Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I hate knitting

I started on this years' Christmas knitting. I have no idea what I was thinking. Somehow, I thought I was good at knitting. I think I need to go back to making swatches, and maybe practice for another year or five.

I'm so discouraged.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bunny's kitten makes cute noises

I was digging through the pictures directory on my computer and found this one of Bunny's Six. I think he's as cute as pie, so I thought I'd share ...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mr. J goes skating

I finally got Mr. J to go roller skating with me. He did really well, for never having been on roller skates in his whole life (though, seriously, how do you live through the seventies and eighties and never roller skate?). He stumbled around for a bit but he really got the hang of it after the first hour. And he totally didn't bite it.

He made vague promises about going again with me. Soon everyone I know will be roller skating and I can finally have that dance troop I've always longed for.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jennifer Government

I have just finished reading a book called Jennifer Government. The cover caught my eye; the first few pages hooked me. Max Barry shows us a new future, where the world is run by corporate America and the police investigate the crimes they can secure citizen funding for; the government is privatized, taxes are illegal, and people take the names of the companies they work for as surnames.

The book was riveting, with fast-paced action and an exciting plot-line. I didn't think the characters were developed in depth, but I can't decide if that's writing style or evidence of the sort of personalities people would have in a commercialised society.

The book was funny and disturbing, well-written and completely twisted, and I can't wait to read his other book.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A poet among us

My friend Carie has a lovely daughter named Carmen, who recently won an award for best Haiku in her entire school district. I have known Carmen since she was very small, and she has always impressed me with her quiet intelligence. She is beautiful and smart; she's funny and she plays the guitar and she dresses quit snappy.

I am totally impressed with Carmen's poetry, and she gave me permission to post it here:


Big City

New York's blinded sky,
When do you sleep Big Apple?
For you keep me up.

Seattle don't cry,
The baseball crowds roar and cheer,
Bright lights and bright eyes.

Chicago oh my,
The smell of franks and exhaust,
Sears Tower looks down.

Oh please Portland, please,
Hawthorne, Pearl, Pioneer Square,
City of Roses.

San Francisco Bay,
Golden gates and warm light nights,
Iconic street cars.

City heights and lights,
Get me out of this small town,
Train, plane, car or bus.

~Carmen Camacho
Age 13


I think she'll be famous someday, whether it's as a poet, a rock star, a model, or just an all around kick ass girl.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Poemist

I'm quite good at catch;
I now hardly never drop the ball.
My hands do not ache.

When I was a girl in school I was awful at coming up with haikus; any structured writing was a problem for me, really. My writing has always been stream-of-conscious, which isn't really part of any lesson plan. I used to beg my teachers to allow me to turn in diary pages for credit instead of making me do the sort of writing that included things like rhyming and counting.

I have a new appreciation for haikus though, and this is the year I do things I don't like (also the year I do the things MPJ does, because she does the very best things), so I'm giving it a try.

Please be gentle, it's my first time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Bye bye, balloon"

I went to dinner tonight. I had a burger, if you're curious, the kind that is really good but if you don't eat fast enough the bun and the paper it's wrapped in get all soggy and gross. Inside the restaurant there were balloons and a person dressed as a bird entertaining children (and Mr. J, for that matter). Leaving the burger restaurant, Mr. J and I observed a little girl letting her balloon go. "Bye bye, balloon," she called as she watched it drift slowly upward. "Bye bye, balloon," her family solemnly stated.

We talked about this in the car on the way home. I was remembering the various incidents of children becoming upset at the loss of a balloon that I have witnessed; incidents where parents encourage the unreasoning attachment to a balloon by replacing it. I am saddened, on probably a deeper level than I really should be, at the gross attachment to something so insignificant; I wonder if this is a mentality that persists throughout a person's entire life and helps shape an unwillingness to let go. We seem to be afraid of so many things associated with 'letting go': we are afraid of death and sickness and disease; of change; of personal loss.

I think of my own lessons in balloon-loss that I learned as a child; I remember my mom telling me that some balloons just have to get lost, that all the fun I just had with my balloon was still just as fun. I couldn't keep the balloon forever, anyway, so why not just let it go. No, we couldn't drive really fast and catch up to it. I never got a replacement balloon, and I learned about carrying on with my life without it. I never realized about that lesson until tonight, when I witnessed someone else learning it.

I've had a lot of balloons drift in and out of my life, and I've mourned them all when they leave. But they don't get replaced; no matter how badly we want to replace the things we lose, the best we can do is carry on with whatever joy we gained from them and learn to enjoy the next thing that comes our way with as much passion as we enjoyed the last thing.

I still have some attachments that could use some letting go of; it's so clear to me when it's a balloon in a child's hands.

Bye bye, indeed.

Yoda? Really?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

I don't feel like Yoda, but I am amusingly tiny (though green in colour hardly ever).

I'm auditioning for kid sister to ~E~ and MPJ; I'm hoping I'll get the part.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not holding back

I am working on being friendlier. This is not my natural state, being friendly. I'm sort of standoffish by nature; I'm a little bit bitchy, a little bit aloof. I enjoy people watching in almost every environment but I often don't know how to interact with people normally. I am deeply curious about why people do what they do, but I am disinclined to get involved in dialogue with most people, don't want to engage others for fear they won't disengage when I'm ready for them to.

I have failed at a lot of social relationships, have lost long-time friends over my reticence and stuck-up-ness. I'm a little too philosophical about people coming and going from my life, and I tend not to attach to others even though I love them very deeply. I have trouble opening up to any but the closest of friends and I keep so many feelings to myself that I should share, and I share opinions that I should keep to myself. I am opinionated and brazen, and people don't always love me for it.

I'm working on changing some of that. I'm a work in progress. Part of my personal-growth-learning-experiment-resolution stuff is to not hold back. I have been practicing the not holding back, and the response has been a little interesting.

This morning I stopped at the coffee shoppe that sits on the corner that marks the precise half-way point between my apartment and my office and ordered a pumpkin spice latte. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with a perfectly cheerful (but not overdone), "hello again!" from the stunningly beautiful black woman working behind the counter.

The first time I saw her was just a few days ago, and I found her so alluring I could hardly keep my mouth closed. I'm not talking run-way model with flawless skin and nice breasts beautiful; I'm talking radiating from the inside out, truly happy with where she is and what she's doing beautiful. She seems like the sort of woman you could tell the most horrible experience to and she'd find the good in it. There is nothing remarkable about the way she looks physically but she exudes a calm, peaceful zen-happiness. The kind of happiness that knows everything will work out all right in the end, and that we just need to have a little faith in that. The kind of happiness that made its way over to me and managed to make me feel all serene inside.

And in my efforts to be a little more friendly and a little less closed off, I blurted out "you're leaking such terrific serenity all over me."

She didn't pause, just looked at me full in the face with eyes that could drown a god in their depths and said, "I'm so glad it's not going to waste" and handed me my coffee.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happily unpopular

Being a boring and somewhat irregular blogger, I don't have a lot of readers. Some of you I know in real life, so you read me out of pity or just to keep up on my goings-on because I'm terrible about calling you. (I'm sorry, and I really do love you!)

I know folks who have removed commenting, because people are mean and negative; and those who unfortunately have to choose to enable comment moderation because of people who spam their religious beliefs in a distasteful manner. I'm not actually going to link to that one, lest someone attribute my opinion to that lovely blogger and hate her when they should hate me. In light of those who find their serenity invaded by people who would tell them what to do, spew dogma, be negative and mean, or attempt to drag them into court, I'm glad my readership is small. I'm glad I don't have a fan-base or a gagillion people across the globe reading and judging and hating me. My commenting is unmoderated. Anonymous commentary is welcome, at least for now.

Without moderation,

Happiness of the immaterial variety

I really do get a lot of joy from material things. Books, clothing, shoes, electronic things and digital things and things with buttons and levers and toggles and switches. Everything about today seems to be focused on how so many things that bring me happiness are things that must be purchased, or somehow come into my life because of my ability to exchange money for them.

Here is a little list of the immaterial things that make me happy:
  • Not going to work today (even though I really should)
  • Having coffee delivered to me in bed
  • Paper jumping into my lap and craning his head as far back as it can go so he can look at my face
  • Playing catch with my husband - I'm still not over this, the shine has not worn off this activity; I could go on and on about how much fun I have throwing and catching a silly ball.

I priced happiness, and it was 70% off

I was reading Misery Marketing's latest blog post, and it brought up my own experiences with money, and the extreme lack of it.

Money can't buy happiness.

I was raised with these same words ringing in my ears my entire childhood. I think my mother said them in desperation really, since we never had any money. She made us happy, though. We did the sorts of things you do when you haven't got money: we bought old bread from the bakery that was discounted because it was about to be thrown out and we would feed the ducks at McKinley Park; we played board games; we went roller skating on the day that kids skated for free. We went for walks with our dogs during the summer and we made homemade apple sauce during Thanksgiving (which is nasty, by the way). My mom made Barbie clothes out of whatever fabric she had lying around, and back then it was cheaper to make your own clothes so I always had new, nice stuff to wear. It was a good childhood, because my mom was a smart lady who knew how to make a dollar stretch. We were happy, and she proved that we could be happy without money. But my mom cried herself to sleep regularly after I'd gone to bed; she worried and she fretted, and she worked several jobs at once to make ends meet and put me through private school. Half the time the car was broken because we couldn't afford repairs, but I always had what I needed. We were happy, but we could have been a lot more happy with a little extra money.

She also taught me that things like success are personal, and defined by each individual. "The sky's your only limit," she would say to me when I talked about the fantastical things I wanted to do. If writing books made me feel successful and I wrote a book, then I was successful. If I simply wanted enough money to pay my bills, then achieving that would make me successful.

I think the same personal definitions apply to happiness. People talk about "true happiness" as though it is an intangible, unquantifiable thing that does not exist in the physical realm. I think if one can quantify what makes one happy, then it can be bought. If a person cannot define happiness then he cannot buy it, no matter how much money he throws around.

Being materialistic is often looked down upon, as though the people who desire physical, material objects for happiness are somehow shallow and wrong. How can it be so wrong to know exactly what you want, then go out and buy it? Is that person then not as happy as the individual who gains happiness from spiritual pursuits or taking leisurely walks on the beach? How many of us just want a roof over our heads and food in our bellies? Those things must be bought. So you see, money can buy happiness.

I have a bag for my laptop that my company bought me. It's not the best bag I've ever had, and I don't care for it at all. I've been wanting a new bag for weeks, but have been too busy to go get a new one. Having that unpleasant bag makes me unhappy every time I carry it, which is every day. Yesterday, I bought a new bag. Now I'm happy. It's a small happiness, and it doesn't define my life, but I bought it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ow

Today I played catch after work.
I pulled a muscle in my ass.
I think I need more exercise.

Paging normal

Tomorrow I go back to my normal shift, at least for a few days. I'll probably end up taking a couple evening shifts next week to help balance all the workload, but things are looking very good with our project. We're hoping to be done in another week. I'm not sure what I'll do without all the stress.

Both my eating and sleeping schedules are all crazy and out of sorts; I've been getting a lot less of both and not at the right times. I've also been consuming coffee at an alarming rate --my normal coffee consumption is big, and it's getting bigger.

I've forgotten how to communicate rightly. I feel bad on the inside. My brain feels greasy. My toes get super flat when I walk.

I can't wait to be normal again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The semi-late shift

I worked nights for years. I was a dispatcher at a towing company, and worked until midnight or later; when I got the job that got me where I am now (such a confusing story, maybe I'll go into some time) I worked nights as an evening receptionist/data entry operator for a trucking company. I felt, especially after Colin died, as though I had wasted years of valuable relating time with my friends and family. Shortly after Mr. J and I started dating I had the opportunity to transition to day shift at the trucking company and take a corporate training position. I jumped on it, and have been a day-walker ever since.

That job eventually led me to where I am now, and that is managing a data entry/imaging office. I make my own hours for the most part, as long as I'm available during the day to deal with personnel issues, customer service issues, and the like. With our big, sexy project at work, the management team is putting in some really chaotic hours. I'm working the second shift, 4pm to midnight, for a couple days so Bunny can take care of things, and I'm remembering all the things I loved and hated about the second shift.

I am a night person by nature. I like the quiet, dead-of-night vibe that stretches between the hours of 10pm and 4am. I like the hum of machinery, or the clack of fingers on a keyboard, or the whirring of a fan - sounds that are singularly identifiable when they are not competing with the cacophony of voices and fax machines and the copier and the phones of the day shift. Even when I'm not alone in the office, I can pull the shroud of nighttime around me like a blanket that admits no others. It feels like a secret, working at night, like a secret me and the moon share.

The part I don't like? Coming home at 1am, so wound up I can't sleep and seeing my husband spread across the entire bed; the pillows he has turned long-ways on my side to simulate a body-presence that isn't there. Will he grow accustomed to me being gone at night? Will there be room for me when I return to my normal hours, or will he continue taking up the entire bed? Working nights used to make me feel like I was sliding to the very edge of my existence, and if I was not careful, I might just slip off and be lost. In the very beginning of our relationship we only saw each other very, very late at night during the week. I remember having the thought that our relationship couldn't survive the light of day, since it rarely saw the light of day. It wasn't true then, and it surprises me how easily my mind sinks back into that old thought pattern of feeling like I'd be forgotten in my night-shift existence.

He asks me to come to bed, and for all my worrying of being lost to the blackness I just can't. I'm not done telling the moon my secrets.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happiness is ...

  • Playing catch
  • The tops of trees and mountains shrouded in mist, as seen from in front of a GIGANTIC fireplace at the best hotel ever
  • Pumpkin spice lattes
  • Being so busy at work I am completely focused on what I'm doing
  • Shared tasks in Outlook
  • My apartment

Monday, October 6, 2008

Girls can throw too!

After work today I was in sore need of mental decompression. We finally got production started on our big project at work, and my day started at 5am. I had to spend a lot of time today letting go of my internal frustrations; this includes deep-breathing exercises to keep from screaming my brains out that probably look like I'm about to give birth. After a full day of doing multiple things all at the same time I was ready to collapse the moment I walked into my apartment. Then I remembered, I have a baseball mitt!

Mr. J and I dashed off to the park near our apartment and played catch with our new mitts. I'm still pretty good at throwing, having received much instruction from every boy I've ever known, but I still need practice with the catching.

The weather was somewhat cool and overcast, perfect for playing catch and running around like fools. Both my hands feel bruised and I jammed my thumb in a painful manner; when I use any of the muscles in my hands, they tremble ever so slightly. I had a lot of fun, and I think Mr. J did too. I can't wait to go again.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dinner

Mr. J and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary with dinner at the lodge where we spent our honeymoon. Before dinner we sat next to the window and had a very pretty view of a small grassy area, a sun-dial, and misty mountain-tops. Dinner was steak, prime rib, mashed potatoes, and vegetables; I had Chardonnay, because I fancy myself a snooty wine drinker, and we shared an espresso chocolate souffle dish for dessert.

While we were eating and chatting, I noticed a family playing catch on the nice grass. A dad and two small boys were tossing a baseball among the three of them, while Mom chased after a small girl who seemed to delight in running between the boys. I remembered my own childhood, and the infrequent visits with my dad and the games we played. Dad wanted a boy, so I grew up doing things boys did; one of which was playing catch, only we did it with a football.

I enjoyed watching that family; they looked like they were having a lot of fun throwing a little ball between themselves. I enjoyed watching it so much that I convinced Mr. J that we would be happier if we had our own baseball to throw around. So today I bought us mitts and baseballs, and tomorrow we'll play catch in the park until we burst with happiness.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let me work, already!

I've got this project at work. It's a scanning project, over one million images of micro-filmed documents that will be scanned and converted to tiffs. I will have to bring temps in to help with the work; I will be running three shifts of three operators, scanning their brains out.

The final product is due for completion on October 24th. My office was supposed to have the fiche Thursday, and Bunny was going to work this weekend like the goddess she is. We didn't get the fiche Thursday, and we didn't get it today. It looks as though we're not going to get it until Monday. We're losing four days of productivity on a rush job, and I want to scream.

The next three weeks are going to be very long. I'll likely be working seven days a week. I'm already run down and sick, and I think the next few weeks are just going to make me feel even worse.

In frustration,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reading comprehension, or why I shouldn't blog when I'm tired

I updated my profile here recently. Nothing drastic, just little changes. And, I got a new silly question from blogger. Only I misread the new silly question, and the answer I entered totally only makes if the rest of you misread it the same way ...

In stupidity,

My fans