May 31, 2002

Dear Inner Critic,

Shut the fuck up. You are beastly and unfair. Much too critical. What do you do that is so wonderful? You chastise and clamor. You stifle. You are too much about structure and nothing about creativity. Encouraging creativity, and flow. You are not helpful at all.

You are the one that keeps the gates closed, that locks all the treasures inside.

What are you so afraid of? That I won't need you any more? You are like a jealous parent, no life after the fledglings have left the nest.

Find another vocation. Leave me alone. I want to write. I want to create beautiful and inspiring things. I know it is in me, struggling. Help me to bring it forth; don't stand there with your shoulder against the door and your feet firmly planted, pushing with all your might.

Open the door and lead them into the light. Nurture them, and teach them to grow. Your position will be set for life. And a much happier one.

I am Viscountess Strong Cloud. Ya-Ya!

Terrorism has been successful because there is no centralization. The phenomenon of the internet is successful because there is no centralization (and was developed specifically along those lines.) So what does the FBI do? Overhaul itself to increase centralization.

Ironic, no?

May 30, 2002

Thursday Threesome

Onesome. Healthy. Tell us about one thing you did for yourself that's healthy - and not just physical, mental and emotional health matter, too!

I try to start out the day with a little "centering". I get up early, fix a fresh cup of coffee, and sit in the sunroom. I set my "intentions" for the day, and reflect on what a great day it will be. I found that when I used to get up and jump on the email train, the only stop was anxiety city. So I don't do that anymore.

Twosome. Wealthy. What in life makes you feel wealthy in your heart?

I have found a spiritual community of wonderful, kind, sharing people who believe in peace and tolerance. I have been blessed with a daughter with a beautiful soul who makes all the struggles worth the strife.

Threesome. Wise. Share your favorite proverb or motto... or just make one up yourself

"Rough winds make strong timber." I don't know who said it, but I've carried it with me forever.

The results of my Princeton Review Career Quiz:
"People with yellow Interests like job responsibilities that include organizing and systematizing, and professions that are detail-oriented, predictable, and objective. People with yellow Interests enjoy activities that include: ordering, numbering, scheduling, systematizing, preserving, maintaining, measuring, specifying details, and archiving, which often lead to work in research, banking, accounting, systems analysis, tax law, finance, government work, and engineering."

Well, I do love research and law. Government work? I suppose I could use 3-4 months vacation, every national, state, and local holiday off, and benefits galore. But being a screw-off and never having to worry about getting canned? Yeah, guess I could use that too.

May 28, 2002

I have been very wrong about the people next door.

I've lived here for about seven years now and the people next door seemed rather nice, as neighbors go. They minded their business, I minded mine. We smiled and waved when we saw each other outside, and if not too many steps had to be taken, walked over and chatted a little. Usually about the groundhog population or the stray dogs that wandered into the yards every once in awhile. Small stuff. But friendly.

Until the tree.

The tree at the corner of the properties came down in the Big Storm. It was just waiting for the moment, having lost several large branches and scattering several smaller ones about over the years. It was only a matter of time - it was planted many years ago when my aunt and uncle owned this house (by a former neighbor, not the same as the current owner). Planted on that property.

Therefore, I was well aware of which property the tree belonged on. But when the tree came down, damaging a couple of my trees in the process, my neighbor claimed it was not his. He never said who's tree he thought it was. His answer was only "Not mine." Even though a simple glance at the other trees firmly planted on his property that he had no trouble claiming as his own would show they were all the same tree, all planted in a U-shape around the barbecue pit.

So there were a couple of heated phone conversations and a visit by his insurance agent. Who, by the way, had no trouble seeing that the tree was, indeed, on his client's property no matter how much his client protested. Even when his client insinuated that I had gone out, pulled up the iron pin embedded in the ground to mark the property behind us, and moved it. A pin put there by a local developer with money to burn who would have sued my ass in a heartbeat. The agent approved the check to cover not only the removal of the tree but the replacement of one of my trees damaged in the fall.

Should have ended there.

Now we have the property line dispute. Previously, when I mowed the grass, I would often go over the line a little bit to save my neighbor some trimming. They never seemed to mind, and I never objected when they mowed over a little on my side. No big deal.

After the tree incident, however, I have been careful to stay on my side of the line. I was taken by suprise over the reaction to the tree and am erring on the side of caution. Especially after being accused (in a round-about way) of such treachery as moving a property marker. You just never know. It's easy to see where the line is. Just head straight for the edge of the front garden.

My neighbor, however, has other ideas. So there is now a little strip of unmowed grass no more than 2 inches wide between where I mowed on Saturday and he mowed yesterday.

I suppose he's making a point. Do you think he realizes that the only point he is making is that he's an idiot?

Honestly. Men and their territory. I suppose I'll find him out there one day, pissing a boundary line....

May 27, 2002

Could this day have been more boring? The weather was so-so. Little rain showers now and then. In addition to the fact that it's the end of the month and the money has run out. Can't even afford a lousy package of hot dogs. Plenty of rolls, no dogs. Or burgers. Sheesh.

Well, this certainly points to the importance of paying attention. Duh.

The female cardinal is at the feeder, "chit, chit, chit"ing her opinion that all is well and it is now time to eat.

Monday Memories
What's one of your earliest memories of something awful that was "news".

I was in school when it was announced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. There was so much in the air: surprise, sadness, curiosity. Such confusing emotions. Someone important had been shot, someone who was not supposed to die. Who could kill a president? A feeling of apprehension that something even worse was to come. Where were my parents? Who would take care of us? Everyone was stunned. Just stunned.

May 25, 2002

Saturday Scruples

1. At a video store, someone is about to rent a movie you've seen. It's really bad. Do you say something?

No. If I had to suffer thru it, so do they! :-p Seriously, tho - to each his own, and all that.

2. Your former lover becomes famous. A tabloid offers you $50,000 for nude pictures and a "tell all." Do you sell?

Is that all? Hell, no! That'd be peanuts for what I'd have, baby!

3. You decide not to hire someone because he's wearing a nose ring. When he asks why he didn't make it, do you give the real reason?

Why would a nose ring be a problem? If it's really a "doesn't fit the company image" thing, ask if he'll take it out if necessary. Too petty to make it a big deal. Take a lot more than that for me not to hire him.

The morning routine: listen to the birds and contemplate life until Mr. Boo takes a flying leap to the chest, leaving no doubt as to how soon I need to get out of bed. Feet on the floor, stretch. Open Beaner's door and let PurC out, pit stop in the bath, then the Whisker Run Obstacle Course to the kitchen. If I'm lucky, I make it with no bruised toes and banged-up ankles and with all articles still in their rightful places on desk and shelves.

PurC heads for the scratching post, The Princessa slinks under the chairs to take up her defensive position while Mr. Boo heads off to the box for his morning constitutional. This gives me a clear sprint to the sink. Fill the coffee pot (one of these days, I will decide to set the automatic brew.) Grab the cat food can and pop the lid, alerting the slinky one that breakfast is imminent and he must now keep me captive at my post until the job is done by winding himself around my ankles. Can upside down on the Boomer's plate - he's a gravy fan. A dollop on PurC's plate and place it on the floor before I go headlong into the stove. Another dollop and mash on The Princessa's, served up to a chorus of "hurry up, I need to get this eaten and get out of here before that juvenile starts up again." Then a mash and mix for Mr. Boo, more gravy than meat, a little more to PurC. By this time Princessa is done and itching to get out the door. PurC finishes his plate and whatever's left on the others, then heads downstairs. The course is down and it's safe to grab the coffee and head to the sunroom, check out the day, and write my morning pages (ok, not faithfully, but I'm getting better.) A little time to myself before the StringBean wakes.

It's nice to have a routine.

May 24, 2002

Good heavens, we can't risk that.

So, that leaves skewering them with a salad fork or beaning them with a Tourister? Or maybe we could fling those cute little peanut packets at them.

Police said search teams combing the park last summer never reached the sloping thicket where Levy's remains were found, the Washington Post reported today.

Please. What am I missing? Why did it take so long to find this woman's body? Didn't the clues point to her going to the park? Jogging in the park? What better area to hide a body? Just push it down the "sloping thicket".

Doesn't the police department have access to their own dogs?

She only took her keys. She searched for an old mansion in the park. Women have been attacked in that area before. It's heavily wooded, lots of places to hide a body.

Nah, too obvious. Let's try to pin it on the politician...

May 21, 2002

My daughter is going to meet her father (for the first time in her memory) tomorrow. I am both thrilled and terrified. She has wanted this for so long and he has finally come around. But what will the results be? Will she be even more confused? Angry? Will he be a jerk? Or will he finally realize the harm he has done, be willing to take responsibility for it, and help her? The great unknown. Like taking a leap off a giant precipice and not being sure your chute will open, or if you even have one.

May 20, 2002

I already know I'm older than dirt, especially perusing some of these blogs, but now it's official. I remembered all but 2 - which goes to say I'm probably older than those of you who remembered all of them. My memory is already starting to go...

From the If Project... If family or friends had issues with the one you are romantically involved with, would you listen? How much influence would you allow others to have on your relationship?

There was a time when my thoughts would have been "No way!" "Who knows better than me?" and "You don't know him like I do." Now? That's crap.

Passion blinds you. No matter how rationale and intelligent you are, it smacks you stupid. The smart ones know this, and wait for it to pass before committing themselves. The rest of us are walking into walls and calling it love.

Your parents have seen you go through changes from birth to puberty to adulthood. Your mother remembers your undying love for the rock-star-of-the-moment. The piano lessons. Tap lessons. Swimming. When you wanted to grow up to be a ballerina.

Your friends have seen you sober, drunk, stupid, witty, and scared, and stuck thru all of it. They've seen you thru short hair, long hair, the purple fiasco, and every diet known to man.

All that information amounts to something. These people have the goods on you.

Maybe it's because I'm well past 20-something. I believed then that if I didn't already have all the answers, I had a better interpretation of the questions. When I believed that the people who raised me had no idea who I really was. And they didn't know this person like I did, so how could they judge?

Well, I'm older now. And a Mom. I can smell Eau de Jerk from a thousand feet. You can change the package, but there are basic, universal truths. Baby, I got radar. It's a post-partum gift. As long as it's someone after her.

Me, that's a different story. Now, I listen to the people who know things about me even I have forgotten, or won't readily admit.

If your friends don't like him, your family can't stand him, your neighbors don't trust him, and the people you work with are wondering if your judgment really is that poor, and should they start locking the safe?... do you need to be hit by a 2x4? After all, they like you. Their judgment can't be all bad.

Take it all with the proverbial grain of salt, but take it. Your parents will always think no one is good enough. They have their own issues, many of them dealing with nursing homes. Your friends also have their own agendas, mainly, can you still come out to play and what if you make them repay all those loans? But if their overwhelming consensus is negative, and for some pretty solid reasons, you'd be an idiot not to listen. If this person truly loved you, why would he want you to be separated from the people who have loved you, and loved you longer? Bottom line - no way.

This I know for sure. Just ask me about my ex...

May 16, 2002

Bitch Blog. Here we go:

I'm all out of sorts these past few days. Don't know what is wrong, although my horoscope seems to allude to this kind of thing. I should have read ahead and prepared. But I didn't, so this is the result.

Mom Rant: Why is it that your darling children seem to forget all the hours you slaved over the laundry, especially in a house that rarely uses a dryer and chooses to hang clothes to dry? The gathering and sorting, handwashing (yeah, a little), hanging, taking down, folding, putting away? Then, when they get old enough to do it themselves, the nagging? So do you think, in appreciation of all your hard work in making sure they do not need to greet the world naked and shivering every day, they might hang up some of your clothes? Like the few you threw in their load of laundry just to fill it out? But noooo - there you find them, days later, crumpled and damp in the bottom of the basket. Do I have cooties? It's not like it was my underwear or anything. Sheesh.

Club Rant: I am cursed to be the current prez of a testosterone inundated computer club. These guys are an exercise in futility. Honestly, that territorial shit has got to go. But the worst is the guy who is still acting, I kid you not, like a high-school girl. You know, the sweet to your face, monster behind your back? I swear his head must spin when I turn around. And it's not just to me. This guy gets his greatest kicks out of sending email with the express purpose of pissing people off (which he admits, BTW) then pulling the "Who, me?" act when he gets called on it - and call him on it I do. I fire one back, and you do not hear me say "oh my, you must have misunderstood, I didn't mean that, no, not at all..." I stand behind those words. I wish he'd stand behind a few. Or under them. He does this to the people who are doing the most, too - these people are difficult enough to find in any type of club - so what, precisely does this accomplish? Of course. The attention angle. Ok, scratch high school - subtract a few years.

Biz Rant: Yeah, I know money is tight. It is for me, too. And I'm the single parent here, bub. So the next time you want to tap me, yet again, for "a little advice", I'm sending a friggin' bill. A big one.

May 15, 2002

I'm reading too many blogs with astute observations, witty quips, etc. Wondering what to write about my fairly boring life. Then realizing it isn't boring when I re-read it later - it's an interesting journal of my life - not designed to be particularly entertaining. The fact that I'm here at all. How I spend my days. I'm content enough with the way things are, and working to improve the things that don't satisfy me.

I am really not out to write the next great literary masterpiece. Just bits and pieces of my existence, something to amuse my descendants. I am fascinated enough with the writings I find from my ancestors - their everyday lives and the times in which they lived. Why can't I see the same in my scribbles?

May 12, 2002

It's Mothers Day. Where do I begin?

The scary, hopeful, amazing journey of pregnancy? The realization that this is a trip of uncertain destination with no return ticket. The labor. Is it labor? What is it supposed to feel like? No one can really tell me. The mystery of it all.

The amazing thought that you have created a human being. From scratch. No kits. No instructions.

Those first few days, wondering if I was doing the wrong thing. Had I done the wrong thing, making this commitment to this man. Deep in my heart, knowing this was the single most important thing in my life, this child. This child would be special. This child was meant to be. Hoping I wouldn't screw it up too bad.

I realize now what a struggle it was. Knowing this man that was my husband did not want this responsibility. That he had just been playing a game, with unexpected consequences. Knowing my parents did not approve of this man, of having this child. No one was happy - except, secretly, me. An immediate bond. This life. This child. More precious than gold.

The difficult birth. The problems. Not what the movies showed. No joyous moment of cradling this new life to my chest, of her hearing my voice, getting my scent, seeing the blur of my smile. A table in the distance, a crowd of hospital green, murmurs. Confusion. Exhaustion.

I still can't stand to look at those pictures of the early days. So thin, so fragile. My fault, all my fault, wasn't it? I didn't nurture her, this body. Why didn't I know more? All the baby-sitting, the daycare jobs. But not for those early days. The wisdom of those days needs to be passed on. It was not. I must make sure I do.

Then, the wisdom and experience of that wonderful nurse. The doctors with all their tests and dire predictions. The answer so simple. Forest for the trees. They studied the trees, she saw the forest. And my baby thrived. My favorite picture of that chubby, smiling cherub. The one that shows I finally got it right, knew what I was doing, got it together despite everything else that was falling apart.

My marriage finally revealed for the sham it was. A deception. A deception that became a trap of his own making. I've released the hunter, with no regrets. Except for my child. She deserved better. A father who finds as much joy in her existance as I do.

I love you, Bean. With all my heart.

May 11, 2002

My laptop is back in action. After months of getting the hinge-thingie fixed, then the power cord breaking, then financing a major expedition to find the replacement part on the Dell site, then taking my own sweet time actually ordering the damn thing, I finally have all the parts I need, in working order. Sweet.

It's been out of commission for so long, it's like getting a new laptop. When my daughter was a baby, I used to take half of her toys and hide them for a few months. When the toys she was left to play with lost their appeal, I'd switch them. It was almost like Christmas in July.

Inadvertantly, I've used the same psychology on myself...

May 6, 2002

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." -- Agatha Christie

Yes, Blog, I have been neglecting you, despite good intentions. But the weather has turned and the garden chores call, and I am still in my "winter out of shape" phase - which means it takes me twice as long to get anything done. I'm busy edging gardens, pulling weeds, and spreading mulch. I'm also involved in too many organizations, on too many boards. That will change soon, thankfully. I'm tired of spreading myself too thin.

I, too, need some edging and a thicker layer of mulch.