Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dumb Ways To Die

Not giving up, I promise! It's just a very busy week this week...last bit of school for the semester (THANK GOD), plus the last week of the month at work is always the worst.

So I'll just leave these here.

This one's even better, thanks NASA Curiosity Mars Rover! (It has its own Facebook page.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Missed yesterday, but I have a note from my migraine! Nothing like coming back after a 4-day weekend and being hit by a truck (figuratively speaking).

Thanksgiving was a great break. It was lovely to have my mom in town for it this year, to cook the full meal (and have it be successful), to spend a great weekend. Really what more could I ask?

We were equally successful in surprising my mom with tickets to the Boulder Philharmonic/Boulder Ballet production of The Nutcracker. We had seats I thought might be a little far to see well (though the music was the main point), but as it turns out we loved being able to see more of the scenery than we would have face-on.

Held in CU Boulder's Macky Auditorium, the production was a full one, with all the traditional sets one associates with Nutcrackers past. There were some slightly modernized dresses here and there (which is understandable - nothing like trying to plie in a hoop skirt). The auditorium itself, though, was amazing to see. It was built during the early 1900s, one of the original buildings on the CU Boulder campus. Though I work on campus, I don't get off the farm much and had never been inside.

I think my favorite part was all the wood - it reminded me of churches and buildings of my youth in Chicago. That's not surprising since Macky himself was part of the design process and came from a big city himself, New York. They have a few old buildings there too, so I'm told.

So that was fun! Unfortunately it preceded a trip to the airport in the morning to take my mom home - too soon, and it was a long and boring day since The Kid was at work and I was left to my own devices. Good thing Supernatural is on Netflix. Dean Winchester can make anyone feel better.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well I'm certainly thankful this year, more so in the last few weeks than in a long time which is a great place to be.

I'm thankful to have had the chance to break on through from the funk I was in, and find light waiting on the other side.

I'm grateful my mom was able to come and visit for this holiday; any chance is welcome.

I'm grateful for a daughter who is everything anyone could want in a kid and a friend.

I'm grateful for a boyfriend who is infinitely patient and loves me even though I'm a total spaz about 80% of the time. Maybe even because of that.

I'm grateful that our President is still going to be our President for the next four years.

I'm grateful to have a job, and a roof over my head, and food in the fridge - even though sometimes it's less than others there's always something.

I'm grateful for my entire family, even my crazy-ass uncle who watches Fox news.

I'm grateful for friends both old and new, the extension of that family.

I'm grateful for you, dear readers, who were still here hanging out when I finally pulled my head out of my rear end.

I'm grateful for so many things, but most of all I'm grateful for the chance to learn and explore and experience freely - I wish the same for everyone on this crazy spinning ball of rock.

Love to all of you; no posts until Monday but not because I'm giving it up, only because of the turkey coma I plan on wallowing within.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rant: Bieber Fever, or Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Today's blog topic brought to you by The Kid, who liked one song one time, but she swears she didn't know who it was. 

I do not have Bieber Fever. I find him to be repellant in every way, from his terrible songs to his ridiculous outfits.


But who am I to judge? I've certainly had my share of boy-band (sort of - they were bands of boys) crushes - Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, The Cure - and they have certainly not been terribly attractive to all who beheld them.

 Robert I think there's something living on your head.

My idols may have been unattractive to others, almost as unattractive as New Kids on the Block were to me then, and Justin Bieber is to my daughter now, but it's not just about looks. I could forgive Bieber for looking like a total tool 100% of the time if he played an instrument, or wrote his own lyrics. I could have even gotten on board with NKOTB if they had taken the time to put the work in beyond just showing up for choreography practice and making sure their jeans were artfully ripped. I'm sure they worked hard, but at what exactly?

Some say that those of us who eschew pop acts like Bieber are simply being too-cool-for-school, but I disagree. I never made fun of Hanson specifically because they played instruments and wrote songs (though I did tease my friend Christine for loving them, but only because she was old enough to be their mother). The same is true for modern acts like Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers - they may not be your cup of tea or mine, but they are at least making music that is their own creation. Hell even the Monkees played instruments, and they were created by a music company. So I guess it's really not a matter of "I don't like popular things" so much as it is "I don't care for blatant artifice."

This is not to say, of course, that I don't love a good mindlessly manufactured pop tune - I'm a big fan of Katy Perry (though even there, her humor is her art - that is not a girl who takes herself too seriously). I just believe it goes beyond whether or not you're listening to what's on the Top 100 as a teenager; I believe it translates to life in general, and whether or not you believe only what you see, or if you look deeper than the surface.

It's not about being hipper-than-thou, it's about choosing based on lots of parameters, and that's a good habit to be in no matter what you're choosing in life, from what you eat to what you watch on TV to what kind of exercise you do to who you pick for President and everything in between.

It's okay to indulge in junk now and again (see my love of Twilight movies, for example), but it should be the exception and not the rule in my very humble opinion.


Thank you, gentle readers, for sticking with me. I'm so glad to be back.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Go Bears!

Like the new blog style? I figured if I was going to really rededicate myself I'd fluff it up a little. More than anything else my verbosity has not diminished while I've been languishing in academia, so I was looking for something with a wider space in which to blather.

Saturday found us taking a tour of the University of Northern Colorado. "Not too big, not too small" seems to be one of their selling points, and I would have to agree. It's walkable, but there's a bus that takes students from one end to the other if hoofing it is not an attractive option. Student activities and non-academic life is given importance at UNC, though the classes are top-notch and the programs are rigorous. The rec center is amazing - and they can use it freely, no need to buy a membership. Same goes for games, all students can attend any games for free - The Kid is a school-spirit kind of girl so she likes that.

Our tour guide Joe was extremely amusing, and we wish him luck as he pursues his dream on the Great White Way.

It's spendy, but we knew that it would be. However, thanks be to her grampa who is helping pay for about half. Without him she'd still go but we would end up much further in debt! We're going to work hard at financial aid options and hope for the best there.

We are going to tour the other two state schools The Kid is interested in (School of Mines and Colorado Statue University) but I think she's more or less settled on being a Bear.

 Fear the claw. FEAR IT.

Speaking of school, I'm feeling really good about my decision to not continue for a while after I finish up the AA. When I'm ready, though, I may pursue UNC myself - they have great programs for working adults to finish BAs in the subjects I like, including education. So we'll see, but I'm not making it a priority for now and that's okay.

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning and spending some much-needed time with TR just relaxing and having a great lunch at Tocabe, an American Indian restaurant that serves Indian Tacos. If you've never had one at a state fair, an Indian Taco is a nice round piece of fry bread covered in stuff of your choice. My favorite at Tocabe is the ground bison with chili beans, lots of lettuce and cheese, their hottest salsa, and a little onion and tomato and sour cream. The best is to then take this mess and absolutely drown it in hot sauce. TR likes his chimichanga-style, with the toppings all tucked into the fry bread before the frying commences.

And now I'm hungry.

Funny story, the first time TR and I went there, we were both raving about the hot sauce to the point that we decided to see if we could buy some, sure that it would be good on everything but apple pie (and even then). I went up and asked and they were very sweet about not laughing as they said "Oh it's just Louisiana Hot Sauce."

Well played, Tocabe.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fantastic Friday: Me Me Me

I'm not counting my chickens yet but every journey starts with a two blog posts in a row, or something like that. I seem to remember themes being helpful in keeping me motivated to post, so hokey or not here they come.

In the spirit of my little manifesto yesterday, I'm implementing #4 on The List by instituting Fantastic Friday.

I'm going to take each Friday as a day to be selfishly, slavishly devoted to myself and talking about my accomplishments. I have the bonus of a backlog of things that have been accomplished (few, but they're there) over the last couple of years, so it's not going to be too hard to pull this off for a few posts - after that I'll have to work a little harder to praise myself, but maybe by then it will have gotten easier.

I will work really hard not to care whether or not I sound arrogant. Maybe I need to be a little more arrogant. Maybe I need to show the world something I've done and not temper it with "oh it wasn't that great" or "it wasn't that hard" or "it's only okay" or "it could be better." I always do that and it's a bunch of crap.

I will revel in any praise I receive by saying "Thank You" or "I'm Glad You Like It."

Today's offering is an embroidered Dia de los Muertos skull I made for my friend as a combination wedding/birthday gift. I worked really hard on it, for hours and hours. I spent a lot of time choosing colors that would work well together. I satin-stitched this to within an inch of its life - the skull itself is not blank fabric, but carefully done white work. It's gorgeous and its recipient displays it proudly. Not only that, it was selected by a cultural center in New Mexico to be part of its photographic display of Dia de los Muertos art.

I think it's really beautiful.

Have a wonderful weekend... I will absolutely see you Monday, with tales of The Kid's tour of her future college.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

So Far Away From Me: Passion and Change

I haven't blogged in months of course, this is not news. The reason for my blog's semi-coma  has been, of course, that I finally started school a couple of years ago - almost three now, hard to believe.

Just lately I've discovered something distressing, however...

This is not what I expected it to be.

Last night a long string of sad and frustrated moments seem to have come to a head, and I realized that I have almost totally lost my passions in life. Not just for school, but for everything that I used to be passionate about. I used to blog, to craft, to read fiendishly. I used to devote tons of time to others, to talk to my mom almost daily, to spend time with friends and TR as a main portion of my life. I used to feel as worthwhile as everyone else, that I had finally gotten rid of my teen angst bullshit and need to fit in.


I don't blog anymore, because all of my writing juju seems to be taken up with research papers and discussion posts. (Interesting side note, the debate over whether Pluto should still be a planet was more intense than the one over climate change during an election year.)

I barely craft anymore. It seems so insignificant - oh poor Mimi with her lack of time for leisure arts - but for me it means I see beauty I want to create and am held back.

I haven't made it through a novel in a couple of years now, Stephen King books excepted.

I used to spend time with friends, but now it feels like all of my friends live so far away they may as well be in other states between school and work and Kid schedules the way they are; taking 3 hours to drive 40 minutes, have dinner, and drive 40 minutes home is next to cripplingly impossible. My close-by friends are either once-a-cycle-turn Pagan people who have their own lives to live (we are strangely only close at those gatherings) or friends who themselves have gone through changes - new jobs, new love, new life - and now no longer have any time for anything outside that. Of course, that's my lot too - it's not a judgement, just kind of a realization. It helps to remember that it's nothing to do with me, it's just how it is.

I used to talk to my mom every day. She's in a job now where she can't talk to me while she works, which used to be our connection point, but now I can't get her on the phone most times - when I can, she's working on something or is simply busy. I don't blame her, I understand it, but I hate suddenly realizing I haven't talked to her in weeks because I've been so busy those weeks have gone by in a flash.

I used to be able to move heaven and earth to see TR any time I could; I would go over on weeknights just to have a little time together. Now work has me so exhausted, school and Kid obligations have me so compacted, that I barely get to see him on weekends for more than twelve hours at a time. I miss his physical presence so much, though thankfully we talk much more now than we did when I started school - daily instead of a few times a week - so there at least I've found a happy medium.

Somehow among all this, perhaps because I'm feeling the loss of socialization and have not yet interpreted it, I have devolved into someone that places their worth in the hands of whether or not the cool kids want to be friends. It's not their fault, they are who they are, it's a reaction to the realization that I'm sooooo dull these days. I do things like complain about how WAHHHH NOBODY WILL HANG OUT WITH ME while simultaneously making myself so unattractive to talk to that of course nobody wants to hang out. I wouldn't want to hang out with me right now either. I wouldn't invite me to parties or gatherings unless I really needed a party pooper. And I hate that I have become like this.

What happened to the confident woman who could walk into a room and talk to anyone? Now I'm so afraid of looking foolish that I just find the nearest corner and observe instead.

Last night TR was telling me about this fantastic person he's befriended, who has a knack for inspiring introspection about one's passions. Apparently he can do it remotely, because here I am, working out the reasons that I seem to have changed so drastically. What I suddenly realized, and sobbingly so, was that I have almost no passion left.

School has sucked it all out of me.

Maybe it's because you really can't go back to school after twenty years and expect to be a bright-eyed learner, but I also think that I had unrealistic expectations of what school would be like. I hoped to have scorchingly awesome discussions about the nature of literature in these classes - instead I'm worn out from reading Paradise Lost, and nobody will even respond to my carefully crafted posts so the discussions are nonexistent. School has also, and this is going to sound weird, made me think too much. I was probably more interesting before I started being a fun-sucker who blows astrology out of the water by quoting astronomical fact.

I wanted school to be the answer; for many it is, but for me it's become only a burden, and not even a means to an end. I was foolish to think I could do anything with a bachelor's degree except pad my resume - that's some expensive padding right there. I'm truly thinking that I might just finish the AA degree and call it good. This might disappoint some, but I don't think it will disappoint me. I used to think it wouldn't be good enough, that an AA degree was only a halfway point, that I wouldn't celebrate it's completion, but you know what? I think I may throw myself a graduation party and be done. Those who it disappoints will have to just bite their tongues, or risk a serious bitching out by yours truly.

I can't wait for it to be over. I want my life back. I'm so afraid, though, that when I'm done... my life as I knew it will be pretty much gone, and I'll be faced with more changes, a new world I don't recognize, and a new life with nobody to need me for anything because they've learned so well how to get along without me as I've been spinning my wheels trying to get some traction. (Metaphor!)

School's ability to drain me dry has resulted in me having no passion for much except where it concerns The Kid and TR - I am still passionately dedicated to both, but my demonstration of such has been severely lacking. They're more and more finding themselves not needing my help or input. I'm so glad they're both doing so well, that they're both finding themselves and their happiness, but I feel so left in the dust to fend for myself, and ashamed because I know it's my own fault that I feel like that. I feel so left out of the picture, an afterthought or an obligation, but again - it's my fault, not theirs. If this is the new normal, I need to redouble my efforts to salvage what's left to me. I don't want to lose either one of them to my lack of time and passion for life.

So here it is... my grand plan

1. I am going to really, really try to start working things into the mix that are for my own pleasure. If I'm going to be a supporting satellite now instead of a gravitationally powerful planet, I'd better have something to do while I orbit and wait for the sun to shine on me when my influence comes around again for a while. (Oh, Astronomy.) While my loved ones are out living their lives without me, I don't want to sit and cry in my soup feeling left out. I have to make my own way. That means that if I get C's in school then so be it; I need to finish one goddamn project thank you very much. Just one. Just like, a whole scarf or something. I need to go take an art class that isn't online or something. Maybe I'll just own my craft nerd status and join a knitting club.

2. In the same vein as finding my things to do since I am less necessary than I was, I am going to learn to accept that The Kid is going to college and is going to no longer need me to take care of her. She'll always need me to be her mom, but I must teach her at least to clean a toilet and make more than just spaghetti and do her own FASFA and such. I won't feel like I'm ready to let her go until I know she won't suffer if I'm not right there. I am going also to learn to accept that TR has found new direction and just be happy for him instead of feeling like if I'm not part of it I am fading from his favor, that if I don't grow in the same direction he does and do the things he does that he'll lose interest in me. I am going to learn to accept that I don't have to keep up to be loved. I hope I'm right about that one; I'm betting the farm on it.

3. I'm going to remind myself that maybe I didn't know about Fun Fact A, or I wasn't invited to Gathering B, but that it's okay and not because I'm not cool enough or worth knowing. Maybe I haven't heard from people lately because they're busy with their own stuff, not because they don't like me. Hell, maybe they miss me too. Maybe it's up to me to send out the olive branch or invite myself along if I really want to be there. Maybe I should stop waiting for the way I think things ought to be to come to fruition, and either accept that it's not going to happen or MAKE it happen.

4. In that spirit, I'm going to try to remind myself how totally frakkin' awesome I am. Daily. Because you know what? I am kind of fantastic, and it may sound arrogant but so what. If nobody else is going to be my cheerleader then it's up to me. I can crochet you a house. I can sew 80 felt crowns to utter perfection in a week. I know how to cook a turkey without looking up directions. I wrap presents with mathematical precision. I raised an amazing kid, and whether or not someone thinks I did it wrong or strangely does not matter. I can type faster than anyone I know. I taught myself almost everything about what I'm good at doing, mostly through my interpretive abilities. No amount of cool factor in someone else should be able take those facts away from me, even if they think it's uncool, and if it means I have to list my accomplishments to myself in order to remind myself of who I am and what I'm worth, then so be it. So back to blogging - I'm going to get back to boring the universe with my thoughts and lists of accomplishments.

Is it too late? Do I still have a chance to grow back my ladyballs? Or do I now find myself having to make the choice between New Life A where I'm a sad sack who pushes others away and ends up alone and New Life B where I drive myself crazy trying to fit a mold?

I used to think I had all the answers, I used to think I was pretty smart and intuitive, but I'm so not myself anymore I honestly don't know how to solve this yet except to try and implement 1-4 up there and stop trying so hard to please everyone but myself out of fear.

I want to stop being a slave to my past hurts and insecurities.

So say we all, I know.