Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Maybe I shouldn't be a mom

This pisses me off more than I can say. Yeah, yeah, there is a sympathy guilt-trip image associated with it and I feel awful about that. But, let's focus on the little shit on the left. Last Christmas, kids were complaining about their parents not getting them the right thing for Christmas. Fuck. That. Noise.

I've always said-- and my friends and family always think I'm joking-- that our kid will be lucky to have a stick and a real ball to play with. I'm not joking, guys. Last weekend, I told my mum and Graham that we weren't buying our kid any toys. Probably ever. My reasons are threefold:

1. I have seen kids with SO MANY TOYS that they don't know they all exist. What is a single child going to do with an entire room full of fucking toys?
2. Monetarily, I'd rather put that money toward the cliche' college fund or focus on keeping the child clothed and fed.
3. Everyone else is going to buy that child toys. Maybe that's a shitty thing to rely upon, but I have two nieces and I know how it works. When in doubt, get the kid a toy.

So in 10-15 years when little James or Lydia (shut up!) want a new hoverboard, tough shit. I don't care if their friends parents bought them the newest broomstick. I'm not Narcissa Malfoy. I do not have a manor or a house elf. I am off topic.

But, how do I justify having a huge library available for my kids? Is it not just as important for the kids to use their imagination outside of books as it is while reading? Sure!

With other people's toys.

But really though, it's about teaching the kid the value of a single object.  Will he/she get a toy from his/her mom and dad? Probably at some point. I just don't want my kid thinking that he/she will get a toy just for being good while we're out shopping or just for doing their chores. Value and possession of an object are not correlating things that are being taught to the kids that are making the news these days. Not every argument can be solved with "People are happier with less than what you have." Especially when reasoning with a child. I get the feeling of getting really excited for something when you're a kid. Hell, I still get excited when I get gifts. But if it's not what I was expecting (I've stopped hoping), it's not going to crush my spirit. In fact, it never has.

A while back, I wrote a quick blog post about the major disappointment my sister suffered one year when she was expecting Adidas shoes for the holidays. She didn't get them. I was wanting a Seal cassette tape. My parents made it seem like they hadn't gotten it for me that year, and I packed up the rest of my gifts with a slightly heavy heart but at least I wasn't crying like SOME sister I have. Then, at the last moment, my parents whipped out the tape and I was SO HAPPY.

Not all kids can be perfect like me, though. Maybe mine will be... 

Monday, December 10, 2012

If you don't have a mental illness, fuck off.

The title says it all.

But furthermore, let me explain myself.

I love my job. Most days, I laugh until I cry, I smile, I have breakthroughs, I see that unmistakeable look of understanding on my student's faces and I love it. That's hands down my favourite part of teaching.

But sometimes, I get so fucking annoyed I want to explode. I manage to control it in the classroom, but (god forbid) I tend to vent about it on places like Facebook and Ravelry. Then I get these comments either saying "You're always upset with a student" or trying to tell me how to handle whatever situation I am in.

People, I know how to teach. I've been taught by the best professors and supervising teachers out there. I picked up a few things. I wouldn't have a job if I sucked at it. I come pretty highly recommended.

As for the first issue, I wish you knew what it was like, even for a moment, to have high anxiety. To think that every little problem that arises is going to result in ridiculous amounts of stress later. I can't not stress about it now.

I've tried everything, but I've always been this way. Some people would say that I have trouble moving on and hold on to the past. Maybe that's true. But when something stressful happens, I can't help but get physically ill, to shake, to cry, and in some extreme cases during panic attacks, scratch at myself, pull at my hair, and think the worst thoughts possible.

I tried explaining bipolar and anxiety to my sister once. She successfully avoided the gene passed down from our parents. My mother and I have pretty much the same levels of brain abnormalities. I once told Tristan that being depressed like we were was like living in a constant state of despair and wishing that we were dead. Andy has high anxiety too, and was asked by a co-worker what it felt like. I think he said something to the effect that your brain just stops working and starts doing whatever it wants to. And what it wants to do is worry about every tiny little thing, mostly things you cannot control.

That brings be back to today/last night. A student is trying to bully me into giving them a higher grade by accepting work that they turned in VERY LATE. Even though my syllabus says that I do not accept late work, they are still emailing me constantly and attempting to make me feel bad for having standards. Many teachers would gloss over this knowing they were treating the student fairly and like any other student, so no problem, right? Not so much. I invite trouble. I don't know what it is about how I teach, but every semester, I have had a grade appeal. And that would be fine, but the way, in my experience, the grade appeals are treated are unfair to the instructor and disregard hard and fast rules set forth in the already approved syllabus. This causes more stress for me. I have to do work during my vacation (boo hoo right?), and every grade appeal goes to the student. If I had proper support from my department, and they followed their own rules, it wouldn't be an issue. Then there is the issue of reputation. Every grade appeal, big or little, lowers my reputation and in my brain, my chances of keeping my job.

This is what goes through my mind when a seemingly tiny problem arises with a student. I complain about it because, goddammit, I'm fucking entitled to. If you don't have anxiety or depression or any other near-debilitating mental illness, keep your mouth shut. You have nothing to say to me on the subject.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pintesting: Detox bath

I don't trust other pintesters to tell me what works and what doesn't because I think we all react differently (to the body/beauty pins) and perform differently (to other pins). Thus, I took it upon myself to test a pin that has been going around since I joined, the Detox Bath.

Yes, I took down the ghastly wallpaper.

I added a pint of hydrogen peroxide (it was what I had) and a ton of ginger. I also threw in some epsom salt. I didn't imagine it would make a difference.

I didn't experience any of the reactions that commenters and other pinners describe. I didn't sweat, I didn't smell anything, and I didn't feel particularly purged or parched. I did bring cold water with me, just in case, but it felt no different from any other bath. Now, as I sit in Andy's chair, my rear feels a little warmer than usual, but I could be imagining things.

A couple of things could have gone wrong: I didn't use enough hydrogen peroxide; I didn't use enough ginger and it's way out of date; the heating in my bathroom is terrible; there is a window right above the bath; my whole body wasn't immersed in the water because I don't fit that way. I think it might be worth another shot in milder weather with the proper proportions of ingredients present.

I slathered myself in coconut oil afterward, because, why the hell not?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fucking Hipsters.

All applicable to the following story^^

My first interaction with a hipster, as I understand the species, was when I was 19. His name was Matt Chandley. No, I have no idea what happened to him. I met him, predictably, at an indie music store. I was buying some Jimmy Eat World rarites and he was the cashier at said store. He struck up a conversation with me:

"These guys are amazing live."
"Oh, I've never seen them live. I've never really been to a concert..."
"Oh you HAVE to go to seen them live. You haven't heard music until you've heard it live, firsthand."
"Hey, I kind of have an indie band; can I give you my email address and phone number? You might want to check it out."
"Uh. Sure."

Somehow I ended up giving him my number. Fucking hipsters. They're masters of slight-of-hand.

One night, he calls me up and asks me to meet him at Waffle House in Jonesborough. If anything, he had a more embarrassing car than me: his mother's old Ford Taurus estate. At that time, I drove my Pontiac estate, but it was badass. Anyway, he got a grilled cheese sandwich at Waffle House.

At Waffle House.

I didn't have any money, so I just ate his pickles.

He was also an "artist," and told me he wanted to paint me. Whatever. We drove back to his (mom's) house. We decided to leave my car at Waffle House and take his car in case I got lost. Understandable. Commendable, perhaps.

He put in a CD of some uber hipster band that I definitely had never heard of before or since. The album started with one long (like, 45 seconds or so) of an unbroken, high-pitched hell-scream note. Then the music started. Immediately, Matt asked me if I liked it.

"Most people can't stand prolonged annoying noises," he smirked, "This band is smart. They get rid of the people who can't appreciate their unique sound right off the bat."
"They're brilliant. I wish I had thought of that."

"That's really fucking dumb," I thought, "How pompous."

Believe it or not, I kept my mouth shut. I used to be quite shy around boys, and I found Matt rather attractive. he steadily became less so over time. Ladies, this is why you should never go for looks alone.

So, he painted me. Nothing sexy about it at all; he was actually kind of rude and demanding. First, I had no sense of fashion (I was wearing a white A-tank top [aka a wife-beater] and a red bra [Avril Lavinge, man] and a pair of pale jeans). My clothes gave no sense of movement in the piece. He made me put on one of his red flannel plaid shirts. What hipster doesn't have one of those lying around?

It took a few hours and I kept moving around, apparently. I can't remember anything remarkable about the piece, except he made my tits WAY bigger than they were at the time (barely an A-cup. Sigh). Then he drove me back to my car.

Later, he introduced me to his friends, Patrick and Patrick's brother. According to Matt, his initial intentions for me were, and I quote, "to shag [me] senseless." But, Patrick decided he liked me and Matt stepped aside to let Patrick have a chance at me. Like I was a doll to be passed around. Fucking hipsters man. Girls don't grow on trees, you know! Not to mention that those of us sitting around aren't always DTF.

I was a dumb kid, let me tell you. I just let anyone pick me up. I probably would have hitchhiked if the opportunity ever presented itself. I was also a very lucky kid- nothing bad really ever happened to me. I put faith and trust in bad people, but (so far) it never bit me in the ass in a lasting way.

So, I don't remember why I stopped hanging out with them, really. I think I just got busy being a real adult and then moved to Radford.

We were in a band together for a VERY short time, though. I wrote one song, called "My Anita." There's a long story behind that. But at least Matt didn't laugh at my poetry and gave good, constructive input on how to make my poems into songs. Matt had a 4-track recorder (what hipster doesn't have one of those lying around?) and some rudimentary instruments. I played bass... on a 6 string guitar... Patrick played drums... on a table and a kid's cymbal set. Matt played guitar. We all sang. Matt insisted upon this.

"It'll be really good for band morale if we all sing."
"I can't really sing," sez I.
"Nonsense. Sing. Now."
"A. Aaah..."
"See, you can sing. let's get started," he said with absolute finality.

I even have a pin somewhere promoting our band. I just remember the word "Red" was in our band name, that's all.

Looking back on it, I realise what a fucking hipster Matt was. I damn near fell into the trap.

Anyway, I got to thinking about this because I've been listening to a lot of Fun. "Stars" is a really fucking obnoxious song, though:

Towards the end, it gets a little too... free. If I'm in the right mood, I can defend the odd whale noises the lead singer is making: He is feeling so much emotion. It sounds like someone sobbing and gasping for air. Sort of.

But really, it's kind of an obnoxious song.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm a delicate flower

Once, someone I considered a friend told me I was too sensitive. While I didn't have a witty retort at the time, I later thought that I would much rather be over-sensitive than a raging bitch that seems to take pleasure in putting others down.

Now I'm not so sure.

It takes the tiniest thing to set me off, and it keeps getting worse as I get older. I am sensitive. Most people don't expect it because of my public persona. I'm too complex-- and not in the deep old-soul way. This isn't a "No one understands me!" post. I promise.

What set me off this evening was a seemingly tiny thing, but I considered it to be a severe blow. A former student of mine posted their political views, which do not match mine, on their instagram. It killed me. This student... While I can't fault them for having different views from me, I just felt so sorry for them. And now I can't get it out of my mind. Then I got to thinking that maybe it wasn't okay that they had different views than me. Do they not value their freedoms?! Do they not value choice or rights?! Surely, I thought, they must have been raised in a certain type of household and they never made the decision to look at other political options. I began to pity this student.

In my previous post, I stated that politics have put me in a foul mood. Now, for this tiny reason, one in the hundreds of students I have taught, I am incredibly disappointed. I would give anything--anything-- to be in better control of my emotions. I take my medicine like a good girl. The only thing it really does is make me sleepy, but at least it tends to keep the racing thoughts at bay to a certain extent. A normal person would be able to brush this off. I do feel passionately about my political views, so maybe it's not such an over-reaction. But on the other hand, I taught this student. And hundreds of others. I am just so disappointed. I can't really phrase it any other way.

I'm trying to assuage my panic over this seemingly insignificant thing with music. "Carry On" is a song I just want to curl up next to and let it serenade me to sleep.

Pushing the upsetting thoughts out of my head is so difficult. Too difficult, I sometimes think. Sometimes, it's impossible. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

I fucking hate everything.

I am so cross with everything these days. I've just realised that a lot of it seems to be coming from the politically charged atmosphere around me. I was born in 84, when Reagan was president. Since then, I've been through 4 more presidents. Maybe I'm young, but I can't remember things being this shitty.

This happened. A 16 year old girl tweeted requesting that someone assassinate the president. The person covering the story goes on to say that, understandably, the 16 year old probably doesn't understand exactly what she was saying, nor does she understand what the election is about. ‎"And if you haven’t noticed, as the election draws nearer, we are being surrounded by hate, assaulted by it from all directions – hate aimed at gays, immigrants, women, minorities, union members, teachers, and more. The mainstream media like CNN condones this hate and their failure to even respond to it when it comes from their own pundits only sanctions it as acceptable."

Both sides have seem to have adopted the "fight dirty" attitude of politics. What the fuck is wrong with these people? How can they not see that the election is about more than the colour of our president's skin or their precious guns?

I'm terrified. If Romney wins, we will be tossed back into the dark ages. Basic human rights are currently being suppressed and even more will disappear come January if he wins.

I understand, at a basic level, how people are against abortion. I respect other's choices. I'm having to explain to my freshmen students why we are seeing the image of a coat hanger pop up in ads constantly. But we need to backtrack. Without women's health facilities, which will again disappear if Romney is elected, more women will be turning to extreme measures to avoid having a child. It isn't as simple as slut-shaming or telling a woman to practice abstinence. That's a basic human right that is being threatened. Something so primal and ingrained in us as the act of having sex. "Ladies, don't have sex or else." is basically what we're being told. And doctors agree that even the most careful of birth control methods are only 99% effective.

Then there is "gay rights." What in the hell? It shouldn't even be an issue! I often find myself wondering who the first person to discover they couldn't marry the person they loved because they shared the same sort of genitals. Humans are insanely complex by nature, and to put any sort of restriction on them in the way of something as unfathomable as love(see above: sex) is insanity. Yes, there are gay people that I know and love. But guess what? There are gay people I know and despise. But it has nothing to do, in both cases, with their sexual orientation. it has to do with the fact that they are human and they may or may not have personality traits or habits that I like or dislike. I would never imagine that I could just look at someone and say that I don't like them based on something that they can't control (yeah, I said it: born this way) like who they love or the color of their skin.

Some try to say that the argument it not the same. GLBT issues are not racial issues. Obviously they are not, but to not draw an even comparison between the two is blind. I absolutely believe that no one has govern over their gender preference in partners as much as no one can control their race. Now, people can choose to "come out" or not. There is a group on Facebook where people leave sometimes anonymous messages asking for support and help for coming out. All too often, they say they are frightened to death over what might happen to them, and those who have come out have had the people in their lives just brush it off as a phase. I have always held that if you are old enough to know you like one gender, you are old enough to know you like another. So, telling a 14 year old that they're just confused or just crying out for attention because they state that they like the same gender is among the most terrible things you could say to a child, in my opinion.

But why the hate? I can understand the frustration coming from the side of the oppressed. But the unguarded, unfiltered amount of animosity coming from those seeking to oppress is astounding. The interest in other people's sex lives is even more so. Why isn't it okay to just be human anymore?

This brings me back to my own sneaky hate spiral. The negativity is everywhere and seeps from every crack and crevice. It's so hard to rise above it or anything life-affirming like that. Instead, I am stuck here with my opinions, stewing until I can't take it anymore. Like now. I am just so angry at it all that I can barely see straight. Popular culture has taught us that it's cool and funny to hate everything. That you should be your own island. That no one else matters-- every man for himself.

Fuck that.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Random Bad Memory: Trivial shit

So, I'm upset about something completely different, but an odd thing keeps popping into my mind... Something I've been upset about for about 10 years. It's nothing really, very trivial. But it's something that has stuck with me.

For some reason, when I was in my late teens, my fathers thought they had control over me. I can understand my step-dad's feelings-- he raised me. But at that time, I was trying to foster a relationship with my bio father.

I wonder if anyone can remember a time before cell phones. Or at least, a time before everyone had one. At any rate, when I was 17 or 18, I changed my voicemail message to one of those fake celebrity answering the phone sort of things. I remember one was by the Barenaked Ladies. Just them answering the phone and being Canadian.

Both of my dads freaked out. I got the same reaction from both of them. It was strange-- almost as if they decided together that they were going to yell at me for having a "joke" voicemail message.

Like I said, it was trivial. But both of my fathers got worked up over the tiniest things. Both claimed that I was immature for having such a voicemail greeting. That they didn't call to hear some guys talk; they called to hear my voice. I still find this hard to wrap my head around, hence why it's classified as a bad memory. It still makes me mad that they got so upset over something that was so fucking inane and trivial.

I hate that now I get upset over trivial things. I know my mother does the same thing, and that I can't just blame my parents for my problems. But, as mentioned earlier, I am terribly upset over something completely unnecessary. And I can't talk to anyone about it because I don't want to admit weakness.

I hate being me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Lazy Gardener

I think anyone reading this knows me well enough to know I am pretty lazy.

The truth is, my bipolar disorder has gotten completely out of control this summer. Which is weird, because I was only formally diagnosed just this summer. Here, have a cat so you don't feel bad for me:

Actually, I think we can all agree that she looks surly at best here. That's her normal face. And yes, that is my cat.

I sat down to write a blog post about my garden, but let me digress further and take you into a manic mind.

Went to the bathroom. Thought about Robbie Williams and how I need to/want to listen to one of his albums that happens to be on Spotify, because one of the songs from that album came on my Pandora oh wait why does my black cat have crazy eye boogers? God, she is talky! Dude, I JUST cleaned this toilet. I swear I only cleaned the toilet like once every 3 months at our apartments and I clean the toilets here weekly. Did they do something to my toilets to make them really dirty? Like, when they were being installed? What was that song again? There was another song that made me cry and I'm not sure how it happened. I need to write stuff down. Shit, Sam and Carry are getting married in 4 days (it took me 4 tries to get the right measure of time there)! What was I writing down? Oh yeah I write in my planner what I did each day to try and grip onto reality. I remember nothing from Sunday, so I just put a "?". Should I be posting this on the internet? All great writers were disturbed in some way-- look at Hemingway! Don't, actually- he was a drunk and I am not. I also don't have polydactic cats. But... wait. Oh shit it's already technically Tuesday! Where are my headphones?

That's just a taste. That's my brain, constantly. Even when I am in a deeply depressed state, my brain refuses to shut down. It never slows down. It never stops. So when I am flighty, most people assume it's ADD or in my extreme manic states, ADHD, but it isn't. Unless the disorders are all connected, in which case it might be. Please note how I never really finished a thought up there. I also had to try several different ways to type "Tuesday" (including "14", "morning", "furry", and "tomorrow") before I figured out what I meant to type. Again, this isn't a flibbertigibbet thing. It's my brain and its fuckery.

I started this blog post with the intent to talk about my garden and turning it into a metaphor for my life.

I didn't think my garden through. Also, my (it has taken me 2 minutes to remember the right word) greenhouse was (another 30 seconds) sabotaged by the weather. The little greenhouse got knocked over and my seed pods were scattered and I didn't know what was what until well after they germinated. I have a WHOLE LOT of tomatoes. I canned a gallon of tomato sauce today, and that's probably not even half of my haul for the year. My corn was decimated by bugs and woodland critters. I don't even want to talk about the broccoli. I have a tiny zucchini that came from out of nowhere. My watermelon vines are kind of taking over. My poor sunflowers are downcast and sad, even though I know that means I will soon be getting tasty seeds from them. And yes, I planted the right kind.

At any rate, everything it all pell-mell, mish-mash. And to the outsider, it might seem like I am lazy as hell. The garden is overrun with weeds. I have a reason for this: Andy and I completely arbitrarily chose a spot last year to start our first garden, which happened to be in the side of the yard. You know, where the lawn goes. So... the lawn really never died. I see other people's neatly organised and weed-free gardens and am very jealous. There is one on the way to Christiansburg that is just gorgeous. I keep telling Andy I'm going to stop at their house and ask for their secrets.

The thing is, I see a slow-motion train wreck and get overwhelmed. I put more money into this year's garden than will eventually offset the money for that food. I know there was a better way to phrase that last sentence but it got away from me. Again, a slow-motion train wreck that I just give up on.

I don't water it when I need to. I obviously didn't think it through or bother weeding it. If something grows that is vaguely edible, I immediately destroy it. I hate fresh tomatoes, so I seed and puree them for sauce. I grate the HUGE zucchini for bread. The carrots all went in one night. Into my body that is. I got grossed out by the lettuce-- I kept thinking I was eating slugs even though I cleaned each and every leaf thoroughly. I got four ears of corn. That I actually ate as-is, with a little bit of butter. 

In short, the garden got out of control. It's supposed to be relaxing! It's supposed to be something that keeps me busy during the summer since no one will hire me! If a problem arises, I need to be right on top of it. I can fix anything in my garden, dammit! I fixed the blight of blossom end rot! 

Alas, no. I look forward to my garden all year. Then I plant it and I am just so so so so excited to see it growing and thinking about all the things I will do with my food... and it all goes horribly wrong.


...but I feel like that's how it is with school. I look forward to it when I am off for more than a week. Even on Thanksgiving break, by Wednesday, I am ready to send out a mass email asking my students if they need help with anything. At some point in the semester, however, things go downhill. Someone has managed to slide something past me, and then all of the sudden, every student wants their pound of flesh from me. Every semester, I tell myself it'll be different. 

This semester will be different.

They aren't going to call my by my first name. They will be responsible for their own awareness of their grades by being required to print off a grade rundown every Friday, and turning it into me. I'm going to try and have a podcast or something-- at the very least, have comprehensive notes for every lecture. I've been doing this for going on 4 years. Not much has changed over that time. Other than experience.

So, tl;dr: my garden is a lot like my job. I look forward to it immensely over the year, but when it finally comes around, it ends up imploding around me and I hope that there is something salvageable from the experience.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bad memories: It goes to 11

Sometimes I just can't help but dwell on the bad stuff. Andy will be upset, but he should know better than to try and censor me (not that he has). I just need to write.

Some years ago, Andy and I  were dating. His "BFF" was a girl named Jessica, a girl about whom I had heard from Andy every sickening detail in the months before we started seeing each other. He claimed to be over her, but even after we were established as a couple, he would try to ditch me to hang out with her, because ridiculously uncomfortable when Jessica and I would talk, and on the one and only Valentine's day we dated, he even tried to get away with going and hanging out with her. Maybe I am petty, and I know I am doing no one any favours by holding this shit in my mind, but I can't not. He was, without a doubt, the worst boyfriend I had ever had. He went along with everything she said: he started drinking because she is a drunk; he started listening to Iron Maiden because she thought they were awesome; he wrote songs about her and recorded them; he goofed around and joked with and cherished her in a way that he never did for me in the early months, and I somehow managed to earn the name "Succubus." He claims not to remember any of this, of course. But that's Andy. He edits the sad parts.

At any rate, he binged out on buying things that Jessica thought was cool, including "This is Spinal Tap." Trying to be an interested party and trying to break into his little world, to be close to him god forbid, I asked him if I couldn't watch it with him some time.

"You wouldn't get it," was the response.

He didn't want to share with me. I didn't push the issue, but ever since then, I have been annoyed while thinking about it. I was, to Jessica (his ultimate puppet master) weak, boring, and worst of all, controlling. I listened to Modest Mouse, Weezer, and Jimmy Eat World, and bands beneath Jessica's liking, bands that Andy himself introduced me to: Motion City Soundtrack, Death Cab for Cutie, early My Chemical Romance.

Let's digress for a moment. When I was 13 or so, I wanted nothing more than the full box set of Monkee memorabilia and Monty Python videos. A late-night infomercial revealed that I could get the latter of the two for only $20 or some shit. When I asked my mother for the Monty Python set, much to my surprise, she said yes. Unfortunately, I never saw the commercial again so never received the gift. Since then, I confess I have started to grimace whenever I hear someone shout "I FART IN YOUR GENERAL DIRECTION," mostly because it's just so... cliche. We get it. You've seen "The Holy Grail" so often you can recite it in your sleep. So can about 3/4 of the rest of the English-speaking population. It's like hearing a song too often and ending up feeling guilty that you once held it in high regard.

But I was raised on Monty Python and dry humour like that (aside: wtf is wet humour?). Absolutely Fabulous was one of my mother's favourite shows. Her Anglophilia knows no bounds. BBC was always on at my Nanny's (my mom's mom) house when we came to visit. If anyone in their early 20s would "get" Spinal Tap, it would have been me.

So I have this knee-jerk reaction whenever someone says "It goes to 11" one too many times or giggles at the sight or mention of stonehenge. I was never let in on the joke. I only know it from the sparse details I've seen in other movies, on random websites, and from hardcore fans of the movie. I still haven't seen it. I once told Andy how annoyed I was with him about this, and he tried to sit me down to watch it. I refused. It was too little too late.

So, yeah, carrying it around with me? Probably a bad idea. But I can't help it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It hurts.

I probably won't tell Facebook about this post.

I've been having conflicting thoughts for the past day or so. Before then, this summer has been... boring. I can't say terrible, because it hasn't been. At worst, it's been discouraging. But I can't handle any of it.

Allow another digression: When my students ask me how my winter break was, or hell, even my weeklong Thanksgiving or Spring break, I reply, "Long." Too long. I get bored. I could be cleaning the house, writing a novel, weeding my garden, painting my nails, making food and freezing it for future meals... Anything, really. I hate vacations though. I just sit and wait for something to happen. I'm a very frustrating person to vacation with, I can imagine.

But in the summer, I have 3 and a half months with which I can do any of the above things and more. Instead, I have holed myself up in my room (I haven't slept upstairs in a while, but that's another very boring story, and nothing to be concerned about) and read Harry Potter twice, the Shades of Grey trilogy once, knit, crocheted, and cried a whole lot. It's almost a nightly thing.

At first, it was because no one would hire me. All the local places would tell me: "you're over-qualified." How in the fuck am I too qualified to need money?! I get that someone with a Masters degree that teaches at the university will probably leave the job at the end of the summer and then they would have to spend money to train someone new.

Then it was because of another job that I interviewed for that someone else got. It was devastating.

I cry constantly. I feel like the world would be better off without me. If it weren't for my mother and father, I'd probably have ended it a long time ago. consider me a coward, but being trapped in my own body is hell. Being trapped in my own mind is even worse than that. I stay up almost all night and then sleep all day. The night it the worst. All of the negative thoughts I have about myself come creeping in while I'm alone and take over.

Then, just the other day, a dear friend birthed a stillborn baby.

I wasn't there, I haven't seen her, and I've never even been pregnant or anything like that. But the pain of it sits with me and makes me feel like a selfish brat. Who the hell am I, sitting here, doing nothing and wishing for death, while my friend is in unimaginable pain? I hurt so bad for her. I have cried more for that child than I have in a very long time.

There's not much I can do about my depression. I've tried lots, and I'm just at a loss and very jaded. I know I am allowed to feel terrible just as much as anyone else. But my friend is out there, hurting worse than anyone ever should. I am selfish.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

We'd all float on I guess

When I am forced to do things like taking care of my house or even myself, my mind tends to wander to the furthest reaches of my brain and imagine odd and sometimes wonderful things. This week,  I imagined a world without G-d.

Yeah, yeah. Far from an original thought in the grand scheme of things, but I've never considered myself an atheist. I do have faith or as Kevin Smith might say, an idea. An idea that something (non terrestrial being, nonhuman, alien, otherworldly entity, whatever) out there made the universe. But I think that being is tired and frankly done. At least with this world.

I argued with a friend years ago that the idea of a savior was ludicrous and downright selfish. That all of the bad things you do don't just go away because someone laid their life on the line and then transcended to where their creator resides to watch all the little people scurrying about. I just can't make myself believe it, and I've tried. Hard.

Religion is an anchor to which many cling (sorry for the mixed metaphor) for many reasons. Marx (Karl, not Richard or the brothers) said that "religion is the opiate of the masses." I think. At any rate, communistic though it may be, religion is comfort, it is safety, it is a tether.

(I shouldn't have to caption these)

But, as we've seen, particularly during this election season, it's also very, very dangerous. I hope I can look back on this in 20 years and giggle, reminding myself of those ridiculously self-righteous individuals that thought that oppressing the rights of others would get them the presidency of America. 

I had another conversation earlier with BBC Tosha about rights and such:

No, no, no. I wasn't raised religious, but my sister is the biggest bible thumper there is and she feels it is her duty to make sure that anyone wrong knows that they are wrong. Not in an overbearing way, but her opinion is rarely kept to herself and it's always because she thinks she is doing what's right.  [Name redacted] is a dick. I'm sure he is a nice dude on the surface, but underneath, he is (pardon the hyperbole) dangerous. Constituents like him are what keep the right wing bullshittery in America going: he is calm and cool and everything on all issues because they are so thoroughly ingrained in him. He cannot be wrong, and there is no other way. He is like the opposite of us but the same in the way that we know we are right. The only key difference in the belief structure is that we know we are right because we know we are a part of the issue we are trying to protect: women and the entire human race, not to mention the LGBT community. He is a part of the Christian pro life community. That might be admirable to ensure that life on earth continues to grow and thrive but it has been proven time and again that oppression of others is NOT the way to rule the people. 

Let me get back to the point. Religion serves a purpose, and I get that. Sometimes I even take part in those beliefs, ideas, and rituals. For instance, I always leave a glass of something (usually water) out for Elijah and Miriam during Passover. I've only done one Seder and it was... disastrous. But it makes me feel happy to keep these little (and big) traditions going.

However, science serves an even greater purpose. If I were to completely bear (bare?) my soul, I would state that deep down, I think G-d gave us science to keep us busy, to help us make sense of the things around us, and to appreciate what was given to us. But I don't think that all the time; only sometimes.

If I were to ask a deeply religioius person to imagine a world without religion or a god of any sort, most would tell me that such thoughts were blasphemous or that it was impossible. The odd duck might entertain the thought and tell me that the world would be a worse place for it. 

Ask me what a world would be without gravity. We'd all float away. Probably. We reasonably understand the tenants of gravity. 

What of science? What if science didn't exist? There, I can see the world from a deeply religious person's perspective. Science is everything. It is proven. We (again, within reason) understand things by means of science. There cannot be life without science. If you cannot imagine a world without God, I understand. I cannot imagine a world without science.

I'd like to say, though, that I have an advantage. I have science in front of my constantly. What has G-d given us? Possibly life and peace and blah blah blah... But you have to wait a lifetime to potentially meet your deity. I can see and hols science in my hands every day. You say you feel and see G-d everywhere? That's fine. I still hold that it's science.

That atheist isn't bombing your hospital birthing suite, not blocking your right to proper healthcare, not banning your right to have free thoughts or ideas. That atheist is quietly shaking his or her head and moving on with their daily routine.

I don't intend to change anyone's religion here. I simply intend to share my thoughts. that's why I have a blog.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bed. And Love. But not that way, you perv.

I wish I could sleep in my bed like a normal human being. Don't start on this whole "what is normal" or "what is it to be a human being" bullshit. You know what I mean. Don't be difficult.

As some may know, I used to sleep on my couch quite a bit. Andy snores (I once recorded him for a few seconds then played it back to him the next morning. He either denied that it was him or was ridiculously apologetic. I can't remember which. Maybe both.), I have major struggles with sleep, and Andy gets up way earlier than I, so I don't want to keep him up. A few months ago, I swore that I would get a new bed.

And a new bed I bought. The actual "bed" (frame, head, foot, etc.) went upstairs because the master bedroom's... uh... well, bed was on the floor. It just didn't seem right or adult or natural. But I also bought a new mattress and box spring for the spare room downstairs. I was sick of sleeping on the couch most nights, waking up smelling like pickles (just... my sweat smells like pickles. Sorry for ruining pickles for you) and covered in cat fur. Plus, Ein can't leave me to sleep on my own, so he would take up the end of the couch where I would ideally have my feet. It was uncomfortable and I blamed that on my sleeplessness. Wait. Other way around. You know what I mean.

So, now I have the bed pictured above in the down stairs spare room, also known as Mum's room. I told her she could have it if she ever (finally) comes to live with me.

I sleep there pretty much every night.

Now, some have said that it was healthy for couples to have their own space in the house, and even to sleep in separate rooms if that's what works and blah blah blah. I want to sleep upstairs. I want to sleep in the same bed as my husband. I was looking for a picture of the upstairs bed and came across this:

And we're awesome. That's all there is to it. 

We've tried just about everything to help with Andy's snoring. Nose strips, apnea tests, different positioning on pillows, drinking cold water before bed... Nothing has long-term results. But as I mentioned, it's not just the snoring. I'm defective as well; perhaps more annoyingly so.

Some people talk about how their partner is a pillow/cover/bed hog. I don't know what I fall under, but I am most comfortable in a very specific and usually impossible to achieve in a co-habitation situation position: in the top left corner on top of many pillows like a pet, all curled up and possibly one leg stretching all the way across the bed to dangle over the edge like bait for a shark-cat to come and attack. it has happened.

It's not fair to expect Andy to sleep with my shin in his face. It really isn't. So, I am stuck down here most nights, sad and mostly uncomfortable (I hate disturbing the animals when they sleep on the bed. But that's another FWP for another time) and completely lonely. I bring it upon myself. My brain is just defective. You have no idea how much lavender scented shit I have (presumably to help me sleep). Andy is wonderful and puts up with me trying to assuage my anxiety by reading cards, spraying lavender scented goop on our pillows, ritualistically applying lotion that promises to detoxify and help me sleep... while I sleep, and even a few times, let me apply lavender body butter to his chest so I could sleep on his chest (actually quite comfortable) and still smell the supposedly sleep-inducing scent. 

Each time, I end up downstairs... see above for the appropriate feelings and adjectives. 

I am just so anxious about falling asleep that I keep myself awake. Completely backwards, I know. There was one particularly bad incident in undergrad wherein I stayed up all night, intermittently sobbing and pacing the old apartment because I had to be up at 5:30 the next morning to go student teach. I was so upset that I couldn't sleep that I more or less deliberately kept myself awake. I phoned poor Dr. Kauer (I guess Dr. Beasterfield now...) at 5 am (god, I am such an ass), crying, attempting to explain to her why I couldn't teach that day. I can't describe how terrible I felt. I hate skiving off for bullshit reasons that are my own doing. 

She was quite nice about the whole thing and told me to get some rest, to email my supervising teacher  (Kendra) instead of calling her at the buttcrack of dawn, and to please not call her that early ever again. 

I just don't want people to think I am deliberately lazy about certain things. Look around my house; I am a terrible cleaner in my own home. My day isn't complete until I have stepped on cat puke or a half eaten mouse. Just saying. And I like it like that. But my job, especially when I was a student teacher, was the most important thing to me. I didn't want to be like every other half-assed student just attending college because mummy and daddy told me I had to (they didn't, for the record, but I did get my first laptop as incentive). 

Back to it, I just can't sleep. Part of me wonders if I just want to keep myself awake to be miserable. The rest of me disagrees in the fashion of saying that I feel physically ill if I don't get enough sleep. Then I go into that shame and guilt spiral, cry, and fall asleep 10 hours after I meant to. 

I want to just be able to accept my brain and bodily functions (or lack thereof) and fall asleep when I am tired and to hell with the conventions of sleep and wake cycles for everyone else. I'm a goddamned snowflake! But this snowflake can't tell when she is properly full with food, when she is thirsty as opposed to hungry (water is so amazing dude), when she is happy or sad between one second and the next... I'm a mess.

And so is every other snowflake out there. Fuck.

At any rate, I don't sleep well. And I want to be able to do something more about it than just taking pills or forcing myself to cry so I become tired.

n.b.: I have a theory about forcing yourself to cry and trying to force yourself to have an orgasm. In both situations, the harder you try, the less likely it is to happen and the more silly and frustrated you feel. And you won't be able to sleep after either. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I finally did something

For a long time, I have been meaning to do something about this old bastard of a footstool that I have. I got it from my mum and we've had it for as long as I can remember. I think we might have gotten in when we lived in Yakima, but I can't be sure. There used to be a sofa that went with it, but that's long gone after being passed through Tristan's in-laws and subsequently burned in a house fire. I think.

Anyway, it was disgusting because our cats thought it was for horking on, for sharpening their claws, and on occasion, for peeing upon. But no more.


It was so gross. I am a notoriously terrible haus frau and thus just don't give a fuck about cleanliness in the home. Obviously. Again, I've been meaning to do something about this footstool. I could never decide on a fabric or colour scheme or anything. Yesterday though, I was perusing my local... um... big-box store and spotted the perfect fabric:

It spoke to me.
Andy favoured the zig-zag pattern, while mum asserted that it made her ill looking at it, and thus chose the somewhat yonic pattern on the right. Since it used to be hers, I went with what she said.

First I had to rip that motherfucker apart. Let me tell you: I used to get fussed at for sitting on this thing. According to my mum and dad, "It's a footstool, not a butt-stool." When I was very tiny, I could curl up on it and relax happily until one of the parentals noticed me and made me sit properly on a couch. Tearing into this bastard was nice. 

I won't get into the gory details, but I went at it with wild abandon. No seam rippers here, kids.

After tearing off the old, I covered it with the new. I had to use a quilting needle and thread to attach it to the existing cushion. In retrospect, an upholstery needle wold have been nice. But you work with what you have. 

 Sorry it's sideways.

I also added an entire blanket's worth of batting to re-fill the void left in the middle by years and years of butts, feet, and fat cats. Not pictured is the embarrassing incident involving the machine sewing of the skirting (I forgot how to lower the foot on my machine), nor the actual process of sewing the cover to the cushion.

I was struggling with what to use to attach the two pieces. Then it came to me: Crochet! I made a chain about 5-6 feet and did two rows of dc. Andy rather liked the idea of both crochet and using brown wool, so I ended up with something that appeared to be someone's small intestine laid out for all to see. With poop. Lots of poop.

 I then used the same stupid needle to sew on the border.

And there you have it. Rough but useful.
A closer look at my half-assed chocolate dragon.

The cats seem to think it's a new bed. But I guess that's okay.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, I'm in Love

I actually like Mondays. I don't like all of the "blergh Monday" attitudes that float around every seven days. I love my job, I love going to my job, and I love starting a new week. In fact, I might say that Saturday is my least favourite day of the week, followed by Friday. The anticipation of a weekend is what turns me off of Fridays while the anxiety of accomplishing something every weekend crushes Saturdays for me.

I don't work on Saturdays. That might sound like a "duh" statement, but as I am a teacher, that may sound odd to some. Sure, I have papers to grade, emails to respond to, lessons to consider, etc. But, I figure if most Christians can take Sundays off without feeling bad at all, I can take Friday night through Saturday night off like the rest of the Jewish world does.

Granted, most Jews don't do ANYTHING if they observe the Shabbat, including cooking and cleaning, but I like to think of it as my day of reflection and personal improvement. For instance, oh hell now that I think of it, this past Saturday I just went shopping and took a long nap... At any rate, I usually MEAN to do something like write a pattern for knitting or crocheting, get some crafting done, mess about with my garden, play with the dogs for a longer than usual amount of time, that sort of thing.

Why wouldn't someone like this? It's a day of rest! For me, it really isn't. As mentioned before, I get a little anxious about what I am accomplishing each weekend. Sunday I couldn't care less about because it's just... I dunno, the day before Monday to me. Back to the anxiety: There is this overwhelming feeling of needing to look back on a given day and say what I have done and be proud (for lack of a better word) of it. I have had professors that hands down would not work on Sundays due to religious beliefs. That is what I am doing with my Saturdays, in case you were wondering. I have also seen professors fall behind on their work perhaps not simply due to the fact that they take an entire day off, but I'm sure it doesn't help matters.

Then there's Monday. The coffee tastes better (Foglifter is amazing in case you were wondering, and it comes in Keurig cups!), the shower feels warmer, the animals act better... Everything just seems to fall into place for me on Mondays. By Friday night though, I need that break. I suppose that's another reason that I don't look forward to weekends: by the end of the week, I am completely out of spoons.

Oh! The spoon theory. Let me briefly explain: The idea is that you have a limited amount of "spoons" representing an action you are able to complete each day. You have a set amount of spoons depending on your condition, and once all of your spoons are gone (or, once you get to the point in the day where you cannot physically or mentally do anything else), you're SOL. You're done. You can't gain spoons back. They may replenish daily (I feel as thought mine are more of a weekly thing but I'll explain later) but again, every single action you take removes a spoon from your day.

So, yes. My spoons are more of a weekly thing. I start off with an immense amount of spoons and they kind of roll over into the next day. But by Friday, all of my spoons are gone. At 3 pm, when I am done teaching for the week, I am spent. I cannot bring myself to do anything regarding work. I suppose my spoons replenish over the weekend. I do not have a debilitating physical illness, but my depression more often than not takes the front seat by the end of the week. 

Needless to say, it's disheartening at best. I hate the feeling of weakness that enters me by the weekend.

But, I still have Monday to look forward to. That's something, at least.