Let's Go To Pluto: Part I

"There's little you can do to stop the inexorable unfolding of inevitable fate, but moving the charcoal lighter fluid away from the furnace wouldn't be a bad start."

"You're flying out Monday. You need to know a few things: You are the enemy. These people are all losing their jobs. The Teamsters know you're coming and they're very prone to violence, so stay close to the small group. You will stick out like a sore thumb with your blond hair, never mind the language barrier. Do not go into town and never leave your hotel room without one of the guys by your side. Good luck."

It was a surreal and grim series of disclaimers laid out prior to boarding that plane. I was part of a 4-person team assigned to close out a contract we had for over 20 years. Despite growing up in a rather worldly and travel-prone family, I had never been to Puerto Rico before. I figured it was more of a resort sort of destination. It was certainly breathtaking in photographs....

Following a series of mishaps, missed planes and misplaced luggage, we finally arrived at the hotel around midnight. In the damp darkness, it didn't seem nearly as foreboding as I was led to believe. Certainly the atmosphere was a bit of a shock as we departed from an early Winter and stepped off the plane into a tropical climate at the height of hurricane season. This chubby gal generally isn't a fan of heat and humidity, but the nighttime air was filled with a level of intrigue.

I didn't sleep that night - there was no way I could when I stepped out onto the hotel balcony to take in everything around me. The deafening chirps of the coqui frogs amidst the crashing waves of the ocean below. Through a dense fog, a curious sidewalk to the moon on the horizon painted across the water's eery reflection. I wanted so desperately to take a picture, but my camera would instantly cloud over with dew. The elusive sights before me translated into little more than murky blurs on the screen. Damn.

The next morning seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea what to expect or how to begin. My social phobia coupled with the obvious language barrier would be interesting obstacles. We were just outside the small town of Luquillo and had to drive about half an hour to get onto our destination upon the long-since-closed Naval Base at Roosevelt Roads. Along the drive, my eyes watered at the lush greenery all around. A sprawling sea of pastel colored one-level houses... bars in the windows. There was a strange air of sadness along the drive, but nothing would quite prepare me for the vision of the base itself. I can only grasp at the description: apocalypse.

An expanse spanning miles upon miles upon miles of two-story grasses hiding palms and, as I was busily imagining: zombies. Old buildings long-since shuttered up with massive tropical foliage towering up from out of the roof-tops. Entire condo complexes gutted and engulfed in green mossy beasts. We continued for what seemed like days on the narrow and lonely road through the landscape. Parking lot after parking lot, desolate and abandoned but for.... my god.... what in the flying hell is that? IGUANA!!!!

A few hotel employees had mentioned the 6 foot beasts in passing. I figured they were simply playing upon this blond little girl's gullibility! They even covered their tracks with mentions of my having missed the prime breeding season a few months back. They said it would be highly improbable for me to witness one firsthand. But there he was. I must have released a delighted shriek as my good friend sighed and pulled off to the side of the road so I could get a closer look. He was magnificent. I immediately named him Bernard. My sweet, sweet Bernard. After heroically crawling on my belly for the perfect shot, I returned to the car ready to start the day!

No power. Ummm... what? We were on a tight schedule given the enormous laundry list of tasks we had only 2 weeks to complete and it began with a base-wide blackout. They had to conserve power in the few remaining occupied buildings and the generators were reserved for such things as heating The Commander's pool. It seems The Commander (and to this day, every time I utter that title aloud, I picture this strong and terrifying illegitimate brother of Fidel Castro) now fancied the entire base his bizarre kingdom. His wife and children lived full time on the other side of the island - 3 hours away. He had crews come in and maintain some of the old base housing or community gathering areas for his elaborate parties. He would even "grant" various film distributors access to his obsolete kingdom so long as he was given a bit part in the film at hand. So it was all completely understandable that we were suddenly unable to do a damn thing as we were in a pitch-black airplane hanger with no electricity or air conditioning, no cell or internet signal from our phones or laptops. As long as The Commander was pleased as punch, right?

No matter - I simply closed my eyes and pictured my Dear Bernard. Daydreaming about what sort of mischief that bastard was getting into... whether he was in cahoots with the zombies.... I had stepped out in the drizzling rain for a cigarette and something sinister caught my eye off in the distance at the corner of the lot.... zombies? Dogs. Mangy, ravenously wiry creatures with yellowed eyes and exposed teeth.... there were probably 9 or 10 of them.... all foaming at the mouth as they trained their collective sights on me. Too paralyzed to move a muscle beyond raising my hand to my mouth in a robotic and inherent gesture. After what seemed like a lifetime caught in this standoff, they clearly lost interest and moved along on their journey. I continued piecing together who or what I perceived would be in alliance against the other on this mysterious tropical wasteland. The power came back on and it was time to make up for lost time.

The first day was an overwhelmingly exhausting experience. More in the mental logistics of it all than anything else. The few employees I encountered were incredible and warm. Welcoming yet amused by me. Perhaps entertained by my sudden tasking from a position of complete inexperience. Ahhh... but I survived Day One and I additionally decided Bernard would have my back from this point forward.

Through The Looking Glass

"Though you've been trying to find yourself for decades, you'll be dis­appointed to tears when you find yourself living in Flagstaff and working at a screen-door factory. "

***Disclaimer: The following post is comprised of multiple individual thoughts flooding my brain at the moment. There is no intended flow or charted course - just thoughts that I clearly felt needed to get out of my skull.***

As I went through the motions of painting a new personality upon my face this morning, I almost didn't recognize my own reflection. Though this could normally be attributed to misplacing one eyebrow or altogether forgetting to thickly line an eye, it was more unusual than that. I glanced down at the outfit I hastily chose to cover my frame. Everything seemed somehow foreign.



I have one of those personas that inexplicably draws strangers from the shadows to my doorstep. A dear friend of mine, who faces the same phenomenon, explained it far more eloquently as the crowd gathering on her blanket at the park. Never alone on that blanket. I often dismissed it as nothing more than the blissful, if not unintentionally friendly innocence I exude. With each passing year, I became more of an omnipresent sponge placed upon this planet for the sole purpose of absorbing the pain, stress and sorrows of others so they could be freed of those burdens. Many of the bosses I reported to over time took curious notice of the employees who would come from far and wide only to file into my office, one by one, and release.

I do not take my empathetic nature lightly. It is with absolutely zero distaste that I've welcomed the chance to be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or even a dummy to punch. When the crowds would thin, I would go searching for those with pain etched across their fragility. Eager and almost desperate to help in some way. It was undoubtedly with a sense of selfishness that I would venture out on these strange journeys as it gave me purpose. Achievement. Worth.


Precisely four times in my life to date, I have made one drastic change or another to lose the weight I've struggled with since childhood. Precisely four times, I was extreme in my actions yet failed to recognize any strides made or change accomplished. Sure, I could later look back and think "My god, I did it!", but only in the rear view mirror and from the depths of a now defeated existence. The funny thing that occurred to me this morning was that it was never at my "best" when so many were drawn to me. The most remarkable people to touch my life entered when I was low. An odd thing to think that at the times when I wasn't mentally tough enough to pull myself out of a rut let alone another, is the exact moment that task was placed before me. I must have done something right as I was and am still considered the duct tape holding it all together.

I've explained before that physical appearances mean little to me. When it's a natural trait to see right through the shells we inhabit in an effort to get from Point A to B, nothing else much matters. Through the eyes of someone who wishes to possess the skills of an artist, I marvel at human forms and the personas they fancy themselves with, thanks to accessories or style... props or expressions. I enjoy the uniqueness we each exhibit through our own perceived faults. The physical signs illustrating all the wild adventures along the way. And yet I am unforgiving of my own faults and inadequacies.

Seems to me I still find myself in a state of confusion when it comes to who or what I am. What I want to be when I grow up, or even WHERE. Such selfish thoughts prove difficult to work through when you have a family. I should no longer be allowed any real level of narcissism when I am responsible for the lives of others on a scale never before experienced. With a lifetime of exposure to being everything someone else needs me to be in a moment, I find myself ill prepared to be that for more than a moment.

I believe many of my struggles lie in the fact that, as a mental sponge, I never quite learned how to release all the negative glop intoxicating every pore. Many nights, I still watch the minutes tick away unable to erase the pain of another. I pace while interrogating myself on whether I did enough or if more could have been done. There is also a load of tumultuous guilt bubbling inside from those I eventually had to turn away. The ones hellbent on poisoning me for their own gain. The times it became a sort of cruel game.

Looking up at the stranger gazing back at me in this framed and reflective glass, there is still a spark in her greyed eyes. Some hope of making sense of it all and coming to terms with all that is. Back on the grass-lined hill by some sparkly duck pond in my head, my blanket is suddenly empty. Perhaps therein lies the problem?


For No Reason Beyond My Inability To Walk Away At #109.....

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/2549849730.html

Plus.... the man makes a good case! Enjoy! :)

What Do You Get The Girl Who Wants Nothing?

"You have yet to find a love worthy of your unique affections and depth of spirit. You should strongly consider getting a goldfish."

In the midst of these past few hellishly uncertain weeks, employment-wise, I've arrived at a blissful sense of peace.  Let's not get carried away, I'm clearly not an obliviously happy person, by nature. But there is something to be said for rolling with the punches. Whether one chooses to shut down in the depths of despair or simply venture out for an unauthorized lunch break consisting of cupcakes and an ice cream shake, the outcome is the same, no? Well.... the latter may achieve the addition of a few dozen unwanted pounds, but I'm sure the point has been deliciously illustrated. Mmmm..... cupcakes....

One oddity about Yours Truly that makes this all so much easier to weather is my distaste for stuff. Material, non-cupcake stuff, of course. My appetite understandably grew with my income - but it wasn't so much my own appetite (again, for nonsense of the non-cupcake variety) as my desire to appease others. That theme is present throughout most of my life to date. As a career doormat (that would be an awesome career.... and I'd be willing to bet a more stable one than government contracting.....), my heart melts and my purse bursts open at the mere mention of an other's wants. Although the contents of my purse rarely contain any actual MONEY (after all, thanks to The Empress, any cash or change I may be sporting is now contained within my obnoxiously padded bra..... unofficially of course... and I'm a muthafukin ninja, so I wouldn't try any funny business!), I wouldn't think twice of spending my last penny on someone... ANYONE else. In fact, I take on a bit of a Robin Hood stance when it comes to overdrawing my bank account in the name of frivolous and/or Pixar-sanctioned entertainment. Valiant to the end!

I have, and could quite easily again live in a pared-down state of magnificent simplicity. One of the toughest challenges of the past few weeks was convincing my family of the same. I cannot be swayed into believing there exists a NEED for TVs in every damn room of the house - or even a single TV.... We don't NEED the latest and greatest technology. We don't NEED i-everythings...not computers nor appliances. I'd have a tough time seeing the purpose of fancy electricity, except that I'm altogether vain when it comes to the mop atop my head. But that's what Bic razors are for, yes? Problem solved!

There's a probability of losing the house if I lose my job. OK. That's what apartments and bedazzled shanties are for. We are a "civilization" of excess but at the end of the day, what really matters? An extra room provided for the sole purpose of escaping My Terrorizing Munchkins? There's certainly added value, there, but I can always slip outside any given structure for a smoke. Cigarettes are bloody expensive, but who's to say I couldn't trick myself into imagining sucking on a twig ain't the same thing? I'm just that creatively awesome. Which makes me wonder why I haven't thought of that sooner..... Ah well, it's the perceived emergency of the situation that sparks my imagination from its slumber. My miniature family and I will survive, and in the fashion of The Brilliant Miss Gaynor, we'll do so with flamboyant gusto!

I don't fear much beyond spiders, clowns, free fall, heights, dolls and myself. Seems this is one of many traits that will serve me well in life. Unless, of course, I find myself atop the trapeze at some two-bit circus installation that time and modern pest-control forgot in a sea of doll-toting onlookers. *shivers* No matter, even such a dramatically extreme end may well have it's silver lining.

Today, I have a guilty smile pasted across my lips and a quiet resolve in my heart. I'm truly a lucky broad. A clinically nuts one... But an undeniably lucky one just the same!

Roman's Gentle Reminder

" Some things just go together perfectly, but no one would've believed it was true about cocaine and rhinos until you came along. "

The past few days, we had a guest of sorts.... A little stuffed rhinoceros named "Roman". Seems the good folks at The Wee One's daycare find it amusing to send this little beast home as a reminder to actually entertain your children on weekends. Weekends! The one time I attempt to furiously escape the punishment of the preceding week. To wash away the stress while drowning my sorrows in a cardboard box containing the nectar of some bottom-of-the-barrel deities.




We're instructed to bring Roman everywhere we go and send him back the following Monday with a journal detailing his adventures. "Adventures".... a bit of a stretch when I spend most of my "free time" counting down until the next nap in a fit of depression. Lucky for Roman, this was one of our more productive weekends due to the ever increasing guilt I've had bubbling from within for a few months now (although that could be the aforementioned "wine" pissing off my intestines).



Post child Numero Uno, I became more and more withdrawn. Slipping rather easily into an introverted lifestyle. If Meals On Wheels weren't so judgemental of my otherwise good health and relative youth, I'd take no issue with becoming a full-time shut in. Turns out that isn't the pinnacle or even definition of good parenting (who knew?). Don't get me wrong, I don't mind picnics by a waterfall or camping up in the mountains.... I love snowboarding and kayaking... hiking and general frolic. What I mind terribly, is people. I have no interest in taking on huge crowds or even a handful of passersby. Often so much as one other person at the gas station is reason enough to flee and wait for another day (much to the chagrin of my VERY forgiving car). All of this leads me to believe I should win some sort of bloody award for dreaming up a surprise visit to Chuck E Cheese for no particular reason aside from the chilly outside temperatures.



Oh my yes - it was my own personal hell. But I survived it. I may have even managed a small, if not panicked, smile. We even snapped a few obligatory shots of The Wee One and Roman having a fabulously oblivious time.




The following day, I was gearing up for another inner meltdown as I prepared the boys for a play date with one of The Older One's school friends. We were to meet at the park. "I can handle this", I kept telling myself. "Remain calm. Stop sweating. Christ, Woman! Did you just throw up in your mouth?" Then the phone rang... it seems The Friend's mother thought it still too chilly out and suggested the little playground in the center of the mall.



When I came to, I had a bruised skull and tears in my eyes. What hellish karma was unleashing it's unadulterated fury down upon me!?!??! *more tears and hyperventilating* My 'Ol Man must have quickly recognized that I was liable to dart off for the border left unattended, so he offered to accompany us to keep me under some semblance of control. More pictures of Roman ensue and another hurdle overcome.



Finally it was time to record the memories in Roman's little nondescript journal. Here's where things get fun: I composed the caliber of brilliance as spoken through a stuffed Rhinoceros's beady eyes. We're talking exaggerated character development, plot twists, emotional climaxes and heart wrenching back story all exquisitely illustrated with thumbnail portraiture. This all led me quickly to believe I have no friends, no life and not a shred of sanity.



Damn you, Roman. Damn you and your fluffy poisoning of an already delicate psyche. I need help. Serious and well documented help. And a drink. Perhaps some medication. Well.... all of that and a WELL EARNED NAP.

Happy Friday The 13th!!! *SQUEAL*

"You've never really imagined yourself as the committed type, but a state-appointed psychiatrist will soon prove you wrong. "

Where yesterday marked the first utterly miserable day of this New Year, today promises happiness soaked in unicorn tears for little reason beyond the coupling of the day of the week with the date of the month. You see, this is a holiday for My I.D.S.T. and I!



There is a little hole-in-the-wall/dive bar, here, called Murphys. With shoddy stucco walls unforgivingly stretched beyond the quaint horseshoe bar, dim lighting, shady-at-best regulars, crime-hub-location and a jukebox - Murphys is the muthafukin bees knees! With the obvious exception of the memory I'm about to re-live for you, the most prominent memory I hold of this beloved tavern is my vomiting tomato juice ON aforementioned horseshoe bar, mid-conversation, and entirely unnoticed as such events are truly non-events at Murphys.

On a particular evening, I had wandered down to Murphys with my roommate to meet the "man of her dreams" she had encountered just the evening before. "This is the one!", she shrieked, "We are destined to run away to Costa Rica together, get married, and live drunkily ever after!" Pure gold, this one. She was always a bit of a hot mess so I simply took the ordeal as an opportunity to throw back a pitcher or three of cheap beer on a random Wednesday (Prior to breeding, I actually had a borderline legendary tolerance for such worthwhile activities). I can't be sure we even crossed the thresh hold to the joint and she already pounced her new found pet. I exchanged awkward pleasantries with the gentleman (and believe me, I'm using that term VERY LOOSELY), met his dashingly ominous friend, and took my seat at the bar. But oh my yes, let's back that trolley up for a moment.... the dashingly ominous friend :).

The tall drink of water accompanying my friend's pet with his shaved head, stunning red mustache/"Hail Satan/Metal" goatee, adorable dimples, extraordinarily intoxicating green eyes and the icing on the cake: this deep, purringly angry voice. Right off the bat, he was kind, funny, charismatic, brilliant, intriguing. Right off the bat, I was taken. You see, I was dating the roommate's brother - a dud of a character, but that's a story for another day. After marvelous conversation about anything and everything imaginable, The Friend asked me to stay for another round - though it killed me to do so - I was honest with him. I told him I was taken and that it was a pleasure meeting him, but that I really needed to get back home.

"That's OK, I'll wait."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"You said you're taken and I said I'll wait. I'm going to marry you and I'll wait as long as I have to."
*stunned silence*

Now fast forward almost six months down the road.... I had already ended the horribly dysfunctional courtship with The Roommate's Brother and was enjoying a bit of blissful solitude. I don't recall what the catalyst was, but one day, I throw myself down on the couch next to The Roommate and ask her if she has The Friend's number.... By the by, The Love of The Roommate's life had ended up moving in with us the morning after that bar encounter, eventually tired of the theatrics and debauchery of their relationship, told her he was headed to a basketball game with his father in Denver, and never returned! Anyway - she did.... have the number, that is. Knowing damn well I am a shy wreck when it comes to social interactions of any sort, she had the good sense (a rare treat, to be sure) to text him on my behalf. It was done. A date was set for that very evening.

As we both would only later find out, we both had arranged an "out" for that night. His friend was on call to rescue him with a pre-arranged and rehearsed emergency, and I actually brought back-up of two coworkers *snicker*. None of that was necessary - it was an evening of laughter, engaging conversation, dancing to karaoke Frank Sinatra.... Perfection. We were married within 6 months of that first magical night.

This all brings me to the subject at hand (I know, I know: "FINALLY!"... I enjoy rambling, yesterday REALLY sucked, and this is making me happy, so zip it!)... Friday The 13th was an instant bonding point for us. Not only are we both avid fans of all things horror, but we are both unreasonably superstitious. Add to that the fact that his last name (and mine now, as well) is Voorhies. (OK, so it's a different spelling than the infamous Jason Voorhees, but that didn't stop me from winning an "authentic replica" of Jason's hockey mask at an invitation-only showing of the "Friday The 13th" remake a few years back.... Of course, this was also the result of me shouting "FOR FUCK'S SAKE, OUR LAST NAME IS VOORHIES" in the midst of a full-blown temper tantrum when we were overlooked twice during the initial prize giveaways at said showing...... But I digress).



It has been over 6 incredible years since that first real date. 6 years filled with the caliber of adventures I never imagined I'd be a part of. And today is quite selfishly OUR DAY. It's one of those silly little things that makes us as happy as spoiled kiddos on Christmas morning. Our *cough* breeding plans dictated that it was not to be our anniversary, but it's almost more fun when it pops up unexpectedly (and frankly, a LOT of things "pop up unexpectedly" when your memory is absent at best :) ). So I dedicate today to My "Big Bag of Man Candy", though I wish you all a magical, lucky and exquisite day!!!

Truce

" It turns out that pianos hardly ever suddenly fall out of twelfth story windows onto people, although you'll have a hard time feeling special about it. "

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, anxious, frightened, bewildered and, in general, lonely.... I write. It's my mental blankie of sorts.

Today is one of those days filled to the brim with this mangled rat's nest of negativity. One of those days where I long to write...to strain to make sense of it all. Trouble is, I can't seem to calm the deafening noise in my skull. I stare at the cursor blinking in sync with an invisible metronome and I can't seem to fight through the static long enough to release. I don't even know what it is I feel I need to say, but the silence is killing me. Tomorrow is a new day. Perhaps tomorrow there will be a moment of silence within.

Fight or Flight

"You're not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity."

Yesterday, a meeting was called to announce the upcoming RIF (Reduction In Force). Ripe with a fancy, if not entirely obligatory, PowerPoint presentation, we were all advised a good 40% of the staff would be gone come the end of the month. "Questions?", the speaker kindly queried. Well.... umm.... YES. Lots. 

It was decided that the actual listing of those who would soon be wished "best of luck in their future endeavors" was to remain under lock & key until the day of departure. 

So what do you do with those 2-1/2 weeks of "business as usual"? What do you do when you have 2-1/2 weeks to live, pay bills, eat, burn shit, throw tantrums or splurge on a trip to Disney World? Would you throw all caution to the wind? Remain paralyzed in a state of utter disbelief? Pen letters to Congress utilizing magazine cut-out letters outlining your general disgust? Perhaps book as many surgeries (necessary or otherwise) to prudently take advantage of your still-active health insurance, which is such a rarity these days?

I can hardly claim the past 6 or so years have been spent in ignorant bliss. There have been plenty of trials and frustrations. Deadlines and miniature victories over bizarre obstacles. Learning curves and emotional rollercoasters. But for the past 6 or so years, I was employed - which is truly a phenomenal blessing I recognize. And at least one fact remains: No matter what the reaction for the next 2-1/2 weeks, the outcome will be the same.

I must laugh as, upon word of aforementioned meeting, my 'Ol Man's monumental concern was that I was destined to be a sobbing mess of a creature as we countdown to the far more pressing issue of the upcoming Super Bowl.  I assured him I was well over any fits or outbursts as the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I've weathered this before and I'm sure I will again. It's all part of life, no? What really bothers me when I unproductively sit and ponder all of this is how accustomed I became to a sense of stability.

Once upon a time, I thrived on chaos. More importantly, I exhibited a certain level of spontaneity. Adaptability. With the absence of these, I grew lazier and lazier until achieving the perfect hue of bland. I downright ROCK said blandness. Muthafuckin' Vanilla. What an awesome place to be in life, let me tell you! I miss being unpredictable, insensible and occasionally even ALIVE! When I previously mentioned thoughts that I had actually passed away a few weeks back, the reality is that I allowed myself to slip into mental hibernation well over a year ago.

With these next 16 days, I fully plan on resuscitating bits of who I once was, and adding a healthy dose of who I wanna be into the mixture. Having very simple, pared-down wants and needs certainly doesn't hurt. So many mourn the loss of things and over-the-top lifestyle choices. I'm rather exhilarated when imagining the new adventure that awaits the family and I. We can and will learn to be flexible and extraordinary once more. Perhaps somewhere sandwiched in that 16 days, I should actually compose a "Thank You" card to The Company for releasing me from its toxic grasp!

Dazzling Dames

"You discover that your best friend is a man trapped in a woman’s body. You owe it to him to grab a butcher knife and start carving until you get that man out."

It was with sinisterly great delight that I recently came across a news blurb about Steven Hawking...known for "unraveling some of the most complex questions in modern physics" remarking that the one thing consuming his brilliant mind above all else?: "Women. They are a complete mystery." I'm a total geek, so I probably even gave myself a mental high five as though I had contributed to this notoriety.... Ah-ha! In my own little corner of the universe, I certainly do what I can to keep The Man guessing. I'm a regular goddamned enigma to hear my 'Ol Man tell it :) (<---See? I'm seriously THRILLED to be such a bloody pest!)




One wouldn't have to read many posts on here to get caught up to speed on the madness that is Yours Truly. I almost revel in being up one moment, down the next, on a path to self-defined enlightenment an entirely new moment, then suddenly splashing around in a kiddie pool of self-loathing misery. At every turn, more and more cracker jack surprises in store! Each night, I quietly check the closet for evidence of The Mister packing bits & pieces away for a swift escape... A credit to his perseverance, he found more subtle ways to cope - and the garage I find suspiciously suited for an apartment retreat, is coming along swimmingly with the addition of a television and surround-sound stereo system.



Taking a step out of myself (which is a rare treat, so you may want to take a snapshot of this moment), I consider millions of us double-x-chromosome monsters.... all lunatics in our own unique fashions. Even the most predictable of us prone to complete meltdowns of the most melodramatic sorts. Millions of neatly wrapped packages of sugar, spice and gunpowder walking this earth. I literally just drooled a bit at the envisioned mayhem! Hehehe.....



Once upon a time, albeit in recent history, a good friend of ours was dating what seemed to be a doll of a woman - she was smart, kind, intelligent and polite (and oh my yes, STUNNING). We really thought this relationship was destined for the altar as she just appeared to be too good to be true. Alas - she was. Fast forward a few blissful months when our friend thought he'd "surprise" The Missus by getting off work early to take her out for a nice lunch. Little did he know that during the brief drive home, she tried reaching him at work to no avail thus jumped to the immediate conclusion he was stepping out on her and a temper from the bowels of hell was shat. Fast forward a bit further past a weekend in jail, a pricey trial and a finally overturned restraining order and lessons were learned all around. But honestly. What the f*ck!? In all fairness, this peanut gallery wasn't privy to the inner workings of said relationship and perhaps there was a more methodical road that led to this eruption of uncommon sense or insanity - yet I'm continually back to square one when attempting to arrive at any real logic, here. My gut reaction is that this doll done lost her freaking mind!



In the spirit of playing a bit of Point-Counterpoint to any derailed train of thought, Men are by no means excluded from the insanity. Flip through any run-of-the-mill serial killer documentary and you'll be in for quite the treat from the other species. Hell, tune into a random NFL game! We're all volatile and unpredictable in our own respective rights because that's quite frankly human nature. I'm sure it perplexes the likes of any creature out there when we exhibit irrational responses or unreasonably heightened emotions - perhaps it's possible SOME OF US simply enjoy the outcome of all that. The greatest gift one can impart upon a drama king or queen? A reaction.



Rather than wasting your time worrying about what in the flying hell is going on in that head of his or hers or its, may I advise a simple nod, smile, and finally a nap? After all, if there is a circumstance worthy of the statement "Ignorance is Bliss" - this is surely it!

Godzilla Mom

"The circumstances of your life will combine in such a way as to grant you possession of a great many lemons. However, all the advice you receive regarding their purpose will be useless and trite."

It seems the gifts I lack in art, driving, motivation and hand-eye coordination, I more than make up for in terrorizing my children. The last image burned in my skull from this morning is that of my 5 year old with those long black eyelashes fluttering over horror-filled eyes.... tears staining his sweet little sparsely freckled face.

Is it my fault he was off of school for a ridiculously unnecessary 2-1/2 weeks? Hardly. But I s'pose it's possible I didn't have to traumatize him with my banshee-esque shrieks of "MAMA HAS TO GO TO WORK! DO YOU WANT ME TO BE FIRED!?!?!? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? HUH? YOU'D JUST LOVE IT IF I COULDN'T COME HOME UNTIL WELL AFTER 7PM BECAUSE YOU WON'T LET GO OF MY GOD-FORSAKEN LEG, WOULDN'T YOU!?!?!? WOULDN'T YOU!?!?!? SHY? YOU'RE SHY!?!? I'LL SHOW YOU SHY!!!!".... Yeah... I kinda suck. Actually, I TOTALLY suck. The poor guy already had his little world turned upside down the day before when I left him in a strange home for 10 hours. He had bottled up all the nerves and insecurities throughout the day as I was checking on him - being a l'il trooper and trying to stay positive so I wouldn't worry. Man, I seriously suck!

For no known reason and lacking any real justification, I woke up on the brink of a temper tantrum. As I chose to slack off for those same aforementioned 2-1/2 weeks, I had to rush the kiddos into getting ready so I could help the oldest with his homework before throwing him mercilessly back to Kindergarten. This "homework" was to practice writing the letter "B" followed by drawing 5 pictures of words that start with it. He had barely scribbled the first letter when Jekyll promptly went all Kool-Aid man on the unsuspecting munchkin... "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? LOOK AT THAT... LOOK AT IT! DO YOU EVEN TRY!? LOOK ME IN THE EYES AND TELL ME YOU MADE AN OUNCE OF EFFORT ON THAT ONE! THOSE LINES LOOK LIKE THEY WERE VOMITED OUT BY A COKED-UP SQUIRREL!!!" (I should mention the little one was meanwhile standing nearby giggling and only fueling this out-of-control wildfire). In my defense, all this carrying on clearly scared him into trying harder on the next letter.... But seriously. If court-ordered anger management isn't in my near future, the lovely sanitarium downtown sure as shit is!

I'm heavily embarrassed to admit I have a terribly trigger-happy temper. When you couple that with rice-paper-thin patience, even I know that's a recipe for disaster.... That's about the ONLY recipe I know, but you get the point. I love my children. More than life itself. Why, then, are they able to push my buttons with the flick of a switch? That would imply they have any fault in all of this - which they don't. They're really pretty damn good kids, even if the little one is a pint-sized ball of trouble-waiting-to-happen. In my quest to adjust everything I am to a life I never envisioned having, I fall miserably short. Time and time again.

I recently read an article in some parenting magazine (don't get too excited, there - it was a free copy that was rather suggestively tossed in with a bunch of macaroni art fashioned by the wee one.... subtle, no?) about a woman who lived abroad as a Buddhist for the greater portion of her life before making a late-in-life leap to motherhood. She indicated that many of the principles she had learned in her adventures directly applied to the challenges she now faced. One of these was absolute brilliance. In fact, I distinctly remember a light bulb turning on just above my big hair as I read it. I read it over and over again and even recited it quietly aloud. A sort of second chance. In her example, she mused ("mused" - I'd still be punching walls just recalling such flagrant disrespect for my property!) about when her now-3-year-old had colored with markers all over her new couch and further shouted at her mommy when caught in the act. The mother ALLEGEDLY calmly told the girl "Let's take a deep breath and try this again". She asked the child to rewind to 5 minutes prior to doing this deed to see if she would make the same choice again. Nope. Lessons were learned and there were most likely ticker tape parades and a magical downpour of candy treats which followed. But the notion of allowing a child to correct the errors of their ways by simply giving them another chance. A do-over. An odd concept, yes?

Now all I have left to do with all this new found enlightenment is embark upon a journey to find a quick bomb diffuser for this temper of mine! There's simply no writing off what a terrible brat I was this morning... truly - there have most likely (read: DEFINITELY) been many of these mornings, afternoons, evenings and/or middle-of-the-night-episodes with similar results. Methinks I'm the one who needs to take it down a notch and grovel to the kiddos for a second chance! *sigh*

Always A Bridesmaid, Never An Artist......

"The stars would love to tell you what's ahead for you this week, but they've decided they'd rather wait and see the look on your face when it all happens."

In the process of SLOWLY emerging from my wee shell, and we're talking the speed of dried molasses here, it's becoming more and more evident I don't have a plan. I'm mostly referring to the direction of my ramblings, though one could easily copy & paste that sentiment just about anyplace in my life. I genuinely enjoy writing but I'm severely lacking cohesion, direction, purpose and - let's be frank - talent. It's one of those glaring truths that continually drives me back into fits of deleting all previous comments, cracking down on the security and even changing the bloody URL address of this thing. Why do I care? Well clearly I don't as I do nothing to remedy the situation nor do I necessarily lose much sleep over it. How's THAT for a disclaimer? So now that all of this is out in the open, off we go!




Yesterday, it's altogether possible someone slipped horseradish in my coffee as I was on a hellbent mission to change the appearance of my blog. I quickly began panicking when I realized I was in over my head. My coding was off and considering I had zero preconceived notions of what was to transpire, the whole project fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into a brick wall. I had barely crossed the starting line and I was up in arms - now looking for shortcuts to plagiarize others' brilliance to splash on my uninspired canvas. While licking my pitiful wounds, I thought back to the simpler days of youth...



 I can remember being 3 or 4 years old...laying on my back on my parent's bed.... staring at the intricate and unintentional patterns of the textured plaster ceiling above. I would spend hours (which most likely equates to a solid 15 minutes in "people time") watching forms jump to life from the lines. I grew increasingly mesmerized with the images and painstakingly sought to remember each segment of the total picture... to brand it into my brain so I could regurgitate it back onto paper for the world to see. I'd like to think I was once innocent enough to aspire to simply share the magic with the world as opposed to seeking credit for such. As it turned out, I could never recreate it. My attempts fell so utterly short of the optical adventure just experienced, I would gently collapse to my knees. Defeated. Worthless.



This experience would repeat over and over and over again... the gypsy sneering at me through the faux marble counter top in a bathroom... fanciful beasts in the clouds, foreboding and mechanical structures in a wooden floor plank or delicate weeping willows stretched across a swatch of fabric.... My mind would ache taking all this in with no means of pouring it back out into permanency. It seems I was a self-loathing, stressed out and immensely melodramatic creature long before I even learned to write!



Moreover, I have always faced the battle between the hypothetical imagination of my mind and the actual capability of my hands. This theme has carried well over into my professional life, my parenting style, my fleeting hobbies - hell, even my driving! It all leaves me in a mess of exhaustive frustration. I take heart in one thing though - idiotic persistence. From time to time, I'll lace up the 'ol roller skates and give it another go. Be it fanciful notions of redesigning this blog, attempting to model something out of ridiculously pricey sculpting clay, or... well.... getting behind the wheel *snicker*.  I amuse myself to no end imagining myself as a rat in a maze in the name of science. Nothing would ever be so much as hypothesized if dependent on the results of my actions. Perhaps to that end, I've already won? Dream on, Kitty.... Dream on.

Toning Down The 'Ol Personality.... When The Dial Goes To 11

Interview Tip #7: "Chances are they're looking for an office "bad boy" or "bad girl".  Show up late, knock everything off your interviewer's desk and say you need a dollar for the candy machine in the lobby."

They say the best time to look for a job is when you already have one. As mine is about as stable as a certain evening on May 6, 1937 aboard the Hindenburg, I've been dusting off the 'ol resume and weeping softly at the terrible lack of prospects. Nonetheless, I'm facing a bigger feat - NOT being QUITE so... well... *cough*... ME. Now why on earth would I want to tone down my personality beyond hearing that constructive advice from my spouse, one or two neighbors and our mailman? As I was poking about various trusty resume templates, I happened upon one that, although I'm sure was meant in complete jest, SPOKE TO ME. "The Resume of Awesomeness". No shit. It literally had a giant block letter watermark spelling out "AWESOME" across the entire page with little clip-art fireworks. Brilliance! Hey - what better way to stand out among a sea of far more qualified applicants, than with a bit of subliminal bedazzling? This led my train of though to derail delightfully off into a world where I could actually give full disclosure and still elude a restraining order. Although that grain alcohol I ingested only moments prior may have played a role in these fanciful dreams, I'm still not convinced they're unreasonable.

So here's what I'm working with:
  • Likes long walks on the beach, cheating on the NY Times crossword, listening to Beethoven symphonies as played on Caribbean steel drums and ingesting "Family Size" packages of Starbursts while sobbing under my desk.
  • Freakishly friendly, bordering on flirtatious to mask unreasonable fears of social situations and the public, in general.
  • Impressive upper body strength, although the only known application of such to date was displaying She-Ra abilities during an ocean kayaking tour well over a year ago.
  • Have you ever noticed Betty Boop's head is the shape of a piece of toast? ... Sorry - *ahem*: Easily Distracted Multi Tasking QUEEN
  • Obnoxiously enthusiastic about data entry so long as it's accomplished in some dark basement office with no access to a phone.
So, yeah... I'd like to think I'm some deity's gift to worker bees. How does one go about highlighting all these delectable attributes making sure to clear the vast hurdles of buzzword-seeking-HR-software? Until I discover the answer to all of this, I'm ramping up on multiple sweepstakes entries. HA! There's another bullet point! "Always has a Plan B!" BOOYAH!

Alas, it seems I'm simply too damn special to waste my plethora of talents doing anything all that useful. Still - such a shame to remain camped out in this cave until the first signs of Spring. Anyone up for Skeeball?

Kitty

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let's Go To Pluto: Part I

"There's little you can do to stop the inexorable unfolding of inevitable fate, but moving the charcoal lighter fluid away from the furnace wouldn't be a bad start."

"You're flying out Monday. You need to know a few things: You are the enemy. These people are all losing their jobs. The Teamsters know you're coming and they're very prone to violence, so stay close to the small group. You will stick out like a sore thumb with your blond hair, never mind the language barrier. Do not go into town and never leave your hotel room without one of the guys by your side. Good luck."

It was a surreal and grim series of disclaimers laid out prior to boarding that plane. I was part of a 4-person team assigned to close out a contract we had for over 20 years. Despite growing up in a rather worldly and travel-prone family, I had never been to Puerto Rico before. I figured it was more of a resort sort of destination. It was certainly breathtaking in photographs....

Following a series of mishaps, missed planes and misplaced luggage, we finally arrived at the hotel around midnight. In the damp darkness, it didn't seem nearly as foreboding as I was led to believe. Certainly the atmosphere was a bit of a shock as we departed from an early Winter and stepped off the plane into a tropical climate at the height of hurricane season. This chubby gal generally isn't a fan of heat and humidity, but the nighttime air was filled with a level of intrigue.

I didn't sleep that night - there was no way I could when I stepped out onto the hotel balcony to take in everything around me. The deafening chirps of the coqui frogs amidst the crashing waves of the ocean below. Through a dense fog, a curious sidewalk to the moon on the horizon painted across the water's eery reflection. I wanted so desperately to take a picture, but my camera would instantly cloud over with dew. The elusive sights before me translated into little more than murky blurs on the screen. Damn.

The next morning seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had no idea what to expect or how to begin. My social phobia coupled with the obvious language barrier would be interesting obstacles. We were just outside the small town of Luquillo and had to drive about half an hour to get onto our destination upon the long-since-closed Naval Base at Roosevelt Roads. Along the drive, my eyes watered at the lush greenery all around. A sprawling sea of pastel colored one-level houses... bars in the windows. There was a strange air of sadness along the drive, but nothing would quite prepare me for the vision of the base itself. I can only grasp at the description: apocalypse.

An expanse spanning miles upon miles upon miles of two-story grasses hiding palms and, as I was busily imagining: zombies. Old buildings long-since shuttered up with massive tropical foliage towering up from out of the roof-tops. Entire condo complexes gutted and engulfed in green mossy beasts. We continued for what seemed like days on the narrow and lonely road through the landscape. Parking lot after parking lot, desolate and abandoned but for.... my god.... what in the flying hell is that? IGUANA!!!!

A few hotel employees had mentioned the 6 foot beasts in passing. I figured they were simply playing upon this blond little girl's gullibility! They even covered their tracks with mentions of my having missed the prime breeding season a few months back. They said it would be highly improbable for me to witness one firsthand. But there he was. I must have released a delighted shriek as my good friend sighed and pulled off to the side of the road so I could get a closer look. He was magnificent. I immediately named him Bernard. My sweet, sweet Bernard. After heroically crawling on my belly for the perfect shot, I returned to the car ready to start the day!

No power. Ummm... what? We were on a tight schedule given the enormous laundry list of tasks we had only 2 weeks to complete and it began with a base-wide blackout. They had to conserve power in the few remaining occupied buildings and the generators were reserved for such things as heating The Commander's pool. It seems The Commander (and to this day, every time I utter that title aloud, I picture this strong and terrifying illegitimate brother of Fidel Castro) now fancied the entire base his bizarre kingdom. His wife and children lived full time on the other side of the island - 3 hours away. He had crews come in and maintain some of the old base housing or community gathering areas for his elaborate parties. He would even "grant" various film distributors access to his obsolete kingdom so long as he was given a bit part in the film at hand. So it was all completely understandable that we were suddenly unable to do a damn thing as we were in a pitch-black airplane hanger with no electricity or air conditioning, no cell or internet signal from our phones or laptops. As long as The Commander was pleased as punch, right?

No matter - I simply closed my eyes and pictured my Dear Bernard. Daydreaming about what sort of mischief that bastard was getting into... whether he was in cahoots with the zombies.... I had stepped out in the drizzling rain for a cigarette and something sinister caught my eye off in the distance at the corner of the lot.... zombies? Dogs. Mangy, ravenously wiry creatures with yellowed eyes and exposed teeth.... there were probably 9 or 10 of them.... all foaming at the mouth as they trained their collective sights on me. Too paralyzed to move a muscle beyond raising my hand to my mouth in a robotic and inherent gesture. After what seemed like a lifetime caught in this standoff, they clearly lost interest and moved along on their journey. I continued piecing together who or what I perceived would be in alliance against the other on this mysterious tropical wasteland. The power came back on and it was time to make up for lost time.

The first day was an overwhelmingly exhausting experience. More in the mental logistics of it all than anything else. The few employees I encountered were incredible and warm. Welcoming yet amused by me. Perhaps entertained by my sudden tasking from a position of complete inexperience. Ahhh... but I survived Day One and I additionally decided Bernard would have my back from this point forward.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Through The Looking Glass

"Though you've been trying to find yourself for decades, you'll be dis­appointed to tears when you find yourself living in Flagstaff and working at a screen-door factory. "

***Disclaimer: The following post is comprised of multiple individual thoughts flooding my brain at the moment. There is no intended flow or charted course - just thoughts that I clearly felt needed to get out of my skull.***

As I went through the motions of painting a new personality upon my face this morning, I almost didn't recognize my own reflection. Though this could normally be attributed to misplacing one eyebrow or altogether forgetting to thickly line an eye, it was more unusual than that. I glanced down at the outfit I hastily chose to cover my frame. Everything seemed somehow foreign.



I have one of those personas that inexplicably draws strangers from the shadows to my doorstep. A dear friend of mine, who faces the same phenomenon, explained it far more eloquently as the crowd gathering on her blanket at the park. Never alone on that blanket. I often dismissed it as nothing more than the blissful, if not unintentionally friendly innocence I exude. With each passing year, I became more of an omnipresent sponge placed upon this planet for the sole purpose of absorbing the pain, stress and sorrows of others so they could be freed of those burdens. Many of the bosses I reported to over time took curious notice of the employees who would come from far and wide only to file into my office, one by one, and release.

I do not take my empathetic nature lightly. It is with absolutely zero distaste that I've welcomed the chance to be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or even a dummy to punch. When the crowds would thin, I would go searching for those with pain etched across their fragility. Eager and almost desperate to help in some way. It was undoubtedly with a sense of selfishness that I would venture out on these strange journeys as it gave me purpose. Achievement. Worth.


Precisely four times in my life to date, I have made one drastic change or another to lose the weight I've struggled with since childhood. Precisely four times, I was extreme in my actions yet failed to recognize any strides made or change accomplished. Sure, I could later look back and think "My god, I did it!", but only in the rear view mirror and from the depths of a now defeated existence. The funny thing that occurred to me this morning was that it was never at my "best" when so many were drawn to me. The most remarkable people to touch my life entered when I was low. An odd thing to think that at the times when I wasn't mentally tough enough to pull myself out of a rut let alone another, is the exact moment that task was placed before me. I must have done something right as I was and am still considered the duct tape holding it all together.

I've explained before that physical appearances mean little to me. When it's a natural trait to see right through the shells we inhabit in an effort to get from Point A to B, nothing else much matters. Through the eyes of someone who wishes to possess the skills of an artist, I marvel at human forms and the personas they fancy themselves with, thanks to accessories or style... props or expressions. I enjoy the uniqueness we each exhibit through our own perceived faults. The physical signs illustrating all the wild adventures along the way. And yet I am unforgiving of my own faults and inadequacies.

Seems to me I still find myself in a state of confusion when it comes to who or what I am. What I want to be when I grow up, or even WHERE. Such selfish thoughts prove difficult to work through when you have a family. I should no longer be allowed any real level of narcissism when I am responsible for the lives of others on a scale never before experienced. With a lifetime of exposure to being everything someone else needs me to be in a moment, I find myself ill prepared to be that for more than a moment.

I believe many of my struggles lie in the fact that, as a mental sponge, I never quite learned how to release all the negative glop intoxicating every pore. Many nights, I still watch the minutes tick away unable to erase the pain of another. I pace while interrogating myself on whether I did enough or if more could have been done. There is also a load of tumultuous guilt bubbling inside from those I eventually had to turn away. The ones hellbent on poisoning me for their own gain. The times it became a sort of cruel game.

Looking up at the stranger gazing back at me in this framed and reflective glass, there is still a spark in her greyed eyes. Some hope of making sense of it all and coming to terms with all that is. Back on the grass-lined hill by some sparkly duck pond in my head, my blanket is suddenly empty. Perhaps therein lies the problem?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For No Reason Beyond My Inability To Walk Away At #109.....

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/2549849730.html

Plus.... the man makes a good case! Enjoy! :)

What Do You Get The Girl Who Wants Nothing?

"You have yet to find a love worthy of your unique affections and depth of spirit. You should strongly consider getting a goldfish."

In the midst of these past few hellishly uncertain weeks, employment-wise, I've arrived at a blissful sense of peace.  Let's not get carried away, I'm clearly not an obliviously happy person, by nature. But there is something to be said for rolling with the punches. Whether one chooses to shut down in the depths of despair or simply venture out for an unauthorized lunch break consisting of cupcakes and an ice cream shake, the outcome is the same, no? Well.... the latter may achieve the addition of a few dozen unwanted pounds, but I'm sure the point has been deliciously illustrated. Mmmm..... cupcakes....

One oddity about Yours Truly that makes this all so much easier to weather is my distaste for stuff. Material, non-cupcake stuff, of course. My appetite understandably grew with my income - but it wasn't so much my own appetite (again, for nonsense of the non-cupcake variety) as my desire to appease others. That theme is present throughout most of my life to date. As a career doormat (that would be an awesome career.... and I'd be willing to bet a more stable one than government contracting.....), my heart melts and my purse bursts open at the mere mention of an other's wants. Although the contents of my purse rarely contain any actual MONEY (after all, thanks to The Empress, any cash or change I may be sporting is now contained within my obnoxiously padded bra..... unofficially of course... and I'm a muthafukin ninja, so I wouldn't try any funny business!), I wouldn't think twice of spending my last penny on someone... ANYONE else. In fact, I take on a bit of a Robin Hood stance when it comes to overdrawing my bank account in the name of frivolous and/or Pixar-sanctioned entertainment. Valiant to the end!

I have, and could quite easily again live in a pared-down state of magnificent simplicity. One of the toughest challenges of the past few weeks was convincing my family of the same. I cannot be swayed into believing there exists a NEED for TVs in every damn room of the house - or even a single TV.... We don't NEED the latest and greatest technology. We don't NEED i-everythings...not computers nor appliances. I'd have a tough time seeing the purpose of fancy electricity, except that I'm altogether vain when it comes to the mop atop my head. But that's what Bic razors are for, yes? Problem solved!

There's a probability of losing the house if I lose my job. OK. That's what apartments and bedazzled shanties are for. We are a "civilization" of excess but at the end of the day, what really matters? An extra room provided for the sole purpose of escaping My Terrorizing Munchkins? There's certainly added value, there, but I can always slip outside any given structure for a smoke. Cigarettes are bloody expensive, but who's to say I couldn't trick myself into imagining sucking on a twig ain't the same thing? I'm just that creatively awesome. Which makes me wonder why I haven't thought of that sooner..... Ah well, it's the perceived emergency of the situation that sparks my imagination from its slumber. My miniature family and I will survive, and in the fashion of The Brilliant Miss Gaynor, we'll do so with flamboyant gusto!

I don't fear much beyond spiders, clowns, free fall, heights, dolls and myself. Seems this is one of many traits that will serve me well in life. Unless, of course, I find myself atop the trapeze at some two-bit circus installation that time and modern pest-control forgot in a sea of doll-toting onlookers. *shivers* No matter, even such a dramatically extreme end may well have it's silver lining.

Today, I have a guilty smile pasted across my lips and a quiet resolve in my heart. I'm truly a lucky broad. A clinically nuts one... But an undeniably lucky one just the same!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roman's Gentle Reminder

" Some things just go together perfectly, but no one would've believed it was true about cocaine and rhinos until you came along. "

The past few days, we had a guest of sorts.... A little stuffed rhinoceros named "Roman". Seems the good folks at The Wee One's daycare find it amusing to send this little beast home as a reminder to actually entertain your children on weekends. Weekends! The one time I attempt to furiously escape the punishment of the preceding week. To wash away the stress while drowning my sorrows in a cardboard box containing the nectar of some bottom-of-the-barrel deities.




We're instructed to bring Roman everywhere we go and send him back the following Monday with a journal detailing his adventures. "Adventures".... a bit of a stretch when I spend most of my "free time" counting down until the next nap in a fit of depression. Lucky for Roman, this was one of our more productive weekends due to the ever increasing guilt I've had bubbling from within for a few months now (although that could be the aforementioned "wine" pissing off my intestines).



Post child Numero Uno, I became more and more withdrawn. Slipping rather easily into an introverted lifestyle. If Meals On Wheels weren't so judgemental of my otherwise good health and relative youth, I'd take no issue with becoming a full-time shut in. Turns out that isn't the pinnacle or even definition of good parenting (who knew?). Don't get me wrong, I don't mind picnics by a waterfall or camping up in the mountains.... I love snowboarding and kayaking... hiking and general frolic. What I mind terribly, is people. I have no interest in taking on huge crowds or even a handful of passersby. Often so much as one other person at the gas station is reason enough to flee and wait for another day (much to the chagrin of my VERY forgiving car). All of this leads me to believe I should win some sort of bloody award for dreaming up a surprise visit to Chuck E Cheese for no particular reason aside from the chilly outside temperatures.



Oh my yes - it was my own personal hell. But I survived it. I may have even managed a small, if not panicked, smile. We even snapped a few obligatory shots of The Wee One and Roman having a fabulously oblivious time.




The following day, I was gearing up for another inner meltdown as I prepared the boys for a play date with one of The Older One's school friends. We were to meet at the park. "I can handle this", I kept telling myself. "Remain calm. Stop sweating. Christ, Woman! Did you just throw up in your mouth?" Then the phone rang... it seems The Friend's mother thought it still too chilly out and suggested the little playground in the center of the mall.



When I came to, I had a bruised skull and tears in my eyes. What hellish karma was unleashing it's unadulterated fury down upon me!?!??! *more tears and hyperventilating* My 'Ol Man must have quickly recognized that I was liable to dart off for the border left unattended, so he offered to accompany us to keep me under some semblance of control. More pictures of Roman ensue and another hurdle overcome.



Finally it was time to record the memories in Roman's little nondescript journal. Here's where things get fun: I composed the caliber of brilliance as spoken through a stuffed Rhinoceros's beady eyes. We're talking exaggerated character development, plot twists, emotional climaxes and heart wrenching back story all exquisitely illustrated with thumbnail portraiture. This all led me quickly to believe I have no friends, no life and not a shred of sanity.



Damn you, Roman. Damn you and your fluffy poisoning of an already delicate psyche. I need help. Serious and well documented help. And a drink. Perhaps some medication. Well.... all of that and a WELL EARNED NAP.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Friday The 13th!!! *SQUEAL*

"You've never really imagined yourself as the committed type, but a state-appointed psychiatrist will soon prove you wrong. "

Where yesterday marked the first utterly miserable day of this New Year, today promises happiness soaked in unicorn tears for little reason beyond the coupling of the day of the week with the date of the month. You see, this is a holiday for My I.D.S.T. and I!



There is a little hole-in-the-wall/dive bar, here, called Murphys. With shoddy stucco walls unforgivingly stretched beyond the quaint horseshoe bar, dim lighting, shady-at-best regulars, crime-hub-location and a jukebox - Murphys is the muthafukin bees knees! With the obvious exception of the memory I'm about to re-live for you, the most prominent memory I hold of this beloved tavern is my vomiting tomato juice ON aforementioned horseshoe bar, mid-conversation, and entirely unnoticed as such events are truly non-events at Murphys.

On a particular evening, I had wandered down to Murphys with my roommate to meet the "man of her dreams" she had encountered just the evening before. "This is the one!", she shrieked, "We are destined to run away to Costa Rica together, get married, and live drunkily ever after!" Pure gold, this one. She was always a bit of a hot mess so I simply took the ordeal as an opportunity to throw back a pitcher or three of cheap beer on a random Wednesday (Prior to breeding, I actually had a borderline legendary tolerance for such worthwhile activities). I can't be sure we even crossed the thresh hold to the joint and she already pounced her new found pet. I exchanged awkward pleasantries with the gentleman (and believe me, I'm using that term VERY LOOSELY), met his dashingly ominous friend, and took my seat at the bar. But oh my yes, let's back that trolley up for a moment.... the dashingly ominous friend :).

The tall drink of water accompanying my friend's pet with his shaved head, stunning red mustache/"Hail Satan/Metal" goatee, adorable dimples, extraordinarily intoxicating green eyes and the icing on the cake: this deep, purringly angry voice. Right off the bat, he was kind, funny, charismatic, brilliant, intriguing. Right off the bat, I was taken. You see, I was dating the roommate's brother - a dud of a character, but that's a story for another day. After marvelous conversation about anything and everything imaginable, The Friend asked me to stay for another round - though it killed me to do so - I was honest with him. I told him I was taken and that it was a pleasure meeting him, but that I really needed to get back home.

"That's OK, I'll wait."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"You said you're taken and I said I'll wait. I'm going to marry you and I'll wait as long as I have to."
*stunned silence*

Now fast forward almost six months down the road.... I had already ended the horribly dysfunctional courtship with The Roommate's Brother and was enjoying a bit of blissful solitude. I don't recall what the catalyst was, but one day, I throw myself down on the couch next to The Roommate and ask her if she has The Friend's number.... By the by, The Love of The Roommate's life had ended up moving in with us the morning after that bar encounter, eventually tired of the theatrics and debauchery of their relationship, told her he was headed to a basketball game with his father in Denver, and never returned! Anyway - she did.... have the number, that is. Knowing damn well I am a shy wreck when it comes to social interactions of any sort, she had the good sense (a rare treat, to be sure) to text him on my behalf. It was done. A date was set for that very evening.

As we both would only later find out, we both had arranged an "out" for that night. His friend was on call to rescue him with a pre-arranged and rehearsed emergency, and I actually brought back-up of two coworkers *snicker*. None of that was necessary - it was an evening of laughter, engaging conversation, dancing to karaoke Frank Sinatra.... Perfection. We were married within 6 months of that first magical night.

This all brings me to the subject at hand (I know, I know: "FINALLY!"... I enjoy rambling, yesterday REALLY sucked, and this is making me happy, so zip it!)... Friday The 13th was an instant bonding point for us. Not only are we both avid fans of all things horror, but we are both unreasonably superstitious. Add to that the fact that his last name (and mine now, as well) is Voorhies. (OK, so it's a different spelling than the infamous Jason Voorhees, but that didn't stop me from winning an "authentic replica" of Jason's hockey mask at an invitation-only showing of the "Friday The 13th" remake a few years back.... Of course, this was also the result of me shouting "FOR FUCK'S SAKE, OUR LAST NAME IS VOORHIES" in the midst of a full-blown temper tantrum when we were overlooked twice during the initial prize giveaways at said showing...... But I digress).



It has been over 6 incredible years since that first real date. 6 years filled with the caliber of adventures I never imagined I'd be a part of. And today is quite selfishly OUR DAY. It's one of those silly little things that makes us as happy as spoiled kiddos on Christmas morning. Our *cough* breeding plans dictated that it was not to be our anniversary, but it's almost more fun when it pops up unexpectedly (and frankly, a LOT of things "pop up unexpectedly" when your memory is absent at best :) ). So I dedicate today to My "Big Bag of Man Candy", though I wish you all a magical, lucky and exquisite day!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Truce

" It turns out that pianos hardly ever suddenly fall out of twelfth story windows onto people, although you'll have a hard time feeling special about it. "

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, anxious, frightened, bewildered and, in general, lonely.... I write. It's my mental blankie of sorts.

Today is one of those days filled to the brim with this mangled rat's nest of negativity. One of those days where I long to write...to strain to make sense of it all. Trouble is, I can't seem to calm the deafening noise in my skull. I stare at the cursor blinking in sync with an invisible metronome and I can't seem to fight through the static long enough to release. I don't even know what it is I feel I need to say, but the silence is killing me. Tomorrow is a new day. Perhaps tomorrow there will be a moment of silence within.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fight or Flight

"You're not sure if your new mousetrap is better, but due to its horrifying use of liquefying blades, the world will beat a path to your door out of sheer morbid curiosity."

Yesterday, a meeting was called to announce the upcoming RIF (Reduction In Force). Ripe with a fancy, if not entirely obligatory, PowerPoint presentation, we were all advised a good 40% of the staff would be gone come the end of the month. "Questions?", the speaker kindly queried. Well.... umm.... YES. Lots. 

It was decided that the actual listing of those who would soon be wished "best of luck in their future endeavors" was to remain under lock & key until the day of departure. 

So what do you do with those 2-1/2 weeks of "business as usual"? What do you do when you have 2-1/2 weeks to live, pay bills, eat, burn shit, throw tantrums or splurge on a trip to Disney World? Would you throw all caution to the wind? Remain paralyzed in a state of utter disbelief? Pen letters to Congress utilizing magazine cut-out letters outlining your general disgust? Perhaps book as many surgeries (necessary or otherwise) to prudently take advantage of your still-active health insurance, which is such a rarity these days?

I can hardly claim the past 6 or so years have been spent in ignorant bliss. There have been plenty of trials and frustrations. Deadlines and miniature victories over bizarre obstacles. Learning curves and emotional rollercoasters. But for the past 6 or so years, I was employed - which is truly a phenomenal blessing I recognize. And at least one fact remains: No matter what the reaction for the next 2-1/2 weeks, the outcome will be the same.

I must laugh as, upon word of aforementioned meeting, my 'Ol Man's monumental concern was that I was destined to be a sobbing mess of a creature as we countdown to the far more pressing issue of the upcoming Super Bowl.  I assured him I was well over any fits or outbursts as the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I've weathered this before and I'm sure I will again. It's all part of life, no? What really bothers me when I unproductively sit and ponder all of this is how accustomed I became to a sense of stability.

Once upon a time, I thrived on chaos. More importantly, I exhibited a certain level of spontaneity. Adaptability. With the absence of these, I grew lazier and lazier until achieving the perfect hue of bland. I downright ROCK said blandness. Muthafuckin' Vanilla. What an awesome place to be in life, let me tell you! I miss being unpredictable, insensible and occasionally even ALIVE! When I previously mentioned thoughts that I had actually passed away a few weeks back, the reality is that I allowed myself to slip into mental hibernation well over a year ago.

With these next 16 days, I fully plan on resuscitating bits of who I once was, and adding a healthy dose of who I wanna be into the mixture. Having very simple, pared-down wants and needs certainly doesn't hurt. So many mourn the loss of things and over-the-top lifestyle choices. I'm rather exhilarated when imagining the new adventure that awaits the family and I. We can and will learn to be flexible and extraordinary once more. Perhaps somewhere sandwiched in that 16 days, I should actually compose a "Thank You" card to The Company for releasing me from its toxic grasp!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dazzling Dames

"You discover that your best friend is a man trapped in a woman’s body. You owe it to him to grab a butcher knife and start carving until you get that man out."

It was with sinisterly great delight that I recently came across a news blurb about Steven Hawking...known for "unraveling some of the most complex questions in modern physics" remarking that the one thing consuming his brilliant mind above all else?: "Women. They are a complete mystery." I'm a total geek, so I probably even gave myself a mental high five as though I had contributed to this notoriety.... Ah-ha! In my own little corner of the universe, I certainly do what I can to keep The Man guessing. I'm a regular goddamned enigma to hear my 'Ol Man tell it :) (<---See? I'm seriously THRILLED to be such a bloody pest!)




One wouldn't have to read many posts on here to get caught up to speed on the madness that is Yours Truly. I almost revel in being up one moment, down the next, on a path to self-defined enlightenment an entirely new moment, then suddenly splashing around in a kiddie pool of self-loathing misery. At every turn, more and more cracker jack surprises in store! Each night, I quietly check the closet for evidence of The Mister packing bits & pieces away for a swift escape... A credit to his perseverance, he found more subtle ways to cope - and the garage I find suspiciously suited for an apartment retreat, is coming along swimmingly with the addition of a television and surround-sound stereo system.



Taking a step out of myself (which is a rare treat, so you may want to take a snapshot of this moment), I consider millions of us double-x-chromosome monsters.... all lunatics in our own unique fashions. Even the most predictable of us prone to complete meltdowns of the most melodramatic sorts. Millions of neatly wrapped packages of sugar, spice and gunpowder walking this earth. I literally just drooled a bit at the envisioned mayhem! Hehehe.....



Once upon a time, albeit in recent history, a good friend of ours was dating what seemed to be a doll of a woman - she was smart, kind, intelligent and polite (and oh my yes, STUNNING). We really thought this relationship was destined for the altar as she just appeared to be too good to be true. Alas - she was. Fast forward a few blissful months when our friend thought he'd "surprise" The Missus by getting off work early to take her out for a nice lunch. Little did he know that during the brief drive home, she tried reaching him at work to no avail thus jumped to the immediate conclusion he was stepping out on her and a temper from the bowels of hell was shat. Fast forward a bit further past a weekend in jail, a pricey trial and a finally overturned restraining order and lessons were learned all around. But honestly. What the f*ck!? In all fairness, this peanut gallery wasn't privy to the inner workings of said relationship and perhaps there was a more methodical road that led to this eruption of uncommon sense or insanity - yet I'm continually back to square one when attempting to arrive at any real logic, here. My gut reaction is that this doll done lost her freaking mind!



In the spirit of playing a bit of Point-Counterpoint to any derailed train of thought, Men are by no means excluded from the insanity. Flip through any run-of-the-mill serial killer documentary and you'll be in for quite the treat from the other species. Hell, tune into a random NFL game! We're all volatile and unpredictable in our own respective rights because that's quite frankly human nature. I'm sure it perplexes the likes of any creature out there when we exhibit irrational responses or unreasonably heightened emotions - perhaps it's possible SOME OF US simply enjoy the outcome of all that. The greatest gift one can impart upon a drama king or queen? A reaction.



Rather than wasting your time worrying about what in the flying hell is going on in that head of his or hers or its, may I advise a simple nod, smile, and finally a nap? After all, if there is a circumstance worthy of the statement "Ignorance is Bliss" - this is surely it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Godzilla Mom

"The circumstances of your life will combine in such a way as to grant you possession of a great many lemons. However, all the advice you receive regarding their purpose will be useless and trite."

It seems the gifts I lack in art, driving, motivation and hand-eye coordination, I more than make up for in terrorizing my children. The last image burned in my skull from this morning is that of my 5 year old with those long black eyelashes fluttering over horror-filled eyes.... tears staining his sweet little sparsely freckled face.

Is it my fault he was off of school for a ridiculously unnecessary 2-1/2 weeks? Hardly. But I s'pose it's possible I didn't have to traumatize him with my banshee-esque shrieks of "MAMA HAS TO GO TO WORK! DO YOU WANT ME TO BE FIRED!?!?!? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? HUH? YOU'D JUST LOVE IT IF I COULDN'T COME HOME UNTIL WELL AFTER 7PM BECAUSE YOU WON'T LET GO OF MY GOD-FORSAKEN LEG, WOULDN'T YOU!?!?!? WOULDN'T YOU!?!?!? SHY? YOU'RE SHY!?!? I'LL SHOW YOU SHY!!!!".... Yeah... I kinda suck. Actually, I TOTALLY suck. The poor guy already had his little world turned upside down the day before when I left him in a strange home for 10 hours. He had bottled up all the nerves and insecurities throughout the day as I was checking on him - being a l'il trooper and trying to stay positive so I wouldn't worry. Man, I seriously suck!

For no known reason and lacking any real justification, I woke up on the brink of a temper tantrum. As I chose to slack off for those same aforementioned 2-1/2 weeks, I had to rush the kiddos into getting ready so I could help the oldest with his homework before throwing him mercilessly back to Kindergarten. This "homework" was to practice writing the letter "B" followed by drawing 5 pictures of words that start with it. He had barely scribbled the first letter when Jekyll promptly went all Kool-Aid man on the unsuspecting munchkin... "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? LOOK AT THAT... LOOK AT IT! DO YOU EVEN TRY!? LOOK ME IN THE EYES AND TELL ME YOU MADE AN OUNCE OF EFFORT ON THAT ONE! THOSE LINES LOOK LIKE THEY WERE VOMITED OUT BY A COKED-UP SQUIRREL!!!" (I should mention the little one was meanwhile standing nearby giggling and only fueling this out-of-control wildfire). In my defense, all this carrying on clearly scared him into trying harder on the next letter.... But seriously. If court-ordered anger management isn't in my near future, the lovely sanitarium downtown sure as shit is!

I'm heavily embarrassed to admit I have a terribly trigger-happy temper. When you couple that with rice-paper-thin patience, even I know that's a recipe for disaster.... That's about the ONLY recipe I know, but you get the point. I love my children. More than life itself. Why, then, are they able to push my buttons with the flick of a switch? That would imply they have any fault in all of this - which they don't. They're really pretty damn good kids, even if the little one is a pint-sized ball of trouble-waiting-to-happen. In my quest to adjust everything I am to a life I never envisioned having, I fall miserably short. Time and time again.

I recently read an article in some parenting magazine (don't get too excited, there - it was a free copy that was rather suggestively tossed in with a bunch of macaroni art fashioned by the wee one.... subtle, no?) about a woman who lived abroad as a Buddhist for the greater portion of her life before making a late-in-life leap to motherhood. She indicated that many of the principles she had learned in her adventures directly applied to the challenges she now faced. One of these was absolute brilliance. In fact, I distinctly remember a light bulb turning on just above my big hair as I read it. I read it over and over again and even recited it quietly aloud. A sort of second chance. In her example, she mused ("mused" - I'd still be punching walls just recalling such flagrant disrespect for my property!) about when her now-3-year-old had colored with markers all over her new couch and further shouted at her mommy when caught in the act. The mother ALLEGEDLY calmly told the girl "Let's take a deep breath and try this again". She asked the child to rewind to 5 minutes prior to doing this deed to see if she would make the same choice again. Nope. Lessons were learned and there were most likely ticker tape parades and a magical downpour of candy treats which followed. But the notion of allowing a child to correct the errors of their ways by simply giving them another chance. A do-over. An odd concept, yes?

Now all I have left to do with all this new found enlightenment is embark upon a journey to find a quick bomb diffuser for this temper of mine! There's simply no writing off what a terrible brat I was this morning... truly - there have most likely (read: DEFINITELY) been many of these mornings, afternoons, evenings and/or middle-of-the-night-episodes with similar results. Methinks I'm the one who needs to take it down a notch and grovel to the kiddos for a second chance! *sigh*

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Always A Bridesmaid, Never An Artist......

"The stars would love to tell you what's ahead for you this week, but they've decided they'd rather wait and see the look on your face when it all happens."

In the process of SLOWLY emerging from my wee shell, and we're talking the speed of dried molasses here, it's becoming more and more evident I don't have a plan. I'm mostly referring to the direction of my ramblings, though one could easily copy & paste that sentiment just about anyplace in my life. I genuinely enjoy writing but I'm severely lacking cohesion, direction, purpose and - let's be frank - talent. It's one of those glaring truths that continually drives me back into fits of deleting all previous comments, cracking down on the security and even changing the bloody URL address of this thing. Why do I care? Well clearly I don't as I do nothing to remedy the situation nor do I necessarily lose much sleep over it. How's THAT for a disclaimer? So now that all of this is out in the open, off we go!




Yesterday, it's altogether possible someone slipped horseradish in my coffee as I was on a hellbent mission to change the appearance of my blog. I quickly began panicking when I realized I was in over my head. My coding was off and considering I had zero preconceived notions of what was to transpire, the whole project fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into a brick wall. I had barely crossed the starting line and I was up in arms - now looking for shortcuts to plagiarize others' brilliance to splash on my uninspired canvas. While licking my pitiful wounds, I thought back to the simpler days of youth...



 I can remember being 3 or 4 years old...laying on my back on my parent's bed.... staring at the intricate and unintentional patterns of the textured plaster ceiling above. I would spend hours (which most likely equates to a solid 15 minutes in "people time") watching forms jump to life from the lines. I grew increasingly mesmerized with the images and painstakingly sought to remember each segment of the total picture... to brand it into my brain so I could regurgitate it back onto paper for the world to see. I'd like to think I was once innocent enough to aspire to simply share the magic with the world as opposed to seeking credit for such. As it turned out, I could never recreate it. My attempts fell so utterly short of the optical adventure just experienced, I would gently collapse to my knees. Defeated. Worthless.



This experience would repeat over and over and over again... the gypsy sneering at me through the faux marble counter top in a bathroom... fanciful beasts in the clouds, foreboding and mechanical structures in a wooden floor plank or delicate weeping willows stretched across a swatch of fabric.... My mind would ache taking all this in with no means of pouring it back out into permanency. It seems I was a self-loathing, stressed out and immensely melodramatic creature long before I even learned to write!



Moreover, I have always faced the battle between the hypothetical imagination of my mind and the actual capability of my hands. This theme has carried well over into my professional life, my parenting style, my fleeting hobbies - hell, even my driving! It all leaves me in a mess of exhaustive frustration. I take heart in one thing though - idiotic persistence. From time to time, I'll lace up the 'ol roller skates and give it another go. Be it fanciful notions of redesigning this blog, attempting to model something out of ridiculously pricey sculpting clay, or... well.... getting behind the wheel *snicker*.  I amuse myself to no end imagining myself as a rat in a maze in the name of science. Nothing would ever be so much as hypothesized if dependent on the results of my actions. Perhaps to that end, I've already won? Dream on, Kitty.... Dream on.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Toning Down The 'Ol Personality.... When The Dial Goes To 11

Interview Tip #7: "Chances are they're looking for an office "bad boy" or "bad girl".  Show up late, knock everything off your interviewer's desk and say you need a dollar for the candy machine in the lobby."

They say the best time to look for a job is when you already have one. As mine is about as stable as a certain evening on May 6, 1937 aboard the Hindenburg, I've been dusting off the 'ol resume and weeping softly at the terrible lack of prospects. Nonetheless, I'm facing a bigger feat - NOT being QUITE so... well... *cough*... ME. Now why on earth would I want to tone down my personality beyond hearing that constructive advice from my spouse, one or two neighbors and our mailman? As I was poking about various trusty resume templates, I happened upon one that, although I'm sure was meant in complete jest, SPOKE TO ME. "The Resume of Awesomeness". No shit. It literally had a giant block letter watermark spelling out "AWESOME" across the entire page with little clip-art fireworks. Brilliance! Hey - what better way to stand out among a sea of far more qualified applicants, than with a bit of subliminal bedazzling? This led my train of though to derail delightfully off into a world where I could actually give full disclosure and still elude a restraining order. Although that grain alcohol I ingested only moments prior may have played a role in these fanciful dreams, I'm still not convinced they're unreasonable.

So here's what I'm working with:
  • Likes long walks on the beach, cheating on the NY Times crossword, listening to Beethoven symphonies as played on Caribbean steel drums and ingesting "Family Size" packages of Starbursts while sobbing under my desk.
  • Freakishly friendly, bordering on flirtatious to mask unreasonable fears of social situations and the public, in general.
  • Impressive upper body strength, although the only known application of such to date was displaying She-Ra abilities during an ocean kayaking tour well over a year ago.
  • Have you ever noticed Betty Boop's head is the shape of a piece of toast? ... Sorry - *ahem*: Easily Distracted Multi Tasking QUEEN
  • Obnoxiously enthusiastic about data entry so long as it's accomplished in some dark basement office with no access to a phone.
So, yeah... I'd like to think I'm some deity's gift to worker bees. How does one go about highlighting all these delectable attributes making sure to clear the vast hurdles of buzzword-seeking-HR-software? Until I discover the answer to all of this, I'm ramping up on multiple sweepstakes entries. HA! There's another bullet point! "Always has a Plan B!" BOOYAH!

Alas, it seems I'm simply too damn special to waste my plethora of talents doing anything all that useful. Still - such a shame to remain camped out in this cave until the first signs of Spring. Anyone up for Skeeball?