Social Media vs. Real-Life Socialising, aka Where Do I Fit?

Meetup may be the most terrifying brand of social media today. I say this having joined two stellar groups, including Mosaic Writers - Thanks, guys.  You are my therapy session.

There are piles of Meetups for writers. This tells me that other writers also seek either collaboration or feedback, but that they aren't finding the type they want in the pre-existing meetup groups. Maybe the originators are Moes, trying to launch their own vision, or make it proximal to them. Commuting is a pain.

There are piles of Ladies-Only Meetups of different varieties. The one that just made its way into my in-box was Analytical Babes.  Clever labeling, Babes.  You made me look.

AB has a lofty set of goals which distills into just one: self-improvement. They list the things they like and most of them were either holistic or academic - I note with interest that "judging" is there, maybe a typo - and a preferred age demographic of Over 30. 

I feel like this is going to morph into dating s…

The Möbius Cakewreck

June 17 is the birthday of Maurits Cornelius Escher. You know his work; if you didn't know his name before, now you do. You're welcome.

I've told you before about my awesome book club - we're reading Gödel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter for over a year now. It's a pretty dense book.

The scheduled meeting was June 16, the day before Escher's birthday, so I thought we needed a birthday cake. Möbius Cupcakes?  Möbius Chicken Strips!

And then I remembered reading how a bagel can be cut so that the two halves are linked. (You, too, can make a Mathematically Correct Breakfast.)

I hied me to the dollar store, looking for plastic ants who could march along my cake like the famous Escher etching of ants on a möbius band. No ants, but I did find alligators, which relate to a different Escher work.

I bought a bundt-style cake at the grocery and attempted to cut it möbius-style like the bagels. My plan was to cut, and then freeze, so the …

What I Think I Am vs. What I Want To Be - Public Opinion Matters

I've gone around the block and come to an undeniable truth: public opinion matters. What your friends think about you, your life, your mate, should be noted.

What you do with this information is not so cut-and-dried (that's a farming term, if you didn't  know.) Plan on continuing the discussion.

Public opinion matters because our American society is a complex amalgam, no matter how badly certain people don't want to see it that way. You can use the metaphor macadam if the other reminds you of uncomfortable dental visits, but I sort of like the idea that there's an element blended into the mix which is unhealthy. Macadam may be more accurate in describing America, as it's a collection of disparate objects which have settled and compressed into one collective substance which is comprised of individuals but becomes another entity in toto. Y tú también.

And that's my point here:  Public opinion of you helps you determine where you fit into society. How people …

3 Days of Things I Couldn't Remember

What did Robert Louis Stevenson write?

my name (only for about .36 of a second, but it was awkward)

the layout of hotels around Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, CA

the names of clouds

meaning of ancillary

 Chief Seattle (looked it up but promptly forgot again)

what a catbird looks like

where I put my owl-shaped rock

how to give a fuck about my future (this one was not resolvable by internet)

ODD vs. Compartmentalization, and Approval for Keeping Your Demons Home.

Current state: I'm getting ready to go do a thing I want to do, and I am anxious. I do not want to be required to spend all evening with a perfectly normal-seeming person at a large venue concert with thousands of other people. Gazillions.

Required is the problem - once I get to his house I'm committed, in it for the long haul. I'm balking, hard.

I always - always - build myself an escape route. Through 12 years of marriage, I always carried my own house keys in case I had to ditch my husband and go home by myself. I don't know how long I've been this way, possibly since the date-rape (which I blogged about because now I have decided to tell even more people all my business. Hi there.)

I'll be riding in a car with someone I don't know intimately but who has (at the very least) social pressure to make sure I am safe - we're coworkers. I really believe he is the kind of person who'd just make sure I'm safe. He already told me he's my Spirit G…

Weird Holidays vs. Saudade

Today is the birthday of one of my soulmates.  I say it like that because I never think there's only one, but this one I had the good fortune to meet.

We shared 12 years, a home, and many adventures. He was a father to my baby girl twice - first when he took us as family, and then later when she ran away from me as a teenager.  In 1995, he was diagnosed with a slow-growing Astrocytoma. He died in 2002, after we'd broken up 4 times by phone. He was living with another of his soulmates by then - I make assumptions, but I'm probably right, because even I knew she was the first girl he ever had a crush on. 

I remember he used to tell me his mother thought she should get a gift on his birthday, for having given birth to him.  He also believed that she was a 15-year old virgin when he was conceived, and his parents were responsible and used a condom in 1954, and that obviously the condom broke because he was born. I only laughed at him once when he told this story; you can'…

Pragmatism vs. Obsession, aka Finding Ways to Better Self-serve

Progress as a concept can be a coping mechanism for depression. It seems healthy, but it might not be.
I find myself obsessively checking blog stats, trying to figure out where I can self-promote, trying to figure out what else I can sell.  I tell myself these are all means to my end-goal of Getting Out of Here. Hustle, right? Hustle needs direction, and direction does not come naturally to me. I naturally spin. 
I’ve sat myself down and we’ve talked about GtFOH (it looks better with the proper acronym) to see if GtFOH is my short-term goal - I don't feel that Annandale is the place I want to die. If GtFOH is the process, what’s the destination? When will we know we’ve achieved the goal, myself asked me.
My honest answer is I don’t know. I like to travel, I like to feel things for myself, and I do everything for the story. Stories are better with moving.  Also:
1.I like walls and utilities. I know what to do without them, but I like them. 2.I like warm weather, but humidity is not good…

Me vs. Carl Sagans of Ants

A few days ago, I came home to find a weird convention of ants circling my kitchen light. It was weird because there are no food crumbs in my kitchen, especially in the light sticking out of the wall three inches from the ceiling. They seemed very intent, as ants usually do. I wiped down the entire area with bleach and soapy water, and those who weren't sopped up began to disperse.

*Psychepedantic Rob Coapman told me he has the foolproof method for ant killing:
You need water, sugar, and Borax.  It must be Borax.  Great success.  
Boil a couple cups of water and keep adding sugar until the water is supersaturated with sugar.  It should begin to appear more viscous even when boiling.  Once you can't get any more sugar between the water molecules add Borax.  I add a fair bit, maybe 2-4Tbsp per cup of water.  
Once that dissolves, take it off the heat.  
Put that shit out near where the ants are.  Once they find it they will lose their fucking minds over it.  
Now, here's the rub.…

We Use Jukeboxes now, Mr. Cassady vs. Radio I-Ching

I don't think John knows anything about Neal Cassady, but I could be wrong.

Neal Cassady was a major player in the Beatnik Generation and driver of the psychedelic counter-culture. In the pages of The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, author Tom Wolfe talked about Cassady and his Radio I-Ching. If I am remembering correctly, Cassady would carry a nonstop monologue whilst driving. As he drove and while he talked, he would occasionally reach over and turn the radio dial. Tom Wolfe said Cassady would magically stop the dial on a song that played off his commentary. Every time.  Radio I-Ching.

 Neal Cassady died in 1968.

In 1968, John wasn't even thought of yet. '80's kid - I bet John isn't as old as my last husband; maybe older than my daughter. John feeds money into the jukebox at his bar, and it seems like he knows the words to every song in the machine.

I'm sitting at the bar with iced tea and water, working on a series of illustrations which represent mood disorders…

Keep Your Options Open vs. Battle of the Spam

I got my current job when I wasn't looking for a job. I made a good move. It was also an example of me following my own advice (yeah, that happens sometimes): always follow up on opportunities; you can say no later, if you want to say no. Yeah, saying no is not always easy, but it is always an option.

As much as I enjoy my Tiny Cottage, I keep checking for other accommodations. I'd not have found the cottage if I hadn't been checking for opportunities, so.  Of course the ones that look too good to be true are just that, but sometimes I will send a query. Today's spammy response was especially creative, or possibly creepy:

 Also i will like you to know that the rent charges is not really the issue ,but your absolute maintenance of my townhome is most important thing.
One Mrs Yolanda price called me about the townhome ,I told her that I can't give her the townhome because she loves smoking,drinking and don't want her to get drunk and damaged my property one day …

Moe Theory, and Empathy vs. Leadership Roles

I've written pages and pages on this post but I think I'm getting close to cleaning it up for normal consumption - Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 6.  We're still going around the block, though - come on.

Humans are social animals, and we want to connect. We learn our patterns through our parents first; then, through a series of trials and errors, we try to collect people we like who also like us.

Or we learn to like that which we attract, and we let our collection define us. We learn to follow as a default.

Friend and author Mari Sloan gave a great explanation of how not all natural leaders are the same:
Packs are the problem. Leaders either have a "world" mentality, or a "pack" mentality. People are that way, too. Crowds gravitate toward a good "pack leader," because that person makes them feel safe, removes the necessity for thinking out situations as they come up, asks for nothing but loyalty. That sort of leader is totally happy with themsel…

Don't Be That Guy at the Party - Mitigating Toxic Relationships

I am seeing a potential negative to all this new-found awareness of self that's permeated the inter-verse. I say it like that because 1) I have several decades-long friendships that are maintained through electronic communications, and 2) I and many other people are putting our opinions on self-care and toxicity out on the internet, so they all look valid.

Let me first disclaim that I don't like to talk on the phone. Besides doing it all day for my job, I rely on visual cues in conversation. I tend to go off on monologues until I can see the person I'm talking to is either confused or doesn't care. I also have the opposite problem and I hesitate while speaking - my adopted son Mike calls me St. Deb of Understatement.
 Your mannor of speaking on the phone alludes to the possibility of you having perfect comedic timing. I have lousy comedic timing. I'm looking for the right word so my audience will get me the first time; I don't like to repeat myself or be igno…

We can't have nice things...

Tiny cottage is really tiny. I can barely prep food or clean up after myself, and definitely not at the same time. So when I knocked something off the counter, it smashed into this lime green vintage Anchor Hocking bowl. My cat gets fancy dinnerware - what can I say?

I chided myself for my materialistic ways. I don't know whether my Catholic upbringing is really to blame, but admonishment is required any time something goes awry. There's a fatwa somewhere.

So I took a picture of  the crash, from a cat's view to be artsy and to acknowledge her chagrin, and I planned to email it to Moe and say, "We can't have nice things...", but then I noticed a pink bit of fuzz in the middle of the picture.

I've spent the last week editing photos from Bino's momma's birthday party.  Before that was Charlotte's birthday party. So maybe it was reflexive, but next thing I know I am spending five minutes retouching the pink fluff, and scuffs on the wall, and what…

*POETRY WARNING* Hand-me-downs

Slice the peach like Grammie always did -  with sugar and milk in the same bowl with the same knife with the same longing.

The Bread Crust Theory - A Story of Boundaries

When my daughter Alia was living with K's aunt, she was asked to mind K for an afternoon.

"K doesn't like bread crust," Alia was warned. "You'll need to cut it off her sandwich or she won't eat."  K was an adorable 4-year-old at the time. Things that seem trivial to adults are terribly important when you're 4. (The 4-year-olds probably have the best perspective, but that's a different blog post.)

"Okay," Alia said, and then she didn't do it.  She was a teenager - I don't need to explain this.

You will probably guess that K ate the sandwich with nary a peep. You would be correct; that isn't the point I'm making, though.

Alia explained to K's aunt that the sandwich was eaten, crust and all. Aunt was amazed, and K just smiled with her sweet little face.

The next time K's aunt was minding her, the sandwich was served with crust. And K refused to eat.

There's probably a legitimate psychological term for the …