfro died.  Why is it this makes me so sad?  Another young actor taken by drugs.  It happens.  I loved that kid’s energy.  I noticed it early.  He just had a presence.  He was in the movie, Sleepers.  Now, there was a movie with tough material.  Unbelievable material.  He was amazing in that awful story.  Everything horrible that happened to the character in that movie showed on that kid’s face.  Later when I heard of him having drug problems, he reminded me of River Phoenix and I hoped it wouldn’t end up being what he was known for.  He obviously chose a path to learn something, but I don’t think he got it.  Now he will have to come back and do it again.

There is so much I don’t understand.  I’m not sitting here lamenting the travesty at the waste of youth; I get it that young people die as well as old people.  I’m not lamenting the shame of it, although I recognize that it is a shame and that is something to lament.  What I don’t understand is what his energy was like right before he died.  What was out there?  If he had made a different choice than the one that led to his death, would he realize he had dodged a bullet?

The news headline says “Troubled Actor Brad Renfro Dies at 25.”  That’s what they call him, “troubled actor.”  It sucks.  We won’t see talented kid whose presence affected people.  At least I noticed him.  He may not have had the blockbuster of Haley Osmont or Dakota Fanning, but he could act and he continued working.  He was this little kid and he had access to his emotions, could put them out there for us on the screen.  People magazine called him one to watch under 30 when he was 13 years old.  Maybe that is part of why he was troubled, those available emotions.  Maybe not.  Maybe he just started taking drugs for fun and then could not stop.  But I looked at his bio on IMDB and saw that he was raised by his grandma.  Sounds like maybe things weren’t so kosher at home.  I doubt this all happened in a vacuum.

Addendum:  A few days after his death, I did some searching and discovered on Wikipedia that he indeed had trouble at home before he was ever cast in a movie.  He’d had run-ins with the law by age ten, and the director who cast him in his first movie, The Client, saw that maturity and pain in his eyes that I saw on the screen as well.  Apparently, the director said he wanted “a tough and savvy survivor, a kid with an authentic Southern accent, a kid from a trailer park, like the character in the movie.”  He then found Renfro in a police station.

Over the next couple of weeks, if they deem him a big enough star to warrant any attention, the rag mags will trot out all the stories, rehash his “troubled” history, and come to the same sad conclusion that Hollywood is terrible for kids.  But I think they miss the point.  Troubled dysfunctional families are terrible for kids.  Not having the time to develop the tools to deal with growing up in troubled dysfunctional families is terrible for anyone, whether in Hollywood or not.   Growing up in families that don’t give you those tools forces us to sink or swim.  And sometimes, even when you think you’re swimming, you may only be treading water.

I Admit It–I’m Not a Success

I have decided I’m going to become a character on the Simpsons.  I don’t know who yet, but I would rather be a Simpsons character than a human.  I could have blue hair and no one would bat an eye.  I’d only have three fingers, but that wouldn’t be so bad.  And everyone stays the same age forever.  Good times!

I remembered this morning something that was said to me by the man I liked who has now disappeared.  He said his biggest flaw is that he often changes his mind.  Maybe I should have paid bigger attention to that?  Sometimes we ignore what is most obvious.  I know I shouldn’t care, because enlightened, perfectly mentally-healthy people aren’t supposed to care, but I’m thoroughly embarrassed at the prospect of telling my counselor how this has gone.  And it’s not like I can’t say something.  I gushed last week.  Actually gushed.  Eewww.  I don’t gush often so it stood out.  I know she’s going to ask and I’m going to have to fess up and it is going to suck, pure and simple.  Humiliation, my favorite emotion.

I actually have a policy of not telling people about the men I’ve been seeing because they never turn into anything.  That became another humiliation, all the times I’d say something about someone I was seeing and then it would crash and burn and then I’d have to explain it.  The worst was last summer when I had a party.  One of the primary purposes of that party was to introduce my fab new boyfriend to all my friends.

He didn’t show up.  Yeah.  That was good.  The party sunk to new lows when another friend kissed me.  Small problem.  That friend is married.  Um, can you stop?  He did, but it was weird.  We had gone into my bathroom together to look at the bookshelf I’d built.  I’d had a couple shots of vodka.  Considering I drink maybe once or twice a year, two shots of vodka was like bathing in alcohol for me.  Come on shoot one, it will be fun!  Those party friends don’t understand how it is for us non-drinkers.  Aaaanyway, new boyfriend wasn’t at my party.  I was in the throes of shame.  Then bam, friend lays one on me.  He’d had a few too many beers himself.  We were in there, kissing, when I remembered his wife.  Um, wife?  Oh yeah.  So we stopped.  Then knock, knock, knock.  Who’s in there?  I need to go potty!  Out come two very sheepish and shamefaced humans.  Unfortunately, the only folks left at the party were those same friends who had encouraged my alcohol consumption.  You know, the types who stay late at parties, drink a lot, and enjoy such shenanagins, live for them in fact.  The ones who drink the most, start smoking when they never do in real life, leave last, and ceaselessly discuss what happened there for weeks.  They kept trying to take each of us out for lunch and get us to fess up.  Fortunately, neither of us caved.  But it was weird.  Weird. Weird. Weird.

What is this, blog confessional?  I read an interesting article yesterday.  It was about success and failure.  The author theorizes that to find true success, embrace your failures.  Fuck up royally?  Say so.  It’s liberating.  I think I’m already on that side of the fence.  I’ll just discuss my pathetic love life on a blog that has been read by persons in Pakistan.  Pakistan!  In societal terms, I think I’m quite a fuck up.  Well, maybe not.  On the surface, I think lots of my acquaintances think I’ve got it quite together actually.  What the hell do they know?  Of course, since I’ve ceased informing them when I find a new man, they don’t get to hear how the new man disappears, so that is one area where I don’t seem quite as much a fuck up, just a bit of a non-trier.  But that’s okay.  I don’t mind being a non-trier.  None of them ever try to fix me up with any of their friends though.  I don’t know if it’s that they don’t have any friends to fix me up with or if they wouldn’t want to connect me to their friends in that way….wouldn’t sic her on a friend, no way!  I don’t know.

Perhaps rather than blog confessional, I should enlighten my small readership with my ideas on politics and society.  Nah.  I’m too tired at the moment. I’m trying to go off Starbucks chais.  They cost too much.  They cost less than they could because I don’t get milk, but even if I drank just one a day per month, the total monthly charge would come to $45.  Since I often drink several a day, I can only imagine how well I’m lining Starbucks’s pockets.  I’m considering getting a job there.  Maybe they’ll be willing to hire a no longer wants to be lawyer.  Last year, no one who wasn’t in the law field would touch me with a ten foot pole because I’d been a lawyer.  I was finally able to finagle an interview at a temp service.  The man there said it was only because I was Libbie’s friend that he was interviewing me.  He said if my resume had come in on its own, he would have tossed it.  Overqualified and something must be wrong.  I said what is wrong is that I can’t find a job.  Plus it was a temp service.  What were they afraid of, that I’d quit?

So I suppose I shall stop this random nonsense and find something to do that allows me to fizzle on in anonymity.  Anonymity is good.  I like it here.

Vanishing Meter REALLY Works!

Oh my gosh!  The Vanishing Meter is so damn accurate.  I completely forgot about the thing.  Then last night, I was lying in bed contemplating my latest disappearing man, remembered my red meter, and poof!  A lightbulb lit in my head.  Remember the Vanishing Meter!  This was a case where the meter was kind of pink at first, and not all the way to the top.  But after I met the man and spent time with him, it was as red as the meter could go.  After spending time with him, I did not believe the meter would work.  But now he has disappeared. That meter is dead on, I swear.  I’m going to have to figure out a way to market this thing and make some money.  I’ll get a patent even though I didn’t invent it.  I discovered it, and that’s all that matters.  Kind of like a pharmaceutical company going into India and patenting a medicinal flower the natives have used for centuries.  Doesn’t matter if I didn’t invent it if I discovered it, right?  Wow.  I’m excited.  Maybe this is my ticket to the big time.  And I won’t even have to share the money with a man because any man I would want to share with will have disappeared.  I know.  I know.  There is that cliche’ about money not buying happiness, but there is also that response that it sure makes the misery bearable.  I’ll bear it–on a yacht in the Mediterranean!  Thank you, Vanishing Meter.  At least I’ve found the silver lining.

Oh, I just thought of something even better–a marketing idea to go with the Vanishing Meter!  I could sell the Vanishing Meter™ and with it, I could sell special rags for drool AND for the disappearers to use after they crap their pants at the thought of someone having a red Vanishing Meter™!  Wow!  I’m onto something even bigger than before!  These rags, they could be like those little plastic things that close bread–a simple, little idea that made millions.  They will be of a special absorbency and cost very little.   What a concept!  I could even market on late night television…order the Vanishing Meter™ now, get two absorbency towels for $3.99!

I’m going to go plan my Mediterranean vacation now.

Musings

And the one, having failed to express anything for thinking the other not interested, causes the other to think the same and therefore to leave.

Hold your cards close.  Show your hand.  Show one card.  Show two.  There seems to be no only answer.  But how much fails to start for the lack in deciding which is the proper course of action?  How many have stumbled because all of us concern ourselves with wondering what the other is thinking rather than simply asking?  It is because even the simple asking can be a showing of our own cards, thus compromising our position. I hate the gamesmanship of it, yet it is there, and it is required when there is more than one and there is no way around it.

I Know What I Need to Do

I don’t know much, but I know I cannot live here much longer.  I have to go somewhere where it is sunny more than it is in this place.  The summers are beautiful, but they are too short-lived.  It rained most of August this year.  And the other ten months…ouch.  The grey and the mold depresses and dampens me.  I turn into another person.  I need the sun.  I need to see light.  I have rarely needed air conditioning.  I have been my best on the hottest days.  Everyone else is complaining and I’m soaking it up.  I get cold in the air-conditioned buildings and go sit in my car with the windows up on those hottest days, warming my bones, heating up my core.

The sun is out today and it is telling me something.  It is saying get out of that cold and damp.  Come be with me somewhere warm most of the time.

I can write anywhere.  I can’t survive here.  I have little doubt that if I do not leave this place I will die sooner rather than later.  I may have a physcial body moving around, but it will be spiritless.

Church of Freezing

I am starting a new personal religion. Called the Church of Freezing. Why does this damn thing keep doing this? Maybe the computer wants to join too, since it keeps freezing up. Also the church of tired. Go worship in the Church of Freezing and you can build goodwill. You can accomplish anything. Stop trying to be warm because it won’t work. Go to the Church of Freezing and get born again into the world where you don’t have to avoid being who you are. You are cold! Be cold! You are tired! Be tired! Stop trying to escape into those places you cannot go called warmth and fulfillment.

My tab has decided to work now. The computer does not want to join the Church of Freezing. But every time it decides to freeze up, I will not become angry with it because all it wants to do is worship the cold as I do. I understand. It wants to be itself and only through the cold can it become fully itself.

At the Church of Freezing, you can learn to accept who you are. Your body has wanted to be cold for so long, and you have fought it for so long, but your body is wrong! For the first time, I understand the needs of people like Luther. When his body wanted pleasure, he was denying the body experiencing pain, so he gave his body pain. My body wants warmth, but in doing so denies experiencing cold, so I’m giving my body back its cold.

And this season is the high one for the Church of Freezing! It’s a time of celebration, of worship! Sit out in the cold and become ONE with it!

The Church of Tired works the same way. I was lying in bed, not wanting to get up and write or work because I was cold and tired and the bed offered warmth and relaxation. But in order to take the warmth and relaxation, I had to give up writing and working. I also had to give up cold and tired. I do not want to give these things up! Instead, I will ignore warmth and relaxation. So in a way, I’m denying them, but they are so demanding! They want my attention all the time. They do not need to have my attention 100% of the time. They are not my children. They are demanding, forceful little brats who need more than I can give them. Give back to the Church of Freezing and the Church of Tired and you will reach salvation.

Taking a warm shower for a member of the Church of Freezing is like a hedonistic orgy for a Christian. At first the CoF member feels immense pleasure. Their body tingles with delight. They bask in the sheer delight of it. However, after a while, the CoF member realizes that the pleasure is too much. It’s not as caressing, it’s not as full, it’s not as warm anymore. In fact, it is too hot! Beware, Members, of the powerful call of the shower and warm water in general. It is to be avoided at all costs! Failure to adhere to this decree will result in a level of sickness and guilt like no other. Do not do it, I beseech thee!