Archive for September, 2007

Bored Beyond Belief

I do this thing when I’m feeling insecure — I start overcompensating by talking about all the ways in which I’m awesome. I’m certain it is the most annoying thing in the universe. But this time I swear it’s not an overcompensation — I’m a rock star. Why? Because I can play softball with a broken foot.

You may bow in deference…

A friend from school teased me with a tentative invitation to see Morrissey in Atlanta in November. I think I’m going to have to cajole him into living up to it. In the meantime, enjoy this cover of “Please, Please let me get what I want” by the supremely cool Muse.

Kinda bored over here…and, just realizing, lacking in interesting things to say…someone do something crazy so I can analyze…

I’ve posted this before but it just seems appropriate now. Again.

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Thanks Ben.

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Holy Shit. This is about Ahmadinejad at Columbia. I…I really just don’t know what to say except that I’m surprised people like this chick made it through infancy without poking their eyes out with their own fingers. Darwin lied, man…we’re stuck with the shallow-end-of-the-gene-poolers for some time to come… Reverse Vampyr has more.

I know I’m a Jewish lesbian and he’d probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon…

Okay, I admit it. Part of it is that he just looks cuddly. Possibly cuddly enough to turn me straight.

Oh, and I just love Joel McHale. The Soup pleases me.

Joel, Dame Judi & Vanessa Hudgens just relaxing

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Epiphanies and comedy

I had an epiphany yesterday — something I love to have. I went to Atlanta to Tiffany’s for a freelance assignment. While there, I tried on some remarkable pieces so, of course, I felt the need to share with my girlfriends the tale of the 11 carat aquamarine, the 3 carat diamond solitaire and the ridiculous, non-pretentious customer service that had me sort of giddy on the drive home. While relating the story, I told my friends I had never been to Tiffany’s before. This is simply not true — I went with an ex-boyfriend a few years ago to the New York City store. And I realized in the moment that I was aware that I actually had been before that some experiences just don’t exist for me — it’s like they happened to someone else that looks just like me but that I only saw in a movie or something. Sometimes I don’t live in my own life — I let others make the decisions and it’s as if I disappear and those experiences become colorful marble tiles of a mosaic that happened for sure but are cold like marble and should be hung on the wall and discussed later as a way to sum up the parts of a life. There’s no heat in them; nothing I can retain and talk about years later and look fifty years younger because the light flares in my eyes with the memory.

I’m tired of those cold marble experiences. I want the freedom to find those memories that resonate and warm and radiate outward and make it all worth it. That’s why sometimes I can be difficult — I do not respond well to others deciding what my memories should be.

But sometimes it’s all just cause I can be petty.

And I digress…

Going to see this guy tomorrow night with the crazy-cool family members. He’s very funny, very talented and very offensive. It’s gonna be a good time! Here’s a sample…

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Just a tiny note for the day — hobbling around like a gimp is justifying my general idea that people are bastards. From a practical sense, I don’t feel bad about calling the guy in the sports car who won’t slow down through the intersection as I limp my way across — it’s too important that he look like he’s too cool to care, you see — an asshole. Is it wrong that I like feeling justified for my cynicism? Feels like the first step toward bitter… Mom, I need your existential advice…

What up with Syria and North Korea by the way?

Update: I compromised with my mother and decided to buy a gimp shoe — which is what they gave me the last time I broke my foot — since I won’t go to the doctor. On the way to the store for the infirm, a very nice man in a big truck let me out in front of him at a place where I’d still be waiting to turn left. Thank you truck guy — you make me feel like people are okay after all.

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Looks like I’m being put to the test yet again. After doing several passes of this particular turn in dance class Wednesday night my foot buckled on the last — dammit, that’s what I said, the last — one and I strained it pretty good. Same foot I broke a few years ago which is likely why it buckled — it has a weakness you see. That’s hard as hell for me to admit…
So, consequently, I’ll be having to mitigate the dancing — the stretching and light stuff is still in but the hard core, sweat inducing, decompression technique I’ve come to rely on is out for at least the next few weeks. Fuck.
To top it off, people are being pretty mean to me right now. Welcome to my pity party!

But here’s the thing — I just started watching this kick-ass show called Heroes and the new season starts in a week or so and I should be through with the first season on DVD by then. And I can still swim so I won’t get all mushy while my foot heals. And I just recorded my first podcast for the local paper that I’ll link to when it’s posted on their home page. And my new boss is cool. And, because I’ve had to admit that I have a weakness, when I start pounding out the dancing again, I’ll be better prepared and will never have to worry about this kind of thing again. So really, everything moves toward the good. Chaos theory can kiss my ass.

I’m determined to have a good Friday. You should be, too.

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I’m a realist. I am. I know war is part of the human experience and to expect humanity to suddenly diverge from its nature is downright pollyanna-ish. That’s not to say we can’t dream and, indeed, we should believe we are capable of actions saner, more rational, and ones that are built from the spirit of unity rather than division. We are capable of great beauty as well as great horror, as history has shown. So I post this picture as a reminder of what war does to humanity — the despicable choices it forces us to make. I recommend this article as well — it’s long but worth the read. Lord Somber sent it to me a few years ago and that’s why I like him.

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Man, I don’t even know what to say about Neo-nazis in Israel except that I’ve met people that hate themselves and it always makes for some scary business. I know people who’ve married people that look just like them and then became incredibly abusive. I know people who hate people on sight who look just like them. At first there’s no real logic to the situation from the perspective of an outside observer but then, if you watch closely enough, it becomes clear that these people hate themselves but are narcissistic enough not to want to damage themselves. So they find themselves in others — either physically or emotionally or even just superficially — and they damage their doppelganger. The corner of narcissism and self-hate is a really scary place that pretty much everyone knows because, as humans, we’re all prone to moments where we hit that corner and go to that dark place. Most of us don’t rent an apartment there though. Those who do enjoy the dark and can end up wanting to propagate it. You should avoid the hell out of them if you can.

Whew, pretty dismal way to start the week. It happens. Here’s some Ryan Adams that I like.

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Ladies take note

I had to post this entry from Villainous Company in its entirety because it is beautifully written and exemplifies how a real woman gets along in the world of sacrifice — without whining and self-pity. Thanks Cassandra; you are someone I admire.

This Empty House

When I awoke this morning, the house was silent again except for the sound of birds chattering in the woods outside my bedroom window.

I am an early riser. I like those stolen moments before the rest of the world begins to stir; before the paper lands on my driveway with a reassuring smack, before the neighbors in my crunchy granola neighborhood escort their miniature elephants on leashes to my rock garden, where they leave their calling cards among the daylillies and blackeyed susans (the elephants, not my neighbors). If I’m lucky, I’ll savor a cup or two of coffee before He Who Must Be Obeyed summons me with his great, barbaric yawp to free him from his lair and stand aside as he thunders up the stairs, tiny dachshund paws sounding like a herd of buffalo.

Solitude can be a gift, an oasis of peace amid the noise and confusion of daily living.

I thought of that the other day when reading about deployment and separation. I’ve often thought that if one question should come to define this deployment for me, it will be, “So, how are you doing all alone in that big empty house?”

It’s a good question, and I know it comes from a good place. People ask because they are concerned, because they want to make conversation, or simply because they know nothing about military life and wonder what they would do in a similar situation? And I have my stock answer, given a thousand times before. It rolls off my lips almost without thought. “Piece of cake. I’ve done this so many times before. Not a problem.” Deep breath, big smile; I don’t want to dwell on it. I have stock answers for so many things.

“And how is your husband doing in Baghdad?”

Oh he’s living the life of Reilly! Hot and cold running belly dancers. Living in one of Saddam’s palaces. He’s partying like it’s 1199.” Of course, he’s not living anywhere so fancy, but the corny jokes head off the flood of sympathy and commiseration. And that’s the only thing I can’t deal with, because it erodes all those carefully constructed barriers.

How am I dealing with living all alone in this empty house?

That’s a complicated truth that even I don’t understand fully, because I’m too close to it. But I’ve completed enough deployments to understand that, like pregnancies, each one is different yet each one has elements of sameness to it. I can remember the first few times my husband left for a year. Feeling brief moments of doubt before he left, as the prospect of entire year alone stretched out before me. How would I cope? What if we both changed too much, drifted apart? What if he stopped loving me? It’s the unknown that threatens. Not sleeping at first, being afraid at night in our empty house in a new neighborhood with no neighbors, the weight of caring for and defending two small children seeming overwhelming. What if I let him down?

But as the deployment stretched on I adjusted. Normally I am somewhat of a closet anarchist. I hate nothing more than lists, watches, timetables, schedules; but during a deployment rules and lists came to define my life. I made rules for everything. They filled up the day, gave it purpose and structure, kept me from drifting, feeling sorry for myself. I would try something new – it had to be something that scared me – every month. I would go out more. I would join something (I hate joining things). I would learn a new hobby.

I would take lessons in something, learn a new skill. I would go against the grain.

As time passed and I stretched my wings, I became more confident. Free of the necessity to accommodate another adult, I reordered my life to suit me. I had time to do things I couldn’t do when he was home. There were advantages to being alone, as well as drawbacks.

And I counted the days, and as I grew and changed, I tried not to grow too far apart from the woman I had been before my husband left. Because that is the danger; when you put your feelings on the shelf, when you try to cope well, there is always the risk of overcompensating, of forgetting how very much you need that person on the other side of the world.

And you do. And he still needs you to need him. It is not that you couldn’t survive without him. Any adult can, and this is the good part of deployments. We are reminded that we can cope with anything, that life can be difficult and stressful at times but that when we are challenged, we will dig deep and find within ourselves the resourcefulness to answer those challenges. We emerge from this crucible of sorts stronger, better, wiser people; hopefully with a better understanding of how the world works, of the tasks he performed for us when he was home.

How am I coping with being all alone in this empty house? Most days, far better than I expected to. For the first time I can recall, I am not at all afraid at night, to be alone in the house. I think it is because my children are gone and I don’t have to worry about defending them anymore. I never realized how heavily that weighed on me.

But I think the answer to that question came home to me early on a Tuesday morning in August when my cell phone rang unexpectedly. My husband was in Atlanta, flying into Dulles earlier than expected. My home phone had been taken out by a lightning strike and the phone company wouldn’t come out to fix it for a week. I had things to do at work. I was, actually, out in my yard trying to finish some yard work.

The airport was over an hour away and I hadn’t even taken a shower.

Two hours later, I walked into the baggage claim area at Dulles dressed in a hot pink sundress I’d bought especially for the occasion. My brand new, to-die-for high heeled sandals were torturing my feet, but at least I was calm as a cucumber.

Until I saw him in his desert cammies, standing by the baggage carousel. And as he wrapped his arms around me all the tears I hadn’t cried over the past six months just washed over me like a summer storm. Where did that come from?

I get so annoyed at the pitying articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times about the heartbreak of deployment, the agony of separation, about families “torn apart” by the prospect of yet another tour of duty in the sandbox. As I go about my daily routine, I don’t feel heartbroken, agonized, or “torn apart”. I never have. And if you ask me how I’m dealing with being all alone in this empty house, I’ll tell you, “fine”. And I’ll smile.

But also, I will remember that moment in the airport when I didn’t ever want to let him go, when I couldn’t stop touching him: his sleeve, the muscles in his arms, his back, the reassuring stubble on his cheek, just to make sure he was still there. Because there is a price. But what they don’t understand is that we are strong enough to pay it and even when we grumble, which we do now and then because we’re human, we don’t mind so much.

Except every now and then. If we dwell on it.

Posted by Cassandra at 07:35 AM | Comments (8) |TrackBack (0) | Blogroll VC!

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Password hint

Because we recently mandated secret questions, special characters and multiple password changes in a year, thought I’d steal this from a colleague and offer it up for the enjoyment of all. Don’t let the pseudo-smart geeky humor fool you — it’s really just kinda silly.

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