Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last night I got stuck inside a dream

Last night, for the first time, I was fully aware of being trapped inside a dream.

I kept waking up all through the night, and getting frustrated about it because I wanted to be able to wake up to meet my friend Line early in the morning. But then, suddenly, it was Monday and I was in my office. 

i was here

It was a stressful work day because people kept coming in and interrupting my train of thought, and my phone kept ringing with work calls, and I kept trying to keep up with my emails. Then, all of a sudden, I thought, "Wait, what happened to Sunday?"

And I thought back, and I realized that the last thing I remembered was trying to fall back to sleep in my bed. I realized then that I was dreaming, but I didn't know how to stop. I thought, "Usually the dream ends when you realize you're dreaming." But I kept looking around my office, and the dream wouldn't dissolve. 

Then I thought, "This is weird, because there's nothing bizarre about this dream." I looked at my paperwork, and it was all my real, actual paperwork. I spun around in my chair and saw all my binders and books lined up. Nothing was out of place or dreamlike. And it just kept going on like that, every dreadfully realistic detail about being at work on a Monday.

I really wanted to stop dreaming, though, so I kept doing things, like jumping up and down, and trying to scream. But I was still stuck there. Meanwhile, I was worried that it might not be a dream and I was just going crazy. I was worried that if it wasn't a dream, someone would see me doing those crazy things. 

Then I lay down on my floor and told myself, "I'm really in my bed. My dresser is on my right. My bedroom window is on my left. There are pillows and blankets." But instead I could just feel the floor and carpet in my office. I was starting to panic. 

Then my office phone rang. I picked it up and it was my best friend, Madge. Madge told me not to worry because she was sending help. Then I looked up and I saw that there was someone standing in the hall outside my office wearing a white gown. I went out and there was an angel, with wings, with her eyes closed, and she took me in her arms and we started to float. 

And then, I found myself back in my bed.

Yeah for real.


In other news, these are a few of my favorite things today:

Scrabble, NOT Words with Friends, although I'm stuck slumming it in Words with Friends because that's what everyone else plays. Why?

Apples to Apples, which I played for the first time last night. The game starts with a green card -- a descriptor. Then you have to play a card in your hand that matches, however bizarrely, that descriptor. Each player takes turns judging the answers and picking the winner of the round. I played poorly at first because I was playing with some people I had just met. Then, I started to figure out how everyone ticks, and I knew that Caitlin would think that wine tastings are "cosmopolitan" and Matt would think that Stonehenge is "fancy."  

Matt and I get along, incidentally, because we both thought "pigeons" were best described as "intense," even more intense than "tornadoes." 

Sea foam green nail polish that matches my iPhone. Okay really my iPhone; I succumb!!!


Holy crap Porter the Beagle is totally grinning at me. You can't even say he's not. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Take two Beagles and call me in the morning Porter.   (meant to be read with awe and wonderment.)


When you work around animals, everyone always asks, "How do you not want to adopt them all?" And I explain that you go through this phase, in the beginning, when you think Fate personally picked out each and every animal just for you, and you weep every time one of them finds a home without you.

But then, as the years go by, you make peace with the fact that you play a temporary role in the animals' lives. Or, maybe it's a form of self-preservation when all of the animals actually start to blend together, a little.

But then, suddenly, one animal will come along out of the blue and break your whole heart.

case in point.

That was Porter the day I discovered him in his kennel. He had lived with another dog who, a week earlier, was senselessly beaten to death with a metal rod. You can see how frightened and sick Porter was when this picture was taken, but you can't see that his tail, which he was sitting on, was attempting a forlorn wag.

It turns out that Porter tested positive for heartworm, a serious and potentially fatal disease. This means he has several weeks of intense treatment ahead of him and he needs a safe place to help him remain as sedate as possible. This is perfect timing for me, because I am treating myself for heartache, and I need a safe presence to help me remain as sedate as possible.

So now, officially, Porter is my Office Foster Dog! He lives and eats and naps with me while I work.

It is amazing.

here. hold this.
There are so many good things about having a Beagle sleep behind you while you work. First of all, it makes me close my office door, which keeps me from wandering down the hall to to complain about the phone call I don't want to return or to compliment my co-workers' cute shoes. In other words, it's quiet and I focus. Also, Porter makes these little sleepy moaning noises that soften my cold, black heart, and make me want to be kind to everyone. And he certainly puts deadlines and other drudgery into perspective: animals, like Porter's own brother, are sometimes beaten to death. We have a lot of work to do.

snore, snuk, zzzzz

I like to think that the Office Foster arrangement has been good for Porter, too. I made this little collage to show his progress from:

- Terrified
- Still hating me, but tolerating me a little
- Starting to think I am a-ok
to, finally
- Cheerfully asking me if I need his help with anything

He's blossoming! Just look at his sweet, trusting face!

In time, I might be able to start fostering Porter at home, too (!!) but right now he needs to stay close to the shelter for treatment and care. I might even be able to adopt him...

I feel unbelievably lucky that Porter came into my life when I needed a dose of love, motivation and perspective. I think I need to take care of somebody else right now.

The only puzzle I have no idea how to sort out is this one:

she sparkles (even if only to me)

My adorable, beloved, crankypants CAT! She hates dogs! What am I going to do? I can't make her live with one, can I? After 13 devoted years together, my cat is definitely entitled to have some input in this household.

I'm not sure what will happen, but it will take about two months to treat the heartworm and release Porter for adoption, so for now, Porter and I can mend our hearts together.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Feelings, wo-o-o feelings

Mother effing feelings!

It's physically exhausting going around with all these stupid feelings all the time.

Men don't seem to be so burdened by feelings. I think that's because
a) some men are completely heartless and
b) the rest learn, early on, to put their feelings somewhere that's not right up on the surface.

I noticed that when [a lot of] guys talk on the phone with their friends, it sounds something like this:

"Yeah. Uh huh. Yeah. Fuckin' right. It's like, yeah, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. Yep. Naw. Okay dude. Later."

And when I say, "Oh, what's new with your buddy?" the guy will respond, inexplicably, "I don't know, we didn't talk about it."

But when girls talk to each other, we go straight to feelings. Are you happy? Is your relationship going well? Are you succeeding at work? How is your family? Are your hobbies fulfilling? Is this where you thought you'd be at your age? Is your elderly cat still eating? Is she responding well to the probiotics? etc. etc. etc.

At least, that's how my girlfriends and I talk to each other. I hope it's not just because of me.

I think my big feelings are something that people (who like me) like about me. I love large. My good moods are euphoric. But the pitfalls are that people who can't handle me can't handle those big feelings, and when those feelings are hurt, they are debilitating.

Right now, I'm working on nurturing good feelings. I'm trying to sleep more, manage stress, eat fresh and natural foods, read for pleasure, get massages, exercise well and spend time with positive people.

In related news: these are a few of my favorite things today:

My office dog, Porter. Porter came to the shelter when the other dog he lived with was beaten to death. Porter is now recovering from lots of anxiety and heart worm, so I'm honored to welcome him into the peace and quiet of my office during the work days. For the first time in I have no idea how long, I genuinely can not wait to get to my office tomorrow.

Porter, I need the budget analysis for the Henderson report, stat!

The movie Singles. Get ready for a blog about that. I was just no where near your neighborhood.

"I miss you. The way you used to look at me."
The chocolate chip cookies my mom made me yesterday with caramelized butter. Here is the recipe. You're welcome.

And this guy, always. I'm having a frenaissance with Eddie Vedder --like I needed one, I know!--after my dad soothed me by putting on PJ Twenty when I visited them yesterday. Pearl Jam exhilarates and delights me like nothing else. It's such a reliable source of comfort.

What a different life, had I not found this love with you.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stop wielding my name like that

I've been Googling around, trying to figure out whether:

- using a person's name is a known act of passive aggression
- or maybe I'm just oversensitive.

When I was little, my mom and dad never called me by my first name unless I was in trouble. It's worth noting that I rarely got in trouble, but I was always called "Poodle" or "Boo," until I, say, forgot to pull the shower curtain inside the bath tub when I showered, and my dad would discover the flooded bathroom and bellow my first name through the house in a terrifying tenor.

"Hey, sweetie," meant that dinner was ready, or that maybe cookies were done cooling and ready to eat. But when my first name echoed through our home, I knew I had done something wrong.

Years later, when I started dating, my boyfriends and I never called each other by our first names...unless we were fighting. One man knew I was upset with him when I addressed him by name instead of the sweet nickname that usually bounced off my tongue. The last man I dated called me things like "Baby" or "Cupcake" until our relationship ended in a series of mean-spirited emails, in which he explained to me, using my first name, comma, just how absurd I was being. I knew he was using my name to convey his condescension via the written word.

My best friend Madge says my name, but always adds a sweet suffix or substitutes the word "Munkin," (which she once blurted out, hilariously and accidentally, when she was thinking of both "Monkey" and "Pumpkin"). I don't say her name, either, unless I'm addressing her as "My Madge" or "Hey Madgey."

Then there was the especially passive aggressive woman I worked with who always overused my first name. I'd get emails from her that read something like: "Just wondering if you had time to finish that report, YOU, since I haven't seen it yet. Did I miss an email, YOU? Let me know as I'm still waiting for it. Thanks, YOU." It was enough to make my own name read like an accusation.

I've even noticed it when I communicate. As a manager, I try to use people's names when I'm praising them, not correcting them. I'll say "Great job, Ted!" but not "This is full of typos, Ted."

But...I've been Googling around and I can't find any evidence that lots of other people feel like someone can wield your first name in an act of aggression. (This person does call it a "douchey business tactic.") Maybe I just need to find someone who whispers my name like a sweet nothing.

If you've ever winced at the sound of your own name, let me know.


In other news, these are a few of my favorite things today:

My new couch, which I bought for myself on impulse. I like this picture of it, because it looks like it was just delivered and moved in by a helpful cat.

Knee socks. I wan't quite sure how to pull an outfit together with them, because when you Google-image search "knee socks" what you mostly get is girls wearing knee socks and underpants. That was not helpful as I dressed to go to Trader Joe's with my mom. But I think they looked okay today.

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon, which is a selection of personal reflections, regrets, discoveries and memories. This is a great book for a Michael Chabon fan to have around when you're feeling a little uneasy, because it's got all of the dazzling turns of phrase you can expect from Michael Chabon, but in light, heartfelt, easy-to-read and bite-sized bits. 

I was going to take a photo of the book for you but it is apparently lost in the folds of my bed (along with the following: iPad, iPhone, Lucky magazine, necklace that was strangling me, hairclip, laptop sleeve, shoebox, teddy bear, and life-sized stuffed dog--which is embarrassing), so all I could find was its discarded dust jacket on my night stand. 

Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 7, 2013

"They're just jealous" and other mom-isms

My Mom: [listing reasons why I'm a great catch]'re successful, you're funny...
Me: Some people think I'm not funny, Mom.
My Mom: Yeah? Some people are assholes.

My mom is the kind of mom I can never solicit advice from, unless I'm actually fishing for the answer "They're just jealous." As in, "Someone was mean to you? They're just jealous." My mom has a hearty bias--one in which I am adorable, clever and always perfectly lovable. It's sweet of her.

My mom is the best kind of mom. For one, she's super competent. When I was little, I felt bad for the kids whose moms seemed scatterbrained. My mom was always on top of everything--sewing the best Halloween costume in my class, delivering me to classmates' birthday parties with a meticulously wrapped present in hand, or even showing up at my school with the lunch I didn't even realize I had forgotten on the kitchen counter. My mom could cut my hair, fix my toys and find the things I lost.

I still count on her competence, like when we went to Montreal together and my mom figured out how to ride the indecipherable metro system even though it was all in French. My mom doesn't speak French. She's just good to have around.

My mom is a personal chef, which is the perfect job for someone who's skilled as well as warm and loving. She loves to feed people, which is wonderful when you're 32 and survive on Trader Joe's. Whenever I go to her house, she puts a plate of food in my hand, brings me a sweater and asks me all about my day.

She's also so much fun to be around.

My mom in Calgary, ready to pounce on 7th row seats for Pearl Jam.
We followed Pearl Jam's 2011 Canadian tour together because she is my favorite.

My mom lost her mom to cancer when she was very young. I think that awful fact granted me a very early understanding that moms are impermanent.

I can't imagine what my life would be like without my mom--so generous with her food and affection, so eager to accompany me on adventures, so tirelessly willing to hear about my every irritation, and so subtly funny.

I appreciate her every damn day.

Bedtime all the time

On Friday, my doctor told me to change my sleep ritual. One of the things I should do is use my bed only for sleep.

I currently do all kinds of dumb things in my bed, college-kid style. Things like:
  • Eat my breakfast (every day)
  • Eat my dinner (sometimes. shame, shame)
  • Work
  • Lose track of time playing Gems with Friends
  • Watch instant Netflix, esp. Freaks and Geeks
  • Read  (responsible answer) 
  • Act stupid with the cat.
  • '
  • Remember, with startling embarrassment, the people I forgot to call back at work
  • Organize my earring drawer
  • Cut out magazine pictures of clothes and haircuts that I want 
  • Talk on the phone
  • Paint my nails
  • Panic about deadlines
  • Panic about everything that has disappointed me, especially at dark lonely hours when I should be sleeping.
Now it's Monday morning and the cat and I have already resumed our bad daily habit of taking breakfast in bed.

But surely our sweet morning ritual isn't contributing to anything negative. 

We'll see. This is the first five-day week of the new year, and I'm setting out to take some drastic measures to increase my happiness. 

Wish me luck. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

If this wasn't on the Internet, I'd have more to dish about. But anyway....

This is what it's like to work at my laptop.

Hey. You. Down in front.

Today I went to the first of two doctors to try to get a handle on my hideous migraines. I also visited my dad at his guitar shop and took a picture of this sign. Clearly, I get my marketing skillz from him.

The sign reads, "Like...totally tubular guitar stand. $14.95."
It is tubey.
Now I'm playing with photos of my cat.

Her water bowl. It's green.

And finally...
last night, a wise and endlessly patient friend talked to me about being sad. While I've gratefully lapped up advice from just about everyone I know, his advice was the most comforting to me because I've watched him tumble into the darkest depths of depression. I asked him how you find your way back out...or even just keep going. He said, first of all, you do it for the people who love you. And then, you do it because you never know what will happen the next day.

And today really was a nicer day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm flipping sad.

I went to a glass mosaic class at the Pittsburgh Public Markets on Sunday, and I was a little startled when I made this.

It's a broken heart. It's quite literally my broken heart, and when I got home, I tucked it against a wall so I wouldn't have to look at the feeling that I'm already carrying around with me.

I want so badly to escape from this feeling. Sometimes, I get blissful moments of clarity--that life could be much worse and it will all get better. And my best friend reminds me that the ratio of good-to-bad moments will start to shift until the good moments finally start to crowd out the bad ones. 

But the days feel so long. And my feelings feel so big. 

Usually I like being this way, because I feel like I get to be a lot more enthusiastic and excited and exhilarated than most people do. But right now, everything hurts so oppressively badly... I can't seem to figure out how to take on this life.