Thursday, July 28, 2011

Small world

So there I was, sitting at my computer at work, minding my own business, waiting for 5 o'clock to roll around, and alarm goes off. There is a chorus of groans from the cubes around me. It is 4:30 and it is near 103 outside. No one wants to haul their cookies down the stairs to stand outside for the elevators overheating again (As most of the time when the fire alarm goes off it is because the elevators overheated and started to smoke). We are good little workers though and we slump down stairs and into the sweltering parking lot.

Turns out the dumpster had caught on fire. I didn't find out any details on the hows and whys of it, but there was actually a fire for once. At least it mostly justified making us stand outside in the insane heat for 20 minutes. Still doesn't make it any less unpleasant of a way to spend the last half hour of work.

Once back inside I had just enough time to make a post on Facebook about the incident, and pack up to head to the gym. I thought this was the end of the story.

Later that evening...
I turned my laptop on as we were settling in to watch the DVRed episode of Masterchef, and I get an immediate inbox full of responses to my Facebook post. Curious I start reading them. Every one of them is from friends from college noting that another person from our college had made almost the exact same post.

Now this guy is someone I don't really know. I mean he didn't actually go to school while I was in school. I met him plenty of times, and I got really drunk with him several times, and I know he slept on my couch on more than one occasion, but that does not mean I know him. I could probably pick him out of a crowd but I am pretty sure he wouldn't know who the hell I was if I spoke to him.

So yea, I had no idea if he worked for my company or not. I haven't seen him around the building to my knowledge (of course I don't really go many places in my building). So I couldn't answer them one way or another. Though the chances of 2 different DFW offices having a dumpster catch fire at 4:30 in the afternoon are...well actually they are pretty good with the sort of heat we have been having. Still it was unlikely.

I went and checked out this guys Facebook profile and sure enough it looks like my company acquired his company, and we now work for the same company in the same building. Had it not been for the fire I probably never would have known.

I also found out that one of my college friends who had started the inquiry also applied at my company a few months ago. A while back another of my college friends worked for a company our company acquired, and we worked together for a short time.

So it was a strange evening of my world getting just a little smaller.
And all because a dumpster caught fire.

Dwelling in the Shadows

I have always found that I like to be surrounded by extraordinary people. I mean who isn't drawn towards the best of the best? Who doesn't want to be friends with the coolest, smartest, most talented people? I like to think I am, and for the longest time have been.

Now this is not to say that in school I was one of the cool kids. I was far from it. I was more or less unpopular actually. Within the broad view of high school I loathed the popular kids, and I am fairly sure the feeling was mutual. In the smaller microcosm of theater however I  gravitated towards the most talented people in the department. There was some overlap there from the 'cool kids' which made things difficult, but otherwise it worked well.

When I hit college though is when I really noticed this. I was in the circle with the most popular and talented amongst the theater department (since I was a theater major), and theater student in general were the coolest of all the arts majors (the music department so wanted to be us). I was friends with the people everyone wanted to work with and work for. I was surrounded by charisma and talent.

And I was invisible.

I am not saying that I am not talented. I am not saying that I was somehow undeserving to be part of that group. I know that is not true. I am saying though that these people were really bright stars and almost impossible to outshine. It is hard to get noticed when you are playing second banana to someone who seems to be a genius.

It is also hard to be seen when you are an insecure shy brunette standing next to a bubbly confident take control blond. That was my best friend, and she was...well she was hard to miss, and hard to not focus on. Things were always about her first, and I spent a lot of time feeling forgotten.

I mostly didn't mind though. I am not very comfortable being in the front all the time. I like taking the back seat and letting someone else drive. I am still perfectly useful where I am, I am just not as easily seen. That isn't always a bad thing either. A lot less praise, but you learn to live with that.

I have followed this particular trend further into my life. My friends are the most talented and amazing people I know. Some of them make me look outright dumb and unimaginative. I mean seriously they are brilliant. When it comes to faire in particular I rank solidly at the top of the B team, because I am not really in the same league as these guys. For years I have watched them effortlessly run laps around me. My best days vaguely resemble their off days. I am fairly well in awe of them.

If I can be half as strong, confident, talented, determined, creative, graceful, eloquent, skilled, and charismatic as any of my friends, I will be doing well in this world.

It is not easy living in the shadows, but it is not as cold as some people would assume.
Its actually sort of nice back here.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Today I would like to talk to you about a subject very near to me, and that is: Being fat.

I am inspired today to talk about being fat both by my friend doomgirl as well as my friend Lys.

I am fat. I will not deny this. I am not going to sugar coat things by saying I am a little overweight or have put on a few extra pounds or anything else. That is just silly. It is easy enough to look at me and see that I am indeed fat. I am a tall woman, standing at 5'10", and I am still fat. I carry my weight well, but that does not change the fact that I am fat.

And I don't care.

Well now perhaps that is not the right way to put it. I care. I really do care. I care so much that I am actively trying to lose weight and be not fat. The thing is I am not trying to lose weight because of anyone but me. I don't care what other people think of how I look. I don't care if they think I am fat, because I am.

It is not like I woke up one morning and was suddenly fat either. No, I have been fat most of my life. It is a thing I am well used to. I just finally decided that I didn't want to be fat anymore. I decided it was time to change, because I wanted to, and now I will (which in my opinion is the only way anyone can effectively change anything).

Friday, July 22, 2011

On loss

A few days ago a friend lost her fight with cancer. She was young and vibrant and strong, and the fact that she is no longer alive is a tragedy. She did not deserve to die. Of course it is a rare occasion when you think someone deserved to die, but somehow when the person is young, when the person has fought so hard, it seems so less fair.

Death is such a hard thing to deal with. They say there are stages to death, seven of them in fact, and whether you are facing your own impending mortality, or that of a loved one, the steps are supposed to be the same. I suppose since it is a process everyone must deal with that it makes sense that we would categorize the emotions people go through to somehow try and make things easier.

It doesn't though. There is no easy to death. Even if we understand that we are losing someone, and that maybe they won't suffer any longer, or will be in a better place, or it was their time, or whatever you say to comfort yourself; there is still a void.

When I was about 7 my grandfather was killed in a car accident. He was my world. When my mother told me he had died, I just didn't understand. I didn't understand why he would never come home. All the explanations of God and heaven meant very little to me. I was barely at the age of reason, and the abstract of heaven was not really all that comforting or logical. I suppose that was probably my first real sign that maybe Christianity wasn't my thing.

I still never really got around to the concept that he was gone though. There was this sad void in my life where he used to be. He wasn't there to make me oatmeal in the morning, or walk me to the bus, or hold my hand while I fell asleep; he was clearly missing in that way. Yet he wasn't really gone.

Through my entire life I found that I always felt he was there with me. I picked a star I could see out of my bedroom window as a child (and another one when we moved to a new house) and I would talk to it as though it were him. Sometimes I would lay on my back in the grass and talk to the clouds as though he could hear. I just never let him go.

He was dead but not gone.

I suppose that is how I have seen death ever since.
People die, and they are gone physically, but as long as we keep them alive in our memories and in our hearts they never really leave us. So all you can do is make a strong enough mark on enough lives and you will never truly be gone.

My grandfather is still very much with me and by the outpouring of love for my friend who just passed, she will be with us for a long time still.

As the Beatles sang "In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Friday, July 15, 2011

'Safe Places'

I am the type of person who likes to put things in 'safe places'. These 'safe places' are better known as 'someplace I will never remember where it is and effectively cause me to lose whatever object I wanted to keep safe.'.

In a way I suppose lost things are safe when they are lost where you put them. They are still there, and most likely no harm is coming to them. Most likely. There really is no way to know unless you find them again, which typically happens when you are doing something like moving. Also you normally find said items when they are no longer of any use to you.

So Wednesday night, as I was climbing into bed I realized that the bottom drawer on my nightstand was open about 1/4 an inch. I mean just barely open. This would not be so odd if I ever actually opened my nightstand drawers. The top drawer has a broken flashlight in it, and some batteries for the broken flashlight, but otherwise it is empty. I can't actually remember the last time I opened the top drawer, let alone the bottom drawer.

Alas I was tired and so I just shut the drawer (because I can not stand to be around partially (or fully) open drawers) and went to sleep. The mystery did not so much as register in my brain. Apparently my curiosity is curbed by sleepiness.

Last night however, I was wide awake as we were getting ready for bed, and I suddenly remembered the partially opened drawer. I figure most likely I actually opened it in my sleep. It really is the sort of thing I would do. I did remember catching a glance of something in the drawer when I shut it the night before even though I was fairly certain that drawer was empty. Now being completely curious, I went over and opened the drawer to find: a pair of khaki pants.

Now I really was not all too confused by this find. A million years ago I had put a bunch of clothes that had become too small into that drawer (back when we lived under the delusion that we could live out of a dresser and not the laundry room) for safe keeping and the day I could fit into them again.Of course I thought I had cleared all those clothes out a while ago, but obviously I was wrong.

Out of mild curiosity I opened the top drawer to see what might be in there; broken flashlight, batteries, a dead and ancient cell phone, some chain maile rings, and a black tank top. I pulled the shirt out to take a better look, and I was completely confused. It had sequence on it (which I don't really do), it was also lacy, and it was cut in a style I don't wear (a sort of empire waist thing I can't manage in commercially made clothing because they assume my boobs are much smaller and higher than they are and the line always cuts me across my breast which is really unattractive). Now it was in my size, and from a store I shop at, and it was from their pajama/intimate line of clothing. I for the life of me can not remember buying this shirt. I don't think I would ever have done such a thing. I can't remember being gifted the shirt either. Hell I can't remember putting the shirt in the drawer.

I have no idea where this thing came from.

So here I am with a shirt I do not recall, and a pair of pants I haven't seen in 5 years that I had forgotten about. I check the size of the pants and realize, hey they should fit me again. So I try them on, and hey they fit me again! Score!

The shirt I also tried on and, as expected, it cut me right across the breast in a very unflattering way. I still have no idea where the thing came from. So I stuck it back in a drawer (a different drawer actually in the dresser).

So that was an adventure and a lesson in my habit of 'safe places'. I think perhaps I should maybe write these things down, though then they would not be as safe. Of course why I care if someone else finds a shirt I don't recall buying or receiving and will never wear is beyond me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One second more

To say my mother is my hero sounds a little cliche. I mean who does not look up to and respect their mothers?

Mothers have hard jobs raising their kids, and my mom, like so many these days, was a single mom. That is not to say she raised us alone, oh far from it. We lived with my grandparents until I was 12 and my mom remarried, and then we had a nice normal home with a mom and dad. Well maybe normal is not the right word for it, but it was...well it was what it was.

This though is not why my mom is my hero. She did an amazing job raising me and my siblings, she struggled hard to make sure we had what we needed and most of the time what we wanted. In the end we all turned out to be responsible, well adjusted (no matter how much the rest of the family disagrees), happy individuals. Good job mom.

What you have to understand about my mom is this; she is sick.
My mother is a very ill woman. She was diagnosed with Lupus when I was about 10. After that it has just been a downhill slide. Her list of diseases is so long that I can't remember them all. It seems that almost every year her doctors tack on a new condition to her list. She has multiple auto immune diseases, a slew of neurological problems, and pretty much every system in her body has been rebelling over the last twenty years. (Every system but her heart, which her cardiologist says is the heart of a 40 year old triathlete not that of a 54 year old pack a day smoker with as many medical problems as my mother has. Hooray for one good thing)

She is also in pain. When I say pain I mean pain. We are talking make large men cry sort of pain. If you have ever been asked by a doctor to rate your pain you know they have a chart that goes 1-10, describing one as not really in pain, to 10 which is unable to function from pain. A good day for mom would be a 7 and a normal day would be an 8 to 9. She lived like this everyday for years. Years!

Finally one day she gave in and went to a pain doctor and they put her on methadone for the pain. Now her average day is around a 4. That is still more pain than normal people deal with ever, let alone every day of their lives.

Also, methadone is not exactly a peach of a fix. It does all sorts of crazy things to your body that are less than spectacular. This is not some drug party she is going through. This is finding a way to maintain some semblance of quality of life.

Here recently my mom reconnected with a cousin that she had not seen in probably 15 years. They used to be very close, but life happens and they lost each other through marriages and divorces and moves. You know, life.

As they sat across from one another at the kitchen table, telling each other about where life had taken them, my cousin was left to look at my mother in awe. She told my mom how she was not sure she would be able to do it. She didn't think she could live day in and day out with the pain, with the diseases, with the medications, with the side effects, with all of it; it just seemed so incredibly overwhelming.

And my mother said "Sure you could."

My mother told her if you have to, you can. If you have to do something, all you have to do is do it.
Just take it one second at a time.

When you think you are at your limit you say, just one more second, that is all I need, one more second. And that second passes. Then five seconds have passed and you think that if you can make it five seconds, you can make it ten. Ten seconds turns into thirty seconds, and the next thing you know it has been a minute. You tell yourself, if you can make it one minute, you can make it five. Soon five minutes has become ten, and ten minutes has become an hour. Hours start to build on themselves, and suddenly it has been a day. You made it a whole day. If you can make it one day why not two? Why not a week? A month? A year?
Why not?
And you do it.
Every day.
Because you have to.
One second at a time.

And that is why my mom is my hero.
I never look at my mother and see a sick woman. I never see a woman in pain. I never see a woman struggling to make it one more second. I know she is all of those things, but it is not what I see.

I see the strongest person I know. I see a survivor. I see a woman who is alive and living as best as she is able to. I see a woman who will never give up.
I see a woman who will always have one second more...
Not because she has to, but because she wants to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hooker Heels

I work in a very casual sort of office. I think technically the dress code is business casual, but seriously we don't quite meet those standards. I can wear jeans and sneakers every day of the week and no one is going to say anything. There is a strict no flip flop rule which everyone (including myself) blatantly ignores, and jeans are not supposed to be bedazzled or embellished in any way. There are no print T-shirts allowed, except on Friday during a sports season when you can wear your favorite teams shirts. There are no tank tops allowed, but seeing as we live in Texas, no one seems to care, and there are bare arms everywhere you look. Otherwise it is your general rules of not wearing anything too revealing or otherwise inappropriate.

I have come to the conclusion though that there is a rule in our dress code about shoes that I have apparently missed. Somewhere in the rules it has to say that high heels, best used in acts of prostitution and clubbing, are not only appropriate attire for the office, but are expected. Everywhere I look I see women tottering about in these 3 and 4 inch stilettos and platforms, sassy heels that strap around their ankles, heels with buckles and bling. They are not subdued in any way. No these shoes scream sex.

I just don't understand. Just as there are certain shades of lipstick you should not wear in the afternoon, there are certain shoes you should not wear to work. During a fire alarm today, I was standing in the grass behind a row of women in skin tight pencil skirts and 4 inch heels. Now they all had bodies that flattered such looks, but for the office? Really?

Perhaps I am not fashionable, or am old fashioned or something, but I just don't get it.
Office shoes should be sensible and cute, not something that screams "Jump me now big boy."

Or not in my office at least.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I am a TV addict

I have to admit that I am addicted to my television. I really like the things I watch on TV a lot. I schedule my TV watching time ever so carefully, utilizing my DVR to its maximum so that I can get in all of the things I want to watch. I also get very cranky if something disrupts my TV. If something does not DVR right, if I miss an episode of something, I just get cranky.

I find this just a little on the sad and pathetic side of life, though really I do not care. There are worse things in this world to be addicted to than CSI. Also it is not like my TV addiction keeps me from the real world. I have a fairly active social life, and I see sunlight on a very regular basis. So all in all I feel comfortable with this problem.

Only it is expensive. I mean seriously expensive.
We have FIOS (mostly because Time Warner is the devil and their internet people think we are some sort of crazed spam planting hackers and won't allow us access). Now FIOS is a lovely service. It is fast, it has all the channels and bells and whistles I want (and then some), and it rarely ever gives me any problems. We have all the channels. ALL OF THEM! If a channel exists in their lineup, we have it, including the movie channels. Now if I could get rid of every sports and news and foreign channel (ohh and shopping and religious channels) I would, but they don't offer that option.

I would also rid myself of any HD options since we don't have an HD TV, because I actually can not tell the difference between SD and HD. Funny story: When we went to buy our current TV the guy at Best Buy was trying real hard to sell us on HD, despite my telling him I couldn't tell the difference. He did that comparison test where they turn on two TV's side by side and ask you which one has the better picture quality and then reveal you chose the HD TV. Well I looked at both for the longest time and finally chose one. They honestly looked mostly the same, though one was a little less fuzzy. He really thought I was screwing with him and picking the SD on purpose. I swore to him I wasn't. I just have vision issues. HD means nothing to me and neither does 3D. Not that I care as it saves me money on TV's (for now) and movies.

I digress.

So cable is expensive. I think we pay around $150 a month for cable (less if I can keep the husband from renting movies on demand, but not that much less). I mean like $30 of that is the fees for the equipment, and then there are extra charges for all the movie channels (and I actually watch Showtime and HBO series so that is the justification for needing at least those two stations), and I am sure some random charge for solar flares or something like that. But that is a lot of money.

So I have been looking into saving money lately and I decided that since I can actually watch all of my shows online for free, and with services like Netflix and Hulu+, I can pretty much get everything I want from TV to movies for less than $20 a month, perhaps I should cancel my cable. Now of course I can't watch my shows when the air, I have to wait until the next day mostly, and as of yet I have not found a way to watch Top Chef, and there will be no random couch surfing and catching strange cool crime shows or History Channel specials, and there will be a lack of Food Network, and a few other small things, but they are all small things.

I should be fine for my TV watching needs and come out a lot cheaper in the end.
I should be fine.

So why am I so freaked out about calling to cancel my service?