Friday, October 30, 2009

Nothing More Exciting Than a Shopping List

You know how when you write, and a day or two goes by and you feel as if you should be writing, so you do? That's what I'm doing.

I'm kinda the same way about knitting, but the difference with knitting is that you have "projects" that are more long-term, and in blogging, you do a lot of One Shot to Make An Impression stuff.

I suppose I should write a book, but I'm so damn stubborn that I would never bring myself to start writing a book in November because that's when everyone ELSE is writing their books!

So NOT a joiner.

And I gave it some thought, and realized that the incredible "love" story (more like a "fight" story) that's been brewing and morphing in my brain for the last, oh, 20 years or so, is a pretty great story, but also that all those people would sound awfully familiar and it would be very Jackie Collins of me to write about them and then claim it isn't about them.

Also, to paraphrase Cyrano, I keep finding myself the hero. Which brings me to my point (you were starting to wonder if I had one, weren't you...?)

Many moons ago, as I was writing the story in my head, and putting some of it on paper, the lead character was like this full-blown expansion of all of the things I personally wanted to be, only, she was infinitely more troubled than me, crazy rich with family money, and did some rather extreme things, which was what made her more interesting than I was. But she was 20-odd years old, just like I was at the time, and she and her soul mate were in such strong denial about their feelings for each other (she, because how could she ever love someone who was such an elitist snob and he, because how could he ever love someone who was such a mess...) that all they did all day was pretend not to care, even though it was all they could do not to tackle each other every time the other was near.

Which is EXACTLY what was going on, for real, in my life at the time.

I guess I'm not very creative.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and I've settled into a fictional love story in which both characters are kind of a mess, but not so much of a mess that the other can't handle it, and neither of them are incredibly rich or extreme, and they're both in their 40's.


The opening scene in the original story has the heroin stumbling, drunk, through the grounds of her massive estate to the site of her father's grave, where she proceeds to have a one-sided discussion with him about how damn difficult things have become for her, what with being incredibly wealthy and famous and drunk all the time, not to mention being hopelessly in love with someone who was being a total jerk about it, as if she could help falling in love with him. Bastard. Then, she passes out in the snow and is discovered by some grounds keeper and/or bodyguard who is supposed to be keeping an eye on her because she is prone to do stupid shit like that. He carries her back to the mansion to sleep it off, and the next day, her hangover is interrupted by her father's brother, who is also insanely wealthy, and famous, but less extreme, and he is scolding her for doing stupid shit like that.

It's a damn good scene--don't any of you steal that, because I would know...

The new opening scene has something to do with eyes blinking open and the heroin needing coffee. Subsequent scenes involve juggling work and kids' schedules with a completely non-existent social life.


So you see my dilemma?

Yeah, doesn't have to have anything to do with me or my life, and that's why they call it a "story" after all...I could probably write that character better now than I could then, anyway, even though I know that her so-called "soulmate" is really only the lust-muffin d'jour. I think I'm close enough to the pain to pull it off.

And the man would still have to be the source of all frustration to make it work, which I think I could also pull off. Hmmm...

To all of who are starting, finishing, or working on your books in November, best of luck to you all! If I do get all excited and start writing this thing again, don't count on any excepts...the part in the story where the heroin stuffs the barrel of a handgun into the cheek of the reporter hiding in her garage really has little more going for it than shock value, and I don't want to be a spoiler.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Skellington Quiz

It is a really spectacular day.



I'm not just saying that.



OK, maybe I AM just saying that, but…believe it!




Here are a couple of reasons for the spectacularness—first of all, I walked into my office this morning and found a substantial bag of candy on my chair.  My co-workers are so sweet and so awesome.  Have I mentioned how glad I am to be here?


Second, I was able to locate both a shirt AND pants easily this morning, with no hissy fits.  OK, I cheated.  They were both in the dryer.  Undergarments, too.  Jeez, what the hell was I thinking when I threw that load in to be washed?  I'd like to blame one of the kids for that, but it was all me…


Third, well, it's just a damn fine day.  Feeling the warm, fuzzy thoughts, and senses are high.  You know how you can just tell someone is thinking nice things about you?  Yeah…that's super-cool.  Even when they are being a total brat. ;-)  You know who you are.


Today, I thought I would ask a few Halloween questions!  Ready?


  1. One of my daughter's friends is forbidden from trick-or-treating this year because she is now a 9th grader.  Personally, I encourage my kids to go trick-or-treating, as long as they are respecting the tradition: Dress up (no creativity, no go…), have fun, and be courteous of both the homeowners and the little kids who are out having their own Halloween fun.  What do you think?  Cuz I think that parent needs to lighten the hell up...
  2. Candy, Candy, Candy.  What kind do you give away, and what kind do you sneak out of your kids' treat bags?  Ever give away crappy candy on purpose?  How about broccoli?  Ever give out broccoli?  Wouldn't that be freaking hilarious?
  3. Will you be wearing a costume this year?  I'm wearing devil horns.  Actually, I have them on right now.  I think I'll just leave them on from now through the weekend.  I have to hit the DMV on Saturday, and I'm sure the devil horns will be a huge hit.  Maybe I should renew my license with them on, too?  Oh, never mind—they didn't let me get my picture taken with my sunglasses on my head, what makes me think they'd let me wear devil horns?  There are people on this planet (you know who you are) who have literally never seen me without some variety of glasses propped up on my head, so it's not like I don't always look like that…
  4. Is anyone else soooooo done with the Chicks Dressing Up Like Hookers/Strippers and Calling It A Costume thing?  Self esteem that low, huh?  Daddy issues?  Then why don't you show some guts and become a REAL Hooker/Stripper?  Chicken-sh*t…

Is that enough to get you thinking?  Gooooood....then my work here is done.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random and Annoying

  • Person in the ladies room using six paper towels. A) Your hands are not that large.  B) the sound of the motion-activated towel dispenser spitting out towel after towel is almost as annoying as your standing in front of it and frantically waving.  There is something wrong with you.
  • Me, for washing, drying, and folding, but not putting away, my work clothes, and subsequently spending a good ten minutes this morning cursing my way through a large laundry basket of clean clothes, looking for my favorite black pants, which were actually in the drawer the whole time.  DOH!
  • My children, for failing to understand the urgency of me wearing that specific pair of pants on this particular day, and calling me out for throwing a hissy fit.
  • My car, for not magically replenishing itself with motor oil or transmission fluid, or any of the other go juices I can't keep track of.  I'm just gonna say it--keeping cars running is what men are for.  Yes, that is kinda rotten of me to say, but it is on the list, right next to "Brings me coffee in the morning."  I especially want some MALE to do this for me because when I, a person without a penis, walk in to a mechanic shop, there is automaticallly a lot more wrong with the car than my puny female mind could ever grasp, the work is all urgently needed, and the cost goes up exponentially, depending on whether or not I'm wearing cute shoes that day.  I'm only sexists because the mechanics are, people...

Oh The Thinks

I decided this morning that I should write something, so I started.


Actually, I had a mini panic attack this morning because I woke up not feeling a thing.






Just an empty spot that had always been filled with urgency before.



I thought for a moment that it might be comfort and contentment, but, it wasn't—it was just numbness.


So I started writing, because I was pissed.  I mean, seriously, is that all there is?  No intensity of emotion?  No bliss?  No gut-wrenching sorrow?  Just….nothing?



Screw that.



Many times when I write, if I am using a notebook and a pen, I bring myself to tears.  I used to think it was weird, but honestly, there is something so real about dragging a pen across a page and using your hand to create something—it makes you feel it, and it is quite powerful.  It is as if you were speaking aloud, to the person in question.  Of course you're going to cry.  (Well, you're going to cry depending on what it is that you need to say...)  Writing is magically cleansing to me in that way.  I am not afraid of crying—I'm infinitely more afraid of feeling nothing at all than I am of crying.


So I started writing about that bad, bad thing that we do…when we deny ourselves the tears.  When we think that "numb" is better than sorrow.  Why is it that when things don't turn out the way we want them to, we're all "No worries!  It's Fine!  I'm good!  I needed the time alone to practice my underwater basket weaving, anyway!" as if replacing sadness with busywork is OK…?


Where do those emotions go, people?  They don't just disappear, you know…I think they turn up as ulcers and panic attacks.


Anyway…like I said, feeling Nothing scared the living crap out of me.  I pictured myself aging into one of those who's only real emotion is anger because they've stuffed all the other ones, like after somebody looked at them funny for laughing too loud—whatever you do, don't feel THAT kind of joy again!  People will look at you!  Their days are spent in righteous indignation at all the people who have done them wrong, and they never admit to once feeling hopeful and having that hope dashed—too painful to talk about.  They will never see a psychiatrist, because they think counselors are for crazy people (OMG are you kidding?  Someone PAID to sit and listen to you vent for 50 minutes?  It's the best thing, EVER!!!)  They will never admit to wanting someone to love them and having it not work out—they'll just label that other person a jerk and claim they never felt anything at all.  They will never dance like no one is watching…they feel the weight of judgmental eyes upon them at all times.  They are not free.


This last year has been rather amazing in many regards, and a very big one has been that I've felt an awful lot of pain—it was the kind of deep, ancient pain that had been hiding since I was a child.  Of course, I learned early on to stuff that kind of thing and never let if be known that you felt something.  Don't fall in love, don't want anything, don't put yourself out there to be harmed.  For a long time, I didn't.


Then, all of a sudden, that whole notion of "Protect yourself at all costs!" seemed utterly ridiculous.  I did some things that people would consider a bit nuts.  I left my husband, for one.  Why?  There was nothing there, and I felt very bad about holding him in a situation where I was totally absent.  Oh, there were other things going on, compounding the fact that there was no emotion, and when asked why I left, I made sure to list only those "other things" (which were insane enough to satisfy even the staunchest of Stay Married advocates) and leave out the part about my heart not being in it.  Not too many people would have said "go for it" if I told them that I had to follow my muse, which, in a sense (not a literal one) is exactly what I did.


All this time spent alone has drawn a lot of the past hurts out of protective custody, and I am very glad to let them mingle.  I now have memory of these things, where before, I was content to pretend they never happened, or that I never felt anything, or that those people don't exist.  I've had so many people from my past re-appear in my life this year that I can't HELP but think about those relationships and what might have happened (at least that which I could have done differently) that may have contributed to their ends.  Being alone with your thoughts is quite healing.  Even if you cry.



Especially if you cry.



True to form, I had to grab a tissue or two while writing about feeling like I had nothing more to write about.  It was sweet relief.  I'm not a person who likes to dwell in tears and sadness, but all things considered, I believe it is better to stay there than to feel nothing at all.  I hope that I'm able to do my "muse" enough justice by following my inspiration that he doesn't mind hanging around some more.  Waking up without him sucked

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grandma Face

The pre-shower face in the mirror this morning was pretty frightening, what with "jowel-y" not being considered a compliment in today's society.


Luckily, severe exfoliation seemed to help.


I loved my Grandma Roseanna, but seem to recall her face looking so much better on her, and on my mother.


The Grandma Face thing is making me think about the number 43.  Yes, age is just a number, but age combined with Grandma Face can lead to tears. 


Correction: Age combined with Grandma Face DOES lead to tears.


Because I tend to follow these kinds of thoughts to their bitter end, I concluded that most men don't have the capacity to appreciate interesting-looking women (or Interesting Women in general…), and if you're in your 40's and don't happen to look like Demi Moore, you can pretty much count on never having sex again, ever. 


Not that I plan to stop exfoliation and moisturizing and battling grey hair and eating good food and getting off my ass to move around, in some insane effort to test this theory…


…but I won't be doing it because I'm worried some guy won't think I'm cute.  I mean…why would I want someone who is incapable of being interested in Interesting?  I've been interesting for 40 years…it's all I know how to do.  Besides exfoliate.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Checking It Twice

Some wise person said that if you want a thing to manifest in your life, write it down.  Write down exactly what it is that you want, to give it validity, and more importantly, to force yourself to actually think about what it is that you truly want.


See…that's the tricky part, isn't it?  Thinking about what you want?  Actually verbalizing or committing it to paper?  So often, we feel as if saying what we want is an incredibly selfish, or self-centered thing to do, like we don't deserve to have it.  The truth is, we make a million of these little decisions every day, from "I would like some coffee in the morning," to, "I don't particularly care for raspberries."  No big deal, right?  As long as you're not harming anyone, you can have your coffee, or not eat raspberries.


So what's the harm in saying how you feel about the bigger things, like, what kind of work you want to do, or, what kind of people you want to hang out with?  Just as you know whether or not coffee or raspberries make you happy, you know what other things bring you joy or don't bring you joy.  You know whether or not hanging around with a closed-minded person feels good to you (and, if it does, I'm guessing that you are close-minded as well.  Mind if I ask what the hell you're doing here?).  You know whether or not you like dancing, or knitting, or playing cards.  You know if you like to sit at a desk all day or if you'd rather dig ditches.  If you pay attention, you know exactly how you feel about…everything.


It is not too much to ask that the people with whom you share your time happen to agree with you about a lot of things, be they your boss or your friends (Family Exclusion!!!  You know…can't pick your family…).  The main thing you should agree upon is how YOU should be treated, and how you will be treating THEM.  You say your girlfriend is mean to you?  Well…do you like that sort of thing?  No?  Then what the hell are you doing?  You say your friend doesn't consider your feelings and says things about you behind your back?  And…you don't like that sort of thing?  Hmmm…


The question becomes, why are you giving so much to these relationships, when all they do is bring you pain?  If you got sick every time you ate raspberries, would you still eat them?  Because that's what happens with people with whom you don't "fit".  You get a little sick.  You probably don't get sick to your stomach, although, in extreme cases, that can happen, but you do get sick—sick to your soul.  You feel bad, and you know that you do.  You can feel it.


What happens with a lot of people, myself included, is that we rush into things without even paying attention to whether or not it's what we really want.  We might buy a car that's a clunker because the salesperson was soooo convincing, or, we might get into a relationship with someone who is not good for us because we were lonely, and convinced that the "bad" person was the only one who would ever ask us out.


The problem is, it takes much more effort to get out of those situations than it does to get into them.  You bought the car, now you have it.  In order to not have it anymore, you have to do something (sell it, wreck it, have it stolen…?), and, you also have to go buy another car.  You bought the cow, uh…married that person, and now, you're figuring out that you don't even like them, or, they don't like you.  Now you have to untangle your lives, which is going to be a very emotional, and probably expensive.




I started writing this post because I've been told to make a list qualities I would like to have in Perfect Man, Exhibit A, at least a million times, and I've never done it, but, out of curiosity, tried that today.  It's not that I expect him to show up all of a sudden, but, I suppose it would be nice to know how to recognize him if he does, right?  Funny thing is, as I was making the list, I discovered that what I wanted to be true about this person were all the same things I wanted to be true about any of the people I would want to spend my time with--whether they were my boss or my friend or my boyfriend.  This is probably true because there was nothing on the list about how much money he makes, or how he has to be so smoking hot that I want to tear his clothes off (well, that's kind of on there...).  It was all about wanting to know if being with them was going to feed my soul (coffee), or make me sick (raspberries).

I chose coffee.

And it's kinda nice to have the option to choose really, really good coffee, I might add.

All in all, an interesting exercise.  Also, since I have completed THAT list, I can mark the list off my to-do list.  List.  Now I can just sit back and watch the fabulous people roll in...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Driving Miss Crazy

To make up for the lack of writing lately, we'll just make this a really, really looooong thing so you'll think that I've spent this entire time thinking of things to write, rather than just working at the new job, but I didn't have any "actual" time to commit anything to the page because of the new job.


Truthfully, I have been spending this entire time think of things to write, I just haven't had any "actual" time to commit anything to the page.  This page, I mean.  Web page.  Yeah.


The other truth is that what I have is not much more than a collection of fractured thoughts that I never expanded upon, because I haven't had the "actual" time to do that.


So, let us begin…Currently Most Pressing:  My daughter has finished driver's training (with the instructor) and now, it's all on me to let her drive for the next several months (and beyond), because it is my job to sit silently through a million mini-heart attacks and pretend I'm not FREAKING OUT during her Inexperienced Driver gaffs.




A little perspective, and, we may have already covered this, BUT, I grew up in Little Dot On The Prairie, North Dakota, population (at the time) around 300.  People.  There were, and continue to be, more cats than humans in that town.  In the spirit of small-town multi-tasking, my driving instructor was also my chemistry teacher, and, he was also the mayor at the time.  We drove the newly paved streets of Smallville (the pavement was something that Mayor Driving Instructor pushed for once in office—before he was elected, they were dirt roads…) where there were no city busses, no random bicyclists insisting that they have the right to reduce traffic speed to whatever their little legs could muster, and NOBODY sharing the road who didn't know your entire family, where you were going, and why.


Small.  Town.


I scraped through driver's training without killing anyone.  The first time I drove anywhere NEAR Minneapolis, or any city this size, I was returning to Fargo, ND from a Sting concert on Harriet Island, and my sister let me drive her 1974 Mustang hatch-back on I-94 from Monticello to around Alexandria.  I was probably 20 years old at the time, had no license, and was a terrible driver.  Terrible.  No question.  But she was tired and didn't want to drive.  She was wide-freaking-awake after that experience.


I finally got my license when I was no longer a student, got my first good job, and was a couple of signatures away from buying a brand new car.  Driving meant almost nothing to me.  I had friends with cars, and a bus schedule, and two good legs.  Who needs to drive?  But, I could afford a car, so, I figured I should buy one.  Besides, I didn't want to be a mooch for the rest of my life, and I was about to break up with my boyfriend (cheating so-and-so), who had been my most recent Drive Me Around guy.


I don't think I stopped being a questionable driver until I moved to Duluth in 1996 or '97 (all a blur, people), a full 15 years after I completed driver training.  It was the first town of significant size in which I had to regularly drive myself anywhere.  Before that, my friends happily indulged my non-driving ways.  Yes…I was coddled and enabled.  Duluth changed all of that because not only did I not know ANYBODY in that town when I moved there, but as some of us are aware, much of Duluth is built on the side of a steep hill, and, it gets weather.  I had to either figure it out or curl up in a ball on my living room floor and give up.  The latter was not an option.


I got to be a rather good driver, which is something I measure by whether or not other driver's want to pull me out of my car in the middle of the freeway and smack me til I bleed.  Not looking for any trouble, folks…not looking for any trouble…


From Duluth, I moved to Mobile, Alabama, which, by the way, is a fabulous city for driving—kinda reminds me of a bigger, older, and much hotter Fargo.  After Alabama, I returned to Minnesota, and here I am in Minneapolis, where my daughter assures me that she's not gonna crash my car, and that I worry too much…


…and I'm not sure what to think of that.  On the one hand, I want to tell myself that this is what car insurance is for.  On the other, I recognize how bad I used to suck at driving, and remain unconvinced that Minneapolis is a good place for someone to learn how to drive.  While I do recognize that "Trial By Fire" can be very effective, what I really want to do right now is take my child out to Monticello and have her drive to Alexandria.  And then maybe keep driving all the way to my parent's house on the Western Prairie, so she can delight in the bliss that is a no-traffic zone.  Just like her mom used to do.  Then, maybe, she'll get that Over-Correcting, Swerve Into The Other Lane On The Freeway thing out of her system.


This morning, while driving to school, my daughter was merging onto the crosstown, and some douche who didn't think she was merging fast enough, passed us on a single-lane on-ramp, on the right.  That is to say, they had two wheels off the road in their rush to get one car-length ahead of us, and they subsequently swerved in front of us, with maybe two feet of clearance between the two vehicles.  Dude….you suck.  And you scared the living crap out of both of us.


As inexperienced as my daughter is at driving, she is better at it than I was at her age—she has to be.  She learned here, and I learned on a long country road.  Big difference.  But she's still not a great driver, so, I'd like the other drivers to give her a bit of a break.  Also?  I'd like them to give ME a break.  I mean…I'm somebody's MOM, OK?  As much as I am worried about her screwing up and me not having a car to drive, I'm much MORE worried about somebody ELSE being a jerk and traumatizing my kid.  Aaaand of me not having a car to drive.  As such, I have created a new sign for the back of the car.  Instead of the traditional "student driver", it reads, "Student Driver/FREAKED OUT Parent.  DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE!."


What do you think?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Planets Must Have Lined Up Just So...

...because the idea of quitting smoking doesn't seem quite the drudgery that it did before. 

Please, hold your applause until the end.

I started smoking "for real" in college, when I could first legally buy the things.  In high school, I think we all played with it a little, but it wasn't a thing I "did" until I was probably around 19 or 20.  Of course, I didn't smoke during pregnancies or while nursing (insert "eeew!" from male population) and don't smoke around my children.  I also took about a four year break from smoking in 2002, starting again in the Fall of 2006.

Fall 2006.  Ah, yes...the start of something new.  I remember it well.  That was when my Everything changed.  That was when, maybe, I realized that I was a lot better than what I was doing at the time, which was basically just being a doormat.  And so began the long and arduous journey into new territory--a world in which I was to start taking myself seriously.

Don't we all fall back on those habits during times in which we are less sure of ourselves?  I know I do.  Our little walls of protection...explains a lot of addictions.  To my way of thinking, all addictions are mental in that way, and we use them to constantly "test" those around us.  "Would you still love me if I ______?"  We tell ourselves that it's how we see who our "real" friends are--those who don't mind hanging around us when we're being ugly.'s bullshit.  Your "real" friends would not encourage you to damage yourself--they just don't want to drink alone.  Pussies.  I don't need a crutch--I can drink alone just fine.

I am already regretting ever bringing up not smoking, you know why?  Because when you talk about it out loud, all of the non-smokers and former smokers take that as a sign that as a sign to start spewing statistics about heart disease and cancer and all of the crappy things about smoking, and "encouraging" you by speaking to you in that special condescending way that they save especially for smokers.  As if none of us can read.  I can't tell you how much that pisses me off.  Let's just say, "a lot".  Do you seriously believe that there is anyone of legal smoking age in this country who does NOT know the risks?  You must be out of your damn mind.  How incredibly insulting, to speak to a smoker as if they couldn't possible know what they are doing--or to speak to ANYONE in that way.

Let me tell you something--the last time I was not smoking, for a period of four years, I felt like crap, pretty much every day.  I quit smoking because I thought it would help--it didn't.  It was a mental thing.  I was unhappy the entire time, and it wasn't because I wanted a cigarette--I didn't.  I felt like crap because my LIFE needed to change. 

Then, WHAM!  It changed!  And it scared the living hell out of me.  And I started smoking again because, well, I was fully FREAKED OUT.  As Marianne Williamson said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."  So true, so true.  Best keep our fabulous selves hidden, right?

I've had three years of epiphanies, and not a one of them had anything to do with not smoking cigarettes until today.  For some reason, being powerful beyond measure doesn't seem so scary today.  I already know that I'm more powerful than cigarettes--I have quit before...hehe.  Several times, in fact.  For long periods of time.  Human bodies are amazing, adjustable things--if you want it bad enough, you can talk yourself into just about anything.  People have beat cancer with just their brains, after all.  Ridding yourself of a physical addiction to nicotine is just a temporary discomfort, compared to that.

The difference is, before, when I would stop smoking, it wasn't because I wanted to, but rather because I was considering other people--my future children, or, my husband, or whomever.  Not that it isn't right to quit smoking when you know that your continuing to do so can harm those who have no escape from the damaging effects, was never a choice I made for me, until just today.

We'll see how this notion progresses in the coming weeks and months--you won't be hearing much about it (for the reasons stated above), and, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't bring it up (also for the reasons above).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mind If I Pull A "Greatest Hits" On Ya?

I was goofing off, checking the bloggy stats this evening, and noticed somebody had accessed the July archive, so I thought, "What the hell was I talking about in July?" and went to look, and you know...not bad!  HA!

So here's another Live Album for ya...sorry its' the same old songs, but I liked these no particular order.

I only seem to take on the impossible missions, in which I swear I can perform a miracle and sew a sow's ear into a purse (a lot like my love-life, I might add), so, consider me a retarded optimist if you must, and let that be your guide as you continue reading.  I'm a bit of a blithering idiot who always looks for the best in a person, even when they don't deserve it.  Polly-freaking-Anna.  That's who opens the hate mail.


I feel foolish, and a bit arrogant today, for always thinking that success or failure of a thing is entirely dependent on my actions.  Sometimes, things happen that are completely out of our hands--nothing to be done, never saw it coming--the reasons why, we don't want to think about, maybe not for a long time.  One day, though, maybe soon, maybe not, something will happen to remind you of someone that came into your life, and left again--maybe you haven't spoken to them for a long time, or they have passed on--and in that thing becoming a precious memory, you will find your reason. 


"Can't" is such a catch-all, lazy, defeated word.  "I can't..."  Bullshit.  There is no "can't", there is only, "I don't feel like it" or, "You're not worth the effort to try".  Be honest!  A man with no legs climbed Mt. Everest!  That fact alone makes all of your "can'ts" complete crap.  (Also, a double amputee climbed Mount Kilimanjaro...I'm just sayin'...what's your excuse?)


I will try to rein myself in from the Grand Mind Wander, where I ruminate about how weird and sad it is that humanity has come to this--a succession of thousands of years of "supposed to's" designed to separate us from the animals, and all we get out of it is a bunch of reasons to feel bad about ourselves. I mean...I woke up feeling badbecause I was tired and fell asleep. How fucked up is that?


Remember, people, your expectation of quality service depends on whether or not one scatterbrain has been strong-armed into not losing your paperwork today.  Thank me later.

Thanks for visiting July, oh not-entirely anonymous-person who shall not be named!  It was lovely to see you...

Monday, October 12, 2009

And Now We're Doing This For A While

Mmm-Kay! New job starts today! I can't say with any certainty how often I'll be visiting Blogtopia for the next few weeks while I stumble through "new girl" stuff (training...old dog, new tricks, etc.) but I will most definitely try to pop in from time to time.

After all, this is ME we're talking about, and surely some venting will be required...

But if you should happen to notice that it seems more lame than usual around here while I'm starting my life over (again), please note that this is only temporary. After all, I am both compulsive, and a huge attention pig, and this does tend to translate into lots of "Look at Me!" behavior...

For those needing a more steady fix of smart-ass commentary, I recommend hitting me up on Twitter, since 140 characters will be more amenable to my training schedule.

Just watch--now that I have said all of this, October will turn out to be my most prolific writing month, ever! Aaaaand then the joke will be on you...

Much love, and Have Fun!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feeling A Bit Like Christmas

Last year at about this time, I was just about at the end of my rope. The knot was tied, and I was hanging on for dear life. I'd spent months and months looking for a job, had a few interviews, but no takers, and I was living with friends who, despite their incredible charity, must surely have been getting tired of me by now.

Then, slowly...painfully slowly, things started to happen. Tick, tick, found work. Tick, tick, found an apartment and money to move into the apartment. Then a loooong pause while we did that for a while. Then tick, tick, found a "real" job.

I was sitting outside in the snow this morning and thought about Christmas last year, thought about my children and all that they have been through, and thought about how last year at Christmas, the main gift to all of us was just having our own place to live and how incredibly they both handled "gift season" with such remarkable maturity. There wasn't a lot of stuff from which they could rip wrapping paper last year, and it's difficult to explain to a kid who's friends have everything that just being away from someone who could do them harm is a huge gift. Even I hardly thought that was enough and wished I could do more.

I think, today, what with there being snow on the ground and me thinking of Christmas, that I'll forgive myself for choosing peace over "stuff" last year. It may come to pass that as they get older, my children will recognize what went down here as a good thing, and not a painful memory, but even if they never do, I have, and I am grateful for the opportunities that presented themselves that allowed me to have a choice in the matter. From the friends who said, "just move in with us," even though it caused them hardship, to all of the people and situations I've encountered since then--some or most of which really pissed me off, with my rather legendary impatience.

The universe has made some bold statements this year, about my life and how things are supposed to be for me, and the things I've learned, if you had told me any of this a year ago, I wouldn't have believed you. Remarkable. Incredible. I'm feeling very taken care of today, so, let the snow fly if it must--it's nothing we can't handle.

Friday, October 9, 2009

No Pressure

Can I just say a quick thing about the President winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

Can you IMAGINE the meetings going on right now? I mean...did he know that he was in line for this thing? Is it like an Academy Award, where you know you're nominated?

Because if not, I have a feeling that right now, the man and his staff are sweating bullets.

No Pressure! Nothing to prove! You're fine! No worries!

Not so much.


Because you know, and, I've seen it already, that a lot of people are saying he "bought" the thing, but...don't you think that, politically, that would be just about the stupidest thing he could possibly do? Seems like just digging yourself a hole, in my opinion.

Best of luck to you Mr. President, and I hope that you can overcome this honor.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Random. It's Random (*yawn*)

  • @RevRunWisdom IS INSIDE MY HEAD.  OMG!  Like, I have a thought, and he tweets it!  How does he do that???  I'm a little freaked out.
  • I hear from my inside sources that my replacement at my old job is also named "Shelly".  I'm sure the intention was that it be a totally seamless transition and that if they just hire someone with the same name, no one will notice.  This should work out just fine.
  • The caffeine ratio in my body is a total mess because I'm not working this week.  The usual day involves mega-dosing from about 6-9AM, then taper off to nothing before noon, maybe a soda later in the day.  This morning?  Half a cup of coffee, then sleep.  Then around noon, another cup.  And around 2PM, one more cup.  No soda.  I'm a bit bleary-eyed, is what I'm sayin'...
  • The bad thing about days off, in addition to poor caffeine habits, is thinking that a handful chocolate covered peanuts makes an acceptable lunch, because you're just going to lay back down again, anyway.
  • At some point in the day, on a weekday when you are not working, you look at the clock and say, "Good grief!  How did it get to be three o'clock already?  What have I been DOING all day?" and then you remember the long naps.  Then your kids come home from school and scold you for not getting anything done all day except sleep.
  • But the sleep?  I need.  Going to bed at 10, waking up at 2:45AM...still have no idea why.  Annoying.  Whatever is going on in the universe at 3:00AM that I need to be awake for...somebody better get me a One-Sheet, is all I'm sayin'.  Shelly needs to know.  I don't even care if it's true, just make something up.
  • WOW!  I need to get back to being busy...I'm a total slug.  This too shall pass.  Reminds of of a funny bumper sticker I saw said, "Jesus is coming!  Look busy!"  Yeah...that's pretty much how I'm operating at the moment.
  • I promise to be productive matter who's watching!  I'll pack the chocolate covered peanuts into school lunches so the children doze off in the middle of doing some complicated Math equation, and I'll eat nothing but fruit and vegetables all day!  And I'll drink coffee like I mean it!  I'll....I'll....yeah, who am I kidding...?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And Supposedly There Were People Spitting Cheerios All Over Their Computer Screens...

Knowledge is power.

And this is why I gossip.

OK, I don't actual "gossip"--mostly, if I know something, I will retain if for my own, personal use, because I'm sort of evil like that, but, if YOU want to gossip, I will gladly sit and listen to every little bit of information you throw at me. I might not believe everything that you are saying, but, I will most definitely file it in the mental Rolodex for possible future use.

Take last Tuesday, for example. Somebody revealed something, publicly, that made my JAW DROP and sent me into a flurry of OHMYEFFINGGAWD! I DON'T KNOW WHICH PART OF THIS IS MORE UNBELIEVABLE awesomeness! "Awesomeness" because, I LOVE that sh*t. Finally, a little crack in a high stone wall...after YEARS of chipping away at it. Elation! Flood gates opening onto a parched land!

But I want to stress that knowing everything, and having a full arsenal, doesn't mean I will use it against anyone--in fact, the more you know, the more you can help a person.

Which is why I don't understand the whole concept of "lying", and especially "lying by omission". On Wednesday, after hearing (reading) said "awesomeness" I didn't go online and laugh at anyone for their supposed "screw up" (and let me just say right now, this information was not regarding anyone I may have been married to...Oh, and also nothing to do with David Letterman...HA!). What I ended up writing was ultimately a product of feeling really, really bad for that person, and thinking they could probably use a big hug. Like about a six-month hug. With a possible option to extend the offer indefinitely. You see, I can say that because I don't live with this person. And also, because nobody feels more alone and more unsafe than someone who thinks the world would hate them if they only knew what they are really like, or how they really feel. Ask me how I know.

I got a lot of really lovely compliments on what I wrote. Thank you.

The world won't hate you...what will happen instead is that the riff-raff, the weak people, will disappear, and you'll be left with only the good people. That is not to say that the good people will be cheering you on if you continue to "screw up", but, they'll recognize you as a person of value, and they'll have your back if you are sincere, or appear to want to do "better". Call it the old "Let ye who is without sin" trick.

Quotation marks in play here, because "screwing up" and doing "better" are so wildly subjective. The other day, I was thinking about my first husband, who, in his younger days, "screwed up" enough to get thrown in jail--nothing drug or alcohol related, nothing involving weapons or anything, but, he definitely did screw up and, it was stupid. He learned. He doesn't do that anymore--hasn't for a very long time. He's just a normal guy, working a job, being happily married, and watching a football game as a lonely Packer fan out on the prairie. (Hails from Racine...lives in North Dakota.) My leaving him didn't mean that he wasn't a person of value. It meant two things--I didn't want to continue to enable him to "screw up" (which I TOTALLY did), and, I wanted a shot at living the way I wanted to, which I knew was not going to happen as long as I was spending all my time scrambling to protect him while he kept "screwing up".

In truth, though I was not physically there with him, I never really left him--I didn't abandon him. I did abandon the behaviors, and, as it happens, so did he, so, we can talk to each other now, without me feeling like I have to be his friggin' mommy. I mean, literally just a few years ago, I was scolding this man for never visiting his father! And, we hadn't lived together in 10 years! Who does that? As much as society would say, "he grew up" because he stopped "screwing up", I would have to say that there was a lot of growing up required of me, as well, in order for me to be able to shut the hell up and let him live his life the way he wants to--after all, what's it to me? I'm not the one living with him, right?

Yesterday, somebody told me that a lot of people can't handle forgiveness on the level with which I dish it out. I've had some crazy-ass stuff happen in my life (ahem...unsubstantiated rumors!) that would have made a lot of people stay mad forever, that really doesn't faze me all that much. It's just a thing that happened. Can't change it. You can choose not to hang out with the person who did that, based on your judgement of whether or not they would do it again, but, that's about it.

Forgiving is not forgetting. I mean, that's the real reason why I keep the mental Rolodex. My best friend has a terrible habit of blowing certain things off or being late when we have plans. Consequently, I work around that, because, I know she does this--it's a little factoid about her that I keep in my head. What good would it do me to be rigid about it and still try to hang out with her? It would just be stressful for both of us. And so it is with all forgiving. It is more painful and stressful NOT to forgive than it is to let it go. Imagine the hate in my heart if I could never get past the "He went to jail...WHILE we were married" thing. Hell, that first husband was 6 guys ago! There have been a LOT more "screw ups" since then! I'd be nothing but a seething, angry mess! I'd still be mentally living with people that I broke up with years ago!
(Reminds me of a mother sent me a fridge magnet with two stick figures, a woman and man. In the picture, the woman stick figure is knocking the man stick figure's head off his shoulders. The caption reads, "He wasn't using it anyway!")

And so...this is why I love those crazy "reveals". Those times when you hear or read something that stuns you, leaves you flabbergasted, or momentarily speechless. Those crazy things that people do, that when it is revealed you think, "S/He did WHAT?" It allows you to see the truth and then decide what you want to do with it. Perhaps you'll mourn the loss of your previous truth, and it will be a gut-wrenching, tear-soaked affair involving lots of kleenex and chocolate and bitching to a girlfriend. But after is so much better. After you clean off your computer screen, that is. Now you have a little something for your mental Rolodex--something that will help you define yourself and your relationship with that person. It's all good.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm between jobs.  It's a technicality right now because I'm supposed to be starting a new job next Monday, and my old job just ended on Friday.  So...between.  Time off.

I haven't had a week off know, I don't know if I should even say it.  My life has been such a disaster for the last couple of years, it would take too long to explain what I consider "time off".  I will say, however, that "time off" is NOT that time when you are desperately looking for work and haven't found any yet--that's not "time off", that's work.  Work for no pay, I might add.  So there was about a year and a half of that with no break, and, three changes of household--also not leisure time.  I guess, all things considered, the last time I had any "time off" was around Christmas of 2007.  Oh, and I was married, then, so that doesn't even count as time off.  HA!  Not being mean, just stating a fact--I tend to be care-taking whether it is asked for or not.  I seem to recall having someone over for Christmas Eve that I had never even met before--my husband had invited him.  So I cooked for a stranger.  Also not vacation-y.  And if I had to guess, I'd say maybe my hubby was banging him on the side.  Of course, I wouldn't have known that at the time...but I digress. (ahem...unsubstantiated rumor...)

So I was thoroughly enjoying my first day off in forever, of which the enjoyment actually started sometime around mid-day Sunday, when I started feeling so blissfully peaceful about not having to be anywhere or do anything for anyone, and not having to worry about anything, at least for a little while, when I got a text from someone at my old job.  It appears that my boss failed to tell anyone that I was leaving.

Yes...failed to mention it to anybody.  Now, it's not like there should have been a ticker tape parade or anything...but it's also not like I didn't do anything all day, and, basically, there was no plan in place to cover that.


I know I'm only COMPLETELY FLABBERGASTED by this because I am one of those Over-Plan types who finds great comfort in making sure all the bases are covered six different ways before anything goes down--that way I can relax (read: screw around) for all of the rest of the time.  It's a system that works for me--your mileage may vary.  Maybe you LIKE scrambling and throwing things together at the last possible second, missing deadlines and doing things half-ass, and, that's cool, just, not my thing.

I'm also one of those hyper-communicator types, which goes well with the Over-Plan thing.  Not that I try to discuss huge topics all day (did you know 'Giving Dharma' refers to the giving of teachings to other sentient beings with pure motivation to benefit them?  Now you do.  Thank you Dalai Lama.), but, if I work with you, I'm pretty much always talking, asking questions, covering bases.  I'm on the email, chat, phone, texting, blah-blah-blah.  I assume pretty much everybody needs to know pretty much everything.  In my opinion, that is how things run smoothly...everyone's on the same page. (remind me to try that with my social life if I ever get one).

Anyway...I'm extra glad to not be at work today.  And, I guess, extra glad I quit that job.  Kinda how I was extra glad I left my husband after I heard all those unsubstantiated rumors.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Signs You May Have Short-Timer's Syndrome

  • You have, really-really, changed your computer password to "Whatever!"
  • When forwarding Power of Attorney paperwork, usually labeled "POA", you label it "POS" instead.  (Think about it--it'll come to you.)
  • You start coveting the pen you use every if you might take it home with you, because it's kind of a nice pen.
  • You finally take your water bottle home to be washed. (Ew!  I'm just sayin'....)
  • You get into long conversations with people who barely spoke to you before.
  • You can no longer think of a convincing reason not to sing Puddle of Mudd's "Psycho" at your desk.  And since you're up, might as well jump up and down on the chorus.
  • You switch to Duffy songs for the benefit of the "older folks".  You knock "Warwick Avenue" out like you were BORN to sing that sh*t.
  • Kevin stops being the most annoying person in the's all you, baby...

We Have The Weirdest Conversations

While watching an episode of MTV's True Life, with my 14 year old, in which a teenaged boy comes out to his parents...
Punky: Mom, if I told you I was a lesbian, would you be mad?
Me: Why would I be mad?  Of course not.
Punky: OK.  Well, I'm not a lesbian.
Me: *sigh*
Punky: What?
Me: See, now I'm mad.
Punky: You're mad because I'm NOT a lesbian?
Me:  I was so ready to be the coolest, most understanding mom, ever!
Punky: Oh Gawd, Mother...
I only hope that the laughter carries on through the generations. 
Also, watching that particular episode just reminded me how very important it is to keep your mind and your heart open, especially where your children are concerned.  This boy's mother couldn't even use the word "gay", referring to her son as "your kind", and the son was so frightened of talking to his father (who was ultimately quite calm) that you could almost feel the fear jumping off the screen.  Heartbreaking...