Suprise, Shock & Horror

Despite my tendency toward ascerbic humor and wise-assedness – there has always been a part of me that is trusting and guileless (long may she live). So, it is always a suprise when life bitch slaps me in the face and screams, “Open your eyes, you idiot!”

Oh no, I don’t want to look, there, I think. Please, just go away and leave me to my bubble. It’s so nice and insulated here, can’t you just please leave me alone?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, my big bubble is burst on a daily basis and sometimes in a big and most alarming way. A way so obvious and looming that I simply cannot live in the State of Denial any longer. (And really, have you been to the State of Denial? It’s gorgeous, peaceful, has very low taxes and crime rates and is very affordable.)

But…as usual, I digress…

Recently, I’ve had a couple of big bubble bursts (the details of which aren’t neccesary to enumerate here) and a really surprising thing happened: It didn’t destroy my world. I didn’t have to retire to my bed with the woe-is-me-flu and a bottle of Advil. In truth, I’m taking it all pretty calmly .

I don’t know how, where or when, but I’ve come to see that one person, event or even tragedy does not bring my world to a heart-stopping end. No. It doesn’t. It can sure muck up the works sometimes but I’ve got plenty of 409, so clean up isn’t that hard to accomplish.

And while it might be a pain in the ass or worse, a pain in the heart, I know that, this too shall pass.

Maybe I’ve just realized that every one of us have our own special brand of hell – and it’s the thing that binds us, rather than separates us. That my pain is not more special than others’, nor is misery my exclusive real estate but rather a commune in which we all have a timeshare.

A surprise, shock and horror to the little bubble does suck, but it only destroys you if you let it. Don’t let it.

Driven (to distractions?)

I’ve never thought of myself as driven. Truth be told I’ve always thought that I was somewhat lazy. If you ask my mother, I had an answer for everything. I thought that came from having a sharp mind or being like my dad or possibly both.

I do have a high IQ and spent many years of my life trying to hide that fact. You know, wanting to be just one of the gang, not wanting to stand out? God forbid that any of my friends should know I had a brain and that I knew how to use it. So, in my formative years, my time and energy was devoted to consealing my terrible secret.

Quite possibly, that is why the path of my life seems to the casual eye, so driftless and aimless. I am a slacker by all standards harsh and otherwise. I go off in all directions, like a gun on crack – never knowing what target I’ll be aiming at next. Or so I thought. Actually, now I’m thinking not so much.

Since I’ve made the ill-advised foray into self employment or as we like to call it out here in unemployment land, freelancing – I’ve come to find that there is a certain trajectory I have plotted for myself. In fact, I’m a writer. And truthfully, have always been. Even when I couldn’t read or write I was writing stories in my head. I was making up shit with wild abandon. In my imagination I have been married to William Tell, Eric Clapton, all of the Monkeys, Robert Dinero and Rudy Richards. Of course, none of them were aware of this and probably that’s for the best. But I digress….

The point here is that I am driven. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I could spend 18 hours at a computer keyboard without even noticing the time going by. That I could spend those hours looking for ‘markets’ and ‘jobs’ and ‘gigs’ and buffing up resumes and looking for ‘clients’ and such. I never thought I would find it more important than eating or socializing or watching television. I never thought I would ever be driven toward anything. Or amount to anything. Of course, the numbers aren’t in on that one yet – so it’s always a possibility – still, my drive seems to say no.

And even though there are many times, sometimes in the course of a single hour, where I think it’s time to pack it in and give up. To go and get a ‘job’ and join the rest of the human race in normal life, something happens. Unexpected money, an offer of work, something…and my drive gets reinforced even more.

It’s a curious thing to realize that I’m not really that laid back, easy going slacker chick that I’ve fancied myself to be all these years. That I have big ambitions and a never ending drive, but realize it I have.

I’ve no idea where it will lead but I must say I will be fascinated to see how it all turns out.

How about you? What are you driving or what’s driving you?

Something in the Air?

Every now and then, you hit a rough patch in life. It always seems to come out of nowhere and often comes when it seems you are just about to hit your stride. Whenever that happens I find myself getting wound up into the twisty road of ‘why’.

In the last few weeks, lots of stuff has been swirling all around. A friend of mine is very concerned about their parent, my friend Kelly, as most of you know, was in a very bad car accident, Roomie’s friend was just diagnosed with cancer and still other friends are having difficulties too, to a lesser degree. It makes me wonder, is there something in the air?

I tend to be a little supersticious, or maybe just paranoid – but this is very unsettling to me. Although, this year has been filled with lots of changes, some good, some bad, generally speaking my life tends to be even and calm. When something gets in the mix that riles that up, I look inward to see if there is something I’m doing that is causing it. In this case, it wouldn’t seem so, since most of it is happening around me and isn’t specifically about me. Which makes it worse because there is precious little I can do about it, except watch it unfold.

Since Kelly’s accident, it is nearly impossible for me to not to think about it and her most of the time. I find it hard to concentrate on the rest of my life but know that I must. I will be no good to her or anyone else if I steep myself in worry and concern and don’t focus on the daily tasks that are necessary to get on in life. Yet, when I do this, I feel guilty as though I am letting her down. Truth be told, I felt that way the entire time I was in Seattle. Not only could I not fix things (an unrealistic goal, of course, but that has never stopped me) but I was so distressed and upset personally, that I spent much of my time there trying not to fall apart around Kelly and her family – especially her children. Consequently, I spent a lot of time out on their deck, late at night, crying when everyone else was asleep.

Maybe that is the normal response to situations like this, I really don’t know – the last time I had someone in my life in a critical and dire condition was when I was twelve years old and my grandfather was in and out of the hospital. From that standpoint, I should count myself as lucky, because most of the people in my life are healthy and happy and doing well.

I could just adopt the view that sometimes things just happen. That is true enough, yet still, with Kelly it shouldn’t have happened – not because she is my friend or because she is a good person – but because it just doesn’t fit. She is an adventurous woman, an excellent driver, very perceptive and intuitive and doesn’t fit the profile of someone who would get into an accident. I just can’t get that out of my mind. I just can’t stop wondering what happened – was she upset just before the accident, did something get her so riled up that she wasn’t paying attention? These questions and many more swirl around in my head whenever I think about it but I find no answers – and may never.

As far as I can tell, Kelly wasn’t aware of my being there and/or if she was, she didn’t know me. It’s possible that that part of her memory is gone and she may never know me again – except in the context of now. As though life came along and decided to pluck parts of her life away from her and is holding them hostage for an unknown ransome.

And though it’s futile and not well-advised I can’t but help to ask, why? Why Kelly? Why now? Maybe someday I’ll find the answer but for now, I am stuck with only the the continuous and never ending winding road of questions.

Not Good Enough

Not Good Enough. Ever feel that way? I know I do. Often. Too often. In fact, it is quite possibly the bane of my existence. Well, maybe not the bane of my existence but it is the thing that I have the hardest time shaking and always has been.

When that feeling hits me, I do a little internal search. Why? Why do I feel that way? Is there some deep, dark secret or a devastating buried memory that makes me feel that way? But then, logic never helps when it comes to things like that, does it? It seems the bad feelings, the feelings of inadequacy and non-deserving-ness (yes, I just made up a word) don’t come from a place of logic. They come from a place of feelings. Bad feelings.

But where do those come from? Other people? Did somebody give me a sour look when I was four and had just completed my master mud pie? And did that somehow crush a tiny piece of my soul, which I’ve been trying to get back ever since? Or has it just been a steady and continual erosion over the years. A look here, a word there?

Or worse, does it come from inside me? Just my own self-destructive alter ego, vying for time and attention? It seems I have lots of questions about this but very little in the way of answers.

I sometimes think that that is why I became a writer. To solve the feelings of ‘not good enough’ – as though I believed that if I could just write it out the feelings would evaporate. Never to be seen or heard from again. And in a way, I suppose it’s worked. When I was a kid and I got upset, the first thing I would do was write a poem or a story to work out the feelings or upset. Sometimes it would help and others it would drive me further into the sense of despair and hopelessness. No matter, I still write to some degree for that reason. Though mostly I write because I have something inside of me that needs to get out. It is constantly seeking new and silly ways to get out too. From stories to poems to haikus to jokes, to wise-ass remarks.

I sometimes marvel at this thing. What is it? Where did it come from? Does it belong inside of me or should we see if the zoo has a space for it? Then it ocurs to me that maybe it’s just me trying to get out. Just me, saying, ‘Pay attention to me. I am worthy. I matter.’

The truth is I will probably never know – no matter how much I try. No matter how much I want to know. I will never figure out why I sometimes feel I’m just not good enough. How about you?



I don’t know what it is about life. There are periods of time when everything goes great. The job is great, your diet is working, you have more good hair days than bad, your dentitst compliments you on your dental hygiene and the dog does as it is told. Then there are other times when nothing goes right, the job is a drag or worse, your friends don’t have time for you, your brain is ensconsed in a permanent fog and all you want to do is watch sitcom reruns and eat Cheetos.

Unfortunately, lately, I’m in the latter phase. My mind is elsewhere. If I could find it I might be able to talk some sense into it. If I could locate the synapses that are currently refusing to fire I could dash off my usual 6-7 posts a week. If I could find my ass with two hands I could get my dreary errands and paperwork done. If I could remember what it was that I was going to do, I could go there.

Although, I’ve managed to dress myself and arrive at work on a daily basis – I’ve remembered to eat (sort of) and I try not to leave the house without make up – I’m still just going through the motions. And it’s annoying the hell out of me. I’m not a slacker by nature, in fact I’m a bit obsessive about getting things done and taken care of, at least for the most part. But I can’t seem to shake the lethargy. I can’t seem to make myself do the things I need to do, want to do.

Nothing grabs me or interests me. I’m null. Void. Empty. This sucks.

Though I’ve pondered what could be the trouble I’ve come up with nothing. There is no terrible situation in my life. No emergencies. Nobody sick or injured. No bill collecters calling me. In fact, even the telemarketers have backed off. My well ordered life seems to be clipping along just fine, without me. Weird huh?

It has occurred to me that my job is bad for my brain. It seems to be this ravenous creature that feeds on fresh brain cells and each day it seems to need more. Each day before I go into that office, I suck in a breath and tell my brain cells to go to sleep, lest they experience the torture of being eaten whilst fully awake. I bumper car my way through the day, thinking mostly of when I can leave and get out of that space. This ain’t good. Yes, I already know this. I am making plans to jump ship, soon. I have a few things I have to finish first. But in the meantime….

I guess what I am trying to figure out is how to wake up my brain cells after I leave the job from hell. They don’t seem to want to rouse after sleeping all day and I really need them. I have been feeding them vitamins and protein drinks, fresh air and good books – but still they waffle. Or maybe they are a waffle. It could be. Anything is possible.

So, during my brain fart phase I may go missing for a few days. My comments or responses may seem a bit off. I may seem a bit off. And I am. But it’s just me battling with my brain, trying to herd the cells back into the corale. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hopefully a new brainy phase will follow. Hopefully, the nap has done them good and they will open the door to new and wonderous things for me to tell you about and talk about. Hopefully, they haven’t all run away from home, looking for a smarter and better host who won’t subject them to mind numbing stimuli and bad food.

In the meantime, if you see any of my brain cells please send them home.



Early in life, I learned that I was different. And it wasn’t something I wanted to be. I longed to be like everyone else. I wanted to play with the cool kids, like roller skating, play with Barbie dolls and do all the things that normal little girls do.

Instead, I read books while sitting under a tree in the park. Alone. I had friends, but I made them one at a time. In my post toddler years it was Sandy Evanuick who lived a few houses down from mine. Who had long brown pigtails and had to wear saddle shoes – which I thought were really cool until I started grade school. Ooops, not so much. Sandy and I were inseperable until they moved away to California. I was heartbroken and kept to my books and forgot about making friends until junior high. Dorothy Rehbine, another brunette, became a fast friend and remained so all the way through high school. But then she married her high school sweetheart and I moved onto other things.

Try as I might, I never got the hang of being popular or cool. I dressed weird (I guess), I acted weird, didn’t seem to be into the swing of things. With the exception of Rudy Richards whom I met in kindergarten and who harrassed me throughout gradeschool, boys didn’t seem too interested in me. Nor I in them. Boys were icky and smelly, not very smart and didn’t like to read.

Yes, I knew I was different. I knew that I was never going to be a cheerleader, a yuppie, a fundraiser, politician or celebrity. You had to be charming and pretty and popular and know the code of the popular people. You needed to understand how to flirt and use your wiles to get what you wanted. You weren’t supposed to just say exactly what you thought, or wanted or believed. You weren’t supposed to be indifferent to parties and proms, frilly dresses, hairstyling and batting eyelashes.

Instead of peers, I sought out adults to converse with. I frequently had conversations with my mother over cups of tea, discussing the dynamics of family politics and diplomatic and not so diplomatic ways to deal with same.

I started a babysitting service, lied about my age and worked as a waitress, bought my own books and clothes, cut my own hair. I employed my own brain to execute my life, such as it was. I was my own person. Lonely as it was sometimes, it was to be my path in life. And most of the time it was okay with me. Most of the time I didn’t mind that my phone didn’t ring off the hook on Friday nights and had so many invitations that my biggest problem was which one to decline.

But sometimes I wondered – What is it like to be popular? What is it like to be normal? How would my life be different if I had been?

Did I become a writer because I was different, or was I different because I was a writer? Did I just know my mind and myself so early in life that I effectively bypassed my childhood and moved straight into adulthood? Mom used to say I was born 40. Maybe she was right.

What about you? Are you different? When did it first dawn on you? Do you wish you weren’t?


A World of Our Own?

Technology is a beautiful thing. The conveniences it has given us and the simplicity it has made of once tedious work is nothing short of miraculous. But, in the words of one of my readers – are we enjoying the technology or is it enjoying us?

We have so many gadgets to give us creature comfort that we nearly never have to leave the house. As long as we have a computer, a phone, internet connection and a credit card we are set. We could easily begin to feel that really there is no one else in the world for all of the digging in we do in our little nests. We cocoon to coin a popular phrase.

It is any wonder that when we are actually out in the world our behaviour is less than amicable? We squeeze into spaces, nearly sending the car behind us in a ditch, but don’t notice because we have the a/c, stereo system and the cell phone going. We screech down residential neighborhoods at 3 a.m. with our music so loud it’s breaking crystal in someone’s house. We cut into line and don’t see the dismayed looks on other line mates’ faces. We yak to our friends while the movie is playing. Talk on cell phones anywhere, allowing all to hear everything there is to know about our lives, relationships and troubles. Our children run rampant, like wild animals through shopping malls, restaurants and groceries stores because we don’t believe in suppressing their desire to be free beings, even though they are giving everyone else mild heart attacks. We plug in our Ipods and giggle, gaggle and bang out the drum line on the table top, never noticing that the racket is bothering others.

All because of technology? Or is it us? Have we become so embedded in our own toys and gadgets of convenience that we no longer see the other people in the world. Or know that there are other people there? And when we notice them, are we confused by the strange or angry looks, the rude gestures? The stunned, gaping mouths?

It has been said of previous generations that it was all about me. But I’m wondering if that is a thing of the past or the present. Is the me generation still alive and well? If they lost their technology tomorrow, would they have the people skills and thinking skills to survive, to work in tandem with others and make it? Or would they just sit in a corner crying because they can no longer plug in, tune out and float in a world meant only for them? I wonder. Do you?

The Pets That Peeve


Everybody has funny, little things that bug them. Not things that they hate or really change their lives in any significant way – just stuff that drives them quietly up the wall. Usually too, it’s things that you’d be too embarrassed to say out loud. So you put up with them. Oh, but sometimes, sometimes you feel like you’re going to come out of your own skin they bug you so much. Here are mine:

  1. People who wiggle their toes or waggle their feet, or pick at their feet, especially while you’re eating or watching t.v. It just plain grosses me out. In my opinion, most people do not have attractive feet, especially men. They often have weird toenails that are scary colors. And yes, after you’ve had those puppies in sneakers and socks all day they do stink when you decide to air them out.
  2. People who pick at their food as though they are looking for a secret weapon under there. It’s food, damn it. Eat it or toss it, but for God sakes please stopping treating it like a frog in science class.
  3. People who eat with their mouths open. Now how do they expect that food to stay in there? And why do they think I want to see what it looks like after it’s been mashed around inside their mouth? If you’re not trying to catch flies, shut your trap.
  4. Men who ask you out on a date and then want to know where you want to go or what you want to do. For crying out loud, be a man. Be decisive. Show me you’re a take-charge kind of guy. If you can’t decide where we’re going on a date, what would make you think I’d have the slightest belief that you know where you’re going?
  5. People who talk during the movie. Now why would anyone go to the trouble of driving to the theater, paying $10 plus to see a movie and then proceed to talk about their mother-in-law once the movie starts? That also goes for people who answer their cell phones, kick the seats and eat their popcorn loud enough for people down the block to hear it.
  6. Belly shirts. I’ve been waiting for them to go out of style, yet they still seem to persist. First of all, outside of a 12 year old who has successfully mastered anorexia, who looks good in them? That would be nobody. Not to mention the fact that it’s always women who are way too old, compelled to show off what they think are their bad-ass abs or chicks who have several rolls of fat to expose. Cover up for cripes sake.
  7. Dreadlocks. Sorry, I know it’s like an ethnic thing and we must never attack anything like that – but come on – it looks like somebody took wallpaper paste, mixed a mess of cat hair in there and attached it to their head. It ain’t pretty – please learn how to use a comb, a brush, a pic or to braid your hair.
  8. Ugly shoes. There are too many designs to zero in on one particular type, but man the last decade has produced some bad ones. Who ever convinced anyone that shit kickers looked good with sundresses? Or stilletto heels that can take your eye out is sexy? And don’t get me started on sandals with sox and bermuda shorts. Like I said, most people don’t have pretty feet to begin with, you should at least give them a fighting chance by dressing them nicely.
  9. Hoodies under suit coats. It’s like oh, I have my gym clothes on but if I put on this snazzy jacket no one will notice. Think again. A suit coat goes with a suit. If you can’t afford one, stick with the sweats.
  10. Fat children. I don’t mean chubby or even plump I mean, tipping the scales at 200 plus. Now of course I know there are some kids out there who have a physical situation that causes them to have weight problems but it seems like every other kid out there is fat, fat, fat. And mom and dad keep taking them through the drive-thru, parking them in front of big screen tv’s, chauffering them everywhere and stick Ipods in their ears. Kids need to get out and do something besides parking their butts in a chair and playing video games.
  11. Bad tippers. It’s just low class. Some people seem to think that somebody who can feed and see to the needs of 20-40 people at a time only deserve disrespect, humiliation and then the final insult of little or no tip. I’ve got news for  you, somebody who can wait tables and do it well, is one helluva an organized multi-tasker. I used to eat out with a friend who would pay for the tab with her credit card and we’d all give her the cash we were going to kick in for our part of the check – then I discovered she was pocketing most of the money that was intended for the waitress as a tip. After that, I asked for a separate check. If somebody waits on you, is pleasant, brings you what you want and  you are a happy camper afterward, then tip them for cripes sake.
  12. Stupid people. They are everywhere. They stand at the fast food counter, reading the menu just not able to decide what piece of processed food they want that day. At the bank, they will knock you on  your butt to get in line ahead of you and then start filling out their deposit slip while standing on line. At the grocery store, they don’t have enough money to cover their groceries and dig through their purse looking for loose change and looking at the cashier as though they should be offering them a five spot. They hold everybody up in traffic by double parking, stopping, turning, cutting you off, whatever, then flip you off for being in their way.

Okay, time to get my blood pressure checked now. 😉 What are your peeves?




I was thinking about silence last night. It’s an odd thing to think about because on the face of it, it seems like nothing. But it really isn’t. It’s a big something. It’s like a promise of what could be. As a writer, I have always enjoyed being alone. I like to think, thinking, pondering, considering, imaginging. All of these things are solidary actions.

Though, I’ve been able to do them in crowded rooms, noisy bars, on busses, at work, wherever – because somewhere along the line I’ve learned to create a bubble of silence in my own head, my own space. It produces an interesting sensation, almost like floating and looking out at what is or isn’t happening around you. All of that is distant and the silence settles in.

I know that some people don’t like silence. They hurry to fill it up with words, sounds, music, televisions, aimless action, in order to avoid it or hide from it. I think that’s a shame. I think that they are missing out on something. The opportunity to hear who they are. To see what they think. To know what they feel.

Someone much smarter than I said, “A person is only as valuable as they can serve others.” I agree. But I also think that one can’t serve others, bring joy, happiness, help or peace to others if they cannot bring it to themselves. And that to do that for yourself, you need that silence. That time with just you. Not to become self-absorbed or create a nifty little altar to the greatness of you – but know yourself, your beliefs, what’s important. It’s very revitalizing to take the time. Even (or maybe especially) if you don’t have it to take.

That television will be re-run again, that ballgame will be written about in the sports page tomorrow, that cheeseburger will have another one just like it the next time you go through the drive-thru.

So next time you find yourself getting nervous by the silence around you, whether you are in a room alone or standing on an overcrowded train platform – reach out and grab it for yourself. Hang onto it. Let it take over for a minute. You may learn something you never knew about you before. And it might make all the difference.

That’s what my silence is like, what’s yours like?


PS: There is an excellent post on this topic here. I highly recommend it.

Give And Take


I’ve become painfully aware of late, that this world is comprised of givers and takers. I suppose there may be another third group, that is more balanced but then again, maybe not.

I don’t know if it’s always been this way and I just never really noticed or if it’s something that has evolved over the last couple of decades but it seems more pronounced these days, more obvious. And it seems to me, that the takers are gaining on us.

Take something as simple as courtesy on the road. We’ve all heard of rules of the road (or at least, I hope we’ve all heard of them) and it isn’t so much about traffic laws as it is courtesy. You let another driver in when they’re stuck trying to get out of driveway, wave someone through ahead of you even if you have the right of way, or in the reverse, tip your hat, nod your head or wave or something if another driver has done the same for you. It’s not a big deal, but it makes a difference.

I’ve literally had people try to run me off the road rather than yield to my merging into a lane, even when I had the right of way. Everday, as I stop at a stop sign and another driver arrives at the same time, that driver only pauses and when they see I’m actually stopping, just slide through the stop without so much as a blink. The list is endless – and really this post isn’t about how other people drive.

It’s more about the attitude. It is as though there are some people out there who just feel they are entitled to anything and everything they get. They don’t feel obliged in any way to return the favor. And sometimes, they seem to expect it. The co-worker who expects you to cover their lunch because they haven’t the money but wouldn’t dream of lending you a five-spot. The friend who calls you at all hours to cry on your shoulder, who borrows clothes and never returns them, who always shows up at your house around dinnertime but who is often busy when you need something. The boss who expects to be able to call you on your day off to discuss some business issue but doesn’t think they should pay you, and who gets uptight if you dare to call them at home. The parent who demands you demonstrate your love to them constantly but can’t help you out when you’re in need or trouble.

And I suppose the givers are duplicitous in these acts because they cooperate. They give. They are happy to help out. Don’t have the heart to hang up on a sobbing friend, or deny lunch to them. Will bend over backwards to show their love and nurture parents, children and spouses. Because they are givers. That is the way they are wired. Right? So, why shouldn’t they be taken advantage of? Why shouldn’t the takers take what the givers give? It’s the way the food chain works, isn’t it?

Is it? I wonder. I’ve had a few serious takers in my life. And there is no pleasing them. No matter what you do for them it isn’t enough. No matter how hard you try it just isn’t hard enough. No matter how much you give they still seem to need more. You could literally have a personality transplant and remake yourself according to their specs and still be wrong. It’s exhausting.

And I’ve found whenever I go through a particularly exhausting period in my life that I am surrounded by these folks. I am swarming with them. I am the proverbial puppet on a string. My life becomes dedicated to doing for them and going without. And I have to ask myself why? Why the hell do I do it? What puts me in that place? Is it just my general good nature, am I too nice, care too much, just want people to like me? I suppose it is all of the above and none of the above. I mean, how does one find the balance? I don’t really like fighting back, so to speak. It doesn’t do anything for me personally – truth be told I don’t really like conflict. I like life to be easy going and fun. I don’t want to be an accountant, forever tallying what others owe me or I them. Or scolding people for taking advantage either of me or others. It’s just not my thing.

I suppose in the long run my solution is to just cut my losses and move on – it’s not easy though. In fact, it’s damned hard – everyone seems connected in one way or another. That 6 degrees of separation thing, you know? In the end, I just end up putting up with it. Try not to get too god-awful sucked dry of life and resources and look for better friends – sometimes with success, sometimes not.

How about you? What do you do with these people? I’m curious what everyone else’s take is on this.