Over the last two weeks, like most I have been watching the mayhem unfold online. I think there are quite a few people like me who are just about sick of all of it. Things I feel I need to say:
Most of you who know me well, know my opinions on what is going on right now. I've tried to keep them to myself and off my Facebook page, but y'all are making it really hard.
Things I still don't understand:
I think that everyone just wants everyone to be taken care of and to able to live their lives peacefully. To do that though, there is a ton of work to be done on both sides and it starts with not treating each other like crap just because we disagree. I'm one who is not hopeful that Trump is going to do a good job. Everything he's done so far has caused genuine worry for me. If I "have" to respect that you like what he's doing, then you "have" to respect that I think he's nuts.
It would be nice if I didn't end up regretting this post.
What do you do when you desperately want to write but the words just don't come? Since losing my second job, I have found myself itching to write more often. When I get home from work now; I walk the dog, I make some dinner, and then I sit down to read or watch TV. Last night specifically, I tried to write.
My mind was clear, I had a fire going in the fireplace, some relaxing music playing…
I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't sit still. I kept coming up with excuses to not write. I wouldn't necessarily call it writer's block. One thing that I know about myself? My best work comes from the darkest parts of me. Over the years I've compartmentalized those parts of me away so that I don't spiral. I've never tried to write from a happy place. I certainly can't write about love when I haven't been in love in years. There are thousands of tips, websites, books, and blogs all dedicated to helping a writer write. I admit that I've read a few of them. Most give advice about clearing your mind or your schedule or your working space. Some encourage free writing while others encourage structure and outlines. Some tell you to make everything up. Others tell you to write what you know. Each piece of advice is good in its own right, but sometimes the block is just the block.
Years ago while I was briefly unemployed I started a novel. I typed out thirty pages worth of storyline. It flowed out of me in a way that I had never experienced before. It felt like I tapped into something primal and guttural. Then? Distraction. Real work came knocking and a gal has to eat. Somewhere along the way I lost those pages. The cloud may have existed back then but I failed to back it up. I've never been able to get back to that story. It's lost to me now.
I've never had that feeling since. Words no longer just come out of me without control. It's incredibly frustrating since I know that feeling exists. I should be able to capture it again. How do I get to THAT? How do I tap back into something that I accidentally stumbled on the first time around?
I think part of this blog is an attempt to recapture some of that. To try and force myself to write more often while trying to reach the part of me that I didn't know was there. To try and get to that place without digging into the dark is going to be hard but hopefully not impossible.
Fellow writers, do you know this feeling I'm referring to?
Good Morning Everyone! Happy Monday! Did everyone watch the Golden Globes last night? As you know by now, I'm a huge consumer of entertainment in all its forms. One of the reasons I love awards season is because I end up finding out about new shows and movies that I didn't previously have on my radar.
There are so many amazing TV shows and movies being made right now. It truly feels like we're in a golden age of creation in a way that we haven't been in a while.
The Golden Globes also cemented for me that I need to go and see La La Land. I've been wanting to see it for the better part of a year, it's truly my kind of movie. I'm a die-hard fan of musicals in general and it looks magical. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought so since it won several awards last night.
The opening number was predictably fun and silly. It's exactly the kind of opening that I would have expected from Jimmy Fallon; bright, colorful, musical…
I was happy to see some of my favorites win. Claire Foy and the Crown were definitely deserving as were the Night Manager and it's stars Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. Casey Affleck was certainly the obvious choice to win the Best Actor in a Drama, but with good reason.
One of the most eloquent parts of the ceremony was the honoring of Meryl Streep by Viola Davis. The speech Viola made in honor of Meryl was beautiful and nearly brought me to tears. In watching the clips of Meryl's movies, it's clear to me that I have not seen enough of them. I also thought that Meryl's speech for the acceptance of the lifetime achievement award was well stated and passionate. Whether or not you agreed with her statements or the politics behind them, I found her speech to be a classy and well thought out admonishment of the behavior of our President-Elect. Predictably he lashed out this morning, behaving like a child instead of concerning himself with actual matters of state. That's for another post someday though.
I cannot wait to get home from work today so that I can start watching more of the talented people who were nominated and won last night.
Below is the link for the full list of winners and nominees. I encourage you to go through it and find something new to watch. The arts of the best expression of our humanity.
Even as I typed out the title for this piece, I knew it would never live up to the thoughts in my head. Carrie Fisher passed away yesterday and my Facebook newsfeed exploded with tributes. It's still exploding with tributes. I wholeheartedly understand what she meant to a generation of people of all ages. She was strong and fierce and outspoken. She refused to kowtow to mainstream standards of how women "should" behave. She inspired generations of young women. She was one of our icons. It's sad that she's gone.
Some of her quotes:
My thoughts turned to Aleppo yesterday amongst all the posting about Carrie Fisher. I was struggling to understand why so many people would post about a single actress and her untimely passing rather than posting about the horrors of Aleppo. I've seen countless articles and pictures of the aftermath of the bombings in that area. Bodies mangled and children crying.
Where's the grief for them? Why are the masses not posting about Aleppo every day instead of making memes about another celebrity death? I think that if you challenged some of these people on this matter, they may not even be able to verbalize the issue. They may tell you that Carrie Fisher helped shaped their childhood and that they are grieving for that; but is that really enough? Something like this is so massive and complex that I already know that my tiny brain isn't equipped to make the proper arguments in full detail…but I'm at least going to try.
It's no secret that Americans have a sense of entitlement that appears to surpass those of other nationalities. In fact, in writing that sentence, my own ingrained hubris had to take a backseat to remind myself that to everyone else in the world, being American would be considered a nationality. For so many of us it's simply inconceivable that we would be discriminated against due to our gender or race (I'm looking at you white men). Despite the fact that it's happening now and in our own country pales in comparison to how other nations have had to live.
So what exactly are we entitled to? Free speech? The right to bear arms? What happens when someone decides that you don't have the right to live? What would you do if someone else decided that you, as a human person with thoughts and feelings, don't have the right to breathe? To love? To sleep peacefully with no worries as to whether bombs will be dropped on your homes? Aren't those things we should all be entitled to regardless of race or religion?
We've created a culture of being spoiled. Somehow we've elected Trump and still manage to give the Kardashians all our money. We've decided that "glamour" and money are more prized than things like clean drinking water and food to eat. We will never truly understand what it is like for Syrian refugees and Aleppo victims. We're immensely lucky to have been born into a country in which things like what is happening overseas don't happen here. This is such a huge part of why we don't seem to care about Aleppo but we care about another celebrity death. We have no basis of comparison. We've lived so long in relative peace that even when confronted with the horrors of war, we refuse to truly let it sink in.
I've been guilty of it myself. I have turned off the news because the thing I'm dealing with is already too much. I don't have room in my heart or in my head for something that I can't tangibly fix. It's hard for me to mourn for an actress that I never met when there are thousands suffering and struggling to stay safe and alive. Here's the question I would posit to you. If you were in the position of someone from Aleppo and you heard about the millions of tweets and posts and all the outpouring of grief for one single actress…while you're trying to find out if your family is still alive?
How would you feel?
Here's an article on how to help Aleppo financially:
I realize I've talked in circles. I've solved nothing. I've done nothing but gripe. I'm entitled to that too, right?
The lyric says it for me:
So this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year older,
A new one just begun.
Thanks John Lennon. Thanks a lot.
I realize that the song is meant to inspire hope but it honestly makes me sad. What HAVE I done this year? I've worked my ass off. I know it was worth it in general. I was able to pay for vacations and new furniture that I desperately needed. All my clothes were in plastic bins for crying out loud. I never felt like I wasted my time while I was doing it. I just made it part of my lifestyle.
Now that I have nothing to do, however, I feel like I'm wasting time. It's made worse this week by the fact that my dog is having her own little vacation from me at my mother's house. There's a yard and my mom's dog and she gets to have a little more fun hanging out in the sun with them rather than being cooped up in the house waiting for me to get home.
I come home and I make dinner. Then I watch TV. But TV feels like I'm wasting reading time. So I turn off the TV and read. But then reading feels like I'm wasting TV time.
There's nothing left to clean. There's nothing left to organize. I've already rearranged my living room. I physically can't rearrange the bedroom because of the bed to window ratio.
I flat out stared at the wall for a solid thirty minutes the other night. I supposed that this was mentally clarifying, I zoned out and thought of nothing…but I can't stand it. I can't allow my brain to be idle.
The holidays are especially weird for me. I prefer the Christmas season to the day itself. The day itself has become me sitting alone in my apartment with my Christmas movies and my Chinese food pretending I'm Jewish and that the lack of family doesn't bother me. I should be grateful for what I have. I have the opportunity to see some members of my family on Christmas day.
The problem is that I long for the days of Christmas past. The ones where we were all still living in the same state. Where I had three Christmases. Where my Grandparents were still alive. Where I felt whole. A lot of my malaise has to do with the fact that I still miss my Grandfather more around this time of year. This was his favorite time of year. Most of my happiest family Christmas memories happened at his home. All of us together opening our gifts in the order of our age. Now that both he and my Grandma are gone, I can't imagine spending any holiday in their home. I know that's not fair to the rest of the family who want to do so, but I feel like I want to be selfish with this. I know that I shouldn't.
Maybe next year.
Side note about the John Lennon song? I had no idea Yoko Ono sang in it, I honestly thought it was 100% the children in the background and that's why it was so screechy.
I apparently do not understand how wallowing is supposed to work. I lost my second job last night. I got the standard corporate answers as to why. Restructuring, low workload, new management…
It's always the same reasons. Financially this is only moderately panic inducing. I won't starve. I won't end up without a home. My bills will continue to be paid and be paid on time. It's the crushing debts that are the issue. I originally took the second job as a way to make some extra cash in order to pay down all that delightful credit card debt I acquired. It worked! To an extent. Once I got comfortable I started buying things again. I paid off some debts and I acquired new ones. I paid that down and bought more stuff I didn't need.
Some things I DID need. I needed a dresser. All of my clothes was being housed in stackable plastic bins. I am no longer a college student and I needed a real dresser. This was purchased alongside a bedframe and head/footboard. I haven't had one of those since I was a kid. I was adulting.
When I got the news last night I ended up having a good ol' fashioned meltdown. Without even realizing it I was sobbing AND online looking for something new. My brain was doing two things at once. I was having two extreme emotions at the same time. Extreme sadness and extreme logical thought. Since I found out, I have cancelled all my subscription services (except Netflix, I'm not a monster!), reworked the budget, adjusted my 401K contributions, applied for one full time new job and one that is part time work-from-home. The fill time thing is a lark. There's likely no way I'd get it, but it is my dream job. Couldn’t bring myself not to try.
I'm still sad about it. I teared up a little today thinking about it. I loved that second job. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the money it provided. While it's incredibly sad that we live in a world in which a person has to work two jobs to live comfortably; I am forever grateful that at the same time I live in a world where I can work part time from home.
While I sort everything out, I will get to write and read more. I'll get to work on my websites. I'll be able to spend more time doing the things that I enjoy doing that I haven't been able to do for the last year and a half.
I should be curled up on the couch with junk food and my favorite show, mourning the loss of my hefty second income. But I can't. I'm a planner. My wheels have to be in motion at all times otherwise I'll stop to notice they are a little wobbly.
One of the heroes of my childhood is gone. John Glenn passed away today. To understand my grief, you need to understand where I grew up. I was born and raised in a small beach town called Cocoa Beach. Many of you may know where this is because of I Dream of Jeannie. If you don’t, then geographically you should know that my town is adjacent to Cape Canaveral. My town exists because of the space program.
My parents moved to Cocoa Beach in the 1960s and they grew up watching rockets take men into space and then to the moon. I grew up with my Father and Stepmother (and half the parents of friends) working at the Kennedy Space Center helping to launch the Shuttle.
Rockets and shuttles launching from Cape Canaveral is a part of my childhood. You'd hear the rumble and rush outside to watch the vehicle lift itself into space. The space program is a part of my family’s history.
My Grandfather was the principal of Cocoa Beach Elementary for many years. Along the way, he talked people into putting the school’s American flag in the Freedom 7 capsule as it made its way into space. The flag came back to the school and the school was renamed Freedom 7. That flag? It’s now in the museum at the KSC Visitor’s Complex. I realize that John Glenn did not actually pilot Freedom 7, he went to space on Frienship 7. The entire Mercury team helped shaped my family's lives and the lives of countless others.
When John Glenn went back into space in 1998? I watched the shuttle carry him into space and I was there to watch him in the parade through town when he came back. If I were back home, I’d include the wonderful picture we have of my grandparents standing with him after the parade.
John Glenn represented so much to all of us. His legacy within the Space Program forward helped propel my family forward in its own way. He taught us to be brave, to explore and learn, to push boundaries, and practice accountability. Without his willingness (and that of the other original astronauts) to put his life on the line so that the human race could expand their consciousness, I truly believe we would not have half the innovation we have today. He was a pioneer and a great man. He will be missed.
My dog is snoring. Again.
She had a rough day today. She has the puppy version of social anxiery disorder. Large groups and loud noises. No thank you. People she doesn’t know? Run away run away!! Today she spent the entire day at the vet. Half of the day she was out cold. She went to get her teeth cleaned for the first time in a long time. Because she’s a dog, they had to knock her out. When they went to go clean the teeth, they found two loose and two cracked teeth. Since she’s a dog…they recommended extraction.
I went to pick her up and in her drug induced haze she made some really weird noises. I’m sure that in her little puppy brain she was doing her excited howl at me. To me it just sounded like low level moaning.
The vet tech asked if I wanted to keep her teeth. Ew. Just. Ew. She then proceeded to tell me about a woman who wore a necklace made of her dog’s puppy teeth. Barf.
I always feel terrible when I have to leave her at the vet. I know they take good care of her, but because I also know how she acts when she’s scared? I spent the majority of my day feeling badly because I know she was in the crate (cage) just shaking like a leaf.
Now she’s home and snoring and has four less teeth. She’s still so drugged up that she hasn’t even felt the pain yet.
As annoying as the snoring is, I think I’ll let her keep doing it. She’s earned it.
It's not that I don't like my job(s). I really do. It's just that I am finding that I like other things better. I had an idea for a website this morning while brushing my teeth. I think it could be something kind of special. The problem is that I'm already doing too much. I work eight hours for one job, then anywhere from four to six hours for the other job. Add to that the hour commute and the hour (combined) walks for my dog? That's approximately 14-16 hours of my day gone. Factor in sleep and the idea that I would ever think of starting a website is absurd. That doesn't include weekends. Weekends end up being for errands or trips out of town to see family. This weekend, we have a recording session and that will take literally all day.
Most of the time I have to email myself reminders of things to do for my personal business items. Even for my personal finance options. I have countless lists of things like "switch the AT&T bill from debit to rewards card" or “create Twitter for website #1”, or “wrap Dad’s Xmas gift before M gets into town”. If I don't make lists I will forget countless little things. Both of my jobs require 100% concentration.
So I sit here, scrambling on my breaks to get down all of the thoughts swirling around in my head about this blog, about the other website. About Ctrl+C’s podcast. About the podcast I want to do on my own.
Here’s my To Do List:
Blog for podcast
Blog idea brainstorm
Secondary website—map out and build
Give dog medicine—call vet about PT for leg issue
Get all stuff for Mom in the “return to Mom” bag
Xmas gifts for the rest of fam (7 people)
Work on budget
Get with leasing office about renewing lease
See about phone upgrade for work OR screen crack repair
Go to comic shop for new releases
Read the damn comics
Bake for podcast recording
Finish grocery shopping for podcast recording
Make appt to get oil changed
Return stuff to Amazon
Get a haircut
I think that’s the whole list. Those are the things I feel like I want to do in the next few days. Hopefully, I will be able to get the majority of it done but I may say fuck it all and do nothing. Yeah, nothing sounds good.
What's on your to-do list?
Some days, you just need a cigarette. It’s a disgusting habit and you absolutely should not smoke. But there are times when it would be the perfect thing. There’s a feeling that smokers don’t often talk about that comes along with smoking. The therapeutic and calming feeling. Sure, most of the time we sit and we have a smoke while talking or texting or whatever. It’s absentminded. Inhale. Exhale. Done. There are moments, however, when just sitting and being alone with your thoughts and a cigarette is literally the greatest feeling of the day. I don’t know if it’s because you’re taking part in the act of conscious breathing or if it's the cigarette itself. Even if that conscious breathing involves inhalation of toxic chemicals, smoking is calming. It’s the closest feeling I’ve found to wakeful and aware meditation. Breathe in. Breathe out.
I haven’t had a cigarette in two years now. It was never the nicotine for me. No, it was the social aspect. It was the habit and the comfort. It was a forced break from my work day. Two years of “Oh! You quit?! How’d you do it?” I just stopped. You can just stop. You totally can. I know you can.
All that to tell you that I don’t miss it. I don’t think about it every day. That being said? Today and in this moment? There is nothing I want more in the world than a cigarette. I want to feel that feeling again. Breathe in. Breathe out. Don’t think about anything else. Inhale. Exhale. I’m sitting at my desk here at work and I can walk over to at least seven different people and bum a smoke. I’m not going to. At least, I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to.
There’s nothing wrong with my day. I’m not anxious or upset or frustrated. I’ve not experienced any of my usual triggers. I just need that moment. Breathe in. Breathe out. That moment is clean sheets and shaved legs. It’s fresh baked biscuits. It’s cold water after a workout.
I will not have a cigarette in this moment. No matter how much I think I want one. I’m really just a masochist at heart.