The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Sweet Promises

My very own chocolate bar. Photographed by lil' ol' me.

My very own chocolate bar. Photographed by lil’ ol’ me.

 

“They” say that chocolate is good for you. The darker the better, and in moderation of course. I have no idea if this is actually true. I’m not a medical researcher. I don’t even know if medical researchers constitute any part of “they”, but I LOVE dark chocolate so I don’t care one whit who “they” is, as long as “they” keep saying it. The idea that chocolate is good for me fits into my personal paradigm quite nicely. I have no wish to go poking around medical journals, or to take up reading scientific data that may tell me otherwise. My attitude may constitute willful blindness, but I am happy to suspend my chocolate-sight as long as someone can hand me that 70% cacao bar with caramel and sea salt.

I am choosing to believe “them” that chocolate contains the same nutritional goodies as berries, and in abundance. Whether “they” is a panel of biologists, a gang of botanists, a South American drug cartel, or Paris Hilton and friends makes no never-mind to me. Chocolate comes from a plant, right? Plants are good for me, aren’t they? So what if the plant gets processed and then mixed up with those nutritional thugs, sugar and cream? Still. A. Plant.

Broccoli is still green underneath a nice blanket of cheddar, isn’t it?. Does blue cheese dressing corrupt a salad? I vote yes on the first referendum and no on the second.

Yea plants!

Yea chocolate!

Yay “them”!

Now where’s my seeing eye dog?

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.

 

 

The Back End

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Some of you probably already understand that the learning curve for blogging is pretty steep. It’s not just about having something to say or promote. There’s a whole lot to the technical back-end. I know that if I ever want this blog to help me, career-wise, I must market, market and market some more. Marketing requires using tools to optimize site visibility. Using tools first requires knowing they exist, finding them, figuring out which ones are appropriate, and then understanding how they work. When I started doing this, I didn’t even know there were tools for increasing visibility. SEO? What’s that? I just wanted to write a little blog to get my creative juices flowing and build an audience. I was aware that I couldn’t just start blogging and be an overnight internet sensation. I knew that there was a lot of stuff that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know, if you know what I mean. In the month since I started doing this though, I have discovered that audience-building requires a PhD in something. I don’t even know enough to know what that degree would be called.

I’m not going to try to explain what I’ve done thus far to try to promote my site or review and explain any of the tools I’ve been using. Mostly because I still don’t understand any of them terribly well, but also because I’m not entirely sure what all I have done or how it has affected my site’s visibility. Oh, I know how to check my site stats and it shows where my views originate from, by search engine, site referral, and geographic location and I think I’ve written down the pertinent information for the tools I have selected, but I’m still a neophyte at the rest. I would only be doing a disservice to you–and be displaying my ignorance more fully–if I pretended to be qualified, even as a newbie user, to explain any of these tools. However, if you didn’t know there were things like that available, now you do.

I am also embarrassed to say that I haven’t been paying much attention to copyright issues. Former lawyer? It’s probably not an acceptable excuse that I never did anything copyright-related and know nothing about it. No, it definitely is not an excuse. It is something that has been tickling the back of my brain every time I posted a picture or meme with my articles though. I believe using quotes, properly attributed, is OK. A couple of the photos are my own, so no issue there. But the memes, e-cards and other pictures pulled from the internet probably pose some problems. I came to this realization while I was reading tips about making it onto the WordPress Freshly Pressed page. (great free exposure if you can get there) The people who review sites for publication there want to make sure they are not complicit in allowing anyone to plagiarize or engage in copyright infringement. Very prudent of them. (The picture at the top of this post is one of my own. It’s a view of the grounds at a Chesapeake Bay area hotel where I stayed once.)

Now, of course, I have to go back through all my posts, try to remember where I got each picture and attempt to get retroactive permission to use them. I think I set up a way for my site to reflect these permissions, once I get them, but it remains to be seen if I did that correctly. Some photos may have to come down but I will replace them with properly credited photos.

The other thing all this copyright stuff brought to my attention was the need to copyright the stuff I post here, on this blog. There are plugins available for that and I think I’ve figured out how to use one of those as well. I’m not entirely sure why anyone would want to claim my failures as their own, but now I think I have established legal recourse if someone is crazy enough to do that. That also remains to be seen. I doubt it will be an issue unless or until I actually have some otherwise-published work to my name but better safe that sorry I suppose. I still have to figure out how the whole pseudonym thing figures into it all as well.

Since I do not have the expertise to advise anyone on any aspect of the whole back-end to blogging, or about what may or may not be helpful for expanding visibility or avoiding legal action, I have included a couple of links that may be helpful below for those who are interested. Good luck!

That Lawyer Thing

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OK. So the lawyer thing.

What I should say is: “Ugh! The Really Big Failure Thing.”

Before I begin, I would like to say that I had a nice weekend. (Yes, I’m aware that it’s Tuesday now.) I spent Saturday working on other writing projects and doing some housework. On Sunday I had a lovely brunch with a group of lovely women, then drank wine and laughed all afternoon and evening. At the end of the evening, after a hysterical conversation about Minions and punching bartenders, I went outside for a smoke. The wine must have fogged my vision because, on my way out, I slammed straight into the career-ghost from my past.

A couple of my friends were already outside, smoking and having a conversation. As I walked out, one friend (I’ll call her Sparkplug) said to the other (I’ll call her Minister), “There’s the person you should be talking to.”

Uh oh.

Those words, when used in reference to me, often mean that someone has a legal problem or question. My typical reaction involves turning tail and running, after mumbling something about not being a lawyer anymore and having never had any experience with whatever area of law is in question anyway. For my friends though, I am happy to listen to their issues and then tell them I never had experience in that area of the law. If the problem is serious enough, I tell them they should find a currently licensed attorney who specializes in their problem area. Often I can recommend someone. Pointing someone in the right direction is the only thing I am legally allowed, or willing, to do now.

Since Sparkplug and Minister are my friends (and the wine, as wine does, had already drowned my better instincts), I allowed nicotine and curiosity to dampen my flight response and waited for an explanation as to why I was “the person” Minister “should” be talking to.

Minister did not have a legal problem. No problem then, right? Wrong. That would have just required me to listen, deflect and direct. I wish it had been that simple. As it turns out, Minister is thinking about going to law school. My typical reaction to someone who says this is some variation of, “Why the Hell do you want to do that?!” I’m pretty sure I didn’t deviate too far from my norm with Minister. I may have been a little more polite and possibly skipped the reflexive, accompanying eye roll. Unfortunately my skepticism must have been too subtle, and the rhetorical nature of my response query, if noted, went unheeded. The result was a two-hour discussion on the practical, economic, and ideological pros and cons of law school and lawyer-dom.

[I should say here that, even when I was a licensed, practicing lawyer, my response to anyone telling me they were considering law school involved skepticism and eye rolling. That could have been a sign . . .]

We talked about LSATs (law school entrance boards), the potential cost, employment, possible income, and the reasons why Minister thought she wanted to take on a bazillion dollars in student loan debt and engage in conflict for a living. The conversation was lively and not unpleasant in any definable way. Minister is a thinker and debater by nature and I have no doubt that she will be a more than capable attorney if she does decide to take that path. Neither her desire nor her reasons for wanting to go to law school were a problem for me. Then what the heck was my problem with our conversation?

My problem was my career ghost. All through the conversation, I could feel that ghost brushing against my skin and whispering panic and humiliation in my ear. I don’t like to think about the fact that, if you count preparation for law school and the Bar Exam, I spent more than three years of my life, and a whole boatload of money, on a career I can barely even reference in a résumé any longer. Knowing I disappointed my family and friends and let my clients down is also not a great feeling. I failed as a professional and as a provider, but even that isn’t the worst part. The worst part is the Question that raises the ghost: “Why?” Why did I cut my career nose off to spite my relationship face, and why did I follow that up with an excellent ostrich imitation? I don’t like the Question. I don’t like when other people ask it and I don’t like asking it of myself, but I have. A lot. And I’ve spent a lot of time working through the complexities of how to answer it, for myself, for my friends and family, and for potential future employers. I’m pretty sure I know the Answer now, but I don’t like it any better than I like the Question, and I have been fearful that it will never be enough to satisfy anyone else or put my ghost to rest.

As a result of that conversation, my ghost has been restless these last two days. On Monday, the echoes from Sunday’s wine masked some of the chain rattling. I was also busy cat sitting and work-men supervising for an out-of-town friend, and the hammers, drills, and caterwauling gave some additional sound-proofing. The bugger screwed with me in other ways though. Yesterday and most of today were plagued by writers’ block and it was 9 o’clock last night before I noticed that I had been wearing two vividly different-colored socks and had my shirt on inside-out all day.

I have been known, when highly distracted, to get in the shower with my underwear still on, so today I skipped a shower. I tried to drown out the moaning and chain rattling with Candy Crush and last night’s recording of The Voice but eventually I realized that the ghost was not going anywhere until I let her speak. I’m glad I did. She told me that time and new experiences will help her rest and that, if I keep my head out of the sand, forgive myself and move forward, I will be OK. Today I realized she is my own ghost and not some stranger come to frighten my future away. She is the past. I am the present. The future is not afraid of either of us.

 

 

Free Beer Tomorrow

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I have a disease. It’s called procrastination-itis. It’s chronic and incurable. That’s not to say that there aren’t treatments to help kick its lazy ass into remission but, like alcoholism, it’s something that involves a daily struggle in order not to succumb to its insidious nature.

I have managed to be fairly productive for the past few days but last night I made a dangerous mistake. I made a list. Lists are a procrastination sufferer’s greatest enemy, closest friend, and the ultimate tool. Look at me go! I did something! I made a list! Now I can sit down, have some coffee and contemplate my bellybutton!

It seems I haven’t learned yet that making lists is a surefire way for me to fail at productivity. I don’t make short lists. I make very long lists. I feel like a pathetic underachiever if my list is too short and excusably overwhelmed if it it’s too long.  If I make my list long enough, it’s always a reasonable result if I can’t cross off every last thing. At the end of the day I can just make a fresh list and shred the old one, making it appear as if I always intended to do those things the next day anyway. Which I didn’t. There are certain tasks I don’t have any intention of ever doing (if I can help it) that inevitably end up on every new list I make. They are “filler tasks” to help make my list look impressive, as if I made it for some imaginary “boss”. [Scene: Knock at office door. “Come in.” Boss walks in. “Hey Effie, can you help me with these TPS reports?” “No, Sir. I already have a full agenda. Here, look at this long list of difficult and time-consuming projects I have to complete. I’m just too busy.” Office door closes. Effie goes back to playing Candy Crush.]

When I make my lists I really do make them with all the best intentions. I usually make them at night–for the next day–when I am drunk with ambition and optimism about a fresh start. (And it’s conveniently too late to start anything new.) In the morning though, I avoid eye-contact with my list in the hope that it will get dressed and see itself out, realizing that I brought it home the night before while in an inebriated stupor and can’t even recall its name. In all the years I have been making these lists, I have probably only made one where every last thing got done. If I could find it, I would have it framed. I’ll put “looking for old to-do-list” on tomorrow’s list. If I find it, I can add “get to-do list framed” to the next one.

Beer-goggle ambition and “fat, ugly” lists aside, I also have an ADD-type procrastination disorder. I don’t need a list to procrastinate. Even on good days I imbibe in delay, dilly-dallying, loafing, and frittering my time away. This puttering usually consists of starting one task, getting frustrated, bored, or panicked about what I’m not getting done, taking a cigarette/Candy Crush break before the task is complete, and then moving on to something completely different. It’s a vicious cycle. At the end of the day, I have gotten maybe one or two things completely taken care of, started and abandoned several other projects, and turned myself into a nervous wreck about all the stuff I didn’t work on at all. There’s always more in the last category than the other two combined. Enter the list. Again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I am currently administering my own CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and experiencing some improvement in my condition. Obviously I still have some obstacles to overcome, but I have set myself a schedule and have managed to mostly stick with it for a while now. (No, I didn’t write it down.) I schedule my lollygagging into my day. For instance, my morning schedule includes time to drink coffee, screw around on Facebook, smoke a cigarette, and play a round or two of Candy Crush. I have been waking up at around 5 recently, so if I am doing something productive by 6:30 or 7, I’ve still gotten an early jump on my day. Some mornings I even wake up and get straight to writing, researching, or job hunting.

Today I woke up with my list. It had stolen the covers and kept me awake most of the night with its snoring. I gave it a cup of coffee before I shoved it out the door, but instead of going on a walk of shame to the nearest bar or trash can, it sat on my front stoop, waiting for me to invite it back in for a shower and some lunch. “Writing a new blog article” was on my list, so now it’s sitting here with me again, throwing me dirty looks and tapping it’s foot with impatience. It wants me to help it get the dishes done and the laundry sorted.

I think I’m going to have a cigarette and read this first:

 

 

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.

 

 

Taboos

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I think I said to someone, somewhere, at some time, that I wasn’t going to get political or discuss my views on religion here. I also once said I would never get married or have kids. For the most part, I will stick with the no politics/no religion rule. I do have one marriage and one childbirth experience under my belt though, so I may as well keep up the tradition of breaking resolutions. Once.

Quick overview of my political position (turn your head pretty far towards left of center and cough): large corporations are–largely–the devil’s playground (why not throw some religion in too for good measure?); social programs are problematic but not THE problem; any consenting adult human should be allowed to get married to any other consenting adult human (sanity optional); prayer should be allowed, but not required in public places; critical thinking skills and scientific knowledge should never be banned from schools (or we end up with politicians that have neither); healthcare for everyone is a good thing; all politicians are liars and owned by interests other than individual civilian interests but some are more palatable than others; poor people are not, overwhelmingly, lazy “takers”; guns should be regulated and no crazy people or violent felons should ever be able to buy even a single one; Fox “News” is more of a comedy show than The Daily Show; women should be allowed to chose whether and when to have children, and birth control should qualify for insurance coverage the same as ED drugs (more so, if you really think about it); no one should be paid more or less than anyone else based on gender; the minimum wage should not be so minimal. It goes on. You get the picture.

Why politics now? Well, duh. Government been gone and shut down over taxpayer-funded pap-smears and prostate exams, or ain’t you aheard?

I don’t believe the shut-down is President Obama’s fault for not caving into the economic terrorist tactics of the right-wing loonies. That’s like saying it’s a woman’s fault for getting raped. Oh. Wait. Those loonies do say that. They also say that the raped woman should be made to carry any rape-progeny to term and give the rapist visitation rights. No food, housing or healthcare for rape-momma and rape-baby though, if rapist-papa can’t/won’t pay, and rape-momma wasn’t financially prepared to raise a rape-baby. That’s taking things just a little too far. (Read last sentence in a judgmental tone of voice with a snippy emphasis on the last 3 words please.) Rapist-papa is probably in jail on unrelated charges anyway so he’s all set with taxpayer-funded food, housing, and rectal exams. Pro-life politics seem to extend only from conception to birth. Anti-woman politics extend from penis to grave. I wish the ride was more fun.

Enough of that.

Anyway, these buffoons went and had themselves a hissy-fit over health care. They don’t want their corporate cronies to suffer the terrible fate of having to *gasp* pay to insure the slave labor, or their pharmaceutical friends to get screwed out of the $300 more per pill they charge US citizens as opposed to, say, British citizens.

What does this all mean, you ask? More than I am willing to get into here and, no doubt, more than any of us can guess. What do I know? I know you are paying for this shut-down. I am paying for this shut-down. Veterans and veterans families are paying. Grandma, Grandpa and the kids are paying. People who just wanted a peek at Old Faithful on a lovely October day are paying. Government employees are paying, or rather not getting paid. (At least that means the IRS is not coming after me today.) We are ALL paying for this shut down and will all be paying for it for a long time to come.

Hey. Hold on. We are not all paying. Congress isn’t paying. They are getting paid to screw us. Well, politics and prostitution are the oldest professions. It’s no wonder they have the same basic economic pathology. Oh, and Congress also all still has health care you are paying for.

Let me take a moment to summarize. The right side of the aisle on Capitol Hill hates taxpayer-funded health care (except their own), women, veterans, the elderly and babies. They love rapists, fetuses, CEO’s and drugs. Yup. Sounds about right to me. At least today, instead of looking for a job, I can just pretend I work for the government and am on a forced vacation.

The Unemployment Line

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I have been meaning to take a course on teaching English as a second language (TESOL) for a few months now. It seems like a great opportunity for adventure, income, and inspiration. I originally signed up for the course in July but needed to postpone until the next one in September due to a family/financial hiccup. No biggie. The September course got cancelled by the provider so I signed up for the one they offered in October. I was really looking forward to it. Two days ago I got an email from the provider, informing me that the October course has now also been cancelled and I am welcome to sign up for one of the next sessions, in November or December, 2 hours away, in Boston (the last two were supposed to be held locally). Hell no. I’m not sure if the universe is trying to tell me that attempting to leave the country is a bad idea, or if I’m just exceedingly unlucky at scheduling new educational opportunities, but I’ve decided to put the whole thing on hold for now. Unfortunately that means I now need to go back to searching for a more mundane and geographically convenient occupation to support me while I get my writing resume polished and figure out if international travel is karmically advisable.

I have been down the road of job searching, resume manipulation and rejection several times in the last few years. It has not been a positive, uplifting or financially rewarding experience. I am not looking forward to more rejection (really, an almost total lack of any type of response to my inquiries). I can’t avoid the necessity of a job though, so I started tweaking my resume again this morning and poking around for employment. My frustration level is high. I woke up at 5 am and spent several hours gallivanting around internet job sites. I didn’t find a plethora of career opportunities I am qualified for, or even very many crappy little jobs that are not marketing scams or slave labor. Given the current employment market, opportunities and past responsiveness (or complete lack thereof) of employers to my resume, I am considering an entirely new approach. Maybe this will at least generate a second look before circular filing.

NEW RESUME

Name: Effie Fallire (maybe, just maybe, I’ll go ahead and give them my real name)
Address: Hippie-Happy Valley
Phone: 867-5309
Email: pleasedomethecourtesyofatleastreplying@desperate.com

Education:
High school: It’s been almost 30 years. Do you really need to know this shit?
College: BA in BS from a state institution. Penal, mental, or higher education. Your choice. GPA 3.9
Advanced: JD from a semi-prestigious New England Law School. No longer worth the paper it’s printed on. GPA 3.5 ish

Professional Licenses:

Minus 1. No, make that minus 2. I tried to sell life insurance at one point. That license lapsed.

Work Experience:

1983-1995 Lots of low-paying retail, waitress and bar tending jobs. There was a little schooling thrown in here and there over this time period as well.

1995-2000 None. I was in school.

2000-2010 Lawyer. No references available. You don’t want to talk to these people anyway. Lawyers are sneaky, evil bastards.

2010 Candlemaker

2011-2012 Disaster management

2012-present Looking for a new job

Skills: Word, Excel, Words with Friends, motivational packing companion, Candy Crush

Hobbies: Pet/house sitting, plant killing, bacon eating, blogging, drinking, smoking

Other languages: sarcasm and profanity.

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.

Paint Chips

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Lead poisoning has been shown to reduce IQ levels. There are a couple of treatments for lead poisoning–after you remove the source of lead. One is chelation therapy and the other is EDTA (chemical acronym) therapy. The minimal research I’ve done on the topic suggests that chelation and EDTA will reduce the lead levels in your blood but not reverse the loss of IQ. I am a little distraught about that because I have relationship “lead” poisoning.

I have removed all sources of “lead” (a little depressing but necessary) and have been administering my own EDTA therapy. In my case EDTA stands for “Enough Dating Total Assholes”. Unfortunately, as a result of my “lead” poisoning, my dating/romance/relationship IQ now falls somewhere below the 10th percentile. Honestly, I’m not sure it was ever much above the 40th percentile but at least I could recite my ABC’s. Now I think my romance IQ is somewhere in line with that of an amoeba. It may not even be that high. Amoebae do not engage in relationships, which appears pretty damn brilliant from my current position on the evolutionary ball-and-chain of romance. Instead they simply divide themselves for company. Voilà, a partner in love crimes! And if they become unhappy with one partner they just go ahead and divide again. Genius.

After writing that last bit about amoebae I took 30 seconds to look them up on Wikipedia. It turns out some species of amoebae do reproduce sexually, which confirms my lower status on the romantic bell curve as well as my scant knowledge of basic science. Sheesh. I think (now a relative term) that I am going to stop here. I have obviously demonstrated my deficiency effectively.

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