Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Of Ewoks and Pudding and Making Whoopie

So, in addition to the fun-filled and exhausting days of work and school, I also managed to get bronchitis and sinusitus. Turns out that if I'm ever exposed to anthrax, I am completely screwed because I found out (the hard way) that I'm allergic to Cipro. After a good run of antibiotics to which I am NOT allergic, I managed to get the mother of all colds.

Oh, and my job situation is in complete and utter turmoil. For the past several months, it's been a roller coaster of stress. I didn't know if I'd have a job on October 1st until late September. I didn't know if I'd have a job on November 1st until late October. I still don't have confirmation that I have a job on December 1st although it does seem likely but then, of course, it's back to wondering if I have a job on January 1st. After that, I will either definitely be employed or I will definitely not be employed. Makes it a little hard to plan for much of anything.

Thus, I've spent the majority of the month of November either whining or in a strange fog of ewok-filled pudding dreams and whining...lots and lots of whining. But that's all over now and I am right in the middle of making whoopie...





Whoopie pies, that is. Pumpkin whoopie pies to be exact. What? You thought I'd be blogging about sexual adventures? First of all, um, NO. Secondly, even though we've already established the fact that I am insane, between work and school and making whoopie pies, there is no time for much of anything else. Oh, and I'm learning (re-learning?) Spanish.

So, rather than whining, I've decided to give it up for a day or two and see how that works out for me. Hopefully, I'll be able to let you know how that goes. If I'm not back soon, do not assume that my head exploded from unrelieved-by-whining stress... unless, of course, you hear about a woman in Alabama who was found with her head all exploded from stress and shit.

If the whoopie pies are good, I'll post a recipe.

I also want to rant (different than whining) about the TSA and the new "You can't see London, can't see France, unless we see your underpants" policy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Revelation

Muthah fuckah.

Blogger ate my post.

It's okay, though. It was self-serving whining about how I'm working too hard and how that effects what I eat and drink. Really, it was so boring I almost fell asleep writing it.

I'll try for something more invigorating tomorrow.

In the meantime, have you seen BethLamPen? Freakin' awesome.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Educating Ima

After a more than decade-long break from educational endeavors, I got back on the path to getting my degree at the beginning of this year. I’m nearing the end of my third semester and am so very thankful for online classes. They make it possible to continue working 50-60 hours a week while still gettin’ me some learnin’. I can view lectures, complete homework, and take tests online from anywhere I happen to be.

We use a system called Blackboard for the online classes. It’s pretty good. Discussion boards, library links, relevant videos, chat capabilities, course materials, and links to textbook publisher sites all make it very useful. My university also uses it to post information of interest to students and graduates: notices on job fairs, campus events, etc. There’s room for improvement but overall, I really like Blackboard.

When I have an annoying professor, I can roll my eyes without fear of retribution in grading. I can fast-forward past boring or unnecessary portions of the lecture. Once, after twenty minutes of a lecture, I’d had enough and screamed at my monitor, “He is! They are!” Blackboard/Tegrity benefit: My cat was the only one startled by my outburst. I mean, come on, buddy. I know we’re in Alabama and this isn’t a composition class but this is a four-year university. I’m paying a boatload of cash out of my own pocket for my education and I deserve proper grammar from my professors. /end whine

I’ve been taking two classes per semester up to this point but I have a path and a plan that will have me graduating in mid-2012. That plan includes taking five classes next semester…

…because I’m insane.

While I plan to start taking at least one class per semester on campus, I will continue to take most of my classes online. Fortunately, since I will no longer have any kind of personal life whatsoever, I was quite pleased to see that the folks running our Blackboard have decided to include humor with the other postings.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Dear Juxtaposition

Dear Juxtaposition,

The Fitness Magazine next to the cheesecake in the breakroom was BRILLIANT. Thank you!

Love,
Ima

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Translation is Tricky

While I'm a huge fan of locally grown/raised foods, I adore markets where you can buy foods from various locations around the world. The Dekalb County Farmers Market near Atlanta, GA is one of those places. The fruit and veggie selection is stunning. You can buy live, fresh seafood from who knows where (hell, it's still gasping for breath so I think it's fresh), pate from Russia, and a huge variety of goods from any country you can imagine.

While I appreciate that more than I can say, I must admit that part of my brain is that of an 11-year-old boy. I've saved this photo for months, simply because it makes me giggle.

If you sell to an audience that speaks Americanized-English, please get someone who speaks the language to critique your packaging. Honestly, I think it will help your bottom line. I didn't buy the item pictured below but I did consider it...

Really? No one caught this?

I'm feeling less constipated than Jamie Lee Curtis in an Activia commercial... just because I know about Poopy Seeds.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things My Parents Taught Me

I’m not sure if I was even born yet when the incident I’m about to relate to you occurred; however, I’ve heard about it for years and my parents claim it is true. A comment Becca left on my last post made me realize it might make for an interesting blog story and I’ve received permission from my parents to post it.

My parents were in their early 20s and hadn’t been married long. Mom had given up the security of her family and home near Baltimore to move to El Paso, TX where my dad was stationed at Ft. Bliss. Dad had gone out with his Army buddies for an evening of cultural enrichment in the lovely border town of Juarez.

Many hours later, his buddies poured him out of the car onto the front lawn of our quarters. As he crawled to the front door, no doubt clutching the sparse grass firmly to keep from falling off the earth, I’m sure he was considering himself quite the party animal.

The next morning was a completely different story. He woke up with a marching band practicing maneuvers in his head and a sneaking suspicion that a cat had shat in his mouth.

I need to explain something here. My mother is a kind, caring, lovely woman. She’s volunteered for the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Hospice, and a number of care and compassion groups in her church. She is a good woman.

When Dad woke up groaning late the next morning, his darling bride had just walked into the room to check on him. She leaned over him, lovingly laid her hands on his shoulders, and quietly whispered, “Oh, honey. Do you have a hangover?”

“Yes,” he whimpered.

“GOOD!” she yelled, as she shook the daylights out of him.

I don’t know if my dad ever had another hangover. I do know that he’s never complained about one.

Mom and Dad will be celebrating forty-five years of wedded bliss this August. They’ve had good times and bad times and, for the most part, been fair with each other.

What this story illustrates is one of the valuable lessons about personal responsibility that my parents taught me: If you knowingly do something that causes you pain, you lose your right to complain about it.

I won’t run down the list of my flaws and virtues but I have a fair amount of each. I’ve claimed for a number of years that I am both the very best and the very worst of my parents.

I’m good with that.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Atlas Shrugged

I want to post more. I'm strangled by my work obligations. However, I had to let you know...

Atlas Shrugged is being made into a movie. I'm not Jewish but I just might plotz.

Reading this book is going to take time out of your life. It's a fucking brick. It is the most amazing book I've ever read. It's better than Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. It's better than George Orwell's 1984.

READ THIS BOOK.

It's important. It's prophetic. IT.IS.REAL.


I know... I don't post much these days. For that, I apologize. I'm busy. Fifty to sixty hour work weeks combined with school (eek! I'm an old student!) and then add home improvement projects... Ack. I'm overwhelmed.

READ THIS BOOK.

I just hope the movie does it justice.

Be a producer. Please don't be a looter.

READ THE BOOK!

(obnoxious enough? I can do more!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Promises, promises

Damned promises.

Okay, so I promised some mind-numbing blather that would probably do nothing for anyone but me. Here goes.

I was a really obnoxious teenager. I excelled at arguing whenever I thought I was being treated unfairly. At thirteen, I protested what I thought was an unfair wage for lawn mowing. My protest was complete with marching and signs. Really. There’s photographic proof.



Shut up. It was the early 80s. You can't see the sign on the right but it says, "Unfair Wages."

You’re probably wondering why I’ve posted a really embarrassing photo from my awkward teenage years, right? I thought a visual would help explain how far I’d go to protect my rights.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped arguing for myself and started just accepting things. A portion of that is due to an appreciation of Eastern religions and being Zen, Al-Anon and all of that. I’ve learned to accept the things I cannot change. That is a good thing. Another rather large part of it is due to a flying queen-sized bed, ripped out phones, and spackle. Lots and lots of spackle. Spackle and fear. (I’m having a huge struggle here between sharing this and protecting the privacy of others.)

While I’ve always hated discord, I was taught through some extremely unpleasant experiences that I should only stand up for what I believed was right if it wasn’t about what was right for me. In that, I tried to keep and make peace. I have a friend who once told me, “I don’t need you to be a fucking peacemaker.” Fair. She didn’t need for me to be a peacemaker. I needed to be a peacemaker. There was an awkward time in our friendship because of that. I think/hope we’ve moved beyond it.

As I said in Thought Garden, “I’ve compromised myself, not because it was demanded or requested or expected, and I’m trying to figure out why and how I can change it.” In the relationships that followed after the one with the flying queen-sized bed, I accepted a lot of things I shouldn’t have accepted. I excused things that hurt me (not physically, never again physically) in the name of peace.

I shouldn’t have done that.

On the rare occasion that I spoke up and said (admittedly, rather timidly) something, the fact that I said ANYTHING was a big, freaking deal. In my last relationship, I even got to the point where I could say “If I say anything at all, it’s a big, freaking deal.” That wasn’t strong enough. Another lesson learned.

I’ll never be the woman throwing a glass of wine into her companion’s face at a restaurant. I’ll likely never cause a scene. It’s not my style.

I will speak up. I will say, “No. That’s not okay with me.”

Baby steps.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Viagra and Casinos

It's not that I don't appreciate gambling and hard-ons but, seriously, the spammers are getting rather annoying. I apologize to those of you who like to comment on my random (and, recently, infreqent) postings... I'm going to have to put some of those anti-spammer restrictions on this blog.

I feel the need to post my bloggity, DIY psychoanalytical ramblings but life is getting in my way. In Thought Garden, I started getting into my angst. There's more of that coming but I find myself overwhelmed with details. I promise (damn, that's hard... that means I have to do it) to post something mind-numblingly boring and pertinent only to me within the week.

Please, bear with me. This is an unusual time in my life.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Tale of Two Seatmates

*IT WAS the best of flights, it was the worst of flights, it was the age of reason, it was the age of insanity, it was the epoch of Atlas, it was the epoch of Alice. There were gifts received (one rather reluctantly) and I share the tale of both flights and their associated seatmates so that you may compare.


Standing by gate A2 at the El Paso International Airport, I was looking forward to the journey home. It had been a good trip and the four-day weekend was just ahead.

I noticed him immediately.

You don’t see many people walking through airports in their socks. Sure, there are lots of visible socks and bare feet in the TSA security areas but folks normally return their shoes to their feet before entering the concourse. Not this guy. Clad in knee-high, white, athletic socks, shorts and a striped t-shirt, he had both arms wrapped around a large overstuffed bag while one hand gripped his sneakers. He had a conservatively short haircut and a scraggly beard. He appeared to be in his late 40s or early 50s. His escort was a TSA agent.

“Can I get on the airplane now?” he asked.

“You can when they call your group number,” the TSA agent replied.

A few minutes passed while everyone in the boarding area waited to hear his or her group number. The gate agent announced first class and priority boarding.

“How about now? Can I get on now?”

“Sir, I’ll let you know when you can board.”

I was in group two so I made my way down the aisle, breathing a sigh of relief when I realized I was a good ten rows behind the baby who would soon be loudly and painfully confused about air pressure and earaches.

I tucked my laptop into the overhead bin, my purse under the seat, and my water bottle into the seat pocket in front of me. My iPod was in reach, my phones turned off and my book resting on my lap. I glanced up the aisle to see how boarding was going.

There he was - shoes in hand, feet in socks, overstuffed bag in arms. He was looking at the seat markers and mumbling loudly to himself.

“25A, 25A, 25A.”

I glanced in horror at the seat beside me. It was 25A.

“If you’re naturally kind, you attract a lot of people you don’t like.” William Feather

I immediately felt guilty. I didn’t know this man. I didn’t know if he was mentally disabled, crazy, drunk or a combination of all three. I decided not to pre-judge. I think we (the general public) try to pretend crazy, disabled, drunk people don’t exist. I try to be kind. I was not going to ignore this man. I would be polite. I would be kind.

I stood up to allow him access to his seat. The overstuffed bag would not fit under the seat and there was no more room in the overhead compartments but the flight attendants let him leave it partially wedged. They seemed unwilling to risk upsetting him.

Since he didn’t seem to know he should, I told him he’d need to put on his seatbelt. When he seemed confused, I handed him the piece between us and told him the other half was probably under the armrest. He dug around a bit, found the other section but then appeared to be confused about how to put them together. I helped.

He told me I was a nice lady.

I said, “My name is Ima.”

He said, “My name is Kit.”

“Oh,” I said, “like Kit Carson!”

“No. I’m from Kentucky.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Kit from Kentucky.”

We chatted the fellow-passenger chat of where-are-you-traveling-to-today-and-is-this-home. Kit from Kentucky said he used to be in the Army, lived in El Paso, had lived overseas for a time, and was now on his way to visit family in Jacksonville, FL. I shared that I had been in El Paso for work and was flying to Huntsville, AL (“No, Kit from Kentucky, not Huntsville, TX, not the prison.”).

He told me again that I was a nice lady and said he had a gift for me. I assured him that I did not need a gift. He continued to dig around in his bag and pulled out my gift. At the sight of the gift, I even more strongly, yet politely, assured him, “no, no, I’m good, thanks!” He insisted.

Not sure yet if he was crazy, drunk, disabled, or the combo and because I didn’t know what else he had in that bag and didn’t want to upset him, I thanked him and put the gift in my purse.

The gift? You want to know what the gift was? Really, now, does the actual gift matter? Isn’t it the thought that counts?

Oh, all right.

THE GIFT:



According to one of my colleagues, who was also traveling back that afternoon and heard this story in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, there’s a little-known fact about this sequence of events. Because I assisted Kit from Kentucky with his seatbelt and then accepted his gift of sardines (in Spring Water!), we are now betrothed.

Kit from Kentucky told me that the security guards had taken his whiskey. He’d had it tucked into his waistband. I think he said it was Old Crow. At this point, I decided to keep drunk on the list of possibilities. Based on the other bits of conversation, crazy and disabled were still on the table.

He asked if he could buy me a beer. I declined. He asked again. I said no.

Thankfully, the captain authorized the use of approved electronic devices so I put in my ear buds, powered up the iPod, and opened my book.

From time to time, Kit from Kentucky would lean over, touch the page of my book, and say something. Even though I could hear him, I made a point of pressing pause on the iPod and taking out my ear buds each time.

He asked me if I was married. Reconsidering the value of truth but unwilling to abandon it, I told him I was not. He proceeded to ask if he could have my address and phone number. I said no and he asked why not. I didn’t explain but just said no again. Firmly.

I got back to my book and music and several minutes passed. I drank some of my water. Kit from Kentucky asked me if I was a catfish.

“No. No, I’m not a catfish.”

I continued reading and listening to music. Then, Kit from Kentucky told me that I was pretty and smart. I thanked him.

Kit from Kentucky seemed content, for the most part, to look out the window at the clouds and patches of visible ground. The interruptions were, thankfully, not excessive. However, the last interruption was a doozy.

Kit from Kentucky made a comment that I heard perfectly well, even with the iPod playing. I ignored him. He said it again, louder this time. Realizing that if I continued to ignore him, he would get to the point where he was yelling, I decided to acknowledge the fact that he had just said, twice, “I’d be fine if I could just get this tampon out of my ass.”

I slowly closed my book, paused the music, removed the ear buds, channeled a dear friend who would never be questioned about her catfish status, turned to my left and gave him my best “oh, no, you didn’t” one-raised-eyebrow stare.

“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

“Aw, nuthin’. I was just funnin’.”

Kit from Kentucky seemed to realize that I was not interested in more conversation with him and, fortunately, we had begun our descent into Dallas.

Crazy? Check.

Drunk? Probably.

Disabled? Still not sure.

I got away from the arrival gate as quickly as possible, determined the departure gate for the Jacksonville flight so I could avoid it, and found my fellow business travelers. I shared with them the story of Kit from Kentucky. I’m mostly- partially- almost not at all certain that they were laughing with me, not at me. When I slipped outside to have a cigarette, they insisted that I leave the sardines (in Spring Water!) with them. We were not about to risk having such a lovely gift confiscated by the TSA.

For the second leg of my flight home, I had an upgrade to first class. So nice. My seatmate was wearing shoes and proper trousers. He was reading, then napping. Before we took off, I had to call my mom and tell her about the long, strange trip it’d been. Very quietly (at least that’s what I thought), I whispered the whole shoeless-catfish-sardine-inappropriate-comment experience to her. Then, I settled into my comfy, roomy seat with my complimentary gin and tonic. For the first hour of the flight, I enjoyed uninterrupted music and reading. At the end of that hour, my seatmate sat up, opened his eyes, and turned to toward me.

“So, tell me about Kit from Kentucky and the sardines.”

I did. We laughed. His name was John. It turns out that we have mutual friends and business acquaintances.

John also insisted on presenting me with a gift.



Did you know that banded penguins eat sardines?

Perfect.

~~~~~~~~~
The colleague who clued me in about my unintended betrothal knew that I was going to write about this and suggested a few alternate titles.

TITLE : SUBTITLE

"Don't accept Sardines from a shoeless Kentuckian: Betrothed on a flight from El Paso to Dallas"

"A New Wife in Kentucky: How Sardines and a Flight from El Paso to Dallas changed my Life"

"Single in El Paso and Betrothed before landing in Dallas: How a chance seatmate turned into my lifemate"

"I Don't Like Sardines Anymore: A Tale of A Betrothed Kentuckian's Wife"

"Stay out of my Feminine Hygiene Products!: A Betrothed Kentuckian Wife Speaks Out"

"Does Anyone Know How You Annul a Sardine Betrothment?: One Woman's Fight To Be Free”
~~~~~~~~~

*I’ve borrowed shamelessly from Dickens’ first lines in A Tale of Two Cities because the title inspired mine and the first lines provided the perfect template for depicting the differences in the two legs of my journey last week. Confession: I have never read A Tale of Two Cities. (the.shame!) Although I’m a voracious reader and even though it was required for one of my high school classes many years ago, I just couldn’t get into this book.

~~~~~~~~~

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thought Garden

Have you ever seen what passes for dirt in Alabama? It’s ugly. It’s a reddish-orange, dense, clay-like ground that somehow manages to get a coating of green every year. Weeds seem to have no problem growing in it but good things struggle to strive in this inhospitable environment. The earth packs down and turns brick-hard in the hot southern summers.



It’s hard to grow anything in this hateful soil.

My attempts to grow myself are hampered by a similar dense, clay-like soil. Sure, there is some growth but weeds grow more readily than nourishing plants.

I’m struggling to figure out how I’ve allowed my foundation to turn into something hard and averse to growth. I’ve become stagnant and infertile. I used to engage in self-discovery. I believed I would make a difference. Instead, I’ve allowed complacency and procrastination and fear keep me from being who I am. Whether it was deliberate or unintended, I’ve allowed so many other external activities to crowd my head that I didn’t have time to think about what was happening to me. I’ve compromised myself, not because it was demanded or requested or expected, and I’m trying to figure out why and how I can change it.

This is my thought garden.

This is hard. There’s lots of digging. I’m pulling up roots and rocks and trying to put good things in their place. I’m amending my soil soul.

To do that, I have to indulge in some more of that do-it-yourself psychoanalysis. I have to admit my faults. It involves some wallowing… I guess that’s the right word. I have to go back and visit those hard places. I have to re-examine those times in my life where I went off my path - where I abandoned self in the name of peace or obligation or fear or laziness.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I Did Promise Ridiculous Posts...

I've mentioned that I'm doing some home improvement projects. Even more recently, I wrote about needing to do some of that do-it-yourself psychoanalysis. I'll call that internal improvement. I've also gone back to school for some educational improvement. Then, to top it off, I've joined a gym (and I actually go!) so I can work on some physical improvement. I joke all the time that, "I'm old and I'm tired and my everything hurts."

Well, the truth is that I'm not that old, I shouldn't feel that tired and if my everything is hurting now it's not going to get any better as I get closer to being that old. Plus, I've added a couple of , um, several more pounds than I'm comfortable with having gained. I'm not at my heaviest but I was getting close enough that it scared me.

So, I promised some ridiculousness.

The other day, I changed into my workout clothes so I could go to the gym and get sweaty and buff and stuff. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, "Ack! This is not flattering at all. I can't be seen in public in this!"

Then, I gave myself a mental slap upside the head, went to the gym in my unflattering clothes so I could work on getting back to the point where I like the way I look. It was great inspiration to really get into my workout.

When I got home, I realized that I had my shirt on backwards. Doofus and a fashion NO? Double score!


*********
In other news, Garnier Fructis hairspray and Scrubbing Bubbles both are packaged in green cans. They are both aerosol products. Both can often be found in bathrooms.

They are not interchangeable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arrggh!!!

I hate to post this now because it will push down the post I did about Jane's Divine Inspiration but since this is for her - and for me - it seems like it might be okay.

Dar Williams
This Is Not The House That Pain Built

My house is hard to find, but I'll give you directions,
You can visit sometime, down where all that I built surrounds me
Just make sure your car's got good shocks
There's steep hills, there's potholes, there's rocks
I work in the garden, my son plays around me
Close the gate behind you, there's a horse that can't get out
I will see you first, is that all right
And can you remember, can you remember

This is not the house that pain built
This is not the house that pain built
I was drowning in something, I jumped in the rift
And you knew me back then, when I spat on my gift, but no

It's tough and it's tiring when you go it alone
I learned about wiring, I learned about stone
The building is done but the work's never through
And I won't give up, no how, it reminds me of who I am and where I am now
I remember myself, that's the work that I do
On a spring night when the snow is melting
You'll see two sets of footprints walking
Look at all the stars, and turn around, and walk home,
Slowly walk home.

This is not the house that pain built
That is not a house that pain built
My friends all think that I holed up and hid
But I tell them I didn't, you know I don't think I did, no.

And this is where I let my pain go
This is where I let my pain go
This is where the footprints dance in the snow


I've run my ooh-ick-trojan-pop-up-virus-dealio and it didn't yell at me but visit this link at your own risk if you'd like to hear the song.

Inspiration

There are certain people who inspire me. Oftentimes, they are people I’ve never met: writers/bloggers, activists, politicians (rarely, but still). I’m also inspired by people I know: coworkers, family, and friends. Very recently, inspiration came from a blogger/writer who I also consider a friend.

Duchess Jane is that person.

She’s also known as Beth but she is and always will be royalty, in my opinion, so I love the “Duchess” moniker. I’d like to tell you why.

Jane writes about what is real. She writes about what is hard. She digs down deep into her soul, her heart, and her pain. She describes what she discovers in ways that evoke emotion – strong, life-changing emotion – and in ways that inspire those of us who don’t/can’t find that truthfulness in our writing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t live truth. I do. I try really hard to always be honest with myself and my feelings. I try to not be false or dishonest in anything I do. Unfortunately, I sometimes find that I don’t write about my truth. The reasons for that vary but, usually, it’s associated with not wanting to hurt people. I worry that sharing my experience puts other peoples’ experiences out there for others to examine. I worry, even if I don’t name names, that people will assume they know who I’m discussing. That’s one of the dangers of non-anonymous writing. People who know me in real life read what I write. They will see themselves whether or not I’m writing about them.

I have been a coward.

Jane is not. (I tried, but can not find, the link to Jane's post about how people should not assume but should ask if a certain post is about them.)

Yesterday, Jane wrote about how Empires Weren't Built Here, Part 1. I read it today and, once again, I was in awe of her ability to yank feeling out of words. She talked about dying and what would be left. What would her last words be… out there in the ether on the Internet. Would it be something meaningful? Would people look at her last status update? Her last blog post? Her last Tweet? What if something tragic happened and she survived? Would people look at that and what she wrote?

She wrote about writing of experiences and whether she should chronicle those encounters. She wrote about her anxiousness concerning that. She wrote, “…would I succumb to this fear of being viewed as a pillager of my own tragedies and betrayer of my family, peddling their pain for pennies on the internet?”

I understood this all too well.

It seems so lame to say, “Me, too!” “I know!” “I feel that!” “Yes, yes, YES!”

I waited until my blog reader updated; thankfully, it was quickly. Empires Weren’t Built Here, Part 2 showed up soon after. This one was harder for me. I’m going to change the way I describe this. Writing is good but it felt like Jane was talking, confessing, exposing and confiding. So, I’ll now say that she spoke to me. She talked about love. She talked about hopes and dreams and joining. She also talked about losing ourselves in relationships. She talked of dreams lost and compromises and stagnation.

I can’t blog from work. That’s probably a good thing.

I can read. Sometimes, I can comment on some blogs but not on others. I will check out my favorites when I take a break or eat lunch.

Today, after I read Jane’s blog, I did something very uncharacteristic. I am a workaholic. I keep my life very compartmentalized. I am all business when it comes to my job. Today was different. I closed my door and I put my “teleconference” note on the door.

I cried.

I.do.not.cry.at.work.

Well, okay, I did once at my last job and I’ll probably (thanks to Jane) write about that one day.

Why did I cry today?

I saw myself in her words. This is not to say that any other person is to blame for what happened to me. Actually, I blame only me for what I did to myself.

There is a very fine line between compromising for the sake of a relationship and sacrificing what is integral to our souls. I made sacrifices that were not asked of me.

I’ve known that I wanted needed to write since I was nine years old. I’ve wanted to write about fun. I’ve wanted to write about self-exploration. I’ve wanted to write to entertain. I’ve wanted to write to be understood.

I work in a job where my writing is technical. It doesn’t satisfy my heart and soul. I created this blog so I could write about what matters to me. I found myself shackled by frustration and compassion and fear and kindness. I lost a little a lot of myself in that.

I need to say this: MrWurdi always encouraged me to write. He encouraged exploration of my soul and my heart and my dreams. I’ll always love him for many reasons but, especially, because of that. The restrictions that were on me were those I placed all on my own.

I used to work on my car. I used to go to the range and shoot. I used to hunt. I used to build things. I used to be more social. I don’t know that I stopped these activities because of relationships. Did I get lazy? Did I get complacent? Did other things become more important? Those are questions that I will be asking myself for some time to come.

Do-it-yourself psychoanalysis is hard. It means that you have to revisit those experiences that are hard. It means digging down into your pain, wallowing just a little bit, and understanding it. It means overcoming the pain – again – and growing because of your understanding.

There is something important that I learned today. I learned that I need to be like Jane. I need to write about what is real. I need to write about what is hard and painful and meaningful. That means that I might write about things that are uncomfortable. It means that I may write about things that make other people uncomfortable. That is really hard for me.

I want and need to be honest. It is part of who I am.

Stay tuned. There will still be ridiculous posts and random thoughts but I think this blog may change a little bit.

Thank you, Jane.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Rock Out With Your Caulk Out

~Am I supposed to caveat this by saying that I received no payment or product for this review?~

I've mentioned that I was doing some home improvement work. Part of the doing the home improvement means that I have to follow up and finish the darned home improvement stuff. I am at the caulking stage for several of my projects.

I've never caulked before now. I was talking to my dad about it and he mentioned seeing an ad on the television (As Seen On TV!) for this caulking tool kit called PROCaulk. He admitted that it might be complete crap and not work but said the commercials looked pretty convincing. I agreed to be the guinea pig.

Of course, before starting any project, research is a good idea. I googled, "How to Caulk." There are LOTS of web pages and videos dedicated to removing old caulk and putting down new. They are extremely intimidating. After watching several of them, I was feeling a bit out of my league. I don't even have any mineral spirits. I had already gone through three rolls of painter's tape for the painting projects. I was not looking forward to putting down even more of it. Damp rags, excess caulk (I am so not going to make some kind of inappropriate comment about how you can never have too much caulk...). What? Where was I? Oh, yeah. Caulk.

Since this pack-o-gadgets my dad told me about was As Seen On TV!, I decided to see if there was an ad out there on the Interwebs. Tah Dah! https://www.buyprocaulk.com/ . Cheesy, huh? Oh, and all those other videos? Not quite as messy as the guy in the ProCaulk ad.


I got my carefully chosen clear silicone. Clear, so that if I was really horrible at this caulking business, it wouldn't be so obvious.



So, I know you're just dying to know. Did it work? Was it messy? Was Ima now permanantly siliconely bonded to the shower stall?

Seriously, Internet. This.Stuff.Rocks. ProCaulk is the bombdealio. It is easy. It is not messy. No mineral spirits, no blue tape, very little waste of caulk.

I'm going to have to go get the white caulk so I can show off my fancy, new caulk skills.

That's hot.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Unsympathetic

A ramble...


As the voice droned on, my mind drifted and I wondered what in this woman’s childhood had led to the outlook she had on life. Was it just that she’d never been taught to take responsibility for her own actions? Was there real psychological illness? A failure of the synapses in her brain to fire and connect? A chemical imbalance? Or was it simple blame-shifting, the disease of the 80s that had found its way, thanks to Sally Jesse, Phil, Oprah, Jerry and the rest, through to the following decades? “It’s not my fault, I had a tough childhood.” “We were poor, I had to steal.” “I was afraid, I had to lie.” “My mother was immoral.” “I didn’t have a dad.” I didn’t know whether to feel irritated or compassionate. I think it was a combination of both. Should I try to help? Should I just listen? That was hard. She didn’t want to hear it if she was wrong and I had a hard time keeping it to myself when I knew I was right.

“… and that’s why I’m miserable. I have no control over my life…” From experience, I knew she could go on for hours on the topic of herself but didn’t seem aware of the fact that I wasn’t paying complete attention. This was the umpteenth time I’d heard this speech. I must have been nodding my head and making the appropriate murmurs on cue. She wanted someone to tell her what to do, just so long as they were telling her to do what it was she wanted to do. A collaborator in her actions. Someone to blame if it was the wrong thing; someone who would remember that she had made a good decision if it turned out okay.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Home Improvement

I'm in the middle of some major home improvement. In the bathrooms, I had someone in to do the tile but I'm installing new toilets (one down, one to go), faucets, sinks, light fixtures (my brother's going to help with this one*) and giving everything a coat of fresh paint. I'm also painting the living room (started that last night), dining room, kitchen, and rec room.

The house is a disaster.

Yes, I know I should do one project before starting another but I have my excuses. Tile has to set, then be grouted, then dry. So, I skipped around a little bit. Then, when I was prepping walls for paint, the drywall mud had to dry. While it was drying, I'd either start or continue working on another project.

Yesterday, I had two folks come in to give me estimates on flooring for most of the house. I was torn. Should I explain that I'm in the middle of a lot of projects? It's kind of obvious. As they walked in the door, I was tempted to say, "Who could have done this? We have no enemies!" (credit to Phyllis Diller)

*I'm pretty confident about doing most of this stuff by myself. Electricity is a completely different story. It scares me. Many years ago, I lived in an apartment that had no overhead lighting in most of the rooms. I was in the process of moving out and the only things left in the apartment after cleaning up were me, my purse, and a lamp. I had my keys in my hand and went to unplug the lamp. My keys hit the outlet. The details are a little fuzzy but there was a flash of light, a boom, smoke (I think) and I was on my ass halfway across the room.

Wordy + Electricity = Fear

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Love is...

Get something to drink and go empty your bladder. This is a long one.

Do you remember those “Love is…” cartoons from so long ago? A woman named Kim Casali came up with the one-frame cartoons in the 1960s and her son now does the strip. Some were cute, others cheesy, most not very realistic.

I have my own feelings about what Love Is and one-line cartoons of naked folk don’t play much of a part in them. Love is too complex for one-liners. Sometimes, love is too complex to write about without help. So, this post will have a lot of quotes. As Somerset Maugham said, “I quote others only in order to better express myself.”

Since I’m stalled, I’m going to start off with a couple of quotes.


“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.” Rusty Berkus
“One is taught by experience to put a premium on those few people who can appreciate you for what you are.” Gail Godwin
MrWurdi not only acknowledges and completely accepts who I am, he encourages me to avoid complacency in that. He encourages me to continue to explore who I am and who I can be. It took a long time before I became confident enough in his love and acceptance to live truthfully and openly and share who I was and who I was becoming. I realized how freeing and beautiful it is to have a person in your life you can share every thought and every feeling. That’s real. That’s love.

Society has programmed us to keep certain feelings locked away, to be polite, to be tactful and diplomatic. We’re taught not to show our weaknesses, our flaws, our anger, our darkness. Sometimes, being truthful and open is difficult. Difficult, painful conversations end up being a result of all that truthful openness. The honesty is worth it, though. It means there isn’t subterfuge or keeping feelings locked away. There’s less resentment – not no resentment because, let’s face it, we’re human. But the honesty, well, the honesty is a type of love. It’s real. If you don’t have honesty in communication, you’re just playing. If there’s something you can’t share about yourself with someone you love, then you’re just playing at love. It’s not real.


“Some people will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. They would rather defend their dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Therefore, having rationalized their phoniness into nobility, they settle for superficial relationships.” Author unknown
So, just what do you do when you find someone who can handle your truth and is willing to share their truth with you? You celebrate it, revel in it, and appreciate every moment of it.

One problem I’ve seen in some of my past relationships and in those of my friends is the loss of self. Is it grand passion for the other person? Lack of esteem in oneself? Fear that if we are different, we will not be loved?


“Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.” Erich Fromm
My aunt shared some words of wisdom with me recently. She said that no matter how good things are or how bad things are, “It will change.” Boy, howdy, was she right! And it’s not just those things external to us that change – jobs, other people, weather, finances, home – we do. Every single experience or interaction or observation changes something in us. I love what Ana├»s Nin said about this.
She said, “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”
One of the biggest difficulties in relationships is that when we fall in love with a person, we fall in love with them as they are in that moment and as we are in that moment. People change. They can’t help it. Sometimes, we change in ways that are complimentary to our significant other and their changes. That’s pretty darned cool when it happens.

Sometimes, the changes put distance between us. When that happens, we can end up angry with each other – angry that what was once so perfect isn’t anymore. We’re angry that the beautiful, passionate, amazing, perfect romance has changed into something else. We grieve its loss. We are angry at the person who is responsible for making it go away.


“In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love you want the other person.” Margaret Anderson
Sometimes, it’s hard remembering that the beautiful truth and openness and honesty that was the foundation of your relationship is still there. The anger and grief cloud the fact that you still have a beautiful, open, truthful connection with that other person.


“Life is a constant metamorphosis from one stage to another. But why do we live so hard against this fact? Why are we afraid? In truth, we never leave anything behind, but carry it inside. Nothing is ever lost, only when we try to hold on. Then all is lost. Our whole soul. But if we let go, then we can take everything with us, because we become strong in our own invisible centers, and the world becomes light.” Jim Ralston
While I don’t typically go into a lot of deeply personal stuff here, I feel the need to make an exception.

MrWurdi and I stopped being a couple almost a year ago. We still love each other but our relationship has changed. There's not any anger, in fact, we've had a very civilized year since we became single people. Not too many exes can share an address with each other. As with all things, this has changed, too. We live, we grow, we change, we move. Some people move several states away. ;-)

I will always love, erm, I guess MrWurdi isn't that appropriate now so I'll let him pick a new alias if he'd like. I want only happiness and abundance and good things for him and I believe he wants the same for me.
“We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other. To meet, to love, to share. It is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parentheses in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other, and this moment will have been worthwhile.” Deepak Chopra
So, remember when I said love is too complex for one-liners? I may have been wrong.

Love is truth.
Love changes.
Love is worthwhile.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm Taking Back My Blog

Yeah, yeah, you've heard it too many times. I've been busy. I've been distracted. I haven't been blogging.

I'm taking back my blog from the spammers.

You know, it's rare that I'd have anything good to say about spammers but at least they inspired me to come back here and clean things up a little bit.

I'm back in school (yikes!), there have been some pretty major life changes, work is as busy as ever.

I'm planning to write about some of this soon. I don't usually share really personal stuff on this thing but I will be, vaguely, explaining why the last year has been short on my rambling wordy crap that I put out here.

Really, Internet, it's not you... it's me. I haven't even seen many of my "real life" friends recently. It's been a month and a half since I've seen Wormy - and she's the best real life friend I have.

I'm completely sucking at this work-life balance. I hope I can fix that.