Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stating the Obvious

After a lot of pondering, procrastinating, and just plain ignoring, I think I'm going to step away for a little while. I'm going to muddle my way through the current holiday season (in all its familial glory), then try to refocus on this site. I need to figure out if I really want to blog anymore, then once I do, I need to actually follow through on my decision. You know that saying? A writer writes. I'm not saying I'm a writer in the true sense of the word, but if I'm going to blog, then I need to commit myself to blogging regularly.

So, I'll see y'all sometime in the next few months. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

It starts almost immediately, but is gradual enough that you fail to notice the damage until you're in too deep to care. By bits and pieces you give more of yourself than you should, explain away behavior that should have been called out. You change small truths until they become big amorphous lies you tell yourself to hold on to that rare flutter of excitement and hope you felt within those first moments of electric, illicit kissing.

The pliable acquiescence you tell yourself is compromise eats away at your foundation,until the house of cards you have so meticulously built crumbles in a heap of self recrimination and regret. What ifs litter the floor like a slick new deck of playing cards, hopelessly boxed, with the queen of hearts face down on the carpet.

Is this the universal plight of all women who are still "out there", or simply my particular brand of self sabotage? Can it really be this difficult to navigate the murky waters of a modern day romance?

Probably not.

What this is, this anticlimactic quasi-humiliating silence, is nothing more than a case of unrealistic, uncommunicated expectations on my part, and a total lack of expectation on his. While far more likely, this truth leaves the more dramatic, Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet- part of my psyche in the dry dust of pragmatism. It's not even worth the bottle of wine and tear-jerker movie I have set aside for such contingencies.

It would be so easy to vilify this poor unsuspecting guy who did nothing more than take what was freely and enthusiastically offered. To place my anger and frustration at his feet would be vindictively satisfying; all my sisters, single and married alike, here in real life, and out there in blog land would rally around me with a resounding "Asshole!". But it would be unfair, and would ultimately leave me hollow and cold.

No, I find myself turning my angry gaze and clenched fists skyward, railing at the Universe, yelling and stomping my feet like a petulant child.I've been a good person, dammit! You couldn't throw me this one stinking bone?

All I got in reply was the night sky, and more silence.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Off with her head!

Where is my head these days?
Certainly not where it should be; not at work, dealing with the epic piles of crap that are accumulating on my desk. It's only a matter of time before they notice, or before the fire marshal comes to condemn my corner of cube land.

Not in the day to day upkeep of a life in motion. Phone calls I need to make are forgotten. Yes, I look like I'm having a conversation, paying attention, nodding in agreement to I know not what, but really I'm miles away. My thoughts jumping like psychotic fish in an overcrowded, electrified pond.

My head isn't here either. I have tried to sit down and focus long enough to write something, anything worth reading, and obviously this isn't it. I have failed miserably, my queue is littered with half completed thoughts, paragraphs that run together, but fail to make a point. My google reader glares accusingly from it's corner of my computer screen, but even that simple, usually enjoyable break in my day, sits undone.

Here's the goocher. The things that have me so utterly distracted would make great posts, but I can't write about them. I'd like to, but one mini drama centers around family, and if Family reads of mini drama, Chanda will be in the poo. Nothing makes me want to drink like a Kennedy than family drama and the impending holidays.

The big pink elephant in the room, the source of all recent lobotomized behavior, centers around absolutely nothing but a remote possibility; a shadow of hope warring with a tsunami of self doubt and ambivalence (hard to say who's). I feel like the more I talk about it, the more I jinx it, and the more humiliated I'll be when it all comes to nothing. See, I told you there was pessimism. Suffice it to say; "Yes, Virginia, there is a guy".

I'll stop this incoherent ramble now, while I'm ahead, sort of. I promise I'll be catching up with everyone soon. In the mean time, that girl in the corner muttering to herself and drooling? Yeah, that's me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Storm Front

Clouds gather, skies open,
thighs part in praise
as heavy, humid rains of sweat, lust, and rum
quench the unseasonal drought
of unbearable duration.
Winds of hot, dry unrest calm in the damp,comforting pressure
of a body pressed against mine
in saited sleep.

Now, left alone with nothing but the
satisfying soreness of body, and bruise of lips,
a hollow chill settles deep in the darkening sky,
and a wicked wind whips in the fury of a silent phone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I went all the way to Rhode Island .....

And all I got was this lousy cold. A snot laden, pressure filled head cold with delusions of grandeur ( I think it wants to be an upper respiratory infection when it grows up). I can't breathe, I can't think, and I certainly can't write, not even a little. I can't even whip it up to catch up with everyone in my reader because I'm hopped up on NyQuil,the Care Bears have shown up, and I'd probably say something ridiculous in your comment section. I promise as soon as the fog clears and I'm not hallucinating annoying cartoon characters I will catch up with everyone. In the mean time, I thought I'd re post a piece I wrote when I first started blogging. I think I had two whole readers back then, so hopefully it won't be too redundant.

True Story
When I was just about 4 years old, my parents and I were living in student housing while my father completed his doctoral degree here. During that time my mother substitute taught while finishing her teaching degree.

At times my care fell to Lucy, a wizened southern black woman whom my parents met while commissioning her husband to build a trestle table for our kitchen. I still have a warm fuzzy for that long, darkly stained hunk of a table that was still in our house long after I left for college.

Lucy and her husband evidently took a shine to this very young,student poor hippie couple and their precocious child who liked to sing at the top of her lungs to anyone who'd listen, so Lucy would offer babysitting services on afternoons my mother had to be at school. Sometimes she would clean while she watched her "stories". Id sit at that table and color, listening to Lucy talk back to the TV as she shuffled around the kitchen.

One afternoon as Lucy cleaned the kitchen floor, the smell of Spic-N-Span permeated the whole house (that smell, 36 years later, forcibly reminds me of that day),when she opened the screened door and just stood there leaning heavily on her dust mop. I thought she was tired, and needed help shaking out the mop, so I walked over to help her.

"I don't need help child, Lucy just needs to catch her breath"

Those were the last words she spoke. She stumbled back into the kitchen and promptly passed out, falling unceremoniously into my beloved rocking chair. I remember being very concerned for my little red rocking chair, as it was not meant for grownups to take naps in.

"Lucy? Lucy? Ummm, I'm going to go take a walk now" I think on some level I knew something was wrong, but my 4 year old self did not quite understand what that "wrong" could be. As far as I was concerned, she had simply fallen asleep, and In MY red rocking chair.

I wanted my dad to come home and make Lucy get up out of my rocking chair, but I knew he was at the lab working. The Lab was down a short wooded path, across the main highway, and in one of three big red brick buildings. But which one? I toddled myself up to the big road and stopped. I had been told in no uncertain terms that I was NEVER EVER to cross that road without an adult. NEVER NEVER NEVER!!!! SO, I did the next best thing. Yelled.


I'm not sure how long I stood there yelling across the street at the facades of those buildings, but I remember being enthralled at the way my voice echoed off of them. So much so, that I almost forgot why I was yelling at them in the first place. I was four, after all. Luckily our next door neighbor who was also class mate of my father's was home for lunch and heard me yelling.

"What's wrong Chanda?"
"Lucy fell asleep in my rocking chair and won't wake up" (again with the rocking chair).

He stood there for a moment, probably trying to process what this kid just said, then sprinted back toward the house, leaving me to wonder what the big deal was.

Lucy had died of a massive stroke - instantly.

That night my mother sat on the edge of my bed to talk to me about what had happened. She was convinced I would be traumatized, permanently scarred by what I had seen.

"So,is Lucy coming over again tomorrow?"
"No, Honey, she died today"
"Where did she go?"
"Heaven" (as all good Irish Catholic moms would say).
"Is she coming back?"
"No, but she's happy where she is"
"Oh,Okay. Can I have chocolate milk for breakfast?"

Early childhood memories before the age of 4 are spotty at best, but this one stands out in extreme clarity, but not in a traumatic way. At least that's not how I perceived it. Not once do I remember being scared or anxious, even after I had learned of her death. I don't know what that says about me, if anything, or if that's just a how a little kid processes abstract concepts like death.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is Me, Not Flipping Out.

It's no secret, I HATE to fly.
No, hate is not strong enough. In fact I don't think there is a word out there that fully encompasses how I feel about flying. My heart drops into the pit of my stomach faster than a hooker in the front seat of a rich man's car at the mere thought of it, and a general haze of nausea descends and refuses to lift until the trip is over, and I'm safely back on Terra Firma.

Normally I spend the weeks before a flight compulsively scanning safety records for each airline, running crash scenarios trough my head as I try to fall asleep, playing each one out so that I somehow survive. As the day of departure nears I contemplate the Amtrak schedules,weighing the extra cost of the ticket (almost double), the extra two or three days of travel I will have to add to my time off request, and ultimately decide flying is cheaper(how twisted is that?). I turn desperately to my 8 year old Toyota with 110K miles under her belt and know she would probably not take kindly to the 13 hour drive; add up the cost of a car rental, gas, and additional time off for travel time, and even driving is not as economical as flying. Dammit!

I have two, count em, two flights to Boston coming up between now and Christmas. The first one is Thursday. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't fighting a constant hum of just below the surface panic, but this time I'm not giving in to it. I have given up my daily "I hate to fly, why do I have to fly, I fucking don't want to fly" mantra. I haven't looked up any safety records, or watched any plane crash footage. I haven't even once logged onto the Amtrak website. Each night I compose grocery lists, blog ideas, and alternate endings to movies just to keep my mind clear of anything plane related. See? See how together I am? Trust me, this is together.

When I do start to panic I mentally pack my bottle of xanax,and try to focus on the destination rather than the trip. Thursday I'm going to visit my brother and sister-in-law in their new house in Rhode Island. It's also my nephew's second birthday, and I will get to be there to watch him open his present from his Auntie Shawnee. The second trip, coming up in December, is also to my brother's house in RI. Christmas with the entire family, three generations worth. Oh, to be sure there will be all manner of drama going on within the rooms of that very full house, but there will also be a lot of celebrating, and I will be armed with mighty wine glass. These trips are ultimately worth all the stupid phobic bull shit that comes before, these trips allow me to reconnect with my family, and to reconnect with who I am at a basic level.

So yeah, this is me, not flipping out. But just to be on the safe side, this Thursday, say around 1:20 EST, send buoyant thoughts my way. I'll be the white knuckled girl in seat 15C.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Of Wine and Comfort.

I found myself this past Saturday evening awash in a warm light emanating more from the people seated around me than from the brass chandelier hanging unobtrusively above the scene below. There were thirteen of us gathered around a long table dressed in white linen, and laden with comfort food the likes of which could nourish even the most starved of souls.

The Tapdancer had effortlessly thrown together a spur of the moment dinner party with her usual flawless domestic skill. She had prepared a fennel encrusted pork loin, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a decadently bubbly, crispy-in-the corners dish of macaroni and cheese made with sharp NY cheddar. Her sister in law had brought along warm spiced apples, and her brother, his famous green bean casserole. This is not your everyday green bean casserole people. This is slap your mamma good green bean casserole. No one knows exactly what goes in it, some say crack, but you literally cannot stop eating it. I fully expect to find myself, months from now, knocking over liquor stores in order to score some more GBC. This veritable feast was rounded off with a warm, thick, fudge brownie, and hot gourmet coffee. Like I said, food to feed your soul as well as your body.

Maybe it was the wine I consumed over the course of the evening after announcing early on, "I feel like getting tanked". Maybe it was those two bottles of Pinot Noir that, at one point, gave me pause to wonder how I ended up on the kitchen floor , and Oh my God I hope none one sees me down here with cat food stuck to my ass before I can drag myself to a dark corner to sober up for a few minutes. Yes, it's always the wine, but before my unfortunate run in with the kitchen floor, I sat around the dinner table listening to the laughter and conversation reach a jovial crescendo, and was struck by just how comfortable I was (am) around these people.

This is my family, not the family I was born into, but the one I got to choose. What a gift we have in our close friends; those we surround ourselves with by choice, the ones who get to see our true selves, and in turn trust us to show us theirs. This loud, laughing pack knows me in all my guises, all my craziness, all my flaws, and somehow they're okay with all of it. Go figure.

Not everyone was there, Ms. Q had to work (she's a restaurant manager, so her weekend's are not her own), and others live out of town (Hi Cindy! Happy Belated Birthday!); but I thought of them as I paused to gather up the loose strands of different conversations, and allowed the energy of the evening to wipe away the last vestiges of the blue funk that had colored the last few weeks a dull grey. How can I possibly remain sad when there are such characters at play?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's a Little Early for The Valentines Day Masacree

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

It's beautiful isn't it? ee cummings is one of my favorite poets, and this is one of my favorite poems. When someone asks "what do you want out of life?", it's not money, or fame or success that comes to mind(though those things would be nice). What I crave above all other things is that poem. I want to feel that way about someone, and have someone feel that way about me. Those who have found it I envy with a dark slimy green intensity that sometimes catches me off guard.

Some would say it's a fairy tale, that there's no such thing as that kind of devotion, but for as long as I can remember I have believed that I was destined to find that one great love. Even now, at my age, and being so very very *sigh* very single, I still buy the "happily ever after" bit. Maybe I'm being naive.

Naive? Okay, I'll admit it, but I'm also afraid. In my deepest darkest most secret place, I'm afraid I'll never find it. What if there is something intrinsically wrong with me, and I'm simply not capable of being open enough to let someone in? What if, deep down inside, I know this and I'm using weight as the ultimate weapon for shutting people (men) out? How does one go about unravelling something like that? How does that naivete and that fear manage to coexist?

My head hurts.

This was going to be a quiet little post about a beloved piece of poetry, but obviously I've digressed into a swirling pit of poo. So sorry Mr. Cummings. I'll hold my naivete close for now, and quit while I'm ahead before I start ripping the wings off of the Tooth Fairy.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I haven't wanted to write this week.
The stories and anecdotal bits and pieces of life I have to share require a light tone and a humorous voice, but I just don't feel funny. I feel cranky; cranky and profoundly sorry for myself, which in turn makes me even crankier because I hate it (nay, I loathe it) when I get all maudlin and "woe is me". It's such self indulgent bullshit, but I can't seem to wade out of this tar pit of self pity.

I'm not even sure how to put into words exactly what is wrong. There have been no tragedies, no major upheavals, just this pervasive fog of negativity that makes everything seem worse than it is. Every hurdle seems insurmountable, and no one could possibly understand. Oh no, who could understand money issues, hating their body, job pressure, family melodramas, or feeling lonely and disconnected? Just me, the girl in the self absorbed plastic bubble. Shit, John Travolta's got nothing on me.

This has been building for a while; like a storm in open water, gathering strength and becoming more defined as it feeds off of the warmth below. How is it that I feel restless, anxious, and worried that I won't be able to fix the things in my life that need a lot of work; and simultaneously lack the energy to even whip it up enough to care? My psyche is in paradoxic flux (okay, so that might not be a real term, or real words for that matter, but fuck it, I like it). I'm wondering if it's not time to call in the cavalry.

So I've been avoiding my blog, because I knew once I started to write all that would come would be a bitter tasting whine. Obviously I decided to write it out anyway. Sorry 'bout that, but like so many other bloggers, this space is not only a place to hone, and (hopefully) improve my writing, it's also a place to hash some shit out, to think out loud, and maybe even gain a fresh perspective. Besides, if I don't write honestly, if I edit myself because I think the real stuff is too messy or boring, or whatever, then what the hell am I doing here in the first place?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A meme by any other name.

A week or so back (because I'm a procrastinator that way) Vodka Mom (what's not to love about that name!) tagged me for a meme. A meme to list 6 unspectacular things about moi. I'm always up for a little self inflicted public humiliation, so let's just jump right in. Shall we?

1. I can usually track the day's menu by the crap I've spilled on my shirt. "Over here we have the morning coffee. Oh, and look, over here. Wait, what the hell is that? Oh, right. I had Mexican for lunch" I swear the girls end up wearing more food than I actual get into my mouth.

2. I mispronounce words all the time. Sometimes on purpose, most times not. The Tapdancer calls me Ms Malaprop. My friends are used to this, and sometimes these mispronunciations become part of our lexicon. They call it "Chandeese".It can get a little sticky if I use these little jewels in different company (which I have). It has garnered me the reputation for being a bit ding bat. The most infamous of these pearls of verbal perfection? "Mutual,like Sweden". Don't judge me.

3. I never wash my car. Ever. I'd like to say it's because I'm green, and conservation of our natural resources is more important to me than a shiny car. In fact I do say that, but the bottom line is that I'm a slacker, and I'd rather be slacking off than washing a car. My co-workers have started calling my car the cookies and cream mobile because the black flecks of gradoo embedded in white paint my car look like a giant scoop of cookies and cream ice cream. I'm kinda okay with that.

42. I love all the Douglas Adams books. I was so sad when he died. The world became a little darker when he packed up his towel and left us to muddle through on our own.

5. I have two cats. I would have more, but as a single woman of a certain age *cough 41 cough* I obsessively worry that I'll become that scary cat lady covered in hair, mumbling to my 50 million cats, and hiding from animal control. Seriously, these are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.

6.I need a pedicure.

Here's the part where I'm supposed to tag someone else to perpetuate the fun. I usually don't, what with all the hate mail and evil looks I got the last time I did that, but I feel like living dangerously today, so I'm tagging Cammy over at The Tippy Toe Diet. She's a great writer, and one of my personal heros for being able to drop 90 lbs and still keep her sanity, and her humor. Cammy, please don't kick my ass. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just a few more.

Have you ever gone on vacation or visited someone, come home, unpacked, done the requisite 18 loads of laundry, but still feel like you never left? Your head is still back there, stuck in that visited place days or weeks after the rest of you called it quits. I've been back from visiting the homestead for well over two weeks, but here I sit, still perusing the pictures I took, yapping incessantly about this mundane detail or that. I don't know what's come over me. I'm not worried mind you, it will pass soon enough. But you? You, my lovelies are now going to have to slog through one last post involving the trip home. The worst kind of torture, the blog equivalent of a vacation slide show. Muwahahahahaha (queue menacing music).

Actually, it's not all that bad. No really, I promise, just a few pictures I took walking around the yard. Like this one. This little fellow is a baby osprey (he's not really that little, nor do I know if he is actually a fellow, but just run with it), his parentals were busy all week trying to teach him to fish for himself.

He was not happy about the prospects of self sufficiency, you could hear him crying from his perch most of the day. Much like I was when my parents cut the financial apron strings. "What do you mean you're not going to pay for my fifth year of college? So what if I'm still a sophomore."

Moving on. Here's one I surreptitiously shot of my brother and his "mini-me". The Niblit may have blond hair ,and eyes like his mother; but this whirling dervish,from his endless energy and mischievous curiosity, down to his infectious cookie monster laugh, is my brother all over again.

Hang in there guys, you're half way through.

Here's a shot of the dock my dad had built, and the boat lift he insisted on installing for the boat he swore he was getting ten years ago. Where's the boat you ask? Good question. I think the money the Old Man of the Sea would have to shell out for a boat has left him on dry ground. Of course, now that the Niblit has visited and talked about his other grandpa's boat, my father has finally started shopping around for his own. Ahh the joys of grandparental one-upmanship.

More importantly, however, is what comes from out at the end of the dock (boat-shmoat). One of the all time best perks to coming home in the warmer months are these; what I like to call Tidewater comfort food.

Blue Crabs; the quintessential "session food". My brother pulled the pots that evening, cleaned all the gross stuff out of the crabs before he boiled them in water, a little beer, a little Malt Vinegar, and a lot of Old Bay. From river to table in less than an hour. It does not get any better that this. We sat for hours picking crab, drinking beer, and talking. It's better than General Foods International Coffee for celebrating the moments of your life!

There! You made it! The blurb at the end of the post. The final phrase that tells you there are no more boring vacation pictures to wade through. We are now moving on. Give yourselves a pat on the back, you deserve it.

Yay! That's the end!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Scar Tissue

Highway 17 is the four lane scar that runs the length of Gloucester County VA, puckering the landscape with strip malls, car dealerships, and corrugated steel mega-churches. I marveled at how altered it had become over the years. Old landmarks were gone, and the Super Wal-Marts of the world had arrived to swallow up wide expanses of wild country bramble with hellish, heat rippling asphalt. A typical but none the less heartbreaking scene these days.

Gone was the old mill house turned rollerskating rink my friends and I haunted all through Jr. High. Gone was the dirt road to nowhere we had,in high school, affectionately christened "The Zanoni Screw Stop". It was there, in breathless curiosity, I touched "it" for the first time. Oh yeah, I was a bad girl.

Yet as I turned off the highway, down the back roads of my youth, the rural landscape seemed for the most part intact. It was still that strange mixture of farm country,and wide brackish rivers that have supported "watermen" and their families for centuries.

I sat in the parking lot of the marina situated on the edge of the York River lost in thought. It was here I had spent every summer from age 10 to 20 in the community pool. This was the place of my first summer job, and and a few years prior, my first summer crush. The job was as pool life guard, and it was the first I truly "wanted", so I took the certification class at the nearby coastguard station. I spent 6 weeks the previous January dragging grown men ,"coasties", twice my size out of the pool in mock drowning scenarios. Not as bad as it sounds, actually. The crush was a boy, not much older than my 14 year old self, who was staying with his family at the marina. On their house boat. The thing had a piano in the living room, I kid you not. We spent a week of summer afternoons on that boat, listening to "The Best of Bread" and necking on the couch. His kisses tasted like salt water and Chapstick.

From the marina, I drove down to the beach where I played out my childhood. Time folded in on itself, and I was four years old again. Sitting on the dock on a warm summer night, wrapped in my beach towel, and munching fruit loops out of a plastic baggie. Watching enthralled, as my father and his friends caught blue crab with bits of string, bait, and a net; I believed he was magic. To my four year old eyes, my dad could do anything.

I was not prepared for the tsunami wave of nostalgia that rushed over me as I revisited my old stomping grounds. I did not expect to feel anything but ambivalence. I had run away to an out of state college, eighteen and angry at family and friends who I imagined had never understood me. I had left heartbroken over a boy I loved with blind teenage passion, but he was selfish and cruel, and left me unsure of myself. I was more than ready to leave this small hick town where I felt invisible, and blamed everyone for making me feel that way. It was easier that way, easier to look outward rather than in.

I drove for hours, from place to familiar place, and the overwhelming sense folding around me like that beach towel was of home. For the first time I felt free to enjoy the memories of growing up here, even the painful ones, without them being blurred by the bitter film of regret. This place, for whatever it's worth, helped shape the person I am today, and I am grateful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Niblet.

Last week I packed up the "yoda" and made the trek to my parent's house in the boonies for a much needed break, and to help my mother take care of my nephew. The Niblet (a nick name coined after seeing his ultra sound picture) is almost two years old, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen him. Always in a sea of family, and never for very long, so it was my intent to put in some valuable auntie time.

The visit wasn't quite what I expected, in a lot of ways the Hallmark moments I envisioned just never materialized. I've always been good with kids, babies and toddlers especially. I don't know why exactly, they just seem easier to make a connection with than older children. Perhaps I'm more in tune with them because I'm just a big baby myself. Anyway, I was anticipating making an effortless leap into favorite aunt status,I even brought a couple of groovy toys wrapped in brightly colored paper with which to break the ice.

I was surprised at how hard I had to work to gain his trust. We did this two steps forward, one step back dance for the first three days. One minute he was all smiles, the next, a small dark rain cloud of baby temper would appear, and a petulant demand to "go away" or "move" would follow. At first this mini munchkin rejection really hurt my feelings. Silly I know, because a lot of it had to do with him being away from his parents for over two weeks. He clung to my mother,"Nana", because she was familiar. So I kept at it, and little by little he got to know me, started to trust me more and more each day, and by mid week we finally hit our stride.

I could make him laugh by pretending to cry when he tried to send me away (perverse little bugger!), and by the second half of the week he had decided I was okay. He still preferred his Nana (who doesn't), but he also started looking for me when I wasn't there, playing with me without Nana, and only tried to send me away as a game. Evidently faux crying is highly entertaining.

By the end of the week, as I pulled out of the driveway to head back home, he was waiving and shouting "bye bye Shawnee".
I have to say, it brought tears to this auntie's eyes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The God Squad

I am not a morning person, I never have been, but having to work for a living has forced my week day hand, and I have to get up Monday through Friday at the butt crack of dawn. So on the weekend I take great pleasure in sleeping late. Those who know me know not to call before 10:30, 10:00 at the earliest, but somebody better be on fire.

Imagine my bleary eyed surprise, a few Saturday's back, when I heard someone knocking at my door at 9:15 am. Thinking there must be some sort of emergency, or mass evacuation, I threw on my robe and shuffled through the living room to answer my door. Before me stood an overly dressed little old white haired couple, smiling at me like it was perfectly normal to knock on a stranger's door too early on a Saturday morning.

I immediately knew what this was. This was a visit from the dreaded "God Squad", those annoying folks who take it upon themselves to zealously peddle their religion from door to door. I don't understand it. I'm fairly certain that when Jesus came up with the idea to get the word out, he meant in a public forum, a park or obliging field, someplace where people could, oh I don't know, CHOOSE to listen or not.

My first inclination was to tell these lovely people I was a card carrying-broom toting witch, and kindly get the hell off my porch before I turned them all into toads. I didn't of course. I didn't have the heart. They were old, and smiling kindly, and it was hot outside; besides I'm really not a mean person(mostly). So I agreed to listen to their scripture passage about how you become wise by speaking softly, and answered their pop quiz question about how does that apply to marriage today (like I know). I even took their pamphlet of thinly veiled hate (immediately destined for the recycle bin), smiled and sent them on their way thinking I was done.

I was so very wrong.

So, here I am, 10:15 on yet another Saturday morning, fuming after being awakened by the same couple, this time schlepping along some other member of their cult-uh-church. This time peddling slightly less veiled hate about the gay and lesbian community (couched in the guise of discussing the challenges faced in being married.) I guess the first visit was just a test run. Now they were back with the big guns.

Enough. Old codgers or not, I should be able to speak my mind in my own damn house. So I crossed my arms, blocked the door with my body, and using the voice I save for telemarketers said, "I respect the fact that these are your beliefs, and they somehow bring you comfort, but they are not mine, and I find them extremely offensive. I also understand going door to door is something you folks feel strongly about, but I have no desire to hear anymore of what you have to say. Please take me off your visitation list". I was so proud of myself, I spoke up, spoke out, kindly, but firmly. I had faced the God Squad and lived to tell about it.

Looking utterly nonplussed, and without missing a beat, the old man said, "May we take a moment to pray together for your soul?"

What? Did I just hear that by speaking my mind,and politely asking someone to leave my house, I can actually put my soul at risk for an eternity of hell fire and brimstone? Seriously? With all the political and social injustice, senseless violence, and greedy pillaging of the earth going on these days (much of which is done at the hands of men who claim to be Christians themselves), THIS is what gets you sent to hell?

Maybe I'm not such a nice person after all, or maybe it was because I hadn't had my coffee yet, but I just couldn't help myself. "You are free to pray for whatever you want, but not on my God damn porch. Please leave!" Oh Yeah, I said it, and now I've pissed off the Southern Mafia.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

Yesterday, Lara over at Literally Speaking ran off to go see Neil Diamond in the big city. Lucky girl. I could tell for her The ol' Jazz Singer was a guilty pleasure. Why I don't know, Neil is fabulous! Gypsy was also owning up to a few of her own yesterday, so it must be in the air. Either that or summer is just a time for a bit of indulgence.

Everyone has got them (guilty pleasures, not Neil Diamond tickets), those little habits or tastes you indulge in with a secret delight that feels like you're getting away with something illicit. These quirky rituals are for you alone, and you don't care how juvenile, tacky, or bad for you they are, you just don't particularly want to have to explain yourself to too many people. Some like to soak in a hot tub and pick their nose, other's like to buy a tub of cool whip and systematically devour it with a spoon. Who doesn't?

Guilty pleasures? Oh yes, I have a more than my fair share, so I thought I'd fess up to a few of them now. I feel so nekkid all of a sudden.

Evanessence - I love this band,the lead singer is just gorgeous, and wonderfully goth in a Grimm's fairytale kind of way. I swear if they had been around when I was in high school I could have avoided the entire Stevie Nicks obsession(but that's a post for a different day). Not to mention I love the lyrics, and her voice is absolutely blow you away phenomenal. I like to crank it up, and sing into my hairbrush. All the while imagining some random man who done me wrong. "Yeah, I'm talking to you, buddy."

Kraft Mac and Cheese - the yellow dye#487 variety. I'm not even sure it can really even be considered "food", but oh my happy ass, how I love it. I don't eat it very often, because of the afore mentioned happy rear end, but when I do, I like to add insult to injury (because I never do these things half way), and eat my Mac and Cheese with the other quintessential non-food food. The hot dog. Don't judge me.

Chick Lit - I've also heard it refered to as Little Black Dress lit, or Red Dress Lit. It's light, fluffy, and reads like a Sex in the City episode, but I love to curl up with a good trash novel every once in a while. Okay, more than every once in a while, but who's counting?

Romantic Comedies. - They're right up there with Chick Lit, but I love to fall into a Sandra Bullock, Debra Messing, Kate Winslet, girlie, this never happens to anyone, romantic comedy. Of course there has to be a certain amount of eye candy in the guise of a leading man (ANYTHING with James McAvoy.. ohh my, he is tasty.), a funny but quirky best friend, a good cry somewhere in the middle, and happily ever afters all the way around. It's total brain rot, but I just don't give a rat's butt.

Bed Days - Not for the faint of heart. It takes a professional slacker to pull one of these puppies off, and it should be noted they are best attempted after a night of heavy, but not overly excessive drinking. On this day, the sacred "bed day", one sleeps until it is no longer humanly possible to keep one's eyes closed. Once fully awake, shuffle into the kitchen to make coffee, and at that point decide; bed, or couch? Once this crucial, but totally personal decision has been made you hunker down. No need to get out of those pj's, oh no, we're going for maximum comfort here. The rest of the day is spent reading, watching bad movies, and ordering take out. If you've planned ahead and have a well rounded supply of comestibles, then you can avoid the awkward moment when you have to greet the pizza dude in your pj's at 4 in the afternoon. There's an art to making a good bed day, there are no rules, you can even throw in a late afternoon bubble bath if you're feeling ambitious. The possibilities are endless.

So now that I've shared a few of mine, it's your turn. What are some of your guilty pleasures. Come on now, you know you want to spill.

Many thanks to the Tapdancer for pointing out an obviously sleep deprived mistake of calling my one true celebrity crush John instead of James. What the hell was I thinking? Obviously I wasn't, but I still like him better than you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shit or Get Off the Pot

It's official, I suck at keeping this blog updated. I honestly don't know how everyone does it. How do you do it? Inquiring minds want to know.

I've been thinking a bunch about blogging, about my blog specifically, and whether it should be more focused on a particular subject matter? Should I extend my slacker's hiatus until I know exactly what I want to write about? Should I stop all together? If I stop will I miss it? Will I actually do the other things I say I'm going to do if I don't blog? Here's a thought; maybe I'm thinking too much about blogging instead of just shutting up and actually writing. What a concept.

So, what's a procrastinatin' girl supposed to do? I'll tell you what. Shut up and write. And not about the fact that I have nothing to write about. Although that seems to be my current reality, but I digress.

Where was I?

Oh, yes.

Shut up and write.

Since my capacity for original thought is at an all time low tide; we're talking clam digging, dribble castle making, peeing in the tidal pools low, I will just tell you guys what I did on my bloggie vacation. Ironically enough, considering the last sentence, it did not involve going to the beach.

Actually, I didn't do much of anything at all, and I've enjoyed the hell out of it. I've puttered around my house pretending to clean, but really only moving piles of crap from one room to another. I've read novels (trashy and otherwise) on long afternoons sipping iced coffee. I've watched about a gajillion hours of netflixed movies, and subjected the Tapdancer to more than a few indy art films (a weakness of mine). She's always suspicious. With titles like "Wrist cutters, A Love Story" (the current selection I'm trying to talk her into), you can't entirely blame her. But I swear, this one is supposed to be good one!

In a bolder- uh lame brained- move, I whacked off my princess hair (7") and accidentally dyed it a shocking shade of red. The damn box said medium reddish brown. HA! I don't know what cracked up crayola box those jokers were working from, but this is not brown!

And here we are, at the end of the first post-slacker-break post. Here's to hoping it's not the last. That would suck.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The First Five

I've been thinking a lot since my last post. Specifically I've been thinking about what you guys had to say about my last post; about having to like yourself, right now, not in a year, or 50 lbs from now. So over the past few days I've been pondering,plumbing the depths, getting my introspection on, and trying focus on things I like about myself. It's been harder to do than I thought it would be. I don't know if that's because I'm uncomfortable saying out loud the things that I like about myself (it feels like bragging, or being snobby and shallow), or that when I say those things, they ring hollow, and I don't really believe what I'm saying. Conundrum!

So I tasked myself to come up with 5 things (physical or otherwise) that I genuinely like about myself. My old therapists would be so proud. It's taken a week, and I'm still not sure how I feel about putting them out there, out here, but here it goes:

I like my eyes. They're kind eyes. Blue, but they change in intensity depending on what I'm wearing or if I'm pissed off, and sometimes they look kind of green. They remind me of the colors of the ocean, which is kind of cool because my name means 'star of the sea'.

I'm a really good listener. I feel honored and needed when someone trusts me enough to unload. It happens a lot, I think I put people at ease( that might be considered another "thing", but I think it's part of what makes me a good listener) Even if I can't offer any advice or solutions, I find it easy to empathise with people, and I can tell that they feel better for sharing whatever it is they have on their mind.

I like my hair. It's long and naturally curly, and while it's thinner than it used to be it's still really full and thick. I even like the color; a kind of reddish brown that with a little help from Loriel, can go a deep auburn. A friend once told me I had "princess hair". I know, it's totally vain, and I feel extraordinarily silly and sheepish writing about it, but its the one part of my physical self that I feel like I can flaunt.

When I put my mind to it I am a pretty good cook. I learned from watching my father, he did all the cooking when I was growing up, still does as a matter fact. He does amazing things with food. We haven't always had the best relationship,so the affinity I feel with him when I cook is very important to me. I don't do it very often, but I love getting in my kitchen and experimenting with different recipes. This past winter the Tapdancer and I had a ball dunking homemade cranberry orange biscotti(my own variation on my grandmother's recipe) into thick dark melted chocolate. Watching people enjoy what I've made is very satisfying. It feeds my soul. Perhaps I should do it more often.

I like my sense of humor. I'm funny dammit! Okay, so it may not come across here, but trust me, this is funny stuff. I love to laugh, and when I'm the one who's made the funny, all the better. I love those rare giggle fests, the ones where you laugh so hard you can't catch your breath, tears are streaming down your face, and you might even snort. I can be bawdy when the situation arises, and I pride myself on being able to hang as the only woman in my department. I get all the tasteless jokes and emails, and it is a constant source of amazement to my co-workers that I don't get offended. Bonus points if I can shock the hell out of them.

So there it is. The first five. I don't know if this little exercise actually helped or not, but it did bring to light just how hard I am on myself, all the time. That little voice loop that runs in my head is almost all negative. I don't know who gave the mic to the critical bitch in my head, but damn, she needs to shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's a Disgusting Process

Is it me, or does everyone on those dating websites all look like they could be Hannibal Lecter's love child? With every profile I read I'm convinced I'm one blind date away from the inside of someone's freezer. It's kind of depressing, when one reaches a certain age, to have to actually go through all that dating crap, not to mention the humiliation that is online dating, just to live happily ever after (if there is even such a thing). Why can't I just blink my eyes "I Dream of Jeannie" style, and have my perfect match standing in front of me complete with flowers, a good bottle of wine, a compilation CD of all my favorite songs, and a book of poetry by ee cummings. Is that so much to ask?

It recently dawned on me that I have had one, just one, legitimate relationship in my entire adult life, and I'm here to tell you, it didn't matter how many times I kissed him, he remained a lifetime member of the frog club. Nothing says "forever" like a thirty something Peter Pan who's primary goal in life is to find a woman to keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed. Sexy! The rest have been one utter train wreck after another.Take for example the gay guy in college. That was a year and a half of mixed signals and hand holding that ended abruptly when he finally came out of the closet. I really should have seen that one coming. He was named after a plant for Christ's sake, and he shared a bed with his roommate because "they couldn't afford two". Seriously, how did I miss that?

Then there were the two married men, one of which went no further than an intense two year phone conversation while I waited for his separation to turn into a divorce. It never did. No, I'm not proud of myself for those digressions, and I realize now that with each "affair" there was a woman who I betrayed right along with the schmuck she was married to. But in both cases I was naive enough to believe them when they told me they loved me, and perhaps they did, but not enough.

All of these pseudo relationships, along with the countless other obsessive, unrequited infatuations have had one thing in common; they were all with unavailable, and therefore, safe men (guess how many years of therapy that charming little realization took?). So now I'm wondering if I will ever have the capacity to have a normal relationship. Will I be able to fall in love with a relatively stable, emotionally available man, and let that person in enough for them to be able to love me back?.

What if I can't?

What if I'm doomed to ride the relationship short bus for the rest of my life?

I know a lot of it is wrapped up in low self esteem, and a poor body image, blah, blah, blah; but somehow it feels deeper than that. It's an innate distrust of men. I don't know if I can trust anyone enough to show them the real me, to hand them the keys to the gun cabinet and give them the ammunition to do some serious damage if they wanted to. Hmmm, interesting metaphor. What would Freud say?

And now I don't know where to go with all this. Ive just barfed up a giant hair ball of a character flaw(sorry 'bout that), and I just can't wrap it all up in a neat-cohesive-lesson-learned-pearls-of-wisdom-bow. It's a mess. Hell,I'm a mess.

I know, I know, I'll never get good at it unless I try. I see others dating, and actually making headway through to their own happy ending, but I think I'm a little worse off than most. Oh yes, here's where the weight thing rears(no pun intended) it's ugly head. There is no way any self respecting man is going to find this attractive. And if they do, they immediately become suspect to me.

Okay, so I'm going to have to work on that.

There is a lot I'm going to have to work on, because I do know I don't want to be single my entire life. I do want to have someone I can share all my bits and pieces with, and the only way I'm going to get what I want is to actually go out and get it. Maybe spewing all this stuff out here is some sort of bizarre first step in making that happen. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yeah, Yeah, I know, this is cheating, but......

I know, posting a video clip is not considered a real blog post in some necks of the woods, but around these here parts I like to live on the edge. Actually, I have a few ideas for posts that I'm mulling around, but they are kind of heavy, and are going to take some sittin' down and concentrating. I think sittin' down and concentrating on a three day holiday weekend is just not cool. So I'm not gonna do it. No way, no how.

I'm actually off Ms Q's house to celebrate her birthday with The Tap Dancer in true decadent style. There will be drinking and feasting, and more drinking. I think we may even get a visit from political royalty. Needless to say there will be incriminating pictures later in the week. In the meantime, I'm posting a clip by one of my favorite artists, Tom Waits. This little bon mot is a classic. We like to quote bits and pieces of it whenever we can. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dentist Visit - Beatnik Style

Dear dentist.Dr. Dungeon master of tooth decay.
Masked man with drill in hand.
Wielding whirring whining weapons of your trade.
Move to reshape the craggy white cityscape of

Novocaine- You sadistic bitch.
You stinging sticking stymied
harbinger of false relief.
Mask the hot horrible pain of
man's inhumanity to mouth.
Your fickle fading
leaves gaping gums of humanity screaming
in freshly drilled agony
praying for ibuprofen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dirt Therapy

I am not one for yard work, of any kind. As I've said before, any kind of outdoor, pick up a shovel and dig, kind of activity was viewed as being cast down into the lowest level of hell. I must be growing up or something (don't tell anyone!), because on Saturday the strangest thing happened. I went out and worked in the yard, voluntarily, and liked it. Ol' Bill (my father) would be so proud.

It was completely a spur of the moment thing. I was sitting on the couch mid morning Saturday, sipping my third cup of coffee, and watching a movie I had DVR'd earlier in the week (those who know me will be surprised to hear it wasn't a death movie). As the movie finished and the house had gone quiet, I started feeling kind of melancholy. I can't put my finger on what the problem was exactly, it was more a general sense of being bored, lonely, and restless. Normally I would have followed that particular rabbit down the rabbit hole and spent the day listening to Sad Bastard music, watching more movies (death ones to boot),feeling sorry for myself, and eating things I shouldn't. Yeah yeah, I know, welcome to my inner sanctum of crazy.

But I didn't. I had been talking about turning an old wooden sandbox left by previous owners of the house into an herb garden for a while,like for three years, but had never gotten around to the actual doing. So this past Saturday, when faced with a long afternoon of throwing cheese doodles at my face, and wiping tears away from my eyes with orange stained fingers until I looked like some deranged crazy lady with a bad spray on tan, I decided to do something a little different.

I threw on some grubby clothes and went outside armed with mighty farmin' tools, and proceeded to lay waste to the weeds and small trees that had taken root in my sandbox. I then made the suburban pilgrimage to Home Depot for gardening soil and plants. I have to say the plant selection there is sad sad sad sad sad. It's the vegetative equivalent to a puppy mill. But I found a few quasi healthy plants and a butt load of potting/gardening soil, loaded up the Toyota and headed back to the homestead

Dirt Therapy. Who knew!? I had the best time pulling weeds, lugging crap around my yard, and digging my hands in cool, rich, pungent soil. I found my head clearing and my thoughts slowing down, until all that I was left with was me and my garden. I may have even talked to the plants as I carefully placed them into their new digs. When I had finished my body was stretched and tired, but in that buzzy energized way that makes you feel kind of high. All those feelings of purposelessness had disappeared, and I had spent the day getting closer to the person I want to be. I was a filthy, sweaty mess, but exceedingly pleased with myself; like a first grader bringing home her first attempt at writing her name.

"Lookie what I did!"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Yep, She's at it Again

Maybe it's because its Spring and I've put away all my bulky invisibility sweaters (oh, how I miss them). Maybe its because I went clothes shopping this past weekend, and nothing fit well. Or maybe its because I weigh more right now than I ever have in my entire life-for-ever-and-ever-amen. The reality of that statement would normally send me down into the dark dank mold infested basement of depression, and I'm trying really hard not to go there this time, but I have to admit I'm standing at the top of the stairs as we speak.

So I joined Weight Watchers. Again; and if the number of times I've joined and quit were eggs, you could make a shit load of omelets with them. I'll admit my attitude regarding this program has never been stellar. For one thing, I think it feeds my tendency to obsess about food, and I have issues with their reliance on processed foods and artificial sweeteners. I also tended to go into meetings with a major chip on my shoulder, finding criticism in every well intentioned "so how did you do this week?", convinced I was surrounded by over zealous uber dieters looking to bolster their success by my failure. Paranoid much?

What's changed? Funny you should ask. I think my attitude has changed a little. I was sitting in that room, listening to all those women (and more than a few men) share their little victories as well as their lost battles,and each one of them was supported equally. I had an epiphany, right there in my uncomfortable folding chair. I thought to myself "self, maybe you're the critical over zealous uber dieter looking to bolster your failures by belittling other's successes." That's a hard thing to admit to yourself.Oh, and the terrifying number on the scale(which I know I shouldn't be focusing on, but I can't help it) has also provided a renewed sense of urgency to get off my ass and do something. Anything, for cripes sake!

I still have trepidations about being on WW again. I get so hyper focused on food, I worry that it will just feed into the whole compulsive eater's mindset, and I will end up quitting with a vengeance. I'm going to try a few things this time around to alleviate some of that. One of which is to have a day during the week where I just don't think about it at all. I'm not going to call it a cheat day, because I don't like the inference that I'm doing something "bad". I'm also going to refrain from talking about dieting and points and serving sizes ad nauseum both in real life and here. I have a tendency, once I've talked something up, to lose interest quickly and passive aggressively begin to sabotage myself. I recognize that is a completely adolescent reaction put in place by years of forced dieting, but that seems to be the way I roll. As for eating all that processed food and artificially sweetened crap,at least there I can make other choices.

I'm guardedly optimistic this go' round. I know getting healthy is something I have to do,so I will just take it slowly and be willing to give myself a break if I'm not perfection 100% of the time. Maybe this time I can avoid the dank dark basement, I so don't want to go there, there are big ass bugs down there.

I feel like an alcoholic giving up booze, and maybe that is actually what I am. Some sort of hopped up food junkie who has to join a 12 step program to kick her habit.

Hey man, know where I can score a candy bar? (Kidding..... sort of).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Follow your bliss

I sat at my desk early Monday morning faced with yet another week of mind numbing tedium, close minded plebeian co-workers, and not nearly enough coffee in my system to handle any of it. It was at that bleary eyed moment that I was reminded of a conversation I had last week with a friend about being able to follow your bliss.

It’s an intriguing idea, and I’m always more than a little pea green when I run into or read about someone who is able to follow their inspired creative path unfettered by outside influences (read “the have to have job”). To be able to exclusively do that which makes them feel most fulfilled.

To even know what that bliss is has to be an enviable state. I struggle to find something in my life that I am that passionate about. Whether it be a desire to create that burns inside, or a passion for working with a particular group of people, or in a particular field of expertise; to have something in my life that inspires me in such a way that I absolutely cannot be a peace unless I am pursuing it. That is what I want to be when I grow up – inspired.

I hear writers in this very blogosphere say they have to write, cannot think of not writing, writing is like breathing for them. To not write on a daily basis would be unthinkable. I see artists and crafts people perfecting their skills, overjoyed at what possibilities a new tube of paint or a new swatch of fabric holds, and I am jealous.

I struggle to find my bliss. I have jumped from one creative endeavor to another. Wire wrapping, silver smithing, drawing, weaving, writing, knitting, and most recently web design. While each has been enjoyable, none have sparked that flame of obsession I crave,and none have held my attention long enough for me to become proficient in any of them.

I should probably take this moment to confess that I have not given any of these projects the time or focus needed to become skilled to the degree needed to take any of them beyond the realm of hobby. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’m just adverse to the hard part of the creative process. The working at it part, while ignoring the voice in my head that is telling me “this is not for you, you have no talent with this”. Do I need to be spending weeks, months, even years perfecting a skill or a craft before I know for sure? When do you know for sure? Shouldn't the joy come more easily? This feels suspiciously like my last relationship, and Jesus did that end badly! I guess the question I have is this; when does the inspiration needed to carry one through the hard part supposed to kick in? Could it be be I'm just not all that creative? Or am I really that lazy? Shit, that’s a depressing thought.

I will keep trying though,trying new things as they catch my attention. I may even go back and to pick up some previously failed attempts at past projects. The silver work specifically was something I felt like I didn't give enough time or effort to. Maybe it's not a specific something I need to find in order to be inspired. Maybe I need to inspire myself, find a way to tap into some yet to be discovered well of creative energy. At the very least I probably need to shut up,stop whining, and just go out and do.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bitch Slapped

Ohh it feels good to be staring at this blank blog post page again! It has been too long since my last post; it's odd, when I'm writing I'm bitching about how hard it is, and when I'm not, I'm wishing I was (of course I'm still bitching about how hard it is).

What is it about life that likes to periodically slap you on the ass (and not in a good way) just to make sure you still know who's boss?? I don't know, but this past week has been one of those ass slaps. It's been the invasion of the "Ists". First it was the Gynecologist and the get to know your choochie session, then it was the Dentist. I haven't been to one of those "Ists" in over 9 years; I'm here to tell you there was an obscene amount of scraping, and poking, and x-rays, and 6 cavities, and, and and. Oh, and did I mention my appointment was at 7:40 in the morning! WTF? Although I suppose the sleep deprived haze could be considered anesthesia.

The icing on the cake was the Veterinarian..uhh ist. My city boasts a renowned school of veterinarian medicine, but conversely nary a single vet worth their salt. I'm not joking, it's pathetic. I have Siamese cat with chronic gingivitis, and after over $700 bucks in vet visits, second opinions, tests and more tests, the best advice I got around here was to take her to the vet school and have ALL HER TEETH PULLED to the tune of 1600 smackers. No shit, that's what the final verdict was.

Luckily She who Tap Dances knows of a vet that has been taking care of her family's animals for over 20 years. Last year we brought Bella to him,he put her on anti-inflammatory meds and antibiotics to control the issue. But more to the point, he took care of months of worry. Until Tuesday.

Bella had been showing signs that her mouth was bothering her, and since Ms. B had a new set of kitty testicles to snip, we thought we would load up the Toyota with 4 cats in three carriers, and head down to Doc's. Did I mention he's 2 1/2 hours away? Well worth the trip, but the its always an epic adventure. This trip was no exception. Ohh yess, one of the 4 cats took a massive "holy crap I'm in a car crap". Now I'm not sure if it was the gawd awful smell or the ungodly hour (we left the house at 6:45am), but the combination spawned a massive attack of the giggles, and a creative brain storm that coined the new terms "Fear Crap","The Crap Fear River", and "The Tudball Massacree". Okay, it was funnier at the time. I swear. Shut up!

I honestly thought that once Doc took a look at Bella he would maybe have to clean her teeth, maybe even extract one, and we would continue on as before. That was not to be. When we got back from lunch to pick up the herd he was shaking his head. My heart sank. It turns out Bella has cancer. Squamous Cell Carcinoma to be more to the point. I stood in that exam room as explained how he burned the tumor off her gums with some sort of laser and cauterized the hell out of it. I managed not to cry as he told me he got it all and he's not willing to give up yet, but that I had to understand that this was an aggressive cancer, it would eventually return, and it was terminal.

So I loaded my extremely doped up cat back into the car and we headed home a tad more sober than we were on the way there, and our conversations took a darker turn. The rest of the night I nursed my little "bean" back to consciousness, and leaked tears all over her fur.

I'm feeling more philosophical about things now. The chronic gingivitis indicated a suppressed immune system, and I knew that she was never going to be an old cat, but this cancer thing is a little more immediate than the gingivitis. I'm optimistic though, maybe even overly so, she's young, otherwise healthy, and a serious spit fire. She was wobbling around the house Tuesday night, fighting off the drugs and insisting on eating her evening meal. So maybe she can fight this too. I'm hopeful, anyway.

I know, it's silly to get this wrapped up in a pet, but I'm one of those people who do just that. I can't help it, and I'm not really sure I'd want to change it. There is something very fulfilling and soul soothing to care for an animal, and be the recipient of their particular brand of devotion and unconditional love. It's hard when you lose a pet; it's like, in some small way, like losing a family member, and sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. But then, when I'm having a really bad day, one of them will curl up next to me on the couch, squint up at me and purr, and I can't imagine not having them around.

So, the invasion of the "Ists" is over for now, so I can resume writing my piffle,(I know you've all missed it. You know you have. Shut up!) and catch up with all my favorite bloggin' babes who I've missed this week more than I can express.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing (i hope)

*Updated Below*

Welcome to my mini freak out. Not a big one yet, I'm hoping it won't come to that, in fact I'm almost 99.9% sure it won't come to that. It's that .01% that's got me all in a tizzy.

I have to go to the Dr. today for my annual check up. Affectionately known as the annual poke and prod. Girls, you know the one. It's bad enough on a normal visit; what with the weighing on the scale that is always at least 6lbs heavier than the scale at home, the surly nurses with an opinion on everything, and the oh so dignified toes to the sky exam in the ill fitting paper dress. But today I also have to have a little lump that should not be looked at, and I'm sure I'm overreacting, but I'm a little anxious about it.

It didn't help that I googled "symptoms of ovarian cancer" ,because I'm ever the optimist, and now I'm convinced that every fart is an omen (did you know that chronic gas and bloating can be an indicator?). Please understand I'm not making fun of a very serious and frightening illness, I'm just trying to take my own overactive imagination down a notch and lighten up, because I could very easily freak myself out.

Okay, so this is not the PSA it could have been, it's more like barfing my anxiety all over the page just to get it out and feel a little better (which I do, so, thanks!). I fully intended to do a little more digging around and post a few facts we as women should all know. Perhaps I will later, but the little reading I did do was only adding fuel to my current over reaction, so I thought better of it.

Wish me luck, I have to go pound some water now because along with everything else I'm going to have to pee on demand into a little plastic cup. I so enjoy being a girl!

Okay, I feel better, or more to the point, I feel slightly sheepish (Talk about an overreaction). It was the equivalent of your car making a noise, but stopping once you get it to the mechanic. There was nothing there. She checked..... thoroughly. Then she had me check. I'm here to tell you there is nothing more mortifying than having to feel yourself up in front of your doctor, whilst trying to keep up your end of the conversation. Nothing. She did say it was more than likely (some medical term I cant remember) which is basically something akin to a pimple. Lovely. My doctor said they are fairly normal so I feel better, everything looks fine, is fine, and now we can return to our regularly scheduled program.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

I am not unique in the fact that I do not work in the field in which I received my degree. My undergrad degree is in psychology, and as much as I would have liked to go on and get my graduate degree, the lack of academic focus during my college years (all eight of them if that tells you anything), pretty much clinches the fact that graduate school is out of the question.

I currently work investigating and resolving billing issues for clients my company provides services for. It's cube dwelling at it's most glamorous, let me tell you. It's not horrible (much), and it certainly pays the bills, but it is by no means fulfilling, nor does it scratch any kind of creative itch I might have. So the question is always out there, just beyond my Monday through Friday grind; "What do you want to be when you grow up, Chanda?". I still don't know. Can Lady of Leisure be considered a career?

So, a year or so back I started looking into taking some computer classes at the local community college, more to up my skills and marketability than to branch out into something new. I found I could get a two year degree in something called Office Systems Technology ( I think that's just a fancy term for office manager, but it fit the bill in terms of what i needed in terms of skilz). So I signed up, sent in my registration, and picked the first two classes needed for the degree. I don't know if someone fat fingered my information or fate stepped in and said "no no, you're going to do THIS" , but two weeks before class was to start I got my schedule. I was a proud member of the Web Technologies program and howdeedoo, here are your first two classes. What?

I called the registrar's office and spoke to a very candid,very friendly woman who told me in no uncertain terms that yes I could change it back. All you have to do is come to campus, stop by the Registrar's office, get the appropriate paperwork, find your advisor, have him or her sign this and that,and bring it all back to the Registrar's office, and Honey,wouldn't it just be better to see if you liked Web Technologies? Point taken.

What the hell, I figured I would stay put for the time being, try something new, and see if my brain had atrophied or not since the last time I was in school. Turns out it had. I don't know if it's age or just the subject matter, but I found it all so much harder to absorb. I also discovered I resent the time I have to spend working on homework. It take much longer than I think it should, and it frustrates the hell out of me;and at the risk of sounding like my grandfather,these classes are all full of teenagers and twenty-somethings that have basically been weaned on inner mysteries of all things computer.

Welcome to the portion of the program where I drown in a giant pool of self inflicted insecurity.You knew it was coming,right? I've taken an introduction class to C++ ,an HTML class,and a Dreamweaver class, and Ive done well in all of them, but I don't feel like I've learned anything I can apply to actual web design. When does that start? When do I start to feel competent? This semester Im taking first of two graphic design classes, and Im both excited and trepidatious at the same time. I'm dying to learn the ins and out of Photoshop, how to make banners and buttons and learn how it all fits into designing a web sit. But these (online) classes move so quickly, I don't feel like I've mastered one skill before we're off on another. I've never had trouble learning anything before. I feel like the kid in the back of the class who eats paste.

Thoughts of quitting have crossed my mind more than once. It's usually what I do when something gets too hard, when I can't do something perfectly the first time out. How depressing is that? It's that realization that keeps me honest, at least where school is concerned. I may falter, whine, stomp my feet, drop a class, take a semester off,then whine some more; but I am determined to finish this, see where it take me, even if takes me nowhere at all.

So be prepared, class starts in August, and before you know it these pages will be full of bitches, gripes, tears, and of course your classic "I don't feel like working so I'm blogging posts". It could be worse, I could blog about cat vomit again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From a Dark Place, Unbidden

I feel.
Body present,
taking up too much space
as eyes pass unseeing over
ruined form.
I speak.
Words leaving lips,
the sharp sound of no one listening
is all that returns.
I lean into relentless winds,
the storms of other lives
until eroded walls wash away
and I no longer recognize my own.
I move inward,
searching for a spark
a mark that proves I'm here.
Only cold echos spiral upward
growing louder, undiminished

and I don't care.
She's no longer there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bed's Dead Baby

I didn't know I was going to need a "Before" photo, if I had, I certainly would have taken the time to document the events that unfolded late Friday night, for they were just about my undoing.

I came home Friday night, well, more like early Saturday morning around 1am. I had a friendly Friday night buzz going, and all I really wanted to do was take a shower and fall into bed. The fates, it seems, had other plans. I walked in the door and was struck stupid by a smell, nay, a stench so foul,so strong that I was convinced something or someone had curled up in a corner somewhere and was quietly decomposing. Imagine a mix of dead fish, and rotten chicken duking it out for the title of most offensive smell.

I immediately started stuffing my nose down each and every air vent in the house, convinced this was where whatever had died had chosen for its final resting place. This of course was aggravating my PTSD over the nightmare of moving into my 65year old house as a first time home owner four years ago, and discovering all my duct work had to be replaced to get rid of the rank odour emanating from my floor vents.

It's now 1:30 am, I have checked the vents, taken the garbage out, scrubbed out the garbage can, turned the AC on to dry out the humidity, but was still no closer to finding the smell; though at this point I was acclimating to the it so I could no longer really tell if I smelled it or not. That was until.........

I walked into my room to get ready for bed (I had given up, I was tired, and my friendly Friday buzz was losing patience with me)when oh my GOD the smell! WTF?! Then I saw it back in the corner behind the headboard, that which no living person should ever have to come face to face with ever ever. A giant wet chunky pile of regurgitated canned cat food (Mariners Catch, no less!). It was the biggest pile of cat yack I had ever seen in my life;we're talking Laura Dern digging around in dino doo big. Surely my little 7 lb cat couldn't possibly have made this mess!

Once I've gathered my hazmat gear I start to pull the bed away from the wall to get to the mess, and as I do the entire headboard pitches forward and falls into the mattress; now no matter which direction I move the bed the freekin' headboard just groans and leans farther into the mattress.It's at this point, dear reader, that I lost my shit David Banner-you-wouldn't-like-me-when-I'm-angry-style. I was growling like a mad woman, stomping my feet and swearing like a truck driver, I may have even been crying, I'm not sure, it was all kind of a blurr. When the green haze had cleared, I had ripped the mattress and the box spring off the frame and yanked the bed around so hard that it was now in two large heavy pain in my ass pieces,dragged them through the house into the laundry room, and cleaned up the monumental pile puke. I was done like dinner. I took a shower and went to sleep in the guest room.

I awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to face the aftermath, but not without coffee. I went down to Ms. B's house for a much needed cup O' Joe and to regale her with last night's debacle. We decided there was no better time to move some furniture around get that room looking somewhat decent in spite of the hunter green trim (who does that?).So we did, and it looked pretty good if I do say so myself. Thus the "after picture. And there on the corner of the bed that once resided in the guest room? Yes, there's the cat that started the whole damn thing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Twin Posts From Different Bloggers

So, Ms. B and I were sitting around this past weekend chewing on possible blog post ideas for the upcoming week. It is a familiar complaint of mine (and I'm guessing everyone else from time to time) that I can never think of anything to write about. After a drink, or two or three, she thought it might be fun for each of us to write an account of how we met in college, and post it on the same day. Then be able to read each other's perspective on the same event. Brilliant! You can read her account of how she met me (also known as the best day ever!) over at Tapdancing on the Edge of Reason.
It was the fall of 1987, and I was just beginning my Jr year, though due to no less that two Major changes and an obscene number dropped classes, I was probably still a Sophomore. I was heavily into my Nouveau Bohemian ways and dressed the part (my mother liked to call it my bag lady look). You could usually find me wandering around campus in a long twirly skirt, and oversized sweater, two pairs of glaringly different socks to get that oh so together layered leg warmer look, and granny boots. My hair was usually sporting a braid or two, and from that braid usually dangled an errant earring of unusual size. Are you getting an image? No? Let me help you. Imagine (if you dare) that Jerry Garcia and Stevie Nicks got together, drank too much wine, and had a love child. Are you properly horrified? Good, now where was I?

Oh, yes, my third year at East Carolina University in Greenville NC (that's the armpit of the south, in case you're wondering).I was a proud English Minor heading off to her first writing class. Poetry writing that is. The catalogue had read "Introduction to Poetry Writing", implying that those who were there had little to no experience in writing poetry. Silly, naive Chanda. The class was a combination of English majors, all experienced in writing, and writing workshops,thus expecting this class to be easy; jocks and sorority girls all taking the class to satisfy their graduation requirements, also thinking this class was going to be easy, and one or two poor souls who could barely put two sentences together. I'm not really sure what they were doing there. All of this, paired with the fact that the class was way too crowded ensured that our professor/frustrated poet/cranky bitch was in a foul mood. Needless to say the welcome to class speech was less than motivating. She should have just walked in and said "get the fuck out", but I suppose that would be less than poetic.

So there I was on the first day of class, poorly situated in our round table formation of desks next to the premenstrual teacher, surreptitiously taking in my fellow classmates. About half way around the circle I noticed this girl in cat sunglasses, a spikey asymmetrical hair cut, complete with a long braided rat tail falling across her shoulder, and a mason jar full of some sort of bright orange liquid. I was intrigued by that mason jar. It didn't look like orange juice, it was thicker; did someone actually have the brass cahones to bring a mixed drink to a 9:15am class? If they did, they had my total respect. The class met twice a week, and on eacj morning we met, there was the girl with the mason jar,folding origami birds and making their wings flap at anyone who looked askance at her.

One of the required projects for this class was to pick from a list of poets, choose a partner and present a lecture to the rest of the class on that poet. Great. I put off approaching the seemingly unapproachable masses for as long as I possibly could, procrastination being something in which I am particularly gifted. As D day approached, the girl with the mason jar walked into class, plunked a tin of home made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies down on the teacher's desk, and invited everyone to help themselves. Wait a moment! Homemade baked goods? With chocolate? How bad can this girl be? Maybe I should ask her to be my partner. So I did, and she turned me down, flat. The bitch.

Ok, so she was going to leave me to my own devices with the poet I had chosen (Nancy Willard), but the door had been opened, and an easy conversation started in that hallway, and continued across campus. I was on my way back to my apartment, where my roommate at the time was more than likely sleeping off the past night's digressions. She was well on her way down a destructive path of hard drinking and promiscuity, that even back then, I could tell went way beyond the normal college level excesses. Ms. B explained that she too had a troublesome roommate she was less than excited to go home to. She asked if she could come up and hang out a while. Six hours later we had formed the beginnings of a friendship that is still going on twenty years later.

That afternoon she asked if I could give her a ride to the grocery store, then back to her apartment. As we drove by a particularly infamous fraternity house, she rolled down her window and yelled "Fascist Pigs!". I knew right then and there she was my kind of people.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Shameless Plug

I thought, for a change, rather than blathering on and on about me me me, that I would toot someone Else's horn today. I want to take some time to introduce you to an incredibly talented woman, who, lucky me, is a wonderful friend as well. She is a doll maker, not that you could consider these amazing cloth sculptures merely dolls. These fey creations each have their own personality, and over the years I have collected as many of them as possible, both as gifts (like I said, lucky me) and as purchases when I just couldn't bare to leave one of them behind. You can check out more of Cindy's creations on her Etsy site - Here.

So, this past birthday not only was I treated to a fabulous surprise birthday party thrown by Ms B, the antics of which you can read about here, but was also the recipient of a new fairy to add to my collection.

This is Jory- You can tell by the look on her face she's a bit of a smart ass. I like that in a fairy.

So does Bella. Evidently they hang out a lot together while I'm at work.

And contemplate ways to bust out of the place.

She also likes to hang out on the mantel and gossip with the girls.
That gorgeous painting up there was done by none other than She who Tap Dances. I got it as a Christmas present one year after many many attempts to "winkle it away" from her. She and Cindy are sisters, evidently creative talent runs in that family.

As it turns out, once I got my camera out and started the Fairies Nest photo shoot, all the other's wanted their 15 minutes of fame. Let's meet The girls on the mantel(sounds like a rock band)
This one doesn't have a name, really, though she does make an appearance in December as the tree topper. Perhaps Noel?
Oh, by the way, this one's Punk. I can't tell you how long I've wanted to say that. Anyhoo, this little creature never quite looked happy until I perched her on the top of my cd stand. Evidently she's really into music, but she also seems happy enough to hang out on a piece of pottery and chat.

These miniatures are some of Cindy's first creations, and also two of my favorites. The Saucy Sorceress and her Consort were the first two dolls I ever got as gifts. Aren't they fabulous!?

Here are a few more miniatures, and they certainly enjoyed mugging for the camera.

Next is Annie, she's a bit shy, and like to hang out in the bathroom.

Last, but certainly not least, are the two that hang out with me in the den. They perch upon the book case vex the cats every moment they can.
Here is Green(Named after the Joni Mitchell song)

And finally "Spring". She's a particular favorite of mine, Don't you just love her outfit?

Okay, I'm done wandering around my house taking pictures, I hope you liked them, and if you are ever looking for a bit of magic, don't forget to check out The Fairies Nest.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sans Children.

With the recent passing of my forty-first birthday I find myself contemplating my current childless state,continuously poking that potentially tender spot like a sore tooth you just can't leave alone,until finally coming face to face with the reality that my window of opportunity is slamming shut in a big way. Hell, in my current single state, short of an immaculate conception or a run in with a turkey baster, that window has in all probability already closed.

I've never really been sure I wanted children. Oh , sure there were/are moments when the pull of motherhood makes itself known; like when I spend time with my two year old nephew, when I hold some one's baby and breathe in that baby smell(you know the one), or read a particularly touching blog post that allows a random glimpse into the life of a happy family. It's during those moments that the tick-tock of that despised clock drowns out the rest of the noise my life usually makes. But when push comes to shove, If I'm totally honest with myself, can I say with 100% conviction that I truly want a child, and all the baggage and responsibility that comes with having children? Does this sound like denial,or sour grapes? Perhaps. At the very least it sounds a hell of alot like ambivalence. If by some chance accident I found myself pregnant at this point in my life, of course I would be... terrified, but also not entirely bummed about it. See what I mean? Ambivalence. And ambivalence, at 41, where child bearing is concerned, is basically a no go.

Sometimes I mourn for the experiences that I will miss out on, there is no denying that. I will never feel that fierce unconditional love a mother has for her child, or experience the growth and deepening of the mother daughter relationship with my own mother by giving her a grandchild (not to mention, there is a certain level of guilt as well). And while I can't say I will ever miss the experience of childbirth itself, I do feel left out of the "war buddy" camaraderie women share with the retelling of their birth stories. And quite frankly if you don't have one of those bad boys of your own to share, there are only so many times you can hear that kind of stuff without wanting to run screaming. That is some graphic shit, man!

Does this make me less feminine, less of a woman, less female than the women who have had children? Have I failed in my prime directive to go forth and multiply? Does this overtaxed global village even need the burden of one more living creature to support? These are questions I have no answer for. Sometimes I think this choice, my choice, makes me just as much a woman as the choice to have a child does. Then again, sometimes I feel like I've rushed the sorority, and was found somehow lacking, so now I'm to be pitied, or simply dismissed in terms of having anything worth while to impart regarding all things children.

Ive been in those groups of mothers (and, in all fairness, fathers) as they discuss the ins and outs of raising children; topics run the gamut from discipline, bed times, and nutrition, to how much TV and computer time to give them.Some of what I hear makes me sure that some people really shouldn't raise children, but by not not being a parent myself, any input I make into these conversations is usually met with blank stares, or the oh so popular refrain "Well, you don't have children, so you couldn't possibly understand". I'm not going to lie, that stings a bit, and there may be a grain of truth in that statement somewhere (sometimes I do feel like a stranger in a strange land), but it doesn't mean I'm completely clueless. Certainly no more clueless than some of those parents who (no lie) can't seem to get their 7 year old to bed any earlier than 11, and then wonder why the child is not doing well in school. Hello!? Seriously?

I am lucky though, my best friend is not one of those kinds of mothers, and has always allowed me to share in much of the raising of her children. They're my
God(dess) kids, and I have been an integral part of their lives since they were born. In fact I was still sharing a house with her and her hubby until the oldest was almost three. I helped raise them, still do to a degree, and for that experience I am grateful.

I've written myself into a corner here, and I'm not sure where this is going, or what,definitively, I'm trying to say about all this. Hell, maybe it all just goes to prove that deep down I do want a child, but even if that were the case, to what end? I would still need to come to terms with this new found revelation as something that in all actuality may not happen. I suppose if I really do want a child, there are steps I could take, single or not. I know I would have a huge amount of support, but I have serious doubts as to whether or not I'm selfless enough to raise a child, especially on my own. I've also contemplated the idea of being a foster parent, and haven't written that off entirely. But again, as a single woman, a fairly selfish one at that, I don't know if I have what it takes (practical considerations aside) to be of use to a child in crisis.

Aw, come on, it's not nearly as tragic as it sounds, I'm philosophical enough about it most of the time. It is what it is, and my life is what I have made of it. Torturing myself, obsessing on something I'm not even sure I want will not change things, it will only serve to make me miserable. So, I will enjoy the kids that I do have in my life, revel in the freedom and extended adolescence being without children affords (sleeping in on weekends is still pretty awesome), and try to keep myself open to any unforeseen adventures that may pop up.