Warrior Princess

March 31, 2008

Migraine Monday

Filed under: Crazy Land, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 1:29 pm

I have a migraine today, so I’m really only capable of a few random notes.  My brain has an alarming tendency to shut down when it feels like someone’s stabbing me in the left side of my head with an ice pick.  If I’m so great with thinking with both sides of my brain, wouldn’t you think I could just switch to the other side?

It was an active weekend.  I planted some more flowers:  Two types of sunflowers and some canna lillies.  The morning glories are looking all perky from the rain we got this weekend.  You can actually see they’re plants now instead of little eensy green things.

I find another great pair of black trousers at 80% off the regular price.  It doesn’t look like I’m going to gain weight anytime soon, so I need something to wear to work.  I wear my baggy, baggy jeans a lot, but it’s getting toasty now and I have no air conditioning in my car.

My car started overheating on Sunday.  It’s at the repair shop now to the tune of $800.  Maybe that has something to do with my migraine.

Hubby cleaned the bathroom.  The whole thing.  If I had died at that moment, I would have died moderately happy.

The three good deeds a day commitment has become a a technical issue.  If I feed the kitties every day, does it still count as a good deed?  If I bring the newspapers in at work and place a couple in the offices of people I know like to read them, is that a good deed?  I do that every day, too.  I constantly wonder if I need to find some extra deeds to work in, just in case.  It’s not that I’m opposed to, say, five good deeds, but sometimes three is hard to come up with.  They don’t have to be big, but if I routinely….okay, that’s enough obsessing about that.  I’ll just continue on quietly in my head.

Ending on an up note:  The Information Superhighway noted that Loathsome hasn’t spoken to her since his return to regular duty in Crazy Land.  She asked if he’s said anything to me.  I told her he’s been by my office a couple of times (more on that later).  “Of course,” she said, “everyone loves you.”  I’m certain that can’t be true, but it’s a nice thing to hear on a Migraine Monday.

March 28, 2008

Celebrate!

Filed under: Breast Cancer — ggirl @ 12:06 pm

Today is the second anniversary of my final chemotherapy treatment!

March 27, 2008

Janitor Jeff Gets An Assistant

My dear friend C misses my posts when I’m gone.  (What a lovely thing to say! )  So here I am.

First, the Hubby news.  He has a job!  I’m not sure how long it’s going to last and it doesn’t pay as much as the IRS, but any extra income for any length of time is cause for celebration. He’s working with his good friend, Janitor Jeff.  We’ve known Jeff for a little over three decades.  As a matter of fact, our first impromptu “date” included a visit to Jeff’s and (his future wife) Kathleen’s house.

Janitor Jeff is a trip.  He’s a very bright man (I think) and a poet, but he’s completely incomprehensible.  The Janitor is like a walking psychedelic experience (no doubt from his extensive use of something when he was much, much younger).  I stopped trying to talk to him twenty years ago.    Janitor Jeff and Kathleen built a business that has locations here and in Houston.  They’ve been quite successful entrepreneurs, but I’m certain Kathleen was the brains of the operation. Jeff is now working at our local university, after getting taken to the cleaners in his divorce.  (I’m sure whatever Jeff did, he deserved it.) For a while, he was making a living by sponging off his elderly parents’ Social Security.  Finally, he took up his new, exciting career as a janitor.

Whenever Hubby considered applying somewhere, he always checked it out with Janitor Jeff and Stepson.  Yeah.  I’d check in with two of the most egregious underachievers I’ve ever known before I submitted an application, too.  I guess at some point Hubby decided it would be totally cool to work with his good friend, Janitor Jeff.  When the opportunity presented itself last week, Hubby rushed right out and grabbed that fabulous job.

He now rides around all day on shuttle buses, trying to get the little MP3 and cellphone addicted college students to fill out surveys about the bus service.  Sounds like fun to me, too.  When I looked puzzled, Hubby seemed to think it was a great job prospect.  I was just thrilled about any income-producing activity so I smiled encouragingly at him.

On Monday, during the orientation, Hubby discovered that Janitor Jeff is incomprehensible.  I was comforted that the communication hitch wasn’t solely because I’m somehow lacking.  Hubby has to take direction from Jeff, so there’s definitely a major snafu in the offing.

He came home from his first full day exhausted and grumpy.  Try to imagine how sympathetic I was.  I chose not to respond as I prepared dinner.  I have chosen not to respond when he does his Lawrence Olivier-inspired hunched over hurt back walk.  Things could only go downhill from there.

So  there you have it, the big exciting Hubby news.  After all, it’s always been my position that all work is honorable.  It’s just as honorable to be a janitor as to be Donald Trump (well, maybe a little more honorable to be a janitor).

On the Crazy Land front, the Information Superhighway is back from sick leave!  Crazy Employee is wearing a shirt that shows 3 inches of her stomach.  The woman has had two kids and gained about 20 pounds over the past year.  It’s not good.  Loathsome stopped by for a visit, which was the occasion for my third and final official good deed of the day.  Whew.  Glad that’s over.

March 26, 2008

Pastor Dave and “Dexter”

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 11:25 am

When I have some spare minutes, one of the places I like to check in on is Pastor Dave’s blog.  Last week, he spent some time contemplating the television program, “Dexter.”  Being a member of the clergy, something like “Dexter” is bound to make Pastor Dave ask questions.  It’s made me ask questions, too, but not necessarily the same ones.

Pastor Dave points out that Dexter is an anti-hero who wreaks vengeance on some very deserving scary people, thereby blurring a bit the line between good and bad.  (Pastor, please forgive me if I accidentally misstate your position.  And, of course, feel free to correct me.)  I’ve puzzled myself for about a decade now what it is about our society that makes us so fascinated with serial killers.  What is the deal, exactly, with Hannibal Lecter’s hold on the movie-going public?  I have no idea.

Pastor poses the question as to whether sociopaths are victims of terrible events or whether they make choices.  I think it used to be a truism that sociopaths are made, not born.  My therapist tells me that Jeffrey Daumer had a normal childhood, her proof that sociopaths may be born, not made.  I don’t know.  It seems awfully convenient for everyone involved with him to embrace the idea that he had your basic, everyday childhood.  Maybe it’s both:  They’re born sometimes and created sometimes.  Maybe it’s that unpredictable convergence  of nature and nurture.

I do know that we do not want sociopaths wandering around loose in society.  Pastor Dave is wrong in his assessment that sociopaths are generally just “troublesome people.”  When you have no empathy, there’s nothing to stop you from doing bad things, like hurting people.  Sociopaths, by their very nature, are dangerous.  He is correct in thinking that conventional teaching (or preaching) won’t help.  If there’s no empathy, there’s no guilt.  If I were a serial killer and if, by killing you, I get something I want, then logically speaking, there’s no reason why I wouldn’t kill you.  Other than the fear of getting caught, of course.  Sociopaths are generally cunning and manipulative, so getting caught probably seems a little unlikely to them.

Those are Pastor Dave’s questions and conclusions, though.  I think Dexter is an engaging character because in our deepest hearts, virtually all of us want vengeance against people who have hurt us or someone else.  We’re really drawn to that “eye for an eye” rule.  Dexter eliminates the middle man (the justice system) and delivers swift punishment.

Americans love anti-heroes.  From the outset, this country embraced rebellion.  In order to form this separate country, our forebears did a lot of killing.  That doesn’t make them very nice, but it does make them our liberators.  In our heart of hearts, we intuit that creativity lives outside the mainstream.  I can’t create anything new or think of anything in a new way if I’m content to be like everyone else, if I’m unable to break a few rules.  We’re drawn to fun-loving rakes.  We all like to get away with something, at one time or another.

Dexter doesn’t understand feeling, but he’s very good at mimicking it.  He hides who he truly is behind a mask of normalcy.  He’s constantly studying others so he can make himself seem to fit in.  He studies himself with some objectivity, too, so he can search out all of the places where the mask may be a little thin.  Now this is where Dexter becomes very interesting to me.

My childhood was not normal, the rules I learned were that punishment can come for no reason or any reason.  Life is capricious and very, very cruel.  The people who lived in my house didn’t behave like people I met anywhere else.  (As to whether I ever wondered about what went on in other people’s houses, the answer is yes.)

My own father lacked the ability to empathize.  He was impulsive and self indulgent.  He could don a mask of normalcy sometimes, but his narcissism prevented him from hiding himself fully over the long haul.  Naturally, at home there was absolutely no reason to pretend that he wasn’t dangerous.  My father was cruel and violent.  I had to pay careful attention when I was at home so that I wouldn’t be seriously injured or killed.  Away from home, I had to study other people to find a way to fit in.  I had to hide who I truly was–an abused, neglected, terrified, enraged kid–so I could try to fit in with my peers.

I think everyone hides something.  None of us walks around in the world, being completely open-hearted.  That would be dangerous, wouldn’t it?  We wear different masks in different situations.  At work, we wear the “at work” mask.  If your hobby is porn, you don’t go around talking about it at work.  You’ve got your “at work” mask on.  If you’re a racist, unless you live in a very specific milieu, you don’t talk loudly about it in places where the objects of your racism might hear you.  That’s your “don’t kill me” mask.  If you hate the woman who lives next door because she puts her trash can too close to your driveway and you can’t get out in the morning to go to work, you don’t go over and scream at her.  You ask nicely.  That’s your “good neighbor” mask.  There are a million of them and I’ll bet any one of us could, in mere seconds,  come up with four or five masks we regularly wear.

We all have a “face to meet the faces that (we) meet.”  Dexter is fully aware of which face he’s wearing.  He creates a persona that leads other people to believe he’s just like them.  To do otherwise would lead to getting caught.  And what fun is there in that?

“Dexter” has been tremendously popular because we see a bit of ourselves in him, I think.  He is the worst parts of us contained in a dry, attractive, palatable exterior.  I look forward to seeing the show every week so I can think about what I see in myself that’s reflected in that character.

Of course, maybe that’s just me.  I’m not whom I appear to be, either.  On almost as grand a scale as that character.  The only place I never, ever wear a mask is here.  And, of course, I’m never dangerous anywhere, not even to myself anymore.

Postus Interruptus

Filed under: Marriage — ggirl @ 9:31 am

3.18.2008
Yesterday, Hubby gave me a copy of his latest book. This is the book he wrote while he was supposed to be contributing to our income, a source of prodigious conflict between us. It was published by an academic press and, though it’s available at your local bookstore and I’d love to recommend it, doing so would require that I reveal personal information about myself. One of the things I love about the blog universe is that it’s a private place for me. No one knows me, none of my daily friends even knows this blog exists. I’m truly, deeply myself here, in a way I could never be should those dear and not so dear gain access to it.

As I began reading, I remembered why I love Hubby, why I’ve loved him more than any single being I’ve ever met. It recalls for me, immediately and deeply, why our relationship endures despite stress, conflict and both the individual and personal erosions of daily life. Hubby understands my vision of life, the spontaneous recognitions that no one else can see with me. He not only understands, but he remembers and values.

His words cause me to see the world in new ways. They amuse me and move me in the deepest parts of my being. His vision of the world and mine intertwine. Perhaps that’s so of all long-term relationships, that all couples create an insular existence, a language and value system uniquely their own. We all share a language singularly ours that communicates when it’s time to leave the party or silently share a private joke amidst a crowd.

Our friendship, the many ways he intrigues and calls me to myself, sustain this partnership. We are very different in some critical ways. The erosions of daily life hone our separate personalities into our unique, authentic selves. As we grow into who we are, our differences are clarified and  magnified.   And yet, it is he who invites me to stand back and look at myself as an individual human being who is worthy of love.  It is he who invites me to step back and see him as the magical being sent for me to love.  Hubby knows things I don’t know, his thought processes work differently than mine.  And yet, it is his words that recall for me how deeply our lives are entwined.

3.26.1008
I’m well into the book now, reminded as I read every word, turn every page, that love is a wondrous gift.  I’m grateful every day, no matter what, for the person who embodies that gift.

March 25, 2008

Pollyanna

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 11:34 am

Yesterday morning, one of my colleagues marveled at length about my “sunny disposition.”  Hah!

Repo Man, Etc.

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 10:53 am

There are so many things to catch up on, but first things first:  Loathsome is back.  His project is finished and he’s moved back into his office on the other side of Crazy Employee.  Can’t you just feel the estrogen surge?  You know you want him.

Speaking of wanting people, I had this very odd dream last night.  It went on and on and on, then finally culminated in me sitting in an office, feeling very very sad.  Guess who walked in?  Charles Barkley.  Right.  The Round Mound of Rebound, the Chuckster, the Chuck Wagon, the NBA great.  He noted my unhappiness and said, “I know what you need.  You need to have sex with Charles Barkley.”  I didn’t find it the least bit surprising that he referred to himself by name.  I looked at him forlornly and shook my head.  No.  Meanwhile, Charles is taking off all his clothes and he smells likes he’s played a couple of overtime periods.  All I could think of as he got undressed was that it wasn’t going to even be logistically possible.  I’m 5’5″.  The Chuckster is enormous.  It frightened me a little.  The dream ended as he lay down on me.  No wonder I feel so tired today.

As I mentioned last week, I spent several hours one day working on the Information Superhighway’s husband’s resume.  It looks like he’s going to need an alias, because I see him taking up a lot of blog space for a while.  I think his name should be Repo Man.  That’s one of the many fine career change options he’s weighing these days.  Seriously.  Repo man.  He mentioned that career possibility to the Superhighway before I got his resume in order.  After I finished on Wednesday, Repo Man called her to tell her what a nice email I sent him (with interview tips) and how helpful he thought the resume would be as he began his new (new) job search.  As a pig farmer. Or a turkey farmer.  Either one.  Same difference, really.  He has absolutely no experience in any kind of farming.  For that matter, he doesn’t have any repo experience, either.

Repo Man actually possesses some highly marketable skills.  He’s an electronic tech and has a journeyman electrician license.  When the Superhighway told him she didn’t think being a pig or turkey farmer was a good career move, the told her that her problem is she doesn’t want him to have a dream.  She was sick yesterday and stayed home today.  I fear that by the time she finally makes it back to work, he’ll have decided his dream is to be a traveling carnival worker.

There’s big news on the home front, too, but my eyeballs feel like someone poured gasoline in them and set them on fire.  Oh the oak.  The mold.  The pollen of all kinds.  I’ll be back tomorrow with some Hubby news.  Who knows, I might even run into Loathsome in the hallway.

March 19, 2008

Plans Interrupted

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 2:38 pm

I wrote most of a post yesterday and planned to finish today.  What have I been doing instead?

Writing cover letter examples and re-working Superhighway’s husband’s resume.  He was fired recently and, boy, do I know how it feels to have an unemployed hubby. It chewed up most of my time here today.

I took two calls from Superhighway’s hubby regarding what he should say on an application he’s submitting.

I helped my mom with her tax questions.  That’s okay…I love my mom.  I’d do anything for her.

I listened to Crazy complain about her bipolar sister.

I contemplated helping Foot Lady figure out how to help her mom do her taxes.  I decided Foot would have to figure it out by herself.

My dearest friend, C., reminded me recently of how these small (okay, the first thing was definitely not small) can drain any energy I have to spare, in addition to any I don’t have to spare.  I am hereby promising myself that I’m going to work harder on reining myself in.

Finally, I’m taking Thursday and Friday off.  No medical visits, just some vital rest time.  I plan to see a movie tomorrow.  After that, I hope to prevent myself from cleaning my house.

See you next week.  Have a lovely Easter weekend (or whatever you celebrate).

March 17, 2008

Maybe You Shouldn’t Read This Post

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 2:50 pm

Earlier today, I was contemplating celebrating my 100,00th visit to one of my (several) blogs by publishing a list of current and previous obsessions.  I am a bit OCD-ish, but I decided that the list might merely be yet another manifestation of obsession, so I nixed the idea.  I doubt that many people, other than me, are interested in my obsessions.  It would have been my little twist on the “100 things about me” list that you see on people’s blogs.

I’m not sure this post is a celebration, but it’s a topic that’s been on my mind over the weekend and for at least the past 30 years (another example of obsession).  I took an online test last week (from the BBC, I believe) that informed me I’m one of only 14 percent of the population (world-wide, I suppose, but how exactly would they know?) who can utilize both sides of my brain equally effectively.  I think this trait is one of the reasons others believe they’re like me or I’m like them.  I’m moderately adept and comfortable on any playing field.

This news is about as exciting to me as the consistent results of my IQ tests.  Why?  Why is it so important that I’m in the top 1% of the population in intelligence and the 14 percent who can use both sides of my brain?  Beats the hell out of me.

I read biographies of many absolutely brilliant people.  If they’ve been lucky enough not to have been geniuses in obscurity, I’ve read (or marvelled at the artistry of)  some of their works.  I’ve known some personally, the kind of individuals whose thought processes take your breath away.  Quite a few  of them (both now and long ago)  are also absolutely insane or so wildly intelligent that other people find them strange and maybe even a little scary.  A goodly portion  are dead or hopelessly addicted to drugs of one kind or another.  Too much intellectual giftedness can be a dangerous thing.

High intelligence doesn’t translate into big earning power, despite what your mom and teachers might have told you.  It certainly doesn’t get you lots of friends, unless you’re a Mensa type.  You know what they like to do?  I’ve noted that many posted get-togethers are centered around solving those act-it-out mystery events.  You know, one genius pretends to kill another genius, then all of the rest of the gaggle of geniuses try to figure out who the killer was.  Yeah.  Knock your socks off fun.

When I was 18 and was officially told about that 1% thing, I was stunned.  It finally put to rest the suspicion that I’d entertained for years that I might be a little bit retarded.  I have no idea why I thought that, but I remember asking my mom about it.  She told me not to be ridiculous, but you know how mothers are.  I thought perhaps she was either confused herself or was keeping it a secret from me so I wouldn’t feel completely worthless.  In my childhood, stupid equalled useless.

One of the many problems with intelligence testing is that there are many types of intelligence that simply aren’t measured.  I just happen to fit the mold.  There are have been many research studies that point to cultural biases, though the culture I grew up in certainly didn’t include much logic-oriented or even aesthetic training.  I did my best to cultivate those things, beginning when I was very young.  Hey, I wanted to get the hell out of that dark place and never, ever go back.  Knowledge seemed like the ticket to ride.  And it was, to some extent.

Ultimately, for many years now, I’ve concluded that high intelligence, as measured on those tests, is good for only one thing:  entertainment value.  I’m always entertained.  There are very few subjects I won’t give more than a passing glance.  I’m definitely a dabbler, though.  I know a little about a lot of things.  Nonetheless, no matter how boring my job is or how boring my companionship, I can always find something of interest.  I can sense it intuitively or understand it analytically.

When you work in Crazy Land, maybe you have to find something to cheer yourself up with.  When your husband refuses to get a job or clean the house or be useful in any of those normal adult ways, you’re grateful that you’re smart enough to find him intellectually stimulated (as he most certainly is).  For me, the numbers do it every time.

Thanks to everyone who finds me interesting enough to stop by from time to time.  That 100,00 number is like  those I cited previously:  gratifying down to the very marrow of my bones.

March 14, 2008

Go Ahead. Ask Me Anything.

Filed under: Crazy Land, Office Hell, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 12:47 pm

At my office (and with virtually everyone who knows me), I’m the go-to girl for questions no one else can answer.  Medical, scientific, grammatical, computers.  You get my drift; they ask me about any subject that puzzles them or confounds them or that they’re mildly curious about.

Sometimes it gets on my nerves.  Do they think I’m a medical professional?  Do they think I know anything about computers?  Why, in God’s name, do people assume I’m the person to ask?  I know why.  If I don’t know the answer to the question, I don’t make stuff up.  My dad always did that.  If you asked him something and he didn’t know the answer, he’d just wing it.    Sometimes if I don’t know, I find the topic compelling enough to find the answer.  The real reason they ask me, though, is that I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Case in point.  Last week, Crazy Employee wandered  into my office in a daze.

“I have a knot on the back of my head and it really hurts.”

I actually asked her some questions, like when it had developed, did it hurt only when she touched or all the time, etc.  That’s right.  I actually pursued this, without pausing to consider the consequences, both short and long term.

I decided that it was probably a swollen lymph node.  I’ve spent considerable time lately looking at a map of the lymphathic system while my physical therapist massaged my lymph nodes.  It’s fascinating stuff and almost worth lymphedema to learn about it.

Crazy was enormously relieved.  She thought a tumor had sprung up over night.  I assured her that I didn’t think that’s the usual way they develop (as if I really know).  Crazy eventually called her doctor, who agreed with my “diagnosis.”  Off she went to immediately share with the rest of the office that, thanks to me, she was relieved to learn the problem wasn’t cancer and that it was verified by someone who was trained to know.

Big mouth.  People ask me things and out come answers.  I don’t think about it until they’ve gone on their merry way, when I once again wonder why the hell they’re asking me.  Admittedly, I have a rather half-assed store of knowledge on a broad range of topics.  I have many interests and a surprising memory for the things I read.

The people I know and trust well enough for me to complain to about this blind belief that I’m the bearer of esoteric wisdom tell me to simply stop answering their questions.  Excellent advice, but I’ve never been able to follow it.  Open mouth, answer comes out.

The inability to, once again, keep my mouth shut has, once again, furthered my reputation around Crazy Land.  It’s become part of my unofficial job description.

I have a question myself.  Knowing that providing information spawns more trust in my boundless knowledge, knowing that it irritates me to no end, why is it that I can’t stop myself from participating?

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