Category Archives: The Zebra

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra

36

family <3

So it was my birthday more than a week ago and I haven’t even blogged about that yet. Someone should take my temperature.

I was pretty much brokenhearted* that I couldn’t responsibly make Disneyland happen this year so I was trying to heal my soul by finding a suitable alternative. And then I realized I could go to Julian, a tiny historic mining town in our local mountains. If I crossed my fingers hard enough, it might even be cold like actual winter (or, as my frister calls it, a theme park winter). And I crossed my fingers hard enough, I guess because it was about 45 that day. My San Diegan blood was beside itself with excitement over such a dramatic experience. The children on the trip with us were less pleased. They were all, “I’m cold” and “This weather is cold” and also “Can we go inside now because it’s cold.” We even saw snow:

snow
theme park snow

My family and I visit Julian on a fairly regular basis. It’s the place (the only place, really) to go pick apples in the autumn, and there are some good campgrounds in the mountains nearby. But I’d never gone for one of the carriage rides. I was raised by grandparents who had lived through the depression and we were never allowed to do frivolous things like have fun because they were too expensive. Sometimes I stop suddenly and think, but wait. I’m a grownup now. I CAN DECIDE TO BE FRIVOLOUS IF I WANT. So we went on a carriage ride.

kids in a carriage

Did I mention that Bethany and her family were there, too? Cause they were. Which was extra fun because they’d never been before and we took them on the grand tour of important things like the candy store and the cemetery and pie. (What? We like cemeteries, okay?)

What do you mean you don't hang out in cemeteries on your birthday?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here but for about 10 years I couldn’t consume cow dairy. I discovered that it gave me emotional reactions which would cause me to turn into the Hulk and yell and throw a lot of things. Eventually I figured out that I could tolerate dairy from other animals without the same issues. But back when I moved in September I ordered pizza to “pay” people for helping me and they didn’t take the extra home so I had a lot of cheesy pizza around and very little self-control so I wound up eating *cough*anamountofpizza*cough* and didn’t even throw one thing. So, after ten years, apparently I can have dairy again. I FEEL SO FREE OKAY.

clouds

The point of this all is pie. Julian is famous for their apple pies and they top it with cinnamon ice cream. And it is the literal best food in the entire galaxy. And it had been so long since I’ve had any. And I don’t want to go saying anything too crazy here or anything, but it might have been almost as good as a trip to Disneyland.

Cinnamon ice cream. Best.

In the evening we headed back to town and had dinner with some friends where someone may or may not have misheard my story about the farting carriage horse as “whores” and we all laughed until we peed a little.

a good omen on Imbolc, I think

Last year I had high hopes for being 35. I mean. It wasn’t 33. 33 was a load of shit. It was, to quote myself, a fucking motherfucker. And 34 was pretty good. So I figured 35 would be nice, too. And I won’t ever say that 35 was as bad as 33 because no one died, but it sure was harder in a lot ways. So I’m over having expectations for years or ages. I just hope I can survive 36. If it’s not too horrible then it’s all the better. My friend Claire texted me early in the year and asked how my new year was going and I was just all, “Whatever. Who cares. What even is happiness. Joy is overrated.” Because I have partly evolved into a french art film, apparently. And I don’t think I’m depressed, really, I’m just jaded. Life has been relentless and I am tired. I’m taking each moment as it comes and just trying to keep swimming. So I don’t know if 36 will be better – god, please don’t let it be worse – but I’ve let any expectations go. Here’s to another year which will hopefully suck somewhat less! At the very least I can expect to giggle until the end of time about the farting whores of Julian.

Chalked.

*Not EVEN exaggerating. Checking my SoCal privilege. Ahem.

Random, The Zebra

A Rather Petulant Open Letter to Pandora (the Entity, Not the Hard-Working People Who Provide Such a Fantastic Service to the World)

Fine, Pandora, don’t play me “Mayonaise” when I ask for it because for some reason it’s not on my computer and the actual disc I own is all the way across the house in a box under my bed which is moderately pretty easy to get to actually, but I’m really lazy thankyouverymuch. I get that you want me to “discover new bands related to the music I like” n shit, but if you thinking playing six Oasis songs interspersed with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the Foo Fighters is me discovering new music you can think again. Turns out I was actually alive in the 90’s. So, fine. Withhold “Mayonaise” from me. Whatever. See if I even care. I’ll just sing all the words to these songs I’m just discovering.

Philosophy, Political, The Zebra

Thanks Be to the Vogons

I know I complain about the Vogons* a lot. And they deserve it. In fact just this week I’ve spent 3 hours on the phone trying to sort one problem and another 20 minutes on the phone not even speaking to ANYONE AT ALL to sort another problem.

But the thing is that my kids have always had good and reliable medical care through the state. It makes the Vogons worth it. Very, very worth it.

And now, as of this month, I finally have insurance I can actually afford to use and keep. I have insurance that I don’t have to consider dropping so that I can keep affording food when paychecks are low. I have insurance that I can afford to get basic blood work or other labs without having to make payments for the next six months (or just avoiding altogether). I have insurance where I can afford to get an X-ray if necessary for this wrist that’s been fucked up for months. Or an ultrasound, if necessary, for this pain in my side that’s almostbutnotquite gone.

I’ve heard a lot of people unhappy with this new Affordable Care Act, and some have even wondered who could ever have wanted such a thing. So I wanted to write you to tell you who could want such a thing. Me. I could.

I make a point to be grateful to be American. Because truly my country protects its citizens with rights not afforded to people in other places on the globe. And I hope it doesn’t sound trite or privileged to say so, but I am well aware that everything down to my clean water readily available is something I am lucky to have access to and to benefit from. But then I remember how my country, for so long, literally did not give a shit if I lived or died. I consider health a basic human right (wacky, I know) and medical care was just not available to me for a long time at all, and then only at costs so high I could not afford to make regular use of them (and I was lucky enough to mostly not need it). Sometimes the US breaks my heart.

I’m not going to debate health care here. I may not even approve comments that debate it. Don’t get all weird about freedom of speech, either. Because that mean the government has to grant you free speech, not me. And while I normally love the exchange of information, even (especially?) in the form of debate I’m simply too tired and busy right now to sponsor such a thing here.

I’ll also add that I see flaws in this program for sure. And I do have sympathy for those who are frustrated by it, or for who it may be failing. But I wanted to write this to put this out there: it isn’t all bad. It’s working. We can keep ironing out the kinks, I hope. And, someday, I hope we move on to fully sponsored government health care. So that any person can walk into any hospital and just, like, get care. Madness, I know. But it’s where we really need to be to ensure that everyone actually does have access to health.

So, thanks Obama. Really. I’m not mimicking that hilarious meme at the moment, I’m being genuinely grateful. Thank you. So much.

(I’ve got to run. Here’s hoping the typos aren’t too bad!)

*”Vogons” used here to describe Earthling Human government organizations that make me so frustrated I want to stab puppies. The actual term refers to Galactic Alien government organizations that make people/other creatures so frustrated they want to stab puppies. I assume. Douglas Adams never wrote about stabbing puppies. That’s not canon. Except to this blog. It’s canon to this blog. I should stop talking now.

Edumacation, Geek, The Zebra

Where I say the word “literary” too many times in one paragraph.

Happy Thing: Reading Harry Potter to Margie

I sometimes get frustrated with my daughter when I recommend a book to her knowing she’ll like it, but she brushes me off or otherwise ignores the suggestion. Have I mentioned my daughter is an ornery Taurus?

But then, if I’m being honest, I have to admit she gets this trait from me (and I’m not even a Taurus). It took me at least 25 years to finally read Anne of Green Gables even though I knew I’d love it. Instead I reread The Ghost at Dawn’s House 647 times.

The interesting thing about the internet is the impressive nerd community. We are in our element here. We can connect with other nerds and correct the grammar of non-nerds while bonding over our intense and sometimes life-destroying love of fictional characters. This is accomplished via various means such as Tumblr, or image posts on Facebook, or Tumblr posts made into image posts and then posted on Facebook. It was through these that I gradually became aware of the fact that normal people, apparently, don’t get overly attached to fictional characters. I assume this must be true based on these posts themselves loudly proclaiming they’re sorry-not-sorry about loving fictional characters. In my personal life most of the people I know have just been like, “Oh you have a crush on Ford Prefect? What? That’s normal.” But I assume that if an entire community online has to support each other in this sense, then we must be alone in this trait.

And so I started examining why I sometimes avoid reading new books and it finally hit me: I have enough fictional friends already. My heart can’t always take the vulnerability of meeting new people who might get hurt and will, at the very least, definitely leave me by the end of the book. And I know I can always reread the book, but that is a different experience which is wonderful in its own way. In any case, that is sort of the point, isn’t it? That I keep rereading the old ones rather than new ones. This isn’t to say I’ve been reading the same six books my whole life – I do read new ones, quite often even. This is just the reason that I find myself magnetically repelled from books I know I’ll love.

When I was in high school (during the 90’s when everyone was a shitty beat poet in Doc Martens and thrift store flannels) my favorite English teacher sort of crushed my soul a little by declaring that you can tell a literary person because they are always in the middle of a bunch of books at once. But I never was. I’m extremely monogamous with books. I think it’s due to my attention issues. And maybe loyalty. I can’t cheat on a book, you know. So I assumed I must not be literary and my occasional hesitancy to avoid good literature reinforced that opinion. Now that I’m an adult I know better (although my inner self needs constant reminders). Literary people can read however the fuck many books they want at once. And the reason I avoid new books sometimes is, I think, an incredibly literary reason. After all, who else by shitty beat poets in Doc Martens and thrift store flannels becomes so attached to fictional characters that they literally cry at the words “the end”?

I mean. Except I don’t write shitty poetry anymore. I mean my inner 90’s grunge hipster teen. And yours, too. You know you have one.

Random, The Zebra

I don’t think I could have come up with a more accurate view of my life if I’d tried.

I keep trying to write some inspirational shit about the end of the year and new beginnings n shit but you know I don’t plan these things ahead of time like a grownup blogger probably does and this morning I woke up to a Sad Menstruation Day and felt like a squishy sack of person so I huddled on the couch and whimpered a lot and read Out of Oz and obsessively clicked on things over at Pottermore.

tumblr2013

But then this came across my Tumblr dash tonight (you can get yours here) and I tried to just reblog it like a normal person but there was a glitch and then I couldn’t get it to go back and so I just took a screenshot and NOW YOU GET A YEAR’S END BLOG POST SORTA. I really think this is a literal reflection of my soul. Let me rewrite it in a poem for you.

Fuck people

Doctor time! fucking LOVE
Actually probably shit

Look life
Feel world
Makes little read
Person mean

Women tell

So happy New Year! And I’m still holding out hope that I may come up with something actually inspirational, but no matter what, at the very least Fuck People.

Depression/Anxiety, Edumacation, Holidays, The Zebra

I exist. Possibly. Most likely.

Marie Callender's is pretty.

Right now I’m taking three accelerated-speed classes. Which is, I think, the equivalent of like six classes. That’s difficult enough, but just as these classes started in October I got sick. And I haven’t not been sick since. And these are bad respiratory things. One I ended up in urgent care with a prescription for an inhaler and cough syrup that made me fall asleep. The most recent one I muddled through with extra naps each day. And last night I had a research paper due for my history class. I feel like I’ve done nothing the last three weeks except study, sleep, and feel guilty that I’m neglecting my kids.

However difficult this has been, though, my depression seems to have lifted. When I pause for a moment and ask myself how I’m feeling – no matter what my current emotion is – there is a light undercurrent of not-depressed there. And it feels fucking fantastic. I think I’m too superstitious to outright call it happiness, but that is what it is (KNOCK WOOD, OKAY, UNIVERSE? KNOCK WOOD).

I have a couple more weeks of these classes but without that paper looming overhead, and with the possibility (PLEASE?) of good health on the horizon, I feel like I might possibly get caught up and live a normal, if busy life.

Today I went out to the movies with my kids and their dad, and then we went out to eat at Marie Callender’s which was a surprisingly pleasant experience on Thanksgiving. And then I came home and spent the rest of the day by myself. And it’s been pretty nice, actually. I caught up on some cleaning and laundry. I went to hang Yule lights on our balcony and I was bummed to find out the outlet out there wasn’t working. So I went to go flip some switches but I couldn’t even figure out which switch was for the balcony. So I gave up. But when I came back out into the living room, they were on! I call that a Thanksgiving miracle! Or maybe a serious electrical problem! One of those! Then I put up the tree and had some smoked English cheddar because smoked English cheddar. And you know what? Life is pretty lovely today.

Here’s to up and up! Happy Thanksgiving!

CHRISTMAS

Edumacation, Just Life, The Zebra

American Civ I

amerciv1

To procrastinate help me study I thought I’d post some of my history notes here for you. Verbatim from my notebook (although I have omitted the boring bits). Because I like to think I am adorable at all times.

Cortes-
-1518 led unsuccessful attack against Montezuma
-gave everyone smallpox
-won second attack [in some year I didn’t write down] -was real asshole to everyone
-congratulated self

Maryland-
-tobaccy

1676 Bacon’s Rebellion-
-Nathaniel Bacon was pissed because Indians
-took it out on richie assholes
-1675 “major conflict” in Bacon’s area of Virginia. Governor Berkeley was all “too bad”.

Rhode Island-
-result of religious and political dissent of Roger Williams (a Separatist minister)
-he proclaimed that the land belonged to the natives
-1636 bought land from the Narragansett, created Providence
-1644 est gov’t with no church ties
-actually interfaith. whoa.
-it’s like this guy isn’t even an asshole or something

(OK. Fine. Those last two lines were embellished. But I would have written them down if writing by actual hand wasn’t so HARD and TIME CONSUMING.)

(I am honest to an actual fault.)

Children of Hoarders, The Zebra

I have no idea what to title this one. It’s got everything. Pictures of the new place, hoarding trauma, procrastination, cleaning tips. I need a cookie.

We’re getting settled in our place. I mean. I haven’t even begun to unpack the kitchen yet because shelf liner paper. And I can’t even unpack the office yet until the new desk I ordered gets here (my last desk literally fell apart when they picked it up to load it on the truck). But the living room looks mostly like a living room and my new bed came today and IT’S JUST SO LOVELY.

New bed. Love.

And I’m supposed to be studying the neurons of the visual system, but instead I’m thinking about how the hell am I going to keep the house as sparkly as it is right now after the Merry Maids were here last week? The answer is I probably won’t. But I’m going to try. Because clean = sane for me.

One of the things I want to write about here at this blog is being the child of a hoarder. And I’d like to write a big introductory post before I start adding in little details, but Life Is Messy and these little details are what’s on my mind right now.

Way back in the dark ages in like 1991 my mom wanted to try to keep the house clean. I don’t remember which era of the house this was. Maybe she was hoping to start from scratch, or maybe it was after my friend’s mom came in and cleaned up for us and bought us fancy peach towels with seashells on them that we weren’t allowed to use. Anyway, my mom found this book about an index card cleaning system. It’s what Flylady is based on, actually. And my mom got as far as buying index cards and a card file box.

Anyway, a couple of years ago when we were cleaning out my mom’s house, we found the book. And I donated it to a thrift store or something. Because like hell I had time for that shit right then. And now that my new place is all sparkly and lovely, I was thinking that maybe it would be nice to find a copy of that book and see if the system might work for me (because another “perk” of being the child of a hoarder is that you don’t know you are supposed to clean certain things like the top of your refrigerator). Only, I realized that I felt very sneaky about this. I felt like I had to keep it a secret that I was thinking about looking for a copy of this book. Because I made the grave error of getting rid of it once and now I’ll have to admit that I’m the wrongiest wronger to ever have wronged. Because hoarders keep things, in part, so that they can always be fully stocked. Some hoarders enjoy sharing the things they’ve kept, and that is part of why they hoard things – to feel useful. (Others don’t want to share the things they hoard. At. All.) But, in my experience, hoarders tend to be very I-told-you-so when you get rid of something and then later need it again. (I’ve also developed a sense that I have to be sneaky about throwing things away because I’ve been yelled at so many times in my life after one hoarder or another picked through my trash and got mad at what I got rid of.)

But the thing is this: YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND THE STUFF YOU NEED. Sure, you might have to buy it all over again, but for most things in life that’s not going to be much of a big deal. And spending the extra $10 to get a new copy of this book is well worth the sanity that not hoarding affords me. I live in a little home. I don’t have space for Stuff I Might Need Someday. I keep the things I definitely need, the things I love, and, if I still have room, the things that are too valuable to replace but will realistically probably be used someday. The rest I can replace.

So the point is that I’m going to look into buying (or borrowing from the library) another copy of this book to keep my sparkly home sparkly. And if it doesn’t work for me after all, that’s okay, too. The other point is that identifying the issues I carry with me from my life with hoarders helps me to isolate it, and remind myself why I’m safe now. The other other point is that I need to go study the neural basis of visual perception now.

See? Sparkly:
Kitty.

I Own a Home. WTF?, Just Life, The Zebra

BECAUSE OF COURSE THAT’S WHY

Right now I’m moving. Well, actually, the move itself happened over the weekend. But you know. I’m living out of boxes. And by “right now” really I just mean “over the last month and into the next” anyway. So my life have been one third packing, one third painting and fixing the new place, and one third studying neurons n brain shit. And about 10% sneaking in episodes of Supernatural when I should be painting, packing, studying, or sleeping. Also I’m bad at math. Things I am not doing right now even though I should be: planning my kids’ school year, returning emails, working on SOAM, sharing Lady Links, cooking any meals at all, eating food that is not cold pizza, shaving my legs and armpits (of course those last ones are debatable “shoulds”). And so the Universe was all, HEY BONNIE YOU DON’T LOOK OVERWHELMED ENOUGH LET ME FIX THAT FOR U. And these are the things that have turned a busy month into ONE GIANT LONG THURSDAY.

The weather has been 90 and muggy for like three weeks straight
The kids caught colds (and I had to drag them along with me anyway)
Ants. Are. Everywhere. In my closet. INSIDE the dishwasher. ON MY SHOPPING CART AT TARGET.
My uterus started falling out
The cat got fleas despite being fully medicated
I HATE THE WEATHER.
I ordered a mattress from Ikea and spent 9 hours waiting for it to be delivered and it wasn’t. It took four trips back to the store, and two hours on hold to figure that shit out. (They refunded my delivery fee.)
FUCKING ANTS. I FUCKING HATE ANTS.
The cat got worms from the fleas
NO BUT REALLY THIS WEATHER.
When I was taking my test for my psych class, the test froze when I was halfway through and I had to start over from the beginning.
I keep throwing away things I need.
I actually returned something really important that was my own thing and not even supposed to be returned.
Having to deal with the financial aid office at the college. Enough said.
The fleas were all FUCK U, ADVANTAGE, WE R STRONGR NAOW AND U HAS NO POWR OVER US
GODDAMN THIS SHITASS FUCKHOLE WEATHER.
My son’s mortal enemy (no. really.) turned out to be in his class this year.
We came home to a surprise planned power outage. No. Really.
I have a major spam problem going on here because I haven’t had time to figure out how to stop that yet because I am computer-stupid sometimes and I currently have 1,591 comments to approve or delete. NO IT’S OK I HAVE TIME.

So to sum up:
I HATE THE WEATHER, I HATE ANTS, I HATE FLEAS AND WORMS, AND I HATE ALL THE OTHER THINGS, TOO.

You know what I love? My pretty red wall.

In.

Being a Mom, Depression/Anxiety, I Own a Home. WTF?, The Zebra

One Green Bedroom

Someone's a comedian.

My son thinks he’s hilarious.

(He’s right.)

I amuse me.

(He gets it from me.)

upload

I put the kids to work with the painting. It was helpful to me, but there was a lot of screaming and tears (my son is a perfectionist who doesn’t handle mistakes and/or dripping paint very well). So I made a rule about how we aren’t allowed to scream unless there’s blood or fire. Or maybe if you’re the mommy and you just really need a good scream.

Dying.

Because. Really. I kind of need a lot of good screams right now, but it’s too hot and muggy to bother. I don’t know why the Universe wants me to move and/or clean out houses in the middle of summer, but that’s how things seem to work for me. Of the six times I’ve moved in my adult life only once has been not in July or August. And many of these occasions have been entirely out of my control. Landlords (more than one) pushing back move-in dates for one to four months (no. really), my mom’s death, this six-month-long short sale. Like. I don’t know what the message here is. But clearly it’s something. Something sweaty.

Done. Except for trim.

But things are moving along. I hope they are moving along in a timely fashion. I have cycles of emotions right now. Moments where I feel confidant things will work out, and moments where I lay awake all night panicking about all the things that still have to come together.

At least I’m still adorable with the labeling of the boxes.

Another Furby.