January 26, 2009
January 9, 2009
1) Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? My closet doesn’t have a door. If I had a closet with a door I would probably have it closed.
2) Do you take the shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels? Rarely
3) Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Usually out
4) Have you ever stolen a street sign before? No. I’ve never had any desire to whatsoever either.
5) Do you like to use post-it notes? Absolutely! Hooray for office supplies.
6) Do you cut out coupons, but then never use them? Sometimes
7) Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Um, can I go with none of the above?
8) Do you have freckles? A couple
9) Do you always smile for pictures? Generally
10) What is your biggest pet peeve? Obnoxious behavior by performers during their curtain calls.
11) Do you ever count your steps when you walk? Sometimes.
12) Have you ever peed in the woods? Yes, long story
13) What about pooped in the woods? No
14) Have you ever danced even when there’s no music playing? Sure have
15) Do you chew your pens and pencils? Sometimes
16) How many people have you slept with this week? None
17) What size is your bed? Queen
18) What is your song of the week? Chain of Fools
19) Is it OK for guys to wear pink? People can wear whatever they want.
20) Do you still watch cartoons? Occasionally when I’m bored and there’s nothing else on.
21) What’s your least favorite movie? Congo
22) Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? I dunno, I don’t really own any land for burying things in
23) What do you drink with dinner? Too often a diet coke with lemon
24) What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Regular mustard
25) What is your favorite food? Mandarin oranges. Or macaroni salad. Or oatmeal raisin cookies.
26) What movies could you watch over and over and still love? Life is Beautiful, Akeela and the Bee, An American Tail
27) Last person you kissed/kissed you? BestNieceEver
28) Were you ever a boy/girl scout? Yes I was a Brownie and a Junior Girl Scout, but when we moved in sixth grade we couldn’t find an active troop around here
29) Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? No
30) When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone in the paper? I don’t think I’ve ever written a letter for a newspaper
31) Can you change the oil in a car? I’ve been taught a couple times but I’m not confident about it. It’s the kind of thing I instantly forget after I learn.
32) Ever gotten a speeding ticket? One
33) Ran out of gas? Too many times– at least 4 that I can think of
34) Favorite kind of sandwich? Veggie delite from subway
35) Best thing to eat for breakfast? fruit and yogurt
36) What is your usual bedtime? After 11 but before 2
37) Are you lazy? Not about most things
38) When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? Pumpkin, Tinkerbell, Wizard, Clown, Heidi, Pirate
39) What is your Chinese astrological sign? Horse, which is sort of funny since I’m allergic to them
40) How many languages can you speak? Fluently? 1. I had a year or more of training in French, Spanish, Russian, and American Sign Language, but I’m not even approaching fluency in any of them.
41) Do you have any magazine subscriptions? No but I’ve been thinking of subscribing to Real Simple magazine because a kid I know’s scout troop is fundraising by selling magazines and I think I would actually read that
42) Which are better – Legos or Lincoln Logs? Legos. I think.
43) Are you stubborn? I have my moments.
44) Who is better – Leno or Letterman? Letterman. I think.
45) Ever watch soap operas? In late high school/early college (I think) I briefly got mildly into Days of Our Lives. I haven’t watched an episode in at least ten years.
46) Afraid of heights? Sometimes, but not much. Doing lighting so much got that out of me.
47) Sing in the car? Often
48) Dance in the shower? No, not much room for that and sounds kind of dangerous
49) Ever used a gun? No
50) Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer? A portrait? College.
51) Do you think musicals are cheesy? Some are
52) Is Christmas stressful? Sometimes, but it also gives me a peace I don’t have much of the rest of the year
53) Ever eat a pierogi? Pretty sure
54) Favorite type of fruit pie? Peach
55) Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Writer, actor
56) Do you believe in ghosts? Sorta
57) Ever have a deja-vu feeling? Yes
58) Take a vitamin daily? No
59) Wear slippers? No. My brother-in-law got me Eeyore slippers once so I own them but…
60) Wear a bathrobe? Yes I have a pink and white terrycloth one.
61) What do you wear to bed? Depends but I have a lot of comfy pajama pants.
62) First concert? Billy Joel
63) Walmart, Target or Kmart? Target. There’s one near my apartment now and the uber-convenience of it all is rather staggering
64) Nike or Adidas? Oh whatever, it’s the same difference
65) Cheetos or Fritos? Fritos
66) Peanuts or sunflower seeds? Peanuts, usually
67) Ever hear of the group Tres Bien? No
68) Ever take dance lessons? Yes– tap, jazz, modern, ballet– but not a lot of it. Modern was my favorite.
69) Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing? Not really
70) Can you curl your tongue? Yes
71) Ever won a spelling bee? INo
72) Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Absolutely
73) Own any record albums? I think I technically own a record of Mary Poppins music that’s in my parents’ basement somewhere
74) Own a record player? No!
75) Regularly burn incense? No
76) Ever been in love? Not exactly
77) Who would you like to see in concert? Trans-Siberian Orchestra
78) What was the last concert you saw? Paul McCartney I think. Also almost 10 years ago
79) Hot tea or cold tea? Cold mostly
80) Tea or coffee? It varies
81) Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Sugar cookies, but I like oatmeal raisin better
82) Can you swim well? Yes
83) Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Um yes
84) Are you patient? I think I am extremely patient, but my patience in a lot of areas of my life has been tested recently so I feel like my fuse is shorter than it once was
85) DJ or Band at a wedding? Tough call but I guess a band. My sister’s wedding had a DJ and he was a tool, which annoyed me.
86) Ever won a contest? I’ve one little raffles here and there.
87) Ever have plastic surgery? No
88) Which are better, black or green olives? I have no idea
89) Can you knit or crochet? Neither
90) Best room for a fireplace? Bedroom would be pretty sweet
91) Do you want to get married? One day
92) If married, how long have you been married? N/A
93) Who was your HS crush? I had several crushes on several different guys and most of them never had any idea.
94) Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? No
95) Do you have kids? No
96) Do you want kids? Yes
97) What’s your favorite color? Dark green
98) Do you miss anyone right now? Yes
99) Did you watch “Next Great American Band” on FOX? Never heard of it
100) Would you like other people to see your survey answers? Sure! That’s why I posted them here! 🙂
January 6, 2009
This is the week, one way or another, I need to move on. My Replacement starts tomorrow and I’m handing over my keys. There are a million stupid loose ends, projects half-done that I feel guilty leaving in her hands– but she is, after all, being paid for it and I won’t be. I am sad and resentful, and I’ve shouldered the worry about that place for so long it’s very hard to release it. I don’t regret quitting, I just regret the sadness I feel over it and the fact that I couldn’t change what I wished to change there.
I saw the Doctor today. I feel like I had the same conversation with her that I’ve been having for the past 15 years– the wtf is wrong with me conversation. I am ashamed– honestly, ashamed– to be in this stage of life and never had so much as a boyfriend. It feels with each passing year that the shame in this intensifies. I want more. But my fear has always gotten in the way. Or that’s what She says, anyhow. With the Job slipping away and the Holidays over, I have more time to think and more space to feel, more space to notice my unhappiness. She seems to think if I could just get miserable enough I would take on that fear, take whatever risks are required to change my situation. She guesses that, outside of my very close friends no one would even see that I am “looking”– maybe I don’t know how to admit I’m looking because I can’t handle the chance that looking won’t make a difference, in the way that I can’t say I want to go to the gym more to lose weight because I can’t handle the commitment of saying that’s something that matters to me. I don’t think I was raised to want things for myself. I was raised to want things for other people. And to look down on anyone who wanted things as superficial as to look attractive, to get felt up, or to have attention. I’ve spent my life acting as though I were too fulfilled by so many other things to care about what wasn’t there. I don’t know how to invite anyone else in. If it all comes down to fear, why has it so paralyzed my life? And what possibility is there for it to be conquered?
So yeah. I have a little time on my hands now and it looks like wading through some pain will be part of it. I’m hoping some insight and change will come of it all, but I guess we’ll have to see.
January 2, 2009
Coming down from all the holiday-ness now. My replacement at the Job has been officially announced, so at long last it is SINKING IN. January will be a tight month financially, so nervous about that, but mostly just trying to sort out whatever it is I actually WANT now. Maybe my New Year’s Resolution should be simply to figure that out.
December 31, 2008
I love Christmas. And I have loved the Christmas-ness of this Christmas. Every night for the past week has been a joyous special thing that only the glittery soul of Christmas can create. My apartment is clean and sparkly with Christmas lights and candles and I’m hopeful that this little step of having a pleasing living space is a sign of more pleasing living to come.
Twice I visited my friends in the Christmas show I had been a part of for the 6 years prior. I miss it, and I miss them, but I guess it may be better in this season of change in my life to have had less of the running around that particular gig required. I needed the time. I mourn missing out on what was special there, in the same way I have mourned my leaving the Real Job– but I’ve been better for it, I’m sure.
I was part time through December 20th, and on that day a party was held in my honor. It was an odd collection of people but a very sweet little gathering that left me feeling cared for and more hopeful/less sad than I had expected. Not everything was done that needed to be done, so the loss was dulled by the fact that I still had my keys and a few files– it wasn’t like I wouldn’t be back. But I am coming to terms that I need to face this- finally, and really– and as I was driving around yesterday I found myself repeating aloud, “I don’t work there anymore. I don’t work there anymore…” My sleep has been filled with a sort of anxious self-loathing collection of dreams, in which I’m often late for appointments, unfairly accused of wrongdoing, and consumed with feelings of guilt. Apparently there is still shit to work out…
My week overall, however, as I mentioned before have been very special (if distracting,) and gratifying– but exhausting. An overview:
- I did my very gift bag/candy run and then saw the Christmas show. HIGHLIGHT: Playing Santa handing out candy to everyone and my friend C’s reaction to his Christmas present. LOWLIGHT: I miss them.
- After a quick stop over at my parents’, I went to dinner with Soon- to- be- in- the- Navy-Cousin for Christmas Eve dinner, of which I only had time to eat a little bit before running off to be late for Church. HIGHLIGHT: Hanging out with Cousin. LOWLIGHT: There’s only so much I can take of one particular relative’s arrogant talk.
- Church. HIGHLIGHT: The music and candles made the rushing back worth it, and my Minister’s grabbing my arm on my way out to see if I was working and how I was made me feel noticed and cared for.
- Stopped back home and said hi to my landlord’s family, and then drove BACK to my parents, tossing presents under the tree and then sleeping in the guest bedroom upstairs. HIGHLIGHT: Landlord’s son (who used to live in my apartment) was very impressed with my apartment, which I was so proud of . LOWLIGHT: I wanted to spend more time with them but it was hard not to feel like I was intruding on a family moment.
- I got to sleep in and Sister, Brother-in-Law, and BestNieceEver showed up sometime in the early afternoon, better than last year. I got a cordless phone I’d been needing and knew I was getting. BestNieceEver wasn’t real interested in the whole sitting around opening presents thing but otherwise it was a fun time. My presents were well-received overall. I had gotten BestNieceEver a magnadoodle and her first pair of jeans, both of which seemed to go over well. My dad seemed simultaneously mystified and impressed with his new iPod Shuffle and my mom has been reading the books I got her, so those seemed to have been a hit too. HIGHLIGHT: Playing Let’s-Throw-Wrapping-Paper-in-the-Air with BestNieceEver. LOWLIGHT: Brother-in-Law was freaking out about being late for the party with the other side of his family so he spent most of the time there looking at his watch.
- I headed back to my place in the evening and enjoyed a quiet night with my Landlords, exchanging presents and eating Christmas cookies. HIGHLIGHT: Peace and quiet.
- Friday afternoon my friends J&J came over with their 3 kids and we had ice cream sundaes and played Apples to Apples. The kids seemed to enjoy the books I got for them but it was clear they weren’t as cool as the seven million other presents they’d gotten in the past few days. J&J are probably going to hate me for the Joke Book I got their middle child– she has taken to reading aloud from it nonstop and the jokes are, well, pretty bad. HIGHLIGHT: It was wonderful just to be with my friends.
- My parents came over later that evening before heading off to see the show I had gotten tickets for them to see, and then I was off to a Christmas party with the Christmas show people. HIGHLIGHT: My dad called me later just to say he loved the play. I rule!
- The Big family party at my Dad’s Cousin’s house. HIGHLIGHT: BestNieceEver was the hit of the party. LOWLIGHT: My Great Uncle cried– he has lost 3 siblings and is so depressed… and no one really knew what to do.
- After I got back I turned around and went back out to see Urbanblight and some of our old friends from high school. HIGHLIGHT: It was great to talk to them. LOWLIGHT: I wanted more time, and one of our friends seems particularly depressed.
- Sunday was my friends J&J’s daughter’s 13th birthday. HIGHLIGHT: The little time with them I had before running off to the next thing. LOWLIGHT: The holiday was really beginning to wear on my at this point.
- After that party I was off to a reunion of sorts for my high school at a local bar. HIGHLIGHT: Talking to people I really haven’t talked to for ten years. LOWLIGHT: Wishing my Life’s Transition wasn’t the main story I had to tell.
- Went back to the office and did a bunch of stuff I wasn’t paid for and won’t be sufficiently appreciated for. Cynical? Maybe. But it was my choice and I still feel if I hadn’t done it I’d be worried about those things.
- Sleep deprived and barely functional I did something truly crazy. I had the kids I used to babysit– now 12 and 15!– to sleepover. We watched THREE episodes of Quantum Leap, played Scrabble and Apples to Apples, and I somehow managed to stay awake to just past midnight. HIGHLIGHT: They fell in love with my favorite TV show.
- After the girls left I fell back asleep for several hours, despite really needing to tie up a bunch of loose ends at the (former) office of mine. OldBoss sent me an email officially announcing my Replacement, who had confidentially told me of their offer last week. Still sorting out how I feel about all that.
- Went off to a Holiday Dinner for a scholarship foundation that gave me an award in high school. HIGHLIGHT: Good food. LOWLIGHT: Not really having much to talk about to anyone, except the kid I used to babysit– who’s now more than a foot taller than me and in seminary school. I feel old.
- And now, back at my parents’, where BestNieceEver is sleeping over as well.
So yeah. Kinda tired. Somehow supposed to go to two parties TOMORROW too. We’ll see if the weather– and my stamina– cooperates.
December 29, 2008
I seriously just had an epiphany. This thing I’ve been doing? It’s bargaining.
December 4, 2008
I am in my last “official” real weeks of being an employee of our favorite NonProfit, and the talk of the day is the economic mess. To be broke in a nonprofit isn’t really news, but what’s different is that the places out there– the For Profits and the Foundations– are all freaking out at once with financial woes of their own. Big news in our little circle is always whose gala had who at it and what auction items sold. Nonprofit groups host gala fundraisers with fancy food for exorbitantly priced tickets and then entertain their guests with silent auctions, live auctions, and (usually) a cash bar. Except who’s going to pay for $125-$200+ tickets these days? And no one can afford to spend money on an auction after they’ve put all that money down for a ticket, which basically just covers the chicken and the rented sound equipment.There are, of course, individuals who will pay exorbitant amounts of money out of loyalty to a particular cause, or in my observation, a particular individual who cares about a particular cause. Somehow spending money on an event seems to be a more personal way of supporting a friend than a straight donation to their organization. For instance, I have a friend who is Artistic Director of a theatre around here. They recently had a gala. It is unlikely, were I to receive an annual appeal letter in the mail, that I would write a couple hundred dollar check for this theatre (or honestly, any organization). But my buddy came to OUR gala last spring, and he’s really freaking awesome, and I actually do believe in the work he does– so I bought a ticket and attended, unable to bid much at all on auction items for fear I’d never make rent this month. It meant something to him, and I wanted to “help”– but I don’t think ultimately my type of loyal attendance-ship is what these type of events are really supposed to target. It would be better for me to send the $150 check directly and let them save the money on my pasta dinner…
These kinds of events are traditionally held together by corporate sponsors, who buy up tables and fill them with their employees and friends who happily consider getting drunk for a cause as a perk of their employment and bid up signed photographs of ball players “for the kids,” in many cases for organizations they have had little to no personal contact with themselves. But when times are tight– and scary– as they are now, the corporations don’t want to spend money on a party. They don’t have the ability to budget for additional charitable giving when they’re contemplating layoffs. So the funding stream runs dry here, as it already has in earned income categories as well as other kinds of foundation support.
So the question is, if the NonProfits’ business plans are all driven on the assumption that they will just get by (as many of them could only “just” do when times were supposedly good) through these types of funding that simply won’t be there now: what happens to all the social services they provide? What happens to the PEOPLE who depend on those services for support, enrichment, and basic livelihood?
But really, what can be done then?
December 2, 2008
Went back to see how far along I had gotten with my little Memory Game, figure I might as well get back into it.
After I got through my wonderously adventurous summer-after-college I was an overhire electrician for a couple of theatres and ran a sound board of sorts for a local regional theatre’s fall show. I took a couple of classes towards my teaching certification, partly because I knew I would eventually want it and knew it wasn’t going to get any easier to do so. As it ended up my grandmother passed away in December that year and in the end I never made up the credit lost on one of the two classes.
I had dreaded my grandmother’s funeral for a few years at that point, more so because it would force an encounter between my mother and my aunt than anything else. I remember my mother burst into tears when she saw the casket, and after a few moments of sobbing my aunt was pushing her along to admire some flowers in another room and I wanted to shake her and say “Just let her be SAD for a moment would you!!” It was the only sound given to real emotion in the entire time we were there. I left feeling sorry for my aunt and my uncles, and most of all for my mother– it must require so much discipline to hold so much in for so long. It was shortly after the Bush-Gore recount mess and it seemed that my uncles reveled in arguing with me about the NRA and the economy– maybe it took their mind off of it all.
I moved into my first apartment a a couple months later and I remember Professor’sFamily telling the Kids that I was moving out because I had to grow up. I cried the day I moved– not wanting to walk out of this chapter of my life and into the next. I really loved my apartment though– my own parking space, my own kitchen, organizing my things and putting my mark on the place. 5 years later I would struggle again in leaving and I guess that’s just what I’ve so often been about, coming into what’s Next with a lot of kicking and screaming, mourning my own growing up.
December 1, 2008
A friend of mine did her undergraduate thesis project on AIDS. She found that a lot of people in our generation said that they “weren’t affected” by AIDS, and it was her position that this couldn’t possibly be true. The world was different with the advent of AIDS, and although I did not lose a loved one to AIDS, I feel like it was an issue in the background from a young age– a matter sometimes on the periphery but one that was not going to go away. It was a fact of the culture I grew up in, as much as the advent of personal computers were.
My suburban Midwest elementary school saw fit, in 1987 or 1988, when I was in 4th grade, to teach me about AIDS before they taught me about menstruation. It is an odd distinction, to be old enough for sex ed at just the moment when the first moments of sensible information about AIDS had filtered through to the school systems. My introduction to AIDS came in the form of a video with Dr. GoodBody, and I remember very little about it except that it emphasized that SOME PEOPLE think AIDS can be spread from kissing, sharing toothbrushes (ew!), and toilet seats but that those people are wrong. I think that the actual subject of sex was sort of skirted around in a general statement of “AIDS is spread through blood-to-blood contact.” This seems rather absurd to me now– attempting to discuss AIDS without mentioning sex at all– but this was in the days of Ryan White— and I wonder if there was a sense then that there could be more and more children with AIDS– hemophiliacs with tainted blood transfusions, children of IV drug users– entering the school system. This theory is supported by the number of TV shows I remember doing Ryan White shout-outs– a Mr. Belvedere episode about a child with hemophilia moving into town, and a family court show in which the controversey was over whether it was criminal for a child with AIDS to become “blood brothers” with his best friend. Yes, it’s clear that by the time I graduated elementary school I was after-school specialed out on this particular topic. While I don’t think the word Gay was used in that Dr. GoodBody video, I vividly remember it was in one I had to watch in 7th grade, this time in a NorthEast urban and notoriously failing district. In the movie, two high school students enacted writing a report for school. As they try to choose a topic one says “We should do our project on AIDS,” and the other student says, “You mean, we should do our project on Gay people?” And from there the wiser student educates the other as to how misinformed she is. So I don’t think I was fully clear as to what Gay was, but I was assured (?) that it was stupid to think just gay people get AIDS.
It strkes me as interesting, that I was introduced to the misinformation WITH the factual information, at a time when I had no actual experience to draw on. Is that an effective deterrant to prejudice? Not sure. (As a parallel, I imagine there were social studies classrooms this fall where teachers said “SOME PEOPLE think Barack Obama is a muslim terrorist. But of course that is not true.” — Does the suggestion of the possibility contribute to the problem?) I would actually say that, if anything, this approach made me INtolerant of anyone who hadn’t had the benefit of the education I had had– I couldn’t understand the process by which views change and attitudes evolve. It is indisputable that I had more information than had previously been available even a few years before, but I think it is a fair question as to what made this more significant than other basic sex ed lessons. And what was the result of this? Sex ed for me in later years would be more multiple choice exams, this time on the symptoms of chlamydia and syphillis– maybe these lessons helped one of my classmates, maybe they saved their lives. For me, my sense though is that this Sex Causes Diseases curricula I was exposed to did little but fuck me over a bit as I navigated my way through adolescence and beyond. I believe my basic conclusion by 7th grade was — now WHY would anyone want to have sex? The Bush Administration’s Abstinence Brigade would be proud.
What bothers me more though, is that whatever level of demystification all this “education” was intended to do, I was never introduced to a person with AIDS. I was never really encouraged to find a way to help those suffering or those caring for the suffering. My progressive school system found a a way to make sure I would not be afraid of catching AIDS from sitting next to someone on a bus, but it did not attempt to address the larger issues of a culture afraid of sickness, afraid of death and dying. I suppose this is why I didn’t know what hospice was until after college.
I wonder what AIDS Education in K-12 is like now. So many advances have been made in changing this from a disease people simly “die from” to one people “live with.” I imagine the tenor of the teaching must be different now that it is no longer a new problem. The urgency might not be there. I can’t imagine that a lack of urgency would make the disease and those affected by it less invisible. Perhaps with a more informed populace there is less of a perceived need to tell middle schoolers that SOME PEOPLE think hateful things that aren’t true. It’s hard to know.
I have known now about AIDS for 20 years. It has been with us for almost 30. May a cure be found soon.
November 29, 2008
I was at a funeral I could never forget. Sitting in the surround-sound call-and-response of a Baptist church as the preacher talked about how God created them Male and Female, watching and hearing the outrage (and approval) around me, my head spinning- not fully able to comprehend what was happening. The preacher droned on, saying “and the Bible says…,” “because the Bible says…,” “remember the Bible says…,” — and I sobbed, embarrassed of my Christianity, angry to be part of a human race that could desecrate the dead, ashamed to be a witness my Dear Just-Turned-20-Year-Old friend be attacked even in death.
I remember seeing Urbanblight’s stone face in the back of the church as several people began walking out of what he would later describe as the most offensive thing he’d ever seen. I remember Uccellina somehow magically appearing next to me and somewhere in there after the fifteen thousandth chorus of “the Bible says” I reached out and found the Bible in front of me, running my hands through the pages until I found the sex laws in Leviticus and tore that thin paper out and found a tiny fraction of relief. In my grieving mind I could live with “the Bible says” being shouted ahead of me, so long as in my head I could reply “well THIS one Bible doesn’t.”
People often say they don’t remember their 21st birthday and the drunkness it often involves. But I remember that when I turned 21 a few months later, I realized it was a blessing he would not get. The finality hit home as I realized that to turn 21 was not a Given. I was blessed with these past ten years, and I’ve done my best with them. My Friend would have been 30 this past October, and I often wonder where his life would have taken him. I imagine it is hard the first time ANYONE goes to the funeral of a young person, particularly one who had been close. It was inconceiveable to imagine that someone so strong and healthy, someone who had been such a friend to me– could suddenly be gone.
But Friend’s passing left me with more than an increased sense of the Fragility of Life. It changed me as a Person of Faith. Neutrality was no longer an option. I have tried to remember him well and to tell his story when it mattered most. It is in this way that I have come to some meager peace over such tragedy, to find some comfort that the tale of his passing could make a Difference, and that one day it would be unimaginable that such a thing might happen to another. May he, and the others whose tales are far too like his, rest in peace.