Have That Removed!

 "Self-improvement may be a noble goal, but the stars aren’t so sure the leg rests, dual cup-holders, and wood paneling are what people had in mind. "

First order of business, Happy Belated Halloween. It's the goddamned greatest holiday of the year and my favorite of the bunch, to be sure. That said, I've been too doped up to bask in all the glory. Didn't dress up. No decorations. There were no deliciously carved pumpkins.... no graveyard. No garish lights. No fog. No spiderwebs adorning my abode.... well there are always plenty of spiderwebs, but that's more a sign of my poor housekeeping skills. The corpse of one of those terrifying spidery bastards is still lifelessly glued to one of my shampoo bottles as the love child of fear and laziness struck at a most inopportune moment. Another day bites the dust. I'm even refraining from commentary on the costume-sporting-hooker-festival I found myself surrounded by last night. 

You see, I went to the doctor. Horrid thought, that. I do so loathe swallowing my pride and surrendering to the vast world of drugs and diagnoses. I generally avoid seeking help at all costs. After all, in my mind, there is little that duct tape and puffy stickers can't solve. As it turns out, those are of absolutely no use when the ailment involves extraordinary pain when sitting or standing. So I did it. I drove my bruised tailbone and ego to the doctor. What I wasn't prepared for was the horrified look on the man's face when he returned with the X-Ray. "Now don't freak out..."  Seriously? I was just fine until you said that! 

"Severely fractured coccyx" (Tailbone to the layperson). Alright, well what do I need, then? A band-aid? Ice pack? Whiskey?

"A trip to the neurologist". Solid.

As I sat in the waiting room yesterday morning, I was having quite the time vomiting my hypochondria on the paperwork before me. Depression? Check. Anxiety? Check. Broken Bone? Check. Bruises Easily? Ummm... Ok. Difficulty Swallowing? Sure, why not. I believe the only section I didn't make any menu selection from involved blood disorders. The red goo seeping out of all my paper-cuts looks fine to me, so I felt no urge to go down that path. Upon entering the exam room and noticing my quite colorful questionnaire, the doctor eyed me up and down in disbelief. I can only imagine the thoughts running through Judgy McJudgerson's mind. 

After a litany of questions surrounding all my fabricated ailments, we got down to brass tacks. As I sat back and observed each successive reflex test and endured poke after poke with a sharp, splintery stick, I felt pretty damn good about myself. Man, I had aced that shit! Everything looked to be going swimmingly. I wasn't even under the influence of narcotics with my assertion of what had just transpired. And yet I was wrong. So very wrong. "Extensive nerve damage to the right half of the body". Back up that trolley... WHAT? I'm also looking at spine surgery. Outstanding.

Add AT LEAST one slipped disc and nerve damage to the laundry list of ailments (imaginary or otherwise). Ugh. 

More tests scheduled, more anxiety, an extra helping of tea for my pity party. On the bright side, I'm totally justified for the next month or so with all my melodramatic whining. But I'll be damned if I'm letting some lunatic open me up and tickle those oh-so-necessary ivories! 

I've known 4 creatures on this planet to have gone under the knife for back surgery. Those 4 same creatures all came out in wheelchairs. To be fair, each and every one of them exceed 70 years or so upon this planet, but I just don't trust it. Between general paranoia and zero positive hospital experiences to date, this all is a bit much to take in. 

Look, I'll be the first to admit my problem pales in comparison to what 99% of the planet endures. One only need tune into the news for a handful of minutes to put things in perspective. And yet I'm scared. Terrified, actually. I'd be willing to bet I wouldn't handle a serious issue with much grace at all. May I just tell you I also don't handle sympathy well? I'm pleased as punch to feel sorry for myself, but once others start chiming in on my limitations, Kitty feels backed into a corner and those claws do come out. Tis quite the conundrum indeed. So where am I going with all of this? Good question. May I just direct you back to the aforementioned bit about being doped up? An excellent first step might be stepping away from the keyboard thus putting an end to all this drivel. Glancing down I just noticed it's the first day of November. Makes enough sense. Let's see what you've got for me, month. For the rest of you, I wish you a marvelous Thursday.


Knocking Some Sense Into The 'Ol Gal

"Surviving this week will hinge heavily on the bear’s ability to understand English, his grasp of such higher concepts as mercy, and whether or not you’ll let go of that honey." 

A funny thing happened to me on the way to work yesterday. Turns out a certain aforementioned accident managed to jar my wee brain JUST enough to make a noticeable difference. For one magical day (and counting) I was ZEN. I'm talking Office-Space-post-hypno-therapy-zen. Yesterday could well have been added to the list of days I wish to forget. But not so. It was perfection. The soundtrack was even a gentle mixture of elevator muzak and calypso. 

After months of stress accumulation amounting to a rat's nest of frustration, it was just suddenly absent. Absent in one of those marvelous ways normally requiring the assistance of high levels of toxicity. Each successive email brought about another helping of yuck to an already overflowing plate. Wave after wave of added responsibility and concern. And yet there I stood.... or sat as the case would be..... smiling blissfully and brushing it off as I would a rogue ash from my cigarette. Yes, yes, I still have that nasty habit, but there's likely some good that may come out of routinely crystallizing my lungs.

I must say, the feeling experienced has inspired me to a state of complete calm. As the resident sounding board for the majority of my coworkers, I felt like I was hovering just a few inches off my seat yesterday. This ethereal being soaking it all in whilst banishing all the bad off into oblivion. It was damn tempting to run home and change into billowing robes for added effect. Of course, that would be absurd as I don't own such a frock. There is quite simply a delicious result from little more beyond coping. I ALMOST wish I had ran into something sooner. Almost.

Why is it that many of us spend so much time lost in worry? What-if's? What-then's? How-On-Earth's? Growing up, I marveled at the stark contrast in the personalities of my own parents. This same contrast undoubtedly led to their ultimate demise as a couple. Still, it was curious. On one hand, you could visibly see.... See, sense, get absolutely enveloped in the stress of one. The other: calm, cool and eternally collected. The latter - not so much as a hint of fluctuation in tone whether the news of the day signaled apocalypse or utter elation. Quite curious, indeed. 

I don't realistically expect this fabulous brain damage to last. And it's possible the whole "Mama's lost her goddamned mind" heckling may grow old. But for now, I am floating along in a manner reserved for creatures of the winged variety. I only wish I could bottle it up and sell it. Sweet merciful jesus, I'd be rich. I've also toyed with the recurring notion of starting my own cult. Nah, too sinister. With great power comes great responsibility, no? If I can pass along the good vibe to even one additional soul, I'll be pleased as punch. Happy Wednesday, Pets.



Day One

"Sometimes you wish you could just close your eyes and disappear. Wait, no. Not sometimes. Always."

The alarm is going off. Get up. Get up, asshole. You up? Ok: Check.
Shower, down 2 cups of coffee, spray paint on some make-up and blow dry that mop : Check.
Get the kids up, dressed, fed and entertained: Check.
Got the leaves for his school project? : Check.
Is he wearing a red shirt today? : Check.
The little one needs a new change of clothes : Check.
....and a pillow for nap time (lucky little bastard) : Check.
Your 'Ol Man forgot his health insurance paperwork : Check.
Write the check for the little one's school : Check.
12 emails just came in. Answer them : Check.
Remember the pictures and magazines to send to mom : Check.
Wish your brother Happy Birthday : Check.
4 more emails.... : Check.
Make the kids lunches : Check.
Drop off the kids on the way to work... Oops... 7 more emails : Check and Check.
You're late and you forgot your laptop. Turn around and grab that and an extra lighter : Check.
Where's your debit card? Shit. : Check.
Mom-in-law needs you to mail some stuff since you're here : Check.

Get in a car accident : Check.

There's a weird feeling that occurs when your car starts spewing mysterious liquid from the massive gash in the front quarter panel. It's a mix between something that causes nauseous laughter and nervous chills. You almost want to throw your body on it to make it stop. Seems that might cause added embarrassment given the sudden onslaught of onlookers. And yet, still tempting. You wonder why you couldn't have at least caused the entire goddamned thing to go up in flames. At least THAT would be newsworthy entertainment. Even deserving of a bit of sympathy. Losing what turns out to be all your windshield wiper fluid all over the parking lot? Not as much. Yes, flames would have been far better. 

It's been a strange year, Pets. By "strange", I fully mean it deserves the finger. I've always been a firm believer in notions that we need to choose how we handle stress or adversity. I've clearly been choosing to be a sobbing lump. Quite out of character, really. Losing three people very dear to me in the course of 2 weeks was particularly catastrophic to my selfish fragility. It's best not to get me started on the news. But the worst part of it, hands-down? I forgot to write. I almost forgot HOW to write. 

My one escape. My one makeshift band-aid - to let the flood gates open and sort through all the debris while it's laid out in front of me. It was missing. And it was missed. 

I was speaking with a friend of mine about all of this. He told me I had inspired him to write. Being the hormonal beast I am, that reduced me to tears. But what greater a compliment? He asked if I was still writing and I truthfully responded "no". There was strange heartbreak in his eyes. Not because he follows me on here and not because he was expecting anything of me. He simply found it to be a complete waste of that glimmer of hope I've so desperately needed. So why now? And why not sooner? 

I'm afraid I don't have answers for either. I cling to the things I know, and I keep an open mind for ALL I don't. Time for another cup of coffee. Seize the day and such.



When The 'Ol Train of Thought Suddenly Realizes It Is, In Fact, An Airplane.

"Try and get back to basics this week. Learning to dress yourself, brush your teeth, and eat with utensils would be a good place to start."

As a strange and poorly planned directive came raining down upon us unsuspecting peons at work yesterday, I fully anticipate I'll have FAR too much time on my hands today. As it's also Friday, I don't take much issue with that. Today, anyway. Monday's another story.  

My mind has been all over the map these past few weeks so I can say with some degree of certainty, that this post will be entirely incoherent. And that's OK. It is mine, after all.

On a quick side tangent (Christ, Annie, you are barely a few sentences in and already a side tangent? SILENCE, PEANUT GALLERY!!!!) a couple of months back, we were forced to write our own performance reviews. Nothing new of note there, really, it's just one of those Corporate nuances. Anyhoo, as logic would dictate, I wrote my own review. My brain was somehow sending the signals which eventually traveled through my fingertips and recorded onto the screen before me. So fast forward a bit and I have a meeting with my boss to address the whole ordeal. The first words out of her mouth: "I must say, I really don't care for your writing style". Ouch. Funny thing is, to this day I'm not sure how to even fix that when my "style" was little more than what my mind dictated I write. There wasn't much style to it, per se.... but who the hell else's style would I have utilized? This would be, then, setting aside the fact that I don't write for a living (clearly). I simply stated what I accomplished this past year. Why would I be critiqued on my writing style? Ah well, one of those little mysteries in life, no?

Moving right along, I had applied for a job I REALLY wanted. I mean REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted. As luck would have it, I was selected to move forward into the process to a testing phase. Little did I know this would actually drag out over about 7 weeks. Each successive test, I was totally convinced I had bombed miserably. Each successive test gave way to yet another. My gut instincts were evidently on vacation. So the final test arrives and, well, let's just say it was nothing more significant than a personality test.

I failed.

Literally the ONE area of my life where I thought "Hey, I'm not too bad, this shouldn't be an issue." was the ONE area that barred me from continuing. Tough for a gal to not take all of this a bit personally. Thing is, I don't have to hear it from anyone else. Bad news. Of any sort. I'm there. We are all our own worst critics. Pushing all absurdities, injustice and judgment aside, at the end of the day, if you don't like what you see in the mirror..... or taking that a step further, what you perceive in your mind - you're the only one who can change that, right? This is nothing new. Yet funny how even reciting it over and over again in your head does nothing to make it all QUITE sink in. Sometimes the off-color comments of others are an opportunity to revisit the dialogue in your mind. May I just offer some caution for the manner in which you revisit it?

I have been beating myself up from the depths of my own depression. We're talking blood sport, here. Unsanctioned, unregulated and quite frankly, uncalled for. I truly admire those with the testicular fortitude to say ENOUGH. It takes monumental oodles (I really delight in throwing those two words together) of strength, confidence, heart and courage to put an end to the cycle. My own cycle is deeply bound to the tides. They thrust me about in disarray and with a careless almost arrogance.  I often take comfort in that chaos. But in the grander scheme of things, it is an unhealthy way to live. It's not something that can be changed in a day. In fact, it's altogether possible it's a connection which can't truly ever be broken. It is, however, a challenge I'm more equipped to face than I was even days ago.

Someday I'll be free of the burdens imposed from my own mind. Here's to hoping I'm still "young" enough to enjoy the fruits of that. For now I'm off to seize the day. I may even fancy it up a bit with some sparkles or.... let's be honest - gin. TGIF, Pets!!!

P.S. As it turned out - the "side tangent" was to be the only tangent of the post. Ain't that some shit?




Everyone Has A Story

"Learn to appreciate the little things in life, because the big things will either cost more than you have or take more time than you've got left."

I found myself in the waiting room of our local police station last night. To be fair, I got there mid-afternoon and just happened to continue loitering into the early hours of that evening. Although not as efficiently run as my long-spanning viewership of Law & Order would lead me to believe, I was nonetheless amused. In fact, I would readily admit to being "guffawed" if I suspected that to be a real word. 

Right off the bat, I was struck by two observations: First, I was far more comfortable surrounded by colorful creatures with questionable rap sheets than I might be in, say, a mall. There's something fabulous to be said for people who perceive themselves in no position to readily judge another. Second, it seems my hearing/eavesdropping skills are far sharper than I initially suspected. I'll go ahead and throw a third observation in the mix for no reason beyond combating my assertion that I had only soaked in two such findings within 5 minutes of setting foot in those formidable glass doors: I am not the ninja I'd like to think I am. As I clearly hear better when I turn my head in the direction of the conversation, I'm not very subtle when staring at those whose business I'm nosing blissfully about in. 

Funny thing about police stations, there is no discernible regard for the privacy of others and/or their business. It's not like the waiting room of an OB-GYN where your first name is awkwardly whispered by the attending nurse. Even having a seemingly non-complex first name such as "Annie" can produce moments of entertainment when it's pronounced "Andy?" in an otherwise nonexistent Minnesotan accent. Nope. In a police station, the staff will proudly announce your full first, middle and last name with shocking clarity, not to mention booming pomp and circumstance. This all led to even more fascination with the reaction of the first gentleman called...

"JOHN JAMES THOMPSON? IS THERE A JOHN JAMES THOMPSON?"* (Notice no breath was actually even taken in between to allow for a prompt response)

*yes, yes, the name has been altered to protect the identity of the individual involved..... Although the employees at aforementioned police station would never willingly submit to such consideration....Just sayin'.

The response: "YES. THAT WOULD BE ME." comes this thunderous voice from a gentleman looking suspiciously like the grandfather from Silver Spoons. The best part? He finished reading his article in the newspaper before carefully folding it up, placing it delicately back into his briefcase, checking his shoes to ensure laces were properly tied, then retreating to the room down the hall. No sense of urgency whatsoever. No hint of shame at being part of our motley little crew. In fact, one might suspect he had just won a prestigious award and was collecting himself before delivering the most brilliant speech ever penned by man. Awesome!
Yep - That's the one!
Next up to bat was a special sneak preview of "Thelma & Louise: Where Are They Now? - 50 Years Later". The entertainment packed into those pint-sized white-haired cuties sporting Daisy Dukes and Blue Blockers was pure gold. They had apparently just returned from a drinking binge in N'Orleans only to discover some brute had stolen Thelma's American Express. My waiting room neighbor insisted on providing me a status update of the names on the clipboard at the most inopportune times, or I would have gotten the skinny on EXACTLY what purchases were made on said American Express. 

In those fleeting moments where the publicized dialogue would become hushed or altogether missing, I would make up stories in my head to properly fill in the plot gaps. All in all, it was a delectable adventure I'm not soon to forget. In fact, I think I'm rather going to miss that place. Perhaps not enough to embark upon some caper about town, but certainly enough to mull spending some well-earned vacation time back in that lobby in the near future. Any takers? Happy Tuesday, Pets.


Flowers Become Screens

"This would be a good week for you to take control of your life and your destiny, but hey, this is you we're talking about."

There was something in the violent storm last night. Something other than the nearly 3 hours of non-stop hail... Something aside from the blackest sky imaginable suddenly bursting into blinding brightness. The rainbow through the deafening sound of chaos. There was something that made me smile for the first time in weeks, and it was divine.

I'd like to think yesterday was my version of rock bottom. Depression, anxiety and roller coaster rides are nothing new to this gal. The feeling of complete and utter hopelessness, however, is. It exploded into feelings far more drastic and awful than I thought I was honestly capable of. However grateful I was to wake up free of that pain this morning, I wouldn't quite be myself if I didn't try grasping for an answer.

For now, it seems as simple as that storm. Needing that water to wash it all away, both figuratively and literally. I love song in the title of this post. I hadn't listened to it in awhile and it just plain fit.

Flowers Become Screens

Seems NKE is on her way back. Happy Thursday, Pets. 

Second Verse, Worse Than The First?

"You will become an inspiration to thousands of teens when your tragic tale of sexual profligacy and rampant drug abuse is turned into the coolest PSA of all time." 

It's no secret I'm a smoker. Wait, that's a lie - my mom has no bloody clue. What's funny about that is I fully believe she CHOOSES to have no bloody clue about that. She lives out of state and we generally only see each other once, maybe twice a year. During those visits, I'm respectful as possible not smoking while around her, but she HAS to smell it, right? I mean, my deep, "sexy" voice isn't exactly NATURAL.... I'm getting WAY off tangent, here. But she's in town on Tuesday so I guess that's on my mind. I'll circle back to open that can of worms later. The initial point was that there are only a handful of us bastard children who actually smoke at my place of employment. The newest member of the group happens to also be my new boss, who began last Monday. A quick bit of back-story there - I first met this amaze-balls lady almost 2 years back when she was my direct-contact consultant on a software conversion. We got along famously and I rather felt we made a good team. 

So fast forward two years and I find she has applied to take the place of the fraud who was kicked out on a federal indictment (no shit - it's a bloody carnival around here most days). Being exceedingly excitable about the prospect, I put in a good word and my accompanying two cents to anyone who would give me the time of day. This included more random strangers on the street than people who had any influence over the decision, but that's beside the point. She's here now, and she's as brilliantly awesome as I remember. 

Now here's where things get obtuse. She is a very honest sort of creature. She has no patience for bullshit, stands up for us little people, knows her stuff and her filter was clearly surgically removed, so she has my utmost respect. I'm not guessing that feeling is entirely reciprocated. There have been some off-the-cuff comments here and there which really make me curious as to what she thinks of me the second go 'round. I honestly believe she'd take a bullet for me, so in that sort of relationship, there is a bit more censoring/restraint than might be exercised with others. The two examples I shall present frankly have me perplexed:
WTF?
Exhibit A: In perusing for office supplies, she comes across a tape dispenser in the shape of a stiletto. Obviously that's whimsical enough, no? But the first words out of her mouth: "Jesus Christ, that looks like something Annie needs! In fact, I'm shocked she doesn't already have one!" Look at me, Pets.... wait, that doesn't really work in this whole blogging thing, does it? Anyway, I'm a hot mess. I don't believe I come off as some pretentious princess or high maintenance bitch. My hair is "fresh-off-a-motorcycle-lesbian-chic" at its best, and my clothes could easily place me at the scene of Rainbow Brite's murder.... with perhaps a flash of gypsy pizazz for flavor. I don't personally see anything wrong with any of that... but the stiletto tape dispenser? I may as well only write in hot-pink-cotton-candy-smelling-glitter-gel pens. I'm not sure why I'm over-thinking this so much, except for the fact that I pretty well over-think EVERYTHING. Hmmm.... What I'm saying is I don't think I come off as a girly girl sort of shoe whore or anything even close (says the broad who just got her 3rd unsolicited spam email from a shoe retailer). If one had to label me, I'd sooner expect a knee-jerk answer like "Vagabond". All around, not a big deal. Perhaps it was meant as a compliment? 

Exhibit B: So 4 of us heathens are downstairs smoking..... outside.... should probably clarify that since the files in our office are already begging a visit from the local Fire Department. The subject comes up regarding raising bulls from babies and how they were destined to be slaughtered so one mustn't get too attached or, god forbid, NAME THEM. I start chuckling remembering a recent episode of Duck Dynasty. I didn't even get past spitting the name of the show out when my boss exclaims "Holy Shit, I was just thinking the other day about who in their right goddamned mind would watch that show and then, thought to myself, ANNIE! She would TOTALLY watch that shit!" OK, for those of you who haven't seen this show - it is seriously entertainment at its FINEST!!!! I saw a clip from the show on The Soup and I was utterly hooked! But let's back up the trolley a moment.... Why would the absurdity of that show scream "ANNIE"? What does that mean? Come on, it's family-friendly(ish) entertainment for everyone, no?  (And it REALLY is entertaining.... if you haven't seen it, might I suggest you take that plunge? *smile*) Once again... perhaps it was meant as a compliment? 

Look, I'm well aware I have skin as thick as a wet Kleenex and I'm totally prone to assume any remark is meant poorly, but I'm genuinely curious what the hell air I'm putting off!? These two bits of evidence are only a small sampling of the bizarre mix of remarks in a mere week. I'm thinking I would be well served to play all of this up. Bluntly put: to not disappoint. If nothing else, it'll offer up a bit of tension relief in an otherwise dreary mess of a place! Let the games begin! 


Restless Natives And The Martians Who Fear Them

"You will experience unbounded happiness and success in every area of your life this week, unless of course there is something fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with you."

Glorious hilarity is abound these days and it all has made me question whether I have the time or energy to continue writing. For now, it seems the last few sentences are indicative of a response to that. Some days, I'm honestly dazzled by Corporate America. I'm dazzled by the disconnect between the haves and the have nots. I won't even go into morbid detail about the distribution of workload there. What's most delicious is that, perhaps for once, this is not to be a full blown rant about my own dissatisfaction. Rather, the stars have aligned and made one of my wildest dreams come true.

In numerous situations, I have been reduced to taking mental delight in the image of sitting in the front row seat avec a bucket of popcorn when Karma comes a-knockin'. (By the by - "avec" is French for "with", not my version of the abbreviated form of "avocado", MATT! Way to order a f*cked up sandwich based on your complete lack of knowledge of common french words!...Not to mention clearly misspelling "avocado"! :) ) Well, Pets, it seems the day has come for precisely that scenario to unfold. As it would happen, I even have popcorn! Woot!

An individual, who is welcome to remain nameless, is in the midst of her comeuppance. In fact, the cherry on top is that the entire upper echelon has suddenly come to a realization they must begin paying attention to reality in order to prevent mutiny. It's one of those times where you can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all while watching fish flail out of water. Seems cruel of me to say. I'm sure I'm additionally unwittingly throwing myself on PETA's radar (yet again). The reality of the situation is simply that it is deserved. You can only treat people with such complete disrespect and unbridled hatred for so long before you find yourself in a position to answer for such actions. It is small-scale justice and it's downright divine!

Mmmmm! Tastes just like the movie theater kind! Cheers, Pets. I wish you all a magically extraordinary Wednesday!




Hey Mister! Got Change For Two Cents?

 "While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion of how you run your life, the bullhorn they've been using does seem a bit much."

The notion that I'm increasingly cranky with age is not lost on me. I'm learning to embrace it and even take delight in it. I'm also noticing that, with each passing day in my current job, I'm increasingly creative when it comes to get-rich-quick schemes. Just about every hair-brained idea to pop into my skull is considered at great length with respect to potential marketability. Let me tell you, this can be vastly entertaining!

Some time back, the trend du jour was "branding" within my company. A consulting firm was promptly hired to fabricate buzz words, design fancy signage and engage the masses with team-building frivilocity. To those few of us with an ounce of common sense, it was a glorious waste of time. Then I happened upon the firm's invoice.........Sweet-mother-of-god........

An idea was born. By George, I would start a sham-seminar business! Lure in unsuspecting fools looking to boost morale with shimmery imagery and nonsensical catch-phrases. Hell, I could do that in my sleep and retire early! Still, it seemed somehow wrong. Unethical or impractical. Sure enough, as the economy rode that Coriolis Effect wave down the toilet, employers no longer gave much a damn about employee morale. It was all about the bottom line and securing golden parachutes for the bottom feeders.

Round two: Opportunity rang the 'ol doorbell in the form of one of those liquor-serving golf-carts... Only, the delicious spin would be in luring borderline alcoholics working in the sprawling business campus on this side of town. No longer would they have to worry about being spotted at the bar abusing the free wireless. They could simply slip out those revolving doors to greet me on my covert little cart of magical wonders. An ice cream truck for lushes! Turns out, you have to have some sort of elaborate, yet sound business plan to procure a liquor license in the first place. Plus the cops around here are no stranger to entrapment.

Naturally I keep abreast of local, national and borderline-black-market lotto and sweepstakes goings on, just to remain well rounded. I also routinely issue stern reminders to Publisher's Clearing House that our friendship is on hold. Still.... just about anything has got to better than this, yes?

So yesterday, as I was lamenting the total lack of interested investors in my frazzled writings it occurred to me that I have opinions. Lots of them. Perhaps thousands. I imagined my talents are most certainly wasted on the likes of my employer as most of the execs are nonplussed to hear my inner-most thoughts. An advice column! That's it! My friend and coworker graciously reminded me I don't generally give out GOOD advice. Hey, I didn't say it was going to be a HELPFUL advice column. Simply an advice column.

You have a problem? I most likely have something to say about it. Seems brilliant enough, no? So far as I can tell, Ann Landers never had any particularly earth-shattering replies for the poor saps who fueled her weekly posts. And look at Andy Rooney! That old grump just yammered angrily at the camera for the better part of his career. I can do that! In fact, I'll see his surliness and raise him some severely derailed trains of thought! BAM! Now, I just need to locate the proper outlet, rant and rave by day and roll about in wads of cash by night. Wait, scratch that last part.... I worked in a bank long enough to recall how bloody filthy cash can be. In lieu of that, I'll print out my bank statements on archive-grade 24lb paper and roll about on that.

You know, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for thinking to write this down. Given my mental issues, I would otherwise be prone to blink and forget all of this. Anyhoo - turns out I'm not just getting more cranky with age, I'm becoming ever more awesome! Just sayin'. *grin*

A Perfectly Valid Excuse

"Your shortness of breath and wild fainting spells will be cured this week, thanks to a series of well-placed commas." 

I grew up in a house on the corner lot of a steeply sloped circle. Nestled against the mountainside and surrounded by aspens and pines. We had a humble little garage that opened onto the street below, but the cars were normally parked in the carport that faced the circle above. It was almost the height of a barn with the angled roof-line and a deep redwood color that would grow even deeper when it rained. The contrast of the wood and the surrounding greenery of all the trees makes my eyes water to even recall. 

I used to love sitting out there on an old rickety aluminum lawn chair during thunderstorms. The rain would come in these extraordinary sheets where it was so easy to believe you were the last one left upon the planet. The darkness of the clouds above weighing down like a heavy quilt of grey. Those summer storms where it feels like night in even the earliest of afternoons. The distant buzzing of electricity deafening your senses before the lightning strikes were yet visible. One-one-thousand-two-one *CRACK*!!!!! The rush of adrenaline racing through every cell in your body as the breeze releases a sudden spray of rain upon bare feet. I could sit there for hours when my parents weren't home. The presence of a "responsible adult" entailed being promptly whisked back indoors where there weren't worries of the silly little girl getting struck.
The smell of rain is one of those emotional triggers that brings so many memories of simpler times. The sound of thunder..... another. I can tie so many of my happiest moments in life to thunderstorms.....To the childlike joy exhibited in response to them. 

My only issue with thunderstorms?

I can't summon up even an ounce of motivation to focus on anything else. In fact, I don't believe I should HAVE TO. After all, they are some magical spectacle of the gods meant to be celebrated with absolutely undivided attention. In my book, anyway. Possibly because I have yet to be struck.... Today's forecast calls for afternoon thunderstorms. So did yesterday's, and I finally resigned to bed last night in a dramatic fit of disappointment. Still, there's hope for today. 

*Glances outside*

Nothing yet. 

...

Now? *glances outside*

Nope.

So clearly no real work is going to be accomplished today and I fully intend on blaming the weather. I probably should have called in "Vaguely Anticipating Greatness", but I had to bring the kids to school, so it seemed this would at least be a legitimate distraction. Makes me curious what sort of season we're in for as if it's one of fabulous thunderstorms... I may need to take an extended leave of absence. 

Happy Wednesday, Pets!


Miller Time

"Like a moth to a flame, you too will be strongly attracted, despite the nearly certain outcome, to a giant flame this week."

Sadly, no, I'm not basking in a 9am happy hour, but a gal can dream, right? I'm referring to, yet another apocalyptic moth invasion. Seems this year's plague is brought to you by the Miller (or "Owl Moth), which is one of 20,000 moth species in the lepidopteran family Noctuidae. See? Stick around long enough and you might actually learn something from this Kitty. For those of you who were already well aware of this fact, might I add:  No one likes a showoff :). 


Up until yesterday evening, I remained blissfully unaware of the impending doom that is the Moth Decennial Spectacular. Sure, I'd seen a few of the insect-world's-answer-to-pigeons flitting about here and there. I was even willing to look the other way, turn the other cheek or only clobber the ones directly in my way with a few sheets of Bounty. Seems that only served to further aggravate the gods.

It was a random peaceful Monday evening when the phone rang. "I locked my keys in the car, how fast can you get here?" What? Not even a "Hello"? No respect, I tells ya. I meandered casually upstairs (What? I didn't want to trip after guffawing in response to my 'Ol Man's misfortune!) and instructed the kiddos to throw on some slippers for the ride. Naturally they were thrilled to get out of the house for a leisurely jaunt across town... Mostly as they know I'll blare some rad disco music for their listening pleasure. I probably wouldn't have noticed it except that my gut reaction was to use the windshield wipers to clear off all the dust forming on the window....

SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS...........



THOUSANDS OF THEM....



Ricocheting off the windshield by the hundreds as I sped....errr.... considerately observed and obeyed a respectably prudent speed limit down the road. The kids were shrieking and squealing.... further hypothesizing why birds weren't eating them. Why indeed? It was a bloody mess. OK, that's an exaggeration, a DUSTY mess. There's something entirely nauseating about the *POOF* sound those little airborne bodies make upon impact with the car.... leaving little more behind than a splotch of dust. Goo.  At each stoplight, these chaotic creatures were slipping into every nook and cranny of the car ahead. Miniature masterminds of some diabolical scheme to hide out in the vents.... waiting for the prime moment to strike....

A man no less than about 200 years old or so off in the distance, about to embark upon the pedestrian crossing up ahead....

WHAT!?!?!? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! HAVE THEY NO SOULS????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*** Note from the Author: It really is a wonder I don't get in more accidents the way my train of thought completely derails during routine errands***

Welp, there goes the neighborhood. The Millers have officially arrived.




Yes, I Need To Cancel My Subscription

"This week, envy rears its ugly head, realizes there's nothing enviable about you, blinks a couple times, and goes back to sleep."

You know what I hate? "No, Annie, please tell me." I appreciate your enthusiasm so I'll tell you:  The feeling of being left behind. Scratch that.... No less than TWO STEPS behind (and even that is a rather generous calculation).

This little gem of self pity can be traced back to the 2nd grade. My best friend in the whole wide world at that time was a certain Tracy G. I'm quite convinced I had no true concept of "friendship" back then, but I'll be damned if it wasn't the closest thing to it. We did everything together. This basically meant our parents would begrudgingly agree to one play-date every two months or so and the rest of the time was spent hanging out at recess. Kindred spirits, right? One day she walks in the door and it's clear she'd been crying (Probably not, but that's how I choose to remember it). She tells me her dad has a new job and they'll be moving to Hawaii the following week.

Naturally, I play through the absurd logistics of all of this. After all, my 7 year old self was well aware of the time required to pack, find a new home, ship all one's belongings/animals and get the entire family flown out there. Why, she would have known about this for WEEKS!!!!!! I can recall sobbing whilst babbling incoherently to my mother about the injustice of it all. Some obligatory "there, there"'s were uttered and beyond that, I was advised I'd probably feel better if I went outside and watered the plants (Suspiciously enough, that was my mother's answer for any and all ailments).

It took a good weekend to get over this trauma. Although my, my, those raspberry bushes certainly appreciated the new-found attention!

Miss Tracy G. was the first friend to abandon me, but she would be anything but the last. Sure, there was always a seemingly legitimate excuse behind it, but this knowledge didn't seem to lessen the sting. Even the sudden and thriving jungle in our backyard did little to soothe the grief. I was surely the common-denominator in the equation and I did not like that one bit! (On a side note, I was beginning to question my parents' clear lack of ambition in securing a work relocation.....)

Now that I'm older and wiser... OK, perhaps just older - one can hardly argue that! HA!.... These abandonment issues have webbed off into a full blown subscription. I peer through the humble window in my cave only to watch the world passing me by with little to no regard for leaving me in the dust. The more fear I exhibit towards progression, the more I cling for dear life to familiarity. I can hardly blame those who throw caution to the wind, know what they want and have something to offer.... wait... sure I can! But I won't. It's no one's issue (or subscription) but my own to tackle. And tackle it, I shall.

Today I received a phone call about a job I applied for but found I couldn't afford to accept. It additionally requires a commute I'm afraid to take on. I'm afraid to be that far away from my boys, from my husband... My comfort zone. The gentleman on the other end of the line insists the job was tailored just for me. I'm the only one he can fathom hiring. As I type, he is negotiating my salary. He is additionally working towards compensating the commute. Let me be clear that I do not have a degree or the "normal" skills required for such a position... Yet here is this stranger who will not allow my fears to prevent me from taking that step. Now what's my excuse?

I come up empty.

I wonder what Tracy G. is doing these days? Seems a waste of perfectly usable time pondering such things when that Greyhound bus destined towards my future is idling on my doorstep, no?










CALM DOWN!!!!!!

"The stars are serious this time: If they ever catch you with those fucking tea leaves again, you can kiss the last 15 years goodbye."

*Deep breath* OK, so I think I've recovered nicely from the angst of yesterday. Sometimes it's entirely refreshing to have a good 'ol fashioned freak-out, no? In the aftermath of most of my rants, I look back only to find I was spewing a truckload of incoherent nonsense in a feeble attempt to simply make sense of it all. You see, I am a terribly anxious and chaotic sort of creature. Most days my emotions are in a state of overdrive and I'm not quite sure what to make of them. It's evident I need an outlet and VOILA, this seems as good a place as any.
Poor guy. I've been there.
I follow a large number of blogs and one theme I've found in a lot of them is anxiety. Seems this is a very rampant and recurring theme. Seems I'm hardly the first to turn to paper (or the screen) for release. One discernible difference is the calm and rational structure others can almost effortlessly summon. My own words just scatter this way and that sans direction and most certainly sans resolution. My most prominent error tends to be in seeking to sort things out with the aid of the stars.
I read no less than 6 variations of my horoscope every day. In fact, I begin consulting each at the ripe hour of 3am every day. Much to my chagrin, most of the sites don't update their garbage until roughly 5:32am. Why do they so hate my freedom? What on earth am I to do with those 152 minutes? Naturally, I frantically hit "refresh" until I get the desired results. This is likely to land me in a position with no phone as I only carry the one issued by work. It seems someone had the audacity to begin monitoring our individual data usage. Somehow I suspect it won't go over well when I argue that this data is OBVIOUSLY being spent scouring for astrological survival tips.
What!? My soda offers advice too!!??!
Yes, yes, I'm well aware that isn't a proper use of company property. But hey, it beats getting slapped on the wrist by I.T. for fading off into oblivion while viewing the live feed of the shark tank through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, right? Right. Who knew such activities were likely to overload the server? Not this gal, that's for damn sure. Plus I feel I provided a service by pointing out the archaic capabilities of said server.
*panic*
I've actually completely forgotten where I was going with all of this.... *reading back through*.... Nope, I still got nothing. Perhaps the point is I've been creatively self-medicating to deal with my aforementioned anxiety issues and it's becoming crystal clear that's no longer a viable option. Where the writers I so adore are able to channel their energy into coping and overcoming, I'm still left in the dust relying on obscure horoscopes to get me through. Seeing as how I need to make some effort towards keeping that paycheck coming in, perhaps it's time to get a grip and seek professional help! Happy Friday!
I couldn't NOT add this - it's too great!





Turns Out, I'm a Complete Asshole!

"You're worried about your upcoming trial because, as an arrogant evil genius, you're not sure what the court considers a "jury of your peers." "

Not much of an excuse, but we are all rather products of our experiences in life. As I was driving into work today (clearly most of my "thinking" is accomplished during this time, which leaves the rest of the day freed up for more important things like Solitaire and staring contests with a computer screen), I was thinking forward 20 or so years to when I may be able to stomach my boys actually dating. I imagined one of them bringing home some plastic pageant queen and that's when it happened... I got angry. I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little. For someone who spends most of her time trying to be this fabulous force of love and acceptance, turns out I'm actually a total jerk.

I have no patience for fraternity boys, sorority girls, cheerleaders, jocks, the arrogant roller derby girls I met at a downtown tattoo shop, pretentious artists, yuppies, "perfect" mothers.... suddenly, the list was growing at an exponential rate. Even more suddenly, a flood of negative flash-backs to high school. Ugh. But that's precisely it. There are people who, to this day, are perfectly happy to define themselves by a singular hobby or group. Sure, we all long to "fit in" at one insecure point in life or another. But what happens when that translates into exclusivity later in life when, by all reasonable accounts, we should have grown out of that bullshit?

I love all things tagged as "retro" or "vintage". However, if I don't look like Bettie Page and consistently sport the latest and greatest "retro" fashion (seems an oxymoron, yes? ), I obviously don't know what I'm talking about and am furthermore not fit to join the ranks of true connoisseurs. Is there some universal reason people must cling to labels to consider success achieved? In the same breath, maybe I'm just as guilty for refusing to throw all my cards in on one interest. It's like rebelling by joining the mass army of rebels. Counterproductive, to be sure. Alas, maybe I just need to leave the house more so there are opportunities to meet nice people who stand a chance in hell of altering my bitchy views. Hmmm....A fleeting thought as I know better than to think I could motivate myself to actually leave the house beyond general necessities of work and the gas station up the road.

You know, I was already well aware I need to make some changes, but hot damn, this sure throws a wrench in things. I could probably begin with forgiving my own brother (who has never had to struggle a day in his life and seems to enjoy showering his judgment upon lower specimens). Then again, he loathes me and my family and insists on sending obligatory greeting cards addressed using my maiden name. Them's fightin' actions.

Do you suppose this is all spurned of some level of jealousy for those who "have it all"? I have a difficult time swallowing that since I define "it all" quite differently. Plus, there must be something to the band-aid phrase "It builds character" when the going gets tough, no? If you've never had things get tough, how much character could you possibly have? The genetic variety? Pssht. That only earns you so much charisma in life.

At the end of the day, or a few hours into the day, as the case may be, perhaps it's best to just let it go. I'm an asshole and frankly, I'm kinda OK with that. It's just one more ingredient in the cake that is Yours Truly. Then again, it would actually be pretty goddamned awesome to be challenged on my views. Keeps things interesting! Happy Thursday, Pets!


P.S. Update: My horoscope offered the following warning....just a bit too little too late: "Try not to overreact today -- though that might be easier said than done! Your emotions are closer to the edge than usual, and that could mean that you need to just remove yourself from the fray."

Serendipitous Spontaneity

"What you'll later choose to describe as a "through the looking glass" moment will actually be more of a "down a set of stairs, through a plate-glass window, and out into heavy traffic" sort of afternoon." 

Some days, I truly dazzle myself with the sudden onset of common sense. Ha! Upon composing that sentence, I toyed with leaving it at that. Alas, I'm feeling gabby, so let's dance, shall we? 

It occurred to me on the quiet ride in* that it's not spontaneity I'm so bloody afraid of... It's lack of control. There is a delightful pleasantness about flying by the seat of one's pants. It's when the future is being decided FOR us with or without our input that I begin to panic. Odd this didn't dawn on me sooner as those handy Choose Your Own Adventure books from my youth illustrate the point perfectly. True, the reader was presented with various choices leading them to the next adventure, but on the other hand, the outcome was already penned. It had been premeditated. 

I'm not a fan of going into great detail when the circumstance doesn't directly involve me, so I'll opt for a bit of vagueness as it DOES directly AFFECT me. For argument's sake, let's say a friend of a friend committed an error in judgment that has unleashed an entire sequence of events. Events which promise straying far off course from the initial path pursued. There are now outside influences in the ultimate outcome. Some things within our control and far too many outside of that. Let's further assume the law is now involved. What's particularly irksome to me is, despite many things in this world having been defined in black & white, many more touch upon fuzzy grey area. Things up for interpretation, if you have the wherewithal to have them interpreted in your favor. If not, your fate could well depend on anything from case law decisions to the emotional state of the D.A.. These statements are bold ones, but ones borne of much personal experience. I have a tough time believing in "justice" when even that isn't all that clearly defined.


But this post isn't about politics or legalities. In broader terms, I had been trying to decipher why I used to be so spontaneous and why not now? In the decisions I personally make, I make them with the knowledge that I am prepared to accept the consequences. The reality is there are a minimum of a thousand external factors that could easily be thrown in the mix at any moment. You read about it all the time: "If I had boarded the bus that day, I wouldn't have walked by the convenience store where I purchased the winning lottery ticket", "If I wore the blue sweater, I wouldn't have been laughed at in that meeting thus causing me to vomit upon myself", "If I hadn't forgotten my keys thereby delaying my departure 5 minutes, that monkey may have thrown fruit at my car after which I would have been involved in that 30-car pileup". Not much of a way to live, right? All the "what ifs" and "if thens"! Every time I walk out of the house, I could easily be hit by wayward asteroid debris, yes? (By the by, I tend to play that card when faced with the possibility of running unsavory errands). There's so much fear in uncertainty and as a result so much anger in response to the fear. Cycles are a constant presence in life, swirling madly out of control. That control. Perhaps it, in itself, a comfort. 
Anxiety runs thickly in my blood. Intermingling with the anxiety, inexplicable gypsy tendencies. Omnipresent chaos.... then again, it could be balance. The yin and the yang. At the end of the day, I still aim to harbor no regrets. In fact, I aim for minimal analyzing as what's done is done and what is accomplished should be toasted! In the end, it's all a matter of perspective. 



* The aforementioned "quiet ride in" was a direct result of dropping my iPod between the seats when I grabbed the wee one's backpack. Had I been listening to music, this post may not have been written :)

Once Upon A Porch

"You'll garner enthusiastic praise from by the world's leading art and design critics when fiendish but brilliant furniture makers fashion you into a tasteful, living Adirondack chair." 

If there is one thing that can "sell" me on a house, it is a fabulous porch structured lovingly around the front door... If there's a second, it would be black & white checkers in a kitchen. The latter landed me in a love-hate relationship with my mortgage. But that's a tale for another day.
*squeal of delight*
A porch. More than some grand architectural element crafted for aesthetic pleasures - so much more than an entryway into a home. It is a masterpiece all its own. An escape akin to some tree-top abode for wee ones. It can have its own personality and presence. Offering shelter and safety disguised as a quiet observer's nest. Then again, sometimes it's not all that quiet, as it can offer welcome sanctuary for boisterous laughter, music, the playful clinking of goblets and endless chatter. My, how I miss that.

Prior to galloping off on that path of marriage, home ownership, spawn and some semblance of responsibility, I lived in a rented Victorian house in the heart of downtown. To one side of the entrance, small portholes of intricate stained glass. The door, an extraordinary deep red adorned with delicate etchings. To the other side, a giant bay window leading whimsically into the living room. And the porch. This spectacular covered wooden porch ripe with an old rickety and charming swing. That porch became more a gathering place for neighbors, friends and loves than any kitchen could ever hope to. By George, it deserved to be named!
Countless Summer nights were spent in pajamas and flip-flops perched upon that swing with a glass (OK, sometimes a plastic cup) of wine in my hand and not a care in the world... not even a care for the ensuing wine stains on my feet as my clumsiness would overtake what remained of inhibition. I would occasionally chat up complete strangers who offered exotic tales of days gone by. Experiences I would never dream of owning, however enchanting. Evenings moving effortlessly into nights almost always set to island music under the ambiance of obnoxiously strung kitschy lights. No concerns of being land-locked or poor. Nothing much matters while swinging mindlessly back and forth. Childlike innocence.... well.....avec boxed wine, that is. I suppose not so innocent after all. Still..... a nice memory.

Funny how such an unassuming setting can represent so much joy. *sigh* Happy Tuesday, Pets.










Blessed.

I posted something very personal and rough yesterday. Somehow, it didn't make me sad to write all of that down. The experience was entirely liberating as I thought I had never wanted to face what had happened on that level ever again. I was taught all growing up, bad things were meant to be bottled up or brushed under a rug. That only serves to keep the cancer inside. When it stays inside, it festers and grows into its own darkness. I was haunted and now I'm free.

I no longer am ashamed of who I am because I overcame it... Or at least I'm working to overcome it. Suicide was an option more than once, but I'm alive to tell my story. There are those who will disown me for that, and that's OK. That's the entire point of free will. I feel mightily blessed at getting through and using that history to help and heal others as that is why they seek me out. I believe that is why I am on this planet.

I am not religious. What I am is deeply spiritual. For those who believe, they tell me god only gives us what we have the power to take on, if we so choose. In that vain, god put me on earth with all that pain so I could fully understand the pain and hurt of others. Often, I find I'm absorbing even more pain with no outlet. But as I age, I learn and experience my mistakes so I can release it safely. There no longer exists "strangers" I seek out to bait. That chapter of my life closed before I met my husband. I feel love on a level I never thought possible, now. I love and feel loved. Everything is not sunshine and unicorn tears as that wouldn't keep things interesting. I'm still under tremendous stress, but I'm learning to cope and overcome that too.

Today is a new spectacular day I was given to live. I'm entirely thankful for that. Today also happens to be Friday the 13th, which is always a celebration in my book. The choices thrown at us in life should be acknowledged as such. Choices. That in and of itself is pretty damn great. Without choices, the darkness washes over us again and we find difficulty in viewing that light at the end of the tunnel as much beyond an oncoming train.




No Sympathy For The Devil

"The darkest hour is right before the dawn. It is painful to work through our pasts, our lives, but we can't go around it, only through it." ~ The much adored and admired Empress. Thank you.

A simple round of apologies for the vagueness of yesterday's tantrum. It seems the times I long to delete the words the most, are the times I need them to remain. This is not going to be an easy post for me to get through. In the same breath, it was only after a long night spent thinking to the tune of a raging thunderstorm I decided that, for me, it has to be done in order to move forward.

Toddler vs. Monster
It is a shameful thing to admit and a more shameful thing to own. I have had a measurable level of sexual drive from my earliest memories as a wee child. This was not something spawned of trauma. I'm not sure it can even be coded in one's DNA. And yet, it coursed through my veins and left me confused, angry and alone. A child. Anything but innocent when everything I knew of this new world tried convincing me otherwise. The thoughts and feelings I had were not "normal" from day one. To this day, I have no idea what normal is.

Child vs. Monster
By the time I was 8, I was overweight. This can, in no way, be attributed to my parents. No fault lies with anyone but myself. Growing up, we weren't allowed sugar cereal, soda, junk food. We didn't get fast food and we weren't presented with poor choices. None of that was allowed in the front door. This lonely, angry, chubby and immensely confused girl walked miles to get her filthy paws on junk. To eat myself into a stupor of what little comfort I perceived. Looking back at pictures, it was not obesity upon that small frame. But I had stretch marks on my thighs and I knew that was wrong. Shameful. Ugly. At the age of 8, I was concerned no one would ever want to have sex with me. I began starving myself and exercising to change that.

Pre-Teen vs. Monster
I got my first period at 11. In my family, embarrassing personal dialogue was not to be uttered. We were taught manners, respect for others, pride by virtue of masking any political incorrectness and ultimately secrecy. I remember being convinced I was dying. So much shame. Disgusting. Filthy. Alone. I was more bothered by dying in an ugly body, than thoughts of death itself. I opened up to a complete stranger for help. She took pity on me and bought me the proper items to cope. I was still obsessing about my image and the weight would go up and down. I began abusing painkillers to aid the hunger pains. Not long after that, Twin Peaks aired on TV. I remember being mesmerized. I felt that my most hidden thoughts were being broadcast for the world to see. I can remember looking nervously at my mother to see if she somehow sensed the connection. Instead, she would turn and smile the kindest smile at me as it was obvious her little girl was a lover of the arts. Perhaps I had just formed my first preference to one director over another. That was it! That little girl, with her crazy imagination, has an attachment to David Lynch! Silly, silly girl. Silly dark, fat, confused little girl. The dark girl with the raging hormones. The unhealthy attachments to men. The one who's only goal in life was to be physically WANTED.

Adolescent vs. Monster
As I made my way through school, it became apparent I had a mind. A level of intellect. All through school I had straight A+'s and every year I could count on being on the equivalent of an honor roll. There was no real level of effort involved there. It all came naturally to me and I didn't see it as a positive. Beneath the surface, a storm was carefully brewing to the surface. I was not a particularly attractive child and I felt I got uglier and uglier as I aged. The only boys who clung to me were the ones hoping to absorb those A's from me. They would taunt me in public, and exhibit disgusting kindness to me in private. Quiet compliments away from prying eyes and ears. Notions that I was unwanted, unloved and unworthy were weaving quite the web of hatred about me.

Eventually I met the boy who would become my first boyfriend. He was kind to me in public, that seemed the only real qualifier. I was smitten. For a time, I even forgot my own self-loathing. I forgot about my sexual deviations. It would be almost a year before he finally told me how he really felt. Not those three sweet little words most gals hope to soak up. "I never really found you attractive, but I love you for what's underneath." That vile creature. No one knows me underneath. Not him, not my family. I felt betrayed. Betrayed and further determined to become an object men craved because I no longer believed in love. It was more than wanting to be wanted. I wanted to do damage. I wanted vengeance.

By the time I was 14, I was sneaking out to clubs, staying out most of the night, sending my parents into routine panic and doing everything imaginable in what I had convinced myself was an effort to find myself. Who I was, what I was and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. I dressed in black, listened to dark music and spent my hours exploring the darkness. It was exhilarating. I learned how to put on make-up, little by little I learned how to dress for my body type and how to style my hair. I thought I was learning to be pretty. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were starting to notice me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were beginning to express their attraction to me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. Borderline kidney failure.

Victim vs. Monster
When I left home just before graduating high school, I felt an extraordinary sense of relief. It wasn't due to so much being out from under the control of my parents as it was I knew they only had to see the side of me I wanted to show them. I knew I had two distinct sides. I knew what my darkness was. I knew I didn't ever want to marry or have children as that would bring people far too close to me. They would eventually see both sides.  There was no such thing as loving both. Being loved completely. I was actually still fairly convinced there was no such thing as love. Those who tried getting close to me would send me retreating quickly back into my shell. I was hollow. Intelligent, fun loving, "adorable", friendly and flirtatious on the outside. A hot mess on the inside.

Then I was raped.

There will forever only be two who know all the terror that happened that night. Only two who know the extent of the physical damage. Only one who will live with the extent of the mental damage for the rest of her days upon this planet.

This unlocked something inside. No. Unleashed. Shortly after the physical recovery, I needed to feel that pain again. I would become quietly enraged when I didn't get my way. People I knew didn't want to hurt me like that. I begged. The answer was always "no". The posing of the question would simultaneously drive them away. The answer, in my mind, was that going forward only strangers would wish to cause me that level of harm. The answer was to lure strangers. To act as bait. To physically do everything in my power to experience that unearthly thrill again. I was broken. I could no longer face the judgement swirling around me. Not knowing where else to possibly turn, I left town in search of a blank slate. As it's known to do, history repeated itself. More spiraling. More damage. More pills.

Every day is a struggle for me. Every day, I must go through very precise motions to function. To be stable, calm and grounded. Today is my 6 year wedding anniversary. I am married to a phenomenally awesome man. I have two beautiful boys and an amazing, if not humble support system of friends. My relationship with each of my family members is a good one that has taken years of effort to rebuild and maintain. I'm still very broken. I'm not sure what it will take to fully heal the sum of my years. I'm not entirely convinced that's even possible. Today, with this post, I take the first step far out of my comfort zone. But today is a new day.







A Room With No View

This isn't a real post. I chuckle when I read that on many of the blogs I adore reading. None of mine ever really are. But in all honesty, this won't be much of a post because it quite simply can't be. I have a lot to say. The sorts of things that should never be committed to paper. The sorts of things that would come back to haunt me. To destroy everything I've accomplished and everything I've run away from. Awful things. I could use a therapist if I possessed even an ounce of trust in such things. I'm quite paranoid. But so much to say. So very much to say. And no trust. No outlet. No getting it out. *sigh* 

Feminist, Fruitcake or Feverish?

"While the smiling old woman isn't lying about her award-winning cupcakes, she is withholding crucial information regarding the depraved and sadistic nature of the local cupcake awards." 

So I've had a cold for 2 weeks and running now. I know right? There should be a prompt outpouring of sympathy, but feel free to reserve that for when I tell you how I almost got in a car accident last night in the midst of a sneezing fit. I suppose that was the entire story. Anyway, I'm not what you'd call a "girly girl" - in fact I once slapped a man for calling me a "Lady" only later to find out he meant it sincerely. The slap was sincere as well so I say we're even. 

Back to aforementioned cold: There I was feeling mightily sorry for myself the other evening while whipping together something for the boys to eat (Yes, let's just go ahead and breeze past the part about touching my kids food with the hands of a sickie). Suddenly my 'Ol Man comes up behind me and said "You, My Lady, need to sit down, relax, and I'll make you some chicken noodle soup!". What a Doll, no? But I wasn't even able to process that part as I was actually floored by the "My Lady" part.  In fact, I do believe I blushed a l'il. 

I struggle with playing the whole "damsel in distress" role. Sure, I'm a total bundle of bedazzled drama, but I really do a damn fine job of keeping that persona contained here. I've been working since I was 14 and prided myself on never having to rely on anyone else. That ventures into fuzzy grey area when I disclose that my 'Ol Man and I even have separate checking accounts after 6 years of marriage. It was only by absolute chance that I ended up with my current job that allows me to pay all the household bills so he can just focus on the exorbitant daycare expenses for Dr. Snicks. So I pay the vast majority of the bills, I file my name first on our taxes and I try to handle every crisis that comes our way. By no means is my Honey unable to do these things. I'm just too much a control freak to let him. 

The Stunning Miss Vesta Vayne of The Cowardly Feminist had a recent and brilliantly penned post discussing, in part, the resurfacing fascination of life in the 40's, 50's and 60's. The Mad Men madness, as it were. The return to simpler times of kept women, closed minds and bullet-proof comfort zones. It was a timely post as I had just been discussing with my friend how lovely the THOUGHT seems. Thoughts of not finding myself in one of those middle-of-night anxiety attacks about the state of the world, the cultural wars surrounding us, world hunger issues, global climate issues or - on a much smaller scale - all the hell I foresee raining down upon me the moment I set foot at work the following morning. Shaking my fists at the sky and having a constant stream of negative information intoxicating my brain 24/7/365 and 366 on leap years. What a trite notion to just live in suburban, middle-class, ignorant doped-up bliss!

My own father often symbolically apologizes to me for the timing I arrived on this planet. He tells tales of the days when a man could work a factory job and still support a family of 5 with change to spare for week-long vacations to the Grand Canyon and keeping the family dog's shots current. Sounds pretty damn sweet, no? My only real "vacations" in the past 6 years were two sets of rushed maternity leave, and even then, I was continually reminded how entirely inconvenienced everyone was in my absence and that I was clearly using my new motherhood as an "excuse".  (I'll go ahead and save the tales of being sent on business travel late in month 8 of the first pregnancy, and running to Home Depot in a stake bed truck to retrieve twelve 200lb storage units in month 8 of the second pregnancy for another day ;) ). Martyrdom, aside, I always did my best not to make said "excuses".  

I'm quite known to go on the defensive when I'm accused of being feminine. But why? Why would I view that as a negative? A weakness? There shouldn't be shame associated with it. Without a doubt, the strongest creatures I've ever known or even read about were women. As a child, I remember thinking it a survival instinct to mask the "girl", never mind basic logic dictating the species wouldn't endure without a few uteri. Perhaps that was the problem? Worries of overpopulation, resulting starvation, slaughter, earth's ultimate destruction... OR perhaps the real problem circles, once again, right back to my own sensitivities: I don't have the answers, but I sure as hell feel the weight of all the problems! Ha! 

Just as I lose myself in the battle of being a flamboyant wallflower, I similarly lose my identity in finding balance between being a strong female and feeling betrayed by the same. And yet, if only for a few fleeting moments, it felt like sheer bliss to hear those simple words from my 'Ol Man. To let down that wall and just be a girl.

TMJ and You!

"What most people don't seem to understand is that normal dentures lack the air of excitement and danger of your prosthetic badger jaw."


Hello, my name is Annie and I have an under bite. More specifically, my jaw is permanently unhinged on both sides. Held in place only by a pair of rowdy tendons... Rather like a snake...
Now lets suppose, for a moment, that I also have a crooked smile. No, no, my teeth are shockingly straight-ish, but when I smile, one corner of my mouth goes up far higher than the other. So a protruding jaw - check. And a wonky grin - check. (I won't even touch upon the other.... shall we say eccentricities upon my face?). One might suspect when I walk down the street (you know, if I left the house much) with a smile on my lips and a spring in my step, people might naturally recoil in horror. Not the case. In fact, not in the least...
I decided to make a bit of a game of it this morning. As I was driving into work, I careened past multiple garbage trucks (my driving skills are normally lacking if not ominous, but today I was able to blame a freak snowstorm) - you know the ones with the gentlemen hanging off the back? So I smiled. Despite work being my ultimate destination on top of having a monumental chest cold, I smiled. A big, toothy smile. Every one of those gentlemen smiled back - one even guffawed and almost fell off the back. *squeal of delight*! Neat! Alright, then! I pulled up to a light next to a gal who was clearly having the worst day of her life. I smiled. Perhaps she guessed I was clinically insane, but there it was - she smiled back! A fabulous smile that could light up a room! "Good girl!", I thought to myself. This would continue at every light, stop-sign, turn and U-Turn (my auto-pilot had no intentions of actually showing up for work today). I'm not sure whether there was any residual value for those I encountered along the way, but these events all collectively made my morning!

I recently penned a note of thanks to the doctor who brought me into this world with a set of unforgiving forceps. I was sure to include additional bits of thanks for my ensuing geniophobia (fear of chins.... weak chins, to be precise). Over the years, I've managed to mask the protruding jaw and even provide some cheap entertainment with all the assorted "pops" and fitting dozens upon dozens of, say,  grapes in my mouth. Let's not get dirty, my antics are purely PG. 
I'll forever be conscious of my jaw, of that odd grin. Yet I wouldn't change it for the world. Oh, there were plenty of offers to break the damn thing back into place. To wire my jaw shut. Momentarily, I had considered the benefits of that last one. But when you look in the mirror each day, there's something familiar about the reflection staring back. Not perfect, not even all that fancy. Still... for all the flaws, it's me. Unique, quirky and that jaw of mine has a life all it's own. Nope. I don't think I'd change a thing. 






Kitty

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Have That Removed!

 "Self-improvement may be a noble goal, but the stars aren’t so sure the leg rests, dual cup-holders, and wood paneling are what people had in mind. "

First order of business, Happy Belated Halloween. It's the goddamned greatest holiday of the year and my favorite of the bunch, to be sure. That said, I've been too doped up to bask in all the glory. Didn't dress up. No decorations. There were no deliciously carved pumpkins.... no graveyard. No garish lights. No fog. No spiderwebs adorning my abode.... well there are always plenty of spiderwebs, but that's more a sign of my poor housekeeping skills. The corpse of one of those terrifying spidery bastards is still lifelessly glued to one of my shampoo bottles as the love child of fear and laziness struck at a most inopportune moment. Another day bites the dust. I'm even refraining from commentary on the costume-sporting-hooker-festival I found myself surrounded by last night. 

You see, I went to the doctor. Horrid thought, that. I do so loathe swallowing my pride and surrendering to the vast world of drugs and diagnoses. I generally avoid seeking help at all costs. After all, in my mind, there is little that duct tape and puffy stickers can't solve. As it turns out, those are of absolutely no use when the ailment involves extraordinary pain when sitting or standing. So I did it. I drove my bruised tailbone and ego to the doctor. What I wasn't prepared for was the horrified look on the man's face when he returned with the X-Ray. "Now don't freak out..."  Seriously? I was just fine until you said that! 

"Severely fractured coccyx" (Tailbone to the layperson). Alright, well what do I need, then? A band-aid? Ice pack? Whiskey?

"A trip to the neurologist". Solid.

As I sat in the waiting room yesterday morning, I was having quite the time vomiting my hypochondria on the paperwork before me. Depression? Check. Anxiety? Check. Broken Bone? Check. Bruises Easily? Ummm... Ok. Difficulty Swallowing? Sure, why not. I believe the only section I didn't make any menu selection from involved blood disorders. The red goo seeping out of all my paper-cuts looks fine to me, so I felt no urge to go down that path. Upon entering the exam room and noticing my quite colorful questionnaire, the doctor eyed me up and down in disbelief. I can only imagine the thoughts running through Judgy McJudgerson's mind. 

After a litany of questions surrounding all my fabricated ailments, we got down to brass tacks. As I sat back and observed each successive reflex test and endured poke after poke with a sharp, splintery stick, I felt pretty damn good about myself. Man, I had aced that shit! Everything looked to be going swimmingly. I wasn't even under the influence of narcotics with my assertion of what had just transpired. And yet I was wrong. So very wrong. "Extensive nerve damage to the right half of the body". Back up that trolley... WHAT? I'm also looking at spine surgery. Outstanding.

Add AT LEAST one slipped disc and nerve damage to the laundry list of ailments (imaginary or otherwise). Ugh. 

More tests scheduled, more anxiety, an extra helping of tea for my pity party. On the bright side, I'm totally justified for the next month or so with all my melodramatic whining. But I'll be damned if I'm letting some lunatic open me up and tickle those oh-so-necessary ivories! 

I've known 4 creatures on this planet to have gone under the knife for back surgery. Those 4 same creatures all came out in wheelchairs. To be fair, each and every one of them exceed 70 years or so upon this planet, but I just don't trust it. Between general paranoia and zero positive hospital experiences to date, this all is a bit much to take in. 

Look, I'll be the first to admit my problem pales in comparison to what 99% of the planet endures. One only need tune into the news for a handful of minutes to put things in perspective. And yet I'm scared. Terrified, actually. I'd be willing to bet I wouldn't handle a serious issue with much grace at all. May I just tell you I also don't handle sympathy well? I'm pleased as punch to feel sorry for myself, but once others start chiming in on my limitations, Kitty feels backed into a corner and those claws do come out. Tis quite the conundrum indeed. So where am I going with all of this? Good question. May I just direct you back to the aforementioned bit about being doped up? An excellent first step might be stepping away from the keyboard thus putting an end to all this drivel. Glancing down I just noticed it's the first day of November. Makes enough sense. Let's see what you've got for me, month. For the rest of you, I wish you a marvelous Thursday.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Knocking Some Sense Into The 'Ol Gal

"Surviving this week will hinge heavily on the bear’s ability to understand English, his grasp of such higher concepts as mercy, and whether or not you’ll let go of that honey." 

A funny thing happened to me on the way to work yesterday. Turns out a certain aforementioned accident managed to jar my wee brain JUST enough to make a noticeable difference. For one magical day (and counting) I was ZEN. I'm talking Office-Space-post-hypno-therapy-zen. Yesterday could well have been added to the list of days I wish to forget. But not so. It was perfection. The soundtrack was even a gentle mixture of elevator muzak and calypso. 

After months of stress accumulation amounting to a rat's nest of frustration, it was just suddenly absent. Absent in one of those marvelous ways normally requiring the assistance of high levels of toxicity. Each successive email brought about another helping of yuck to an already overflowing plate. Wave after wave of added responsibility and concern. And yet there I stood.... or sat as the case would be..... smiling blissfully and brushing it off as I would a rogue ash from my cigarette. Yes, yes, I still have that nasty habit, but there's likely some good that may come out of routinely crystallizing my lungs.

I must say, the feeling experienced has inspired me to a state of complete calm. As the resident sounding board for the majority of my coworkers, I felt like I was hovering just a few inches off my seat yesterday. This ethereal being soaking it all in whilst banishing all the bad off into oblivion. It was damn tempting to run home and change into billowing robes for added effect. Of course, that would be absurd as I don't own such a frock. There is quite simply a delicious result from little more beyond coping. I ALMOST wish I had ran into something sooner. Almost.

Why is it that many of us spend so much time lost in worry? What-if's? What-then's? How-On-Earth's? Growing up, I marveled at the stark contrast in the personalities of my own parents. This same contrast undoubtedly led to their ultimate demise as a couple. Still, it was curious. On one hand, you could visibly see.... See, sense, get absolutely enveloped in the stress of one. The other: calm, cool and eternally collected. The latter - not so much as a hint of fluctuation in tone whether the news of the day signaled apocalypse or utter elation. Quite curious, indeed. 

I don't realistically expect this fabulous brain damage to last. And it's possible the whole "Mama's lost her goddamned mind" heckling may grow old. But for now, I am floating along in a manner reserved for creatures of the winged variety. I only wish I could bottle it up and sell it. Sweet merciful jesus, I'd be rich. I've also toyed with the recurring notion of starting my own cult. Nah, too sinister. With great power comes great responsibility, no? If I can pass along the good vibe to even one additional soul, I'll be pleased as punch. Happy Wednesday, Pets.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day One

"Sometimes you wish you could just close your eyes and disappear. Wait, no. Not sometimes. Always."

The alarm is going off. Get up. Get up, asshole. You up? Ok: Check.
Shower, down 2 cups of coffee, spray paint on some make-up and blow dry that mop : Check.
Get the kids up, dressed, fed and entertained: Check.
Got the leaves for his school project? : Check.
Is he wearing a red shirt today? : Check.
The little one needs a new change of clothes : Check.
....and a pillow for nap time (lucky little bastard) : Check.
Your 'Ol Man forgot his health insurance paperwork : Check.
Write the check for the little one's school : Check.
12 emails just came in. Answer them : Check.
Remember the pictures and magazines to send to mom : Check.
Wish your brother Happy Birthday : Check.
4 more emails.... : Check.
Make the kids lunches : Check.
Drop off the kids on the way to work... Oops... 7 more emails : Check and Check.
You're late and you forgot your laptop. Turn around and grab that and an extra lighter : Check.
Where's your debit card? Shit. : Check.
Mom-in-law needs you to mail some stuff since you're here : Check.

Get in a car accident : Check.

There's a weird feeling that occurs when your car starts spewing mysterious liquid from the massive gash in the front quarter panel. It's a mix between something that causes nauseous laughter and nervous chills. You almost want to throw your body on it to make it stop. Seems that might cause added embarrassment given the sudden onslaught of onlookers. And yet, still tempting. You wonder why you couldn't have at least caused the entire goddamned thing to go up in flames. At least THAT would be newsworthy entertainment. Even deserving of a bit of sympathy. Losing what turns out to be all your windshield wiper fluid all over the parking lot? Not as much. Yes, flames would have been far better. 

It's been a strange year, Pets. By "strange", I fully mean it deserves the finger. I've always been a firm believer in notions that we need to choose how we handle stress or adversity. I've clearly been choosing to be a sobbing lump. Quite out of character, really. Losing three people very dear to me in the course of 2 weeks was particularly catastrophic to my selfish fragility. It's best not to get me started on the news. But the worst part of it, hands-down? I forgot to write. I almost forgot HOW to write. 

My one escape. My one makeshift band-aid - to let the flood gates open and sort through all the debris while it's laid out in front of me. It was missing. And it was missed. 

I was speaking with a friend of mine about all of this. He told me I had inspired him to write. Being the hormonal beast I am, that reduced me to tears. But what greater a compliment? He asked if I was still writing and I truthfully responded "no". There was strange heartbreak in his eyes. Not because he follows me on here and not because he was expecting anything of me. He simply found it to be a complete waste of that glimmer of hope I've so desperately needed. So why now? And why not sooner? 

I'm afraid I don't have answers for either. I cling to the things I know, and I keep an open mind for ALL I don't. Time for another cup of coffee. Seize the day and such.



Friday, June 15, 2012

When The 'Ol Train of Thought Suddenly Realizes It Is, In Fact, An Airplane.

"Try and get back to basics this week. Learning to dress yourself, brush your teeth, and eat with utensils would be a good place to start."

As a strange and poorly planned directive came raining down upon us unsuspecting peons at work yesterday, I fully anticipate I'll have FAR too much time on my hands today. As it's also Friday, I don't take much issue with that. Today, anyway. Monday's another story.  

My mind has been all over the map these past few weeks so I can say with some degree of certainty, that this post will be entirely incoherent. And that's OK. It is mine, after all.

On a quick side tangent (Christ, Annie, you are barely a few sentences in and already a side tangent? SILENCE, PEANUT GALLERY!!!!) a couple of months back, we were forced to write our own performance reviews. Nothing new of note there, really, it's just one of those Corporate nuances. Anyhoo, as logic would dictate, I wrote my own review. My brain was somehow sending the signals which eventually traveled through my fingertips and recorded onto the screen before me. So fast forward a bit and I have a meeting with my boss to address the whole ordeal. The first words out of her mouth: "I must say, I really don't care for your writing style". Ouch. Funny thing is, to this day I'm not sure how to even fix that when my "style" was little more than what my mind dictated I write. There wasn't much style to it, per se.... but who the hell else's style would I have utilized? This would be, then, setting aside the fact that I don't write for a living (clearly). I simply stated what I accomplished this past year. Why would I be critiqued on my writing style? Ah well, one of those little mysteries in life, no?

Moving right along, I had applied for a job I REALLY wanted. I mean REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted. As luck would have it, I was selected to move forward into the process to a testing phase. Little did I know this would actually drag out over about 7 weeks. Each successive test, I was totally convinced I had bombed miserably. Each successive test gave way to yet another. My gut instincts were evidently on vacation. So the final test arrives and, well, let's just say it was nothing more significant than a personality test.

I failed.

Literally the ONE area of my life where I thought "Hey, I'm not too bad, this shouldn't be an issue." was the ONE area that barred me from continuing. Tough for a gal to not take all of this a bit personally. Thing is, I don't have to hear it from anyone else. Bad news. Of any sort. I'm there. We are all our own worst critics. Pushing all absurdities, injustice and judgment aside, at the end of the day, if you don't like what you see in the mirror..... or taking that a step further, what you perceive in your mind - you're the only one who can change that, right? This is nothing new. Yet funny how even reciting it over and over again in your head does nothing to make it all QUITE sink in. Sometimes the off-color comments of others are an opportunity to revisit the dialogue in your mind. May I just offer some caution for the manner in which you revisit it?

I have been beating myself up from the depths of my own depression. We're talking blood sport, here. Unsanctioned, unregulated and quite frankly, uncalled for. I truly admire those with the testicular fortitude to say ENOUGH. It takes monumental oodles (I really delight in throwing those two words together) of strength, confidence, heart and courage to put an end to the cycle. My own cycle is deeply bound to the tides. They thrust me about in disarray and with a careless almost arrogance.  I often take comfort in that chaos. But in the grander scheme of things, it is an unhealthy way to live. It's not something that can be changed in a day. In fact, it's altogether possible it's a connection which can't truly ever be broken. It is, however, a challenge I'm more equipped to face than I was even days ago.

Someday I'll be free of the burdens imposed from my own mind. Here's to hoping I'm still "young" enough to enjoy the fruits of that. For now I'm off to seize the day. I may even fancy it up a bit with some sparkles or.... let's be honest - gin. TGIF, Pets!!!

P.S. As it turned out - the "side tangent" was to be the only tangent of the post. Ain't that some shit?




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Everyone Has A Story

"Learn to appreciate the little things in life, because the big things will either cost more than you have or take more time than you've got left."

I found myself in the waiting room of our local police station last night. To be fair, I got there mid-afternoon and just happened to continue loitering into the early hours of that evening. Although not as efficiently run as my long-spanning viewership of Law & Order would lead me to believe, I was nonetheless amused. In fact, I would readily admit to being "guffawed" if I suspected that to be a real word. 

Right off the bat, I was struck by two observations: First, I was far more comfortable surrounded by colorful creatures with questionable rap sheets than I might be in, say, a mall. There's something fabulous to be said for people who perceive themselves in no position to readily judge another. Second, it seems my hearing/eavesdropping skills are far sharper than I initially suspected. I'll go ahead and throw a third observation in the mix for no reason beyond combating my assertion that I had only soaked in two such findings within 5 minutes of setting foot in those formidable glass doors: I am not the ninja I'd like to think I am. As I clearly hear better when I turn my head in the direction of the conversation, I'm not very subtle when staring at those whose business I'm nosing blissfully about in. 

Funny thing about police stations, there is no discernible regard for the privacy of others and/or their business. It's not like the waiting room of an OB-GYN where your first name is awkwardly whispered by the attending nurse. Even having a seemingly non-complex first name such as "Annie" can produce moments of entertainment when it's pronounced "Andy?" in an otherwise nonexistent Minnesotan accent. Nope. In a police station, the staff will proudly announce your full first, middle and last name with shocking clarity, not to mention booming pomp and circumstance. This all led to even more fascination with the reaction of the first gentleman called...

"JOHN JAMES THOMPSON? IS THERE A JOHN JAMES THOMPSON?"* (Notice no breath was actually even taken in between to allow for a prompt response)

*yes, yes, the name has been altered to protect the identity of the individual involved..... Although the employees at aforementioned police station would never willingly submit to such consideration....Just sayin'.

The response: "YES. THAT WOULD BE ME." comes this thunderous voice from a gentleman looking suspiciously like the grandfather from Silver Spoons. The best part? He finished reading his article in the newspaper before carefully folding it up, placing it delicately back into his briefcase, checking his shoes to ensure laces were properly tied, then retreating to the room down the hall. No sense of urgency whatsoever. No hint of shame at being part of our motley little crew. In fact, one might suspect he had just won a prestigious award and was collecting himself before delivering the most brilliant speech ever penned by man. Awesome!
Yep - That's the one!
Next up to bat was a special sneak preview of "Thelma & Louise: Where Are They Now? - 50 Years Later". The entertainment packed into those pint-sized white-haired cuties sporting Daisy Dukes and Blue Blockers was pure gold. They had apparently just returned from a drinking binge in N'Orleans only to discover some brute had stolen Thelma's American Express. My waiting room neighbor insisted on providing me a status update of the names on the clipboard at the most inopportune times, or I would have gotten the skinny on EXACTLY what purchases were made on said American Express. 

In those fleeting moments where the publicized dialogue would become hushed or altogether missing, I would make up stories in my head to properly fill in the plot gaps. All in all, it was a delectable adventure I'm not soon to forget. In fact, I think I'm rather going to miss that place. Perhaps not enough to embark upon some caper about town, but certainly enough to mull spending some well-earned vacation time back in that lobby in the near future. Any takers? Happy Tuesday, Pets.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flowers Become Screens

"This would be a good week for you to take control of your life and your destiny, but hey, this is you we're talking about."

There was something in the violent storm last night. Something other than the nearly 3 hours of non-stop hail... Something aside from the blackest sky imaginable suddenly bursting into blinding brightness. The rainbow through the deafening sound of chaos. There was something that made me smile for the first time in weeks, and it was divine.

I'd like to think yesterday was my version of rock bottom. Depression, anxiety and roller coaster rides are nothing new to this gal. The feeling of complete and utter hopelessness, however, is. It exploded into feelings far more drastic and awful than I thought I was honestly capable of. However grateful I was to wake up free of that pain this morning, I wouldn't quite be myself if I didn't try grasping for an answer.

For now, it seems as simple as that storm. Needing that water to wash it all away, both figuratively and literally. I love song in the title of this post. I hadn't listened to it in awhile and it just plain fit.

Flowers Become Screens

Seems NKE is on her way back. Happy Thursday, Pets. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Second Verse, Worse Than The First?

"You will become an inspiration to thousands of teens when your tragic tale of sexual profligacy and rampant drug abuse is turned into the coolest PSA of all time." 

It's no secret I'm a smoker. Wait, that's a lie - my mom has no bloody clue. What's funny about that is I fully believe she CHOOSES to have no bloody clue about that. She lives out of state and we generally only see each other once, maybe twice a year. During those visits, I'm respectful as possible not smoking while around her, but she HAS to smell it, right? I mean, my deep, "sexy" voice isn't exactly NATURAL.... I'm getting WAY off tangent, here. But she's in town on Tuesday so I guess that's on my mind. I'll circle back to open that can of worms later. The initial point was that there are only a handful of us bastard children who actually smoke at my place of employment. The newest member of the group happens to also be my new boss, who began last Monday. A quick bit of back-story there - I first met this amaze-balls lady almost 2 years back when she was my direct-contact consultant on a software conversion. We got along famously and I rather felt we made a good team. 

So fast forward two years and I find she has applied to take the place of the fraud who was kicked out on a federal indictment (no shit - it's a bloody carnival around here most days). Being exceedingly excitable about the prospect, I put in a good word and my accompanying two cents to anyone who would give me the time of day. This included more random strangers on the street than people who had any influence over the decision, but that's beside the point. She's here now, and she's as brilliantly awesome as I remember. 

Now here's where things get obtuse. She is a very honest sort of creature. She has no patience for bullshit, stands up for us little people, knows her stuff and her filter was clearly surgically removed, so she has my utmost respect. I'm not guessing that feeling is entirely reciprocated. There have been some off-the-cuff comments here and there which really make me curious as to what she thinks of me the second go 'round. I honestly believe she'd take a bullet for me, so in that sort of relationship, there is a bit more censoring/restraint than might be exercised with others. The two examples I shall present frankly have me perplexed:
WTF?
Exhibit A: In perusing for office supplies, she comes across a tape dispenser in the shape of a stiletto. Obviously that's whimsical enough, no? But the first words out of her mouth: "Jesus Christ, that looks like something Annie needs! In fact, I'm shocked she doesn't already have one!" Look at me, Pets.... wait, that doesn't really work in this whole blogging thing, does it? Anyway, I'm a hot mess. I don't believe I come off as some pretentious princess or high maintenance bitch. My hair is "fresh-off-a-motorcycle-lesbian-chic" at its best, and my clothes could easily place me at the scene of Rainbow Brite's murder.... with perhaps a flash of gypsy pizazz for flavor. I don't personally see anything wrong with any of that... but the stiletto tape dispenser? I may as well only write in hot-pink-cotton-candy-smelling-glitter-gel pens. I'm not sure why I'm over-thinking this so much, except for the fact that I pretty well over-think EVERYTHING. Hmmm.... What I'm saying is I don't think I come off as a girly girl sort of shoe whore or anything even close (says the broad who just got her 3rd unsolicited spam email from a shoe retailer). If one had to label me, I'd sooner expect a knee-jerk answer like "Vagabond". All around, not a big deal. Perhaps it was meant as a compliment? 

Exhibit B: So 4 of us heathens are downstairs smoking..... outside.... should probably clarify that since the files in our office are already begging a visit from the local Fire Department. The subject comes up regarding raising bulls from babies and how they were destined to be slaughtered so one mustn't get too attached or, god forbid, NAME THEM. I start chuckling remembering a recent episode of Duck Dynasty. I didn't even get past spitting the name of the show out when my boss exclaims "Holy Shit, I was just thinking the other day about who in their right goddamned mind would watch that show and then, thought to myself, ANNIE! She would TOTALLY watch that shit!" OK, for those of you who haven't seen this show - it is seriously entertainment at its FINEST!!!! I saw a clip from the show on The Soup and I was utterly hooked! But let's back up the trolley a moment.... Why would the absurdity of that show scream "ANNIE"? What does that mean? Come on, it's family-friendly(ish) entertainment for everyone, no?  (And it REALLY is entertaining.... if you haven't seen it, might I suggest you take that plunge? *smile*) Once again... perhaps it was meant as a compliment? 

Look, I'm well aware I have skin as thick as a wet Kleenex and I'm totally prone to assume any remark is meant poorly, but I'm genuinely curious what the hell air I'm putting off!? These two bits of evidence are only a small sampling of the bizarre mix of remarks in a mere week. I'm thinking I would be well served to play all of this up. Bluntly put: to not disappoint. If nothing else, it'll offer up a bit of tension relief in an otherwise dreary mess of a place! Let the games begin! 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Restless Natives And The Martians Who Fear Them

"You will experience unbounded happiness and success in every area of your life this week, unless of course there is something fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with you."

Glorious hilarity is abound these days and it all has made me question whether I have the time or energy to continue writing. For now, it seems the last few sentences are indicative of a response to that. Some days, I'm honestly dazzled by Corporate America. I'm dazzled by the disconnect between the haves and the have nots. I won't even go into morbid detail about the distribution of workload there. What's most delicious is that, perhaps for once, this is not to be a full blown rant about my own dissatisfaction. Rather, the stars have aligned and made one of my wildest dreams come true.

In numerous situations, I have been reduced to taking mental delight in the image of sitting in the front row seat avec a bucket of popcorn when Karma comes a-knockin'. (By the by - "avec" is French for "with", not my version of the abbreviated form of "avocado", MATT! Way to order a f*cked up sandwich based on your complete lack of knowledge of common french words!...Not to mention clearly misspelling "avocado"! :) ) Well, Pets, it seems the day has come for precisely that scenario to unfold. As it would happen, I even have popcorn! Woot!

An individual, who is welcome to remain nameless, is in the midst of her comeuppance. In fact, the cherry on top is that the entire upper echelon has suddenly come to a realization they must begin paying attention to reality in order to prevent mutiny. It's one of those times where you can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all while watching fish flail out of water. Seems cruel of me to say. I'm sure I'm additionally unwittingly throwing myself on PETA's radar (yet again). The reality of the situation is simply that it is deserved. You can only treat people with such complete disrespect and unbridled hatred for so long before you find yourself in a position to answer for such actions. It is small-scale justice and it's downright divine!

Mmmmm! Tastes just like the movie theater kind! Cheers, Pets. I wish you all a magically extraordinary Wednesday!




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hey Mister! Got Change For Two Cents?

 "While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion of how you run your life, the bullhorn they've been using does seem a bit much."

The notion that I'm increasingly cranky with age is not lost on me. I'm learning to embrace it and even take delight in it. I'm also noticing that, with each passing day in my current job, I'm increasingly creative when it comes to get-rich-quick schemes. Just about every hair-brained idea to pop into my skull is considered at great length with respect to potential marketability. Let me tell you, this can be vastly entertaining!

Some time back, the trend du jour was "branding" within my company. A consulting firm was promptly hired to fabricate buzz words, design fancy signage and engage the masses with team-building frivilocity. To those few of us with an ounce of common sense, it was a glorious waste of time. Then I happened upon the firm's invoice.........Sweet-mother-of-god........

An idea was born. By George, I would start a sham-seminar business! Lure in unsuspecting fools looking to boost morale with shimmery imagery and nonsensical catch-phrases. Hell, I could do that in my sleep and retire early! Still, it seemed somehow wrong. Unethical or impractical. Sure enough, as the economy rode that Coriolis Effect wave down the toilet, employers no longer gave much a damn about employee morale. It was all about the bottom line and securing golden parachutes for the bottom feeders.

Round two: Opportunity rang the 'ol doorbell in the form of one of those liquor-serving golf-carts... Only, the delicious spin would be in luring borderline alcoholics working in the sprawling business campus on this side of town. No longer would they have to worry about being spotted at the bar abusing the free wireless. They could simply slip out those revolving doors to greet me on my covert little cart of magical wonders. An ice cream truck for lushes! Turns out, you have to have some sort of elaborate, yet sound business plan to procure a liquor license in the first place. Plus the cops around here are no stranger to entrapment.

Naturally I keep abreast of local, national and borderline-black-market lotto and sweepstakes goings on, just to remain well rounded. I also routinely issue stern reminders to Publisher's Clearing House that our friendship is on hold. Still.... just about anything has got to better than this, yes?

So yesterday, as I was lamenting the total lack of interested investors in my frazzled writings it occurred to me that I have opinions. Lots of them. Perhaps thousands. I imagined my talents are most certainly wasted on the likes of my employer as most of the execs are nonplussed to hear my inner-most thoughts. An advice column! That's it! My friend and coworker graciously reminded me I don't generally give out GOOD advice. Hey, I didn't say it was going to be a HELPFUL advice column. Simply an advice column.

You have a problem? I most likely have something to say about it. Seems brilliant enough, no? So far as I can tell, Ann Landers never had any particularly earth-shattering replies for the poor saps who fueled her weekly posts. And look at Andy Rooney! That old grump just yammered angrily at the camera for the better part of his career. I can do that! In fact, I'll see his surliness and raise him some severely derailed trains of thought! BAM! Now, I just need to locate the proper outlet, rant and rave by day and roll about in wads of cash by night. Wait, scratch that last part.... I worked in a bank long enough to recall how bloody filthy cash can be. In lieu of that, I'll print out my bank statements on archive-grade 24lb paper and roll about on that.

You know, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for thinking to write this down. Given my mental issues, I would otherwise be prone to blink and forget all of this. Anyhoo - turns out I'm not just getting more cranky with age, I'm becoming ever more awesome! Just sayin'. *grin*

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Perfectly Valid Excuse

"Your shortness of breath and wild fainting spells will be cured this week, thanks to a series of well-placed commas." 

I grew up in a house on the corner lot of a steeply sloped circle. Nestled against the mountainside and surrounded by aspens and pines. We had a humble little garage that opened onto the street below, but the cars were normally parked in the carport that faced the circle above. It was almost the height of a barn with the angled roof-line and a deep redwood color that would grow even deeper when it rained. The contrast of the wood and the surrounding greenery of all the trees makes my eyes water to even recall. 

I used to love sitting out there on an old rickety aluminum lawn chair during thunderstorms. The rain would come in these extraordinary sheets where it was so easy to believe you were the last one left upon the planet. The darkness of the clouds above weighing down like a heavy quilt of grey. Those summer storms where it feels like night in even the earliest of afternoons. The distant buzzing of electricity deafening your senses before the lightning strikes were yet visible. One-one-thousand-two-one *CRACK*!!!!! The rush of adrenaline racing through every cell in your body as the breeze releases a sudden spray of rain upon bare feet. I could sit there for hours when my parents weren't home. The presence of a "responsible adult" entailed being promptly whisked back indoors where there weren't worries of the silly little girl getting struck.
The smell of rain is one of those emotional triggers that brings so many memories of simpler times. The sound of thunder..... another. I can tie so many of my happiest moments in life to thunderstorms.....To the childlike joy exhibited in response to them. 

My only issue with thunderstorms?

I can't summon up even an ounce of motivation to focus on anything else. In fact, I don't believe I should HAVE TO. After all, they are some magical spectacle of the gods meant to be celebrated with absolutely undivided attention. In my book, anyway. Possibly because I have yet to be struck.... Today's forecast calls for afternoon thunderstorms. So did yesterday's, and I finally resigned to bed last night in a dramatic fit of disappointment. Still, there's hope for today. 

*Glances outside*

Nothing yet. 

...

Now? *glances outside*

Nope.

So clearly no real work is going to be accomplished today and I fully intend on blaming the weather. I probably should have called in "Vaguely Anticipating Greatness", but I had to bring the kids to school, so it seemed this would at least be a legitimate distraction. Makes me curious what sort of season we're in for as if it's one of fabulous thunderstorms... I may need to take an extended leave of absence. 

Happy Wednesday, Pets!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Miller Time

"Like a moth to a flame, you too will be strongly attracted, despite the nearly certain outcome, to a giant flame this week."

Sadly, no, I'm not basking in a 9am happy hour, but a gal can dream, right? I'm referring to, yet another apocalyptic moth invasion. Seems this year's plague is brought to you by the Miller (or "Owl Moth), which is one of 20,000 moth species in the lepidopteran family Noctuidae. See? Stick around long enough and you might actually learn something from this Kitty. For those of you who were already well aware of this fact, might I add:  No one likes a showoff :). 


Up until yesterday evening, I remained blissfully unaware of the impending doom that is the Moth Decennial Spectacular. Sure, I'd seen a few of the insect-world's-answer-to-pigeons flitting about here and there. I was even willing to look the other way, turn the other cheek or only clobber the ones directly in my way with a few sheets of Bounty. Seems that only served to further aggravate the gods.

It was a random peaceful Monday evening when the phone rang. "I locked my keys in the car, how fast can you get here?" What? Not even a "Hello"? No respect, I tells ya. I meandered casually upstairs (What? I didn't want to trip after guffawing in response to my 'Ol Man's misfortune!) and instructed the kiddos to throw on some slippers for the ride. Naturally they were thrilled to get out of the house for a leisurely jaunt across town... Mostly as they know I'll blare some rad disco music for their listening pleasure. I probably wouldn't have noticed it except that my gut reaction was to use the windshield wipers to clear off all the dust forming on the window....

SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS...........



THOUSANDS OF THEM....



Ricocheting off the windshield by the hundreds as I sped....errr.... considerately observed and obeyed a respectably prudent speed limit down the road. The kids were shrieking and squealing.... further hypothesizing why birds weren't eating them. Why indeed? It was a bloody mess. OK, that's an exaggeration, a DUSTY mess. There's something entirely nauseating about the *POOF* sound those little airborne bodies make upon impact with the car.... leaving little more behind than a splotch of dust. Goo.  At each stoplight, these chaotic creatures were slipping into every nook and cranny of the car ahead. Miniature masterminds of some diabolical scheme to hide out in the vents.... waiting for the prime moment to strike....

A man no less than about 200 years old or so off in the distance, about to embark upon the pedestrian crossing up ahead....

WHAT!?!?!? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! HAVE THEY NO SOULS????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*** Note from the Author: It really is a wonder I don't get in more accidents the way my train of thought completely derails during routine errands***

Welp, there goes the neighborhood. The Millers have officially arrived.




Monday, April 23, 2012

Yes, I Need To Cancel My Subscription

"This week, envy rears its ugly head, realizes there's nothing enviable about you, blinks a couple times, and goes back to sleep."

You know what I hate? "No, Annie, please tell me." I appreciate your enthusiasm so I'll tell you:  The feeling of being left behind. Scratch that.... No less than TWO STEPS behind (and even that is a rather generous calculation).

This little gem of self pity can be traced back to the 2nd grade. My best friend in the whole wide world at that time was a certain Tracy G. I'm quite convinced I had no true concept of "friendship" back then, but I'll be damned if it wasn't the closest thing to it. We did everything together. This basically meant our parents would begrudgingly agree to one play-date every two months or so and the rest of the time was spent hanging out at recess. Kindred spirits, right? One day she walks in the door and it's clear she'd been crying (Probably not, but that's how I choose to remember it). She tells me her dad has a new job and they'll be moving to Hawaii the following week.

Naturally, I play through the absurd logistics of all of this. After all, my 7 year old self was well aware of the time required to pack, find a new home, ship all one's belongings/animals and get the entire family flown out there. Why, she would have known about this for WEEKS!!!!!! I can recall sobbing whilst babbling incoherently to my mother about the injustice of it all. Some obligatory "there, there"'s were uttered and beyond that, I was advised I'd probably feel better if I went outside and watered the plants (Suspiciously enough, that was my mother's answer for any and all ailments).

It took a good weekend to get over this trauma. Although my, my, those raspberry bushes certainly appreciated the new-found attention!

Miss Tracy G. was the first friend to abandon me, but she would be anything but the last. Sure, there was always a seemingly legitimate excuse behind it, but this knowledge didn't seem to lessen the sting. Even the sudden and thriving jungle in our backyard did little to soothe the grief. I was surely the common-denominator in the equation and I did not like that one bit! (On a side note, I was beginning to question my parents' clear lack of ambition in securing a work relocation.....)

Now that I'm older and wiser... OK, perhaps just older - one can hardly argue that! HA!.... These abandonment issues have webbed off into a full blown subscription. I peer through the humble window in my cave only to watch the world passing me by with little to no regard for leaving me in the dust. The more fear I exhibit towards progression, the more I cling for dear life to familiarity. I can hardly blame those who throw caution to the wind, know what they want and have something to offer.... wait... sure I can! But I won't. It's no one's issue (or subscription) but my own to tackle. And tackle it, I shall.

Today I received a phone call about a job I applied for but found I couldn't afford to accept. It additionally requires a commute I'm afraid to take on. I'm afraid to be that far away from my boys, from my husband... My comfort zone. The gentleman on the other end of the line insists the job was tailored just for me. I'm the only one he can fathom hiring. As I type, he is negotiating my salary. He is additionally working towards compensating the commute. Let me be clear that I do not have a degree or the "normal" skills required for such a position... Yet here is this stranger who will not allow my fears to prevent me from taking that step. Now what's my excuse?

I come up empty.

I wonder what Tracy G. is doing these days? Seems a waste of perfectly usable time pondering such things when that Greyhound bus destined towards my future is idling on my doorstep, no?










Friday, April 20, 2012

CALM DOWN!!!!!!

"The stars are serious this time: If they ever catch you with those fucking tea leaves again, you can kiss the last 15 years goodbye."

*Deep breath* OK, so I think I've recovered nicely from the angst of yesterday. Sometimes it's entirely refreshing to have a good 'ol fashioned freak-out, no? In the aftermath of most of my rants, I look back only to find I was spewing a truckload of incoherent nonsense in a feeble attempt to simply make sense of it all. You see, I am a terribly anxious and chaotic sort of creature. Most days my emotions are in a state of overdrive and I'm not quite sure what to make of them. It's evident I need an outlet and VOILA, this seems as good a place as any.
Poor guy. I've been there.
I follow a large number of blogs and one theme I've found in a lot of them is anxiety. Seems this is a very rampant and recurring theme. Seems I'm hardly the first to turn to paper (or the screen) for release. One discernible difference is the calm and rational structure others can almost effortlessly summon. My own words just scatter this way and that sans direction and most certainly sans resolution. My most prominent error tends to be in seeking to sort things out with the aid of the stars.
I read no less than 6 variations of my horoscope every day. In fact, I begin consulting each at the ripe hour of 3am every day. Much to my chagrin, most of the sites don't update their garbage until roughly 5:32am. Why do they so hate my freedom? What on earth am I to do with those 152 minutes? Naturally, I frantically hit "refresh" until I get the desired results. This is likely to land me in a position with no phone as I only carry the one issued by work. It seems someone had the audacity to begin monitoring our individual data usage. Somehow I suspect it won't go over well when I argue that this data is OBVIOUSLY being spent scouring for astrological survival tips.
What!? My soda offers advice too!!??!
Yes, yes, I'm well aware that isn't a proper use of company property. But hey, it beats getting slapped on the wrist by I.T. for fading off into oblivion while viewing the live feed of the shark tank through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, right? Right. Who knew such activities were likely to overload the server? Not this gal, that's for damn sure. Plus I feel I provided a service by pointing out the archaic capabilities of said server.
*panic*
I've actually completely forgotten where I was going with all of this.... *reading back through*.... Nope, I still got nothing. Perhaps the point is I've been creatively self-medicating to deal with my aforementioned anxiety issues and it's becoming crystal clear that's no longer a viable option. Where the writers I so adore are able to channel their energy into coping and overcoming, I'm still left in the dust relying on obscure horoscopes to get me through. Seeing as how I need to make some effort towards keeping that paycheck coming in, perhaps it's time to get a grip and seek professional help! Happy Friday!
I couldn't NOT add this - it's too great!





Thursday, April 19, 2012

Turns Out, I'm a Complete Asshole!

"You're worried about your upcoming trial because, as an arrogant evil genius, you're not sure what the court considers a "jury of your peers." "

Not much of an excuse, but we are all rather products of our experiences in life. As I was driving into work today (clearly most of my "thinking" is accomplished during this time, which leaves the rest of the day freed up for more important things like Solitaire and staring contests with a computer screen), I was thinking forward 20 or so years to when I may be able to stomach my boys actually dating. I imagined one of them bringing home some plastic pageant queen and that's when it happened... I got angry. I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little. For someone who spends most of her time trying to be this fabulous force of love and acceptance, turns out I'm actually a total jerk.

I have no patience for fraternity boys, sorority girls, cheerleaders, jocks, the arrogant roller derby girls I met at a downtown tattoo shop, pretentious artists, yuppies, "perfect" mothers.... suddenly, the list was growing at an exponential rate. Even more suddenly, a flood of negative flash-backs to high school. Ugh. But that's precisely it. There are people who, to this day, are perfectly happy to define themselves by a singular hobby or group. Sure, we all long to "fit in" at one insecure point in life or another. But what happens when that translates into exclusivity later in life when, by all reasonable accounts, we should have grown out of that bullshit?

I love all things tagged as "retro" or "vintage". However, if I don't look like Bettie Page and consistently sport the latest and greatest "retro" fashion (seems an oxymoron, yes? ), I obviously don't know what I'm talking about and am furthermore not fit to join the ranks of true connoisseurs. Is there some universal reason people must cling to labels to consider success achieved? In the same breath, maybe I'm just as guilty for refusing to throw all my cards in on one interest. It's like rebelling by joining the mass army of rebels. Counterproductive, to be sure. Alas, maybe I just need to leave the house more so there are opportunities to meet nice people who stand a chance in hell of altering my bitchy views. Hmmm....A fleeting thought as I know better than to think I could motivate myself to actually leave the house beyond general necessities of work and the gas station up the road.

You know, I was already well aware I need to make some changes, but hot damn, this sure throws a wrench in things. I could probably begin with forgiving my own brother (who has never had to struggle a day in his life and seems to enjoy showering his judgment upon lower specimens). Then again, he loathes me and my family and insists on sending obligatory greeting cards addressed using my maiden name. Them's fightin' actions.

Do you suppose this is all spurned of some level of jealousy for those who "have it all"? I have a difficult time swallowing that since I define "it all" quite differently. Plus, there must be something to the band-aid phrase "It builds character" when the going gets tough, no? If you've never had things get tough, how much character could you possibly have? The genetic variety? Pssht. That only earns you so much charisma in life.

At the end of the day, or a few hours into the day, as the case may be, perhaps it's best to just let it go. I'm an asshole and frankly, I'm kinda OK with that. It's just one more ingredient in the cake that is Yours Truly. Then again, it would actually be pretty goddamned awesome to be challenged on my views. Keeps things interesting! Happy Thursday, Pets!


P.S. Update: My horoscope offered the following warning....just a bit too little too late: "Try not to overreact today -- though that might be easier said than done! Your emotions are closer to the edge than usual, and that could mean that you need to just remove yourself from the fray."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Serendipitous Spontaneity

"What you'll later choose to describe as a "through the looking glass" moment will actually be more of a "down a set of stairs, through a plate-glass window, and out into heavy traffic" sort of afternoon." 

Some days, I truly dazzle myself with the sudden onset of common sense. Ha! Upon composing that sentence, I toyed with leaving it at that. Alas, I'm feeling gabby, so let's dance, shall we? 

It occurred to me on the quiet ride in* that it's not spontaneity I'm so bloody afraid of... It's lack of control. There is a delightful pleasantness about flying by the seat of one's pants. It's when the future is being decided FOR us with or without our input that I begin to panic. Odd this didn't dawn on me sooner as those handy Choose Your Own Adventure books from my youth illustrate the point perfectly. True, the reader was presented with various choices leading them to the next adventure, but on the other hand, the outcome was already penned. It had been premeditated. 

I'm not a fan of going into great detail when the circumstance doesn't directly involve me, so I'll opt for a bit of vagueness as it DOES directly AFFECT me. For argument's sake, let's say a friend of a friend committed an error in judgment that has unleashed an entire sequence of events. Events which promise straying far off course from the initial path pursued. There are now outside influences in the ultimate outcome. Some things within our control and far too many outside of that. Let's further assume the law is now involved. What's particularly irksome to me is, despite many things in this world having been defined in black & white, many more touch upon fuzzy grey area. Things up for interpretation, if you have the wherewithal to have them interpreted in your favor. If not, your fate could well depend on anything from case law decisions to the emotional state of the D.A.. These statements are bold ones, but ones borne of much personal experience. I have a tough time believing in "justice" when even that isn't all that clearly defined.


But this post isn't about politics or legalities. In broader terms, I had been trying to decipher why I used to be so spontaneous and why not now? In the decisions I personally make, I make them with the knowledge that I am prepared to accept the consequences. The reality is there are a minimum of a thousand external factors that could easily be thrown in the mix at any moment. You read about it all the time: "If I had boarded the bus that day, I wouldn't have walked by the convenience store where I purchased the winning lottery ticket", "If I wore the blue sweater, I wouldn't have been laughed at in that meeting thus causing me to vomit upon myself", "If I hadn't forgotten my keys thereby delaying my departure 5 minutes, that monkey may have thrown fruit at my car after which I would have been involved in that 30-car pileup". Not much of a way to live, right? All the "what ifs" and "if thens"! Every time I walk out of the house, I could easily be hit by wayward asteroid debris, yes? (By the by, I tend to play that card when faced with the possibility of running unsavory errands). There's so much fear in uncertainty and as a result so much anger in response to the fear. Cycles are a constant presence in life, swirling madly out of control. That control. Perhaps it, in itself, a comfort. 
Anxiety runs thickly in my blood. Intermingling with the anxiety, inexplicable gypsy tendencies. Omnipresent chaos.... then again, it could be balance. The yin and the yang. At the end of the day, I still aim to harbor no regrets. In fact, I aim for minimal analyzing as what's done is done and what is accomplished should be toasted! In the end, it's all a matter of perspective. 



* The aforementioned "quiet ride in" was a direct result of dropping my iPod between the seats when I grabbed the wee one's backpack. Had I been listening to music, this post may not have been written :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Once Upon A Porch

"You'll garner enthusiastic praise from by the world's leading art and design critics when fiendish but brilliant furniture makers fashion you into a tasteful, living Adirondack chair." 

If there is one thing that can "sell" me on a house, it is a fabulous porch structured lovingly around the front door... If there's a second, it would be black & white checkers in a kitchen. The latter landed me in a love-hate relationship with my mortgage. But that's a tale for another day.
*squeal of delight*
A porch. More than some grand architectural element crafted for aesthetic pleasures - so much more than an entryway into a home. It is a masterpiece all its own. An escape akin to some tree-top abode for wee ones. It can have its own personality and presence. Offering shelter and safety disguised as a quiet observer's nest. Then again, sometimes it's not all that quiet, as it can offer welcome sanctuary for boisterous laughter, music, the playful clinking of goblets and endless chatter. My, how I miss that.

Prior to galloping off on that path of marriage, home ownership, spawn and some semblance of responsibility, I lived in a rented Victorian house in the heart of downtown. To one side of the entrance, small portholes of intricate stained glass. The door, an extraordinary deep red adorned with delicate etchings. To the other side, a giant bay window leading whimsically into the living room. And the porch. This spectacular covered wooden porch ripe with an old rickety and charming swing. That porch became more a gathering place for neighbors, friends and loves than any kitchen could ever hope to. By George, it deserved to be named!
Countless Summer nights were spent in pajamas and flip-flops perched upon that swing with a glass (OK, sometimes a plastic cup) of wine in my hand and not a care in the world... not even a care for the ensuing wine stains on my feet as my clumsiness would overtake what remained of inhibition. I would occasionally chat up complete strangers who offered exotic tales of days gone by. Experiences I would never dream of owning, however enchanting. Evenings moving effortlessly into nights almost always set to island music under the ambiance of obnoxiously strung kitschy lights. No concerns of being land-locked or poor. Nothing much matters while swinging mindlessly back and forth. Childlike innocence.... well.....avec boxed wine, that is. I suppose not so innocent after all. Still..... a nice memory.

Funny how such an unassuming setting can represent so much joy. *sigh* Happy Tuesday, Pets.










Friday, April 13, 2012

Blessed.

I posted something very personal and rough yesterday. Somehow, it didn't make me sad to write all of that down. The experience was entirely liberating as I thought I had never wanted to face what had happened on that level ever again. I was taught all growing up, bad things were meant to be bottled up or brushed under a rug. That only serves to keep the cancer inside. When it stays inside, it festers and grows into its own darkness. I was haunted and now I'm free.

I no longer am ashamed of who I am because I overcame it... Or at least I'm working to overcome it. Suicide was an option more than once, but I'm alive to tell my story. There are those who will disown me for that, and that's OK. That's the entire point of free will. I feel mightily blessed at getting through and using that history to help and heal others as that is why they seek me out. I believe that is why I am on this planet.

I am not religious. What I am is deeply spiritual. For those who believe, they tell me god only gives us what we have the power to take on, if we so choose. In that vain, god put me on earth with all that pain so I could fully understand the pain and hurt of others. Often, I find I'm absorbing even more pain with no outlet. But as I age, I learn and experience my mistakes so I can release it safely. There no longer exists "strangers" I seek out to bait. That chapter of my life closed before I met my husband. I feel love on a level I never thought possible, now. I love and feel loved. Everything is not sunshine and unicorn tears as that wouldn't keep things interesting. I'm still under tremendous stress, but I'm learning to cope and overcome that too.

Today is a new spectacular day I was given to live. I'm entirely thankful for that. Today also happens to be Friday the 13th, which is always a celebration in my book. The choices thrown at us in life should be acknowledged as such. Choices. That in and of itself is pretty damn great. Without choices, the darkness washes over us again and we find difficulty in viewing that light at the end of the tunnel as much beyond an oncoming train.




Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Sympathy For The Devil

"The darkest hour is right before the dawn. It is painful to work through our pasts, our lives, but we can't go around it, only through it." ~ The much adored and admired Empress. Thank you.

A simple round of apologies for the vagueness of yesterday's tantrum. It seems the times I long to delete the words the most, are the times I need them to remain. This is not going to be an easy post for me to get through. In the same breath, it was only after a long night spent thinking to the tune of a raging thunderstorm I decided that, for me, it has to be done in order to move forward.

Toddler vs. Monster
It is a shameful thing to admit and a more shameful thing to own. I have had a measurable level of sexual drive from my earliest memories as a wee child. This was not something spawned of trauma. I'm not sure it can even be coded in one's DNA. And yet, it coursed through my veins and left me confused, angry and alone. A child. Anything but innocent when everything I knew of this new world tried convincing me otherwise. The thoughts and feelings I had were not "normal" from day one. To this day, I have no idea what normal is.

Child vs. Monster
By the time I was 8, I was overweight. This can, in no way, be attributed to my parents. No fault lies with anyone but myself. Growing up, we weren't allowed sugar cereal, soda, junk food. We didn't get fast food and we weren't presented with poor choices. None of that was allowed in the front door. This lonely, angry, chubby and immensely confused girl walked miles to get her filthy paws on junk. To eat myself into a stupor of what little comfort I perceived. Looking back at pictures, it was not obesity upon that small frame. But I had stretch marks on my thighs and I knew that was wrong. Shameful. Ugly. At the age of 8, I was concerned no one would ever want to have sex with me. I began starving myself and exercising to change that.

Pre-Teen vs. Monster
I got my first period at 11. In my family, embarrassing personal dialogue was not to be uttered. We were taught manners, respect for others, pride by virtue of masking any political incorrectness and ultimately secrecy. I remember being convinced I was dying. So much shame. Disgusting. Filthy. Alone. I was more bothered by dying in an ugly body, than thoughts of death itself. I opened up to a complete stranger for help. She took pity on me and bought me the proper items to cope. I was still obsessing about my image and the weight would go up and down. I began abusing painkillers to aid the hunger pains. Not long after that, Twin Peaks aired on TV. I remember being mesmerized. I felt that my most hidden thoughts were being broadcast for the world to see. I can remember looking nervously at my mother to see if she somehow sensed the connection. Instead, she would turn and smile the kindest smile at me as it was obvious her little girl was a lover of the arts. Perhaps I had just formed my first preference to one director over another. That was it! That little girl, with her crazy imagination, has an attachment to David Lynch! Silly, silly girl. Silly dark, fat, confused little girl. The dark girl with the raging hormones. The unhealthy attachments to men. The one who's only goal in life was to be physically WANTED.

Adolescent vs. Monster
As I made my way through school, it became apparent I had a mind. A level of intellect. All through school I had straight A+'s and every year I could count on being on the equivalent of an honor roll. There was no real level of effort involved there. It all came naturally to me and I didn't see it as a positive. Beneath the surface, a storm was carefully brewing to the surface. I was not a particularly attractive child and I felt I got uglier and uglier as I aged. The only boys who clung to me were the ones hoping to absorb those A's from me. They would taunt me in public, and exhibit disgusting kindness to me in private. Quiet compliments away from prying eyes and ears. Notions that I was unwanted, unloved and unworthy were weaving quite the web of hatred about me.

Eventually I met the boy who would become my first boyfriend. He was kind to me in public, that seemed the only real qualifier. I was smitten. For a time, I even forgot my own self-loathing. I forgot about my sexual deviations. It would be almost a year before he finally told me how he really felt. Not those three sweet little words most gals hope to soak up. "I never really found you attractive, but I love you for what's underneath." That vile creature. No one knows me underneath. Not him, not my family. I felt betrayed. Betrayed and further determined to become an object men craved because I no longer believed in love. It was more than wanting to be wanted. I wanted to do damage. I wanted vengeance.

By the time I was 14, I was sneaking out to clubs, staying out most of the night, sending my parents into routine panic and doing everything imaginable in what I had convinced myself was an effort to find myself. Who I was, what I was and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. I dressed in black, listened to dark music and spent my hours exploring the darkness. It was exhilarating. I learned how to put on make-up, little by little I learned how to dress for my body type and how to style my hair. I thought I was learning to be pretty. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were starting to notice me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were beginning to express their attraction to me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. Borderline kidney failure.

Victim vs. Monster
When I left home just before graduating high school, I felt an extraordinary sense of relief. It wasn't due to so much being out from under the control of my parents as it was I knew they only had to see the side of me I wanted to show them. I knew I had two distinct sides. I knew what my darkness was. I knew I didn't ever want to marry or have children as that would bring people far too close to me. They would eventually see both sides.  There was no such thing as loving both. Being loved completely. I was actually still fairly convinced there was no such thing as love. Those who tried getting close to me would send me retreating quickly back into my shell. I was hollow. Intelligent, fun loving, "adorable", friendly and flirtatious on the outside. A hot mess on the inside.

Then I was raped.

There will forever only be two who know all the terror that happened that night. Only two who know the extent of the physical damage. Only one who will live with the extent of the mental damage for the rest of her days upon this planet.

This unlocked something inside. No. Unleashed. Shortly after the physical recovery, I needed to feel that pain again. I would become quietly enraged when I didn't get my way. People I knew didn't want to hurt me like that. I begged. The answer was always "no". The posing of the question would simultaneously drive them away. The answer, in my mind, was that going forward only strangers would wish to cause me that level of harm. The answer was to lure strangers. To act as bait. To physically do everything in my power to experience that unearthly thrill again. I was broken. I could no longer face the judgement swirling around me. Not knowing where else to possibly turn, I left town in search of a blank slate. As it's known to do, history repeated itself. More spiraling. More damage. More pills.

Every day is a struggle for me. Every day, I must go through very precise motions to function. To be stable, calm and grounded. Today is my 6 year wedding anniversary. I am married to a phenomenally awesome man. I have two beautiful boys and an amazing, if not humble support system of friends. My relationship with each of my family members is a good one that has taken years of effort to rebuild and maintain. I'm still very broken. I'm not sure what it will take to fully heal the sum of my years. I'm not entirely convinced that's even possible. Today, with this post, I take the first step far out of my comfort zone. But today is a new day.







Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Room With No View

This isn't a real post. I chuckle when I read that on many of the blogs I adore reading. None of mine ever really are. But in all honesty, this won't be much of a post because it quite simply can't be. I have a lot to say. The sorts of things that should never be committed to paper. The sorts of things that would come back to haunt me. To destroy everything I've accomplished and everything I've run away from. Awful things. I could use a therapist if I possessed even an ounce of trust in such things. I'm quite paranoid. But so much to say. So very much to say. And no trust. No outlet. No getting it out. *sigh* 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Feminist, Fruitcake or Feverish?

"While the smiling old woman isn't lying about her award-winning cupcakes, she is withholding crucial information regarding the depraved and sadistic nature of the local cupcake awards." 

So I've had a cold for 2 weeks and running now. I know right? There should be a prompt outpouring of sympathy, but feel free to reserve that for when I tell you how I almost got in a car accident last night in the midst of a sneezing fit. I suppose that was the entire story. Anyway, I'm not what you'd call a "girly girl" - in fact I once slapped a man for calling me a "Lady" only later to find out he meant it sincerely. The slap was sincere as well so I say we're even. 

Back to aforementioned cold: There I was feeling mightily sorry for myself the other evening while whipping together something for the boys to eat (Yes, let's just go ahead and breeze past the part about touching my kids food with the hands of a sickie). Suddenly my 'Ol Man comes up behind me and said "You, My Lady, need to sit down, relax, and I'll make you some chicken noodle soup!". What a Doll, no? But I wasn't even able to process that part as I was actually floored by the "My Lady" part.  In fact, I do believe I blushed a l'il. 

I struggle with playing the whole "damsel in distress" role. Sure, I'm a total bundle of bedazzled drama, but I really do a damn fine job of keeping that persona contained here. I've been working since I was 14 and prided myself on never having to rely on anyone else. That ventures into fuzzy grey area when I disclose that my 'Ol Man and I even have separate checking accounts after 6 years of marriage. It was only by absolute chance that I ended up with my current job that allows me to pay all the household bills so he can just focus on the exorbitant daycare expenses for Dr. Snicks. So I pay the vast majority of the bills, I file my name first on our taxes and I try to handle every crisis that comes our way. By no means is my Honey unable to do these things. I'm just too much a control freak to let him. 

The Stunning Miss Vesta Vayne of The Cowardly Feminist had a recent and brilliantly penned post discussing, in part, the resurfacing fascination of life in the 40's, 50's and 60's. The Mad Men madness, as it were. The return to simpler times of kept women, closed minds and bullet-proof comfort zones. It was a timely post as I had just been discussing with my friend how lovely the THOUGHT seems. Thoughts of not finding myself in one of those middle-of-night anxiety attacks about the state of the world, the cultural wars surrounding us, world hunger issues, global climate issues or - on a much smaller scale - all the hell I foresee raining down upon me the moment I set foot at work the following morning. Shaking my fists at the sky and having a constant stream of negative information intoxicating my brain 24/7/365 and 366 on leap years. What a trite notion to just live in suburban, middle-class, ignorant doped-up bliss!

My own father often symbolically apologizes to me for the timing I arrived on this planet. He tells tales of the days when a man could work a factory job and still support a family of 5 with change to spare for week-long vacations to the Grand Canyon and keeping the family dog's shots current. Sounds pretty damn sweet, no? My only real "vacations" in the past 6 years were two sets of rushed maternity leave, and even then, I was continually reminded how entirely inconvenienced everyone was in my absence and that I was clearly using my new motherhood as an "excuse".  (I'll go ahead and save the tales of being sent on business travel late in month 8 of the first pregnancy, and running to Home Depot in a stake bed truck to retrieve twelve 200lb storage units in month 8 of the second pregnancy for another day ;) ). Martyrdom, aside, I always did my best not to make said "excuses".  

I'm quite known to go on the defensive when I'm accused of being feminine. But why? Why would I view that as a negative? A weakness? There shouldn't be shame associated with it. Without a doubt, the strongest creatures I've ever known or even read about were women. As a child, I remember thinking it a survival instinct to mask the "girl", never mind basic logic dictating the species wouldn't endure without a few uteri. Perhaps that was the problem? Worries of overpopulation, resulting starvation, slaughter, earth's ultimate destruction... OR perhaps the real problem circles, once again, right back to my own sensitivities: I don't have the answers, but I sure as hell feel the weight of all the problems! Ha! 

Just as I lose myself in the battle of being a flamboyant wallflower, I similarly lose my identity in finding balance between being a strong female and feeling betrayed by the same. And yet, if only for a few fleeting moments, it felt like sheer bliss to hear those simple words from my 'Ol Man. To let down that wall and just be a girl.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TMJ and You!

"What most people don't seem to understand is that normal dentures lack the air of excitement and danger of your prosthetic badger jaw."


Hello, my name is Annie and I have an under bite. More specifically, my jaw is permanently unhinged on both sides. Held in place only by a pair of rowdy tendons... Rather like a snake...
Now lets suppose, for a moment, that I also have a crooked smile. No, no, my teeth are shockingly straight-ish, but when I smile, one corner of my mouth goes up far higher than the other. So a protruding jaw - check. And a wonky grin - check. (I won't even touch upon the other.... shall we say eccentricities upon my face?). One might suspect when I walk down the street (you know, if I left the house much) with a smile on my lips and a spring in my step, people might naturally recoil in horror. Not the case. In fact, not in the least...
I decided to make a bit of a game of it this morning. As I was driving into work, I careened past multiple garbage trucks (my driving skills are normally lacking if not ominous, but today I was able to blame a freak snowstorm) - you know the ones with the gentlemen hanging off the back? So I smiled. Despite work being my ultimate destination on top of having a monumental chest cold, I smiled. A big, toothy smile. Every one of those gentlemen smiled back - one even guffawed and almost fell off the back. *squeal of delight*! Neat! Alright, then! I pulled up to a light next to a gal who was clearly having the worst day of her life. I smiled. Perhaps she guessed I was clinically insane, but there it was - she smiled back! A fabulous smile that could light up a room! "Good girl!", I thought to myself. This would continue at every light, stop-sign, turn and U-Turn (my auto-pilot had no intentions of actually showing up for work today). I'm not sure whether there was any residual value for those I encountered along the way, but these events all collectively made my morning!

I recently penned a note of thanks to the doctor who brought me into this world with a set of unforgiving forceps. I was sure to include additional bits of thanks for my ensuing geniophobia (fear of chins.... weak chins, to be precise). Over the years, I've managed to mask the protruding jaw and even provide some cheap entertainment with all the assorted "pops" and fitting dozens upon dozens of, say,  grapes in my mouth. Let's not get dirty, my antics are purely PG. 
I'll forever be conscious of my jaw, of that odd grin. Yet I wouldn't change it for the world. Oh, there were plenty of offers to break the damn thing back into place. To wire my jaw shut. Momentarily, I had considered the benefits of that last one. But when you look in the mirror each day, there's something familiar about the reflection staring back. Not perfect, not even all that fancy. Still... for all the flaws, it's me. Unique, quirky and that jaw of mine has a life all it's own. Nope. I don't think I'd change a thing.