Saturday, June 29, 2013

GETTING REMARRIED

Hahahaha....  no.  I'm FAR from tying a second knot.  But I won't pretend like the potential of a second marriage hasn't crossed my mind from time to time.  More just the party planning portion of it than any imaginings of a second marriage.  You know, the FUN part.  Because It's natural to imagine yourself in other's shoes and, after all, it does seem like just about everyone I know is either getting married, remarried, or even having kids soon.  With so many wedding preparations abounding, it's easy to think, what would you do if it were your shindig?  (And if you read this to the end, I promise to elaborate on some of those fun bits of what I would plan.) 

As a little kid I was never the kind of girl to dress in white and pretend to have a wedding with a bunch of stuffed animals in attendance.  Nope.  I was much more the girl to imagine having super powers or battling dragons, and fantasize about growing up to someday own my own movie theater that would have an automatic delivery system so you could order popcorn or even pizza right from your seat.  Yup, I was apparently fervently determined to contribute to the nation's obesity epidemic.  Not much has changed since childhood.  Well, minus the thinking robotic food services are a good idea...  I'm still that bull headed kid that imagines awesome adventures and fun gadgets.  Deep down, (or maybe not so deep,) I'm still that kid that sees a whole world through a lens of imagination and promise.  Which is exactly why I'll likely never get married again, despite having an entire wedding near planned out.


SECOND PLACE.

As mentioned earlier, I keep seeing friends marry and remarry.  It's all fine and dandy.  I'm happy for them.  But sometimes it bothers me.  Not in an envious way by any means.  More in a, you were divorced for all of two minutes and met the REAL "love of your life" already?, kind of way.  I just feel people jump into some commitments WAY too fast.  Because I'm pretty certain that you referred to your last husband or wife as the "love of your life" once upon a time too.  It comes off as less genuine and more of you and your ex racing to see which of you can find someone to rub in the other's face first, or you just being too uncomfortable to be without someone.  ...I can think of better reasons for getting married again.

On the same note I can't stand when people approach relationships like job interviews and when asked why they're remarrying answer, "well, he gives me flowers, and has a steady job and is good with kids/animals..."  Nothing makes me wince more.  This is not a position you're filling!  If your answer is anything less than, "Because he makes me feel like I can reach out and touch the moon if I really wanted to, and makes me so happy I can't stand it!" you might want to take a step back and reevaluate the partnership.  Because I'm pretty sure I'm capable of buying my own gorram flowers, establishing my own career, and taking Fido to the vet.

Me?  I've never been so happy to be single.  I'm not saying I would turn my nose up at a relationship if it came along.  I can picture myself happy that way too.  But I will say, if I had someone in my life I probably wouldn't be as focused on my schoolwork, nor would I feel as free to go to Japan.  Why?  Because the kind of guy (once in a relationship) that is supportive of such things (I've found in my personal experience) is rare indeed.  These last five years of being single gave me ample opportunity to explore the world and discover myself all over again.  And in that five years, I've come to realize what I've worked for and what I deserve.  And that's first place.


WHAT IS "FIRST PLACE?"

Good question.  And perhaps the best way to define "first place" is by recognizing if you're second place. 


  •             Second place is when you're with someone as the consolation prize.  They actually wanted Jane Smith, but after a lengthy failed pursuit, decided to settle for you instead.  

  •             Second place is when you are dedicated to a relationship, but your husband or wife is dedicated to their job, (not even career but "job") and their family (not counting you as family,) or their friends, or their hobbies... or basically EVERYTHING under the sun except you, first.  There has to be balance and these other things need ample attention too.  But I had once listened to several years of "(insert random activity or weather condition or...) is only good for a few weeks, and we have all the time in the world."  Well...  apparently we don't.  I've never had a relationship where something or someone wasn't a higher priority than I was 100% of the time, and I refuse to pander to that kind of "partnership."

  •             Second place is when YOU'RE the one that "filled the position."  If you think your partner is more interested in your character traits or skills than they are in you?  Don't settle.  You deserve someone that loves you.  Not someone that's "hiring" you.  As much as you may be in love with that person and thinking, well as long as their mine what does it matter the reason why/maybe they'll grow to love me...  I promise you in five years or so, you aren't going to feel that way.  You're going to get tired of waiting for them to catch up to where you are emotionally, and resentful if they haven't.  I remember during my divorce talking with my ex about different ways he can replace the things I was always doing for him.  Dishwasher and laundry service kind of jokes.  (We tried to get through things with a sense of levity.)  But I'll always remember when I suggested restaurant food he replied "Yeah, but restaurants don't cook as good as you."  ...My head heard the compliment.  My heart heard something different.  I know what was meant behind the comment, but I felt if I had stayed it would have been because I was a valued "employee."  Not a wife and partner.

  •             Second place is when they deny telling you how they feel.  Now, I'm not talking about actual verbal communication.  Just communication in general.  Love gives you the jitters.  It makes us clumsy fools.  But it also gives us courage.  I'm sick of watching people admire from afar, brooding over what might have been, when they never "spoke up" in the first place.  There are a million ways to tell a person you care about them besides calling them up on the telephone.  It doesn't take vocabulary, per se.  But dude, find a way to say it one way or another, because, a word to the wise? If you love someone, you tell them. If you can't find the courage to do so? Well.... That's probably not love.  And you probably don't deserve that prize after all.



Of course there are more Second place qualifiers, I'm certain.  But these are the big ones for me.  So, I'm going to be single for a good long while still, I'm sure.  I'm picky now.  Pickier than I've ever been.  I know what I deserve because I know what everyone deserves.  To be loved.  Genuinely.  And I'm not backing down.  Me and my pet dragon are going to keep having adventures until someone comes along that can keep up with us.  Someone that has as much a sense of inner child/no settling stubbornness as I.  And if they don't... well, I still have a pet dragon, and that's awesome enough on its own.

But I promised at the beginning of this post some fun stuff if you got to the end.  Namely, what I would do if ever planning a wedding again.  Something better than stuffy white lace and boring flowers.  No.  If I ever did that whole mess again, it would be a celebration that would reflect me and my partner and our adventurous spirits.  It would be a pirate wedding.


MARRIED AT SEA

My last wedding had a guest list so large that I had to cut a bunch of my friends from it to accommodate a bunch of people I barely knew that were friends or relatives of my mom.  I pandered to everyone.  I didn't want alcohol present, because several people I knew to be in attendance have "problems" and I didn't want drama.  (Besides I wasn't legal drinking age yet either.)  But I was talked into it...  not that it mattered, since those individuals brought their own anyway.  ...You can't make this shit up.  Anyhow...  The day was very very little as I wanted it to be.  The groom was about the only thing that remained as originally planned, in fact.  But I made the best of it, and now I know exactly what to place on my list of do's and don'ts.  And my next wedding, I'm going to make certain is about my partner and I.  No one else.


I'M GOING TO MARRY A PIRATE

Let's start with the ceremony shall we?

1.  I'm on a boat!




People making a big deal about your wedding attire or those creative vows you chose to write yourself because pesky second cousin Beatrice, whom you've never met, won't appreciate the humor?  Well, a sailboat wedding is for you.  Limit the guest list to those close friends and family by having it on a boat with a limited capacity.

2. Attire.



Don't want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a big bulky dress that you're going to sweat your ass off in, be too uncomfortable to eat while wearing, and worry about staining or ruining by the end of the night?  Not to mention need your maid of honor's help to go to the bathroom because it's so hard to get in and out of?  Funny how those pirate gals had these troubles on the back burner, eh?  The fun thing about pirate wear is, you probably already have some in your closet.  Yup, grab a pair of capris, and that ratty old shirt that a bit too big, get a corset to throw on over it, and you're set.  (The picture above is actually from the Pyramid Collection for about a 100 bucks.  Which can be found here.)   Instead of spending a fortune on fancy shoes and jewelry, any gaudy costume jewelry from your local antique mall or Goodwill store will do.  And about those shoes.  Boots for the ceremony are great but for that reception?  How does abandoning painful high heels for barefoot on a beach sound?  Which brings us to...


3.  Location!




No expensive reception halls, or stuffy church basements.  Let nature do the majority of the decorating for you.  And again, did I mention the sand is more comfy to dance on than heels?  Grab some tiki-torches and some wood for a bonfire come nightfall, open the rum and let the party run itself!


4.  Menu



You're on a beach.  You've got a bonfire going, and music, and....  who needs fancy place settings and such?  Pirate food can be anything.  But c'mon, who can picture movie with a captain's table, or any pirate feast without a roast pig?  Let's do this thing luau style...-ish.  Add a few kabobs and potato salad on the side...  Hey, sounds like a good feast to me.

The drinks are as equally easy at that point.  Rum and Ale are all you need, as mentioned.  Make a Rum Punch,  or have some rum and coke, and then beer will do the rest.  No need to buy an entire liquor store.  (Just the entire stock of Rum.)


5.  Decorations.




The decorations are possibly the easiest part.  Tiki torches instead of candles, a pirate chest for a card box/gift table, sand dollars and fake jewels and chocolate coins strewn about on the sitting tables, fish net table clothes...  And hey, nature does the rest, you have the beautiful ocean and beach full of sea shells to use  If you really want candles, fill shells with was and wick.  And why not have your guests not only sign your guest book, but rope off a section of sand for writing messages in as well.



6.  The Cake and favors, or, I've Got a Jar of Dirt!






Nope.  I've seen too many cake disasters.  I used to be a decorator.  It was my job to witness them.  When faced with paying for an outrageously overpriced, and likely extremely dry and bland tasting cake, I'd rather eat dirt.  This is the best Idea I think I've ever had.  A jar of dirt cake for each guest.  No worries about it getting stale, or sand or bugs getting to it, because the jars will be sealed.  Only one small truffle dish with a cake topper will set out for the ceremonial Bride and Groom Cutting...  er...  Scooping of the cake.  (With a shovel instead of a knife of course.)  :D  The jars double as favors.  Each labelled or engraved with the names and date, a packet of flowers will accompany each to be taken home, filled with real dirt, and flowers planted in them.


7.  The Ring.



 Yes, I have even fantasized this down to the ring.  An affordable, yet stunning, and completely unique ring.


It seems the only thing I don't have in this fantasy is the groom.  So no...  no plans on ever getting married again.  Just playful imaginings of one little day.  Maybe I'll give one of the characters in a future book this fabulous ceremony.  Doesn't have to go to waste that way.  Hell, maybe I'll write in a dragon or two too.  ;)  Just for good measure.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I SEE THE LIGHT!!! ....literally


My life is far from uneventful.  And that (practically free) vacation I mentioned in my last post?  Is needed more than ever...

It's pretty common knowledge that my life pretty much revolves around reading, writing, and art.  Once upon a time, in my wee teenage years, I was about to embark to an art school for computer animation.  A mere 6 months or so before this I was diagnosed with an eye condition that (what I was told at the time) gave me a 50/50 chance of going blind.  Well I still went to school anyway giving the odds for my eyes my proverbial finger.  Why I came home from school that time isn't relevant, and I never really regretted the decision.  A few years later (as more was discovered about the condition) I was assured there are two different kinds and I would not be going blind after all.  Yay!

Since all of this, my life has taken a great many turns and I found that professionally art takes something of a back seat to my writing.  Well... maybe it's more riding shotgun.  But somehow (despite being told I'm not going blind after all) I was comforted with the idea that I was no longer going to try to make a career out of something so dependent on my vision.  You know...  Just in case.  Never really thought about how dependant writing was.

I've been trying to play it cool the last couple of months.  But something has been horribly wrong.  Maybe "play it cool" is the wrong phrase.  Denial.  Yeah, that seems a little more suiting.  Straight up denial.

It started with a crack... 












I find it funny how many parallels I can draw to Amy Pond's character in Dr. Who.  Here I am, staring at a crack only I can see, yet it's very real and is a precursor to bad things coming.  But as much as I would adore thinking that The Doctor was about to show up in my yard with an apple I gave him as a child, I knew that wasn't going to be the case.  For a good solid week (plus some) this squiggly black line was dead set straight across my right eye's field of vision.  It would move if I moved my eye.  I don't mean it would move as if it were some kind of sticker glued onto my eye and moving my eye took it with it, but it would move as if it were a flag on a pole with the wind shifting east to west and back instead.

Now I've had a couple of friends and family members go through "retinal detachments" in the past and like any proper OCD person obsessed with learning would,  I dug into research mode.  I love when new things come across my sponge-like mind.  This black crack is called a "floater" and is actually pretty common and not to be worried about.  All that's happening is the visceral fluids in the back of the eye begin to shrink as we get older and sometimes this leaves something of holes back there.  Sometimes they go away.  Sometimes they don't.  Some people just learn to live with them.  But sometimes, just sometimes, this shrinking fluid action causes the retina of the eye to pull and strain away from the eyeball until it tears/rips/detaches.

Seeing the Light
A couple of weeks after the "floater" went away, I found I had these sparkly shadows forming over my vision in that same eye.  It was as if a camera flash went off and the light imprint just never completely went away.  I didn't make the connection right away.  It was as if I just stood up too fast, and I figured it was just because of stress and such things.  And then it kept getting worse, until on occasion entire blocks of my vision were missing in that eye.  Several nights I'd wake up and half of the vision was just plain black.  I made an appointment afraid that the combination of floater and new lack of vision meant what it did for my friends.  Detached retina.

Let me explain the hazards of the detached retina as simply as possible.  The retina is responsible for (among other things) providing oxygen to your eye.  Think of it like the tube that connects the tank to the mouth piece when scuba diving.  No air, means no life.  Another example?  Ever put a rubber band around a finger and watch it turn purplish until mom yelled at you that your finger is going to fall off?  Something like that.

It isn't completely without hope of course.  In the 1980's, before we knew much about this, it usually meant you were out of luck and there wasn't much to do but pray to the archaic God of your choosing.  Today, we have the surgical advancements that allow us to fix the malady, first by inserting a small gas pocket behind the eye where it will push it back on, and then using a laser to, in essence, "seal" it in place.  It's time sensitive though and must be caught within a day or two.  (I'm paraphrasing and simplifying of course.)  Not the worst thing in the world, and relatively painless as far as surgery can go.  But for me, it couldn't come at a worse time.  Why?  You can't go in a pressurized cabin dramatically changing altitudes with a gas pocket sitting in your skull.  In fact you can't do much else but lay face down for weeks on end while it heals.

I was freaking out, and only furthering my own denial that anything was actually wrong.  I was NOT going to let this stop me for going to Japan!  Hell NO!  But I couldn't just let my eye fall out either.  (*Note that is hyperbole.  It wouldn't literally fall out.)  I made an emergency appointment at the doctor who wanted to see me immediately worried about that I could lose vision permanently as well.  When I got to the clinic I was assure that I do not have a detached retina.  I was going blind for a completely different reason.

The People of Glaucoma Welcome you!

I have what?  I'm not even 32 yet!  Glaucoma?  And how was this not seen coming?  No pun intended.  I wanted to hit someone.  Namely the assholes at the Walmart Corporation (back when I worked for them a couple years ago but I'm sure this hasn't changed) that decided a suitable substitution for providing an option for eye insurance was to give us a 20% discount off their store's eye centers, forcing us to use their sub-par services instead.   And when you need things like being referred to a specialist?  Or eye surgery?  IF the doctor there is educated enough to catch such things, you have NO recourse to pay.  The assistants working the pressure tests and color blind charts were rotating tires last week in the auto center, and the "doctor" is probably there because he flunked out of dental school.  My point is, the type of Glaucoma I have?  REALLY very painfully obviously catch-able if you know what to look for and shouldn't have come to this.

But, looking on the brighter side, I will still be able to go to Japan as the surgery I'm scheduled for is going to be fairly simple and should have me completely back on my feet after a couple of weeks.  In fact I shouldn't be too bad off after a couple of days.  I just can't put too much strain on my body physically for the more long term.  Classes are of course going to suck as I'm supposed to refrain from computer work... or reading....  or art....  or even watching tv......  shit.  Looks like I'll be going for a lot of walks?  As long as I don't look where I'm gonig :P

But of course as mentioned it could be worse.  The surgery uses a laser which will punch a hole in my eye where other people already have holes naturally to allow the pressure that's building to drain.  The doctor is willing to work with me on costs, and I seem to have several friends willing to help with chores, rides, and in "other ways" too....  I seem to have collected several offers for something that hadn't even remotely crossed my mind as it is just generally not part of my life style...  But hey.  Not saying I'm accepting...  But those walks may have the potential to be more entertaining than television after all?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Breathe

In the last few weeks, a few things have changed.  Some pretty major changes actually...  And I can hardly breathe.

For starters, I changed jobs.  As romantically cliche as being able to say I put myself through college by (literally) scrubbing toilets is, I've moved on.  I was offered a position with the university tutoring.  Something I had applied for last year but had yet to acquire enough credits to qualify for.  And as teaching is going to look far more desireable on a resume vs janitorial, I was compelled to take the offer.  ....Despite the fact that it is at a pay cut back down to minimum wage.  (*sigh....  It would be fine if it weren't for the fact that my appointments keep cancelling on me, and I don't get paid if they don't show.)  I went from making about 100 a week to 50 a week.  Getting nervous.

I will admit I'm starting to panic just a little about finances.  My internship in Japan is not going to come cheaply for me.  Now, granted, the airfare is covered as well as meals and bording.  But, that doesn't mean I won't have my regular bills back home to keep up with.  Credit cards, phone, rent....  I've put together a plan to get by for the most part, and really that's where basically ALL of my tax refund is being dedicated.

I still have some hopes for a scholarship or two I applied for.  The other day one of my professors paused while walking past my desk, tapped it, and whisperred, "expect some good news soon."  Part of me wants to stay realistic and assume that she was simply saying that she graded a paper that I did well on.  But the other, more optomistic side, wants to imagine that she is on one of the deciding boards that awards the applicants.

But I suppose one good thing has come from my needing to raise funds for my education.  It has afforded me an unusual opportunity.  I have a difficult time ever "asking" for money.  And that goes double for family.  My mom's side tends to always tie strings on.  A gift is never free with them.  You will somehow owe them.  And they will cash in by evoking guilt over not going to church services frequently enough or... Anyhow, I always make it a point to earn what I'm given.  Either by promising to do my best academically to qualify for scholarships or rally sponsors, or by manual labor.  I have a need to prove my worth.  And I'm going to come back to that concept in a moment.  But first...

Keeping it in the Family

So, in my need for funds, upon visiting my parents the offer was made to help (however mildly) to alleviate my financial stress.  They really aren't in much of a position to do so, and as I said I don't take anything I haven't earned.  Lucky for me I have excellent handyman skills.  Couple that with my crackerjack cleaning skills and consider the remodling of the bathroom good as done.  I'm replacing all the caulk, restoring the floor grout.  Refinishing the cabinets.  Restoring the tub....  It will be a well earned commission.  Cheaper for my parents than hiring a professional, and mutually beneficial for me.  But the commission is almost besides the point.  In my time spent there these past couple of weeks, a piece of information was finally divulged to me.  A peice of information I have been without for the past 31 years.

Everyone knows I love my dad very much.  Hell, if I had to choose between my mom or dad, he's the victor 99.9 % of the time.  But in the biological scheme of things, he is my adoptive stepfather.  My biological father, the sperm donor, has been kept a very closely gaurded secret by my mother.  Decades of asking, acheived nothing.  My birth certificate was intentionally left blank.  No other family member knows, and for a long time I was confident that my mother would take the secret to her grave.  Until two weekends ago.  Whatever magic words I managed to say this time, I'll never know.  Whatever changed my mother's mind...  I have a name now.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  I knew whatever it was that I was going to feel I wouldn't feel it right away.  I think it's starting to sink in now...  And I'm struggling with it.

I should mention however that I have NO intentions of ever contacting this man.  ...or his wife.  ...or the 3 other half siblings I apparently have.  ...or....  fuck.  .......Wellllp.  At least I have a name to go off of, so I can at least avoid accidentally dating a cousin or something.  I just don't want to disturb things.  After all... I'm not sure he actually knows I even exist, let alone any of the rest of them.  In fact, I have very good reason to believe that he doesn't know I exist.  If I show up now, it could very potentially destroy an entire family.  It's best I just stay away.

But as I said I'm not done processing so let me go back to the whole other thing I was talking about--

My Monetary Worth.

So today I was talking with another student, and we were discussing student debt and such.  This girl, let me start off, is rather clueless.  She doesn't seem to know what she wants to do.  She seems thoroughly unenthused about doing assignments, usually half-assing it.  She is one of those individuals that goes to college because you're supposed to go to college.  And one of those individuals that you can tell has never truly worked a day of her life.  Yet she always has fancy manicured nails, has an expensive phone, etc...  I struggle sometimes with the concept of being happy for the fortunes that smile upon others.  I admit that.  This is one of those times.

This individual was awarded a scholarship in the TENS of thousands for attending our university.  She has NO student debt.  Between the scholarship and the grants she's been awarded, she's covered.  When I ask if her family helps her cover her other bills, like food and phone, she replied "no."  I couldn't let it go.  I didn't understand how she could have that much just being given to her in grants.  Turns out, her grandmother invested more than 15 grand in stocks for her to use in college.  Somehow, she doesn't consider this as help from family.  ...If I were dead I'd be rolling in my grave.  Why?  Because when I asked how she qualified for the scholarship, if it was for good grades, or talent in the arts....  WHAT was it that made her so special?  She wrote an essay.  That was all.  She wrote a few paragraphs on why she needed the money.  The person who already had family supporting her with thousands upon thousands of dollars, wrote an essay about why she so desperately needed the money, and won first place.

I'm happy for her.  I am.  But I struggle to be.  Because through all of my hard work, all of my turmoil, I have nothing but debt to show and more turmoil ahead?  This path is by no means going to get easier.  While others just breeze through life, and never even appreciate what a miraculous scenario they've been given:  a supportive family, the freedom to enjoy education, and the luxuray of free time to dedicate towards it...  And I don't need the lecture that this is just a lesson so I WILL appreciate what I've worked for.  It is a lesson I have learned long ago, believe me.  I just can't help but wish I had just a portion of that good luck.  Just enough to alleviate some of this.  I just can't help but think how many other students at her school were probably in so much greater need, or so much more dedicated to accademic excellence.  I can't help but think that the people that donated that scholarship had intended it to go to someone that would have fully appreciated it.

.....I need a break.  I need a vacation.  And I'm taking one!

I know what you're thinking, "what? you're going to spend money on a vacation after all this bitching about financial stress?"  Let me rectify that assumption.  I will be working nonstop, (7days a week between the remodling and the tutoring gigs, not to mention my writing assistant job as well) until the end of the year.  I will have 2 weeks of time between the end of this semester and start of summer semester, where I will begin classes again, for a couple of weeks, and then my internship for Japan begins.  I will be working hard in Japan and return the weekend before Fall Semester begins.  (In other words, I will not have a break again until Winter Break of next year.  Savvy?

But you're right.  I still can't afford a luxurious get away.  Nor can I "waste" any time.  So, I'll be heading off to visit a friend, who is allowing me a place to crash.  Which means a kitchen to cook in... etc...  In other words, it will be no more expensive (aside transportation out there) than if I were staying home.  As for wasting time, there is a university out there I want to check out.  No I'm not planning on transferring schools.  (...Not yet anyway. And if I were I'd be looking at Miami.)  No.  What I want to look at is a University which just so happens to be rated in the top 20 in the world for creative writing PHDs.  Again, it's kind of just a pipe dream right now.  But it's kind of like shopping for a car.  Sure, you know you're going to end up in the sensible VW, but how often do you have an excuse to test drive the Ferrari?  (There are also 3 schools in New York that boast such reputations I wouldn't mind seeing either BTW.  But that trip will have to wait until more affordable.)  In the meantime, I'm justifying this trip as productive and frugal, as well as relaxing.

So that's where I am.  Oh and as a side update, we are almost to the halfway point and it looks like I'm maintaining A's in all 6 classes thus far.  (Seeing as I'm taking 18 credits this semester, I'll admit I'm proud of that.)  Yay.  I'm hoping for another Straight A finish.  Keep random body parts crossed for me to make it to the end maintaining it.

.....................................................................................................................
One last thing...  If any out there are so inclined to donate a buck or two to this silly education idea I have, I have put together a Gofundme page.  (THANK YOU to those that already have by the way.  You have no idea how much its appreciated!)  I'm looking at this page as a scholarship I'm putting together for myself funded by YOU, my audience.  I will never ask for any more than one semester's tuition at a time, and in exchange I give a whole hearted promise that my academic performance will ALWAYS be to the very best of my capabilities.  If you so wish, all you need do is follow the link below.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another Writing Exercise Story


I wrote a short story during my new creative writing class for an exercise.  It's...  strange.  Not something I would typically write.  But it turned out better than I anticipated.  We were given a list of 6 words, and had to use 4 of them.  We were also given a situation where we were in a vehicle of some kind where we had to imagine someone's mother in the car or truck with us and what we were doing, what the vehicle looked like... etc...  Then we were given a quote (just one line,) from a story we read in class, and try to work that line into our text as well.  At the end I will tell you the four words and cite the line that was worked in.  Until then...

Happy reading.


When you think of a blur of red down the freeway, you tend to think of a sporty little car; sleek and young.  We are not that car.  We are a minivan, clunky, and awkward, same as this ride.  I'm sitting in the far back with my cousins, my mother's mother at the helm, stern faced and unforgiving as Captain Hook, but without the Disney charm.  She turns the radio dial, flipping through stations until finding her usual Christian A.M. station. Her salt and peppered hair blow in our silence that follows.  Her polyester blend elastic waistband pants complete the look.  ...Strangest pirate I've ever seen.

These rides used to be enjoyable.  A ritual part of Saturday afternoons with Grandma, right between the tuna fish sandwiches and bowling pins.  Yup.  Saturdays used to be fun.  Saturdays used to be about family.  But we had grown apart.  We had grown up.  And the adults in my family saw me differently too it seemed.  My love of psychology and rationale made the rest of them look at me like I was unstable.  As if I was going to begin spontaneously lighting things on fire.

Gram-Gram the pirate.

Me, the pyromaniac.

The backseat was making me sick, but it was better than the alternative, up front.  First mate.  That seat had passed to Tommy, the youngest of the cousins.  Still naive enough to not understand my mother's mother's racist or homophobic rants.  Or worse, maybe he does.   ...I worry about Tommy sometimes.

The bowling alley smelled of cigarettes and sweaty stale socks.  I didn't hear the argument that started between the pirate and the simple shoe rental boy but one look at his rainbow bracelet, and the missing pieces of what it was REALLY about filled themselves in.  My cousins remained quietly lined along the counter that turned the corner and lead into the bar, patiently waiting for the scene to be over.  Some of them had the sense to look ashamed.  All of them had the sense to look sympathetic to the rainbow clad young man while the pirate rolled up her eyes, and screwed up her mouth and stuck her leathery thin face into his smooth bland one.

I sighed, losing patience and tried to find the courage to take another stand against our grandmother.  But I halted a second, distracted by young Tommy's stirring.  He picked up a small book of matches from the bar and started toying with it.

I smiled.  Maybe there was some hope for the kid after all.
....................
Four words (or phrases) used:
Pyromaniac
Polyester
Tuna Fish Sandwich
Bowling Pins

Line used:
"(She) rolled up her eyes, and screwed up her mouth and stuck her leathery thin face into his smooth bland one."
(From A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Looks Fade





There's a scene in one of my all time favorite shows Archer, where two characters are chatting it out walking to their place of employ, which happens to be a spy agency.  If you know anything about the show, you already know that last bit, as well as the fact that being secret agents has very little to actually do with the show.  The premise is really just a hilarious take on the idea that office life and workplace social structures are the same no matter where you go; even for spies.  So most of the dialogue is an amazingly laughable hyperbolic take on office relationships and more.  With a heavy helping of violence for flavor.  Needless to say it's a strictly "adult" demographic.  In this scene (above) the two characters (that don't even really like each other much) are talking about Pam's (the blond on the right) experiences from the night before.  Namely recapping the tale of a one night stand.  She had thought the date was going great until the guy seemed to be kicking her out before his roommates got home.

Pam: And then he was like—
Cheryl: "You're a moped."
Pam: How'd you know? ...  And what's it mean, anyway?
Cheryl: Mopeds are fun but you don't want your buddies to see you riding one.
Pam: Oh... I thought he meant I was fuel efficient. Only had ten beers.
Cheryl: Forties?
Pam: No... .... ....  yes. Hence the shandy!

If you watch the show often enough you will know that Pam, despite constant running jokes about her physical less-than-attractiveness, the real punch line is in the fact that she actually gets more action than ANY other character on the show.  But that is really beside the point.

In recent days, I have been made to feel this way (like a moped) by someone.  Like I was something to be ashamed of being seen with.  Whether those were my own insecurities surfacing or not, I can't really give a solid answer.  But if I had to guess...  I would have to say, not likely.  I've never felt that way with anyone before, and I've learned to trust my initial instincts on such things.  And I'm sorry, I may have a little extra padding here and there, but I don't feel I'm unattractive by any means.  I really can't say what it was, specifically about this person that made me feel this way...  maybe it was every time he had the choice of sitting near me or someone else while in public he would choose someone else.  Or maybe the way he acted completely different in private to me than he did in public in general.  Whatever the reason, it was a deal breaker, as it should be.  Because, I'm sorry to say, if you can't get over the way a person looks or be secure enough to stand up to your friends' judgments by proxy.....  You aren't worthy of that person.

I've never understood this perspective.  Yes, I do agree that attraction is important.  (But that wasn't the issue anyway.  The issue was acting as if being attracted to me was something to be kept secret or ashamed of.)  Too often I've seen situations where people seem to be rudely shocked by the concept of "looks fade."  So where I do agree that attraction is important, there is more to base attraction off of than simply the superficial.  Being Sapio-sexual (I'm attracted to intelligence first and foremost,) I can tell you there is a vast world beyond how flat your belly is, or muscular your arms are.

Now, I've been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticisms for dating a person of "lesser-attraction" myself.  And maybe that's why it bugs me so.  I'm the type of person to stand up for the one I'm with.  And I can honestly say that everyone that has ever criticized what a person I'm with looks like on the outside, I am no longer friends with now.  Anyone that has ever uttered the phrase "what does she see in him," because a guy was a little too short, or fat, or furry, by their superficial standards, was shown the door.  I have no room in my life for such judgmental people.  Nor will I allow myself to be judged for not following the crowd and refusing to be so superficial myself.

I know this is really pointless blabbering at this point.  But still, I have to vent.  I would love to see people get over it.  And this is just my simple plea to the masses, as if you've never heard it before, to please stop this behavior.  Don't criticize who a friend or family member is dating,  And don't be ashamed to be seen with someone thinking others are going to criticize.  And if by some horrible chance, you DO run into such criticisms for dating someone yourself....  PLEASE for the love of the gods, stand up for your partner and yourself by proxy.  Stick to your choices.  Show the world a little backbone.  Or move along so someone else can have the prize you're clearly taking for granted.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Full Circle Year


It's just a little into the new year and it only seems fitting that I write something.  Because looking back at last year?  I realized I haven't really jotted much down for 2012 and my writing has suffered from lack of exercise.  Time to get back in shape.

So, I'm going to open this post by sharing a something I mocked up during a writer's gathering the other night.  A gathering I'm hoping to hold many more times in the coming months.  The writing exercise we utilized was to pull three words, at random, from a box.  (We used Apples to Apples game cards for ease.)  You set a timer for say 10 minutes, and write something using all three words.  In this particular example the words drawn were "Stun Guns," "Disco," and "Television."  (*Warning, constructed in form of a really bad poem with no title.) :

Television holds so little attention
Time has slipped beyond its worthy mention
The glow that once held us all has faded
Much like disco's legacy left bitter-jaded
Self-fulfilling prophecy airing Logan's Run
Jaws drop like Trekkies with guns set to stun
Such inspiration and ideas doth pass
Replaced by reality and Jack Ass

It once foretold technological advances
Now it merely shows Stars at Dances
This display lost amidst the static
Leaves one pondering the tragic
Stupidity grows as does my tension
Television is dead, yet airs no mention.


It's a far cry from Shakespeare, but damn fun to write, allowing you to break free of over-thinking and be surprised with the outcome. But enough of that.  I want to move on and talk a little about the new year, and what I've learned in the last.  Because, after all, this surreal year, has really found its odd niche for coming full circle.


Looking Back, while Moving Forward.

It was a LONG year.  Friends lost, friends gained, friends lost again...  Single, almost not single, DEFINITELY single...  Acting job, no job, 3 jobs, including writing and illustrating jobs, one job, two jobs....  For feeling so little has happened, A LOT has.  So here's the interesting bit.  The full circle quandary.

Part of my approach to life is a philosophy that it's important to know what you want.  The ancient Greek commandment to, "Gnōthi seauton."  Or "Know thyself."  I think the reason so many are afraid to know what it is that they want out of life is because that means if they don't get it they think they have to be upset or disappointed.  And that may or may not be true at times.  I suppose that depends on your personal ambitions.  I think you can do both.  Know what you want, but still be perfectly happy with winning the consolation prize.  So long as playing the game was enjoyable in the meantime.  What I cannot abide by is not even trying.  Especially when the game is already rigged in your favor.  If you've been given a leg up over the other contestants?  Why the hell would you just walk out on your turn?  I admit I get upset with people that give up before even really trying.  Even more so when it leaves friends of mine in the lurch.  Say, like when two people have feelings for each other, but one is too timid to give it a chance, breaking the other's heart.  I get protective of my friends, and hate seeing wasted chances even for strangers.  But enough said for observations and others.

As for me, my dilemma has never been the lack of courage to go for what I want.  In the past I've rearranged the entirety of my life for mere whimsy.  I've moved mountains for love.  I've drained oceans for career goals.  And I've lassoed the moon for family.  And sure, I've been left in the lurch more often than having had my efforts rewarded, but I've also bounced back time and time again.  Bouncing back was sometimes harder than others, but I'm certain I still have a little rubber left to spare, and will continue to spring around in future.  I'm not afraid of getting hurt.  Not anymore.  My pondering lay elsewhere.

In more recent days, it's not about having the courage to go after what I want so much as the knowing.  After failing so many times at pursuing the grand prize, you move on to the consolation prize as the focus.  As I said, you can be perfectly happy with that.  ...especially when plan B is so close within reach.  So, when an unexpected opportunity, however slim, presents itself to go for the gold again, do you take it?  Do you risk putting the contingency plan on the back burner in the meantime, knowing that by doing so, you could lose both options?  .... gnōthi seauton.  How many times do you trust, or try, or believe before you consider yourself foolish?  Or is risking the fool's reputation just one more way of proving you would move the mountain?  The last test.  It's something to consider.

I have a lot of open doors ahead on me in life now.  Sure I look back and realize a few doors have closed, locked, and the key thrown into the volcanic Mt. Doom....  But a lot of new doors are open.  And a couple of the doors behind me, are unexpectedly looking like they might still be cracked, just a little.  Just enough.  And there's one in particular that stands out.  And I'm having trouble, for the first time, choosing a direction.  It's just so damned bizarre for some of the same doors to have slammed shut at the beginning of last year, to have opened again at the end of this one.  I've heard more than a few say "maybe the timing was just wrong before."  I can't say that's the case, because if anything the timing is worse in some regards now.

But for now, I'm going to let go.  Let loose on the rudder and see where the wind takes me.  "Wind blows northerly, I go north." Not that that is such a new concept for me.  I try not to steer too restrictively as it is.  Life is going to hand you what it wants to hand you, after all.  I suppose what I find curious is that I'm not even sure which path to root for anymore.  Guess I'll find out soon enough.

In Other News.

I have applied for an internship in Japan.  This last semester I have been studying diligently away on the Japanese language.  Somehow I scored a B for the course.  It was a super difficult course I feel like I hardly deserved such a high score.  But on the other hand, I can now read and write in hirigana and katakana and know a couple hundred words, and more importantly I know how to put them into sentences, so maybe I'm just being hard on myself.  The plan is now to take this semester off from the language course, study on my own to get a little ahead of the game, go to Japan for the summer, learn some while I'm out there, and come back to kick some butt next fall.

It was a hard semester for some reason.  Maybe I lost some stamina along the way, (I blame chemistry, it drained me,) but aside for Japanese, I managed to pull off some pretty awesome grades again.  This upcoming semester is going to be twice as difficult, now that I'm working yet another job, and taking a whopping 18 credits.

I finally have the chance to catch up on my major and minor classes.  (As if there was a choice, as I've pretty much taken every elective and gen-ed class I can now.)  This upcoming semester will include two studio art classes, intro to psychology, and two writing classes.  As well as a women's studies class, which I'm less than excited about, but should be interesting material at least.  I am excited for the semester on the whole though.  I love a good challenge.  And at the end of the semester I am planning a bit of a reward for myself, road trip style.  Never been to Canada, and it's time that changed.  Especially since outside of the cost of gas (which will be shared with others) it will be relatively on the cheap.  Which is awesome, since this semester is costing me an arm and a leg.  ...and maybe a couple of toes.

I'm looking in to some scholarships and such, (beside the two jobs previously mentioned) but in the meantime I am trying something new as well.  "Gofundme.com."  A site that you can raise various dollars for various things; college, medical expenses, church trips... whatever.  It unfortunately takes a portion of the donations as a fee, so I feel hesitant to share my page to facebook where it would come off as panhandling amongst friends that I know don't really have the money either.  Putting my page out into the ether or here, where a wealthy benefactor may stumble upon it is different somehow.  So here it is:  http://www.gofundme.com/1t50ew  Now I will leave that, as well, up to fate.

So in a nutshell, this is how my year is starting.  And I'm exceedingly interested to see how it unfolds.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's The End Of The World As We Know It. .....Again.


For somewhere around the 20th time in the past decade and a half, it's the end of the world. ....again.

Let's set the mood, shall we?





Yep.  It's that time again.  The time for panic and self fulfilling prophecy of the end of the world spawning tragic events.  And this week has had its overwhelming share of things that I'm sure plenty of people are scratching their heads, as well as their asses, thinking things are "a sign" of what's to come.

I personally decline to take a side because frankly I don't see much point.  If I were to say the world is definitely going to end, it's not as if I will have bragging rights the day after, now do I?  No.  All that does is set one up for ridicule when it doesn't.  But I'm not going to say that things are going well either.  ...To be honest, at this point, "I'm ready to kick back and welcome the end of existence." -Dogma.

But let's get down to it, shall we?  Starting with self fulfilling prophecy.

I hate to say, but I'm really feeling that people, assuming this is the "end," are using the excuse to just not give a shit anymore.  Hey, why not charge everything to the Mastercard?  World's going to end anyway.  Might as well get that big screen TV I've been wanting and hey, why not get that new sports car as well...  Okay.  I'm a fan of people living in the moment and doing what's going to make them happy.  Not a fan of financial irresponsibility.  But there are worse things you can do.  Like, say...  commit horrendous crimes.  I'm not saying that this had anything to do with the horrible tragedy that occurred a few days ago in one of our nation's elementary school's.  I'm just saying that similar situation are the kind of self fulfilling prophecy bullshit that CAN happen.  If one believes it is the end of the world and starts acting like a monster, the rest of the world begins to believe it is the end of the world because monsters in it are one of the "signs" and the cycle continues.  Things just keep getting worse and worse because... well, if we're all sentenced to death anyway, what's the difference, right?  Wrong.  Back away from the grape Kool-Aid!  You don't have to drink it just because you think you'll die anyway.  Where's the logic in....  you know what...  never mind.  If you want to chlorinate your personal gene pool a little, really who am I to stop you?  Ya done Darwin proud.





Why the World Didn't End Yesterday (Next Week.)...
I'm especially enjoying this video NASA presented ...um.  ...last week?  In response to what ...um... happen-ed NEXT week?  ...As an English major the past tense future tense here is making my head spin.  I'm just going to assume NASA has a time machine and got a little lost somewhere along the way.  Google maps must not have an app for that yet.



Oh NASA....  If you want to make a video about why the world didn't end yesterday, be confident enough in your statement to not release the video until the day after people are expecting the world to end.  It kind of sends the wrong message.  This video was released 10 days premature.  Also, the bit where you claim that if an asteroid or some such thing were on a path toward us we would see it coming?  ....Not such a reassuring statement considering the same day you released this video we learn that a previously UNKNOWN asteroid passed within the our moon's orbit.  (Which we did not see coming as the earth cast a shadow on it.)




Now there are conflicting reports on this if you go off and do further research.  The confusion is over the reported size of the asteroid, some claiming it was about the size of a bus, while other say it is over two miles in diameter (about twice the size of the one thought responsible for the death of the dinosaurs.)  Here's where the confusion is.  They are two separate asteroids.  The larger of the two, we did in fact know about and are not expected to be in risk of impact for another 600 years.  (By then we will have developed a pill for that, right?)  The smaller, while we didn't know about it, and I'm certain more research is needed before any legitimate estimations can be made, It is not world wide catastrophic.  It would certainly be a tragedy, to impact with it, but it is not in the classification some would refer to as "global killer."  ...so...  ya know.  There's some comfort.

In the end, I suppose the best advice I can give everyone is "relax."  Take a deep breath of that polluted air we've all come to love so dearly, and let go of some of this stress.  As someone who has studied this stuff at GREAT length I can assure you that the Mayans did not predict the end of the world.  Only a mathematical recycling of their calendar.  Yes it is supposed to be mated with spiritual aspects, but maybe it's high time for that after all.  With a little hope and patience and love, maybe we can get past all this tragic nonsense and self fulfilling prophetic horror.  Maybe we can work together to usher in a new age with this calendar, where we finally come together to love each other.  I know it's a long shot, but it's just another one of those prophecies we can throw out there, in hopes of self fulfillment.

In the meantime, have a Happy Solstice everyone.