I’ve been sitting in Starbucks for about an hour, working (imagine that!) on Max’s mousebreath! column for tomorrow. There have been far more kids in here than usual, almost all of them shuffling behind their dads; their dads all have the same look: is this day over yet? Will a giant cup of caffeine make it better?
The kids all look excited as hell. The dads…very, very tired.
It amuses me.
Sitting next to me for a while, though, was a couple without kids in tow. They were very solemn, and it was apparent from the get-go that their father has passed away, and they’re struggling with it.
Today sucks for them.
There was talk of going to the cemetery and seeing him, putting flowers down, and saying a few things to him. There was also an undertone of guilt because it seemed like neither one really wanted to go there. They were trying to figure out a way around it, wondering if not going made them bad kids for skipping a visit on Father’s Day.
They didn’t ask me; I’m sure they weren’t even thinking about the idea that even though I was sitting here typing away, I could hear and take in their conversation. But had they asked?
No. You’re not bad kids for not wanting to visit your father’s grave. It doesn’t matter that today is Father’s Day or not. You are not horrible, awful, or any of the other adjectives that are threading through your brains.
Maybe it’s because my brain is wired differently that others’ brains are, but I have never visited a grave post-funeral. It’s not that I’m opposed to it; I just don’t see a point.
I don’t need to visit a grave to have a conversation with the now-gone person I care about. They’re not there. What remains is only the container; the soul I loved is wherever souls go: heaven or the ether or a whisper in the wind around me, but they’re not in that grave.
On the other hand, if visiting someone’s grave is important to you, I do see the point. I grasp that some people need a place to visit, where they have something tangible to see and a focal point to talk to. I understand that decorating a gravesite means something, and to not do it feels like a mistake.
I’m just not that person. And I don’t think anyone should feel guilty for not being that person and not wanting to go.
Even on Father’s Day.
There’s nothing magical about Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. It’s not as if I will miss my dad any more today than I do any other day. And the truth is that if I were in Texas where he is buried, I wouldn’t be visiting his grave, not unless my sisters wanted to and wanted me with them.
It would be for them. Not for me. Not for my father.
I imagine I’ll feel the same way on Mother’s Day. I’ll miss my mom…but not quantitatively more than I miss her on any other day.
I miss them every day.
I hate the idea of their not existing in this world. I hate that they didn’t get as many years as I wished for them, or that all the years they did have were not as kind to them as they deserved. I hate everything about dying and feel a bit robbed on their behalf. I was supposed to be an old, old woman before they died.
But…I can talk to them anywhere I happen to be. I can create a visit with them in my own home, on Ocean Beach or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in the middle of staring at incredible works of art in a museum, or hell, even here in Starbucks.
When I get to NY someday and go to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night in the MOMA, you can bet I’ll be carrying them with me.
A grave is not necessary for the communion of sharing with the dead. No one should feel guilty for not wanting to visit the grave of someone they loved. No one should feel weird or awkward because they want and need to, either.
Remember the people you loved on your own terms. That’s all that matters, as long as you remember them.
6/16/2013 02:16:00 PM | | 7 Comments
|Hard at work at the 'Bux|
It also means it's time for the dying of the hair, even though I didn't have to fundraise for this one. I like the pink hair, so why the hell not?
And with the dying of the hair comes the inevitable comments from other people. So today I bring you:
Chit I Overheard At Starbucks.
In the parking lot:
Young teenaged boy: Ah, man. I want to do that.
Presumed Dad: Dye your hair pink?
YTB: Yeah. Why not?
PD: Kind of girly.
YTB: Naw. I like the car, too.
PD: Kind of girly.
YTB: I'd get a sex change for that car.
PD: Fine, dye your hair.
They followed me inside...kid was practically bouncing on his toes.
After I ordered:
Lady I don't recognize: Oh, thank God. You don't look right with normal hair.
While I sat at my table:
PD: Yes, I was serious, you can dye your hair.
YTB: I'll do it, you know.
PD: I know.
YTB: pauses You don't think I'm gay, right?
PD: I couldn't care less if you were.
YTB was speechless to that; I had to actually grit my teeth to keep from squealing.
While I surfed Facebook instead of working:
Very young girl, maybe 5 years old: I didn't know old people were allowed to have pink hair!
Not one mean comment so far... I expect them, because a lot of people just don't get it. Or they're simply total douchebags. But so far, so good.
And I hope there's not a law about it....
Time to head home before I anyone calls the cops. Just in case.
6/15/2013 03:23:00 PM | | 6 Comments
Stupidly, I want one of these...
I would get so much time wasted...
6/13/2013 11:37:00 AM | | 6 Comments
The first step in letting go of the motorcycle:
It was more than preemptively replacing the bike, though. It was also more than the fact that the HHR steering wheel kills my hands and the seat in the Hyundai kills my back. It was even a little more than just I want.
For years, my mom wanted a Cadillac. For years, she didn't get one. My dad wanted a Blazer--I'm guessing because he needed a solid daily driver while also having the power to pull the boat he also had to have--so she settled for a much less expensive Oldsmobile, and even that was a concession to the fact that I was driving and taking over the Mustang inherited from my grandfather.
(Let's not dwell on the fact that 3 weeks after she got that Olds, I was driving it when someone plowed through a red light and hit it. So she wound up with a brand new car with front end damage. And to her credit and my dad's, the only thing they cared about was that I was all right.)
Later, my dad got (if I remember correctly) another Blazer. I wasn't living with them by then, so my memory is fuzzy, but it was still many years before she got that Cadillac.
By the time she got it, she was old. The kind of old where your reflexes stutter, and the kid of old where dementia creeping in makes driving a very bad idea. All those years she wanted her dream car, all those years she waited, and she didn't get to drive it for very long.
I don't need two dream vehicles; the Bonneville is the dream bike, but I have my issues with riding now. The dream car...yeah, this is it, I think. I can let go of the bike and never really look back with the dream car in the driveway.
Life's far too short to risk waiting too terribly long.
So in other news, this is for sale:
You want it, you know you do ;)
6/11/2013 10:25:00 PM | | 5 Comments
This is long, it’s whiny, and it’s self-serving, so…you’ve been warned.
The amount of work I’ve gotten done over the last week amounts to zero words written, other than stuff on Facebook, and that doesn’t exactly count as work. Max’s book has come to a screeching halt, because every time I sit down and try to write, everything else starts clamoring for active space in my brain, and I can’t hear his voice.
Odd as it sounds, that’s how I write for him. I listen for that voice, the exasperated, snark-laden, sometimes compassionate but often bemused Max-voice. He’s just been very quiet this last week, and I’m not sure if it’s apathy or sympathy.
I suspect it’s because there are 1001 things that want to slip from my brain to my fingertips, and most of them are either boring, self-serving, unimportant, or unkind.
That last one, I try to avoid that more than the others.
A couple of evenings ago, I mentioned to a friend that I couldn’t seem to get started again; I have, somewhere in the back of my brain, most of the things that will eventually comprise Max’s next book, but I can’t reach them. Whatever is in the way refuses to move; it’s allowing for quite a bit of clutter to swirl around it, but it won’t get out of the way.
Grief does that, she stated simply. You wrote eloquently after your father-in-law and then when your father died. Maybe you need to sit down and write about your mother.
I’ve tried. But like I’ve said before, ours was a complicated relationship, and there’s no easy way to separate the good from the bad, or the pain from the joy.
I know. Sometimes it really is about the cookies, isn’t it?
And with that, she nailed it on the head.
I’m choking on cookies from when I was eight years old.
Look, I know we all screw up our kids. It’s a part of parenting; there’s no required class to take before you bring offspring into the world, no test to pass, no license to assure that you get it right. We’re all kind of floundering around, testing out our personal parental theories on the kids we spawn. We’re often wrong, sometimes horrifically wrong.
I cringe at some of the scars I likely left on my son. I don’t know any parent who doesn’t have a psychological trunk-load of mistakes, at least not parents who are honest with themselves. There are far too many instances of words I would like to take back, reactions I wish I hadn’t had, and stupid things I did.
For every one of them, I am a kind of sorry that there really are no words for.
I was filled with a lot of anger in my early 20s, anger that seeped into my 30s. I don’t think I realized it until the Boy was pushing 10 or so, and I don’t think I got a good grasp on it until he was a teenager; I don’t think I was really able to pinpoint where it came from until he was nearly grown, when I was trying to construct some simmering anger and uncertainty in a character I was writing for.
After one line in a book, where one character asks a specific question of another, and the answer that he responded with was not the answer I originally intended but one that burst out of me like a spent bubble, far too many pieces of my very own puzzle of angst fell into place.
When I wrote It’s Not About the Cookies part of my intention was to exorcise some of my own demons. Weaved into the fiction of that book is an incredible amount of truth; some of it is exaggerated, but much of it is not. My mother hated that book, and I understand why. What was supposed to be somewhat cathartic for me was pretty much like having her face shoved into a giant pile of Thumper-colored truths. As exaggerated as the realities spread through that book were, she recognized the kernels of truth, and hated them and hated that I would display them for public consumption. She was more than a little unhappy that anyone reading the book would think it was 100% true, and thought it painted her in an unfavorable light.
No matter how many assurances that 1) people are able to understand that there is always truth in fiction, but in the end it’s still fiction and 2) at least half the people who have read it hated it, too, and didn’t believe it was anything but a giant whine-fest with no truth to it, I don’t think she ever really forgave me for that book.
I’m all right with that. My intention was never to shove deep into her heart any daggers of my own insecurities and anger, but the facts woven into the fiction were undeniable. If she had been able to admit to any of it, she would have acknowledged that I barely covered the bases; if she had been able to see how big the little things really were, it might have made a difference, but I suspect her disappointment in the mere idea that I would publish anything at all like that clouded her vision.
Oh, hell yes, I am responsible for how that book made her feel. I don’t deny it. But I have to be all right with it, because in the end I wrote that book for myself. I’d hoped it would help me work through some of the issues I have.
If anything, it’s created more gristle for me to chew on, tasting things I’ve never been able to swallow. It pulled open in my head doors that I had shut, and pushed forward memories I wanted to keep boxed and taped closed. And when that happens, when the scars you have are throbbing, it’s hard to feel anything that was good.
So yes, my relationship with her was complicated; I want to write about the myriad of good that made up most of my childhood and teen years, but I haven’t been able to see past the scars in a very long time. There are still things that echo in my brain that I can’t get rid of; words that were probably never meant to sting but instead left knife-like wounds, and off-hand comments made that later elicited firm denials but are carved into my deepest sense of self.
And all of that, everything I’ve written to this point…that’s my baggage. It’s the detritus that’s kept me from being able to really write about my mother.
I can tell you this: I know, without a doubt, that she loved me. She didn’t like me—and no, I don’t need anyone to tell me that she did, because I’ve heard the truth right from the source—but she did love me. And I know that more than half of the things said to me through my childhood and teen years were only symptoms of her own unhappiness, and she either didn’t realize how much of that she was pouring onto her kids or just didn’t see it.
I honestly think she didn’t know that a lot of what she did wrong was wrong, and I suspect that she would have taken it back if she had.
The legacy she left was rich. In spite of everything, she sent out into the world some pretty terrific kids. My sisters are people with whom I would choose to be friends even if I hadn’t been raised with them. We’re all vastly different people, but in good ways.
My sisters have raised kids who are everything a parent wants; I raised a son who is a good man, and he’s exceptional in spite of my own parental shortcomings. I think we were able to do that because we had an idea of what not to do, but more than that, we were able to raise such wonderful people because we all knew that no matter what, we were always, always loved.
I suspect that I will write more about it all later, while I work through it. Just know that in spite of how this all sounds, I know my issues are my own; I know she loved me, and I truly, deeply, loved her.
6/09/2013 04:32:00 PM | | 5 Comments
We're pretty fortunate in that we have a 3 car garage. Now, no cars have actually lived in the nice 3 car garage, but we have the square footage that was intended for automobile storage.
Nope...the 1-car slot has been the Spouse Thingy's woodshop, and the 2-car slot has been where we've kept the bikes and assorted toys. But we're getting ambitious soon and are switching things around, so that he has the larger area for his shop, and the bikes will go into the single car slot...and if we sell them, which we're still pondering, the convertible I am determined to get will go in there.
The problem with fitting a car into that slot has been this weirdly configured water treatment container that we've never used, but that jutted out in a way that made the space useless for a car. The Spouse Thingy removed one of the tanks when we moved in, but because pipes and such ran into the second tank, we've left it alone.
Today he decided to finally take that tank down, after finding the valve that diverts our water past it.
It's not a little thing...maybe 4 feet tall and loaded with water, it was pretty heavy, so he set it on the ground with the idea of tipping it up and draining it.
And we realized that our water has been running through this tank.
Through this sludge.
It's kind of gross. Okay, it's a lot gross. And it explains why our water has always tasted funny and needed to be filtered. And possibly why cleaning the shower stall and tub has been damn near impossible.
But...it's out and next week the Spouse Thingy can get the stuff to cap the pipes.
More importantly...now a car will fit in there.
A nice, shiny, little convertible...
6/05/2013 06:02:00 PM | | 5 Comments
With one email from Susan G. Komen to the 3 Day walkers and crew, Facebook and Twitter blew up yesterday. People were upset, people were angry, surprised, felt betrayed...and some just didn't care because they expected the delivered news sooner or later.
|2013, last year for San Francisco...|
I'd already decided I wasn't walking for Komen again, but I would crew and am on the sweep team again this year. But truthfully, if not for how close we are to the event--just a couple weeks away--and not hosing DKM, I would bail on it this year.
This isn't just a "oh they're betraying us" thing. I can understand the reasoning behind the cuts. Fundraising and participation last year was down 30% across the board, and this year looks to be worse. Hosting those walks is expensive, and at some point the expense benefit is gone. There's no point in having a walk in a city where money is lost.
But...Komen did this to itself. I don't care what excuses people cough up, it can all be traced back to the Planned Parenthood muckup. They lost far too many walkers because of it, and those who stayed had a hard time raising the minimum funds.
My issues with Komen are starting to run deeper. I have an online friend who works for a Komen affiliate, and the crap she and her co-workers are going through, the unreasonable demands the national organization are making on them--I can't give details without risking libel issues, but suffice to say it involves money and "reputation"--is all enough to sour me on what was a wonderful thing. I'm just done with them.
I will always support my friends who continue to walk for Komen; I understand why they do. But I think in the future my efforts will be spent on Avon.
6/04/2013 09:37:00 AM | | 4 Comments
Here's some potentially useful information, boys and girls; if you're ever in a majorly crowded public place and want some personal space, sit your ass down on the floor and have yourself one hell of a panic attack. People will create quite a bit of space while they walk past you. And if you happen to be in an airport and are freaking out about a flight longer than you know you can tolerate, the nice lady at the check-in counter will help your Spouse Thingy arrange for you to get on the next much-shorter flight home, and will get you a pre-boarding pass to get your asterisk onto that plane before you can get too worked up about having to fly again. She'll even arrange for your luggage to be transfered from the flight you were supposed to be on to the flight you're now going to be on.
Oh, sure, you'll feel like total crap for more than one reason and will spend the next couple of hours trying to hold your chit together, but you'll have had that personal space in the middle of a huge crowd.
I don't recommend it.
In other news, we are home and not in Texas where we intended to be. Mock me if you want, but be nice about it.
5/31/2013 04:11:00 PM | | 14 Comments
But not today.
Maybe tomorrow. Or next week.
Tonight, all I can tell you is that my mom died today. She was 82 years old, and tomorrow would have been her and my dad's 64th anniversary, had they both lived.
My relationship with her was complicated, and her death was not unexpected, but it still stings like crazy.
Today just sucks on so many levels.
5/28/2013 07:09:00 PM | | 25 Comments
'Cause I was asked...
Memorial Day = honoring those who died in service to their country.
Veterans' Day = honoring those who served.
Armed Forces Day = honoring those currently serving.
5/27/2013 09:41:00 AM | | 2 Comments
5/24/2013 02:25:00 PM | | 3 Comments
People seem to remember the Spouse Thingy and me. Oftentimes we'll return to a place we've only been once before, and are greeted with a warm "Welcome back," and are spoken to in a manner that suggests it's not just something they say to everyone. What we drink is remembered, what we were looking for in a store is recalled; little things that make it clear that we're noticed.
If we haven't been someplace for a while, that gets mentioned, too. And this is something that has gone on for decades, it isn't a phenomenon of living in a small town.
We've mused that we must be more than a little bit odd, because there's something that makes us different.
The girl at the cash register agreed and said she doesn't always remember peoples' names and what they always gets, even if she does remember their faces.
I mused that since my order never changes, that made it easy.
"No," she said, "you're always polite. You always say 'thank you' to both me and the barista. And you clean off your table before you go."
That surprised me.
Doesn't everyone thank the person who just took their order and made their drink? Most people are, fundamentally, good people, so I'm a little surprsed that the majority don't offer at least a modicum of politeness.
Yeah, there are a lot of dicks out there, those who seem to thrive on making others feel small, but most people aren't like that.
So I've been sitting here in Starbucks watching people come and go. And I'm honestly a little bit disappointed in what I've seen.
People aren't being impolite, exactly, but they're also not making an effort.
I've probably seen 30 people place an order; most hand over their money or their 'Bucks card, and then walk off without saying anything at all. Or they grunt what might be a thank you, but it's hard to tell.
When their order is up, the grab it and walk out.
There's no malicious intent there and they aren't grumbling at anyone or angry at the world; they're just people buying drinks. They aren't yelling at the cashier or berating the barista, and they aren't snipping at other customers; they probably just want to get out and on their way as soon as possible.
They aren't being impolite; they're being indifferent.
I understand it, but still...it doesn't set right.
Thanking someone for taking my order just seems like the thing to do. Thanking the person who made it seems like the right thing to do. It doesn't matter if they're turning away to deal with the next customer or make the next drink; I still do it. I know they hear me, and most of the time I get a reply.
Yeah, they're just doing their job; you do yours, too and no one thanks you for doing what you get paid to do. You do it because you're supposed to, not for the thanks.
A little kindness goes a long way.
I will always--I hope--thank the people who are doing something for me, whether I'm paying for it or not. The server at Applebees who brings me drink refills will get thanked every time. The kid working at Walmart who shows me where the salsa is, the host who seats me at Denny's, the lady at the pharmacy counter who has to tell me I can't have a refill on my meds yet because I'm one day too early...if you are doing something for me, I damn well better thank you.
Truly, that's not what this is about.
I'm just amazed that something so simple, something that everyone should be doing, has fallen to the wayside. When did we become so numb that a simple thank you is no longer reflex?
When did it become so difficult to take a napkin and wipe off the table you've been sitting at for two hours in the coffee shop?
I'm not always nice; I'm grumpy as hell a lot of the time. I really don't want to be greeted every time I walk into Home Depot, but the reality is that I know that woman will be there almost every time, and even though it's her job to say hello and be nice, that doesn't mean I shouldn't suck it up and be nice in return. That doesn't mean I should ignore her, even if all I do is offer a nod of my head.
There are a lot of times I'm not all that comfortable with being remembered when I walk into a place, but if this is the reason why, I'll accept it. Because the alternative...I don't want to be that person.
On the other hand, if you're a telemarketer--even though you're just doing your job--I'm probably going to hang up on you. I might even tell you to fark off.
We all have our limits.
5/20/2013 01:53:00 PM | | 7 Comments
So, I did this today...after we went to see the new Star Trek movie (which was awesome and we're totally going to see it again.)
Thing is, when I'm on the bike, there's no fear. It's the making myself get on it that sucks.
If we get a chance next week, barring weather, dental appointments, and the Spouse Thingy's likelihood of jury duty, we're taking a long ride. Don't yet know where we'll head, but I'm never going to shake the nerves if I don't get on and ride.
5/16/2013 06:44:00 PM | | 5 Comments
The comment attached to a video link sent to me (by someone I know) said that this is one hell of a rider, so I clicked over. Because, hey, I appreciate good riding. The same person once pointed me towards some video clips of police officers just wrecking a complicated course on some big assed bikes, and I expected something in the same vein. Something cool and impressive.
"But she survived," is not an excuse for sending me that link without warning.
I'm already t h i s close to giving up riding and selling my bike. That's the kind of crap I don't need in my head, especially when I'm on the fence with riding right now. Especially when I've been pretty clear with people that I have crap like that in my head and am losing my nerve. It was a shitty thing to do and not something I'm likely to just shrug off.
But yeah, no more clicking links to videos from now on, not unless I'm 100% sure what they are.
5/15/2013 08:32:00 PM | | 5 Comments
Bullet Abuse #874,539,281.x
- Someone spam-called my cell phone at 5 fricking a.m. At least I presume it was a spam call, based on the number and location; I get these a lot and they always tick me off, but at five in the morning, which is like the middle of the night for me, it makes me feel all stabby.
- It took me about an hour to fall back asleep; thusly did I oversleep this morning.
- Once I was awake enough to figure out what I needed to do today, I realized I had prescriptions waiting for me at the pharmacy, and headed out to get them.
- Once outside, I remembered today is the Post Office’s food drive, so I turned around, went back inside, and grabbed a bunch of canned food and boxed stuff.
- Got to the pharmacy 3 minutes before they closed for lunch. Yay.
- Only to be told that my main medication can’t be refilled until tomorrow. Bummer.
- Headed for Starbucks, realized halfway there that I left the house without eating. No problem, I culd get some chicken strips at Burger King first.
- BK was packed. There were more people there than I had ever seen in there before. And it was freaking hot…I don’t think the a/c was working. After 5 minutes in line I felt a bit nauseated from the heat, so I decided I could go somewhere else.
- Every place in the area was packed. Denny’s parking lot was full. McD’s was full. Taco Bell’s line spilled out the door. The pizza place…wasn’t even going to try.
- Starbucks, OTOH, had a line but most of the tables were open. I risked it an placed my backpack on a table and got in line…I could see it from there.
- Concern was lessened by the fact that one of the ‘Bux people was taking a break and sitting at the next table.
- I did have plans to jump the chit out of anyone touching that backpack, though. It’s not often one gets to spout things like ‘touch it and die, Motherfarker.’ Though I think I would have dropped a more appropriate F-bomb.
- Chocolate cinnamon bread is not very filling, but it will have to do.
- Oh…apparently there was a parade today. That explains the crowds everywhere. I arrived about 20 minutes after the end of the Mayfair Parade. It was not on my radar because parades…phffft.
- Dude sitting next to me has expressed MacAir envy. Yes, it’s spiffy, but I think you can get comparable PC laptops now for a whole lot less.
- Next time, I will probably do that.
- Even though that will make me less cool.
- Shuddup. I am, too.
- Fine, I’m not Abercrombie & Fitch cool, but really, who wants to be?
5/11/2013 01:32:00 PM | | 3 Comments
I was going to start with, “at the risk of being unkind,” but the truth is I don’t feel like being especially kind in this circumstance. So I’ll go ahead and say what my inner bitch is thinking.
|Michael Jefferies, Abercrombie & Fitch Head Asshat|
--is about 8 kinds of ugly. Only 2 of those have much to do with his physical appearance; truthfully, he is not a pretty man. Not even plain. I wouldn't flinch if I saw him, but I also wouldn't make note of his presence. His kind of ugly is more like a scorching on his soul, thick black scars that are so smudged that he can’t really see past them.
My opinion, of course. My very unkind yet unapologetic opinion.
Print too small to read? The head asshat of Abercrombie & Fitch, when asked why he refuses to make clothes for larger women, spewed forth the following excremental ideal:
In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. We go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong in our clothes, and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.
That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that.
Here's the thing. I speak Asshat, and I can translate this for the intelligent people.
"I was an ugly kid, the one who always looked like I'd chased a parked car a few times too many. On top of that, no one liked me, and as hard as I tried, the cool kids in school would never so much as give me a glance. They wouldn't play with me when I was a little kid, the girls wouldn't date me in high school, and the boys tormented me endlessly. So now I'm doing everything I can to be one of those cool kids by selling them over-priced slut wear, and everyone will love me. I'm pretty now, right? Tell me I'm pretty."
In the past, I've defended the company's right to produce catalogs of near pornographic quality, because keeping those out of the hands of kids is the responsibility of parents. And I'll almost defend his right to say what he said. Everyone has the right to his or her own opinion.
But the content of what someone says, regardless of their right to say it, defines quite a bit of their character. And I'm laying out bare the rude and unkind part of my character when I say that this guy is a piece of shit. Were I part of his target market, I would never step foot into one of those stores again.
Sometime in the next week or so I expect he'll say something else, something along the lines of "I didn't mean it the way it sounded."
Yeah, you did, dude. You so totally meant it. Now go graze on a milkbone or two, and cry yourself to sleep knowing you shouldn't even step foot into one of your own stores.
Ugh, yeah, sorry about that. But it's the unattractive and hypocritical side of me, I have to let it out every now and then so I don't explode.
5/10/2013 01:51:00 PM | | 11 Comments
Over the last few years, I’ve met a lot of people who are involved in the Komen 3 Day Walk and many who are committed to participation in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and have become Facebook friends with several of them. There are numerous groups on Facebook where walkers and crew can communicate, swap stories, share ideas for fundraising, and help new walkers with all the little details about what the walks are like, and what camp is like.
Facebook is a tremendous resource and is a great way to keep people connected.
Some…they post multiple times a day about the events, and they often do it outside of the dedicated walking and crewing groups. They ask for donations, they cite statistics, they offer up pictures and personal anecdotes…it feels like nonstop singular-topic posting.
I don’t know how many times I can ask. This disease is taking so many good people. I desperately need donations so I can do this walk. Why aren’t more people donating to me?
I think I can sum it up in two words:
People don’t want to be beat over the head with anything, even if it is a worthy cause. They get tired of hearing about it, even if it’s a cause they share a belief in. And at some point, all the posts about needing donations and the statistics and the minutiae simply become static.
People stop responding because they stop seeing; they’re peripherally aware that those posts are still there and in their FB newsfeed, but they scroll right past because they’ve seen it so many times that it no longer really registers.
The most successful fundraisers on FB I know are the people who post once a week or so. They don’t beg. They simply state that this is a cause important to them, and they are X number of dollars away from their goal. Instead of 90% of what they post being about their need for donations, 99% of it is not.
Those are the people who seem to reach their goals early on.
I’m so tired…every weekend is filled with events to raise the funds I need to walk. I’m missing so many of my kids’ activities, but I lost my mother to this disease and I don’t want someone else to lose theirs.
I get that, I really do. I understand that drive, and the grief-laced agony behind it. But people, if that’s you…you lost your mother to breast cancer. If your life revolves around fundraising for these walks, if you’re missing out on that much of your kids’ lives, they’re losing their mom to it, too.
Think about how much you miss your mom, how many times you wish she were there to see this thing happen or be there for that celebration. Now look at your kids…they need their mother to be there for their own milestones. If you’re missing their games and their celebrations to stand out in front of a grocery store where you’re asking strangers to give you money or you're at a restaurant hoping to get host-funded donations—and it’s on most weekends—take a step back and take a deep breath.
The finding of a cure, the funding of medical care, the money needed for all that is not and should not be riding on your shoulders.
Be present in your own life.
None of this should be that hard. No one should have to miss their kids’ lives through half the year in order to raise money to participate in 2 or 3 or 4 walks. No one should have to beg so hard that their friends begin to just not see what they’re posting.
Hell, I’m as guilty as anyone; when I get involved in something, I tend to really get involved. I focus hard on what my goal is. And then I worry about the number of times I blog about it, and I try to keep the FB mentions to a minimum.
I don’t know anyone who is opposed to finding a cure for breast cancer. But the involvement in the cause is a balancing act, and some of us?
Some of us are tipping to the wrong side.
Pick one walk, maybe two. And then engage in real life. It's already short enough, and we all have people who deserve our time just as much as do the people for whom we walk.
5/09/2013 10:56:00 PM | | 2 Comments
I've liked all the bikes I've had, but this is the one I look at when it's sitting in the parking lot wherever I am and I can see out the window.
The only thing my brain ever imagined different is the paint; I'd always pictured it with metallic purple, but I have no complaints about this absolutely beautiful paint job. There's not another one like it, anywhere. It's custom, right down to the hand drawn and painted pinstripes and Triumph logo.
But then last November I went and clicked on a link at reddit, and watched a video clip of a biker getting run over by a semi truck, and for a long time I couldn't get the image of the poor guy being ripped apart out of my head.
I didn't get on the bike for weeks after that.
Since then, I've ridden it maybe 150 miles, 90 of that when I had to take it up to Sacramento and back for some routine maintenance. Since then, I've unintentionally stumbled onto more unfortunately clips online, I've read the news of one biker after another dying in accidents, I've watched riders go past me wearing shorts and flip-flops and nothing else.
When presented with a choice, most of the time I take the car. Or the Trikke. I might intend to run an errand or two on the bike, but I always talk myself out of it.
I'm losing my nerve.
Anytime you get on a bike, you should be cautious. Hyper-aware. But being afraid? Not a good way to ride. Not a smart way to ride. I haven't hit the point of fear yet, but I can feel it looming. I have no issues riding around town, but I don't look forward to rides anymore. I don't itch to take the bike out. I'm not ready to give it up...but that's coming, and sooner rather than later.
When you're ready to sell the dream...it might be time to let it go.
5/08/2013 10:49:00 PM | | 5 Comments
I'm sitting in Starbucks, half working, half playing on Facebook, half watching people, and half blogging.
Shuddup. Math is hard.
So I'm here, muttering brain things into my blog while I do all of the above.There may or may no be a cookie waiting for you at the end of this post.
This place is packed with college aged students, the tables they are sitting at covered in text books and laptop computers, the open books littered in bright yellow highlighting, and there's a distinct air of desperation in the air.
It must be finals week.
Even though they all seem to be studying hard, it's loud in here. The line at the bar has been long since I got here an hour and a half ago, and people are clustered around the end where they pick up their drinks; they're all trying to talk above the sound of the coffee grinders (I'm guessing) and the blenders (pretty sure that's what that sound is), so it's loud.
The sound isn't bothering me but I think it's getting to the kids.
I drained my venti black iced tea and took advantage of a sort-of lull in the line and got up for a refill; the kid ahead of me, his eyes looking dull and tired, ordered a Caramel Mocha Crapachino, and to his credit the barista didn't blink nor laugh. After college boy got his drink he shuffled back to his table and sat down with a sigh, and all I could think was that I am so glad I'm not going through that again.
Actually, I never really went through that. I don't think I pushed that hard in college. I got decent grade, but either the classes I took were a cakewalk, or I had teachers who didn't pile on too much at the end of the semester.
Could be either.
I'm not so smart that I think for one minute that it was easier for me. I just lucked out.
A while ago I got up to use the restroom; I packed up my laptop and headed across the store and was followed by a 20-something girl, who asked as we both waited for empty stalls, "Why don't you just leave your stuff on the table so that you have your place when you go back? Someone might take your seat."
"I'd rather lose my seat than the twelve hundred dollar laptop with the fifteen hundred dollar software on it."
I don't think she had considered that aspect.
A lot of people just leave their computers on the tables while they use the restroom; I've never seen anyone try to take one, but I sure as hell don't want to be the first.
A few minutes after I sat back down, my allergies began to mock me and I had to sneeze. Not a little, polite sneeze, but a couple of those gigantic loud sneezes that had it been quiet in here, I would have felt a need to apologize for. I sneezed into the crook of my arm, and the kid at the next table looked at me with surprise an muttered, "I never thought about doing that. That's a GREAT idea."
I'd like to take credit for it, but I was taught said sneezing technique by a 4 year old in Ohio (who is now 13 or 14, dammit) who pointed out that if I did it that way, my hands wouldn't be covered with my cooties.
And it's getting louder...
You know it's loud when the screaming 3 year old can barely be heard above the din.
It should bother me, but it's not. I'm working on a piece for Max, and oddly enough I can hear his voice cut through it all.
And peoples...I really think the kids working here don't get paid enough for the sheer workload they're doing right now. Dammmnn...
|Here's your cookie|
5/03/2013 04:08:00 PM | | 1 Comments
Today is someone's 52nd birthday, and while I remembered to pick up a cake mix this week, I didn't have quite enough vegetable oil on hand (aside: because I made chocolate chip muffins last night so he would have something nice for breakfast when he got home...all I had on hand to make them in were some silicon muffin cups I bought probably 5 years ago and never used, and let me tell you, I'll never make muffins in paper cups again.) So I headed to Walmart before heading to Starbucks, and as I am wont to do, I wandered up and down a couple of aisles, trying to trigger any what-else-do-I-need notions.
There was a woman shopping with her little boy; I'm guessing he was about four years old. He walked next to her, so damned happy he was practically glowing, and he clutched a package of cookies at his chest. I passed them twice, and twice I head him ask, "I'm being good, right, Mommy?"
She assured him he was.
I wound up in the self-serve line behind them; she only had about 6 things, fruits, vegetables, milk, a loaf of bread. And the cookies. The cookies went across the scanner first and were set on the scale, and he bounced on his toes while Mommy scanned everything else.
And then she froze for a moment, her debit card in hand; he shoulders went a touch slack and she sucked in a breath, glance at her little boy, and back at the screen.
When she knelt down to get at his eye level, I knew what was coming. I braced for the temper tantrum. She didn't have enough; something had to be put back, and it needed to be the cookies.
He didn't scream. He didn't throw a fit. His lower lip went out just a little and his eyes flooded with tears, and I damn near wanted to cry right along with him.
"But you said if I was good today I could get some cookies. I was good, right?"
She promised him he was a very good boy, always a very good boy, but she didn't have enough money to buy both the food they needed and the cookies. And she tossed him the parental bone: maybe on payday.
Those tears spilled over his cheeks and as young as he is, I'm sure he's heard that before and felt the sting of how maybe tends to evaporate into thin air.
|It's really not about the cookies...|
Parental bones are splintered with the guilt of not having guts, and they prick at you for decades.
I'm not going to say exactly what I did, but I will tell you this: when they left, he was happy, and the guy behind me and the lady to my right both had cash in hand and were stepping toward the little boy.
He wasn't leaving without those cookies.
I'm pretty sure that by the time they got home the chocolate chips in them were a little melted, and a few cookies were cracked and crumbled from being held so tightly. But I bet they tasted sweet, enough to tide him over to the next inevitable maybe.
4/27/2013 01:47:00 PM | | 8 Comments
I don’t think my brain has come back from vacation yet. Sure, we left Vegas 21 days ago, but I haven’t been able to actively engage in much work since then. I have at least 3 different project simmering, and that back burner is starting to look a bit crowded. I’m blog-blocked; face it, the most inspired thing I’ve done all week was to post some funny-to-me GIF images. I don’t think I’ve even posted a real Facebook status update in a week; lots of pictures posted and some check-ins, but a status? Don’t think so.
Right now I’m sitting in Starbucks with Facebook open behind MS Word—because that’s how I work—and even though the couple of manuscripts I’ve tinkered with over the last year or so have good starts, nothing worthwhile is coming to me. I often sit here and hope that things I overhear make something in my brain click, but today is a quiet day at the ‘Bucks. Lots of people, but most of them are here alone and even the people who are obviously here together aren’t really talking. They’re studying or reading or working on laptops with lit-up little apples on the lids.
|If you Google Q-tip, this guy pops up|
Folks, when I would prefer country music, you know whatever is playing is truly, deeply, awfully, wickedly horrible.
I may also be a little distracted by the guy at the table next to me; I can see in my peripheral vision that he keeps looking over and staring at me. He’s either enthralled by the fact that the 50+ year old woman next to him really needs to shave, or he’s totally digging on one of my chins.
Or maybe it’s the goosebumps. I should have brought a sweatshirt in with me.
And here we have it. Four hundred words about not having anything to write about. And hell yes, I counted them. Twice. Sort of. Maybe.
4/26/2013 12:28:00 PM | | 1 Comments
|Didn't see that coming...|
Or this poor guy.
4/21/2013 09:03:00 PM | | 1 Comments
Here’s my candidate for Obvious Statement of the Year: Yesterday, it kind of sucked.
I got up, a little earlier than usual, turned on the TV because that’s just what I do in the morning, and flipped it to the local news. First story: a double homicide in Davis, which is about 10 miles from here. Some assmunch killed a couple of elderly people, God only knows why. Second story: motorcyclist hit a school bus and died. They didn’t know why. It could have been inattention, could have been the light blinding the rider; maybe he sneezed and lost control. Doesn’t really matter; he’s gone.
I’d been awake for all of fifteen minutes, and the news of the day had already tinged the color of the glasses through which I was looking at the day. Fifteen minutes into my day and I was already thinking about lost souls, and feeling for the people who loved them, left behind and wondering why.
The TV stayed on, droning in the background as I checked email, read the comics online, poked about Facebook. One news program ended, I changed the channel and waited for the next, knowing what the stop stories would be. I surfed Fark, then opened a manuscript I’ve been playing with, and ignored the TV while I worked; I was waiting for a weather report, just wanting to hear when the predicted horrible winds were supposed to hit.
I only half listened to the beginning of the noon news, because I knew what they would be talking about. I kept a sliver of attention on it, wondering if they had anything new to say—they didn’t—and waited for the weather guy.
|From ABC News|
There really is something cathartic about being able to connect with dozens of other people while something so big unfolds. I think the reality of how social media can keep us connected during crisis really occurred to me during the Japanese Tsunami a couple years ago, and it was only reaffirmed yesterday.
What really stuck out to me was how the major online players stepped up to help in ways they could. Google reactivated their People Finder. Boston.com became a helpline for runners stuck in Boston, as locals posted info about space they had in their homes, beds open to whomever needed one.
It reminded me a bit of the 1997 flooding in Grand Forks, ND, when news anchors stayed on the air, sandbagged into their newsroom, reading off names and phone numbers of people unaffected by the flood, who had safe places and were willing to take people in for however long needed.
We’re more connected now; in 1997 you really needed access to a TV to get that information. Today, you only needed a cell phone with Internet access.
Hell, in 2001, 9/11, the news was coated in the agony of people looking for loved ones, with little way of finding them easily. Yesterday text messages flew fast: I’m fine, we’re fine, we’re out of the area, we’re on our way home.
We’re now connected in ways we probably couldn’t have conceived of just a decade ago. Sometimes it’s annoying—there are times when we just want to shut down and not be available—but times like these, it’s like holding an electronic miracle in your hand.
That didn’t diminish the horror of what happened; with so many unanswered questions, nothing can. Three people, including a child, are dead and hundreds of others were hurt, many critically.
Nothing diminishes that.
But being able to touch base with other people, having others to talk to while the horror unfolded…it helped. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt like that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembered sitting there glued to the TV during the aftermath of 9/11, trying to digest what had happened and wondering what there was that could be done; we had online access, but nothing like we have now. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sat there yesterday, watching, worrying, and feeling grateful that connecting with other people, talking to other people, was as simple as holding a laptop and going to Facebook or Twitter.
After the Spouse Thingy got up and was awake enough, I set the laptop aside, we turned off the TV, and headed out to engage in a bit of real life. News coverage would be there later; I needed a breather from it and from Facebook. My bike has been a bit bitchy lately, and we wanted to take it over to a safe road by Walmart so that I could run it, rev it high (and not bug anyone), and while we were at it, play with a new camera.
After we decided the Bike was running fine and we’d gotten a few pictures, we rode over to Denny’s for an early dinner.
Dinner at Denny’s just what we do on Mondays. Our favorite server works then, so it’s become a thing.
After 9/11 I think I felt a little guilty about engaging in real life for a while; after all, other than some pretty heavy security at the air force base on which we lived, I wasn’t personally, in-my-face, impacted by it. It felt wrong being able to get back to things so fast, when so many people across the country were never going to get back to normal. Not ever.
Lately, though…I think I’ve come to understand that normal has to go on.
Connecting with people online in the face of horror, that’s a new normal.
Soaking in the news, that’s normal.
Going out for a burger on the day you typically go out, that’s normal.
Normal HAS to win.
4/16/2013 02:07:00 PM | | 3 Comments
- Today was my annual appointment with my endocrinologist…last night I was chewing myself out for having made it for 9 a.m., because I am NOT a morning person, and having to get up at 7:30? It burns. So when I was making the appointment for next year, what did I do? Yep. I haz teh Stoopid.
- The endo doc I used to see at the air force base was a decent enough doc, but he would throw drugs at me on request (not the fun ones, just the ones I need to stay alive) and didn’t really do much follow up, because I’d had these issues for years and knew what I was doing. This doc? She listens, but she doesn’t just toss them at me. And I think I appreciate that a whole lot more. I needed a dose adjustment on my DDAVP because I’ve been having breakthrough on it way too early in the day most of the time. She agreed to up the dose, as long as I agreed to get a follow-up blood test in two weeks to make sure I wasn’t screwing up my perfectly balanced electrolytes. Going up there will be a PITA, but at least she’s paying attention.
- I headed to Starbucks after the appointment. I am sitting next to a guy that smells like vinegar. It’s actually not unpleasant. But now I want pickles.
- Max has apparently forgiven me for abandoning him for four days…last night he plopped down onto my lap and stayed there for three hours. Even when I had to get up to pee, he waited for me to come back and jumped back up. He also spent some time petting my face and staring at me like he was memorizing my face. It freaks me out when he does that, because I always worry that he’s trying to tell me something I don’t want to know.
- This morning he got all pissy because the Spouse Thingy closed the bedroom door when he went to bed, which meant His Highness could not nap in the closet, which he’s been doing this past week. There are a dozen other good nap spots for him to choose from, but no…he wanted that closet.
- It just occurred to me that there’s no music playing in the ‘Bux today. I find this both oddly disquieting and enjoyable. On one hand, I want some music; on the other, I’m not being subjected to the same 40’s-era song over and over. On the third hand…it just seems a little wrong to not have the music playing.
- It’s so nice out, I may have to abandon any pretentions of getting work done, and go home to get my Trikke. Today is just begging for me to go outside and play.
- On the other hand, if I sit here long enough, it will be lunch time, and I can use it as an excuse to go across the street and get pizza.
- Vinegar dude has left the building. He shall be missed.
- Why are sleeveless hooded sweatshirts so hard to find? Doesn’t anyone else have my sharp sense of style?
- Fine. The Trikke is going to win, even though I really want pizza now. And pickles. But not together…
|Here is a cute kitten. Just because.|
4/12/2013 11:45:00 AM | | 2 Comments