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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Need A Cheerio?

So it's been about 5 months since my "dumped by the dumpster" debacle (or, to be more exact, 164 days, and yes.. I'm still counting).

My brother is, though he would probably prefer I not say it this way, "the shit."  He's by far the coolest person I know.  And he has seen me go to Hell and come back shining more than once, unfortunately.  And every trip I've taken into Hell, he always seems to be the one waiting for me at the gate when I come back out.  He's just that man, and this particular time was no different than the trips I'd taken in the past -- meaning, he still found a way to be there for me when I stepped out of the fire, wounded and completely broken.

It was the Sunday after the day I was supposed to be married.  I had spent the previous day, the day I was supposed to be married, putting on a front to all the friends who had come out of the wood work to help me move into my new apartment, and the following Sunday my parents, my aunt, my cousin, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my sweet little nephew who had all planned to come out for the wedding still came out to see me.  And really... I didn't want to be seen.  I had no desire to see anyone.  I was completely broken and humiliated by the entire experience.  But here they were, trying to make something "positive" out of something beyond "negative" and... I couldn't deny them that attempt to heal me, even though I completely knew their attempt was all for naught.  I did, however, want to see my brother, and God bless him, he was the first to show up that dreadful Sunday.

He walked in and hugged me.  I didn't cry, I was just drained, and he asked me if he could help with anything, so I sent him to the computers because my brain was too fried to hook that shit up.  So he got busy working on that while the rest of the family slowly straggled into my new home.  And as they came in, they each brought "house warming gifts" that were really wedding gifts that they hadn't even had enough sense to remove the stupid wedding wrapping paper from before they gave it to me but... oh well... I didn't say anything about it.  Life was shit and that was pretty much the beginning and end of it.  And as they proceeded to walk through my new apartment, which really is a nice and impressive place (I do admit that), they were saying things like, "Oh!  Look how nice this is," all I could do was look at my brother and say, "As if I'm excited to be here right now."  And my brother, knowing exactly where I was at, simply held onto whatever computer cord he had in his hand and said, "I know."

So after all that weird bull shit, we made our way to one of my favorite gluten free restaurants (because damn it, if I have to put up with an awkward family moment the day after I was supposed to get married but didn't because of six drawers of socks and cabinets full of glad lock containers, these people are going to eat where I wanted to).  And I was sitting there in absolute darkness and was hating every minute of it.  And my brother sat down next to me, with his son on the end of the table and his wife directly across from him.  And his wife pulled out a little container of Cheerios and she handed it to my brother, and they both took turns finding ways to entertain my little 2 year old nephew who was working really hard to reek havoc and I secretly wanted him to because... well... the state I was in... someone should, and it would be much more acceptable for him to throw a fit worthy of a toddler than myself, but my brother was very good with the Cheerio timing.  Every time the nephew started to get a little rough, my brother threw a Cheerio his direction and suddenly the kid was happy for a moment.  And it went like that for a while: a tiny fit, a Cheerio, a tiny fit, a Cheerio.  So I was watching all of that, because it was way better than where my head was going, and just as my aunt said something that rubbed me wrong and I sat there trying to figure out how to respond and not sound insane, my brother leans over and says, "Need a Cheerio?"  And he planted a Cheerio down right in front of me, and I couldn't do anything but laugh, because the timing was perfect.   Yes... I need a damn Cheerio.  Thanks.

I took a couple trips to the ladies room, just to wash my hands for no apparent reason, but mostly because I needed to escape the space because it was getting on my nerves.  Each time I came back from the bathroom and sat down, my brother leaned over and said, "Need a Cheerio?" and again, planted a Cheerio right down in front of me, and again, I couldn't do anything but laugh because yes... I needed a damn Cheerio.

And after what seemed like an endless amount of uncomfortable time, the waiter finally brought the food.  And after the food was on the table, my dad said, "Let's say a word of prayer."  So we all bowed our heads in prayer, my mother sitting directly across from me, and as the prayer ended, I noticed that my mother was still bowed and very strange looking, like... she died.  And so I just sat there staring at her for a minute, and it wasn't long before the rest of the table was staring at her for a minute because I'm pretty sure they all thought she died, and then she suddenly raised her head up like she just woke up from a deep sleep.  And my dad said, "What were you doing?"  And she said, "Well, we bowed our heads to pray and it felt like such a good stretch on my neck, I decided to stretch it for a while longer."  To which I replied, "Well I'm glad that's all it was, because I was pretty sure you died right there and I was sitting here thinking about how awesome that is that my mother just died on the same weekend that my man dumped me for six drawers of socks." And then everyone at the table started laughing because I said that, and my brother leaned over and handed me another Cheerio.

I pretty much held it together the whole time, even though I was lost somewhere between screaming and crying, but when it came time to leave and say goodbye to everyone, I couldn't help it anymore... I cried.  I gave each person a hug and I cried just a little every time they said something genuine and kind.  And my brother... I think I cried just a little bit more when he hugged me goodbye, but he stayed strong, like always, and just let me be.  And I pulled myself together and I got into my car with my daughter and just as I was ready to leave the parking lot I heard my phone go off.  I picked it up, I checked the text messages, and there it was... "Do you need a Cheerio?"

I love my brother.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nudiest Nudist of Nudism

So...  About that title there...
I've been getting a lot of hits on my blog lately.  I do get excited when I see that the more I write the more people stop by and check it out and, if I'm lucky enough to truly capture their interest more than once, they subscribe.
So I was checking my "stats" the other day and I noticed that some of the "key words" that were used in search engines that linked to my blog were as follows:
nudist family
family nudist
penis shirt
As I'm sure you can imagine, I did sit there and stare for quite some time thinking, "...the hell?" And in fact, as intelligent as I may be, it took several more times of me staring, before I realized the connection: Twisted Christmas  
That was the rant I did about the pictures that went through one of my email accounts over the holidays, and I made comments about the nudies in there, as well as the idiot in the penis shirt.  Apparently those comments were enough to send anyone to my blog when they happened to be on a search to either a) stare at pictures of nudist families online or b) purchase a penis shirt.

Needless to say, I'm not overly excited about this.  As much as I do like to see more traffic directed to my blog, I'm not exactly sure people that are basically looking to take a peek at the nudist world are what I would consider my target audience (and the same goes for anyone looking to buy a t-shirt with the word penis on it somewhere).  I mean, I'm not exactly the most politically correct person when I'm on here.  To your face?  Sure...  Behind the protection of my computer?  I'm gonna say it like it is and well, people trolling the Internet to look for nudist this or nudist that... pretty sure they aren't nudists themselves (because, I may be wrong, but it seems to me most nudists know where to find people like themselves because, well... they're nudists, they live in a colony or some shit like that).  In fact, I'm pretty sure these people accidentally landing on my blog are just idiots looking to see some naked flesh because they just can't get enough (or perhaps they can't get any) in their personal life.  And I do find it somewhat ironic that they somehow landed on my blog because, well, obviously, from my title above here, I'm basically baiting these fuckers in so they can look at my artistic representation of what I think of their "interests" and read my words of ... oh, I don't know, I can't really call it disgust because I'm not disgusted exactly... disgusted would sound a lot worse than what I've been writing so far... so... how about we call it my words of wry candor.

I can only imagine how disappointed they must've been -- linked to my Twisted Christmas blog after their hot and heavy search for naked nudies and their families.  I even conducted my own search to find out how far back in the search engine one had to go to even get linked to my blog and you know what?  It was FAR FAR FAR back in the search which leaves me to think they quite possibly landed on my post after peeking at every nudist on the Internet first (which, not that I looked because I didn't dare click on any of those stupid links for fear of attracting some terrible zacklies to my computer that I don't want, but there is an ENTIRE WORLD of online nudist colonies).  And who knows, maybe the idiots got SUPER excited when they saw the words, "family nudist" right next to "mixed number."  I'm sure, with minds that dwell in the gutter, that got their attention, even after thousands of sites with real nudies, my blog must have surely had something SOOPER HOT!  (you like the phonetic spelling there?  Did that help you out?)

So, after thinking about this whole thing for quite some time, I decided that I would do these yin yangs a little favor and give them a little something something to drool over.  How you like it so far?  I'm no artist, but this is some of my best work.  And it really did take some time and effort on my part.  I mean, these aren't your average run of the mill stick figures here.  I mean, the girl trying to hide herself in the shower, that really took some skill.  And well, look at the hooters on that one!  I'm surprised I didn't need to hire a model to get something that accurate down on paper.  And my personal favorite?  The nudist family below.  (I did ask them if I could censor certain parts because, well, I'm trying to at least keep things somewhere between PG-13 and R around here.  They said it was fine, but they just wanted me to make sure you understood those are barrels they're covering up with, not water melons.  Water melons would be weird.)
Thanks for stopping by!  Tell a friend!  We've got the Nudiest Nudists of Nudism in town!  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Sway

I tell my daughter all the time that the pen is mightier than the sword because with words wars are started and with words wars are ended.  I don't know if what I say is sinking in to the point I understand it myself, but I continue to say it and, perhaps one day, she'll turn around and say it to my grandchildren.

I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a lover of words.  I write to make myself laugh just as much as I write to make all of you laugh.  I write to express my sadness in ways that are much more beautiful than what sadness presents when I keep it bottled up inside.  I write to entertain myself just as much as I write to entertain you.  I write to make a point and I laugh when my point somehow proves me wrong.  And in my workplace, I write and speak words to persuade property owners and cities to see things through the eyes of my employers and hopefully sign the piece of paper that I need to keep a project moving forward.  Words are my friend, my ally, and I love them.  But... because I have a close relationship with them, because I have an ongoing love affair with them, I am well aware of their power.

I am not here to discuss right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal, none of that... at least not today.
No... today I am what one might call a Republicrat -- much like the unicorn, I don't exist.

I am simply here to say that this one man is one of the best public speakers I've seen in the White House since Ronald Reagan.  This is the first time in my adult life that I've seen a President on the television that, whether I agree with his politics or not, somehow makes me feel like I'd love to have him over for dinner and listen to him tell me stories of his childhood and make jokes about this or that.  Clinton didn't do that, none of the Bush clan were able to do that.  I live in Arizona, and I still have no desire to hang out with Senator McCain, but... this guy?  He comes walking down the aisle shaking hands, calling people bro, making jokes about this or that, hugging ladies that are on the road to recovery from this or that and... suddenly... he's human.  Is Newt human?  Is Romney with his chiseled jaw human?  No... they're politicians.  This man?  He has everyone convinced he's human.  (except for maybe the Tea Party Patriots and the Fox News Anchors)  And this... his charm, his charisma, is just the beginning.

Once he takes the podium, it begins...

He's been in office for four years.  He's bailed out corporations, he has successfully given the United States Government partial ownership in the Chrysler company, something completely "un-american" and yet... he delivers the message that this is all about American Ingenuity, American Workers... forget the fact that a government entity now owns a part of a corporation, forget what that means in terms of true free-market and capitalism, just remember that he said the words "american ingenuity" and "american workers."  Because, in a time when blue collar America is suffering and unemployed and wondering when they can get off the dole and find a job, it might be a good rhetorical use of words to point that out.

And he's been in office for four years, and China has been on our back since the Clinton Administration and China has had plenty of time to gain momentum, and China has been a HUGE topic of discussion amongst the right for a long long time, but suddenly he utters the words, "it's getting more expensive to do business in China... we must bring the manufacturing back home..." and ... wow... What a great idea!  Did he think of that?

And after months of liberal protesters "occupying" Wall Street and "occupying" various corporations throughout the United States, after months of listening to those idiots say things like, "You should have 100%  income tax," and after watching the Wall Street CEO come out and say, "If you raise my taxes I'll lay off more people to cut down on overhead," and after months of listening to the right wing media call these people Obama supporters, suddenly he says, "We must lower taxes for companies to stay and hire here in America."  And suddenly...  wow...  Why are people saying this guy is so bad?  He's not against American Corporations!  He's not against free market society!  Listen to him!  He just wants to "make Free Market work better."  What's wrong with that?  I mean... Look at Chrysler?  They're not in debt to the federal government or anything.  That is still a free company on the free market!  Right?

And for years, since the Bush administration, we've been listening to the importance of finding our own source of oil and natural gas, strengthening our independence and decreasing our dependence on the unstable countries of the middle east.  And suddenly, we're listening to how we need to focus more on finding our own source of oil and energy, that we need to create a market of innovation, and we're listening to how this will increase jobs at home, and it all sounds so good until we remember the Keystone Pipeline project, that would've created 20 thousand jobs, was just declined by the President a few weeks ago, but wait... he just said something about clean energy and finding a balance in choosing between our environment and technology so... maybe that one's a wash?  Maybe?

And then we listen to beautiful thoughts of education, and beautiful thoughts of "funding entrepreneurs with the best ideas," and promises of "no bailouts, no handouts, no cop outs," and for those of us who have complained about these things for the past several years, it all sounds so lovely.  Such a moving and convincing delivery.   And then there's the part about the tax cuts continuing, and that they must "pass the payroll taxcut without delay," and that "congress must pay their fair share of taxes," which sounds very reminiscent of those emails that fly through the office about how we should pay congress minimum wage and see how they change their tune, but he delivers the message so much better!  I'd much rather listen to him than some stupid right-wing chain email, wouldn't you?  Emails don't mean a thing, but what he says goes... or... at least it might, as long as we're willing to vote him in and hope for the best, right?  And after all, what are our choices against him?  Newt?  Newt the crook who wants to build a world on the moon?  Really???  That's practical.  We're out of work, and he's telling me I need to vote for him so he can build a city on the moon.  Awesome.  Thanks Newt!  And then there's Romney, with his millions and his 15% tax rate... well... like the email said, that's not minimum wage...

I said it the other night and I'm saying it again, Obama may just be telling everyone what we want to hear because his advisers have kept themselves in the loop with the people and they know the gripes and complaints flying through Face Book and email accounts and office talk and Tea Party talk and ... what have you.  Either way, genuine or disingenuous, that speech was timely and touched on all of the right-wing topics and it was delivered beautifully and it was confident and convincing.  I'm not saying this to open the door for all of you to blast me with your political views, I'm simply making a point:

Words are powerful and moving. 

The average IQ in America is 90.  Even the experts said this man's speech was comprehensible to the 8th grade reading level, which is the average level of working class America.  And what does this mean?  The majority of the country isn't looking at any of these politicians, including Obama, with a critical eye.  They simply know what they hear.  And while Newt and Romney waste their time with attack ads that annoy the hell out of everyone, this man is using the power of words and his uncanny ability to wield them.  And if you put yourself in their shoes, and you were to just listen without thinking, well... who would you choose?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Popping Puppets From The Hip

Well... I hate the puppet show anyway, but watching the Republican Primaries has been one of the most ridiculous puppet shows I've seen in a while.  And really, for a group of educated "successful" men, one would think they could be smart enough to out manipulate the manipulators, but they can't, or don't, or won't.  They just play right into it, with the exception of Ron Paul (the media seems to treat him like the nerdy kid that no one really wanted on the team but the teachers made them put him on the team and so they do their best to just pretend he's not there and make sure we all watch when the other dumb jocks on the team poke fun at him and his ideas).

In my mind's eye, when I think of this group of four Presidential Contenders, I'm seeing little more than a group of kindergartners playing in the sand box.  When the whistle blows, Newt and Mit are shoving and punching each other in an attempt to be first in line at the water fountain, Santorum is walking politely behind them, and Little Ron Paul is still sitting in the corner of the sandbox with his Star Wars action figures as OB-1 telling Skywalker to use The Force.  And these guys think they're going to win the election of 2012?  Sorry republican party... your future is looking pretty grim.

The best thing that ever happened to Newt was his bold response to John King's question about his ex-wife saying, "I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that."  He got a standing ovation on that one, and I applaud him as well.  He's not my favorite, but he was at that moment speaking the words of so many of us that sit here and watch this stupid puppet show in an attempt to sift through lies and find the truth and figure out who the hell is really running this country and if we're ever going to get out of this messed up state we're in right now.  I think that moment alone, for good or for ill, will forever implant a more positive image of Newt in the minds of the people. (at least the people that aren't easily swayed by the rhetoric of the news media and the underlying socialist movement)

I'm not sure what to say about Romney in terms of shining moments.  It's really difficult to have faith in the guy that lost to the guy that lost to the man who won the Presidential Election in 2008.  Really Republicans?  You think that's a good game plan?  But still, I do think Romney is an excellent business man.  Oh yes, the media (as well as some of his fellow republicans because they are well manipulated by the puppet masters) are doing a fine job of using Occupier rhetoric and painting him "the vulture capitalist," but in an economy where our entire nation looks like a business that is about to go bankrupt and go under, where we owe more money to China than anywhere else, it might behoove America to have a "vulture capitalist" in office for a while.  The man knows his stuff, when it comes to business and finance.  Hell... take a look at his tax returns?  Dude has that down to a science!  Even the tax law professors from Georgetown University and Duke were in awe of what they saw.  His returns were in 100% compliance with the law and his extremely low tax rate is based upon the bulk of his income stemming out of investments, not wages -- because investments boost the economy and by tax code policy, investments are rewarded for this via lower tax rate.  I suspect the media will find some way to focus on his millions as a "bad capitalist pig" moment and his low tax rate as "how unfair to the rest of the world," but what they should do is say, "Wow!  This man knows his stuff!  Please!  Help the United States get out of debt!  PLEASE HELP US REDUCE THE DEFICIT!" But they won't, and neither will most of you because you'll be just as mesmerized by the puppet show as most of the "sheeple" in the United States that go to the polls once every four years.

I really have nothing to say about Santorum aside from, he's just not going to make the cut.  And he may have some really good things to offer, but he's already outshined by Newt and Romney, and if those two are constantly stealing his spotlight, there is no way he's going to hold up against the Charisma Machine called Obama.  Sorry, Santorum, nice guys finish last.

Ron Paul...  Best thing that ever happened to him was New Hampshire, because it's the state where Independents are allowed to take part in the primaries (something ALL states should allow, btw).  Coming in second behind Romney was a shock to most puppet show supporters because it sent a strong, yet subtle, message: THERE IS AN ENTIRE COUNTRY OF PEOPLE THAT THINK FOR THEMSELVES THAT THE MEDIA IS QUICK TO IGNORE, WHICH IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE WORST MISTAKE ANY POLITICIAN AND/OR MEDIA MOGUL COULD MAKE.  These Independents may still not have enough power and momentum to change the way Washington and their Media Mistress do things, but a few more years of this ridiculous charade and something different is going to come in to play.  These people support Individual Liberty, which is something neither democrats or republicans seem to adhere to these days (a complaint I've had against the republicans for quite some time now, as they morph closer to the center and socialist regime with their fellow democrats while they distract the rest of their supporters with pro-life and family values rhetoric and pray for the evangelical vote).  The problem for Ron Paul is that he has no solid foreign policy that would really work and... he looks like he needs to eat a few more steaks and take some calcium supplements, and someone needs to coach him to speak from somewhere other than his nose.  Again, I don't think the guy stands a chance against the Obama Sway.

Sorry republicans.  I'm sure this isn't a popular view among you, but I think your party is doomed.  If Romney wins the nomination, you're going to see anti wealthy rhetoric Occupier style, all over the place, as well as (though we do live in the Freedom Of Religion country) a slew of rhetoric against his Mormon faith. I do see that coming down the pipe, and he's going to take a big hit on that one.  And if Newt gets the nomination, he may have enough character and gusto to rise above and take some heavy punches and hang in with the people who support him, but he is, in all reality, a problematic character (there is that whole ethical problem about lying to congress about funding of certain projects and having to pay a fine and just barely escaping a full expulsion from Congress itself... that is more problematic in terms of governing people than whether or not he cheated on his wife, in my opinion).  And Obama, like it or not, is one of the best orators we've had in office since Reagan.  He has the ability to move people with words, and this... is why he will win.

P.S. My take on Obama Sway is up next... stay tuned....

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I'm working really hard to be consistent about writing at least three times a week.  And I was on fire tonight when I was driving home from work.  I had this entire political rant in my head that I was going to sit down and write out, but then I came home with my daughter and we ate food and played music together and my emotions shifted into something soft and beautiful and I completely lost what I was going to say.  I did try to write it, but it came out all wrong and it's almost eleven and I do need to sleep so I'm not a complete zombie tomorrow (praying the stupid sandman doesn't haunt me tonight)

So... I apologize for this lame excuse for a blog post, but... I had to put something up to at least keep in the practice of things.  (because it's so easy to fall out of practice)

I will say this: SOPA is really on my nerves and I have something to say about that, and the presidential race and debates are a sure fire target for my wrath so... Just bear with me.  The rage is coming.

Thank you all for continuing to read.  I have more subscribers than usual, which is awesome.  I will be back with a vengeance, this I promise.

~ Pandora

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Dark Office Day

So, my administrative assistant is quitting.  This upsets me. I'm happy for her because she found something better, but damn... she was great.  And it isn't my fault she's quitting.  She doesn't work for me directly.  If she did, she might have stayed.  But she works for my boss and just performs some supportive roles for me and some of the other agents, but man... what a loss!  She was so perfect!  She knew which people needed to speak to me right away and she knew which ones were just idiots and she knew which pens (the Uniball Vision Elite!) I specifically used (which she was kind enough to put in a special order for me before she leaves this week because she knows the new hire probably won't do it for me).  And she was the one that sat there and heard everyone's office dirt and tipped me off when I needed a tip off and served as a vault when I needed a vault.  THAT IS SO VALUABLE!  SO VALUABLE!!!!

I knew this day would come because she was too smart to be there in the first place, but still...  I feel the void.  I FEEL THE VOID!!!

Mr. Toenail sits between my cubicle and hers.  In a matter of days she will be gone and I will have NO ONE to send a message to saying something like, "Did you hear what that idiot just said about delirium tremors?"  Or "...the hell midlife crisis shirt is he wearing today?!"

I won't be able to say things like, "Cowboy just came in here and thrust his pelvis at me and I need to throw up now."

I won't be able to call her up at ten minutes to 8 and say, "Look, my daughter fell asleep in the shower and now I'm running behind.  Can you cover for me until I get there?"

The administrative assistant is such an under rated position.  It truly is a valuable spot in any business.  When I worked for the mortgage company, we used to call them the gatekeepers because we knew they were the biggest obstacle to get through when you needed to talk to the person on the other side, and the person on the other side, if he or she was worth their salt, KNEW their gatekeeper was an excellent read on people and who was allowed to get through and who was not.  She was that and so much more.  And I know she loved us all.  If our boss had just treated her right, treated her like the intelligent human being that she is, she may not have left us.

I know not everyone wants to be a professional administrative assistant, but having one that stays with you and knows you and knows your quirks and knows your strengths as well as your weaknesses is something you just can't find every day.  And she supported our boss, but she also supported me and about 20 others.  And she knew all of us, ALL OF US, inside and out.  She knew when Mr. Toenail was legitimately having a struggle and she knew when he was faking it.  She knew when I needed a pep talk and she knew when I was on top of my game.  She knew when the best of my colleagues were up and she knew when they needed a little support and she made sure to touch base with people like me to make sure I helped them out here and there as well, and she did all of that because her position there was so much more than what was written on paper.  so valuable... just so valuable...

If only our boss had seen that.  If only she would've been given credit where credit was due by The Powers That Be.  But that's not how it went down.  And now, even though she's off to better things for herself, the rest of the office staff mourns.

It is a dark day in our department.  But... I know we all wish her nothing but the best, because she deserves it.

I will weep silently in my cubicle for days.
She was one of my greatest friends and allies.
She will be missed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sigmund Sandman

If I were a man, I'd probably romanticize this and say something more seductive and sultry like, "Sleep is an illusive mistress," or something equally sappy, but I'm not.  Because I'm a woman, I'm more inclined to say, "The Sandman is a sick twisted bastard and I want a divorce."

I'm no stranger to insomnia.  I suffer from it here and there for two to three weeks at a time, but most of the time I just get up and start writing or reading or play Spider Solitaire until I either fall back to sleep (usually about an hour before my alarm goes off) or until it's time to start my day and I fill myself with some very stout coffee to make it through.  But what I've been going through for the past four nights is not what I would consider insomnia.  It's more like some sort of subconscious torment instigated by some distorted Sandman version of Sigmund Freud because I've woken up multiple times a night for the past four nights by what some might consider Freud's psychoanalytic playground.  (and I really dislike Freud and his psychoanalytic cohorts)

I'm not kidding.  I woke up at four this morning because I had this dream that I went to acquire an easement from a property owner that answered the door in some fuzzy purple leggings, a leotard, and a tutu.  And yes, he had makeup on and a string of pearls, but his masculine voice and pectoralis majors made it very clear he was a man.  And similar to the time I was greeted at the front door by a man in his tighty whiteys, I played it off like I didn't notice and just started to talk business with him.  All I needed the guy to do was sign the easement so I could notarize the thing and go back to the office and tell my story and make fun of him forever and ever. And as I was explaining the document to him and why I needed him to sign it, he kept staring at my cleavage, and I couldn't decide if he was staring at it because he liked it or because he wished it were his.  And just as he invited me into his kitchen so he could sign the document, I found myself surrounded by what appeared to be the Cirque Du Soleil troupe and I suddenly felt like the girl in the Labyrinth and I was about to meet the Goblin King.   And just as I handed him the pen to sign the document, he handed me a garden hose and told me to drink some water.  So I did.  I drank water from the dude's garden hose in the middle of his damn kitchen.  And as I was drinking, the Cirque Du Soleil freaks started chanting like a bunch of frat boys: FROM THE HOSE!  FROM THE HOSE!  FROM THE HOSE!  At that point, I made myself wake up.

The hell was that?!  Who dreams that?!  With a bunch of French Circus Freaks?!?!  The hell is going on in my subconscious?!  (And please... don't even bring up the drinking from the stupid hose thing.  I've rolled that one over in my mind all day and there is no way around what Freud would have to say about that.)  And even if you have some kind of dream imagery book and you were going to try and help me out here, I'm pretty sure "man in leggings and tutu" isn't in there.  Sure, if I'd had that dream where all your teeth shatter, or that crazy flying dream where you're having the best time ever until you figure out you have no clue how to land, you could look it up and pontificate about this or that and try to win me over with your metaphysical insight, but... French Circus Freaks throwing a party in Tutu Man's kitchen while I'm acquiring a side lot easement?  Yeah... good luck with that.

All I can say is that the Sandman must've gotten bored with his usual victims and he made his way over to my house.  Awesome.  Thanks Sandman.  I've been waiting for you.

And there's a reason why Metallica wrote a creepy song about that guy, because he'd probably been jacking up their subconscious minds since childhood.  How else could they come up with something like MASTER OF PUPPETS?  And they probably destroyed Napster way back when because Sandman told them to!  They sold out to His Royal Creepiness!  They owe him their souls, and they made a down payment with a song of homage to  his creepy tripped out nightmare glory! (at least they finally cut their hair)

From this point on we must all stop lying to our children!  Sandman is NOT this sweet little magic man that drops magical sleepy dust particles over your eyes so you can fly away to dream land with butterflies and lush green gardens.  He comes to your room at night with some distorted magical version of Ambien and torments you with evil clowns and contortionists in frog costumes!  And he forces you to lie to yourself and call it insomnia because he knows there is no way you'll go to work and tell your assistant that you're late because of lost sleep over a nightmare about drinking from some Tutu Man's garden hose in his kitchen, but... Don't do it!  Don't lie to yourself!  IT'S NOT INSOMNIA!  Go buy some garlic and hang it over your bed or something because the Sandman is out to get you!

Believe me...  I know insomnia, and this ain't it.  My entire day was jacked today by visions of men in tights with garden hoses.

So wrong... so very wrong...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hope: My Best Little Friend

Hope...  She was born on July 1, 1999.   Best thing that ever happened to me.  No matter how dark life gets, that kid is something special.  She's growing up.  These things come to mind as I watch her:

At 9 months old she knew that oatmeal was "hot," she knew that the weather was "hot," she knew how to say "daddy," and at some point I realized when she said "Mimi" she was calling my name because she couldn't say "Mommy."  And for the longest time I was "Mimi," long after we all knew she was capable of saying "Mommy," and for me... that was one of the most precious moments of my life.  Mimi...  somehow that made me different from every mother on Earth, whether it really did or not, and I loved it.

 At 15 months old I had left her daddy because of all the turmoil he created in our world and I moved in with my parents and I was completely destroyed because it wasn't what I wanted, not for her or for me or even for him.  And I was up one morning and Hope was sitting in the high chair eating her breakfast.  And I was talking to my Mom and saying things that no child should really hear, but I was saying it all thinking she was too young to understand and suddenly she turned to me and said, "Don't worry, Mimi, it's going to be okay."  At that point my mom and I just shut up and looked at each other and decided from that point on we needed to hold our words because she was aware.  At the same time, I never forgot that my little tiny precious girl somehow recognized that I was sad and scared and she pulled some strength of her own from somewhere in that little high chair and reminded me that we would be fine, no matter what.

She was almost two and she had just gotten out of the bath.  I was drying her off and she passed gas and stood there in shock for a moment just before saying, "Mimi?  Was that my body?"  And I laughed and affirmed that it was in fact her body that made that noise.

At three years old she decided to call upon the powers of God to make me do what she wanted because I was in graduate school and I was studying and couldn't play.  She went into her room and shut the door and what I heard through the closed door was, "By the Power Of God... Mimi will stop reading and play with me!"  She then came outside of her room and said, "So, can we play Power Rangers now?"  I had a paper due and didn't have time to play so I said, "I"m sorry.  I can't play.  I told you that already, and I know you think you can wield the power of God, but God also wants me to get my Master's degree so you're just going to have to wait."  She was disappointed that day, but what God probably did do for her was remind me that my child will only be three once and I will someday miss that so from that point on I made it a point to only study when she was down for the night.  (Guess He heard her prayer on that one.)

Somewhere around four years old she came out and asked, "Mimi, what does it mean to speak your mind?"  I wasn't sure how to answer her at the time because... how the hell do you explain that to a four year old and have it make any sense?  So I said to her, "Well, to speak one's mind means to say the things that are most important to you and not be afraid of what the person who's listening might think or feel about it."  At the time when I said that she simply said okay and walked away.  Three days later, I was sitting out on the patio with some friends and she came out and crawled into my lap and said, "Mimi, I think I know what it means to speak my mind."  When I asked her what it meant she said, "It means that there are a lot of thoughts in my head but some of them go higher up in my head than the others and they let me know that I need to say them so... when I say them I am speaking my mind."  I remember that every person on the patio with me that night was completely silent after she said that and my only response was, "Yes, honey.  That's exactly what it means to speak your mind."

At six years old I'd taken her and a friend of hers to the Renaissance Fair.  I bought each of them a wooden sword.  After an entire day of watching jugglers and jousters and whatever else we saw, we walked out to the parking lot saying that we should come again next year and dress up.  Hope said she wanted to dress up like a knight in armor so she could have her sword, and she swung it about in the air.  Her little friend said she wanted to be a princess.  Hope said, "You can't have a sword if you're a princess."  Her little friend said, "I can too!"  Hope said, "You'll be wearing a dress!  You can't have a sword if you wear a dress!"  At that point I stepped in and said, "Just because you're in a dress doesn't mean you can't wield a sword."  Both of the girls looked up at me and then walked the rest of the way to the car in silence.  When I woke up the next morning, Hope had her sword and was bouncing around the living room saying, "Just because I'm in my jammies doesn't mean I can't wield a sword!"  (I always planned to write a children's book about that, but I haven't gotten to it yet)

At seven years old I got a call from her teacher.  Hope had kicked one of her little boy friends in the groin at school on the play ground that day.  When the teacher told me about it, I knew Hope had been going through some anger issues with the "family atmosphere."  Her dad had just gotten married and there was a baby on the way and there was a world of change she had not been prepared for so... I didn't condone anything she did, but I knew where it was coming from.  And when I went to talk to her about it she said, "I couldn't help it.  I was on the swings and he kept calling me stupid.  And I warned him!  I told him if he called me stupid one more time I was going to show him what stupid was and Mama!  He called me stupid one more time and I jumped off the swings and I pinned him against the wall and I kneed him in the groin!"  And then she buried her head in my lap and she sobbed because she knew she'd done wrong and she knew that kid was one of her best friends (and he is to this day).  And I hugged her and I told her that we don't do that to people just because we're angry and then... I had this moment where I thought about how much I want my kid to be able to take care of herself because damn it... there were plenty of times in my life between 17 and 21 where I may have needed that kind of fire and so... I finally said to her, "Well... if it makes you feel any better, I am glad that you know how to do that."  She stopped and looked up at me and then buried her head back into my lap and said, "It doesn't make me feel any better!"

She was 8 years old when I went about three months without a job.  Things were scary for me then, but I did my best not to let on exactly how scary they were, but I was a stress case.  I finally picked up a job that I was completely over qualified for in terms of education and it didn't pay me as much as I needed, but it was something.  We were driving in the car and the Rolling Stones came on the radio singing, "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and I started harmonizing along with the song when Hope looks at me and says, "This song is about us, Mama.  We don't always get what we want, but we always get what we need."

At 9 I finally got a solid position with the company I had been working for as a contract employee, which meant I finally got health insurance and I finally got the income that I needed to pay my bills without robbing from Peter to pay Paul and I finally had some hope of having enough to send my kid to college.  I was so happy I couldn't control my tears.  I picked Hope up from school that day and told her the news with joyful tears in my eyes and she said, "See Mama!  God is good to you.  You have worked hard and you have been good to the people around you and you never forgot to trust that He would take care of you and He finally did.  He gave you what you needed Mama because you deserve it."  I sobbed...

Now she's 12 and I'm looking at her and seeing this beautiful young creature that is so much more than those sweet little rough and tumble child years.  She was always a tomboy, always some kind of firefly, and now I'm putting her in pretty clothes fit for a young lady and she's standing off in the distance on a stage here and there and singing at Christmas programs and playing sports at a level just shy of high school and she's coming to me and having serious conversations of college and where she should go and I'm listening and I'm talking and somewhere inside of me I'm thinking: where did the time go?

We have seen a lot together, Hope and I, way more than I've written here.  There isn't enough writing space to cover all of that.  But Sunday night, after I had cleaned and reorganized my space for two days in a row because I was trying to bring some sense of order to my own emotional chaos, because I was trying to be proactive in the reinventing of myself after what I thought was going to happen didn't come to pass, Hope came out to sit with me on the patio.  I had my glass of wine, I had the silence of night, and I had my thoughts, and Hope came out and sat beside me.  She pulled her iPod from her pocket and she started to play songs that she knew we both loved and we sat there together and we sang them -- sometimes she would sing melody and I would sing harmony and sometimes I sang melody while she took up the harmony. It was a beautiful and unexpected moment for me, much like all of the moments above, and at some point I had no more words for the emotions that were rising up inside me as she sat next to me.  She has been my best little friend for so long, but it's pretty clear the little friend part is starting to grow and I couldn't help it anymore, I finally said, "I'm going to miss you when you grow up."  And she looked at me and said, "I'm going to miss you too."

My precious...  My best little friend... Hope is one of the biggest reasons I have been anything better than an idiot.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Occupy This....

I was going to leave this alone because it's really stupid and a waste of time, but these folks decided to "occupy" my work environment a couple weeks ago and well... that's my turf.  Sorry.  I have to say something now.

Frankly, I like protesters.  Why?  Because it keeps life interesting.  The trouble is that most protesters don't take the time to truly educate themselves on what it is they're protesting and they just end up looking like idiots, like these idiots here. 
These folks came in pounding some drums and holding up signs saying we were raping the Earth and we needed to shut down.  Um... okay... I work for a utility company.  We provide power and water to the local community here.  If we shut down then... how do you expect to power that iPhone there, or that iPod, or the computer that your genius friend is using to post that blog about your brilliant plan, or take a shower, or flush your poo poo... wait... last Occupiers in California defecated all over the ground so... guess that's a moot point.

Yeah, I read the dude's blog.  It was awesome.  Something about how if we could just learn to live without power and the comforts of life, like air conditioning, the world would be a better place.  I don't know about you all, and maybe this makes me a really terrible person, but I happen to like running water so I can flush my shit down to somewhere instead of walking outside with a spade and digging a hole to poop in.  And I happen to live in a place where it can be 120+ in the summer and people still die of heat exhaustion even with air conditioning so... I happen to like my electricity too.  Not only that, but the day these folks decided to make an appearance was the same day all of the executives from my company were meeting with other utility companies and other regulatory agencies in the United States to discuss ideas and make proposals toward clean energy and green technology so... really?

All of that aside, I did do a lot of reading on these folks and the entire Occupy movement.  I have to say that the brains writing the rhetoric online are apparently too busy working their day jobs and writing online at night to be out protesting with these ignorant folks that they've gathered together "to spread the word."  I might be more impressed if one of them turned around and said something intelligent, but even as recent as Friday on CNN the best I got was a guy that said he was 30 years old and he hadn't worked since he was 18 because he was "too busy fighting the system."  Awesome.  How's that working out for you?  That genius turned around and said that government should implement 100% income tax.  Amazing...  Isn't that grand?  And his buddy next to him seemed to think that somewhere in the constitution it states that the government is supposed to "give us a million dollars or something..."  (go ahead and put your face in your hands now)

Is anyone taking this seriously?  Would the media please stop giving these people air time?  Please?!  They're like the toddlers that just keep wiping their shit on the walls because they like watching the parents freak out.

I would like to say, if they were to air an intelligent moment, these guys might have a point, but I can't.  The best I can pull from the blogs I've read, is that they're concerned about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.  This is a legitimate concern.  And they're concerned about "corporate greed" etc. and so forth, which is also legitimate.  But in terms of what they're trying to do on Wall Street, it might be better if they start "Occupying" the White House, because it was President Obama and the rest of the government dopes that used tax payer dollars to bail out the banks and the corporations, not the CEOs on Wall Street.  And let us not forget that those yin yangs in the White House spent something like 40 million on the President's Inauguration celebrations alone in 2008, which just happened to be in the midst of an economic crisis so... really?  We should have 100% income tax and let the White House determine where the money should go?  (this is the intellect of the guy "fighting the system" ... we should definitely listen to him and let him lead by example... awesome...)

I really can't take it anymore.  I'm a middle class working American.  I've seen hard times.  I've had to pull myself up like everyone else around here.  I've faced unemployment amidst a slew of other hardships, but at the end of the day I would still choose capitalist free market America over anything else.  Want to know why?  Because I don't feel like standing in line for bread like they did in communist Russia, which was what you might call 100% income tax, that's why.  Because I don't feel like riding my bicycle to work, like old school China, only to come home with pennies in my hand and a bowl of rice to eat if I'm lucky.  Because even if I don't have my dream job, I have a job and that allows me to put a decent roof over my head and decent clothes on my daughter's back, and decent food on the table.  And don't even get me started on freedom of speech, because that would go too, don't kid yourself.  Just ask the folks in China now.  They may have bridged some kind of gap between 100% income tax and more money in their personal pocket, but none of them have the right to speak their mind so... if you're going to protest, please educate yourself and do it right.

There is a problem with Capitalism, and that problem is greed, but anyone who has read any sort of history book of any kind knows that there is no such thing as a perfect form of government.  But out of all the forms of government we have seen, ours has at least allowed us to be free individuals with the ability to think outside of the box and make something happen.  The problem is that it takes work, and the other problem is that once people get to the top, they forget where they came from.  I think if you want to talk about "greed" in America, then you need to be real and address all people, including the White House and all the dopes that make up the different branches of government.  I think you need to take a minute and look at the idiots like this dope here: Mr. Money Mayweather who likes to burn 100 dollar bills in public because he can.  How about you go occupy his front lawn, because I'm sure he has several million dollars to give to the poor and the homeless.  Hell... If he weren't such an idiot, I'd even say it was possible for him to take his millions and open a few businesses and create jobs for people, but he won't.  He's too busy purchasing a diamond encrusted Mercedes Benz and... he's not a corporation and he's making way more and wasting way more than any of the CEOs on Wall Street.  So... if you want to talk about American Greed, how about you hit it where it hurts -- these kind of people.  Because the Wall Street guys?  They are making jobs for people.  Guys like this?  They're burning money.

Bottom line: greed is a part of humanity, it always has been it always will be.  And even if we were to have the government step in and regulate everything, guess what?  ALL of the greed would rest with the government.  Why?  Because they're human beings.  They aren't benevolent, they don't truly care about us, they aren't your grandma here to bake you cookies and put you to bed right after reminding you to brush your fuzzy plaque infested teeth.  Government is what I call a NECESSARY EVIL and so... really... You're going to send all of our money there?  Our system was set up to give the power to the people.  We have systematically given more and more power to the government, and quite honestly, this is how we ended up here and yet... we want to give them more.  And if individual people would just stop doing things like worrying about the next flat screen TV or the newest car or the best clothes; if people hadn't been greedy themselves and squandered the equity in their homes on frivolous things; if people actually invested their money in the future instead of what they could have in their hot little hands, we might have more bargaining power but we've cut our own Achilles tendon and now... we have Occupiers making a scene and the government and the media is just swallowing it up and feeding it back to everyone and... this is why I didn't want to talk about it in the first place because... it all amounts to nothing in the end.

I have to go to bed.  I have to go to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Deep...

...then comes the time to step up, the time to say...

This is how it is:
They always come back sorry.
They always come back crying
Every single one of them.
Every one of them crossed some line
Every one of them come back crying
Every one of them come back sorry
And this One is no different
like crocodile diamonds
falling from eyes that feign sorrow
for little more than the self
... a desire to make the self feel better,
feel free from guilt.

It's nothing magical
No truth worth saving
Simply some sort of guilt writhing there
Some realization of Self-Centered loss
their favorite gem
their favorite toy
their favorite pet
Some appealing illusion
served as a momentary distraction
a mirage and
Every single one of them
fell on their face
with a mouthful of dirt
And they all come back crying
like lost dehydrated fools.
Every single one of them.

And you...
You sit there
play back old tunes
hear echos in your head
feel memories like hands on your hips
And then...
...then comes the time to step up, the time to say...

This is how it is:
Love doesn't hit
Love doesn't curse
Love doesn't destroy
Love doesn't cower
Love doesn't toss away with the garbage.
Love knows what it's looking at,
and Love never fails.

This failed.

Disappear with the rest.

now is the time to reinvent