Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Job Interview

This is a big one. My staffing agency is frothing at the mouth, thinking I'm a shoe-in. It's a great company that likely pays well.

Deep breaths. Pressed suit. Here we go.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Am I the only one who finds this utterly nauseating?

“How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read?” has become a best seller here, with translation rights snapped up across Europe and under negotiation in Britain and the United States.

“I am surprised because I hadn’t imagined how guilty nonreaders feel,” Mr. Bayard, 52, said in an interview. “With this book, they can shake off their guilt without psychoanalysis, so it’s much cheaper.”

Mike Judge's film "Idiocracy" is available at iO OnDemand, for all you cable subscribers out there. It might be on Netflix too. It's not the best movie I've ever seen - it certainly doesn't hold a candle to Judge's brilliantly inspired "Office Space" - but I did laugh wholeheartedly a few times. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone says "it's a good dumb comedy, like a lost Pauly Shore movie from between Encino Man and Son-in-Law. The production values are barely basic-cable quality." He's right, but who cares? Did anyone check this film out because they were interested in the production values? Oh, wait, I'm sure some of them did.

Have I talked a lot on this blog about my family out west? The ones who never read anything but the bible and have litters of no less than four kids? And then home-school them to protect them from Satan's works in the world? I'll have to check my archives. They live on compounds in the middle of the mountains, like the Amish. They have houses full of guns, for hunting deer, and my uncle thought a hunting trip was a perfectly reasonable excuse for his kids missing school. Everyone in my generation has grown up to be a bus driver or a file clerk or a grocery bagger. No doctors, no businesspeople, no attorneys (which may not be such a loss). They all voted for Bush, and pray for him weekly in church. They all feel that the solution peace in the Middle East is to convert everyone to Christianity (NOT Catholicism!). They think the ultimate pinnacle of human achievement is to become a missionary. Unless you're female, then it's to have missionary babies and cook really well.

Uh, anyway, regarding the movie, here's a fun comment on the Review from Rolling Stone, written by someone who feels he is "2Kool2B4Gotten." (I left his mis-types in, because after seeing the future of idiocy, mildly careless commenters seem rather cute:)

Mike Judge is dead-on about his accessment of the future. More accurately, the present. When the future "idiot" President of The United States is more eloquent than our current president, you know we are currently in deep shit. That is what has been haunting me every since I've watched it. It's not a big leap from what is our current number one movie and TV show to Mike Judge's visions of it in the future ("Ass" and "Ow! My Balls!" respectively).

I'm not sure which movie and TV show he's referring to, but "Jackass" comes to mind, which is both a show and a movie.

My favorite quote from the film comes at the end, when the main character, an Average American Joe, gets elected president, as he is by leaps and bounds the smartest person alive. It's a favorite quote on IMDB as well:

"There was a time when reading wasn't just for fags. And neither was writing. People wrote books and movies. Movies with stories, that made you care about who's ass it was and why it was farting. And I believe that time can come again!"

Yep, stupid people call those of us who speak eloquently and dress well, and show other signs of intelligence and culture "fags." Ain't that funny? Actually, it is, because the joke is on the anti-gay idiots out there. It's their world, I bet they're so proud.

I also noticed a complete dearth of any religious imagery or reference. I saw no churches or religious anything throughout the film. It may be that Judge backed off, but that's hard to believe. More likely, there is a godless comment here, that without a higher power to which we believe we'll be held accountable, there's really nothing stopping us from catering to our most base instincts: violence, random gratuitous sex, gluttony, laziness. The seven deadly sins are more than just things God doesn't want us to do - they are unhealthy behavior patterns that we easily succomb to when we don't police ourselves. The destruction of sprirituality, in all forms, plays a role in the destruction of civilization. Of course, South Park has covered that too. But I digress.

Sometimes, I'm glad the human life span is as short as it is. For all we know, this is the golden age of humanity.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

With Gratitude, and Joy

I have my very first real, professional massage job today. Not at this place - at my friend Penny's spa! We've been talking about me coming to work there, but it's actually happening now. I'm booked for two clients today, and Penny and I are doing a couples massage together next Friday.

I don't know what the commission is, and right now, I don't care. I might not work again for eight months. Then again, I might work there every weekend. Don't care. This is my first job in this field, and I worked my butt off for this. I'll work out the details when they come up. I'll still go to the audition on Monday, but now I actually have choices. I'll go to the place that feels like the best match for me.

There haven't been very many times in my life when I felt that my hard work actually paid off. I can't express the elation that went through me when I got that letter on Friday.

I am immensely, humbly grateful for the blessings in my life.

Now 'scuse me - deep breath - I've never been so excited to say this - I'M GOING TO WORK!

P.S. And to think I wrote this just last Friday morning - a scant few hours before everything started falling into place...

Saturday, February 24, 2007



*clink clink* I can hear the martini shaker now!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Job Interview Update - 4:0

We - as in, my Agency and me - have pretty much given up on the first three interviews I went on. Which sucks, because they were all so supposedly thrilled with me. Then.... nothing. The fourth company, from last Thursday, has not yet given us their final answer. However, given that it's Friday, and they claimed they would be making their final decisions the end of this week, it's highly unlikely that I'm getting this job.

I met with four people last week - the HR Manager, two women I would be sharing duties with and supporting, and the VP who would be over us all. The VP was the last person I met with, and what stands out most from our conversation was him asking me if I have a reputation for reliability. I was a bit shocked at that. Let's just say, that's like asking if I have encroaching male pattern baldness and horrific split ends. I have been under the impression for years that I'm known for exceptional reliability - I've had entire sections of departments handed to me, to run independently, and gotten glowing reviews for it.

I did not take this personally. I immediately assured the VP that I have a list of references, and that my agency would be happy to put him in contact with them. If was, however, thrown by the question, and of course now I'm wishing I had given him a list of names and numbers right then and there, or talked myself up more, or something like that. It was one of those moments where, after a day or so had passed, and I reflected upon it, that I realized I wasn't getting this job.

Things like that come up when a person has been badly burnt. Temps in general have terrible reputations. We are regarded as people with virtually no education or skills, who can't get real jobs because we habitually show up late, when we show up, and we have bad attitudes. I've fought this image all my professional life, as I've been temping since I first set foot into the American workforce. I feel that I have won the fight, and that I have developed a reputation that preceeds me in many areas, and that I can still leave a jobsite with a manager saying "if only we had more like her." However, I am constantly reminded that I am the rare exception to a nasty rule. I'm sure this VP has not met many temps like me before, and is conducting this series of interviews with great caution.

It's still not fair though. I think he just didn't like the look of me. I wore a business suit with an interesting shirt (was that too flashy?) and closed toe pumps. I shake hands firmly. I wore minimal makeup, and braided my hair sensibly down my back. I wore my glasses and only one pair of small earrings. I couldn't have done much more without flat-out costuming myself, and I draw the line there.

The one vanity I allow myself, if it can be called such, is that I refuse to present myself as someone other than who I am. In other words, I will not pretend to be someone I'm not. It has taken me many long, painful years to learn who I am, and be comfortable with it. I still learn new things every day. This is precious to me. Granted, I'm usually given some clues as to what the company environment is like, and what sort of personality they are hoping to find, and because of this I've become adept at tempering certain elements of my personality and allowing others to take the spotlight when needed. I refuse, however, to literally become someone else for an interview. (This is usually a pointless guessing game anyway.) When company C rejected me because I was "too personable", I was ok with that. If they wanted someone "studious and nerdy" who would focus into her monitor all day and not chat with the other office workers, then indeed, I am the wrong person for the job.

(We could have a paragraphs-long discussion about appropriate vs. inapprorpiate chattiness in office settings, but give me credit here people.)

So yes, I am who I am, and I know what I have to offer. Most people tell me that I present well, that my skills and background are never the problem. We often chalk up my continued rejection to "interview fatigue." The person who's first or last in line is more likely to be remembered and hired. If I'm the 9th person out of 20 interviews, they will forget who I am after the 11th person shows up. It's lame, but it's all I can figure anymore.

For a while I thought I was getting lowballed by my competition - that I was asking for too much money - but this is long-term temping, and that's not an issue.

I have spent far too much time mulling over this stuff. I'm at a point - actually, I've been at that point for two years - where all I can do is keep trying, and hope something comes through for me. sort of like actors trying to get cast.

However, I stopped auditioning because I hated the illogic of it all, the lottery I knew I'd starve to death before ever winning.

There's a mental path I'd better not go down.

I had another job interview yesterday morning - a fifth interview. This was NOT through my agency - it was a referral from the placement director at my Massage School (who also happens to be my former Swedish Instructor). So I chugged over the TappanZee to north Bumblefuck, also known as Briarcliff Manor, and met with a lovely young gal who runs a spa. She looked me over, showed me around the facilities, asked where I'd gone to school, and inquired as to my licensing status. She then nosed around some papers on her desk and informed me that she'd be calling me to schedule a massage audition. I had come prepared to give her a massage that very morning, but apparently she didn't have time just then. I was there all of fifteen minutes before I was navigating the backroads to home again.

Do I want to work at a spa? No. Do I want to work in the middle of nowhere Westchester county, for commission only? No.

Do I want massage work? Yes. Do I need work of any kind? Yes.

Can I afford to be fussy? No.

Can I afford to take a job that will cost more in gas and tolls than I'll be making? No.

If she calls, I'll go back, and give her a massage, and let her decide if she wants to make me an offer. And I'll go from there.

And I'll keep trying, and hoping for the best.

Fooling Myself

Two weeks ago, I had the flu for seven full days. It took all of the following week and weekend until I felt better. As of yesterday, I felt like my old self again.

However, strangely, this week I'm awake at 7AM three days in a row, and falling asleep on the couch at 9:30 at night.

I am experiencing an identity crisis. I'm the one who sleeps until noon and stays out until four. At least... I used to be. Suddenly I'm an early bird?

I suspect that the fact that I haven't drunk coffee on a regular basis for almost three weeks now has something to do with it. While I was sick, I subsisted on constant fluid intake, which included decaffeinated tea - like a pot a day - ginger ale, and various flavors of Fruit 2o. I ate virtually nothing but fruit all week, with the occasional slice of toast with peanut butter on it. By the end of the last two weeks I had lost two pounds.

It's also true that over the last two months, I've increased my workout intensity at the gym. As Ingrid once pointed out, it makes me wonder how much more severely my illness might have gripped me, were I in worse shape. The fever broke after seven days, but the lung gunk lingered for an additional eight. It's finally gone, as of last Wednesday afternoon.

I've sure all this has my body feeling somewhat confused.

I don't really mind this early to bed, early to rise thing. Maybe it thinks I'm one of those healthy people that works out really hard, and eats really light, healthy meals. Isn't that cute?

However, next year, when the wedding is over, and I'm pregnant and eating everything in sight, won't that be fun.

For now though, my Peppermint-Ginger tea is ready, and I gotta get to the gym.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stealing from the Stars

Last Monday morning, I was going through my closets, just sort of clearing out the stuff I never wear, when Catherine Zeta-Jones barges in my bedroom and starts yanking stuff out of my hands and yelling at me.

"These are my things!" She yells, little wrinkles forming between her arched brows.

"No they're not," I protested, yanking a blue button-down shirt out of her mitts. "I bought this at Ann Taylor!"

"No you didn't!" Catherine shrieked. "You stole them from me!" She proceeded to scoop up in her arms every item of clothing on my bed and floor - an impressive double-armful - and dashed for the door.

"Since when do you shop at Ann Taylor!?" I shouted after her. "I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE VERSACE!"

Then I woke up.

Note to self: Don't fall asleep in the middle of a movie.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mistress Cares Not For Thy Snobbery

Sak's Fifth Avenue: Bridal Salon, may I help you?

Me: Yes, I'd like to make an appointment.

SFA: When is your wedding?

Me: One year from this week - February 16th, 2008.

SFA: So, are you not interested in our 2008 collections?

Me: I'm open to anything, I'm just getting started.

SFA: Well, do you know our designers we carry?

Me: I'm on your website, but I don't see a list of designers...

SFA: If you go to the Knot, they should be listed there.

Me: The knot...?

SFA: Are there any designers you're particularly interested in?

Me: (wracking my brain to come up with a name or two) Well, I've liked some gowns from Watters, and Demetrios, and...

SFA: We don't carry those designers.

Me: But, really, I'm open to anything, I have plenty of time...

SFA: We carry a higher price point here.

Me: ...?!

SFA: Demetrios doesn't sell anywhere in New York. If you want to see Watters, those are only available at Macy's. You'll have to go there.

Me: Macy's!?

SFA: Yes, only Macy's.

Me: I have to call Macy's?

SFA: Yes, Watters sells to their bridal salons only.

Me: That's... not what I expected to hear.

SFA: And why not?

Me: (because I can't believe you're not interested in taking my money for yourself?) Well... I really hate shopping at Macy's.

SFA: Nonsense! Macy's is a lovely store. We don't carry the gowns you want.

Me: Fine then. Thanks anyway.

SFA: (brightly) Of course, you're welcome dear!


Me: I have $2500 budgeted for this dress, you elitist snobby bitch.

(I checked out Macy's, more commonly referred to as the ghetto trash department store from hell. They only have three bridal salons in the entire country: Chicago, Minneapolis, and Troy, MI.)

Cold, Cold Heart

The View
Originally uploaded by MzOuiser.

I had such grand plans for this day. I was going to the grocery store, get some fresh fish, make a nice dinner, I was even going to try my hand at baking a red velvet cake. I have a little extra cash from that job I worked last week, and was going to spend it at Victoria's Secret. But no, this sleet has rendered our roads so unsafe that G called me from work to tell me it's not worth risking life and limb to make dinner.

And it's not like the preciptiation has stopped. I considered bundling up in my down coat and timberlands and trudging down the street to the market, but it's doing that half rain/half snow thing, and the wind is blowing real hard. I'd be a fool to walk anywhere, and a bigger fool to try and do it with packages.

I know everybody hates this holiday and it's politically incorrect for me to enjoy it, but un-PC is me, I suppose. G gave me my valentine card last night - he was thinking ahead!

The least I can do is set up my massage table and give G a good 90 minute swedish. I actually think he prefers massages to sex. Normally the very idea of mixing massage with anything romantic would be repellent to me, but it's Valentine's Day, and I got a good man, and I might as well break the rules just this once, for my husband to be.

Maybe the Italian bistro down the street is delivering?

Stay warm, people.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another Job Interview

A long-term temp assignment in Armonk, near the Conneticut border. Same town where that nice finance company is located. The pay is average, and the company makes dental implants, which ain't sexy, but it's alright.

I don't know how many times I've gushed about my Staffing Agency, but they really do knock themselves out for me. My agent shares me with other agents if she feels someone else might have a better position for me. My agent's boss chats me up to clients like I'm some goddess of the office. And let's face it, as much as I complain about the pay, it's enough when I do get it, and every now and then, it's enough to put me a little ahead in my loan payments. I shouldn't complain as much about that as I do. A lot of people have it a lot worst.

Of course, I have an interview in two days, so I'm feeling positive. Thursday morning at 11:00.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Make that Grey Poupon, with Extra Pickles, Hold the Guilt

More often than not, I feel very young. Not as in vibrant and alive, but as in new, just born, with everything still to do in my life ahead of me, as though I were still a teenager never been anywhere but home and school. I think this has to do with my feelings about the many perceived failures and disappointments I've had in my life.

I’ve heard several people use the phrase “slipped through the cracks” in regards to me, especially with the word "career" somewhere in the sentence. I’ve had a few opportunities here and there, and came very close to having great things in my grasp, but I’ve always slipped through the cracks, and that job that seemed to be imminent remained just beyond my grasp, and all the working and straining and reaching I could do brought it no closer, until eventually, it slipped away into the distance, never to be seen again.

This concept could also describe, for me, marriage.

I was married for about three years. Dimarc and I just couldn’t work together, and we were too stubborn to admit it, I think. We were young, but not really. I was twenty-seven, he was thirty. We thought we had lived through a lot of disappointments, and that we deserved to be married, like it was something that was coming to us, dammit.

My first wedding was planned almost exclusively by my mother-in-law. Now, don't get me wrong, my mother-in-law was a wonderful, industrious, down-to-earth, generous soul, who I felt, at the time, was taking an enormous task off of my hands. She never knew how disappointed I was in my wedding, because I couldn't bear to hurt her feelings. I loved her very much.

My in-laws paid for half the wedding, and my folks paid for the other half. I was painfully aware of how much everything was costing, and riddled with guilt. It seemed like everyone around me had gotten married “on the cheap,” and everyone talked incessantly about how beautiful all those virtually free weddings were, and what a great time everyone had. Couples – and their mothers – flat-out bragged about how much they saved, how they’d made their own wedding favors, how someone’s sister’s cousin had baked this beautiful, delicious wedding cake, how someone’s uncle Sid had taken all the photos. How women had bought their wedding dresses online for less than $500. And everyone was full of condemnation for selfish, wasteful children who demanded big, expensive fancy weddings, and for parents who threw them, clearly out of a desire to show off how rich they were. Ostentatiousness was the eighth deadly sin. Funny, considering one family was Jewish and the other practically atheist.

I let the mothers make all the decisions as to which vendor to hire, and in every single case, they went with the least expensive option. I didn’t dare say a word except “thank you.” Especially since, unbeknownst to the mothers, Dimarc and I were screaming at each other, weekly, fighting and crying like the scared children we were, I suppose. I was in therapy, Dimarc refused to go, and somehow, the wedding seemed to happen around me. I just went with it.

Our outdoor ceremony was almost rained out – delayed by ½ hour. There was no ceremony music at all – that ball had been dropped altogether. If it wasn’t for a friend with a guitar and galpal’s singing, we’d have walked up the aisle in silence. The flowers were meaningless, mass-produced clusters of white and green stuff. My bridal bouquet was supposed to be red roses, but the cheap-ass florist had assembled it with small, half-open buds. It looked ridiculous. I almost wept, and then almost fainted with disappointment, but it was my wedding day before I ever saw it, and the show had to go on.

Some friends of Dimarc’s had descended upon the reception hall with the mothers to decorate it, and their decorating taste was decidedly country, and minimalist, as I’m sure nobody wanted to spend any more money on decorations. The place looked like a goddamn barn dance hall – marigolds and carnations strewn about, stuck into bits of tulle tacked to the walls. Pots of unidentifiable mustard-yellow flowers tossed into corners. People and their love of nature. How shocked they all would have been to hear that I AM SO NOT INTO THAT GINGHAM AND DAISY CRAP. What is it with city people? I grew up surrounded by woods and trees and cornfields, and I sprinted the first opportunity I got to Manhattan! This is something no one has ever gotten about me, and I am so bloody tired of explaining it. I hate camping. I hate pollen, I hate bugs, I don’t care if Tiffany’s is showing jewel encrusted dragonflies, I hate bugs! I like my flowers cut and in a vase! The only outdoors I ever need in my life is the beach!

Uh, sorry… tantrum over… where was I? Oh yeah. My wedding.

The dinner food was half-defrosted. The cake looked like something from behind the counter at Jewel-Osco. I had been talked out of the cake I wanted – it would have cost too much for the rolled fondant. My parents had provided our family’s favorite champagne, but the caterers poured it into glasses a full hour before the toast, so by the time anyone tasted it, it was warm and flat. My mother had gone to great lengths to provide mints from my hometown candy store to serve with the cake, and the damn things sat out in the heat until they turned soggy and the colors ran. I doubt anyone ate them.

I was grateful for our DJ, who had sat privately with me earlier in the day to confirm what I wanted – no chicken dancing or hokey-pokeying or fucking macarena or any of that stupid shit. “My kind of bride,” he said. He played the perfect music all night long, exactly to my specifications, and I was so busy dancing and laughing at my nieces that I managed to focus away from all the disappointment.

This was my wedding. That was it. My one chance to be a bride. To this day, I can’t talk about the clothes everyone wore. That last wound hasn’t healed.

I felt guilty for being so resentful of everything everyone tried to do for me. Oh – excuse me - tried to do for US. Nobody ever stepped forward and said "Wait a minute - this is a wedding! It's the BRIDE'S Day!" No, quite the opposite. I was reminded constantly - mostly by my groom - that I wasn’t the only one getting married, that the groom should have what he wants too. The problem there was that the groom seemed to actively hate everything I wanted. It wasn’t that he wanted anything specific, he just knew what he didn’t want, so I’d better let go of whatever thing I had my heart set on and let him pick something else. That was another thing I spent a lot of time crying on my therapist’s couch about. It was Dimarc that wanted the buttercream frosting on the cake, because he wanted it to taste good, but it was the cheap bakery that didn’t know how to make the cake look nice. I had a lot of anger towards Dimarc for blocking my choices. I partly blamed him for ruining my wedding. Maybe, if we hadn't fought so nastily over the invitations and other such things, I might have had the guts to be honest with the mothers. Maybe it wasn’t fair, but I blamed Dimarc for getting in my way.

Oh – the final boot up the ass? Our cheap photographer disappeared after the wedding for over a year. We didn’t get our albums for over a year. And they look like they were taken by a teenager in a church basement.

But you see, I shouldn't have minded any of that. The important part is that I was married to the man I loved. That should be the only thing that matters. Wanting all that frosting was just selfish of me, and greedy.

I was a selfish, greedy, angry, bitch of a person, and I carried that around for years. I never forgave myself for being so disappointed, for feeling so robbed, so cheated, for being such an ungrateful, spoiled child. Because I was ungrateful. I did feel cheated. I was furious.

And then, to cap it all off, Dimarc told me that he hadn’t been happy with the wedding either. I think he liked the taste of the cake frosting – if he hadn’t I might have stabbed him – but he admitted to me that for the most part, nothing was really what he wanted either. All that fighting, all that screaming and blocking for nothing. We used to fantasize about throwing ourselves another wedding for our tenth anniversary, and paying for it ourselves, so we could “do it right this time.”

Is it possible that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought I’d get a do-over? My mind whirls with that thought. Was this in any way a factor in my decision to leave my marriage? Maybe it was. I never, ever believed that Dimarc was my one and only chance at marital bliss, but I did believe he was my best chance. I really didn’t think I’d meet anyone I liked more than him, who made my knees as weak as he did, who’d like me back enough to marry me. That had been my history, after all. So the wedding… well, that was the best we could expect. Like us.

My entire philosophy of relationships changed as a result of this – hell, of life itself. When I made the huge decision to end my marriage, I made a lot of decisions to end a lot of other things too. I started to actively pursue happiness, rather than let stuff fall into my lap by chance and convince myself that it was what I wanted. I cartwheeled out of the only stable job I’ve ever had, knowing it wasn’t worth the misery. And surprise, surprise – I’m ok! I survived! I threw myself into a relationship with a New York Apartment, knowing I might get my heart broken, and of course I did, but hey – I paid off a lot of debt there! And now…

Now I have all sorts of things I never believed I could get. I’m going to be a licensed massage therapist, and no one can take that away from me. I have the saw poised over the slave-chain that’s still around my ankle and connected to Corporate America, just waiting for the day my test results come in. Most amazingly, I have a strong, healthy, brilliant, generous, spiritual, loving man in my life, who loves me more than I ever thought possible, who wants to care for me and my children, who wants to give me a life I couldn’t bring myself to admit I wanted, because I never thought it was possible for me.

A man who wants this wedding as much as I do, who has the cash already saved to pay for the whole thing. All he was waiting for was my go-ahead.

We’re doing it. Very small, very urban, very indulgent, very private. Everyone can check their liberal guilt at the door. G and I have lived good lives, and we’ve earned this, and I’m not apologizing to anyone this time. And anyone who thinks we’re being selfish or spoiled or overly indulgent or ostentatious or just plain stupid can fuck off, because this is OUR WEDDING. Nothing is slipping through any damn cracks this time. We’re planning it and paying for everything ourselves.

And when it’s all over, the world won’t come to an end. We won’t be in credit card debt, and we’ll still have our souls. We’ll still be normal, middle-class working stiffs, contributing to causes and buying clothes off the sale rack. After a year we’ll get a 2-bedroom and have a kid. And when we’re old and grey, we’ll look at our wedding pictures and say, damn, that was one fine-assed day, wasn’t it honey?

More Wedding Ruminations

A full seven days later, I think I am finally over the flu.

The nice thing about being tied to the couch for a week is the opportunity to think - rather, to do nothing but think and not feel guilty about that, since you're not good for much else anyway. After a long week of all the thinking time in the world, I managed to work this out, the wedding, how I feel, why I feel such ways, and what I really want, out of life, out of marriage, and what it all means.

(Breve interruzione - piĆ¹ da venire)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

And on the Sixth Day...

I am finally feeling somewhat over this flu. Five Whole Days of being sick. On the fifth day, the fever was gone, but I felt like I'd been run over by a bus several times, and wasn't able to do much of anything. The previous four days are a fog of Nyquil, tea, canned fruit and diet ginger ale.

Today I hope to just clean the damn house. Deep beneath the foggy awareness of my sick waking hours, there was this other awareness of some examination I was idly undertaking, a sort of spiritual taking stock of where I am in my life right now. Being stuck on the couch for all that time will encourage such things, I suppose. On one level, I hate that I lost a week of my life, but on another level, I don't feel it was wasted. I thought through a lot of things.

Right now, it's time to Clean House. Get an early start on Spring.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Big Bear

Me: He had this thing he used to do...

Friend: Do I want to know this?

Me: No, it was cute! He used to make this bear sound. You know the Coca-Cola Polar Bears?

Friend: Like in the commercial?

Me: Yeah. He had this really resonant, rumbly voice, and he could make that sound just perfect, exactly like those bears!

Friend: Really.

Me: Yes! I used to go up to him and lay my head against his chest, and we'd hug, and I'd say "Make the Bear sound!"

Friend: *chuckles*

Me: And this amazing rumble would come up from the depths of the earth, all warm and fuzzy and deep.

Friend: And then what?

Me: And then... I'd feel safe. And happy.

Friend: That's nice.

Me: You know how I'm always saying a shot of good scotch feels like a hug from your dad?

Friend: ...ok...

Me: It was like that. But better, because it came with an actual hug. And he'd look down at me and smile, and for a few seconds, everything was perfect.

Today, my ex-husband turns 40. For ten years, he has been a part of my life, even though we fell out of touch over the last two years, which is natural after a divorce. He is out there, living his life as best he can, just as I am. For all the badness we lived through, we had some good times too, and at the end of the day, those are the strongest memories of all.

Happy Birthday Dimarc, wherever you are.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Flu Sucks

It just does. No two ways about it.

Stay warm, people. Take your vitamins.

I'm going back to bed now...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Brigit's Day, 2007

It felt like Springtime on this February morning
in a churchyard, birds were singing your praise

Today is February second, a plethora of holidays. It's the feast day of my favorite goddess, Brigit, or Bridget, or however you like to spell it. She was the triple goddess of the hearth, of poetry, and of smithcraft. On my altar today are four candles, fire in each direction, honoring the passion and holy majesty inherent in each element, each form of the divine, each decision we make, every step of every day, along the journey.

I feel so high but I am not above that sorrow
heavy-hearted, till you call my name
And it sounds like church bells,
or the whistle of a train on a summer evening
I run to meet you barefoot, barely breathing

It feels as though everything concrete in my life is up in the air right now. The intangible things are solid - my relationships, my sense of self, my feelings of openness and connectedness - and some would say that these are the most important things in life. Maybe that's true, but in classic Virgo fashion, it stresses me to not have the structure, the plans, the schedule. I need to feel, or at least be able to somehow be reassured of, the solid bedrock beneath this river of life that seems to be carrying me along at moderate pace. Fast enough that I know I'm getting somewhere, but slow enough that I have plenty of time to ruminate on the journey, and imagine all possible scenarios. Just slow enough to make me twitchy.

Our wedding plans are stalled until G and I can get a better hold on our financial standings this year. At this moment, I'm feeling calm and positive. Two nights ago, however, I was crying, telling G that I don't know why we need to have a wedding at all, that we have limitations that we need to work within, and that what I want most is not a wedding, but a baby. I am still torn. There are some who say that, when you are unsure of which step to take, the best thing to do is stand still. Unfortunately, when it comes to having children, I have reached an age where, if I don't move soon, I may not be able to at all. I get arguments on that a lot, but there are things a woman knows about her body, about herself. I don't have much time. I'll be 36 this year.

G confessed to me that sometimes, when he's driving home from work, he curses the universe for taking so long to do it's part, to cough up the supposed fruit that all my labors should bear. Another friend remarked to me that for as long as he's known me - which is years - my life has been about waiting for things. Waiting for papers to be processed. Waiting to finish school. Waiting for test results. Waiting for a check to come. Waiting, waiting, waiting. He's right. And I say patience is not my virtue? I'm better at it than I like to admit.

G also mentioned that every time I seem to be at a place where something's going to happen for me, some obstacle pops up and I have to wait another few months. First it was school not ending as soon as it was supposed to. Then it was the licensing exam, which was a few days later than we'd planned. If I'd gotten a job and had to take a day off, that could have posed a problem. Now we find out that the test results will take eight weeks to produce, rather than the four to six we'd been previously told. The goal gets farther and farther into the future. The end of the tunnel keeps receding.

My prolonged unemployment is taking a palpable toll on our plans for the rest of our life together. No wedding, no baby, no new apartment, no new car. (Now is most definitely the winter of my Buick's discontented years.) All I need is an income. We've been saying for the last two years that "Something will come up any day now!"

As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That you will hold me dear
Though I'm far away
I'll whisper your name
Into the sky
And I will wake up happy

Apparently the company that interviewed me last week is still interested in me. The HR position I was hoping for is out of the question, but there is another spot that I'm still in the running for. This second spot is nowhere near as interesting to me as HR. It's in sales, which I loathe, but I'm open to meeting the Department Director. I may, or I may not, have another interview next week. When I'm thinking clearly, it matters very little to me, since I still think something will come up any day now. I just have to stay positive, and keep looking.

Slam is passing through my town tonight on the way home from a business trip. I'm looking forward to a nice meal with a good friend. There's absolutely nothing in the world that's better than a nice meal with a good friend.

Lavender and sage are sacred to Brigit. Last night I made a decadent cup of Vosges Bianca Cocoa, scented with lavender, and it warmed and soothed me from top to toes. This morning I put sage in my egg whites. I'm trying to be good to myself, to be mindful, to be gentle, and to simply think throughout the day, how am I living the hymn I wrote for Brigit three years ago? How can I better embody these words?

Holy Mother, I will try to be more like you
I will work to heal and build and love the way you do
I will let your healing hands be my hands
I will let your loving words flow through me
I will try to feel you and know what you would do
Holy Lady Brigit, hear my prayer.

I do my best. I think this is what led me to massage school. It leads me to express myself in rather colorful language at the most surprising of times. Just leaving the doors open in my heart has allowed the most amazing gifts to blow in on the breeze, ideas and feelings and things to say that I never would have imagined I had inside me. I do my best to Be.

I haven't seen the Morrigan in a long time, and I have to say, I miss her. I could use a cheerleader on some days, someone to push me, to remind me that I have teeth and claws and am not to be trifled with. But there are no enemies at the gate right now... it's just empty. I look around me and see a vast, open plain. I'm not in the deep forest anymore. I'm not at the bottom of the ocean. I'm not walled in against a swirling hoarde of danger, and I'm not in the midst of a battle. I'm just riding. The road is long ahead and long behind, and around me I see... nothing. The Morrigan would be bored here.

So I ride. And make sandwiches. And ride.

So Good to See Old Blog Friends

Pua's back!

Great big lovey hugs honey. Who's got the Patron? We need some 'rita's over here!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Neighbors are Cooler than Yours

When I met Chum and Arnie, they had just moved into our building with their fluffy dog Sadie. Someone else in our buliding thought they were brothers. Please. They are the most adorable gay couple I've met since these two. They are full of stories about their old friends with names like Judy Collins, Mel Brooks and Jessica Lange. At first I thought they were teasing me, but then I saw the wall in their apartment with the photos. They have lived the fullest lives a person can live.

Chum's book, A Life Full of Days is an astonishing read. Ever heard the expression "It's been a day," meant to imply that it has been a highly eventful day? That's the point of the title - a life full of "days."

Chum takes us on the story of his entire life, from his childhood in a wealthy family in a huge house with servants, to marriage, war, scraping by in the 1950's in New York City, and his eventual coming out, and relationship with his partner of nearly half a century, Arnie. Entwined with these stories are some of the most significant portions of twentieth century American history. This places Chum's personal journey in a context that seems to reflect America's coming of age as well.

The most talked-about aspects of the book are about CBS, and all the celebrity shoulders Chum has rubbed. From being a young clerk averting his eyes so as not to hassle Yul Brynner and Marlene Deitrich, to helping Ed Sullivan edit his Elvis Presely segment before it aired, Chum has been behind the scenes of the most formative and innovative years of TV. In addition to working with television legends, he also vividly describes the technical aspects of early TV - giant rolls of film that needed to be bicycled across town, or holding two telephone receivers to your head at the same time for a primitive conference call. Best of all - there are photos!

I found the most gripping portions of this book to be Chum's war stories from the Japanese front of World War Two. Chum served in the Navy, aboard the battleship New Mexico. He lived through exactly the sort of horrors one might imagine (or have seen in the movies) and on more than one occasion, barely escaped with his life.

Chum's treatment of these stories differs greatly from other contemptory tellings of war stories, which seem to be bent on making the reader re-live every horrific, gory moment, focusing more on the nightmarish details of violence than the herosim of the soldiers or strategy of commanders. In his book, Chum describes that world though the mists of 50-year-old memories, providing the distance one needs to be able to understand the events without getting bogged down in the horror of it all. It's an important, no-nonsense, relatively unsentimental look at war, a view that contrasts sharply with the more common in-your-face, battle-centric style of story-telling.

There are also some beautiful moments that, I'm sure, came as much of a surprise to Chum when he lived through them, as they come to the readers:
For the first time in many, many months, I experienced something that was totally unrelated to war and hatred and fear and death. It was peaceful and loving, and there was a mutual understanding between two people who were loyal and trusted sailors, dedicated to their duty, but who held a secret passion in their hearts.

Wrapped around the story of this man's life is a snug blanket of faith in God, which I feel sets this book apart from many others of it's kind. Raised in a wealthy Catholic family, Chum's struggles with religion and it's framing of faith are also familiar stories to many of us, and hearing it from this boy who was "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" gives the story a different perspective than, say, Frank McCourt's religious back-and-forth in Angela's Ashes. Toss into this mix the fact that Chum's partner is Jewish. There are brilliant stories of Arnie receiving communion from Mother Teresa, and Chum being temporarily "adpoted" by a Jewish family so he could join a Passover Seder during a trip to Israel.

Chum was heavily involved in "network religious programming" at CBS, and has the Emmy to show for it. He talks about feeling blessed, and about the role that God has played in his life, and reading his words, you feel the reverence there. We all should have this in our lives, in whatever fashion nurtures us most, just as we should all have a fulfilling career, and a loving companion. I'd describe this book using the same words used to describe his television shows: Inspirational.

Check it out at Amazon.com.