Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh, boy.

Dear ----,

Will you please just make the first move? Because I don't have the guts.

Hop to it.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

College and other things

So tomorrow is my first day of school. College, rather.

Now, I've been to college, before. I went for years to obtain a fairly useless degree (art), worked my rather considerable butt off, only to stop so my ex-husband could take a promotion. The situation was as follows:
The ex worked for the government and was offered a promotion - as well as a significant pay raise. The issue was that the bigger salary pushed us into a different tax bracket, thus disqualifying me from getting free, gov'ment monies to continue my frivolous studies. The rock to my hard place was that despite the extra income, we couldn't afford for me to take classes (as well as pay for books) out of pocket. So a decision was made - it seemed, at the time, more beneficial to the family for me to stop my schooling so Scott could advance. Not so smart, in hindsight. Of course, at the time I had no idea that divorce was looming just over the horizon. (even though I should have: we'll chalk that one up to naivety)

Tomorrow, I return. This time, I'm going to school to obtain the needed skills to be an office drone. Exciting, I know! This was decided after many factors were taken into consideration:
-Location: Small town/the sticks. Not exactly a bustling mecca for the arts. I need a piece of paper that can prove I'm able to do something that someone around here actually has a use for.
-Contact with the public: As little as possible, please.
-On my feet: I want my ass in a chair, in a building with an air conditioner.
-Komputors: I'm good with 'em. I will gladly sit in front of one for eight hours a day for pay.
-Monie$: I don't want to be rich, but I want to earn a livable wage.

Good enough reasons, I think.

No, it's not my dream job. (I was originally going to school for art restoration, aka my Dream Job) But, the fact remains that I'm not in a "dream job" situation. What I need to think about is practicality, time, money, and location. And given the alternatives, (factory work or Burger King) office droning doesn't seem too unappealing. I think I'm cut out for it.

Earn ur livens.

I can admit that I'm a bit nervous about returning, but it's a positively charged anticipation. I've always liked school - I dig structure and routine. I like having tasks. I truly feel, for the first time in many a moon, that my life is moving forward..even if it's moving towards some modern medical park in Fremont or Sandusky. The fact remains that I'm no longer an upper middle-class hausfrau: I'm one of those horrible, single mothers that people are afraid of. My life is unarguably different than it was two years ago. And it took a year just for the change to really sink in. But my time of languish and reflection is over - I've had a year, and it's time to be, as the great philosopher Kelly Clarkson once said, Miss.Independent. (barfy)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Class of 2000

So my ten-year high school reunion is tomorrow. I suppose this begs the question: Do I plan on attending said high school reunion?


Or should I say, Hell No.

My opinion of these gatherings are, I suppose, somewhat predictable, given my nature. But there's also a healthy dollop of common sense thrown in there, too: If high school was a generally intolerable experience for me, why in the hell would I want to go to the reunion? My desire to see the classmates of yore who annoyed me profoundly, is nil, and although I can admit that I'm a functioning hermit with trifling social skills, I also know enough about basic human nature to discern that the Scroogeian "change of character" is rare. Simply put, if you were an ass a decade ago, you're probably an ass, now. Only now you've married another ass, and have procreated assy little children. Back then I didn't have a choice - in order to graduate, I had to subject myself to 8-hours of dumb jocks, vapid ninnies, nauseating relationship drama, spacey potheads, and juggalos. However, this is no longer the case. There is no requirement for me to be there, although I'm fully aware that I'm betraying some kind of American institution by opting to be a no-show. But, I've never exactly been what you'd call traditional. So why start now?

To be fair, my BSHS experience wasn't bad. But I was (and still am, to a lesser extent) too much of a mini-misanthrope to love the forest for the trees, in a manner of speaking. I was a sigher. An eye roller. Quiet and perpetually annoyed. And I suppose the irony lays in the rather naked fact that I too was a high school stereotype, though at the time I believed myself to be a One Of A Kind. Regardless, my attitude made me unapproachable, and thus somewhat friendless. (well, "friendless" on a teenager's level - I had small circle of malcontents) And because I stepped aside and missed the wave 'o teeny bopper bliss, entirely, I was able to look at my peers through sanctimonious eyes. And what I saw made me snicker..probably a little more than was necessary. With my age and experience as a mother, I've reached a small level of self-actualization: I'm far from perfect, and I know I've judged these people too harshly for too long. Still, it doesn't nullify the fact that I don't care to see them. Any of them, really.

I'm not really sure what makes me the way that I am. Not quite sure why I've never been able to enjoy the company of my peers, at least without all kinds of conditions. In my brief time in this world, I've found the only people I can seem to tolerate are people like me, and people like me stay concealed in corners like picklocks, or burrowed in their homes like funnel spiders. People like me tend to not like people like me. The term "vicious cycle" can be aptly applied.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Found Blog

Truth be known, I have several blogs, scattered about the bowels of the internet like bastard children. I'll start one with great enthusiasm, tell myself I'll blog a little everyday, post three or four things only to abandon it, where it sits, totally dejected and equally forgotten. I've been doing this for the greater part of a decade.

Thing is, they're not totally forgotten. Not really. And every once and while, I'll visit these blogs and explore the contents like ancient tombs, cringing every once and awhile at my thoughts, feelings and observations of yesteryear. I am and probably always will be a self-important piece of work. Because if my hodge-podge of blogs have anything in common, it's the theme of "there's nothing as important in the whole wide world as what I'm typing right now." One of my many vanities, I guess.

Anyway, here's a few examples. A "Whitman's Sampler" of blogs past, from most recent (2008) to one at the beginning of the new millennium. (2001) Unjoy!

from my blog entitled Alice (I forget why) dated 1/14/2008

Dove chocolate

I really had a hankering for something sweet but was distressed when I found no sweet vittles in my kitchen cabinets. (True, there's a cake mix, but that requires eggs, oil and moderate manual dexterity, none of which I posses) I was about to surrender myself to a healthy, shiny, tasteless apple when I suddenly remembered half a bag of Dove chocolate in my purse, which boasts: "silky smooth milk chocolate promises". Well it's sugar, anyway.

This is the "cutesy" thing about Dove "promises" chocolate: each individually wrapped candy has an inspirational message on the inside of the wrapper. Messages, it seems, that were written by the same people who write for "Guidepost". Here are a few gems:
"Believe in and act on your dreams"
"Count your blessings and not your worries"
"Enjoy your DOVE and let your mind unwind"
"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more in life there is to celebrate"
"Close out the world for just a moment"
"Send flowers to YOURSELF"
"Smile at a stranger"
And my favorite:
"Listen to your heartbeat and dance"

Yeah, it doesn't take a genius to deduce that these are meant for women. One's estrogen level goes up significantly after consuming a "silky smooth Dove promise" and reading it's glurgly, butterfly kisses-like message.

There's also something slightly presumptuous about Dove "promises". At first I wasn't able to pinpoint how, exactly, but the more I stuffed my gullet with chocolate, and the more messages I was fraught with it became clear: the people who make this shite are targeting frumpy, lonely women. Damnit, Dove!

First, there's this:
"Make "someday" today "
Then this:
"Take YOURSELF on a date"
And this:
"Tell yourself you look beautiful not just today, but everyday"
And finally:
"Watch reruns, they replay your memories"

Get a life, you loser.

So then I start musing about the many bags of this chocolate I've bought over the years, and how each time I would unwrap one and read the message I would think to myself: "Ugh, spare me." Yet I continue to buy and consume Dove chocolate promises! I mean, who eats this stuff? Is it high-power, big shoulder pad wearing, Diane Keaton pre-baby in "Baby Boom" New York City business women? No. Is it cell phone yapping, hair flipping, Diet Coke sipping, spray tanned California spawn of the socially elite? Like, duh. No. Perhaps it's the soy cube eating, riding the bike to work, I only buy my groceries at "Whole Foods" hippy dippies? No. Huh. Well, maybe it's overweight women who shop at "Fashion Bug Plus", want to be just like Carrie Bradshaw on "Sex and the City" and often refer to themselves as "Claymates"? Yes. These are the people who eat Dove chocolate. This is the demographic that the Great and Powerful Oz over at the Mars corporation decided would plop three bucks down on a bag of candy that would aide them in coating their sadness in silky smooth milk chocolate. Well thank you, Mars co. Both my sweet tooth as well as my ass are in your debt.

from ModernFix, dated 3/27/04

My Feet

I can't seem to keep the heels of my feet from being dry and cracked. I know it's winter and all, but still.
Taking advice from my mother-in-law in regards to cracked feet is strange. She's much more serious about it than one might think, like getting rid of crust is big business, or an urgency. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate advice. But what we're dealing with here is dead skin, not cervical cancer.
There's steps. First, I must obtain a pumace stone. Then, soothing balm. The feet are to be..pumaced, I guess..once a day. Balmed, twice. This seems like an awful amount of work and I'm almost totally sure it would go unappreciated. Kind of like spending all day baking a cake that's gone in ten minutes. Why bother? I'm not married to a foot man, I'm married to an ass man. And I deliver. But I suppose down south it's part of the wifely duty to maintain baby soft feet for the man of the house. Nuts to that, I say, as Scott does almost nothing to maintain himself for me. Many a time have I been scratched by the increasingly yellowed talons he calls "toenails". He has an ever increasing amount of nose hair. Is it required for him to pumace and balm, though? Probably not. But look at me, turning it into a feminist thing. I guess what it boils down to is just personal hygiene.
Still, Scott could stand to trim the toenails and nose hair.

from ThievinMagpuh, dated 6/30/2001


My daughter loves the show Arthur, some cartoon that comes on PBS. It's not bad for a kids show, but what's weird about it is the fact that all the characters are animals who own pets....who are also animals. Wouldn't that be like slavery? Didn't the creators of the show consider the weirdness factor of this even for a moment?

Francine the monkey owns a cat who's name I can't remember. Also, Francine has a friend who also happens to be a cat. Goes by the name of Sue Ellen. I find it odd that Sue Ellen THE CAT doesn't seem bothered by the fact that Francine happens to OWN a CAT as a PET. Apply these terms to human beings. If you were to say, go over to a friend or relatives home and there you spotted a supple young man drinking from a water dish and being referred to as "Fido", you might find this socailly and morally unacceptable. (unless you're into that sort of thing) It's an arrestable offense, after all. So why can the animal-like characters in Arthur get away with it? It must be a social norm.

Adventures In Insomnia

Or lack, thereof.

Insomnia crept into my nightly rituals a little over a month ago, and has decided to stick around. I'm not sure why I can't sleep, only that I can't sleep, and like about a thousand other things in my life, I feel guilty that I'm not spending my insomniac hours on something purposeful.

I've often read that sleeplessness is a sign of genius, but I'm not willing to go that far - my acumen is limited to certain subjects, only. Rather, I think the sleepless nights are caused by stunted, squashed-down anxieties and general loneliness. Because it's only in those pre-down hours that I seem the most acutely aware of the fact that I am, in fact, quiet alone.

Since my kids have been in Virginia for nearly a week, I'm experiencing for the first time in a decade total freedom...but, I just can't seem to get myself to take advantage of it. Because the daily rituals are so ingrained into my life, I can't break away from them so easily. When I'm up at 3am, the thought of just leaving the house is both appealing and exotic - but I never do it. I'm not sure why. I just don't.

I have been devouring cheap books, and listening to music like a teenager: knees propped up, back against the headboard of my bed. It's a youthful posture I'm sure looks ridiculous on me. And that alone seems like a terrible indulgence. Family members have been encouraging me to paint, again..but I haven't painted in years. I wouldn't even know what to do, as the desire in me had been flaccid for as long as I can remember. Quietly, and with little fanfare, I've pretty much buried my artistic side, which died a bitter, atrophied old woman. I always expected way too much of her. If she can't be the best, I'd rather her not be at all. It's just the way it is.

Of course, that doesn't mean her pulpy, zombified corpse doesn't crop up every once and awhile. The artistic flair materializes in other ways: pillows and throws, black wooden pictures frames lined on the wall in perfect symmetry, a mirror with a copper patina, blown glass vases full of sunflowers. So it seems I like to decorate, something that bored and disgusted my ex-husband with it's bourgeois-y domesticity. He wanted a bohemian, I suppose. Not a Pier 1 Martha Stewart. When I finally got my coveted "pull-out freezer" style refrigerator, he sighed with what I guess was disappointment as I polished that sucker every evening with stainless steel varnish. "You're such an appliance wife" he said.


Thing was, I couldn't really argue. Because I haven't risen above material wants. I like stuff. I like comforts. I guess that makes me a dullard. That's life. And the irony is, when we divorced, he kept the fucking refrigerator.

"Literate and Disgusting"

This is my new favorite description for intelligentsia, uttered by a man who I find both interesting and intimidating. His assertion was kind of stereotypical, i.e smart people are ugly ("disgusting") and beautiful people are stupid. I wanted to ask him what qualifies as disgusting, but didn't for two reasons:
1. It seems petty and juvenile to even ask
2. I'm fairly certain is idea of disgusting is most mens idea of disgusting: Fat.
Fatness is a curse, a bane. It's one of the worst things that can happen to you if you're a woman, because simply being fat will disqualify every single one of your positive, desirable traits. My intuition, which is infallible, tells me that I have more in common with this guy then I did even Scott, who I was married to for a decade. But it's also telling me to not even bother. It's a shame, but I have little choice but to adsorb this particular disappointment and move on.

I've always been a creature who changes only after particularly bloody battles. I have bad habits who not only die hard, but come back to me during my insomniac hours, rattling their chains. Never in my life have I smoked a cigarette, or drank a beer in it's entirety, or have been drunk (not even once!), or have smoked weed or snorted cocaine. If I were to die tomorrow, my organs would be showroom new, ripe for the pickin' for whatever lucky son-of-a-bitch gets my pristine kidneys, or ruddy liver. That's what happens when you live clean. You internal organs are beasts of beauty.

But I have my vices, too.

I have a particular love for food. Good food, bad food, instant food, damn near anything. I can remember savoring things at a young age: the rarely had pop, the semi-sweet chocolate squares my sister would sneak from the kitchen at night, a burger topped with bubbling cheese. Stuff like that. I liked it too much, my passions for it driving me out of my room while the house was asleep, or when I was older, simply purchasing my own ice cream and tucking it behind the meats in the freezer. Because not only did I not want to share, I didn't want anyone else to know I was eating it. Yeah. That's a bad sign. My proverbial fifth of vodka hidden in the toilet basin.

As a literate person, I can admit that I have a lack of self-control that's had a less than stellar side effect. No one made me overeat. It was an outlet I chose of my own volition, but all the while I'm smart enough to know that it's bad. I can change, as I'm in the process now of total reformation, both mentally and physically. But it's really fucking hard. Because sometimes, those dead habits rattle their chains so loudly, I can scarcely think of anything else.