Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hopelessly Out of Sync

It baffles me that N’s soccer team and basketball team have canceled practices this Sunday due to the Super Bowl (even though both practices would be prior to the actual Super Bowl itself), but they never bother to schedule things around the Illini basketball schedule (forcing me to choose between Illini basketball or N attending practice, and generally the Illini win out).

Clearly I am hopelessly out of sync with the culture in which I live.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Completely Different

Remember when I blogged just last week about last weekend? It was one hellaciously (spellcheck tells me that isn’t a word, but trust me it’s been in my vocabulary for years; it’s a perfectly good word; feel free to use it anytime) busy weekend. This weekend, on the other hand, was gloriously low key. Given that I was fighting off a cold that was a very good thing.

W had N for the weekend so right there I knew life would be easier. It’s just easier taking care of me than taking care of me and the boy. Friday after work BJ took me out to dinner, nothing fancy at all just Buffalo Wild Wings where I downed two Jack & Cokes along with way too much fried food followed by cheesecake. Nutritionally and calorically the weekend didn’t start off all that great, but taste-wise it couldn’t be beat! (If you haven’t tried their parmesan garlic sauce with their fish you really should, very soon.) Friday night we went to bed early. Nuff said.

Saturday morning we slept in. I awoke at 5:00 for the obligatory bathroom trip, but went back to bed and dozed off and on until around 9:20 when BJ awoke. We managed to get out of bed sometime between 10:30 and 11:00, brought on by a combination of hunger and lack of room service at my house. We tried waiting for the room service, but we finally gave up, showered, dressed and went out for breakfast at the best pancake house in town. That was around noon. After breakfast we had just enough time to head home, change cars, and head to the Illini basketball game against Wisconsin. It was a good close game, the Illini won, and BJ managed to snag extra tickets to next week’s Illini game against Iowa at less than face value from the nice man sitting next to us who can’t attend next week’s game. That means that BJ, N and I can go plus N can invite a buddy along which will be nice. It was about 5:00 by the time the game ended. BJ and I headed to the grocery where I picked up things I needed to make chili for dinner, along with a bagged salad and some frozen whole grain rolls. I made dinner when we got home. After we ate, we watched Jerry Maguire on TV. I may or may not have dozed some during the movie with my feet in BJ’s lap. We went to bed around 11:00 and fell asleep listening to Sports Center (my favorite show during basketball season).

Sunday morning I awoke around 7:30 to see that it was snowing outside. I wasn’t feeling very good due to my cold so I decided to call a personal snow day. No church for me, no outside activities, no getting dressed. I decided to hole up in the house in my pajamas for the day. I stayed snuggled warm in bed working Sudoku puzzles until BJ awoke around 9:00. I told him of my plans for a personal snow day, and he wholeheartedly approved. I went downstairs and made coffee for us to go along with the Danish we’d bought the night before. We had breakfast. We surfed the ‘net. We watched TV. Eventually (around 2:00) BJ went out and got lunch for us. After that he left for home, and I sat watching TV, playing computer games and dozing off and on until W brought N home between 5:30 and 6:00. I heated up frozen dinners for N and me. We ate dinner, watched more TV and went to bed early.

Yep, it was quite the contrast from last weekend. As guilty as I felt about being lazy this weekend it was much needed, and I’m sure my cold would be much worse now had I not taken it easy over the weekend.

Now here I am at work on Monday, and the coffeemaker is broken. It is little comfort to me to know that the vendor has been notified of the problem. It would be more comfort if someone would volunteer to run out for some coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts or McDonald’s. (What? They both make great coffee. Really. Better than the overpriced place from the great northwest.)

Friday, January 23, 2009


That’s what I am – peculiar. I mean that in the most flattering way however. I embrace my peculiarities, my idiosyncrasies, and they are what make me lovable in my humble opinion.

Sometimes an idiosyncrasy arises from a need to entertain myself, to find a way to make something mundane and boring a little more interesting. I am one of those people who needs something for my brain to do all the time. I can’t just not think. (How’s that for a poorly constructed sentence that conveys the exact meaning I desire?) Other times an idiosyncrasy arises because I like order and orderly things. Many times it is a combination of both those reasons, and many times it revolves around food and the preparing and/or eating of it.

Since my peculiarities are what make me so lovable I thought I’d share a few with you here, just so you’ll love me even more than you already do.

Peculiarity #1
I can entertain myself for quite a while if I’m in a room with a rug that has a pattern in it, particularly a geometric pattern of some complexity. I study the pattern, looking for the repeats in it, the flaws in it, following the lines in it, making games in my head about tracing around parts of it without touching other parts of it.
I have done this ever since I was a little girl. It kept me out of trouble many times I’m sure because I wasn’t the kid running around getting into everything. I was just sitting quietly playing with the rug’s patterns in my head. I still do. If you are ever with me and catch me staring idly at the floor or the wall see if there’s a rug or wallpaper or drapes or painting with a geometric design in my gaze. Chances are there will be one, and I will be dissecting that pattern in my head in innumerable ways.

Peculiarity #2
When alone (and sometimes in front of others if I’m not too self-conscious about it) I eat sandwiches by eating around the outside edge first to get rid of the crust and the part of the sandwich with little to no filling and then eat the inner good part. I clearly remember when I was young the first time Mom took me someplace where they served hamburgers on buns. Up until then I’d always eaten them on regular bread using my edge first technique. Here was bread with crust not just around the edge but all over! And it was round! I couldn’t figure out how to eat it and asked my mom where you start with something like this and was puzzled by her answer of “anywhere you want.” What?!? It disturbed my sense of order in the world. I have, over the course of the last 40 years or so, gotten over it and can eat a sandwich on a bun with little consternation, but that leads me to. . .

Peculiarity #3
When eating a sandwich on a bun I will examine the sandwich fairly carefully to determine where “the good part” is. The good part would be the part with the best filling to condiment to bun ratio exists. That’s the part to eat last. I start with the part that is most lacking in proper filling/condiment/bun ratio. Nothing, nothing, nothing makes me unhappier than a sloppily made sandwich that is slapped together without regard for getting the condiments evenly spread and the filling evenly distributed. It leaves so little good part to be savored.

Peculiarity #4
When I eat French fries from a fast food container I pick them up and eat them one at a time, carefully choosing each one in “pick up sticks” fashion. In other words, I try to pick up the next French fry without disturbing any of the other French fries. What’s the point of this exercise? Gives me something to do, makes it a little more interesting than just grabbing them willy nilly and shoving them in my face.

Peculiarity #5
When eating a meal I eat each thing in it’s entirety before eating the next thing starting with my least favorite working up to my favorite thing. I do make occasional exceptions to this, if as I’m eating one thing I think that it is so good that I might like it better than that other thing that I haven’t eaten yet. Then I’ll switch to the other thing, take a couple of bites, and decide whether to return to the original item or eat the other thing before the original thing.

Peculiarity #6
If I am eating a casserole or stew I eat the individual parts in order, picking out all the vegetables first, in order from least liked to most liked, then whatever protein item is included, followed by any pasta or rice from the dish. I am less and less meticulous about this one as I grow older, and sometimes I’ll eat the concoction all together without regard for the individual parts. Sometimes. . . but not always.

Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others. Like I said before, they just make me more lovable!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Obligatory Inauguration Day Post

Being American, and Democrat, and wacko Liberal, it is my sworn duty to post something about the Presidential Inauguration today.

My overriding feeling is OMG everybody calm down. He is not the Messiah. He is simply the next man to serve in the position of President of the United States. Yes, that is big. Yes, that is important. Yes, I think he’ll do a good job. I also think he’ll make mistakes. After all, he’s human too just like you and me.

So calm down people. Take a few deep breaths. Life will not be so overwhelmingly different tomorrow from what it was yesterday. Change will take time. Change will come, but it will not come without difficulty.

To tell you the truth I’m just a whole lot happier about the loose cannon leaving the White House than anything else. I found Bush to be one helluva scary man to have as president and truly don’t understand how the American people voted him in for a second term. It seems to me that even the Republicans should have seen by then what a truly scary man he is. I have every reason to believe it was all about family ties that kept him in the White House for the second term. That is a family that wields excessive power within the Republican party, and if the Republicans hope to revitalize their party they must find a way to wrest that power from that family.

It saddens me that so many Christians have been taken in by the Republican party, been drawn in with a series of well calculated maneuvers to support a party that is not all about “family values” or “Christian values” but by corporate greed. The Republican party has been, and is, run by “old money” families whose goal is to make more and more of the nation’s wealth theirs on the backs of the middle class and the poor. Unless there are fundamental changes within the top ranks of the party, I would not ever vote for a Republican in a national election. Local elections yes, but national not on your life. I can’t think of a scarier regime at the federal level than some of your top ranking Republicans.

Who knows, that may be true for the Democratic party as well, but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge there so I just can’t say. I do find more hope though in a party where I find a more diverse mix of candidates. Both parties have a long way to go to not be a bunch of white men in suits, but it appears to me that the Democrats have pulled ahead in that race.

Just so you know, I think the whole process sucks today. I think candidates should run on platforms that reflect their true opinions on the issues rather than packaged to appeal to the masses. Right now you only get to vote for the public image of your choice rather than the substance of your choice. How much better the process would be if only somehow it could be based on what’s inside rather than the packaging. Realistic? No. Idealistic? Yes. Will it ever get better? Not until hell freezes over and pigs fly.

Enough political ranting for one day. Go enjoy your inaugural celebrations.

Monday, January 19, 2009


So many things I want to say and no words to say it. I haven’t even had time to think much less write over the past weekend. To say that N and I were a little busy is akin to saying that the Obama inauguration is garnering a little attention. I am exhausted and need at least until Thursday to recuperate I think.

Don’t believe we were busy? Check out last weekend’s itinerary:

7:00 a.m. Get up in hopes of having a bit of quiet time for myself
7:10 a.m. Start to make coffee; N appears; so much for quiet time
7:20 a.m. Canoodle around on the laptop in spite of N and his ever present chatter
8:15 a.m. Offer N choice of going to W’s or going with me to church while I attend a meeting; N offers 3rd option – staying with BJ; I sigh wondering what BJ will make of this
8:30 a.m. Head back upstairs to shower, dress, and all that fun stuff
9:30 a.m. Wake BJ (yeah he spent the night; we slept in separate rooms) and ask about watching N while I’m at church meeting; BJ agrees
9:45 a.m. Run around house trying to find the Bible in the RSV I want to take to the meeting. I find every version except the RSV (still haven’t found it and wonder if W took it)
9:50 a.m. Leave for church meeting
10:00 a.m. Barely arrive on time for church meeting and am the last to arrive; great start
12:00 p.m. Meeting over; drive home; thank BJ for caring for N; cajole N into basketball uniform
12:15 p.m. Leave for basketball tournament; fuel up car; go thru drive-thru at Mickey D’s for wholesome nutritious lunch
2:15 p.m. Arrive at tournament site; sit and wait for 3:00 game to begin
3:00 p.m. Game 1 for N’s team; they lose
4:00 p.m. Wait for 5:00 game to begin
5:00 p.m. Game 2 for N’s team; they lose
6:00 p.m. Cajole N into street clothes so we can have dinner before heading home
6:15 p.m. Get lost on way to area with chain restaurants by the boatload
6:30 p.m. Find ourselves at Applebee’s for dinner; service stinks; waiter forgets salad, rarely shows except to bring the check
7:45 p.m. Headed home in the freezing rain; good times
9:30 p.m. Arrive home; wake N and help him in house where he immediately falls into deep sleep on family room sofa; feed dog; collapse in recliner
9:45 p.m. Call BJ
10:30 p.m. Set alarm for 8:00 a.m.; collapse in bed and fall immediately to sleep

7:04 a.m. N appears at bedside to announce he’s hungry
7:20 a.m. Finally pry myself out of bed and turn off unneeded alarm; stumble downstairs and make French toast for breakfast for N and me; feed dog
8:00 a.m. Canoodle around on the laptop in spite of N and his ever present chatter
8:45 a.m. Head back upstairs to shower, dress, and all that fun stuff
9:30 a.m. Start prying N away from laptop; make sure necessities are packed for basketball tournament
9:45 a.m. Leave for basketball tournament; fuel up car before hitting the road
10:45 a.m. Go thru Arby’s drive-thru to prevent N from starving to death on way to tournament
11:20 a.m. Stop at rest area for much needed pit stop for both N and me
11:40 a.m. Arrive at tournament site; sit and wait for 12:30 game to begin
12:30 p.m. Game 3 for N’s team; they win! Meaning they have the privilege of staying for two more games that afternoon
1:30 p.m. Wait for 2:30 game to begin
2:30 p.m. Game 4 for N’s team; they win! Meaning they will play for the championship of the consolation bracket of the tournament
3:30 p.m. Wait for 4:30 game to begin
4:30 p.m. Championship game; N’s team loses
5:30 p.m. Trophy presentation; N unimpressed by size of second place trophies compared to first place trophies; Cajole N into street clothes so we can have dinner before heading home
6:00 p.m. Instead of getting lost, stop at Cracker Barrel on way home just off the interstate; service stinks; waiter disappears after serving food thwarting efforts to obtain strawberry jam to go with biscuits; eventually waiter arrives to bring check and we finally are able to ask for jam; second waiter in a row to receive very meager tip from me
7:30 p.m. Headed home in a snowstorm; more good times
9:15 p.m. Arrive home; pack up some stuff for N; take him to W’s to spend the night
9:30 p.m. Deposit N at W’s; deflect chit chatty W and leave quickly to get home and rest
9:45 p.m. Arrive home again; feed dog; collapse in recliner; call BJ
10:15 p.m. Intend to go upstairs to bed; instead fall asleep in recliner not to awaken until 4:00 a.m.

Yes, there was a lot of down time for me in there, in between games and such. However, between the driving, and the interacting with people (draining for an introvert) at the tournament, and the taking advantage of the track at the tournament site for walking, I ended the weekend absolutely exhausted and with nothing done at home. The laundry still sits unlaundered in the laundry room. The dishes still sit in the dishwasher not having been put away while other dishes wait in the sink for their turn in the dishwasher. The Christmas tree still stands in the living room, a sad testament to our busy lives.

This week doesn’t look to be much easier. Of course I’m at work ever day (no, my employer does not give us MLK Jr day off, a fact of which I am not happy) and the evenings are for the most part activity filled. Tomorrow is the Illini/OSU basketball game which starts at 6:00 p.m. meaning I have to hustle to get N after work and get to the game before too much of the first half has elapsed. Wednesday is N’s school’s night at the local library. Thursday night is the PTA meeting. Yes, that leaves this evening for chores. This evening, when I am still burnt out by the weekend, is the only time until next weekend I have to get anything done around the house. Truth be told, though, I’ll probably throw in a load of laundry here, shift it to dryer there, somehow at least make sure we have clean clothes to wear. Honestly, I don’t know how other single mothers do it. I really don’t.

I really am exhausted. . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lessons Learned

I’ve been thinking back to a year ago a lot lately. I think that has to do with how traumatic last January was for me. It was truly not the best month of my life.

At this point last year I was still convalescing from the accident. You remember, don’t you, the one where I was hit by a car driven by an inattentive woman? Yes, I thought you did (or do now that you clicked that link up there and reminded yourself). To this day I still watch much more carefully for traffic. To this day if I see a moving vehicle anywhere within my line of vision I will try to wait for it to go away before walking across the street or parking lot (makes shopping difficult, let me tell you, not to mention attending sporting events where traffic is thicker than flies on cow manure) or at the very least I’ll keep an eagle eye on the offending vehicle the entire time even if it’s more than a block away. Cautious is my middle name now when it comes to walking where there are vehicles nearby. Also, I’m big on hand holding while walking now. I’m not sure how that protects me, or maybe it’s just that I figure if I get hit at least I’ll have company. Anyway, a little more than a year has passed and neither the scars on my foot nor the scars on my psyche are completely gone yet.

At this point last year I did not yet know that I was about to be devastated by the man I love. I hadn’t yet received the Dear Jane email, didn’t yet know the depths of which I could feel betrayal. To this day I haven’t regained 100% in BJ. Little by little I trust him more and more, but I feel my caution and my distrust. I do not want to be one of those people, and never have been one in the past, who snoops and tries to check up on their significant other. So far I haven’t, but I’ve been tempted. I have been oh so tempted, but so far I’ve refused to succumb to the temptation. What I do however is listen ever so closely to the things he says and doesn’t say, watch ever so closely to what he does and doesn’t do, read in more than probably should be into the least little thing. I have yet to reopen my heart 100% to him, and sometimes I wonder if I ever will.

What happened last winter helped me give up on my thoughts of ever finding a happily ever after. There will never be a happily ever after in my life. What happened last winter made me stronger in some ways. It has also made me more cynical. I no longer really believe in lifelong love. I no longer believe that I will ever have anyone in my life who will mean the words in the vows one takes when one marries. I no longer believe I will ever have someone in my life who I can count on to be there for a lifetime. What I now believe is that I can appreciate the good things about having someone in my life for the length of time they are willing to stay in my life. I believe that I have to just have my own independent life and let others have their lives and if our lives happen to intersect for a while then we can enjoy it for that time. I will never find another person who shares enough of my dreams and with whom I share enough of theirs to think that we will ever have anything more than at most a few years together, and then we will move on and go our separate ways. In some ways that makes me sad. In others it makes me feel better because it makes it okay to not get too close, to not let my guard down, to not let others all the way in, to be the way I am.

Yep, I learned some hard lessons last January. I still fight against some of them. I’m starting to give up the fight though, after a year. As Dan Fogelberg sang, “Lessons learned are like bridges burned. You only need to cross them but once. Is the knowledge gained worth the price of the pain? Are the spoils worth the cost of the hunt?”Lessons learned

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Random Chaos

I have approximately as many thoughts running through my head as Congress has lobbyists pushing for a stimulus handout to their industry of choice. With so many different thoughts crowding around trying to vie for my attention I am left dazed and confused and unable to string together a coherent and relevant post. What you get therefore is a stream of consciousness post. Thoughts thrown willy nilly on the screen without segues to bridge from one to another. There may be overlap or even repetition therein. Proceed with caution. No telling what may fall from my brain through my fingertips to the computer.

Drained, I feel drained in so many ways these days. It’s all too hard, requiring too much effort. I don’t like standing on my own two feet and would really like for somebody to just come in and take care of me. (And yes, I do know just how absolutely pathetic that sounds.)

I’m thinking a lot about morality these days. My own and what it says about me that while I believe in a certain morality I don’t follow it. Damn this human weakness. I am not the person I want to be. I don’t have the character I want to have. Moreover, I am finding it damned hard to change. I know how I want to be, and yet I continue to not act the way I want to act.

Paul’s words in Romans 7 haunt me, and I want to go study them further, in depth and in context, to make sure that I understand what the message there really is.

I like my new therapist. It’s nice to be seeing someone locally instead of doing it via phone like I have been. It’s the first time I’ve seen a male therapist. I don’t know if that’s good or bad or totally irrelevant. I’m starting to see where the “I’m not good enough” frame of mind originated. While I believe that it is something internal to me it certainly was fostered by my parents and their expectations of me and their repeated disappointment in my failure to live up to their expectations. What I really want to find is a way to make peace with myself over being okay even if I don’t ever live up to anyone else’s expectations of me.

Stupid winter weather is getting me down. When the predicted high is a negative number that’s just depressing. When you wake up to no power and frozen water pipes that’s not fun. When you have to use flashlights to find your way to the clean undies, and when you have to go without coffee until you get to work, and when you have to wear layers and layers of clothes to go outside for even a few minutes, it’s time to salute Mother Nature with an obscene gesture and go have a good cry, being careful to cry only indoors to prevent frozen tear drops on your cheek.

Something W said to me a few years ago echoes in my head over and over and over. “If you want to do something badly enough you’ll find a way to do it no matter what.” That almost sounds like a good thing, but in the context in which it was said it is not. And the thing is, I know he is right.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Friendship for People Who Don't Like People

I have often thought that I don’t like people much, in general. I don’t seem to “get” most people. I’m not on the same wavelength with mainstream average Americans. Why do I bring this up today? Why do I mention it at all? I’ve been thinking a lot about it the last couple of weeks, ever since I had a conversation with a lovely woman at church a couple of Sundays ago.

I was on duty as greeter that day, at the Northeast entrance of the church. I was there at the appointed time, about 45 minutes prior to services starting. To tell you the truth at our little church not many people arrive until about 5 minutes or less prior to services starting so I wasn’t terribly busy at my post. As a matter of fact I sat down on the bench just inside the door and was lost in thought over various and sundry things when “Pat” (not her real name) wandered out to where I was from somewhere within the church. She had come for the adult Sunday school class only to find it not in session that week. She sat on the bench opposite the one on which I sat, and we chatted.

Pat and I were not well acquainted but did know one another in passing. We have been in the same Sunday school class together a few times, and we’ve chatted briefly. I knew that she is retired and has mostly raised her grandson, and she knew that I am mom to N. We started our conversation talking about our boys and childrearing and how to handle certain behavior. You know, typical “mom talk.” We progressed to talking about our histories and our marriages and our divorces and our careers. We got to know one another quite well in our half hour or so of conversation.

During the conversation Pat shared that although she had gone into psychology as a profession it probably wasn’t a great choice for her because she doesn’t really like people. I found that to be a fascinating statement. Here she was saying the same thing I’ve felt for years. I don’t really like people. As she went on to talk about her career and how she mostly had administrative and managerial positions so she didn’t have to deal with actual clients much, I was thinking how similar that sounds to how I would feel about it. In college, I toyed with the idea of becoming a psychology major. However, the thought of actually having to listen to people drone on about how awful their situation is while being unwilling to work to change themselves to better their situation made me decide that being an accountant, playing with the numbers, sitting at a desk and not having to interact a great deal with actual people, was probably a better career choice for me.

As more and more people arrived for church I had to take my greeter duties more seriously, and we wrapped up our chat. Pat said to me that although she doesn’t like people she had really enjoyed our conversation. I told her I felt the same way. She went on into the sanctuary as I turned to greet the late arrivals.

I think Pat and I just may have a new friendship in the making here. . . in spite of the fact that neither of us likes people.

Monday, January 12, 2009

WikiHow I Most Need to Read and Follow

How to Talk to Strangers

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Walking up to people you don't know and striking up conversation is the social equivalent of skydiving. It's fun, interesting, and risky. And it will change your life. You’ll meet new people every day, you’ll give yourself control over your social and love life, and you’ll experience firsthand the joy of living dangerously. But how do you go from sitting in front of a computer to habitually starting conversations with strangers on a daily basis? Read on, aspiring social skydiver, read on...


  1. Let go of your ego. Prepare to be told to "$#&! off!" Prepare to be ignored. Prepare to be brushed off in dramatic fashion. But also prepare to meet (and possibly date) people of unique vintage and beauty. When you take the risk of talking to someone you don’t know, rejection is the only certainty. But failure is exciting–-it’s a chance to learn and improve. So when you're out and about, leave the ego behind and keep the following in mind:
    • People don’t bite. A lot of people are really open to conversation. In fact, you’d be amazed at how many people will be practically overjoyed that you came and talked to them, as if they’ve been waiting for you to approach them.
    • Rejection is no big deal. This can't be emphasized enough. Still, fear of rejection will be the main reason why people don’t go out and try this. If you are willing to get rejected, brush it off and keep going, you will have an awesome life. Period.
    • The people around you aren’t watching you approach strangers. And, even when they are, it’s usually in shock and awe, rather than because they’re laughing at you.

  2. Keep your conversations fairly organic. Don't come in with “canned material”, “nuclear attraction” routines, or other social robotics. The best way to make a connection with someone is to come from the heart and live fully in the moment. What you say isn’t nearly as important as how you say it. Socializing is about exchanging energy, not being a wordsmith. When in doubt, just say “Hi”. If you’ve never done this before, you may get brushed off several, even dozens of times until you get really comfortable being yourself in front of other people.
  3. If you’re still terrified by the idea of talking to strangers, challenge yourself to talk to one stranger a day, every day, for 30 days. If you’re walking past someone on the sidewalk, say “Hi”, and the person looks at you and keeps walking (done that many times), your job is done for the day. If you walk up to a girl in a club and say “Hey!”, and she responds, with a slightly grossed out look “I have a boyfriend.”, congratulations, you’re one step closer to improving your love life. The point of this exercise is to get you used to talking to people you don’t know and form the habit of being more social.
  4. Go out to social events by yourself. That’s right. Don’t invite anyone along. No one needs to know where you’re going. You don’t need permission from your girlfriend or boyfriend. You just need to choose to make right now a lot more exciting than yesterday. Your goal for this outing should be just one simple thing: Amuse yourself. You don’t need to get any phone numbers. In fact, you need even make no guarantee that you’ll actually talk to anyone. Don’t scare yourself into submission before you’ve even left the house. This event be something that interests you. If you claim you “can’t find anything good” you aren’t looking hard enough. Here are some ideas:
    • Art Shows
    • Book Readings
    • Rock Concerts
    • Museum Exhibitions
    • “Beginners Night” Dance Classes
    • Speed Dating
    • Outdoor Festivals
    • Geek Gatherings
    • Parades/Rallies/Protests


  • If you do this enough, you’ll eventually get comfortable being yourself around people. While you should expect your first time to be really scary, even lame perhaps, see the bigger picture. Do you really think you’ll still be just as horrified once you’ve done this 10 times? 100 times? 1000 times? Planting yourself in social situations actually makes talking to strangers become the path of least resistance. In fact, you’ll look a lot more strange if you aren’t talking to people.
  • Being willing to go out by yourself gives you more control over your social life. It means you can make a decision about what you want to do on a given night, even if nobody else wants to or is available to join you. Suddenly, those awkward moments of waiting around like a loser for your friend to show up at some social gathering become opportunities to meet new people.


  • You will encounter all of the following problems, but the sooner you push through them, the sooner you'll realize how harmless they really are:
    • You won’t know what to say when you approach people.
    • You might end up standing around like a loser.
    • You’ll be almost visibly shaking for the first few people you approach.
    • Some people will think you’re creepy.
    • Some people will think you’re weird because you’re not out with your friends.
    • You’ll tell yourself, “Oh my God! This is too hard! I think I’ll just rent a movie instead.”

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  • 30sleeps.com - Original source of the content in this article, shared with permission.

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It's Delurking Day!

I just found out it's official (Who makes it official? Beats me, I just report these things. I don't actually go out and verify them or anything. Sheesh. . . ) Delurking Day.

So all you lurkers, delurk! Even if all you do is say howdy I would love it if you would take the time to drop a comment. Also, if you have your own blog and comment here I'll drop by and leave a comment for you too!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stolen Meme

1. Describe your ex in two words: grumpy, old

2. Do you have a favorite type of pen? Yes, Pilot® Precise V5 Needle Rollerball Pens

3. Look at your planner for May 14th, what are you doing?
Nothing so far

4. What does the 4th text in your inbox say?
Great not (from J after I answered "No" to his request to see me while we are at my folks' place at Christmas)

5. What was the last thing you highlighted?
Report request

6. What color are your bedroom curtains?
No curtains, much to my neighbors' delight I'm sure.

7. What color are the seats in your car?

8. Have you ever had a black and white cat?

9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on? An envelope

10. Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming? No.

11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time?
Was out of cash

12. Who was the last baby you held?
Been too long to remember

13. Do you know of any twins with rhyming names? Nope.

14. Do you like Cinnamon toothpaste? Never tried it.

15. What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago?
Pontiac Aztek

16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators.
Neither. It's Illini or Nobody.

17. Last time you went to Six Flags? Either two or three years ago. Not sure.

18. Do you have any wallpaper in your house?

19. Closest thing to you that is yellow?
PTA directory from N's school.

20. Last person to give you a business card? Insurance claims adjuster.

21. Who is the last person who wrote a check to you?
My dad.

22. Closest framed picture to you? N, naturally.

23. Last time you had someone cook for you? Not including restaurants it would have to be a while back when BJ made dinner for us. Actually, he made coffee for us yesterday. Does that count?

24. Have you ever applied for welfare?

25. How many emails do you have?
I have no idea.

26. Last time you received flowers?
I don't remember the occasion, but I do remember BJ gave them to me.

27. Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man and woman?

28. Do you play air guitar?
Only when I'm sure I'm alone.

29. Has anyone ever proposed to you? Several people, several times.

30. Do you take anything in your coffee? No, no sense ruining a good thing.

31. Do you have any willow tree figurines?
I hate figurines for the most part, so no.

32. What was your high school’s mascot?
Orphan (No, I'm not kidding)

33. Last thing you drank? Diet Coke

34. Last time you used hand sanitizer?
Quite a while ago, don't know when for sure. I prefer soap and water when I can get to it.

35. Would you like to learn to play the drums? No.

36. What color are the blinds in your living room?
Don't have any blinds just some ugly sheers that need to be replaced when I have the money to do so.

37. What is in your inbox at work?
Nothing last I checked, but since I missed work on Friday there might be something.

38. Last thing you read in the newspaper? Comics.

39. What was the last pageant you attended?
Does the church's Christmas Pageant count? If so, then last month.

40. What is the last place you bought pizza from? I'm sad to say it was Pizza Hut.

41. Have you ever worn a crown? Don't remember for sure but probably in one of the many theatrical performances from my childhood.

42. What is the last thing you stapled?
A completed report request.

43. Did you ever drink clear Pepsi?

44. Are you ticklish?
Yes, though not as much as I used to be.

45. Last time you saw fireworks?
July 4th at my parents' neighbors' place.

46. Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut? About 3 weeks ago.

47. Who is the last person that left you a message & you actually returned their call?

48. Last time you parked under a carport?
About 10 years ago when we still lived in the mobile home with an attached carport.

49. Do you have a black dog?

50. Do you have pickles in your fridge? Not since W moved out because neither N nor I eat pickles.

51. Are you an aunt or uncle?
Yes, aunt to Ella and Bella even though I rarely get to see them.

52. Who has the prettiest eyes that you know? N, beautiful dark brown eyes and long eyelashes that most women would kill to have.

53. Last time you saw a semi truck?
This afternoon.

54. Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe?
Never heard of him.

55. Do you have a little black dress? I have no little clothes of any kind.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Trueself Answers

At long last, and since I'm sitting at home with N today while he recuperates from whatever virus he picked up at school, I decided to answer the questions from Ask Trueself Anything. Like the last time I did it I didn't get many questions. Either I've already shared so much that there just wasn't much left to ask, or y'all just don't care. In keeping with keeping my self esteem high I'll assume it's the first 'cause I'm sure you all care deeply for me.

Cocotte said...
How many blogs do you follow? What attracts you to different blogs?

Cocotte -- I follow so many blogs I couldn't possibly tell you how many I follow. I follow all the ones on my blogroll in my sidebar plus some others. There are some I check every day and others that I only check on occasionally.

As for what attracts me to different blogs it can be any one of a number of things -- people who seem to have something in common with me, people who write well on topics of interest, people who I've come to know through comments on my, or other, blogs. I'm an eclectic reader of eclectic blogs, but each one that I read reflects some aspect of my own personality.

Sailor said...
I don't have a question at the moment, but I admire your willingness to risk opening up with the answers to others.

Sailor -- Why thank you. Admiration always gratefully accepted here at Deepest Darkest Thoughts.

Val said...
Tell me more about this Twitter nonsense! Do you need a Blackberry to effectively participate, or will the obsessive checking & re-checking of your PC work almost as well??!!??

Val -- Twitter is addictive. That's the most important thing you should know about it. I have no Crackberry and participate quite well with the technique you have outlined above. I obsessively check & re-check my PC. In addition, when I can't read others' Tweets I can still send Tweets by sending text messages directly to Twitter. Do I recommend Twitter? Hmm, only if you don't grow obsessive about it like I have. :-)

Tia said...
I have been reading you for years.
I pray this will not be taken in the wrong way by you or anyone else...
That said....
I never knew that BJ (nor N for that matter were ....um, not white) Is that right?
NOT THAT IT MATTERS!! But I was surprised. I don't know why.
So, my question? Is W also of color? Any other info on the subject?

Tia -- First, thanks for reading for so long. Second, no problem from me on your questions. One thing about the blogosphere is that it is totally colorblind unless the blogger posts pictures or talks about their racial identity. I don't do either very often.

Now on to your questions. I think I'll just give a "racial profile" of myself as well as each of those you mentioned. For a long time I have spoken of myself as the "palest woman on earth" because of my very pale complexion and unwillingness to try to make this easily sunburned body tan. My heritage is English and Scottish with rumor amongst the family that there is Cherokee back there somewhere but that hasn't been proven. BJ is white as white can be being of Nordic and German heritage (which also, BTW, means that he handles cold temperatures way better than I do). He's almost as pale as I am. W is also whiter than white being almost entirely of Scottish heritage. N is biracial. His birthfather is African American and his birthmother is of Irish heritage. As white parents of a biracial child we've taken care to not ignore his heritage and make sure that we live and work and worship in a community that includes racial diversity.

Fusion said...
Yes True, I was surprised to hear N is of mixed race, I didn't know that, so W is black? Interesting. My new GF's ex is black, but they didn't have any kids together.

Fusion --I just don't bring up race much. Lots of people who haven't seen N just assume he's white like me.

So there you have it. Another episode of Ask Trueself Anything wrapped up. But hey y'all, please know that you can ask me anything anytime at all. Don't ever hesitate.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Q is for Quit Bugging Me!!

In keeping with January's Resolution #6 – Say bad things about Q only on my blog and not to people in real life – today’s post is devoted to saying bad things about Q. I need to get it all out before I say it inappropriately in real life. I need to vent so you may want to stand back and perhaps shield your eyes.

Oh Q, how do I loathe you? There are oh so very many ways. Chief among them is that it bugs the heck out of me just how much you bug me. Yes, I know that is more about me than you, but I’m mad at you, this is my tantrum, and I’ll find a way to blame you for everything from unrest in Gaza to global warming. Q, you are my target du jour so just stand there and take it like the uber bitch that I claim you to be.

Q, I hate your stupid bleached blond hair. Do you really think it looks good that way? No, it looks way over processed. Please find a way to be kinder to your hair. Oh, and you might try brushing it occasionally. Just a thought. . .

Q, you are not smarter than me. You do not know more than I do about certain topics like, say, childrearing. You have that arrogant attitude only the childless possess. Get over yourself. You do NOT know better how to parent N than I do, and besides that you are NOT his parent. So SHUT UP and let me and W deal with N, ‘kay?

Q, you may be W’s girlfriend, but you and I are not ever going to be friends. I will be polite and tactful in my dealings with you, but I will not ever have any desire to be your friend. You are not the type person I generally befriend anyway even if we met under different circumstances so beyond the pleasantries of a hello and how are you let’s just can the chit chat, shall we?

Q, why did you rent a house when you never stay there? Your house has become the most expensive dog house in the world as only the dog lives there from what I can tell. You are always at W’s apartment. WTF?!? Don’t you think your dog is lonely with you only dropping by for a short while once or twice a day? There is nothing more to say here but to repeat WTF?!?

Q, when we are at church stay away from me. It’s a small church but not so small that you can’t find others to talk to during coffee hour. You do not need to seek me out to make a point of talking to me. Just go your way, and I’ll go mine. A pleasant smile and nod hello would suffice if we happen to cross paths. I am not there to talk to you. I am there to be with my church family, a family I might add in which I do not include you except as perhaps that crazy distant cousin that keeps showing up at family functions making people uncomfortable.

Q, do not cross me. You have not seen what Taurus the Bull can be like when angered. You do not want to see it. Trust me. When I start to get hot, back the fuck off, particularly if you want to live to see another day. I can tell by looking at you that if I need to I can take you down sister. Don’t make me do it.

Q, so what’s with your job being in jeopardy already? You work for a nursing home, not a place well known for speedy and efficient employees, and yet you’ve already been told just a few weeks in that if you don’t speed up you’ll be canned. Just how slowly are you moving? Good grief woman, get your act together.

Q, and what’s with being W’s live in girlfriend but not taking care of him when he’s hurt? Oh well, at least in this case he’s proved that what goes around comes around. I guess he’s just getting payback for the way he didn’t care for me when I needed him.

And now Q just a little tip here. You are really starting to get on W’s nerves. I’ve noticed it. N just told me this morning that he noticed W being annoyed with you a lot lately. N also told me (completely surprised me at his astute observation BTW) the other day that he thinks you only want a boyfriend because you don’t have a car and need someone to drive you around town. If a 10-year-old can see it, then perhaps it won’t be long before W sees it too. If you want to continue this relationship with W you might just try being a little less transparent and a little less annoying. Just sayin’. . .

Okay, I feel better. Sometimes a girl just has to have a little bitchstorm.

Carry on.
Updated: 4:30 p.m.

Just got off the phone with W. He called with a question about N’s schedule. Somehow the conversation moved in a direction that led him to mention that he’s trying to help Q get a job again. I politely inquired about the nursing home job. Apparently she was fired on her sixth day on the job. This would’ve been well before Christmas. I knew he mentioned soon after she started that her job was in jeopardy but had no idea she’d been canned. . . after only SIX days for (in W’s words) “being slower than molasses.” It was all I could do to maintain enough composure to politely express that I was sorry to hear she was having such troubles before ringing off.

Now I am sitting here smirking and feeling a perverse sense of pleasure at others’ pain. If I wasn’t at work I’d likely be laughing right out loud and perhaps doing a little dance around the room. Yes the Dark Side is strong within me today.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Needing Help from My Bloggy Friends

I am in specific need of a specific kind of help. I need to receive some stories from you of people who were not successful in school who became successful in life. N is not very good at academics. He tries hard, but he struggles to get anything but barely passing grades. He has other talents like sports and the arts but academics aren’t his thing. I come from a family of above average intelligence, non-athletic, non-artistic, very academic types. That doesn’t make my family of origin anything but different from what N is, and I don’t have personal experience from which to draw when reassuring N that he can indeed be successful in life without being an academic whiz kid.

So people of the blogosphere I need stories – stories of people in the real world who couldn’t make a good grade in school in spite of their best efforts who found their niche in life and have become a success. By success I don’t mean monetarily, I mean living a fulfilled life with a career they enjoy and not feeling “less than” in the world because they didn’t stack up academically. I know there are people out there with these types of life stories. I know that not every successful person is a college graduate doing a job that requires a strong academic background. I need to be able to share that with N to be able to say to him that yes, I do actually know people that make it just fine without academic excellence.

It makes me sad to realize that for the most part I surround myself only with college educated academic nerdy types. Birds of a feather I guess. I hope that nothing I’ve said here comes across as arrogant. It is not intended that way. I, and the family into which I was born, just happen to have been blessed with intelligence. That happens to be our talent in life. Although I wouldn’t trade my intelligence for more athleticism or more artistic ability it is not because I do not value those things but simply because I have learned to use my talent in a way that works for me. My hope is that in spite of not having the same talents as N that I can help N use his talents in a way that works for him, but what I know is how to be successful using academic talent. I need to know how those with athletic or artistic talents put those talents to use in being successful short of the high profile celebrity ways.

I’m counting on you, my bloggy friends, to help me with this. Share your athletic, artistic, non-academic success stories. Help me help N. Thanks.

On another note, there's still time to Ask Trueself Anything. I'll probably be posting answers this Friday or Saturday for those of you impatiently waiting.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's Me Not Them

As evidence mounts it becomes clearer and clearer to me that my expectations of people are way too high. People continually disappoint me. That combined with that other truth that the only person you can change is yourself makes me realize that the problem has to be me, not the other people. The other people are doing what they do the way they are going to do it. I'm going around being angry, disappointed, and generally not too pleasant. Alrighty then. If I want to be a happier person then I have to change my reactions to people because I damned sure can't change the other people.

Sigh. . .

Personal growth is not easy.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I Done Been Tagged

I've been tagged by The Silent Male for an interesting little photo thing.

The idea is to post a specific, yet random photo -- specifically (yet, also, randomly...) the 4th photo from the 4th folder. Now, this was a bit of a problem as I don't have four folders of photos. So this is the fourth photo in the last (third) folder. I was surprised that I even had three folders given that I don't even have a digital camera, but then remembered I'd downloaded some photos into folders.

Whatever. Here's the photo I found.

This is N at least a couple of years ago. Obviously, he's a pirate, a fact that you all probably didn't know. Also obviously, he's adorable, but I think I've shared that fact with you before.

Thanks SM for the tag.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Ask Trueself Anything

I did this once before, long ago (actually only about a year and a half ago), and got very few questions, but I provided answers to each and every one.

So if you have any questions you'd like to ask me, anything at all, serious or humorous, about any topic, now's your chance. No question is too stupid. No question is too rude. No question will go unanswered. Leave questions in this post's comments, or if you don't want other readers knowing it was you who asked (I promise not to tell) then send it to me in an email (my email address is in my profile).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Month Resolutions

Tis the season for New Year resolutions. Now we all know that most of us don’t keep our resolutions very long, or we just forget about them, or life gets too busy, or whatever. Therefore, I’m not making resolutions for the upcoming year. I am making resolutions for the month. At the end of the month, I’ll revisit my resolutions, take stock of how I’m doing, and make resolutions for the next month. Maybe the resolutions for the next month will be the same as the prior month, maybe tweaked a bit, maybe altogether different, but it’s all about trying to get myself on track and keep myself on track. (Hmm, maybe that’s really my New Year resolution: to follow a program of monthly resolutions.)

Without further ado, here are my January resolutions.

In January 2009 I resolve to:
  1. Take my meds every day as prescribed.

  2. Practice more positive self talk and less negative self talk.

  3. Finish the divorce paperwork and file it with the court.

  4. Finish the refinancing process.

  5. Finish and post the blog post I started recapping 2008

  6. Say bad things about Q only on my blog and not to people in real life.

There we go. That’s it, but that’s plenty. We’ll see how I’m doing come the end of the month. Hopefully there are a couple there that won’t have to carry over into February.