Friday, April 28, 2006

Blue Period

I'm not happy this week. I want to climb into the hills by myself and just stare out at a nice view for a long long time.
Alone. All Alone.
Unfortunatley, this is impossible because I live in the middle of a big city, I kicked my husband out, I have two little kids to take care of by myself, no gas in my car, no money, no motivation, no fun.
Mental health wonks call it depression, thats a good label, if I weren't so depressed I'd think up a better one.
Many of the best writers and artists are/were (before they off-ed themselves) depressed: VanGogh, Picasso, Hemingway.
So they drank, screwed everything in sight or cut off their ears, whatever, not that it helped much.
In our civilized society, experts and scientists diagnose mental illness then treat it. Much of this treatment comes in the form of medication. There seems to be a med for every emotion we feel.
I'm not going to go all 'Tom Cruise' on psychology and anti-depressants, but I don't think medications are the magic answer.
I don't have chronic depression, I don't spend my days lying in bed, refusing to get out. I just feel like shit once in a while and I want to enjoy it.
Thats why I cling to my fantasy of sitting on my mountain-top, all alone, for a long time. Breathing. . . in. . . breathing. . . out.
Maybe drinking some tea (mate) and smoking some weed (stanky), that usually makes me feel better.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Men: A Problem For Women

I am a smart woman. Just ask me. I'll expound for hours about how smart I am.
Sadly, there is one area in my life in which I am amazingly dumb.
That would be the 'man' area.
Boyoboy can I NOT pick 'em.
I have classic "Women Who Love Too Much" Syndrome. I pick an asshole to partner with, then spend a few frustrating years trying to change him. Of course it dosn't work and misery ensues for all.
After I figured out my problem, I was suprised to realize how many other intelligent women I know and love are just like me.

  • Giani, My brilliant literary arts major and Scrabble partner in college.
  • Kacey, The only person from high school I keep contact with.
  • Renee, An incredibly brilliant and financially responsible ex co-worker.
  • Gigi, My brilliant and current best friend.
  • Esther, My friend, neighbor and sister in suffering.
  • All of my biological sisters.
  • Me

Thinking about all my fellow "Women who Love Assholes Too Much," there is one overwhelming good that has come out of so much sadness: Our support and love for each other.
The support I get from the other women in my life will always surpass any trifling affections a man throws my way.

Read "Women Who Love Too Much" and "Things Fall Apart."
The first book will help you understand why you love jerks, and the second will illustrate a time-tested method for keeping women happy.
They don't expect too much out of a man.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Plea from an Addict

"America needs to end its addiction to foreign oil"--Our President.

Like all addicts, I do things I shouldn't, such as buy gas from the likes of Royal Dutch Shell.
Royal Dutch Shell is the 4th largest corporation on earth. (Who's #1? click here.)
Like all evil corporations, Royal Dutch Shell's priority is making money, no matter the human cost.
Just do a Google search for Royal Dutch Shell and Nigeria. You will find an environmental and social catastrophe. (see above photo)
Every time we pump gas, we're actually pumping blood. Literally - blood;
Nigerian blood, Iraqi blood, and American blood; the carnage that leads into your gas tank is appaling.
Two dollars and seventy-five cents is really quite cheap for a gallon of blood.
What can I do? The guilt is getting pretty heavy.
I can:
1) walk
2) take public transportation
3) have my car converted to run on natural gas or bio-fuel.
4) buy a hybrid
5) buy a diesel

Options 1&2 are nice in theory and I use them when I can, but have you ever dropped your kids off at day-care, then traveled to work, then picked your kids back up at day-care, then got home and collapsed barely before dark on a bus?
Sorry, but as long as I have the choice, I'm going to pick convenience over 5 days a week of living hell. Any human being would do the same.

Now we come to converting my car to a cleaner, cheaper, less bloody form of fuel.
To the tune of $2,000.
Naturally I don't have that kind of cash laying around, so it's unrealistic.

OK, option #4, buy a hybrid. What a joke, some don't even get better gas mileage, and again, too expensive.

Now to #5: buy a diesel.
Did you know that Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, designed it to run on vegetable oil? He wanted farmers to grow their own fuel.
Hello Brilliant. At least it seems brilliant now, back then it was only common sense.
Today, you can't dump a gallon of vegetable oil in your average diesel engine. It still takes some monkey-ing around to covert a diesel engine over, but here's the point: our entire oil problem could have been avoided in the first place.

I don't know how the oil thing got so out of control in such a short time, but I do know that the clock (or time bomb) is ticking and we need an affordable solution fast.
Like 5 years ago.
Options and technology exist, but they are out of reach for Josephine American like me because of the expense.
Please big, bad goverment, big heartless corporations, please Bio Willie, please, do something about this.
I need help.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Today I Survived.

These are my boys. Aren't they cute?
In about 10 to 15 years much younger women will be chasing after them.
Until then, they belong to me.
Every screaming, whining, crying moment is mine to treasure forever.
Fortunately, I also get the laughs, smiles, hugs and kisses.

Did you ever see one of those women walking around a store while their infant screams and another young child holds onto their legs?
That was me today.
Before I had children I thought, "Why can't she shut that kid up?" or "Doesn't she know how annoying that is?"
To answer my old self:
"If I could grown an extra arm, breastfeed and still keep shoppping, this child would be silent, and of course I know how annoying this is, but I have to buy some household products so you can just shut the fuck up."
I love my children, but honestly I don't know why I wanted them so badly. A deep-rooted maternal instinct overuled all logic.
I just wanted to be a mom. Check that one off the old to-do list.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Moonrise, Hernandez New Mexico

My favorite photograph of all time.
It's hard to explain how you can feel so completely alone in the desert, yet at the same time feel like something is always watching.

That must be why a picture is worth . . . so much

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Take My Job, Please

Call centers are really shitty places to work, and I should know because I've worked at several of them.
Yep, I've been a professional customer service rep for 6 or 7 years now.
But here's the irony: I'm not very good at it, in fact, I suck.
Even more ironically, call-centers (thats right, more than one) are begging me to come work for them.
I loathe being on the phone, and have become quite clever in constructing ways to stay off it. Really, it's amazing how much energy I will pour into not doing my job.
When a call starts going really bad my blood pressure rises and all the pranayama (Yogic breathing) on the sub-continent can't help me now.
I mock the caller's ignorance, idiocy, parentage, geographical location, and so on.
I make smart-ass remarks, which always suceed in enraging the customer further; and when the call is finally over I replay everything that was said, and dream up better come-backs.

I'm not good because I couldn't develop a callous around my soul.

My glamourous career in customer service started in college.
I attended school in a beautiful little town where the job scene was not nearly as spectacular as the views.
These were the employment options:
1) On-campus: Oh please, oh please, will you pay me minimum wage to clean up after a bunch of punks away from home for the first time, please? I want to spend my time between classes throwing away used condoms and hosing vomit off the dorm showers.
2) Fast-food: I can't even begin to explain how horribly wrong I am for food service, it's just that bad.
3) The call-center: it seemed to be the least offensive of my options.
Getting hired wasn't a problem. They always needed fresh meat. Turnover was at least 50%. Probably more. Probably alot more.

As of now, I'm still in customer service, but my customers are the same 3 year old and infant every day. They are extremely demanding and I can't hang-up on them, but I certainly prefer their company to those customers at my old job.

And to finally tie my head line and photo into my entry today, if some hard-working, educated Indian nationals want my shitty customer service phone job, they are welcome to it.
I'll even give them good references.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kiss My Bumper

I have one bumper sticker on my car.
Just One. It's white (the color of my car) and has two words written in green:
Humboldt County.
Now if you know what Humboldt County is famous for, then you'll understand why I'm driving so slowly.
Some bumper stickers crack me up, like: "Republicans for Voldemort." Hilarious, under-stated, I love it.
As you can see, I am pro-bumper sticker, up to a certain point, but when your car is covered with obnoxious stickers advertising your sexual preference and your ignorance, beware.
I know you think you're cute, but let me asure you, . . . you are not.
My second least favorite bumper sticker sags on a tiny powder-blue car of early 90's ancestry. It is often parked in front of the Blockbuster Video next to my local Safeway.
The offending sticker says: "ACLU: We don't hate all religions/ just Christianity."
OK, you are a moron. An uneducated, narrow-minded moron.
Clearly you are Christian, and clearly you think the ACLU is picking on your faith.
Earth to moron: You aren't doing your religion or yourself any favors with that bumper sticker. Rather, you are reinforcing the stereotype of the paranoid, Bible-thumping, fundamentalist who is about as truly 'Christian' as Santa Claus.
This brings us to my most hated bumper sticker.
This one occupys the quickly vanishing empty space on the trunk of black a wannabe -but can't afford the real thing- VW Jetta. This car offends in the parking lot of my apartment complex and I see it several times each day.
This car is covered with bumper stickers expressing a certain colorful lifestyle and voting choices in direct conflict with our ACLU-loving friend from above.
While many of the stickers are just eye-rollers, the one I hate most reads: "Stupid people shouldn't breed."
Oh, Really? "Like you?"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ode to an Eastern Spring

The best roomates I ever had were Japanese, and I went throught alot of roomates.
I found them while looking at a community board on my college campus.
It was one of those messy cork-board deals advertising everything from free kittens and used cars to students looking for rides to L.A.
My future roomate drew a picture of a crane on her posting. I was immediatley charmed, thinking: This looks serene.
I was right, serenity is BIG with the Japanese. They don't want any boat-rockers- never, ever.
I guess that's why I wasn't born in Japan. I'm one of those people who just can't shut up or leave well enough alone.
But I did learn (at least) three essential things from them: Love of tea; Long, long baths are good; and a certain type of subtle, delicate beauty that we fat, noisy Americans usually ignore on our frantic commute to world domination.
I'm talking, in part, about the cherry blossom; the ancient symbol of spring and new beginnings.
The cherry blossom is small and lovely. . . delicate, full of hope and innocence, not unlike Hello Kitty.
It's easy to appreciate big showy mountain-top views looking across miles of canyons and winding rivers at sunset, but it takes a finer intellect to stop and really inhale the beautiful and precious realm of the fleeting cherry blossom.

When I pass from this world, I will immediately apply for the job of painting butterfly wings and lizard scales.

Only tender souls will ever get the cherry blossom right.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How Shocking; Not Really

If I were George W. 's mama I might have a hard time smiling for the cameras today.

So. . . Scooter Libby said Jr. (thanks Maureen Dowd) was OK with leaking sensitive info about Iraq to his favorite White House reporter.
The only really shocking element of this story was actually seeing it plastered all over the internet this morning. Those of us who have no love of W. are just sitting back, mouths agape at how far this president has fallen.
I mean, we were hoping he'd get that arrogant smirk off his face, but nobody dreamed he'd crash and burn this hard.
Back in 2004, we were gnashing our teeth and tearing at our clothes over his 'victory'. I mean who on earth would vote for this guy?
Maybe you suspect I live in a blue state; you are correct.
I lived most of my life in red states and I hear that some of the folks back home are actually turning against Bush. Thats amazing considering how hard-core they were about 2 years ago.
I want to pick the brain of a red-stater and find out when they realized their beloved George W. really is an incompetent boob.
God Bless America, and our beloved, much treasured (by me) free press, and our award-winning checks and balances system of government.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Immigration: Give us your children.

Let's call the immigration debate it what it really is: The Mexican illegal alien worker debate.
My solution is so simple it will never work.
Make the employers of illegal aliens pay higher taxes to cover the government resources their employee's soak up.
This will never even make it to the floor of Congress for debate. The Big Corporations who own the huge farms that need harvesting will never let this happen.
So, as is always the case, the focus is on punishing the peons instead of making the patrons pay their fair share.

I used to work at a deli on the outskirts of a large agriculteral community.
Once in a while, families of migrant workers came in to buy snacks.
This is where I met Juan Carlos.
Juan Carlos was about 6 years old from what I could guess. He had sparkling black eyes, short. spiky black hair, and a mischevious grin.
His mom would point to items in the display case and Juan Carlos would translate. His mom usually bought potato wedges and macaroni salad; our cheapest items.
She always paid in cash with hard, scarred brown hands and perpetually dirty fingernails.
Being an English speaker, Juan Carlos had a huge advantage over his parents.
One day I offered him some old jalepeno poppers we were going to throw out at the end of the day.
He loved them.
After that he'd slyly ask if I had anything free to give him. I always did.
His mom seemed alarmed at the extra food I was putting in their bag, but using international sign language I tried to let her know it was OK.
Juan Carlos told her something that seemed to ease her nerves, and she paid me with those same stained, gnarled hands.
Cash money. Under the table.
Weeks and weeks later Juan Carlos came into the deli and asked for the reglar stuff. I tried to tease him and play with him, but the sparkle was hard to see, like looking through a smudged-up window.
Then he paid me, in cash, with diry, scraped-up hands capped with jagged black fingernails.

I was so ashamed.
What kind of world is this?
What kind of civilized country lets little kids pick our salad fixings while we argue about immigrants stealing social services?

Surely not my country.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Through Good Times & Bad

This is me and my friend, Flower. I've known this girl for years. I stayed with her for a week after I left my husband. She's one of those friends you can always count on.

I'm brand new to the blog scene, I feel really insecure about my blog so far.
My first entry sucked, because I was trying too hard.
So today I'll just let it go.

My marriage.
I feel really stupid sometimes for actually marrying my husband. There were red flags from the start and I got many friendly warnings from the people around me. But, I married him anyway.
He's charming and sexy, a hard-worker, and sometimes unintentionally hilarious.
However, over the past 4 plus years, his bad traits have far surpassed the good ones.
A middle-aged, divorced friend of mine gave me a self-help book entitled "Women Who Love Too Much"
At first, I scoffed. "I don't need this, this book has nothing to do with ME."
Then I started reading it and I was shocked, shocked, at how accurately that book described me and my none-to-healthy relationship.

It was so hard, but I left him. It's been about a month and a half since I changed the locks and didn't tell him about it.
The good news is that I'm starting to see some positive changes on both his part and mine.
The bad news always follows the good so here it is: Slipping back into old patterns is still much too easy. Old fights are only one dirty look from exploding.

He is, however, making a consious effort to work on some of his problems. I consider this a minor, no, no minor about it; it's a miracle.

It's so hard to make real changes, I can totally understand why people keep putting up with bad relationships for years and years. Change can be too hard and too scary.

It's so damn hard.

But if this works out, it will have been so worth it.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Road to Heaven

So this is my blog.
CitySlickerMama is my friend IRL, she turned me onto blogging.
Thanks to you,

I live in the suburbs of big city on the West Coast of the United States.
After earning my degree at a picturesque college
I migrated
from the Interior, the Inter-Mountain West, five years ago.
The more liberal vibe of the Coast was calling my name like a fog horn.

Finding myself now the mother of two beautiful bi-racial children.
Parenthood really is the ultimate learning experience.
My marriage is a difficult one, but it is my marriage and a central piece of my life here on Earth.
We are technically seperated, and it's my job to keep it that way until this unhealthy dance gets a new fiddler on the floor.

This afternoon my dear friend Gigi and I took our small children to the library for a storytelling program.
Gigi's mom went with us.
Early into the program my baby started fussing so I left my older boy w/Gigi's mom and walked around the libaray w/my baby. I was scopeing out a quiet place to nurse my child.
I stopped in the fiction department and picked up the only Truman Capote book on the shelf: "The Thanksgiving Visitor"
I remember reading excerpts from this book in middle school. My first exposure to Capote, and his world of hard-eyed gamblers and their harder-eyed flooseys.

How do you make a plural out of floosey?

That said, I love Capote, and Joan Didion, Jack London, Garrison Keillor, and the other masters of the Short Story.

We found a quiet place to nurse, I got a few pages read, I took my kids home and how I'm writing a blog.