Friday, January 31, 2014

I hear voices...

A few weeks ago I had a dream where I got a new tattoo on the inside of my wrist. The tattoo was a  red gem stone wearing a cowboy hat. A ruby for my mother, Ruby, and the hat symbolizing my father, Marshall. I told Brent about it when I woke up and he said it actually sounded like a cool tattoo for me. Probably not on the inside of my wrist, but yeah, it wouldn't be bad. Having both parents represented like that and tied together as they are in my mind. Even with my Dad having passed I still think of him and Mom as a matched set.

Not an exact set, oh no. Very different people, but a matched set. They worked well together.

I've been channeling both parents the past few weeks at different times. I have to admit I am more comfortable living in my father's shoes than my mother's. Maybe because he always wore boots?

Anyway...with the trip to Hawaii coming they have both played their part in my mind. Hawaii was always my mother's dream. We heard about it all the time growing up. How she and Dad were going to go one day. It was the dream vacation. You all also know we were broke so that dream wasn't really in reach. Vacations were trips back to Iowa to visit family. Twice to Anaheim to Disneyland when the North American Christian Convention was held there. But never just straight up vacations. And Hawaii? Out of reach.

For their 50th Anniversary the kids all got together and sent them. We all pitched in what we could and got them their dream trip. And I'm glad we were able to do it. Dad's health was still good enough at the time that they were able to enjoy the vacation and check that box. But notice I said it was always my mother's dream? I have no idea what my father's dream vacation would be. He never really said. My guess is it was Hawaii, not because he had a burning desire to go there but because he had a burning desire to make my mother happy.

My dad was one of those quiet types. He believed what he believed but he didn't feel the need to force it down your throat. He was conservative. Religious. Thrifty. Solidly a family man. My mother is conservative, and will tell you about it. Religious and will pray for you. Solidly a family woman. And well...not so much on the thrifty side.

We all grew up knowing we had a predisposition for alcoholism. My mother was on the leading edge of people who truly believe it is a disease and hereditary. Pretty amazing actually, because the science backs her up now. But she always knew it. But the thing she didn't warn us about was the shopping gene. Especially "As Seen on TV" or the home shopping/QVC/infomercial strain... Seriously. That woman can buy anything off of TV and frequently does. I have a strain of it, the exercise and kitchen gadget portion. I know I have this problem so don't keep my credit card handy when watching TV. Other members of my family have it (not naming any names, they know who they are) and will buy cute bags or shoes or sparkly whatever...

So the past few weeks as I've been getting ready for our upcoming trip to Hawaii I've been shopping. I needed a new swimsuit. I didn't own one anymore. I got rid of my suit last year and just never replaced it. As you all know it's been a challenge to find something that fits right. Not too tight in the bust, not too loose every where else. I bought literally hundreds of dollars worth of swimsuits. Hundreds. And as the packages have come in I have channeled my mother. "Oh! Look! New stuff!" As I shopped online I just stopped paying attention to the prices, "This is cute!" click in the basket. Knowing that I would be returning the bulk of them made spending the money not real. In they would come, out they would go. Shop! Shop! Shop! Seems is pretty much the same as HSN or QVC as far as triggers go.

And then my father showed up. I have settled on two suits. One of them I got on a great sale. Both pieces cost less than the top to the other suit I am getting. And the top to the other suit is a bikini top. There isn't a ton to it. But it fits, it's cute, I like it. But do I really need two suits? Yes, I am going to be in the water every day and putting on a dry suit is more comfortable than a damp one but as soon as I have it on I will be getting in the water so it won't be dry for long so really shouldn't I just stick with one? It's kind of wasteful to have two. And a bikini top? That's an awful lot of skin, young lady.

Returning some of the suits that didn't fit I got frustrated with the amount of detail I had to fill in on why I was returning them. Didn't fit wasn't enough. It had to be specific. And there were codes so you couldn't even just fill in the reason, you had to find the corresponding number for that reason. At that point my mother probably would have just given up and given the suits to someone else as a gift. Too much hassle to return them. But did I mention hundreds of dollars? So I filled out the paperwork. And as I looked for the right code I could feel the grin start to spread across my face as I thought about what my father would have said to the sales clerk when she asked, "How did they fit?" He would have said I looked like Spring in them. Busting out all over.

I am my parent's child. I will tell you what I think but not expect you to follow me. And once I realize all you want to do is fight I will stop talking. I like new things, but shopping makes me uncomfortable. I love my husband and son and hope they both realize that and never doubt it. Even when I am buying hundreds of dollars worth of swimsuits that Brent will have to pay for, for a vacation C doesn't even get to go on. Hundreds.

Though to be honest, I haven't taken the tags off of the second suit yet. For right now my mother's voice is winning but it's still a little too close to call.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Do you remember when?

As the music changed Alice began to dance in her seat.

"Oh god, don't tell me you are one of them."

"One of them? Oh do tell, James, who are they?"

"The brown-eyed girl contingent. You do realize that every girl with brown eyes thinks that's her song right?"

Alice smiled, "It is my song. I love this song. This song has great memories for me."

"Of some boy who told you whenever he hears this song he thinks of you, right?"


"Maybe. Please, that's the worst part about all of you brown eyed girls. You think it's a romantic thing. Listen to the song, the dude doesn't remember her name. He only remembers all of the skeezy places he took her to bang."

"Excuse me?" Alice looked over at Ed and Carrie who had been following the conversation with amusement, "Can you believe this guy? Is that what you think the song is about?"

"Oh no, I'm not getting drug in to this. I'm going to get another round, everyone ready?" And with that Ed took quick leave of the table.

Carrie pursed her lips and thought for a second,"Well, I hadn't ever really payed much attention. It's just the sha la la part that I remember the most. Since I am, after all, a Green-Eyed Lady."

"Oh, I haven't heard that one in ages. That's a good song too." Then Alice started singing to the bar music again, "sha la la la la..."

"Seriously, think about the lyrics. He takes her to the hollow, he takes her to an old mine, the thing he remembers most is making love in the grass behind the stadium? Classy song. At least in Carrie's song she's a storm, or an ocean, or something. What the hell does Green-Eyed Lady mean anyway?"

"It means you all are old. Or at least listen to old music. And it means it didn't take long enough to order drinks. I should have waited at the bar for them." Ed settled back in to his seat at the table.

"Well it's still my song. It's a fun song. And you don't know that he doesn't remember her name, he just liked her eyes so that's what he sings about."

"And he calls her a girl? So if I start calling you my girl around work that would be okay? Go get Alice to take a look at that she's my proofreader girl."

Alice rolled her eyes, "Oh don't even try that. Boyfriends and girlfriends are different than work relationships."

James shook his head. "Chicks..."

Alice and Carrie both groaned, "Dudes..."

"It's still ridiculous."

"All right, I was going to stay out of it, but I just can't. James, you should look down because you are walking on mighty thin ice, my friend." Ed smirked at his friend.


Ed started to sing, "Desperado...why don't you come to your senses?"

Alice and Carrie both started to laugh, "Desperado? That's your song and you were making fun of me?"

"Hey! It's a great song."

"Well, sure I guess. If you've been out riding fences." Carrie laughed.

"Okay fine. So we have an unnamed girl who likes to bang at stadiums, a green-eyed woman who has something to do with, seriously what is that song about? And now you know I get sappy at old Eagles songs. Fine. None of us has any ground to stand on."

"Wait, wait, wait, we still have one more. Ed? What is your song?"

"Oh, good call, Carrie! Yeah, Ed, you outed my song, now it's your turn."

"Yep, open up. Tell us, Ed." Alice leaned back and waited.

"Okay, fine, yes, I have a song as well. We all have that one that just speaks to us. Be it old loves," Ed nodded toward Alice, "Confusing metaphors," a tilt of the head toward Carrie, "embarrassing overwrought poetry," a grin James' way, "or one that speaks to the depths of your soul, leaving you bare and open. Like the song writer knew your deepest secret and put it to music. The one that if the song plays when you are out in public you feel like people are staring at you. Like they know. It's just that personal."

The three friends all leaned in closer to Ed, waiting.

Ed took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a second then began to sing, "Cause I'm Slim Shady yes, I'm the real Shady all you other Slim Shadys are just imitating..."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's nothing yet...

Driving around today running errands and the radio is on. Some days you notice the songs, some days you don't. Today was a notice day. For example, the song Taxi, the middle is a hot mess but the song never fails to make me cry. Or maybe not cry but mist up at least. "Another man might have been angry, well another man might have been hurt, but another man never would have let her go...I stashed the bill in my shirt."

Then I had to sit in the car and listen to Moonshadow before I could go in and buy bird seed. I have loved that song my entire life. "And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colors all run dry..." I have to think it has something to do with my philosophy of choosing happiness. Hell, who knows, maybe that's where it came from in the first place!

Then Imagine came on. C hates the song. Thinks it's trite. I remember being shocked when I first found that out. For me it was a turning point in my childhood. To hear someone even suggest there might not be a god? Or heaven? Or that wars might be fought BECAUSE of religion? Whoah... But then I had to admit if that wasn't your background it is a pretty hackneyed song after all. But I still turned it up and belted it out.

I also sang along to three different Elton John songs that came on. And a Destiny's Child song that I had just yesterday sent to someone as a link because it fit what they were going through. So that made me think of them and send out a well wish in to the Universe for them (yes I totally do that sort of shit). And then a Foo Fighters song came on and I sang to that and then the end of a Staind song...

And then Brown Eyed Girl came on. And as I started to sing a distinctly masculine voice rang through my head, "You know every brown-eyed girl thinks Brown Eyed Girl is her song right?" Oh...well there you go. That means there is a story brewing. I can see them now. It's a group sitting at a table in a bar. Why is it so many of my stories take place in bars while I rarely go to them? I'm not sure yet where the rest of the conversation is going to take me, but I know it's coming. Tomorrow I will clean house and let my mind wander and see if he comes back to fill me in some more. But for now we just sing

Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah

La dee dah.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The things you notice...

When I first started massage school I spent a lot of time pretending. We all did. I can remember the first time. Sitting in Kinesiology lab after the instructor had lectured on origin and insertion for the deltoid.  "Now show me the deltoid tuberosity on your partner." should be right here. Point. And..."Great, feel that?" Ummm...sure.

No I couldn't feel it. I just happened to have a partner with good arms so I could pretty much rough out where the muscle went to a point. But actually feeling the bony protrusion? But fast forward a month or so and I'm sitting on the couch holding my forearm and rotating it back and forth. Brent looks over, "What are you doing?" "Feeling my interosseous membrane." "Of course you are."

By the time I graduated I could not only find the deltoid tuberosity I could feel it. I could also feel the texture to your bones. We think of them as smooth and almost polished but they aren't. They are rough and bumpy and yours feel different than mine. And if you ever had a break the area where the bones knitted together feels totally different than the space around it. I could feel where in your muscle the fibers weren't releasing. And I could feel it release when I massaged you. I could feel how deeply that scar tissue on your arm went. And I knew how to soften it up so the skin would move more freely. I could tell when you walked by me what you were going to tell me hurt. And hopefully when you got off the table and left I could see a difference.

Now a few years later and I've lost most of that sensitivity. The nerve endings that grew in response to need have receded.  The veins in my hands aren't so pronounced because I don't demand the work out of them any more that I did so they don't need to the blood supply they used to. It would take me awhile to build back up that level of touch sense. And it would take awhile to build back up the knowledge level I had. I've forgotten most of my origins and insertions. Almost all of my theory is gone. Because I don't use it anymore. That's what happens. We keep what we focus on and the rest fades back away.

But sometimes it comes back in weird ways. Brent and I were watching True Detective last night and there is a scene where Matthew McConaughey is wearing a wife beater t-shirt. You get a long shot of him walking away and all I could think was...

He has great deltoids. And not in a he's hot sort of way, just in an appreciation of the muscle itself sort of way. Which is what it was like when I was still in practice. The way you look at the human body shifts. One of my instructors said after massage school there are things that are ruined for you. Like looking at an attractive person. Because all you do is look at the muscles or the posture or the odd way they are carrying their left shoulder you bet that they have a trigger point in their trap that needs work....

And after admiring Mr. McConaughey's deltoids I realized I haven't lost all of my schooling.

Or at least that's what I plan on telling Brent when we are in Hawaii and I'm admiring the surfer boys...

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's like totally randomly random...

This weekend I read this article by Cracked all about Easter Eggs or hidden jokes. It got me thinking about inside jokes. How many you have with people. And some that aren't really jokes as much as they are just shared history broken down to shorthand.

I've told you about hookers don't wear hats and rock-star when I was telling you about my friend Jenny, for instance. And the name of this blog probably came as no surprise to my friend Susan. We have said, This is totally random but...or This might seem random each other for well, decades. The game for us became actually telling each other how we got there. Because it only seems random. There are three hundred connections (give or take a few) that happened to get to what seems like the random thought in your head. And part of what our friendship is based on is that random connection. Or the love of a random connection more precisely. Though our friendship is slightly random as well.

We knew each other in high school. We took classes together, chemistry being the most memorable one, though we took honor's English together at least one year, possibly more. But in chemistry she, Michelle Miller (was it Miller, I want to say Miller), and I were lab partners. I was lousy at chemistry. Just to be honest here. Lousy. I hadn't taken the math I needed to be able to do the formulas and had a little problem with making it to class enough to really grasp what I was supposed to be doing. But the one thing I could do that Michelle and Susan couldn't was light the Bunsen burner. Which is actually very funny because I'm terrified to light our gas grill...anyway...I was in charge of the burner.

Susan was also friends with Nikki who was in show choir with Jim who I was dating at the time, off and on and off and on. And Tim off and on. And Andy off and on. And eventually Brent on and on. Anyway...Nikki and I got to be friends because of them. And Susan and Nikki were very close so we ended up at the same parties. As an aside, one of the biggest high school parties I ever attended, think John Hughes big, was actually at Susan's house. She wasn't there, but it was at her house. Which is also an inside joke between us. Though funnier to me than her.

Anyway...we were friends but not super tight. I always really liked her though. She was smart and funny and seemed very sure of who she was. All things I really like about a person. When Brent and I got married she said she was surprised to get an invitation, but I told her I liked her. I wanted her there. Now as her plus one she brought a mutual friend of ours, Erika. A few years later Erika ended up married to Chad, who was also a good friend of ours, he was a groomsman at the wedding, I wrote about that here and then part two here. So Chad and Erika end up in San Diego then Brent and I are transferred there as well. Susan who has always wanted to be a doctor decides she is a little burnt out on school and maybe is done with that after all. She gets a job in a research lab in San Diego and moves out there as well.

She and I got a chance to hang out a lot because Brent was always out to sea. So our friendship deepened. We got to share stories about high school and people we both knew but from different sides. Parties we had both been to. Hanging out at the same time. But from the other person's perspective. Add to that a love of shopping at Target and the belief that popcorn and ice cream is a perfectly fine dinner and a beautiful friendship is solidified.

She is such a good friend that she dated someone who was awful just so I could learn how to parallel park. Okay, that might not be the whole reason, but that's what I decided. You have to take a good thing out of a bad thing and that was all I could find to like about him. But it was a really useful skill to have years later when I was working in a busy area with only off street parking. I was always grateful for old ass hat teaching me how to parallel park. See what a good friend she is?

She's also one of very small handful of people that understands something about the core of me. The whole just because I haven't talked to you in a year doesn't mean I don't love you deeply and think of you often part. See, before Facebook ages, and I mean AGES could pass between times we talked. But then a phone call would be made, a few hours spent on the phone and everything was still right in the world. I haven't seen her face to face since her wedding day. She has a daughter who is almost 6 who I've never met. But none of that matters. I still know I love Ms. M. even if we've never met. Because she is part of Susan. I know that if I ended up in Memphis Susan and I would pick up right where we left off.

And I know that she will not be surprised at all that this blog was going to be about something entirely different before I went off on my Susan tangent...

Oh and by the way, she did go back to medical school and became a doctor, she got over the whole Bunsen burner thing. I never did get over chemistry....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Looks like I missed again...

"Oh you missed it!"
"Look, there! No, there, dang it, you missed it."

There was a lot of that yesterday at Comic Con. There was so much going on all of the time that Brent and I spent a good deal of it telling each other to look at something and the other person missing it because there was so much else to look at. I figured out early if I stopped to take a picture of someone in costume I would miss three others walking by. So I pretty much just stopped taking pictures unless we were stopped someplace. I didn't want to miss anything.

Which then got me thinking and!

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell

You all know that's one of my favorite quotes. We spend so much time trying to make things the way we want them that we miss what is happening.

Brent and I were talking about high school the other night. Specifically about people we knew back then. We are lucky that because of Facebook we've been able to reconnect with a few friends from school. And there are a few that we weren't super close with back then, peripheral friends, but we find we really dig now. Looking back it's easy to see we should have been closer back then, lots in common, similar world views, so on. But he was quiet (that hasn't changed) and I was guarded (that has) so we missed it. Now we are getting a chance to fix it, but that doesn't always happen. If I could go back in time and talk to my teenage self I would try to get her to understand that she was missing it. By keeping so tightly wound she was missing out on all of the opportunities that were there, grades, scholarships, friendships. But I can't. I missed it.

Over the years I've gotten better and better about not missing it. About realizing when I am focused too much on the "what I wants" instead of the "what is." I preach the gospel of let it go. Even if I'm a lousy disciple sometimes. But I try.

I told you about Dana and the lyrics the other day, today I remembered another one I love. "So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains And we never even know we have the key" -The Eagles.

How many times do we miss out on things because we are tied to an idea? Because we aren't paying attention? Or because we just so badly want it to go another way? And all along we are the ones in charge. We can fix it. You think you are chained to the way life is going but you have the key in your hand, fix it. Change it. Don't miss it. You can't always make life go the way you think you want it to, but you can always change your view.

Don't spend so much time focused on what you think you want, a romantic connection, a different job, a better house, a thinner body, that you miss what you have in front of you; good friends, an opportunity for a promotion, an incredible investment in a neighborhood that's about to take off, a strong healthy body. Don't look back in five or ten years and realize you missed it.

Don't continually play catch up with your life. "Oh if I had done this differently everything would be better!" And so we try and do that same thing now. But it doesn't work anymore. Because now is different than then. What you thought you wanted, or even had a chance at having isn't there any more. You are different than you were back then. So it might not fit anymore. Don't spend so much time trying to make up for yesterday that you miss today. Let it go. Move on. Don't miss it again. Because that's the real bitch in the situation. You can miss it again. Sure the it changes but the missing it doesn't.

Today. That's what you have. Make it work. What is happening right now. Let go of the expectations, of the what you think you should have, and look at what you do have. What is happening. And work with that. Make it the best. Because when tomorrow comes you don't want to look back and realize that you missed it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


"So if you could have a super power that made like your skin impervious to temperature change that would be cool."

And thus started our day at Wizard World Comic Con. These were the kids walking behind us as we made our way to the convention center. It was cold outside this morning and where other people might talk about coats, people on their way in to a con tend to have different conversations.

Going to one of these things has always been on my list of "things to do" but it's never happened. Last year we were going to go but I had company that weekend and though a couple would have been cool spending their visit at a con not everyone would. This year Brent sent me the information early with highlights of people that would be there that I would want to see. I looked in to tickets and the cost of meet and greets and said, yeah, no. Though I think meeting Norman Reedus (Daryl Mother Fucking Dixon!) would be cool. I'm not so keen on spending a few hundred dollars to make it happen. Even the platinum Shatner experience (which sounds sort of dirty) didn't really tempt me for long. I just can't think of anyone I would pay a few hundred dollars to shake their hand. I didn't even spend that much for the Gaiman thing I did this past summer. And that was Gaiman!

So then a couple weeks ago Brent brought it up again, "We are going to that right?" and I told him I had decided no, it was too expensive it would be too crowded, blah blah blah...And he said, "You've always wanted to do this. Pick a day and let's do it." Okay, so he's right. I have always wanted to do it. So I looked at schedules and picked Saturday. We could go, walk around and look at people and if we decided to stay maybe do the Adam West/Burt Ward panel. That might be pretty fun.

And it was.

Here are the lessons I learned from my day. I am a fan. Not a Fan. I am a geek. Not a Geek. Okay, this wasn't really a new lesson. It's something I know about myself. I like a lot of things but nothing super deeply. I don't immerse myself in to anything like that, where my knowledge is encyclopedic. Not my sports teams, not my fantasy book series, not my TV shows. I enjoy a lot of different things but I am and always will be a fan, not a Fan. And let me tell you there were people there that were FANS. Amazing. The costumes some people put together were incredible. Now I'm old and so I couldn't tell you who half of them were. We really think we needed C there to help us out. But still. Incredible costumes. I took a few pictures but usually only if someone else had stopped someone, if I stopped everyone I saw and asked it would have been nonstop.

Which of course made me wonder if you spend a lot of time putting together a costume and no one asks you to stop and take a picture are you insulted? I mean there were groups that stood together for ages so people could get shots. Oh how I loved the groups of friends who dressed up together! Seeing all of the Batman villains or all of the Power Rangers made a bigger statement than seeing Dr. Who walking around with Indiana Jones. Though I guess in a way that was kind of cool as well.

Speaking of costumes, Spider-Man should always wear underwear.  A free-balling Spidey is a bit much....Important lesson.

And along with the pictures of people in costumes they had the autograph booths set up for the sci-fi/fantasy/author/action hero/who is that? I have no idea people as well. Still no dice for me on getting an autograph. I'm not sure what I would do with it? Any way, we did walk around the booths and look to see who was there. And wonder how the stars felt when comparing their line to someone else. Like the aforementioned Norman Reedus.

That's a picture of people taking pictures of him taking pictures with other people! And right behind me, which I didn't take a picture of was Jon Bernthal's booth. Which had about 15 people in line. Jon played Shane on The Walking Dead. Now to be fair Norman might have had some Boondock Saints fans there filling out the line, but I would bet mostly TWD fans. How does that make Jon feel? They were both on the same show for goodness sake, now Norman is still there but still...I wondered.

We did two panels. The Adam West/Burt Ward one where I learned that Adam West is just as crazy as I always thought. And that Burt Ward is the soul of patience.

There was a lot of that. Burt looking on with a smile while Adam said or did something just well...batshit crazy. Oh yes, I totally went there! He's also still very much in the mode of he is Batman and Burt is Robin. If Burt was asked a question he would answer it then Adam would jump in with something to add because LOOK AT ME!! It was entertaining, but I'm not sure if it was entertaining in the way it was meant to be.

And then the highlight of the day, and it was really by accident that we got to do it. See they moved the Batman panel to right before another panel and since we were already in the room we could just stay. Not fight a crowd and a line, and oh boy was there a line because...well...
Stan Lee!

He is 91 years old. Does things his own damn way. Was late to the panel. Not as crazy as Adam West but about the same amount of ego, which is saying a lot. AND HOLY COW! STAN LEE! Okay, it was awesome. He might not have always stayed right on track with answering the questions he was asked but he had so many fun stories and just seemed to be having a great time. It was very cool. And did I mention, Stan Lee??

So would we do it again? Maybe. It was fun. It was crowded. It was expensive. It was crowded. Did I mention crowded? But it was cool. It was neat to see people who love something that much and were able to show it off a bit. And other than Vegas I think it was the only place I've ever been where I thought, Hmm...I might not be showing quite enough cleavage today.

Oh and I also got to show Brent who he beat out for my affections, the very first person I wanted to grow up to marry...and also possibly the reason why I found Spike's peroxide white hair so awesome...

Oh, still have it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Riddle me this Buzzfeed...

Okay, I admit it, I might have a problem. I have taken at least one goofy little Which/What/Who quiz every day this week.  I am Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chandler Bing, Regina George, Cinna and Tyrion Lannister and I should live in the fictional city of Rivendell. Try and find the uniting thread in all of those. I'll wait.

Yeah, me either. The only thing I have come up with is that I love to take silly little quizzes. Pick a color, pick a song, pick a quote and Ta Da! This is who you are! Out it spits a little blurb about why you are that person. And you can usually find something to say, okay, yeah. Though I felt really badly for the guy who go Joffrey because ouch...

Okay, anyway. So I've done all of these little quizzes plus a few in the past, what Disney princess are you for instance, though I totally game that one to get Belle because, well, Belle, so I don't really count that one as being honest. Which then makes me laugh because honest? Really? You are going to figure out which character I am most like in 10 questions? And on the Game of Thrones one, for example, one of the questions was "Your friends would describe you as...." well you'd really have to ask them wouldn't you? I know what I'd like my friends to describe me as, but I've been surprised in the past by what my friends really thought about me, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask.

For the character from Friends one, I could see Chandler and pretty much expected it to turn out that way. I mean could I be anymore like Chandler? But when I told Brent he said, "Nope, Phoebe." See what I mean about you have to ask other people what they see not what you think they see? For the record I haven't asked him which Game of Thrones character he thinks I should be because I'm not sure I want to know.

So what do I get out of these quizzes? They are fun. I like seeing what my friends get. I have a few on my list that I can almost guarantee their results because they are almost always the same as mine. And if they aren't the same as mine they are one I would have like to have gotten. I also like to see people who don't like what they get. Do you post it and say no way? Do you retake it until you get what you want? Do you laugh about how silly it all is? And how offended do you get when everyone who knows you agrees that yes, you are totally a Monica?

And I also got a quick blog out of it, which with seven, wait no 6 now, to go I will take all the help I can get!

Oh and as I put my list together I realized I had no idea what Harry Potter character I would be so I had to dash off to take a quiz. I was hoping for Fred or George but I got this instead:

Hmmm...I do have issues with authority, that's true.

But all in all I think I will stick with Tyrion. Because you just can't beat this:

Though I don't think my siblings will be too pleased with my choice.

Everybody all together...eeeeewwwww.....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Make up lessons...

Juliette leaned forward and looked at her face in the mirror. Then she leaned back. Turning from side to side to check from all angles. Then she smiled, "You are a miracle worker. You can't even see the bruise! And unless I turn and really look I don't even notice the swelling!"

Abby was packing her kit, "That's why I'm here. Have you ever thought about letting someone else handle your stunts? You know I can cover a bruise, I can mask some swelling but if you had broken your nose there would have been very little I could do to hide that."

Juliette smiled, "Yeah, maybe. My agent has been suggesting it more and more. But what is the fun in that? Playing an action hero and never getting to do any of the action? But I promise, I'll think about it. After this movie." And with that Juliette grinned her wicked grin that let Abby know she wouldn't think about it. Not for a second. She liked the adrenaline rush of jumping off of buildings and out of windows. She was the best known action star in America right now, let alone female action star, and she loved it.

"Okay, you need to go see Frank. He wanted to make sure your face will pass muster before he calls everyone back to set."

"Oh please, he knew it would be fine. You are the best after all!" As Juliette hopped out of the make up chair and started to head back to set a picture caught her eye. "I love this picture of your mother. She's one of the reasons I wanted to become an actress. She was always just so perfect, you know? Well of course you know. She was your mother."

Abby tucked the picture in to the top of her make up case where it normally stayed. "Thanks, she worked really hard and I think would be very flattered to know she inspired you. She was always liked a woman who could take care of herself."

Juliette grinned at the compliment. "All right, off to save the world. I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Yes, you will. And plan on about a half hour more. There will be more spread to the bruise tomorrow and some extra deep yellow. We are going to have to layer a few more colors in there to fully hide it."

"Genius. You are a genius."

Juliette left the trailer and Abby sat down in the chair for a minute. She pulled the picture of her mother back out and looked at it. It was a shot of her on the set of her biggest movie. She looked so glamorous. So happy. She was an award winning actress after all.

Abby was pretty sure she was the only one who would ever be able to pick out the subtle swelling on her mother's cheek bone. The dark space that looked like a shadow but Abby knew was the purple of a deep bruise. She had learned her trade on her mother's face. Helped her hide the bruises and the swelling. Making it so she could go to work everyday and face the world with that smile firmly in place.

She had learned how to act from her as well. Not to flinch when her father entered a room. Not to tell the truth to a producer or director about why her mother couldn't come in to work that day. She wasn't exaggerating when she told Juliette to be careful of her nose. Some injuries you just couldn't hide with make up. How to artfully dodge questions she just didn't want to answer. Like "Are the rumors true? Was your father drunk the night of the car accident?"

Her phone rang. Checking the caller id she sighed, "Hello, Raymond... No, I haven't changed my mind... I understand she has a photo shoot tomorrow and you don't want anyone to see her like this... Yes I know it's important to her to hide this right now... No that doesn't change my mind... Sorry, Raymond, you know my policy...No, Raymond, this isn't about money..Is she there? Let me talk to her...Of course she doesn't want to talk about it...Raymond, instead of trying to cover it up you need to let it out...If she ever wants to come forward give me a call. Let her know I will stand next to her at every interview and hold her hand...but I won't cover it up...No I won't change my mind...Fine, Raymond...Please tell my sister I love her and I hope she changes her mind as well."

As Abby hung up she was amazed once again at how they had each learned their lessons.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


When I was in the 5th grade we moved to the south valley in Albuquerque. The lot was 3/4 of an acre and the trailer park was right across the street from the railroad tracks and our lot backed up to an arroyo (ditch for those of you wondering). The south valley in Albuquerque doesn't have the best reputation for safety as well. So railroad tracks, ditch, bad neighborhood and I still spent most of my time outside. Like most kids did back then. Now I could (and have in the past) wax on about how I don't think the world was a safer place back then or a more dangerous one now. I just think we all worry more. With the connectivity we have and the 24 hour news cycle things are reported more that weren't before and we all focus on them. 

So anyway, one of the places I would go was an abandoned house site. My friend Evie and I found it one day while we were out exploring. The house was started but not ever finished. It had been planned to be a cinder-block house and something must have happened because they only got a few blocks high. But the whole house was laid out. You could see how big it would have been, where the rooms would have been, the fireplace, the front door. But then nothing more. Just a blueprint of cinder-block.

Evie and I speculated about that house the whole time we both lived in the neighborhood. Why would they start building and then stop? Being kids running out of money was never something we considered. It was always more dramatic. Someone died. They found a body while they were digging out the foundation. The place was haunted. We would walk the edge of the house, around the whole perimeter on the blocks discussing what went wrong. Or we would play make believe. The house became our house. No matter what we played, or how we played we would only hang out on the lot for awhile before deciding to go someplace else. It just wasn't somewhere to hang out for hours. Just for awhile. 

Someone dumped a Christmas tree on the lot. It still had tinsel all over it. We propped it up in the corner of what we decided was the living room. And we kept the tree up for months until one day we got there to play and it was gone. Which of course led to a whole new round of speculation, where did it go? Who would take a tree? Was it the people who started building the house? Were they going to start again? Was it the ghost? 

Evie moved away after our first year there and I only went and checked on the house a few times after that. Never staying long. Being there alone was a little too creepy. The last time was right before we moved a few years later. Still no movement on building the house. I remember walking the edge of the house like we used to do and then saying goodbye to the house and what ever it was that lived there. Because that's what I had settled on, the land didn't want to be built on. It put up with Evie and I as long as we didn't stay long. That's why after an hour or so of playing we always felt like we should go. The tree was too much like someone living there and that's why it disappeared. 

As I left the lot I didn't look back. I was pretty convinced that I might see something waving goodbye. I remember picking up speed, just a little bit, I didn't want to flat out run, but I also didn't want to stay any longer than I had to.

Every once in awhile I wonder about that house. If it ever got built. What other kids found the space and what they decided had happened.

And of course if the ghost missed Evie and I when we stopped coming around...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ten more days to go...

Trying to figure out what to write about today and the things that were pressing themselves forward I actually had no urge to write about so I was tapped. That's what happens when you try and fight with what your mind thinks it wants to write. It just shuts down on you and refuses to write anything. What I will end up doing is writing it all down tomorrow and not publishing it. Clear out the cobwebs and move it along.

But that still leaves me with today.

What about today?

So I decided I would run to the grocery store and pay super close attention to everything while I was gone and come back with an idea.

So how did it go?

Let's see what can I write about? I dropped off some mail in the box when I got there. Pick up time is 3:30 and the time I dropped it off? 3:30 Bingo! Of course I didn't see a mail truck anywhere around so I am guessing they were running late. Because if the were there early then that would suck for people who really needed to mail it today and knew pick up time was 3:30 right? Whatever...

Dropped off the latest bathing suit return at the UPS store. I have done so many returns between Christmas and swimsuit shopping that I hit the door now and the guy just says, "Dropping off?"

So maybe a deep insightful blog about...ummm...mail? Timing? Expectations? Nope, let's move on.

Pull in at the grocery store after navigating the crazy parking lot. Seriously people just don't much pay attention. It's always an adventure getting in and out without getting hit.
Even the dogs ignore you

So maybe a blog about crazy drivers? Nah...

I walk in and there is a sign at the door "Thank you for your patience during our remodel" It's like after all these years they don't even know me! I hate a remodel it means I will have to find everything again and pay attention when I shop instead of going on autopilot. Like I said I would today. Ah...well played, grocery store, well played.

So as I've been walking around today I've been favoring my left leg. I have a nasty bruise coming in and the crease in my jeans right where my knee bends keeps pressing on it. It's very tender. This morning when I first noticed it I couldn't figure out where it came from and then I finally did. I got it at the hockey game last night. I was climbing over the seat and my foot slipped in something wet. At the time I was more concerned with keeping my balance but thinking back that would have been where my leg hit the back of the seat. But it didn't bother me during the game. Because it's hockey and you don't stop for silly injuries during hockey...

Okay, on to looking at yogurt. I saw a commercial today for Yoplait Greek yogurt and it was "winning" all of these taste tests. Did you know that most of the time if you see something winning a taste test it's just because it's sweeter than the other thing? Pepsi will beat Coke in a quick sip challenge but not in sales. Because people consistently say Pepsi is too sweet. But we are programmed to like sweet things, fruits and such, for the quick hit of sugar. Evolution bitches...So anyway...I wanted to see how far up the ingredient list sugar is compared to the other yogurts. Really high. Oh and it's not Greek yogurt like strained and thick, it's "Greek" yogurt as in added corn starch and thickened that way. Ugh.

There is an announcement about some sale or another and the music comes back on. London Calling by The Clash. As the grocery store music. The Clash. London Calling. My rebel teenage self just freaked out a bit. Wow...

Okay, so on with the shopping. Lots of empty shelves as they are moving things. This is now in Aisle #2, This is now in Aisle #6. I only need a few things so haven't had to back track yet. And then I see it...I would have taken a picture of my face but you all know how bad I am a selfies...

Flavored. Like real chips. Who the hell do you think you are fooling?

Okay, well, shopping is done and I still have no deep insightful blog. Drive home don't fail me!

Listening to the 90s on 9 and Len's Steal My Sunshine comes on. My friend Dana had put out a request over the weekend about lyrics to songs that you wish you had written. There are actually two lines in this one that I love."I was lying on the grass on Sunday morning of last week indulging in my self defeat" and "and of course you can't become if you only say what you would have done" now these two lines are in the middle of a whole bunch of what the fuck stuff, but I love them anyway. Because how many times do we just sit around indulging in our failures instead of moving on? You all know how I feel about wallowing and guilt. And the line about about not becoming something if you only talk about it instead of doing it? Perfection really. I could probably spin a blog out of that....

Then I pulled in to our neighborhood and there is a Christmas tree on someone's back porch. I'm sure it is waiting to get tossed over for trash day on Friday but for now there is an old evergreen just hanging out on the porch. There is a story there somewhere. Or something like that. Trees in odd places? Old things waiting to be carted away? Dying on a back porch? Hmm...tuck that away for later.

Then in the garage and C+C Music Factory comes on. There are blogs in there. Looks and society. The woman in the video "singing" was not the woman who was singing. Freedom. What a name. The pressure to be named Freedom. Oh and sitting in your car listening to music that you own and can listen to anytime but you don't want to stop the song right then because if you do it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Gonna make you sweat till you bleed, is that dope enough? Indeed...

So what do I have to write about? Did I get anything good? Maybe the Len song. Maybe a fiction piece about whatever comes of the dead tree and maybe a piece on looks.

Or maybe a blog about what happens in your head when you are trying your hardest to find SOMETHING to write about.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blind spots and tunnel vision...

I can't do side plank crunches from my right side. 

Did you know we all have blind spots? The way the eye is designed we have a space that has no photo receptors and so we have a blind spot in what we are looking at. Now the brain being fills in the picture for us so we don't walk around with a black circle in the middle of our field of vision. It's not perfect and sometimes makes mistakes (there are some cool blind spot tests online you can do to see, or not see as the case may be, for yourself) but it does a really good job of making a picture whole so we don't even notice the blind spot most of the time.

The side planks happen about 15 minutes before the end of the work out. I have to use my left leg as leverage to get them done. I can do them on the left side, they are hard, but I can do them. On the right? Nothing.

Have you ever passed out? You know that moment right before it happens when everything starts to shut down? Your body knows it's going down and is shunting everything to your core and your vision goes gray around the edges. You end up with just a narrow field of vision. Tunnel vision. You can't see or notice anything around you except that narrow band. And then it either clears or you pass out.

Now at that point I'm already over an hour in to my workout. I've done my yoga, I've done a ton of arm workout and because it's Karen Voight I've already worked my abs in 5 other ways. And I know that after these side planks there is going to be another set of ab work that I can't make it all the way through as well. The side plank is like the warning shot to my ego that I am going to collapse in just a little bit in to a shaky, sweaty, pool of goo.

So between the blind spots that are always there and the tunnel vision that can creep up on you at anytime you aren't feeling your best it's kind of amazing we see as well as we do. And it's really amazing how much faith we put in to our clarity of vision. Even knowing we have blind spots and can suffer from tunnel vision we still believe what we are seeing is true.

It's incredibly frustrating. Couple that with the half pound I've gained in the past month of doing these workouts and I'm ready to toss the whole thing out the window. Oh and don't forget the added benefit of swimsuit shopping this past weekend and trying to fit my body in to the "standard" mold and finding that there is nothing "standard" about it. And...

Okay, you get the point right? Blind spots and tunnel vision. I get so focused on the side planks that I can't do that I forget to celebrate what I can do. For instance, this morning I switched my heavy weights from last week down to my light weights and picked up a set of heavier weights for my heavy ones. Bottom line, I'm stronger than I was. That last set of ab work I can't get through? I can get about 3/4 of the way there when three weeks ago I was at about 1/4. Even the dreaded side planks. I can "cheat" with my left leg as leverage. Couldn't do that three weeks ago. We get so focused on what we can't do, or want to do better we don't see what is really going on.

That's my arm post workout.  See those lines? Those are muscles. Look harder, they are there! Now it's only bent and not flexed because if I try and flex it right then it shakes like a bowl of jelly. The muscles are tired. But they are getting stronger. And that's what I need to think about the next time those damn side planks kick my ass. I'm getting stronger every day. And every time I fail at finishing that last set of abs it just means an opportunity to get them done next time. Or the time after that. How ever many times it takes to get it done. 

If I decide that I can't before I pay attention to what I can then I'm letting the blind spot and the tunnel vision rule my world. And who wants that? I'd rather fill in the blanks with what I want to see. So next time when I'm doing the side planks and they aren't going well I'm going to try my best to change that inner monologue from "And I STILL have 15 minutes to go!" to "Only 15 more minutes and then cool down. I'm almost done!" And eventually I will get to the point where I will reach the end and realize I did it all. 

Don't let your blind spots ruin your day today. Fill in your own blanks. Widen that tunnel vision and see something positive around the edges.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It was an itsy bitsy teeny weeny....

Swim suit shopping.

It's a phrase that can strike fear in the heart of the staunchest woman. Squeeze your body in to an elasticized tube then stand in front of a three way mirror under florescent lighting. Now imagine yourself having fun in that suit.

No really, try. As you look at your winter white skin now tinged a bit yellow because of the bad lighting, seeing yourself from angles you were never designed to see yourself from. Judging yourself more harshly than any one else ever would. Imagine how much fun it's going to be to wear it in public. Oh yay....

I'm 45. I know that once I am in my suit and in the ocean or at the pool or even hiking around the resort I won't really think much about how I look in it. But I still hate shopping for the new suit.

This time we added the difficulty curve of trying to shop off season. So the pickings in the store are slimmer. I think I tried on 4 in stores that were even in the realm of maybe. I've been ordering online. Reading reviews. Looking for the key words like "I'm busty and..." "Suit runs big/small/true to size" "Great coverage" "Too much cleavage" and along the way discovering that your "true to size great coverage" might very well translate to my "Oh my god I can't breath and I'm pretty sure I don't want to risk a sun burn on THAT part of my body!"

Yesterday's box was from Lands End. They have some really cute stuff. On the models online. Trying to wiggle in to the tops yesterday was an adventure. At one point I thought I was going to have to call Brent to rescue me. At least they were full coverage tops. Just not quite enough coverage for me.

Because right now the trend seems to be "Miracle Thinning!" Well that means super tight and pretty low cut. The longer neckline makes you look ummm...taller? Well with my figure super tight with a really low neckline makes me look (to channel my father for a minute) like 10 pounds of mud in a 5 pound sack. And if I were younger, and if I were a different person, then that might not be so terrible. But I want to swim. And snorkel. And wave jump. And go down the slide at the pool. And have the bar tender make eye contact when I place my order. So I keep looking. A few friends of mine with similar problems (blessings?) gave me suggestions. So I am trying again.

But I will find something. It might not be perfect but it will work.

And I will know that once it's on and I'm in the water I won't really care. Because...Hawaii!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I know a place...

Yesterday my picture of the day prompt was Tiny. I was stumped for most of the day. Tiny? I have a few totems that are a little small, but I've used them for other things. Tiny? Then when I was at the hockey game last night I put my hand in my pocket and Ta Da! I had my keys in there and on my key chain is a tiny little Colonel Sanders. Whew! I was saved. So since it took me so long yesterday to come up with something I figured I better get a head start on today. Checked the prompt and Happy Place...

I told Brent that it was too bad the hockey game was last night instead of Saturday because being at the game would work for my prompt. He asked what it was and when I told him he waggled his eyebrows at me in an exaggerated lascivious face and I laughed. Hmmm...maybe not. Then I said maybe shoe shopping? I need to get a new pair of shoes so that could be my happy place? He reminded me that though I love shoes I hate shopping. And he's right. So surrounded by shoes makes me happy on one hand and completely frustrated on the other if nothing fits. Hmmm....I would have to think about it.

Last night I dreamt that it was going to be really warm on the Coast so we decided to head out there. C was home so it was Brent, C and I. As we got closer to the beach there was snow drifting on the road. And then I looked out the window and there was snow on the beach. I was fine for a minute because I have always wanted to be at the Coast when it snowed. It doesn't happen a lot, the coastal range will get snow, but on the actual beach? Not as often. There was a good sized storm this fall and it looked very cool. So I was fine with it. Until I realized that I hadn't grabbed a coat. Or shoes. So there I sat in the front seat of the car looking out at the snowy beach wearing a sleeveless top with no coat or shoes. This wasn't going to go well.

Then the dream sort of shifted and we had stopped to help this family. Parents with two young kids and they were trying to take care of the baby and feed the toddler and the toddler was being stubborn. Brent told me to do them a favor and feed the toddler since I was good at that. So I did. After we got them all situated we headed over to our hotel room. Which was right on the beach. There was a cement courtyard that led to the sand and then the ocean. A storm started to pick up and the waves would come crashing right up in the courtyard. It was awesome. Brent, C and I watched and oohed and ahhed as the waves crashed, then I noticed a little store in the same area as the hotel and figured they would have shoes so I could go on the beach in the snow! And they had a picture of Mickey Mouse in the window so I took that as a sign I would find something great in the store.

I woke up. And I thought...oh right! The beach is my happy place.  And being helpful to people. That's my happy place. And Disney. Disney is my happy place as well. And being with the boys doing something we all enjoy. That is my happy place. Oh! And laughing, that's my happy place, right? A friend of mine added me to a group this week that is for comedy writers. Now I'm a comedy observer more than writer, but I love it. Someone will post a joke for feedback and they get some and they also get a lot of people riffing on that joke with jokes of their own. It makes me laugh. And laughing is my happy place.

And then I thought well I'm 50% happy anyway. And I tend to search out the 40% to make me 90% happy all of the time so maybe my happy place really is all of the places?

And I thought, that's it. My happy place can be where ever when ever. As long as there is a laugh to be had or something to be learned or friends or family or waves or Mickey Mouse or a good book or a warm fire or...well you get the point. I don't have just one happy place. I have all the places.

Which still leaves me with no picture for the day, but I did get a blog out of it and that makes me....

well you know.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January is a really long month...

I have nothing today. Brain is totally empty.

I probably should have picked February. I'd almost be done if it were February. As it is I'm only just past half way and I'm kind of stuck for ideas. Some days they just aren't there, you know? I could blame the insomnia of the past few nights. I've gotten super patchy sleep; like last night I fell asleep early, actually before I wanted to, and then was wide awake and sure it was time to get up at 1. One. Do you know how much night is left at one? And then, of course, fell back asleep around 5:30 when the alarm goes off at 6. And right when I was in the middle of a dream about David Coverdale leading a seminar called NFL Wealth. Just for former NFL players to invest their money, which was going on in the same ballroom as 5 other seminars that were all shouting over each other to be heard, Brent and I were there for idea what it was supposed to cover because we couldn't hear the speaker. We gave up and left when the NFL players started singing a Frat boy song and exchanging business cards...

I read some really funny things online today and some poignant ones as well to try and find some ideas. Okay, that's total bullshit. I read them, sure, but I wasn't thinking of my own blog and what I could write once I was inspired by them, I just thought I'd toss that in here to make it seem like I was doing it all for you. But I couldn't lie to you like that, not like that. In other ways, sure. I mean I write fiction so if I couldn't lie to you there wouldn't be very many stories on here would there?

We have hockey tonight so that's cool. It's been awhile since we've had a home game. Not sure if we will have the full team back tonight. The three that were away at World Juniors got to go home for a week since they missed Christmas with their families while they were in Sweden so not sure if they are back today or Sunday. We will miss them Sunday because we are staying home to watch the football game. It was actually a tough call because it's also the season ticket holders meeting after the game and I really want to hear what is going on with the city and renovations but this is a championship game and I really want to watch it without the score being ruined and since we can't be in two places at once football won out. And we have people who sit near us at the games who can fill us in on the meeting information so that will be fine.

I'm still waiting to get a few of the bathing suits I ordered online to try on to see if any of them fit. I got part of them this week. The bottoms to one fit but the top isn't here yet so right now I don't know if that will do me any good. The other bottoms and a pair of shorts I tried won't work. They fit my bottom which is great but leave a giant gap at the waist which really doesn't work for a swim suit. It's not like I can belt it and pretend right? But I can't find the shipping information for the other suits in my inbox. I know I really did order them because Brent mentioned seeing the charge come through on the credit card so I just have to guess that they are on their way. I really need to find a suit or two that fits before we go. I also really need to lock in our itinerary and get that finalized. Probably will do that tomorrow since Brent is pretty sure he will have to work. So that will be good to get done. My problem is I want to do everything, but I'm cheap and I only have so much time so I keep waffling on what to do and when.

The birds are going crazy at the feeder right now. It's sunny, which is nice in a way and really kind of the pits in another. I mean sunshine is always nice but we haven't been getting enough rain and that's going to come back to bite us in the ass this summer. And it's been colder than it normally is. I would  rather it were warmer and rainy than sunny and cold. That's just a waste. Sunshine but too cold to go out and enjoy it? And I mean, sure I could put on layers or whatever but I don't like being cold so I don't want to. If it's sunny I want it warm. If it's not going to be warm enough to sit in the sun it might as well rain. Anyway, I think the birds like the sunshine. Or they just like the free lunch from the feeder. But they make a terrible mess so I keep going back and forth on keeping the feeder. If we decide to sell this place it will go away for sure. Curb appeal doesn't usually include bird poop, you know?

I forgot to turn the buzzer on the dryer when I put the laundry in today, it got turned off last night because it was running when we went to bed and there is nothing worse than just getting to sleep and the buzzer going off. Anyway...I always forget to turn it back on. Just heard the washer quit, it sings, it's pretty cool. And realized that means the dryer has been done for awhile and now I'm going to have to touch up everything in it to get rid of the wrinkles. I swear I spend as much time re-drying clothes as I do drying them in the first place!

Thinking about buying a little stacking shelf thing for the pantry to put my spices on. I have a little lazy Susan right now in the cabinet but I have more spices than Susan room so I need a new solution. I'm thinking that might just work out fine. I was also thinking if I don't move that I might put some of my kitchen things in the basement. Like get a wire shelving rack and store my pots and pans there. Not sure if going up and down the stairs before I cook would bug me or not. But I have space there and no more space in the kitchen so that's an idea...

Okay laundry, Hawaii stuff and oh heck, what am I going to do about dinner? It's a Memorial game so I guess a picnic dinner in the car? Hmmm...

God I hate days when my brain is totally empty...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Deja vu all over again...

Danielle changed the station on the radio again. She swore every song on every station was some sort of power ballad about being strong after a break up. What she really wanted was a dance song. Something light and poppy. She tried one more time and as the chorus to "I Will Survive" came blasting out at her she yelled out loud.

"Seriously?? Every song? What the heck is going on?"

"I'm trying to get you to listen."

Danielle screamed a little and turned to look at the woman sitting in her previously empty passenger seat. 

"Eyes on the road, Danielle, we don't want to wreck the car."

"What the fuck? Who are you? Where did you come from? How do you know my name? Oh shit, did I fall asleep? Am I dreaming right now?"

"And this is part of our problem. You are asking a lot of questions without giving me any time to answer them. Don't you think one at a time would work better?"

"Our problem?"

"Okay, that's as good as any place to start. Yes, our problem. You, Danielle, are our problem. Specifically you don't listen."

Danielle had gone back to staring at her passenger instead of the road so she didn't notice she had drifted in to on coming traffic.

"And you don't pay attention." With a deep sigh and flick of her wrist Danielle's passenger moved the car back in to its own lane before an accident could happen.

"Oh holy crap! Are you my guardian angel? Is that what this is?"

"Not technically no. I am a Guide. Specifically I am your Guide's supervisor, and the past three Guides before him. This life line is my responsibility. And I'd like to move you along. But you really aren't making it easy for me."

"Whoa, okay, wait, what do you mean Guide? And life lines? And if we are going to keep talking, I go by Diamond now."

"Of course you do. And stop it."

Danielle looked over at the woman again, "Stop it?"

"Yes, stop it. Nobody takes you seriously with that name. Especially when they learn you have a perfectly good one and are choosing not to use it. Diamond? Seriously?"

"Yes, Diamond. I've had a hard life but all of the pressure has made me shine."

The woman rolled her eyes and sighed again. "Okay look, Danielle, we don't normally do this so consider yourself a special case and pay close attention. You need to learn your lessons so you can move on."

"What lessons? Move on where?"

"The lessons you are supposed to get from this life line. Look, most people get it in two or three go rounds. Sometimes it might take a fourth if it's a particularly tricky lesson, but were are working on your tenth here. Ten times, Danielle. And the life line you had before this one? It took you 12, though I am starting to think Michaela passed you along just to get rid of you. Do you know what the leading cause of early retirement is among Guides, Danielle? You. You burn out your Guides because you pay no attention to their hints and suggestions. When every song on the radio is about being fine after a break up then you need to pay attention to the fact that you should be breaking up with someone and you will be fine. Do you get it? When you drop a book three times and each time it opens to the same passage, read the passage!"

"Oh! Are you talking about reincarnation? Like past lives? So I've had like 22 past lives?"

"Not exactly. You've had three lives. With multiple attempts. Your first life didn't take that long, but to be fair most everyone gets through the first one in one try. You took three, but still not the worst. It wasn't until that second go round that we started to sense we had a problem brewing. Michaela brought you to the attention of our supervisors on your sixth try. The lesson wasn't complicated but it was almost like you were refusing to learn it. Kind of like this time."

"Oh, so it's like school? If you don't pass you don't move on? You just repeat the grade?"

"Yes, it's like that. Which would make you the equivalent of about a 30 year old first grader."

"Hey! That's not nice."

"It's not. But it's not inaccurate either. Look, this lesson is simple. You need to learn how to be okay on your own. With no boyfriend. No girlfriend. Just you. We've tried over and over to get you to this place. And you keep dating the wrong people and never letting them go. Let them go, Danielle."

"That's not fair, I've been without a boyfriend before. And I've never had a girlfriend so you obviously haven't been supervising very well."

"Not this time around. We tried girlfriends a few cycles ago. Thought maybe if we gave you some strong female role models it might help. It didn't. You got obsessive just the same. We almost had a second Melissa Etheridge on our hands. Too bad you don't sing. Anyway, you need to get this lesson done so you can move on. You really do have incredible lives to live. But you have to make it to them."

"Wait, so you already know what my next life is going to be? If it's in the future how is that possible? Actually how is living the same life over and over possible? Time moves on, right?"

"Time moves on. And time moves back. And time stands still. Time is a lot more complicated than you understand. You won't even be exposed to that until life 13 or 14. For now we just need you to be able to exist on your own. Be happy by yourself."

"I have been on my own. That's not fair. I've done it lots."

"Really? What did you do when you broke up with Larry?"

"I spent some time searching for myself."

"On Did you think that's where you were? And what did you do when you found Larry's profile?"

Danielle tossed her head and reached for the radio.

"You think ignoring me when I am sitting right here is as easy as ignoring your previous Guides? No, Danielle, not an option. You set up a fake profile and stalked him. You set up dates with him and then were surprised when he wasn't amused to find out his new potential girlfriend was the crazy bitch he just broke up with."


"No, hey. Crazy. You set up a fake account. You pretended to be someone else. You stalked him. Any of that sound sane to you? And what was happening in your life at the time otherwise? Do you remember? You had a job offer. But it would have meant moving. And you couldn't do that if there was still a chance with Larry." 

"He might have been the one."

"He wasn't. You know what would have happened if you had taken that job? If you had moved? You would have spent 6 months alone. All alone in a new city. Getting to know the city and learning that you are fine on your own. Then you would have met  the one and that would have set you on the path to finish this life. Six months, Danielle. That's all we were asking. Six months."

"But I didn't know that! I just knew that I couldn't leave, not right then. He really liked me."

"He really liked the girl you were pretending to be. Not you. Do you understand that? At all?"

"He should have given it one more shot. That's all I'm saying."

Another sigh from the passenger seat, "Fine. Tell me about the guy you are seeing now."

"Oh he's really great."

"Really great? Where is he right now? Didn't you have plans tonight?"

"Well, he had to cancel at the last minute for a work thing."

"A work thing? On a Saturday night? Last minute? And how many of these work things come up like this?"

"A few, sometimes. He's really busy. He has a lot of responsibility."

"He's a teller at a bank."

"But he's moving up."

"Banks close at 1 on Saturdays."

"He is taking on extra responsibility."

"You know he's seeing someone else right? I mean you know this? You have to know this."

"He's just busy."

"I'm telling you. He's seeing someone else. He doesn't even consider you someone he's dating anymore. He only calls you for sex. How are you not getting this?"

"You're just mean. How are you supposed to be a good Guide to anyone when you are just mean?"

"Because you don't listen. Did you know that we use your last life line as a teaching tool for our new Guides? What to do when a soul won't advance. That's all you, baby. And the really sad thing is we have great lines planned for you! Great ones! I know you  could eventually turn out wonderful. You have to. To scrap all of those lines would be a catastrophe. Trying to retrofit all of the others into new lines? The work involved. The back up of waiters."

"What do you mean scrap all of the other lines? You said I have incredible lives to live."

"As of right now you do. Right now they are all still in play. But if you can't make it out of this one we are going to rethink your time lines. There is a spark in there, Danielle, a really great one. You have it. I know it. I've seen it. You've felt it, but ignored it. But if you keep ignoring it. If you keep making the same mistakes we will end your line right now.

It's the greatest catastrophe a Guide can face. Usually it only happens when a life really goes bad. Which sometimes they do. But if you can't learn, if you can't grow? Then there is no point in using the resources on you anymore. We have waiters from time lines that were scrapped that we need to nurture as well."

"Wait, if you scrap me you have others that go as well?"

"Of course. You are all tied to each other. You are all learning lessons. In the early lives you can go in and out of time lines without much difference, but later? When the lessons are harder? Deeper? Then you are with specific people who need you to learn their lessons as much as you need them. If there is no more you then we have to figure out what to do with them. It's all very complicated. So you can see why I'm here. This is your last shot."

"So I have to be alone? I have to break up with Gary and just be alone? That's it? That will fix things?"

"Oh no, it's a little more complicated than that. You are going to have to try harder. Make different choices. Once I'm gone you won't remember meeting me. But what I'm hoping is that this talk will stick with you. That you will hold on to me telling you that great things are coming your way. And that you will know that life is short and you have to learn those lessons. Oh and don't call yourself Diamond."

And with that the woman faded away. Danielle watched her go. But she had been there, she knew she had, and it was important, she would make the changes she needed to. She really would. Starting with breaking up with Gary. As she reached for her cell phone her car drifted once again in to on coming traffic. 


"Eleventh time is the charm?"

"Let's hope so. Cue Danielle's birth in three, two, one....Go get 'em Danielle. I know you can do it."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That's the ist of it...

To my conservative and liberal libertarian friends I am a statist.
To my very conservative republican friends I am this close to an anarchist.
To my very liberal democratic friends I am probably a fascist.
To a few who read my blog yesterday I am a feminist.
To some who found out I didn't vote for Obama in the last election I am a racist.
To a different group because I voted for a woman I am a sexist.
To my vegan friends I am a speciesist.
To some my stance on not being too heavy or too thin means I am a sizist.
To my very religious friends I might as well be an atheist.
To my friends who do not believe in God they are pretty sure I'm a deist, possibly a theist.
To people who see how incredibly attractive my friends are I am a looksist.
To people I correct when they use those words wrong I am an elitist.
And for the rest you can just tack apologist on whatever you want and use that. She's a Clinton apologist. She's an American history apologist. She's a high heel boot apologist.

There are a lot of ists on that list. I'm getting pretty tired of most of them. And it's not just me getting the labels. I see it all the time now. If someone doesn't hold your exact same world view you tag them with an ist and consider it an insult. Even if it's not. I am a feminist, I do believe that women should be on equal footing with men, nothing wrong with that. Not just recently but always. I'm also a humanist. I believe that all people should be treated with kindness and compassion, not just the ones who share your gender. Or socioeconomic background. Or political views. Or race.

The ist phenomenon is lazy. It means you can't be bothered to find out what exactly your difference is with someone, or what exactly it is that is bothering you so you label and move along. Which is what is wrong with so much of our common discourse right now. Nobody wants to take the time to figure out how to find common ground when it is so much easier to tack an ist on it. Democrats wants healthcare for the poor? Well obviously they are socialists. Republicans don't want to talk about history when it comes to budget issues? Well what do you expect they are Bush apologists.

And then no one has to talk to each other they can just sit in their corners and ist at each other instead.


I'm not a complete statist. But I do believe that there is a role for government in society.  I don't think a central body should control every tiny thing, but I also don't believe that complete deregulation works. Just as there are good people and bad people in the world they are good companies and bad companies. Laws help us deal with the bad people, regulations help us with the bad companies. I think our problem right now is we have too much money in our political system for it to work properly. And of course the way to fix it and get the money out has to be passed by the very same people it's currently benefiting so...I try not to be a pessimist (my own ist label) where our current government is concerned but it's hard.

I didn't vote for Obama in the last election because I didn't like what he did with his first term. That's what you are supposed to do with politicians. Not this nonsense of debating where they were born or changing their religion. You just don't vote for them. You find someone else to vote for. Doesn't make me racist, sexist or a voter apologist. It just means I followed the procedure the way it was supposed to be followed. Which might make me an elitist.

I am an omnivore. If you decide that makes me a speciesist then okay. I will tuck that one in with feminist as labels that some people think are insulting but I can't really get bent about.

I am closer to a deist or a theist than an atheist. At times. Other times I'm really pretty sure I'm an atheist with a strong sense of family history. And then there are times when I'm pretty sure I believe in everything. What does that make me? And inclusionist?

Sizist and looksist? Maybe. I do think your size is related to your health and that there is a range you should be in to be your best. But I wouldn't set that for you. That's a health decision to be made with a professional not with me. I do have really attractive people around me and maybe that does make me a looksist. Or maybe I just happen to see what I find attractive about each person and focus on that and they aren't as good looking to you as they are to me? Nah, that's crazy. They really are that good looking. Oh! Instead of a looksist I'm an aesthetic.

But mostly I'm an optimist. Because right now I'm hoping that instead of picking apart my examples on what ists have been thrown my way you are considering your own ist tendencies. And you will be less quick to ist someone you disagree with and actually try and understand what they mean. And if you have common ground.

And if all else fails you will be less lazy with your insults and really search for one that fits!

But maybe that just makes me an idealist...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Don't blame me I was raised this way....

I'm not sure if it's my age or what has happened but I've been experiencing an uncomfortable world view shift lately. Uncomfortable because it's not in line with what I've believed for most of my life. And uncomfortable because I'm not in a place yet where I am sure what I believe or think on this subject anymore. So I will contradict myself on a daily basis in my own head. It's confusing enough up there without adding this to the mix. So what that means to you is a bumpy read today. Ready?

I was watching the Rose Parade a few weeks ago and was struck by something I've seen hundreds and hundreds of times and never thought much about. The high school bands were marching by in their dorky outfits with the tall hats and the uncomfortable looking jackets and then the flag corps girls would go by in their spandex and bra tops, if they were wearing that much, or basically the same as a bathing suit and boots. The float for the teams playing in the game went by with the cheerleaders, the guys in their pants and short sleeve shirts and the girls in their bra tops and mini skirts, I guess you can call it a mini skirt though if you have to wear bloomers does it keep counting as a skirt. And I thought, this is normal? Why is this normal? Why do we not even bat an eye at the fact that we dress our young girls in very little clothing and parade them (literally in this case) down the street?

Some of those high school girls could have been as young as 13 or 14. Dressed in next to nothing. And how proud their parents were to see them in the parade! Call the grandparents and all the friends! Same as the kids in the band, but they were fully clothed. Because, you know, there are boys in the band so we don't automatically undress them and make them wear next to nothing to hold our attention.

How do we expect to raise women who don't think a large part of their self worth is tied in to their sexuality when we are constantly proving otherwise? I mean constantly. That's the message we are hitting them with. And not just performers. Like our rock stars who have decided that the way to get attention is by adopting stripper culture in to their acts. Not just movie stars who are always a little more glamorous than the rest of us. When the "frump" really means puts on glasses and overalls, maybe puts their hair up in a messy ponytail.

And this is where it's tricky for me. I've always been of the mind that it's your choice to do what you want with your own body. I have a little more va va to my voom and I dress to accentuate it. If I don't I look a bit ridiculous. Like a child playing dress up in adult clothes, baggy stuff looks bad. But there are times when it's appropriate to show a lot of cleavage and times when it's not. And there are things I can't wear because I don't look cute in them, I look trashy, and when I am dressed in my tight jeans and form fitting shirt and my boots do I get to throw you shade because you just looked at me "like that?" And what message am I sending out to the girls I cross paths with every day? That even at 45 you better make sure you are still working it, because it's important?

And was it, is it really my choice?

And that's where I am struggling right now. It's your choice if you want to grow up to be a stripper. Or a beauty queen. Or just someone who always wears makeup and sexy clothes. Isn't it? Maybe not.

If I tell you that you can have any flavor of ice cream that you want but you only know that there is chocolate or vanilla in the world was it really your choice not to order rocky road? Sure, I said you could have what you wanted, I didn't tell you that it had to be chocolate or vanilla but if that's all you've ever seen?

As an adult I can explore the world through any number of venues and see all of the choices out there. All of the ways things can be different. But as a child? Your world view is pretty limited. Maybe not as much now with the internet, but most kids don't (and shouldn't) have free access to web surfing. And pictures aren't really the same as understanding differences. So I can look now and wonder why we think it's okay to parade our girls around in very little clothing and view it as wholesome family entertainment, but if an 8 year old girl sees it what is she seeing? Sparkles. And a parade. And fun.

So then you say, "Well it's your problem then, not ours." That's a common one you hear from the parents who have their 4 year olds in beauty contests. "If you see a sexualized person up here in the make-up, wig, teeth veneers, tight dress, shaking her booty to a song she shouldn't probably even be listening to, then that's on you!", I don't think so. I think it's on you. And on all of us that think this is normal. Or maybe just a shade past normal.

I grew up in a church that made me responsible for not only my own sexuality but also the boys around me. We were taught that we should dress modestly and act modestly so as not to "make" them have impure thoughts or actions. It was on us. Because well you know boys, they just can't help it. I thought it was bullshit. I still do. But even though at 15 I thought it was bullshit already it was ingrained in me enough that I didn't say anything when someone tried to rape me. So I wonder what sort of disservice we are doing to women from a really young age with the constant message that we are our looks? Even though I know I'm smart and funny and fabulous in a hundred different ways I still have a hard time leaving the house without makeup.

Brent and C will both tell me I don't need it. And they believe it. Because they are more liberated than I am. Brent was raised by a really strong woman as a role model and I like to believe so was C. But my mother in law and I both polish up and fancy out. "But do I look good" has been my rally cry for any number of situations. I can't bowl worth beans but do I look good when I'm doing it? Then fine. I can't shoot a basket, but do I look good on the court? It's heavily ingrained.

So much so that people don't notice all of the ways it is normal. Talk to a large majority of men around you and they will say that inequality isn't an issue. Because they treat women as equals. And they don't even realize that they don't. When they are at the hockey game watching their team play and the Ice Girls come out to clear the ice on dead puck plays. You are sitting there with your son and your daughter and he is seeing professional hockey players in full gear who are getting cheered for their athletics and she is seeing women in tiny little outfits cleaning up after them...

So then we are back to nobody forced those women to take those jobs. But she's been told since she was born that this is something to aspire to. That she should WANT to be an Ice Girl. Because, well, pretty.

Now there are going to be people who try to point out the ways that we send bad messages to our boys as well, and yes, there is that, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking completely and totally about the constant barrage of "be pretty" "wear little" "act sexy" messages we send to our girls. You know why Magic Mike got so much buzz? Because the guys were stripping. Name another movie where that happens? Oh you've got one? Let me guess The Full Monty. Now do another...oh are you stumped? But women stripping? The movie doesn't even have to be about strippers. Hell, the you can see it on prime-time TV show doesn't. You need to find the bad guy? Where else would you look besides a strip club? And this is so normal you don't even notice anymore. That's why it's a big deal when a movie that strictly treats men as sex objects comes out. Because that's not normal. But to shock you with a woman? Man, I'm not even sure anymore what that would take...

No I have no answers. And I'm not even sure if I've settled on exactly what the problem is.  But I'm starting to notice more. And I'm not really comfortable with what I'm seeing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Checking in....

Alright we are a couple of weeks in to January so how is it going? Everyone still sticking with those resolutions? Have you quit smoking, cussing, drinking soda, lost 20 pounds, called your mother and written the next great novel? No? Are you at least still working on it all?

Since I gave you a list of things I was working on I figured I'd give you the quick update today. About half way through, it's a Monday and it gives me time to decide if the other blog in my head is a one off or a two

The blog a day in January I think you all can figure out has gone well so far. Sundays are the hardest day to make sure I get one done. Both Sundays have been down to the wire trying to think about what I am going to write. For whatever reason those aren't super contemplative days for me. Probably because all of my mental energy has been used up focusing on helping the 49ers win. What? You think they are doing it based on the men on the field and not the crazy fans watching doing their rituals? You just don't understand sports at all...

Anyway...thirteen days in to January and here we go with blog number 13. So big check mark there for me!

Pull-ups. Or as they are now to be called chin-ups. Because I have a large contingent of parent's of young children on my friend list and for them pull-ups are training pants. So when I post about how well I'm doing with my pull-ups they all start humming "I'm a big girl now!" and it's all over. And technically, even though the Marines say they totally count, the fact that I am doing them underhanded means they really are chin-ups. Okay, so after all of that, how am I doing? Well...I'm officially as fit a a female Marine right now. But only because they rolled back the requirements to the 15 second bent arm hang and I can do that. As far as actual chin-ups go? I swear I moved about 3 centimeters last week from a straight arm position so I'm crushing it.

Also I have this thing now. I ordered it last week and used it for the first time today. It turns my chin-up bar into an assisted one like they have at the gym. Sometime this week I will figure out the math on exactly how much assistance I am currently getting, but the specifics aren't that important to me right now. What is important is that with this thing I can do 5ish chin-ups. Three really beautiful ones. One kind of slow one and one oh holy shit just an inch more and I will make it one. My plan is to lower the strap (lowering the amount of help) when I get to the point where I can do 5 beautiful chin-ups. Progress without as much frustration is the plan. And as I have still given myself 6 months to complete this challenge I'm feeling pretty good about my progress even though it's been slow.

Going back to my Spanish lessons was another goal for the current cycle. And...

Oh! I also had the smaller goals like making sure I did the things I love to do. Like color; did it and even blogged about it so it was a twofer goal. And travel. Trip to Hawaii booked and I've been making and remaking plans for that to make sure that week is jam packed with extraordinary things. And we have gone and looked at a few houses so we are still in the debating cycle for the moving decision. And I cleaned the house and will again. And I took a day to sit on the couch and watch movies on Netflix when I was sick. And...

Okay, so I haven't started the Spanish yet. I will. Or I will figure out that it's a nice idea of mine but not something I am willing to actually put the work in to doing. Like it's a nice idea of mine to eat only locally grown healthy foods. But it's not something I will do all of the time. Because, Snickers.

So that's where I am right now with my current list of goals. How about you? Are you making the progress you want to be making? Are you figuring out that maybe a goal you set for yourself is more of a good idea than a thing you really want to do? Or have your original goals set in motion other goals, or changed them? For instance I was in the middle of working through all of my workout DVDs. I tend to do the same ones over and over and I own quite a few, so in December I started going through them and sorting them as I did the workout, ones I enjoy, ones I never want to do again. But the Hawaii trip made fitness a little more concrete of a goal than experimentation. I'm going to be in a bathing suit in three weeks instead of summer clothes in six months! So that little mini project shifted due to the trip. Now I'm more focused on getting a decent workout in 5 days a week as well as my chin-ups. When we get back from Hawaii I will go back to sorting, but for now Zumba and Karen Voight are my pals. Well as much as Karen is ever my pal. I'm pretty sure she hates me...


For those of you still working towards goals, good luck! For those of you that have figured out your first round of goals weren't the right ones, good for you! Now just pick new ones. And for those of you that have nothing you are working toward right now, why not?