Monday, February 22, 2010

everyone else is doing it. . .

So I wake up to my radio show. I drive listening to my radio show. And I'm not immune to the catchy headlines that pop up after I sign out of my email.

Everyone's talking about Tiger Woods. And the apology.

I'll admit- I didn't watch the apology. Didn't listen to the apology. In fact, I didn't even search it out to see a written transcript of the apology.
On the one hand, I feel like I need to apologize for my lack of attention to the apology. On the other hand, I will not apologize, because I have a good reason for not watching/listening/reading.

I don't care.

There. I said it. Can't take it back. Seriously, I don't care.

Do I know who Tiger is? Sure. Am I glad he is a kick ass golfer? Sure I suppose- although I'm not real big into golf. Did he provide some good discussion materials on race and ethnicity and identification in racial sociology classes in college? Sure. Who could pass up the chance to talk about identifying as Cablinasian?

Nevertheless, the truth is, I don't care that he cheated on his wife. And honestly, I'm not sure that you should care either.

Actually, I don't really care when anyone cheats on his wife. Or husband for that matter. As long as I am not the cheater or the cheatee, I don't really see how it's any of my business. I stand by the same argument with our former president. In fact, I would even say the same thing for Senator Craig who had his little gay escapade in the airport bathroom. (Although I do think it's somewhat gratifying when the gay haters turn out to be the gayest gays ever.)

But seriously, why do we care? Why does Tiger need to apologize to the public? Does he owe Elin an apology? Sure, if she wants one. He fucked up. He hurt her. But he didn't hurt me. And I don't see how he really hurt the rest of the public either. In fact, I might go so far as to say, at this point, we- the public- have hurt him more, by continually broadcasting all of the sordid details in the spotlight. Maybe we owe him an apology . . .

Then there are the people who say, but children look up to him. Yep. I hear that. [Note: I am not a parent, but the remainder of this paragraph assumes my hypothetical parenthood.] If I had kids and they were into golf, I would probably let them know about Tiger- this bad-ass golfer with a funky name. But that's about it. He's a golfer. And as far as I've heard, he's still a pretty bad-ass golfer. If my kids wanted to look up to a golfer; here's Tiger. A writer; here's Margaret Atwood. A political scholar; Noam Chomsky. But if they wanted someone to look up to for morals or virtues; here's your family. And the Dalai Lama. Because here's the thing. I can't golf. And if one day I go out to a par three somewhere, and I can't even get the ball in the hole after 10 tries, I don't think I owe my kids or the public an apology. I am not a golfer. I am an educator, an artist, and a parent. Everything else is just extra. And as a parent, isn't it my responsibility to teach children boundaries? Tiger is a golfer, not a superhero. No one can be everything. These are lessons children need to learn- shouldn't parents be teaching them?

Also, there are the mistresses who say they are owed apologies. Let me get this one straight. You slept with a married man, and you want an apology? What? I don't follow.

Don't get me wrong. There are bad people out there. There are even good people who do bad things. And when people (good or bad) do bad things, I think they owe an apology to the people they hurt. Car accidents, plagiarism, assault, lying. All hurtful things. All deserving of apologies for sure. But apologies to the people they've hurt. Not to the people who just can't take their eyes off of the train wreck.

One last thought. There are apparently quite a few people out there who, "Don't believe in infidelity." These folks are very upset with Tiger for this reason. I find this hard to believe. There are certainly things I don't believe in- the tooth fairy is a good example. But I don't believe in the tooth fairy because I have yet to see any proof that he exists. In fact, I've seen evidence to the contrary. This leads me to believe that the tooth fairy does not exist. How can one not believe in infidelity? It's everywhere! Look around. People cheat- believe it! You don't have to encourage it, or even support it, but I would strongly advise you to believe it. Seriously, it's out there.

My apologies to anyone who is inadvertently hurt by this message. . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lyrics we'll never get right

I posted a comment on FB about songs that you've been singing your entire life. . . only to find out you've been singing the wrong words!

Below is a list of mistakes I've made at one point or another. I'm really looking forward to hearing from others . . .

1. There's this girl that's been on mind. All the time. Stu stu studio. . . (Phil Collins)

2. Blinded by the light. Wrapped up like a douche another runner in the night. . . (Manfred Mann)

3. I'll get over you. I know I will. I'll pretend my shit's not stinking. . . (Go West/ New Found Glory)

4. Might as well face it you're a dick dick in love. . . (Robert Palmer)

5. You spin my head right round, right round like a razor bladey. . . (Dead or Alive)

6. And we're gonna lift you up. And we're gonna let you down. And we're gonna run around and hurt you. . . (Rick Astley)

7. He tells me in his bad news boys, "Come on honey, let's go makes some noise". . . just another manic monday. . . (Bangles)
There's definitely more- these are just a few to get you started. What songs did you sing incorrectly?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

victories and setbacks

I've realized today that it has been about 3 months that I have been fighting with my bank to buy the house across the street. I guess it's only been 3 months since I applied. More like a month and a half- two months that I've been fighting. That's a quarter of a year. And I have to be honest, it has been a miserable quarter of a year. I am tense, sad, excited, depressed, despondent, exhausted, snippy, empty. Right now I am completely empty. I got the phone call on December 28th that my loan had been approved. I was thrilled. I had no idea it could be so difficult to go from there.

With all the back and forth with the bank I am really about to lose it. And I've kind of been in this state more or less round the clock for months. It takes up my days, my mornings, my nights. I obsess over every little detail. Will it ever work out? Will the sellers get frustrated and walk away? Will I be able to move out in time for Mike's new tenants to move in? When can the kitty come home? What will I do about the porch? What will I find when I rip off those shingles? The list goes on.

It takes up my thoughts round the clock and tonight, after another day's worth of futile phone calls, I am sorry to everyone around me who has had to deal with what a head case I have been. I am beyond exhausted and completely emotionally drained. I looked up the company's info today and drafted a letter to the president of HSBC. The website gives you the president's name, but not their address. So I called customer service, where I waited on hold for 12 minutes (5 minutes less than last week), where a man told me that the woman listed on the website is no longer president, and he was not authorized to tell me who was. He could instead, give me the name of the representatives manager. I told him I wanted the name and address to the president. He could not give me this information. I asked to speak to someone else, and what do you know, I got disconnected. I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall.

But on to the victories. Let's focus on the positive. Did you know I've been working on this sewing project for my friend Kyle's daugther forever? I finished is a few weeks ago. The picture at the top is the best I can offer. It wasn't finished without struggle.

I'm crafty, yes, but sewing with a machine has never been my forte. I finally figured it out, more or less, but still was suffering from some bobbin issues. Apparently they're pretty common. Well when I went down to Florida, I brough all of my supplies with me and set to work on my mom's fancy pants machine. Soon enough the project was well underway.

I did most of the last finishing touches by hand, and a few machine stitches, but they were done with a bobbin that was pre-loaded by a friend.

This weekend I took on a new challenge. Make a cute tote-bag. Wait till it's done, I can't wait to show off the pictures. But it definitely involved using the machine, and I didn't know how much thread I had left on my bobbin. But, I figured, it's now or never. At some point I'm just going to have to figure out this bobbin thing. So when I ran out of thread, I did. It took me a while. Not to mention in my sewing glory I sewed the handle into the bag and had to rip the stitches and then sewed the bag shut and had to rip those stitches, but practice makes perfect. By the end of the day I had some really good work done, with the help of the bobbin that I had wound and loaded all by myself. :)

Hopefully next week I'll have pictures of my latest project. I need to savor the victories. . .

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The dislike button

After writing my blog last week, I kept thinking of things that I would become a fan of, and it turns out, there are lots of things.
-Disclosure agreements about hidden raisins
-Free food at the end of a conference or training which I had no part of organizing
-Babies that think they can walk and really they are just toddling around adorably
I could go on, but perhaps I'll wait and expand on those things at later dates.

In the meantime, here's more food for thought. You know when someone posts a status on FB, you have the option to "Like" the status, or "Comment" on the status. Sometimes you don't like the status, either because the person has expressed something unpleasant, i.e. "Jane Smith is feeling really sick to her stomach" or because they have expressed something that you disagree with, "Jane Smith thinks we should all buy hummers and stop shopping with reusable bags." Well if you're friends with Jane Smith or you care about the environment, presumably you don't like this status. You want Jane to know that you don't like this, but maybe you don't really feel like leaving a comment about it either. Hence, the need for the dislike button.

I'm not sure why FB has not given in and created it already, but in my head, there is one.

So today, I would like to talk about what I dislike.

People that drive on your side of the road and then look at you like they're appalled that you don't swerve out of their way.

What's with these people? It could be one of several things. I suppose it's possible they don't realize they're in your lane, but really? Should you be driving then, if you're that oblivious? And, if you didn't realize, and then saw that you were coming awfully close to the oncoming driver, wouldn't you give it some thought? I would. So, I feel like the first reason really doesn't even count, because how could this be?

The second option I suppose, is that your steering is broken. If this is true, you can't control your car. You didn't even know it, and now you need to get to a mechanic, because, my, this is very scary. But again, if this was the case, wouldn't the look on your face be more along the lines of, "Oh god I'm scared?". I think so. So I'm ruling this one out too.

That leaves me with my third and final option. You're pretty much an a-hole. You think that for whatever reason, you have a right to drive wherever you damn well please, and that everyone else should just move out of the way. Dislike.

Here's my bottom line. I don't have the right to drive wherever I damn well please, but I do have a right to drive in my own lane and have the reasonable expectation that I don't have to swerve out of the way of oncoming traffic. So know this, even if there's a delivery truck parked in your lane, even if it would be easier for you to cut the corner, even if your vehicle is just ginormous and mine isn't, I still have a right to proceed in my lane, and I will. Even if it means you will hit me.

Now don't get me wrong, if the delivery truck is parked in your lane, and there's no way you can get around without coming into my lane and there's a whole traffic situation where you won't be able to go unless someone in my direction stops to let you, I'll stop to let you. I'm not a big meanie.

This morning was more or less the third work day in a row where someone had cut a corner or was just driving down the center of the road, came dangerously close to my car and then looked at me like I had done something wrong. Dislike. How about we try this, you drive in your lane and I'll drive in mine. Then we can both drive safely to wherever we're going and smile at one another as we pass.

Now that's something I could become a fan of. . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Becoming a fan

On Facebook, you can become a fan of just about anything. From ice cream flavors to political bents, whatever you are a fan of, you can let the world know on Facebook.

I actually don't know if I'm a fan of anything. At least not in the real (ie. Facebook) world. Part of this is my skepticism about FB apps. I do have a bookshelf and a little green patch. I think I might even have a sea garden. Oh! And a bulletin board for my flair. Other than that, as much as I might be flattered that you think I'm the most popular, or that you threw a snowball with me, passed me a drink or hit me with a pillow, I probably won't return the virtual favor. I worry about all the apps and how much they know about you. Sure I want to know how long I would survive in the Maine wilderness, and of course I want to know how gay I am! Who wouldn't? But in my state of paranoia or distrustfulness, (is that a word?), I guess I will just have to live my life to find out the answers.

In the meantime, back to the "fan" issue. Do you ever wonder who comes up with the things of which you can become a fan? Can anyone do this? Because if you could, I'll tell you what I would become a fan of today:

Restaurants having an ethical obligation to tell you when their salad leaves are crappy before you order your salad.

Now I know sometimes leaves are fresh, and sometimes they're not. They're not made from plastic, so of course they'll start to go bad at some point. The point is, you're on one side of the glass, I'm on the other. Do me the courtesy and let me know. It's kind of like when you ask the waiter, honestly, how's your black bean soup? And he tells you, it's too watery. Doesn't mean you won't come back. Actually, for me, it makes me glad to know that I can trust you'll be honest with me, so when you tell me the quesadilla with guac is amazing, I can start to get excited.

In any event, why not do the same courtesy with the salad? I don't really feel like I should have to ask. I kind of think the person at the counter should just lean over and quietly say, the leaves aren't so fresh today, you sure you still want the salad? Do I think they should make more of an effort to get fresher leaves? Absolutely. Do I think they'll do that any time soon? No. Sometimes, shit just falls through the cracks. So in the meantime, I'd appreciate knowing what I'm buying. Especially if you can see that I'm contemplating my various half soup/ salad/ sandwich combo options.

Becuase here's the bottom line for me. Why do you get a salad? For me, it's because it's the healthier choice. Everyone is in some way making an effort to be healthier. Maybe you go to the gym, or you don't eat PHOs or you go to therapy. Whatever, good for you. Be healthy. I order salad when there's a good one to be had. That's my healthy choice. And you know what happens when you get back to your desk and the leaves are crappy? Well, I'll tell you what doesn't happen. You don't eat the salad. At least I don't. I'll pick through it for a bit, looking for the gems, but then I'm done. Goodbye salad. I will eat the fruit, nuts and other things in my salad, but the "meat and potatoes" (if you will) of the salad is useless and in the trash it goes. And then do you know what happens? Well I'm not completely satisfied with a handful of craisins, almonds and mandarin oranges. And I've already spent my time/ money getting lunch. So now the groveling begins. Well, I've got a half a bag of chips in my drawer and I could get some oreos out of the vending machine. I could also have a few jolly ranchers for the sugar and a cup of tea. Nice, well rounded meal.

And all thanks to my efforts to be healthy. So if I had to pick, today I would become a fan of "Restaurants having an ethical obligation to tell you when their salad leaves are crappy before you order your salad."

I guess I do have things to write about on this blog after all. . . .

Monday, February 1, 2010

the truth is

There are things I want to blog about every day. The more significant truth is that most of these are not things that can be written publicly with my name attached to them.

Within then last week I started thinking that if I really want to have an interesting outlet, it will, unfortunately, have to be anonymous. As such, I am not sure exactly how to proceed from here. Do I keep this blog and then just create another one? If I keep this one, what do I blog about here? Does anyone care one way or another?

I have the urge to write when something speaks to me in a personal manner. This could be in a good way or not. Either way, I prefer to write from the soul. People have often told me that I am a strong writer. I believe I am a strong, and interesting writer. But I also believe that largely, this is only true when I'm sharing something about which I am passionate.

So what is there, that sparks in me enough passion to write, yet doesn't open me up to some sort of crazy vulnerability by posting it on a public blog? I just don't know. I will probably spend the next week or so thinking about how to proceed.

In the meantime, I will share some thoughts.

What do you think most people envision when they use the phrase, "the good old days?"
For me, it represents a simpler time. And while cars make it simpler to visit friends and relatives, and the internet makes it simpler to find the answers to some questions (ie. how long should you let a bag of white tea steep?) there are some things that feel like maybe they would be better if they were simpler.

I'm not personally sold on the idea of some idealistic past that I know damn well never existed. I have no desire to regress to a time where women and other marginalized groups were even more so than they are today.

But there are times, like right now, when I wonder, would it be better to just get rid of the crap. In Michael Pollan's Food Rules he writes something to the effect of, If your grandparents wouldn't recognize it as food, it's not. Don't eat it. I read that in an airport mall in Baltimore. It stuck with me. In a number of ways.

Skittles? Really? What are they? (Don't get me wrong, I love them, and now that I've found out they changed their recipes so that they no longer include gelatin, I'm ecstatic that I can actually eat them!). But, they are not food. We should not be eating food that is hot pink. It's not healthy and it's not sustainable for our bodies.

Likewise, I think there needs to be some serious consideration given to the other aspects of our lives. How many of our conveniences are actually making life more complicated? I frequently walk this line. I have yet to purchase a flat screen tv. I just added texting to my phone. Speaking of phones, mine is about 4 years old. I resist because I think, we don't need these things.

But then, I don't need a new pair of boots either, but show me a pair on sale and I'll buy them. I'm not committed to one side of the road or the other. I just wonder, when is bigger, better, faster, more going to tip the scales to the point of smaller, worse, slower, less.

At what point do we embody the phrase: Live simply, that others may simply live, without being naive and close minded to the positive changes that modern life may afford us. And at what point do we stop worrying about it, and just let it happen?