Tag Archives: life

Signs of the times

Aside from finding out there’s nothing really wrong with you, the best thing about going to the doctor is you get a chance to read the kinds of magazines you’d love to subscribe to, if only to put them on your own coffee table to look like you’re an intellectual. On a recent dental trip, I had the privilege to indulge myself in Archeology Magazine. It brought back memories of when I was a child and wanted to be an archeologist. It was a short-lived aspiration. As soon as I learned those folks often lived for months on end in tents with no “real” toilet, I moved on to another career goal.

One of the reasons why I still enjoy the study of archeology is because of the way modern historians interpret artifacts, texts and even graffiti on ruins to learn about a society. For example, there is plenty of graffiti in the ruins of Pompeii to suggest that not only were the inhabitants there on the lascivious side, they enjoyed their drink and defecated just about anywhere.

I don’t remember reading anything on how archeologists interpreted road signs in ancient Rome, but on a recent trip, I couldn’t help but wonder what post-apocalyptic historians might deduce from our street signs of today.

For example, there is a street sign near my neighborhood that says: Opposing traffic has extended green. I think I almost ran the red light there a few times before I figured out what it meant. What will historians think it means? Will they wonder if we met up at that intersection to have pro vs con debates and the opposing teem gets a longer time on the grassy area next to it to speak?

After seeing this sign, will they think we’re a careless lot:

I rather think someone in the factory got it wrong. Shouldn’t it be Done More Drinking Street? Will historians think the sign maker was drunk when he made it?

Or, will they think the deer were once literate when they stumble upon these signs:

There were all sorts of those as we drove through up-state New York. Sometimes the deer crossing would be for the next 3 miles at others for the next 10. How do the deer know how large their cross walk is? Do they get in trouble if they cross before the sign? If it says Deer Crossing Next 1 mile, do deer gangs challenge new members to walk across at 1.1 mile?

My favorite sign of all times is one we saw in a window:

Which, if I were an historian stumbling upon this amidst the ruins of our culture, I would shake my head in awe over that fact that we knew just how messed up we were.

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Filed under Chaos, Commentary, TASFUIL

The Bliss of Ignorance

I have a friend whose skin is so healthy and beautiful that I would hate her if it weren’t for the fact that she’s also nice and funny. I can forgive any form of perfection as long as the bearer is nice and funny. Anyway, she happens to work at a cosmetics counter in a large store at the mall (coincidentally, as she had healthy and beautiful skin before she took the job there).

This past Saturday she invited me to attend an event at her store where I’d be educated on skin care and the line she represents. I went and was educated.

After I showered Sunday morning, I found myself sitting before my vanity mirror somewhat frighted by what I saw: large pores, deep wrinkles, dark circles, and redness I’d never noticed before. Thankfully I’d purchased products to remove, repair or at least conceal it all. It had all the makings of an ego-destroying moment but I couldn’t help but laugh at how I got sucked back into the human obsession to make things better.

What some might call a pride in ingenuity, I’m beginning consider an unhealthy compulsion. We are all in a constant, almost frenzied, quest to turn everything into a problem and fix it, whether or not it really is a problem. And at what cost? I’ll tell you what cost: the joy, happiness, stress-free zen state a life of acceptance has to offer along with stronger, healthier egos. And if that’s not good enough for you, loads of cash and energy to boot.

Think about it — my son just informed me that “they” are re-making the Star Wars movies in 3D, which rather suggests someone somewhere found a problem with the original Star Wars films and decided they were no longer good enough and needed to be improved. But, the reason why Star Trek was so very faboo in the first place is because it was a NEW epic adventure tale of a NEW fallen hero created with NEW technology.  The 3D versions might be fun, but really, they will be yet more Sci-fi 3D flicks ~yawn~ that will make us all feel like saps for preferring the originals.

My daughter and I are ADD. When I was a kid, “they” said I was spirited and flighty, but there was no problem in that as long as I had a chance to run around like a lunatic periodically. My daughter, however,  is a problem, and you wouldn’t believe the time, money and stress (but alas, no running around like a lunatic for her) that is going into “fixing” her. There are results, improvements, if you will. But they are minimal, and I can’t help but wonder if we’d just let her go wild every now and then,that maybe she’d be able to concentrate better when she had to sit still.

And look at what we’re doing with Mother Nature. Here in suburbia, we are all obsessed with “improving” the natural state of our yards by insisting that grass actually grows into nice, green lawns. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I let my yard be taken over by crab grass (it would be so very easy, but to save myself from the local lynch mob, I’d probably have to rename it the “Emerald Spreader” or something). But the stuff looks like it would fill in all the bare spots rather nicely that turf grass fails to do. Seems to me I’d have a thick mat of green that would stand up to running feet, dragged lounge chairs and the occasional car tire on my side of the drive way. Do you know how much money I’d save if I just accepted crab grass as normal and not a problem? How much time and energy I’d get back by not fighting it so much?

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

And look at Barbie! Feminists rail against Barbie because next to her, little girls begin to think they are too fat, too ugly and too not-normal, and yet Barbie continues to preside over a top selling toy empire. Barbie might be the epitome of where the human desire to find problems, fix them, and become “something better” leads us — “they” did the statistics and found out that if Barbie was a real woman with dimensions to scale with the doll, she wouldn’t have enough body fat to menstruate. Yes, girls yearning to look better, to fix all their “problems” are aiming to look like something that couldn’t be a girl (so, does this mean that Barbie is a Drag Queen? Hmmm . . .).

My point is (and I do have one somewhere in this rambling), we would have more time, more energy and even more cash, while living with less stress and healthier egos if we were not so damned set on finding problems to fix. If we’d just allow ourselves to wallow in a state of ignorance, one where “they” are not telling us there’s something wrong with us, then maybe we’d all be a little happier.

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Filed under Chaos, Children, Commentary, Conspiracies, TASFUIL

Stuff and more stuff

My poor blog has been neglected lately. As has my dirty laundry (and I don’t mean that as a metaphor, though that has probably been set aside, too), my house plants, my good intentions regarding my diet and those mysterious piles of “stuff” that build up in my house — you know the ones. They start out with a small piece of paper, perhaps a piece of junk mail you want to toss in the recycling bin in the garage when you have the energy to take the extra 10 steps to do so, but within a week, like an asexual thing it breeds with itself and produces a pile of . . . of . . . of . . . stuff.

It usually happens on the kitchen counter right beside the door that goes into the laundry room. Another one often forms on the landing spot where the stairs turn. There’s a spot on the hearth that collects and collects and collects. There are others, too numerous to catalog here.

Right now my entire desk is covered with one–don’t even ask me where my coffee cup is. I can find it, but it’s probably a dangerous location for it to be.

Honestly, I think I found the inspiration behind The Trouble with Tribbles episode of Star Trek — remember those furry things that were born pregnant or something? I can picture it: a script writer with a serious case of writers block in a studio so filled with wadded up paper balls that he couldn’t find his typewriter. It looks as if the paper balls bred . . . and poof! The Trouble with Tribbles.

If only my mess would be such inspiration.

I tackle my self-breeding piles every Friday morning. I have to as it’s the day I pay bills and usually, especially, in the piles on my desk, there’s something that needs to be paid. I read, I pay, I respond, I file, and then I’m amazed at the mountain of trash that’s produced from it all.

My desk is always beautifully neat and tidy when I’m done. And I vow to never let it happen again, but for some reason I have a tough time remembering the vows I make to myself (my husband, I’m sure would be relieved to know as bad as my memory gets sometimes, I never forget my vows to him).

my desk on a light Friday morning

I’ve read organizational materials out the wazoo. I’ve taken time management training classes for various jobs. I’ve heard that mantra “only touch a piece of paper once” so many times it has no meaning to me. That kind of stuff just doesn’t seem to function well with my limited amount of working brain cells, which I’m guessing are piled up in random spots inside my skull.

I love systems. I create them all the time to prevent chaos from forming around me. And then I forget I created them and, well, chaos forms around me, particularly in little piles all over my house. But it’s only for limited times, as I usually get it all cleaned up before cocktail hour on Friday nights. So I guess that means I have my priorities right, right? Whew! I’m so glad I can stop worrying about it all then.

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Filed under Chaos, Definitions, Good Housekeeping

Still complaining after all these years

So my lovely husband has started reminding me lately that I’m still complaining. He has a point — I am still complaining, but I gotta say, life has the deck stacked against me.

It’s not that I want to complain; I really don’t. There’s just so much shit going on around me that it’s hard to make a comment about anything without it sounding like a complaint. My allergies remain so severe that all I want to do is take a hand-rake and rip out my eyes because they itch so much and there are days I sneeze so frequently that I’m afraid to drive as I might lose control of my car. My PMS is so bad these days it’s telling me I’m peri-menopause, actually it’s shrieking it to the world with me completely unable to control it. There’s oil spilling out in the gulf and all that is happening about is fingers are being pointed instead of someone shoving them into the hole to plug it up (that metaphor was a stretch, I know — I’m talking about the boy with his finger in a dyke).

And I’m getting old. It’s official. I’m officially getting old. Proof came with his latest comment a few minutes ago, “boy you’re sure complaining a lot this morning.” All I wanted was for his help in making the text on the emails in my in-box look bigger. No, I didn’t rearrange my desk. I just can’t seem to see what’s in my in-box like I used to. I’d love to say that the entire world is using a smaller font, but I have a feeling that’s not so true. So he changed the resolution and yes, the letters are bigger, but now they’re fuzzy. All I said was, “thank you, but now they’re blurry.” And oops, I did it again. I complained.

What’s a girl to do? Should I remain mute? The only way that’d be possible would be if I completely alienate myself. And the odds of my butt exploding and blasting me into the milky way are better than thinking my kids would leave me alone in my room undisturbed for longer than 30 seconds. But I could try. I could lock myself in my bedroom with nothing but good literature and vodka. The thing is, if by some miracle of miracles and not a screamed “MOM!” is heard, I’ll sit around reading and drinking all day, which on the surface sounds ideal, but eventually I’ll have to pee and when I stand up after all that lounging, I’m sure I’ll be stiff and sore. Add a little drunk into it and soon enough I’ll be saying (complaining) “Good Christ, my neck hurts. And my back!”

Shall I go to some island paradise and relax in a hammock while polite and obsequious waiters feed me delicious foods and ply me with umbrella-laden drinks? Yes, that’d be nice and one would think complaint free. But, it couldn’t last forever. Eventually I’ll be bitching about my credit card bills. Resorts ain’t cheap you know.

Tell me, what’s a girl to do? I’m still giving it the old college try–I keep re-starting my week of living complaint free. ~sigh~ it’s just that life gives me such fodder. God it’s hard–and that’s not a complaint, just a comment about something I’ve noticed.

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Filed under Age, Chaos, Definitions

It’s the End of the World As We Know It

Ok, if the title of this post didn’t get the song stuck in your head (as it is in mine), then please go here, listen to it and then finish reading. I don’t like to suffer alone.

Well, then, welcome back.

If the pollen count wasn’t so high, I’d be outside painting my sandwich sign-board and humming along with R.E.M. “It’s the end of the world as we know it . . . it’s the end of the world as we know it . . . it’s the end of the world as we know it . . . I feel fine . . .” And how do I know it’s the end, you ask?

Because the Boy Scouts are now offering merit badges for Video Gaming. Honest and true. Granted, they say they’re doing it to teach responsibility and good sportsmanship. And perhaps that’s true. But I can’t help but think it’s because they’ve given up. The world has just sunk too far for even the ever optimistic and capable to be hopeful.

Regardless of how you feel about the Boy Scouts, we have all always taken for granted that if the world were about to be destroyed, a Boy Scout-like person would be there to save the day. We might be snarky about them. We might make fun of their Park-Ranger-from-Yogi-Bear-styled uniforms. We might joke about knot-tying badges. But, underneath the sarcasm there remained the security and knowledge that they could save us in great times of dire need.

Remember reading Alas Babylon! in high school? Remember that feeling during the Cold War when you finally understood that everything as we knew it could be destroyed within a couple of hours? Well, think a little harder now and reflect on who it was that could save us all. It was the people who could build shelters, fish, start a fire without lighters or charcoal bricks even. And who else but the Boy Scouts can we count on to do that?

Now then, if they are reduced to giving badges for video gaming, what could that mean? Does it mean they’ve given up hope that there’s nothing they can do to save us now? That we’re so f*cked it doesn’t matter if they know how to fish without a commercial rod? Did they just throw up their hands and say, “aw, to hell with it. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”?

Or am I reading too much into it?

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Do you ever outgrow stupidity?

A couple decades ago I had such a flash of insight I still don’t understand why there weren’t reports of mysterious lightening on the local news. It was the day I discovered a major flaw in human beings, so major that I ever after doubted the believability of both evolutionary theory and intelligent design.

I worked with a woman–let me rephrase that with the right emphasis–I worked with a woman who was paid to have her presence in the building. (That’s not just my opinion. No one ever accused her of working as she had the reputation of being someone who was not exactly well endowed in the intellectual department.) Anyway, this woman came up to me one day and said, “Lisa, I was thinking . . .” and she paused, at which point I spouted, “Oh God! Did it hurt?”

And that’s when the flash of insight happened. It dawned on me that if the theory of evolution held water, people like me would have been bred out of existence. And if intelligent design was right, that would suggest people were created in a Christian god’s image, which in turn would suggest God is a pretty snarky, impulsive being (and doesn’t that conflict with the whole omnipotent, omnibenevolent image?).

Thankfully it didn’t occur to my co-worker that she should be offended. She laughed and went on to tell me the brilliant thought she believed she was blessed with, which wasn’t the same brilliant thought I had: people should have a re-set button. And that idea is the key bit of proof that maybe we are all alone in the universe with no rhyme or reason.

Why can’t we have a nerve ending somewhere in our forearms that, when pressed, makes you forget everything that happened within the previous thirty seconds? Granted, I didn’t need it with my former co-worker, but imagine how those proverbial answers to “do I look fat in this?” could be handled. All a man would have to do is, after impulsively answering with the truth, lean forward and lovingly touch his favorite woman on the arm and say “you look fabulous.” She’d never be any wiser.

And think about how much more fun TV news could be. Remember that Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin? Couric could have started a question and pressed Palin’s arm at just the right second so that all Palin would remember would be the first and last words of the question. Just imagine what her responses would have been! Then again, maybe they would have been the same. But you get the point. It could make the news so much more fun.

But we don’t have such a nerve ending, or at least I never found one. So fools like me tend to go on blundering around the universe occasionally spouting things off that offend, belittle and denigrate others. And usually, it’s not meant with ill intent. Like yesterday. I was checking out at a salon when one of the people who worked there was talking about how she’s almost finished with her first year of trade school and her dad was still disappointed she hadn’t gone to college. She was looking forward to moving out on her own and not having to rely on her dad to support her, but was worried she wouldn’t make enough money. I told her to just do her best and enjoy it because “you’re only young and stupid once” and it’ll be harder to get away with that kind of behavior later in her life.

The look on her face suggested she wasn’t sure if she was insulted. I quickly explained that we’re all young and stupid at some point, but we all don’t have the liberty of trying to live our life that way, that some of us survive and thrive (take rock stars for example) by following through on our young and stupid ways. I freely admit to my young and stupid days, which apparently have gone on for much longer than should be legal. But I didn’t mean stupid in the sense of low IQ; I simply meant stupid in the sense of believing you understood the world when you really aren’t old enough too. But the more I went on, the further away from me she backed, and I thought, “geesh, it would be so much easier if we just had a freaking re-set button!”

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The Line

Sometimes it just sucks being a mom. Sometimes it would be so much easier to just pretend I’m not a mom to my 8-year old daughter and that instead, I’m a fellow 8-year old girl. Sometimes I wonder if I’d get better results and have less guilt if I said things like “I’m not going to be your friend any more if you don’t pick up your dirty clothes.”

“Sometimes” always happens when I’m close to The Line. You know The Line. It’s the one, that, if you cross it, a little voice from a corner of your mind reminds you ever so casually that you may have squashed, just a little, that beautiful, wondrous, majestic spirit still residing in your kid.

My daughter is one of those children who can have fun all by herself in an empty room, or as the Southern expression goes, can be happy playing in a pile of shit. She is imaginative, insightful, intuitive, and wiser beyond her years. Her teachers repeatedly tell me they’ve never seen a child like her, that they look forward to seeing her as an adult to learn about the fabulous things she’s destined to do. They assure me she is bound for some kind of greatness. They repeatedly admire the depths of her sense of diplomacy, the ease with which she reads between the lines, the comedy of her adult-like wit. Everyone remarks on how she seems to have an endless amount of enthusiasm for everything in life.

I should be grateful for such a child, which I am. I should celebrate her uniqueness, which I do. I should encourage her not to be afraid to reach out, to branch out into the world and yet stay true to herself and her abilities, which I do.

But trust me living with her ain’t easy. That boundless energy must be curtailed periodically, otherwise things in the house get broken, homework doesn’t get done, and she’d never sit still long enough to actually eat a meal. That insightful, intuitive mind of hers can combine with the adult-like wit and create one hell of a sarcastic attitude (not unlike her mom, apparently, according to her father). And there are times when an 8-year old just shouldn’t read between the lines.

I fear reining her in as much as I fear not reining her in. I’m trying, probably with a sense of desperation that she senses and takes advantage of, to find that point of balance where I can encourage her beautiful self to exist while happily co-existing with the rest of the family. That’s The line I keep approaching and probably cross more often than I should.

I guess I’ll know how well I did or didn’t do when she’s an adult. If her teachers are right and she is bound for greatness, I’ll read her autobiography and learn exactly where I screwed up.

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Filed under Children, Relationships, Uncategorized