Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Always say I love you

I was a very sick child. We discovered when I was in about second grade my constant state of illness was mostly due to the fact that I was allergic to the world in general. It was not enough to kill me, but it was enough to make me vaguely sick for the majority of my childhood.

Before the discovery of my allergy problems we had a pretty set routine. The doctors office was on speed dial, and after a while my mom phoned in my symptoms and the doctors office called in a prescription to our pharmacy. Rather convenient when you think about it.

The fall was no worse for me getting sick than any other time of year really. November was nothing special other than my brother had a birthday in a week. I was sick. I was always sick. I sat at the bar in the kitchen coloring as my mom got off the phone with the pharmacy saying we would be there shortly to pick up the prescription. She brushed my bangs back from my eyes and rested her hand on my forehead to see how warm I was.

My grandfather volunteered to go pick up the prescription, probably just so he could get out of the house and away from my grandmother as they had been fighting a lot lately. I immediately perked up and turned my big green eyes to my mother and begged her to let me go with him. I was probably thinking he would buy me candy if I got to go, or maybe I just didn't want to be away from him while I felt bad, nut my mother said no without a second thought. I was sick and so I had to stay home.

My brother was not sick though and when he asked if he could go my mother said yes. I was less than pleased. I hated being sick. She did allow me to walk out front as my grandfather and brother were piling into his truck to go. As we stepped out front we were greeted by a gaggle of kids coming into our front yard. Nathan Obree had gathered up the kids from our block and his block for a game of touch football. Nathan lived on the next block and him getting to walk to our street to play was a really big deal so my brother quickly forgot about his desire to go to the store and headed off to the store.

My grandfather kissed my forehead and told me he would be back with my medicine soon and I would feel better in no time. I snuggled up against my mother, who was holding me in her arms, and watched my grandfather drive off.

I never saw him alive again.
On his way home a car came through a stop sign going too fast off a hill and plowed into my grandfathers truck. He died in the helicopter on the way to the hospital.

I was very little at the time. I didn't understand why he would never come home. I didn't understand death, and I didn't understand forever. I found no comfort in the thought that he was in heaven as I did not really understand that either. I just knew he was gone.

I can remember him kissing my forehead before he left, but I can't remember if he said he loved me, and I can't remember if I said it to him. I was little, and I was sick, and I know he knew I loved him, and I know he loved me, but I can't remember if we said it.

As I have gotten older I have made it a point to tell people that I love them whenever I can. Even if I know they know it, I still tell them. You can never say I love you too often when it is the truth. You never know when it is the last time you will see someone, and I believe you should always leave them with the knowledge they are loved.

Always say I love you.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Kevin Smith is by far one of my favorite people in film. I adore his work, and I sort of adore him in general beyond his work, but that is not what this post is about. Actually it pretty much has nothing to do with him at all (well not directly anyways).

So anyways, the first Kevin Smith movie I saw was Mallrats. While I love this movie for so many different reasons, and on so many different levels, I found oddly that I really identified with poor William the most. For those of you who are not familiar with the movie or are trying to figure out which character was William, I am referring to the guy at the mall who was so desperately trying to see the hidden picture of the sailboat. I totally sympathize with that guy. I have never seen the hidden picture either, and sadly, unlike William, I never will.

For years I thought those hidden picture things were a joke. I thought that there really was not any extra image inside the static that was the picture. I tried and tried and I couldn't see them. People would give me all sorts of tricks to how they worked; relaxing the eyes, looking past the picture, not focusing on the picture. Yea none of it worked. I was convinced it was a load of crap. There was no sailboat.

Turns out though that it really is me and not the picture. I have pretty much no depth perception. As far as inconvenient conditions go, a lack of depth perception is pretty damn inconvenient. Walking is sometimes an issue. I run into lots of walls and door frames. Driving can be an adventure when you are not sure how far the divider wall or another car is from you. There is a trick to it, which involves counting and a lot of praying, but I have mostly never run into anything (hey I know drivers with perfect eyesight who have hit a lot more things than I have).

Also, along with hidden pictures, I can not see 3D. When I was little I was convinced that that was also a load of crap. When people would 'ooh' and 'ahh' and jump back squealing as something flew out of the screen at them, I was just really confused. The screen was red and blue and blurry. How was this cool? And nothing was flying out at me. I was convinced they were making it up and somehow mocking me. Apparently they weren't.

So this new Hollywood craze of making EVERYTHING in 3D sort of drives me crazy. I mean I don't have to pay the extra $5 on already overpriced movie tickets to not enjoy 3D, I can choose the cheaper 2D option, however I am not spared the shots obviously meant for the 3D effect.

I went and saw the new Fright Night on Saturday with friends and we of course went to the 2D show (the husbeast is also unable to see 3D as he is color blind). The number of pointless blood spurts and splatters that were obviously meant to freak out the 3D audiences, were just a little distracting to the rest of us. I am not certain how that really adds anything to the movie. If I could see 3D I can not imagine that I would enjoy blood spurting out at me, or boulders flying in my general direction, or anything else popping out of the screen. I might just be saying that because I will never see it, but something in me says that I am really fine with never thinking something from my movie is going to hit me.

I would really like to see the sailboat though.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Neglectful thumb

Good southern women like to dig in the dirt. As I am a good southern woman, I like to dig in the dirt. Gardening is one of those things that you either do well or you do poorly, there really is not a lot of in-between.  I mean come on, your plants live or they die. That is fairly cut and dry.

I have some friends who are very intense gardeners. They get seed catalogs, and know the proper time of year to plant what plants, and how to properly space them, and all the other stuff that goes with gardening. I am more of a passive gardener. I like the idea of gardening, but I have simply never gotten around to really apply myself to gardening.

For one thing there is no suitable place at my house to grow things. The general placement of the house combined with the intense amount of shade in both the front and backyard (caused by lots of lovely trees) make for less than ideal growing conditions. Add into that the dog who will eat anything and the squirrels who love to dig up my potted plants and you pretty much have a no growing zone. I have had some mild success with the flower bed in my front yard though.

Mild might actually be an overestimate of my success.

I lost a lot of blood to these plants.
You see I am not certain I can make the claim that I had anything to do with what is growing in the garden other than the fact that I put it there in the first place. A little over a year ago the husbeast dug up the evil hateful spiky plants of doom that I hated so very much. The leaves were like razors and every time you brushed against them they would slice you open. That and they were just ugly and looked really out of place in the yard.

It only took about twenty minutes before the husbeast had thwarted the evil plants. I had a nice big open space with which I could build a new garden. I was so very excited. We went to Home Depot and got all the things we would need to build a flowerbed, along with some plants to put in it. I chose some pretty hybrid verbena and some other stuff that I thought I might like. I read all the tags, and asked some questions, and it seemed like this would all do very nicely.

I have to say I was very happy with how the little garden turned out. It was colorful and pretty which are really my two main concerns about my garden. I was very dutiful in taking care of my garden. I watered it when I was supposed to, I kept the squirrels out of it as best I could, I weeded it when needed, all in all typical garden stuff. Of course we live in Texas and it is stupid hot here. So come September my garden was pretty much done for. Considering I planted it in June though, that wasn't bad. I accepted it was time, and let it die.

I really didn't think much of it after that. I planned on leaving it empty until the spring. It was late October when I noticed that the verbena had started to blossom again. I was a little confused, but hey, who am I to argue with nature. It only lasted a few weeks, and it was only one of the dozen plants I had planted, so I just figured it was a fluke.

We had an unusual winter. It snowed. It snowed a lot. Sure in Texas any snow is a lot, but seriously it snowed multiple inches on multiple occasions. That is a lot. I figured if anything was still viable in that bed the cold had killed it. After everything thawed out my flower bed was nothing but a pile of dead leaves. I know I should have cleaned it out, but what can I say, I am lazy.

Then one day as I was coming into the house from work in late March, I noticed under the blanket of dead brown leaves there was a little spot of purple. I thought for certain I was mistaken. I went over and gently started pulling the leaves away. After five minutes of careful work I found the verbena in full bloom. Now I haven't looked twice at this flowerbed in nearly 6 months, and we had a hard winter, and here is this little plant flourishing. I called it the super flower, and sort of moved on with my life.

Fast forward to this past June. Faire had ended and I finally had time to do some gardening. My little verbena of doom was happy and healthy with no help from me. I figured if I could get more of the same and fill the bed with it, I would never have to do anything to have a lovely garden. Sadly I couldn't find any more of it. I did however find some Mexican Heather which I was told was incredibly sturdy. So I got a few pots and planted it on the front porch along with a cherry tomato plant I was experimenting with.

I did everything I was supposed to do with these dumb plants and they all died within two weeks. Well actually the tomato plant lived but it never produced anything. The heather and the verbena (which I had started to water) both died. Call me frustrated. I managed to kill a plant that had survived fine on its own, and another that was supposed to be really sturdy. I blamed it on the ridiculous heat and moved on.

I have not watered or paid any attention to my poor dead garden since the beginning of July when I decided it was dead. If you were to look at my garden right now you would see my verbena is flourishing and the heather is slowly coming back to life. Apparently I am a great gardener, when I am not actually involved in my gardens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Tragedy

Last night a fire broke out on the grounds of Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Several buildings burned down and one person lost their life in the blaze.

I am at a loss for what to say.
I sit here staring at the cursor blinking on my screen, my fingers poised over the keys, only there is nothing.

I have been on cast at Scarborough for almost a decade now. Every spring for 9 years I have gone out and put on my character and lived in the magic that is faire. It is this place between performance and escapism where my sanity resides. More importantly, it is home, and the people that work there are family.

We have had a number of losses to our faire family through the years. Some I was close to, some I only barely knew, but every loss hurt. It hurts not only because these are good people that are no longer with us, but because it is like a little of the magic dies with them. faire, people don't die. They live on, not only in our memories, but in the lanes.
Kevin's heart might have given up, but Liam Hunter is still prowling around the woods searching for the perfect prize for a festival feast. Cancer might have beat Tyna, but Rosie Fox will always be just around the corner checking your locks to make more work for her husband. Jeff might have sacrificed himself before that crazed gunman to save his friends, but Mayhem will always be lingering about the list.

Having the fire on faire site, and a death of one of our own along with it seems so much worse. Not only did we lose part of our family, but our home was hurt too. We can always rebuild shops, that is not a problem, we can not reclaim a life. I wonder if we will pass by that spot and not remember that one of our own lost their life there.

I hope, sincerely, that the magic of the faire that we cling to so, will help us not focus on the tragedy, but instead focus on the good memories of the person we lost. I hope we can remember that this person was truly a good man, who was happy, and who found a sense of joy and belonging inside the walls of the faire.

It is not the tragic end that matters, but the joyful life that was led.
We must mourn loss, but we must also celebrate life.

May we remember those gone before us, and offer them tribute.
May we mourn the ending of life, and celebrate the life still here.
May the joy of what has been, and the sorrow of what is to come be placed where they should, and life go on as is inevitable.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

I am doing much better today. My pity party is over and I am back to my happy shiny optimistic self. I know it is disgusting, but it is who I am. It just goes to prove that not everyone can be all rainbows and sunshine all the time.

I have to admit some of my faith in humanity has been restored by getting to spend time with my god daughters this weekend. The older of the two is almost four years old. She is such an amazingly sweet and smart little girl. She is full of questions (mostly about the color of objects) that are always very well thought out. She of course has more energy than any one child should have, but when the adults were worn out she was content to just snuggle with me on the couch.

Interestingly enough she is simultaneously fascinated by and terrified of my husband. He keeps asking her if she will hug him and the answer is always a very firm "No.". He knows it is nothing personal and he keeps trying. Some day she will say yes and it will just melt his heart.

My other god daughter is only 11 days old. She is all fresh and new. Mostly she has slept since we got here, but that is pretty much all babies of her newness really do. I got to hold her a good bit, which really is just good for the soul. We got the husband to hold her, despite his fear of holding tiny babies. She is not really all that tiny, but in his arms she looked really really tiny. Of course he makes me look tiny sometimes.

We don't get to see them that often since they live in Nacogdoches which is far from Dallas. It was good to see them though. Nothing like sweet babies to make the world seem brighter and shinier.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why bother?

Do you ever have those days when you just say "Why am I bothering?"
What is the point of all of this drudgery? Why am I subjecting myself to this completely unsatisfying life? For money to continue on through this? What have I come to?

I am having one of those days.
It is not that I dislike my life. Let me start by saying I actually really love my life. I have a good steady job that is easy enough, I have a loving husband, I have sweet fur babies, I have the most amazing friends in the world, and I have these kick ass hobbies that I adore. I am healthy, I am smart, I am talented, and I am comfortable. It is not a bad life.

That being said, I feel ...pointless today.
I look around my little gray cube, at my stack of regression testing, and my endless stack of bills, and think that this is not where I should be.

I used to have dreams. Big dreams. If you have asked me ten years ago where I would be the very last thing I would have said was in an office doing QA. I mean seriously, QA is some ridiculously dull and thankless work. The only thing I achieve at the end of the day is a headache from staring at my computer all day.

I went to college for theater. I was going to be a star. I was going to be in this electric creative world where I made stories come to life. I was going to be so much more than myself. Whether performing, or costuming, or whatever I landed in, I was going to be doing this.

And then I just wasn't.

Did I lose my fire? My drive? My desire?
Did those that fire burn out, or did I just let it die?

Is this really all there is for me? Am I going to go on day to day, living paycheck to paycheck, in this terribly beige world?

I have done nothing and I fear sometimes that I never will.
I don't want to belittle what I do get to do. I would never say that performing for the Renaissance Festival isn't the most amazingly rewarding thing, because it is amazing and I love it. Is that going to be my big accomplishment though? Is that enough for me?

I love to write but what have I written? A blog that a handful of my friends and, according to the stats, a person in Germany reads (Hi by the way!). At least I assume people are reading it, I have no real proof they are.

I feel like I could be so much more, that I should be so much more. Something. Anything. Only I am not.
I am just sitting here, in my gray cube, with my stack of regression testing, feeling sorry for myself.

I will be fine. I will sit here and pout and feel sorry for myself and then I will get over it. I always do.
I will remember that I have a wonderful life that I love, and I have all the potential in the world, I simply have to seize it and be brave enough to do something with it.

I can be more.
I will be more.

I bother because what other choice do I have?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not the family you are born into

My kid is asleep on the couch right now.

She is not my kid really. She is not my husbands kid either. Hell she is not even a kid anymore, she is half way to 21 already. In reality she is just a friend. Well I think saying she is 'just' a friend doesn't properly define our relationship either.

We met her through faire five years ago. She had just made it on cast and was just about to turn 16. Yea, she was 16 going on 30. I am not sure anyone ever really looked at her as a kid. She was always really mature, even when she was around the other under 18 year olds, she just seemed older.

Somewhere along the way we started seeing more and more of her. She joined our Tuesday night gaming group, she became our pet/house sitter, she started just showing up in the middle of the day when we were not home, she even spends her holidays with us.

We offered her our spare bedroom a couple of years ago because she was here so often. While she now has a bag full of clothes in there, and the bathroom is fully stocked with her toiletries she still insists on sleeping on the couch. She says it is just the right size for her and it is too comfortable to resist.

So she is really that friend who never really goes home.

Only she is even more than that. We have had her tagging along since she was 16 years old, and we have seen her through a lot of things. She was raised Christian Scientist, and so I ended up being the one to take her to a doctor for the first time. When she got the flu so bad she could barely get up I left work to go get her a thermometer and medicine. I know when she is upset that she likes to have her hair played with. I have held her when she cried. I helped her learn French (well ok I tried to help her but the French thing went badly).

There are a lot of times when I really do feel a bit like she is our kid.
We joke all the time that we adopted her. I have told my coworkers she is my daughter, I even told the ER doctors she was my kid when she took me to get my finger bandaged after I sliced the tip off (It was a thing). I don't really even think about it anymore when I say it. I just do.

A few weeks ago we ha a party for one of our friends who was leaving for the Navy. My kid was there of course, but her actual parents came as well since they knew the guy who was leaving. At one point during the party her dad found me and pulled me aside to thank me for adopting his daughter. He said he was glad to know she always had someone there to take care of her and love her.
It made me all squishy inside.

So my kid is asleep on the couch right now.
All is right with the world.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New starts, old inadequacies

Every time I start a new project the same thing happens.

First there is this wonderful initial excitement as I am flooded with new ideas. I get this wonderful heady feeling as the newness of it all almost overwhelms me. I am filled with inspiration for this thing that I want to create. I have these vibrant crisp images in my mind that I want nothing more than to make real.

Then the reality of creation hits me and nothing happens. I sort of stall out and just end ups spinning my wheels. Nothing is being created. The ideas are still there and it makes me almost anxious to have them brewing just beneath the surface. They are there ripe for the taking, and yet I can not quite reach them.

Suddenly I have a breakthrough. Out of nowhere I spew forth this small flood of genius. The ideas take solid shape of something real and beautiful. It is not perfection as it is still so fresh and raw, words with no edit, with no filter, just spread forth in a flow of pure creation. It is intoxicating to get that first bit out. It is this satisfying thing that has been made. It is something real I can point to and say "See what I have done."

Then the momentum starts to die. The ideas are still there, and still so fresh, and I am still creating but after that first burst everything seems to come a little slower. The rawness of it all seems really raw and almost ugly. Where the first burst seems so wonderful in its unpolished state, this second wave only seems to have brief flashes of the genius I was experiencing only a short time before. The ideas have still made it into creation, but I know that it will take much more work to transform this raw material into something consumable.

As my momentum begins to wane more I begin to question all of it. Is any of it any good? Was it ever any good? Is it salvageable? Am I just kidding myself?
I feel completely inadequate in what I am doing. I look at other peoples work, their sheer brilliance which seems effortless to me (though rationally I know they probably suffer from a similar process as I do) and I feel like I have no right to even compare myself to them let alone try and create anything.

It becomes a fight to keep the idea alive and moving. The excitement slips away and soon creation is like trudging through a thick mire. The questions and the doubts begin to outweigh everything. I can only hope for a second burst of raw genius to get my  momentum going again. I have to hope to find the energy and will to polish those second bursts into something I find vaguely acceptable.

I have to do it though.
I can't let the idea die.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Humor me

I think one of the most important things about being in a relationship is being able to humor your partner. At least it is very important in my relationship. My husband and I tend to like to do strange things, and all we can ask from each other is that we smile and go with it.

I have been doing a photo a day project and he is quite often the focus of my shot. What can I say, I get to the end of the day, realize I haven't taken a shot, and there he is. Plus the cats get a little fussy when I shove my camera repeatedly in their furry faces while they are sleeping.

Actually my husband is fairly photogenic. He also tends to do some very interesting things. Sometimes though he is really just humoring me. Tonight was one of those instances where he was just humoring me.

Inspiration and brilliance is not always something that comes easily. Some days I have trouble thinking of anything to take a picture of. Today I turned to the husbeast and told him to think of a picture for me or else I would take a picture up his nose. His response was that my idea was a great idea. So I took a picture up his nose.

I mean he let me put his nose hair on the internet. (They are cute nose hairs.)
If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The words in my head

One thing I learned a very long time ago is the words in my head will not go away. I suppose that sounds like a strange sort of statement to some, but it is true.

There are moments when something comes to me, say a moment, or a scene, or a flash. Whatever you want to call it, it is suddenly there in my head. It is now like a living entity in my brain. The problem with living things is they grow. The problem with living ideas is they grow at a seemingly accelerated rate.

What one moment was nothing more than a desperate kiss speaking of longing, hope, fear, and secrecy, is suddenly so much more. Suddenly it is an entire world. It is whole people with all their intricacies. Secrets begin whispering themselves to me from the frantic lips of the half conceived characters. The colors darken and start to become more vibrant in this world, the amorphous blobs in the peripheral begin to take shape and come into sharp focus.

Then there it is; a story.

I am not saying that creation happens and it is done. I am not certain it is ever really done. It will continue to grow and form slowly within its new found structure. Sometimes the changes are subtle; a name, a color, a turn of phrase. Sometimes though things pic up and shift dramatically finding your story set in a different state, your suicides turned murder, your heroin become the villain.

It is all there though, in my mind. After a while the stories begin to clutter things up in there. I only have so much space available for new worlds to live inside of me.

I try to tell the stories. I try to breath life into them any way I can so that they might go and live and grow in the world and not just in my head. That is often easier said than done. Sometimes no matter how hard I try I can not get those sepia toned images from my mind to the paper. I look at the words and they mock me. The characters in my head protest that what I have written is not their story. It does them no justice and they can not manifest through that. So they continue to dwell in my head until I can find a way to create them.

Ideas are easy.
Creation is hard.
And they all continue to wait for me to allow them to live.

Monday, August 8, 2011

*Cue Laughtrack*

Have you ever stopped to think that your life would make a pretty good sitcom? I am not sure that that is exactly an admirable quality in a life. I suppose it depends on what kind of sitcom you are looking at. If it is the wholly unbelievable absurd and stupid sort of sitcom, you might want to rethink your life choices (just saying). If it is, however, more of the quirky life throws weird crap at you sort of sitcom, then I don't think it is so bad.

My life would probably make for a very dull sort of television show in any category. I think that it might be able to come off as one of those intellectually understated witty sort of shows that you have no idea why you like it but it has top billing on your DVR. Or at least I like to pretend that I at least have that much going for me.

My friend Sharon (who is also one of my coworkers) pointed out today that if our lives were a sitcom, one of our office mates (whom we refer to as 'Legging girl') would be the perfect plot device for 'and then wackiness ensued' sort of story line.

You see legging girl wears the exact same pair of leggings every single day. Same style, same pattern, same everything. Every day no matter what else she is wearing, she has on these leggings. They aren't even sensible goes with everything sort of leggings. It is really weird. She is even wearing them now that it is 112 outside on a daily basis. It also is not an office thing, because I saw her at faire one day this past season, and she was wearing the leggings.

So we have been debating for the longest time whether it is actually just one pair of leggings, or a million pair of the same leggings. I say that if it were only one pair she would have worn them out long ago. You can't wear the same leggings every day without them wearing out pretty quickly. Plus washing those every day would be insane (and one would hope she was washing them daily if they are the only pair).

We are also fairly sure she is wearing a wig. I think her hair is actually an obnoxious shade of blue, which is against dress code. The hair we see at work is this fake burgundy sort of color, and her hair has this very doll hair like quality (as in its weirdly shiny and doesn't really move). To say this girl is an enigma and quite a point of interest in our boring office life, is an understatement.

Now if my life was a sitcom, me and my fellow office mates would devise some elaborate plan to break into her apartment and rummage around to find out if it was really one pair or multiple pair. Of course while we were inside she would come home and we would all end up trapped in her closet. Then much wackiness ensues.*

I am certain the reality of the situation is not nearly as cool or even bizarre as we make it out to be in our head. She could just be a really quirky dresser. She could have some hideous scars on her legs and only the leggings are comfortable covering them. The leggings might have been the last gift given to her by her dying mother/lover/neighbor/dog and she wears them out of memory of them. She may just have crap fashion sense. Who knows?

I just know that while we wont be breaking into her apartment or stalking her (in a harmless sitcom fashion or creepy obsessive fashion), we also are not going to ask her what is up with her fashion choice or her hair. I mean if we solve the mystery how will we entertain ourselves at work?

* Sharon actually came up with that scenario on her own. I can't take any real credit for it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Do one thing every day that scares you

I am a coward.

No really I am. I am not brave in any way. I might have been once as a child, but I do not really recall such a time. I get scared so easily at doing new things and big adventures, it is just the way I am. I will always choose the safe choice even if it is the boring choice.

I do not like to talk to strangers at all. In fact the only way I can get around to talking to people at faire (have I mentioned I am on cast at a local Renaissance Festival? No? Well I am. I am a random lane character who does improv and guerilla theater at a Ren Faire.) is if I am in character. Without that character front there, I couldn't manage to say a word. Even at that there are days I find it close to impossible to talk to people.

My husband can make friends anywhere. He will talk to the people in line at the grocery store, shopping near him, at the table next to us, standing around waiting for a movie, wherever. I swear you could drop him off in the barrio and he would show up hours later with three guys saying they were his new friends Juan and Pablo and Raul and they were going for a cerveza (which is pretty much the only Spanish he knows). He is unafraid.

I can not eat in a restaurant alone. The mere idea of sitting by myself in public and eating is terrifying to me. I tried in college to eat by myself in the cafeteria twice. The first time I made it about halfway through my frosted flakes before I just could not stand it anymore, and got up and left as fast as I could. The second time the cafeteria was so crowded that you had to share tables with someone, and a stranger came up and sat at my table. I made it all of three bites into my dinner before I thought I was going to start hyperventilating and just left.

Pretty much going anywhere alone wigs me out. It took a lot of time to be comfortable going to the grocery store by myself. The gym still makes me a little queasy since I am by myself. Sometimes places like WalMart or Target are still too much for me. I did go shopping all alone on my birthday and was alright, and I was very proud of myself. That was not the norm though.

So needless to say pretty much anything new and different scares the bejesus out of me, and mostly I would just rather not do it. I will probably lead a very dull and uneventful life due to this. Travel and adventure are just not on my plate unless someone drags me along and holds my hand.

Today is different.
Today I am being brave.
Today I am doing something that scares me beyond words.
Today I am having to find courage.

Today I am submitting a story to a magazine to see if I can get published.

A few months ago a friend in my writing group handed out a challenge to try and actually get some short stories published. I think I am the only person in our group that took up the challenge.

I love writing, and the idea of being published in anything is huge to me. HUGE. So it only makes sense that I would try. I just am so scared to. It really isn't the possibility of rejection that is scaring me either. I mean I do not think it is. Having them tell me no is not the worst thing in the world. I am sort of more scared that they will say yes. Yes is a snowball into more scary things and places. No is actually safe.

Safe or not, scared or not, ready or not...
Here I go.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Simple words

My husband and I like to send each other silly emails throughout the day to help maintain our sanity. Whether it is something as simple as talking about hating work, forgetting his phone at the house, if I left the dog outside in the heat again, or discussing the grocery list, which I would like to say is a one sided conversation that looks something like this:

Me: I am stopping by the store on the way home from the gym. Do you want/need anything?

Him: I want to buy some new mini's is that alright

Me: Yea sure you should have money on the card. Do you need anything from the store?

Him: How much can I spend.

Me: . The store...deodorant, toothpaste, cat/dog food, tea, lunch requests anything?

Him: I think we are out of cat food...yea...

Me: ...Right...

And then normally I come home to discover he has no razors or deodorant and the dog is out of food and his lunch supplies consist of the cookies he hates and has actively boycotted eating for 6 months and one can of tuna fish.

Sometimes we send silly emails that are completely random. For example today:

Me: (Sending him an email titled A Lament)
Alas..Plum juice...
Sticky again...

Him: Lucky plum

Or sometimes I will randomly nom him or sing him silly songs.

Sometimes though we can be incredibly sweet and schmoobly. He will send me notes telling me he loves me and I am his strength and other such things that make people a little queasy from the cuteness of it all. He has always been like this though. He loves sending me love notes, and writing me poetry, and buying me flowers for no reason whatsoever (no really, only for no reason. He refuses to buy flowers when he has been bad or for special occasions because he thinks they lose their meaning then).

Today while talking about our evening plans I mentioned that I had enough pennies and was going to pick up cheap fried chicken on my way home from the gym since he will be out all evening playing warhammer with the boys. His response was this:

Him: Remember when we had to count pennies for everything?

Hopefully we never end there again but our love of food started out of that, we could get small treats to make the day better.

You & Me vs World

Then I was all schmoobly and didn't really care that I was still all sticky and covered in plum juice.

Were you raised in a barn?

I realize that common courtesy is anything but common now days, but I can not help to have it grate on my last nerve to see people just blatantly be rude and inconsiderate. I am sure they do not realize their behavior is inappropriate (at least I hope they don't realize it because if they did they would then be inconsiderate asshats who were raised poorly, and I would like to give their mothers more credit than that). I am sure they just don't think that it is a big deal. It is a big deal. It really really is.

My cube is in this small area of the office which is actually off to one side. It is not in the major traffic area, it is just my little group mostly, and it is nice and quiet for the most part. It is almost an ideal location. Almost. You see there is also one of the major conference rooms for our floor in the back corner of our area. In fact the door is almost directly across from my cube. The conference room has a door on our side as well as a door on the far side of the room which leads almost directly into the break room.

Because this is one of the largest conference rooms there is a fairly constant flow of people coming and going from meetings. Also because the room is almost on top of the break room it is a common short cut for people too lazy to take the long way around to the break room.

These two facts would not bother me so much if when people went into or left the room they closed the door. When the door is closed most of the noise from the conference room and the hallway beyond is muffled. When the door is open however the room sort of amplifies the sounds from the hallway beyond, or if there is a meeting going on we can hear every single word being said. Turns out we really like quiet in our area.

There are actually signs posted on the doors asking that they remain closed at all times to help keep the noise volume to a minimum for the employees trying to work. Not there should have to be signs. I was taught growing up that if you walk into a room with a closed door, you should close the door behind you. Chances are it was closed for a reason.

Yet still people just walk through and leave the door hanging wide open.
If I don't want to listen to the noise I have to get up and shut the door. Not that it is far to go, but it is annoying that I have to do it. And it is always the same people who leave it open, and they have watched me get up and shut the door behind them. I have closed the door on meetings before because they were being so loud I couldn't concentrate. How rude can you be? I mean seriously?

All I am asking for is a little respect and common courtesy. I am not going to stand about outside your cube making noise or causing distractions, why oh why do you have to do it to me?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Lost: My Give-a-damn

Last seen: Well I can't really recall where or when I last saw it, but I know it has been missing for a while, and it is sort of important so you know, I would like it back.

If Found: Do not make any sudden moves around it as it is very skittish and might run away. Please contact me and I will come and try and retrieve it. You can keep it occupied with shiny objects and gummy bears, but that only lasts a short time.

Reward: My endless gratitude or maybe something shiny...or gummy bears. Everyone likes gummy bears right?

I'm sorry...what did you just call me?

I have this remarkably boring data processing job in the multi family  housing industry (which is a lot of words to say apartment/rental homes). My company provides criminal and eviction and credit background checks to our clients (and a bunch of other things that are irrelevant to my job and this post). Pretty much I get to take the raw criminal and eviction data and put it nice and neat into a database for our customers to access (and at this point I think I am pushing the boundaries of what I am legally aloud to say about my job).

This post really has nothing to do with my job, well sort of, but not really.
One of the jurisdictions I am in charge of is Ohio. I process all the individual counties we have for them (155) which is super fun...or something. Anyways, all of the counties have names of course, and for years now I have been processing them and calling the counties by their names as I see fit, which turns out is not always right.
There is a county (actually several counties) in Ohio called Lima. I have been pronouncing it Lee-ma*, like the capital of Peru. It made sense in my head, and I don't live anywhere near Ohio so how would I know the difference.

Well I started watching Glee a few weeks ago, and after about four episodes I finally put together that they lived in Lima Ohio, as in the same place I have been processing at my job, and they pronounced it Lie-ma, like the bean. I felt a little foolish. Still in my head I keep calling it Lee-ma like Peru not Lie-ma like the bean.

That is when I realized I have a problem with things like this quite often. I pronounce things much differently than they are supposed to be pronounced. Thankfully it is only in my head mostly, so I avoid embarrassment.

In college there was a car dealer in Lufkin, Peltier Chevrolet. Their commercials were everywhere and they drove me crazy. In my mind Peltier is pronounced Pel-tee-ay (which is the 6 years of Ferench I took speaking) but they pronounced it Pel-chay. Now far be it from me to correct them on how to say their own name, but seriously? Pel-chay? How redneck can you  sound?

I of course was among the many who could not pronounce Hermione when Harry Potter came out. Up until she sounded it out for Victor I had no idea what her name should sound like. I can't even tell you how I pronounced it in my head because I am fairly sure I just sort of glossed over it, or made something else up to take its place.

Another glaring example of my mispronunciation is Justin Bieber. I do not follow music. My radio is tuned to stations that play things that have been out at least ten years most of the time. So I could probably not identify a Justin Bieber song if you threw his CD at my face. Also I am not a tween so I have no need to know of him. I thought his name was pronounced Buy-ber, because that is sort of how it is spelled phonetically.I started hearing people talking about Beiber-fever and pronouncing it Bee-ber (sort of like beaver) and I honestly thought they were mocking the kid and the tweens. I felt a little silly when I realized they weren't mocking anyone, but that was how his name was said. Oops.

But I am not the only one who suffers from this problem. Ohhh no no no. This is a common problem.
When I was in college, my American History teach Dr. Barringer (also one of my all time favorite teachers) walked in one day and on the chalk board wrote in large letters:

San Jacinto

and then:


Now if you are from Texas you know for certain of San Jacinto, and if you are from East Texas Mexia is almost certainly known (and we were in East Texas). He points to the first and asks the class "How do you say this?" And we all in unison say "San Ja-cento" and he nods and then points to the next and asks us the same question to which we say "Ma-hay-a".

At this point he nodded and set down his chalk and asked us why. Why are two very Spanish names pronounced so differently. Why not San Ha-cento and Mex-ia? Why doesn't San Jacinto get the Spanish pronunciation but Mexia does? I mean San Jacinto is a major point of Texas history (the final battle of the Texas Revolution), why does it lose its Spanish influence? We really had no answers for him, and I don't think he really expected or wanted one. Still it was a question.

I think though that just proves that it all depends on where you are from and how you were raised as to how things are said. When I was a senior in high school we took a theater trip to New York City. One day we were going down to Little Italy/Chinatown/Greenwich Village are, and we had this tour guide who was a feisty little old native New Yorker. As we were standing waiting to be released into the wilds she told us a little general history of the area and then warned us not to go north of "How-Ston" street. We all stopped and looked up at the sign she was pointing at. Houston St. Confused someone said "You mean Hue-ston Street.". She shook her head and insisted it was How-ston. Now we are all native Texans who have had years of Texas history where Sam Houston was shoved down our throats. Houston is one of the major cities in the state. Hell I was born in Houston. We all know with our every fiber of being it is pronounced Hue-ston. Then again she lived in New York her whole life and she knew that it was pronounced How-ston. We went round and round but in the end just had to agree to disagree.

So all in all I think this is a good example that you should not speak until you know what you are saying lest you look like an idiot in front of people.

* Once upon a long ago I had to learn IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) but I have since then pushed that information out to make room for SQL Queries, and formulaic bodice patterning, and the names of the cheftestants on Top Chef. So this is as close to phonetic spelling as I can get.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I am a duck!

I just wrote this really long post so that I could get to a story that I love about my aunt, but discovered at the end the lead up was both pointless and boring. So I deleted it.

So right here pretend there is a long lead up about my love of swimming, and how I almost drown once, and why I love cheese burgers, and that watching a pool being built is fascinating, and some other random tidbits about my childhood and the rules of the pool.

Alright, now that we are past that, the story I want to tell is about my Aunt Mary.
Let me start by saying I come from a very strange family. If anyone says I am weird, well they are right, but at least I know I come by it honestly.

So Mary is my mom's baby sister. She is younger than my mom by three years (and randomly my mother is three years younger than her older brother, its like my grandparents planned it or something). When Mary was very young, around the age of 4 or 5, (just before you typically start teaching children to swim, but after they are old enough to get into a lot of trouble at a pool if unsupervised), my grandmother took the kids to the pool. Now I don't remember if this was a pool on base or a public pool in Texas where they were visiting family, all I know is it was a pool that had lots of people at it and employed a life guard.

The day is going along well, all of the kids are playing and having a good time, my grandmother was probably drinking, and everyone was in general happy. Suddenly my grandmother looks around and realizes she can not find my aunt anywhere. Panicked she begins calling for Mary and looking everywhere, quickly gaining the attention of the lifeguard who helps y grandmother look. The last thing anyone needs at a pool is a small child who doesn't know how to swim being lost. To my grandmothers horror (and pretty much everyone else at the pool) Mary is finally spotted; on the high dive. She had climbed up there when no one was looking.

Cue mass hysteria; my grandmother screams, the life guard sprints for the high dive, climbing as fast as he can, people are yelling at my aunt not to move that she will be fine. Mary though is perfectly calm. She does not seem to grasp that everyone is terrified of her being on the high dive. Instead of sitting still like she is being told to, and instead of panicking like most children would when everyone is screaming, she calmly called out "It's alright I was a duck in a past life!" *

And then she dove off the high dive to the pool below.

She went smoothly into the water as though she had dived a million times, and gracefully swam down the length of the pool to the steps where she climbed out of the pool. No one is sure where she got the idea of past lives, and no one is sure why she would think she had been a duck, but no one could cast any doubt on the fact that she could swim just fine having never been shown how before.

 So yea when people say I am weird, I know I come by it honestly. My entire family is that way.

*I am told she explained her ability to ice skate perfectly her first time on skates by saying she had been a figure skater in a past life as well.