Friday, January 30, 2015

Get it out!!

So as you all know my house has been in varying states of disarray the past two weeks. Part of it when they were putting in the new floors and part as I start putting the baseboards back on and putting the house back together again. What these two things combined to do was to keep me off of the computer for awhile. Not offline. I had my phone and my tablet, but off of the computer. Where I do my writing.

I did set it up last week in an awkward space and wrote a quick blog. But balancing the keyboard on my knees while I sat on the floor didn't really work for me. And this week even though the desk is set back up I've been too busy, or in the case of yesterday too sick, to sit down and write. Which has put me a few blogs behind where I wanted to be for the month, but more interestingly has lead to seepage...

Okay, nothing gross. But I noticed earlier this week that my status updates on Facebook have gotten longer and longer. If I wasn't going to make time to sit down and write my subconscious was going to take the time to at least let off a little of the pressure. So instead of one or two lines cracking a joke or talking about sports there were three and four paragraph long musings about random aspects of life. Hmm....three or four paragraphs of randomness? If only I had someplace that could go.

I get like this when I don't read as well. I notice that if I haven't spent some time reading a book (magazines and online news stories don't fill that need; it has to be books) two things happen. First off I start to get a little cranky. Secondly I start to read everything else. Descriptions on the food boxes, the fine print on internet TOS agreements, billboards, t-shirts, any words any where. It's like I get a little starved for them so I must find them someplace else. If I don't find the words the words find me.

So I have to say I'm actually pretty pleased that writing has become like that as well. I've finally done enough writing, consistently enough, that I miss it when I'm not doing it. That there will be seepage in to other areas if I don't sit down at the computer and work on a project or type out a blog.

Even if it is just a short one over lunch just to release a little of the pressure cooker going on in my head.



And lastly a wish for Colleen McCullough. I read my copy of The Thorn Birds so many times it fell apart. I am pretty sure there was a cycle for a few years where it went The Thorn Birds, East of Eden, Flowers for Algernon, toss in a few new things, rinse and repeat...  rest in peace, Ms. McCullough. And thank you.




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Perspective...

Your view of the world depends entirely on where you are standing.

Yesterday I watched a few different discussion on Facebook. I watched old friends from high school debate and discuss the merits of a TV show in a way that never ever crossed my mind. I watched people reshape and reform Dr. King in to a variety of soundbites and messages that fit their worldview. I overheard my floor guys talking about budgets and then had a funny interaction with them that lead Brent to decide I was probably the star of a "You won't believe this woman" conversation in the floor guy's house.

So let's start with the floor guys. At one point the younger of the two was talking budgets with the older. He was saying how he kept telling his wife she had to watch the bank account. They had X number of dollars in the account and X number of bills that hadn't hit yet and with Christmas there were extra things so they really needed to be on top of it watching. I thought to myself how well I remembered those days. It doesn't seem like too terribly long ago that there was a lot of month left at the end of our money.

So at the end of the day they were clearing out the old flooring. They had been stacking it in the garage during the day and pulled their van around to load up at the end. There was a little pile of sawdust and junk that they asked if I had a dust pan for. I said not to worry about it, I would get it next time I cleaned out the garage. He said he could get it with his hands, and scooped it up. I said, seriously, don't worry, it's just a garage. And he looked up and said, "It's a garage with an Audi in it." I laughed and said, "Well sure, don't dump the trash on the Audi, but it's just a garage."

I might remember what it was like to be watching the bank account that closely but to him? I'm the woman who is paying someone else to put in my floors and isn't worried about a pile of junk near my expensive car. It's all about perspective.

The TV show that was being discussed? Empire. I have it on my DVR. Looks like Nashville with Hip Hop so I will give it a try. That was my thought process. The discussion I read yesterday was between two friends from high school and other friends of theirs. All African American and the discussion was a lot deeper than, Looks like Nashville with Hip Hop. It was much more about representation of Black Culture in general and Hip Hop specifically. Did it help or hurt the image of an entire group of people? Should it be supported even though there are some negative stereotypes just to show that there is an audience for a non-white drama? And were they unfair stereotypes or just a reflection of history? So much more to consider than I ever would. Because when I see a show like Nashville I never even think that people would consider it being a representation of all white people. Duck Dynasty has nothing to do with me. And neither does The Real Housewives of where ever they are from this season.

But because most people on TV are white I don't ever think about it. Because I've seen my face on screen forever in a wide variety of roles it doesn't even cross my mind to worry about the message that is being sent out. I can even roll my eyes at people who think Portlandia is the way we all are, and it really is a spoof on where I am. Because it all depends on where you are standing. Perspective.

I saw Dr. King described as a man of peace. As a man of action. As a man who was calm and as a man who was an agitator. I saw him claimed by every group there was. I saw someone post a reminder that he wasn't a hero to all when he died and was a lightning rod personality. I saw someone insult a huge swath of their friend base and probably not even understand how they did it. I read a blog that reminded us all that though we have a long way to go it's okay to acknowledge how far we've come. I saw people post quotes that had been cherry picked to prove a point they were trying to make and wondered if they had ever listened to a full speech by him? Or read a book about him? Or understood anything more than that he "had a dream?"

I listened to an interview with David Oyelowo about how he felt it was easier for him to play Dr. King because he wasn't raised here in the states. He didn't have all of the baggage and symbolism that was tied up in growing up black in the US with Dr. King as the mythic figure, he was able to get in to understanding Dr. King the man easier. And then he also spoke about growing up in Nigeria and how that made it easier for him all the way around compared to black people growing up in the states or in the UK. He wasn't a minority. He never had the minority mindset. He could spend less time breaking through and more time just being. He talked about how he felt Sidney Poitier was the same way. Since he grew up someplace else, where his color was not the first thing people took in, he never had the feeling that he couldn't and so he did. He had a great line, "He couldn't understand the notion that everything on the plate wasn't his to eat." It's all about where you are standing.

So yeah, yesterday was all about lessons on perspective. A reminder that your world view is all based on where you are standing at the time. Interesting day.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Adjustments...

I spent the morning trying to fix a kitchen cabinet that wasn't closing quite right. I noticed it yesterday and worked on it a bit then but couldn't make any headway so left it for today. After a few more tweaks and a youtube video I've got it to good enough. It's still not perfect but it's closing enough now that it won't make me crazy.

While I was working on it Brent asked if I needed help. I said not yet. I was still working on it. When I was looking online for help he asked again, a valid question since the answers I was finding online were "move the screw" well thanks, internet geniuses, I know that! Which fucking way? But again I said, no, not yet. And he let me work through it. Now that I am finished he might take a crack at it to try and make it perfect or he might not. But he didn't touch it while I was still adjusting the hinge myself.

In the beginning of our marriage he would have come in to help me and taken over the project. Most likely it would have been done quicker and with less back and forth trying to figure it out, but it would not have been done smoothly. Because I would have been mad. Let me do it. Let me try. It took a few years of him not understanding that his helping me wasn't really helping to figure that one out. He had the best of intentions but I didn't want help. I wanted to do it myself. Once we worked that out he understands that I will ask when I need help and other than that let me struggle until I can figure it out myself. I know it's hard for him because he really wants to make my life easier and it's hard for him to understand that for me easier isn't always better.

Adjustments come in all shapes and sizes.

Working toward my goals with weight and I am making adjustments there as well. First off I have given Brent access to my food diary. Now the main reason is that he tracks his food as well and it's easier to just go in and copy a meal that I've figured out the calories on than to try and re-enter all of it on his own. The other part is that I know he can look and see what I've eaten for the day. He most likely won't. But I know that he can. So when I start to get weird. I mean if...if...okay, yeah, who are we kidding, when...when I start to get weird and start gaming the system with not quite enough calories or just a skosh too much workout for what I am eating he can see that and start watching. You have to understand where your crazy is and make adjustments. For me that means when I am working on losing weight I make it very very public. That way I'm not as likely to get too obsessive. Too crazy. Too thin. Adjustments.

On the flip side there are also other adjustments to make to keep on the right track. Next week we are getting the floors redone. Which means that I have no idea how much a of a wreck my kitchen will be at any point during the day. I've cancelled my Blue Apron delivery for next week and figure I will eat out most of the week. Which means making sure I stay within calorie goals with restaurant food. Not as easy. Also I work out in the morning after I drop Brent off at work. The floor guys will be here between 8:30 and 9 which doesn't really give me enough time to drop him off, go to the gym, come home and shower. So he is going to go to work a few minutes early so I can get a workout in. Adjustments. I could just not work out next week, and eat out all week, and watch what I gained (lost?) disappear. But I don't want to do that. I want to get through this so my knees feel better and so I feel better. So we adjust.

Last week I was mad at something someone said to me. Just pissed me off. Brent asked if I would have been mad if anyone else had said it or if it was because this person said it. And I had to think about it. Because it's true. We adjust our reactions based on the people around us all of the time. I have friends who are like me and take very few things seriously so I expect them to come back with a quip and a joke to most everything I say. I have friends who are a little more serious and so they don't. It's hard for me because sometimes I give the "wrong" response. Last night a friend was being serious and I made a joke, best of intentions, I knew she was upset and I was hoping to get her to smile, but it wasn't what she needed at that point, so I needed to adjust my response to what she was looking for, what she needed. I gave it a try and hopefully she understood that I was there for her however she needed me to be.

Don't fix it, let me struggle through it, easier isn't always better, work on the goals without going crazy and make sure you know who you are talking to. Adjustments come in all shapes and sizes.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Hiding...

I'm hiding in the study while the plumber fixes my sink.

Okay, not really hiding, he knows where I am. I'm just hiding like not sitting out in the kitchen watching him work.

I hate having strangers in the house; I know that's shocking since I'm such a social person, (yes, that was sarcasm) which always makes it awkward when you have to have repairs done. I never know exactly what to do. Standing and watching them work seems really odd, like you don't trust them to do the job, but honestly if I knew how to do the job I would be doing it myself right? And not watching them seems like sort of dismissive...like, "Oh you...fix this!" So I always try and make a little polite small talk then go away.

Next week is going to be like the pinnacle of ick for me. We are having the floors replaced on the main floor so I will have a week of workers in the house, in my main living space. Starting at 8:30 every day. It should be full on uncomfortable. Do I have to make chit chat every day? Can I just hide upstairs in my room? That's what I did when they redid all of the windows. I hid in the basement. But I had the excuse of it being cold and needing to keep the cats locked up so that worked. Now I am just saying, "Yeah, I don't really like people too much, no offense, so I will be avoiding you whenever possible, mmmkay?"

But today it's all about the pipes. There were two things wrong, the first being our patched together mishmash of plumbing. You might have remembered me bitching about this when I had to replace the garbage disposal. At the time I opted to just put the puzzle back together the wonky way they had it instead of having the entire area re-plumbed. The second is the pipes are actually clogged. So when the dishwasher started to drain yesterday the water hit the plug and backed up. Then it kept hitting it, and BLEWY! there go the wonky pipes. Leaks from every joint. Then finally they completely uncoupled. Ugh.

Good news is the plumber fixed the wonkiness and is now snaking the drain to fix the clog. The floors are getting replaced next week so the water all over them isn't even freaking me out too badly. A little, sure, I have a feeling when they pull up the old flooring there is going to be an expensive surprise waiting, but since I have a feeling it's coming I will be okay.

Today.

Yesterday I was overwhelmed and covered in hot dishwasher water trying to clean up a mess that was getting bigger by the second and I was already knee deep in to another project and well...there might have been tears.

But today? Today I'm all...let me write you a check, you fix it!

.....

Okay, well...the plumber just made a "hunh..." noise. Looks like it could end up being a really big check. And I could be hiding for a very long time. Send food....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You are the inspiration...

Yesterday morning I was hit with a great line for a story. I sat with it all day in my head. Tossed it around over and over trying to see what else would come of it. Sat and stared at the blank page of my blog. Then wrote the line over and over trying to jar the rest of what it means to be out. Nothing. Just the one line. All day. Finally I posted it as a Facebook status and let it be.

She used to think he hung the moon. Now she knows he just took credit for it.

My friend Nadine suggested that the reason it's not giving me more is because this is all there is. Complete in its brevity.

My friend Scott suggested I try writing a story with the line but flipping it to make it from the guy's perspective.

My friend Marcy blamed Obama. He gets the blame for everything else, right?

My friend Malc wrote a new parody piece from it and did it brilliantly.

My friend Svet suggested I tie myself to a chair until the story came to me.

And my husband worried.

Every time I write a short story about relationships he worries a bit. He starts going over everything he's done lately to see where he screwed up. What did he do that triggered the story? It's funny because it's not about him. Or not really. But sometimes it sort of is. But not in any way that you would recognize.

Everything I write is inspired by something. That's how writing works. And sometimes it is something he's done. Or a look he has on his face. Or the way he moves the coffee cup. Or thinking of the exact opposite way he would react to something. You never know what will trigger a chain of thoughts that ends up being a story.

And it happens with everyone I am around. Friends and strangers. Snippets of a conversation I over hear become the launching pad for a scene. Or sometimes no dialog at all but just the body language between two people when they are talking. The color of a scarf someone is wearing when I see them can become the inspiration for an entirely new character. It all filters in and becomes a story. Or part of a story. Or a hint in a story.

Sometimes when you recognize yourself it's on purpose. I've written pieces specifically for and about people. A fairy tale for a new baby. An essay for the same. Pieces that were about specific people and what I admire about them. Heck, I even wrote a piece about a run-a-away chicken for a friend of a friend.

But usually it's not that simple. There isn't an easy this person in my story is this person in my real life translator. Everyone is everyone. And no one.

And rarely is it because Brent screwed something up.

Rarely.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

I wish I could throw it back...

So yesterday I was looking through past posts to find a Throw Back Thursday one to link and I couldn't quite decide what to choose. I don't blog a ton in January it seems. So there were only a few to choose from. Two from 2011, one on politics, one of books I was currently reading. One from 2013 that was a little quirky fiction piece and one from last year. There will always be one from last year this month since I did the blog a day in January kick off. So which to choose?

The one from last year didn't seem like it was that much of a throw so I dropped it off the list. The book one just didn't really grab me. So that left the fiction and the politics. You know the fiction won out. I really like that story. Even though it was only two years ago I had sort of forgotten I wrote it. That happens to me more than I would like to admit. I write a lot of my short pieces that end up here really fast. I spend a few hours with them. That's it. So sometimes when I am looking for something and end up re-reading them I am surprised. I don't remember the story at all, I know I wrote it, it's here, but it's new to me. Thank goodness I generally like them.

Anyway...

That left the political blog just floating out there. Or I guess not really floating out there, more correctly poking me in the ribs. It's four years old. I talk about how things have to get better. We have to learn to talk to each other. To come together. To stop blaming and start fixing. And we know what happened. The Tea Party that I mentioned instead of reclaiming their grassroots common sense stance ended up solidifying in to the Ultra Right of the Right Wing. Instead of finding compromise they actively worked to shut down the government when they didn't get their way. Yes, that's how our Congress worked. By not working.

Being willing to work on bi-partisan solutions to problems will get you your ass handed to you in primary elections. You cannot be a liberal seen with a conservative and vice versa. What used to be praised as a valuable skill set is now seen as capitulation. Each side blames the other for stalemates. The cycle keeps turning.

We have our own new-stations to watch that only feed us our already held viewpoints. We cull our circle of friends down until we have a nice tight little group of people who think the way we think and agree with everything we say. People who don't agree with us are libretards or repugnicans.

I see such a high level of intellectual dishonesty and cognitive dissonance in my news-feed on a daily basis that I think I might just scream. The one this week that is driving me nuts? Please for fucks sake stop acting like your health insurance bill has never increased before. The highest amount I can remember having to deal with in a company in one year? Thirty five percent. Let that one sink in a bit. A 35% increase in insurance costs. I believe it was before Obama was even a senator so hard to blame him. Though I am pretty sure people probably will. As I bitched to Brent last night about this particular irritant he put it so well, "There wouldn't have been a perceived need for the ACA if insurance companies were known to be reasonable in their pricing." Yes! This! Exactly. We still need to fix our broken health care system so let's stop bitching about Obama care and pretending it used to be good and FIX IT.

We have reached a point where you cannot speak out on an issue without being branded as something negative. Don't like the president's policies? Well you are a racist. Don't like the way grand juries handle deaths at the hands of police? Well you are obviously anti-cop. Point out that there is a problem with race relations in this country and get told you are the reason there are problems. Yes, you cannot point out an issue without falling in to the age old argument of whoever smelt it, dealt it.

It's infuriating.

And it's insane.

Our voices matter. Talking to each other is the only way we get through problems. Being able to point out things that aren't working is the only way things get fixed. Working with people who have different view points than you do is the only way to see the bigger picture. You have to figure out a way to talk to people. You have to figure out a way to have at least a touch of empathy for those you disagree with. You have to figure out a way to compromise so we all can move forward. And to do this you have to talk to each other.

When speech is silenced the bad guys win.

Ask the families of those that were massacred at Charlie Hebdo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Old, you are old...

You've probably heard the story making the rounds about fans of Kanye West not knowing who Paul McCartney is. Tweeting out things like how great it was of Kanye to help out an unknown musician and such. Now, to be perfectly honest, I am not sure that they weren't just spinning people up. Seeing who all they could get to fall for it. But I can't be sure...

There is a young couple that sits next to us at hockey games. I mean young. Like we could totally be their parents young. Last year Brent was traveling and I was at a game by myself and I had to text him with a funny story after the game. Not funny...ha ha, funny... I'm old! See during intermissions while I was texting Brent the score and what had happened during the game  Matt and Cameron were texting their friends to see where they were going to go out that night. The hockey game went in to overtime so they let their friends know they were going to be late. When they went out that night. Meeting up after the game. See...for me? The game WAS my going out that night! Meeting someone at 10 afterwards? Ha! Not a chance. But for them? The game wasn't even considered as part of going out that night, it was pre-func!

So anyway last week we're at the game; Cameron is still on holiday so Matt brought a friend of theirs. We are playing the Spokane Chiefs. I hear Matt telling his friend about Liam Stewart. Liam is Rod's son. Yes, that Rod Stewart. And as Matt is telling his friend, "He's Rod Stewart's son" his friend is telling him, "I don't know who that is." Then Matt had to admit he really didn't know either. He knew he was a musician. And that people made a big deal out of it when Liam started. They tried to pull who he might be guessing maybe the Rod Stewart Band? I had to laugh.

Then cry a little.

I told him a couple of songs that I was sure, sure they would recognize. Nope. Nothing. Then Matt says, "Oh wait! He had the big hair right?" And as I'm sort of nodding and saying, "Well, kind of..." He smiles and shakes his head. He was just kidding. Good guess when someone is a talking about a musician from the 70s and 80s that he had big hair.

I just shook my head and said, "Yeah, you are too young."

Then he says, "I'm almost 30!" I gave him a little side eye and he said, "Okay, I'm not."

Which was met with "I should give you such a pinch!" It was the most old lady thing I could think of to say at the moment. The fact that he thought one of two things, either that he was anywhere close to 30 or that I would think that 30 wasn't young both made me laugh a little. And sort of want to kick him in the shins and yell at him to get off of my lawn.

So yeah, I think that the people tweeting that they don't know Paul McCartney aren't serious but I am not really sure....

Not that Rod Stewart is Sir Paul McCartney, but hey, we used to think he was sexy, back when we though we'd stay forever young.