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I apologize if I have done you a harm and you would like an apology.  Also granted to those who ask.  
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I just got an email from a company (not spam-I subscribe to a newsletter) with the title "How to Travel Light."  But I have no intention of traveling light.

I won't travel light when I go on trips.  I have a lot of "bare minimum" stuff that makes life possible--like prescriptions, and a CPAP machine.  These articles are full of advice about needing less in the first place but I have no control over needing these medical aids to stay alive.  Sometimes I have used a cane, too.  And the articles say "you can buy things when you get there!" but the things I want aren't easy to find, let alone the things I need.  Because I'm plus-sized in many dimensions (even extra-wide feet) I can't just buy socks or shoes or a fresh shirt or a weather-appropriate jacket wherever I go; I have to bring what I might need.  

And I won't travel light in other ways.  I bring with me my experiences, my judgements, my successes and mistakes.  I have memories; I am no blank slate.  What I see and do: how does it compare to the past?  How does it contrast with it?  How will I integrate new experiences into my thinking, my opinions, my world view? 

It's a pretty fantasy to think one could be completely open to new experiences and vistas.  It's poisonously pretty.  It's foolish to ignore the past, to ignore context, to think you can invent new insights if only history didn't interfere. 

Once on a trip my younger son picked up my suitcase and said that's why I'd had kids.  I replied "Of course, everyone has kids to carry their baggage!" and we both screamed with laughter.  I'll never travel light. 
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I have a few newish readers so I wanted to point out some past posts that are locked.  I have a menopause filter and a divorce filter; if you want access to either of those, drop a comment here telling me which or both.  
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My divorce is now final and I am not married any longer.  I am glad the legal process is over and I can continue to focus on emotional recovery.   
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In a thread about wait times for medical care in the US, in response to a troll:

You can troll if you want to You can type your bitter bile But when you project then you don't make sense And you're no match of mine. You can troll if you want to You can tease and try to deflect But the kids' table waits as you try to frustrate And your words have little effect. You can troll You can troll You may think that you're on a roll. You can troll You can troll But everybody sees you're a troll

Just a troll
Just a troll
You think you're on a roll
But you're just a troll.
(to the tune of "Safety Dance") 
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Some years ago in a discussion about dealing with difficult neighbors I mentioned that a friend might have useful information.  Turns out he did, and he's written a book.  

<a href="">Talking Them Through: Crisis Communications with the Emotional Disturbed and Mentally Ill</a> by Rory Miller.  I haven't read it but I know his other writing and I have no doubt it's thorough and useful.  Any of his books are well worth your time if you're interested in the subject.
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Found these as part of an exhibit in the International Terminal at San Francisco Airport.
<a href=''><img src='' title='Women&apos;s Shoes at SFO (1)'  alt='20th Century Women&apos;s Shoes'  /></a>

<a href=''><img src='' title='Women&apos;s Shoes at SFO (2)'  alt='Early 20th Century women&apos;s shoes'  /></a>

I'm free!

May. 11th, 2017 05:51 pm
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I'm free! Today was my last day at former long-term employer! And while I am overwhelmed with a mix of feelings, the overriding one right now is elation!
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I have only four more days at the current place, and they are exhausting my time literally, by having me train two potential new assistants: one as replacement for the part-time person who left a couple of weeks ago, and one for me. One of them has a little relevant experience, and the other has none at all. And they will both be working part-time.

It's a bit insulting that the attorneys think they can replace me and another secretary with two inexperienced part-time people. But they are smart to ask me to spend all my time training them. I don't know whether they can take enough of it in; they don't seem to have enough background to understand the more advanced things I wish I could teach them. The simple stuff has to be the foundation, though. It's a Catch-22: I'm the only one in the office currently who knows the things I can do, and they could learn the simple stuff from anybody; but since they don't know the simple stuff, I can't teach them the advanced and complex things that would allow them to even partly replace me.

Oh well. After Thursday it won't be my problem! I'll teach as much as I can without using myself up; I'm determined to get some pleasure out of my last few days with the people I like at this firm, and to imagine that they're actually honoring me for my years of excellent service.
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I gave notice a little over a week ago, and I only work 4 more days at my current job. I'm exhilarated every time I think of the new job, with new people and new challenges! I'll be saying farewell to some people I like, but still happy to be moving on. Life is change, and I'm choosing this one.

I did it!

Apr. 29th, 2017 06:18 pm
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I found a new job! I've given notice and I start in 2 weeks.

I worked with an agency. The first place they sent me, I didn't want to work there. A week later they set up another interview, and it was like a really good first date: we were all giggling, they really seemed to like me, and I liked them. They gave me a proofreading test and laughed at my reactions while I was doing it. A week later they called me in for a second interview, and a few days later they asked for my references. Just a few days later I had a job offer in hand!

I'll get a small pay bump, but lose vacation and sick time--going from 20 vacation days and 12 sick days per year to 12 vacation days and 8 sick days a year, for the first 3 years. But the most important thing is that it's a new start with new people. Even if I don't have any better experience than I've been having, I won't be having it while filled with resentment that people who have employed me and known me for over 25 years would change to treating me so poorly. And if I do have that bad an experience, I can always start looking again.

Giving notice was frightening and also exhilarating. I was afraid some of the attorneys might be negative: angry or frustrated and aim it at me. But that didn't happen. I think they were all in so much shock that nothing else made it through until late in the day. Some of my coworkers were happy for me; some didn't seem to care. Some are frustrated because they think the firm won't hire my replacement before I leave and they'll have to pick up the slack.

I'm sad about leaving the place I was so committed to for so long. I thought I'd work there until I was 70, and I'm angry at the decisions the attorneys made that pushed me to leave. I'll miss a few of the attorneys and staff. And I have a lot of stuff in my work space to pack up and bring home. I have 15 potted plants! I won't be taking all of them, I've offered some to coworkers.

I'm really looking forward to my new job! It's a much larger law firm, not far from where I work now (well, for the next two weeks). I'll be working for three attorneys, in an area of law where I have experience. I have a little bit of anxiety about learning a new routine, and doing a good job for my new bosses. I hope this is a good fit where I can stay a long time.
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For many long years, over 25 in fact, I've been employed at the same firm. I've had different bosses every few years (although one of them has been the same since the beginning). I've occasionally had a boss that was a bad match, and had to tolerate some unpleasantness for a few months or a year or even two, but overall it's been a great job. I've been respected and well compensated and I felt appreciated much of time.

However, it's all over now. Over the last six months my workplace has become a clusterfuck of epic proportions. It's in a death spiral at this point; multiple other staff members have expressed to me that they're overwhelmed, and some of them are looking for other work.

And so am I. For the first time in over 25 years, I've been going on job interviews.

Tomorrow I have my second interview at a place where the first interview felt like a really good first date! I liked the attorneys, they liked me! The agency I'm using told me I'm their first choice, but at the first interview one of the attorneys I would be working for was unavailable, so tomorrow I interview with that person.

I really want this job. I really want to walk into my current job and give notice. Wish me luck!
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The end of an era has come, and I grieve a bit for what Livejournal was.

It was what many of us did when Usenet ended, but before Facebook took over social media. It was many people's first fandom platform, and most important connection to others. But it's over now.

Starting at the first of the year I took the trouble to delete every individual entry, and also took the time to review much of my writing over my LJ years. It was sometimes sad to see comments and discussions with friends who are now gone (may their memories be a blessing); it was also joyful to read of good times past. After deleting all the entries I deleted my account (and thereby every comment I'd made on other journals).

I'm glad we have Dreamwidth.


Apr. 10th, 2017 08:40 pm
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I saw a pair of crows this weekend, harvesting twigs from the tree off my balcony. I say harvesting because they were quite intentionally peeling twigs from the branches and flying off with them, then coming back for more.

We have some pre-popped popcorn in the house and I scattered a few kernels on the balcony railing (the top rail is a 2x4 board wide enough to serve as a bird/squirrel feeder) and the crows were very happy. I've put a few out each morning and watched them collect the feed.

The hummingbirds are still actively defending the feeder. I haven't seen the Steller's jays in a while, though.
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A long time ago (more than 45 years) I read a book I was really too young to appreciate. It was Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, and while I rejected some of it, a lot of it stuck with me and along with other books influenced how I perceived life and social interactions, and how I formed a theory of what life was and what my life should be. One passage in particular that has stuck with me was about a sculpture by Rodin. That sculpture isn't named in the book, but it is described as a caryatid who has been pushed down by the weight of the rock she is supporting, and as a metaphor for the human condition: for a parent dying of cancer but staying at work long enough to ensure the family's stability, a first responder rushing toward danger instead of away, every human being who works on despite defeat. For many reasons I identified strongly with this passage.

Yesterday my son and I went to a touring show of Rodin's work at the art museum. I've actually seen a lot of Rodin; the Maryhill Museum is an easy day trip from here and has one of the largest collections of Rodin outside of Paris. There are castings of the Thinker and other major works, plus plaster studies and watercolors. But this touring show has pieces I've only read about. So we walked through the doors and there on the left, slightly larger than life-size, was the caryatid.

The caryatid I've read about so many times and only imagined: I never searched for a photograph because I wanted to preserve my initial reaction to reading about it, and then to someday experience it with my own eyes, walking around and examining details. I didn't know it was part of this exhibit! I was startled and suddenly my eyes welled up. My son asked what was wrong, and I tried to explain. Eventually we noticed that all the art was identified by a plaque on the nearest wall: not on the display stands, not on the floor, no looking down-there at approximate eye level was a plaque about each sculpture.

But this one had two plaques! It was the only piece that did. It had a second plaque explaining the Heinlein and quoting the paragraphs from Stranger, so I had my son read it and we shared the experience. And everyone who goes to see the famous sculptures has a chance to learn something that I thought I shared only with other readers and fans of Heinlein's work.
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I don't care about the calendar or the meteorological date: it is spring because there are bugs flying about, accidentally approaching my nose and eyes.

Luck charm

Feb. 25th, 2017 03:42 pm
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So the satisfying phone call from my sister was unfortunately followed a little while later by another phone call from her that was much less pleasant. It was downright demoralizing. While it is still good to hear my memories confirmed and acknowledged, she shared some things I did not previously know about her portion of our childhood that were appalling, and reminded me of some other things that I wish to forget and not suffer being re-traumatized by.

I did some self-care, slept well, and planned a good Saturday, including a walk in the early morning sun and breakfast out. After breakfast however, on the way out to do errands but before leaving the parking lot, the driver's side window on my car shattered with no provocation. Unfortunately this meant putting off the rest of the day's plans. After cleaning out the car a bit, and taking some time to recover from the excitement and do some research, I turned the car over to a shop to fix the window. And there went my plans for the weekend.

Sometimes I feel like the bad luck charm that drains bad luck out of the general field so others don't have it. While this thought is completely contrary to my general philosophy that there is no intent in the universe, just chaos, I nevertheless find it a comfort.
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My sister just called.

She just woke up from a dream, a dream in which we were little, picking blackberries in a steep crevice with railroad tracks running down it. The blackberries were so delicious, and she was picking and eating them, and she got mad at me when I put my hand out and told her to get back.

When she awoke she remembered/realized that what I was doing was getting her off the tracks because I could hear the train coming. And it was an amazing change in her emotional response to me. She had always thought that I was just mean to her all the time when we were growing up. But now she reinterprets those mean times as times I was trying to help her.

So she called to tell me this. And I am glad. I was 6 or 7, and she was 4 or 5. So for 50 years she has thought I was mean to her all throughout our childhood. It's a little late to realize that I was saving her, over and over again, that maybe I was not the mean bitch she's always thought I was.

She used to hit me. She'd take my things and give them to her friends. She was dismissive and insulting verbally. She thought I deserved it. It's also what was modeled by our mother-I was not valued, loved, or even respected as a child.

So now she's in a place in her life where she can revisit her memories and see them from an adult perspective, and she shared that with me. It's maybe 50 years late, and I really could have used some supportive family for those 50 years, but eh. It's still nice to hear.
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I have a hummingbird feeder. I also put out a pie pan with a pile of pumpkin guts and seeds, and another with water. Just now I saw two hummingbirds fighting over the feeder and a pair of Steller's Jays, one watchful on the balcony rail while the other plucked pumpkin seeds out of the pile and then they flew off to a nearby tree branch, set down the pumpkin seeds, and started pecking at them.

The sky is full of grey light, pale thin clouds drifting over watery blue. The aforementioned tree still has many goldy-green leaves on it--but not that tree's leaves, they are leaves on a parasitic vine that also has dandelion-like hairy seed puffs the size of my fist all over it.

Autumn is nearly turned to winter. We might have snow tomorrow, not to stick but just to fall and decorate the view.


Nov. 23rd, 2016 09:52 am
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I did karaoke for the first time last night! It was a birthday celebration for two coworkers. I work early hours so went home for a quick dinner and to pick up the car (I take public transit to work) before meeting everyone at the karaoke place. I added a few songs to the queue, but then noticed that my coworkers’ music choices were vastly different than mine and deleted some of my picks. As it turned out nobody had heard the first song I chose to sing and only one person had heard the second—Alexander Hamilton! (Which I totally nailed.) I also sang a duet with another coworker, who sings in a local choir.

This ticks two boxes for me: I’ve wanted to try karaoke for years, and I want to be more social now that my marriage is over. I had a great time! I sing for my own pleasure, I don’t think I’m a great singer but I do sing loudly and with enthusiasm, and I really enjoyed sitting around with acquaintances, listening to other people sing, and eating the munchies various people ordered. Don’t know why it has never occurred to me to grate parmesan cheese onto tater tots, it definitely works.

This morning I thanked the organizer and told her I really look forward to doing it again.


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