Friday, November 9, 2012

I Feel...

I re-read a few of my posts, and I suddenly realized that the common theme among all of them is that I've lost hope in some form, as relates to each worry.

It comes from this feeling that my life hasn't turned out to be what I'd hoped it would be, from asking myself, "Is this it?  Is this all there is?"

My days consist of an eight hours of work, another few hours cleaning up after my husband and our six cats, cleaning in general, trying to keep up with fixing things that break or sifting through pack rat stuffed corners or staring in frustration at weed-ridden yards, feeling tired, worn out, and unfulfilled as a person.

Everyone goes through this, I've been told.  It's a transitional thing as you get older, as you mature.  The things you thought were important aren't anymore, and the gap left by those things aches to be filled with things more meaningful.  Sometimes this requires re-defining yourself.  Sometimes it just means you want different friends, or different hobbies, or a different job.

Or maybe it means emerging from the fog of self-indulgence and finding out that you actually HAVE hurt people with your selfish antics, and that drama isn't worth the ego-stroking that drove you to behave like an idiot in the first place.
Goodness knows what put you in that fog, but whatever it was isn't an issue anymore, and you look at the emotional carnage you left behind, and think to yourself, "Is THIS all there is?!"

No, it's not all there is.  Work and housework and paying bills and playing video games to escape the drudgery of reality is not all there is.  There is love, love from the God of the universe who tells me He has more things planned for me than THIS.

And I aim to find out what those plans are.

But first, I have some apologizing to do.

Appendix Saga, Part 1

I know I haven't posted lately.  I'll blame work, books, and Netflix.

Oh, and having my APPENDIX REMOVED.

I've told a few people this story, both the long, drawn out version and the uber-condensed version, and I always start it with:

"My husband recently tried to kill me."

I say that jokingly, of course.  I doubt he'd want me dead.  But when you're laying in bed for a day, wrestling with vomiting and excruciating pain, for him to tell me, "Oh, it's just the flu, give it a few days," seems pretty blase when the pain is only on the RIGHT side of my abdomen.

But he did keep me company when I was awake, trying to help me feel better, even though you can't really feel better from something like that.

I did genuinely think I had the stomach flu when I woke up that morning.  I had shakes and chills and horrible pain all around my stomach, and I did throw up a couple of times.  But after six hours, most of the other flu type symptoms had disappeared, leaving me with horrid pain all over on the right side of my abdomen.  I kept thinking it could be a symptom I'd never had, and took a combination of Pepto, gas meds, and pain killer to make it more manageable.

So I lay awake at 930 that night, keeping still so that I wouldn't hurt so much, with my honey asleep next to me, pondering this mysterious illness, when a word simply appeared in my head.


"Oh," I said aloud.  "That could be it."

I fished my laptop from my beside table, Googled "appendicitis symptoms" and read a very long list that contained many things I had experienced during the prior twelve hours.  However, there were many things I had NOT experienced.

I decided to call my heath insurance nurse line, see what they thought.

I call, get connected to a nurse, and tell her, "I'd like to run by you the possibility that I'm in the beginning stages of appendicitis."  She asks me some questions, and I give answers, and at the end of five minutes she says, "I don't think you have appendicitis; I think it's a virus."
"Like the flu?"
"Yes.  Get some rest and if you still have pain in a day, call your doctor."

I hung up, and I believed her for all of ten minutes.  Then I said, "No, there's something fishy going on here.  Virus or no virus, I'm going to my doctor tomorrow."

The next morning, I rope my hubby into driving me to the doctor, who, thankfully, keeps two emergency appointments in reserve every day for exactly these kinds of situations.

I won't regale you with the details of the appointment, but suffice it to say, after he had poked and pushed and prodded at my stomach, left side, center, and right side (which hurt ever so much), he pronounced, "Well, it COULD be appendicitis, but it could also be a burst ovarian cyst."
I just blinked at him and asked, "Which means what?"
"Which means we'd give you lots of pain killer and send you home to rest."
"Oh, I like that idea," I replied with a grin.
He smiled back.  "However, the only way to know for sure is to do blood work and a CT scan, which I can't do here.  You're going to ER.  Now.  As soon as we're done here."
I shrugged.  "Yeah, sure, it's right over there.  I can walk."
"NO!"  He pointed emphatically at me.  "You are NOT walking.  You," he turned to point at my husband, "you are driving her.  You will drop her off at the entrance and go park.  She is not to walk."
I was surprised at his vehement insistence, but it occurred to me later that if I did have appendicitis, he'd want to avoid it rupturing en route to ER.

Off we went, driving the whopping eighth of a mile to the ER entrance.  I walk in, and they hand me a form asking why I was there.
I wrote, "Doctor sent me."
Then I thought, "That's not going to get any kind of urgency," so under my first response, I wrote, "Possible appendicitis" and underlined it.
I kid you not, TEN MINUTES later, they called my name to take me back to a room.

End Part One.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Musings about the Garbage Men

I wonder about the guys who drive our garbage truck.  Are they the same guys every week?  Do they remember all the houses they've been to?  Do they go to the same houses every week?  Would they notice if a house got a paint job, or the shrubberies trimmed, or a tree cut down, or gravel replaced?  Do they comment to themselves about the level of fullness of garbage barrels?
"Looks like 123 had a party this week - check out the pizza boxes and beer bottles."
"Yeah, one would think at the rate they have parties, they'd recycle that crap."

Do they ever tell their coworkers about strange things they've seen?  "Dude, George, you should have seen the heinous mailbox at this one place!"
Or maybe, "Lucas, I gotta tell you, I see the same lady walking her dog every morning in this one neighborhood, and I swear, she carries a yellow parasol!"

Does anyone ever stand at their door step, or the end of their driveway, and wave at them as they go by?  Give them a big smile to say, "Thank you," because a shout wouldn't be heard over the truck engine?

I wonder how they'd feel if some gal in slippers and a bathrobe came trotting out of her house to the street corner carrying two paper travel cups and offered them coffee.  Or some guy lounging out front with a small bag of pastries, purposefully waiting to pass it off as they drove by.

That would probably violate some code of conduct at the garbage company, but still, it's a nice image.  Makes me want to go do something nice for someone, just because I can.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dream 09/17/12

I had a dream wherein I was back at my high school, setting up for some event, and a person I know (but can't remember who) introduced me to two people I've never seen before, dream or otherwise.  They claimed to be siblings.  The sister disappeared early on, but the brother stuck around.  For reasons I don't understand, we suddenly had to try and escape, in a van, of all things, but we took a wrong turn and got caught on a bridge.  While trying to see a way out (and defend my cats, oddly), the brother said they were after him, and tried to leave, but I wouldn't let him.  I kept trying to find us, all of us, a way out.  He told me to leave him behind, but I refused.  I chose to stay.

As I recall, there was another person in the van with us, the driver, the same man I know but can't remember.  He restrained me while the brother voluntarily turned himself over to the people in the dark cars. He and the pursuers vanish, and I cried, know that somehow his memories of me would be wiped clean, and I'd never see him again.  I was so certain of it.  I even had vague memories of another place, of someone having their memories taking in that place, but it was in another dream, and I KNEW I was remembering a dream (and consequently acknowledging that I was currently dreaming), but still treating it as if it were reality, as if it actually happened, and that it was going to happen to him.

Then, I suddenly got a text on a cell phone I didn't know I had, and it had a printed record of our conversation (condensed, of course) - a printed record of me clearly refusing to escape.

I suddenly had hope that he'd remember, but all he asked was one question:
Why did you stay?

It was like a person who hadn't been there were reading an account of it and wanted clarification about my decision.

I had no answer for him.

And then I woke up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Can't Do It

While re-making my bed around midnight the other night, a story my mother told me about myself came to mind:

When my mom first taught me to make my bed, I wasn't much taller than the bed itself.  My arms were short and my muscles unused to the task.  I remember making great effort to pull the sheet up to the pillow, then walking around to the other side, taking great steps to avoid stepping on my other bedding, and pulling on the sheet on the other side, but something always happened.  The middle would still be wrinkled, or the sheet would be slanted, or I pulled it up too far.  (It seems my perfectionism started at an early age.)  I remember becoming very upset that I had to walk around my bed so many times for just the SHEET.  Goodness only knows how difficult the blankets and quilt would be.

From there my memory gets fuzzy, and my mom supplemented the details I don't recall.

Apparently, at that moment during my bed-making lesson, I started to cry, refusing to keep going.  When she asked me why, I said, "I can't do it!  It's too hard!"  (There were possibly other references to the largeness of my bed and how I kept stepping on my blankets.)

My mother said to me, "I know it seems big, honey, but if you do small amounts at a time, before you know it, you're done!"

Sure enough, if I looked at it in smaller pieces - like pulling up the sheet so it was even on one side, then walking to the other to tug it over and be even on the other side, THEN proceeding to pulling the blanket up - the task became easier for my child mind and muscles to handle.

This recollection took a whopping half second to flash through my brain, but I suddenly realized that I STILL have the same response to seemingly overwhelming tasks: "I can't do it.  It's too hard."

This response is most common when I end up being assigned a specific type of project for work, and I have to go through the process of breaking it down into suitable sized pieces so that I don't keep pushing it off and doing something else instead.  Before I've separated it into groups of related tasks, it seems so overwhelming that I refuse to look at it.  If I get too many at once, I've even thrown in the proverbial towel for the day and promised myself I'd tackle it first thing in the morning.

Which I never do.

I'm not sure what my point is.  Just sharing a moment of self-awareness?  Hoping to pass on wisdom?  Regardless, I was both amused at saddened by the realization.  Amused that I'm still so like how I was as a child, but saddened that I keep re-learning the same lessons over and over.

It also strikes me that in moments of frustration or sadness or loneliness, when simply existing has become the overwhelmingly huge task, I often make remarks or posts like, "Life sucks," or "I don't want to be an adult anymore," or "I want to go home."

Such things can often be cured by a hug.  Encouraging words are nice, but hugs are better.  Big ones.  That last a long time.

I need a hug.

Can I go home now?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Trivial Things

I'm currently working, but I'm waiting for an install to finish.  In the mean time...

I feel like writing about the trivial things I've done today, am going to do today, and have planned to do over the weekend.

I woke up at 830 in a panic thinking I was late for my one-one-one meeting with my coach.  Turns out, after 15 minutes of waiting for my laptop to boot up and load Windows, the meeting was at 930.  *whew.  Gotta love thinking you slept through something.  I've had dreams where I slept through every class at school and made it for the final, and I had no idea what the class was even about.  Terrible feeling, that.  Thank goodness I wake up and remember I haven't been in school for seven years.

I also retrieved my Night Guard today.  Thank God!  It fits perfectly - so perfectly, I could use it as a retainer.  Per my buddy Alan's advice, I'll wear it during the day today to get used to it so I don't have a hard time sleeping tonight.

Worked out on my way back from the dentist's office... I've used that tactic on myself recently, because if I don't do it while I'm already out of the house, it won't get done.

I have household tasks to complete, like loading the dishwasher and running it, washing a load of laundry (my clothes) so I have stuff to wear in front of people when/if they come over this weekend, dusting and sweeping, and, of course, making sure my bathroom is presentable.  I think there are two things that are the most gross to see when going to someone's house: a dirty kitchen (a few dishes in the sink is okay) and a dirty bathroom.  If these two things are nice and pretty, I generally don't care about the state of the rest of the house.
But I refuse to sit on a couch next to, or on, a pile of dirty clothes.  I'll take the floor instead.

I mentioned people coming over.  There are two social events I have planned, but one is more a "possibly, maybe" thing, and the other is happening so long as peeps show up.
Oh, heck, I'll just list my weekend plans/lack of plans.

  • Friday: I took the day off, just because I could.  During the morning, and probably afternoon, there will be a combination of sleep, TV watching, and housework.  Mike's beer brewing buddy from Sprouts (formerly Sunflower) Andrew, and his girlfriend, might be coming over, ergo must clean.
  • Saturday:  Zilch planned.  When Mike gets tired of me fawning on him, I'll go read, maybe mend his pants (yes, I can get all domestic-like) and get our Blu ray shelves up in the office.
  • Sunday: Church (duh), visiting the in-law's (maybe), errands, workout, then... something.  Probably last minute cleaning.  I have a movie night planned for the cast of "Taming of the Shrew," the show for which I'm AD.  I know, I'm a glorified gopher (go-for, as in, "Go for Eegee's for me, Carol"), but I also helped cast the show, and I get to be line prompter when the actors go off book next week.
  • Monday: I have the day off, so I'll most likely be sleeping, reading, and (since no gaming, as my FB peeps know) catching up on the Blu ray's my hubby has purchased for me but I haven't watched yet.  Been too busy gaming and burning a static image into our upgraded plasma TV. *sniffle.  It's not my fault...

So there you have it, my trivial events.  But life is made up of such things, all smushed together and packed tightly, and upon these things one's self sits.  The trivial should not be underrated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Children's Stories

I want to gush.  It seems like lately I've been absolutely enchanted by stories technically classified as Children's books, or Youth books, at the very highest.

There's something about the simple sentence structure, the rapid flow of the plot, the generally easy vocabulary, but most of all, there's something about the unapologetic directness of the story.

There's no complex plot devices, no extensive use of metaphor, no pussy-footing around complicated life issues.  The book says what it means to say, and, depending on the finesse of the author, says it well.

What books might have triggered this reaction?  It's been a long time coming, but these are the books with which I connected or re-connected in the last couple of years:

  • Chronicles of Narnia (of course)
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Castle in the Air
  • House of Many Ways
  • Coraline
  • The Graveyard Book

and, the most recent,

  • Heidi

I read Heidi, by Johanna Spyri, as a youngster, probably around 10 years old, and while the story of a girl from the mountain helping a friend from the city walk again enchanted me and reinforced the notion that living in the country was preferable to living in a large town or full-fledged city, its appeal only lasted so long in the face of Jane Austen, who had ROMANCE included in her novels.  Oooo, romance.  Yes, I was captivated by such things even at a young age.  There's a reason my dad called me "boy crazy."

Now, however, the story takes on an entirely new dimension - you see, I've BEEN to Switzerland.  I've been IN the Alps.  I've sat on a bench in the middle of a rural neighborhood and heard the goat bells and seen the green pastures and squinted at the snow on the cliffs.  I've breathed the crisp air, tasted mountain spring water, and napped under the golden sun.

So these things that Spyri describes are very clear and vivid for me.  Add to that the childish innocence, the weaving of well-known stories into the narrative without the reader even knowing until the precise moment it makes the most emotional impact, the kindness demonstrated by so many of the supporting characters, and the clearly unabashed references to God make this an altogether new experience for me, reading as an adult.

Diana Wynn Jones, the author of Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, and House of Many Ways, I recently discovered because I wanted to read the stories that inspired the Miyazaki films.  I confirmed that, as usual, the book is almost completely different than the movie, but I also found that I really, really liked her writing style and the world she created.  These three books are a trilogy in the respect that the event happen in the same universe, but the central story isn't about the same characters.  Characters from previous books make cameo appearances, or are supporting characters, but they aren't the primary focus.

Once again, the simple, matter-of-fact sentence structure and vocabulary dominate the narrative, making for an extremely quick read.  I sometimes had to force myself to slow down to catch all the detail, though.  Jones employs magic in her stories, sometimes of mind-bending quality, but always delightfully expressed.  Howl himself highly entertained me.

Neil Gaiman, who wrote Coraline and The Graveyard Book, adds a mysterious and often creepy quality to his stories.  He writes both adult and youth fiction, and I've read a sampling of both.  He has a unique voice and a unique perspective, which I find fascinating.  Again, though, the narrative is simple, straightforward, and often clever.  Gaiman simply adds a new dimension that I don't usually find conducive to a younger audience.  For some reason, though, his exploration of the morbid isn't as disturbing as it could be.  I'd most likely object if it came from anyone else.

All this isn't to say I don't like full-length novels anymore.  Far from it.  I still greatly enjoy Dickens and Austen and Bronte and the like.  I still get involved with contemporary teen series (like Harry Potter), and I still hold LOTOR in awe as the premium example of Epic Fantasy.  I'm just learning to re-appreciate works geared for a younger audience.  I don't care if the reading level is far below what I'm capable, or what challenges me.  I like these stories for their own sake, and I believe it's good for us adult types to take a break from life's intrigues and bask in the subtle nuances of a child's story.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Aging

I need to put this somewhere, so why not here?

Yesterday, while being absolutely disgusted with myself for having a beer when I didn't intend to have one, I noticed something on my upper thigh.  What could that be?

Spider veins.

I've had a small group of them on one leg for several years.  I dealt with the shock then, and every time I see them, it isn't a big deal.
Yes, well, this is on the OTHER leg, and it's a very LARGE grouping, and I've never seen it before, not even in progress.
It just kind of hit me then, like a sledgehammer, that I'm getting older.
Not OLD, good heavens, I'm not that vapid, but older.  I'm aging.  I have dark half-circles and slight bags under my eyes, spider veins on my legs, it's harder to lose fat, my body hurts more often, and my vision is getting worse.

I just kind of crumpled.  It's like adding lemon juice to the wound.  I'm already struggling with firmly rooted bad habits and my inability to lose weight at the drop of a hat, but then to see garish blue and black squiggles in a place they weren't before....  Even stretch marks didn't bother me this much.

So I went and curled up on my bed (being bed time), buried my face in the pillow, and had a little cry with the cat laying close by.  I petted him and he purred, oblivious.

A few minutes later, Mike walked in.  We've been married long enough that we can enter a room and just TELL if there's something bothering the other person.  It can be nice, but sometimes it can be really annoying.  Like right then.  I didn't want him to know there was yet another thing eating away at me.  He's already listened to my complaints and worries about my teeth, my weight, my job.

So he asked me, "What's wrong?"
I shrugged as a reply, further proving I was, indeed, bothered by something.  So he asked again.
I told him, and started tearing up, just a tiny bit.
He responded, "Honey, it's something that comes with age.  It's normal.  You're just getting older."
"I know," I wailed, and hid my face.

He sat down on the bed next to me, petted my hair, and said that he thought I was beautiful, and that he'd rather grow old with me than stay 16 and stupid forever.
I snickered and said, "No way to I want to be 16 forever.  Sixteen was a bad year for me - car accident with whiplash, Bell's Palsy, the root canal from hell.  No, I'd rather be 25 forever."  I paused, then added, "I wouldn't want to be 25 and stupid forever, though.  I guess we trade wisdom for beauty, right?"
He smiled and called me a beautiful, mature woman, said that I'm not a girl anymore, and declared that he loved me and was happy to be married to me.  He also said a few things to make me blush, thus I won't repeat them here. :)

So, I guess mentally calling myself 30 before I actually am isn't enough to prepare for getting older.  Yet another thing with which to grapple.  At least now I have a reasonable excuse for taking naps and choosing to stay home on a Friday or Saturday night. *wry grin.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Attempting to Be Motivated

I see myself following a pattern right now, a pattern I fell into during college that resulted in me blimping out to 220 lbs.  That result in unacceptable.  Even 180 lbs in unacceptable, and I've passed that.

What is this pattern?  It's the consumption pattern.  The establishment of food and (now that I'm over 21) alcohol as the go-to substance to help me relax or feel better or kill time.

Not acceptable.

And yet I'm following it anyway.  Why are these things so hard to break?!  One minute, I look in the mirror and think, "I look fine.  Mike says I'm pretty, and guess what, I feel pretty.  I'm doing dandy."  The next minute, I look in the mirror and see a swollen belly, flabby arms, and thick calves reaching down to cankles.  "F**K," I say to myself, "something must be done!  This is terrible!"

So I go on a restricted-eating-workout-binge commitment that lasts, what, a week, tops?  Then I'm right back to the refrigerator looking for something tasty to eat during a movie because that's just what I do.

I'm so irritated at myself I CAN'T STAND IT!!!



You done?

Yeah, I think so.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Instead of Drinking Beer

I have decided I am the Quality Control manager (to borrow a quip from my aunt) for Mike's home brew.  He makes it, I drink it.  I like this arrangement.

Alas, as QC manager, I suffer certain... side effects of my role.  Some are good - my assets are more pronounced, which Mike highly appreciates.  Others, however, are most unfortunate, like my expanded waistline.

Ergo, I must drastically reduce, even desist for a time, in my responsibilities as QC manager.  I love beer, but I love fitting into the clothes I already have.  I have a pair of really nice pants I haven't been able to wear since my mom in law gave them to me.  It makes me very sad.

Therefore, for my future reference, and hopefully for your amusement, I have composed a list of things I can do to diminish, or shut out, the voice of the home brew calling to me from the refrigerator.
Please note that this list will not involve movies or video games, as it is during those that I MOST want a beer.  Nor will it involve anything in the kitchen, because the beer is IN the kitchen...

Read a chapter in a book
Make the bed
Take a shower
Go for a walk
Go to the gym
Do free weights in my room
Write a blog
Write more for one of my stories
Rake the front yard
Harass the cats
Harass the husband
Read my Bible
Do P90X Yoga
Mend clothes
Do laundry
Clean the bathroom
Sweep the floors
File paperwork
Take a bath and read
Make a skirt for Ren Faire
Make a cape for Ren Faire
Scan wedding pics into computer
FB stalk
Blogspot stalk
Dye my hair
Draw on myself with a Sharpie
Give myself a manicure and/or pedicure
Listen to music
Flouride rinse treatment (b/c I can't eat or DRINK anything for 30 min after)
Call my mom, dad, or sister
Clean the car interior
Give the cat a bath

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Reflections

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Paraphrasing from a sermon I heard a while ago: "Loving God is paramount in our Christian walk, but no human is capable of loving that much, that devotedly, indefinitely - but this is why God grants what he also commands..."

How long has it been since I felt an overwhelming adoration for God that lasted more than an hour?  How long since I considered each step in light of His holiness and mercy, since each moment showed me further proof of His love and protection?

I live my life, worrying over my worries, stressing over what I can't change, immersing into my hobbies, or filling my spare time with amusing characters - real and fictional alike.  I go to church, I feel the impact of the lesson; I don't dismiss it, I'm grateful for it, joyful when I leave, but the fire, the courage...

I remember in college so many of us had that drive, that energy, that openly vibrant zeal for the God of the universe.  At first, I reacted with admiration, and a dash of envy.  After a few years, it turned into cynicism.  "They'll outgrow that really quick," I'd think, "when they get a taste of real life."

It's like when the infatuation stage ends in a relationship.  The "newlywed syndrome," I've heard it called.  The love isn't gone (or one hopes it's not), it just isn't so encompassing.  It's a calmer thing; you don't think about it ALL THE TIME anymore.  You're now capable of having a real fight, getting angry, so angry you want to leave, but you don't because you love.

You're also capable of seeing the truth, not what your rose-colored mental filter showed you for a long while.  You're allowed to be frustrated, disappointed, but you work through these things because you love.

Love doesn't disappear.  Love isn't the butterflies and the hyper-awareness and the hinging of your life on the happiness of another person.  Love is a damned hard struggle, but worth it in the end.

Is this what loving God is, too?  Is this the natural progression a person goes through?  Or is there something more to it?  I feel like there should be, and that I don't have it.

That thought depresses and frustrates me.  But then I go on with my life, addressing the responsibilities given to me, and I forget my thirst for a little while, dull the ache that I know will come back in quieter moments, and make me wish I hadn't turned out the way I have.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Teenagers, part 1

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows my teen years were.. among the less savory years of my life.
Which is putting it mildly.
To this day, I still feel a certain apprehensiveness around anyone between 13 and 17, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are either related to me in some way (blood or marriage), or I met them and got to know them one-on-one, without their cronies or fan club or whatever.

Sans the element that drives them to be perceived as socially superior, otherwise known as "being cool."

Teens are immature, capable of being endearing, predictable only in their fickleness, and TINY.

It's this tininess about which I feel compelled to rant.

As I walked home from the gym the other night, I happened to exit right behind a trio of teenagers just come from Subway (I could tell by the bag clearly marked "Subway").  One was a 6' or taller boy, very slender, wearing what teen boys wear these days, and two were girls.  One girl was short, petite, and brunette, wearing shorts.  The other was short, curvy, and blond, also wearing shorts.
I had the misfortune to be stuck walking at a slovenly pace behind these three for about half a mile, but during that time, I noted the brunette and the boy were obviously dating (made apparent by their holding hands, then linking arms, then wrapping arms around waists, and a kiss here or there).
While cute and romantic, this prospect grew to almost comical because her head barely came to his shoulder.
Which brings me to my rant.  When I was 15, I was the tallest girl in my class, weighed 180 pounds, had curves to knock out a race-car driver (had I known how to use them), AND I was intelligent, to boot.
But I suffered from low self esteem, a result in part from bullying, but also in part from comparing myself to all the freaking TINY girls in my class, and wondering what was wrong with me that I was so huge and heavy and fat.
Yes, boys and girls, I called myself fat.
I'll have you know that 180 pounds is perfectly AVERAGE for someone 6' tall and large-boned.
Did I know that at the time?  No.
Would I have cared?  No.
Because movies always depicted women as being skinny, thus skinny women got the attractive men, and since I wasn't skinny, I had a snowball's chance in hell of being pretty enough to "get the guy."
So not effing fair.

Then I started wondering about this little trio.  Was the brunette one of those bitchy, back-stabbing types?  How did her friend feel stuck with them being all mushy a few paces behind her?  Maybe she liked the guy first and her friend stole him.
Or maybe they were all decent sort of people (for teenagers) and I was reliving my nightmare at their expense.

Teendom: When unrealistic expectations are the only reality.

Thank God we all outgrow it, right?  Right?

As I Walked...

As I walked to the gym today, contemplating recent idiocies, I asked God, "I've been a believer for what, 24 years now?  I should be more sanctified than I am!  Why am I dealing with these same temptations?  They've been around for years - I should be used to them by now.  I should be able to dismiss them like a pesky fly."
Almost instantly, a reply came, "Yes, but even pesky flies must be constantly battled if you choose to sit in manure."

I had nothing to say to that.

Yet my silence acquiescence was not the end of the issue.  Last week, I was sick on Sunday so I couldn't go to church.  Thankfully, they posted the sermon on their FB page.

The topic?  Christian spiritual growth.
I took that as an indication tonight would be a good night to catch up, and I felt and impending sense of irony.

One of the points on spiritual growth, or sanctification, was, "Spiritual growth has nothing to do with time."
That caught my attention.
Pastor Bruce went further to say, "It is not measured by the calendar.  How do we know that?  Some of you have been born again for many, many years and you're still in diapers."

Both comforting and saddening, yes?

Pastor also addressed another point that applied/applies to me, "Spiritual growth is not related to knowledge, per se.  You can acquire Biblical information or Biblical theology and still be a baby.  Until that knowledge is applied and causes you to be more conformed to Christ, it is just head knowledge.  Now, we've met people with a lot of 'head knowledge' but no heart transformation, and (how many know) they become hardened to spiritual things because they think they've got it all figured out."

I definitely know I don't have it all figured out.  I wish I did, but, alas, I don't.  I do know how much of an idiot I was in my early and mid twenties, thinking all the things I learned growing up, regurgitated in the form of prayers, journals, papers, and philosophical "debates" were the equivalent of being godly.  I know I became hardened to spiritual things, even cast my faith aside for a time and developed some nasty habits.

Toward the end of the "Spiritual growth is not __" portion of his message, Pastor said, "John makes clear in our teaching today (listen carefully): There is room in the church for babies."  [Dramatic pause.]  "Both new babies, and chronic babies."  I could hear the congregation laugh.  "Some of us have been babies for thirty years, okay?  But (how many know) that's good news, that's the point of our teaching.  There is room for stages of growth."

But he also makes clear that growing up is necessary.

Growing up is rough.


For those interested, here's the whole sermon:

Monday, August 6, 2012


For the fun of it, here is a list of nicknames I've had in my lifetime - some are still in use by specific people, others have been collecting dust for years.

If I remember from where or whom it originated, I've notated it in parentheses.

  • Care Bear (only to Erin-my-Erin - junior high)
  • Linda-lou, or Linda (Juliana - high school, possibly earlier)
  • Rockstar (Rene? at Mt. Hermon Conference Center's Registrar office - Summer 2002)
  • Kitty (Mike, my hubby - circa 2005)
  • Fusa, which mutated to Moosa (Charlene - coworker)
  • The next Indiana Jones Hot German Chick, or Hot German Chick for short (Henry - coworker)
  • Actress-lady
  • Christmas (Matty - college)
  • Lady, as in, "Hey, lady."
  • Trinity (from "The Matrix," Leland being Neo and Donnell being Morpheus - high school)
  • Rhool (from "Willow", Jonathan Hall being Franjean - college)
  • Queen Amazonia (a coworker of Mike's at Bookman's - circa 2007)
  • C
  • Sephiroth (Leland - high school; very short-lived, as I didn't know the reference at the time)
  • Miss Carol (first time by Thad - college; random other persons since)
  • Red (college, but I don't remember who said it first.  Happens whenever I dye my hair)
  • Mr. Wilson (Em - former neighbor)
  • Sunshine (John "Big Daddy" - former coworker)
  • Trouble (Joe "Squirrel" - coworker)
  • Mistress (John Love - fellow thespian)
  • Batchick (because of a Batman shirt I own - high school)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Triple A Workout

The following is my weight training regime for my arms, abs, and ass, or Triple A.
I've added images for a few of the exercises.

Warm up: Walk for 10 min, which is a lap around my block.

For the following, increase reps as necessary.  Your muscles should be fatigued by the end of 3 sets.

  • Crunches: 3 sets, 30 reps. 
  • Torso Flex: 3 sets, 12-15 reps. 
  • Leg Lifts/Raises: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.  Do not confuse this with Side-Lying Leg Lifts.
  • Reverse Crunch: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.

The Reverse Crunch can be done with or without bracing oneself.  Here are pictures of each.

I have back issues, so I usually do the braced one on my bed (I have a fairly firm mattress) and hook my hands under the top mattress.
Oh, and if you do the unbraced version, don't follow the steps in the order shown in the pic.  The order should be B, A, C.

For the following, increase weight as necessary.  Your muscles should be fatigued by the end of 3 sets.

  • Flyes: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.  Focuses on chest.

  • Bicep curls: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.
  • Bent-over Tricep Extension: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.

  • Side Lateral Arm Raises: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.  Focuses on deltoids, or shoulders.
  • Overhead Presses: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.  Focuses on deltoids.
  • Standing Two-Hand Tricep Press: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.

  • Quadruped Hip Extensions: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.  Increase reps as necessary.  Be careful to not straighten your leg during lift, as you could pull a hamstring.  This is also called a Bent-Leg Raise on all fours.  This can be done with a free weight in the crook behind your knee, but I haven't attempted that yet.

In the picture, she's on her elbows and knees.  I do it hands and knees.

  • Standing Side Leg Lifts: 3 sets, 12-15 reps.  You might need a chair for balance.  This technically works the outer thigh, but the balancing leg gets a heck of a workout in the gluteus maximus.

Cool-Down: Always, always, ALWAYS stretch at the end!  I learned the hard way that my muscles punish me WAY more when I don't stretch at the end than when I do.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beware Apathy

I've been feeling down lately, centered around two specific things: my work and my weight.

I love my employer.  I love that they treat me well, care that I have the resources to do my job, provide me excellent medical, dental and vision benefits, and generally make me feel like I'm a valued person, not just a peon.
But it's not the first time I've felt burned out with my particular role.  What I do isn't hard, not anymore.  It used to be, when I first learned it.  Isn't that what we like?  We do something for a while, get into the groove, and then it's cake.  Sometimes I run into a challenge, something that stimulates my brain to think a little outside the box, and when I successfully solve the problem, I feel like I've accomplished something.
I haven't felt that for a while, and now I find that I have a hard time focusing on my work.  I want to do things that fully occupy my attention, like reading or cleaning or writing or even some other part of what my company does.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to work for the same company, but in a different capacity.
I could be bored.  I could be lazy.  I could be un-actualized (going with a psychological concept).  I could even have some weird imbalance in my body chemistry that hinders me being able to focus - my mother's side of the family has a history of thyroid disease.
In any case, I've often felt like calling in "sick" rather than trying to finish my assignments.  Of course, that's not honest, and they'd catch me and probably fire me.
I guess my main motivation right now is keeping my house, cus without my job, we wouldn't be able to afford the mortgage payments.

My weight and I are at odds once again.  A few years ago, I was happily sitting at 160 pounds (I'm 6'), I could fit into practically every clothing item in my size, and I felt GOOD.  I felt I was right where I should be, a nice average, and I liked it.
Then I started eating more and more food I had denied myself for a long while, and I discovered I REALLY liked beer and thus drank much of it, and I felt the pounds add on one by one, until I hit 175, and then I jumped to 180 within a couple of months, and I suddenly realized that I, once again, had to give up the stuff I liked so I could fit into my clothes.
I did really well with the whole working out and eating lite thing for about two weeks.  Then I got sick, didn't work out for four days, and I stopped altogether.  I'm lucky if I work out once a week.  And I still eat junk food and drink beer, albeit one beer every couple of days as opposed to every day.
This afternoon, while I cooked seasoned french fries for lunch, my husband said to me, "Hon?  I thought you were going to try and eat healthy again."  He said it very nicely.
I replied, "What's the point?"
He just kinda looked at me.  "What do you mean?"
All I could do was shrug.  I'm not even sure what I meant.  I feel like giving up and just accepting the inevitable that around 35 my thyroid will go on the fritz and I won't be able to lose any weight no matter how hard I try.  Why not just accept it now?  Why fight it?  I'm the same weight I was in high school, which isn't that bad - I'm still technically average, just on the high end.
Still... I don't like how I FEEL.  I feel heavier than I should be.  I have extra padding in a few places I now know doesn't belong there.  Even losing ten or fifteen pounds would let me fit comfortably into my work slacks again.
And yet the effort required to lose the weight seems overwhelming, so I shut down and try not to care.

Guess I'm just having a crappy day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Rant

I'm going to bear my soul a bit here... *deep breath.

My parents sent me a birthday card over the weekend.  The following excerpt made me sob uncontrollably for a couple of minutes:

"You are amazing -
stepping out every day
with the grace and love
to do what needs doing.
Even when life asks so much,
you respond with the patience
to see things through."

Their praise means the world to me, and often I feel incredibly humbled, in the good and bad way, when they tell me I'm "delightful."

But that isn't the main reason I cried.

How many of us, as some point or many points, when bitterness and resentment rear their ugly heads, want to throw down the proverbial towel and say, "I'm done.  I refuse.  I won't do it anymore."  We ask ourselves or God or others why should we be held to a certain standard when someone else (usually someone who has wronged us) isn't?  Why should I behave maturely when this person refuses to do so?  Why should I be the responsible, reasonable, peacemaking one when all it gets me is treatment akin to that of a doormat?  What is the point?

What I'm about to say I sometimes don't want to believe, especially at my worst moments.  I want my pity party, I want my way, and I want them NOW.

But the point isn't about catering to my whims.

It's about God displaying His sovereignty in my life.  It's about faith and trust and hope.  It's about me seeing Him do what I think is impossible, despite me or the people around me, and in recognizing it, giving credit to Whom credit is due, and then living with a mindset of gratitude and humility that the Creator of the universe would notice me, let alone love me.

It's about me and my relationship with Christ and not getting distracted by concerning myself with how God chooses to deal with other people.

As a Christian (yep, I said it), I'm called to a higher standard of living - showing compassion, not hate; spreading peace, not strife; praying for my enemy, not plotting against her or him.  Sadly, I epically fail at all of it, most of the time.  *sadface.

Take, for instance, when my husband came home from a five-day trip.  When he walked in the door, one of the first things I said (half kidding) was, "Uh-oh, now my house will get messy again."  I said it three times within five minutes.
Was that really necessary?  No.  Was it kind?  Definitely not.  Yes, I wanted to be praised for my hard work in sweeping, dusting, mopping, and organizing (poor way to express it, right?), but I also wanted to keep it that way, which doesn't happen when you live with someone, married or not.  Regardless, I let it be known in a very pointed and uncharitable way.

As a consequence, my husband felt the barbs and responded in kind, which led to a spat, and then led to anger, despair, and tears (on my part).

Where the hell was the peacekeeping in that?  Where was the love in that?  Where was the "stepping out with grace" and the "responding with patience?"

That is why I cried when I read my card.  I felt ashamed for my failings, for entertaining the bitterness and resentment trying to take root.  But I also felt happy that when I needed it, God provided a message telling me WHY - why I keep acting maturely; why I keep being responsible and reasonable and peace keeping.

Because that is how I want my life characterized; because that is how He wants my life characterized.  Any reaction I have based on love, hope, and faith points to a dependency not on myself (because Carol without God is a very nasty, manipulative person), but on One greater than I.  It keeps in check the behaviors I don't actually want to exhibit, and yet allows me to be me in the best way possible.

So while Carol's nastiness wants to come out and play, especially when I feel the injustice of an action or situation, it doesn't get to, at least not for long.  Part of the challenge of the Christian life is trusting that God has my best interest at heart when no one else does, and especially when I don't (that would be during pity parties when I want to hate people).

Besides, nastiness makes my life more stressful, and we all know stress is BAD. :)


Scientific Nerdiness

I have recently noticed that specific things related to science, or sometimes just plain 80's throwback, make me very happy.

For example, my favorite old-school accessory is a glow-stick bracelet or necklace - I have a small stash in my dresser drawer for special occasions.  Consequently, anything that glows puts a smile on my face.  A recent purchase from one of my fave websites,, included the Fire Jewel necklace (which has an LED inside to make it extra sparkly, and could be used in case of a power outage) and a green mushroom USB push lamp (which has two LED lights inside and can be powered by my computer or 4 AA batteries).  Science, technology, AND glowiness?  Oh, heck yeah.
Epic win for 80's related science nerdiness.

I also love things that magnify.  When I was a kid, my dad showed me how to properly use those big circular magnifying lenses, a la Sherlock Holmes, and I was hooked.  I wanted to see EVERYTHING up close.
Then I discovered my dad not only had a detective-like magnifying lens, but a MICROSCOPIC lens!  Now, I'm not talking the kind you see in your university lab class.  This was hand-held, and couldn't view at the cellular level, but it did make everything extra, extra detailed.  I was fascinated by yarn and carpet and printed ink on paper, my skin... even scabbed over scratches.  Dried blood looks really cool that close up.

Closely related to magnifying tiny things is magnifying far away things, and thus I took an interest in binoculars and telescopes.  In my child mind, they weren't quite as fun as magnifying glasses because while they gave me the ability to see things at a distance I normally couldn't, they didn't let me see what the individual hairs of a doe's fur looked like from 100 yards away.

That would have been AWESOME.

Still, when Dad introduced me to viewing the moon and planets, I took a keen interest because of all the detail I could see compared to the glowy orb I normally observed in our clear night sky.

Oh, hey, there's that glowy theme again. :)

Amusingly, I remembered this because ThinkGeek recently added an awesome looking mini spyglass necklace to their collection of geek accessories.

Other scientific nerdy tendencies involve chemistry, my favorite science class in high school and college.  It involved algebra, and I liked algebra, so there's a happy connection there, but I was also fascinated with how one could combine two different things (elements) with completely different properties and make a substance unlike either.
EG: Sodium and Chlorine to make salt.

And there was the explosive potential of some mixtures, like potassium and water.  Thanks to Mr. Shelton for fanning the flames of chemical pyromania at an early age. :)

Ergo, whenever I see a periodic table of elements shirt on, I get a good chuckle because I GET THE JOKE.  Such as their Element of Surprise shirt.  *giggle

I'm also a nerd about literature and geek pop culture, so shirts or jewelry or plushies relating to Lord of the Rings or Star Wars or Star Trek or Firefly, etc. are a must have.  I have a Legolas mini plush sitting on my desk next to a Spock plush, and I'm saving up for a pair of Mjolnir dangle earrings that just came back in stock.
Y'all have at least seen The Avengers, right?  Right?  Thor's mine, just so you know.
Ooo, Batman earrings...

Anyway, I've realized ThinkGeek helps bring back a lot of memories for me, and they make my geek self smile a lot.  I think that's why I shop there so often.

And because I can get gift cards for their site from my employer.  HUZZAH!!

Images are not owned by me.  Credit to

Monday, July 23, 2012


I had a root canal today.  If you've read my prior posts, or my FB, you know I have a phobia of root canals because of a traumatic experience in my teens.  I won't go into that here.

What I will go into is how, I think, I digressed from root canal phobia to root canal general nervousness.

First and foremost, I have a beloved God that cares for me and works all things for my good.  He had a purpose for this experience, and now I know it was to help get me over my paralyzing fear.  If events hadn't happened the way they did, I wouldn't have won over the fear - I'd still be terrified of root canals.

Second, I had prayer warriors seeking peace for me, including my mother and mother-in-law, and some wonderful friends on Facebook.  My thanks to y'all.  I'm thoroughly convinced that this appointment would have turned out different than it did without you.

Taking those into account...

Needles make me nervous, so you can imagine every time I have to have one stuck inside my gums, I get rather anxious, gripping the chair arm and such.  However, when the initial pinch and feeling of something stuck where it shouldn't be have faded, I'm cool with the poking and drilling and trimming.  Mostly.  I'm always on the lookout for pain, in case I need to ask for more Novocaine.

Today, I got not one, not two, but FOUR different injections.

First one was like a normal filling injection.  No real problem there, except I anticipated the pain, and could feel myself shaking slightly as he pulled the needle out.  For some reason, I thought it was a reaction to the Novocaine.

Second one went right next to the affected tooth.  Not too bad there; t'was a bit uncomfortable for a second or two, but we moved past it.

Third one went all the way back, pretty near the first, and I didn't feel a thing for the initial few seconds, but then all of a sudden I felt a HUGE owwie twinge, short-lived, but that sucker triggered a nasty jolt of adrenaline.  My neck and shoulders seized up into a big ball of knotted muscle, my jaw started twitching, much akin to chattering, and I hyperventilated.  The endodontist and his assistant were very nice, very kind, coaching me through breathing, and gently telling me to "relax my shoulders" every ten seconds.  The pain was gone by that point, but I was still in the middle of a panic attack.

Between a couple of, "You're okay.  Relax your shoulders,"  I heard Dr. Pena quietly ask his assistant why I didn't go with the nitrous oxide.  I didn't hear her response.  I started asking myself if it was too late to request it.

They gave me about twenty minutes to "numb up" completely, during which time I cowered in the bathroom silently sobbing my little eyes out.  There's something about terror that dominates everything, making encouraging self-talk nearly impossible.  I could only manage, "Oh God, I'm so scared," over and over.

A few times, I thought I had gotten control of myself, but then I turned toward the door, toward everything that lay beyond it, and I started crying again.  If I sat down, my leg would start doing that rapid nervous bobbing all on its own.

A knock at the door prompted me to clean myself up in a hurry.  Other folks needed a place to hide.

I walked back to my operating station (as they call it now), but I couldn't sit down again.  I kept pacing and pacing, full of nervous energy, mentally muttering things like, "I'l be fine.  I'll be fine.  I'm good.  It's like a filling.  Yeah, it's like a filling; I'm good with fillings.  I'm good.  This'll be fine.  I'm okay.  Get it together, Carol.  Fight or flight - change it to fight.  Bring it.  Bring it!  Oh God..."
Somewhere in there I managed to sit down, and I started reminding myself that I had so many people praying for me right then, and that God would protect me from evil, that this doctor wasn't the evil one from thirteen years ago.  It's a different doctor, different office, different place.  IT'S NOT THE SAME, CAROL!

It's not the same, honey.  Breathe.  Deep breath in, relax your shoulders, exhale.  Deep breath in...

By the time Dr. Pena and his assistant got back, I had composed myself; I could even say I was tolerably cheerful.  I did, however, hold on to a wad of facial tissue, just in case I needed something to grip uncontrollably.

Dr. Pena gave me the fourth numbing injection at that point, which I didn't feel.

I'm happy to say he numbed me up really, really well.  There was one time I felt a twinge.  It didn't hurt, really, but I still felt it, and I told him.
You know the first thing he did?  He put his drilling tool down and said, "Okay, let's give you a bit more."
"Thowwy," I sighed (which is "Sorry" with a mouth full of protective layer).
"Don't you worry about it," he replied.  "We want to make sure you're feeling fine."  And he gave me a short injection right inside my tooth.  Buh-bye twinge.

It was like my entire body lost tension.  I felt like I could breathe, that the knotted muscles in my neck let go, and even my legs and arms relaxed to their natural position.  I also felt very sorry for that wad of facial tissue...

And let me tell you, holding that much tension for so long is EXHAUSTING.  I wanted to take a nap for a few minutes.  The muscle constriction came and went, but for a majority of the time, I just laid there, staring up at the TV on the ceiling, mostly focused on the movie I picked out to watch (Star Trek, of course).  I would occasionally take a deep breathe and just sigh from relief.

And I'm pretty sure Dr. Pena noticed the difference, too.  He had to tell me to open wider a few times, when my jaw slacked a little too much.

Thinking back, I didn't calm down so much because I didn't feel any pain (after the injections), but because Dr. Pena stopped immediately what he was doing to give me more Novocaine, or whatever it was.  It was that moment that snapped the terror for me.  I realized that my fear wasn't of the root canal procedure itself, but of being at the mercy of a tyrant, and Dr. Pena's simple response reassured me more than if I had used Nitrous oxide to ensure I didn't care if it hurt.  This man was NOT the same wacko that tortured me in my teens.  This was not the same office, not the same location, and not the same situation.  I didn't have to be afraid.

Thank God.

I'm sure that if I have to have this procedure done again, I'll get nervous - really nervous.  But if I can go to Dr. Pena again, I'm confident I won't have nearly the reaction I did today.  Knowing how a root canal is supposed to feel (ie: nothing), and knowing my endodontist is a kind man who wants to help me, will greatly reduce my stress level.

So, as I said on FB:  Dr. Pena = Best.  Endodontist.  Ever.


Monday, July 16, 2012


It's a sad thing when one mistake can taint your whole day, and you didn't even mean to be an ass.

That happened to me yesterday.  Folks were having a conversation on FB, and in my excitement over the topic, I shared something I assumed to be general knowledge.  Shortly thereafter, I receive a private message from one of my friends saying it wasn't my place to share that and to remove the post.  I did, of course, and I apologized, but now I feel like the biggest jerk on the planet and I wasn't even trying to hurt anyone.  I was happy about the news I shared - if I hadn't been, I wouldn't have shared it.  But apparently, it's "not my place."

I suppose, had I been in that person's shoes, I'd be irritated that someone else told people something concerning me that I wanted to tell them myself.  But it wasn't a case of stealing thunder, not this time, which is why I didn't think it would be a big deal.

I guess I was wrong.

I still wasn't trying to be an ass.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I have a secret.  Most people do.  But sometimes I get really angry about particular things, and then this secret squirms and wriggles and squeezes out of the crevice into which I've stuffed it, and it taints my entire mindset for days.

When I've got it mastered, I feel badly about having it.  I want it gone; I try my best to kill it.

Oh, but when it comes out and flexes its claws, and clamps them firmly in my emotions, I wish I could set it free, stop sugar-coating things and tell people how I REALLY feel, assert myself and do what my secret tells me I should have done a long time ago.

"Regrets collect like old friends, here to reveal your darkest moments." - Florence + The Machine

Sunday, July 8, 2012


There are many things that make me nervous.  Being on a ladder more than six feet above the ground makes me nervous (this is why I'm no longer a lighting technician).  Irons and sewing machines make me nervous (they're out to get me, I just know it).  Electric saws make me nervous.  Needles make me nervous.  Drilling apparatus make me nervous (getting a filling at the dentist is a stressful event for me).

However, I didn't realize I had an outright phobia until five minutes ago.

Let me tell you a little story about Carol in her youth.  In high school, junior year, I had an accident and got whiplash.  My doctor and chiropractor both informed my parents that it would behoove them to not allow me to play sports in school for the next few months to ensure proper healing.
I didn't properly heal until after college anyway, when I went to another chiropractor who gave me exercises to correct my spinal curvature.  But that's a different story.

The one thing I wanted to play during that period was softball.  I actually didn't care much for the game itself, but I had loyalty to my coach at the time, so when he asked if I would play, I said yes.  The car accident changed everything, but one day after school, he said I could shag (fetch) the softballs that went helter-skelter.  During the course of practice, one girl tossed a softball to me to help in my collection.  It hit a tuft of grass and smacked me right in the face, snapping a front tooth in half.

Did I mention I had braces?
Yes, I had braces, so that little piece of tooth could flip around on the wire and gross out the girls, and all the guys thought it was so cool. :)
Point being, the root was exposed.

My dentist was flabbergasted when she found out I wasn't in excruciating pain.  For a whole weekend.  "Oh, it's a little temperature sensitive," I said.

My dentist insisted I get a root canal ASAP.  My parents agreed.  But wait.  There was a hitch.  "I'm on vacation," my dentist said.  "Go to the dentist on call."

Sounded easy enough.

Until this joyous event, I'd never been exposed to Novocaine.  I had only had one cavity, which was so shallow, they drilled and filled it while I sat happily under the influence of Nitrous Oxide.

Now, little Carol had a potentially fatal heart disease until she was ten, and apparently, there was a component of Novocaine that could possibly maybe trigger it to come back, so my mom asked the on-call dentist to remove that element.  He said, "Sure."

Worst.  Request.  Ever.

Root canals are very nasty.  They require drilling through the hard outer shell of the tooth, into the soft sensitive innards of the tooth, all the way to the root, AN ACTUAL NERVE.  And then it requires them REMOVING THE NERVE.

Very ouchy business, that.

Now, what we didn't know at the time was that Novocaine without the element that could potentially maybe trigger my heart disease again lasts a much shorter time than normal.  Regular Novocaine, in my experience, takes about ten to twenty minutes to fully numb, can affect the entire lower half of my face, depending on injection site, and last for up to half a day.

This lasted freaking thirty minutes.
And the bastard didn't believe me when I said I could FEEL HIM DRILLING.

Mom attests that she could hear my crying and pleading all the way out in the lobby, and when she tried to get in to tell him I was telling the truth, he ignored her.

Needless to say, I remember the incident up to a certain point, and then remember waking up in the car.  I firmly believe I passed out from the pain.

This is my phobia.  This is what terrorizes me at the mere thought.  The idea that I might potentially possibly have a cavity so bad that I need a root canal makes me sob uncontrollably.

Cus you know what?  I just might have that cavity.  Right now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Letting Go

Many of my FB friends will remember two posts I made, some weeks back.  The first talked about having something important being taken away, and the second talked about regardless whether a certain person abandoned me or not, they would still have to live with themselves.
Most folks will recognized these as my initial stages of loss - sadness, and anger.

I've run into this person twice since those posts (and I don't think this person has seen them).  The first time seemed optimistic.  Olive branches were offered, sympathies exchanged, distresses confided.
The second time turned out downright poor.  When the olive branch was offered again, by me, it was refused.  Conversation felt strained; my presence, avoided.

And you know what?  I'm okay with that.  I woke up the next morning wondering why I try to offer platonic affection to someone who clearly does not reciprocate.

Not to say I'm an unfeeling bitch with a stone heart.  Ask my husband - this has bothered me for some time.  Any discord with my friends bothers me.

But there's only so much I can do, yes?

I did an exercise the other day - a mental exercise.  I imagined what my life would be like if I kept trying to re-friend this person.  Having known this person for a few years, I believe I can reasonably predict what actions would be taken by this person in response to anything I said or did.
I felt myself getting more and more stressed the more I dwelled on that picture.
So then I imagined what my life would be like without this person.  It hurt at first.  We'd been close friends for many months, and I grew to depend on this person being there when I had emotional instability.  But then I realized I depended TOO MUCH on this person.  I have other friends I'd neglected, other friends that like me for who I am, other friends that, while different from the person in question, are no less important.  Those friends probably wondered where I disappeared to these last couple of years.
And I liked the thought that despite the disconnect with one person, I could take that unhappiness and flip it around, then turn it over on its head.  Without this person, I could do different and new things, reconcile with other friends, even make new ones, and I could entrust more of myself to my husband instead of pretending he wasn't up to the challenge. :)  Love you, honey!

I'm still letting go, though.  There's no cure for sadness, though it can be stifled or ignored for a while.  Every so often, I'll  see a picture of this person, or have a dream in which this person is included, and I'll wake up, and the disappointment will come crashing back, and I'll have to remind myself to breathe, and that my life will go on, and that I have other important people and activities.  It's not the end of the world, as my mother would say.

And I pray.  I pray that I would use this experience wisely, that God would continue to teach me how to grieve and how to move on and not feel entitled to revenge or retaliation, that this person would be healthy and happy, and that if I should meet this person again, we could behave civilly.

And you know what?  It's working.

Thus ends my morality lesson for today.  Hugs and kisses!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Academic Obsession

I realized the other day that I really don't have much drive to excel, and while wondering why that is, I remembered that I haven't actually had any type of goal since college.
My goal then?  To graduate suma cum laude, with was a 3.96 to 4.0 GPA.  I had a 3.97 by the end of my Senior year.
My goal during high school?  4.0 GPA, graduate valedictorian.  Met that goal.
My goal during junior high?  Nothing below an A-.  Met that goal.
My goal before junior high?  Survive.  Barely got that one.

This made me wonder.  Why would I suddenly decide to devote myself to this grades thing at the tender age of 12?  To tell the truth, I don't really remember.
I have a memory of my sixth grade teacher telling me how much she wanted to give me some version of an A in the one class where I had a B+.  I think she fudged the report card I took home to show an A-- rather than the B+ that went on my official record.  Mom and Dad knew what she was doing, but they praised me for "all A's" anyway.

Still doesn't answer why I became obsessed with academics.  I remember flunking a quiz in 5th grade and hating how that felt, and I remember having a B- in something during later elementary school.  Maybe that was 5th grade, too.  That was a hard year, 5th grade.

However, regardless of my motivation then, I look back on it and discover that I learned how to win following the rules.  These weren't expressed rules, but if you managed to learn them, like how to take a test, how to regurgitate the right answer on the homework, how to not be distracted by piddly things like a social life, then you'd get pretty far.
My sister and I seemed to be exceptionally good, I suppose.

The rules for excelling at school don't usually apply to real work, though, except maybe the social life part, which is why I had such a bad time of it for a while.  And the rules that do apply to a real job, I don't much like.
Oh, who am I kidding.  I don't much like the rules that apply to being an adult.

I might not be on the verge of being fired, but I still feel no compulsion to exceed beyond what I know I can do with minimal effort.  That's my general attitude about most things, now.
Maybe I should tell myself something like, "Let's get an A on today's assignment!"  Pffft.

So how does one come up with goals that motivate one to do more than what is required?  Do things like, "Replace my sink," or "paint the office," or "buy a new pair of shoes" really work as a motivation?  I know things like, "not losing my house" or "being able to feed my cats" are my reasons to HAVE a job, but to go above and beyond the call of duty?  Haven't found even one yet.

Not to say I don't do it sometimes.  Sure I do.  My employer gives us monetary incentives during certain parts of the year, and you betcha I'll work my little self into illness to get $50 or $100.  But not on a consistent basis.

I'm not sure I really have a point with all this.  I'm just putting it out there.

Friday, June 22, 2012

So-Called Art

If you read my Facebook page, you'll remember a few weeks ago I got all sad and mopey about not being able to find my sketchbook for the last three years (since I moved into my house).  But, you'll also remember about a week ago, I found it, in a safe place, all nice and undamaged, and how happy the discovery made me.

To tell the truth, there isn't much in it.  About ten, possibly fifteen pages out of maybe one hundred actually have stuff on them, but those pages show the only times I've been able to put an image on paper that didn't remind me of grade-school scribbles.

I'm no artist, by any means.  I have friends who can draw comics or manipulate digital images or create something extraordinary out of a few paint streaks.  THEY are artists.  Me, I'm a dabbler.  I manage to squeeze out bits and pieces of what might eventually be art, but they're hardly anything worth displaying.

So why does this little sketchbook mean so much to me?

Short version: There are pieces of my soul in this thing, pieces I don't want to lose.

There's something about creative expressions that reflect the essence, the core of the artist.  It can come as paint on a canvas, or ink on skin, or words on a page, a song, a dance, a dramatic performance.  It gives a hint to his or her world view, his or her mindset, life experience, values and morals.

When we, as the audience, see a finished expression and have a passionate response, it means something in that artist's spirit resonates with ours.  It's what makes me cry, or simply stare in awe, captivated by a message, conscious or not, given to me through the medium of art.

I have many things I've kept over the years because something in what I've done still speaks to the person I am now, even if faintly:
- Journals from junior high and high school.
- Stories, mostly unfinished, from five years ago up to something that occurred to me last week.
- Photographs I've taken
- Sketches I've made.
- Scripts with my notes in them, character backstory notes I've made up.

Whenever I look at each of these things, it's a reminder of what I was like during that period, or even that moment, compared to the me I am now, whether I like the change or don't.  It's also something that proves I have some level of creativity, even if I lack proficiency.

Five years from now, maybe even ten, I'll read back on these blogs and see who I was, how I changed or didn't, and maybe a hint of who I'm becoming every day.
And maybe, I'll see whether my so-called art resonated with anyone, and what they did with the message given to them.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Personal Nouns

Written circa September 2009, I think.  This came from my turmoil over a lot of relational struggles, friends and family alike.  Happily, those struggles were resolved well.

Easy, familiar, safe
The center of my universe.

Harder, alien, strange
Difficult to understand.

Separate, abstract, divided
Near and far, outside "my" sphere.

Hardest, friction, resistance
Oblivious to each one's misery.

Is there a bridge
From "me" to "you"?

Harmony, affection, agreement
Conflict, resentment, threat

How comes "me" and "you" to "us"?
"They" and "us" to "we"?

I don't hate you
I just can't live with you.
I love you
But words hurt too much.
Don't leave me
I'll leave you
Then maybe "we" can survive "me" and "you."

Amazon Unmourned

Written circa September 2009, a comment on human pride and mortality.



How if she fall?
How if she despair?
Where then the will
Where then the prayer?



Goddess majestic
Majesty disgraced
Madness immortal
Mortal erased

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On Dad

There are some things in life one cannot fully understand, and therefore fully appreciate, until one grows up.  When I say "grow up," I mean take over those responsibilities that one did not have when one was a child, such as paying one's own bills, faithfully attending work day in and day out despite the repetitiveness, feeding one's pets, budgeting one's income so one CAN feed oneself and one's pets, repairing one's living space, etc.

Having grown up, mostly, I look back on my childhood and more fully appreciate the things my Dad did for me and my sister.

  • He tirelessly went to work to provide for us.
  • He fixed a myriad of items around the house, and if he didn't know how, he'd either learn, or find the right person to do it for us.
  • He showed us how to change the oil in a car, the tire of a car, how to do the small things to keep our vehicles running smoothly.
  • He instilled in us the value of doing a job right the first time.
  • He ensured we knew how to handle a gun, and that we respected it.
  • He taught us the value of money, the value of earning it for ourselves, and the value of budgeting for the things we needed and the things we wanted.  He even gave us our first credit cards, and our first copy of Quicken.
  • During school, he made sure we had what we needed to succeed, right down to computers.
  • During college, he faithfully came up to visit for important events, like Parents' Weekend and at least one performance of any show in which I participated.  One time, he and Mom surprised me by bringing my sister along.  I still cry thinking about it.
  • When I got married and moved, he called just to talk, and we found we had things in common, like beer and BBQ and science fiction and Arnold movies.  He frequently told my sister and I when we were teens, "I can't wait to get to know you as adults."  I didn't understand it then, but I do now.

But there are some things in life that one does not want to fully let go, that one wants to be able to do again, or be again, because it meant so much.

Having grown up, mostly, there are some gifts my Dad gave me that make me wish I could have stayed a child.

  • The gift of quality time, wrestling with me and my sister and pretending to let us win, or giving us foot rides down the hallway.
  • The gift of memories, forcing us to take pictures no matter where we went, so that when we so had a mind, we could look at them and remember.
  • The gift of family vacations, taking us to places like Disneyland or Disney World, or to the Grand Canyon, or to Seattle to visit family and the Space Needle.
  • The gift of invested interest, coming to our elementary school Christmas plays, or to our city league basketball games, and later to our junior high and high school sporting events, be it basketball, track, or volleyball, and always taking advantage of that one hush during a game/meet to yell in a booming voice, "Go team!"  He also suffering through our high school Shakespeare plays, or parts of them, because he knew how much it meant to us for him to be there, not necessarily because he liked the playwright.
  • The gift of Star Wars and Star Trek, which became life-long relationships. :)
  • The gift of pride in his children, when he'd tell his friends and neighbors of our accomplishments.
  • The gift of faith, setting an example of prayer and trust in God so that we would see in action what we learned at church.
But most of all, he gave us the gift of love, being the best father he knew how to be, even until now, though my sister and I have moved far away.

Thank you, Daddy.  I love you.  Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gothic Angel

This is a poem I found recently, again - written circa October 2010.  It was inspired by a dream or a waking dream, I can't remember which, but I'm pretty sure there was music involved.

I saw in my mind's eye
an angel and his charge
She lay on sands abandoned
he above her towered
From the moon glis'ning sand
there rose infinite hands
to pull and push and grasp
drawing her into mire
How this dark herald missed his time
or perhaps aid he withheld
but in that moment of hope and despair
his blade in her he plunged
Now I see her lay, quietly
in red dyed sand
her angel guarding what remains
of his long loved one
He killed her body
to save her soul
and with soul departed
she lay no longer desired.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Letterman Jacket

While I'm on the subject of nostalgia and items from my adolescence...

I found my Letterman jacket!!

I have tons of memories wrapped up with this thing.  I remember my parents being extraordinarily compliant about getting it for me, AND getting me a class ring.  You're a high school senior only once, right?  It's like spending hundreds of dollars on a wedding dress.

Okay, maybe not, but you get the gist.

I also remember getting measured for it at a shop three doors down from The Golden Dragon on State Street (there was a furniture store and a used book store in between, as I recall), telling the tailor that I wanted it a size bigger because I liked the extra room, waiting impatiently while he made it and the patches to go on it, finally picking it up and being warned not to wear it in rain too often, and to not wash it in the machine at home lest the leather crack.

As disgusting as it sounds, I have actually never had this washed.  NO, it doesn't smell, but I can see dirt and navy bleeding on the off-white leather sleeves.  I should really find a cleaners here that can do leather, but the embroidery around the collar on one side and a bit on one wrist is unraveling, so I have to fix those spots first.  I'm very protective of my jacket.  I haven't officially worn it in about ten years - it's been at the bottom of my costume box (yes, I have a giant plastic tub designated as my "costume box," don't judge me!), waiting for a Halloween when I dress up as a jock or a cheerleader.

I finally pulled it out about two weeks ago to give it some air and make room for my Ren Faire pieces, but also because I figure, hey, I might not wear it around town, but that sucker is WARM, and winters in the desert can be frigging COLD, especially if you work from home and have a husband that doesn't like turning on the heater because it makes our electricity bill spike.  Love you, honey! :P

I used to wear this all the time after I got it.  I'm not sure if I was more proud of how awesome I looked in it (I still look awesome in it, esp. on our motorcycle with my blue and white full face helmet), or because I finally had something to wear outside of the court that identified me with the largest clique in my school: the jocks.  I was more brain and theatre geek than sports nut, but this made me feel part of the larger whole that was our athletics department.  This gave me some connection to the people that ignored or bullied me - with this, they HAD to acknowledge the part I played in making our school known for winning.

I played volleyball at the time, and whenever we had an away game, we wore our Letterman jackets into that gym and out of it, making us look a coordinated force with which to be reckoned.

At football games, those of us not on the field would sit in large groups, staining the bleachers in navy blue and teal splotches.  The girls even wore complimenting ribbons in our hair.

Oh, and don't get me started on pep rallies.  We all rolled our eyes when we had to pile into our small gym and listen to the same-styled speeches, but there were occasional high points, like when the cheerleaders would do a new half-time routine preview for us.  Spirit week was especially vivid in the colors department.  Before getting Letterman jackets, the students would either wear their team jerseys on School Colors Day, or the non-sports kids would have to scrounge for ribbons or teal shirts (wear that with blue jeans with white shoes, and there you go).  After getting the jackets, we'd just don those and some jeans, and voila.

Heh, Spirit Week.  I'll have to tell y'all more about that sometime.

Anyway, after I pulled out my jacket and ribbons (I kept them from the homecoming game I attended my freshman year of college), I put on some pins I still have from high school, tokens of academic achievement, like high marks in History and Bible and, get this, Driver Education. :D  They might not be related to sports, but it's somewhere to put them.  I didn't have many patches on the Varsity side of my jacket because I didn't commit myself to getting to that level, so I pinned these little tokens just below the pocket because, let's face it, I was a Varsity level in my studies. :)

Does that make me a Varsity Nerd?

I kinda wish the guy who made this had a Theatre patch.  I'd put that on the Varsity side, too.

Oh, and kids?  If your parents ask you "When are you ever going to wear that again after high school?" tell them this from your Auntie CLynn:  "At 23, when I'm living in a run-down apartment without a heater in winter."


Consolation Trophies

My house is still in upheaval with the DIY improvement projects, and I consequently have a few things unpacked from boxes with no place to go, so they sit in random spots where I occasionally stare at them.

Like these basketball trophies from days of yore.

They look all sparkly and shiny and gold and blue, but I've started considering what they mean, if anything, and wondering why I still have them.

One of them has this inscribed on the plaque: "1996 DVCS Girls Basketball COACHES AWARD."

I remember the coach that gave this to me, the coach that started our team during fifth grade, the coach that ended up sticking with us through half of high school, and the coach for whom I kept playing, even when I didn't like playing anymore.  I've got this loyalty thing sometimes.

What I don't remember is why he gave this to me.  The Coaches Award was essentially a consolation prize.  After the "Most Valuable Player" and "Most Inspirational Player" and "Most Improved Player" awards were presented, they would give one or two coaches awards.  Sometimes the reason would be an outstanding game at some point during season, or for the player's efforts on the court and off, perhaps in the form of team captain duties.  But then, sometimes the trophy was given because they didn't want the other girls, or one other girl in particular, to feel left out, or to feel jipped.  It turned into a "political" move the last couple of years I played, which disgusted me.

However, in 1996, I was twelve, which would put me in seventh grade, which would be right before the political stuff.  And before I lost interest in the game.

Thinking about it now, even though I don't remember why I received it, I'm pretty sure I was proud of the reason.  There might be a printed certificate to go with this around here somewhere, and it might tell me why, but for now, I just have this object of granite and plastic, depicting a girl in mid-dribble, and all I can say for it is, "Oh, yeah.  That."

The other trophy I have is from 1997 - the "Most Improved Player" award.

For a while, I hated this thing.

A lot of people I've talked to agree that the "Most Improved Player" award was created for the kid that tries really hard but doesn't actually contribute much to the team.  It's so they don't feel like a failure.

Being the recipient of one, I agree with that statement, but I still think the "Most Improved Player" award is an important award in its conception.  If a child's efforts, despite the outcome, are not recognized and encouraged, then the child does not learn the value of hard work.  They only learn the value of results, and will either develop a workaholic's mindset, or never put effort into anything.

Sometimes, I wish they had "Most Improved Player" awards in the adult world.

So why do I still have this one?  It just sits there and stares at me, this object of granite and plastic with one girl trying to block another girl's shot, and it reminds me more of the things at which I've failed than the things at which I've tried hard and succeeded, even if marginally.

But I still can't bring myself to discard these pieces of my youth, not yet, and so they'll stick around, either in my closet or in a box or on a secluded shelf, taking up space and collecting dust, while I grapple with the meaning of my existence and let some memories fade into apathy.


Memory or Dream

Last night, I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, and for goodness knows what reason, an image of a toy store popped into my head.

I'm not talking a toy store like Toys R Us or the toy department of Walmart.  I'm talking a small business, a sole proprietorship, one of those small places that carry the more rare stuff simply because they know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody.

It sat next to the local drug store - or maybe that location later housed a drug store.  It might have been a health food store at the time.  I can't remember.

I remember this store because there was a certain doll there that I wanted, but never got.  As I recall, it was quite expensive.

But I think they had Lego models there, too, which my sister and I ADORED for a brief stint.

I was quiet small at the time, so the shelves seemed to tower over me, loaded with box after box of action figures, puzzles, Barbies, paper masks, baseball cards (I went through a collectors phase with those, but never knew who the players were), and Nerf guns.

Thing is, while I'm pretty convinced this place actually existed until the business went bankrupt, I actually don't know for sure if what I'm remembering is real, or if I dreamed it and it's an amalgamation of many different small stores to which I've been.

My dreams can be really close to life - I've had whole dreams of conversations with people I know, and later think that the conversation actually happened while the other person looks at me like, "Uh, Carol, what have you been smoking?"

You ever had that?  Dreams you think are memories, or memories you think are dreams?  (No, drunk memories don't count.)

One "memory" I know for sure is a dream involved me smoking a cigarette for the first time and not coughing.  It was so vivid, I actually thought it happened.  But then I got older and figured out the person who gave me the cigarette in my "memory" wouldn't actually have done that.  So I got a hold of a real cigarette and tried it.

I coughed.  Case closed.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and The Hunksman

If you haven't seen the movie and actually care about NOT knowing the details, turn back now.

Having said that...

I saw Snow White and the Huntsman the other day.  I actually saw it twice - once on opening night, resplendent with my husband, two of his friends, and a host of giggling, "like omg"-ing Twi-tards.

Okay, maybe they weren't Twilight fans necessarily, but they sure fit the stereotype.  I'm positive one of them will start a "Team Hunstman" versus "Team William" campaign at her school.  Probably already has.

I saw it a second time, alone, on a Monday evening, with just me and a few other QUIET patrons.  I actually chuckled to myself when I realized most of the people in the theatre were girls dragging their boyfriends with them.

Having had enough time to gestate the overload on my senses from the first viewing, and connect some dots thanks to my second viewing, I have some comments and OPINIONS! :D

1. I'm sure everyone, by this point, knows my opinion of Kristen Stewart's acting.  She's stoned when not speaking, and robotic when she is.  Ten bucks says she was hired because of her pretty face, which actually looks LESS pretty when she does that baked gazing of hers.

Now, someone accused me of being biased against her because of the Twilight thing.  Guilty as charged, but let's face it, she plays herself in pretty much every movie she does, so it's not like Twilight is an exception.  I will give her this, though: without Edward's equally stoned expressions opposite hers, she didn't seem too horrible in The Huntsman, not the second time around, anyway.

But she also doesn't speak for long stretches, so that may have had something to do with it.

I said it on FB, and I'll say it again: Anything that made this movie drop from "great" to "ho-hum" was due to poor writing/editing, or Kristen Stewart, and most often the latter.

Props to her costumer, though.

2. Speaking of costumers, omg, Charlize Theron's dresses were AMAZING (see left).  SHE was amazing!  The evil queen, Ravenna, carried the freaking movie.  She was complex, diabolical, pathetic, gorgeous, terrifying, even pitiable.  There are some scenes in there where they must have covered Theron in goodness knows what to get just the right effect, and it looks stunning.  I can't find fault with any scene in which that woman performed.  The backstory provided for the queen (in the form of a flashback) was so brief, I wished they had explored that more.  Perhaps included in a prequel? Maybe?  Hopefully?  Who WOULDN'T want to see more of Theron?

3. The queen has a brother!  Not a magic-user like Ravenna, but he benefits from it - doesn't age, heals from injuries - but he's practically her errand boy.  And he's got some kind of weird pervy-stalker thing going on with Snow White.

After Ravenna conquers everything, she locks SW in the prison tower, presumably to either forget about her or let her rot - odd for a woman who scorns men for their "ruination" of women, when she does exactly that to maintain her powers.  We learn that during the time SW spent in the tower, she never learned to say the Lord's Prayer convincingly or completely, she made animated bird buddies, and the queen's pervy brother developed a habit of watching her while she sleeps.

This creeped me out at first, but after the second view, I thought, "Okay, there could be two reasons for this.  First, he does actually have perverted intentions but is kept in check by his sister, or, second, he actually takes some pity on SW.  Or he's feeling sorry for himself because his sister gets all the hot women to herself, who she then devours to keep her beauty fresh and glowing."  I suppose I'll figure it out eventually, but whatever his motivation, he gets super-pissed when SW attacks him and escapes.

4. Rant time!

I kid you not, there were so many elements from other movies in this one sequence alone, I laughed.
So SW escapes with the help of her virtual bird buddies, and when she finally emerges out of the ocean and climbs the cliffside, lo and behold! a white horse lies waiting for her.  A throwback to Legend, much?  They do make a big deal of her innocence, after all.

She gallops off, and guards chase her.  Dressed in black.  Riding horses.  Black horses.  Through a grove of trees.  Where's Frodo?

They get to the Dark Forest, a very creepy dead place.  SW's horse falls into a pool of mud and refuses to follow her.  No, Artax!  Don't give in!

She runs into the forest and trips into a grouping of funky ash dispelling... plants?  Fungi?  SW starts to hallucinate.  Apparently, The Capitol has influence here, too.  Must have crossed mushrooms with a tracker jacker.

Other mockable moments include:

  • A bridge and a troll.  Seriously?  Billie goat, billie goat...  Oh, and then SW has a staring match with it, the winner presumably getting the Huntsman, and it gets * embarrassed* there at the end.
  • Captured by dwarfs, taken to Ferngully.  Not kidding.
  • SW meets the king of Ferngully, who happens to be the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke.  I had at least hoped she'd meet Aslan, but no.  Apparently, it's all the rage now to portray magically majestic beasts in the form of natural prey.  No wonder it got shot.
  • And finally, after SW's death and resurrection (is this lost on anyone?  An inherently compassionate and pure figure gets slain/sacrificed, then brought back to life to free the masses from evil), she dresses up in plate mail and goes to fight a war.  Hello, Snow of Arc, did I mention your speech back there was fabulous? *cough*bullshit*cough*

5. Oh!  That leads me to another rant.

There's two guys she's supposedly going to eventually-at-some-point-but-we-don't-know-when have to choose between: the younger guy, William (Sam Claflin, see right), who's been in love with her since they were, what, eight?  Or maybe he was ten (I can't tell kids' ages anymore), and who feels guilty because he got out of the castle during the hostile takeover and Snow White didn't; and there's the not much older guy, known simply as the Hunstman (Chris Hemsworth), drowning his widower sorrows in a leather flask, which he takes to throwing on the ground when emptied of its contents.  Apparently, he decided at some point that the helpless girl needed someone to teach her to fight - motivated, I think, by the fact that his wife got abducted and killed sometime after Ravenna's usurpation, and he might possibly, but I don't know for sure, feel that if his wife HAD known how to fight, she wouldn't be dead.

Continuing on to my rant.  We all know from Disney that a spell is broken by a kiss.  In some movies, it's "true love's FIRST kiss," while in other's it's simply "true love's kiss."  We'll go with the latter, because, let's face it, it's less of a mouthful to say.

During the sequence where Snow White kisses William (yes, she chose that one herself), who wasn't actually William, and then she bites into the apple and takes forever to "die," we see something interesting.  The real William does, in fact, kiss her, albeit awkwardly, and nothing happens.  Nothing.

Apparently, "true love" in this movie isn't the guy who followed you around every day when you were kids, obsessed over rescuing you for the last ten years, and now vows to never abandon you again.

Then we get to the scene where Snow White lays "dead" on a pile of furs in an empty, albeit grand, chapel, with the Hunstman drowning in a bottle nearby.  He makes his confession of guilt and remorse, kisses the princess goodbye, and leaves.

And Snow White wakes up.  Ta-da!

So "true love" in this movie is the grief-stricken widower who hangs around because of a guilt complex and an uncanny resemblance?

I still vote that one of the dwarfs should have kissed her, but that would be doing a disservice to the dwarfs.

6.  Mentioning the dwarfs leads me into special effects.  The makers pulled an LOTR with the dwarfs, using non-dwarf sized actors to play dwarfs, and in the far away shots, used doubles.  Very effective, and I enjoyed seeing faces such as Ian McShane, Nick Frost, and Toby Jones.

This movie was chalk full of visual effects, from fire to shooting arrows to the previously mentioned Fergully scenes.  For a few tiny things here and there, I found some element of "fake-ness," but otherwise, I thought they did wonderfully integrating live action and animation.

Except when Ravenna morphs from William to her original form.  That one.... that one could have used a lot more work.  She looked very clay-like.

7. Last but not least, music.  LOVE!!  I will own this soundtrack, mark my words.

I'll admit, I went to see "The Hunstman" (as my husband and I have abbreviated the title) for Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron - mostly Hemsworth, because I have something of a crush on him right now, but Theron is incredible in her own right, as previously mentioned.  Those two made me happy despite my (anticipated) disappointment with Stewart.

Hemsworth is so pretty.  *giggle.  Do you blame me for calling it "The Hunksman"?  No, of course you don't. ;P

~ CLynn