Sunday, November 30, 2008

The ME Generation

What is it that causes people to think more about self-satisfaction than anything else? Sure, selfishness is a standard human trait: we all have it, we all use it, we all occasionally fall victim to putting it before anyone else's feelings/needs/wants.

Americans tend to open their wallets and hearts only when a major disaster happens, like the Tsunami or Katrina. But the follow through falls short, as though we're a nation of ADHD kids who can't maintain focus on anything important. Volunteerism is down and credit card debt is up: doesn't this say that we're more interested in shopping than helping?

Reality TV is all about selifsh, immature twits who want their 15 minutes of fame regardless of the harm it causes anyone else. Watch that ridiculous show "Bad Girls Club" if you need an example. Wow. Seriously.

So now I'm in my early 30s and disturbingly grateful to my parents for having the balls to say "no" regularly, to teach me to respect others, even when they aren't going to do anything to "improve" my life. To be kind (which I fail at horribly in regular intervals, but I'm trying) and think about someone else before I do something that will damage another's feelings. To be responsible, even though the weight of it sometimes keeps me up at night with worry.

There are times now that I don't really want to consider myself to be an adult, but I've gotten to the point that I accept that I'm responsible for my life and how I live it. Today, that makes me feel old.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The First Step

Today, I applied for a job with a company I think is truly innovative, fun, and different. It would be a huge step up for me, but more importantly it would be a HUGE change.

The job is in Hillsboro, OREGON. A suburb of Portland.

Certain Banditos and aunt-types are going to kick my ass when they find out I'm actively looking, but it's time. It's SO time to make a change. If we keep waiting until we can financially make a big move we may never do it...and nine years in Minneapolis is quite enough.

My dog, who has been shoving his nose under my typing hands lately (hence the Blogging Around Dog issues) is finally napping on my office floor, the big black furball. It's pretty cute: he's surrounded by his stuffed animals. And pretending, in a very catlike manner, to ignore me.

I'm not fooled.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Posting Around Dog

Major stresses are alleviated. Suddenly Thanksgiving has turned from a nice small dinner for 4 to the hubby's whole family coming over. We tend to have an open door policy, so that in itself isn't a big deal at all...except I hope Ray and Nissa aren't irked. Then again, Ray's pretty much part of that family anyway. And, bonus for me, the family is pot-lucking so everybody's bringing fact, I'm going to have to make a pie to go along with the wine and the clean house just so I feel like I'm contributing. WAY less stress, which is most excellent: was thinking I'd need to do major grocery shopping and cooking on Wednesday night after work along with a major cleaning job.

Rawr. I need to learn to be a better housekeeper simply to stay ahead of the dog hair.

I missed bellydance last week due to the raging cold that kept me on the couch every night last week (or in bed by 8pm). So I went tonight for the first time since I got back from LA. My hips are gonna hurt tomorrow, but it's 11pm and I'm completely energized. Unhelpful when the alarm goes off in the morning, but right now it feels most excellent to be all loose and accomplished. Yay for a short week begun with a lazy day at work and an evening of bellydance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stress in Various Incarnations

1. The Truck needed new bits and pieces, which cost about $75. No big deal, except then it cost $200 to get the fucking thing aligned, because the place that did it SCREWED my husband. Oh, it's been some time since I've seen him this pissed at anyone but me. Wowza. And away floats our extra cashola for the next 2 weeks. *sigh*

2. Open enrollment for benefits is currently happening. I've always done the insurance thing for the two of us becuase, since I work for a company based in London, premiums were always cheap or nonexistant. No longer...the big-ass company that's buying us out are apparently cheapskates when it comes to medical/dental/vision coverage. The MIDDLE plan, with a $1500 deductable that applies to everything that isn't preventative care, is more than 3x what I spend now. And it doesn't cover us for stuff like, oh, strep throat, because the deductible has to be met first. Hubby's isn't much better on price, but it's WAY better on coverage, so either way we'll have to bite the big one and shell out another $200/month. *sigh* Maybe the buyout assmonkeys will increase my salary to offset the cost. God I hope so.

3. Due to all these extra costs, our Florida plan is significantly lacking in the fundage area, even though we've been planning since May. Goddammit, I SUCK at budgeting and fact, I corralate my heavyness of body with my lightness of wallet: both are the direct result of my inability to impose self control. Will? What will?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've been going to a therapist for a couple of months now to work on various issues that I want to change about myself. One of the exercises she gave me is something I found pretty enlightening, since most everyone I know tends to think negatively a lot of the time.

You can retrain your brain to think positive thoughts: that's the gist of books like The Secret. The idea is that you actually become your own roadblock in most things, simply because your negative little brainpan convinces you that you can't do whatever it is you want to do. And so many people find their dreams are locked away in the Someday drawer, or the When I Have Money drawer, or even worse, the I Could Never Make It Work pit.

So the exercise is to pick ONE positive thing about yourself. It must be a true thing (exaggeration and faking it won't work here). Write down that positive sentence. Now write down EVERY thought as it comes when you repeat that sentence.

You'll be shocked at the negativity that you didn't even know you were saying to yourself, simply becuase it's become so commonplace it's like subliminal messaging now. Once you've gotten everything out about that particular positive thing, pick another one and do the exercise again. And again, and again. You'll be able to start picking out those thoughts as they come in regular life, too, and if you can recognize when they're there, you can replace them with something positive.

Sure, it takes time. Think about it: most people start thinking bad about themselves in school (when they get an idea of how other kids percieve them). So if you're 31, like me, you've been carrying around these sneaky, mean things for 20+ years. Those roads in your brain will need to be worn away and replaced, and that won't happen overnight. But I'm working on it for my creative goals, for my weight/health goals, and for my relationship issues. And it's's just really stinking slow. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Home Again

One of my favorite bosses, the one who really taught me the most about my current job and how to just BE in a corporate environment, gave me the best personal and professional bit of advice I've ever heard.

You don't always know what your limit is before you reach it. The trick is recognizing when you've hit it and to do something about it.

I realized while I was on my little toasty hiatus last weekend that I've hit my limit on a number of things. A lot of it has to do with work. I got into the business I'm in completely by accident, fate, whatever. You could say I ended up in Minneapolis by accident, but that's not really the truth: I chose to come here instead of sticking it out in DUluth and being poor until the right job opened up for me. I could've chosen differently: a different state, a different country, a different move. But I came here because a job opportunity seemed to fit and I thought I'd give it a year and move back "home." A year turned into 9 years and a job change into something I'm pretty good at. And bores the hell out of me.

I've hit my limit with this city and with this job. I've hit my limit with a couple of other things too, but most of it's just the damn area and the cube-farm I'm stuck in. I know, I have nothing to complain about: I actually have a really good, stable, relatively high paying job with kick-ass benefits. Interestingly enough, the benefits are a direct reflection of the mind-numbing boring nature of the work: employee retention is important becuase it's a weird niche and the learning curve is long.

It'll take 6 months or more to find something else in another state. A state with a warmer climate, the ocean within a few miles, and a decent lifestyle that we'd both enjoy...yup, it'll take a while. But it's time to stop thinking "someday" about all the things I want to do with my life and start DOING them.

Oh, if only I could get my husband to move to Ireland...

Friday, November 07, 2008

A moment of MWAHAHAHA

It was 85 and sunny all day today on the beach in Malibu, CA.

I hear it snowed at home.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Samhain Thinking

As Samhain was last weekend and thus a new year has begun, I've been thinking a lot lately about a lot of things: spirituality (which often comes back into my thoughts during the longer months, as though the sleeping earth gives me a chance to reflect without feeling guilt that I'm not outside), relationships, goals both short and long term, where I want my life to be, what I want to be. More to come on that later.

Today I spent a long time pondering the basic tenant of Wicca: "An it harm none, do as thou wilt and what it means to me. oLet's translate that from 17th century Puritan English to the modern wording, shall we?

As long as you don't harm anyone, do what you want.

Hmm. Carte blanche permission to do whatever the hell you want to do in this life? Some take it that way. Some only read the part of that sentence that occurs after the comma. Some people can justify anything as long as it means they don't have to take personal responsiblity for their actions. Some take it to mean as long as you don't INTENTIONALLY harm somone else, do whatever you want. The do whatever you want portion of that program really is a stickier issue than most people want to believe.

I know one woman who uses Wicca as an excuse to explore the darker side of her nature and by doing so left her husband and two children behind. Perhaps she needed to do so, but using a religious belief (I'm Wiccan so I need to follow my path to the end and you're not so I'm more open to change than you) is just a cop-out. Now I'm the first to admit that she's better off leaving them to pursue this downward spiral than dragging them along. But I wonder if she's considered the "an it harm none" applies to her, also?

Recently I found a really disturbing blog about a twenty-something woman who's been married for a year, and has been cheating on her husband wiht various older lovers the entire time they've been married. She justifies it by saying 1) she's entitled (ENTITLED!!) to get her sexual gratification elsewhere because his libido just isn't up to par with hers and 2) as long as he doesn't find out it's not hurting anybody. I'm still astounded at this girl's audacity. I posted a comment the other day (which, surprise surprise, she deleted: only supportive comments on her blog, thank you) that very bluntly said she's not only hurting him and their relationship with the deception, she's hurting herself. And that it's very sad that she doesnt' respect her husband enough to talk to him about her needs; instead she's willing to risk it all for a piece of ass on the side. My point about this is she really seems to think it's not hurting her husband because he doesn't know, as if her actions have no repurcussions in their relationship regardless of whether he's found out. Deep in my gut I feel it's wrong to hide something THAT big from a lifepartner. Did I make her think about it at all...who knows? But it got me thinking about the "harm none".

Wiccan/pagan philosophers often say doing a helpful spell for someone else without their knowledge or permission is actually harmful and unethical. Hmm: ignorance again. So doing something positive OR negative that will directly affect another person without their knowledge is wrong.

When you really think about everything you say and do from as many angles as possible to try to keep from harming another person, does it hinder your own growth? Does it hinder someone else's growth? When does it become a block to keep you from doing whatever you're supposed to be doing in this life? If I avoid an accident and someone else gets in one (physically, karmically, etc) that I couldn't prevent, do I feel guilty?

The line for me is pretty damn clear with it comes to selfish behavior that could harm someone else (like affair blogger): if you do something that you know, deep down, WILL cause harm to another person at some point, it's wrong. If you tried your damndest to keep someone from coming to harm but still followed your heart and conscience and they were harmed anyway, well, maybe that's the way it was supposed to be. Nobody guaranteed our lives would be easy or pain-free. In fact, change and pain and loss and hardship (ishy word, but obstacle isn't any better) has to happen for growth and compassion. Nobody's perfect either, and I've fucked up plenty and hurt people around me both physically and emotionally. All I can do is try to move on and be better.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Johnny & Anniversary

I'm listening to A Boy Named Sue while writing this. Ah, Johnny and June. One of my favorite love stories of all time.

Our 5th wedding anniversary was on Halloween. Our original plan was actually to spend our 5th anniversary in Ireland (well, in Britain AND Ireland, but let's be's Ireland I love). Unfortunately, our finances didn't allow so we went to France instead. The French resturaunt at the Sofitel, that is. And it was most excellent: we definitely needed a date with no stress, and we had it. After all the ups and downs we've had as a couple since we started dating almost 7 years ago, we both still know the other is the one, and so far there's been nothing we couldn't work out. That's actually pretty damn comforting.