Friday, August 29, 2014


August?  Unlike the Internet, you let me down a little bit.

But that's OK August, because you did not completely let me down.

  • I may not have lost one pound this month.  
  • I may have gotten the flu, had a faulty air conditioner and maintenance on the apartment most of the month causing me to be completely unable to stick to any sort of diet or workout plan. 
  • The worries of the world where people value their own preconceived notions of race over actual human beings might have made us not want to be a human being anymore.
  • We may have lost Robin Williams.
  • We may have had deaths in our families.
  • We may not even have taken one photo of our days so you didn't get to see a whole month of creamsicles, sweaty lazing about, and fights that usually started with, "Don't touch me!"

That only means one thing.

September is going to have to pick up the rest of your slack.

The cool thing is?  I already have September planned out meticulously.

September Week 1 - After ending office with a dinner with friends, only a three day work week, and then three days of sun, fun, and beach at Maryland's tackiest ocean getaway, Ocean City, Maryland.

Two of my favorite people have birthdays that week so I'm going to try to send something their way or drop by to see them or somehow make plans with them.


September Week 2 - On Mondays and Wednesdays at 7pm I will be taking Zumba (Plus Toning) classes. I'm not sure with who. But I've paid for them and everything -- $65 for 7 weeks of hopefully not falling down and spraining my ankle.

I think toning is a really dumb and sexist word. I am not a laser jet printer, I am a woman with muscles. Why not call it strength training like everyone else?

September Week 3 - I might be traveling up to Delaware to meet an old LiveJournal/now Facebook friend for her birthday. Many many excites.

September Week 4 - On top of taking Zumba classes, this week I will get to go to Jury Duty. I promise to take lots of photographs until they tell us we cannot!

September Week 5 - I get to spend a whole day at a training class in a hotel.

So the best part about September? An inordinate amount of time off work without me having to take a lot of leave. I hope I get picked for a trial and everything. Then if I get picked I can get away from my coworker who has the table habits of Indiana Jones: (In case video doesn't show, it's here:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eating My Feelings

Me: Psst. Hey, Jenny, you're supposed to blog today.

Jenny: Ugh, why? I blogged yesterday.

Me: Because you'll feel better. You always feel better after you get your thoughts out instead of bottling them up in your tummy and then eating your feelings.

Jenny: But I eat my feelings anyway. 

Me: Good point. How about eating your feelings while you blog?

Jenny: Sounds like a plan, chica.

Me: No. Don't be that person.

I'm a little tender today. There's been a death in my family. I had a bad argument with my husband last night. I'm hopped up on NyQuil and DayQuil. I feel like a really bad friend, a bad person, a bad everything. I feel like a lizard killed and smeared on the bottom of a sneaker, my colors squashed and my guts spilled everywhere. And that lizard wants everyone to know how much everyone meant to her. And that lizard was just trying to do her job, just trying to get through the day, just wanted love and friendship and not to feel so tired all the time. And pie.

I had the best pie the other day that wasn't a pie. It was a Pop Tart. Actually, it was a cookies and cream Pop Tart. But it was so good that it was as good as pie. I could use some real pie though. I like lemon pie. Also french toast.

 I tried to make french toast in a mug using the microwave last night because I saw it on Buzz Feed. It was extremely disgusting and a total waste of time. French toast should always be made in the oven or the griddle and nowhere else. Or maybe over an open fire with a stick. Actually I might try that sometime.

Something I won't try again any time soon? Crowdsourcing people for hair ideas. Proof that nobody loves me: I posted a poll on my Facebook? And I was the only one who voted on it. Except for a Twitter person:

One time I burned my eyebrows. I was trying to light my father's kitchen stove. He has a gas stove that's tricky and you have to turn it a certain way or it won't light. I let the gas accumulate too long and a flame roared past my face and burned my eyebrows.

As I get older I wish I could burn other people. I used to be this person who loved everyone and now I wish everyone would shut up. I keep wondering if perhaps I have always been this way but that I used to hide these feelings behind a human layer of shame and guilt. I no longer feel that shame and guilt.  Instead I just wish people would not talk with their mouth full. Is that too much to ask, pigface?

 I suppose I feel a little bit better.  I am reminded that I really like food a whole lot.  I am glad that I have access to food. I would probably eat a bug if it was marshmallow wrapped, caramel coated, and chocolate covered. Serve that shit on a graham cracker and it's a roach smore, bitches.

Happy Little Friday. Go link up if you must.

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kitty Litter, Bangs, and Self-Improvement

Things I am thinking of doing:

Moving the cat litterbox. It's currently in the dining room.  The dining room is a room where I constantly fantasize about having dinner but don't in case Annie needs to make poops.

But where? It used to be in the bedroom but the distracting sound and smell of her making poops in the night would ruin my life. Behind the couch? But people sit there. Out in the middle of the living room?  Do people do that? How about in the kitchen?  Is that unsanitary?  Where do we move her food dish then? And do I really want more reasons for her to be underfoot while I'm cooking?

Bathroom is too small.

I've thought of doing the coat closet when we first come in.  It's currently filled with large shipping boxes and shoes instead of coats.  We could move those. We could put a nice Scentsy lamp in there. To be fair, it only smells right after she's gone to the bathroom. When she covers it with litter the smell goes away. I just don't want to watch/smell her poop where we should eat.

Bringing back the half moon fringe. When I started the blog I was sick to death of my long brown hair with blunt fringe and being compared to Zooey Deschanel. This was because I wanted to be appreciated as my own person and I did not want to be compared to someone else. The problem is, though, I am at that stage of growing out my bangs where they're hanging by my jowls.  I'm not into that whatsoever. So I might be doing a half moon fringe tutorial in the next day or so and you'll get to see me mess up my hair even more.

That's right, I am going to DIY my hair right here, on this blog, for you to witness. It's all very inspiring.

Stop comparing myself to other people. I am a 32 year old office assistant in Annapolis who likes to wear dresses and doesn't always shave her legs. I am tired of being jealous of other people for their amazing supermodel, super social, super important lives. I do believe that I need to change as I want to keep growing as a person, but growing as a person does not mean being threatened because your coworker is taking accelerated classes when you just took a hiatus from school to treat your mental health problems, or looking at every other 32 year old out there and wondering why they're in management positions and you are not. I am still the youngest one in my section doing my job, so age is meaningless. Why do I keep doing this? It is not help me grow. It will not help me figure out what it is I want out of life.

I love this girl. Her lyrics remind me so much of Loretta Lynn and Jewel and they hit me hard.

My wish is that I do these things sooner rather than later.  I hate dwelling in a place of procrastination, indecision, and fear over trivial things like kitty litter, hair, and self-improvement. 

Oh and that I stop coughing. My lungs and throat are so raw. 

Love the Here and Now

Monday, August 25, 2014

Struck Dowb Id Da Pribe Ub Libe

Help I am dying and
my grown-out bangs
look really awkward.
I started out my weekend with expectations of rest and relaxation, hoping for lots of photos of me frolicking in the grass with leaves and flowers.

Instead I got the flu. Since I couldn't even get out of bed I binge watched Too Cute on Netflix while sleeping because I'm a multitasker, and was told by my husband that my hair looked amazing after I washed it and let it dry while passed out cold in bed. Apparently the hair on the left is considered amazing hair. I'm not convinced.

As I was convinced death was around the corner, I realized this was the perfect time to watch horror movies. So I watched Carrie which distracted me enough from my flu that I guess my fever broke.  

These were my thoughts while watching Carrie:

1. Why is there so much nudity in the locker room? Seriously, most locker rooms people stay clothed and then undress in the shower.

2. Oh my goodness, I have a sister-in-law named Kari and her maiden name is White. What in the actual fuck?

3. Oh boo-hoo, I have to work out every day or I can't go to prom. These days those drills would be considered Prom Bootcamp so those bitches could fit into their little cotillion dresses. 

4. Sissy Spacek could use some mascara and eyeliner. The whole blonde eyelashes thing is scarier than the movie itself.

5. Matilda totally ripped off Carrie.  Both are abused girls with teacher mentors who have telekinesis and end up getting revenge on their tormentors. 

6. It had to be pigs blood.  They couldn't just go with red paint or something that did not mean slaughtering a pig?

7. I could go all day without seeing anyone unconvincingly suck off John Travolta.

8. It really seemed like they were trying to imply that the gym teacher was a lesbian a little bit.

9. Instead of trying to make Carrie feel included by giving her a pity date to the prom, why not, I don't know, try to be her actual friend before she gets molested by her gym teacher?

10. This cinematographer really liked fire, because in the book the deaths were more blood related and not fire related. 

My husband went to the store to get some things and he came back with all of the wrong things.

For example? I asked for Lysol Disinfectant Spray?  He got the shower tile stuff.

I didn't have the energy to argue, so I just went with it.

Meanwhile I have very few real friends because only my real friends helped me in my darkest hour, and that was when I needed a key to get to the next world in Pet Rescue Saga, and one of those was my husband.  The other two were Rachel and Joey, and Rachel lives really far away. And my husband didn't do it until Sunday night after I begged all of my friends several times. Not really feeling the love.

I like link-ups though and I will link up with my friend Ember Grey again who thinks the VMA's are slutty. Hey someone had to say it! I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOUR RANDOM UNPOPULAR OPINIONS EMBER GREY WHETHER I DISAGREE OR NOT.

Grateful Heart Linkup w/ Ember Grey

So here's what I am grateful for:
1. Macaroni and Cheese ... or really Rotini and cheese because elbow macaroni is such a waste.

2. My husband who puts up with me and thinks I'm gorgeous at odd times.


4. That my flu was only temporary and did not happen during my upcoming weekend at Ocean City or on a work day since I'm low on sick leave.

5. Cats.

Go link up.  I'll be here, buried under a mountain of work and wishing my coworker would chew with her mouth closed. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jenny Tries: 5 Ingredient Mac and Cheese

A few weeks ago a friend of mine shared this DIY Buzzfeed article on 3 ingredient recipes and one of them mentioned macaroni and cheese.

And they pointed to this article which kind of shows you how.  It's not loading up for me now, but it basically said use 2 cups milk, 2 cups pasta, and 2 cups cheese.  You simmer the 2 cups milk and 2 cups pasta for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then you stir in the cheese.  

I tried it and it was okay.  Not my favorite. I didn't know what temperature to keep my stove on and I ended up ruining the dish and spent the rest of the evening scraping out my pot and eating the cheesy burnt remnants.

Then I tried this article and it was much much better. I used a bit more cheese than what they call for in the recipe. What really sells it is the cayenne pepper and the mustard in the recipe. Also keeping the stove on low until the milk is more of a creamy sauce and stirring constantly instead of walking away from the dish on accident and checking Twitter helped immensely. I "healthed" it up with whole grain rotini, fat free cheese, and skim milk. Actually, skim milk is in this recipe. That's how I found it. 

There was a weird blackish milk skin at the bottom of my pan as I finished the dish that I had to get rid of.  I have no idea why that was there or why the recipe blog did not cover that.  Did I do something wrong?

Anyway, let's hear it for recipe bloggers who marry their best friends and create recipes for four that me and my husband split in one sitting.  Oh my goodness. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back In The Day - The First Photo With My Husband

Take it all in, un-doctored.  At least not since 1999 when I scanned it in and saved it.

The mom jorts with the stupid red hand prints on them.

The 1998 bejeweled rhinestone choker.

The photo of me with a very flattering facial expression when everyone jumps out and says, "Surprise!"

My future husband, who I had been dating for two months, is the boy standing behind me.  This was our first photo together. He sort of spoiled the surprise the day before and told me this was a picnic with my family and I fell for it. We broke up that night because I like ruining lives.

Only one other friend showed up to my own party because my mom did not invite anyone else from my peer group.  Instead it was all of my cute little cousins and my aunts there to love and embarrass me.

I have to say that this was my idea of a nightmare. I was at the peak of being on the highest dose of antidepressants Prozac and Wellbutrin and wondering why I was getting worse instead of better. I had not done well in school the previous semester. That backyard?  Was not my backyard. It would grow to be my backyard, but we had just moved to that home and I was angry about it. I had been asleep the whole ride over which took over an hour and I was not in the mood to party.

I would be sixteen a week later and I spent the day sitting on the couch all alone and sad with no friends. I had grown up with all these dreams of how I would spend that day with both of my parents, my best friends, my boyfriend, and that's it. There was this property along the Chesapeake Bay where my parents used to party.  It was surrounded with trees and in the center the grass had worn away into a dirt path. As a child my family and their friends would take their pick up trucks and tents and we would camp there. What I had wanted was one last camping trip with those I cared about. Instead my parents were divorced and I felt out of control. I was not even able to plan my own party.

Ah. Teenage angst. Poor spoiled me. People I loved cared enough to bake cakes for me and drive hours to my new house and love me and I wasn't having it. And instead of enjoying it I was too busy wondering why my boyfriend was not having a good time, feeling like I had to play hostess.  I was not comfortable until everyone left and then I felt like a failure for not having enjoyed myself.

Now that I am older my idea of a perfect birthday is broken up into bits and pieces the way my life is. I see several people separately, or not at all. This year for my thirty-second birthday (June 28th) I had a small celebration with my husband, my mother, and my stepfather at the same house I spent it sixteen years ago. I could not have asked for a more stress-free, relaxing birthday where I felt comfortable, loved, and purely happy.

We played Dominoes.

We ate crabs.
And then my mother made me say goodbye to my birthday balloon because she is a weird freak who does not care about the environment.  But it looked kinda cool so I took photos.

Let's join another link-up.  I can always spend my weekend commenting and reading new blogs!

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Local Blogger Flew Away Today on A Balloon Into The Sky

I don't take a lot of time in my life to dream. A lot of my life constantly moves at a pace faster than I would like. By the time I have time to wish something, that something has either already happened or it is too late for it to happen. The only time I get to wish lately is if I am complaining. I am happiest usually when I am not wishing and enjoying what I have.

When I checked websites for local chorales this weekend, my pulse quickened and a feeling a true dread inked its way through my blood. I closed my laptop and told myself I would not do it, that it was not what I wanted when the truth was it was desperately what I wanted.

Hello, adrenaline. How can I make friends with you to turn you into motivation to conquer these fears?

I am afraid to be disappointed and to make serious wishes.  This is the first one I have taken seriously before. Usually when I end up wishing I do it begrudgingly and for something totally ridiculous and unattainable like this:

I'm the realest.

And if I get my wish I become overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I think of all the things that could go wrong and it feels like all the wrong things are already happening to me instead of all the right things.

So what I really wish for is courage.  Courage not to fly away this time and to do the work and see this dream through to the end. Courage not to escape with excuses and jokes. 

Joining yet another link up.  That means two link ups worth of blog posts I'll get to read throughout this week. It's become a fun little way to play internet!

Love the Here and Now

I'll fly away. Oh Glory. I'll fly away in the morning. If I die, hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Claiming My Space, Body Love, Having a Voice, And Protecting My Family

Tuesday.  My heart is weary still. I gear up to face the doubts in my head, the imperfections, the bad hair and the cat crap.I live my life in fear.  I live my life in fear of my dreams, in fear of rejection.

Well, no more.

I am here to claim my space. 

In a world full of others' opinions, I refuse to wear them, to live with them, to make them mine.

Here are the rules of claiming my space.

1. Body Love. I get to love my body in a world of people who might not love my body, in a world of people who feel the need to comment on my body.  I have to say this: my body is not yours to love. I get to look in the mirror, look in the camera, and say, "That is the girl who can run a 5K, the girl who enjoys both Cheetos and spinach (because fuck kale), both strawberry Pop Tarts and actual strawberries like any other normal human being."  And the zit on my nose and the break in my hair do not matter, because to quote Mary Lambert, "You are worth more."

2. My voice. I get to have a voice. It is time to start singing again.  I am on a search for a chorale who is looking for my talent. I am gearing up to learn about the audition process, fees, rehearsal schedules, costumes, the whole bit. Singing is why I am alive and I need to be part of a group of singers more than anything else.

3. Good People. I will not let people who hurt me or my friends back into my life out of memories of who they used to be. So if a person who insulted my husband and best friends tries to friend request me on Facebook after not speaking to me for more than two years without any other overture, that's not happening. It does not matter the person you were when we grew up with you, you're no longer welcome in our life without good reason. You know who you are.

Back to the singing! I do not know if you know this but singing is my life. I do not particularly know if my voice is what others are looking for, but I like singing. I do it daily and each time I am caught doing it by someone else I am complimented.

I used to tell myself that they were just saying that, the way you would tell someone who got a really bad haircut that their hair looks great and that it will grow back.

However didn't you hear me earlier? I get to have a voice regardless of others.

No matter how out of style it is, I will have my singing, dancing flashmob.  And it will be like the movies and everything I hoped for.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Skipped Meds, Depression, Trigger Warning, and Fashion!

Disclaimer: This entry might be a little triggery.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

I woke up Friday with my mind in a cotton candy swirl of disconnected and noisy thoughts.  The rational part of me thought, "Oh neat, hypomania. That's weird and interesting. Why is this happening?"

I figured I was half asleep and that was the cause of the swirling thoughts, so I stood up and wandered the apartment for a while.

Then I saw my pill bottle.

Oh, crap.

I counted the pills in my bottle, slowly realizing the truth: I forgot to take all of my bipolar medicine on Thursday.  I had to take a double dose on Friday to stay on track. I spaced them apart so it wouldn't be too bad - a dose at 8 am and a dose at 11 pm. By Saturday afternoon I was back to taking them at 4:20 pm (hah) but the drowsiness and stomach problems ruined everything and I felt like death.

Another wasted weekend without photos, without chores done. I mostly slept and googled, "Why are people triggered?" and "How can I stop being depressed?"  I also ate vast amounts of food and did not exercise.  I talked to some friends for five minutes. Mainly, I felt a pain in my chest, a gnawing need to get back to reality.

It is Monday now. I have several things I learned from this, several things I am looking forward to and and all of them I am grateful for.

 1. I bought this sweet, sweet discontinued swimsuit on clearance. 

If I don't look awesome in this, there is nothing I can look awesome in. 

Is it just me, or does that model look like her backdrop is on another planet?  Is it on Andromeda?  Anyway it's coming in the mail today and I can't wait to try it on.

2. I bought two dresses on sale Thursday during Tax Free Week to wear to the beach less than three weeks from now. I bought them in person so you will have to wait and see photos when I wear them.

3. Okay, this is going to get a little heavy.

I was asking myself why I felt so easily triggered when someone ended their life or by news events. I did some research and I learned that people can be triggered by people they relate with, where they can visualize being in the same situation as a person or event.

 Going on the internet last week I could not help but see headlines about Robin Williams's death, the unrest in Missouri, and more political drama in the news. Innocently checking Facebook to see cat photos and my friends having ice water dumped over their head, I was clued in on what method Robin chose to end his life and what Michael Brown's dead body looked like. And all of a sudden my sick thoughts came to life and I pictured myself dead, my friends dead, my family dead, and finding bodies. 

How can someone not relate with Robin Williams? 

Robin Williams might be easier to explain being that anyone who saw his movies identified with him when he played the protagonist.  We felt every emotion in his face, we imitated his delivery in character whether or not we had ever acted. We knew that Robin Williams was a master of improv and it was almost impossible sometimes to separate the man from the performance. And anyone who had bipolar disorder, like I do, and has been in that place ... 

I related with him.  I saw myself in his bedroom in Tiberon. I saw him in my bedroom. I had put myself in his shoes time and time again with Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, and Dead Poet's Society. What made this any different?  

How can someone's heart not be ripped out by Mike Brown being killed in broad daylight by a police officer, an unarmed boy with a clean rap sheet, possibly over a couple of cigars? Are you kidding me? I cannot handle it. 

The aftermath was insane, the racism surrounding it is insane.  

I am afraid for our country. I am afraid to speak at length on it except to say I am afraid for our country. Most of my interactions with police have been okay. I am always courteous knowing the violent situations they usually have to face. I also know that police are allowed to lie and I also have come across some extremely corrupt ones. It is like any job.  I think of my job and how I work with some people who are here to get as much work done as possible and others who talk on their phone for hours at a time.  I think of how the biggest big wig of where I work had to do jail time for doing something illegal while on the job. Human beings are not perfect and the ramifications are terrifying. 

At times I am strong.  I have goals and make plans to make the world a better place a little at a time. I make sure there is always something to look forward to. 

Instead of visualizing myself in that Tiburon bedroom with a belt and a knife, I visualize myself giving him a gentle hug and leading him out of that horrible place. I visualize being a friend to others who find themselves in that corner, a place of safety and love.

Instead of being afraid for our country I will continue to pay attention.  I am so glad that people are making others aware that this it is not okay to silence journalists, that violence is not okay, that none of this is okay. I am grateful for the people out there who know this and continue to spread this message.

That's enough for now.

Now I'm afraid to link up, but I feel like what I learned was important and honest. If we cannot be grateful for what we have we can be grateful for what we've learned.

Now go link up and have a brave and grateful afternoon!

Grateful Heart Linkup with Ember Grey

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Father's Mid-Life Crisis as a Mountain Man

My 1980s childhood was like almost everyone else's 1980s childhood. I had two parents, a dog, wood paneled walls, neon socks, a Nintendo, and MTV. My mom had that eighties perm with the flower shaped claw bangs and it was all about the leg warmers in our Jazzercise class.

However once the 1990s rolled around my father decided he was a mountain man.

We could not watch our shows because we had to tape record TBS's Centennial mini-series.

Instead of watching Seinfeld we were watching Redford in Jeremiah Johnson.

Or Little Big Man.

It did not end there.

My father has always hunted and he always subscribed to the latest hunting magazines.  Being the artist he was, his new interest in becoming a mountain man created a need to make mountain man clothes. We began attending trade shows and conventions on weekends.  Along with learning the piano and guitar, my father and I spent many afternoons playing with bird calls while he'd ask me to fetch sinew thread for his deer hide.

That deer died to be my play clothes for this awkward but awesome camping trip. P.S. This little girl's name is Robin and I have no idea what happened to her after this camping trip.  If you are Robin, hi!!!! 

Little did I realize that deer hide was going to be something I would wear for a week in the mountains. As mountain men traditionally participated in the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, a group of National Rifle Association members would reenact this event. They attended semi-annual events where we tried our best to live like we had a time machine to our nation's past.

A lot of our nation's past involved getting warm when it was 20 degrees outside.
I was not aware of cultural appropriation, or of the colonization of early United States of America and later genocide and plight of the Native American at age 8.  All I knew is that some of my cousins in Oklahoma were Cherokee and that my father was interested in celebrating that part of his heritage.

Fuck your Bonnaroo, we made our own music and our own clothes with information from our own family.

I don't think that my father was trying this on as a vacation or as a costume. My father never succeeded in school, so his deep interest in history came later. He did all the research he could on this fascinating subject, making sure as much as our experience living the life of a colonist or a Native American was as authentic as possible.

I was there when he welded these.

This was important as the staff members of the event would ride horses around the campground and inspect our canvas lean-to. We could not have so much as a modern book or convenience. We started our campfires with flint. We kept warm at night with pelts. We welded our own cast iron for cooking. We traded for goods and art.

My dad is laughing because he knows I will be embarrassed by this photo later. WELL I AM POSTING IT ANYWAY. THAT WILL SHOW HIM.

To my dad, he was living out his dream as a mountain man in spurts.  To an eight year old I got to take off school for a week with the approval of my teachers because of the experiences of learning about colonial times and survival.  

I also did not have to take a bath, so I had that going for me.  Which is nice.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Father's Dresser - Shitheads and Letters

I have not seen my father in person since 2010. It was the day after Christmas and we had breakfast in a pub with his girlfriend. I babbled on nervously about my aspirations and hoped it would become a regular thing.

It didn't.

My father has never understood my need to write. He learned everything he ever needed to know in old westerns and war movies in the midst of Marlboros and long beards. When I was a little girl he told me to never show the enemy your fears or tears, to hurt before healing, conceal before feeling. If the need to write is the same as the biological need to breathe, my breath was asphyxiated at birth, my father putting out his pithy advice like cigarette burns on my soul, blowing smoke into my lungs. Communication was foreign tongue in our household.

My father was a self-proclaimed expert of my needs. He always had an idea of what I really needed. “You don’t need to be in the house all day at the typewriter, telling people these things! What you really need to do is go outside, enjoy the sunshine! It’s a nice day and you’re wasting it cooped up in here!” 

My father was a joker. He picked on my toys and fed them to the dog to my squeals of laughter. My toes were subjected to affectionate games of This Little Piggy and my afternoons horsing around with the dog. One time I called him a shit head, risking the wrath of the anger he always seemed to struggle to keep at bay.  Instead of a belt or his hand which sometimes came and harsly so, that afternoon he lead me to his bedroom dresser and revealed a box. Inside the box was a brown sculpture of a man's head made out of shit.

I felt like I was welcomed into some secret club of just us two.

My father was my caretaker. When my mother was sick he combed out my tangles, read me bedtime stories, and picked me up from school when I was sick. Then he would get sick and stay home with me and in our pajamas under a large blanket we would watch Nick Jr. while drinking ginger ale or sweet tea.

My father was an artist. His art was of many mediums, none of them as a form of communication.  My father worked in metal and leather, in paint and in wood. His hands never at rest, he would sit in his workshop and make neat things. Welding, sewing, painting, sculpture, never revealing his secrets.

When I was barely out of elementary school my father traded his mountain man beard and Marlboros for a Brad Pitt goatee and tattoo needles. He traded his Jeremiah Johnson fantasies for his Hell’s Angels dreams. He came home at night complaining about “The Man” and how we needed to start another “revolution.” Black Sabbath soon replaced the bright, eighties sounds of bands like Midnight Oil and even the sounds of fiddle and banjo we used to hear through the vents coming from his basement workshop.

Even now I hear him say in my head, “Come on, don’t tell them all that, Jen, they don’t need to know all that! Just put your head down and keep your mouth shut.” Well, there goes the neighborhood. 

My father was a mini-celebrity among the teenage boys in our neighborhood with his homemade bicycles built to look like hot rod motorcycles and his wild lifestyle. I was constantly accused in school that my parents were cooler than I. For two people who constantly claimed they did not want to attract too much attention, the way my parents lived definitely generated interest among not only my peers but also our neighbors. 

One time my father was working in his workshop located in the basement across from our laundry area. Some of the woodwork he was manipulating suddenly caught fire! Immediately he put it out using a fire extinguisher. 

This was my very first time ever seeing a harmful fire. A fire, threatening to burn down our very home! My father was a hero, he put out a fire and saved our house from burning down! I owed him my life and probably most of the toys littering my bedroom. I called up my best friend Mickee, our neighbor who lived behind us, to brag and share my awe and glee about what had just happened.

In mid-sentence my father came roaring upstairs. He grabbed the phone out of my small hands and disconnected the line. He yelled at me for gossiping about what he had seen as an embarrassing error in his craftsmanship and how dare I make him out to be a fool in front of God and everyone! Then just as quickly he stormed away, leaving behind a shocked, confused, disappointed silence, heavier than the scent of smoke still lingering in the air. I was seven. It was the first time I saw him as a man with feelings and insecurities and it was the first time I felt like I understood him.

I wonder when I’m older if people will remember me more for my misguided fits of rage than my generosity, quirkiness, and laughter.

My father saves his memories of me in the bottom drawer of his dresser. Kind, gentle memories of when our respective Irishness was a bit more locked up than usual. I found this out one day during a weekend visitation where I was alone for twelve hours and nothing to do. I went through everything and found every card, every letter, everything I'd ever mailed or made for him. It was all there, alongside his late girlfriend's love letters and other treasured things. It meant the world to me that it was there and I think about it every time I have a negative thought that started with him, every time he does not call, and every time he does not show up. 

I love my father. He left our family when I was fourteen and if I were him I might have done the same. I lived with him for a year afterwards and he was not the same person I grew up with. Nevertheless, I worry about him when it rains. I look for him on every motorcycle. For half of my life now we have not been in each other's lives and I've wondered why we just cannot communicate.

Much like my friend made me Google my ex, my family makes me regret not being in contact with my father. 

I wonder if anyone makes him regret not being in contact with me? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Things Worth Living For: Broken A/C, Robin Williams, Ableist Coworkers, Rain, Nettie Lou, Curly Sue, Pizza, and Mary Lambert.

I came to work in a very rotten mood today.  

Our A/C has been on the blink for more than a week, causing us to open the windows, causing the waves of Maryland August humidity to moisten everything in the apartment into a sticky glob of gross. There are no signs of it getting fixed by maintenance any time soon. I'm all swollen with edema and I don't feel like walking all of a sudden. Super suck. Not to be outdone, Robin Williams died yesterday. When I saw the 2014 date verified on Wikipedia at about 11pm last night my first thought was, "No, bring him back ..." And then I saw that it was suicide and my heart broke again. Because I've been there. 

So I had trouble sleeping last night. I came into the office very fragile and punchy. I run into my coworker who we will call Jane.  Jane is a very positive and upbeat person, but she is not the most empathetic when it comes to mental health issues and negative attitudes. It is kind of a trap talking to Jane because she will express sympathy over why you look tired and sad but you never know if she is going to say something to make it much worse.  Anyway, Jane went on a sudden rant about how suicide is a selfish act which I disagree with.

Edit: I may as well repost it here from Facebook.

I was talking to my coworker this morning about Robin Williams's alleged suicide and she went off on a very inappropriate rant about how suicide is so selfish and I couldn't help thinking she was the one who was selfish and that people who say things like that might contribute to reasons why some people end it. I had no patience or strength for her toxic vitriol that early, so I just walked away. 

I get irrationally angry sometimes too at people who die unexpectedly, but saying someone killed themselves on purpose because they are selfish is making their pain all about you. People who have a history of depression and addiction or other illness do not kill themselves to leave others, to trigger others, to hurt others. It isn't about you. For I have been there, in that corner, and the pain in the moment erases everything and lies to you. It pushes every button you might have and it is convincing.

Depression hits the brain as a reaction to stress much like a virus infects the blood, much like bacteria destroys tissue, much like disease breaks an organ.

Ever since hearing the news in the middle of the night hours after everyone else already knew, I've been triggered. The words and feelings float around in my head and I'm not even sick anymore. I'm in such a different place than I was. My feelings and thoughts are appropriate for most situations and I can tell the difference between reality and fiction. But still I am triggered and I am sure more people around you are.

So don't say things like my coworker did. It just makes people who might be in that place feel more alone and you are causing more problems instead of helping.

After I was finished slamming around every file on the desk, crying my eyes out, emailing my family, and social media-ing my angst the following things happened:

1. It began raining really hard.  I love the calming magic of rain.

2. Nettie Lou came over to say she was ordering pizza for the whole office. It was amazing pizza.

3. I said a nice thing to Curly Sue. I told her that if she played a judge on TV that I would watch the show. I would totally watch the show.

4. One of my other coworkers took over a meeting I thought I had to do today. Not that she earned the gratitude, but I was relieved being that I felt swamped and stressed.

5. I found a new earworm because of The Bloggess:

These moments, all of them, the cold and the warm, are worth living for. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Bass Is Not Round

Source: Jenny Trout

This video is everything I want my life to be.

It is cotton-candy colored.

It has sassy cute chubby guys who are amazing dancers with sweaters over their shoulders.  I can't resist shoulder sweaters. I just can't.

The back-up dancers of all shapes and appearances are super excited about dancing along.

It has false eyelashes.

It has whimsical hair accessories and tights.

It has a Justin Timberlake SexyBack reference.

Hello, 1960s retro homage. You seduce me so. You know this about me from my love of movies such as But I'm a Cheerleader and Jawbreaker, to my neon colored living room, to my own collection of mod dresses. Of course this video is right up my ally.

But I am not supposed to like it because it is not inclusive. 

Most of my life I have been what Jenny Trout calls "fatcceptable" except for a short while when I took ballet too seriously and was a size six finally. Finally. But no, by age 12 I was a size 12, and by age 14 I was a size 14, and by age 16 I was a size 16. Then from age 18 to age 21 I was anywhere between an 8 and a 16 depending on the cut of the clothes and how much pizza I consumed. My size back then was absolutely on my mind all the time and had the power to completely ruin my day.  Am I thin?  Am I fat?  Am I normal?

Once I gained 100 lbs and began wearing size 22 and size 24 I actually felt more comfortable about myself because I no longer had to wonder if I was fat. Of course I was fat.  Some people were very rude about it, too, but for the first time it seemed like their problem and not mine. I felt comfortable because I did not question that I was fat. It felt worse to hear insults at size 16 that I needed to lay off the pizza and that at size 12 I had a bit of a belly than to hear I had blown up to the size of a balloon at size 22. 

I was fat.  So what? Many of my friends were fat and they were all gorgeous with excellent looking and kind lovers, successful careers, and full of joy. Their only concern was that clothes shopping was hard and physical activity was hard. It was not until I lost weight again and had to put up with everyone's comments about my body again that I felt like a freak. 

Here are the things that make me feel like a freak at times that have nothing to do with my size but I feel kind of grateful about them:

1. One of my boobs is two cups bigger than the other and it has a giant keloid on it from a scab I picked too many times. And my nipples leak. Yet I do not have cancer, despite those huge obvious cancer symptoms.

2. One of my cheeks is bigger than the other cheek.

3. My nose cheats to the side a little from when my husband accidentally head butted me during our first month of dating.

4. My "booty" is not round.  It is just a butt, like any other boring middle aged woman's butt. But it's mine and I will shake it shake it shake it.

5. I have very white skin that does not tan and I do not wear any makeup or bronzer or fake tan to hide that.  Sometimes people say I look sick.

6. I don't get manicures or pedicures. 

7. I have the stomach of a woman who has had a couple kids and I do not have one child. This is true of me even when I'm thin. It's my shape. It's cute and actually desirable to some.

8. My scalp is actually really gross. But it still holds my hair!

9. One of my molars never grew in and I still have a baby tooth left over that was supposed to fall out and didn't. 

10. My pinky toes face outward.

Some of these things make me feel pretty neat and others not-so-neat.  And now that I am 32 I still want to lose 100 lbs, just to see if it would cure my edema, heartburn, apnea, irregular periods, allergies, and prevent other things like diabetes, gout, fatty liver disease that even the thin and beautiful people in my family get. Part of me is still that fatcceptable girl, in that mindset that wonders if I will ever be normal.

But I am grateful that I am me.

Grateful Heart Monday w/ Ember Grey

Friday, August 8, 2014

I still make time for gratitude no matter what anyone says about my attitude.

First, I am thrilled today is Friday. Really. Between our A/C being on the blink to being swamped at work, I cannot stop fantasizing about hammocks, ice cold lemonade and a good book. And if not that then my couch, a glass of water, and Buzz Feed articles with cute baby animals in them.

I do not want to seem unappreciative for my week though, so I will make time to be grateful. Here are some things I am grateful for today.

1. Bipolar Disorder
I am grateful that my treatment for bipolar disorder continues to do its job. My mood changes are not severe, my thoughts do not race as much as they used to, and I have not seriously considered suicide in a couple of months.

How am I feeling? Extreme.  I still feel extreme. When I am happy it is extremely happy. When I am annoyed I feel extremely annoyed. When I feel relaxed, you guessed it, I feel extremely relaxed.

What is new? One new thing that has happened in the last week is that I am not afraid of confrontations.  Suddenly I feel very excited about the possibility of a confrontation and it makes me feel very childish. I feel like I have a lot of pent up anger and that I need to use my powers for good, not evil. At the same time, it is nice that instead of bursting into tears the second someone gives me a hard time I am able to hold back my tears and give a smart remark.  I think that is a sane balance I can maintain without much guilt.  It is still a work in progress.

What can I work on? I need to ask for more help. I come from this mindset that I must either do everything for myself or nothing for myself and I am working on a saner balance. Last week I got my husband to help with some chores so I would have time to do other chores and it really lifted my spirits.

2. Fitness
I am grateful that I am finally getting my walks in. Last month I was trying to go the distance with an hour a day of walking, but I quickly became sore and discouraged.  Then I would shame myself for missing a walk because often I could not fit an hour into my busy day. However, I can fit a half an hour a day of Leslie Sansone's 2 Mile Walk. 28 minutes of walking with a 2 minute stretch!

How am I feeling? I feel really proud of myself. It was really getting to me that I was skipping my workouts, so to be able to finish a week full of workouts I planned means a lot to me. What's more I am actually enjoying each workout.  I feel like a child playing and dancing rather than out of shape and old.

What is new? Suddenly I am making snappier, bigger movements leading to a higher impact, higher calorie burning workout.

What can I work on? I can work on vacuuming before my workout. We have a cat and sometimes the carpet feels rough under my bare feet when I march in place.

3. Orange is The New Black
I know I am late to the party, but we watched the entire first season this week. It is something my husband can bond over: his obsession with lesbians and my obsession with crime dramas.

4. Impractical Jokers
After we think prison story lines are going to give us nightmares we have Sal, Q, Joe, and Murr humiliate each other on national TV and all is right with the world.

5. Grace
I am grateful I have not murdered anyone. Everything is getting on my nerves at work lately, from stupid procedures to the nasal voices of my fellow office drones. I am also grateful that if I happen to snap one day that I know someone with a great place for dumping bodies. Now all we need is our private refrigerator so they don't bleed everywhere and it will be the perfect crime.

There. I feel like a much better person now.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mad Cubicle Disease: Passive-Aggressive Fun With Coworkers

It is time for Round 3 of Mad Cubicle Disease, stories from the cube.

Remember the horrible lady from my first story, the one with the eating habits of Curly Sue?

Well if you don't remember here is the jist: she sits at her desk and eats loudly all day long. Like this:

I HATE IT! For reasons.

A day in the life with my coworker is as follows:

She eats things with cellophane wrappers.  She sucks her fingers and thumbs, sucks food off of the cellophane, and sucks the food out of her teeth. The sound effects are appalling. 

She chews with her mouth wide open, smacking her lips. Then she chokes on what she's eating because she's eating so fast and so rudely that it inevitably fails to swallow. She always talks with her mouth full when someone comes by and we get to hear and see what she is eating.  If it is chewing gum she has a habit of pulling it out and winding it around her fingers in meetings.

It is often hard to tell when she is officially at lunch because she eats for long periods about five to eight times per day.  

And I work twenty feet away from her for eight hours a day.

And you can hear the noise through headphones. 

And she's a very surly, sarcastic, negative person who takes offense at everything.  I know this because I had to train her how to do her job and all hell broke loose to the point where she bitched about me to other departments. Since the people in those departments are my friends, they told me all about it.

It all started because the week she started in our department was the week I got married to my husband. And of course she had to be in the process of divorcing her dead-beat jerk of a husband who does not pay child support.  So the first two months she was there she was very surly towards me and would not listen to a word I said when I would train her. She also likes throwing me under the bus left and right. The minute I do something she does not like she goes behind my back and whines to everyone else.

Basically she is the worst and I hate her and I am a petty piece of shit who has had it with her eating habits. As for her drama, whatever. She iced out the new girl who started because she wanted her job. Aussa Lorens would refer to this behavior as being a harpy. 

I finally decided last week it was time to make her life a living hell.

I would destroy her.

Okay, not really, but I am having a bit of passive-aggressive fun with her that helps me get through the day.

For instance someone I know (not me) who we will call Jacqui (because that is her name) who does not work with us sent her this anonymous passive-aggressive as fuck but professional email:

I told Jacqui to leave out the part about the music volume because all of us play music at our desks.  In fact, I am one of those annoying assholes who sings and hums at her desk. I am determined that one day I will turn this tired office into a Broadway show. (Not that determined. Everyone will probably retire or quit.)

Anyway she did not edit it from this and sent it. And not five minutes later Curly Sue gets up and storms over to my other coworker's office.

"DID YOU GET THIS EMAIL?!?" she staged whispered to Arachnophobe. 

Oh great. Arachnophobe and I have a history because I used to sit next to Arachnophobe, who popped her gum all the time. I told Arachnophobe about how gum popping makes me stabby, but that everyone in our office popped their gum and that I would learn to deal with it. However, one day I was not dealing with it really well and I wrote about it on my Facebook.  That particular day it was not Arachnophobe who was popping her gum, but one of my associates who assigns me work, but Arachnophobe took it personally.  Not only did she block me on Facebook, she decided to passive-aggressively fuck with me by creating a screen saver that says:

I love chewing gum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then Arachnophobe would explain it to everyone who came by. Fun times. Except not really because Arachnophobe was my favorite person to bond with by messing with other people and now she thought she could mess with me. It was ridiculous.

I never even got a chance to explain that the world does not revolve around her and that it was someone else's gum chewing that was making my brain boil, but whatever.

So anyway, of course they both think I did it and spend two days telling me how quiet it was in the office that day. So that part did not work. But it was still hilarious to me and I'm in debt to my friend Jacqui for making that specific day a little bit better.

So now I am fucking with Curly Sue in other ways.

Here are the ways I am fucking with my coworker and she is not even aware:
  1. I fart in her cubicle every time she steps away.
  2. I have tuna sandwiches at my desk and waft the sickening smell towards her.
  3. I talk out loud at my desk the whole day.  I used to only do it once in a while but now I do it all day, especially when it is just her around.
  4. I hum and sing as much as I can when only she is around because I know it annoys her.
  5. I repeat everything she says to me as a question. "I'm looking for this file." "You're looking for this file?"
  6. I smile at her until my face breaks.
  7. Every time she does anything to help I over-thank her like, "THANK YOU SO MUCH, I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH, YOU TOTALLY SAVED THE DAY, WHAT WOULD I EVER DO WITHOUT YOU" until she gets really uncomfortable.
There are other ways I have been thinking about messing with her, like hiding her things in the ladies' room so she'll think she left them there by mistake, but to be honest I am pretty sure I would get caught and there would be fingerprints or something.

I actually get along really well with Curly Sue to her face. I show interest in her children, I am sympathetic to her problems, and I am as helpful as I can be in the office. I work really hard to be good at my job and I am not taking extra time out of my day to mess with her to a point that it interferes with our jobs. It's just that she knows she is a gross so-and-so with a sour attitude and I am a shitty person who likes toying with her because of it.  I will probably go to hell, but it will be worth it for the glee this is bringing me.