About Me

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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some Things that Charmed Me

It's already Saturday! What a week! Ups and downs, undulations and perambulations. Charm and razzberries, sunshine and flowers.

I will run as fast and hard as anyone from dealing with problems or disputes. I'm not confrontational or aggressive until pushed very far back into a corner, when I spring out like the tigress I normally forget lives inside me. I tend to spend far too much time attempting to shoulder the responsibility for the disagreement, even when I had nothing to do with causing it. And while I do this, the pressure and negative feelings build. I'd sidestepped a time or two, including replying less than honestly to e-mails that asked, "Are you angry with me?" I was angry. And hurt. But I didn't say so immediately. And I kept brooding on it. It should be noted that I have ridden in this disagreement rodeo a time or two, yet I almost never fail to mount up the same way again in the next round. Slow learner. It's been my observation that many things between human beings begin to form blocks, and this was no exception. It was time to stick a pitchfork in this bale of hay. I did. I presented my issues with words, not tears. I presented them calmly and I don't believe I used one curse word. I didn't threaten any grave consequences. In fact I went the opposite direction from any statements like that. I was met with calm listening to my lengthy grievance, no defensive statements offered, no excuses. "I know. That's what I did and I'm so sorry." Oh. OK. An apology. For a sticky wicket with a lot of angles to it. I felt the weight lift from my shoulders and I reminded myself how long I'd let the problem trouble me. I remind myself to keep trying to learn new things. Try new ways. Trust the people one cares about to come up just as good as they are.

One morning this week, I wore a lighter jacket to work. The pea coat had had to be brought out again when March and earliest April proved fickle, but now it seemed a bit much in the morning. I wore the jacket home that evening and back in to work the following morning. That evening, I forgot the jacket on the coat tree at the office. Because I felt so warm the word "jacket" never entered my consciousness. I didn't need one. That same evening, the display on my dashboard let me know that the temperature down on the blacktop, near where the sensor resides, was 88-degrees. Tangible evidence ~ we're warming up! Quickly. Oh, to be sure, the wind still howls off and on, but I see sunshine and I feel it warm on my skin. Including the skin on my backside. Yes, that's what I said. Read on.

Joseph and Justin struggled up the stairs with a 9' x 12' foot 100% wool Oriental rug to be cleaned. I could tell by their facial expressions it was incredibly heavy. It is extremely valuable and is going to be donated to a charity to be auctioned, so we want to take very good care of this rug. The morning the rug was to be cleaned was extremely cloudy and overcast. Joseph, who has 35 years experience cleaning fine carpets and rugs, explained to me that was a good thing because we do not want direct sunlight on this monstrous piece as it dries. All the technicians began to mill around getting every van and steam cleaning machine ready - we had a couple of large commercial jobs to do and it was all hands on deck. Joseph asked if I'd pull the corners to fold the rug in half if the sun came out. The sunlight wouldn't hurt the backing, would continue to dry at least half of the rug and the men would flip it over upon their return. "Sure!"

The sun came out in its full glory and I was pretty thrilled just to have reason to get up from the desk and go outside. I duly took one corner of that rug in my hand and started to pull. I pulled my arm, I pulled my back, and I pulled that rug not one inch. Giving an ill-considered mighty tug, I lost my grip on the wet wool and landed on my caboose on the warm deck. Mortified, I sprang up like a jack-in-the-box. Had anyone seen me? Well, no. I'm up on the second floor on the back of a building, thankfully. I'm pretty dogged. I tried at each corner of that rug several times, landing right on my rump time after time. By now I was deck warmed and possibly even taking on an abrasion every time I landed. I had to approach this differently. Hmmm . . what if, instead of taking a corner and pulling with brute strength, I pulled forward just small sections of the thing, straightening everything out after each small tug? Yes. That should work. I couldn't step on the rug with my shoes, so I took them off and peeled off my tights. I yanked and tugged at small portions of that floor covering for 45 minutes. Its surface was slippery, and - yes, I did go down on my rear a time or four.

I went back into the office wet, scraped up, banged up a little, but that rug was protected, perfectly aligned, fringed end lying over fringed end. The men came in between the two large jobs. Joseph thanked me for folding the rug as asked. Cesar commented that I looked as if I had been wrestling bear. A little worse for wear and tear. I allowed as how I figured that rug weighed at least as much as I did. In his Jamaican accent, Joseph piped up, "Oh, no, Leslie. Wet wool holds an additional 30% of its dry weight. That rug weighs about 450 pounds right now. Did it give you any trouble?" Yow.

It's well known that blogger friend Kass makes me both laugh and cry. Her influence makes me want to be unruly. I'm always interested in checking out the blogs she follows. Chances are, I'll be interested in them, too. I picked something up on Kass's Redoing the Undone blog. [In this instance I am not going to print the link to Kass's blog, as that would be redundant just for this post]. Reading Kass's post, I followed a link to the blog of the very talented and funny Kim of *Numinosity* [yes, there will be links]. Of course, going to Kim's blog led me to some of her followers, and suddenly I found myself in the presence of a group of most felicitous women, mostly of a certain age. Many of them are artists or artistes. All of them are whimsical women who know how to have a grand time. And through these women, I learned about Candace. I learned that Candace wants to travel. Candace, you see, is a rather plain little rag doll who is feeling somewhat housebound. Kim's good followers have volunteered to host Candace in locations spread far and wide, to take photos of Candace's adventures, and to write in the journal that Candace will bring along. Readers, I promise you many laughs if you click on these few links and read the posts and commentary. Candace is going to have one good time in many different locations.

This morning I learned that Candace has already been having fun at her first stop - Seattle. [This is a must-read, folks!] I've been angling for days to get a chance to host Candace in Sin City, but Kass and I were each a few days behind the other good women who volunteered. This morning Kim pointed me to her follower, artymess, from the U.K. I e-mailed quickly, made a connection with Lorna, and . . . Candace will be arriving in Las Vegas after international travel from Great Britain. Oh! The plans I have for Candace. Certainly the Neon Boneyard and the Bonanza Gift Shop! Since she is a girl of the desert (at least part-time, I believe) herself, she might enjoy some hiking nearby, or even camping out in some of the wonderful places I know about. Surely, she'll want to take in a Las Vegas show, and I'll be the designated driver so she can become as lubricated as she would like. I'm sure she'll want to visit my little business and meet all the homes who are already splitting their sides at the very notion of Candace's travels and so many silly and fun loving adult women across the world. I want to take her to Massage Envy where we will enjoy the Girlfriends Massage, both tables and two therapists in one room with us. When we're tired from all of our adventures, I will embellish Candace's dress with sequins and beads. Or maybe I'll even whip up a couple of new things for her. I want Candace to meet beloved Dylan and Virginia Woolf, and I'll remember to place Candace's little bed in a locking cabinet or a closet that can be closed. Virginia Woolf likes to carry small objects in her mouth and hide them. Candace doesn't look very large to me. And - hey! - have I mentioned I'm expecting a visitor sometime in the future? Welcome, Candace. Viva Las Vegas!

In my ears right now: I am also charmed by artists who cover the material of other artists. I like hearing music I recognize, but having it contain a little twist or surprise. Like, "Hey, who knew?" Or, "I like this version as much as I liked the original." This has been in my ears all day. And may I just say that I love a woman who wears her cowboy boots with a skirt? I am such a woman.

Something that charmed me: Well, I've been charmed a lot this week already, but I have big plans for tomorrow. I need some sunshine. I need Vitamin D. In a bad way. I have an outing in the works. A day in the sunshine exploring a new place and new things. The weather is suited to shorts and a T-shirt and a baseball cap. Lots of water will need to be packed in, sunscreen and the camera tucked into the front flap of my backpack . . .


  1. I was waiting to read that your trousers had fallen down or split or that you had sunburn on your bum - not carpet burn!

    The dolly escapades sound fun.

    I like the image of Virginia Woolf with a tiny rag doll in her mouth - symbolic.

    You made me smile today, thanks. :)

    Looking forward to the resulting thoughts of the walk in the sunshine...

  2. @ Rachel ~ No, that heinie just had repeated warmings from plopping onto the deck, then scrapes from wiggling around, and finally - wet! I almost always have a change of clothes at the office for just such contingencies as split pants, etc., but this time I had nothing to change to.

    Can't wait for Candace to arrived from the U.K., but it'll be awhile. It's a fun bit of whimsy. It pleases me to find other playful women. We take things way too seriously sometimes. When did we forget how to play? Based on some of the locations where I've found the odd earring, the remote to my Bose sound system, etc., I tremble to think where VW might hide Candace. I'll need to be vigilant.

    I'm pleased to have made you smile today, Rachel, and I'll absolutely post about my sunny day.

  3. Did they give you a day off for... Dare I say, busting your butt...?

  4. The sight of you struggling with that wet rug makes me both laugh and fear for you, Les. You are so determined.

    It should be easier to manage Candace though. Perhaps when she's through with traipsing around America I should invite her here to Australia.

  5. LESLIE - I'm so glad you get to host Candace. Kim said the travels might take a year. Do you know how many legs of the trip will happen before Candace comes to you? I'm beginning to wonder if I actually will ever get her.

    Sorry about your tush.

    I'm facing the same kind of dilemma with a 'friend.' I'm still side-stepping, since her apology was so unapologetic that it makes me want to just avoid her.

  6. Candace looks like she might be world weary by the time she returns home! What a great idea for a book.

  7. @ Matt ~ VERY droll, Sir! I did bust my butt a time or ten that day. And while I am deeply appreciated, sometimes even revered, the very last thing I'll ever be offered is a day off. There is a whole small culture built up around "we rock when she's at the wheel". It is good to be needed!

  8. @ Elisabeth ~ I imagine I would not want to see any video of my wrestling match with that rug. I'm sure no part of it was a pretty sight. It is true that I'm a pretty determined individual. One might even say I am mulish. When I've been assigned a task, or when something matters to me, watch out world ~ here she comes.

    I would LOVE to send Candace to you in Australia after her stay here in the desert! Perhaps we need to kick this up a notch and make Candace's little adventure a grand tour.

  9. @ Kass-erole ~ I don't have a very good sense of how many stops Candace will have made before she arrives at McCarran Airport, figuratively speaking. I suppose she'll actually arrive in my mailbox. I've bonded with lovely Lorna in the U.K. who hosts Candace just before I do. We're all simply going to have to keep up with Kim's blog for Candace updates.

    Fortunately/unfortunately for me, Kass, I've got plenty of arse to serve as a pretty good cushion, so none of those deck dives were bone crushers.

    I'm sorry about your "friend". False apologies just make things worse, I think. I'm lucky that in the human dance, the apology I received was heartfelt, so I was able to accept it fully and move on. No more side-stepping here. Just a genuine and heartfelt, "May I have the next dance?"

  10. @ The Badger ~ Do you suppose Candace will be a little worse for wear and tear, Badge? Maybe we could send $10 to the Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart of Jesus and the next week they'll say Candace's prayer on the radio.

    A book!? Maybe . . . some kind folks have been encouraging me. It's been said I know how to tell a story . . .

  11. Hmm...All these years I thought Candace was real and Mortimer Snerd and Charlie McCarthy were the dolls. I wonder what Edgar might think of this.

    I willing to explain the above to anyone under 30.

  12. That Candace is a real doll.

    (To make up for my previous bit of confusion)

  13. @ Kirk twice ~ Well, my friend, you have quite an eye for the ladies! She is quite lovely in a country, comfortable, primitive kind of way. For some reason, her eyes put me in mind of Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent. Are you familiar with Beanie and Cecil? I believe they date from the very earliest days of TV.

  14. I'm familiar with the animated version, though I found out recently reading a magazine devoted to cartoons and comics that Cecil was originally a puppet. Both the puppet show and cartoon was produced by the legendary Bob Clampett, who directed many Warner Brother cartoons in the 1940s.

  15. @ Kirk ~ Yep, that's the sea serpent. I remember (vaguely, just flashes of this) the puppet one. I'm guessing the puppet material was terry cloth. I sense a lot of texture in all those shades of gray on the tiny TV screens of the day. I just Wiki-ed and learned it was first televised in 1949 and was one of the first three shows to be televised in color, early in the 60s. I think it would have been the animated version by then.

  16. I truly think most of Gillian's songs are so blindingly achy that the only way through them is to cry at least half of the way.

  17. @ Maria ~ Hi, and welcome aboard my bus. I agree about Gillian. "Pathos" is the most descriptive word I can think of to apply to her lyrics. You know you're going to bleed, but you're happy for it at the end of the tune. Something that fascinates me and I can't quite wrap my head around it. In more than one of her songs she touches on the A. Lincoln assassination during the Civil War. It makes me wonder in what way it affects her since she wraps it in subtly repeatedly. I thank you for stopping by!

  18. I don't know how I missed this post about Candace. Thanks so much for the mention. She's on her way to Toronto to go motorcycle riding with a poet, A published poet it turns out! I link you folks up once I get her update. still waiting for my sister's Boston Marathon update sometime after Monday. It's great to hear all of the plans you have for her!