Wednesday, December 22, 2004

5.45 hour commute

So, needless to say, I joined the ranks of the idiot drivers on the road this afternoon, slowly making my home. And in lieu of bitching and complaining, I'm going to thank everyone that helped me as I will never have another opportunity:

To the lady that crawled under my car to attach a chain and pulled my Jeep up a hill with her giant 4x4 diesel truck, to the man that pushed my car out of a rut on Markham, to the man that let me pee in his house when I ran off the road into his yard, to the woman who took me back to her house, fed me cookies and coffee, gave me warm dry socks and a pair of waterproof snow boots, to the couple that hitched a ride and ended up pushing my car a half dozen times, to that same guy that let me pee in house for bracing the snow and ice to help me and others by pushing my car up a hill and wishing me a merry christmas, to the gentleman who got out his Lexus SUV to push my car around the corner and onto University Ave, to the guy on skis on Kavanaugh for taking off his skis and pushing my car across the intersection and to my mother, who was the first person I talked to once I got cell service on my way home and listened to me scream obscenities and cry like a four-year-old when it took me 11 tries to get up the St. Charles hill and onto Nappa Valley....

To everyone that helped or got out of the way of a scared-shitless girl driving a (unfortunately) rear-wheel drive black Jeep that insisted upon fishtailing, spinning wheels and backsliding at every opportunity, THANK YOU, BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER.

I hope Santa brings them everything thing they want and then some. :)

I'm just glad I'm home, all my limbs are attached, and I live within walking distance of US Pizza, Kroger and a liqour store. Whoo hoo!


Monday, December 20, 2004

She's got skills (or not)

After the brilliant turkey-cooking for Faux Thanksgiving, I figured I was a certified kitchen goddess. Because, naturally, if one has the skills to make a giant turkey, one has the skills to cook anything else one's heart my desire.

So tonight I tried my hand at chicken and dumplings.

My mother left a small chicken in the freezer a couple of weeks ago when she came up to visit my poor sickly mono-infested little brother. So in lieu of spending my non-existent funds on a deep-fried grease-marinated slab of beef, I decided I would make some good ol' home cooked food.

First, I took the chicken out of the freezer. It was wrapped in plastic, so I pulled off what I could and sawed off the bits that stuck on. Then I found a large pot and filled it halfway with water, slicing up onions and celery to flavor the broth. Then I put the rock of a chicken into the pan, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and covered it with a lid.

One hour later it still seemed a bit frosty and crunchy when I shoved a fork in the side, so I decided that it probably needed to cook at little bit more.

Another hour later and the fork test is still not going well. Random pieces appear to be cooked and succulent. Other pieces appear to be... not so cooked. And slightly oozey.

Another half an hour later (all whilst my stomach is munching happily on my spleen) and the chicken is exuding an offbeat sort of odor. Sort of a burnt chicken-ass smell.

So I remove the chicken and place it on a cookie sheet. I pull off what pieces seem to be cooked and place them back in the broth. I then make the dumplings.

A more apt word has never been found to describe these dumplings. 'Dumplings' pretty much covers it. I don't think I added enough milk. Or maybe I didn't cook them right. Some were deliciously light and fluffy.. albeit flavored with sketchy burnt chicken broth. Others were mushy and gooey and just plain weird.

Overall: I suck. and not in a good way.

In retrospect, the chicken should probably not have been a giant block of ice when I started cooking it. And I probably should have added more water when the water boiled down to a dark brown substance. Maybe I shouldn't have started with something so complicated. I'm going back to the basics: Rice a Roni, Ramen noodles and indivudually frozen, microwaveable chicken breast strips. Can't go wrong.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Blurp

Today was a beautiful (if cold) day. I spent it finishing up a book, reading another one and sleeping. A lot.

Was completely unable to function outside of the realm of my feather mattress until I made a run to Nu Fun Ree, the chinese food place around the corner. Granted, I could have walked. Possibly might have counter-acted the order of cheese wontons I ate-- but what would've been the fun in that? So I rolled my shady-looking self into the car and drove 6 blocks to place an order for broccoli chicken and cheese wontons. And then drove six blocks back home (thanking the good Lord all the way that I had not run into anyone I knew), plopped my ass on my brother's 70's era brown velour couch and inhaled a good 40,000 calories in chinese food. But boy was it yummy.

And now I'm confined to the house for the night as I have no plans of making myself look even moderately attractive i.e. bathing, brushing hair, finding clothes that match, etc.

No telling when I'll get to sleep tonight as I spent most of the day in a comatose or semi-comatose state. I did have some vaguely interesting dreams though. Not sure if it's the whole sleeping during the daytime thing or if the vitamis I've been taking are messing with my neurotransmitters... but here's a quick rundown:

1) Dreamed I was at the office Christmas party, dressed in jeans, a black t-shirt and a piece of gold sparkalie cloth wrapped around my waist, sarong-like. The cloth I actually bought last night at Hobby Lobby, unable to resist the glinting-loveliness of it. So I know where that idea came from. But in the dream everyone was dressed up in cocktail outfits, tuxedos and the like. I was unconcerned that I was dressed in some weird get-up, eating mini shrimp and drinking champagne cocktails. I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and saw that I was wearing shiny red antlers on my head (very Bridget Jones-esque). Though there was no karaoke machine to emabarras myself on, I did do a back-handspring after there was talk of having a gymnastic competition...... WTF? Gymnastic competition at office Xmas party? Am I on crack? My co-workers seemed somewhat impressed with my skills until some girl (completely unrecognizable) did some fancy schmancy Olympic-like routine and ended up sitting cross-legged in the chadelier three stories above us. ??????

2) Dreamed was driving around my neighborhood with Kasi in the passenger seat trying to force me to listen to some obscure band and in mid-argument over the CD player, I ran over my Dillards friend. As in, ran over him with my CAR. Felt the bump and EVERYTHING. So I get out of my car and he's lying directly under the vehicle, untouched by any of the wheels. But he sho' wasn't movin'. Scared to death, Kasi and I pull him out from under the car and get him on one of those rolly cart things that mechanics slide under your car on. Where the rolly thing came from, I have no idea. But anyway, no one thinks to call the ambulance and eventually we're all on rolly cart things careening down the hill. ?????

3) Dreamed I was on the doctors table and there were tons of doctors standing around, all dressed in white, all very sterile. On the outskirts of the doctors are lots of random people I know-- mostly kids from when I lived in Mississippi that I haven't seen in years, a couple of girls from college classes that I never liked and even that random guy that I went on a date with a couple of months ago- the Volvo guy that was wearing weird underoos. So anyway, one of them says, "We're going to have to remove them." I start screaming in my head but I can't get any words out. Then, wham bam thank ya mam, someone's holding MY OVARIES up under a light and saying "yep, it's a good thing we got those out." WTF were people doing with my ovaries? Leave that shit alone, assholes! Very strange dream.....

Yeah. So that was my day. I'm a little disturbed by the above dreams and the ones I didn't right down but are still bumbling around in my head like a bad acid trip. Not that I've ever done acid. I'm just assuming. Anyway. Going to go find something productive to do until Desperate Housewives comes on. Yippety do dah.

Office quote of the day: "Damn it feels good to be a gangsta."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Is that drool on your chin or are you just happy to see me?

Okay. Just saw the video for "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers. I have to say--- Mr. Leadsinger is quite tasty. Totally digging the eyeliner. Mentally fanning self. Wow.
Not normally a fan of dark-haired bad boys. WAIT. (laughter) I'm ALWAYS a fan of dark-haired bad boys. With the exception of ex-Evan and ex-Luke (reddish and blondish hair, respectively) they've all been dark-haired drug dealers, OCD-sufferers, fuckwits, liars, cheaters, etc. Bitter much?
Well, shit. Just finished googling Brandon Flowers, the lead singer. Turns out he's engaged and Mormon. Not very concerned with the engaged thing. I can still lust from afar and flirt atrociously. But Mormon? Had one of those. I'll pass.
Oh well. Will just have to find a new object of my lust.
Am trying to implement new program where objects of lust are not married, engaged or otherwise occupied. Though this takes them out of the objects of lust category. No longer objects if have to actually consider meaningful flirting. Totally safe to drool over ones who will never glance in my direction. May have to go to desperate measures. Have to bring home/be able to talk about a boy when I go home for Christmas. Much discussion in family concerning my sexual preference.

Prefer: boys

And yet... my extended family all think I'm a lezzy. Super. Short of having sex in front of those who have found themselves genetically related to me, I'm not sure how to correct this problem.

Oh well.

Will try to forget The Killers leadsinger is Mormon. Note: Mormon = NOT a turn-on


If I were a rich girl, na na na na na na na na na na na........

I have $16.88 in my checking account.

This is not good.

I got a fortune cookie at Jasmine's the other night (a lovely meal purchased with my fabulous credit card)-- inside the fortune cookie was, per usual, a fortune.

This one:
"You will soon come into a fortune."

You'll forgive me for being overly analytical, but I'm sure they mean a monetary fortune, right? Not a fortune of love, a fortune of macaroni and cheese, a fortune of bad luck, a fortune of household cleaning supplies... But a fortune. A real one. Money. Moo-la. Dough. Greenbacks.

What I have to do to get this fortune is unclear. It's also unclear how soon the "soon" in the fortune cookie is suggesting. Tomorrow? Next Saturday? On my 30th birthday? In the scheme of eternity, "soon" could mean 50 years from now or, if it's being really obtuse, it could be referring to my genetic makeup, passed along in percentages throughout the future, ending at some great-great-great-great grandchild who carries a small bit of my DNA so graciously passed on to the following generations.

Ugh.

Will spend this evening thinking of money-making schemes. Viable ones. Possibly stripping? No.... I'm pretty sure no one wants to see me in pasties. Selling crack? No, much too easy for me to get caught. And go to jail. Besides, as Whitney Houston says, "Crack is whack." Ummmmm I could waitress. WAIT. I'm sorry. I must have been momentarily blinded by checking account depletion. I hate people. I would get fired as soon as I told someone they could get their own ass up and fetch the ketchup bottle. Thinking..... thinking...... I could sell my cats for scientific research. But I might miss them later. Thinking some more.... and still thinking..... yeah. Can't think of anything. I'd sell my car but then I couldn't drive to work and then I wouldn't have ANY income. I have no jewelry. No trust funds. Oh, to be a trust fund baby. I swear I would have turned out well-adjusted and not overly creepy, clingy and whiny.

Thoughts, anyone?

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Brave

My prayer I say 100 times a day:

Dear Lord, I beg you to bring my friends home safely.
Please don't send them back into peril. Please God, keep them home, send them home, make them whole. Let their wives see a face untroubled by grief, death, despair and anguish. Let their children learn their names in truth and not in abstract. Let their families hug their strong bodies and kiss their gaunt cheeks. Let their friends hold them tight and never let them go.

I bring this up only because I got a phone call from a friend today. Tom-one of my high school pack -and the only one not serving overseas. Everytime he rings I can never bring myself to pick up on the first call. I always hit ignore on my phone. And I sit, terrified beyond all possible belief that someone isn't coming home.

You have to understand, first of all, that the five of us were like the three-plus stooges on crack. Matt-- the beautiful one who insisted on pushing everyone for an extra mile on the run and by my side at every turn. Randall--the sweet one who was always a pushover if a pretty girl showed him affection but the first one to stand up for anyone he cared about. Tom-- the smart one who reined in all of us when we got too rowdy-- preaching strength, determination and always full of faith in everyone around him. Josh-- a year younger than the rest of us but the one that always had a plan. A plan for the weekend, a plan for the summer, a plan for buying a jacuzzi... And me, the one strange girl in the group, loving the friendship of these boys and playing mom, sister and confidante for all manner of raging male eccentricities.

Today there came news of Josh. Josh was in Baghdad. He was sent to an undisclosed location after an "accident" and is now, or so we hear, on his way to the States for more treatment. We know only that it's been 3 months since he was injured and very few people can give us information. Very few people knew he was injured until a few days ago. Me included. We know he was in the way of a large explosion. We know he's lost a lot of hearing, permanent or not, we don't know. We know, however crude this may sound, that his head is not whole. He received a purple heart. He 'was severely injured but recovering.' A lot of his fellow soldiers were killed.

My stomach clenches in knots everytime I think about him. Any of them. But dammit. I chose these boys. I'm selfish and I can't for one second think of being any other way. I've watched these boys grow up. I saw them when they thought jumping into a lake in the middle of January was a good idea. I helped shave heads, chests, backs and legs for various swim meets. I slept crammed in tents with them when we still thought sleeping on the ground was a good idea. They didn't bat an eye when I bawled unattractively over the first boy to screw me over. They got even.

I can't think what's happened to him. I know they're all scared. They'll never admit it. But they are. I hope and pray that Josh isn't alone. That he's got a friend with him. I pray that he's safe. That he doesn't hurt. That he'll be alright.

And finally, my irrational rant at our (in my opinion) unfortunately chosen leader:
I will see you in hell you beady eyed fuck-up. I challenge you to spend 1day doing what your soldiers do-- day in and day out. Come back to your barracks after being out in the field only to find a mortar shell that landed three feet beside your bed. Pick up the arms, legs, and recognizable pieces of your friends so there is something to put in baggies and ship home. Carry around packs that outweigh you. Exist on 6 MRE's a week. Be so covered in dust you're not sure you remember what it feels like to be clean. Be away from your newborn son, whom you've never seen. Send emails to your wife, your mother, your father, your friends. Tell them about the the death you've become so immune to you pray, not for forgiveness, but to be able to feel. Anything. Tell your friends what it was like when you killed your first living soul. And your second. And your third. You tell your friends because you're afraid that your wife would never look at you the same and your mother would die of fear. Do THAT for one day. And I MIGHT listen to your ignorantly conceived speeches and watch your arrogantly smug smiles. Fuck abortion. Fuck taxes. Fuck social security. Fuck the environment. You bring my friends home you fucking bastard.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

This Week:

1) Kasi made a misguided attempt to dye her hair red. Kasi is a natural blonde with lots of chemical blond. Done correctly, her pixie-cut blonde hair makes her look like a wide-eyed translucent-skinned beautiful elf. The red hair decision was an attempt that all girls make at times (chop off hair, dye different color, change clothing sytle,etc) to improve their mood. The first attempt found her stumbling down her stairs with eyes full of tears, pulling her hair up away from her head as if to pull off the dye. The dye had, very unfortunately, settled onto her highlighted pieces as sort of a bozo the clown-esque neon orange. The natural parts of her hair were a not-so-subtle James and the Giant Peach-esque color. Very bizarre. Three boxes of hair dye later and we've got an interesting strawberry blond color.

2) Spent five very peaceful lunch hours sitting in my car reading my books. Parking lots are not generally a source of calm for me... but I park way up on the hill so I've got a view of actual trees and nature and shit. Nice breezes, though chilly. And most importantly, no noise or strangers attempting to make useless and aggravating conversation with me. :)

3) Have not made decision on new job. Am trying to be calm, rational and mature and not make rash decision. Seems bearable. Trying not to get hopes up or down and be ambivalent. This way I can neither be disapointed or elated. I am my own Zoloft.

4) Had mild episode in car driving home from work on Friday. Ended up with hives. Per usual. Thank God they went away by Saturday morning.

5) Went to my old college roommates graduation on Saturday. Six and a half years later.... and the girl finally managed to get outta school. ;) Spent the day frolicking about Conway. Found 2 bras in my size (YAY!!! This NEVER happens!!) that were 50% off at one of the random new strip malls that have sprung up out of NOWHERE. Also bought two sparkalie pins that I'm going to pin on my winter coat. Sat around Crystal's house... finally dawned on me that she's MARRIED and the guy that's been hanging around her for 6 years is, in fact, her husband. Very odd. Played with Marci's precious 7-month-old. Briefly re-thought ideas on having kids... then the baby started crying and I started to twitch and realized I am YEARS away from making any kind of decision about having kids. Currently standing firm on being a fabulous Auntie but a deranged Mother.

6) Threw up in the new Mr. Stir Fry in Conway-- previously Taco Express. No likey the bathrooms there. People with ulcers need to be able to vomit in relative cleanliness. Holy Crapola. Listen to me. I am an 80-year old woman. "My ulcers hurt. I get hives. My back hurts. My knees ache when it rains." Next thing you know I'll be buying Metamucil by the case and filing corns off my feet.

7) Volunteered to go to church tomorrow. Okay. I can do this. I can be this person. The person that finds a place of worship that fits my theology as close as possible, has good people and good sermons. Have not done well with this in the past. Ugh. BUT... in my attempt to make things better, I have decided to compile a list of things that I am going to change. And this is one of the things on it. So I'm going to try.

8) Found out my brother has mono. Sweet.

I'm sleepy. I'm sure there were other moderately interesting things that happened. These things really aren't interesting. I'm just delirious with lack of sleep and seek to amuse myself in any way possible. This may also include tying the cats up by their tails as I just heard a very unpleasant crash-like noise from upstairs. Shit. Going to go lay down on my bed with my newly purchased feather mattress (thank you, credit card), down comforter, soft sheets (rigorously bleached-- i love that smell) and warm fuzzy kitties by my feet.

Hago muchas cosas extra├▒as para guardar de ir insano. Pero espero que esto me ayude.


Monday, December 06, 2004

New Job Update and Observations

1) I busted-- and I mean BUSTED-- my ass in the office parking lot at 7:55 this morning. I don't know how this shit happens. I really don't.
2) There is a lady in my department that is a little obsessed with her cats. I'm afraid this is what I'll turn into. The frumpy cat lady who smells just a touch like kitty litter who keeps pictures of her precious cats on her desk instead of pictures of humans. And wears sweaters that celebrate the holidays. And has an ass that moves independently of her body. PLEASE. I BEG of you people. WARN ME when I am close to becoming the frumpy cat lady.
3) My boss seems genuinely nice.
4) Cubicle land is not as scary as I thought. At least my desk is close to the window. If all else fails, we're only on the fourth floor. I'm sure I could make it if I had to jump.
5) West Little Rock traffic does not make me happy. I will be happy to get on the 11-8 schedule.
6) My department "buddy" has a really strong cone-try accent. But he seems reasonably well adjusted. Will withold judgment for the time being. :)
7) I do not get paid for a LONG TIME. God Bless Credit Cards.
8) I wore a gold sequin belt for flair.
9) There is a cafeteria inside the building. This is a novel idea. You could eat three meals a day there and never have to leave the office. Leads to much productivity, I'm sure. It kinda smells weird though. Like there's too many foods all together and the walls absorb the foods. Gobble Gobble.
10) and finally, though I did not see my Dillards friend today, I whole-heartedly agree with the description "eyes-glaze over" in reference to the power point presentations. But, coming from experience, I am sincerely glad this place provides training, however boring it may be. Though I'm sure I'll be eating those words in a few days.

Word of the day describing cubicle land: peculiar

Sunday, December 05, 2004

New Job Starts Tomorrow

Okay. Let's just say I hate first days. Really hate them. As in would sooner insert my finger into a cat's butt than have a first day, a first date, a first conversation, a first ANYTHING.
Why?
Because I was tramatized at a young age. Really terrifying, to be honest. Scarred me for life...

So, here's me in fourth grade: Taller than all the boys, boobs busting out of the 'trainer' bras mum got me at the end of the summer. I've already spent 6 weeks in the slow kids class while the bustling state of Mississippi attempts to read my transcript certifying that I am not, in fact, a 'slow learner.' So finally, after the administration spent weeks of deciphering what must have been SUPER difficult English on my transcript, they put me in the smart kids class. (This being Mississippi, the smart kids class consisted of anyone that could read a few words, recite the alphabet and anyone who happened to be over the age of ten. I mean, if you've failed the fourth grade a few times, you should OBVIOUSLY know what you're doing by now, right?)

Anyway, moving along. They hadn't warned me or my parents about the switch so I wasn't even remotely prepared when they came to take me out of the slow kids trailer. See, the slow kids didn't get actual classrooms. They get trailers. On cement blocks. With plywood for stairs. Super. Yeah. So I obviously had not had time to plan my first day outfit. Something truly necessary to all of the female race. We get up extra early on first days to make sure the hair is perfect, the clothes are pressed and the car has gas. Or, in the case of a 9-year-old, make sure the hair is sprayed into a giant permed matzo ball, the jeans are tightrolled tight enough to cut off circulation to lower extremities and Mom knows to drop you off a block away from school so you can walk in with the cool kids.

But instead, they caught me on a day when Mom had made me brush my perm. Which you are NEVER supposed to do. It destroys the curl. Tragedy, I know. But she made me brush it. Said hair had to be brushed at some point and that mine was starting to look like a rat's nest with bangs. So my hair was frizzy and I had left my pony-tail holder in the car. (The remedy to a bad hair day is always a pony-tail.) I was wearing a pink jumpsuit with a fuzzy dog on the front that had a zipper right between his eyes for a pocket. I HATED this outfit. In fact, I hadn't worn it all school year and, along with the mandatory brushing that morning, Mom had told me I had to wear the pink jumpsuit because she'd spent $40 on it this summer after I'd begged her to buy it. I told Mom that the pink jumpsuit just wasn't COOL in Mississippi like it had been in Texas. All the other girls at Wake Village Elementary had had one of those jumpsuits... But at McLaurin Elementary, all the girls wore tight-rolled jeans. Never jumpsuits. So I've got frizzy hair (big surprise), a really unattractive --and unflattering, I might add-- pink jumpsuit and I'm carrying my pencil holder I had made at home over the weekend. The slow learners had thought I was cool for being so crafty--so I had brought a new pencil holder to school that morning to replace the one I had given to Danielle, my friend in the trailer class. The pencil holder was a can that I had pasted dog ears on and made a three-dimensional nose to glue on the front. It had googly-eyes and a tongue that hung down the bottom. It was bitchin.

So anyway, I get ushered into my new class first thing in the morning. The cutest boy in the class laughed at the dog on my jumpsuit. Started barking. REAL mature... :) All the other girls had sleek blond hair with sprayed bangs. Not permed hair with sprayed bangs. No one had crafty pencil holders. And no one had boobs. Which was unfortunately and painfully obvious as the jumper ended right below my boob line, acting sort of like a lifter for the girls.

The day passes by... I'm shunned at lunch. I don't have any books so I have to share with the 11-year-old girl who's like six feet tall and has a lovely aroma. Eau de Unbathed.

And then. In the last class of the day. I get my period. As in the things 9-year-old girls don't get. As in the thing that Mom hasn't even thought to have 'the conversation' with me about, being as I'm 9-years-old. I don't have the slightest clue what's going on. All I know is something very funny is going on DOWN THERE. So I get up out of my chair when the last bell rings. And the cute boy who barked at my outfit that morning starts screaming that I'm bleeding. All the kids lean in closer, cuz there's nothing cooler than having the new girl bleed. Blood on the chair, blood on my--suddenly very pale-- pink pants.

So the teacher comes over and says, "Ya'll shut up. Ain't nothing to scream over. Ya'lls get on out the door to ya'lls buses. This one here just started her period, that's all."

That's all. Just announce it to everyone. Thanks Mrs. Smith. I see that jerry-curl has done wonders for you.

Anyway. So that's my story. ;) Sad, ain't it?

If anyone sees me on my way to West Little Rock in the morning and I suddenly veer off the road... rest assured, it's only to vomit. Happens every first day.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Dear Fabius,

As always, your letter was received with great pomp and circumstance. My butler Gerome handed it to me but a scant minute ago. I did feel I should immediately respond as you seemed so concerned for my well-being.

To begin, I hope my previous correspondence did not lead you astray. The thoughts that inhabit one’s head do not necessarily jump clearly from pen to paper. I’m sorry if I led you to believe I had no faith in Jesus. For I do. He was a great man, a marvelous man and a man that has inspired quite a few inhabitants of this grand planet to lead spectacularly better lives. I will not argue that the world was in dire need of a living example of pious and charitable life. However, I find your argument for his divinity a little confusing.

What need has God to ascertain our thoughts, our devotions, our daily actions by way of human form? Surely He is cognizant of all these and more. After all, he did Create us, did he not? I wish there were some earthly analogy I could invent to describe the full spectrum of my thoughts on this matter… (but I’ll try.): We cannot say that when man ‘invented’ the airplane that he was mindful of every atom, electron, and element present in the make-up. Nor can we say that we are enlightened with the thoughts careening through the heads of our fellow men. But I cannot at this time assume that God required a human body to better love and understand his creations. From my personal perspective, it seems to diminish my belief in his omnipotence.

My distrust in the system, as you mentioned, is not unfounded. I find the prospect of attending a church at this point in my faithful journey leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I cannot and will not be told of the fiery pit of hell and how I have already obtained my passport. I will also not have another’s philosophy belittled or mocked in my presence. I accept that my faith is my own, possibly, though not necessarily, shared by others. I find it disturbing that so many religions have such similarities and yet so many insist upon burning, raping and pillaging over the interpretations that man has assigned to them. And as such I find it quite hard to readily associate myself with a religious-nomer.

But I digress. What I may have failed to bring to your attention in previous correspondence is that fact that I do have a strong belief system. Bluntly and concisely: I believe in God. I believe God created the heavens, the earthly ferment, the roaming animals, the abounding seas and the blue-print of man. I believe everything has evolved under His guidance. I pray to Him when I am in distress, when I need reassurance, when I request forgiveness, to name a few. I see Him in every aspect of my life and the lives around me—even those who do not believe in His existence. I feel His presence on the most beautiful of days when the trees have turned their leaves, the sky is blue and I have managed to avoid another overdraft fee. I feel His presence on the dreariest of days when the heavens are weeping and the ground is sodden and my overdraft fees abound. I feel His presence when I watch a child in the ER cling to his mother in confusion and pain. I watch His love move through the hands of the couple sitting in the ER with their child, complete in their faith that God will see them through.

But now that my faith has been in place for two full hands worth of years, I can look back and see the many ideas and philosophies that I have tried to add to my faith and either discarded or welcomed. Your faith is no more or less important than mine. What’s important is that we both recognize the significance God plays in our lives, whether we want Him to or not. We both, to varying degrees, follow the teachings of great men that we have welcomed into our lives—be it Jesus or a mentor or others of importance. And we both recognize the need for guidance amongst our peers.

Though I must add a sidenote that while my faith does not waver, there are always areas in which I could learn more about the smaller bits that so make up the larger picture. I enjoy your comments and always glean insight from your convictions.

Lastly, dearest Fabius, my comments are meant to spark discussion, not tempers. I hope this letter clarified my position on religion and a few of the intricacies that prevail.

And I, like you, do so enjoy our correspondence and hope that destiny sees fit to continue it.

Fondly,
Sally


________________

Possibly a bit of Childhood's End, Screwtape and various and asundry other works. Ragamuffin Gospel duly noted.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Focus, dearie

Is it relentlessly self-centered of me to only want to be happy?

Some argue that this response is that of a child. But I think I may have to argue my side.

1) To be happy, for me, means that I am a good person. I could never be happy if I was murderer, a thief, a molester. I rarely have urges to be mean, vindictive or snotty. And I figure (or hope) that others are just as plagued by those infrequent thoughts.

2) Being happy means that I am content with myself. Certainly there are always ways I can improve--- but knowing that I am a work in progress is enough to give me a certain amount of contentment. In fact, that's all I can hope for in that department being as how God is the only one I hold to a certain standard of perfection.

3) It also means I've given a certain part of myself, and therefore my life, to other people. No, I don't work in a soup kitchen or tirelessly work for the release of animals in captivity... nothing so grand. Currently, it just means I love my friends and family with utmost devotion. It means I do whatever I can to make sure that having me in their life is always a blessing and not an obligation necesitated by genetic lottery, pity or boredom. It also means I find a way to let those people in my life know how blessed I am to have them in mine.

4) And finally, it means that I try my best to do the right thing. By everyone. It means I stand up for myself when necessary and back down when obligated. It means I pick my battles, smile at those that may not be in my favor and complete those projects I start in an effort to be better...smarter... wiser... and happier.

I don't think my answer to what I want out of life is unreasonable. There will, naturally, always be certain aspects in life that stress me out: making my car payment, my rent, my credit cards... deciding what to do about careers... doing my best not to throw my neighbors dogs out of the TCBY buiding... But I think mine is a better answer than 'being pious', 'being successful', 'making money', 'being famous', etc, etc.

And now... I am in the process of making myself happy. I want to be happy when I walk into work everyday. I want to pay off my credit cards and make my bills without fail. I want to take my mother to a beach and sip margaritas (non-alcoholic for her, of course). I want my friends to know how much I need them and love them. I want to make things better, even if it's just one person, one time.

Self-centered? Yes. Without question. But I don't really feel that bad about it.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Excuses, Excuses

So... I haven't been the best of employees lately. Yeeeeeah. I haven't made it in for the past three days. And each day I've gotten up, found clothes to wear and sometimes even gotten in my car. Only to be distracted by the Baskin Robbins down the street... or the coffee shop that's WAY out of my way... or the oh-so-pleasant voices in my head.

So anyway. I thought I would compile actual excuses that I've tried to convince myself to use these past three (deliciously unproductive) days:

1) I set my car on fire.
DAMN. Who can argue with that. No one knows what kind of car I drive at work. I could SO have pulled that one off. I even had this elaborate story about how the cherry from my ciggy flew in the car window while I was saying goodbye to my aunt, setting the papers (including my work schedule) on fire. By the time I paid attention, the whole seat was on fire and the headliner... just ruined. I had no choice but to stay in San Angelo to get a new headliner installed and a new seat cover...

2) We checked my brother into rehab.
Who can argue with family trauma? I didn't think I'd be tipping the karma scales too much on that one seeing as how it involved no actual death and destruction. My boss has even overheard comments concerning my perpetually hung-over brother, so it would have been TOTALLY believable.

3) I've got lice.
I think it's always best to have some truth in your lies. This story involved my cousin-in-law Sheri. She's a tireless social worker who just happened to pick up a crack-baby infested with lice. (This story actually happened, though the lice never came within 60 miles of me. I want NOTHING TO DO with bugs in my shit.) Now, after hugs and kisses, the whole family has a raging case of the critters. You'd never want me to inadvertently give some poor unsuspecting customer an itchy little bugger, now would ya?

and 4) --and this one's nasty-- explosive diarrhea.
Had a lot to eat this Thanksgiving... and low and behold, my aunt put something real shady in her gravy and now the whole family is just on last legs. Sympathy quotient: making a multi-hour drive with 2 cats (who also had some of that shady gravy) and a month's supply of Pepto. From personal experience (with cat shit and cars, not human shit and cars) that smell NEVER comes out.) Granted, this excuse is possibly the lamest of all. But I'm absolutely POSITIVE it woulda worked.

Ugh. Ok, I'm seriously gonna try and go to work tomorrow.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Forgiving may be overrated.

Nicholas was one of my closest friends in college.

He never ceased to be full of witty commentary; he was, as the rest of us refer to ourselves, visiously intelligent (not a scrap of modesty there, we know); and he was always.... well, there.

In the spring of 2002, admist the trauma of the thesis, the final research project and the prospect of being void of the college life, Nicholas and I, along with my recent friend Hillary, decided to move to New York. A bold move, yes. Agreeing to share a one-bedroom apartment on Staten Island could never have been anything but bold. But Nicholas had been accepted to the NYU graduate school and I was dead in the water at my current job of news producer --- all those years of hard work only to find out that I really and truly hated the news-- and Hillary was game for just about anything. So we drew straws (two seats in the U-Haul meant someone had to fly) and naturally I drew the short one. Having an avid distaste for flying, I wasn't exactly pleased to be the one strapped into a flying tuna can but figured it was marginally better than being strapped into a giant moving van on a 2-day driving extravaganza, complete with a yappity-ass rat terrier known as Maggie.

So in the death-heat of summer, we loaded up our belongings and I stood in my front yard as Nicholas and Hillary started their 34-hour drive to the great state of New York. The next day I boarded a plane to La Guardia airport.

In the beginning, things were great. The three of us were all so overwhelmed by what we had done, it was quite natural we relied on each other for amusement and comfort. Our apartment was devoid of any sort of air conditioner. It was on the third floor of a three-story walk-up. We were directly across the street from a major bus-stop. And we frequently had buzz-ins from our friendly local crack-dealers and homeless people. But it was fun. We drank too much at the bar around the corner, made friends with the Arab men in the bodega and took Maggie for walks in the park.

But things deteriorated by the second month and escalated to outright war by the end of November. We all let petty and trivial spats come between us. And by the time we all left to go home for Christmas, I was sleeping in a bedroom surrounded by two people who had formed an alliance against me. Sounds like a pity-party, I know. But looking back on it, I was rarely there. I had a 2 hour commute into the city and worked odd hours. By the time I had made it home, both of my roommates had left for their nightly evenings out. With no jobs to force an early rising, they both found it easy to enjoy the New York life everyone back home assumed we were having. So I, feeling left-out, made attempts at moodiness, bitchiness and sullenness. And they, feeling I had deliberately deserted them, reciprocated.

And then I heard from a mutual friend that they wanted me to leave. But naturally they couldn't afford the apartment between the two of them. So after a massive fight, I took up residence on my friend's couch in the city. I paid rent every month, left my furniture (as I couldn't afford to store it) and broke off all communication. And then I learned they had left the gas bill in my name. And refused to pay it.

So, long story short, I was stuck with a 14-hundred dollar heating bill. Nothing I could do (and believe me I tried), nothing my lawyers could do and nothing the gas company could do.

I honestly think all would have been forgiven if it hadn't been for that. In fact, in the weeks leading up to the heating bill fiasco, Nicholas and I had actually struck up a reasonably civil relationship. My occasional forays into the apartment to retreive clothing or books was no longer met by outright hostility. At least by Nicholas. I made great attempts to avoid Hillary.

And so I was stuck with 14-hundred lessons.

Now, Nicholas is coming to visit my friend Becca. And I'm unbelievably angry that I have to give up my friends until he leaves. I still can't quite grasp that she's still friends with him. I wanted Becca and Kasi to rally around me. But instead, they admit his wrongdoing and continue to love him and visit him. WHY??

And even worse, I don't want to be mad at him anymore. I want to hate him as violently as I did 2 years ago. I want to want him beaten to a pulp in a dark alley. But I DON'T, DAMMIT. But I also don't want to forgive him. Because forgiving him means I've let him win, right? It means that even in the sick little world that inhabits my head, he gets to come back in. I won't be able to even TRY and work myself up with self-righteous indignation.

Now, I have several options: I can sulk in my apartment, surrounded by the messiness of my brother and the craziness of my cats, sans friends. Or I can hope that maybe Kasi will desert the festivities for a while and be up for a beer tomorrow night. OR I could try to be civil with Nicholas and join the festivities. The past two times he's visited, I've opted for choice number one: sulking. Which is a really un-fun way to start off my Christmas season. Maybe this time I'll opt for choice number two. Or maybe I'll make an appearance tomorrow evening, under the guise of retreiving my sewing machine, and feel out the situation.

Fuck.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Home for the Holidays

So I've just returned home to a but-ass cold house, a dishwasher I forgot to turn on and the mound of dirty clothes I left in the hamper.

Granted, I left a mere two days ago... but it's like my house forgot I existed.

Moving along.... Thanksgiving was grand. Fabulous. Super.

Seriously.

I think we need a cast of characters for this years Thanksgiving (which was highly out of the ordinary as it usually just my parents, myself and my brother with the occasional visit from one - never both- of the grandmothers.)

Aunt Vicki: loud, smoker, funny, neat freak-- She's one of those relatives you really enjoy seeing but you thank God you won the genetic lottery and didn't end up as her daughter.

Uncle Rex: Vicki's 2nd husband. (first husband died when she was eighteen. yup, Vicki got married at 15.) also loud, non-smoker, very politically uncorrect-- I believe the words "towel-head" "slanty-eyed" and "damn mesicans" were used with abundance. Makes a lot of money and keeps Vicki... and their children... in the manner to which they've become accustomed.

Cousin Ashley: Vicki's son by first marriage. Bought a chicken farm in Hope, AR, after working for his dad, working as a fireman, being in the national guard and a disastrous first marriage to a woman who left him a 'dear john' letter on the fridge. Married his high school sweetheart from Mobile, AL after divorce.

Cousin-in-law Sheri: Ashely's wife: Was a social worker until the really fun incident with a crack-baby and some lice. Got her masters, now teaches somewhere in Hope and helps Ashely run the chicken farm.

Cousin Amanda: Vicki and Rex's daugher. Just got laid off from her job... along with about 30 others. Had just moved to Florida to scope out the "man scene." Always ends up with millionaire men... Though her first husband (and only one so far-- though there are 3 ex-fiancee's) was a bit of a douche and didn't have a lot of dough. Very fun girl... though you gotta wonder about her mental stability with a mother like Vicki... who disowned her after her first marriage but let her back in once she was divorced. And she spent a lot of time in boarding school. That'll warp ya.

Maw Maw Silvia: My mother's mother and hence, my grandmother. Gets her feelings hurt quite easily. Have to watch out or she'll start to snivel a bit. But she's a fabulous lady once you get past her ability to make you feel like a four-year-old who just shaved the neighbors cat. You can't help but love her, though.

Gramma: My dad's mother and my grandmother. Arrived with the lady that stays with her at nights to make sure she doesn't fall or trip or choke or die or need a glass of water. Losing most of her teeth due to her unwillingness to go to the dentist (had a bad experience once where the dentist dropped the tooth he was extracting down her throat.) Soooo she can't chew much, can't see what's on her plate to chew and can't really hear you telling her where the food is to pick up and chew as she's sporadically heard of hearing. Hear's you just fine when you're trying to sneak in the pantry and steal a chocolate bar, though.

My brother: Showed up to the table late as he was recovering from a night spent with Jack, Evan and Jim. For you slow folks out there, that's liquor.

Dad: Deep fried six chickens outside in the fryer to avoid... pretty much everyone. Watched the Outdoor Channel with my uncle. Talked about the proper knives one uses when cutting open deer, elk and the like. Showed the pictures of deer heads from recent hunting trip. Displayed newly-tanned deer-hide by placing it over the back of the couch for all to marvel at.

Mom: Slaved and cooked and slaved and cooked and tried her damndest to make sure everyone was happy and warm and normal and for the most part kept the 'undiscussable subjects' off the floor. These include, but are not limited to: racial slurs, excessive use of the word 'fuck', democrats, military action, guns, gutting deer, and gays/lesbians.

Unlike Faux Thanksgiving it wasn't relaxed and peaceful. But it was fucking hilarious and way more amusing than any other family-get-to-gether I've been a part of in quite some time. I wish I got to see everyone more... though that would take the fun out of conversing with people you really barely know but are --quite strangely-- related to.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Solace is in the heart of the beholder

Those of us who do not find solace in organized religion may not be... thrilled... with the prospect of frequenting a church.

Or so I attempted to convey to an aquantance a few days ago... And through all of his interjections and interruptions, I don't feel like I got my true point across. I was by no means trying to "convert" him; merely hoping that by talking to someone who doesn't attend the same church, he would become more understanding to some of the world's many religions and... more importantly... some of the world's thoughts on religion.

His first concern was that I had not "taken Jesus into my heart." And in response to that I said that all great men and women have a special place in my heart. There's a lot to learn from individuals such as he. But do I worship him, he asked?

To be quite honest, I'm a little uncomfortable with the term "worship." "Thankful," "awe," and "blessed" are slightly more my speed. But "worship"?

Without spending eons citing many a literary work, I shall sum up my thoughts on 'taking Jesus into my heart':

*Again, I believe he was a great man. One that has inspired millions to lead better lives, stronger lives and more purposeful lives; myself included. But I have many a doubt about his divinity. In 375 A.D. Constantine convened the Nicean Council. Among other issues on the ballot was the question of Jesus' divinity. Obviously, that measure passed. But according to some scholars, many of the issues being debated upon for the institution of the Roman Catholic Church were passed by "the sword."

*I have found that I should take the Bible figuratively and not literaly. Why? Because, again, Constantine commissioned the orginal Roman Catholic Bible to unify a Rome that was falling apart at the seams. The pagan religion (the one of which Constantine was head priest, by the way) was clashing quite violently with the three-century old religion of the Jews. A unified front had to be presented. And so the many works written about Jesus were shuffled through and the 'best' ones chosen. Those left out became part of the Gnostic Gospels. (The works written on the Gnostic Gospels are quite interesting if one should choose to read them.) And lets not forget the commissioned translations and re-workings of the Bible to suit the passing fancy of say, an English king that wanted to kick his Spanish wife to the curb and pick up a new and fertile wife. And, on another note, my belief in the world of physics and biology are such that certain...stories...are quite implausable when taken literaly. ("The Science of God" is a book that helped cement the scientific world within my religious world.)

*I truly believe that God, or whatever you should chose to call your deity, is the only one to which I owe admiration, love, awe and thanks. Putting a creature of this earth before Him seems... undue.

I truly hate trying to put my thoughts on religion into such a small space. If I let myself, I could write for hours and send many into a giant snooze-fest. But I was so riled up about this one conversation... I accept his views as being part of the big picture; why can't this fellow accept mine? I'm not asking to be converted nor am I asking to convert. To be quite cliche', I just think each individual needs to find his own path. And if, after study and thought and prayer and many, many questions, you come to a belief, any belief, then that's all I, the world, the universe and your deity can ask.

Or so I hope.

Peaceful Quiet is All I Ask

I have never in my concious life seriously considered inflicting bodily injury to an animal.

But I am THIS CLOSE to taking my neighbors dogs and throwing them off the fucking balcony.

They have barked NON STOP since 7:30 this morning. And when I say NON STOP, I mean there hasn't been more than 2.5 seconds when one of those little demon-spawn weenie dogs hasn't been yapping at some unknown and unseen problem. And to make it even better... They barked incessantly last night during the movie I was watching (granted, it was Say Anything and I can pretty much recite the lines without the soundtrack, but DAMN all I wanted to do was sit in relative quiet and watch my movie.) And they barked Sunday when I was cooking my turkey. And Sunday night when I was trying to nap off my food baby. And in the wee hours of Sunday morning when I came downstairs for a little insomniac internet browsing.

My neighbor has been in the process of moving in for the last week and a half... but only just brought her demons over on Saturday night. Very sweet girl. Seems fairly normal. And I'm sure she'd be devastated if her dogs were to one day... dissapear.

But one woman's devastation over two yappety-ass devil-dogs is quickly becoming less and less of a concern.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I could be expecting...

The results are in...

I'm pregnant...

With a food baby.

I think I'll name it Duncan Hines Holmes... or maybe Jimmy Dean Holmes. And I could affectionately refer to it as "Butterball."

Dear LORD I ate a lot of food yesterday. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, fruit salad, dressing, pecan pie, pumpkin bread, rolls, cookies, hash brown casserole, green bean casserole... you name it, I ate it. I could have given Oprah a run for her money in her chubby days.

Faux Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. I even managed to cook the turkey... something my friends were quite concerned about. I got three phone calls Sunday morning ascertaining that I did indeed know to remove the scary packaged bits from the turkey before actually placing it in the oven. YES people, I can read the directions. And I can assure you that I have no intention of eating anything referred to as "turkey giblets" as I have no real idea what "giblets" are. (I've seen them advertised on Church's Chicken signs before but never really had the heart to ask...)

When I finally arrived, all my fears of turkey-cooking were quickly laid to rest after a quick taste-test. Some would argue that this should have been done BEFORE I brought the turkey over... But what's the fun in that? The turkey was cooked all the way through (thank God) and tasted every bit like my mother's Thanksgiving turkeys. I am now a certified kitchen genius.

All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable and laid-back Thanksgivings I've ever had. Everyone brought something tasty and delicious and, more importantly, I was surrounded by loving friends and interesting characters. This is the part where, in theory, I should expound upon the importance of friends and whatnot, yadda yadda yadda. But I'm really too distracted by the food baby that is STILL growing at disastrous speeds in my belly.

p.s. I know I wrote Delilah's going away letter yesterday but I forgot to tell her that I hope she has lots and lots of friends, yummy steaks and lots of grass to roll in while she's visiting doggie-heaven. And I'm sending you a belly-rub for Christmas.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Secret Life of Dogs

Have you ever wondered about what your dog does during the day? Does she lead a double life-- one where she's traversing across the country side, saving little Timmy or perhaps learning the language of pugs and terriers?

To be quite honest, I never did.

Delilah was 135 pounds of pure horse. She slept in a converted child's bed with the legs sawn off so she could clamber onto the mattress. She had her blanky and a vast assortment of squeaky toys, fluffy rabbits and dog bones. She was fed twice a day; two cups of dry food at each meal. (She was a bit on the voluptuous side and was hence on a very strict diet.) She was sweet and loving and had practiced the art of the con to such perfection she could convince even the most staunch of dog-haters to rub her over-sized belly.

But a secret life? Never. She never made it outside the 20 acres surrounding my parent's home.

Boy, was I wrong.

Unbeknownst to her entire family, she was the "neighborhood dog" in a small subdivision a quarter mile down the road. She had two very close friends; a tan pug and a black terrier. Apparently the neighborhood children found our slow-moving canine the source of many afternoons of fetch and frisbee. Not to mention the pounds of food she conned out of gullible neighbors. (Which certainly explains why her diet of four years had lost her not a pound.)

When my mother came home last night, Delilah responded to not one single call. More annoyed than worried, Mama just figured she was sulking in the woods. Lord Almighty, how she hated being put outside when her family left for more than a few hours. But by midnight, Mama knew something was wrong. That dog never missed a meal--and meal time had come and gone five hours before.

Mama found her this morning on her way to take my grandmother her Sunday lunch. She had driven up and down the farm roads, hoping she'd spot her in a field. She found her in the last place she would have thought to look--in that subdivision down the road a bit. She was lying in someone's yard, peaceful as you like. But our sweet-natured Delilah wasn't sleeping.

She apparently had the strength to walk out of the road and onto the grass of a friend's yard. I hope and pray to God it didn't hurt. I hope she didn't cry. I hope she didn't know. I hope she knew how much her family loved her. And I hope her two canine friends sent her off with a song.

I can't go home and look at her bed or find an errant fluffy rabbit hiding under my bed. I can't go home and see her blanky, dirty and smelly and ripped to shreds. I can't see the picture on the kitchen counter, taken when she was still svelte enough to fit in the recliner, crammed between my brother and I on a Christmas morning eight years ago. I just can't.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Mood Swings are Grand

Much like the title, there's been a bit of a mood swing today. Inner peace? Doubt it. Fluctuating hormones? Probably.

In all honesty, it wasn't that great of a day. The cats were abominably obnoxious this morning. I woke up to a screeching serenade from none other than the fattest cat alive and his miniscule accomplice. I ran late, per usual. And then I sat in the parking lot of retail hell for no less than 30 minutes desperately trying to convince myself that I did, in fact, have to go to work. I strolled in to work at 9:40. I avoided my boss as much as possible as I "forgot" about a retail training seminar I was supposed to attend on my day off. I sold a whopping $450 of shoes. -- And just in case you're wondering, that number might be just a touch below my sales goal.-- I avoided the speech impediment-ridden louse that insists upon invading my personal space. NO TOUCHY!! NO TOUCHY!! I skipped lunch so I could clock out at five.
On the way home I screamed myself hoarse at the idiots who plagued the roads on my way to Target to return a really unfortunate purchase of pink and green fisnets. (Holy monkey, what was I thinking? Pink AND green? It's like a sorority girl vomited on my legs.) And because of my choice to wear pretty shoes today -- red pointy high heeled cole haans that I've seriously thought about framing-- I couldn't walk fast enough to beat the unfortunately peroxidized woman with the large bag of returnables. And hence spent an interminable amount of time staring at the back of her neck and what is, I can only assume, a mole that she should REALLY think about having cut off. I then screamed some more at the mass of incompetents on the roads tonight. Went to Pizza D's. Ordered the usual. Smoked turkey sammich, no mayo, ranch on the side and fries. Came home. Went to friend's house. Watched The Apprentice. Rooted for control freak bitch to get kicked off. Smelled poo. Became concerned. Found poo under friend's table compliments of friend's dog. Gagged a little. Watched two of my friends get cranky and have a roommate fight. Sat on the front porch. Got yelled at by a homeless man who wanted a ciggy.

And then it hit me. I'm in a fucking good mood. Why? I dunno. I did have some peanut M&M's for lunch. My favorite. mmmmyummy. Lord only knows what would have happened if I had bought some of those little ferraro rocher balls. Or, God forbid, a box of Godiva. I could have been well on my way to solving the worlds economical crises. Or even world hunger. A cure for cancer. A vaccine for AIDS. Saved the whales.

And now my dearest little brother is cooking me his special: Eggs a la Matthew. (Eggs with cheese and spiciness) Nothing like a little protein before bed :)

And as soon as I eat my tasty and delicious bed-time snack, I will corale the kitty-monsters, wash my face, brush my teeth, comb my hair, get in my nightgown, grab my book and read until I fall asleep. And then I'll wake up tomorrow. And hopefully I will still have this fantastic attitude to get me through my day.

Therapy

I've been caught zoning out more and more frequently these past few weeks. My ulcers are back. In full force. And I sleep with the irregularity of a newborn. What THE FUCK is making me crazy?

Well, lots of things really. But few relevant to the current problem. At this point I can either sit down and figure this out or I can buy stock in Rolaids, Tums and NyQuil. So here goes... my very own little therapy session.

First problem (and the easiest to diagnose): This is, in general, a bad time of year. Some may claim to get the holiday blues but I get the holiday grim reaper. Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my grandfather alive five years ago. He died three days after Christmas. I left after the Thanksgiving holiday to finish up my semester at school and came home to a raging case of the flu or some equally destructive sickness. My Grandpa, being elderly and on a downward slide (but a slide that we'd seen him recover from numerous times) was hospitalized and then released. All while I spent my days bemoaning the lack of any "real" Christmas vacation. Christmas day came and went with both my father and I confined to the house in an attempt to keep our sickness away from Grandpa and his failing immune system. Three days later he was dead.
I watched my grandmother's beautiful blue eyes fill up with tears at the wake. She didn't have the sight left to see her husband laid out, covered in powder and in his best suit. Looking nothing like the man I knew. Losing the man she'd known since she was 10 years old and he 13. Most of my grief is now for my grandmother.

2nd problem (again, easy to diagnose): Money doesn't make me happy but paying my bills sure does. Never a dull moment when the 19-year-old bank teller is giving you lessons as well as an admonishing glare about balancing your checkbook. Sweetheart, I'd LOVE to balance my checkbook. But there's not money to BALANCE. Well, if I was to be more concientious about my spending habits, I wouldn't be overdrawn now would I? Well sugar, here's an interesting little tidbit for ya: When mommy and daddy don't pay for your shit anymore and you've got actual BILLS TO PAY, lemme know how that works out for ya. Until then, shut your fucking trap.

3rd problem (easy problem mixed with indefinable problem): My job and soon to be new job. Selling shoes is akin to having a job where one picks scabs off of genital warts. But living in cubicle land surrounded by paperwork... well, that remains to be seen. It pays more, which may help rectify the 2nd problem. Nothing fixes the first problem except for time. And Time is one fickle little bitch. But here's where the indefinable problem kicks in: Did I choose wrong? Fate and Destiny run with the same pack as Time... and all three have their quirks. But there's no voice in my head telling me I made the right choice. Should I have sucked in my fear and made The Leap? It will disapoint my parents... and I will have officially removed myself from the pedastal I've been placed on for years. But do I have a better chance at being happy in EVERY aspect of my life? I want to enjoy my work, my friends and my family. But maybe I'm just asking for too much. Or maybe I should give up some of my control and trust my God to lead me where I'm supposed to go. Or at least to places where I learn. That sounds better. Maybe this isn't the end-all be-all. But I'll make sure I learn something from it.

Slightly calmer now. I doubt the ulcers will go away overnight... and by no means is everything okay. But I think I had forgotten what it was like to give up control. Whatever choice I make will be okay because I will inevitably learn something from it. If I walk away from this new job with nothing more than a better idea of what I don't want to do it will be enough.

Becaue that's farther along than I was before.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Pavlov would be proud

Good evening, I'm Donna White. Thanks for joining us for the 10 o'clock edition of KRKT News 4 Arkansas.
Our top story tonight - a question that's been racking the nation.
[roll file video, Christmas shoppers]
[begin voiceover]

It's that time of year again - Christmas. And though some would argue that Thanksgiving has been pushed aside in favor of glittering lights and plastic ornaments, the economical impact brought on by the frenzy of Christmas shoppers is not to be ignored. And now, after months of deliberation by the Retail Council of North America, a consensus has been reached. The official smell of Christmas is, in fact, 'The Smell of Christmas' created by Arkansas' own Aromatique.
[roll soundbyte]
[insert graphic, Linda Epstein//Aromatique Spokesperson]
" Well, we're just so extremely flattered by this honor. We've always known what an impact this scent can have on retail shoppers as well as in the home. It promotes the sense of contentment and well-being we all long for around this time of year."
[roll file video, frenzied Christmas shoppers]
[begin voiceover]
The Aromatique scent was chosen over dozens of others because of it's ability to inspire shoppers. Blair Thomas, a chosen shopper who testified at the Retail hearings, tells KRKT what that scent has meant to her.
[roll soundbyte]
[insert graphic, Blair Thomas//Council Witness]
"It just really speaks to me, ya know? As soon as I walk into a store that's got those plastic bags of pot-porri out, I get this urge to shop, ya know? It's like, as soon as I smell it, I can remember all those gifts I meant to give to Dad last year, ya know?"
[roll file video]
[begin voiceover]

And Blair Thomas isn't alone. The Retail Council estimates that 8 out of 10 retail shoppers can be influenced by a scent associated with Christmas-- and a stunning 6 out of 10 shoppers will purchase items not originally intended when that scent is present. These figures prompted the council to take action and elect a scent that could be used in retail stores across the nation.
[roll soundbyte]
[insert graphic, James Esbenbach//Retail Council of North America]

"We really felt that by eliminating competing "Christmas" scents, shoppers could have a more uniform shopping experience. Now there will be no other inferior scents interfering with shopping urges-- which our statistics show will promote a stronger buying season this Christmas."
[Camera 2, Donna White]
Now that the council has chosen Aromatique's "Smell of Christmas" as the official scent of Christmas, all other scents must be removed by Thanksgiving Day. Officials say this will give the nations biggest shopping day, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, a big boost.
[Camera 1, Donna White]
And in other news, a tractor-trailer carrying the last of the yuki-yuki trees-- thought to carry a microbe resistant to AIDS, cancer and all other forms of disease -- has burst into flames. Officials say nothing remains of the 18-wheeler except for 2 back tires and the steering wheel...........

Thursday, November 11, 2004

to have and to hold.. not so tightly?

A friend of mine has met a man. A stunning example of one, actually. He's intelligent, witty, charming and handsome. A rare find for one of us.

But, alas, there is a small problem. One that encircles the third finger of his left hand.

But it is an open marriage, he says. One with certain... arrangements. A match for me in the home... but lacking... in other areas.

What other areas, I ask? Surely one could never marry another without a true meshing of all "areas"? Compatible emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and sexually? Not to mention all those "areas" that fall between the black and white of words ending in -lly. But here this man is, standing next to my friend; a seeminly innocuous individual. A wife at home and a potential mistress on his arm. He tells her he had a mistress for four of the six years he's been married. That relationship ended only because the woman moved to be with a boyfriend. And now, he says, he's found a woman that seems capable of matching him... on every level. A woman that he claims could be the one to pull him away from his beloved wife.

His wife isn't adventurous, he says. She isn't witty or flirtacious. She lacks the intellectual capability to spar with him. And my friend? Well, she is, quite naturally, all of these things and more. More than even this man knew he needed in a woman. And know, she is faced with a dilemna.

A man she is attracted to has openly invited her into his life. One where he will be both her friend and bed partner. But a relationship that he claims he has never before let reach a level of intimacy that he shares with his wife. But again, she might be the one to bring him down. She could be the one, he says.

How do we of viscious intelligence get snared into this inevitable shitstorm? Are we so terrified of moving forward, finding our "match" or even -- gasp -- making our own way- that these forays into questionable folds could hold our attention? Is it an attempt to flush out what we may or may not need in another human being? Is it laziness? An easy lay with no strings attached could be quite tempting... Except there are strings. And those strings are attached to the tapestry being made at home between two people bound by marriage. And we can't overlook that it's entirely possible that that tapestry may completely unravel should an errant string stray too far.

But what responsibility do we have to that tapestry? We had no hand in making it.... in fact, we may start another one even more stunning than the last with the scraps and clippings left over with some sparkling new thread thrown in for good measure. At what point could we sacrifice the possibility of our own happiness for that of another? Do we adhere to societies' morals and customs merely for the sake of propriety? Or do we disregard them when necessary, when life and limb are not at stake, when we deem them a hindrance?

Obviously, there is no answer. It's a gamble, in this situation, to take a chance on this man. He possesses so many qualities that one may long for but do his virtues outweigh his vices? More specifically, does this one specific vice - a huge one at that - impede the progress we could be making?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

cancer removed?

I recently ended a friendship- something I have only rarely done in my lifetime. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I have made a concious decision to remove someone from my life. That count: one.

Don't get me wrong, there are people with whom I no longer associate; those who have committed injury to me or my friends, those with whom I have merely lost touch and those who's lifestyle and/or choices distanced them. But I have never made a decision, planned an action, implemented said action and removed a friend.

Though I cringe to admit it, it is at once like breaking up with an abusive boyfriend as well akin to having the greatest of weights lifted from your shoulders. It was 15 months of the closest thing I might ever refer to as a "relationship" held with a male. Though at times friends and at other times friends... with benefits... he was one of the dearest people in my life. I sacrificed my closest friends to spend time with him-- eager only to hear his thoughts and bursting to tell him mine. I was flattered he found me attractive and even more flattered he found me interesting. He seemed to see me and hear me-- something I had never found in a male with whom I was friends. He asked questions, listened, asked more questions, gave his opinions and finally gathered all of this information together and became the human being I was closest to in the world. I could tell him things I was afraid to tell my friends-- my compadres-- the 3 women I love more than sisters-- and I hated myself for that. I felt I could never let the others know how weak I felt at times, how lonely I had been at times and how angry/sad/frustrated so many things could make me. Because then maybe they wouldn't love me.

When I came back from New York, I was at the lowest I have ever been in my entire life. Desperate, after a year of not being seen, for someone to see me. I had come back to my old life, only to discover my life had moved on without me. Though they all still loved me, it was difficult to know so much time had passed with not one memory we shared. And then I met him-- the shining perfection of coolness and style. He seemed to be lusted after wherever we went and I secretly, shamefully, hoped those girls thought I was with him. It pulled me to a status I had both detested, ignored and coveted in high school. That of the popular kids who seemed to move through high school like a breeze. No awkward braces or pudgy thighs and bellies. No unfortunate hair cuts from that shady place in the mall. The right clothes-- no tapered legs, please. And that unbelievable ability to walk into any room and find a friend.

He told me his stories, his dreams and fears. I told him mine, openly. To be able to talk about New York and my life there-- more than just the rehearsed "Oh, you lived in NYC?!? Did you just love it??" and then me: "Well, not to be cliche, but I found it a great place to visit but just very expensive to live." "Ohmigod, I can only imagine! I would LOVE to move there!" and then me again: "Yeah, it's, uh, super." I could tell him how the whole time I was there I wanted nothing else so desperately as to have someone visit me. To be able to lead them around, showing off landmarks, my miniscule apartment, the terrific bodega in my building with the cutest little old man that told me I was his "gorgeous gal" every day. To be able to show off my subway knowledge. And at the end of the day, know my memories are forever meshed, blended and stirred with another persons. I told him about the things I wanted to do. The plans I had made. And he never once laughed or critisized when yet another "life plan" was thought up and discarded when procrastination and fear won out.

In the end, things had deteriorated quite a bit. He wasn't healthy for me. And I had to accept that he never had been. His love was conditional; one based in insecurity and something not.. quite.. definable. It was unfortunate I had to sacrfice so much of myself to be with him. My best friend.... and I could never let him see me happy. He became my own worst enemy. And finally, I saw him as the cancer he had always been. And I removed him.