Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm blue

Do people see their own faces in their dreams?  I can’t recall ever seeing my face in my dream.  Maybe it’s a good thing, because surely that would be a nightmare.  I don’t like seeing pictures of myself, so maybe it’s the same thing.
I had a dream several weeks ago that’s been on my mind.  In the dream, I had blue cotton candy for hair.  It was like some sort of condition that just happened one morning.  After the initial shock, I took it in stride, like…dammit, I can’t style this and it looks bad, but oh well.  I was walking to work with my heavy, overstuffed laptop case in one hand and something else in the other (I don’t remember what).  People who passed me kept reaching for my head to pick off some cotton candy.  It was upsetting because I didn’t want to have bald patches, and my hands weren’t free to fight them off.   When the door to my building was in sight, it started to pour rain.  That’s when I woke up.  It was such a very strange dream that I haven’t forgotten it.

Dreams can be such nonsense sometimes.  Usually I don’t remember them.  If my hair was cotton candy, maybe I’d have more friends.   Maybe I’d just eat it all myself.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Oz without technicolor

Scatterbrain Monday morning.  I can hardly put words together.  Work is impossible with this chaotic mess in my head.  Neural traffic is out of control.  My synapses snapped and tangled into knots.

How can a divine weekend be followed by such a hopelessly bleak, miserable Monday morning?  If I were going to euthanize myself, it would be on a Monday morning….start of a work week.  Obviously, a career change is very much needed.  Career change logistics are complicated.

My academic advisor called Friday, congratulated me, and said I can register to graduate.  It makes no sense at all, but this thing (graduation) that I’ve been dreaming of and looking forward to for so many years, makes me very unsettled to think about now that the time is here.  It’s kind of like I’m Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  The tornado picked up my house and finally I’ve landed with a giant bump, but when I step outside, my world isn’t in color.  It’s all still black and white…and very ordinary.  I wanted rainbows, dancing flowers, iridescent bubbles, and magic - lots of magic.  But I’m still me in Kansas.  Maybe the color will come.  I hope.  I don’t want to pick any apples before they’re ripe. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

canine contamination

Emily likes EOS lip balm. It’s somewhat expensive, but she claims it works best compared to other brands. It comes in a round pot that screws together in the middle, so it looks like a round plastic ball.

Emily left her purse open and sitting on the floor. Gracie found her EOS and was in the beginning stages of chewing it up when I walked in from work. She nearly had the lid off when I took it away from her, all slobbery with little teeth marks all over.  Emily walked in and saw me washing it off in the sink. She scolded Gracie, which of course generated zero sympathy from me and Erin. We all know anything left in Gracie’s reach is likely to be destroyed.

Emily to me: “Don’t bother, just throw it away. That’s not going anywhere near my mouth again. You know she’s been eating dead things all day.”

Erin to Emily: “Don’t be such a drama queen. She probably hasn’t done anything worse than lick her privates.”

Point taken. I threw it away.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

teen talk

Erin I traveled to Lexington yesterday morning to pick up Emily from cheerleading camp.  Camp ended with a competition of squads performing new cheers they learned .  It was neat to watch and to see all the different uniform styles and colors.  Hair bows are part of the uniform for most schools, but I still think wearing them the way our coach wants them looks…well, silly.

The drive home was harrowing.  For nearly 90 minutes I drove half the speed limit (or even slower than that at times) through a horrendous thunderstorm.  With my wipers going as fast as they could go, I crept along with my emergency lights flashing in hopes that nobody would rear-end us.  At one point, lightning struck a tree just in front of us alongside the road.  There was a brilliant flash of light followed by a shower of blazing sparks, and a most delightful bang.  WOW!!!  The girls didn’t even wake up.  I considered pulling off the road several times, but was concerned I might run into somebody who was already off, or maybe somebody would hit me.  It was very hard to see.
Just before the rain became a bad storm, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch.  Emily was starving because camp food was not so wonderful.  The girls talked at warp speed; lots of catching up to do after 4 days of separation.  I like to listen to them.  It’s interesting to see how their world is so different from how mine was at age 17.
For one thing, kids are much more casual about sex (that’s no surprise given what is in the media these days).  There was lots of discussion about who is doing who, who is mad at who, who has announced they are  gay/bi/lesbian.  One interesting part of the conversation was, “He’ll do anything that’s wearing lipstick.”  Later, as they were talking about someone else, “OMG!  He’ll do anything that moves.”  How can I not laugh at a comment like that?  

At one point, they were discussing recent sub-tweets (subversive tweets on twitter).  This is when you say one thing for the purpose of not saying what you really mean.  Sub-tweets can be positive or negative, but most of the time they are negative.  E.G., a girl tweets, “I’m so lonely now that a blonde slutty bitch stole my boyfriend”.  Or, “I had no idea Joe likes fat girls”.  Of course the person who makes the comment knows everybody knows who she’s targeting.
I also learned there is a whole different classification system than when I went to school.  In my high school, you were popular, or not popular.  I was definitely not popular.  It’s much more complicated now.  The kids fall into cliques, and you can change from one clique to another over time (well some cliques anyway), but you can’t belong to two at once (no clique hybrid kids). 
Anyone who doesn’t belong in another clique
Bookworm type, very good grades, high achiever
Band Geek
Anyone in band regardless of other characteristics
Designer label clothes, expensive cars, upper class neighborhood, arrogance, expensive vacations
Promiscuous girl
Slut Wanna Be
Girl who pretends to be a slut so she can get boys to like her
Girls who do girls (duh)
Athlete boys or girls
Wears black, hair dyed black, dark eye makeup, acts depressed and sullen, cuts where people can see it
Dresses like Emo but doesn’t cut, heavy metal music, piercings
Scene Kids
Look-at-me types, crazy hair and makeup (Google for images)
People who drink and do drugs and want everyone to know it
Weirdo or Outcast
Somebody who doesn’t fit any clique and is not Average

I asked my girls which clique(s) they belong to.  Fortunately, they both said they are Average.  Erin commented that she was a Weirdo until she got a boyfriend this year.  How sad for her, but oddly enough, both girls have always had plenty of friends.  There is no clique for gay boys.  Apparently girls are much more likely to admit they are lesbian or bi than boys are.
I’m sure it can’t all be so cut and dry, but high school is a dreadful place these days.  My girls are excited about being seniors, worried about all the big decisions they have to make soon, but at the same time, so ready to get high school over with.  They are ready to get on with their lives.



Friday, July 19, 2013

technology-dependent technophobic Someone

Oh my! What a long morning, and it’s only 8:30 AM!! I should be working…er, well I am sort of. It’s a long teleconference call about something that impacts me very little. My phone is on mute and neither it nor I have anything to contribute to the pseudo-collaboration taking place just now as I type a blog post. That makes me a disengaged employee. Guilty as charged.

Someone got up EARLY, like maybe 2:30 AM, and rattled around as he got ready to leave on his beach trip. I had just slipped back into full-coma-state sleep when he came back into the bedroom, flipped on the overhead light, and ranted….I don’t know….something unintelligible in a very angry tone about being unable-to-use-the-GPS-and-now-he’ll-have-to-cancel-his-vacation-plans. Ugh. It’s just like the times he says we can’t watch TV anymore because somebody has lost the remote. Nevermind that last night, I printed off directions to and from the beach for him, and put those with a road atlas into his car just in case the GPS broke, or he lost it, or he forgot how to use it.  He is a techno-phobe for sure. To make matters worse, we both know he can’t use a road map. The atlas would really not help him if he got lost. I might as well hand him detailed schematics for a nuclear-powered submarine.

Anyway, I got up, went downstairs to his car, and conducted another session of Basic GPS Usage 101. After another round of good-byes, he drove off into the darkness. Gracie, Jack, and I went back to bed (Molly sleeps with Erin).

Then the alarm jarred me awake at 6 AM. Emily had to catch a bus at 6:30 for cheerleading camp. She already had a cheer uniform on (looked really cute on her) and her hair in a ridiculous high ponytail with a gigantic bow hanging too much in her face. Evidently the coach instructed them to do this nonsense with their hair because when I dropped her off, all the girls had their hair the same way. So drop kid off, back home again, and I reset the clock to sleep 11 more minutes - but NO.  No extra sleep for the weary.  I no more than set the alarm and put my head on the pillow when my phone rang.  Emily forgot to pack X and asked me to bring Y too. The bus was late, so I scurried to find the items and ran them over to her, getting there just as the bus pulled in.

Now I’m a zombie. Not enough sleep, but at least it’s Friday….and I’m shopping for a kayak tomorrow.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I float (soon)

It’s on my mind to buy a kayak.

In my much younger days (before Sarah), I owned a speed boat – it was a wonderfully fun thing to take it out on a lake or river on a beautiful summer day, ski, and party like there-is-no-tomorrow.  It had a Chevy Nova engine (I forget the horsepower), and it could flat out FLY.   Zipping across the water at top speed bouncing over the wake of other boats was (to borrow Emily’s expression) the  But also, one of my favorite things was to go back in a quiet cove at Grayson Lake, drop anchor in the shade, and swim.  It was a wonderful thing to have no worries; to lay on the deck with nothing to do, look up at the sky through the trees, listen to birds and to the water lap up on the rocks along the cliffs – it  made for a great lazy afternoon.  The day I bought that boat and the day I sold it were two of the best days of my life.  Boat ownership was like a giant hole that I was constantly trying to fill up with money.

Someone has no interest in boating, so kayaking will be something I do without him.  That’s OK.  I have no interest in watching TV hours on end; he does that without me.  I’ve never been in a kayak, but in my imagination it’s fun and peaceful.  Primarily, I’ll be taking it to the small lakes in this area…at least until I learn what to do with it.  In reality, I’m sure there will be all sorts of gnats, mosquitoes, bees, and an occasional snake dropping off a tree into my lap.  We will see.
Of course, one can’t just buy a kayak.  There’re all sorts of necessary accessories.  A paddle, a lifejacket (required for anyone in/on a watercraft in Kentucky), some sort of waterproof floating container to hold my keys and phone, and any other must-haves that can’t get wet.  My van has a rack on top, but I'll need to buy something to secure my kayak quickly and easily to the rack.   
I get excited just thinking about taking MY NEW KAYAK out on a lake somewhere….which is a very good thing.  It’s been all work and no play for this old bird way too long.

Someone is leaving for the beach house tomorrow to vacation with his family.  Emily is leaving for cheer leading camp tomorrow.  Erin and I....have some shopping to do this weekend.     

Monday, July 15, 2013

guilt: motivator on steroids

Something that really fouls my mood is to have an important task to do that I just don’t want to do.  Knowing it has to be done eats away at me until I at least start it, but leaving things partially finished is even worse.  Since returning from vacation, I’ve had lots on my mind.  There are so many (too many) things needing attention, I do want them to get done, but I don’t want to do them.  Sometimes I’m just lazy like that even though some people have accused me of being a workaholic.  Workaholic KYLady is an oxymoron, like an anorexic pig.

The most pressing task right now is to reformat my dissertation for publication in ProQuest.  I’m thrilled to be at this point, but the guidelines provided by the university were shit.  I had lots of questions right from the start and it took a whole week to get answers.  The final response was basically, “yes, our guidelines are confusing and vague. Do whatever makes sense to you”.  It’s the perfect answer, and yet, it wasn’t until late last night I could rake enough motivation together to start back to work on it.  Friday night, all day Saturday, and most of Sunday were wasted.  I am queen of procrastination.

So all weekend, it was rolling through my mind that I needed to sit down at my desk, open up my dissertation, and start making “changes that make sense”.  What did I do?  I sat at my desk and screwed around on FaceBook, played online games, read blogs, etc., etc., etc.  I played two rounds of golf, read the paper, planted some more flowers and a bush, visited Sarah (lingered longer than I should have), watched my favorite TV show (Dexter), and played my guitar.

Saturday, Someone went to the farmers’ market and brought home a large sack of beans (the ones in our garden are not ready to pick yet).  He likes beans cooked with bacon so he went to the store and bought two pounds of bacon.  He suggested I should fry up what I didn’t use in the beans for sandwiches – his sandwiches, of course.  DAMN IT; I hate frying bacon.  It pops all over me and the stove.  It’s a greasy mess and the whole affair takes forever.  Grouchy old hag that I am, I told him the beans would take an hour to string and snap, I didn’t have time for frying all that bacon – my dissertation, remember???!!!  He gave me that hurt puppy dog look, like I’d just whipped-him-with-the-newspaper-for-pooping-on-the-floor look.  He turned and walked away, saying nothing.  Then I felt guilty.

So, of course I did the beans, fried all the bacon, and then made a big vat of tuna fish salad because it’s his favorite and the guilt was just unbearable.  He was ecstatic…it really doesn’t take that much effort to keep the husband happy – I should try harder or at least care more.  After the fact, I’m left wondering if I did all this for him out of guilt, or was it just another way to procrastinate?  Perhaps it was a bit of both reasons.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


When I was a young woman during my college days (around 20 years old), I lived just off campus one summer in an old, beat-up trailer.  It was significantly cheaper and less nice than living in a dorm room, but money was tight and living frugally was necessary.  Despite the cockroaches and holes in the screens that allowed bees and mosquitoes to come in, it was nice having a place all to myself.
I had no car in those days.  Public transportation didn’t exist in the little town of Morehead, Kentucky.  I walked everywhere which was OK because it was a small town and nothing necessary was more than a few miles from my trailer.  I had a good steady job working as a waitress in one of the best restaurants in town at that time – a sit-down diner that also served Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I almost always worked evening shift – 4PM to closing.  The restaurant closed at 10PM, but we stayed late to get things ready for the next morning and to clean up.
Back then, little Morehead was a pleasant place for a midnight walk.  It was like the whole town went to sleep because there were no bars or other businesses open late.  Even the movie theater closed by 11 PM on weekends.
Around mid-summer, I began to notice a man driving a red truck who was stalking me.  I never got a good enough look at him to recognize his face, but I would see his truck multiple times (never very close) when I was walking home.  Even when I changed my route, his truck was here and there.   He was circling around and passing me time and again.  Creepy guy.

My boyfriend at the time (who later became my first husband) loaned me a gun, urged me to carry it to work, and to keep it handy at the trailer.  He was not living in Morehead that summer.  It was a gigantic 357 magnum revolver, a pretty scary thing.  It was way too big to fit into my purse, so I wrapped it in a towel, and carried it to work with me in a large brown grocery bag.  Thinking back, it was probably illegal to carry a concealed weapon like that…not sure when that became a law.  Nobody but me and my boyfriend knew I had it.

One night, I was very tired and took the shorter route (back road) to my trailer.  The red truck was nowhere to be seen when I left work, and I had my trusty protection with me (the equalizer, as my first husband referred to it).  Before taking the back road, I looked around one more time – no truck.  Just as I crested the hill,a truck pulled up about 100 yards away and parked.  Oh shit!!  The street light gave enough light to inform me it was him.  I looked around  - this was the worst possible place.  Woods on the right, and a large, dark, locked building on the left.  Nobody around.  The asshole planned it this way.  I was screwed.  PANIC.
I froze; my heart pounded.  He got out of his truck, walked around to the front, and leaned against the hood.  He was waiting.  
I stood ground.  Finally, with meanest look I could muster, I shouted to him, “What do you want with me?”

I lifted the bag, unrolled the top, and put my hand inside…quickly realizing I would have to pull the towel out and unwrap the gun before I could even get the safety off.  How could I have been so stupid?  I kept my eyes on him and my hand in the bag on the towel waiting for his next move.    

And then....he walked back around, opened his door, got in his truck, backed around and drove away.  A heavy sigh of relief from me as I stood there a few more minutes listening and watching for him to return.  I never saw that truck again.  Perhaps he only wanted to meet me, but he scared the crap out of me.  If I could have put my hand on that revolver easily that night, things might have turned out very differently.   

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

mean KYLady

If tomorrow were not a holiday, I’d slit my wrists. Returning to work from a week of vacation has not been pretty. No sir. There’s nothing about it that I want to be part of….except for the paycheck aspect of having a job. Damn. I hate working for a living. It’s not that I want to be a trophy wife because, really, even the trophies have to put up with their husbands 24X7; it's their job (and not likely to be a picnic in the park all the time, no doubt). If I were dependent on my husband for money, I’d feel obligated to be nice to him….rather than just being nice because I want to be nice. Maybe I’m just not predisposed to being very nice. Poor Someone, stuck with me. Not really…nobody is really stuck, but sticking it out is sometimes better than alternatives.

Unlike me, vacation was very nice. Not much sunshine, but it turned out OK anyway. We visited Myrtle Beach (again) which is Someone’s most favorite place in all the world. This is not the usual time we go.  Emily has cheerleading camp and practices so we had to take vacation now or not at all.  Someone will take another vacation in a few weeks without us and hang with his family (clan) at the beach house they always rent. Good for him! Erin didn’t want to go without Emily, and anyway, she has lined up some babysitting and tutoring jobs for the rest of the summer. Good for her! Because I won’t be in Myrtle Beach the weekend of the Fiddler’s Convention (our usual week), I will get to watch Sarah sing and perform. Good for me!!! Everyone wins this year.

We had lots of rainy days and evenings during vacation, but there was always at least a brief opportunity to walk the beach and play in the waves every day, even if only for 30 minutes between thunderstorms. We picked up shark teeth on the beach, shopped, read, watched movies, worked a couple of jigsaw puzzles together, played miniature golf, visited a museum dedicated to UFO sightings, and visited Ripley’s Aquarium. We collected enough shark teeth to almost build a new shark. I played my guitar most evenings, so I’m glad I threw it into the van at the last minute.

Do sharks need better dental hygiene?

We stopped by a great zoo on the way down. It’s in Ashboro, North Carolina. I love good zoos, and this one is spectacular. Lots of long winding paths through the woods, rocks everywhere, beautiful flowers and bushes, no prison-like cages (animals probably disagree with me on that one), and great exhibits of primates. I love apes. The gorillas had some adorable babies, but my photos sucked so none are worth publishing. I like looking at the rocks, plants, and sculptures as much I like looking at the animals. If I lived near a zoo, I would volunteer to work there.

Zoo trail

Anyway, the dean finally signed off on my dissertation and now the ball is in my court again. It’s time to reformat the whole thing for publication. Most universities just have you format the paper for publication to begin with, but for whatever reason, my university wants to be different (more difficult, extra work for candidates). I will reformat the damn thing, my chairman will pretend to look it over and approve it, and then I’ll send it in and wait for the dean’s approval (AGAIN). If he blesses it, he will process me for completion, conferral, and graduation. Hopefully this will all happen before I die of old age.

By the way, I probably wouldn’t slit my wrists. It’s much too messy and dramatic.