Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Cuckoo's Nest

After many months, tonight I talked to my Dad. And he was in rare form.

He said my brother's behavior has gotten so erratic that he's been expelled from his group home and his day care. He started opening car doors while the vehicle was in motion. He tried to choke one of his roommates and broke a caregiver's arm. This is not him. What happened to my sweet little brother who was so kissable when we were younger?

My brother has been institutionalized. Dad says he's so overmedicated that he can't climb stairs unassisted and sleeps all day.

He said that one day he was dropping him off at the group home before the expulsion. They arrived at the house to discover there wasn't a staff member there. They drove around waiting for her to arrive, all the while my dad was struggling to keep my brother from kicking the glove box, shifting gears and jumping out of the car. When the employee finally arrived, she didn't have her key. She finally located it, and after they got into the house, my brother went into his room and brought my dad an old family photo of the four of us. Didn't say anything, just brought him the picture. Like that was what was wrong.

In 2000, I made myself the outsider to this situation by moving away. So, by definition, I can't feel as bad as they do about this. But in reality I hurt so much I can hardly even type. But I still don't want to be an insider.

People, when you choose to have children, you should hope this isn't your life 26 years after you make that decision. Right now, I can't see myself ever taking the chance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Iraqi-robics

My friend Tina had 6 words for me today: "YouTube. Iraq. Jumping jacks. Go."

And so I found it:



Take that, Richard Simmons.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Enough to Choke a Donkey

I am not one to poke fun at bodily functions. Yeah, I get the occasional snicker when being regaled with the tale of the 'FLF' (foot-long floater), and one time in eighth grade I peed a little laughing so hard when my dad broke wind as he was napping on the couch. But I'm not going to poke fun at them now.

I am only going to tell you how incredulously horrified I was tonight when I realized that my cat farts. And these are superhuman, atomic bomb type farts. That's right. You don't hear them, so you don't know to leave the room. And they hit you like a ton of bricks.

The worst part? Unlike a human fart, cat farts cover large areas in a small amount of time and smell like a rotting zebra carcass being broiling in the Serengeti sun. FOR TEN MINUTES.

The other night, he crawled into bed with me, and I smelled this awful stench. I grabbed him and lifted him off the bed, searching his paws and butt fur any sign of kitten doody. I looked all around my blankets for any tiny pebble of cat crap, but could find nothing. The next day I realized that he was farting, and that feeding him cheese had caused it. I think tonight, it's the chicken.

Cough, cough.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Going Forward, Another Day

Today was my last day of work at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene. It is truly a "blessed" institution. I have never seen a group of leaders that care so much for doing the absolute best for the patients. With no question in my mind, I would go to Sacred Heart for any medical procedure. They are motivated emotionally and fiscally, towards becoming a top-notch hospital. It is, without a doubt, a truly remarkable hospital.

But every day is complicated. And today was no different. I packed up my office in a box, cleaned out my drawers, and deleted the history on my computer. But I didn't say goodbye to anyone. I told Lisa, hey, today is my last day. Keep my number, let's have a beer. She has a big secret that she's struggling to keep. And even I don't know what it is.

Today I woke up, knowing that I would once again procrastinate in communicating with my parents. Actually, I shouldn't say 'procrastinate,' but let's just say I knew I still wouldn't be ready. But I owe my friend Megan props, because, in response to an email he sent me on Wednesday, my dad will find this in his inbox on Monday:

Dad,

I know this may seem like an unhealthy way of dealing with things, but I've come to a point where I've realized that my priorities and boundaries need to be adjusted. Things in my life are finally changing and I just need some time to get things figured out. That may seem like a lot to ask, but unfortunately this is not the kind of thing that can be rushed.

My conversation with Mom in July was a real eye-opener for me. Despite its brevity, it brought to light the stark contrast between who I am and who she is. Respectfully acknowledging those differences while coming to terms with my anger has been quite challenging. I don't think she realizes how hurt I was by her intimations, and garnering the energy to re-confront the situation has been an exercise of Herculean proportions. While I've gotten much better at mitigating the things I take personally, I am still quite a sensitive person.

I am fortunate to have very supportive friends who've tolerated this "drama", and who've been able to shed light on why this has been such a difficult situation for me to motivate myself to resolve. I guess what I need to ask of you is this: speaking as an unbiased party, how would you suggest I move forward without necessitating an apology from Mom? Looking at that as a rhetorical question, I'd suggest that I can't expect an apology and I've got to figure out a way to get over this without one. And it's been hard doing that because I don't ordinarily feel anger. It stopped coming naturally to me a few years ago and so now it's just really uncomfortable and confusing. I've had to ask myself - how much of this is me, and how much is her? And no matter what angle I look at it from, I have no answers to those questions. That is where I'm coming from, and that is why this time and space are really important; because I have to get over the hurt I feel and figure out a way to get over it (faster) the next time without asking her to contribute to the healing process.

The bottom line? I feel I have to get over this without talking about it with Mom because I'm afraid talking with her about it is only going to result in me being labeled 'melodramatic,' which is how the conversation ended in July. Having my feelings diminished in such a way was an immediate roadblock for me. It was incredibly disrespectful and I didn't deserve it, especially when I was trying to tell her how I was feeling.

I am not asking for your intervention; the last thing I wanted was to involve anyone other than Mom or myself. But since you've taken the time to offer your help, I suppose you could lend some experienced advice on how to proceed.

I hope your Thanksgiving and anniversary are happy and healthy.

Love,
Stephanie

And today, I discovered why Snoop Dogg is so obsessed with gin and juice. When made with Odwalla Superfood, it's de-lish!

What a great day.

Cheers!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Avoiding Vitamin-G

So, right now, I'm sitting in my living room, on the couch, watching TV on the internet because the TV would make too much light. Why, you ask? Well, please allow me to explain...

In the summer of last year, I started playing racquetball with my neighbor, Gavin. I had always thought he was kinda cute and was generally interested in a vague, if-nothing-else sorta way. We began our hot, sweaty racquetball sessions which were so intense that I'd be laid up on the sofa for the rest of the day. So, yeah. They were a bit arousing. But we were strictly platonic. Until the symphony. He asked me to the symphony like "hey, I got an extra ticket to they symphony. You wanna go? You know. Huh?" All cute and awkward like. So, I dressed up like a hooker and we sat up in our balcony box and watched the Eugene symphony. And that was our first date.

But I didn't really get that date vibe from him. There was nothing about it that said date and he certainly didn't kiss me afterwards, so how the heck is that a date? I was confused. And on our first date. Over the next month or so, we continued to go out to dinner and watch movies at my place, no funny business. Around our tenth date or so, I started thinking that we weren't dating because he still hadn't tried anything. And then it just happened. We started fooling around on the couch one day. I can't explain it, but we were watching "Panic Room," and we just started messing around and then he left. That's it. No second or third base action. Just smooching and cuddling. Weirdness.

I should pause to explain that I'm used to a much more aggressive approach. I'm used to guys leaping on me at the end of the first date. And I'm not saying I'm that sexy, just that I'm easy. And I like sex like most people, so, you know, I'm always up for it. Especially if I dig the dude okay but I can't see him in future family photos. Which is how I felt about Gavin.

At the time we were dating, I was still thinking that I'd really like to have kids one day. So when Gavin made it clear to me that he "doesn't believe in children," I knew we would never work together. That, and, he's the stingiest motherfucker I've ever met. Let me explain this briefly as I further digress...

I didn't pay for the symphony ticket. He did. But I paid for dinner. Because when we got the check, he stared pointedly at it but didn't make a reach. So, I offered to pay. Of course, he accepted. When I expressed my interest in going to the movies on a Sunday night, he put me off stating that there'd be too much traffic. (Traffic? On a Sunday?) When I asked him to pick me up at the airport, he asked me for $10 for gas. Ugh. I have dated only one guy who was cheaper - the guy who, prior to taking me out to dinner to celebrate a promotion I'd gotten, came over to my house and asked to use my computer to check his account balance he was afraid he'd overdraw. (The following weekend, that guy lost $400 in five minutes at the blackjack tables.)

Anyways, that night on the couch, I noticed that Gavin had developed a nasty rash. Actually, you can't even call something that mangy a "rash." It was a crusty, scabby, red, inflamed open wound along the inside of his lower arm. I asked him what he was using to treat it and he said tea-tree oil. I said WHAT??? I told him he needed to be using something that would actually decrease the inflammation and promote healing. You know, like soap and water. He finally went to the doctor who told him he had eczema and got some antibiotics which made him sick. Unfortunately he neglected to tell me this. He was sick for a week and didn't call me or write. Completely incommunicado. And by the end of the week, I (reasonably) deduced that he wasn't interested in me, began seeing someone else and told Gavin to bite my ass. He took it like a man, no discussion.

Over the last year, he's made the occasional contact. He's always been the person I've asked to get my mail whenever I go on vacation. I don't know any of my other neighbors, so who would I ask if I didn't have Gavin?

Recently Gavin has reinitiated contact. En masse. He will not quit. Emails, phone calls, let's go to the movies, you wanna hang out, hit me back if you're interested. Ugh. Only now I'm really not interested. Ick. Eczema? Gross. (Just kidding.) I don't know why I'm not interested. Wait, yes I do. He's cheap, boring, old, doesn't want children and is obsessed with politics. Oh, and I'm not even getting to the part about the vitamins. That's for another blog. And I thought I'd gotten my point across but then last night he said he'd call me today after he got home from work to see if I wanted to get together.

I don't. Does this need saying?

I probably should say that, GODDAMMIT. WHY CAN'T SOMEONE BE INTERESTED IN ME WHEN I'M INTERESTED IN THEM? I have two crushes right now, and neither one of them is Gavin. [For Meg, Ali, and Kelly: one of my crushes is another Jeff!!]

Back to my story. I don't want him calling tonight. But I don't want to totally alienate him because I need someone to get my mail when I go on vacation! So I turned off all the lights in my apartment so he'll think I'm asleep. It's 7:30 p.m. Do you think he'll fall for it? What will I do if he does call? Why am I doing this? Could I be any more pathetic?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MNS: A Great Line From A Sucky Movie

"Behind every great man is a woman who's rolling her eyes."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Joey

Of the things I've done in my life that I'm ashamed of, most involve drugs or alcohol and almost always a random guy at a bar. From every single one of those things, I can honestly say I've learned something. Like which alcoholic beverages (and in what quantity) you can safely consume in one night and successfully avoid projectile vomiting on your night stand while doing a simultaneous dive-bomb onto your bed fully clothed. Like the difference between wanting to have sex with someone and wanting a relationship with someone. And learning how I need to be treated by my friends, male and female.

The incident I'm most ashamed of is a little ironic in that not only did I not learn anything substantial from it, but it was committed in a state of complete lucidity. That is, if you don't count the schizoid mania and histrionics typical of puberty and loneliness. Fifteen years later, I still shudder to think of what might have happened had I bothered to follow through with my lie. No one, not even my closest friends, knows about this. And this may seem like a small story, but I've struggled internally with it for years, ashamed to admit that I'd ever done anything so incredibly stupid and childish, and horribly guilty for what might have happened.

At age fourteen, I was a mousy freshman at Larned High School in Larned, Kansas, a community of about 3,500 people where about 30 percent of the 45 girls I would have graduated with had given birth, or were about to, at graduation. You think the rate of teenage pregnancy is high in poor communities, but this was a middle class, white bread, small town. We were so bored, there was nothing to do but have sex, which most of my friends did prior to even entering high school. In the sexual sense, physically I bloomed really early, reaching a D-cup late in my sixth grade year, but mentally I was far behind all the rest. I had been put through a mini-hell in junior high because of my facial deformity, and because it was almost exclusively boys that caused the torment, I built the male sex in my mind up to be ugly, hateful, two-faced assholes. Once in high school, though, the tormentors became my friends, and boys in general gradually became something I could see myself associating with.

As a freshman at LHS, I had chosen to take a debate class, mainly because my mom said it would be good for me. She never knew how wrong she was. In that class, I met Joey, a very popular senior, class clown, and the only African American at the school. Joey was best friends with Keith, another senior, who was dating my friend Alexis, who was a co-freshman and a virgin. The night that Alexis chose to lose her virginity would be the night that could have ruined several lives and to this day, I have no idea why she and Keith chose to include Joey and I in their plan to deflower each other.

Keith and Alexis put it together as a double date, although I was clueless. The four of us hung out at the bowling alley as was typical for us to do, then decided to make our way back to Keith's house where he had a private "make-out room" in the cellar. There was a set of ratty old bench seats from an old pickup on one side of the room, and a musty smelling twin mattress in the corner. Throughout the room, there were candles scattered. We all sat around taking for a while, then Alexis and Keith decided to get busy, blew out the candles, and made themselves comfortable on the bench seats. Believe it or not, but all along, I had no idea what was going on.

Joey and I were relegated to the mattress, and he pretty much took over. His hands were all over, he was kissing me, my neck, my face. His tongue was in my mouth, a sensation that I had never experienced before and in my confused state, I decided that I never wanted to experience again. He took my hand and put it on his crotch. I remember feeling uncomfortable, like what the hell? My guard went up the second the lights went out, but when he started grabbing my breasts, squeezing them, my discomfort bubbled over and I freaked out. I made a lame excuse and stumbled out, crawling over the concrete floor in the pitch black, knocking over the extinguished candles. I remember Joey asking me if he'd done anything wrong, and I said no, I just have to get home. Alexis was perturbed by the disruption, and in all the confusion I slammed my forehead on the concrete wall by the staircase.

I cried all the way home, so confused about how I'd felt and for some reason, I felt like I'd been betrayed. Not by Joey, but by Alexis. I didn't realize at the time that Alexis didn't want to be the only girl losing her virginity that night. And she and I never talked again after that. My dad caught me on the way into the house (presumably to ask me if I'd been smoking as he always did) and asked me if everything was okay. He and I were never very close, so he accepted my garbled, "nothing" as gospel, preferring to stay as far removed from my teenage dramatics as possible. The next day he asked me what happened to my head and I made up some story about banging it on my locker door.

The following Monday in my debate class Joey said nothing to me, but appeared unaffected by the previous Friday's events. Meanwhile, I was a wreck. I knew that something wrong had happened, but I just didn't know what it was. On his way out, he tossed me a note. It said that he was sorry, that he didn't intend on using me just that one night, that he and his ex-girlfriend Shannon had gotten back together the next day. Then he scratched a giant, sloppy smiley face on the bottom. If memory serves me, it also asked if we could still be friends.

Had I truly understood the consequences and what could potentially have happened, I would have been furious. If I had gone along with the plan and slept with him that night, would he still have reconciled with Shannon? Moreover, where would I be today? And, did he reconcile with her because I wasn't ready to put out? I didn't really understand what had happened, but what I did understand was that Alexis was telling people that I'd gotten busy with Joey and hatefully leaving it ambiguous. Like, I don't know exactly what happened but I do know something happened [wink, wink]. Convenient since ambiguity only allows people to formulate their own hypothesis on exactly what occurred, which is never good, especially in high school.

A month later my family and I moved to a town about 30 miles away, Great Bend. I was in dire need of friends, and in the heat of my anger towards Alexis and Joey I wallowed in my self-pity, and my mind created another version of the story that was ultimately going to change the way I thought about lying, especially to my family.

One day I received a letter from one of my friends from LHS. She asked me what had really happened that night with Joey. And, I don't know why - maybe because I had few friends in Great Bend and wanted the sympathy and support of my friends at my old school (most of which I'd lost due to another really stupid thing I'd done), maybe because I was angry at my parents, or just maybe because I was temporarily psychotic - I wrote back to my friend that Joey had raped me. I am still asking myself why I did this.

This next part is ironic. My mom was never a snooper. Either that, or she was really good about covering her tracks. But she found that note I had written. She found it and she told my dad. The night she found it, I came home from skating with some acquaintances to my dad, dark and brooding, sitting on the couch in front of the TV which was off. He immediately confronted me and demanded to know what had happened. He was angry. I don't really know why. He was just an angry dude and always has been. I felt that he was angry at me, which made me clam up. I've analyzed the reasons why I reacted to his anger in the way I did many times in my life since, and I'm convinced that although I didn't realize at the time what the consequences would have been, had I continued with the lie, elaborating the lie, embellishing the lie, I knew that I should never have lied begin with. I don't know why I didn't just tell my dad that night that I had lied to my friend and would never do so again. That would have been easiest and would have resulted in much less guilt than I have put myself through in the last fifteen years. But I told Dad that yeah, I think I know what happened, but I don't really know, or remember. I remember him moving my hands down to his pants and I remember pain and I remember him saying he was sorry and I remember some blood and doing these things I didn't want to do. I weaved truths with non-truths in a very deceptive, non-Christian way, and he was furious at Joey, at the situation. He was still brooding, angry, and felt that some part of this deserved to be vindicated. The next part was the most horrifying - Dad told me that Joey's mom worked for him in the hospital cafeteria. He said he would have a word with her. I begged him not to, just leave it alone, Dad. It's no big deal, as if I would have been one to blow off a rape. He did leave it alone, safely, probably skeptically, and wisely.

Because what would have happened to Joey - an 18-year-old African American raping a 14-year-old white girl from the good side of town? My dad was president of the chamber of commerce, a city councilor, a deacon at our local Methodist church, and a member of the local Rotary chapter. In small town America, it doesn't take much to get your name in the paper, and dad was in it at least once a week. I am lucky the horrifying things that could have come from this didn't happen, especially to Joey's family. But I often wonder why they didn't. Maybe Dad knew that if he brought the law into our home, that they would have seen things in our family that he didn't want them to see. Things that would make it known that we were a less-than-perfect family. And those things would have easily turned him into a social pariah.

Maybe Dad thought about those things. But I doubt it. I think that my dad was smarter than I thought. I think he saw through my sad story and vague details. I think he knew what a wonderful woman Joey's mom was and knew she could never have raised a predator. He knew I was a lonely teenager caught up in my own act. I think he saved me from myself, probably the only time he would do that. He saved Joey from me too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jesse's Girl

I dated this guy once, three-and-a-half years ago. I fell in love with him, but I never told him so. Mainly because I knew we couldn't be together. He never said he loved me, but I know that he did. We split up because, well, I'm a very complicated woman (as my last [idiot] boyfriend told me) and Jesse was just too simple to understand me. I guess at the time that's what I'd expected. Which was wrong. But he should have at least tried. I mean, right?

Jess and I kept in touch after we split up, occasionally backsliding into the old routine, until the day he'd bend me over the kitchen table, service himself like a Clydesdale and call it great sex. Reminded of why we'd broken up to begin with, I'd then start ignoring the text messages. After the last backslide which left our friendship in ruins in April of last year, we stopped talking. That is, until Robert died.

Jess and Robert knew each other casually. The three of us had worked together at one point, and they were each what the other wanted to be. Robert was charming, funny, and witty. Jesse was successful and responsible, and could hold more alcohol than an illegal whiskey distillery. So when he heard that Bob had died, he whipped out his cell phone, and instead of calling, sent me a text asking if I was alright. We attended the funeral together and had a few beers a couple of days later, but smartly avoided falling into bed together, probably because I had a boyfriend that I was nuts about.

Since then, Jess continues to check in every couple of months. I ran into him at a baseball game in July where he was with a young woman who looked as if she were trying out for a local high school cheerleading squad, and he looked a little less svelte than he used to. Oddly, I had developed a similar state of out-of-shapedness. I got a text from him in July which I ignored, determined that he was a waste of my mental space and I was resolved to purge him from my life.

Tonight I got another one.

I'm in a bind. I miss him. Sort of. I miss the sex when it was good. I miss how our bodies fit so well together when we were spooning [do you have any idea how hard it is for a little woman like me to find someone who fits me?!?] . I miss how he always said I understand him better than anyone. I miss how he used to tell me how I wasn't like any other women he'd ever known. I miss feeling like I was that one special light. That one special person that no one would ever live up to. He was the only guy that ever made me feel that way.

I need him out of my life. Right? I'm confused and I don't know what to do.

Jesse's got to go. But I can't let him go. I've still got his fucking TV.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Faking It

I've faked only a handfull of orgasms in my life. Yes, we're talking less than a dozen. I just hate it. Despite what my parent's may say, I'm not a good actress.

But some guys are so clueless. One time after I'd faked it and he had obviously had a real orgasm, the guy kept going. I was like, why pal? Why do you feel the necessity to continue this fucking and sucking, when we've both done our business?

I finally put a stop to it. "I'm sorry." He said.

"What for?" I said in a loving tone.

"You didn't come."

"Yes I did."

"Oh. I couldn't tell."

I mentally rolled my eyes. DID ALL THE SCREAMING NOT GIVE YOU ANY INDICATION THAT I'D COME?

So that's when I decided to quit faking it. Because faking it wasn't doing me any good. And the sex sucked.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Victim Mentality

I'm leaving my job. I'm leaving my job. I'm transferring. I've demoted myself. I'm going "back to the bench."

My choice to leave management has been met with mixed reactions. Every single day a person I don't even know comes up to me and says, "so I hear you're leaving us." Every person that asks why, I give a different explanation to. But I haven't even mentioned the real reason to anyone: I'm not getting anything done. I sit in my office and look like I'm working, but I'm not. At the end of the day when I leave the office, I think what did I do today? And I can't answer the question. I can name all kinds of people that I've talked to and all kinds of crap that I've signed. I can usually say I've successfully avoided nodding off at my computer. Does that count for anything?

It's funny how when you become somebody's boss, all bets are off. To antithesize what they say in the Real World intro: people start being polite and stop being real. Every single person who works for me has a different personality than they did while I was their peer. They lie and they cover up each other's mistakes. I think that I've been a better leader to them than my boss will be in my absence, but they don't know that I know that.

The problem with being the only supervisor is that no one understands what I go through. How I know what they're saying about me. But they also don't know how much I sit and feel sorry for myself. How, yeah, you know, that big pimple on my forehead? It's there because I've been stressing out because your child's illness isn't covered by your insurance benefits and your $12,000 in debt because your claims have been denied and I feel like it's partly my fault because I was the one who hired you.

How, um, you know how you asked me for a raise because you're such a "great" [half-ass] tech? Yeah, I'm stressing out because I don't know how to tell you that you don't deserve it. So, I'm going to chicken out and refer you to HR. You know, 'cause I'm a big pussy and I shouldn't be doing this job. That, and, I don't want you to not like me. Sucks, huh?

Oh, ah...and you know how you deserve to be fired because you're late, incompetent, sullen, ungrateful, disrespectful, defensive, smelly, and endanger our patients on a daily basis? Yeah, um...HR won't let me fire you. That, and, Rumsfeld thinks that you'll improve. She doesn't care if you don't improve for another ten years, just as long as you show some improvement at some point. So go ahead and show up whenever you want to and fart and complain and take home your paycheck. And I'll still give you a bad review on your annual evaluation, but don't worry, HR will still give you a raise.

And, yo, how after Robert died you told people to go out into the hallway if they needed to cry because it was distracting to you??? That day, I wanted to fuck you up big time. And I had trouble forgiving you for that, especially because you never apologized. And you never mourned.

It's been a long two years for me. I'm ready to go back and remember why I'm here to begin with. I'm ready to feel like I'm good at something for a change. And I don't have to make anyone happy anymore.

I'm leaving.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Another One

Today at work I went back to our breakroom to fix myself my daily cup-o-joe. As I was leaving the room, passing the 2 public computer terminals, I heard a little voice.

"Stephanie, do you know which one of these I should pick?" I looked over and saw one of our couriers that I hadn't ever been introduced to but I knew she had been around for a while.

I looked at the monitor she was referring to and knelt down beside her to see better. She was doing her 2008 employee benefit elections and was on the life insurance section.

Immediately I figured out who she was. Julie's husband was killed about 3 weeks ago in a motorcycle accident on the coast. He was a new motorcyclist, and had hit a tree while negotiating a curve on highway 101. She was now having to change her life insurance selection from "SPOUSE ONLY NO DEPENDANT COVERAGE," to "NO SPOUSE OR DEPENDANT COVERAGE."

I put my arm around her and said quietly, "I'm so sorry. This must be so difficult." I discussed her benefit selections with her, feeling guilty for sounding like a walking human resources department in the midst of her grief. But she was so upbeat, and actually reassured me that she was doing well, thanks to the support of her coworkers.

This has been a sucky, sucky year. One husband, four mothers, four dogs, two cats, one brother. One best friend. Another who's newborn almost died. It has been the year of I'm-sorries, sympathy cards, and why-did-this-happens. We're tired of bracing ourselves.

I so quit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Name That Date!!

I'm starting to date again after a three month hiatus. Since September of last year, I've had 4 relationships, two of them were what I would call "significant." What I've learned in the last year is that dating a guy with the same name as the boyfriend immediately previous is a really bad idea. Like, I spent six months of the year 2007 with a guy named 'Jeff,' only there were two of them. And people don't realize when you're dating the second Jeff that it's a different Jeff than the first one so when the second Jeff meets your friends after the first Jeff did, your friends look at him and go, "Oh...you're not..." and they look at me and I hold up two fingers as if to say, "this is Jeff number two." And I roll my eyes. And then later they ask how many Jeffs I've dated. And I say just the two, but I've also dated two Bobs and two Tonys. And I'm proud of it.

The person I'm going out with on Saturday has the same name as another guy I dated back in 1998 at the University of Kansas. Joe College was a pre-med organic chemistry whiz that I met in my plant physiology class. We'd meet up at the quad for coffee, and it was there, as we snuggled on the floor in the hallway by the restrooms, that he quietly confessed to having knocked his high school girlfriend up twice so they now had two children together that were being raised by his mother. Why this didn't freak me out, I know not. Joe College was naturally erotic by just being himself. He was remarkably taciturn and had a tattoo of a Gothic sun on his shoulder, smooth dark skin and a masculine scent. He always wore a henley and Pumas. I made him spaghetti dinner on Christmas Eve, and then he disappeared out of my life. Inexplicably. I never even slept with him. But he was probably the hottest guy I've ever dated to this day. The hottest.

When I dated the Jeffs, I had a tendency to refer to them by number, or by saying "old Jeff/new Jeff." I'm never doing this again. Since my relationship with Joe College was short and insignificant, I really don't feel justified in calling him "Joe number one, " making this 'new' Joe "Joe number two."

And why does dating two guys with the same name make you more likely to compare them. Like, the two Jeffs were easy to compare. Why? Because, a) they were nothing alike; b) they were back to back relationships so I had spontaneous recall; and c) they were both Jeffs. I wouldn't think it would be the same with the Joes but since I realized I dated another Joe ten years ago I've already started drawing comparisons!! I'm so ashamed!!

Its times like these I start to wonder if I have any personal integrity when it comes to guys. Or am I just a collector?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Will Trade Parking for Sex

Last November I was lucky enough to meet a guy who lived, oh, about 4 blocks from my office building. I had been paying for parking at a staggering rate of $5 per day (after 5:59 a.m. but before 2:46 p.m. Monday through Friday) and was beginning to take the bus pretty regularly. So, after I met this guy I started parking my car at his apartment and walking to work every day. This didn't work out for long because his neighbors began to notice. And, let's face it, who wouldn't notice when a fourplex apartment building only has three fucking parking spots and two of them are taken up by some humonculous vanagan driven by a 500 pound percheron???

Ahhhh, anyway.

One day we were sitting at his dinner table (four blocks from my office building) and he casually asked me if I might be interested in getting a residential parking permit. Huh? Like, are you asking me to move in? No, but he would be glad to pop in at the DOT and get me one by using his address. Yeah, duh I'd like one dude!! So he paid and got me a residential, 'B' area parking pass good for the next ten months. Score!! And then he dumped me. But it was well worth it!!!

It's almost a year later, and my ten months of free parking are up in eleven days. Seven work days to be exact. I've been parking for free for almost a whole year. So recently I've been thinking that maybe I'd like to meet another guy who lives in the area. Do they have a dating website based on city locality? Like, you know, www.fifteenthandferryareahos.com?

This one could make me rich, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday with Pam

Today I went over to the home office for a "root cause analysis," (blah-blah speak for what-in-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you?), and I decided to stop by the cafe on my way upstairs. I grabbed a turkey sandwich, and on my way into the hallway, I spotted Pam, a woman I've known casually for a number of years at my organization. Most recently, I knew she had been re-diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer.

I've always known Pam to be a very positive, uplifting person, but I had no idea. I sat down with her, intending on eating my turkey and excusing myself to my meeting. And it was strange because, I told her I was sorry to have missed her "return to chemo" party last Friday, and she said I was practically the only person who wasn't there. She told me the story - how when she was originally diagnosed a couple of years ago, it was because she had gone in for an appendectomy and they discovered a tumor wrapped around her appendix. Serendipitous. In her relapse, she'd become lethargic and bloated, and had gone to the doctor for iron infusions. In doing a CT scan, they discovered a pocket of fluid in her abdomen. Now, her body is riddled with cancer.

Folks with her prognosis have 30 months to live. On average. She begins chemo on Friday. All of it will be paid for except for a $15 copay for her prescription pills. She believes in the power of prayer. She told me that, a few weeks ago, when she was feeling particularly low, a coworker came into her office, asked her if she had a few minutes, and set his clipboard down on her desk and said, "I want to pray with you." He kneeled by her side and said a beautiful prayer that has held her spirit aloft ever since.

Pam is the first person I've ever known that I knew was dying. Pam is dying. And that idea hurts to no end. There is a very good chance that she will die soon. And what for? This thing that sits in her abdomen, "being disgusting," as Pam put it so succinctly.

I am an atheist, but I am going to pray for Pam. She deserves those seconds out of each day to think of her and hope for her. And she has had the courage to ask that of us. To pray for her. She asks of people she knows don't believe, that they pray for her. And not in sacrilege. Not to prove anything. Not to show us that there's a god or to teach us of the supernatural. Because she knows, that no matter what we do, it probably won't work.

She really wants to be here. And that's why she wants our prayer. And I am going to give her mine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reality TV Syndrome

I've been feeling pretty down about my job lately. There are lots of things about it that absolutely suck. Lots of things.

But whenever I start to really hate it, I turn on channel 70, and inevitably they'll be an episode of Sunset Tan. This is one of those rare instances in my life where watching people that miserable at work makes me feel much better.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

30

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.

The birthdays I celebrated when I was younger were anxiously greeted with bated breath. The build-up to the day when I was showered with cake and presents and friends passed like an old lady crossing a busy intersection. I always got something that I wanted, usually the most inexpensive item on my list. My family was poor until I got into high school, but the things a little girl could ask for back in the 80s didn't include cell phones or iPods. We wanted a Rainbow Brite doll or a Care Bear or a Cabbage Patch doll.

This birthday was a little different. I feel like I've been dragged kicking and screaming like I'm about to serve a 10-year sentence for felonious aging. We should be allowed to choose how old we are. People say it only gets better after 30. I don't believe them.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Likening Myself to a Fish

This morning I went over to the home office to take a seminar on some new-fangled financial software my company has invested in to help us manage our budgets. Afterwards, I met with my human resources director to talk about some feedback she had received about me and my leadership skills. The feedback was pretty standard, overall pretty brutal, and of course, anonymous (goddammit). Having no one to hash out the "truthiness" of the feedback, I went to a friend of mine to get some insight and to help stop me from feeling sorry for myself.

She and I have spent a lot of time commiserating lately, mainly because we are both employed at an institution where the young leaders are provided with no mentorship or preparatory training, and are forced to flounder around like two baby wildebeests forging the reptile-infested waters of the Mara river alone. I started feeling better after she took my side, which she's very good at, but we both started realizing the huge flaws in our system that keep us from realizing how great we could be at our jobs.

At one point I turned on the victim mentality and started thinking about how the system was actually built to work against us. This is how pathetic I can get. Sardonically, I said to her, "I feel like I'm swimming upstream. I feel like a salmon spawning. I work and work and work to meet my goal, and when I get there I'm lucky if I even get to have sex before I shrivel up and die!"

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Elvis and Me

I'm not one to spend my week planning out my TV schedule. As a matter of fact, I can safely say, I never PLAN on watching anything. What I watch on TV is really just what's already on when I push the power button. Which is why tonight, I found myself watching Part 2 of which Part 1 happened to be on last night when I grabbed the remote.

The movie, called "Elvis and Me," was made, oh, probably twenty years ago. I assume this because I remember sitting six inches away from the screen on our old analog dial TV in Wahoo, Nebraska, craning my neck from where I was indian-seated on the floor. I had taped this movie, being as it was made for TV, and my parents didn't see that it was fit for a viewer my age. And because it was the only thing I had on videotape, I watched on an endless cycle whenever Angela Bartek, my babysitter, ignored me to talk to her boyfriend on the phone or raid our freezer for Flav-o-rite popsicles, which was, generally speaking, all day.

Watching this movie today brought back so many memories. Especially the parts where Elvis and Priscilla have sex on their wedding day, and the part where she tells him she's pregnant, the rape scene, and the ending after Elvis' death. For some silly reason, this movie really affected me today. Maybe because I remember being so naive about live when I first saw it and wished to have that naivete again, for just a moment or two. I guess I'm getting old, because it made me nostalgic. And Elvis died before I was even born. Exactly a week before I was born. Exactly 30 years ago in 10 days.

Elvis has no significance in my life. I don't really care for his music. I haven't ever seen any of his movies, except, well, "Blue Hawaii" which I don't even really remember. But "Elvis and Me" is one of those movies that caught me at a point in my life where my long term memory was especially active, and so it's permanently implanted. Similar to "Ghostbusters," "Splash," or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

Funny the things we remember.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Day the Computer Died

I spent the majority of my weekend lying on the deck in my new summer chaise reading, eating popcorn and drinking a strawberry-banana-peach-orange smoothie. Except for the cloudy skies on Sunday, it couldn't have been a more perfect weekend.

I even managed to avoid doing that oh-so-hated task: taking a shower. Taking a shower for me is like wiping my ass with sandpaper. If the water isn't too hot, then it's too cold. There are so many steps: lather, rinse, repeat, condition, exfoliate, shave, then wash my body and all the little nooks and crannies which get progressively more plentiful as I continue to pack on the pounds. Since I successfully avoided having to wash these this weekend, they were extra linty this morning.

On Sunday morning I realized that my idiotphone wasn't downloading email, so I got online to check it. My computer has had this persistent little yellow shield in the lower right hand corner signifying that it has an update to install for about the last month. Finally yesterday I decided to do the restart necessary to install the updates. So, I click Alt+F4 three times, and hit restart. And I'm like, what? It sits there mid-shutdown doing this countdowny thing. Like, it was installing the updates as it was shutting down. I'd never seen that before.

It turns itself off and then back on. I wait the necessary 20 minutes as my old-as-sin harddrive grinds away in the startup process. I even walked out into the kitchen to give it some privacy. When I came back, I noticed the screen was up, the harddrive had stopped, but I had no task bar. Yeah, like, the bottom of the screen was gone. My computer had been neutered.

I knew this was happening as my harddrive has been getting progressively louder and slower and I haven't been able to start up Mozilla without offering the stupid thing a virgin sacrifice. Now it's officially dead and I am without PC. I am PC-less. Say that three times fast.

Is this what I get for downloading all that gay porn?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Somebody Farted in the Elevator

I've been in San Diego, learning a small amount about laboratory science, but mainly drinking with colleagues and associates from faraway places - mainly Chicago.

Tonight I went to a formal dinner/dancing event put on by one of our vendors with which we have a multi-million dollar contract. I say this because, well, they owe us a dinner or two. It was held in the ballroom at the Hotel del Coronado on the beautiful island of Coronado. Me and my fellow conglomo employees ate and drank ourselves silly, and were rewarded by a serenade from Bill Medley, former Righteous Brother, and his ensemble included the song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," which was written and sung for that favorite 80's movie, Dirty Dancing. Isn't that special?

I have one coworker who has a special charisma with strangers. She managed to drag to our table as we sat down, two amazingly gorgeous guys, both of which were, of course, gay. Duh. Nevertheless, I managed to flirt with one of them, and he even convinced me he was going to send me a puppy. As Bill crooned behind us, me and the gay pathologist (who, ironically, is in the Army) winked and giggled as the good doctor's boyfriend looked on jealously.

On my way home, I caught the bus to my hotel alone. It dropped me off several blocks away, so I ignored my 3-inch heels and half-skipped, half-sprinted back to my hotel. (I had to pee.) As I knocked my knees together waiting for the elevator, another few folks wandered over to the alcove. We offered impersonal smiles at each other as we waited.

Hopping into the elevator, I realized I was accompanied by four gentlemen and two women, all coupled. I pressed the '5' button and then acknowledged the fact that everyone else was on a floor higher than myself. As the door closed, it hit me.

Someone had farted. And for the first time, it wasn't me. Someone farted. Like, on the elevator dude. ON...THE...ELEVATOR. Could there be a worse place to break wind??? Can't you wait until you get to your room, or at least out into the open breezeways to let loose? I mean, damn! I giggled to myself as I held my breath. I realized I had the upper hand because I only had to suffocate for four floors, while the others had to do it further up. 1...2...3...........4......................5. Ding!

I skipped off of the elevator and took a long cleansing breath. Happily, I made my way to my room, knowing that the rest of my compatriots still suffering in the elevator were probably blaming me as the farter.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dead Soldier

Gunny Boy,

The emotional chaos that I've been feeling lately has felt like I'm carrying around a 50 pound backpack on my shoulders. My level of anxiety has increased and I wake up every morning feeling sad for no reason. Insomnia is random, but it occurs on the worst nights possible: the ones where I have very little time to get a good amount of sleep. Getting the 8 needed hours of sleep has become like trying to win at 1 vs. 100. I keep trying to outsmart the heat, my racing mind, and all the other things that seem to keep me from sleeping.

Last Friday, I was having a great day and decided to leave work early to do some shopping. I went to the mall to hit the cosmetics counter. As I was walking through the main thoroughfare, deftly weaving between all the muffintop-bearing tweens, I saw the store your mom works at. She was there. I stood outside the store for a few minutes in a fit of panic, aching to go in and talk with her. I found plenty of excuses not to go in, but ignored them.

The last time I saw her was at your funeral. Tiffany stood by her side as they mourned. Friday she was different. The last four months of grief has darkened her hair, and darkened her eyes. She spoke of you with emotions trembling in her voice. I sensed she was screaming inside as she had been from the beginning, "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?" Only now, I think life is so difficult for her in that she has lost control of everything she once held so tightly.

She said she and Tiffany had been discussing what should happen with you things and Tiffany can't let go. They had a fight and haven't talked in weeks. She said your little girl's mother, Heather, has managed to prevent anyone from getting any of the insurance settlements because she procured a lawyer the day after your death and all the money has gone to pay legal fees. I discovered that we aren't the only ones who've embraced referring to Heather as, "white trash." She said your little bro feels like he is half a person. They celebrated his birthday in Portland. His first birthday without you.

She thanked me. She asked for a hug. I told her how we missed her baby boy and how honored I felt to have been such a huge part of your life for so long. I laugh at my memories of you and all of your antics. I laugh to think about how at night, I would sneak into your space at work when you were at break, and change the music from Tool to Barry Manilow, and then sneak out. One night, you finally caught me. I thought of the emails we'd send on work time. Me saying, "your village called. They need their idiot back," and you responding with, "the lab called. Your brain is ready."

She said there was a marker on your grave finally. On my way home, I parked in an alley and made my way over to the cemetery to see it. "Operation Eduring [sic] Freedom," was printed on the plain stone marker. No eagle, globe and anchor as had been requested. Your mom was upset over the misspelling and the blatant neglect that had gone into the preparation of the headstone and I now feel her anger.

Last night I was having dinner with friends and as I made my way to the bathroom, a new memory of you came to mind that made me laugh. Then in the middle of the night, I woke up trying to remember it but I had lost it. How can something so important be so fleeting?

A few weeks ago I saw your stepmother. I asked her how she was and she was struggling as well. I spent your birthday thinking about you but not talking about it.

Living through this, this strange experience of death, has left me confused and anxious. But it's difficult to talk about it because I can't explain myself. Four months is a long time to feel confused, but I can't make it go away. People say that it's okay to be confused, and that it will go away in its own time. But, I don't feel like I have the right to be confused anymore. For some reason, I think I lost that right when I chose to be private in my grief, and not open up to those that care about me. You would have seen through that and you would have known.

It's in those rare moments of complete, all-consuming confusion, that I slowly begin to realize exactly what it is that I've lost.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Guilt or No Guilt

Tonight I called my mom to tell her that, instead of coming home to their place this summer, that I was going to take a backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon for my birthday. And as I told her this, I could tell she was disappointed. She asked who I was going with and I told her it was a group of women. I told her this with hope in my voice - hope that she would understand and be supportive.

She wasn't. "Well, I just want to implant one thought into your head: Tom."

"What does he have to do with it?"

"Well, I'm just afraid that if you don't see him often enough, then you won't be able to provide for him in the case that *something* happens."

"And you think that me coming home for four days would change that?"

"Well, I'm just saying, that if you don't see him, then we may need to consider some other people to care for him if *something* happens."

I was furious. "I guess I expected a little bit more supportive response from you. If you need to consider getting some other people, then that's your decision to make."

"You're overreacting."

"I'm sorry. I guess I only have so much money and so much time."

"You know we'd help pay for you to come out here. It's unfortunate, but we'd help you."

"You know, it would be good if you would consider coming out here."

"We have considered it. But, I'm afraid you'd use that as an excuse to never see come home and see Tom."

"What?!? As if I've made an excuse the last seven years I've come home? Why would I do that now?"

Silence.

"I am so furious with you right now. How dare you use Tom as fodder to make me feel guilty? How dare you throw him at me like that?"

"You're overreacting. This is all in your head."

"I'm sorry. I have to go now. I love you. Bye."

It sounds melodramatic, but I feel like I've lived my life under a shroud of my parents' disappointment. Aside from going to college, I have never done anything that they have approved of. I am at the end of this rope. I refuse to live the rest of my life doing everything I can to make them happy. And I refuse to make any more excuses for why I haven't done the things that make them happy.

They wonder why I moved all the way out here. Right now, I can't get far enough away from them.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cars

I was watching Andy Rooney tonight where he tracks down his old Lexus. He tracks it through the dealership he sold it to, through a wholesaler, through another dealership, right to the family who bought it's front door. The Lexus is sitting in the driveway.

The actual owner of the car doesn't really speak English, but when Andy asks him if he likes it, he manages an understanding nod.

It never occurred to me that someone out there could be driving my old 1991 Dodge Spirit. Yes, the car with the broken axle, dented fuel tank, bent frame, masticated quarter panel, CD player with no faceplate, and cigarette burns all over the interior. I sold that car in 2001, when it had less than 100 thousand miles on it but I had beaten the shit out of it. That car and I went through a lot together: five years of college, two jobs, five relationships, two car accidents (one was non-contact, so that one probably doesn't count), and countless numbers of speeding tickets.

My car now is almost six years old and has virtually no problems. I replaced the oxygen sensor and had a wire repaired after I had a problem with fuses blowing a couple of years ago. One college class, one job, no car accidents, and less than half the number of speeding tickets as I had in the old car.

However, it certainly has sustained a significant number of relationships.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Inadequates Anonymous

I would like to start up a support group for people who feel like they are perpetually inadequate. That way, we can come to group and tell everyone about all the bad things that happened to us that day. After each person of us tells our sob story, all the other participants will look at him or her and say, "you deserved it."

Yesterday I had a staff member walk into my office, crying, looking for a phone book. As she flipped through the book, she explained that she had lost her wallet. At one point, she stopped mid-sentence, looked at me pointedly, said, "are we done?", and walked out.

Last week a respected physician told me I had the most incompetent staff alive. He had every right to be furious, but I was offended that he would stoop to communicating with another adult in such a juvenile fashion. As the "Mama Bear," I felt I had no choice but to defend them, but I think the fact that I didn't get emotional or cry really pissed him off, so it just got worse and worse until the comments got personal, then I asked him if he was finished and hung up.

I have a report to review that was due last month. Not realizing the size of the report, I sent the request to my IS person (across town) to print it out because I can't print in that format at my printer. I asked her to print it and send it to me so I can review it for our annual accreditation inspection. She sent me an email today asking me how she should get it to me. (As in, "this report is so goddamn huge I can't fit it in the courier's car to bring it over.") I said I'd be over to pick it up on Friday. Her response to me was a kind-yet-sympathetic entreaty for me to bring a hand truck along. And I have to review this report by three weeks ago. Talk about inadequate.

On a good note, Zappos is sending me my shoe strap. All the way from Milan. No kidding. But I'm a failure for having lost it to begin with.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Small Town America


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You Heard It Here

My therapist says I think too much.

I always knew I was a thinker, but I remember rationalizing by saying I am a woman. Doesn't that give me the right to think more than the average person?

Apparently, I think more than the average woman. And women, on average, think a-lot.

How, I asked her, do men actually think about "nothing"? I am going to make it my objective in life to figure this out.

And I have the perfect guinea pig.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Non Sequiturs: Rumsfeld

"If I have to hear that stupid pumpkin metaphor one more time, I'm going to come across this desk and punch you in the brain."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Surfacing, or Trying In Vain

Gunny Boi,

I miss you more than ever.

You can't possibly know the things I wish I could tell you...the great friends I've found...the man in my life...the crazy things that've happened at work.

I found one of your most prized possessions today on the public server: pictures of your dog, Darwin. Some with Grace, a few with Tiffany. Gracie will never know how much you deserved to be her daddy. Today I found the a photo of you that Rumsfeld has been pestering me for. But she won't get it. I can't do it...

My heart hurts so much. I look around and I remember you everywhere - standing between the 950s, with your head inside of one of them, so proud you could take this $250,000 analyzer apart and put it back together again without blinking. We'd snicker when people would leave forceps inside of them, just waiting for some one to get shocked.

I look at the pictures of us, which I will never show anyone, and I'm proud to have stood there in that spirit so tall. I can feel my spine straighten up when I look at them - you and I - in front of 2 flags: the United States, and the U.S. Marine Corps. How corny that would be if you were still here, but somehow it means so much remembering you and I on those cold tile stairs, gazing at each other as the photographer directed us to smile, friends in the true meaning of the word.

But people want to forget. They want to. I feel alone in this. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in an ocean of people who are faceless...how can they move on, their lives unchanged, knowing that you are gone, without thinking of your smile?

Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Be Permitted to Grunt at the Gym

10. Guys tend to fart if they can't grunt.

9. Multiple men grunting simultaneously can sound like a slowed down record of the Boys' Choir of Harlem.

8. Maybe it'll break that idiot couple across the room from their obnoxious flirting which is distracting me from my stretching exercises.

7. Because it sounds like sex.

6. Male grunting is generally sufficient in volume to drown out my cries of pained agony during the torturous walking lunges.

5. Because if they grunt, maybe they won't take their shirts off. Ew.

4. If the rhythm is right, it can sound like a great song from the Pretenders.

3. Because it makes me giggle, which boosts my endorphins, enabling me to make it thorough the last set of assisted chin-ups before dropping to the floor in a narcoleptic coma.

2. It will detract attention from my cellulitic thighs.

1. Good acoustics.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Women Will Translate Automotive Concepts Into Daytime Metaphors

"Torque is a measure of rotational push. So, like, if you're in your car in fifth gear, you're getting more torque and going much faster. But if you're on a ten speed bike going uphill, you'd get less torque and be going much slower. See? It's a matter of gear ratio."

"I don't get it."

"A person with really long arms can put out a similar amount of torque as a stronger person with shorter arms."

"So, does that mean that Regis Philbin can spin the A-Glo-Go wheel as fast as Bryant Gumbel?"

Friday, April 20, 2007

I May Be Canadian, But He's Not

The other day my sweetie and I were discussing foods we like and dislike. In recalling that conversation today with a coworker, all I could really remember was that he doesn't eat mayonnaise. (I mentioned this as I bit into a roast beef sandwich...on whole wheat just slathered with mayo.) I took a mini-poll around my workplace. You know, because I don't have piles of other work to do. As it turns out, there are a helluvalot o' people who don't eat it. For a wide variety of reasons:

"I'm allergic to eggs."

"I'm a vegan."

"Mayonnaise does weird things in the summer. Like on a hot day when it's been sitting on a picnic table for two hours in the blazing heat. It kinda gets a little...um...icky."

"It reminds me of that time my husband and I had to go see the fertility specialist."

"Do you know what that stuff is?!? Like, eggs and vinegar, dude! Gross!"

Then someone asked me why I eat it and my response was this:

"It's a lubricant."

I am right, people. Just admit it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Naps

10. I have nothing better to do.

9. My dad makes it look easy.

8. My pillow gets lonely and whiny when not in good company.

7. I live in a rainforest and it's cold and dark.

6. The active ingredient in a large cup of coffee is only "active" for so long.

5. There's no better cure for boredom, depression, hunger, irritability, PMS, cancer, constipation, religion, Republicanism, and schizophrenia.

4. Chamomile.

3. I am practicing for when they make sleeping with my eyes open an Olympic event.

2. Because 14 hours is a long time to stay awake.

1. Sex dreams.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Second Gear

Gunny Boy,

A strangeness has evolved. Such a short time has passed...you are still very much real in our hearts and minds but our bodies tell us to move on and cease our mourning.


Today I panicked. I was listening to
that song by A Perfect Circle and I heard your voice behind me. I heard the things you used to say...or were they things I have made up in my head that I really, really need to hear from you right now? I still see men in the hallway. They have your features and my eyes perk up. I actually believe, for a split second, that you might be there. I have actually caught myself asking me, "could he really be alive?" Then I feel humiliated that I would think something so foolish.

We are finally able to laugh at each other, but not at our memories of you. We've become numb. People avoid talking about you. It even makes my friends uncomfortable when I talk about you, despite how much I love remembering you and all that you were. It's as though they feel ashamed to not be able to indulge in your memory, when really all they should feel is joy for me, having been able to experience you and all you were to us. It's so odd to have everybody look at me with their eyebrows pressed together to say, "how've you been doing..." in complete sincere sympathy, but never saying the last part, "with Robert's death and all?" The one thing I long to hear from everyone is a memory of you. The last time you talked to them, Kenny Loggins.


I'm not losing it...re-learning to drive a stick shift in your Cavalier, that weekend at Crater Lake, my depression after Memorial Day 2004 when you held that ice pack over my sunburned forehead, Christmas 2005 and the two "sweaters," shaving Thisbe's butt and how we laughed over that (we had good cause), how little bro lusted after my car, and how you taught me to shake chili out of a can without using a spoon.


I rack my mind for these memories every day. But I also work not to cry. My throat becomes paralyzed almost every time. Sometimes it's difficult to breathe. Sometimes I wonder how it's possible that I've moved forward without you. You made life so much easier and so much harder at the same time.

And so once again,
my dear Johnny, my dear friend,
and so once again you are fighting us all.
And when I ask you why,
you raise your sticks and cry and I fall.

Oh my friend how did you come,
to trade the fiddle for the drum?

You say I have turned
like the enemies you've earned.
But I can remember all the good things you are,
and so I ask you please,
can I help you find the peace and the star?

Oh my friend what time is this,
to trade the hand shake for the fist?

And so once again,
oh America my friend,
and so once again,
you are fighting us all.
And when we ask you why,
you raise your sticks and cry and we fall.

Oh my friend how did you come,
to trade the fiddle for the drum?

You say we have turned,
like the enemies you earned.
But we can remember all the good things you are.
And so we ask you please,
can we help you find the peace and the star?

Oh my friend we have all come,
to fear the beating of your drum.

Friday, April 13, 2007

First Dates in Retrospect

Questions never to ask:

"What do you read when you're in the bathroom?"

"So, exactly how many divorces are we talking about?" (You probably don't want to know.)

"What's your minimum balance?"

"Was that you who just farted?"

"Would you like an Altoid?" (He'll think you're suggesting that he has bad breath. Besides, he's responsible for maintaining his own personal hygiene. Just don't kiss him if he stinks.)

Questions always to ask:

"Exactly how many illegitimate children are you paying for?"

"Boxers or briefs?"

"What side of the bed are you?" (This is a deal-breaker for some, so get it out of the way.)

"You got a prison record I should know about?"

"Do you watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force?"

Things never to do:

Order that third double-vodka martini, no matter how early in the evening it is.

Reassure him that with every date the two of you have, he'll find more and more reasons to lose respect for you. (I actually waited until the third date to pull this idiocy.)

Wear your favorite 3" heels to go hiking in the mud.

Wear a liquid foundation that doesn't match your natural skin tone.

Drop acid before you meet up with him.

Things always to do:

Show cleavage and don't hide your booty.

Brush your teeth. Kitten breath is absolutely unacceptable, even if there's no kissing to be done.

Feel sexy. You may have to wax your privates, but whatever.

Smile.

Be honest.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Top Ten Signs That I'm Turning Into My Mother

    10. I've finally realized that what I thought was a reasonable sized purse is now waaaay too small.

    9. I can see my pores in the mirror without leaning over the counter.

    8. I can fold flaps of skin over each other, and if left there for a protracted period of time, could manage to culture my own dermatophytes.

    7. I have more anti-aging creams than eyeshadows in my cosmetics kit.

    6. I hate wearing high-heels, no matter how sexy, fabulous, wonderful, beautiful or incredible they make me feel, and no matter that they can turn me into a woman of 5'6".

    5. I go to bed at 9:45.

    4. I love watching "Live with Regis and Kelly."

    3. I am shocked at how little clothing girls these days are wearing.

    2. I've started saving up for Botox.

    1. Three words: bunions, bursitis, and hemorrhoids.

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    Top Ten Reasons Why...

    ...You Would Run a Red Light in Your Piece of Shit Truck and Almost Cause Me to Crash Betty Into It:

    10. You ran out of your Prozac and your pharmacist is as incompetent as mine is.

    9. You don't have liability insurance and are suicidal.

    8. You saw I just upgraded to the new superlight halogen headlights (this morning, actually) and wanted to see them break before I even get to use them.

    7. You've never seen an airbag deploy.

    6. You just got your pathetic $200 tax refund and have to get to the Safeway customer service counter to cash it before they take their 3-hour break.

    5. You thought I was napping (as I usually am) because I was in a zombie-like state listening to Clark Howard.

    4. You didn't think you had enough Natural Light in the fridge to get you drunk but at least you managed to make it it halfway through the case before you made your next beer run.

    3. Your crank dealer was standing on the opposite corner and you thought you could make it across before I got to the intersection.

    2. You figured you'd use my car to strip the rest of the paint off of your beat-up jalopy, you crazy clod.

    1. You knew I had to pee really bad.

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Limbo

    Gunny Boy,

    Saturday it will be six weeks since you've been gone. Your memory is fading. Even so, I talk to you every day. I speak your language. I promise not to use any words I learned from Wordsmith because I know you hated it. "It's superficial and boring."

    We have interviews all day tomorrow to find the person to fill your shoes. Their feet will never be big enough. And they can't heal our hearts. They can't hold us like you could. They can't tell us, "don't fret none," and look us in the eye as you wipe the tears away. They can't squeeze us so tight and never let go.

    I'm sorry I took you for granted. I'm sorry I pushed you away. I know it hurt you. I'm sorry I didn't try to be closer to you, but you had your life, and I had mine. I don't think you had any regrets either. I think you and I always knew we'd love each other forever, if nothing else, because we knew all of each other's secrets. And you died with mine.

    There will never again be anyone like you in our lives. There will never be another smiling hero.

    Are you still hanging out?

    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    T & A

    Yesterday, I went with a couple of friends up to a local hot spring for a little skinny dipping. Unfortunately, prior to beginning the hike up to the springs, I deliberately turned off the part of my brain that runs the constant mental commentary that makes this here blog possible. So, I actually have very little to say about the experience except that it was great fun, and that I have finally succeeded in achieving one of my ultimate goals in life: to be naked, outdoors, and in public.

    The only thing left to do is to skydive. Naked. Outdoors. And in public.

    Maybe I'd even do a tandem.

    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Tickled as I Vibrate

    A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to wean myself off a prescription drug I'd been taking for almost 7 years. And for the past couple of years now, I've been experiencing some minor stomach irritation, particularly in the morning. A little nausea after breakfast, you know, but nothing serious. One of the inactive ingredients of that pill is a titanium alloy, which you'd think could cause some stomach irritation, but I'd never been able to rule it in as the cause for my stomach troubles.

    Back in 2003, I noticed I had lost the ability to drink coffee of any sort without experiencing some incredible abdominal discomfort. But two weekends ago when I had brunch with my friend Tina, I decided to take a leap of faith and order a Mexican mocha, which I thoroughly enjoyed with no stomach trouble whatsoever. At the time, I figured the quiche I ate along with my mocha had acted as a buffer. But then on Wednesday, I decided to throw caution to the wind and order a mocha with whip from the local coffee shop at work. And boy did it taste good. Damn. I did the same thing yesterday, still anticipating some minor gastrointestinal aches, but nothing.

    Today, I'm officially an addict. I've had a mocha, a latte, and an Americano, not to mention my morning cup of tea. I feel like coffee's become my new crank. In fact, not even the massive blisters I'm getting from my new Marc by Marc Jacobs 4" heels could bring me down from this high. I've gotten so much done today. My office is spotless. My socks have been pressed. And the naps! They've receded! I don't even feel the urge to crawl into that dusty space above my cabinets in my office and curl up for a siesta. What's wrong with me!?!

    Coffee, that's what.

    I'm in love.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    My Brain, the Gynecologist

    I think about my brain a lot, which is truly giving meaning to the phrase functional organ, because it is one that can think about itself. My liver can't do that. Of course, it can clean itself out when I've drank too much and produce factor-8 to keep itself from bleeding to death, so it's successful in serving it's own purpose. This proves my theory that even though our organs are here to serve us as a whole, they are not in fact, entirely altruistic. In that, I digress.

    The other day I was thinking about how strange it is, the female anatomy, and why there's so much skin down there. It's like a whole bunch of...skin...down there. Now that my genitals have been defrocked, there is little to be left to the imagination. It's almost irritating how I don't have to guess anything anymore. Like, I kinda miss sitting there thinking I wonder what my vulva is doing right now. Maybe she's getting a nose job like I said she should. Naaaaah. She never listens. And the other day I actually caught my labia scheming to rob the Washington Mutual Bank on west 11th street! I had to put the kibosh on that. I was so exhausted exposing their conspiratorial plan that I had to go outside and take a nap under my car. I should be thankful, because before the grass was mowed, I wouldn't have had any idea as to what those two were up to. Thank me please, you grateful WaMu customers.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Afternoon Delight

    On Monday, I went to Brazil. Yes girls, I did that to my body. Actually, I told the aesthetician, Maggie, pointedly, "screw Brazil, let's go all the way to Antarctica." I believe my salon calls it "The Fully Monty." (Picture my eyes rolling as I see that on my charge receipt.)

    Picture me lying there with my knees pulled up to my chin, each rip of the paper making me wish I had syphoned some gas out of my car to sedate myself with, followed by Maggie's Boston accent saying, "when I first finished beauty school, I decided I was going to wax my entire bawdy." When I asked her for the best way to avoid crotch rash, she handed me a piece of 50-grit sandpaper disguised as a cleverly packaged "buffing cloth," and some concentrated nitric acid, and said to exfoliate daily using gentle circular motion. Yeah, lemme see you try this, lady.

    What inspired me to engage in this ritualistic torture and pay to have it done??? Well, I guess the only thing I can say is that I've been very invigorated by the warm weather. That's it. And now the temperature is in the 50s again, and now my genitals will freeze until it warms up again. You know what I would do if put in that situation? I would grow hair.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Shifted Into First Gear

    Gunny Boy,

    This morning, Junior Soprano handed me a copy of last weeks Tri-County News. It's got a little spread about your funeral last week. I'd forgotten about the pagers - how all the firemen turned them on at the same time and they paged out for you to rest in peace.

    Yesterday we held a mini-service for you at work. It was wonderful. Dr. Y and Dr. G were there. Dr. G noted some things about the way you worked that I would have yelled at you for, and would still love to have the chance to yell at you for. Your dad and Judy were there. They said little bro is very angry and that the kids still don't understand; they still expect you to walk in the door any minute. Other things are becoming ugly; people want your money...your car...your bike. I don't even know if it still even works. Why are they doing this? Do they just want those memories? Why would they do this over money? Judy said she remembered the day you came back from the middle East and I was there and we couldn't let go of each other. She asked me if they'd ever done anything to offend you. I told her that you were your dad. I wanted to tell her the truth but I didn't feel right about it. She asked me if you believed in god. I was honest but then I told her that I still felt you were hanging out because there's no way you'd miss all these cute girls fussing over you.

    My mind is getting shallow with memories. There are too many to write down but too few to have enough to recall every day to get through this. I keep searching for them...but they are lost in the synapses and ganglia and lobes of my brain. I still remember the QRS complex and stirring the coffee and you laughing at my fascination with Angela Anaconda and taking a nap in the living room on that really hot day and the really bad omelet and your animal noises and the doggy scratch and how you used to say "issues," like "isss-yews," and the 2 closets you wrecked because you had so much stuff. How you'd line the kitchen counters with Dr. Pepper cans so I had no counter space and then when you finally rinsed them out you'd leave them upside-down in the sink so I'd have no sink space. How many tons of frozen pizza, chicken strips, taquitos and Fat Tire we consumed. How you hated tomatoes so much that if anything you ordered came with tomatoes, you (Mr. Nice Guy) would send it back. You were so picky.

    I went to see you on Saturday, but your place wasn't marked and I couldn't differentiate all the new graves from each other. It was raining. I locked my keys in my car and had to walk all the way home from the cemetary and have Cheech drive me to pick up my car. I laughed at the irony and my bad luck. It made me regret not going to the burial, and then even worse yesterday when Judy told me I had been missed.

    I miss you, Bob 2.

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Photo Immersion Therapy...Part 8

    Doing my best impersonation of Dicey Tillerman. 1985.

    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    Gunny Boy, You Don't Know What You're Missing

    Eddie Izzard, one of your favorite comedians...yeah, the trannie, dressed as a Jewish suburbanite in his own FX weekly called The Riches.

    Yeah, like Desperate Housewives.

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Photo Immersion Therapy...Part 7

    Partners in crime. 1982.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Undertow

    Today we spoke of you with fewer tears, but as I drove home tonight thinking of you in the ground beside my street, my chest tightened up. Then I started thinking about being in there with you, and I got scared.

    I'm getting sick of holding onto the brave face. I welled up today when Surly-K asked me what you looked like on Saturday. She raised her eyebrows and pointed me towards the Kleenex. I kept it together, but I was a little resentful of her and her quick-yet-complete grief cycle. She knows how to do it, and spares no expense. But she's got it down to a science.

    I went and saw Dr. Brainscan today. He told me that grief comes in three stages: denial (or disbelief), disorganization or confusion, and repair. During the second stage, he said there are five emotions to be felt: sadness, reconciliation, anger, acceptance, and recovery. He said people make mistakes in denying feeling the grief, and others stay too busy to really feel it. He said it's best if I make time every day to just 'sit' with you. I told him that I really didn't feel it necessary to feel anger. I said that anger is...ahem..."a manifestation of another negative emotion that I feel it is in my power to avoid bypassing." Blah, blah, blah...Gunny, I wish you were here to help me make fun of him. He never looks anyone in the eye; always to the left. He said I should have my thyroid checked because of my weight loss, lethargy, coldness, and confusion. I thought of when your doctor said the same thing to you and you had it checked. It was just as usual - turning you into a smartass. Then I thought Dr. Brainscan was wacko in giving me advice about death and my thyroid in the same sentence. Then he lobotomized me with a wire whisk and I had to take a nap in my trunk before I went back to work.

    When I got back to the office, the MASTER DINOSAUR was sitting on my desk, staring at me. I remembered when I got back from Chicago and I told you how Dr. Frings had given him to me and about the married guy from Halifax and running in Millennium Park and loving Dali's "Coitus" and eating dinner under Suzy the T-Rex. Then I remembered the last time I called you in October to ask about Vitamin-G's gross rash and it turned out to be something entirely different. I still haven't taken your number out of my phone even though I am a little freaked that I may dial it on accident.

    Yesterday as you laid in that box in front of the firetruck, I told GOB Jess that I expected you to push up the lid, sit up, and give us that grin that championed the phrase "shit-eatin'." He said it would be a really bad joke, but we got a little snicker. Funny how the loss of an old friend can bring together two old friends.

    I posted your position today. As I was writing it up, I felt somehow sanctimonious. Making my demands..."Must be able to multitask while under pressure without direct supervision. Must be able to establish good rapport with patients of all types, as well as nurses, physicians, and other ED employees. Duties include phlebotomy and running chemistry and hematology samples in moderate complexity environment. Bilingual (English and Spanish) preferred." Implied was, "You'll never be our Beeker but if you can speak two languages maybe we'll settle for you. Our patients probably won't care but we sure as hell will." Here is the cruel reality of my part of this: I have to replace you. And I have to paint on a smile as I do it.

    Here's where I move over into the anger phase of grief. At least I'm making progress.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Sober

    We celebrated you today. There were 500 people there to honor your life. Some spoke, shared silly memories. I didn't. My memories are personal, intimate. How can I explain what you were to me to these people? How can I share the times we had? I didn't cry much. That was only for you and me.

    They said they never saw you mad. But I have. Your lower lip would quiver, and my heart felt like it was going to break.

    They are burying you now. I can't stand the thought of your body in the ground, cold, with the seasons changing all around it, not looking like you. How will you see without your glasses?

    My heart hurts. I can't believe you're gone. I will never talk to you again. I will never see you again. I know I've said these things to you before but it was only in the heat of anger. It is difficult knowing that they are true, and neither of us has any choice about it.

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Superman in a Box

    Today, you don't look like you. I think you forgot your glasses. The last time I saw you, I told you that you looked like Kenny Loggins because your hair had grown out and you had that moustache and goatee. I remember because you thought I said Kenny Rogers. Today, your goatee was gone and your hair had been cut, probably because you look best as a Marine. Your dress blues were clean and pressed. The lipstick I got on them three years ago was gone. Your medals were neatly pinned, and you wore a dog tag bearing your daughter's name and birth date.

    You've changed so much. I touched your hand, then stroked your hair. You didn't respond. I thought at any second you would wake up. I've told you how much I love your brown eyes and I know what a light sleeper you are. What was wrong with you?

    I met your girl today. She presumed who I was, as I did her, and we fell into each other's arms. She is an Olympic hugger. She must have learned it from you. She said I was still #2 in your speed dial. I told her how I remember the day you and I were walking around the construction site and you got a call on your cell phone. You spoke briefly, then hung up. You said to me, "I met this great girl last night." Today, she seemed relieved to know it was me who was with you on that day, and that she and I could share one memory of you was an honor for me. We were regretful to meet under these circumstances, but thankful for being able to share this with each other. You would have married her, I know it.

    I saw your mom. She was as young as I remember her. It's funny how she seemed readier to console me. I told her how sorry I was. She held me and reminded me of how much fun you were. We laughed when we remembered that time you and I deep-fried a turkey in her driveway and trailed peanut oil all the way from the garage down to the curb and how we tried to clean it up with cat litter but it was more mess than it was worth; the time we diapered your brother's dog, Wayne, as a joke; and when we stayed up all night at her house playing on the PS2 when we could have just gone back to our own apartment 4 blocks away.

    I came home to more memories of you...photos of us in my scrapbook, "Fletch" on TV, GIR on my wall, the knit cap on my table, another sweatshirt in my closet. I remembered how you slept in my spare room for months, and when I felt sad or lonely, I could crawl in with you. I remembered when you first introduced Thisbe to catnip. She acted like she was a cat possessed.

    I won't be able to remember you as my lab technician. You will always be my best friend. Thank you for being my family when I had none; for saving me from myself; for loving everyone for exactly who they are. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life for so long. Thank you for being my hero.

    You'll never be anything less than that.

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    Beginning a Loss

    Saturday, at 2 a.m., a very dear friend of mine was killed in a tragic accident outside of Eugene. He was a fireman, EMT, Marine Corps Sergeant, father, brother, son, fiance, and avid lover of fun. He had more friends than the dalai lama. He was my boyfriend of over a year, and best friend for years after that. About a year ago, I became his supervisor. Our boundaries had to change, and being the responsible adults we are, we distanced ourselves far from each other. Almost too far now that I think about it.

    When I found out Saturday at about 9:30, I skipped over denial as my initial reaction and went straight to shock. And stayed there until Saturday evening, when good food and great company pulled me out of that darkness for a few hours. Ever since then, I've felt comforted by my memories of him, but the reality of this is yet to come. For me and my staff, and a great majority of my friends, he is a huge, irreplaceable loss. And this is just the beginning.

    In the meantime, I try to keep something of him within arm's reach. I found one today on my idiotphone in an episode of our favorite show from a couple of years ago. He had just introduced me to a fabulous cartoon on Nickelodeon called "Invader Zim." He had copied some episodes for me onto a disc and I hadn't yet gotten around to watching them until one night when he and I were on the phone with each other. I was getting ready for bed. At that time I was in this phase of lulling myself to sleep to the politely un-creative sounds of my laptop, so I had my computer there with me. He asked me if I had the disk. I said I did, and popped it in. We decided to watch the legendary episode called, "Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain." We spent almost 15 minutes trying to sync up the episode so it would start up at the same time on our computers without the sound confusing us while we talked. I love this episode to this day because GIR is just so fucking cute and completely ignores all of Zim's orders throughout the episode. But that night, I wasn't interested for some reason. At the end of the episode, I realized he was waking me up and I had snoozed throughout the entire thing. Ahhh, well. We moved on to "Germs."

    I'm terrified of forgetting these old memories. I'm ashamed of the ones I know I've already lost...the jokes I can't remember how to tell...the animal noises he made that I know to not even try duplicating. My life would never be the way it is if not for him. There are so many things I would have, or would never have, done if I hadn't met him:

    I never would have moved in with ex#5 (Turkey), who treated me so badly that I realized what an incredible person I am. And as a result, bought my house.

    I never would have skydived. (Skydove-?)

    I never would have quit smoking.

    I never would have been to Crater Lake.

    I never would have realized how much you miss someone when they are at war. You love them for their bravery and their willingness to fight for something they believe is right. Even when you believe the cause is wrong.

    I never would have bought my car, Betty, and realized one can put just about as much trust in a good Japanese vehicle as she can in another human being.

    I would most certainly have left Oregon.

    I miss you, Gunny Boy. I miss the way you said "hi," and I miss that stupid smirk on your face whenever you would tell me a half-truth. I miss the way your butt was swallowed up in those medium-sized scrub pants that you wore only when the small-sized ones (which were too short) were unavailable. I miss the way you called me "little bunny," and every time I'd yell at you for it, you'd smile. I miss the way all my friends in Fall Creek fell for you. They all started out hating you for the past that you represented for me, but then they were all consumed by what you were.

    I miss the way you took the words I'd say and make them into a game.

    "That dude was such a crazy loon." I said one time, speaking like my grandmother.

    "Isn't that the kind of boat with floaties on the sides?" You'd smirk, changing the topic of conversation.

    "No. I think that's a
    pontoon."

    "Oh. But, I thought that was one of those big wave-type-things."

    "No. I think you mean a
    monsoon."

    "Oh. Hmmm...I don't think so. That's supposed to be the monkey with the big red butt."

    "Buddy, that's a baboon." On and on we'd go. Unfortunately, we both had vocabularies like underachieving kindergartners, so it didn't last for long. Poodle, I would give my dictionary, Wikipedia, and the Visual Thesaurus to be able to play that silly little ditty with you... just one last time.