23 December 2017
But, let's talk about how the day went. Firstly, I knew I wanted to start at Wally World first. This required getting up like a regular workday on my day off and being in the store at 7:45 am. This is actually a little later than I'd planned but we've all met me. I exist in my own time zone.
Oh, and I employed my focus technique of wearing my headphones while I shop. This is a serious game-changer for me. I have always been Suzy commando shopper but the headphones really help keep me focused with a big task like Christmas shopping. Thank you occupational therapist friend who mentioned this last year! Musical selection you ask? Hamilton, of course.
Surprisingly, it was not the seventh circle of hell that I assumed it would be. In fact, it was pretty quiet. Like the only person in the twenty items or less quiet. It was a Christmas miracle.
A few details about the Wally World experience:
the book selection is dismal. I wanted to get a romance novel (more on that later) but the range went from brand new hardcover Danielle Steel to dollar store bodice-rippers. I did notice two books about He Who Shan't Be Named. After considering if any laws would be broken by moving those books to, say, the trash can aisle, I opted to just turn them around so the backs were facing out. It's Christmas, after all.
They were already consolidating holiday decorations and putting stuff away and that made me a little sad.
I bought brand-name tape and it has CHANGED MY LIFE. I will never again buy inexpensive/store brand tape in my life. That extra dollar is totally worth it.
The girl Little is obsessed with wolves. Quick, tell me where to get wolf stuff right now and I will be your best friend because it's nearly impossible.
I went to a craft store with the initials HL (against my own personal/political reasons) because I remembered seeing something in their Western decor aisle quite a while ago. The store didn't open until 9:00, which is astounding to me being three days before Christmas. So, I went to Starbucks and got a mocha then returned and waited because grownup.
And they didn't have anything. A wolf coat hanger that screws into the wall and that's it. UGH. they had sloth and fox stuffies but not wolf ones. Sloth stuffies. Seriously. There was a framed wolf picture that I dithered on because it was one of those cheesy state fair prize ones that change as you move your head. I decided no and went to go grocery shopping.
ONE MORE THING. there was teen-aged boy sitting in the lobby of the store and he wore a t-shirt with "Straight Outta the Closet" with the rainbow flag in the background printed on it. I told him "I like your shirt dude" and he looked completely surprised that I would say such a thing and said a cheery thanks. Have I gotten that old?
I finished grocery shopping in a record amount of time, after Kevin confirmed that yes, we are doing a white elephant exchange with his family. (internal and possibly external screaming)
the two bigs are into skateboarding so I went to this hole-in-the-wall skateboard shop to get gift cards. I am astounded at how much anything skate boarding costs. $25 for a cheap t-shirt and I don't even know which ones are cool. The young man helped me out but I kept with the gift card idea and added some decals that they said were cool. I so don't speak that language and boy did I feel old.
The boy littles asked for Zumiez clothing. I knew I probably wasn't going to make that happen but was going to go to the mall (I know! a MALL) just in case. During a conversation with Kevin, he actually volunteered to go with me that evening. Hooray!
I decided to go home until as I was nearly out of town, I remembered that I didn't get stamps. sonofabiscuiteatingdog. So I headed out to the tiny post office where I have a mail box. It was far out of my way kinda but it was worth not having to stand outside waiting at a major post office.
Which then sort of put me in the vicinity of the humane society where I wanted to drop-off a bagful of toys for the doggies. This is risky because I've become one of those Bring Home all the Doggies person. But I was distracted because I met Roman. I recognized his voice first and he is just as adorable, as one would assume. Here is the Roman story, if you don't know it:
Now, for real, I was heading home. I'm literally seven minutes from home. I have groceries and a ton of presents in the truck . But: wolf. It randomly popped in my head that when Kevin and I went to the killing store (Cabellas) I saw a bunch of wolf stuff. That specific store, however, is almost an hour away so big, fat nope. I searched on the interwebs for the nearest sporting good store and they had some wolf stuffies.
Back into town I go. I bought the very last wolf stuffie in the store. I think it might be the same as one she already has but I can't care. But that cheesy wolf picture was still bouncing around in my brain. Sigh. I went even further away from my house into the next town again to buy it. The cashier felt that girl little would love it and why would a cashier steer me wrong?
Finally I headed home with only some stocking stuffers to pick up and a trip to the mall in my future. And so.much.wrapping. Fast forward twenty-four hours and still not done.
But here's the best part. Last summer I told the story of my nephew finally coming out. He is a completely different kid now; open and happy. It's really something to see the change in him. This is the kid that we wondered what his drag queen name would be at his four-year-old birthday party. On his list was fingernail polish, specifically yellow. He also wanted skinny jeans because of course and he was the one who likes romance novels. I bought him many colors of polish, purple hair coloring, and skinny jeans. It was an absolute pleasure shopping for him this year and so much easier than speaking skate board. I never thought I'd see the day this would happen.
Overall, I think I enjoyed shopping more this year than any other in the recent past. There was something about doing it all in one day (mostly). The general attitude of folks were happy and pleasant that early in the morning and so close to the holiday. I'm considering doing it again next year, just hopefully not cutting it so close. Although that added to the adventuresome spirit of it.
I hope this finds you cozy at home and enjoying the holiday in whichever way you choose to spend it.
12 December 2017
Here's how I'm trying to counteract the bleak:
Kevin and i have been trying to do one fun, just us, thing each weekend. It's a simple as going for a drive or to the hardware store or to dinner.
When I return home from work, I change my clothes and take an hour to just watch television or play a game or write. (or all of that usually, because hello, it's me) After that, then I do the grown-up things like chores, dinner, or whatever.
My new job requires a lunch break and I a) don't like that and 2) aren't used to it. I phone Kevin for a few minutes then I try to do something interesting in twenty minutes. Go for a short drive, take instagram photos, go to the Goodwill. Something little and fun.
Even though I hate them beyond all measure, I'm eating a banana a day. It's my one purposeful healthy eating habit that I'm working on right now. Effing bananas.
I'm trying to stay off of the twitter. While I like having my news in real time, it also sucks me into the negative abyss that is the government shit show right now. I'm trying to only retweet positive stuff into the universe and follow low-key people that do the same.
Although not evidenced here, I've been writing more. Something I started a few years ago languished and I took it a different direction. It's occupying my brain, sometimes to the exclusion of other things and I've forgotten how that happens.
I usually only go to Starbucks if we are Vegas or if it's just more convenient. (Where I live, there is a coffee stand on every other corner plus Starbucks.) When I didn't get to go to Vegas this year as planned (I KNOW!) I decided that I would go to Starbucks that week like I would have if in Vegas (because I'm a thirteen year girl with strange coping skills) But now I'm lightly addicted to using the app to earn more drinks.
At my job, I email a group of people on the regular. I've started finding funny little photos, memes or whatever to embed into the emails. So far I've amassed two Ryan Goslings, a handful of Scooby Doo's, a Bob the Builder, Dr. Seuess, and a Monica Geller and a Hello Kitty gifs, among others.
Sometimes when we're feeling powerless, all we can do is rage-clean (it's a thing, look it up) and make tiny efforts to get through it.
30 November 2017
Other than the cheating death thing in 2005, he's incredibly healthy. He's had a handful of E.R. visits for the usual stuff (fun stuff like cuts, burn, foreign objects in his eye) But he's never been in a hospital so just the stress of that was A LOT to deal with.
Me, on the other hand, have had a few things happen so it's not a big deal. We know how to cope with me but this was whole new territory for us. Funny thing is that we discovered that Kevin was just like me when it comes to doing something like this. He didn't want to talk about it, he didn't want to tell anyone about it, just leave him be.
We are rarely separated and work as a team on all things. To not be able to approach this in a way we're used to was strange and disorienting. My heart broke a little at not being there and also at the realization that he experienced that feeling when I was in the hospital.
The nurses brought me to him as he was coming down off the anesthesia. Again, the disorientation of the situation was overwhelming. This is a guy who is rarely sick and you'd never know it if he were. Kevin is never not moving or talking/singing. Never. When I first saw him, I burst out laughing. "You are so hiiiiiiiiigggghhhh." (If you have ever heard/seen Christopher Titus "Normal Rockwell is Bleeding" you will recognize the phrase)
He had to be told three times about the procedure and results. One part of the information we were given was a time-frame of 10 years. On a normal day, Grosse Point Blank would have been quoted at a loud volume. Imagine my disappointment when I can't yell "TEN! Ten years!"
They had him drinking apple juice to ward off hypoglycemia, etc. He thought it magically appeared and we had to explain that they had a dispenser. He was unconvinced. The nurse was magic.
He was half in love with one of the nurses. He was all twitterpated over her. She was exactly the type he is usually attracted to, which ironically is opposite of me. She said goodbye as we left and I stage-whispered "He's half in love with you right now" and she laughed. Later in the car, he told me again how nice she was "I wanted to hug her." he says. This is not a huggy kind of guy so that made me laugh.
He was hungry and tried to insist that he was cool enough to go into a restaurant. Big, fat NO. "You are so not cool right now." his response was a dismissive whatever hand gesture that I've never seen him use. I told him we would go through McD's drive-through and I would also stop for coffee on the way home. I ordered him the Eggo-Muffin (he calls them that when he's not hiiiggghhhh) and the breakfast burrito. It came with a juice box and his palpable disappointment at dealing with a juice box had me giggling all over again. It is still in our refrigerator.
He finished his breakfast in between naps and telling me about the whole procedure and the nice nurse for the fifth time. He asked "Do you want a bite?" I don't like the burritos so I said no. "Oh." he says, visibly disappointed. "Are you sure? Because they're really nummy." I'm still giggling at that one.
Of course he has no recollection of any of this. He too was disappointed at the lost opportunity of the "10 years!" thing. He denies saying "nummy". Everything is back to normal now and we can forget it ever happened, or not remember as it were.
01 November 2017
"Well, my house is a mess right now. I've been reading all the things that you brought out and I was looking for some other stuff to give you. I found your cousin's names, the ones who have the family tree and the map of the Oregon Trail that your dad gave away. And I found some of Betty's papers."
"Your niece came over the other day and she knocked on the door but I was in the shower so she went and got the key then went to the north door (like I know which way is north) but I had moved the dresser that sits there so she couldn't get the door open. So, she moved it. She's so strong, I don't know how she did it." ( I don't know why she didn't go to any of the other doors but that's not the point)
"So, I was reading and it's all so interesting and I want to find out more so maybe you could look on your computer and find out about..."
"Then your niece left so I had to put the dresser back but it's so heavy. I don't know how she moved it, she's so strong. I had to take one drawer out but it was still too heavy so I had to take another one out and then the other then I could finally move it. But then when I was putting it back together, the bottom of one drawer fell out and made a big mess."
"But I found in the papers that spilled, a letter from your aunt's first husband, I can tell because of the way he talks, and I have it for you. You're going to love it, there's a surprise in the ending but I won't tell you but you're going to love it."
This is the edited version but this is pretty much any conversation with my mother. A LOT of listening. (and perhaps a glimpse at who I inherited my ADD from)
But that's NOT EVEN the best part of the conversation.
My parents live on a lake and their driveway is on a hill that's quite steep. The mailbox is on the main road and my mom has been taking the car up to get her mail. She's 81 years old so I'm happy to hear that she's not walking up it anymore.
She was getting her mail and realized that she had locked her car accidentally. She pushed the key fob and it wouldn't work. As she was standing there, she said that a motorcycle went by and she waved at them. Not in a "Please help me" way but in a friendly way. (81 years old, waving at strangers on a secluded road. Excellent choices my mom makes)
So, she walked around the car and continued to press the fob to unlock the car but it wouldn't work. She had just decided that she would walk down to the house and call AAA to get into her car when the motorcycle returned.
Now, in my imagination, I have my mother dead and buried and on the 5 o'clock news but clearly, I am talking to her now so that didn't happen.
"Well, it turns out it was an off-duty Sheriff's deputy and he came back to check on me." Thank you, universe.
One of my uncles was a California Highway Patrolman in the 1950's and he was killed in the line of duty. It's one of the many losses that my mother's family endured. With that, my mom has always had a soft spot for a man in uniform.
The deputy helped my mom unlock her car with the ACTUAL KEY instead of the fob. I'd like to say this happened because she's in her eighties but it would have totally happened during any other time of her life.
This is where my mom tells me that she is convinced that the deputy was the reincarnate of her brother. She said he looked the same as she remembered him, he had the same mannerisms, and it was like they just knew each other.
She offered him a hug and he accepted then he made sure she got into the car and waited until she was safely back at home. (You can see their house from the main road) She was so HAPPY about the encounter. It was sweet yet kind of funny.
While writing this, I searched ancestry for a photo to attach to this post but there wasn't one. I searched the google next and look what I found:
The California State Patrol honors fallen patrolman and two years ago (almost to the date) my uncle was honored. There were 97 shares, 65 comments, and 857 likes. This is one of those times where I love the internet.
To my mom and the internet, Uncle Leonard is still alive and remembered.
22 October 2017
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
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)|
17 September 2017
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
10 July 2017
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.