Author of the Queen City Boys books

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I got 83 problems but a bitch ain’t one

(Stolen wholesale from Rhi, because I needed the lesson this morning)

From Buddhism: Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen:

There is an old story about a man who came to see the Buddha because he had heard that the Buddha was a great teacher. Like all of us, he had some problems in his life, and he thought the Buddha might be able to help him straighten them out.

He told the Buddha that he was a farmer. "I like farming," he said, "but sometimes it doesn't rain enough, and my crops fail. Last year we nearly starved. And sometimes it rains too much, so my yields aren't what I'd like them to be."

The Buddha listened patiently to the man.

"I'm married, too," said the man. "She's a good wife, but sometimes she nags me too much. And sometimes I get tired of her."

The Buddha listened quietly.

"I have kids," said the man. "Good kids, too, but sometimes they don't show me enough respect. And sometimes…."

The man went on like this, laying out all of his difficulties and worries. Finally he wound down and waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.

Instead, the Buddha said, "I can't help you."

"What do you mean?" said the astonished man.

"Everybody's got problems," said the Buddha. "In fact, we've all got eighty-three problems, each one of us. Eighty-three problems, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it–but if you do, another one will pop right into its place. For example, you're going to lose your loved ones eventually. And you're going to die someday. Now there's a problem, and there's nothing you, or I, or anyone else can do about it."

The man became furious. "I thought you were a great teacher!" he shouted. "I thought you could help me! What good is your teaching then?"

The Buddha said, "Well, maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem."

"The eighty-fourth problem?" said the man. "What's the eighty-fourth problem?"

Said the Buddha, "You want to not have any problems."

I need a little Buddha doll to carry with me, and when I press his belly he'll say, "take a deep breath and let it go.  Let. It. Go."  Because no matter how much I meditate on it, how much I work on it, I still find myself falling into looping traps where I will get stressed and then beat myself up for it and then stress about that until it starts to feel like an infinite loop.  The problems won't go away.  I can work on the necessary ones, but I need to let the rest go, I need to breathe and not let things I can't control make me lose site of the things that are important, the reminder that those are the good things.

Tried to brush my hair this morning with the hairbrush I broke yesterday and I sort of lost control of it an accidentally flung it into the toilet.  Which was really such a comedic moment that I'm almost sorry no one was there to see it.  The hairbrush flew in sort of slow motion as I grabbed after it trying to catch it before the clearly inevitable conclusion.  It is sort of sad that I don't have my own reality show, but then again probably most people don't find these things as funny as I do.

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How is it that I can go to Walgreens, or CVS or whatever, to get tampons or kleenex and a new toothbrush, and I come out $40 lighter?  I know it's my own insanity.  I'll be walking through thinking, "I've got great black mascara, and that brown is pretty good, but I hate the brush on the brown-black one."  And suddenly I'm spending 15 minutes in the make up aisle contemplating different brands of mascara before wandering off to find some shampoo that seemed promising from the commercial.  *sigh* Consumer hell.  I really need to go on a 60 day no buying anything but food cleansing.  Hmm, maybe starting in April.  As I was walking to and from Walgreens, I was cracking up over this.

I came home last night, exhausted, super cranky and starving only to discover that the internet and the cable were out and there was no food in the house. Ugh.  Fortunately Holly came home not long after and rescued me by going to get Mediterranean food and listen to me complain endlessly about Comcast.  (Love calling them because invariably it's, "yes, there have been outages reported in your neighborhood." Well fucking great, what are you doing about it?)

The only bright spot in my day is work tonight. I mean I don't even want to go, Painful Sets Tuesday, whooo, but hey, Kristen is probably working and that always the best part of my week. Well except for maybe when Jami comes by unexpectedly and entertains me when I'm doing something I'd rather be procrastinating on.  And new shoes would be awesome, but I don't have any money, so I'll have to settle for Kristen.  Not that it's settling, but, um, yeah, I'll just stop now.  Is it lunch time yet? Oh, it is? Woo!

I hate all my shirts today.  I think it might be time to rotate out whatever I deemed spring clothes last year and put in storage.  I don't even care about being cold any more, I just can't stand any of these sweaters and misshapen long sleeve tees.  I want cute shirts, damn it.  And sandals, but I can hold out another month or so for those.

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My horribly loud neighbors who live in the back apartment got a drum set.  Because they weren't loud enough already.  I had to go over at 11pm and have the following exchange with them:

Me: *knocks*
Boy: *opens doors, smiles* Hey what's going on?
Girl: *comes up behind him holding drum sticks, smiles* Hey girl.
Me: *stares*
Boy: *looks pleasant but vacantly expectant*
Girl: *look of understanding slowly crosses her face* Oh, were we too loud?
Me: Yeah, the drums are going to have to be a day time thing.  It's not just the noise, but it's vibrating the floors all the way through the house.
Girl: Sorry.
Me: No trouble, thanks for keeping it down.

SERIOUSLY? Is there any, ANY, circumstance when I should have to tell someone who lives in an apartment that playing the drums at 11pm, particularly on a week night is unacceptable?

So they finally shut up and I go into my room only to discover that my beloved neighbor J has gone out and left her stereo on very loudly.  Or maybe not even that loudly, but her stereo is right on the other side of my bedroom wall and I can hear it clearly enough to distinguish the lyrics in every song.  Fortunately that can be cured with earplugs in a way drums vibrating the floor cannot.

Earplugs in I then proceeded to stay up WAY too late reading.  So I can't even really blame anyone else for my exhaustion and crankiness today. Boo.

I have a headache.  The wind is interfering with an otherwise perfectly lovely spring day. And it's irritating me by being loud and rattly around the office.  I have a shit-ton of work and I can't concentrate at all.

I didn't get hardly anything done this weekend, though I'm not complaining or beating myself up, as I generally rested and watched movies and screwed off in a way I haven't done in forever. However, after all that I feel like I should be in a decent mood, if not an excellent one, this morning.  Instead I feel like I climbing back into bed and crying. It's not even PMS or anything.  I just really really really do not want to be at work right now.

Hmmm, reading through my past few posts I'm seeing a trend.  If this keeps up I'll be in a perfectly cheerful mood tomorrow for no reason at all and then go right back to cranky again.

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die die die my darling

If you really loved me you'd come take me out for sushi for lunch or dinner tonight.

Actually you'd probably stay away as I have terrible cramps and generally filled with loathing for every thing in the universe. 

I wonder if the PMS contributed to the excessive tattoo pain?

I woke up bleeding this morning.  Saying I hate being a girl isn't enough.  Guys have no equivalent horror to even make a comparison with. I just want to be a crass, awful bitch all day.  Sadly I have to be at least a bit professional, so all I have is here as my space to be horrible in until I get home.

I'm supposed to go to a show tonight, that will surely be awesome and I should be very excited about.  I'm not sure I can manage enough of an attitude adjustment through out the day to even bother to attend.  Ugh.  I hate feeling like this.  Just being angry makes me feel like I might burst into tears.  HATE

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misery without gin

As I sit down to write this it is about 8:50 am.  I just got to work (on time!) and so far today I have taken a ridiculously long, hot shower, gotten dressed, done a load of laundry, gone to the grocery store, made magic tea, given myself a facial, drank coffee and driven to work.  Given that I usually wake up 30-ish minutes before I have to leave for work and barely have time to do more than pull on clothes and make coffee, I feel today's accomplishments are fairly spectacular.  Additionally, I was so sick last night, I barely slept and spent most the night tossing and turning, unable to breathe and wishing lightning would strike me. So I feel extra accomplished this morning.

I do actually feel a little better this morning, though tonight will be the real test. I should have made the magic tea on Wednesday.  This will teach me to be lazy.  Magic tea is excellent for head and chest colds.  The lovely miss Punny gave me the recipe a while back, I'm not sure if how I make it now is entirely true to her recipe but it's probably pretty close:

2" fresh ginger root, grated
2 tbl honey
2 tbl lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1/2 tsp cayenne

Put it all in a tea pot, fill with boiling water and steep for about 10-15 minutes.

It is magic, I swear.  It does what Thera-flu et al., should do, but tastes better, works and doesn't put weird chemicals into your body. I brought a thermos of it to work with me.  Hopefully I will be better by tomorrow, as there is nothing worse than being sick on your days off, yeah?

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snot faucet and pretty eyes

Okay, fine, there's a possibility I might be sick.  I've had a cough and low level sore throat since the beginning of Feb.  I assumed it was because I'd stressed my immune system into disfunction with anxiety too much smoking. But today my nose has become some sort of snot faucet and I have to face it, it's probably a cold.  Am now armed with copious fluids, kleenex, Zicam and old fashioned nose spray.  A combination of the hippie and the archaic, the only things that really work for me.  The Zicam is in dissolving tablets which I've just discovered are utterly disgusting (one every three hours for a couple days, wheeee).  But really, no worse than the nose gel, I think, so whatever. My nose is all red and raw and I'm about to start rubbing Burt's Bees hand cream into it because I don't have anything else in my bag (chapstick usually works well, but I see all I have today is colored lip gloss).

While at the drugstore I also bought myself deep plum mascara and dark plum eyeshadow.  I used to, if I bothered to wear make up, slather on some black eyeliner and occasionally some random eyeshadow.  A while back I switched to brown eyeliner and eyeshadow colors that matched my outfit, or possibly, my coloring.  Recently, due to Jami's influence, and too many episodes of What Not to Wear, I've checked the eyeliner altogether and now do an elaborate series of three colors of eyeshadow, carefully applied with various brushes.  Usually darker around the eye, mid-tone on the lid and light along the brow bone, but I do switch it up. The first time I carefully did the WNtW proscribed make-up, people who see me everyday were coming up to me and telling me how beautiful I looked (I also ironed my hair) and I was sold.  Maybe it's my age or my vanity, but mostly I think having finally figured out how to put on make up has made me want to wear it. Of course, I'm no less lazy than I ever was.  I don't usually bother with it at all during the day.  But it's nice to know that if I want to spend a bunch of time ironing my hair and painting my face I can look fabulous.  Who know what lies next though.  Probably eye creams and anti-aging things.  Evil.  But probably inevitable.

Operation: Be Nice to Me isn't working so well. Except, I guess, in the make-up department. I did try and dress up this morning, but the snow defeated me.

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please, just a little shut-eye

I went to bed early.  I read until my eyes were heavy, which didn't take very long.  I glanced at the clocked as I rolled over to sleep and was thrilled to see how early it really was and glory the idea of getting a good, full night's sleep.


About an hour after I fell asleep I woke myself up coughing.  A deep chest, non-productive, wrenching cough that went on periodically for about an hour.  After I was nauseous and ill from the painful tightening of my chest and abdominal muscles while I coughed.  Finally, again, I slept, only to be woken again my an awful, really traumatizing dream.  I read for a little bit to try and erase it from my head before I slept again.  The hard, driving rain pulled me back to reality a few hours later.  I would normally have gone right back to sleep, except then the thunder began.  Some of the loudest, longest rumbling thunder I have ever heard, at one point right over the house, so booming that it literally shook everything.  That was around 4:30.  Then as the thunder abated, the early morning traffic started, extra loud on the wet roads. I got up, found some ear plugs and threw myself back to it.  Given the twisted, weird, kind of painful dreams I had after that, I perhaps should have just given the idea of sleep at 4:30 and gotten up then.

It is grey and rainy.  I have my iPod to keep me company and I will, I swear I will, get every thing on my list at work done today.

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you know where you can stick your smoke, buddy?

On Thursday I go wait in line for 45 mins for emissions testing only to get told that they can not test my car because visible smoke is coming from the tailpipe.  So I check and watch car over weekend, see no smoke at all.  I decide guy is either an asshole or an idiot, since after 45 mins idling in 25 degree weather, surely something was visible from my exhaust, you know? I take car to mechanic this morning, tell him the story.  He's dubious, as he says they can only refuse to test if the "service engine" light is on, unless they've changed the law and he didn't hear about it. I leave my car with him, he tests it, he tells me, with the exact same machine they use at the state place and everything falls with in acceptable levels.  Mechanic says the only thing he can do is put a slightly heavier oil in it, which can reduce smoke if it's a problem, which he doesn't think it is. Then he tells me to go the emissions office on Craighead, not Dickerson.  Which I will do tomorrow.  Then go wait forever at the registration office again.
So either the guy at the emissions testing place was a total asshole or, well, I don't know what.  This is some yucktastic Mercury Retrograde bullshit, right here.  Now, I will take a deep breath and pretend that I like waiting in lines and driving all over town for no reason. But you know between the temp tag fees, extra emissions test and mechanic, there's $150 that I don't have anymore. Fucking awesome. Not to mention my time spent.

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it’s like, um, totally frumpy, but like, I can do better with my nice things

Validated: quotative like.

I just got a message from a vague acquaintance (a friend of an old fling), asking if she had heard correctly that I was doing the booking at the Station Inn. Um, no? And if someone is perpetuating such rumours about me can they please make an equivalent job materialize with it?

Week beginning January 24
Copyright 2008 by Rob Brezsny

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “In the human heart new passions are forever being born,” said French writer Francois de La Rochefoucauld. “The overthrow of one almost always means the rise of another.” I suppose that’s true. We all have longings that come and go as we evolve. But I’d also like to propose an equally valid and contradictory truth: In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They’re with us from the moment we’re born, and nothing can dilute their intensity. Our destiny revolves around them. These are the passions I hope you will define with precision and nurture with alacrity during the next eight weeks.

What does that even mean?

I’m feeling fairly old and frumpy today.  Timmy Mac tells me my new MySpace picture (taken today) makes me look like a pretty British girl. He flatters, as he always does, however, I’m so full of my own frumpiness that I can’t help but wonder if he means I’m hiding bad teeth or something. Then again maybe it’s because I tried to set it as my profile pic and it scrunched up funny and made me look all distorted and that’s unhappy making. (eta – I’ve decided I hate it and thus have taken it down and replaced it with a much better one.)Yesterday I resolved to do more nice things for myself. I have this weird habit of buying things for myself, like fancy body wash, or jewelry, or clothes that are nice and then not ever using/wearing them.  It’s like I think I need to save them for some special occasion which never arrives.  So I am resolving to use all the nice bath products, wear the lovely clothes etc. for no reason at all other than I like to look good and smell pretty. No point in having nice things if they just gather dust, yeah?

I have 4 eMusic downloads left for the month.  Everyone rec me a song you think I might like and might not have. Go!

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incredible adventures, but not mine

I got an email from my aunt this morning, with pictures from her recent rip.  She was married to my father's brother.  Interestingly she's the person I probably have the most contact, the most connection with on that side of the family (including my father) even though I guess I'm not really related to her since she is no longer married to my uncle.  Anyway, her recent trip was to Nepal, for a 20 day meditation retreat and then a week a touristing around.  Now she's back home, which for her is Thailand, where she's been living and teaching for the last few years.  I am always astounded when I look at the pictures of her travels.  She goes to such amazing and beautiful places and always seems to make connections with families and children in those places. She has been all over SE Asia and the South Pacific Islands in recent years and not really as tourist, but staying in people's homes and becoming involved in life in small villages and such.

I can't decided if she's braver than I am, more driven, or just lucky.  I know she went some huge upheaval when she divorced my uncle and really needed new direction in her life.  Through a series of somewhat incredible circumstances Thailand is where she ended up.  I'm not sure I'd want her life, but talking to her always seems to put my own life in perspective and make me itchy to go do something more fantastical and incredible than live an average life.

Not today though, because today I feel like hell.  Everyone around me has been stricken with plague-like flu.  Though I don't have a fever (98.3, I checked this morning), I went to bed with an awful headache, which got worse during the night and I slept fitfully and uncomfortably.  Woke up sore all over, with my head still tight and pounding. And so here I am at work, wondering why my life isn't a fantastical adventure of living in the Pyrenees and teaching in village school while all the children teach me Catalan.  Given the current state of some things in my life, perhaps I should just advertise on Crag's List Barcelona or something.  I'm sure someone over there would hire or marry me.  Then you could all come visit any time you wanted. 

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My feet are freezing.  I'm starving.  I don't want to be at work anymore.  I could go home, but I really should make a list of things I need to do if I do that.  Also it's probably not any warmer in my house than it is here.  Well in my room it is, but if I go hang out there, I'll just sleep and I have to work at the Wash tonight, so that's no good. I should just go home and listen to music.  I don't feel like doing anything else.  Except maybe whining and complaining but it's hard to find an audience for that and still have friends.

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I was admiring the trees as I drove in this morning. It's the pinnacle of fall here now. The trees are insanely gorgeous, the weather is still mild. Soon it will be cold and the trees will be bare and dead, but for now it's just picture book pretty, lovely like a never ending story of autumn.

I feel out of sorts today. Like literally unsorted. I'm not sure where I should be. It's grey and rainy out now. My work email doesn't seem to be functioning. I'm not getting any personal email, voicemail or text messages this morning. No one seems to be updating any of the blogs I read. It's enough to make a girl wonder if she exists at all. Maybe I am trapped in some awful limbo where one refreshes and refreshes everything on the internet and nothing ever changes.

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Remember a while back I said that a Clinton/Giuliani race would be very interesting because the Christian conservatives said that if such a race happened then abortion would be completely off the table as an issue and they would start looking at other things to decide who to vote for (as many evangelical churches vote as a block). The implication here was that social justice would come to the forefront and perhaps the conservative Christian vote would swing to left. Hmm. Well now Pat Robertson has come out for Giuliani. YIKES.

I am so procrastinating today as work is irritating me like a sweater made out of fire ants. I even typed up a post about it, but even that was so annoying to me but I'll post anyway:

I can no longer continue to have conversations like this:

Boss: this package is addressed wrong, [name] doesn't work there anymore.

Me: oh, well that was what it said in the email you forwarded me.

Boss: no, it said to address it elsewhere

Me: Uh *looks up the email* It says here to send the invoice to [name2] and nothing about the package. I assumed it was going to the person the email was from, since she says to send it to her department.

Boss: She doesn't work there anymore.

Me: Okay, I'll change it all to [name2]. *thinks: WTF, it's addressed to [name] at Sustainability Dept at Y company. If she doesn't work there, I assume someone else in the dept will get it. Like how when things come here address to [my predessesor] I get them.*

It seems minor, I know, but it's actually part of a much larger problem of absurd micromanagement, which interferes with my ability to do my job and wastes a lot of my time. It's part of the problem where I say, "Make changes on the hardcopy and I'll get the text changed," and I get the response, "Can I just hang over your shoulder at your computer and tell you what changes to make?" "NO. Make them on the hard copy so we can file it."

Bleh, I feel like I'm complaining about small things, but there's dozens of them every day. I'm not getting my actual job done efficiently because my boss is like an ADD little kid and has to interupt me every five minutes to ask me about something and break my concentration from what I was working on. Plus when I ask him to email me the details, so what he's asking doesn't get lost in the work flow, he never does. And when I email him and ask for clarification or something, it often takes him days to reply. And then I end up in conversations like, Him:"Why wasn't this shipped?" Me:"Because you never followed up with the contact info for shipping. I have no address to ship it to." Him:"Oh, well, I'll get you that." And then it's two days before I get it. And as the ED he shouldn't be worrying about any of this stuff anyway. He should be carefully managing the place and hiring people who can help us as an organization, not just randomly handing out jobs to his underqualified friends after I've spent weeks weighing the actual candidates that applied for the job.

Job satisfaction plummeting fast. And if I have to explain one more time how some aspect of the internet works I am seriously going to go postal.

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