Tag Archives: work

you don’t yell at a sleepwalker. he may fall and break his neck – from sunset boulevard

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i think in dramatic words sometimes. above the din of my sarcastic humor and chastising taskmaster is the voice of my internal norma desmond, her tongue lingering on the L’s in romantic, tragic words like languish and lament, and on her lips making O’s in gentle words like repose and opiate. 

languish is a favorite word of mine lately (opiate might be if i could do something other than lament the absence). even as my life blooms with possibilities and positivities, i wake most days to a wilted spirit. many mornings i lay with a single eye open, attempting to motivate myself for a work day. first i navigate my regular monday-through-friday desire to pierce my jugular with a nearby ballpoint. i imagine the gentle return to sleep as blood loss saps the energy already en route to my list-maker and worry wheels. (ok, norma, your toddler would not appreciate the leave-behind of life without mommy….though i suspect she’d be delighted at the opportunity to use an entire box of dora bandaids with no lecture on how many bleeding children in the world can’t afford them.) after wistfully ruling out a dramatic, unexpected suicide after which all my words would be published and celebrated posthumously, i imagine my life without corporate responsibility and the need for 8 billable hours a day. i laugh at the anticipated death of the word deliverables in my life and lexicon. lastly, i drift through a few fanciful ideas, words, projects, plots and characters that i’d rather play with today.

that last part leaves me relatively certain i’m not just a sad sack of lazy. i’ve convinced myself that if i had a different focus, my jugular wouldn’t look so inviting to sharp-ish objects, and my natural spark would keep my smiles and insides warm. i picture a life where i write, read, cook and love my family full-time. in it i get to paint and decorate our new house without so much as a nod to anything but my daughter, my man, my aspirations and a sunny sky. i sort through all of these imaginings before i change my sleepy breathing. finally, i reluctantly rise and pry my mind open enough to make coffee. problem salved.

truth is, i’m not the kind to embrace i’ll-be-happy-when’s, but i’m not thinking so clearly lately. i turn 40 in two months. i’ve been divorced a year this weekend. (this, at least, is offset by cinco de mayo and my new love’s birthday…plus the fact that the word “weekend” applies.) then there is the part where my mom passed away less than six weeks ago, followed closely by my beloved old kitty. maybe someday i’ll blog about what it’s like in the maelstrom of a catholic-military family reunion-funeral. picture way too much alcohol, more proximity than any of us can stand experience regularly, and you get a lot of bittersweet nostalgia plus a giant bag of tempers and tears. i got predictably ill upon my return home and just haven’t felt my Self much since.

but i am working out. sometimes i eat well. i’m here writing words. i’m loving my loving and lovable friends. and i’m trying hard to crawl from languishing to largess in my spirit of accountability and professional pride. i’m using what i know, and i am happy much of the time, despite the morose tone today.

grief is a funny thing. it doesn’t stay separated into nice neat piles based on cause, and it doesn’t respond all that much to logic or efforts to “express it all” so as not to stumble across its remnants later. it also isn’t clear about itself, hiding in clumsiness, self-doubt, old hurts, and sudden loud noises. you can drink all the water you want, eat a field of whole foods, run around the world once a day, journal, pray, numb out…none of it can fill the gaping wound of loss any faster than it could fill the gaping wound of surgery.

i’m sort of dreading mothers’ day this year. i’m excited for the celebration with my tiny daughter, but there is a blurry spot where my focus has been all these years. this year my spirit will celebrate with my mom’s, and that has to be enough…beautifully enough.

that’s one thing i know about this life…that it is enough, beautifully enough, whether we like it or not. when it’s grey inside you, the sun still shines waiting for the return of your toothy smile and easy laughter. when grief is a stifling syrup of breaths and blur, the relief that one day comes is accompanied by new vision and a deeper soul. it’s always enough. many times too much.

i grew up next to sunset boulevard. the tiny one in melbourne beach, florida. perhaps that’s where my norma was born, bound for luxury, luster, lazing and a laugh lines. i’ve already got the last part in place. that’s the best one anyway.

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the metaphysioball, a sarcasm sixpack and tips on mole care in the morning

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i can’t keep playing my life like whac-a-mole. whac-a-mole as the daily grind is a pretty good metaphor, but so violent and adversarial in the end. and lamenting my (mostly) charmed life as sisyphean in its monotony and myself as a punished or martyred chosen one isn’t working for me either. to be me, to live my most outrageous life, i must find my gratitude for the opportunity to work through the most thankless of tasks. and upon that assertion, as is my mood this morning, my crankiest me wants to throw down some banana peels, shake out my umbrella, hide the wet floor signs, grab some popcorn and wait for optimistic me to bust ass and cry. comic relief. and fiber.

so how do we keep up with life’s most repetitive activities without straining patience tendons or irritating enthusiasm ligaments? i know that part of it for me is a regular core work out on my physioball of sarcasm. but i’m guessing at this point, the enlightened would use some insipidly simple phrase like, “you must maintain balance in your life, grasshopper,” or throw me some shit about the meditative state achieved during common chores like shoveling dog poop in rain boots. (pun intended…once i accidentally wrote it.)

while in this mood i’ll also take a moment to decry the recent proliferation and viral nature of weepy motivational speeches delivered by over-achievers touting the power and importance of “balance,” of putting your family first and always remembering and honoring what’s truly important. they like to throw the adage around, attempting to massage the cliche out of it before hurling it at the crowd…something along the lines of, “no one ever wishes on their death bed that they’d spent more time at the office.”

ra, ra. sis (yphus) boom ba. of course i believe in balance and getting your priorities in order (…blah, blah, blah)…but none of these over-achievers actually lived that life. every one of them “sweated the small stuff” they tell us to blow off. these powerpoint weilding generals, IT icons and terminally ill PhDs…all manner of folks who excel through insane dedication…they turn to their admirers in the end and say, essentially, do NOT follow the path i followed…you will be happier if you put your family and soul first, at which point you can still reach impossible professional heights and enjoy your family and personal life all in one happy, glowing snow globe of fulfillment. 

these speeches all come from recovering workaholics who spent lifetimes whac-ing important moles…usually of one specific mole species. their historically significant single-mindedness makes for biopics on the Discovery Channel or NOVA. their spouses and children admire their work and wonder what intimacy with them would look like…how it would feel to laugh their asses off together shoveling dog poop and making faces at each other, later celebrating a mole whac-ed for the weekend, even if it was of the less glorious variety. or how it would feel to see the object of their admiration bask in their attention instead of the attention of other generals, IT icons and PhDs.

the point is, i know it’s about balance…between the little things and big things, self and others, achievement versus fulfillment, the everydays and the once-in-a-whiledays. i know i’m writing this, starting from grumbly sarcasm and snark, to remind myself of that more than anything…to throw a little washer on the side of pleasantry and hope…to outweigh the bags of garbage that sit on my back deck after weeks of travel, sick kid and sick me. this little exercise, with time gifted by my over-sleeping toddler, rebalances my day’s heaviest weights…the ones i saw all around me upon waking late with belly and back aching. it’s a little fix, an attitude repair, a hit of fulfillment on yet another morning full of moles and their holes.

i’ll try today to treat them sweetly and usher them back to their abodes without my mallet or a frustrated holler. they are part of my life. they are pets, like the dog that makes so much weighty poop but gives back so much love and security…the dog who spoons as well as most humans and whose large-poop-making abilities come from the satisfying warmth inside his giant black fur coat and heart. and i’ll try to enjoy this whole balancing act…understanding that cranky balances out something (too good of a mood?). i’ll try to remember that these icons are mostly right about the happiness part, and that i’ve pretty well pushed achievement out of my top five – live with kindness, love my family, protect human life and dignity, give through service and pay my bills.

my day is slipping away now. it’s time for me to pet-a-mole, feed-a-mole and/or put-a-mole-soundly-back-to-bed-until-next-time. i’m tired of whac-ing. (take that where you feel you must, you 7th grader.)

 

 

 

fist at the sky, belly full of laughter…what is up with mondays lately?

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it’s a ridiculously quick stop by here to let anyone who might wonder my whereabouts or general well-being that i’m struggling to post regularly because i’m laughing too hard at life’s most dependable practical joke. consistency. HA! my outrageous life laughs threateningly with a shaking fist at all my attempts to fit myself into the routines i think i must if i’m to live well and avoid raising a sociopath. that little sociopath now has the flu. did i say HA!?**

so she’s lethargic and needy, resting comfortably and a regular two-year old in a spastic rotating circle of you’ll-never-get-close-to-a-normal-day speeds.  i’m now off to rustle up some sick food…define and select the bare minimums at my 9-5er…eek out as much work as i can on my first commercial copywriting project under HardHeadpress (HardHeadpress.com is under construction…tacky mention but i’m starting somewhere)…prepare the family, home and workplace for two more days of rather unexpected travel (not far, just far enough to be travel thanks to the twice-daily impassable monolith that is the DC area traffic spike)…and whatever else decides to join the joke.

riveting i know. oh, and i’ll squeeze in a hockey game somehow tomorrow night. it’s outrageous when i put it all on paper (screen, whatever). i’m not as lazy or as much of a slacker as i feel like i am. it’s like reading about someone else’s busier, cooler life. eye-opening. heart-opening. you should try it sometime.

so til something like a more reasonable morning, i wish you all happy, heart-filled living. and i’m not bailing…i’m not talking “haitus”…i’ve not yet earned a vacation hour at this new writing gig. i’m just announcing a high probability of an irregular smattering of thoughts and words, just enough to feed me (and maybe your curiosity)…definitely with less regularity than the irregularity i’ve already established.

there…the pressure is off…freedom on. discipline is a funny thing. maybe my best discipline is just pressing on. pressing…ha…HardHeadpress…ha again. man, i love a happy semantic accident.

** flu? no way, mundane! further inspection reveals suspected hand, foot & mouth disease or her first herpes outbreak. ah, childhood.

3 hours of head-wound-packed cartoon action (…figuretrish)

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awright…this stopped being funny sometime several hours ago…like maybe 7-8 hours ago when i first woke from painful, craptastic sleep…except that i’m laughing now…about writing that it has stopped being funny. i’m chuckling quietly on the inside somewhere, with sarcastic cynicism bleeding out of my eye sockets.

here’s the rundown

spent the night to present wearing a collar of neck pain..a yoke even.

got a late start

cracked my head pretty good getting out of my car. as graceful as ever.

late to my appointment

…30 minutes of pleasant….

next…an hour and a half wait at the drugstore. i was one of maybe 5 people in the whole store. it went on and on as though it were perfectly normal for it to take that long to collect and label four whole, prepackaged medicines (not even transferred into pharmacy bottles). i did my best use my time well. i was pretty zen about it all, considering.

punted my work phone across the floor and into three pieces trying to answer a call while working at the drugstore

lost my actual nice pair of sunglasses in the store

killed 15 more minutes looking for them everywhere i’d shopped (which was everywhere) and letting my bag of dairy products wilt (found the shades, yay!)

was cut off by a minivan with 3 adult passengers toward the front, 3 kids in the 3rd row. they were leaving the library (that part’s novel…as in novelty…not…well…arggg, silly puns)…the guy totally saw me and took his right on red anyway (not cool)…it was a slam on the breaks event and i cleared my horn of any gunk or grime that may have built up over these many quiet months.

i stumbled in the front door awkwardly, stuff falling from bags…needing to pee like my 105lb race-lab…tried to throw my dairy in the fridge quickly and?…cracked my head on the freezer handle as i stood up.

scared the crap out of my 105lb race-lab wailing in pain and frustration while stomping up the stairs to my bathroom

got through this mayhem and sat down

…and now it’s almost 11am and time to get down to this actual day…throw up a blog post, then work an explosion of logistics to prepare myself for 5 unexpected weeks on and off (mostly on) the road teaching. i’m covering a schedule for a very sick employee and dear friend…my heart is with her, so saddened, even as my head tries to wrap itself around plans for childcare, petcare, homecare, selfcare, ticketcare, hotelcare, carcare….

egads.

i am the awkward action figure today…a gazelle on ice…with all the efficiency of wile e. coyote…and the grace of the three stooges. ok, i’m smiling again. time to throw on one of the many, many heat wrap pads i purchased during my sojourn at the drugstore and gets’ to carin’ about all that stuff needs ‘carin.  sigh.