So much time has passed…

It’s been too long since I posted.  I have many updates, but I am too lazy to go into all of them.  I’ll only post about the biggest one.  My grandmother on my mom’s side (who I have mentioned in other blog posts) passed away in July of last year.  My grandfather had already passed away (also mentioned in blog posts), so her passing meant both of them were gone.  Which was a significant blow.  And still hard to believe.

I am too tired right now to make the effort of linking to the other posts mentioned above.  Go look through my blog.  Be an active reader and put a little effort into it, why don’t ya’?

Things have been surreal.  I have moments of sadness, moments of forgetting they’re gone (the most surreal), and mostly I just regret all the things we regret when someone is gone and we did not cherish them every single second.  Which is everyone, everywhere.  We’re human.

Sadly, my grandmother’s passing has brought on family drama having to do with “the estate”.  I don’t even want to go into it right now, except to say that my mother’s brother is a giant hunk of shit covered in shit sauce served next to a shit sandwich inside a shit roll.  Enough said.

Rather than blather on, I am including a writing piece I’ve been working on.  I might continue it, I might not.  The point was the writing, rather than the result.  But I hope it gives you a sense of what I want to say.

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The House in Fryeburg

Both of my grandparents on my mom’s side are gone now.  Their absence renders a gaping hole in my life.  Not necessarily one in the present, nor the future.  But it is a hole in my past.  It is a void in my foundation.  It is difficult to reconcile who I am, or adequately describe who I am to anyone else who has not met them, now that they are gone.  They had larger than life roles in my world.  For this, I am lucky.

I could recount many stories about who they were: as grandparents, as people.  I could illustrate how my grandmother was unforgivingly judgmental, yet equally as firmly supportive to those she loved.  I could tell tales of my grandfather’s rampant prejudices, and just as many tales of his faith in humanity.  These are real characters; human, flawed, and whole.  These stories could easily be told.  And I might do that some day.

Lately, however, all I can think about is their house.  There were two that they lived in during my life, and I remember both well.  I focus mostly on the one that they were living in when they passed away (two years apart).  I believe these memories of their home stay with me, not because of my age or impressionable times, but because of how my grandparents inhabited it.  Imbued with their personas, this house felt like an extension of my relationship with them.  It was not just a place, but an experience.  Another character in the story.

After my grandmother died (two years after my grandfather), I went to the house.  It still had all of their things:  appliances, furniture, clothes, photo albums, books, magazines, tools, dishes, forks, knives, and so on.  But it felt empty.  So very empty.  Empty like it had never felt at any other time, because, when they died, so did that house.
Currently, the house is being fixed up to be sold.  I have been told it looks great.  Worn linoleum is gone.  Floorboards are polished.  Steps have been fixed.  Yet, I have no desire to see it.  I have such a clear and vivid memory of that house – their home – that I cannot bear to tarnish it with a new improved version of something that is already perfect to me.

Memories come in flashes sometimes.  I see flashes of the way the sunlight hit the wooden floor in the dining room – playing up the golden brown, while casting tiny shadows in the nicks.  Nicks that were caused by a dropped utensil or a scrambling dog claw.  I can recall the sound of oil sizzling in a pan.  It might be cooking bacon or it might be frying up green tomatoes, or smelt.  The tomatoes may have come from the garden in front of the house, where lazy buzzing bees do not scare my very allergic grandfather.

Also flashing in my mind are seasons.  I made iced tea from the canister of powdered sweetened tea on the counter, while marveling at the way my grandparents kept their house cool simply by timing the opening and closing of drapes to coincide perfectly with the sunlight and breezes.  I can picture my grandfather carefully picking his way across the snowy driveway to throw birdseed on the ground by the large tree at the top of their driveway.

We’d watch the birds eating that seed while sitting at the kitchen table – a table with years of wear, scratches, and marks from the positioning of a meat grinder clamp.  My grandmother would leave her toast on the top of the toaster to stay warm, only taking it down when it was time for my grandfather to make his own toast.  I can hear the scrape of his chair on that old worn linoleum as he got up to tend to eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, you name it.

There was a step roughly halfway up the stairway that creaked.  As a child, when I heard this step, I breathed a little easier because it meant someone else was coming upstairs to go to bed.  As a teenager, I remembered to avoid it when I finally went to bed.

Holidays always felt right in their home.  The house kept the warmth and smells from holiday cooking and wrapped them around me.  I can picture the table set with good linens, and the good dishes, and my grandparents moving through all of this as expert travelers in their own realm.

When I look at their photos now, I still feel a sense of loss.  It is an ache that will not ever go away.  Nor should it.  But I also feel a rush of those images, and flashes of memories.  They don’t fill the hole, but they do color it in and decorate it and allow me to walk across the void now and then.

Spam – not just for breakfast

This is the best spam comment my blog has received in a long time:

“Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog the information provided about brand generic viagra is incredible congratulations great job!”

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First of all, props for trying to look like a real person… grrr.  And this comment was left on the post mentioning Lindt balls.  I can only assume the spambot thought it meant “testicles”.

Second, it IS a fantastic blog.  Thank you very much, viagra spambot.

Third, although I do not specifically mention viagra in my post, I was thinking about it.  Uncanny!

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not freaking out…yet

One of my favorite bloggers, The Bloggess, recently posted a link to an article she wrote for oprah.com.  The subject of her article is how she copes with anxiety.

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This got me thinking about how I cope with anxiety.  Let me be clear, though.  I do not have a crippling form of anxiety, and do not claim to go through what people go through who struggle with this every day.  But, right now, being unemployed, I am feeling anxious.  About a lot of things.  Not all of them employment related either.  It’s as if when something goes wrong in your life, it roots up all the other wrong things – and you can run the risk of wallowing in all that is wrong with your existence.

So, how do I cope with anxiety?  I don’t really.  Instead of coping with it, I treat it like a bad puppy.  “Bad Anxiety!  You chewed the couch!  Outside with you!”

I act as if anxiety is an intruder, instead of perhaps a red flag for a very realistic situation.  Because sometime it is.  Sometimes it isn’t.  But sometimes it is.  Like when Anxiety says, “Get a job!”  To which I tell it to stop peeing on the carpet.

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The best (worst) part of all is that being anxious about my employment situation?  DOES NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO HELP IT.  I recognize this, and so I continue to pretend that I cannot picture a day when all my money runs out.

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My best coping mechanism by far is to surround myself with objects I love.  Because when you have things to look at or touch, it gives concrete shape to fears.  I can hold onto something and think “I still have this”.

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All in all, I am doing well.  But I feel like this ability to “do well” has a shelf life that is directly proportional to how long I can pay my mortgage.

In the meantime, anxiety can kiss my white dimpled butt.

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NEWS…and some more evidence of my douchebaggery

I got laid off one week ago today.

I was at my company 12 years.

So, that’s that.

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On a lighter note, I found another long lost journal!  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Mar. 21, 1984 (I was 13 yrs old)

I broke up with that ninth grader.  What  a jerk!  He got all mad and upset (tough, ain’t it?).

I still like that other kid a lot.  He’s very nice.

I have a book report due in less than a week, and I haven’t even read the book!  I probably won’t be able to get it done and I’ll get an F.  I think I’ll get it done, though.

My friend has been acting like a real jerk lately!  She ignores me and is very insolent.  (And ignorant.)

Speaking of ignorant, that ninth grader I was going with can’t spell or even make complete sentences!

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Wow.  I was an elitist bitch.

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Awesome.

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Little Anarchist

Now that we’re past the holidays…

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Jan 3, 1979
Today I had a nice day.  I played whatever I wanted to.  I liked it.  good night.
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I am glad that my childhood self had carefree days like this.  Before being sucked into adulthood where I am smacked in the face daily to do what everyone else is doing or I might burn in hell.  Let’s be clear.  I AM going to burn in hell.  But for better reasons than being unintentionally nonconformist.

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Santa is a nice man.

When I was young I wrote in a diary, and then that diary became two, then three…. And sometime around high school/college that writing slowed to a crawl and eventually stopped.  Yesterday I found the very first diary.  It was, in fact, not the one I thought was the first.  This is earlier.

And it’s hysterical.

And sometimes pathetically sad.

And sometimes illustrates how dull my life must have been.

It’s filled with scrawling, slanted writing – and every single entry is preceded by a page where I wrote my name and that it was my diary and my age and the date.  I guess I beat dead horses then too.

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Here’s a sample:

Dec. 16, 1978 (I was 8 yrs old.) – “Tonight I watched the Love boat.  They had twin sisters.  They swiched fiances.  good night.”  (Btw, all the entries end with “good night”.)

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Riveting stuff.

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Oh, and how is it I could not spell “switched”, but I could spell “fiances”??

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Say what?

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Dec. 17, 1978 – “Tonight I watched The Debolts.  A poor girl named Karen, has no arms or legs.  good night.”

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Sadly, it seems many of my entries were about TV shows.  And I don’t remember the Debolts, but it appears that I watched some kind of documentary?

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And then I assess life…

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Dec. 18, 1978 – “Its getting closer to Christmas.  And I’m excited.  Santa Claus is coming soon.  He’s a nice man.  good night.”

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The fact that I did not die of boredom is a miracle.  I’ll post more soon, because my love of Battlestar Gallactica was kind of endearing (and sad).

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wow….WoW (Soy un perdedor)

So, my life is officially over for a while.  I loaded the latest World of Warcraft expansion pack last night (I’m a little behind because of all the other crap that’s been going on).  So, last night I logged back into World of Warcraft – Cataclysm!  It’s been almost a year, so I was rusty.  And some of my add-ons are conspicuously GONE.  Grrrr.  But, before I knew it, 4 hours had gone by.
I wrote a little essay about this.  I’ll post it here.  I had to edit it slightly because I have had 2 birthdays since I wrote it.  (Yes, I am now 40, thank you very much.  Shut it.)

 

 

 

An Old Girl Plays WoW

 

To say I am middle aged is false.  If I am middle aged, that means I’d only get to live to see 80, and in my family we usually make it well past 90.  So I won’t be middle aged for a few more years.  I am, more accurately, a just-turned-40 woman – full of piss and vinegar (or is that red wine and Rolaids?).  I am still youthful in my approach to life, and still vibrant in my appeal (at least in my own mind).   You.  Must.  Believe.  This.

However, when it comes to “gaming”, I am ancient (or “old as dirt”)…antique, if you will.  My entire history of gaming consists of playing Pac-Man (in the arcade, when it first came out) and playing Mario Party on the Game Cube (already an outdated piece of gaming equipment).  I am the grandma of players.  Nay, the great-grandma of players.  And by that I mean I am that nagging presence of someone who is hard of hearing and slowly losing mental filters and the ability to discern what is an “appropriate” comment.
I am, by gaming standards, REALLY OLD.

Which is why it is at the same time amusing and groundbreaking (for me personally) to be playing World of Warcraft.

Amusing
I got an iMac about 3 years ago.  The last computer I actually owned before that (and did not borrow to use….or use at work) was a TRS-80.  Seriously.
In college, I did all of my term papers on a word processor (a borrowed one, at that).  Remember those? It’s what you would get if a typewriter and a computer had sex.  Well…sort of.  It had all the promise of speed and functionality, but really was just some bastard child of technology – awkward and bothersome.
I was already out of college when the “internets” started getting wildly popular.  My first experience with this was when my cousin showed me her chat room.  “What? That person is in New Zealand?? And you are talking to him??? Right now????

Yeah, so… the first thing I thought when I first logged into WoW was, “it’s soooooo pretty…”  My quick second thought was, “what do I do now?”
Admittedly, I am still tickled pink when I can make my WoW character (female blood elf warlock – girl power!) run and successfully hop over obstacles.

And since I started playing this game, some regular words have taken on a whole new meaning:
Epic (not just a song by Faith No More – oops! another college timeframe reference)
Raid (has become a noun instead of a verb)
Instance (is not a one time occurrence!)
Noob (ok…not a regular word, but it sure is now!)
Alliance (I spit on you!… AND… it’s not just for Survivor cast members)
Drop (also now a noun; not a verb)
Loot (what you do to a drop)
Health (not just important in real life)

I have also discovered that I can now have rather lengthy conversations (longer than 47 seconds) with my good friend’s 20 year old son.  We’re totally, like, gamers…and stuff.

Groundbreaking
I am not going to go into great depth about the game itself for two reasons:
1) Interest factor – If you play the game, you already know the details.  If you don’t play the game, you really don’t care to know the details.
2) Knowledge factor – despite having played the game for a couple of years, I don’t know a whole lot more than I did at the beginning.  Okay, I might know more, but I live in serious insane fear of botching up the facts.  So I choose to remain vague.

I am terrible at sports.  I am not athletic.  My last shot at being athletic was in junior/senior high school when I decided that hanging out at the local 7-Eleven and joining drama club was far more fulfilling than playing field hockey.  I have never been a fan of team sports, or games even, because there is too much pressure.  And I hate (with the heat of a thousand burning suns) failure.  I hate competitive sports/games because I hate losing.  I mean, I cheat at solitaire, for God’s sake.

World of Warcraft is a game I can get behind, however.  I can play alone if I desire.  I can play with others – and I do mean with.  I can team up with other players and defeat the computer enemies.  Yeah, the option exists to battle other real live players… But why would I do that if I didn’t have to?

*Remember, I hate losing and I play this game with friends.  Unless I want to hate them or have them hate me when I whine (and don’t they already?), then I choose to remain an enemy of the computer generated beasties.*

And never underestimate the sense of accomplishment when levels are achieved (look it up, noob).  It’s like the feeling one may get from hiking a mountain but without the pain and suffering.  That said, why would anyone ever leave their house?

So, WoW has actually made this ol’ gal enjoy games again.  I could start wearing that shirt that reads “plays well with others”.

You know… if I had the shirt.

And if it was true any other time besides when I am playing World of Warcraft.

Melinda Monday! Headbands

Slacker that I am, it’s been weeks since I followed up the blog series started here.  Sorry to my one (maybe three) blog reader(s).

This Monday’s topic is “headbands”.  The kind you wear on your head (is there another?).  I jokingly asked Melinda if she meant some kind of southern musical act, but…. a BWAHAHAHAHA.  No.

The first thing that came to mind with this word was my own history with headbands.  It was not pretty.  I was a child in the 70’s, so headbands were plastic, hard, and had teeth.  And because I was an incredibly anal retentive child – picky and exacting in every way – I wore these headbands with a vengeance.  I pushed them back on my head so hard I am sure they drew blood.  But I did not care because I did not want…  One.  Hair.  Out.  Of.  Place.

Similarly, when I started wearing pony tails pulled back by my mother (I’m not saying I got my anal retentiveness from her but let’s just say that she could spot a piece of lint on the floor from 15 feet away and then would ask me to pick it up), I had the same “no bumps” mentality.  My mother pulled and pulled and smoothed and smoothed, and the finished product was a head with no visible protusions (save the pony tail) and me with a perpetually surprised look on my face.

Since then, I have relaxed a little.  A little.  I don’t wear headbands (although I hear they are back in fashion – if one wears it casually around one’s head and not as a means of suppressing any free will of an individual hair).   I still have my quirks.  Like, right now, the fact that my socks keep falling down makes me want to head to the nearest clock tower.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short essay about this facet of my personality, and I have included it here in this post.  Yeah, I am recycling my writing again.  SO WHAT??  I’ve been busy.  Ok, so I’ve been busy at being lazy, but still… Busy.

Enjoy…

A Pomade Free Life

 

Today, my hairdresser said something interesting to me.  It further proved to me that some of the most enlightening of thoughts germinate in common interactions between everyday folk.  Either that or the foil solution made me high. 

We were discussing what to use in my hair on the days when I don’t wash it.  (It is actually better for your hair to not wash it every day, so my pervasive laziness is doing me a favor in this respect.)  And she said, “Well, it depends…” and then she posed the following question:

“Are you a toucher?”

A what-er??

She explained that the type of “product” one uses in one’s hair depends on whether the person likes the hair to be free-flowing and will “touch it” frequently (tucking it behind the ear, tossing it back) in which case a pomade would be used or whether the person likes the hair to be sprayed in place (not to be moved or touched but to remain styled) in which case a hair spray would be used. 

And, oh, how I want to be a toucher.  I mean, how glorious it would be to feel confident in my messy hair.  How freeing it would be to not fear a gust of wind or precipitation.  Who would not want the bold character that comes with not caring if your hair looks the same at 3pm as it did at 8am?

I told my hairdresser I was a toucher.

But I know that I am not.  I want to be.  I try to be.  But I am not a toucher.

 I am, rather, the other type.  I am the person who needs a place for everything and everything in its place – and that includes my hair.  I need to feel that things are unaltered, and will frequently pull out a small travel size bottle of hair spray to make sure that not one hair has shifted on my head.  The hair that does shift pays the penalty of being sprayed madly into the hairs next to it, and not to be freed until I wash it (which we have established is not every day).

This need for control extends into my senses.  The feel of my hair on my forehead or neck will at times send me into a prolonged state of annoyance.  A state broken only by severely pulling all of my hair away from my face and clipping it securely to my head where it will not move.  Not an attractive look, mind you, but far better than shaving my head (which I have actually contemplated).

I feel this says something about me as a person.

As I sat in my hairdresser’s chair, I could not help but analyze the often reserved state of my psyche and how I try desperately to shield it from being uncomfortable and messy.  I am free with words, but not with my state of mind.  So, while I am seemingly extroverted and free-wheeling, I am in reality calculated and insanely fearful of change.

This can be very limiting.

It can mean that I will, like that hair spray sodden strand of hair, cling tenaciously to what is next to me.  I will cling to what I know is unchanging and will take comfort in it.

Even if I don’t have the freedom to enjoy the wind and run my fingers through my hair, I’ll stay adhered to what I know best.

I feel this must change.  I feel I need to become a toucher.  I need to start using the pomade in my life.  I need to start pulling things apart and setting them free, so that when the wind blows I will toss my hair into it and laugh like a madwoman. 

Either that or I need to find a different hairdresser.

Bitchy McCrab from Irritableville

The title of this blog post is what I put in the subject line of an email to a friend this morning.  The body of said email contained the following:

“That’s me today.  Already.
For one thing….  the word “should’ve” does not translate to “should of”.  These people need to be shot.”

Yes.  My day started off crappy because of the misuse of the English language.

I am aware that makes me a bit of a whackjob.

Should I WEIGH in on this? (Get it? Get it?)

So, there’s a big hubbabaloo on the interwebs right now around this Marie Claire article via Maura Kelly’s blog.  Read the article, it’s a doozy.  But in summary, Kelly totally sticks it to fat people everywhere.  She even states that they make her sick or something.

Of course I have an opinion on this.  It might not be what you think though.  Not completely.

First of all, the content of her blog article was horrific.  Kelly starts by critiquing a TV show (Mike & Molly) that I have to say does not deserve great shakes right now.  I mean, the show centers on an overweight couple – AND THAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE SHOW: THEY ARE FAT.  How terribly…. provincial.  I mean, didn’t we stop using lame OBVIOUS jokes on TV??  No?  Oh, ok.

Anyway, Mike & Molly was offensive to me because it was not funny.  Bo-ring.  They make obvious jokes about being fat and …that’s it.  Though, I watched it this past week when Mike & Molly DO IT for the first time (Kelly must be cringing) and I found the ‘next morning’ dialog to be endearing.  Not wanting to drop a deuce where your new lover might hear you is a very real concern.  But I digress…

Kelly’s blog devolves into a diatribe on our obesity problem in America.  I’ve seen some responses to her that stated that, although her article was ignorant and offensive, someone should address this nationwide problem.  That may be true.  But it sure as shit should not be some hack writer on a Marie Claire blog.  Maybe the surgeon general…?  Dunno.

Anyway, her article kicked up a shitstorm of the highest order.  I mean SHIT STORM.  Check out all of Maura Kelly’s other social media channels and you’ll see what I mean.  That girl is gonna be cleaning the poop off her skirt for a long time.

But here’s my issue.  Here’s where I think she went wrong.  Yes, her writing sucked.  Yes, she was horribly off-track with her target audience.  But then…she….APOLOGIZED.  She apologized and she sucked at it, to be honest.  But, I mean…she went out there and said some pretty edgy stuff and…and…did not even have the cajones to stand by it!

I read the article.  And I was like, “wow, this girl is a jackass”.  Then I read the apology.  And I was like, “this girl is a spineless jackass”.