Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Two Sparrow Night

I noticed that the sparrows have taken to roosting in the corner under the metal awning of my back porch. I kinda like them there.  Some nights it's a big fluffy female house sparrow.  Other nights it's a small male.     Guess it's first come first served around here.  

Tonight I noticed that both are comfortably snugged into their opposite respective corners and peacefully slumbering through the cold dark of this winter night.  

...and I wonder what do sparrows dream of?  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Letter to Santa


Dear Santa,

How are you?  I am fine.  How is Mrs. Claus?

Okokok.....seriously dude I know it's been a long time since I wrote to you or asked for anything for myself.  Time to cash in all those hoarded E tickets and request the big prize.  

I know I kid around about it a lot, but this year, with my whole heart, I am asking you to find the dude who belongs in the chair across the dining room table from me.  I am kinda tired of dusting it.  

This year has been tough.  You have brought me the most amazing job for which I dance the fudderwhack daily.  There have been quite a few curve balls this year too.  I'm doing the very best that I can to TCB, I know you know that.  It would just be really nice to have someone provide a little ground support on a daily basis.  I have amazing friends everywhere I look for which I am ohso grateful, but they aren't quite the same.   

Imminently cuddlable and seeking same,
Mary

PS – Please curb the reindeer

PPS - Say hi to my dad and tell how much I miss him at Christmas.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Love Letter to My Body

I have been promising myself I would write this piece for a couple weeks.  Funny how it just didn't seem that important and never made it to the top of my list.  Even now I am contemplating ditching it and starting to put together the new file cabinet.  No......stay on target.

Get this book.  RIGHT NOW!
I suspect it feels a bit more important because this week's audio book has been The Joyous Body: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  She is a brilliant Jungian analyst with a deep love of story that I relate to easily.  So many pieces of this touched me deeply as a woman.  And I wish everyone I know could eat her words and make them part of their own inner workings.

I think the thing that spawned it all was a piece of writing I heard recently that was a long apology to a woman's body for the mistreatment of it.  As I heard it, I wanted nothing more but to love up on the writer and help her love her body more - AS IS.  And there's the rub.  What I really wanted in that moment was to love up on my own body - AS IS.  So that is what I shall do.

I talk a lot on here about my brain and my spirit.  Pretty clear how I feel about those parts of myself.  I know it's hard to believe, but I love my body too.  Yes it doesn't look anything like what the world says it should.  I have decided the world is fucked up and wrong about that.  But then the world is fucked up and wrong about lots of stuff these days.  I have big rolling curves like the Kentucky backroads that hold my soul.  I can't even imagine a body where my bones jut out and dig into my lover.  I heard a comedian (No.  Not THAT one) once deliver the best line ever when he said "Even the three little pigs knew you didn't build a house out of sticks if you wanted to spend any time inside it."  A-MEN!

The world around me spends an enormous amount of time trying to sell me on the idea that I am less than, worthless, powerless, unattractive, and meaningless because I am big.  FUCK YOU!  I'm no longer buying it.  I am big because my spirit is too large to be contained in something tiny.  I am big because I am full of ideas that need to be fleshed out.  I am big because I am defiant.  I am big because I am free.  I am curvylicious.  I am soft because my spirit is kind and generous.  My lap is a comfy place for kids to nap and my thighs are a perfect warm pillow for my lover's head.  My breasts are squishy when I hug someone.  My feet are large to hold up this amazing masterpiece of flesh.  The container is the size it needs to be.  I am suited to it and it to me.

I remember a time when you were smaller, fleeter of foot, perkier in every way.  You are no less beautiful now to my eye than you were then.  Every wrinkle is a story I have absorbed.  I have been 'written upon."  That was one of my favorite thoughts of CPE - that our bodies become the canvas upon which our lives are painted.  I mean, who wouldn't want the oversize canvas for that?  Exactly



Monday, December 19, 2011

I Am THAT Woman

Last week one of my colleagues at work was talking about an AMA article he received via email that polled women about violence in their personal life.  He fussed over this all day seemingly needing to discount the statistics that said 1 in 5 women will experience violence in the form of abuse or stalking in her lifetime.

I tried to convince him, without 'outing' myself as one of those women, as to the validity of those numbers. Tried to explain that these experiences are mostly held in silence or shared only with other women, by which I meant mostly other survivors but rarely with a man.  Still he held disbelief.  I am as intrigued by his need to discount the study as I am by my own certainty that those numbers are correct.

I do know they are correct because I AM one of those women.  I am a survivor of both childhood sexual abuse and of date rape - although there was no such name for the latter when it happened.  Silent for over 30 years about this very thing.  I believe they ARE correct (although in the AMA case study their data collection method and term definitions were biased).  Every time I have ever spoken about these experiences, there is ALWAYS a woman who comes up to me, thanks me for my story, and proceeds to share with me her own untold story of abuse.

I wanted to tell him the truth, but I held back.  Why?  To not feel shame?  To not be judged?  To not be looked at in pity?  To protect the veneer of who I am in this fairly new job?  Lame excuses.  Here was an opportunity to educate a young doctor about something that has never touched his life - at least not as far as he knows.

I am not ashamed.  I am who I am.  Those experiences have made me better, but I would not wish them on anyone.  I am, however, feeling squirmy about my silence.  Wasn't silence the very thing that allowed this to continue?  Isn't it the thing that allows people to discount those stats as inflated?  To believe that this doesn't happen to women they know?




Friday, December 9, 2011

Scientist for Sale

Today I talked to an acquaintance of mine here in research.  She is potentially losing her job when her boss moves on to bigger, better, badder things.  Kinda digging around in my last-year's demon closet?  You betcha.  She wanted some practical advice about how to move through this.  From me?  Really?  Pretty sure I just closed my eyes and cannon-balled like usual, disregarding nearly every syllable of practical advice that came my way - which incidentally was an obscene amount.  But OK. 

As we tried to figure out how long she has been working here, 11 years, she reminded me that I taught her how to make solutions way back when, before her career here started, like early 1990's way back.  Yunno back when big hair was in and I was sporting my favorite Pepto pink high top Reeboks and acid washed jeans.  I'm sure I grumbled and bitched about having to do something as lowly as work with an undergrad helping them learn basic lab skills.  Why can't they just be born knowing what I need them to know?  I know I could have done more and been easier to be around.  I was quite a pill back then.  Mostly I was just trying to figure it all out myself.  All while trying not to be shown up by the clever-as-hell college junior I was training. 

Interesting that 18 years later she remembered it so fondly.  Makes me wish I had taken more care way back.  I looked at this woman and felt a certain pride that even that little action, as poorly done as it was, helped set her feet to become the amazing confident young woman she is today. 

And I promised myself that I would take more care when interacting with trainees in the future because ya just never know.  Just never know who is gonna return the bootstrap you give them.  Need proof?  My last trainee (I had learned a lot about how to be a better mentor in the intervening years) threw my name out for a job when I was unemployed.....a job where I now sit and type this blog.  OKOkok.....usually I am hard at work.  Cut the girl some Friday afternoon slack. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We See What We Want To

Maybe she will come inquiring to me in six months
or six years, and I will shake my head dolefully
biting back the I told you so perched on my lips
She will plead "Why didn't you stop me?"
I will shrug and answer "Would you have heard me if I had?"

because in the end we all see just
what we want to see

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Edge of Vitruvia


Arms stretched wide
Flung Akimbo
Yearning
Barely touching
Circumscribed
Circumspect
Reaching for the world 
beyond those edges

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Not Enough

Yunno when you break up with someone how crushing that can feel.  Having picked through those feelings too many times to count over the last 3 years, I found the part that is the most Owie, the most lingering, to be the idea that you weren't enough, as in you weren't enough to make a go of it.  You weren't enough to make me choose you.  You weren't enough to keep my interest.  You just weren't enough.  Generally followed up by but-hey-this-20something-blonde-box-o-rocks-bim is ex-act-leeee what I'm looking for.  That one's kinda owie too, but I toss that one off as cultural imprinting on both sides of the owww.

Today as my brain ranged in that direction, I gave it enough rope to see where it was headed just in case something cool and interesting might come of it.  Ever ready to yank it back if it felt like it was gonna end up in a box canyon of Ohmygawdmylifesucks or something.

Very interesting thought occurred to me.  I am not the insufficient one.  I rock.  Maybe that other person does too.  But where I am classic rock, they are country.  Different genres with not enough overlap to sustain.  And while I may dig the different and love the alchemy of mixing up the two, I'm pretty sure most people are looking for sameness.  When they realize how different the two of you are it's sayonara.

I might have settled countless times, I found I just couldn't pull the trigger.  Because settling means giving up part of who I am.  Girl is NOT gonna do that.

I am waiting, not for something perfect, but for someone who gets it.

I will not lose hope.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Edge of Vitruvia

I was so very jazzed last night to be back with my fellow writers after a three week absence.  Driving home, brain buzzing with a new poem about Leonardo's Vitruvian Man.  Trying to not wreck my padiddle and cling to a few thoughts about it involving the use of the word akimbo until I could get home to paper and pens.

All thoughts of that poem disappeared when I arrived to find the temp in my apartment to be a crisp 52 degrees.  Flurries of phone calls and hours later, now sleeping on the pullout couch at my moms, I was happy to have a warm place to rest my head for the night.  Only slightly bothered by the niggling thought of something I intended to do but had forgotten.  There is lots of that around me these days and so I fell asleep.

24  hours later the thoughts finally resurfaced......less sparkly and engaging than last night.  Sigh......such is the ephemeral nature of the muse sometimes.  Hoping she will bring it in again now that I am home and warm.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving

We were all indoctrinated into the cult of Thanksgiving at birth.  We all expect it to be one thing - that Norman Rockwell vision of family.  Perfect bird.  Perfect smiles.  Perfect place settings.  Perfect lighting.  What most of us get is anything but.  On a good year we just roll with it.  On a bad year - well, I'm sure you know how that turns out.  Drinking.  Screaming.  Storming out.

This year I was looking forward to Thanksgiving for the first time in almost 30 years.  Something quieter.  A day I could spend with the people who love me most and demonstrate that frequently.  I wouldn't have to sit and make polite chitchat with people I avoid.  I wouldn't have to walk around with my mask in place all day.  I wouldn't have to pretend that this holiday was amazing and wonderful when what I felt was more akin to dread.  I wouldn't have to worry how any word that slipped my lips might be twisted to someone else's gain.

For 30 years, I have endured this.  I have sat at table with someone I loathe and pretended not to.  I have sat my insides writhing, pretending to eat, all while chaos erupted around me.  Some years were easy.  Some less so.  I did this for family.  I tolerated political lectures that made me cringe inside.  I dealt with auditory-damaging levels of noise.  I dealt with kids vomiting on the table (Yes, this really happened).  I dealt with having someone else's agenda rammed down my throat.  I did it to keep the peace.  Sacrificing my own happiness for that of the greater good - the Kobayashi Maru of my life.  (If you don't get this reference, please just step out).

This year I chose me and said I wasn't going.  My choice.  Frankly I was looking forward to a calm day of writing or finding someplace cozy for my mom and I to enjoy a good meal.  When I bailed, mom followed suit.  When mom bailed, so did my brother.  Seems we were all just a bit tired of the status quo and needed something different.  This caused my sister-in-law who hosts Thanksgiving to have a melt down.  She called to tear me a new one for doing this.  She thought I had orchestrated a take down of 'her' holiday.  She blamed me for all the people not coming as if I was able to control them - ha!  She was irate at extra food, conveniently forgetting a Christmas where her entire family bailed at 5PM on dinner on Christmas day leaving me with 15 extra helpings of everything.  All because there were members of my family in attendance that she does NOT associate with - insert Sour Kangaroo sniff here.  

I couldn't take it.  I exploded right back at her.  Exploded out all the anger that I had inside about her assumptions and bullshit.  I am done taking it for a family that is as fake as that Rockwell one.  And I have no intention of letting her bully me verbally the way she is used to doing with her own family.  Her behavior illustrated the very reason why I chose not to go and sealed the deal for me and any waffling ceased.  I was not going.  Not this year.  Not next year.  Maybe not ever again.  Turns out she did not call my mom or my brother who also decided not to go.  Just me.  Because I am the least volatile and therefore the one most easily bullied.

Something different this year was a last minute meal by Kroger.  (FYI - good bird.  Bad sides).  It was what I needed - quieter, cozy, more intimate, more loving.  My mom sailed through the day without much evidence of her AD and was OK after.  (Previous Thanksgivings would often find her sick or in bed after).  For me Thanksgiving isn't about the turkey, the stuffing, even the pumpkin pie.  It's about the people who sit at table with me and how very much I love them.  This year was a home run.  I enjoyed a very mediocre meal and it went down with more laughter and love than I can remember. 

No zombie Thanksgiving for me this year - although somehow a ferREAL zombie Thanksgiving makes me smile. Maybe next year.  Couldn't hurt the food any.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tail of the Shadow

Walking in to work this morning I noticed that my cast shadow had something hanging off of it - turned out to be my bracelet from Victory of Light - the gummed end stuck on my ass.  That got me thinking about shadow.......

I spent a lot of time as a kid pondering my shadow.  I blame Peter Pan for that one.  I became kinda obsessed with the idea of losing it the way Pan did.  I was intrigued by how it changed shape and size in a way that I did not (or did I?), how that copycat always did what I did, how I could throw shadow bunnies and gators on the wall using a lamp.  What can I say, it was the '60's and I was an investigative child.  I understood that these were not actual bunnies or gators, the same way that gummy bracelet that looked like a shadow tail was not a tail. 

I thought about how I might have walked around all day with that fluorescent green tail if I had not glimpsed it in my own shadow.  That seems a good message for the day - that the things that need removed, need changed, are most easily viewed in shadow.  None of us see the shadow part of ourselves when we are blissed out and happy.  It's like standing outside at high noon when your shadow is at its smallest - almost none is visible.  But when things get hard and we react or get reactive, when we are in the place of our shadow, things are so much easier to see.  Like the late evening or early morning - the time of long shadows - where a shadow seems to stretch to the horizon and the viewing surface is maximal. 

I find that I can't do the work when I am in the soup.  But I can give a nod of acknowledgement to say I see you and I will deal with you very soon.  I know there will be a time when things calm and as I move back to the place of joy I will generally be able to yank the fluorescent tail off of my shadow self.  Even if I don't, I have gained a bit of an advantage in knowing those shadowy bits are there and can at least understand why I act the way I do sometimes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My friend Jane says when she gets bad writer's block she thinks about writing a haiku.  There is something small and approachable in haiku that seem to work no matter what acid filth is dripping from my pen.  I prefer to write small stones - a moment of conscious presence to wherever I am.  So kinda the spirit of haiku without the syllabic nonsense.  




Little sparrow
sleeping in the eaves
how like my heart you are
small and shelter-seeking.








There is for me something very honorable and appealing about sparrows.  Maybe their nondescript feathers.  Maybe their appearance in bulk at my feeder no matter the season.   Maybe it's the raucous noise that passes for song in sparrow-world.  There is part of me very like to these little birds.  

To the naysayers in my life.......

  • I am deeply, deeply, deeply in love with my job, with science.  I STILL can't believe someone pays me to do this.  That I get to spend hours of time playing with expensive toys trying to unlock the secrets of how this all works.  Happy brain.  
  • I am not my body size.  I am a mostly well-adjusted, content being in a round body.   I don't want to be thin.  I love curves.  I enjoy my roundness.  Resisting a hundred thousand messages a day about fitting into the square hole.  I don't have to do that to love myself.  It would be nice if I didn't have to do it to make you love me either.
  • I practice an odd and interesting mix of spiritual beliefs.  I don't expect you to understand or believe what I believe.  I only ask that you tolerate my choice.  That you allow me the free will to choose.  
  • Speaking of free will.  That is the basis for everything in my world, that each of us has the right to choose every aspect of our lives.  You do not get to choose for me.  I do not get to choose for you.  Trying to make choices for someone else is merely a lame excuse to avoid making your own.
  • I am smart.  That doesn't make me an elitist snob or someone worthy of scorn.   It just means I know stuff.  You may know completely other stuff, practical stuff, like how to fix a combustion engine or design a skyscraper, or maybe you know where those pesky new commands are hiding in the new version of EXCEL.  I think that's the ultimate cool when someone knows a lot about things I don't.  I celebrate that.  I wish people would celebrate their differences with me.
  • I believe in both Western and holistic medicine.  One is not the devil and the other voodoo.  They are both sometimes right and they are both sometimes wrong.  I will use both as I see fit.  (No comments on this - see bullet point #4)
  • My life doesn't have a soundtrack.  There is music, but it is ephemeral and in the moment.  I like it.  I just don't need or use it the way most people do.  So don't expect me to wet myself over RUSH or DMB or Gaga or whoever you're spinning right now.  Honestly I think I prefer silence most of the time.  
  • Pretty sure I have subbed words for music.  The music of the language.  I have an ongoing and lifelong relationship with words and language.  The sounds they make enchant me over and over.  Self-described word hooker and proud of it.  
  • I am also not my wardrobe.  Clothes are kinda irrelevant to me.  They cover me because that is social convention.  They don't make me a better person, or a nicer human being, or a more loving friend.  They are just clothes.  Ditto hair and makeup.  
That is all.........you may now return to your previously scheduled programming in progress.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bahbye Schtuffs.

Sometimes this funk of schtuff just plops right on me.  Makes me wanna eat sugar straight from the bowl and sleep like a hibernating bear.  That has been the case for the last month or so.....mebbe longer.  Yunno how schtuffs control the perception of time and all.  I have tried the usual things to bust me out, but no luck.  In fact one of the usual things, hiking, actually caused me to injure myself (not once, not twice, but three times!)and, therefore, encouraged the piling on of even more schtuffunk.  Unlike the NFL, there are no penalties in real life for this action.  (How cool would it be to be able to whistle and throw a flag when the schtuff piles on, make the schtuff incur a penalty that is somehow beneficial to me?)

Anyway - here's a useless but cool photo of the
Diwali lights in India from a NASA satellite.
Pretty cool eh?


That is until today at work where they had a big Diwali celebration attended by about 500 people! Diwali is an Indian festival - one of the big ones - that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, celebrates light and enlightenment, celebrates by lighting lamps.  Just celebrates.  And there is no Indian celebration that is complete without food - lots of food.  Quite a few Indians where I work, but also a lot of other ethnicities too.  And people didn't just eat and run, but stayed for the talking part.  WTH - right?  No one does that!  I credit the immense joy the facilitators encouraged. 
  Lots of delish food for free (including this girl's fave saag paneer), dancing and fun facts about India.  Yunno the girl is a hooker for useless factoids.  It is a bit late for Diwali which was celebrated around October 26 this year, but better late than never!  Somewhere during the history of Diwali part of the presentation, I felt the schtuffs kinda crack and fall away.  No  surprise there - Diwali is about bringing in the light.  How awesome are the Indians to celebrate light even as the sun is decreasing everyday?  (Oh wait - isn't it just becoming summer where they are?  Doesn't matter.  My Indian colleagues here rocked it hard.)  It made me feel light and full of hope.  So next year you're all invited to Diwali with me. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

There are a couple things pressing down on me, kinda shushing down the brain slopes and gathering momentum toward a blog post.  Today's post is one of those that has finally hit bottom and needs written.  It's about the doings at Penn State.  Yeah - I know lots of people have written about their outrage, their confusion, and their disappointment (join the club).  The thing is, most of those people don't know anyone who has lived through childhood sexual abuse (well they DO, they just don't know it).

I could give a big rat's ass about Joe Paterno, about Penn State football, about the careers or lives of the players and coaches, or about the disappointed student body.  My heart reaches out to those 10 little boys.  It knows how this may affect their lives forever.  I'm disappointed that 6 "good" men did nothing but stand and watch and so it continued.  I think of the boys that might have been spared that experience if that young coach had called the police instead of his boss.  Obviously he didn't think what he witnessed was a crime worthy of it and that makes me want to slap the ever lovin shit out of him.

It's taken me a week to be sane enough to write to this topic because that case stirred up memories, feelings and a flood of tears around my own abuse.  Survivors may learn to live with it, but we never really leave it behind.  IT NEVER GOES AWAY.  So for those of you reading this, to whom childhood sexual abuse is an abstraction let me make it concrete for you.

My abuse began before I remember.  That means every notion I have of who I am contains that.  I don't know who I am without it.  Just like I will always be white and female, I will also always be a survivor.  It has molded and shaped almost every part of my life over the last 45 years.  And it will continue to do so.  I don't say that in a blamey way - more as a statement of how things are so that people can see that what happened in that locker room that seemed 'not a crime' has more effect than just that one action.

Mostly I am an OK happy go lucky middle aged woman.  Sometimes not.  This week on the heels of the PSU announcement the TV show GLEE had a very beautifully done episode about losing your virginity.  I got so angry, even as I recognized the sensitivity with which it had been done.  Angry because I did not get to choose that experience, instead it was taken from me without a thought about how selfish that action was.  I will never know the angst of losing my virginity nor will I know the possible joy - instead there is often a sense of shame even after all these years and countless hours of 'work' around it.

I wonder if every lover I have can tell.  I worry that it has made me different somehow.  More careful?  Less careful?  Less open?  More freaky?  I do know that not a single one of them has seen me for who I am, not one have I trusted enough for that.  And I wonder if I had not had those experiences if I would still have those doubts.  Maybe they are normal and everyone has them.  Maybe not.  See that's the ugly truth - that everything out of the ordinary in my life may or may not be the result of those experiences.

Did I choose science and academia because I could hide there in logicland and never have to own or face the emotional content of my wrecked childhood?  Would I have perhaps chosen art instead?  Or English?  Or the Peace Corp?   Or would I have done just as I have?  The thing is - I don't know.  And I HATE not knowing.

My mom, when she tells stories about me as a toddler, talks about me as fearless with strangers - the complete extrovert.  My mind just can't grasp that because I am a complete wallflower.  Is that introvertedness related to the abuse?  Perhaps.  I do feel inside like I am one person.  Outside to the world another - a very buttoned down one.

Children who are abused at a very young age fail to develop a sense of self - as in this is me, and that is you and they are not the same.  They fail to learn how to say no to someone.  At age 40, I had to actually learn how to tell someone no.  That STILL plagues me.....in relationships, at work, and with my friends. Even now, knowing I am entitled to say No, I struggle with saying it.  As a consequence sometimes my life becomes overburdened with things I really don't want to do.  I get resentful for having to do them.  WTF - right!?!

For thirty years my sleep was plagued with recurring night terrors and I would often wake myself up screaming - screaming out the NO I couldn't say in my waking world.  Screaming loud enough to wake the entire floor of my dorm, my family, my lover - always explained away with a shrug and an apology.  I was sorry I inconvenienced you and woke you from your wonderful slumber in which you dreamed of being pushed in a swing by your Mom into the sun while dandelions gave up their seeds all around you. I was sorry that my imperfect life had impinged upon your Rockwellian one.

I don't like to be touched in surprise.  I almost broke a friend's nose at a party one night for grabbing me from behind in a bear hug.  Luckily someone intercepted my elbow as I swung it around in self-defense and explained 'we don't do that to her' (How he knew that is a mystery still).  At the same time it is the thing I long for most - to be touched, to be loved, to be seen.

Those are just some of the big patterns set into motion by those events.  There are smaller ones like ripples that spread from these.   Some days are amazingly free from drama around it.  Some not.

So for those people who think that too much was made of this, I would correct you and suggest that whatever price is being demanded, it is nothing compared to what those little boys will pay.

Lastly, I applaud a mother who knew her child well enough to observe changes in his behavior, to question, to listen and to believe him.  We all should be so blessed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

UhOh! NoNo NaNo

Grrrrr......that's right kiddies.  After getting everything ready for weeks, after outlining big chunks of plot, after inviting the characters into my head to play again, after stockpiling coffee and chocolates for the entire month of November - the girl has written NOT ONE FUCKING WORD toward the end goal. 

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers a couple months ago, started on the meds, did great, then ran out of meds, failed to tell us and the result was a certifiable disaster.  Where before she had very mild symptoms and was high functioning, now she is bad.  Every day there is at least one panicked phone call.  Sometimes the whole day is lost in repeating one question over and over.  Do you understand?  There are tears.  There is confusion.  OMG such confusion.  Arguing about stupid shit I know to be untrue.  This challenges me to breathe and recall that she really doesn't remember the other thousand times we have been over this.  The light of reason has died within her and all that remains is responding to the Because-I-Told-You-So authority.  And that just isn't me. 

Yes, it is like dealing with a toddler.  A big weeping 84 year old toddler.  But, unlike a toddler who will age out of it, she never will.  The best I can hope for is to get her back to a high-funcitoning AD.  It is infinitely more frustrating because she is NOT my child.  I did not decide to have this be part of my life.  I didn't wake up one morning and think 'Gee wouldn't it be great if I spent the next 5 or 10 years taking care of a senile woman?'  In fact, I wasn't consulted at all.  It just happened.  Sometimes that makes me furious that taking care of her supercedes big parts of my own life.  Then I get all guilty for being angry and a bit mopey if I let myself think of this as my only future.  Iwant to run away to someplace where my family can't find me.  Let them deal with her. 

What stops me is being true to me.  I know who I am.  And who I am at the very core is a kind and compassionate human being.  I love her no matter what has transpired in the past.  It's just hard becuase her pain and confusion so easily becomes my own.  Keeping a positive attitude (or in the least a compassionate and patient one) takes a lot of energy.  Energy that I used to channel into writing and other creative projects.  At the end of the day I feel a hollow shell with nothing left to put into those things.  I am left with the desire to create, but not the wherewithal to do so.

My goal for this week with her was simple - to get her to become compliant with the regime of her meds.  Who knew one little task could reduce me to a wiped out, yelling short-tempered bitch?  Probably anyone who has ever dealt with this evil fucking disease.  I find I just can't deal with any more whining (especially not my own), so today I am just giving up and letting the gnawing feeling of failure go. In the end whether I wrote and finished NaNoWriMo ever will not matter. In the end what will matter is how I view myself as a person 10 years from now......hell 10 minutes from now. And I know that I am making the right decision.

Monday, October 31, 2011

#27 My Siblings

I have also addressed this here ad nauseum.  So I will be brief.  I have four brothers.  I do not love them all equally.  I know that thought is not a cool one, but it is the truth.  My feelings toward each of them grow and evolve just as we do.  And while I care about them in a certain way one might name love, it is actually quite different. 

By way of example, my younger brother Phil and I hated each other growing up.  I was the only girl.  He was the youngest.  Our family was a shithole of frost heaves and arcing belts.  As children we merely played out what we saw, what we ourselves experienced.  I once kicked his 4 year old ass across a brick fireplace because he got too close to me.  He once took a full swing with a Louisville slugger at my shins.  The verbal abuse I gave him was merciless and would have put even my mom's skills to shame. 

As we became older, high school aged, we recognized that the other was not our enemy and we banded together in an uneasy truce against those who were.  We skipped church and went to breakfast.  Something was fed during those Sunday breakfasts that would serve us well later.  That lasted until I left for college.  Then he had to deal with it all by himself.  I think that broke something inside him.  I regret not being able to spirit him away with me. 

Ironically, he is now among my best friends.  He is my go-to-dude for home repairs, letterboxing forays, and to run maternal unit interference and clean up.  Our shared childhood bonded us tighter than Gorilla glue.  We may pick at each other a bit, but there are few people I laugh with more and none that I allow to see all of me the way I do him.  And there is no one I trust more to have my back.

#26 Religion v Spirituality

Sorry to have skipped out, but I needed a break.  Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo and I will be incommunicado for the month of November as always.  So I thought I might bust these last few blog entries out today.

I have addressed my spiritual beliefs out here often enough.  I don't see any reason to belabor them.  But what I am going to write about for say, 5 minutes, is my opinion about religion v spirituality.  Did you see that word - OPINION?  Yeah, means I think this way, but no one else has to. 

Religion for me is more about identity and having a box to check on the form.  It's about a set of beliefs and a group of people who espouse those beliefs.  Spirituality for me is about choices.  The choice to live your life a certain way.  A way where every step you take on the planet is in line with and reflects those beliefs whatever they are.  Yours can be absolutely different than mine.  And as long as you don't want to make me believe what you believe, or otherwise impinge on my footsteps then have at it. 

I won't go to war for these beliefs.  I won't even argue them.  They are not law.  They evolve and change - a lot.  I borrow shamelessly from thinkers and traditions I like.  So what do I believe?

I believe we have a big brain.  We chould use it.  In fact, using it is sexy - me-owww

I believe that we are meant to be omnivorous.  Our guts are not that of either a carnivore or a vegetarian, but of an opportunistic omnivore.  That said, I believe that whatever we put into our mouths should be as clean and additive free as possible. 

I believe in recycling......everything.  Repurposing and not buying this that are overly packaged.  No matter how much I might want it. 

I believe that you and I, your dog, that rock, the sky everything I can see and many things I can't are connected intimately.  I could go into the physics of it, but really it's much more fun to discover on your own.

I believe I talk to God aka the Goddess aka Allah aka Yahweh aka Wakan Tanka aka Vishnu aka Odin aka......

I also believe I talk to my ancestors both near and remote.  I call them my peeps.

I believe the energy of our world can be flowed toward healing or toward injury.  Our choice. 

I believe words are our greatest gift to each other.  Use good words.  And use ALL the words you know dammit!!

I believe in strong coffee and beautiful chocolate in equal measure depending on my mood and the time of day. 

I believe in forgiveness - not because it's the 'right' thing to do, but because when you rock forgiveness it just FEELS GOOD!

I believe in my intuition - that it will tell me where to put my feet and how to move.  If I listen to that, why would  I listen to anyone who tells me that I am less than amazing?  Or that I don't know what I am doing? 

And my intuition tells me my 5 minutes is up.......sigh.....even though I had lots more I believes to say. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

#25 10 Ways to Win My Heart

1).  Really listen to me.

2).  Know how to have a discussion that is not a fight.  No raised voices.  No infringing in personal space.  No talking over one another.  No aggressive actions allowed.  Laughter is welcome.

3).  Make me laugh.  Yeah the girl is often a bit too serious so anything that makes her laugh is good.

4).  Be honest.  This is a big one kiddies.  Just be who you are.  Don't puff yourself up and front to me.  I will see right thru you.  And on the off chance I don't - what happens when I fall in love with that guy?  Do you really want to pretend to be someone else your whole life?

5).  Follow through on plans that are made.  Corollary - be on time.

6).  Use your grey matter.  Shallow thinkers are trifling.

7).  Be kind to people you don't know.  Be kind to people who do you service even if they are paid to do that.

8).  Have a really personable dog

9).  Write something for me.

10).  The absolute best way to win my heart is to love me.  It is a rare and beautiful thing to be loved by someone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

#24 5 Things I Want to Tell People

I have been mulling this for most of the day.  That's why the post is kinda later.

1).  I LOVE YOU.  If you are part of my life or have been please know this is true.  Some of you make that easy.  Some make it more challenging.  But it is true no matter what.

2).  I know I am pretty laid back.  I like to mull things a long time.  Maybe to some that looks like indecision.  But it isn't.  Nor does it mean that I want unsolicited advice on what I should do.  I am a grown woman with a better understanding of myself than most. I know who I am and have a pretty good idea where I'm going or that I am meandering for a moment.  I don't respond well to this.  In fact, it kinda sets my teeth on edge.

3).  Play.  Life is like finger painting in that you can't really enjoy it unless you're in there and gettin' messy.  Bonus:  It's so much more fun when you approach it this way.

4).  READ DAMMIT!   It is IMHO the best way to expose yourself to someone else's wild imaginings.  Wild imaginings that will light up your own.

5).  Just be truthful with me.  Yeah - it sometimes hurts.  But I am a quick Band-Aid kinda girl.  The pain is all at once and then you can start releasing it.  A lie always hurts more when it's found out and it's always found out sometime.

6).  Cheating a sixth in here.  Forgive.  It takes work.  But it is like every Christmas and birthday present you ever got all rolled into one when you pull it off.  Lighter.  Floaty.  Free of the albatross.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Things I 'What If' About

What if......

I were thin
the great goddess was still valued
I had chosen a career in Art instead of Science
I had been born into a different family
I had not been abused
I had married, had a family.
I had not been the only girl
there were a woman president
I were rich
I published a book
I had no money and were homeless
there is no one to care for me when I am old
I had gone to University in Africa the way I planned
everything I believe to be truth is actually nonsense
people were always honest, kind, generous, ______(fill in the blank) with each other
men and women could understand each other
I lose my mind
were to move to the wilds and live off the land
I could sing (on key that is)
round women were the new beautiful and smart was the new sexy
I were able to speak without fear

Those are just the first couple minutes.  A scientist is a all about the 'what if's'.  The thing is that while I like to throw those questions out there, maybe even imagine what that might feel like, look like, be like - I don't dwell there.  I live here and now.  I like this place and am generally happy with my life.  But there's always room for improvement.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

#22 10 Things About You People Don't Expect

Before I start with today's blog, I have been mulling yesterday's.  I'm not so sure 'getting over' things is the answer.  Nor am I sure what anyone means by that turn of phrase.  Mostly I hear it uttered in a kinda 'shut-up-already' way.  To which I flip those people the bird.  I don't think we ever forget the events that mark us.  But those scars fade and become part of our skin.  We don't so much get over things as we accept and embrace them.....and here's the important part WHEN WE CAN.  There is a timing to everything and people will do their work when they are ready....or they won't.  Ask yourself - what does it matter to you that someone is not progressing at the rate you think they should?  When are you most likely to tell someone to 'Just get over it"?


Now onward and upward my friends....

Today's topic is a better one than most.  I like people who surprise me, people who make me re-evaluate everything I have ever thought about them, people with lots of facets.  Maybe I like them because I am one.  Dunno.

So here goes.  In no particular order.

1.  The scientists don't expect a shamanic practitioner and vice versa.  Kinda fun to watch them try to deal with that personal oxymoron.

2.  That I am not nor have I ever been married.  This does not make me a lesbian (not that I see anything wrong with that.  It has been proposed as an alternative to remaining single and if I had ever met a woman who made me feel something I would probably have gone that way willingly.  But I didn't).  It means that I refuse to settle for something less than what I deserve, that I had some issues that needed to be worked on before I could enter a relationship.  Mostly I think it is a reflection on the poor choices that men make rather than any insufficiency on my part.  But I hope.

3.  They never quite expect that creative side.  They don't expect the poet, the writer, the photographer, the print maker, the painter, the artist.  I don't know why.  She is a huge part of me.

4.  I don't think they expect the low brow humor.  I love off color humor and will take an ill-uttered word immediately into the gutter.  I love it when someone can go there with me.

5.  That I dig NFL football.  That I want to sit on the couch with the dudes and yell and scream at the TV rather than exchanging recipes and baby-rearing stories with the women in the kitchen.  What I really need is a group of women friends who love sports and also understand the social incorrectness of double dipping.

6.  I can be goofy.  Not too many people get a chance to see that side of me.  I don't think they appreciate it.  I don't care.

7.  They never expect to hear about such a crappy past.  I think that's because I rock such a solid happy person to the world.  I have done most of the work and tried to 'get over it.'  LMAO

8.  That I often prefer my own company to that of others.  Most people think that makes me weird or anti-social.  Maybe it does by their standards.  But what the fuck do I care about their standards?  Sometimes I just need a world without people and unnecessary noise.

9.  I have a Jeopardy-worthy command of useless factoids.  I don't know why my brain stores these things but loses the name of the person I just met 2 seconds after they say it.  But it does.  So if you wanna know who won Best Actor in 1979 I'm your girl (I made a stab that it was Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs Kramer and was correct).  If you want help with that dude's name at the staff meeting - good luck (insert sound of crickets chirping).

10.  I spend my spare time carving stamps, tromping through the woods and prowling city streets trying to avoid notice in my pursuit of my super secret treasure hunting hobby.  I could tell you about it, but then I would have to kill you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

#21 Something I Can't Seem to Get Over

Stupid prompt.  And so not me.  I work really hard to keep the baggage car empty at all times.  Doggedly.  Single-mindedly.  Drivin the peeps nuts. 

How 'bout we talk about something it took me a long time to get over?  That seems better.  I started to write about having my heart broken, but the peeps made me delete that and address instead having been abused as a child.  My abuse started around age 3 and lasted until I was 11 or 12.  There are no memories I have that do not include those too.  I tried to confess it at age 8 or so but the priest thought I was being a wise ass and laughed at me.  Destroying the last tie I had to something real and solid. 

I dropped out of my own life became surly, sullen, argumentative (maybe that's why everyone kept recommending a career in law).  I was a walking breathing ball of teen age hormone and amped angst.  So much of that turned inward.  By college I had begun the process of controlling those emotions.  I did that by pulling all of me into my head and curling up tight around the wound.  Never once speaking of it.  No one ever noticed.  Or if they did they never commented on it. 

I did try therapy - twice, but it failed miserably for me.  Twice.  I could just never get to a place where I trusted anyone enough to ever say those words again.  Never wanted to risk someone laughing at those memories that were so painful ever again.  I have a deep passion for science and process and experiments - so living in my head wasn't hard at all.  I lived there quite a while very comfortably.  I got by.  I passed as a real person all the while rotting a bit more inside every day.  That little girl screaming in my dreams loud enough to wake me the way she never did in real life. 

When things threatened to emerge, I shoved them back down.  And I drank.  A LOT.  I won't go into that here, it has been covered before.  I was very good at shoving them down into the deep dark pit of my belly.  It was, after all far removed from the lovely digs of my head where I lived.  The trouble is there is only so much room down there and I maxed it out. I guess the peeps kinda got tired of waiting for me to deal with it, crawl out of my head and start remembering who I am so they gave me a little nudge.  A little nudge called cancer.  Funny how that gets you where you need to go with a quickness. 

In the wake of that, I began to let out the garbage - one maggoty piece at a time.  Scraping off layer by layer my personal dung heap.  I began talking about my experiences.  I discovered I was far from alone.  I forgave one of my abusers.  I would easily forgive the other if there was one sign of remorse or recognition on his part.  I know I should do this for me, but I just can't - not quite yet.  And yet there is part of me that wants to.  So there is the thing that I am holding onto. 

When I look at it with my scientist's eyes, I know that when I let go of the rage and hurt toward him I will feel nothing for him.  He will be a stranger to me.  I want that.  I want to reclaim the real estate he has owned these last 45 years.  I want to pull back the curtains and let the light flood in.  I intend to dance in that room. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

#20 The Last Argument I Had

I had to think about this a long time.  I live alone, but I'm assuming arguing with myself doesn't count.  If it does then my last argument was 10 minutes ago when I tried to whine my way out of writing this. 

A real life face-to-face argument?  That's another story. 

I don't like to argue.  I enjoy a lively discussion with passion and sometimes elevated voices, but not that chin out heels dug in kinda event.  An argument to me is not generally about deciding a compromise that works for both parties.  It's a socially acceptable way to beat up on somone who hurt your feelings or who has the gall to disagree with you.  It is often about ego.  I might go so far as to say it's always about ego and nothing more.  That insane need to be right, perfect, and come out on top. 

I don't not like it because I suck at it.  Quite the contrary.  Growing up I was continuously counseled into law because of my mad arguing skills.  My favorite target back then was my younger brother Phil whom I filleted with my words until he cried.  When you are abused, you often look for someone younger, smaller and weaker to act out your feelings.  I am glad we overcame that hate.  Because against all odds that's exactly what we did.  Especially since I count him among my best friends.  I am so sorry that I was such a fucktard.

I try not to argue.  I try to figure it out way before it comes to hard words.  Sometimes I fail.  Sometimes dramatically.  I have spent the last ten years teaching myself to recognize when a discussion jumps the shark to an argument.  Certain feelings in my body.  A clenched feeling in my heart, in my stomach.  A complete loss of active listening - instead I use whatever time someone is talking to form my rebuttal to their assinine nonsense....er....point of view.  Elevated heart rate.  Clenched teeth.  Balled hands that twitch with a desire to deliver the two of a one two punch on the heels of a lengthy tongue lashing.  In that moment, I take a deep breath and excuse myself.  I find someplace quiet and alone where I can just close my eyes and breathe until those sensations go away.  When I am calm again, I kinda rewind and replay the movie of the discussion cum argument trying to idnetify the moment when my shit got activated, the moment when I stopped listening and started defending, the moment I stopped being in the place of love and enetered the house of smackdown.  Generally I can identify it.  Then it's up to me to do something with that info.  Usually go back to my fellow UFC debator and explain what happened from my end.  It's great if I can hear something similar, if not, I have done all I can do.  The argument is dead to me.

So, when was the last argument?  Probably way back in March while I was in Portland with Duz.  I was tired.  I was cold.  I was wet.  And I desparately needed to stay put for the day.  Thing is I didn't KNOW that's how I felt until much later.  After the argument.  I was a BITCH!  Snippy, short, cold, vile.  But Duz handled it well and it blew over in no time. 

The most successful person to consisitently punch the launch sequence is the maternal unit.  But then she installed it, so what can you expect.  Still working on disabling that one.  Let's see do I cut the red wire.....or the blue?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

# 19 A short list of things that make me happy for no apparent reason.....

Real mail - handwritten

Bright yellow orange leaves - come to think of it yellow orange ANYTHING

Wolves

Papermate medium point blue pens by the box

Reflections

Waxing crescent moon

The smell of old books

Moor ponies

Windsor Newton Sap Green right out of the tube

Bells

Having my hands in the dirt

Wind

Bing Crosby records

The number 8

Midnight Mass

Tall grass prairie

Dried sweat

The smell of Scheaffer ink

Rivers

Coasting my bike down Rossford

Tattoos

Popup thunderstorms

An open G

Crayons

Driving without a destination

Betelgeuse

Midnight blue Slipper Satin

Waffles

Slightly dulled Black Warrior pencils

Bones

 
 
a repost of an earlier blog.....but still applicable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#18 Disrespecting My Parents

Stupid question.  I may disagree with everything they stand for, everything they say, how they represent themsleves to the world, but direspecting ANYONE is another no-no.  Much less my parents. 

I wonder if I would have answered this the same in every decade of my life so far?

At 10 - I knew my life was different, but I loved my parents more than anything.

At 20 - pretty assured that they were both minions of Satan and treated tehm accordingly.

At 30 - pretty much ignored my remaining parent as much as possible.  Needing to figure out my own plans without interference from her or her beliefs.

At 40 beginning to see that love doesn't require understanding or cookie-cutter sameness or anything other than the ability to be in love.  (NB: Not that googly-eyed 'in love' but in love as in the place of love).  That there is no success or failure.  There is only how we love one another.  I began to try to love my mom more.

At 50, I love her for herself.  I love her for the strong things she gave me.  Anything else I have let go. 

Since my mom is almost 84, I'm not sure there will be 10 more years to work at our relationship.  I intend to kick back and enjoy what is. 

#17 Things That Scare Me

Oh Goodgawd isn't this over yet? 

If you had asked me that 10 years ago I would have needed a Kroger cart to hold them all.  But somehow hearing you have cancer makes you evaluate what's real in your life and let everything else go.  Fear isn't always real.  It's self-created.  That means it can be overcome.  Things that scare me are straw men - made to be knocked down.  I don't like the idea that I am limited by my own fear and will attack something that creates fear for me (or kinda rub up against it like an overfreindly cat when head-on seems to much).

For years I was afraid of my own power.  Afraid people wouldn't like me if they could see how smart, goofy, talented, ________(fill in the blank) I really was.  I learned how to be in my power by deliberately choosing to have very strong women friends.  The kind who call you an asshat to your face when you deserve it - rather than the kind that say it only behind your back whether you deserve it or not.   These bitches accept nothing but the best and that includes their friends.  Standing up took a while.  Standing up and disagreeing with them took even longer.  But I did it.  Their way in the world is not necessarily mine and I have to tell them so - a lot.  I am less often the 'head on' than the 'rub up against' kinda girl.  In the end, I think I get just as much, or more, done and I can sleep at night content that I while I was in my power, I was also in my truth.  Really what is one without the other?  That's right.  It's BULLSHIT and the world knows it. 

I was also scared spitless by the idea of public performance of any kind.  The stress of giving journal club or a research presentation in graduate school cut years off my life I'm sure of it.  I am and always will be more comfy in a supporting or behind the scenes role.  But sometimes a wave will roll you up coughing and sputtering right out into the spot light and then what?  Exactly.  You gotta geat up and dance....or sing.....or act......or whatever it is that needs doing.  I hated the idea of public speaking.  I still have to force myself to do this, but I have gotten better and the fear has mostly subsided.  I will never seek it out, but if I land there, I can hold my own. 

Western society is FULL of things that tell me what I can't do....as a woman.....as a woman of size......as a woman on an alternative spiritual path.  I have been jousting these straw men one by one - not allowing society's truth to become mine.  A woman can embrace her own nerd and find joy, can be round and dead sexy, can follow her heart wherever it leads.  Not dancing just inside society's little cage allows me more elbow room, broader arcs, more fantastic leaps and an occasional 10 point landing.  Who wouldn't choose this if they knew what it was like?  Why do we allow the world to tell us it is fear-worthy.  It most certainly is anything but.

The only thing I truly fear these days is heights.  The day is coming when you will see me post about skydiving or hang gliding or some other over the top thing.  But for now I am content to inch closer to the edge and rub up against it. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

#16 Three Things About My Personality I Like

YAY!  Finally one with some thought behind it.

#1 - I am insanely curious about the world and how it works.  Yes, that's me science nerd chica extraordinaire.  This is what drives it.  But it is hardly limited to just science.  If you have known me any length of time, you have probably noticed it applies to relationship, traffic, letterboxing, writing - nothing is exempt.  I LOVE that about myself.  A LOT!

#2 - I am quirky.  May not always show, but it's always there.  Most often it is expressed as a total love of all things child-like.  Maybe that's why my nieces and nephews and I get along so well.  I am not above throwin down a hopscotch grid and goin to town on it.  I like finger paints, sucker punching someone in my writing by connecting two very different ideas, and hats.....love me a funny hat.

#3 - I feel everything.  I mean everything.  Your bad mood may become my bad mood.  Your joy definitely becomes my happiness.  I like this about myself.  But I have to be really careful not to confuse other people's emotions with my own.  That little trick has taken a life time.  Sometimes it requires shutting down the grid to keep it all out.  But given the option of not being like this.  I say no.  I see that this makes me easy to relate to, easy to be friends with, compassionate - lots of good things come to me thru this trait.

Sadly disappointed today that I couldn't make the list 10 things I like about me because I didn't even get to mention my extensive vocab, my innocent view of things, or my capacity for extreme aloneness.....
Well maybe next time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

#15 The Best Thing That Happened to Me This Week

Now that's better.  My week has been sucktastic - so making me look at and choose a good memory  perfection.  

I got an email from my niece Sabine.  That always makes me smile.  Makes me feel like there ARE kindred spirits in the world even if that particular kindred spirit is 1000 miles away from this one.  I am content that she is happy in her life.  Real happiness.  I celebrate that with her.

The BEST thing that happened this week is that Mary Pierce Brosmer, the foundress of Women Writing for a Change, told me I was a helluva writer/poet.  Other people have certainly told me that.  But none produced such a profound effect as this.  Suddenly I feel all Rudolph when Clarice whispers "I think you're cute."  Suddenly there is air beneath me and I am flying.  That's a pretty great feeling.

Friday, October 14, 2011

#14 Something Disgusting I Do

I don't do anything remotely disgusting.  If I found it revolting, I wouldn't do it.  I have previously owned that I belch, fart and pick my nose when I am alone.  I will add scratching various body parts to that list.  None of those things is disgusting to me.  I may not like it when a dude scratches his naked ass on the way to the bathroom right in my eyeline, but I would rather he did that than rub it against the wall to relieve the itch.    These are all biological functions - of a sort.  People who feel the need to control them are IMHO a bit repressed.  Yunno? 

I credit my open view on these things to being raised in Boytown (a subsection of Wonderbreadvillage).  Disgust at bodily activities and noises seems to fall distinctly along gender lines.  Men being more in favor.  Women being less so.  My mom tried to encourage me not to do these things with comments like "A REAL lady does NOT pick her nose."  I can't remember her telling my brothers that.  I remember her more ignoring the behavior when they did it.  My younger brother Phil used to fart directly IN MY FACE to make me abandon the prime TV viewing spot which of course I did.  At most my mom would just say "Phiiiiil".  In the spirit of compromise, I learned to keep it mostly to myself.  No more LADY lectures.  And my large intestine did not rupture from trying to contain enormous amounts of gas.  What the hell did that woman feed us??

As I grew up I realized that there were way more disgusting things in our house than anything I EVER did. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Dream Date

Holeeeee Fuuuuck.  Was I flatlined when I picked these?

Ahh well I promised to write to whatever they were.  So here goes.

My dream date (noun) - sadly, yes, I DO have one.  Middle-aged.  Kinda teddy shaped.  Thinning hair maybe even balding.  Yes - the girl LOVES the chrome dome.  Goatee.  Smart.  Smart ass.  Big vocab.  Enjoys sports AND the arts (HA - find me one of those!).  Reads (Or one of THOSE!).  Little/no junk.  Drug free.  Listens.  Sober. Honest.  Employed.....and uh yeah breathing.  Bonus points if he sports some ink.  Triple bonus points if he can still sport a chubby. 

My dream date (verb) - Dinner.  Bonus if it's ethnic.  Maybe a drive with the top down (on his car not on me) or a stroll thru some little neighborhood weather permitting.  Maybe hand-holding.  Maybe not.  I decide.  Great conversation - the kind that makes you think you could talk to this person forever.  Mandatory good night kiss.  Not too wet.  Not too dry.  Not too much gropage.  Not too much tongue.  Makes another date without waiting that asinine 3 days or whatever bullshit that is. 

Times a wastin - so if you know (or are) someone who meets those criteria throw yourself in front of my car or something.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I Want to Say to an Ex

Mostly everything that needs to be said IS said before we part ways.  I prefer that.  Just leads to less self-flagellation later on.  The single exception to that would be James the Disappearing.  Houdini had nothin on this dude. 

I met James through match.  One in a long string of dudes who were a best fit line among the freak-ass dots on match.  I began emailing him a couple years ago.  We shared a lot of the same ideas about life and all that.  On paper, he was exactly the kinda guy I always thought I would end up with.  He started talking about a date, I left to go on vacation, and when I got back he was gone.  No explanation.  No nothin.

Fast forward a year and a half.  I am still loitering on match looking for Mr. Not-too-Fucked-Up.  I see that James has looked at my profile (Match is stalker weird like that - you can see who has been checking you out.  If FB had this feature it would be way less creeper-friendly).  I thought about it and shot off an email. 

That email went unanswered for another 6 months.  Then an answer full of health and family issues in which he describes meaning to respond, but kinda forgetting.  I believed him.  I have a tendency to take people at their word - at least the first couple times.  It's called trust.  So we were off again.  Amazing mental chemistry and physical chemistry when we finally do meet.  We talked for a couple months and dated for the next three.  Always it felt good.  Like this was supposed to happen.  As if I had known him my whole life.  That kind of connection is rare in my dating world - although it is very common in my workaday world.  I could feel myself easing toward the place where love might happen.  Then BOOM.  He was gone again.  Actually BOOM is not the right word.  His departure was the emptiest of silences.  Silences full of second guessing and wondering.  Eventually just sniffling to break up the silence. 

I still have no idea what the fuck happened to him.  Why he left without a word.  Is it pathological?  'Cuz it kinda seems that way from where I stand.  Is he a player?  That thought kinda making me laugh.  Too big a nerd boy to be a playa.  Was he just frightened?  Did he discover something about me that completely turned him off?  I will never know because he was not man enough to stand up and tell me.  One thing I did not peg him for was a coward.  I can't abide that. 

So I would just like to know what the hell was that about on his end?

My Current Relationship

Man am I tired of these fucktard questions.  And yes, I AM a day behind.  Such is the life of the dog sitter in Amish-land where there is no internet access except what I can scam free from the neighbohood.

My best and longest running relationship is with myself.  I like her A LOT.  She has an amazing spirit.  Her compassion and empathy are deeper than most people I have met.  Yeah - that sometimes gets her in trouble, but she is learning to step out gracefully when things become destrcutive.  She prefers the quiet places of the world to those full of strident meaningless noise.  She sees beauty in the most unlikely places around her - places other eye's skim over on there way elsewhere.  She has a hunger for story and words like that of a child.  Discovery is her drug of choice. 

The only person she is not routinely kind to is herself.  But, she is learning to hold those same attitudes toward herself that she does for the world.  And her world is becoming more expansive for it. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

#10 My Views on Drugs and Alcohol.

First of all - another ridiculously lame prompt.  I mean who really cares what I think about this?  Will it change anyone else's mind in any way? 

Let me start by saying that I think everyone is entitled to their own veiws about this.  I'm cool with whatever a person chooses until it affects me negatively. 

My views on this subject are related to my choice about how to live my life.  So please don't think that I'm preaching or trying to convince you to live your life the way I live mine.  It's called free will people.  Figure out what works for you and hold onto that.  What you choose to put into your body is your choice.  And who's to say that a legal drug is any less harmful than an illegal one.  Oxycontin in my experience is a much more addictive drug than weed. 

Yes, I have smoked weed.  Smoked my first joint in the eighth grade with my then boyfriend Ducky Keene.  It did nothing.  It would be 6 years before I smoked weed again to a totally different end.  Mild hallucinations of a most pleasant variety.  I have indulged in it a few times since then, generally to the same result.  Mellow as shit.  I see nothing wrong with weed.  Think it should be legal. 

I have also done Oxy (not recreationally mind you).  It is a phenomenal drug.  Every little body ache goes away.  Every tiny mote of a thought that causes stress is suddenly silent.  It is like Zen in a pill.  The trouble is that taking that little pill starts the clock ticking and at some point the alarm always goes off.  At that point EVERY DAMN THING comes whomping back in all at once.  That hangnail that you weren't even aware of before you popped the oxy now feels as if a pack of hyenas has tried to rip off your finger.  You jump back on the hamster wheel of thought and off you go at a million miles an hour whirring away.  The natural response is to crave the quiet, to reach for the oxy and start the clock over.  After a while you realize the alarm is coming and you take the oxy to stave off the crashing.  How could something so yummy NOT be addictive? 

Bottom line for me - the less drugs the better.  That includes both the legal and illegal variety.

Now - on to the alcohol.  I am an adult child of an alcoholic.  I have danced the initial steps of that dance myself, as has at least one of my sibs.  If you pick thru the blog there are lots of pieces dedicated to this topic.  I have nothing against drinking.  Will sometimes have a beer or a glass of wine.  Sometimes 2.  But I am no longer willing to give up any of my valuable time to nursing a hangover.  So I usually call it quits after a couple.  If I am honest with myself, every drink that ever came after those first couple was taken with the intention of checking out of my sad life for a mo.  I no longer want that.  I want to be here, to taste it all - every blessed bit - even bits like writing blogs about so lame a topic as this one.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

#9 My Last Kiss

Again invoking the bait-n-switch.  Kinda.  Most people assuming this would be written about the last romantic kiss.  Maybe it would if that had mattered.  Not that it didn't matter.  It did in the moment, but I doubt I will remember it 5 years from now.

A kiss for me is one of the most intimate of actions.  There are very few people I am OK with kissing me, even on the cheek.  That includes my family.  So when I am not dating someone, there aren't very many kisses to choose from.

My mom is in Disney this week with my younger brother and his family.  Before she left we went to dinner.  She has been uncharacteristically sweet to me the last few weeks.  Seems to be one of the silver linings for me in her decline.  Admittedly a bittersweet one.  I have been thinking about her a lot the last few months - about a time when she won't be here anymore.  About how that moment is approaching like the proverbial freight train.  About how I never know when that will happen, or when she will slip away from me mentally to a place we can no longer reach.  Becoming aware of what that gap will feel like.

As I dropped her off, I leaned over, kissed her on the cheek and told her I loved her.  Just like I always do.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

#8 Something I Am Worried About.

I used to be a chronic worrier - yunno the kind that is always sick and ends up in an early grave?  Yeah.  I recognized that too.  I chose to worry less.  Working my way toward a worry-free life.   Pssssst.....I think that's a myth.  Worry is part of how we are raised to cope with stress.  Our parents teach us that it is appropriate to grind our teeth and give ourselves ulcers over things out of our control.  When I was little it was the war in Vietnam, the economy, government, etc.  They also laid down a pretty potent model for how to worry about some things that did affect us - my Dad being on strike from GM, helping 3 kids in college, carpool, sports practices, etc.  Is it any wonder that my generation learned to worry about everything they did and MORE!?!  We are over achievers.

When I got sick 11 years ago, I looked around for something that made sense.  That's when I found Reiki.  It made sense to my spirit if not my head - that reckoning would take years.  One of the basic Reiki principles is often translated as- Just for today I will not worry.  I don't like that NOT in there, so I think of it more as Just for today I will remain calm.  In the beginning, it took a lot of self-policing.  Sometimes whole days were spent reminding myself - Ummmmm you are supposed to be calm.  I am still working on it.

But I have made some head way.  Losing my job might have been an incredibly stressful situation.  I won't lie.  It had it's moments, most of which I wrote about here.  But being a stressed out nutbag wasn't going to change that in any way.  So I kicked back, enjoyed my time off and went with it.  Believing that the right job would find it's way to me which it did.

If that had happened 20 years ago, I have no doubt a thorazine gun would have been required to put me down before I hurt myself.  So it's interesting to see how just changing that one little thing - worrying - had such a profound effect on my life.  And I wonder what other tiny thing might I let go of?

So in answer to the prompt - NOT A DAMNED THING.

Friday, October 7, 2011

#7 My Opinion on Cheaters

Good gawd.  Did I even look at these questions?  Sigh.....

What anyone else chooses to do or not to do - well, that's up to them.  I am only responsible for my own actions.  Trust me ridin herd on those bad boys is a full time job.  This is one of the tenets at the very heart of who I am - that of free will.  If you don't get that, move along.  I try not to judge people around me for their actions (unless they are Micheal Vick or a baby fucker - I can't cotton either of those even a tiny bit).  I continue to love friends who have been/are sometimes complete fucktards.  I may hang around them less during their episodic fucktardiness, but I won't stop loving them.

For instance, four years ago I had a close friend who was heroin addicted, constantly borrowed money from me, and used me as a free baby sitter.  I continued to be his friend and help him out when I could even when he lost his mind and told me I was to blame for everything wrong in his life, that I was secretly in love with him, that I knew the answer to things that he needed to know.  I tried to explain that he held the answers to his own demons, that if his life was in the shitter that was his doing and that while I cared about him a lot, I had at no point been 'in love' with him.  In fact, after getting to know him I felt our becoming friends instead of dating was like dodging a bullet....or a bullet train more aptly.  I gently disengaged myself and walked away.  I still care about him and hold a vision of him becoming well.  That said, I don't really ever want to see him again.  It was hard to walk away, but self-preservation prevailed.

Would I ever cheat?  Probably not is my best guess.  But who really knows what they will do in a situation they have never been presented with before.  If I were to get all logical about it, I would use past behavior as a predictor of future behavior - and the answer would be no.  I don't have the bandwidth to be able to deal with more than one dude at a time and I am incapable of lying with any more flair than your average four year old.  If I meet someone I want to explore a relationship with while I am in a relationship, I always end the latter before continuing.  It's the clean edge of the knife for me.  And I definitely prefer it in return.  Hurts like an m-fer, but heals with less scarring.

So what about someone who cheated on me.....hmmmmmmm.  That is a tougher question.  It isn't the cheating ultimately that would take them down, but the lying around the subject.  And isn't there ALWAYS lying when there's cheating?   I can forgive the sex - we are after all physical beings, but the lying is a major big UNH-UH!  I wonder how I would react if a lover approached me and said something like "I would really like to explore a physical relationship with XYZ, and I would like to continue my relationship with you as well."  I think it might work if it were approached with love and honesty.  But that's all conjecture until someone does.  Given the current emotional maturity of most men, I don't think I have anything to worry about for a loooooong time.

So hopefully somewhere in there I answered the question.....wha???  Whaddaya mean they were talkin about the TV show?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

#6 THE Person I Like and Why

Does that question remind anyone else of 7th grade? 

Does he "like" me or just like me?
I dunno like let me go ask.....Yeah, he like LIKES you.

So this is one I will be subbing for something better - less likeable.  Sorry if I sucked you in with the title.  It's the old blogger's bait-n-switch

So I am going to modify it to "A person I like and why".  If you have known me for any length of time, you have probably read one of these pieces.  They get churned out every so often when I am feeling particularly grateful to someone I know.  I have never tried to write one when I wasn't feeling that way.  Hmmmm....And what happens if I push it a little further to someone I am not feeling particularly comfy with right now? 



I had dinner with a friend of mine tonight.  We have struggled to find our footing after a very rocky start.  
We have very little in common.  Although we share a strong and common spiritual belief.


So why do I like him?  Why have I kept at it despite all the drama?

Because it is worth it.  Because I grow from knowing him.  Because he makes me laugh.  Because he reminds me that life is short and that every minute counts.  Because.....just because.

May the Creator put enough stones in your path that you realize when it's smooth.


We have endured the stones and hit the smooth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#5 Five Requests by Gender

For men
    
1).  Could you PLEEEEEEASE learn to see women as more than a rack and a vagina?
2).  They're called feelings.  They are not good or bad.  They just are.  Try it yourself
3).  Your way of doing things doesn't always work.  Could we sometimes try it my way?
4).  If you can remember who pitched a perfect game, the date of that game and the ambient weather on the field, then you can also remember dates that are actually important to your life too.
5).  Be truthful.  Even when it hurts.  Especially when it hurts.


For women
1).  We are stronger if we are united than any other force on the planet.
2).  Please stop believing what Madison Ave, your mother, your older sister, your friends say about a woman's body and how it's supposed to be.  You are beautiful.  Right Now.  Just as you are.
3).  The following behaviors are immoral (IMHO):  making a play for a man who is in a relationship, talking smack about friends behind their back, gossip of any kind really, dumping your friends because you have a new man in your life.
4).  It is right and good to have emotions.  It is another story to use them to manipulate people.
5).  Forgive and let it go.
    

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#4 What Do you Wear to Bed

A smile?  It's a stupid question.

So today I am subbing instead 'What Do You Dream About'.  Much better question.

So nearly all my dreams take place outside.  Not always, but interior dreams are kinda rare.  Following Jungian dream theory - every element of the dream represents some part of me.  Shamanic interpretations would be less structured and allow for the dream to speak itself to me and for any image to be what it needs to be to me and NOT necessarily what the dream book says it means.

For instance - a couple weeks ago I had a dream about stealing pumpkins.  The dream book talked about feminine, creative, blardyblarblar.  None of those was close to the truth for me.  To find it I did a 5 minute free association and discovered how very much pumpkins mean to me.  Who knew?

So today I am thinking about those outside dreams and what they might mean.  What would it mean if I dreamed inside all the time instead?  What are the dreams trying to tell me?

Monday, October 3, 2011

#3 What Kind of Person Attracts Me

Because answering this in a strictly relationship way would be tedious and because there is significant overlap between the two, I will address this in a more generic way.

Someone who can look into my eyes and tell me the truth even when I am hoping they will lie.
Someone who finds beauty and humor in the world every day in equal measure.  It is after all a very absurd place we inhabit Alice.
Someone who uses their brain for good.  They don't have to be snobby smart - those people sometimes leave me cold - but they can't just be floaters in life.
Someone creative - don't care if you are a creative plumber or the next Picasso.
Someone with a big vocabulary. 
Someone who allows me to make my own mistakes and refrains from telling me what to do.
Someone deeply connected to their spiritual side.  I mean diving bell deep.  Shallow paddlers need not apply.
Someone who doesn't allow their junk to pile up but processes it.
Someone who sees that less is often better.
Someone who laughs, who invites me to laugh, who cultivates quirk.
Someone with whom I can just be who I am without pretending - unless that is part of the game.
Speaking of games - someone who plays....OMG random hopscotch just broke out.
Someone who doesn't bring out that competetive asshat I can be.
Someone who has an imagination - and USES it, TALKS about it, ENCHANTS me with it.
Someone who looks at me and sees ME - not just the size of my ass. 
Someone who brings different to the table and allows me to become familiar with it.
Someone who reads/writes poetry - As my friend Barb says - TRIBE!
Someone who treats their mama well no matter how she has treated them.
Someone who forgives - I mean to the bone forgives because they recognize that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
Someone who can be happy for me without feeling sad for themself.


I dunno.  It's a magical, alchemical thing what makes two people become friends.  Some I know on sight and claim.  Some I have passed thru Purgatorio with and come out the other side - shaky-legged and unsure of anything except that I love them.  Some are unexpected gifts in plain packages on days not remotely my birthday or anything.  Some I borrow from other friends.  Some screech up on  FatBoy Harleys and pirate me off.  Course some of those laid it down just as easily and gave me impossible road rash later. 

I believe every person I meet is there for a reason.  I may not like the reason for all of them, but everyone affords me an opportunity to learn and grow.  And as it generally turns out, the people I struggle with the most offer me the most growth opportunity.  It is unpleasant in the moment, but when I can truly let go of my own drama and angst something rare happens.  I see what a gift these schmucks are if I can get there.  And that right there is a twisty funny enough thought to eat my head for the day.  Buhbye!

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...