Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I had a good streak going....

A good streak of dreamless nights that is. Or maybe I should say with nights where I didn't have a disturbing dream, because I think I dream most nights I just don't always remember them. Last night's dream broke my streak. I cannot even begin to try to explain the dream so I'm not going to bother. What I can describe is how badly it fucked with my emotions.

It was one of those dreams that stays with you all day. And not in a good way. If you want to get right down to it I'm pretty sure I know why I had the dream (I am generally pretty self aware). But just because you know why you had a certain dream doesn't make the feeling like you've just had your heart broken, again, go away easily. I guess you could slot last night's dream into the "woe is me" category. Also? In case you were wondering, having your heart broken in your dream hurts just as much as it does when it happens in real life. I don't recommend it. Having year heart broken in your dream by someone who has broken your heart in real like really sucks.

I spent a lot of today feeling sorry for myself. For no reason other than the dream mind you. That's not a good way to spend the day. It was one of those days where I didn't want to be at work, but I didn't want to be home and I couldn't think of any place I'd actually rather be. Honestly I'd have liked to curl up in a little ball and hidden away from the world until I started feeling better. Instead I sat at my desk going through the motions and hoping tomorrow would be a better day. What's the likelihood that I'll have my heart broken again tonight in my dream? I'm really hoping it's slim to none. Because I do not want to wake up tomorrow feeling like I did when I woke up today.

Yesterday I also got the news that someone I knew and had worked with peripherally for nearly nine years had died. I didn't even know he was sick. He didn't look sick the last time I saw him (over the summer? September? I can't remember now which makes me sad). Needless to say that news was a huge shock. I take comfort in knowing no one knew he was sick other than his boss. He'd been diagnosed with inoperable cancer earlier this year, how much earlier I don't know. And I have no idea what kind of cancer either. Gerry was the kind of guy who went the extra mile and a half for you. And he was genuinely nice. Never had a bad word to say about anyone. And his wanting to keep his illness private was very much a Gerry thing to do. He wanted to help you, not for you to help him. Gerry was only 53. Too young. Way too young. There's a memorial service for him on campus this week. I am, of course, going to go.

I'm sure that news didn't help with the dream last night. There was a distinct and palpable feeling of loss in it. A feeling of loss which carried over into my waking life today. And though Gerry and I weren't close and didn't see each other often I do feel like I have lost something. Gerry was one of the good ones.

Last night I spent an hour an a half searching the interwebs for video of a song. Apparently none exists at this time which is kind of disappointing but since the artist doesn't appear to be that well known I guess it's not too surprising. In fact I can't even find the lyrics to the song online so I'm going to have to transcribe them in order to post them. But that's okay, I think the effort is worth it. The song I'm talking about is called Words You Said and it's by an artist called Ellis. I discovered her last week (thanks iTunes!). I love her voice. And if you watch some of her videos you'll see that she can also laugh at herself which I also love. She's great and I cannot recommend her enough.

I like to imagine that Gerry might have felt this way and might have told his wife and his family something similar. This one's for you Gerry.

Words You Said by Ellis

The walls of our home
Seem to stand out of habit
I am here and you are gone
Like some kind of dark magic
You said don't let days go by
Without a love in your life
Being all alone won't honor us
Your words echo in my mind

I am one spoke in the wheel
One leaf in the tree
I will fall when my time comes
And the snow will cover me

When we were young
We'd wear our hearts in the open
We'd sing out of tune
And we'd dance until morning
We knew we wouldn't have forever
I watched them lower you down
The sky is gray and the ground is white
I say goodbye to my lover

I am one spoke in the wheel
One leaf in the tree
I will fall when my time comes
And the snow will cover me

I met someone new
And I am confused by it
She is not you
And I won't ever forget it
We dance and we sing
We laugh and we cry
I remember the words you said
And as always you were right

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Echoing

I haven't been very good about blogging lately. I haven't been very good about doing anything creative lately. But I'm not overly sad about it and I don't feel bad either. I have learned to just go with the flow and when the words are flowing I write them. When the words aren't flowing I don't force them. You should never force things. If you're lucky whatever it is you're forcing won't break. If you aren't lucky then you're likely to snap something in half by trying to force it to do something it wasn't meant to do.

Instead of being creative I've been immersing myself in TV and movies. Yes, perhaps this is escapist behavior, I'll give you that. But I prefer to think of it as recharging my batteries. Figuring out my priorities. And frankly a lot of it is just needing mindless entertainment after long days at work. The end of the calendar year is a crazy time for fund raising which means long days tiring days for me. Right now I'd rather be working on my photography than my writing anyway.

I've also spent some time decorating my house, both for the holidays and just to make it more homey. I want it to be warm and inviting when you step inside. I want you to ignore the hell hole that is the kitchen and the retro pink and gray cartoon poodles in the bathroom and focus instead on the good energy, warmth and love which fill the house. Also, in my head homey equals candles. Just sayin'.

And honestly during this time, I think I've come to terms with the possibility that I will grow old alone. I'm okay with it. I really am. Who cares if I'm a spinster with a couple of cats and a dog or two? So long as I have my friends and am able to do things I enjoy what does it matter if I come home to a house filled with only four legged companions? I've done the long term relationship thing. I've been through the equivalent of a divorce. I've loved and been loved. To have had those experiences was amazing. Now, I'm not saying I'll never love again. Because that's silly. You never know what will happen. What I'm saying is that if I don't love again I'm good with that. Being okay with the thought of spinsterhood won't prevent me from looking for love, because really who doesn't love a good horrible first date story every now and then? But it also frees me from feeling the need to find someone, anyone, to be with. And being free means feeling less negative about not being able to find someone. And being less negative about that allows me to be more positive and being more positive attracts more positive energy and that's a good thing. You know, the law of attraction and all.

Because ultimately it's not about finding just anyone to be with. It's about finding the one to be with. Finding that person who makes your heart skip. Finding that person who makes you smile for no reason when you think about them. Finding that person who you will love no matter what and who will love you no matter what. It's not about forcing a relationship or settling because you don't think you can do any better. If I could give my younger self some advice it would be not to force it. Don't stay in a relationship just because you're too scared to leave or because you don't think you'll survive on your own or you don't think anyone else will love you. Love yourself and they will love you too. I think that's a key thing which we all forget at times. You really do have to love yourself first.

And really just love in general. Love your friends, love your family, love your job or your car or your neighbors or your dog or cat or pony or lizard. Just send out love and love will come back to you. Don't force it. As the Beatles so eloquently put it "all you need is love." And while that would be a fitting song for this post, I'm going in a different direction. Instead I give you Echoes by Dar Williams.

Every time you love just a little
Take one step closer, solving a riddle
It echoes all over the world

Every time you opt in to kindness
Make one connection, used to divide us
It echoes all over the world

Send out your own echoes and you might be amazed at what comes back to you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Because I do so love lists....

At some point over the weekend I got to thinking about the things I've done over the course of the past couple years that I wouldn't have done if Ms. Ex and I were still together. I thought it would be fun to make a list and share. So, here is a short list of the good that has come from the protracted death of that relationship.

1. Seeing the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Twice.

2. Discovering Infinity Music Hall. My very favorite place to see live music.

3. Going on vacations with friends.

4. A wonderful summer fling with FMHW wherein I (re)discovered what I had been missing for all those years with Ms. Ex.

5. Getting back in touch with a friend from college whom I never would have found without, of all things, Match.com.

6. Trying out for the roller derby, not matter how incredibly painful the experience was.

7. Seeing Rent live on stage three times (once on Broadway the week it closed) in less than a year and a half.

8. Seeing Maggie play with her best friend Milo, before and after her back surgery.

9. Learning to knit.

10. Going to my first, and hopefully not last, concert on a beach.

11. Getting back in touch with my creative/hillbilly side. (It's hard to see in the picture but there's a tow rope connecting my car to my lawnmower which is firmly stuck in my swampy lawn. Who knew a sedan could be such a good tow truck?)

12. Holding a baby bunny in my hand.

13. Discovering the fun of wearing my hair in pigtails and wearing high heeled boots. Hell, just the fun of wearing boots.

14. Going sea kayaking with my mother and seeing seals.
15. Spending the morning at Dinosaur State Park with my mother, my Aunt and my first cousins making molds of fossilized dinosaur footprints.

16. Getting back in touch with myself, mind, body and soul. As well as finding a confidence I'd forgotten I had.

17. Meeting the people who have become the friends I'd been missing for years and getting back in touch with old friends through the wonder that is the internet.

And that's just a short list. I'm sure I could keep going but, I'll stop there for now.

I think some Rent lyrics are very appropriate here. From No Day But Today specifically. They're short and sweet, but are so important to remember.

Forget regret -- or life is yours to miss.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Girl in the Green Shirt

Last night I did something way out of my comfort zone. I got this silly notion in my head that I should try out for a roller derby team. Because, you know, I haven't been on roller skates in over 15 years. And really? How hard could it be?

So, I drove myself to the tryouts and loaded myself up with gear and did my best not to break something. The following is a run down of the tryouts, in list form of course, which I sent a couple of friends today.

  1. Oh.My.God the pain. THE PAIN.
  2. Over three HOURS of skating is too much when you haven't skated in at least 15 years. WAY too much.
  3. It is totally hard core. We not only skated in a nice oval around the track where I recalled that I am afraid of crossovers (what real skaters do around the corners which entails picking up on of your feet while the other sort of glides out from under you) we also had to jump on our skates, hop from foot to foot, skate on one foot, push people and be pushed from behind, do hip whips and have people whip off of us, skate backwards, walk on the toe stops of our skates, do a T stop, a plow stop, a one knee stop and a two knee stop. I'm a big fan of the knee stops. They were about the only things I could do right.
  4. Let me repeat, THE PAIN.
  5. I was one of the last 3 people to have our skills test (as in "the girl in the green shirt hasn't gone yet"). Yes, a test! Test started at about 10:15 or so. After being on my skates since about 7:20. My legs were beyond rubber by then. Nice.
  6. We also had a one on one interview. Mine was with Black Cherry. She was sweet and also from upstate NY. She told me that a lot of the girls in the league are knitters. She crochets. If she ever moves back to where her family is she will join the team they played last weekend.
  7. The men's derby team is called the Death Quads. Some of them were there helping out as were some of the refs. Major N' fraction was there (we saw him at the bout we went to last weekend.
  8. All the Roller Girls were nice. They did a lot of coaching while we were "learning" all those skills from #3 above. I apparently skate standing up far to straight/upright (skating and walking are NOT the same, who knew?). They worked on "derby stance" with me. A lot. Derby stance hurts.
  9. Imagine you are doing squats for 3 hours. Now imagine doing them while on wheels and skating in an oval surrounded by people who are doing such things as grabbing you from behind while whipping off your or pushing you forward. That is derby stance.
  10. I was not the first to fall. After the first person fell I felt as though I could fall as much as I wanted.
  11. I fell a lot.
  12. I managed to bruise the ring finger of my left hand (under the ring I always wear) on the back side of my hand. I did not notice until I was in the shower this morning. Comparatively, it doesn't hurt.
  13. During one lovely and less than graceful fall there was a tearing sensation in an area where there should NEVER be a tearing sensation. It does not seem to be a problem today.
  14. Have I mentioned THE PAIN?
  15. We were skating for at least 2 hours before we were given our first water break.
  16. There were women skating in jeans.
  17. We were in full gear: skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmets and mouth guards. Women were wearing jeans.
  18. I was dripping sweat in my shorts and t-shirt. The women in jeans? Barely breaking a sweat.
  19. I was not the oldest person there. There was a woman in her late 40s, maybe even 50 who started out. I did not see her again after the first 30 minutes or so. I do not blame her for just leaving. I will freely admit that I almost just up and left also. I had a long conversation with myself about it. I stayed.
  20. I am glad I went.
  21. There were like 27 people there trying out. One guy (trying out for ref position maybe?) was in a kilt. Thankfully if he fell I didn't see. I hope he had something on underneath the kilt. Guy in the kilt tripped me at one point. He skated away and didn't even look to see if his trip had hurt me at all. Good think I wasn't left in a crumpled heap.
  22. If we all passed our skills test and our interview we all make the team. There are no max or minimum team sizes.
  23. I don't think I'll play if I make the team. (addendum to the list, I did not make the team. I am absolutely okay with that.)
  24. Why did I not consider that my thighs would BURN? Why was I only concerned with breaking my wrist or ankle or bruising my butt? Those seem like far less likely occurences than the extreme thigh muscle burn. Rubbery thigh muscle burn is awesome.
  25. I got to hear a lovely story about one of their last rookies breaking her femur in three places during what looked like an innocent fall at practice. They were all sort of milling about and down she went. She was apparently nursing twins and didn't bother to tell them. Femur. Three places.
  26. They had to ask if I was nursing because of this woman. Um, no. No, I'm not.
  27. I am not nearly tattooed enough for the derby. Of course the full chest tattoo one of the girls has plus the sleeves probably offsets my complete lack of tattoos.
  28. Rental skates suck.
  29. Good skaters make it look sooooooooo easy.
  30. It is not sooooooo easy.
  31. One of the Death Quads who was an instructor in my little break out group kept giving me looks. I couldn't tell if they were "what the hell is she doing here" looks or "I feel so bad for her" looks of just plain looks of pity. He, unintentionally I'm sure, made me feel rather embarrassed and ashamed. Maybe he was just concerned for my well being. Maybe my perception was off due to the burning in my legs and lower back and the sweat dripping in my eyes.
  32. I think those are the highlights.
  33. Did I mention the pain? Sleeping last night was wicked difficult and that was after I took two extra strength fast acting Advil. I can't tell if the Advil I took this morning helped at all.
  34. They said the pain will be worse the second day after. Looking so forward to tomorrow morning. At least it's Saturday.
  35. When I asked in my initial e-mail about what they were looking for and what was entailed in tryouts I was told that they would mostly be looking at our balance. Um, I think there's a teeny tiny bit more that they left out. Just sayin'.
  36. I have a new found appreciation for just how hard these ladies work. And just how hard they worked during the bout we watched even though they made it look relatively easy. It is very much not easy.
  37. And that my friends is "Jess auditions for the roll of blocker" in a not so small nutshell. My comfy couch seems far more my speed after having been through the ordeal of last night. Perhaps I should just buy a treadmill and call it good. Or find a nice pickup basketball game now and then. Something that doesn't involve a ton of squatting with wheels strapped to your feet.......
There are no lyrics for this post. Sorry. Just extreme admiration for the women (and men) that play roller derby. These women are true athletes and I heartily applaud them. Brava ladies, you are rock stars.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stepping out of the comfort zone

As I started typing this blog Annie Lennox's Why popped up on the radio. I'd say that's an interesting coincidence.

This week I'm going to step out of my comfort zone. It's a very scary prospect for me. But I am also incredibly excited. I'm not going to say how I'm stepping out of said zone, if it goes well I'll be posting about it soon enough. If it doesn't go well then at least I tried and I won't look back in a month or two or six or whatever and wish I'd tried. Forget regret as the song goes.

And that's what I'm trying to do. Forget regret. This past weekend I went to a memorial service for a co-worker who died of brain cancer. As I sat there listening to the people she chose to speak (she planned the service herself before she died, and if you knew her you'd know doing that was soooooo her) the one thing that really struck me is how much she lived in the moment all the time. How unafraid she was to let loose with a full body laugh or dance without a care in the world. How confident she was in herself and what a larger than life presence she was.

I got thinking as I sat there watching my co-workers dab the tears from their eyes that I don't do nearly enough living in the moment. Sure, I laugh out loud as much as I can (it adds years to your life after all! and it's fun) but for my entire life I've been super concerned with how people perceive me. I have nearly always tried my hardest not to make a fool of myself.

When I was a little kid (okay, all through school) I got picked on. I was a sensitive kid, hell I'm probably a sensitive adult too if I cared to analyze that. Ever since I became aware that people might laugh at me and not in a nice way but rather they were being mean I think I've tried my hardest to make sure I don't put myself in situations where I'll get laughed at. Now, that's not to say I haven't done silly things now and then and I certainly do know how to laugh at myself and have a good time. But what I haven't done regularly is put myself out there in situations where I'm not confident I'll be good at them and succeed. I don't do failure well.

I can't remember the last time I danced for instance. Seems like a small thing right? But I'm totally self conscious that I'm not doing it right. (is there even a right way?). Get a few drinks in me and that might loosen me up enough to dance, but I don't drink that much. I'm very much in control of myself almost 100% of the time. If I were to give myself advice it would be "loosen the fuck up!"

I can't remember the last really big risk I took where I put myself out there to be judged when I wasn't sure I knew what I was doing or that I was good at something. And I'm not talking dating, that's different. Still a scary prospect but in a different sort of way for me. Dating is like a mutual interview and when I think of it like that I can totally handle it.

And speaking of dating how awkward is it to run into the last person you went out on a date with after you e-mailed them to tell them you had no romantic feelings for them but you'd like to hang out as friends and they never respond? I'll tell you how awkward. It is sooooooo freaking awkward. Wicked uncomfortably awkward. Can't say I want that to happen again any time soon. Or ever really.

Anyway later this week I step out of my comfort zone. This is a good thing for me but it's a very scary prospect. I'm completely nervous and am having flash backs to middle/high school. But, in the end I think that's a good thing. I'll try to remember to post with an update afterward. Depending how it goes that is. I'd rather not be laughed at.....

I recently discovered Brandi Carlile. I can't believe I didn't find her sooner. She's really great. Today's lyrics are from her song Dreams. I particularly relate to the passage in bold.

Dreams, I have dreams when I'm awake when I'm asleep
And you, you are in my dreams
You're underneath my skin, how am I so weak

And now in my dreams,

I can feel the weight, I can just come clean
I keep it to myself, I know what it means
I can't have you, but I have dreams

How long, can you hold your breath?
Can you count to ten, can you let it pass?
Keep, can you keep it in?
Keep it behind the lashes, can you make it last?

And now in my dreams, I can feel the weight
I can just come clean

I keep it to myself, I know what it means
I can't have you, but I have dreams
Oh, I have dreams, I have dreams

Mind, can you read my mind?
Has it come undone, am I showin' signs?

And now, in my dreams
I can feel the weight, I can just come clean
I keep it to myself, I know what it means
I can't have you, but I have dreams
I have dreams, I have, I have, I have dreams

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I am a lousy blogger

That's right. I said it. I am a lousy blogger. I have such good intentions to post more. But work is so draining lately that by the time I get home I can't remember any of the things I thought I should blog about let along be coherent enough to string words together to form these complex structures known as sentences. I know, excuses, excuses. Whatever. Here's a pretty picture to make up for my lack of posts.

For the rest of the post I'm going to list things I am grateful for. I'd rather bitch about work, but that serves no purpose right now and won't change anything so I'm going to focus on the positive instead.

I am grateful for the following, in no particular order:
1. Chocolate in all shapes and sizes.
2 Down comforters when the weather outside is crisp.
3. Pretty yarn to make endless hats from.
4. A dog that is always happy to see me.
5. Two cats that are sometimes happy to see me (they are cats after all).
6. The fact that I have a job and health care benefits.
7. Laughing with friends over really stupid stuff.
8. Texting.
9. Comfortable pajama pants.
10. Water. Sounds silly I know, but I love me a nice cold but not too cold glass of water.
11. Song lyrics.
12. Discovering a new favorite song.
13. E-mail.
14. Chocolate. It's so good it deserves a second mention.
15. Happy memories and having the rest of my life to make more of them.

That's enough for now. No lyrics for this post. When I have a little more brain power I'll be back to my normal posts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Possibilities

A few weeks before going on vacation in September I felt this need, not just a want, but a most definite NEED to start replacing my jewelery. I don't really wear bracelets (I feel like they get in the way, but I wear a watch all the time, no I don't know how they are any different, but in my head they are) and I don't wear necklaces anymore (most likely in protest of Ms. Ex who sometimes wouldn't let me leave the house until I'd gone back into the bedroom and put on a necklace to accompany my t-shirt. I wish I was joking. Also I'd have to put on a belt if I wasn't wearing one. Again, wish I was joking.). What I really wanted, needed, to replace were my rings. I love rings and I wanted some that didn't remind me of the past. I wanted some that had absolutely no connection to Ms. Ex.

I spent hours shopping for rings online and flipping through the catalogs that inexplicably show up in my mailbox (thank you whoever sold my name and address, I just love getting catalogs that I immediately throw away, good use of our precious natural resources). You know what? There are some god awful looking rings for sale right now. God. Awful. I'm talking fugly. Stuff I wouldn't be caught dead wearing. Stuff nobody should be caught dead wearing. I am a simple person. I like simple things. I wanted basic silver rings. These are apparently harder to find than I thought they'd be. Who knew?

Eventually I found a few I liked, ordered them and then waited impatiently for them to arrive. Two I love, one I like and one is eh. But that's how things go sometimes right? The ring below I wear all the time. I even sleep in it. I only take it off to shower. The inscription on the outside is in Italian and I have a feeling it doesn't say what it's supposed to say as is typically the case with these sorts of things. It's probably close, but off just a touch (Francesca, can you translate?). But it's the inscription inside that caught my eye.


I wear the ring all the time to remind myself of what it says. Anything is possible. No matter where you are in your life right now ANYTHING is possible. ANYTHING at all.

And that my friends is not always easy to remember is it? Life tends to drag us all down at times. We get mired in the day to day and we forget about our dreams. We forget TO dream. And that's not good.

I'm trying to hold on to my dreams. I'm trying to remember to actually dream them. I'm trying to prioritize, figure out what I want badly and what I want a little less. Where I'd like to be five years from now, ten years from now, for the rest of my life. That is HARD. I do know the most important thing to me is to be happy.

People have different definitions of happy. For some it involves money and things (and more money to buy more things). For me happy means friends and fun and family and the simple things in life, preferably with my "one," my soul mate at my side. But if she doesn't materialize for a while that's okay too. It'll happen in time.

And in the meantime, I've got my ring to remind me that anything is possible, to remind me to hold onto my dreams and to work toward them no matter how small a step I take in their direction. To remind me TO dream.

Lyrics for this post come from a song that for a while was the ring tone on my cell phone, Happy Together by The Turtles.

Imagine me and you, I do
I think about you day and night, it's only right
To think about the girl you love and hold her tight
So happy together

If I should call you up, invest a dime**
And you say you belong to me and ease my mind
Imagine how the world could be, so very fine
So happy together

I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
For all my life
When you're with me baby the skies'll be blue
For all my life

**talk about immortalizing the price of a phone call. If this song were written today the line would be something like "If I Facebooked you."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Snain, Dreams and Knitting

Okay, so it's snaining. For those of you who don't know what that means it's snowing and raining at the same time. The people on TV who use a magic eight ball to predict the weather often call this a wintery mix. I prefer snaining. I also prefer it to snain in say, oh I don't know, December and NOT the middle of October. WTF? As if not having summer wasn't enough we don't get to really have fall either and we go straight to winter? Seriously? I am not prepared for winter yet. And by prepared I mean mentally prepared. I haven't even gotten used to it being dark so freaking early yet (Hello S.A.D., welcome back. I have not missed you in the least). I haven't gotten over the fact that it rained for the entire month of June. Or was it July? I can't even remember now, I just remember that it rained every freaking day and it was COLD. Cold and wet and my yard was (still is) a swamp. I was really hoping for a nice, mild, long autumn. Guess I'm going to be disappointed again.

In other news I am nearly finished knitting my first hat. It took about eleventy hundred tries to get the gauge correct, and I frogged way more attempts than I'd like to admit, but by golly I believe I finally did it. Up next is transferring the knitting from the circular needles to the double pointed needles (a.k.a. scary sticks). This will be my first experience with the scary sticks and I'm a tad intimidated. But today at lunch while eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich I watched some videos about proper usage of the scary sticks and I'm a bit more confident I won't poke my eye out with them. Or ruin my hat. I really like my hat. A lot.


The picture doesn't even to it justice in my opinion. I'm knitting it with Malabrigo worsted weight yarn in the Stonechat colorway on size 8 needles using this pattern from my favorite knitting blogger. She explains exactly how to do each step in terms I can understand (honestly, best. pattern. ever.). As a novice knitter I really really really appreciate that. I will be using this pattern again for sure!

On Tuesday I went to see the movie Whip It. I loved it and I soooooo want to play roller derby now. Or at the very least go see an actual bout. That night I had a very involved dream. Shocking for me, I know. In said dream I was playing rugby which is apparently how my brain translated my desire to play roller derby. As I was playing rugby (which, by the way, I have never played or watched and don't know the rules of) folks from the other team tried to tackle me. So there they are hanging off my back when I realize that it's FMHW and her roommate.

And why was FMHW in my dream you ask? Honestly? While watching Whip It I kept staring at the skin on Marcia Gay Harden's neck and thinking how much it reminded me of FMHW. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly strange and perhaps creepy. I am well aware of that thank you very much. But you asked. Okay, you didn't ask and I'm just talking to myself now, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I'm positive that's what prompted her appearance in my dream. I haven't really been thinking about her at all lately. But what the dream, and thus my subconscious, was trying to tell me was I need to shake her, get her off my back, in the most literal sense. And really I'm not sure it was her specifically but more my past in general. I don't even need to look that up in a dream dictionary in order to interpret it. In the dream I believe I said something to her and her roommate as they were hanging off my back and I was dragging them around and she responded but I can't recall the conversation now. Should have written it down. Oh well. I should start a blog just for the crazy dreams I have. Maybe someday...

Anyway, it's snaining and damp and cold and I have a hat to finish and I'm soooo tired. And tonight is the night that's packed with TV shows for me. I should just go to bed, but I know I won't so I'm not going to kid myself. Lyrics for this post are from Dream On by Aerosmith.

Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face gettin' clearer
Th past is gone
It went by like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay

I know what nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Got Day Maggie

Tomorrow is Maggie's Got Day. Four years ago tomorrow my happy goofy little beagle came into my life. A lot has changed for both of us since that day and in the end those changes have all been for the better.

Four years ago tonight Ms. Ex and I were up for most of the night. It had been raining for 9 straight days. We got something like 20 inches of rain during that time and as Murphy and his damn law dictate right before we were going to go to bed our basement started leaking. So, we spent the night bickering, using the shop vac to suck up the water as it came in, building dams with towels and anything else we could find, venturing outside in the torrential downpour to try to extend our downspouts as far from the house as possible, creating a dam in the driveway to divert the water which was flowing down the hill from the lot next door and ending up against our foundation and praying that our sump pump would continue to work even though it started smoking around 2 am.

Needless to say we were exhausted and very cranky when we went to go pick up Maggie. She'd had a rough time of it herself having spent a couple days on a transport truck as it made it's way up to New England from Tennessee. We waited patiently as one large dog after another (mostly Labs or Lab mixes) was led off the transport truck and handed over to their new owners. Finally off came Maggie, this tiny little dog who seemed more intent on finding a good place to pee than the stranger holding her leash. After what might have been a world record length pee we got her into the car and headed home to our water logged house. As we drove away realized she was covered in her own poop. Awesome.

Maggie shortly after arriving at her new home.

One year ago at this time Maggie couldn't walk. She was in a lot of pain and though she didn't know it yet she was about 10 days away from major surgery to repair the herniated disc between her T11 and T12 vertebrae.

This is Maggie a couple days after the surgery.

She did not have a good Got Day last year. Neither did I.

Thankfully the hell that was the month of October 2008 has passed us by. Maggie has recovered nicely and I think more than anything else right now she simply lacks the confidence in herself rather than the ability to do certain things. I will say that all my animals are due for their yearly trip to the vet and I have been putting it off because it was about a week after I took them all in for their last yearly exams that Maggie got sick. I'm scared that's going to happen again even though I know that's crazy thinking so I haven't made the call yet. I will though. Soon.

Maggie seven months later, in May of 2009.

So, Happy Got Day Maggie!!! Thank you for bringing so much joy to my life. Thank you for always being happy to see me no matter how much pain you were in or how depressed and just plain not fun I might have been. And even when our lives turned upside down I knew I could count on your smile and your wagging tail and your silliness to bring a smile to my face. You'll never know how much good you've done me and I can only hope I'm repaying you for that in some small way. Mommy loves you very much.

God that got mushy huh? No lyrics for this post unless you want to sing Happy Got Day to Maggie in the tune of Happy Birthday. She might howl along with you though....

Monday, October 5, 2009

You've come a long way baby....

I started re-reading The Grapes of Wrath at the end of last week. It's been a few years and frankly in this economy it kind of seems apropos. As I picked up the book to read before going to sleep last night it occurred to me that I've had this battered and worn copy for quite a while. That in itself isn't all that unusual. After all, us bibliophiles tend to hang onto books that we enjoyed or that have meaning to us.

What occurred to me as I picked up the book last night was where I purchased the book, a Salvation Army in Ithaca, NY. That's where I bought a lot of books right after I graduated from college. See, I was poor. Or rather, I was po', so poor I couldn't even afford the other O and the R. I worked as many hours as I could get at an Auntie Anne's pretzel store in the mall, but there weren't a whole lot of hours, especially at first. An auspicious start to my life in the "real world." And if I'm being honest, the gig at Auntie Anne's wasn't even my first job out of college. I worked a total of one day in the bakery at Tops (I cannot for the life of me remember if there should be an apostrophe in Tops...anyway....). Tops is (was?) a grocery store.

But I digress....college was a great experience for me. I learned as much outside of the classroom as I did in the classroom. Truth be told I was a very young 18 years old when I went off to college. Sheltered and probably a little naive and from a very very small very homogeneous town. So, for me the experiences outside the classroom were as important, if not more so, than what I learned while in class.

What I didn't do in college was prepare for the future. I never made a life plan or even figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I thought that would all just magically happen (and in the end, it kind of has, to some degree). So, there I was during senior week (the week between the end of finals and commencement) scrambling around to find a place to live, never mind finding a job. The one thing I was certain of at that point in my life was that I wanted to stay close to my college so I could be close to my then girlfriend who was still in college. As always, I followed my heart. The story of my life which I've come to accept as who I am and how I'll likely always be. Following your heart is far better than following some other things that's for sure.

Honestly though since I didn't have a life plan staying close to the place that felt so very much like home to me seemed as good a plan as any. At that point in my life I didn't have the greatest relationship with my parents (ALL my doing not theirs, they have been the best parents anyone could ask for) so moving home just wasn't an option in my mind. Besides I'm from a town which is barely a dot on the map. If I'd moved home my options for employment would have been working at the creamery, the gas station or the other gas station. Oh, or maybe at the school where my dad was a teacher. So, Auntie Anne's wasn't really all that bad in the scheme of things.

So, to Ithaca I moved. Into my very first apartment. I had no furniture, just my car full of crap and a kitten that a friend had given me as a graduation present.


Being po' I did what any person would do, I went to my local Salvation Army to see what I could scrounge up for myself. I managed to find a cheap mattress (I don't even think I got a box spring for it, just the mattress), a $5 couch and a $10 recliner. The mattress was still in a bag and was new from what I could tell but the couch and recliner were battered and had seen better days. But they were cheap and they were mine. And honestly? They were pretty damn comfortable.

While buying my furniture I discovered that the Salvation Army also sold books. I was in heaven! Books for ten cents or a quarter! Books I could afford to buy even though I was po'! (yes, I do know about libraries, but I like to actually own the books and be able to spend as long reading them as I'd like and then keep them after I'm done with them or pass them along to someone else who will enjoy them) After that discovery I made it a point to check out the book selection pretty often. I'd wander the whole store while I was there. It was a cheap way to kill time since I didn't really have any friends (that statement alone could make for a whole series of posts, perhaps I'll cover that topic at a later date) and I wasn't yet working full time.

I don't think I have many books left in my collection from that time in my life. Just like I don't have many other things from that era any more. The mattress went to my friend Karen when my parents couldn't bear the thought of me sleeping on an $84 mattress on the floor and bought me something slightly more expensive. With a box spring! And a cheap metal frame to raise it off the ground! Oh the luxury!! The couch and recliner went back to the Salvation Army when I moved to CT (to be with Ms. Ex). In fact, the recliner didn't even make it back into the store as a donation. While unloading the truck in the parking lot a customer saw it and asked if I was getting rid of it. I gave it to him for free. I'd say it was my good deed for that day but since my apartment was flea infested the recliner might also have been flea infested. I sincerely apologize to whomever I gave the recliner to if I infested your house also.

I've come a very long way since the days when I lived in flea infested apartments where my neighbors kept their gas grill in their bedroom (god how I wish I had taken a picture of that!). I have a house now. And brand new furniture that I bought at a store and had delivered to my house. I have a mattress, a box spring AND an actual bed frame with a matching dresser and night stands. I have a good job and (a little) money in the bank. I have health insurance and a car that's paid for. And I still have the cat my friend gave me as a graduation present. He's a bit larger now however....


And if my neighbors DO keep their gas grill in their bedroom our houses are far enough apart that should they set their house on fire it likely won't do any damage to mine. All in all I am incredibly fortunate.

That's what I thought about last night as I picked up my beat up copy of The Grapes of Wrath as I settled into bed. I've come a long way since my days as a newly minted college graduate with a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Sociology who made pretzels for a living. That's something to be very proud of if I do say so myself.

I was listening to music as I wrote this post, the acoustic channel of Sirius Satellite radio that I get on my dish (which was THE deciding factor for not changing my TV service earlier this fall) and up popped the song Walk On The Ocean by Toad The Wet Sprocket. This song will always remind me of college and the period of time directly after college and thus it seems fitting for this post.

We spotted the ocean at the head of the trail
Where are we going, so far away
And somebody told me that this is the place
Where everything's better, everything's safe

Walk on the ocean
Step on the stones
Flesh becomes water
Wood becomes bone

And half an hour later we packed up our things
We said we'd send letters and all those little things
And they knew we were lying but they smiled just the same
It seemed they'd already forgotten we'd came

Now we're back at the homestead
Where the air makes you choke
And people don't know you
And trust is a joke
We don't even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Place


Sunrise
Originally uploaded by My Life Through Lyrics
Bar Harbor is my happy place. I would like to be there now. I feel like I'm even more of a hermit now than I was before I went on vacation. Perhaps this nesting, cocooning instinct which seems so strong in me right now is just a reaction to the change in seasons, at least that's what I hope it is. I'm feeling the need to be alone a lot, but not necessarily wanting to spend all my time alone and then being kind of lonely while I am alone. I know, it makes no sense, but then again when do feelings make total sense?

I hate that it's getting dark so early even though I do love the crispness in the air not to mention that the leaves are starting to change bringing their beautiful autumnal rainbow to New England. But that of course means the season of long dark nights is quickly approaching.

And I do have this niggling thought in the back of my mind that I need to get out more, meet more people and all that. That thought was hammered home again today after receiving an e-mail about the death of a first year student at the college where I work. You have to live for now and not tomorrow and I'm trying but it's not always easy.

Also, I'm (still) looking for my motivation and my sparkle. Every once and a great while I feel a tiny spark, a prick at my creativity which taunts me into thinking my motivation is returning. I think I'm stuck in a rut that I just need to kick myself out of (in more ways than one). The hard thing though is figuring out how to kick myself out of that rut.

Until then I just ride the wave and try to figure out just exactly which direction I want my life to take. I'll watch a lot of Charmed on DVD. I'll watch all my regularly scheduled TV shows. I'll feel bad about how much TV I watch but not do anything to change it. I'll feel bad that I don't exercise more but not do anything to change that. I'll feel bad that I'm not writing or that I'm not taking more photographs but I won't do anything to change it. And then one day I'll wake up and I won't feel like this anymore. I'm looking forward to that day.

I think this post deserves a Sarah McLachlan song so I'm going with Fear.

Morning smiles
Like the face of a new born child
Innocent unknowing
Winter's end
Promises of a long lost friend
Speaks to me of comfort

But I fear
I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose
Here in this lonely place

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whoops

So, I haven't posted in a while. Work blew up at the beginning of the month and then there was the second bout of car trouble the day before I was leaving for vacation. And then a much needed week's vacation during which I had hoped to find my sparkle. Sparkle wasn't exactly found, but vacation was restorative and frankly I wish I could have stayed there longer. Maybe forever. And of course this weekend I am having house guests and have been busy getting ready for them.

All this to say that I know I've neglected this blog. I'll get back to regular posting soon, I just need things to settle down a little bit first. And for my sparkle to at least show me a brief glimpse of itself. That'd be nice. Very nice.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Are we all Pavlov's dogs?

Some people evoke visceral reactions in us. These reactions run the gamut from love to hate, from passion to agony. And certainly not every person we know or meet or see evokes these visceral reactions. A physical response often accompanies these emotions. That flutter in your stomach as you catch the eye of the woman (or man) you love from across a crowded room. Or the rending pain you feel when you unexpectedly run into an ex after a bad breakup. Our bodies respond with a physical memory of emotions, feelings, thoughts, etc.

These physical responses linger. The mere thought of FMHW for instance causes the corners of my mouth to rise in a slight smile which might not even be seen by the casual observer. But I can feel it, I know it's happening. She evokes other physical responses in me as well. I can still hear her saying certain things (saying isn't exactly the right word here, but it'll do) and it's almost as if my body doesn't know she's not right here next to me.

Conversely, Ms. Ex evokes a gut wrenching feeling of loss and tears. No matter that it's been years since we've been together. No matter that even before we went our separate ways we weren't in love and we weren't happy. No matter that I'm pretty sure I was unhappy and depressed for about half of our relationship, give or take a year. No matter that I do not want to be with her. The tears still flow freely when it comes to her. And not just the kind that barely leak over your eye lids before slowly trailing down your cheeks. Nope, not those. Instead she induces the flood of tears that cause your vision to swim and leaves you gasping for breath and feeling like you've been punched in the stomach.

What I don't understand, and perhaps I am not meant to, is why I still react this way to Ms. Ex. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned from it and perhaps when I do the feeling of being punched in the gut will go away. She e-mailed me yesterday, Ms. Ex, wanting to let me know she'd been "thinking about this a lot" and asking me to get together to "catch up" over "coffee, a meal or a hike." I had an immediate flashback to the end of our relationship when we were having "talks" that lasted forever, went nowhere, and where the same things were said over and over and over by her, words that were just lip service in the end. And Ms. Ex nearly always wanted to have these "talks" over dinner which is bad enough to do in the privacy of your own home let alone when you're out to dinner as was nearly always the case with us. A restaurant is the LAST place I want to have a talk about a failing relationship. So, needless to say I don't want to "catch up" with her over a meal.

Honestly, her e-mail ruined my afternoon and evening (great way to kick off a holiday weekend). I replied to her message tonight and told her (again) that I did not want to get together. I'm hoping this time I was clear enough that she gets the hint (how many different ways can you say "no, I don't want to get together, I'm good with the way things are and all the not talking we're doing"?). I've been telling her this for over 18 months now so we'll see if it sticks this time. I expect I'll get another e-mail from her in the next few months trying again. I think she hates not knowing what's going on in my life. She was in control for so many years. Now that she's not I don't think she knows how to handle it.

In the meantime I choose to hold onto the memories that make me smile. The thoughts and people who evoke the good responses from my body. The ones that make me tingle, my heart flutter and my mood lighter. And sometime soon I'll be lucky enough to have a woman in my life with whom I'll be making new memories and who will evoke new, happy, physical responses from my body. I'm formally putting in my order to the Universe for this woman right now. The specifics of this order I won't relay here, but I know what they are and so does the Universe. Now, I wonder how long shipping will take? Do you think the Universe uses UPS, FedEx or the US Postal Service?

I had a hard time picking lyrics for this post. How do you pick lyrics that relay in words the visceral reactions of our bodies? How do you pick lyrics that apply not only to the tears you shed over an ex you're so much better off without but also to the ex that some part of you still wishes wasn't an ex? It's not easy. I decided to go with Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman. I think in some ways it really does apply to both Ms. Ex and FMHW. And the lyrics also fit with my deep seated feeling that if only I could say or write the perfect words....

Sorry
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like sorry like sorry

Forgive me
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like forgive me forgive me

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you'd be mine

I love you
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like I love you I love you

(And I'd like to take this opportunity to say to FMHW, if you ever stumble across this blog and recognize yourself please know that I'm not some obsessive stalker who can't let go of the past, just know you had a profound impact on my life. I wish you all the love and happiness in the world. You're very capable of it and you most certainly deserve it.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Horoscopes and Dreams and Signs and I may read into things too much while also overthinking

I enjoy reading my horoscope. I think it's fun and some days I think it's spot on (and others it's just a bunch of hooey). I usually read it in the morning after I get to work. I don't read the newspaper and I don't turn on the radio, TV or computer before I leave the house in the morning. I'm inundated with enough technology as soon as I get to work, I cherish my quiet time in the morning. Also, I am not a morning person. In case you're wondering I am an Aries, the fiery ram (does it say that in my profile somewhere? I feel like it does). Personally I don't believe I'm overly ramish or fiery, but then again I might be a little too close to myself to really be objective.

This morning as I settled into my work routine I pulled up my horoscope and as I read it I was all "wait, what? Really? WTF does that mean?" Here's the part that elicited that reaction: "A dream, a story or a symbol bears a message about your love life now. Consciously cultivate your ability to see connections, interpret signs and understand your world as an interconnected whole."

Now, I know what it means, but what does it mean? And I ask that question because I remember one thing and one thing only from my dream last night (which is unusual in itself for me since I typically have such long and involved and vivid dreams about things like Ms. Ex trying to frame me for a murder she committed or me bringing my cats to my college reunion where I find that the dorm we're staying in is also being used by some southern college football team, but I digress). And the one thing I remember from last night's dream is that FMHW was in it and not in a bad way but not in a way like we were living the Hollywoodized happily ever after of the movies. But she was definitely there and there were definitely feelings on both our parts and they were very strong and there was a strong feeling of longing on both sides as well.

So, what does the dream mean in relation to my horoscope? What message does this dream bear about my love life? Am I supposed to contact her? I haven't seen her in over a year. I haven't heard from her in over 8 months. And why am I dreaming about her? Why her and not Ms. Ex who I spent nearly 9 years of my life with? Why can't I just let this damn relationship or fling or summer fun or whatever you want to call it go?

It's not as though I don't know there are other fish in the sea. It's not as though I'm not actively seeking out said other fish. I am not sitting here pining for her every night, feeling sad and lonely and incomplete. I'm perfectly happy to be quite honest. So why this dream? Why last night? And what am I supposed to interpret from the dream? Because clearly this dream is the sign about my love life to which my horoscope is referring, what else could it be?

I just don't know what to do with this information. I cannot process it. I cannot reach a logical conclusion. Half of me is saying "oh what the hell, just send her a quick e-mail saying hi" and the other half of me is saying "NO! Don't do that because what if you DON'T hear back from her? How will that make you feel? Crushed right? So just ignore the sign, don't do anything, you're better off that way."

Which half should I listen to? I believe that the Universe will continue to provide the signs and that they'll continue to pop up until you listen to what they have to say. And honestly? This isn't the first dream I've had that she's been a part of in some way, shape or form recently. It's like the third or fourth. I just chose to ignore the first few. Is that a sign in itself or is my subconscious just trying to work some shit out? Needless to say I'm pretty deep in my own head right now trying to figure all this out.

Perhaps I should listen to a different part of my horoscope which states "Don't be rushed. When things are unclear, it's best to stop and ask questions." But ask questions of who??? And it also tells me my "intuition should be a good guide." But I feel as though my intuition is on vacation. So, I just don't know what I'm supposed to make of all this. That seems to be the story of my life. But that's okay, I will learn something from this. I just don't know what that'll be.

Today's lyrics come from the song Hello by Schuyler Fisk. She's a new discovery for me and I rather like her.

I wonder who you're loving now
I'm guessing we won't work things out

you know what they say
you can't have it so you want it back
I'm way past that
believe me
if you could be in my life
like you've been on my mind
it'd be so easy

Hello
it's me again
it's three days now
that you've been in my dreams
and i don't know, i guess
you've just been on my mind
i don't know, i guess
i think about you all the time

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lost Rent or Rent Lost?

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. Whoops! I go through spurts. Hopefully this is the start of a lots of posting spurt. We'll see. I haven't been much into writing lately. Writing anything, blogs, poems, stories, essays, anything besides e-mail and tweets has not been appealing. Not sure why but I've learned that the best thing I can do in most cases is just go with the flow.

An interestingly random thing came up in an e-mail chain with some friends today. We were talking about the TV show Lost. I am behind by two and a half seasons and have been trying to catch up so I can watch this coming season live (or more likely on DVR). Francesca jokingly made a reference to a Rent singalong at the end of season 5 even going so far as casting a few of the rolls and it just snowballed from there.

Of course I can think of nothing better than combining two things so dear to me so I've finished the casting (with Francesca's help of course). So, here you go, the characters of Lost recast as the characters of Rent.

Jack Shephard as Roger Davis
Charlie Pace as Mark Cohen
Desmond Hume as Tom Collins
James "Sawyer" Ford as Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III
Sun Kwon as Maureen Johnson
Jin Kwon as Joanne Jefferson
Hugo "Hurley" Reyes as Angel Shunard
Kate Austen as Mimi Marquez
Claire Littleton as Alexi Darling
Mr. Eko as Paul the Life Support Group Leader
John Locke as Mr. Grey
Ana-Lucia Cortez as A Woman with Bags (or Bag Lady)
Sayid Jarrah as Man with Squeegee and Cop
Ben Linus as Steve (Steve leads the cast in the song Will I which seems kind of fitting for Ben)
And of course, Vincent the Dog as Evita

Yes, I am obsessed with Rent. Your point?

Obviously the lyrics for this post have to come from Rent so I give you some of What You Own.

You're living in America
At the end of the millennium
You're living in America
Where it's like the Twilight Zone
And when you're living in America
At the end of the millennium
You're what you own
So I own not a notion
I escape and ape content
I don't own emotion -- I rent

Friday, August 14, 2009

Boots

I am all about boots recently. Well, recently as in the last few days. Or really since I saw a pair that looked amazing on a woman at the Dar Williams concert on Sunday night. I have now spent hours on the Zappos website looking at everything out there in boot land. I ordered one pair this morning. I went for the ones that were on sale for half price instead of the ones that cost more than what I spend on groceries for three weeks. I hope I like them as much in person as I like them online.

The pair I ordered are on the casual side. I can probably get away with wearing them at work every once in a while. Maybe. I'll have a better idea about that when they get here. I now want to find a pair I can wear to work more consistently. As in, they need to be a bit more dressy. Here are the problems with that. I apparently have VERY expensive taste in shoes. I don't do heels and I certainly don't do shoes that are overly girly. The heel issue limits my options somewhat as does the needing something that's not overly girly. But then of course I start thinking, well, a chunky heel might not be too bad...

I found a pair I like that I could definitely wear to work and that are "my style" but they are slightly out of my price range. And by slightly I mean they are bordering on being a frivolous purchase for me and I'm trying hard not to be frivolous with my spending. However, I do need new work shoes and boots are considered shoes after all so in that case they would be an investment and would be put to good use and would only be a tad more expensive than what I normally spend on shoes for work. That's assuming I'd wear them that is, but that remains to be seen. And how exactly do you figure out if you'll wear the boots often unless you purchase them? In other words: rock - Jess starting at boots online - hard place.

So, I'm going to sleep on it. I will probably wait until the pair I ordered this morning arrive before I make any decisions. That said, I want the pair I ordered to be here now.

I think the lyrics for this post should be rather obvious. They are, of course, from These Boots Were Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra.

You keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'
and you keep losin' when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin' when you oughta be changin'.
Now what's right is right, but you ain't been right yet.

These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A short list

I thought of some things today (at different times) that I wanted to blog about so here's a short list for you.

1. We had a very productive writing group meeting tonight. And it felt really good. Darn near inspiring. I think my motivation might be returning. This is a very good thing as my motivation has apparently been on an extended vacation somewhere with a beach, a stack of good books, a personal chef and her dog. She's unhappy at leaving paradise but knows it's time to get back to work. She's still a bit grumbly and I believe also jet lagged, but that's nothing a good night's sleep won't fix.

2. I wonder if the folks from my writing group read my blog? If so, hi guys! Hope you enjoy it.

3. If you don't already know this about me, I'm gay. Very very gay. I am reminded of this on nearly a daily basis, especially when I see a woman I find attractive (such as young IT girl at work who hooked up our new student work stations yesterday and who I believe shares my first name and who I also think is gay, anyway, moving on....). Being gay is simply a part of who I am and it is what it is.

4. However, when you're gay you don't just come out once and that's that. You have to come out over and over and over and over again. Anytime you meet new people and something comes up in conversation that requires you to go into detail about yourself you have to come out all over again. It gets easier with time and the more you do it the easier it is, but when you haven't had to do it for a while you kind of forget about it and it gets hard again. I was reminded of this tonight in my writing group meeting. One of the other members was commenting on a piece I wrote and asked a very good question about whether or not it's important to know that the woman in the piece was in a gay marriage or partnership. My answer was "well, it's autobiographical, so..." which didn't really answer her question. But it did out me to two new people that I barely know which is always uncomfortable (for me at least) for a few minutes. And really the answer to her question is "no, it's probably not important to know that."

5. I was looking through old e-mails at work today trying to find something I know I have but I cannot for the life of me remember where I filed it. I keep nearly every single e-mail I receive or I send at work (except for a six month span of time which got wiped out during an unfortunate computer crash, and I mean a literal crash where my tower fell over and landed on the hard drive wiping out anything I hadn't backed up and of course I hadn't backed up in six months). I am a big fan of CYA (cover your ass) especially as it relates to work. I cannot tell you how many times being such an electronic packrat has come in very very handy. But being a packrat like that also gives me a chance to reflect on how far I've come, both professionally and personally, when I stumble across old e-mails as I'm looking for something else. Today I found an e-mail from two years and three-ish weeks ago (mid-July 2007). During that time I was deseperately searching for a house as Ms. Ex and I had sold ours and set a closing date that was rapidly approaching. It was also the end of our fiscal year at work which is always hellish. My reply below was in response to a question from a friend and former colleague who simply asked "how's the search for a house coming?" in an e-mail exchange with me and two other friends/former colleagues.

Let's see...the people that are buying our house are being complete asses about the inspection report so we're not even sure if the deal is still going through. They agreed to an Aug. 22nd closing date and now want to move it to Aug. 15th which is out of the question. I made an offer on a house last Friday that I loved, but it wasn't accepted. I found out after I'd already written and submitted the offer that there were other offers waiting to be presented on it. I waited all weekend to find that out and then found out on Monday that I didn't get the house. I saw two houses yesterday and six today and I'm not in love with any of them. I'm up the creek without a paddle right now and I'm leaving tomorrow for a few days in ME that Ms. Ex (note, name changed to protect the, um, well to protect me really) is now giving me shit about because I don't have a deal locked in on a house and she thinks I should only be going for 2 days instead of 4. Joanie (the dog Ms. Ex now has) had knee surgery yesterday to top it all off. Oh and I'm totally PMSing so I'm a total emotional wreck. How are you all?

I had totally forgotten what a shitting fucking summer that was for me (okay, okay it was a shitty fucking 18 months or so really). I have come a very long way since then and I am so very very thankful for that. Life really is good when you aren't bogged down by negative energies. Life, I love you and am grateful for all of the good things you've sent my way! I cannot thank you enough.

6. Lyrics for this post come from a song that will always remind me of college, I Kissed A Girl by Jill Sobule (this is not the same song as the one of the same name that's all the rage now by Katy Perry. Frankly Jill's version isn't quite as derogatory to us gays as Katy's song is. Of course, Katy's song is pretty darned catchy and I will freely admit that I like it and own it as well as the rest of her album which contains such classics as Ur So Gay and If You Can Afford Me. Anywho......).

And we laughed at the world
they can have their diamonds
and we'll have our pearls
I kissed a girl

I kissed a girl, her lips were sweet
she was just like kissing me
I kissed a girl, won't change the world
but I'm so glad I kissed a girl

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ugh

Today was my first day back at work after a much needed two week vacation. I came back to an unenthusiastic welcome back from my boss, 600 e-mails and down two staff who are both on vacation this week (thank god we're not really swamped right now). This was followed by a committee meeting, a phone call reminding me of a meeting I was late for which wasn't on my calendar and a voice mail from a co-worker wondering if I'd had a chance to look at a report for her yet (in the five hours I'd been back at work after two weeks off).

Yeah, I'm sure I had time to look at the report before catching up on everything else that's been waiting for my attention for two weeks and reading through 600 e-mails. I love when people think the one thing they need from me is the only thing in the world I might possibly have to do and is of course the most important thing on my plate. No one seems to remember that my job used to be done by two people and even then we had trouble keeping up with everything. Now it's just me with the same amount (if not more) of work to accomplish in what feels like a far shorter period of time.

The bright spot of the day is that IT finally replaced our four student work stations. I've been asking for years (and I'm honestly not exaggerating) to have them replaced. They were the biggest, ugliest, oldest, clunkiest computers ever and it took forever for our students to do anything on them. Right before I left for vacation I guess I finally asked the right person (on a whim) and she made it happen for me. I give her a huge shout out for that. Thank you Anne Marie (who will likely never see this but I thank her from the bottom of my heart anyway)!!!

I got to work 20 minutes early and I left 45 minutes late and could have stayed longer. Happy first day back to work to me. At least I managed to get a run in tonight after I walked Maggie. Oh and it didn't rain today which is practically a miracle. The good news is running is awesome, I love the burn. I find it addicting. Yes, there may in fact be something wrong with me. I am aware of that. The bad news is I think my knees are older than I feel. Hopefully they won't give me too much trouble as I continue the Couch to 5K training. Time will tell.

Maggie is snoring quietly on the couch next to me. That's so comforting to me and much needed after a long day at work. And for today's song I give you Chain Gang by Sam Cooke. It feels fitting for a first day back at work blog post.

All day long they work so hard
'til the suns going down
Working on the highways and byways
And wearing, wearing a frown
You hear them moaning their lives away
Then you hear somebody say
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Movie Day

Today was a day filled with movies for me. First I went to see The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. I really enjoyed it (she's HOT and he's not bad to look at either, for a guy that is). Then I watched a movie I dvr'd called Death at a Funeral which was a British comedy of sorts. Pretty good, but not great.

And then tonight, to round out the day, I decided to finally watch Schindler's List. I know the movie is like 16 years old. I am a bit out of the loop with some things such as many movies from the 1990's. I was prepared for it as much as one can prepare for such a thing. But I was still reduced to tears at the end. What that one man did to save the lives of so many is just incredible. There really are no words for it.

Now here comes the part where I will sound a little loony to some people, just bear with me please. Everything about the holocaust has an incredible emotional impact on me and nearly always makes me cry. Have you been to the holocaust museum in Washington DC? I fought back tears the entire time I was there. The throat tightening, make it hard to breathe because I'm holding back a full out sob kind of tears, not just the weepy kind of tears. And yes, the atrocity that was the holocaust is incredibly sad. But I did not live through it. And neither did any of my family. So, what is it about this event in history that effects me so?

I believe in past lives, reincarnation if you will. And sometimes, like tonight, I wonder if maybe I was alive during WWII. Or at least part of WWII. As in the part before I was gassed at a concentration camp. Or maybe even the part where I had to do the gassing at a concentration camp. Call me crazy, but Vietnam doesn't have the same effect on me even though my uncle was in it. Neither does just talking about WWII even though my grandfather was in it. Neither does the Korean War or the Civil War or pretty much any other event in history which I was not alive for. Why the holocaust then?

There will never be an answer for that question of course. And that's okay. It's just how I am. I am not obsessed with the subject of the holocaust. I don't search out anything and everything having to do with it. But I do find it interesting on an intellectual level and frankly the way the world seems to be headed it worries me that this sort of thing might happen again. Perhaps this time with people who practice Islam. And that is the wrong direction for the world to be headed. That's regression not progression.

When I was much younger I used to say that until all humans have the skin tone of paper bags there will be no world peace. Meaning until we become one mass of beings indistinguishable from our neighbors there will always be strife. I still believe this to a degree, but I do still hold out hope that we will see world unity/peace in my lifetime (and I plan to live past 100 so we've still got some time to accomplish that, at least 66 years by my count). Until that happens though every one of us needs to promote peace and harmony and inclusion for everyone regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, you name it. We are all human and this planet is the only one we have. Now, that doesn't mean you have to agree or approve of someone else's religion or lifestyle or whatever, but it does mean you need to believe in their freedome to live the way in which it feels right for them to live.

For instance. I am a lesbian. I did not choose this lifestyle, it's part of my genetic makeup (and no, I don't need a good man to change my mind thank you very much). It's simply (a part of) who I am just like my blue eyes and dark brown hair. One of my best friends from high school is a born again Christian. She and I are still friends even though I am very anti-organized religion and am a borderline athiest and she practices hate the sin but love the sinner in regards to my sexuality. I respect her right to believe in her God and she respects my right to love who I love (not that I have anyone to love in that way right now, but that's a topic for a whole different blog post!).

And that my friends is how the world should operate. I am free to be me and you are free to be you and we respect each other. In the words of Rodney King: "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?...It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out."

So, how about it? Can we all just get along? As for the lyrics for this post, well, I think they're kind of obvious. I give you by We Are The World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it's time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all
We can't go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of God's great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This post is Rated R and may contain strong language...

When I left work today my blood pressure was rather high (through the freaking roof really) and I was very very frustrated. No, that's not the whole truth. I was pissed. And I had a whole blog composed in my mind, ready to vent those frustrations for all the world to see. Then I took Maggie for a walk and after she got her exercise I went for a run. By the time I got home from my run my frustrations were pretty much gone. That's a good thing. Too bad the source of my frustrations isn't gone. But don't sweat the small stuff as they say, and it's all small stuff. I think that might be a movie quote...

Anywho....also before I went for a run I had a list of things I was going to blog about. And we all know that I'm a fan of the lists. But those things also disappeared into the ether with my work frustrations. So, I guess I'll list a few things that I'm happy about/looking forward to.

1. VACATION. A much needed, long anticipated, LONG vacation is nearly here. Hallelfreakinglujah!

2. The weather has been simply incredible the past few days. Warm and sunny during the day and cool at night, perfect sleeping weather. It could stay like this from May through September and I'd be a happy camper.

3. I'm seeing Rent again in a couple of weeks. Be prepared for the quoting. You have been warned.

4. Seeing Billy Joel/Elton John together in concert. I'm not sure if there will be quoting from this concert. We'll see.

5. Ingrid Michaelson has a new album coming out at the end of August. And she's touring this fall. Woot! She makes me happy.

6. Watching Maggie play with her best friend Milo. After what she went through last fall it's incredible that she can walk let alone run around and play chase games with the boy next door.

7. Not having to use an alarm clock to wake up for two whole weeks. I hate waking up to an alarm clock. Hate it.

8. Beach. Sand. Waves.

9. The end result after my Couch to 5K training is over. And that end result is being at least a little more in shape than I was when I started. I miss the incredibly athletic body I had in high school. And the Couch to 5K training program seems really logical to me and feels good while I'm doing it. But it also makes me want to go out and buy a ton of new sneakers. Because I love sneakers and I haven't had any reason to buy a new pair until recently. Also I love the burn I feel in my legs when I'm running. Sounds crazy I know, but it's not the pain that stops me from working out it's the getting bored with it that stops me.

10. It's no longer June for me at work. Third June is officially over and I can now act like its July just like everyone else in the world. Of course I have no idea what the date really is or what day it is, but I'll catch up eventually. Maybe in August.

11. I'm trying hard to come up with an 11 so I can have a list that's not a nice even number. But I can't come up with anything even though I know I have a ton of things I am happy about and thankful for. So, I guess I'll just say I am so grateful for the abundance I have in my life.

So, why is this post Rated R? Because of the song lyrics that go along with it of course! When I need to vent my anger I like to listen to my angry music. And on today's commute home you can bet that I cranked up my iPod and sung along to my angry music at the top of my lungs. The song I'm going to quote is a nice bitter diatribe from the point of view of the woman scorned. For me today this song was directed at the source of my work frustrations who will remain nameless (and who is in no way any sort of romantic interest for me, that thought makes me shudder!). Here is Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco (who is coincidentally the cousin of a former co-worker/current Facebook friend of mine).

So fuck you
and your untouchable face
and fuck you
for existing in the first place
and who am I
that I should be vying for your touch
and who am I
I bet you can't even tell me that much