Saturday, February 24, 2018

Today I am...

...waking up very sad and overwhelmed. Thank God for good friends who are swooping in to help me get my shit together re getting these damn forms filled out. I feel like such a slug: lazy and stupid, with New Added Panic at 2 a.m.! Quite literally, last night (this morning) I woke with a start, heart racing, no dream-memory at all, just an extreme anxiety jolt about due dates and penalties and "losing everything" (as in the house, money, car, job) because I didn't get the stupid paperwork done.

All this is exacerbated by the discovery/reminder that I work tomorrow, so my "free hours" this weekend just took a major hit. And I think I put my foot in my mouth saying something thoughtless yesterday at at meeting at work. I'm so tired of that; and I'm so tired of beating myself up for doing this sort of thing.

I am better than this.

What is wrong with me!? [that is a rhetorical question: I know very well what's wrong--there's a long list]
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sailor Moon

So in last night's Weird Theater of the Mind, it was costume day. Not Halloween exactly, just sort of a random cosplay day at work. Only not my actual workplace: it was an amalgam of the two long-term places I've worked.

To set things up: I had initially not come in costume, and the dream started out with me asking Techie at work why in the world we'd hired a former blog friend (J) to work as a sort-of IT person in-house. Techie had forgotten that J used to work in the system and is a raging nightmare, not to mention currently works as the director of a university library out east. However, that quickly segued into this dressing up dream. Once I saw people arriving in costume with me in my "street duds" I was easily convinced by several other coworkers (Barnum, Hello Kitty, and Silence-and-Cake) to become this Sailor-Moon-type anime/manga character who had the big anime eyes and absolutely dead white skin. I was somehow convinced to wear a mini-skirt--yellow I think--and carry a staff and a long thin sword. There was either a tail or the dress had a long train in part of the dream. So I was buried in white pancake makeup, and S&C swooped around my face with black eyeliner to make my eyes anime'd up.

Then there was some kind of climbing race, a la Battle of the Network Stars but inside a pool area (no water in the pool, just really high ceilings and diving boards and so forth) that had been set up as a sort of air-maze. I had been fitted with these ridiculous cartoon shoes that were just wood blocks with padding on them. The first part of this competition was climbing a "dragon" made of a long inflated tube. The point was to make contestants look ridiculous trying to climb up in the air and falling off. I walked up to it and stabbed it with my sword to let the air all out, and then walked over the the diving tower and climbed up, with difficulty in by wooden-block shoes, to the top of the maze. It took some time, but eventually I made it and then wound through the maze to the head of the "dragon" and simply slid down as it if were a tall twisty slide. I could hear the commentary guys (yes, we had "sportscasters") raving about how creative and take-no-prisoners I had been to up-end the competition, and everyone was cheering for me. I was super-fierce and non-smiling in my white make-up carrying my sword.

At some point it turned into a big auditorium and then devolved into a choral concert or something, and then I was changing into my original clothes, and the cleaners were putting all the chairs and tables away in the hall while I waited out in the lobby stairwells for someone or other.

So, Dream Interpreters: WTF?
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Round One--House Cleanup in the books

BIL was here over the weekend, along with Sparky. We did a LOT of things!
  • The office is emptier and a little more organized; I need to clear out files yet, but the surfaces have been emptied and lots of stuff went in the trash and elsewhere. 
  • The basement...well, the main room looks worse, but the workroom/shop area...! I can actually walk into it without feeling like I'll trip and kill myself getting to the lights. BIL went through a lot of stuff from his side of the family. Much of it got tossed. There are at least two full contractor bags of trash that I'll need to get to the curb over the course of several weeks; ditto with all the magazines and other recycling. 
  • We got the Honda started and moved out of the garage. The giant heap of cardboard boxes is collapsed into one box for recycling. 
  • The insurance paperwork is sorted and generally made sense of. 
  • BIL found Beast's Social Security card (which I need for part of the Medicaid form) in a box of Random Things From Some Drawer. 
  • Sparky found Beast's cross necklace, which he now has with him.
And yesterday after BIL and Sparky left, I finally cancelled SiriusXM ($200/month), downgraded DirecTV and ordered a new remote (saving $150/month), and downgraded our Sprint account to three lines and no more monthly charges for Beast's and my phone (saving $100/month). I spent, quite literally, over two hours on phone calls to Sprint to delete BIL's number from our account and was so frustrated by the end I was just repeating "ALL I want to do is delete the line. That's all" and sobbing. They kept telling me only the account holder could cancel lines, and as I'm not the account holder it can't be done. So then let's change the name on the account--nope, gotta have proof that I'm allowed to do that. So where do I fax/email the paperwork proving I'm allowed? A transfer to another department and some ridiculous procedure that involves SNAIL-MAIL, but I really need to talk to someone else about cancelling the line...transfer back to where I started but to a new person to whom I have to give my name, the name of the account, the PIN and the password. I definitely know the PIN now! Which is great, since I'm the one who created it and changed all the online account info last month after another (shorter) marathon to find out how to do that, with the threat that if I couldn't get into the account, they wouldn't get paid because I couldn't access the bill. Oh, and I left out two trips to the nearest store--the staff of which was great, by the way!--and an online chat with customer service. All this between 2 and 6 yesterday afternoon. DirecTV = 20 minutes on the phone tops. SiriusXM = no more than a 10-minute call. Sprint = a four-hour ordeal that was only resolved when I started sobbing and calling Beast "a vegetable" who can't talk on the phone for fuck's sake! I only swore once, by the way. I just have to say that when I get really upset, it becomes entirely impossible for me to understand accented English. The guy who finally just canceled the damn thing...when he told me that, I sobbed out something like, "You're the nicest guy I've spoken to today" and then hung up without further ado. So I hope he a) deleted the right line, and b) actually DID something because I have no confirmation # to prove anything with.

[Time out to check the online bill. Guess what. The extra line is still on the bill. Also, I'm "past due" with my payment, but only $.26 is due. My next payment will be minus the $15 and whatever other charges for that extra line. I hate HATE Spring customer service.]

In short, all the wind is out of my sails. The house, superficially, looks worse: more piles in places I can see in rooms I use, and I still have all this goddamned paperwork to fill out which requires still more phone calls and planning and TIME and Finding Things (like 5 years' worth of tax returns and pay stubs and bank statements) and Making Copies of Found Things (same as above)... The weather is abysmal: rainy and dank and gray. The mailbox "temporary" fix has tipped over into the street, so I'm going to have to go to the P.O. and ask them to hold my mail for pickup till I can get someone to power out a new post-hole for a new post and mailbox setup (which means waiting for the ground to thaw). And the stupid Honda is still here, albeit out of the garage finally. The last person I want to see today is Beast, and all I want to do is crawl back in bed and alternately sleep and cry and feel sorry for myself.
Friday, February 16, 2018

Death of Facebook

Since I've given up Facebook for Lent, because I NEED TO, I've nowhere to post random stuff.

Except here.

Yay, blogs!

I had a weird dream this morning. Drew (from NYS) and Sparky had, unbeknownst to me, decided to host a small D&D gathering here. OK, fine, but I didn't find out till the day people were coming, so commenced cleaning. Turns out the living room was still carpeted (not) and arranged with the couch under the front window (not) and (enter the bizarre) there were pine needles everywhere despite not having had a real Christmas tree in our house ever (IRL). Also the wall by the front door was covered, literally covered, in tiny swarming bugs, the corner that goes up against the coat closet and half-bath had signs of major water damage we'd covered in paint and duct tape, and we had an extra couch in the front hallway. All I had was a broom to sweep. It was just awful. I collected enough stuff to roll into an area rug (not) for Sparky to empty into the trash--out of spite, I also put his shoes in the rug because they were in my way sweeping and I had had to keep yelling upstairs to ask him questions to which the answers were not very forthcoming.

(This was the center masterpiece. There was also a bit about grocery shopping and running into Melissa and her daughter O. which was not overly weird, except the store and the manner in which we were shopping and unloading in the parking lot. The parking lot itself was fenced, which is weird for sure. On the other end of this main dream, I seem to recall my niece Katherine, her husband Alan and the two kids, something about a ladder and being on vacation, and a full diaper. I have no idea what that part ties into things IRL; none whatsoever.)

Anyway: context for the main dream:

  • I swept around and under the sofa in the living room yesterday because there were/are lots of crumbs in the vicinity. That's pretty much where I live and do everything these days. The floor isn't carpet, but I need to sweep again because I dropped peanuts on the floor last night.
  • Trying to get Sparky to respond to any kind of communication is irritating. He's very wrapped up in his own stuff--normal--and forgets me. Not unheard of, and I'm not upset about that. It's just frustrating. So as long as I keep my passive-aggressive behavior to dreams, his shoes are probably safe with me.
  • It does occur to me, though, that I'm annoyed about shoes for Beast, so this probably plays into it. I bought him new shoes at the request of the staff at his facility last week. When I saw him on Wednesday, he had his old shoes on. Maybe I should bring them home? 
  • D&D? Not a clue, though Sparky at least plays. I'm sure Drew has played. Why was D here though? So weird. I'm pretty sure I've conflated him with my bro-in-law who is arriving tomorrow for a weekend visit, and who is unlikely as hell to play D&D nowadays!
  • However, I did watch some Twitch footage of Sparky's channel yesterday which was him doing walk-throughs of a couple of video games. So D&D = video games? Clearly my subconscious thinks these are both luxuries that need to be set aside when Important Things need doing for Mom.
  • I don't really get the pine needles at all. I used to hate cleaning up after the tree in January though, and I'm obviously concerned about the general state of cleanliness in the house. It's actually fine; I'm just obsessing.
  • The leak? That's because one of my coworkers just found out that her roof is leaking, and pouring water through her walls due to an ice dam. My roof is fine.
  • I'm sure the bugs are representing all the ridiculous things I need to deal with in my life. Or my quiet fear that I have unseen bugs/vermin hanging around. It took till December to get all the mice out, so there's a little hangover from that for sure. We've never had mice in the house like last year.
The shopping frame makes sense. I need to hit the store, but there's no reason to involve Melissa or O. in the trip. Nor do I need to shop at the store from my childhood, magically transported to the middle of a fenced yard!

I've no clue what's going on with the other frame. I miss seeing those guys, though.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Today was my 11th annual jaunt to one of the local middle schools to judge [School Name] Project presentations. It's one of my favorite days of the year. All the 8th-graders in town have to do a semester-long project on a topic of their choice that culminates in a written paper AND a presentation in front of community members posing as judges. We rate them 1-to-4 on various things (not just the writing, or the actual speaking, but like 10 different specific things: tone of voice, extra 3D/show-and-tell stuff, ability to recover from errors, etc.) It's extraordinarily rare for me to give anyone a 1 for any part of it. Today was a LOT of 4s. And they were actually a pretty good collection of presentations this year. Some years I feel like I've stepped into Lazy Teenage Hell. Not much of that this time, thank God!

So here's the topics they presented today, with commentary as appropriate:
  • Creating video games (a good start; he had some technical difficulties getting started, but he's obviously interested in the subject and juiced about studying for this career, so that always helps a lot)
  • Computer programming (another job-related one; not too many people get excited about writing code, but this kid is one of them!)
  • History of tractors (yes, really, chosen because he's "been driving tractors since I was, like 7, and my grandpa used to have, like, 48 tractors"--and it was actually fun to listen to him gabbling on about John Deere and Allis-Chalmers, etc.)
  • Renewable energy (well done; I wanted to ask her how she feels about the current policies in D.C. but I didn't want to start WWIII in the judges' area....)
  • New Orleans (we should all go, and here are some Voodoo chips and Mardi Gras beads--it's ALWAYS good to feed the judges!)
  • Childhood in Nazi Germany (this was absolutely fascinating--the kid's babysitter/nanny when he was little was a woman who grew up in Germany during WWII; she was 7 when the war ended; he did an absolutely wonderful job integrating her stories with historical research)
  • Jamaica (we should all go to Jamaica, which is a constitutional monarchy without a monarch where their favorite drink is rum; I think this is the first time they were allowed to do vacation destinations as a project, and I got two of them)
  • History of [the city in which she lives] (barely phoned it in, and ended with "it was hard to find information because it's not a very big town"--my first question was "Did you GO to the public library?" Kid: "Oh yeah, I got a book there." Me: "I work there. We have file cabinets FULL of stuff about the city's history." I was pissed. Don't expect me to believe you started this project prior to May 10, dude!)
  • Schizophrenia (nicely done, though she talked so fast I'm not entirely sure what she said--but she had a LOT to say!)
  • Hockey history (first 6 professional teams; surprisingly interesting, despite my overall lack of interest in ice hockey)
  • [state north of us] university sports (fun, and interesting reasons for doing this topic--neither parent went to college at this school--and he's stoked about getting an athletic scholarship there in a few years)
  • How did WW2 start/end (ah the obligatory WW2 talk...yawn--seriously, kids, it's interesting but find a different angle--see above re growing up in Nazi Germany)
  • Large animal veterinarian (another one that gets done often, though usually not specifically large animals--however, she raises pigs and her sister has horses, so she's motivated, and interesting)
  • North Korean human rights (this was a split-personality presentation: the kid had a speech impediment and maybe some other, cognitive, issues, and he pretty much just read his slideshow to us; BUT he knew his stuff, he did research (he's not Korean), and it was topical and I learned a BUNCH of stuff from him. BRAVO!!)
LUNCH (I brought a cheese sandwich and walnuts and almonds and begged a bottle of pop from the teacher's lounge--and I read about books while I ate)
  • History of basketball (another topic about which I have zero interest, but the kid made it fun to listen to)
  • Animal shelters (yet another perennial--she didn't kill herself with research, but it was clearly presented and heartfelt. And there were no pictures of puppy mills, which was a blessing; there are usually horrible photos that go with this subject)
  • Pediatrician (possibly the most professionally-done speech of the day. She kicked ass in terms of speaking and researching, citing sources in the speech itself, and just generally Doing It Right)
  • Volkswagens (who knew there were VW hobbyists? And this kid is specifically into VW buses! He had me hooked--and then he started explaining all the engine specs...yawn...but his enthusiasm was palpable)
  • Airplane piloting (this was one of those kids with the "modern" hairstyle that mimics the kids -I- went to middle school with 40 years ago; he wasn't all that into the whole academic thing, but he wants to be a pilot and has actually co-piloted a plane, so that was cool)
  • Law enforcement (unfortunate: very quiet, pretty much never looked up from reading his notecards, obviously scared out of his mind; and he wants to be a cop)
  • Cosmetology (she wants to do makeup when she grows up, or model; I know what you're picturing, and she's not any of those things, but she definitely has presence and poise)
  • The Holocaust (what a way to end the day: a dispiriting and dispirited talk on genocide; I'll eat my hat if she did more research than opening her history textbook; too bad, really--she has a wonderful speaking voice)
And then we ran for the parking lot to beat the lines of parental cars. On the way home I stopped at Aldi's--where I had to be physically SHOWN where the refried beans are, since I still can't find them on my own because I'm apparently BLIND--and Walgreen's--5 Rxes for Beast.

Oh yeah, because I'd set this day up in March, and last week Beast scheduled his cortisone injection into his lower back for this morning. So I took him over to the office for that, and he'd set up a ride to come home. I'm a horrible wife. But really: he's had something like 10 of these things now, and it's pretty much all show for the insurance company. Maybe it'll help with some of the pain, but it hasn't been much of a winning option yet (since 2011, mind you), so we all know the doctor will see him, post-cortisone, next week and (hopefully) schedule surgery for "soon" which realistically means June sometime. For those keeping score at home, this will be #2 on the lumbar region. The first time was in 2012 where he had a laminectomy, ablation, and other fancy words (the doctor told me immediately post-op that there was "scraping" of the nerve off the vertebrae--hurrah for technical jargon). Then he had similar stuff done inside his neck in December 2015, after the debacle of our vacation in October when he ended up in the ER waiting room for 9 hours in St. Louis.

He's in bed asleep, which isn't shocking at all. He warned me it was likely he would be. I have no idea if I'm supposed to wake him, so I probably will just let him sleep. Maybe the pain level will be such that he can actually rest for a change.

So, yeah. Just another day in the life of.
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Poetry month

by SU TUNG-PO (translated by ARTHUR WALEY)

Families when a child is born
Hope it will turn out intelligent.
I, through intelligence
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope that the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he'll be happy all his days
And grow into a cabinet minister.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Poetry Month


A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
        Who happens just now to remember A
        Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Poetry Month


With el río grande~bravo
                                in our face
This river
                                at its mouth
                                at its source
With you at its source
                                its sources
With you at the snow
                                the evergreens
The million earth holes
                                of water emerging
Snakes, Gloria Anzaldúa's
With this river
                                on our face

Neon green anole
                                swells its throat
El río bravo~
                                grande on its face
Ocelots hunt
                                under six
                                foot shrub
With the drive
                                of the Continental Divide
                                with the pull
                                of tributaries
                                in their limbs
                                whining in the shade
                                in their timbals
Females laying eggs
                                in branches

The young border patrol officer
                                flashes sirens daily
                                lifts his gun
                                with the river
                                on his face

Upriver, Chihuahua
                                desert ancestors'
                                adobe bricks stand up
                                crumble down
With el río grande~bravo
                                on our face

You said you loved
                                the river
                                on my face
You said headwaters
                                the source
                                el río grande
                                rises from its source
                                saw the lines around
                                our mouths
                                saw adobe-brick lines

Monsoon season
                                granizo pelting
                                the facades

                                at its source
                                in my mouth
                                adobe mud
                                bricks in my mouth
                                the earth
                                holes, the sources
                                the snow
                                Río Conchos de México
                                Cueva de la Olla
                                at our face
Tidal confluences
n our face

Some crossed
                                with nuns during la
el río bravo~grande
                                on their face

                                die detained
                                with tributaries
                                of many rivers on their face

In Ciudad Juárez, a mother hoped
                                her missing daughter
                                married a rich American
                                with the river far away

Constant helicopters finding heat
                                with the river as the source

To the west, crossers lift the tortilla
Walk deserts without water
                                on their face

Guanajuato ancestors crossed through Cali
                                with mirages
                                in their face

I shower daily
with el valle
river water on my face
Thank you and kiss you daily

Julia de Burgos
with el Río Grande de Loíza
Puerto Rico in your face

I can now speak of hurricanes
and being a dog at someone's feet

I remember El Paso's Inca doves
                                burrowing owls in the morning
                                barn owls in El Valle's cemeteries
                                great horned owl and mockingbirds
                                Harris hawks and pauraques
vecinos carrying signs
                                two communities
                                "¡No al muro!"
"¡Segundo Barrio no se vende!"
                                with the river on their face

A daughter and mother want their ashes
                                at Boca Chica
                                the river's mouth
                                the end, the start
                                another source
                                crabs collapsing
                                into bullets bursting out of holes
                                carrizo, bugambilia
                                seeds        petals         paper
                                the mouth

                                the eddies
                                the tributaries
                                the flow
                                Río Conchos de México
                                the snow
                                the pelts
                                the sources

The confluence
of people and god
                                ribbon snakes in Roma
                                pigs and piglets jumping
                                from banks
with the river on their face
                                You can hear roosters
                                           crowing across
                       the water in Miguel Alemán

                                disturb unsettled graves
with the river in our face

You said you don't want archaic chains
                                lowering you loudly with obvious labor six feet in
You want to hear the cool chachalacas
                                with the river on their legs
                                                       from ébano to ébano
                                el chalán
                                the ropes

                                the pull
                                over green
                                blue sky
                                to Díaz Ordaz

I want to hear parrots
                                sabal palms
                                try again
With the river on our face
                                I want no medicine
                                no ambition
                                with the river in my face
I used to love you
                                with the river in my face
I still love you
                                when the river's on my face
I made a foot-deep grave
                                with the river on my face
I loved other rivers
                                with el río grande~bravo on my face

I want to oxbox lake

                                in this place where children stil speak and lose
                                multiple tongues
                                in this place where we still lose and grow
                                forked tongues
                                this place where white herons hunt and drink in the resacas
                                this place with el río grande~bravo
                                in its pipes
                                                                in its lungs
                                                                in our face
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