The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Category Archives: The Crazy River

Well Hello Again

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OK, so I have ignored my blog long enough! I’ve given up berating myself about things like this though. Life happens. Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving have come and gone. Christmas is about to descend like a bat outta hell. Things have been hectic, a little overwhelming at times, and fun too. There have been 3 holidays, 2 funerals, one trip to NYC, lots of wine, lots of friends, a little whiskey, a couple of nights of dancing, and more than one night of staying out until last call. I have worked on other writing projects, but I have neglected this baby. So I’m back. Lucky you.

For no particular reason, it’s been an emotional day. I watched the last two episodes of The Voice while I cleaned, crying through every song and every chore. Now, I hate cleaning, but really? I have company coming this weekend, and I am intimidated, but not enough to cry about my bathtub ring. Pathetic!

This friend of mine has a house so immaculate you’d think Mary Poppins and a horde of magic elves with OCD cleaned the place every hour, on the hour. I’m serious. I have never seen a house like that before. Everything is in place. No piles of any kind, anywhere. It’s a very nice house, with a comfortable vibe, but I am unused to such, well, extreme tidiness. In case you didn’t already know, I am not a neat freak. (Understatement of the millennium.) I have a tiny, cluttered apartment that I clean mostly when I feel like it. Which is close to never. I’m not a disgusting pig. The dishes get done almost every day (most of the time), I clean the bathroom at least twice a month, but I have a problem with clutter, piles, putting away laundry, oh, and taking out the recycling. We won’t talk about cleaning the fridge or vacuuming. I feel like I’m about to go in front of the Saint of Clean Houses for judgment. I’m hoping that bacon and whiskey will placate and/or confuse SCH enough to pardon my sins.

Obviously, I am going to Hell.

I know I won’t be alone though. If clutter and chaos earn me a piping hot seat in the Southern Ever After, Moniker (aka J, aka, Dirty Girl) will be joining me there–along with a few others. I have traveled a bit with Ms Moniker, and I have seen her closets. I think it’s safe to say she and I will be sweating it out together. (In case she gets upset about that statement, let me say that she is MUCH better about general household cleanliness than I am. And really, Moniker, won’t it be more fun with me–and pretty much everyone else you know–in the netherworld?)

Enough dilly dallying! Time to go back to cleaning and attempting to mitigate the fate of my dusty-house soul, or at least trying to delay my departure to a warmer climate. It’s been a lovely break from that toasty-warm hand basket I’ve been traveling in, and I’m really quite thankful to have finally gotten pushed back over the edge into blog-insanity. Funny how cleaning and procrastination gets me back to my writing. I’ve missed you, blog and blog readers. I’m pretty sure they have wifi in House Cleaner Hell, so I’ll post again soon!
 

Bacon Part Two

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I have definitely had one of those weeks where you just want to step outside, raise your fist at the sky and yell, “OK Universe, I get it already! You hate me!” It’s actually been a little more than a week but who’s counting? The last five years or so have made cursing at “the powers that be” a common occurrence in my life, for all the good it has done. I haven’t actually gone outside to curse the skies, but only because it’s likely to be a dangerous undertaking. I think I have gotten a total of 40 hours of sleep in the last 10 days. I have lit two cigarettes at the wrong end, poked myself in the eye with my mascara wand, eaten an entire tray of macaroni and cheese in one sitting, consumed 3 large chocolate bars, run out of coffee twice, and forgotten to take off my underwear before getting in the shower. Yet again. The most upsetting small tragedy, however, was missing a piece of plastic packaging on the tray when I tried to cook bacon in the oven today. I cried. Seriously.

On the bright side, I did keep up with the dishes and prep work/interviews for an article I’m writing, got laundry done, and today I went grocery shopping. I bought 2 pounds of bacon and have one left, so I guess not everything is looking down. I also managed to forget, for several days, that tomorrow is Halloween, which resulted in neglecting to purchase gigantic bags of candy for no one but myself. It all goes on sale Friday, but maybe I won’t want any more sugar by then. Maybe. The fact that I haven’t crawled back under a rock pleases me, but I’m not a fan of the stress-eating-disorder I seem to have developed. I guess 5 pounds regained is a somewhat acceptable price to pay for maintaining my grip on the sliver of sanity I’ve reclaimed. Despite my crappy week or so, it’s good to know that although I am fat, klutzy, tired, and forgetful, I am still OK.

This is my first post in a week. The ghouls from my past have been tromping around on my good humor, and picking on myself hasn’t seemed all that appealing. I was too distracted by carbohydrates, nicotine, and sugar anyway. There may have been some wine involved as well . . .

I think the worst is over for the moment. There are more storms to come but apathy and pathos are things of the past. It is possible I will still waste the occasional half-day zoning out to The Voice, or that a Candy Crush relapse looms on the horizon, but there is still bacon in the fridge, a chocolate bar in the pantry, and I put laundry detergent next to the shower. Next time I get so distracted that I forget to remove my panties, I can use it as an opportunity for another clean pair. Life is full of silver linings!

Come Back Bunny

broccoli_xmas_tree

Image found on Pinterest, originally from todayiatearainbow.com

Halloween is just around the corner. Retail giants everywhere have begun their annual marketing ploys, aimed at getting us all excited about that Holiday extravaganza known as Black Friday, and inspiring some of us to act like fans at a 1979 Who concert.

I am not a humbug, but the Holidays often leave me a little flat. By January second I feel like a gypsy who got mugged by a bunch of CEOs, a pack of winos, and a group of small children. I’ve traveled halfway around New England and back at least 6 times, have a headache the size of Texas, a few bruises, and it’s nothing short of a miracle if I still have that $10 I tucked in my bra for a wine emergency.

My favorite day of the Holiday Season, by far, is pre-Thanksgiving. That’s the day my friend, The Meanest and her husband, Bad B, host their annual friends-version of Thanksgiving. Bad B has threatened to cancel the whole thing this year, but I am endeavoring to get him to change his mind by writing this blog post about the Holidays, and dedicating it to pre-Thanksgiving. I am going to use the threat of no broccoli casserole for him ever again, as a back-up tactic.

I am not ready for the Holidays. I have no idea what, if anything, I will be for Halloween. Costumes are not one of my creatives fortes. Pre-Thanksgiving is in dire jeopardy, Thanksgiving plans have not been solidified, and my Christmas shopping will undoubtedly all be done at the last possible moment. I’m not some kind of holiday overachiever. Getting things done ahead of time goes against my procrastinating nature. This holiday season will be no different in that respect but, under the threatened pain of lost dinner, I decided I should start thinking and writing about it now. Maybe this year I won’t be as far behind as usual.

Since my kids are all grown up and I live in a second-floor apartment with a locked main entrance, trick-or-treaters are none of my concern. Those gigantic bags of candy at the grocery store look mighty tempting though. No kids at home=no candy to purloin. I think one bag of mini chocolate bars ought to do it. And maybe a bag of candy corn just to assuage my sorrow over giving up Candy Crush. I can sit alone, giving myself cavities, and reminisce about the the first time I went to an event at The Meanest and Bad B’s. It was a Halloween party and costumes were mandatory so I dressed up as the Easter Bunny. I borrowed my costume from my stepson’s Boy Scout troupe, so it was the real deal: a furry white suit with mittens, foot coverings, and a hood with ears. I rocked that bunny suit but I forgot the address of the party. All I could remember was the street name and the number 97. When my husband and I got to #97 (on the correct street), we could tell there was a party going on, so we parked and started to walk towards the back of the house where we could see guests. We were half-way down the walk when I realized nobody else was wearing a costume and we were not at the right house. As we were turning to walk away, someone saw us and yelled, “Come back bunny!” I didn’t go back, and we did eventually find the correct party, but at his time of year I always wonder if the guy who saw me and yelled ever thinks about the night the Easter Bunny got lost.

On to Pre-Thanksgiving, which I am hoping Bad B has now decided to reinstate. I did give him the option to pick his own pseudonym but he declined. If he objects to the one I have assigned, I will expedite the review process this once and assign a new name before the middle of November. If Pre-Thanksgiving is back on the calendar, I will make my broccoli casserole. It is mostly a concoction of cheese and Ritz crackers, with a little broccoli thrown in just for kicks, but it is still upsetting to The Man in Tights that I insist on making it every year. He objects vehemently to having any cruciferous vegetables in close proximity to his person, and is typically on the list of dinner attendees. I suppose he might not be there but, if he is, it will really be a double win for me. Either way is fine though, because neither possibility affects my share of broccoli casserole.

Hopefully real Thanksgiving will be spent with my sister and her family. They are mostly vegetarian, bordering on vegan, in their eating habits. There is a tragic deficit of bacon in their lives. Thankfully they usually celebrate with her in-laws, who insist on having real turkey along with the lentil loaf. I don’t think I would like lentil loaf even if it was covered in an entire pig’s worth of bacon. Despite not eating things like real cheese, butter and Ritz crackers for the rest of the year, my sister will enjoy it if I bring broccoli casserole to that meal as well. That means the whole Thanksgiving holiday is looking like a potential triple win so far. Throw in the fact that a childhood friend, who now lives far away, will be home for three weeks, and Thanksgiving gets even sweeter. Halloween can definitely suck it.

That just leaves Christmas and New Years for consideration. I suppose I could throw in Hanukkah and Kwanza too, but I don’t celebrate those holidays personally. I could rethink my celebratory practices and squeeze in something extra this year, but that would require planning and research, or at least hitting up one of my Jewish friends for eight nights of dinner and gift exchanges. I can’t get myself organized enough to plan well for one night of dinner and presents, so that won’t work. And I don’t know anyone who celebrates Kwanza or what the particulars of that holiday require, so that’s out too.

Back to Christmas then.

I’m considering some decorations this year. I don’t really have space I’m willing to give up for a tree. Plus there’s the whole planning thing, getting stuff out of storage, and maneuvering a long, heavy object up my twisty stairs. I don’t even want to think about my black thumb. Live Christmas trees are going to shed needles in any event. Mine would be bare in a matter of hours. Yes, I could get a fake tree or a really small tree but I think a few strands of popcorn and some lights tacked up along the walls should be sufficient. If I leave the lights on all night I will be able to see where the popcorn is when I’m hungry.

New Years is a completely different animal. I’m working on myself already. I don’t need Father Time to coerce me into making some resolution I have no intention of keeping. I’m sure as heck not going to give up drinking. It would be too late to stop for the New Year anyway, as soon as I make that champagne (beer, wine, or whiskey) toast at midnight. I’m hardly going to drink all night, take a sip of champagne at the stroke of “Where the Hell did last year run off to in such a hurry?”, put my glass down and go home. And if I haven’t kicked my nasty smoking habit before then I’m even less likely to do it drunk, in the middle of the night. For all you relaxed, “it’s not really January first until you wake up” people, you are mistaken. It is January first as soon as the last second of December 31 scuttles off somewhere to conspire with my sobriety on how to best punish the night’s excesses. Some hair of the old dog may be the best way to bite back. It may be that the best I can do for New Years is to just come up with a list of new vices to explore.

Well, that’s my Holiday Season in a nutshell. Hopefully Pre-Thanksgiving is back on, and since I’ve gotten a mental jump on the coming chaos, perhaps the Holidays will all be winners. Hopefully yours will be too!

 

A Thousand Words

Quote by Hunter S. Thompson

Quote by Hunter S. Thompson

 

You know that saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, I disagree. A picture can convey a lot of meaning but comparing pictures to words is a bit like the old “apples to oranges” idiom. Different people relate to the world in different ways. Some people prefer pictures as a method of communication and interpretation. Some people prefer words. Some people prefer other methods, but I’m not writing about any of those today. Words and pictures together often create a harmony of communication, but if I had to choose only one, I would go with words. I suppose that’s a bit like saying I would prefer to be blind as opposed to deaf. I don’t really want to be either of those things and I feel blessed that all my senses work. It may be open to debate how well I use them, but medically speaking, I am fully operational. I have noticed that some people with functional senses and measurable intelligence don’t favor any method of complex communication. This phenomenon baffles me. The ability to communicate in multiple ways is as essential to being human as having opposable thumbs. Why would anyone choose to remain an enigma of humanity?

I like words. I am a writer.

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, duh. State the obvious much? I’m reading her blog. I know she’s a writer.”

Yes, sometimes I find it comforting to state the obvious. I also like to state the obscure and absurd. And I like to write. Lots of words and frequently. I love that this form of communication is, to the best of my knowledge, uniquely human. I’ve always thought that if I could write the perfect sentence, crafted in the perfect way, whomever I was trying to communicate with would be able to understand the totality of my intent and therefore, be able to understand the totality of me. Unfortunately, most of the time, I can’t even say I understand the smallest part of myself terribly well. It makes for a bit of a conundrum.

I have always been a writer. That is to say, I have always been partial to communicating by the written word. I grew up in a time before email, and text messages, and before shorthand, terse communication was all the rage. I feel like those things have become an excuse for people to be lazy with not only writing, but with conveying thoughts and intentions completely, in any way. I don’t tend to write short texts with abbreviations in place of words, and I have been known, when emotion prevails, to write long, manifesto-type emails. My penchant for communication via the written word seems to make me a dinosaur of sorts, and I think it annoys some people. Writing, reading and speaking thoughtfully, fully and deliberately, is a lost art and most people are too busy to be bothered. I miss phone conversations, which are also a rare commodity these days, but mostly I miss sending and receiving letters.

When I was a kid there was only one phone company, Ma Bell (colloquial-speak for the Bell Telephone Company, for those of you too young to remember). The entire central and eastern part of Massachusetts, where I grew up,  had the same area code (617). Any call outside that area code was long distance, and long distance was expensive. If I had a friend living outside of 617, we communicated through letters. At the end of first grade, a friend I had known since I was 3 moved out-of-state. I missed her so I wrote to her. We kept writing back and forth until we were both in college. We’ve lost touch over the last 20 odd years but she was my first pen pal. She was far from the last. When friends moved away or went on vacation, I wrote to them and they wrote to me. When we all went to college we wrote to each other. When I made friends at camp or traveling, we wrote. I wrote to cousins I barely knew who lived out of state. We wrote real letters with paper and stamps. We sent each other small, silly gifts and drew pictures on the envelopes. It used to be exciting to go to a stationary store. (Do those still exist?) It used to be exciting to go to the mailbox.

I didn’t just write to people who lived far away though. All through junior high and high school, my friends and I wrote notes. We passed them in the halls or stuck them in each others lockers. My sister and I wrote notes and letters to our next door neighbors. Sometimes we even wrote to each other. I still have boxes in storage that contain a portion of the letters I received during my younger and more prolific days. I go through them every so often, the same way I read old journals every few years. The letters, notes and journals are my history, all written down, like in the olden days. There are very few letters from the last 20 years and almost none from the last decade. How will my personal history be kept, and who will know and understand me for the rest of my life if there are no more letters? How will I understand myself? Email and texts are convenient, and a necessary part of life and business these days but they lack personality. They are disposable and temporary ways to communicate. I am guilty of losing motivation to communicate the long way around too, but it makes me sad that the art and emotion of telling our lives to loved ones through handwritten letters has become virtually (pun intended) defunct.

I suppose I have latched on to this blog-world of writing because it affords me the space to relate my thoughts without assaulting busy and less communication-driven friends with endless emails or texts. I have gotten out of the habit of making sure that I have physical addresses for everyone who lives out-of-state, never mind anyone who lives close by, and I rarely have stamps anyway. I have lots of email addresses and phone numbers (that I almost never call), and I can message people on Facebook, but the contacts made through those mediums almost always lack soul. It’s nice to be able to reach out or catch up almost instantly, but this new sound-bite-communication-world-order depresses me. And I hate sending texts or emails with information or queries and getting thoughtless, incomplete or one-word responses. It makes me feel like I wasn’t worth the time and effort. I can wait for a well-executed response. In fact, a thoughtfully written, longhand response, sent through the United States Postal Service would make for a nostalgic thrill. Of course no one has my home address either . . .

Crisp and Crunchy

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Crisp and crunchy
Red, gold and orange
Airy, earthy, light

Tangy morning
Sharp and clear
Coolness strays from night

Spice and sweetness
Knit and wool
Warmth and wings in flight

Nipping day
Green is brown
Yesterday I wish I might

Have more hours
Ocean’s roar
Off beyond my sight

Come a time
Around again
Everything’s all right

 

Yes, it’s Fall. Summer is gone. Tomorrow we celebrate Columbus’ bravery and poor navigation skills. No, this is not going to be another political post. I just couldn’t help myself. I’m pretty sure Columbus never even set foot on North American soil. I could be wrong. I’m not a historian, but I’m still fairly certain it was a different slew of European pilgrims who tried to claim these now United States for themselves, and who killed off the native population. Columbus mostly did his damage in South America.

Don’t get all upset with me. I’m not trying to take away your holiday or abuse poor Christopher’s memory too roughly. He was a bold and adventurous fellow, sailing without the benefit of satellite-enabled GPS. He had to make do with the stars, and sea-travel was a much riskier business in those days. Things might be quite different here if not for his daring and arrogance. There are pros and cons to that, like anything else. “Discovery”, however, is a relevant term. What I mean is that it matters only in relation to personal knowledge and experience. For instance, I was 20 before I “discovered” that I liked broccoli. Broccoli was around for ages and ages before I gave it a try. South America was around for more than a millennium before Columbus “found” it. Still, he discovered something new to him, and discovering new things should be encouraged. Just be careful not to run around causing chaos and genocide by claiming that you were the first. “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Yes, I just used a quote from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9.)

I am willing to embrace Columbus’ legacy, but only insofar as it celebrates the spirit of discovery, and not the misconceptions and falsehoods we were taught in grammar school, or the murder of culture and people.

Although Fall is the season of nature’s twilight, it is also a season of new beginnings and often, the onset of journeys to self-discovery. The school year kicks off and fresh educational opportunities abound. I’m no longer a student in any academically official sense (and haven’t been for a long time), but this Fall feels like the New Year’s Eve of learning and self-discovery for me. I don’t have a list of resolutions (except maybe “keep all my teeth” just in case I ever want to date someone from Craigslist) but I am excited to sail the next ocean of my life, and to discover new intellectual continents. I promise not to kill any natives.

Wedding Belle Blues

Wedding baby - OPEN BAR? DOES THAT MEAN YOU'RE GOING TOPLESS? drunk baby

Picture from Quick Meme. Caption by Effie.

 

Weddings make me anxious. No, it’s not because my own marriage didn’t work or because I have some feminist objection to the legal and religious origins of marriage that smack of ownership and patriarchy, though both of those things are true. There is still logic in marriage. If you are religious, weddings are public celebrations of union and family, sanctioned by God. If you are not religious, they are public celebrations of union and family sanctioned by the IRS and various other state and federal institutions. Either way, they are public celebrations of love and commitment and generally, happy occasions. Who doesn’t like to celebrate love and family, have a few drinks, and do the chicken dance? Don’t point an accusing finger at me. I am not a bitter, jaded curmudgeon. I really like all that stuff, and I like knowing that people are still hopeful and crazy enough to want to take on the world together. Still, weddings make me anxious because of my feet. Even on my best behavior, one of them invariably ends up in my mouth or gets broken. OK, OK, I am rarely on my best behavior after a few drinks and the Macarena but I can get through most other events that involve drinking and dancing without saying something stupid or injuring myself. (That may be a lie, but I’m going to run with it anyway.)

This foot-problem thing started years ago, when I was still young and never-been-married. I attended the wedding of a childhood friend, the first of us to tie the knot. There were several of us single, dateless girls, seated together at the reception, right in front of the band. I think I remember the lead singer making fun of us. I must have already been an anxious wedding-goer because I had several margaritas before we even sat down for dinner. The reception was held at a local country club and I have a hazy recollection, from later in the evening, of trying to convince some poor employee to let me take a golf cart on a joy ride. What is not vague in my memory is a particular remark I made in front of my friend’s conservative parents.

After dinner, the bride and groom made their greeting circuit around the room. By the time they reached the “singles” table, most of us had consumed a few too many and were joking, rather crudely, about “what marriage means”. My back was to the room while we poked fun at the couple in their new joint venture. They both found it amusing, and when my turn came to contribute to the ribbing, I remarked that marriage meant having sober sex for the first time. No one laughed. All eyes were focused above my head, on my friend’s parents, who had just arrived at our table and were standing directly behind me. Oh gawd! At least my foot tasted like tequila.

There have been any number of incidents like that over the years, at the weddings I have attended since then. Before we were married, my husband and I went to the wedding of one of his cousins. I didn’t know his extended family very well yet, or that the people at our table were all his cousins and their spouses or significant others. At one point I leaned over and made a comment to my future husband about the hair dye-jobs of an older couple at the next table. He quietly informed me that the couple was his aunt and uncle and that the man on my other side was their son. The sober sex comment from that first wedding may have been excusable. How could I have known that my friend’s parents would sneak up behind me just as I uttered a totally inappropriate and slutty comment? But honestly, how stupid or drunk was I, to be commenting about other guests at a family wedding of a relatively new beau? In front of people I didn’t know? Don’t answer that.

I went to a wedding a couple of weekends ago, once again, as a single, dateless woman. The wedding I attended before that had been the previous summer. I had a date for that wedding. Sort of. We sat next to each other at the reception and I went home with him at the end of the night the way I typically did when we were out drinking together. I even picked out the suit he wore. My “date” wasn’t much of a dance partner though, and spent a portion of the evening picking up other women. Literally. He carried one woman from the smoking area back to the dining area. True to wedding-form, I got drunk. Not having an enthusiastic (or available) dance partner didn’t stop me from joining the party though. I went right ahead and made a fool of myself by falling down and breaking my foot. I had kicked off my five-inch heels to avoid just such a disaster, but it was a wedding. Of course I was going to do something stupid.

This last wedding I attended, two weeks ago, was a little different. I don’t think I said anything inappropriate and I didn’t break any bones, but I completely lost track of time and forgot to send my RSVP by the requested date. The bride was gracious enough to text and give me a second chance. She also asked if I would be bringing a date. No, no, I would not. I showed up to the church alone and the usher gave me my very own pew to sit in. No one else had a whole pew to themselves. It was awkward. Because the bride was also a friend of my almost-ex-husband, he was there as well. He did have a date (his girlfriend of the last 4 years or so) and had to share his pew with her and a couple other people. Thankfully I was not seated at the “singles” table at the reception. I got to sit with my husband and his girlfriend. This was way less awkward than it sounds. I am friends with both of them and was quite relieved not to be sitting with complete strangers or with a group of unattached people ripe for ridicule by the DJ. I’m not sure everyone else at our table was as comfortable with our little triangle situation, but they were congenial and dinner was delicious.

I may have made some gaffes (that I am blissfully unaware of) that day, but I didn’t drink too much and I left before the dancing started. Maybe the foot-curse is over. Or maybe I’m just finally learning from my mistakes. I don’t think I’ll ever be a relaxed wedding guest but, if invited, I will always attend. Every married couple needs a wedding guest horror story. I’m nothing if not willing to oblige.

 

 

Over The Hill

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Anyone with children, or over the age of 30, is aware that time seems to pass exponentially faster each year. What no one wants to believe is that it’s not an illusion or a trick of perception. It’s not. Time really does pass differently as we age. When we are young time drags on us. A single school day lasts for a month. Birthdays come once a millennium. Waiting to be old enough to drive or vote or drink feels like slow torture, but we measure time by the future and with anticipation. Somewhere in our 20’s that starts to change and by our 30’s it shifts completely. There is never enough time to get everything done and all the fun stuff about getting older is at least a decade behind us. When we hit our 40’s, we begin measuring time with the past and the future becomes a bully.

I am getting old. It’s still better than the alternative but, like many before me, I’m gonna whine about it anyway. My knees creak. My digestive system is plotting its next act of espionage. My already sluggish metabolism can’t keep up with a snail now. I can no longer read anything smaller than a street sign without glasses. The neural pathways in my brain are overgrown with mental weeds, and my insomnia is so rampant that I have begun to look forward to the age when I start nodding off randomly in the middle of conversations the way my father used to do.

It’s not just me though. Lots of my friends are going through the same crap. I worry about them now the way I worry about my children, and I fear that we are drawing ever closer to the point where most of our discussions will be about our bowel habits, lost eyeglasses and how expensive our blood pressure medication has become. There will be long pauses as we wrack our brains for the right word or name of something, and conversations will end abruptly because, while paused, we will forgot what we were trying to say anyway.

I have never had any real hang ups about how many candles are on my birthday cake and I still have a couple of years before I hit the half century mark. I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about the numbers 5 and 0 coming to pay me a visit together except that I’m convinced those treacherous bastards are conspiring against me with gravity and my mirror. I suppose all I can do is hope I’m still around, and capable of welcoming them home graciously, so they don’t just barge in and wreck the furniture. On the bright side, I suspect that by the time they arrive my eyesight will be so far gone that their pranks with my mirror will all be in vain.

I know I’m not so chronologically challenged yet that I can’t clean my proverbial house or try to paint it a new color. In a way, it’s almost a good thing that I have to re-make certain parts of my life from scratch. It allows me to measure time by the future and with anticipation again. The future is still a bully, but I think I’m ready to fight back now.

 

 

Name Calling

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I’ve had another request from Dirty Girl, aka J. She doesn’t like her name. She filed her inquiry through the correct channels and henceforth she will be known as “Moniker”. I started using pseudonyms to try to distinguish between, and easily identify, anyone I mention here more than once. I don’t know about any of you but, at this point, I’m so confused I can’t tell if it’s me or Moniker who has multiple personality disorder. Like any typical cell phone plan, Moniker is now ineligible for a name-upgrade for the next 18 months. Not even if she pays full price.

Bear is also unhappy with his name but has failed to file the proper paperwork. As a result, his request has been denied. He can find the correct forms somewhere on the IRS website. It can take up to 12 weeks to receive a name refund.

I’m sure The Man in Tights, aka “my old flame” is none too happy about his appellation(s) either. It could be a lot worse though. Unfortunately for him, since he played a recurring role as “the toddler/shellfish” in my most recent long-term relationship failure, and filed false charges against Rodney, he has no standing to complain. It doesn’t matter that there was no possible way for him to know I would start writing a blog and use our relationship as career-kindling. Ignorance is not an acceptable defense, though I might get an ironic kick out of it if he tries. He may not even realize he’s been renamed unless he still pokes around here from time to time, playing grammar-nazi. If he does then perhaps he’s even a little secretly pleased with the notoriety. It means he still takes up some space in my brain and that a couple of his fingers continue to be capable of pushing my buttons. It also means my relationship attorney has agreed to a continuance on the emotional eviction proceedings. I hate lawyers.

The Meanest knows darn well how she earned her handle. She has a tee shirt that says she is too.

I do owe my sister (Sis) a public apology along with the private one I issued already. We have our truths and troubles, like all sisters, but some of them still grow a little too close to the heart for public consumption. She has not been silent or skeptical about my new efforts and her right to expect more from me is highly justified. She was the first person I called when I got the offer to possibly write for cash instead of crazy and she will, without the slightest doubt, be first in line to cheer my every little success. She has never failed me romantically (that would be creepy), nit-picked about my spelling or grammar, filed false charges against any of my imaginary boyfriends, gotten drunk and hit me, eaten my bacon, or left her plants in my care (which makes her smart). I can’t promise never to talk about any of our childhood scuffles but I can say that, when all is said and done, I really couldn’t ask for a better sister.

Mixed-Up

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Everybody’s a critic. I received a private comment about mixing my metaphors after my last post. It didn’t come from any source I could have predicted and it will produce no effect on my writing. That person is free to mix their own crazy alphabet cocktail or get their verbal trinkets from a different wordsmith.

I haven’t received only criticism for my efforts here though. There has been some praise and one very nice surprise of an offer to possibly write something for profit instead of just fun, but this space is reserved primarily for debacles and I don’t want to jinx any possible success by talking about it too much. If I fail–again–I can ingest that failure, digest it, and then deprecate all over another story.

I don’t generally like to shout about my efforts to succeed at something while I’m still trying to do it. This blog is an exception. If I go on another fad diet I won’t talk about it here (or anywhere else), unless or until I’m thin again, or have fallen down on another pound of bacon. Talking about things I haven’t accomplished yet produces one of three reactions: expectation, skepticism or silence. It’s mostly skepticism these days, which kind of sucks, even if I deserve it. Silence is disheartening but I don’t handle expectation very well either. No one is more disappointed when I fail than I am, except possibly my sister. I know she’s worried about me but, at times, she also takes my failures as a personal affront. Sorry Sis, you know it’s true. But that’s OK. I’m affronted by them as well.

I probably won’t go far as a writer with just a few musings about personal shortcomings on an obscure blog, but I have other (explicative) irons in the fire as well, so I’m going to go ahead and keep being nutty and verbally demented here. It’s my bloggy and I’ll wry if I want to.

Spelunking

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I don’t like that I still have really shitty days sometimes. The kind of days where getting out of bed, taking a shower and making coffee feels like a triathlon, but I still have them. Today has been one of those days. I was still in my pajamas at 2:30 pm and I spent most of my day crying through DVR recordings of the first 2 episodes of The Voice and playing levels in Candy Crush that I’ve already beaten. On the bright side, I did write a little here and there throughout the day but it was mostly even more depressing than this. I finally got in the shower around 2:45 and the warm water loosened up my sinuses and brain a bit so I decided to take advantage of the pause in my self-thrown pity-party to do something more productive. It may only be marginally less pathetic to whine here, to you, on my blog than to cry about a contestant on The Voice choosing Blake over Adam, but I still consider it an improvement.

I poke fun at myself for lots of reasons. One, because I really do see my world the way I write about it. I interpret life in visual metaphors. It helps me stand apart from my problems a little. Sometimes it even helps me process my emotions and move forward. I haven’t been all that adept at processing and forward movement lately but writing seems to be helping. Another reason I lampoon my own shortcomings and failures is because it often comes down to “laugh or cry”, which has, at times, come precariously close to “live or die”. I am choosing, with this blog, to laugh and live. It would be nice to think that I am making others laugh and take their own problems a little less seriously as well but I will settle for just making myself feel better. And I will grab every inch of sanity I can reclaim, with both hands, and hang on as if my life depends on it. Because some days it does.

You may read this out of boredom, loyalty, sympathy, or because it has sucked you in like some awkward train-wreck reality show. I’m even willing to entertain the possibility that you read my blog because you actually like what and how I write.  Why you read it doesn’t really matter though. I just appreciate that you do. I don’t know whether or not misery really loves company. Mine usually prefers solitude and whiskey. Insanity however, is an extrovert, and most days my crazy has a whole lot of fun doing this. The process of writing is frequently painful and frustrating but I’m loving it. I’ve been loving it so much that, the whole first week after I started, I was having so much fun I didn’t go grocery shopping, make any necessary phone calls, wash any dishes or do any laundry. I have that problem with new relationships. They impair my life-keeping skills. That’s a topic for a whole different article though. Today I want to keep it depressing.

A few days ago I watched a YouTube video of Louis CK on Conan O’Brien. In the video he is explaining, in his brilliantly sarcastic and insightful way, why he doesn’t want to get his daughter a smart phone. At one point he talks about that lonely, empty place we all have inside of us and how this relatively new phenomenon of being constantly, electronically connected doesn’t allow us to feel our own loneliness and move past it. Some of my private, less joyful writing has addressed the hollowness he describes in almost the exact same words. I don’t have a heartbreakingly funny story about pulling over to cry to a Bruce Springsteen song like he did, but his articulation of that void echoed my own. Writing and emptiness.

I think every human since the dawn of time has had that hole. We all try to fill it up in different ways: alcohol, drugs, sex, religion, adrenaline, humor, anger, relationships, children. The list is endless and at least partially compiled of destructive forces, as if we are trying to blast away the loneliness with soul dynamite. Those destructive forces tend to end up leaving us feeling even more hollow so we continue to shovel in the explosives until we can’t feel anything but the empty space. We stay in bad relationships or become addicts or develop eating disorders or body-image disorders, all in an effort to avoid feeling alone or unwanted.

I have spent a lot of time contemplating my own void over the last few moths. Sometimes I feel like I am standing on the edge of an abyss, staring down into endless darkness. Those are the bad days. Even the bad days aren’t quite so bad anymore though. My brain seems to be working again after taking a hiatus for the last few years and I’m no longer running away from my life. I am starting to realize that the empty space is not actually empty at all. It has all kinds of hidden treasures. I am not religious in the least but I am fairly certain that God dwells in that place. Instead of trying to fill the hole now, I have started to go soul spelunking. So far I have discovered that writing makes me happy. It’s a start.

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