It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Darn skippy it is.

It is Halloween, which is my favorite holiday.

Tomorrow is the first day of National Novel Writing Month.  Novelling shall abound!

Saturday is the annual Halloween bash.  I don’t even remember last year’s but we are expecting 22 people, including the bestie!

 

This?  This is the stuff I live for.  Halloween and friends and writing.  This is my time of year and I am going to enjoy it!

 

An Energy Experiment Update

I’m tired today so I thought this might be a great time to give an update on my energy experiment. Ha ha.

Actually, I’ve felt pretty good for the last week and a half.  Until Monday.  What happened Monday?  Well, Sunday I didn’t follow my bedtime routine.  I let myself sleep in.  I had too much caffeine in the morning.  I ran myself ragged throughout the day and even though I felt proud and accomplished I let a bunch of little things rub me wrong.  I had a couple of beers and a little whiskey.  I ate over my calories.  I did not do my bedtime routine.  Yesterday, in an effort to make up for my hideous behavior the day before, I ran myself even more ragged.  I got in 12000 steps, 2000 more than my goal, 1500 of which were up and down the stairs, generally piled with heavy boxes.  I went over my calories by 200, thus the intense physical labor.

But then I started to feel it.

When I sat down on the couch, my hip or thigh or something hurt.  It hurt to sit, stand, walk, move.  I was exhausted.  Then, instead of doing what I wanted to do and spending my evening reading quietly I watched a movie that I had to interest in and played online.  I went to bed feeling too tired to sleep and over stimulated.  At least I followed my bedtime routine.  I tossed and turned.  I cut my sleeping in down by 5 minutes, meaning to ease myself back into getting up when I need to.  I woke up this morning in pain, feeling heavy and lethargic and slow.

Sometimes we slip.  There’s nothing we can do about it.  The mistake I made this week was thinking that I could make up for my bad behavior by pushing myself harder.

And so I’ve hit the reset button.  Today I will have caffeine when I’m supposed to and I will eat in my calorie limit and I will get in my steps.  I’ll follow my bedtime routine.  I’ll have protein with my snacks.  The good thing is that I know I’ll feel better tonight and even better tomorrow and even better on Friday.

If you learn from your mistakes, there is no need to call them failures.

A Slightly Sacriligious Post on Feminism

I am writing this as I have a little PBR and a little SoCo because I have had a dozy of a day and when you’re me and you’ve had a dozy of a day you have a little PBR and SoCo, as an award or a balm.

I spent some time thinking about feminism this weekend.  Most of you are probably familiar with feminism by now and realize that I mean equality of the sexes, not man hating.  I’ve been calling myself a feminist since I was about 15, that’s 14 years now, and I have read some of the literature (I actually meant to minor in women’s and gender studies in college, another story for another day) and asked a lot of the questions and fought a lot of the fights.  In high school I was the only person I knew who admitted that she was a feminist and got a label from it pretty quickly.  I honestly and truly believe that men and women are capable of equal things.  Biologically we may be different but after that a man can raise a baby just as well as a woman and I know lots of great women firefighters and cops.  We can all be rock stars and writers and artists and teachers and doctors and so on and so forth.

So, here’s my problem, and I can’t even really say that my problem is with feminism.  I haven’t really been able to break it down.

If the last wave of feminism was about opening up choices, where the hell did the choices go?  Yes, we’ve blown open the doors to careers outside of the home but where is the equality?  Here’s a few things that got me thinking about this.

Today, I had to work from 10 to 7.  On a typical Monday, I actually have to leave at 9 because I have to make a completely work related stop and be out of there by 9:30 to get to the branch I am supposed to be at.  I don’t get home until almost 7:30.  So, if we include drive time, that’s a 10.5 hour shift.  I get a half hour lunch.   My day ran like this: I got up and worked out (because I need to lose weight, you know), showered, journaled, checked the internet quickly, was stuck with doing paperwork that should have been done weeks ago and was due today but my husband was feeling unsure about doing it until this morning, loaded my car with Goodwill donations (that have to be taken care of by Saturday and will take numerous trips), cleaned the litter, makeup, hair, packing for work, grabbed a packet of peanut butter crackers because I didn’t have time to eat, went to work stop 1, dropped off paperwork to hubby that he forgot, work stop 2, work stop 3, dropped off paperwork from earlier and spent 20 minutes at the office doing so, dropped off donations, grabbed a sub to eat on the road, stopped home for the last 15 minutes of my lunch which I spent packing a snack and cleaning up the yard (not my job but we’re having a party this weekend), drove to work stop 4 and worked until 7 then came home.  Lucky me I had time to clean and do laundry yesterday so there weren’t chores waiting for me but I still have to clean and decorate for a party and carve pumpkins.

I’m not devaluing anyone’s day here.  This is really how most days go for me.  I run until I collapse.  AND I DON’T HAVE CHILDREN.  I work crazy hours because those are the hours I have to work if I want a full time job.  By the time I had my master’s I was actually lucky that the place I worked at created a crazy position for me out of two jobs so I could pay my bills and have insurance and a retirement fund.  To top it all, hubby has had an awesome employment opportunity and had to go on my insurance (thus the paperwork) which means all health related insurance comes out of my heck and a hefty sum (almost a mortgage payment!) is being taken out of my next check to catch it up.  He won’t have a check for a month so today I also diligently checked my savings to make sure we could bridge that gap.   Luckily my Christmas account was deposited so we should be okay.

And this, I fear, is the plight of the average American woman today.

Yes, we have options, kind of.  I mean, some women are lucky enough to be able to decide to stay home when they have kids and, bless them, that is awesome.  I will not.  I had to make sure I could take care of myself and I will have to work forever to pay that off.  It amazes me, AMAZES ME, that there are households with kids involved that actually have two working parents.

My point is that child rearing takes no less work than it used to and I will actually even argue here that it takes MORE.  Because other people are not actually parenting and someone has to make up for it.  I firmly believe that one parent should be able to work part time or stay home for this reason.  No, the economy does not allow us and I DO think that part of that is because two income households have become the norm.  Suddenly we are all expected to have it together enough to be good spouses, parents, and employees.  AND HOUSEKEEPERS!  Someone has to cook and clean and unless you’re fucking Jay-Z that’s going to be someone who is working.  Yesterday, a dreary Sunday morning, my husband asked me to please sit down and relax and I actually told him, “It’s more relaxing for me to clean because that means I don’t have to spend my lunch breaks doing it this week.”  Seriously.  Add to all of this that I am an aspiring writer and have tacked onto my average day reading and writing?  Fucking forget it.  There’s no way to keep it up and NOT be an alcoholic.

The other point I want to make is:  Where the hell is the respect???

I was listening to the radio the other day and I will admit that I came across some rap or hip hop or whatever the fuck it is these days and it’s all “shake your butt on me, bitch” and all I could think was, “Not on your life, buddy.”  Go back to the 70’s and give me a song where the pick up like is “Get your hot little self over here and bring me another beer.”  You can’t find one.  Back then, men at least didn’t write shitty lyrics about us.  They didn’t write them while we were busting our asses to be pretty and smart and employable and 50 million other things.

All I’m saying is that we may have given ourselves the short end of the stick.

A Night in My Life

It was a warm summer night.  The windows were open and a gentle, almost nonexistent wind ruffled the curtains.  There was a full moon and it shone through the cheap Big Lots curtains.  (The following year I would begin sleeping with the curtains open during the full moon.)  I was sleeping peacefully, at least I think.  Do we really know how we’re sleeping when we’re asleep?  Then, SUDDENLY!

“MURDERS!  MURDERS!” my then boyfriend, now husband yelled.

I shot up in bed, grabbing at my chest and the blankets.  I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to wake someone who is talking in their sleep (or maybe that’s just walking?) but I can never remember that.  “Matt,” I said.  “Matt!  You’re having a bad dream.”

“Huh?” he asked, groggily.

“I said, you were having a bad dream.  You were screaming ‘murderers’.  You woke me up.”

Matt rolled over and in a sleepy voice explained, “I was just dreaming that I got up to go to the bathroom and I could see the outline of someone in the shadows on the shower curtain from the moon.  And he was holding a knife and he was going to kill us.”

I laid stiffly on my back and stared at the ceiling.  I needed to pee but like hell was I going to the bathroom after that.  After about five minutes I gave up.  I got up and used the restroom and came back to bed, a little short of breath from being foolishly afraid.  As soon as I laid down, Matt got up to go.  Do you know why?  Because he wasn’t going to be the first one to find out if there was a murderer in the shower.

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Never ever in my whole life would I have expected to find myself slogging through a book about soccer but, dammit, I did it. I never would have been able to do it if it were written by anybody but Hornby who is such a genius that he usually makes me want to hang myself. He is passionate and witty and has a wonderful guy-next-door style that makes him feel more like your friend than some random guy writing about something you don’t care about.

I’m not going to lie. There were a couple of times that I glazed over while I was reading this but it was never for very long. Hornby describes his relationship with Arsenal in matches. I think that the longest section was maybe 8 pages. Each match means something to him, even if it’s just a good game among a number of bad ones. Hornby manages to tie his obsession to every stage of his life from the beginning of the obsession in a way that is touching and funny.

I would never have read this if I hadn’t decided to read all of the Hornby I could get my hands on but I’m glad I did. Even if your obsession isn’t football or isn’t sports related in the least, I think you’ll recognize yourself in these pages.

Confessions of a Reader

I am not the kind of reader that you think I am.

I am a librarian and I see so many good books that I think I’ve tried most every genre.  Even if I decide something isn’t for me, I’ll try again if a book tickles my fancy.

I have so many books that I actually have boxes staked in my closet.  I want bigger bookshelves but I don’t even know if it will help.

Nothing excited me so much as new donations to the library book sale.  Second is a used book store.

I take reading seriously.  I have expectations on how much I should read a day and how much I should read a year and I hardly ever make those goals.  I have lists of books read and books to read and books by certain authors and on certain topics.  All of my lists are also digitized.  I cannot resist a new list of books.

I like to read books about reading books.

My to be read list is a large part of my fear of death.  I will obviously never get through all of the books I would like to.

I was a slow reader.  I was in phonics at school until fourth grade.  In sixth grade I was reading Shakespeare for the hell of it.  In seventh grade I had a mean English teacher that nearly killed my love of books.  In eighth grade my English teacher encouraged me to read funny books and books that interested me instead of limiting myself to what I thought was “good for me.”  By the time high school rolled around, I had the reputation of a reader.  I started working at the library my junior year and have been here over 13 years now.

I don’t really think that I was slow, though.  I think that I was like most kids: over ambitions.  I didn’t want to read some stupid kids book.  I wanted to read the big, thick magical ones, ones I knew would transport me past the first grade.

I live in a reading rainbow and I am damn proud of it.

A Forest of Eyebrows and Ladystaches

If I haven’t said it before, and even if I have, I am not very good at being a woman.  Okay, that’s not fair.  I am pretty good at being a woman but I am not very good at being a girl.

This is something particularly for the females to think about.  You know that day when you wake up and roll out of bed, stumble into the bathroom, look int he mirror and BLAM!  Suddenly your eyebrows have sprouted a thick, unruly forest on your face.  Or, how about when you’re out on the town and realize, through licking a delicious drink off your lips, that you have a full blown mustache.  These things weren’t there the day before.  Somebody has obviously used Miracle Gro on your face.

Another thing I have a hard time with is the maintenance of clothes.  I buy most of my tops, dresses, and skirts second hand but I do have specific places I go for undergarments, jeans, and tank tops.  I buy new jeans when they fade out and I have my favorite jeans in a size 8, 10, and 12.  I also have one extra pair in each size that are not “my favorite” jeans.  The other day I put on some work jeans to paint a wall and then changed into my nice jeans to run to the store.  When I got back and the paint had dried, I decided that the wall didn’t need a second coat and I finished cleaning up my mess.  Somewhere in the process, I managed to smear my good jeans with pomegranate colored paint.

Don’t ever expect my nails to look nice, either.  First, I bite them.  Second, I use them to open things.  Third, it is virtually impossible for me to sit still long enough for my nails to dry so the paint is always smeared.

Are there any other women out there that feel this way about girl stuff?