31 May 2013

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.


28 May 2013

I can usually find words when I need them or want them.

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.


27 May 2013

'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.


25 May 2013

This weekend:

24 May 2013

Things that ran through my head while pretending to work while sipping tea at Starbucks:

I have never seen an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, yet the theme song is stuck in my head. But just the one line, Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants.


I rode my bike over and it’s sitting there in the sun. That black seat is going to be wicked hot when I get back on it.

I am gradually coming to the conclusion that fear is not what has been keeping me off the bike. The hatred of putting on all that gear is. 


The 3 Day is in less than a month. I had a blast driving the sweep van last year, and that was while not feeling 100%. I’m a little more than excited this year, because I should be a little less –blah- than I was last year.

If I get sick again between now and then, it will count as proof that someone up there doesn’t like me very much.


I am so very tired of not feeling well a lot of the time.


I just spent 20 minutes writing about all the things Max likes about boobs.


After I got my last tattoo, several people wanted to know when I was getting a tattoo of Max. My answer was “never.” I’m getting a tattoo on June 3rd. Guess what of?

No, I’m not getting one of Buddah and I don’t think his little feelings will be hurt. If I got one of him, then I’d feel like I also needed one of Hank, one of Dusty, one of Ataturk, and one of Chip. Not happening.

I might get a paw print for each someday, though.


There are a dozen free tables open here, yet a couple of guys who need to discuss an ad campaign they’re working on just had to sit right next to me. Aside from the tone of the conversation pretty much killing my ability to hear Max’s writing voice, I so want to correct the grammar they’re talking about using.

Because my grammar is perfect.

Stop laughing.


Wow. There are at least 12 people in line. I guess I will forgo a refill on the tea and head to the store to find something for dinner.

But I did get some real work done.

And it was all about boobs.


20 May 2013

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.

When the people at Starbucks began writing my name on my cup without asking, and knew exactly what I wanted--the only question being whether or not I wanted it Venti or Trenta--and they were comfortable enough to ask about my hair color (pink to red to pink and now a weird mix of brown and gray) I made an offhand comment about it being time to go elsewhere...I was too memorable.

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 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.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Thump, keep patting yourself on the back while you lecture us about manners.

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.


16 May 2013

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.)

We didn't go far--just to Baskin Robbins for ice cream that there's a 95% chance I will regret later but the regret will be worth it--and then looped around town.

Baby steps.

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.


15 May 2013

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.

I did not expect someone's dash-cam video of a Russian woman passing out while riding her scooter and going smack into the side of a semi. I did not need to see that video, I didn't need to see her bounce off and fly back into her lane while her scooter sped down the street without her, until it slid into an oncoming car.

"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.


11 May 2013

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?


10 May 2013

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.

This guy--

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.


9 May 2013

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.

It’s also a place where a lot of fundraising takes place. A lot. Sometimes it’s only the mentioning of a particular fundraiser going on, other times it’s a plea for help reaching a minimum goal. People have different ways of asking; some simply mention they’re walking, and please donate. Some have raffles. Some beg. Some beg hard.

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:

Compassion Apathy.

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.

But, damn, if you’re raising money for anything, you have to weigh the risk of engendering compassion apathy against the potential of returns. And you have to remember that when the event is over, you probably want to remain friends with the people from whom you’re asking donations.

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.


8 May 2013

This is the dream bike. The one that was always in the back of my head as a "real" motorcycle, the forever bike, the special bike.

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.

I knew I was approaching the end of riding when the thought crossed my mind that if someone offered me just what I owed on it, I would sell it, and maybe just get a small scooter for kicking around town.

When you're ready to sell the might be time to let it go.


3 May 2013

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