howeverbrief: (Temp)
I've had this idea percolating in my head for quite a while, probably because I spend a lot of my break time at work asking myself the same questions, almost like a mantra even though I already know the answers before I ask them: What day is it? What time is it?

Over and over. Sometimes answering, sometimes groaning. Occasionally I'll add another: When can I go home? This question is easier to answer in even years because I know when I'm going home. Five hours. Three hours. One hour, fifteen minutes. Odd years, I only have one answer: I don't know.

I've been adding a level of difficulty to these questions lately, probably because there are only so many times you can ask the same questions of yourself without getting entirely bored of it. I start to wonder why do I ask these questions of myself when I already know the answers. Why bother with a mantra that merely passes the time?

I'm not sure of the answer. It makes me think back to a class I took years ago where the instructor told us the importance of staying in the moment. Ego, she said, is how we fall. We learn to balance by tuning into what's happening and adjusting to it rather than expecting things to happen the way we think they should. I am still not good at this, and every time I try to balance, I tend to fall, thinking I should be able to even though I don't focus or practice or even take the time to tune back into lessons I thought I'd learned long ago.

I am not good at remaining in the moment. I never have been. Most of the time, even though I'm more aware of this than I ever have been, when I make a conscious effort to take in the colors of the leaves around me, the temperature of the air, the smells from local restaurants and the uneven plodding of my feet in front of me, my mind tends to wander to other things. I explain my political positions to myself. I finish conversations I've never had. I respond to situations that haven't happened yet. I try to prepare for the next moment, month, year, tragedy, success, hardship... The thing is I know I can't predict any of this, yet I can't stop doing this. I have the world in front of my eyes, and my mind drifts off into deep waters, brought back only when it's time to open the doors and work again.

I've been thinking life moves incrementally. So often now, I feel myself pushing through uncomfortable moments I don't want to deal with by trying to step back and think of the bigger picture and/or positive experience I'm looking forward to next. At one point this year, after we had come back from our big trip and did not have anything else planned, I felt really depressed. Before me looms session, with all of its time-sucking, stress-inducing bullshit, and while I've been through it before, it's hard to know what will happen because every session is its own animal. I am not looking forward to the sometimes 90-hour weeks or the late nights I'll spend away from Mike because of deadlines or the constant task switching that's part and parcel of my job. I am not looking forward to seeing what kind of breaking point we'll reach with one member of my staff in particular who's a constant source of drama. I am not looking forward to the next six months.

I am not looking forward to a lot of nonsense I make worse for myself by worrying about what might happen versus just letting it happen and figuring out how to adjust rather than thinking I know.

But back to where I started. Life appears to move incrementally. No matter how we feel about it, it is indifferent. If I welcome what's coming, if I desperately want to avoid something, if I am bored of it all, it moves regardless, and I move with it. I can't help this. Good, bad, indifferent.

Like I said, I have not worked this out entirely, but it is something rattling around up there. Alongside these thoughts, I've been thinking there are only a few ways to get along in this constant incremental movement, a few ways to come out on the other side even if we are moving toward something regardless.

1. Do your best.
2. Admit your mistakes.

Simple enough to say, harder still to put into practice. Doing your best being an ideal concept to strive toward and admitting your mistakes being the near opposite action of realizing your less than ideal self will screw up even when you have the best of intentions.

I am tired at this point and unmotivated to finish this train of thought, but I wanted to share anyway. It has been too long. I will try again soon.
howeverbrief: (Temp)
Okay, let's do it.

Read more... )

So, that's it. Now maybe I'll be able to update on some of the other stuff that has been happening, since that has seemed like an endless series of distractions. I'll be back soon to talk about that, I'm sure, but thanks for your patience over the last few entries while I've tried to gather my thoughts about this trip. Overall, it was an experience I won't forget. Under all, life constantly gets in the way.
howeverbrief: (Skull)
It is extremely strange to think it has been 15 years since the world trade center attacks. In some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday.

I remember waking up annoyed around 6:00 in the morning because some idiots were running around in the hallway yelling about something. I chalked that up to dorm living and went back to sleep until it was time to get up for my first class of the morning, which was at 9:00 or 10:00. By the time I was headed to class, the large TV in the lounge area downstairs was playing what I thought was a movie: the first tower on fire; another plane flying into the second. Weird thing to be playing that early in the morning. If I recall right, the person behind the desk was gasping.

I walked to class, Spanish 101, and when I got in, my classmates were talking about upwards of 15 downed planes and about how there were snipers on the roof of the White House. Again, it sounded like a movie. Stuff like that doesn't happen in real life, only in the imaginations of Hollywood shills trying to make the next blockbuster.

Then my teacher, a tiny lady from Mexico who I always remember as being strict but impeccably dressed, came in, visibly shaken. She told us of the attacks; told us to take care of each other; told us there would be no classes today; told us to go home.

I called my mother, who was in a hotel with my father because their anniversary was the day before. I wanted to know she was okay and to hear a friendly voice. Mostly what I remember is her being annoyed with me for calling and saying of course it would all be okay.


But so much has happened in fifteen years. Airport security protocol changes. Bombings. Terrorist groups scattered and re-surged. Mass shootings. Wars. The rise of racist rhetoric. Political division and unrest. The fact that most of these words are plural and each can be written about extensively. I can go into detail about what I remember from a day fifteen years ago, but to sum up everything that has happened since and all of the consequences thereof is infinitely mind-boggling. So much happened and so little remains in my memory of it all that it feels like the butt of time's great practical joke.

My experience is not unique. I did not suffer personally that day, as many did, nor will I claim any great insight from it all. A lot of it still reads as a senseless tragedy, and years worth of reflection and distance has not changed that, only added nuance to the struggle to understand why events like this happen and how we fail to prevent them. All those people dead in a single act, set into motion over the course of years and executed near perfectly by those determined to make themselves heard. Their voices are still reverberating in our bones.

I am only an observer, and a passive one at that. I wonder what it takes to evoke change in this very volatile world, but I am very different from the person who heard of the attacks fifteen years ago and immediately began trying to make sense of it, certain that there would be a way to make sense of it in the coming days. My concerns have shifted in ways I wouldn't have known about then, and I am the only one to blame for my complacency, my cynicism, my helplessness over what happened and what could be done about it. I suppose in the end it is hard to know for sure, as powers greater than the individual are always at play. It is hard to say, but it is much harder to feel like I should have something better to say after all this time. No, the years have gone by in almost a blur, but the uncertainty of those first few hours remains static and undiminished.

A lot happens in fifteen years. Still, in a lot of ways, I am stuck in a single day.
howeverbrief: (Temp)
Hello, we have returned. We got back from Iceland at midnight Wednesday actually, but since there's a seven-hour time difference (and Mike's been sick on top of it with a cold he got in the last days we were there), we've both been struggling to get back to some kind of normal in the past four days. I always tend to forget just how disorienting and weird jet-lag is until I experience it again. It was especially jarring waking up that first night and seeing Icelandic mountains in my bedroom instead of knowing where I was, but it gets better day by day. Soon we won't notice it at all.

It has been somewhat bittersweet being back. While there were definitely some fiascos, really the trip as a whole was very nice and different from anything we've experienced so far. I plan on going into details about the trip soon, but for now I'm mostly trying not to be bummed out about having to go back to work. I'm pretty sure this is the longest time in the five and a half years I've worked for the state that I've been away (not counting surgeries, but even then, maybe not), and it feels very surreal. Usually I'm more than ready to get back and buckle down into work, but this has been more of a break, I suppose.

I think part of it is the very real prospect of session starting again in February, and I have no more set time off between now and then. Well, that and needing to get some house repairs done before session comes (and hopefully succeeding in that because winter's coming up fairly quickly and I feel like we're running out of time again). I'm also not sure what's going to happen in the next year (or really what I even want to happen in the next year), so that's kind of terrifying. So it goes, the never-ending song of the sort-of adult I am, I guess. I'd much rather be in Iceland, where our only care at night was planning the next day's driving and wondering if the shower was going to be quite as bad as the previous place we stayed at, but I digress. It's okay. If not, it's going to be okay.

Anyway, Iceland posts coming soon.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I had a dream a few nights ago that I interviewed for a promotion at my work. They told me I got the job, so I was super excited. I went into my new larger office and had no idea really what to do. I sat at my desk and shuffled papers around trying to figure it out. I left my office for a minute, and when I returned, my friend [ profile] verypretty was sitting at my desk and doing the work like a champ. I was told I had actually been demoted and was now her assistant. The next day she turned into my old boss, and the office turned into my current office, and I wanted to go back home and cry.

(My old boss is great. My friend Aurora is great. Dream world is just weird, demoralizing and manifesting my imposter syndrome that crops up every now and then. Booooo.)

Work has been pretty dull lately. My brain has a lot of time to wander, and it's not always to good places. I found myself sleepily giving myself a pep talk the other day about, "Hey, what if you actually took the time and gave it your all to writing? What if you looked over some of the short stories you started back in college and actually tried to make them into something?"

It was enough to wake me up in that moment, but knowing me, I won't actually do that. It's funny it came up at all, really, since I don't tend to like writing fiction much anymore. I liked the creative writing classes I took, but nothing really seemed to stick in terms of lasting passion. If I write fiction at all these days, it's in the form of poetry because I find I like telling really small stories and stringing together pieces and phrases rather than writing long form. I would still like to write a non-fiction book (and have several ideas for research projects), but I don't know. I'd like to think that this is just my aesthetic, but really, it's probably more of a convenient excuse because I'm impatient and don't want to devote the time I would need to make it happen. There are a million different distractions and only so much time and blah blah blah. So it goes, I guess.

I have figured out I can take notes on my phone, though, so I've been doing that instead of writing all over post-its and hoping I don't lose them. (Yes, I know. Welcome to the 21st century.) We'll see if anything comes from it.

EDIT: Wait, hold up. This is better than everything I just said.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Honestly, I didn't have many plans at the start of the year beyond "make it through session." Well, that and don't break any more body parts, but that's a given considering how much my foot still hurts and reminds me when storms are coming.

It's been a big year. It was the start of my first cycle as supervisor handling eight proofreaders during the legislative session, and it wasn't all that easy. I think I did a fairly good job for having replaced my boss, who did the job for ten years plus and saw a lot of changes to her job in that time. I'm not sure if it would have been possible for her to convey to me just how many facets there are to supervising. Some I picked up from watching her, but a lot of it has been a steep learning curve, especially when it comes to relations between my people. I mean, I knew handling relationships between people would be part of the job, but I had no idea how big of a percentage and how unprepared I'd be for some of the scenarios I've run across.

Suffice it to say I'm still learning and will probably never fully figure it out.

It's been stressful and hard on Mike as well, considering he only got to experience session stress from a few states away last time, and I know it can't have been easy to deal with my freaking out about hours and deadlines and everything else that goes along with trying to keep up with the legislature, not to mention our various health problems and just general adjustments that go along with newer marriages and life. So far, he's helped me immensely, and I don't remember how I got through it without him the last two times. He's such a sweetheart, and thought he has his own work issues, I'm pretty sure he's helped me out far more than I've helped him. I'm very lucky he sticks around sometimes.

It's been difficult to see my body deteriorate, though. I've recently become more and more aware of how weak my physique is compared to before I broke my foot. At that point, I was just starting to see the effects of less exercise due to being a newly wed and lazier specimen in general, but now I'm definitely feeling like I'm not where I want to be physically. I'm trying to start my old exercise routine before work again, but it is challenging to get up earlier in the morning not to mention we'll be going back on overtime soon to do codification and I'll have much less time to figure it out then. Sigh.

Work/life balance has become rougher to figure out. I wouldn't trade my life with Mike for anything I had before, but it is hard to see what's coming and plan for the future. Certain days I feel like I have all the time in the world to do what we want to do, and other times I feel my biological clock ticking. I don't know when I'll be ready. I don't know if there's a right time to do anything, really. I do know we'd make anything work, but there are many more unknowns that I can't seem to square with myself right now. I suppose there's no harm in leaving it alone until things settle into whatever they're going to settle into. If there is, I won't know until later anyway.

Most of my life can be summed up in this sentence anyway: "I needn't have worried." This seems to become more true the more I repeat it to myself after particularly stressful events that turned out to not be so bad, so... Why worry about it now? I needn't have worried. It'll work out and be okay.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I had a dream that I was back in college and dating Chris again, only I figured out later I'm married and felt really bad about it. My dream self then decided to debate who was the best out of him, Austin and Mike, and of course, Mike came out on top for several reasons, which made me feel even worse for kissing and having feelings for someone behind his back.

I woke up alone. Of course. Mike's in Livermore.

I realized today that it's been close to if not exactly ten years since I've seen Chris. If I felt like digging, I could figure out the precise day, but it doesn't really matter. As far as I know, he's long gone from here. Not too many months after that, I started up with Austin, and that relationship remains the longest I've ever been in, but not for too much longer. (May of next year will crush that record if you're curious.) Austin lives closer to me, but I haven't seen him in maybe four and a half years? Just after I started working here but before I moved, I think.

I've known Very Pretty for almost fourteen years. (How's that for weird, eh college roommate?) Certain other friends have come and gone in that period. Before her, my longest friendship lasted twelve years before I severed ties. Most of the people I grew up with I either don't talk to or don't know anymore outside of facebook, and that's okay.

Recently, I've been downsizing my friend's list there. I had a strong reaction to seeing pictures of someone I went on one pseudo date with after breaking up with Austin which didn't go anywhere because he had some derogatory things to say about gay people at the end of it. I literally know more about him through his facebook than I do from the time I spent in real life with him, and I decided I didn't care at all about him. Then I looked around and decided I didn't care about a lot of people, and suddenly I was below 120 friends on facebook.

I've probably spent a little too much time thinking about how social contacts used to work. I seem to recall in pre-internet times being able to entirely fall out of touch with someone over the course of your life, to the point where you hardly (if ever) think about them if they didn't mean anything to you. Also, it was a lot harder to look someone up if you ever had a passing whim about them, let alone a search engine at your fingertips begging you to find out, hey, that person lives this sort of life now! Isn't that interesting and not at all ultimately useless? Perhaps this sounds cruel and weird of me, but I've been feeling like that antiquated process would be preferable to the many slow deaths of relationships you experience over social media--people ghosting out of your life instead of reminding you every once in a while what they ate for dinner and how much you've both changed and disagree now. Lives coming together then drifting apart. The same old story told by different players.

I guess I'm mostly tired of caring about people who wouldn't notice if I suddenly disappeared. Yeah, I guess that makes me an asshole.

My dad was here yesterday and looked at one of the paintings I have on my wall. He said it was amazing because my Uncle John painted one almost exactly like it, down to the circles and color scheme. My mom said I was my uncle's niece. I wish I could have gotten to know him as an adult. He's been gone for fourteen years. I miss him.

But here we are, and time is short. It seems to be getting shorter all the time.
howeverbrief: (Temp)
So, uh, hi again. Let's see, I worked fifteen of the last twenty days. I ended up with a random Friday off (unprecedented for session), and this week has been pretty boring so far. Because I had a three-day weekend and barely anything has been going on with work, I've been trying to convince myself to get back into old routines, which really just means starting over at this point.

I used to work out twice a week before work. Well, my broken foot put the kibosh on that for a year, and I've come up with so many excuses for not waking up earlier. (This morning's was, "But I woke up at 3:40 and just got back to sleep!" Super pleasant.) Fitbit's still forcing me to walk 10K steps a day, but I manage to feel physically weak anyway. My foot also still hurts! GRAND!

Other hobbies I used to do on a regular basis I'd like to do
(in no particular order):
See friends in person

OH, and this. Write, right? Right, right. I used to write constantly, about anything and everything. What happened to that? Why is that question all I seem to write about here? I had this grand plan at the start of the week to write one entry per day all this week, even if I felt like I had nothing to write about, and somehow it's already Tuesday, and I see I haven't written in almost three weeks before that. I kind of feel like nothing is going on even though I know I'm just still tired and busy even though we're doing nothing. Such a weird paradox.

I'm aware this whole thing is pretty boring. I'm pretty sure no one really reads this, and that's okay. Why put it out there then? Well, I'm mostly trying to jar myself into recording some of this again because I used to think about much greater things. I used to have things to say other than, "I'm so tired. I wish I was at home/asleep/not working so much," etc. Yeah, maybe those things were dumb too, but I felt better when I could express some of these thoughts knocking around in my head. So often, I feel unable to grasp my own thoughts these days, so often gone with the passing moment because I can't spend too much time parsing things or I'll forget how to stay upright. I just want to remind myself that I know how to think about ideas that aren't work related, whatever those are. I used to put things together. I used to make things. I know how to do this. I'm just out of practice... or I never really knew how but like to entertain myself with delusions of grandeur. Either way, it's something I'm missing. It's something I want back in my life.

Enough with the excuses, I guess. Well, that and not so much of the self-chastising if I'm not able to make my goals. Start small or at least start somewhere.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I guess it's hard to explain, the feeling that everyone else is steadily driving down the road, passing telephone pole after telephone pole to some place, any place but here, and you're just standing still hoping that it'll be enough when the time comes to move again. I had a long conversation with myself the other day where I wondered if I was depressed, and I think I figured out that I'm not so much depressed as I don't have enough energy to do much but exist. I asked what I would do if I could do anything at all and not have to worry about money, and I couldn't really think of anything different. I'd write, I suppose. Paint. Try to publish some poetry.

But really, when I think about it, I'd get bored of that after a while and want to go back to work, even if work is a bit too much of my life right now. It's a dream that never goes anywhere. I think the illusion of free time haunts me just because I don't have near enough of it to recharge before I have to kick in the afterburners and run close to on-empty for days at a time. Yeah, I know I don't have it all that bad. It's not for even all that long, and I'm more than halfway through this cycle. I have lots of help, and for the most part, I chose this job and could probably do something else if I really wanted to. Thing is, I get tired of it all too. I get tired of being away from what I care about all the time, feeling like I only accomplish a fraction of what I'd like to and not doing a good job at what I do the vast majority of the time.

I don't know that any of this makes sense, only that it's knocking around in my head. It's Mike and Auntie Moya's birthday today, the day two of my favorite people were born. I didn't do enough for either of them. I talked to Moya, and she mostly said I should be hanging out with Mike. Well, that didn't work too well either. I didn't get home until 6:30, and I've been mostly useless sitting in this chair typing words into the ether. I'm lucky, though. I still get to see them sometimes, and at the end of this, I will hopefully get more time to do what I want. I guess mostly I need to figure out what that is anymore. I seem to have forgotten.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
Oh HAI, livejournal. I should update you, but tabular_rasa kindly asked me some questions I'd rather answer before I forget. If you'd like 5 questions, reply "Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock!" in the comments.

What is your favorite thing about where you live? (Take that to mean what you will: your city, your neighborhood, your home itself, etc).
I wish I could say I adjusted to being a city person (if you can even count Reno as a city, with its "Biggest little city!" status), but even though I lived there about ten years, I never quite adjusted. This isn't to say that I would never consider living in a bigger city than I'm used to, but given where I grew up, I'm pretty comfortable with small towns.

This town is particularly nice because it's not big and crowded with people, but it's also not so far away from places that are both less populated (like my parents' place) and places that have much more going on (like Reno or the Bay Area or, you know, an airport). It's pretty much the best of both worlds because I can hide from people when I want to but get to wherever else I'd like to be without much trouble.

Long story short, I like the size of where I live. Plus my house is pretty awesome too.

What is the last new thing you learned?
I think it was that there's another size of bed. I'd never heard of an Olympic Queen before, but I don't think it's very common. Ebay has a buying guide on bedding for them. I guess the difference between a normal queen and an Olympic Queen is about six inches in width. I only learned about this because the bedding we bought had measurements for an Olympic Queen.

(We got our bed today. It's giant and hopefully will be much more awesome than sleeping on the floor.)

If you could know your own future, would you want to know? Why or why not?
Hmmmmm. That is a hard question. On one hand, I'd like to know because I'm pretty paranoid about wanting to do a good job and would like to know that everything turns out okay in the end. On the other, I still want to believe that I can change things for the better if I keep trying to improve. I want to believe that I have control over my life to some extent, and if I knew what happened in the future, I might not strive or try to do other things that weren't in line with what I already know. (I may have some control issues and seen too many movies on time travel, haha.)

What are your thoughts on nudity? Do you like being naked? Does it depend on the context?
I think nudity is okay to some extent, though I'm sure you won't be surprised to find out it depends on the context. I am pretty modest, all things considered. The most skin I'll show is usually when I'm wearing workout clothes, and even then, it's nothing too scandalous. Since I don't have much in the way of curves to show off (and clothes don't always fit my proportions right), I don't tend to show a lot of skin to begin with, and I think I'd feel pretty uncomfortable being nude in public. I'm okay with nudity in the right situation, but I don't seek out time to be naked. I'm usually fine with it when it happens for the right reason, though. ;)

In the first round of a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock! which would you choose, and why?
I have to admit that even though I have heard of this variant of rock, paper, scissors, I had to look up the rules to find out what Spock and lizard can do. Usually, I'd pick scissors, as it's my go-to in the traditional game, but given Leonard Nimoy's recent passing and what the sign can do, I'd say Spock.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
We worked today. After I got to tell everyone Friday that we had Veteran's day off, my boss got her mind changed by her boss and brought us all in today. At least we got to wear casual clothes, I guess.

Sometimes I find myself making connections where none really exist. I walked outside on my normal break times and was pleasantly surprised by the mostly blue skies with grey clouds blocking out the sun. While not winter yet, there was a chill in the air that complemented the dying leaves falling from the many trees on the grounds.

It was that morose melancholy I was looking for.

I told myself that with this kind of weather, it must be the last real day of the interim at work, the last real day before lawmakers and their hangers-on file into the building and disturb our sleepiness. Tomorrow, the new legislators start their three-day training, and after that, we'll have much more work and much less time to do it in.

But really, what does the day's temperature have to do with any of this? Not much, really. I know that. It's easy enough to draw these connections if you want to see them. Sure, the last few days have been warm and comforting, reminiscent of easier times, but it's fall. It's bound to get cold, and life's going to change again regardless. That's its prerogative, and we'll do what we always do-- muddle through as best as we can.

So we work another holiday, and it'll all make sense some other time. Or it won't. Either way, it's nice to feel like things are falling together, even if it means nothing at all.


Sep. 23rd, 2014 09:29 pm
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I uh, hmmm. How do I start this up again? I don't know. I don't want to quit entirely. I just have trouble finding time that isn't consumed by tired lately, as lame as that excuse is. I shouldn't be this tired. It shouldn't be this ridiculously easy to give up. Or, I guess, that is the easiest way. Fighting for something takes way more energy than doing nothing at all, even if it's standing in something's way.

I had a conversation with my mother last week where I mentioned an old friend I no longer talk to. I looked her up once and saw she works as a tutor at a local college and won some sort of writing contest. I said I was glad I didn't have that kind of life. My mom said something about growing out of it, and I felt a bit offended. I don't think that's really the case. I haven't grown out of wanting to write. Life has gotten in the way of my weird pretentious belief that I'd somehow write the great American novel and say something monumentally important in the grand scheme of things.

I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

Ah, what am I even saying anyway? I hope I haven't "grown out" of writing, as if that's something to mature and move past. I hope that's not what the natural progression of my life is. I have little to no motivation to carry on my delusions of grandeur, but that doesn't mean I have to stop completely, does it? Even if it's nothing to everyone else, I'd like to believe that it still carries a great weight in my own life, some significant magnitude which nevertheless cannot be measured. I suppose that still remains to be seen. Per usual. Ad infinitum.

Of course it does. What else would this be otherwise?
howeverbrief: (Ink)
I've been listening to Against Me!'s newest album, "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" quite a bit lately. As you might guess from the title, the album deals a lot with transgender issues, as the band's frontwoman, Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel), came out as transgender a few years ago. I've written about her previously, probably because I relate to her themes of alienation, depression, awkwardness and loneliness on a certain level, but I also feel like there are parts of her music I will never understand. As a woman who is not overly feminine but has also never questioned her gender, I can't imagine what it's like to trans. I ask myself how she does it, what it would be like, and I just don't know.

I suppose it's selfish to ask those kinds of questions, as if that hypothetical would somehow make me seem more compassionate when it really just centers the discussion around me again. That's just a round-about way of being self-obsessed, and yet I've managed to do this repeatedly even as I've become more aware of it anyway.

But aside from that navel gazing, I wanted to post this song, probably because it sounds like a morbid love song at first.

Lyrics )

All that might be true. Two coffins could be for anyone, especially for you and a significant other because who wants to think about the impossible eternity of death and losing the partner you've agreed to share your life with. 'Til death being a pretty prominent part of the traditional vows and all.

Still, the word "little" being thrown into the mix makes me wonder if she's singing to her daughter, who would be about five now. (And looking up links in the course of writing this entry, I've confirmed this.) That interpretation of the song makes me more sad if it's true, like trying to explain this to a child makes it all the more tragic. At least your significant other understands death on the same level you do.

Given life lately, these lines has been kind of soothing: "All the things I have yet to lose will someday be gone too/Back into annihilation." It matters now, but it won't always. Regardless of what's remains, there's something to be said for the passage of time.
howeverbrief: (Temp)
Poor Mike had to drive to Livermore this afternoon to pick up supplies to prepare for a food show later in the week. He's been through quite the ringer at work lately, with coworkers taking over his accounts but getting in the way more than helping and other related situations, and I feel badly for him. Hopefully he has turned a corner and will have a better week.

I always think I'm going to get so much done when he's gone. Not that I do nothing when he's here, but for some reason, I have this belief that I'll be able to do things that I don't do when he's here. Thing is, I still seem to sit around, watch TV and hang out on the internet like I would when he's here, only I do so with more awareness of his absence. It's odd.

I'm slowly but surely getting better. I haven't taken any (!) painkillers today. I'll probably give in before bed just because I probably won't be able to sleep very well otherwise, but it's not too bad. My foot and face/head still hurt, but after sleeping quite a lot yesterday, I'm feeling more normal than I have in a long time. Hopefully this will only continue to improve. I'd mostly like to eventually get back into exercising more effectively (those two early days where I got up to lift weights every week feels like forever ago), but so far, I've managed to at least bring my walking time back up to 30, if not 40, minutes per day on top of my physical therapy exercises. Not bad. I'm feeling kind of discouraged that I still have to go to physical therapy, but if that's what's going to fix me, I'll suck it up. Also I'm not thrilled that my nose isn't 100% yet; but I've breathed wrong for years and had the infection for half a year; so I really shouldn't have expected it to be instantly better. It's still better than it was before surgery, so that's comforting.

My previous entry highlighted just how out of practice I am with writing. I feel like I could have written it better or that I have missed my own point or that something isn't quite right with it. I think the solution to that problem is to get back into writing pretty much anything again (and/or editing my own work, which I'm ironically not very versed in anymore), regardless of audience or purpose or whatever my own criticisms are, but we'll see how well that works out with how life has been lately. I'm just really aware of my own lack of skill right now. It's a weird feeling.

The other thing in the forefront of my mind lately is the number of people who have been supporting me through everything that's happened in the last year, and I am humbled by both the people I take for granted but shouldn't (namely, my mother, husband, best friends, coworkers and other family members) and the people I thought didn't notice me all that much (people more on the fringe of my life that I honestly don't always notice enough either). I am very lucky for no particular reason. It borders on ridiculous. Thank you for sticking around.
howeverbrief: (Black)
When I started working for the legislature, I decided I would walk on each of my breaks. This was mostly because I was very afraid of how the "sit all day" office environment was going to affect my health, and this was the only way I could think to counteract that. (I also managed to lose some weight those first few months because I took my diet to the extreme, but that has definitely tapered off since then.)

When my break schedule was set in stone, I noticed that I walk past a lot of the same people pretty much every day. On my lunch break, a man who wears jeans as well as a wide hat to cover his balding head walks in the shade around the governor's building. He has said hello to me a few times and commented on how he walks two miles during lunch! Otherwise, we usually don't make eye contact but just nod and pass. In fact, because of my general introversion, that's mostly what I do while walking because I don't want to get into weird situations with people because I've proven that I'm not good at small talk, even if I'm doing it for a good reason.

In the afternoon, an older couple walks most days, regardless of the weather. A few months (or maybe a year?) into my job, I stopped them and had a brief conversation about how I saw them every day. I don't know what possessed me to do this. They mostly looked at me like I was crazy and kept walking. I reverted back to not making eye contact and didn't attempt to talk to them again.

Obviously I haven't been able to walk very much recently, but I have started to get back out and try to walk on my breaks again, even if I am a lot slower these days. I tend to walk a little more than half of what I used to in the same amount of time, mostly because my foot hurts with each step. Still, the foot doctor says this is the best thing for me to do to get rid of the osteopenia (which, during my last appointment, he said is starting to go away), and it's not as bad as it used to be. It's just harder.

Before my sinus surgery a few weeks ago, I was struggling to walk past the governor's building during lunch, and the man with the hat that I used to walk past every day stopped me and asked why I wasn't walking as well as I used to. I told him what happened with my foot, and with that context, he said it was good to see me out trying.

Fast forward to today, my first day at work post-sinus surgery. I had pretty much convinced myself not to walk on my breaks, and yet I found myself outside on my afternoon break anyway. As I made my way to the sidewalk, I passed the older couple. To my surprise, the man said, "Excuse me."

I looked up, and he said, "It's nice to see you back. We wondered what happened to you."
howeverbrief: (Ink)
Now for something different, though topical.

If you haven't heard by now from numerous news outlets, Fred Phelps, Sr., founder of the Westboro Baptist Church has died. (Oh yes, they of the "God hates fags" picketing fame.) One of his estranged sons reported that he was near death a few days ago, and since then, certain news about him has trickled out.

What's interesting, however, is the own church's media response to his death. Most notable to me is the last paragraph of their statement:

God forbid, if every little soul at the Westboro Baptist Church were to die at this instant, or to turn from serving the true and living God, it would not change one thing about the judgments of God that await this deeply corrupted nation and world. That is the pinnacle of your hopes, and by far the most vain. Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, or the power of God.

If this is true, then they can feel free to stay silent for the rest of their days, but I digress a little. Let me back up.

What I found telling is the news that within the last few years, Fred Phelps, Sr. had been excommunicated from his own church by a board of directors that had among its members three of his own sons. In fact, most of the Westboro congregation is made of his own family (with thirteen children, I suppose this is understandable), and the family who have left the church were mostly estranged from him. Still, he persisted in his faith-based railing against the supposed evils of the modern world until he was ejected from his post by his own family, all the while being despised by other members of his family for starting the church in the first place. Here's a man who was moved from the church he worked so hard to build to a house away from the church to live out his dying days mostly hated by those around him, it seems.

And why? Why did this man, who led this church since the 1950s, become so hated by his own members? Because after the church bounced their longtime spokeswoman, who not only spoke for the church but also defended it in their high-profile cases involving their right to picket military funerals because it constituted free speech, Phelps called for the members of his church to be kinder to each other. After all that picketing, Fred Phelps, Sr. wanted more kindness! This was apparently too much for the board to bear.

It's hard to imagine this man was once was a prominent civil rights attorney. It's even harder to think that this man, who advocated the picketing of basically anything to stay in the public eye no matter how much it incensed other people in order to espouse his very hateful message under the guise of religious superiority, could be ousted by his own flesh and blood for saying they should be kinder to each other.

I don't know how the man died because I wasn't there, if he suffered, if he had any idea of the damage he had done to other people or if he understood even a little of what it felt like to stand on the other side of the hate his family spreads, and given that all my facts have come from the media, it's difficult to really understand what happened or where he came from.

Still, in a very sad way, with all the turmoil over the course of his life, Fred Phelps, Sr.'s lonely death seems almost fitting.

EDIT: And if you're all, TLDR, here's a comic that sums it up pretty nicely.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
Ah, Mike and his dad are on their way to Sacramento; and my mom won't get here for another couple of hours; so I've got some time to kill. Really, I ought to be doing laundry or something productive but not super tiring, but this is just as well. I don't get a lot of time to just sit and do this anymore.

Mike's dad's flight was delayed through Vegas, so he didn't get into Reno until almost 10, which put them in Carson around 11. We stayed up talking with him for a bit, and when he went to bed, Mike and I talked some more. We didn't get up until 9, and I feel a little bad about that because Brent is on Mountain time and had to be starving by that point. Oh well. We still had a nice little brunch at Heidi's in town, and after that we drove around town to show what little sights we have, haha.

I kind of forget there's more to this town, even after living in it for three years. I think Mike knows the streets better than I do now, but then again, every other year I have about six to eight months where the only places I go are work, the grocery store and home. I suppose that doesn't do much for getting to know a place, even if you were born here and have lived in the area your whole life.

Well, when I put it that way, I don't really have an excuse. For any of this.

I've been listening to these guys a lot recently again. I know I shouldn't have too many regrets about a really great event, but we wanted this song to play while we had our first dance at the wedding. I know it wasn't meant to be, and we couldn't have planned for the DJ to bring the wrong program as well as have a seizure right before the ceremony. Still, that along with not getting proper pictures with my siblings because our photographer didn't really understand us (and I didn't quite know what to tell her because I didn't have enough time to pull that one together) are probably my biggest regrets. It doesn't matter now. What's important is we're together and married. Things worked out somehow, and the future lays before us in a sea of possibilities.

I don't quite know what's next. Of course, I would have never believed this is where I'd end up if someone had told me ten years ago. I guess that's the flipside of not knowing, that there's equal opportunity for the fantastic and the horrible, the incredible and the pedestrian, the fulfilling and the heartbreaking, and everything in between, if not all at once.

I can't say too much or I feel like I'll jinx it. Even saying that is kind of throwing it out into the universe. I'm not asking for anything else to happen. Just saying.

BUT I'll leave you with a word of advice--
If you happen to buy giant microbes for your significant other because you think they're funny, don't leave them hanging around the living room where anyone can find them. Otherwise, you might have a conversation like this with your father-in-law:
"Hmm. Herpes is a weird name for a toy."
"Oh! Uh, yeah. Mono is over there too."

howeverbrief: (Winter)
I think my last entry touched on anxiety. This is nothing new for me. For some reason, it reminded me about several incidents throughout my life where I've been obsessed with things that scared me, which meant I thought about them all the time even though I knew I was freaked out by them for no reason I could explain. Here's a list of certain movies, songs, and other media that have freaked me out for short periods of time along with anecdotes about each. I almost always end up looking back on these periods and wondering why they had such a strong effect on me, probably because I don't feel that way at all currently. Luckily, I am not as prone to these bouts of anxiety, but as I was reminded earlier in the week, I am not immune to new disturbances cropping up from time to time even now.

Fantasia: Night on Bald Mountain
I loved Fantasia as a kid. Coming from a family who had so much music in their background, I suppose this isn't a surprise. (My father is a near-prodigy at piano, has perfect pitch and plays by ear to this day though he's going deaf; my mother also played piano; all of my siblings had piano lessons, but in addition, my brother has perfect pitch, sang, and played tuba; my older sister played drums; my younger sister plays guitar; and I played flute and clarinet, which I ought to try picking up again one of these days.) My parents tried to instill in all of us an appreciation for all kinds of music, and one of the easiest ways to introduce us to classical music was through Disney. I adored most of Fantasia, from The Nutcracker Suite to Dance of the Hours, because most of it involved happy, dancing animals or other anthropomorphized animals.

Then we got to Night on Bald Mountain, and I would hide in another room. I don't know what it was about the segment, but all the demons running around with the culmination of the devil being revealed set to that music managed to break my little brain every single time. I'd lay awake after watching it and run it over and over in my mind, thinking about how evil it was and how the devil was everywhere waiting to pull me into his grasp. I'd heard about the devil at church, but I think having him represented that way in all his fire and brimstoney glory crystallized something in my brain and stayed with me a long time. I still can't think about it without feeling kind of sheepish about the whole thing, probably because I am not very religious these days.

My dad had a lot of movies. He tended to buy whatever he thought looked interesting so he could watch it later, which could range from action to drama to comedy. He got to where he wouldn't let my siblings and I watch them until we "checked them out" with him first, but before that, we had pretty much free reign of whatever ended up in the movie cabinet. One of those movies was Toys. With a family history of liking Robin Williams movies (Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams, etc.), it seemed reassuring that he was on the cover, especially in a funny looking hat and under a innocuous sounding title. Boy, was I lulled into a false sense of security. The movie is about an eccentric toymaker who dies and wills his toy factory to his brother, who is a military general. The toymaker's son, played by Robin Williams of course, is more like his father and wishes to see the factory continue to make toys, while the general is very serious and begins to make weapons instead of toys. When Robin William's character decides to fight back against his uncle and storms the factory, my brain broke. I can't find video of the exact scene that gave me anxiety, but here's the trailer.

I have no idea why I found the scene (which involved exploding wind-up toys in a very dark setting) so upsetting. I think it has to do with my strange latent pacifism even as a kid. Through most of my childhood, any time I saw something that involved very overt conflict, even if it wasn't very violent, I would be very uncomfortable. I haven't watched the movie since that time, but watching the trailer makes me think I might find the metaphors and story-telling very ham-handed and ridiculous now. However, I still can't see why this movie was even remotely marketed toward children. Very odd.

Ed Gein
In college, I spent way too much time looking up random stuff on the internet. (That's not to say I've stopped, only that it's slowed way down because I don't have as much time or interest these days.) As I was surfing the web one evening, I ran across a link talking about a documentary that was being made that talked about Ed Gein. Having never heard of him before (and the link saying that this was the man who inspired both Silence of the Lambs and Buffalo Bill in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), I did a search for Ed Gein and was subsequently horrified at what I found.
This might even have been the first site I ran across.
The more I read on various sites about his crimes (necrophilia, skinning, and woman suits, oh my!), capture and trial along with seeing pictures of the crime scene and Ed Gein himself, the more I felt deeply disturbed by it.

However, a few days later, I was barely fazed by it. I've even gone on to read about other serial killers and found their stories fascinating rather than repelling, probably because I have more separation from it now, and these days, Mike and I watch a lot of ID Discovery, which has a lot of true crime stories of a similar nature. Shrug.

GG Allin
Later on, I remember a certain journal I read (who was authored by someone I went on to meet and marry one day ;) ) spent a lot of time talking about various punk bands as well as a man named GG Allin.
GG Allin's Official Site
I spent a couple of nights pouring over GG Allin's story, from his terrible upbringing to videos of him with underage girls on talk shows to his shows where he cut and abused himself in various ways to his death and funeral. It all seemed so crazy to me that I came back to it again and again for a while, trying to understand why someone would live that kind of life. I think I eventually came to the conclusion that I couldn't really understand, though I find it interesting that I never really listened to much of his music, which was disturbing enough, though that's why I went searching in the first place. It's probably better that youtube wasn't as active back then or I might have gotten more into his music. I find it funny that I've had dreams about GG Allin since Mike has moved in, though, because my subconscious remembers somehow. Heh.

EDIT: And Mike just played me a GG Allin song, and I had to laugh at the whole thing, so I guess I'm cured. ;)

I've had several minor obsessions since then, though most of those are situational rather than media-based. For example, I was very weirded out by Carnival's 'Poop Cruise' last year, maybe because I kept thinking about how horrible that would be to experience. I also was very horrified by Robert Swift's foreclosed mansion, again because I couldn't imagine how someone would allow that kind of situation to happen or understand why anyone would destroy such a beautiful home and life. However, these stories also tend to take on a flavor of the week, as my obsession with them is short-lived and I'm easily distracted after a few days, which is good. I don't know what I'd do if I had to live with these odd obsessions all the time, and I'm glad they eventually are overtaken by daily concerns and life.

Obsession: Dark Desires
Still, like I said when I began, I am still vulnerable to these feelings, and I was reminded of this earlier this week. Mike and I watched an episode of Obsession: Dark Desires the other evening, and even though it's a stupid TV show in that soft-documentary style that has the victim telling her story to the camera with reenactments of what happened to her played by ridiculous actors, I was scandalized.
I like what you've done
I don't know if it was the woman's craziness, her stalking or the story of what happened to her victim in general (or the fact that this runs parallel to my own sister's stalker killing himself recently, which brought up a host of anxiety-triggering memories from years ago), but I ended the evening telling Mike that I never wanted to watch that show again. That was probably an overreaction in retrospect, though I don't really feel like I need to see more shows about stalking. I'm still feeling kind of jittery about it, but I'm sure that feeling will go away.

If memory serves, it all does eventually.
howeverbrief: (Ink)
Do I write anything real anymore? Ah, I guess if you count chronicling day to day issues, it's real. I haven't given a lot of thought to much else lately, probably because I've had to focus on living life in a different way. I could throw out all the cliches of taking my life for granted and not really knowing what it's like to lose the use of a limb (and how much that affects pretty much everything I do in some way) or how damn lucky I am that my injury didn't turn out worse in a lot of diverse ways all coming together at once. That's all true. I just don't feel like it says anything new about what I and countless others before me have experienced. Sure, I have my own individual perspective on it and how it's driving certain changes in my life at the moment, but I also don't really think I have anything very interesting to say about it.

Why even write the sentence then? I don't know. That's a very good question. I remember when I'd devote hours and hours to writing what I thought and felt about a myriad of subjects and how very important that felt to me (and made me feel in the supposed grand scheme of the universe), but lately most of this feels like avoidance. I start writing and stop, staring at the words because I'm pretty sure I've felt all this before; and in turn, my audience has heard it all before; so the usefulness of it fades as quickly as I close the window for other pursuits. Nothing tried. Nothing lost or gained. Just a momentary blip of my consciousness.

I'm mostly uncomfortable. If I'm comfortable for a while and I notice it, I quickly become restless and fidgety, turning over and over until I find the right spot for however long that lasts. I look outside at the sun and listen to the wind battering the windows and feel like I can't remember what it's like, which is totally ridiculous. Then I remember my injured foot and how I'd like to just set it down and walk for bog's sake, but if I think about it for too long, I just get frustrated at my own self-pity. My life isn't bad, and there's no reason to wallow in it. I should save my complaints for something worthwhile, though I know all too well that the only people I actually let help me without protest take the brunt of the stress I hide from everyone else.

None of this lasts forever. This too shall pass, and here I am leaving with more cliches. I suppose it's something other than pretending this doesn't exist, and for that, I am semi-grateful. I use the term "hopefully" more than I ever did ten years ago, and perhaps that's a step up from thinking the future is a mysterious and foreboding place to be dreaded. I'm not sure what real progress I've made, but somehow I keep stumbling forward.

That's not to say I've figured any of this out, just that I'm committed to moving somehow. Sometimes that has to be enough.


Jan. 5th, 2014 08:47 pm
howeverbrief: (Skull)
It seems to be one of those weird, selfish facts of my life recently that I won't remember much of the new words I learn unless I can directly connect them to my life. This isn't on purpose, but my memory seems to escape me more than it used to. Case in point, I read about hypnagogic jerks (or hypnic jerks) on a list of rarely used terms for everyday experiences. It means a small involuntary motion that happens when you're just about to fall asleep. I thought it was very interesting (and appropriately goofy sounding), but I promptly forgot about it right after reading until a few days ago.

Now that these jerks produce a pretty painful shock almost every time I'm falling asleep right now, I'm having trouble getting the term off my mind.


howeverbrief: (Default)

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