Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fuc- you, Neil Kramer

We still blog.

It's not always nice.

It's not always what you want your mom to see.

Or you pastor.

Or your friends.

We hide stuff here, expecting that those who find it are looking for what in some odd way we crafted to appear.

We do not SEO.

We wrench, sob, filter, wipe, stretch, galvanize, sip, dip, ache, sweat, doubt, grind, celebrate, wonder, curse, pray, believe, accept.

We do this.

No apologies.

No need to kite the message.

(except of course, to my My FB close friends, who I've posted this to, but if you're not then then hello,  I am sometime offensive)

And to Neil, who prompted this.  Thanks  for reminding me why I still do this.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Weird hobbies and one thing I won't do

This is my admission:  I have a couple of weird hobbies.  Can you call 'watching offbeat YouTube videos' a hobby? 

I could help her with this.
If so, then yes, I have some weird hobbies.  I like watching videos of weave installs (I'm getting familiar with the industry lingo and have seen some great and some terrible results), makeup tutorials, and 18-century cooking (both in battlefield situations and in a regular Germanic-style kitchen).  I can make up your face, sew in a closure, and make vermicelli pudding for you if you want!  I'm practically an expert!

One other little thing I like to do is peruse the Wake County arrest photos on the local teevee station's website.  It pays to be able to know who the local miscreants are!  While scrolling through the mugshots, I'll try to guess their age and crime.  It's surprising how often I'm wrong on the age things, esp. for arrestees who are older than about 25.  There are some rough-looking folks out there who, it appears, have been knocked around by life. 

Just a little while ago, I was doing the weekly scroll, and noting that it was mostly drug stuff, or breaking and entering (popular with the under-20 crowd), or DWI stuff.  Then I came upon a mug shot of this slim, sort of sad-looking young man with bleached dreads and I thought 'Oh my goodness, whatever could he have done wrong?  He looks kind of sweet.' which is why I would make a horrible detective, because this kid had one word in his arrest notation: murder.  MURDER!  You just don't see that every day around here. 

I have had some murderous thoughts in my past, I will say that much.  The thought of actually DOING it though would give me much pause.  Crafting a back-story and a good alibi would take a lot of work, don't you think?  By that I mean that if I was going to commit murder, I'd want to be able to get out of it if arrested.  Innocence is a pretty high hurdle to get over if you're going to become homicidal, which is why I've never done so.

Clearly this kid didn't think his cunning plan all the way through.  Murder.  That's pretty harsh, dude.

He should have maybe stuck with 'AWDW' and 'posses SCH1' or something a little less...desperate, maybe.  Get in a little trouble, go away for a while, come out and maybe your problem person would have been 'taken care of' by someone else.  But wow.  Murder.

Perhaps I dwell on this too much, but one can't help but wonder what leads people to such actions.  The father that drowned his children, the person who commits murder then suicide, the person who kills to get into a gang - did they at some point stop to think 'man, this is messed up, I need to get help'?  When does killing someone become the BEST option?

That also goes for the death penalty, BTW.  I really think prisoners who are jailed for terrible crimes should fester away in prison for the rest of their lives, no hope of parole.  Just stick 'em in the can and leave 'em.  With books.  And a job to do.  And one jar of Nutella a year, to show them what they're missing, because on the outside, you can have Nutella pretty much whenever you want.

So, I guess this is to say that even IF you make me really really mad, I probably won't kill you.  I'll probably just get all thoughty and metaphysical and introspective, THEN maybe clang you in the head with a pot to show you how mad I am. 

My gift to you.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ayy dee aich dee and why I can't complain too much longer about the cafeteria at work.

Many years ago, and it's nearly twenty years now, I gave birth to a wonderful, healthy, gorgeous, baby boy.

I was overwhelmed with love.

He has been an amazement to me ever since, with an open heart, curious mind, beautiful spirit, and love for all.

As he grew, he became an amazement in many other ways.  Walking into walls, for example.  Or having no regard, really, for his corporeal shell.  Or his curiosity that got in the way of more practical and mundane things.  Inability to turn in homework while simultaneously learning all he could about computer games and objects of interest.

Today, perhaps 14 years too late, we got a reason for his continued struggle with All Things Onerous:  ADHD, of the inattentive type.

Boy scores off the charts in verbal and language skills, is competent in maths and abstract thinking, and jumps off the ledge of average into an abyss of 'oh dear' for organization and task ordering.

That's his brain.  We should have figured it out long ago, but his ability to rally against his shortcomings gave us annual hope that somehow, some way, he'd 'gotten it' and would become as self-motivated as any 'regular' person and not stuggle with generating the 'want to' that both his Dad and I seem to also lack when it comes to Stuff We Don't Want To Do, Necessarily.

Yeah,  we might be smart people, but we're also really really stupid, it seems.  Parental blindness might be a real thing.

So, now he's gotten an ID, has a plan, and in addition to learining more about his condition through education will likely be going on some meds soon (after consult with his physician and using the lovely 16-page testing report as a guide) to attack this issue and therefore ensure that he has the success in his future he deserves.

Breaks my heart to have waited this long.  Some problems don't fix themselves. But now?  Maybe we can help him truly realize the potential in his big beautiful noggin and soul.

Then use those lessons learned to evaluate my issues.  For they are legion.


Also, I got a new job.  First day is 12 October. 

I have 2.5 weeks to complain about the foodservice at my current job site.

Today's gripe: pasta salad that looks like it ought to taste good, but instead tastes like soap.  Second time in 2 weeks.  I didn't believe it could happen a second time.  Fooled me!  Haha!

I think I'll just eat boiled eggs and yogurt from this point on.

Until 12 Oct, that is.  Then it's grazing from the 'fridge for me, because my new job takes place at my kitchen table, where I can look at the birdies at the feeder and watch the sun glaze the room in many hues and moods as it traverses the blue arc above.


Tiff out.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

There's no sense quitting now

A couple of nice things have happened to me lately that I'd like to share with you, because now, instead of being a tired-out old crust of a woman with a soul as bitter as a cup of Starbucks extra-dark, I'm all about sweetness and light and scraping the saucy savory bits of life from the bottom of a love-deglazed cast-iron life, baby.

Thing the first:  As every lady of a certain age should do as often as her personal physician tells her to, I recently went for my yearly mammmmmmogrammy.  Oh, yeah, having those cold cold plates of....plastic (not so cold) press the boobage into impressively wide and long extra-large pancakes is an annual rite I would NOT miss, though mostly because the radiology office is relentless in reminding me of the obligation and I'd hate to disappoint them because they are so eager.

I don't mind the squooshing so much, my gals are not so very sensitive that I feel close to crying out in pain at the ultimate smooshery levels, and in fact I like looking at the pics when the schmashing is done.  There's all MANNER of stuff in there, like fat and muscle and fibrous tissue - it's weirdly pretty and fascinating to be able to take a peek into what's below the dermis.

OK, so that's not the 'nice' thing I'm talking about; the nice thing is the letter I got in the mail a few days later, letting me know that there is no sign of breast cancer in either Lefty or Righty.  Hooray!!  Even though there's no history of breast cancer in my family (that I'm aware of), it's still a reason to celebrate.  Any woman can relate to this: you don't really have a reason to worry, but when you're told you don't HAVE to it can take a load off. 

Then there was Thing the Second:  I got a very nice note from a colleague praising me and thanking me for the hard work I put in rewriting a couple of reports in his area of expertise.  Not MY area, mind you, but his.  It was like walking into a dense forest and aiming for the occasional clearings at first, trying to understand what his works take-home messages were, but after a while I was stumbling around in more shade than in shadow, and eventually into the light, which I could then shine on his bottom line (hee!), for which he was much appreciative.

Getting a 'thank you' note at work is really truly meaningful.  I should send more of them.  It made me happy for a whole day.  Especially when the writer includes the target's boss on the message.  It's like sending an extra-special gift, that is.

I've been rather more sunny since those things happened.  Which is good, because I've sort of been in a rut lately, and maybe so overwhelmed with things that I do nearly none of them.  Getting a bit of good news is like handing a kid a kite on a windy day - you can't feel bad about something like that.

Hope your days are looking up as we head into the blessed cooler days of Fall,

Tiff out.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The hazards of working from home, and why I might just be the most boring person ever

My job involves a computer and access to data and templates and sometimes people and a calendar and all the modern trappings of a corporate paper-shuffler's dream.

Read:  I can work at home when I want.

If I have meetings and such, I will go in to the office to put in some 'face time,' and to escape from the loving clutches of the Tiny House, if only so I can return at the end of the day with a sigh of happiness to be free of the world.  I don't MIND going in so much as I LOVE being home.

Isolation isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just make you much less apt to:
  • Change out of PJs until it's either time to go run errands or a family member is due to come home
  • Shower
  • Want to go, anywhere
  • Talk to people

Pretty much a terrific, wouldn't you agree?  Sit around at home stewing in my own juices until I have to go out, at which time I may or may not shower, then put on some of my favorite ratty clothes, venture out for necessaries, then run home quick to the hospitable quiet environs of home.  Wherein I complete whatever tasks I have on hand with a minimum of noise, fuss, or bother.

On days I have to go into the office?  Oh, Lordy.  It's a process.  I have to shower, COMB MY HAIR, put on office- acceptable clothing, brush my dang teeth (OK, I do that anyhow, but sometimes not until after lunch if I'm at home.  I know,  EWW), and then drive 45 minutes to the building in which my cubicle is planted.  Then I have to talk to people, listen to them talk to one another, smell their lunches and coffee, pray the 'good stall' in the bathroom is open when I need to use it, and manage to sit at my desk doing stuff for at least 5 hours until I can spring myself from society and drive the 45 minutes back home, avec happy sigh on pulling into the driveway.

I may have problems with social stuff.  IT'S WHO I AM.  No judging from you.

The question is: is the job (ie, working at home a lot) making me more boring and unsocial, or was I that way already and the tendency is just now manifesting itself like a genie released from a cubicle-shaped bottle?

This, along with the previously mentioned life stage of Not Being Busy People, is causing me to question whether or not I truly AM the most boring person ever, of if I should just embrace my love of all things solitary and recommence trying to memorize all the episodes of Star Trek TOS in order and coming up with new ways to cook with chicken.

Near-future career options have me believing that come the end of this year, I'll be moving on to ground beef and Dr. Who, but more on that later.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

We are not busy people, right now

There are two questions that are asked at the Tiny House nearly every night, lately:

1) What do you want to do with the evening? and

2) What do you want for dinner?

Y'all? Busy people do NOT ask those questions.

For example, parents of young children know PRECISELY what they are going to be doing in the evening, from the moment they wake up in the morning. It rarely varies from:

Person A) get home, dump the kid's stuff, feed them dinner (choices are chicken nuggets, fish sticks, mac n' cheese, or PB&Js), bathe them, read to them, tuck them in, eat dinner, collapse; or

Person B) dig stuff out of daycare bags, wash what needs washing from that bag, empty dishwasher, do general kitchen chores (including maybe starting dinner for the adults), dry kids off, kiss their widdle heads, eat dinner, collapse.

I get tired just thinking about it, and that's the 2-person list! Imagine what single moms of very young children go through!!

As another example, parents of kids on sports teams or similar activities. They're not lounging around at home wondering what to pull out of the freezer to thaw and eat, oh no. They are carting kids to and fro and fro and to, helping to coach or serving on a committee, picking up fast food for dinner because practice ran long (again), researching the best equipment to buy or private teacher to engage, handing out uniforms or riding the bus to the game, raising money and hustling the behind-the-scenes action to ensure that everything goes off without hitch when it's 'go' time.

(Now, I've been these people. Most nights, at least early on, the notion of an idle evening with 'Nothing on the Program' was just a faraway dream. But that is the role of those days. Busy-ness is the norm.)

I must point out that there is another class of Busy People. These folks find busy-ness outside of the kid-intense days of parenting! They are signed up for book clubs and yoga classes and arts and crafts sessions and gym classes and plan out when they're going to entertainment venues and fill their days and nights with action, action, action. These people (confession time!!!) I do NOT understand, but will admit they exist. Like unicorns, or old white convertible VW bugs (the legendary '4 pow!'), they are rare, but enough evidence exists to know they are real. They do not have time to ask the two questions, because they have to be at the gym in 26 minutes so will just grab a smoothie on the way, thanks and let's do lunch.

But we, we former busy people of the Tiny House, have hit a moment of doldrum in life's waters, it would appear. We ask the questions every night and come up, on a regular basis, with the same plan - cook something long and involved and then go watch Star Trek. Now, it's not a BAD plan, mind you, but it is the kind of thing that Not Busy People would do as a fall-back plan. Busy People, on the other hand, grab Chipotle and meet their buds for a Appletini before going home to download four podcasts to listen to on their commute. Start Trek? Please. Busy folks are so over that, unless it's ironic or they are researching a Halloween costume that none of their friends will recognize, which is also kind of ironic.

The point of all this is to say that mentioning this 2-question reiterative lifestyle is not a complaint. It is an observation only, and one I'd like to be reminded of in the near future, because Life is about to git us up and going again. Biff's band is going to start regular practices again, the new site for church is going to need a lot of attention (and, once again, I'm leading a team for the launch and beyond while Biff will be rocking out on stage), we're going to be leading a small group discussion for 'seekers and questioners,' and there is some kind of strange plan to initiate a workout program (that's my idea, I've not yet discussed it with Biff). Rather than moping about our doldrums, then, I am planning to relish them, because as sure as poop goes through a goose, our days are going to start a faster and furious-er pace into which these long evenings of summer will rapidly recede into distant memory. We shall be Busy People once more, but probably with way fewer Appletinis (make mine a bourbon on the rocks!) and way more Star Trek.

And look! It's nearly 6 p.m. as I write this. Better go pull something out of the freezer and find a complicated recipe before it gets too late to work in Start Trek.

Tiff out.