19 July 2013

About Writing

I've borrowed an old laptop from my work and have it set up here in my office.  I haven't had anything back here since my old CPU died almost a year ago.

We have our laptop and now the tablet but I have found that I don't necessarily enjoy writing on either.  The laptop doesn't have a comfortable keyboard (I think it sits too high and the keyboard feels squishy) and I really don't have the eyesight required for touch screen. 

But this is a laptop that is similar to my very first one and it's like coming home.  Also, it's at my desk instead of balanced on my lap or sitting at the dining table.  It's just a better environment for writing, for me. I don't think I'm one of those writers that can go to Starbucks or the park and crank out chapters and postings.  Right now I'm facing a wall so there isn't a thousand distractions, there isn't a television and it's quieter sort of. (I can hear the family comings and goings and if Kevin is home...well, I can always hear him)

A bonus is that the puppy will lay back here quietly, unlike anywhere else in this house.  In here she doesn't chew or jump on the bed or drag all of her toys and blankets out.  (Yes, she's very busy being a puppy) Right now she's stretched out and sleeping nearly to the point of snoring. 

I've had a story formulating in my head for way too long.  I need to get it out to make more room on my brain's hard drive. I feel badly for ignoring "Shane" and the woman's character that I've yet not named.   I have the finished novel and an unfinished novel that I just lost the thread of the story.  I'm sure if I made an effort, I could pick it back up. I could send the finished one out again to see what happens.

But there's just always something going on.  Work, broken bones and pain meds that allow nonsense, and just the general goings-on of life.  One can always find a reason NOT to write, it's ignoring those reasons. 

Also, I just feel like if I start up writing for reals again, I won't be able to stop.  I'll be annoyed that I have to go to work, answer the phone, feed the puppy, etc.  I'm sure there is a balance that I would find but for right now, it's been a significant tumbling block.

Because for me, it becomes like another life.  It lives in my head and plays in the background while I'm trying to live my actual life.  It's not unlike being schizophrenic, I'm sure.  I just need to get over myself.

Oh god, the puppy has awoken and figured out how to duck under the curtain to look outside. So much for no distractions.  See? there is always a reason.

17 July 2013

Getting to the Canyon

We were watching the guy walk the tightrope across the Grand Canyon and it occurred to me that I never told the story of going to the Grand Canyon in November.

Kevin went because he knew the rest of us wanted to.  He even stated that he was worried that it would just be a giant ditch in the ground and he would be unimpressed.  To clarify, he is the pit boss of an excavation company.  He has seen what nature can do to the earth, daily.

It was the last day of the trip for us so we were over it and ready to go home.  It was the sixth day in Vegas and if you've ever been, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I am Suzy Research Nerd so before we even left Washington State I had looked up the best way to get to the canyon.  There were two options: the tourist way and the "locals" way.  I was down for the locals way, even though I did have some trepidation because: you're in the desert.

Kevin asked the concierge what the best way to get to the Canyon before we left.  She tried to upsell us the tour packages then tried to get us to take the day trip to the main overlook, eight hours away.  We walked away figuring we'd just figure it out along the way.

This is where I explain that Kevin's brother is anxiety ridden, all the time.  And, to add to the fun, he doesn't trust signs, as in street & freeway signs.  He will argue with you about the direction you take even when the sign says "Freeway Onramp: turn left" and you're sitting in full view of the freeway.  It's insanity making.

I had my two sets of directions to the same place, I had my GPS on my phone working and we were on our way.  We are on the freeway two minutes when he says that HIS PHONE says to GO THE OTHER WAY.

We aren't even out of Vegas yet, we can still look across and see the casinos.  The racerack is on the north end of Vegas, opposite of where we're headed, and he knows that the canyon is not that way but OMG THE PHONE SAYS TURN AROUND!!!

I finally set the directions on the dash and my phone on the console and told Kevin that I'm out of being the navigator.  Kevin shoots me the warning glance of "Don't be a bitch" that I'm all too familiar with.  But I'm not going to argue with someone who doesn't trust mother-effing MAPS.

Even the diplomat, Kevin gets us out of town then pulls off into a gas station.  Leaving his brother to gas up the van, he took the directions into the store and asks the clerk.  The clerk is from Hollywood Central Casting: gravelly voice, clearly had a hard life, dyed hair, and chewing gum.  She confirms that the MAP is CORRECT and said we were idiots if we didn't take the locals way.

We get back into the van and Kevin explains that the clerk says the directions are correct.  "We can either go back to the hotel and do something else or we can keep going."  My sister-in-law says "Let's keep going!!" and the brother mutters in agreement.

Off we go.  You travel not far and you're clearly in the middle of the desert.  Now we live in the country but this is seriously unpopulated country.  One tries not to remember every movie you've ever seen about being stuck in the desert.

The way to Grand Canyon is clearly signed along the way (I KNOW) but quickly, our directions tell us to turn off.  It looks a little kitschy with "Come see the Indian Village!" signs and fake teepees in the distance.  We traveled past that and soon crossed into the Reservation.

Now, where we live we don't regularly travel on reservation land.  It's just not done.  It's not like there's true danger there but people like us clearly are not welcome.  It felt weird to be traveling through this area.  Especially since we were one of few cars on the road.

We came into a little town with a sign that said "Last Stop before the Canyon"  We decided to stop for one last potty break.  The "store" looked like an old fashioned Western store front but once you stepped inside, it was like a convenience store set up in someone living room.  The owner was a native Indian with beautiful skin, hair, and eyes; again with the Hollywood Central Casting.  She had a shaky voice as if she had a stroke but upon looking around we spotted a Relay For Life Survivor shirt and we learned that she was a cancer survivor.   (Kevin's never met a stranger in his life)

We went to the bathroom, which appeared to be her bathroom, bought water and postcards and were on our way.  She confirmed that the locals directions were good and we were halfway there.  She also said that beyond her town was nothing.  There was nothing but desert between there and the Canyon.

Off we went and she was right.  Within five minutes it was as if the town didn't exist and we were in the middle of a Western.  We saw wild horses, rabbits, and snakes.  One often felt like "Didn't w already pass that rock?" because everything begins to look the same.  Every once in a while we would see a house and each time I would wonder how in the world anyone would ever live there. 

We continued to travel and the road became narrower and less well kept.  It felt like we were going to travel off the edge of the earth.  Finally, signs began to appear that the road to the West Rim was upcoming.  Turning off onto this road, we had a choice to make: we could join a tour bus or continue to drive on our own.  Both ladies at the stores had suggested going it on our own because then we weren't stuck on a schedule and didn't have to pay extra.

So, with anxiety emanating from the backseat, we continued on.

Sure enough, the maintained road stopped and we were on gravel roads.  Now, Kevin as into four-wheeling when we met so this didn't deter him for a second.  Right until the sign that said "West Rim: 60 miles"

Wait, what?  60 MILES?  On THIS ROAD?  On a well-kept freeway that is one hour of travel.  On this wagon trail of a road, we feared for our wellbeing.  But we continued on because it would be stupid to stop at this point.

Stupid was continuing on.  Stupid was not taking the tour bus.  Stupid was not staying at the hotel and ordering room service.  Good GOD, that road was rough.  And dry.  We had to stop numerous times because Kevin couldn't see through the dust.  Our teeth were rattled, our bums sore, and our general health compromised by all the rattling around.  I could only think of the settlers coming through here in wagons and simultaneously being impressed and feeling like a wuss.

Kevin got to a point of "Eff it", which meant not slowing down nor minding the curves or bumps.  He and I got into the absurdity of it and just started laughing. It was a rented mini-van with insurance, let's beat the sh*t out of it. I'm fairly certain that his brother thought we were going to die. 

Two hours later, we reached the Canyon.  Or did we?  It turns out, after all that, we still had to get onto a tour bus to be taken to the observation point.  Sigh.  It turns out that at a certain point the reservation only allows guided tours to prevent damage to the environment. 

We bought tour tickets and crawled onto the bus.  Five much more comfortable minutes later, we were at the observation point. 

16 July 2013

This is Working in Social Services

My work is a mixture of busyness and absurdity.  A broken faucet, an overflowing shower, resulting water damage, coworker drama, weekly server crash, merging old fashioned database with newfangled interweb system. You know: the usual stuff.  Oh, and a paper cut across my palm because: why not?

This is my desk this morning:

Why yes, that is clothing on the floor.  Why wouldn't there be?  You don't have clothing on the floor at your work?

Actually, it's a silk pashmina, a fur vest, and a piece of fabric that I am considering re-purposing.  These all came in with clothing donations and we are considering possibilities for them.  Like I said, this job can be strange.

What I don't like is the unfinished bits (or perhaps in-progress) The lunch that is now cold, the unreturned message on the sticky note, the listing binders beside the monitor.  And yes, I did stop to take a picture AND write about it.  I can't imagine why things like this happen!

Usually at this point, I stop everything and start over.  Put the pens away, move the binders, stack all the papers back up.  Throw my cold lunch out.  Clean slate theory. Instead, I made the mature and reasonable response to write about this phenomenon.

15 July 2013

Marriage Randomness

The phone rang this morning, it was Kevin.

"Who is Miranda Lambert married to?"

"Blake Shelton"


These type of conversations happen more often than I should probably admit.  I'm sure there is a story as to why he asked and not just Kev randomly quizzing my country music marital status knowledge.  But it could be.  The joy of living with Kevin.


Me:laying on the couch, watching mindless television.

Kevin comes in "We're going to town."

"Um, well. Okay."

"We have a giftcard and we have to spend it."

"Um, well. Okay."

He didn't really *need* anything, it was just something to do.  Town is 20 minutes away, by the way, so going into it is kind of a thing.

I enjoy being married grownups.  We can just go to town (get your mind out of the gutter), we can have ice cream before dinner, we can avoid people we don't enjoy in parking lots. We can have cereal for dinner.  (true story)

It's kind of like, after twenty years, a child's view of marriage: hanging out with your best friend every single day and every single night.

14 July 2013

Where I Whine to the Guy in the Wheelchair

Here's something that I've found curious: one is considered healed from such a thing as shearing the ankle after one year.  The bones have knit, the muscles and tendons have supposedly rejuvenated, and while still not 100% "right", everything is considered healed.


Except that one is considered healed even though medication is still required.  How can that be?  Now it's not like a heart issue or a mental illness.  It's bone, nerve, tissue, muscle, and tendon damage.  Things that are supposed to heal and never be mentioned again.

I just don't feel like it's healed if one still requires medicine to keep symptoms away.  Maybe it's me, pouting because I don't like medicine.  Maybe it's me and I don't want to consider that I'm not going to be 100% ever again. *stomping my good foot*

I am trying to rationalize that I wear glasses because I need them so why am I fussing that I need to take tylenol and nerve blocker daily?  If I were to take medicine for any other ailment that one regularly takes medicine for, would I feel any differently? If this were for Kevin or a parent, would my opinion be different?  Probably.

I guess I'm just still frustrated that I'm not 100%.  I just need to get over myself.

Last weekend I had a wonderful conversation with our friend Jason, who is my age and has been in a wheelchair since he was eighteen.  I expressed frustration with my current state.  He completely understood, stating "I still get frustrated and it's been years."  He said that no matter what your state of mind is, your health, whatever, it's still just frustrating sometimes.

It's difficult to feel sorry for oneself when you're talking to your wheelchair-bound friend.  I even told him that when I was in the wheelchair and would get mad, I would try to talk myself down off the ledge by telling myself "Jason does this every.single.damn.day with no hope of ever getting out. You will be out of this chair soon so STFU."  He laughed, as I knew he would.

Then we talked about how lucky we are with medical advancements now. If a person thinks about it, if this had happened to either of us just over one-hundred years ago, our outcomes would be drastically different.  Jason probably wouldn't be alive due to health ailments related to paralysis and I would probably have a wooden leg.  

We came to the mutual conclusion that we should both be grateful and deal.

07 July 2013

News & Notes

I bought a set of sheets from Overstock and I am kind of meh about them.  The fabric feels good but the color is awful.  It's like russet potato brown and I ordered something along the lines of gold.  To add to the displeasure, the bottom sheet is tight enough that it's nearly unusable.  So: meh.

I bought a reconditioned laptop from Amazon and the power cord doesn't work. Booooo!!!  Also, I think I ordered the wrong laptop. It doesn't look like what I thought I ordered and further investigation makes me believe I made a mistake.  I'm pretty sure that's on me and not on them.  I've emailed them and we'll see what happens.  I'm hoping to just upgrade for a minimal fee in conjunction with getting chumped by a bad power cord.

I found myself yelling at the television the other day.  It was about the mother that doesn't allow the word Fat in her house at all.  It was prompted because a camp counselor told her five-year-old that soda makes you fat. So, the reasonable way to deal with this truthful statement is to ban the word "fat" entirely from the language. I think this is not an acceptable way of teaching our children tolerance or self-esteem.  But that's not what made me yell.  The fact that she demonstrated to the reporter her support of her daughter's self esteem by dancing with her. Booty shakes and pops with the same five year old that isn't allowed to say "Fat" is what makes me absolutely mental.  So, let me understand this: it's not okay to say or even think about *fat* but it is okay to dance suggestively.  Alright then. Got it.

The deli inside the higher end grocery store I sometimes use makes quite yummy twice baked potatoes and they're only $2 each.  I'm so pleased, because I'm sure not going to make them.  That's above my pay grade.

I wrote this on the twitter but I'll write it here because it bears repeating.  "Bryan Seacourt" (Ryan Seacrest) has been replaced with this:
The Mom: "You know, the judge with the hair"
Me: "Howard?"  (Howard Stern)
The Mom: "Yes, Howard Stewart and the other one? he knuckle bumps..."

You know what's a bad idea?  Watching 50/50 right after the Nephew had his big surgery.  I'm the dumbest person alive (after that booty-shaking, no F word mom)  I had to walk away from it twice because GAH.  But, really really good movie and I don't even like Seth Rogan.

Also, I watched the documentary Love, Marilyn and it was heartbreaking.  Before you say "DUH", it really focuses on her personal writings and the writings of others around her instead of all the salacious gossip.

the local paper featured a very nice article about my dad and the fireworks.  I wrote the reporter a thank you note stating that my dad would dislike the publicity but would secretly be pleased.  Here's the link:
A Half Century of Fireworks

We have come up with a half dozen other names for Lucy now.  Kevin came up with Dora the Explorer the other day and I'm a little disappointed that we didn't name her that.  Curious George was another one.  Hunter.  Ninja. Houdini.  Funny Girl.  And there's the never ending "Missy-Lucky-Lucy!" that both of us tend to do when all the dogs are outside.

I have an appointment in a little under a month with an independent doctor to perhaps close my claim for the ankle.  I have to make a list of how the injury has affected my life.  Yikes.  I'm a little anxious about that.  Also, I am unsure what to do at this point: settle with the state and close the claim, thus risking any further injury or issue expense be out of my pocket OR leave it open for further review.  If I understand this process correctly, a settlement will be paid with the idea of keeping it for further medical expenses, if necessary, plus time loss and suffering due to injury if I allow it to close.  I am very uncertain what to do.  I'm just going to see how the appointment goes first.  Summer has vastly improved everything ankle-wise but to go all Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming.

 One more movie/family related thing:  I finally watched Pitch Perfect last weekend and loved it.  While watching it, I texted my youngest niece and said "You need to take this movie out and watch it with your grandma"  (my 78 year old mom)  She wondered if her grandma would "get" it and I told her that "I think she will surprise you."  The next day she bought the movie and took it out to watch with my mom. (best girl ever) She LOVED it.  The niece was very impressed but did mention that sometime the sex jokes were a little "aca-awkward"  (a play of words from the movie, you get the gist even if you haven't seen it. lol)

05 July 2013

There's Always A Story There

Kevin is crewing on our friends racecar tonight so I'm left to my own devices.
I decided to just order takeout from the bar that's five minutes away.  It seems like I always come out of there with some sort of a story.  Because: small town bar.

I usually try not to pay any attention to the people sitting at the bar, it just never ends well. 

Tonight there was a guy about my age sitting at the end of the bar. I happened to accidentally catch his eye when I looked up.  He just looked broken, not lifelong alcoholic, lost soul broken but heartbreaking sadness broken.  It nearly took my breath away. 

I turned to concentrate on something else so I began reading the notes on the bar by the cash register.  There was one in pink highlighter that was titled "Sheila"

It said "If Sheila comes in, do not serve her alcohol.  Do not allow anyone else to buy her alcohol.  Her husband will call..." and that's as far as I got.

The owner of the bar finished ringing me up.  He's a giant of a guy and I think his name is Chris or Cory.  He seems like a super nice guy.  I asked him: "I'm sorry, I was snooping.  What's with that note?"

"Oh, Sheila.  She comes in here, gets drunk, and doesn't come home.  Her husband gets mad that she drinks so he calls the Sheriff and says we overserve her.  So now we just don't let her drink anymore."

Well, that's one way to deal with Sheila's drinking, I suppose.  I guess it's nice that the bar lets her continue to come hang out with her friends but it sure seems like a lot of hassle for everyone.

There's always a story there. I chose to focus on Sheila's, which I suspect was only slightly less heartbreaking than the guy at the bar.

04 July 2013

Emotions Processed via Fireworks

Last night was the 50th anniversary of having the fireworks show at my parents house.  Unbeknowst to anyone, my niece bought a balloon to send up in memory of her grandpa.

It this picture is my eldest brother on the left and little brother behind it on the left.

Sentimentality is not big in this family but this was a beautiful moment.  Well done, young one, well done.

The Fire Department also sent a letter to the family honoring my dad. No one was able to read it without coming away teary.

This is the fourth fireworks celebration without our dad.  This one felt more real for some reason and we don't know why.  I'm guessing it's that our emotions have settled, everything has to returned to normal, so the loss is more obvious.