22 October 2017

Goodnight Moon

One of the writing prompts on the list that I've sort of abandoned...I've written some, just not posted...is "Describe What's in Your Bedroom and How it Came to Be There."

At first, I giggled like a teenager because c'mon.  Then I'm like "Hmm, what's interesting about that?"  Then in the middle of the night when my brain decides it needs to sort out random thoughts and I need to be awake-ish for it, I considered it.

So let's start with the elephant in the room.  Our bed.  Well, our bed is Kevin's bed that he's had since he was married the first time.  Now, the mattress has been replaced obvs. but the frame is the same.  AND, it's a converted waterbed frame.  Sexy, lol. 

I've never cared about who slept in the bed.  Especially now since it will be almost thirty years since we've been together.  But I get how that could weird someone out.  At most, it makes me giggle like a teen-aged mean girl.

One of our dressers is Kevin's grandmothers from the Moody House. (his parents house from years ago)  The other dresser and nightstands are new, inexpensive ones that we finally bought two years ago.  The lamps are also his grandmothers, very old ceramic with hand-painted bases.  We inherited them because reportedly I said I liked them at one point.

There is a set of gothic wrought iron candle holders, also from the Moody House collection, on the headboard.  I added a festive string of fairy lights last Christmas and they're still there, much to Kevin's dismay.   Books, of course because books.  I have a funky storage case/footstool kind of thing from the seventies maybe?  It has an Americana print on it and I think it's cool.  Kevin not so much.

There is also a hand-carved and decoupaged jewelry box that was his mothers from her childhood.  She said that she had found it along the railroad tracks near her house and "someone left it for her."  I'm going to go with someone stole it, took out any jewelry and tossed it.  But if she thinks someone left it for her to find, then okay.

I have a wingback chair that was my grandfathers.  I love it but it's so worn that I keep a cover over it.  It used to be dark burgundy but now it's a dusty pink.  It's from the 1940's, as near as I can tell.  It was one of my favorite chairs to sit in when we visited.

The artwork on the walls is very random.  95% of which is second-hand. We have a painting that was done by a great aunt or someone on Kevin's side of the family.  We've just always had it, not because we enjoy it, just because.  It's no great work of art. In certain light, you can see the painter's signature.  I really should look it up someday.  Oh, and it's huge, three feet by foot and a half.



So, what I thought was a boring, random suggestion actually made me think about where our stuff came from.  Few new to us pieces, lots of inheritance, and second-hand finds.  I think it became an interesting piece to write because it is an intimate space, not like a kitchen, bathroom, or dining room.

Also, it's always good to reflect back to what used to be.  Reminds us where we came from. 

20 September 2017

At the Bottom of the Laundry

Over the past few years, Kevin has talked about buying a handgun for home protection.  I am not onboard with this idea but know that it's probably inevitable.  He will do it legitimately with a license and training and he wants me to also.  It is the responsible thing to do, I understand.

We live rurally, response time from first responders is not as quick as the city, and we all know we've had some weird shit happen around here over the years.  So, I get why Kevin thinks it's a good idea.  However, I also know the statistics of something going badly because of the presence of a handgun sometimes outweigh home protection.  And, I'm just not comfortable with guns.  I never have been and I grew up in a hunting community.

Sidenote: this isn't a gun debate.  I will say it again: this is not a gun debate.  This is my opinion and feeling about it and that alone. 

Of course because Kevin said he wanted to do this, his brother had to do it also.  If Kevin says he's going to buy something, quite often his brother will do it also, sometimes before him, and will always spend more money on whatever.  It annoys me to no end. 

This was not an exception.  I didn't know until recently that Brother had purchased a handgun.  His brother is the exact wrong person to have one. I believe he's the guy that would shoot his wife because he thought she was an intruder or have an accident because he thought it was unloaded.  And let's talk about seven grandchildren visiting that house, one a being toddler.  And that he lives next door.

To further illustrate him, he didn't have the courage to call Kevin's best friend to ask for safety and shooting lessons.  He had Kevin do it because reasons. 

This is one of those instances where Kevin gives me the least amount of heads up that is possible because he knows I'm going to be annoyed.  In this situation, it was a quick, off-hand "Oh we're meeting Friend to go shooting. My brother bought a gun." twenty-four hours before they were meeting. 

I'm uncomfortable with this meeting because I'm uncomfortable about guns.  I'm uneasy with his brother having a gun.  I just had this unease about the whole thing.  That being said, I trust Kevin's best friend with not only Kevin's life but my own.  I've known him since I was eighteen years old and he is the best of humans. 

Kevin said that he was mostly going as an observer.  He wasn't super excited about shooting.  He's not a hunter and it's just not something that has ever interested him.

The boys met at lunchtime and off they went.  Kevin said he figured it would be two hours tops.  I have a cold so I just liked being able to watch television and sleep on the couch in peace. 

Then time started passing.  I didn't get a text or a photo or anything, which I thought was unusual but it's a gun thing.  Not time to be playing with selfies.  Also, Kevin and I both possess a talent for underestimating how long things take. 

Four hours later and I was concerned.  I didn't text him because I figured if something had changed or went wrong, he would text or call.

Finally, he walked in and sat down.  He was pale and quiet.  "Well, that went sideways.  Really. fucking.sideways."

The gun range they went to wasn't busy that day.  The three boys, another guy who was a soldier arrived at the same time, and another guy was already there when they arrived.  After spending about an hour shooting, they were starting to wrap it up.  OF COURSE, the brother's gun was jamming and having issues.  EXHIBIT A: Why This is a Bad Idea.  

Kevin had struck up a conversation with the soldier because he's never met a stranger. The soldier was practicing and using two of his father's guns that it sounded like he had inherited.  Kevin said he was a really nice, low-key kind of guy. He said he seemed a little lonely. 

He offered Kevin to shoot one of the military guns he had and Kevin did.  The soldier trained him for that specific gun and explained how he came to have it. 

Unfortunately at the same time that Kevin was shooting, the gentleman who had arrived before them ran onto the range and committed suicide.   Kevin said alarms went off and instructions were given to put everything down and step away.

All Kevin knew was that his best friend took off on a dead run and he followed.  Because they're helpers.  I can't think about this part because gunfire.  I waver between being proud and What.the.Actual.Fuck were you thinking. 

This is where I say that Friend is a First Responder.  He saw the actual act and ran to help.  Kevin heard but didn't see, then saw the aftermath.  The gentleman was gone instantaneously so there was nothing to do.  Someone on Facebook posted the nicest thing in the comment section of the news post on social media:
"To the firefighter that witnessed this.  You did well by this man. There was nothing you could have done to stop him. Praying for you, family, and all affected."

This made me cry.  I had held kind of firm until I read that.  

Kevin shared that he initially didn't know what had happened.  He didn't know if one of his shots had ricocheted because at the time he was the only shooter.  He has difficulty with human suffering so a little bit of him is struggling that a fellow human being can be in that dark of a place. (Difficulty as in empathetic, not impatience)  Plus just the abject powerlessness of the situation.

He said that the sheriff and state patrol interviewed him/them and took their information. They offered on-site counseling and it sounds like they did talk a little bit.  Friend has been checking in daily with him as well.  He hasn't been sleeping very well but that's to be expected.  I'm giving it to the end of the week before sounding any alarms.  He processes much like me, he just needs some time.

The gentleman had left a note so there isn't a doubt as to intent. He had brought his dog with him and asked for arrangements to be made for him to be taken care of.  I had a moment of madness, thinking we should see if he's adoptable but no.  The gun range guy said that he'd been watching him, sensing something was happening but had checked in with him twice to no avail.

Not to make this about me for one second but I can't think much about what happened.  Again, I waver between proud and fear knowing that those two boys ran toward danger.  My heart is broken that they shared this experience but am soothed that they have each other. 

AND THEN the fucking laundry kicked my ass this morning.  That day Kevin said he was going to shower and I asked him to put every stitch of clothing into the laundry.  It took two days for me to get to it but I finally started that load late last night.  This morning I switched it from the washer to the dryer and this is what I see:

(that's a spent bullet casing)
So, Godspeed gentleman whose name we'll never know.  I hope you found peace.  Send good vibes out for Kevin and his Friend.  Keep an eye out for your fellow man. 

17 September 2017

Work, Work, Work

(sorry, not sorry for the Rhianna earworm)

I've been working at the new job for over a month now.  Yikes!  Where does time go?

I have very mixed feelings about being in my old hometown.

It's changed quite a bit so there's a learning curve of how to drive here.  Roads that didn't used to be there, businesses that have moved or closed, and just growth in general.

As I mentioned, it's not even a little bit as picturesque as my old city.  I've been purposefully seeking out opportunities to notice beauty.  And not so much.  Maybe once I begin traveling for my job I'll have more opportunities.

My commute has possibilities.  Once the freeway breaks out of the mountain pass and lowers into the Valley, there are farm fields, Cascade mountains to the East, the largest American flag on the West Coast, and on pretty days a glimpse of the Olympic Mountains. But taking photos on the freeway is impossible so therein lies my frustration.

To get to my work, you have to cross the Skagit River.  I've yet to get a good photo because there is always  traffic.  Some of you may remember that the I-5 bridge over this river was knocked down a few years ago.  I think about that every time I cross it.

Almost thirty years ago this was the town that I essentially fled from my former husband.  Kevin and I moved to where we live now and never looked back.  I began working in another city and other than family visits and shopping, we really didn't spend a lot of time there. 

Now I'm there every day.  I find myself being a little vigilant, which I hope and assume will fade.  There have been a few "Oh, that happened there." moments which have been good and bad. 

The job is fine.  The people are nice.  The tasks are easy for me.  Right now, I'm just Meh.  Kevin says I'm looking for reasons to not like it so I'm trying to stay open to the adventure. 

But it does feel weird being back.  I get why novelist so often feature their protaganist returning home.


Watching and Listening

I've been celebrating my new job with a summer cold.  I've had laryngitis for two weeks with a very unattractive cough. Before that, I was figuring out a new job, a newish city, and working on a writing project I had abandoned.  Then...bam...cold.  Super.

So, I'm calling this post in. 

What I'm watching/reading/listening to right now...

I'm on the third viewing of Gilmore Girls.  I'm to the awful part where Luke has a daughter and Christopher has reappeared.  I've noticed that Rory's charm has worn off by the third viewing.  Mrs. Gilmore triggers me SO HARD  that I fast forward through her scenes.

The Bold Type.  OMG, so good.  I expected it to be vapid but it's actually very real. It's funny without being crass.  It gives an older person like me a good glimpse of what it's like to be a young adult in the social media world and just the world in general.  It lets me understand my nieces who are that age a little more.

The Property Brothers Buying and Selling.  I'm a shoe-in for a good design show. 

Car Spotting is a boy show but it is based in my home county and features one of the racers we know!

I swore I would never watch Nashville because I'm so not, not, not a Connie Britton fan.  She bothers me on a level I don't understand.  She must be like someone in my life or heaven forbid, remind me of myself. (thanks Confuscius)  Anyway, here I am binge-watching it after work on Thursdays and Fridays and downloading songs onto my phone.

The Oroville is fantastic if you grew up in the eighties.  It feels like watching Battlestar Gallatica.  I love the little sci-fi nods and subtle jokes. With Seth MacFarlane you never know. It can be brilliant or go sideways.  I think there's still potential for that but I loved what I've seen so far.

Game of Thrones is a favorite too.  I'm the nerd that reads the recaps right afterward so I understand everything that happened.  Now the long wait is happening.

Before I sound too smart, we've been enjoying Bachelor in Paradise.  I swear it's a case study in Human Psychology.  Also, it wouldn't be as fun to watch if Kevin wasn't yelling at the television with me.

 I love Ross Mathews Podcast, Straight Talk with Ross.  It can get a little raw sometimes and if you're not comfortable with overt gayness, it's not for you.  But I enjoy it so much. It's like listening to your best friends talk.   The fact that he is a local boy and occasionally talks about his home town just makes it more fun.

The West Wing Weekly podcast.  This sounds boring but I swear it's not.  It's a recap and discussion show of the show The West Wing with Josh Malina.  I can get lost in this podcast.

Chris Hardwick's Nerdist Podcast.  The Neil DeGrasse Tyson one that just happened kicked my ass.

Manic Rambling Spiral.  If you read Dooce, then you would probably enjoy this.  They do veer into parenting which doesn't apply to me but I can see where it would be good for others.

 Craig Ferguson on Sirius Faction Channel.  I confess I listen to his interviews only.  I think he's finding his feet when it comes to doing a radio show/podcast.

I've been trying to read on my lunch break.  I just finished a really old Nora Roberts book that I found buried on my bookshelf.  Now I'm reading Sarah Addison Allen First Frost.  Both very good but the Nora Roberts one was so old, it was a little dated. 

I'm paring down my magazines again.  I know, I say this often but for real.  I used to take my old magazines into work but that's not an option now.  Also, do I really need to get all.the.magazines?  Yeah, probably but not right now.

It feels like we're all looking for Happy Twitter versus The World is Ending Twitter. May I suggest: @colorschemz is entertaining in an odd, I feel a little high kind of way.
@obamapluskids  President Obama photographed with kids.  That.is.all.
@rumiquotes sometimes makes me think.
Patton Oswalt and Meredith Salenger and Wil Wheaton and his wife Anne because they both tweet at each other often.  I love when famous people are friends on Twitter and interact.
I follow a few authors but enjoy the YA author Sarah Dessen the most.  


11 August 2017

Crying in the Bread Aisle

The other day I was in the grocery store that I hate because I don't make good choices sometimes.  I was in a pissy mood because it was one of those challenging days where every thing seems a struggle.

I'm going down the aisles, with my headphones in to squelch my annoyance.  I caught someone's eye and said hello.  I knew that I knew them but it took me a beat to remember who they were.

It was a parent from the school.  Wait, back up.  I've been gone from the school for TWELVE YEARS.  Twelve.  I can't believe that it's been that long because it still feels like it was just a little while ago.  So, this is context and I just needed to say TWELVE YEARS.

She turned around and stopped me.  "You know I just have to tell you..."  Ugh, these conversations can go either way.  While I enjoyed this parent, she had her challenges so buckle up.

"Daughter is still best friends with Friend, after all these years.  Since they were toddlers!"   It was nice to hear that a relationship that was founded in preschool was still going strong.  That seems rare.

She continues on to tell me that she's graduating from University soon and going for her masters.  This isn't a surprise to me because even as a child, we knew this one was going places.  You just knew it.

Finally, she said (I'm paraphrasing)  "I just couldn't have done it without you and the school.  Daughter wouldn't have had the opportunities she had if not for the school.  I just need you to know how much I appreciate all that you did for me and Daughter."

So, now I'm almost crying in the bread aisle.

When a person works in social services or non-profit, you subliminally know that you're making a difference.  On exceptional days, you may see it occur in front of you.  But it's often a Karma thing, it may or may not happen and you probably won't know how everything turns out.

This mama gave me confirmation that work I did twelve years ago made a difference.  This is worth its weight in gold  to me.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do...Part Two

TFW you forget to click publish...

Today turned out to be my last day at the job I didn't want.  My official last day was supposed to be Friday.  I'm feeling a little disconnected.  I mean, I knew I wasn't staying but now I'm in limbo waiting for the new job to begin and yet a little bit missing the job I didn't want.

My replacement started on Monday and by the end of Monday I had trained her on the three things she needed to know that I could teach her.  In parallel to my experience, she didn't have all the tools she needs to do the job yet.  So, essentially we were both being paid to just sit there.

On Tuesday I made sure that she didn't have any questions, made sure she knew superficially who everyone was and what they did, and walked her through what a normal day may look like.  Then I hung out with the guys during the other three hours of the day.  So not exaggerating.

When I was driving to work on Wednesday, I was reviewing in my head what needed to happen during the day.  I came up with nothing.  I mean, I've been doing close to nothing for the past ninety days so it was naive to think it would be any different now.  There was virtually nothing for me to do but to sit and watch the new girl answer the phone.

This is where I say that the new girls is low on personality.  If she were fun to hang out with, I probably would have stayed.  Instead, it was just awkward silences.  Way to make this weird job even more weird.

I spoke with the guy I worked with one-on-one and he said it was up to me when I wanted to leave.  But I needed to talk to the boss also.  I waited until saw him about fifteen minutes later and described the situation.  He grinned and said "Well then, get the hell out" and laughed.

There are two schools of thought here:  I could have totally "worked" yesterday and today and gotten paid.  But I had no workspace (again)  and it just didn't seem like the ethical thing to do.  Or, I could do what I did and follow my instincts.  It felt like it was time to be done.

Until I had to say my goodbyes. I was surprised that I had become attached to these folks in the few short days I was there.

I did the most difficult first, my East Indian Canadian friend.  He yelled at me for not just sticking around then invited me to lunch the next day.  We're facebook friends and we've promised to keep in touch. We all say these things but I really hope that we do.

Next was hipster guy and he made me teary.  He was in someone else's office (guy I don't know well) and asked "Is it okay if I hug you?".  And of course he's the best hugger, the kind you feel in your soul.  I will miss working with him every day.  He is the best friend in the rom-com who eventually gets the girl kind of nice.

Then a few deep breaths later, it was easier after that.  I didn't get to say goodbye to socially awkward guy before he left to do a job so I just left a post-it with a smiley face on his monitor.  I awkwardly shook hands/fist bumped with guy I worked with, the shop guy hugged me, then I was off.  They invited me to stop by someday but we all know that's not going to happen.

Driving home was a little rough because it occurred to me that it's my last day in that town.  Sure, I will be up there from time to time but not almost every day like I have for the last nearly thirty years.  Not only was I sad about leaving my new friends but sad about leaving town.

Now onto my next adventure!

03 August 2017

After 30 Years

There's a scene in the movie Grosse Point Blank where Martin Blank's secretary is encouraging him to attend his high school reunion. She describes it as "It's as if everyone has swelled."   At the time, I didn't quite get the reference.  Now, I've just attended my 30-year reunion and I'm here to say that it's an apt description.

The interesting thing is that a person could easily figure out who the girls were, without nametags.  Girls don't seem to change a lot as they age, just get a little softer, if you will.  But the boys.  Holy Crackers, thank sweet baby jesus for name tags.  Twice we played the "Who the hell is that guy?" game and had to rely on the nametag.

I arrived early to help my friend and there were about six girls there.  Within moments, everyone is talking about how they just went to their stylist or colored their hair that night. Then it slowly morphed into which boy still had their hair and how many of us are having 50th birthdays soon. Which then segued into the "How did we get this old?" conversation.

Our high school class suffered a few losses right after high school so we're weirdly clingy.  Most everyone is friends on facebook and the reunion planning often starts at the current reunion.  This year it was discussed to do five-year increments instead of ten because "we're going to start dropping off any day now."  (dude. seriously.)   Then we talked about doing facebook events as impromptu get-togethers.

What I really enjoyed about this event was that everyone wasn't divided into cliques.  Sure, there were groups of people but everyone was open and gracious.  A person hears stories about reunions or has preconceived notions that nothing has changed but in this case, everyone were just simply friends.  No drama but the normal cast of characters that one would expect. Someone drank too much, someone was a little inappropriate, but nothing melodramatic.

One of the most popular girls in school still is and that being said, really is very nice.  She worked so hard to include everyone this weekend, take lots of photos, and personally talk to everyone. It was impressive to someone like me who finds that kind of thing daunting.  She greeted me with "you look exactly the same" (adorable) and I said the same because she actually does.  She laughed and said "Oh  honey, it's all botox."  I just loved the realness of that statement.

Only one other of the core group of my high school friends attended so we  were each others dates on both nights.  On Saturday, we drifted around until finally we plunked down toward the back of the room and circled our chairs to talk.  People came around off and on until there was about seven of us gathered.   The dance floor slowly filled up, mostly girls just like in high school, and we watched the show from our chairs.  Eventually I had the realization that for me, nothing had changed.  I am still sitting in the back of the class, hanging out and talking with my friends. The fact that this was immortalized on Facebook the next day pleases the high school me.



The other best part of this experience was to see photos the next day.  There was a class photo taken on Friday and Saturday night so that everyone was included.  Then the candids were fun to see.  The funny part of being together in 2017 versus 1987 was people getting facebook notifications and friend requests during the party.  There were selfies and texts sent to friends who couldn't make it. Smart phones allowed everyone to be there, even if they weren't.

So, my recommendation is to go to your reunion.  Even if you think it will be weird, because it will, and a little awkward too. Use the buddy system so you're not alone.  I believe the pay off is that you will see people who you've totally forgotten about in the now but were so important to you back then.  You will see that you did exist in others lives and were important to them. You may even make friends with someone you'd never consider back in the day. 

24 July 2017

On A Clear Day

Yesterday I decided that I would wash the exterior windows.  This is usually Kevin's chore but it was nice out and it was very overdue.  I mentioned it to Kevin and he was surprised because  I'm not usually a volunteer for these kinds of things.  And I'd spent the morning in the garden so I was setting the bar pretty high for myself.

Before starting I thought that I would look up "How to wash exterior windows",  just in case someone out there has an easier way than I had planned.

I tapped out after seeing multiple listings for microfiber cloths, vinegar and water recipes, and squeegees. I just wanted to wash the doggone windows. I wasn't competing for a spread in Better Homes and Gardens.  Instead I went with the tried and true dish soap, giant bucket, and Kevin's car wash brush.

The more difficult decision was whether or not to listen to music while I did this.  I decided no because my wireless headphones weren't charged and they're noise cancelling, which gives Kevin way too much leeway to be mischievous. Also, I had visions of tangling cords with the scrub brush handle plus a bucket of water and my phone. I didn't want to risk being a Three Stooges episode so instead I worked to the dulcid tones of my father-in-laws riding lawnmower.

It was both as easy and as difficult as I anticipated.  The windows are high and I am short so Kevin's brush on a long handle made it easy.  I was afraid I was going to have to use the ladder, afraid not because of heights but the hassle of getting up and down repeatedly.

The worse part was taking off and cleaning the screens. As I've mentioned before, I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest amongst the trees.  While pretty, trees can wreak havoc.  It's also damp here most of the year so I'll leave that description to your imagination.  It ain't easy being green, for sure.

Kevin also has what we call the Wheel Brush, which is a snub, soft bristled brush that, as you may have guessed - we use on wheels.  It worked perfectly for the screens.  One of the adorable things that the internet suggested was to let the windows and screens "air dry".  We don't treat our expensive racecar this gently, I sure wasn't going to follow this advice.

Luckily our house is small; it has only eleven windows and two doors. The doors were the most difficult because one is a storm door with a screen so figuring out the configuration of cleaning both the windows and the screen was a challenge for my brain.

Kevin's only concern was getting water in the house.  This is valid because he has met me.  I am pleased to say and much to my own surprise that the only place that water seeped in was one of our doors.  Whew.

Luckily for me, I had cleaned the interior windows not long ago but I was still anticipating needing to do it again once the outside was sparkly clean but  Nope, they looked good.  But, and there's always a but, I still had to do the window tracks.  This is probably one of the yukkiest grownup jobs there is. I envy folks who live in dry climates in this situation.

Again, the internet suggests vinegar and baking soda, q-tips, toothbrushes and microfiber cloths. I went with a wet rag and a small watering can. It wasn't the most thorough job but to quote the internet: Ain't Nobody Got Time for That.  It is probably not meeting Martha Stewart's unattainable standards but it works for me.

Once we settled down for the evening, I thought that it looked brighter outside but I wondered if it was just my perception because I knew the windows were newly cleaned.  This morning, however, seeing them with the sun shining in made the difference - wait for it - very clear. Even Kevin, still sleepy at 5:20 in the morning, said "The windows look very nice, thank you."

Now I don't have to worry about that until next year and I can tell Kevin "Remember? I did it last year!"

21 July 2017

Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Multiple Times

Breaking up is hard to do and I’ve been stressing about giving notice here at this job.  I work with a group of guys on a variety of levels.  Out of ten guys, there are only two that I’m “meh” about. The rest I have been dreading saying “Peace, I’m out”.

It’s been fun working in boy world, as I’d suspected.  Boys have no filter and little memory.  I’ve found that they are often action-oriented as well, which is how I’m wired.  Having worked in a predominately women oriented workplaces, the change is refreshing.  Not for one second disrespecting my past coworkers, most of whom are great, it’s just different.

Anyway.  I’ve lied my face off for a month about leaving so just the relief of not doing that is remarkable.  I didn’t think that it would bother me as much as it did.  I mean, I’ve been here five minutes, I don’t owe anyone anything really.

One of my favorite guys is a hipster but not in the obnoxious way; in the laid back, cool kind of way.  He’s #2 in the food chain here so he was who I told first.  He’s the kindest guy, really.  His immediate response was pleasure at the opportunity I’ve been given and said “We just want the best for you and are happy for your success. I’m sad that you’re leaving though.”  It made me a little teary.

The second person I talked to was the “boss”, who is kind of like Michael Scott from the Office.  He was fine, I caught just a flicker of annoyance and that’s okay.  I wasn’t worried about telling him.  He’s one that I’m meh about.

Then the difficulty level went up from there.  One of the guys I work with the most is kind of socially awkward and I get the impression that the person who previously had this job wasn’t very nice to him.  I mean, he was initially surprised when I was kind and helpful toward him and it broke my heart a little.  The look of disappointment on his face when I told him was tough.  I’m going to train the new person to be extra nice to him.

I don’t usually refer to someone by their ethnicity but it’s necessary in this situation. The finance guy is East Indian and he was one of the first friends I made here.  I didn’t have to tell him, someone else did.  So I got to just wait until I saw him for his reaction. 

As I was talking to socially awkward guy, I heard him approaching.  He came around the corner, stood in front of me, threw his arms out and loudly said “What.the.fuck.man!?!?!” in his East Indian accent.  It just made me laugh.  I enjoy him so much and I’ll miss talking to him.

Unfortunately, the guy I work one-on-one with was out this week so he heard through the grapevine.  Today is the first day that he’s been here.  I was worried about his disappointment but he’s been a complete smart ass about it, in the best way.  I’m now referred to as the “short-timer”, which has been funny because I’m also not tall and he really is.  He’ll start to give a task or instruction then has said “Eff it, you don’t care anymore” and laugh.

Now I have nine days to just hang out.  Any training that was remaining has now been shelved so I openly listen to podcasts and read the news for four hours.  The person replacing me doesn’t start for another week so I’m not looking forward to the next week of leisure. 




10 July 2017

Not the vacuum too!

My new job is in a different town and county.  After working up here for almost 30 years (shut up), this means I have to find new places for all.the.things.  I've decided that it's equivalent to moving. 

My favorite coffee stand is downtown, I get Lucy's pet food at a feed store, my favorite second-hand shop.  Barnes & Noble! There isn't a single new bookstore in the entire COUNTY where I'll be working.  My favorite grocery store also has stores in that county BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME.

I was talking this over with my sister-in-law then the subject changed to her wedding ring.  DAMMIT Tracy! She reminded me that I have to find a different jeweler.  (Swistle: Fairhaven Gold is still the best, hands down)

Then I was vacuuming, like you do, and I was all "Sonofabiscuiteatingdog".  The vacuum repair shop.

My credit union?  Also not in the other county.

Chiropractor?  Probably can't convince him to move.  Eyeglasses place?  Gotta find another of those too.

Instagram photos?  Not as easy in a farming community way off the coast.  Wanna see photos of strip malls and used car dealerships?  I'm your girl.  No bay photos to be had there.

This weekend I flipped into "OMG I HAVE TO DO ALL OF THIS NOW."   "All of this" being defined as taking stuff to Goodwill, dropping books off at my friends little neighborhood library, (do they even have those in that town?)  going to my favorite hardware store in the entire world.  And to add insult to injury, I found a cool consignment shop that has really cool home decor items, for the love of sweet baby jesus.

I mean, it's not like all those places are disappearing.  I can go to them during the weekend but it's not the same and you can't convince me that it is.  Sigh.

It's a really good job though...

28 June 2017

Seven Mondays

Last week I accepted a job at HeadStart.  It's a lateral move from the job I just left but with significantly better benefits and stability. It's in another city, which is giving me anxiety in such a stupid way.  I'll  talk about that another time.

So, I'm still working at the temp job and am still not enjoying it.  I mean, it sounds fun sitting for four hours with nothing to do, right up until you do it.  I've been there over a month and I'm still not fully trained, still don't have a permanent workspace, and still can't care about the business.  Private sector is not for me.  We knew this but we just had to  try one more time. *squint*

All that being said, I'm having guilt about continuing to work there while I've accepted a new job.  It's complicated so let's step back.

The job I'm working now is a temp-to-hire job that becomes permanent after 90 days, August 15th.
The job I just accepted works off the school year so it doesn't begin until August 7.
My unemployment claim is valid until September something.
I can't quit the job I don't care about because unemployment won't cover it and I don't enjoy being poor.

My solution thus far is to lie my face off and perform an Academy Award performance of pretending to be interested in this job for the next month.

The new job doesn't start for like 52 days.  That is way too big of a number for my brain to cope with.  It sends me down a spiral of "I Can't WANT To Wait That Long!"  So I broke it down into weeks.  As of the time of accepting the new job, it was seven Mondays.  That is much easier for my weird brain to accept.

Now because it's a week later, it's only six Mondays left.  Also, I just discovered that next weekend is a long weekend due to the holiday so after that it will be only four Mondays. (keeping up? I have very creative math skills)  See? It feels better in tiny bite-sized chunks.

The plan is to give two-weeks notice in mid-July and take a long weekend prior to beginning the new job so that lessens the days also.  This is assuming that they don't tell me to get out after giving notice.  (Which begs, is that a quit or is that a fired? See? this is complicated!)  They've hired another girl to work full-time (for reasons that escape me, other than being full-time) and she is starting the week I am giving notice. 

There is so much guilt at this duplicity because I do enjoy the guys who I work with.  They really are a great group of guys and I've enjoyed working in Boy World.  But it's a job that an entry-level person can do with unfulfilled promises of being busy. It's an industry that dances on my bleeding heart liberal heart.  (military contracted)   I can go on for an hour with a list of reasons why it's not a good job for me so let's just move on.  But the guys are so nice...

I'm usually honest to the point of damage to my life sometimes so to keep this a secret is messing with me.  I just try not to think about it while I'm there.

Then, this happened:   As I left yesterday, I said goodbye to the guys.  The one that I work with the most said "Write when you get work!"  which stopped me cold.  My dad said that all the time and he is the only one I've heard say it.  I don't mind saying, it put a little shiver down my spine.  My dad has been gone for eight years. 

AND, how awkward is THAT!?!?!! 

Six more Mondays...


20 June 2017

But She's An Angel

I remember reading the advice to never let your hairdresser cut your hair while they are upset. Or was it in Steel Magnolias?  Doesn't matter, I'm here to tell you that it's true.

Now, it's not a complete disaster but it's not great.  Also, it has to be said that my hair has had some changes with aging so I may have to reconsider my hairstyle, or lack thereof but more on that in a little bit.


I've been known to cut my own bangs because I'm impulsive and impatient.  Most times, she can fix it.  She admonishes me in broken English not to do it every time.  In fact, there was one time that she fussed and combed and trimmed before finally stepping back.  Frowning, she finally said "No, no, no. I can't do anything with that." with a dismissive wave of her scissors. 

Right now, a week-ish later, I very nearly have Moe bangs.  I hadn't trimmed them myself before getting them cut so this one time it's not my fault.  I can place nearly two fingers between my brows and the bangs.  When Kevin says it's too short, it's too short.  

I have baby fine hair and because gawd has a sense of humor, two cowlicks on what would be the corners of my forehead.  So I always curl my bangs under to avoid any resemblance to Farrah Fawcett or, worse, having them plaster to my head in a very unbecoming way. (think: Cable Guy)  I am the person who has the same haircut all the time because there are limited styling choices, beyond reverting back to the 90's spiral perms.

When I try to tame these too short bangs, they can literally stick at a ninety-degree angle from my head.  Super.
I've used more hairspray than necessary, environment be damned, and have employed a little ego-checking until they grow out.

Fun fact also about me is that my short attention span makes me not think about it again after I leave the house until I catch a glimpse of myself. Depending on the time of day, it's anyone's guess which direction they will be pointing.  (think: There's Something About Mary)

And, isn't this the perfect time to be doing job interviews? 

Here's why I am not absolutely IRATE about this issue.  a) it's hair, it will grow.  2) the woman who cuts my hair is an angel on this earth.  She would be shattered if she knew I was upset.  Shattered.

She is Vietnamese and has been in the States about 28 years. She tries really had to be "American" and loves her adopted country.   Twice a year, she collects money, blankets and coats then takes them to Vietnam for the homeless, disabled and Leper Colonies. (yep, those are still a thing)   She pays the shipping and related costs, pays for the trip out of pocket, and spends two weeks each trip helping these folks.  She doesn't just drop the donations off, she spends time there.  She hugs them, feeds them, cuts their hair. 

She cuts hair at my old job for the women in crisis, for free.  She volunteers at two churches.  These are just the things we know that she does.  I'm certain there are more ways she gives.  She is an angel and I don't throw that word around.

She doesn't have children and her family is still in Vietnam.  I believe her marriage was an arranged one and not a love match.  She only has her husband and his family.  His family doesn't treat her as an equal and are always looking for an angle. 

Because she is  the way she is, the family has taken advantage of her.  It came to light, apparently shortly before my haircut, that they had withheld her husband's portion of an inheritance and had dismissed hers and his feelings of doubt and anger.  She was frustrated with her husband because he tends to obey the old Vietnamese traditions when it comes to family structure.  She was angry at his family for being so disrespectful of the parent's wishes, while claiming to "do what's right for the family."

It wasn't about the money at all, not in the least.  For whatever reason, it was the catalyst for her to lose her patience, not only with her in-laws but also with her husband.  She feels less-than and is tired of it.  Also, it seems she may have glimpsed her future with no support from anyone and that scared her.  Having had that thought, as half of a childless couple myself, I totally get it.

So, a few weeks of growing out awkward bangs will be worth not adding to her burdens in the moment. 

But if it happens again, I'm cutting her bangs the exact same way and she has beautiful hair, people will notice. 

05 June 2017

Sit. Stay.

This weekend we went to Canada because Kevin was working on our friend's racecar.  He got off a little early on Friday and we headed out.  As we were past both the American and Canadian long weekends, we didn't anticipate that it would take very long to get there.  And then the universe laughed at us.

Of course, the border was busier than we planned.  We waited for about thirty-minutes until it was our turn. We're kind of used to this part so we didn't think much of it, beyond hating on the cars who pull into the duty-free stores in order to cut in line.  (so rude and equally done by Americans and Canadians)

What we didn't plan on was that Kevin had recently renewed his drivers license and didn't have the replacement yet.  He had a print-out on plain paper that a graphic design intern could replicate in his dorm room.  By the time we realized this, we were past the point of no return in the lanes. 

Kevin pulled up to the guard and handed him our ID's.  The guard kind of incredulously huffed then said "And, what is this?".  Kevin explained to him what had happened and that he had no other form of identification. (a border guards favorite words, I'm certain)  He sighed and looked at the document then began typing into his computer.  Kevin just looked at me and said "They are so pulling us in."

Now, we've been pulled in before.  When Kevin had radiation, we went to Canada three times because that is a grown-up and responsible thing to do.  They really have no sense of humor about that kind of thing. My point being is that it isn't a big deal if you're a law-abiding citizen.  I mean, sure it makes a person a little nervous but the worst thing they will do is turn you around and send you home. 

When he was literally radioactive, we were escorted.  One guard on him and one guard on me.  So when we got out of the truck, we kind of hesitated because we'd played this game before.  But the guard just nonchalantly  waved us into the building.

Kevin went to the counter and explained his predicament. The agent looked at the paper, looked at Kevin, and looked at the paper.  "And you don't have any other ID?"   Kevin explained again that the Department of Licensing took his old license.  

This is when the agent held up the paper, gestured, and said quite slowly and not without humor, "It says right here Not a viable document for photo identification."   Kevin said "I know, right?"  (I giggled)  Then he offered to empty his wallet onto the counter to show who he was.  The agent politely declined his offer and told us to go sit down.

We waited about five minutes and he called Kevin back up. ONLY KEVIN.  They chatted and Kevin went to go out another door.  He gestured to me to come along so I started to walk with him.  The agent called out and said "No ma'am, you have to stay. I have your ID." 

Kevin, without thinking at all, put his hand out in a stop motion and repeated "Stay. You stay."  I started laughing and replied "Woof."  I heard someone else who was waiting bust out laughing and I realized that we were perhaps not taking this seriously enough.  I looked at the officer and he gestured to the waiting chairs and hid just the tiniest bit of a smile. 

Ten minutes later....and this is where I say that I left my phone and my mocha in the truck...I'm getting bored and a little nervous.  Finally, Kevin returns and waves a paper at the agent "He said it's all good!" and he guided me back out to the truck.

So now I'm Suzy Full of Questions.  "Where did you go? What did they say? Where are we going? What's for dinner, I like pizza." (totally true story. Yes, I am six.)

The Canadian Mounties are able to look up our crossings so they could see that Kevin and I had crossed many times without incident and decided we could proceed.  BUT, he advised Kevin to go back to the US office to make sure we could get back IN.  Thank you, kind agent, for thinking of that. 

Because we would have totally just gone about our business without thinking about it.  And we would have been screwed at eleven o'clock at night on a Friday if we couldn't get back in.  (and here is where we made the requisite joke of "Would that be so bad right now?")  But the US agent laughed and said he was fine.  

We went and did the racetrack thing then headed home.  Again, there was a long border wait, we had some bad border karma this trip.  So, we were sitting there hating on the American side for having only one lane open and completely full.   They opened an additional lane eventually but we stayed in our original one.   It sped up marginally but not much.  I sat there, watching the guard and thinking "Of course we're going to get a strict border guard.  They're going to pull us in."  But then I remembered the karma thing and began projecting nice things on the border guard.

Finally, it was our turn and we were loaded with information to get home again.  We had the one border guard who was CHATTY.  Like super chatty.  "Oh, I've only seen one of these before. It makes no sense does it?  How'd you get through?" yadda yadda yadda.  While perfectly charming, we sat there every bit of 5-10 minutes while he told us about things he'd seen in his job and the restrictions of having a commercial driver's license.  (Kevin has one, that was part of the weird paper copy we think) 

We could feel the frustration of the other cars waiting for us.  Kevin kept trying to do the "Well, thanks..."  and going to turn the ignition key.  It took about three attempts before we got through.  Whew.  At least we got through.

Moral of the story: they're not joking about photo identification.  And have a sense of humor because those poor guards and agents do not have a fun job dealing with the likes of us knuckleheads.



02 June 2017

This is Beyond Being Open to the Adventure


AND NOW...because I have no attention span and didn’t post the other bloggity post in a timely manner...there's more. 

I still don't have a workstation or email at this new job so I spend about three hours a day doing not much of anything.  They PROMISE that I will be SO.BUSY. once I have everything.  I'm here a month next week and lalalalalalalalalala. La.

 I've had job interviews since then and have been interested/excited about a few of them.  Nothing has come to fruition and that's okay because I'm working here so it's not an emergency that I find a job. 

I was feeling really good about not committing to this job right up until this morning. My absolute favorite guy on this crew made it a point to say how much he enjoys me and my flexibility and quick humor and isn’t he so glad that I’m here.  AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH.  Pick up a rock and kill me, save me from the guilt.

 So, adventures in job searching challenged my Being Open to the Adventure mindset.  I have set the bar so high for myself with one of these last interviews that I don't think (or hope) to ever reach it again.
It is for an office manager for a co-op. (not a non-profit but close)  Here's the thing though: it's a mobile butchering co-op for organic beef.  So, I was a little "Hmmmm..." about it but thought it was only a resume so I applied.  It's an office manager position, no big deal.  An office is an office, really.
And I got an interview.  I sat in front of their board, four of them and two of them were a married couple.  They were in their 70's and were the founders.  She had her hair and makeup did to perfection and dressed like an 80's mom. (acid washed jeans, cuffed. collar cut sweatshirt. matching socks and earrings.)  It was confusing to the brain to look at her.  To add, she spoke like you were the tiniest baby but she was really direct.  My brain was misfiring trying to talk to her.
The interview is going well, they seem to be digging me and my skills.  AND THEN, one of them says "Now here comes the really hard part..."   YEAH, the person has to be present during the BUTCHERING. 
The fact that I stayed seated and didn't cause a Surely shaped hole in the wall escaping is a credit to my fortitude.  When I was finished with the interview, I texted Kevin "All done. OMG OMG."
Of course he phoned me immediately, not knowing what to think.  I told him and he  just LAUGHED and said "EFF.THAT."
I so won't be accepting that job.  Although I suspect they saw panic in my eyes and didn't chose me anyway.
Continuing to stay open to the adventure, despite the Universe having a twisted sense of humor.
 

Let's Play a Game with Swistle

Our beloved Swistle has invited us to play a game.  A Song List game! In a quest to build a play list, she has asked us to make a list of one song from each of thee five categories listed below. 

I'm kind of terrible at this game because I have difficulty choosing just one.  I mean, I get hyper-specific and can't choose just one.  So, bear with me.


1. A favorite song/a song you really like. It’s ok if it’s slow, or an obscure genre, or music that isn’t generally popular.
I have two absolute favorites right now and they both are Canadian band/singers.  Beautiful Freak Show by Dean Brody.  I Be U Be by High Valley.  They're both country but probably Not At All what you're thinking of right this second, especially Beautiful Freak Show.  Click the titles, if you're curious.


2. A cheesy love song you remember from middle school/high school.
I Can't Fight This Feeling - REO Speedwagon.  This song was EVERYTHING in high school.  Followed by Careless Whisper. I hope you're sitting down when I tell you I was in choir in high school and we managed to convince the teacher to let us sing both of these songs.

3. A song that makes you feel like dancing.
My Type by Saint Motel.  I first heard this in the movie "Mr. Right" and I love when it comes on my playlist. Makes it awkward when I'm in the grocery store, for sure.

4. A song from one of the first albums you owned.
I first owned 45's (single song records for those of you who aren't old)  It was Eddie Rabbit's "I'm Alright" and Blondie's "Heart of Glass"

Sidebar: my first records were often K-Tel records....the compilation ones like the "Now That's What I Call Music" cd's. 


5. A song you enjoy, in a language you do not speak.

Belle by Jack Johnson - kind of a cheat because it's about a minute long but I love it. The only other one I could think of was Iko Iko but it's partially in English.


Okay, your turn.  Please play along!  Comment on Swistle's bloggity or her Twitter.  I'm running behind on this (big surprise!)  but it's fun anyway!

Clinging to Cliches

Well, I accepted a job I didn't want.  So now I'm clinging to cliches to quell the anxiety.

When I stopped working, I made a mental to-do list to keep myself from wallowing. I was going to:
go with the flow, not stress about the situation (ha!)
be open to possibilities,
cast a wide net,
follow a new adventure.
*see title

I wasn't going to narrow my focus on one area.  I wasn't going to stay unemployed for long.  I was going to finish projects. I was going to volunteer.  I was going to plan for the future.  (in regard to Kevin's parents and to our own)

Here is why I didn't want it:
It's a government contract job that I literally can't talk about.
It's not in the non-profit world.
It's actually less hours than I want to work.
It's a little further away than I wanted to travel.

Here's why it's a good job:
It's part-time and flexible.
It's in the morning only.
It pays hourly more than I was making. (but the less hours thing makes this a wash)
It's actually only a few minutes from my old work. (but not in a historical building, like I've enjoyed)
It's a group of guys, like five of them.
It's easy for me to do. (theoretically)

Again, in almost a parallel to the Dundler Mifflin job from a few years ago:
They seem unprepared for me.
I'm borrowing a desk and don't have a workstation.
They keep promising that I will be So.Busy.
I don't have a job description or duties list.  But I have a title: Project Administrator.

I'm trying to be Open to the Adventure. I must repeat that to myself ten times a day. I'm trying to be grateful.



08 May 2017

Digging Up Some Dirt


I watch So Who Do You Think You Are every time it is on.  I just find it fascinating that nearly everyone has something interesting in their families.  I also find it enjoyable/weird discovering these things about forgotten people.  I mean, they were just living their lives Just Like Us, and now they're forgotten to time.   In a movie once, someone asked when a person stops existing.  The answer was "When the last person who knew them died."  I remember that just hitting me in the gut the first time I heard it. 

I have been working on multiple family trees for a few years now.  It started out around the time my dad was dying so...nine years now...and has branched out not only to my family but Kevin's as well.  My mom has been the biggest beneficiary of this task as it turns out her family was prominent in the late 1800's/early 1900's in Southern California.   Tracing her family has been a breeze actually. 

As a child, my mom told us that we had Native American blood.  While I thought that was cool, if you look at me you certainly don't think "Hey, I bet she's Native American!"  I could not look more English if I tried.  It also gets filed into Family Lore that May or Not Be True.

I have been dedicating about an hour a day to this adventure and on Friday, I hit a gold mine.  I found the Native American ancestor!  I owe my mother an apology (for this and for thousands of other things, for sure) 

Her name is Katie Owl and she is Cherokee. Her name is Tsi Na Quil and it translates to "Young Chicken".  It appears that she married a white man but they lived as Cherokee.  She was my three-times great grandmother.  They lived in Tennessee during the early 1800's so prior to the Civil War and during the white man settling of the Midwest and West.  In fact, they were miraculously excluded from the Trail of Tears because the terrain where they lived was too much for the white men to traverse. 

I mostly use ancestry.com for my research but I've found the google to be helpful when I get stuck, or bored.  (50/50 there.)   Google gave me a gem of a document listing that particular family line.  I will so be the favorite (only) daughter on Mother's Day.

While I was breezing through the lineation, something caught my eye. My three-time great grandfather was charged with murder. What.what/what!?!?!


From: The Monroe County, TN Records 1820-1870 Vol II, Researched, compiled and Edited
by Reba Bayless Boyer, 1970: Circuit Court Records 1821-1830:
37 "May 1823: Hamon Helton found guilty of mortally wounding John Cross at Tellico,
causing his death on 11 April 1823: John Helton charged with aiding: 

Witnesses: Betsy Helton, Joseph Phillips, Samuel Colquith, William Williams, George Loftis." Court records found by Joyce Reece indicate that Harmon killed a man with a chunk of wood.
Abstract - Helton Case #10 - The State vs Hamon Helton & John Helton Indictment; State of
Tennessee, seventieth Judicial Circuit Court, Monroe County, viz. Circuit Court May Term
1823:
Incident occurred April 6, 1823 at Tellico (now Madisonville).
"Not having the fear of God before their eyes but being.....seduced by the instigation of an evil
spirit with fore and arms in and upon one John Cross and their being in the peace of the state
feloniously, willfully and of their malice, aforethought did make an assult and that______the
said Harmon Helton with both his hands and with a wooden chunk of no value which he the
said Harmon Helton then and there in both of his hands then and there had and held the said
John Cross in and upon the head, neck and body of him the said John Cross then and there
feloniously willfully and of the malice, aforethought of him the said Harmon Helton did
strike________giving to the said Harmon Helton then and there with both his hands and with
the wooden chunk aforesaid feloniously willfully and of his malice aforethought giving to the
said John Cross on his neck and body as aforesaid several mortal strokes and bruises and
wounds of which several strokes and bruises and wounds aforesaid the said John Cross from
the said Sixth day of April in the year last mentioned until the eleventh day of same month
upon to wit in said county did languish and languishing did live on which eleventh day of April
in the year last mentioned to-wit in said county the said John Cross of the said several strokes
and bruises and wounds died and that the said John Helton there and then feloniously,
willfully and.....that the Harmon Helton and John Helton then and there in manner and form aforesaid feloniously and willfully and of their malice aforethought did kill and murder the said John
Cross with evil example of all others againsts the peace and dignity of the state.


John Wilkerson, Attorney General for the Third Judicial District.
(Next page names witnesses: Betsy Helton, Joseph Phillips, Samuel Colquith, William
Williams, George Loftis. J.J. Wright, Clerk. 7
Following Proceeding is May 8, 1823 - This is the Grand Jury finding a true bill.
Next is Friday 9 May 1823
He pleads "not guilty" and is brought to trial and the jury placed: Thomas Blevins, Joseph
Martial; John Snider, Alexander_______, John Webb, William Davis, David Williams,
Michael Hawk, William Webb, William McRhea, John Cary & Joseph Brittan.
The judge finds him guilty. Harmon claims the benefit of clergy. The court orders Harmon
Helton be branded with the letter M inside of the left hand on tomorrow the 10th between the
hours of 9 O'Clock an 11 O'Clock in the open court - that he be imprisioned in the common
jail of this county nine calendar months and that he pay the costs of this prosecution and
remain in custody until the same are paid or security given for same and it is ordered by the
court that the Sheriff of Monroe County carry this judgment and justice into execution."
Source: Monroe County Court House - researched by Joyce Reece 2008.
Note: Apparently Harmon Helton was a minister and he probably got a light sentence because
"In English law, the benefit of clergy was originally a provision by which clergymen could
claim that they were outside the jurisdiction of the secular courts and be tried instead under
canon law. Eventually, the course of history transformed it into a mechanism by which first time
offenders could receive a more lenient sentence for some lesser crimes."


It doesn't say what the sentence was for John Helton (my 3x great grandfather, Harmon would be an uncle) but I am assuming it was a lesser sentence as well considering he was "only" an accomplice.  But holy crackers!  being branded with a "M" is one way to remind someone of what they've done.  


So, Native American blood: confirmed.  Sketchy personal past: confirmed (again)  Continued obsession with this search: rekindled with a passion.

02 May 2017

Find the Right Potion

I believe that if you're going to be sad/miserable/depressed, you may as well get other miserable things done at the same time.  So, I've scheduled my physical, which is always super fun, amiright? 

The biggest unfun thing I did was stop taking the nerve blocker that I used for my leg.   It's been five years since the original injury and two years since I've had the bionics removed.   I was told  that I would probably be on this medicine for the rest of my life, which makes me squint because I'm Susie Anti-Medicine. (for me, personally. Not judging anyone else in ANY WAY)

If you research this drug, it reads as either the devil or a lifesaver.  I would personally describe it as both.  It's the devil because it can be addictive.  I'm on the lowest possible dose and could only take it at night because it made me STOOPID. This did concern me but I wasn't terribly concerned about the dependency factor.  But it kept me from wanting to saw off my leg with whatever implement I could reach.

It soothed the ADD though.  It allowed me to sleep through the night.  So, now the middle of the night terrors are back and the ADD is making my head swim a little.  I swear if Kevin hears "Oh, I forgot!" one more time...ugh.

Kevin takes Melatonin because he is ADHD and this helps his sleep cycle.  I tried it but it freaks me out a little.  I have really vivid dreams and it makes me a little dizzy.  It doesn't seem like it's been super effective.  Now I'm trying St Johns Wort for anxiety and depression.  It hasn't been long enough to state a definitive opinion but I do feel like sparklers are going off in my head and it feels like someone has adjusted the contrast in my eyesight.  So, we'll see. 

I'm having to refer to my bag of tricks that I haven't had to think about for awhile:
Making lists is a big one.  I usually have one constantly running in my head but committing it to paper is more helpful.
Setting time limits for tasks.  (think of motivating kids: "You have two minutes to make your bed." 
Sticking to a schedule.  (because woooboy can I lose a day easily!)
Having one significant goal each day...completing a project, running an errand, etc.
Getting super organized.  I mean, I already am but eliminating anything that can send me down the rabbit hole is good.
Remembering to g.d. EAT.  Yes, I'm that hateful person who forgets to eat.
Limiting screen time is good too.  I can watch Bones all day or play Farmville on my tablet until...wait for it...the cows come home. 

It's all a process.  I'm trying to do the homeopathic way and use coping techniques before resorting back to the nerve blocker; recognizing that it might just be a reality for me.  Also, I realize it's going to take a bit to find the right combination and even then, it will change. 

18 April 2017

Just Give Me A Ring

I don't consider myself a possessive spouse.  I can only think of one time where I was overtly possessive. 

There is a woman racer at the track whom I would gladly give a bad haircut with rusty kitchen shears.  She is a talented driver with a sketchy personal life and flirts with Kevin on the regular.  Kevin can't stand her either so I do enjoy it so when I watch her futilely try to use her wiles.

The time that sticks in my memory is when we were waiting to race, literally standing with the racecar in the stage lanes, and talking.  She walked up behind him, touched him on the shoulder (*squint*)  and asked him a question that anyone else could answer, like I was not even standing there. 

It's one of the few times when I've squelched the urge to actually punch someone.  Instead, I stepped forward and put my hand on MY husband's chest, dead eyed her, and continued to talk to him.  Kevin monosylabically answered her and she wandered away.  Kevin just raised an eyebrow at me and we continued on with our lives.

The other night we were at family dinner because of course we were.  My nephew mentioned something about cell phone notifications, which lit Kevin's fuse because I'm known to miss calls and texts.   He explains to them that one of the ladies in his office has a ring she wears that vibrates when her phone rings or has notifications.  He would like to get me one.  So romantic.

I eye-rolled the idea because No One Holds Me Down and I just find the idea annoying.  In Kevin's defense, he worries when I don't answer.  It's not like I've fallen and broken my foot off my leg, or rolled a truck, or any other fantastical things that have prevented me from answering the phone.

The Nephew asked how it worked and Kevin explained that it vibrates just like your phone does.  He then explained further that he dialed her phone, held her hand, and felt it vibrate.  I reacted without thinking about it.  "You did WHAT now?" 

Kevin immediately realized his error.  "It's not like that, I mean, how else would she demonstrate how it worked?"   I took my engagement ring off and slapped it on the table.  "OH, I don't know.  Maybe like THIS!?!?!"

The kids were roaring with laughter.  They knew nothing really untoward happened and they knew I wasn't truly angry and they were just enjoying the show.  It's not like he's ever given me a moment of doubt and while not his best idea ever, not a punishable offense. 

But, I won't be getting one of those rings anytime soon.

17 April 2017

Take Me To Church

I went to church today.  Friends just paused upon reading this and thought wait, what?  Sh*t must have really gone sideways.

It's not the church you're thinking of.  Up here in this corner of the universe, there is something called the Tulip Festival.  It is fields upon fields of beautiful tulips of all colors, including two businesses that feature elaborate tulip gardens.  It is not unlike walking into Oz from a black and white landscape. 

The locals hate this festival because nothing defines misery like thousands of extra cars and people unfamiliar with the place; all on narrow farm roads.  It lasts about two weeks and traffic is a misery, for sure.  It's one of those situations that it's a shame the locals don't get to also appreciate the beauty, kind of like New Yorkers who never see the Empire State Building or that you get so used to your surroundings that you simply don't "see" them anymore.

This is another year that I've randomly chosen a morning to go explore.  I arrived as the gates open to ensure there is little nonsense with traffic and ugh, people.  The weather was mixed today in a typical Pacific Northwest kind of day, bipolar with a chance of rain.  These fields are on the flats so it's always windy, today was no exception. 

Like a teenager, I chose my favorite music, put in my headphones,  put my hoodie up and entered into the world of the technicolor. (music choice, you ask?  it was a shuffle featuring everything from Keith Whitley to Lady Gaga to Les Miserables)

Once inside, everyone speaks in hushed tones.  The environment is something between the reverence of a church and communing with Mother Nature's best artistry.  Especially with going so early, there aren't many folks and those who are certainly aren't rambunctious.  Even little ones are quiet and it's fun to watch the absolute wonder in their expressions.  I could spend a day just doing that.

At this venue there are areas designed like English tea gardens, there are little vignettes with benches and designs and there are huge open fields of color. Not only are there tulips but lilacs, daffodils, rhododendrons, magnolias, and other flowers that I'm unable to name other than "oooh, pretty!"
It's is adjacent to a working farm so some of the paths are muddy and there is the occasional farm smell.  To me, it's the perfect juxtaposition to the beauty.  You can't get the pretty without the ugly.
 
I take a million photos with just my cell phone.  Others have tripods and shades and are dancing on the edge of being intrusive.  Others manage to walk through unencumbered and I marvel at their self control and apparent memory.  (Or they've forgotten their cameras. That works too.)

The workers are also quiet, almost invisibly taking care of the flowers.  I found it sweet when I noticed one taking a photo of the lilacs this morning.  Even the folks who work in this wonderland aren't immune to its beauty.

I have to believe that the people who decided how the Land of Oz looked must have experienced gardens such as these.  It is an example of how "riot of color" has come into definition.  It's a child's imagination come to life.  It is magical and it is church.


11 April 2017

Keep On Believing


So, in researching my family history I've made some incredible discoveries.  One of the top ones being that my dad was a real and true bastard, having been conceived months prior to his parents marriage.  This gives my dark little heart joy.

Three out of four grandparents have been married three times.  Three.  That's one hopeful and stubborn group.  My grandma outlived three husbands, my granddad was widowed once, divorced once then married until his death.  My other grandma was married three times, divorced twice and died at 60 so she packed a lot in there. (also: two sons, two different fathers)   My grandma's first husband died at 24, he's the only one that truly married until death do us part. 

My maternal grandmother's family was Society in Southern California.  She always kind of had that proper air to her so this isn't a surprise.  What was a surprise is that she married a bad boy.  An honest to badness bad boy:

It's clear that my racing interests are genetic.  

But that was her second marriage, to who turns out to be her first husband's best friend.  Her first marriage held a bit of scandal, I believe.  It sounds like an elopement:

To those of you wondering: nope, they weren't pregnant
It looks like they lived in Arizona for a while before returning home as he had a job with the railroad. But I wonder if it was also to maybe to let the scandal die down?


Unfortunately, I can only rely on my imagination as everyone has passed away now.  My mom was in the younger part of the family (her dad was the troublemaker) so these goings on happened before her existence.  Also, my grandma didn't seem the type to tell stories like this.  Let alone the idea of asking your mom about that one time you eloped.

Not to mention how unbelievably painful her life must have been, lost her first husband and a baby to the flu epidemic, remarried but lost him to a heart attack at a young age, to remarry again just to be widowed. 

She's always been my quiet and staid grandma.  It is fascinating to think of her young, impulsive, and eloping.  It's fun to think of her marrying her late husband's wild best friend.  Then finally marrying again to a war hero who was widowed, also lost a baby and had five kids of his own. (his wife and baby died in childbirth)

Lena and Lloyd...they look so serious...




04 April 2017

Gonna Change My Grade

A thousand years ago when I was in a high school psychology class, one of the requirements was to write a journal entry every week for that quarter.  For someone like me, that was easy peasy.  I could write you anything, just don't ask me for help with Algebra.  But for some reason that I can't recall now, I didn't do it. 

If memory serves me, it was when I started doing work study so I went to school for a little bit then went to work.  I think I just forgot all about it.  Also, this was before journaling was a thing; keeping a diary was for young girls and old people, not for high schoolers.

So, I don't fail well.  I am problem-solver.  We know this.  I remember the sinking feeling of the teacher announcing that the journals were due at the end of the week and I just knew I was screwed. 

I considered just faking it.  It was like twelve entries or something, certainly I could pull that together.  But that's not how I was wired then or now.  I sat down to figure it out and finally just wrote one journal entry explaining why I didn't get the assignment finished. 

I wish I still had it, maybe I do.  I don't recall what I wrote but probably something along the lines of the above: work study student, short attention span (what they called ADD back then)  and asked for consideration. 

Yeah, I got an "A" on that entry, which made my failure to complete an assignment "F" grade into a "C".

I don't know why I thought of this, other than a whole lotta life examination happening up in here right now.  I'm going to try to channel that tenacious, never-say-die teenager over these next few months as I try to figure out all.the.things.  I'm going to make an "F" grade into a "C". 

28 March 2017

Just Try Not to be an Ass

Sweet baby jesus, I should have considered this 30-day list a little more closely before deciding to use it.  It feels like Negative Town up in here and I'm only on day three.

What are your three pet peeves?

I think I can only decide on two, really.  Both of them are encompassing many bad behaviors so I might be cheating at little.


Bad Etiquette - table manners, rudeness, effing gum chewing, not being aware of your impact on others around you.  (looking at you those people who stand in the middle of the aisle of the grocery stores)

Willful ignorance - in this day and age, there is no excuse not to have some level of knowledge.  My most recent examples are that horrifying How Bout Dah girl.  Or our friend who said "I just didn't know who to vote for this year."  Or a certain family member who blindly accepts others opinions as facts and does no research.

Let's flip this. Here's what I do to try not to trigger anyone's pet peeves:

I try to make a point of saying please, thank you, I'm sorry to everyone. 
I look cashiers in the eye and ask how their day is going.
I will hold the door open for you and bite back yelling "You're welcome, your highness" when you don't say thank you.
I try to remember service people's names and use them.  The water guy? Marshall.  The postman? Jeremy.  The delivery guy? Kyle.  
I will turn around in a store aisle if it's crowded.  I will skip making a choice and return to it if I'm holding up traffic. 
I comment to kids with glasses because I can relate.  "I like your glasses. All the cool kids wear glasses."
I make faces and wave at babies and toddlers.
I smile at old folks. 
I thank service members for their service.  Even the older gentlemen with the veteran hats.
I tell someone if they look great.  I've found "I love your shirt, you should wear that every day." works wonders.

Now, I'm certainly not Susy Mary Sunshine as the above list may make it seem.  I'm certain that I've done the frustrated deep sigh, the impatient throat clearing/cough, used "the tone."  I am human, I just try not to be an ass while doing it.  





27 March 2017

We Are Always Going to Be Annoying

"Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot."

Ugh, two entries in and I'm all "Can we skip this one?"  I'm back in high school, not wanting to do the writing assignment.

I'm sure the intent of the prompt is to think if something positive that someone would have said to you.  But I think that in being human, one would tend to think of negative things first.  Maybe I'm wrong but that's been my experience among humans.


Well, the first thing that popped into my mind is appropriate for the situation that I've found myself in currently.  I don't remember who said it though.  To be honest, I've probably heard it more than once, just phrased differently. So, para-phrased:

"Who you are, as a person, is always going to draw someone's ire."

I can be outspoken, not outgoing usually but outspoken.  A person rarely has to guess how I'm feeling about something.  I'm known to be blunt, in a direct way and hopefully not in a mean way.  I know a little about a lot of things and I've had a lot of life experiences that perhaps gives me a different perspective.  I live in boy world, where filters and feelings are rarely employed.

So, I'm no church mouse nor the super popular cheerleader.  I am certainly not everyone's cup of tea.  It also seems that if someone is insecure in their own person, I can be a nightmare.  Or I can be your best friend, or both, of that I am sure.  Sometimes it seems like  there is no middle ground. 

And maybe that statement applies to everyone.  Who we are is always going to annoy someone else. 

25 March 2017

10 Levels of Happiness

One of my planned tasks/coping techniques is a 30-day Writing Challenge.  I never make time for these and I always want to do them.  I'm squelching the OCD that disagrees with starting this on the 24th of the month and not the first.  So, here goes.

Topic #1: 10 Things that Make Me Happy and Why

Kevin...he's so patient with me.  I know I'm not a picnic to be married to.  It's been 27 years and sometimes it feels like it's been five minutes.  Plus, he's super fun to hang out with and easy to look at.

The kids...although they're not my children, they have become so.  I just can't describe the joy they have brought into our lives. As someone who has always known she can't have children, I didn't guess that my life with be this full of them.

Lucy...she's the happiest dog we've ever had.  She's a great snuggler when your life sucks, she's a good companion in the truck, and look at this face:

Coffee.  I know this seems frivolous and cliche.  But it's not just the need of it. It's the process, the ritual. It's purposefully doing something that I enjoy.

Television...see the above.  I was raised by the television so it is a source of comfort.  It's a companion.  

Reading...It doesn't matter if it's the interwebs, a magazine, or a book series.  My love of reading has been lifelong. 

Hamilton...I've not experienced music in the way that the Hamilton soundtrack has affected me.  Every time I listen to it, I seem to learn something that I hadn't caught before.

Gardening...this is a new one.  I haven't developed a love for it until recently.  Now I find I'm itching to go dig in the dirt, pull weeds, and care for the flower garden I've planted.  I'm even considering a kitchen garden, which makes the younger me laugh and laugh.

Photography...I enjoy randomly stopping to take photos.  I've gone places I probably shouldn't.  I've gotten soaking wet and cold.  I've learned to be in the moment.  I've documented moments for the family that I know will be beyond valuable in the years to come.

Soaking wet in January, I misjudged the timing of the waves. 
Writing...I mean, duh.  But it helps quiet my brain.  As someone who has three thoughts, song lyrics, and a to-do list simultaneously and constantly scrolling through her brain, writing helps slow the process.  It gives my imagination something to do.  It provides me a place to document memories that I know will fade in time.  It requires me to be still.

24 March 2017

Down the Rabbi Hole Again

I've started this post a few times. I've given it ten titles, many just using curse words.  "Nothing Gold Can Stay", "Won't Get Fooled Again",  "FML", "Starting Over", "An Early Spring Break", "Didn't See That Coming".   You probably get the idea.

I'm not working again.  Again.  In a zany twist that I didn't see coming and could not have predicted, I lost my job.  My dream job.  No warning, conducted like an assassination by strangers, and leaving a big scar in my psyche. 

It's been a week and I'm still a little shell-shocked.  I mean, seriously I did not see this coming.  One moment I was  working and the next, not so much.  The reasons given at the time didn't add up but now that time has passed, personal agendas, leadership changes, and budgets seem to be the cause. 

So, EFF.  Seriously.  (another possible title, that one)

There's no way not to take this personally.  There is no way not to internalize this.  There is no way not to feel angry and hurt. 

Here I am starting over again, again.  I've been here before but for vastly different reasons.  I've only held three real long-term jobs in my adulthood of twenty-cough years; one lasting nearly thirteen years, the other seven years and this was the one I was going to stay at forever. 

I get to decide once again, who I want to be when I grow up.  What do I want to do and where do I want to do it.  I really thought I had this figured out but apparently the Universe was bored and needed to mix things up. This is where my more metaphysical friends would nod knowingly and say "There's something else out there for you, this wasn't the right path."   While I know deep down that it's true, I still kind of want to yell curse words and stomp. 

A coping mechanism I'm trying to deploy is one of structure.  I'm keeping myself on the same schedule, as if I were still working.  I'm applying for all the jobs I'm qualified for, regardless of my interest in them.  I've given myself a timeline and schedule to keep, I'm not going to relax into the time-off like in the past.  I'm trying to focus on other things like completing projects and purposefully pursuing hobbies. 

I'm trying not to fall down the rabbit hole, because that would be incredibly easy.  Thus the structure plan and employing self care that I wouldn't regularly do.  But that rabbit hole has been enticing, for sure.