Monday, September 01, 2014

Fluff and Sawdust ...

I've had a busy ... but very happy ... weekend.  Lots of things floating around my mind.  Here are a few:

RIP - Rest in peace new fish.  We barely knew thee.  No ... seriously ... we barely knew him.  We'd had him less than two hours when we found him laying tits up on the tank floor.   Ah, life ... it's so transient ... and death is so sudden.  Speaking of death ...

The Leftovers - Has anyone considered that at the exact moment of the event, there were people who were genuinely unwanted.  The baby that was screaming in the back seat while his stressed out mother talked on the phone?  The noisy children who spilled liquid over their mother's phone ... while her unhelpful husband just sat there and criticized her for being upset?  The woman staring at the sonogram machine trying to decide whether to have an abortion?  Those people just disappeared ... at that exact moment.  Coincidence?  The fact that the cult is named the "Guilty Remnant" ... guilty for what?  For realizing they didn't want those people in their lives ... consciously or unconsciously ... and it's their fault that they're gone?

Work - I miss my old job.  I genuinely ... with all my heart ... miss my old job.  Not just because of the money and the benefits ... but because of my friends.  I had a dream about it all last night ... a dream that I was driving the same way to work that I drove for over a decade.  Dreaming about how I loved driving to work ... how I loved my co-workers.  We were like family ... and now ... I'm miserable without them.  I go to work ... and the work itself isn't terrible.  Far from it.  But I miss having genuine friends there.  I realize I've been at my new company less than a year.  In twenty three years, I'll probably have long-term relationships there too.  But it's daunting and depressing.

Home - On a (much) lighter note ... I am jazzed.  Really, deep-down happy.   Stoney has a lot of exercise equipment in his house.  He has a (very nice) elliptical machine ... a nice bicycle with training programs ... free weights (which I will never be healthy or strong enough to use) ... exercise stretch bands ... wrist weights ... and a dozen more things that I have no idea how to use or what to call them.   He has books that have really interesting, motivating things in them.  We were downstairs working on some project and he showed me how to use the elliptical and bicycle.  And I feel ... hopeful.  I eat so much healthier when I'm around him.  I'm really sensitive about how heavy I am.   I mean ... I have a big belly because of my over-sized kidneys.  That's something I can't change.  But let's not kid ourselves ... there are no kidneys in my ass.  That's soda and chips right there.  But he doesn't make me feel embarrassed or bad about myself ... so ... I think I could work out with him?  In front of him?  We'll see ... I feel happy about it all so ... that's a good start.

Moving - I've been packing.  I have four boxes of games and movies and such.  I stopped because I needed some strapping tape to fortify the boxes.  Stoney lent me a nice "tape gun" kind of thing and gave me a roll of bubble wrap.  And this weekend he gave me about twenty cardboard boxes he'd been storing.   So this week I'm going to wrap and pack my grandmother's china and clean out the china hutch.  I need to measure a few things ... my piano and the china hutch for starters.  It'll help us decide where to put things.  This is scary for me.  It has to be scary for him ... having someone moving stuff into his space.  But ... I called the door guy to get the date on having the doors installed and the painting finished.  So ... I'm making progress ... even if it's baby steps.  And I'll make a lot more here shortly.

This weekend was the official end of summer ... and this week football starts.  So ... have a pumpkin latte and a smile ... cause it's my favorite time of the year!  Happy autumn, everybody!

Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Earth, Wind, & Fire - September

Friday, August 29, 2014

Crawling From The Wreckage ...

Okay ... so two stories ... both related to kidney function.

Part one.  I knew I was supposed to be a) taking in my fluid and b) eating more bananas, oranges, tomatoes, pineapple, etc.  So Stoney generously offered to get his juicer out and show me how to make fresh juice.  I was very enthusiastic.  I'm not really into eating oranges ... pulp squicks me out.   But orange juice?  Yum!  Peaches?  LOVE me some peaches ... and although that wasn't one of the items specifically on the kidney diet, why couldn't we put peaches with oranges???  It sounded like fun on a bun!  Or, more accurately, class in a glass!

So ... I bought oranges, clementines, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and a whole goddamned pineapple.  How is that for enthusiasm??  I took it over to Stoney's after work ... and after having the delicious meal he made, we proceeded to juice!

This ... ugh.

This is not my thing.  Have you ever had fresh orange juice?  I'm not talking about the stuff at the Florida State Welcome Center.  I'm talking about real ... fresh out of a juicer ... orange juice?   It is thick.  It is pulpy.  It is foamy.  It is ... horrific.

Peach juice?  Even thicker.  Blueberries?  Blueberries, when juiced, are the consistency of the cranberry sauce I get in a can every year at Thanksgiving.  Strawberry juice?  Not as horrific as you'd think ... but strawberries themselves are not that sweet.  So ... it was ... tart.  Very tart.

We didn't even bother with the pineapple.  I love pineapple juice.  If I'd tasted what real pineapple juice tasted like ... and if it tasted like the rest of it?  I would've sat on the kitchen floor and cried like a baby.

I was so disheartened.  I felt like the world's biggest loser ... and not in the good NBC/Jillian Michaels way.  I really could've cried.  The concept of fresh juice ... is absolutely nothing like the reality.  I cannot convey to you the repulsive texture of peach juice ... or any of it, to be honest.  It was gross.  I asked Stoney, "Why doesn't this taste like juice?  Why doesn't this taste like Dole or Tropicana???"

He explained about how they add water and sugar ... lots of sugar.  So what I'm used to being juice is basically juice-flavored sugar water.  We tried adding filtered water to it ... ugh.  It's just so bad.

It was depressing ... only because I felt like I let everyone down ... from my nephrologist to me to Stoney ... everybody.   We ended the night laying in bed ... listening to a thunderstorm rage outside ... while we tried a little bag of Lay's Mac and Cheese potato chips ... and I drank a Capri Sun. 

I know what you're thinking ... "Capri Sun???  What the hell happened to fresh juice?!"  My answer?  Fuck it ... if you're going to fail?  You might as well fail spectacularly.

Part two?  Part of the "Kick This Kidney Issue In The Butt" campaign is my new medicine.  Lasix is a water pill ... not much different than the hydrochlorothiazide I used to take ... just stronger.   The doctor suggested I break the pill in half ... and take the first half in the morning ... the second in the afternoon.  That is what I did Thursday.

Know what happens when you take a water pill in the afternoon?  You piss ... every hour ... on the hour ... all goddamned night long.  I am not kidding.  I am not exaggerating.  10:30?  Piss.  11:45?  Piss.  12:35?  Piss  EVERY HOUR.  By two o'clock, I stopped being mad or frustrated ... I literally just gave up.  I knew it was the meds ... I knew it was inevitable ... so I just got up and peed.  Again.  And again.

So this morning I wake up ... and I am exhausted.  Exhausted isn't the word.  I'm the walking dead.  I go to work and decide, "Fuck this shit ... I'm taking the whole pill in the morning ... then I can pee all day long and sleep all night."  That's not necessarily a bad plan.   However, it is a bad plan when you don't eat anything before you take it ... and you only eat a handful of mac and cheese chips after you take it.   Such a bad plan.

I was nauseous.  My head was woozy.  My stomach was wonky.  Not only was I sick from the medicine, I was tired.  I just wanted to go back to bed

My boss said it was fine ... we were slow and it was the day before a holiday weekend.  He said to head out at 11:30 ... and so I texted Stoney to tell him I was leaving work in case he needed me.  He said, "Why don't you head to my house?  You can play Diablo if you feel up to it ..."

And so ... I spent the afternoon ... relaxing on his couch ... playing Diablo ... laying in the big new bed when I got sleepy and/or queasy.  I made us an electric skillet full of steak fried rice ... but didn't feel well enough to each much of it.   Nausea aside ... it was a pretty wonderful day.

So thank you Stoney for letting me crash at your house made all the difference in the world.  I owe you one ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Step by Step ... Rung by Rung ...

So ... I could dwell on the bad news ... or focus on what's positive.

What's bad?  My creatinine number is up.   I've gone from 2.2 to 2.6 ... and, if you plug the numbers into a GFR calculator, that means I've gone from 24% to 20% ... in about three months.  That's not good news.  Nor is it good news that my parathyroid numbers are out of whack ... along with my Vitamin D numbers.  I'm already taking a prescription for a once-a-month mega dose of Vitamin D ... and the doctor's suggestion was to keep taking it and "get a little sun" ...

Okay so ... good news?  I've lost five pounds.  Which isn't much ... but it's something.  I'm still not anemic ... that's very good news.  My blood pressure was still high ... but not stupid high like it was earlier this year.  So ...

Tomorrow I start taking a different dose of my blood pressure medication ... plus I start on a water pill.  At 20%, I'm too far along for hydrochlorothiazide to help.  At this point it has to be something in the Lasix family.  The good thing about Lasix is it pulls the water and salt from you ... the problem with Lasix is that it also pulls potassium.  I'm already having foot and leg cramps?  So I have to go to the lab in a week so they can check those numbers.

The problem with PKD ... with anything like this, I suppose ... is that our bodies are like dominos.  The PKD throws off the parathyroid ... which throws off Vitamin D ... which throws off calcium ... which causes osteoporosis.   PKD causes high blood pressure ... which causes heart disease ... which causes kidney failure.  It's just a maddening loop ... one thing leading to another.

But ... I'm listening to my doctors.  I pulled out one of my kidney diet cookbooks and made some cherry bread pudding from it last weekend.   I bought some bananas and oranges ... which I'm supposed to start eating every day.  Once I start the Lasix I have to start drinking more fluid ... so tomorrow I'm taking the water bottle Stoney gave me to work and make myself drink water throughout the day.

In one month we're going to  test my numbers again.  She's hoping the new meds bring my function numbers up.  The unspoken part of that plan ... is that if my GFR keeps going down, then she needs to know that as soon as possible too.

I haven't told Mom yet ... I'm not ready for that discussion.  But I told Stoney.  I still have hope ... and next month I go in for my second sleep study ... this time using a CPAP.  The doctor is super excited about that ... because apnea causes high blood pressure and using a CPAP might help all my issues as well.

Step by step ... tomorrow I eat a banana for breakfast and take my first Lasix ...

All I want from tomorrow
Is to get it better than today
Step by step, one by one
Higher and higher
Step by step, rung by rung
Climbing Jacob's Ladder

Huey Lewis & the News -
Jacob's Ladder

Monday, August 25, 2014

So Thankful ... So Grateful ...

So ... I want to bitch and moan and rant and rave about the Witch Bitch from the other day ... about how she held an order back for two hours ... and about how the CSR called me personally, eight minutes before the state closed, begging me to fix it ... and about how, rather than be ashamed that she held onto a finished job for two hours, called me and chewed me out about "paying twice" for an order rather than asking her if she'd finished it.

I want to point out what a fucknut that person is ... and how frustrating it is to work with someone who spends their time nit picking and blaming other for their mistakes.

But ... I won't.  I have bigger fish to fry.

On Saturday, I walked into Stoney's house with several bags of groceries ... and, as he helped me and took some of them and we walked to the kitchen, I noticed a vase of roses on his coffee table.

Me:  You got flowers?
Him:  They're for you!
Me (skeptical):  Really?
Him:  Yes!  I saw them at the store and thought, "She needs some roses!"
Me (skeptical):  Really?
Him:  Yes!  And look in the fridge ...
Me (looking)
Him:  Chicken wings!  I'm going to grill your favorite wings for you this afternoon!
Me (skeptical):  Really?
Him:  Yes!
Me:  Are you dumping me?
Him:  That's an odd way to come at this.
Me:  It's all just so ... wonderful.  Are you sure this isn't one of those "giving a dog a bunch of treats right before you take them to the vet to put them down" type things?
Him:  You have issues ...

Yes ... I clearly have issues.  Cause I should've just jumped in his arms and said, "Thank you, baby!!"

The whole weekend was wonderful.  Beautiful, red roses ... my favorite grilled chicken wings ... Spongebob mac and cheese (hey, I love shaped mac and cheese ... don't be a hater).  Saturday evening he bought me Diablo III for the Xbox One ... cause he knows his girl is queen of the nerds.  Then, on Sunday, while I played like six hours of Diablo, he made the most delicious chicken and noodles.

He gave me a wonderful weekend.   Thank you, hon ... you're the best!

Hey ... guess what?   I love you!

I want to thank you
For giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you
Is having the best day of my life

Dido - Thank You

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh God Make It Stop ...

So this week, I've been working in the deepest bowels of hell. 

I have a big, fat Audible account.  I usually listen to one book per week on average.  Sometimes it's more ... sometimes it's less ... much less when I was in the middle of A Song of Ice and Fire books.  Anyhow, last week I made the horrible decision to download the Audible version of "Fifty Shades of Gray." 

Don't judge me too harshly.  I've read the trilogy ... so I know how shitty the books are overall.  But I've been having a hard time at work ... and I thought ... what the hell?  Maybe listening to something sexy will take my mind off the high blood pressure, stomach pains, and eye twitch I've developed.

It ... is ... horrible.   Worse than horrible.  I need a thesaurus to find a word that can adequately express what a steaming pile of horse shit this thing is.

The problem is mainly the narration.  They chose a young woman who sounds like she was picked out of a Freshman Mixer at a sorority house just outside of Knoxville.  Imagine the phrase, "I don't make love.  I fuck ... hard."   Okay, now imagine that phrase as read by Hanna Montana.

How sexy is that?

The answer?  Not ... at ... all.  Not in the least little bit.  In fact, it has the opposite effect.   I basically wanted to take a hot shower and scrub away the bad feelings.

I've yet to delete a book without finishing it ... so I've simply put Audible aside for now.  I've been listening to my Coast to Coast AM subscription every day.   And after a week of this, I can't decide which is worse ... hour upon hour of big foot and alien abduction stories ... or listening to Hanna Montana describing the removal of a tampon as a sex act.

It's lose/lose people ...

And we can't stop
And we won't stop
We run things, things don't run we
Don't take nothing from nobody
Yeah, yeah

Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Own, Personal Hell ...

I am part of a very small team at work.  Two people.  There are a lot of backups ... people who jump in and help from time to time when things get particularly busy.  But fundamentally it comes down to just me and my teammate.

My teammate is on his honeymoon.  He's out until the end of the month.  He was out earlier this month for a few days for the wedding ... and I thought that was bad.  Silly me.  I had no ... Earthly ... idea.

There's a woman who works on the west coast who is part of our backup team.  She's worked for the  company for over twenty years ... and has a very high opinion of herself.  Just ask ... she's more than happy to tell you.  In fact ... don't ask ... it won't matter.  She'll still tell you.

I've worked at my new job for ten months now.  And somehow I've managed to do it pretty darned well.  At least I thought I did ... until the Wicked Witch of the West picked up my scent.  Ever since my teammate went on his honeymoon, she's contacted me every day to point out something I've done wrong ... whether it's calling to counsel me on "best practices" ... or jumping onto an order to answer a question that didn't involve her ... or e-mailing me pages out of the corporate handbook.

I am not exaggerating this.  It is fucking ridiculous.  I'm to the point of tears ... and when I cry ... I get angry.

Today I made the mistake of joking with someone that she'd actually gone all day without contacting me.  I jinxed myself ... because at 5:25 she IM'ed me to ask me to call her before I left at 5:30.  She then proceeded to politely chew me out.

There were three large orders that said, "Do not invoice until the CSR has coded in the discount."  So I waited ... and when I looked and saw a discount, I invoiced out my lines.

Witch Bitch called to tell me that although there was a discount ... it wasn't the right discount.  So now she was having to re-invoice everything I'd done on that order.  She let me know that I should've verified that the discount was correct before proceeding.

I sat there ... my eye twitching ... letting her finish and not interrupting.  When she finally let go of the large chunk of ass she'd had in her teeth, I quietly asked, "Do you think maybe the CSR could've written a second note to say, "This is ready to invoice?"  She then spent five minutes lecturing me on how terribly busy the CSRs are ... and how it's our job to make their job easier.

I'm the only goddamned person doing the job of two people.  I haven't had a morning or afternoon break all week.  I've taken calls on my lunch hours.  I've worked late twice.  But by all means ... let me make someone else's job easier.

My team leader was walking to the bathroom and saw me as I hung up the phone.  I don't know what I looked like ... but it couldn't have been good.  He pulled up a chair and wanted to know what was going on.

I told him everything ... but I can't imagine anything will change.  On Tuesday I showed him the note she left me that said I shouldn't be bothering the CSRs with questions.  Today she's saying I messed these orders up because I should've been asking the CSR questions.  I'm sorry a house fell on your sister but seriously, bitch ... pick a goddamned side and stick with it.

I am so frustrated.  I have to stay at this job until October so my cousin can get her referral bonus ... but after that, I'm going to considering leaving.  I can't take this kind of stress every day ...

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your hell, I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
You know you wouldn't want it
Any other way

Meredith Brooks - Bitch

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm a Slow Learner ... But I Get It ...

I'm conflicted about how to write this.  I can tell this story from two sides.  Three, if you count mine.

So let's start with my side ...

Back in January, my general practitioner told me they wanted to do blood work to test my cholesterol and what not.  She told me that in order to do the test, I would need to fast ... so just drop by the lab on my way to work.   I am, at heart, a sleepy person.  I stay in bed until the last possible moment,  I get ready for work in around fifteen minutes, and I drive the shortest, quick route to the office.  It's not that I didn't want to get the blood work done ... I just didn't want like the details of how I was supposed to get the blood work done.

Fast forward six months and it's time for another med check.  My doctor mentions, casually, that I haven't done my fasting test.  I lied.  I told her I forgot.  She said, "I notice that your nephrologist has standing lab orders in the system ... your next check with her is in August.  I'm going to go ahead and add mine to hers.  Now, when you to get your kidney function tested, you'll have to do mine as well."  To make matters worse, she added extra orders to the original including liver function and thyroid tests.

Well, shit.

So now let's go to Stoney's side ...

Last night I was at his house and mentioned that I needed to make an appointment with a dermatologist.  I have a mole that is bleeding and acting wonky ... and I need to have it checked out.  He asked when my next kidney appointment is ... and I said it was August 27th ... and then I made the mistake of complaining about the long-overdue fasting blood work.

I guess he does love me? 

He told me I had to get it done ... waiting six months was terrible and I had to get it done.  I told him, "I'll do it tomorrow ... probably.  I mean, I'll try.  It's hard getting going in the morning but I'll see what I can do."  At first he told me, "You have to take care of yourself.  If you don't get that blood work done tomorrow, no kisses."  I laughed and said, "I'm not coming over tomorrow night ... that's fine."  He looked at me sternly and said, "No kisses all weekend."  I grumbled ... and said, "Fine, I'll try."

At this point I should mentioned the blanket I have at his house.  It is a large (large) over-sized, fluffy, white throw that is so soft that it feels like you're wrapped up in a cloud.  I think he bought it for me out of love and kindness?  But also because fall is coming and I'd basically taken over his football blanket.  I love my new blanket ... I love it so goddamned much.

And so he told me ... "Get the blood work tomorrow ... or the blanket gets it."  "What?"  "Get your blood work done tomorrow morning ... or I'm setting it on fire in the driveway."  "No!  You wouldn't!"  "No, probably not ... but would you risk it?  Please ... it's important ... get the blood work done."

And so ... I did.  Not only did I get it done ... I texted Stoney pictures of the outside of the building, the lobby, the lab cubical, the tech, and seven vials full of blood.  Likewise, he texted me "proof of life" ... a photo of my blanket ... laying on the bed ... with a sign that read, "Thank you."

We were joking ... but I was glad he actually motivated me to get it done ... and I was glad that he cared enough to have an opinion about the whole thing in the first place.

Now ... I'm going to tell you the third side of the story.

I got an e-mail today from J.  It read, "I heard you were supposed to get blood work done.  Did you really go?"  I was irritated.  I wrote back a short, terse note saying, "Yes ... I went.  I have a photo of the vials of blood if you need proof."  He sent me back a short, three sentence message that brought tears to my eyes.

"You need to get your blood work done.  I let K slack on that and you see where that got us.  You don't get to slack anymore."

He's right.  She blew off her blood test.  More than once.  She knew liver damage was a side effect of her medicine ... but her veins were small and it was hard for them to stick her ... and it hurt.  So she didn't go.

Pain is an understandable excuse not to get blood drawn.  But having an understandable excuse doesn't make her any less dead.   It doesn't hurt when they stick me ... I just don't like to get up early.  And not wanting to wake up early?  Is a piss poor excuse.

So ...

Thank you, Stoney ... for caring enough to make me go. 

Thank you, J ... for reminding me there are consequences. 

We aren't kids anymore.  This stuff is important.  I miss her every day and I get it.  No more slacking.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Better Is Good ...

My baby has been sick.  And it scared me.

Vertigo is common ... and I am logical enough to realize that not everyone who experiences vertigo is having a stroke.  But still ...

Stoney wasn't feeling well Saturday evening ... so after Baby Bird's birthday party and a little grocery shopping, I headed home around eight.  I'm comfortable around him ... but sometimes it's nice to just be left alone when you feel like crap.  And so I hugged him, gathered my stuff, and headed back to the North Side.

Sunday morning, I got a text around eight a.m.  That was the first sign.  Stoney never texts me early in the morning on the weekends.  He always lets me sleep as long as possible.  I was already awake ... just laying in bed reading a book ... but his text tone surprised me.

He'd been up most of the night with vertigo ... and asked if I could get him some Dramamine and a special pillow.  I was worried about him.  Terribly worried.

My stroke started with vertigo ... and ended with eight days in the ICU.  Well, it ended with a lot worse than that ... but anyway ...

I digress ...

I jumped out of bed, got dressed and headed to the store.  When I went to the house and he described everything, it was a little less scary.  He'd already been looking up symptoms ... and it really did sound like inner issues.  Especially considering he was alright laying on his right side ... it was only his left ear that was making everything spin out of control.

So I hung out with him ... stayed in the living room and read my book while he napped off and on ... checked on him while he slept ... because knowing it's probably inner ear is not knowing it's inner ear.   I asked him to smile ... raise his arms ... do the little tests that the nurses made me do.  And he smiled that smile I love ... and that made me feel a little better still.

He saw the doctor today ... and he should be better in a day or two.  It's just one of those things. He's better ... and better isn't perfect ... but better is good.

Everything you are
Falls from the sky like a star
Everything you are
Whatever ever you want

Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Return of the Mack ...

YAY!  I have returned!

Okay ... so everyone who has ever read a blog post on here knows that I have an issue with procrastination.  I can have a project mapped out ... to the point I know that x number of items must be completed x number of days per week ... and every day I will find myself adjusting that formula.

I decided I wanted to make a throw for our friend's daughter's first birthday last Saturday.  I saw a neat pattern about a month ago ... and knew I had plenty of time to crochet the individual flowers and then put everything together.  But, as usual, I found myself moving that line ...

"If I skip tonight, I'll just have to do two extra flowers tomorrow."

"Okay, so I haven't done anything in three days ...
that just means I'll work a little harder this weekend."

It ... is ... ridonkulous.

It was so bad that last Monday, I realized how horribly I had botched this up.  I was so far behind that I was considering texting Stoney and calling an audible.  There was no stuffed animal or toy at Toys R' Us that was too expensive ... finishing this was simply not possible.

But I made a deal with myself.   Work hard ... as hard as you can ... and if, by Friday, you know you can't get it done ... then tell Stoney and you can shop Friday night.

And with that, I started crocheting flowers.  Flower after flower after flower after flower.  I got off work and I crocheted until ten or eleven.  I woke up and crocheted a flower before work.  Slowly but surely ... I was getting there.  I didn't go over to Stoney's to visit ... I didn't even go to his house on Friday night.  The finish line was in sight, and I knew  could make it.

As usual, I wasn't finished until the last possible second.  Friday night I stitched the last flowers together ... and whipped a basic, one-layered border around the edge.  The perfectionist in me is not happy.  I could've made a border with leaves .... I could've done something really impressive.  But ... sometimes we have to make do with what we have.  And I have no one to blame by myself.

Here's the almost finished product ... right before I put the border around the edge.

I'd like to tell you I've learned my lesson.  I'd like to tell you that I won't procrastinate or dawdle next time.  But there's just something wrong with me ... and there always has been.  When I was working on art projects ... even back in school ... I would say, "I work best under pressure."  And it's true?  I suppose?  I did paint some amazing things ... I made gifts ... I did all these great things at the last minute.  But only because I don't have the discipline to just get it done when I should.

And so ... the party went wonderfully and another project is behind us.  Now ... if I could just get that afghan done that I started for College One's wedding ... two years ago ...

Return of the mack
It is
Return of the mack
Come on
Return of the mack
Oh, my god
You know that I'll be back
Here I am

Mark Morrison - Return of the Mack

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pet Peeves - Work Edition - Volume 63 ...

If you work in an office and watch Mad Men, it's hard not to be struck by the difference in culture from today's offices to those in the 50's and 60's. 

I got my very first job in 1987 ... two weeks after graduating high school.  I was working in a word processing department for a local bank.   Ten hours a day ... four days a week.  Skirts were required ... as were pantyhose and attractive shoes.  

I'd been working there less than a month when the order came down from above ... no one was allowed to smoke at their desk.  People were livid.  I remember seeing herds of people loitering by the back door ... large, sand-filled ashtrays full of cigarette butts.

Attitudes were so different back then.  It's hard to put into words.  There were no such thing as sexual harassment laws.  It was common to have older vice presidents and loan officers hitting on the staff.  I remember terribly inappropriate things being said to one of my co-workers.  She was having a hard day once ... and an elderly executive named Matt walked into the room to ask about the status of a job.  She was snappish with him.  His response?  "Someone's bitchy today.  You need something warm against your belly."

I remember going to her later ... urging her to tell someone ... talk to our supervisor ... complain to human resources ... something.   She had been upset and teary eyed all day ... but she shrugged it off and said, "He was just joking.  Let it go."  I was seventeen ... just a kid.  She was in her late 20's ... a single mom with two kids and a drinking problem.  She didn't have the luxury of complaining.  She couldn't take that kind of risk.

The world is a different place now.  There are no full ashtrays laying around on desks.  People in my office wear jeans and flip flops.  There's certainly no unwanted sexual innuendos over the coffee maker.  My only complaint? 

Headphones are a universal sign that someone a) is working hard and b) wants to be left alone.  One of my co-workers does not respect the headphones.  It is maddening.  She continuously interrupts to make stupid, asinine comments ... even when I say something passive aggressive like, "Sorry, what was that?  I was so busy working on this rush order that I wasn't paying attention ..."

In the big scheme of things, being interrupted is much better than having to work ten hour days while wearing pantyhose and dealing with trolls who enjoy hitting on girls their granddaughter's age. 

But ... still ... I can't lie ... it make my eye twitch ...

I Don't Care What You Talkin'
'Bout Baby
I Don't Care What You Say
Don't You Come Walkin'
Beggin' Back Mama
I Don't Care Anyway

Michael Jackson - Leave Me Alone

Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams ...

I spent my teenage years in a small town ... with nothing for entertainment but three bars, two churches, and a video store.  K and I rented every movie in that store twice.  Good movies ... bad movies ... horror ... drama ... comedy.

Some of my best memories are of weekends when we stayed up all night watching early stand up videos of Robin Williams.   It was after Mork and Mindy ... before Dead Poet's Society.   He was manic ... obviously high ... and hilarious.

As I grew up, Robin Williams dried out ... and mellowed out.  I loved him in Birdcage.  To this day, I can't help stopping when I flip by that movie.  He and Nathan Lane were an amazing couple ... playing off each other perfectly.

So tonight when I stopped by Monty's to pick up a sandwich on the way home, I was shocked when Mom said, "Did you hear Robin Williams committed suicide?"  Of course I thought she was wrong.  It was another Internet rumor ... a sick Internet rumor ... it had to be.

But it wasn't.

I can't say it feels like a member of my family died ... because it doesn't.  And if I'm honest, there were quiet a few things on his resume that I didn't care for ... including his latest sitcom, The Crazy Ones.  But it still resonates with me.  It's so sad that someone who brought so much joy to so many people didn't feel that same joy.

It's just sad ...

Everyone can see we're together
As we walk on by
And we fly just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie
All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose

Sister Sledge - We Are Family

Sunday, August 10, 2014

You Sunk My Battleship!

What a weekend!  It was relaxing ... but busy.  So busy.  Saturday, Stoney's parents were coming down for a cookout.  So we spent Friday night just doing some light cleaning ... baking some birthday cupcakes since Momma Stoney's birthday is this week ... nothing terribly taxing but still ...

Saturday we woke up ... I ran the vacuum while Stoney prepped the ribs ... I lit a few candles and made the bed while he moved the kitchen table and took out the garbage.  We had a nice lunch and a great visit.  Stoney got them to watch the first episode of Breaking Bad ... and although they claimed to not be fond of it, they texted today and they're already up to episode four.  So ... success!

Saturday night, we cleaned out his pantry.  Well, that's a lie.  HE cleaned out his pantry ... and I basically was just a helper elf.  I moved things here and there ... ran a couple things downstairs ... tried to be helpful and stay out of his way at the same time.

Here's the hitch in my giddiup ...

Last night ... I can't speak for Stoney ... but I didn't sleep good.  I woke up at least four times to go to the bathroom.  I had leg cramps and took some potassium at one point.  Around midnight, I woke up with a terrible headache and took a couple Tylenol.  I was cold so I brought an extra blanket to bed ... and finally at some point in the dead of night, I was so exhausted that after I went to the bathroom, I fell into the guest bed and passed out.  No pillow ... no blanket ... just layed there snoring.

This morning Stoney went shopping while I slept ... then we both went back out after I woke up.   He made butter pecan bread ... which is so damned good ... and I took a nap.

What I'm trying to say is that we moved and moved and moved.  Other than watching a few episodes of Parks and Rec on Netflix last night, it really was a busy weekend.   We did play Battleship this afternoon ... but he beat me ... so ... there's that.  I'm tired ... but my 90 minute nap helped.  Meanwhile, Stoney is completely wiped.

This week is going to be rough ... my co-worker is gone again tomorrow ... and at some point this week, I have to go in for blood work ... and it has to be fasting this time.   Oh, did I mention I have to finish that crochet baby blanket this week?

So ... it was nice to have a couple fun days ... in preparation for a week of drudge.   We worked ... but working isn't so bad when you're with someone you love.

Mr. Jones and me tell each other fairy tales
Stare at the beautiful women
"She's looking at you.
Ah, no, no, she's looking at me."
Smiling in the bright lights
Coming through in stereo
When everybody loves you
You can never be lonely

Counting Crows - Mr. Jones

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tonight's Drama ...

Isn't it weird how something that was unheard of ten or fifteen years ago is now one of life's necessities?

Something has been weird with my phone for the last day or so.  I would get text messages ... but every so often I would hear my iPod touch ding inside my work bag ... with no corresponding ding on my iPhone.  Why did it take me this long to look into it? 

It seemed a little odd tonight.  I got a text from Stoney, who was having an issues installing a new lock in his house.  I wrote him ... but he didn't text me back.  That's okay ... we both get busy sometimes.  But fifteen or twenty minutes later, I noticed that I was hearing dings ... but they were coming from my work bag.  I dug my iPod out ... and sure enough, he'd texted me several times ... but nothing was coming through on my phone.

I rebooted it ... I messed with the settings ... nothing.  I texted Stoney ... it came back undeliverable.  He was sending texts that were going through to my iPod ... but nothing on the phone.  I texted the girls ... nothing went through.  I was in a panic.

And now we're back to square one.  Ten or fifteen years ago, this didn't even exist.  Now, when my phone stops texting, I am in full panic mode.  I've taught my mom to text.  Everyone texts.  This is just how we talk now.  I feel cut off ... and I call AT&T.

It was a problem with the iMessage server.  She showed me how to reset my connection to the server ... and just like that, everything was fine.  I feel stupid for worrying ... and I even apologized to the tech for calling about something so silly. 

She told me people call all the time ... in a panic because their cell phones are the way their boss gets in touch with them ... or they're waiting on a call from the hospital ... or their kids to get done at a game. Cell phones aren't just toys anymore ... gadgets to play with in a doctor's waiting room.  They're our direct link to friends and families and employers.  

Thank God mine is working now ... guess I can go back and finish that Bubble Witch level ...

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Bed or Bathroom ...

Well, hell.

Yesterday my stomach was doing that groaning/rumbling thing.  I ignored it ... because ... what else are you going to do?   I slept poorly ... tossing and turning ... getting up several times.  But by six a.m., I was up for good.  I took Imodium around seven thirty.  It helped ... and I went to work.

But after an hour, I sat there ... just miserable.  Imodium stops the immediate problem ... but it doesn't stop the cramps and the rolling.   So I hung on until eleven ... and asked if I could go home.

Tomorrow we're throwing an impromptu wedding shower for a co-worker who is getting married on Saturday ... and I am not only responsible for a crock pot full of taco meat but I'm also responsible for picking up a breakfast pizza because my boss dropped the ball.  So what I'm saying?  Unless I am admitted to the hospital tonight, I will be at work tomorrow.

I slept all afternoon.  I didn't even turn my television on until seven o'clock.  I haven't crocheted.  I haven't packed or sorted or organized.  I would feel like a complete failure ... but I have cooked the taco meet ... and I've watched two episodes of Orange is the New Black.

Some days we have to set the bar really low.  And for the record ... I could really  use a juice pouch right about now.

The animals, the animals
Trapped, trapped, trapped 'till the cage is full
The cage is full
The sun is out, the day is new
And everyone is waiting, waiting on you
And you've got time
And you've got time

Regina Spektor - You've Got Time

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Water, Water, and More Water

On Thursday or Friday, I noticed the twinge.   It wasn't terribly painful ... but it was consistent.  I tried drinking more water ... I stayed home and crocheted while I rested on Saturday.  But this morning, when we went to a movie, the twinge was back.  It was hard to concentrate ... I adjusted ... sitting forward to stretch.

I need to drink more water ... and I am trying.  I guess if things don't improve, I'll call the nephrologist on Monday or Tuesday and ask to drop off a sample at the lab.  It only worries me because of the time I had to get IV antibiotics.  I really don't have the time to spend at the infusion center ... what with my teammate gone the latter part of this week.

Next weekend, Stoney's family is coming down for a BBQ ... so I have one week to bounce back, to work on crocheting the blanket, and to finish Orange is the New Black.  It's alright.  What's our keyword for this week?

Water.  Lots and lots of water.

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to
I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you're moving too fast

TLC - Waterfalls

Saturday, August 02, 2014

But It's a Good Weird ...

I love my family.  I guess everyone does.  But my family tree resembles less of a maple or a spruce ... and more like a walnut.  It looks alright from afar ... but when you get close, you can't help noticing the nuts everywhere.

I guess I should take it as a compliment that my family feels so comfortable around Stoney that they'll say anything in front of him.  One of the first times he came to dinner, they told him they'd rather have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother who's a Cowboys fan.  Cause we're classy like that.   Last night wasn't any better or worse ... it was just ... typical.

We sat at the end of the table ... directly across from my uncle who's mind is slipping.  He likes to tell rambling stories about trains ... trains he's ridden on ... mountains they go across.  It hurts my brain to listen very long.  Meanwhile, my favorite aunt sat next to him and badgered Stoney about giving me a ring.  

My brother sat next to her ... talking about various things he was preaching on.  The only thing worse in this world than a reformed smoker is punk who grows up to find Jesus.   I should appreciate his conversion.  He's a much better person now than he was back then.  The difference is that back then you couldn't trust him.   He did drugs ... he cheated on his wife ... make that wives ... constantly ... but he was real.  This new preacher man facade feels just like that ... a facade.  It's a mask he's wearing now because it's what's convenient.  He can't be the cool, hip, young guy ... so now he's the deep, God-fearing man.  It's just another in face in a cabinet full he's collected over the years.

Further down the table, my other uncle had drank a little too much and he was in full entertainment mode.  He's fun to be around when he's like that ... and let me assure you I know how wrong that statement is.  And I'd like to say I'm sorry ... but I'm not.  It's true.   I'm just sorry we couldn't have sat closer to him last night.

At the end of the night, as we were leaving, my brother pulled me aside and quietly told me to call my Mom.  One of my cousins from up north called about some drama going on with that branch of the family tree ... and so I walked to the car ... utterly exhausted.   Before I left his house last night, I said, "Thanks for putting up with all that stuff and going with me tonight ..." and Stoney said, "It was fun ... I like family night."

It's probably a lie.  And if it is a lie?  It's a happy lie.  It made me feel better ... and I'll take it.

Everyone can see we're together
As we walk on by
And and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie
All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose

Sister Sledge - We Are Family

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You Live You Learn, Alanis ...

Sometimes I think that, despite my best intentions, I'm really not a good person.

This morning, J sent me an e-mail that was full happiness over the fact that Stitcher made him dinner last night ... meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sliced tomatoes with mozzarella.  He was practically floating ... describing watching her cook ... peeling potatoes for her ... feeling lost because someone else was cooking for him.

It made me sad.  Not just, "Awwww, that's sweet."  I actually got teary reading it.

I remember K telling me every we talked or texted about J fixing something for dinner ... he was making barbeque chicken or spaghetti or something.  And it hit me hard that there he was ... having someone take care of him for a change.  Of course he was beside himself with happiness ... even over something as questionable as meatloaf.

I sat there working ... thinking all these deep thoughts ... and decided to tell him about it.

I wrote him this long e-mail ... telling him about being sad ... but only because of the contrast between the way his life was versus the way his life is now.  I told him that K was always sad that she couldn't take some of the burden off of him ... and that she would be happy to know he found someone who wants to take care of him for a change.

It was much deeper and much more wordy that anything I usually send him.  I told him that I wasn't comparing our lives ... because his path had been much harder than mine ... but that I understood.  I explained that for fifteen years, I was the one who did all the cooking.  If anyone grilled, it was me ... when the trash needed taking out, I had to do it ... if anything broke, be it the refrigerator or the car, it was up to me to fix it.  So now it makes me so happy to see Stoney grilling for us ... or have him patching a wall ... or taking the trash out.  

I shared a little bit of myself with J ... which is something I don't do.  And what did I get?

I'm not sure if he even read my message at all.  I'm not sure if he bothered to get past the first sentence to be quite honest.

The entire reply was a spooge fest ... "she said I love you ... I said I love you too ... she said she's never going to date anyone else ... we've started a notebook with all the places we're going to travel ... we sat at the park and stared into each other's eyes ..."

Sigh ...

I didn't expect him to make it about me ... although I think this post sounds that way.  But I was trying to connect to him ... to tell him I understood.   And it all went over his head.   And now ... I regret being nice at all.  Which is why ... I am not a nice person.

We are supposed to do acts of kindness with no expectation of a return on that kindness ... and because of that expectation, I was disappointed.  That's what I get ...

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

Alanis Morissette - You Learn

Monday, July 28, 2014

Us ... on Saturday Night ...

(a visual representation of
us on Saturday night)

So here's my whiny, bitchy crab fest from this weekend.

Friday night ... I did not sleep well.   Other than getting to cuddle with Stoney, it was just not awesome.  I got up four times ... and between those four times I would lay there ... not being able to go back to sleep.  The frustrating thing is that there comes a point of no return.  There comes a point when you think, "I could take some Tylenol PM, but it's already one a.m."  

If you don't have any plans, you can say fuck it ... and knock yourself out.  You'll wake up at noon on Saturday ... but who cares?  

If you have plans?  Buckle up ... the next day is gonna be rough.

So ... I was awake when Stoney woke up around six.  By six thirty we were up and making bacon/sausage wraps for the charity scrapbooking/craft day.   I planned on being at the event about eight a.m. ... but I totally overshot it.  I was tired.  I was achy.  I didn't want to eat any bacon/sausage wraps ... so that right there tells you that all was not right in the world of ThirtyWhat.  

I ended up leaving the event early.  I was too tired to be social ... too tired to be creative ... too tired to be of any use to anyone.  So I went back to Stoney's and eventually texted everyone to tell them I wasn't feeling well and that we wouldn't be joining everyone for dinner.

Oh, the carping that ensued.  They gave Stoney hell ten ways to Sunday for not coming. 

Thing is neither one of us wanted to go.  Our reservation was late ... it was stormy ... he'd already had a late lunch with some other friends ... and, by God, occasionally you ought to be able to simply say, "I'd rather not."

The word from the grapevine today is that dinner that night was subdued ... because "it was late and everyone was tired."  What?  Really??  You don't say? After a twelve hour long day, everyone was too tired for a fun night out?  Color me shocked!

Meanwhile, our Saturday night was spent with me yoga pants ... a dinner of delicious BLTs with extra B ... playing musical catch phrase ... and ending with me taking a long, long, hot shower.   I'm sorry we were the voice of reason in a sea of temporary insanity ... but common.  I don't expect a whole lot ... but work with us, people!

And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it

Carole King - It's Too Late

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Night Special ...

So today ... I hit a wall. 

Aw, fuck it.  I'm tired. 

I'm going to bed.

Night, all.

I hear the secrets that you keep
When you're talking in your sleep
I hear the secrets that you keep
When you're talking in your sleep

The Romantics - Talking In Your Sleep

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday's Post - 24 Hours Later ...

As I told you earlier this week, we met First Wife and J for dinner the other night ... so that we might all meet the future Mrs. J.   And, believe it or not, I don't have anything snarky to say.  I know ... shocking.

Stitcher is nice.  She was quiet ... but most of us are when meeting new people.  I've apparently met her before.  We both belong to a local charity and she said she remembers meeting me at some point.  I don't remember her ... which, I assure you, is not an indictment of her.  I'm a delightful combination ... someone who is both forgetful and terribly unaware of her surroundings.  I swear at some point I'm going to look up and find myself in Narnia and have no idea how I got there.

Anyhow, Stitcher seems to be a nice enough woman.  My only criticism of her ... or rather of them as a couple ... is their insistence on spending every spare moment together.  Everyone's had a relationship like that ... but we usually burn that shit off early in life.  At some point in your evolution from teenager to adult, you develop the ability to be okay with your own thoughts ... and spending time alone isn't a punishment.

Okay, let's take a step back.  Maybe that sounded harsh ... and I don't want to come across as criticizing just for the sake of criticism.  What I'm trying to say ... is that I worry about him.  I worry that the pattern is less about him wanting to spend all his time with her ... and more about him wanting to spend time with anyone as long as he doesn't have to spend a single moment alone.

Before he met her, it was obvious that he was developing an aversion to being alone ... as if there was a problem if he wasn't at someone's house ... or doing an activity of some sort ... every single night.   He's met someone who apparently shares his aversion.  And while on one hand that's good ... on the other hand ... it's not entirely healthy.

I've talked him about it the situation ... asked him to talk to a counselor ... or a grief therapist ... something.  I loved my friend with all my heart ... but she was confined to a wheelchair.  She needed assistance to dress and to bathe.  She was getting worse ... she was struggling to feed herself.  At one point, she had me lift her hand to her face so she could scratch her nose.  The road they were traveling was not an easy one.

So he's gone from a lifestyle of having someone who depended on him twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty four days a year ... to total, absolute freedom.  Some people would embrace that freedom ... and, in some ways, he has ... to the extent of alienating almost all of his friends and family.  But at the core, I think he's just trying desperately to get back to the place where another human being is with him all the time.  It's like he has post traumatic stress disorder ... only with a ridiculous amount of disposable income.

So ... if love really is finding someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours ... then maybe these two crazy kids have fallen into mutual weirdness.  Only time will tell ...

Oh, crazy
For thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying
And crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you

Patsy Cline - Crazy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Putting My Ducks In a Row ...

It's weird ... how something small can ... inspire you.

Stoney and I have talked about me moving in with him for awhile.  Nothing sudden or immediate ... no one was pushing anybody ... it was just one of those, "Someday when this happens ..." kind of things ... a happy idea that we'd throw out there now and then.

The underlying problem has always been my house.  I own a house.  So does he.  My house is larger ... but isn't in a great part of town ... and is so much older and needs so much more work.  There's a thousand things I love about his house.  The washer and dryer is on the main floor ... there's a deck .... there's a two car garageBut what I love about it most ... he's there.

So ... for the last few months I've been making feeble attempts to get this house ready to sell.  The problem is that there was so much to do ... so much to clean ... so much to pitch ... that I was completely overwhelmed.  I've been saying I was going to get a dumpster and empty the basement out for a year and a half now ... if that gives you an idea of the kind of procrastination I'm talking about.

But last night, my contractor delivered the new front door and new storm door.  They're in the dining room ... just to keep them out of the way until he installs them in a couple weeks.  Seeing that beautiful new door propped against my wall lit a fire under me ... and I am inspired.

Tonight I've cleaned out the foyer ... straightened up the living room ... and started working on the spare room.   Yesterday I went outside and pulled a bunch of weeds and cut down a few huge weeds that were growing by the porch ... I swept the front porch. 

There is a lot to do ... but seeing things look nicer have given me a little hope.  I need to pack my grandmother's china and start organizing things I know I'll want to keep ...  but you know what?  I'm working for something special now.

Oh but workin' too hard can give you a heart attack
You oughta know by now
Who needs a house out in Hackensack?
Is that all you get for your money?

And it seems such a waste of time
If that's what it's all about
Mama, if that's movin' up then I'm movin' out.

Billy Joel - Moving Out

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boy, That Must Hurt ...

When I was nineteen years old ... before I discovered the rapture of alcohol ... before I discovered the bliss of weed ... I discovered the joys of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

K and I went to our first midnight showing of Rocky at the Legacy Theatre.  Of course, back in those days, it wasn't known as the Legacy Theatre.  It was just ... "The Theatre."   We bought a study guide and rented a VHS copy to prepared ourselves.  K bought the soundtrack and we listened to it in the car and sang along.  We got a list of props and went shopping. 

Finally, the night came.  We walked in quietly and sat in the back row ... trying to be inconspicuous.

Bad, bad idea.

A friend in mine in the theater community spotted us ... and came running over with a group of ushers waving flashlights and chanting, "Virgins! Virgins! Virgins!"   They had us stand up and made examples of us.  It was mortifying.  It was horrifying.  It was so ... much ... fun!

We shouted and we threw toast and we sang.  By the time the show was over, it was around two a.m.  My friend came over and told us that the performers and crew were going to Denny's ... and we were invited.   The restaurant was full of outcasts and misfits and outsiders.  They were subversive ... and for that one night ... we were part of their tribe. 

It was ... amazing.

I don't think we made it home until around five a.m. ... yawning with exhaustion ... shaking handfuls of glitter out of our hair and our shoes and our bras.  And thus ... a tradition was born.

K and I went every year ... and time passed.  Eventually the legacy theater stopped showing Rocky ... and we went to other venues.  We grew up.  We got older.  But Rocky never did.   Maybe that's the draw in these sort of things.  Year after year, we get further away from from that nineteen year old kid we once were.  But going Rocky brings it all back.  And for just a little while ... you feel like that teenager again.  You feel like one of the cool kids.

K kept going ... even after I stopped.  She got her husband to go ... and their friends.  They went every year.  I wish I would've been there to go with them ... but at least I got to go that last year.

A whole big group of us went that night.  Stoney went with ... but he was there as K&J's friend.  We weren't together yet (although I wouldn't have minded if we had been).  But he wasn't into me ... and heck, K was still trying desperately to hook him up with someone else at that point.  In any case, he was good sport and let them draw a big V on his forehead since it was his first time at Rocky.  He even let us take a picture of him with Frank at the end of the night.

It was a good feeling to be back.  It was a good night.

But ... the world keeps turning.  Things change.  Good things ... Stoney and I did become a couple.  Bad things ... we lost K.

J sent me an enthusiastic e-mail today ... full of exclamation points and caps ... telling me that tickets for Rocky were going to go on sale ... and even though K couldn't be there ... she would WANT us to go.

Would she?  Probably.  But I don't care.  Because when I go, I'm not this ThirtyWhat ... I'm the nineteen year old ThirtyWhat.  I'm the ThirtyWhat that went with K.   That show wasn't about me ... and it sure as hell wasn't about J.  That show was about K ... and how much she loved it ... even when she was stuck in a wheelchair and couldn't dance the Time Warp anymore.

And who knows?  Maybe I'll want to go again some day?  But that day isn't today.

In the velvet darkness
Of the blackest night
Burning bright
There's a guiding star
No matter what or who you are

Rocky Horror - There's a Light

Monday, July 21, 2014

Performance Anxiety ...

So ... tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow we meet the next future Mrs. J.  

We're going to Osaka with First Wife to meet J's newest girlfriend .. and J is, to put it lightly, beside himself.

Everything I know of her, I've gotten second hand through J.   If you listen to him, they sound like a couple of sixteen year old's who decided to go steady after passing notes in second hour American History.

He has declared his undying love after only two weeks ... she, likewise, has declared he will be "the last man she ever dates."   It's hard not to look at this situation and hear the faintest whisper of, "red flaaaaaag!"   But since they're both wanting to shift from zero to sixty ... I guess the bottom line is ...

How's it hurting?

I talked with Mom about it tonight ... and her opinion is very blunt.  "His first marriage was hard ... for better or worse, she's gone.  He deserves some happiness ... he should just go for it.  Get married.  You and Stoney just go up to the court house with them, stand up with them, and get it over with."

She's right ... he deserves happiness.  And I don't have any bad feelings about anything ... just nerves over meeting her.  I hope she's nice ... and I hope I like her.  For him ... because for some reason he's really fixated on me liking her.

And here is the secret. 

If I don't?  I'm going to lie.  I'm going to smile ... I'm going to tell him that she's wonderful ... and I'm going to let it all go. 

K was my friend ... and she's gone.  What J does or doesn't do at this point has no effect on her ... and it has no effect on me. 

I love Stoney ... and as long as he loves me?  It's all good.

'Cause each night
I ask the stars up above
Why must I be a teenager in love

Dion - Teenager In Love

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vampire Corgie Says, "Bite This"

I'd like to say I've been watching True Blood since the beginning ... but I haven't.  I was in the library one day and saw that they had the DVDs for the first season sitting there on a shelf ... and I thought, "Hmmm ... vampires?  On HBO?  Well, Sopranos was awesome so ... alright then ..."

And just like that ... I was addicted.   I was hooked ...

Sure, there was naked viking vampire sex ... but it was kitschy and funny.   The first season was awesome ... the second season was alright.  But True Blood is real life example of the law of diminishing returns.  Each season was slightly worse than the last ... and the level of suckitude just kept increasing exponentially.

Tonight's episode, like every other episode this year, was a yawn fest.  But ... two weeks in a row now ... there has been a moment where I got all misty eyed.  Maybe it's just me ... since my cousin didn't find single sentimental moment.

Last week it was seeing Terry Belfleur saying goodbye to Arlene ... telling her to stay with the kids.  Tonight was Andy Belfleur of all people.  I don't even like Andy Belfleur ... and yet and his awkward, wonderful proposal was so sweet.

True Blood has run its course ... it's time to put it out of its misery.   Sorry, Vampire Eric ... we knew this day would come.

Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don't wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there'd come a day
When we would have to say 'goodbye'

Robert John - Sad Eyes

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Little Corner of the World ...

I'm not as creative as I once was.  I used to draw non-stop.  I painted on occasion ... first on canvas and the eventually painting gifts like a custom Winnie the Pooh toy box for a friend's baby shower ... or a tiny Teletubbies rocking chair for my godson's second birthday.

Maybe it's age?  Little by little, the muse left.  I guess maybe part of it goes to the blog now?  Although this isn't really creative as much as public therapy.  

These days, if I create anything, it's usually crocheting.   A friend on Facebook shared a flower patterned window treatment with me ... and it got me thinking.  Stoney saw the post and immediately texted me to say, "That's not going up in my house."  No no no ... it looked pretty ratchet hanging on a window ... but ... as a baby blanket?  We have a friend whose daughter turns a year old next month ... and so ...

And so I started crocheting flowers.  Today I spent the day making flower after flower ... and letting movies play in the background so I can listen and look up occasionally.

No ... it's not canvas anymore.  And I don't carry my sketchbook with me like I used to.  Heck, I don't even know where my paints are in this house.  But ... I guess every little bit helps ...

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Pocahontas - Colors of the Wind

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nostalgia ...

For 23 years I worked in the same building.  I worked for the same agency, although not at the same desk.  I started out a clerk, worked my way up to a position as the director's secretary, and eventually found my way to the back of the office, first as a computer assistant and then as our LAN administrator.

Every day, I drove the same roads ... parked in the same lot.  I ate at the same lunch spots ... used the same bank branch.  Twenty three years is a long time.

My city is pretty small.  In fifteen or twenty minutes you can get from one end to the other ... from the north side to the south side ... a straight shot down 5th/6th ... from the east side to the west on Madison or Wabash.  So there's really no reason to not go anywhere.   And yet ...

After twenty three years, I work at the exact opposite side of the city.  Nothing is the same.  There's a McDonalds and a Hardees and an Arby's.  There's a Chinese restaurant.  There's a nail salon.  And I'm trying to adjust to my new surroundings ... but everything still feels so foreign.

So tonight, since I didn't have anything planned after work, I drove back to my old stomping grounds.   The minute I reached Sangamon, it hit me ... I miss this area so much.  There's a little Chinese restaurant that makes the best dumplings ... so I stopped to pick up dinner to take home.  I drove past my favorite nail salon ... and almost stopped to say hi to the owners ... even though I didn't need a pedicure.

I drove past the fairgrounds and almost turned onto the grounds.  I did take a drive through the park that I used to have lunch in ... and then I made my way back to my house on those same streets I drove for all those years.

I've only been at my current job for nine months.  I'm sure eventually that area of town will feel like home.   I'm sure eventually I won't miss my old job and my old friends so much ... right?

Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes

Lynyrd Skynyrd -
Sweet Home Alabama

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Better Day ...

This week at work has been stupid busy.   Supposedly summer months on my team are historically slow ... but this year has not been like years past.   Every day we've had multiple 50-state orders ... and those are the worst.   A 50-state order can take sixty to ninety minutes to complete ... meanwhile the queue is backing up and we're getting calls asking why jobs are sitting there untouched.

So I was sitting at my desk ... stressing out ... ignoring multiple e-mails and texts from J who was in the middle of an epic moonfest over his newest girl, Stitcher.  I was tired and frustrated and more than a little overwhelmed.

And then I got an e-mail from Stoney ... just a normal, "How you doing this morning?" kind of thing.  I stopped what I was going and took 60 seconds to write him back ... and then continued chipping away on the monster order I took.  Over the next half hour or so, we wrote back and forth ... snippets of peace in the middle of a virtual shit storm.

I'm not one of those squeeing girly girls ... but at one point he wrote something that was special.  I'm not gonna lie ... I was sitting there a little weepy ... trying to play it cool cause I don't want my co-workers getting all gossipy or thinking somebody died.

It's hard to trust people when you've been hurt ... and everybody's been hurt.  It's a wonder that anyone over the age of 12 trusts anyone at all.   We e-mailed ... and we talked ... and he made me feel better and special and loved.  No, the work didn't let up.   I was busy until the moment I said, "Screw it," and shut my computer off for the night.  But it was alright ... because I was still smiling. 

Thanks, Stoney ... for making my day a little better and my load it a little lighter.

And When I Go Away
I Know My Heart Can Stay With My Love
It's Understood
It's In The Hands Of My Love
And My Love Does It Good

Wings - My Love

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Friday Five for July 4th: Schwag

I've missed Friday Five for several weeks now ... and that's a shame.  Because they're great questions and are fun to answer.  So ... please excuse the tardiness ... but let's do a special July 4th Friday Five!
The Friday 5

* From Wikipedia: Promotional merchandise, promotional items, promotional products, promotional gifts, or advertising gifts, sometimes nicknamed swag or schwag, are articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo) used in marketing and communication programs. They are given away to promote a company, corporate image, brand, or event. These items are usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or slogan, and given away at trade shows, conferences, and as part of guerrilla marketing campaigns.

1. What’s the most practically useful article of schwag you’ve ever received? - I think the schwag I've enjoyed most were the perks I received working within the State Fair.   My ID badge got me free entrance on and off the grounds at any time.  My parking pass got me a front row spot 24 hours a day seven days a week.  Other perks varied.  In the early 90's, I had a friend in the front office who gave out bundles of carnival ride tickets to a few of us.  I usually had extra parking passes to give out for one or two days of the fair.  In the last few years, I had books of admission tickets to give away.  Silly things like lanyards ... coffee mugs ... and t-shirts were pretty common.  There was knowing the secret WiFi password for the grounds.  Oh, and let us not forget the holiest of holy perks ... the use of a golf cart.

Don't misunderstand me ... working on the grounds was, for the most part, an enormous pain in the ass during the fair itself.  The traffic was a nightmare.  The visitors could, at times, be staggeringly rude.   The heat was mind numbing.  But I also met some of the nicest people on the planet ... I tried a lot of weird, new food (mostly fried) ... and I was able to use my perks to give some people a really special fair experience.  This will be the first year since 1991 that I won't be a part of the Illinois State Fair ... and I think, much to my surprise, that I'm actually going to miss it.

2. What’s the most useless schwag you’ve ever received? - For awhile ... back in the early 90's, I had a part time job at a video rental store.  The owner would receive schwag from various movie companies ... and from time to time he'd share the items he didn't want with the employees.  We would come in to find various items stacked on his desk in the back room with a "Free to Take" sign next to them.  The items were always stupid ... like a handful of key chains from whatever new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie was coming out ... or a t-shirt from a Rodney Dangerfield movie that was size XX-small ... a size that fit no one on the staff.  The worst was a clock for some action movie ... that didn't even work.  So lame ...

3. What schwag do you receive on a regular basis, and how do you feel about it? - I don't get a lot of schwag these days.  In my last job, there was always something fun in our "prize closet" ... rain gauges or hats or garden gloves or totes ... calculators and mouse pads and tape measures.   These days I am, sadly, nearly schwagless.

4. What’s something that could reasonably be great schwag material but for some reason isn’t? - About four months ago, my current employer passed out cool little pedometers ... with the idea that all of us could get a little healthier.  Not a bad idea, in and of itself.  The problem was the way it was presented ... which was more in the vein of ... "Here, ya bunch of fat asses ... do something with yourselves!"

My pedometer is still in my desk drawer ... still unopened in the original cardboard box it came in.  I may be fat?  But I am also a woman ... and sensitive ... and, I suppose, a little stubborn.  So how about you show a little sensitivity?  Asshats ...

5. What the schwag that’s physically closest to you right now? - There is Vision Care bag two feet from me ... a "goodie bag" that came with my newest pair of prescription glasses.  There's a magnet and pen in there ... along with a little bottle of glass cleaning solution and a microfiber wipe.  I love that stuff ...

That's it ... that's the schwag report for the day!  YOLO!

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine

Justin Beiber - Baby

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weird News/Good News ...

So ... weird news ... and good news.

I went out at lunch today to buy a few things at Walmart.  Mom wanted a cover for her new cellphone ... and I wanted to look at yarn.  Plus this morning I pulled out my favorite pair of jeans only to find a rip in them.  No, not at the very bottom ... where all my jeans are ripped.  It's the curse of being fun-sized.   I was also going to be needing a new pair of jeans ... at least one pair.

So I set off at lunch ... leaving my sweater at my desk because it was hot as balls outside.  I could just tell I was getting worn down ... the heat was getting to me ... I wasn't feeling ... right.  And when I got back to my desk, I noticed that my hands were shaking ... a lot.  I'm guessing I was overheated?  It wasn't a pleasant sensation.

By the time I left work, I wasn't shaking anymore ... but I was terribly nauseous.  I came home, called mom to tell her I was alright, and then laid on the end of the bed and took a nap.  I woke up an hour or so later when my text message chime went off.  I felt ... better?  Not 100% but better.

So ... that's my weird news.  I'm only blogging about it in the off chance I die in my sleep tonight ... someone please tell the coroner I was feeling wonky, kay?

My happy news.  Walmart didn't have my favorite jeans in my size.  I'm round and petite ... an awkward combination.   They did have my favorite type of jeans ... just one size smaller.  I stood there (profusely sweating and shaking ... take note of that, Dr. Quincy) and debated the situation.  My jeans were loose on me.  I mean my jeans are always loose on me because my kidneys hurt when I wear anything tight.  But ... they were very loose this weekend.

So ... being as how I felt like I was going to pass out if I didn't get something cold and liquid in me soon ... I picked up the smaller size and thought, "If they don't fit, I won't cry ... I'll just take them back."

I didn't try them on when I got home ... cause I felt like shit.  I didn't try them on when I woke up ... because by then I'd forgotten about them.  When I finally got up to go to the bathroom around nine, I spotted the bag on my bedroom floor. 

New jeans.  Try them?  Ugh ... it's going to be depressing and I'm going to end up sad.  Oh well, I already feel like shit ... let's do this.

They ... fit.   They fit fine.  Not hanging off me, by any means ... but just fine.

YAY ... yay for me.  Mild heat stroke aside ... this has been a relatively good day.

Now ... back to bed.  Small victories!

Good news is sweepin' cross the country
Good news is spreadin' all around
Good news is hittin' in the city
Good news has sprung up in the town

Randy Newman - Good News

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Again ...

I was doing so well ... trying to get back in the habit of writing each and every day.  Then I forgot to take my laptop with me this weekend ... and I was far too lazy to drive back over here and get it ... so ... the blog, like the cheese, stood alone.

We played trivia at a United Way charity event ... and our table won second place.  What you have to know, is that this is ... stunning.   The amount of fucking around that was going on at our table was insane ... and our second place victory is less a compliment to our playing skills ... and more a harsh statement on every other table in the room.  Common, people ... 60% of our players were half lit and throwing candy at one another for the last half of the night ... what were you people doing???

The night was fun ... and the only down side to it was that we were hosting a BBQ the next day ... so there wasn't a whole lot of recuperation time.   Luckily it didn't start until two o'clock ... so I had time to run to Walmart to pick up a few things ... Stoney did almost all of the prep work ... and we were able to unwind for a few minutes before people started showing up.

The BBQ was great!  We all ate together ... but ended up splitting up into two or three groups ... some in the kitchen ... some in the living room.  I should've been a better hostess ... but by eight o'clock I was leaning against Stoney and wishing desperately that it wasn't poor etiquette to tell everyone goodnight and go to bed with a half dozen people still in the house!

This week, I'll write about my sleep study ... I'll get caught up on the Friday Five and get back into the groove.   But tonight, it's Big Brother and True Blood ...

I feel so blessed.  I had a great weekend ... I have wonderful friends ... and I have a gentleman friend who isn't just someone I love ... he's also my favorite person.

How do I love you. well let me see
I love you like a lyric love a melody
Baby, completely wrapped up in you
How do I need you, well can't you tell
I need you like a penny needs a wishing well
Baby, completely wrapped up in you

Garth Brooks - Wrapped Up In You