Tuesday, July 31, 2012

verbal regurgitation

Vacation is over and soon July will be over. The girls start back to school in two weeks and already the August – September calendar months are filling up with obligations. 950,000,000 things are running through my head this morning - work things, pet things, personal things, money things, dissertation things, other-people things, and house things. It’s all too much to keep track of. Sometimes I imagine I’m standing behind a gigantic dump truck of cow manure that’s dumping its load on my head. Today it seems like I’m surrounded by dump trucks.

I shouldn’t be so glum. No matter how shitty things are for me, many, many other people have worse things going on. I’m rather self-centered and selfish to pity myself for the shit I must stand in. And that’s another thing – who says I have to stand in this shit? This is my choice, right? I could run away from home, abandon my family and job, take on a new identity, and escape to Canada....or just end it all. But no, I’ll just take out an ad in the paper and invite people who are looking for a place to dump their manure to come see me. Bring it on.

I remember walking home once and it started to rain. It was a light rain at first, so I picked up the pace. I didn’t want stuff I was carrying to get too wet. Then with no warning, it started raining buckets. It was at least a mile to home and there was no place to get out of the rain between where I was and home. I started running. After a few minutes, I thought “Why am I running? My stuff and I couldn’t possibly get any wetter than we are right now.” I had reached saturation. The rest of the way home, I took my time and marveled at how it could rain so hard for so long.

There’s a limit to how much shit people will put up with. I’m damn lucky that things aren’t worse than they are.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

back at home with the critters

We are home!!  Vacation 2012 is over and sadly, I've only got about two vacation days left until 2013.  *sigh* It was an uneventful drive home and that’s the best kind.  No delays for us because of wrecks or construction, no wrong exits or detours either.  I set my alarm for 3 AM this morning and we were out the door by 3:20.  We pulled into the driveway at 12:45 PM and started the wretched task of unloading the van.  It really wasn’t too bad this year.  Someone and both girls helped. 
The drive through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia has some lovely scenery.  The mountains are lush with thick forests and lakes.  I tried to get a decent shot of Pilot Mountain – the splotches on the photo are dead bugs on the windshield.  J

sunrise over lake in North Carolina

Pilot Mountain (North Carolina)

The best part about coming home is seeing our animals.  As soon as we pulled into the driveway, Gracie came running out of the garage to greet us.  She was so excited that she whined and whimpered, jumped in and out of the van, and ran circles around us.  I think she was afraid we would take off and leave again.  The cats had been left inside by the house sitter and were initially quite aloof (as cats typically are).  Jack sat by his food dish and gave me a cold stare until he was fed, then ignored me the rest of the afternoon.  Molly nibbled and then she and Gracie have been underfoot or by my side all afternoon. 
Jack - "Where the hell have you been and why is my dish empty?"

Molly - keeping her eyes on me

Gracie - "Why are you on that computer..."
"when you owe me a belly rub"
It’s been 10 full days and still no word from the board about my change requests to offer a gift card and include other participants in my study.  It’s so frustrating having to wait on them.  The worst thing about all this waiting is that I fear I was misinformed about the process for requesting changes.  I was told NOT to use the proposal change request form but to send it through as if the IRB had rejected my original proposal.  It makes no sense to do it that way (in my mind, anyway) when a change request form is provided.  When they get back to me, it’ll probably be some sort of comment like “What the hell is this??” and then I’ll have to resubmit and wait again.  I’m going to be 95 years old or dead before this is ever finished.           

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

beach repeat

We’ve been at the beach now for several days and it’s a much slower pace here as compared to our days in Florida.  We have done this same beach vacation every year now since I married Someone.  He has done this vacation every year since he was a little boy.  We stay the same place year after year, and we vacation with Someone’s family – parents, brother, and sisters here at Myrtle Beach, SC.  His mother’s sister’s family used to come too in years past, making a total of eight families of people staying in the large beach house.  The past two years it’s only been five families so the house seems roomier.  It’s a very large house, but by the end of the week people are getting on each other’s nerves.  It’s a whole lot of together time.    

beach house

The ocean is OK, but I have much less appreciation for the sun this year thanks to all that fun with skin cancer last fall and winter.  I like to walk the beach and pick up shark teeth, or thrash around in the waves for a while, but after a few hours of that I get bored.  Someone can be out on the beach all day and be happy as a clam.  In previous years, I’d supervise the girls and play with them in the waves and in the sand.  This year, I just told everyone I have to reduce my exposure to the sun.  If I’m going to be in the sun, I’d much rather be playing golf than sitting or sleeping on the beach.  Someone and his family members all get very dark in the sun and “work” on their tans. 

Today, the girls and I escaped for a while.  Someone played golf with his dad, brother-in-law, and nephew while Erin, Emily, and I went out to lunch and went shopping for a bit.  We stopped at a large  music store – the girls picked out some sheet music and I bought new guitar strings. 

 We also went into a store that reminded me very much of the stores we use to call “head shops” in the 70s.  The store had all sorts of tee shirts, hemp jewelry, biker stuff, hash pipes, roach clips, water pipes, exotic rolling papers, incense, psychedelic lights, and other such stuff.  I met my first husband in a head shop – the only one in the small town where we attended college.  Erin found a couple of tee-shirts she wanted to buy.  It was nice to get away from the family crowd for a while.  Walking into a store like this one brings back a lot of memories.    

They found this tee-shirt and suggested I should buy it for their father since it fits his personality so well (I didn't buy it because he would never wear it).  It especially fits the past few days...it’s time to go home!!  I’m more than ready to hit the road. 
"Someone" we know

Monday, July 23, 2012

summer vacay

I haven't been keeping up much lately with blogs, e-mail, and other computer stuff.  I’m off on vacation with my family.  We have a house sitter who is spending lots of time with Gracie, but I miss her terribly.  The cats will be fine as long as they have food and water, but dogs like to have people around.  I miss my dog.  :(

The data collection process for my study has stalled.  I petitioned the IRB to allow me to offer gift cards and to let those who have already participated invite their co-workers to participate.  It's been 10 days and still no response from them.  Nobody is in a hurry to get this finished besides me....obviously.  For now, I am watching nothing happening with my survey and waiting for an email from the IRB.
We visited Florida, a 15-hour drive from home, and then drove north to South Carolina where I am now.  Getting down to Florida was hell.  Someone insists on doing all the driving because our newly permitted drivers will not speed and have no experience driving in intense traffic yet, and I don't speed enough.  In a nutshell, his aggressive driving  and road rage create a lot of stress for any passengers as well as those who must share the road with him.  By the time we got to Florida, I had a major migraine and Erin had a headache.  I thank God we arrived unharmed because we had a few situations that could have been tragic.  If I were a drama queen, I would have opened the car door, fallen to my knees, and kissed the parking lot when we pulled into Universal Studios.

Anyway, we visited universal Studios and Disney World for five days of non-stop "fun".  We took a tour of the Everglades.  We saw beautiful birds, alligators, and all sorts of unusual insects and flowers all in their natural habitats.  We could look down in the water and see small alligators and we saw gators on their nests.  We did the tour in an airboat; very noisy and a new experience for all of us.  The birds and water plants were interesting and our guide was somebody who worked as an environmentalist before he retired to start this tourist business.    

The night before we left Florida, Someone and I had a "discussion" about his driving.  When four people co-habitate a tiny motel room for six days, stand in 95+ degree heat for long hours, get tired, etc....they all get cranky and tired of looking at each other.  When someone left the room for a bit, the girls complained about their daddy's snoring and hogging space around the sink.  When the girls were out of the room, Someone bitched about their shoes in the floor and the amount of crap they brought, as well as the plethora of products they use in the shower.  God only knows what they complained about when I was out of the room. 
Anyway, the "discussion" about driving occurred when the girls were out of the room and ended with him stalking out and slamming the door (I'm sure our motel neighbors appreciated that).  A few hours later, he came back and it was the silent treatment until he had no choice but to ask for help navigating to South Carolina.  Someone has no sense of direction, can't read a map, and gets confused when trying to take orders from our GPS.  To his defense, our GPS is shit.  I had a TomTom and it was great.  It broke and I replaced it with a Garmin.  This will be my last Garmin.  The drive to South Carolina was much better.  Someone drove at a reasonable speed and didn't blast the horn at anyone even one time.  The girls were able to sleep part of the way.  I'm glad we had the "discussion".  
So it's time to get off the computer and join family on the beach.  Perhaps I'll write more about beach fun later. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a visit to UK

Today I took my girls for a visit to the beautiful, sprawling campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  The first time I visited UK’s campus was during my sophomore year as an undergrad.  I remember wishing I had seen UK’s campus before I decided to go to Morehead.  In truth, I could barely afford Morehead and UK would have been much more expensive.   The campus really is lovely with many expansive areas of grass, giant oak trees, and lots of flower gardens.    
One of many tree-lined walkways

Our tour took us through the main library which was magnificent.  Wouldn’t it be fun to explore such a large place full of who knows what!!  Actually, I hope to someday go there and read some of Heinrich’s first books.  They’re long out of print and impossible for somebody like me to buy.  Perhaps not impossible, but one I considered buying couldn’t be had for less than $1600.  That library has a copy of it, which doesn’t necessarily mean they would let somebody like me put my hands on it. 

Across the street from the main library

magnificent library atrium with skylights
We had to park a ways from where the tour started.  We were instructed to park in the #5 Student Parking Garage.  It’s a huge garage, covering nearly a city block and many levels high.  I entered and drove around and around, spiraling up the levels, looking for an open space.  We were at (I think) the fourth level and hadn’t passed a single empty space when Erin said, “You know Mom, instead of burning all this gas, why don’t you just exit and see if we can find a place on the street or in another lot?”  She made another comment and I realized she thought we were driving in a 360 circle waiting for somebody to leave – she didn’t realize we were going up to a new level with each circle.  Apparently she’s not too familiar with parking garages and the incline was so subtle she didn’t notice we were going up.  We finally found a place on the fifth level.  I got a good chuckle out of that.   

Both girls liked the campus.  We visited the University of Louisville last month.  Erin really liked it, but Emily was mostly indifferent.  It was good to see Emily at least somewhat excited about college today.  Erin said she likes them both and must start thinking about which she would rather go to.   Most likely, which university offers the best scholarships will play a large role in their decisions.  Part of the preference for Lexington may be the that the girls are more familiar with Lexington than with Louisville (we’ve been there more often).  Also, the campus is older and they like the architecture of the old houses near campus .  The freshman dorm rooms at UK are larger than the UL dorm rooms – that definitely caught their attention. 

They still have plenty of time to think about it, and it’s good for them to think about it.  They both hate high school with a passion.  I hope the prospects of going away to a new school with different kids will be enough inspiration to keep them on track for two more years. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

conflicts and the turnip truck

I was leaving work the other day and parked right out front by the curb was a pickup truck with a man behind the wheel and woman sitting in the car beside him. A woman was standing on the curb cussing loudly – she was obviously irate. I couldn’t tell if she was directing her comments to the driver or passenger but she screamed that she was going to “pull your fat ass outta there right now and beat the shit outta you!!!!!” I wanted to stand and watch but being way too civilized for that (plus not wanting to get involved), I kept on walking. From behind me, I heard her call somebody a fucking cunt so apparently she was talking to the woman. I wonder why the driver didn’t just leave? Perhaps the woman on the curb was his wife or ex-girlfriend…who knows?

This event reminded me of something else. A few years ago, I pulled into a parking space at the mall and opposite me was a car parked with a young couple in it. They were obviously deaf and having a heated argument based on their gestures and intensity of sign language. It was quite fascinating and I pretended to be messing with my cell phone as I discretely watched. At one point, the man smacked his forehead as if to say “I’m stupid” and the girl beside him gestured, then smacked his forehead as if to agree. I didn’t want them to see me watching so I left. It made me wonder how two people who are both deaf and blind might have an argument. That must be quite frustrating!

When I was growing up, we moved a lot until the last 5 or 6 years that I lived at home. We lived on 20th street two different times in the same block. Across the street from those houses was a corner store that had trashy apartments above it. The apartments were quite run-down with low-income people living in them. My grandmother told me never to go up the stairs or even walk on that side of the street near any apartments because people drank and women entertained men up there. I was naïve in those days, and had no idea what that meant. Entertained men? I imagined women singing and dancing while men drank and smoked cigars.

Our houses had no air conditioning in those days. The second time we lived on that street, my bedroom was on the front of the house and I had a window that opened to the roof over the porch. On hot nights, I crawled out on the roof to sleep in the cool air (and to smoke). The apartments across the street provided plenty of entertainment. I oftentimes heard people arguing, doors slamming, and sometimes they brought fights out onto the street, parking lot, or alley. I had a perfect view of all these areas from the porch roof. I’ve watched men beat each other with tire irons, baseball bats, bricks, and boards. Neighbors called police and ambulances which added to the excitement. The next morning in the daylight, I’d go look where fights happened. Sometimes I found teeth, blood, hair, and fingernails, but I was really looking for money and jewelry. I didn’t find good things very often, but a few times I did.

One time I did go into an upstairs apartment. One of the women who “entertained men” entertained me. She invited me up for cookies and iced tea. The cookies were great. I didn’t like iced tea but I drank it to be polite. She showed me a photograph album of her kids’ pictures. Her apartment was neat but her things were old and dingy. She was very nice but I never went back. The experience only proved to me my grandmother had no idea what she was talking about. :)

I wonder at what age my girls will stop believing I fell off the turnip truck yesterday? When did I fall off the turnip truck?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

iPhone fun

After many months of debating with myself, I bought myself an iPhone today.  I’ve played with it all afternoon, wore it out, and now it’s sitting on the charger.  I’m fairly proficient with texting and making calls on it, but that’s about it.  I’ve downloaded one app, and experimented with Siri.  Siri is very cool!  My new phone is much better than my old phone, but the learning curve is substantial and I’ve got a very long way to go.  Tomorrow I’ll take some photos and put some music on it.

I have two expert iPhone users in the house who have no patience with me at all.  If I ask them how to do something, they are bad to snatch my phone away and just do what I’m asking about.  They don’t understand that concept that if they teach me, I won’t ask again.  *sigh*   I'm better off to figure it out on my own.      

Our Gracie has become an excellent watch dog.  Her bark sounds like a giant German shepherd, but really she is only 38 pounds and now right around a year old.  People who come into our yard or to our door are nervous to be around her, which is a good thing.  She hasn’t offered to bite anyone except for when she’s playing rough.  Even then, she doesn’t bite hard enough to draw blood.  She is a very strong dog though; I wouldn’t want to tangle with her.


Thursday, July 5, 2012


So, it’s Thursday morning and if it weren’t morning with me at work (and supposed to be working), I can see myself pulling the cork out of the bourbon bottle and drinking some liquid oblivion. It’s the day after a holiday and it’s just like Monday morning all over again. Holidays in the middle of the week are really shit. No, that’s not true. It’s much better not to be at work any day of the week. I just prefer three-day weekends. Mondays always suck (unless they’re holidays), and today seems like Monday.

So what will it be like if I ever get to retire? Truly, I fully expect to die before I ever get to really retire. I imagine I will someday be driving home from work and die in a car wreck. It won’t be on the way to work, but afterwards. I hate my job just that much that it can happen no other way. I can’t even imagine a life with no Mondays. I’ve had a “real” job since I was 15 years old – my brain cells refuse to imagine living without work.

So, yes, I’m in a really shit mood. Someone has pushed me to the limit lately. Last night was icing on the cake. It’s like how many ways and things can one person do? And then, here – let’s just add this on top. I like to put blame on somebody or something because somehow, it all seems justifiable when I can do that. But there’s nobody to blame but me. Marriage is marriage is marriage, you know? I have no F’ing excuse at all. I’ve come to believe the real secret to happy marriage is lots (and lots) of space.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

déjà vu dream

Wind storms last Friday knocked out power for millions of people in the states around where I live. Fortunately, we only lost some tree limbs; no damage to our house or cars. Our neighbors weren’t so lucky. Up the street from us, some trees were knocked over or snapped off, and some houses lost gutters, roof shingles, and siding.

I had to pick up a rental car Saturday morning before noon for a business trip Sunday. Our town only has one car rental place and it’s only open Saturday mornings on the weekends. I try to avoid traveling on weekends, but I had no choice for this trip. The worst of the storm was over Friday night when I went to bed. I had two dreams that night. In the first one, I saw a large room with hundreds of empty shiny gold birdcages.  In the second dream, I walked in to pick up my rental car and it was wall-to-wall people waiting to be waited on. For me, a person who hates waiting, that was like a nightmare. Imagine my astonishment when I walked into the car rental place Saturday morning at 10:30 and found the room filled with people trying to rent cars (not as many people as in my dream, but way more than the staff could handle). It was like déjà vu. I waited almost 90 minutes to be waited on that morning. Fortunately, I had a reservation because many people were turned away. I always request a car with satellite radio but they didn’t have one available for me.  (It was a very boring, long drive).

good way to pass time on boring rides (unless you're driving)

Some customers got tired of waiting and left. I felt trapped (bird cages??) because I had to get the car. My boss would shit if I drove my own vehicle for business. It’s cheaper to rent a car than to be reimbursed for mileage. Anyway, I really hadn’t contemplated that the rental place might be busy because of the storm, but that must have been in the back of my mind somehow. That’s kind of cool. I wish I could dream about winning the lottery so I could know what numbers to play. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

first kiss

Growing up, my younger brother was my minion and best friend. He is a little less than a year younger than me.  He was fun to play with most of the time because not only was he clever, he was nearly always willing to do anything I suggested.  Some of the time though, I just had to leave him behind or sneak off without him because he wasn’t a good liar.  He got in trouble much more often than me or our older brother did.

little brother and me

My little brother fell seriously “in love” for the first time when he was about 13.  I had no personal experience with boyfriends at that point, but he oftentimes asked my advice about his girlfriend because he wanted a girl’s point of view.  Usually he wanted to know what I thought of his hair, or clothes, or a gift he wanted to give her.  He knew I wouldn’t make fun of him for asking or go talk about him to other people.  I was about as popular and social as a corpse in those days. 

One day, he told me he wanted to kiss his “little honey” but that he was afraid he might not do it right.  He wanted to kiss me and have me tell him if it was a good kiss – if it would be acceptable to his girlfriend.  “Ewww!” I exclaimed. “You’re not going to kiss me.”  He begged.  He pleaded.  I refused.  He promised to do some chores for me, and finally I conceded.  It was one short kiss on the mouth, and it was every bit as gross as I expected it to be.  He looked at me and I said nothing. “Well?” he demanded. I didn’t know what to say.  What could I say?  “Well here, let me just try again.” he said.  I found my voice and took a step back, “NO!  You’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

That was my first kiss.  I wonder if he remembers it at all?