Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today Was Eventful In Its Own Special "Only In My Head" Way

I was eating an apple turnover today and after I took a bite I set it on the corner of the table (I do not know why) while I reached for my tall glass of cow-juice (nice imagery, huh?). As I tilted the glass to my lips I saw the apple compote spill out of the opening I had made with my last bite. Everything turned all slow motion-like and I said "Nooooooooooo!!" as I reached out to save the fruity goodness. I then realized that things had not in fact turned slo-mo-like, but rather I perceived it this way because the fruit guts of the turnover were quite gooey and thus moved at a very plodding pace. I was tricked to believe time had slowed down by an apple pastry.
Have I mentioned I am sick and had just woke up from a nap when this all occurred? Yeah, that still doesn't give me a good out, but perhaps a little lenience can be allowed.

During my nap I dreamt about a friend that I have not seen in the flesh for a good 10 years give or take, coming to visit me at my parent's house in Washington. He showed up with approximately four garment bags stuffed full and proceeded to change his clothes three times over the course of 20 minutes (in dream time, which has absolutely no bearing on reality time. Also, YAY DREAMS). He asked for advise on what to wear on a date with my sister (not my real-life one, but the extra one I have in my dreams. Again, whoa dreams). I pulled out some button down shirts and nixed them. I found a baseball shirt with a rather intricate diagram/flowchart on how to determine if what you want to do is okay by social standards. The only part I remember clearly stated the following in blue and red script: "Is the person you are asking if your actions are okay, smart?" "Yes" pointed to this bubble: "Follow their advice, they are most likely guiding you in the right direction" "No" pointed to: "They're stupid? Fuck 'em. Do whatever the fuck you want."

I cannot say this enough or with adequate emphasis, I NEED THIS SHIRT.

(above shirt is not as close to as rad as I need it to be, but you get the idea. Also google image search can only do so much.)

Before this epic nap adventure took place, I was on the couch bemoaning my sore throat and swollen glands to my cats (as no one else was around) and ended up wrapping my scarf around my head a few times in an effort to warm up my ears and thus up my overall body temperature. I had this sort of hip turban look going on, I am certain. The cats were less than impressed, but dude, they are cats. Nothing other than hunks of tuna, catnip and string actually gets them aroused in any fashion anyway. I took no offense and drifted off into my own personal turban wearing land of nod.

This was all well and good until some sleep shifting occurred and I woke up with start. (In my dream someone was running towards me with a jousting stick, or whatever the hell those scary, large pointed medieval accessories are referred to as.) I sort of lurched forward, only to find that one of the end of my scarf was tangled beneath me. This would have been fine had the rest not been coiled around my neck in a rather constricting manner. There was a battle between me and an inanimate object, from which I reigned victorious, but narrowly so. Fucking scarf, with its innocuous soft warmth and fucking ninja-like thin/longness being all dangerous and shit when you least expect it.

To cope with all the excitement of today, I am going to have a economy size glass of wine and scribble flowchart ideas on scraps of paper. Maybe I will make a flowchart about whether or not you need to make a flowchart to illustrate a point or facilitate a process. That is META, MUTHAFUCKAS!!! And probably has been done a million times over by others and with better graphics than the ones I would come up with.

Oh, and Happy Holidays, or something. Mine can be summed up in the following sentences:
1. I love my niece and nephew.
2. The other family members are pretty cool as well, for just the right intervals of time (not too long, not too short).
3. I am pretty fucking ready for 2010.
4. I got hit on by a Boise State football player on a plane ride and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. He was only 22! (Though cute as hell. Had the tall/dark/handsome thing going for him. Oh, and a southern accent as well as southern gentlemanliness to top it off. He must be used to getting all sorts of positive feedback on planes. I think my "sitting next to you friendliness" paired with my rather short goodbye threw off his sense of game. His parting look after I said "pleasure talking" and walked off was priceless.)
5. I do not like when people I know get hit by cars. It is stressful. (Said person should be alright. He's 89, but built like an ox, as AM puts it.)
6. I ate of lot of cookies.
7. One day was dedicated to solely eating fried pork skin and donuts. Yeah.
8. I got to see snow. Not bad.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Hate Dory (Dory Was Right)

I am at a point in my life I never anticipated being at. A crossroads, time of change and uncertainty that is has left me without orientation. My compass rose is malfunctioning and true north could be any which way as far as I am concerned. In the past, my mood and mental health would dictate that during a time like this that I curl up in the fetal position and stay there for as long as possible. Rarely washing my hair, often eating too much or hardly eating at all, and crying buckets in ragged tones. Ya know, clinical depression, or whatever the doctors were calling it at the time.

However, this time through the confusion and sadness, something is different. Something palpable and good.

I have so many unknowns flitting around in my head . Where am I going to find a job? When? Will I be able to afford a new place to live? Will my mood suddenly collapse? Am I going to loose friends? The questions are nearly constant. A buzzing, humming noise in my mind. It is always there, but is most noticeable when everything else is quiet. Needless to say, I listen to a lot of Pandora lately. The unending circle of questions results in something new however. I have answers that I keep saying to myself: It will work out, it always does. I’ll be fine. I am strong enough for this. I will keep going.

I cannot count how many times I have said these words out loud to the reflection in the mirror or the even more multiplied times I have repeated them as my mantra, silently before bed. Laying in the relative dark, city lights seeping in the crack of the windows just as the questions seep into the cracks of my mind.

My way of coping with loss is different than ever before as well. In times past of emotional turmoil I have resorted to tears, self-abuse, copious amounts of alcohol and a near constant verbal assault on myself. I’m no good, I don’t deserve happiness, I am a failure. People's support and willingness to love and help and listen was seen, but not understood. It was just another way I was a burden. I hated to rely on anyone, I hated to ask for help, say I wasn’t okay.

Alright, so some things haven’t changed too drastically. Asking for help, love, support takes epic amounts of energy, nerve wear and hours, days of contemplation. There is a certain amount of perceived control that is lost in the action of saying, “I am not enough on my own, and I need help”. You must understand, coming from the family I do, giving up control is sort of like giving up a limb or two for absolutely no reason. Who would do that?

"Hey Anna, why did you shear off your right arm and leg?"

"Oh, just to see what it’s like."

NO. That simply does not make sense, thus it is not done.

But I have asked for help. And I got it.

Before I did any of this though, I decided I was going to keep moving. I was not going to let the sadness and scariness of what may be, stop me in my tracks.

Everyday I set goals for myself in order to keep going. Some days it involves applying for at least three new jobs, and writing the corresponding cover letters. Other days it is cleaning house, cooking dinner, practicing music. There are days where I start with one simple goal and once it is accomplished, I set another one. Incremental steps that get me out of bed, and often times showered and relatively productive. In the mornings sometime I have to set goals like “I am going to count to 5 and then get out of bed." Some days I have to count to 1000 in various increments of time before I actually get out of bed, but I don’t beat myself up about it too much. I just get up and set the next goal. In 10 seconds I am going to put pants on, etc.

Which leads me to realizing that Dory, from “Finding Nemo” was right all along. When you are lost, just keep swimming. When you are scared, just keep swimming. When you don’t know what comes next, just keep swimming. Just. Keep. Going. Pretty soon you find yourself dressed, fed, contacting loved ones, laughing, singing, writing, and perhaps dipping into the occasional dark alley of the mind, but walking back out in time. I hate that I can take all my life concerns, boil them down and realize the basic answer is to quote a fucking cheesy Pixar movie. Although, let's be real, it was a pretty good movie…

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silly For Silly's Sake (And My Mental Health)

(click on the picture to read the text better)
Superpoop is one of the greatest online comics ever. DO NOT ARGUE ME ON THIS POINT. Chances are I will contradict myself soon enough anyway.
This is how I am tempted to approach all of life's challenges. I shall just hammer them to pieces until they yield to my will. Or they become a pile of broken plastic. Whatever. Also note I have pliers and a screwdriver. Do not fuck with me anymore universe, for I am prepared to assemble Ikea furniture. What? I need an allen wrench? I HATE EVERYTHING.
Click to embiggen. I forgot to keep the link to the source for this poster. I suck at blogging, okay. What's new?
The day I realized I was probably getting canned from work I did exactly this. I stayed in the dark for a few hours, burrowed under the covers with just my nose and eyes showing, not moving at all and wondering what else could go haywire. I gave myself one evening for this kind of moping. Now I am driven and energetic and mope on the go! Sitting on the couch sending emails! While going for a walk for no reason! Shopping for groceries! All prime mobile-moping opportunities. It is way different then staying in bed.
I never liked the owl trend. The "ORLY?" owls as well as pretty much all of the kitschy, 60's retro owls that were plastered on all hipster items just didn't do it for me. These owls, though? These owls rock my face off.
I don't really have to ask because I already know what the answer will be to the question "Who wants to take a sled-ride in their jammies on a rainbow that originates from the crotch of some floating sky-man?" I know, EVERYONE. Line starts behind me!

And thus concludes the latest installment of: Anna collects random ass pictures/the internet has no lack of WTF.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sometimes When You Start Writing What Comes Out Is Not What You Expected

I meant this to be a subtle mulling over of greater desires in life, but I got real specific, real soon. I give you, Whoa Is Me. (Yes, Whoa, spelled that way, not woe. It's funny, so just go with it.)

Everyone is looking, searching for something. A lost button on a shirt, a soulmate, a cheap but functioning car. I am searching for a job again. I am also thus searching for what my professional calling is. I really, REALLY want to be done in the field I have been working for... oh god, eight years. The thing is, I am quite good at what I do most of the time. I work long hours, come up with super creative ways to address behavior concerns of kiddos with developmental disabilities, can train a new tutor like it was nothing, and build relationships with intention and empathy. The area I fail in time and time again is the nit-picking bits. The items I feel take energy and purpose away from the ultimate goal (independence and self-assurance for my clients) annoy me, frustrate me and ultimately, trip me up. The constant additional paperwork that the supervisors who forgot what it is like to be in the field all the time assign, the accounting for every last minute of all work completed in triplicate (at the minimum), and the expectation that you will learn all of the intricacies of policy and operation with no flaws whatsoever. And it's funny, because ultimately I actually love details. I love making sure everything is covered and taken care of. Generally speaking, I thrive on these elements, but when you are told to spend 75% of your time making direct visits (face to face with consumers), but are still expected to have all the tedious paper and electronic work completed without full compensation, one gets a little... grumpy. Now, it should be noted that my previous employer (yes, I was let go) was pretty much the best company I have worked for, but there are pervasive elements in the field of ABA that no matter how wonderful your company may be cannot be avoided. Nature of the beast, or something like that.

I will miss my kiddos. They were amazing, and well on the way of their loosely linked path to independence and personal success. Wildly variant, I learned the most from them over the years. I have loved them deeply, all the while playing the professionals role. Did they know? Brief glimpses told me yes, but the majority of the time I spent with them I was enforcer, trainer, teacher with a mission, etc. I have had a kid within five minutes of my arrival grab my work bag (3/4s of his body weight), drag it to the front door, and start waving goodbye. Yeah, love you too, you stinkbutt. But I would always stay and by the end of the session be giving tickles, making silly faces, learning how to put on shoes, playing appropriately with the Ironman action figure, or practicing saying "mama".

So it turns out I focused too much on ideas, hopes, and innovation and forgot to track my time perfectly. And guess in which area you are not allowed second chances? You got it right. And it was my fault so I have no one to point fingers at besides this miffed redhead. I hate to know my passion also sabotages my success. I asked point blank if my confession of personal strife (details withheld from readers because I said so) had effected their perception of me as well as the quality of my work so much that it was over for me. The answer was no. They didn't want to lose me and would have liked to have worked to develop me professionally, but when a company has a no tolerance policy...

And here I am, unemployed again and SO ready to do something... different. It is time. I have applied for a few positions already and will apply for even more tomorrow and the next day until I get what I am looking for. Okay, until I get a reasonable offer if we are gonna get real about it, but I do hope it is brand new to me and at least for a little while, fulfilling in a novel way. I need a tabula rasa to scribble my abilities on and see my marks, not anyone else's.

A girl can hope.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Got Nada.

'cept for some pictures that reference The Beatles. Look, it has been a long few weeks and promises to be a long many more. Breaks need to be given. Also, this shit is funny.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Much Is Too Much

I am an over-sharer. Once I get talking or typing I will spill much more than in required by circumstance and divulge intimate pieces of my life and my opinion with reckless abandon. And it is not so much that I innately trust some people, I pretty much have no qualms about rehashing my entire 5th grade experience, my concern about my GI track, or pronouncing my perspective on things I know little of to quite a range of people. The sweet and caring drunk older lady at the bar that one night a few months ago who played confess-your-deep-dark-secrets with me. The awesome family members that put up with infrequent phone calls versus random gut spilling emails. Girlfriends who know that I have a tendency to dominate a conversation if I am not conscious of maintaining the balance. (Luckily most of the women I surround myself with are loudmouths too, who have no issue with shooshing me so they can have the spotlight for a bit. We all know that this is acceptable etiquette during repartee.)

I have gotten better, in a way, about not spilling the beans about whatever my little heart desires (minus during heated, beer swilling evenings) at the drop of a hat. Now I insert a pause and perhaps a few questions to the other person before running my mouth.

Which brings me to this blog. I pretty much only do stream of consciousness writing. I open a page, start typing and see what happens. There's a lot happening lately that needs an outlet, and if I really let myself I could post all sorts of entries. But the time isn't right. I don't know if it will ever be right. I might get there one day, but may well have moved on from blogging by then to writing novels or poetry in bathroom stalls. You never can tell.

It feels weird to self edit as the things I can write about keep shrinking. If I talk about work, I risk client confidentiality; if I blab about the personal lives of myself and friends, I risk the friendships themselves; if I put it all out there, I could cause some strong reactions (and by no means sparkling and positive in nature). So now I have all these ideas running around in my head, eating their own tails and nipping other's ankles. Is it possible that I am learning a lesson about restraint and timing? I think this may be the case and its not a bad deal. It makes for lackluster posts until I can find some random foible of daily life that no one cares if I rant in detail about, but I think we will all live.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why the Modigliani Face?

I keep trying to turn the corners of my mouth up, but today it is not working. No, no, no, not at all. Even my stupid art joke of a title doesn't do anything for me and I LOVE bad puns, especially if they have a snobbish reference in them.
It is as though the muscle relaxer I took over 24 hours ago (whoa, the muscle spasms lately) is still lingering in my face. But not so much my brain, because although it may be feeling rather lackluster in mood it seems to be spitting out all sorts of random shit at normal speeds. I can feel that the grey matter is maintaining its weight atop my shoulders, but damned if I can figure out what the hell it is scheming up there.
It amazes me that something so integral to my entire concept of self can be such a fucking mystery at times. When my body does weird-ass shit and my mood plummets I get this distorted way of looking at things. It is as though I am looking at everything I do, people I interact with from above, or away from myself. Watching me, as though in a movie, with one goofy perspective.

Another strange side-effect of a crummy disposition and the sorta-sickies that are plaguing me (get it? Plaguing-->plague-->sick. This play on words has never been done before, I am sure of it.) is the sudden sensitivity to the most random of stimuli. The smell of popcorn in the office (co-workers, seriously, three bags in one hour!?) makes me want to puke in someone's desk drawer next to their post-it notes and paperclips. My own internal monologue seems really EMPHATIC suddenly, but I can't make myself not hear it as LOUD NOISES.

Today, I got into a shouting match, with my brain between my perceived external persona and my brain's narrator. It was all kinds of WHOA.

External Me: Hey brain voice, do you know you are shouting the email you are trying to compose? You needn't do that.
EM: I do not feel HELPED right now. In fact it feels like the opposite.
EM: (rubbing temples) That makes NO FUCKING SENSE, BRAIN. Please, just go back to normal volume. I promise I will stay focused.
EM: FINE. Just don't mind me when I box my own ears.

(this is what I imagine it would look like if re-inacted by a small asian child and a bovine-like animal)

And then my brain asploded. It's been happening a lot lately.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Distraction Action

This post is purely an excuse to take a break from working on lesson planning sheets. I have about 55 to write by the end of the week and my brain is starting to make a "ffzztz-fztzz" noise. WHEEEEE!

Look, I know this looks creepy and has every potential to smell really bad, but the truth remains: I want to go to there.

FINALLY! It is about time someone drew up the anatomy of Godzilla. I mean anthropologists, come on! And to think you called yourself scientists up to this point. Pfff.

I am going to attempt to use the word peapod more often from here on out. Try it. It feels really, really good to say. (Oh, that's just me? Fine, I will say it as much as I please and you can have the other vegetables. Have fun with cabbage.)

I love this anthropomorphized penguin ever so.

Heheh. I mean, don't be this guy. Too much.

This post did not take nearly enough time to fully distract me from my actual responsibilities. Thus I shall now make a mix CD for some poor SOB.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What!? I Am Not Peter Pan's Hot Sister That Also Never Has To Grow Up?

I keep thinking I would blog about growing up in an eloquent, I'm not just stringing a litany of complaints together way. I am not sure I am there yet, but I just gotta get this out.

"Everybody knows
It sucks to grow up
And everybody does
It's so weird to be back here.
Let me tell you what
The years go on and
We're still fighting it, we're still fighting it
You'll try and try and one day you'll fly
Away from m

Ben Folds knows what's up in this regard. We all know how hard it is to take on the trappings of adulthood and not go fucking insane every once and a while. Go on a bender of excess, irresponsibility, shortsightedness. But we also can't stay young and cared for by others forever. In fact we resist it mightily for much of our formative years only to figure out how fucking sweet we had it once we flounced out of our self-described 18-and-under prison and experience post-college paying bills and cleaning our own messes (food spills, employment woes, etc) aspect of life.

Hey... so, oops Mom and Dad. I take back the prison comments I used to make. Ha ha. All a joke! More like four-star hotel! Private chef! Personal spa! Chauffeur! (just wondering if the basement is still open?)

I do an adequate job of being a grown-up. I don't call myself a girl very often anymore. I actually say woman without blushing or adding caveats to qualify my statement. But I still struggle to maintain certain expectations about my performance more than I would like. Like waking up from my dreamscapes for work, doing my laundry, sticking to a budget, dressing my age (whatever that means), thinking seriously about home ownership... I watch some of my peers make small people, take on debt for a home and my mind reels. How do they do it without their heads exploding each morning!?!

'Cause I am pretty sure that is what would happen to me if I tried any of that shit.

Baby-steps. Holding down a job, waking up before 10 on weekends of my own volition, planning dinners ahead for the week. And there is nothing like relaxing with a book, candles going, a glass of wine, music low and a clean house in the evening. I do love me a good night out with beers, loud music, late hours and suffering the ensuing headache earned through the debacle of the previous night. Just not every night please. My old joints can't take it, and my stomach lining really insists I cool it. Oh darn, guess I will just stay in and cuddle with the cats. Rough life, I tell ya.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Am A Study In Psychosomatic EVERYTHING

If you every wonder how I am doing and have the misfortune of knowing me in real life you don't really have to ask. Just look at my posture, my healthy glow or conversely my pallor, my cuticles... Okay, actually ask me instead of inspecting me like a monkey searching for nits and such, but you get the idea. I can hide my emotions and put awesome make-up to cover up the haggard look I sometimes sport, but too long in the sunlight and it fades. It melts away and my smile doesn't crinkle my eyes like a genuine smile should. It is at this point that people tell me I look tired, or worn out and I nicely resist punching them in their fucking neck.

When my mind is stressed my body is soon to follow. AM and I have a tiff about something trivial? Eczema only on the wedding ring finger. I am under deadline pressure at work and feel overly burdened? Back spasms assault me when I reach for a cup for my tea at the office. Existential angst about my "true calling" or "path"? Insomnia for a week or five. Not being able to afford donations to local NPR station or Loaves and Fishes? Break out the Malox and fiber pills, Mama can't digest her food.

And heaven forbid someone near me get ill, injured or overly stressed. Whatever ailment you have I pick up because I care for you so much my brain makes my body freak out with sympathy pains. Example: I had boyfriend in college who had a family history of bad knees. Here is what happened:

BF: (limps into apartment, sets down soccer gear)
Me: Are you okay? What happened?
BF: I slide tackled (name) before he could score and fucked up my bad knee.
Me: Oh shit, have you iced it yet?
BF: Nah, I should be okay.
Me: Really? Let me get some frozen peas. Just in case. It sorta looks swollen...

Five Hours Later

BF: Uuurgh! This really hurts. Can you grab me some more ibuprofen?
Me: Coming up shortly. (gets up stiffly from couch)

The Next Morning

Me: (waking up, I toss the covers off my legs) What the hell is going on with my knee?
BF: You mean MY knee? I can't bend it still. I think I might go by the doctor.
Me: Umm, no. Look at my knee. Something is going on.
BF: (he looks) Holy shit! Its as swollen as mine almost. Did you hurt it last night?
Me: (flopping back down on the pillows, realizing what it is) No. This is just because I love you.
BF: What?
Me: Sympathy symptoms. I must like you something awful 'cause this hurts a ton.
BF: You're body is weird.
Me: Yes, thank you for pointing it out.

When he twisted it playing soccer and it swelled to epic proportions, my corresponding knee was not far behind. I couldn't bend it and it actually swelled enough that I stopped by the school clinic. I took anti-inflammatories for a week and hobbled about until he was better. Once he was, overnight, the pain was gone. Same thing when he got his wisdom teeth pulled. I couldn't swallow or talk for 48 hours (relief to some I imagine).

So, it's cool and all that I know I can feel very strongly for others (and for my own gerbil on a wheel of a brain), but perhaps there is a way to feel a little less literally. Oh, who am I kidding? If tomorrow I lost this oft inconvenient way of experiencing the world I would feel... lost, disconnected, numbed. And, let's be honest I'd bitch about having lost it just as much as I do about having it in the first place.

But just because you love me and I love you, please do not seriously injure yourself or become intensely ill, thank you. I can only handle so many ailments at a time and right now there seem to be a few more flair-ups than I would like.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Walking Contradiction

Every person I know changes their mind sometimes. It may be about trivial minutia or big, changing-my-life items. We contradict what we insisted last year we would never be caught dead wearing/doing/believing. My sister used to remind me that when I was in 9th grade I swore up and down that I would never be caught without mascara on and would never smoke pot. Guess which one I stuck with?

Okay, yeah neither.
The point is that we change our opinions all the time. Its normal. However, I sometimes engage in what can only be described as paradoxical behavior. As in, I am believing or engaging in two rather opposite behaviors at or nearly at the same point in time. Exhibit A: I was looking at waist cinchers online (for a Halloween costume idea that requires a tiny waist) while eating a chocolate bar and four servings of garlic melba rounds. Exhibit B: loving the taste of lime in my bloody beer (tomato juice, cheap beer, pepper with a squeeze of lime), but finding the lime in my menudo (tripe soup with tomato base broth) to be completely gross. Two similar versions of lime in tomato only six days apart is a completely different experience somehow.

The more serious types of incompatible thoughts are of course the projection judgments I place on others, decrying their inconsiderate nature, disgusting habits, etc all while knowing deep down I share a bond with them for these very same behaviors. Stealing, cheating, lying. We have all done some variation of these, and perhaps while hiding it from the world as best we can we are pointing fingers at someone else.

I watch someone bite their cuticles and I want to vomit. I get nervous about a deadline at work and suddenly, as long as I hide doing it (sort of) it is not so gross. The list goes on a long time and I do have some deeper, scarier things that I am not even willing to fully face (or put on my blog at least) that swim in the depths where light barely filters through to. Freud talked about defense mechanisms of the ego (in order for the ego to survive it has to create and live in a world of defense mechanisms) and as outdated as much of his interpretations of the internal world are nowadays, I find myself going back to these ideas. Hell, much of my blog could be called one big intellectualization of my emotions. Not as in, "I am awfully smart and reflective aren't I?" but more so in that I distance myself through analysis and attempt an objective standpoint so all the touchy stuff isn't so damn sensitive. And it works. Sometimes.

God, where the fuck was this going? Umm, humans are weird and confusing and judgey, including me? Yes. Yes, I think that is it.

I am going to push publish now and pretend that this post is better than is actually is. Is that denial? Repressions? Rationalization? Another resounding YES.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Playing Dress Up

Halloween, the greatest holiday pretty much ever is nearly upon us and I do not know what I am going as this year. Last year I was Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction post-OD from snorting heroin with syringe extruding from my breastplate. It was awesome. The year prior I was Beetlejuice from the movie of the same name with greenish/yellowish hair, striped pants and killer make-up. Again, awesome.

(some further adjustments were made after this quickie photobooth shot, but you get the idea)

This year I am at a loss. Anything that involves being dead or almost dead is clearly high up on the list, but I just haven't been struck by inspiration yet and I am getting nervous. I want this year to be epic and thus I am culling the extensive knowledge of my readership (all four of you) for ideas. Ready, set, COMMENT.

Winning idea gets a beer on me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Little Bride

My grandma is dying. At a faster rate than the last 15 years, which were at a faster rate than her first 60, give or take a few. Much faster now.

I have known that her Crohn's Disease, the crippling arthritis that bent her spine, her extended morphine addiction, loss of hearing and deteriorating vision will take her completely from us one day. I have known for years now and I think I have accepted that depressing reality. Her body has stolen from her and from all of us. It is so strange to watch the slow progression of near constant pain take more and more of her corporal being from the people left to see it.

(Ohop Valley where my grandparents farm is located)

I miss a great deal of it living the distance away that I do. It probably gives me a buffer and will make her passing less of a striking impact on my life. I take no comfort in that truth. If anything I wonder if the distance I have established from these familial relations risks a great deal of closeness, love and feelings I could be sharing, experiencing... I don't want to get the phone call that she is gone and wonder what I am supposed to feel. But I probably will. And I will tell people out loud that I am thankful she was taken from the pain, safe in the knowledge that it was her time, blah, blah blah. I will also be pinching my own leg under the table. See, you still know how to feel, I will reassure myself.

Someone that will be feeling too much will be my grandfather. He will feel so much that he will cease to feel anything but the loss. Now, I readily acknowledge that I idolize my grandpa. I have always said that I do not use the word hero for anyone but Lucille Ball and My Grandpa. I decided that when I was young and it stuck. So yeah, my hero is going to loose his wife. And it is going to ruin him.

It is a strong statement, but entirely true. How do I know? Easy. My grandma has spent much of the last 6 months in a nursing home in an attempt to have her put on weight, heal deep and infected bedsores, receive physical and medication therapy, etc and every single day my 87 year old grandpa drives 45-60 minutes from their farm to the nursing home, spends 6-10 hours by her side and then late at night drives home. Alone. He has yet to miss a day as far as we know.
He became the staff favorite within days, no doubt in part to his "awe shucks" amicableness and simultaneous old soul/really listens to what you say-ness, but mostly because he so clearly loves my grandma. He has the taken to referring to her with the staff as "my little bride." As in, "take care of my little bride," "we gotta make sure my little bride is getting better," or "how's my little bride doing today?"


He has other pet names for her that only recently came to light in front of the family because he shows his soft side with the nursing assistants. Maybe when my mom, aunt and uncle were young they heard these endearments, but chances are they weren't privy to this inside world either until now. As lovely as he has always been as a grandpa, I know little of his parenting or his married life. And it's not mine to know beyond what they let us see.

My little bride. And she is little, even more now than ever. She used to stand at 5'7" and 120 pounds. Tall, thin, regally hosting dinners at times, dirty and sweaty from the zucchini patch at others. And my Grandpa no doubt has flashes of all those times and more as he tries to get a response from her hunched and nearly gone from this world frame. His love... boggles, inspires, hurts, repairs all at the same time.

What I will feel, regardless of close or far, will pale so dramatically in comparison to his loss it will risk disappearing. And I am glad. I am glad that his love for her is so powerful. I don't pretend to understand their relationship. It is foreign in too many ways to account for, but I understand what he means when he uses those terms of affection. It resonates like Shakespeare or Rumi.

Translated as best I can, My Little Bride:

Your being sustains me, gives me order, thrills me, breaks me, has been next to me for decades (millennia), is all I know, and I cannot bear the thought of losing this gift. I do not know how to live without you. If you disappear, will I also? I think I might. I love you my little bride. I love what we have had, as the farmhand on your family's homestead that teased the farmer's daughter and promised to come back for you after the war. I love you here and now in this smelly, sterile building I drive to and from where you are fading from me daily. I love you in all the in-betweens we spent together that only you and I really know. I learned love with you and I am scared to love without you. So I won't. When you leave me, us I will pack away my heart for the hereafter. I will save it for you as I always have and I will come to you again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

True Life: Random Happens

Some true tidbits from today:

After my shower I was toweling off in the hallway (don't ask) and I suddenly knelt down on the floor next to my slightly affected cat and sang loudly "THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!" I then stood back up, walked into the bedroom and looked in the closet for what I wanted to wear.

While rifling through a drawer for a shirt I came across a pair of panties and thought, "Hmm, underpants. What a concept." I AM NOT KIDDING. Who thinks these things? (other than me, clearly.) I am proud to say I am in full undergarment regalia today.

I made 18 phone-calls in a row to clients, employees and funding sources for work. Back to back to back to back to... Well you get the idea. I hate the phone intensely and get all sweaty and annoyed when I have to talk to that many people (or their voicemail) in a row. Then again, pretty much anything makes me sweaty and annoyed, so perhaps this last tidbit lacks the required randomness I was going for.

I made the thickest steak I have ever cooked the other night and the leftovers will not quit. Today I took a hunk and thinly sliced it to nom on. Very tasty and I went back for seconds. Which I followed by eating three spoonfuls of peanut-butter and two glasses of milk. My stomach wants to punch me in the face. Too bad for you GI track my brain controls voluntary movement of my limbs!! HA.

Tonight has lots of promise for a continued trend of WTF.