Memories and Voices

It was six years ago today that my father died. And I still hear his voice inside his head or think about him and my mother every single day. It’s something that I am eternally grateful for even if the memories aren’t the best sometimes. Those memories and the voices that accompany them are the way to keep them alive forever.

My dad had a lot of sayings, and if he didn’t have a saying of his own he had a quote from a movie or a tv show (something which drove my mother nuts sometimes). He wasn’t always the best at following his own advice sometimes but then neither am so yes, it’s the thought that does count. But I always felt like he had the words when they were needed and it was his greatest gift that he shared freely and generously.

People tell me I’m a good storyteller but to be honest, I have nothing on my father. That man could tell a story like no one else I’ve ever known. One day he asked me if was tuning him out when I was listening to one of his stories from long ago but I told him I wasn’t. I was recording them in my mind and they’re still there. Someday I hope I can figure out a way to write them down and share them. And yes, I’d give anything to hear those stories yet again.

In many cultures the world over, stories and songs and such are memories of people that have gone before us. I think that when we leave this Earth in physical form we leave behind an echo of who we were, and if we listen close enough we can hear those echoes through eternity. Or to honor my father here and insert a movie quote I’m fond of, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” (from the movie ‘Gladiator’).

So for those of you who have lost loved ones, cherish those memories. My father and I used to talk about memories a lot, about how the bad ones would come without invitation and get through every barrier we tried to erect against them. But then one day my father said to me: “I choose to remember the good times.” It was his way of saying that even though those good memories can sometimes feel painful, we should remember then anyway.

This morning as I was out driving, I was heading east just as the sun was coming up. And I heard my father’s voice in my head with one of his sayings that I heard a lot when he was alive. It was something his father had told him and he passed it on to me. And it was this: “No matter how bad a day you had, no matter how awful you’re night was, over there is East. And the sun is going to come up no matter what happens and you’re going to get another day to work with. Try to make the most of it.”

I know that sounds like it’s easier said than done but it’s the truth. I know I can let voices in my head tell me I’m a worthless sack of crap or that why bother. But I know those voices lie, and the voices of my father and mother and those that went before me don’t. I listen to their voices and remember them and not the assholes who pissed all over my parade.

So here’s to you, Dad. The Dad with a quote for every situation, a story for every time, and a memory that will always live on for me.

Girls, Passes, and Glasses

I think Ms. Parker was definitely talking about me because I’m the girl that guys never make a pass at, either in person or online. And I’m fine with not getting the unwanted-jerk advances but I know that all guys aren’t jerks. But the thing is, I don’t even get any proposals good or bad. It’s like I’m invisible and despite what I just said, I’m not totally okay with that. I know someone out there will tell me to put myself out there like on a dating website or just try to socialize. The thing is, I don’t do socialization very well. I’m the odd duck out and have been all my life.

But I’m not that freaking odd. I can actually converse in complete sentences, laugh at jokes, get into things that I’m not knowledgeable about, and I’m not a hideous ugly monster. Yes, I wear glasses, carry extra weight, and have a crooked back. But I’m not the freaking Hunchback of Notre Dame and honestly I don’t deserve to be looked as such (and neither did he deserve the crap he got- I always rooted for him in the story).

I don’t know what it is about me that doesn’t attract male attention. And before you say I should just go up to somebody… what if they’re not even remotely interested in me? What I am pretty much ignored and blown off? Been there, done that, and that’s definitely not an experience I care to repeat. Maybe this means I’ll die a lonely old lady with just animals for company. But that’s not a life-goal of mine so hence the bitching here.

I’m not anti-social but I will freely admit I don’t like jerky people. I don’t like people who think they can put me down then try to write that off by telling me I should just take their shit because I didn’t laugh at the joke that was at my expense. Maybe that’s made me more than a little leery of being around people but for some crazy reason that I have yet to figure out, this has happened to me a lot over the years.

I hate to sound like I’m whining here, or that I shouldn’t complain about being ignored altogether. Personally, I have the right like anyone else to whine and bitch so kiss my ass there, and I don’t feel like I should be ignored. Now I’m not talking going all Glenn Close-Fatal Attraction here with the being ignored thing, but I’m not going to stop being who I am. And if I’m still figuring out who I am and what I want to do with my life, that’s alright. I sure as hell don’t want to tell anyone else what to do with their life or run it so maybe I’m an idiot for wanting the same in return.

I’m not an idiot nor will I let someone treat me as such. And maybe the reason I get ignored is that I’m giving off that vibe. But how freaking hard is it to treat someone with basic respect and decency? How hard is it to just try and be nice to everyone you meet? And how hard is it for someone like me to take a risk knowing what’s happened before, and what can happen again? It is hard, and I know it’s something I need to work on.

But just because I’m a girl wears glasses, and isn’t a fashion-plate, and may be more than a bit guarded doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a chance. I just need to figure out how to create those chance-opportunities for myself.

No, I Don’t Have to Know Better All the Time

Yesterday morning I was in a fender-bender while out driving. No injuries and minor damage to my car (just a slightly dinged-up back fender). I backed out of a parking space and I won’t say I should have known better because shit like this happens (I won’t say any more about the accident other than it was a very tight parking area and neither of us had any room to maneuver).

I’m sure I sound like I’m getting my back up here over this but the reason I am (and the reason I’m posting this today though I’ve been pecking at this since yesterday afternoon) is that I don’t want to hear ‘should have known better’. No human being can be ON every second of every moment of every day and I will NOT kick the living crap out of myself because I was OFF for a split second.

What yesterday taught me yet again is that I’m human, and that I’m far from perfect. But I’m not a bad person. No one was hurt and the damage is repairable. Life went on like before and the sun set and rose again this morning.

But the phrase ‘should have known better’ is a bitter and ugly pill I refuse to swallow. To me, that phrase only applies when someone knowingly and willingly causes harm in the world out of pure meanness, cruelty, or a lack of compassion and empathy through an evil worship of greed and hatred of others.

So if you’re not doing that, and the vast majority of people on planet Earth aren’t, then you’re okay. Because as I like to say, I’m just as full of shit as anyone else but that I’m not a bad person either.

Another reason I get my back up at ‘should have known better’ is that two years ago I was listening to a call with my supervisor and I bungled it a little at the beginning (I read off something incorrectly). I recovered and corrected everything and ended the call on a positive note. Yet my supervisor said I should have known better to begin with and that it was a mistake I shouldn’t have made.

Now my usual reaction to that would have been to kick the crap out of myself and grovel along the floor like a pathetic ball of drool. Instead, I said nothing even though all I could think was this: why wasn’t I allowed to make a mistake? Because the mistake I did make was totally correctable and proved that I am human. And from that day forward, my whole attitude towards myself and my place in the world changed forever. And it’s a change I’m so happy to have happened to me. It hasn’t been easy to work through at times, but it’s been more than worth it in the end.

So if you want my two-cents worth of advice: unless someone is being an evil shit-head (i.e., the Republican Senators in Congress who crafted the health-care bill that will cause people to suffer and die), don’t say to anyone that they should have known better. No one is without flaws and no one can be perfect every second of every day. So DON’T set that expectation for anyone, even yourself.

We all get dented up from time to time. So all we can do is just keep driving and fix whatever we can.

Give and Take Without Instructions

Last night was ‘Deadliest Catch’ night (the show about the crab fishermen in Alaska) and last night on the Saga, Captain Jake Anderson got into it with one of his crew members. It was bad enough to where he had the crew member confined to quarters. The problem was, this crew member was the most experienced so the rest of the crew couldn’t really function too well without him around it seemed. So Jake let him stew for a while then he had a talk with him and hopefully this guy will work out. But Jake said something that I really like about him: he said that if he’s still talking to someone he hasn’t given up on them yet.

So I guess the question I’m asking here this morning is how do you know when to give up or take another chance on something? To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve said that giving up isn’t always an option but in reality, it is. That option to walk away is always on the table no matter what anyone might think. It’s something that I’ve dealt with in the last year with my life and every now and then it comes to my mind. But then I toss the cold water of reality on my head and realize that walking away isn’t as easy as it looks either.

But I believe the concept of give-and-take is also about trying to find hope in a tough situation. You have to give in sometimes in ways you might not want to, but you can also take what you can get your hands on, too. Right now I’m staring down bills of course and income that isn’t perfectly steady (not a set wage). But then I tell myself at least I have that ability to earn income and the freedom to set my own hours. So if I need more hours they’re there. But also, I’m learning that I can make the most of what I’ve got.

As I look back over the past year I tell myself it wasn’t wasted time. I’ve been far from perfect but life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. I think you have to write your own and listen to your gut. And I think that if you keep talking then you’ll make it. My father said something like that to me once years ago and he was right. It’s when things go silent that you worry. In fact, as comfortable as I am with silence sometimes, I also fear it, too. I fear it because it means I’m not thinking like I should, or keeping at something even when it’s like beating my head against a stone wall.

So the give-and-take here is that you have to give off yourself and take what you can get in return. It won’t be perfect but as long as you keep doing it, you can keep going no matter what the Universe decides to throw at you. Because there is no magic answer, and life, like kids and pets, doesn’t come with an instruction manual. You just make it up as you go along.

Unicorns and Donkeys

I really wanted to title this ‘My Unicorn Doesn’t Poop Rainbows’ but I didn’t want to use the word ‘poop’ in the title. Not because it makes me sound like a twelve year-old, but because most people don’t want to talk about poop. But this morning, that’s kind of what I feel like. I got dropped last night with another sinus-allergy attack and I’m still trying to shake it off this morning. Because of that I’m moody as hell and alternating between wanting to kick the crap of something or crying. I’m not going to do either one but instead, try to calm myself down and find something that makes me smile.

Days like today make me wish I could be all hearts-and-rainbows with my writing and myself but that’s not how I’m feeling. And that is still a struggle for me to express and the urge to delete this whole thing is considerable. But I’ve told myself I won’t delete a blog entry that has become one in a series of me thinking out loud. It seems like a lot of people think blogs should be about a particular topic or group of related topics. Yeah, it seems I didn’t get that memo or if I did I threw it in the trash. Story of my life- either I’m a day late and ten dollars short, or I threw something out I shouldn’t have.

I guess I’m feeling behind the eight-ball here again and I’m just trying to work through it. I know a lot of my problems stem from the fact that I live inside my head most of the time and because of that, I think too much. It’s hard sometimes to find the calm inside the riot of thoughts and feelings because I do have feelings, strong ones that surge pretty hard sometimes. I try to blame the hardest surges on hormonal bullshit but I don’t think that’s always the case. I think that a lot of those surges are just me being human, and feeling pissed off sometimes. And I think that’s what I need to remind myself: I’m human, and that I’m not a unicorn always pooping rainbows.

Writers aren’t known for self-confidence (even the arrogant ego-centric pricks were deeply insecure) so it’s a constant battle. So what keeps that battle raging? For me, it’s wondering how I’m going to make it sometimes and also waiting for the Universe to take a dump on me. I have to give myself faith every day and find that faith in the world around me every day, too. And I think that can be exhausting sometimes and I think I get upset when I have to wage that battle. But then I tell myself I’m not the only one doing this, and that it doesn’t make me any better or any worse than anyone else. I’m just nuts enough to admit here and write about it. Yes, writing is a form of therapy for me and not a bad one. A lot of times once I burn it out on the page here I start to feel better.

For writers, the written word is our voice. And that voice is always in a constant state of flux, change, evolution, and going through storms. It’s the price you pay for living inside your head and thinking too much. I guess I’m just trying to not to be too much of a jerk about it. I don’t want anyone to think I have the answers because I still haven’t gotten to all the questions yet sometimes.

So I think my unicorn is more like a plodding donkey. And I don’t say that to garner sympathy or anything remotely like that. I say that because that’s who I am, someone who just plods along more often than not just trying to get through things. But I will also tell you not to be so hard on yourself when you are plodding along like a donkey. Donkeys get things done sooner or later and also, don’t let anyone get to you who gives you shit about being like that. I wasted way too much time on that but now I barely think about it.

That’s why this hasn’t been deleted, but posted.

Twenty Bucks and Being Nice

I got a $20 cash tip this morning just for taking a guy to the airport. He was really nice and we just chatted the whole way but I didn’t see how much money he’d given me till I got back in my car and he’d gone inside. Man, it does pay to be nice to people.

But I’m nice to people even without a cash tip in return. Because as my father used to say, it doesn’t cost you anything to be nice to someone. Now that doesn’t always work out but crabby people have been few and far between. Some of my passengers are chatty and some aren’t and I don’t mind either way. As I like to say, everyone has a story, and those stories are what make us all human.

My $20 passenger also said I should probably have a blog with my food recommendations and such. 😊 I told him I had my domain purchased under my real name and he was a bit surprised by that. But I told him my name isn’t that common so it was available. And he has a good idea with the food recommendations so in the coming days and weeks I’m going to give some places a personal whirl and tell you what I think about them. And I’m going to try some food I’ve never tried before, like sushi and curry.

In other news, not much else going on. Allergies kicked my butt over the weekend with massive headaches that I could not shake. I hate that kind of pain because it makes my eyes hurt and it shoots my concentration all to hell. But the worst part is the exhaustion because my body was so worn out trying to fight this off. Allergies are like an autoimmune response and I wish to God mine would learn that they don’t need to go bat-shit crazy when the mold count is up. And I also wish they’d let me have a drink but I’m not going to push for that too hard.

My Friday Links

Just a roundup of what I’m doing, listening to, watching, etc.

First, I have a GoFundMe page for my doggy Darcy. She’s currently dealing with bladder stones and on antibiotics and prescription diet food. In a month, the vet wants to see her again for x-rays and urinalysis. Hopefully she’ll have gotten rid of them by then. It’s tough for her when she’s trying to pass one of these bladder stones (and for me because she’s going outside about every 10-20 minutes). This looks like something we’ll have to keep an eye on for the rest of her life.

Currently watching:

On regular tv:

‘The Deadliest Catch’: It’s the only reality show I have ever watched and these don’t consider it a reality show but a documentary. It’s about the crab fishermen in Alaska and if you think you’re having a bad day at work, you ought to see what these guys battle at the office (30-foot waves, boats breaking down in the middle of storms, crazy crew members). I’m bummed though because this season my favorite captain, Johnathan Hillstrand, is retiring. John has always been the funniest guy and also one of the toughest, too. But I’m happy for him and I think it’s taken a lot of guts for him to walk away from something he’s done for almost forty years.

‘Doctor Who’: It’s Peter Capaldi’s last season and I’m going to be a mess at the Christmas episode when he passes the torch. He’s become one of my favorite Doctors for all the things he’s brought to the role.

‘Grantchester’: This I’m watching on Amazon Prime though Season 3 starts this Sunday on PBS. It’s about an Anglican priest turned amateur sleuth and his police detective buddy. They’re a Mutt-and-Jeff duo that really work well together. But what makes this series really work is that it focuses on the characters as much, if not more, than the mystery sometimes.

Music: I’m a 30-day free trial with Amazon music and in all likelihood I’ll keep it because it’s giving me access to certain artists that I can’t get with the freebie edition. Currently I’m listening to a band called ‘The Call’. They were mainly around in the 1980’s and sadly their lead singer Michael Been passed away a few years ago. It’s really driving rock with synthesizers (hey, this was the 80’s) but Michael Been’s voice was amazing and powerful.

To-Do Lists and Anxiety

I’ve made a ton of To-Do lists over the years and every single of them has ended up in the garbage can, and very of them ever had all the items crossed off. So why did I make them in and why did I want to throw them out as soon as I made them?

The answer to the first question is pretty obvious as I was trying to figure out what I needed to do and bring some organization to my life. The answer to the second question is this: whenever something crashed into my life and forced me away from the To-Do list, I focused on that crashing item and nothing else. So when I went back to my To-Do list, I kicked the crap out of myself for not keeping to it despite whatever calamity was crashing through my life. I figured that if I could multi-task through a calamity then I should be able deal with the calamity and my own life at the same time.

I felt like the calamity at hand deserved all of my attention, even when it wasn’t needed. And if during said-calamity I felt like doing something I wanted to do, I instantly felt guilty. That guilt would in turn set off a lovely round of ass-kicking myself that always ended with me in a bloody heap. Now I know that sounds harsh but so many times over the years I have felt tremendous guilt for doing what I wanted to do instead of what I felt like had to be done, or what other people wanted me to do.

Now recently I haven’t felt that level of guilt and anxiety but this morning I felt a frisson of it and that’s why I’m writing this out here. One thing about anxiety is moving past the shame and guilt behind it to talk it out and work through it. This is hard for me to write but I know it’s necessary. In fact, I had to tell myself that the guilt-shame voice of anxiety is a lying sack of shit. Because I think anxiety is something that you don’t ever completely get rid of, but just work through and deal with some days more than others.

Over the last year I’ve proved to myself that I can survive without a regular, sit-down day job. Now I just need to move on to the next stage, and that’s what that To-Do List is about. And I don’t care what calamity comes crashing through my life, I’m going to keep working on those To-Do list items. Because the only reason a To-Do list should end up in the garbage is if every item is checked off.

I think I’ll frame mine when it’s done. 😊

Here’s the sign that’s pinned above the To-Do List by my desk:

The Over-Qualified Paradox

In science-fiction, specifically in the time-travel sub-genre, there is something known as a paradox. For example, in time-travel it is how can a person go from the present to the past if he didn’t exist in the past in the first place. Or to simplify it a little: how can someone or something be this or that at the same time?

Since 2011 I’ve been told or it’s been implied that I’m over-qualified for every job I’ve applied for. The reason I consider this a paradox is that how can I be over-qualified for a job I’ve never done? Now, you can say that each job has a skill-set and that I may have more knowledge than that skill-set requires. But how do I, or anyone else know that? The reason I ask is that although jobs may seem similar in many ways, there are numerous differences in their details and as such, each job has required me to be trained in those specific details. So the smart-ass question I’ve wanted to ask for so long is this: how can I be expected to know something if I’ve never seen it, heard it, done it, or been taught about it? It’s like I’m just expected to immediately pick up something like Neo did in ‘The Matrix’ simply by having it uploaded into my brain.

‘The Matrix’ is brilliant science-fiction but nowhere near reality. So, why do employers seem to think that this is possible? Granted, a lot of skill-sets can be applied to different jobs but those skill-sets still have to be tailored to the individual details of each job. Now I can learn pretty fast and utilize resources and such, which is something employers either see as a potential asset, or an expression of ego. Yep, they think I’m an ego-centric know-it-all that will try and take over everything. Trust me, I’ve never wanted to do that and I honest-to-God don’t think I’ve ever come off like that. I’ve worked with some ego-centric pricks and bitches over the years and they were few and far between because sooner or later their egos got too big for their britches and they managed themselves out of a job.

Getting back to me: I have a resume showing where I’ve worked and when and what I’ve done. But just because I have a work history doesn’t make me over-qualified. Nor does the fact that my job history doesn’t include the position I might be applying for. I mean, it is crazy-hard to change job fields. Doing delivery work is been the easiest segue way I’ve ever been able to do because I didn’t have to interview for the positions (basically, if you have a car, can pass a background check, and use your phone you’ve got the job). But I think climbing Mount Everest would be a lot easier than the amount of groveling or shit-swallowing I’ve had to do to get a job. Now I’m sure my prospects aren’t helped by the fact that I don’t have a college degree as I’m sure that would have helped me over the years but I’ve worked with people with degrees and with some of them, I honestly wonder what their grades were in college. I also know that some people just are just good bullshit artists and can bullshit and back-stab their way up the ladder. I know that sounds nasty but trust me, I’ve seen and heard about crap behavior that never failed to completely surprise me.

Now yesterday I said I’d quit applying for jobs and such. I’ll back-track on that a little if I see something I’m interested in. It doesn’t take long to apply for a job but I won’t grovel in an interview. I’ll be polite and charming and funny if I can, but if I get any implication from an interviewer that I’m over-qualified… I don’t think I’ll let my inner smart-ass loose but I will be seriously tempted.

No Second Interview For You

Warning: this is more than a bit nasty and does contain some bad language because of that.

I’ve been telling myself to keep applying for part-time positions to try and get a steady W2 gig. Not anymore. I applied and interviewed for two positions but didn’t get a call-back for a second interview on either one of them. Now, less than two weeks after I applied and interviewed for both positions they’re posted again. And I decided not to apply again.

Some might say I’m getting my back up on this but I’m not going to play mind-games or penny-ante bullshit for a job. I know I don’t have a lot of experience in retail but it’s not a job that requires a degree in rocket science. Two, the money is not an issue for me. I’ve worked for a lot more but a lot less, too. But most of all, I think I’m seen as some kind of threat. And that’s something I’ve battled for a lot of years and I’ve reached my limit of tolerance for that kind of bullshit.

Years ago when I started back at a company I had left previously for personal reasons, the training instructor sat down with me and for close to twenty minutes basically told me to keep my mouth shut and not say anything in class because my previous experience didn’t mean jack. I was shocked and a major wimp back then thinking I had to eat that kind of crap in order to keep the job. The problem was, I had several classmates who wanted me to help them but I told them in a roundabout way that our instructor didn’t want me to. Now, I honestly don’t recall coming off like an arrogant know-it-all bitch but if I knew the answer to a question I felt like had a right to say so because the newbies didn’t know the answer and shouldn’t have been expected to know something they hadn’t been taught.

And speaking of the job I jumped to, the training instructor I had actually said she was a bit leery of me at first because of my previous experience but that I quickly gained her respect by how hard I worked to learn the material she was giving. She gave me a chance and treated me with a lot of respect, and when she became my manager she went to bat for me even though I didn’t ask her to (my gallbladder flared up real bad and I was out of work for a few days and I thought I’d have to beg and plead for her to excuse the absences but when I came back she said she excused them all simply because I’d kept her informed of what was going on- but she also called and checked on me while I was out, too). But managers like that are few and far between and that’s a crying shame.

I don’t think I’ve acted like people should bow down and kiss my ass but damn it, my experience does mean something. I’ve been around the block a few times and I’ve learned a lot of crap along the way. And I have never gone after someone else’s job or tried to undercut them. Years ago I had three people gunning for my job and one of them almost got me fired one night so I would never do that to someone else. But do I have to come right out and say that? I’m almost beginning to think I might have to, but even if I do find a way to say that I might get written off as a bullshit artist. Trust me, I can bullshit with the best of them if I have to but most of the bullshit artists I’ve met don’t know how to do that in the first place.

Yes, I know this is a nasty read but this is shit I’ve been putting up with for years every time I’ve gone back into the job market. So you know what, I’m not going to play this damn game anymore. I’ll keep doing the work I’m doing and focus on building up my writing and creating revenue from that. I’ve got one application out right now and I’ll give that one a shot if I get a call-back on it. But anything else… not unless I don’t have a choice.

And right now, I still have a choice.

Writer and More