Sunday, March 30, 2008

Life as a fairy tale

I was addicted to fairy tales as a kid. My aunt and uncle bought me a wonderful set of Grimm's and Anderson's fairy tales when I was too young to read them. I still have them. The challenge of finding out what was between their covers was one of the reasons I learned to read. Ditto the copy of "The Little Prince" that my other uncle gave me when I was 4. Age appropriate? Probably not. But a challenge, you betcha.

So, my life as a fairy tale. It is, you know. Whether I like it or not, the way I structure my own story in my head always follows that pattern. And it keeps me going. Something fresh about the never ending saga. Not like one of the epic poems- nothing that convoluted. More of a small thing, really.

There is always a heroine. That would be me. And there is always a villain. That would be someone else, most of the time. Some times that is also me. And there is the prince. You know him from previous appearances hereabouts. And there is the plot. Pretty unvarying. Adversity/the challenge. The quest. The conquest. The iron core of determination. The triumph. Moving on to the next challenge. The pattern repeats.

I was fascinated by Jung, and his archetypes- especially when applied to fairy tales and tarot cards. Mainly I enjoy seeing that some of what I experience is universal. Only the details are individual. But what I also enjoy is the pattern. The repetition is comforting. It is how I function. By casting myself in a play or a structure like that I can step outside for a moment and see the plot for what it is- temporary, and part of a larger whole. Each step appears random, but the underlying pattern emerges with a little emotional distance. It's like when Kman and I play rock, paper, scissors. He always knows that I will start with scissors, followed by rock. Because I used to always start with rock, and he pointed it out to me, so I switched to scissors. And that pattern means I don't usually win unless he lets me. Because creature of habit.

I don't know if anyone else feels like they are part of some kind of personal play in process. But I kind of imagine it's pretty common. Like those who pattern themselves after Nancy Drew. Or who fell deeply in love with horse books, and have always wanted to be National Velvet. And for the boys, I dunno- never been one. But it's probably more of a recognition of aspirations in a sports figure or something like that.

And do I like being in a fairy tale? Hard to say. Some days, not really. I would rather be more concrete and pragmatic. But on days when the snow soddenly drapes the plum tree across the street in a blanket of white, and the city grows silent, and the night is bright white from the reflected light in the snow, and all grows still, it is just fine. Just fine, indeed.

And now a memory. When I was 5 my uncle (the "Little Prince" one) stayed with us for a while. It was winter. Our kitchen window faced the mountains to the north. Including the Sleeping Giant- the one I wanted so badly to see rise and become real- and was very disappointed to find was only rock and dirt. My uncle woke me in the middle of the night once. He took me to the kitchen window and pointed north. "Look and watch." There were lights dancing in the sky. Colored sheets of light. Reflecting off of the snow in our yard. We stood there watching for a while, and then he put me back to bed. I haven't seen the Northern Lights since, even though it's not an uncommon occurrence. I just haven't looked. Because that magic moment only strikes once. And it's like seeing Disney Land as an adult- it robs the magic from the early time in an incremental way. And I'm not willing to lose that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Am getting a cold and feeling like ass, so will keep it brief.

No stories from the girl-child today (much to some people's relief, it seems). Just me.

Nothing really happening of note, just sunshine and kitty diabetes (big kitty has a little problem). It's being handled, no real trauma- the hardest part is getting him to eat his special diet- for such a large cat, he is a very picky eater, and is being a tad divaesque. The needles are very small, and he doesn't notice them.

Didn't go to Eugene with Kman over the weekend- to visit the sister in law and family. Stayed at home injecting the cat at 12 hour intervals and watching my very own Joan Crawford film festival. And racing. Always racing.

And now I am getting the cold that everyone has at work. Gotta love the irony of taking a day off over the weekend, and not minding being sick over the weekend, and getting it now.

Other than that nothing. Not in my world anyway. Others have news to report, but let them blog about it themselves, I am feeling lazy. And ill-equipped.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Six word memoir (now that's a challenge to the long-winded one, indeed)

Get on with it, she said.

1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4 Tag five more blogs with links
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Came from the Good Doctor- (don't know how to embed tags yet. It happens)

I'll get around to tagging some people in a bit- not up to it this morning.

And the photo? It was Easter Dinner at my Great-Grandmother's house circa 1960. I would've scanned something special, but again, not up to it this morning. Think bunny cake, and be happy. (or HOPPY!!! I crack myself up....)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Probably the best part of being little was running. Running fast. All the time. It felt good. Usually bare foot. In the summer wearing only a swimsuit most of the time.

She wondered as an adult where all that energy went. Where was the ability to just play all day long. Where the ability to run all day and not breathe hard went. When all the aches and pains arrived. When she had really grown up and gotten old.

But while it lasted, the running was perfect.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The little girl had a collection of books that she carried around with her. When the collection grew too large, she had to choose only a few to take along. That was torture. Would she pick the one about the birds? Certainly. But then what about the one with the frog and the princess? And then the one about the pretty rock? And then the one about Santa with the best pictures ever? That process, of choice, probably took up more time than finding matching socks. Because matching socks were never a real priority. And she hated the way clean cotton socks felt on her feet anyway. She preferred to be barefoot if given the choice. Nothing was as delicious as the feeling of soft green grass under her toes in the twilight- when the grass was still slightly warm and slightly cool- and the green had turned to black.

She also liked to bury her feet in the sand box, under the warm, dry sand. Down to where the sand was wet and cold. It felt nice. So did the dirt in the garden. But that was forbidden. Because if she uprooted vegetables by mistake, she would get in trouble.

Her favorite time of day was early morning before anyone else was up. She would run into the back yard in her nighty and wait for people to be ready to play. She learned quickly that it wasn't a good idea to visit her friends too early- their parents didn't like it. And she didn't like seeing other people's parents in their robes and slippers. It felt wrong somehow.

She liked Sunday mornings best, because she could hear the bells of the Cathedral in her back yard. When she was really little, that meant that they would be going to church soon. This wasn't a whole lot of fun, and entailed pinchy shoes and scratchy dresses. But it did feel special somehow. And afterwards was usually an opportunity to show off her purse with the favored books and maybe a doll inside.

As for the actual religion, it pretty much escaped her. She could recite some of the stories, but was more interested in the colors of the windows and the statues on the walls. Those were her favorites. She always dreamed of them opening their eyes and talking to her. She wanted that more than anything, and was disappointed when it never happened.

The little girl was overall very happy in these early days. Very happy indeed. Things were going her way, with a certainty.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Once upon a time. All good stories begin with "Once upon a time." There was a girl. And she wants me to tell her story. Really, I have tried to avoid this for years. But she is insistent. Just won't let it rest. She always did love a good story.

So it begins. And damn the consequences. And there are consequences. The truth hurts if you avoid it for too long. Essentially bites you in the ass.

But then you can hedge your bets by getting all philosophical about it. Just start talking about perceptions of truth, and objectivity. Turn it into an intellectual discussion rather than an emotional one. Much safer. Theory is always safer than practice.

But those voices. They won't be silenced. And that girl is most strident. So is the older boy. He wants to be heard.

So, I think it's time to let them tell the tales. Those of the fathers, and the mothers, and the little children. All through the viewfinder of an odd camera obscura. Upside down and backwards. Not through the looking glass- that was another teller. But with plenty of scratches on the negatives, and room for interpretation. And the light is fitful and dim. Dreamy with bits of fog in the intervals between notes. And the times between times. And the efforts leading to tears.

Once upon a time, my friends, there was a little girl. And she was most important. In her mind she was an Indian Princess. Like the ones in her Peter Pan book. She had long braids, and loved to wear her grandmother's nightgown and jump on the bed. Her braids would fly in the air, and the nightgown would balloon around her hips. It was pink and blue. Her braids were brown. She was happy. Her grandfather quoted Shakespeare when she left for the evening to go home.

"Goodnight, goodnight. Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow."

She always giggled at his silliness. And when the grandmother died, and he stopped quoting Shakespeare, and she realized that she was no longer the Indian Princess, the loss was deafening. And irrevocable.

Her favorite game was Cowboys and Indians. She liked to be tied up, only to escape in a dramatic and dynamic fashion. She read Wonder Woman comic books, and linked the two together somehow. She liked to have her back scratched. She liked to eat candy. She liked orange pop the best. She wanted to read her own books by herself more than anything else in the world. She loved cartoons and the Walt Disney show on Sunday nights.

There is more. Only later. Later.
You take what you can get, right?
I mean what happiness.
In between the rest of it all.
It's just an interlude, right?
Because no one can be happy all the time.
Only idiots and fools.
And maybe Englishmen.
But even the songs indicate that, right?
They seem to be divided up evenly.
Johnny Cash versus Paul McCartney.
Never thought I would see their names in the same sentence.
Kind of a negative/positive thing, right?
But back to happiness.
Not the kind of crap in the movies.
The real thing, that disappears overnight sometimes.
But it can come back in the most surprising ways, right?
Like the day that you walk in the rain, and smile at a stranger.
And the child in the stroller holds your gaze.
And smiles back at you without guile.
Something to that, right?
Lack of judgment.
Or just stupid kid.
But still, happiness.
And probably no soundtrack playing in his or her head, right?
No need.
No intent.
No lie.

Monday, March 17, 2008

So been dealing with those damned boxes of papers again. Not getting easier- sorting and deciding. Do I need the title to the house I used to own? Is that like taxes- need to keep for 7 years to guard against bad luck, or something?

But the fun thing- found a trove of Kman's stuff. We had a great time trawling through it all- he is a very funny man, who once was a very funny boy. I am trying to convince him to let me share. But he is shy. In that way.

Also found my own trove of high school and grade school ribbons, play bills, awards, etc. What a lot of stuff. And all of the meaning pretty much faded. Stripped. Just a book of stuff.

And then I took a pill and went to bed. The end.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Overall she feels good most days.
It's hard to tell through the grey.
Everything is dulled by a scrim of grey.
Before, the colors were bright.
Before, the sky was blue.
Before, her feet could carry her across the globe.

Now she sits.
And feels good most days.
But the memory of the brightness is fading.
And she doesn't really notice.
It's part of the end.
And she didn't get a chance to read the last chapter.
It was written without her.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I love (not in a physical sense) my surgeon. He said my arm is improving like it should. He said the intensity of the pain is normal. He gave me Ambien. And more super strength Ibuprofen.

Why I am not fond of morning today. I took the Ambien. The end.

And now, my friends, I will go and prepare for work. Luckily it has kicked my ass again, with lots of extra hours babysitting problems into the evening. So I will have lunch with a mentor, and then leave. Ha HA, I say.

And perhaps, Peaky Beaky will be in my mailbox when I get home. Ah, the bliss. The total bliss.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ah, now the refrain- the pain, the pain, lord help us, the pain.

And sleep, sleep, ah, the little whore sleep won't visit anymore.

And no, I didn't buy any Girl Scout Cookies for Kman- he loves him the Thin Mints. If I'd known that we would have to visit every grocery store in the area on a quest once he found out they were on sale right now, I would've bought him every blasted box of the fucking things. But I didn't. I don't buy cookies. Not part of the diet plan, son. And the Girl Scouts are out of the Thin Mints. And Kman is sad. And for some reason, I DO feel like it's all my fault...I know, quit owning shit like that. But he is good.

Been in training for a couple of days, then hammered with all of the crap I didn't cope with whilst in training. And there you go. Not bad, really, but not great either.

I did have a moment of fun- and this will probably be an indicator that I am over the top insane, so confirmation, of what most have likely suspected.

There is a book that I loved when I was little. It was about birds. It had a yellow cover. It was really wonderful. And I couldn't remember the title, but have been on the lookout for it for over a decade at thrift shops and antique stores. I knew the publisher. But sure as hell wouldn't burden a book store employee with that very vague request- I remember having to try and figure those ones out (I am looking for a book about a dog, with a blue cover....right.). So the other day, when I was fiddle fucking around on the net, I found it. And I bought it. Spendy, a little. But it's wending its way to me right now.

PEAKY BEAKY. Fucking Peaky Beaky. I remember chanting that name because I thought it was funny when I was little. I remember loving that book beyond all others. And now it will be mine again! Cue the evil laughter....mwahahahahahahaha

Kman suggested that we turn our spare bedroom into a replica of my childhood bedroom, and fill it full of stuff I had when I was little. I told him we could likely get most of the furniture from my parents. So heave off. Then he laughed. My mother thought this was hilarious too. Feh. It's just a book. And it's the end of a decade-long quest. And I didn't lose my mind, the book did exist. And I didn't make an ass of myself in a bookstore looking for it. Only here. Always here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Was contemplating aging. Mainly because it's kind of what is going on for me. Whether I admit it or not.

So, regrets. Basically the only one I use to pummel myself at this point is that I was SUCH a dumbass for so long. It took me eons to get my shit together. And I could've accomplished so damned much if I had been more together earlier. And don't tell me that it isn't too late. That's not the point. Of course I am still alive, and have this opportunity, etc., etc.

I still regret time lost. Time wasted. And I AM the judge of that. No one else is quite as qualified. It really bugs the hell out of me.

Years, really. Of fruitless flinging myself at problems that were never mine to solve. Of aching over things that didn't belong to me. Of wanting certain relationships to be far richer than they could ever be, for reasons beyond my control. Of suffering under the illusion that I had any real control of elements beyond myself. Of being far too keyed up for my own good. Of being a general busybody, while neglecting my own shit. Of not understanding fully the ramifications of choices I made on a whim and a prayer. Of confusing reaction with choice. Of confusing emotion with reason.

I'm pretty sure I can make the list a hell of a lot longer. But I think you get it. I sure do. But the good news is that I think I have more of a handle on it all than I ever had before. Not to claim some kind of superiority or implacable sense of emotional maturity- but I do think I have more of a sense of clarity. And deliberation. And just plain confidence in my ability to parse it out.

But hell. Bloody hell. What a lot of wasted motion. And emotion. And time. That's the kicker, eh?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Not to complain, but anyway, I think I'll complain.

Whilst feeling groovy on the drugs, I had some fabulous ideas. Things I really wanted to write about. But was feeling tooooo....numb to get out of bed. And then they were gone. Making my empathy for Coleridge that much stronger. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan.....

Not that anything that I write would necessarily compare...but I thought it was pretty profound in my head.

And now I'm off the drug. Except for the Ibuprofen- and that is strictly reduced. Seems I do want my liver and kidneys to function fully. Might seem silly, but I think it's recommended.

Been having the most challenges with the sleeping. Gets uncomfortable in the middle of the night, when the drugs wear off and the aching starts. Positioning is fine- the PT helped with that- she's full of good suggestions. But the pain is still ready and waiting. Hot baths help. But the pain is still waiting. Ice helps. But the pain is still waiting.

And yes, probably being somewhat of a baby. But this is the most lingering ailment/injury that I have ever had. And it's quite remarkable, really. Something that's less than 3 square inches can cause such a tremendous ruckus. But then I suppose that could be said of a mouse. Or a bed bug. Why not a shoulder?

So, one of the major things I was thinking all about had to do with work, and career. Seems that most of the people I work among and with are a tad obsessive about work and career. Something about being over-achievers and all that. It rubs off. I don't think I can go back to being a slacker. Not easily. They are like that with almost everything you can imagine. Work, recreation, family...everything. Competitive. And it does rub off.

But I have made some different choices from them. And continue to do so. And am ok with that. The parts that rub off have more to do with pushing myself personally in a direction that I can really succeed in. Not allowing myself to bog down where I am at, despite it being very comfortable. Knowing up front that it is not forever. And that is not a bad thing. I've been using that collective energy to research and learn. Not done with that process yet by a long shot. And that's fine- one thing I have in my corner is time.

I've also been using that energy to rethink myself physically. Now I'm down 30 pounds for those of you who were keeping track. Got derailed on the momentum with the surgery, but was in the gym after PT on Tuesday (kicked my ass), and have permission to carry on with that. Didn't gain whilst laying around the house. Maintained. Good enough for me right now. But there is more to go. So that's that.

The energy is kind of bubbling up in other, unexpected ways. Like writing projects hitting me in the brain at work. Taking feverish notes to myself. Putting it on a backburner to simmer for a little longer. The best one is a project with Kman. And we are going to discuss more later today, whether he knows it or not. It has everything to do with a conversation about design that we had. And a manifesto. Because as Montanans, we are supposed to pen at least one manifesto in our lifetimes. Part of the contract.

Other than being preoccupied by shiny, sparkly things for a couple of percocet filled weeks, not much happened in my mind of import. For some reason, pain pills make me kind of itchy, unable to sleep, and seriously jonesing for sparkly, pretty things. No lie. All I wanted was to go shopping at Claire's. For sparkly pink bracelets. And sparkly pretty barrettes. And all I could think was, "what, am I 12??? WTF???" This effect was NOT listed in the side effects sheet. And I didn't act on it. Mainly because it didn't really occur until around 3:00AM. And the mall is closed.

This afternoon we visit the tax man. Think happy thoughts about refund checks, please.

Over and out.

Friday, March 07, 2008

So this week has been another one of having my ass handed to me. Physically and mentally. I was involved in planning and running a team offsite- late nights/very early mornings/being on call constantly. It was great fun, but those things just wipe me out.

During all that, PT intensified. So the shoulder was quite cranky on Wednesday. I had to take the vicodin that night. Which meant that I really didn't sleep. But whatever. It's all part of this particular process. Suck it up.

I have been paying attention to my online friends, though. Just silently. Understand- lots going on = little energy for everything else. Apologies.

Other than that, am taking a Career Day today- enjoying all of these internal career planning tools, and prepping for my mid year career discussion with the very nice bossman. Just want to strike the right tone and make sure I don't waste his time. And there you have it.

Tomorrow is tax day. Not much to say there. Send happy thoughts. And inspirational ideas for deductions.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mystery solved. It was the arugula.

If you are wondering what I am talking about- I'll fill you in.

A while back, I had a lovely mixed greens salad. I thought that the friend who made the salad had poisoned me- because I was sick for 3 days afterwards with what appeared to be severe food poisoning. But she didn't get sick. Hmmmmm. But seriously, the way that relationship turned out, she would've poisoned me...she was the type.

So about 3 months later I had a nice mixed greens salad during a business lunch. By the time I got to the office, I realized what a horrible mistake I had made. I had about 20 minutes to get home before I got sick, and was out for 4 days and required a prescription to shut down my body's violent antipathy towards the salad.

My dad suggested that I try and figure out what the exact culprit was. Good idea in theory, but I was never quite open to employing the scientific method and being sick for the better part of a week. Even though it is a remarkable diet plan.

Spinach and regular lettuce are fine in moderation. But must be eaten with other things. And cooked greens are no issue whatever.

So last night we were at a charity auction, and this salad appeared. It looked like spinach, so I took a bite- about 2 pieces of green. And discovered that it was definitely not spinach, but arugula. I didn't think much about it, as it was a minuscule amount, and I ate a pretty hefty dinner around it. But then....those distinctive "I am your tummy and not very happy with you right now" feelings started to kick in... So I drank more wine. Which had a lovely effect after 3 weeks of stone cold alcohol sobriety.

Nothing untoward happened at the auction. We had a pleasant time, but the experience didn't go away. About 2:00 AM, the message was more of a "now, seriously, I am displeased, and going to express that displeasure dramatically for a while" feeling.

And there you have it. It was the arugula. Mystery solved.

The end.