Tag Archives: me

Random Thought Thursday

In order to distract me from the emotional hissy fit my brain is throwing because of my impending psych appointment, here’s a little feature I like to call Random Thought Thursday where, for your entertainment, I just throw down the weird shit about myself that bounces around in my head.

  1. When I go running, I always seem to hug the far right side of the road or sidewalk, to the point where I oftentimes fall off.  Also when I run, I spit left (yes, I’m a spitter…).  Conclusion?  You probably don’t want to run with me unless you don’t mind a little extraneous “hydration” coming your way and you carry a cell phone so you can call for help when I eventually wreck my ankle.
  2. This is the first election year where I feel utterly invested in the results and have found my niche as a committed Democrat.  I’ve spent most of my life blissfully ignorant of politics (here’s a funny:  way back in college, I gave my utterly conservative, totally staunch Republican boyfriend an Al Franken book because I figured that he’d like it because it was funny and about politics.  Heh.  Who knew?),  but now?  I actually get defensive when friends and family are very pro-Republican because that party marginalizes me both as a woman and as a lesbian.  “Want to get married?  Oh no, not you!  Want control over your own body?  Oh no, you have no idea what’s best for you.”
  3. I’ve bowled a perfect 300 game.  Really! And no, I didn’t immediately quit my job to jump into the glamorous life of a professional bowler. Short tennis-like skirts with nylons and bad shoes were never the fashion statement I wanted to make.
  4. I really like hanging out at the library (actually, it’s where I am right now!). I used to work at a library back in the day and there’s something about all these books and the quiet and the air of studiousness that gets me every time.  Of course, it also harkens back to a time where I regularly hid from my boss and read books in the stacks rather than work.  Nowadays, it’s where I come when I need to concentrate while I’m writing instead of trying to multi-task watching reruns of Friends while also attempting to pen the next great American novel.
  5. My least favorite holiday is Halloween.  Even as a kid, while I absolutely loved the candy part, I hated getting into costume. Neither me or my Mom were ever creative enough to come up with anything totally bad-ass for me to be, and that pitiful lack of skill has followed me all through my life. The wedding of a good friend that I was invited to was a Halloween-themed wedding (she, obviously, was a HUGE fan of the holiday) and costumes were required.  I bought a nice dress and wore it:  “I’m dressing up like a girly girl.  You’ve never seen me like this, have you?”  True story.
  6. I like both my licorice and my marshmallows stale.  Yup.  Learned that one from my Mom… open the package, let ’em sit a few days… adds a nice touch of chewiness to each.
  7. I own 6 bikes.  Yea, I know.  It’s a problem of mine.
  8. I have a new-found lust for flavored vodkas.  The sweet ones:  caramel, chocolate chip cookie dough, cake, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream… it’s all good.  Put them over ice with just a touch of water and it’s like candy in yummy liquid form.
  9. I can’t stand to walk past any microwave and see that someone took stuff out of it and left time on the clock.  Why not just press CANCEL??  Is it THAT hard??  Drives me nuts.
  10. It’s only just the first of November and I’m already longing for Spring. Can’t we just skip the winter, skip the holidays, skip the darkness and the cold and the chill? I’m ready for April, if you could make that happen.

A matter of life and death

I’m not sure where to begin…

Today I got a call from my Mom — my favorite uncle, her brother, passed away this morning.

This isn’t a complete surprise; Uncle Eddie turned 90 earlier this year and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late this summer.  But recently he had been doing pretty well — he was out of the hospital, at his home in Texas, and from all reports, up to his usual shenanigans.

So, it hit us hard, even though we knew in the back of our minds that the end wasn’t too far away.

He’d been a Texan for about the last 20 or so years.  Once he retired, he decided that the cold and snow of Chicago pretty much sucked and he headed to warmer climes.  One winter in Texas was all it took to convert him to a full-timer.

My Mom had always wanted him to be back here, though — she missed having her older brother around. She was almost 20 years younger than him and so they grew closer only once she got older — and then he moved away.  But with his diagnosis, she had finally convinced him to come back north.  Of course, he never made it — his flight would have been today — and he passed away peacefully in his adopted homeland.

Uncle Eddie, for as long as I can remember, was the “fun” uncle.  It was almost stereotypical in the way that he held the position as the rogue in the family.  In my lifetime, he had always been divorced and prowling the town, gambling and drinking and having fun.  He had fun teasing all of us kids and we could always be sure to catch grief from him for one thing or another whenever he was around.

This is my most memorable Uncle Eddie story:  back when I was 16, I wanted a dog more than anything in the world (my parents, while being dog lovers in theory, never wanted the reality of dog ownership) and Uncle Eddie had a dog, Bootsie, who was an awesome miniature Lassie look-a-like.  Now, this was also the winter that he wanted to test out living in the sun of Texas rather than dealing with the cold here — but he didn’t think he could take Bootsie with him.

So, what did he do?  He asked me if I’d watch her while he was gone.  I was SO EXCITED!  I’d be getting a dog!!  And a dog I already loved!  What a deal!! Of course, I said yes before he’d even finished asking… I was like a kid souped up on a bag full of Halloween candy, I was so excited.  Now, here’s the fun part:  do you think he asked my parents first?  Of course not.  He knew they’d say no.  But, he *also* knew that once he had gotten me all worked up about it, that they’d give in because it’d be easier to watch Bootsie than having to deal with grief-stricken, disappointed, devastated, overly-dramatic me for an entire winter.  He won that battle, and my Mom, while outwardly seething a bit, was inwardly chuckling at his antics.

I’m going to miss him.  I’m proud of the way that when he was in his late 70’s, he decided that he needed to learn how to use a computer and did so — almost entirely on his own (when he needed help, he’d go to Best Buy and stalk out the computer staff for assistance).  I loved the way that he always had a great sense of humor about most any situation and the that he could laugh away any tension in the room.  I was envious of the way he could play cards like a shark, always knowing what everyone else had in the their hand at any given time because he was so observant and smart.

His life reminds me that it’s good to take chances and change the scenery sometimes. That sometimes it’s better to roll with things than fight them. And that standing up for what you believe in plays an important part in making you the person you are.

I can still hear this, uttered by so many people at so many family parties:  “Oh, that Edward… he’s such a character…”

Love you.  Miss you, Uncle Eddie.

I have absolutely no clue how this happened…

…but my college diploma turned 20 this year.  I mean, really?  Where has the time gone?  I can’t wrap my head around any kind of mathematics that allows this to be true.

I’m not usually very big on reunions.  Partially because I’m too lazy to be bothered, partially because those kinds of social scenes aren’t my thing, partially because I haven’t really been in a good place and so I’m not exactly rarin’ to get out there and answer the “how have you been” and “what are you up to” questions.

But, I went anyway — peer pressure can be a wonderful thing, right?  I headed out Friday afternoon to go back to campus — a place I haven’t been in 15 years — to meet up with one of my best friends from college.  It had been about 5 years since I had seen her last, and of all the activity this weekend promised, this was the one part that I was really looking forward to:  catching up with her, being able to go beyond the niceties and talk about how life really was treating us.

What I didn’t realize, though, was that over the course of an entire weekend, I would get to spend approximately 20 minutes with just her.  Her family is lovely — her husband, in fact, was part of our group in college and so I know him quite well — but the family wasn’t who I wanted to catch up with.

Instead of much-needed chat time with someone very dear to me, I spent the weekend engaged in banal small talk with people I barely remembered, repeatedly saying, “No, I’m not married.  No, I don’t have kids.”  At least that’s what it felt like.  I went for the promise of connecting with an old friend and in its place I got a my very own form of nightmare socializing.

One part of the weekend that I enjoyed, though, was getting the chance to walk around and see the new buildings (they went on a building spree as soon as I left… apparently, they just needed my tuition dollars to get it started…).  The fall colors were beautiful — it reminded me of all the good that came from those years and how much I envied all the students milling around.

(And on a side note, all these young kids walking around campus — when did they start allowing 14 year olds to go to college?? Damn, I feel old…)

Still, though, the visit was tinged with melancholy.  During college, I had a close group of friends who I love with all my heart, but in the 20 years since we left campus, we’ve gone in entirely different directions.  They are all straight, married with kids and deeply faithful to the church.  And me?  Single, childless, gay and not really a fan of any religious institution.  As a group, I love them for who they were and what they meant to me, but it’s a little weird to realize that if I were meeting them for the first time today, we likely wouldn’t become close friends at all.  Or even meet in the first place, realistically.

The stark differences between who am I now and (literally) every classmate that I ran into made me just a little sad and lonely.  Not that I want what they have, but – in the moment – the craving for what the world considers a “normal life” was overwhelming.  Even a slightly left-of-center life would be okay — somehow, not having a girlfriend/partner-in-crime by this point in my life makes me feel like I’ve somehow failed at what everyone else has succeeded at.

I suppose that’s one of the reasons that I usually avoid these sorts of occasions: I work hard not to get too down on myself about my life situation, but it’s impossible not to consider it when my past comes charging back into my present with a debilitating awkwardness.

But it’s time to shake it off and move forward. It was good to reconnect with my friends and reminisce over times long since gone, and  I’ll enjoy keeping in “Facebook touch” with them, hearing all about their families and activities.  But, it’s also worth it to realize that sometimes the past is best off staying there, that there’s a reason that it’s that way.  A reminder that who I was isn’t necessarily who I have to be today, that I can appreciate my friends for what they did for me then, without needing them to be something for me now.

Heaven on wheels

Things have been a little dreary around here, haven’t they?  Let’s lighten the mood a bit.

I recently read the following quote:  “When you stop doing things for fun and passion, you stop living and you start merely existing. ”  That hit home — the running and biking were fine, I enjoyed them, but somewhere along the line, I had lost the passion for them that I once had.

During the mess of the last few months, though, I’ve found myself a new love: mountain biking.  Whodda thunk it?

Serendipity played a role:  a new triathlete friend (amazing how I have these when I have done exactly 1 triathlon in the last 4 years) mentioned a women’s mountain biking clinic she was going to down at Brown County State Park in Indiana.  Like a dutiful friend, I followed the Facebook link and was immediately in love with the idea.

So, I knew I wanted something new to try and this was the perfect opportunity. My biggest barrier to trying out the sport — not owning a mountain bike — was a non-issue because they would have free rentals on site!

On the first morning, I gathered with my group — the Intro to MTB class — and explained that while I biked frequently, that I had never once been on a mountain bike.  The instructors assured me that this wouldn’t be a problem, but as we went around the circle, everyone else had at least a little bit of experience. I was nervous, though as it turns out, there was no need.

I got my shiny rental bike and felt immediately at home.  We learned the basics of handling:  how to lean in and out of turns, how to take uphills and downhills, front lifts and back lifts.  And it was like a language that I didn’t know that I knew, but that I was already fluent in, if that makes any sense.  I didn’t know any of the terms they were using, but as they explained the skill, my brain was, like, “DUH”.  Seemed like common sense to me.

As we headed out to the trails for the first time, one of the instructors took me aside and told me that my skills were “ridiculous” for a beginning and that I was a natural.  Of course – now I was jinxed, right?  Hee.

But once we got into the trees, we were flying along and I can’t even remember the last time I felt that free and reckless and like I was a kid again.  Mountain biking is this complete adrenalin rush:  you’re riding along these narrow single-track trails, picking up some major speed, not always able to see around the next corner.  Next to you might be a ravine that goes nothing but down.  On the other side might be trees or a hillside or another ravine.  This isn’t your everyday walk in the park.

It feels dangerous — like with every pedal stroke you might be tempting fate.  And that feeling is so addictive; I knew within 5 minutes of being in the forest that this was a sport that I wanted to spend much more time experiencing.  I like taking chances and pushing myself a little further and harder than I thank I can. I used to get that rush from triathlon racing, but now I’ve got something new.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I let go.  Completely, utterly dove into the experience.  I was there in the moment, nothing in my head but the thrill of the trail and how I was going to take the next obstacle.  It didn’t matter that I was struggling in the rest of my life, being on the bike was all that I cared about.

It was heaven.  Heaven on wheels.

Doesn’t this look like a great way to lose (and find) yourself?

Let’s talk…

… depression.

For me, it slowly wormed its way in and set up shop before I even really noticed. It was my bad mood, just worse.  It was my PMS over-the-top emotions without the PMS.  A pervasive sense of loss when nothing important in my life had changed.  But it sneaked up on me; I lived like that for a long while before I even noticed the shift.

I’ve almost entirely stopped working out.  In turn, I spend that time eating and drinking instead.  I’ve gained twenty pounds (20!) in what feels like a heartbeat.

I had to go and buy fat jeans the other day.  Yup.  Shoot me now.

My therapist says that this can be attributed to the depression.  That somehow because of this thing lodged in my brain, I lack the ability to make the decision to exercise on a consistent basis.

Somehow, I don’t entirely buy that, but okay.  I guess it’s nice to have a reason handy if anyone were to ask why I’ve become such a fat ass.

Frankly, I think that I’ve been using it as an excuse.  I’ve been depressed before and I’ve managed to train through it (and use training to help as well).  And I’m starting to get annoyed with myself — this might turn out to be the biggest motivator I’ve encountered in months.

I feel a real sense of needing to make this stop:  no more brooding, crying, eating, drinking, and sitting around.

I wonder if I have it in me to do this on my own?

State of the union

Since it’s been awhile…

In most ways, things haven’t changed too much around these parts.  Belle’s still running the household, I still am not really dating at all, an apartment in the city hasn’t happened yet, and I still (kinda) have a roommate.

So – the puppy?  She’s doing well.  Still freakishly scared of storms and loud noises (she’ll bury herself under the clothes in my closet), but otherwise doing quite well.  She’s earned the right to be left at home uncaged (which is a relief for both her and me), and has only caused trouble once or twice.  And frankly, she’s still the most adorable, best dog ever.

Who wouldn’t love a face like this??

And the dating?  Yea, hasn’t really been happening.  I’ve gone out on a few first dates, but nothing more than that.  I have been going out into the city more, though — but while those nights are fun, I haven’t had any luck meeting anyone, either.  It’s just not the place where I feel most comfortable, ya know?  It’s funny, because inside the clubs all the noise and people and everything gets to be too much for me, so I head outside; I hang out on the sidewalk with all the smokers.  Of course, being very sensitive to smoke means that these girls that I talk to?  Probably not the best match.

The apartment.  As it turns out, that gorgeous face you see right above here?  No one is very keen to rent to her (she looks so mean, doesn’t she?  Sheesh…).  Breed restrictions at almost all apartment complexes bar me from moving in and my stellar credit and even my willingness to pay upfront don’t sway those opinions.  I’m keeping it at, but in the dozens of places I’ve looked into, only one would have allowed my dog.  And, unfortunately, it was in a location that I really didn’t like and wouldn’t settle for.

And the roommate, K.  She’s in the middle of a white hot, all-encompassing, new, totally-in-love relationship.  The whole joke about what a lesbian brings to a second date?  (“a u-haul”)  Not so far from the truth here.  Literally, after two dates K started living at the GF’s house (though all of her stuff still lives here… I’ve become a storage facility).  She’s spent 5 nights here at home in the 3 months of her relationship…I miss her, but if nothing else, it’s easier that she’s living with the GF rather than the GF living here (actually, I wouldn’t allow that — that was something we agreed upon when we set up the roommate thing).  I still see K occasionally — she’s still my personal trainer and will stop by to pick up clothes — but the house is a little emptier than it had been.

All in all, if it weren’t for the pesky depression thing, I would say that things are moving along much as they had been.  Close, but no cigar on that one, I suppose.