Monday, March 31, 2008



i made a small return to my friendly neighborhood albertsons store today. i was hesitant to try and return something to a grocery store, as i’ve never done it before. i would never try to return food, unless there was a damn good reason, but this was a non-food item and it happened to be in my car when i went in for my daily caffeine fix.

the following cements my theory about chatting it up with people who have "ordinary" jobs - they have stories you’d never know about otherwise, so take every opportunity to ask. like the time i asked the girl at the in-and-out drive through if she’d ever had work nightmares and she told me about her hitler dream.

the lady who was helping me was awfully cheery for that early in the morning. and i asked if they got returns often at the grocery store. of course they did, she said.

"lots of people return things. the only weird one was the time a lady brought the remains of a turkey back after thanksgiving and asked for her money back."

"and her reasoning was?" i asked.

"she said it had to many bones in it."

i stared at her for a moment with a look of utter stupefication on my face. she smiled at me and wished me a good day.

what do you say to that?

Friday, March 28, 2008

texas flood fridays

i work at a startup, which for those of you who never have, can be a very amusing, laid back environment.

it’s also a little dangerous - the boss caters in lunch for us every single day. i, for one, do not need a banquet of food around me every single day.

our engineering department is tucked away in the back of the office. generally, it’s extremely quiet and is daunting to even walk into because all occupants can hear a pin drop in addition to anything you say to anyone else. they are enclosed in a glass-walled room, affectionately the "fish bowl" (’look, mommy! that one’s writing code!!’)

they get visitors from other parts of the office throughout the day, but non-engineers do their business and don’t linger. i have my suspicions that oompah loompahs come out of the server room periodically to work their magic.

i can tell when the week is coming to an end, when one or two of the engineers pass my desk and pantomime air guitar. in the fishbowl, we have beer and guitar hero fridays.

so later today, just at that point where i’m starting to daydream and get into that post-lunch nap stage, the buzz begins. and then, the playstation 2 gets fired up - and it’s gametime.

one of my top engineer rivals has an ongoing vendetta to best me. i’d say that we’re pretty comparable skill-wise. however, he isn’t aware that i know, but he relies heavily on his cognitive powers to try and defeat me.

it starts out benign enough. i will don the guitar and search the song list. he’ll push his chair away from his desk and get in position to see the screen. and, depending on his mood, he’ll make either complimentary or disparaging comments about my song choice.

he’ll stay quiet for a bit, and then slowly sneak in a supportive word here and there. and as his comments become more frequent, they also become more combative, until he’s fully mocking my skills to the entire department.

i know this will happen, as it does every friday. and i mentally prepare myself. but despite my efforts to fall into his psychological cheat efforts, i miss a note here and there trying to verbally defend myself against his taunts, until i get distracted enough to botch the rest of the song.

every time, i swear to myself that i’ll ignore him, or at the very least not let his comments agitate me enough to argue back. and every time, he changes his MO just slightly to get me fired up enough to sabotage my turn.

today, i feel fantastic. the day has been all but perfect so far, and the red bull is going down nicely. the murmurings of guitar hero have begun in the corners of the office and will increase gradually until about 3pm.

but today, i will not let him beat me, either musically or mentally. my lead guitar stance will be strong, and i will not direct my focus elsewhere. i will rock. i will drink beer. and i will tear that department to pieces one note at a time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

hillbilly trail mix

yesterday at work, while i was being berated by nick, our resident new yorker, i had a fantastic brainchild: hillbilly trailmix.

i haven’t really narrowed the ingredient list, and i think it’s going to take some tinkering with. however, it will potentially contain the following redneck delicacies:

- slim jim bits
- fritos
- beer nuts
- funyons
- pork rinds
- cheez-its

i will be accepting suggestions, recipes ideas, and naming rights. whatever it is, it should go well with hamm’s, mickey’s, and low grade moonshine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

appointments and a few other irritations

i hate making appointments. specifically anything involving a doctor.

it’s not like it used to be, where you call, make an appointment, and go see the doctor. things have become a little more, let’s say, complex.

say i have a sinus infection. i call the doctor. he can see you wednesday at 9am, fantastic, arrive 15 mins early, done, hooray.

ah, if only it were that easy.

you show up on wednesday and you fill out paperwork, most all of the fields duplicated in 18 of the previous pages. and you wait for another 45 minutes until the lady comes out and calls you back.

she weighs you, checks your height (yeah, okay. since i haven’t been five six since i was like 15 years old) and directs you into this room with 80 colored flags above the door that nobody knows what they’re for. she talks to you about what’s wrong, and you tell her. and THEN she tells you that you need to schedule another appointment to see the doctor *for the reason you called about*. little did you know, this first appointment was only a PREappointment, the appointment where they verify in person that you actually need what you called about needing. they prescreen, you see. and then you go and make the "real" appointment and you’re on your merry way until next thursday.

then thursday rolls around, and you’re almost dying of sinus issues, and you go in, sign some more shit (that hasn’t changed in the last 5 years, much less in the week since you’ve been in) and wait another 45 mins.

if you’re lucky, you get to see the doctor for 7 minutes of the hour and a half you spend there, but usually this appoinment is the one where you get to talk in depth to the nurse about your symptoms so that she can alert the doctor and he can figure out what course of action to take for your upcoming tertiary appointment, which hopefully will be your last and actually happen before you succumb to the sweet release of death. which may be the better option after the receptionist tells you they are scheduling out into may - hello!? it’s october!!

seriously, what happened to walking in, getting treated and leaving? do doctors really need this much planning? it’s not like their solutions are definitive anyway. they pretty much read your chart as they’re sitting down and shaking your hand without actually ever looking you in the face, and you’re freezing your ass off in a backless drape, despite that you came in for a swollen wrist.

i got my degree in theater, and aside from pretending like i could be a doctor, all i have to do is suggest antibiotics and chastise my patient about exercise, before signing a name that’s illegible to everyone including the signer:

"Your honor, I’d like to introduce exhibit C into evidence. These are chart notes from Ms. Anderson’s visit to Dr. Kearns’ office on the 5th of July. Dr Kearns? Please take a look at this chart for me. Do you recognize the signature at the bottom of the page?"


"Objection! How can the doctor not recognize his own signature?"

"Overruled, counselor. The doctor’s handwriting sucks."

the medical profession makes me want to have an aneurysm. at this point, i’d sooner go to a mechanic for routine medical procedures, depending on his level of cleanliness. gojo orange or anti-microbial soap? it’s a serious toss up. plus, at a mechanic you can get your entire car rebuilt the same day instead of waiting three months with abdominal pains for "take some ibuprofen and come back to see me in 6 weeks."


on another health related note, msnbc reported earlier this week that vitamins may cause cancer.

see people? i will continue drinking my rockstar and eating twinkies and your warnings of slow death will go unheeded.

go take your one-a-day. i’m making myself a bourbon and some pizza rolls.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

plaque and car accidents

i went to the dentist yesterday. i hadn’t been in about 4 years, because it’s been about that long since i’ve had dental insurance.

i came away with two barely visible cavities and a few upcoming solutions for a few of my dental gripes. all in all, painless.

the last time i visited the dentist, however, was very much the same as all previous dental visits - the scraping of the teefs with a sharp metal hook. and this time, there was none of that.

technology has breached the dental field in my absence it seems, and they now use ultrasonic vibrations to vibrate off the plaque that they would normally spend 15 minutes scraping. i had my doubts, but it worked. i felt like i was away in the peace corps for a decade.

on a lesserly happy note, i have spend the last week admitting to myself what i really am (and more accurately, what i am not.) i’ve read lots of medical material in the last few months that has taught me a lot and in ways taken away hope of things, but given me support in others. saying it aloud to amanda solidified it for me. the years of doctor visits and medication changes, the candy coated explanations about my medical status, the waiting to recover the "me" i once was - all of that put into focus by one simple statement which i was reluctant to admit for years. i feared skepticism, alienation, pity, judgement. i worried that admitting something was wrong with my brain would make me defective, damaged, less of a person, that i would appear less attractive, less sane, more the person to be avoided and not to be trusted.

i hoped it would get better - the sadness, the guilt, the worry, the physical side effects. and now, a decade later, they are all still there most of the time - now coupled with isolation, indifference, and cognitive problems. and far from better, i feel like i’m worse off than i was. but i know that a few parts of me are healed, and more parts of me are healing. and my doctor promises she won’t give up and there are lots of options left.

still, i spend much of my time in solitude, interacting only with my housemembers and calls to my mom, but shutting out all other contact. i can’t think clearly, i can’t spell some of the time (or type), i can’t remember things, i can’t think in the correct sequences, and i have trouble remembering basic words. and all that has created this cavity in my self confidence that has further pushed me away from feeling comfortable with other people regardless of who they are.

as amanda, the brilliant, pointed out, just because the old me isn’t coming back like i thought it should, that doesn’t mean the new me will be bad. that it’s okay to let the old sharon die and invite the new one in and see what she’s all about. and in many ways, she’ll be the same, but in others she won’t. and that’s okay.

and that’s what i have to learn.

i could blame heredity, i could blame a car full of drunk teenagers who made a lousy traffic decision and changed strangers lives, i could blame doctors for discounting my symptoms as laziness because they were too busy to consider anything else, i could blame friends or family for not understanding, not believing, and not having any compassion, i could blame a medical friend who preached to my family at a holiday meal about how he was convinced that it was all in my head and there was nothing wrong with me - but blame is pointless.

i have my sight, my hearing, my heart, my limbs, my brain (though part of it doesn’t function the same) - and i have a loving family, a small circle of people who love me and a mom that understands on a different level than anyone else i know. i have a lot. and i forget to focus on what i have instead of what i don’t have.

and like the cathartic emptying of the house and subsequent garage sale, i have to find a way to drag out the guilt, the pointless worry, the bad memories, the items in my life, my room that remind me of bad events, all the negativity in my body and the mold i made of who i think i should be and put it by the curb with a "free" sign. and it should leave me plenty of room to rebuild the me that has a vague blueprint and a lot of potential.

just because things don’t always go your way, doesn’t mean they will go badly. maybe the unknown has more potential than our imaginations?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

post-yardsale thoughts

post-yard sale thoughts

we had our annual yard sale today. it was a success, and raised more than enough money to fund our weenie roast to follow.

it was a nice, sunny day as we pulled lounge chairs out to the sidewalk, listened to Frank Sinatra, and met lots of new neighborhood people.

i think the quote of the day came from Amanda.

i was sipping a rockstar and had just finished a transaction when Amanda looked at me sideways, and said, "you just sold that lady a pair of pants for a quarter." I looked at her as if to say, "yeah, garage sale. hello?" her response? "she just drove off in a beemer."


at the end of our sale, we put the remaining, unsold items out in front with "free" signs (there's still stuff, if you need some shit.) i even posted an ad on craigslist saying, "post garage sale miscellany, come take it home - it's free." and i got a response from a girl with "kittykat" in her email address asking, "could you deliver?"

now, you have *got* to be fucking kidding me right now. that could be the most inane thing i've heard all day. something tells me, however, that it won't be the stupidest for long.

hope you're having a fantastic saturday.