Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I am all over the place emotionally this week. I haven't been "home" (like, where I live) in 5 months and I have a bit of anxiety over moving into a new apartment and going back to work after all this time. I also have guilt and sad feelings over leaving my family, as I always do. Kid Sister #2 is hell-bent on returning to Texas and Mother seems open to allowing them to spend spring break or part of the summer with me, which is great news. At the very least I can focus on that. Still, it's hard when, for example, a 3 year old makes a pouty face and says, "But I going to miss you." There are no defenses against that, really.
In addition, I have so much cleaning/packing/farewelling to do in only a couple of days and I'm swamped with work from the office. Dude.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The Blog Jar. Yay! It has taken me so long to repost this because I am struggling to think of 7 interesting things about myself :P
1) Thank the person who nominated me for this award. - Thanks, Amanda!
2) Copy the award & place it on my blog.
3) Link to the person who nominated me for this award.
4) Tell everyone 7 interesting things about myself.
5) Nominate 7 bloggers.
6) Post links to the 7 blogs I nominate.
7 interesting things about me:
1) I have a... not so much a scar as a slit or small opening... on my tongue. When I was in high school I had one of those Cry Baby lollipops and it literally cut my tongue open, it was so sour.
fully attached earlobes. According to my high school biology teacher, this is a recessive trait that is rare. When she tallied the class, I was like 1 in 2 kids out of 30 who had them. Or maybe I was the only one. I don't remember, it was almost 12 years ago.
3) I attended Beatlefest two years in a row. I was one of the youngest people there but certainly not alone. There were kids running around in Sgt. Pepper costumes.
4) I met Fiance online. Practically everyone in my life knows this, and no one in his. He comes from a different culture that is a bit wary of things like that. (Ours is too, depending on who you talk to!)
5) Perhaps 9 years ago I tried my hand at a recipe I found on the internet for a pecan dessert (it's pie-esque) made with Ritz crackers. It was such a wild hit that I have made it every year since and it is still a hit everywhere I bring it. (Case in point, a Christmas party I just went to on Dec. 23.) I don't like taking credit for the pie since it was an internet recipe and is super easy but people go crazy for it.
6) I asked Kid Sister #1 for an interesting thing about me, and she said, "You like to travel around the world."
7) Same question to Kid Sister #2, who is very literal. "You're wearing a silk pajama top over a t-shirt and sweatpants, and striped fuzzy socks."
Now, time for my 7 nominations:
Monday, December 21, 2009
- Find food coloring for baking Christmas cookies. I lost it somewhere.
- Upload photos onto Mother's digital photo frame (Christmas present) while she is at work.
- Make a dent in cleaning out my old bedroom since Sister is considering a move.
- Do laundry.
- Start packing.
- Call and harass my former property management company since it has been 5 months since I left the apartment in great shape and still no deposit returned to me.
- Think about/order Baby Sister's birthday present.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Maybe it’s just PMS.
Monday, December 07, 2009
After several years, I am starting to resent my work as a ghostwriter. It is draining to never get credit for your work, to have it go to someone else who hasn't done anything. I know this is what I get paid for, but it is hard. I just saw some feedback on an article I wrote. My boss, who supposedly wrote it, was hailed by the magazine editor as one of the top writers on this subject in business. (Would they still find it so compelling if they knew it did not come from a middle-aged CEO, but from an underpaid 20-something woman?) Such a high compliment for my work, but it didn't go to me. And instead of feeling good about it, I feel like crap.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Can't help it, I love lists.
- New fundraising idea from Fiance - mega yard sale. This is a great one for a lot of reasons - namely, my family is made up of packrats who are sitting on a goldmine of toys, gadgets, DVDs, etc. that they wouldn't even notice missing. Not to mention the fact that my mother has politely requested that after living elsewhere for over 3 years, I finally get my shit together and clean out my old bedroom. Sad, I know. Obviously I have tons of books and stuff down there. Does anyone still buy CDs? What if they are 50 cents to a dollar? :)
- Fiance left 2 days ago to return to his parents abroad for a month. Yes, it sucks big time, but I'm happy for him... somewhere inside... I'm sure I am...
- Mother and EFS took Sisters away to "the country" for the weekend and I stayed behind to hang out with Sister, whom I haven't seen much in the month that I've been back. She works 2 jobs and goes to college. She barely sleeps, and obviously doesn't have much time/energy to socialize. She's been making me watch a bunch of dumb comedy movies but I don't mind, it's just nice to be with her.
- I have a couple of close people in my life who just had babies and I want to give them a nice 'Baby's 1st Christmas' gift. Websites like Zazzle let you put photos on ornaments and stuff but it seems... I don't know, plain vanilla and overpriced? I keep thinking I could make a much jazzier photo ornament with some color in it. Looking for ideas online. So far, this is the cutest one I've found.
- I have always been a holiday-loving person. The last few years have been weird, what with all the tragedy putting a damper on festivities, but I would rather go through the holiday season with a few down moments than not at all. There's just something about it that excites me and makes me feel warm inside. We have plenty of traditions in my family - opening presents at midnight on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning, fancy dinners that Mom cooks, playing Christmas music in the house, baking cookies. I am trying to start some new traditions myself (ooh! it's a list within a list!)
- Last year I created a Holiday playlist at playlist.com and it kicked ass. I've got all the classics on it - Stevie Wonder, Band Aid, Paul McCartney - and a new album I'm in love with, Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens. Listen to some of them on playlist.com or YouTube or wherever. So good.
- I would like to get into some Christmas crafts with Kid & Baby Sisters. There are tons of ideas online but it takes time to wade through them all. Kids love arts & crafts, especially *my* kids, and it's fun to do that kind of stuff together.
- On that same note, Kid Sisters and I have been making handmade gifts together. For example, while Kid Sister #1 was home from school with strep throat last week, we got out the origami kit and made a couple of picture frames, then put their school photos in it and wrapped it for Mom. Kid Sister #1, who can knit at 8 years old, also made Mom a coaster. She's making one for me now. She's bummed because it can't be a surprise - she needs my help when she drops stitches. Cute.
- Visiting a ton of family. I always saw one set of my grandparents for the holidays, but that was usually it. Now that my father has passed away, however, I am really starting to reevalute the meaning of family in my life and call up aunts, uncles, cousins, and such. It has been really rewarding so far. For example, a bunch of us cousins grew up together, playing together every weekend, and then for some reason, we fell out of touch as teenagers. A couple of us are now married, babies on the way, and reconnecting with them has been fantastic. It's great when I'm in town and can actually get together, rather than just calling from Texas to catch up.
- I am tempted as all hell to put on a Charlie Brown Christmas play with the kids. I know, I am being psycho ambitious but I have never been home for this long before!! I always get 2 weeks with my family, but this year I have over 2 months.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
- Home (as in my family's home) for a month now and wrangled another month out of my job back in TX. Blessing and a curse as I'm sure those of you with your own residences who visit 'home' know quite well. Love spending time with all the Sisters, but too much time with kids is hard, as is everyday life around Evil Faux Stepfather. I haven't written much about him or his relationship with Mother since I don't feel right airing my family's dirty laundry so to speak, but suffice it to say that Sister and I cannot stand him and with good reason.
- Fiance and I have been spending a lot of time looking at wedding venues. It is really exciting but also exhausting. He is going abroad again tomorrow to spend another month with his parents, and while he is gone The Traveler is going to venue-shop with me. She is the PERFECT person to do it!!
- I also DIY gifts at this time of year. In the past it has been hats and/or scarves for Mother and Sisters, but this year I am trying to branch out. That means balaclava for Baby Sister (done), mittens for Kid Sisters (almost done) and Jay and Silent Bob fingerless gloves for Sister (in progress). Don't ask me how I am doing the last one - it was a vision I had involving knit gloves and felt and it is actually coming out REALLY well. I am planning to finish up quick and give them to her now so she can actually use them before Christmas. I'll post pictures, I promise.
- Trying to think of ways to save some dough for the wedding. Nothing earth-shattering has come up yet but let me bounce these off you:
- Freelance writing/editing/blogging jobs
- Saving pocket change in a jar (don't knock it till you've tried it, I've racked up plenty of spare $20s this way after a trip to a Coinstar machine)
- Selling books and other things from my old bedroom, which Mother is threatening to empty out anyway
- Putting in time to the Time Bank to receive not money, but services, in return (note: this is possibly the best idea I've ever heard of). I could get a graphic designer to do our invitations for free, for example.
- Mooching my books to rack up points for Christmas gifts for Sisters
- Eating out less and finding creative ways to go out with friends for less (haven't been successful at this yet, but cut me a break, it's New York City)
Any other suggestions?
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Another post to piggyback the last one since I STILL CAN'T SLEEP. I've gargled with warm salt water, taken Nyquil, taken Halls and consumed a hot beverage - nothing. I'm hoping the Nyquil will kick in soon. Mother got me 'Less Drowsy' which would be good under normal circumstances but now I'm wishing it was More Drowsy. (I didn't even know they made Less Drowsy.)
Wedding planning is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Part of me is like, Yay, this is so much fun! and the other part is like, Geez, I only get one of these and I want it to be just so and how can I ever make these decisions? The internet is both a blessing and a bane. It has so many fantastic ideas but I wind up bookmarking them all and that's just more overwhelming. Here are my favorite blog feeds of late:
Random thought: I could go for a trip to the library.
Today I had lunch with Fiance, the Traveler and the Traveler's Mate, Bro, Best Friend and Childhood Friend. We ate at a Thai restaurant in Brooklyn. I was able to give them their gifts from abroad and Bro gave me some souvenirs from Boston that he picked up for me. It was a lot of fun :) I had really missed them while I was away.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Beginning: April 30, 2008
Current: November 2, 2009
Ending: January 26, 2011
Put change in someone's expired meter
Participate in a charity walk
Volunteer to serve food to the hungry
Knit an item for charity
Make five donations to five different charities (4/5)
Walk to the library rather than drive (4/10)
Being a Global Citizen
Re-establish my habit of reading the newspaper daily (in progress)
Significantly improve my Italian (in progress)
Make more Italian penpals (in progress)
Meditate once a week for a month
Lose 'X' lbs
Professional, Financial &
General Things Smart People Do
Take the GRE
Create a budget (in progress)
Get into the habit of writing 300 words a day
Write a novel (in progress)
Back up Google Documents
Back up this blog
Create a new 101 list to work on after this one
Earn my market value (in progress)
Scan/archive family photos (in progress)
Organize my writing portfolio
Organize my writing scrapbook
Become more of a decision-maker (in progress)
Become more car-savvy (in progress)
Write 15 short stories
Write letters to friends (1/15)
Buy myself flowers
Make a surprise candlelit dinner for Boyfriend for no reason
Do 5 new things with Sisters (2/5)
See a play in the park
Go to the opera
Watch a movie in the park
Read 20 classics that I have never read before (9/20)
Attend 10 different religious services (1/10)
Go on a hike
Fill an entire scrapbook (in progress)
Reread To Kill A Mockingbird
Visit the Farmer's Market
Cook 101 new dishes and compile them into a personal cookbook with where I got the recipes and changes made (10/101)
Read every nonfiction book by C.S. Lewis that I haven't read yet
Participate at gimmeyourstuff.blogspot.com
Lie down in the grass and look at the clouds
Exchange five postcards with friends abroad
Knit a prayer shawl
Knit a pair of socks
Reread every J.D. Salinger work
Make calzones with Mom's recipe
Reread The Red Tent
Bake a cheesecake
Complete 50 knitting projects (25/50)
Reread the LOTR series
Rent and watch 25 movies I have always wanted to see (11/25)
Knit 2-3 coasters for my desk at work
Knit a pair of mittens (in progress)
Learn how to embroider
Friday, October 30, 2009
I have only been here for 2 days so far but I managed to find my old Halloween costume in the basement. Queen Guinevere is making a comeback at my sister's costume party tonight.
I lost about 14 pounds while abroad, and I'm hoping that the chocolate from tonight and tomorrow doesn't reverse it ;)
Friday, October 23, 2009
- Stop eating crap.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Yesterday Boyfriend and I got officially engaged at one of the wonders of the world. He gave me a diamond ring, we took photos with his family and we had dinner at a fancy hotel. Our lovely engagement dinner gave us... if not food poisoning, then its close cousin, and we were up all night throwing up until we needed to have an emergency doctor visit in our hotel room at 3 am.You can't script this stuff, I swear.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
When I was 19, I had my doubts. I had long since left the Christian college (out of finances and a new calling to literature) and the church (out of laziness). I would spend countless hours sitting with my then best friend Fellow Seeker, discussing all the ways in which God had disappointed us. We believed in God, but we were disturbed by what we perceived as His misogyny, homophobia and general negligence regarding the human race. Soon Veteran Seeker joined our ranks. We were a formidable group who shared not just friendship and love, but ideals, philosophies and... if not dreams for the future, at least dreams of escaping the past. The old Christian ways were dead - we would have to revise them, modernize them, bring them into the 21st century.
When I was 20, tragedy struck my life in such a forceful way that I fell to my knees and prayed like I hadn't in years, prayers born from desperation and terror. I went back to church, I repented my evil ways if only God would save us from this. He did not.
Throughout my early 20s I became angrier and angrier at God. I vacillated between feeling that He did not exist to thinking that He did exist but was kind of a jerk who was out to get me. I still vacillate to this day.
Though today something else creeps in - desire, longing, wanting to reclaim some of my past, but on my own terms. I go to a church or temple, I see people praying, I see their humility, and I think... If I could get that back, would I be happy? But my faith is so dead that I cannot even pretend to believe. I am so utterly convinced that God is a concept humanity invented to make ourselves feel better. I don't want to believe that, but I do.
I decided to start praying again to ask for many things: safety for friends and family, peace in my mind, strength... and faith. I figure it can't hurt to ask for it. If there is a God, and if my prayers are heard, then hope for regaining my faith might not be lost.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I started back in with my exercise regime today. I have been swimming a lot and eating healthier here but apart from that I haven't been very consistent on exercise. I think it will help relieve the depression symptoms - actually, I know it will if I just forced myself to do it. So I did belly dancing today. I was able to buy my favorite series at a local store for dirt cheap so I was pretty happy.
I figured I should blog since I am at a place with wifi (internet at the residence is quite slow) but honestly, what to tell? I document cultural observations at my travel blog, the link to which most of you have, and not much is left for here except occasional sighs.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I have had a hard time adjusting to life in a foreign country. I have, however, lasted over a month and am doing much better now. (Two more months to go.)
It occurs to me that I am spending my entire life worrying about things that might never happen. How can I stop doing that?
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Party #2 was yesterday and much of Father's family was there: my grandparents, my aunts and cousins, my great aunt, my second cousins. It was the first time I had seen them since his funeral over a year ago and though it was difficult, it was quite worth it. Great Aunt also gave me a little family history, which was awesome. When I return to the States, I need to call her and ask her for more information for my genealogical research.
The rest of my stay, which is slowly coming to a close, should be relatively quiet. And then, onward! :)
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
- I bought two new pairs of shoes yesterday. They are gorgeous and were cheap. You don't understand what a big deal this is - I NEVER buy shoes because I need size 10 flats that aren't hideous and, well, those rarely exist. Score!
- I brought a pair of comfy, cute flip flops for the Traveler and I really need to remember to give them to her when I see her. She reads this blog, hence the public mental note. They are in my size but they are too small nonetheless and they seem like her style, at least for casual days.
- Friday friends are coming over, Saturday, family. Does it get any better? The only thing I'm dreading is the cleaning.
- One of the best things about hanging out with Mother now, after Father's death, is that she has constant stories about him back when life was simpler. It makes me miss him but I can't stop asking. She wants me to visit the cemetery while I'm in town - I will, but it doesn't mean much to me. I've gone once after the funeral and it doesn't feel like he is there, it just feels like a park with gravestones.
- Apparently I got my love of coffee from him. My mother drinks it but doesn't need to every day, whereas he drank it not only every morning but all throughout the day. Yeah, Dad, kick ass.
- I am starting to really like the idea of having a flower wreath instead of a bridal veil and bringing some earth/nature/hippy-ness to the wedding. I think I could pull it off. I don't want a fancy, poofy, lacey gown anyway.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
There is an 8 foot tall black bear on the loose this weekend, but I am trying not to worry about that. We leave tonight anyway.
The internet is slow here, but that's okay. It prevents me from spending too much time online and not enjoying the scenery.
Yesterday we had perfect weather: in fact, my sisters and I got some sunburn (the youngest one excepted, she is half-Hispanic and tans beautifully). We went to the lake and to the pool, ate barbecue and generally had a good time. This morning, everyone is still asleep, and it is raining outside.
I like the rain. I kind of hope it rains all day. It is a nice change from the 113 degrees I left behind in Texas.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Last night Childhood Friend and I had dinner and then coffee. It was great. We don't see each other or talk often but I love it when we do. It really is like no time was lost at all. She was kind enough to come to me in the not-too-enticing suburb my family now lives in since I am doped up on various vaccines and tired as all hell.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
General "at home" guilty pleasures that I plan to indulge in:
- Reading issues of Glamour that are inevitably lying around the house. Someone subscribed years ago and I don't even know if they read it. I don't subscribe to or buy that anti-feminist garbage but whenever I'm home I check up on those 10 Things to Do to Drive Him Wild, you know, just to keep an eye on the ideological competition.
- Shopping with Mother at the Italian market. Antipasto, cannolis and vino ... oh my!
- Taking Little Sisters out to movies, restaurants, the library, you name it.
- Seeing really good friends.
- Traveling to the family's vacation home in another state where I can lie on the swing on the porch and read books undisturbed.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
- I have a few days left to pack everything up and put it into storage before going home to visit with my family.
- Friend From Work has turned me on to Civilization IV. How did I not know about this game before?
- CL Friend's baby shower was a great success. Woohoo!
- I have become a big fan of Offbeat Bride :)
- I leave you with this awesome video that I just love:
Sunday, July 12, 2009
1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
3. Liberal Quakers (93%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (90%)
5. New Age (85%)
6. Hinduism (83%)
7. Sikhism (76%)
8. Jainism (72%)
9. Reform Judaism (72%)
10. Theravada Buddhism (68%)
11. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (67%)
12. Baha'i Faith (65%)
13. Taoism (63%)
14. Scientology (59%)
15. New Thought (59%)
16. Secular Humanism (59%)
17. Orthodox Judaism (48%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (45%)
19. Orthodox Quaker (44%)
20. Islam (40%)
21. Nontheist (34%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (27%)
23. Seventh Day Adventist (23%)
24. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (22%)
25. Jehovah's Witness (16%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (14%)
27. Roman Catholic (14%)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I saw Crafty Friend (I used to call her Artsy Friend but this seems more appropriate) the other night for dinner and knitting. She gave me a book of Wedding Crafts that she had picked up somewhere. So cute! She knows me so well, judging from her gifts.
Since we are leaving this apartment (and the country) in a few weeks, I need to go through all the crap I have accumulated here in the last 2 years. It's amazing how much you can pack into small spaces while living there. If I moved it all out, I bet I couldn't fit it back in ;) Closet full of yarn, bookshelf full of books, storage bins full of journals, greeting cards, photos, craft materials... It's incredible. And you know I don't want to throw anything away!
Step 1: Donate unwanted books to public library.
Step 2: Decide which books, yarns, DVDs, etc. are making the trip with me and which are going into storage.
I don't want to plan out much further until I get there; I'm overwhelmed enough already!
Friday, July 10, 2009
I am hesitant, though. I feel that I would lose all of my readers, and that if I wanted to restart when I return at the beginning of next year, the momentum would be gone. No one would stop by anymore.
I am now thinking that I can keep the blog without discussing my travels or even where I am. (Mysterious, huh?) There are many other things I can share - my thoughts on life and spirituality, my wedding planning, etc.
Anyone want to vote? Will you still read or not interested?
Friday, July 03, 2009
I am throwing a baby shower for CL Friend, who is having a little girl. (We just found out early this week.) I only have a couple of weeks to plan this shindig and I have never thrown one before. I've attended a couple - both my mother's - but no games were played, no activities. I have been researching via the internet and people I know who have been to baby showers and apparently games and activities are important. The problem is, all of the common baby shower games that I have come across SUCK ASS.
- Everyone cuts a piece of yarn at the length they think will fit around the mother-to-be's belly. The person who is closest wins a prize.
- People have to guess what flavor baby food is by the color of it, without the jar around. Winner, again, gets a prize.
- There is a really disgusting game involving melting different chocolate bars in diapers and people have to guess what kind of chocolate bar it was before melted.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I have had an iPhone for almost 2 years now and I've never had an app. I didn't get caught up in App Fever so I didn't make any effort to figure out how they work. I became interested in a free NPR app a few months ago, but I was unable to download it successfully, so I gave up.
Recently, an Apple-obsessed colleague helped me (read: told me to download my free updates, which I had never done) and now I have apps! They're awesome! I'm amazed by how many are out there. I have a bunch of free ones like Stanza and Pandora, and my newest obsession is Lose It! which is also free and helps you track calorie intake and exercise for weight loss. Woot!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Some of you may be "sick of hearing about Michael Jackson" - some of my colleagues were, apparently - but I am very sad about his passing. When I was 11, I hijacked my Mom's brand new copy of his 2-disc set, HIStory, and listened to it over and over.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I don't know how much I've mentioned marriage at this blog, but the time is drawing near. While the beau and I cannot become officially engaged until this fall, after some major events in his family are over and done, we are planning our wedding for next summer/fall, which is only one year away.
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I am giddy with excitement. I know, it's too stereotypically girly, but it's my wedding, folks! If you're lucky, you only get one!
This weekend I am going to a bridal fair with CL Friend (who is already married) and her other friend, who is in the same boat as I am (haven't announced the engagement yet but planning a summer '10 wedding). I have heard there will be wedding cake for the tasting :) Does it get any better?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I have been wanting to go to church for weeks now. During the week I pick out a church (Episcopalian, of course), get all excited, and talk about going. I am set on going until Sunday morning, when something stops me. I just don't want to go, and I have a hard time believing it's pure Sunday laziness. I wonder what is drawing me to church on weekdays but repelling me when the time actually comes? Is this something I will get over soon, or will I never make it back?
My great uncle passed away a few days ago. I was so upset when I heard the news about his cancer but since I have been filing it away and ignoring my feelings. Therapist says that this habit of mine guarantees a long, drawn-out grieving process - not only in this case but over other losses as well - but I'm not ready to give it up yet.
And how are all of you?
Saturday, May 23, 2009
My great uncle (my grandmother's brother) has cancer. He went into the hospital for pneumonia, had a heart attack while he was there, and now they found cancer. He doesn't know yet. They told his wife, and she confided in another great uncle (bad move) so the whole family knows, but he doesn't.
One of my other great uncles (another sibling in this particular branch of the family) just had a heart attack. My grandmother (with whom I have less of a relationship than I do with these uncles, oddly enough) has diabetes and shot kidneys and all kinds of problems, though she seems to have stabilized of late.
Since I started researching my genealogy I have really wanted to reconnect with the family, especially older generations, to let them know I care about them and to hear their stories. I have been meaning to call the first uncle I mentioned for ages. I apparently didn't have the time. Now who knows if I will even get to? I have been trying to call but their answering machine is full and he doesn't have a phone in the hospital.
How much time does he have left? I wonder. Am I going to get to ask him about his life? His childhood, his parents, the time the Mafia tried to recruit him (or so he claims)? Or is all of that history going to die with him? He doesn't have any children.
I am really bummed, man. You always think you have time. Right now, I'd just be happy with a phone call to let him know I care. If I could get through.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
I'm going to post the lyrics here, which are awesome, but you really have to hear the song to get it. Reading them will probably be unremarkable. The music makes it happen.
Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God"
Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.
Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries
Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say
Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder
Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children - this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers - this is our greatest offense
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Saturday, May 02, 2009
The last time I blogged my weekend to-do list I got a lot done. I don't know if it helped motivate me but I'm going to try it again.
- Finish Mother's day gifts. √
- Mail left-behind belongings back to the sisters. √
- Bake walnut chocolate chip cookies for the girls I visit. √
- Clean apartment (Oh, this is vague.)
- Go to recycling center. √
- Devote some time to working on my novel.
- Go to bank.
- Help edit Sister's final paper. √
- Call grandparents.
- Clothes shopping. √
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Maybe the sales will flow in during the 11th hour?
As Friend From Work #2 says, "We're on the Titanic, only there is no Leo DiCaprio."
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This is going to sound terribly opportunistic, but I am going to take a leap and be honest. I have thought about going to church again, re-entering some form of faith, etc. In order to take on a new challenge, one must inevitably ask, "What's in it for me?" It sounds bad when you apply it to faith but I think the question is legitimate. What will I get out of rekindling a lost faith? It is a lot of work for me - to try to overcome my philosophical difficulties and doubts, to subdue my will to someone else's, not to mention waking up early on Sundays again. What will faith give to me that I don't currently have, and ostensibly need?
I have been struggling to come up with a good answer. I have had some experiences in my life that have led to my being a very anxious person. I was always an anxious child, waiting for the sky to start falling. So "God," to me, was a comfort. He was someone I could trust to keep me, and my loved ones, safe. This was my major faith benefit.
Now, as I look at God in a new light based on the events of recent years, I don't believe in the comfort of the church or the safety God is supposed to provide. There are many verses in the Bible that say that God protects believers, but:
a) I have found that to be untrue. Tragedies happen to Christians all the time, and if we are to follow this logic, it becomes quite easy to blame victims for not having enough faith, something that I abhor.
b) I don't quite like the implication. Are we not all God's children? Should Muslims or Jews have to suffer catastrophe because they weren't raised within a Christian paradigm?
In fact, stories of how God has spared Christians in tragedies like 9/11 when other people died just piss me off now.
I wonder if there is anything I can get out of church and religion if not comfort. I have never considered them outside of this context before, and it is strange and new. I can't help but wonder, is it even worth it if I will still have to face my vulnerability in this world?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
(Side note: I never said y'all before I got to Texas.)
Today was a bit of a difficult day. I went to the group home for a birthday party for one of the girls. I had a great time, but while I was there I learned that three of the girls had left. One of them, age 14, went back to live with her mother, probably prematurely. Another, age 16, ran away. No one knew where she was for several weeks, though now they know she lives with her mother. Finally, an 18 year old moved out - at 18 they are free to do whatever they want - but she does not even have a place to live. She is going from friend to friend, crashing at people's places.
These kids come from broken homes and often abusive situations, and it is so hard for them to make good choices. Hell, it is hard for any kid to make good choices, but when you have issues in your life and lack the type of guidance most kids have, you are even more at risk. The organization I work with provides so much to these kids - not just guidance, but food, shelter, counseling, and a normal, healthy life - but at the end of the day, they cannot force the kids to accept it. It has been a difficult thing for me to acknowledge, the flux of children and the idea that one day they might not be there anymore, and I will never see them again.
Because the 18 year old is of age and is still located in the city, the house parents gave me her cell phone number. I should be able to reach out to her and maintain the relationship if she is willing. I hope that she is.
In addition, it was sunny while they visited (yes!) but today, the rains came. It's dark and grey.
Oh, the symbolism.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
For my own pleasure, I excerpted quirky/interesting quotes from the posts. You don't have to read them if you don't want to - I am doing this for me!
Me: One confused chick.
You: Someone to offer thoughts and ideas, or just to laugh at me along the way (or is the the Way?).
The Point: To collect my thoughts as I consider different religious ideologies... To promote dialogue about them rather than just me talking to myself... To seek truth...
"Were I sufficiently wise
I would follow the Great Way
and only fear going astray"
(Tao Te Ching)
"Trying to get to heaven before they close the door"
"[W]omen should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church."
-1 Corinthians 14:34-35-
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
You know what's strange? This stuff has actually made me consider the possibility that women really were only created to be wives and mothers. At one time, I wondered if even though we're equal, God really did only create us for that. Then I slapped myself. Inferiority propaganda is strong.
During intermission, the person I went with (my mother's best friend) asked me, "So, what's the story? Why do you hate the world?"
I went to a Christian college briefly and one of my professors said that Christianity is extremely inclusive and extremely exclusive at the same time.
"Everyone needs a God who looks like them."
(Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees)
He told me during this Heresy at Starbucks episode that he wants to pull a Thomas Jefferson and take out all the parts of the Bible he doesn't like.
Religion enables me to think outside the box, and dream bigger than this world.
You know what's funny? I write all these angry comments in this blog, and it's like a release for me. I can go to church and really enjoy it because I feel like I've left all my bitterness here. Does that make sense?
C.S. Lewis gave an analogy he got from a friend: God is like an emergency parachute that you hope you'll never have to use.
I find this somewhat sad. It makes me feel like I'm using God as an over-the-counter antidepressant or something.
The thing that got me, though, was the songs they chose to sing. What in the world has happened to worship music? Was it always like this, and I just never noticed? One song referred to unbelievers as "the perishing" and contrasted it with "but to us who are being saved." The next one actually had a line that said "We all deserve to die" while singing about God's mercy. The words We All Deserve To Die flashed on the screen and people are singing and clapping. I looked at Sister with knit eyebrows. "I don't like these lyrics," I said. "Why, what did they say? I wasn't listening," she said. She hates when you have to sing in church.
Here's my point: Me having a problem with this is either a humility vs. pride issue, or religion promotes self-hatred. Think about it.
It's like a God boycott. What a funny concept.
Then he said, "You have to learn how to handle your own shit and not rely on divine intervention."
Mother and I skimmed a documentary on hell. Gee, that was fun. It provoked some good conversation, though. After that, we were flipping channels and we came upon a woman preaching. I said, "A woman preaching? That's disgraceful," and smirked. That raised the whole Paul misogyny issue once again. She said that I have a lot of pride because I act like, "Paul's not going to talk about me, a woman, like that!" I said, "If those verses said that both men and women should or shouldn't do something and I complained, you could call that pride. It doesn't say anything derogatory about men. It's unfair." She also argued, "It's not sexist. Paul felt that way because he was raised during that time." I replied, "That's like reading KKK literature and saying that it's not racist because they couldn't help being raised like that. It's still racist."
I feel like the heathen of the house sometimes.
Maybe I should marry a Buddhist.
What's wrong with a little literary upper every now and then?
I was raised in terror of God. I don't think that this was wholly intentional, and if you asked my parents if you should be in terror of God, they would have said no. They would have explained that you should fear God as you fear a parent - with awe and respect and the knowledge of what they can do to you if you displease them. But terror is a little much.
This sent me a mixed message, as I also grew up reading the Bible, which is pretty terrifying. I grew up looking at a cartoon poster on the wall outside the bathroom that showed people's faces in the flames of hell. Their names were written neatly beneath their tortured faces - Darwin, Freud... Famous men who went against the Christian paradigm and are burning as we speak to pay for it. What a message to send to a child about going against Christian teachings. Effective, to say the least, but also psychologically damaging. (I know I have written about this before.)
I don't blame my parents for this because I think the church has psychologically damaged them as well. They lived in terror of God and his wrath, just as they taught me to. It makes me think of the Philip Larkin poem, "This Be the Verse," which goes like this:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.
I think that many of us who grew up in this way find ourselves with a form of post-traumatic stress as adults. Sometimes I sincerely fear that God is simply looking for ways to hurt me. It has seemed that way throughout my life. Don't get me wrong - I am grateful for what I have and I know people have it much, much worse - but the fact remains that my life has been marred by all kinds of tragedy. Cool Aunt told me that I was immature to blame God for this. Hey, I am just going on what I have been taught.
"I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers..." Exodus 20:5
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41
"If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:15
I want to believe in a loving God who is not all about hanging hell-fire over your head but it will take some time to unlearn all I have learned about him.
Wow, check out what I found when I Googled images of 'Angry God.'
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
At my office, there is a whiteboard in the hallway that I see every time I walk to the kitchen or go visit Friend From Work #1 in his office. It is filled with technical support procedures. There is one section of it that says "Repeat this procedure," but the handwriting of the manager who wrote it makes the word 'repeat' look like 'repent.' Not only that, but though the entire whiteboard is filled from top to bottom and this exhortation is not in any prominent place, my eye is drawn there every time I pass by. Which means, several times each day, I find myself staring at the word 'repent.' In red. Strange, huh? It makes one re-examine the whole idea of mysticism.
I was thinking, as I refilled my water in the kitchen and wrote out the previous paragraph in my head, that a return to the roots of this blog might be in order. In other words, instead of writing about my various aches and pains and how much my colleagues aggravate me, I could go back to the basic idea of spiritual search.
I wouldn't be performing the spiritual search for the purpose of the blog. It is really the other way around. I have had many thoughts on spirituality recently, and some desire to experiment and test the waters, so to speak. So it naturally follows that this blog would become, once again, the place to hold my "truths."
Stay tuned to see where this might lead. I don't quite know myself.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Nevertheless, with or without the fundamentalism, I watched a program featuring Third Day, a band I really used to love. Boyfriend refrained from mocking me except when I revealed that I was formerly in love with Mac Powell (I suppose he felt that all bets were off then). Next week they are showing a program on Jars of Clay. Yee ha! I am making up for lost time now.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
- E-file tax return √
- Finish 1+ of the 3 articles I have due √
- Begin backing up laptop files
- Clean my apartment √
- Do laundry
- Hook up "new" VCR
- Somehow force exercise tape out of old VCR √
- Organize yarn stash
- Declutter nightstand
- Successfully replicate a couple of Mother's recipes, only vegetarian √
- Call the Traveler, since I have owed her a phone call for about 6 months √
- Take my recyclables down to the recycling center √
- Visit belly dance garage sale √
- Put winter clothes away for storage, donating useless items in the process √
Every time I finish this post and log out, I log back in to add something. I've done it 4 or 5 times already. Dammit full-time job, why must you suck all of the time out of my life?
I saw a throat specialist yesterday who said that my three recent bouts with severe sore throat is due to my tonsils. He said that he wouldn't recommend getting them out unless I am at my wit's end, missing work for example (um, check). He said it is very painful and it's a 2-3 week recovery process with a 2-3% chance of internal bleeding. Yay! Sign me up!
He told me to do a hot saltwater gargle every night, even when I'm not sick, as a preventative measure. He claims to have kept people out of the OR that way. I am torn on what to do. I would like to at least try it, though my friends who have had tonsils out say they wish they had done it sooner because they've never been healthier. Hmm.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Excuse my exaggeration if you are really an invalid out there. I know that, compared to some people and situations, I have nothing complain about. It is just getting old. Antibiotic after antibiotic, then... Hey, you might be resistant to these antibiotics, the doctors say. Well, that would leave me up the creek, now wouldn't it?
I spent much of the weekend introducing Boyfriend to Roots, one of the best pieces of television history of all time. He had never seen it before. I, on the other hand, grew up with it. It debuted on television in 1977 when my parents were in middle and high school. Mother always tells the story of how she would have to go around to the houses of her Hasidic Jewish neighbors and put the TV on for them so they could watch Roots on the Sabbath!
I have the entire DVD collection that I borrowed/stole from Mother. She is not the type to miss it, and she IS the type to misplace it, so I don't feel so bad. Boyfriend and I watched the first two episodes and some of the third. It is so powerful and tragic, and so well-done. I really need to read the novel one day.
Although I have to admit, as a child of the 80s, it is very strange to me to see all the enslavement of the poor guy from Reading Rainbow. It is psychologically traumatic for me, if you want to know the truth.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Since joining New Boss's new team in the new division, I have become the most senior team member. (It used to be Friend From Work, but now he is in the other division.) This means that New Boss gives me all of his work to do while he goes to lunches on the company's dime and schedules meetings to hear himself talk. He makes a high executive-level salary with the respect the title brings while I make peanuts and get no respect. This is the situation, and in this economy I have made peace with it. I have also resigned myself to the horrific sexism he spews.
If only it stopped there...
Today Friend From Work tells me that New Boss went to him the other day with a request that he change something on the website because "the girls screwed up." 'The girls' refers to me and Friend From Work #3. He went on to explain that we put the wrong information on a mailing piece. This man looked at the mailing and approved it for printing and sending. I have no idea what he is even talking about.
I cannot believe he is going around to other people in the company and blaming us for his own mistakes.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
The other day I weighed myself after one month. It was severely disappointing. I don't know how accurate it was - last month after I weighed myself at the gym I went to the doctor a day or so later and was like 4 lbs less than the gym scale had said - but according to the gym scale the other day, I have lost nothing.
I shouldn't care. I got a new pair of jeans in the next smaller size from the ones I've been wearing for months and they fit great. I know inches are really what matters and sometimes you don't see the reduction in pounds, but seeing no progress on the scale was disenchanting. I am thinking of just gauging my progress by inches or clothes fit and stop putting myself through this!
Last night Boyfriend and I went to City Theatre and saw a production of August Wilson's Fences. I love that little theatre and we had a good time. Wilson's work is very powerful and the cast was pretty good. As I told Boyfriend, it is really nice to take a break from the movie scene and watch people perform right in front of your face. It is a totally different feel.
In fact, I have thought a lot about my year on the stage recently. I was in a high school production of Guys and Dolls when I was thirteen and fourteen, and working on a play is one life experience that you just don't get in any other setting. The camaraderie with the cast, the hours of your life spent practicing and perfecting, the feeling of putting on a production in front of a live audience... I do not consider myself an actress, but I would love to experience that again, perhaps in a community theatre or something.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Whatever I had a week or two ago survived and is now lodged in one of my glands. Another round of antibiotics for me. Yay! *Rolls eyes*
Sister is kicking ass in college. I mean, the kid has been there a couple of weeks after 5 years of no academia whatsoever and she's already aced some English papers and gotten a 100% on a math test. Her English prof told her that her first paper was one of the best in the class. She has also met with some of my old advisors, who are encouraging her and offering to help her plan next semester and apply for internships. Somebody pinch me!!
This has been good for our relationship as well. Sister never really bothered with me - she was kind of self-absorbed and I often grew frustrated with continually reaching out and seeing no effort on her side. Now she calls me a lot - often to tell me about a new school development - and it is great! She does not yet ask about how I'm doing, but we'll get there :)
My dance classes are going extremely well. I went down 2 belt notches and the other night I tried on an old pair of jeans in a smaller size, and they fit. They were kind of snug for my comfort but I should be able to wear them soon, which is exciting.
That's all for now folks. Maybe I will go nap...
Monday, February 16, 2009
I like the list method. It suits me.
- I may have strep throat. I went to the doctor yesterday and should be finding out today. Lovely.
- Valentine's Day was sort of a bust because of the (possible) strep throat. I had a whole fancy dinner planned but none of it came to pass because I was sick in bed.
- Valentine's Day was also awesome because for the first half of the day, before the illness set in, I watched movies, decorated cookies and ate chocolate with my favorite girls in the world (aside from my sisters) - the girls I visit on weekends. They even gave me a Valentine! :)
- I was in a knitting funk until I decided to start a super cool top for Sister. I bought Simply Soft yarn in a pale green and am working on it right now.
- Plans continue to be made for Boyfriend's Sister's wedding this summer in Bali. As in, Future MIL is asking for my measurements to make me an Indian outfit!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
The latest news with me is mostly work stuff, which no one finds interesting, least of all me. Re: family, Sister is kicking ass in college. I mean, I haven't seen her motivated in a long time (it has been a hard few years for my family, so I can't fault her too much), so this is totally exciting for me. She let me read and help edit her first paper the other day. It was written very well for someone who has not really written in about 6 years. She was always a talented writer growing up, forcing her stories and screenplays on the rest of us. My heart is very full, feeling so happy that she is coming into her own. People told me to wait and let her get a little older, but I didn't feel confident that she would do this. A large part of it is clearly the loss of my father. He always wanted her to go to college and all, and now she is doing it partially as a tribute, I think.
Re: leisure, I have been doing the normal stuff - reading, knitting, watching TV. The dance classes are new and they are so much fun I can barely take it. I am really encouraged that this might be the way for me to finally get in shape without too much suffering along the way. I lost 2-4 pounds in the last 2 weeks, and once my body stops crying after 3 classes a week, I will be able to ramp it up to 4. Not only that, but pretty soon you guys are going to want to be hitting the clubs with me :P
Friday, January 30, 2009
- I started taking belly dance and hip hop dance classes at the gym. I am literally oozing coolness right now. They are the most fun I've had in a while!
- My job has become soul-sucking and I now truly understand why people go "postal." One silver lining is a closer friendship with New Intern, who is no longer an intern, but a fellow sufferer.
- Sister is now in college for the first time in her life. It took a few years to get her there but I am crazy proud.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
That is Shiva on the left, then Sojourner Truth and Frida Kahlo. An eclectic mix, yet all characters who are meaningful for me.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
My job is safe for now, as New Boss asked me to be on his new team, selling the new product. He told me that he was given the option to build his team any way he wanted, including hiring new people for it, but that he wanted me to be on it. He did give me the option, though. It will involve working 10-hour days and a bit of risk, but as we talked and I gauged the level of hysteria in the office, I realized that the overtime and the risk is on both sides. Boss and New Boss are going to the new team, while a new executive hire is going to lead the old. If I elected to stay with the old, I would have no relationship or history with management, and I hear that under them, "the company will not be the same size it is today." At least I have a good working relationship with the Bosses, and they value me enough to invite me over.
Of course, if either side fails, the whole company could go under. Thank you, those of you who are responsible for this shitty economy.
I have been stressed and sick with worry for the past two days. All of this has been hush-hush, with closed-door meetings and "this is sensitive information, don't tell your close colleagues when they question you." Next week all the shit will hit the fan and everyone will know the truth and be reassigned. Maybe I will be able to breathe a little easier then.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Me: Si señor.
IT Guy: Commie.
IT Guy: Pinko.
Me: Archie Bunker.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Anyway, the simple idea of a job search scares the crap out of me. I have not done it successfully, one would argue, ever, since my current job came about from an internship. I'm a talented worker, which I do not doubt, but I am so not confident in how to present myself and get myself hired. Once I'm working for you, you won't regret it, but how can I make you believe it?
(And to think I'm a writer.)
Remember long ago when I was in a fellowship program and was mentored by the best director ever? She passed away a couple of years ago and I do not know the current director except through some emails. I emailed him for advice, though, because I am an alumnus and that has to be good for something. He critiqued my resume and gave me some tips. Boy, was that painful. It's amazing how we don't see things until someone else points them out. I always thought I had a good resume until he mentioned the fact that it is slightly hideous. (Okay, he didn't say that, but he didn't sugar coat either.)
Maybe the impossible will come true - I mean, we just elected a black president whose middle name is Hussein. Maybe the economy will perk right up, Boyfriend and I will find fabulous jobs and living arrangements in the city of our choice, and we will all live happily ever after. It could happen, right?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I love me some cinnamon. It is one of the few spices that can adequately replace sugar, and it's actually good for you! Experts say it reduces blood sugar levels and cholesterol. I put some in my coffee this morning. Ahhhhh. Mmmmm.
I saw Artsy Friend the other night and she gave me a few birthday presents she made for me. One of them was a handmade knitting bag with her own version of the 'Knitting Takes Balls!' t-shirt I liked so much! I was blown away. Isn't it amazing? She also gave me the most perfect blue suede scarf. I feel like Elvis. Her thoughtfulness really touched me, and her talent just blows me away.
*Not in that order.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Well, I had a kick-ass time celebrating the fact that I am now a quarter of a century old. Here were the highlights:
- Night before mini almond cake and champagne with Boyfriend.
- Big lunch with colleagues followed by cupcake dessert, all paid for by the boss/company. (I had red velvet!)
- Receiving of floral arrangement at the office, sent from Mother.
- Pier One browsing and purchase of super fancy natural soaps on clearance.
- Viewing of Slumdog Millionaire along with $1 bag of popcorn. $1!
Monday, January 05, 2009
I love when a new year starts because it gives me a little push to actually do the shit I say I'm gonna do. I really eat that resolution stuff up. I'm not saying I'm successful but I do like to tell myself that I will be.
Some plans for 2009:
- reconnect with relatives who are not crazy and mean
- push myself even harder in terms of getting to the gym each week and not eating crap
- be more adventurous and try new things just for the hell of it
- go back to my Italian language group and work on my skills, not being intimidated by the prospect of failure
Astarte in her aspect as Warrior Queen exemplifies the independence and spirit that drives us to success, both in achieving goals and surviving life's battles.