Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Doing Good

I want to come out on the plus side as far as doing good in my life, and I have some questions.

My current favorite blouse is a warm purple color that I love. It has "Made in China" on the label, which generally gives me a bad feeling but, I bought it from a charity thrift store. So does the secondhand/charity angle make up for the fact that it was probably manufactured under environmentally- and worker-unfriendly conditions?

I generally conserve water, don't run the tap while I'm brushing my teeth and do only full loads of laundry and dishes but, I like long, hot showers. How does that balance out, or does it? (Because I feel guilty, but apparently not enough to change my behavior.)

I absolutely love my scooter, there's no doubt that it's better for the environment and saves on gas and money when compared to a car but, I take it on long drives just for fun and I use it for trips that are within walking distance. I feel positive, even righteous, about this choice, but if I did use my scooter less, that would be better. I mean, walking causes zero pollution.

I give money to those on the street that ask for it. I know that certain groups think this encourages alcoholism and drug abuse, but I don't have the heart to deny people who obviously have so little. My mother used to offer food or a meal in lieu of cash, but that's time consuming and inconvenient. I'll give spare change, because I can afford it, and because it just seems mean not to.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Favorite Poem

Just in the mood to share...

The Fish
I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled and barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
--the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly--
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
--It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
--if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels--until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.
~Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Feelin' Pervy

So I was watching Skins on BBC America last night, a fun, sexy teen fantasy that I'm sure was written by a bunch of thirty-somethings looking back on their high school years thinking, "If I'd known then what I know now, I would have been so much cooler!" It had that sort of unrealistic tone to it, but it wasn't pretentious, just fun and a little ridiculous.
The lead, Nicholas Hoult, being an attractive young man, caught my attention. Sure, I thought, he's a bit young, but boys grow up. And I thought he looked familiar, although I couldn't immediately place him. Apparently, my subconscious went to work, because this morning I woke up going "He's the kid from About A Boy! I'm old enough to be his mother!" (A teen mother, but still, quite a bit older than him.) Ewwww. I felt slightly creepy, lusting after someone younger than my stepson, but hey, with the whole MILF and "cougar" thing going on, I know I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bad Morning=Sucky Day

(Warning: It's a completely crap post today, so if you want something funny or uplifting, go here or here.)

It's never a good thing when you're woken from a bad dream by your alarm. The remains of the dream just seem to stay with you for the rest of the day. If I could have stayed sleeping, then maybe I would have dreamt something else. I made coffee and cried on the living room couch, NSA drank tea in anger in the bedroom. I finally felt a little better after my shower when the caffeine kicked in, but my eyes were puffy, clear evidence of crying, and I hate that. I've successfully avoided pretty much everyone at work, and one of my co-workers is out with a bad cold, so maybe my sniffles and puffy eyes are because I'm getting sick too (total lie, but I really haven't been feeling well lately, for obvious reasons.) It's afternoon now, not too much longer before I can go home, not that that's much to look forward to, but at least I don't have to pretend. I have a bad headache and all I really want to do is turn off the lights and put my head down on the desk, but that's not really an option. Jesus, I hate days like this.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Weekend

  • Took a long, lovely ride on my scooter. I love driving up and down the hills around here, the breeze and the sunshine feel really good, and the smells are incredible. Sometimes nice, sometimes icky, but always present. Down one long hill, there's a particular scent I would call Desert Sage, but that sounds too heavy. A light, warm, spicy odor. I also passed a guy pruning the rosemary hedges in front of a school, that is a heavenly smell.
  • Vacuumed up about three cats-worth of hair. It's been warm, they shed like fiends and hate being brushed, and I don't enjoy being scratched. So sucking up their fur is pretty much the only option.
  • Helped NSA go through some stuff, trying to figure out what he needs to take with, what can stay behind and what can be mailed later. Everything is just sort of cool and efficient now, but I was awake for two hours last night turning things over in my head.
  • Won a whole $2.00 in the lottery. A pretty piss-poor return on $6.00.
  • Had a couple of shots of Irish Cream in my evening chai. Very tasty and a nice warm feeling without the temptation to overdo it like other liquors might inspire. I still have the urge to get really, really stinkin' drunk though.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dodged a Bullet

Sweet relief!! (On a completely unrelated note, I just told the FedEx guy that his "little thingy" [stylus] wasn't any good.) I had to go to court today to defend actions taken, or actually, not taken, by my predecessor. This situation has been a source of worry and frustration for several months now, since I initially lost the lawsuit and have been waiting anxiously for the appeal. I WON, even though I was very doubtful that I would. And it feels wonderful. My boss thinks I'm a hero, I saved the company thousands of dollars (not that I really care), this is the best thing that's happened in a while.
Basically, I was asked to clean up a mess that started six years ago, four years before I started. Since my predecessor no longer works for the company, it fell to me to sort it out, which was difficult considering I wasn't around at the time and didn't have all of the information. There probably wouldn't have been any real repercussions if I had lost, I really couldn't be held accountable, but it's hard to tell in these situations. No one wants to be responsible for costing their employer money, and I was afraid for my job if it went badly. Bad will is a significant factor when it comes to lay-offs, promotions and internal politics, so it's usually a good idea to be on your boss' good side. And now I am again.
I think I'll have a drink and buy some lottery tickets tonight, 'cause I'm feeling lucky.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cool and Gray

It's cool and cloudy this morning and that suits me just fine. I didn't sleep well last night since there was some drama going on around the complex that involved much screaming and slamming of doors; I hate most drama now, I have enough of my own thankyouverymuch. NSA will be going to Colorado for an extended family visit soon, probably within the next week or two. His health isn't good and he really isn't up for traveling, but his father is letting his cancer go untreated and NSA is really unhappy with me, so it seems like the best option right now. No paperwork has been filed and I'm thinking of it as a temporary separation. We'll see if time and space make a difference, good or other. (A part of me thinks that since his family is so fucked up, he'll want to come back after two days. That he'll see our situation isn't so bad and I'm not that hard to live with, considering.)
My mother was in the hospital over the weekend. She didn't call me until one of her friends said that if she didn't, the friend would. She felt short of breath on Saturday, and a trip to the emergency room revealed that her right lung was full of fluid. They drained her lung and kept her overnight. While it doesn't look like the cancer has spread to her lung, apparently the tumor is seeping fluid. At least now she's willing to consider chemotherapy, only seventeen months after finding the lump in her breast.
My mood is cool and gray too. I'm feeling foggy and dispassionate, just limping toward the weekend hoping nothing will happen. I don't think I could handle anything else right now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh, Johnny Boy

Words can't adequately express how glad I am that John Edwards didn't win the Democratic nomination, only to reveal himself as a liar and adulterer. Not that I care, I mean, morally I think sexual indiscretions are primarily the concern of those involved and not a measure of leadership or political savvy. Far less damning than being corrupt. But so many Americans do care, at least publicly. I did view Edwards as being the most electable of the Dems running, and I would have voted for him, but I will happily vote for Obama (and would have unhappily voted for Hillary), because the possibility of four more years of the current state of the nation scares the living shit out of me. McCain is just more of the same, only slightly less to the right than Bush, and temperamental, a sort of Cheney-lite. I don't think he will do any good for the economy or foreign policy, and if he's elected, I think the U.S. will continue to decline, both internally, and in international esteem.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Favorite Movie Mini-Review: Enchanted April

I have a lot of favorite movies, most of them not typical Hollywood fare, and since I generally love movies and the film-making process, I thought I would share why each of these made my list.

Enchanted April is a small, girly movie starring Miranda Richardson and Alfred Molina. It's a sweet, quiet movie about four English women sharing an Italian villa in the 1920's. There's a line about Miranda Richardson's character looking like a "disappointed Madonna" and a dinner conversation about how freeing it is not to wear underwear that I particularly like. The cinematography is gorgeous, making good use of the beautiful locale. It's a romantic movie about the power of love and friendship to transform; each of the women is hurting in some way, and each is healed by time spent at the villa. It's a bit sappy, probably not a good pick for youngsters or action-flick fans, but perfect if you're in the mood for something gentle and lovely.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Things I Don't Talk About

People blog for various reasons. I love people like this, who try to tell you what you should write about, like there are some hard and fast rules to blogging (I particularly like #3, I mean, Heather Armstrong is only one of the most successful bloggers ever, and she mostly talks about herself, her kid, and her dogs.) Some people blog to make money, but personally, I think that proposition is sort of like those "make millions at home in your spare time!" deals; someone, somewhere is doing it, but probably not you or anyone you know. A lot of people blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends; pictures of the little ones and the latest vacation, faster, easier and more economical than letters. (Does anyone even write letters any more??)
I blog for purely selfish reasons, to get things off my chest, to share my opinions, 'cause doesn't everyone want to know what I think? I write about things that I can't or don't feel comfortable discussing with family and co-workers. Seriously, I keep it waaay anonymous because some shit would definitely get me fired. I share more because of the anonymity factor. I write about things that are very personal, but in a sort of impersonal way because I don't want to reveal too many identifying details. Having said that, here are some things I've been avoiding writing about, for one reason or another:
-I think NSA and I are splitting up, after nearly eighteen years together. A lot of it has to do with his health, and my often poor reaction to it, but it also has to do with mistakes made in the past that are much more meaningful now that he is disabled. I'm horribly regretful and guilty, hopeful that a trial separation will give time to mend, but also kind of relieved.
-Details of my sex life, past and present. Even though there are some really juicy stories there, maybe someday I'll fictionalize them, it seems a bit tawdry and pornographic to share. Yes, I used to dance naked for a living, but some things are just personal.
-Much of my childhood. I think I'm saving most of my past for my autobiography, and although I've had the impulse to tell more in my blog, I've stifled it because leaving out pertinent details to maintain my anonymity makes it kind of generic. The details provide richness and authenticity, so anonymous=bland.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Snarkfest

I am SO glad it's Friday! This week felt about ten days long. I'm feeling snarky and thought I'd share.

Don't stand in my office and complain about how you can't lose weight while sucking down your 1,000 calorie "morning coffee." That thing isn't a cup of coffee, or even a full-fat latte (or two), it's a fucking caffeinated MILKSHAKE!

Please, please, do not try to talk politics unless you really want my honest opinion. As much as I might want to, I will not smile and nod just to get you to shut up, and it's rude to discuss touchy subjects in a business relationship. Don't get offended and whiny when I say I won't talk about it; my boss will totally back me up on this. And to answer your questions, yes, I do think Obama has enough experience to be president, and yes, I also think that McCain has anger management issues.