Monday, November 7, 2016

Us

All I've ever wanted was an "us." A "we." When I started this, I felt alone. Now I am not alone. We are us. We are a team. I love him more than he'll ever know.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying good-bye to 2013

It's been quite a year. I have to admit, I'd rather have a year where lots of things happened rather than a year that is so simple and easy that, years later, I can't tell one year from the next. I will always remember this year, and I am grateful for that.

We did a lot this year. We got engaged, we moved to a new city. We traveled plenty. We welcomed two wonderful kittens into our lives.  I started a new job. It been busy. I feel like we've been running, running, running all year, but I also feel like we've accomplished so very much. I can tell you some things I wish I had accomplished (more writing, less eating), but, overall, I'm okay with 2013.

I cried a lot this year, but plenty of those tears were happy tears. I'm a crier, and I held my own on that front this year. Things did not always go as planned, and sometimes a gal has to release some emotion. I've been discovering some things about myself and not all of them have been pleasant. I am coming to terms with all of this. It will all be fine in the end, but sometimes the getting-there is a challenge.

I am looking forward to 2014. It's going to be a great year. I can just feel it!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

And I'll sing, once more

You know I've got opinions about "The Sound of Music -- Live!" A bit of a disclaimer: I don't really like "The Sound of Music." In fact, I don't like much of anything Rodgers and Hammerstein put out there. But I will try to put aside all of that and focus on the event itself.

I love a musical. I love the event of a musical. For this reason, I hope that NBC (and other networks) put aside the snarking and the complaining about this one, and they try it again in the future. I do believe that most of the negativity comes from a place where people really wanted something like this to work, and they were disappointed at what didn't work. (That said, with the ratings they got, I can't imagine they won't try this again.)

My main issue with the whole thing is that they picked "The Sound of Music" in the first place, not because I personally don't like it but because it's too iconic. Even though I'm not a fan, I still know all the lines and can sing along, because it's such a part of the culture. And, like everyone, I agree that no one could be Julie Andrews. Here are some other reasons why it didn't work:
1) Unlike other musicals, there's not really any character who can make up for weaknesses in Maria. (I'm not going to go into why Carrie Underwood didn't work as Maria. You can find loads of comments about that easily enough.) "The Sound of Music" is Maria's story, and f you don't have a solid Maria, you are screwed. I mean, who are you going to go to for relief: Rolf? The Baroness? Maybe Mother Superior, but most people are not relating to a nun on a hill. The Captain might be able to save some of it, but you'd have to have one super-charming, amazing Captain (which Stephen Moyer certainly was not) to make up for a not-so-charming Maria. 

Most other musicals have minor characters that can really add a lot or they're more of a full-cast kind of thing. In fact, I can't think of a musical that falls so heavily on one person's shoulders. You need to divide up the heavy lifting. 

2) It's a loooooong show. I know most musicals are, but this one takes a lot. And you can't really cut too much. I wonder if it would have helped to make it a two-night event. 

3) The Broadway version (which they used) is different in ways that don't help the story, at least the love story. I know that the tow of them had no chemistry, but there's almost no opportunity to develop any. You don't see the Captain and Maria interact except when she meets him and the children (where she tells him she doesn't answer to whistles) and when he brings the Baroness home (when Maria tells him his kids are wearing the curtains and they are afraid of him). All of a sudden, they dance and Maria realizes she's in love. That seems abrupt. The movie added some scenes which had the Captain see Maria in a different light, which made you believe they could fall in love. 

4) If you're gonna do it live, having an audience to play off of is needed. If you ham it to no one, it just seems awkward. 
I have a few that I think could work so much better: "Annie," "Anything Goes" (Tap! Dancing!), "Guys and Dolls," "Chicago," "Music Man" (I can even see Carrie Underwood pulling off Marian the Librarian), "Gypsy," "West Side Story." These are not my favorite musicals. These are musicals I think would work nicely in this live tv setting. These are musicals familiar enough to get ratings, with roles juicy enough to get stars. Yes, some of them have plots that might be a bit sketchy, but what musical doesn't? Isn't that why we love them?

I do hope that doing a musical becomes an event. I just hope that the event is other musicals with other casts, not a rerun of a taping of this one.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Put your feet up

I've started therapy again. Am I supposed to tell people things like this? Personally, I believe that most people would benefit from some therapy now and again. I also don't really like that mental health is treated as this weird, separate arm of your well-being. So, I'm coming out and saying it: I'm seeing a therapist.

I suppose you want to know why (or perhaps you know me well enough to think, "oh, yeah. Definitely.") The first time I went to therapy (roughly 8 years ago) was because of this low-level depression I was struggling with. Nothing terrible, but I was finding that little things would keep me down for too long, and good things were easily dismissed. My balance was off (maybe it always was), and it was time to start sorting this out.

I'm not going to share intimate secrets here. Sorry to disappoint, but, while I will tell you that I am in therapy, I am not spilling the details. I can tell you that I have discovered a lot about myself through this process. Over time, I have learned that my "depression" is more a result of my anxiety, which is true and constant. My anxiety is a low-level buzzing that is always there, but I've grown to manage it better. Not perfect (not even close), but better.

This is therapist #5. That sounds like a lot, doesn't it? But moving, insurance, etc, have lead to this. I think it has worked to my favor. I have a better sense of what I want. I don't need someone who constantly tells me that I am making the right choices, or that all my behaviors are perfectly justified. I need someone who questions me a bit. If I were doing everything right, I wouldn't be there. Of course, if I were doing everything right, I wouldn't be human.

I know I am different as a result of all of this. I think I am better, but I still have struggles. These are for me to battle. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence.

The above is a quote from "Great Expectations." I was going to call this post simply "Great Expectations," but then I thought I'd get clever and find a quote from the book. I must admit, I found some beautiful ones on-line. In fact, I don't remember thinking much of the book when I read it, but these bits and pieces are lovely.

The plan was to write a piece about my expectations for my writings, specifically related to this blog. That my intentions are always greater than what I actually produce. I have great expectations, not necessarily of quality but of quantity. Recently, I've been lacking in both, mostly because if you produce very little, there is no quality to be had. This is simply the fact of the matter.

It's funny, but I picked the quote, just because I liked it and it wasn't too long. But now I see that it fits my intention of this piece perfectly. I may intend to write, I may even sit in front of the computer, but if there are no words, I need to be doing more. I am not saying this in a sad or upset manner; I am saying this to push myself. You are witness to my own sort of cheerleading.

I should explain the picture. This is a part of a display found in the American Art Museum. It is made of foil and cardboard and found objects. It was made by a man in his garage to prepare for Christ's return to Earth. When you first see it, it hits you with a mix of "holy cow!" and "what the...?" and "what is that?" You have to really look to see what it is. It's one of my favorites.

I plan to commit more to my writing. I need to push. I need to get up early and commit to it. I have done it before, but I need to produce the evidence.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Getting there is half the fun, come share it with me


"I live in Boston." I said this to myself yesterday. I do that, now and again, to try to make it feel real. When I say it, I feel like I'm play-acting or making something up, like a high school kid trying to impress someone. "I have a boyfriend! You wouldn't know him; he lives in Canada." But it is true, I do live in Boston now.

Have you moved? Most of us have moved from one house to another, but have you left the easy comfort of one place to start over in an entirely new location? The adjustment is somewhat overwhelming. It took me a couple of weeks to be able to drive to work without a map or the GPS handy. Finding a new grocery store, another bank, where to get a haircut, there are a thousand little details. "I live in Boston," this is true. But I am still wondering where a good coffeehouse might be.

Moving gets harder and more drawn out as you get older and have more things and details. When you make the decision, you aren't aware of all the moving parts that need to be in place for the move to be complete. For us, these are still on-going but every day, another piece falls into place. It feels like forever, but, I hope that like my last move, these annoyances will one day be mostly forgotten. HWM is helping so very much, and I am so incredibly thankful for that. I could never do all of this alone. But the details of moving isn't what this is about.

I long for the day when I don't have to plan my trips in the car. Some day I will have my favorite spots, my places that I love to visit, maybe even a tradition or two. I will be able to recommend a good place to eat or a museum that someone simply needs to visit. I will say, "We live in Boston" just as easily as I say that I am from Toledo.

Today I went grocery shopping, but it felt different. Today I bought actual supplies, instead of enough to get through the next week or so. I smiled to myself when I realized this, but I needed to get all these things. After all, I live here now.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm a little lamb who's lost in a wood

I am thinking about those who watch over us. Those who are away but are still with us, in one way or another. They're our angels, our guardians, our protectors. They help us hold onto our dreams, they prop us up when we feel weak. They take care of us.

Sometimes, I am visited in my dreams. One of my guardians comes to me in the night. We might be in a place I've been to hundreds of times: a former home, perhaps. Or we might be in a new place, but the presence of someone familiar makes me feel that everything is okay. Sometimes even when I am awake, I think of my angels, just to feel an extra bit of protection. I need to know that my protectors are there.

I am here, thinking about my angels. Right now I have three of them in Maryland: two kitten angels and one HWM. HWM has his angels. He has so many. He teaches me about angels.

There are times I hope for strength. Maybe I just need to be reminded that I don't need extra strength, but I need my angels. Maybe it's better to have guardians, to have others that watch over you. I will trust my angels.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What's been going on

It's been a crazy couple of months. Some of you know some of the story, but, boy oh boy, it's been nutty around here. Here's some of what is going on:

Obviously, the big thing is the engagement. Truly, it's wonderful! It's wonderful to say "fiance"! It's wonderful to think of the future together! Yes, I am very happy about all of this. I still feel like a princess.

The other big thing is I got a new job. I'm very excited about it! There are loads of reasons I'm moving on to something new, and this new position is right up my alley. I'll be doing something I really do love to do, and I'm looking forward to starting. However, this job is not where we (used to) live. So, we're picking up and moving to Boston.

I am in Boston now. HWM is still in Maryland until September. It's for good reasons, but that means I'm here on my own for a bit. And he is taking care of the kittens, who I miss more than should be allowed. (They will all join me soon, but not soon enough, for I wish they were here this minute!) I'm in our new apartment, trying to make things feel normal. The furniture and other things (dishes, coffee maker, books) I've moved are on a truck somewhere, and so I'm sleeping on an air mattress, watching tv using a lawn chair. (Oh, how I miss real chairs.) I do have internet: we're not animals here! But until I get used to things and have a real bed again, it's definitely a weirdness to the system.

I came up here on Thursday, hoping to get the lay of the land, etc. On some level, it has worked. I have found a few stores, I've done a test-drive to work, I have groceries in the cupboards. These are good things. But it's hard, being alone. I was at lunch today and it came over me that I didn't have anyone I knew anywhere near me. Not a person a might run into from work (I haven't started yet), not a cashier who usually waits on me at the store, no one. It was really jarring to consider.

This is hardly a terrible problem to be having. And I know, it is a "problem" that will go away soon.  I will meet people at the job, in the neighborhood, at my (to be) regular places, etc. But at this point, every time I get in the car, it's a check of the map, punching things into the GPS, and hoping things start to look familiar. I know they will, but I hate that they don't yet.

When I started this blog (about 5 years ago) (!), it was right before my last big upheaval. I didn't know it was coming at the time, but it did arrive, and I survived. I did better than survived. I came out ahead. I know that things will move forward, and things will be amazing. I do know this. But is there any way to fast-forward to when I feel a bit more pulled together?

Friday, June 14, 2013

True Love

I never wanted to be average or normal. I didn't want to be like everyone else. As a kid, I wanted to go to the library and read on my own, not play outside. I didn't play house. I wasn't a cheerleader; I played bassoon. When I was in my twenties and some of my friends started "settling down" by getting married, buying a house, taking that "real" job, having kids, there was a part of me that was happy that I was in grad school, unsure of where my future might take me. I would be different!

Sometimes thoughts like this make me feel like I'm being a snob or some sort of elitist. And, sometimes, when I'm feeling especially down, I wonder if there is something wrong with me because I feel like I couldn't be happy with the "average" things. I look around and so many people are happy, and I don't know what is missing in me. Why do I feel like I need to go on a different path?

Just to clarify, my life isn't really that unusual. I have a regular job; I have a house and cats and bills and a car. But I know that my life isn't typical either (not that anyone has a "typical" life). Last month I was in Europe twice! I live in a city (okay, the suburbs) that the 12-year-old me dreamt about! In so many ways, I am lucky. But I wondered if maybe I lost out on some things because I wanted things that were different. Why wouldn't I let myself go down certain paths? Maybe being what I would consider "normal" might have certain joys that I am missing.

It should be no surprise that Liz Lemon (of "30 Rock") had the answer for me. I identify with Liz Lemon, a nerdy girl who just wants to feel like she's got it all together but is struggling in many ways. She mocks weddings and girly things and wants to be admired for being smart. This season, she got married. She insists that she would get married in a sweatshirt ("no bra!"), and she insisted this was the right thing to do as the wedding industry is kind of evil. I was, "You tell 'em, sister!" But something was wrong. I felt it and she felt it. And she broke down and said it:

"I have been sure for a long time that this was never going to happen, and I was fine with it! Ergo, it couldn't matter! ...[But] a tiny part of me that I hate wants to be a princess!"

I cried. I cried because that was it. I am afraid to wish for things that might never come true, so I have to tell myself that it can't matter. Maybe I get to go on nice trips for work, but I'm not the girl someone wants to marry. It would be a trade-off; life evens things out.

But there is HWM. Wonderful, sweet HWM. He is my partner, in the truest sense of the word. He shows me shooting stars. We are together and he makes me incredibly happy. He shows me a part of myself I didn't know I had. And, in Paris, he made me a princess.

When we went to Paris, he requested a day. He wanted a day where he could plan all our activities. He had a schedule of sites to see. I thought it would just be an adventure, but on that day, he asked me to marry him. I won't go into all of the details (because those are ours), but it was lovely and romantic and a bit different and perfect. Yes, we both cried.

I look at the beautiful ring on my finger, and I smile. Someone wants to marry me. A wonderful, amazing man asked me a question I thought I wouldn't hear. And every time I look at it, I am a princess.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Allie Brosh and having it all

You probably don't know who Allie Brosh is. I discovered her a few years ago, through her blog "Hyperbole and a Half." Here's a piece about her dog: Dog. I laugh at loud at her stories. They get me every time. I consider her a story-teller rather than a cartoonist. A while back, I heard she got a book deal, I was so happy for her. Shortly after this announcement, the blog postings more or less disappeared, but that wasn't a surprise. No doubt she was working on that book.

Except that wasn't the case. Allie Brosh was dealing with her depression. Or at least trying. She's posted again recently, and she tries to explain what was happening. It's heartbreaking and real and amazing. If you know someone who has struggled with depression, you must read about it: Depression.

When I read about it, I feel sad and helpless. I am the person who wants to fix things, and she explains how depression is so hard because you can't just "fix" it. I think about the people I know who struggle with depression (and the people who are struggling that I don't even know about), and I hate knowing that this is what they are going through. I hate that there is nothing I can say or do to help. I'm embarrassed to think that I am powerful enough to break through something like this, but I also hate that there are people I love that I couldn't break through to. We want to protect and help the people we love, and I hate seeing that I can't do that.

I think about someone like Allie Brosh. I don't know her, but I know she's talented. I know she has an amazing heart and that she's incredibly gifted. I know she's funny and sweet. And with all of this, she's struggling. How could this be? How does something like this happen? I want to shout that it simply isn't fair! It isn't right. If someone with so much talent and a book deal can be depressed, what about the rest of us? But that's kind of the point: there's no logic to it. It just happens, and you hope that you can deal with it, but there's no vaccine or magic or trick to keep it away.

I hope she's okay. I hope the people I know who struggle with depression are okay (better than okay) as well. I wish I could fix them, but all I can do is try to understand. I hope it's enough.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'm down to my last cigarette

Today is my Nana's birthday. She would have been 98. She's been gone for over 16 years, but I still miss her. I wish I could have just one more conversation with her. I still have so many questions.

Grandparents are just always there in your life. They're the host of family dinners and the babysitter that can always be counted upon. They've always been old, fully formed. Even though we grew close, I wish I would have asked her more about her life.

I grew close to Nana after my parents moved to Pennsylvania, when I was still living in Toledo. My mom asked that I call her every day, a task I did not want to do at the time. What 22-year-old wants to be stuck calling her grandmother every single day? But it turned out to be wonderful. We got to know each other, beyond just grandmother and granddaughter, and we got to depend on each other. It must have been that year that I started calling her at midnight every New Year's Eve. I usually would wake her up, but she'd tell me how happy she was to hear from me. I knew that I'd start every year with someone who loved me.

I drove her to Philadelphia and back home a number of times. I loved those trips. I knew she needed to stop more than I would; she needed to grab a cigarette and make a rest stop. She would tell me that I didn't really need to stop for her, but I would insist that I needed to grab a Diet Coke or put gas in the car. She'd say, "well, if you have to stop..." We had an understanding.

I realize now how much she must have gone through in her life. I want to ask her about when she was young. I imagine that she was the pretty, party girl. I know she got in trouble, and then she was rescued by my grandfather. I wonder what that was like for her. I wonder what the Depression and World War II were like. I remember how sad she was when my grandfather died, and I wonder how she dealt with that, and I wonder what made her break out of that depression.

I'm not one to believe in such things, but, if I have an angel watching over me, I choose to believe that she is my angel. I'm lucky to have her.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reaching out, shutting down

There are so many ways we can reach out to each other these days, and a lot of it is on-line. I use twitter, flickr, and facebook regularly, and I've dabbled in loads of other places: google+, pinterest, blip, instagram, and no doubt a few others I've forgotten. There's also email, phone calls, and text messages to reach out. I've also been known to write a real letter that has to be delivered to a mailbox.

I do all this to try to connect to the people in my life. Some people use facebook, others use twitter. I even know some people who prefer an actual phone call. There are so many options these days that we all get to pick our favorites. Which, at first, sounds wonderful, but there's some definite drawbacks.

One issue is a sort of snobbery about what kind of communication is the best. "You twitter? Isn't that for kids?" "I don't understand why you'd ever think sending a text is better than leaving a voicemail." "Can't you just email those pictures instead of posting them on facebook?" Personally, I try to not make judgments, although I can see differences. Twitter (at least the people I follow) seems to be more about the witty quips whereas facebook is more about actual life events. I might know a bit more about my facebook friends' kids and families, but my twitter friends actually make me laugh out loud. There are days I'd rather get a well thought-out email rather than a chatty phone call. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and I am always happy to see what my friends on flickr are posting.

But it is overwhelming. When something is new in my life, where and how do I share it? If I put it everywhere, am I boring people? But how do I know who knows what's happening in my life? In the other direction, how do I keep up with all of it? It takes me a while to catch up every morning, and there's something tiring to feeling like you have to connect so much, even though I am always glad to hear from people.

I've noticed that some friends are dropping out of certain places, and, while I hate to see them go, I understand. Maybe we all need to get a bit selfish about our communication. Maybe it might force more community if we're not all scattered to our different places. In theory, I like that idea, but I am afraid of missing certain people. I think about the people I know who have left certain places: a friend (temporarily, thank goodness) left twitter and I missed her so much. Another person I follow on twitter left flickr, which is a huge shame because his photos are amazing. I feel it when people leave, and I don't like it. I am also grateful for the people I have connected (or reconnected) with via these different outlets.

I know I need filters, but, even as I write this, it sounds snobby or dismissive. "You're not interesting enough/funny enough/whatever enough to make my cut." Which is, of course, not what I would mean at all. Maybe it comes from my own fear of not being interesting or funny. Where do you make the choice between hurting someone's feelings and giving yourself a break? I am still struggling with that. I hope to get a balance, but, for now, I am leaning towards being overwhelmed.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I get that all the time

What celebrity do you look like? Have you ever been asked this? Has anyone told you that you look "just like" someone? Sometimes it takes you by surprise, sometimes you can't see it at all.

I don't recall anyone telling me I look like anyone famous. But I do get one thing all the time: "You look just like a girl I went to high school with!" I got it when I joined state-wide bands and when I went to college. I got it once on a date, followed by "She was such a bitch!" There was no second date. I got it from someone I went to high school with, who pointed out another girl in my graduating class  he thought I looked like.

I thought it might go away as I got older, and on some level it did. It's no longer immediate. These days I get the look of puzzlement, and the question about if we'd met before. I'll joke around and say, "I'll bet I look like a girl you went to high school with," and there will be that lightbulb: "Yes! That's it!" It shocks me how often it happens. I suppose it might be why people feel comfortable stopping me in the street to ask for directions. I look just familiar enough.

I do sometimes wish I were more glamorous. I wish someone would stop for a moment and point out that I could be Jennifer Aniston's sister or that in this light, I really do look like Gwen Staphani. But I'm also glad that, in the end, I just look like me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A moment on the lips...

I've been on a diet lately. This is not an unusual thing for me. I am not built to be a skinny girl. I crave carbs; I have no interest in vegetables. I view serving fruit for dessert as a cruel joke. My body clings to every calorie like a great famine is coming. (I like to think that, from an evolutionary perspective, my body is ideal, being built to lose nary an ounce of body fat, no matter if you starve it for days. It's a bit of a comfort.) I hate exercise: no, I don't get any sort of "high" from it; I get sweaty and tired and hungry. So very hungry.

Needless to say, for most of my adult life, I have been battling my weight. I am lucky in the fact that when I gain, I gain proportionally, so I can "hide" a certain amount, but there's a limit to anyone's ability to finding clothes that hide your sins. Lately, I have crossed that limit. (I'm always embarrassed to admit that I've gained weight, but being overweight isn't like a secret drinking problem; anyone with eyes can see that, yes, I could stand to lose a few pounds.) Maybe I should learn to be happy with my curves: I see plenty of ladies who are larger than me and rock it. But I'm not there yet.

I've tried a number of diets. When I was at my highest, I joined Weight Watchers, which I followed to the letter. I lost over 40 pounds, but it took me over a year. I kept it off for a while, but it creeped back up. (Unfortunately, dieting is one of those stupid things you need to do your whole life.) Now that I have a metabolism of a lady in her mid-40s, my metabolism is even worse than that.

Four years ago, I gave up carbs for a while and that worked quite well for me. Of course, I had a few extra factors to help out: I was living alone, going through the tension of a marriage falling apart (being stressed actually helps me eat less). I was working on a project at work that was so crazed, people still talk about it. Eating was not a priority. It actually worked! I got as thin as I had been in 15 years. But, eventually I started eating carbs again, bread was back in my life, and once again, the pounds creeped back. These days, I'm much happier, but that's not helping the waistline.

This year, I decided to revisit the no/low carbs thing, at least for a while. Lent was about to start, and I find that's a good time to diet. It's a long enough chunk of time that (with luck) one can see some results, but it's also a set amount of time. No trips were planned during this period, which makes it easier as well. I had my yearly physical right before Lent started, so I took that weight as my starting weight (sure, I was dressed, so my weight surely wasn't that high, but that meant the first few pounds were easy.)

A few things I'd like to point out: I get that no diet is actually *no* carbs, so, please, don't be telling me that "fruit has sugar!" I just say "no carbs" because it's easier when I explain to someone why I'm taking apart my sandwich. I don't actually believe that this type of diet helps you lose weight because it alters how your body recognizes food. I think it works for me because I am no longer eating a loaf of bread with chocolate on top. I don't believe in magic ratios of olive oil or amount of protein in each meal or a handful of nuts. I do believe that different people have slower or quicker metabolisms, and that's just the hand you're dealt.

I've modified the "no carbs" diet slightly. Here are my exceptions. Sauces are ignored. I am not trolling through a list of ingredients for spaghetti sauce or having my Chinese food cooked in a special way. I am not counting anything. I am not figuring out how many carbs are in a teaspoon of Splenda or whatever. I will allow the Atkins snacks, but no more than one a day. Here's the big one: I allow myself one "cheat" carb every other day. Once a day is too much (I've tried that), but I need something. This also allows for some needed flexibility: you're at a work lunch and there's nothing that you can have, etc. I end up using it on oatmeal for breakfast a lot, because I am a weirdo.

It's been going pretty good. I'm getting close to that 10-pound mark, which is enough to prevent me from giving up in a fit of frustration. It's probably not that noticeable to most people, but I can feel it. For that reason, I'll probably keep it up after Lent is over. I feel more in control, and my clothes are fitting better. I'm looking forward to things getting loose. I still am not so sure about fruit, but, for now, it's all I've got.

Friday, March 8, 2013

How do you sleep?

About a year or two ago, a thing started happening. I wake up, an hour or so after I first fall asleep, I wake up in a panic. I am convinced that I have medication I need to take. I need to take it immediately. If I don't take it, it could be fatal. In fact, I'm a bit worried that I've actually waited too long to take it.

Some nights when I wake up, I just wake up, have the thought, then realize it's not real (In real life, I don't have any life-or-death medications I need to take. The worst thing I can do is forget my synthroid, and that simply results in me being a bit woozy that day.) I'm panicked, I'm confused for a moment, but then I realize that I don't truly need to take anything, and I go back to sleep.

But then there are nights that I actually get up out of bed to get the medicine. I sometimes just walk across the room; sometimes I make it all the way to the bathroom, and I stand there, confused, wondering where the medicine could be. In fact, I can't remember which medicine I need to take, but it must be here somewhere. After all, it's critical that I take this! It always surprises me how long it takes me to figure out that there is nothing I need to take.

This happens to me at least once a week. I am awake, my heart is racing, my mind is struggling with what I need to do. I feel a rush of adrenaline. It always takes me a while to calm back down and get back to sleep.

Until this started, I never had anything like this happen to me. Sure, I would have vivid dreams that would leave me momentarily confused when I first woke up. But this is different. When this weird thought wakes me up, I am absolutely convinced that I need this medication, and it truly is a matter of life or death.

I have no idea what brought this on. I wish I knew how to stop it or what triggers it. It freaks me out, while it is happening and afterwards, when I realize that my thoughts have tricked me again. It's sort of the opposite of waking up from a nightmare. I wake up with the thought that there is something I need to do immediately.

I am hoping it goes away, just like it randomly started. I really do wish I could figure it out. Until then, sweet dreams to all of you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another 365

I've just completed another 365 project. (If you want to see the whole thing, go here: Link to 365 project.) It seems simple: one photo a day for one year. It's tougher than it sounds. I did my first one in 2010, and I really loved it. I learned so much about how to take photos, the limits of my camera, getting over the shyness of taking a picture. But I needed a break.

At the beginning of 2012, I decided I wanted to try it again. I recruited a number of brave souls, and we had at it. (Want to see the whole group? Go here: The whole 365 group.) We started March 1, 2012. Most of the members are from parts of my life: friends from high school and college, aunts, a spouse of a friend from grad school. It's a small group, but there are people all over the country, which made for some lovely pictures during the seasonal changes. I love seeing everyone's pictures. I feel like I know everyone a bit better, and I'm so pleased to see the beauty they all captured.

There are a lot of things I love about the 365 project. I find I'm more aware of my world. I have to be looking for that picture. I want to find something interesting or unique about the day, and that requires paying attention. I like that I can look back on my year and be reminded of every single day. But it is a challenge. There are days that nothing came my way, and I would just wander the house, looking for a new way to take a picture of that candle or stack of books. Or I would forget completely.

The biggest challenge this year wasn't directly related to the project, but definitely affected me. In November, we lost my favorite subject, our beloved kitty Murray. He was always my go-to picture; at the end of the day, when I was scrambling for something, he could be counted on for some pose of kitty splendor, and, suddenly, he was no longer there. It threw me off, probably more than I realized at the time. I know I lost track of the days, and I just didn't want to take pictures, but I felt obligated. I'm not happy with the later pictures in the project, and I have to believe it was related to this. I miss my boy so much.

The project officially ended last Thursday, and Saturday we got two kittens. These events aren't necessarily related, but it seemed right. I am sure there will be thousands of pictures of the new kitties, but last year needs to belong to Murray. I will cry when I look over this 365, but I also see so many wonderful days, mixed with those pictures of Murray.

Thank you to all participated, even if all you did was look at a few pictures. I'll probably start up again in a few months, but there is a relief to not being obligated to my camera. Yesterday I walked home from work, and I realized that I could just walk. I didn't have to look for that next picture. I could just enjoy the sunshine.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

And you'll see me, somebody new!

"I Will Survive" just shuffled up on my ipod. It's a song that makes me smile. It makes me smile because of one incident when I was in the eighth grade.

Eighth grade was a big one for me. I went from a school of about 50 kids in my grade to over 1000 eighth graders. A lot of kids would hate that jump in numbers, but it's where I found myself. In seventh grade, I had been surrounded by kids who had known me since I was 5, kids who had judged me by my inability to play kickball and my social awkwardness. I had been picked on relentlessly by a group of boys that thought it was hilarious to make the shy girl cry. In later years, there would be a few a would reconnect with, but, at the time, my primary goal of the eighth grade was to avoid ever single one of those assholes.

When you have a sea of 1000 kids to disappear into, it's pretty easy to avoid 50. I stopped being so shy because I had decided that it was no fun. I fight my shyness almost every day, but in the eighth grade, I fought it like it was my job, and I was rewarded with friends and a new life. I couldn't have been happier.

The only downside was the bus. My bus route picked up primarily kids from grade school, of course, and I would get on and hope no one would even notice me. Luckily, we lived fairly close to the school, so most days we were on for barely enough time to get settled into a seat. This was fine by me. I was so sure someone would expose me, which, looking back, was a ridiculous fear. I wasn't the only one who had found new friends, new groups to hang out with, a new way of being. We were all scattered into the pool of 1000.

But there was that day. Honestly, I can't remember the details. It had probably snowed some and there was ice and snow. They probably should have cancelled school, but they didn't. The big yellow bus full of eighth graders lugged around back roads that hadn't been plowed, and the drive that should have taken less than 10 minutes was pushing an hour. We inched along, kids got restless, it felt like we'd never get to school. We had time on the bus to reconnect and become what we were a year ago. I was almost in a panic. We couldn't get to the school soon enough.

And then, a few blocks from the school, a group of kids started singing. "At first I was afraid, I was terrified..." Gradually, more kids started singing along. We had gone our separate ways, but we all could sing along. I loved this so much because it was joyful and fun and everyone knew we were being a bit ridiculous, but it was beautiful. We pulled into the school parking lot, pumping our fists to the "Hey! Hey!" of the song. Other buses were also late, the other kids looking bored and restless, but we were all lifted that day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's back!

"American Idol" is back, and I can't resist writing about it. In all fairness to the show, I will admit that I have only watched an hour or so of this new season. Of course, that speaks to how I feel about the new season. None the less, I have some opinions.

First of all, if you haven't heard about this, please give it a read and watch the video:
Do the judges actually decide?

For those who don't want to check it out, this person points out that the judges are being given signals from behind the scenes as to who to send through and who to dump. So, although there may be some back and forth during the auditions, the bottom line is that Mariah, Nicki, Keith, and Randy aren't really making any decisions here. This, of course, gets them off the hook for being a deciding vote or, frankly, even really thinking during this whole process.

If this is true, it explains a lot. It explains the "say it all together" judgments, which I hate. Why take away the most interesting part of the auditions? Will the girl who has a nice voice but is clearly nervous get through? What about the boy with the sad story and mediocre voice? Will they give him a chance? It's much more interesting to watch the judges struggle with this, but when they all shout, "YES!" there's no drama. Right now, there's so many unanimous proclamations, I have no idea as to what kind of singer speaks to each judge. Why have a panel of four with different backgrounds and ages, when all they're going to do is rubber stamp a nod from behind the camera?

This is why I watched the first half hour of the first night and decided I'd wait until Hollywood. I did catch it the other night, but it was boring, background noise. I think I'll like Nicki as a judge, but at this point, I don't know how much she's allowed to say. Mariah seems much more concerned about her hair than anything else. Keith may turn into something interesting, so I will be curious as to what might happen when (if?) they're allowed to voice their own views.

At this point, I really think that "American Idol" should just start their season in Hollywood. Make Hollywood "week" longer, with flashbacks to the auditions, backstories, all that nonsense. Let the judges do their jobs. The novelty of the bad audition has worn off, but they can still be woven into flashback segments. Hollywood Week is just good drama. Just cut to it, have us pick our favorites, and let's start voting!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Resolution Number One

This January, I am pushing myself to write. I'd love to tell you that I have a plan or a set goal for this task, but I don't. This is not entirely by accident. I know that They tell you that for resolutions to succeed, your resolutions should be specific and measurable, and for most resolutions, this is probably true. However, in this case, I am ignoring this advice.

I know I could set goals: the obvious one being a certain wordcount every day or over a period of time (5000 words per week or something like that), but I feel like at this point, this won't help me. I've done these sorts of things. I did the NaNoWriMo, and I've done the blog post a day for a month (in fact, I had quite the streak going for a while). I keep a journal that I write in every single day (just started Year 4!); I email, facebook, tweet, and text; and I write actual letters, not to mention that my actual job involves writing. This isn't to brag, but to point out that my issue isn't not writing. My issue is quality.

I feel like I have roughly 2743 projects going, at some stage of development. I don't hate any of them, but I'm not in love with any of them either. I know some of this is about finding a voice and making up for the fact that the last writing class I took was in high school. I know that I have to learn how to kill my darlings and push through and let go and all those things about writing you hear about. There are times I think about writing and am so excited about the possibilities and then there are times it scares the hell out of me. Sometimes this happens at the same time.

So, what did I decide? I resolve, in the vaguest of ways, just to write every day. No wordcount or time period will be set but I plan to work on something of mine every day, for the month of January. Maybe it doesn't sound like much, but I am hoping that this may help focus me a bit. I can see which projects I drift towards and which projects make me the happiest. Maybe I'll just write an interesting paragraph or sentence but I'm fine with that. Maybe I'll figure out a way to blend a couple of projects together or let one go. What I would like to achieve by the end of the month is a sense of purpose to my writing. Let's see how it goes!

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New You!

It's that time again, time to at least think about making resolutions. There's a part of me that says there's no good reason that you should change yourself on a certain day. If you need to make changes, you just should. Plus, are you really going to change three or four things at once? Have you just set yourself up for failure?

But I love the idea of the clean slate. I look at my brand new calendars and they give me this sense of all the possibilities of the next year and I'm all, "Yeah! Let's do this!" And I envision this thin, organized, best-selling, fit version of myself. Oh, my temper is totally under control and I'm a world-class cook.

I know that the best resolutions are the ones that are achievable and measurable. You can't vaguely state you want to lose weight; you have to state you want to lose XX pounds. You have to have a plan. But in some cases, it's difficult to be that specific. I know I want to write more (and/or write better and/or write with more specific direction), but I'm not sure how one measures all that. I could do a wordcount thing, but that doesn't address quality at all, and that's really what I want to work on this year. I feel like my writing has been fragmented lately. I've stuck my toes into a bunch of projects but not really gotten anything worthwhile together.

I suppose the need for resolutions comes out of wanting to do more with my life. I'm probably not very good at giving myself credit for the things I am doing; I see a lot of things I should be doing. Maybe I need to spend some time figuring out what I like about my life. Maybe if I can be happier with the good stuff, I won't beat myself up over the stuff I struggle with. That's not to say I'm giving up, but maybe making myself into a personal cheerleader might be better for me than being a personal slavedriver.

Whatever your plans for 2013, I wish you luck and happiness. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fate steps in and sees you through

All my life, I never saw a shooting star. I tried, more than once, but seeing a shooting star requires patience, the right conditions, and luck. I have never been known for my patience, and it seems that whenever meteor showers are occurring, the clouds roll in. It doesn't help that the area I live in is full of the lights of suburban living.

As to luck, I'm not sure how much I believe in it. I believe in the luck you can make, the spin you can put on a situation to make it better and, therefore, luckier. ("Boy, I was lucky to drop that plate and have it shatter all over the kitchen floor because when I swept the floor, I found this penny!") I pick up pennies, throw salt over my shoulder, anything to hold onto my luck, but, deep down, I am afraid to count on it, even a little bit. If I have to count on luck, then I am am not in control. If I have to count on luck, it could end up being bad luck, and I want to protect myself against this.

There was a part of me that was convinced I'd never see a shooting star. Some things only happen to other people. I doubt if I'll ever catch a foul ball at a baseball game, but that's alright. I felt that maybe shooting stars are meant for other people. But, unlike the foul balls, I wanted the shooting stars.

Last week, HWM decided it was time I saw a shooting star. The Geminids were peaking on a clear night with no moon. He went out to the deck before me, just to be sure we could actually see one. After a few minutes, he came in to get me. It was a cold night, but I was wrapped in a blanket, looking up while my eyes adjusted to the dark. While we waited, HWM said that maybe I had actually seen one before. I thought that this could be a possibility. Maybe I was expecting too much. We continued to wait. It was a beautiful night. There were so many stars, but I wasn't sure if we'd see more than that.

And then, there it was. A shooting star! It was perfect. It was so perfect that it confirmed what I had always said, that I had never seen a shooting star before. I would remember if I had seen something so amazing and beautiful before. We both saw it, and HWM asked me if I made a wish. I nodded, I was crying a little bit.

But the reality was that the shooting star was the wish. In that moment, I could believe that good luck might just happen to me. In that moment, I knew that wonderful things might just happen to me. In that moment, I got a bit more hope back.

(for G, thank you for the magic)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's me, not you

Warning: This is just kind of a ramble of what's been going on with me. Not a lot of story here. I'm cool with that if you are.

It's been a while since I've written here. I'd love to say that it's because I've been working on another project, but that would not be the case. I have been busy with life stuff: some of it the usual (work, Christmas prep), some of it out of the ordinary (travel, an unexpected sadness). I just haven't had the time (or right frame of mind) to sit down and write these days.

The travel was a good thing. I saw family and we went beck to New Orleans (again, some more), which always makes me happy. Of course, the downside of traveling, especially close to the holidays, is that I feel even more behind than usual. (I had my first "oh my God, I forgot to put up the tree" anxiety dream in early November, so I got that out of the way early.) (The tree still isn't up, so look who's laughing now, subconscious!) I always love to travel, so I can't really complain about it.

On the sad end, we lost our beloved kitty, which has really thrown me. I plan to write more about that, but, I'm not ready quite yet. For now, I find myself crying at least once a day. I miss him so much. I miss him in so many unexpected ways. I am so grateful for everyone who has reached out about this. Thank you. (Yes, I'm crying now.)

I am looking forward to the holidays. I'm a sucker for the lights and the music, and I know that no matter what, every Christmas has its own type of special. The tree will get put up, the house will get (somewhat) clean, and there will be things I forget to do (or don't have time to get to.) I have to remind myself that this is alright and I need to take time to enjoy it all. I'm not always good at that, but I will work at it.

I hope I'll be able to write more here in the coming year. I do plan to simply write more, but some of it won't make it here. I have plans for January. 

If I don't write before the new year, I wish everyone the best for 2013. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Black Thursday

Shopping is taking over the holidays. This, of course, isn't news. But retailers just seem to want more and more. Opening at 6 a.m. or 5 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving wasn't enough. This year, there are more retailers that are opening on Thanksgiving Day. Don't we all have enough gross consumerism surrounding Christmas? Can't we keep one day pure? Apparently not.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It's certainly one of my favorites. It's the holiday that has no gifts, no expectations or requirement of good weather, nothing but a huge meal and some football. It's a day that you're supposed to reflect on what you are thankful for and be with loved ones and eat until you can't move.

Part of what makes it great is that almost everyone has the day off, as well as Friday, so you have the glorious long weekend. If your family is out-of-town, it's a good chance to visit, and even if you stay in town, you can slow down a bit. You've just made a huge meal, and the leftovers will get you through most of the weekend without having to cook. Sure, you'll probably want to knock out some of the Christmas shopping, but you have all weekend. But now, retailers want to push shopping on all for the entire weekend.

It's gross. I feel bad for all those people who have to work on those days, because they don't get to relax on Thanksgiving Day. They can't travel to visit anyone, no doubt they can't fully participate in dinner as they have to rest before working crazy holiday hours, because some CEO decided that they needed a little more cash for the bottom line. (I found this quote from Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail foundation: "Shoppers have shown us that they love wrapping up their Thanksgiving meals, grabbing their coats, and going shopping." I'm willing to bet a large chunk of cash that ol' Kathy isn't going to be leaving her Thanksgiving meal early to open the doors at the local Target.) I read an article that said that the only people who are working are those who volunteered, which must be true because there are at quite a few Wal-marts and Sears that aren't opening because they didn't get enough volunteers to work on Thanksgiving Day (that was sarcasm.)

The thing I'm confused about is why. Why are they doing this? All these places have on-line presence. Can't we do this on-line, instead of forcing employees who are so desperate for money to give up a holiday? Costco seems to be able to do it. Amazon doesn't even have stores, and they've been known to sell a few items around the holidays. Do we have to camp out in front of Toys R Us to have a merry Christmas?

What are the stores actually getting here? Is this really making any difference to the bottom line? Somehow, I just can't believe it. Yeah, they get their store mentioned in the papers, a few folks pay a little less for another tv, but I don't know what the retailers are actually making. We all know that a lot of these door-buster specials have little or no profit for the companies, so are they turning on the lights and paying the employees for any actual profit?

I'll tell what they're getting from me: I've decided that I'm not doing any pre-Christmas shopping at any store (or their on-line version) that's open on Thanksgiving. It might be a boycott of one, but it's got to start somewhere. I'm not going to lie: it's going to suck. I love Target but none for me this holiday season. No more Old Navy (and Gap) for a while. Sorry kids, nothing from Toys R Us this year. No quick run to Kmart for lights or whatever. Maybe if some of us don't encourage this, we can get Thanksgiving back.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Morning Quarterback


The election is over and now it's time to figure out what happened. It's actually pretty simple: there's a group of older, rich white guys running the GOP and the closer you are to being them, the more likely you were to vote for them. Unfortunately for them, more and more people are less and less like them. 

Here's the problem with the GOP model: they're clinging to that cool-kid model of the '50s. (I know the GOP is completely not cool, but hold on for a minute.) The GOP thinks that everything is still like high school in the '50s. You have this group of popular kids: the star quarterback, head cheerleader, etc, and they run everything. It might be just a handful of kids, but everyone looked at them and were all, "if only we were them." They set the standard, ran student council, all of it. Very "Revenge of the Nerds". You didn't have to appeal to the minorities or gays or dope-smokers because they all actually wanted to be you and expected you to run things.

But now, for so many reasons (more minorities, people out of the closet openly, the internet showing someone that they are not alone), the "outcasts" don't want to listen to the self-proclaimed Big Man on Campus. As one of the folks I follow on twitter pointed out "it's no longer subversive to smoke pot at a gay wedding." The fringe folks are realizing that they're not so "fringe" after all. "You're not like the popular kids? Hey, me too!" Things like gay marriage are passing, mostly because most people don't care who other people are marrying. They certainly don't want other people to be making judgments about their lives. I think younger people (the ones that don't fully get the whole '50s mindset because that might as well be Victorian times) are confused about the idea of even voting on something like that. 

The GOP is genuinely befuddled that there are girls like me who don't want to be homecoming queen or cheerleader, even if it were offered to me. They don't understand that I actually do want to work and have a good job and not have to rely on a man to take care of me. They don't get that the gay guys don't secretly wish they weren't. (Even moreso, they don't secretly wish that meathead quarterback *was*.) I'm not saying that we're this super-tolerant society, but I do think that we are a society that, for the most part, really doesn't care what you are doing most of the time. Smoke dope? Whatever. Sleep with people your same sex? Shrug. You're not actually an American yet? If you're getting your work done and you're not causing trouble, what do I care?

That's the difference in message: The democrats say "we'll help you be what you want to be" whereas the GOP is "we'll help you be that 1950s thing!" Guess which one speaks to more people?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Where do the wishes go?

I wish. I wish too often. I wish on birthday candles and an eyelash on my face and the clasp of the necklace that made its way to the front and on the first star of the night. Despite all logic, I always make a wish.

Maybe it's real. Maybe there is a force in the universe that grants wishes. Maybe it's not for everything: the birthday candles might be real whereas the blown eyelash is just a puff of air. The thing is, I don't know, so I figure I better be safe and make all the wishes. And, just in case, I better make the same wish, over and over. What if that universe force decides to only grant the most recent wish? Better be sure I'm getting the wish I really want.

Although there is a part of me that knows that these wishes are simply hopes I'm casting into the air, there's another part of me that thinks it just might happen, so I better wish carefully. But there have been times when something happens, and I see that a certain wish will never come true. And I can't help but wonder where those wishes went.

You might think that when that wish is gone, it might shake my faith in making wishes. I suppose it should, but, then again, what if I'm wrong? It always comes back to that. What if there was a reason this wish shouldn't come true? Maybe the universe is looking out for me or has a plan that I can't see right now. Maybe someone else's wish somehow trumped mine or maybe I didn't do it right. But I want those wishes. I want those wishes back. I earned those wishes and I need them back.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

And you're working on something good

He's gone into his Little Room on what he calls a writing bender. I've never been with someone who is an artist-type before, and, even on regular days, HWM doesn't work normal work hours. But when he wants to really get in that creative groove, he takes a writing bender. He stays in the room, day and night, for a few days. He's at home, but he's also away.

HWM has a place to work that he calls his Little Room. It's not a study or an office, but it is where he works. He surrounds himself with things he loves, his pictures, his buddhas, his mementos, art he has created, whatever he needs to inspire him. He lights incense and candles and listens to music and gets to work. When he goes on his benders, he immerses himself in the Little Room, sleeping in there, only coming out for a few minutes to gather some food or go to the bathroom. Days later, he comes out, exhausted, needing a shower, but with a glow of creativity in his eyes. These benders push him forward, and I love to see this.

When we we first together and he would do a bender, they confused me. Why was he going away for so long? Why didn't he want to see me? What the hell was he doing in there? Everyone I know works "normal" hours, what did he think he was doing in there? Why was he sleeping in there, why not be more comfortable with me? But now I get it. I see why he does this and how they help him.

When he goes on benders now, I smile. I will miss him, even though we're in the same house, but I know he's creating magic. I smell the incense, I hear him moving around, and I can't help but smile. I plant a couple of kisses on the door and I hope he knows I am thinking of him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Smoke 'em if you got 'em


There is something exciting and romantic about the whiff of cigarette smoke. These days, I don't smell it very often. I'll be out walking (you only smell smoke outside now; there's something almost scandalous about the idea of smoking indoors these days), and someone will walk by, and I'm transported to a different time.

When I was growing up, smoking was all around. All of my grandparents smoked, as did most of the grown-ups I knew. You could smoke in bars and restaurants, you could even smoke in college classrooms. I had a professor who would puff his way through 4 or 5 cigarettes during his 50-minute lectures at 8 in the morning. When my parents would have parties, the house filled with smoke and laughter. Sure, the house stunk of old smoke the next day, but while the party was going on, cigarette smoke meant something was happening.

The first boy I kissed beyond a simple peck on the lips smoked. He was the older brother of a friend of mine, and seemed mysterious. Until I met him, I thought only bad kids smoked but he seemed nice, not a "hood," as my mom would call the kids I wasn't allowed to hang out with; however, he didn't say much, so maybe I didn't know his secret life. I met him as part of a group and we seemed to get along. I got those first kisses at a dance club for teens, during a slow dance. Our next (and only) date was to meet to watch the next high school football game. I don't remember much about that night except being terrified that we'd run into someone who would tell my parents I was with a boy who smoked.

We didn't have a lot to say to each other but when he kissed me, it was exciting. I could taste the smoke on his lips. I can't say that kissing him made me feel grown up, but it did make me feel like less of a kid and more like a teenager. It made me wonder what dating and meeting boys and falling in love would be like.

When I got older and went out with friends, we would go to places where smoking was all around. Pizza places, bowling, concerts, anywhere people hung out, there was smoking. Going to bars in college meant you came home with your clothes reeking of cigarette smoke. Most of my friends smoked, and I was jealous as to how effortlessly they'd handle their cigarettes. The tapping of the pack, the cupping of the end around the flame as they lit up, that first inhale and exhale, the different ways they blew smoke. I'd be lying if I said I didn't find the way people smoked as cool. People look cool when they smoke, they just do.

(Of course I tried smoking in college. However, I have a chronic cough and even one cigarette left me with a hack so deep in my lungs even an idiot 20-something knows that's not a good look. I was left to admire others for having something to do with their hands when we were just hanging out.)

The smell of cigarette smoke takes me to nights full of possibilities. It takes me to a time when we didn't text to know who was going to be where. You showed up and looked around and hoped. Smoke was where things were happening. Smoke reminds me of going to breakfast with my Nana, and just taking your time with your coffee and cigarettes. To me, smoke is still the scent of excitement.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Birds singing in the sycamore tree

I am afraid to dream. I believe I am. This isn't to say I don't have goals or hopes or plans. These I have. But dreams. I'm not so sure.

Dreams are different from goals. A goal is "I will lose 20 pounds." A dream is "when I lose those 20 pounds, I will be discovered and become the world's first over-35 super model!" I'm pretty good at goals. I can make the plans, make a list of things to get done, start crossing those off. But dreams often require a bit of faith, a bit of hope, a bit of counting on chance. Dreams need you to be able to picture a new way of looking at your life. I'm not so good at those things.

I view myself as a practical person. Maybe it's my anxiety, maybe it's because, at heart, I am a scientist, but I when I make plans, I'm not comfortable with taking chances. It's not a bad thing: I have a steady job, a 401K, the sorts of things a responsible adult should have. But I don't really have dreams. When I try to dream, I see where it can go wrong. I see that I might need someone or something to come through that I can't control. And so I hesitate, afraid to commit to a dream.

On a recent episode of "Treme," someone criticized New Orleans, saying that it was nothing but "drunks and dreamers." And with that, I understood why I love New Orleans. When I visit New Orleans, I get to see the dreamers. I hear the stories of how they just packed a bag and moved there, or came to visit and just never left. Maybe it didn't turn out like they planned, but for a moment, they had the courage to give in to a dream. I think to myself, "I could never do that." I wonder what it would be like to believe in what could be over what current was. Is that enough? It seems to be.

Here's the funny thing: I have given into a dream. And it was the best thing that ever happen to me. So, why am I afraid to dream now?

I want bravery. I want bravery so that I can dream. I admire the dreamers because they have a bravery that I can only hope to have. One day, I may give into a dream, and you might shake your head at that crazy thing I just did. But don't worry; I'll still have my 401K.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Crippled inside

I feel fragile this days. I feel like I am stumbling and I can't get it together. I feel like I make the wrong choices and I can't follow my own instincts. This happens. I go through these phases. But today feels hard.

I always want people to think I'm tough, that I have a thick skin. But I get upset too easily. I try to act like a roll with the punches, but I feel jarred when things go the wrong way. I cry too easily.

Maybe it's not that I don't want anyone to know. Maybe it's that I'm afraid that if someone knows, they still won't care.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shoot and score

I have ordered a new camera. It's not a DSLR and it's mirrorless, which are things that mean very little to me. I love taking pictures, but the details of what a camera does and what make one better than another isn't interesting to me. I barely know who much my camera can zoom. But this camera is, from what I have read, a good camera for those who want something more than a point-and-shoot, but don't want too much crazy going on. That sounds a lot like me.

I do love my point-and-shoot and I expect it will still be the one I carry around on most days. But, under certain circumstances, I get frustrated with it. Low light, action shots, certain indoor circumstances don't give me the pictures I want. There are times I see what I want to capture, but that's not what shows up. I suppose that will happen with any camera, but I'm hoping it's a bit less. I'm hoping to be able to get a good picture of the next full moon.

What pushed me over to the buying territory is that Sony is upgrading this camera in the next month, so the current model dropped in price by $200. I couldn't resist. It's possible that these upgrades in the newer version would be nice, but I'm thinking that won't be the case as the rumored upgrades have to do with video capture (something I never do with my current camera) and blah-blah computer interface. If you know anything about me, I'm about ten years behind on anything technology-related, so even the "old" computer-ish stuff is still at least five years ahead of anything I'm going to be using. Do I think those upgrades are worth over $200? I'm taking that bet and buying the current model.

I am worried about the bulk of this camera. I'm already pushing bag-lady status with the amount of stuff I drag around on a regular basis, so this might just push me over the top. "Don't mind the suitcase; it's carry-on size." Actually, I am more worried the bulk will have me leaving it behind and not using it enough. I will have to push myself on that.

Sometime next week, the new toy arrives. I'm very excited! Stay tuned for updates.