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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


It feels strange to be blogging again, It's been a while since I've tried to sit down and write, and it seems I've lost my voice. It had become increasingly more difficult to come up with things to write about, and when I did write, I was utterly dissatisfied with what was on the page. As my frustration increased I found myself whispering mean little wasps of stinging criticism in my own ear. You suck at this. It shouldn't be this hard to just write. If it's this difficult for you, you obviously aren't good enough, and should just quit. Jesus, I'm a bitch.

Needless to say, there have been more than a few times within the past few weeks that I resolved to quit, take the damn thing down, and never look back, but I found I couldn't bring myself to do it. The specter of failure, of one more thing I started but just couldn't seem to stick with was always hanging over my shoulder. Walking away for a little while also made it apparent that I would miss it, and more to the point, I would dearly miss the bloggers I have gotten to know and have truly come to care about through their writing, and their support of my attempts at writing. Blogging has also been something my best friend and I have been doing together since we started our respective blogs in the fall. Bouncing post ideas back and forth, playing the part of editor for each other, and discussing at length our favorite blogs has been great fun, and I'm loath to give that up as well.

This dichotomy of wracked insecurity and genuine enjoyment with the whole blogging experience got me thinking about what real writers must go through on a daily basis. How does one get up every morning and give a little bit of yourself with every article,essay, and blog page you write? I've always been fascinated with the creative process, of the psychology that goes into taking that creative spark and translating it to the canvas or page to become something that inspires. I envy those who make it seem so effortless.

I do know that, at least for me, where I was writing was having an adverse effect on my motivation. My computer is set up in a back bedroom that gets little light, and the desk faces the wall. Every time I sat down to write I felt closed in, rigid, and completely cut off from the rest of the house. Tonight, after several false starts, and two visits from a very kind, very patient co-worker/IT guru, I finally have my wireless connection up and running (oh happy day!). I am now writing from the comfort of my very cozy den, curled up on my very comfy couch with warm kitties curled up like throw pillows, and its a much better perspective. I wonder of you all have favorite places or times to write, what inspires, and what stifles.

Where is this post going? I hardly know (I'm rusty here people!), other than to say that I'm beginning to think that blogging is alot like dating that charming, sexy, dangerous guy your mother warned you about- A shitload of heartache, a few tears, at least one good break up, but sooo worth it in the end.