Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sympathy

One of my dearest friends in the Land of Blog, whom I have "known" almost from the genesis of "Coming to Terms…" has had a devastating loss. Her husband passed away suddenly this past weekend. I can’t even imagine the heartbreak.

Anyone who knows Cynthia, please stop by Sorting the Pieces and offer your support...

Love you, Cyn.  Wishing I could extend more than a virtual hug...


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

(Don't) Think About It

Life coaches and self-help books would have you believe it’s possible to plot a detailed plan, follow it to the letter, and achieve the success you so richly deserve—in any endeavor, or in life in general. Yes, there are people out there who really believe this. And I’m sure there are those for whom the tactic actually works. As for me…well, I’ve never quite mastered the trick to planning ahead.

I think it’s because, early on in the process, one needs to at least visit the idea of possible glitches, or road blocks, or undesirable outcomes. And that’s where two major aspects of my personality—my tendency toward negativity, and my inclination to over-think things—kick into overdrive. I get lost in the "What ifs," never to be found again.

I was a smart, competitive student, back in the Stone Age. But I could never catch a vision for college. Would-be mentors encouraged me to think about it, so I did. And that, of course, was the kiss of death. My mind immediately latched on to the negatives. College was expensive. College was hard. College might just chew me up and spit me out. In the end, I created some kind of vague cost/benefit analysis in my mind, balancing the outlay of money against the end result. And since, at seventeen, I didn’t yet have a clear idea of a career in mind (and to this day, I don’t know how anyone can expect that of a seventeen-year-old…) I opted out. Didn’t go. Went to work instead. Eventually I came to regret the decision, came to rue the flawed and incomplete thought process that led me to it. For awhile, I even tried to blame my parents, my counselors, the system…for robbing me of an experience I really should have had. But it was me (I?). All me. Classic me.

That same stubborn, inevitable tendency toward self-sabotage steered me away from many life experiences that came naturally to "normal" human beings. Like procreation, for example. Generations of women before me just…had babies. They didn’t think about it. It was what was done. Lucky me--I arrived on the scene at a time in history where having children was becoming a choice. Something you thought about. Uh-oh… On top of that, I discovered I had physical problems that would make getting pregnant anything but natural (think fertility treatments, multiple surgeries, heavy-duty hormones and in vitro as an expensive and not necessarily fool-proof last resort.) All that travail to produce little humans who could, in the end, be sources of major heartache (See? There’s that negative thought process kicking in…) Um…I’ll pass. And there are times, now, when I regret that decision. Maybe I wouldn’t have been the disastrous parent I’d always imagined I would be.

Given my history, why am I not…still in high school? (Assuming an increasingly graying and wrinkling student could have flown under the radar for thirty-five years…) The truth is, I’ve learned to work around myself. I know that if I want to do anything at all, I have to JUST DO IT. Hmmm…that’s a catchy little slogan…

It’s a little tricky, because I have to want something badly enough to throw caution to the wind and go after it. And usually by the time I understand I want something, I’ve over-thought it to the point of talking myself out of it. In order to move at all, the only two directions I can allow my mind to take are, "I want to do that" and "I can do that." I can’t predict an end result; I can’t contemplate where I might be in five or ten or thirty years. I can’t try to peer down the little side roads I might encounter on the journey. The Evangelicals call it "stepping out in faith." Other people might call it something else, like "cluelessness." I prefer to think of it as "selective analysis." Or getting out of my own way.

"Overthink" or "Don’t Think at All"—these two concepts have dominated my life. And when I get down to thinking about it (oh no!) neither is really THE solution. Each has saved me or damned me at various times. "Overthink" kept me away from drugs, alcohol & cigarettes as a kid; I surrendered my virginity to "Don’t Think". "Overthink" kept me out of college and rendered me childless. "Don’t Think" propelled me into an unthinkably long and happy partnership with the love of my life. "Overthink" has robbed me of valuable experiences, but has occasionally saved me from myself. And "Don’t Think" has put me on the path to my richest rewards, but has not always led me to a place I wanted or needed to be.

Most recently, "Don’t Think" buckled me into the thrill ride of restaurant ownership well beyond the age of reason for that endeavor. Will this ultimately pan out as salvation or damnation?

I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it too much.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This Turned Into an Invitation of Sorts...

I’m in another of those phases where I want to come here and write something, but when I turn on the computer, all I can do is sit and stare at the screen. I think all my creative juices are being sucked up by the café these days. What with Easter coming hard on the heels of Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day waiting in the wings, I’ve had to swing my creative focus away from writing for pleasure (or therapy…) The movie meme was fun, though, even if only a few people played. I enjoy the interaction of that kind of thing.

Speaking of interaction, I’ve had an idea bouncing around in my head for about a month. Now that AOL has caught up with the 21st century blogging world and allowed for blogs with multiple writers, I was thinking about starting an ensemble blog. A place where several writers could contribute essays, pictures, whatever. I haven’t hit on a theme yet…but I kind of want to keep it as open as possible. Just nothing silly or cutesy…sorry, I hate those blogs with all the little pictures and tags and…fluff. I guess I’m just not the fluffy type.

I’d like this blog to be somewhat serious…a place where we can write, vent, expound upon things that really matter to us; things that might be of interest to others. My thought is that they would not just be little stand-alone pieces, but that the posts would relate to one another in some way. Like, I write something, then someone else writes a rebuttal, or continues on the theme, or something like that. Or we could have a "Topic of the Week" that everyone writes about. I just think this would be a fun way to build a little neighborhood of our own inside the j-land community. Is anybody interested? If you are, just email me, or leave a comment, and we’ll see about getting something together. It shouldn’t be too hard to get it rolling once we get a few people together…

And now to the business I started out wanting to cover when I sat down at the ‘puter this morning…

I just wanted to whine that we have had exactly one day of spring so far this year in the Pacific Northwest. It was last Saturday. Temperatures soared to the 80-degree mark in some parts of Orygun, the sun put in a rare appearance, and shorts, sandals, fake-and-bake tans and jet-skis were all dug out of their winter cubbies and brandished with wild abandon. Unfortunately, by Sunday afternoon, the sky clouded up, the wind started to whip, and temperatures headed south in a hurry. By Monday night, the forecast was calling for "showers possibly mixed with snow." Augh! WAY too schizophrenic for me.

But here’s a picture I took yesterday. He’s not exactly a harbinger of spring (these little guys stick around all year.) But they are one of my absolute favorite birds. In this pic, he’s in the top of my apple tree, having just finished enjoying a seed carefully selected from the feeder below…

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Answers

Comment from andrea8358

The first one is The King and I.
Number 2 is Ghostbusters
3: Scrooged

5 has to be Little Women
Number 7 is White Christmas, I think.
8 is Christmas Vacation.

That's all I can get.

Comment from fdtate714

Number 2 is Ghostbusters. Is number 3 Scrooged? I also knew number 8. Really! As for the rest, I don't have a clue, but I love some of the quotes.


Comment from
rdautumnsage |

Ok let me see some of these are just guesses:

3 Miracle on 34th Street (when a bell rings an angel gets his wings)

4.Lord of the Rings

5 Little Women

8 National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

9 Child's Play: Chuckie's Bride?

10 9 to 5...Working 9 to 5 with Dolly Parton?

(Hugs) Indigo

Comment from thesheatons |

Well, number one is The KIng and I. And now that you did the second line I can "hear" ol Yul saying line number one.

number five-Little Women?

Jackie

There are one or two obsessive movie watchers out there. I have to give Andrea the big prize. She guessed six—count ‘em six—of the ten. You and I must have some mystic connection, Andrea…

Duane recognized all the films with "SNL" Connections. ("Ghostbusters," "Scrooged," and "Christmas Vacation"…)

Indigo got "Christmas Vacation" as well as "Little Women."

And Jackie correctly identified "The King and I" and "Little Women."

A round of applause for each of you, and thank you for playing.

I keep thinking just one more clue would identify the other four for you. But I suppose it’s time to wrap this thing up. So here are the answers:

#4—HELP! Could a former Beatlemaniac baby boomer not have chosen a Fab Four flick as one of her favorites?

#6—While You Were Sleeping. The eighties holiday romance with Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman et al. I own this movie; I watch it every holiday season. And sometimes in July. It’s cute, it’s quirky, and it is set in Chicago. Kind of like going home for Christmas.

#9—Meet Me in St. Louis. I have a thing for old musicals. This is one of my favorites. It has no plot to speak of, but it has great songs, great costumes and Judy Garland. What more could you ask?

#10—Monsters, Inc. In my opinion, this is by far the best of the "new generation" of animated films. The art is fantastic, and the story is SOOO creative. And what’s not to love about Billy Crystal and John Goodman?

That was fun. It was a satisfactory distraction from some of the less wonderful things going on in my life.

And, in case anyone was wondering, the husband is doing much better than he was last week…J

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Little More Info (Meme-wise)

Either I'm really good at fooling everyone, or I've just picked some really obscure movies...

Here:  I've added another quote for each film.  Maybe that will help you figure them out.  At least one or two, anyway...

  1. They think you dress like that because you shaped like that!
  2. A promise is a promise! Head must not be higher than mine! A promise!

  3. Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
  4. I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft!

  5. No, you are a hallucination, brought on by alcohol. Russian Vodka, poisoned by Chernobyl.
  6. "I get it, you're here to show me my past and I'm supposed to get all dully eyed and mushy. Well forget it pal, you got the wrong guy." "That's exactly what Atilla the Hun said. But when he saw his mother, Niagra Falls."

  7. How do you know you're not just as filthy and sent by him to nick the ring by being filthy when you have lulled us with your filthy eastern ways?
  8. Look, John, I've had some great good times with this finger, and how do you know I wouldn't miss it?

  9. Someday you'll find a man, a good man, and you'll love him, and marry him, and live and die for him. And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch.
  10. Oh, Jo, I've missed you so. Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home. But I don't like being left behind. Now I am the one going ahead. I am not afraid. I can be brave like you.

  11. Listen, Lucy, when I told my mother I was getting married to my wife, her intestines exploded. You tell them the truth now, you may as well shoot grandma.
  12. It was a lot different from hugging. Hugging's very different. Hugging that involves arms and hands; and leaning is whole bodies moving in like this… Leaning involves *wanting*... and *accepting*. *Leaning*...

  13. I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that's forty-five minutes, and I'd at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.
  14. Miss Haynes, if you're ever under a falling building and someone offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don't think, don't pause, don't hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye.

  15. Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?
  16. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?

  17. It'll take me at least a week to dig up all my dolls in the cemetery.
  18. Tootie, if you don't hit Mr. Braukoff in the face with flour and say "I hate you", the Banshee will haunt you forever!

  19. Okay, first of all, it's "creetin". If you're going to threaten me, do it properly. Second of all, you're nuts if you think kidnapping ME is going to help YOU cheat yourway to the top.

         "Boo?" "Kitty!"

A Little Distracting Meme-age

I found an interesting little meme over at Jackies’ blog. Would you believe, this kept me up until almost 2AM on two separate nights? Well, maybe it was something else that kept me up, but the meme took advantage of my insomnia…

The idea is to publish lines from your favorite movies and ask people to guess what the movies are.

The original rule was to list fifteen, but I thought ten was quite enough for one little blog post. Maybe I’ll play again with the next ten on my list sometime in the future.

Well, here they are, in no particular order…and demonstrating that my taste in movies definitely runs to pure entertainment. And OLD. At least tonight…

1.) They think you dress like that because you shaped like that!

2.) Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

3.) No, you are a hallucination, brought on by alcohol. Russian Vodka, poisoned by Chernobyl.

4.) How do you know you're not just as filthy and sent by him to nick the ring by being filthy when you have lulled us with your filthy eastern ways?

5.) Someday you'll find a man, a good man, and you'll love him, and marry him, and live and die for him. And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch.

6.) Listen, Lucy, when I told my mother I was getting married to my wife, her intestines exploded. You tell them the truth now, you may as well shoot grandma.

7.) I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that's forty-five minutes, and I'd at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.

8.) Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

9.) It'll take me at least a week to dig up all my dolls in the cemetery.

10.) Okay, first of all, it's "creetin". If you're going to threaten me, do it properly. Second of all, you're nuts if you think kidnapping ME is going to help YOU cheat your way to the top.

Guess away! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Canine "Daughter..."

Life continues to be on the sucky side...  So I'll just post another animal picture.

Man's best friend with the object of her oral fixation...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sun Break

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Personal Philosophy

I posted an entry in my private journal that contained a bit of my personal philosophy, which, after some thought, seemed appropriate to put in front of my public readers.

Anyone who does not have access to "Brainsurfing" but would like to read the whole story and weigh in on the question, just ask and access shall be granted unto you…

What I need is a little bit of feedback. I did something that I’m pretty sure is stupid, and I’m pretty sure is ultimately going to cost me, not only money, but faith in human nature (neither of which I possess in any appreciable quantity…)

It has to do with where one draws the line between the professional and the personal. And whether, these days, there is really a line at all. Especially since, in MY case, my work IS my life, for all intents and purposes…

…One of my philosophies of business, of my LIFE, is that I know I can’t change the world; but if I can make one person’s life easier, do something that makes a difference in one person’s life, that is success. In the end, it’s not about amassing piles of stuff or making a fortune. It’s about doing good. And if you CAN do good, and you DON’T…well, then you’re not worth the space you’re occupying on the planet.

It’s easy to write checks, take the tax deduction, and say that you’re "doing good." It’s not so easy to take the risk on people you know. Where you can see the results. When you know right away if you’ve thrown your investment of time, wisdom and money right down the toilet. But isn’t that the risk we need to take for one another? Isn’t that the real way to "pay it forward?" I don’t know…I’ve gone out on a limb like this before for people in my life, and I have ended up getting smacked in the face for my trouble. But that can’t make me afraid to step up when the next opportunity presents itself. It can’t.

…if I’m going to go down, I’d rather it be because I gave away too much than because I couldn’t get enough.

Does that make sense?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ths is NOT the Fun Part...

Things are getting a little funky around the old homestead…

I think the general population is starting to get the fact that we are indeed in a recession. Until about mid-March, the café was still showing significant gains, we were seeing more and more regulars…life was good. I thought that through some miracle, my little place was located in some kind of recession-proof bubble. And then the bottom fell out. Just when I had started to think I might be able to put it on "cruise" for a couple of months and catch my breath.

And then the husband goes to Kaiser on Saturday and learns that he is somewhat of a walking time-bomb… Seems he is suffering from "deep vein thrombosis"—a blood clot in his leg. They are loading him up with heparin and coumadin. But not doing anything more than watching the bloody thing and hoping it doesn’t take a notion to break apart and cause major problems—like a stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism.

Today’s medical community…not worth a plug nickel on the open market. They give him these piles of pharmaceuticals, pat him on the head and send him home. He makes a comment to the pharmacist about not really being okay with the whole blood-thinner thing. The pharmacist replies, "It could be worse. You could be dead!"

Next day, Kaiser nurse calls to check in on him, and casually mentions that if he should have chest pain, blinding headaches, trouble breathing, speaking or seeing, he should call "911." Thanks for your concern, hon, but we went online yesterday to obtain THAT information, which you sort of forgot to impart when he was at the clinic yesterday.

WTF??? Why is he not in the hospital?????

Meanwhile, I wake up sixteen times a night and check to see if he’s still breathing.

There are times when life just wears you down…