Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Etiquette Questions

I really should be asleep right now, since I have to get up in a few hours, but I can't make my mind relax. It may be the headache that's been working on me all day, but something tells me it's more than that. It's the pain of being completely ignored.

I'm not an overly obtrusive person. I don't push myself into other people's business or lives. However, when those who mean so much to me suddenly turn a cold shoulder without so much as an "I need a few days to sort through some things," that's when I feel hollow.

Let me explain. As the faithful few of you know, the last month has been extremely hard on me. I haven't had much to offer the world except pain and heartache, so I've kept mainly to myself and my family. I've been there for my mom as we've lost her father, and for my dad as we lost his uncle in body and his mother in spirit. I've shed more tears and turned more earth in the last month than I care to in the next year. Through it all, I've asked for very little support, but when I have, my requests have been denied. My best girlfriends can't be expected to drop their lives and take sick days to help me shoulder a weight I'm not sure how to carry, and I didn't even feel I could ask my boyfriend to make the trip.

These are the experiences that teach you who cares, and how to care about yourself. After weeks of life's chinese water torture dripping away at my forehead, I took a night this weekend after work just for me. To sit in solemn silence and shed anonymous tears for lives changed in a split second. For the unborn children who will never have the privilege of knowing their great-grandfather or great-great-uncle as more than a photograph or a story. And for myself - for the opportunities past...the kick in the stomach that stole my breath as my former fiance uttered the words "I'm engaged"...the worries that perhaps my own father will never see me walk down the aisle, not for reasons of martyrdom or self-esteem, but for reasons of sheer mortality.

This is the state I've been in for the last few weeks - these thoughts, half-formed, running around in my brain, emerging at inopportune moments at times crippling me with their presence, then retreating to find more sustenance in the recesses of my consciousness. Add in a massive overhaul of procedure at work that has required more hours, and a second job to cover unexpected expenses on top of the Christmas budget, and I've been turned quite inward this month. It's something I have admitted and apologized for each step of the way.

Which brings me to the topic above. It appears my life has become too much. Without warning, communication from one I hold close, has ended. Kaput. Text messages get no response. Phone calls are ignored. And tonight, I was stood up for our dinner plans without so much as a "I'm not coming" note in any form.

My question to you, faithful readers, what is blog etiquette in this situation? He has a few blogs - nothing as personal as this...each one focuses on certain topics - that I would love to check just to see if he's at least posting there. Part of me feels that would be an intrusion...that if he chooses not to communicate with me, that he would not appreciate me reading his words. The other side of me, though, says that he wouldn't put it out there if he did not mean for others to read it. I'm not worried about the content, I'm just being a girl and seeking solace in the words and cadences I know so well. And yes, he does have this addres, but I don't think he reads it anymore. I've kept quiet this month so as to keep him from feeling uncomfortable, or learning about my life from a blog versus from me, but now, I need to vent to someone, especially since this turn of events has left me hollow, stunned, saddened, and confused.

Perhaps it's the lack of sleep for nights on end, or perhaps I'm just numb, but I feel like a girl made of Magic Shell. Once upon a time there was ice cream - sweet and desirable - that some one found intriguing, but would find even more so with a layer of Magic Shell. The shell hardened, but instead of digging in, he walked out of the room. Now the ice cream has melted, leaving behind only the shell, and pieces of that have been shattered and thrown to the wind as well.

Okay, I should try to go to bed again now. Maybe this time it'll work. If not, I'll get up and write again. Remind me to tell you about my mirror image friend sometime that's another post that's rattling around in my head when I can't sleep like this.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy New Year (part two)

It's official - 2006 is going to the dogs!

Not because the year has been so rough, but because yesterday was the Chinese New Year. We have now left behind the disaster-laden Year of the Rooster, but feng shui forecasters predict the Year of the Dog will be even more volatile because there are similar systems in play as there were in another tumultuous year - 1946.

Either way, I'm grasping at any straw I can take for a new start to this year. 2006 on the western calendar has gotten off to a pretty rough start for me - three deaths, a severe illness in the family, heartache, heartbreak, car trouble, and so much work to be done that I've had I believe one day off total since last year.

Light the fireworks, scare off the evil spirits cause I need a do-over! That said, this still isn't MY year - I'm a Rabbit:

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and
ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people
are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip
but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They
are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract.
They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the
right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise.
They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and

Saturday, January 28, 2006

With a Rebel Yell....

While I'm on the subject of timing, here's another interesting confluence of email.

The latest post on a friend's blog was called Accent Envy and talked about the awesome accents people have. Last night in my email I received one of those online tests called Yankee or Rebel. Basically, the point is to determine where your speech patterns originate. I took the test, and it seems to toss out any answer where you don't show a strong regional preference, and only judges you based on those where you DO. So get your shaker of salt on standby and click through the 20 questions.

My results:

68% Dixie - Just under the Mason-Dixon Line.

Anyone else?

Edited to add: This is intriguing - it will use the entire post when I don't link to the test, but when I do, it stops with the link. How peculiar. Let's see if this works.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Serendipitous Supper

So I sit here having just finished a late dinner, and it occurs to me that it was quite possibly the healthiest dinner I've had in a while, but it was far from planned that way.

I was in the mood to cook, so I pulled some ground turkey out of the freezer and slapped it in the microwave on defrost. Hmmm....now what...I know...TACOS! That's easy enough, and quick. While the meat is browning, I got out the seasoning packet - which was reduced sodium - the cheese - lo-fat cheddar - and the lettuce. Oh, wait....I'm out of lettuce, but I have this tasty bag of organic greens that are bitesized and will fit nicely on my flour tortillas that I bought to make wrap sandwiches.

And it all tasted pretty good!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

How do you say "martini" in Estonian?

When someone says "Party Capital of the World" where does your mind take you? New York City? Paris? Monaco?

Try again. The New York Times says the 2005 Party Capital of the world is Tallinn, Estonia.

The former Soviet republic on the edge of the Black Sea joined the EU in 2004, and has profited from the association. Cruises, bachelor parties, and tour groups party their vacation away, taking advantage of, as the article says, lower aclohol prices and pubs where waitresses offer up handcuffs.

Hmmm....I've never been to a Former Soviet republic...what did I do with that passport....

Friday, January 20, 2006

How many licks...

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?

(If you don't remember that commercial, imagine, if you will, me shaking my head...because you have missed out on a piece of TV history)

The answer depends on who you ask, how they went about looking for their answer, and even what flavor of pop.... In fact, Toostie Roll has an entire section of their website devoted to this question.

Why this random aside, however? Because it was the topic of conversation where I was last night, and I thought I'd simply share this piece of the past with you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Harry? I'm Sally.

10, 11, 12 years....who's counting. Now I know how Harry feels. I didn't think it would involve a wedding though.

Now I'm tempted to read the last page of the book. Starting from the front isn't working out so well for me. Because I still remember how to order a diet Coke, and I can't hate. It's just not in me... But the rest of that life now wll never begin.

Why can't the ending always come out of Hollywood?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Three things you need to know....

Okay, so you don't NEED to know them. Quite honestly, the meme Yoda tagged me with explicitly states three things you DON'T know, so therefore they are probably things you would never NEED to know. But now I'm just practicing procrastination, so here goes nothing:

1) I can't eat after I brush my teeth. I love the taste of mint, and I hate fouling that taste with food, so if I brush my teeth, I won't eat till the flavor is gone.

2) Flash, you sent me down this road. My pet peeve when it comes to men...short fingers. Not because I believe it says anything about other corresponding parts of their bodies so much as I just don't find short fingers to be attractive. I also dislike poorly manicured hands. I don't demand a daily buffing, but don't chew your cuticles, and go find some lotion from time to time.

3) I've read Les Liasons Dangereuses...in the original French.

And, yeah - there's no one left to tag, but I figured I'd hold up my end of the bargain anyway...

End of an Unplanned Hiatus

I'm back, with stories to tell and ideas to ponder.

A death in the family took me out of internet range and out of life in general for the last week or so, and plopped me down square in the middle of my upbringing. It felt as though I had turned back the clock and walked into my past, but in the body and with the accomplishments of the person I am now. Oddly enough, it's in that history I found a fresh perspective.

We laid my grandfather to rest under the old oak tree. It sounds like a line out of a book, but I promise you, it's the truth. It's a tree that he and his brothers planted on what was once the far edge of the church property. Now, the cemetery has grown to meet that tree, and in a symbiosis that only the circle of life could create, the mighty branches of that oak tree will shade the final resting place of the man who planted it for as long as it stands.

Grandfather was a simple man. He didn't own a suit - he met St. Peter in a burgundy turtleneck, his favorite work pants, and his best hat. Watches were his one vice - expandable bands and old fashioned faces. A digital timepiece never graced his wrist. Really, no watch ever graced his wrist, as he would put them on over his long sleeve shirt, then roll the cuff over the face to protect it. This year, his watch conveniently "quit working" about two weeks ago, and he bought a new one at the after Christmas sales. Surprisingly enough, when my cousin picked up the old one, it worked just fine. Did the battery glitch? Or did he just want a new one? We'll never know, but he took the new one with him.

There was no pomp and circumstance surrounding his passing. He didn't want it that way. A visitation filled a room at the old funeral home as friends, neighbors and former co-workers came to pay their respects to the family. The next day, members of the Junior Order read the rites of a graveside service, and cousins sang his two favorite hymns. As the wind whipped up and we made way for the next interment, a distant family member being laid to rest on the other side of the cemetery, I felt as though it was what Grandfather would have wanted.

There is so much more to say, so many impressions to relate, and little quirks to tell. The entire experience was impressive, but at the same time taxing. I was there to support my family, but no one was there to support me. But it did leave me with a question I pose to you:

Do you know where you're going when you die? I do. I've seen my own grave.

I should probably clarify a bit. I'm not talking spiritually - I mean right here on earth. I've known for years that my parents purchased gravesites for the entire family, but I never knew where. I didn't care to know, and I never felt the need to know. After this week, I know exactly where it is, which one it is, and even sat on it during my grandfather's service. An eerie feeling that at the same time leaves me with a sense of comfort. In an odd way, it's nice to know that I'll be surrounded by family, that I'll be part of a greater history, rather than be forgotten somewhere in a large commercial cemetery.

I'm not sure where to go from here - that sort of planning is commonplace where I come from, but I'm willing to bet that those of you reading this will think me a little off base....that and I'm getting really tired. I'll scatter more observations through the next few posts.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No, Seriously...does anybody have an Advil?

My life may have a holiday hangover, but my body has a traveling hangover.

I went on a very active road trip with friends this weekend. Classes, food, drinks and dancing until the wee hours. All in all, a great trip. But my legs are KILLING me!

I just got back - figured I'd drop a note to all who inquired. But for now, I'm off to get an Advil and hit the sack.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Anybody have an Advil?

My life has a holiday hangover.

I thought I was pacing myself, sampling what I could from the buffet of holiday offerings. A party here, a plate of cookies in lieu of attending a party there....dinner and dancing, a quiet night wrapping presents.... but the week of Christmas and the week after, I overdid it.

For starters, I went home. An adventure in and of itself, I assure you. Should the writers at Merriam-Webster or Oxford ever need a definition for "dysfunctional family Christmas," my story would fit the bill. I'd even insist the tale be told over a latte instead of a beer so there's no doubt what they heard! But I won't bore you with the long drawn out version. However, it DOES reconfirm my assertion from last year - that everyone is someone's child, and at no time is that more apparent than at the holidays. (Cool - in looking up that link, I wrote it one year ago today. Neat!)

So upon my return, I dumped everything - laundry, gifts, food - and jumped headfirst back into life. I had no choice - I had people to take care of. This holiday season I've been to a memorial service, a wake and a funeral. Perhaps my earlier ramblings about not being completely in the season had a prescience to them. Perhaps it's better not to be IN the season so that tragedy doesn't yank you OUT of the season. That happened last year...not a pleasant experience.

Then, on top of that, I went from vacation land to working 6 out of 7 days because other people had vacation to burn. All the while, crap still piled in places I left it when I came home from Christmas...just picking through the piles and getting what I needed, avoiding putting the rest of it away at all.

Today, I finally tackled it. I did all the laundry and started packing for this weekend's trip. As a result, my bedroom looks as though my dresser exploded, there's that many clothes laying around. But they're all clean, the bills are paid, the recycling is outside ready to go to the dump tomorrow, and half my stuff is laid out for my trip.

It's progress, so why do I still feel so irritable when I look at it? My only explanation.....My life has a holiday hangover.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Blog Traffic Update

I just have to share....I got my first international hits on my blog. And I don't mean Farrago's Euro trip (which led to hits from London and Paris)...Someone is actually reading me in Bombay and in Singapore. Wow!

Welcome, folks! The rest of you, back to your New Year's holiday enjoyment

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Quotes of the Day

All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day
"Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal."

Happy New Year!

May the year ahead be filled with more love, more laughter, and more life than the year that has passed.

If there is pain, and there will be pain, may it be shorter, and may you find yourself surrounded by friends and family so you must not bear it alone.

May you sing more sweetly, love more freely, and take time to appreciate the miracle that is living in the 21st century.

May 2006 be the year of your dreams, and leave you with enough time to dream even larger for 2007.

Happy 2006 to all!