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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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wrestling Bear

The names of persons I use here are those of my followers, easily located on the sidebar. If the reader will indulge me, I don't feel up to creating all the links today. I appreciate my followers, though, and display each of you proudly. But right now, I'd rather spend my time visiting your posts which have gone up since I took a breather. Also, please indulge the use of "today", "tomorrow" and "yesterday". Sometimes things don't punch a time card. It was all written across a short time frame this week.

It's a delicate phrase (that conjures up quite an image when applied to me!) - "wrestling bear" - that means "dealing with stuff". Sorting out the jiggle in one's Jell-0, the junk in one's trunk. Handling one's problems or chewing on stuff. I'd just completed conducting a whirlwind, 'round-the-world magical mystery birthday tour on my bus and I ran out of gas. Precipitously. I knew I needed to apply the brakes, park the bus and retreat to some quiet place. I stayed off the blogs almost 100% for 3 1/2-4 days. I didn't give up e-mails as completely. A girl doesn't want to lose her oxygen or blood supply. I added extra walking miles, read a complete book, ate some foods I hadn't enjoyed in awhile - no, this does not mean overeating. It means consuming good foods that require some actual preparation. And I am better for all of that. Clearer headed. For you see, although when we enter the ring, the bear expects to win the match and I expect to lose it, that's not usually how it shakes out.

And so . . have I bent anyone's ear (or eye, since one reads the blogs) about liking things that work as intended and disliking things that do not? Ahem. Blogger is a mixed bag of stuff for me. A free platform to write and interact with others. But I'm sometimes left with Blogger egg on my face. Do other bloggers get into such a twist as I do when Blogger conspires against them? The answer is probably "yes", "no" or "maybe". But I get into a twist. I've blogged about the Starbucks mug given to me by a very young woman who considers me her mentor. It says "Meticulosity: an extreme attention to detail." Little Jazzy laughs and says it would have helped her to have seen that tattoo on my forehead the first time we met, but she soon figured it out. That's how I am - I give attention to the small stuff. So imagine my horror today to look at my own blog and discover what Blogger or the gods had done to me on Kass' birthday post. I spent hours sizing the pics so they'd line up side-by-side. I'd spent forever downsizing the YouTube clips that had nothing but one photo and the soundtrack. I'd been meticulous about the size of the photos so Elisabeth's head would not be 1/6th the size of her husband's famous onion tartlet, and what was I looking at now? Why was Tag's poem spaced with so much open air running through it? How come Kim's beautiful gifts were oversized splats in the middle of the post, with miles of pink air space? How in the world did I post Kass' birthday at 2:00 a.m.on her birthday, yet 3 comments had been posted on April 24th the day before? Look closely, those of you who wrote to say, "Where did my comment go? I know you posted it. I saw it." [For the record, I post virtually every comment except those I'm asked not to - the ones that are a shoulder tap kind of message. I've now fixed that up by attaching an e-mail account to the Profile.] And why, the Sam Hill, did it all look completely different again one hour later? Yow. I don't know the answers. I am not required to be knowledgeable about everything, and I cannot be such. First these things made me crabby. Then they made me crabby about blogging.

It struck me that I posted my first blog post exactly 11 months ago. Blogging has fulfilled me and frustrated me. It has connected me with both like-minded and polar-opposite people. It has taught me to appreciate how well some people do things that don't even intrigue me. But their passion draws me. I've watched some bloggers simply disappear and others announce they're taking a break. Some who are taking a break pop up for a moment at the most wonderful times. I read both Kass and Elisabeth at some length commenting on the amount of time the blogs take up and I'm right there with you, ladies. Writing for my own, commenting to those I follow. I am struck, after my bear wrestling, with something that unsettles me. I work far too much. Old news. I walk way too many miles which also takes up too much time. Seven-year-old news. I spend too much time time blogging. That's news. And I do little else at all too much. Hmm.

During this week of experiencing some malaise, I forgot to go check that newly attached-to-my-blog e-mail account. It's one I've rarely used, and I forget to check it very frequently. Thank you to those who dropped me a note and I'm sorry if I seemed a tortoise before responding. Friend Tag, who was in my real e-mail account, you'll know I wasn't handling it very well, either, or something you sent would have seen the light of the blogosphere by now. It's coming! Even when I have to arrive late, I still arrive. Full of sincere apologies.

Yesterday, I drove home through a war zone. The weather is the enemy and the wind the most ferocious weapon in its arsenal. All I had at hand was a very small Nissan. The more ballsy forecasters had predicted wind gusts up to 70 mph. They were right! I left the office going south on Rainbow. Every side street acted as a tunnel, slamming me with crosswinds that moved my car around. I remembered the reminders on TV ~ "Keep both hands on the wheel!" No kidding. I knew what I was in for. Turning west on Desert Inn, I started to buck the headwind. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Oh, yes, I am the woman who camped through a night of 75 mph gusts, but I remained in the tent. I didn't have to see anything. Now, the traffic light standards bounced and that always freaks me out. I had to stop at the store. Cat food and coffee creamer are big copy in my home and I was nearing empty on both. My aunt did family day care for decades and she had a saying that would make most misbehaving little boys pause: "If you don't stop that, I'm going to snatch you bald-headed." I know the feeling. And I don't like my hair mussed up. This morning as I walked, I had mainly very black thoughts as I passed downed trees, many window screens torn from homes, tumbling trash cans and various other distasteful flying objects. I learned on the news that small, private aircraft were overturned and a carport roof was torn away in an apartment community. Some Las Vegas-y attention-grabbing event scheduled for 8:00 this morning was expected to be cancelled. If the girls still wanted to sky dive in their bikinis, that was one thing. But it was deemed unsafe for the aircraft to be airborne. Justin said it best: "Imagine. Bikini tops and bottoms and half naked girls flung all over the valley." Have I mentioned I am sick of it? Sick to death of it? Literally almost ill from it? It's now been 36 hours. It's about the same as 36 hours ago, although some brief periods have been more tolerable.

So what shall I do with myself, because I'm fairly in a snit? Mr. Insomnia crawled in with me at 1:30 this morning and never let me slide from his loving embrace. Someone hacked our bank account number at work and created several fake checking accounts with their names (multiple entities, multiple names, multiple IDs given) and our account number. One even had our logo and company name replicated, and a very good rendition of David's signature! Yes, Wells Fargo Bank is behaving in a very helpful way and, thankfully, the rotters didn't hit us for nearly what they could have, had they been higher achievers. But the inconvenience has been staggering. No checks, no credit or debit cards for 10 days to 2 weeks. I may need to pay one week of payroll in cash. I have three - count 'em - posts in draft form that I can't complete. They're painful, each for a different reason. I've invested too much in them to hit the delete button, but I avoid them studiously because they hurt.

Here's my plan. Tomorrow night is the 2-hour massage. I'm going to wave good-bye to David Saturday and take the wheel. Last May, he and his wife booked a Mexican cruise to celebrate 5 years of marriage. Remember that nasty little illness we first called swine flu? The cruise was cancelled. They're going for their 6th anniversary now. While David's away, I'll start the e-mails to plan my girlfriend-visit trip away. I've hung home too long! But before that, I'm going to the desert. I'm going to the place that has a convenient parking lot, so I can just pull up. I'm going to the place where I went in the winter and did my DIY primal therapy, screaming at the heavens and throwing fiery balls of my anger off the planet. I'm going to the place that will be replete with cactus flowers and horned toads ~ I know about these things. For in this place, at this exact time of year, in the year I was 52 . . . the cactus flowers were abundant and I held 52 horned toads in one sunny hike.

And, now, the Kass Birthday Grand Finale. Tag just kept spinning birthday joy after I'd stopped checking my e-mail box. Here is what he spun for Kass starting with my lame 4 lines and continuing with brilliance:

The lovely Kass, so fair of face,
Exudes a state of natural grace.
But while she shares with us a grand felicity,
There's also that spark of raw electricity.

An accomplished young lady of many phases;
A heck of a poet, she has a way with phrases.
Her home is Sugarhouse, I believe that's Utah.
Is there really such a thing called a Hoppy Taw?
Very crafty! I've heard she redoes the undone and
shoots strangers in restaurants without a gun.
A dangerous hobby, it sounds to this friend,
but she's just keeping up with the latest trend.
Time to end my contribution. It's getting late.
Great idea, friend Limes, on a way to celebrate!
Friend Kass, you are loved by many, it's clear.
So lets do this again same time, next year!

In my ears right now:

Something that charmed me: I don't feel too charmed, actually. But I'll find something . . . OK, here we go. I let my post sit in the box overnight, even though I was pretty sure I was done. When I re-read it this morning it pointed out to me that there are reasons I'm not feeling all that charmed and I do have a plan to change the dynamic. One step forward. Then another one. Do it again. And I remember that the last time I went to the place of primal screaming, fireball hurling, cactus flowers and horned toads, I returned cleansed. It's lasted a long time. I just need to go get another dose.

Some photo credits: J. D. Morehouse


  1. I feel your frustration with Blogger. Your post totally changed format when I copied it to my blog. But all the sentiment and fun were still there. May I take this space and opportunity to thank Tag for his brilliance?


    Great Bruce song!

    Wishing you a change in mood and scenery. The bear is average and not smarter than you - Love ya, Kass

  2. I meant to tell you, the poem "There Is A Place" was written for you and Ellizabeth. I dedicated it to you in the tag space.

  3. @ Kass ~ Wow, Cookie, you must have been sitting there waiting for me! And thank you for pointing me to the silver lining: All the sentiment and fun were still there. I'm glad I posted. I'm not my sunny self 100%, but I need the interaction.

    You may take this space (my blog) to do anything you choose, including thank our brilliant Tag.

    Radio Nowhere IS one of the Boss' best, I think. I have it on probably 10 different custom music mixes.

    Thank you, Kass for everything you said here. I always regain my resiliency. I always bounce again.

    And now I shall go give appropriate attention to "There Is A Place" (also the name of an early Beatles tune).

    Love you right back, Les

  4. I hope than you get the mind clearing horny toading respite that you need. A soul retreat is overdue for you.
    Wishing you peace, calm and a windless trip.

  5. @ Kim and everyone else who might read this ~ I am reminded of something this morning. Although I was brought up not to let out a PEEP of any misery, they taught me incorrectly. When one utters a little angst, chances are good people will come forward and say "a soul retreat is overdue for you". That's all. The world's not going to end. I'm not a failure as a human because I get depleted. And it is good to feel supported by others. I sincerely thank you!

    And . . . .just as Kim's comment dropped in, my friend had e-mailed me about my visit. What would I like to eat and drink? Where are all the places I wish to visit? Guess what? I'm grinning!

  6. Been wondering what happened to you. Welcome back.

  7. @ Kirk ~ Hi, Kirk! Thank you. I was havin' a spell. Usually, if I go silent or absent, something's cooking.

    BTW, I read Erik Greene's book about his great uncle Sam Cooke in one sitting. I'm going to write a post about it/him. I'm hoping Erik will ring in again when I do. it brought up a lot of feelings in me about a lot of things.

  8. You're made of tougher stuff than I am, Limes, walking in the wind. Although the wind gusts here in NE Oregon are not quite what they are in your neighborhood, it's sufficiently windy to keep me off my bike. And I really NEED to ride my bike--my equivalent of your trip to the desert. I hope the horned toads and cactus flowers are abundant and you return refreshed and rested.

    WV: culti Culti be any windier??

  9. jiggle in one's Jell-0, the junk in one's trunk. Are you and Kassie collaborating on another rap. Please make it so. Tomorrow's Tag forecast special. partly cloudy skies, Hi near 75 winds light out of the north-northwest picking up later in the afternoon into the 20 gusts to 33.
    or you can have my generic forecast- atsa nice-a Day. And thanks for everything you do. Hope the primal scream and fireballs help.

  10. @ Doozyanner ~ You've got the end-of-school-year blues. It's good to see you here! I'm no heroine, Dooz. I'm driven to do all that walking. Someday I'm going to write about it, probably more than once, but I can't NOT do it. I GET it about your need to be in the saddle. Remember, I'm not a cyclist, but I channel them. I'm sure my dose of the desert will put me right.

    Wonderful WV!

  11. @ Tag ~ OH, you do egg me on! I've already been over to Kass' telling her you want us to collaborate and I have some ideas in mind for some hip hop.

    May your forecast be flown on butterfly wings to the weather gods!

    I don't think I'll scream and throw fireballs this time, Tag. I'm not filled with anger. More like depleted and needing a unit of Desert A- blood or plasma. Besides, I was solo when I did that screaming and hurling. It might be considered unseemly when one has a companion.

  12. Limes, it's a little more than the end-of-school-years blues. It's more like how-much-can-we-cut-from-the-budget-and-provide-any-kind-of-education blues. We're in the process of opening our contract and cutting days...and it still won't be enough. Good people will lose their jobs and those of us with enough seniority and areas of specialization will be doing waaaaay more with waaaaay less. But--it is as it is and we will figure it out somehow! How many horned toads did you see??

    WV: feriz How feriz it that teachers take the brunt of budget cuts?

  13. @ Doozyanner, belatedly ~ I'm going to post this comment here and on your blog, as well, because I wanted you to know how deeply I *GET* you. I understand that the pressures now are hard-driven by *REAL* budget constraints. (Remember, I'm going to come from the labor angle rather than the teacher angle, specifically. I don't care if it's nurses or factory workers, it's all the same to me.) Workers forced to open the contract and give back hard-won rights because the employer didn't live within its budget makes me ill. We know in a school setting, your work - the "product" you produce - will not be reduced commensurate with what you have to give back. The expectations of your labor output will not be modified. It is a tragedy. It is the stuff that makes laboe representatives beg of their members, "Work to the rule." Meaning arrive when you're supposed to, work your heart out, and go home when you're supposed to. Only when employers see that happen will they shift their dynamic and spend their money on what matters.

    A longstanding heartbreaker to me (I never came to peace with it): The employees I represented were the classified employees - bus drivers, school secretaries, health clerks, food service workers, instructional assistants, maintenance workers. When the hard times came, I fought like a tigress for them, but I always knew the district (whichever one of them) would throw any five of mine out to save any one teacher. I had a lot of difficulty dealing with the fairness issues in that.

  14. Les, I'm horribly late responding to this post.

    After Kass's birthday I thought you'd understandably gone quiet. It probably looks to you as though I have.

    I too have a love/hate relationship with blogging. These days I cannot always get to it as much as I'd like and then I feel guilty and disloyal, but also after my last post i felt very very bad, because I suspect I had offended some readers.

    I keep the technological aspects of my posts minimal, unlike you. I think I'd tear my hair out if I upheld your standards.

    As ever, this is a terrific post. I'm sorry to hear you're having such a stressful time, but if it were wonderful you might have less to blog about. People get bored by hearts and flowers. They love a bit of trouble, liberally sprinkled with love and redemption.

    Thanks, Les

  15. @ Elisabeth @ I never feel like anyone has to respond to a post immediattely. I've told you more than once I often have to read yours and go away for a few days to ponder. Now, sometimes a result of that is that when I return to comment, everyone else has already said what I would say. But I don't want anyone to feel pressured to honor any timelines about commenting here. And I might point out, Elisabeth, to my dismay: I see on my sidebar that you've put up a post titled Procrastination . . and I haven't been able to get there to read it for several days now. Every time my eyes land on that title, I blush and berate myself. :~{

    Putting demands on myself and suffering stress as I try to meet them . . . ouch. It's a pattern. A lifelong pattern. I've commented above to others that I am one who MUST kvetch about the strain I'm feeling, but then I muster on and usually achieve most of what I set out to achieve. Some people take my way as "complaining". I'm not, but I understand some would perceive it like that. Actually, I'm just letting off steam so I don't blow up.

    I surely appreciate you!

  16. You're right, Limes. It isn't fair at all. My program is losing our half-time assistant who is so very good with the rough and tough kids. Her wage is a pittance and cutting her will be a drop in the bucket towards reducing the deficit. My preference would be to start cutting at the top--get rid of an extra administrator. Will that happen? When pigs fly. I wonder what it's going to take for our country to value and fund education again. The Russians beating us to outer space did it in the 60s!

    WV: piallah Opening our contract, losing good people, now that's a paillah sh**.

  17. @ Doozyanner ~ Aw, Dooz, I'm not surprised by this, but it pleases me that you value the classified staff who support you. And we MUST be twin sisters from other mothers, because you and I KNOW how to fix the education system, and why won't they just listen to us? :~{ I can only be grateful that my long exposure to school districts occurred in California, where I experienced both halcyon years and grim ones. At least California has some regard for the value of education. I couldn't do that job here in Nevada where we rank 49th in the quality of education we provide students. All the money in this state, all the fine new schools springing up at a shocking rate . . . but we just don't educate. You're very good on the WV! It is a piallah shi**.