Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thank you and good night.

It’s what I feel like doing right now.  That would be collapsing, not reading.  Quite a lot of energy was expended walking to/from work and shoveling that GODT….DAMNED….DRIVEWAY!  My lower back doth protest too much. 

Sometimes I question why I bother trying to follow the rules.  I am definitely a Walter rather than a Donny or a Dude.  I’m just going to go with some ab work and then sleep.  That’s my rule for the evening, I’m following it and no one can fucking stop me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Good Day, Sunshine

Oh sunny day.  Well, warmer day anyway.  For a few moments this afternoon, it honestly felt noticeably warmer.  I mean warmer like I had visions of lawns and lakes and jazz floating through my head. 

The other thing that was nice about today was taking a class from my former teacher again.  That brought back memories of when I always tried to do my best in class, as if I was performing right then and there.  By coincidence, after class I read a quote online from someone insisting on calling himself Jim Norton who stated (to paraphrase) life is not a rehearsal.  We shouldn't just kind of call-it-in for a while always thinking that at some point in the future we’ll put this rehearsal to use.  It’s all really right now and every chance you get to do any activity that pleases you, you should do it.  I would add to that to not only do it, but do it to the best of your ability.  That’s something I didn't do during my last official performance and I feel bad about wasting people’s time.  They could have done something else with that 4 minutes but they chose to spend it watching me and I didn't give them the best I could do. 

Right now, I can only think of the Skinny Cow mint ice cream sandwich in my freezer.  I’m going to go eat it to the best of my ability.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On to the next year

I have now commenced with my 44th year.  Having finished 43 successfully (and I’ll measure success by still being alive and not in prison) then perhaps I shouldn’t try to fix something that’s not broken.  But something feels like it’s broken. 

 I feel like I need to figure things out, make decisions and then act, but I’m not sure if that sounds stupid.  Maybe I should stop making lists.  That may be too drastic.  I could list the pros and cons of not making lists and see how I feel about it and then revisit that decision in a few months.  Woohoo, taking action at it’s best.

I watched “The Big Chill” last night and secretly wished I could make everything all better by bringing a group of people together that I’ll pretend I was great friends with to share a weekend in a private house with a big kitchen and smoke dope all weekend.  I’m sure by Sunday afternoon, everything would be back in order. 

I was realizing last night how I am no longer good at the things I used to be good at.  It used to be that I could sit in front of a piano after years of not sitting in front of a piano and in only a few minutes, play just as well as I ever could.  I haven’t played in a while, but I’m scared to now after coming back to the oboe.  The oboe isn’t as easy as I remember.  I’m a hypocrite.  I preach practice but yet don’t when no one is looking. 

I should be of an age where I should stop feeling pressure from other areas.  I’m a little too much like my mother.  There is a very real need for me to stop freaking out and building up anger.  There is also a need for me to relinquish control over every aspect.  I have a plan, a redundancy protocol, and several backup plans.  That should be enough.  Telling the truth about what I’m thinking is also enough.  No need to paint different pictures or frame things for other audiences. 

Speaking of pictures, I hauled myself out of work specifically for the purpose of catching this view for posterity.  I also hauled myself out to avoid being mugged.    




Friday, May 11, 2012

I don't think I'm allowed back.

No one told me that I had to look down while walking from room to room INSIDE the house. I’m the youngest in the family so I’m not used to babies being given free range to just waddle from place to place without a bell on. It didn’t make any noise so how was I supposed to know it was sitting in the doorway from the kitchen to the living room, occupying the very spot of where I was and where I wanted to go? I didn’t mean to kick it in the face. I have to say though, it was like kicking a bag of flour except it came with a sickening feeling in my stomach because while I wasn’t sure what was on the floor I was sure that it wasn’t a bag of flour.

Amazing how all activity stopped and focused on me and the floor in front of me. It sure did start to cry then. Oh sure! Make all of the noise now AFTER I’ve hit you! You could have let out a little “goo” or something only 20 seconds earlier and you wouldn’t be feeling that stinging sensation in the middle of your face.

But it was bendy still, right? Most likely there wouldn’t be any damage like a cleft palate or an upturned nose. The teeth should still have all come in at a normal pace and in the normal spots. If I remember correctly, it was a boy and boys punch each other all the time so he should thank me today if he has the ability to really take a punch. And by the way, aren’t they supposed to be enshrined in some type of wheeled device with a little pouch thing to sit in? Wasn’t someone, like a close relative, supposed to be watching it?? Someone else was slacking off but I got the dirty looks.

And who puts a doorbell in the middle of a door?? It looked like a decoration, not an actual working part. Putting the doorbell in the middle of the door wouldn’t make any sense because you would have to open the screen door to get to it and you’re really not supposed to touch the door until someone comes to it after you’ve RUNG THE BELL LOCATED ON THE SIDE OF THE DOOR. So when I touched it, I was very surprised to hear a loud DING DONG which of course set off the two large dogs barking and woke up the dad who had just gotten home from the third shift.

Worst sleep over of my life. I wonder if Kari was allowed to have any more sleep overs after I left?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Excuse me, your cap is blocking my view of the sun.

Its graduation time and it always makes me feel like a failure.  Graduation means it’s time to reminisce and I go in reverse chronological order.  I’ll first remember that last year, I had this same feeling.  Then I’ll remember the first time I walked through all of the festivities outside of Northrup Hall as a staffer in 2006 (they don’t have as big to-do’s on the St. Paul campus).  It’s really hard not to get caught up in the feeling of happiness and excitement…for a moment.  Really, only about two seconds.  Then I remember how I gave up on graduation ceremonies for my second degree in 2003 due to the experience at the first college graduation in Duluth in 1993.  There were so many people I didn’t know and I couldn’t see my parents anywhere in the stands until I spotted my mom with the video camera who didn’t understand that I was motioning to her to record the speaker because she was the one person I did know.  My brother wasn’t able to make it, being wrapped up in Fed Ex goings-on in Memphis.  I made it to his graduation from UND in 1990, but it was much easier for me since it was more like a vacation.  I didn’t have to worry about a job, just finding time to not get behind in my freshmen classes.

My high school graduation ceremony in 1989 was attended by my mom, Grandma, and cousin Julie but missed by dad and brother.  Tom was on his way home from UND with his new girlfriend, Danelle and didn’t quite make it in time for the ceremony but more than made up for it at the grad party (much more fun anyway).  I can’t remember if I made it to his graduation in 1985, but I must have because I was 14 and would have been made to go.  I do remember the grad party though. 

Would you believe that I remember my 6th grade graduation?  I do because it’s the only grad ceremony that took place before the first real one from high school.  It was from Wilder in 1983.  It’s nice to have a gathering with classmates where an elder figure of respect mutters a statement of appreciation for us making it this far and then something about the future that will go over our heads, but let’s not get all crazy and turn it into an actual “ceremony”. 

During this particular trudge down self-loathing lane, I choose to skip over certain painful memories in order to concentrate on the ones more related to educational milestones in my life.   I chose to re-enroll in college in 2000 after spending Dec. 31st, 1999 under a plastic covering in a hotel restaurant doing my Controller duties making sure the horrible prophecies of 2000 wouldn’t hit my hotel’s financial system, at least without a good fight.  I decided that I wouldn’t spend another New Year’s Eve in that same position although now when I’m given the choice, I choose to stay home because I hate New Year’s Eve due to all of the crap I put up with while working in the hotel industry for 12 years.  At least it’s my choice and I’m very happy there on my couch and no one puking on my shoes.

My first degree in Business Admin was supposed to lead me to the top of the hospitality world, enshrining my name in the anals of Hospitality Management for generations to look back on.  Too bad I didn’t carve my initials into the cashier podium that night in 1999.  Then I could have kind of said that I reached my goal.

My 2nd degree in soil science was supposed to launch me into the freedom of scientific endeavors where I could study stuff and find answers to problems without ever having to work the 3rd shift.  Instead, it led me to realize that I couldn’t support myself in that field alone right away and had to “fall back’ on accounting again to pay the bills for awhile but got stuck there after people realized that I was good at helping people in scientific endeavors to solve problems where I am occasionally lectured by an overzealous co-worker hoping to show off his newly acquired knowledge as to what an Income Statement is even though I was working on them back when he was trying to figure out who to ask to the prom.  Speaking of prom….oh, I’ll get to that later.

In the midst of this self-depreciation, a few faces will pop into mind.  There are two people in particular that make me wonder how things would have turned out if only things could have been just a little different.  Person #1 will remain nameless because I said so.

I see his face as it was back then.  Big eyes, cleanly cut afro, incredibly strong and so so sweet.  He’d sit with me before gymnastics practice when I was in 8th grade.  In the Minneapolis Public School system, you could be on a high school team even in junior high as along as all of the proper paperwork was signed by legal guardians and you could actually get there in time after your school let out.  This could be true everywhere but I wouldn’t know because my schooling was confined to the Minneapolis public school system.  I always showed up early (as I still do to everything) and would just sit outside of the gym doors in those big, cold, uniquely smelling high school halls.  Interesting how the sizes of the hallways increase with the grade numbers.  They get wider and ‘heavier” as you move up the grade ladder.

One day during our chat, I causally mentioned that I was in a class with his younger brother.  Being the smart person he is, he quickly deduced that in order for me to be in a class with his 8th grade brother, I would have to be in 8th grade myself.  At this point, if he could have turned white, he would have.   See, he was going to ask me to prom because he thought that I was a junior.  I, of course, was thrilled!  He, of course, was horrified.  I wish that would have worked out because he has turned out to be a modern-day, real life super hero.  I read about him every now and then in the newspapers and am reminded that I at least had a few sweet moments where I knew him well and that there may be people in the world that will never meet him, and that’s too bad….for them.

His younger brother inherited that ‘wonderful’ gene.  Younger brother used to make me laugh harder than anyone else at Folwell Jr High.  Whenever I was scared and wanted to hide, I would think of him and feel safe, even though it was just in my mind.  I guess feeling safe is the start of being safe….wait, no it’s not. 

Younger brother has chosen a more out-of-the-limelight path so I’ve never read anything on him in the newspapers, although I think he’s living in a suburb and is married.  When I realize that the odds are he is married, a part of my chest sinks in since a part of my brain wants it to be true that he’s still hoping that he may see me again one day when, at which point, he’ll propose and I’ll accept, after reviewing his financials of course.  No sense in taking on more debt. 

I used to not get why parents always cried at things like graduation ceremonies.  I now think it’s partly because they may be looking back and thinking about all of the earlier goals that never quite saw the light of day.  It’s not about you, it’s about them.  It also doesn’t just happen to parents, it happens to everyone so stifle your “you don’t understand because you’re not a parent” comments.   There’s one goal I did reach…not having kids.  Whew.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can't sleep....again.

I recognize this restless feeling while trying to fall asleep, it means I have to get up for awhile and figure out what's bugging me.

My birthday is coming up - which I think is the real sleep-stealing culprit here - and I've been thinking a lot lately about dreams. I, like every other kid everywhere, had many fantastical dreams. Very action-oriented, specific, with location, costuming, set-design, colors, people, etc. For instance...

I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. Not just a Solid Gold dancer, but THE dancer, Darcel. It didn't matter that I was the wrong color, I wanted that hair and that strength, that arch in my back, those "lines" as their called. I liked the idea of arriving at a studio in comfy yet trendy clothes and warming up in a cold room.

I also wanted to be a New York. Not just so I could play piano, but so that I could whisk between a cab and a theater door as if it's just a few minutes before the time I'm scheduled to be there, never late though.

I then wanted to be a chemist because of all the pretty crystal-like structures I saw while watching "Superman" in the school library from a top-loading VCR player. I went home and pretended that my electric curlers were little vials of stuff. This dream later morphed into becoming a chemical engineer after I read an article in 1989 about the highest paying positions (chemical engineer was at the top).

The Cat is restless too. He usually doesn't meow at me this much or try to kill my foot that's hidden under the blankets. He usually tries that in the morning when I'm tyring to oversleep.

That reminds me, I used to dream of having a pet tiger. Not a Bengal tiger, although they're the prettiest; I wanted the biggest - a Siberian. It would jump around the living room on the unrealistic sectional sofa while I wore this super cute thermal underwear set that was black with thin colored lines that I saw in a Yougn Miss layout when I was in 7th grade (I told you, set- design, etc.)

Sometimes I would get a little vague about a main idea but really nail the details, like the dream about being AN ADULT with a job during daylight hours where I wore my favorite pink sweater to work and had my hair braided down my back and lived in my house (my parents, of course, had long moved out) that was filled with bean bags and really large floor pillows. I don't know where the tiger was at this point.

Fast-forward to today; I have Darcel's hair and have received a "very strong" comment on my dancing, I'm not an official pianist but I can make my computer keyboard sing and while I never "whisk", I am never late; I don't own that super cute thermal set but I have about 5 different other super cute thermal sets (sometimes it's as if Victoria Secret reads my mind!) and I often jump around my living room with my orange tabby cat. Please refrain from calling me a crazy cat lady because I only have one and he's way better at catching mice than I am. I guess, in a way, my dreams did come true.

I better think up some new ones so when I can't flall asleep when I'm 80, I"ll have something to ponder.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

WARNING: Do not read this while eating...

Today’s headlines seem to be all about last year’s headlines. I was trying to find something fun to write about while eating my chicken chow mein lunch. Unfortunately, my lunch contains one piece of chicken that looks as if it may have some feather residue on it. The problem with this, among so many obvious problems, is that I work for a center that studies influenza, including Avian influenza. What initially makes me apprehensive about digesting this particular piece of chicken is my gut reaction to catching H5N1 from eating this…oh, and that feathers taste yucky.

Having a moment to sit back, I’m able to calmly remember that H5N1 (like all influenza strains) is transmitted from the virus being transported out of the human carrier into the new victim’s eyes, nose or throat via saliva or mucus (Isn’t this fun meal-eating reading material?) Birds tend to store the virus in their guts. I’m not attempting to eat the gut so therefore, my possibly feathered chicken will not transmit the H5N1 virus…if it had it to begin with. None of this is getting through to my stomach which is currently rejecting the possibility of this item entering its boundaries.

I’ve also worked in a soil and plant testing lab and have specifically worked on feathers. Feathers are tested for chemical properties by first being ground up into dust-like particles. I can tell you that it takes a long time to grind up feathers into dust-like particles. I further know that the chemical make-up of feathers includes pretty colors like magnesium, sodium, calcium and iron. Following this logic, if I were to go ahead and force down the chicken, it’d be like taking a daily supplement. My stomach is still not buying it.

I have eaten the veggies and little hard noodles and actually some chicken. I just can’t get myself to eat the rest of the chicken. I’m really glad I have an emergency container of soup in my filing cabinet. That and there’s a few Christmas cookies left in the copy room.

Shoot, the soup is chicken with stars.