The Chess Game

I’ve been neglecting this blog, but with good reason. Got a new gig, with half again as much money; worked 11 days straight, racking up the OT, before a head cold caught and stomped me. Two weeks with people too sick to stand but still at work because they need the money.

Been there.

So far the new gig is great. Been feeling everyone out and playing the chess game that is new employment, everyone jockeying for position. We’ve got all highly educated people, for better or worse, some who need to be in front more than others. My goal is to be the ‘butler’ – the one who knows all the dirt on everyone but doesn’t appear a threat to anyone; the unassuming problem solver who you turn to when you killed someone. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I work in a conceptual art gallery now, so there shouldn’t be any actual death. But we’ll see. Once someone starts selling the stupid expensive stuff ($71k)… Check out this site - that's what I work with.

I realized a glaring hypocrisy while driving home on the freeway the other night: people complain about how violence on TV/video games/etc is damaging to our children, yet the parents are the ones slowing down on the freeway when they see flashing lights, craning their necks, hoping to see a mangled body in the wreckage. Think your 2-yr old doesn’t see you doing that nonsense? Just saying.

Christmas is this week. Yeah, I’m not ready either. I work that day till 7pm anyway. It doesn’t feel right to revel this year. So many people are scraping by, barely, or worse. I still have a roof, a car, and the one I love. That’s enough for me.

Genetically Modified Food

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “genetically modified food”?

Can I get a resoundingly unanimous WTF?

I just finished watching a documentary – one of the scariest I’ve ever seen – about everything that’s happening to our agriculture these days. Quite frankly, I feel like a lab rat. All sorts of atrocities are taking place in this country, spreading to other countries against their wishes, and being skillfully not mentioned by the companies perpetuating and profiting from this madness.

I’ve never felt such sadness and been so fucking livid at the same time. I don’t want to eat anything – possibly ever again, because my government has allowed a bunch of crazy scientists to manufacture bacterial viruses, and other funky stuff into my food, and feed it to me without mentioning their meddling. I have never been so disgusted in my life – and for those that haven’t hear the story of my family – that’s pretty fucking disgusted. They are doing gene warfare and forcing the splicing of things that would never have normally blended together in Nature to create crops that need herbicides to grow. Oh yeah, and it’s patented.

For God’ sake, you should not be able to patent a living thing! That’s in God’s hands and last time I checked, every sinner on this planet was coming up a long way short of being on the same playing field with the big guy. But they are; they’ve patented seeds. And everyone with a thimble-worth of sense who could and should stop this insanity isn’t doing a damn thing. They’re taking a fat paycheck from the corporations running the whole mess. Its corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton. It’s being exported to contaminate and eventually crowd out diverse species of these crops all over the world. It’s not labeled and you’re eating it without even knowing. Unless of course, you’re one of the ones whose had a severe allergic reaction and was rushed to the hospital.

I can’t believe we’re standing for this. There should be protests in the street. Every parent in the US should be camped on the White House lawn demanding this madness be stopped for the sake of our children. But they’re not…and won’t be anytime soon, because these giant corporations contribute hugely to government. They work for the government, the EPA, the FDA. They bought the rights to attempt perfecting Nature via compaign contributions and lobbying.

These big corporations are trying to sell us that “bioengineered food” will save the 800 million starving people around the world.

It won’t.

We already over-produce food, enough to feed all those starving people. Wanna know why we don’t feed them? They don’t have money to buy that food, and of course, we all know that nothing happens anywhere without a dollar being exchanged.

Not only will we be our own demise – we richly deserve all the suffering we get. We are a pathetic excuse for the “superior race”. We won’t even feed our own starving people because we’d rather ask “what’s in it for me?”

Check out this vid on Hulu for yourself. Don’t know about you, but I’ll be shopping organic and heavily taking up gardening as soon as humanly possible. And possibly moving to a country where the protesting people are being heard and that 'GM' crap isn't being allowed.

To anyone who reads this blog, please spread this far and wide. The optimist in me still has hope that our voices or a catastrophe will interrupt this madness.

The Cost of Education

I just read a Yahoo! News story about student loan debt. I'm a bit torn about the whole thing. The girl in the story is 23 and spent $200k to earn a sociology degree. Hers aren't all federal loans either - they're private and subject to a balloon payment, which as of Nov 2010 jumped from less than $900/mo to $1600/mo. That's like having a second mortgage. Part of the agrument featured in the article is that everyone believes a higher education is the gateway to a successful economic future...when these days it's more of a gateway to a lifetime of debt.

I come from a family where higher education is valued, coveted, and expected. I have a bachelor's degree. I make less now than I did 3 years ago and am lucky to have a job. My husband, who is a high school drop out and a freelance photographer (in case you haven't visited the link and know this already) makes anywhere between 6-10x what I make an hour. Someone please explain to me where I went astray.

At the bottom of the article many people left comments: some are in the same or an equally sinking boat, others are...haters, for lack of a better term. They think she should have taken a different path, or chosen a different school, that she was a sucker for a supposedly 'big reputation' university, etc. I think they're projecting their own feelings of being a sucker on someone else. Everyone still thinks they're somehow 'less' if they don't have a college degree. It's still the big dream, and reality usually doesn't come into play - and perhaps shouldn't - when planning the rest of your life. Personally I'd like to know why the cost of education is going up, yet the quality and weight of that education is going down. My bachelor's means just as much as my mom's from 1970 (or thereabouts). I guarantee she didn't pay as much as I am.

So I'm torn. I would never borrow that much for education - in fact, wasn't supposed to borrow any - but that's beef between me and Mom. But my Mom is in the same boat - you can't do much with an archeolody degree unless you get a doctorate - she's not using a hard earned education. Expensive school doesn't equal more valuable education. I'm trying to tell a good friend of mine that - he's going to be attending the school I went to, paying private school rates, and racking up hugh loans...basically for the same education I got, one I'm not technically working in because it's flat. So follow the dream? Yes. Get student loans? Not unless you have no other option, not just it's the easy option. And what to do now, for us poor souls who owe hugh sums of money we cannot pay? Support each other. Don't hate. I know it sucks - I'm there. Pay as much as you can while you're working/in school. Owe as little as possible when you get out.

Other than that? If I had that answer, I'd write an e-book and be living the good life. :)


It was bloody cold today - the weather man lied. Cloudy and windless is what we were promised; cloud free and gusty was what we got. We did the planned photo shoot anyway. Two models dwindled to one; four parkour guys down to three...due to a ridiculous hang over, so I heard. I took some shots with the G-10 - that thing is so smart I'm starting to think I have skills... Here's a sampling:

Before I insert pics, let me just say Blogger freaking sucks!!

Ha ha! It's more work but outsmarting Blogger ultimately makes life easier. Amazing finished images should be up on Honey's website soon - - for those that don't know it already.

In a Word

I've finally thought of how to describe myself in one word: classic. In two words: old soul.

I had a job interview for a company where a friend of mine got hired; I was advised the company wanted to know how we would describe ourselves in one word - who we are off the resume, so to speak. I obsessed about it, took a poll of all my friends, and ultimately didn't get asked the question. But Honey and I just finished watching a 20/20 special on Hulu about plastic surgery - the interview with Heidi Montag and how she now regrets everything she did - and I feel a certain sense of loss for humanity. Maybe loss isn't the right word, but we've lost some integrity about how humans are supposed to live. Wrinkles, people - we earn those through years of laughter and tears! You shouldn't be getting breast implants at 17. You should have a network of people teaching you from age 2 that you are perfect just the way you are, and that no amount of ignorant teasing from schoolmates will make you ready to kill yourself if you don't get D cups for your birthday. It's sickening to me. I think back to the 50's and how woman cared about their appearance, but in a different way: they dressed to flatter whatever figure they had, always did their hair, and enhanced with minimal cosmetics. Referencing strictly that portion of that era, we've lost something...acceptance of ourselves.

A friend of mine told me once I was born a decade too late. He's probably right. I don't relate too well to people my own age - some of them are so blatantly ignorant I can't stand it. The younger generation is one of want and self-righteousness, entitlement. Basically if you're under 30 and feel that by your mere existance I owe you something...I want to punch you in the face. I also won't respect you if you wear white base, blacked-out eyes, and black lipstick to an interview. Nobody gives a shit that you're channeling "emo"; they just think you look like a bad clown and need to grow up.

Do I sound like an old lady yet? Can't help it. Older than my years warrant. And with that I'm taking my decrepid ass to bed. :)

Daily Wisdom Nov 19

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
-Indira Gandhi

Life is Good

As it turns out, the Fates are finally smiling on me - and it's about bloody time - because I have a shiny new job. One using my widely varied skill set, education (that stuff needs to start paying for itself soon), not to mention a pay raise and a shot at those coveted health benefits. This is one very happy girl who is moving up and moving on...whilst not burning the bridge she just crossed cuz you never know. Yay for me!!
16 decorative balls, fishing line,
a decapitated Xmas star and Presto!
There's been an injection of art into our house the last couple days. We both had the same idea for a creative new use for those decorative balls everyone puts in bowls on tables - we made a mobile out of ours. If I can find the picture I'll post it. We also got creative with an old school overhead projector and custom painted some graphics in the dining room -those I do have pics of - and it looks awesome. Texture is a pain when doing detail work, but we managed.
Turkey day is coming! I'm quasi-prepared... I don't have an official head count, or all the ingredients. I'm making a dish I've never made before and cooking for roughly 12. But I do have all the recipes (two were missing for awhile) and did some of the shopping today. We need more silverware... it'll get sorted eventually. It'll be madness between now and then, with new hire paperwork and another trip to the "talent center" to sign forms and get my picture taken (really freaking early in the morning), plus early baking and last minute "oh crap! I forgot to buy..." moments.
And I managed to go through the dreaded family photo CD without crying or getting terribly depressed. Life is good.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

I was born under a wandering star...

I feel old today. Probably just tired...seems to be my natural state at this point. But, in better news and by the grace of God, we're still kicking. Seems we find what we need just in the nick of time. I'm calling it Divine Providence because frankly, I'm not that good. Believe what you like, but someone is watching out for us.

I went to a job interview last Wednesday. Oddest one I've ever been to. Try to show personality while answering a strictly work-related question. Just one question. I don't know if I dazzled or blew it. And their "oh you should know either way in a day or two..." email hasn't come yet. I'm assuming holiday interference.
Fingers crossed just the same.

It's an odd feeling I have about life in general these days. I'm not where I expected to be, or planned to be, or dreamed of being. Several steps from there in fact. In the same breath, where I am has a certain 'rightness' to it. We've been much worse, survived with much less, and suffered more; we're struggling now but it's not the same. I don't know how to describe how simple everything becomes when you're homeless. There is no rent, or utilities. We were fortunate enough to be working at the time so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. In truth it was more freeing than I expected. Call me crazy, but part of me wants to do it again. Just shuck all this and drive. I'll have to pay off the car first and they're a bit nastier about the insurance laws these days, but still. The feelings don't take that stuff into account. I would go backpacking in a heartbeat. Doesn't matter that I'm out of shape and have bad knees. I feel sometimes like life is passing and I'm not living it, that I could be doing more. The problem seems to be I'm letting this traditional shackling get in the way. Why do I need a house and a car? Why can't I just hop a bus or plane and go do? I can hear the bullshit rattling in your head as you answer that question for yourself. Think of it like a child - simple. How do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator? do I live the life I dream about, gypsying where the wind blows me? Pack my shit and go. Simple.

Sort of.

There are other people who love me dearly who have other plans. Career-minded, professional plans that don't include dropping back to what seems to them to be the bottom rung. I'm becoming so anti-stuff it's starting to worry those loved ones. I don't want to own anything. Feels like that stuff equally owns me and I don't like it. I just want to go and see and experience. I had a dream the other night I shaved my head and took to wearing all those hats I like so much but never wear. I don't think it would be a particularly flattering look for me, but that's beside the point. I think a work commune would be awesome. That's all I really need. That and a pair of good shoes...

The possibilities are endless...

Me and Alethea

What I look like after a 20hr day...

Paco the Taco and Hippie Priestess

I worship the Taco!

I so want that gargoyle!!!!

What # are you?

Quote of the Day:
Wabi is like the feeling of the evening sky in autumn, somber of color, hushed of all sound. Somehow, as if for reasons one should be able to call to mind, tears begin to flow uncontrollably.  - Kamo No Chomei

I took a quiz of sorts today asking a range of questions where I was supposed to rate myself on a scale of 1 to 10. It's an odd feeling. How do I convey what I think about things if the answer is anything other than 1 or 10? For example, one statement was "I believe that the phrase 'the best things in life are free' is a myth". I don't believe it's a myth, the best things in life are free: love, friendship, happiness...they don't cost money but that doesn't mean you don't work your ass off for them. So the answer is "if you're talking about money specifically, then no...". What number do you think covers that?

The move is done. One roommate out; another in. I'm exhausted. 14 hrs. Today has been cleaning, collecting missed items, and trying to get situated. Not done. Found an excellent little burger joint, the kind we can introduce our "white" friends to - they'd never go on their own.

Working on endeavors to change a few things in my life. Fingers crossed...

I've joined the masses

I've finally taken the plunge people - I've joined Facebook.

Up to this point (and even now) I've been more in line with the view taken by Stan from South Park: FB is the monster that consumes your life. And no, I won't tend your virtual farm. But as a free marketing tool, even I have to admit it's pretty good stuff. Everyone I know, for example, who thinks Honey's photography is cool, knows people who know people who know people, and all those people are potential business. I'm basically doing this under duress, but even my cheap ass has to admit nothing trumps 'free'. So....

If you're in Las Vegas this weekend, the Fetish & Fantasy Ball is on Saturday at the Joint inside the Hard Rock. We are working the photo booth, so if you'd like to be photographed whilst strapped to a whipping rack, come see us. Costumes are required! Most of my life will be consumed by that for the next 3 days - I will post costume photos of us afterwards.

Hodge Podge

Last night I gave paper bag curls a try. If anyone hasn’t seen the video on YouTube, here it is. Mine didn’t turn our nearly as well as the cute Asian chicks. See evidence below.

Creature from the Bathrobe Lagoon

Right after twisties were removed - with mixed results

Approaching '80's scariness
 Not going out looking like that, I had to take a shower,which in turn made us nearly late for our corporate gig today. That didn’t go as planned either. They couldn’t get the occupancy certificate due to some incorrectly installed scaffolding; even the VIP party was moved into Sephora’s main space, so we showed up, took pics of the space for an hour (+/-) and left. We’re getting paid for the entire day, thanks to the gracious understanding by Make Up Forever. We love them. So 6 hrs worth of money for 1 hr worth of work. I love it!

Oh yeah, proof that my Cinnabon rolls came out nearly awesome the first time. Told you there was evidence!
Yeah baby!
As always things in our lives are in flux. We’ll need a roommate soon…OR we’ll be getting an RV and moving to Idaho…OR we’ll be getting a small apartment and starting a photo biz. It all depends really. Strange things happen and we’re just kind of rolling with it.

OH! Remembered what I was gonna blog about in the first place. Watched the movie Invictus. Very moving. We looked up the poem the movie takes it title from - very inspiring. Read below.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

Cinnabon Drag

Cinnabon. Is there anything better really? I don’t think so. Unfortunately Cinnabon has basically disappeared from the Las Vegas valley – if it’s out there, I haven’t found it. What I found instead was a recipe claiming to be ‘the clone’ of Cinnabon. I’ve made it three times so far with varied success. The first batch was the best though we cooked them a bit too long (Honey’s fault) cuz they didn’t look done. I have a photo somewhere showing how beautiful they can be. Second batch was a disaster and got trashed. Last one still isn’t quite right but definitely edible. It’s a very sensitive recipe. Try it yourself here.

In other news, I got to rub down a hot guy with coconut oil for a photo shoot. Yeah, just let your mind go with that.

Ran into someone I used to work with when I was a proper interior designer. She gave me the “Ahhhhh” full of pity when she found out where I work. I wanted to slap the makeup off her face. She’s doing finger painting to deal with her stress. I guess it evens out.

Speaking of make up…if you’re interested, I found an excellent demonstration of drag make up on youtube. This woman has skillz.

I can only breathe through one nostril at the moment. Whatever is blooming is kicking my butt. Allergy meds not helping. Stuffy head going to bed.



Monday, Monday

It's Monday. That's almost enough said, isn't it? With my current schedule, Monday is actually my Wednesday, but it hasn't taken as much edge off as I'd hoped. Today was a good day. I'm working on a bid for a big corporate client - $7k in light bulbs if you can believe it - but it's been a lot of running people down and nagging until they help me. If I had access to their systems I'd do it myself - it'd probably save us all the headache.

We stayed out pretty late last night, what seemed late to me anyway after two nights up being up till 2am, and then got up at 6. That was rough. I'm doing this to keep my eyes open long enough for the laundry to finish washing. It would not be appreciated if I strolled into work tomorrow naked or in my pajamas. to it.

Ms. Twitch

I'm a bit twitchy just now. Got out of work late due to some stragglers. Had a good day, but have stopped moving and realized how tired I am. Sounds a bit too familiar really. If I were smart - and I'm not saying that I am - I would go to bed now cuz I've gotta be up in 2 hours for a red carpet event. I just hate that I don't get to see my husband...except right now I'm making him nervous cuz I can't sit still. Weird. Me.
Off to it, I guess.

Two Faces

I ran across a blog of someone I've met in person and my brain is having a bit of a hard time with it. See, her blog presents a completely different person than the one I met. My tired brain is trying to mesh the two perceptions together and it just doesn't fit. I met this girl at one of the photo group meetings we no longer go to. She's a white chick with dreadlocks, which I was fascinated with at the time, so after the meeting during the mingle/network session I went to chat about hair. She struck me as not overly friendly; even on a subject she was obviously into (the locks) she didn't light up and get all conversational. I asked if I could touch one - one of the discussions Honey and I had was what those things would feel like in bed next to him if I got them - and her response was to ask me if my hands were clean. She gave off this vibe that she thought she was better than everyone else and I was pretty sure we wouldn't be friends.

Now, all that being said....I visited her blog yesterday. She and her hubby have taken the plunge many of us talk about but can't quite pull off for one reason or another: they've given up their house and become full time RV'ers traveling the country. Her blog is inspiring, full of hippie chick stuff, green living stuff, 'unschooling', and nice photos of their adventures. She comes across as a warm, open person, a gentle spirit trying to enrich the lives of her family, and make the world a better place. Quite a bit different from the person I met.

So, the part of me that still insists people are good says maybe this lifestyle change has changed her. What would I be like if my days were filled with a relaxed unending roadtrip? Another opinion that was voiced was that she's an extremist (mostly of the environmental sort), that her presumed feeling of superiority applies to anyone who doesn't think the way she does, and that this persona she's presenting is to curry favor with the blogging community (she has some 200 followers). I don't know about all that. I just know she's living one of my dreams, the one that's gonna be on the back burner for awhile, making room for something else. I haven't got a big house to sell to fund my expedition; I also haven't got family across the country to support me. In the same breath, I don't grudge that she did/does.

I'm just gonna go with the positive in that her blog appears (from a brief glance) to be a rich resource for lowering one's impact on the planet, dashing bravely into the world, and living life to it's fullest. It goes nicely with the quote I got in a Dove chocolate candy last night: What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

The Sickie Train

I need to eat something. I've got that kinda icky feeling where my head is starting to hurt and my stomach feels kinda sour. The blood sugar is dropping. PB and toast are in my future.

Today has been a challenge. One of my customers from work was causing grief for the other guys while I was off - pretty sure she's more trouble than she's worth. Anyone who saunters in and demands/expects a discount offends me. It's a discount store already; everything is 50% off or better. That's not good enough for you? (Seriously?!?)  Ended up having again what's becoming an old argument. I didn't win, as expected. Had a lady get mad at me for not giving her the fan blades she wanted. I tried to explain to her that the fan she chose came with certain blades, and no, I can't just swap them for the ones she wants. It doesn't work that way. She started tweedling, asking why not, and who's gonna know... People don't seem to understand that I'm not jeopardizing my job so they can get something for free.

.............................There's been a long unpleasant gap between when I started this post and now. I never did get that toast. The joke that's becoming my reality is this body is a delicate flower. She's easily upset and has a vicious right hook. The guys ordered sammies from the pizza joint to go with football and I managed to eat half of a half, forcing it down. I'm an undiagnosed hyopglycemic; the warning signs are as follows: headache, stomach ache, and nausea, which worsens over about 30 minutes. Eventually the smell of food with make me vomit, and by then I'm going to be very sick for the next two days or more. When it gets that far, Honey has to worry about me passing out in the bathroom in the middle of the night and throwing up on myself. Charming, isn't it?. Unfortunately, some days the pattern doesn't stick - everything goes sideways and I'm just freaking sick all of a today. So I was rapidly heading in that direction earlier , and went to lay down with a cool cloth on my face, hoping a little quiet stillness would derail the sickie train. It's been probably 3 hours and I can finally sit up without swaying. That was a serious WTF moment.

Back to bed, I think.

It's Always Sunny

Did I sound depressed in that last post? It wasn't my intention, cuz I wasn't, but I was run down and feeling it. Not every day is a great day, and on those not-so-great days I try to keep my mouth shut. I'm a closet angry person and though watching me self implode might be entertaining, I'm trying not to inflict negativity on the masses. I've been told that I'm text book 'depressed', undiagnosed of course. I have parent issues, anger issues, weight and lifestyle issues, and some days I wake up and just hate everything... which is neither healthy nor productive and makes me hell to be around, so I try to talk myself out of it before talking to anyone else. But being aware that I tend to "get the blues", now I'm paying more attention and trying to get my happy on. I used to be a very happy child; the world was my oyster in fact. I had the biggest dreams, hundreds of giant dreams, and I still want all of them - my head often gets in the way of how to have those dreams. Every hear the one about the different answers you'll get if you ask a child vs an adult how to put a giraffe in a refrigerator? An adult with tell you, of course, that you can't, with the size of neck and legs it's impossible. A child will say you open the door, take the giraffe by the neck, and put it in. Simple.

So why aren't I happy every day of my life and gone out to achieve all those big dreams? I'm still trying to convince my adult mind that I can put a giraffe in a refrigerator.

For the record, today was awesome. Any day I can wake up without an alarm qualifies as awesome. Got my groove on, had some Chipotle for lunch, went and helped beautify a house - I have mad cutting skills with a paint brush btw - watched a cheesy/cute movie over frozen pizza...good stuff.


I'm having something of an odd day. I over slept a bit - taking Tylenol PM generally leaves me feeling like I'm clawing out of a pit trying to wake up and keep my eyes open - work was good, I sold a large amount of stuff, the newest side job is going well. I even watched the new Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on the Disney's just that when I tried to work on my creative project... just blah. I'd say it was an overall good day, but not an amazing one. I don't have any reasons for this, but my theory is that I'm going thru the motions on a rationed energy supply. I haven't slept really well for about 3 days. The Tylenol is a last resort - I wake up groggy and retarded, the later being a lingering effect. So basically 'mediocre' is the best I've been able to do. From recovering over-achiever to accomplished slacker to average mediocrity. It's a shame really, that last part.

In the spirit of that mediocrity, I'm going to give up on this post and go to bed. Luvs gang.

Get your Turtle on

We need to slow down.

I support hard work and enjoy it; many people could benefit from putting in a little more effort, but that’s not how most of us live. We live in frenzy, too many tasks, too few hours in a day, nothing done with any care. Never enough time, not even for the things that matter. Rushing, rushing... I just finished reading a Dean Koontz novel titled The Taking. One of the lines that struck me was about forgetting the past and forsaking the future to live in the now, in the ‘still point of the turning world’. We could all benefit from such wisdom. It also chronicled how Satan, mistaken as alien invaders (like from Mars), would come to Earth to collect people who had become too accepting of murder, which was basically everyone except children under a certain age and a handful of adults who would die to defend them. The lead-up events were ironically congruent with everything that’s happening right now.

Anyway, I’ve had three recent encounters, two with complete strangers wandering into the shop, that have touched my heart. One told me I was an old soul and to hold on to that quality. She’s 65 and our perspectives are remarkably similar. I gave her the above mentioned book after a bit of conversation and it brought tears to her eyes. She said it meant more than I could know and asked me to at least sign my name inside the cover. I gave her a hug and she hugged me back like we were family. The second, in the same day, after hearing that my given name is Summer Velvet, told me I was a hippie born 20 years too late. It made me smile. I’m all for peace, love, and happiness, flowers and rainbows. I believe people are inherently good, despite the repeated evidence to the contrary, and that there shouldn’t be nations or color or religions – all the nonsense that produces hate – none of that matters anyway, to me at least. And the third was Manfred. He’s 81, remarkably spry and cognizant for his age, and a philosophical hippie at heart, an old-school gentlemen whose worked in show business his whole life. His business card, which he told me, was very old and the new one was designed by not printed yet, reads “philosophy, poetry, choreography”. He had amazing stories of working with Fred Astaire and an encounter with Liberace. He said I was very open-minded. Then he asked me if I knew the definition of ‘soul’. I said sure, it’s the essence of who you are, pure energy. He said yes, it’s all that too, but it really means Spirit Of Unconditional Love. I smiled; I like the sound of that and it’s probably true, just our minds and hearts get in the way. Then he told me the most beautiful phrase, one that distills into a single sentence everything Deepak Chopra and all the other wise men are saying, one that resonated with me:

Divine Almighty Oneness, Infinite Soul Beingness

I leave that to your interpretation, but I wrote it down. There was urgency in my head, an understanding that it was important to remember that phrase.

My main goals in life are to work for myself, step off life’s proverbial treadmill and slow down, take better care of myself, and find / maintain inner peace. Doesn’t sound like too much to ask, does it?

My birthday roses

I need to add a few links to my inspiration list; this minimalist lifestyle has my attention. I’m exploring it, but I’ve found two blogs that I like very much. See the sidebar for new links.

Bad Parenting 101

It's long after my bedtime, but I have an overpowering urge to say my peace on this one. If you have a baby in a casino anytime after 10pm - more specifically at 12:30am, who is wide awake and running around the race and sportsbook - you're a bad fucking parent. End of discussion.

Why in the world would you take a baby to a night out at the casino? That's our future, people.

Happy Weekend

I did it finally: cleaned out the cavern that was my closet. There are four rubbish bags waiting for the donation truck. It was quite liberating. I tried everything questionable on and if I couldn't wear it comfortably (ie not breathing or couldn't get past my thighs) out it went. I also managed to buy a few things that do fit, which was nice. It was getting rather desperate around here.

It's been a wonderful weekend. Redbox movies, frozen pizza (and yes, I really said the tag line, "it's not delivery..."), a little shopping, and an adventure at the Tropicana Theater ($1.50 theater). We've been gloriously sleeping in till 11am or later, staying up till 2-3am, and generally doing whatever we please. I miss living just the two of us. On the other hand, I appreciate this house, which is outside of my budget. So there you go.

My brain isn't really coherrent just now, so I'll leave you with a thought: would you rather be dirt poor and happy or hideously rich and utterly miserable?

Pumpkin Crisis

This is the second Thursday in a row that I've stayed up far too late (that's not the unusual part) and gotten to sleep in till I'm good and ready to get up (or food and bathroom necessities require it). It's awesome. This is what my life used to be like and I miss it. I've got another 3 weeks of this utopia before Mom comes home. Honey's pretending not to hear me but I keep dropping hints about how he should get his license by the time she gets back so he can drive her; I've paid my dues in that department.

Did anyone else know that canned pumpkin had some sort of health scare and is hence bloody hard to find? I have a recipe (a much coveted and therefore secret recipe) for this pumpkin dessert and went to four stores the other night looking for pumpkin, which is a standard pie filling, and couldn't get it. Needless to say I was considering donkey knockers for the Yukon as a form of stress relief. I managed to borrow a can from a lady I know with a ridiculously large pantry and so have averted this crisis for the moment, but the quest continues.

In some interesting cheapskate news, we've been let in on the secret of the closest thing to the $1 theater: the $1.50 theater. I went to the movies all the time as a kid because of the $1 movie theater. Even the concession stands were cheap. Granted, it was a dive - the carpets were stained and the floors often sticky, they had those rough fabric seats and none of the seats reclined (like they do every other row now), but I loved it. Got to be really good at Time Crisis (for a girl anyway) and learned to movie hop (which is ludicrous, I know, when the flick is a dollar). I also perfected looking natural carrying a purse full of goodies the size of carry-on luggage. They were good times. So now, in our recession squeezed economy, my grown up movie outtings are a thing of the past. The last movie I saw in theaters was Avatar (granted I saw it 3x) and since then a slew of flicks have come out that I want to see, but have resigned myself to waiting until Redbox has them. Now I have a middle option, a little wait but still the movie theater experience, at the $1.50 theater. Where is it you ask? Good question. Let me holler at my hubby.....
It's down in the ghetto on Tropicana and Pecos, right in my neck of the woods. I don't mind sharing this novelty with the masses - the success of places like this land squarely on the shoulders of the lower class (that's basically everybody who makes less than $600k a year so don't be offended), and frankly a reprieve from the stresses of the present, however brief, is well worth it. And at a buck fitty (that not a typo, that's humor) who can say no? I plan to waste an entire day there...

Wanna Solve a Problem? Eat CAKE

Wasn't a very happy post this morning, huh? Well I've moved cake. Was watching Bobby Flay's Throwdown show earlier and he decided to take on the "Cakeman" from Cakeville Cakes in NY on the subject of red velvet cake. For a long time I thought red velvet cake was basically white cake with a lot of food coloring in it. Not so! It's also not chocolate cake with a lot of food coloring, though there is cocoa powder in it. I found a recipe on Food Network closest to what the Cakeman did (who rocked it by the way) and am linking it for you here. HOLD THE PHONE!! A little further diligence on my part and I found THE recipe by Cakeman. See it here. Haha!

This weekend has been heavenly - aside from the financial stress-freak-out of this morning (the juggling was successful, by the way). I've been sleeping, got some one-on-one time with my hubby (whilst NOT working my butt off in the sun), Mom is out of town so no 6am wake up calls for me (Thank you Lord), and I've got brownies to take to work on Sunday so the boys will be happy. Oh, and I started jotting down ideas for that project that had such a bad start the other day. I'm feeling much more optimistic about it now. :)

So my new mantra comes from a Nickelback song: "we barely get by, but have the best times and hope it never ends". Now if I could just find that damn fine tequila at a reasonable price...

Also I've noticed (or had pointed out to me) that my due diligence has been a bit lacking as far as our adventures lately. For example, I breezed over our stay at Rumors, though it was awesome - some of it probably shouldn't be trumpeted to the world, if you catch my drift - but we had a great time and it's a great resort for you non-kiddy people (21 and over only), especially after the sun goes down. I had a total of 3 complaints during our entire stay: 1. not a single towel rack, so my wet bathing suit spent the night dripping into the sink  2. pricey food, the tapas (think appetizers) were $12 a plate and that's not enough to feed one person  3. check out is way too damn early (11am) if you've taken advantage of the 24-hr pool and stayed up way too late.  On the positive: the staff is hella cool (we're friends with 2 of them plus we know the chef), there are hammocks that make a few cocktails feel really good, the pool is perfect temp at about 7pm and the spa is gi-normous, tops are optional and we appreciate anyone who would like to let the twins out for a bit, and probably the most important: it doesn't feel like the Las Vegas Strip. Oh, and there are these triple chocolate gourmet M&M's at the front desk that are divine for that after-dinner choco craving (any nobody said anything when I went up there with a napkin and took two handfuls to share with friends). The official grand opening isn't until September so it's a little lean right now. Anyone who's in the neighborhood and wants a great place to party all night - check it out.

Second thing I've neglected: we went to see Vinnie Favorito at the Flamingo the other night. It's a comedy show based entirely on the audience, so it's always evolving. If you're a bit sensitive about race, age, sex, usual stereotypes and so forth, you might want to skip it, but we had a great time. The guy makes fun of everyone including himself. My sides hurt when I left. Also check him out if you're in town; it's a great show.

Now it's off to a long night of waiting for wanna-be celeb's to show up for their own media events. Luvs

The Sorry State of Things

I've just woken up, and not for the first time, to a check that's not enough to cover my bills. Honey will be proud of me that I'm not freaking out; I'm just resigned to more juggling. It's sad that I bust my ass every day for a company that doesn't give a damn about me, one that demands performance and results but can't afford me the basic cost of living. I don't think it's right to tell employees the recession is over and berate them about sales numbers, and yet keep a wage freeze in effect for another year or more. I've said it before: there's got to be a better way.
Short of giving up my car (and the transient freedom I've become accustomed to), there isn't more fat to be trimmed. We don't have any luxuries. Cable? We don't pay for it. Internet? Necessary for Honey's photography business, as are the phones. Storage is the only expense I can see that could be eliminated, and that's a big 'could'. It's full to the roof and the door, not entirely with our stuff.
Another thought would be to pick up a roommate...  Not sure Mom would go for that and we'd have to pretend we didn't - pretty sure it says in our lease we can't sublet. BUT it would lower everybody's rent a bit, I'd prolly have to share my bathroom, and there would be no more naked time. On the up side, I'd have a little more wiggle room at the end of the month. I'm all for banding together so we can all make it through, and this is a 4 bedroom house. Honey's still sleeping, I'll have to run it by him when he gets up.
*sigh* It's sad really that this is what it's come down to. Remember when a man could own a house and put his kids through college working at a gas station? We've digressed quite a bit since then.
Well I better go get my juggling hat on... I know I'm not the only one in these shoes, but standing here anonymous and alone right

Writer's Block and Tequila

I tried in vain just now to write something else. I got about a partial sentence and then petered out. I took advantage of a little ‘alone time’ while Honey went to play darts with the neighbors (he even drove himself, for 2 minutes, but still) to tame my bathroom and do a little *throat clear* grooming. I tried to start another project after that, one that involved peace and quiet, focusing of the mind and a concerted effort to make my fingers move on the keyboard…and then Honey came home, long before the usual 3am drag-in time. I got one tentative sentence typed, a partial one at that, before the spell was broken. *sigh* Try again another day…

I realized while scanning my live feed tracker that my last post was right before our stay at the new Rumors Boutique Resort across from the Hard Rock. There were 20 rooms comp’ed, a 24-hr pool, alcohol flowing like a river, and eventually naked bodies, though I crashed out before that. I discovered I like really good tequila and it likes me back – Honey calls me a tequila snob now. If you’ve never tried Milagro Resposado Reserve… Patron Silver goes down rough in comparison. Yeah, it’s like that.

I realize I’m not making a whole lot of sense just now. Yawning like a grizzly. Luvs.

Caffeine, Sugar, Repeat

Again with the late and burning eyes. Two hits of Starbucks today. Just applied for a job with a company I've wanted to work for since I got out of school - the position isn't the one I want, but I'll take a foot in the door where I can get it. Hopefully I'll get a call back on that that I'm thinking about it though I'm pretty sure my phone number wasn't included. *sigh* Fingers crossed anyway.

I've been reading this blog about the minimalist lifestyle. I want to go for it. I have a dream in my head I want to go for too - I dream about it every night in fact. It's time to make time for what matters most in life, which for me isn't all this clutter and material crap. I don't think I'll have a hard time shedding it; I think I'll have a hard time explaining to others why I dumped bottles of perfectly good perfume or donated an entire closet worth of clothes. (Because I bloody felt like it!).

Gotta get through this week. It's something like the week from hell. Nothing like 'no choice' to get the blood and the backside moving, eh? Morning will come sooner than I'll appreciate, so I'm off to it. Luvs

Typical Friday in my Life

It's after midnight. My eyes are burning. Why am I still up, you're asking? Starbucks, grande caramel macchiato. It's been a very busy day. A friend summarized it as we go from one job to another job to another job... I paid bills today, ordered a roasted pig, went to the chiropractor, laid stone for 6 hours (+/-), and then went to a carpet that got a slow start and lasted 3 hours. Oh yeah, and laundry. That's multi-tasking only a woman could do. Don't be fooled people - I am the brains behind this operation.

I still haven't got any toothpaste. Getting some was part of the today's game plan but it wasn't to be; the fates conspired against me. Resorting to scissors in the morning.

Since I'm up, might as well get some nookie before I crash out. :)

Domestic Midnight

It's late. I feel gritty and desperately need a shower, but it's not gonna happen tonight. I've been using Honey's deoderant for two days - my underarms revolted against something, became all splotchy red and sore, and broke out into what I think is a heat rash. Charming, I know. So now I smell like a man during the day and stink at night - not a marked improvement over the deoderant rock, which I love, but my theory is the bad aluminum is also lubricating to a certain extent and therefore keeps the chaffing down in extreme heat. Had planned on trying baking soda and corn starch - the gnomes stole my cornstarch - and plain  baking soda made the already aggrevated skin burn till I washed it off. I've had an incident of burning arm pits before (back in Portland when I used Tom's Natural deoderant and had an allergic reaction) and like I said then: burning arm pits are funny but only when it's happening to someone else.

My home life is being neglected. I got beautiful roses for my birthday, but I'm never here to enjoy them. I'm planning on taking a few pics before they die, if they haven't already. Also, I'm out of toothpaste and hair oil all a sudden. My excellent intentions of clearing the closet clutter...haven't materialized yet either. The good intentions are there and waiting, I'm just never here. Hopefully pretty soon that will change.

I'm going to bed. Hopefully there aren't too many typos in this post. I don't normally write directly in the box provided cuz it doesn't check the spelling for you. What little I have to say should be well versed and spelled right at a minimum. 12:00am. Nighty night.

All about STUFF

Had one of those mornings where the first thought was “Fuck you, alarm clock.” I don’t know if the solution is more sleep or less – seems I do less a lot more often than I do more – and I’m tired all the time.

Spent a good portion of yesterday jousting with a scammer’s automated email replies about a job posting on craigslist. I get two emails from different folks at the same company; one wants me to upload my resume to “the most popular online networking site”, the other wants me to take an IQ test – the first question was ‘how many months have 28 days’ – and which charges money to your cell phone bill. So I started sending replies asking for clarification and eventually flat refusing to follow instructions (I’m not going to an interview with my credit report in hand for their consideration, company credit cards or not). It started to get comical. I’d always get a response from ‘the HR Manager” who had no name or contact info, always from a different .com address. The phone number listed lead to an automated message telling me to follow the email instructions. I emailed them I wasn’t a vegetable and said things that would have definitely offended a live person. Instead of being told to step off, I’d get an email that basically moved me to the ‘next step’ in the hiring process. I posted a reply post on craigslist warning of the BS. Pointless and frustrating, I know. The next part of my plan is to spam the shit out of those addresses with free porn.

My poor underarms are not reacting well to the insane heat we’re having, or the conjunction of my deodorant rock and the insane heat we’re having. My skin doesn’t want to touch itself, I look kinda splotchy, and they hurt…? Who knows. I’m going to try a baking soda/cornstarch deodorant replacement experiment and see how it goes; some hippie girls online swear by it. Found a site saying you can wash your hair with baking soda too, or if you’re really hard core, you might consider the ‘no poo, just water’ approach. Not sure I can do that second one, but exfoliating with baking soda is awesome and dirt cheap. And if the hair thing works…I can probably get a 50lb bag of soda from Sam’s Club for $10-15 bucks. When my shampoo runs out, I’ll give it a go. Embrace the hippie chick!!

Ran across an article in Yahoo Finance where a woman pared down her abundance of stuff (big apartment, two cars, etc) to a 400 sq ft studio and 100 personal items. Total. That includes clothes, shampoo bottles, pots and pans, plates, furniture, and it would have included the car, if she’d kept it. She says it’s awesome. I believe her. I also believe I could do it. Honey, on the other hand, would lose a large portion of his allotted ‘100’ to camera equipment. I told him we better work out something close to it, cuz when we downsize to our little house, there won’t be much room for more than that. Once the house is done, I won’t need all the camping equipment, the bed frame will go, the desks will go (in favor of wall mounted, collapsible versions), and in theory, all the tools will go too. Honey may say otherwise about that last one. J I’m really not interested in having a storage unit for the rest of my days though. Let’s just say I have an aversion to stuff. I am anti-stuff, and if you’re stuff comes near me it may find itself in the donation bin while you’re not looking. So in the spirit of that, and when I have a weekend not otherwise booked to the hilt, I’m tackling my closet full of clothes I never wear. I’ve lived for 20 years holding on to things that “I’ll someday fit into again”. Yeah, that’s not happening and it’s bloody depressing. I live entirely in two loads of laundry that generally live either in or on the dryer anyway. And you can’t fit a T-shirt into my closet unless you wad it up and throw it on the bottom. It’s time. Besides, then I can go thrift-storing for stuff that actually fits me.

And I need some sort of change. There’s a certain amount of buckle down and suffer with the whole recession – I’m coping fine with that – but it feels again like I’m chaffing and stuck. So I’m gonna change me. It’s free. It’ll definitely make life interesting and that big distance between where I am and where I want to be will get one step shorter. So, watermelon and charity donations, maybe even a yard sale, opening those boxes that have been sitting there for 4 months…you get the picture.

Look out stuff, here I come!!

Masks Everywhere

For whatever reason, today is the day I noticed how disillusioned I am about people. People in general I suppose, but also some people I actually know, or at least thought I did. Ever wake up one day and realize your oldest “friend” isn’t someone you’d associate with today if you met on the street? I get people change, some take it too far and others not enough, but mostly I want to know real people. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled or more stubborn living with my hubby, who tends to be himself regardless of the consequences, but I respect knowing exactly what I’m dealing with. Even if I’m trying to get in your pants I don’t have the ambition for head games or the desire to play any. In those instances I think more like a man, which means zero in on getting the tail into the sack. The point being: be you and let that be enough.

I’m doing my damnedest to ground and center myself, to be a better person for me which will in turn make me a better person to be around; hence I want to surround myself with people like that. Unfortunately there are damned few. That leaves me wandering in a sea of self-absorbed fake people who don’t even see me unless I impact their lives somehow. Sad, really.

Happy Birthday Monkey

First and foremost: Happy Birthday to ME!

I'm trying not to get stuck on the fact that I'm getting older, cuz we're all headed the same way and an OMG-I'm-almost-30 crisis is unneccesary. Unfortuantely, circumstances don't permit much celebration. Mom took me out to breakfast at my favorite pancake house, but soon it'll be time for work. As soon as Honey gets back from the hardware store, it'll be more brick laying in the backyard of the project house. The boys are out front valiantly trying to remove a stubborn tree stump. There's a deadline you see, a non-negotiable, fast approaching one, and regardless of the suffocating heat, how tired or sore we are, it's gotta get done. Period.

I found this work-from-home thing online today. Can't tell if it's a scam or not, many of them are. All I know is neither of us is up for too much more HARD manual labor - we played too hard as kids and are now semi-broken down adults. The body can only take so much, and my own aching back leaves me wondering - isn't there a better way? You know, smarter not harder?

My whole dream in life is to travel, needing less materially and having more spiritually. I want my little house; I want my dog that I can't own in any rental property in Vegas because it's "vicious"; I want wind chimes and the open road. No debt, no time clock, no giant crushing bills I need to juggle every month... I want it simple, good, and ultimately peacful. Don't think I'm asking for too much and don't care if you disagree. :)
There should be backpacking to exotic places, 3 month getaways to places like Bali, Italy, Austria, eating amazing food everywhere. There's not time in there for a 9-5. Part of me really wants a legit work-from-home gig - it's really the perfect fit for the life I want. The trick is finding one that's real and actually pays and doesn't require 18 hours of my day (that kinda defeats the purpose for me). The other option, which I haven't a clue how to pull off, is to put a large enough chunk of money into a high yield account and then live off the interest. Seeing as I don't have a large chunk of anything (not even cheese!), this may be difficult.

For now we do what we must - even when it's sweating my tail off in 107 degree heat on my birthday - in efforts to eventually realize the dream. Every small step brings us closer...

*Totally off subject, but I noticed how much nicer my posts are when there's pictures...but I'm not at home so you'll have to wait until next time. :)

Meet the Craftons - a true inspiration

I had one of those rare conversations with my boss today that rounded out the wild wandering thoughts I’ve had lately. He’s got tons of well-off family in Hawaii that’ll provide him with a place to stay and help him get work. He can surf everyday and go fishing, laze about on the beach, and enjoy that classic Hawaiian slowness. I asked what the hell he was still doing here. If it were me, I’d be on the next flight with only a duffle bag.

I’ve had several things re-spark my wander lust lately…our trip to Utah, hearing about a that 28-day trip in the previous post, looking almost daily at the tiny house we plan to build and run away in, and now this story on a family of 5 sailing the world for 7 years. I’ve found their story again to share with all of you. Read it here. It’s beyond inspiring. And my boss has a valid question when he asks: “there are people all over the world doing it [running off and fulfilling their dreams], so why can’t I? But how do I do it?”

I’ll be adding some links soon for indie travel and an excellent reference for anyone serious enough to go backpacking. There are all sorts of sites for work-live farms and couch surfing, ways to live cheap and have a great time. If I were prepared right now, I'd be gone tomorrow.

The bottom line is: what’s stopping you? Decide what your dreams are, get your shit together (making every step one in the direction of that dream), and go. You only live once. :)

The 14th Amendment

If you’ve been reading the news at all lately you’ll have noticed the 14th Amendment is up for debate. It’s the one that says if you’re born here then you’re automatically a citizen. And it’s producing outcry from all sides for different reasons: it’s no small matter to alter the Constitution, which has stood as the pillars of our society for 234 years. Most of it is political, some of it is Americans who think immigrants are taking their jobs (except none of us wants to wash dishes for 25 years, etc), and others think the public assistance programs are being bled dry by immigrants who don’t even pay taxes (none of us have 8 kids and work for minimum wage…). The article I read estimated over 10 million illegals here; we all know that “securing our borders” and all the woo-ha in Arizona lately is part of it too. The example given for even considering changing the Constitution was ‘a woman from Brazil coming here, having a baby, and flying home’. That was political fencing – we all know the largest numbers of immigrants aren’t from Brazil. Politicians were considering the very large number of Hispanic voters and their future careers. I’m sure it’s some, if not all of that, and way more complicated than any of it. Since everyone has an opinion on it, I might as well throw my two cents in. I have a slightly different perspective than most, seeing as I married a Mexican immigrant (he’s legal by the way) and I run into more illegals than other people I know.

Those guys from Cuba who made a pontoon boat out of an old pickup truck and 50-gal barrels – freaking amazing. That’s the kind of ingenuity and drive we need in this country. They want to be here.

I know two guys from El Salvador, David and William, who spent 28 days walking and hobo-ing on trains to get here. They lived entirely on canned corn the entire trip and used cardboard to keep warm. That’s in the neighborhood of 2236 miles.

Have you ever wanted something so badly? Would you walk 2236 miles for it?

I don’t think anyone aspires to be an illegal immigrant with the threat of deportation hanging over them. And remember, all our ancestors – unless yours happen to be full-blooded Native American – were immigrants who came here looking for a better life. That’s all everyone is doing. Unfortunately the systems in place are bursting at the seams. America has billed itself as the most prosperous nation in the world – has anyone read the plaque on the Statue of Liberty lately? ("Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..."). We have no right to be surprised everyone wants to come here.

I’m not defending illegally crossing into the US; I understand and believe we are having a population explosion that as a nation we can’t afford. I’ve gotten plenty of email blasts about all the benefits of coming here vs say crossing to China (where you’ll be shot by the way), how we’re all paying for millions who aren’t contributing to the good of us all (taxes), so on and so forth. But does anyone have a solution? We’ve all got plenty to complain about, self righteous folks on both sides, but no one has a realistic solution. Do we close the borders altogether? Easier said than done, but possible. Do we start making citizens out of permanent residents who’ve been here 10 or 20 years? They already pay taxes just like citizens, so might as well. Do we start asking everyone who looks remotely foreign about their immigration status? They’ll be mass uproar everywhere, not just Arizona. But really, what do we do?

The argument I hear the most is that the government provides all these services: healthcare, education, food stamps, housing, and so on to illegal immigrants. The catch is that the children of those illegals are citizens with every right to those services because they were born here. Hence the attempt to change the 14th Amendment.
All I know is the illegal immigrants I’ve met are some of the most humble, hardest working, and openly friendly people, who will share what little they have with a smile. They’re doing anything in their power to work, raise themselves or their families, and stay here. Those are the people who could better our country if the circumstances were right.

Monday Traffic

Today has been plagued by a general insistence by everyone on driving 35mph regardless of the speed limit and for everyone else to ignore the implication of the music being cut off in a retail store (it means we’re closing now and you should check out or get out). I left work 30 minutes late and the mad dash began. It’s what I do.

The last week has been rather uneventful, at least for me. If it was, I don’t remember much of it. Sunday I got to go swimming and eat lobster for the first time (it doesn’t take like much to me…?), now all I want to do is go swimming. I’ve found a new author that I’m itching to delve into; he’s dead but the reviews say he wrote several psychological thrillers. I haven’t read any of his stuff yet, but they’re making movies out of them soon so check out Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium” series if you get a chance. Honestly I can’t remember what else has been happening…the internet was down and I did gloriously little on Thursday. The shop damn near fell apart while I was camping (the other guy lost his temper and yelled at the boss, said “I don’t trust you!” and other bad things), the boss took today off due to stress, and now we have an installation company we’re supposed to push who charges twice the rate of the freelancers. I sold my first installation the day of the meeting (my day off) in my beach shorts and flip flops. Yeah, I’m that bad ass.

Much of my free time will soon be spent on trying not to be so bad ass in retail. I’m shopping positions in my own field, which is interior design for anyone who doesn’t know. Retail has altered my perception of the general public, not for the good I’m afraid. People suck. And people have taken the adage of “the customer is always right” to include situations where the customer is being a complete and utter jackass, trying to get something for nothing, and/or needs someone to blame besides themselves. Case in point: we are closed for inventory. A lady comes pounding on the door, demands to be let in because the fan she bought from us was missing the cotter pin, her ‘handyman’ installed it anyway, and it fell from the ceiling, demolishing a coffee table and damaging the floor. Somehow this is our fault. Does anyone not see how retarded this situation is? If your shit is missing parts, come see us and we’ll give you one. If your handyman doesn’t know he shouldn’t install something with missing parts, then you got what you paid for. This woman expected the company to replace her fan, buy her a new table and pay loads of money to fix her floor. Oh yeah, and be seen and waited on on a day when we are closed. Just cuz the lights are on and you see someone doesn’t give you the right to pound on the door and demand service. There’s a reason the door is locked (to keep crazies like you out!!). So I no longer think people are inherently good. I think people are sanctimonious bastards who need to realize the world doesn’t revolve around them, it’s not that fucking serious (whatever it is), and I don’t owe them shit! And that’s at the start of my work week.

I have a new dream plan. It’s been occupying my head space for the last week, basically since we got back from camping, and yes, I’ve been mostly useless the whole time because of it. Maybe that’s why I can’t remember what’s been happening….? Anyway, I don’t want to spoil it, but check out this website for a hint. (Insert devilish grin here)

Check in for the gig I’m waiting on isn’t for another 40 minutes, which means carpet arrivals aren’t for another 70. These little bastards better be on time. “The Wolfpack” has a whole new meaning now which has nothing to do with the University of Nevada, Reno. Any Twilight fans reading this blog? I’ll reserve the next comment for myself. But you get the idea.

This Friday is my girls’ day out. I’m really excited. Haven’t decided what I’m doing yet, but whatever I F’ing feel like comes to mind. There should be a pool involved somewhere if possible.

I think I’ve run out of witty things to say for the moment. I’m getting tired though tonight is a long way from over. After this carpet drags on, I’ll go home and attempt to post my camping blog and this one, just for you. So feel special – I’m losing sleep over this.

Camping in Utah

We made it back alive! Based on the weather we’re having today, however, we shouldn’t have come back at all. 108˚F with 20% humidity. Gag and then pass out.

So we planned this camping trip with friends, they were all gonna carpool and share a cabin, rent a boat for the day, see Bryce, so on and so forth. Then everyone canceled on us, couldn’t get days off, whatever, and what not. After being temporarily miffed, I was ok with that; decided we were going regardless and gonna have a good time. 

So we canceled the boat and the cabin, got a camp space instead with the logic that despite money being tighter than a drum, we needed the trip. (I weighed my reactions to being broke when we got back vs. not going at all, and that settled it). Two days before we leave, the friends wander back into the picture, asking about departure times and if a German Shepard will fit in our car with two more bodies and our entire collective camping gear. The day before departure, we picked up two more. So now we’re a ragged band of 6, all arriving at various times after dark to set up tents half way up a mountain in Utah. We arrived first, with a borrowed tent we’ve never seen or set up before (ours finally died after the last trip), and using our Yukon’s headlights for light (her name is Winnie the Strong, by the way), spent an hour fooling with it, trying to get it to stand on its own. Once we finally got the thing constructed (nicknamed “Bitchy and Complicated”), we realize we’ve killed Winnie’s battery and she won’t start. She wouldn’t even try. Normally this wouldn’t be too big of a deal: we’re not out in the boonies by ourselves; we’re in a campground full of fancy RV’s owned by a couple of rascally Brits – somebody’s got jumper cables. We are, however, parked right where our friends need to set up their tents…and it’s the middle of the night. So then we wait. It’s rubbing up against 11pm Nevada time and still no sign of our friends, neither of whom have ever been where we are or driven that winding mountain road in the dark (when every deer on the planet comes out). I gave up and went to bed. Honey had a plan to push Winnie out of the campsite, across the road, and outta the way until morning. I figured he could handle it.

All our friends made it in about 30 minutes apart and even found the campsite. They woke me up enough to hear Winnie’s engine turn over under her own power, which amazed us both. Our car is smarter than we are, apparently, and hence the moniker “the Strong”. (Her name is Winnie because my license plate ends with ‘WNY’).

Our first day in the beautiful 75˚F weather was spent collecting firewood and frogging about in Dixie Forest, visiting our ‘love tree’ where we carved our initials back in 2007, eating too much at the Bear Paw Café, and playing chess. I had a lapse in judgment and sat in the sun in my underwear without sun block for probably 45 minutes; and yeah, Irish girl that I am, burnt to a crisp. My nickname was Burnie McLobster from then on. We tried to catch the amazing sunset from our favorite spot (called North View) but all the wind was kicking up dust and making it hazy. When we came back, the 7th camper had showed up and we moved down to his site for the campfire – there was a family reunion on both sides of our camp, so 20 people where sitting around their fire, drinking and singing ‘La Cucaracha’ to some questionable guitar playing.

Day 2 we lost two campers (they had to go home) and tried shore fishing. Honey got frustrated pretty fast and we opted to rent a boat after all. We got a small pontoon for five people and two dogs. I caught a fish, but broke my line before I could get him in the boat…which is when we realized we left the net in the car. Nobody even got a bite the rest of the day. I’ve never had good luck fishing there, no matter what bait, lure, or junk I throw in the water.

Day 3 was check out. I thought for sure the other couple would head for Bryce Canyon, since she’s never seen it and it was part of the original plan. They headed home after breakfast instead. We headed back the way we came, trying to avoid going into Zion the back way and being charged for passing through. We went back down to Cedar City to top off the gas, and then took a gamble that paid off a 100-fold. We took an unpaved track called Kolob Reservoir Road. Like Honey said, it’s not really one of our trips until we do something like that – wander off the beaten trail and go exploring. It’s where we’re most comfortable, just us two out frogging about. It was gorgeous beyond belief. We stopped and took pictures in several spots and came out behind the lake, which is only a short hop down to Spingdale right outside Zion’s front door. We went to Oscar’s Café, as is tradition, and had the green chile pork burrito. Did a little wandering in the shops close by to walk it off a little before heading out. We stopped at the apple orchard place, which we’ve driven by probably 6 times, never when they’re open, and bought ginger peachy butter (which I could gladly eat from the jar with a spoon).

We made it back. Winnie did awesome. And I’ve discovered a handful of things: 1. I want to dabble in metal arts like wind sculptures and chimes, cuz my budget isn’t flexible enough to stretch around $500 worth of perfectly tuned Pacabel chimes nor will it be anytime soon, 2. we’ll have to find ways to road trip despite the recession – it’s therapy I can’t pass up.

3 Jobs

I’m going to start telling people I work three jobs. Cuz ultimately, I do: my day job, Honey’s photography gigs and assistant, and side work, like I did all weekend. I am a ridiculously busy and tired woman. Somewhere in there I need to find time for me, to eat well and exercise a bit.

I had something of an epiphany last night – I’m in the very unique and enviable position of having a man who loves me for exactly who I am, not the body I live in, not the money I can bring to the table, not contacts, connections, or any of that nonsense; just for me. I could weigh 100lbs or 400lbs; it wouldn’t make a difference. I could go bald, lose a limb, become blind, deaf, or severely disabled, and he’d love me just the same. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how lucky I am, and how I don’t know anyone else who can say that. Honey supports me, whether I want to work out or not, have a career or specialize in doing nothing, play Suzie Housekeeper or keep it to the bare essentials of sex and laundry. As long as I am happy and it doesn’t hurt me, he’s happy. I should be the happiest woman in the world…and I will be more often, as soon as I get my own head out of the way.

We went out with friends the other night, most of them the fit skinny types, and though everyone accepts me just as I am, I start comparing me to them and (of course) coming up short. It’s a neurotic thing I need to squelch ASAP. But having thought about it for two days, I’ve realized several things: 1.) I won’t ever be them – my body isn’t built to be a size 4 no matter what I do, 2.) that’s a good thing, because curves are rare these days, 3.) like Connie and Carla said, “tall, short, skinny, or fat – worship that body! It’s the only one you’ve got.” 4.) and maybe most important, I need to love me no matter how I am, cuz hating myself won’t be solved by changing dress sizes. The other thing I realized is that no matter how great this new HCG stuff sounds (who wouldn’t wanna drop 40lbs in a month?) I don’t want to count calories (500 a day? Seriously??). It’s also right in there with diet pills, fad diets, and surgery – I think that’s cheating. I don’t grudge anyone who has success for however long with them, I just don’t think that’s a permanent solution or requires much effort, and in the case of surgery, it’s very extreme and not bloody fair. I love to eat and don’t believe making food the enemy is a solution for weight problems. All bodies are not the same, yadda yadda, etc, etc. My opinions only, take them as you will. Anyway, at one point I was really excited [about HCG]; now my inner hippie and wanna-be naturalist is stomping her foot, telling me how much better I’ll feel and better the results will be if I do this on my own, just for me, and for the right reasons (i.e. health and energy instead of crushing vanity). My inner me has a point, as she often does when her head is screwed on straight. Another important thing, one that should keep the neurotics down to a minimum, is it’s not a race and it won’t happen overnight. I’ve lived most of my life carrying more weight than I’d have preferred and all of the best stuff, the best stories, and crazy adventures have happened just the same. Happiness will not be found on a bathroom scale for me, so I can just let that one go, don’t you think?

So if I can get all this wonderfulness to stick in my stubborn ass brain for more than a day, I should be fine – no, not fine (remember the Italian Job and the definition of ‘Freaked out Insecure Neurotic Emotional’?) I’ll be alright, relatively normal, less psychotic than usual, even-keeled, and so forth.

I've got work in another 30 minutes, so I think a few minutes of well-deserved 'nothing' is in order. Luvs.

The Bennies?

Honey mentioned tonight how it might be ok if I lost the gig as sales associate and underpaid grunt at the lamp store. He said I’d have more time to help with photo stuff, read the books and filter out the good bits, and though he didn’t say it, help with side work painting houses like the good ol’ days. I’m not, as far as I know, in imminent danger of losing the job. But, the other guy and I have noticed a certain level of neglect, of the building and equipment that has us concerned. The roof leaks every time it rains, the display on the main printer has been blank and unreadable since I started, and we’re babying everything else – the whole place needs to be rewired (properly), the phones are so ingrained with grime that we can’t clean it off, and in rotation usually at least one A/C unit is down (but more often two). A third of the merchandise they send us is damaged to the point we can’t sell it, so our damage costs are always high. They won’t let us do inventory – long story and stupid. The district manager let it slip when they changed the hours to seven days: we’ve got a year to make more money or they’ll close the shop. So basically, sometime around the end of March next year is D-day.

I haven’t really got a plan for that scenario even though I can see it coming. Based on the numbers I track from the registers everyday – we’re not making it. So I started looking for work, somewhat half heartedly. It’s always easier in my head than reality. I applied for 8 or 10 or 12 spots, some in my field, others not. Haven’t heard a word. We’re being fed a lot of BS about how things are getting better (at the shop especially, right before they give us shit about our sales numbers) but talking to people I know personally, it’s bad out there, maybe more so than it was a year ago. I heard the Hard Rock fired all its upper executives and offered to rehire them at lower salaries. Ouch. At this particular moment, I’m not worrying about it. Days prior I have, and I’m sure at some point later I will again. It’ll do about as much good then as it did before (none). Just do what I can and hope that God’s plan is not for us to be homeless again.

I had one of those completely random thoughts earlier: I miss having the leisure time to sit down with a good book, one I can actually hold in my hands and turn the pages. I have several books in .pdf format, but it’s not the same and my eyes get tired faster. Gonna have to start increasing the font size like a little old lady soon. The peepers are starting to burn now actually. I noticed earlier in the bathroom mirror how bruised I look under my eyes – that means I’m tired and its showing. Time for bed before an early morning. Night all.

Last Long Night - Yea!

So you may have noticed a subtle change on the blog lately. I decided it was time to inject a little funk. The hippie swirls will be around until I get bored again. Let there be color!

Tonight is long night #3, but thankfully it won’t be as long as the previous two. My bed times have been midnight and 1am followed by work the next day – I am half past slightly retarded, I think. We got out of the later gig and I got out of helping caption, so depending on how long I spend chattering at all you folks…I might actually get some sleep (gasp! What is that??).

I met Honey in the press area of the gig today – I can’t believe I got where I ended up without someone questioning me. I walked right into the room where the news crew was interviewing winners of the Emmy Awards (Chubby Checker and the Spinners walked right by me) and no one said a word, not even the people wearing headsets and carrying clipboards. I asked at least two security guards for directions on the way in and nobody asked for credentials. Honey got grilled for credentials and he was wearing them! (He also got mistaken for security, twice). Here in a minute I’ll go downstairs and get my camera out of the car, and do my best with whatever software is on this computer, to post the pictures of him in his suit. He looked so handsome!

I noticed last night at Mandalay Bay: women who are all dressed up don’t actually see anyone who isn’t. If you’re not wearing heels and a dress they can compare themselves too, their eyes slide right off you. I saw some things last night that made me embarrassed for the person wearing it. I told Honey if I ever get thin enough to wear a dress and heels out, he better not let me make a fool of myself in my excitement.
Alright kids, off to bed!!

Long Night #2

Tonight I’m sitting in something similar to a college desk in the race and sports book at Mandalay Bay. I can see the Lion King Theater from here. It’s not bad – padded chair, desk for the laptop, close to the restrooms, and with a nice view of the scantily clad booty parading by. Aside from being really early, I’ve got no complaints.

Tomorrow will see Honey decked out in his version of Johnny Cash’s classic attire. I’ll be doing my damnedest to get photographic proof and posting it as soon as possible. (Insert evil grin here).

I was just having a very serious conversation with a girlfriend about her relationship – the serious part being whether or not she should bother continuing with said relationship. I’ve been married longer than most people my age, and to a rather difficult man at that (Honey when you read this, don’t be offended - you know you’re my only brand of madness), so I can give some basic relationship advice, but after that it’s up to her. Indifference is a terrible thing to try to recover from. Also found out I’m missing out on a “girls night bbq” tomorrow night, which reminds me that hanging out with those girls can be very frustrating if I let myself believe any of the touchy-feely stuff means anything. For a girl like me, those are seriously mixed signals. Anyway, live and learn.

I’ve just discovered the downfall to my spot: I’m right inside the sign that says ‘No Smoking Beyond this Point” and a show just let out. Bring on the second hand smoke. 

The camping trip is booked. Trying to make it three days instead of two and a half. I’m super excited and can’t wait. Honey’s been telling me I don’t use my camera enough, so I will be making up for it on this trip.

--there are 7 black guys here all trying to hit on two white women, who claim to know all the lines. It’s rather pathetic. Proof pictures are being taken for something that never happened. Haha!

Oh! Oh! Oh! My money hand is itching!!!! Rub that baby like a genie bottle…come to me, sweet Benjamins…

I’ve been town-bound for too long. It’s starting to show.