30,000 Foot View

Written on October 26 2017 somewhere over the Appalachian Mountains

I just finished reading Turtles All the Way Down by John Green… and now I’m sitting here on an airplane typing this post on a crappy little note app on my phone because I have too many thoughts and inspirations clambering to get out to hold them all in until I can get to my computer or the internet. If there’s one thing I’ve learned – when something wants to be written you write it. You don’t question its form or its function or its timing or anything else about it – you write what wants to be written. They may not be your best writings, but they are often your truest.

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There is undeniable truth to the fact that our thoughts are not actions, they’re just thoughts. We control them, they don’t control us. They are not reality.

It is also just as true that our thoughts are as much reality, as much what we are composed of as beings as our physical bodies are composed of organs composed of cells composed atoms.

And our thoughts are a bird, not a train. They do not run on set tracks, forever following the path on which they first set with no chance of change in course. They are blue birds and black birds and sparrows and falcons. They dart and weave. They soar and glide. Some stay close to Earth and others spiral in circles far above solid ground. They don’t move continually – some of the time they alight on gnarled ancient oak trees and sharp peaked mountains and crisp white picket fences; still, but ever watchful and poised to launch up and out at any moment.

Most of the time my thoughts are a murder of crows – black and loud and wily and cruel – perched on twisty old branches casting dark shadows over the fields of my mind. They cry in rough and persistent voices, scaring away all the other birds. They squawk about all the mistakes I have made, about all of my failures, about the failure OF me. They caw and caw, and while I often refuse to listen to them, I cannot not hear them.

But just when I think my mind will finally be stripped clean of every seed of hope, I find my scarecrow. I stuff my human outline full of accomplishment and dignity and simple happinesses. The crows flee, and the bluebirds can come back to roost.

There are no crows to scare them away; they bask together in the sun while the flowers begin to regrow in the furrows alongside them. They fly in soft and sweeping arcs, and from time to time they set down upon the garden gate to preen, so proud of their beautiful feathers shining for the world to see. They sing – bright and joyful and unafraid of who might hear them; after all, who isn’t delighted by the sound of sweet birdsong?

But scarecrows aren’t built to last forever. The docile field mice come and take a few straws; they are not malicious but are too in need of warmth to line their own nests with. And I don’t begrudge them that – what are a few strands anyway? Then the rain comes and soaks deep in, the heavy damp collapsing everything into a concave version of it’s former self. And I don’t begrudge it – rain makes the flowers grow. And then the wind begins – warm and smelling deliciously of apples and leaves, swirling a few straws away here and there in a whirligig against the sky. And I don’t begrudge it – their free-hearted dance on the wind makes me want to dance too. But then the wind blows harder, sweeping away all the easy to get to outer edges of my defense. And then harder, pulling bits and pieces away, away, until the center cannot hold, and then there is nothing left of my once solid and real scarecrow but chafe on the wind.

So the crows return. The bluebirds go back to huddling together deep in the cavity of their tree, silent. The flowers are picked and pecked until only brown earth is left.

And the cawing…. The cawing echos on and on and on.

Assassination Part Deux

They are freaking at it again.

The Assassins are back. Now that I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by thinking that their attempts have been thwarted and they’ve given up and gone away – they are back.

But they’ve gotten smarter. They realized that I am now leery of all human beings and motor vehicles and therefore if they were to have any chance of succeeding at their evil task that they were going to have to try something completely different. Something so unexpected that I would never ever ever see it coming….

 

 

That’s right folks. Killer. Freaking. Bunnies.

Picture it: there I was, minding my own business, briskly walking to the conference through the lovely Arizona morning. Then he struck.

The murderous little bastard came flying out of a bush literally 2 inches in front of my feet.

I lie in wait!

I managed to live through the HEART ATTACK of the ninja ambush, but he was prepared for that eventually and had a backup plan.

 

Physics to be more precise.

In my effort to not crush said “Surprise, a rabbit!” I tried stopping dead in my tracks. TRIED is the key word here. INSTEAD of stopping, my momentum sent me flying with great force into the sidewalk. In a skirt that ended above the knee and therefore offered not even the illusion of protection.

The result?

I do live to see another day (guess that was obvious since I’m typing this… Although I guess it could have been a sparkly-vampire rabbit and I could now be UNDEAD and writing this…. But I’m not. Not that I’m telling anyway.)

[Graphic content below – you have been warned]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is AFTER cleaning up all the blood.

I’m going find that little asshole and have Support Fox Betty eat him.

 

Brain Games

This is the Avatar of who I wish my Brain was:

Betty Avatar – look how happy and carefree and benevolent she looks!

 

But sadly I have to come to terms with the facts.

If my brain were a person, it would look like this:

And have the personality of Season Three Big Bang Theory Wil Wheaton.

Smile If It Kills You

I been in low spirits for a few days (cuz my brain decided this week that it gave ZERO FOXES about what meds I was taking, no one was going tell it to tell me I could sleep.)


So I decided to try and force a little positivity into myself, whether I like it or not.

So this week: Favorites

More specifically, favorite guilty pleasures.

Massages.

Seriously, how does anyone not like these??? My toes curl just thinking about it. Hot rocks… Yummy smelling oil… Fooooooot rubs…

 

Starbucks.

I always feel kinda guilty about spending $4-$5 on a cup of coffee, or other assorted beverages. I mean, I could get a whole bag of coffee, good stuff, for only twice that amount. But that coffee wouldn’t come with flavored syrup. Or drizzle. Or a banana.

Putting a whole little butter packet on just half a roll. Or half a half a roll…

Seriously, what are dinner rolls even for except as a means of transferring large quantities of butter into your gaping maw?

 

People Magazine.

I know, I know. It’s total crap. But I love it. I only allow myself to indulge when I travel. Airport bookstore = smut ‘literature’.

Scheduling a mental health day off of work.

I mean, it’s terribly selfish, right? To take a day off for no other reason than to have me time. But I LOVE going to a cafe with a book or coloring stuff and spending the whole day relishing in it.

 

Pets.

Lots and lots of pets.

Tikka
Duncan
Oliver
Imee
Corvus
Alton
Tybalt

 

There’s a Hole in the Bucket

I haven’t slept well, despite the best intentions of pharmecutical  intervention, in almost a week.

So I’m really exhausted. But does this mean I can go to sleep more easily?

As. If.

Of course not – it actually makes it HARDER to go to sleep. I start to proceed towards that desired and Blissful end, only to be interrupted by thoughts of laying there and not being able to sleep, or falling asleep only to wake up just a short while after and not be able to fall back asleep… So I want to sleep but I can’t sleep because I’m afraid I won’t be able to sleep.

So instead of being able to even TRY falling asleep, I’ve worked myself into an inability to even stop pacing my living room.

WTF, Brain? Why are you SUCH an asshole?

#WorldMentalHealthDay #Ineedsomesleep

MRFR Snakes on an MRFR… House?

So this happened.

Huh. Don’t remember decorating the laundry room with that

Then this…

Wasup? Nice house ya got here

 

The next day – this.

<Alton’s stunt kitty stand-in> (‘cuz last thing we were thinking of in this moment was taking a picture)

Several days later…

… or at least this is what it looked like in Tybalt’s mind…

 

…… At least we have no mice?

Blonde or French Roast?

I was struggling between two potential topics for this next post:

A) “Favorites” – since the last entry was about things that annoy me I thought about switching it up to something more positive.

B) “My GREATEST Fear” –  a topic which is a bit dark and kind of a downer.

But I mean really, this is ME we’re talking about. Let’s be honest – if I ever choose fluffy over depressing you know I’ve been body snatched by the pod people. Or faeries. Or Q. (Edit: also, (B) has become extra pertinent since I first started drafting this post a couple of days ago, so (B) it is).

Particularly in light of the tragic events unfolding lately, one after another like a deranged domino-deathtrap designed by the effing Hellraiser, I want to talk about what scares me MOST: Having my husband die before I do.

I’m sorry, it’s just not okay. We’ve been together for 21 years at this point and I refuse to accept the idea that I would be stuck trying to figure out how to live in the world as an adult without him. Nope. He has been repeatedly told, and made to swear, that I get to die first. That’s the deal, dammit. No excuses…

I think most people have some form of this fear, whether they would call it their “worst” or not. But as a person with anxiety…. I look around at the trash can fire that is our world today and I am gripped by sheer and utter terror that as soon as I let him out of my sight, something terrible is going to happen. I am plagued by images popping into my brain at random but regular intervals almost everyday…

…of a police officer showing up at my door to say he’s gone

…or of checking Facebook only to find the latest “Breaking News” is of some horrible attack happening wherever he is

…or of him going for a routine doctor’s appointment only to find out he has some terminal illness

… or waking up one morning to discover he’s died in bed next to me during the night

And you might say that while these are somewhat rational fears, that the likelihood of any of them actually happening is minimal. But tell that to the family of Paul Walker or the other 40,000 people that died in car crashes in 2016 alone. Or people in Vegas or Charlottesville or Boston or London or Manchester or countless others. Tell that to my best friend who lost her 39 year old husband to cancer. Tell that to the families of Jonathan Crombie or John Ritter.

I try not to let these (or any of my fears for that matter), paralyze me. In the end – there is nothing you can do about any of them. I mean, I guess you could become a shut in to eliminate the whole car accident and mass shooting/bombing scenario, but you still have house fires and deadly breaking-and-enterings and natural disasters (oh my), so it’s not like being in your house guarantees your safety. And in terms of illness, especially sudden and unexpected health issues, you have even less control over that…  So what can you do? You could stop living while you’re still alive for fear of dying, but what’s the sense in that?

So I will keep traveling the world, and going to concerts, and getting in my car each day. I will try to live my live without thinking about what could happen to me.

But my husband? He’s going into a hermetically sealed bubble effective immediately.

No. Into the bubble with you. No arguments.

Petting My Peeves: Episode One

It’s my party, I can bitch if I want to.

I’ve decided that one of my favorite things is to complain about crap that annoys me, so I’m gonna start picking some of my pet peeves and whining about them here.  Please feel free to leave comments about your thoughts on the topic. Or, feel free to respond on Facebook at The Tangent Girl Volumes, link below!

https://www.facebook.com/TangentGirlVolumes/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Episode One: Stuff people put into emails

Exhibit A: People who put the same meaningless platitude at the end of every one of their email

OMG. Seriously folks – email is already a hard enough medium to convey your actual tone/ meaning/ intentions. When you stick the same line in every email, verbatim, I am unlike to find any validity in the statement.

“I appreciate everything you do.”

“Thank you for your dedication to the team.”

“Thank you, have a wonderful day.”

These are not made up, they are real-life examples from my real-life life. They actually make me more irritated than leaving them out entirely because I feel like I am supposed to be grateful that you are thanking me, when in reality you just stuck this crap into your automatic signature. I’d like to tell you where to put your generic cut and paste appreciation, but I’ve gotten used to living in a house and having food to eat.

Exhibit B: People who do not write in complete sentences in their emails

Okay, I get it – brevity is NOT my specialty, and I am certain that annoys the hell out of people who read my emails. (But we’re not talking about them, so who cares what they think? If they want to complain about my run-on emails they can get their own blog). But seriously, sending an email where the subject is actually the first line of the email and/or then the body of the email isn’t even written in complete sentences / is full of unnecessary abbreviations is NOT concise, it’s just rude (and lazy).

“Subject: benefit form

is in G drive. after complete, email to Suzy. advise if any issues.”

 

“Subject: <blank>

Rescan and return.”

 

“Subject: Attendance needed

Re: new entry policy  – – Mtg tomorrow @ 1p, 1st flr CR . Mngrs or their reps should attend. RSVP COB. TY.”

 

Again, REAL examples (with names changed because in addition to a roof and sustenance, I also like having running water and lights.) I mean “TY”??? You can’t even freaking type out “THANK YOU”??? Your time is not that precious folks, and this is a work email not freaking Twitter.

 

Exhibit C: People who copy new (unnecessary) people into the email every time they reply, but email you privately to ask why you added someone who actually NEEDED to be on the email.

True Story:

  • I was sent a very terse email by an org leader about a project my group was affected by, but I was not in any way in charge of. I replied with the answer to their question, but also indicated that “Suzy Q” was the person organizing it so she might have more information than I did.
  • The leader then emailed back, copying in 3 additional people who I knew for a fact had nothing to do with the project and didn’t know anything more than I did, and called me out for “not knowing what was going on.” I replied again (after many deep breathes and a few squeezes of my stress ball) that I was sorry I didn’t have more information, but that I wasn’t a part of the planning group for the project. I indicated that I’d copied Suzy here to my reply, as she was leading the project and should be able to provide more information.
  • The leader replied, deleting Suzy Q from the email, but copying several other leaders that I work under, but who STILL HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PROJECT, and indicated that they really needed to “follow up” and “investigate” this issue as it was ridiculous that he had not been informed previously (he had, by his own boss) and that I couldn’t supply the information he needed even though I was “working on” project.
  • The leader then emailed me separately and copied the Director of HR, indicating that I “had no right” to copy someone “from outside” in his email (they were from a different arm of our organization, you know, THE SAME ORGANIZATION?), and that the HR-D would be in touch with me to discuss my inappropriate actions.
I’m being Punk’D right now, right? Right?

(Note: I told my superior what was going on they told me exactly what that leader could do with himself and to let them know immediately if any such “conversation” occurred with HR. Funny enough though, HR never got in touch with me about these supposed ‘transgressions’. Shocking, huh?)

 

Exhibit D: People who put unnecessary emoticons in an email as a way of being passive aggressive.

Oh wait – I do that. >.<

My bad… :’-(

 

 

 

 

Walking Is Good For Your Health

Driving Miss Daisy

During our consulting business trips we’re driven everywhere, usually by drivers from the corporation we’re working for. This time we’ve also had a private driver for some of the trips because the company guy hasn’t always been available.

The fact that there have been multiple unrelated drivers is relevant because it proves that there is not just some random and vindictive chauffeur out to get me, no. The repeated assassination attempts upon me must either have been arranged by my Team, the corporation, or by the country itself.

Any of these is feasible, I am Evil after all.

How, you may ask, have they tried to make me swim with the fishes?

(Yes, we’re in a desert but this piece of desert is actually on the water so, yes, FISHES.)

Nope, nothing mysterious and sinister going on here… Just us fish.

Well, frankly, they haven’t been very creative because they’ve tried to do it the same way 3 times. …Okay, to be fair they did attempt to mix it up a bit on the last attempt, but I am not fooled.

The first time occurred getting into the giant white corporation SUV at the hotel on morning one. I had one foot on the running board and just as I lifted the other off the ground the guy started driving away. Much yelling and panic ensued and we only went about 3 feet before we stopped and I was left unharmed.

But this will not do. You don’t get paid until you complete the job.

So getting into the car at the hospital at the end of day one, HE DID IT AGAIN. (Really? Do you only have one tool in your bag of tricks? Or do you think I’m just so dimwitted and unworthy of any exciting and epic efforts that you figure this is all it should take to off me? I’m offended.)

Only this time, I was ready and was at least bodily in the car when we began moving swiftly forward. Ha! I’m on to you, bitches!

I thought that would be the end, perhaps I had broken their spirit. Little did I know they were apparently told my name was Sean Bean.

 

The NEXT day we have a driver from a completely independent company. Pick up at the hotel is fine, drop off and pick up at the satellite facility we were touring was fine, drop off at the main hospital gate to pick up our passes was fine. So at this point I thought “well clearly, it was the company driver who was out to get me all along!”

Until I tried to get back into the car. Yup, you guessed it… Only THIS time, in addition to lulling me into a false sense of security first, they also decided – “maybe the problem is we keep driving forward so as long as she doesn’t fall (and land underneath a wheel) she’ll survive. So THIS time – we’ll back up instead.” 

So there I was, one foot lifted off the ground in the process of being placed on the running board, hand firmly on the “Jesus handle,” as the SUV began moving backward, it’s large and heavy door quickly bearing down on me with no hope of my avoiding it.

More shouting and yelling and then an epic action hero-style move by moi to launch myself into the car and safety. (Well, “action hero move” if action heros have the grace of a one-legged flamingo with a broken ankle and tend to end up sprawled face first across a car seat with an abaya tangled around their feet – which are still dangling out the open SUV door.)

I am The Highlander!!!

Graceful or not I survived. Hooray me, you have failed evil assassins!!!

 

Wait. Crap… I still have to get in the car to the airport. Awww Mannnnnnnn….

Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Irony

If you’ve been following along you will already know that I am a pretty intense introvert. So small talk, or conversations in general, makes me extremely anxious.

But people assume that introverts are all shy and quiet. I mean obviously  – if we are uncomfortable talking to people and making small talk, then we certainly aren’t going to go out of our way to do so. That makes perfect sense and probably makes the lives of introverts with this trait that much easier. Kind of like the auditory version of resting bitch face.

But can I have the luck of being one of those people blessed with the no-talkie aspect of introvertism? (I’d like to point out that spell check tells me that is not a word but voice-to-text managed it just fine. I cry foul. You have revealed your true colors English language!!)

Of course not. I am one of those people for whom being introverted means that silence in the presence of other people makes me extremely anxious to the point of near nervous breakdown. Silence is a time where you can fill in the blanks of all the ways in which the person you are in the presence of is judging you, either because you’re not smart enough or interesting enough or pretty enough… or SOMETHING enough.

SO I BABBLE. I issue fourth sentences and information and non sequiturs at a pace which would astound NASCAR, and I cannot stop myself.

For the love of all that is good and holy in this world… JUST SHUT UP

I must fill the void. In my professional life this has earned me a reputation for being someone who “only cares about what I think,” because when someone says “So what do you guys think?” AND THEN NO ONE RESPONDS AND THE SECONDS OF SILENCE STRETCH OUT, I simply cannot take it. It’s not even like I feel like I have something to say or that I need to say, it’s that I feel like someone has to say SOMETHING. I’m working on over coming this, but even just thinking about it gives me a stomachache.

 

I guess the morale of the story is: be kind to your over-talkers. They may be dying inside.

Goodbye cruel world