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 “Uncategorized”

Photo Challenge Day 24: Animal

our ‘bay cabin’ neighbor

Photo Challenge Day 1: Self-Portrait

sweet relief

when you avoid things, they do not go away. they’re hidden from your immediate sight but evidence of them creeps out here and there reminding you that they will not be silenced. when you finally face them, it’s frightening. it’s uncomfortable. and then there is a sense of sweet relief. you’re in hiding no longer. you’re free from an unseen burden you’ve carried by your own doing. there’s a lightness to your step and your sub-conscience leaves you alone when you sleep now, leaving your dreams be. there may be consequences to deal with, but in honesty now and in the open and with freedom you take them on and live.

a little of this & that

i tried twitter once, it stressed me out too much, for reasons too embarrassing to explain here, so i deleted my account. anyhow, the whole premise of it though is to post random thoughts and such that pop into your head.  this is a peek into my head currently:

*what is the deal with the term ‘bromance?’ it annoys me. women have friends with other women. men and women can be friends, but why is it that when men are friends, so often it’s called a bromance? is this men’s way of saying “that is one good-looking man” without feeling gay? women have no problem saying other women are beautiful and such and we in no way feel gay or otherwise when doing so. this isn’t a bash on the gays by the way, simply me trying to figure out what the whole bromance thing is all about. i don’t get it. why can you just say, this is my friend so and so? i’m going to start asking my male friends how their man friends are. that has equally as questionable suggestions which i quite enjoy. bromance… psh.

* white carpet: i’m subletting a beautiful little condo. i love almost everything about it! i’m still lamenting the fact that this is the first place i’ve EVER lived without a fireplace, but i’ll get over it. i may get a DVD of a firelog and light some candles nearby and call it good. my issue tho, are the carpets. they are white. i shouldn’t be allowed to live with white carpets. i spill things. i’m trying to be super careful, but sometimes, things happen. AND… it’s not pure white. if it was, i’d bleach that sucker. but i’m not sure it is, and i’d rather not have to buy the owner new carpets. *sigh*

* i maintain that i will let myself age gracefully. starting at age 30. but i just turned 29 so i reserve the right to continue to pull those hairs of inappropriate colors that seem to pop up every now and then in the middle of my head. they just shouldn’t be allowed. and i won’t stand for it.

*i love cooking! and after watching that movie (which i was made aware of is also a book? hm.) Julie & Julia, i’ve decided to start cooking and posting about my culinary experiments. it won’t be an entire book, but things from my favorite books and sites etc… i think maybe eggplant parmesan will be the first. or my chocolate white chip cookies, because they’re delicious and i a Christmas party this weekend to use as an excuse to make them.

*i think i may have the most random TV and movie watching habits ever. have you ever heard of the term “shamber?” it’s shame + chamber. it’s a place containing all the things that you’d be ashamed of if people ever knew of. my Netflix queue is my shamber. in my mailbox as we speak: a documentary on Auschwitz concentration camp, and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. see?! i have a ton of bad 80s shows on there, old classics i’ve never seen, movies i was too lazy to see in theaters and movies i loved but can’t bring myself to buy. like the entire Golden Girls series.

*it looked purple in the bottle. my nail polish that is. my friend took me for a manicure for my birthday. but unless you hold my fingers TO YOUR FACE, they look black. i got called an emo, to which i protested, then thought about. i own black nail polish and a dark green/black color called morbid. they sit nicely with my reds and pinks and such. then i started to think more and decided that yes, i am a bit morbid, or at least bizarre. i should just stop trying to pretend i’m not. P.S… i have some photos i took at the cemetery in Roslyn WA, they are beautiful! you should check them out. seriously.

*i got a purse in the mail. it’s little and red. i have no idea where it came from. there’s no return address. i think it’s from Vogue, but i’m not sure. FREE PURSE!! now if only i liked it. dear the purse fairy,  i like big to medium ones, black or brown next time! please and thank you.

*i have a small group of friends who have been persistently insisting that i try online dating. i won’t, but they still say i should, because they do. after this last year of dating fiascos, for the most part, each one of them have since retracted their statements and suggest i not. thanks friendos.

her face

it felt cool inside the coffee shop. it was a welcomed change from the hot cement and traffic that i’d just waded my way thru to get there. i stood in line, purchased my grande drip coffee and surveyed the room for the most desirable spot to camp out and start my new book. victory! there was a big oversized purple comfy chair available. i swooped in and grabbed the spot. curled up, sipped the first sip, and opened the cover. i’ve discovered a new author. well, he’s not new to the literary world, but he’s new to me. i’ve never been much into reading detective type stories, or horror stories but this author has captivated my attention more than any author has in a very long time. the way he words things and the way he weaves the different story lines together is very well done. his name is John Connolly and he’s fabulous. i’m on his 3rd book. and i can’t wait to go home to read more. so as i sat there and became absorbed in the world of the main character, Charlie Parker, and got thoroughly grossed out by a scene he described of the death of a woman by spiders, and after i itched my skin that i was convinced now had little spiders crawling over it (because, like i said, he does a very good job of laying out the scene. sometimes too good), i surveyed the room as i took another sip of my coffee. there were business men, summer school students attached to laptops, people killing time before their bus, the loud lady with her wireless headset talking and disturbing everyone, and a few like me, who were using this as a getaway to escape to worlds unknown hidden in the pages of whatever their book de jour was. i took another sip and then noticed her. she was sitting alone at a table, facing my general direction. she had her head resting on one hand, her hand on her iced beverage  and was staring rather blankly out to who knows where. i went back to my book but took notice of her regularly. i was there for a good 3 hours just reading and she remained there the entire time. no one came to meet her. she had no bag or purse or reading material. and she looked kind of sad. or upset. or irritated. i couldn’t quite place it. our eyes met a couple times. i tried smiling and nothing was returned. she seemed fascinated with me too. then, a group came in and sat at the table next to her. her attention seemed to turn to them. or, rather, what i gathered to be her attention but was more just like a distraction from what was in her head. i left finally at almost 8:30 PM and she stayed. she fascinated me. my thoughts shifted between the words on the pages before me, and her. her face became the face of one of the characters in the book. i’m not sure if i was looking for some kind of reason for her being there or if it was just a general progression of my imagination after having been in looking proximity of her for 3 hours.  we see faces everyday. faces of the familiar, faces of complete strangers and faces that are blurs as we move thru our day. her face, her face i remember clearly and will for some time.

grateful

i am grateful for hot coffee in the morning. without it i would be slightly less human and probably intolerable.

i am grateful for working in the only air-conditioned room at work. the heat isn’t going to kill me but the break is nice.

i am grateful for a mom who calls me at 8 in the morning to ask me which Disney movies i don’t have yet because she’s at a garage sale and they have a bunch. she’s my supplier of all things juvenile that i just can’t seem to grow out of!  and i’m grateful for a dad who knows just when to give me a hug. the kind of hug that still makes me feel like “his little girl” and that things will be ok. even if he’s not quite sure himself.

i am grateful for the occasional sideways non-subtle look from a random guy. it’s a small act that does wonders for my sometimes down-on-myself attitude.

i am grateful for having a desk job. it allows me to be as anal and organized and weird about the “order” of things. it’s like my own little 5 by 3 foot world i can call my own to rule in a world that i very much cannot control.

i am grateful for my soft blue blanket. even if it’s not over me, having it next to me on the bed to feel and put under my head, reminds me of days when monsters were fended off with such blankets and the world was safe under the covers and nothing evil and malicious could touch me under there.

i am grateful for books. whether deep or fluff books, it doesn’t matter as long as i can lose myself in a good story to escape when the mood strikes.

i am grateful for mustard. without it i would be left with ketchup and that simply wouldn’t work.

i am grateful wine, cheese and fruit. a wonderful trio that when combined, are pure delight whether i’m alone or with people. so good.

i am grateful for my job. even tho it’s not my dream job and it’s not what excites me about life, it is a job. and it pays the bills and it allows me the freedom to afford what DOES excite me. and it gives me the flexibility to do things that matter to me.

i am grateful for a lot of things and need to remember those things when i get cranky.

downtown

you walk around and you see gum stuck to sidewalks.  you see people sitting leaned up against the outside wall of Macy’s under a big window display of the latest summer trend in expensive footwear.  the person is well inside their own head seeing only things induced by their drug d’jour. you see pods of unsupervised teens wandering aimlessly around the plazas yelling obscenities at passing pods of equally lovely youth also dressed in all black with the occasional spike sticking out of some orifice in their face.  some have sparkles in their hair and some have make up on and some have tattoos in the shape of tears falling from their eyes down their cheeks.  you see people hurriedly walking down the sidewalk talking on their cell phone clearly on their way to or from some big work meeting. you see the metro on foot police who’s heads are on constant pivot. you see cigarette butts that have collected on a grate in the street where the wind blew them and they stuck.  you see graffiti on random disserted doors and store front windows.  sometimes even on the occupied ones.  you see posters peeling off of telephone poles, the tattered edges blowing in the wind. you see the ever present struggle between the cyclist and the cars and the taxis as they battle their way down the street each trying to claim their place.  you see the homeless begging for money.  you see the occasional musician playing their heart out for no other reason than they love their art and want people to enjoy it but they can’t help but hear the jeers of some passers-by.  you see the wealthy as they leave the fancy stores with their sacks full of designer labels.  they pretend not to notice the dirty man sleeping on the bench right outside the store.

the other day i walked around for an hour or so as a friend took photos for a project she’s doing for her class.  as i just tagged along i saw all this. it’s not often i feel a sense of sadness as i walk thru downtown Seattle.  and it’s not like i never go down there. i’m invested in the city.  i’m down there for both pleasure and to volunteer and just to observe.  but sometimes i get sucked into the charm i wish it held and i begin to romanticize it in my head. there’s a show that i watch sometimes that takes place in New York City.  the glamor and the glitz and passion that they feel for and experience in NYC i often wish i felt for Seattle. but then i realize that no city is without it’s mess. no person for that matter. and it tarnishes my love affair of here.

there’s a trend in movies to have things be “raw” or “real” or “grungy” because that’s getting in touch with the average person they say. that to have the cinematography be shaky or the music be indie or to have the actress be relatively unknown and take place in a town no one’s heard of, that this makes up real America. somewhere in the middle of hollywood’s idea of real america and the darkness of what i felt the other day… that’s the real america. what i saw was the fringe.  that’s why they stuck out in my head.  what you see on the silver screen, that’s the rich fringe, that’s why it sticks out in my head. i live in real america. but so do the fringe.

i have no point in writing this actually, i have no idea how to end it. other than it made me sad to see the ‘all-up-in-your-face’ sexed up girls on the same sidewalk with the classy snobby women leaving the salons.  they both live here together and they hate each other and they pretend they don’t come in contact with each other and they pretend they don’t see each other and they pretend they don’t see me watching them and they pretend they don’t care.  and i pretend not to be staring. both worlds collide downtown.  both worlds are not necessarily bad. so somewhere in the middle world where i live, i have to figure out how to rationalize it all in my head and how i fit in and what my role is without being swept into either.

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.

timeservers

i keep a couple of journals.  neither of them i write in on a consistent basis, but one is there if i need process something, or if i’m not by a computer to use this blog, or if i’m Bible journaling… stuff like that.  the other one i use when i’m reading.  as a writer, if i like the way something i’m reading is written, i write it down.  sometimes i respond to it, but usually i just write the quote down.  i found a new author i like: John Connelly.  he’s a smart writer and i love the way he puts sentences together. the genre of his books are on the dark thriller/suspense side, which isn’t normally the kind of story i gravitate towards but i can’t seem to put these books down.  on my recent Hawaii vacation, i brought one of his books with me: “Dark Hollow.” there were many many good quotes in this book.  one in particular stuck out to me.  the dialogue is by a guy named Louis.  he’s a career thief, killer all round badass type guy.  but his perspective on things i can’t help but enjoy hearing.  he does bad on behalf of the good that will result.  if you watch the show “Dexter” at all, he’s a lot like Dexter.  Dexter is a serial killer who only kills serial killers.  Louis is a lot like that.  anyhow, the following quote is from him…

“The nature of compassion isn’t coming to terms with your own suffering and applying it to others: it’s knowing that other folks around you suffer and, no matter what happens to you, no matter how lucky or unlucky you are, they keep suffering.  And if you can do something about that, then you do it, and you do it without whining or waving your own fuckin’ cross for the world to see.  You do it because it’s the right thing to do.” … “That’s not the same as pity, or guilt, or trying to pay off some debt to fortune or to God.  It’s feeling other people’s pain as your own, and acting to take that pain away.  And maybe, sometimes, you  have to do bad things to do that, but life doesn’t balance easy.  You can be a good man and perform bad actions, because that’s the nature of things.  People who believe otherwise, well, they’re timeservers, because they spend so much time wrestling with their consciences that nothing gets done and nothing changes, and the innocent and the defenseless, they just keep getting hurt.”

i had a similar conversation with a friend a while ago about the inability of some to do anything in the name of good because they felt that they have to work their own stuff out first.  i tend to side with Louis on this though.  but, that’s my nature.  thoughts? response or comments?

a world away

the day was becoming increasingly gloomy but there still lingered a few rays of sunshine that dared to disobey the incoming clouds as they raced down towards the ground.  the rays seemed to find their way straight to the window beside her desk.  as she sat down to start her work day, her computer turned on, the papers she needed laid before her, she put her ear buds in to listen to music while she busied herself with the tasks ahead.  as she clicked play, she signed deeply as the sunlight warmed her cheeks.  she took a sip of her strong coffee and as the music of Edith Piaf  and Billie Holiday floated from the computer thru the chords and into her ears she was instantly taken to a café somewhere in a quaint alley in Paris cirque 1920 or so and ordered a pastry and cappuccino and then was taken quickly to a dark and smoke-filled jazz club in 1940’s New York where she sipped her martini and smoked her cigarette swaying every so slightly to the melody.  she floated back and forth between these places for quite some time.  somehow the work magically getting done with very little effort from her back in the real world.  she sipped more of her coffee as Louis Armstrong came into her ears and she smiled.  there was something about that man that just brought instantaneous joy to her.  this song was a duet with the lovely Ms. Ella Fitzgerald called “The Nearness of You” and she thought briefly how this would make a perfect first dance at her wedding.  not often did she day-dream of her wedding day and not often did she get to listen to this old world music that she so loved, but on this rare day she soaked every bit of it up as she day dreamed and drank coffee and smiled as she worked.  it was an absolutely lovely day.

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