musings of a malcontent

seattle native, teacher w/out a classroom, bookkeeper, drinker of coffee and red wine, a constant work in progress

Archive for the category “life as we know it”


in the past i’ve participated in lent by giving up something, usually sugar. it’s not in all honesty been for the original religious purposes it was intended to be. but this year, i kind of have a different perspective on it. i feel better without so much sugar and i’m also going to give up starchy foods with flour, white rice and potatoes. and there are a couple of non food related things that i’m focusing on also. the point of lent is to both sacrifice, but also to reflect. i feel more reflective this year than i have in the past years i’ve ‘lented.’  maybe it’s my food bank people who constantly pop into my head… i think of all they have,  i think of how lucky i am, and it just makes me reflective and thankful. so, maybe i’ll use this Lenten time to be grateful and to pray and give thanks.

and, since i love to cook, love to be creative, and love to take photos… i’m going to sort of photo blog my lenting food adventures. this first day of lent, i didn’t cook anything fantastic. but for lunch i had a delicious mushroom soup and a banana and some brown rice chips, all from QFC. then, for dinner, some guacamole and coffee and corn chips. not exactly the most creative or  extravagant, but c’est la vie! i was busy. tomorrow night and the following i have no plans so i can cook something fun and take photos of some sort of culinary masterpiece.

happy lenting everyone!


puddle jumping

you look shallow dear puddle. shall i jump in you?

steps in my life, the ones i’m gently pushed into or take myself, are like puddles. i jump if the fall will be short. sometimes falling is good! but it’s not for sure. what if i jump in this puddle, and instead of a short fun fall, it’s long, dark and unfamiliar? you can’t unjump a puddle. you can’t undo steps. but if you never jump you will never know.

i bought new rain boots this year. it’s time to do some puddle jumping.


it’s been a funny sort of week.

watching tides come in and out used to fascinate me. how does this massive body of water move so smoothly and regularly at the whim of the moon and it’s forces all the while sustaining the life that teems within it? even now as i understand the ebbs and flows and the science behind tides, they still fascinate me. life is like tides a bit. we live in this thing, this town, on this marble planet, things are relatively the same. we sleep, eat, breathe and work but there are all these other things that change and move around us and often interrupt and they seem to come from these unforseen places and they alter our moods and lives for a bit, but still we plod on.

i thought of Andy yesterday. Andy is a person i work with at the food bank who is one of the biggest Mariners baseball fans you will ever meet. Andy also has some handicaps. he’s from what i guess, in his maybe early 20s? i’m not sure. but his cognitive and social awareness is probably on par with an elementary student. Andy loves to talk sports. especially baseball. he talks to me about it because he knows that i work part-time down at Qwest Field for the Sounders and Seahawks. i thought of Andy when i heard the news that Mariner’s broadcaster Dave Niehaus had died. Andy’s life isn’t like mine. this news, while not really impacting my life necessarily, will most certainly impact his.

on this same day, i got together with my old roommate. she’s in town for her Grandma’s funeral. which, is sad. but it was a mixed blessing. she’s got some stuff going on in her life that having friends and family around, has been good for her. we got together for hugs, some good beer and food and to chat. it was an awesome time until the other friend with us got a text that her dad’s test results came back positive with cancer. talk about a mood shifter. we talked a bit about it, thought a lot and tried to lighten the mood however much was possible and appropriate. just earlier that day a coworker of mine had had the same procedure/test done and the results came back negative, he will be fine. i’m not sure if it’s irony, a mere coincidence or what.

over the weekend my cousin got married. that was the 3rd wedding in the span of 6 weeks for me. so lots of love! i’m happy for every single one of them. i’m wedding’ed out… but i’m happy for them nonetheless! so to shift from the love train we were all on, to one of mourning and stress and the unknown of sicknesses to the passing of a local icon to today being Veteran’s Day… it all seems so unconnected but it’s not. it’s interconnected in ways we don’t realize. it’s the ebb and flow of life. it’s the gratitude we feel for the veterans and the sorrow we feel for the passing of loved ones and the fright of cancer and the joy of marriages and the excitement for the upcoming holidays and then the sadness again over the passing of the sound of summer baseball. it’s just strange. and it give me cause to pause and reflect i guess.

tonight i’m having dinner and drinks with my parents. it’s nice to be in the phase of life where we can get together and enjoy truly each other’s company without strings. i’m looking forward to it a lot. because, life is unpredictable. and if i don’t cherish night’s like this one tonight (and even one’s like last night… for what it’s worth) then what’s the point? enjoy the little things. like wine with the parents.

my bedroom door

Why do I shut my bedroom door at night when I live alone? What am I trying to keep out? What am I closing out? Usually doors block out light or sound or the view of others. But… when I live alone, what’s the purpose of the shut door? When others come over and I perhaps need to change, or need to have a conversation in private, or to wrap a present maybe, but when I’m alone… why do I shut it?

When I was little, keeping the covers snug around me and close to my head made me feel secure. Like a security blanket type feeling. It was like the impenetrable blanket that kept me safe from all the bogeyman and bad things of the world. Perhaps, the bedroom door serves as the adults version of the blankie? Hm… I wonder…

the exercise saga continues

great writing this is not… BUT… it does mark a huge thing in my life. i have successfully jumped onto the exercise bandwagon. i made a pledge to myself to be more healthy. i had Hawaii to work towards during Springtime but have since then been inconsistent with exercising and such. moving to a place of my own has helped tremendously with this! not that my roommate hindered my exercising, but more so that it is much easier to work out when you are alone. i’ve managed to get into the habit of working out almost every day, if not at least 5 times a week! it’s not hours of work, but it’s a solid chunk of time that makes me sweat more than you’d imagine. and i can see small changes already! say what you will about Jillian Michaels being too tough or a bitch of an exercise instructor… those results she got on “The Biggest Loser” were no joke. she kicks my butt! the first time i tried her “30-Day Shred” video i hated it, hated her, and hated my muscles. i even talked back and got sassy with the DVD. but now, i’ve progressed to level 2. it’s hard and i’m at the beginning of the new level so my shoulders and butt feel like they’d like to commit mutiny and fall off of me, but that’s a good sign! the level 1 had become easier and my body, while sweating a lot, didn’t hurt. not that i need to feel pain, but more so that i want to feel that soreness of muscles that proves they are being stretched and worked out. this is HUGE for me! i’ve not consistently worked out in years. hopefully, i’m on track to looking better soon! and again, apologies to Jillian Michaels for the names i called you, both in my head and as i whispered them under my breath as you talked throughout the DVD.

fluffy be gone

I, Jeanette Taylor, do solemnly swear to get back on track so as to avoid becoming more fluffy.

i did such a good job with the whole healthful eating, exercising, and being good to myself. i had my Hawaii vacation as motivation. because having to wear swimsuits that early in the year was a horrifying thought. now that that has come and gone, i’m finding myself sliding back into some old habits. not all of them, but some. i’m plateaued. i’ve not gained back all the weight i lost, but some. so, i’ve set some new benchmarks for myself as a sort of obscure goal to aim for. i do better with dates to aim for. the first, is a friend’s wedding in mid-October. the second, is to not look twice as big as everyone in the holiday photos. i know that a lot of it is in my head, but not all of it. i’m frustrated and i’m determined. those 2 seem to work powerfully in my world. so, from here on out i’m declaring that i’m back on track. there will be of course the occasional events and things that will not be super conducive to this but on my honor i will try whenever possible, to do right by myself and get back on track. so there you have it.

big cities

what is it about big cities? it’s like we who live in them are trained to love where we are but loathe the others.New Yorkers hate LA. LA hates NYC and Seattle hates both. Houston, as much as the others hate to admit it, is a big city too. and one to be reckoned with. then there’s Chicago, Boston and Philly. Not to mention Miami and New Orleans. all cities whose residents love living in them. i’m a Seattlite born and raised. i love it. i’m an indie/hippy chick at heart who likes the grunge music and casual clothing and coffee habits. but secretly i long for the occasional sun bathed LA Blvd. lined with palm trees or the fashion and nite life of NYC. and the food and culture and mystery of New Orleans. but i’d never admit it. then there’s the international big stars. Paris, London, Tokyo and Rome. i’d had enough travel experience to know what’s out there and i want more. so much more. but i think my heart shall always belong to where i’m from. i shall pose and put up the passive-aggressive Seattle nice front but inside i shall really long for travel. to taste the orient, the east coast and the sun. someday… someday…

imaginations: books are my D&D

dungeons and dragons.

i’ve never been a gamer or one of those “roll play” type people. i never really saw the attraction to it like the uber fans do. and in all honesty, i did snicker a little when i’d hear grown men whisper about it and giggle and get all geeked out because of it. i snickered because it was the perceived nerdy thing to be involved in and the cool thing to mock because it was the type of hobby and thing to be into that was harder to hide than what most of our embarrassing hobbies are.

yesterday i listened to an interview with a guy and he described dungeons & dragons in a way that made me really stop to think. in my adult life i don’t think i give it a passing thought unless there are commercials for the new comicon that’s in town or if i pass the gaming store on my walk home or something and they have a poster of it in the window. this guy described it as playing a major roll in his developing imagination. he told of how his grandmother bought him the first edition of dungeons & dragons. she bought it not because she thought he was into gaming but because it promised to use imagination and creativity and she knew he had quite the imagination and that he might really enjoy it. he started and has been hooked on it ever since. in all reincarnated forms of it. and as a father now he has introduced his boys to it and they too, love it. the interviewer asked him if his kids were ever aware of the mocking and “geek” label that had been placed upon them and he said very simply, no. because he said, they grew up with him in the house. they grew up with the freedom and the tools to use their imagination and to expand it. they were given instruction, guidance and the opportunity.

so much of today’s media and “entertainment” and what have you is designed for the purposes of taking your brain to a place where it can turn to mush. movies and music and going out to certain places lead us to distractions and we love them because they provide an escape or they provide a gateway to mental zoning out and are devoid of any sort of imagination using. they hardly leave any room for it at all! so then i thought about it. my parents did a good job of raising girls with pretty active imaginations. my tool for that was found in playing “house” in the front yard with my sisters and using all my parent’s old camping stuff, or scavenging the recycle bin at my dad’s office so i could play teacher and secretary. but the most influential thing for my imagination was books. i’ve had a long standing love affair with them since as long as i can remember. and i feel about them the way this grown man feels about dungeons & dragons.

after the interview was over, i thought about this once thought to be nerdy thing. and how he felt the same way about it that i feel about books. and he got teary and choked up with emotion as he talked of his grandma giving it to him, about how she knew that it could ignite an imagination that led him to his VERY successful career and to being brilliant and to being very well-rounded, articulated and open-minded. then i thought about how many other things must there be that are to people what books and writing are to me and what D&D are to this guy? what non-assuming things do it for others. and what will do it for my future kids?

the whole thing made me think. and open my mind just a little bit.

waking cranky

do you ever have those mornings where things just DON’T go well? like, anything? nothing runs smoothly, nothing is as it should be. this morning i had just such a morning. i woke up and felt all snuggly and comfy in my bed only to take that first morning stretch and get a big ol’ charlie horse in my left calf muscle. pain happened. then i looked at the clock. way later than i’d anticipated waking up. awesome. i worked late last night, till bout 12 ish and by the time i wound my brain down enough to sleep, it was almost 2. so i slept later than i’d wanted to. i got dressed and got all my stuff ready to go. fortunatly, i left myself post-its with things not to forget so i didn’t worry. am meeting with friend to donate some stuff, had to get that stuff in the car. a friend is moving, getting boxes for them. will the boxes AND the stuff i’m donating all fit into car? yes. barely. hanging out with someone tonight, must bring wine, cookie sheet and dvd i borrowed 6 months ago. check! in the car i go with all my stuff. didn’t get to straighten my hair like i had planned but chances are, i would have burned myself anyhow. so i realize shortly after driving off, that my gas light is on. must stop and get gas. am low on money. hm. OH OH! i remember i have a small check from 2nd job. i drive to bank to deposit check @ the ATM. while standing waiting for it to finish my deposit, a woman comes up to me. she asks me if i have any cash she can have. i tell her i have no cash. WHICH WAS TRUE. all i had with me was my debit card, my keys, and the check i’d just inserted into the ATM. i tell her no, no i don’t have any cash. she says “psh! you’re at an ATM.” and walks off. normally i would have let it go but i was cranky, so i yelled after her with the very witty come back of “yeah, i was DEPOSITING money.” i was irritated. i wanted to shout “get a job!!” or “i should report you for aggressive panhandling” or “go play in traffic.” but i didn’t. instead i very matuely walked back to my car and slammed the door shut and thought very mean thoughts in her direction. as i drove away i thought about what a contradictory my behavior is tho sometimes. here i go and chastise and overreact to this woman and then go volunteer at a foodbank 3 hours a week. but it was still too early for further rational thoughts. i didn’t have any coffee in me yet. i drove away from the bank and to the gas station. i went inside and plunked down $11 for pump #1. big spender. and i know i know, i had cash. i COULD have given that lady some. but it was in my car and i was not and she was mean so i thought not. anyhow, i pump my gas and drive away to go to work. i think to myself, i should get coffee. for the sake of my co-workers and my work performance and for my own personal well being, i should get coffee. so i drove to the nearest drive thru thingy and got my grande drip coffee. i also got a breakfast sandwhich. i don’t usually buy those but today i felt i needed it. and so i bought it. i pulled into the work parking lot, having finished my breakfast sandwhich and feeling slightly more human and much less cranky. and so begun my day. TGIF!!!

bizarro world: episode 1

i’ve decided that politics (both local and federal), the community at large, and the daily news cycle provide me with endless proof that we do in fact live in bizarro world.  some things are outrageous and warrant action and outrage, but some are just so insane they can’t be anything but funny. so without further adue, current proof that we live in bizarro world:

– the WA state superintendent of public instruction was arrested and served 1 nite in jail for a DUI.  a 7th grade girl was suspended for the remainder of the school year (22 days) for bringing a party popper (purchased in the fred meyer toy department) to school. um…

-the entire king county payroll will be given a 2% pay increase this year even though the county budget is severely in the red.

-the mayor’s office put out a link on its webpage asking for suggestions for what the citizens would like to have happen to improve the city of Seattle. the top 3 suggestions: 1) improving transit, 2) legalizing pot, 3) a nude beach. yessssss! way to stay classy seattle.

-Georgia congressman Hank Johnson, petitioned to NOT allow housing to be built on Guam for several thousand servicemen and their families because he’s afraid that the island might tip over and capsize into the Pacific Ocean.  one of the men on the panel in front of him was a navy brigadier general who simply responded, “yeah, we’re not really worried about that.”

-WA state now has the most strict online gambling laws in the nation.  the WA state supreme court has just declared that playing 50cent Texas Hole Em poker online is now a felony (the only state in the nation) carrying a possible 10 year jail sentence. that sentence is on par with the sentence a  person who is charged with child rape would receive.  yes, totally comparable offenses.

-if you buy dry roasted lightly salted peanuts, be warned.  they have sugar in them.  well, not in them so much as around them.  it would seem that when they say lightly salted they really mean, lightly salt/sugared. i feel that sort of thing should be on the label because if i were not an avid label reader i never would have discovered this. and seeing as how most americans are not avid label readers, i feel i should warn you all that salted really means sugared. so now you know.

-i was walking down the street with a friend after having just left a local lounge where we enjoyed some martinis.  we were chatting and making our way to the car.  apparently there was a friend who called my name out several times and i didn’t hear him. so upon returning home i discovered a facebook message from this person calling me mean for not saying “hi” back. he was joking and was just trying to guilt me.  what’s interesting is that i saw this same person at a place once and he pretended he didn’t know me.  so maybe this person will only acknowledge he knows me in parts of the city un-frequented by most of our mutual acquaintances.  if i cared more about it (and him)  i’d be outraged probably. but i don’t so i’m not. 

i think this concludes this episodes of “bizarro world” for now. stay tuned for more episodes to come folks.

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