Monday, March 31, 2003

When It Rains

I know there are people walking around with missing body parts, and houses burn down, and people die. So before I start lamenting the minor shitstorm of petty grievances that are to follow, know that I am doing it fully aware that this is the small stuff, watch me sweat it all.

Having said all that, WHY does everything happen at the same time? The good, the bad and the ugly, all rolled up into one steaming pile of cabbages and sausages on your shag rug. What? Oh, that last sentence was borne of sleep deprivation.

The GOOD. I finally got to see J and his band play on Saturday night, and they were really good. He's such a good musician, and he doesn't rate himself nearly as highly as he should. As someone who always wanted to be good at a musical instrument, it is monumentally frustrating to hear gifted musicians put down their abilities. Hey buddy, listen to me play guitar for a half an hour and you will be winding those guitar strings around your own neck to end the pain, trust me. Your complaints about your abilities are falling on deaf ears. Not tone deaf ears though, because I have really good pitch, I just don't have the motor coordination and the gift of becoming unselfconcious enough to let music come through me that musicians have, and I am frankly envious of those who have it. So don't come bitching to me, gifted boy.

Anyway, finally met the boys in the band, and they are all really nice, funny guys, and they didn't make me feel like Yoko for hanging out with them at the gig. Always a plus. Ran into another one of his former bandmates at the bar, a guy I'd met previously, and we had a nice talk. Great evening, and even J had to admit that the band did well that night, in a curious moment of non self-debasement. I played roadie and helped him hump the equipment out with the other guys, and got to talk to the shy band guys some more out by the car, and they were so sweet and humble when I told them how good they were. The bass player was particularly good, and he finally chatted a bit, since he's obviously a bit shy at first, and then warms up, particularly after he's had a couple beers I think.

After getting back to J's, we got a few hours of sleep, emphasis on the word few please, and then went to the radio station where J works. I hung out with him for a couple hours, and then we went to my favorite geek paradise - Beatlefest.

Yes, I admit it. I love Beatlefest - a Star Trek convention where the Beatles are the object of everyone's geeky obsession instead of sci-fi. Every music obsessive I've met in this area can be bumped into over the course of the weekend, most likely in the dealer room with all the rare recordings of this or that, or the colored vinyl Japanese 12" of this, the bootleg autographed copy of that, the 40 year old lunchbox/alarm clock/signed rare edition life-sized poster 3-D replica of the original of the whatchamacallit that you have been looking for - it's all there at the 'fest. I went there for several years in a row in my early 20's, with my Beatle obsessed-girlfriends, and we used the weekend as an excuse to stay at the hotel, immerse ourselves in alcohol and our love of the Beatles and all things British Invasion, and then we'd go back to the real world Sunday night. The only problem with the 'fest is that I'm not so sure how many people there go back to the "real world" Sunday night when it's over, but that's another post.

Anyway, J and I had a fun time there, despite being totally sleep deprived, and we ran into another two bandmates of his, separately, in the dealer room there. It was a weekend of his musical career in retrospective, and I enjoyed the hell out of listening to him talk music with these guys. The one guy was a revelation, because I somehow got the impression that there was bad-blood between them after he left that band, but you wouldn't know it from the gabfest at the 'fest those two had. He turned out to be a pretty cool guy, and I'm sort of sorry that I missed that era, when they used to play together. Anyway, that was the GOOD.

The BAD. Work is rolling downhill and gathering speed, and I'm at the bottom of the metaphorical hill here. There are so many projects all coming to a head at once, that I sat here at my desk today and did that mental patient laughing out loud thing I do when I'm overwhelmed and over tired. Great confidence-building technique for those who witness it, by the way. "Yeah, let's put Carrie on that project, she seems perfect for... (insert maniacal laughter from my office here)...uh, er, wonder who else is available?" How am I supposed to do all of this by these deadlines?? Uh, gee, take more time to write in your blog about it, that'll sure help, right genius? Well, anyway, onto...

The UGLY. There was evidence of a mouse squatting in J's new place in between tenants, so I convinced him to buy some mouse poison after Mickey ATE the new pot holder and dish towel combo present I bought him for the new place. Not that I was overly fond of the pot holder, but the skeeve factor of having something leave tiny little poops all over things kept in a closed drawer made me convince him to KILL! KILL! KILL! the little fiend. Well, he's having his last laugh, because the poison did it's thing, and now Mickey is very noticeably decomposing somewhere in the room between the living room and the bathroom. The smell is nauseating as all get-out. Unfortunately, whenever I have only 2 or 3 hours of sleep, I feel nauseated when I first get up and get moving, and when I smelled that moldy rat death smell, I almost lost it. How the hell are we going to find this thing if it died in the heat ducts or something? There has got to be a way, because that smell is just pukealicious.

Sorry to get disgusting again. (Isn't this the same blog that went on and on about maggots not that long ago, the one repeat reader wonders aloud to himself?) I DID say it was the ugly. Well, actually, there is more ugly to discuss. Besides the fact that I think that I really need to get more exercise than I have been lately, even with all the yard work I've been doing on nice days, I don't feel very good about my weight, and I've got to do something about it before summer. Oh my God, discipline. Gee, that sounds like killer fun. Sarcasm included there at no extra cost. And for added oomph, my face is breaking out since yesterday, for no trackable chocolate indulgence or hormonal reason, and I'd really like an explanation for why I went without this misery throughout most of my teen years, only to be plagued with this nonsense NOW. I'm tapping my foot and waiting, and this had better be good.

More GOOD: one of my favorite musicians, besides J, is finally going to put out more music. So, soo happy, it's been a long time. I just hope I can get tickets when he finally starts doing shows again. Oh how I've waited to see him play again. And new music! New music from your favorite band is almost as good at the first sip of coffee in the morning, the first day a robin is on the lawn after a brutal winter, the first time you kiss a new man and say to yourself, "DAMN, gimme some more of THAT! " I am dancing around my godforsaken hell-beast of an office in anticipation.

More UGLY: I haven't paid my bills this month, and they are lumped up on the kitchen table waiting for me, and I have to work tonite, so they will be sitting there again when I get home late, and I will be too tired to deal with them again. I will have to deal with at least some of them tomorrow, or they will rise up in a spontaneous monster movie tornado and paper cut me to ribbons in my sleep. You are going to have nightmares about that now, aren't you? Hum Alice Cooper to yourself now, you know you want to.

The REALLY GOOD: I'm relatively healthy, I have family and friends who love me, a warm, safe place to live, and things to look forward to, art to create, crazy things to write, and music in my head all day. What, me complain? I'm just blowing off steam today, and letting the sleep deprivation do the typing. Not to worry. Let it rain, I'll just fill up my water pistol.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Brush With Fame #1: Val Kilmer

About a dozen years ago, I went to L.A. to visit my friend Paul, who seemed to be supporting himself solely on his work as an extra on tv shows, which I didn't think was possible. I was also out there to visit my friend Christine, who I met during college, and whose husband's firm had relocated them to CA completely without my input on the matter.

While staying with Paul and his boyfriend Eddie, we went to a coffee show in West Hollywood, where Eddie's sister worked. They had this one unisex bathroom in there, down a narrow hallway from the sitting and chatting area. When you got to the end of that hallway, the bathroom door was to your left, and an open doorway to the street was on your right. These facts are not mentioned here because I have some strange compulsion to map out the whereabouts of bathrooms and rear exits, but because they are important to the story.

I went down the hallway to use said bathroom, and as I waited for the person in there to come out, a man walked up to the doorway to outside, and asked the person on line in front of me if we were waiting for the bathroom. When told that we were, he proceded to lean up against the door jam, read a magazine, and wait his turn. It was only after I moved forward in line to be standing right next to him that I realized that the man leaning against the doorway was Val Kilmer! An actual star sighting on my vacation! I was thrilled.

I surreptitiously stole glances at both him and his reading material while I waited to "go", not believing my luck that I was sharing a door jam to lean on with Val Kilmer! How many times had my friend made me sit through Top Gun? I was certain that it was him, despite his tweed cap pulled down over his eyes.

When the bathroom door opened again, I took the opportunity to speak to him, and told him that he could go ahead of me. He thanked me and went in. I wish I could say that I was offering that to be magnanimous, but really, I just wanted an opportunity to get my friend over, so he could corroborate my star sighting. As soon as Val was in the bathroom, I waved frantically to my friend, and mimed that he had to come over to me that instant! He dawdled a little, so I stamped my foot and pointed to the area approximately one foot in front of me on the floor, and made my best "I MEAN it!" face, so he came over to see what I was having such a fit about. When I explained, he mimed over to Eddie that he should get on the bathroom line too, so all three of us looky-loos, and one unsuspecting woman, were on the line when poor Val emerged. He said a quick, "Thank you" to me, and then quickly went out the same door he came in. Of course, everyone on line immediately compared notes, and they all agreed, I was correct, that was indeed Val Kilmer!

Now, I'm embarrassed to admit that I got a small, stupid charge out of knowing that I was using the same toilet seat as Val Kilmer! But it gets worse than that. When I returned to the table, other diners had noticed him outside, using a payphone, and Paul dragged me outside to pretend to look at the newsstand magazines, but we were really spying on poor Val. When I had my fill of embarrassment, we went back into the coffee shop, and our fellow spies told us that then he was sitting on the bus stop bench, until a car came up and picked him up.

Thrilled with this little episode, I was still talking about it when we left the shop, and I joked that I wanted to share another seat with Val Kilmer!, so I ran over to the bus bench to rub my butt over the same stop he sat in, much to the amusement of my friends. When I got to the bench, I found that he had left his cigarettes on the bench! What a souvenir, Val Kilmer's Marlboro Lights! I kept that pack, and used it as a visual aid whenever telling people of my brush with fame for months afterwards, until I broke down during one particularly stressful time, and smoked my souvenir.

Val, if you're reading this, I owe you half a pack of cigs, buddy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Talk About Wagging The Dog

Incensed. I am absolutely incensed to hear that Dubya has "declined" to view the videotape of the American P.O.W.'s, while he was hanging out at Camp David. How fucking DARE he decline to view the images of the Americans that HE SENT IN THERE?

Oh, those topographical computer-generated maps showing the damage done by those bunker blasters is all fine and good, and those nice green goblin night vision films of burst of lights showing the wonderful bombing missions are super. But golly, looking into the frightened eyes of a captured soldier, or seeing the video of Americans apparently shot in the head? Well, gee, that just brings a little too much reality into it, now doesn't it? It's not so god-awful when you watch the edited version of the war, but your delicate sensibilities can't stand the actual stinking pile of death you are making? The collosal nerve of you.

They aren't just "troops" (a word that has always made me think that there are more than one person being spoken about, like a troupe of mimes or something). They are men and women, they are real, and they are being held prisoner, possibly tortured, and some of them killed, because you are your father's puppet, you need to finish off what he couldn't, you want to take over a new oil supply, and you need to distract Americans from the domestic issues that you should REALLY be paying attention to, like who the REAL terrorists were, and how those first two planes went missing for 45 minutes on 9-11, and everyone claims to have not known about it. Yeah, uh-huh, righte-o. Pearl Harbor all over again.

Yes, Saddam Hussein is a bad man. A really bad man, with really bad sons. And you wanted to wipe him off the planet and take his oil. Just ADMIT it. Don't spin this into a liberation effort for the Iraqi people. Where the hell did THAT title come from? Like you gave a CRAP about them a year ago.

I throw my hands up in the air watching all the spin doctoring on the nightly news. As J says, they are wagging the dog so hard, that poor dog has suffered from a grand mal seizure. But even though I didn't plan this war or want any part of it, I viewed the videos of those hostages, looked right into their eyes, and felt horrible for them and their families. I'm sure that they felt they were there for all the right reasons, that they were sent to defend our country, the good guys. I wish they were fighting for the reasons they were told they were.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

If You Don't Already, You Ought To Read These Blogs

  • dooce
  • mimismartypants
  • sourbob
  • queserasera

    I read these every day, or most days, to be more precise, and they are all terribly amusing. The best part about them is that they all have very distinct personalities, truly unique voices, and I can't help myself but tune in to follow their latest adventures. And the graphics on dooce and sourbob's sites are arresting. But you make up your own mind.

    Oh, one more. I don't read this every day, but it's hysterical, so I went back over the course of a week and read the whole darned site. You will do the same, trust me.

  • "Things my girlfriend and I have argued about".

  • Thursday, March 20, 2003

    Not To Be Reproduced

    See, it's not that I have anything against children specifically. Over the years, I've known some absolutely terrific kids, ones that were so smart and funny and curious and sweet that you just want to pick them up and hug them forever. And some of my friends' kids have turned out to be great little people, and I actually find myself enjoying time with them. But despite all that, I know with the same degree of certainty that tells me that I am breathing and digesting lunch at this very moment, that I never, ever, ever want to be a mother.

    Back in my other life, way back when, when I actually considered a teaching career, I dealt with hundreds of kids a day, and they ran the gamut from sad, attention-starved kids to spoiled brats, from bullies to brainiacs, from angelic to hellion, and everything in between. The beauty of this situation, I thought, was that I could spend the day with them, but at the end of the day, I handed them back to their parents, and they were not my responsibility. The reality is that I was completely worn out by them emotionally. Some of them stick with me like snapshots of an earlier life, and I ache for them because of the various things they were going through, and how little time I had for them with so many demands my schedule then.

    I can't forget the girl who broke my heart hanging around me after school, because her parents were going through a divorce, and she'd rather stay with me in detention than go home. Or, the look in the eyes of the little boy who was chronically unable to stay in his seat through an entire schoolday for some reason, who was being dressed down in front of me by his teacher. And the girl who shyly gave me a present on the last day of school, thanking me for being the only one who ever told her that she was a good writer. And so many, many more of them. I'd go home at night and worry about them, wake up in the morning worrying about them. I wanted so badly to be someone who helped them rather than stifled their spirits, someone to be counted on as an ear for them when no other adult would listen, someone who maybe inspired them in some small way to go out and do good in the world. Perhaps my goals were too lofty, and the difference between my aspirations as a teacher and the reality of all that worked against those goals - the bureaucracy in schools, the overwhelming amount of students with social and emotional problems that went unaddressed, and my own vulnerabilities and lack of self-assuredness - were too great. But the point is that when I quit, I breathed a sigh of relief heard from ten miles away. I couldn't really see them as not my resposibility.

    I can't imagine, knowing how freaked I was trying to cope with the kids who weren't mine, what I would do with one of my own. I have the nuturing instinct that most people think is the same as maternal instinct, but there is a subtle distinction there. You can be a nurturer and be able to step back and take time for yourself when you need too. Mothers don't really have that luxury. You are on 24-hour call, for the rest of your life. Good lordy, lord, lord, lord! I know people do this all the time, or the planet would not be over-populated so, but I do not feel the need to be one of those people. Not even the teensiest little bit.

    As I just read on a blog today, there are those that will swear up and down to you how the moment you hold your own child in your arms, you know that it is worth it, and you fall in love with your child. Uh, mmm-mmm, yeah. These are the same people who will later on in the phone conversation interrupt their monolog about how tired they are and how little time they have to themselves to repeatedly scream at full-pitch banshee levels at their toddler for wacking their infant brother in the face with a sippy cup or something. They are similar to the parents who will stand around at picnics with the other parents and compare complaints about how being pregnant and giving birth was a nightmare, what antics little Johnnie did today, what on earth were they going to do about their out-of-control teenager, or how expensive college is, how little sleep they got with the baby, how they have no sex life/no adult friends other than their childrens' friends/ no free time, blah, blah, blah, due to the little (or big) bundle of joy. So, am I to gleen from all this that it's all downhill from the first moment you hold them in your arms? Of course not.

    But the upshot of having kids can easily be mine without all the self-inflicted punishment of actually birthing and owning them. I can go to their games or not, see their recitals or not, change their diapers or NOT! I don't see a downside to this for me at all. Oh, and those people who go on about how their kids will be there for them when they are old - ha! Tell it to the lonely folks in the retirement home who only see their kids on major holidays. That's not a reason to have children, to guard against being alone, and it's not even a guarantee that you will even have the pleasure of their company after they go out and get busy lives of their own.

    For every exhausted, financially-drained, play date-making mom out there, I say thank you for doing your own thing. Enjoy your family, have a blast with the little cherubs, love them with all your heart. But as for me, I say please don't give me that speech about how I'll want babies when I find the right mate, or when my maternal instinct kicks in, or how I'll be sorry if I don't while I can. I think I've found the right mate, my maternal instinct is extinct, and I won't be sorry, I promise you.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2003

    The Voices of Friends

    So I'm riding in the car with my friend Joe from work, and we are running a work errand together. Whenever we spend time in the car together, we end up catching each other up with our lives, and over the years, we've had some real heart-to-heart talks in "the confession booth on wheels".

    Our conversations weren't always so personal, of course. We started out just joking around about work, the people there and the odd situations that come up, stories which are always much more entertaining to the people you work with than to anyone who doesn't and suffers through your "this thing happened at work and was so funny" stories. It wasn't until he started going through a series of spirit-crushing personal tragedies that we began to stop joking and start talking about what was really going on in our lives.

    Joe lost his mother and his sister to cancer within two years of each other, understandably became depressed, and then his marriage started to come apart soon after that. My closest friend had suffered through cancer when she used to live with me, and I'd lost both my parents, so we found that we had a whole lot of common ground to talk about. It seemed to me that it was helping Joe to be able to talk about it all, and it made me feel good to be able to help him through a difficult time, even though it seemed like such a simple thing to do. He just needed someone to talk to who he could trust not to judge him or repeat what he said, and I was happy to do that for him. And he has spent just as many hours listening to me ruminate over this problem or that, and he's proven to be a good listener and a discrete confidante, which is a rare thing in this world.

    It didn't seem to me at the time that anything that I contributed to the conversation was of much help to him, but Joe surprised me today, and repeated an observation I'd made to him years ago, something about how his house that he lived in with his now ex-wife had very little of him in it. It was all decorated as if she lived there alone, and I mentioned that to him, not unkindly. He brought that up and favorably compared where he was in that situation then to where he is now. Although it was good to know that he's doing better in his new relationship in that respect, I was more struck by the fact that he even remembered that observation, and that he'd placed so much importance on it.

    It's an odd feeling to suddenly become aware that YOU are one of the little voices in someone's head. I've got a thousand little voices in my head. Oh, that came out wrong, like I hear voices or something. No, no, let me clarify that.
    For example, my grandmother was excessively proud of her baking skills, and so she would often try to get you to sample whatever she'd just baked, and would never take "no, thank you" for an answer. She had a million entreaties ready, so you would have to just give up and try the damn mince meat pie already and stop arguing with her, you knew she would win. Even so, it was her answer to the protest that it would "spoil" your dinner that was the most intriguing and memorable. She would say, "Oh, just eat your dessert first, like Jewish people do!"

    Where on earth she got the idea that it was a Jewish custom to eat dessert before dinner is beyond me, but the point is that forever more, when someone suggests that you eat a sweet before you've had your proper meal, I "hear" my grandmother's words in my head and smile at that little bit of eccentricity. And she's not alone up there. There are hundreds of sound bites in my head, popping in at the most- and least- expected moments. This is just something familiar to me, and I assume that other people have similar (if perhaps not as numerous) voices in their heads, too.

    What I hadn't expected to hear was that *I* was a voice in Joe's head, and that he'd been carrying that one comment around with him for years. At first I thought that perhaps what I'd said had been overly critical, but luckily, he was happy I said it, because he was having trouble articulating to himself why he felt uncomfortable, and that provided him with a visual metaphor for how he had been feeling in the marriage.

    I'm left with two important lessons after our conversation this afternoon. One, is that you just never know how something you say or do might impact another person, and you may just end up being a voice in someone else's head for a long time to come, so mind what you say. The second one, is that I realized today that Joe is one of my closest friends, in terms of the way we can talk to one another, and I've never told him that. I think I'll go do that right now.

    Monday, March 17, 2003

    My Very Own Home Version Of Fear Factor

    Yuck. Ew. Yuck. Moths, everywhere. I could show you the velour top I have with little trails EATEN all along the front. Or how about the scarf with the interesting pattern eaten through it, not unlike the little paper tape you used to write programs on with the OLD fashioned, room-sized computers, when you used to have to used BASIC to talk to the giant box of blinking lights. (Anyone else live through that torture?) Oh, and then there was the blood-curdling, scream-inducing moment that forced a complete overhaul of the snack corner on the counter - a pretzel bag with a MOTH MAGGOT walking around - inside.

    Now, ever since I first saw that scene in Poltergeist, when the camera man for the paranormal investigation team hallucinates that the food he is eating suddenly starts writhing with maggots, I have not been able to stand the thought of maggots without getting nauseated, so you can imagine the dancing and singing that followed the discovery that moth heaven had moved from my closet and basement, right into the kitchen.

    Complete and total freaking out was the only way to go.

    Upon closer inspection, I found that these little bastards had made their way into the admittedly old package of rice cakes, which I thought was closed up very tightly, into the pretzels and left over bag of taco chips, even with a chip clip on top, and they even got inside a bag of pixie sticks. Pixie sticks, fercryinoutloud. Moth maggots IN the pixie sticks.

    You are nauseated now too, aren't you?

    Of course, this comes nowhere near the maggot episode of two summers ago. Now that, friends, was an episode of screaming and dancing in the driveway that has yet to be rivaled.

    You are still reading. You sucker for punishment. Okay, I was being lazy, and didn't rinse out the cat food cans and recycle them like a good girl, but instead stuck them in with the trash, and put them out by the curb. Well, the public works in my town picks up the trash, and they are so incredibly anally vigilant about finding recyclable items in the trash, that they must have heard the tink! tink! of cans among all the trash, and they ripped open the bags to see for themselves. Since the cans were in there, they did what they always do, left the whole heap there in the trash can, refusing to take it away.

    Okay, I usually recycle diligently, and I was being lazy, I'll own all of that. Still, there is nothing so defeating as coming home from work on a hot summer day, only to discover all the trash you left out in the morning is still there after a long day's bake in the sun, and those cat food cans have never been more fragrant. The last thing you want to do is start sifting through this mess and sorting out the cat food cans. Trust me, you do not want to do this in your work skirt when your tired ass is barely able to drag up the three steps into the house. No, you drag the can back up the driveway, and you leave it there to figure out what to do the next day.

    The next day, I found a skillion reasons NOT to open up this trashcan and dig around in there, so I put it off for another day. The second day after The Great Non-Recycling Caper, it's the weekend, and by then I was sufficiently ready to deal with The Nasty. Or so I thought.

    I noticed something white on the side of the plastic can, and didn't think too much of it until later. Then, I pulled off the lid, expecting nothing more than a pretty bad smell. As I pulled off the lid, a tremendous, outrageous amount of something white started spilling over the sides of the top of the can. At first, I though it looked just like what oatmeal boiling over the top of a saucepan looks like - until, to my absolute horror, I realized what was actually spilling over the sides at an incredible rate -
    MAGGOTS. Thousand and thousands of them. An inconceivable amount of filth pouring out of the trash can and over the sides, like something out of a horror Poltergeist! I'm pretty sure that was the only time in my life that I was so terrified, that I was screaming for what seemed like a full minute (but was probably only seconds) before I knew that I was even producing sound.

    Suffice to say that no amount of Lysol, rubber gloves, bleach and showering later will ever wash off the aftermath of that particular morning. How people could go on a television show and either touch, be touched by, or GAG! eat these disgusting creatures is just beyond my imagination. Even the idea that they might be lurking in my pretzels, chips and pixie sticks forced me to... Oh My God, I just realized as I'm typing this - they went into the trash!

    I am just not opening that trash can ever again, and that's all there is to it.

    Friday, March 14, 2003


    I'm sorry that I haven't written anything here in days. It's not because there haven't been things to write about, it's just that I haven't had time.

    I was too busy being sorry. Sorry that I never called my cousin back. If only I didn't feel so ambivalent about why she calls me in the first place. Does she really want to catch up with what's new in my life, or is she looking for an ear for her constant complaints about all the things that are wrong with hers? Is she going to tell me more unpleasant things about the family members we have in common, but with whom I no longer have any contact with? Will she look for validation for the way she and her mother handled our grandmother's estate, when in her heart of hearts she must know that they f'd things up royally. Should I tell her that I'm angry at the way things were handled, and possibly make our tenuous relationship even more rocky, or just pretend that things are okay, and quietly just take the crumbs left over from their mishandling and consider the topic closed. Perhaps it's just better to not call her for weeks on end, passive-aggressively letting her know that I'm mad, without having to actually discuss it. Oh yeah, that's much better. And I feel so much better for handling things that way. I do. No, really.

    I'm sorry that I haven't kept up better at work. I'm suddenly unhappy there, due to rumors of some big and unfortunate changes in our benefits, and since I tend to be a nester, this is making me very uneasy overall, and is affecting my ability to concentrate. I hate changing jobs, and have made a comfortable niche for myself at this one. I don't want to be pushed out of my nest - but what sense of self-respect could I possibly have left if some of the changes proposed happen, and I don't leave? It would just be a sign to management that I am a doormat, and things would only continue to deteriorate. So, I am waiting to see what happens before polishing up the resume and looking for somewhere to go, because I don't really want to go, but if I must, I will. In the meantime, my work is suffering, and that can only make my position more shaky, so I have to try to concentrate more and get caught up. It won't be easy.

    I'm sorry that I read today. His posts are always so well written and so on the mark, and this one is no exception. The reason I'm sorry I read it is because afterwards, I had an ache in the pit of my stomach, remembering how the mourning of a relationship feels. And although things are going well with J right now, I still have moments where I can feel myself pull away from him, not talking about what's really on my mind, because the closer I get to him now, the more difficult that inevitable mourning period will be. And I know that sounds really cynical, but everyone leaves eventually, either by ending the relationship in some manner or by dying, and it doesn't get any easier mourning those losses. I'm sorry I can't completely give in to the moment and just enjoy what's here now, instead of waiting for the inevitable pain to come.

    Sorry I don't know what I want out of life. Until my mother died two years ago, my family life was so complicated that I couldn't see past the present entaglements to wonder about the future. Now I'm faced with all these life decisions, and it's great, but it's terrifying. For example, part of me thinks that it would be really nice to have someone to share my life with (ideally J), someone to go to sleep with and wake up with every day instead of a couple times a week, make decisions with, plan the future with. That sounds really comforting and nice - until I start to think about how stubborn I am, and how tough it is going to be to have to compromise with someone about decisions I take for granted as being mine alone right now. If I want to buy something now, there is no one to stop me. What would it be like having someone second guess my spending habits? Having someone comment on my eating, clothing, choice of television viewing, frequency of leg shaving, etc.? What is it like living with someone and having to share everything with them, ALL THE TIME? And which is worse, stubbornly refusing to learn to compromise and ending up alone, or coming to terms with this and acknowledge the need to be with J, only to find out that he likes living alone and doesn't want to change things?

    Sorry this is all I have to write about after all this time off.

    Saturday, March 08, 2003

    That Nasty Booming Inner Voice

    I was just reading an article in Oprah's magazine (stop rolling your eyes for a sec, it's the first time I bought one), and it had me laughing out loud. Not in the fakey-fakey chatroomesque lol way, but really guffawing. See, the article was written about combating that nasty voice in your head that berates you constantly, and I SO know that little voice. I hear that voice probably more clearly than the one that my vocal chords help produce. Not that that is funny, although it can be when you are comparing notes with a fellow self-loather and exploding with self-depricating laughter in stereo.

    No, what was funny about this was that the author wrote the article in the form of an internal monologue interspersed with snippets of her interview on that subject with a psychologist. And her inner voice was berating her the whole time she was conducting the interview, to the point that she couldn't concentrate on what the interviewee was saying, nor the fact that the interview was actually going well. Her inner monologue was so familiar to me that I was hysterical, thinking, "Whoa, that's my inner voice talking, exactly!" As I type this, the little voice is competing with the writer voice, and it is difficult to get a sentence out with all the mental combat. "Oh my GOD, don't write that, it's stupid!""How much detail should I go into?""You sound like a psycho saying this!""Is that a run-on sentence?""It doesn't matter if it's a run-on sentence, no one wants to hear this anyway.""Shut up! Who asked you?""You suck!""No, YOU do.""YOU do.""Oh, what's the use, you're right. I suck!" (Big sigh.)

    It's a wonder I can hear anyone talking to me with the cacophony going on in my head at any one moment. J tells me that he experiences the same thing. I used to think that we were two mental patients who had found each other, and could sit on the couch together, rocking and drooling in puddles of our own making, because we were the only people thinking like this. But now, NOW, I'm reading this article and thinking, man, this author is in the same sorry shape as me! There must be more of us out there than I thought. Now, should that be a comforting thought, or should I go straight to bed and pull the covers over my head until the thought passes? "Oh GOD, shut up already, mental case!"

    I'll be in bed if anyone's looking for me. Not that anyone would be...

    Tuesday, March 04, 2003

    "We Had It Really Rough, You Know"

    I'm SO sick of winter. Aren't you sick of it, too? Grey snow everywhere, no-self-respecting-lizard-would-ever-be-this-dry skin, static electricity tormenting me every time I touch anything, cold feet in bed, no leaves, no flowers, road salt and sand getting in my clogs and tracking in on every carpet, can't go out for a walk at night without chapping my face and lips, ice in my car door lock, heavy snow and ice breaking all the little branches on my delicate dogwood trees, quick goodbyes in the car with J instead of prolonged kissy and huggy ones, not enough dress pants for work to go a week without wearing the same old ones again, warming up the car for eons before being able to drive, and black ice. Yuck, pooey, yuck, pooey. Welcome to my grey winter world. Where is Mr. Heat Meiser?

    Of course, the minute after the seasons change and we go right into a premature summer again, I'll be bitching about how hot it is, and how I long for hot chocolate and cozy chenille sweaters again, and how much I loathe the weeds from hell springing up in every corner of the unruly yard. Complaining is sport in my neck of the woods, and light conversation tends to be one-upsmanship about how crappy your life is versus the next guy, but done in an amusing way. Mind you, I'm not complaining about the complaining! I find entertaining complainers to be almost like story-tellers. The worse your lot is, the more hyperbole thrown into the mix for comedic effect, the better I like it.

    I'm reminded of the Monty Python sketch where they all sit around talking about how hard they had it growing up, and the stories get wilder and wilder. I don't remember exactly how the tale tales went, but I seem to remember Michael Palin going on in a burst of drool-spewing frenzy, "My whole family lived in a hole in the road, seven of us! We had to get up at 2 in the morning, two hours *before* we went to bed the night before, go work in the coal mines all day, and our father would MURDER us in our beds every night! THAT'S how hard WE had it!" I'm not doing it justice, but trust me, pee-in-your-pants funny.

    Monday, March 03, 2003

    Random Things I Like

    In no particular order, and certainly only touching the tip of the iceberg:

  • butterscotch
  • big chenille sweaters
  • the sound of a cat purring
  • freshly ground coffee
  • laughing until I'm crying with my boyfriend
  • how a huge snowfall makes the world sound muffled early in the morning
  • watching the birds in my yard - catching a glimpse of a male cardinal
  • my grandmother's coconut cookies
  • a beautiful smile from a stranger
  • finding a bow that *exactly* matches the wrapping paper I'm using
  • singing along to the radio, turned up loud, while driving in the car in the summer
  • greasy diners
  • walking in the woods and finding abandoned sheds, rock walls, grown over paths
  • graveyards
  • bowling shoes
  • potatoes in any form
  • long kisses
  • fresh salad bars
  • seeing old friends
  • music, whether it be a great new song on the radio, or my favorite well-worn Beatles record, and everything in-between
  • the extreme loyalty of dogs
  • a medium-rare steak, with more fat on it than is healthy
  • when someone brings me toast and tea when I'm really sick
  • being able to speak your mind without sensoring yourself with someone
  • when my boyfriend holds my hand while we sleep
  • not wearing a bra
  • baking birthday cakes for people I love

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