Friday, December 08, 2006

Apparently, I *am* impulsive. But now I'm also spunky.

I never thought of myself as being impulsive. I think before I do things. Or before I say things. Or before I respond to something unexpected. Had to do with that fence-sitting thing.

But I think I've decided to let go and be more impulsive lately. Not bad randomly-impulsive, like impulsively running off to join the circus or anything.

No. I mean a fun, not-too-serious impulsive. Which, now that I think about it, I could spin this to be not impulsive (bad connotations on that word), but more lively & spontaneous. Yes, that sounds much better.

So, lively & spontaneous. Like playfully kicking at the snow because it looks fun, or... you know... dyeing my hair red. I mean really, *really* red.

I didn't plan to. I wanted a lighter red, but I couldn't do that because I'd have to use permanent hair dye. And that's just not something I like to do. So last weekend I dyed it a reddish-brown:

But I changed my mind because I wanted fun spunky hair. So there. It's really much more than I planned, and I'm sure it will fade a bit soon (red does that). But I also think it will grow on me. I kinda like it. Here it is, red hair:

Be lively & spontaneous, everyone. It can be fun. :)

**(For those of you wanting to know the color & brand... well, that was a long time ago. I'm positive I used Feria at least for one of those, if not both. Feria has some awesome red dyes. My problem was that my roots up to 6" were virgin hair, taking the dye *really* well, while the rest used to be dyed pretty dark once upon a time, so the red was duller. Made for a weird look until I changed it a year later. even highlighting the bottom layer didn't really work. But, yes -- I suggest Feria.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am thankful for... dishwasher.

Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful for many things that are less materialistic. My friends and family. My job. My ability to learn from my surroundings. The fact that I'm not a settler of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

But my dishwasher is at the top of the list today. And my freshly-made bed is coming in right after that on the list. After cooking for lots of people (well, cooking in preparation for an unknown number though having only 3 of us), I had lots of dishes to do. And the dishwasher is very handy in these situations.

Dinner went beautifully, the turkey was perfectly cooked, tender & not dry, despite my meat thermometer deciding to stop working just as I was about to need it. I cleaned as I went, so there was no disaster at the end of the night. It was nice enough out to take a walk after dinner, so Mary & Julie & I walked around looking at all the newly-built homes and condos (knowing full well that they cost more than I could ever afford, even in my neighborhood). We came back, had some pie, and called it a night. I was able to get the turkey carcass simmering on the stove right before we sat down to eat, so the turkey soup is already started. Mmmm... turkey soup. At any rate, everything went well, and now I'm tired. So I will sleep.

And I won't be getting up to go shopping tomorrow, thank you very much. I don't feel like dealing with crowds this weekend. I don't have my list together yet, anyway. Good luck to those of you braving Black Friday.

A thought that came to me today -- even though it saddens me that early Americans killed & took advantage of the Native Americans, this holiday is about sharing and selflessness. It's not about the sorrow of the wiping out of a culture, or about the celebrating of a people that was strong enough to do the wiping out. I kept reading about people who are hung up on the history of the holiday. And things weren't optimal back then, I'm not saying they were. But I think we might as well take the good of it and celebrate that. It's about being among others. Giving. Helping. Sharing. Enjoying the company of others -- appreciating the people around you that make your life better. I'd rather celebrate what I *do* have anyday of the week.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for. Life offers many ups and downs, but keeping your mind on what you can be thankful for helps you keep your head up.

Keep your head up, everyone. There's a lot to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

fate vs. free will

Those of you in that were in Alt/Ex Theatre in ... oh, let's say 2001-ish... and we were in class together, you may (or may not) remember my final project. It had to do with the ideas of free will and fate. Which is it? Do we have free will? Can we really lead our lives as we please, with any door open to us? Or are we subjected to fate? We simply roam through lives, completely predetermined, and end up exactly where we were planned to... without realizing we have no choice?

I don't know if I had a stance, or if it was just a presentation to play devil's advocate... knowing me, I sat on the fence between the two. Well, folks... I think I have a stance. Watch out, everyone -- Kate has a firm idea. Better call someone. :)

I'm sure we have free will. We can lead whatever life we want to lead. We may have more than one person that is good for us, it depends on what life path we take. I may have stayed in Minnesota, continued to work for Climb, decided to do free lance acting/costuming work there, and eventually gotten my masters in theatre. Or I may have gone back to Ohio this year after a somewhat disappointing year, and taken a path there. But I'm here in Chicago. Things are playing out well, I want to go to school here, and I found a career that I think I should be in.

Along that thought, we would probably choose one of many possible soul mates. It depends on what life path we finally decide to make.

But do we have a "correct" path that we should take? Am I really on my "correct" path? I realize that I don't think I should be in theatre. I don't want to teach in schools. I really think midwifery is my place. I'm excited about it, and grow more passionate about it every time I learn something new. I think this really is it.

If that is the case, do we have only one "correct" partner? If there is one path for us that we are supposed to find, is there only one partner we should be led to?

And what does that do to free will? I think we have it. We aren't pawns in a vicious game, slaves without thought. But are we given personalities and gifts based on what we are supposed to do, and we are to try to get really close to our optimal predetermined life? Does whoever get the closest win?

So we will be happiest in our designated career or lifestyle, that I'm sure of -- someone who should be a teacher and has the capacity for it is not going to be as happy as an outside salesman, no matter his salary and beautiful car. We are given what we need to succeed in our given lives, as we are supposed to live them. But then, that should mean we will also be happiest with the person we are designated to be with. And our life will lead us to that person if we allow it to happen.

What if you don't get that person? Either because you didn't see your place, or maybe you see it but the other doesn't. So your happiness or another's happiness is based on someone else's choices as well as your own? Then do you just... lose? Too bad for you, you've missed your opportunity, but we can give you honorable mention for trying anyway. Do we get other chances along the way to right the wrong? How many do we get? And if our choice was taken away from us, can we be granted a new one to make?

I like the happy romantic idea of that one person for everyone, like in all those various sappy movies and books and songs and Disney movies. But in past years I didn..t think it was realistic. How in the world does that work? How many people are out there? What are the odds, really, that everyone will get the chance to even *meet* their one person?

But to answer that, I can't imagine that God made us, gave us our lifepaths, our gifts, our dreams, and our partner, and then just sprinkled us around without a plan to it. I think He lets us do as we please, but He has to have some sort of a say in things. He puts the correct people close enough to find each other. You just have to determine who it is.

But how do you know if you are right? How can you possibly know? Even if it seems that someone just dropped into your life in the oddest of ways, as though fate was working right before your eyes, it may just be coincidence. When you have someone in front of you, how do you know if that person is really yours or not? So many people feel that way, then change their minds later. Maybe they chose wrong, or maybe they chose right and then decided to deviate from their given path. How do we know? And how long do we wait for the person we believe is ours?

And who knows -- that person we have may not be meant to be our significant other. They may just be meant to be another important person in our lives. That just throws a whole new wrench into things.

I suppose, even if things went horribly wrong in this life, we can be reunited with our respective lives and soulmates when we reach the next world. But if we didn't follow our lifepath, there is a chance we may not get there to be reunited.

I think I just turned my brain into a pretzel. It's time to get back to Spanish.

Choose well, everyone.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


why must we not love
we could love and while away the years
our years together

I don't know why we won't
but we won't
but we could
I wish we could

I wish I could sort through your mind
go through the files
discard anything that keeps you from me

and yet I couldn't dispose of any part of you
but I want to
but I don't
but I do

you wrested my safety from me to replace it with warmth
when I finally let go
you were gone

I will never stop singing of you
in every step
in every thought
in every tear

I don't know where your love came from
how it grew so strong
so easily

I don't know why it must hide
why do you hide
I can't hide
I just can't hide

but I must hide

Friday, October 27, 2006

No soapbox for me... not today, anyway.

You know… things are okay.

(And I mean for the word 'okay' to have positive connotations. As though I wasn't really paying attention to things, and everything around me was kind of a mish-mash of kinda-good, or not-real-great…. And then, all of a sudden… yeah. Things are okay.)

I am really excited about where my life is heading. I took the doula certification class last weekend, and loved it. Only a few middle aged hippie moms were in attendance, one even brewed her own beer and sold tye-dyed shirts…. But I was the only one who had never seen a birth. I guess I should get on that sometime and start volunteering at hospitals.

(For those of you unsure as to what a doula is: a non-clinical birth attendant. She educates, supports, and advocates for the woman in labor in order to make the birth experience the best it can be. With the medical world being as it is nowadays, with doctors having to deal with hospital regulations and not being able to take time out to emotionally care for patients, this is a really good thing for pregnant women. And yes, Dharma's mother on 'Dharma & Greg' was one. No, they aren't all hippies.)

And although I would love to get on a soapbox about how the medical system prevents even the best medical staff from caring, how Illinois is an epidural-happy state, how birth centers (happier, more natural & caring locations to give birth) are illegal in this state, and why doctors don't give options to instead tell you the choice they've made for you… but I don't feel like it. I just don't feel like getting worked up about this today. So there.

Wednesday I attended the UIC info session on the program I'll be applying for this winter. Just walking around their campus was completely energizing. It's going to be hard as hell. Think – for the first 15 months, I'm doing nothing but class and clinical practice to become an RN. That normally takes much more than 15 months. You *can't* work. The guy there said we will want to quit probably every day. It's gonna be rough – but so worth it. I am SO excited.

I've also realized that I need to save some money for this school thing. Not that I didn't know this already, but I'm just going to have to work a little harder. Do things that my parents didn't necessarily do. Like buying store brand laundry detergent. Or going back to the thrift stores for a few staple, easy-to-find garments. Or using cheaper canned veggies in soup, where you can't really tell the difference. Maybe I won't start eating ramen noodles – but lowering a few unnecessary standards won't kill me.

Anyway, I've had a surge of I'm-planning-on-conquering-the-world motivation this week. I was even so inspired that I cleaned my room. Really, I don't remember the last time I saw the floor. And I forgot how big my room can actually feel. It felt good to clean the place... very cleansing. Always a good thing. Now all I need to do is rearrange so all my sweaters fit on the shelves.

But all in all – life is okay. It's Halloween, so I get to wear lots of fun costumes. I'll go to a party or three. My grades are fine, and I don't expect that to change. I won't be able to take the GRE prep class before I have to take the thing in January, but I can study on my own and be fine. I get to go home a lot during the holidays. I got my promotion and raise before the holidays, which is convenient. The receptionist at work who was supposed to be temporary is going to stay on with us – which is great, because I love the girl.

And I can't wait for the holidays coming up. I love them. Partially because I choose to – so many people seem to *choose* to get stressed out over the holidays, and I think that's kind of sad that people can't just sit back and enjoy it all. We're supposed to enjoy the holidays. I just love the warm feeling that comes from seeing people you love and baking lots of cookies and exchanging gifts and traveling and snow.

Hmm-mmm… holidays.

Look forward, everyone.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So this Empathy walks into a bar...

Oh, man.. am I tired. I normally don't go for the coffee, but this is definitely a coffee kind of day. And a long annoying anatomy class will take me into the evening. Blech. And I am obviously not working right now. Eh.. there's time for that shortly. (I have this feeling my blogs are making me sound like a huge slacker.. not studying, not working.. )

Cat Empire concert .. yeah, last night was great. There's never anything bad about those three words .. Cat, Empire, and concert -- next to each other in a sentence. I was sad that the stage was a bit small for Felix to do his signature shuffle steps, but it was a great night of music nonetheless. Only making the night better was that I got to spend time with some people I have dearly missed for quite a while.

On another happy note, I realized that it's the middle of October, and I haven't yet come down with what I have termed my own personal bout of consumption (AKA, my cough-variant asthma). The airways are slightly itchy sometimes, and so is the skin, but not hardly anything to get excited about. Thank goodness... that asthma last year kinda freaked me out. So hooray for that.

I made some damn good pumpkin chicken soup Sunday... sounds a little weird, I don't normally put pumpkin and chicken together, but everyone seems to love it. It's good. And it's soup season again, which is a happy thing.

And I have a new whiteboard at work in my cubicle (I can't believe I work in a cubicle...). That also makes me happy. Not the cubicle part, just the whiteboard.

But to the topic at hand: Empathy.

As any past or present CLIMB Theatre member knows (CLIMBers, as we sometimes call ourselves), the word empathy means: imagining how someone else feels by imagining how you would feel in the same situation. This is actually different from sympathy, which technically means to be actually sharing the same feelings; empathizing means to only imagine them.

Empathy can be good. When we think about other people's feelings before we do or say something, we may be able to steer clear of needlessly saying or doing something that may hurt the other person's feelings. While I don't think it is a good idea to always walk on the proverbial eggshells around people, I do think it's nice to be considerate of other peoples' feelings. I'm sure most people would agree with me here, at least on some level.

Not everyone uses their empathy. Even those who normally use it can be blinded by their own feelings and forget... For example: woman walks past a homeless man, homeless man says "Hey lady, spare some change," and woman gets furious, says some choice words, and storms off. Why? Let's say the woman had been in an abusive relationship where the man always called her "lady" before beating her. So her feelings of hatred overpowered her usual empathetic self. If she had used her empathy, she may have taken the moment to think about how the guy probably didn't mean any harm, he just feels sad and wants to eat (or do whatever), and she may have given him some change... or at least may not have stormed off before saying the choice words. ...okay, not the best example. Hopefully you get my point.

But empathy has the potential to be bad. Or at least, misused or suffocating. Some people are really good at empathizing.. it comes fairly easy, and they are able to constantly think about what other people may be thinking and feeling. This can be a problem if they ignore their own feelings. ...I think another example would be helpful.

Person A wants something of person B, but thinks it may hurt person B's feelings to say so, so person A stays quiet. But because A decides not to say anything, his well-being is not being seen to. So he is sad, but at least person B is feeling fine, right?.. ..not necessarily... Because maybe person B wants to say something, but decides not to worry about things because saying something may cause problems and hurt person A's feelings. So person B also is feeling somewhat crappy because his needs are not being seen to. Not good for anyone involved. [sigh]

I think this happens a lot out there. Whether the thing people want to say is mean or nice. That whole "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" can't be the rule, because sometimes saying something that should be good can cause feelings that are bad or painful. And so people don't say what they want to the people who matter because they are afraid of hurting those people, when really, if they don't see to it that they get and say what they need, no one is going to be happy.

But who knows... sometimes there's nothing to be said on one or both sides. The unfortunate thing about empathy is that we can never really, truly know what someone else is thinking. Even when they tell us what they're thinking, they may not be honest with us... or with themselves, for that matter. So we can never really be sure if our empathy is keeping us on track or not. So our empathy can be wrong... I guess that means empathy isn't reliable... and that kinda sucks, when we only have that to rely on when it comes to taking care of ourselves and those we love. That definitely isn't something we were able to touch on in those 40-minute classes with the elementary school kids (and it probably would have been more confusing than necessary).

So, I guess.. use your empathy, but not so much that it's stifling. Because although it's not okay to hurt other's feelings unnecessarily, it's also not okay to hurt your own. ...if that makes any sense at all, since it's a fine line.

There are a lot of fine lines out there that we tread on a daily basis. At least life keeps us on our toes.

Stay on your toes, everyone. And be careful how you use that empathy.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Kind of studying.

Back at Argo Tea. Should be studying. Oh, I will... just need a few minutes of decompression first. ...don't give me that look, I swear I'll study in a moment. Honest.

Monday I definitely got caught in the rain after class at 9-10pm-ish. And I don't mean just any plain old rain. I mean torrential-monsoonal-I was-so-glad-it-wasn't-hailing-golf-balls kind of rain. That was a good time, let me tell you. At least I was able to keep a sense of humor about it. And my head stayed amazingly dry -- compared to the rest of me, anyway.

At least the rest of the week wasn't as irritating as Tuesday. Everything seemed to be irritating. The trains were very full. I ran out of soymilk at work. I realized I had forgotten to pay a bill I was already a bit behind on. I had to do the invoicing at work... which never ceases to cause problems.

The act of invoicing itself is not bad. I can handle that. I can even make my way through the easy but time-consuming task of formatting the timesheets I get from the engineers. Some of them turn their time in on time, and the time is correct, and there are no problems. Once we get to the deadline we begin to have problems. That's when the engineers have a tendency to ignore me.

They don't mean to. I know they don't. But they figure they will finish thier time in just a minute, then they'll be fine, and they won't have to worry about letting me know what's going on. But then something happens, and they get distracted, or some crisis happens with a client, and it's the end of the day. And they figure they'll get to it when they get home, or first thing in the morning, still no big deal. And they begin to avoid me so they don't have to face me until everything is in and all is right in the world again. But the same distractions and crises happen the next day, and before you know it... I'm feeling ignored. And then I'm calling and emailing, and calling and emailing their supervisors, because I can't do my job because they haven't done theirs. And it's frustrating.

It's not like I yell at them. Even when they are days behind, I still don't yell. I know their jobs are stressful, and paperwork can be annoying. I know. I give them the benefit of the doubt every time. If it goes on for months, well sure -- I'll tell them that I want their time in. And they know. But I still need to do my job. Even if they called and said -- hey, I need more time, maybe a day or two, and I'll let you know when I'm all set... that would be just fine with me.

Ah, well. I can't make them do anything. So I guess I'll just have to learn to live with that.

Anyway, Wednesday was better than Tuesday. It smelled like autumn in the morning, which I love. The trains were packed again, but I got some okay sleep. Invoicing got done (done enough, anyway). And now I'm drinking tea. And Monday I'll go back to my fairly energetic Spanish class which is now being taught by... a Jew. Not that I don't like Jews (it's a good thing I do, or I'd have problems at home), but I just think it's completely funny that the entire Spanish department is made of Spaniards and Puerto Ricans and Mexicans... and one crazy little Jewish woman. I love it.

Anyway, speaking of Spanish, I should do my online workbook. And play a little game called "lots of Spanish flash cards". There's a quiz next week, and although the Anatomy exam next week is more important, I'm a little behind in Spanish. Maybe I should try talking to myself in Spanish... well, at least when no one else is around, anyway. I don't need people looking at me funny.

Enjoy that crisp autumn scent, everyone.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

self-proclaimed fence-sitter

Well, here I am at the friendly local Argo Tea near Michigan Avenue. They have good tea, and it's a place away from my own apartment where I am less likely to get homework done because of how easily I get distracted at home. Although Starbucks has comfier chairs. I would go to Starbucks for that fact, but I have to pay for their wireless internet, which I need for my online workbooks. So free internet wins over comfy butt-spot. Not that I'm all that less distracted, anyway. Oh well.

Small update: class is slighty annoying but fine, the new bookkeeping tasks at work are slightly mind-numbing because of all the numbers but is fine, the men at work are beginning to cross the line when it comes to thinking with the wrong head and I may have to deal with issues, still reading C.S. Lewis and going to church and liking it, need to actually do some laundry, and pulled out the crockpot for the first time this fall last night.

To the topic at hand. I am a fence-sitter. I always have been. I decided to actually think about this, rather than just say something that sounds correct and insightful.

It is tactful, to say the least. If you are able to see both sides of a situation, you are less likely to be so set in your ways that you are unwilling to change. It is important to be willing to change and grow, for numerous reasons. It is easier to get along with all kinds of people if you are willing to see all sides of the story. You're also less likely to piss people off.

Or to be liked by everyone.

Yeah, I know that's been my reason. I just want people to like me. So I make sure my values and thoughts are maleable enough that I don't have to worry about someone not liking my values and thoughts, and I'm more likely to be liked. I am a social chameleon, able to change to fit into any situation. There are pros to this ability.

But there are also cons. I am less myself than I'd like to be. I try not to harbor strong opinions, for fear that someone might be offended. And I'm so afraid of people saying that I'm wrong.

Oh, and look -- I'm now kinda fence-sitting about my state as a fence-sitter. [sigh] Nice.

From now on, I am myself. I do not unnecessarily bend for others' opinions. I am willing to change, but I am willing to state my opinion. Maybe less people will like me. Fine. Maybe more people will like me. Fine. I preach about being true to myself, but I don't do a good job of actually doing anything sometimes. Maybe I'll remember this time.

I don't think this was actually in response to anything -- just some new, crazy insight of mine. You know, that I'm insightful without doing a damn thing about the insight.

Grow on, everyone.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Religious Musings and Frustrations

Ever felt like writing a blog because you're confused/frustrated, but not sure where to begin or how much to write?

Religion is going to start making my life kinda difficult. For a long while. I do admit, though, that it's my own doing. I could decide to not deal with the new crazy juxtaposition of my opposed-to-organized-religion background with the sudden infiltration of Lutheranism. But that would be silly. Easy, but silly.

I enjoy discussing religion. I find it interesting, especially as one who was not permitted to fully take part in it as a child. My dad wanted me to be a clean slate so I could decide to join or not join a religion when I grew up enough to make the decision for myself. I understand and appreciate this effort. I don't know much about any religion, and love learning new things, so talking about any religion is fascinating. I have read a number of books on Native American religions, researched Buddhism, explained Pagan religions to classmates, and learned about Judaism from my roommate (Jewish, although she has been known to nosh on a pepperoni pizza).

But I can't say I always had good experiences when learning about Christianity. Don't get me wrong -- I know many people who are Christians (living in America, and all), and they don't think I'm a creepy heathen who should be saved. They are normal people, and treat me like an equally normal person. My first experience (in high school), though, wasn't so hot:

- First service, okay. Second service, Ash Wednesday, I felt quite out of place. Next, Bible Study, I was told I was wrong and was going to Hell. This didn't go over well, since I didn't really like the idea of Hell, didn't know how I felt about Jesus, and didn't like being shot down without a say in the matter, so I didn't go back to that group. There was discord from then on.

Upon getting to college, I again was told by a friend that I'd go to Hell because I wasn't Baptized. ...Sorry, I'm going to experience Eternal Damnation because I wasn't dunked in water as an infant? No, that didn't work for me, either.

Then I met other people who wanted to talk to me about Jesus, but seemed too sugary-sweet to actually be real.

If you really feel like "saving my soul", don't just tell me I'm wrong.

So, as you can see, I've grown up with not the best views of the most popular religion in America.

And now I'm seriously dating a man who is going to school to be a Lutheran Pastor. This may get interesting.

I love talking with Dan about religion. But now conversations with my parents (Sunday mornings, no less) involves discussion of him, and how is this "religion thing", and why does he want to be a pastor again, and what does he say to you, and and and and. I don't have the language right now to explain anything we talk about, and it doesn't help that I've never been good with on-the-spot debates. It all is very draining, and confusing, and frustrating. I can tell that if any conversion on my part ever happens, my dad might be disappointed in me. Angry at Dan? No. But still, disappointed in me. For joining a group that he feels is closed-minded. And I can't defend it because I don't have the knowledge to yet. I think my immediate family would be more accepting of any religion other than Christian. And not even like I know I would ever convert. I may not. I don't know. I don't want to if I don't think I should. I'm not trying to turn my back on what I've been taught, but I don't want to be closed to what I might learn. I feel like this might turn into a Dad vs. Boyfriend battle, with me as the prize. I want this to be my decision, not their battle. Not that it's actually going to be like that -- I know it wouldn't be -- but that's how I'm going to feel, I think.

After getting off the phone with my parents, I curled up in a heap of pillows, because I decided sleeping was better than thinking.

I may just be getting a little dramatic and ahead of myself. But that's only because I've just started to realize how serious this might get. Still.

I'm a good person. Why isn't that enough? Isn't that the whole point, anyway? Love one another, help others, and don't be mean or stupid? Argh! I have no clue what the hell is happening. My life got so much better, and now I think it's getting hard again. Not that that's bad -- hard is good for growing and learning and changing. But it's still hard. And stressful. Can't I get a break from stress?

And classes start this week, which means any social time is going to be limited again. But it's me working toward a goal, so I can make it.

I am happy. I am. It just amazes me sometimes how much change I allow myself to go through. Life is good... I have to remind myself of that every now and then, but it is.

Thanks for reading the novel. Oh, and I'm always accepting of free advice. :)

Well, enjoy the week, everyone. Stay close to those you love.

Slap me on the ass and call me a girl!

As a woman, I have 2 choices when it comes to a work environment:

1. Work with mostly women.

Women, as it usually goes, can be pretty catty and mean when it comes to group environments. They are nice to your face, then talk bad about you behind your back. They may not even realize it, since it can range from "That bitch stole my promotion" to something as mundane as "I got the same sandals for a much better price than she did". I think it has to do with some sort of innate, primal competition for the best males. Also, women rarely dress well specifically *for men* -- it's for the surrounding women. To look better in their eyes, rise to the top of the pecking order, and become liked... that way, the other women are less likely to talk bad about you -- and this allows you to get the better men. In contrast, the women who are secure in relationships never seem to be as bad about this. Note: I said secure. If they aren't secure, they are just as bad, since they have to work to keep their man.

However, there is the possibility of having good, close friendships. As you are always together during the day, these can flourish greatly with very little effort. But probably not with all of the coworkers.

2. Work with mostly men.

Men aren't catty. If they have a problem with you, they make fun of you to your face. I think this relates back to the fight-to-the-death for the right to a female. They have to compete, and the person who gets in the last, best jab to the ego gets the right to have the best woman. Or paycheck. Which then allows them to get the best woman.

Although the all-male workplace is normally free of drama, it is important to understand that you are their personal in-office-wife-substitute. They will not always clean spills, nor will they tell you if they took the last pen from the supply room. They won't do things if they don't find them important. It's kind of like babysitting -- it is automatically your job to make sure they do their homework and chew with their mouths closed. This isn't always the case, though, and some are better than others.

Is this sexist? Sure. Why? Because we are different. No... don't deny it. We are. Women are naturally more nuturing and have a tendency to go into "nesting mode" after having sex with someone we like, and men like to hunt things and go find more things to hunt after the success has been established. It's just the way it is, people.

So I guess I'm saying that I'm glad I work in an all-male office, because I don't have to worry about silly catty woman-drama. But I am a babysitter. It's annoying. It's my job, and until we get someone else in here to help (hopefully soon), I am the catch-all administrative assistant/nanny.

But I do have pretty good health insurance, so I can't complain too much.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone. Go to the park.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What a difference a *year* makes...

Well folks, it’s been a year. Time to get all reminiscent. I moved to Chicago on August 8, 2005. My life is so friggin’ different than it was when I got here that my head is spinning just a bit. Stressful as all get-out. But I wouldn’t trade any of these changes away… all kinds of life-altering experiences. I can hardly believe all the crap I've put myself through:

Moved to Chicago. Found out that it *is* worth it to have movers help you when you have three crappy flights of stairs. And even if mattresses fit up curvy stairs, the box springs may not. And might dent the wall a bit. But besides a few squirrels and yucky carpet, things are good in the apartment.

Found a job on my first try, worked for a week, then lost the position (no one knows why... but I wouldn’t have fit in that stuffy atmosphere for long, anyway). No one wanted me for weeks because I had so little office experience, and couldn’t get past the resume screening. Had some pretty crappy temp jobs (see earlier blogs from last September). Then found a super-duper job (though yes, Yuppie Corporate America Job) that I can stand. At least the people are fine, I don’t hate it, and my boss rocks. Really. She’s great. I’ll hate leaving her. It's definitely a good place to be for now.

Decided to go to grad school for costuming. Got myself a job at a very disorganized costume shop. Then decided I didn’t want theatre as my life-sustaining career. Almost considered staying at yuppie job for the rest of my life. Thought about natural medicine, but wasn't sure what I really wanted to do and I didn’t want to fight the label of “quack” forever. Then had a life-altering doctor appointment with 2 amazing midwives who just happened to see me… and realized that’s what I wanted to do. And now I’m taking lots of classes. With any luck, I’ll get into the great midwifery program with a 1% acceptance rate. Or at least some midwife program. I'm taking a Doula Certification class in October, and I can't wait. At least people seem to think I'm "earth-motherly". I should put that on my grad school applications.

I used to only get sinus infections. Then I got pneumonia, asthma, and some other random disease-like problems. Not sure why all this happened to Little Miss Healthy, but it all wound up leading me to the above mentioned career path. So… fine.

Then there’s the subject of being man-prey. :) I moved here to decide if I could marry the man with whom I had been in a long-distance relationship for 3 years. After much stress, a number of tears, and a minor panic attack, I realized that wasn’t the best idea for me. Eh… it happens. But then I met (well, “re-met”, I suppose) the most wonderful man and have fallen faster than I could have imagined… hmm. Yeah. No words can completely express my surprise and delight. [sigh] I have no idea how it happened, but I don’t plan on second guessing how life works in its mysterious ways. I don’t know how I managed to deserve this… but I’m just going to take it and run with it. Dan -- you're the best. (They just don't understand. :)

So yes… a good year. Very hard, very turbulent, but amazing. Incomparable to past years by a long shot. Saul Bellow *did* have it right: "When the fear yields, a beauty is disclosed in its place." When you allow yourself to just go with the flow, it's amazing what can happen.

I can only wish that all the rest of you find the wonderfulness that I found.

Alright -- enough sappiness from this crazy girl.

Here’s to another terrific year, everyone.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Catching up on everything

Hmmm... I'm tired. Should I complain... well, maybe not. I mean, yes, I have school, and I'm working a crazy Corporate America job, but I can't say I'm helping the situation.

School is good. I enjoy Biology -- maybe not the time it takes out of my day, but I enjoy the learning part. I forgot how much I like learning new things. Education is like speed for my brain. (I mean, I'm *assuming* it is. I've never actually done speed. I don't even know if you snort it or smoke it. Or maybe there's some other way the kids are using their drugs nowadays -- those crazy kids. [shaking the old man fist in the air])

At any rate. I like learning this stuff. Just not the time it takes to be in class. After having to get up at 6am every morning for work (okay, okay... 6:15... 6:30...), having to go straight to class at 5pm, and then not getting home until after 10pm, I am tired. Oh, and remember that "speed for my brain" comment? Yeah. I can't physically slow my brain down enough to go to sleep as soon as I get home. So I don't get to sleep until after 11pm. And for someone who's a pansy-butt about not getting her 8 hours of sleep, this has the possibility of getting ugly.

Now, I can't say I'm helping the situation at all. I could relax myself on the way home with some calm music, take a nice cool shower, and get into bed as soon as I get home. But no. I need my daily phone call with Dan. For, eh, an hour... or so. The best way to wind down to get to sleep? No. Not really. But enjoyable, nonetheless, and so I will continue to exist on caffienated black tea to get myself through my day until class is out for the summer and I have more time to actually get my sleep.

Good luck to me when I start anatomy and statistics this fall...

But it is a holiday weekend. I will go to the beach... and study. (Hey, at least I'm at the beach.) As long as rain doesn't ruin those plans like it did last weekend, anyway. And I'll go take pictures of people enjoying their holiday. (Does this say something about me?) And I'l work on my own sewing projects, as I've eliminated myself from the costume shop lineup. So not a whole lot of relaxation, but a lot of me-stuff. Which will be good for once.

Enjoy the holiday, everyone.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Taught to the tune of a hickory stick...

Well, folks, I’m doing it – I’m taking a class.

That doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as it might have sounded back in the 30’s when people would mail order for correspondence classes on radio or the typewriter or something. But I think it’s pretty darn exciting. Or frightening. Or something. Whatever.

I’m taking BIO 121: Biology for pre-med majors. Not that I’m pre-med. Oh, no. Not that crazy. But I am pre-Certified-Nurse-Midwife. Yeah, I think I’m going to do it. I’m going to be a midwife. Just need a master’s degree, I can handle that. (I can hear it now: “But Miss Scarlett, Miss Scarlett, I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies!”) First I just have to take a few prerequisites. Like Biology. And, possibly even more difficult, I have to get through the enrollment process. Let me explain… imagine, if you will…


I walk into the admissions office of the local community college. I have my college transcripts, sealed and everything, and I hand them over. They put me in the computer as a student. No problem. Then they send me to Room 204 to register for the class I need.

I get there, and she says I need to take a placement test to get out of English 101 – because I didn’t take an English class in college. I tell her I didn’t need one because I tested out of the English gen ed credit because of my AP scores and ACT scores. She tells me if I haven’t taken a class, I need the placement test, end of story. Not like I graduated from college already or anything. Grrr. Okay, fine, I say – and she sends me to Rm 407 for the test.

I get there, ask how long the test will take (since my parents are in town and are expecting me to play tour guide), and they say that there is no time limit. Since that wasn’t quite the answer I was looking for, I ask again. Again she states that there is no time limit, and I can take as long as I like. I tell her that I have my parents in town, I need to tell them when they might be able to expect me. She resigns, tells me it may take an hour, it may take me two hours, it depends on how much time I need. I say fine, okay, that’s a good enough answer. I tell my parents I’ll meet them in two hours or so, and tell her I’ll take the test. She says I need the general test: reading, writing, and math. Wait – MATH? No, no, no – the woman earlier said I only needed English. Not math. NOT math. But the woman at the placement test counter said I needed math because I’m taking a science class, so I agreed – reluctantly – to take the math test. And I began.

I had to begin with the math test. It was a very good thing I reviewed college algebra a few weeks ago, otherwise I would have had serious problems. More serious that I already had, that is. I sped through the easy algebra, finished the fraction section, did some easy geometry, and felt I may have actually gotten the functions right (though I doubt it). Then came exponents. Not the “what is 5 squared” exponents, oh no. I’m talking about negative exponents, and exponents over exponents, and exponents of exponents . I remember seeing these before, but I definitely did a lot of guessing. Then came Trigonometry. Really now – how badly did this test have to end? I actually tried to think about the first two questions about sin-cos-tan-cot and whatever else. I recognized the types of questions, I just didn’t have a clue on how to figure them out. After the first two questions, I just picked answers. There had to have been 15 trig questions, and I guessed on all of them. An hour later, I finally finished.

I moved on to the reading section, which was easier than any standardized test in high school, and I finished it in 15 minutes. I then had to write an essay about the social pressures on me at the moment, and I wrote about getting into college (you know, if I pass the test). I then handed in my test, and was told to come back on Monday. With my high school transcript.

Wait. With my high school transcript? Are you kidding me? You mean, my college transcript isn’t enough? You don’t automatically assume that if I have a college degree that I must have also finished high school? (At this point, I’m beginning to feel a bit elitist about my college level of education.) Apparently, this isn’t the case. I need my high school transcript in order to actually register for classes. You know, to prove I’m worthy to take classes at the local community college. Grrr.

So… I call my high school. Then I get forwarded to the board of education. I ask if I can get my transcript faxed, but they don’t do that because of the confidential nature of transcripts (like I care who sees my high school transcript). She says I can pick it up, though. From Wadsworth, Ohio. Ha! Right. I ask if she can fed ex it, and she agrees, as long as I pay for the next-day-Saturday-delivery. I call fed ex, arrange for a pick up, call the friendly woman back, let her know she can get it ready, and pay $5 to the local currency exchange so I can fax my transcript release authorization to the same friendly woman. Then I finally go trotting off to the museum with my parents.

This whole weekend, I dreaded seeing my test scores. I imagine the huge fight I will undertake when I try to take a science class after not passing the math placement test. I also imagine how in the world I will get decent scores on the GRE if I can’t pass a silly little placement test. Ugh.


I go to admissions and ask for my placement test scores. She goes into the file, brings them over, and I see them – the scores. Reading: fine. Writing: fine. Math: not-so-fine. I got 91% on both arithmetic and high school algebra. But I got a 59% on the collge algebra. And a whopping 19% on the trig. Hmm. Good job, me. At least I did an okay job at guessing.

Anyway, the test score lady scribbles her instructions on my score page: go see math advisor to decide which math course to take. What? Oh, no – I’m not taking a math course. But I hold my tongue, and go to the class registration, ready for a fight. I sit down with the math advisor, tell her I want to take Biology 121, and she signs me up, no questions asked.

No math test scores needed. No high school transcript needed. I don’t ask any questions. No way am I going to second guess divine intervention.

She sends me off to the finance office to pay, and I get told to go get my student ID. I survived.

Today, I paid $190 for a large used biology text book and a flimsy little lab workbook. At least classes at the community college are cheaper than anywhere else.

Well, class starts tomorrow. I have a feeling I’ll have some good fodder for writing (and plenty of time to want to procrastinate).

Good luck to me.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Like one of those annoying wind up toys... just not as annoying because the wind-up springy thingy is broken.

Well, that does it. I’m sick. Ugh.

Amy asked me yesterday, “If you’re selling your van, and you won’t be paying car insurance anymore, do you really need to work at the costume shop anymore?”

D asked, “When was the last time you had two days in a row off?” Two days in a row? Ha! How about two days in a week, at all?

Nowadays I spend my Sundays, my one day off a week, sitting on my ass all day long. Those of you who know me understand what a big deal this is. I am not the person who can just sit around the house all day long. I’m too ADD for that. I always have to at least go walk to the grocery store, or bake cookies, or go to Target. But for the past month or two, I have been a lazy bum. Not that that’s bad. It’s not, necessarily. But it’s not something I have ever been able to do. I can barely sit in one place for a half-hour sitcom.

I am burnt out. And now I’m sick.

I thought it was just that I needed a vacation. So here’s me, simply looking forward to the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, and the 5-day vacation I’m taking the following weekend when my parents come into town. (Hooray!)

But now I’m sick. (Did you catch that part? Okay. Just wanted to make sure.)

So I can’t work at the costume shop anymore. I just can’t do it. Maybe once a month or so, if that works. Not that I don’t enjoy it. I do. I get paid to sew pretty dresses and help people pick out costumes. Now really—can you get much better than that? But it’s just too much. There is no point in burning myself out if I don’t have to. (Or at all, really, for that matter.) I’ve had too much going on lately, and I’ll be starting school soon. I don’t need to be burnt out *before* I get to school. Burning out is reserved for while you’re in classes. That’s what you’re supposed to do in school. Not before you get there.

Apparently I’m not invincible. Crap.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Forget your troubles, c'mon get happy!

Yes, folks -- it's a good day.

I'm going home for the weekend. I plan on having a little extra money to squirrel away into my savings account (my what?) now that my car insurance has dropped. I talked to the Lovely Rita last night -- she is pretty darn great! I realize that my health is not as bad as I think. I've gained a little weight over the winter (hello, hibernation), but it will soon be summer and I'll get to snack on raw things like a rabbit. I finally got pictures back from last May (the roll of film was hiding under a table). And it's sunny and warm, meaning I get to break out the sandals, skirts, and self-tanner from a bottle.

So really, I think things are gunna be okay. Great, even! Hooray!

And a side note: I felt the above song lyrics (of which Judy Garland sings marvolously) were quite appropriate. She talks about shouting hallelujiah and going to the promised land and judgement day. Very Easter-ish and Passover-ish. And speaking of which, I found out the other day, those two holidays really have nothing to do with each other except that they fall around the same time. I never understood why my Jewish friends cared about only one of those many holy holidays in that season. But now I know. It's because Passover was when they left Egypt, and those others are Christian holidays about Jesus.

Really, everything is falling into place now. :)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chicago-HESO (or, "Does anybody have a career they don't want?")

I remembered how to do high school algebra last night.

Not like I woke up at 3 am, sat up, and suddenly recalled what the quadradic formula was. This happened in a 4-hour span of time while sitting in a coffee shop after work, drinking a green tea latte.

Yes, folks, I did this to myself. ON PURPOSE. This is so I can score higher than a 2% on the GRE and go back to school. I think I'll get a Master's degree.

In what, you ask? Hmmm... I'm thinking some sort of medical career.


Yes, you heard me. I'm going into the medical field. I'm not sure how this fell into my lap, nor do I know exactly what kind of medical career I want. I want to help people be healthy, and teach them how to stay healthy so they don't need me. (No, not good business practice, but good ethics.) I don't want to be a "doctor" doctor. (What I mean by that is, I don't want to be in med school until I'm 45.) I don't want to be in the you're-sick-so-here's-a-pill field of medicine. I'm more into preventative, keep-yourself-healthy-and-quit-being-afraid-of-germs medicine. So I'm thinking I can be a naturopathic doctor, a chiropractor, or a midwife.

Yeah. I know. "Those are three very different jobs, you know, and why in the world would you want to be a midwife?" you say. Well, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up yet, so don't get all worried about me yet. I figure I have some time to decide.

First I need to relearn algebra. Which, in algebra's defense, the first half of the 300-page book was fairly easy. I whipped through my 8th grade algebra class in a few hours last night. It's the algebra II, trig, and pre-calc that I'm going to have some problems with. All I remember from trigonometry class was me with my head in my hands, my teacher looking at my work, and her saying, "How in the world did you get that?" I followed the rules, I swear. I just never did a very good job of simplifying. I always wound up making things more complicated, somehow. I don't know how. And I think that was the problem.

Hopefully I'll be able to learn all of this darned math now that I'm older and wiser. (Or something.) Then I get to move on to the year's worth of biology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, and some other math/science prerequisite junk I didn't have to learn for my theatre degree.

Maybe I should just get an acting gig on ER. I could act like a doctor.

***On an unrelated side note, my car is going back to the shop again, because she doesn't think she's fixed. But D is taking care of it for me, because he's really great. :) And it's going to be 67 degrees today, so I'm wearing sandals, and that makes for a terrific day no matter what. Hooray for being happy!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What's in a name?

Some of you may not be familiar with the Roman Comedy of "Lysistrata".

First, Romans liked their comedies. They also liked blood, gore, and sex. As they were fans of the coliseum and gladiator fights, they were also fans of funny plays with lots of phalluses (phalluses? phalli?). Lysistrata is one of these plays. Here is an excerpt from one translation, at the very beginning of the play:

But I tell you, the business that calls them here
is far and away more urgent.
And why do you summon us, dear Lysistrata? What
is it all about?
About a big thing.
CLEONICE (taking this in a different sense; with
great interest) And is it thick too?
Yes, very thick.
And we are not all on the spot! Imagine!
LYSISTRATA (wearily)
Oh! if it were what you suppose, there would be never
an absentee. No, no, it concerns a thing I have turned
about and about this way and that so many sleepless nights.
CLEONICE (still unable to be serious)
It must be something mighty fine and subtle for
you to have turned it about so!
So fine, it means just this, Greece saved by the women!

And another excerpt...

Yes, that is best.... Ah! here comes Lampito. (LAMPITO,
a husky Spartan damsel, enters with three others, two
from Boeotia and one from Corinth.) Good day, Lampito,
dear friend from Lacedaemon. How well and handsome
you look! what a rosy complexion! and how strong you
seem; why, you could strangle a bull surely!
Yes, indeed, I really think I could. It's because I do
gymnastics and practise the bottom-kicking dance.
CLEONICE (opening LAMPITO'S robe and baring her bosom)
And what superb breasts!
La! you are feeling me as if I were a beast for sacrifice.
And this young woman, where is she from?
She is a noble lady from Boeotia.
Ah! my pretty Boeotian friend, you are as blooming as a garden.
CLEONICE (making another inspection)
Yes, on my word! and her "garden" is so thoroughly weeded too!

So yes. The Romans were quite a bunch.

This play is about a soldier's wife (named Lysistrata) who doesn't want her husband going off to war because she misses the sex. Nor does she want the rest of her friends' husbands going off to war. So they all bind together and decide that (no matter how hard it will be) they will withhold sex from their husbands. If the husbands force them, they will lay there like dead fish, since they know men don't like sex if the women don't also have a good time.

This play is one of those "I am woman, hear me roar" shows, but just with a lot of subtle (and not-so-subtle) sexual innuendo. At any rate, a rockin' good time.

I named my car Lysistrata.

I had my reasons. I wanted something that had theatrical roots. I didn't want Stella, because some Polish, working-class car would beat her up. Not Mrs. Lovett, because I don't want to drive a canniballistic car. Not Juliet, because I don't need her falling in love with a sports car and committing suicide. As she is a minivan, and therefore a female, I decided on Lysistrata. She is a woman (soccer mom van, as some call her) but don't make her mad. If you ignore her needs, she will get very angry. But if you treat her well, she will put out. I decided that would be okay.

This week, I put $1400 to her repairs. That doesn't count the hassle of getting new license plates because her old ones were stolen. And she's still angry, so she's going back to the shop tonight. Who knows how much more she will require me to spend on her.

Maybe Stella would have been better. At least she stayed loyal and fertile after she got beaten up.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Confessions of a far-from-teenage drama queen

Because that's how I feel right now. Like a drama queen. Part of me just wants the drama to stop... come on, no more drama in my life! (That's right, I said it.) However, part of me is enjoying being somewhat dramatic, as always... it does give me something to talk about.

But really, people. I'm feeling like the drama really can cool down anytime now.

I know it's been a while since my last post. I've had a lot of drama. Let me update myself, in abridged format:

1. broke up with boyfriend, had psychological issues.
2. lied to family at Christmas about boyfriend to bypass questioning.
3. made new year's resolution to take care of *myself*, not necessarily everyone else around me (see #1.)
4. went back to gym (see #3.)
5. started taking voice lessons again (see #3.)
6. bought pretty, sparkly ring for myself (see #3.)
7. scored free tickets to the House of Blues on new year's eve (turns out I know people that run into band members at the airport.)
8. tried to soothe ego and psyche of the ex (wow... "ex" is hard to write.)
9. went to hospital and stood in 2 hour long pharmacy line that I didn't actually need to stand in (don't worry, I'm fine)
10. walked around a few miles trying to figure out where to actually get seen and how to get back home (see #9.)
11. plan on being in a play... somewhere... anywhere...

So there we are. My drama. Anyone wants some, you know where to go... I have extra.