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.


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.


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.


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.


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.