Sunday, December 21, 2008

At a Loss for Words....

There are days, weekends, weeks, months, that remind you how fragile life is. How your existence, your mind, your emotions, your soul, can be snatched away in an instant, with no warning. I have known four separate people who have lost someone close to them within the last 3 weeks. It is just unimaginable, especially during a season where life and family are celebrated. It just doesn't seem right. There is an almost unethical sense to it, that it shouldn't be allowed to happen during this time. Its just... wrong.

I have personally never lost anyone close to me. At least not to death. Because of that, I can't necessarily relate to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I don't know what to say, how to help them cope, how to make it better. I have this thing where I always need to make things better. Times like this make my heart bleed, because how can you make this better? How can you take away some of the pain, or even provide a salve? You can't. You can only be a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear. Not that those are small things, but they don't fix anything. There is no magic cure.

I thank God that my babies are healthy. I thank God that their organs are working and that their body isn't fighting against them. I thank God that my family and friends are vibrant in life, that their hearts and livers and brains and all their other important organs are functioning fully. But I pray, and my heart goes out to those who are suffering, those who know loss on a more intimate level than anyone should. I won't give you the pat, Sunday school answers about how "everything happens for a reason" and "one day, all of this will make sense." I will just listen and love and be a shoulder.

And I will pray.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow/ or The White Flakes of Death

Snow. I don't recall ever really liking it. Maybe for a winter or two between the ages of 8 and 10. But that is hardly significant enough to mention. There may have been some fun days of sledding back then, and I have distinct memories of digging tunnels through the quite high plowed snow in the lot next to our house (and, okay, that was pretty cool). But even with those few memories of joy amidst the white, powdery stuff, I mostly recall one thing: the cold.

Snow is really very cold. I suppose it has something to do with its being frozen and all. I don't like cold. At all. I find cold to be one of the most disagreeable things on earth, along with ingrown toenails and straight tequila. Cold is just not nice. Not only is snow cold, but its everywhere. I may not mind it so much if when it snowed, it just came down in specific patches so that not everything was completely drown in cold whiteness.

Along with getting everywhere else, it gets on my car. And around my car. Which requires me to brush off my vehicle and sometimes even shovel it out. Which requires me to be in the snow, and even get some on me. And then sometimes you're so stuck in your parking spot that you can't even get out of it without being rescued by some random guy that happened to be visiting a neighbor down the street (remember that, Becca?!). Then the roads become a disaster, all slushy and sloppy. Then, to make it all worse, it melts a little and then refreezes. This turns surfaces into ice skating rinks and then you get stuck and can't go anywhere. And I mean all surfaces, including my wooden front steps, which causes me to almost slip and fall and break something. Are we having fun yet?

I was recently told that I am now required to not hate snow, what with my having a niece and nephew and all. Apparently, children are brainwashed into liking snow. I don't understand that. Are they given visions of it in the womb and told that its fun to play in? Seriously! I can't think of any other explanation. I do refuse to like snow, though, and while I may be occasionally forced to make snowmen and snow angels and perhaps go sledding... but I will not succumb. I will not like it.

Tomorrow is promising to have the first real "weather" of the winter. I never understood why people call winter storms by the single word "weather." "We're going to have weather." When snow is described like that, its basically guaranteed to be bad. I'm not at all excited about the "weather". Or the snow. Or the ice. Its just not fun for me. The only good thing is that I may leave work early and finish my day out at home. I suppose that I shall have to make the best of it with working in my sweats while drinking tea and singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. Perhaps it will be a good day after all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

95/5 Is Not My Idea of Fun

I realize that I have been slacking in my blogging... um.... responsibility... as of late. Or whatever it is. Life has been very life-like lately and thus my mind has been scattered on other things. Not fun things, mind you. But life things. The kind of things that make you want to scream and freak out and hide under the bed for the rest of your existence. I've seriously considered the latter part there many, many times over the past few weeks. However, after much consideration, I decided against it on the basis that it may be upsetting for some people that like me, for whatever reason that is. I, however, believe that hiding from life under my bed with the monsters and dust bunnies sounds like a marvelous idea. I would no longer have to deal with anything, besides maybe being a little cramped and starving to death. But, hey, those sound like easy challenges. Right?

Sometimes is does feel like "life" is synonymous with "crap"... and "hell"... and "awfulness", doesn't it? When God said "in this life, you will have trials and tribulations", He sure as heck wasn't kidding. I think he said that to cover His butt. That way we can't turn around and yell at God and say that he didn't warn us. He sure did. Personally, if I were God, I believe I would have phrased it slightly different. Like "life blows. Get over it."

Sure, life isn't all bad. It does have its brief moments of non-awfulness, however far and few in between they may present themselves. I'd sure like more of an even split. Why not 50/50? Half crap and half amazing. Heck, 70/30 would even be an improvement. This whole 95/5 uneven keel is just not cutting the cake. It simply and purely is not my idea of a good time.

I am focusing on the hope of a non-crappy tomorrow. It may not be a literal tomorrow, but one day... things will get better. The new year is just blooming with promise of less crappy-ness of life-like crap. Or at least I keep telling myself that, since I have no real proof to back it up. Its just hope. Sometimes it does feel like hope is more of just a lie. But I guess in this case, its a good lie. A lie for the possibility of good, even if it seems improbable and unreachable. Or maybe life will surprise me... That would be nice.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

No More Scrooge for Me

There is so much to enjoy with holidays: time spent with family, gorging oneself on massive amounts of deliciously yummy food, decorations. During the Christmas holidays, I tend to find myself a bit of a Scrooge. I used to love Christmas. It was a love affair that typically had me listening to holiday music way too early and insisting on putting up the decorations the day immediately following Thanksgiving. Then somewhere in the past few years, there was a disconnect. My sister told me it was because I became bitter and cynical. As much as I'd fight that point, I secretly knew she was right.

Since my nephew and niece were born, I knew I had to start adjusting my attitude towards the season of holiday cheer. One cannot be the fun aunt if one hates Christmas. Thus began my conscious effort towards removing the blues and replacing them with silver bells in my heart. Naturally, I did this by following the code of the Elves:
  • Treat everyday like Christmas
  • There's room for everybody on the nice list
  • The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear
Buddy the Elf would be proud. I've spent the last week singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. My officemate and I started the cheer a bit early this year by indulging our Christmas spirits in the sounds of the holidays before Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, has anyone else notice how Thanksgiving gets streamrolled more than any other holiday? I mean, seriously. Christmas decorations are making an appearance before the cornucopia even has its chance to make it to the table. The turkey is being cooked to the tunes of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. It simply isn't fair. Every holiday should have its own chance to shine. Thanksgiving is just underappreciated. We should all be glad that it hasn't disappeared into the woodwork yet, never to make an appearance again. That would just be tragic. That particular holiday has better food than any other. I do love turkey comas.

So, here I sit, writing to the light of the bulbs on my Christmas tree, with Dean Martin crooning the tunes of Christmas cheer while still full from Thanksgiving day leftovers. It is delightful. My Scrooge heart has yet to make an unwelcome arrival this year and I plan on keeping it that way. Or else it shall be beaten away with a stick. A big, ugly stick. And who likes ugly at such a pretty time of year?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Speranza Designs open for business!

I officially opened my very own Etsy shop, featuring jewelry designed by yours truly! I decided to call my jewelry line Speranza Designs (meaning "hope" in Italian). A portion of each sale will be sent to a charitable organization to bring hope to communities in need. There are not many items posted right now, but I will be adding items often. You can check out my shop here:

These will make excellent Christmas gifts! Please check it out and let me know if you have any questions. I do take custom orders.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Decisions of Doom/or Automobile of Death

One of my mother's favorite sayings is "Make the best decision that you can at the time." The key part of that phrase is "at the time." Considering the way that this saying is phrased, it points to the likely conclusion that it is being stated while looking at hindsight. Which means that the best decision that you made at the time most likely turned around and bit you in the behind.

Sadly, I find this statement to be very true in relation to the vehicle that I stupidly purchased 3 years ago. The rear tire nearly came off while I was driving it approximately 10 days after I signed my life away in car payments. This really should have been a very big, glaring sign from God that I should force them to buy the car back. Basically, God was up in heaven booming into His megaphone saying, "BETHANY. SEND BACK THE CAR." Did I listen? No. Granted, I was in a bit of a bind when I bought the automobile of death because my former car had up and died and I was essentially stranded. A decision needed to be made very quickly, and so I made the best decision that I could at the time. What a mistake that was.

About 4 weeks after selling my soul to Satan, an O2 sensor went. Thankfully, I was intelligent enough to purchase an extended warranty on the Deathbox. Otherwise, I would have had a $500 bill before my second car payment was even due. This was not looking so good. A near catastrophe and a sensor blowing within a month? My warning bells were going off. Unfortunately, it was too late. Way, way, way too late.

Over the next 2 years, the silver car of dreadfulness was in and out of the shop on multiple occasions. I think it may, may have passed inspection once without needing any major work. Maybe.

Last November brought along inspection time. I hate inspection time. I relate it to going to the dentist. There is just that dread and feeling of doom. One can never tell what trials and tribulations that inspection time might bring. The fact that I was smart enough to not wait until the last minute like I normally do should have been a neon sign in the sky that I was going to have some serious issues. I can't even remember everything that was wrong with it, but I do know that major things, like the mass airflow sensor and the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. The aforementioned extended warranty did cover much of the damage, but I still paid out quite a pocketful of cash. I was also minus a vehicle for a vast portion of the month. I had an entire week of vacation during that month. Most of which was spend in my living room because I had no car. It was a great vacation. Best ever. *Ahem* I nearly lost my sanity that month. I seriously considered setting my car on fire or hiring a hitman to "take care" of it.

So, here we are again. November. I've been shuddering at the thought of it since September. "What ailments will this inspection time bring this year?" I've been pondering to myself. I also tried to ignore it in hopes that it would just go away. It didn't work. I dropped my car off at the garage last night, and waited in awful anticipation for my phone to ring all morning. When I saw the Midas number on my caller ID... My heart nearly stopped. "Oh no!" I thought to myself. "What messages of doom will Midas manager Kevin have for me today?!" Gingerly, I answered the phone and tried to make jokes, hoping that it would put him in a good mood and he'd forget all the bad news that he had called to give me. This didn't work either. Midas manager Kevin rattled of a very long list of everything that they had found wrong with my car. "Ugh." I thought. "Maybe I can pay off Kevin to take a blowtorch to it." However, the idea of going to jail for insurance fraud sounded a bit more awful than a big bill. I decided against it.

A thousand dollars. One thousand dollars. And that's just to fix the requirements for inspection. Not including everything else that needs to be fixed, but just not right now. I will now spend the weekend waiting to find out how much my warranty will cover, and also banging my head against the corner of my kitchen table, asking myself why on earth I had to buy that particular car. One of the worst decisions I ever made, right up next to my high school boyfriend. I have no idea what I was thinking then either. But, alas and alack, we can only make the best decision that we can at the time, regardless of how bad it may be later on. I suppose that its all a part of learning life lessons and whatnot. And I also suppose that one of my father's favorite sayings is also true... "Have car, will spend money." I hate that saying.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Intertwining Tendrils of the Heart

Matters of the heart are strange things. Particularly a woman's heart. Us dames have a particular affinity to feel on a much deeper level than our male counterparts. Our emotions can control our lives if not kept in check and can completely overtake every thought in a day if left to run rampant. They are the monsoon on the unstable tiny private islands that is a woman's life whom, if left without a life raft, is likely to drown in their overwhelming force. Regardless of whether we like it or not, women are emotional creatures. Personally... I dislike this tremendously at times.

While my hard exterior shell is often deceiving, I am an exceptionally emotional woman. I was recently equated to an M&M; hard on the outside, all soft and gooshy on the inside. This fact is little known to the average person, and can only be seen once one is allowed up close. Life circumstances have forced me to become "tough", or at least it felt forced to me. My independent nature largely prevents me from being able to accept much help or emotional support from friends and family. I do believe that it drives them all insane, and I am trying to get better at that.

With my tough exterior come some misconceptions. My M&M shell leads people to believe that I am incredibly strong and secure. Ha. Several years ago, I was talking with my sister about an episode taking place in my life and she said to me, "I don't understand why you are having such a hard time with this. You're so tough." My very first thought was, "My God.... I even have my own sister fooled."

My sister Faith is my best friend. I tell her nearly everything and she knows more about me than any other person on earth. The fact that at one point I had her fooled about how "tough" I was probably means I should get an Oscar for Bullcrapper of the Year. She has wised up since then and I think can see through my charades more often than not. As a result, I think my shell has started to melt a bit, allowing the squishy insides to start oozing out a bit.

A rather copious downside to my squishy, emotional interior is this: I have an astonishingly hard time letting go. When it comes to those matters of the heart that are so very near and dear to me, I simply cannot easily loosen my often vise-like grip. I want to keep those things close because it just pains me to such an extreme to let them go. I hold on to hope well beyond the point that I should because of the "just in case." One who is not quite so emotional would likely be able to release those things easier. For myself, it is akin to prying an orange out of a monkey's grip. Good luck.

The phrase "Let go and let God", as cliche as that may be, is an obvious valid point. Simply letting go of that grip that I keep on the matters of my heart would remove my clumsy attempt at controlling a situation and allow the Master of my heart to take over. He wants and knows what is best for me and I should be trusting Him with those things most important to me. This is all great in theory, but putting it into practice is a completely different affair altogether. Actually let go of that which matters most to me? Its horrifying. And yet, we are commanded to do so. I... am commanded to do so.

But how does one do that? In reality, how does one release something that is so intertwined in one's heart? It pains me to simply think about it. Yet, I know that my God will take so much better care of the matters of my heart than I ever can. He knows my past, my present, and most importantly, my future. He knows. Who better to trust with my most valued treasures than Someone whose existence revolves around me?

These realizations leave me with no choice, and surely no better choice, than to continue learning how to release. Figuring out how to put my emotions aside and let the King of Glory step into my heart and clean up the mess that I have created. It will be painful, no doubt. But the end result will be more than worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Twenty-seven Foot Bubble

As do most people, I require a certain amount of personal space. I am a self-professed vast personal space needer. I can't be crowded or pushed or smothered. Those will only make me want to freak out and hurt people. I find myself having near physical reactions to emotional deluging that include flailing and spastic flinging. It's not good.

"They" say that politicians typically require 27 feet of personal space. I've oft said I should go into politics. I most definitely fall into this personal space realm. 27 feet. Yes, I can handle that. Now, please don't misunderstand. This requirement does not go for all people. If I like a person and consider them a friend, they are permitted into my personal space. Usually. However, there are those whom I would much prefer to keep their distance. Maybe even extend it out to 50 feet. Heck, just pick up the phone and call me! From another state! That will solve all the spacial issues.

Not only do I sometimes need physical personal space, but perhaps moreso, emotional space. As has been previously stated, I do not always do so well with intrusions into my life. 'Tis not always a favorable trait, however, until I learn how to not be so me, it is what it is.

Lately, I have found certain situations in my life taking no heed to the 27 feet of personal space that is mine. Areas of my life have been invaded by persons that I would much rather not be there. I have been finding my privacy being swamped and become nonexistent in particular areas. Unfortunately, these issues are such as that I cannot control nor change. I have so far been able to refrain from any spastic flailing or undocked freaking out, which may involve pencils and other people's eyeballs. I cannot guarantee how much longer I shall be able to subdue said freaking outedness. You may soon read about me in the news.

In circumstances such as this, when one cannot control or avoid an unpleasant state of affairs, one certainly finds oneself asking the question of "what is the lesson to be learned?" There is always some hidden nugget of truth to be found behind every hardship, with which one can come away armed with a new knowledge of oneself. These assignments are hardly ever fun and often result in the loss of hair. I fear I may be completely bald before this one is over. I am making every effort to keep an eye out for all the wonderful lessons I am supposed to be learning, however. That way my bald head will not be in vain.

In the meantime, I will continue to have venting sessions with my office mate, who regularly coaches me in Lamaze and removes sharp objects from my reach. Apparently, she likes me too much to see me go to jail.

And yes, in case you were wondering, she is allowed within 27 feet of me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here Comes the... Social Awkwardness?

Ah, weddings. The day of joy and celebration where a man and woman unite themselves in the sight of God and man. There is feasting and dancing and festivities. I used to love weddings. "Used to" being the operative phrase. I do believe that a few years of intense wedding going, and many of those including myself the bridal party, has stained my former love. And by stained I mean essentially destroyed.

I no longer look forward to weddings with the same eagerness I used to. Now, I ignore their comings in hopes that they'll just go away. This has yet to work. The wedding day typically comes with moaning and complaining on my part. I begrudgingly pin up my hair, put on a dress and heels, and get myself to the church. With the moaning and complaining. Did I mention that part already? Ugh.

I can't really say what it is that I dislike about weddings. I think that between them being so long and exhausting and socially uncomfortable, its just sucks all the fun out of it. I particularly dread the reuniting with people I have not seen in years, who, for some reason unbeknownst to me, think that we are still such good friends. It is horribly awkward. Particularly since I don't have a life. The "So, what are you up to these days?" question is returned with an... "Um... Well... Work. And.... Work." I have nothing new to report since I last saw you 5 years ago. My life still revolves around that place that I'm forced to go to every work day. And that's really it. Not to mention, my closed off nature makes it very difficult for me to talk about anything even remotely personal with someone that I don't really know. And this scenario is therefore horribly oafish.

I am now seriously considering just heading to Vegas if I ever strap on the ball and chain. Considering my dislike of weddings, it may not be very considerate of me to put other people in the same position that I found myself today. Or, maybe I'll just get over it by then and decide that I'd like to be a princess, just for one day. Guess I'll find out if that day ever comes...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chocolate and Ibuprophen

Many people ponder how they will meet their final end. Car accident, natural causes, accidental puncture through the eyeball with a spork. There are pleasant ways to croak as well: death by chocolate, for example. That sounds like a fantastic way to go. I can just see the obituary: "Bethany Streng, 26 years old, expired from excessive brownie and ice cream eating." I think it would read very well. However, I am relatively certain as to how I will come to meet my maker: gastro-intestinal failure from exorbitant ibuprophen consumption.

I've been a chronic headache sufferer for my whole life. Sadly, some of my earliest memories are of feeling like a sledgehammer was being taken to my skull. Lovely, huh? Forget the butterflies and roses of childhood memories. Pain and agony instead. No wonder I'm so screwed up!

My ibuprophen intake has increased significantly the past few weeks due to the sinus issues and my toofies. Headache pain I can normally deal with relatively well. Tooth pain, however, is on an entirely different level. Its sharp. And shooting. And feels like someone is shoving wire through my teeth. Unfortunately, the antibiotics course I am on is apparently not fixing the issue. Figures, right? Heck, I'll just destroy my system with drugs and they won't even help! Awesome!

My impending GI failure due to drug consummation does leave me with several excellent thoughts though. Since my innards will be giving out on me anyway, I may as well go on a strictly chocolate and ice cream diet, right? Maybe it'll even help the process along! I feel that life is way too short to not eat good food as it is, so this is just another excuse.

And I'll take any excuse I can get to eat chocolate, guilt-free!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beads, Wires and Pliers, What Fun!

I seem to be one who is prone to pick up hobbies. I merit this to boredom. It doesn't take much for me to start twiddling my thumbs and walk around aimlessly. Movies and reading work to an extent to stave off the dull nature of life, but movies often lose my attention and I have to be able to focus to read. On occasion, I'll bake cookies or biscotti, but that isn't the best for my waistline and therefore I try not to indulge myself in that too frequently. Recently, I find myself either learning more Spanish vocabulary or blogging, but that can only take up so much time before I'm back to wearing down my carpets. Ergo, it was time to find something else to occupy my time with.

For those who know me, its very obvious that I have an addiction to accessories. Shoes, hair clips, purses. But the worst of my vices in the accessories department is by far jewelry. I'm drawn to it like white cat fur to black shirts. Its bad. I walk into a store and if there is a jewelry counter hidden behind racks of clothing, I'll hone in on it immediately. I have often related that I really should start making my own jewelry, because, let's face it, I do have good taste. I'm also very modest about that. Ahem.

I happened upon a jewelry starter kit at the craft store last week and decided that it was time. No, I was not in the craft store on purpose, in case you were wondering. I had spent the evening consuming oh-so-yummy beverages at Barnes and Noble and my lovely sister needed to go find more crafty goodness for her barrette making adventures. So off we went to Michael's.

For those who know me, you will also know that I am not a crafty sort of person. At all. I respect people who have the patience and creativity to make.... things... but I've never equated myself with being crafty. However, I do feel that jewelry making is on a bit of a different plane with me, since I am such an accessories fiend.

Since the purchase of said starter kit, I've been addicted. Its incredibly soothing, making jewelry is. I get out all my aggression by assembling beads on wires and head pins. I've spent hours over the last few days assembling earrings and even had occasion to gift a pair. Oh, tis such fun. I went back to Michael's today and made tons of fun of myself for bead shopping. Bead shopping! Ms. Non-Crafty herself is beading shopping. Ridiculous! I'm also learning the differences between different gauges of wires. I had no clue that wire came in different gauges. 28 gauge is not so great, in case you wanted to know. Its too thin and doesn't hold its shape. However, I hear of this thing called "memory wire" that is supposed to be wonderful. I'm excited about it. Excited about wire. What has happened to me??

Depending on how much energy I have, my creations may be coming to an Etsy store near you...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The "D" Word

As stated in a previous blog, I have been suffering from not-so-very-nice toothaches as of late. I had attributed this aching to allergies issues. God bless sinus drainage, right? I had been crossing my fingers and waiting for the pain to subside after my allergies lessened. And waited. And waited. And waited. And... well, you get the point. The achiness of doom had yet to diminish after nearly a month and a half. I realized that.... it was time. Gulp.

The "D" word. Oh, how I hate it. I'd basically rather scrub a public toilet with a toothbrush than have to visit the dentist. I quite literally shiver when that dreaded noun is uttered. I loathe everything about it: the picks, the scraping, the drilling, the novocaine, the fluoride treatments. But especially the picks and the drilling. They make dreadful sounds. Ugh. One might as well scrape a fork across a chalkboard. Its that bad.

After last night left me clutching the right side of my face for an hour, I knew that the time had come to call the dreaded D word. While I was relatively certain that the pain was due to my sinuses, there was also a possibility that the massive filling in my one tooth had an absess and was pussing into my bloodstream or something. That would have been bad on many levels. Not to mention really disgusting. I hope none of you reading this were eating. If you were, you're welcome. I just assisted your latest dieting fad.

Early this morning, I phoned the office, explained the situation, and was able to schedule an appointment for this afternoon. This was almost an annoyance for two reasons: first, I had to take a few hours out of my work day, and second, I didn't have enough time to mentally prepare myself for the impending terror.

2 PM rolled around, as it does every afternoon, and I put my big girl panties on and stepped into the office. Shoving down the near panic and dismay I felt, I wondered if it may have been better to continue on with the pain and purchase a few bullets to bite rather than go through the agony of the dentist chair. Ugh.

I managed to not die, or even have a coronary, during the whole appointment. Lots of poking, prodding, tapping, and blowing of air showed no particular pain points. X-rays revealed that there was nothing absessing or pussing or exposed. So, all of my dreading and panic is apparently due to what I thought it was in the first place: obnoxious sinuses. Now I start course #11 of antibiotics in the last year. Maybe that will help the sinus headaches and clogged ears as well. As much as I am not a fan of the cold, I am looking forward to allergy season being over!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lessons in Nailbiting. And Stress. And Panic.

I am on my couch, stress eating while wrapped in a blanket to stay warm. And watching election coverage. I failed to mention that part of my stress eating involved my fingernails. Disgusting, I know, but I'm a compulsive nail biter. I've managed to break this nasty habit on several occasions, but it tends to get worse with stress and considering my mental state at work as of late.... I think it goes without saying that my nails are no longer growing.

My stress level has skyrocketed today with the impending election results. Each presidential election for the past 12 years has found me terrifically alarmed while watching the results roll in. Being that I am one of the few, but more intelligent Americans, that does not pay out way too much money for cable TV, my eyeballs are now glued to my computer monitor instead. God bless modern day technology. Seriously! While it often drives me insane, I can watch live election coverage online. For free. So to all you suckers that pay for cable, be jealous!

I have to say that I find myself increasingly irritated with the media. To say that it is biased would be the understatement of at least the last 3 years. Pathetic, ridiculous and obscene are words that come to mind in trying to describe the blatant leanings of the media. I have been watching the news for the better part of the last 6 hours and McCain's name has hardly been mentioned. Granted, I am a conservative voter, but I believe that I would be equally beleaguered if the media focused almost solely on the republican candidate. Equality. Imagine! Such a concept.

I want unbiased, factual reporting, not an agenda being pushed on me through what is being reported and the way in which it is presented. I spent a few months several years ago looking at different news sources, ones known for being liberal and ones known for being more conservative, to see the differences in the reporting. It was amazing, really. If you've never done it, I recommend it. You'll be amazed at the incredulity behind the media's bias, whether liberal or conservative.

Not to mention, the media's bigotry turns a blind eye to the facts such as, oh, I don't know, that Obama is a complete socialist. I mean, hello?!?! Has no one paid attention to his taxation plans??? And yet, no where have I read that this is a point of concern. In fact, I've hardly heard it mentioned at all, except to be skewed that Obama is "for the middle class". Bull. Crap. He is not for the middle class, he is simply a straight up socialist who wants to redistribute wealth among the nation's citizens. For anyone who pays any attention to history, this should be cause for some very serious concern. But, considering that the majority is ignorant when it comes to politics and the media refuses to report the truth... I don't even know what else to say about it.

I am dumbfounded by the lack of interest in politics among the general public. We have the incredible right to vote, for which many, many lives have been lost in that defense. And yet, many do not take the time to research into the issues and stances of the candidates. Being a psychotic politically and socially minded person, I simply do not understand this. Choosing our nation's leaders is a hefty responsibility and as a voter, we should all be informed as to what their beliefs are. If not in depth, then at least the surface stances on the major issues. So. Frustrating.

My fingernails are taking a serious beating tonight. As are anyone's eyeballs who are brave enough to try to chat with me. And my sister's eardrums. She told me to stop yelling at her. I tried to explain that I wasn't yelling at her. I was yelling about the lack of interest of people in the issues. In people who are either don't care enough or don't want to make the effort to discover the truth behind what is transpiring in the world. The apathy incites a fury in me, not just in politics, but in other things as well. Social injustice, in particular. That gets me really heated. I've had encounters with people who don't even want to discuss social issues because "its upsetting." Yeah, well, no crap. That is precisely why you should know about it! Deep breath. If you can't tell, I get very, very worked up about politics and social issues. People who are not like that tend to avoid these sort of conversations with me. Ya know, the ones that involve my soapbox. I think it makes them uncomfortable.

Well, according to the results so far, Obama will be taking the White House in January. McCain's campaign just announced that they do not see a path to victory for this election. I will be selling my internal organs tomorrow to put a down payment on my island. I've had several takers so far in joining me in that. So, if you'd like to pitch in as well, please let me know. We'll start a communal society. Maybe learn how to farm. Or fish. Or maybe just eat coconuts and bananas for the rest of our lives. Kumbaya will be required singing around the campfire every night, as well as the recitation of the baby Jesus prayers from Talledega Nights.

"Dear little 8 pound, 6 ounce tiny infant baby Jesus...."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lessons in How to be Terrified

Election day. The day that comes every 4 years, and I have yet to dread it any less. Tomorrow, the fearful day is upon us and our beloved country will choose a new leader. Or elect the anti-christ. One of the two.

In all seriousness, neither candidate looks particularly appealing. McCain is quick tempered and old, Obama is inexperienced and.... well.... I'll just stop there before I get in trouble. I'm considering writing in Nemo on the ballot, because it looks that an animated fish may be the better choice. I considered not voting, but I refuse to give up my right to complain about the government so off to the polls I go. I do enjoy complaining about the government, considering that they all have smarts equivalent to fruit flies.

This election will be historic, regardless of the outcome. Either the first black president or the first woman Veep. It will also be the first presidential election since 1988 which does not carry either a Bush or a Clinton on the ticket. And the first election in something like 50 years in which neither an incumbent president nor vice was not on the ballot. I think that point makes my nerves a bit more sensitive, being that the elected will be completely new to the White House. Ugh.

Not to mention, the policies presented by both parties are seriously lacking in any sort of feasibility. I mean, seriously, fining people for not having health insurance? I cannot think of anything more retarded than that. Hey, you can't afford to pay for health insurance, so the government is going to fine you as a result. Sounds like a great idea! Let's come up with completely unfair taxing practices which will remove taxes from the middle class and tax the upper class 65% of their income! Socialism, anyone? Awesome! And while we're at it, let's yank all of the funding out of charter schools and make home schooling illegal. Great! Or we can just keep our men and women in uniform in the Middle East for the next 100 years. Clearly, that will just solve all of the problems in the Muslim world. The level of brilliance in Washington astounds me. Really, really just... bewildering.

As previously mentioned, I have been looking into purchasing a private island. On the eve of the election with no good choices, this is a very appealing option. I'd much rather be ruler of my own beach with pineapple trees and monkeys than leave the fate of the nation I occupy to the idiots on the Hill. Before you know it, we may either be a military or communist state.

On that note, make sure you get out and vote. Protect your right to moan about the government!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lessons in Insomnia

Sleep. Oh how I love it. It finds itself near the top of my list of favorite things to do. Along with snuggling, drinking coffee and badminton. Okay, badminton may be a bit of a stretch, but you get the point. I do enjoy sleep immensely. It is a 6 hour escape from reality, in which time my brain, body and emotions get a respite.

However, there is a glitch to this certain favorite thing of mine: I tend to not be able to do it. It is currently 1:21. AM. And considering that daylight savings time has blessed us with an extra hour, my body is telling me that it is actually 2:21. A in the freaking M. Sigh.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a concert in Filthadelphia this evening. I returned to my abode at 1 AM, sheerly worn out from a long day. I quickly changed into my jammies, grabbed my laptop, and hopped into bed. And.... boing!!! My eyes are wide open. I could hardly stay awake on the car ride home. And yet, now that I'm all cozy in my sweats and under my oh-so-soft-and-wonderful comforter... Sleep eludes me. How in God's wonderfully green earth does this make sense?? GOSH!

From what I understand, sleep and I have never gotten along especially well. I believe that I was probably one of those infants that woke up its poor exhausted mommy every few hours. My poor mommy. My sleep issues have gotten worse the older I get. The past 5 years or so have found me with on and off phases of insomnia. There are occasional weeks were I have no quandary with falling into that blessed relaxed state rather quickly. But, then the tide turns and its back to lying in bed for several hours before I finally doze off. And lately, that dozing is interrupted by work-induced panic attacks at ungodly hours of the night. So. Not. Fun.

May I also point out that I am not one of those people who does well on little sleep. Not really so much at all. I get whiny. And cranky. And sometimes semi-miserable. I want to throw things at people if they try to make me think. Or function. Then I drink too much caffeine to try to wake up, and I get all jittery. Which brings its own set of problems.

So, on the cursed nights such as tonight, I will find myself getting out of bed to have a cup of tea, wine, or herbal sleep supplements to knock myself out. If that doesn't work, then I may resort to smashing my forehead on the corner of my dresser.

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Conundrum of Thoughts

Relationships stagger me in their volatility sometimes. They can be won or lost in an instant. One moment the connection is there, the next it has disappeared. You can be walking unsuspectingly down the street and have your life changed in an instant by meeting a new soul that coheres with your own.

Due to the first point made, I do wonder why so much effort should be put towards relationships, for friendship or romance, if you stand the risk of losing it at any moment. Having stake in another person can lead to emotional demise if life paths split. Being that one cannot control or influence another person in any real manner, it does seem like a futile aspiration. Pouring yourself into another's life is risky business, without any guarantee of a return on the investment that you made in them. Your efforts may be reciprocated, or may not.

And yet, we were created to crave human relationships. A deep want in us to have that soulful affiliation with another which cannot be denied, at least not without the risk of becoming a miserable and hardened person. A soul dies without connection. We feed off of that fastening of ourselves to another life, as the power supply that energizes and revives us.

Adam walked in the Garden with the very presence of God every dusk. And yet, he was lonely. This is such an illustration of our need, our undeniable necessity of human interaction and relationship. To stroll with God, and yet have a hole in a deep part of himself. Its an exceptional, and somewhat absurd, thought and yet it is part of our engineering: to need another human to fill our lives.

This is a difficult concept for me to grasp: to need someone else. I don't particularly like to need anything. Especially another person who has the ability to leave me, to hurt, to disappoint. No, thanks. I'd rather be completely self-sufficient. Call it harsh, but I believe that some of your reading this can relate to that on some level. I am by no means saying that this is a good way to be. It simply is. And yet, I am cognizant of the reality that not only will I never be able to be without human relationship, but a life devoid of kinship would merely be a passing of 70 or 80 years. It would not be a life.

Besides, it cannot be refuted that nothing else on earth can bring the same joy, the same comfort, the same satisfaction as the human relationship. Not even chocolate can do that. This knowledge is the driving force behind taking the risk of becoming involved, in letting another person invade my personal space. Yes, I receive an emotional battering from this on occasion. But pain reminds us that we are alive and in this case can reveal that we have felt and been felt by another person, made evident by their absence.

Please do not misunderstand, I have no intent nor desire to ostracize myself. While there is an inherent tendency to be a social hermit, I do not succumb to it. At least not too often. I am merely poignantly stating thoughts as to the reasons behind our ambitions driven by nature, and the oft contradictory character of our desires and personalities. It is, after all, interesting how we can fight with conundrums that make up ourselves. The lack of straightforwardness behind personalities, souls and minds is reminiscent of the reality that it takes more than a lifetime to really know oneself. That all of the grey parts that construct a person have no real definition for most of our time on earth.

Life really is a journey of discovery.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." ~Flavia Weedn

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soliloquy of Stillness

There is a certain quality of stillness that is tremendously enticing. And yet not something that one can oft achieve. Particularly when you are someone like me who just simply cannot stop thinking. Not even for a fraction of a second. There is a certain irritation that accompanies the inability get that grey matter in one's head to simply be still for just a while.

I don't find myself to be a particularly envious person. Especially not of the opposite gender. However, I am covetous of the male mind on one point: it can actually accomplish the feat of not thinking. At all. Men utterly confound me with their proficiency to not think. Like, actually, not think. The capacity of the male mind to shut down any and all analytical reasoning is astounding. And I want that.

There is a comedian whose name escapes me right now that has a fabulous sketch on the differences between the male and female minds. How womens' brains are able to focus on many different tasks simultaneously and are incapable of rest. Men, however, are only able to focus on a single thing at a time. The male mind is like a chest of drawers and everything is categorized into its own separate drawer. But, alas, the male mind has a drawer specifically set aside for nothing. Nothing! This drawer is aptly labeled "The Nothing Drawer."

Ladies, you have to be able to relate to my invidiousness to this skill. Can you imagine even a few seconds of sheer mental stillness? And yet, how many times have you asked your man what he is thinking about and he looks at you with this dumb look on his face and says.... "uuuuuhhhhh..... Nothing." Now, your immediate natural and well-understandable reaction to this most likely goes something like this: "How can you not be thinking about anything? Nothing? Not one little thing? Nothing at all?"

Ugh. The word "jealousy" does not begin to scratch the surface of my sentiments towards this ability. It would just be marvelous to be able to be completely and simply still. Just once!

But, alas and alack, I was born with the wrong chromosomes for this talent. I suppose that I shall have to just continue on with my constant ponderings and over-analytical brainal functions.

I'm going to hope and pray that "Nothing Boxes" are on sale this Black Friday. I will stock up on them and perhaps sell a few on Ebay. I'm sure I would be able to finance my private island off of that. And before you ask, yes, I shall set one aside for you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grievances, Punching Bags and Private Islands

Today was yet another day of wondering if I should have my head examined. My morning and afternoon were reminiscent of the thanksgiving turkey right after it had been decapitated before it made its way to your dinner table. There's a great mental picture for you. Anyhoo, stress seems to be in the air at the office, with no one able to run away from it. I believe that it gets into the vents, and well... There is no escape. I may need to invest in surgical masks.

The non-stop-so-you-better-buckle-up-and-learn-how-to-ride-it-out-graciously theme is our company motto. There never seems to be any downtime that exceeds 2.7 seconds. Ever. This is cause for approximately 8.3 mental breakdowns per hour, split between my office roomie and myself. Granted, it is not a 50-50 split. More like 70-30, with myself being the guilty party. I've discovered recently that I really do have a knack for complaining. This isn't a good thing, considering that there is no career path geared towards Professional Complainer. If there were, I could be a millionaire and buy a private island and then have to be more creative in finding things to complain about. Like the lack of coconuts for my pina coladas. Speaking of private islands, did you know that you can find relatively cheap islands for sale on the internet? I'm looking into it quite seriously, dependant on the outcome of the election.

The verse "do all things without complaining or arguing" has harassed the forefront of my mind lately. I personally think that God was a little too optimistic about the human race when he formed that thought. Being a chronic complainer who is attempting to rid myself of bemoaning, it just seems to me that our dear Lord may have entirely too much faith in my ability to shut my piehole. Venting keeps me from hurting people at work. Or taking a nail gun to my eyeball. Or yelling "WE'RE CLOSED!!" every time a co-worker opens my office door. Oh wait... Yeah, I'd continue to do that one regardless.

Perhaps I need a proxy for my grievances. Like a punching bag. That may help. Or maybe I can channel my frustrations into knitting scarves and blankets and then sell them on to pay for my island. Speaking of which, you simply must see my lovely sister's lovely creations on her Etsy store if you haven't already. Its basically baby barrette heaven.

Oh well. On my quest for a complaint-free attitude, I shall just continue to force my mouth to stop spewing word vomit by stuffing it with food. God bless stress eating. Quite frankly, I would have been committed by now if it weren't for mashed potatoes and ice cream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lessons in How to Talk Without Moving Your Face

Ah, yes, fall. The season of sweaters, hayrides and pumpkin spice lattes. Flip-flops are replaced with socks and boots. Watermelon is no longer readily available, but soup makings can be found highlighted on end-caps at grocery stores. There is that delicious smell in the air of the trees shedding their leaves... One cannot help but inhale the scent deeply.... and then promptly start sneezing.

Ah, yes, fall. The season of Zyrtec, tissues and lots of Advil for those sinus headaches. Clear nasal passages are replaced with the sniffles. Unblocked ears are no longer around, but post-nasal drip is in abundance. Along with watery eyeballs, infections galore and sneezing. One must not forget the sneezing.

Ah, yes, fall. Not exactly the season of glory for those of us cursed with "The Allergy," as I oft like to call it. As if it were a living being with a full-fledged personality of awfulness. Sometimes it feels like that is very true.

This allergy season has blessed me with a new low: sinus issues in the form of toothaches. Toothaches! I mean, seriously, it is extraordinarily unnecessary. Last night found me popping ibuprofen more often than recommended in an attempt to get the throbbing to stop. Top and bottom rows of teeth just ached. Not to mention the entire right side of my face hurt. So. Not. Fun. At first, I attributed the nasty achy-ness to a massive cavity I had filled one year ago in a top, right molar. But then, I realized that it was probably not the case, what with all of my teeth on that side hurting and my face feeling like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. Tack on the fact that I had suffered from a sinus headache all day and... ding, ding, ding! What do we have for today's lucky winner, Johnny?

I do occasionally use my brainal faculties for such things as thinking. I find it useful, rather than letting my cranium go to complete waste and all. I remembered my father going to the denist a few years ago with a toothache and discovering that it was not anything rotting away in there, but just drainage from his all-wonderful sinuses. This was, actually, a slight consolation, as I was seeing my bank account depleting before my watery eyes at the thought of needing a root canal on the aforementioned massive filled cavity. Considering that I don't have dental insurance, I may have had to sell my first born or a liver or something to pay for the damage of that impending bill.

In case you've never tried it, allow me to enlighten you: it is rather difficult to talk without moving your face. Or lips. Or tongue, for that matter. I experienced about 45 minutes of sheer ouchiness before the ibuprofen took full effect, in which time moving said facial muscles was not found to be a good idea. Naturally, Bella, Momma's little angel face of a kitty, decided that those 45 minutes would be an opportune time to start crawling all over Momma. Its tremendously difficult to reprimand an animal when you can't move your face. Or talk. Particularly when said animal doesn't understand English, not to mention some perverse version of the language that sounds more like grunts and squeals. Although that may be more up her communication alley....

Thankfully, today has been better. I'm sticking to softer, lukewarm foods. Hot, cold, hard, or chewy consumables aren't going to be on the menu for the next few days to avoid a breakdown due to tooth pain. I don't think that my health insurance would foot a bill for me being institutionalized due to a toothache...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

One of my all time, absolute favoritest things in life is watching someone that I've known for years go through a metamorphosis into the person that God has created them to be. As well as raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, however, that's an entirely different blog. But, in complete seriousness, its a thrill for me to just sit back and watch this person's eyes glow with excitement over the new found discovery of themselves. To watch the person that they've been trying to be for so long melt away in the presence of the person that they really are and who they have been trying so hard to repress for so long.

Its a powerful sight to behold. Especially being aware of the potential that people you know and love have, and yet they simply have no inkling as to how amazing they really are, how talented they are, how extraordinary they are. How there isn't a single other person on earth who has the same mix of gifts, of quirks, of experiences. How they are completely and utterly unique and, at the risk of sounding cliche, that God threw out the mold after he made them.

Why is it that we are often so afraid to be extraordinary? That we have passions for certain things, and yet we are too cowardly to pursue them? That we are abashed to reach beyond the extent of ourself into the glorious realm of God's ideas for our lives? These limitations that we willingly place on ourselves confine the possibilities of our potential. They force us into a small box of what we consider to be the extent of our capabilities, rather than the universe of our actual capacity, through the extension of the arm of God. What is it that we are so afraid of? Rejection? Failure? Success?

I personally believe that one of the best places that you can be in life is when you genuinely reach the point of not caring about other's opinions of you. Not in the obnoxious sense, but in the sense of being secure enough in who you are to be able to move forward without the self-consciousness that is such a struggle for most. To be free of worry in how you are perceived. That, I believe, is one of the greatest personal victories one can acheive. It permits you to be all that you can be (I can't believe I just used an army slogan!) without fear of reproach.

So, to this friend (you know who you are!), and to other friends daring enough to be themselves, I salute you. I will be following along in your footsteps on the path of being me.... Once I figure out the heck who that is....

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Strengthening of Recognition

In the past few years, I began to set certain goals for myself. Strange goals, mind you. Not goals in the sense of what one normally thinks when one determines to set about on a mission of accomplishment. The first of said goals was this: make a point of unexpectedly complimenting people. Particularly people with whom I have no relationship. Now, this may sound odd, to go about randomly complimenting utter strangers. But most people, particularly us womenfolk, get a sensational boost when lauded over our choice of shirt color, shoes or even lipstick. I've found in the past that a simple compliment can lift my spirits for the remainder of my day, in a way similar to when one wears those cute new undies for the first time. Don't laugh, girls. You know exactly what I'm talking about!

Compliments received can become the donee's little secret, a private moment of pleasure in what very well may otherwise be a mundane day. It tends to stick to you, like a little bit of glue that concertedly brings the pieces of your day together. There is just something about being noticed, unanticipated, that can be a hallelujah moment.

Part of the human condition is often that feeling of blending in with the crowd, as if you were just white noise in the midst of a hurricane, insignificant in the grandeur of the surrounding atmosphere. I doubt that there is a single person on earth who would not be able to relate to that sensation of being in the melting pot, of not having a differentiator that allows one to be unique. We have been hardwired from birth to want to be an exclusive, a one-of-a-kind. And yet, in the insanity that some call life, one can feel like just a small drop in the coffee pot of humanity.

Being noticed by a complete stranger in the hallway that yes, in fact, your shoes are quite stunning can give you that sense of being just a little bit different from everyone else. To be acknowledged that there is something about you that stands out, that is noticeable, can be rather exhilarating. Call it silly, but I have found it to be true in my own life and so I imagine that others would find the recognition of that discriminate in themselves through the simplicity of a compliment to be a day brightener as well.

I've seen sad faces lifted, weary smiles strengthened and a little extra spring added to another's steps by a few simply spoken words. There is just something about being noticed, isn't there?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lessons in How to Destroy Your Self Esteem

In case you ever find yourself in a place where perhaps your self esteem is a bit too stable, or you feel that your sense of self worth is finally secure, or that you may actually be semi-intelligent, I have discovered the cure-all for all forms of self assured-ness: simply attempt to learn a language. Seriously, you'll be remedied without delayed. As in, pronto, unhesitatingly, and tout de suite. That's pretty darn fast.

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Guatemala, I am making a very valiant effort to reacquaint myself with the Spanish language. This will be my first experience in a foreign land with foreign people who speak a foreign language. That's alot of foreign-ness. I have long wanted to speak another language and discovered that this trip was the motivation that I've needed to actually do something about it.

So, to I went to order Level 1, Latin America Spanish CDs from Instant Immersion. Which is guaranteed to prepare you for everday conversations on Spanish-speaking countries in just 8 easy lessons. Mind you, I have hardly uttered a syllable of Spanish in 6 years....

After a week of anxiously awaiting the arrival of said CDs, they finally show up on my doorstop. Oh, joy!! I eagerly popped in lesson one... And, what do you know, those 2 semester of Spanish in college were actually worth something. I flew through it. I even almost remembered how to pronounce all the letters of the alphabet. I recalled words like "house" and "but" and "hello." Oh, joy!! I was well on my way to being a full-fledged speaker of foreign-ness!

Then came lesson 2. And all the fun of lesson 2 that came in the form of verb conjugations. I mean, really, that's just unnecessary. Ugh. Right away, I opened the window of my apartment and tossed out my self esteem. It was gone. No longer did I feel smart from my 32 weeks of Spanish in college. No longer was I bouncing around the kitchen, cooking dinner, and repeating after the very nice sounding lady on the CD to my cat, who just looked at me as if I am insane. Which is nothing new. She looks at me that way often.

I have to say though, the nice sounding lady on the CDs is very encouraging. After she must so clearly hear my flawless (ahem) repetition of her lovely Spanish through the speakers of my laptop, she says that I have done "muy bien" or "excellente." Its quite kind of her to be so supportive. Its like having my own personal language cheerleader, minus the pom-poms and short skirts.

Midway through lesson 3 (which had loads of vocabulary and more verb conjugating than I'd like to even discuss. I had to not only learn -ar verbs, but -er and -ir verbs too. That's just asking way too much), I decided that it was time to break out the big guns. I bought flashcards. Oh yeah. Watch out Guatemala, here I come! The flashcards have brought me knowledge of the Spanish equivalent to "oyster and "cow," which, clearly, I need to know before traveling anywhere outside the country. I now feel prepared to communicate effectively. I'll just answer every question with "la ostra." If nothing else, I may get some food out of it.

So, with the all-powerful flashcards in hand, I am ready to conquer lesson 4. In which I will learn how to count to 100, discover even more verbs that will need conjugating and, hopefully, some more nouns involving food. I like food. Food is my friend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lessons in Walking

As mentioned several days ago, I spent Sunday afternoon assaulting my own body on the dance floor. As also mentioned, I haven't done a lick of dancing in three months. Okay, that may not be entirely true. I may have done plies once, but that hardly counts as anything legitimate. I dreaded going to bed Sunday evening, first because I would wake up to Monday which is almost never good, and second, I was afeared that I would desperately want to not be in my own body due to the impending pain.

Both fears were realized. I woke up to it not only being Monday, but to soreness to the extreme of hardly being able to roll over to hit snooze without wanting to cry. The sensation was similar to someone threading a crowbar through my spinal muscles and thighs... And then pulling in every whichway direction.

After nearly an hour of whimpering (and continually hitting snooze), I managed to roll myself out of bed (and I'm not exaggerating. Quite literally rolled out of bed). It probably took about 7 minutes to walk from my bedroom to the bathroom, which is a span I could normally cross in about 4.5 seconds. This was not looking promising.

Considering that it was in fact Monday, I did have to go into the office. Now, this may not have been too terrible if it weren't for a few factors. First off, there are steps involved at the office. Second, I actually have to walk places. Third, when I hurt this bad... I waddle. Its completely involuntary and I have zero control over it whatsoever. But, I doubt that anyone would be able to walk normally when one's muscles are in this much distress.

Fourth on the list of terrible factors is that I learned the literal manifestation of the phrase "knee-jerk reaction." Oh yes. My right quad muscle was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed temporarily. Each time I would extend my right leg to take a step, it would spontaneous fling itself outward. And I stress the words "spontaneous" and "fling" in that last sentence. I actually considered finding myself a priest to excise the demon out of it or something, because, try as I might, I could not control it. At all. It was ridiculous. And also very comical. I attempted to laugh at myself quite a few times, but it hurt my back too much, so I decided against it.

Talk about embarrassing. I had to waddle around the office, with an out-of-control leg, while desperately attempting to look like a normal person. I honestly felt like I had transformed into Jerry Lewis. Going to the restroom involved conquering 2 whole steps. Each way. Not to mention that these things required me to actually stand up out of my chair. Sweet Lord in heaven, save me!!

Thank goodness, my officemate is a sheer pip. For the last 2 days, she has alternated between feeling very sorry for me to attempting to keep a straight face every time that I had to stand up, the latter of which she rarely succeeded in. Not that I can blame her. I believe that I would have had a difficult time staying serious if I had a coworker who walked like she was 95 and with a possessed leg.

But, the third day's the charm (or something like that) and I can now almost walk down steps, have regained some control over my possessed leg and can actually stand up without using some stable surface for leverage. Looks like I won't have to call that priest after all...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Remind me of tomorrow

There are so many thoughts running through my mind today. Running, running, running, never stopping even for a moment's rest. Trying to keep up with them all is an exhausting feat, one that I will not be able to accomplish in the mere twenty-four hours of this day. Many are not completed, cut off by the next moment's ponderings. My mind will not stop, won't let me focus on the reality of where I am now, of what I am now. Of what is past and I cannot change. Of what is coming that I do not yet know. Many of them sicken me from the loss of the time when they were not just a memory, but a reality. I fight against the tears, the dull ache, the wishing, the wanting.

Remind me of hope. Of love. Of desire. Of dreams.

Remind me of tomorrow.

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope, and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Dance of Regret

Nearly every part of my body has a dull ache threading its way through the sinews and bones. I did a very stupid thing today. I participated in a modern dance class after 3 months of my ten toes not touching a dance floor. Or any other part of my body for that matter. Ugh. I had forgotten that all those muscles in my back existed. Particularly the ones that, ya know, keep me upright. Those I had definitely forgotten about.

I can't even tell you the teacher's full name. Her first was Tina, her last was two names joined together by a hyphen. And let me tell you... she was a pistol. I loved it. She had that crazy style of teaching, where you couldn't help but chuckle quietly to yourself. Her style of choreography.... um... yeah. I loved that even more. She has that reckless quality to her movement, which, in following it, you find yourself flailing about in a controlled chaos. Oooooh yeah... It was marvelous. Up and down, up and down. In the air, on the floor, back up again. Extend, contract. I mean, seriously, does it get any better?!

Oddly enough, the highlight and yet most depressing part of the class occurred jointly. After doing a combination across the floor (to a Marilyn Manson song! Heck yes!), she pointed to me and asked my name. She then went off on a rant about how I had made the choreography my own, took the skeleton of it and molded it to fit my own style. This, she pointed out, is what gets you the audition. This gets you the job, makes you stand out in a crowd. She had me repeat the combination several times (how embarrassing), along with a few other members of the class.

Now, I'd like to make note of the fact that I am 26. My career dancing days are over. But hearing this encouragement, a little too late in life, lifted my spirits and yet crushed my heart a bit from lost opportunity. How I wish I had taken advantage of the times when my body was younger and more fit. When I could make it through an hour and a half class without every major muscle group screaming in agony. Before the injuries that now prevent me from being able to fully release into the aggressive movements. When the comments were made, I shot my younger sister a sad look, because she knows the dancer's heart. She knows the excitement and freedom and joy that the floor can bring.

I can't lie, I had to fight back a few tears when Tina was talking to me. I was flooded with a sadness of disappointment that hit the deepest part of my soul. It only lasted for a few seconds, and then the moment passed and I pushed that regret back into the place where it belongs. Out of the forefront of my mind.

I learned a great life lesson from my lack of courage to pursue what my passion was as a dancer. Fears left go will only crush you more, leave you in limbo a little while longer until, before you realize it, it is too late. As my last blog so poignantly stated, I am victim to the Fear of Success. Mix that in with some Fear of Failure, and it results in afterward thoughts of what could have been. I now always encourage the younger generation to go after their dreams, no matter how scary they may be, as a result of my own cowardice.

Now, I'm going to go soak my ankle, maybe get a hot pack for my back and then pray to Jesus that I can move enough to get out of bed tomorrow.

Regret... its a terrible thing to have.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fear or something like it

Fear is one of the unpleasant-er of emotions that every human being will face at some point in their life. More often than not, it will be at many points and not just one. Fear wears many different masks and presents itself in forms too numerable to mention in such a little space as this page. There can be a phobia of nearly anything, from seagulls to crayons, some are comparably trite while others can be virtually incapacitating.

Approximating near the top of the list of most common horrors are the fear of death (thantophobia), the fear of public speaking (glossophobia) and... the fear of failure. This particular phobia, known in phobic circles as Kakorrhaphiophobia (I dare you to try to say that ten times fast), is common in a society where success is the only option and failure is greeted with rebarbative looks and pitious attitudes.

Perhaps a smaller portion of the general public can relate to the antonym of the above mentioned disquietude: the fear of success. For some, this may seem an incredulous fear, so absurd in nature as to almost be unbelievable. I, however, have struggled with this very demon for near half of my 26 years. Once mentioned to those who are secure in their person and have no doubts as to their ability to succeed, this phobia receives looks well beyond rebarative. The dubiousness of actually being afraid of success renders many speechless.

Now, this reaction is understandable. It is nearly comparable to one being afraid of butternut squash or bamboo shoots. My fear is not fear in the sense of a repulsive reaction, such as one might have to spiders (shudder) or jellyfish (shriek!). It is more fear in the sense of being afraid of the disappointment that one might feel after longing desperately for something for so long, and upon acquiring said object would realize that it does not hold up to the expectation which was set. My fear of success can actually be directly related to this: being afraid of succeeding in something that I've wanted only to discover that the satisfaction held in that is lacking and temporal.

Nearly every emotion, whether positive or negative, is temporal. Whether it be joy or disappointment, "this too shall pass." There will come a time when the feeling, the internal sensation, whatever it may be, will be gone, although perhaps not permanently. When it comes to fears, per contra, they can be gripping. Fears can lay hold of someone and not let go for a lifetime. The fear of success is no exception to this.

However, succumbing to said trepidation can render one utterly stationary, immobilized and unwilling to step out in life outside the box of familiarity held so near and dear. The resulting life would be no life at all, but a waste of what could have been. Regrets are a terrible thing to have, and once your years have passed they are gone forever, beyond the reach of the time when you could have done something different.

This realization should force one to buckle up one's bootstraps and lift one's eyes to the horizon of possibilities and past the fear that tries to cloud the vision. The box of familiarity should be trampled and tossed aside, the path now cleared for a fearless adventure into the unknown regions of success... and also most likely some disappointments thrown in as well. The fear of success, for which I could find no phobic name, should be forgotten, removed entirely from one's consciousness as if it never existed. In doing so, one will be able to step out to that horizon and keep stepping, everyday until at last success is obtained. At that point, I should imagine that one would wonder why it took so long to realize that the fear was a mere hindrance, an annoyance with no real validity. And that, my friends, will be a very good day. A very good day indeed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

In the Want of Something

I feel the need to clarify some points about my job, as per my first rambling. I don't hate my job. I don't even dislike it... most days... I mean, don't get me wrong. Its not called a "job" for nothing. We go to "work" 5 days a week, and its called that because... well... frankly, it is work. While I may not spring out of bed every morning, with a look of glee on my face and say "Oh joyous! I get to go to my oh-so-wonderful JOB today!!", generally speaking, its far from bad. Although, I did basically work for one of Satan's minions prior to my current place of employment, and referred to my at-the-time office as "the Seventh Circle of Hell," so, I may be slightly more inclined to like any job that isn't the loathesome "InfoHell." The Fifth Circle of Hell would even have been an improvement.

My job doesn't really fall into any of the Circles of Hell. Well, except on days where I wake up in a panic from thinking about the bazillion and a half items on one list of many that I need to keep track of (see last blog). Those days it might be the One-fifths Circle of Hell, or Two-thirds Circle of Hell. Maybe.

Any dissatisfaction that I may have in my current occupation is based around the fact that I don't feel like I'm doing anything that has any lasting meaning. There is a certain level of contentedness that I feel from what I do 8 to 5 (if I'm lucky) Monday through Friday. But it lacks a sense of purpose. Purpose is very important for someone like me (ya know, the crazy neurotic type). I crave that feeling that my toiling isn't just a paycheck. It isn't just the typical corporate hodge-podge that is seen in today's business. I mean, it is business. The primary goal of business is to make money. Pick up any business magazine and the headlines will all be based around how to make more profit and how Joe Schmoe down the street made 5 million by simply making adjustments to his business model. While all of that is valid, and for some, completely fine and dandy, I don't care so much about the dollar as I do really leaving a footprint on the earth. Granted, those greenbacks do come in handy for shoe and purse shopping...

Its idealistic, I know. But I do have that ideal that my life will mean something more than how much money I have stashed away in the vault. I want more than that. Its incredible to know that your life has changed someone else's, and it is my true desire to feel that my vocation is having a positive impact directly, or even indirectly, on the lives of others. That thirst for meaning, for something more, leaves me coming up a little empty by being one of the fish in the Sea of Corporate. Solomon spoke right to the center of the issue in saying that "its all meaningless, a chasing after the wind." In my own life, corporate lacks purpose, it is merely a chasing after the wind.

Yeah, blah blah blah, you can make your job your mission field and change the lives of those around you. Its the Sunday School answer that I've heard for years. And while that may be very true, I've been witness to it in my own life on several occasions, it just doesn't cut the cake. The fulfillment of that will last for a while, but like most things, it fades away and I'm left again with that yearning for more. The want of something. Anything.

Perhaps its a selfish ambition. I've wondered that many, many times over the past 4.5 years since I was booted out into the "real world" after college graduation. Why am I feeling like something is just missing? I am positive that there are elements of the future life that I will lead which have yet to come to fruition, and that is conceivably why I still struggle with this hole in my soul that just can't seem to be filled. Maybe once those pieces of the jigsaw fall into place, I'll get that sense of fulfillment that I'm so desperately looking for. Maybe I'm just pointing the finger at Corporate America because I can't find anything else to blame it on. Or maybe I'm spot-on and I'm just not cut out for the rat race.

Who knows. The question of "am I doing the right thing?" is one that plagues many, particularly those living the awkwardness of growing up. Perchance that question needs to be rephrased to "am I doing the right thing for right now?" It is likely a much easier conclusion to grasp. Rather than trying to take on the next 70 years, how about just the next 5?

So, I will continue to search out my answers to what is right for me right now. I am confident that God does have an awesome plan for my life. It may leave me exactly where I am, or it may lead me on an incredible adventure into unknown places. Honestly, I'm rather hoping for the latter....

Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should... -Max Ehrmann

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'll rise.... but I won't shine.

My eyes shot open, my whole body in a sheer panic, my mind racing. The time was 3:30AM. I would have sworn to you on my favorite pair of stiletto heels that the light I was seeing were the rays emitting from a sun that was well on its way to its zenith, and not from the monitor of my laptop that I had left open in the empty space next to me on my bed, which was, in fact, what it actually was. Let me tell you, I am not exactly the most aware or alert person when abruptly awoken in the middle of the night. Disorientation is pretty much my only brain function. I had a breakfast event to attend that my company was sponsoring, which required my presence at the venue at the bright and early hour of 6 AM. The thought that the day was quickly approaching the noon hour was enough to nearly send my heart into cardiac arrest. Which would have been bad, considering that I live alone and don't exactly keep a defibrillator next to my bed in the event that I would have to shock my heart into cooperation. I immediately saw my job flashing before my eyes and wondered what words my manager would use as he fired my sorry butt for oversleeping and missing the whole thing.

Mind you, all this occurred in the span of about 5.4 seconds. At 5.5 seconds, I understood what was actually transpiring, and calmed down. Then 5.6 seconds arrived, and I had a horrifying thought.... "Sweet potatoes!!! I forgot to tell the organizers that I need electricity for our exhibit table!!!" This time, the panic was well justified, considering the fact that we are indeed a technology corporation. Technology requires power. To my knowledge, the tech heads around the world have not yet discovered wireless energy pathways. Hence, no power would lead to the aforementioned firing of yours truly for royally screwing up. Second 5.8 went something like this: "Holy matrimony!! I forgot the extension cord! And I don't know if anyone packed up the surge protector!" This was not going so well. 5.9: "And they didn't say anything about tablecloths! WHAT IF WE DON'T HAVE A TABLECLOTH?!" The thought of whatever epiphanies were going to materialize at Second 5.10 were terrifying.

In my defense, I had organized our participation in the breakfast event in precisely a day and a half. Considering all of the coordination that involves (demo kits in house that need all the various parts assembled by our techies; demo kits that we really need but haven't out shipped yet from the manufacturer and therefore require frenzied phone calls to our sales rep only to find out that his kit, which would normally be borrowable, already has claim laid on it for the day that we need it; sales literature that we don't have yet that no one at the manufacturer's corporate office will return my phone calls about; PowerPoint presentations that need revising; along other general organizational nightmares, not the least of which included the market account manager handling the exhibit table with me has never actually touched the demo equipment that we were using), only forgetting about a few major items on the docket really isn't so bad. All this coordinating obviously came on top of the other 15 projects that currently occupy the top of my list.

Praise be to good old goodness gracious, Second 5.10 passed without any other revelations to send me into a tizzy. Second 1800.2, or approximately 4AM, found me rummaging through boxes however, on the hunt for extension cords and surge protectors. Thankfully, I was able to locate both. I crawled back into bed, only to lie there, picturing myself climbing up poles to tap into the city power supply if necessary to get those demo kits rolling. Which, really, is a very entertaining mental picture to anyone that knows me. I don't do the technical side of things. I mean.... I really don't do them.

In case you don't already know, I don't wear early morning well. When I finally drug my exhausted rag of a body out of bed and looked in the bathroom mirror (somewhere in the ballpark of Second 5400.7) earlier than necessary really just to stop mentally seeing myself accidentally sticking a live powerline up my nose or something while trying to power the CCTV system... shudder. I didn't know that it was possible for my hair to stick up in that many different directions at once. I mean, some serious static ball action going on here. Both eyesockets looked like a boxer had used them in a workout, not to mention that my restless night had left its mark on my left cheek in the form of pillowcase creases. Sigh. This day was not going well. And the sun hadn't even given a thought of making an appearance yet.

However, after I got rid of the bags under my eyes and scary hair, I arrived at the venue to discover that not only did we have electricity, but a tablecloth as well. It may have been that awful evergreen color that hotels love to use for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, but heck, I didn't care. It was better than having to disrobe and use my pants and suit jacket on the table instead. Things were brightening up considerably. Also, the crickets stopped chirping by now (I hate crickets) and my eyeballs no longer felt like they had beach sand in them. The event went off without a hitch (okay, well, almost. The PowerPoint presentation did keep hiccuping, but I gave it a stern talking to and straightened it out. I'm vicious like that). The rest of the seconds of my day proceeded in sheer insanity, as usual. Ah yes, the joys of Corporate! Always insanity! Sheer insanity! TGIAF....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to my ramblings

So I've finally decided to join the rest of the intelligent (and also not-so-intelligent) masses that blog. Why you may ask? I'm definitely not one for journaling or even really speaking what's on my mind on a personal level. At all. However, due to the demands of a career (ha!) in marketing, along with a highly opinionated nature (ugh), I've decided that blogging may be a good way to rediscover my lost writing skills. I mislaid them somewhere in the pages of that 40 page history seminar paper that I researched, wrote, reresearched and rewrote in five weeks. It may prove to be entertaining to those who dare risk the trauma of getting a peek inside my puny little brain. Its a scary place in there. Enter at your own risk.

About me... I'm one of the average, everyday peoples who was psychotic enough to get a job in Corporate America. It is a frightening place, my friends. Those of you smart enough to stay out, I commend you. Those currently thinking about joining the rat race, run away. Okay, maybe its not quite that bad. In all seriousness, Corporate America is a necessary evil that has helped the US carve its place out as the leader of the western world (or at least that's what we like to think). It provides jobs for millions of people across the expanse that we all call home. Some people even make a lot of money off of it. Note: I do not fall in that category. Some people even enjoy it. Those are also the people that you will find visiting their shrink twice a week so that they can still sleep at night. Note: I do not fall into this category either. I don't sleep. Ever. Crazies. Anyway, however much we do need the beast also known as Corporate America, I often wake up on weekday mornings asking myself one question.... "What the HECK is wrong with me?!?!" Sigh.

Its true. While my corporate job brings me a paycheck twice monthly, almost halfway decent health insurance, and something to do for 45-50 hours a week, it is most often not terribly satisfying. Sure, it has its moments. But cleaning your bathroom floor with a toothbrush also has its moments, most namely when you're done and stand up to look at your clean, sparkling floor with a horrible backache and blackend fingers. Not to mention bruised knees. I often feel that same way about my corporate job. Its most satisfying when I pack up my corporate laptop, shut off the corporate lights in my corporate office and walk my corporately-clad derriere out the door. I often think of becoming an ice cream lady that drives the ice cream truck around Bethlehem. Or a shepherd in the Alps. I think of that one often. I'd rather be on a mountaintop yodeling "RIIIIIIIIICOLAAAAA" with my funny looking hat with a feather in it and a green jumper and wooden shoes than being stuffed in an flurescently lit office in a too-small-for-my-big-butt pencil skirt and 4 inch stilettos.

But, alas and alack, such is life more often than not. Its a vicious cycle of make-believe security that causes us feel all nice and comfy cozy with that steady direct deposit hitting our somewhat already depleted bank account every other week. Satsifying? We lie to ourselves to make it feel that way. Why? Because we're stupid. God forbid we do something exciting and new and risky because our gosh darn sense of security just might be put in jeopardy.

Maybe.... just maybe.... I'll get brave. One day....

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. -Helen Keller