Friday, July 29, 2011
There are lots of other stories about my dad's littlest sister (youngest too!) that are worth telling, but that's sort of the best one for my purposes... which is amorphous at best at the moment. It's not a "good things come in little packages" sort of purpose, although between MBFJ(c)G and my Aunt Cheryl, that is certainly true. If you add in my friend Marita Beth then you have conclusive evidence thrice verified. Ok, I really just wanted to say "thrice."
No, I think what I'm gong for is something along the lines of "don't get too big for your britches" in the ego and attitude way, not fudge brownies a la mode for dinner kind of way.
Life is funny, in both the "ha-ha" and the "uh-oh" varieties. This profound statement is fueled by a lack of sleep and low fat chocolate soy milk. But stick with me a minute. I have a feeling I might be getting to a point somewhere in here. So, as you get older (I won't say grow up, since some of us never do), what you want changes. I still want a gem-encrusted rocket pony and things covered in purple ruffles, but I no longer think my brother has cooties or that being a ballerina would be the coolest thing ever. Seriously, one book where they mentioned broken toes in dancers and I was OUT! Ok, so, injuries during physical hobbies aside, my "dreams" are pretty mundane these days. Have been for a while, I think. I want to learn to cook meat without having to use a thermometer to tell if it's done. I want to chop vegetables effectively. I want to bake a cake from scratch (or flour, not from a box) at least one time, just to say I can. Knitting and quilting and sewing in most forms can hopefully wait a bit, but, I have kitcheny goals at the moment. My "life" goals are a little looser. I still dream of travel, but like it in the dreaming stage. I don't have career goals, unless I find a way to make a career out of spending time on the internet with a cat in my lap. But then it would be work, and not fun, and I worry about that in a non-worry-more-an-excuse kind of way. But I do dream of being sort of well-rounded* and interesting...unique and special, just like all my friends.
I also dream of a day when all my floors are clean, all my laundry is washed & put away, and the bathtub is clean enough for a good long soak. And to be a rockstar. On the moon. With Steve.
So what does this have to do with getting too big for your metaphorical britches? Um... not a lot maybe, unless it's a reminder to myself to set smaller goals, take things one at a time, and listen to the wisdom of people older (and shorter) than me.
*also in the ego and metaphorical way, not hot-fudge-milkshake-for-breakfast way
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I did. I did it all by myself. And I tweeted about it. Then, my lovely husband took it upon himself as a challenge to make sure that the page looked the same on everyone's screen, regardless of resolution, which isn't actually true since some of the elements are overlapped on smaller screen and much more spread out on bigger screens, but the point is that people could see all of the design no matter their screen size, even if it was laid out differently. And he spent a lot of time researching how to make that happen. And he did.. unless you have certain versions of IE in which the fun background doesn't display at all, and we're still working on that. Try it in Chrome! Anyway, most of that I already told Twitter, and now I'm telling you, so it's sort of like repeating myself and all that over-lap audience can just skip this part which is the internet equivalent of smiling & nodding while thinking about how to get away from the insufferable bore who always tells the same stories over and over again. I'm that guy. Sadly.
Which isn't so surprising, seeing as how I'm the one who sent an e-mail to a favorite blogger about an older post that had the comments disabled to say how much I loved that post and it spoke to me and the parallel she drew in there was just so perfect and, "Gee, I like that band too, and I think you're keen."
Seems harmless, right? WRONG! I'd already sent that e-mail some 5 months before. Only, I completely forgot. Not that I'd ever e-mailed her before, but what I said in that first e-mail. Turns out, at least I'm consistent, right?
Yes, I am. So there.
Anyway, this is me giving you permission to use this on me in real life. If I start to tell you a story that a) I've already told you before, 2) you've read on this blog, or D) all of the above, feel free to jump in and tell me about Ewan McGregor in the Island. I won't complain. I won't mind. In fact, I'll probably thank you for sparing me further humiliation and foot-in-mouthery in public.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I understand referring to preferred brands as "mine" though I have very few of those. Skippy is my peanut butter. I sort of invented giraffapotamus although I don't claim to be the first person to ever wonder what would happen if you crossed the two. I think the official answer I've decided on is a sort of short-tailed brontosaurus looking thing, with a giraffe head & horns on a giraffe neck that attaches to a hippo body... and it's all sort of hippo colored with the pattern of a giraffe. Giraffapotamuses like baths, and often fall down and trip over their own feet. They get really mad and fierce, but can't do much about it because of the giraffe head, not the ferocious hippo teeth... that seems about right to me.
*I know I'm not just making this up, but I can't seem to find the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books that I remember... ones where she fixed kids with behavioral problems by giving into the bad behavior and then letting it go to the extreme and whimsical solution... where the kid who hated baths didn't have to take them and then someone put seeds in the dirt on their skin and grew vegetables or flowers or something? And a selfish kid who got to label EVERYTHING in his world with his name and an identifier... let's call him Mike for this example. His mom had a "Mike's Mom" sticker and he wrote with icing or condiments on all his food "Mike's Cookie" "Mike's Sandwich"... I don't remember how that one got resolved which maybe says a lot about me as a human, but what I want it to say is that I loved and still remember those books...
Friday, July 22, 2011
Two different words. I have been completely ignoring the first and using the second for both meanings. I know! I should totally know better. Now I do. My apologies for being wrong for so long.
Is rock-n-roll bohemian a valid style descriptor? If not, I'm making it one for today. It seems like something Cosmo would say, which makes me a little nervous, because I'm... well, not the kind of person who would be featured in Cosmo, but today, I feel a little like a hip hippy. You know those 2-layer wrap skirt things that supposedly can be worn 23 ways? I've only ever managed to pull off two of those ways until now. I saw one where you turn it into a jacket-shawl-cape-thing and I'm sure I dismissed it 100 times thinking that it's not a look I could pull off, but something about it looked do-able and now I'm all flowy and stuff. I love it! But I'm also wearing half pig-tails & crackle nail polish, so... you know... I feel a little rocker-esque too. So there's that...
I was trying to figure out a way to say (in 140 characters or less, because I was tweeting) that my friend Paula & I have barely convergent circles in the Venn Diagram of interests, but that what was in that together space was really strong & has kept us friends for more than 10 years, which is pretty incredible. Now I want to go make an actual Venn Diagram thingy for my Nebraska girls, because, on the WHOLE we don't really seem to make sense, but like lots of friends that you've had for a long time, there some shared experience stuff that kinda works like glue, but in the beginning, we had people look at us and actually say, "You two are friends? How does that...work?" Usually about me & Karen, but we were DESTINED to be friends. We had the same 2 posters on our walls (Trainspotting, the rant, and Say Anything). Destiny!
So, remember way back on Tuesday or something when I said that maybe something exciting would happen before I posted next so I could make you laugh again? Well, I forgot to put the caveat of "something good & exciting" in there. Not that me saying that had anything to do with what did happen after I posted that, just... you know... you say things like "how could this get any worse?" and then it does, so you think, "wish I hadn't said that!" It's like that. Because after posting that, I found out that a friend had died due to complications in a surgery to remove her leg because of cancer caused by neurofibromatosis. Yeah. Sucks. She wasn't a close friend, but someone I sort of hung out with for 15 weekends a year as we participated in the same hobby. In preparation for the surgery she cut her shoulder-length red hair into a pixie cut and dyed it electric teal. She was a fighter and it's totally lame that she's gone. Totally lame. Cancer sucks, and it's the bad kind of diva, and... just... yeah.
So, a while ago, I got a new phone. I was very resistant to doing so because I loved my old phone. Now, I was totally one of those "phones are for calling people" people until I got my own smartphone. Then, having access to my e-mail and Twitter whenever I wanted was... too awesome to give up. So, I had a Google phone with a full qwerty keyboard that slid out, not a touch screen one, and that's all I wanted for my new phone. As a bonus, my new phone also is a lot louder than my old phone, so I can use fancy music ringtones & still actually hear my phone ring. This was very exciting to a music-based life form like me. But then! I didn't "safely disconnect" my phone from my computer and all the files on my phone for cool music went all wonky and I lost my fun ringtones, only I didn't know it until I missed like 3 calls, because I had my phone turned up ALL THE WAY and still missed calls when my phone was IN MY POCKET. So, I switched over to one of the standard rings that came with the phone, and it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't awesome, and I was used to awesome. Anyway, all that is just the back story. The triumph is that I fixed it this morning & instead of having to listen to the love child of a UFO & a pinball machine every time someone calls me, my phone now sings Blue Carolina to me. This is awesome again and makes me wish that people would call me so my phone would sing to me more. Almost.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Well, I'm not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be mysterious. It's just not in my nature. Dark is also sort of right out. Pasty & freckled aren't exactly the first correlating physical attributes that leap to mind when one mentions "mystery" but that's ok. I mean, Galadriel was light & mysterious, so that is an option, just not for me.
I think the problem is in subtlety. I have none. My friend Dan once summed it up perfectly: "You're a six-foot red head. I think Mother Nature ruled subtlety right out." I can do dramatic. I can be bold. Neither of those things are necessarily full of mystery. Also, I have no "poker-face." None. When they say you can read people like a book... I'm one of those people. I can keep secrets, but it takes a lot of effort. (In fact, I'm keeping at least 3 secrets from you right now, so there!) I'm not quite so bad at keeping secrets as my husband, who has on more than 3 occasions had to buy me multiple Christmas gifts because he couldn't wait to give me the first one he bought. I totally luck out in that department. Me? I just buy gifts as I see them and then hide them in the house so that when it comes time to wrap gifts I realize that some people (the easy to shop for) have multiple gifts. I am also very easy to shop for.
I think it's because I like stuff, and I'm not shy in my appreciation. I'm actually not really shy about anything. I refrain from telling strangers my medical history, but I've been known to discuss my innards with my friends and family in a candid, yet (I find) humorous way. I will talk to strangers while out and about. There just doesn't seem to be too much that I won't talk about to just about anybody.
See, I just can't be mysterious! I want to talk to people and tell them things I know and things I heard and about the stuff I like. I want to hear all of that from them too. I want to know stuff, so I tell people stuff, and one of the things I know the most about is me. Obviously, I also tell all of you these things too. Can one be mysterious while blogging? Sure! You only reveal what you want to, right? I just happen to reveal a lot, because I don't find too many topics off-limits. I think the over-all impression one might get about me from this blog is probably pretty accurate to life. I'm talkative, sometimes obnoxiously so. I'm funny sometimes. I'm awkward a lot of the time. I love my cats and purple. I have opinions about stuff. I don't see much of a separation between "The Bean" and me. I tell my real-life friends and family about this space, and my mom even reads my blog (Hi Mom!), so it's not a deep, dark secret.
Now, my name isn't "Bean." My name doesn't mean "bean" in any foreign language nor is any family name derived from bean or legume-type words...that I know of. That being said, the detective skills required to find out my "secret identity" are more Beastie Boys than Hardy Boys. "The Bean" came from le bean, which came from LEBean, which came from LEB, my initials before I married a man with a last name at the tail-end of the alphabet, and that alphabet thing still kinda bothers me a bit. A fair trade for a wonderful husband, but not my favorite part of changing my name. I also used to be able to sign my entire name Firstname MiddleInitial Lastname without picking up my pen... a trick I learned from my mom (thanks Mom!). Now, I do have to pick up my pen once. The hardship I endure!
Anyway, I'm not mysterious. I'm sort of eclectic, but that's not the same thing. I'm not all that weird, because I know people like me, and there must be lots of other people I don't know who are like me too. I mean, I've been told lots of times by very different people that I remind them of their best-friend from grade-school or whatever, so I'm obviously not all that weird. Just weird enough. There is no mystery to my weirdness unless it's maybe in how I manage to like and do the things I do all at the same time... but, even that seems simple to me.
I just do.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I'm tapped out.
And yet, I'm still typing, which is like talking, in more ways than two. My husband suggested an "Everything I need to know in life, I learned from our cats" post.
- It's ok to sleep whenever and wherever I want
- It's perfectly acceptable to whine to get my way
- Just because it was wrong once doesn't mean I'll get in trouble for doing it again
- It's a good thing I'm pretty...
Those don't seem like helpful life lessons to promote to the masses.
He also suggested I write an open letter to Banshee, our oldest, crankiest kitty. It didn't go so well, which somehow doesnt' stop me from sharing:Dear Banshee,
I'm sorry your face is always stuck in a look of perpetual peevishness. I know that you are a genuinely sweet and loving kitty. Your purr can be heard 25 feet away, which seems pretty good evidence that you're not full of hate all the time. I'm proud of you for putting up with the kittens and consenting to share the bed with them. Also, just because you have grey strippes and so does the comforter... well, that doesn't exactly count as camoflage. Thank you for not scratching the dog's eyes out and I'm sorry I stepped on your tail the other day. It was dark. You're not exactly a high-visability kitty.
Much love, Me
See? It's just... this is what I've got at the moment. I think I used up all my good things to say talking to real people. Well, not that you aren't real people, but I meant people in my real life, not that this is my fake life, people in person. Actual talking, not typing. I used it all up. They weren't the best stories anyway. Some involved poop, and there is no infant in my life to make that an acceptable topic of conversation. I overshare sometimes, and I'm sparing you from that. This is my filter, people.
In case you were wondering, the sleepover with my niece went well*. There was Mexican food (not the planned Chinese take-out), and explanation of the function of a public notary, lots of giggling (hers), some nail painting (hers again, done by me) and some coloring (us). She went home happy. The rest of my thoughts are all wrapped up in the last Harry Potter movie and the books and stuff like that but until I can gather those into some sort of point, I'm going to let them just bounce around my head and be blurted out to random passers by.
One more service I offer, free of charge!
Hopefully something exciting will happen between now and next time so that I can once again wring from you tears of joy and laughter...or something like that...
*Have I said this before? I get the weirdest feeling of deja vu typing that...
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I forgot my dad had cancer.
I mean, I didn't erase it from my memory, expunging all thoughts of his diagnosis and treatment. (Expunge is a fun word to say. Go ahead, try it out.) No, I just... sort of forgot.
3 years ago, the Monday after Father's Day he called to tell us about the last in a series of tests to try to figure out why he was having ulcer-like symptoms that were getting worse, not better with multiple different treatments, and oh yeah, they couldn't find an ulcer. What they found instead was Stage IV pancreatic cancer all up in his liver. That was an interesting day, in the way of the Chinese curse/blessing thing that says "may you live in interesting times" which I have no source reference for, other than my husband says it sometimes.
After that initial diagnosis, we found out that it was the GOOD kind of pancreatic cancer, if you can imagine such a thing. Well, there's a "most likely dead within a year" kind and the "maybe dead within five years" kind. My dad has the same kind as Patrick Swayze, who, as a bizarre side note, attended the same high school as my mother, though not at the same time. Small world, eh?
So, the good kind of cancer, 18 months of chemo with some really great doctors. MD Anderson gets a lot of thanks from us. Dad being made of awesome and stubborn and no small amount of knowledgeable did research to find the best doctors and he went in ready to fight and win. He's always had such an amazing outlook on all this. He's been hopeful and determined, even when sick and tired of being sick and tired. I really admire his guts. And the rest of him too.
I won't go into the details of how much chemo sucks, because I honestly don't know. I know that it was hard to see my dad sick. At one point, I hardly recognized his face. He'd lost so much weight he didn't even look like himself. The hair loss thing wasn't really an issue since he'd long since joined the shiny-pate club. As a kid I remember telling people that I'd gotten his red hair and that's why he didn't have any. I know that it was hard to see my mom tired. I know that it was amazing to see the way they talked and loved each other and got through some truly awful stuff. And they did get through it. There was a lot of prayer, a lot of laughter, a lot of morbid humor about what sort of container to put Dad's ashes in eventually. I think we decided on some sort of champagne bottle. I was really rooting for an Erlenmeyer Flask, so someday we could put Mom in a Florence Flask and have a matched set. Humor, it's how we survive tough times in my family.
Then, after that, it was, "Hooray Stable Disease!" and on with life. Stable Disease is a strange sort of victory. It means that nothing is growing, but it's not going away either. Well, what it did go away from was my conscious thought. My dad seemed like himself again- happy, healthy and doing all the stuff he'd always done. After those first few scans that confirmed that everything was still the way we'd left it, we adapted to the "new normal" and moved on. We still used the "good china" and the "nice" everything every chance we got. We talk more and maybe say things more openly than before, but other than that--things when back to normal. So I forgot. I mean, when he stopped chemo, he told us all very plainly that this wasn't the end of the story. He's a scientist, through and through. Rational, analytical, practical. He made sure we knew that this was just an intermission, but we all hoped it would be a long one. We wanted years to go by before we dealt with this again.
But cancer is kind of a bitchy diva. It always wants to be the center of attention. I think that's what I hate most about it. I have to remind myself that my dad is more than a bunch of stupid tumors. I want to make a bad pun/metaphor/analogy thing about cancer rapidly growing and killing all the normal thoughts and replacing them with cancerous ones, but I just can't make it work. That's sort of the sad truth though. All thoughts seem to go through some sort of cancer filter and I just want to punch my brain in the face sometimes because life does not revolve around you, Cancer!! Which makes me laugh because I can't even remember the number of times my father said that to me growing up. "The world does not revolve around you." Usually when I was in trouble for doing something without thinking about the consequences beyond the fact that I wanted to do it. It took me a lot of years to understand what he meant by that.
Anyway, the world does not revolve around cancer. My dad is more than just some tumors that are being treated, again. After 18 months of travel and hobbies and margaritas in the pool, he's back in treatment. It's not the end of the world. His doctor is very hopeful, and so is he. He's a pragmatic fighter, aware of all the associated risks and yet still hopeful. It's more than amazing to see. And my mom... I mean, I've always known that she was the kind of strong that "Steel Magnolias" is all about, but seeing her be the very definition of the phrase "help-meet" is humbling and inspiring and wonderful. They celebrated 42 years of marriage last month. They've been together two thirds their lives. Crazy, innit?
So, chemo again. It's... it's just life now. When I think of my dad, I try not to think of symptoms and side-effects of drugs that can't be exposed to sunlight or touched with bare hands. I think it's awesome that Dad gets to take his chemo pills with a dollop of whipped cream to help them go down smooth. I'm totally using that excuse for my uber-foul tasting vitamin D supplement from now on. See, that's the kind of thing that is so very my dad--finding small bright sides, even in CANCER.
To quote me, which is probably tacky, but I don't care: "...get your parts checked regularly. All of them. If you've got habits that increase your risk, cut it out. Use your fancy dishes and make special occasions a regular occurrence. Live your life abundantly. That is all."
Monday, July 11, 2011
I don't have any one topic on which to base an entire blog post, unless the topic is the kind of congolmeration thingy that I'm creating here which is the 2 Second Story. You know, those stories that seem like they'd be really good until you try to tell them and realize that they consist of one sentence of set-up, one escalation and no punchline? Yeah, those. I have a handful of those at the moment, so I'm going to tell you some of my best (worst?) 2 Second Stories.
- At the clothing swap, one of the best features is that you get instant feedback from your girlfriends on whether or not stuff is worth keeping. So I was trying on these shoes that looked awesome, but I really don't need another pair of black heels, especially not anything that would make me 6'3" but I'm a sucker for Oxford detailing and then a friend exclaimed "Holy crap! Those shoes are so great I just want to lick your leg!" So yeah, I kept them.
- I made a typically me-type statement of the obvious earlier today and I told my co-worker Joel to contain his surprise. He responded by saying something about "Shock and Awe" and I informed him that there was a dance move with that name, but I wouldn't be demonstrating it because I still had some semblance of pride left.
- Once, I arrived at a party for new friend with my old friend Andrea. Having just met this New Friend, we didn't know any of her friends, so upon walking into the living room of said party, I looked about, and with a wave said, "Hello room full of people I don't know!" Andrea sort of died a little on the inside because she would never call attention to herself in that way but I'm that kind of obnoxious.
- I'm not sure how I manage to hold completely contradictory thoughts in my head at the same time. I know it's called cognitive dissonance but it makes no sense that I consider myself both to be fairly likeable and make friends easily and to know that I am full of many off-putting and obnoxious habits.*
- I need to learn to control myself when I find things funny because I can't always explain particular inside jokes in the office place. There's got to be a way to keep from giggling when my boss asks me if the ringing from the other room is my cell phone, because, no, it's not. It's never my cell phone when people ask me if it's my cell phone. Just because one time I happen to let out a rumbler on a wooden bench and someone mistook it for a cell phone on vibrate... that one time has led to a new code phrase, and no, it's not my cellphone. I'm just gassy.
- I recently have been irritated by just about everything from the way my pants are touching my legs to the wheels on my chair not rolling in any sort of ideal fashion, but mostly I've been irritated by the fact that I don't want cable, but there are 2 shows out now that I really want to watch and can't get on Hulu. Grrrr. Argh.
- I am the trifecta of mosquito deliciousness (pasty, pudgy & redheaded) and yet I just learned last night that you can kill them by leaving a shallow dish of soapy water for them to drown in. Something about surface tension and I don't care--just stop biting me!!
Also, I am wearing goldfish on my feet today:
Friday, July 8, 2011
and roughly 3.5' of hanging closet space.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
When it comes to good grammar, punctuation, and the like, I am an incredibly fickle beast. I'm a decent speller, though certain words seem to always give me trouble. For example: maintenance and sentence. I don't know what it is about the "ence" vs "ance" ending that gives me such fits, but it's a constant source of frustration. Also, guarantee. I guarantee that I have to think really hard to even come close to spelling that one right. I also want to point out that I've run "spell check" 4 times already in this post, and good for me, I got my trouble words right for once.
- My principal crimes:
- Run-on sentences justified to myself by the over-use of commas
- Blatant disregard for the semi-colon
- Over use of ellipses
- Perpetuating the double hyphen as a legitimate tool--for example, like this!
- Misplaced modifiers and dangling prepositional phrases
- Ending a sentence with a preposition-though I admit, that the question, "Do you want to go with?" sounds perfectly fine to me and always has... you know what I mean, right?
- Relying solely on spell check to catch my mistakes. I do actually try to proofread. I still make mistakes and then get 10 kinds of embarrassed that someone might think I MEANT to spell it that way and that sort of kills me a little inside, but then I fix it and get over it... mostly