Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Laissez les bullsh*t rouler or Why I Am Writing Porn for Spiders*

Inspiration strikes at random for me, so at 11 pm my ability to roll out bullshit finally kicked in.  Right now Amanda and I have landed a well paying gig writing SEO articles.  We are emailed a list of topics and the necessary word count and in return we get $4/500, which is considered really high by industry standard.  (Going rate is usually 1.50.  Yea, for liberal arts degrees.  We can bullshit with the best!)

I've been struggling for the past 5 days with believing in myself.  On some levels its understandable and I have given myself a little leeway, but enough is enough!  It's been over 8 years since I wrote something even remotely connected with learning and so I've been agonizing over every word and how my audience might perceive what I've written.  But here's the thing.  I'm not writing on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract as a fan to the flames of the French Revolt.  I'm writing about spiders.

Yes spiders, which I've mentioned before I HATE!  The most challenging thing I've had to write about was a description of how the male Black Widow spider can only reproduce after he first spins a web of his semen, cover his spider parts with said stuff, and go off to bone the female Black Widow and untimely get eaten.  I laughed for so long and tried to come up with a delicate way of explain this natural, nature intending continuance of the life cycle, but somehow I felt like I was writing arachnid porn. 

So before you leave this site a little more knowledgeable about the Black Widow spider and feeling a bit dirty, go check out stereomood.com.  Its a free on-line musical playlist of songs you've never heard before which are sorted by types of moods you might be in.  So far I'm finding that I like the bohemian and the studying mood lists.  

*Aly, thanks for trying to teach me French.  I'll never understand how you can speak a language that sounds like a drunk gargling a handful of marbles, but it still provides me with an endless source of amusement. Bet you never thought I'd link you French lessons with spiders did you? 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

One of the biggest challenges I face each day is overcoming the initial "oh-my-gosh-I-don't-know-why-I-write-because-I-suck" mind fuck.*  So yesterday I threw on my work clothes aka worn out yoga pants and a shirt that I had decorated for a day long pro-life side-walk campaign several months back.  Doing some deep yoga-type breathing I was a few paragraphs into an article due that afternoon when I Kiddo yelled from the kitchen that someone was knocking at the door.  Right now he thinks washing dishes is fun.  He doesn't get the dishes clean by any stretch of the imagination, but if that keeps him busy for 1 hour then I'm all for it.

Nearing the door, I fought my tendency to pull my 'Chuck Norris' knife off the wall and have it in my hand.  (I found it at my great-grandfather's house when he passed away last year and I didn't want it going to Salvation Army.  It's probably an old turkey carving knife, but it's got a 12 inch blade and a really kick-ass curve to it.  I pretend Chuck Norris would stab the bad guys with it).  Being a single woman/mother I am uneasy when someone comes to my door and I wasn't expecting anyone and I don't have a peep-hole or security chain.  But I cracked open the door to find myself staring at a cop easily over 6'5" weighing in the neighborhood of 275.

Officer D-bag snarls, "Do you own this place?"
"No, I rent this part."
"Step outside.  Now if you're honest, I probably won't arrest you."


Over the next hour he proceeds to accuse me of stealing cable from the Garden Club next door, that if I looked like a junkie when I opened the door he would have arrested me, why didn't I think to get a business card from the installer, the installer would lose his job, he would tell the phone company that he was arresting me and I could sue them (the phone company), and he would probably cut my cable.

All the while the officer is walking around my yard on hold with the phone company and walking in and out of my (very messy) bed room where I have the connection.  Finally, he gets off the phone and said he spoke with Supervisor T at the phone company and that 'my story checks out.'

"My job here is done.  You need to call the repair line and tell them to bury the cable."  Then he was gone.

I was so spooked that my concentration was lost and I was exhausted.  I didn't have time to write because I had to meet up with my mother and run errands.  When I call the phone company later in the afternoon to confirm that the line issue would be straightened out, the woman on the other line, along with her supervisor told me that I was not stealing cable.

The thin orange cable is a legal, temporary wire; that the hub the wire is connected to at the Garden Club is considered 'eminent domain' for the phone company; that the installer wouldn't be losing his job; that any police should know that the thin orange wire can't be purchased at any store and is standard operating procedure that when a service is installed it takes about 2 weeks to get the real cable run and buried in the ground.

ALL OF THIS I TRIED EXPLAINING TO THE COP.

And did he listen or believe me?  Hell no!  I felt so violated after hearing this from the phone company operator.  This cop had been on the force for over 4 years and told me 'he sees this stuff all the time' so he obviously isn't new to this.  He treated me like I was a piece of maggot ridden shit.  I suppose I could excuse his gruff, brusque manner if he were a hardened beat cop from the mean streets of Chicago or Miami, but come on!  I think the biggest crimes in this town is domestic abuse and cow tipping.  I live next to a fancy shamncy Garden Club and almost adjacent to the Women's Club.  This is by far the scary hood.

I got so upset.  I was mad at myself for being so naive to allow myself to be bullied.  I was mad that I allowed a stranger into my house.  What if he had been a bad person with evil intentions?  I've read extensively on methods and minds of serial killers, yet I did something that would have made me and my son a perfect victim.  I know well enough that if I am pulled over for driving in the evening I can refuse to get out of my car until backup arrives. 

I cried to my friend K last night.  Today my sister insisted that I make a complaint to the supervisor of the cop.  So tomorrow after the Kiddo goes to grandma's for the weekend, IT IS ON!

Gonna get my attitude on, put on my heels (cuz I always feel powerful in heeled shoes), and make myself heard.  That was such severe bullshit and I didn't deserve to go through that.

*(Editorial note: I attempted to curb my swearing in most of earlier writings, well except for the post regarding fucking Terry Jones, but I realize that sometimes I censure myself far too much and then I hate myself for not being 'the real me.'  And yes, I know daily 'struggles  with because-I-suck-thoughts' are what has kept me seeing a good therapist for the past two years.  Believe me, if you'd have seen me last year, I would be apologizing for breathing too loudly.  So now, thanks to a post by Aunt Becky, I realize that if someone is offended by my writings, they can just not follow me.  It's not like they can fire me, like the last boss I had did.  That's why I'm working for myself Bitch!).

Monday, May 9, 2011

Skechers Shape-ups for Girls, Now In Bruised Ego Blue!

Maybe I'm a little behind on product commercials.  Being without network or cable TV for over a year, there are things that have been out on the market for months that I am just finding out about.  Never realized there was a Popsicle maker that didn't utilize the freezer compartment and a sluggish one hour wait, but the Zoku Quick Pop Maker exists for the ADD driven adolescent who won't be made to wait.

Maybe you've already seen this product out there, maybe your darling prepubescent daughter, niece, babysitter, or your best-friends-10yr old-step-sister-from-Daddy's-mid-life-crisis is caterwauling about how the lonely and miserable their existence is because they don't yet own Shape-Ups XF High Kix by Skechers.  If you've missed the commercial here it is off of Youtube.

My favorite part?  I'm not sure if it's the depiction of boys struggling after the girls like they are a pack of beaten dogs or if it's the line "looking good and having fun."  I love, love, love the dual dejecting message that the commercial sends out.  First, boys are out of shape idiots, dressed up as junk food.  Obviously, the aren't cool nor smart enough to be fit.  Secondly, the girls wear these shoes because "they're everything a girls wants!"

Not to mention that a pair of these shoes cost 50 bucks and in this shitty economy $50 won't get you a full tank of gas.  Are you as a parent willing going to shell out for shoes that the kid will outgrow by the time they sneeze? 

What really get's me pissed off the most, and I've written about it in a prior post, is the there seems to be a subtle message aimed at girls that even at an age where they should be running around a playground during recess time, they need to be concerned about their looks. 

Just look at the adjectives used as write up for these style shoes: FIRMING, TONING, LIFTING. Okay, if you are 20-30-40 something and insecure about your ass looking too droopy, go ahead a shell out the money for these shoes.  But to we really need to be putting the idea into our girls heads that they need to be concerned about the state of their ass and thighs at the tender age of 8?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And Laughter Filled the Quiet Room

Says the (loud) Kiddo as the yoga instructor tells us to breathe in deeply and exhale loudly, "I win!  I was the loudest blower!"
 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Over-and-Above-Whelmed, But It's All Good

Breathe in, deep cleansing breath, breathe out.  Now I need to repeat this twenty times so I can calm the freak down!

Things have been moving at the speed of light these past two weeks.  Launched a website with Amanda Abella, enrolled the Kiddo in the parochial school down the road (thank you generous people from church for shelling out 4K because my son makes you laugh), pounded out over 60 proposals in hopes of landing some writing gigs, engaged in a very productive speed networking session, like speed dating, only less sexual tension, but just as much nervousness.  (Seriously, re-reading the chat that Amanda and I had during the networking session made me laugh til I was gasping like a asthmatic). 

When I stop to think about the enormity of what has happened in these past 14 days, I get really freaked out.  I went from having nothing to do to not having enough time to do the stuff I need to do.  I need a personal assistant to wash the dishes and do the laundry because I haven't figured out the proper balance between my personal writing, my professional writings, and my home and family life.  Forget trying to develop a personal life.  That's been on hold for several years, and a few months more won't kill me.

Besides, with the Kiddo starting Kindergarten in the fall I'm sure I'll be meeting other mothers who might happen to have a single brother/friend/cousin that I would be perfect for.  I'm not really worried about a relationship happening or not happening in my life right now.  I'm content in being alone and I don't need the distraction of juggling another proverbial ball in the air.

Pictured: Not me.
One of the things that has been helping me to stay grounded this week has been taking up yoga again.  I am fortunate enough to be bartering services with Nancy of Sun and Moon Yoga of Dade City.  In exchange for running her website (haven't taken it over yet), the Kiddo and I are able to take as many yoga classes as we'd like each month.  I am really looking forward to getting back into the groove that yoga helps me achieve. 

When I was in my junior year of college, I struggled with many stressors in addition to a herniated lumbar disk.  More often than not I would find myself gasping for air as my heart raced and my thoughts spun out of control.  I had stopped eating and dropped down to unhealthy (and unnatural for me) size 6.  So when a professor who was really into natural healing suggested I take up the practice of yoga to repair the damage done to my back, I was eager to try anything.  So I yogaed my way out of that stressful time in my life to the tunes of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory. 

What?

I couldn't find my zen in trickling waters (made me want to pee), chiming bells (kept thinking of Christmas nutcrackers), or animal forest sounds (I kept expecting bugs to crawl on my legs).  So Linkin Park helped me work through my anger and the yoga calmed my body.  It was a great combo.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off write a half dozen more articles. 



Monday, May 2, 2011

You Say Usama, I Say Osama, Let's Call the Old Man Dead

FBI's Most Wanted Murderer
Initially, I wanted to reflect on how much my life changed in the past ten years.  When the planes flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the fields of Pennsylvania, the world around me changed.  I witnessed the anguish of friends who lost loved ones, I heard the fearful voices of my parents pleading with me to leave college and return home, I saw armed guards and patrol dogs on the streets of DC where the week before I walked without fear. 

But today is not the time or place to reflect with sorrow of the world that once was.  Today is a day for rejoicing and of thankfulness, for a worm of a man is no longer alive to actively seek the deaths of those who pursue freedom.  And I know that Osama's death does not signal an end to the death and destruction that has been a constant part of life.  However, we can rejoice that the figurehead of a terrible culture has been destroyed. 

I would like to take a moment to thank all the men and women and children who have sacrificed so much these past ten years to get where we are today. 
  • To the men and women who patrolled the streets of desert town in hundred degree heat while wearing 20lbs of clothing and gear
  • To the computer operators who guided drones or pinpointed airstrikes
  • To the seamen who ferried supplied and created floating hospitals
  • To the military chaplains who sought to provide comfort in life and in death for the men and women that have put their lives on the line
  • To the families that sacrificed having their mother, father, daughter, brother, son, aunt, sister, uncle, grandson, cousin, or granddaughter away, serving for a country with people who would hurl insults at you for doing your job.
  • To President Bush, whose name will go down in history with much mud for engaging us in a difficult, maybe unclear war, for taking on this head of this evil.  If it weren't for your first strike, we may still be living under the fear of constant terrorist attacks that leads to no resolution.  RIP USS Cole.
Like you, I don't know what's going to happen next.  I would love see our troops get the hell out of the middle east, Egypt, the mountains of  Afghanistan and Pakistan.  I don't give a damn if we create a vacuum by leaving.  We are dealing with a people who will never embrace democracy or freedom. 

Tonight, as I tuck the Kiddo in bed and say prayers, I will offer up my gratitude for your continued service. 

PS- Several years ago while I was working in DC as a civilian contractor for the US Coast Guard, I caught the metro into work at the Pentagon stop with two Coasties.  As we descended underground at the top of the stairwell stood an angry, disheveled woman screaming obscenities and shouts of murderers at the men and women in uniform.  I was infuriated that this lunatic was screaming at the people who fought for her to express her opinion in that obnoxious manner.  Did she even realize that if she were dropped off in a desert town ruled by the Mujaheddin or Shiite Muslims that her life would be nothing more than a face under a vast, constricting blanket?  As I charged back up the stairs to confront this raving BITCH (in my honest opinion, which you don't have to like), my co-workers grabbed me by the arms and physically carried me back down the elevator.
When I demanded they let me go as I wanted to knock this woman upside the head, both men shook their head.  "Caroline, that's what we do.  Our job is to protect and defend peoples right to express their opinions and live their lives as they see fit.  We aren't going to get thanked by everyone."
Well, Officers Sonny Schump and David Knapp, here's my digital thank you!

PS2-If I come across any protestors today that yell about the oppression American soldiers are capable of, I will be throwing down.