Thursday, August 29, 2013

Friday Randoms


"I heard Journey on the radio and of course it made me think of him. It made me smile."

"Good for you! That's progress!"

"... And then I wanted to punch him in the junk."

"Oh. Um. Well, baby steps are still steps."

"I did smile first! That counts for something!"


"The thing I realized is that life is made up of beauty and shit. So you can either mold your shit into a throne and live from there, bitter and angry and negative, proclaiming yourself the Queen of Shit, or you can focus on what's beautiful while still acknowledging that sometimes, yes, you'll step in shit but mostly? You focus on what's positive and awesome."

"That's never gonna go on a Hallmark card."


"How's your day going?"

"First thing that happened today: woke up. Alarm went off. And it was playing Livin on a Prayer."

"You. Are going to have. The best day. EVER."

"That's what I thought."


"People who wrote code get emotionally involved with it. It becomes like their child. Telling them it doesn't work is like walking up to someone with a newborn and saying, 'Wow, your baby sure is ugly' -- it just doesn't go over well, you know?"


"So then she says to me, 'Well we'll wait and maybe sometime down the road you'll change your mind.' "

"You won't."

"I know."

"So you could have said, 'I am looking into the future and remarkably, just like now, I am saying NO.'"

"Hahaha let me consult my magic 8 ball..."

"... It says SCREW OFF!"

Happy Birthday, Flinkie! Hope it's the best!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

For The Teachers

In case no one else tells you this year:

*The work you do is important. What you do? Changes lives. Makes an impact. Carries on far beyond the academic year and into the futures of the children you work with, and gives them something to hold onto.

*The work you do is hard. It's hard, underappreciated, and undervalued. Anyone who tells you that your job is easy or cushy because you "have summers off" or because "you don't have to work weekends" has no idea what s/he is talking about and deserves to be summarily dismissed.

*You are brilliant. You are creative, clever, and caring. You are amazing.

*What you give out -- the stress, the worry, the love of the kids in your classes, the money you spend, the time you put in, the planning, the thought, the effort? It is worth it. It is all worth it. You already know that, though; you know it every time a student gives you that look of "Oh, YES! I GET IT!"

I hope this year is amazing, and all of the years that follow are as well.

And thank you -- thank you for the work you do, the time you take, the hours you put in.

Thank you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sayonara, Summer

This is the last week of the summer of 2013.

Thank goodness.

I mean, I learned some important things about myself, which is always good. It would be rather pointless to go through a summer like this last one, struggle, and then not get anything out of it.

But oh man, the struggle. The struggle was intense.

I mean, who expects to be fully employed AND homeless? 

Not this kid.

Despite that -- and also, because of it -- I appreciate the good things in my life so much more now. The friends who love me. My family. The roof over my head and the shoes on my feet. The time we do get to spend with those we love before they're gone. Those are gifts that I didn't fail to acknowledge before, but probably didn't appreciate fully until I made it through this summer.

So that's something.

But oh man, am I looking forward to fall. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Friday Randoms


"If I wanted to listen to children scream, I would have stayed HOME."

"That is awesome."

"What? It's true!"


"Do you really want a cat? Or do you want Bean back?"

"... I want Bean back."

"She's not coming back. There was only one Bean. She was special. Dumb as a post, but special."

"She really was dumb."

"So dumb. But sweet! In a really dumb way!"


"I think you're pleasant."

"I'll have you know that I am a ray of fucking sunshine."



"And now my hairdresser knows I cut my own hair."

"I'm pretty sure she was gonna figure it out."

"What, like it screams 'I did this with kitchen shears'?"

"'Screams' is the wrong word. It more... Whispers... It."


"And then I realized I was fresh out of give a shit."

"I hate when that happens."

"I used to, but now--"

"You don't give a shit?"

"You read me like a book, you know that?"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Square Pegs. Triangular Holes.

When I was in the process of trying to leave my old job, I got a lot of advice from well-meaning friends. Advice like, "Wear pants and scarves so no one can see your tattoos." "Stop dying your hair weird colours like purple and blue." "Take the stud out of your nose before interviews." "Please remove the cell phone case festooned with skulls." And my favorite: "Try to act, you know, kind of normal."

The people who gave me this advice all love me and want me to be happy and successful and I freely confess that I would like to be both of those things. Who doesn't want joy in her life? Who wouldn't, if given the choice, aim her feet down the path of success?

I followed their advice. After all, these were, as I mentioned, people who love and want the best for me. I did what they said. I wore a scarf. I covered my ink. I made sure my hair was a shade found in the "colours human hair generally is" spectrum. I took my nose ring out in the car before going in to meet prospective employers.

I wore real shoes. Not flip flops, not Chuck Taylors. Real, live, "I'm a grown up" shoes. Because I know how to be a professional.

I also wore a suit.

I felt like I was playing dress-up, even though it was my suit, and those were my shoes, and it was me in those clothes, I felt I was pretending to be someone I wasn't, someone who wore suits and didn't prefer to have pink hair and wouldn't dream of getting additional body art.

Fortunately, I got a job at a company where none of those things matter. I discovered on my first day that ink? Was appreciated by nearly everyone there. That my nose ring? Was thought to be cute. That the older ladies especially got a kick out of it when I put teal highlights through my hair, and that being good at what I do was going to be the marker of how successful I would be.

Also, shoes are kind of optional.

So. I am happy, and I am finding success. Good for me, right? It worked out.

The whole experience made me think, though. About success, and how it is defined, but also about how many people have to conceal who they are in an effort to find it. My friends meant the best when they suggested that I make myself over into someone who looked like she was worthy of being hired, but the notion that I was not good enough as I am was painful -- and the idea that I would have to disguise myself in order to get out of an employment situation that was making me miserable was not, shall we say, uplifting.

I recognize that this is very small potatoes when it comes to what people often have to do in order to get ahead and chase the standard notions of success. Some people have to hide their sexuality and their partners. Some people have to practice their religions in secret. Some people conceal their heritage. Some people do their best to deny their racial background. In the face of those? Having to dye my hair a colour that isn't purple is not just minor, it nearly qualifies as whining.


But. Although I do realize and confess that this comes from a place of privilege, I also recognize that as a society, we still need to adjust our assumptions about what it means to be successful, and about what a successful person looks like. It looks like people of all colours. It looks like people of different preferences and religions and backgrounds and histories. It can be pierced and tattooed or neither or both. It can wear designer shoes or flip flops.

And, more than anything else, it shouldn't feel like a masquerade. It should feel like your own skin. It should never feel like bring forced to hide who you are -- it should celebrate it. Living a life that allows you to be who you are, the best you can? We need to start recognizing that as success. 

The rest is just accessories.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

And That's What Happened

I'm in a bit of a mood today, partially because a well-meaning friend asked me about someone I don't talk to anymore. I tried to avoid lengthy explanations by simply saying, "oh, well, we've gone our separate ways -- yes, it's quite sad -- no, I don't have his number--" but it got me thinking about the people we let go of because we want to, the ones who are toxic and who need to be eliminated from our lives, and the people we let go of because they demand it. I think both situations are terribly sad because it's difficult to release someone from your life, but I think the latter is infinitely sadder. 

Thus the mood.

I've had to let go of people because they were and are bad for me. I think we all have. It's hard to finally admit that this or that person doesn't have a positive and productive role in your life experience, but we've all done it. It never feels good but it is required on occasion. We've all been there. 

And we've all also been the person who has been eliminated from someone's life. 

It's hard. It's hard to look at yourself in the mirror and understand that someone you have loved has had to let go of their ties to you because they have found you to be destructive and poisonous. It's harder still when you think about the people you have had to let go of because you start to realize: this is what I was to her/him, and it chills you. You don't want to be that person.

But sometimes you are, simply by being who you are. Not all personalities complement. Some, in fact, mesh in highly destructive ways until someone --maybe you, maybe the other person -- calls the game.

You have to learn to be okay with it and let it go.

You have to learn to understand that some relationships are fleeting and some are permanent and that is okay.

You have to learn that love is never wasted, even (perhaps especially) when relationships are fleeting and transient. Having a heart means using it. Otherwise there is no point.

You have to learn to be okay with the fact that the answer, sometimes, is "No, I don't see her/him anymore, but my wish is that s/he has all of the best." You should wish them the best, because you would want them to want that for you -- and then you need to let it go.

I struggle with the letting it go portion of the program, it's true, but I think that if you loved someone? You will always love them, someplace in your heart, and regardless as to whether you let go of them or they let go of you, that loving place should want the best for them, even if you can't have a civil conversation at this point.

The people you have to let go of are not perfect.

Neither, as it turns out, are you.

So you have to try to get past it. Past the trying to explain and to a place where you can understand -- and even if you don't understand? Understand this: sometimes you are not meant to see the answers right now, but they will come.

Eventually, everything is understood. Even loss. Even heartache.

And after that? Well, then you can move on.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Randoms

"Did you ever have that moment where you realize you're completely in love with someone but, because you're also a bit of an idiot and an asshole, you've already blown it?"

"You're practically a character out of 16 Candles or some shit."

"Yeah except my movie would be called 'Hi, I'm a Moron'."

"...that's not as inviting."

"Really not."


"I'll be your diet buddy."

"You will?!"

"Instead of omnomnom? Our motto will be NONnomnom."


"So I've discovered what I don't love about my apartment."

"What's that?"

"First I thought that the thing that bothered me was the level of visibility. Like, through the windows?"

"But that's not it?"

"No. The ghosts bug me more."


"Yeah. Ghosts."

"You don't have ghosts."

"I do until we find another explanation for the footsteps in the house that wake me from a sound sleep."

"We could call TAPS! And then you could be on tv! AND then we'll be famous!"

"And tired."

"Tired and famous!"


"What did you do to your ankle?"

"I was sitting in the window when an egret swooped in, and they're scary. Like pterodactyls. So it startled me enough that I almost fell out of the window? But I caught myself and in so doing cracked my ankle wicked hard against the wall."

"Yeah. Maybe you should sit in your CHAIRS."

"But then how would I see the scary egrets?"


"I used to want to make a difference. Instead? I make sheds."

"People need those."

"I guess."

"And you still make a difference."


"I mean, in your own little way. Ish. Okay, I'm shutting up now."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Have Learned This Summer

1.  I don't need as much stuff as I think I do.

2. I need to stop making the guilty face when people offer to help me.

3. Ask for help when you need it. It will come. (And your helpers don't love it when you make the sad guilty face.)

4. Sometimes life sucks but it always gets better. Always.

5. Karma is your friend. So do good things. They'll come back to you.

6. You can't carry the weight of the world. You only have two hands.  But a bunch of people working together can carry some of the weight.

7. Life is really better with a cat.

8. Starting over can be pretty awesome.

9. Love is everywhere you look. So look.

10. What you think you want is not always what you actually want, and it's usually not related to what you need.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome Home

My back is killing me. I am covered with bruises and my arms hurt. None of these things register when I open my eyes in the morning, though. The first thing I am conscious of is the sound of water outside.

I have a freaking waterfall outside my window. A literal waterfall. Outside. My window.

My apartment is little. Little, adorable, and awesome. It feels like it is where I SHOULD be living. I belong here... And that makes the rest of it, the moving three times in about seven weeks, the confusion and the stress and (let's face it) the depression... It makes it more understandable. Not worth it, necessarily, but if I hadn't gone through that I wouldn't be here now.

Here is a marvelous place to be.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Clean Slates

There will not be a post this Friday, because I will be busily moving into my new apartment. This is a good thing.

It's a great thing.

This summer, my life has been kind of like a bad country song. I mean, a REALLY bad country song. It occurs to me that I have two choices: I can cower in the corner, whimpering slightly, or I can come out swinging.

Because I am a stubborn fool, I refuse to give up. I can't help it. Fighting is what I do.

I believe that life is all about choices. Who you'll be, what you'll do, where you'll go. I look at my new place as an opportunity to start over. I'm wiping the slate clean. New habits. New resolves. New opportunities.

But of course, you bring where you've been with you. Even a clean slate holds some chalk dust. For me, the dust is the smattering of lessons I've actually managed to learn, and the love I bring with me. I carry that wherever I go, and it fuels me as I keep on keeping on.

You might be asking, what are you changing? And I'll tell you: I am determined to be healthy. HEALTHY. Healthy relationships. Healthy eating. Heathly finances. Healthy habits. Healthy professional environment. All of these mean that I need to think about myself in a way that I don't normally do: am I treating myself well? Is this good for me? How will this impact me down the road?

This may seem narcissistic, but I think it's necessary. I arrived at this place because I didn't make it a habit to ask myself those questions, and as such, have had a scary and painful summer.

But I'm not giving up, and I'm wiping this slate clean.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 5, 2013


I don't want to write this post.

What I want is to go upstairs, open the bedroom door, and have Beansie chirp a hello at me. I want to go to bed tonight and, after I turn out the light, feel the soft thump of her jumping onto the bed and then climbing onto the pillow next to my head. I want to be able to feel her nuzzle against my face and hear her purring.

Instead, I walk into the room to the sound of the wind in the curtains. I go to bed and wait in vain. I can only remember how soft her fur was, how happy she would be to see me, the way she would purr with her entire self as she went to sleep next to me.

I had her for ten years.  For ten years she was my shadow, my touchstone, my companion. She loved me unconditionally. When nothing else was even close to okay, she reminded me that everything was okay.

I don't know what to do without her.

I don't want to write this post. I want to scoop her up and dance around the room with her. I want to turn on the shower and see her jump up and do her little kitty dance of joy under the spray. I want to take off my shoes and watch her put her feet in them and then go to sleep.

But instead, I have to write this post.

My parents try to remind me that Beansie wasn't supposed to live this long, and that every moment I had with her was a gift. My brain recognizes this as a true thing.

My heart, though, is broken.

Over the weekend, the vet told me what I knew to be true: my cat, who used to weigh seventeen pounds, now weighed eight. All of her systems were failing. There wasn't anything we could do that would do anything other than prolong the inevitable, and in that prolonging? She would likely suffer.

So I let her go.

I put my face down to her face one last time. She licked my forehead.

And now she's gone.

I keep looking for her. I wake up in the middle of the night and reach my hand out to pat her on her pillow and she's not there. I come home and think I should check on her. I change the sheets on the bed and expect her to jump up and try to bite the hospital corners as I form them. But the pillow is cold and empty. I walk into the house and there is silence. I make the bed with no feline interference.

I know that I did the right thing. I know that she was sick and in pain. I know that.

I know she knew how very, very much I loved her.

I also know that she wouldn't have lived forever. Pets don't. We are gifted with their love for a limited amount of time, which is why it is up to us to make sure they are safe, cared for, and loved. I know all of that.

I know that.

But I still look for her out of the corner of my eye, and there is a Beansie sized hole in my heart.

And I do not want to write this post.