Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Of The Living Dead

Thankfully, I was on my way BACK from the Coffee Trough when I ran into the VP in the hallway this morning.
If I had been on my way TO the Coffee Trough and run into him, that cheerful, positive and motivated "Good Morning!" might have been a barely audible grunt, instead.
Juuust a little tired...
But I think that it is important to greet the VP like you fully intend to take over his job one day.  It's a personal motivation thing for me.  I have no idea what this guy does for a living, and I don't actually want to be a VP at an insurance company, but I find that VP's, unlike Middle Management, appreciate people who driven--after all, that is how they got to be VP's in the first place.
And when they ask how you are, always say, "Great!"  Like I did this morning...even though I'm actually the walking dead. 
He'll never know the difference.
A little about the tired--we went out last night.  A Monday.  Please shoot me....
...just kidding...its fine.
Barb and I have come to the conclusion that we attract wacky people.  Well, maybe it is BARB that attracts the wacky people, and, I'm just here to make commentary.  Tell me, does this qualify as wacky?  We're at First Avenue, having a beer, hanging out, etc., and the BoDeans take the stage and I hear this voice from behind me say, "Oh thank God, Sam got a haircut!" and I turn around to see a totally non-gay, non-metrosexual dude, who apparently has great interest in the length of Sam's hair.
A Little Wacky.  Right?  (I cannot lie, I'm always highly entertained by the deep discussion among BoDeans fans regarding this man's hair...its just hair.  It grows, it gets cut, it grows again...*yawn*  Reminds me of that old joke--"If you don't like the weather........wait.")
We did have a great time except for the Everybody Who Needs A Beer, Be Sure To Walk In Front Of Those Two Women thing that was going on all night.  Oh, and the chick in front of me who kept changing her shoes.
Changing her shoes.
Like, bending over and changing her shoes...
I didn't even bring a wallet, she's got three pairs of shoes.
Sure, I could have asked, "Why?", but what fun is that?
Meanwhile, BarbKissy-KissyNoah (but only with her eyes...), and, Non-Gay, Non-Metrosexual Dude insisted that Bob was much more fun, but, we like Eric.
And, that's about all the stuff I can write about.
Back to the coffee trough...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Moving Experience (AKA Grand Nirvana)

On the couch, feet up, a cup of pressed coffee within reach, laptop at the ready, cat curled up nearby, nobody is awake but you.  These are the blissful moments that you get to have that somehow make all of other insanities worth going through.

Strange how, since most of my life and career has involved me putting myself "out there" in front of people, waving and smiling and saying "HI!  Its me!  Shelly!  Yay!" and maintaining some level of pretend social-ness, the reality is that Alone suits me just fine.  I can take Alone in long stretches and it doesn't bother me one bit.  I'm a rechargeable battery, I guess.

So now that I finally have some time, let me tell you about the last two weeks, in which I didn't.  Have time, that is.

I had a few major things bearing down upon me for the end of December--one was the holiday, and the other was moving to my apartment. 

As far as the holiday was concerned, because I was moving, I was ready to call it a wash--I mean, really?  What am I gonna do?  Work triple time to get my apartment ready to house a pine tree for one week?  Nah...  So, there was that.  I didn't even think about it, at all.  Ended up wrapping some gifts late into the night on Christmas Eve-Eve, when I should have been sleeping.

The moving was not horrendous, a fact about which I am truly grateful.  I've had horrendous moving experiences, and they are awful, though you do recover.  The thing was, though, starting around the 10th, PAPERWORKPAPERWORKPAPERWORK ("In order to approve you for the apartment, we do require a blood sample, your tax forms for the past 12 years, 18 bars of silver and a lock of Johnny Depp's hair.  How soon can you get us those things?").  A gigantic pain.  But I got through that.  Johnny Depp was super-cooperative, by the way--apparently he gets this kind of thing all the time.  Then, of course, you have to call all the utilities, all of whom I EXPECTED to ask for a blood sample, tax forms, 18 bars of silver and a lock of Johnny Depp's hair, but all of whom just said, "OK!  You're set!"  Thank you!  I thank you, my accountant thanks you, my cat thanks you, and I'm sure Johnny Depp thanks you, too.

We got the keys to the apartment on the 13th and starting moving things in, here and there, a car-load at a time.  Meanwhile, I was working and the kids are going to school, so, the shuffling of boxes happens in the evening hours after work, when I was all tired and delirious because work has been insanely busy lately.  The days went like this:  Get up, hustle out the door, kick ass at work all day, drive home, pick up kids and stuff, drive to apartment, drop off stuff, drive to fast food place, eat, drive home, collapse, and get ready to do it all again the next day.  That was five slammin' days in a row.  Woot!  Then, we got a Saturday, which was to be the final day of moving stuff, and a snow storm hit....You have to laugh about these things.

With a snow storm in full effect, we loaded a small moving van with the last of the stuff and crawled it over to the apartment, where the Moving Karma Gods smiled upon us and said, "Here!  There is a parking spot directly in FRONT of the building!"  That was nice.

About 4 in the afternoon, at the exact moment we finally had all of our possessions moved from Point A to Point B, my brother called me to say that he and his fiance were stuck at the airport because of the snow storm.  They were on their way from North Dakota to Oklahoma, and they had been on and off planes and on and off the tarmac for about 12 hours, just getting from Minot to Minneapolis.  Of course, they missed their connection, and, had no guarantee of getting to Oklahoma any time soon, but they were provided with a lovely ticket to Dallas the following day.  Never mind the fact that Dallas is hundreds of miles away from where they were headed.  They would worry about that tomorrow.  Tonight, they needed food and a place to crash.  I wasn't sure that I actually had either of those things to offer, but, ever up for the challenge, I advised, "I'm on my way..." and set out to pick them up.

You could tell that their day had been hellish up to that point because when I told them all I had was a spot on the floor to sleep and a Subway near my house, they fell all over themselves in gratitude.

Wow....that was easy.

Of course, finding the spot on the floor was not as easy, considering that the entire apartment was filled with boxes, but, we made do.

The next day, we had a leisurely breakfast at a restaurant and dropped R&B (Randy and Bethany) back at the airport, then returned to the sea of boxes, which I just stared at for most of the day because I was suddenly gripped with a complete blank as to where to put anything.

As the work week started the next day, with nothing put away, I struggled to find acceptable office-type clothing and the required hair products to make my presence at the work place less frightening for my co-workers. 

Three days of that.

Christmas Eve, I was at the office when my sister called to advise that she was on her way from New Jersey to North Dakota, but, surprise, surprise, was now stuck in Minneapolis.

Leave work, pick up sister.

The traffic between Minnetonka (where I work) and the airport will forever be known as The Christmas Miracle and I was there in very short order.

That was easy.

Getting back to the apartment from the airport was also easy.  Christmas Miracle Number 2.

We hung out with my sister for a few hours, then dropped her back at the airport.

Christmas day, my teen-aged daughters acted like they were teeny kids again and woke up before the sun, ready to open presents.  They loved everything they got.  Christmas Miracle Number 3.  We went to our dear friends house for a dinner of lasagna and a spirited game of Balderdash, then, gifts in tow, went home to rest.

Finally home, even with boxes still strewn about the place, I felt at ease.  I had a few days off ahead of me, my kids and I were at Our Place, which was so significant because we hadn't had a place of our own for so long, the cupboards and fridge were full, the lights and heat worked, and we could finally relax. 

I crawled into a hot bath and scrubbed away all of the insanity of the past week--no, the past YEAR, and started feeling like myself again, for the first time in a very, very long time.  I remember thinking, as I scrubbed, how weirdly symbolic it was to be stripping away the filth and dead off of me, all the way down to the new skin, after a long and hard-fought battle to do exactly that.  Even a rank amateur psychologist wouldn't have missed that metaphor.  It felt so good.  Best Christmas, ever.

We still have plenty to do around here--there are still boxes everywhere and the household projects will have us busy for a long time, but we finally have it--sanctuary.  Sanctuary, where you can sit on the comfy couch with your laptop and write, or, go to the other corner of the room and paint something, or hang out and watch a movie, or chat with your friends on the phone or online, or hang out in your room and learn a new piano/guitar part to some song you like...whatever.  (One of the better parts of my long soak in the tub was listening to my children working out a song together in the next room.  I was so delighted, I can't even describe it.)  And there is nobody there to make you feel guilty about just doing the things that make you happy, as long as you're not hurting anybody else.  Its nirvana on Grand Avenue.  Welcome home...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Jus' Wanna Say....

Merry Christmas, Baby!
I dunno....I heard that song on my way into work today, and that pretty much sums it up for me...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Tuesday!

You know how, when, you move to a new place,  and everything you own is still in a box somewhere, so you're flopped on a floor, sleeping, shivering under mismatched blankies, and the alarm goes off and all you can think about is how all alarm clocks must be destroyed, and you're hitting the snooze and hitting the snooze and hitting the snooze until you finally look at the clock and see that you're about to be seriously late, so you rush to a mirror and discover that your hair is quite unsaveable, but you are just going to have to suck it up and look silly, cuz you're late, and the best you can do for coffee is some re-heated java from the day before, which you heat in a pan on the stove cuz your microwave isn't set up yet, THEN, you find some clothes to wear and they look like hell, but it's all the clothes you can find, so screw it, and then you go outside to discover that your car is covered in snow and you have to stand knee-deep in plow wake to clear it off? 



And you take off for work, but the roads are crappy?



















Just me?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why This Will Be The Best Christmas, Ever

My Aunt Darlene used to send my brothers, sister and I, giant candy canes every year at Christmas.  We would set our calendars by it--6 giant peppermint sticks, in our hands, by Christmas Eve, whether we went to Grandma's house or stayed home.  It wasn't Christmas until we got them.
She continued this into our young adult-hoods, as one by one, we all left my parent's house and went out into the world.
When Darlene died of breast cancer some time ago, was a huge blow to the family--not only was she quite young at the time, but also, she was a hell of a woman...vibrant, boisterous, busy, smart, caring, classy.  I liked her a lot.  She was beautiful the way her mother, my mother, and all of her sisters are, or were--dark hair, high and defined cheekbones, strong faces framed by expressive eyebrows.
Darlene never knew my daughters, but, in her honor, my sister sends my children giant candy canes at Christmas, just like Darlene used to do for us.  It is one of my favorite parts of the holiday, and I enjoy telling the story every year, of why it is so cool to get those candy canes from your Auntie, like I got them from mine.
The last time I saw my aunt was at my Grandfather's funeral, when she herself was quite ill.  Her doctors had actually recommended that she not attend the service, as she was hospitalized at the time, and chemotherapy had devastated her immune system.  She couldn't hug any of us or grip a hand, lest she might catch some virus and become sick.  It was incredibly sad, and looking at her I knew that her life would soon be over.  She died a short time later.
It was fitting, I think, that the very first piece of mail that I got at my new apartment was a tell-tale long and skinny box from New Jersey, which was waiting at for us at the door last night.  While I have always found the fact that Donna picked up that tradition to be particularly touching, this year, the thought of it moves me to tears.  It has been such an insane year--nothing is as it was, except, candy canes in the mail at Christmas--something I have lived with for some 40 years. 
I'm not a "traditions" person.  Its not that I don't like the holiday food or Christmas trees, its that I feel that any "must have", really isn't, and there is no such thing as "have to".  The fact that I am in the middle of moving to a new apartment, and an entirely new life, has provided me with the option (excuse) of skipping all of that this year--no tree, no decoration, no large gathering of people for a meal, no specific foods to prepare or consume.  Too busy.  Can't really afford it, anyway. 
In fact, those candy canes might be the only thing that looks like Christmas in my house.
It will be just us three.  We'll be sitting around in our jammies, watching movies, unpacking--whatever we feel like doing.  And we could very well be eating frozen pizza or something, I don't know.
Still, it may be the Best Christmas, Ever.
2008 has been particularly crazy for me.  So much has happened.  I started the year living in Duluth, MN, working, being married, and doing all the working/married stuff.  I end it living and working in Minneapolis, having left virtually everything behind.  "Everything," meaning, everything I was ever fooled into believing really mattered, that really didn't.  The emotional upheaval that has occurred between the beginning and the end of this year has been, at times, gut-wrenchingly awful.  It has been nine months of "Are you strong enough?" time, coupled with, "God is testing you!" time and joined by "Are you really the person you think you are?" time.
But, having a vision--just a little kernel of a dream of how things are supposed to be, and what life is supposed to feel like, has made it worth it--every minute.  And after all that has happened, I know, for a fact, that there is nothing I can't handle.  As gifts go, you couldn't ask for a better, more useful one.
And as feelings go, you couldn't ask for a better one than the one you get seeing a box of giant candy canes, when you know EXACTLY where they came from.
Last night, Punky told me that when she grows up, she would like to send her nieces and nephews giant candy canes at Christmas.  We laughed when we both realized that her lone sibling, aged 15, had long since declared that she "hates" children and will NEVER have any.  It was a good thought, though.  Punky is definitely Candy Cane Aunt material...

Monday, December 15, 2008


Isn't it amazing that every year, when the weather comes, we talk about it as if this sort of thing never happens?
I'm just sayin'.
Oh, and I would like to personally thank each and every person on the roads between my house and my office this morning, for behaving themselves and driving perfectly. 
No, I'm not being sarcastic!   :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Relax! Its The Weekend!

All week long, I have been thinking about the weekend--not in the "relaxation" vein, but rather, the "OMG I'm going to be running my a$$ off all weekend" thought process.
Short list:  Moving!  Yes, moving.  Well, starting to move, I mean.  This would constitute random trips to the new place with car-loads of stuff that I don't need for the next week.  I'll figure a few trips.  I think.
Then, since we are moving, and oh, by the way, we actually don't own anything like plates and bowls and such, we have to find time to get out and buy plates and bowls and such.  And toilet paper.  Real exciting shopping trip, there.
Sandwiched in between all of that excitement, I have to buy bread.  Bread.  Sandwiched.  Get it?  Yeah, yeah...anyway...I need to take a trip to the bread store to help with the lunch-packing extravaganza that we have every morning at our house, and I want to go to a particular bread store, which is sort of out of the way.  Like, Eagan, out of the way.  Cuz I like that one, and I'm a dope and won't settle for the one just a half mile from my new place.  I'm not sure how this errand was raised to any level of importance on a weekend in which I should be concentrating entirely on the logistics of getting all of my possessions from Point A to Point B, but, it was.  And I refuse to let it go, for some reason.  What the hell is wrong with me?
Meanwhile, storms are brewing all over the place.  Full moon, you know...I found out from a friend that there were massive lay-off's at her job yesterday--she survived.  Of a staff of 200, 40 people were let go.  Oh, and TODAY is the company Christmas party.  Merry Effing Christmas.  Hope that Christmas party comes with an open bar.  There are a lot of overwhelmingly sad and ridiculous details, but in the interest of confidentiality, I'll just say that it's a disaster--an absolute disaster.
Then, I had a friend ask to borrow money.  And some clouds rolled in. 
I have a thing about that...a gigantic thing.  Ask me for money, and automatically, I start to twitch.  It is easily the most uncomfortable thing in the whole wide world, for me, anyway.  I hate it.  HATE.  It. 
Now, I'll buy you lunch, I'll put gas in your car, pick you up a pack of smokes (or a concert ticket! Guess who we're going to see?  HA!) if I'm going--any of that kind of stuff.  I'm good like that.  This morning, I scooped up one of my friend's bills off the dining room table and paid it.  He didn't ask, I just did it--he needed it, so, I did it.  So, I'm not an evil penny-pinching witch or anything.  I just have a thing about people asking me for money.  I can't help it.  My mind automatically flies into the "What did you do with YOUR money that makes you now want some of mine?" mode and I shift into overdrive trying to be as nice as humanly possible to avoid being as bitchy on the outside as I feel on the inside.  In fact, perhaps the only occasion in which I feel OK about blatantly lying to someone is when they have asked me for money, cuz I wanna be nice and tell you I'm hurting for cash right now, rather than say what I'm thinking, which is more along the lines of "Are you fucking kidding me?  What did you do with YOUR money that makes you now want some of mine?"
The thing is, I don't want to know what they did with their money.  Not really.  I don't care.  People can do whatever the hell they want with their money.  Until the very second when they ask me for some of mine.  What if the thing I want to do with my money is not the same thing as what you want to do with your money?  Does that mean we can't be friends?
Here is the thing...I have found, in this life, that there is virtually nothing that I can't live without, except air, for a period of time.  Most people in this country have way more than they need, myself included--roof, food, job, car, easy life--I want for nothing.  When I tell you that I never borrow money from people you can believe it, because if I can't afford something, I do without, period.  Sometimes, its tough.  Sometimes, it is extremely tough.  But, you survive.  Sometimes, people (including this particular friend) are extremely kind and give me things at a time of need, but I would never ask.  Not ever.  I just don't.  I believe that if I can't obtain something through my own hard work and resourcefulness, then I don't really need it.  It's one of my very core values.  In fact, it might be THE core value in my life.  I don't "get" borrowing money.  I can't grasp why a person would do that--I just can't wrap my head around it, at all. 
I have accepted a million (billion?) kindnesses in my life--people have been very, very good to me.  Extremely good.  In return, I have offered many kindnesses--some accepted, some not.  I don't recall any one of them in particular, but I do remember the nice things that people have done for me--or at least I remember the feeling of it.  I think that ultimately, humans are programmed to share--its just something that we do.  You have space on your couch, so you invite someone to sleep over if they've had a few, or, you have a gigantic turkey to cook, so you have people over for a meal, or, you have a bunch of extra widgets that you will never use, so you give them to someone that you know will use them.  We're like that--all of us.  When life is bountiful, we share.  Unless we are complete assholes.
In my blissful brain, I don't keep track and I don't apply a value to any act of kindness.  They are all priceless.  A little thing that was easy for you to do might mean the world to somebody else.  There is no way to measure it.  I suppose that is my problem when it comes to money--It can be counted--in fact, it begs to be counted.  When you start to place a value on things, rather than considering all kindness precious, well, then you start to keep track, and it all goes downhill from there, doesn't it?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hey Moon

Teetering on the edge of a serious political discussion (Still waiting! Bring it! I wrote my amazingly brilliant response while soaking in the tub, so you know it's a killer. Remember, Karma is a bitch, and so am I.)...

...she instead opts to post a music video.

15 years old in real life, thank you.

Let me tell you a little story. Saturday, I was at the mall with The Diva. THE freaking mall, in December, at the height of holiday shopping, when the kindly traffic officer directs you to your parking spot IN ALASKA (top floor, West side, for the uninitiated). You'd think it would have been a miserable experience. Not so bad!


Well, we were in a particular loud clothing store, and I looked up at a billboard advertising Panic at the Disco Live In Chicago!

Woot! Mood boost.

I bought one....and a bunch of other stuff.

After shopping, we hoofed it back to the car (IN ALASKA), and popped in the CD for the ride home. We hadn't really looked at the cover of the CD, or read the liner notes, which is a Pretty. Odd. odd for us, cuz we generally have those things memorized by the time we ever listen to anything. Not this time...we were too bleary-eyed from shopping.

I made the Ultimate Boo-Boo on the drive home and landed on the 494 West parking lot. DOH! It would take a while to get back.

Luckily....new CD.

And here are the kind of geeks my daughter and I are about Panic at the Disco: Listening to this live CD, not knowing what songs were even on it, what order the songs would be in, or what any of it was going to sound like...

...we both found ourselves making little "Yay!" noises every time we heard something remotely familiar. Like we were actually in the audience. Clapping and Woooo-Hooo-ing and showing our glowing approval from the freeway. Like they could hear us.

That was fun.

And, about two seconds later, we were home.

Anyway...the story is just an excuse to post the video. I like the video, but I've listened to this song about 27 million times without "seeing" it, and, I won't mind if you just close your eyes and listen. That's what I do.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some Light Reading For A Sunday Morning

Senator John Marty, author of the Marriage and Family Protection Act, has written an article about the case for action on marriage equality in Minnesota.  Check it out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wait! Wait!!

There is MORE!
I couldn't resist sharing this, cuz.....well....it's the Wisconsin Cheese Cupid.
Yes.  I said, "Wisconsin Cheese Cupid".
Go There.  Find Love....in the curds.

And You Can Tell She's Hungover...

By the bottle(s) of Vitamin Water on her desk.
I wonder how long it will take my co-workers to figure that out. 
Torrontes.  That's a good grape.  We love you, Argentina.
(Hey, at least I didn't call in sick...Happy Weekend, Everybody!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

C'mon Get Happy

Someone said--OK, we'll just name names, even though I'm the AntiNameDropper.  It was my buddy over at Awkwardly Social (White Trash since 1976, baby!  And, she's kinda from North Dakota, like me), AND, in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I think she stole the quote from Ideals For Living., though...I don't really know. 


The quote was, "Happiness writes white (…it doesn't show up on the page)".  I read her post about that very thing, and, got to thinking about how fecking boring I am now that I'm not miserable.


Happy, yes, but, such a yawner.

In her case, she's all blissy and eating right, and quit smoking and hardly gets massively fucked up any more (Kidding!  Juuuusst Kidding...) or writes about super-crazy nights and inner turmoil cuz she's all boyfriended and getting regular and spectacular sex and lovin' and stuff.

I do want to CLARIFY that, while I'm plenty happy...I'm not THAT freaking happy, OK? 

I mean, I'm willin' to GET that happy, but I'm not freaking out about it.  Eventually, I'll be ridiculously, retardedly, stupid-ass happy.  This I know.  I think I've known it my whole life, which is why a lot of the times, I'm so miserable.

We humans are drawn toward the bliss (forgive me while I get all metaphysical on ya).  We want to be happy.  Most people, sadly, have ideas about how to be happy that are not their own--somebody told them HOW to be happy, and, like morons, they believed it.  Maybe they thought that they needed a particular "thing" (whatever that thing might be) to be happy, and they got that thing and surprise, surprise, not only are they still NOT happy, but now they are also disappointed and feel a bit stupid.  But for some reason, now they are on the lookout for the next "thing".  Which also won't work.

In the mean time, the total confusion of The World telling you what should make you happy and your inner voice continuously telling you "Meh, that's not it," makes you all jumbled in the head, so, you suffer.

Most people suffer.  The good news is, most people don't even realize that they are suffering.  Oh, some do--some realize that life isn't working the way they want it to. 

We call those people "writers".