Let’s Take A Boat to Bermuda

Let’s take a train to Saint Paul. Let’s pack a kayak for Quincy or Nyack. Let’s get away from it all.

ImageOh, Ole’ Blue Eyes, croon away.

I know. You’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about. You’re looking at your bridge partners, asking yourself if I have finally lost it, if yours truly has given up any semblance of a life outside of the workplace and has finally decided to move directly into the office to get the “40 hours” of work done in 50-60 hours so that I can accommodate and please the powers that be and keep my job while surrendering my social life.

ImageNo, I didn’t sleep here last night. I was just looking at my watch.

Instead of sounding like a broken record (too late) I will instead focus on the positive, the humorous, and the wicked.

Let’s start with the positive.

My estranged grandfather has cheated death. Again. At this point I reckon he deserves a punch card; with every ten wins against death Roger Thomas gets a free t-shirt. My car, while making a lot of strange noises, still gets me from A to B. The house has yet to burn down, and this week has yielded some interesting leads. I’ve reconnected with some people I consider close confidants. All in all, not a terrible week.

We’ll also slot into this space the fact that my house is in somewhat good condition physically; that I’ve begun to track my day-to-day work activities so I can document what I am asked to do in real time; that I looked at kittens and puppies on the internets last night in some hopefully (and ultimately hopeless) desire to have a meaningful relationship outside of a house plant.

That said this week has not been without challenges. I’m still struggling with sleep. Extended-family relationships. Low-carb diets. I am exhausted all the time while still being able to maintain a weight where smaller fat people slowly rotate around my center of mass. And while I am frustrated, angry, and living through a world of hurt, I continue to sacrifice, work hard, and spend my Sundays praying to the Gods of Employment instead of the Dude In Charge in order to keep the faith, to persevere, and to make deadline.

ImageThe Dude Abides.

I Get It, I Get It, The Oscars Sucked

I know. I heard you the first fifty times. The Oscars were terrible this year. Can we all just get on with our lives?

Image“I won’t allow it… bwainsssss…”

Look. I recognize that the Academy Awards are a big thing. There’s a lot of hype leading up to the big night, forecasts of who might win, hours upon hours of pre-show “red carpet coverage” where the world gets to find out what designer So-and-So’s wearing, and how much their borrowed Harry Winston jewels are worth, and do they think they’ll win, and doesn’t Kristen Stewart always look miserable, and on and on and on.

And then there’s the show, and punditry over the best dressed and the worst dressed, and the host and the presenters, the music, the speeches, how the speeches can be cut off, who fell walking up the stage. And then there is the coverage of the post-parties, and the ludicrous gift bag goodies, and who got drunk and was escorted out of the party. And then we all go to bed and go into work the next day and rehash the parts we saw and the parts we didn’t, taking digs at the bad presenters and speeches.

And then we move on with our lives.

ImageHey Brian, do you want every type of media to overanalyze the Academy Awards? No, Sheila, I’d rather hear about just about anything else in the universe.

Apparently, the media didn’t get the memo. To put it out short and sweet: Seth MacFarlane was a pretty terrible host, Anne Hathaway’s speech was beyond rehearsed (“It Came True”, seriously?), Jennifer Lawrence fell, and the music with the exception of Shirley Bassey and maybe Adele was bad. Daniel Day Lewis and Ben Affleck tried to bring classy back, Barbra Streisand has had some work done, and the Rihanna/Chris Brown joke was tacky but also resonant. That’s all we need to know.

I don’t need pundits on commercial radio and NPR commentators to wax poetically about the James Bond tribute or the crass Boobs song sung ironically by a gay men’s choir. I don’t want to hear people on the news, broadcast television true news programs debating whether or not Ang Lee deserved his Oscar. I got my fair share of chat at the water cooler this morning. And I listen to the radio or watch broadcast news programs to hear about the news, aka what is going on in the world that matters. War. Genocide. Poverty. The clusterf$%^ that is the sequester. Things that impact me at some level. I don’t need to know that Helen Hunt’s dress was recyclable. All clothes are recyclable. That’s not news.

Maybe I’m just grumpy from the unsettling news this weekend, or because the house hunt is more challenging than I expected, or because I’m hungry. But in the hour or so I spent in the car today commuting and running errands, I would say that 95% of what I heard about was the 85 Annual Academy Awards which coincidentally were rebranded as just “The OSCARS” for the last few weeks coming up to the show.

Last I checked, the North Koreans are testing nuclear weapons, Iran is itching to blow up Israel, Syria is a total shit show, Egypt is on the verge of another revolution, and our lovely country to is facing down the barrel of a fiscal gun that is probably going to mess up our credit rating (again) and push us back into recession (again). I feel like those topics are slightly more important than J-Law’s face plant or how ugly Halle Berry’s dress was.

ImageOk, it’s a bad dress. Plus, does anyone remember how she was the perpetrator of a hit and run?

So I will faithfully submit, to the media conglomerates that be, you can have the entire Sunday of the Academy Awards to chew up and spit out any and everything related to the Oscars. But the following day I ask you to make short discussion of it in the AM hours, and then get back to actual news. I wouldn’t want to risk missing that an Arab country was aiming to wipe us off the map because you were re-airing Helena Bonham Carter singing One Day More.

The World of Conflicting Emotions

I know that I typically try to keep this blog relatively flip, that I will on occasion broach difficult or sensitive subjects that I am able to joke around without becoming too emotionally overwrought or maudlin. I mean, who can take life too seriously when one blogs about Black Friday shopping, water floss systems, and Swedish furniture stores? And let’s not forget GLEE. So imagine my surprise when I got two phone calls back to back this morning with difficult family news, information that has brought me to ponder my emotional situation electronically and in full view of the Internet public. While I won’t go into the nitty gritty detail, suffice it to say that I am potentially facing the end of a protracted and difficult relationship.

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And no it’s not with Taylor Swift. Thank God.

To be blunt, my family finds itself facing a loss. And all of us, as is typical, are scattered to the wind, trying to be supportive and cohesive while recognizing that distance, time zones, and cellular networks limit our abilities to be there for one another. While everything seems dead set on hindering that ability we are strong, having weathered similar situations with aplomb and determination goddamnit.

I guess what is most difficult about the current state of affairs is that culture and tradition dictate that I feel a certain way, that I grieve the potential end of this relationship with a sense of pomp and circumstance, that I bravely face life without a given person still involved at the more universal level even though personally they have been completely removed from my daily life for ages. Instead, I feel a sense of duty, to my parents and my siblings, to be there, to be supportive and to grieve the loss of someone genetically related to yours truly.

ImageSeriously, the double helix was way sexier in 1998.

All that being said, I also feel ashamed. Perfunctory. Laminate. While I mourn for the deep sense of loss and hurt in my brother, my sister, and my father and mother because they are the most important people in my life, I feel hollow inside when thinking of how this probable intrusion of death won’t impact me emotionally. I mean, it will. I’m not a goddamned robot. Give me some f-ing credit. But I mourned the loss of this person in my life a decade ago when our paths diverged, the two of us unwilling or unable to find a clear and common path of understanding.

Does that make me a bad person? If and when I travel across the country to pay my respects, will people judge me, thinking less of me knowing that I am showing up to mourn the severing of a family tree I have been responsible for, for the last decade? And how do you make peace with someone when they’re on the verge of letting go, at the edge of their lives, knowing that all (or almost all) of the unresolved problems and issues will most likely stay that way now that one opponent has entered the great beyond?

I don’t have any answers, as usual. In lieu of answers, I turn to my support network, my friends and family, to God (yes, for all of the blasphemy I still carry a rosary around with me, let the hate mail commence) to try to tease out why it is that I feel so conflicted, how to better understand my role in my twisted family tree, and how to weather this most recent genetic storm. Wish me luck.

Pictures of Last Night Ended Up Online

I’m screwed. Damn.

To those of you who picked up on the less-than-oblique reference to “Last Friday Night” by the somewhat talented and frequently scantily clad Katy Perry, I thank you. And to those who expected an incrediballs and exciting blog post about how I was nearly arrested and/or met the man of my dreams, I apologize. But these titles are what bring all the boys to the yard. And I said titles, not titties.

Pervert.

This evening, after putting the house back together to a degree that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be robbed at gunpoint (honestly, if I were robbed and the house were a mess, what would they think?!), I sat down, watched the most recent episode of Archer with a cocktail (or three, park your judgment at the door, it’s the weekend for Christ’s sake), and reflected on this week’s most recent nightmare.

Now let the record show that I love my job, because I don’t want anyone to come back down on me for being a Debbie Downer about the workload. 99.9 times out of 100 I make McDonald’s “I’m loving it” campaign cringe with self-consciousness. it’s that .1 time that makes everyone look at you and make disparaging comments.

ImageDon’t be that girl.

That being said, this week was intense. Challenging. Insane. The kind of week where I ended up rocking a “half-day on a holiday”-type insane. And yet I still find myself staring at the barrel of a gun that is the never-ending grant/report/write/article/event deadline. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this blog, but there are two times of the year that I don’t envy myself: January and June.

These two months coincide with the ends of the calendar year and fiscal year, which in grants land translates into Armageddon and Armageddon:2, You Bitches Missed it The First Time. Months One and Six remind me that women are able to bear childbirth; that POWs survived bamboo shoots and water torture; that I’ve watched Beaches while lamenting a breakup (which, word to the wise, is a bad idea). Long story short, I feel like I’ve lived at the clinic since the bells closed on 2012, watching the ball drop from the comfort of my L-shaped desk while listening to NPR, washing coworkers dishes and watering all of the orphaned plants I’ve become the custodian of.

I am beat. To hell.

Between grant writes, reports, data reporting to the Feds, and the never-ending process of becoming a notary, these past six weeks have been brutal, not only on the professional side, but also on the personal side. I’ve spent more time at my desk in the office in 2013 than at my permanent address.

ImageIf only he were included. 841-oh-holler!

As such, I have seen even less of my dear friends, including the gays, the new gays, and the work pals both current and former. Girl’s Night is a thing of the past, I haven’t done laundry since the Reagan administration, and there’s something crawling out of my refrigerator that frankly scares me. My sincere hope is that by March I can better establish a work/life balance that is seen as appropriate to other people, as I know that my own perspective can blur the lines between “pride in my work” and “your job is your entire life.”

ImageDream Big.

I’m honestly hopeful. I’ve got some strong leads between J.Dane and his mad posse, college buds feeling lukewarm about the next jaunt to Vegas, and the insane idea of taking a week off and driving to SoCal to visit some important people that I haven’t seen in way too long (I’m looking at you Vaughn). So stay tuned, ladies and gents, because this girl deserves some time off.

The Gay with the Dragon Tattoo

After some good-natured ribbing in the social media interwebs, I thought it appropriate to respond to the jabs about my seeming obsession with a certain flat-packed blue and yellow furniture Mecca down in Drapertown. For the record, contrary to popular belief IKEA is not the only thing that those Scandinavians have created that can dictate the social flow of my weekend. I mean, there is the book series alluded to in the title of this post, ABBA, the Nobel Prize, H&M back in the days when I had a waist. A number of vodka brands that I drink.ImageOk, let’s be real here. IKEA’s doing the heavy lifting.

Instead of listing the many things that make this giant furniture maker my own version of Disneyland, I will instead wax poetic via stream of consciousness on the virtues of the Swedish conglomerate that can assemble anything with a hex key. We’ll start with the haute cuisine (and if you can’t smell the sarcasm then you’ve got some sinus problems or no sense of humor).

Back when I actually ate food, there was the frozen yogurt, that delicious confection you can snag on your way out for less than a dollar, just enough of a treat to make it to the parking lot and out to Bamberger before finishing it off and jumping onto the I-15 white-knuckled NASCAR event that is lower Salt Lake County. There were the princess cakes, delicious concoctions of marzipan and glory, seated humbly next to the traditional meatballs filled with enough sodium and trans-fats that you could literally hear your blood cells explode, a cacophony of decadence available for less than the cost of a Starbucks soy machiatto latte.

Image

He’s steaming because that drink is pretentious.

And because I am typically able to strongarm at least two or three friends on my frequent trips to the big blue warehouse of awesome, there have been many good conversations over cups of free coffee (because of course I am a member of their loyalty program), times of raucous laughter at ourselves or the strange groups of people that also tend to end up in the geometrically complex maze of walkways that is “the showroom.”

The central reasons that I frequent IKEA include 1) my constant obsession with finally becoming a property owner and the need to fill up imaginary spaces in said property, and 2) the fact that even when there’s not a doorbuster sale going on, IKEA has ridiculous prices on a lot of things. Like a lot. We’ll set aside all of the interesting gadgets and gizmos that solve problems I didn’t even know I had yet, and the insanely discounted doorbusters on most Saturdays and shopping holidays (hello, this weekend!) and focus on the first point.

Growing up all over the east coast, I was provided a lot of really important social skills in terms of adjusting to new environments and making friends. Because I had to. Every three years. As a result, I was able to roll with the punches most of the time (nobody’s perfect), and adjust to my surroundings with minimal impact on my day-to-day functioning. However, that constant moving has left me, over a decade later, with serious anxieties when it comes to having my own space. Imagine getting your bedroom exactly the way you wanted it only to be told literally the next day to pack it all up and get ready to move it to a new house, in a new town, with a new room and essentially a new life.

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This box is fragile, just like my emotional state.

So the result of this history is that when I move somewhere, I immediate begin to fill spaces with stuff. Lots of stuff. Not to the hoarding extent, but close. Because it gives me a sense of semi-permanence. This flows naturally into IKEA: where I can get things that are permanent to the extent that I will use them until they disintegrate, but also things that will disintegrate within 3-5 years, giving me the option of going somewhere I find soothing to find replacements in a “semi-permanent” environment.

I know. Sick.

The second reason is because I’m cheap, dammit. I have come to love terms like “Beech effect”, “melamine foil,” and, “pigmented-epoxy.” I appreciate that I can buy shelving and arm chairs for pennies on the krona, so long as I can heave the insanely heavy particleboard slabs into my car and figure out how to put the damned things together with a single tool and directions that have literally no words on them. I don’t need furniture handmade and joined, using hardwoods and natural materials. I need furniture that’s made of the scraps, sawdust cemented together with industrial glues and then sealed and veneered, a modern day hotdog in the shape of an armoire.

And I won’t even get started on the people watching. That post will live to die another day.

Dude, Where’s My Car?

As if by magic, yesterday’s musings on today’s shenanigans have born some delicious fruit. I was tickled pink (who even says that anymore?) to find that my lovely little toaster took me where I wanted to go on a mostly empty tank. While I will only spend a few moments waxing poetically about the Element (to spare everyone the eye rolling at the very least), I felt it appropriate to laud my little grey box for being the best damned thing I’ve ever owned.

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Words. There are no words.

The Honda Element (sadly discontinued by the soulless underlords of Honda), is not the prettiest vehicle in the world. Saying it’s boxy is like pointing out that we breathe air. The earlier versions’ bodies aren’t fully painted, relying on dark grey plastic around the wheel wells and the lower segments of what is essentially a giant refrigerator box on wheels. It’s not aerodynamic. While it gets decent mileage for a small SUV, it’s no gas sipper. That being said, it’s roomy, it has enough headroom for people taller than 5’9″, and I’ve yet to get completely stuck in a snow drift. And for a wide-bodied 6’3″ driver that loves snowy weather, these are not unimportant traits.

As I pushed my car to the limits today traversing 95% of the Salt Lake Valley on a near-empty tank, I smiled inwardly at how my beloved has never let me down. And at 9 years, I can safely say that it’s the longest term relationship I’ve had with anyone or anything outside of my immediate and extended family. With the amount of driving I’ve done and continue to do, I figure if and when it comes time to say goodbye to my little friend, it will most likely be for a younger model of the exact same car, an automotive homage to the First Wives Club.

picture-of-goldie-hawn-diane-keaton-and-bette-midler-in-the-first-wives-club-large-picture

Seriously, these three are adorable.

But anyhow. Early this morning, after listening to NPR while sliding in and out of consciousness on the couch, I dragged myself into the shower so that I could hit up IKEA for doorbusters. And I was glad I did, because when I got to the giant blue furniture store of glory, I was in good company with all of the other insane bargain-hunters both north and south of the point of the mountain. Like zombies on a fresh kill, as soon as the doors opened people went absolutely crazy, grabbing comforters out of one another’s hands, many of the women forcing husbands/boyfriends/dudes in the “friend zone” to stick blankets plastic-wrapped into tubes under their shoulders and elbows while making a mad dash to the self-check out stands. It was insane.

And, for neurotic coupon clipping people like me, a beautiful sight.

I got myself two comforters discounted by 60%, and look forward to the throng tomorrow, recognizing that shelving will require more of an “A” game stance compared to the relative ease today of snagging MYSA RYTA Level 3 Warmth sheets. Now that I know the lay of the land, and the potential spaces that said shelving might be located tomorrow, I feel better equipped to beat back those bargain-hunting throngs of humanity on the holiest of weekdays. On my jaunt back north, I swung by a number of houses, most of which were duds that I will still probably drag my poor realtor through. One, though, caught my eye, and through the wonders of cell phone navigation and Keller-Williams, I was able to walk through a cute little bungalow in Rose Park. And yes, I said Rose Park.

3735918597_83c45472dcHaters Gon’ Hate.

Said house was really, really cute, if overpriced, and from what I could tell located in a decent part of town. I’m hoping to walk through it again when my realtor is in town (she was able to get her assistant on it, again, I heart her) to see what she thinks, and I obviously need to research the area more. But it seemed nice. Liveable with spaces for updating. Cozy backyard with a dedicated gardening space and separate dog run with doggie door access to the garage. And it backs up to a school. Not a bad thing, right?

Needless to say, that recap only highlights my day through about 2pm, and there were/are other things I could highlight, but this post is already growing legs and I’d rather not bore you. So expect more excitement throughout the weekend as I continue my IKEA discount quest and plan on inviting myself to other people’s houses in the immediate future.

Bringing Sexy Back

ImageSploosh!

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. With a blog posting title like that, one would assume perhaps that I was going to wax poetic on my boyfriend, Mr. Timberlake. It’s been done. On Facebook. So no. Or perhaps you were thinking I was going to go out to the club and get my groove thang on, or that I was going to attempt re-entry into the tragic dating pool that is the queer scene for those of us that didn’t fall out of an old Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. And yes I do still have a stack of those, because for a few glorious years, those of us early on that were pre-gay had access to soft core dude porn if we were willing to walk through an incredibly loud, ridiculously priced, and overly cologned space to drop a $20 to the always smug cashier looking their perfect aquiline nose down at us. And by pre-gay, I mean in the sense that we were still closeted, if not to everyone else that was like “um, duh, we know,” then at least to ourselves.

Way to bury my lead. I say I’m bringing sexy back in a more mundane set of ways, from revamping my house hunting to a brand-spanking-new layout and design behind the notoriousness that is “Insert Witty Comment”. After skimming through as many new templates as I could muscle (hint: 5 minutes worth, this isn’t the biggest choice of my life people), I found one that I thought was a touch more sophisticated, which to me makes this stream of consciousness rant all the more ironic. It also makes it easier to read some of my old posts, or to direct those of you who stumble upon this little satirical jaunt to be able to see the origins of what I now consider a relatively more “put together” collage and melange of borderline crazy. On the more selfish side, it makes it easier for me to maintain and choreograph the strange musings that guide the four fingers I type with (six if you count thumbs) in putting this little ditty together.

Hope you like the new digs.

This weekend, I will also bring sexy back by driving by a few properties prior to my realtor’s return (she’s in Texas at a conference, poor gal) so that I can weed out the “definitely NOT” houses before wasting a Saturday driving up to houses I wouldn’t buy drugs from, let alone live in. And I’m kidding about the drugs, goodness, these days with the internets I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that I’m out on the corner smoking rock with Whitney Houston and slapping Bobby Brown around. Primarily because she’s dead, and all.

ImageCrack is WHACK! (Too soon?)

While I will miss rifling through people’s drawers, I am looking forward to hitting up IKEA every day of the weekend to snag some President’s Day doorbusters. I plan on snagging some awesome duvets to then donate to local charities, and some sweet shelving for my future garage. If I find a place with a garage. If not, the basement. Of my imaginary future house. Dare to dream. As church will be closed on Monday, I am fully stocked with emergency Jack Daniels and can happily report that neither of my favorite people were there to judge me during my purchase.

It’s the little things that make life worth living, no?

I can also say with relative confidence that this week was a good one. Workload is becoming more even after the hell that is January grant writing/reporting. TV shows aka my stories were all relatively funny and/or engaging (GLEE, seriously, let Mr. Shue get married and be done with it, I have no more tears to cry). I was able to snag some groceries and make the bed. The weekly weigh-in was a little disappointing in that somehow my body defies science by not kicking into starvation mode when I eat 800 calories a day, leaving me basically in a stasis/plateau this week. If things don’t improve next week, I’ll try to figure out what drastic measures I can engage in on my never-ending quest to get to a healthier weight. And “dreaming big” here seems a bit counterintuitive.

ImageYeah, this about sums it up in terms of my magical thinking.

All in all I can’t complain. Ok, I totally can, those of you who know me are probably snickering at the thought. Bastards. I anticipate that something insane or fabulous will strike me this weekend that will then guide me to posting the minutiae of the experience here. If not, you can damned well expect me to post on something more mundane, but in a fabulous way. Teetles!