Friday, June 16, 2017

The Finder of Small Things

Hey, Friends.

Have you ever put something away in a "safe place"?  It could be as simple as stashing away a gift for someone that you don't need right away, but you know it will be perfect in the future for their birthday or a holiday. Maybe it's a valuable piece of jewelry, an important paper, something with great sentimental value, or just something small that you don't want to get lost. I also tend tuck away things that I don't want Jazz-kitty to get her little paws on. For the most part this system works pretty well.

You may or may not remember my cat, Jazz-kitty.  Among her many talents she can list:

  • Being afraid of basically everything (strangers, loud noises, the outdoors)
  • Chasing bugs
  • Eating any plant she can reach
  • Music critic (She's not a Taylor Swift fan)
  • Attempting to eat things that were never meant to be ingested by any living creature such as rubber bands and twist-ties.
She has now added a new talent to her resume: The Finder of Small Things.

I first noticed her new talent a few months ago.  I was in the living room, and I could hear her running around in the kitchen, whacking something about and chasing it. I went out to investigate. What wonderful toy was bringing her such delight?  A teeny, tiny baby sock.

I honestly have no idea where she found this thing.  It was covered in dust, and probably used to be white or light blue once upon a time.  I don't have any kids.  I can't even think of any friends or relatives who have been here when they had children small enough to have fit in a sock this small.  I have no clue what hidden depths of my house she plumbed to find this sock.  It had to have been there since before I moved in almost 7 years ago. Makes me wonder what other treasures are around here in unknown hidey-holes. Maybe there is a treasure map or something. That would be awesome!  I could have my own adventure like the Goonies!

Probably not going to happen, so back to the story...

A couple weeks back I once again heard Jazz-kitty batting something around in the kitchen, but this time it sounded metallic. That had to be investigated immediately. It could be something that could hurt her. She also likes to steal my jewelry if I leave it out unattended, and I have lost several earrings this way. Jazz-kitty is keen on shiny things. What had she gotten her little paws on this time?  My iPod.

Now, I know for a fact that I had tucked this safely away when I first moved in. Jazz-kitty had not even been adopted at that time.  It was small, and valuable (at least to me), and I didn't want to lose it. Now, years later, it's being slammed around on my kitchen floor.

What did I even have on this thing?  I know I haven't used it since I moved.  I kind of forgot I even owned it, if I'm being totally honest.  It's one of the tiny ones, a Nano or Shuffle  -- I could lose this thing way too easily....which is why I tucked it away in the first place, come to think of it. I've gotten so used to just using my iPhone for everything that it never crossed my mind.

I really, really wanted to know what was on this thing.  It hadn't been updated in at least 7 years -- possibly longer.  This would be like sonic archaeology (is that a thing?  I'm making it a thing). Going back to the songs I loved in the past.  Dig up all the memories, try to figure out why I had loved them enough to purchase them in the first place -- musically spelunking through my mind.

I know what you're probably thinking:

1) This is way more interesting to you than it is to anyone else.

Fair point, and probably very true.  But admit it -- you're at least mildly curious as to what was on there.  There must be something horribly embarrassing or strange, right?  They are all songs I liked enough at one point to pay money to have.  I don't do that illegal downloading bullshit.  Everything on there I paid for.  You like the music, support the artist and pay for it.  End of story.

2) Just look at your iTunes account, dumbass.  It's all still there.

That would probably work for almost everyone, but technology and I have issues.

You see Friends, over the years I have had several iTunes accounts across many different devices. Services merge and email addresses change.  iTunes itself has changed the ways you can log in over time.  Did I use an apple id or an old email address?  Which dead and long gone computer did I create it on?  This all came to a head when I got my first iPhone and literally couldn't remember which one I had used on the phone, kept losing access to apps and music.  It was a royal pain in the ass and frustrating beyond belief.  Eventually I just sucked it up and contacted customer service to have them help me reset my shit.  I cut my losses and moved forward.

I have no idea what account I was using when this iPod was last updated.  I'm not even sure when it was last updated.  Had to be more than 7 years ago.  No way in hell am I connecting this thing to my laptop to charge and accidentally screwing up my current account or entering the nightmare of multiple accounts once again.  I've got to have the charger around here somewhere.  I'll just charge it using an adapter and the wall outlet.

I looked everywhere.  Every "safe place" I normally store small things in.  I dug through every old adapter/cord that I have ever accumulated.  Nada.  However, in that process I found my other even older iPod (also of the tiny variety), and I thought that thing was long gone, which is why I had a second iPod to begin with.

I'm a mess, Friends, I realize.  Fortunately, one of them would charge with my old iPhone 4s cord which I still had.  Apparently at least part of my brain remembered I had an iPod that would need it.  I had to buy a new cord to be able to charge the other one.  Stupid technology, always updating plugs and adapters.

So, once I got all of my necessary components assembled, I charged them up and got ready to see what was on them. There were a few duplicates, so either these two iPods had been on the same iTunes account at some point, or I really liked those songs and bought them every. damn. time.

I made a Spotify playlist of all the goodness I found on my iPods for you, Friends!  Aren't you excited?  I know you are....maybe just a little bit, buried somewhere deep down inside.  I don't think there was anything too embarrassing on there, but I'll let you be the judge of that.  I'll admit that a few made me wonder why in the hell I ever bought them.  Not like they are bad songs, but Kung Fu Fighting? Really? What the hell was I doing that I felt the need to buy that song?

I started the rather time consuming process of making a list of all the songs and artists on the playlist for you, Friends, but then I decided not to do it.  Nope.  I don't want to spoil your fun.  You can listen to them in the same order I found them on my iPods and draw your own conclusions. (I only listed the duplicated songs one time.)

Please note that there are 2 songs I could not add to my playlist, as they are apparently not available on Spotify at the moment:  Empire Sate of Mind by Jay Z, and I Love Rock 'n Roll by Joan Jett & The Black Hearts.  (I could only find a cover version of the second song, and just no.)

There are 98 songs on that list.  6 hours and 42 minutes of music for your listening pleasure, according to Spotify.  If you think the music a person listens to speaks volumes about who they are, then feel free to dive in and try to decipher me. Probably perfect for the super curious, the seriously bored, or those stuck on a long flight with nothing better to do.

Maybe you will decide I have awesome taste in music.

Maybe you'll think I'm a freak and there is something seriously wrong with me.

Best case scenario: you'll discover a new favorite, or have a moment jamming out with a song you forgot you loved.

Do what you will, Friends.  It's there for you.  If you do take the time to explore it, feel free to let me know what you think.

Monday, June 5, 2017

In Which I Am a "Devil Child"

Hey, Friends.

It's been a truly weird day here in my little piece of the world. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

What -- reading about my weird day doesn't sound like a good way to spend your time?  I don't think you'll be sorry.  This was pretty damn strange, and I have weird shit happen all of the time.  If I'm wrong and you end up thinking this was a massive waste of your time?  Feel free to use that little comment box and tell me: you think I suck monkey balls, how you've lost the precious minutes of your life you wasted on my blathering, or all of the other awesome things you could have been doing instead.  You get my point.

Weird Thing the First

I was at work this morning, and a gentleman looked at my right hand, made a face, and kind of snorted at me.  I asked if I could help him, and he kept pointedly staring at my hand before he said, "What's that thing supposed to be?"

I was caught a bit off guard.  Where was this going?  It's my hand.  How weird is this about to get if you don't recognize that you are staring at my hand?  It was only about 10:30 in the morning and I had not had enough coffee yet to be ready to deal with new levels of strangeness from the patrons.

Finally it dawned on me that he must be looking at my ring, so I asked him if that was what he was talking about.  He didn't answer at first...just kept staring at my hand.  Friends, you have no idea how hard I was wishing for him to say yes.  I wasn't sure what other directions the conversation could take, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to find out.

Eventually he said, "Yes, I suppose.  What is that?"

It's a ring, dude.

Uh...It's still a ring.  A piece of jewelry?  **I don't know where you're going with this, Buddy. Help me out, here.**

And then he looked at me like I was a complete moron, and said, "Yes, yes.  But what is it?  What is it supposed to be?  What does it symbolize?"

I think he was a bit bummed when I explained that it symbolized nothing.  It's a fork.  He looked at me like I was feeding him a bunch of bullshit until I took it off and handed it to him and explained that it was literally a fork that someone had bent and curled into a ring.  Found it on a table at Stormville Flea Market a few years ago, thought it was cool, and paid the princely sum of $5 for it.

He looked at it for a bit before giving it back, and then his entire demeanor changed. We were suddenly best friends, he was all smiles, and he called me Dear on his way out.

What the hell?  Help me out here, Friends.  What could he have possibly thought it was supposed to be?  I knew within about 10 seconds of looking at it on a jumble table that it was a fork made into a ring.  I can't come up with a single disgusting/horrifying/dastardly thing he could have gotten out of it. Someone told me once they thought it was an octopus or squid, but even that shouldn't have evoked quite such a reaction.

I chalked the whole thing up to Monday being a Monday.  Got the weirdness over with early in the day so it all should be smooth sailing from here on out.  Hindsight being 20/20, I should maybe have taken this little encounter as a sign of things to come.

Weird Thing the Second

I have bad luck with parking lots.  I must give off an aura of some kind that just screams, "Come talk to me!  Bring me your issues!"  To be very brief (because I have a lot of stories about parking lot interactions), I should really have learned by now never to acknowledge or answer the person yelling from across the parking lot.

I had to run some errands after work this evening.  My last stop had been the dollar store in the local shopping plaza. I was in and out in no time.  I just wanted to get home and be done with the day.

I left the store and as I was approaching my car this woman about 5 cars away started yelling to me, "Hey!  Hey lady is that your car?"

So I said yes.  I really thought that she was about to tell me that some asshole had hit it and taken off while I was in the store.

Oh no.  That would almost have been preferable to what actually went down.

I unlocked the car, put my things inside, and started checking for the damage I was sure she was going to tell me about.  She wandered her way on over between vehicles, and then she said, "That is an evil car."


I was lost.  It's a car.  How can a car be evil?  Is this like a new slang thing that I don't know about? She looked older than me so I didn't think it was, but I wasn't ruling anything out just yet.

By now she had approached close enough to be standing by the passenger side of my car, and I could tell that something was not quite right with her.  I'm not saying that she was strung out on something, but she did not seem like she was in the same reality as the rest of the world.  

She went off.  I was informed that my car is a "devil car" because it is all red and black -- "Those are the colors of Satan!"  That Satan was working to try and spread his evil through my car.  That the evil was infesting me and anyone who so much as looked at my car, and I was jeopardizing the souls of everyone around me.  

I locked the doors at that point.  I kind of hoped that she was strung out on something because she was out of her mind, and that would at least mean it was only temporary. 

She kept rambling on about how the devil was using me.  Apparently my black pants were also a sign of the ever-growing evil that was attacking me.  I listened to her for quite a while.  I didn't know what the hell was wrong with her, but I really didn't want to piss her off any more than she already was.  I'd already done a spectacular job at it without having done a single thing.

She finally came to a sort of rambling stop, but I don't think she had really planned on stopping.  It seemed more like she either lost her train of thought entirely or she had burned through all of the furious energy that her indignation had been giving her. She stepped back a bit and just kind of zoned out. 

I took this to mean that our time together was now done, unlocked my door and opened it to get in. The movement seemed to snap her out of it.  She straightened up a bit, and then asked me if I had any money I could give her. 

Are you kidding me? Like she hadn't just been ranting at me for a good 5-10 minutes about having an "evil" car and being an instrument of Satan. I looked right at her and told her, "No. Satan hasn't paid me yet this month." 

And she hissed at me. She fucking hissed at me and told me I was a "devil child". And then I got in the car and left her in the parking lot.

So....I probably didn't help my case with that parting shot. I feel a little bad for the next unsuspecting person with a red car that she decides to unload on.  I probably just gave her more fuel for the fire.

And for reference:

This is my car.  Why yes, it is a Kia Soul. Makes it all that much more special.

As you can see, Friends, I've had a rather interesting day.  I hope your Monday was much less weird than mine has been.  Oh, and sorry if I just inadvertently infested you with "evil" by making you look at a picture of my car.  My bad.  Maybe I really am a devil child after all.

**If you have a weird day story of your own, you totally need to leave that in the comments!  It would be nice to know I'm not the only one that has this kind of thing happen.**

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Will This Make Up For Being Away So Long?

Hey, Friends.

I'm a horrible, horrible person.  I just realized that it's been well over a month since I last posted anything here.  If anyone still bothers to check in here -- I'm so sorry.  I have lots of excuses for why I've been away so long.

-- Work has been super crazy, and I was just exhausted most days.  I don't want to write things here that will bore you all to tears, so for lack of anything amusing and/or interesting to say I just opted to stay silent.

-- It was my birthday back on May 16th, so I was busy being social.

-- My Grandpa passed away a couple days later.  (That would be the valid excuse I mentioned.) Compound that with everything going on in the news and the world feeling like it was going to hell in a hand basket most of the time?  I was not feeling the urge to write.

-- Then it was suddenly already Memorial Day and my Mom's birthday.....

And now here we are.  It's already June and it feels like the time went by so fast.

How can I make up for my absence, Friends?  I mean...I assume you might have missed me...maybe just a little bit.  I'm going to pretend that you did.  Odds are greater that you had so much going on in your own lives that you didn't even notice. That's cool.  I can't say shit about it since I wasn't around either.

So let's make up for lost time by climbing inside my psyche and trying to interpret my latest weird dream.  For those of you that have been reading here a while, you might remember some of my other messed up dreams:  like this one involving licorice, or the the one about a picnic on a mountain top, or the one about avocados and making guacamole.

I'm not expecting you to go back and read all of those -- you know, unless you really have nothing better to do, or you are just incredibly bored, or finish this whole thing and find yourself weirdly intrigued by whatever my crazy dreams reveal and want to go further down the rabbit hole.  That being said, I'm pretty sure Avocado Dream Guy made a reappearance in this last dream, so that might be helpful if only for reference.

Okay, enough dawdling.

For our new Friends here who haven't had the chance to read any of the previous entries, a little background:

  • I rarely remember my dreams after waking up.  I'm sure I have them, but I couldn't tell you anything about them.
  • When I do remember anything it's usually just small pieces, or a feeling. We aren't ever going to have a lot of material to work with is my point, kids.
  • I rely on Google for my dream interpretation.  They pretty much already own my soul, so any added weirdness in my search history based on a dream is just a drop in the bucket at this point.

On to the dream:

I was riding in a car with a guy.  The guy was driving and I was in the passenger seat.  I have no idea where we were or if we even had a destination in mind.  Once again, I could not see the face of the guy, but in the dream it didn't matter because I knew who he was.  He was taller than me, dark hair. I'm pretty sure it was Avocado Dream Guy -- it was definitely a similar vibe.  The interior of the car was black, and it was super comfy.  The only thing that could be seen from any of the windows was bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. There was no road visible, nor any other traffic.  I know we weren't in a plane because it was clearly the interior of a car, and he was driving it. We were just driving along and talking.  I can't even recall what we were talking about -- not one single thing.  I do remember feeling relaxed and happy during our conversation, but  I also had this kind of nervous, giddy, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling.  It was a strange combination. How to explain?  It was like he was someone incredibly important, or with a really hectic schedule, and it just seemed unbelievable that he would choose to spend that much time and focus that much attention just on me.  It was odd.  It wasn't surprising, since we already knew each other and were friends, but somehow still kind of amazing that I was getting that much of his time to myself.

And then I woke up.  My first thought was, "It was nice to see him again."  WTF?!  That's why I think it was Avocado Dream Guy, because how can it be nice to see someone again when I don't know who the hell he is in the first place?

Are you ready to try and sort out this mess of a dream?  Fantastic.

Let's start with Mr. Blurry Face.  For those of you who still haven't bothered to click the link above and read about that dream, let me copy and paste the relevant info for you.

"Alrighty.  So maybe Mr. Blurry Face With the Dark Hair has some answers.  Let's Google that shit.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular answer is that it is someone I don't know.  Second most popular is that it really is someone I know, and I should not trust him.  My subconscious is trying to tell me I am being deceived.  Heartwarming."

I tried looking up dreams about cars, but apparently the color and or the type of car could make a difference.  I don't have either of those pieces of information.  All I know about the car is that the interior was black.  I'm not going to waste time looking up the importance of the color black.  Black happens to be one of my favorite colors, and the interior of my own car is a dark grayish-black.  I'm just going to chalk it up to familiarity.

The fact that I was the passenger got a ton of results...some of which were not so happy, and many of which were completely inapplicable.  

-- There were no other passengers, so we're going to ignore all of those results.  In fact, I don't even recall if there were seats in the back.  

-- It was definitely a car, so ignoring everything about trains, planes, etc.

-- We didn't crash, or speed wildly out of control.  Cross those off the list.

I'll spare you the rest of the weeding process.  Here are the points that seemed to come up time and again. Anything quoted in blue is the wisdom I obtained from a dream interpretation website.

"1. Leaving control, direction and drive to others, to relin­quish power (note mode of transportation). 2. Success is on the way (depending on mode of transportation). 3. Domestic dis­agreements."

Well, that's an incredible amount of options.  Also, nowhere did that website give a list of transportation options. Although another entry on the same page said it could mean I am dissatisfied. Apparently with life in general as no other details were given.  <-- This should be in black.  Blogger is being a pain in the ass and no matter how many times I correct this it keeps reverting to blue.

"To dream that someone else is driving you represents your dependence on the driver. You are not in control of your life and following the goals of others instead of your own."

That might make sense if I knew who the driver was.  I don't know how I can be dependent on Mr. Blurry Face when I don't know who the hell he is. And a big no to the second part. Nobody sets my goals in life but me.  

" If you dream that you are a passenger in a mode of transportation (car, train, boat, airplane), this indicates a feeling of ineffectiveness at reaching your goals. You feel that you need someone else to take you to your goals, because you cannot accomplish them yourself. It also signifies a loss of control of your life, as someone else is in charge of the ultimate destination of the vehicle."

Not exactly happy and uplifting stuff here, Friends.  I feel the need to declare here that I'm pretty damn happy with my life.  I'm not in the middle of an existential crisis. Promise.  I'm pretty sure my life is not spiraling wildly out of control.

"Positive changes are afoot if…
  • You found that you liked being the passenger."
I did!  I had a really enjoyable time being the passenger. This wasn't a bad dream by any stretch of the imagination, and it didn't leave me feeling all tense and worried about my life being an utter disaster. This was the only result I found that had a good interpretation of being a passenger.

Maybe the clouds and blue sky have some answers.

-- Fleecy clouds apparently mean joy, delight, and pleasure.
-- Sunny or white clouds symbolize serenity and positive thinking
-- Bright, fluffy clouds apparently indicate aspirations that can be attained.  They imply happiness and success in romance.

I'm out of possible ideas to look up a this point.  I've also dealt with more pop-up ads than I thought possible while looking up all of these websites, which is why I'm not linking to them.  No one needs to deal with that aggravation.

So what did we learn today, Friends?

1) Mr. Blurry Face is back, and I still don't know who the hell he is.  

2) I'm apparently totally cool with someone else being charge and driving to whatever goal there is.

3) I promise I'm not depressed, I'm not agonizing over some goal I cannot reach, and I don't believe the world is crumbling around me.

4)  I find it odd that this is the first dream I can remember in a long time, and the really weird part is that it didn't involve food in some way.

In conclusion, my interpretation of all of this mess is really pretty simple:

I am very, very single.  Like I shouldn't be that freaking thrilled that Mr. Blurry Face wanted to pay attention to me in my own damn dream.  (And I find it kind of frustrating that I still don't know who the hell he is, is I'm being totally honest.)

So does this make up for ignoring you for so long, Friends?  I'm really sorry.  You'll forgive me though, right?  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Of Abandoned Buildings and Neil Gaiman

Hey, Friends.

Yesterday was a good day.  It started out with a nice walk with my friend (we'll call her Gertie to keep it nice and anonymous) and ended with an evening at the Fisher Center at Bard where we got to be the first people on the East Coast to see the first episode of American Gods, followed by a discussion with Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I had to take some photos, of course.  I took a lot of photos, actually.  You see, when Gertie and I picked the location for our walk we decided on a park we hadn't been to in a while.  I somehow managed to totally forget that there was this awesome abandoned building full of graffiti there. Needless to say, once I saw it I had to go in and check it out.  Gertie chose to stay outside as she was afraid the building could be falling down, or the roof could collapse -- you know, little things like that. Probably a wise and sensible decision, but I chose to go on in.  I mean, it looked sturdy to me, and she'd be right outside to call 911 if it should fall on my head.

Looks like a nice, sturdy brick building, right?

Not creepy at all

We went around to the back to make our approach, as I remembered the back half of the building being pretty much wide open for easy access.

That should give you a pretty good feel for the building as I entered.

There were a couple other people inside who must have come in from the front of the building.  Not gonna lie, they startled me at first.  There was a bag in the corner that looked like it had some clothes and a mattress, so I was afraid it was going to be a pissed off person that was living there and wanted me out.  Nope.  Just two fellow explorers checking out the scene.

I happen to love graffiti and consider it to be art.  I know if you handed me a can of spray paint I could never pull off anything this good.  I had to take pictures.

This was my favorite

I don't know, but it looks happy


Stay classy

Fair question

"When it's something you live for".
I don't know if these are song lyrics or what, but there were random phrases throughout the building.

The corner of a larger area that said Peace

The wall next to it

Closer view of the artist's statement

Not at all creepy that there's a rope hanging from the ceiling over the one raised object on the entire floor.  (It wasn't a noose.  I checked.)

Pyramid and eye

A much less colorful corner

Cherish this moment

"If I could change my name I'd run away" -- can't read the last word

After I had my fun time playing in the abandoned building, we ventured back out on our walk.  It really is a beautiful area.  Things are just starting to look green and Spring-like.  It also makes it easier to notice things.  The last time we were here the leaves were all on the trees, everything was in full bloom.  Yesterday you could see much further off the beaten path.

I wouldn't advise eating the fish.  It is the Hudson River. To each their own.

Never knew that building was back there. 

There were a lot of fallen trees and damage that had occurred over the winter.

Little bit of greenery

Washed ashore

Some jackass felt the need to tag a tree.  Really doesn't surprise me that they wrote this either -- they clearly give as much of a shit about the environment as this administration.

Ruins of a building

Back along the water's edge

It really was a beautiful day to get outside and spend time in a park. That also means following the rules.  You are not supposed to be camping or setting fires in this particular park, and yet there were clearly people doing both of those things.  We could see the tents down by the water from a distance. More troubling, you could also smell the fire.  Now, I'm going to assume that they knew what they were doing and had made the fire safely and responsibly.  It is more than a bit disconcerting to be walking through the woods and suddenly smell fire -- especially when said woods are dry as hell and full of dead, fallen trees and last autumn's crunchy leaves.  It's like walking through a tinderbox.  It's stupid to do at all in an area that does not permit camping or fires, dumber to do it when it is an area full of incredibly flammable material, and idiotic to do it when you would be trapped between the Hudson River behind you and a fire in front of you with no escape. Don't be like these people.  Enjoy nature and follow the rules -- keep yourself and others safe!

Later that evening I went with friends to see Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller discuss the new Starz series American Gods at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard.

It's a really cool building

They said we were the first people on the East Coast to get to see the first episode.  I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman to begin with, so this was fantastic!  I can't wait to see the whole series when it starts airing later this month.  I'm not going to share any spoilers, but I did take a few pictures.  If you're just dying to know what it's about you can Google it, or read the book!

Neil Gaiman giving the introduction.  Yeah, we had good seats.

Discussion with Bryan Fuller

Up close and personal

So that was my Saturday, Friends.  Pretty damn good day.  I hope you had a great day as well. 

Happy Easter or Passover if you celebrate -- or just have a terrific Sunday if you don't.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Quotes, Folks

Hey, Friends.

The other day at work I was doing research on a project.  I was looking for quotes from various authors for a display.  I really loved a lot of them but couldn't use them for the display for various reasons -- too long, not relevant to what I was trying to do, etc.  Rather than forget them completely, or have to try to hunt them down again, I decided that I should gather them all in one place.  Why yes, that place would be here.

There's literally nothing more to this post.  It's just going to be a bunch of quotes that struck a chord with me and I wanted to save them for later.  Maybe you would enjoy reading them as well.  Maybe not.  Feel free to skip out now if this just isn't your thing.

(Bonus question: can you figure out what all of these people have in common other than being authors?  Give yourself a prize if you can...something nice.  Pretend it's from me for being super proud of you. )

"The hell of it is, I know the answer.  The answer is that you never, ever, rely on another person for your peace of mind. If you do, you're screwed but good.  Not right away, maybe, but sooner or later. You have to -- I don't know -- you have to learn to live with yourself. You have to learn to turn back your own sheets and set a table for one without feeling pathetic. You have to be strong and confident and pleased with yourself and never give the slightest impression that you can't hack it without that certain goddamn someone.You have to fake the hell out of it."  -- Armistead Maupin

"Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them." -- Joseph Heller

"Feelings of longing seemed to burst from her heart; they ran in all directions, like streams of blood, seeking out paths to all the places in the wide landscape where she had lived, to all her sons roaming through the world, to all her dead lying under the earth." -- Sigrid Undset

"Credo quia absurdum -- I believe because it is absurd." -- Robert Ludlum

"Loneliness becomes a lover, solitude a darling sin." -- Ian Fleming

"We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be." -- May Sarton

"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.  Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction." -- Rachel Carson

"There are always some lunatics about.  It would be a dull world without them." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"This is what you should do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take your hat off to nothing known or unknown to any man or number of all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem." -- Walt Whitman

"I know you think that when you're 35, 45, 55, you'll be different. But I'm going to let you in on a bit of a secret. You're going to look different, and your life is going to be different, but in your head you'll always be that 16-year-old girl." -- Francine Pascal

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Please Don't Ask Me

Hey, Friends.

There is nothing I dread more than someone asking me what I think of the new guy they are dating. Maybe that makes me a terrible person, but it's the truth. Close friends that I've known for years? Go right ahead.  I know you well enough to go there, and I've probably met the guy several times and know him at least a little bit by this point.

If we aren't really that close?  Please don't ask, and my opinion should have zero relevance.

1) Does he make you happy?
2) Does he treat you well?
3) Does he seem like a decent human being?

There you go.  I'm happy that you're happy.  Please leave it at that and let's not delve any deeper.

I found myself in this situation recently, in case you hadn't figured that out by now. It was so uncomfortable!  This wasn't a close friend by any measure, and I had met the guy on accident a couple of times when we happened to be in the same place at the same time.

It was odd to me that she was even asking my opinion.  We don't see each other all that often.  I don't feel like I know her well enough to even gauge if she was asking because she really wanted an outside perspective, or if she was just looking to be told what she wanted to hear.

Thankfully she didn't press the issue, just started gushing about how wonderful he is, all the great things that make him so fantastic.  I'm happy for her.  She went through a really bad end to a 4 year relationship a few months ago.  I'm more than willing to sit and listen to her excitedly talk about him for as long as she wants.

But when she got to the part where they are already planning a vacation together?  I had to ask if that wasn't moving a little fast.  I don't want to rain on her parade by any means, but that seems rushed to me. They have only been seeing each other a couple of months. She, of course, thought otherwise and went on at length to explain why they thought it was a great idea.

I told her to go for it then.  They had obviously put some thought into it and were convinced it was a fabulous idea.  Clearly nothing I said was going to change her mind if she practically bit my head off for daring to ask the question.

She talked about him for a while more before we parted ways.  I told her I was glad she was so happy, and he seemed like a good guy.  He really does from what she said and from the couple of times I met him. I'm happy to see her so happy again. She made it very clear that she thought he was made of all things awesome and that any thought to the contrary was wrong and unwanted.

I hope that the next time I see her they are still together.  I honestly do.  I want to see her continued happiness, and I hope it works out for them.

However, I also won't be surprised if it all falls apart before they ever take that vacation.  I don't know her that well, but even I can tell that he is just screaming "rebound".  He's pretty much the polar opposite of her ex in every way.  The things she listed as these fantastic qualities he possesses right now are the same things I have listened to her bitch and rant about before -- things that annoy her to no end. What do I know?  They say opposites attract.

Back to my point, if I ever had one.

Why do we put our friends in these situations?  I can understand asking a close friend if you really want to hear their opinion, someone who knows you really well and who you know will tell it like it is.  I know how helpful that can be, especially if there is some inner doubt within yourself.  But random acquaintances?  It is so awkward. Say anything less than flattering about the guy and you end up pissing off your friend and/or hurting her feelings.  And there is also the possibility that she is going to repeat that shit if the relationship lasts. At the same time, do you really want to encourage someone in a direction that doesn't seem like it's going to work out?  You don't want her to rush into another heartbreak.  (If he seems like he's abusive all bets are off -- I'm straight up telling you that whether you want to hear it or not.)

Maybe it's just me.  Maybe I suck at this type of thing.  I'm single and probably the last person you should be asking.  I've kissed my fair share of frogs without finding a prince. I excel at attracting the wrong guy.

So please don't ask me.  Spare us both from the awkwardness that I will inevitably bring to that conversation no matter how much I try to avoid it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's Been A Long 24 Hours, Kids

Hey there, Friends.

Shortly after posting last about being an idiot and going out to explore in the blizzard, my furnace decided to stop working.  Blizzard raging outside, no heat inside.  Fun times.  It's been a long 24 hours, to put it mildly.

My Mom jinxed it.  I was on the phone with her and she started to say that at least neither of us had lost power or anything.  I tried to stop her.  Literally 15 minutes after I got off the phone with her the pilot went out on my furnace.  I have re-lit the thing successfully many times, but it was not happening yesterday.  I could hear the wind whistling down the chimney, and the flame on the lighter would go out as soon as I stuck it inside.

This is why I always make sure to take a shower before a big storm hits.  No, really.  I've been through stretches of four days with no power/heat before.  You don't now how much you miss your hot water and shower until it is unavailable.  Be prepared and start fresh in case the worst should happen.

I started keeping a list of what was going on in the notes on my phone.  I was really bored and getting quite frustrated that I couldn't get the damn furnace to work. I also developed the hobby of bird watching with Jazz-kitty.  No judging -- I find ways to keep myself entertained.

Join me, Friends, as we recall the past 24 hours of fun!

--Pilot out around 2 pm.

--Turn on the faucets to drip cold water so the pipes don't freeze.  Check!

--Try re-lighting the pilot again.  No dice.

--I think I'm going to start baking things now to keep the house warm-ish.  It should totally work.

--Find the electric heater and get that shit plugged in.

--Made a cake.  Currently roasting parsnips...because that's all I have and it should take a while.

-- 5 pm pilot still won't light.  Should maybe just try this once an hour.  Really don't want to blow myself up in the process.

-- Taking lots of pictures of the birds.  Kind of a new hobby that has developed.  I hope you like birds, Friends, because you are about to get to see a shit-ton of pictures.

There are little birds, sometimes blown right out of the Rose of Sharon

At least this one is kind of sheltered between branches

On the ground, under the feeder

In flight

Hanging by my neighbor's garage

Different bird, same windy location

Crows in the tree

This guy was pushy!

Blue Jay, pinned to the neighbor's garage roof by the wind

Bird eating popcorn.  (I know it's popcorn because I threw it out there for them.)

Waiting for the bigger birds to clear out

Crows are here

Feeding frenzy

Crow in the snow.

I told you there were a lot of pictures.

-- 6 pm  Going to light some candles.  I know it won't make much difference in terms of temperature, but it will give the illusion of being cozy.

-- Going to make fish and baked rice pilaf for dinner.  That's a good reason to keep the oven running a little longer.

-- 8:15 pm  Pilot still won't light.  I really hope it is just the wind and it hasn't died completely.  I love you, furnace!  Please, please keep working!

We've spent some quality time together in the last 24 hours

-- I f*%king hate spiders!!!  The cellar is full of them.  Each trip down to the furnace is nightmare-inducing.  

-- Well, at least the cake looks nice.

-- 9:30 pm.  I give.  Wind is still howling outside.  I'm cuddling under a blanket in front of the little electric heater. I'm closing every door in the house that I can to trap the heat in here with me.

-- Midnight.  Going to sleep on the couch in front of the heater.  Doesn't make sense to move it to my bedroom which is cold and start warming it up all over again.

-- Woke up at 2 am.  Jazz-kitty decided it was time to snuggle.

-- Think a plow went by some time around 4 am.  Something shook the house.

-- 6:48 am woken up by a text saying there will be a delayed opening at work.  Didn't get much sleep anyway.  Time to make some coffee.

The house was actually still pretty warm.  Thermostat was reading that it only dropped to 57.  I like to think that my "bake whatever I can" scheme helped.  In your face, naysayers!

And just about 21 hours later...

Now to finish up that pesky snow removal.  Thank goodness for my Dad and his snowblower!

 My neighbor, Walt, and I had a discussion about opening a ski resort for the neighborhood wildlife.  Small yards lead to large piles of snow.  They are taller than me!

View from the cellar window during the last trip to visit the furnace in Spider Land

Snow removal in progress

There's my Dad!  And this pile in the front? Comes up to my chest.  I would guess about 4 feet high.  All the snow drifted onto my side of the driveway.

This is the view of my house from the street.

And just about noontime today the driveway was cleared and my car was free from its snowy cocoon. If my Dad hadn't come over I would probably still be outside shoveling.

I went to the store like half an hour later.  I just needed to get out of the damn house.  Coffee and cat food...the staples for keeping the peace in my house.

So, the last 24 hours pretty much sucked, Friends.  I try to make make my own fun and just suck it up and deal.  Nothing you can do but try to make the best of it when trapped in a shitty situation.  Let's look at it as a learning experience.  What deep insights can I take away from this mess?

1) I don't like being cold.  I don't mind the cold so much, but extended periods of time being cold is not fun.  I know, I know, "57 is not that cold!"  It really isn't.  But it still sucks.  That is no one's first choice of temperature to live in.

2) At least the furnace wasn't totally dead.  I was really worried and stressing over that.  The poor thing is like 50 years old.

3) Fun fact: I get cranky when I'm cold for extended periods of time and don't get any sleep. Like I was seriously bitchy before I had my coffee this morning.  Sometimes being single and living alone is a blessing in disguise. At least I didn't take it out on anyone but myself.

4) Choosing to stay home is relaxing.  Being trapped in the house is not.  I probably wouldn't have minded so much if I had heat.  As it was, I was so ready to go anywhere by the time I got my car cleaned today.

5) I never realized how popular my yard was with the neighborhood birds.  It's like the coolest hangout on the block!

I'd like to thank my dear brother for not telling me how great the weather is in Florida (he's there for work).  I'm sure the weather in Texas is also delightful if he is back home at this point. 

Did you get to enjoy the blizzard?  I hope things went smoother for you, Friends.  Appreciate your heat and the ability to get in your car and go whenever you wish.  I know I do.