Tuesday, April 27, 2010


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.


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.


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


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