Tag: Rant

Another Humorless Interlude – Hyperbole Will Return Shortly

“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.”
– Les Brown

Thanks, minions, don't mind if I do.

Kittens, I’m bitter.  Talking it over with Peregrine helped, as it so often does, to really organize my bitterness into manageable and coherent issues and I finally realized why I’m so disappointed – you know, besides the fact that my best friend and lover is moving to London without me.

The real problem is that I feel horribly left behind.  I gladly put J.’s schooling at the top of my priority list and considered my ambitions and goals on hold and never considered it a burden or bad decision.  I still don’t.  I can write from anywhere, but there are only a few really great schools for accounting and finance and I was perfectly content to go where he schooling took us, and wherever his jobs will too.   But suddenly, I’m not going with him anymore (and yes, I know I am eventually, but just indulge me in this mini sulk, alright?) and I’m not sure how that fits in.

I’ve delayed grad school or other academic ambitions, writing is hard when you can’t really devote yourself to it because you’re earning the bread/bringing home the bacon/whatever, and I’ve stayed an extra three years in my dinky university town waiting for him to catch up to me in schooling.  And now, the sacrifice I was willing and glad to make (and still am!) isn’t really paying out the way I thought it would.

I hear you now, “G’DUH, Small Dog.  Welcome to life, you whiner.”  You’re right, I’m sure, but that doesn’t stop the disappointment.

I’m grateful to have a job, goodness knows not everyone does these days.  I’m proud to be able to support my family and keep us out of debt while we finished up undergraduates, internships, and the first few years of marriage.  I’m ludicrously proud of J. and what he’s achieved and thrilled about where he got into school…

But what about me?

Yes, I’m perfectly aware of how selfish that sounds, but I can’t help it.  What about me and what I wanted and planned for?  Three years isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things, but honestly it has seemed horrendously long to me.  I’ve been working a job that I can say I am grateful for and usually enjoy (and you can bear witness that the stories I’ve got out of it are amazing, eh, ducklings?), but I don’t want to be a police department receptionist for the rest of my life.  It’s a job without the possibility of promotion or progression.  Ditto really for the town we currently live in, and frankly most cities compare unfavorably to London.  J. really was the only reason I stayed where I am now…and he’s leaving.  I’m having a weird time processing that.

So, I’m bitter.  Six more months of slogging (yeah yeah, I hear you again, “Cry me a river, C.”) past when I thought I’d be moving on and forward with our/my lives/life.  It’s not the great tragedy I’m making it out to be, I know that, but it’s still not…what I planned.  And I hate having my plans messed up!

At the same time, I’m feeling a little smug that I’m holding up as well as I am.  I’ve only really whined to Venice, Peregrine, and Hennessy, and in the meantime I have packed up a third of my house to store (the reason for which you will just have to wait and see!), kitted J. out fully in sweaters and suits, researched places to live, made due when Her Majesty’s Government turned our plans on their heads, and generally kept on keeping on.  I’m tired, disappointed, but proud and damned effective.

Rant over!  Thanks for listening, kittens, you’re all sorts of awesome.  But you knew that.

Dear Birth Control:

“For birth control I rely on my personality.”
– Milt Abel

Hey. How’ya doing? You good? You look good. Work going well? Glad to hear it.

Just so we're clear, I honestly believe you are one of the greatest, most important, and most influential scientific and medical developments in the history of the world. But...

Well, Birth Control, you know how fond I am of you. I like to think we’re pals, you keeping me baby-free until I choose and everything. I really do appreciate it and I know not all women are as lucky as I am to have the options you give me. But, Birth Control, you’re kind of sucking these days. Now I don’t want to poison our relationship, but really I think you need to start treating me a bit better.

See, I’ve gained 20 pounds since marriage. And I don’t think it’s entirely my fault. I work out regularly and am conscientious about my diet, after all, I’m not a teenager anymore, I’m aware of it and try to eat accordingly. Lots of salads, lean protein and a hamburger once a month if that. I admit a weakness to deep fried potatoes, but I simply avoid them and other such badness by staying away from temptation. I’ve reworked eating plans several times and cut back on/out everything remotely bad, upping veg intake and forgoing sugar. And yet, when I weighed myself in Los Angeles, I was at 140. I’m (barely) five feet tall, and weighed 120 pounds a year ago. Un-bloody-acceptable.

And speaking of Los Angeles, do you know how humiliating it is for your father-in-law to find you on your hands and knees in the dirt by the dumpsters emptying your stomach of its contents while on vacation? Before I got on you, Birth Control, I had a migraine maybe once a year in times of deep stress. First few months our our marriage I got one every once and a while. Then once a month. I’m up to almost once a week now.

Like this.

Do you know what a migraine feels like? Like a sociopath stabbing one repeatedly in the eye while jumping up and down on one’s stomach, banging a mallet against one’s skull. The slightest light or noise hurts like the Furies and any movement means careening to the bathroom to rid oneself of whatever food or liquid one has managed to keep down thus far. It means dehydration, hours of dry retching, and the shakes for two days after. It means pure, unadulterated misery.

And finally, I have been experiencing random explosions of irritation at people. Not mild eye-rolling, but brief yet intense feelings of wanting to rip some people’s heads off. Roller coaster rides of rage. These have been increasing along with those migraines we just talked about, and I don’t think the two are unconnected.

None of this existed before you and I got involved, Birth Control, so it’s pretty simple to draw a few connections and conclusions. If, in spite of self awareness and attempts to correct the problems, things keep getting worse, I think I’m justified in leaving you for one of your pharmaceutical cousins.

So, Birth Control, you’re on notice. I’m reworking my diet/exercise regime again one more time, but if I don’t lose the weight, the headaches, and the desire to kick baby seals, you and I are through.

Love,
C.

No Sense of Proportion

“I don’t see how an article of clothing can be indecent.  A person, yes.”
– Robert A. Heinlein

Alright, ladies, am I completely alone in this or are there other proportion victims out there?

I’m barely five feet tall, with an exactly one inch space between my ribs and my hips.  Those same ribs are rather wide but my shoulders are rather narrow, and my hips are rather rounded.  My legs are short (duh) and taper downward, long and lanky we are not!

I need normal size pants to fit around what Casanova calls “birthin’ hips” (he’s from Georgia, we’ll excuse it), but those pants usually hang past my feet by a good six inches.  I routinely by Ankle Length trousers from the Gap and Banana Republic, but that’s a misnomer for a short girl if ever there was one.  I still have to wear three inch heels to keep them from dragging.  Also, because of my high hips, low cut jeans or pants of any kind are unflattering in the extreme…so why do almost all trousers winkingly advertise “our lowest cut ever!”

Really, Victoria Secret models don't look good in bad pants, how much less we mere mortals?

Medium size shirts fit around my ribs, but I’d need the 80’s-est of 80’s shoulder pads to fill those gaping shoulders, and they always manage to make me look pregnant.  However, size small shirts fit shoulders and stomach perfectly while straining to cover, not my breasts, but my lower rib cage (which, unlike my legs, tapers not at all).

So, apart from having to work extra hard on exercising my abs to create the illusion of a waist, shopping for clothes on a good day is rough.  And let’s face it, most of what’s in the petite sections are not made for 24 year old, fashion conscious career girls!

Also, I admit, I’ve put on 10 pounds since I got married.  Hence my fab exercise bike, Harley.  It’s working.  Slowly.

Yesterday I finally replaced my torn trousers, it took nearly 2 hours.  I also tried on my bridesmaids dress for Marie’s upcoming nuptials and wilted a bit in front of the mirror.  It’s an adorable dress, I absolutely love it, but the cut of it does nothing for my figure.  Sort of like this:

Pretty dress, pretty woman (pun!), not so happy together

However, I am happy to report that, even though it took a while, I found trousers that are three-inch heel friendly, hit at the waist, and make my bum look good.  I also scored two new work shirts that don’t strain across my breasts/ribs (is there anything more tacky than a too tight shirt?  Yikes, everyone gets a view!)  And with that, my Fall/Winter work wardrobe is complete.  Which means that, if I’m lucky, I won’t have to buy new trousers – and take the requisite shopping aspirin – for another year.

Mother. Nature.

“Nature’s all well in her place, but she mustn’t be allowed to make things untidy.”
– Cold Comfort Farm

Pictured: Summer, after a particularly impressive bender.

Of course, summer is moving towards its inevitable end.  Though not quite in her death throes, she’s sensing that they’re not far off and so is  looking to have a last fling with a boy a third of her age, wear skirts that are far too short, and spend all her money rather than let her grasping nephew Fall get a penny of it.  In other words, generally behaving badly.

The other day J. called me up.
“Are you coming home for lunch?” he asked.
“Wasn’t planning on it.  Why?”
“Because you need to go to the store.”
“Again, why?”
“Because you need to pick up ant traps and spray.”

Summer's attack German Shepherd. And although I didn't catch a glimpse of this guy, I am sure he was lurking back behind the suitcases.

Augh!  Apparently ants had descended on our flat.  They were crawling in from a closet runner, bent on global domination (For the record, Mum, our flat is in no way in a state to attract the wildlife, please don’t wring your hands and bemoan anything).  Anyway, I dashed home armed with chemicals, J. vacuumed everything, sprayed and booby-trapped our closet to the point that those famed nuclear-resistant cockroaches of lore couldn’t survive, and we waited with baited breath to see if it had worked.  So far, nary a six-legged fiend has been sighted.

However, marshalling the ants to send them indoors was only Old Lady Summer getting drunk at her granddaughter’s wedding.  She finished the night by climbing up on the buffet table, shaking her bon-bon, and collapsing spectacularly into the punch.

That night we had a massive lightning storm.  I read later that in a half hour period we had nearly 150 lightning strikes in the area.  And unlike normal storms, where the flashes and rumbles are spaced out a bit, this was explosion after explosion for hours.  Neither J. nor I slept because every few seconds our whole room would light up and it would sound like someone had cracked a whip right next to our heads.  And this sort of weather has continued, with varying degrees of intensity, for the last three days now.  The power was knocked out yesterday, making getting home from work a nightmare.

Small Dog gets Summered-out.

Summer and I have a middling relationship.  Round about February of each year I whine and long for sunlight, but as soon as we’ve made it through July, I start glaring at bank signs along the road with their publicly displayed roasting temperatures and start mumbling things like, “October sounds good.  I could do October right now.”

*Photo of cracked old biddy, from mygutinstinct.wordpress.com
*Photo of the vile insect invader, still from the 1954 film Them!
*Photo of my approximate face come mi-August from: findavet.us/blog/2010/04/how-to-keep-your-dog-safe-in-the-heat/

That Time Again

“No supervisor becomes the quarterback in this situation.”
– Richard Hirsch

About this time last year, we organized a meeting in which to hold student supervisor’s feet to the fire about their negligent hiring practices.  The Great Uprising of the Secretaries had some effect since the University complimented our department on having no hiring errors since then.  HA!

However, seeing as it’s been a whole year, and what with some people being raised to the position of student without being trained how to do the job, the fact that some supervisors don’t like to read forms, and that the same supervisors have developed the habit of letting the University auto-terminate their students instead of doing the work themselves (actually, telling us to do the work) and not telling us students have quit…we must again go over the same information we did last year.  And none of the information has changed.

I am imagining throwing this phone at you.

I long to be able to shake a stack of paperwork, uniforms, and gear in their faces and say, “We do all of this.  We get them hired, outfitted, in compliance with state and federal laws, and keep them that way.  We keep track of the last time you, their supervisor, with whom they have contact every day, gave them a raise.  We get them access to all secured areas, programs, and even sometimes personally hand them pepper spray (at great personal risk).  We do this, for 150 of them a year.  Literally all we ask of you is to have this form filled out so we know what timetable to do all this on…please explain to me, WHY IS THAT SO HARD?”

Words That Bug Me, And Will Now Bug You

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”
– Jane Wagner

We all have word pet peeves, times when people use phrases incorrectly, insert words that don’t actually mean what they think it means, or when society at large is responsible for corrupting a word’s usage.  I probably take my particular pet peeves too seriously, but it cannot be helped.

“Ironic” – which does not mean unfortunate, coincidental, silly, funny, aggravating, or any of the other things Alanis Morrissette can now be blamed for teaching us to think it means.

An excellent example of common modern usage.

“Ye”- as previously mentioned, anytime you see a sign showing “Ye Olde [something], you’re not actually looking at a “y” but at an Old English character called “thorn” which makes a “th” sound.

This confusion is somewhat understandable as it is most commonly found in England where several linguistic invasions have made the language something of a puzzle for most who try to learn it as a second language.  Pear, pair, and pare, you try explaining that one.  Or the reason knight isn’t spelled night, when in other words a “gh” produces and “f” like in laugh.  Or why, depending on where you’re from, you may spell civilisation as civilization.  Or why English doesn’t really have rules, only exceptions.

First the Celts came to Britain, after possibly conquering another group of people who were there first, and as far as we know didn’t have much in the way of writing.  There are some hatch mark symbols carved in stone but these seem to have been a clumsy, tedious sort of way of keeping track of things and so they decided instead to rely on memory which they trained to fantastic levels (and where did you leave your keys this morning?).  Then came the Romans who brought Latin and other previously unknown practices (see Decimate below).  But then their empire, as it had become by this time since they’d given up most pretensions to a republic, caught a nasty case of “The Collapsings” and the legions were recalled from Britain, leaving the Romanized population unprotected and understandably miffed.

I think it's time for a trade up, lads!

The Anglo Saxons (go here and carefully note the caption!), watching this from their Germanic homesteads with glee, could see an upwardly mobile real estate deal when it presented itself, so bunches of the upped sticks and sailed over.  They originally were hired as mercenary protectors by the Britons, but they didn’t go in much for togas compared to rape and pillage and within a few years had taken over and set about to dividing into small kingdoms and declaring war on each other to their hearts’ content.  They also brought their language, on which somewhat better records were kept.  A few centuries later, just as soon as they’d got themselves unified into some semblance of order and had started keeping excellent chronicles, a Norman across the Channel decided he ought to be king.  William the Bastard, for that was his unfortunate name,  invaded and won.  He ousted the Anglo Saxon lords and installed his own Old-French-mixed-with-Latin-again speaking cronies instead, further enriching the language and changing his name to the much more impressive sounding William the Conqueror.

But, in spite of each subsequent invader’s attempt to quash the language of those who came before, the invaded stubbornly held on to an impressive lot of their old languages and culture, which is why something as old as a millennium old written character that looks like “y” and sounds like a “th” is still bulldogish-ly refuses to go away.  Which is good because “Yee old [anything]” sounds absolutely ludicrous.

Apostrophe – I know this isn’t a word, but you know what I mean.  People will throw this little mark wherever they think something should go, but for the life of them don’t know whether it’s a different spelling, contraction, or trying to show possession.

There/Their/They’re – And while we’re on the subject!  These are totally different words, figure ’em out!

Had this been painted a week earlier, it would have depicted the farmer's wife and children still alive. One must admire his optimism here, yes?

“Medieval” used when people mean backwards.  Actually refers to a distinct period in Western history which was complex, interesting, and full of people trying desperately to push their way forward out of the mess that Rome put them in after dividing, collapsing, and embarrassingly allowing itself to be ripped to shreds by barbarian hordes.  Western standards of music, culture, and literature were developed during this period.  Architecture, which had become an utterly lost art  was redeveloped literally from the ground up.  The ideas of credit, and banking were invented.  The whole period is a heartening example of human beings being knocked into the sludge over and over again with invasions, plagues, more invasions, famine, and a couple of other invasions, and consistently picking themselves up, dusting off the disease and gore, and getting back to the difficult business of human advancement.

Irregardless – This is not, in fact, a word.  At all.  Don’t use it.  Ever.

“Decimate” – Once upon a time, there was an empire that was cheerfully burgeoning in the centuries BC.  Not that they called themselves an empire, oh no!  That would have sounded barbaric and unenlightened.  They called themselves a Republic, the Roman Republic to be exact, and since they were so enlightened and grand, the ideal career for a spry, young Not-Empire was to invade all their nearest neighbors and force them to submit to their rule.  Really there were few things this adolescent Republic liked better than sauntering into Germany, Greece, or North Africa and casually killing a few thousand people before breakfast.

"Tough luck, Flavius." "Son of a Gaul!"

Not content with brutality directed at the unwashed masses they were trying to subdue (so that they could tax and enslave the snot out of them), occasionally when one of their vicious battalions mutinied or were insufficiently enthusiastic about marching off to slaughter, the commander would order them decimated.  Meaning that they would be divided into groups of ten, draw lots, and whichever one of them pulled the short straw was stoned or bludgeoned to death.  Literally it meant to reduce by one tenth.

Nowadays, the term decimation is used, completely at odds with its origin and etymology, to mean when people, places, or structures are reduced by cataclysmic proportions (although the American media is prone to exaggeration in this regard: “That windstorm last night decimated trees and power lines!” for example, when maybe one or two were knocked down).  Decimated does not mean destroyed, wiped out, broken, mildly damaged, and dirtied up.

“Like” – “It was, like, so hard!  I mean, like, I’ve never had to do anything that bad since, like, I had to pick out my, like prom dress!”  The word “like” means similar to.  Or fond of.  It can be used as a conjunction, verb, or adverb, it is NOT an equivalent to “um…”

Keep Calm: An Emotional Evolution Since Yesterday

 “Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”
– Virginia Woolf
 

Happy independence to me…from Venice.  She and Val are on their way East (though if Facebook updates are anything to go off of, they are already having a horrid time of it).  Since her departure, I’ve been going through the most frightful emotional rollercoaster, best illustrated by the following series. 

I'm fine. I'm fine.

 

I'm not fine! I'm not fine!

 

Minor meltdown/The Crazies

 

Successfully avoiding.

 

Unsuccessfully avoiding.

 

Denial.

 

Bargaining.

 

Acceptance. Sort of.

 So.  Here’s to absent friends.  Whenever any of you may be.

The Last (Bloody, Dangerous) Straw

“Who can hope to be safe?  Who sufficiently cautious?
Guard himself as he may, every moment is an ambush.”
-Horace

Small Dog struggles.

For the past almost-two years that I’ve worked here, there has been a large plastic mat residing beneath my chair and the corners of various desks and cabinets.  This mat is clear, studded on the bottom, a quarter of and inch thick, sharp edged, and slippery.  As you may imagine, this mat has been a sore trial for many office staff, but myself in particular as I am A) a sad klutz, and B) the person who practically lives on top of this thing.

We, meaning mostly I, have slipped, tripped, slid, glided, skidded, twisted ankles, and face planted because of this contraption without complaint or word until today.

Hennessy and I were walking back from the Administration Building when a perfect storm of un-coordination happened.  First her heel caught the edge of the mat.  Then she started to fall forward which both lifted the mat and tore her shoe off.  Then behind her I stuttered my step trying not to collide with my flailing friend.  And THEN the sharp corner of the plastic peril bit into my foot.  When we managed to right ourselves and glance down to survey damages, I was bleeding.

That was it!  We grabbed Susie, one of the officers to move heavy furniture, and dragged the whole thing back to the custodians closet (it weighed about as much as Brazil, was filthy underneath, and smelled horrid to boot).  Good riddance.

My foot hurts.

Thoughts, From Abroad (1845)

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
– Robert Browning

View from campus. Blech.

I am royally sick of living in the American West!  Just when I figure out what on earth the weather is doing, WHOMP!  We get slapped with a snow storm, dust and pollution atmospheric covering, heat wave, cold front, or some really horrid combination of the four.  I am so tired of pulling out sweaters and coats after packing them away (again).  I am thoroughly over days and days of climbing temperatures, only to wake up having to scrape snow off the car. 

Living in the West seems to equal extremes.  It’s either blazing hot or as cold as Dante’s hell.  There is very little in between and the transitional seasons are completely lost in the shuffle (which is a great tragedy, in my opinion, as Spring is so refreshing and necessary and Fall is a radiant symphony of beauty). 

Someday I will live in a place where each season takes up as close to a full quarter of a year as possible.  And if it’s England, where it’s still green even in the winter in spite of snow, so much the better.  I am SO ready for GREEN again…

Know-Nothing. Party.

C.’s Quick Translation for Online Oppinuendo on Health Care

You liberal/conservative idiot! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

Don’t you have a brain?! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

The Republicans/Democrats are out of touch with the American people!  Down with them!  Drag them into the streets! :   Rep-R/Rep-D voted against my personal opinion! 

Obama is the Antichrist! :  I’m conservative.

Obama is brave to take this problem on! :   I’m liberal.

Stop making asinine comments! :   I have weighed and measured such information as I have found, and I now find myself on the other side of the aisle from you.

You socialist nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

You conservative nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

This is a choice between good and evil! :   This is a choice between political ideologies, about which I feel very strongly.

It’s unconstitutional! :   It personally offends my sensibilities.

I can’t even begin to tackle your logical fallacies! :   I refuse to attempt to see things from your liberal/conservative point of view and prefer to argue.

As a future doctor I don’t want to have the government dictate the terms of my work (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to me! :   I much prefer to dictate the terms of my work  (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to my patients myself.

Go ****/$$$$/@@@@/%%%%  yourself! :   I’m afraid we just can’t see eye to eye on this. 

The End Times are coming! :   I am seriously displeased with the turn of events.

I’m moving to Canada! : I am not actually moving to Canada despite ranting to the contrary for some time. 

 

There, now you find yourself able to navigate the intricacies of Facebook, comment threads, and forum mudslinging.  Take a few calm breaths to recharge and think of some withering profanities, and when you feel ready, charge back into the fray.  Discussion doesn’t seem to be the name of the day, so feel free to bandy tired clichés back and forth, quote the pundits/talking heads in lieu of actual original thought, and mistake insults/gloating for a solution.  Carry on!